Friday, January 30, 2009

A Day Well Spent

Today was my wedding anniversary so my husband and I drove out through the country to a little farmhouse restaurant so Southernly named "Grits & Groceries". There is a great little story behind this yummy little place and words cannot express the awesomeness of the food. We feasted on Oyster Spinach Salad with some Praline Bacon and the greatest ice tea in the entire Southeast. This incredible culinary duo husband and wife team then brought us an enormous piece of the most incredibly moist chocolate pound cake with fluffy homemade whip cream and sliced sweet strawberries that you have ever had the pleasure of putting your fork in. They had so thoughtfully placed a little red and white candle in the center of that beautiful piece of chocolate heaven and while they presented this masterpiece and layed it before us they began to sing rather enthusiastically"Happy Anniversary". We then headed up the road to Cedar Creek Farm where we spent the day talking and just the thought of not having anywhere that we had to be made it even the more sweeter.

There is nothing better than a day well spent and this is something that we can all afford even in the current economy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Down but NOT Destroyed

While feeding cattle with my father, I spotted a tree trunk that had fallen near his hay shed. The tree appeared to be dead. I asked my father what had caused it to die. He told me to look carefully. Even though the trunk was lying on the ground, I noticed tiny green leaves emerging from its short limbs.
I began to reflect on lessons the tree had to teach. Many people encounter situations in their lives that seem to "down" them. A cloud of spiritual inadequacy descends upon these believers who so fervently desire to honor God, but experience such difficulty in their endeavor. Yet God delights in taking these seeming failures and chooses to use them beyond what they could imagine.
What causes the tree to continue producing leaves in its poor condition? Its unseen roots are strong and deep enough to sustain the tree.
Daily study of God's Word, time spent in prayer and cultivation of love relationship with Him will put down spiritual roots. In one sense, the tree has been prepared earlier in its existence for this season of hardship.
When in a "downed" situation, take heart and know God has a purpose and will use it to glorify Himself, thank God for His blessings. Grow deep in Him, putting down roots in preparation for whatever may be encountered confident, He is always present.
"Now we have this treasure in clay jars,so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.We are pressured in every way but not crushed;we are perplexed but not in despair;we are persecuted but not abandoned;we are struck down but not destroyed." (2 Cor. 4:7-9)

---Bernadean J. Gates

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Great Quote for Survivors of Anything

"If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving!" - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sticky Notes and License Plates

God does speak to us! Maybe we are too busy looking for some incredible magnificent extraordinary miraculous light show (sort to speak) that we miss Him. God will use whatever He wants to and it may be the simplest of things. We have a responsibility to open up our heart, mind and spirit to see and listen to Him. He reminded me on that sticky note (entry below) that "He Lives" - well while at Duke my husband and I had left the doctor's visit at Duke University and were not really in the best state of mind (you know, we are human) but decided to go out together and put everything to the side and enjoy one another on a night out. It was dark and being unfamiliar with the town we took a wrong turn on the way to our destination and had to turn around when suddenly a car pulled in front of us with a very unusual license plate - it read HEALING.
So you tell me - - - does He speak?

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Little Yellow Sticky Note

At my Oncology visit on Friday I was in the lab having blood drawn which is routine with every visit so they can check the tumor marker. Since over the past few months my doctor has been telling me that the tumor marker in my blood has been rising I began to pray as the nurse was doing her "thing" - not out loud... just to myself. Across the room on a counter where they hand off the viles of blood (or whatever they call them) to the lab techs there were yellow sticky notes hanging all across the counter with various notes referring to patients, meds, etc., etc. I began to glance across these post it notes when my eyes caught one in particular that stopped me cold. It said "He Lives" (that is all it said). I heard in my spirit "As long as He lives you live" and I knew that God was speaking to me.
If I have learned anything through all that I have been through - it is this - God will speak to you and remind you who He is and that He really is there in trouble. In trials and hard times you don't have to wait on the next church service or the pastor or a prayer team - look for God, listen for God. God comes down to us where we are if we let Him. He spoke to me and He did it with just a little yellow sticky note.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Coincidence or More?

Yesterday, I was coming out of a grocery store in another town when I was approached by a lady who looked as if she were consumed with confusion and hurt - after expressing to me that she did not want to take up any of my time or cause me any bother - she simply asked me if I would pray for her. She proceeded to explain to me that she had just lost her 27 year old daughter to - yes - breast cancer. She shared her daughter's story with me of how the doctors had told her that they had gotten it all and that she would be fine and yet that was not the case. The cancer had metastasized throughout her body and stolen her daughter's young life. It was clear this precious distraught lady was devastated and heartbroken. Now this lady knew nothing of my story - why me? Why did this lady choose me out of all of the people coming out of that store to share her burden with and how did she know that I would pray? I told her a little part of my story but more than that I just wrapped my arms around her and honestly I did want to let her go. I felt her pain and as I felt her pain all of my troubles fell away. It seems to me that we spend most of our lives searching for reasons for our grim situations and for answers as to why we are here and how we can get more stuff. But what do we do when everything is going right? When everyone is well and we have all that we need and life is good - do we take the time to thank God or just wait until things go wrong so we can blame Him. Wanda was her name and she humbly asked for prayer and she reminded me of how blessed I am. I do not believe this was merely coincidence and I also do not believe that everything that happens to us is about us or for us. Wanda did not know that I needed her as much as she needed me and that is the thing - we need one another. I know this is heavy but my heart is burdened. Through the trials in my life - though hard - I want to embrace what God teaches me while I am there. I have learned through all of life's pain if we will allow Him to He will mold us into something greater than we could ever imagine. We have each other and we have Him - what more do we need?