January 12, 2009
Yesterday, I went to the largest funeral I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. Crowd estimates are just under 1000 people. Yes, really, 1000 people.
Who has a funeral with that many people in attendance? Royalty, celebrity, heads of state? I would say that judging by the people who loved her, Angie Tinker was all of those things to us. Yet she was a humble grandmother in Middle Georgia who taught special needs children, directed a crisis pregnancy center and lived to play praise and worship music.
When you picture Angie, it’s hard to separate her from her keyboard, the one that her diminuitive frame barely peeked out over. Angie would be there behind the keyboard, playing for all she was worth, singing and lifting the name of Jesus literally any opportunity she had. It was fitting that her funeral reflected this love. The life of Praise left its mark on Angie.
When you picture Angie, it’s hard not to remember that elfin twinkle in her eyes and that little smile she always had ready. You couldn’t help but smile back, and if you didn’t, see would be quick to find out why. Angie loved people and she easily conveyed her genuine concern for you if she sensed anything wrong. If Angie knew you, she cared about you. It was just that simple for her. The life of Selflessness left its mark on Angie.
When you picture Angie, it’s especially hard not to see the family that she loved. Where you saw Angie, you saw John, her husband of thirty-three years. And, whenever possible, her children and grandchildren. The quiet strength that she passed on to her family was evident in the way they handled their grief and in how they dealt with others during this tragedy. The life lived in love of her family left its mark on Angie. But, it especially left its mark on her children.
When you picture Angie, it’s the most hard to picture her as gone. I’m glad that those of us in attendance yesterday share the hope of seeing her again. As much as it pains us now, none of us would wish her back from that experience of heavenly praise and worship. Well, maybe if we’re truthful, just for a minute….
For all my friends who knew Angie, here’s an opportunity to share your favorite memory. I will pass these on to John when he is out of ICU and share them with her children.
Or maybe, like me, you also want to reflect on what has left its mark on your life and what mark you are leaving on others.
August 22, 2008
Today my Dear One took my for my thrice yearly eye doctor appointment. Three times a year isn’t exactly normal for most people, but it is what my eyes now require after over twenty-five years of diabetes. Every four months I go to the retina specialist to have my eyes checked for bleeds from diabetically weakened blook vessels (retinopathy) or a build up of fluid that could cause my retinas to detach.
My report was a good one. No new bleeding and pressures of fluid just slightly over normal. So far, I’ve only had one bleed that was easily repaired through laser surgery. I am blessed beyond measure to have such a lack of complications in this area. Blindness does not appeal to me.
That being said, I have just one complaint. I leave the eye doctor half-blind. Of course, why wouldn’t I be. First they super-dialate me, then they shine a really bright light to illuminate the back of my eyeballs, and finally, they either take pictures of the backs of my eyeballs (more bright light) or have me watch bright patterns to test pressures. I usually need not only my sunglasses, but their fashionable shades over them as well.
It is many hours before I can see anything other than what is very close to me. Ironic, isn’t it? To save my eyesight, they temporarily blind me.
A lot of things in life don’t make apparent sense to us that way. It’s like vaccines or flu shots for example. Inject a modified form of a disease to protect us from the real thing. Basically, things don’t always work in ways that we would think they should.
God is like that too. Personally, I think he has a strong sense of irony. Oh, and a sense of humor too! Why else would he have made someone like Peter into not only his disciple, but a great evangelist. Or the greatest persecutor of Christians in his time into the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament.
I try to remember that when things don’t go the way I think they should. God’s plan doesn’t always make sense in the ways that we expect. But, it does always do the job.
Any thing in your life not going the way you expect? Then you should be wondering just what it is that God is up to for your good.
And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
August 10, 2008
For the last day-and-a-half, I have been at the “Extraordinary Women’s Conference” in my town. I went very reluctantly. It was promoted in my church for at least a month beforehand. But, I would pick up the brochures and just have no interest whatsoever.
My Dear One said “You should go.” So, I would pick up the brochure again, look it over, and register no interest whatsoever.
The friend who was promoting it at church would ask me again saying that she still had the inexpensive version of the tickets. So, I would pick up the brochure again, look it over, and register no interest whatsoever.
It got closer to time. My Dear One said, “You should go.” So, I would pick up the brochure again, look it over, and register no interest whatsoever.
I know, you get the drift. I really couldn’t have been less interested. Finally, my Dear One mentioned that a friend of ours was coming in from several states away and was going to the conference. I perked up. I still didn’t care about the conference, but I did care about getting to spend some time with her. And, if I had to go to the conference to do so, I decided it was worth it. So, I finally bought a ticket.
A couple of days before the conference, our friend turned back in her travels and headed back to her home to deal with her dear one’s medical needs.
Crap! Now I’d spent the money and felt obligated to go. A group of us had made dinner and car pool plans. Guess who was supposed to be the driver….
I couldn’t think of a way to back out gracefully. Therefore, I went. I really wasn’t expecting much. But God is always full of surprises.
I can’t describe the stories the speakers told. It would take way too long. Suffice it to say, GO to one if it comes to your town. Here are two things I got out of it. I’ll share more another time.
1. God isn’t finished with me. I need to keep dreaming and expecting God to move in my life. One of my dreams has always centered around orphans and relief work. While I was at the conference my husband and I agreed to sponsor a 16 yr. old boy from Uganda. I even talked to the World Help people with thoughts of being involved more than just sponsoring. I believe that God isn’t through with my dreams to help orphans. Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
2. My tragedies and upsets are no surprise to God. They don’t even derail HIS plan. But it may mean that what I pray and believe for comes a different way than what I expected. As a minor part of a bigger upset, I recently felt it necessary to stop singing on the praise team at my church. I really felt like I had no other right choice to make because of some personal circumstances. Singing on that team and being a part of the impact of praise on the body really meant a lot to me. Way more than I know how to convey. I had wanted to do it for years. When I finally asked, it was okayed, but it was almost another year before I could because I had lost my singing voice to four months of pertussis. When I finally got up there, I knew it was God. All nervousness and fear were gone and in their place was a confidence and joy that is indescribable. And now, because of circumstances, I saw that dream derailed. I have grieved that tremendously. Now, I can believe that this is just a bump on the road. God will give me other opportunities in other places to exercise the gift He has given me. I’m looking and expecting God’s plan to come through on that one.
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
Have you had a dream derailed? Or worse, have you stopped dreaming? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God is speaking of how even Babylonian captivity won’t derail his plans for his people. The scripture goes on to say in verses 12-14, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart.”
Honestly, I really had no interest whatsoever in going. I couldn’t have dreamed what God had in store for me!
Don’t stop dreaming. Phillipians 1:6 reassures us …that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Maybe your dream has just taken another, better path.
What are you dreaming?
August 8, 2008
My older daughter sent me this great shot of the wedding. It actually has all our clan except for her son who refused to be in the photo. It was such a nice reminder of a lovely day that I thought I would share it. I’ve included my favotite one of my grandson too, just for fun.
August 1, 2008
When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Luke records that the whole multitude of disciples began to praise God aloud. When the Pharisees clamored for Jesus to rebuke his disciples, his reply is recorded in Luke 19:40 where he says, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
This principle of the rocks crying out when something important is suppressed has been on my heart a lot lately. I think this phenomenon happens in the corporate body of Christ, when we suppress the gifts. Just like what Jesus told the Pharisees, if we do this long enough, the stones will cry out. God’s gifts will find expression. Even through the rocks.
In our own life, we sometimes suppress or fail to use the gifts that God has given us. If we don’t express our gifts, we and others around us experience a great loss. And, worse case, it becomes a “use it or lose it” situation.
I am examining the gifts that God has given me. Some are in major disuse, especially the vision and creativity that God has given me. And frankly, I see where that brings about loss in my life. Recently, as I sought God in this area, I began to re-experience the vision that had been lacking in my life. I’ve started to look at the ways that creativity needs to come out in my life. And, I’m looking at what needs to change as a result.
As an answer to my seeking God, today I remembered a picture taken of me when I was about ten or eleven years old. I can see it clearly. I am sitting on my aunt’s back porch swathed in a multitude of long colorful scarves. I had scrounged them from her attic and used them for dress-up. I was probably pretending to be something out of the Arabian Nights. I realize that you probably wonder what this has to do with the subject. It’s just that I was always a child of great imagination. Imagination and especially the creating of stories was something I did continually. God reminded me of this. He has been prodding me to use those gifts again. The ability to create a story and spin a tale.
It’s a gift I’ve neglected. One of many. So, I continue to seek God, but also to take action.
I think it’s important for us to examine our lives for where we’ve suppressed God’s gifts to us. And then take action.
Otherwise, listen for the sounds of crying rocks.
July 28, 2008
Every month at the Georgia Romance Writer’s Group meeting, we make time for member’s news. It’s kinda fun to listen to people stand up and say that their book has been accepted by a publisher. Or they just had the movie rights optioned for their series. We all clap and get excited. Funny, even the most published ladies in the group appreciate that applause.
But, there is another time we clap. Sometimes even louder. It’s when an author-in-waiting stands up and says that they just got their first (third, fifteenth, whatever) rejection from a publisher on their novel. Yes, we clap for rejection. Loudly.
Why? Because it means that the author is doing something. Finishing a manuscript. Putting themselves out there. Taking a chance. Every single published author in the room has had their share of rejection letters. It’s a rite of passage. And, it doesn’t always end with your first publication. Even authors like Haywood Smith, the Red Hat Club novelist, who has written bunches of successful novels still gets them sometimes.
None of us like rejection. I know I don’t. It’s probably why my three stories are all still unfinished and not yet rejected.
Today, I got news of my editor/agent appointment time at an upcoming conference. I get a one-on-one appointment with a major editor and a major agent to pitch my work. It’s a good wake-up call. Time to finish. To risk rejection. To take a chance.
There are so many times in life we risk rejection. Friendships carry that risk. Family carries that risk. Marriages carry that risk. All relationships carry that risk. But we still need to put ourselves out there. Rejection has something to teach us. Perseverence for one thing. Where our own wounds lie for another.
We’ve all been rejected at some point. During our lifetime, we’ll probably experience it again. What I’ve learned in my writer’s group is that rejection is to be expected and even embraced as a vital stepping stone in my journey.
My manuscript may be rejected. I’ll never know until I take that risk. But, if I don’t finish it and try, I stay stuck in the journey.
So, if I’m rejected. There is a major consolation here. I continue the journey in good company. Even the best of us get rejected and denied from time to time….
And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.