Thursday, January 19, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
My sweet mama died six years ago today (January 9th), and I still miss her so much. Hardly a day passes that I don’t remember something she said or did. I think she’d be happy to know that her life still matters, that her influence and her example live on in my sister and me and in other family members and friends who were blessed to spend time with her.
She wasn’t famous in the eyes of the world. She was never president of any organization and was never in the spotlight. Yet, she was a bright light to those who were going through “dark times” as she, an LPN, ministered lovingly to patients and their families at the local hospital, as she stayed several consecutive days and nights with friends whose mother was dying, as she took care of her parents “to the end”….
She kept the home fires burning brightly all the years my daddy was gone all week (day and night) while he worked in another town, leaving her to take care of my sister and me and the cow and the pigs and the chickens and the mules. At that time we had no telephone, no running water, no central heat or air, no vehicle (except the one Daddy drove to work). But Mama managed and did not complain.
I could go on and on about her, but time won’t permit me to put so many sweet memories in print. However, I just couldn’t let this day pass without acknowledging how much I miss her and how truly thankful I am to have such a wonderful mother, the kind of excellent wife and mother portrayed in Proverbs 31, which includes descriptions such as these:
- Strength and dignity are her clothing… (v. 25
- She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (v.26)
- She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness (v.27).
- Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her (v.28).
I want to be like Mama--a woman who is “far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:1) and a woman “who fears [reverences] the LORD” (v.30). If I am, then I, too, will be deeply loved and, therefore, greatly missed when I’m gone.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
When we’re reading, it’s easy to skim right over familiar words rather than stop to reflect on their meaning, as I discovered one recent morning when I came to these familiar words in Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV:
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Thankfully, something “stopped me” before I could speed right past them. I wondered, What does it mean to acknowledge God? I jotted down a few words that immediately came to mind: recognize, consult with, defer to….
Next, I read those same two verses in various versions of the Bible and noticed that acknowledge has been translated submit, think about, know...
Then I consulted a Merriam-Webster Dictionary and discovered even more words that are closely associated in meaning with acknowledge: admit, own, avow [boldly declare], confess. One of the longer definitions given in that dictionary says, “to regard or describe (someone or something) as having or deserving a particular status.” Another definition says, “to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something).”
Finally, I checked Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and found a long list of closely related words, including these: be aware of, comprehend, consider, declare, discern, discover, perceive, regard, respect, understand…
As I reflected on my findings, I wrote this summary:
To acknowledge GOD means:
- to believe that He is the true and the living God
- to be respectfully aware of who He is and of His power
- to think about Him throughout each day—i.e., to live in constant awareness of His presence
- to consult with Him (through Bible reading and prayer) to discover His will, His preferences
- to humbly and gladly seek to please Him in matters both great and small
- to tell others about Him
Monday, January 2, 2017
When I’m at the beach, I almost always go outside to watch the sunrises and sunsets even if no family member goes with me. I just grab my camera and go alone to the beach. I love seeing the rays of light punch holes in the dark sky. I love the beautiful colors that begin to spread across the sky. I love the first glimpse of the sun when it seems to rise out of the murky waters. I love the gentle sea breezes and the shrieking of the shorebirds as they search for and find their first food of the day. I even like the noises made by boats as they head out to deeper waters. There’s just something extra special about the dawning of a new day—and/or a new year! Each one is full of promise, full of unknowns.
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) apparently appreciated the dawns, just as I do. In one of her songs, Another Day Is Dawning, she mentions specific opportunities she anticipates in the new day, among them: making progress, praising God, serving others, witnessing to God’s love…Several times, she mentions her longing to spend another day with Him. If by that she means she wants to be aware of God’s presence with her and to enjoy Him, to feel His great love, to talk with Him throughout the day… then I feel a kinship with her because THAT is what I want, too!
Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.
Ecclesiastes 11:7, New Living Translation