My Walk with God: From Aquaintance to Guest to Permanent Resident, Landord and Father


Writer’s Note:  I was one who had always spent her life living on the surface, surroundeddear god by a host of family members and friends that I wouldn’t let go past my first couple of layers—my safety barrier, of sorts. And, while that’s sad, it isn’t near as heartbreaking realizing you’ve done the same thing with God. Sure, I had been saved. I was baptized at age 12 and then as an adult in college I had prayed the prayer of salvation. But, that’s where it stopped. I invited God in, but then I didn’t really doing anything else with Him. Instead of letting Him be my Father, I was treating Him more like an acquaintance, perhaps a distant relative; somebody I might seek out on special occasions or think about in passing. I just didn’t fully get it. I was still living for me. In recent years, however—and most especially within the past decade—I finally began getting what it means to have a relationship with God. A true relationship. Not just the bare minimum I need to get into Heaven. Not just a bunch of religion and rules, but instead a true and honest relationship with the God of our universe, my maker, my father, my friend. And, once I had a taste, I just couldn’t get enough. I just wanted to go deeper and deeper. It’s like being in love. I’m so full of joy and things that worried me before, all of a sudden hold no power over me. Sure, I still had problems. Still do. In fact, for the longest, my life didn’t change a bit externally. But, inside, I was completely changed. And I knew that, with faith, the external would eventually change as well. This is an entry from my personal God Journal’s and today, once again, I invite you into my personal journey as I truly began to walk with My Father; the beginning of a love story that just keeps getting better. I hope that today you are enjoying your own love story with Him. There is no better story that will ever be written. Amen and Ehmen!

God, the day I was baptized, I invited you into my heart, but, unfortunately, that’s about as far as it went. I was only 12 and was really following the lead of my friends and family that had gone before. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they led me to you. It’s just that I didn’t truly get what it meant to be saved and baptized in your name, and though I had found you, I didn’t know what to do next and certainly didn’t know how to follow you. I guess you could say you were just an acquaintance I had made.

Then, when I got to college, my roommate—the daughter of a preacher—shared with me at a time when my mind and heart were more in tune, more open to you. This time, I went to a park where you and I could be alone. I sat under a tree and I earnestly prayed the prayer of salvation. And, in an instant, I felt transformed. I could feel the change inside and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you had given me the gift of eternal life.

Yet, even with this wonderful gift knowingly in my grasp, I still didn’t truly get what it meant to have you living inside of me. The gift remained wrapped. To my credit, instead of treating you like a mere acquaintance this time, I began treating you more like a guest—someone that I would invite to hang out with me from time to time. For years, decades even, I continued—out of sheer ignorance—to live for myself; to be as independent as possible and take care of everything all by myself and to invite you back only in times of desperation.

And, though I forced you into living in the background, the very shadows of my heart, still you remained steadfast and stayed with me. Regardless of how I treated you and despite my ignorance and stubbornness, you continued to shape me and bless me. Still, you called me your child. Still, you protected me. Still, your love and grace remained unfailing, unending, unconditional and absolutely unparalleled.

I just absolutely didn’t realize it—until a few years ago.

Shortly after the heart-wrenching devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, I began to realize that not only had I been holding you back in my own life, I wasn’t properly introducing my child to you either. I was keeping the greatest blessing you had ever given me away from you and I became compelled to do something about it. We began visiting churches, but much to my dismay, they didn’t feel all that welcoming and they reminded me of my childhood church that just seemed so riddled with hypocrisy that once I was old enough to choose, I chose no. I didn’t yet understand that the church wasn’t a building or that simply attending wouldn’t make me a good Christian. I didn’t yet understand that not all people that go to church are faithful servants; that many of them are just playing church and were just as confused and lost as me; that it wasn’t necessarily hypocrisy they exhibited, but the same ignorance and stubbornness I had been carrying for years. I also didn’t really get that a pastor couldn’t just dip me in some water or wave a magic wand and make me a good Christian. His or her job was really just to be a teacher, a shepherd that could lead me in the right direction, but it was totally up to me to actually get into your word and begin developing a one-on-one relationship. I didn’t yet realize that it was people just like me that are to be the church—your church.

So my search for a church home continued. In looking for something a little different from my southern Baptist upbringing, I tried Episcopal, Lutheran, and even non-denominational, but none felt right. Then, one day, just driving into town, I saw a billboard. On that billboard was a toddler sitting in front of the biggest bowl of English peas that I had ever seen with the slogan of “Now that you don’t have to.” Man, it was like that billboard was designed just for me as growing up I had spent hours upon hours sitting in front of bowls of English peas just like that…just staring at them and hoping tbowl of english peashey would disappear. Well, actually, as I got older, I came up with some tricks like raking them back in the bowl when everyone left the room. I had tried putting them in the trash, but got busted. And, I’d tried slipping them to the dog who, unfortunately, didn’t like them either. I could indeed relate to the kid on this billboard.

Now, don’t be mistaken, even though it was then my choice, I still chose not to do those little round green peas. But, I was intrigued enough with this billboard to try the church it advertised. The church was Harvest United Methodist and from the moment I first stepped into the Ramada Inn where it was meeting, I knew I was home. It just felt right. The people were welcoming, the message was relevant and not threatening to a still new, unformed Christian. And, the congregation was diverse, something important to me. That was almost eight years ago. (In 2015, it will be 13 years)

Today, all of those things still hold true, but I’m no longer a new, unformed Christian. And, God, you are no longer a mere acquaintance or part-time guest in my life; you are now a permanent resident, the sole landlord of my heart.

Thank you for sticking by me and for giving Billie and I such a wonderful church home. Amen and Ehmen!

Prayer to the Almighty Puzzle Master


Writer’s Note: This is an excerpt from my personal God Journals written several years ago as I was going through a particularly rough patch. Things were changing in my life, some painful, some confusing and all of which would turn out to be the beginning of a whole new journey for me, an exciting journey that has brought me to this place at this time, a place in which I live and breath closer to God than I ever imagined was possible. Never give up on God, my friends, because He never gives up on you! This I can promise.

Hey, God, it’s me again.puzzle pieces heart

It’s 5:11 in the morning and though I’m concerned about not getting enough sleep, I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit that I should go get my computer and write a little this early morn. I had prayed last night for the Holy Spirit to come upon me and inspire my writing so that I am writing what you need me to write. So here I am.

When I look back on my life at the difficult times, I can always find positive things that came out of the hardships I faced. All believers can do this, if they truly have faith and trust in You. That faith and trust is what allows us to give up dwelling on the negative and firmly grasp the positive. It has been my faith and trust in You that has gotten me through this most difficult year. And, though, I am still in the midst of trials and tribulations, I can actually see Your masterful and powerful hand moving throughout my life, shifting the puzzle pieces around, snapping them in place, one at the time. It’s my faith—my  ability to see the puzzle picture of my life slowly coming together—that keeps me going.

I’m finally learning that we can’t just grab puzzle pieces from anywhere and try to force fit them into our lives, because if You didn’t put those pieces in our puzzle box, they’re simply never going to fit. And, who wants a puzzle that doesn’t fit together? No, I don’t want to create my own picture anymore. I want You, the Creator of the universe,  to be my artist, because I know that Your picture for my life is better than anything I can possibly come up with on my own. Indeed, the sooner I give You full reign and complete creative license over my life, the sooner my picture will emerge as the true work of art, the truly purposeful life I was created for.

God, I wholeheartedly, give it all to you. Right now. Take me and take my talent, work through me. I only want to write your words, words that please you, words everlasting.

Thank you for giving me these gifts. I commit them all to you.

I love you, God.

Amen and Ehmen

And our Almighty Savior says:

Isaiah 14:24: The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.

Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 55:8:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything your could imagine.”

Pour Out Your Uncried Tears…


Writer’s Note: If we look closely enough, through the lens of our Heavenly Father, we can often unearth lessons of Godly wisdom in our everyday lives. The following is the written account of one such lesson learned while just hanging out with my good friend. I hope you enjoy and take the time to uncover such lessons in your own life. God loves it when we do. And He loves us even more. Blessings today and every day.

We walked out of the hotel heading for the train that would take us to the airport, the first leg of Denny’s trip back home. How I wished I was going with her. First and foremost, because I knew how very much I was going to miss her, but also because I knew that it was much, much cooler there. Georgia’s triple digit heat and humidity just didn’t mix well with the hot flashes this decade of life had brought me. It was completely amazing to me that the sun’s slumber had provided very little relief and that, even at 6:30 a.m., the air felt almost unbearably heavy.He Collects Our Tear Slide Art for Blog 5.10.15

We boarded the train, reminiscing of how she had left her computer on this same train when she first arrived 13 days earlier and how God had answered our prayers by prompting a sweet man to pick it up and keep it until he could find its rightful owner.  Having spent well over an hour frantically searching for the computer which contained all her passwords and sensitive personal information, she had been relieved to get a late evening call from her husband that this Good Samaritan had called to let him know the computer was safe and sound.

Though relieved, neither of us was terribly surprised, however. God continually seemed to bless our time together. It was always obvious that He liked it when we spent time as a pair and that He had a purpose for us both—not alone, but together. We always said that God introduced us and, on this day, three years later, it was more obvious than ever that our friendship was hand-designed by the Maker Himself.  This angel, disguised as a proud papa who had traveled across the country to see his daughter play softball and who had found and returned her computer, was just one more reminder that God was always with us and always listening.

I looked over at Denny, clutching her computer case in one hand and holding the bar with the other as the train zoomed along. Though she was still smiling, my personal amusement quickly melted away and I groaned as she remarked how wonderful the early morning heat felt. Easy for her to say, I thought.  She was headed back to Canada and I was being left behind to look forward to yet another day of humid, sweltering sauna-like heat. I looked across the aisle at her again and growled and, as the day’s first bead of sweat made its debut, I began to ponder.

Why, I wondered to myself, does the air feel so darn heavy here? Logically, I knew it was the humidity, because humidity is water and water does indeed make everything heavier.  Anyone who has ever gone swimming in their clothes knows this. I couldn’t help but smile again as I thought back to the first night of our visit when Denny had jumped into the pool fully clothed and how when she got out, she looked as if she was walking in a full suit of armor.

Wait, that’s it, I thought, that’s why our hearts feel so heavy when we are sad or hurt. Saturated in our uncried tears, the heart, like humid air or water-soaked clothes, gets incredibly heavy. But, God, stands ready to collect each and every one of our tears and to lighten our load. We were never meant to bear life and pain alone.

I smiled again, another teaching moment from God. And, with this revelation, I filed a mental note to immerse myself in His Word as soon as I got home.

And our Gracious Lord says:

Psalms 56:8 (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Matthew 11:28-30:

“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.”

John 16:33:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”