Joined At The Heart

There are just certain people in life who “get” you.  The relationships formed are, I believe, spiritual in nature.  They recognize a “something” in you the same way that you recognize a special “something” in them, something “clicks”, and a bond is formed that endures the test of time, distance and circumstance.  You can be apart from them for long periods of time, but the instant you renew contact, it is as though the time apart hasn’t existed.  You “pick up” the relationship right where you were, the conversations are easy and there is no need to “explain” anything…because long ago, you were joined to that individual…at the heart.

My life has been fragmented by numerous relocations and the end result is that there are pieces of me and pieces of my heart scattered all over the place.  So much so, that sometimes, it is difficult to feel “whole”.  People knew “this” part of my life, but they didn’t know “that” part of my life…therefore, it is as though they don’t really know “me”…because who I am is the sum total of all of those parts.  There isn’t time or opportunity to “fill everyone in” on what things have transpired since I last saw them…and life has been too busy and too demanding to “keep up” with all the fragments of my heart.  The simple truth is that it takes great effort to even stay in touch with my own parents.  I share a lot of “history” with a lot of different people.

The one thing that I have in common with most of those who are “family” to me is that we are believers together.  We actually ARE family because we are part of God’s family.  It goes beyond a “blood-line” relationship into a spiritual relationship.   I have double family bonds with some of my own family members…both natural and spiritual.  I miss so many of my friends…sometimes my heart just aches to be able to renew those friendships, to share a big ol’ belly laugh, the kind that comes from shared experience, and to talk and talk and talk…

Occasionally, life affords me an opportunity to reconnect with someone I dearly love and it is in those times that I am so grateful that we actually WERE…Joined At The Heart.  There are so very many wonderful people who I have known and truly loved!

God has been good to me!

Advertisements

Oh, How He Loves Us!

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

That He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all.

John Mark McMillan penned this song. What beautiful imagery! When we really understand how MUCH he loves us, how much He cares, it frees us to love each other more. If we comprehend that His grace is bigger than on ocean, deeper and wider, more magnificent and mighty…and we are truly “sinking” in an ocean of His grace…enveloped, drawn in and buried, bouyed up and carried…there is more than enough to share.

I am reminded of the scriptural account of the servant who owed his lord a great debt. He begged for mercy and the lord was moved with compassion, so he loosed him and forgave him his debt. The servant left and found a fellowservant who owed him a much smaller amount. He laid hands on him (scripture says that he grabbed him by the throat) and demanded that he pay him. The fellowservant begged for mercy, promising to pay, and asking for patience. The servant refused and cast his fellowservant into prison. We know from the account that when the lord found out what the man had done, he was delivered over to the tormentors until he could repay his debt.

This is an ugly portrait of selfish, self-centered human nature.

I have been the one to beg for mercy. I have RECEIVED mercy from MY Lord. I pray that I am never found guilty of this same sin. I am redeemed, I am washed, I am made clean and there is no way that I can be so other than by His grace and mercy.

Jesus endured so MUCH to provide this great gift. I cannot go through this season without remembering His suffering…and no pain, no suffering, no sacrifice that i could ever face could compare to His. I am so humbled and so grateful. I will NOT hold another “to account” for a perceived wrong.

When I was very young, I used to have the self-righteous idea that “I” would never, could never, was not capable of doing certain things…but as life progressed, I found that given the right circumstance, the right situation, the right pain…that I WAS capable of things in my heart that I thought that I would never, could never. While I didn’t DO awful things…my heart could be so wicked and unruly…that I knew that I was simply…GUILTY. I came to understand that here is no good in me…it is ONLY and EVER the grace of God alone that keeps me…or keeps me from falling. I could so easily be THAT servant.

But I love Him…and so, my only response to “you” or “others” can be to love you…and I do…

for I am SINKING in the ocean of His grace…

Take Me Back

I had a little time to myself today and I spent some time “blessing myself” at my piano.  (The reason I say this is that I have often gone to my instrument to spend time with the Lord in private worship…which usually led to tears…because I am a crier in His presence…and one time, when Eryn was young, Rob came in the house and asked her where I was.  She replied that I was in the other room “blessing myself”…HA!…therefore, I do not sit down like this anymore without thinking about that.)  Anyway…as I was sitting there I began playing and singing some old songs that my brother and I sang together.  I found my way to this one:

TAKE ME BACK (by Andrae Crouch)

Take me back, take me back, dear Lord,
To the place where I first believed you.
Take me back, take me back, dear Lord, where I first believed.

I feel that I’m so far from you Lord ,
But still I hear you calling me
Those simple things that I once knew,
The memories are drawing me.
I must confess, Lord I’ve been blessed
But yet my soul’s not satisfied.
Renew my faith, restore my joy
And dry my weeping eyes.

Take me back, take me back, dear Lord,
To the place where I first believed you.
Take me back, take me back, dear Lord, where I first believed.

I made a fresh commitment to the Lord today to work hard to keep it simple.  Simple Christianity.  To live what I believe.  To love the way that He loves.  To serve with a pure and simple heart.

I’m Going Back!

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the FIRST commandment.  MARK 12:30

THINGS THAT I WISH…

I WISH...

I WISH…that I could be perfect.

I cannot tell you HOW many times I have been frustrated with myself.  I have always WANTED to do, and say, and be…RIGHT.  But I find myself falling so short of RIGHT…in so many ways…that I would be totally embarrassed to have my life laid bare before everyone.  I know FULL WELL most of my shortcomings, although, I am POSITIVE that there are many more that I have yet to recognize in myself.

I WISH…that others were perfect.

I truly WOULD like to be able to go through life not being able to see the weaknesses and faults of others.  I really don’t WANT to see them, but like my OWN shortcomings, theirs are, all too often, visible to me.

Romans 7:19-23 says…”For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practice.  But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.  I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.”

WHY is it so easy for us to understand that in regard to ourselves, but we can’t imagine that others are struggling with the same DESIRE to do and be RIGHT?…THAT it is a constant WAR between humanity and our carnal nature?…and give each other a BREAK already!  Just because someone is not being particularly successful at a given moment and time, it doesn’t mean that it is not in their HEART to do RIGHT.  WE, of all people, SHOULD KNOW THIS!

I WISH…that I could ALWAYS refrain from being judgmental.

Most of the time, I can honestly say that I don’t go around SPECIFICALLY INTENT on judging the behavior and actions of others.  When I have negative thoughts about someone, I usually TRY to give them the benefit of the doubt, to EMPHASIZE their good qualities in my mind, and to be aware that I DON’T have all of the information about their situation or circumstance.  I cannot truly JUDGE because I don’t have all of the facts and besides that…JUDGMENT is for the Great Judge alone.  Only He can see the intent and motivation of the heart.  I CANNOT.

I WISH…that others could and would refrain from passing judgment upon me and those who belong to me.

Just as I don’t have all of the information in regard to their situation and circumstance, neither do they in regard to me and mine.  Neither can THEY see the intent and motivation of a heart.

Luke 6:37 says…”Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”

Ephesians 4:32 says…”And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Luke 6:38 says…”For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

THAT is why I TRY to use the BIG MEASURING SPOON for doling out forgiveness and forbearance in my thinking, attitude and actions toward others!  I REALIZE that I CANNOT do ANYTHING about what others do or think, but I can CHOOSE my own actions!  I know that I have many occasions to need His forgiveness, as well as, the forgiveness of others…and I want to GIVE what I want to RECEIVE in return.  (There it is again…that law of reaping what we sow.)

BESIDES…I am sure that God didn’t appoint us to be the RIGHTEOUSNESS POLICE! I think that He is perfectly capable of doing that all by Himself.  He doesn’t need MY HELP…or YOURS!

Jesus, Himself, was JUDGED for His relationships with sinners (among many other things).  DUH!  How was He going to REACH them without TOUCHING THEIR LIVES!  How are WE going to REACH sinners without TOUCHING their lives!  We can INSULATE ourselves from everyone who doesn’t look, act, or behave as WE DO and Christianity will DIE OUT when we do…or there again…CAN WE truly BE Christians WITHOUT REACHING OUT to sinners?

I WISH that we all would PRACTICE LOVE

Love is hard work.  Sometimes, it means that I lay down my agenda…that I don’t get my way.  In fact, TRUE LOVE will cause me to rejoice when someone else is blessed or honored.  If we are ever going to love the way that Jesus loves, we will have to LAY DOWN our own lives for the sake of others.

I WANT my life to be an outflowing of His supernatural love to everyone that I know.  I will confess that I am NOT always successful…but I am going to KEEP TRYING…

I promise you that.

God’s Timing, or Ours?

The countdown has begun!  We count the days, the months, and the years…and when a happening is upon us we have been known to count the minutes and hours, too!  We prepare, we anticipate and we look for signs.  If we had our way, everything would have happened yesterday.  We forget that life on earth is all about the journey.
Genesis 4:3 makes this statement:  “And in process of time it came to pass…”.  Life is all about the process.  Learning, growing and being are overlooked so many times in our efforts to get somewhere or to achieve an outcome.  If we are not careful, we can rush through the days and events of our life and miss our opportunities to simply walk in fellowship with Christ, to sit at His feet and enjoy the sweetness of a relationship with our Creator.
Are we worried, frustrated and stressed?  I know that when I find myself experiencing those feelings, that what I need the most is just to spend some time with Him.  When I allow time for a conscious understanding of who He is and who I am in Him…I gain perspective and confidence to face the challenges of my life.  Frustration and fear are replaced with peace.  I know that what He has promised will come to pass in His time, not mine.
God told Israel that He was going send the Messiah…and they prepared, anticipated and looked for signs.  He didn’t come in the manner they expected Him to come and He didn’t come when they expected Him to come.  Generations waited for the fulfillment of His promise.  And He did come.  Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman…”.  The fulness of time in our lives will come…because God always does what He says He will do!  It’s just that simple.
So…let’s relax in Him, embrace the joys that this season brings, and make the most of our precious time in the waiting room!
“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth:
my flesh also shall rest in hope.”
PSALM 16:8,9
clock group

No More, No More, No More, No More!

Hit the road, jack, and don’t you come back no more!

Why do we allow the enemy of our soul to taunt us?  We need to learn to take authority over him.  He is a liar and the father of lies.  We have the Word of God…the written, powerful, infallible truth that He has given us…to combat those lies.  We also have the things that He has whispered to our weary, broken spirits to comfort and confirm that He is God and that He is still in control.  We must learn how to STAND on His Word.   We must NEVER back down, NEVER stop believing, and never, NEVER throw in the towel or quit!  What He says will be, WILL BE! We may not know how, we may not know when…but it just doesn’t matter!  This is a WALK of faith…step by step…THIS is a journey…and we can REST in KNOWING that God is faithful and true…that He never fails…that He will be faithful to finish the work that He began.

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations…”

Deuteronomy 7:9


So, when the enemy comes to whisper failure, defeat and fear…just tell him…

Hit the road, jack, and don’t you come back no more!

My Uncle, George Heuer

I am awakened in the wee hours of this morning…with thoughts of my dear Aunt Freida (my mother’s only living sister), my Uncle George, and their children, my cousins…the Heuer family.

In all of my growing up years, I remember living with an abiding anticipation of the visits that my family would make from our home in Illinois to their home in Columbia, South Carolina, and vice-versa. There was nothing that we (the Hindmans) longed for more than those times when our families could be together. With four children in each family, it was guaranteed fun for us. There was the natural familial bond that existed between our families, and then there was a special, additional bond created by our mutual faith in God.  My mother (who was the youngest in her family) always especially admired Aunt Freida, as anyone who knew her, would.  She was, and still is I am sure, a gentle, loving soul…with much the same sweetness to her personality as our dear Grandma Enyart.

Just this past week, Uncle George has passed from this life and he is now in the presence of the Lord.  This, I know.  I have been remembering him and the ways that this man, who truly was an Uncle-in-Love (by marriage), touched my life. Some of the things that I recall about Uncle George just make me smile…random memories.

On one occasion, Uncle George had purchased several girls’ hats from Roses just after Easter…so we (his daughters and my sister and I) chose our favorites.  It seemed such an awesome bounty to me.  Thanks, Uncle George!

I remember a car trip from South Carolina to Illinois.  My cousin, Lonnie, had gone home with my brother, Ron, and I had stayed in Columbia with my cousin, Janet.  It was a “kid-switch” trip, I am sure…as there were several of those throughout the years.  Anyway, it was just Aunt Freida, Uncle George, Janet and I in the car.  The thing that stands out to me about the trip was that Uncle George chose the station-scan feature on the car radio, and played it like that during the entire nineteen hour trip, never stopping on one station to listen.  Aunt Freida begged him to stop it on a station, but it seems to me that we listened to the radio like that for the whole trip.  Music…static…talking…static….commercial…static…music…static, etc.  It was funny to me, especially in the areas where no stations would come through…just static…static…static.  That still makes me smile.  I am sure that he was just trying to stay awake.

Church played a big role in all of our lives.  It seemed like we were either going to church, talking about church, or the kids were “playing church”.  Those were wonderful days and wonderful times.

Even though I went to church every Sunday morning and night, Tuesday night and Friday night (not counting revival services), it was at Uncle George’s church that I grew “hungry” for the infilling of the Holy Spirit…and was subsequently, baptized in the Spirit.  That was significant in my life.  Thanks, Uncle George!

As a little girl, I remember hugs and encouragement from Uncle George…and in the few drive-by visits with him after I became an adult…the same.  We never parted ways without prayer.  I smile as I recall that Uncle George’s prayers were always marked with a rhythmic “bounce” of fervency.  I am confident that he prayed for us all many times throughout his life.

There were and are a lot of things about Uncle George that I don’t know or can’t remember…because we (our families) grew up and life and it’s responsibilities happened…but Uncle George had a definite impact on my life.  I cannot separate a memory of him from an impression of his faith.  There was no question about the fact that he loved God and that his passion for the Lord defined him.

Uncle George was a fine, godly man, husband and father, who touched countless lives and I just want to honor him and his memory today.  I loved him and I will always be thankful that he was a part of my life.

The abiding anticipation that I live with now is not necessarily a family gathering in this life…although that would be a blessed gift…but it is an abiding anticipation of the day when we all gather around the throne of God.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (so many who have gone before)…family and friends…to lay our crowns at His feet in worship.  For believers (as we are) this is only a temporary separation.  We will all be together again…and his home-going will only make the family reunion that much sweeter.

I love you, Uncle George!  I’ll see you later…

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,

which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only,

but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

II Timothy 4:8

Decisions, Decisions…

I have always hated making decisions.   I smile when I think about how hard it is for certain members of my family to make choices.  For instance, we used to make my brother, David, place his order last in a restaurant because if he didn’t, he would change his mind with every order he heard.  Also, there were times when the debate over where to eat out on Sunday would cause major tension in my family because no one really knew where they wanted to go.  BUT!  They DID KNOW where they DID NOT want to go.  Silly, huh?  When I became an adult, I used to “throw out” suggestions, just so we could narrow down the choices.  I knew that sooner or later, I would hit on the right place.  It was like we had to be headed somewhere before we could determine if it WAS or WASN’T where we wanted to go.  After changing our direction a couple of times, my poor Dad would stop the car and refuse to go ANYWHERE until SOMEONE made a final decision.  (In making that statement, I suppose that you have realized that this trait comes from my mother’s side of the family….sorry, Mom!)

I have learned to deal with my own inability to choose by deciding what I DON’T WANT from the beginning and then, letting the “chips fall” where they may.  (As for restaurants, I have learned that I can usually find something that appeals to me on the menu wherever we go.)  This may be a backward approach, but I eliminate choices by deciding on what I don’t want…and then, choosing from the options that remain.

Buyers’ remorse is something that I have not totally avoided in life, but I cope with that by understanding that some things aren’t really worth the “decision-trauma”.  Sometimes you just have to choose.  So, I choose.  Sometimes I choose well…and sometimes, I don’t.

Another problem I have is that I am a people-pleaser…and I think that because of that tendency…I have difficulty knowing my-SELF.  I can assure you that I am getting better at this in my “old age”.  There is something liberating about turning 50, I think.

Anyway…

I was sitting in a youth camp this last week thinking about life-choices and remembering an old song that we seemed to sing at camp every year when I was a kid.  That song was…”I Have Decided To Follow Jesus…No Turning Back, No Turning Back.”  A verse stated, “Though None Go With Me, Still I Will Follow…No Turning Back, No Turning Back.”  I can tell you that the most important decision that I ever made was to follow Jesus…and that ALL of the other big decisions that I have made in my life have been evaluated by, and BASED UPON, that one choice.

I have never turned back.  I have never regretted the decision and I have never suffered any “Buyer’s Remorse”.  It was a good decision…the right decision.  At the foundation of my life, I CHOSE Him and He has subsequently directed the pathways of my life.  There have been times that I have had to reconfirm that choice, but I have found that when I truly choose HIM…when my heart is settled…that all of the other life-decisions are easier to make.  I have had to learn HOW to LISTEN for His voice.

His Word says (paraphrased) that His children will know His voice.  I have found this to be true…but I have also found that I have to be fully yielded to Him to UNDERSTAND what His will is.  When I resolve all of my “self”-ish desires and I am ready to listen…He speaks.  He always does…and His plans for me are always prosperous ones.

I just have to “let go” and “let God”…

So, when we struggle with indecision…maybe we should consider the reason or basis of the struggle.  Maybe we just need to settle the issues of our heart…and then, let go…

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Just a little food for thought.

Two Little Arms Around My Neck

Sweetness, delight and kisses on my cheek…

Innocence and intelligence…

Wonder and imagination…

Easy to see in you.

Cuddles in the evening and talks into the night…

Breathing in the fragrance of you…

Learning the person that you are…

How precious this gift of time!

Giggles and silliness…

Jokes between us two…

Games and laughter…

I won…then, you.

Days and weeks and years will come and go…

Calendar pages will fly…

Change will come for me and you, ’tis true…

But this heart will always remember…

This time and the pure joy of two little arms around my neck.

I love you, Ben.

GrammyGrammy's Ben

Good, Good People!

So, I have been thinking lately about people…and my new ventures into the world of Facebook have brought a lot of the people that I have been thinking about…to mind.  Getting in touch with those from whom I have been separated by distance and just life, in general, has been so wonderful.  It has helped me remember things about myself and think about days and happenings that have faded into the recesses of my memory and thought life.  So many good times, so much laughter and joy!

I have wistful memories of relationships that were at one particular time in my life or another, primary and vital to everyday living. Friends.  I wonder how I could have possibly let them slip away from me…people that I truly love/loved and wanted in my life.

If you know me or know anything about me, you know that I have lived in a lot of different places and fulfilled a lot of different roles in life.  I have come to realize that I “let go” of a lot of people and relationships in order to be able to cope with moving on to the new relationships that I had to form.  I have lived a life of change.  Many of my friends have lived the same way.  So, I ask…has every relationship been important?  And I answer…absolutely!

I am amused at how different my emotional response has been to all of the memories of past times and relationships.  I have been catapulted back in my memories to the “places” I knew in childhood, adolescence, young married life, child-rearing days, and ministry roles at all kinds of different levels/places.  It really has been a little weird.  There are people who knew me only as I was and people who know me only as I am.  People who have known my entire immediate family and people who have only known me in part.  Then, there are those who have known me at all of those places of life and yet, not on an everyday basis.  It becomes hard to remember who I was!  It is quite a lot to sort through…and I find myself not sure of who I am!  Can you relate?  Maybe so…maybe not.

Anyway…I have become more aware of just how rich my life has been to this point.  There are a lot of people out there that I dearly love who hold a permanent place in the heart of this one, complete person.  Really good, good people!  (If you have taken the time to read this, I am sure that you are one of the people that I am talking about.)

I just wanted you to know that I truly love you, I truly appreciate the role that you have played in my life, and I cherish your friendship/relationship.  God was so good to me when He allowed our paths to cross.  Such a rich tapestry of weaving in and out to make up the whole of my life!  You are forever a part of me.

And I cherish the thought that I will spend eternity with those of you who are believers…and I pray for those of you who are not.  I pray that you will find your way to Jesus, so that when I get to Heaven, I will be joined with you as one there, as I am in my heart…here.  Jesus has a place prepared for all of us and I want to share it with you.

You are so important to me and I am grateful for you.

I just wanted you to know…

I love you.

Thanks for being a part of my life!

Thanks for being a part of my life!

« Older entries