That was my ”Today”

Brad Paisleys, Today, is probably one of the best songs ever written and sung. It’s such a great reminder that if we can hold on to special memories today, those memories are what will get us through tomorrow.

And I don’t know about tomorrow 
Right now the whole world feels right 
And the memory of a day like today 
Can get you through the rest of your life.

I’ll eventually get back to our Lexington trip but I keep mulling this post over and over again. I know from previous experience when these thoughts don’t go by the wayside, I am supposed to do something about it and so I’ll write.

It was the most gut-wrenching day of my adult life. The moment when the Hospice Doctor tells me, you need to call the family in. ”Ned’s time is short. I don’t know if he’ll be here more than 3-4 days.”

Just to clarify, I asked, ”So, you’re telling me that I need to call my sister to come back and I need to try to get my brother here from Oregon and any of the grandchildren that can come?”

”Yes, and I wouldn’t linger.”

I graciously thanked him and called Kristi. Call one. Check.

Knowing full well that David would unlikely be up a little before 6 his time, I called anyway. I held firm and didn’t get shakey with my words. ”You need to make arrangements to get here ASAP! And please call Zach and let him know.” Call two. Done.

Breathe. Focus. Breathe……reality set in. I had to call my children. All of a sudden, like a tidal wave, I collapsed screaming and crying into Terry’s lap. ”I can’t do this. This is too hard. I can’t call the kids and tell them their Papaw is dying. I can’t. I just can’t.” The weight of it all finally took its toll.

Gently rubbing my back, he said, ”It’s ok. I’ll call them.” I cried harder. I ugly cried. Every ounce of what I’d been holding back was now gaining momentum and no matter how I tried, it wouldn’t stop until it all filtered out. When it was over, I dried my tear-stained eyes, blew my nose and announced with all the confidence I could muster, ”No, it’s something I need to do. I’ll call them.”

The first call was to Ryan. I knew he was working and I wasn’t about to leave a message of such magnitude. I just left a message asking him to return my call.

Next up was Alex. Keep in mind. Matthew was deployed. I would later have to contact him through the Red Cross. Alex had just seen Ned a few days before. He wasn’t shocked or surprised but he was quiet. Knowing he had classes, I tried hard to keep things as upbeat as possible. He would be home tomorrow and that was good enough.

In between, calls, Ryan called me back. He knew. I didn’t have to tell him. I did anyway. Sometimes, its just good to give reality a voice. Hard. But good. Immediately, he asked, ”Mom, are you okay? I know all of this has been hard on you.”

Tears fell as I assured him I was okay. Truthfully, I was okay. His sensitivity made me cry a little.

Finally, I called Amy. There’s never a good time or a good way to do these things. I knew her schedule and she was finishing up classes and would be heading to track practice. With every ounce of strength, I could round up, I said, ”Amy, they’ve only given your Papaw a few days to live. You’re gonna need to come home.” Silence. Dead Silence.

Sniffling she said, ”Mom, I’m crying and everyone is seeing me cry cause I’m walking in the courtyard. I’ll have to call you back. I can’t talk right now.”

It wasn’t long until she called me back and I could tell she’d still been crying, ”Mom, when I told Cale (her coach), he told me to skip practice and come home.”

I pleaded with her to be careful.

An hour and a half later, she arrived. Safe and sound.

It’s what transpires within the next hour or so that touches my heart in ways I cannot even begin to describe.

Amy’s main focus was to attend to her Papaw. He was still coherent but wasn’t talking much. A few words here and there. A nod of the head. Maybe a smile or two. She asked him if he wanted some ice cream. He nodded and she took the spoon and began feeding him. She would ask, “Papaw, do you want another bite and he would nod.” After a little while, he threw his hand up for her to stop and clamped his lips together, indicating that he was done. No more.

Sweetly she leaned close to him and said, ”See Papaw, I can feed you just like you fed me when I was little.”

So, if I’d had a lot of tears left in me at that point, I would’ve been balling like a baby. What a tender and precious moment my baby girl had just experienced with her Papaw.

As it would turn out, Amy fed her Papaw the last meal he ate. It would be a memory etched in our minds forever. A precious memory.

It makes me so grateful for the early morning hard because, at the end of the day, God gave us such a great gift. The gift of His perfect timing and placing us at the right time and place. I think today, that’s what He wants me to remember and He wants me to tell you, His ways are always perfect. He is always on time and His goodness abounds in rich mercy and grace.

The Rebel in Me – Part 2

I normally don’t write on my blog daily. I figure we’re all busy humans and have plenty to read on a daily basis without adding another thing in the mix. However, I felt very compelled to share this today. Maybe I just need to get it out there or maybe someone really needs to know how I struggle and how I have learned and continue to learn to walk through the process of a struggling rebel.

Picking up on the topic of rebellion from yesterday’s blog, Read Here I hope it leads you into an understanding that I struggle. It’s hard for me to make wise decisions, at times, because I want to go against the grain.

The reality is that for so many I years, I did just that. I most often did the exact opposite of what my parents wanted me to do. It took me down some very shameful and destructive roads. Roads that I am not.proud of and sometimes cringe when I have to admit, ”Yes, I did that.”

The truth is, for those who knew me then, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Airing dirty laundry here is neither necessary or fitting. However, if you’re an inquiring mind, make your own assumptions chances are you’ll be right. Even if you’re not, its probably something I thought about doing. Just keeping it real. However, don’t ever think I’ve forgotten who I was or what I did. I have NOT. Again, these are the things things that God has used and continues to use to mold me and shape me into who I am!

Obviously, I don’t sit and dwell on the past and ”what ifs”. I can’t. Life is about moving forward. It’s about pushing through the pain of our past and seeing what a glorious future we have to look forward to.

This life.is temporary and will.be full of.hurt.and pain. We.must look beyond.the now and see.the glorious hope.of Heaven.

However, there are times my past still comes face to face with raw pain. When those things come to mind, I no longer run away from them. I no longer stuff them away and tidy them up the box. Although, my rebel self.wants.desparately to do this! The truth is, when raw pain is there, I need to go in search of the root cause. There is a reason it remains raw. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t like pain when its raw. I want it to go away.

Here’s how I’ve learned to cope when that pain of my past wants to haunt me or stop me in my tracks or make me feel shameful.

First of all, I pray and ask God if there’s something in me that still needs to he healed. Is there an area of my heart that still has unresolved hurt and pain? Why do I go to God first?

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I figure since He knows me best, He my best resource. The main issue is that sometimes the rebel in.me kicks back, like Romney, and I don’t really want to hear what He has to say. Or the rebel part of me doesn’t want to be broken down to be made whole. You see the fight I have with this spirit of rebellion? It’s real and it’s an ongoing fight.

Sometimes, I use the resources of godly and wise friends to help.me navigate through getting to.the root of my pain. There is nothing more beautiful than having people you can be real with. You know the ones who aren’t afraid of your mess but they’re not afraid to tell you when you’re wrong. They aren’t there to.judge or glean information to share about you with the next person. They’re there because they want to see you break-free and be whole again.

Other times, I must.go and seek the counsel of.a Pastor or.other biblically trained professional. I need the Truth of Gods word.pouring into me. The reality is that its only the Truth that will set me free.

And ye shall know.the.truth and the truth shall.make you free. John 8:32 KJV

When I am aware of the root of.my pain, I can then apply the Truth of Gods word to my hurt and pain. Once the hurt and pain has been appropriately dealt with and the root.has been discovered. The Truth of Gods word then acts a soothing balm of.healing. Also, when dealt with appropriately, it rarely effects me again. I’ve taken care of the ”real” issue. I haven’t given it a bandaid fix.

A bandaid may stop the bleeding and cover the wound, but a bandaid will never cure the wound.

Sometimes, this whole process is daunting. So much so, that I want to give up and give in and just.go back to being my rebel self. Then the Truth floods my soul and I am reminded of ALL that God has brought me through. I see his mighty works and I marvel that in spite of who I am, He loves me! He died for me! (John 3:16) He calls.me the ”apple of his eye”.(Psalm 17:8) He sings over me. (Zeph 3:17)

I Am One Of Those

“Oh, you’re one of those!” my friend exclaimed as she watched me withdraw my hand from hovering over her cooktop. Cackles from the other women in the room with us told me, they too, understood what my friend was saying.

Let me give the full context of what happened. We were at our friend’s lake house for a weekend with about fifteen other couples. Several, at least seven of us women, were in the kitchen preparing the meal. I noticed the light remained on the cooktop after my friend turned it off. In fact, I kept watching for it to go off. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with smooth top cooktops. Anyway, I questioned my friend about the light that seemingly had no end. She explained that it was the cooktops way of telling her that the one or more of the burners were still warm and the indicator light would go off when the surface was cool.

Well, that darn thing intrigued me. I knew not to touch an electric burner and I also knew that a gas burner doesn’t remain hot for long once the heat is gone but this little indicator light says, “Don’t touch. The surface is hot” has now been on at least five minutes and I just really need to feel it. I mean at least get close enough to feel see if it’s still warm. As my hand inched closer and closer to the surface, I could begin to feel the heat rising. To be honest, it didn’t feel that hot until I almost touched it. I came close but I backed off at the last minute.

By this time, my friend was watching intently and made her observation.

To her and the other cackling chicks, I replied, “You’re right, I am one of those that have to learn the hard way. I doubt the warnings and most often proceed full steam ahead without caution. I do get burned a lot.”

That incident happened the better part of 15 years ago. I have to say, for the most part, I now heed warnings. I don’t go near things when there are indications I might get burned. However, it’s because for the first, more than half of my life, I had to learn the hard way.

Sometimes I wonder if my life would be more carefree if I had been the rule-follower instead of the rebel. I seriously doubt it. Life comes with complications. It’s not easy. Let’s face it, life can be downright hard. It can be hard because I am not in control. I don’t get to choose which way the wind blows. It can blow in my face with uncertainties pummeling like sand being thrust in my face. It can blow at my back pushing me in a direction I don’t want to go. It can also be hard because of my poor choices, that rebellious spirit in me.

The truth is, at heart, I am still rebellious. It’s ingrained into my very being. It’s part of what makes me, me. I’ve just learned (and still learning) to temper my rebellious nature with more thoughtful consideration or how my choices will affect me as well as others. The truth is, the decisions we make will have an impact on others. Yes, they’re our choices but be aware others will feel the effects, good or bad. Therefore, I try to consider the ultimate outcome before I plow ahead of the indicators and warnings to touch something that may burn me.

But in truth, if I really find myself intrigued by something, it’s impossible for me not to be drawn in closer and closer. That is why I have to stay firmly rooted and grounded in God’s word. It is life-saving and has proven to be life-altering.

Maybe my rebellious spirit is the very thing that God uses to remind me of my humanity and that I am only one poor choice away from destruction.

What I want to remind you today is that we’re all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter if we’re rule-following people pleasers or if we’re wild, rebellious, footloose and fancy-free, we are all one choice away from destruction or disaster. And this is why it’s so important to know the truth of God’s word. To claim the truth of God’s word and to set free by the truth of God’s word.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” Luke 4:16

A Psalm for Saturday

Today’s blog comes in a little differently than others. I found this in one of my many writings. There was a time, and I possibly need to get back to it, when I would just read a scripture passage and journal how it spoke to me.

This particular one was written out on January 31, 2015. Interestingly, as I read through it today, it resonated with me and I found myself thinking, ”Yep, what was true four years ago is still true today and I needed this reminder.”

Here’s the scripture reading:

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God, I cried for help. From his temple, he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here’s what God spoke to me through this passage.

As my rock, you are my protection and you are not removed from my presence. If there’s any movement it’s on my part, not yours. You are my constant and unyielding even when things around me are unsteady and shaky; You are NOT. You are my rock in both good times and bad because You are constant and unchanging. My emotions sometimes gets the best in me and I waver and wane. You keep me steady.

I need You in both good times and bad times, maybe I need You and your stability more in the good times. Why? In good times I find my self more self-reliant, more pious and more complacent when things are seemingly well- that’s why!

In times of struggle, whether brought on by my own foolish choices or circumstances beyond my control or tragedy, I run to You. I cling to You. I depend on You to pull me through. I want and need Your help.

The paradox- in both good and bad, I need to run, cling, depend on and want your help.

You are my shield. You protect me. You stand between me and my enemies, most of which are in the battlefield of my mind. You are my stronghold and so worthy of my praise and adoration.

God With Us

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention on Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth! John MacArthur

Think about this with me for a minute. The three words. ”God with us” or the singular word, ”Emmanuel”. The implication of these words means we have to look beyond the manager and the infant. We have to look beyond his ministry. We have to look beyond the cross, beyond and the resurrection. What do we need to look at?

We need to look to before the birth of Jesus and after the resurrection. What we need to understand is that Jesus lived in glory with God, the Father. He was the complete deity. He chose to give up his diety to come to earth. He chose to come in the form of a babe. Why? He knew there would be no other way to save us. He knew by taking human form, He could relate to us. He would endure the things we endure. He could relate to all of humanity. He could live and walk among us. The difference being He would be without sin.

So, He chose to set aside His crown and come to earth to live and walk among us.

But it didn’t stop with his birth. The child grew and grew. Then at age thirty began His ministry. For three years, he ministered to people, people like us. He didn’t turn anyone away that would listen. Money didn’t impress Him. Status didn’t mean anything to Him. People’s hearts and lives were of utmost importance to Him. He was mocked and ridiculed. He was misunderstood. Yet, His purpose was clear and He didn’t waver. He came to die.

On the cross, he bore the sin of the world. He took our punishment on himself. Interestingly, years before the prophet Isaiah penned the following words,

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

However, He didn’t stay on the cross, just like he didn’t stay in the manger. His broken body was wrapped and placed in a borrowed tomb. Yet again, like the manger and the cross, the tomb could not hold Him. He didn’t stay there either. On the third day, the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Jesus is alive. Jesus then ascends back to His place in glory and the crown is placed back on His head.

While it is good for us to celebrate and talk about the birth of Jesus and the events surrounding His birth. Our primary focus needs to be about His deity. He is fully God and fully man. He is, ”God with us” The choice to come as a babe in a manger made that possible.


O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel

 

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny

From depths of Hell Thy people save

And give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, o Israel

 

O come, Thou Day-Spring

Come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, o Israel

 

O come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heavenly home

Make safe the way that leads on high

And close the path to misery

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, o Israel

 

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might

Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height

In ancient times did’st give the Law

In cloud, and majesty and awe

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, o Israel

 

Merry Christmas to all.

I Thought We’d Have More Time

All week long, we’ve been warned about the infamous Diego aka Snowmageddon 2018. The name was given to the winter storm that has pummeled the south this weekend. We were prepared. We have plenty of non-perishable food and bottled water. We had enough bread, milk, and eggs on hand but like Terry says, “If the power goes out, bread is the only thing that will keep, unless you have a generator.”

We sold our generator before we moved. Did we think we wouldn’t need one? Not necessarily, we simply don’t have room to store one and we’ve braved many power outages without a generator before. Besides, our new hike is highly enemy efficient and we have a gas log fireplace. We also have a gas grill and can cook on it, if needed.

The snow in our sleepy little town of Landrum didn’t start until around 5:30 pm yesterday. Considering the favorable temperatures, sticking began almost immediately.The picture was taken about an hour after the snow began

In fact, the snow was so quiet and beautiful it was like going outside and standing in the middle of a snow globe. A little after 11:00 pm, this is how it looked,

After watching the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix, which is a must see, we opted to watch one of our faves, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. We both fell asleep in our recliners before the movie ended, that’s what happens when you get older. We are awakened by the startling noise on Terry’s phone telling us our power was out. Evidently, it went out around 1:00 am and Duke Energy sent us an alert. As we sleepily trudged toward the bedroom with the flashlight in hand, Terry exclaimed, “Well dang, I thought we’d have more time before the power went out”.

When we got up both of us were dreading the fact we couldn’t make coffee. We didn’t care about the heat. We knew our gas logs would be effective. We just don’t function well without coffee. We are definitely coffee lovers.

Finally, around 1:00, we ventured out. The roads were horrific; however, we were able to get to the local gas station, which had power, and get coffee. We came back home fully rejuvenated and caffeinated up.

We ventured out again around 3:00 because our local Pub was opened and we wanted some hot food and watch football.

Once back home, we pulled out all the candles and cranked up the gas logs. Then to our surprise, around 5:30 pm our power came back on. What a welcome surprise; but, we were prepared and not fretting another night without power.

As I think back over the events of the past 24 hours, I wonder how many of us think the same thing Terry did, ” I thought we’d have more time.”?

In the Bible, we are told we don’t know the time or day of Jesus’ return, but He is coming back. Are you ready? Have you prepared? Do it now because you don’t want that day to come and say, “Well dang, I thought we’d have more time.”

A Tiny Pinhole

The tiniest pinhole can wreak havoc. Fortunately, the damage, not severe or too costly, was relatively an easy fix. However, if I’d driven my car much further the damage could have been irreversible and very costly.

Several weeks ago, I was driving home. It was around 9:00. I stopped by to chat with a for a few minutes before heading down the mountain. On the way home, I returned the phone call of another friend and was chatting with her. As I neared the Columbus exit, I heard an odd sound. At first, I ignored it because Terry frequently tells me “You hear car noises which have no relevance to issues. You dream up noises” Surprise. Surprise. Continuing my phone conversation, the noise happened again only louder. Oh, it was definitely my car. I didn’t panic. Which is all together surprising. I kept driving and talking. As I drove up the Landrum exit, the noise became louder. Then I smelled oil burning. I didn’t have far to go and prayed as I turned off the exit ramp, “God, please get me home.” I was also grateful to be on the phone with someone……just in case.

I made it. Pulled safely into the garage, saw smoke, smelled the burn and lifted the hood. All the while, chatting with my friend, who was totally oblivious because I never told her. I didn’t want to concern her. Besides, I was home.

The next morning, we called and had the car towed. We both knew it wasn’t in a drivable state. In fact, we were concerned the motor has blown. Fortunately, once our mechanic took a good look at it, he said the oil hose had a pinhole puncture which caused the oil to spray and the noise was the pressure that caused the oil lifter kit to explode.. Needless to say, not only was oil saturating the undercarriage, it was heavy and thick on my back window. Gross.

The interesting thing about this was when I asked my mechanic so show me the problem, he pulled out the faulty oil hose and pointed to the pinhole but it was so tiny, I couldn’t see it. Also, he told us that the car has two oil hoses and both were a high density plastic, which is likely the cause of the pinhole. So, he replaced them with metal oil hoses.

Do you know that the schemes of Satan are much like that tiny pinhole? He is crafty and sneaky. He maneuvers and works his way through the tiniest pinhole of weakness he can find in us only to reek havoc. It is his chief goal and desire. John 10:10 (ESV) “The thief (devil) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. And sometimes, because we are not equipped well to handle his schemes, it’s much easier for him to work through and wreak havoc. However, when we’ve chosen to be fitted with the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-19) we have weapons to defend against his attacks.

Taste and See: A lesson from The Tom and Debbie Portion

As a young child, I had (still have) these incredibly awesome people in my life, Uncle Tom and Aunt Debbie.

I was the flower girl in their wedding. Funny story for another time, I threw the flower petals after the ceremony not as the bride was coming down the aisle.

After they were married, they lived in Tennessee, while the rest of the family lived in the Brevard/Rosman area. So, they always made an effort to ensure they bonded with all of us. They did this by taking us home with them for a week every summer. In fact, for most of us (cousins) spending time with Uncle Tom and Aunt Debbie, was a highlight of our summer.

Anyway, I clearly remember the first time Kristi and I went for a week. We sat down to the table to eat. Food was plentiful. However, Kristi and I didn’t like everything set before us and turned our noses at a few items. That’s when it happened. Aunt Debbie announced the following, “When you are visiting us, our rule is that you take a small portion of any food placed before you and try it. It’s called the Tom and Debbie portion.”

Guess what happened? I learned to like some food I’d never tasted or tried before. (Maybe that’s why I like food so much now). I also learned there were foods I just couldn’t stomach. Sometimes I could tell after the first bite if I liked it or not and sometimes it took the whole portion before I decided. In fact, there were times I may have to try it again and again before I could make a call.

As I’ve pondered this experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that God issues the same invitation to us. He invites us to try him. In fact the scripture says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” Psalm 34:8

Isn’t it interesting that David issues this invitation to us? Just like the Tom and Debbie portion invited us to taste a little of everything. You may not like what you taste and the great thing about God is that He will never force his way in. He will wait patiently and you may have to taste more than one bite to determine if it’s good. In fact, you may have to try Him again and again and again before you see how sweet and pleasing and good He is.

Straddling the Fence

Avoiding the inevitable, that’s what I do best. I would much prefer the easy over the hard any day! Truth be told, the majority of folks feel the same way. The reality is most things take work, hard work, failure after failure, disappointment after disappointment and heartbreak after heartbreak. If I’m being honest, I always shy away from these particular posts because they depict much of my humanness and pride gets in the way. I’ve really had to pull away and almost cocoon to be able to process through it all. I’m not saying I’ve got it all together now but I’m moving forward and pressing on. For me it’s an awakening, an awareness of who God really is and that He is with me no matter what. I don’t mind telling you the past few months have been some of the most difficult of my life. I have floundered around like a fish out of water.

My tendency is to call it “straddling the fence”. Do you know what happens when you straddle for too long? Your crouch hurts. It’s uncomfortable and you have no choice but to go one way or the other. You can’t stay that way.

Oh, sure, I can find excuses for my behavior and compromise my beliefs, little by little, but in the end excuses and compromise leave me feeling desperate and hopeless Truthfully, I may even manage to get both legs to one side but my behind is still sitting on that unyielding strip of wood or hard metal rail. So, what am I going to do about it?

The first thing is to thank God for my blessings every day. As I thank Him, I am reminded of this goodness and grace. I truly don’t deserve anything but He has given the gift of salvation and the hope of eternal life through Jesus. (John 3:16). So, if I can’t find any other reason to thank Him that is reason enough.

Next I can start each day by choosing to find joy. Even if I don’t feel like it, I can still choose it. I can allow the “joy of the Lord to be a my strength”. (Nehemiah 8:10) I can go to God with my whining and complaining and allow Him to remind me that He is my source of joy. David penned this perfectly in Psalm 23

The truth is I am on the fence because I want what I want and I need to get “me” out of the equation. The only way to get over me and my selfish desires is to put Him first in everything. Now, I know that’s much easier said than done. Trust me. I struggle daily but it’s about the journey. It’s learning to trust that His ways are more fantastic and audacious than mine.

The Curtain Will Fall

It’s the end of the show and the curtain falls. It rises again for the standing ovation, once, twice, perhaps more. Finally the applause wanes and its over. The finale. The end. The run is over. Done.

At first, cries and shouts of jubilee from the cast and production crew. Cheers. High Fives. Hugs galore. Then out of nowhere, there’s a sinking feeling deep in the pit of your stomach. You realize this moment is gone forever and it will never come again. At this moment you realize that you’ve been a part of something bigger than yourself and it was your choice. You’re glad you made the choice.

Four times over, I’ve watched as each of my children, in an eight year time span, chose to be part of their Senior Class play. This happens to be one of the oldest and most time-honored traditions of Hendersonville High School.

What makes this so special?

One, the play itself only involves the Senior Class. It’s not a drama club or class. The play is made up of any Senior who wants to participate. Also, lead roles aren’t necessarily given to those students with prior acting experience. In essence, it’s the closing act of the Senior class, their final “Hoorah!”, if you will. Participation isn’t required but highly recommended.

Also, during the long rehearsals and spending time with other members of the graduating class, friendships are born and some rekindled and there’s always the chance that love will blossom.

All of my children participated in their Senior play. Without fail, when the final curtain was drawn, not one of them regretted their decision to be a part. Even those who weren’t keen on the idea initially, would say, “I’m so glad I did this.”

This year Amy and I were sitting in the familiar balcony seats, awaiting the start of the show, and she looked at me and said, “Mom, has it really been two years since I did this?”

“Yes, it has. Time flies. Aren’t you proud to be able to say you were part of this time-honored tradition?” I asked

“Absolutely. ”

A few minutes later the curtain opened and the show began. A delightfully entertaining rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”. After a short intermission, the final act began and just like the previous 96 years, the final curtain closed and it was over. Done. Finished. Caput. The only ones receiving the satisfaction of a job well done are the ones who chose to participate.

And so it is with us, one day our curtain will fall. We will be history. Our bodies will fail. But when our curtain falls, where we spend eternity will be decided by our own choosing. We don’t have to believe in Jesus and the power of His resurrection. The choice is ours and if we miss out it’s our own fault. Because in the end, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve been part of something much bigger than ourselves. We’ve been invited to be part of a glorious kingdom that will never end.