Is It Well

It’s no secret that the Martin mailbox can be as erratic as the Alabama weather. We go days and never get the first parcel. It frustrates me when the box is empty. Then the drought ends and our mailbox will be crammed full. It is ironic and almost comical because I love mail. I love junk mail. It’s true, one of the quirky things about me. The junk mail is a little bit like a gleam of sunshine in my day. When I’m expecting a letter, I’ve been known to put something to mail in the mailbox, raise the flag, and watch for it to be lowered just so I know when the outgoing is exchanged for  the incoming. It is an oddity I know, just one of those weird things about myself I’ve learned to embrace rather than change, fight, or feel defeated over.

So the afternoon I opened the mailbox and found a letter addressed to me, I smiled.

I surveyed the envelope. I knew the handwriting, another oddity, I connect people with their penmanship. It’s weird. Years of paper charting and public education aided in honing this craft. Before I’d surveyed the return address I knew the Sender.

The Sender had scratched through and scribbled my address a time or two, clear evidence of the gypsy life Scott Martin and I have lived the last several years. I opened the unexpected card to find a glitter embellished scene of a table. The sort of random card one might find at a DollaStore. I opened to read an assortment of life events and details. The Sender was catching me up as it’d been a while since we had seen each other, an invitation to get together, a recent doctor visit yielding a tragic and debilitating diagnosis.

I reread the words, I paused, standing at the end of my driveway, my heart ached, sentence fragments filled my head. Too young. Why? Help must help. No. Too sad. Tragic. Words filled my brain, silence filled my mouth. Nothingness gave way to a gasp and I continued to read on.

The Sender had asked me to pray. She knows I will, that I do. I continued reading and at the end of it The Sender expressed love and gratitude and a familiar signature followed by

“It is well with My Soul.”

Stunned. I stood there, tears filled my eyes and the fragments hung over me like poorly placed photo booth props.






As I tucked the card back into its envelope, I was careful not to divulge what I had just read. I thought about the writer of that song, one I’ve known since childhood and how he penned those words after tragic and seemingly senseless loss. I imagined him standing atop an Atlantic crossing ocean liner and how the very waves of sorrow rolled like the waves below. “It is well with my soul.” I’ve pondered on that many times in recent history. When trouble and tragedy seem to be around every corner. The loss of a loved one, A wayward child. Job troubles, financial distress, uncertainty about the future, fear and anxieties abound. That morning, as my heart is heavy, my words inadequate. I knew this, the prayers are many for the broken-hearted, and my words are few. This I know for certain, I can trust that King is near, and in Him alone it is well and Hope abounds.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

Cabana Boy

Do you have a servant’s heart?

Confession. My family and I are total goofballs. We act the silliest and find humor in the most unusual things. Like, having British accent days or taking on a character role for the day, pranking each other, or making word plays until its ridiculous (think “Facing the Giants” and the whole Hindenburg sketch of misusing words and playing with them). We are so much into silliness that we occasionally make each other annoyed if one is in the mood to play and another is not. I say all that to set up my “Cabana Boy” story. Hopefully your will enjoy a bit of our weirdness and maybe even identify with it.

As I sat on the back deck writing that cloudy Monday morning, I was deep in thought researching an upcoming lesson. Time moved on without my notice, and I was oblivious to the fact that the sun had come out and I was squinting and shielding my computer screen from the glare. Until my goofy husband, in his best Cabana Boy imitation popped outside to my rescue. He came bearing the umbrella, but of course he had to add a dramatic flair.

With a giant smile and the gracious motions of a prime example of Cabana Boy from the best resort you’ve ever been to, he launched into his spiel. “Your Cabana Boy at your service, Ma’am. Which way would you like the umbrella tilted? Is that better, does it cut the glare on your screen? Would you care for a beverage or fruit? No? Then please know that I am at your service today whatever need you may have. We aim to make sure you have a pleasant stay.”

My heart was light as my Cabana Boy retreated back inside to his Covid-office at the kitchen table. How pleasant and joyful he was. What a servant attitude. My mind began to wander. It turned to spiritual things as I pondered this man that so exasperates me some days, but was so joyful today. We are so far from perfect. My husband likes to say we are two warped boards that God has strapped together through marriage to help straighten up the warps. But today, he operated with a servant’s heart of love and it got me to thinking…

How am I as a servant of the Most High? Am I a joyful, kindhearted servant ready to go the extra mile as the Father presents opportunities? Am I looking for ways to serve Him? Ways to serve others and make another’s life a little easier? Do I serve with a great attitude, or grudgingly and dutifully? Do I reflect love and kindness to others as I serve? Am I the five star Cabana Boy who makes life pleasant for those around me? Are you?

In our fleshly nature, we humans are selfish creatures. We do things out of obligation or what’s-in-it-for-me. If we do it because we feel we must, we often reflect that through a bad attitude as we serve. We serve as the Cabana Boy who is just in it for the paycheck, and not as the one who serves from the heart because “It’s my pleasure.”

Spiritual growth is about becoming more than it is about knowing. We sometimes reverse that thought and think the more we know about God and scripture the more mature we are spiritually. But today let’s focus on becoming. Becoming that joyful servant of God. Take a moment today to ask God to make you into His humble, joyful servant.


Father God, Change me. Make me a joyful servant. Create in my a servant’s heart and a steadfast spirit willing and ready to serve You and those around me as a service to You. Reshape my motives. Remake my heart of stone into a heart of flesh that serves with love and joy and kindness, reflecting You in all I do. Amen.

Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13

All For His Glory

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God.” Psalm 100:1 NKJV

If you know me at all you know I LOVE music! I love playing in our worship ministry, I love worship music, and I am so thankful for a place to play my horn. Most people my age struggle to find a place to play, so the opportunity to join so many talented people week after week is such a blessing!!

A few years ago (I could give you the exact date) I had the opportunity to play a solo and had the rare opportunity to play something of my choice. I had always wanted to play along with Charlotte as she sang. My song choice was a blend of two of my all time favorites “Say The Name” and “There is Something About That Name.” These songs have been part of the songs that I would sing to my kids at bedtime, so there was something special about the song choice and something really special about my choice of a partner to play these with. (She is one of my favorites!!) I guess you could call this a “bucket list” item to play along with Charlotte! Such an anointed voice and an incredible heart for worship. You have to have the details to understand why what I am about to say has had such an impact on me and the way I play and worship.

The Sunday morning we were supposed to play the songs I went early to rehearsal and sat down to warm up. We were in a bit of a rush and we really did not have much time to run through the songs before the worship service started. The time came for the songs to begin and it did not go well from the start. Something was just “off.” I can remember very vividly sitting there, and my hands were so heavy I literally could not lift them to play a note. Charlotte backed up as she was singing and motioned for me to play but I just could not do it, like for real could not play. Time stood really still for a bit and then Leslie brought the choir in to sing, and as I listened it was beautiful. The choir sounded amazing and Charlotte did a wonderful job. I pretty much cried all the way through the rest of the worship time and as we left the stage Charlotte took my hand and we walked into her dressing room (aka the women’s bathroom behind the stage area – if you have seen her getting ready in there you understand why this is funny!!) and we sat down to talk and try to figure out why everything was off.

As we began to talk I knew, I knew what the problem was. You see, every time I have played a solo l have always prayed and asked God to sing through my horn and allow me to seek His face as I worship… but not today. Today we were rushed and I was excited and I just began to play without the prayer, without the focus and without the blessing. You may be asking what in the world this has to do with you and your walk and your daily life? I am glad you asked!!! What I learned on this day was that without HIS anointing, HIS blessing, HIS favor it was just notes, just a song. Honestly I hope I never forget the feeling I felt as I sat in my chair and listened to those songs being offered up in worship. I hope I never forget that feeling because I sure never want to repeat it. I never want to be so bold as to just assume that the presence of God is with me because of what “I” am doing. I want Him to be there because I have asked Him, I have invited Him, and what I am doing is for HIS glory and He has put me in the appointed place and the appointed time for what He has called me to do. I want the opportunities He gives me to share the gospel whether through music or a testimony, a kind word or action to bring honor to His name and most of all I want to follow His leading and I want the blessing!!

We can sing, play, share the list could go on and on but if we do it without His blessing, its just noise. We as believers are powerless if we do not seek Him for the power to move and serve. The Bible says without love its just noise. God’s power in our lives is what gives us the boldness and confidence to walk in His ways and in His instruction.

“Let them praise the name of the Lord,  for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.” Psalm 148:13 NIV

Favorite Fork


“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14 ESV


I have a favorite fork.

My favored fork randomly appeared in our cutlery drawer some years ago.

I really have no idea from whence it came but it’s particularly spindly handle fits my unusually spindly fingers quite well and as most know my arms are spindly too. They do not match my not-at-all spindly trunk shaped trunk.

The Martin 3 know my affinity for the favored fork and will often lay it at my place when setting the table for dinner.

At last check my dirty fork went into the sink basin, that was some four days ago when my work stretch began. As far as I knew that fork lay dormant and dirtied in the sink.

Recently on a post work day evening, I happened to open the cutlery drawer, and there lying on its side was my favorite fork. Pristine and put away, waiting and ready for my spindly digits to wrap around it.

The middle Martin Male is the dishwasher in our house and most days he gets it quite right. Tonight as I pulled my fork out of the drawer, an unexpected surprise with which to eat my salad, I thought about life gone by. There was a time when that same boy could not speak, when his only means of communication was to scream, and I mourned the thought of his growing up because I was certain his quality of life would be subpar. There was time when he couldn’t use a fork much less wash one and put it away. I secretly prayed and petitioned and begged, and I was weary and as exhausted as a mama can be. That was then and this is now. And much has happened since then.

Presently he can wash and put away dishes and he does so daily. Despite the weighty, weary, worried person I was I pressed on, and I want to encourage the weary mama having to wash her shower curtain because it has been substituted as bathroom tissue, or the worn out preteen mama on her way home to talk with a ball of hormones and attitude, the mama who thinks she just can’t do it all another day, I challenge you to press on.

Stay strong.

Your day is coming and these challenging children will be alright just keep on keeping on! Press into The King and trust in His hands, you too will one day  have moments of unexpected dividends, pay off on those early days of investments in the form of finding favored forks.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

I Just Want to Be Where You Are

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:16-19


Do you remember your big high school crush? You thought about him all the time, and you probably tried to learn everything about him that you could. You knew his class schedule, his locker number, his car, his address, his birthday, and many of his likes and dislikes. Your best girlfriends would run reconnaissance for you to find out what he was doing after school or where he planned to be Friday night. Am I right?

Why did you do all this? Because you were “in love!” (Insert heart eyes emoji here.) Maybe you truly were and maybe you weren’t. Maybe you married that crush, or he was the one that got away, or you were thankful that you were the one that got away. The bottom line, desire for him, feeling loving feelings, drove you to know everything about him. It also made you want to be wherever he was, what’s the use of knowing he’s going to be at the skating rink Friday night anyway if it’s not so you can happen to show up there to get his attention, right?

As you grew up you learned that whatever you love you want to be around. It’s baby’s first day at day care… sob… I don’t want to leave him…sob! Kids gone off to college… “Let’s go see them this weekend!” You live states away from your parents… “When can we go home for a visit?” When grandkids are born you may decide… “We need to move closer to the kids.” We humans just want to be near the ones we love.

It’s not just humans though. My little fur baby is considered a companion dog – meaning if I walk from one room to the next he follows. I never get to eat supper without a little beggar by my feet. I never go out the door without him scampering out with me. I can’t even go to the bathroom alone anymore; it’s much like having a toddler again. And if I have to leave the house without him I must command him to “Stay.” But I come home hours later to see him sitting up on the back of the couch waiting eagerly for me, and breaking into a spinning, licking, yapping welcome as soon as I am within range. He wants to be where I am.

It is natural to desire to be with those we love. To be in relationship. We were created that way. God is relational. He created us to be in relationship with Him and others and to desire relationships. But an issue arises. We focus on earthly relationships with other beings we can see and touch often at the expense of our relationship with our Creator. Those high school crushes captivated every corner of my mind and left little space for me to think about God.

So that brings me to the questions I need to ask. Did I love God or the guy? Probably both to some degree, but I definitely focused on the human one. Do I love God now? Does my focus in life reveal a true love for God or does it show a divided heart that is still going after other people or things first? I believe our actions and speech can reveal a lot about the health of our relationship with God. Do I talk about things of God or things of this world more often? What do my actions indicate that has captured my heart? My priorities will tell me what I love the most, and often that is self, not the Father.

If the answers to the questions above reveal something that bothers you, it’s time to get alone with God. Schedule some alone time to be with the Father. Grab His Word, a journal and a pen if you like, or just take a hike in the woods, whatever works for you. Allow yourself to communicate with God and start to re-establish that love relationship with Him if it has grown cold through the years. As you come to know Him better you will want to be with Him more. Let this song be the anthem of our hearts. I Just Want to Be Where You Are

What Did You Say Your Name Was?

“Hello. My name is Jesus and I’ll be your representative today. How may I help you?” (And yes, he pronounced it “Gee-sus.”)


Talk about doing a double-take.

Everything in me wanted to ask, “Did I hear you correctly? What did you say your name was?” but I refrained since this was a business call, the third to his company within an hour. Instead I jumped into my issue. My husband handed off this job to me after the extremely frustrating call number one ended when the representative (not Jesus) hung up on him. By accident I hope! The second call took 20 minutes and yielded only the phone number for Jesus. So I went into this call frustrated with the company I was dealing with. I just wanted to get my business done and get back to the other demands of the day.

For about 40 minutes I talked with Jesus. He responded with kind, helpful patience. (Would you expect anything else from Jesus?!) It took much patience, and time. He delved into computer records, updated info, and even made a trip to consult with a manager. I had a weird case!

Jesus was not only kind, but persistent as well, and he eventually got all our issues corrected. I was no longer annoyed with them. I expressed how grateful I was for his thoroughness and patience, and told him I loved his name.


My chat with Jesus brought a smile to my heart and made me think. Jesus treated me well. Jesus was kind. Jesus took care of my needs. Jesus didn’t quit on me when things got tough. Jesus respected me and listened to me. Jesus went the extra mile to do what needed to be done. Jesus helped me. Jesus listened to me. Jesus asked if there was anything else he could do for me. With Jesus as my representative I was well taken care of.

And that goes for all of us! When Jesus is your representative, you are well cared for.

When Jesus is your representative…

… you are treated kindly and compassionately.

… your needs are met.

… you are not abandoned when things get tough. He walks through those tough times with you to get it fixed.

… you are respected.

… your voice is heard.

… He is always looking for what else He can do for you.

… you are loved!

If the world seems mean, your days seem dark, you feel down or discouraged, or you don’t know the right answer, turn to Jesus. He is a kind representative in life. He is for you. He is your friend! Settle down and rest in that friendship and representation.

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24