Archive for May, 2012

God’s Faithfulness

Light streamed in through tiny stain glass windows. One of the longest days of the year, the sun was still bright at 8 PM. It was the last night at Bible Study Fellowship. Share night.

We sang. Not with perfect pitch, but eager hearts. One hymn stood out.

“Great is Thy faithfulness O God, our Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee.

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

The song had a history with me. It was my senior year of college and my life hadn’t turned out like I thought. My future lay ahead of me like an unknown roadmap. Relationships had changed, and soon my address would change. I pondered these thoughts as I plodded around the college running track. With each step I uttered one syllable.

Par-don-for-sin-and-a-peace-that-en-dur-eth-Thine-own-Dear-pre-sence-to-cheer-and-to-guide-strength-for-to-day-and-bright-hope-for-to-mor-row-bles-sings-are-mine-with-ten-thou-sand-be-sides.

Tears spilled onto my cheeks and off into the wind that day over thirty years ago.

My life journey didn’t run neatly around a college track. There were detours, stops, and a few falls. But the song rang true. God was faithful.

As I listened to 300 women sing that hymn I thought about the ladies in my group. One lost her job. On woman’s husband was in remission for leukemia while her fresh-out-of-college son struggled with cancer and a failed marriage. I watched as they sang the hymn with abandon.

Last year a lady received a call that her son had died of an overdose. As I left the church that evening, I passed a woman who’s daughter died about eight years ago at the age of eighteen.

They were running a different track from mine with more obstacles. Yet, they progressed. Even gave God the glory.

I thought of that as the women sang. All with different stories, yet God was and is and will be faithful to every single one of them.

Because that’s just the kind of God He is.

Faithful.

Over these thirty plus years, He’s given me His strength for each day and I do have bright hope for tomorrow. It’s not how I envisioned it as a college senior. It’s better. It’s eternal. It’s supernatural.

It’s heavenly.

Look up the words to that song, friend. And worship our faithful God.

 

 

 

A New Chapter

The starched pillows rested behind us against the stiff hotel headboard. Tom beside me, we clasped hands as he prayed.

“Lord, as we come to a new chapter in our lives, we are thankful.”

My mind wandered to a picture. An ivory page settled there. Two paragraphs in typewriter print appeared. The lines were blurred. Glimpses of the words Sarah and David jumped out at me. I thought I saw “Happily Ever After” somewhere, but it was elusive.

The plan for the day was clear. Sarah and David would have an inside wedding because of rain, a reception in a dreamy carriage house, and then honeymoon in Paris.

Later, the chapter words echoed through my mind as I watched Sarah sitting on a stool in the rambling old house she’d called home for over three years.  A make-up artist mixed colors from a table-full of cosmetics while her her bridesmaids and life-long friends giggled, cried, ate, drank, and smiled.

These girls had roomed together, prayed together, worshiped together, and even shared clothes together without fighting. There was plenty of conversation from the girls and even more introspection from me and David’s mother and grandmother. Those of us who’ve lived several other chapters in our lives.

I walked with Sarah up the carpeted stairs to her green bedroom filled with natural light. Pine trees bowed with rainy wind as she looked around her room for the last time. Her bags were packed. Her mind set. Still, she paused.

A new chapter. A sequel from mine.

I put my arm around her as I remembered the previous chapters in my life and wondered about the next.

Many think we write our own books. We do not. The Master Story-teller writes with eloquence and depth and knowledge that we don’t have. And the ending is the same for His children.

Mary-Louise, David’s grandmother said it best. She read from Revelation 21: 1,2, as Sarah sat on that make-up stool. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Those who belong to Christ Jesus all have the same ending. And it’s truly a “Happily Ever After,” story.

But Sarah begins a new chapter today.

And it’s good, because the Master-Storyteller is good.

The end.

Also, the beginning.

 

Counting Down

I never really liked children. I told all my friends. That’s why, when I told them I was pregnant they weren’t thrilled. Plus, I lost my egg.

The eggs were an assignment for the inner-city girls group that my friend and I led after we graduated from college. Since teenage pregnancy was a problem in that area, we gave them the “egg assignment.” They were to carry a hard-boiled egg in a wire basket wherever they went for one whole week. No eggless nights, no eggless days. It represented a baby. Kind of.

But I lost mine, so I flunked egg 101.

Then, I got pregnant. So I had two strikes against me. Losing my egg and not liking children.

Shortly after I conceived, I was sick. And pregnant. And my face broke out.

But the baby grew in my stomach and in my heart. By the time I laid eyes on Sarah in the hospital, I was in love.

That was twenty-four years ago.

I can’t believe it.

And today, I’m packing for her wedding. It’s Sunday. In Tallahassee.

Where did the years go? I remember when she was four and playing with her friends across the street. They had a fight and Sarah came home crying. I hurt more than she did. Or later, when she and her dad and Micah built a tree house in our backyard. They’d be out there for hours hammering away.

Then there was middle-school. Enough said.

Then high school. My parents lived with us. Dad lost both legs to diabetes. I lost track of my little girl and the distance seemed insurmountable.

But God is a God of bridges. And we crossed that gap.

She met David and her face changed. She smiled a lot more.

I saw the pictures of her and David at a “Couples’ Shower.” In every one of them, Sarah was laughing.

It makes me smile.

It also makes me cry.

You know.

Think of us on Mother’s Day, will you?

And smile.

 

No More Slips

Ladies. Have you tried to buy a slip lately? Difficult. Now there’s “Shapewear.” That’s short for “Straightjacket.”

Two close friends told me I needed it. One was my pastor’s wife.

My daughter’s wedding is coming up in 14 days and my lumps were not invited.

So my good friend and Nazi wedding coordinator went shopping with me. We even tried on shapewear in the same dressing room.

That’s friendship.

That’s not all she’s helping with. Her job is to organize everything and nag Sarah and I about the rest. She has a difficult job. Almost impossible. It was so hard, she had to enlist our other friend, Beth Sparks from Joyful Wedding Planner’s help.

Genetically, Sarah and I both have the great idea gene, and the let’s throw a party in fifteen minutes gene, but missed the detail gene.

I’m okay with it. Details are why I have friends like Miriam and Beth. They’re also sisters in Christ. God didn’t make us all the same, so we all need each other. Like a body. They are the brains and I’m the, well, I’m not sure. Maybe I’m the Uvula. (That’s the little round thing that hangs down in your throat.)

No matter. I just know that I’m grateful for the body of Christ and my detail-crazed friends. Sarah and I will really be grateful on Sunday, May 13 when there are chairs and starched napkins and food and flowers and escort cards tied with a green ribbon.

There will also be nosegays. Think about that.

I’ll be there with a princess-like steely blue dress that my pastor’s wife made me buy. I’ll have matching shoes and a useless matching purse supplied by Miriam.

I’ll also be wearing a straightjacket. I mean, shapewear.

Thank Miriam for that.

Here’s Beth’s link. I love that woman.

http://www.joyfulweddingplanning.com/