Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tell Your Story

You all know how much I talk about my Jesus. Well, while reading some journal notes about my rehab days at Shepherd, I read about my weekend nurse, Teresa. We had a lot in common; we were both Christians, United Methodists, wives, mothers and registered nurses.

We talked about our faith and daily struggles. We talked about what God was doing in our lives and what we could do for others. Teresa assumed I knew the Bible well and called me her preacher.

That was the first time I shared my story. I’d only been studying the Bible and attending church regularly for eight months before my accident. I’d learned much in that short time. (Being married to a preacher helped.)

After years of low self-esteem, a poor self-image and worry about what people thought, I stepped out in faith and climbed on to my soapbox for JESUS.

When people ask questions about my appearance, I tell about my accident. When I catch someone staring, I smile and nod. If they’re close enough I say, “Hi.” Often shoppers near me hear a strange creaking and stop. I speak up, “It’s me. I have a ball bearing going out.” We laugh and the ice is broken. I ask anyone near me to set items I want to purchase on my table. Store cashiers carefully handle my credit card or cash and ask, “Is this OK?”

At each point, I see an opportunity to share what God has done and is doing in my life. Your opportunities are there. A sick child healed. The baptism of an elderly father. A mission trip full of miracles. Assisting the birth of a child. Volunteering at Vacation Bible School. Changing a tire.

“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 66:5 NIV).

In Christ,
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Can’t Kiss a Preacher

Earl and I talked as we ate supper together several times a week at the hospital where we worked. A year flew by and I hadn’t thought much about our relationship until he surprised me one evening, “Would you go out with me?”

“Are you crazy? No.”

I’ve told him so much. How can he like me?

A month later, he asked again, “Will you go out with me?”

Reluctantly I agreed and on a hot July evening in 1985, I sat waiting for Earl in the hospital parking lot. (I wouldn’t tell him where I lived.) My palms were sweaty and when I saw his baby-blue Thunderbird, I caught my breath. I still couldn’t believe I was going on a date with a preacher. I’d even had my hair done and was wearing the only dress I owned.

Earl got out and held the door for me. My voice cracked as I said, “Hi.”


We ate at The 91st Bomb Group restaurant on the Memphis airport flight line. (Earl remembered that I liked to fly.) Supper went well then we sat in the lounge and watched the runway and airplane lights as planes took off and landed.

We were unusually quiet for us on the trip back to the hospital. He parked next to my car, turned and asked, “Can I kiss you?”

“No!” I pulled away.

I can’t kiss a preacher. I’m too bad.

My exposure to religion happened at a vacation Bible school when I was in elementary school. Classmates laughed at my reading skills and giggled when I sang off tune. One girl said, “You can’t be baptized in my church.” I believed her words and knew I couldn’t be good enough to be a Christian.

What did it take to rescue me twenty-some years later?


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:5-7 NIV).

God loved me before He created me. Earl loved me from the first time we met, through my full salvation and continuing to this day.

God’s patience shown through Earl’s kindness. It poured from his heart every time I cursed. He never called me down unless I used God’s name in vain.

God’s word says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10, 11 NIV). Earl never gave up his “Christian” music—or anything else—no matter how much I protested.

God had laid me on many hearts and those people prayed diligently for my faith walk. (I’d made a profession of faith and been baptized before we married—because I thought a preachers wife should be baptized.)

God’s Son died that I could have everlasting life. Earl lived his faith before me and showed me unconditional love.

Earl trusted God’s word for my redemption. “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:13 NIV).

I realized years ago that God had sent Earl to me, just as He now sends me to others. An important way of thanking God is by passing it on to others

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NIV).

In Christ,

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Don't Exist

“I can do so little for myself. Each morning I’m bathed, dressed and set in my wheelchair. My seatbelt is buckled snugly to prevent me from falling out on the floor. My lap tray is set in place and my splints are strapped on my wrists. Then I’m fed like a baby.

“I cry a lot. Then they have to dry my eyes and wipe my nose.

“I am so unhappy. I don’t know the person who is living in this body. I often wonder, ‘Who am I?’ ‘What can I do?’ ‘Why am I alive?’ ‘Is this a life worth living?’

“I feel like such a burden to Earl. He takes me everywhere he can because he can’t leave me alone at home for very long. How must he feel? Does he ever wish he had taken up that doctor's offer to let me die?

“I’m lost, confused, and disoriented. A conversation is too much. ‘What am I talking about?’ ‘Did I just repeat myself?’

“Clarity is gone. Confusion is depressing. I close my eyes and shut out the world.

“I have no future, no hope, and no faith. I have nothing to look forward to so I go to bed thinking about not waking up tomorrow.

“How sweet that would be.”

These thoughts filled my mind for years after my injury. People who loved me encouraged me. They gave me opportunities to get involved in the church. I failed often and realized I had much to learn.

I couldn’t live my life on my own terms as a quadriplegic. I had to let God in and ask His forgiveness for my part in the wreck. I needed His strong arms to hold me on difficult days. And carry me on my worst days.

I needed my family no matter how much I wanted to be alone. I had no choice in what had to happen to live each day. My disability brought challenges to everyone who knew me.

God healed my broken heart and renewed my spirit (Psalm 51:10 NIV). He gave me a will to live and a new and abundant life as a witness to His love and grace.

Are you tired of trying to get better or do better and failing to do it on your own? There are no requirements—just talk to the One who is the Healer of all infirmities.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).

Father, I pray for the person reading this devotion. I ask your open arms be filled with this person and he/she will be filled with Your peace, love, and healing. In Jesus Name, Amen

In Christ,
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Consider My Man Job

Job Sacrificing for His Childrenm
One Sunday after the morning service, I timidly shared the first copy of “My Story” with the choir leader at East Dyersburg UMC. One page, double-spaced, two hundred and fifty words about my wreck. I had butterflies in my stomach. 

What will he think of me after he reads “My Story?”

When I saw him at the evening service he said, “Consider my man Job.”

I pulled out my Bible and read this conversation:
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’
Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.’
Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil’” (Job 1:6-8 NIV).

I panicked. “Who am I to be compared to Job?” My faith ebbed and flowed like ocean waves. Moment by moment my thoughts and memories tore me from God. I felt defeated.

I started reading about spiritual warfare and I learned God had provided a once for all time sacrifice in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. When I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, I became family—bought with a price I could not pay.

Today I know Satan attempts to frighten me out of God’s Kingdom but all I need to do is claim the blood of Jesus, and bind and cast out the evil one.

Keep your focus on the cross and rejoice in the salvation of those set free.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).

In Christ,
How do you feel about spiritual warfare?
Comment on my blog and let’s talk about it.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Missionaries and Sponsors

I’m a bit overwhelmed by my desire to “Go” to one of the many mission fields my church and community are visiting this year. I want to meet the children whom Earl and I sponsor.

Today I saw several posts on Facebook from missionary friends with Beyond Uganda. My heart grew heavy. Isent a message through Facebook to a missionary friend there to tell Elizabeth, our sponsor child, I love her.

Shortly after Earl and I signed up to sponsor Elizabeth, we learned she had malaria. There was no money to pay for the medicine needed to treat her. What would we do if she was a daughter raised in our home?

Earl and I provided for Elizabeth.

Uganda is far away from my home and my visiting there isn’t practical. My heart breaks for the children around the world who need food, water, clothing, love and Jesus.

No, I can’t go but I can send my love. So can you. Your gifts, physical, monetary, and spiritual, are greatly needed around the world. .

Sponsoring opportunities abound locally and through many large mission programs. Won’t you consider loving a child by providing his or her daily needs. Will you show them Jesus by reaching out and teaching them about His love.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19 NIV).

In Christ,
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