It's all about time...

3 years later at Katie's wedding...

 Not exactly by our choice, but in God's design for our family, our children are a little spread out in age.  Katie was almost 11, Kellie was 8, and Mollie was 3 1/2 when Clay was born.   Katie was in sixth grade and had just begun all the school and church activities that accompany middle school.  How the time flew as Clay toddled through the baby and preschool years. 
We made the mistake that so many parents do... we blinked... we just blinked and Clay was ready to head to first grade.  That same year, right after we blinked, Katie was headed to Murray State University to begin her freshman year.  Talk about ripping a momma's heart right out! 
Katie would say that she should get half the credit for raising Clay, as she was truly a built-in babysitter and such a big help when Clay was so young.
Honestly my saddest thought (among many others :)) about Katie going to college was centered around her relationship with Clay.  He was so young when she left, and I was so very concerned that they would really not even know each other...
My fears were so tenderly put to rest one afternoon as I picked Clay up from school.  He had lost his second tooth that day,  so that meant, he proudly carried his prize, the tooth, in a little plastic container.  If I'm remembering correctly, the container was shaped like a tooth and had a red string so that he could wear it like a necklace.  He was beaming from ear to ear.
He hopped in the car and rattled off the important announcements from school that day... who played with who on the playground, who sat by who at lunch, what color his name was on at the end of the day, and then the grand finale... "LOOK Mom, I lost a tooth today!"  We celebrated as he filled me in on all the details. 

And then, he melted my heart...  his words were simple, but sure.  "I need your cell phone, Mom, I HAVE to call Katie and tell her!"  I knew their relationship would be just fine, and it was and is!
Every time I think of that story, I am reminded of what constitutes a good relationship.  More and more I believe that it has absolutely everything to do with time!  Katie had spent time with Clay playing catch, pushing him on the swing, reading to him... and, at times, just sitting next to him watching Rescue Heroes and listening to Focus on the Family Adventures in Odyssey tapes. 
It works the same way with our Heavenly Father, doesn't it?  James put it so simply for us in
James 4 verse 8,
Come near to God and He will come near to you.
HE desires to spend time with us, to hear about our day, to listen to our concerns, to speak to our hearts, to just BE with us.  Try it this week.... just an additional 15 minutes of time for just you and your Abba Father... Look forward to sharing your big story of the day with HIM... He cares so deeply for you!

One more little interruption...

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at a Women's Event at Perryville First Baptist Church in Perryville, Kentucky.  Many of you may know that my parents grew up in that area - my mother in Perryville and my dad in Danville.  My grandparents sat on the next to the last row every Sunday in worship right after Sunday School that my dear grandmother taught for 50 years!  So the church has such sweet significance for me.  I remember sitting between Granddaddy and Grandmother as we sang Victory in Jesus and The Old Rugged Cross.

The theme of the event was simply Seasons of a Woman's Life...they decorated the tables in different seasonal attire - some with Christmas decor for winter, orange and brown leaves and pumpkins for the fall tables... you get the idea!  It was a grand time.  I had really just begun my "planned" oracle as a gentle lady in the back, stood quickly to her feet uttering with great gusto, "I just got a message, and I HAVE to share it!"  At first I wasn't sure if the message came directly from the Lord or not, but I was as anxious as the entire room to hear the message.  She took a deep breath and shared about a young woman in the church who was in the hospital for what most thought, including the young woman, would be a routine surgery.  The doctor had quickly informed the family that significant amounts of what looked to be cancer were discovered.  Treatment plans and additional surgery had followed quickly.  The message that came was from the young woman's husband stating that test results had just come in, and they did not show any additional cancer... not at all what the doctors had expected!  We cheered and clapped, a few tears of joy were shed... and we stopped to give thanks to God.  So we got back on track..

We were moving right along already into "season #2" when the glaring blaring sirens began...  increasing to the point that I expected the firetruck to drive right through the back door of the Fellowship Hall halting at my little music podium within seconds.  We knew something big and likely something bad was happening just outside.  I had tried to plow through my thoughts, but we were all beginning to assess whether we needed to take immediate cover from some ensuing danger.  Before we could even form words, the pastor and one of our hostesses burst through the back door with news of a terrible accident on the bridge literally just steps away from the church.  A semi-truck had collided with a motorcyclist - the initial report was serious and grave.  We stopped as we gathered our thoughts and our breath, and without hesitation, we bowed our hearts to ask for help for the drivers, the EMS staff, the police officers, the families involved, and for mercy and peace for all.

That was all in the first hour of the morning.  As I have thought back over the day's events, I was again reminded of the reality that we truly do NOT know what a day will bring - Frank and I have often stated and realized through experience that in raising children, we are all just one phone call away from a life changing moment.

I have been reminded recently with such tenderness that I serve a gracious God who demands my fear... yes, my fear, of Him.  The Bible is clear about His power and His majesty.  He deserves our awe, our respect and our FEAR!  Isaiah 6 tell us that as God came to him, he just knew he was done!  In his fear, Isaiah quickly responded, "Woe to me!  I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the KING, the Lord Almighty!"  The angel of the Lord, quickly came to him with a live coal, touching his lips saying, "see this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for!"  WOW!  What a testimony.  Then we read those famous words as the Lord asked, Whom shall I send and who will go for us?".. Isaiah responds without hesitation... "HERE AM I... SEND ME!"

Our days are filled with distractions, may I just encourage you with this thought... God knows exactly where you are this very moment, and HE is with you.  Trust HIS leading - lean on His promise to be before you, beside you, and right behind you, whispering in your ear.... turn to the left or the right!"
Be still enough at some time during the day to hear HIS voice!

We begin our study on Monday evening at 6:30 at Simpsonville Baptist of Walking by Faith   - its not too late to join this 7 week journey!  I'll be looking for you!

Walking by... WHAT??

For years I suffered through migraine headaches...  Still not totally sure why I had them... maybe the fact that my mother, my great grandmother (They just called them sick headaches back then.  My mother remembers Mamma Mattie going to bed with a wet cloth on her head asking that no one open the door or turn on the light.  I can relate!), and at least one of my daughters has them. 
We believe that mine were somewhat hormone related... I say stress induced!  :)

Funny, they never came at a "good" time.  You know, like when we had nothing planned for the weekend, no big events, no company coming or  places to be. 

One of those frustrating times came when we headed to a much anticipated canoe trip with the girls and a group of friends.  We had all our gear, lunch was packed, life jackets were in tow.  I felt a little strange, but was sure it was be fine once we got started.  Our first disappointment came as we arrived at our "put in" spot, and because of some recent torrential rains, the water was too high to begin.  The decision was made to wait until the afternoon.  Since it was a beautiful sunny day, we would eat lunch there, and then try a later time hoping for a successful entry into the water.
We had barely sat down to eat when the migraine engulfed me.  Sadly the girls knew this routine much too well.  They quickly gathered our belongings as Frank guided me to the car.  You see, when a migraine hits, light is the absolute worst enemy.  I was not a "pretty" migraine sufferer.... I immediately became violently ill and could NOT open my eyes at all.  I counted on Frank to get me to the car - that day we were in the midst of a jagged rock area, and I was, as you can imagine, extremely unsteady.  He got me to car and sped home.  At that time the best medicine available to me was in an injection form, so Frank quickly progressed from my guide and driver to my "shot" giver.  Thankfully my medicine would kick in within a few hours, and then I would begin the recovery process.

I COULD not have walked alone;  how thankful I am for Frank and his promise to always walk beside me.  He has been faithful to that promise for over 30 years.

When I felt God urging me to "blog", the dilemma of the blog NAME was challenging.  How do you begin to convey what you want people to know in such a short form.  My family joined the hunt for just the right title.  Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Some call it the Bible's Hall of Fame.  The writer begins the chapter with the reminder of that oft quoted verse, "Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  It goes on to list so many of the heroes of the faith.  Each introduction beginning with... By faith, "person's name", did something.   I've often wondered if God allowed my name to be there, what possibly would said about my faith in God, and how I trusted HIM.  OH, my friends, can you imagine!!!  We will explore that a bit next week.

In the meantime, for those of you in the greater Louisville area, would you consider joining me and some other ladies at Simpsonville Baptist Church for a time of study about what it means to Walk By Faith.  We will follow Jennifer Rothschild in her Bible Study by that name... Walking by Faith:  Lessons Learned in the Dark. You see, Jennifer is legally blind and has been since age 16.

We will begin on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall of the church.  We will meet for 7 weeks each Monday.  Please join us!!!  We would love to have a book waiting for you when you arrive, so please let me know via email, phone, or even through facebook... gotta love technology!!

Oh, and by the way... my blog's name... BYFAITHANDCOFFEE truly is how I walk each day by the tender grace of our God!!!!!