Sunday, April 27, 2014

How Great Thou Art

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
As we sang this familiar hymn in church this morning, I was reminded of my opportunity this week to see some of the whole realm of nature. After church on Easter Sunday, my daughter and I drove to Charleston and went to see the massive Atlantic ocean
As the waves rolled in, I thought about God and His creation -- water as far as I could see -- and "How Great Thou Art" was going through my head.
At the end of the week, we drove to the mountains. Again I thought of that song --"When I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made... when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur ...How great Thou art."

So, back to the beginning -- "were the whole realm of nature mine" --it still would not be enough, because the gift of mountains and sea -- really are mine already -- a gift from my Heavenly Father and Creator.
As we stood on top of some rocks on Wayah Bald, there was a great view of the surrounding mountains, and I raised my hands to say, like in "The Titanic" -- "I'm the king of the world!" but on second thought -- I KNOW the King of the World -- the Creator of all that I see -- and I am so blessed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Girls Getaway and Gratitude

     Spring Break! How I have looked forward to a few days off from school! My daughter, Sara, and I  just got back from a few days of making memories at our favorite beach town -- Charleston, South Carolina. We have taken very few "girls only" trips,  but we always have a good time and I am thankful that Sara talked me into this one. Just like the last trip, we walked the beach looking for a sand dollar. She found a half and wondered if it was a message from God.

     Later, we saw a cardinal in a tree by the beach -- seemed very out of place.  I don't know why cardinals and sand dollars always seem like a special blessing from God, but we are always grateful when we see them. We were looking at jewelry in a little shop, and Sara found some beautiful "Southern Gates " earrings that looked like sand dollars  and I couldn't resist -- they will be a reminder of this special trip when I wear them.

     On the way home, we made a side trip to Lexington, SC to see Edsil and Lovern Bragg.   Rev. Bragg was our pastor during my teen years and was a big influence in my life. They retired to SC to be near their daughter about 9 years ago, and I meant to go see them, but just didn't get around to it until now.  They had a quilting frame made by my Grandan, and told me about a year ago that I could have it. My brother wanted it, so I finally went to pick it up. But I also wanted to thank him in person for the ways he influenced my life.  He was the one who first asked me to be a counselor at church camp when he directed the Junior High camp the year I was a senior in high school. Because of camp experiences, I  changed my major to education and became a teacher. It was at camp that I met my future maid of honor and lifelong friend, Sheila. It was at camp that I was invited to go on the mission trip where I met my Sam -- and we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and  Rev. Bragg was the one who performed the wedding ceremony. I thanked him today for all these things that happened because of him -- but he would not take any credit -- he gave all the credit to God. I, too, am grateful to God for using this minister to change my life. And I am sorry that I waited until he was 83 years old to tell him, but thankful that he is still alive and well so I don't have to regret something that I always meant to do.  I am not getting any younger, either, and if there are things I always meant to do or say -- well, now is the time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

See You Next Year!

   About this time last year, I drove to Winston-Salem for my yearly blood test -- I get one every year ever since I had thyroid cancer in 1998. I was surprised and dismayed to get the results -- indicating metastasis .  After all these years, I had been confident that cancer was defeated and forgotten. Not so -- and I have written about the treatment that I had last summer.  I determined to go on with my life -- believing that the treatment was working  and that prayers on my behalf  were heard.
   I went back to see my thyroid doctor today, and the news was all good. My blood test showed everything back to normal -- yay, God!  Not only that, but my doctor said he didn't need to see me again until next year! I will have another test in the fall, but after seeing him every three months, now I can wait another year .  That sounds like he is confident that the cancer is no longer a threat, and that is very good news.
  I don't know why some are healed and others are not -- I wish everyone could always get good news from the doctor.  But I know that the peace of God is very real -- and I would not ever want to face any of life's challenges and problems alone.  I am so grateful for praying friends who faithfully mentioned my name in prayer.  I am thankful for my little "Jesus Calling" book that comforted my soul with scripture this year.  And I am thankful most of all for my Savior who kept me from being afraid this year.  Woo-hoo!!  It is over!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting 
To hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new, new song
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

  My spiritual birthday is this week -- April 4 will make 55 years since I walked the aisle and knelt at the altar of our little church in Red House, West Virginia. We were having a revival at our church -- the evangelist was named Raymond Kelley -- and I can remember seeing tears running down his face as one more little soul was saved that night. I don't remember a word of the sermon or any song that was sung, but I clearly remember feeling a heavy burden being lifted when Preacher Scott took my hand and asked me, "Do you want to be saved?"-- and I said "Yes." I remember how happy my mother was --  she was so joyful to know that I became a Follower of Christ at a young age and now I had my whole life ahead of me as a Christian. I remember being surrounded by some of the old saints of the church who gathered at the altar to pray with me. My life was changed for the good that night, and it have never regretted that decision. In the following years, my three younger brothers all knelt at that same altar and we were a family that prayed together and stayed together, worshipping at the little church where my grandparents and great grandparents had been faithful members.  I have so many precious memories of that little congregation.  Eventually we built a new church and the little church was sold. It was never used as a place of worship again, and now the steeple has fallen off and the building is falling down. But it will always be holy ground for me -- the place where I learned about the love of God. Happy birthday to me!!