Friday, October 12, 2012

Count Your Blessings

It is a blessing to me to still have my mother upon this earth. I am sorry for those of you who do not have yours and I hope this post doesn't make you feel sad as I speak of my wonderful mother.

In a phone conversation the other day, my mom and I were talking about the many blessings the Lord brings us every day and the way that He has always provided for us in the past, as in the present. She said that she had been out on her deck thanking Him for all these blessings and I was telling her how He often has impressed me to write them down, which I have done - and the list just keeps growing! I have many journals, some of them even have excerpts written in them! Others are still blank. One of these would serve as a good vessel in which to write this list, starting from the time I began my Christian life and continuing to the present, leaving plenty of room to list the future ones as well.   If you're like me, you can still think back 30 years or more and remember the things which God brought into your life to shape you into what you are today. I want to start this Blessings Journal soon. What a joy, if the Lord tarries, it will be to read it in my old age. I do pray though that the Lord comes to take us out of this old world soon! don't you?

Mom was hard at work this day, while 'you-know-who' rests at her feet!
Just some thoughts on blessings. I want to count mine daily, like Mom does.

Thanks for stopping by the hill today.

A God Who is So Near

It is amazing how the Lord just takes us by the hand on the day that we put our trust in Him, and He leads us along the path of growth until we go home to be with Him forever. What a blessing this kind of life is. All of the annoying 'accidents' and inconveniences are tolerable and even can be a joy when, as a Christian, we see our Lord's hand in them.

As I was teaching Sunday School on this past Lord's Day, God spoke to my heart through the very words I was reading from Hebrews 12:12-15, with the young people, "Wherefore, lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." By the end of the class my heart and mind were purified by the pure words of the Lord. Prior to class I thought that I had given everything over and was ready to teach, but it only takes a verse of Scripture sometimes to remind us that there is some little area that we're holding onto. What a great God, to be so near to us that He can whisper in our ear and can direct our steps by His gentle nudges.

I hope that you're experiencing His nearness today. He loves us all so much. Those of you who do not yet know Him personally can realize what Jesus did for you in bearing all your sin upon Himself when He shed his blood to take away that sin, and give your heart to Him right now. He is a God who is 'near at hand' and ready at a moment's notice to welcome you into His family.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It Was 32 Years Ago...

It is hard to believe how fast the years have passed! One of our nieces (we only had two at the time) said, "All I remember is you, walking down the aisle through the leaves." We had planned on an outdoor wedding, at our church-site, but had gathered many trashbags of colored leaves to stew down the aisle. I'll try to relate the wedding story - I have a hard time believing that ANYONE who actually knows us, does not know... my husband tells it well, but there are parts that he leaves out (:

The rain was coming down so hard, and was not letting up! I was upstairs getting ready, while Mom was answering phone calls, "another person called, asking whether the wedding was still going to be outside!" she would exclaim, every ten minutes or so. Finally we decided to tell people that we would have the ceremony up at the school (where the reception was going to be, everyone had directions already-12 miles from the church property). My brothers dutifully went up and set up the two hundred chairs, or so. They also took the bags of leaves and strewed them generously down the aisle and in a large "heart" up where the Pastor and wedding party would be standing. In the meantime, one of them (or someone) had written a nice, large sign that read, "Veysey/Rhodes wedding, Perkinsville School", with an arrow. They had covered it with plenty of plastic and planted it in the ground at the beginning of the road to the church property.

It was a lonnnnggg morning, it seemed, but finally it was time to head up to the school. As Dad and I stood in the hallway where I had spent my first three years of grade school, he said to me, "You know, it still is not too late to back out. I will not be angry or upset if you decide to." I knew that he didn't say this because he did not like Syd, but because he was assuring me that he wanted only what was best for me. I do not remember how I responded to that, I am sorry to say. As the back doors were thrown open, Dad and I began our walk through the Autumn leaves, past hundreds of smiling faces (we had invited almost 500 people, but only about half came). It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to take my engagement ring off! I have a fat knuckle, so it was not easy. As I struggled with it, Dad was patting my hand (no doubt, thinking that I was shaking from nervousness). FINALLY the ring came off and I was able to slip it onto my right hand just before we reached Syd and Pastor, phew! I don't remember if I have even SEEN photos of Dad and I walking down the aisle, I can imagine my face!

By this time, of course, Syd had arrived and was waiting for his soon-to-be bride at the end of the aisle. What I DIDN'T know was the trip he took to get there...He had arrived WAY early (as is his custom), having picked up, from the nursing home, an elderly wheelchair-bound elder from our church. They had planned that the van door would be left open so our elder, Mr Martin, could stay in the dry van and watch all the drenched people sit and happily see an equally drenched couple unite in blissful matrimony. Syd also was transporting our friend Richard and the best man. When they pulled up to the entrance to the road, there was the sign - "Veysey/Rhodes Wedding, Perkinsville School". As you can imagine, someone said (in this case it was Mr. Martin), "They didn't tell the GROOM!?" How he laughed!

I must admit, I did not even KNOW that we hadn't called Syd. I cannot actually remember the first time I even heard the story (of course, I've heard it MANY times since)! All I know is that we had a wonderful day with family and friends; our church ladies did all the food; Mom made the cakes and did all the flower arrangements; my brother played, "God of Our Fathers" on the saxophone while I marched, shakingly, through the leaves. Syd was the handsome, smiling, groom and I was the young (18 year old) bride. Our first night was spent in Springfield, then we returned to our home church to share the Lord's day with our church family before heading out "camping" in our van, to Maine. Thankfully we only actually camped one night, then it was motels for the rest of the week. By the time we were on our return trip, we were eating only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but were extremely happy!

We both praise the Lord for these 32 years and for the way that He has lead us all the way. We are only  pilgrims, sojourning through this life. As long as our hands are within His, He lovingly leads.
This excerpt is from one of my favorite hymns, In Heavenly Love Abiding:
   Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back;
   My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack;
   His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim;
   He knows the way He taketh; and I will walk with Him.

See? I knew what I was getting into. This was taken before my High School Senior Prom

Sometime in the mid-80s

Taken on our 25th Anniversary

in 2010
On a most recent note: Syd has just informed me that our well is almost FULL!! We have prayed for rain, and the Lord has certainly opened up the skies for many weeks. Thanks, all of you who prayed also! Praise the Lord for His provision of water.