Daddy’s Legacy

My dad has been in heaven for seven years now.  Today he would have been 77 years old.  I wrote this poem for my him three months before he passed away, in honor of the 50th wedding anniversary that we had managed to gather all of us kids together for.  Happy Birthday, Dad.  You were a great man, and are greatly missed!

Not a wealthy man, in earthly terms, yet rich beyond compare.

You didn’t strive for new possessions.  For these, you didn’t care.

But, what you lacked materially was made up in the end

In assets beyond measure; proven character, family, and loyal friends

You taught us by example to put God and family first

You worked long hours just to earn enough to be dispersed

To pay the bills, clothe the kids, put groceries on the shelf,

Kids in school, gas in the car, but you didn’t lavish on yourself

One trait of yours that I admire and forever have sought after

Is your knee-slapping, gut-splitting, contagious, roaring laughter

I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much it meant to me

To be the one to make you laugh, and fill your day with glee

Thank you dad, for showing us the Source of joy, the Truth

For teaching us, and training us while in our days of youth

Thank you for the time you spent down on your knees in prayer

For following God’s guidance and the wisdom you found there

Thank you for the heritage that money can’t afford

Thanks for your example of a life lived for the Lord

Thank you Dad, for all you’ve done, for guidance and provision

Thank you for the legacy of Lovin’, Laughin’ & Livin’.

Lynda Hedges

January 2005

Why don’t you live like you believe it?

Hey you! 

Yes, you…the one wearing the name “Christian”.  You, you, and you.  The ones who say “Jesus is coming back”, “We are in the end times”, and “Jesus loves you”.

Do you really believe what you are saying to the world?  Do you really even hear yourself? 

If what you say is true, why are you bitter and angry?  Why do you rip your brother or sister to shreds with your words?  Where is your love?  If your life contradicts the words your mouth pours forth, can I trust your testimony at all?

When Jesus walked the earth, He loved.  He didn’t just command that we do so too, He gave us an example to follow, and He even went so far to say that this is how the world would know we belong to Him; that is, our love for one another.  Jesus emptied Himself and poured Himself into those he loved; He forgave them, healed them, ministered to them, and ultimately died for them.  If your love has grown cold to your brother or sister, if you are resentful, abusive, filled with anger and hateful words, or neglecting the needs of your own, you are not known for your love, but for your apathy and animosity.  Your words are a clanging noise, your actions are screaming that you believe otherwise.

And the world is watching you.  They listen to your words, and they watch how you interact with your family, friends, neighbors, and enemies.  They are looking for authenticity, and you are so busy seething over perceived wrongs, that you can’t adequately minister hope to anyone, because you don’t have any even for yourself.

 

 

They call me “Momma”

Our society has different names for the maternal influence in our lives; Mother, Mommy, Mom, Momma.  But there’s just something about being called “Momma” that I like.  I’m not only the  formal birth “mother”, yet not as casual as “Mom”;  I’m no longer the “Mommy” they depended on as babies, but when I hear them say “Momma”, there’s a deep undertone of comfort, an inflection of honor, a rhythm of appreciation and respect, a sense of being intimately treasured.

That’s how I feel when my kids call me Momma.  Intimately treasured.

Since today is Mother’s Day, I am going to indulge myself in a shameless “Momma brag” post.  I’m going to pull out the literary “slide show”, and introduce you to four of my my most valuable treasures.

My oldest is 2LT Hedges.   When Josh was born, my Daddy held him, the two of them gazing into each others’ eyes.  Dad lifted Josh’ tiny newborn hand into his big, calloused work-worn hands, shook his head, sighed as his eyes misted, and  spoke words of blessing over my firstborn: “He is gonna be a big man someday”.  Growing up, Josh was outgoing, friendly, very protective and fiercely loyal.  We still laugh about the time he was about 10 or 11, when he chased off the neighborhood bully (a mature teenager who was picking on one of Josh’s younger friends), telling him to “pick on someone your own age”.  He has always been a friend to his sisters, protective of their honor, the watchdog.  Their boyfriends didn’t stand a chance with big brother watching over her shoulder.  Josh and his beautiful wife recently became parents, I have a feeling their daughter will benefit from his protective hand as well.  Josh’s name means “Jehovah is salvation”, he is a bold witness of the love of Christ, and an example of Christian manhood, that reflect those words of blessing spoken over him as a baby.

My eldest daughter is Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn was a beautiful baby.  I was told often, that she looked like a little china doll.  Big blue eyes, dainty little features, and a high pitched mini-mouse voice.  She was probably the most laid back baby I had ever seen.  I could take her to her room, lay her in her crib and walk away.  She didn’t’ make a peep, just fell straight asleep, pretty much from day one.  Kaitlyn was given the gift of strength and mercy, from the time she was very young.  It’s no surprise to me that God placed her with me for most of my seizures, she had a quiet strength and presence of mind that was necessary in stressful situations.  When she was eight years old, her daddy got a phone call from her at Wal-Mart informing him that “Mom had a seizure and they’re taking us to the hospital”.  She was more level-headed than many of the bystanders, correcting and instructing them not to put anything in my mouth, turn me on my side, etc.  It was this level headed strength that made her an asset to the long term skilled care and assisted living center where she later worked.  Further, it has been God’s gift of grace for the ability to make it through her husband’s year-long deployment to the middle east, her newborn daughter’s health issues and subsequent surgeries, and the additional challenges that came during those difficult times.  She is a wonderful Momma now to two beautiful girls, who will have a true life example of a woman of strength and dignity spoken of in Proverbs.

Briana is my second beautiful daughter.  Briana’s temperament differed greatly from that of her older sister.    Her pediatrician often mentioned her remarkable strength for her age.  She was beautiful, and she was bright, but most of all, she was busy!  If we had to use one word to describe her it would be “big”.  Briana didn’t do anything half way, she still doesn’t; she is all or nothing.   As a toddler, she climbed before she walked, was curious about closed doors and high places, and more than once caused this Momma’s heart to falter from her lack of fear.  We tease her about jumping off the slide as a toddler instead of sliding down like normal kids.  I used to tell people that I was not afraid of Briana being kidnapped, they’d get halfway around the block and bring her back with an apology, “wrong kid”.   I can remember crying out to the Lord daily for Briana’s safety and my own sanity.  I second-guessed myself constantly with this child, begging the Lord to show me how best to handle her.  A dear friend of mine gave her testimony one night at  AWANA.  Her description of herself was very much like what I saw daily with my Briana.  She said that once she yielded her life to the Lord, He changed her.  Completely.  She had a new outlook, a new purpose, and a changed temperament, she was a new creation.  The woman I knew was soft-spoken, loving, and sold out to the Lord.  I began to pray this blessing for Briana, and as she grew, and matured, and began to practice saying “yes” to the Lord, an amazing transformation began to take place.  To see her now, you would never guess that this child could/would not sit still long enough to have a story read to her.  She is a bookworm, and will read or listen to books on CD for hours.  She has a hunger and a thirst for the Word of God that I don’t see in many teenagers, and her generosity has been a blessing to us personally on more than one occasion.

Kristin is my youngest.  She was born on the 4th of July and marked with an independent spirit.  She was a beautiful, happy, laid-back baby, and has grown into a beautiful, gifted young lady.   She developed a contagious laugh and a strong wit, both of which she quickly learned to use to her advantage for diffusing a cranky Momma, or unpleasant circumstances.   She is the most imaginative, most creative of my four, and often acted out silly skits with her friends for our entertainment.  She is a gifted artist, often frustrated with the lack of instruction in her art class, but exhibiting beautiful, deep works of art out of her own imagination.  As a little girl, her tender heart made her the surrogate parent of numerous orphaned animals, including bugs and spiders.  She is often burdened with empathy for people who hurt, and is in the process of learning both how to carry this burden, and when to lay it down.  Kristin is driven.  Once she makes up her mind what she wants, she makes a plan on how to accomplish it.  She is not easily swayed, and hardly ever talked out of something she has her mind set on.  To some, this might look like a liability, but to God and me, the two people who love her the most, it is a priceless asset that needs to be nurtured and developed for the work He will do through her.   My prayer for her is that she will set her heart and her affections, and her will on God and practice saying yes to His call.  When she does this, she will be firm in her resolve, unmovable, unshaken.  She will be a tool that God uses to bring hope to hurting people, healing to the broken, and joy to the brokenhearted.

I’m blessed beyond measure to have these four great kids call me Momma.  It’s been my prayer from the time they were babies that they would grow to love and serve the Lord.  Because when you think about it, our offspring are the only “possessions” we can take with us from this earth.

James 3 – the tongue

 

 

…look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  James 3:4

 

Funny story.  What my daughter and youth group friends would refer to as “a Jesus moment”.

 

I got hung up at James 3 in my reading, could not find a way to blog about it to save my life.  There are so many analogies I could dwell on, which one do I pick?  Horses and bits, ships and rudders, fire, poison, fresh and bitter water from the same spring, fig trees and grapevines…which one do I choose?  I was stuck.  Yet, I still continued on in my daily reading, determined not to continue blogging until I found something from Chapter 3.

 

Today, I looked back again on the part where I got hung up, and began re-reading it to see if anything stood out to me.  At the same time, our internet connection went out, so my husband turned on the television.  Parallel to the open Bible on my lap, was a story of ships on the open sea.  The narrator was telling of the perils of the winds and the waves, and as I read the above verse, I heard the narrator say “even the slightest deviation off course, even for a few seconds could be catastrophic to the two ships sailing side by side”.  She pointed out the danger of colliding with the supply ship that was sailing parallel if a correction was not made, and that to correct the deviation would take much more effort on the part of the pilot directing the vessel, than it would to have taken if he kept it on course in the first place.

 

How true this is for us in this fallen world!  What a small little rudder this tongue of ours is to navigating ourselves through the waters of our lives alongside one another.  One little comment, exaggeration or untruth can turn the course of our bodies and our wills, causing collision with another, or others.  And correcting it takes so much more effort than just controlling it in the first place would have.  We can’t take back words that were spoken.  We need to be obedient to the Pilot’s hand on our lives, allowing Him to control our tongues, as He navigates us through the storms of life alongside one another.

Dark Tunnels

from Corrie Ten Boom's fb page

It’s been a dark year.  It’s been a year full of shocking disappointments, dashed hopes, and deep sorrow.  But it’s also been a year of learning to be still and know God; a year of practical application of all those Bible studies on waiting on the Lord, trusting in Him, and how to respond to suffering for His sake.

How many times I’ve wanted to “throw away the ticket and jump off” of this rollercoaster ride that has become my norm.  Had I done that when I first wished to,  I would not know the comfort of my Lord’s sweet consolations to me in the quietness of the nighttime.  I wouldn’t know, from experience what it is to walk by faith.  I would not have entered into the depths of God’s love and tender mercy that has been poured out, along with the peace that surpasses our understanding.  It’s been a long train ride, but tunnels eventually lead to light, as sure as morning follows night.

The sin of partiality

Continuing from yesterday in James. In chapter 2, he warns of the the sin of partiality.

He instructs in v1 to take care to avoid even the attitude of favoritism, then gives an example of such.

For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,  and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?

Making distinctions based on a person’s financial standing is a “no-no”.  And he continues to explain why:

Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

God has a special place in His heart and in His kingdom for those who are poor in this world.  Ever do a study on the comparison of the rich and the poor?  It’s fascinating, God’s word is full of consolations to the poor, as well as warnings and woes to the rich.  Do a concordance search sometime, it’s a study in itself.  But, I’m still in James, and he continues…

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Even if I am held in high esteem among my peers and church family, even if I can put on a good front, and appear to be loving, according to God’s word, I am a transgressor of the law if I show partiality, and he goes on to say in verse 13:

judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

I love how this chapter segues from warnings of partiality, to being convicted by the law as transgressors, straight to the heart of the matter, putting legs on our faith and proving we believe what we say by what we do.

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

I don’t know why, but when I read this portion, the song   ♪ ♫  Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage ♫ ♪  runs through my mind.  You might be able to have good works without faith, but it’s impossible to have faith without the proof of works…it’s just words.  Faith is made perfect with the works…and just in case you don’t agree, he gives two Old Testament examples.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Abraham and Rahab both showed they believed God by what they did.  They didn’t stop at the profession, they worked it out.  We could add other examples from Holy Scripture;  How about Noah?  He believed God for as long as it took him to build that ark, and he didn’t just give it lip service, he LIVED what he said he believed, and WORKED in obedience to what he had been told.  What about Moses?  40 years of working out what he believed.  What would their “faith” look like if they had said “of course I believe God, I made the profession, don’t judge me”.  Their “faith” would have died with them.  Because they walked it out, we have an example to follow, and their faith lives on.

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

5 Disciplines

5 disciplines link up

I always find these things mid-challenge…I don’t care, I’m doing it anyhow, starting now with Courtney’s week 3 as my week 1.  You can join me if you want, but I’m doing it for me regardless.

Purpose to not read ANYTHING else before you have read God’s word for at least 1 minute in the morning Do not read the newspaper, facebook, a spiritual devotional  or check your email.  Go straight to God’s word first.  And in case you think 1 minute seems a bit stingy with our time – I want to suggest – that once you get started most likely you will go for much longer than 1 minute.  But I want this to be doable.  After reading your Bible, I encourage you to leave your Bible in the kitchen open and everytime you walk past it, pause to read it for 15 seconds and then go on.  Squeeze all the nourishment you can out of the scriptures you are reading. 

I know from my own experience, that one minute will turn into 10-15, even more on some days.  I started in James.  It has been one of my favorite Scripture passages since I was a young girl, there is just something so practical about it.  It’s been a long time since I sat and read through it, I needed the reminders from chapter 1 today;

1 ~ remembering I’m a bond-servant of the Lord.  ~from dictionary.com

bond servant

noun

  1. a person who serves in bondage; slave.
  2. a person bound to service without wages.

2-4 ~ remembering the purpose for the trials allowed by God are for my good…building my endurance…making me perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

5-8 ~ The Giver of wisdom is not stingy, but He’s not presumptuous either.  He waits for me to ask for wisdom, and when I do, in faith and without doubting, He lavishes it on me.  If I am double minded in my prayer, not only can I not expect Him to give what I request, but I’m at risk for becoming unstable in all my waysLord, give me the faith I need to ask for your gift of wisdom without doubting.

9-11 ~ Looking again at the contrast of the rich and poor, and the paradox that James illuminates.  Do I see my humble circumstances as a place to “glory” in?  why not?  It’s easy to forget our spiritual need when we have an abundance of material wealth.  Along with material blessing comes a sufficiency in ourselves.  We easily forget it is God that provides the “daily bread”, and all that we have and hope in will one day be burned away, then what will be left?

12 ~ I’m blessed!  I am in the process of being tried so that I can be approved.  I read somewhere that when silver is tried in the fire, the silversmith is able to tell when it’s finished by his ability to see his reflection in the melted silver.  I do want God to look down on me and see His reflection clearly in me.

13-18 ~ My carnal desires and temptations are not God’s fault.  If I entertain my own temptations, they will eventually lead me to sin.  This also is not God’s fault.  Sin brings forth separation from God.  This also, is not God’s fault or His will.  God gave the perfect gift, His son as a remedy for my sin.  In Him is every good thing that we receive.  He is enough.

19-27 ~ Lord, make me a better listener, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  I know that my anger does not fulfill your righteous purpose for my life, and it’s a poor motivator for those you put in my path.  Help me receive your word, and appropriate it to my personal life.  Don’t let me be the person that walks away after hearing and agreeing with your word, only to forget it.  Help me “do” what I say I believe.  Work Your word in and through me today, so that I may be both blessed and a blessing to others.  Put a guard over my tongue, may the words I speak be Your words, pleasing to you and beneficial for building others up.  Help me remember the kind of religious person you would have me be, one that cares and provides for others in their distress, and one who walks in this world without being shaped by it’s mold.