~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Smells Like Rain

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David , held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.

At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs.

'I don't think she's going to make it,' he said, as kindly as he could.
'There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one'

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

'No! No!' was all Diana could say.

She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.
At last, when Dana turned two months old. her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.

And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.

As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby, when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, 'Do you smell that?'

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, 'Yes, it smells like rain.'

Dana closed her eyes and again asked, 'Do you smell that?'

Once again, her mother replied, 'Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain.'

Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,'No, it smells like HIM! It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.'

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along.

During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

I've read this story several times and every time I do...I think of those wonderful Walker twins. Born so early...in the hospital so long... and now two rowdy all-American, country boys. God is so great, He is so real, and when we are His...we are all firmly in HIS grip ~ God bless you all!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cowboy Poetry

I received this from my niece via e-mail and wanted to share it with y'all.

Jake, the rancher, went one day
To fix a distant fence.
The wind was cold and gusty
And the clouds rolled gray and dense.

As he pounded the last staples in
And gathered tools to go,
The temperature had fallen,
The wind and snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup,
He felt a heavy heart.
From the sound of that ignition
He knew it wouldn't start.

So Jake did what most of us
Would do if we had been there.
He humbly bowed his balding head
And sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key for the last time,
He softly cursed his luck
They found him three days later,
Frozen stiff in that old truck.

Now Jake had been around in life
And done his share of roaming.
But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked --
It looked just like Wyoming !

Of all the saints in Heaven,
His favorite was St. Peter.

So they sat and talked a minute or two,
Or maybe it was three.
Nobody was keeping' score --
In Heaven, time is free.

'I've always heard,' Jake said to Pete,
'that God will answer prayer,
But one time I asked for help,
Well, he just plain wasn't there.'

'Does God answer prayers of some,
And ignore the prayers of others?
That don't seem exactly square --
I know all men are brothers.'

'Or does he randomly reply,
Without good rhyme or reason?
Maybe, it's the time of day,
The weather or the season.'

'Now I ain't trying to act smart,
It's just the way I feel.
And I was wondering', could you tell me --
What the heck's the deal?!'

Peter listened very patiently
And when Jake was done,
There were smiles of recognition,
And he said, 'So, you're the one!!'

That day your truck, it wouldn't start,
And you sent your prayer a flying,
You gave us all a real bad time,
With hundreds of us trying.'

'A thousand angels rushed,
To check the status of your file,
But you know, Jake, we hadn't heard
From you in quite a long while.'

'And though all prayers are answered,
And God ain't got no quota,
He didn't recognize your voice,
And started a truck in Minnesota'

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Time for Everything

Manicured lawn, one small square building, and three large crosses on a hill... I've passed it by thousands of times. When I was young it was the crosses that caught my attention. Later it was the green awnings that popped up in random locations. And then, the freshly dug dirt piled high, and the people placing chairs in four neat little rows under those awnings.

For two years we passed it every day on our way to the farm where my parents were building a house. My mother patiently answered any and all of my questions. To a second grader death does not seem as much of a reality as life.

I pass that same cemetery each day as I drive to the market and not much has changed, the same three crosses stand on the hill, the lawn is still beautifully manicured, the awnings still pop up on random days in random locations.

Just left of the entrance by a little grove of trees is an area with hundreds of little bunches of flowers placed neatly in little rows. It always seemed a bit odd to me until the one day I drove into the drive way and sat in one of those green covered folding chairs under one of those seemingly random placed awnings in that little corner by the road.

The young couple so dear to my heart sat catatonic in the front row with parents at their side. My dear friend could barely get through Amazing Grace. The pastor cried as he spoke of a loving God and the pure innocence of children who pass before the world has had a chance to corrupt their soul...and baby Emma Marie was laid to rest... she died just short of her due date and would be two years old this month.

Yes, death was hard for my young heart to understand when I first passed by those three big crosses, but now...death holds a whole new meaning...it is final... heaven or hell is the destination not that little plot of land where flowers or headstones reside.

In just a few short hours I will once again pass by that same cemetery, that same little corner by the grove of trees peppered with flowers. I will again pray for the families the green awning represents, if necessary, I will stop for the procession.

But today...today... I will remember the anguish contained in the sob of a mother who lost her only daughter. I will remember the sorrow in those beautiful eyes as the glimmer of hope for more that one child was laid to rest. I will pray even more vigilant for that young mother I have grown to love more each and every day.

Today, I will remember Emma Marie, daughter of Mikey and Amanda, little sister of Riley, grand daughter of Jeanna Marie, niece of Dede, great grand daughter of Delola and great niece of mine.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." ~NIV

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Give To You, My Son

I held him as an infant; I hugged him as a boy

and through the years he has become my greatest pride and joy.

I love him more than I can say, his life more precious than my own…

but gone are the whims and notions of the little boy that I had known.

For the years have passed so quickly since the time it all began

and now he stands before me with the conviction of a man.

He wants to serve his country, he states aloud with pride

as I try to sort out the emotions that I'm feeling deep inside...

a union of the uncertain fear, which I cannot control

and the allegiance which lies deep within my patriotic soul.

I trust that my years of guidance will serve as a strong foundation

as he performs the duties requested from his beloved nation.

God please guide him as he travels to the places our soldiers have bled

and walk with him through pathways where those heroes' feet have tread.

Oh Sweet Land of Liberty, humbly I give to you, my son

praying you'll return him safely home when his work for you is done.

Author Unknown

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Comfort From an Empty Tomb

Comfort From an Empty Tomb
Matthew 28:1-8

A sad group of women walked to Jesus' tomb on the Sunday morning after His death. Their Savior—the Lord of Lords and King of Kings—had been brutally beaten and then crucified. The women's hearts must have been heavy with disappointment and grief. Yet in an instant, mourning was turned to joy. An angel greeted them to offer this comfort: "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said" (Matt. 28:6).

So many of the confusing things the Lord had said now suddenly made sense. Not only had He prophesied about His own death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21), but He had also explained His relationship with God as a "oneness" (John 10:30). The grave cannot hold the Almighty. The resurrection put to rest any doubt Christ's followers may have harbored about who He was.

God kept every one of His promises and prophesies regarding the Messiah. For example, Jesus died on the cross before the soldiers decided the break the legs of those being crucified (Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20). But they pierced His side with a spear to be certain of His death (Isa. 53:5). At what seemed to be the end, Christ was buried in a rich man's tomb (Isa. 53:9); however, He did not stay in the grave.

Jesus conquered death and is now seated at the Father's right hand, interceding for believers. He knows your name, where you are, and what you need and desire. The comfort of the empty tomb is that our Savior is alive and watching over us—just as He said (Heb. 7:25; 12:2).

This Easter message comes to you from In Touch Ministries.