Archive for June, 2011

A Caring Life—Hard Choices

So I know I’m a day or two late on my blog, but when my daughter lives 4 1/2 hours away, has a 103 temperature and then extreme stomach pain—add to that she was to have minor surgery on Friday, and well, I just had to drive to Tallahassee to take care of her.

But if you are a caregiver for your mom like I am, not to mention a 4-month-old puppy, leaving town for a few days is hard. Almost impossible.

Thank the Lord, my little girl is better, but they cancelled the surgery because she was too sick. She wants her mama to stay through Sunday. When I called home to check on the legion of people streaming through my house to care for my mom and puppy, I heard disturbing news.

“Your mom is crying,” my friend, Miriam said. Miriam had puppy duty while her mother, Berta had caregiving duties with my mom.

“Let me talk to her.” Mom was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t even understand what she was saying. The gist of it was for me to come home ASAP because she was going to meet Jesus.

Guilty for being with my daughter. Guilty if I go home to my mom. A common dilemma with caregivers. Guilt.

Again, I was helpless. That usually brings me to my knees.

“Lord. Here I am again. I don’t know what to do. I know this seems like a small thing, but you tell us to come as children, and that’s what I’m doing. I need help. I need guidance. Please show me specifically what it is I should do. My heart is to obey you.”

I wiped my eyes, climbed into the comfy chair in Sarah’s living room. I heard her soft breathing from the other room as I picked up the study of David by Beth Moore.

Right where I left off had to do with David’s wisdom in administration. He realized he couldn’t do it all. Then my new BFF, Beth asked, “Are you overloaded right now? If so, what are some ways you can delegate?”

Then Miriam called. “It’s taken care of. Your mom is better. She said you should stay with Sarah. She’s watching tennis and is back to her old self. We will take care of it, Pauline. You enjoy your daughter.”

God is good, isn’t He? He cared enough to show me that I can’t do it all. I need to be where my body is—with Sarah, not in another city where my mother is.

God is also good in providing me with good friends. Godly friends. Treasures. Hope you have some. I’m praying that you do.

The Treasure

Confrontation is never fun. It’s usually uncomfortable. But often, it makes a difference.

In the life of the one doing the confronting. In the life of the one being confronted. Seldom does a record of it make the pages of a book that has been a best seller for 2000 years. That is exactly what happened when the Apostle Paul confronted the Apostle Peter concerning something he did.

My pastor spoke from Galatians 2: 11-16. Story goes something like this. Peter knew that the Jewish laws were part of the old way of obeying and worshiping God. He knew that a man didn’t have to be circumcised to have a relationship with God. He knew that he had fellowship with everyone. He could eat with them, hang with them, worship with them. But Peter was intimidated when some ‘muckety-mucks’ who still held to the law came to visit. He dropped the Gentiles like a hot potato.

Paul noticed. In front of everyone, Paul tells him he’s off base. He’s wrong. The gospel isn’t about what you do or what you don’t do. It’s by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Period.

When Jesus came, He established a new way of coming to God—through His sacrificial death. Paul knew that. Peter knew that but he got a little side-tracked. Started worrying more about what other people thought than what God thought. He needed a friend to tell him he was wrong.

So when Paul corrected Peter, he corrected all of us for all time. The gospel is a treasure. Not something to be watered down. Not something to be added to.

I need to be reminded of that. I tend to want to agree with all people when they mention Christ’s name. I don’t want to rock the proverbial Christian boat. But Paul didn’t care. He knew what was important. I need to be concerned about what God thinks rather than what man thinks.

I’d like to finish todays’ blog with a verse. One we can sink our teeth into and hold onto. A verse we pass on to others. It’s Galatians 2: 16,

“yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because of the works of the law no one will be justified.” (ESV)

Hold on to that treasure friend. And don’t add water.

Better Than Football

I love football. Even watch reruns of games. The games I watch don’t have to be teams I care about. I love the noise, the strategy, the energy of the crowd, the players. All of it. Makes me sad that I might miss a whole season this year.

But I attended an event at my church that’s way better than football. In this event, people of all ages enter from behind a wall, their name and picture gracing the screens to either side of a clear opening, high above the auditorium. There is a uniform of sorts. Dark pants, and a white shirt. Each participant carries a sheet of paper and steps down into a large tank of cool water. They each read from the paper, occasionally looking up and adding a personal remark. Many cry. All are determined. They share what Jesus Christ has done in their lives. Their stories are all different yet all alike.

They are different because they come from all walks of life. A few are children, one man a self-made attorney, who realized he wasn’t self-sufficient—just a regular old sinner. There’s a homemaker and a biker. A mother and a daughter. Their stories sound like a magnificent melody.

They’re alike in that Jesus saved them. Not anything they have done, not anything they will do. Not who they are or who they aren’t. It’s all Him.

I’m glad.

An audience cheers for them. Many of them cry, too. Some cry because they remember their own stories. Some cry because they love the person in the story. Some just watch and listen.

There is another participant. He waits in the water. After the participant shares their story, he tells them to kneel down and quotes from the Bible. He says, “Because of your confession of faith in Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” As he says this, he lowers them into the water and as he pulls them up he finishes with, “Raised to walk in newness of life.”

Then there is more cheering, more crying, more clapping. When that happens, I can’t stop smiling.

Funny thing about football. I really do love it. I cheer for my team and throw a ‘bad call brick’ when the referee makes a mistake. But I have trouble remembering who won the Super Bowl last year. It was really important when it happened, but afterwords, it fades in my memory, and eventually in the memory of all.

The stories I heard at baptism never fade. They will be told throughout eternity.

And that’s a long time.

They are eternal redemption stories about the All Supreme Christ. Who was and is and will be.

Now, that’s something to cheer about.


“No no no no no NO!” I hear myself say as the newest member of our family escapes into our bedroom with mom’s slipper. He’s fast and he knows I’m old. I corner him.

“Sam! Grandma’s slipper is NOT a toy!” I pry it loose from razor sharp teeth. I look into soft brown eyes and melt. I love my 15-pound, black standard poodle puppy.

Initially, when I considered a new puppy I had a vague recollection of how much work it was. But that was over 13 years ago. My daughter was 10 and son, Micah, 7. My life was busier then. I just didn’t know it. It’s how it was. I remembered puppies chewed and had accidents, but what I didn’t remember was you lose your life for a few months.

Sam is up during the night one time. He wakes early and has no need for coffee to be energetic. He barks, bites, licks, runs, and generally is 100% cute even at 5am. In the B. S. years (before Sam), I’d sit in my postered rice-bed, sip coffee, contemplate my day, and do Bible study as morning rays filtered across my sage green comforter.

Now, I’m in and out of my back door, squinting into the darkness, waiting for a black puppy to do his business. He’s hard to see. Micah carries his cell phone with him to illuminate Sam. (How else do you know if you should say, “Good boy.”)

Last night, Tom and I escaped to Carrabba’s for dinner. We put Sam in his crate and told him that we needed some ‘alone time.’

During dinner, We spotted an older couple making ‘ga ga’ over a baby. They couldn’t take their eyes off of him.

“Must be grandparents.” I took another bite.

Tom turned back around. “Reminds me of a new puppy.”

We smiled. Time passed.

“I think grandchildren will be better,” I offered.

“Yea. You spoil them, play with them, and then you send them home. Let’s go.”

And then we went home. To Sam.