Through the Rain

For almost two years now life as most Americans had previously known it has ceased to exist. The carefree days of living uninhibited by the restraints of our safety and health no longer exist. Fear if we aren’t careful can consume our thoughts and steal every ounce of joy we have.

Having been mostly house bound and fear bound since the beginning of the pandemic I have begun getting out a bit more the last couple of weeks. I have taken up the quote “faith over fear.” I attended a live church service; went into some grocery stores and shopped at local shops.

Our daughter who lives in Marietta invited me to attend our oldest grandson’s basketball game in Atlanta this weekend. I must admit I was apprehensive and unsure if my faith would be stronger than my fear. I hadn’t driven to Atlanta in over two years, and it was supposed to rain on Saturday the day of his game.

Saturday morning came and it was so foggy outside when I woke up, I could barely see past the front porch. I had already checked the GPS to see how long it would take to get to the school. My GPS estimated one hour and nine minutes. I knew with it being the weekend before Christmas traffic would be heavy with last minute shoppers. Factoring in rainy road conditions and construction on I-85, I-285 and 400, I knew my GPS time prediction was highly inaccurate.

The game was scheduled to begin at 2pm. I left my house at 11:30am, stopped and filled up the car, went by my youngest daughters work and picked up an item, then picked up a sandwich and drink from Arby’s drive through. I pulled onto the already backed up I-85 entrance ramp and began literally just inching my way towards St. Ann Catholic Church School Atlanta (Marietta). It was 12:05pm.

An accident just before the Braselton exit had caused the sluggish traffic. Once I snail crawled past it, I was able to pick up my speed. “This isn’t bad at all,” I thought, it was only drizzling rain and the fog had already lifted. When I got to the Buford exit, I had expected traffic to be really backed up with cars headed to the Mall of Georgia but going South there wasn’t a backlog at all. Smooth sailing. I was enjoying listening to Christmas music and all was good!

Suddenly as I got to the Sugarloaf exit as they say “the bottom fell out”, it was raining so hard I could barely see my windshield wipers! I got in the middle lane and slowed down to a creepy crawl. “Lord, help me Jesus,” I prayed “please don’t let a transfer truck run over me.”

As I was driving through the rain the song “Too Faithful” by Moses Bliss began playing.

You are who are yesterday 
Today and forever more 
What You say is what You do 
You never fail You never change 
You are faithful till the end 
Faithful God, I worship You 
I worship You

You’re too Faithful to fail me 
You’re too Faithful
To disappoint me 
You’ve Proven Yourself in my life 
And I’ve come to Realize 
You are too Faithful to fail me

I began to just praise the Lord for his faithfulness! Through every storm, through every heartbreak, through all my sickness, even though I have failed Him, He has always remained faithful! He has proven Himself over and over. I do not have to live in fear.

We do not have to live in fear because we serve a faithful God. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. “Hebrews 13:8. When we concentrate on His faithfulness, when we remember who loves us and protects us our faith is strengthened, and we have peace.

📖 Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

It kept on raining hard all the way to Jimmy Carter Boulevard then it slacked up. Traffic was slow but steady and me and the Holy Spirit had a wonderful time rejoicing and remembering all of God’s faithfulness. My spirit was renewed through the rain and a long car ride.

I arrived at St. Ann Catholic Church at 1:55pm.

Off Balance

Off Balance

Somehow, with everything that is going on in this world the past few days I have found myself “off balance.”  

Have you ever felt that way? As if you just weren’t walking straight anymore. You are still getting up everyday and doing what you are supposed to do, but your legs are weak and you seem to stumble more. This is where I find myself.

I know God is still in control, I am just overcome with sadness with what is happening around me.

So much death and sickness.

So much strife and confusion.

Hate and destruction.

The constant pressure by the world to conform.

I have never lived through anything like what we are going through now and honestly – it is difficult. 

In the mornings I struggle to get up and get going. Am I depressed? Maybe, but this is something more. It’s more of a grieving.

Grieved over the way of life I once knew.  The world, country, church and family life I loved and enjoyed has completely changed. I am grieved because I know in my lifetime, it will never be the same again.

Life is full of changes and believe me I have experienced many of them. Some changes I have gone through with joy and others in great agony. Falling in love then the  adjustments of marriage. The joy of the births of our children then the agony of the teen years and loneliness of empty nest syndrome.

There were many unexpected changes I was sure would crush me forever.  The death of my baby brother, watching my child suffer from a severe illness, being diagnosed with an incurable disease.

Abraham, Noah, Lot, Ruth, Esther, Daniel and many, many others saw their world change forever in their lifetime. Yet, they stayed faithful to God and saw His hand deliver and protect them. I am sure there were probably times of great personal grief for each of them, but they remained faithful and they kept their hope in God.

My hope and your hope must be in Him, not on the world around us. I have to turn off the world, let the grief pass and let the hope of GOD be manifest.

May God’s unfailing love and faithfulness watch over each of us. May we sing His praises forever.

Psalms 61 NLT

“O God, listen to my cry!

    Hear my prayer!

From the ends of the earth,

    I cry to you for help

    when my heart is overwhelmed.

Lead me to the towering rock of safety,

    for you are my safe refuge,

    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.

Let me live forever in your sanctuary,

    safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Interlude

For you have heard my vows, O God.

    You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.

Add many years to the life of the king!

    May his years span the generations!

May he reign under God’s protection forever.

    May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him.

Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.”

May God’s unfailing love and faithfulness watch over each of us. May we sing His praises forever.

God Crazy

I am not crazy like the world considers or defines crazy, but I am conflicted and fighting a truly real spiritual warfare battle. It rages wildly and strongly. 

The desire of the enemy is to destroy me and you. He desires to kill our spirit, to keep us from praying. He desires to discourage us and keep us so self centered that we will give up and walk away from our family in search of self “satisfaction” instead of standing strong in faith and fighting through the battle with Holy Ghost inspired faith and prayer for our family. He wants us to give up and instead meet our own selfish desires.

Believe me, I am often tempted to walk away from the daily torments, but as the old hymn goes “I’ve come too far to turn back now! Does that mean I don’t get weary? NO! Does that mean my heart, soul, body and mind doesn’t ache and cry out in pain? NO! But friends, I know who my Savior is. I deserve death, HE DIDN’T”T! I deserve to be tormented, HE DIDN’T”!

I will not cease praying! I will not cease crying out to GOD! I will not stop believing in my GOD who has never ever failed me!!

I BELIEVE FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE!!!!

I BELIEVE MY GOD CAN DELIEVER AND SAVE!!!

KEEP THE FAITH MY FRIENDS!!!

Without Him

I have failed God more times than I can count, but HE has never failed me.

I have wallowed in self pity and doubt.

I have been disobedient and willful. Demanded my own way. Selfish and ungrateful. 

Downright foolish and arrogant many times.

Knowing I was wrong, knowing I needed help, but refusing to change.

Why?

I would always say “It’s not because I don’t trust God, I do trust Him, but I don’t trust me. I have no confidence in myself.”

The truth is IF I HAVE FAITH IN GOD THEN, I CAN HAVE FAITH IN MYSELF, but I never could grasp that concept. Still I struggle with it. 

If I trust God then, I can trust him completely.

My faith is in Him, not in me.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Confidence in what Christ can do in and through me. Confidence in what the Holy Spirit is leading, teaching and guiding me into each day as I seek the Lord. My faith, hope and confidence is not in me, but in Christ.

It is only when I focus my eyes on what Christ can do in me that I can believe I can be forgiven, restored and continually renewed. Without a continued confidence, faith and hope in Christ I would be lost. Just like the words of one of my favorite songs.

Without him, I could do nothing

Without him, I’d surely fail

Without him, I would be drifting

Like a ship without a sail

Jesus

Oh Jesus

Do you know him today?

Do not turn him away

Oh Jesus

Oh Jesus

Without him, how lost I would be

Without him, I would be dying

Without him, I’d be enslaved

Without him, life would be hopeless

But with Jesus, thank God I’m saved

Vengeance

Punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.

Have you ever wanted to inflict hurt on someone because of the pain and hurt they had caused you?

Have you ever wanted someone to feel the same hurt or humiliation you felt?

I have.

I have never known how to deal with rejection, being used or spiteful attacks. It has always been one of my greatest weaknesses.

God’s word tells us:

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Romans 12

Why should we leave vengeance in God’s hand?

  1. Because His love is unconditional.  He doesn’t just love you, He also loves the one who has offended you.
  2. He will not just do what is best for you, but he will do what will bring healing and restoration to all.
  3. He is not just a God of today. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow–He and He alone knows what is best for everyone involved.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight.

Never trust in your own knowledge, always trust in the Lord.

Finding Truth

There comes a time when you have to get honest with God and yourself.

YOU have to hear from God and search the word for the truth!

YOU have to know that you know!

Not because of what someone else told you, but because of what GOD did for you!

Comfort Hug

Two years ago, after attending the 10 a.m. Service at The Jefferson Church —Bobby, Memaw and I went to eat at the Braselton, Cracker Barrel. We were feeling great after a powerful sermon and were sure we would beat the church crowd and just slide right into a table at the Cracker without any hesitation.

WRONG! OH! MY WORD! It was only 11:22 a.m. and the place was covered up like ticks on a Madison County coon dog. Bobby let me and Memaw out to get on the list why he searched for a parking place.

I see the little hostess upfront, tell her we have three in our party and give her our name, “Standridge, yes, Stand – ridge spelled just like it sounds.” She replies back “It’s going to be a 35 to 40 minute wait, we have a party of 19 ahead of you.” Memaw needs to go to the bathroom, Bobby is still circling the parking lot like a police helicopter trying to run down a criminal so I just say – “thank you,” and rushed Memaw to the bathroom.

When we came out of the bathroom, I finally spotted Bobby, but there wasn’t anywhere for us all to stand together. Everywhere I went somebody was touching me, bumping into me. I was having a hard time trying to keep up with Memaw. She’s only 4’11’ and she has shrunk a little at 80 years. I literally couldn’t see her over all the people and merchandise for sale.

Lord, knows my good sermon feelings was done flying right out of me. My anxiety was kicking in. I was so agitated. Bobby asked me a question and I near took his head off with my sharp answer. I began to pray and take deep breaths, “God help me to relax.” I moved back to the baby section of the store and began looking at little boy shoes. I spotted a pair of Choo Choo Train Sneakers. They were so cute! I picked them up and thought’ “these will be perfect for Calum .”

I headed to the check out, got in line and when my turn came I proudly put the shoes on the counter and said “my baby girl is having her first baby and it’s going to be a boy!” The cashier congratulated me as I beamed with motherly pride, then she told me the total of my purchase. I reached in my purse and searched for my wallet.

No wallet! I had no wallet. I suddenly remembered I had left it on the dining room table. NOW PANIC sets in! I have no idea where Bobby and Memaw are I am anxious, but sane enough to realize I can’t beller out Bobby’s name like I do at home over the lawn mowers. The lady behind me says, “Honey, don’t feel bad I did the same thing the other day with a buggy full of groceries.” I ask the cashier could she void the transaction and Bobby would pay for them when he paid for our lunch. She agreed and placed the shoes behind the counter.

I quickly took my high anxiety, embarrassed self to the only place I could find that wasn’t filled with people —the hallway of the bathroom entrances. I stood there and thought to myself “Girl, what did the pastor ask in his sermon this morning? —”Has there been a marked change in your life?” I cried, Lord, help me to trust you. Help me to look to you for peace! Holy Spirit work a miracle in me.”

As I was standing there alone, I see a woman approaching me holding a bag. She hands it to me and says “This is for you. I paid for your shoes.” It was the woman who had been standing behind me in the checkout line. I hugged her as tears flowed from my eyes.

Now, I was dressed in my Sunday best! I did not look like I was financially struggling. I do not believe this woman paid for the shoes out of pity. I have no doubt the Holy Spirit led her to pay for these sweet baby boy shoes to show me how much HE loves and cares for me. He loves and cares for you and me even in the midst of our storm. He will do whatever it takes to speak peace to our hearts. He hears our cries. The last three days had been extremely hard on me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had spent the last three days seeking God for wisdom and direction but, I also need his comfort. I needed a hug.

I am so thankful for God’s love and his compassion for me. My God is worthy to be praised!.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me. And delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4