Monday, January 6, 2014

NO ONE STANDS ALONE



It is not yet daybreak and I am sitting here with my morning coffee thinking about the day ahead.  Today is Monday, the first day of a new work week and I am already planning how to approach the day.  Sometimes I just need to be in the present moment and not think too far ahead.

As I sit here in the quiet with no TV, no music playing, no voices heard, I ponder how lonely life can be when it is not shared with another.  Being single and alone is many times a sad place to be.  As these thoughts flood my mind, I am reminded of a song from my youth, "No One Stands Alone".  The song has beautiful words that lift my spirit and encourage me greatly as it reminds me that, with God, I am never alone.  The chorus of the song is my prayer today:

"Hold my hand all the way, every hour, every day.
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand
Where no one stands alone."

We are never truly alone when we are sheltered by a loving Heavenly Father.  He is the friend that is ever faithful, the companion who never leaves or forsakes, the one whose love is constant and true. I  could not endure the adversities of life without knowing that He is ever near.

I realize that there are those who doubt His existence, who have never trusted Him or believed in Him.  That is their choice.  However, I cannot imagine a life without God in it.  His love has covered me and held me secure from the days of my childhood.  When life has been at its bleakest, He has been there.  When death has come to those I loved and I have been left behind, He was there.  Every morning that I awaken, seeking His guidance, He is there.  I am never really alone.

I have no clue as to what the year ahead has in store.  I can tell you this, though, wherever life finds me it will find my sweet Lord.  I live each day knowing that He will never leave me---knowing that I have a friend who is closer than a brother.  I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and knows me by name.  I am never really alone.

In Grace,
Marie


Sunday, September 29, 2013






The Way Back

It has been such a very long time since I have written on my blog.  I have followed so many of you and read some wonderful posts but have been unable to devote much time to writing my own.  Some issues with my heart and a serious family situation have occupied much of my time.  Still, in the midst of all of this, I continue to  say that God is so so good.

I have learned that no situation is too difficult for God to handle, that it is possible to have incredible joy in the midst of adversity, and that God never ever leaves us alone.  He is ever present, waiting to comfort us and carry us when we feel we are so unable to take another step.  His love is so constant and His grace so amazing.  How awesome is our God!

One of my favorite songs is "How Great Is Our God".  This song has comforted me and encouraged me in the days when things were so dark and life so overwhelming.   When I was in the emergency room and no one was with me, I felt His presence.  As a cardiac nurse, I watched the heart monitor with full knowledge of  how serious my irregular hear rate and rhythm were.  I was so terribly frightened and thought I would surely die.  In the midst of all of this, I realized the truth of the words of this great song.  I realized that my God was, indeed, truly great and able to care for me when I could not care for myself.  Thankfully, there was no damage or injury to my heart.  The doctors determined that extreme stress and fatigue had created the irregularity.  I remain very grateful for all that God has done.

I am convinced that all things, good and bad, do work together for our good.  In the midst of all the events of life, God remains truly great.  I love Him so dearly and cannot imagine my life without Him in it.  He is helping me find my way back to the things I love---writing, singing, and, most of all, living.  I remain a blessed woman living a blessed life.  I  cannot ask for more than that.

In Grace,
Marie


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Only Way To Stand


The cover of the CD of the movie

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love the movie "Courageous".   I first saw the movie when I ordered it from my local cable's movies on demand.  I watched it 4 times within the next 24 hours and eventually purchased my own copy of the movie.  I was fascinated by the story of 5 men who made a resolution to live their lives by the Word of God.  In a formal ceremony, each of them took a pledge to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.  Each man was eventually tested to the limit of his resolve---the outcome is phenomenal.  It is a awesome movie.

One of the songs from the soundtrack of the movie, "Sing Your Song to Me" (sung by Third Day), became a favorite with me.  I purchased the soundtrack and I listen to it frequently.  Just this past week, I was just as struck by the words of the title song, also titled "Courageous".  The last line of the chorus says this:  "The only way we'll ever stand, is on our knees with lifted hands."

It seems an odd comment to make---that we must stand by kneeling, but if you think about it from a spiritual standpoint, it makes perfect sense.  When we kneel before the Lord, we are receiving strength, courage, direction.  We are recognizing that we cannot be what He needs us to be by attempting it on our own.  We need the Lord and we need His strength if we are to stand.

I must confess that as I listened to these words, I was reminded of own, dear father.  I have written many times about my father and the tremendous impact he has had on my life.  If I close my eyes and travel back in time, I can hear his booming voice calling my name in prayer---I can feel his hand patting my cheek---and I can hear him whisper in my ear, "Daddy's girl".    I can see him kneeling by his bed with his hands raised high as he prayed for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I have witnessed him stand true to his beliefs when others faltered and failed.  His influence on my life cannot be described.

Oh, how we need men of honor and integrity---men of courage and principle---men who stand in the face of all opposition---who will not break in the face of adversity.   How we need Godly fathers and husbands who will teach their sons to honor God, respect authority, and treasure their families.  We so desperately need men who are unashamed to kneel before the Lord and to raise their hands in prayer.

I, too, pray to be courageous.  I pray to be woman of faith and integrity--- a woman of honor---a woman who will remain unafraid to take a stand for what she believes.  I pray to leave a legacy of faith and trust in a God who cannot fail.  My desire is for my children and grandchildren to remember me as a woman of prayer and a woman who willingly raised her hands in praise to God.  I pray to stand on bended knees and lifted hands.  Oh, how I pray to stand.

In Grace,
Marie





Saturday, December 8, 2012

How Fast the Time Goes



Time can only be controlled to a certain degree.  How quickly it passes we cannot control.  How we pass the time is what truly matters.
Since my last post, I have been dividing my time between work, church, and home.  I have found myself busier than I thought I could ever be and, up until a week ago  was really enjoying my activities.  However, overdoing has quickly caught up with this physical body of mine and now I am under doctor's orders to rest.  Having depleted my immune system, I am finding such rest a welcome change.
Since my Christmas decor was already in place and my home reflected the season I love the most, my imposed rest allowed me the time to reflect upon its true meaning.  I find myself rereading the scripture's account of the precious Savior's birth with a sense of awe at our Father God's orchestration of events.  A virgin mother, an aged foster father, an angelic chorus, humble shepherds, and wise men from afar, make an account that only the Most High could put in place.  How perfectly each character was chosen---how unexpected were the Father's choices.
Luke tells us that Mary received the angel's message with complete submission, "Be it unto me according to thy word".   Matthew tells us that Joseph, "did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.".  Luke continues his account by telling of the angelic host appearing to lowly shepherds with a song only angels could sing.  Wise men, bearing expensive gifts, challenged an ungodly ruler to pay tribute to the infant King of Kings.  What a story--what a birth---what a night!!!!
Sometimes, we forget, not that He was born, but the magnificence of His birth.  The wonder of the season can get lost in the festivities and the baby in the manger fades away in the frenzy.  We do not do this intentionally, but it is an undesirable "side effect" of the season.
King David once said, "He maketh me lie down in green pastures".   I am not saying my illness came from God---but I am saying that a time of inactivity can force one to focus on the details of life that often get overlooked when one fills every hour with  activity and duty.  I have come to believe that, as quickly as time passes, we must make every effort to guard against filling it with so much of ourselves that we leave little time for "Him". 
A dear friend of my father's once said, "Only one life it will soon be past.  Only what's done for Christ will last".  Time is all we have to use for Him---everything else is secondary.  Let us purpose to use our time for His glory because we all know how fast the time goes.

In Grace,
Marie
  

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Blessings Continue



So much has happened since my last post.  I am always amazed at how quickly time passes.  As a child, it seemed like days were long and passed slowly.  I could wile away the hours with books, music, family get togethers, and a host of church activities that would occupy almost every free moment.  Oh, what a wonderful life it was.  My childhood memories are well preserved in heart and mind and I would have those days again. 

Still, filling my days now as an adult, I find myself yearning for new memories and for new experiences with my family and trusted friends.  Second only to the presence of God Himself, family is the best thing we have and the greatest blessing God gives.  I love time spent with my family.

Having recently come through a diagnosis of colon cancer, and surviving two surgeries to remove the cancerous growth, seeing my brother, Dan, was at the top of my list.  How grateful I was to see his face, hear his strong voice, and listen to his laughter as we shared stories of our childhood and my grandsons' latest escapades.  I cannot thank God enough for the blessing of having him with me.  He looked so good and, if I had not seen the scars for myself, it would have been difficult to believe that he had come through such a horrendous ordeal.  God is so good.

Of course seeing my son, John, and his lovely girlfriend, Sarah, was a highlight of my trip.  As I listened to my son speak about his job, his college classes, and his family, I became very aware that he has become a man I am so very proud of.  John is strong, independent, and has a great sense of humor.  He will never know that in the dark days of my life, he saved me from total despair.  John is my only son and I could never find the words to tell how much I love my son.

My youngest brother, Dwight, just makes my day.  I was 15 when Dwight was born and I thought he was all mine.  I spoiled him unmercifully and delighted in his every achievement.  I am so proud of him and love him so much.

I guess I have described my family in such detail because I don't see them very often and they are never very far from my thoughts.  I am so grateful.  My parents raised all of us to love God first, family second and to never underestimate the love a family can provide.  I am thankful for that bedrock of teaching that runs through us all.  It is the tie that bind us together.

Yet, the memories are what are so precious.  Memories of love, sharing, and laughter can quickly come to mind to comfort and sustain me in my darkest moments.  Recalling a funny story, a loving moment, or a special celebration can fill me with joy.  I am a blessed woman.

So, as the grandchildren and great grandchildren begin making their own memories, we "older children" will add our stories as we go along.  The telling never ends---nor do the blessings.  It is the joy of life to remember that God is ever present and never leaves or fails.  I am so grateful for that abiding presence in my life and the lives of those I love.  There is nothing that can take His place, no love greater than that of our precious Father God.  To be loved by God is the greatest privilege of life and the greatest blessing I have received.

The blessings continue and I give Him praise.

In Grace,

Marie

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Going Home


As most of you who follow my blog will know, my family lives several states away.  I am originally from Ohio but am now living in North Carolina.  My daughter and her sweet family live about an hour away but the rest of my immediate family remains in Ohio.  Tomorrow I will be flying home to see them all and I am so EXCITED!!  I am particularly longing to see my brother, Dan, who recently fought colon cancer so bravely.  Praise to the Most High, he is currently cancer free.

As I was thinking of the joy of seeing those I love, I was reminded of the blessing of having a loving family.  What a joy it is to see their faces and to hear the sound of their voices.  I am eager to hear Daddy's booming voice and feel his loving embrace.  I am equally yearning for my Mother's sweet touch and to see her precious face.  My brothers, Dan and Dwight, and my wonderful son, John, complete the reunion.  How blessed I am to be part of such a wonderful family.

There are times in life when you realize just how blessed you are.  I have lost two of my four brothers---they both left this world way too young, with many left behind to mourn their loss.  My family's recent struggle with my brother Dan's health again brought a clear perspective to what is really important in life.  It is not the acquisition of things that creates a life.  It is not the accolades of man or the accomplishments of life, neither is it titles or recognition that bring us joy.  It is the presence of God and the blessings He gives that makes life worth living.  The blessing of family cannot be underestimated when we remind ourselves of what is truly valuable.

I am aware that not everyone has this blessing.  I know that I was, and am, blessed beyond measure with the family I have.  I do so wish that everyone could share in such a blessing.  I cannot thank God enough, or find the words to describe, the joy my family brings to me.  My life has not been an easy one at times but it has always been undergirded by the knowledge that there were those who loved me standing near and always supporting me and caring for me.  I love them all so dearly.

Going home is such a thrill for me.  I am sure that there will be a day when I will return to the familiar place I have always called home.  It will not be the same as it was in days gone by, but the memories will remain and the family members who also remain will still love and care for each other.  My desire is to leave behind a way of life for my children and grandchildren to carry into the future.  It would give me tremendous pleasure to know that love of family and the ties that bind a family together will remain intact long after I am gone.

Home for me is to be surrounded by all of my family---parents, brothers, children and grandchildren.  Second only to God Himself, they are the greatest joy of life.  There is nothing that is more precious than spending time with those whose love and presence has been so sustaining through all of life's ups and downs.  It is, indeed, a true joy.  And that, my friends, is why I'm going home.

Blessings to each of you today.

In Grace,
Marie

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just Let Me Know

My wonderful Daddy, Rev. Russell Caudill

My father is such an awesome man.  I have written before about his kindness, his generosity, and his love of family.  He is a man whose steps are directed of the Lord and a man whose love for God is the guiding factor of his life.  I adore him.

I am certain that my trust in my Heavenly Father has been molded by my trust and love for my earthly father.  My Daddy has not been perfect but he has been the best father in the world to me and my four brothers.  His living example of faith and devotion have colored my view of the God I serve.  When my father would sit me on his knee as a little girl and talk to me about the goodness and faithfulness of God, I believed every word he said.  I believed it because I saw it in my father's life.

As you know from previous posts, our family has recently endured the devastating news of my brother, Dan, and his diagnosis of colon cancer.  Daddy became the bedrock of faith for our entire family.  Throughout the entire ordeal, Mother was the prayer warrior and Daddy the voice of faith.  Everyday his booming voice would speak to me about my brother and let me know that God was in control.  His unwavering faith in the goodness of God became the anchor for all of us to cling to.  My heart and mind were at ease just hearing Daddy's words of encouragement.

About six weeks ago, I faced a personal crisis of my own.  It was so devastating and so heart wrenching, I didn't think I could bear up under the load.  My tears were many and my prayers were constant.  I knew God was in control but I definitely could not control my own  raging emotions during that time.  Knowing that I could put my trust in my unfailing Heavenly Father was my greatest source of comfort.  The prayers and encouragement of my earthly father did, once again, anchor my drifting heart.

As I spoke to my Daddy about this trying circumstance, he listened patiently while I poured out my heart to him.  I could hear his whispers to the Lord as I was speaking to him and I knew that Daddy was already lifting me to God in prayer.  When I could speak no more, the voice I have loved to hear all of my life began to counsel me as to the steps I should take to resolve the issue.  As my emotions began to calm, I felt hope spring up within me and I could begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When we came to the end of the conversation, Daddy said, "If there is anything you need, just let me know.".

Shortly after I hung up the phone, I realized that this is exactly what our dear Heavenly Father has instructed us to do when facing life's adversities.  God desires for us to "let Him know" when we need His help---when life is too much for us to handle---when our hearts are overwhelmed---when we feel we have no place else to go.  We can go to Him knowing that, even if the problem does not go away, we still can have His abiding presence and the assurance that He will work this out for our good.  No one else can do for us what God can do for us.  We just need to ask so that we may receive and seek so that we may find.

My Daddy is eighty-two years old.  He is active, funny, vibrant, and full of life.  He still travels to conferences and special services across the country with my sweet Mother as his traveling companion.  He still reads the scriptures with a yearning to know them fully and strives to live by God's Word in his daily life.  He is such a Godly man and I am proud to be his child.

Today, I strive to be a child of God that would reflect Him to those around me.  I want to be the humble servant of the Most High, striving to be all He would have me be.  There are times when I am able to be at peace in my surroundings and find joy in the simple things of life.  Other times, when the storm is raging, I am driven to my knees, petitioning my dear Lord for the needs of my life.  I  am comforted by the fact that, in those times of desperation, I hear the Lord say, "I will supply all your needs---just let me know.".  Isn't that just like a father, meeting the needs of the children if they will only let Him know.

In Grace,
Marie