Archive | January, 2011

Snow

19 Jan

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude
in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:15-17

 

The white fluffy stuff has quite the romantic and cozy deceptive charm about it. A bowl of popcorn, mugs of hot chocolate, a favorite person, and a roaring fire in the fireplace…all the while the landscape outside is being transformed from a dreary and bleak site into a white winter wonderland. Along with the glistening beauty and the snowy glow comes the hush…the hush of freshly fallen snow.

The above description is what I call the billboard version of snow or the glossy magazine cover version that truly doesn’t depict reality. Oh, not to be mislead … to a degree it is all true ~ insert the scenario of your choice and add in the bright white hush. But there’s far more to the story of snow than the Hallmark movies would like for us to believe.

South central PA, where we now call home, has been on the outside edge of some of the largest snowstorms of the season for the east coast. Some of our neighbors just an hour or so away have had to dig themselves out of deep accumulations and deal with extreme conditions due to the blizzards that have come their way. Our families and friends we have most recently left behind in Indiana continue to be harassed nearly every 4 or 5 days with a new batch of precipitation, whether it be snow, ice, or rain. Tim is certainly counting his blessings this winter since someone else has the privilege and challenge of constantly plowing the roads and keeping the sidewalks clear of snow at Higher Ground. And once again, the immediate weather forecast is for another bout of snow to soon hit those we love … and it is still January.

Cole sledding in the snow

Our first round of snow at our house in PA took place while we were in Indiana for Christmas. Upon our return, the roads were dry, our driveway was mostly all clear, and the grass was already poking through the melting mess. Then last week, we were gifted with an overnight blanket of the fluff that measured right at 4” on our back deck. The highlight was a few days later when our 22 month-old grandson and his dog brought their parents up for an evening of playing in the snow. Since our house is built into the side of a hill, the side yard was a perfect spot for a little boy to enjoy his first and many more fun times in his sled. What fun we all had in the snow as we looked at it not only through the eyes of a toddler, but through the protective and loving eyes of his parents and the heart-warming eyes of his grandparents.

Two nights ago, more snow fell, along with a crunchy coating of ice. Tim was prepared and parked his work truck at the top of our driveway/hill, making for a guaranteed exit the following morning for work. For me, I was quite proud of myself for getting out our beast of a snow blower and actually getting it to start on the first try. As it crawled along the driveway, it quickly became bogged down with the heaviness of the ice and refused to cooperate with me to clear the way. Reluctantly, I took it back to the garage and instead grabbed the shovel. Grrr! As the morning wore off into early afternoon, I slowly made progress, one shovel of heavy snow/ice at a time. I was reminded of the hours I use to spend at Higher Ground behind a vacuum cleaner or cleaning the many windows of the dining hall … and how I passed the drudgery of that time away by praying. I immediately began to bombard Heaven for the many people in my life who I love … who need Jesus in one way or another. Before I knew it, the driveway was cleared, I had my exercise, and my heart had reached out and touched the portals of Heaven on behalf of many of you.

I know that snow is far more than a picture on a Christmas card, but I can’t help but live my life in such a way that in all things, I give thanks.

Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Remember when we were little kids and how exciting it was to sit beside the radio to listen in hopes to hear our school named on that long list of those that were cancelled for the day? How fun was it to bundle up in multi-layers of clothing and snow suits to the point where we could barely move … and head for ‘dead man’s hill’ (that’s what it was called in the woods near our house) and to spend hours sledding, making snow people, and having snowball fights?

Won’t you join me today and throughout the remainder of this winter, to give thanks in all circumstances ~ for the memories, for the fun times with today’s little people, and for unexpected opportunities to spend time in prayer for others. Spring is coming … but let’s make the most of what is before us today.

Until next time,
Debbie

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
Isaiah 1:18

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:9-11

Renotta

7 Jan

 

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

 

I’ve known her since we were young girls … her two older brothers and their families attended my church in Indianapolis.  Her beautiful long red hair and bright smile always caught my eye whenever she and her parents came to visit on a Sunday morning.  We both grew up and life took us both down different roads, but whenever our paths would cross, there was always a warm and welcomed embrace.

 

A few years back, news of Renotta and her family going to Peru as missionaries tweaked my interest.  Experiencing the ache in my own heart for missions, I was excited to know that Renotta was answering the call of God upon her life … with her family in tow.  Somehow I acquired a bookmark with a King family photo on the front, complete with names … requesting for prayer as they ministered as Area Strategy Coordinators for Peru and Bolivia.  The back has been used as scratch paper for notes a time or two, but the bookmark remained in the front pocket of my Bible for the past several years.  It is now in a prominent place of honor … marking my spot as I read through the Psalms in my daily devotions…and a reminder to continue to pray for this precious family.

 

How exciting when Renotta and I bumped into each other in the hallway of Springdale Nazarene Church a few years back!  She and her family had just returned from the mission field and began attending the same church that we were in Cincinnati.  We stood there for several minutes trying to catch up and reconnect after so many years.  It wasn’t long before we were ‘friends’ on Facebook, giving us both the opportunity to look on the inside of family life, including the joys of being Meemaw and Grami!  

 

During the summer of 2009, cancer began to take Renotta and her family on a journey which ended at the gates of Heaven just a few days ago on January 3, 2011.  For her precious family and the friends who traveled the weary and often frightening road together, Jesus will continue to hold, carry, and guide them as the days turn into weeks, months and years.  On the other side of those pearly gates, cancer suddenly lost its grip on Renotta as she grasped the nail-scarred hands of her Jesus, rejoicing and worshipping the One that has truly given her Life. 

 

As I have browsed through pictures and notes which have been posted on Facebook, I believe that a few others were feeling the same twinge of marvel … and envy, if you will, that I was feeling … of the fact that Renotta has seen the face of Jesus.  Here is one of the comments …

“Oh how you are loved!  My heart is overwhelmed ~
Oh to see Christ face to face!
Father, thank you for Renotta!”

And someone else posted the words to a beautiful song sung by Sandy Patty ~
Another Time and Another Place …

I’ve always heard there is a land
Beyond the mortal dreams of man,
Where every tear will be left behind
But it must be in another time.
There’ll be an everlasting light
Shining a purest holy white,
And every fear will be erased
But it must be in another place.

I’ve grown so tired of earthly things
They promise peace but furnish pain,
All of life’s sweetest joys combined
Could never match those in another time.
And though I’ve put my trust in Christ
And felt his Spirit move in my life,
I know it’s truly just a taste
Of His glory in another place.

So, I’m waiting, for another time and another place…
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus’ face!
Oh, my heart’s been burnin’,
My soul keeps yearnin’,
Sometimes I can’t hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet Someday …
When I’ll be swept away
To another time and another place.

Renotta has reached Another Time and Another Place!  She has at last been reunited with her mother, and has joined my own Daddy, my grandparents, other loved ones and friends who have crossed the Great Divide … and they are gathered around the feet of Jesus Himself!  Renotta now knows what I can only imagine …

I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe   Click to listen


I can only imagine … what it will be like
When I walk by Your side

I can only imagine … what my eyes will see
When Your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine … when that day comes
When I find myself … standing in the Son

I can only imagine … when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine.

Until next time …
Debbie