Monday, April 27, 2009

A Deep Thinker


My brother, Dan has always been a deep thinker. Frequently when were young, I would find him sitting on the front porch or stretched out on the bed in his room just staring into the distance. I would ask what he was doing and he would always say, "I'm thinking.". I never asked what he was thinking about--I knew he'd tell me sooner or later.
Dan was the third of the four boys. From his birth he was the happiest baby I had ever seen. You could just look at him and he would smile. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He would lay in his crib or sit in his high chair and just smile at everyone. Mother had his picture made at age six months. It was so cute! He had a blanket laid across his little head and he was laughing so hard, a little drool came out the corner of his mouth. A minister friend of my father's said the picture belonged on the cover of a magazine. He was, indeed, a happy baby.
At age four, Dan shocked us all by reading the funny papers. He was laying on his belly on the kitchen floor one Sunday morning while Mother was fixing breakfast. She heard him laughing and, turning around to face him, asked him what he was laughing about. He told Mother he was laughing at what he was reading in the funny papers. Mother asked him to read and he took off reading like he had been doing so for years. We were all shocked!!!!! He must have been asked to read five or six times that morning. My oldest brother, Don, just shook his head in disbelief. Daddy, of course, was so proud that he had Dan read for one of our visiting ministers. Our friend was so touched that he later sent Dan a beautiful Bible. Dan still uses that Bible to this day. He told me just a few months ago that the Lord taught Him to read. He said that on that day, the words just opened up to him and he began to read everything he could. He still does.
As I watched Dan grow older and work his way through life, I saw him think his way through a lot of situations that I would never have come through myself. He would frequently ponder and meditate on a solution for his problem and then pursue a course of action. He is a quiet man (he describes himself as an introvert) who lives
his life based on the Word of God. He is my teacher, my mentor, my friend. He is a man I truly admire.
I know without a doubt that the hardest thing Dan has ever faced was the loss of our brothers. He was seventeen when our oldest brother, Don, passed away. I know he grieved but I don't know much about how he worked through it at that time. However, when our second brother, David, passed away, I remember well watching Dan lay his head on the forehead of our brother and weep. He didn't cry long, that's not his way, but just seeing those tears let me know how broken his heart really was. Dan and I both spoke at David's funeral and, as difficult as it was, I know it helped us both in our healing.
Dan has always been a thinker, a writer, and one of the finest teachers I have ever known. I am so very proud of him. He has insights into the Word of God that I have failed, at times, to recognize. In the lowest point of my life, when a painful divorce had brought me low and my heart was breaking, Dan came to me and comforted me with the following words: "I don't think you are missing your spouse as much as you are missing having someone in your life. Just remember, Sis, peace is a choice. You can choose to suffer by dwelling on your pain or you can choose peace and leave the suffering to God. It won't go away overnight, but accepting God's peace will make it bearable.". Like a breath of fresh air, his words lifted me above what I was enduring. Dan was right, it didn't go away overnight. I had to make the choice for peace more than once, but, he was also right when he said God would make it bearable. And He did.
Today, Dan continues to think and write, although now he incorporates the events of our day with the prophetic Word of God. He writes a political commentary (www.usavisionary.com) and encourages people to be mindful of what God is doing in the world today. He remains a source of inspiration to me and is a constant presence through his teaching, his encouragement, and his love. I never grow weary of hearing him speak--I never tire of listening to his ideas--I am always thrilled by his presence. He challenges me, through his own life, to be a better person. He makes me want to be all that God wants me to be.
Maybe someday he will find me sitting on the porch, staring off into the distance.
When he askes me what I'm doing, I'll just say, "I'm thinking.". I think he would like that. I think he would like that a lot.

In Grace,
Marie

A Sister's Pride


Having four brothers has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have often made the statement that I cannot imagine a life without brothers. Each of them have contributed immeasureably to my life and brought me such joy. I have loved each of them fiercely and am so very proud of the men they became.
I was fifteen when my youngest brother, Dwight, was born. Back in "those days" children under the age of twelve were not allowed to visit patients in the hospital. So, Dwight was the first of my brothers I actually got to see after his birth. I remember standing at the nursery window with my Daddy and looking at Dwight. He was the most beautiful baby and I wanted to take him home right then. I couldn't wait to hold him--he was so precious.
As Dwight became a toddler, his hair grew long and curly---and blonde!! Everywhere we went, people commented on his hair. He smiled all the time and was such a ham for pictures. He would pose any way you wanted him to and wait for the camera to click. His blonde curls, blue eyes, and ready smile endeared him to the heart of all who knew him. Among the women of my father's church Dwight was "the Baby". He was so loved.
The day my mother took Dwight for his first haircut was an awful day. No one wanted him to lose his curls. Some of the women of our church actually cried when they saw him with his hair cut. I coudn't help but shed a tear or two, but he looked so cute with his short hair that we all eventually adapted to it. Besides, his sweet personality never changed.
As Dwight grew older I watched him play T-ball, survive broken bones, get his first car, and learn to play the drums. Though Dwight has always excelled at everything he has ever done, it was his music that remained his first love. He was an exceptional drummer. In our home church, in church campmeetings, or the basement of our home, he played with such abandon---it was almost as if he lost himself in the beat of whatever tune he was listening to. He was self-taught and he was one of the best.
Dwight married in his early twenties and the drums sort of got pushed into the background of life. I know he still played from time to time but nothing like what he had enjoyed when he was younger. I missed him in church. No one could follow my lead on the piano like he could. I'm sure I may be a little prejudice but, to me, he was the best.
Life hit Dwight very hard in his thirties. A number of tragedies, including a divorce and the loss of our second brother, made life a sad place for my little brother. I remember asking God to be with him, to comfort him, and to touch the pain in his heart with healing and restoration. It was difficult to know what to say because no words we can speak can mend a broken heart. It takes God to do that and, even though Dwight was so hurt he could not pray, I was praying for him and asking God to do the work.
Later on, when I faced my own tragedies, Dwight was there to help me get back on my feet. He put furniture in my home and helped me buy a car. He became a major player in my emotional recovery and, along with my children, became one of the reasons I picked myself up to begin again. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, Dwight was there. I smile when I remember him saying to me, "Keep yourself busy, Sis, and for God's sake don't listen to any sad music on the radio.". He knew me so well--he still does.
Tracy came into Dwight's life at just the right time. The above picture is the one used for their engagement announcement. She became such a part of our family and has added grace and beauty to Dwight's life. It was through her that I began to see my brother heal. I saw him smile again and I heard him laugh--I mean really laugh for the first time in a long time. How I praised the Lord for the sound of his laughter and how I thanked Him for Tracy and her beautiful Christian spirit. Their wedding was so lovely, so peaceful, so joyful---tears filled my eyes when I saw the way Dwight looked at Tracy. Another prayer for my little brother had been answered.
I was so happy for him.
It was with Tracy's encouragement that Dwight began playing the drums again. The church they attend was auditioning for drummers and Tracy insisted Dwight try out. We both agreed that he would not have done it had Tracy not gone with him but , nevertheless, he made the audition and is now one of several drummers at Christian Life Center.
This past Sunday, I sat in the congregation and watched as Dwight played the drums. As always, he appeared to be lost in the music as he played unto the Lord. Every drum roll brought a leap of joy to my spirit and every time he hit the cymbals I could have come to my feet had I not already been standing!!!` I was so proud of him. As I watched him, my mind went over all the things he had endured in life to bring him to this point. I was reminded of when the music in his hands was silent. I thought of the times when he hurt so badly he could not speak. I remembered his smile when he told me about Tracy. Most of all, though, I remembered the little boy who used to slip his hand in mine as we crossed the street---the little boy who would look up at me, smile, and melt my heart. I was reminded of how faithful God is.
If I have learned one thing in life, it is that we must never give up praying for those we love. We must never stop believing in them and we must never stop believing in the God who loves them. I guess I feel like the prayers I prayed for my brother and the love I hold in my heart for him, played a part in his returning to his music. I like to think that the little boy who held my hand and the man on the drums are one and the same. Both of them hold my heart in their hands. Both of them are loved beyond measure. The little boy became the man on the drums---the man on the drums remains my joy. I think he knows how much he is loved---I think he knows.

In Grace,
Marie

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ride The Storm


My father and I have always been fascinated with eagles. The majesty of the bird and its physical capabilities have held me in awe since I was a child. I have often marveled at the span of its wings, the distance its vision covers, and the height to which it can rise. Daddy has a beautiful eagle figurine on his desk and a picture of an eagle in flight on his office wall. I have, more times than one, found myself standing and staring at the rendition of an eagle in the wild. It is, indeed, an awesome creature.
As beautiful as the eagle is, there is an authority in the personality of the bird that lets me know it can withstand the harshest of storms. There is something in its flight that speaks to me of peace and strength. Is it any wonder, then, that the scriptures compare us, the children of God, so frequently to this marvelous bird? Could it be that the eagle's attributes and its lifestyle are such that we are to take a lesson from what we see and adapt them to a human way of life? Can we learn to use the wisdom and knowledge of such a creature as this to develop peace, strength, and authority in our own lives? Let's look a little closer.
The wing span of the eagle is over six feet in total length. Seven layers of feathers make up each wing. This enables the eagle to climb to enormous heights--many times flying above the storm below. There are also times when the eagle stays in the eye of the storm, stretching out its wings to maximum capacity and "riding" the wind effortlessly. With calm assurance, the eagle stays safe in the middle of the wind and the rain--in the midst of all that is whirling around it--it never frets, never doubts, knowing the span of its wings and the strength of the storm itself will keep it in flight. The speed of its flight can be as much as thirty miles per hour.
What about the vision of the eagle? I am told that an eagle can see its prey from a mile away, swooping down in seconds and snatching it from the earth before it has any idea that the eagle is even close. When hunting prey in water, the eagle has the ability to see the fish that are close to the bottom of the water source. It can actually see through the depth of the water, find its prey, and lift it from the water bed.
I am most fascinated by how the eagle heals itself when disease or injury takes place. The eagle will soar to the highest available rocky place--one that has been baked by the sun until the rock itself is hot. It will then spread its wings wide, exposing its body and lay itself as flat as possible on the hot stone. This is where we get the term "spread eagle". The eagle will stay "bellied up" to the rock until the disease is drawn from its body by the heat or until its death.
Do you now see why we are referred to in scripture as the "eagle saints of God."? Why we are told that "...they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. they shall mount up with wings as an eagle. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint..."? The storm will not deter us if our arms are spread wide and we set them, not on the wind, but on the open hand of God that will take us through every heartache and every trial. The hand of God that will never let us fall, never let us falter, but will guide us through every storm and, sometimes, even lifting us above it so that we are not disturbed by the billowing gales around us. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, there shall be no enemy that shall defeat us. Like the eagle, we can swoop down into the ungodly flesh of our lives and remove those things that hinder us the most. Our anger, our disappointments, our painful pasts--all can be removed by an eagle-like vision that is ever watchful over the attempts of the enemy to make us the prey rather than the victor. And, finally, isn't it time we all "bellied up" to the Rock? Isn't it time we gave our worries, our cares, our tears, our disease-ridden bodies the healing heat of the Rock of our salvation? Oh, dear ones, our God waits ever so patiently to hold us close, to cleanse us of not only the disease of our bodies, but the disease of our hearts and spirits as well.
We, like the eagle, can move victoriously through all the storms of this life. We are high flyers, storm dwellers, and overcomers. With our God leading the way, we have naught to fear. Though we face the storms of life, we are MORE than conquerors through Jesusw Christ, our Lord.
I wrote a song many years ago as Daddy was preaching on this very subject. The words came so easily and now, twenty years later, they return to me and validate my own victory in learning to "fly high".

As I look ahead and see the storm clouds gather,
I see the lightning flashing, I hear the thunder roll.
I can never be afraid for I know Jesus has control.
I know He'll set my wings and help me ride the storm.

I'll set my wings upon the hands of Jesus.
As He guides me I can ride the storm and never be afraid.
If the sky becomes too dark, or my flight too rough to go,
I'll trust in Him, set my wings, and ride the storm.

As the eagle sails so high above the clouds,
Going far beyond the greatest heights that others go,
This eagle saint of God will sail beyond the heights of man,
For he'll set my wings, and help me ride the storm.

Whatever storm you are facing today, God can help you. Let Him take you in His great
hands and bring you through your present storm. "Belly up" to the Rock and find strength and healing today. Ride the storm with God--it will be the experience of a lifetime.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dependable As The Tide


I will never forget the first time I saw the ocean. My family and I had traveled to Daytona Beach for a much needed vacation. As we drove along the main highway through Daytona, I caught a glimpse of the ocean and nearly stopped breathing from the sheer beauty of it. I was awed by the aqua blue color of the water and the whiteness of the sand along the beach. I remember feeling so small. I thought of the scripture, "...All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full."
Later that evening I stood on the balcony of our hotel room and looked out over the vast amount of blue and watched the white foam of tide crash upon the beach below. It was almost hypnotic in its routine. Nothing stopped the tide from coming in and going out. It was so predictable--so dependable. It was then I had one of those moments that come when you least expect it, changing how you think forever. The dependability of the tide reminded me of the greater dependability of its creator and I was humbled by the thought.
Oh! how I have taken Him for granted so often. Knowing that He would always be there and would always make the way for me became my comfort zone and, like my favorite chair, I often rested in that comfort without thanking the giver. So many times I had failed to thank Him for being present with me. Just as the tide could be depended upon to come in and go out, creating a beautiful vision before our very eyes, so can our God be depended upon to never leave us or forsake us--He will be there.
There have been times in my life when I felt like I could depend on no one, believe on nothing, and my dreams had all but died. I have had moments of loss and sorrow--moments where I wondered if even God Himself remembered me. Ah, but then there would be that stirring in my Spirit, that whispering in my ear, "I am here. I will always be here.". And, then, in my darkest moment, He would come and I would feel safe and secure in knowing He was there.
We may have little to count on in this life. Friends may fail and family may not understand. Society may frown upon us and the path we walk may not be an easy one. One thing, though, stands sure and certain--we can depend on a God who cannot fail. When we stand alone and face the barreness of life, He is there. When our heads bow low with grief and our hearts are shredded from the agonies of living--He is there. Like the tide upon the sandy shore, He comes. He is as dependable as the tide. He may step away from us, allowing us the opportunity to develop strength and character as we lean on Him, but, like the tide, He will return. He is as good as His Word, "I will never leave you or forsake you. I will be with you always, even unto the end of the world.". Sounds pretty dependable to me.

In Grace,
Marie

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God Is So Good


How easy it is for us to take God for granted! His daily blessings are so profound and His faithfulness ever present, yet we go about our lives so many times without really thinking about how good God really is. We don't always remember that it is because of God's grace and mercy that we live happy, fulfilling lives. We are, too often, so busy living that we forget to thank the giver of life. We are human and, as such, sometimes neglect to give God the glory. It's not that we are ungrateful, we are just not good about saying so.
This truth was brought home to me the last time I visited my friend, Ricky Beal. Ricky had been diagnosed some months before with glioblastoma--a fast growing, devastating tumor of the brain that is very difficult to treat and, ultimately, becomes terminal. He had had surgery to remove the tumor and, as a result, suffered dramatic memory loss. It was hard for me to think of my friend suffering in this way. He and his wife, Lila, had been my friends for several years and were very dear to my heart. Ricky played the guitar in our church and his wife sang with our praise team. How I loved to play music with Ricky. His love of music was so obvious and his love of the Lord came out in every song he played. He was such a blessing. The above picture shows him on a hunting trip--something he really enjoyed.
I was priviledged to visit Ricky and Lila in their home just months before Ricky died. As I pulled up the driveway, they both came out on the porch to greet me. I looked at Ricky and saw the grin on his face. He didn't speak but he hugged me tight and I knew he was glad I had come. We went inside, sat down on the couch, and Lila updated me on all that had happened to Ricky. As a result of the tumor and the surgery, Ricky had lost a lot of his memory. I noticed when he spoke that he would forget the word he wanted to say and would look to Lila to finish the sentence. I asked him if he remembered us playing music together and he said, "I remember a little.". He told me that he had trouble putting words together to speak because he couldn't remember what certain words meant.
As I got ready to leave a couple of hours later, Ricky made a statement I will NEVER forget. With some difficulty he said to me, "Marie, I can't play my guitar anymore because I don't remember how to make the chords. I can't read my Bible because I can't figure out the words. By the time I put the letters together, I have forgotten what the word is. I miss reading my Bible most of all. But I can tell you this one thing--in spite of everything God has been so good to me. Yeah, He's sure been good to me.".
Do I need to tell you that the tears filled my eyes as I looked at my friend? Do I need to say what courage I saw in those beautiful eyes? I thought to myself, here is a man who has lost lovely memories of his family and his life; here is a man who can no longer play the music that he loves; here is a man who can no longer read the Word of God for himself, yet he says God is good. What courage, what faith!
Months later, I visited Ricky in the hospital. I walked into his room and thought he was asleep. He must have heard me coming because he opened his eyes, looked up at me with a smile and said, "Hey, Marie.". I didn't stay long. I had a feeling it would be my last time to see him--and it was. Ricky died shortly after that.
His words, however, have stayed with me. "God is so good to me.".
I am challenged everyday to remember the goodness of God in the face of life's adversities. I am reminded that life is not fair but God is. I cannot remember a time when God failed to be there for me even in the midst of the very hardship He allowed. God is so good. As I look back over my life and remember each time life hit me hard, I recall a blessing of God was there through a song, a friendly word, a prayer, the love of my family and friends. I am reminded of His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. God is so good to me--I can't complain.

In Grace,
Marie

Friday, April 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home

There is something wonderful about the thought of going home. Whether it is your own home that you love and cherish or a childhood home that takes you a step back in time, home is always the place we want to go.
My parents recently sold the home my brothers and I grew up in. With all of us gone, it seemed rather empty and quiet to them. Mother was weary of taking care of a two story home and Daddy was ready to relocate as well. They moved into a lovely ranch home and have made it their new haven of rest. Mother has added some of the familiar and sentimental treasures she loves while Daddy is happy with an office and a place to study.
I know it must sound strange but when I travel home to visit them in their new house, I feel that same warmth of home that I have always felt. I realize now that it wasn't all the familiar belongings Mother and Daddy possessed that drew us home. It wasn't the comfortable couch or Daddy's favorite recliner---it wasn't my favorite bed or the soft down comforters Mother wrapped me in. It was Mother and Daddy themselves that drew us home. It was, and still is, their love and support that created a place where we, their children, felt the safest and most protected. Their love was the blanket that covered us, the warmth that cradled us, and the shelter we needed when life became too much to handle. Never were they disappointed when they saw us coming but, rather, they greeted us with joy and a warm embrace. Even now, when I travel home, I do so with the anticipation of the greeting I will receive. Daddy and I have a ritual that never changes: I pull in the driveway beeping my horn several times while Daddy opens the door and runs to me. I mean, he really RUNS to me and those strong arms wrap around me as he smothers me with such hugs and kisses that I laugh with the joy of seeing him again. Mother waits at the door and kisses me on both cheeks, then holds me so tight I can hardly breathe. No wonder I yearn for home! No wonder I travel so far just for Daddy's hugs and Mother's kiss. What joy to be home again.
I think that will be the best part of being at home with the Lord. The scriptures teach us that man cannot imagine what God is preparing for us. Mortal eyes have seen nothing that even begins to compare to the glorious beauty of that place called Heaven. Even though I have read the description of it many times, my mind still cannot wrap itself around the glory I will see.
As beautiful as Heaven will be, it will be the presence of Jesus, my risen Lord, that will make it truly Heaven for me. I cannot imagine Heaven without my precious Lord any more than I can imagine home without Mother and Daddy. To be at home with Christ, the one who has loved me most of all. To be in the presnce of the one who died for me--oh, this will be what makes it Heaven for me. To look into His eyes of grace and mercy, to sit at His feet and listen to the voice I have yearned to hear--oh what a day that will be.
There is never any place we can go on the face of the earth that can take the place of home. No fancy hotel or famous retreat can provide the true comforts of home. No view from afar can replace seeing home when it first comes into view. No maid or butler can take the place of the inhabitants of home. How I love to be there! How I look forward to being at home with Jesus in the distant day when I lay down the robe of faulty flesh and put on the robe and crown He has waiting for me.
Many years ago, Lanny Wolfe wrote a beautiful song that sums up all I have been saying. May its words bless you and make you yearn for Heaven. After all, there really is no place like home.

"Heaven for me; Heaven for me.
Jesus will be what makes it Heaven for me.
Its beauty and splendor I'm longing to see,
But Jesus will be what makes it Heaven for me."

In Grace,
Marie

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Noble Profession


As far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be the one who would make everyone feel better and I frequently practiced on my brothers. The boys were my patients and, with a paper nurse's cap and a toy stethoscope, I would pretend to listen to their hearts and mend all their imaginary injuries. They would join me in my make-believe and played right along in my fantasy. Don, the oldest brother, would always tell my mother what a good nurse I was.
I waited until both of my children were in school before I went back to school myself. It was difficult balancing home, school, church, and family. There were times when I thought I would buckle under the weight of such responsibility but I made it through thanks to my dear mother and her care of me and my children. During nursing school I learned a lot about how precious life can be and how every day is a priviledge--how life is a priviledge, and how every breath we take is a blessing.
In March of 1988, I graduated from nursing school. Unfortunately, Don had passed away a few years before and did not get to see me get my diploma. Still, I felt he was watching me from Heaven's front row and I could picture him telling the angelic host, "She's such a good nurse.". The other three boys all congratulated me with hugs and smiles. Daddy grabbed me as I came off the platform and said, "I'm so proud of you.". Mother looked at me with tears in her eyes and just hugged me tight--her embrace saying the words she could not speak.
I went to work in a local hospital on a general medical-surgical floor. Two years later I moved to a position in the intensive care unit. I have been in that particular branch of nursing ever since. I take care of patients who have various types of open-heart surgery---it remains my passion.
During my 19 years of working in the critical care setting I have met many patients and their families. I have seen people at their worst and their best. I have helped many recover to wellness and have held the hands of many who have died. Not one time, though, have I ever felt I have not made a difference. Nursing is the only profession I know of that will allow me the knowledge that, every time I swipe my badge at the end of a shift, I have made a difference.
Though I have cared for many patients, there are two that stand out to me the most, both of whom left an impact on my life and my nursing career. The first was a gentleman I cared for as a "baby" nurse. I had been a nurse about six months when I met Mr. Simes. Tall, large in stature, and full of the knowledge of God, Mr. Simes and I hit it off instantly. He had had gallbladder surgery and his recovery was difficult. As I walked him in the hall and assisted him in his room, he talked about the scriptures nonstop. He told me about his faith and how important God was to him. He heard me handle a difficult situation one evening and later told me how proud he was of the way I conducted myself. He didn't miss a thing that went on around him. Later that week, I went in at about 10:45 to say goodnight (I worked evening shift at that time). He reached out and shook my hand and said, "If I don't see you again down here, I will see you up there.". Thirty minutes after I left the hospital, Mr. Simes went into full cardiac arrest and died. It was several weeks before I could bring myself to care for other patients occupying that room. Mr. Simes had so touched my heart.
The second patient I cared for was Jim. Jim was a cancer patient. He was weak from the chemo and knew he was terminally ill. Fluid had collected around his heart and he had just had surgery to drain the fluid. As I walked into his room and introduced myself he looked up at me and said, "Do you believe in the infilling of the Holy Spirit?". That stopped me in my tracks. I knew that how I answered this would be one of the most important responses I would ever make to a patient. I told him I most certainly did believe in, and had received, the infilling of God's spirit. He began to tell me how he had sought the Lord regarding this but still remained uncertain. He then said something that brought tears to my eyes. With a weariness about him and a resignation of life he said, "I know my condition is terminal. I know I'm going to die. I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to do it badly. I don't want my family to remember me suffering in the end.". I could not keep the tears from falling. I sat down on a footstool so I could look up into that precious face and said, "Oh, Jim. Your family will not be interested in remembering how you died. They will remember how you've lived most of all. They will cherish the memory of your faith and trust in God as you passed from this life into the next.". He lifted his head and looked me eye-to-eye. I saw the tears fall even as a smile came to his face---one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen. He reached out and took my hands in his and said, "I so needed to hear that. Now I am at peace.". Jim died just a few days after that conversation. His family was present and, within minutes of his passing, was recalling his strength, his courage, and his peace. They were, indeed, remembering how he had lived.
Oh, dear friends, you don't have to be a nurse to leave your mark upon the lives of others. We don't need degrees and accolades to leave a word of kindness and encouragement. I happen to be in a profession I love and one that affords me the honor of touching lives on a daily basis. Once called the "noble" profession, nursing reaches into the lives of people and affects those lives with healing, grace, and dignity. We all, however, have the opportunity to touch a life with the power of God. If we are careful to notice, God sends all of us people to touch with the message of hope and healing. In this way, we all make a difference.
I have learned so much from those under my care. My life is rich with memories of life and death, failure and success, courage and despair. My life has been blessed by the opportunity to be the extended hands of Christ to so many. I have given but I have also received--oh, how I have received.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Desperate For God


There have been many times in my life when I have faced desperate situations. Each situation required intervention beyond my control and each demanded that I fall on my knees before God, seeking His help--begging His guidance. During these times I was, indeed, desperate for God to move, to intervene in some way. Now, looking back on those circumstances, I am ashamed to admit that I was more desperate for God's help than I was for God Himself.
Desperate is defined as, "almost hopeless: grave: overpowering: intense,". In recalling past events and circumstances, I can say that each one of them fit the definition. When the death of loved ones came, it was grave and overpowering. When my daughter was born with both hips dislocated and I was told she would never walk normally, it was almost hopeless. When I watched the one person I loved most in my life walk away--when I was left with nothing but my lonliness--when my despair sucked all the joy out of my life--it was, indeed, intense. All the definitions of desperate have touched my life at one time or another, sometimes all at once. Through it all, I begged God to lift the darkness that seemed to hold my very soul captive. I begged for one day, just one, where I could feel the "SON" on my face. Yes, I prayed. I prayed hard.
Years would pass before I could finally understand that, not only did I need God to move in my most trying moments, I needed "Him" most of all. I needed His presence to be with me. I needed His Word to be hidden in my heart. I needed His love to comfort me. I needed to be more desperate for God Himself than for any action He could perform. You see, I knew how to depend on God for resolution of my problems. I knew that, if I waited patiently and prayerfully, He would come to me. What I didn't know was the joy I could have whether my situation changed or not. What I didn't know was that having a relationship with God would make any circumstance bearable. I needed to be desperate for God, not for what God could do for me.
I found myself weeping in repentance. I became so hungry for God, I could not lay down my Bible. I sang everywhere I went, I hummed at my patient's bedside, I prayed myself to sleep. I do not share this to boast--I share this in the hope that each of you who read may be inspired to deepen your relationship with God.
He is the air I breathe. He is my daily bread. He is my provider. I love the Psalm that says,

"But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me;
my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
Psalms 3:3

How many times my precious God has lifted my head from sadness and despair! How many times He has shielded me and given me peace. Words fail to describe the love I have for such a God as this! If there is any goodness about me, if there is anything noble within my heart, let me assure you it is Him. Without Him, I could do nothing--be nothing--achieve nothing. I am a desperate woman. I am a desperate child. I am desperate for God.

In Grace,
Marie