Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Truly, I love that my husband is in ministry. Truth be told, the majority of you that are reading this probably feel the same. It is an honor to know that what they are involved in pertains to eternity, and how great is that? Not very many people can say that about their professions.

But to me there is a downside...especially this time of year. I miss my family. I miss being around them for not just the big things, but for the little things as well. Like having them just pop in for no reason at all, or everyone getting together for Sunday afternoon lunch, or going to the sporting events that they are involved in, or... the list goes on and on.

Now don't get me wrong, I trust God and I would not want to be out of His will. But there is a part of me that longs for family. As I talk to some of our church members I can tell they don't understand. They have always lived where their family is and take for granted having them around. Often, they don't get it when I talk about wanting to go home to visit.

I was just wondering if any of you feel this way. I have learned to adapt, and 98% of the time I'm good with it, but there are times like now when I am "home" visiting family and realizing just how much I missed this past year.

At least I know that I get to spend eternity in Heaven with them....and I choose to believe our mansions will be next door!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I love the holidays...all the commotion and excitement. There are so many things that bring joy to my soul this time of the year. But this year there has been one more added....AN ENGAGEMENT! My nephew who lives in Arkansas proposed to his girlfriend the week before Christmas. She LOVES Christmas and he thought that would be the perfect time of the year to "pop" the question.

Supposedly, they were stopping by church to pick something up. There she found a poem that lead her to another poem, that led her to another poem....finally she entered the Sanctuary which had tiny white lights lining the aisle that led her to the altar where there was a beautifully decorated tree. The last poem told her to look in the tree and read the ornament hanging there. It read "Will you marry me?" When she turned around, Bryant was on his knee with the ring!!!! I thought how special that ornament will be for the rest of their lives. Every year as they decorate their tree they will remember that special day.

To me that it is one of the delights of the season. That as we decorate our trees and homes, spend time with loved ones and friends and enjoy the festivities, we will remember once again what the true meaning of the season is all about--that Jesus came to earth to redeem us. Now that truly was a special day to remember!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


I have always felt a pull to the verse that says, "Mary treasured all these things in her heart." I have read many interpretations and insights into these words. I have heard several sermons preached off of this text. And yet, I never feel that I reach the full meaning...that is until now.

This Christmas, this verse took on added significance. This holiday was very was the first holiday without my mother, but I also had both my girls, their husbands and my granddaughter home (which I did not have last year). After attending the beautifully elegant candlelight service at church, we sat around the dinner table and ate on Christmas Eve. I just soaked it all in. I took a ton of pictures and with every laugh, every smile, every joke, I whispered both a prayer of thanksgiving as well as a request to always hold these memories close.

I am finally understanding the verse with which I have somehow always identified. Treasuring my relationship with Christ, my relationship with family, these precious moments in life is not necessarily some deep, theological idea. Maybe treasuring things in my heart is simply taking the time to thank God for special times and putting forth effort to really remember them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Incarnation Day!

Every Christmas I ask God to give me a new insight or truth into the all too familiar Christmas story. (Some of the other ladies have touched on this through our December posts.) In years past I have found new revelations through the various people who were there and intimately witnessed the birth of our Savior. As a teen, I thought about how Mary and I were close to the same age and how overwhelmed I would be if I placed myself in her shoes. The first Christmas I was pregnant, I again began to relate to Jesus' mother in whole new ways. On other years it has been the shepherds or the wise men. I have even found meaning at how the angels must have wondered what God was up to, sending His Son in this way.

This Christmas, again God has been faithful to show me fresh insights to the Christmas story. In my personal Bible study in the book of Matthew I have been reading of Christ's Crucifixion. For my "pleasure" reading I found myself rereading Francine River's novella, Unafraid, based on the life of Mary. Both of these resources and every Christmas hymn I hear all seem to be reminding me of the incarnation.

The incarnation is God coming to earth, to be among His creation in the form of His creation. And He did so in the form of a tiny baby. Jesus being fully God and fully man. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around it, but I know that without it, I would be lost, without hope, without meaning, without life . . .

My Christmas season has been hectic too. I am blogging from my mom's in Ohio even now. But I just want to encourage you, like the other ladies before me, to take a few minutes to pause and really reflect on "the reason for the season." Christmas IS a religious holiday. Treat it as such.

From all of us ladies, to all of you and yours . . . Merry Incarnation Day!

P.S. Check back with us next week for more posts!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peace on Earth

Well, it is Friday before Christmas and I am exhausted. I have resorted to eating my nerve pills-Peanut M & Ms-by the handfuls. I have rushed around for the past two weeks finishing the shopping, sending Christmas cards, attending Christmas parties, fellowshipping with my staff wives, and having lunch with a friend. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to help with our senior adult Christmas lunch and had a wonderful time. However, I now need to take a breath and relax before the getting together with family.

As I read my devotional and Bible today, God opened my eyes once again that this season is about peace and not rushing about in a panic. Clearly, the songs of Christmas sing out “Peace on earth, good will to men.” When Christmas hits I get so excited. I love giving gifts to family and friends, but then I worry if it is the perfect gift. I love sending Christmas cards but get overwhelmed with a busy schedule and end up mailing them at the last minute. I love attending Christmas parties with the various classes at church. However, my husband and I cannot possibility make it to all of them and we worry about hurting people’s feelings. In the end my Christmas is not much about peace at all.

So today I believe I am going to have a little peace on earth. Sure I have a couple of small things to do but I plan to relax. There are plenty of chores I can put off until tomorrow. In my devotional book entitled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, today’s word said “Instead of trying to do all your chores at once, choose the ones that need to be done today. Let the rest slip not the background of your mind, so that I can be in the forefront of your awareness.” That statement slapped me in the face. I need to just focus on what the true meaning for Christmas is and let God’s amazing peace wash over me. The closing statement of todays devotional said “Let My Presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being.”

Dear Sisters, I invited you to join me today in enjoying some peace on earth. Take time to breathe. If the weather is nice, take a walk and talk to God. If you have baking to do, then sing a praise song or listen to Christmas music. If you’re a movie buff like me, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and discover that love is one of the reasons for the season.

Merry Christmas! May God bring much joy and peace to you in 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Miracles

I absolutely love Christmas! When else can you legally have a piece of homemade fudge on a daily basis? Well, you understand what I mean. However, I truly love Christmas. I love the smell of cookies baking, the feel of the cold winter air on my face, and singing the songs of the season. I especially love the miracle of Jesus' birth.

As we enter this season, I am remembering the days when our sons were toddlers. Putting the Christmas tree up and decorating it was an event. Each son had his favorite ornament and all the ornaments hung at the base of the tree. There was the cookie baking and letters to write to Santa. However, Christmas of 1986 plays vividly in my mind each year as it was the year God performed two miracles right before our eyes.

In early December of 1986 our youngest son, then only two months old, entered the hospital acute pneumonia. The doctor did not fully tell us just how sick our little one was. Instead, being the Christian man that he was, the doctor put our son on his church prayer list. Bryan spent 8 days in the hospital and required major lung therapy and a round the clock care.

Because our eldest son could not come to the hospital, my husband and I along with our parents took shifts staying with both boys. On one visit home my husband and I took our eldest son who was three at the time to see the movie “Fievel.” Afterwards, we treated Stephen to supper at Burger King. There Stephen spotted a huge stuffed Fievel mouse and told us that he wanted Santa to bring him one. Since Bryan was still in the hospital I had to resort to making phone calls to retailers in attempt to find this beloved mouse. However, all the phone calls were in vain. I told myself that since money was tight and the hospital bill was going to be enormous, it was best that I had not found one to purchase.

Amazingly, Bryan took a turn for the better and began to recover from his illness. A few days before Christmas we were able to bring him home. It was then that our doctor told us how close we came to loosing Bryan. What a wonderful Christmas miracle! Little did we know that God had another miracle in store for our family.

The very next day I received a call from the Sears catalogue store. I had ordered one gift from there earlier in the year. Apparently while there I had registered for a drawing. The manager was calling to tell me I had won. “What is the prize,” I asked. “You’ve won a large stuff Fievel mouse,” replied the gentleman. Honestly, I broke down and cried. When I arrive to pick up the item, I told the man our story and explained that God provided a second miracle for our Christmas season.

I tell you all this because God still provides us a miracle each year. He reminds us that even those the days may be tough, the economy is bleak, and illnesses happen God’s precious son still came to save us from our sins. Yes dear ones, there really are miracles happening today.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

“I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on this.
Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree. . .
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.”

This year the song brings a few tears to my eyes. Oh, I love the song but it’s the message. You see, our Air Force son will be alone in North Dakota for the Christmas season. Since Stephen is single and new at his position, he is working around the clock covering for other men who have families. Unfortunately, we cannot get to the great frozen north to see him, so we are going to in each other’s thoughts.

As I dab my eyes with a tissue, I am trying to figure out a way to make this season bright for my eldest child. Oh, we have purchased a couple of little things that we always have for the Christmas season-white chocolate Oreos and the Christmas movie “The Christmas Story.” Another tradition we have is to read Twas the Night Before Christmas. I created a little book with this story and put cute little Santas throughout the book. I'm quite sure my son will laugh and roll his eyes at my humor but at the same time I'm sure he will understand my message.
We are also sending him a couple of New Testaments-one for him and one for someone who may need a Bible. You see, another family tradition we have is to read the true Christmas story on Christmas morning. Knowing our son, I'm am sure he will find time to take a break from patroling in the blizzard north to read the story of Jesus' birth.

So this Christmas will be slightly different. We will be with our families back in Arkansas. However, in our minds we will be remembering our soldier boy who willingly is sacrificing his Christmas leave so other military personnel can spend time with their families. We will also remember our missionaries who give up spending the holiday with their families in order that the lost around the world may hear the Good News.

Do you know of a military person, missionary, or someone who is far from home? Let me encourage you to send a card. You might even send a care package. I assure you that it will brighten their day and will be a witness to others who are not Christians.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Tomorrow morning we will attend our son's graduation from seminary. One year ago our son-in-law graduated from the same seminary. How grateful and blessed we are for our Godly children and we know it is only because of God's grace and His mercy that they are following hard after Him.

As parents, we longed for and desired for our children to be Godly....not religious, but Godly. As I have shared before, I did not know how to do wonderful as my mom and dad are/were, they did not teach me Godliness.

There were many decisions we had to make as parents while our children were growing up and one important one was what to tell them about Santa Claus. As a little girl I totally believed in Santa....and was devastated when I discovered he was not real. I was disillusioned and felt that my parents had lied to me. As a result, it was clear to me that we would not "do" Santa Claus. We did not want to lie to them, and more importantly, when they discovered he was not real, we did not want them to also think that Jesus was not real. That He was just another "pretend" person.

Sadly, even though our convictions were strong concerning this, we discovered after our children were grown, that we had not done enough. You see, being the person who worries about what other people think, I hated to tell them there was NOT a Santa when they were little....we just did not tell them there was a Santa. I did not want my small children running to their friends and telling them the truth!!!! Fearful their parents would be mad at us!!! Spoiling Christmas for their children!!

All of that to say, we made many mistakes over the years, and I am sure you did too (and still are!!) but God is faithful. Prayerfully consider how you can impart the Truth of Christmas in your home and your family. Enjoy the blessings of the lights and know you are being prayed for.

"Mary" Christmas sisters!!

Loosing Focus

The car is packed to the brim. The goodbyes have been said. The tears have come. The last load of sheets and towels are in the dryer. The phone has been turned off. The address changed. And I am filled with an overwhelming sense of God's presence as I sit and reflect before I get into the car and drive away.

"And then there are the sailors sailing the seven seas, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observe the power of God in action. He calls to the storm winds; the waves rise high. Their ships are tossed to the heavens and sink again to the depths; the sailors cringe in terror. They reel and stagger like drunkards and are at their wit's end. Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He saves them. He calms the storm and stills the waves. What a blessing is that stillness, as He brings them safely into harbor! Oh, that these men would praise the Lord for His lovingkindness and for all of His wonderful deeds! Let them praise Him publicly before the congregation, and before the leaders of the nation." Psalm 107:23-32

As we "ply the trade routes of the world" during this awesome Christmas season, may we continually observe the power of our God in action!! May we publicly praise Him as He brings us safely into harbor!

Usually this time of year my list above of things done or yet to do would have included lots of tasks like decorating the tree, writing Christmas cards, purchasing gifts, baking, going to parties, etc. I have done none of the those. And it is OK. I certainly do not want to 'miss' Christmas.....but this year will be different. I long to not focus on the things that 'make' Christmas special....traditions, decorations, etc.....I long to focus on the Christ. The One who has been born in me.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for me loose focus during this season.....getting caught up in it all.....and even though I am not 'doing' the 'normal' seasonal things, I still found myself loosing focus because of all that is happening in our life right now. How sad!! Forgive me, Lord for loosing focus. Fill my heart and my mind and my eyes on You! Remove all the distractions from each of us, Lord....whatever that is. The enemy does NOT want us to focus on You. We praise You for Your lovingkindness and Your wonderful deeds!! In Jesus' name....amen.

Blessings sisters!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Mary" Christmas

'I pray that you and your family will have a very “Mary” Christmas—that Jesus will enlarge Himself in you as He did in Mary, that He will express Himself in you as He did in Mary when she met her cousin Elizabeth while carrying The Baby, that He will exit Himself through you into the world around you as He did through Mary, and that He will extend Himself and His interests through you and far beyond you as He did through Mary—for His highest possible glory!'

Oh, how this prayer from a dear disciple-er permeates my heart!!

Jesus, ENLARGE Yourself in us.....would you be so visible that others notice You....would you change the way we look and the way we walk?

Jesus, EXPRESS Yourself in us....would you move in us in a wondrous way to let us and others know you are present?

Jesus, EXIT Yourself through us....would you come forth from us into the places You have us walk and into the lives of those we encounter?

Jesus, EXTEND Yourself through us....We long for Your desires and interests and passions to extend to the ends of the earth until the end of time for Your glory and Your honor.

Blessings sisters! And "Mary" Christmas!!

Called to Himself

It is always amazing to me the things that are going on in my life during the weeks it is my "turn" to write this blog….and this week is no exception!! Right now as I sit down to write this I am exhausted, emotional, overwhelmed, stressed, sad, fearful and very prayerful!! This week I am:
  1. Finishing my last days at the college giving and grading finals, turning in grades and leaving an institution for the final time after over 14 years.

  2. Loading up my car with whatever it can hold and moving to a new state leaving dear friends and co-laborers in the ministry. Saying goodbyes, emptying refrigerator, cleaning and readying the house for the buyer God has for us.

  3. Attending and celebrating my son's graduation from seminary.

  4. Hosting a precious lady from our new church who is traveling through our area.

  5. Needing to cry and needing to hear from God.

A question was raised a couple of weeks ago concerning whether or not we, as minister's wives, were "called" to the role. Perhaps there are as many answers as there are minister's wives. For me, and I almost dread saying this, I never heard/felt/sensed that call. For me, that night, years ago in my bedroom, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was calling me to Himself....but never to a man or a position or a place.

Honestly, I am envious of those who know God called them to this "position". Makes me wonder if I should even be in this "position".....but then I know who the author of doubt is.....and I choose to look to Jesus. Remembering He called me to Himself!!

It is during weeks like this one that I desperately need to remember that I am His....and that He has called me to Himself....and it does not matter where I am, or how I get there, or who is there when I get there....

Blessings sisters....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Seeking Jesus

This is the season we talk about decorating, buying gifts, we attend programs and it is all because of Jesus.

I attended a program for minister's wives this week. It was fun meeting some new women, the decorations were pretty and the food was great. The program was very simple because it was to be a night to pamper these wives.

One of the minister's wives read the Christmas story. As she read that familiar passage out of Luke, I wondered how many times I have heard that scripture read in my lifetime. I tried to really focus and listen as though it was the first time I had ever heard this passage read.

The shepherds caught my attention. These were men who had a difficult and sometimes lonely job. They slept outside in the elements, protected their sheep and provided for their sheep. It was very important to them because it was their livelihood.

When the angels came to the shepherds and announced the birth of our Savior, it must have been a glorious sight! After the angels left, what did the shepherds do? They could have spent the evening retelling what they heard and saw. They could have gone home and shared with their families this unusual event. Maybe they did both of these things, but we do know that they began to seek Jesus.

When you hear a message about our Lord, what do you do with it? Do you review it or criticize it or time it? When was the last time you took time to seek Jesus?

What about the effort it took for the shepherds to find Jesus? There was major travel time and energy required for this trip. Yet, they thought it was worth it.

This season would be a great time to check up on your daily time in the Word. How much time are you giving to seeking Jesus? Are you willing to get up a little early, turn the TV off at night or change your plans in order to spend time with Him?

The shepherds focus was completely on seeing Jesus. They traveled for months or maybe years to see and meet Jesus. We only have to speak, reach for our Bibles, listen.

Receive the "Tidings of great joy" this season and seek Jesus.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joy To The World!

Psalm 98

Joy to the World is a familiar carol that we have been singing as long as I can remember.
As I listen to it being sung in different churches, hear it on the radio - I wonder - do I have joy? Do you have joy?

We often hear during this season things like, keep Christ in Christmas or Jesus is the reason for the season - so, I wonder -

Is there a way we can gauge whether or not we have omitted Christ from Christmas? I believe there is a guage and that guage is joy! A believer who has joy during the holiday season is the one who still has Christ in Christmas. Likewise, the believer who has lost joy is the one who has removed or replaced Christ with all the other things that have become part of Christmas.

Take time to read Psalm 98 today. In this passage we hear about joy. The people of Israel believed that when God came near, it was a time filled with joy. This is the message of Christmas. God came to earth in the form of a tiny baby named Jesus. Psalm 98 was written to describe what the Israelites believed. They knew that there was a direct connection between God's nearness and joy.

Let's look at what happened when God came near. In verses 7-9 it says nature responded to God's nearness. Have you seen nature respond? Have you taken time to listen to the birds sing, watch the trees dance, observe our Tennessee mountains pointing to God?

In verses 4-6 we are told the nations rejoiced in God's nearness. That seems like something far from our world today, yet we know that every single person will worship our God and rejoice at His nearness someday. When He returns, "every knee will bow."

In verses 1-2 Israel remembered God's nearness in the past and acknowledge that God had been merciful to them, and as a result, they rejoiced! Are you remembering all God has done for you?

As we apply these three elements to the birth of Christ, we see each of these things happening.

Matthew 2:1-2 Nature respondedto God's nearness with a beautiful star shining more brightly than all the others.

Matthew 2:2 Wise men representing the nations came to worship the newborn King.

Matthew 2:5-6 Israel's prophets acknowledged Christ's birthplace.

Presents, parties and plans often steal the joy of Christmas. Why? They actually take the focas off Christ. How can we implement joy to the world this season?

J -Jesus/joy comes through God's nearness to us. Stay close to Jesus. Focas on Him, spend time with Him, praise Him, thank Him.

O -Others/ look to the needs of those around us. We tend to be wrapped up in our plans instead of the people God has given us to serve. God reminds us that what we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Y -Yield to Him/true joy can only come when we yield our lives to Jesus Christ. Whatever He plans for us will always be best. Part of Psalm 98 talks about righteousness and judgment.. Whenever we read of God's righteousness and judgment it is a call for us to yield our lives to Him through Jesus Christ.

It is still early in the season - take time to check your joy. It is not too late to be filled with joy, supernatural, unexplainable, God-given happiness, no matter what the circumstances, deep inside peace and joy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

God, Bring Me a Godzilla!

"Do not be deceived my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:16-17)

As we raised our boys we faced the same question that many Christian parents face. What about Santa Claus? What were we going to teach and tell our boys?

We decided to treat Santa Claus like any of their favorite cartoon characters. We had Santa salt shakers and ornaments. We also took time to read to them a book called, "Santa, Are You for Real?" It was helpful in teaching about St. Nicholas and how he helped people.

One of the things my husband and I decided, was not to tell the boys that things under the tree came from Santa. We wanted them to know, that "every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above." As a result, even though they sat on Santa's lap at the mall, we would continually remind them, that everything we received came from God.

When my oldest son, Mark, was three his new baby brother was born. It was around Christmas and we celebrated his new brother as a wonderful gift. As always, with a newborn, I was kept very busy. Mark was helpful, but our one on one time was definitely rare.

One day while taking care of Stephen, I realized that Mark had disappeared into another room of the house. He was very quiet and that could mean trouble! I quickly went into the hall and noticed the door to his room was almost shut. I quietly went to the door and looked in. There was my three year old son on his knees in the middle of his room. His head was down in his hands and I heard the words, "Dear God, would you please bring me a Godzilla for Christmas? My mom says you can do anything. Thank you.

It was the sweetest moment for me, as it was the first time I had ever heard Mark pray alone, on his own. It was also a terrifying moment, because I did not know what a Godzilla was, but knew I had to find it!

After searching, I found it was a two foot tall, plastic, green monster. Not the kind of thing I wanted to buy my three year old son. Yet, I did.

On Christmas, we took Godzilla out of the box and set him unwrapped under the tree. A very ugly toy under a beautiful Christmas tree. Mark was up early and came to get us. We picked up Stephen and headed for the living room, Mark leading the way.

When Mark reached the tree he came to a dead stop. He stood very still and just stared at the tree. Then he looked back at us with big eyes and said, "Dad, mom, God heard me! God gave me a Godzilla!" He ran to the tree, hugged that ugly, plastic toy, looked to heaven and said, "Oh thank You God, I love You!"

This Christmas remember where every good and perfect gift comes from. Stop and tell God - Thank You, I love You.

Of course, the most precious, good and perfect gift, is Jesus! Thank You God, I love You!