Friday, April 15, 2016

The mind

The losses accumulate as we age.  Sorrow will overwhelm us unless we are anchored in God's Word. Our dear firstborn son arrived ten months to the day after Ted and I married. He left this earth for Heaven eleven months and six days after his daddy went to be with the Lord. six years ago, ....both with cancer.  Early in the morning this week I was stirred from a sound sleep with a voice whispering: "Ted and Doug are dead. You will never see them again!"  I forced myself fully awake and yelled out loud: "Get out of here,  satan. Ted and Doug are not dead. They are alive with Jesus. Leave! Now! Lord, help me!"  A few words of Philippians 4:8  began to filter into my mind and gradually the entire verse settled in. "Finally, brethren,  whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute , if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise,  let your mind dwell on these things."  Reality slowly set in.  Ted was no longer next to me and Doug does not dwell in his home at the top of this mountain. Only recently have I been able to drive by that home without breaking into wrenching sobs. My two men are gone,  but they are not dead! 

Some readers tell me they enjoy my stories.  ... so here's another:  The year was 1959. I was lying on a couch in our new home in Bakersfield, California. There was no air conditioning, and the swamp cooler was doing its pitiful best to lower the one hundred degree temperature. Sweat poured off my swollen body, pregnant with our third baby, Deanna.  "Morning sickness" lasted all day and for nine months with this one. Our five and ten-year-old boys, oblivious to the heat were digging a fort in the dirt of our barren yard. Boys love dirt.  We had just moved from a cool "garden spot" of California, Palo Alto to the heat and smog of the southern San Joaquin Valley. I awoke from a restless nap to an odd crunching sound coming through the wall from our garage.  I waddled out to see what was going on and there stood a guilty looking little boy, standing in a mound of walnut shells . He had found my stored stash! Patience at an all-time low,  I grabbed that little guy with one arm and smacked his bottom with the other.  He shot out of our garage and ran down the street, bellowing,   "Momma! This woman hit me!"  Ho, boy. What a dandy way to make friends with our new neighbhors.  Jimmy Ticer's mother came to her front door, looked over the top of her son's head and asked:  "O.K., what did he do?"  I'm going to like this woman! She invited me in for iced tea and the next day we sat across from each other at her kitchen table, Bibles open to the Book of Ephesians. Diane was a runaway-from-legalism Christian, hungry for grace. The next week she invited her sister to come and the next week her sister invited a friend who knew nearly everybody in the leadership of our city. The women began to come to our little church, bringing their husbands and children. The women at Diane's kitchen table are now in Heaven, as are most of their husbands. I don't know about all of their children, but they all learned God's Word in that once-little church on Rosedale Highway in Bakersfield, California.

 I visited River Lakes church last Sunday. ...a church that now covers a city block,  has started other churches and has taken the Gospel around the world.  If anyone ever writes the history of this faithful-to-the-Word church, my little story will not be included, nor would I expect it to be.  Today a hand full of women will come into my living room to begin to wrap up a study in, guessed it:  Ephesians. For me, it remains the very best of God's Books to disciple a new Christian.

One of Yogi Berra's goofy sayings popped into my mind yesterday. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" Our government has come to a "fork in the road".  Is any candidate equipped to take the right fork and give us some Godly leadership? What can we do? "Confess your sins and return to Me"  has been God's message since the disobedience of man in the garden of Eden.

                                           AN OLD HYMN

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.
When the shadows fall and darkness comes He giveth inward peace.
Oh He is the perfect resting place; He giveth perfect peace.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.

Love.  Jo