Time for a Confession

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“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16

I love to play ball. Softball or baseball, it doesn’t matter. I just love to play ball; and I was pretty good in my younger days, if I say so myself. So it stands to reason that one of the highlights of our family get-togethers is to play a rousing game of backyard baseball. All ages and statures play and we generally have a great time.

Last May, we had what I called a “Memorial Weekend” cookout, which my husband dubbed as my 61st birthday party. OK, I like cake so I’ll take that. 🙂 After the burgers were grilled and before we cut the cake, Brent and Jim started calling their teams for the ball game. I was on Brent’s team. Yayyy!

Cameron was fielding for us and doing a pretty good job of grabbing those balls as they were hit to the left field. Brent was pitching and I took third base. Grandpa even joined the game for Jim’s team.

It was about the umpteenth inning, we all know what that is; it’s when you really don’t care what the score or the time limit is, just have fun. I was up to bat and the score was tied…I just threw that part in. I took my position at home plate, settled back on my right leg and stared Jim down at the pitcher’s mound. I was ready. Jim looked around to make sure that his team was in place, wound up and threw the ball. I swung and “crack”! The ball sailed past first base to the outfield! Fair ball! I dropped the bat and started running, as I neared the base I felt the first baseman racing me with the ball so I dove hands first into the base. Safe! The crowd roared! Well, OK, maybe roared is a little strong. But I heard calls of “Way to go Mom!” And, “What the heck???” I had fulfilled one of my bucket list items and dove into a base for the very first time. As I climbed the steps to our deck after the party, I got a high-five from my hubby and a “Wow, Mom!” from my son. I felt good.

Now for the confession.

Although this is what it looked like to family and friends, it’s not exactly the way it happened.

I walked to home plate and picked up the bat. I took my position and stood waiting patiently for the pitch. Here it comes and “Swing!” The ball and bat connected and as I momentarily blacked out, I felt the embarrassment of age if I didn’t hang in there and run to first base. My head was swimming from my equilibrium drop and my feet felt like they were in quicksand as I made them move one in front of the other. I can do this, I yelled in my head. I can do….blam. A lightning bolt hit my head and the world spun out of control. I woke mili-seconds later face down with my hands touching the base and my family and friends in awe. Now, how could I give them the true explanation??? Could you? I slowly stood up, inconspicuously checking to make sure nothing was broken, and waited for the next pitch. I made it to home only by the grace of God and a German-Irish will power. As I climbed the stairs to our deck, every inch of my body crying out for the Jacuzzi, my hubby gave me a high-five and my sons said, “Way to go, Mom.” And I said to myself, if you only knew.

Well, we have a cookout coming up this weekend, and I’ve given it some serious thought. I may be more useful running the Karaoke this time, just to be safe.

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A Letter to My Prodigal Child

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My child,

I love you. I will always love you, But as I sit here wondering what I could have done differently, I feel that somehow that love got in the way of your recovery. Maybe if I had not wanted you to be well so badly, I would have trusted less, believed less, enabled less, and maybe you would have seen that changes had to be made. 

Five years ago we started this Hell-like journey that just seems to get darker as the days go by. When I was told that you had moved from pain killers to heroin, I didn’t want to believe it. And I kept giving you $20 for gas every time you asked. God forgive me for allowing the hurt to go on. I looked at your sleeping eyes as you stood in front of me and I rationalized that you had been up with the baby all night. Oh, God, how stupid I feel now. I took care of the baby, I took care of the toddler, and I took care of you. I let you down and I’m sorry. I lost my job so that I could take care of things for you and you didn’t have to stand up and get well. 

Now the baby is in Kindergarten, the toddler is in 3rd grade and Mommy wasn’t there to see them off because she is still using drugs, telling lies and stealing to support her habit. And yet another child, a baby, is going to suffer. Because I took care of things. 

I’m writing to tell you that I am done.  When we found out that you had stolen all my jewelry, I say all, but there wasn’t much, but every piece was special. You see, we’re not the kind of people who have fancy cars, designer clothes and big gaudy rings. My jewelry was bought at a sacrifice and Dad paid to get it out for me, out of his meager retirement income, because every piece represents a memory, I thought you knew how much it hurt to know that you cared so little for us to do such a thing. When we realized that you had stolen my jewelry for the second time I came to the realization that I can’t do this anymore. I can’t allow myself to hurt as deeply as I have hurt over the past 5 years without jeopardizing my health, my home and my family. So I”m done.  

My child, you are on your own. My prayers will always be with you and for you to recognize the love that you have left behind. Your son looked up at me yesterday and asked, “When is Mommy coming home?” It’s not going to be long before the charade is over and we have to tell him that she’s not. That she has left the state to escape. And your daughter doesn’t even bother to ask anymore. 

I will always pray for you. And I want you to understand that I have not given up on you, I have given up on me. And I have turned it all over to God. He knows how to reach you. He knows your every need. And He won’t give up. 

“Lord, open ‘her’ eyes so ‘she’ may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. The ‘she’ will receive forgiveness for her sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in You.” Acts 26:18

“Gently teach ‘her’, who opposes the truth. Perhaps You will change ‘her’ heart, and ‘she’ will believe the truth. The ‘she’ will come to her senses and escape from the Devil’s trap. For ‘she’ has been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” 2 Timothy 2:25, 26

I can’t wait for that day of healing when you look up and say, Forgive me, I have sinned against you and against God. And I want to come home. 

When is sin not sin?

“”When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.” Romans 5:12-13

Our church has been following a daily guide for praying for our nation and this passage really struck home with me in that context. Our nation is slowly getting to the point where nothing we do will be illegal in the eyes of the government and, of course, our crime rate will go down because of that. But is it still sin? Just because we make it easier for a woman to get a legal abortion in America, does that mean that killing that child is not a sin?  What happened to God’s Word that says “Thou shalt not kill”? Does the law erase the sin? Recently our government passed a law that legalized gay marriages; but God’s Word tells me that homosexuality is a sin. “Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6: 9a – 10 What about legalizing drugs? Does harming your body and others make it alright just because the world tells us it’s legal? There are so many ways that we as a country are making it easier to sin without the guilt; but if you are a true believer, the Holy Spirit will remind you when you sin. The question comes in, are you looking for ways to validate the sin?

God’s Word explains why we should look to His Word alone for what is right and wrong and not at man’s laws in a country that is slowly, no, quickly, turning away from what is right in God’s eyes. “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” I Cor. 6:11 Ask yourself, have I truly called on the Name of the Lord or do I just want a false sense of security in eternal life? God saved you through His Son Jesus Christ to walk in fellowship with Him while on earth. The only way you can do that is to daily confess your sins, both hidden and evident. If you truly believe that your life is sinless, do this exercise. For the next 30 days, wake up each morning and pray, “God, I give my life over to You. Forgive me of the known sins in my life. Let your Holy Spirit reveal to me the hidden sins so that I may confess them to You for forgiveness. Give me a willing heart to turn all my sinful ways over to You.” 

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.” I Timothy 1:5-6

“Lord, deliver me from meaningless discussions that defend a sin that I know is wrong in your eyes. Release “self” within me so that I have more room for You in my life. Restore the joy of my salvation and make me pure. Amen”

 

If Your Heart is Pure…

“Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law.”  2 Chronicles 30:18-20

I was raised in a BaptiCostal family. Half of my family attended the Church of God and the other half worshiped at the Baptist church down the road. But we all came together after church for dinner and some of the best memories a child could ever have. Of course, when one aunt would show up with lipstick on another would cite scripture against it, then the first would bring another verse that seemed to be for it, and it was just fun to watch the comparisons of belief. But in the end, we all blessed our food and ate the country fried chicken, biscuits and green beans together.It didn’t seem to matter that the denominations were led to different life beliefs, the fact was, my family loved God and each other. Their hearts were pure.

I believe that is what was happening at this Passover. Hezekiah saw people from all over the country coming in to worship the One True Living God and it didn’t matter that they had not been ceremonially cleansed according to what the Law said, their hearts were pure and they united as one in the Name of the Lord. 

“For Hezekiah said, ‘May the Lord, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony. And the Lord listed to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.” 

Now, that would be my Uncle Paris. LOL He was a Pentecostal preacher and would have been the one to pray for all the people, because he loved them as God loved them. That is what true Christian love is. Seeing others as God sees them and not seeing them in respect to what they believe in their denomination. Loving them regardless of whether or not they raise their hands in praise or quietly praise God in their closets. I want to feel that love. I want to see others as God sees them and not judge them on how they serve Him. I want to see them in respect to the purity of their belief in God. 

And I pray, Lord, that other believers see me the same way. 

Happy Birthday to Me

My cell phone stared ringing at 7:47 AM this beautiful Saturday morning, but I was excited. I knew that it had to be one of my lovely children and, sure enough, after I slid the lock over I started hearing the beautiful baritone strains of “Happy Birthday to you” coming from my youngest son. I smiled and tears came to my eyes as I thanked God for this wake-up blessing. 

I left my hubby snoring away, let the dog out and made coffee. Then I grabbed my Bible and started to read my daily devotion, but wait, the coffee isn’t done yet, maybe I’ll check my Farmville! Another birthday wish! This one from my “lifelong” friend, at least it feels that way, Nancy. We have had some ups and downs, ins and outs in our friendship, but I never lost sight of the fact that she was always there no matter what. Since I met her we have raised toddlers into adults and seen the fruit of our labors (pun intended) produce their own children. Today her family is joining ours for a Memorial Weekend picnic. I can’t wait. Yes, Lord, I am blessed. 

OK, coffee is done time to go out on the porch and do my devotions. The cell phone rings again. “Happy Birthday to the most beautiful, smartest, kindest, most spiritual, most wonderful mother of all” rings in my ears. I can’t stop smiling. Thank you Nancy for that beautiful rendition. The best part was when she ended it with, “And someday I want to be just like you.” Thank you God, for making me someone that my daughter can pattern her life after. I’ve not always been perfect, but I am thankful that God is with me and reminding me that my children are watching so I quickly confess, and move into a closer relation with Him and them. 

My favorite start for the day is to sit on the swing on my back porch and listen to the birds sing as I take God’s Word into my spirit and pray as He leads me. I am so blessed, sometimes it overwhelms me. 

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the day holds. As I am writing this, I see a pop-up from my oldest son saying, “Happy Birthday, Mom, we love you.” Yes, and I love you, too. So much it hurts sometimes because my heart just does not seem to be big enough to contain all the love I have form my hubby, children and grandchildren. Oh, and did I forget to mention my 2 great-grandchildren??? 

I thank God for allowing me to celebrate the end of my 61 years on earth. I know that things are changing in my life as I go through the phases. Sometimes I sit and wonder what is next. But God always brings me around and lets me know that He is not done with me yet. “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8. I don’t think that God is going to leave me here on earth for a thousand years, but if He does, I want to use each one for Him. I want to share His love that has brought me through so many life situations. I want to be the example for my grandchildren of how much better it is to live for God than it is to live for the world. I want everyone to see that God has a better plan, a deeper joy, and that His Word is the only instruction we need. 

Yes, I am blessed. And even though I turn 61 today, I’m not done. Happy Birthday to Me!