--- Isaiah 40:31
I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. Someone close to our family was not doing well, and I have spent a lot of my time praying for her and trying to help her. Unfortunately, she passed away the other day.
She lived to be very old. In fact, she had a relationship with some of my older relatives who died before I was born. To them, and to my little family and me, she was a beacon of strength.
I first met her as an infant and, after having spent my entire life getting to know and understand her; it made it all the harder to see her struggle toward her end. You could say our lives were fully and completely entwined.
I loved her so much, as did my husband. Together, we made sure that our two children got to know her; not on a superficial level, but intimately, for her purity of ideals, her sense of justice, her providential foundation. She was all about honor, integrity, ethics, self-reliance, and godly values.
There was something about her that attracted a dichotomy of people. There were those, like my family, who appreciated her attributes and respected her for them. But, sadly, there were many people who found ways to take advantage of her. The truth is, they saw her success and felt that they deserved part of it, even though they never contributed to it. Recently, as her vitality declined, it was nearly unbearable for my family and me to watch others disrespect her, mock her, and call her out-of-touch.
When some of her trusted advisors retired, the younger ones who took their place found ways to personally profit from her holdings. As a result, at her death, she no longer possessed the affluence she had known. It happens to so many of our elderly.
I am told that while she was carried in the womb, many waited excitedly and expectantly for her birth. Because her parents were prominent people who were willing to take a strong, unbending stand for self-reliance and freedom, there were those who wanted to make sure she was never born. However, individuals who supported her parents’ beliefs vowed to protect her at all costs. I’m told things escalated to a fight, and many were the families with empty chairs around their tables.
At her death, there were others besides my family who still treasured her values and her qualities, and, together, we gathered round her, hoping, until the last breath, that God would give her more time. But, that was not His will for her. There was a reverent hush in the room as her breathing slowed.
Using the last of her strength, she spoke her final words. “My children, the blood of patriots fills your veins. What would our Founding Fathers do now? Look to them in order to understand what they expect of you. The word “quit” was never in their vocabulary. Until your last breath, never stop trying to revive liberty.”
She rested her head on the pillow, and we listened to her breathing stop. Sounds of grief made their way through the gathering as each person who loved her deeply was forced to acknowledge her passing. I heard someone whisper, “I can’t believe it! Our country’s gone!”
“It’s hopeless, isn’t it?” another person asked in a voice that cracked with emotion.
Placing my hands on their shoulders, I turned my children, now adults, toward me and looked into their eyes. “God has always provided courage and strength to those who follow Him.”
Lifting the banner from the floor where it had fallen, my daughter looked around the room and asked, “Who is with me?”
As he helped his sister unfurl the precious fabric, my son answered, “I am.” Together, they struggled to lift the heavy flag of Liberty above their heads, but the weight was too much for two people.
“The men boiled their leather shoes for food at Valley Forge,” someone cried. “They would rather have starved than give up!” People in the room murmured their agreement.
A young mother holding a sleeping infant spoke next. “The officers, the signers of the Declaration, every one of them knew they faced a traitor’s death if they lost the war. They put their lives on the line for us!”
“How much is Liberty worth to you? What are you willing to give for it?” a middle-aged man called out.
My husband took my hand firmly in his. There were tears in his eyes as he looked into mine. “Our last breath.”
“Our last breath,” I answered.
IN GOD, THERE ARE STILL SOME, WHO TRUST
It’s amazing what can happen to a nation in the span of about a week, and the span of that week isn’t quite over. We are in the aftermath of a natural disaster that has affected thousands of Americans’ lives and simultaneously in the face of a critical national election. All around us are people who are mourning the tragedy that has befallen us and at the same time fearing what may be to come.
What can we say, dear sisters? The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy is widespread and runs deep, and the physical, spiritual, and moral needs of our nation seem on many days to be a bottomless pit. We would sink in despair if we thought we had to climb our way out of this pit, but as followers of Christ, we have a different understanding on the situation, both in our nation and around the world. We participate in our government and we pray for our leaders, but we don’t count on them to meet our needs; we have a God in heaven who has adopted us, and He is able to provide for His children. We get involved in the relief efforts and we reach out to those who have lost much to the hurricane, but we also don’t take on the burden to rebuild people’s lives; we point them to the Savior, who is mighty to save and able to put all of the pieces of their lives back together.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7). Lift up His name. Call upon His name. He is Bread for the hungry, Living Water for the thirsty, Wisdom for the confused, the Alpha and Omega for those who need a new start in life, the Shepherd for those who need direction, the King of Kings for all who long for the security of bowing the need to a trustworthy leader. He is Lord. He is God. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken (Psalm 62:2).
Will you take time now to pray for the people of our nation and to ask God to give Christians a great measure of courage today?
Thank you, Kimberly Sowell, for your sage words today. Please visit Kimberly’s website, “His Heart” at: http://kimberlysowell.wordpress.com
IN GOD WE TRUST
Are you a Mom with boys who are reluctant to read? Maybe it’s been hard to find books that interest them. Oh, there’s plenty of books for young girls. Bookstore shelves are filled with them. But books for young boys? Well, that’s been a different story. Until now.
Author and publisher Eddie Jones has written a “clean read” for middle school boys and girls. Christy Award-winning Author Ann Tatlock says “Dead Man’s Hand is teen fiction that’s not just for teens” and she, for one, “can’t wait for the next book in the series.”
Did I say Dead Man’s Hand is a book for young boys? It is! However, even young girls love it.
Abby Dellosso, daughter of author Mike Dellosso, had this to say about Eddie Jones’ hit new book: “Dead Man’s Hand is a perfect mixture of suspenseful and spooky. I love all the detective stuff. It taught me how to find a murderer!”
Eddie Jones has outdone himself with this fun adventure, full-of-suspense book. Even adults are raving about it. A middle school teacher wrote this about Dead Man’s Hand on Goodreads: “I am reading this book aloud to my seventh-grade english class and they absolutely love it. It is really intriguing and gets the children’s attention. (And mine). It is so hard not to read ahead because I am so engrossed in the book too!”
Buy your copy of the just-published affordably-priced Dead Man’s Hand at Amazon in either paperback or Kindle and at Barnes & Noble Online Book Store. Also available at other bookstores.
There’s nothing on video games that even compares with reading a well-written page-turner. Kill two birds with one stone: strengthen your child’s reading skills and immerse them in a book that is simply good, clean fun! Better yet, read the book with them.
TO GOD BE THE GLORYRead More
Do you ever find yourself thinking that it’s just too late in your life for certain things to happen? I didn’t even realize that I do this. That is, until I took a lovely walk through the French Quarters in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday with my daughter Megan.
We stopped at an art gallery and admired numerous paintings by highly skilled artists. One piece in particular caught my eye, but the hefty price tag prohibited me from purchasing it.
Taking into account my age and my lack of income, I bemoaned my circumstances to Megan as she walked slightly ahead of me on a narrow sidewalk. “I love oil paintings, but I’ve never had the money to purchase any.”
Megan murmured something.
“What?” I called out to her. “I didn’t hear you.”
She continued walking but turned her head toward me as she repeated her comment. “Yet.”
“You haven’t had the money to purchase works of art. Yet.”
“Yet,” I repeated.
“Yet,” Megan affirmed.
In the window of another shop were photographs of England, the one place I’ve wanted to visit since I was eleven years old. “I still haven’t been to Europe.”
My daughter, diagonally in front of me on the threadlike sidewalk, muttered something.
She turned sideways, still walking. “Yet.”
“You haven’t been to Europe. Yet.”
Yet. I pondered the word, my foot twisting on a raised cobblestone. “Yet,” I said out loud.
“That’s right, Mom. Yet.”
“So what’s your point? I don’t have the money to buy art and I don’t have the money to travel to Europe.”
“Yet. You talk as though you’ve given up on your dreams. If you give up on your dreams, they definitely won’t happen.”
“I’m being realistic, Megan. I’m an unknown Christian writer who just started their career and hasn’t earned a penny.”
“Yet. You never thought you’d write a book, but you just signed a book contract.”
Yet. I stopped and let her words sink in. Yet! This child is right! I’ve given up on my dreams. Dreams can’t happen if we give up on them, if we allow them to die, if we stop pursuing them.
I hurried to catch up. “Yes, Megan. Yet! Buying fine art and traveling to England have not happened yet!”
She glanced at me and smiled, the teacher and student trading roles. “Yet.”
What about you? Yes, you. What dreams have you given up on? Maybe you should tell me while we’re having this conversation. I’ll start the sentence, and then you fill in the blank: “I have never…….”
This is where you need Megan: “Yet.”
Isn’t that three-letter word unbelievably empowering?
What’s your biggest dream? The one you’ve never told anyone, the one you are most afraid will never happen? I know you have one. This time, say your big dream out loud. Speak life into it. Revive it. I’ll help you begin: “I have never……”
And Megan says: “Yet.”
You see, what you are saying, in essence, is this: I have had this dream for a long time, but it hasn’t materialized. Yet. I thought my dream was dead because I thought it was impossible for it to actually happen. But if I remain hopeful and focused and keep my dream alive and continue to work, it could happen. Yet.
I’ll take the last turn: “I have never written a best-seller.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me such an incredible daughter, and for the opportunity to share her wisdom with my friends.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph: Cynthia Howerter © 2012
Thanks to everyone who entered the LaTan Murphy CD giveaway contest!
Congratulations to Cathy Baker who has won a copy of LaTan Roland Murphy’s CD ASSURANCE!
Cathy, please send me a message with your address so that I can have a copy of the CD mailed to you. Both LaTan Roland Murphy and I are wishing you many pleasurable hours of listening to LaTan’s beautiful voice.
Readers, stop by LaTan’s website for a visit at: http://latanmurphy.com For those who didn’t win, you can order LaTan’s CD on her website.
Have a blessed day,
TO GOD BE THE GLORYRead More