Sunday, April 26, 2009

"So Freely Flowing"

One of my favorite places is the Smoky Mountains. For the past week, we enjoyed the beauty of the mountains, untouched woods, preserved farm sites, the wildlife, and the streams and rivers. Tucked far away from the noise of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the ever-flowing, crystal-clear streams calmed the spirit and reminded me of God's majesty. Even in downtown Gatlinburg where our hotel was located, a stream flowed back of our room. Its soothing sounds never stopped nor did its flow. . . over and around the rocks. . . always moving.

As we drove along one of the winding mountain roads one day, husband and I talked about the dependable, predictable, always-flowing waters . . . so much like God's love and grace for us. Never ending . . . always moving . . . pure and clean . . . starting at Calvary . . . flowing through all the ages . . . and will never run dry!!

Lord, I pray with the songwriter: Let Your love flow through me. . . Keep me pure; keep me clean so that Your love may be seen. Let your love, let your love flow through me.

"So freely flowing from Calv'ry's mountain . . . and now my soul is fully satisfied."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Simple Country Pleasures

I cherish the memories of long ago Sunday afternoons in spring when Mama and Daddy would take us children for a drive along the familiar country roads near our home.
Since there was no extra money to spend on entertaining ourselves, we loved "riding around," as we called it, and enjoyed many simple country pleasures.

One of those was looking for "piney woods" violets along the winding dirt roads. It was such fun to spot the brilliant purple clumps before we got to them. We'd all get out of the car and pick huge bouquets to take home. Nothing was prettier that a violet bouquet nestled in some simple container and set on the dining table.

Today, as my husband and I drove through the woods after delivering a load of firewood to my father-in-law, we spotted the familiar purple color along the road. I think my heart began to beat just a little bit faster at the sight of them in all their glory! Of course, I had my camera handy, and loved capturing their beauty. But even better was picking a handful of the miniature beauties.

Back at home, I found an old blue medicine bottle that we discovered in the woods behind our house and placed my prized bouquet in it. Simple - yes, but it couldn't be prettier! Expensive - no! Didn't cost a thing! Just one of the countless simple pleasures that makes life a little more pleasant and lot more beautiful!

I think our Heavenly Father must enjoy watching us discover and take pleasure in the awesome beauty and serenity He has placed all around us. I really believe He wants us to enjoy the journey! And who knows - when I get "home," He just might have bouquets of "piney woods" violets decorating my mansion!

Until then, I plan to enjoy as many simple country pleasures as I can!

"Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me . . . "

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Beauty After the Storm

After the storm, with raindrops still very visible on their petals, these flowers looked more beautiful than ever!

"Something beautiful . . . something good . . .
All my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Precious Moments

I cherish the "Precious Moments" of life! No, not the adorable, collectible figurines like the one pictured above from Google's images, although I do enjoy those . . . but real life moments that can only be called "precious." Those unexpected moments that touch you deep in your heart, make you smile, and then are filed away in your mind's memory album under the heading: So Glad I Didn't Miss That One!

Every Wednesday afternoon I hear a knock - a certain knock - on the door and know that the little boy from next door is here to "visit" and to make sure we're going to church for Caravans and Bible Study. Since I have been sick for several days, I opened the door and told him I couldn't go to church and that I didn't think he should come into my germ-filled house. He stood there and listened with his hands behind his back. I wondered what he was holding. You never know!! I didn't have to wait long to find out that he was holding his big, black Bible.

I knew something was on his mind, so I quickly said, "We can visit out here under the carport for a few minutes."

So we sat down on the old camp-meeting bench, he opened his Bible, looked at me and asked, "Did your sons ever work on Sunday?" Just that matter of factly! I could tell this was going to be one of those "Lord-help-me-to-say-the-right-thing moments!"

"Yes, they did," I answered, "but I didn't like it."

He pulled his Bible up closer to him and began to read: Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you . . . nor your son or daughter . . . "

So, we talked . . . about the fact that the Ten Commandments haven't changed . . . God still intends for us to obey them . . . and about today's culture requiring some people to work on Sunday for the well being of others . . . but we should worship Him and keep the day holy. He seemed to understand.

He told me about someone who had stolen, then said as he pointed to another verse, "It says here thou shalt not steal."

"Yes," I replied. "That's one of them, too. And so, we shouldn't even take a pencil or a penny that isn't ours."

As he flipped through his Bible, he turned to the front pages where family records are kept. He said that he didn't quite understand one page and turned to the one that referred to "Holy Matrimony." With a smile I told him that's where he would write his and his wife's names when he married. He didn't linger on that page too long!

I noticed that on the page labeled "Deaths," he had written one word: Nana. A few weeks ago his grandmother died, and it was so very hard for him. On that occasion his question to me was: Why do we have to die?

Oh, my! How do you answer that adequately for an eight-year-old boy? I tried to answer him as simply and honestly as I could but ended by saying, "When you get to heaven, you can ask Jesus!"

His reply: You'll get there first, so you can ask Him!

Today I encouraged him to keep reading his Bible . . . maybe read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, I suggested. By this time, I was getting really hoarse, so I sent him on his way - or in his words: You ran me off!

Those brief moments were like a breath of fresh air - literally - and figuratively speaking! Do I always take the time to sit and "visit" like I did today? Not always. But I'm so glad I did today. I wouldn't trade those "precious moments" for anything!!

(I usually include a line or two of a song from my heart here. Today I think a prayer of my heart is more appropriate.

Oh, God, help me to never get so busy that I push aside a child who wants to know more about You and Your Word. Give me patience, discernment, and the right words to say. Help me to love them as You do and to see them through Your eyes. May I never forget that when I have shown love to one of "the least of these," then I have shown love to You.