Be Thou My Vision

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With age come certain realities that affect how one should view life.

Whatever you might be worrying about today, won’t be remembered tomorrow. Work hard at worrying less and realize that God provides. Walking through the trials of life with confidence is part of the plan. Sadness is inevitable but succumbing to fear, anger, hatred and despair are not.

We are all heading “home” and it is unavoidable. This isn’t maudlin when there is no fear of the future. As believers, our future is certain and reflected in a wonderful old hymn:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;

Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;

Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:

Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,

Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Don’t put value in things, put your heart and soul into people. It pays off. Family and friends are irreplaceable and add a depth of joy that is indescribably wonderful.

Worship is not about the church. Anyone who depends on a pastor, teacher or religious institution will surely be disappointed. A personal relationship with God is meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling. Open your Bible, talk to God, worship with friends…but worship God. There is a difference.

God provides daily blessings – don’t be too busy and miss them.

I promise this to be true.

Memories of a lucky girl.


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Memories are funny things. They come back in flashes and they remind us of so many things.

My memories are mostly good. Not just good really, they are great.

This Thanksgiving we sat at the table without my parents and remembered our family prayer, shared the funny things my Mom and Dad would say on big (and small) occasions and reveled in the wonderful adventures we have shared throughout the years.

I was born a lucky girl and I have always thought I was lucky indeed. Now, as I grow older, I realize that this was not an accident. A loving God turned me over to wonderful parents who raised me to know Him and to love Him. They set me on a life path that led me to a terrific husband, blessed me with three daughters and now two grandchildren. I am beyond lucky. I’m not sure there is a word for it really.

I’m stellar.

But most of all, I know that my past and my future come together in God’s hands. I worry not because He has taken such good care of me for so long that I know my luck has not run out. As one who loves the Lord, I am certain my luck will never end. Life and the life to come is only going to get better.

I’m making memories now for my family. I hope in the future they will look back and think their parents did some crazy, funny, and loving stuff and they will miss us a little. But, I also hope they will know that God watches over them and one day…one glorious day…we will all laugh together again.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans togive you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Veterans Day – Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor

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“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” John 13:34

Veteran’s Day 2014

My father didn’t start talking about his war experiences until late in his life. I think he didn’t want to burden us with difficult memories but eventually opened up and I’m so glad he did. What a testimony to his family of a life well lived.

My Dad was a POW in Nazi Germany for many years after his B-17 was shot down during a military raid. While I think this experience had a profound effect on him, I don’t think it changed him at the core.

My father loved people. My father loved his family. My father really loved Jesus.

Dad led by example and he told the story of walking through deep snow with the frail and aged Nazi guards who were too weak to carry their own weapons. So Dad and the other soldiers carried their guns. They were not required to do so, they did it to help.

I have always found this story to be one of the most striking of my father’s war memories. Dad’s faith in Jesus never wavered and even in the worst of circumstances, he would use an opportunity to share the love of Christ with ANYONE.

On this Veterans Day, I thank Dad for his courage. I thank Dad for his loving heart. I thank Dad for teaching me about Jesus. Dad said that he survived the war through his belief that Jesus was standing beside him and giving him the strength to return home. I believe this and I am grateful to God.

I am sure my Dad is not the first soldier to have Jesus hold his hand and he won’t be the last. I wish this were not so. If we could only truly love our neighbors…

Peace.

A place of peace…

 

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Years ago when I was expecting my first child, the lamaze instructor was adamant that I find a place in my memory that was peaceful. It was to be somewhere that my mind could wander and calm my soul. It took me about a minute to pinpoint my sweet spot of undiluted happiness.

I was lucky enough to grow up with amazing parents. Not perfect, but wonderfully made and so loving to me. 

Our Miami home was located on a beautiful spring-fed lake with gentle winds that cooled our home. The back yard was impressive with a seawall overlooking the lake and shaded by a huge oak tree which served as the host for a large wooden swing.

This swing was my place of peace. Hours and hours spent with my Dad talking about everything and nothing. Quiet and solitude. His dreams for my future and my Dad’s memories of his past. It was absolutely heavenly.

While in a long labor, I kept my mind mentally on that swing. I was in a labor and delivery room but I could hear a soothing voice and a soft breeze. It made a difficult time more bearable.

To this day, I go there. I go back to my swing and I talk to my Dad. He’s not with me anymore but I know he waits and I am comforted. 

I know he waits for me with Jesus. 

Peace fills my heart and I am calm.

Memory Lane

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On these pre-summer evenings before it gets too hot, I love to drive my convertible with the top down as I soak in the evening air. It’s absolutely enchanting.

Invariably I am transported back to days gone by. Nights spent with loved ones as we drove down the Miami strip to see all the hotel lights, enjoying the sound of water breaking against the restraining wall of Biscayne Bay, walking the soft sands of Daytona beach, watching a storm approach in the horizon, the picturesque streets of New Orleans, fall in Gainesville, the fog washing over the Blue Ridge mountains and more.

Our precious families gift us with nights to remember and I thank God for every one of them. Memories are steps to heaven and some day, I will reach the top. Until then…

they live on in flashbacks of love and they are missed.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

 

It’s only a matter of time.

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Where did the year go?

I realized this morning that it is already May and people are booking things for the holidays. It is not that I am living life unaware…I just can’t get over how fast time flies (pardon the cliche).

I remember when things appeared to move so slowly. I thought some days would never come. Now birthdays seem to creep up on me and I wonder how it happened. I remember when my daughters were little and how it took “forever” just to feed them dinner. Now, I watch my grandchildren and think…oh my goodness, when did I get grandchildren?

This past Sunday, I was in church thinking about loved ones who are living in glory with Jesus. For them, I think everything must move at hyper-speed. We will one day be reunited and feel like we only recently said our goodbyes.

I also think that time moves quickly for a reason. When I was younger it felt like an eternity to hit milestones in life. It seemed to take forever for just about anything.

Now, I count my days. Each one reminds me that I am one step closer to Jesus.

Thank you Lord for teaching me to number my days. It reminds me to love you more and remember that you, and you alone, hold time in your hands.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The Lord’s Prayer

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It is in the sweet, simple moments of life that we often get a glimpse of God’s glory. That happened for me last night.

As we prepared to eat our evening meal, my four year old granddaughter began to lead us in prayer. But, instead of the regular singsong pre-kindergarten based melody typically spoken, Lily recited the Lord’s Prayer. She did this without prompting and without any of the adults assembled around our table being forewarned. I am assuming that they have been working on this at school.

Lily spoke the Lord’s Prayer from memory and I was astounded.

Life comes full circle. From grandparents, to parents to children of the next generations, we lead our loved ones to a closer walk with Jesus. Today, I was reminded of that fact. What started long before my own beloved grandparents continues today with their great-great Granddaughter. I am a living witness to the power of a Savior who continues to love my family through Lily’s blessing of our meal.

The sweet prayers of a child reached deep into the heart of an aging grandparent and reminded me of God’s tender mercies.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Chosen

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My grandson is eight months old and is a bubbly, sweet bundle of joy. He is also seriously a Momma’s boy. He likes the ladies and he especially likes my sweet daughter. I have always thought the rest of us made him happy but it was not the same.

But today, I was chosen. I’m not sure what happened and I didn’t do anything differently, but my grandson could not get enough of his Mimi. He wanted to be near me, touch me, talk gibberish to me and just be my new best friend. He cried when I turned him over to his Mom.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I absolutely loved this moment and had a little fun with this special time with him. It is good to be number one!

From a little precious cherub came a wonderful reminder of what it is like to be chosen.  That’s how we should feel about Jesus. He has chosen us. We are His chosen. I am awestruck by this fact in that while we are not worthy, He still chooses us.

Psalms 33:12 says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance”.

We are so lucky; we are so fortunate; we are chosen.

I love to tell the story…memories of Dad

ImageToday is the 4th anniversary of my Dad passing from this life into the next. I never met anyone like Dad. He was wholly committed to Jesus and he told anyone he met about the Lord.

One of my favorite stories is when my parents and I were at a local mall and Mom and I went into a store leaving Dad outside. Suddenly, I looked out to see Dad chatting with an elderly gentlemen. I nudged my Mom and told her Dad was winning someone for Christ. When we were done shopping, I walked out to say hello to the sweet man and told him that my Dad was a committed Christian.

Surprisingly, the man told me that he was so impressed that Dad would just walk up to him and share the gospel. No one had ever done that to him.

What made it all the more impressive is that my Dad was unknowingly witnessing to the Senior Pastor of a large Baptist church.

Dad was “saving” a Baptist preacher. Dad wasn’t embarrassed because he was not ashamed to share the love of Christ with anyone he met. Dad told the Pastor he was glad to know he didn’t have to worry about him. It cracked me up.

I hope if someone ever shares Jesus with you that you will let them tell their story and witness to you. You may know more than they do and you may be a lifelong Christian but to the person with a true, deep and loving relationship with the Lord – their words mean something and they want to be sure you are saved.

Dad brought more people to Christ than anyone I know. I’m so very proud of him. I miss him greatly.

In loving memory: S.A. Parvin –  1919 – 2010

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.