And soon, very soon, we will meet again!

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.


~William Shakespeare

Wally Capps 2008
"My heart will quicken when I see my Jesus face to face" Wally Capps
Met Jesus face to face

May 25, 2009

I met him a little over a year ago.  He was smiling.  As I think of him he was almost always smiling.  Especially when he was talking about the Lord.  He loved the Lord, his family and his church.  We served together.  Setting up for Sunday morning service. Putting out the sign, rolling out carpet, setting up chairs and adding the final touches.  And then the greetings, as each person walked through the door.  He was pretty laid back guy, he was the encourager!  I liked that about him. Always the cool, calm and collected voice.  Another thing that I admired was the fact that he seemed steady.  He just did what needed to be done.

Even if you hadn’t known him for very long you would immediately know one thing about him.  He lived out his faith.  He told me  while some feel called to serve he believed that we are called to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, from that love we serve.  For the short time I knew him he did just that.  He was a friend and an encourager to many, especially to my son.  As a single mom that was very important to me.  He had three sons of his own so I trusted he knew a little something about young boys.  He admonished me once which did not offend me at all.  In fact I welcomed it.  Because I knew that he cared for my family and wanted me to hear wisdom. That is what a friend does. 

His three sons graduated this past weekend.  His two oldest graduated from college and his youngest from high school.  What a celebration for he and his precious wife.  She has a special place in my heart also.  A very witty and intelligent woman. My heart breaks for her loss because I know some of what she will face in the days to come.  I know she knows that she will see him again in heaven and that will be her comfort.  He was her best friend.  That too says something about the man he was. 

As many of you know I have spoken often of the lonely place the Lord has had me since 2004.  Sometimes God brings unwelcome seasons into our lives.  So meeting  Wally and his family along with others in my church has been one of the biggest blessings this past year. Our church is small and few in numbers but as I mentioned in a previous blog
it takes time to build up
relationships, to get to know one another on a deep personal level.
In the short time we have been serving together it is through the adversity, loss and struggle that we come to know what is in our hearts.  And so through this sudden loss of a friend, a husband, a father and a deacon we draw closer together.  We allow the comfort of the Holy Spirit to flow through us to one another.

And soon, very soon, we will meet again!



Photobucket
…and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:17b

Memorial Day – The Fallen Say Remember Me!

I wrote this last year and since that time I have learned alot about soldiers who are coming back with PTSD. The sadness and heartbreak of war is so very real in their lives each and every day. Even though they came back alive they struggle with those who did not. It reminds me to pray for them and thank God for those who sacrificed their life!!! Please DO NOT FORGET those who do not come back! May 2010

PTSD USA

MILITARY MINISTRY

 

Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language?  Are they dead that yet act?  Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Photobucket

     For anyone who has served in the Armed Forces there is a certain understanding of what it means to be a Comrade in Arms, a part of history and tradition.  To wear the uniform of our nation is a feeling like none I have ever experienced then and since.  The first part of our uniform we received was our field jacket.  Our TI lined us up in the day room to try them on.  We were to zip, snap and button every part of the jacket when wearing it.  After everyone was fitted we then learned how to report.  “Airman So & So reports as ordered”  I remember the first time I did it I was very nervous and said “Airman Leach reporting as ordered”  I was then told I didn’t work for the New York Times so I had to do it again.  That was to be the first of silly things I did out of nervousness.  But it was all exciting and new.

     To be honest I had never really thought much about my patriotic duty.  I was 23 at the time, living on my own.  I had been caught up in a ‘house-cleaning’ sweep at a hotel in Orlando, Florida where a new General Manager comes in and decides he wants to replace the old regime, so to speak, so I was suddenly without a job.  One day on the way to the beach, as a passenger in a car sitting at a stop light, I looked up and on the back of the car in front of us was a bumper sticker that said “Aim High”.  I made the decision right there and then, I would sign up.  My father had actually planted the “join the Air Force” seed before I graduated high school but the idea of being under rule and thumb at that time was unthinkable, I just had to try it on my own first.  When I signed up, within a few days of my decision, I wasn’t thinking about “the service” part, I was thinking of getting a job, traveling the world and getting a good education.  It really wasn’t until I got to basic training that it fully dawned on me what I had committed myself to for 6 years.

     Don’t get me wrong, I had great respect for the military and even at that age I had some appreciation for what our military men and women sacrificed over the years.  Both of my grandfathers served in World War II and my step-father served in Vietnam.  Two of my uncle’s served in the Navy, one during the early 70’s.  So I had some connection with the history of our country but it was to some extent a romantic notion.  What I did not know going into training was what it took to wear the uniform.  What “sacrifice” meant. 

(Before I go any further I must admit that I was never in harms way.  While I did serve during Persian Gulf War (Dessert Shield and Dessert Storm) I was never sent to what would be considered a combat area, however I did have friends that were deployed to those areas.  I watched the action of our troops on television along with the rest of our country. So much of my time in the military was rather peaceful although soon after I arrived at the air base in Germany, 1986, we were put on alert, and it was then I had a sudden wake up call to the real world danger our military faces around the world.  President Reagan ordered the Libyan bombing in retaliation for the Libyan missile attacks on US forces in navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra and the German disco bombing where two US soldiers were killed.)

 

     It was in basic training where I learned the history of our armed forces, mainly the Air Force history.  I learned what it meant to stand in a long line of men and women who had come before.  Some died in their uniform.  For most it was the last thing they wore.  I remember the day in basic training when we filed in line to be issued our uniforms.  Blue suit jackets, blue pants, blue skirts, long sleeve and short sleeve blue shirts with tabs, a blue rain coat with liner, blue berets, flight cap, white t-shirts, green field caps, green fatigue pants, long sleeve green button-up shirts, black socks, low quarter shoes with laces and combat boots.  They were just clothes until they were worn with all the insignia pins, ribbons and buttons in place.  Standing in front of a mirror for the first time after making adjustments made me stand taller.  In that moment a pride welled up in me with full force.  In that single moment was a culmination of the knowledge and realization that I now belonged to history and a tradition that had been passed down through time, by my own family none the less.

     As powerful as that moment was for me, it is the combat boots that struck me as the connective thing.  Men and women wear different pieces of clothing for obvious reasons but it was the boots that every member of the armed services wears at one time or another.  No matter what branch of service, whether in battle or in support of the battle, in the continental US or overseas we were all issued combat boots.

   The first time we all had to fall out at 3 or 4 am fully dressed in fatigues with combat boots was hilarious. (well, not at the time) Everything had to be buttoned, zipped, laced and tucked in, including our hair if you didn’t have a short hair cut, which I did, thank God, all in 3 minutes.  I think we did have to do it twice one day because we weren’t quick enough.  That was an incredible feat to be so trained that 50 women could be standing in a formation zipped and tucked!  I still shake my head at the visualization of that!


Photobucket

   

    They were just boots at first.  We had to spend hours polishing and getting them to shine.  Cotton balls, water and black shoe polish.  Then we would go out and get them dirty by marching, running or some duty made up to keep us busy.  Then, again, we would spend more hours getting them back into shape.  By the end of basic training they were “combat boots”.  Why, because we did everything in them.  We polished them, trained in them, walked in them, marched in them, ran the obstacle course in them, sat around in them, stood at attention in them, saluted in them and slept in them.  Of all the items we were issued we spent more time with our combat boots than any other item in our locker.

    So you are probably asking me what on earth does this have to do with Memorial Day? When I saw the picture below it brought up the memories of my combat boots.  The picture brings to mind the sobering recognition that it was an Airmen, Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Ranger or Seal that wore them.  The boots that remain say to the world, of the fallen one that wore them, “I trained, I served and I gave my life for you, my countrymen, to live free of the very enemy that would take your freedom from you, remember me!"

Photobucket

 

On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!  ~Thomas William Parsons

 

 

Memorial Day Order

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hinds slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation’s gratitude—the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this Order effective.

General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters

  Photobucket


Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

A hole I can not fill….

Photobucket


I will tell you these past few weeks have been more than a challenge to my heart and mind, to my motherhood.  I hesitate to write these words but feel that if I don’t put something down I can’t sort it all out.  The enemy is hard at work trying to confuse the issues and scramble the picture.  I know this, which is a good thing, I am one step ahead toward victory.  I have spent so much time on my knees, in tears, begging God for several things.  I try to stay on point with Him.  I try to pray in His will, for His will and His glory.  Through me!  I trust Him so much that I keep going to Him with the same prayers.  Just as the woman did in Matthew 15:22.  (My pastor preached on this verse on Mother’s Day, confirming my faith in being persistence with the Lord concerning my children) 

What is different about these prayers is that when I pray, I pray with urgency, desperation for God to move on the behalf of my children.  I am convicted with the words that come from the depths of my soul.  Convicted to confess my helplessness, my inability to handle what may be simple to some.  I know the verse “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”  What happens in between?  Between childhood and old?  The many things in the world vying for attention in their lives, the holes in their lives left by others, even perhaps me.  The woman in Matthew did not quit, she did not back down.  I am at that point in my prayers.  I can not back down.  I am wondering how long it was until she went to Jesus.  How long had she gone through the worst of it?  What did she do on the days that she was overwhelmed and weak with despair of the circumstances?  What hope did she have before she heard of the miracle worker, the Jesus that saves?  Was the rumor of what He could do the very answer to her prayers?

I remember the very first time I prayed for my children after getting saved.  I prayed that each one would come to know Christ as their personal savior, I prayed that they would grow up and serve Him.  I dedicated each one to the Lord.  I have to admit when I prayed those prayers and gave them to God I had no idea what lay ahead. Even if I did I would have done the same. I had no doubt that what I prayed would somehow be manifested.  I look back over these years with my kids and can only see how even my best efforts were not often good enough.  I see now that the work being done in their hearts was that of the Holy Spirit not mine. And sometimes out of ignorance, I hindered that work.  For instance, I seem to be able only to see faults, mine and theirs.  I do see the good things, the gifts that God has given to them, to all of us, and I truly am grateful for them…but I keep going back to the faults.  I admit that as a single mother it is hard, so very hard to be objective.  Maybe it is because I am a woman…too emotional, too sensitive and too soft.  I believe that is why God meant for a man and a woman to raise children together.  To bring balance to parenting.

How do I bring balance to my home?  I don’t know the answer to that one. How do I fill the place of the man in my home?  I don’t know the answer to that one either.  So many good opportunities for my kids have slipped away through time.  For them to know what a father would and could bring to their lives.  I know that God says in His word that He will be a father to the fatherless.  But I have to be honest here, this is one place I do not see that in their lives.  And I am losing this battle.  Trying to fill a hole I can not fill.  Not one of my children, all four, do not know their fathers well enough to know what that relationship with God should be like.  What do I do about that?  I pray, I cry and I beg God for that answer!

This is not a lack of faith asking these questions.  It is real life battle that I and probably thousands of other single parents are facing everyday.  I know He is sovereign.  I know God works all things together for good.  I know He loves my children more than I could ever possibly hope to. I can tell you that I knowGod is working.  What exactly He is doing, I can not tell you.  My heart hurts, I can not lie, but there is a piece of it that hopes!  

And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Job 11:18

Photobucket

New Song: What Do I know Of Holy?

You know I love music and the way that the Holy Spirit speaks to me through the words and melody.  I have shared a few with you before but this one is by far one of the most beautiful I have heard. I heard this song Monday morning for the first time and looked all day for it on Tuesday because I didn’t catch the artist name, so today I called the radio station and they told me it was on a newly released album by Addison Road.  I can not tell you how the words touched me.  I have stood in this place a time or two….and it kind of reminds me of the questions that Job asked in the verses that Greg @ Greg’s Blog Pad has been discussing.  I have spoken with several people who say to me, "I believe there is a God."  My next question is "Do you know Him?" Regardless of the answer there is more in that question than seems…believing in God is very different than knowing Him.  Believing in God is very different than believing God.  It is completely taking Him at His word. In reading the words to this song I realize that even knowing Him is very different than experiencing His holiness.  He is Holy. I know He is sovereign through the experiences He has allowed into my life.  How do we know His holiness?  Exactly what do we know of Holy?  What do I know of Holy?  I could not find a link to post it on my Project Playlist player, it is not yet available so I have given instructions to link below so that you can listen to it….enjoy!

Photobucket

 
What Do I Know Of Holy?
by
Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times

I tried to hear from Heaven


But I talked the whole time


I think I made You too small


I never feared You at all No


If You touched my face would I know You?


Looked into my eyes could I behold You?




(CHORUS)


What do I know of You


Who spoke me into motion?


Where have I even stood


But the shore along Your ocean?


Are You fire? Are You fury?


Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?


What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

Photobucket

I guess I thought that I had figured You out

I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about


How You were mighty to save


Those were only empty words on a page


Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be


The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees




(CHORUS)


What do I know of You


Who spoke me into motion?


Where have I even stood


But the shore along Your ocean?


Are You fire? Are You fury?


Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?


What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

Photobucket


(CHORUS 2)

What do I know of Holy?


What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?


And a God who gave life "its" name?


What do I know of Holy?


Of the One who the angels praise?


All creation knows Your name


On earth and heaven above


What do I know of this love?

Photobucket

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You

Who spoke me into motion?


Where have I even stood


But the shore along Your ocean?


Are You fire? Are You fury?


Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?


What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

 



What do I know of Holy?


What do I know of Holy?

Addison Road
Click on "Albums" (bottom left button on music player)
Click on "Addison Road" Album (middle selection)
Click on song #10 to play

Sing praises to the Lord which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. Psalm 9:11

little house

 

Sing praises to the Lord which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.  Psalm 9:11 

 

Church.  What does it mean to go to church these days?  I talk to people almost every day about this.  Some go once in a while, some go every week and some never go.  I have had some people say to me, “you don’t have to go to church to believe in God.”  I think those people offer that information about themselves because they are trying to justify why they don’t go to church.  I have been reading various articles lately about church attendance in today’s churches across America.  And more than a few articles suggest that church attendance is down dramatically in almost every denomination nationwide. 

Someone asked me, a few weeks ago, why I went to such a small church.  They suggested that I go to a bigger church where they had a single’s ministry.  They thought it would be good for me to meet other singles make new friends and get involved in activities.  I smiled politely and told them I believed it was God’s will for me to be at this church until He moved me otherwise.   It would have taken too long to explain how I came to believe that but the question got me to thinking about the last year I have been at this church. 

Seeking God for direction as to where I should attend church was not easy, by no means.  There were a lot of external circumstances in my life that seemed to cloud the many reasons for going to this church.  It was a brand new church, starting from scratch.  No building, no programs, no concrete plans for the future and a handful of people saying they would commit to this ministry, in this area, at this time.  The one thing that was certain was that in order to build this ministry it would take people with hearts to stay in it for the long haul, to have great faith when it seemed all up hill and a love for others that would sustain the unity of the group beyond trials and tribulations.

When I made the decision to go and visit for the first time over a year ago I could feel the energy and excitement among most of the people, but more than that my heart was stirred for a ministry that would have to go against many odds to find its place in a community that perhaps would not even care that it existed.  I could see a vision for this church.  I could see strength and loyalty to the commitment in some.  But for the life of me I could not understand how God would bring it all together with all the diversity of the people involved and what He would have to allow into the lives of each committed member to prepare a church for what He wanted to do in and through it. 

I knew before the end of service God was leading me to join with this group and all the reasons became very clear.  The clarity of it came through Romans 12.  Romans 12 has always been a very important and personal chapter to me in my Christian walk.  As a new Christian it was one of the few chapters I had memorized.  Some of the verses were hard to live by; being a young Christian with so much of the world still in me, but it served me well as I learned to apply the principals to my life.  I had been led to revisit the chapter on my own in morning devotions for almost a month before visiting the church. So it was no surprise but a delight when the pastor started his first series in the newly formed body on Romans 12.  That was how I knew that God was speaking to my heart about my decision.  It was confirmation through His word.  The delight came from knowing that God used those very words that had so been written on my heart in the first place.

 I have not spoken out loud to all of these things that God has shown me this past year until now, mostly because I hadn’t taken the time to evaluate what He has done in my heart at this little church.  But I would like to state them now.  I was inspired by a passage that was in a message this morning in

Psalm 9:11  Sing praises to the Lord which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

This church has definitely given me a purpose beyond myself.  I made up mind many years ago to serve the way the Lord commands me to serve, submitting one to another even as unto the Lord.  Everything I do and every intention is to serve others and in that I serve God.  I do not boast about this because this lesson about serving others came at a very dear price.  To serve for my own selfish reasons would bring only frustration and misery in doing what should otherwise bring joy.  And it has been great joy to do exactly what God has gifted me to do.

The second thing that the Lord has done in my heart is that He has brought me to a place of surrender in what I want for my personal life. This goes back to what started this conversation in the first place.  Becoming a single divorced woman has been one of the most difficult obstacles I have had to face again in my life.   If I had to say what is hardest thing I have had to give to God it would have to be this current station.  While going to a church that has a singles group with activities might seem to be a good option, I believe, personally it would not serve the purpose of keeping my eyes on Him and His purpose for my life.  It would probably keep me busy, entertained and maybe socially booked up.  But how does that serve God in my life?  How would that glorify him?  Don’t misunderstand me, I do believe God wants me to have a full and happy life but not at the expense of an empty soul.

Another thing the Lord has done in my heart, at this church, is to develop my trust and intimacy with Him and Him alone.  Regardless of the size of church you go to, besides worshiping the Lord, a reason one should go to church is to be spiritually fed through the messages, bible study, song and fellowship.  In a larger church you might have a myriad of things to attend but that does not necessarily mean you will be drawn into a deeper more intimate relationship with God and others.  In attending this church through serving and faithfulness I have experienced this intimacy.  To be intimate with others is to be vulnerable and takes trust.  This is far easier with God than others but it has been fulfilling and a blessing to be able to share my heart and my life with those that God has brought together. 

In a smaller church, in the beginning, it takes time to build up relationships, to get to know one another on a deep personal level. Building these relationships is a very important part of building up unity in the church.   I have learned that the one thing that gets in the way of building this unity is pride.  Pride says ‘I will not!’  If we apply pride to Romans 12:9-16 then we become the opposite of what God wills for us.   Instead of ‘in honour preferring one another’ we decide not to forgive another their offense we stay indignant or bitter.  Instead of ‘being of the same mind one toward another’ we want our own way or to be right.  Since there are few in numbers I am more keenly aware of how I treat everyone that comes through our doors and am more readily able to forgive their trespasses.  I do not want to be responsible for turning another away from the ministry or God.

This trust and intimacy in God comes through realizing that God is sovereign in who comes and goes in our church.  While the people who came for whatever reason and have left for whatever reason does so at God’s sovereignty.  I know He gives each and every one of us the free will to make choices and those choices do not always honor God, in the end He can and will work all of the good and bad choices and events into something good.  I can completely trust Him and can count on Him to be a constant when people come and go in the ministry. 

Last but not least I have found that because my church is small that I can pray for each one by name.  And because I have spent time talking with, praying with and worshiping with the people God has chosen to bring together,  God gives me specific things to pray for them.  This in and of itself is an unbelievable way to be connected and invested in another’s life.  The power of prayer cannot be underestimated in a start up ministry such as this.  I believe without prayer there is no power.  And it is the Holy Spirit power that brings growth and strength to this ministry.

I know that to some it seems our ministry may not be growing fast enough or we should be farther along than we are.  But in God’s time I think we are where we are suppose to be.  I believe He is preparing us by teaching us, as a core group, to love one another through the waiting and praying.  To become unified so that we can stand when the waves come in…the waves of souls that come through the door seeking God.  How can we love others we do not know if we can’t love those that we do know? 

I am so glad I listened to God a year ago.  I am grateful that I obeyed Him.  And further more I am excited to see where God takes this ministry, with the people He has seen fit to put together in a room.  I see in these folks the steady desire to reach lost souls, the strength of commitment to one another and loyalty to God who is on the throne.  The question ‘why do I go to a small church’ was a good one because it gave me the opportunity to look back and see the great and mighty things God has done in my heart and life through this small church!!!

 

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.

For I say , through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

For as we have many members in on body and all members have not the same office: So we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 

Grace to you Red heart

shell