A Traditional Black Dress 

Every traditional Southern woman knows you wear a black dress to a funeral. Many of us Southern woman, like myself, even have one or two appropriate for a funeral black dresses already hanging in our closets.

Today I put on my black dress this morning anticipating the funeral I was going to attend today. I was going to pay my respects and greet my long time sorority sister and friend with my condolences for the loss of her brother-in-law (I bet she refers to him as brother in love). I did just that at 11am at Coastal Community Church in Charleston.

After briefly seeing my friend outside I went into the Church. I took my seat and began looking over the order of worship and the songs chosen. I thought to myself that it was going to be a nice service, but I underestimated how I would feel after it was over. 

The man who has departed his earthly home that I was glad to have known, even just a little, was described as a trailblazer, a soulmate to his wife, a talented musician, a wonderful Daddy, a man who dearly loved Jesus, but most of all a man “who walked The walk, not just talked The talk”.

I learned that he had a horrible accident back in high school that sent so many electrical bolts through his body that he should not have lived. God had a special plan for his life. Determination set in for him and the normal six month recovery was lessened to a short six week recovery of his two amputated legs. He later became an inspiration and motivator at the Burn Unit at MUSC.

One of the most fascinating things I learned about this Jesus-loving man was his letter writing and those “letters in a drawer”. It was told that when he was frustrated, perhaps angry, and needed to tell someone the words he felt he would first write it in a letter. Those letters would then be stored away in a drawer. If he still felt like words should be shared with that person after the letter was written and stored he could then do so with grace and love. 

The likeness was explained that God writes our transgressions, failures, and disappointments on letters to his children, us, but then he nails them to the cross where they are forgiven and forgotten. 

This really spoke to me as maybe I can just write letters before I use my tongue in a way that isn’t pleasing to the Lord. Proverbs 12:38 says:  There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Then if I do need to talk to the person about the offense then my I hope my letter provides clarity, love and grace when I speak so that I may be the wise person that brings healing instead of malice much like Ephesians 4:29 explains:  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Speakers close to him went on to tell stories and tell of his earthly work. From what I heard I know he left a rich and deep legacy to his family and friends. He touched so many lives and whole heartedly loved Jesus. One person semi-jokingly said “There are people who brighten a room just by leaving it.” He went on to say that he brightened a room just by entering it. He was an introvert and not at all the attention-seeking type but you just wanted to hear him speak and be in his presence when he was around.

There are so many things I could say about this man and his family including the reason the color purple was important or why they celebrated “Champagne” Thursday but I’ll spare the details for those that did not know him.

I might have come in my traditional black dress but left the glorious worship (the most beautiful memorial service I’ve been to in awhile) with a sense of comfort, renewal in Jesus, and the desire to leave a legacy to those around me. An opportunity to live the rest of my life as a devoted follower of Jesus; giving others the opportunity to know and love Jesus so that they too may experience the greatest gift – eternal life with Jesus.

I want to remember the words of 2 Timothy 4-8:
4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing
.

My personal prayer: Dear Lord walk with me all of my days in this earthly life. Guide me to the opportunities to share Your gift of eternal life that you sent your Son to give us through his painful death so we when we die we will be free of pain and suffering. Stand beside me so I can kept the faith and finish the race to eternally celebrate with you. Help me to hold my tongue, from being a destructive weapon, even if it means writing a letter until I can speak truth with grace and love. Let me be your good and faithful servant and leave your legacy on many hearts when my race is finished. Amen

Postscript: I purposely omitted the name of the deceased in order to not publicly share details of his life and family. 

Broken Pottery

“Are you kidding me, ARE YOU kidding ME?!?!?! Why was my mug sitting so close to the edge of the cabinet?????” are the words that that resonate so vividly every time I think about a broken dish or piece of pottery in my home. 

There have been a number of mishaps of pottery/glassware in my house, especially the fate of one of the nice blue pottery mixing bowls that were wedding presents, ugh. Back to the mug though . . . . You see to me it was a vintage children’s mug with a nice Noah’s Ark scene. To my husband it was memories of his childhood, his Nana and drinking “coffee” (aka hot chocolate). He was so upset, a piece of his childhood gone so fast. I just could not understand why he would not let me just order another one on a site like eBay and then the would memories remain intact.

You see, when we are troubled, hurt or broken inside we are like the broken mug. When our brokenness sets in, a piece of us is hurt and can’t just be put back together with words, thoughts, or actions. Our soul may never remain the same, even if we fill the brokenness with something else of the world. Just like my husbands mug could not simply be replaced by ordering a new one. The mug remains broken in pieces (maybe even still in pieces in our cabinet). It was more than mug, it was memories.

When the event or thing that caused our brokenness has passed with time, is temporarily forgotten or gone it still remains a part of our soul – a part of our story. Even as a part of our story the brokenness does not have to remain as a negative piece of us. 

While I’m not versed on Japanese traditions or Japanese anything, I did read once the Japanese mend and repair broken pottery with gold. They celebrate the significance of highlighting the repair as a symbol of rebirth instead of seeing the piece’s purpose as lost or ended at the time of breakage.  They believed it the repair with gold enhanced the piece’s beauty, rarerity, and made it more valuable.

(For those interested in the facts of this I found you this link: Japanese Pottery Art Form )

Friends, we can become like pottery mended with gold. Our gold is Jesus, he comes into our souls and mends the very parts of us that are broken. He fills the cracks with His life-giving spirit. He ensures that the broken pieces are not left hiding in the cabinet. He covers them with the richest heavenly gold making us purposeful again, more beautiful, and more valuable. 

My personal prayer: Dear Lord in your mercy and grace, come take the broken pieces of my soul from their hiding places and put them back together with your heavenly gold. Let me realize that my service and purpose has not ceased at the point of breakage, but rather can be repaired and be a part of my story. Restore my soul to be more purposeful and valuable for your will and plans. In your holy name, Amen.

Hall Pass Jesus

Kids today might not know about these, but when I was going to school we had hall passes. Hall passes allowed you to go the bathroom, go to the nurse’s office, or to go other authorized places during scheduled classroom time. It was a pass to let administrators or other teachers know that you were allowed to be out of the classroom during class or scheduled activities should they find you in the hall. If you did not have a hall pass it was assumed that you were not supposed to be out of the classroom or that your teachers did not know you were going. A hall pass was a temporary excused absence from the classroom to go a specific place.

Jesus came as God in flesh on earth over 2000 years ago to share the love of God with others. While on earth he preached, performed miracles, and left the promise of his second coming on earth for generations to come. He then was the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins; both significant and seemingly insignificant ones. He was murdered on the cross and bore the pain and suffering for our sins.  We are privileged enough to enjoy God’s glory and heaven for eternity by accepting this gift.

Often we are taught that this gift is enough and God’s love is all we need, and friends, it truly is . . . his gift of sacrifice on the cross is all we need for eternal life with him. His grace is enough, but what he desires for our life is monumental too.

The thing about hall passes, intended for a specific destination on the school grounds, is that sometimes the kids with the passes did not always get to the intended destination or they used the hall pass to go somewhere unauthorized.

Jesus is our hall pass to be carried with us through our life journey to our eternal destination. But do we sometimes use Jesus as our hall pass, an excuse to perhaps go a path that isn’t designed for us or isn’t beneficial for our spiritual walk with the Lord? Do we use our hall pass to do things we shouldn’t? As Christians I feel we believe it is ok to do this or that because we have our hall pass with us.

The mercy and grace through Jesus Christ is overflowing and abundant. His grace, love, and mercy might be our hall pass, but it should not be temporary excused absence from a life Jesus wants for us. Our hall pass is not a pass to live life how WE desire, go where WE want to go, and do the things WE want if it is not in God’s plan for our life or beneficial in our spiritual walk.   Are we going where we should with our hall pass?

My personal prayer:  Jesus through your grace, love and mercy, be my guide on my life’s journey. Lead me not unto the unauthorized places that are not beneficial for me. Direct me in your ways, O Lord, going in the path you would have me go.  Jesus, let me not use you as a hall pass to live a life that is not in your plan.   Be always with me and have me fulfill your plan for my life.  In your holy name, Amen.

Ostriches and Faith

You’re probably thinking; “Wait, what?!” How are those two remotely related? Well you may have heard the saying “don’t bury your head in the sand”. Well that saying is attributed to ostriches and the appearance that they bury their heads in the sand. (For info on where that saying came from click here. For factual info about why they appear to do this click here.)

Well burying your head in the sand as they say is no way to confront a problem in the present or in the future. Unfortunately my family was presented a problem yesterday that quite frankly we’ve not been wanting to face. We’ve been playing ostrich with this problem for a little while not wanting to face the reality of it.

I will say that while we may not have wanted to face the problem and tried to bury our heads (or the problem) in the sand, having faith to trust the Lord to work out the details is something that I am able to do. In the last few weeks I’ve found a renewed sense of the Lord’s presence and faith in my life that allows me to trust his guidance and provision.

So while we play ostrich, God continues to remind me that he is good and says “I got this”!

Pineapples

Like a lot of Southern Women, I love Pineapples! Pineapples have such a unique look and they taste delicious.

South Carolinians, particularly Charlestionians, are familiar with the symbol of Pineapples – gates, fountains, decor, t-shirts, etc.

But why is this beloved fruit a popular symbol in Charleston? In my quick research I found this article. I’m not sure if it’s true but it sounds really cool.

Legend of the Pineapple
Enjoy! Have a sweet day and remember one of my favorite quotes:

Wise words of another

Tonight I had plans to post another “real” entry in my blog, even though in the back of my mind I feel I might be getting ahead of myself.  Its only day 2 I keep telling myself, plus I have maybe one follower?!  I just have so many things I want to share as the thoughts keep swirling in my mind.

Well  . . . you know that thing called life gets in the way.  The day had some ups and some downs, but I’ll take the good with the bad.  However, wearing many hats and juggling many balls can make my nights like a circus (see what I did there).  Amongst overtired kids, an overtired mom, and things on the to-do list, I suppose tonight might not be the best night to write something insightful.  However, I will try leaving you with just a token from someone I follow.   This one hit hard, but she’s got a point. . . .a good one . . . .

 

Lord, please uncover my spiritual eyes daily to not judge, but love others with grace and sincerity.  Help me to realize that I can only hold someone accountable that asks to be held accountable and if given the opportunity, help me to do it with love.  Help me only to speak truth with grace and love.  Amen.

 

 

Mended

All week I can’t seem to get the song “Mended” by Matthew West out of my head. I heard it on Monday on my daily commute to work. I thought it was very fitting for my husband Phillip’ s sermon from Sunday about being healing and restored. While his words were impactful and they spoke to me, the connect for me really hits home with music. Music has a way of speaking to me as if God has artists write songs just for me. While I know that isn’t true because Christian music speaks to hundreds, thousands, and even millions; I can still find it special and relevant to me.

There have been times in my life, one in particular, where I have had my spirit and my life broken beyond repair. I’m incredibly grateful and humbled that grace and forgiveness was extended by everyone but most importantly by Jesus Christ.

So often we think we are not deserving of the grace and forgiveness Jesus has to offer, but that is what Jesus came and died for over 2000 years ago. He died for our sins, not just the sins, but the weight and burden of them. I believe the first step of being “mended” and allowing His grace flow through us is to admit that we are broken and acknowledge that he can mend us. His grace, love, and mercy are abundant. I’m so grateful of the reminder!

I’d like to share both the lyrics and audio of the song. I believe Matthew West says it better than I can . . . .as Jesus’s song to us:

 

“Mended”

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from homeHow many times can one heart break?
It was never supposed to be this way
Look in the mirror, but you find someone you never thought you’d be

Oh, but I can still recognize
The one I love in your tear stained eyes
I know you might not see him now, so lift your eyes to me

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I’m not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

You see your worst mistake
But I see the price I paid
And there’s nothing you could ever do, to lose what grace has won

So hold on, it’s not the end
No, this is where love’s work begins
I’m making all things new
And I will make a miracle of you

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I’m not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

I see my child, my beloved
The new creation you’re becoming
You see the scars from when you fell
But I see the stories they will tell

You see worthless, I see priceless
You see pain, but I see a purpose
You see unworthy, undeserving
But I see you through eyes of mercy

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
You’re not too far gone
You’re one step away from home

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I’m not finished yet, no
When you see wounded, I see mended

Ooh, I see mended
Woah, oh I see mended
I’m not finished yet
When you see wounded, I see mended

 

Just know His grace and mercy are available and the quota never ends. Free Refills all the time. 😉

Inspiration for the Blog

So in the recovery of Hurricane Matthew, in thick of a heated political season, and a time where I feel my spiritual life getting deeper I came to the realization that I cannot express my feelings, opinions, thoughts, etc as normally as a normal person can do everyday.

I’m a pastor’s wife and that comes with a set of “expectations” if you will. People view you as a person who should be acting more Christian-like and hold the standard a bit higher when they view you. As I daily push myself to be a better wife, mom, co-worker, friend, family member, pastor’s wife and Christian, hear me say I am no better than anyone else. My flaws, imperfections, and sins are no different. I do struggle with being a perfectionist, but know that the ultimate perfect One is Jesus Christ.

This blog will serve to be my place to share my feelings, experiences, thoughts with grace. This will be a place I step back from Facebook, breathe, and write. It’s too easy to offend and be offended on Facebook and I need a place to regroup, think, and share. A place where I can be more meaningful and purposeful.

I am not going to say it is always going to be rainbows and butterflies, because as a human being I have passions, thoughts, feelings, and opinions just like everyone else. I’ve chosen this format because it’s not as readily seen by my Facebook friends.

I invite you to follow the blog, because if you’re a FB friend you might not always see my blog posts shared.

If you’re not a FB friend I invite you to come along for my journey.

I invite my readers to be full of grace and encouragement as I will try to be.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!