A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Saturday, January 28, 2012

You Haven't Lost Me

When your not recognized for being who you were, it's an amazing feeling.......

I got a call from a loved one the other day and as we were talking about our kids and how life just seems to barrel out of control. I jokingly say something that reminded her of who I used to be.... She breaks mid stream and says, "There's  the Kimmy I used to know and love!"

And she didn't know that her words hit me hard at first but, after I thought about it I just let them slide right down my sleeve.

I smile wide because what she doesn't understand is that she just inadvertently gave me a compliment. For all these years she thinks she has lost me. And I don't mind that she can't see me. What I love is that she sees Christ in me........

I look back and I've come so far from where He found me that sometimes even my loved ones don't recognize me. I'm good with that. And lately He has been showing me moments like these to tell me, to show me just how far He has brought me. And His GRACE abounds and I am ever more AMAZED!

 You really don't want the old me....the old me didn't care about anything but herself. Her heart was hard and her soul was bitter. She didn't know how to love unselfishly......

I want my love ones to know I'm here, you haven't lost me. It's just that I'm letting His light shine so bright you can't see me. It's not about who I used to be....It's about what He has done for me........

What He can do for YOU........

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Under The Direct Light Of The Son

Last night I was reminded how far I had cast my past.......To have that feeling of letting go and knowing with out a doubt I NEVER want to go back! Because what I've done and who I've been may have helped create and strengthen the woman I am today but, those things will NEVER define who I am in Christ.......And it feels good to be here under the direct light of the Son.

And as I watch women struggle with the demons of their past and the ones that are still stirring up the present, I want to give them hope. They too, can get to that point. The point of letting it all go and giving it to God. All the ugly, dark burdens that cling to their vessel and take up space in their God given mind. Because God can deal with your past a whole lot better than we can!

When I think of GRACE I think of a warm blanket that covers my soul. A living well of HOLY water continually cleansing this vessel that cradles my spirit. And I have complete access to THE ALMIGHTY GOD who saved me from the dark one........who saved me from myself.

And don't ever doubt that I still stumble, I still fall......but I never fall back into the state of being lost. I've been found and He's told me He will never let me go! And I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Search Me O God

When my days go whirling and twirling around me and I can't seem to get it right....I don't think I'm doing this right. I sit still and look for answers. I wait to hear something, anything that would direct me in the way I need to go. And isn't it easy to get lost in self? Until that's all you see and hear are the moaning and the groaning of an inward heart......
My heart sometimes gets trapped inside itself.....And I go through my days struggling and flailing about. Wandering off His chosen path for me. Irritated when I should be calm. Scattered when I should be assembled. Loud when I should be silent.......

Have I asked for Him to search my heart? Am I afraid of what He may find? .........What He already knows. Why do I fear the things He may ask me to do? I give excuse after excuse. I'm not qualified. I'm too busy. Too much on my plate. 

I fear I may mislead a soul....steer them down the wrong path....Say the wrong thing.  The Lord knows I don't bite my tongue near as often as I should!

But hasn't He worked miracles with the unqualified?  Didn't He use the "least of these" to do wonders and move mountains? And because I want to be faithful.....I need to be honest.

And if I were truly honest I would let you all know my priorities are not in order. I lack in the organization department. Oh my, I want to, I want to be organized...But I fear I have a selfish heart still.....Most times it still beats out of rhythm, and I'm desperately trying to keep in step. 

This wife, this Mama wants desperately to be the woman God has called me to be. He has showed me lately where I fall short......And I am ashamed, to say the least.....Do I dare type the words He has chosen for me to see...... the ones that He has chosen to describe certain areas of my life? 

Misplaced and dis shoveled priorities. 

Ouch! And that's just barely scraping the surface....

Just as He is a loving God He is a Just God. Correcting His children when He sees fit. And as a child of God my most passionate desire is to please Him...to make Him proud.

Won't you be so kind and please pray with me while I work on these areas of my life?......I will never be perfect, but I want to strive to open the door of my heart and let His light shine through me! And He has showed me that if I don't clean these areas up in my life , I won't be as effective in the plans He has for me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If Your Real Quiet and Walk Real Slow...

I remember my weekends as a child lifting logs and loading wagons to fill our cellar for the cold winter ahead. I remember my Daddy taking us for walks through the woods to show us all the different  trees and their leaves. He would show us all that was wild in the woods. Tracks that a deer made. A nest of turkey eggs and Mama turkey keeping close eye, sitting right above in a tree across the way. He always said "If your real quiet and walk real slow, you will get to hear and see so many things you never thought you could."

I remember him teaching us how to tell the age of an old maple or a large oak that he fell with his chain saw. "Just count the rings." And some of those trees seemed to have too many rings to count. I remember laying in the field of tall grass as we took a break for lunch. Wind blowing through my hair. Daddy passing out a banana for my sister and I to eat. I remember soaking in the sun and the peacefulness of it all. Daddy sharpening his chain for the next tree........

And lately I haven't been real quiet. I haven't taken the time to sit still to hear what He's been trying to say....I know He's talking to me, but all I want to hear are the plans that I have been making..........And as I count the 41 rings of my life I know He still has a plan for me. Am I willing to be real quiet and walk real slow to see and hear all the things He has in store for me? All the things I never dreamed I would see......

I'm still learning to let certain things go and give it to God. Because what I want right now may not be what He wants right now. It may not be what He wants ever.........I can't say it doesn't bother me or that it doesn't hurt, this not knowing. What I can say is... 

"If your real quiet and walk real slow, you will get to hear and see so many things you never thought you could." 

Thank you Heavenly Daddy and Earthly Daddy, for teaching this little girl patience....

I'm still learning to be still and know that He is God....

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Flower And The Thorn

I often wonder why God puts a flower among the thorns.....Why He sends us inconveniences. And often I, my flesh, tends to think that I'm the teacher. The one who needs to show them the way, but in reality, especially lately, I find it is I that is being taught......
I cringe at the thought that I have so arrived to the place where I am not able to learn anything more. This walk I'm on....this journey is a constant stretching and pulling and tugging. As He is smoothing out the rough spots I see pockets of GRACE all around me!
And I am reminded that even among the thorns there grows a flower. No matter how inconvenient it is for it to grow among the daggers it grows any way......Because it's the shards of this life....the shattered pieces that in fact make us strong. To show us that even among the thorns we can bloom.

And as God has been showing me that I still need work on patience and acceptance, humility and meekness, I stumble and fall. And the most amazing, humbling thing happens when he picks me back up and sets me on my feet again...... I see things more clearly.

When I thought I was the flower, I was actually being the THORN......

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If It's Important To You......Love them So much It Hurts!

As a young child and even on into my teenage years I never understood the consequences of my actions. How my choices could permanently alter my future......

My thoughts go back to a stubborn young girl and parents who loved her so much that it hurt. How her actions not only affected herself, but so many around her.......how it affected all that knew her and wanted to protect her. So often she chose to shut down and turn away......

And today God has blessed her with children of her own, 8 to be exact.....3 in heaven and 5 right here. And she is living proof of God's grace......

Everything changes when you become a parent. Suddenly the blinders that were once bound to keep me from seeing have been ripped away. And I see now more than ever how important it is that I/we as parents are involved in every aspect of their lives.....The who, What, Where, When, Why and How. How important rules are in this family. How important that you as the parents are the decision makers, the protectors. How important it is to Love them so much it actually hurts!

If it's important to you, Mama and Daddy, that they go to church, then they have no choice! You drag them to church! If it's important to you that their curfew be 10:00, then enforce that time! If it's important to you that he/she eats their broccoli, peas and carrots, then don't let them eat anything else until they do! Hunger will soon set in and they will find those veggies are actually good! If it's important to you that they talk, then don't give up! Make them come out of their room! Let them know how important he/she, they are to you......Let them know how much you love them........Let them know how much it means to you that they are apart of your family! 

If you want to show them right from wrong, then do your best to be honest and stand up- right in God's eyes.... Children are complete copycats of their parents. They imitate what you do. Be aware of what you are doing!

This once stubborn girl has nothing but words and feelings of admiration and thankfulness to the parents who loved her so much that it hurt! I remember and I Thank you! But most importantly I thank My God for His Sweet Grace!!!!!

God has entrusted these precious souls in your care. If you won't lead them, Who will?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Visit

It was early December and Mr. winter had already brought his chill. Although I wouldn't of known it, being down South where the Sun shines warm. A call comes in, Mama tells me " The Doctor just said he don't have much time, a day at best." My heart beats fast in side my chest. I feel that anxious feeling...My legs all aching like I need to run.

My Man tells me to pack my bags, he'll take me up in the truck. And I had two babies I could hardly stand to leave for 5 minutes, let a lone a few days. And all the while with each mile I'm praying....begging God to please keep him here just a little while longer. I want to say goodbye. Please just let me say goodbye........

We make it through the first day on the road and morning finds me all sleepy eyed. Johnny's cell phone rings......I feel it in my bones as cold as the first winter snow that pierces straight through. He hands the phone to me and Mama says "Kimmy he's gone......he died last night beneath the light of the full moon....." And she's crying cause it's her Daddy.....I'm crying cause he's my Grandpa.

And I can still hear his voice like crakilin' fire.  "Say Kim!" He was the only one to call me Kim. He never knew I hated to be called anything other than Kimmy.....But I let him anyway. And in a small box there sits an angel pin that he had given me years ago. "I was going to take it to the priest to have it blessed but, he was busy and couldn't fit me in."

He came from a long line of Catholics and Mama she broke away and became Presbyterian...and me, I'm a Southern Baptist........And does it really matter what your denomination, if you all believe in the same God/Man that walked this earth. The very one that gave it all for you and I? If you understand that Jesus Christ is God's son and there is nothing you can do to earn your way to heaven.....The debt has been paid....The grave was conquered. If that's the belief you share than that's all that matters......

So when I got a call from Mama again telling me that my Grandma had to go in for surgery. I got that same anxious feeling.......You see, she is frail, with clogged arteries and heart issues......they said she probably wouldn't make it through surgery but, that if she didn't do the surgery she wouldn't make it anyway.

Don't get me wrong......I'm not afraid of death. I know she knows the God/Man. My fear? The one that gripped me 12 years ago, is the fear of not having the chance to say goodbye. It's hard to be 1200 miles away. To not be there for those moments when all you want to do is hold her hand, look her straight in the eyes, tell her how much you love her and then kiss her sweet Grandma lips........

I know she probably wouldn't appreciate me trying to write her off so soon but, I write this because life is fragile not only for my 89 year old grandmother but, for everyone! I write this because I haven't seen her in 4 years and I need another visit, because 4 years is too long to go with out grabbing her hand and hugging her so.........

 I don't know if I have the right but, I begged God again to give me another visit before she goes home for good .......Because not being able to see Grandpa before he went home, still really hurts my heart......

I want to thank you all for your prayers. She came through the surgery well and is recovering at home. God is Good...... I also want to make it clear that for what ever reason He chooses not answer my prayer, I will understand.

Because it's all, (the heartbreaks, tears, Joy, sadness, treasured moments.)  for his Glory!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mama Be Careful

I've held back, turned away and many times, I  have bit my tongue.........

Mama be careful what you say. Profanity and slander shouldn't come out of your mouth and doesn't belong in their hearts. Words cut deep and leave wounds festering. You say you don't mean it, your just venting. Hurtful words spoken whether they have merit or not, it's what they hear. It's what pierces their hearts. It's what they remember.......Always.

Mama be careful who you let in your home. You say it's just noise. It keeps them out of your hair while your trying to catch up. What they watch, what they see sinks in until it desensitizes them.....you. And what was once horrific becomes the norm. Don't ever settle for normality! You were made to be EXTRAORDINARY!

Mama be careful how you lead. Little ones will follow what their Mama is doing. If your a screamer, they are too....If you lie, they do too. If your lazy, they are too. If you complain, they will too. If you are calm, quiet and compassionate about reading God's word, they will be too!

Mama be careful not to gossip. This action destroys lives and relationships and can tare apart healthy families. Please don't teach them how to gossip........

Mama be careful to show their Daddy love. Show respect. Be proud you are His wife. Let him know how thankful, how blessed you are that God gave you a provider..... Always be seen Kissing and showing affection. It shows stability and they need to feel secure. By watching you, one day their search for a mate will always bring their thoughts back to your marriage. They will know what to look for. That's what they will want. That's what you will pray for......And by God's grace that's what they will find.

Mama be careful, your time with them is very short but, you have the power to build, encourage and LOVE them into caring responsible adults. You also have the power to destroy, tare down and leave them wounded for life. You have been given a mission by our Heavenly Father to nurture and build up His children, because One Day, Heaven....Wouldn't you want to do your best and make Him proud?

Mama be careful to let them know your love is always there. That unconditional Mama's love will never leave......

And Mama let them always see you on your knees, hands folded in prayer. Let them see who is directing your path. Let them see whose lead you follow.............

Mama please be careful!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eight Ways To Redeem Your Time

I write this not because I'm a perfect time keeper but, because I also need to be reminded of how often I let the thieves in to steal my/His precious time!
1. Rise with the Son. Before your feet hit the floor, may your first thought be of Him. Ask Him; How can you be a good and faithful servant Today? And then get dressed and make your bed!

2. Be aware of the time thieves.  How are you spending your time? Take note of all the things that rob you of your real purpose. Ask Him to reveal the things that keep you from having peace.

3. Jot things down. Write what you need to accomplish. Make a list for each day and then cross it off when your finished. It feels good to have a visual of what you have done.

4. Remember who your really serving. Remember your JOY! Serve as though He is right there sitting at the kitchen table with you. Because He is.....He is right there with you!

5. Remember your Blessings.....Count your Blessings one by one. Count them as if it were your last day here on this side of heaven.......

6. And then be thankful....Come to the table with a thankful heart.

7. Clean your kitchen before you go to bed. Wipe the counters, clean your sinks and sweep the floor. Your day seems so much better when you start with a clean kitchen!

8. Don't go to sleep with out talking to Him and telling Him about your day. Have Him search your heart to prepare you for tomorrow.......

Blessings to you today.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm Holding Your Hand, Can You Feel It?

When I closed my eyes tight in prayer I never dreamed He would answer so quickly....Never thought He would answer in such a way that it would make my heart melt. And why not? He is the God of the burning bush, always burning but never consuming. Always the light but never the hot blazing fire......

So where does this take my faith?............Ever stronger, Ever higher and so much deeper.

There was a little girl going in for surgery to correct her eye duct.....I know her Mama quite well and as the pictures would pop up on my news feed of little Sophia in her hospital gown I would pray......

And this is what I prayed.....God please take care of little Sophia and hold her hand. Be with her Mama hold her in your arms. Make this surgery short and simple and her recovery very quick.

Little Sophia is not your typical child...She is a miracle child and this is her condition:  Cerebral Palsy, which causes her to have mild seizures along with sensory disorders. You put all that a side and she is a beautiful, fun loving, sweetly faith filled little girl.

I commented on my friend's FB posts a couple of times to let her know I was there in spirit and in prayer. And then I made one last comment. I said "By the way, I am holding your hand can you feel it?"

The next post pops up and my sweet friend tells me to "Stop freaking her out!"

You see what I didn't know was, that at the very moment I had been praying, Sophia looked up at her Mama and asked her, "Mama do you see it? Do you see the angel holding my hand?" And Little Sophia's hand was cupped just like she was holding someone's hand.

Let me tell you about my God....The one who answers prayers in ways that only He can. What have I learned over the years? I've learned that it takes time to gain wisdom and grow faith. I've learned that the only way you can be close to God is if you talk to God. The only way to hear His heartbeat is to read His Living Word. And as the years move on He never ceases to AMAZE me. It seems the closer I get the more miracles I see......The more of HIM I see.

I've learned that prayer is not some monotone habit that you do before every meal. Or just when your scared and your life is a mess. Prayer is talking to your Father about everything. Prayer is an intimate relationship with the very God who breathed life into your spirit. Prayer is your life line..........Talk to God more. Include Him in your life and you will find that the more you pray, He has been holding your hand all along......Your just now starting to feel it.

And now I'm all warm and tingly and I've been telling my Sophia story to anyone who will listen and He so amazes me that I can't tell it with out tears........

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crystal Snow Flakes

Winter is here and I feel the chill. I'm not fond of the cold, but my soul longs for some snow. And I know some will say I'm crazy......And some have said I wouldn't last long up home any more where the North wind blows.  They say your blood runs thin when you've been away  too long.

And I've been away too long...My blood runs thin, but my soul runs deep. And it remembers these roads through every season. My feet have walked this earth. And I could tell you where this snow covered path leads. I've been on it a thousand times it seems and yet it's not enough.....

 I've walked these fields and danced with the trees. Seen hundreds of deer near the edge of the forest. I've seen where winter held back the spring and we thought we would never see the crocus bloom again.

And I believe He gives us all a glimpse of what home will be like. And as I long for all the things that I've grown to love.......I know of a narrow path. Its one that I'm ever conscience of....... always aware of how narrow but, how it will surely take you HOME. I'm still walking this path trying hard not to stray. To not be tempted by the detours. To keep my eyes heaven bound. He is my guide....He's the one with the map.
And as I follow His lead I see GRACE in the midst of all this BEAUTY. How Gracious He is to give us the things we long for when home isn't near. And it's funny, but I believe the snowflakes that fall from heaven are made of crystals and glitter  and they are even more beautiful but, not nearly as heavy and cold.......Its only when they fall to this sin soaked earth that they become heavy with bitter cold.......
And Oh how I long for Home where the streets are paved with gold and the crocus always blooms. The tears never fall and love never walks away. Where peace and joy are ever present...........And the longing for home ceases to exist.

The snow covered pictures were taken by my sister, Laura Smith. Because she knows I long for the little things that make up the moments of my life........

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bitter Sweet 16

I don't know why this bothers me so.......This mile stone, the one that's staring me square in the eyes this morning. I feel hurt. Like I didn't get a fair shake......He just can't be 16 today. As my mind rewinds I see little blond curls and a greased up little man. Always quiet. Always thinking. Always tinkering. Many toy trucks lay scattered on the floor, some had been taken apart to see what makes them tick. And today he's good at what he does always tinkering, taking big trucks apart. Although this time they are the real deal with all 18 wheels.

 I read a journal that I kept and wrote moments down before there was ever this thing called blogging. I search frantically, I know it's there. I wrote one for each of my children, a sweet poem to let them know how much I deeply love them......

And this is what I wrote 15 years ago........

My Little One

wake up my little one.
wake up from your sleepy slumber.
Mommy's here, my little one.
To take you through this day of wonder.
Slow down, my little one.
Your first birthday came too fast.
My precious little one,
I want this day to last.
Sleep now my little one
Tomorrow is another day.
Sweet dreams my little one
May God's LOVE kiss your face.

And this is what I want to write today......

You were the first to ever be cradled in my arms that I could call my own. The very first to call me Mommy. I've learned so much being your Mama. I've discovered a love like no other. None can compare. And I remember protecting you, not wanting to let you out of my sight. And Daddy gently prodding me to let you go. Little by little I would cut one string at a time.......

I am so proud of the young man you are becoming and I truly mean that. You are bright, hard working, passionate and so loving. I love that you still want to hug on your Mama at the ripe ole age of 16. I love your wit and your charm. I love how you can watch a scene from a movie just once and play it back with out hesitation matching the person's voice and remembering every line. I love how strong you have become but, yet you still have that sensitivity that you had when you were a little boy. And although you may not be little any more there is one thing that will never change! You will always be  my very first little man.

I deeply love you with every thread of my being and I can't imagine never having the honor of becoming your Mama. You have Blessed this Mama's life in more ways than you could ever imagine!