Veterans Day, observed in the United States every year on November 11, is “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” My story shares what I experienced one day at a basketball game while sitting next to a proud grandfather.
You cannot help getting loud at school basketball games. You’re either cheering wildly or trying to make your conversation heard over that wretched game buzzer. You quickly become friends with the stranger sitting next to you, understanding that you attend for the same purpose: to encourage a child you love to do their very best.
A friend and fellow church member, artist Susan Savage depicts her Christian faith through paintings. Earlier this month, Susan presented this stunning oil-on-canvas painting, titled Delivered, to our church, where it now graces a wall in the prayer room.
Excerpts from her statement about the painting:
A shiny silver vessel sits triumphantly atop a nest of sharply pointed thorns. A red ribbon weaves its way through the torturous thicket and pours itself out behind a draped white cloth. The material substance of the silver vessel, delivered from its own refining fire of tribulation, stands as a testament to what Jesus Christ endured on the cross, and serves as a reminder of His loving and redemptive sacrifice for humankind.
This painting exemplifies the foundational core of the Christian faith. It is a reminder that Christ died in our place to rescue us from our sins. He died that we may live. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, His shed blood, and His resurrection from the grave, those who believe in Him are given victory over physical death.
"But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing: It is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:4,5,8)
I find myself drawn to the “pen” when I experience emotional pain. Writing a fictional story helps me to turn the pain into something that I hope will help others who may be experiencing the same. This is one of those stories.
For Inez, clearing her mind of the ugly words was the hardest part. Prayer, verses, sweet worship with friends. Nothing seemed able to displace what Yola had said. The words hung there, accompanied by a heaviness inside that weighed down her soul.
Happy Anniversary, Angry Lady!Five years ago this month (July 2016), I posted on my previous website an encounter I had at a grocery store that became the most popular story that I have ever shared. The story took several weeks for me to write, so the original readers received the story in three parts. Here is the full story in one post.
Fran the Angry Lady. I met her at the check-out line. We had a conversation. This is our story.
One year ago today, I made the sad announcement that my beloved Bandit had died.
Journal Entry, 2/27/19 AM: “Bandit is not doing well. Please take him, Lord, to end his suffering.”
February 27, 2019. The day was cold, and it was raining hard. Bandit was 14 years old, had lost a lot of weight, and could barely walk. But that morning, while he was outside — he did love to play in the rain — Bandit found the strength to make his way through a fully-fenced backyard in search of a solitary place to die.
I was sweeping the front sidewalk when three boys approached me.
“Hi! Would you like to buy a cookie to support Frank?”
They presented their “Support Frank” flyer. No misspelled words. Good grammar. Neat handwriting. And the boys were so polite and well versed as they told me about Frank and his dire circumstances. They even had a bowl of cookie bites for me to sample before buying. Genius!
I had the privilege of singing “Amazing Grace” this afternoon at the memorial service for a dear woman and longtime member of my church. Rosemary was 97 when she died. Her losses of hearing and sight began when she was in her fifties.
To end the hymn, I planned to repeat the first verse, the last line being “Was blind but now I see” — a reference to the author’s spiritual change after becoming a Christian.
But it turns out that God wanted something different. For when it came time for me to sing that last line, the words we all heard instead were — through no prior thought of my own — “She was blind, but now she sees.”
My voice shook and tears fell as I sang those words directly to Sue, Rosemary’s daughter, from whom I sensed a beautiful peace. I cannot adequately describe this precious moment, but I hope you get at least some idea from what I write here.
Rosemary sees. After 40 years. Now. In heaven gazing clearly at her God with love and awe.
I tell you, there is no greater joy for me than singing the Truth.