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Sunshine on the Eastern Shore

14 Jun

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Psalm 97:1

 

Many years ago in Hershey, two cute little blond-headed kids came to our Wednesday night Caravan program. They were brought faithfully by a friend of their momma. Some of us ladies began praying for this momma … that she would come to church with her children and fall in love with Jesus. Soon after, the momma did come to church with her kids, and she fell head over heels in love with Jesus. A vibrant personality, contagious cheerfulness and a glow that is unmistakably Jesus is the reason for my term of endearment for Miss Mary Sunshine.

 

Mary was eager to jump in head-first, with no hesitation, into whatever God asked her to do! So in September of 1997, Mary moved to Albuquerque, NM, just a few months after we arrived there to be part of the ministry team at Nazarene Indian Bible College. Mary became our neighbor, our co-worker, my prayer partner and a dear friend.

 

June 10, 2016

On our way to Virginia

Life’s been a journey since that time in our lives nearly 19 years ago. Much has taken place for us both, including a few changes of address. But right here, right now, we find ourselves only 6 hours away from one another. This past weekend, that gap was temporarily closed when Tim and I packed every nook and cranny of our Harley Davidson and rode the 260 miles to see our friend. Mary moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in November of 2015 and was recently installed as the new Pastor of the Bloxom Community Church of the Nazarene.

 

Mary’s enthusiastic spirit and visionary heart has begun the restart of a church that once thrived in Bloxom and reached into the surrounding communities … hosting camp meetings and revivals, youth camps and gospel sings. The rich heritage that many locals remember, along with God’s call and the contagious excitement of the new pastor, Bloxom is beginning a new chapter.

 

June 11, 2016

After dinner group photo

Life-long friends with hours to catch up on, local seafood to eat, roads with beautiful sites to explore on the motorcycle, and three precious Chihuahuas to love on … what a fun weekend! A lot of things have changed since those days of praying for that young single mother, but the one forever constant is her glowing love for Jesus. No matter her circumstances or where she calls home, she will always be my Miss Mary Sunshine!

 

Won’t you join me today in celebrating friendships, God’s undeniable call, and His love that continues to redeem lost and broken lives?

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

P.S.  Click here http://www.bloxomchurchofthenazarene.org/site/cs/Index.asp to go to the church website to see how you can help with the restoration process of the property.  Many years without a pastor or congregation has taken its toll on the buildings and grounds.  Consider taking a work team to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I guarantee that Mary Sunshine will be a gracious hostess!   Drop her an email and schedule a time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that small but growing church!

ohmary02@gmail.com

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the
light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

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Life Is A Journey

21 Sep

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

We stood in the foyer of the church following the memorial service of our young friend who had passed away just days before. As what often happens at such life events, a reunion of sorts was taking place among many of us who once shared the same church. When it was time to say our good-byes, my now out-of-state friend hugged me and we exchanged a few more words and went our separate ways. That very brief conversation left me thinking. It left me praying.

 

Cindy reminded me that the last time we were together, I had mentioned to her that I was on a journey. My mind quickly rewound the tape of life to recall what had actually been said, but in that moment and in those circumstances that brought us back together that day, my response was simple. LIFE is a journey.

 

Since that Sunday afternoon just a few short weeks ago, God and I have discussed this journey…and oh what a journey it has been! I continually cover my children and their loves with prayer, thanking Him for His prevenient grace, His constant protection over their lives and for His blessings – even when they don’t always recognize His Touch and Presence. 35 years of this journey has been shared with my husband. Our relationship has taken me across paths that I never thought I would travel — some very special places and wonderful memories… and others not so much. God has picked us both up and carried us at times when we couldn’t take the next step. But here we are today. Still on the journey and extremely grateful for our Guide. Then over the course of 4 major moves, we have so many friends that have contributed to this adventure. Friends that only joined us for a season and others for a lifetime. All part of the journey.  Over these past few weeks, I have brought bits and pieces of this journey back out into the bright sunshine of God’s Grace and Mercy, once again humbled and so eternally grateful for His forgiveness and for His redeeming Love to me. Life is truly a journey.

 

A few days after that thought provoking conversation, while sitting at my desk at work, my eye caught a glimpse of a card that a former co-worker gave to me when I left the law firm. “Life is a journey”  I smiled as I wondered if God was quietly nudging me to write. Later that day, all doubts were erased as I sang along with one of Colton Dixon’s song … Click here to watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0Dzh3RZn0E
(please ignore the brief advertisement before the video begins)

 

 

“Through All Of It”

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter of tears and troubled times
This has been the story of my life

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear and I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do And I’m always going to

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

We are all on this journey called life.  Won’t you join me today in embracing the One Who has been Our God through all of it?

Until next time,
Debbie

 

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.
For the Lord is your life,
and He will give you many years in the land
He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

 

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

 

Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the Stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue; be my Rock of Refuge,
a Strong Fortress to save me.
Since You are my Rock and my Fortress,
for the sake of Your name, lead and guide me.
 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for You are my Refuge.
Into Your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God
Psalm 31:1-5