The Word on Love…


Dear God,

This morning, as I realized I had once again got sucked into checking social media and playing on my phone in general, I opened the Bible app in an attempt to resuscitate my quiet time with You. I found today’s verse, pictured here, most captivating and have decided to use my time this morning putting it to the test. I can’t wait to see what You reveal. So, without further ado, the blank page is yours…Amen and Ehmen

Dear, Sweet, Stubborn and Loveable Child of Mine,

I love you. That should go without saying, but I like to say it anyway for a couple of reasons. One, and most especially when things get hard, My children often forget this.

And, two, love is the key that unlocks everything on heaven and on earth. It’s the foundation for all that is good, right and holy. It’s the driving force behind all creation; the very blood that pumps through My veins and powers my heart for all creation, most especially you and all of humankind, past and present. Without love, there would be no heaven or earth. There would be no you.

Love is…

Spend some time today meditating on what My Word says Love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. 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 records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Start by looking closely at the word “always,” Child. The dictionary defines this word as meaning at all times and on all occasions, forever, which is true. But look at the word closer. Not only is my love for you timeless and eternal, but I also thrive in expressing it in all ways as well.

Indeed, love is in everything that I do. Everything.

In the things that make you smile and the things that make you cry. The things that bring you joy and the things that bring you pain. Everything that I do; everything that I allow in your life is wrapped in love.

Make a note though, Child. While all things are wrapped in love, all things that bring you heartache and pain do NOT come from love. They ARE  transformed by love and given back to you as a gift.

What you do with that gift is up to you. You can let it collect dust on a shelf, never unwrapping it to reveal the gift inside, or you can do as I have always intended—unwrap it and use it! Share it with the world; use it to help bring others into My Kingdom.

To do anything less has tragic consequences which mourn My soul.

I love you, Child, and I trust you will do the right thing. I made you. I know you. And I believe in you. My gifts will never be wasted on you.

Go forth and be fruitful. Go forth in love.

There’s purpose in the present…


November 25, 2018

 

Dear God,

Where to begin? It’s been awhile since I opened up my heart and let it flow onto the blank page.

If I am finally honest with myself, this year has been fashioned of fewer deliberate Purpose Scripture Image created 11.25.18prayers and more and more silent groanings. Thank You for never letting my needs go unmet, even when I don’t know what they are or are just too tired and distracted to lay them at your feet. Thank You for sending Your Spirit to continuously intercede on my behalf.

Thank You, too, for sustaining me as I have attempted to find a new normal. Losing my job of two-decades-plus, and more specifically the safety net that it provided, has been harder on me than I have admitted. I still believe with all that I am that You did not want me to step back into a full time job, but to remain self-employed so that I am forced to depend on You and You alone. It’s been 18 months now and You are still sustaining me. Though I often fall short month to month, I have yet to want. Still, I have also yet to rest in a place of complete trust in You. I am sorry for that and pray that you will help me with my unbelief.

Thank you also, Lord, for the doors you have opened for me. I never dreamed that I could go out on tour, physically or mentally. But, not only did I do it, it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, even with the bumps along the way. You made it obvious that I was where I needed to be and with the people I most needed—incredible people so genuine

0A9D2BBB-4FA9-477C-999E-9CB2D6310588

Thank you, David and Tamela Mann, for being obedient to your calling and allowing me to become a part of your phenomenal “Us Against The World” family.

and full of love for each other and for You. No pretenses whatsoever. What a rare and beautiful treat and definitely the stuff of which lifelong friends are made. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart, for the doors you have opened and those that I know You will open in the future.

And, thank You, Lord, for yesterday, for instantly answering my prayer to have my passion reignited and ink to begin flowing again. The God moments and ideas started flowing within minutes. So, so many ideas, that I am honestly not sure where to start, but I know I should not worry as You are with me.

I couldn’t ask for a better Muse and Mentor. Ever.

Help me to walk in complete obedience so that the seeds You have planted within take root and bear abounding fruit for Your Kingdom. I love you, with all that I am.

Amen and Ehmen.

 

Dear, Dear Child,

How happy it makes me when you meet me here. I can speak to you anywhere, anytime, but it is in the peace of My Presence where the world falls silent that you are able to hear and understand Me most.

Thank you, Child, for your obedience. I know you feel deep down that you have squandered much of this past year, but I encourage you to not let the enemy twist your thoughts. He’s resorted to the same old tricks since the beginning of time. Attempting to lead you away through guilt; through self-doubt.

He knows your heart is Mine, so instead he has to resort to making you feel unworthy.

Hogwash!

You, My Child, are worthy. I picked you. I equipped you.

You are the only one who can fulfill the purposes I have for you and, as long as you love Me and stay connected to Me, nothing can stop you.

I AM proud of you, Child.

You have done nothing wrong.

That Elevation Church podcast that popped up out of the blue yesterday was no accident. I need you to Job on Purpose Image Created 11.25.18hear and believe that the downtime of the past couple of years has not been wasted. It was necessary. Like My son Steven said, it has all been a divine delay; a delay of My own design.

I am lining things up, Child. My plans for you are even bigger than you know; bigger than you will know while on earth. The impact of your purpose will ripple throughout the generations well into eternity. And, as long as you believe in Me; as long as you trust in Me; as long as you are Mine, you can rest easy knowing that you are called; you are equipped; and you are right on schedule—for nothing, My Child, can thwart those who love Me and are called according to My purpose.

Buckle up. You are in for the ride of your life. While the phrase “it will happen” brings hope for the future, I need you to retrain your brain to this truth that your heart already knows to be evident: Your purpose is present tense; a fluid, living, breathing part of you and it is happening right now!

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

I love you, Child, with a love like no other. Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Bereaving a bully


Earlier this week I read of yet another classmate’s untimely demise. The older I get, the more frequent these reports seem to come and my reaction is usually pretty much the same—a smorgasbord of emotions.

If the person knew Jesus, I find myself consoled, but still saddened for their loved ones. I then usually spend some time thinking about the good old days and, wonder how they could have possibly passed so quickly.

However, this week’s news did not spark a welcomed walk down memory lane at all. Quite the contrary, in fact.

My mind seemed hell-bent on traveling to a time some 45 years ago where hurtful words repeatedly hurled in a locker-adorned junior high hallway still echo deep inside.

What? Why does something that happened so long ago still linger in the recesses of my mind? Why, when I haven’t given it a thought it all these years, does the mere mention of a name bring it all back to the forefront?

The purpose of this is, by no means, to shame the unnamed or to defile her memory in any way. But, I do See the source imagethink it important to remind everyone to be careful what you say to others and to remind your kids to do the same. What you say does have the power to hurt another and to haunt them long after the words themselves have fallen silent.

Truthfully, at my age, it’s kind of embarrassing, to realize that I still harbor such feelings about someone I haven’t seen or talked to in four-plus decades.  

But, now that I know, I have asked God to help me lay both to rest; to help me to forgive her just as He has forgiven me; to replace the negative memories her name evokes with a celebration of The Father’s unyielding grace and mercy.

Please, Father, I ask you to grant her family and loved ones peace and comfort during this difficult time and help me to look forward to a second chance at friendship when it comes my time to join You both in Heaven.

Amen and Ehmen!

Message Received: Back to Work!


Work at it with all your heart scripture

Since the moment I embarked on this self-employment journey over a year ago, I have felt that this is exactly what the Lord wants for me as it requires me to fully depend on Him.
Still, if I am completely transparent, not knowing where or when my next paycheck will come can be more than a little unnerving at times.
This morning was one of those times, but instead of spending precious time worrying, I turned to God in prayer. As I prayed, I felt a nudge to open the daily bible app on my phone and this is what jumped off the screen.
Oh, sweet Jesus!
The Lord has used this verse many times in my career life and it always seems to be when I am at a crossroads or in challenging times. Needless to say His timing is always perfect. Message received.
Back to work!
Amen and Ehmen!

 

He was real. A living, breathing work of God.


dad and girls

Like a rose garden in the rain, your memory comes to life watered by my tears.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad lately. Though he has been gone for close to 50 years now, the gunshot that took him from us, still echoes deep inside. A bad decision by one individual with a sawed-off shotgun forever changed the lives of two families who lost their patriarchs and the many friends and loved ones left to grieve their loss.

Although I have long forgiven the man who wielded that shotgun, I can’t help but wonder how my life and the lives of my family would have differed. I wonder what it would have been like to grow up with my father and for my daughter to grow up with a grandfather.  His absence still ripples through the generations and can still be profoundly felt in my heart, perhaps now more than ever as I have spent the last several months working on Planes, Trains and Heroes, a book exploring the history of my hometown and the region that surrounds it.

All along this book project has been special to me. As a freelancer, each and every time I lifted a pen to capture the lives of individuals, families, business owners and churches in other communities across the United States, I dreamt of offering the same opportunity to those with whom I share my geographical DNA. I was thrilled when both the publisher and the City agreed and work finally got started in the closing weeks of 2017.

What I didn’t expect was just how personal it would become. You see, my job as project manager and managing editor, is to call on local businesses, organizations and families that themselves have a story to tell—some people and places whose roots are traced to the beginning and others who were drawn here later to become a part of our blossoming heritage.  It has been even more endearing than I anticipated as local business people reminisce and remember events and people of days gone by—including my dad! Yes, Billie Q. Gibson lives on in the memories of people I didn’t even know before now.

Unbelievable and absolutely unexpected that almost a half century since my father was transitioned into the afterlife, people still remember him and fondly so. They worked with him and served with him. They laughed with him and had lunch with him. They respected him and loved him. He WAS real. A breathing, living, work of God. My daddy.

Because he was killed when I was barely eight years old, my memories and even my thoughts of him are from the perspective of a little girl. It’s as if that part of me—the daddy’s little girl part of me—will always be frozen in time; a story that won’t be complete this side of Heaven.

In the meantime, however, hearing that people knew my dad as an adult and hearing that the picture that I had painted in my mind of a knight in shining armor, a true-to-life prince of a man was pretty much true. My dad was an awesome guy –a respected businessman as the manager of a finance company on the corner of Commercial Circle and Watson Boulevard; an active member of the community; a dedicated servant who among other things served on the board of the Civitan Club (it’s good to know those darn Claxton Fruit Cakes served a greater good!); a beloved friend to many; and, of course, a loving husband and father.

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me this very special walk down memory lane. It was an unexpected blessing that I will cherish forever. Happy Father’s Day to You and to my earthly dad, both who await me in Heaven. I’m proud to be the daughter of The King and the little girl of a true prince

Amen and Ehmen

 

Come what may…he loves us, y’all!


 

April 15, 2018

Dear God, dear god
On the surface, it is a dreary, sleepy morning. I awoke to rolling thunder in the distance and now a
rather harsh rain is falling. Of course, with the skylights in my living room, the rain always sounds pretty intense, I imagine much like it does on a tin roof. I have always heard that many people find rain on a tin roof comforting. I’m not sure about that. The sound can sometimes be deafening. It definitely takes some getting used to. Still, even with all the noise, here I sit, safe, sound and dry, tucked away comfortably in my bed, writing you. Now, that is comforting! Insert peaceful sigh, here. I can feel you all around me, Lord. Welcome to my humble abode. Come on in and stay awhile. I love you.

*****

Dear Child of Mine,

I love you, too. I love being in your presence as much as you love being in Mine.

It is a beautiful morning. Listen to the birds just outside your window. Can you hear them singing My praises? They are thanking Me for the rain as they know rain is a necessity of life; a gift from Me to all of creation. When the sun is shining, they thank Me for that, too, as it is also a gift.

You see, child, the birds get it. They understand that I will take care of them, no matter what. They live each moment, come what may. They trust Me to provide and protect. That is how I want you to live as well.

Come what may is a very difficult concept for you. It unsettles you like the roaring noise the rain makes on your skylights or a tin roof. What I want you to understand, my dear one, is that I am like the roof. I am the one that takes the beating so that you can remain safe and dry. I cover and protect you.

As for the sound, I hope you, too, will find comfort in it from now on. Let it be an audible sign to you that I am your protector and provider; that I will never leave nor forsake you. Listen, do you hear it? That, my child, is the sound of true love and devotion. Close your eyes and drink it all in. Live in the moment. Trust. I’ve got you covered. Today and every day, come what may.

*****

Writer’s Note: Though it has been awhile since I have immersed myself in His Presence, conversing via the blank page, I have–this very week–once again discovered that He is always waiting and willing. He loves us, y’all! He really, really does!

Amen and Ehmen!

A Word on Worry


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Worry is a sin and I am a sinner.

I am so sorry, Lord. Perhaps, that is what I could give up for Lent.

What?

You want me to give it all up and you will fill the empty places with peace and joy?

Oh, Lord, that sounds perfect, BUT first I need you to help me give up my pride and stubbornness. You know I can worry about not having anything to worry about. Help me with that?

Amen and Ehmen!

 

2017: A “But God” Kind of Year


As I sit and stare at the last page of my 2017 calendar, I can’t help but notice how free the day looks. The burden and weight of all the other days are gone, crumpled in the trashcan below; days lived, some happy, some sad and some—more than I like to admit—chalked up to just another day.

But, I realized as I studied this scene, that what looks like trash is actually a beautiful work of art,

Look up and breath

My New Year’s Resolution for 2018!

each torn calendar page representing yet another day that God loved, cared for, provided for and sustained me.

No doubt, 2017 has been a year of transition and trying times. A year of ripped off Band-Aids, shrinking comfort zones and vanishing safety nets. A year filled with frontline assaults on my income, my health and the health of many of my loved ones and friends.  A year that could have easily derailed me and thrusted me into a downward spiral of depression and hopelessness…BUT GOD.

The Bible often introduces similar scenes that are recorded on its pages with these two simple, but powerful words, “But God.”

Beautiful words on which our Lord and Savior rides like a knight in shining armor. Words that have changed the trajectory of the lives of men and women throughout history and have breathed new life throughout time. Words that have rescued, sustained, protected and revived entire nations and individuals, myself included, more times that can be counted.

Yes, 2017 has definitely been a “But God” year for me.

Today, I find it refreshing to recap those “But God” moments as a reminder of how very much God loves me and is always in my corner; a timeline of sorts that proves His unyielding affection and unwavering presence in my life. A timeline that breathes a revival of refreshed purpose, hope and life.

I started 2017 entrenched in a job that was literally sucking the life out of me. Eighty-plus-hour weeks filled with more 20-hour days than I care to recall. Youthful supervisors who made no attempt to hide their agenda to run off anyone who had been in place prior to them. Pay-cuts, complete and utter disrespect, constant patronization, and a schedule of brutal and non-sustainable hours which wreaked havoc on the physical and emotional health of those targeted.

BUT GOD…He pulled me from the wreckage and gave me a new beginning.

In May, when the earth was springing into its annual rebirth, the job that I had held onto for far longer than I should, suddenly came to an end. The writing was on the wall and my self-constructed safety net was in the trash. And, yet, I had peace. Fear and worry danced all around me, but never really took ahold of me. I felt His Presence and knew in my heart that what looked like an ending was actually a beginning, a gift from the Almighty Father in Heaven. I couldn’t have survived what that job had become.

BUT GOD…He sustained me and provided for me.

 I spent the next six months without an income to speak of, but never once did I go without. Once again, fear and worry danced all around me, but never, ever got a grip on me. He sustained me. Successful appeals, found money and odd jobs and projects seemed to fall in my lap as I met each month’s bills on time. And while the job market for a woman in her mid-50s is far from burgeoning, God paved the way for a new beginning; a jumpstart on a self-employed career which promises more time, more energy and, eventually, more money to fulfill the purposes He has set before me. I know this deep down at the very core of my being.

Of course, now unable to threaten me with my job, the enemy had to find another area of weakness and soon began to launch attack after attack on my health. For the past six months, it has been one thing after another and my immune system has struggled to keep up. Fear, worry and hopelessness have danced all around me and, I must admit, have occasionally drawn me in. With my body broken, my spirit often tried to follow.

BUT GOD…refused to give up on me, offering me the time and means for healing as He continues to build me up for a purpose-fulfilling future.

For years now, He has been leading me toward changes that I fully believe will re-set and revive my body, healing present ailments and staving off future ones. Before, I didn’t have the time or the willpower to comply, but I have slowly come to realize that, once again, what the enemy means for harm, God uses for good. It is clear that I have to make changes if I want to live the life He has for me and He is now giving me the time and I am slowly gaining the willpower to do so. Yes, hope is on the horizon and 2018 promises to be a breakout and breakthrough year.

Thank you, God, for sustaining me and transforming a tumultuous year into one of hope, promise and confidence for the future. Thank You for replacing my innate tendency to worry and fret with an awareness of Your presence and the confident assurance that You are always and in all ways looking out for me.

Thank You for showing me once again that a life fueled by faith is a life filled with blessings and hope. Though I don’t know exactly what 2018 holds, I can step into it with the confidence that You are already there with arms of protection, hands of provision and a heart full of love.

Happy New Year everyone! Remember that God not only loves you, but He is FOR you. With Him on our side, 2018 has no choice but to be epic. Amen and Ehmen!

Happy_New_Year_2018_Greeting

Oh Holy Night…


Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I just wanted to share this video of David Phelps singing Oh Holy Night, one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I stumbled upon it and have now watched it a half-dozen times and have yet to get through it with dry eyes. If ever the Holy Spirit was captured on video, this is it! Enjoy and Merry Christmas to you and yours. The Savior is Born! Amen and Ehmen!

Oh, Holy Night

Oh, holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees, oh, hear the angel voices
Oh, night divine, oh, night, when Christ was born
Oh, night divine, oh, night divine

Led by the light of faith, serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star, sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name!

Oh, Holy Night… Merry Christmas to us all! May your Christmas be filled with HIS Presence!