Monday, February 28, 2011

15 Things My Grandma Smith Taught Me...

As a tribute to my Grandma Smith (whom we buried yesterday beside my Papa at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church just a 1/4 mile from the house where they lived for most of their lives).

1. I'm never too old to hold my husband's hand.
2. You can turn an ordinary meal into an occasion by adding salad plates; each one filled with a leaf of lettuce, 1/2 a pear (home grown and canned), a dollop of mayonnaise and shredded cheese (but you have to shred the cheese yourself).
3. Even very young grandchildren can help fry chicken if you have a paper sack.
4. Girlfriends are important and the party line is way more fun than facebook.
5. Wear a floppy hat and your husband's old work shirt if you want to work in the garden. And do your garden work early before it gets too hot.
6. Tell funny stories. It helps to keep life in perspective.
7. Learn to laugh at yourself and you'll never be without amusement.
8. Listen respectfully to the daily Bible reading even if the eggs are getting cold and the chapters are long.
9. Write encouraging letters to your grandchildren when they go to college and sometimes send them with tea cakes or fried pies.
10. Always frost the tea cakes you make at Easter (and sprinkle colored sugar on the ones you make for Christmas).
11. Don't ever stop believing in Santa Claus!
12. If your grandchildren can't stop giggling when they go to bed at your house--just jump in bed with them!
13. When life begins to take you in a direction you'd rather not go--look for one thing you can appreciate; like a good road.
14. If you want to tell someone how very much you love them--feed them until they pop!
15. Take time to sit on the porch and watch the traffic go by.

Mikel couldn't be with us at the funeral, but she texted me and said this about Grandma, "She made me laugh." Four words that sum up her life perfectly!!

"She is clothed in strength and dignity and she can laugh..."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Picture God is Painting

I'm embarrassed that it's been over a month since I updated my blog. I promise to do better. :)

If you've been keeping up with me, you know that on February 9 I became a NANA when my 18 year old daughter gave birth to her 10lb 2 oz baby girl. If you know me at all--you also know that in the picture I was painting for my daughter's life--not in a million years would I have painted THIS!

In my last shout out; I told you that I was convicted that I needed to "step away from the canvas" and let God do the painting. My exact words were:

...In the conversation with one of those friends, I told her that God was showing me the difference between begging Him for the "picture" and instead trusting Him for the "promise."

You see, God is faithful to HIS PROMISES, not to our pictures. We have a tendency to paint pictures that interpret His promises--imaginations gone wild--daydreams---snapshots of what the fulfillment of God's promises look like.

As I described this thought to one friend I told her that God was challenging me to let Him be the one to paint the picture. She responded to me, "Leighann, step away from the canvas!"

So right now I'm washing my paint brushes and putting them away--for God has assured me that when He fulfills His promises the picture He paints will be a MASTERpiece.

Well, I just want you to know that He is far from finished; but you tell me--how's He doing so far?

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

I've been thinking a whole lot about the Proverb that says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." What does that mean?

I've come to the conclusion that it's talking about me this year--having my hope wrapped around whether or not circumstances will change (quickly) to bring peace to the storm and wholeness to what is broken. In essence, I want what God wants! Isn't He all about peace and wholeness? That's my "hope."

The "deferred" part is being disappointed at just about every turn. Because I'm so "hopeful" I watch every day for one tiny text message or phone call; or even a slight sigh that no one hears but me. And when I get that, I just KNOW my hope is about to be fulfilled--only to have that hope crushed as the next "big" thing moves me seemingly further away rather than closer to that which I'm hoping for.

I have a friend whose husband is determined to divorce her. She wants her marriage--he wants out. She is taking care of their 3 children (one who is autistic) and rallies prayer support. One day she's up because they plan to spend the weekend together; or they have a great phone conversation; or the family has some good family time. But the next day she's served papers; or receives notice of her 'day in court.'

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

There are two things that she and and I need to do now.

1. Stand on the promise God's given us for the one we love. Claim it; rejoice in it; thank God for it; and shout AMEN to it. Just this morning I read this in Lynn Cowman's devotional book Streams in the Desert, "Faith adds the "Amen" to God's "Yes" and then takes its hands off, leaving God to finish His work."

2. Release ourselves to pour GOOD STUFF into the family He's given us to love (our other 3) and ourselves! While God is meticulously and methodically working with what HE knows in the lives of those we thought we knew; we get to carry on. Carry on with living our lives to the glory of God--trusting Him to bind our gaping wounds and to provide us with strength, mercy, grace and everything else we need to deal with the "mean time."

The other day God asked me if I trusted Him. I said, "Yes, Lord. I do trust You." He then asked if I trusted Him no matter how long it might take to make good on His promise. I cried, and I sputtered and told Him how hard it is for me, and He reminded me of another old hymn,

"Have Thine Own Way, Lord, Have Thine Own Way...Hold O're my being absolute sway."

Absolute sway means whatever, wherever, however and whenever.

I told my friend that it stinks this "hope deferred" stuff. The wise person who first penned those words certainly knew what he was talking about: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Sick unto death--a daily death. Dying daily to my losses and my offenses.

But dying daily paves the way also for a daily resurrection--a resurrection in believing that God backs His promises with His very own name. He'll come through for us, my friend! He has to. :)