Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You For My Freedoms

SSgt Scott A. Williams US Army Airborne
Memorial Day celebrations peak our patriotism across the country. We pull our flags out and march in parades to honor our military men and women, the families that stand behind them – and the great nation we have because of them. God has truly blessed us with a wonderful land to call home and with the courage to be a people of honor and integrity, valuing the freedoms He’s given us to enjoy.

The average American cannot know the cost that goes into keeping our liberties. Sadly, many try to rob us of the privileges we enjoy as Americans, rights and freedoms that our own men and women sacrificed everything to give us. Many Americans have sacrificed their fortunes, their lives and their children’s lives so that we can live in the land of the free – the home of the brave.

Sgt Edward M Williams USMC

To everyone that’s ever made a sacrifice for me – thank you.

Thank you for sacrificing your own happiness and the happiness of your families to secure my freedoms. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice on my behalf – to give completely of yourselves so that I can even trample the rights you’ve provided for me if I choose to. Thank you for your selflessness, your bravery, your integrity and your respect for us all, even those you disagree with.

To everyone reading this – thank you for your sacrifices and the sacrifices of those you love.

I especially thank the members of my own family and friends that have put their lives on the line by being a part of our great military force. I love you! (I don't have a pictue of Dave in uniform.)

MSgt David L. Williams US Air Force (Prior Marine)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


When I was younger I loved putting puzzles together. My eyes could see better, my patience had barely begun to wear thin. But now, it’s frustrating to sit quietly searching for the elusive place the puzzle piece in my hand will fit. If I force it into place where it wasn’t meant to go, the picture is ruined and it may be impossible to finish the puzzle. Now if I’m just expressing my creative nature, I need to design my own puzzle.

When we gather together, we can look like a pile of puzzle pieces freshly dumped from the box. When assembling ourselves together we begin to see what the picture of life is supposed to look like. Like every puzzle piece in the box – we all have a place, whether it looks ‘right’ to others or not. God created us purposefully and to fulfill the purposes He created us for. God’s Master Plan isn’t a conglomeration of guess work.

Unlike a cardboard puzzle from a box that lays lifeless on the table, God has breathed life into each of us. We’re living puzzle pieces. The Bible refers to us as living stones. ‘…you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple’ 1 Peter 2:5 NLT

Because so many of us exist in a fallen nature, not yet regenerated by the Spirit of God, we often try to tell other pieces where they should be and force them into places they were never designed to fit. We hurt each other. We deceive each other. We control each other. We take from each other. And we try to do God’s job of putting the pieces together properly.

It’s time to let the Holy Spirit do His own job. It’s time we submit ourselves to His leading and allow ourselves permission to fit in where He knows is best.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Great Loves of My Life

A few reflective thoughts for today: Decades ago a tremendous fear of turning thirty gripped me. Somehow thirty symbolized some sort of magic number that indicated the passing from youth to old age. Now of course, I look back and laugh at myself. My oldest son celebrates his thirty-third birthday today. On my youngest son’s next birthday, all of my children will be in their thirties. If I felt old when I turned thirty, I should be pushing up daisies by now.

But thirty-three years ago I experienced some of the most joyful moments of my life. A whole lot easier than it should have been; doctors and nurses came from all over the hospital to see the woman in labor and that didn’t feel any pain…

Love cannot die, it can only grow. When you become a parent, you find out just how much love can grow. You think your heart is filled to overflowing, only to encounter a stretching and tearing that allows for even more. I’m extremely proud of all three of our children, they’ve brought more joy to my life than any one woman should be privileged to receive. If this is just a glimpse of what God feels toward us, we are loved more than we can begin to imagine. Our finite brains can’t wrap around the concept of such a tremendous love.

I’d like to dedicate this song to my children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Step at a Time

One step at a time; is that so hard? Sometimes I want to insist on seeing what’s down the path I travel before I’ll journey on. Other times, I could care less about what’s ahead, I’m too busy enjoying the scenery where I’m at.

Months ago I went on a group hike up into the mountains. Our guide was strong and agile and knew her way around. Without her, we’d all have been hopelessly lost, anxiously awaiting the search and rescue team’s arrival to lead us home.

We crossed streams, climbed boulders, and hiked through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We discovered hidden joys along the trail and treasures framed in the trees – all the way up to the prized waterfall at the top of our climb. We exchanged stories and laughter, and shared in sadness and victories.

One woman had the body of a supermodel. Only the ‘holiest’ of us could have stopped herself from envying this body. But as we made our way through the forest and stream beds, we heard the testimony of this woman who had fought breast cancer, enduring a double mastectomy, and won!

Crossing one stream I gave up the effort of staying dry and walked through the water. At other points, I crossed on the rocks. Funny thing about stepping stones and bifocals; they don’t work well together. My choices were to take my glasses off and see everything through my fuzzy lenses or tip my head downward and take one step at a time, not even looking up to see where the next stone was until my foot was firmly planted on its intended target.

Leave no [wo]man behind! Yes – they had to wait for me a few times as I timidly crossed the waters. But I made it safely to my destination, with triumphal memories.

God uses these memories to prompt me to take one step at a time, firmly planting my foot where He leads me before attempting to move forward. Is that really so hard?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Change in Nature....Ours

If you’ve seen the photos on my Facebook page, you’ll clearly see that I love trees. Water and a breeze on my face are some of my other favorite parts of nature. Whether I’m on the open car of a train feeling the force of the winds created by our passing through a canyon or sitting on a blazingly hot, humid beach when God sends the relief of cool air to tickle my skin; I’m blessed and exhilarated. I’m often happiest when being kissed on the face by a breeze, even happier being kissed on the face by the man I’m blessed to call my husband.

Don’t be mistaken. I don’t like the cold. The older I get the more compelling warmth makes its play for me. I understand there’s a purpose and place for the cold, but my body appreciates it less now.

This year spring is slow in getting here, taunting us with warm, sunny days, only to hide again behind snowflakes. It’s a game Mother Nature’s playing with us. Warm temperatures, accompanied by mood-altering, brilliant sunshine and life-asserting breezes have begun to take over the season. Then we wake up to extremely chilly mornings taking us into another cold day.

Yet we are shocked at the ‘games people play’. It seems we merely imitate nature with our unpredictability, immaturity and sudden changes in thinking and behavior.

Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us this: Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stopping to Ask Directions...

Still searching for direction; sometimes I still feel like I’m flopping around in life for my purpose in this empty nest stage. Silly, I know, considering my children have been out of the house for over a decade already. Yet there are days I weep for days gone by instead of reaching forward to the best that’s yet to come. If I were someone else, I can just imagine the honest heart-to-heart counsel I’d want to give…. There are times encouragement has to come slowly and tenderly. This is not one of those times. It’s been more than ten years since our last child flew the coop. There’s no more ‘slowly and tenderly’ approaching the subject.

So, what now God? If I’m left idle and to my own devices, that can only mean trouble. Depression lurks at my door. Apathy has seeped into the crevices I’d thought long sealed shut. This is not a good thing. But this is an opportunity for the community of love surrounding me to lend their godly counsel. Be blunt. Be assertive. I’m beyond being content to hear: You’ll be okay… Time heals all… Don’t worry; God’s got a plan – just be patient. Don’t be so hard on yourself….

Don’t get me wrong. The last ten years haven’t been a waste of breath, lives around me are constantly changing, there are always needs to be met. I don’t just want to ‘do something’ – I want to walk in God’s perfect plan for my life, fulfilling my destiny and glorifying Him at every turn.

Perhaps you’ve just indulged me in a momentary pity-party. Forgive me. All of the focus and purpose and listening I’ve been writing about lately has been for my own sake.

Easier said than done; I admit it. To quote Frazier, "I’m listening."

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. (KJV)