Saturday, August 30, 2008

This is a Test; This is Only a Test

Hello! I'm sorry that I've not posted lately. I've been nesting. We have been redecorating and it's been taking all my time!


The other day, as I was driving, I was thinking. [I love to drive in silence so as to have peace and quiet and time to think.] I had heard about a lady who knew she was dying and decided to make tapes for her daughter to play at each milestone of her life. For instance, when the daughter turned 16, she could play the tape and hear her mother's advice for that stage of her life.

As a side note: You can bet that at 16 if the mother was still alive and giving her advice, she would be "tuned out!"

Of course, with the imagination that God has gifted me, I immediately began to wonder what I would say to each of my children on my deathbed.

Oh, my! It was so sad! I was blinking back tears as I imagined it. [It's very easy for me to imagine myself right into a depression.] But once I got past the drama of the thing, I realized the main thing that I would say to each of them:

This is a test; it's only a test.

This life that God has gifted each of us is a test for eternity. We are eternal souls and, like it or not, we will live forever. The question is ... WHERE will we live?

Will we live with God, a God who loves us and wants to make us more like Him? Or with a wannabe god who never had our best interest at heart; in fact, with someone who has always hated us?

The choice seems pretty simple to me.

In light of that choice, our present life of scrambling to get status, of trying to live the American dream, of wanting to make a mark in this present world seems less important.

Don't get me wrong: it is important to work and to achieve. The bible says that we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works [see Ephesians 2:10]. The bible also has much to say about laziness. [God is against it.]

However, our focus must be on maintaining our relationship in Christ.

I once saw Joyce Meyer do an illustration on this topic which really made an impression on me. She told us that the bible says our life is only a mist or vapor.

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

Then Joyce stood on stage and sprayed something from a can. [I think it was hairspray.] That puff of spray vanished mighty quickly! There's not much time to do anything before the spray is gone.

So, if I were dying, I would say to each of my girls, "Don't be bitter, or waste time blaming God or other people for the things that go wrong in your life. You're only hurting yourself when you do. Instead, accept what happens in your life as an experience from which God wants you to learn. Your job is to believe God and His word. Accept what He has done for you. Focus your energies on Him and His sacrifice for you so that you may pass the Test."

Hmmm...I don't have to be dying to say that!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

God Bless Youth Workers!

Back in the day when I was a teenager, most churches did not have youth pastors. If a church was blessed, there would be a few adults that would take it upon themselves to work with the youth.

I started going to a little Southern Baptist church that was close to my home. We had been driving into town to go to church, but decided to try the one in our neighborhood. Turns out that a lot of the kids that rode my bus attended that church. I felt like I could fit in with the youth in that church, so we made it our church home.

There were two ladies, Roberta and Lois, that enjoyed doing things with the teenagers. They were sisters and they each had a child about my age.

They were so awesome! They were willing to take us to rallies and gospel singings.

In the south, where I lived, it was popular to go to singings to hear quartets, family groups and all manner of southern gospel music. A real treat was to go to an "all-night singin'" which actually only lasted until after midnight. Bummer. It was at an all-night singin' that I first held a boy's hand!

But I digress.

Roberta and Lois were also willing to take us camping, host bonfires, and even work up a good old-fashioned "haunted house" for us to celebrate fall. [I seem to remember being blindfolded and have my hands thrust into cold spaghetti -- this was to represent "dead brains."]

We girls came up with the idea of a singing group. Lois played the piano for us and Roberta sang the alto part and made us all matching long dresses to wear while we sang. I smile as I think of this because I was so shy that when we sang, no one could hear me! I guess I was just there to look cute in the dress!

Lois was always willing to let me join family camping trips and come home for Sunday dinner after church to Memaw's house.

They helped us put on Christmas plays every year and monitored swim parties at Mrs. Bates' house.

Best of all, they were willing to chaperone us every year when we went to church camp. Some of my best teen memories are of sitting around the campfire and all of us singing "Pass It On" and "Kumbaya My Lord." Of course, there was a lot of teasing, laughter and practical jokes back at the dorm.

Now, that I'm a mom of teenagers myself, I can see what a sacrifice of their time it was to be so involved with the youth group. They had to be tired sometimes and have chores at home that needed to be done. They both had other children at home besides their teenagers. They both had husbands that probably would have liked more attention from their wives.

I thought of them the other day when I saw this verse: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Out of their efforts working with the youth group, Roberta gained a daughter-in-law. A godly daughter-in-law who told me the other day that after 33 years marriage she still likes her husband pretty good! This heritage has been passed down to the next generation. One of Roberta's grandsons is studying for the ministry.

Lois gained a son-in-law out of the youth group. Her daughter and son-in-law have been married 34 years.

No, I didn't marry anyone from the youth group, but I was rooted and grounded in relationship with Christ and I serve Him today. My husband and I have been married 32 years.

Those are pretty good statistics for kids raised in the 70's.

There were others that they impacted while working with the youth. Maybe not everyone stayed in church like Roberta and Lois hoped, yet God has promised that if you train up a child in the way they should go, when they are old, they won't depart from it. [See Proverbs 22:6]

Only eternity will reveal the extent of their fruit.

Here is a picture of Roberta and Lois, almost 40 years after I first met them:

They're still going strong. Roberta still decorates cakes. Lois babysits her great-grandchildren every day!

These are Titus Two women, people! They taught me how to love family and my church family.

After many years, I went back home and dropped by Roberta's to visit. It was wonderful to see them, but all too soon family responsibilities made us cut our visit short. As I was leaving, Roberta followed me out onto the porch and told me more than once, "I love you." I told her I loved her, too, but I should have said, "I know you love me, you proved it over and over to me, and I thank God for you."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sincerely 'Fro Me to You #4: Mommy's Helper

My oldest daughter would probably rather I didn't put this picture in a scrapbook, but I think this picture is so telling.

We had been to a baby shower for our new baby girl. This picture was taken when I got home to unload the car. Both girls were exhausted from being the guests of honor at the shower. The baby was tired from being passed around and loved on and admired. Her big sister was tired from being "Mommy's helper."

She was so helpful! Eager to fetch anything that might be needed. Ready to unwrap presents and pass them around. Willing to watch sissy and alert me when diaper duty called.

This picture was taken 16 years ago.

The great thing is that to this day she is still my helper. As the girls grew [another baby sister was added to the mix], she was the trusted fashion advisor, confidante, role model. When she became old enough to drive. she was willing to take them places and even help them pick out Easter dresses and school clothes. [My job was to supply the money.]

More importantly, she is their example spiritually. She shows my younger daughters everyday that you can be smart, beautiful, AND live for God. They see her spending time in the Word. They see her worship with abandon at the house of God. They hear her give praise when God answers prayer.

Yes, I love this picture of baby and Mommy's Helper sleeping.

It's priceless.

For more interesting photos and the stories behind them, visit Kristen's Sincerely 'Fro Me to You carnival at We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Green Peas

"If I eat my veggies,
will I grow up to be a
basketball player?"

My baby learned to walk eating green peas! It’s true! Well, technically, she learned to walk in her walker eating green peas …

As a first-time mom, I was very conscientious to not feed my baby anything but breast milk until 6 months of age. Once I started introducing solid foods, I followed my doctor’s instructions of trying one new food a week. First, she tried all the baby cereals, then all the fruits, then she started the vegetables. I felt like the orange colored ones would taste best, so I gave her carrots, then sweet potatoes, and finally squash. Now it was time to try the green vegetables.

I had gotten in the habit of feeding her in her walker. She had one of those walkers that had a tray all around it and toys attached to it. She loved it but had never taken a step. So, on this momentous day, she was sitting in her walker. I had already given her some cereal and applesauce, which she enjoyed – I know that because she waved her arms and cooed after every bite (her way of showing enjoyment).

Then I decided it was time for a spoonful of peas. A look of surprise crossed her face and she spit it out. Determined, I scooped the peas off her chin and popped it back into her mouth. She then vigorously took a giant step backwards! I followed her and put another spoonful in. Another step back, and then it clicked in her little brain! She could walk in her walker, and walk she did, albeit, backwards!

Sometimes, unpleasant circumstances (or learning yucky things) force us to grow in a new direction. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11 The reason why many live a "one-crisis-after-another" life is because they resist discipline.

Is there something you are going through leaving a bad taste in your mouth? Be assured that if you accept discipline, eventually you will grow through the trial.

Did my daughter ever learn to like peas? I served some the other night. She did eat a spoonful ...