Peter Called Out, “Lord, save me.”

Friday began with a restlessness that I could not put into words.  All day I kept wondering why I could not be at ease.  You know the butterfly type queasiness you get when you think something bad is about to happen to change your world.  I prayed out loud to the Lord the scripture that always comes to my mind in those moments.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  ~  Philippians 4:6-7

I prayed it several times yet I could not shake the feeling but I had surrendered the worry to Jesus’ care.

I left work early to go to an ultrasound appointment with my son and daughter-in-law.  We were going to get a 3D/4D video and pictures of the baby.  I was excited to see the baby moving but was not fully prepared for the overwhelming feelings I had at seeing this sweet miracle of life.  We got to see the whole baby, from top to bottom.  Hands, fingers, feet, toes, ribs, arms, legs, bottom, gender, back, head, face and the tongue. Yes, babies, stuck its tongue out. 🙂 I say babies, because we are not revealing the gender until the baby shower, only I know what it is….tune in later for the news! Babies kept grabbing onto the umbilical cord to hug it or put it in its mouth.  At 26 weeks it is just the most precious proof of a sovereign creator.

tongue

tongue

prayers

prayers

There was a moment when the technician snapped a picture of babies with its hand up toward its face.  It looked to be praying.  It was at that moment the name of my grandchild popped into my head.  I believe it was the Holy Spirit giving me the name.  On my way home from the appointment I kept saying it out loud.  I loved it, O what a beautiful name! Of course I would have to live with whatever name the kids gave babies but in Grammy’s mind I already had a name. 🙂  Later in the evening our family watched the video we had purchased of the ultrasound on our television. When my son and I were alone I asked him what names they were thinking of for a boy and a girl.  He told me the list of names and guess what??? YES, the name the Lord had spoken to me was on their list.  I got goosebumps and said almost in tears, “Are you kidding me???”I told him what name came to me when I saw the picture and he was amazed!  (He found out the gender at the appointment because he could not wait any longer but promised not to tell)  We both had huge smiles on our face! And this Grammy had praise in her heart for a God so personal and intimate that He gives confirmation of His presence in a name.

Saturday came.  I had planned a Scrap-booking Crop for Saturday at our church.  Had 6 ladies come and it was a great day for fellowship and getting work done on some of my albums.  And it just happen to be National Scrapbook Day, Yeah!  I enjoyed being with friends and working through my creative outlet but I still had a nagging feeling something was wrong somewhere.  I called my kids to check on them.  Texted my husband a couple of times and just kept praying the prayer, trusting Him with all that may be ahead.

Sunday arrived. The morning service went well and the message was right on target as usual.  But it was a strange day for mishaps.  A few things misplaced and forgotten but thankfully the day ended well.  Early in the day I sorted through a box filled with notes, cards and letters given to me over the years.  As I opened them and read them the person writing them immediately came to mind.  Their face and their life flowed through my memory.  Their voice was in my head. I could hear them speaking to me, crying with me, laughing with me, praying with me or for me.   It is amazing to me that God gave us a memory that at any given moment a sight, a sound, a smell, a word or picture can take us to a moment in time as if no time had passed.

Later we attended the Sunday evening bible study.  There was a great discussion on pursuing after Jesus and also how we can miss out on what God has for us by losing confidence in our faith and giving up.  As Peter did in stepping out onto the water when he saw Jesus.  He pursued Jesus by asking first if it was really Him. Then he stepped out of the boat onto the water in faith.  When he took his eyes off the Lord and onto the raging waves he became afraid and began to sink.  It was then Peter cried out, “Save me, Lord.”  And of course Jesus did.

The observation was made that many interpret Peter to have lost his faith in Jesus by becoming afraid but he suggested that Peter had lost  confidence in his own faith, that it was not strong enough to keep him walking forward on the water.   That spoke to me about how we often think we are unworthy to serve God.  How we, continuously, are so consumed with our own failures that we give up and stop serving or pursuing Jesus.  We stop short of the blessings God has for us in our lives.

We know the story of how Peter denied the Lord when Jesus was arrested.  Jesus, himself foretold this to Peter and he did not want to believe he would ever deny his Lord.  But he had done the very thing the Lord said he would do.  Do you know, according to Scripture that Simon Peter is the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection?  Perhaps to reassure him that He was still loved and still chosen.  Can you imagine that meeting? Oh what love must have been in the Saviors eyes when Peter realized who it was appearing to him.  On the day of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter was so overwhelmed  that he began to preach and 3,000 were saved that day.  And so began the church.  What if he had given up on his faith when Jesus had died on the cross?  What if he decided he could never serve Christ again because of his failure? Thankfully he did not give up and received Christ forgiveness and love.  He humbled himself under the Lord’s teaching and was built up in his faith.  He became one of the boldest preachers of the Gospel ever known this side of the Heaven.  Doesn’t that encourage you? It certainly encourages me!

When we fail the Lord, do we recognize Him when he comes after us? He pursues us each and every day through His Word, through others and through his creation.  He waits for us to fellowship with Him.  Do we run to him when we realize our mistakes? How much do we want Him in our lives?  How much are we willing to deny ourselves and run after Him?  Those were questions several asked in our group last night which are still on my mind today.

Well, here it is Monday morning.  The weekend has come and gone.  The feeling I had Friday is not nagging me any longer and as I awoke this morning I was glad that it had disappeared.  Though I am not sure it is related, I had some terrible news this morning when I logged onto Facebook.  A friend whom I have known for many years passed away on Saturday.  I did not know at first how she passed away.  I assumed it was her heart.  She struggled for many years, as my sister did, with a drug addiction.  It nearly destroyed her life.  But by God’s grace she overcame it and was married several years ago to a wonderful man.  She was attending school and making many positive changes in her life.  I had not seen her face to face in several years but we often chatted on Facebook. I was so very proud of her and so thrilled that she was living what seemed a vibrant and happy life.  When a short time passed after reading the news it was then I found out through a mutual friend that she took her life.  I am in shock.  I could not even imagine what was going through her mind at that moment.  And my heart breaks for her family.  Her dear family left to pick up the pieces.  Left to ask the age-old question, why? It is the second time in a year that I have heard the news of friend taking their life. in such a manner. While I have experienced despair and devastation I can not imagine what held them in such grip to make them want to end it all.   I am reminded again of Peter sinking into the water, looking at the raging waves instead of Jesus, the master and creator of the sea. Peter called out, “Lord, save me”

I find a familiar thread running through the past few days.

  • God is the creator of all things and He is sovereign over all. Psalm 135:6
  • God does not change because of our circumstances, it is our perspective that changes when we fail to keep our eyes on Him. Psalm 102:12, 25-28
  • God knows what lays ahead of us and will equip us to handle it if we consistently walk in obedience to His Word.  Jeremiah 29:11

Life is full of unexpected experiences,  a miracle of life one minute and the tragic loss of life in the next. There are moments when life clicks and everything falls into place and there are moments when it is all out of sync and everything falls apart.  I can not imagine living my life without God,  without the one who has numbered my days and knows the very number of hairs on my head.  He is so intimate and personal that  He  knows where to fill every ache in my soul with peace.

Lest you think walking with Christ is easy, it is not.  It is a life of endless discovery of the good and bad in our hearts, forsaking the bad and choosing the good.  It is a life of trying to do what is right every single time according to God’s Word.  It is a life often filled with our cries to God for mercy & grace, which He freely gives.  It is a life of continually dying to self for His glory.  It is a life of far greater reward than any earthly riches can buy.  And only if you choose to pursue Jesus will you discover this wonderful truth for yourself.  Because when you call out, “Lord, save me.”  He does!

Grace to you all,

Shell

Dedicated to my friends Marian S. & Michelle R. ~ may God use their circumstances in life and in death to reach someone for Jesus Christ.

Pictures & Words, Bearing Witness

History remembers only the celebrated, genealogy remembers them all.

Laurence Overmire


I love photography.  I love the art of peering through the lens of a camera to see time standing still.  I love that you can capture it and keep it forever to share with others.  I love that when the photos are put together they tell a story.  I love going back through them one by one, touching them, remembering when.  One of my favorite things to do is scrapbook, to present my pictures in such a way that will forever tell our family’s story, to keep a visual record of days gone by.

While most of the albums that I have completed bear witness to happy celebrations or milestones  recorded for remembering,  there are very few or no pictures of the dark, the broken or the silent days of the past.  Photographs memorialize a moment that allows us to go back in time.    I am realizing more and more how important it is to record with words as well as with images the stories of  our lives.  I have been working on my family tree for almost two years now and every time I find a new family member it opens up so many more questions about who they were and how they lived.  So finding a picture of them along with a story becomes even more precious.

I have kept a journal for years, probably going back to the very early 90’s.  There are gaps between the dates in those pages, sometimes days, months and even years where no words were written.  Most often, they were times when life was happening so fast there were too many details to even write the words down.  There may be an entry here and there that condenses the facts down to a list or short description of the events.   For a  few years I blogged on MSN Spaces about what was going on in my life or something God was showing me at the time, which is now cataloged as my digital archive.   What I loved about blogging was the feedback.  I had many friends stopping by to comment or begin discussion.   I was very grateful to have  that experience.  I felt as if it kept me accountable to the truth.  I took it very serious that we are each responsible for every idle word that comes from our lips.  The blogging and connection with others became a way for me to not become so isolated within myself during a difficult time in my life.

In some of those written records of thoughts or memories are moments I refer to as “glimpse of glory,” those defining times when God did the most personal, miraculous thing in my life.  Yes, I have, on occasion, witnessed God’s glory in my life.  As I look back over the last decade,  I see images in my mind’s eye that are forever engraved on my heart.  They are like framed collages, each image bearing witness to a timeline.   The notable thing about His glory is that it always came upon the back of darkness and brokenness, when life became foggy and dazed.  When our memory dulls or is clouded by emotion the actual photographs bear witness to the blessings in spite of the circumstances.

The truth is that God’s glory can shine brighter in the darkness of brokenness.  It seemed to me in those times in my life I was acutely aware of how God was more real and present in my circumstance than ever before.  As one of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot, has written, “It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.” And He truly does.    I realize now that all those memories, images, photo albums and written recordings of my life become the very building material God used to bring about personal growth in my relationship with Him.  I can see it unfold through the timeline filled with snapshots and paragraphs of words.

I know there are many who would say, “quit looking back, you need to look forward” but there is something to keeping record of where we have been so that we can celebrate how far we have come.  Many times in the Old Testament God would tell His children to build a memorial so that their children would know where they traveled or what they overcame.  So I do believe God wants us to remember.  To count our blessings and to avoid veering away from Him.  I guess that is why researching my family tree has been so exciting.  I want to read the stories and see the pictures. I want to know how far “we” have come!

Would you believe that my tree is  so full that I can’t even hardly see around it!  I have to date about 2,391 people, including my husband’s side of the family.  I get to see pictures of Great-Great-Greats, etc that just make me more curious.  I began to wonder what their stories were.  Wondered about their faith, their day-to-day lives, their heart-breaks, their victories.  I want to read their stories…I have found a few which are like gems! An exciting discovery was finding out that  my father’s side of the family was a long line of Christians.

Finding that information was the piece that gave me inspiration to be more diligent about writing it all down, to annotate the pictures, to tell the story about the pictures.  Then a thought occurred to me, as a Christian, I pray for my children, I pray for their mates and for their children.  I know that my ancestors who had the same faith most likely did the same, which means they prayed for my father, for me and for my children.  That was the most incredible realization for me.  It was the understanding  that none of us are alone.  We all belong, we all come from somewhere.  We all are a part of something bigger than ourselves.  Understanding that the Lord is faithful in His answer to prayers from our forefathers, He is faithful in His answer to our prayers.  He is faithful!

Grace to you,

Shell

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:1

 

Family Tree

More on ancestry: Counting Backwards