Missed It All

My husband is a biker dude. He’s a leather chap wearing, tattoo loving, motorcycle driving biker dude. His love for Jesus is strong and wide and his love for bikes runs a close second. He has three bikes. I once caught him in the garage measuring and when questioned he informed me there is just enough room for “one more bike!”

He tried to teach me to ride. He bought me a scooter. I had THE BEST time in the church parking lot. I would toodle by him blowing my horn and waving while he sat on the curb watching me. I could take those turns and weave in and out of the parking lots, but every single time I took my scooter out on the road with real cars and real people I became hysterical. The amount of screaming that occurred. The near misses where an angel literally had to push me out of the way of another car are more than I can count. My guy finally sat me down and explained that my fear was just as dangerous as if I were a dare devil, so the scooter had to go. I choose to miss the part where he called out my fear and instead focus on the part where he compared me to a dare devil! 😊

Being a passenger on a bike where I have zero control has been a learning curve for me but I am adapting. We went on a trip with some other bikers and took a fairly curvy road. To hear the others talk it was a normal road, but to this girl IT WAS CURVY! Left and then right and then hair pin and then left again and as soon as I caught my breath we were leaning right. I kept breathing and before I knew it tears were streaming down my face. I dared not cry out loud because who wants a bunch of bikers to know I’m crying! My guy kept patting my leg and doing his best to comfort me, but I just couldn’t calm down. I kept wiping my tears with my leather glove and doing my best to let the wind take any redness out of my face.

I noticed the biker and his wife in front of us and she was taking pictures at every curve. She was twisting left and right and forwards and backwards and had not a care in the world. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER? I thought to myself. The ride ended at a cute little pizza place and the woman started sharing the photos she had taken. They were breathtaking. The views she was able to capture were nothing short of God’s art work. Fog hugged the tops of the hills and the valleys were full of the upcoming freshness of Spring. My heart fell. I had missed it all. My fear had held me back.

So many times in life I am gripped with fear. I make decisions based on the safest bet and sadly, I often miss opportunities God is laying out before me because I am afraid. My guy took me to the motorcycle store and hooked me up with some protective gear. He explained that in the event of a mistake and my body hits the road the gear is gonna literally save my hide. I was gearing up recently and as I slid my pants on I thought about the belt of truth being buckled around my waist. As each arm slid into my jacket I thought about the breastplate of righteousness. And as I slid my helmet over my head I thought of the helmet of salvation. Y’all, God always prepares the way. He’s got it all worked out. All we gotta do is armor up and trust him!

So, here’s to not being the biker girl who cries during the ride. Here’s to letting go of the chrome bars and holding up my arms towards heaven enjoying the ride that God has me on. Here’s to gearing up and letting go! ❤️

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.

Unobserved Support

As I sat in an empty Sunday school class waiting for my room across the hall to dismiss where I could go in and set up to teach, my eyes went to this corner of the room. I’d been in this room dozens, if not hundreds, of times and never paid attention to it. Sitting inconspicuously behind the door is a rather huge support column. People walk right by it without noticing. If you asked someone to draw a picture of this room they would probably forget to put that in there.

This room is a basement classroom. The 3,500 seat worship center is directly above. As I sat thinking I realized there must be dozens of these under the sanctuary standing as silent sentries doing their job of support. Unnoticed. Just doing their job.

They kind of remind me of my Daddy and his generation of men, those WWII veterans. He was constant. Always there doing his job, supporting his family, his church, his community. Strong and dependable, but unnoticed, just doing his job faithfully.

His kind are very much the opposite of what is commonly seen today. Our current generation is prone to desire the limelight, feel upset that they are unnoticed, seek their fifteen minutes of fame, and have no use for activities that don’t “build their platform.” When we stumble upon someone who is an unobserved, hard worker, we almost consider them an anomaly. We have bought into a self-focused mindset and aren’t even aware because we are just doing what the rest of society is doing.

But those sturdy pillars of strength and support are holding us all up unobserved though they may be. They support their pastor, the Church, a Compassion Child or a ministry/minister in another state even. They support their local church with their their time, energy, and abilities. They support with their presence, their prayers, and their pocketbooks. Leading us, often unnoticed, but holding us all up and holding us together in the body of Christ.

We can become a “they.” We can support a person with a phone call, text, or meeting them for coffee and encouragement. We can support with finances, food, help, or transportation to doctors. We can support by taking the time to pray with people God brings across our path, and speak Scripture into lives. We can support by praying for ministers, missionaries and Christian organizations. We can support with anonymous, consistent gifts and contributions. We can support by loving the unlovely, the complicated, the hard to love, hurting souls. The bottom line is, it takes each one of us doing our jobs even when we’re unnoticed, in a corner, in the dark.

Will we give ourselves wholeheartedly today to support individual people, the body of Christ, ministries here at home or around the world? Are we willing to do our job faithfully and go unnoticed for the glory of God? I choose today to be an unnoticed, support pillar in a dark corner holding up my tiny piece of God’s kingdom work on this earth. We may feel unnoticed, but God notices.

My Grandmother’s Ring

My Grandmother’s wedding ring has been a joy for me for many years. My Grandmother died when I was 27. She had wanted to be a Great Grandmother and I was pregnant, so it was sad to me that she died before my child was born. I have enjoyed having her wedding band. It is pink gold and has been special because I am the only granddaughter.

I had a really tough couple of days and was feeling really tired. I had been wearing her ring along with my wedding bands. I sat down to work on my bible study and realized that her ring was not on my finger. My heart sunk. I had been several places and it could have come off anywhere. I looked all over my house and down in the furniture. I cleaned out my purse to see if it had fallen off there. I just knew it was gone.

Later that day, I went to Publix. I was just picking up a few things for a special dinner for my husband who was celebrating 35 years in his job. His award had been delivered that week and I wanted to have a special dinner with his award sitting on the table. As I walked through Publix, I felt like something was in my shoe. It was starting to get irritating but I did not want to stop to empty my shoe. As I walked up the steps from my basement with the groceries, I realized that what was bothering me in my shoe seemed round. I thought it would not be possible for that to be my grandmother’s ring. As soon as I got upstairs, I took my shoe off. What a joy to realize that my Grandmother’s ring was in my shoe. I felt like celebrating!

I was reminded of the parable of the Woman and the lost coin in Luke 15:8-10.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (ESV)

Just as she called in friends and neighbors to celebrate, I now celebrate with you. I realize it is a ring. Imagine how much more the angels celebrate when a lost person repents and comes to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Best Thing I Ever Ate!

She was decked out in a pink and purple two piece bathing suit, her middle just peaking over the bottoms, her blonde pigtails long ago waterlogged, and her glasses smudged with fingerprints and sunscreen. They bore the evidence of having been surrendered every time she entered the pool. 

An older lady wiped her face and she pulled away, that is what caught my attention. I saw myself in her, it would have been more than forty years prior and I am certain my middle may have been pudgier and been peeking more significantly than hers did. 

The little girl held in her hand an ice cream bar on a stick and she ate it with such delight I found myself wanting one. She took another bite and nodded toward the older lady. I heard her approximately six year old voice say, 

“Best thing I ever ate!” 

And she smiled. I knew she was speaking the truth. I quickly calculated that she’d been alive somewhere in the 4500 days range and in all that time, here on this blazing hot afternoon by the pool she’d just consumed the best thing she’d ever eaten. I smiled at such a revelation and began to ponder, what is the best thing I’ve ever eaten? 

I’ve tasted some good things before but none of them are so ingrained into my memory that it tops the list so significantly that I can immediately recall it. 

Spaghetti is my favorite food and any time is a good time for pasta and I love a good salad, the kind that makes a meal with meats and cheeses and copious amounts of full fat dressings thereby rendering it no longer in the healthy food category. I love a good beverage, the kind that comes in a tall glass bottle with a top that requires more than just a twisting motion to open. I love a chocolate dessert, a brownie, a sundae, all manner of sweets and savories but there isn’t one thing I’ve tasted that made me hankering for more and forced me to declare it the best thing I’ve ever eaten. But there is One Thing that could hold that distinction. 

Although it is not physical food there is One Thing I’ve tasted and the moment I did I knew I wanted more, knew my life wouldn’t be complete until I had experienced it again. There is One Thing that has left me hungry and has truly been the best thing I’ve ever experienced and that is my Jesus. His word says to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8.) He alone is the Best Thing. 

He is better than an ice cream bar on a stick by the pool on an afternoon that’s been defined meteorologically speaking, as hot as blue blazes (I don’t even actually know what blue blazes are.) He is better than my Italian Grandmother’s spaghetti and sauce or those meat and cheese salads from my teenage years. He is better than all those things and once you’ve experienced Him you can’t help but declare He’s the best thing ever!

Jury Duty

We had just enjoyed a beautiful day with extended family and my husband went out to check the mail. He came back inside and said, “This looks official.” I opened the letter to find out that I had been assigned Jury Duty. I had never served on Jury Duty. The last two times I had been called were difficult times while I was taking care of my Daddy. One time he had broken his neck and the other time, he was requiring more assistance with life. I was allowed to be dismissed from duty. This time that I was called was a perfect week for me. I had no Bible Study responsibilities and no appointments. There was no reason for me not to show up so I accepted the responsibility and went to serve.

This was new for me so I did not know exactly what to expect. I had never been sworn in for anything. The Pledge of Allegiance was as close to being sworn in as anything I had done during my life. I was selected for a jury and we proceeded to the courtroom. The courtroom was not what I expected at all. I guess I have watched too many Matlock reruns. The courtroom was smaller than I expected but it was still formidable. As we were lined up and sent into the 6courtroom, I thought that this was starting to be real. There were a group of candidates for the jury and we were asked many questions. I was not selected for this jury but I learned quite a few things. 

First, I realized that I did not remember my Civics that I studied in high school. I needed a refresher on some things. 

Second, I realized that if I ever found myself on the other side of the courtroom, I would appreciate knowing that there were some good people who gave of their time to make decisions that would be honest and just. These were just regular people. 

Third, I am thankful to live in a country that has a judicial system in place. I realized that I do not pray enough for the judges and courtroom proceedings and decided to strive to make that a matter of prayer.

Forth, I am thankful to live in a country where a person is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. I did not hear the evidence before this court since I was not on the jury, but I feel that the system was in place to give justice to the one who needed it.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 “I said to myself, “God will bring into judgement both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”

Proverbs 21:15 “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll on like a river, righteous like a never-failing stream!”

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15

Little Things Matter

(This is a reposting of a blog from 2021 titled “Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!”)

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

My husband and I were recently talking with one of our adult children about a major change coming in their life. We were encouraging her (and ourselves!) by reminding each other of all the ways God had brought her to where she currently is, and that He would surely continue to lead her down a good path – not a bump-free path, but a good one. Mid-conversation, the Rosetta Stone (aka Dr. Seuss) book, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo! came up. It was a childhood favorite of our kids that has been a useful tool in adult life.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, the gist of it is this. A little bug sneezes which causes a small seed to fall off of a plant nearby. The seed lands on the toe of a worm who then kicks something, and the story is off at a fast pace, full of catastrophes that get bigger and bigger until a whole town is affected. At the end of the story you are reminded that all these disasters happened…

“All because a little bug went ka-choo.”

That same cause and effect principal plays out in our lives. Little decisions and seemingly inconsequential choices often yield big, unanticipated results. We all understand that the big things like what we choose to do for a career or who we marry, are important. But we overlook the fact that small things bear big fruit later in our lives as well. Things like helping someone out in their need, writing a note to someone who is on our heart, or having a kind, joyful spirit to those around us.

“Can those little things have a big impact, really?” you may ask. Yes!

Recently, I sent three cards to some people God had put on my mind. I simply let them know I was thinking about them and I cared about their plight. Then I shared a verse I was specifically praying for each. Just this week all three came to me and said the exact same thing. “Your card came at just the right time.” It was a small discipline that took me five minutes (the Lord has been working on me in the area of card writing since January), but it paid off in impacting hurting hearts.

All because a little card was written…

Several years ago when I returned to teaching after many years off raising children, it was traumatic for me. The first 3 weeks I cried every day driving to and from school. But I determined that I would be joyful and positive around my students because I knew this was a ministry to which God had brought me. I determined to speak positively, look for the best in each child, and give them a smile and word of encouragement as they left my room every day. While many students responded to my kindness by being chatty and eager to get to know the new teacher, one ninth grader was particularly silent around me, only answering questions when called upon and never speaking to me otherwise. As I recall, it was a few weeks into the school year before she spoke to me personally.

Leaving class that day she looked at me and asked sarcastically, “Are you always that way?”

“What way?” I asked in return.

“Smiling and happy,” she replied with a bit of a sneer.

“No,” I answered honestly something like, “I have struggles, sadness, and tears, but I try to put those away when I’m here at school to help make it a brighter, happier day for you kids.” I may have even mentioned Jesus’ strength, I really don’t recall.

That was all that was said that day. But in the days that followed she started lingering after class to talk to me, smiling and talking casually with me, dropping by my room during breaks or after school, and even asking my advice on those all-important high school issues. That small beginning led to a friendship that developed and continued after she graduated. Now, nine years later, we talk on the phone almost daily. She values my advice (I believe) and I’d like to think I’ve helped her through some struggles. She’s married with a new baby and comes to me with questions and prayer needs, and I feel honored to call her friend.

All because a scared teacher smiled…

When our daughter was in 4th grade our new children’s pastor planned to take the elementary kids to camp at an our-of-state college. We decided she could go. She loved the camp, the songs, the stories, and she grew in her faith that week as we had hoped and expected. But one thing we didn’t expect was that she would come home declaring, “That is where I will go to college one day!” We thought Sure you will. You’re ten years old. But a few years later when her big sister was looking for a college, Little Sis said, “Check out my college. We can be there together in two years.” Big sister ended up visiting and realizing that school was God’s place for her. Two years later, after much prayer and 4 different college Preview Days, that’s exactly where Little Sis went just as she had declared she would. She not only earned her degree, she established herself and her future career in a new state and met a godly young man who is now her husband.

All because a little 4th grader went to kids camp…

What about Big Sister? She also found her career. But she found her calling, too. One day as she was out for a jog she stopped to compliment an older couple working in their yard on their beautiful flowers. From that she developed a relationship with those retired missionaries that propelled her to foreign lands as well.

All because a little girl listened to her sister…

All because a young woman went for a jog…

All because a missionary retired to that home on that street…

What is the moral of my story? God is weaving your life together bit by bit. Not just in the huge decisions, but also through the mundane choices we make with little thought. Through our kindness, our fear, our smiles, and every other nuance of who we are. Jeremiah 29:11 TLV states, “For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom [peace] and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.” God is weaving together the fabric of your life. Be upright, God-honoring, kind, and faithful in all you do. Even the tiny, insignificant things that would seem to have no impact past this very moment. It will seem small but may quite likely have a great impact on your life.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”1 Samuel 7:12