Everlasting Love

It was a perfect, tranquil February day, and my 37th birthday was only two days away. I had just been on a morning walk and noticed that the tulips were already bursting forth around the farm with their signature yellow hue. My precious Granny’s mortal body was dying. I walked in to see her- not expecting any replies only to hold her hand and be near her. I was looking out the window by the hospital bed that she was lying in and telling her how pretty the family barn was even though it was quickly dilapidating. I was expressing to Granny how I wanted to “fix up” the barn. As I was talking and reminiscing about the good times growing up and playing in the barn, Granny rubbed her hands over mine. I had always loved the roughness, the scratchiness of the years of hard work as they rubbed over my younger, softer skin. That is when she said 7 words that I have never forgotten. She said, “I love you with an everlasting love.” I shook my head as in to tell her – “No, don’t say good-bye.” She simply just said, ” Listen I love you with an everlasting love.”

“the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

Jeremiah 31:3 ESV

It has been over 10 years since I heard those words. Do I ? Did I ever know what that meant? Can people love with an everlasting love? I really doubted that at first, but I think so. One definition of everlasting is permanent or deathless. I still feel Granny’s love in the way I interact with indescribable joy with my grandchildren, with the manner in which I love my children and husband and look over our household, and even how I interact with my students, friends, and acquaintances on an everyday bases. I hear her saying, “You mustn’t do that.” I strive to live by the scriptures she quoted to me over and over like, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20 ESV

” See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

Sadly, I never had the resources to fix the barn, but I was determined to be a good steward of what God had bestowed upon me. We had the barn torn down, but we did not let it go to waste. Just like God wastes nothing in us. On the contrary, we took the wood from that barn and created a new space by our pool to enjoy relationship and fellowship with friends and family. My son has used the wood to add an addition to another precious family home where he and his family live, and he and my daughter-in-law have used the wood to create a beautiful entertainment center that holds precious family photos. My sweet husband is in the process of building a farmhouse table with the precious, sentimental wood from that old barn full of memories of cousins and friends playing in the loft for hours on end. Generations to come will be able to sit around the table and “feast on God’s goodness,” not only nourishment for the body but love, laughter, and maybe even tears-which will be sweet nourishment for the heart and soul.

They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.”

Psalm 36:8

As I write this, my daddy’s sister, affectionately known as “Aunt Baye” is fighting covid-19 in a nursing home without us, those who love her so, as we cannot physically be by her side. But what peace it is to know God is there with her along with the precious memories of family and friends that fill her heart, mind, and soul.

Son and Daughter-in-Law’s inset entertainment center using wood from family barn
Completed edition to their home with some materials also being from the family barn

Yes, I do believe that earthly love still exists when we pass from this life to the next, but an even greater truth is that God’s children are His beloved. In other words, we are His treasured friend, and He, the infinite One, lavishes His rich love on us as He pursues us day after waking day. 1 John 4:8 tells us that He is love, and He cannot lie. He draws us to Him in a covenant relationship and pours out his tender love to us, so that we can rest or abide in this assurance and just BE LOVED.

Even though Granny is not here with me on this side of Heaven, I really do still feel that special love. But better still is the indisputable fact that I have One who will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). So I continue on being loved and being filled with the fullness of God. I can rest alone in this cherished, rich love and grace.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12
Work In Progress-Cook House/Pool House at our Home
The tin also came from the barn.
More of our work in progress-We will blame it on our age. 🙂 We don’t work as quickly or as skillfully, but I sure am proud of my son. I must admit that his awesome father-in-law helped him, and we have some neighbors helping us, as well.
Farmhouse Table in Progress

I Know in Whom I Believe

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies declare the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

Sunrise from my front porch 07/13/20

I love a beautiful sunset. A sunrise? Not so much….Not because it isn’t beautiful but just because I don’t like to get up early. But thinking on my Father’s glory, I wanted to watch the same great star that descended from my view yesterday begin its march across the sky today. The same One Who set the sun in the West yesterday, made it rise in the East today because He chose to.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Sunrise 07/13/20

I know that He is a Father of love and compassion. I also know that He is One of righteousness and justification. I cannot receive part and not whole. I know that He is coming back soon, and I want to be found ready, doing His will, obeying, and pleasing my Father not just for my eternal reward that I don’t deserve but because I love Him and have a relationship with Him.

The One who created all of this created you and me and knows the number of hairs on our heads. Why would we not want to spend time with Him, learn of Him and from His glory, and worship and obey Him?

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Psalm 136:7-9

I encourage you to sit with the Father today if just for a minute to delight in His love for you. Know Him. I beg you to know Him. Sit with Him. Study His Word. Give all praise and glory to Him. Cry out to Him for He cares for you.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

Sunset from my backyard swing 07/12/20

Peace

We celebrated Independence Day at the lake with family, and it was glorious, relaxing, and oh so peaceful. We had no Internet service, and I allowed my mind to “forget” the troubles of this world. I am back home, and my husband has on the news. Back to reality? Yes and No. I do not think that I was ever out of touch with reality. I just refuse to let my heart be troubled. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more troubled time in this country. We have sinned, and we must repent and turn to the Lord.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27 ESV

Since I was taken from “my” classroom in mid March, I have experienced a gradual increase in the peace in my soul. I know this is God because when I take my eyes off Him I feel the blow of the storms all around me. I am so thankful that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. He quiets my soul and stills my spirit. Thank you, Jesus for making righteousness for me.

“…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 ESV

I can only have complete peace because I know full well with every fiber of my being that He is in control, and he has promised me a plethora of everlasting peace. We find this peace in His word. I like to call it His love letter to me. I pray this type of peace never leaves my body.

Fighting is the opposite of peace in most of our minds, but actually we are called to “Christian Warfare.” In Ephesians 6, He tells us to “put on the whole armor of God so that [we] can stand against the schemes of the devil” (v. 11). Of course, we associate armor with fighting, but when we arm ourselves with the truth found in His Word, we will be victorious. He has already paid for this victory on the cross over 2,000 years ago. He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. Therefore, the applied blood of Christ that has brought us righteousness will protect all who are His, and this good news of extraordinary peace from Jesus Christ is too good not to share. He gave us salvation through faith. While we stand in these promises, we must “pray at all times in the Spirit …. and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18)

“And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:3–31

It won’t always be easy, but he equips us with everything we need to stand ready to fight the evil one who He has already conquered. God bless you. I pray His peace will rule in your hearts today. I promise that to know Him is to love Him. He sure does love us! He died so that we could live in Heaven forever with Him.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Psalm 19:1

What Cancer Taught Me

Life can be like a swamp sometimes. I penned these words in my new favorite leather journal that a dear friend gave me on the day my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The same friend who brought her sweet presence to comfort my hurting heart on that day, also brought several bags of groceries in and shared with me the poem, “Footprints” by Mary Stevens.

http://www.sapphyr.net/largegems/footprints.htm

And yes, I asked, “Why?” We had prayed for weeks that this “pathologic fracture” would be something benign. Our family, community, and church-all of us- had prayed so hard, but my little girl had cancer, and I was in complete shock! My heart was torn apart! I begged God to take it from her and give it to me, but His ways are not our ways. However, I have learned in 47 years of life on this side of Heaven that His way is always the BEST WAY!

As I wrote those words in that very special journal, we were on yet another 5 hour drive to see the man whom God had prepared to help save our daughter’s arm. The trip from Garfield, Georgia to Gainesville, Florida is a long, boring one without much scenery. Part of the trip takes us through the outskirts of the Okefenokee Swamp, and on that particular day, it really stunk; I can remember thinking as I looked at the charred pine trees from the wildfire the summer before that right now life stinks or so I thought at that moment. Looking back, I see how blessed we were. We had great doctors, nurses, and an awesome support system at home. God sent his angels to watch over us every step of the way. That doesn’t mean that I never got scared or never stumbled, but He got me through it.

“He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”

Psalm 91:11-12

Of course, it is much easier now when looking back to see all the great things that were happening through her journey to healing, but it is not always so easy in the middle of the storm. So just how do we get through the swamp, through the stinky, sticky, hard places of life? According to David Jeremiah, we find stones… the patches of dry land. We could not stay stuck. We had to keep moving forward. During this especially difficult season of my life, I honestly thought I could not put one foot in front of the other on many days, and this is when “He carried me.”

“God is ever true to His promises, and it was by Him that you were, one and all, called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:9

During the battle we often didn’t know what the next hour would bring, but He comforted and provided every step of the way in His tender loving way. I learned that God’s promises are true. God is good; God is love; God causes all things to work together for my good according to His purpose. He will never leave me or forsake me, so I am never alone. It has certainly taken a lot of stepping stones to get us through the swamp of many trials including osteosarcoma.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Often these stepping stones looked like a text encouraging us and letting us know that we were being prayed for or a colleague who let me know that everything in my little classroom was going well, and she “had me and my students” and would take care of what I could not physically or emotionally handle right then. Solid footing was also given to us by a community that raised money for all of our needs and many of our sweet girl’s heart’s desires to hep her cope with a life turned upside down and full of big needle sticks and lots of foreign chemicals being pumped into her little body. It looked like a faithful teacher coming to help her catch up on her school work at crazy times of the night and day because her energy ebbed and flowed at its own will. Most importantly we had prayers being lifted up to our Father in Heaven from people around the world. Our medical team was and still is the perfect match for us, prepared for us and countless others for these critical times in our lives.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Psalm 139:5

My heart hurt, y’all, watching my baby go through this, and I begged God to let it be me, but He chose her. My faith was strengthened in every way. I know that He is for me. I know that He will supply every need even when circumstances look dire. Today, our daughter is healed, and we give God all the praise, honor, and glory.

Yes, He healed her. I know that He did not have to, and I know that if He had not that He would still be my good and gracious Heavenly Father and Savior. He has not answered every prayer with the answer that I wanted. I have endured many trials like watching my parents die. One of the hardest times in our financial life was when my husband was run over and drug down the road by a drunk driver while serving and protecting our community. I also lost my best friend at the tender age of 17 to a drunk driver. Every single time, He carried me and strengthened my faith. Today I know that His word is true. He tells me to cast my anxieties upon Him, and He will give me peace, and what glorious peace it is.

“Cast all your anxitey on him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7
The journal where my love of writing began. Thank you, Sherry!
A gift with more promises from a new friend who recently lost a grandchild. Thank you, Denise!

Jesus Saves

I was raised in the Primitive Baptist Church. That may mean different things to different people, or it may not invoke any feelings in you. All of this is fine because it is the same Jesus who saves us all.

” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23 ESV

I thank God for pursuing me. My eyes were opened suddenly one day in the back of a hot auditorium when I was in 5th grade. The Gideons came to school! They gave me my little New Testament Bible, but more importantly they shared the Gospel with me. Yes, they shared the eye-opening Good News of Christ with me and my classmates that day. I am sure they prayed for us before they came. They probably had lots of things to do like gassing up their cars and packing boxes of Bibles. Y’all, it is in the little things that BIG things happen! I am also sure they had lots of other “stuff” they could have done that day….maybe…maybe not? IDK! I do not even know who the man was who spoke to my small group in the back of that auditorium. I am just thankful he was obedient that day!

The gentleman sparked my curiosity, and I wanted to know more, so I subscribed to the “club newsletter.” I don’t even remember the name of it. The literature came in the mail; I read it, and I accepted Christ in my bedroom that day. No, I don’t know the time and date. I know the place-my bedroom in the home I grew up in. I do remember the feeling I had after I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior that day. PEACE!! Complete peace!! I went out and rode my brown bicycle, and felt like I could literally fly ….I was so light. ……kind of like a feather. There are really no words to describe this peace. It is the same peace that I have today, and I thank God for it!

Nothing compares to the feeling of salvation. The peace that Jesus gives me is undescribable. Oh, How I LOVE JESUS. I am so thankful that He chose me. I pray, dear reader, that you have this same peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have triublation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

You may wonder what all this has to do with how I was “brought up.” If the Lord wills, I will continue to share my journey with you on this page. God bless you all!

Mama, Daddy, and me

The Prayer of Jabez

(This story first appeared on my FB post on 3/19/20.)

So, I am reading along in my daily devotion and Whoa! I had a revelation! I have certainly seen reference to the prayer of Jabez. I even have a book somewhere, I think, but it never clicked until today. As I am pretty much stuck in this house, the media reports contain dire news, and the grocery store shelves are more bare than normal, this gives me great comfort, The Prayer of Jabez.

“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!’ And God granted him his request” (Chronicles 4:9-10)!

Oh there it is stuck in the middle of “Other Descendants of Judah” with all its genealogy, this bold prayer by this man who caused his Mama great pain during his birth. Y’all this is it! We must pray bold prayers like never before! The verse says that God granted him his request. I think I have been afraid to pray bold prayers, but today I will pray BOLD prayers for myself, my family, and all of you. Why, if He never does another thing for me, He has already blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places according every spiritual blessing in Christ ( Ephesians 1:3).

My child, my friend, my love, our Heavenly Father gives us out of His abundance of love for us unshakeable peace, strength, wisdom, and protection! No matter what comes our way-be it blessing or a load of burdens filled with lessons, we can rest on God’s promises! Oh, how thankful I am that “my help comes from the Lord who never slumbers.” (Psalm 121:2)

By the way, the book, The Prayer of Jabez was written by Bruce Wilkinson, and I am going to find mine and read it. The inspiration for this writing came from Proverbs 31 First 5 App. It is a true blessing to me daily.

But God

One day under the rule of King Ahaz of Jerusalem, who “did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord,” (2 Chronicles 28), God allowed the king of Aram to defeat Ahaz and “exile large numbers of his people to Damascus.” To add to that, “in a single day Pekah son of Remaliah, Israel’s king, killed 120,000 of Judah’s troops, all of them experienced warriors, because they had abandoned the Lord.” The story in 2 Chronicles 28 goes on to say that Israel’s army captured 200,000 women and children and “seized tremendous amounts of plunder” to take back to Samaria.

Now I would think these women and children are about to experience some terrible times because they were captured for slaves, BUT GOD intervened.
BUT GOD!! I LOVE THOSE TWO WORDS TOGETHER!

God told the prophet Obed to tell the soldiers as they were coming back victorious because God was angry with Judah and gave them over to them for victory but that they had now “gone too far, killing them without mercy….and now you are planning to make slaves of these people..” God warned them to set them free!

And set free they did! They didn’t just let them go, but clothed their naked bodies, gave them shoes, food and water, and healing balm for their wounds and sores. They also put the weak on donkeys and took them back to their relatives in Jericho! Can you imagine what was going through the captives’ mind? Their relatives’ minds?

Then, suddenly GOD changed their situation. He can and will change ours, too!! God expects and deserves reverent obedience. BUT GOD has given me a completely different situation and eternal life in Heaven instead of Hell. I thank Him for setting me free.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

There can possibly be no one any more lost in her sins than I was. (Yes, I am still a work in progress and thankful for God’s daily conviction.)

“Who’s Your Daddy?”

The text “Who’s Your Daddy” which I have heard Priscilla Shirer so eloquently orotate is very special to me. I just love it! Just the word “Daddy” gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. This Sunday is Father’s Day, and I know that it can be really hard for many of us for lots of different reasons. I want to encourage you to accept God’s peace and lay your burdens at His feet. He is your Father in Heaven and has already taken care of it all for you.

According to the world’s standards, I am an orphan, but I do not claim that title. My Heavenly Father says that I am His child in John 1:12, “But to all who have received Him-those who believe in His name-He has given the right to become God’s children.” Did you catch that? The God of the universe is your father. Believe in Him and accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

I had a “drug problem” growing up in rural Georgia in the 70s and 80s. (Yes, the 1900s!) I certainly did! My mama drug me to church every time those doors were open!!! And you know what? I thank my God that I had a Mama who did just that! I also thank God that I had a daddy who supported her and made me go when I would whine and beg to stay home with him. Yeah, that is right, Daddy did not go to church with us. And yes, that would have been the best scenario for our family, at least I suspect it would have been, but it was not my reality.

Now, I was a Daddy’s Girl! I thought that man did no wrong, and what he said was gold! After all, he was the “fun” one. He had a mischievous grin that told me when he “was up to something.” He always gave free pony rides on his back, and after we would get the irrigation running on the farm, he and and I would run under the water screaming and laughing at the top of our lungs without a care in the world. I could sit in that man’s lap and talk him into about anything until literally right before he died. But, ya’ll, of course, I know, my daddy was flawed just like I am flawed. My daddy let me down sometimes-not because he did not love me but because he was human. I was the daughter of an alcoholic, and that has brought great turmoil into the life of our family. Bless my Mama’s heart, she stuck it out until God called her home way too early, in my opinion. At the age of 62, she hemorrhaged to death, and Daddy and I watched it. Mama made sure my sister and I were brought up in the church. She was a godly woman. To this day, I don’t know how she put up with us, especially “the alcoholic husband,” but then again “love does cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

After mama died, I saw a real change in Daddy. I witnessed to him several times. He had a lot of questions. He gave his life to the Lord a couple of years before he died. I praise God for that! People in town told me that Daddy would sit at Mama’s grave for hours at the time. He would have me buy the nicest, prettiest flowers for her grave, but excuse my language-he often made her life on earth hell. I don’t remember him ever giving her flowers when she was living. Yes, he loved her-in his way-just like we all show our love differently.

I loved my daddy, and he loved me! But he failed me a lot just as I am sure I have failed my children. Daddy lived almost three years after Mama died. Since Mama and Daddy have been gone, I have been drawn closer to God than ever. I mean who else do you turn to when your husband has been run over and dragged down the road while working, and your finances are less than stellar, or when your youngest child of only 8 is diagnosed with cancer? I wanted Mama and Daddy. Sometimes, I still do, but no one and nothing on this side of Heaven can fill the longing in our hearts that God can. He is our comfort, our strength, our joy, our everything.

We frail humans turn to many things and people to try to fill us, but friend, we must not expect this from anyone. No one can ever do what Jesus did for us, so I just wanted a little of your time to brag on our wonderful Heavenly Father who will meet everyone of our needs every single time. Yes, I have have had some trying times in my life, and I am sure you have as well. I pray that when trials hit that they will always drive us straight into the arms of Jesus-the Father who will never let us down. In Him, we have complete joy and everlasting life if we choose to accept His free gift.

I hope this Sunday is a day full of joy and peace for you. Remember, run fast and hard into the arms of your Heavenly Father. He will comfort and sustain you. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Bible Verses to encourage you

“But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe His name.” John 1:12

“For you are all childrenof God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the sainst and member of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights , who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If indeed we share in his suffereings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:17

The words to “Whose Your Daddy?” can be found in the DVD Bible Study Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. A Study of David. Video Session 1. By Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur

Dancing with Daddy! They liked that 70s orange, didn’t they?

If just for the moment, sweet lady, stop and connect with the God of Heaven. He will, indeed, give you a fresh perspective.

Well, hey there! I am downright tickled that you stopped by this little corner of the internet to visit my page. My sole purpose in this blog is to glorify God and prayerfully bring you some encouragement. I am a country girl from Garfield, Georgia. I have been through some trying times, friend, but haven’t we all? I decided that I would use those stories to glorify Jesus, and I created this little place to do just that. I love sunsets, the sound of waves crashing on the shore, and a good cup of coffee. My husband of 29 years and I have three children and two grandchildren who truly make life grand, y’all! I am a 25 year veteran middle school teacher who loves the Lord! Grab your favorite drink and let’s talk about the King of Kings, Jesus, our friend.

In His Light and Love,
Karen