Tag Archive Sherry

ByAngie

Is Church Camp Worth It? Part 1: Kids Camp (And A Little Backstory…)

Whether or not you sent your kids and teens to church camp this Summer, the question at some point probably crossed your mind: Does church camp really make any difference other than just a giant sleep over and a bunch of junk food while playing games?

Is Church Camp Worth It? Part 1: Kids Camp

I spent some time at the youth camp our church attends last month. Here are my honest thoughts… but first, a little back story… I’ll try to keep it short…

My “little” backstory:

I was born in the early 80’s, back when everyone went to some kind of camp every year. Whether church camp, scout camp, or another activity camp, almost all the kids I knew went to camp. The majority of my childhood was spent counting down until I could go to junior camp when I turned 7. From there on, my friends and I spent every year counting down until the next Summer when we would go to camp again.

It was that big of a deal, people. Really. I’ll spare you the view of a gazillion photos that I cherish to this day. Mostly because they involve embarrassing clothes and hair styles…

We would start planning our outfits around Easter, as back then we still dressed up for both services each day. Dresses, heels, hair, the works. Packing of the bags began in July. It was a major process… and in August, it would quickly come and go.

We learned something new about the God we served, made new friends, sang new songs, swapped addresses, and went home (Took the mountain with us! More on that later..) and started it all again. When I was 9 I had a really awesome (and very young) counselor named Sherry. She prayed with me, endured my sleep walking/talking, taught me all the awesomeness that is DC Talk, told us bedtime stories about Cinderella and the New Kids On The Block by flash light. Sherry was, like, so rad… She still rocks! (I can’t leave that out… 😉 ) That alone tells you about the relationships I formed during those years, as Sherry is one of my dearest friends today.

This is my church camp. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The camp I attended most as a kid and teen is the one I worked at this year. Formerly Bethel In The Hills (though many of us still call it by this name), now known as Mountain Pointe Campground, is a camp my family has attended for many years. As of this year, 4 generations of my family have now gone as either campers or workers. Founded in 1947 and owned by the SoCal District of the Pentecostal Church of God, this is the same camp that Sherry’s Grandpa along with my Grandpa and many others helped build to what it is today. It is where Sherry’s parents directed kids camp every summer for several years. So not only is church camp is one of my best childhood and teenage memories, without a doubt, it is also part of my legacy. Obviously church camp had a big impact on me and was definitely worth it.

But then I grew up… Right? Did anything come from what happened to me all those years at camp? Well, back to that later in this series. However, first let me tell you very honestly that for several years I began to wonder if church camp was worth it. Was it worth the time? The effort? The money? Are kids today still getting slammed by the presence of God and knowing just how real He is? Do they even get that they are there for God, or are they so stressed out without electronics that they can’t function without Wi-Fi to know how to have dive in to the presence of God and have fun when not in chapel? Well, in this series I will tell you how our camp went this year. Then I’ll let you decide for yourself…

First, there was Kid’s Camp.

Or as old people like me who can’t let go of the old labels call it: Junior Camp. (Whew, I feel better now… Okay, I’m not that bad. But I couldn’t get it through my head to stop using the old names.)

Kids Camp

In attendance from our little church was my son, Tommy (8), 3 other boys, my pastor, and myself. No girls from our church so that meant I was bunking with a bunch of people I didn’t know… which a few years ago would have been enough to send me running home. Thanking God again for deliverance from anxiety! All together we had around 90 kids, I think. This is a big drop from the hundreds that were in attendance in my childhood, so I was a bit shocked when I first arrived. Kids camp was for those from 1st grade up to 5th grade.

Kid’s Camp Church Services

Camp ran from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning with chapel in the morning and evening.

Kids Camp Game

Each service began with a game or two and a warm up “get your wiggles out” song. The kids would then all do worship, with all of the songs including motions. Sometimes even balloons were part of worship, which to the kids was just the best thing ever. The sermon/lesson portion of the service followed a popular VBS curriculum with the sanctuary being decorated according to the theme.

The end always had an altar call, with kids coming down for prayer. The remainder of the children sitting or that had returned to their seats were gently reminded sometimes that we needed to be reverent and quiet so that the ones at the front could talk to Jesus, but not one of them complained and some would even begin to pray for those at the front from where they were sitting. Quite a few kids gave their lives to Jesus. Heartaches were mended. Lives were changed.

My Pastor praying with Tommy during an altar call.

My Pastor praying with Tommy during an altar call.

“Whoa whoa whoa!” Some of you are saying “Back up just a minute there!”

Let me clarify before we go any further… I want to make it clear that I DO believe that a child can give their life to Jesus, be filled with the Holy Spirit (and there isn’t a Junior Holy Spirit, either!), experience the gifts of God, etc… Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” He didn’t say, “They have no idea what I’m talking about and they can’t know Me until they are either 18 or 21 depending upon their state of residence.”

So yes, we had kids at church camp that were saved and came to know Jesus while at camp this year, kids that were filled with the Spirit and felt His presence strongly in a way that they will always remember. I’m sure there were also kids who may have returned home unchanged, but there is no doubt that seeds were sown and they will never forget that time they went to camp in the mountains with those people that loved Jesus.

There were things that kids told me that broke my heart, reports that made me leap, and stories that encouraged me that God is still moving in the younger generations. Our leaders from SoCal Youth, Roque and Nancy, did a great job of explaining how to pray and listen for God to these young children and how they could talk to Jesus about anything and everything. Oh, and did I mention that Nancy was pregnant and her due date was the first day of camp? That’s commitment, y’all. She didn’t have her baby until Senior Camp a week later and was probably tougher than anyone else in attendance. She put us all to shame.

Altar Call Kids Camp

Kid’s Camp Activities

The kids had a ton of fun in between services: good food, friends made, lizards caught/released, and dirt sticking to everyone. It was a blast! Hiking, basketball, dodge ball, water wars… there was a little down time but the kids didn’t seem to notice. Naturally, the kids loved being able to play outside at night for a bit after evening chapel. What kid doesn’t love running around in the dark?

Kids Camp After Dark

You know what else kids love? Hot Cheetos, worshiping in chapel with a giant T-Rex that also makes appearances on other parts of the campground, banging on the chapel doors while chanting “CHAPEL!” or “LET US IN!”, and seeing their leaders slimed… Yes, slimed! Sometimes it was for having the dirtiest dorm, other times the cleanest. It seemed there was no avoiding it… but Teal Dorm did, thank you Jesus! 😉

I’m in quite a few Facebook groups for Children’s Pastors and while I have read horror (and rather hilarious) stories of kids not showering and other hygiene issues while at church camps, I did not see or hear any of this going on at our camp, thank goodness! Now, cleaning toilets after little people who have consumed about 90% sugar for a few days? My gag reflex is still healing… but hey! All to the glory of God and lives being changed! Amen? Amen! 😉

While a few kids had to be sent home for various ailments, it always seemed that the ones that had to go were the children who needed a touch from God the most. If church camp isn’t worth it, would the enemy fight so hard? One has to wonder… back to that later…

Next, there were TEEN CAMPS!

Come back and I’ll tell you more… Along with my honest opinions of what can be done to make church camp better…

Part 2 can be read by clicking here.

But what are your thoughts so far? Did your kids attend camp? Did you work at a church camp this year? Are you involved in children’s and/or youth ministry? Tell me what’s on your heart and mind!

BySherry

A Life Well Lived

1st Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Grandma Ingle

I was raised in a Christian home, does this surprise anyone? I hope not. Both sets of my grandparents were pastors. From the time I was a little girl, I had people at different churches tell me how much I looked like my Grandma, Carmen Ingle. As a young girl, and as I got older, I took this as a big compliment. I always thought grandma was the prettiest older lady I knew, with her trim figure and salt and pepper hair. She told me her beauty secret was using Oil of Olay everyday morning and night.

One of my very first memories of Grandma is when I was little and she flew down to our house in Southern California and picked me up and took me to her house in Santa Rosa. She let me sleep in the guest bedroom with the big bed. Every morning she would come and wake me up by saying, “Wake up, Snow White!” She also introduced me to her slides of the family! To this day, I love going through the slides and hearing the stories from long ago.

She made us grandkids Mickey Mouse pancakes, built a fort under her kitchen table with I think every blanket in the house, she taught me how to crochet, pick blackberries in her back yard, and showed us how to suck the honey out of honeysuckles blooms. She taught us to play Tetherball, Badminton and Rummy. She read Little Black Sambo to us, and got me hooked on Shirley Temple movies and Little Women starring Katharine Hepburn. As I got older, I loved going to her house to do all of these things. I loved watching her laugh as I would reenact the scene when Beth, from Little Women, contracted Scarlet Fever and fainted at the door (I may have been a wee bit dramatic). She also told every grand kid they were her favorite, and we fight about it to this day, even though it was really me! 🙂

Grandma loved to dance, sing, and listen to music. When she would hear music she would dance all over the room she was in. She would sing hymns, praise and worship songs throughout the day. She would ALWAYS talk about how awesome Jesus was.

The biggest thing she instilled in me was to pray. Grandma prayed about everything. As I was looking for a verse that I felt described Grandma, I automatically went to Proverbs 31; and, while many of those verses do pertain to her, 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 describe her to a T. Grandma rejoiced in all things. She would praise God no matter what. She found something to rejoice in the Lord about everyday, whether it was a sunrise, or someone who came to know Christ as their Savior, or a beautiful flower.

She prayed unceasingly. Whenever a need would arise in anyone’s life, she would write it in her prayer journal and two or three times a day she would pray over everyone in her journal. When a prayer would be answered, she would write the date that it was answered next to the name. It was humbling to see my name on every page of the journal I have, along with the rest of the family. Sometimes prayers were for specific things, sometimes it was for blessings.

Lastly, she was thankful for everything that came her way. Last year, we went through the storage shed and found letters that she had written to her Sister in the 50’s. She spoke of some unexplained car trouble in a town in Oregon, but thanked God for the car trouble, as the mechanic who helped him gave his heart to Jesus. She spoke of having little money in places, but gave thanks to God for providing what they needed and seeing souls saved for His kingdom.

Grandma was a confidant and mentor of mine. She was the first person I told that Matt had asked me to marry him. She taught me that day how to flirt with him by winking at him with my mouth wide open. ;0. After 18 years of marriage, I still wink that way at Matt everyday and we giggle over her flirting ways. I gave birth to my first born child on her birthday, she says Sarah was the best birthday gift she has received.

As grandma got older, dementia and Alzheimer’s set in. The last few years of her life, I could see my Grandma forgetting things and even forgetting I was her granddaughter. She would introduce me as her niece. I would let her think that, as she called my daughter Sherry. When Grandpa could no longer care for himself and entered a rest home, I was asked to take her to visit him everyday. I loved the time I got to spend with her driving her around and at times even stopping to shop, or go to lunch. I, along with my parents, aunts, uncles, and a cousin watched her heart break as she said her final goodbye to her husband of almost 65 years last year. I sat with her in her room at the rest home afterwards, because she didn’t want to watch him slip from this life to glory. I comforted her every time she would wake up that day and ask if he was gone yet. I cried with her when she would forget at times that grandpa had passed and ask where he was. I rejoiced with her as we talked about how grandpa gained his reward for his faithful service to God.

A few weeks ago, we knew time was getting close for Grandma to gain her heavenly reward. On July 8th, I watched my daughter hold her hand and thank her for teaching her how to draw and crochet, among other things. I saw the love in my grandma’s eyes, as she could no longer speak; but held on to every word my daughter was saying. As I sat and talked with her about the wonderful times we had together and watched her shake her head yes at remembrances I spoke about. Rubbing lotion into her worn hands that so willingly worked for the service of Christ, thanking her for being a Godly example to me.

I decided at the last minute to go visit Grandma for my lunch break on Thursday, July 10th. I called my mom and took her lunch and spent time just quietly talking with Grandma. As my lunch hour ticked away too quickly, I went to her and held her hand.

“Grandma”, I said, “I have to go back to work now, but I want you to know how much I love you.”

Without moving her lips, she looked at me and spoke the sweetest words that she said often to me, “Love you. Goodbye.”

I leaned over, gave her a kiss and with tears in my eyes, and joy in my heart at her words, walked out of her room. One hour later, a co-worker came to find me and told me my dad was on his way to pick me up. I called dad and he told me Grandma had passed into glory. My heart broke, not for her, but for those of us left behind. The pain was great and overwhelming.

Today, July 24, 2014, would have been her and Grandpa’s 66th anniversary. As we lay Grandma to rest and celebrate her life, I want to ask you what Grandma would, “Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior?” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

My Grandma is rejoicing with Jesus today, because she believed in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Her belief was simple, she believe that God sent Jesus to this earth to die, and raise again, for the sins of this world. It is a simple thing to do. She would tell me, “Just talk to God as you do me. He understands.”

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and would like to, it is so easy. The prayer I prayed as a teenager was simple, “Dear Jesus, I believe that you came down to earth, died an unjust death, and rose again 3 days later for my salvation. I give you my life, and ask that you come into my heart that I may rejoice with you for eternity. In Jesus name, amen.” It is that simple. I would then ask you to start reading the Gospel of John (the fourth book of the New Testament) and learn more about Jesus.

If you are already a Christian, I encourage you to Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Also, say a prayer for my family and I today. God bless you.

Sherry

Sherry and Grandma Ingle

 

BySherry

Hannah’s Prayer: 1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:11

Read about Hannah’s Prayer in the Bible! It can be found in the book of 1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:11.


In November 2000, my husband, Matt, and I decided that we wanted to try and have another baby. So I went off the birth control pill and we started the process of adding another child into the Williams household. Already having a daughter in the mix, I desperately wanted a little boy. Someone who looked like my husband, and had an imagination like Calvin from the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. We had gotten pregnant pretty quickly with Sarah, so I expecting a quick turn around this time. Yet, every month I would either start my cycle or have a negative pregnancy test.

 

Feeling pretty discouraged I talked with my mom. She had read an article about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). She thought I had that and wanted me to take the test in the magazine. So I did. It completely described me to a T. I went to my Dr with the article in hand, and discussed the problem with him. He thought there was also a good chance that I might have PCOS, and referred me to an Endocrinologist. The day of my appointment, Matt and I nervously went in to the new Dr. He wanted to have an ultrasound of my ovaries. Honest to God, they looked like a bag of marbles. He said, “You do have PCOS. Instead of producing eggs, your body is producing cysts. If you are going to have another child, it will have to be through fertility drugs.” He gave me a regime of pills to take to get my body back under control. During this time, I began to read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel and felt her pain and longing for a son. I began to pray her prayer, as well as her praise. For even if I didn’t get a son, a still had a beautiful daughter whom God saw fit to give me.

Ask for anonymous Christian advice from the Mommy Panel at Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven - RaisingStickyHands.com

Three months later, we went back for a check up, to our dismay the pills he gave me didn’t work. He said that he wanted to start the fertility process with us. He gave us the run down of what that would entail. It seemed like there was so much to process at one time. Then he handed me a ton of prescriptions and told me to start taking them right away. One was to start my cycle, as I had not had one in 4 months. He said to me, “First take a pregnancy test. It will be negative, but better safe than sorry.”

 

Matt and I walked to our car like zombies. I looked at all of the prescriptions and said to him, “I don’t know if I want to do this.” He felt the same way. So we decided that we would spend 1 week praying and talking with our family regarding the fertility, as this would be a big deal to them too. So we did, we talked with people who had one child and asked the pros and cons, we also talked to quite a few only children. As the week wore on, Matt and I truly felt that God was telling us not to take the fertility drugs. Matt and I obeyed! It was not an easy thing to trust Him with this, but we did.

 

On September 10, 2001, I had lunch with our babysitter and told her our decision. She prayed with me and said that God was in control and we were doing good by listening. She also suggested that I take the pills to start my cycle as it had been too long since I had one. So I went and bought a test and had that prescription filled.

 

At 5:50 a.m., September 11th, Matt woke me up and asked me to listen to the new that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. So I got up, went to the bathroom, and took my pregnancy test. As the radio announcer said, “Oh my god, another plane just hit the 2nd tower!” I was looking at a positive pregnancy test. I was stunned. I grabbed the phone and desperately tried to call Matt. After 20 minutes he called me and asked what was going on. I told him I was pregnant. He said, “No, in the news. WHAT?!”

 

I really tried not to get myself excited over the test, because they had been wrong before. So I waited until my doctor’s office was open and went in for a blood test. One hour later, I got a call that I was truly expecting. It was a miracle. I recited Hannah’s praise right there at work. I always say 9/11/2001 was a very bittersweet day for me.

 

In May of 2002, I gave birth to our son, Lucas James Williams. He was 6 lbs. 9 oz., and 20 inches long. Yes, he kind of looks like Matt with the blond hair and hazel eyes, and acts very much like Calvin (I now understand Calvin’s mom). He also wants to be a firefighter and join the military, something he has said since he was 4.

 

Hannah's Prayer

 

I want to now fast forward to October 2013. I had the opportunity to take a tour in Israel. Our guide took us to Ramah, where Hannah and Elkannah lived. They recently found Hannah’s spring. Now I know in 1st Samuel the prayer written down took place in Shiloh, but also being in the situation Hannah was in, I could see her praying at this spring, as other mother’s bathed their children. Close by was a fig tree, and I could see her with Samuel on her knee teaching him about God. I began to weep and shared my story with the group. God is so good, and He gave each of us a small glimpse into scripture that touched us to the very core of our being.

Sherry - Hannah's Prayer

What was even better, was 2 days later, our guide took us to Ancient Shiloh, where they are uncovering the site of the Tabernacle. This is the place where Hannah cried out to God for a son. This is where Eli told her prayer would come true. The best thing about this is the day we went to Ancient Shiloh, we had a new guide, and he didn’t know about what I spoke at Hannah’s spring. So I received a double blessing on my trip. Isn’t it amazing that God cares about us so much that He will give us a special glimpse into His word. A story that I’ve heard hundreds of times, yet it has taken on a new meaning. Even now, as I read the first two chapters of first Samuel, I can see Hannah praying at the Tabernacle, I can see her teaching Samuel and she weaned him. I can see him running around the fig tree.

Tree - Hannah's Prayer

I want you know that even if you are going through a time of longing for a child, God is in control. It may mean fertility treatment. It may mean a miracle like mine, and so many others. God is in every one of our stories. I beg of you, listen for God’s voice. Read his word. There are numerous stories like Hannah in the Old Testament.

 

This is a view of the Outer Court — at Ancient Shiloh.

This is a view of the Outer Court — at Ancient Shiloh.

I have added pictures of Hannah’s spring, the fig tree near the spring, and Ancient Shiloh, where the tabernacle sat for nearly 400 years. The big stone square is the sacrificial altar they are digging up.

 

A view of the inner court and Holiest of Holies — at Ancient Shiloh.

A view of the inner court and Holiest of Holies — at Ancient Shiloh.

 

BySherry

Sherry’s ONE Word For 2013

 

To remind myself to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes I worry myself into a frenzy and need to remember to be still.

 

BySherry

Preacher Man (My Legacy – Part 2)

My Parents, Bruce & Debbie Ingle

My Parents, Bruce & Debbie Ingle

In 1990 Jon Gibson released one of my favorite albums, Jesus Loves Ya.  One of my favorite songs on the album is called Preacher Man.  This song reminds me of my Dad, Bruce Ingle.  When this album was released Dad had recently gotten his ministers license.  Whenever I hear the song, I think of dad.

My dad was born in 1950.  He says he came to know Jesus when he was the rottenest, most vile sinner at the age of 4 (Yes, he has that type of humor).  He met my mom at Pentecostal Bible College in 1971 and was married in January of 1972.  He got the best gift of his life, me (Sorry, Nate) in 1973.  Then my brother came along in 1974.  We grew up in Southern California.  He was ornery, like my Poppy, and had a habit of hiding and scaring the life out of us.  He was very patient about it too.  One time he hid under Nate’s bed for over 2 hours to scare him.  He has also done other things, that people in the church couldn’t quite believe until he started practical joking them!

Dad worked at a Rental yard for a long time, 18 years I think.  He never wanted to become a pastor.  His dad was a pastor, as was his Father-in-law, and he and mom agreed they were content just working in churches.

As we grew up, Dad passed along his love of music to Nate and me.  The first time I ever sang with him was in Perris, Ca.  I was very, very young, and we sang “I Get A Little Closer” by the Imperials.  Dad played his guitar, and I held the mic, hidden behind the pulpit with my back to the congregation, and sang my little heart out.  I’ve always loved singing with my dad.

When we became teenagers, Dad would always take Nate to baseball games, and me to concerts.  He endured many Kim Boyce, Jon Gibson, Bryan Duncan, The Allies, etc. concerts.  Dad likes a wide variety of music.  The first concert he ever took us to was to see Jake Hess, JD Sumner, Rovie Lister, James Blackwood, and  Rosie Rozell.  I didn’t realize the history of Christian music that was in that room until I was older, but it was a great time.

My favorite place Dad and Mom would take us was Christian Nights at Knott’s Berry Farm.  About 3 times a year, Knott’s held from 8 pm to 2 am a huge Christian concert.  Dad, Nate, and I would go from concert to concert.  One time while waiting for the Allies to play we couldn’t find dad; all of a sudden we looked on stage because people were starting to clap and there was dad walking the stage with Randy Thomas, who played the guitar.  Pretty soon our friends were yelling, “Bruce, Bruce, Bruce.”  Then the whole crowd was yelling his name.  It was pretty funny.

Later the same night, we went to see DC Talk.  Dad disappeared again.  He climbed up a rock wall and lay on his side next to speaker be bopping to the music. Pretty soon Toby Mac strolled over and shook hands with him.  My dad was pretty stinking cool.

Dad began in my teen years to feel a call to pastor.  In 1993, he was elected to a church in Northern California in a town called Susanville.  He and Mom have been pastors up here in Northeast California for 18 ½ years.  I am happy to serve as Music Director under his leadership.

While growing up, Dad and Mom taught us how to have faith in God.  Whether it was good times, or bad they always remained faithful.  Thank you, Dad, for your unwavering faith and raising me to know God.  I love you.  Oh yeah, Happy birthday!!

 

BySherry

My Legacy

Got Any River’s?

Written by Oscar C. Eliason

Got any rivers, you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in thing thought impossible
He does the things others cannot do.

As I have gotten older, I have been really interested in my genealogy.  Even the Bible has a great Genealogy guideline.  As I fill out my family tree, I have been reflecting more on my grandparents influence in my life.  I would like to start this little series about my Poppy (Paul Lucas).  My grandfather was born in 1924 in Oklahoma.  He grew up in a small town and was very ornery!  His father was a blacksmith, and his grandfather the Sheriff.

I have many great memories of my Poppy and Granny.  Poppy and Granny were always there to encourage me with my singing (Granny still does!).  They took me, my brother, and my cousins to Youth Rally’s, Fellowship Meetings, District and General Conventions, and even to our National Teen Talent Expo in Florida.  Poppy taught me how to drive, which I think he took many heart pills for!   They were always an encouragement to all of their children and grandchildren, even when we were difficult.

One thing that I remember most about my Poppy is his love for Jesus.  He showed us grandkids the love of God.  He was an example to his family by showing us how to be patient, kind, and still tell the truth, even if it hurts.

Poppy and Granny always sang together when they were in the car.  Poppy would always start Got Any Rivers?, and Granny would harmonize with him.  Then Poppy would whistle the song and Granny would hum along.  Even though I was a teenager and would roll my eyes at my cousins or brother when they would start singing this, the song has really stuck with me.  I would even sing it under my breath at times.

Poppy had a stroke in the winter of 1992.  Even that didn’t stop him from doing God’s work.  He witnessed to numerous people.  He was even planning a new church if God healed him.  He and Gran even sang Got Any Rivers? He never lost faith or went into a pity party about his condition.

I spent the summer of 1994 with Poppy and Granny.  During that time, I read a book about a boy who grew up when my Poppy did.  As I would talk the little songs in the book, Poppy would start singing them.  I had so much fun that summer. I learned about him and his childhood. It will always be a memory that could not be compared.  It was then I truly started realizing the example he had on my life.

This past October I went to visit my cousin Hollie, she brought out an old tape recording of my Poppy singing some of his songs to her oldest son, Travis, when he was a baby.  For the first time in 15 years, I heard my Poppy’s voice.  As I sat, listened, laughed, and cried, I watched my kids’ faces and seeing my son’s, Lucas, eyes light up at the funny songs, it made me a little sad that they never got to know him.  However, there is a day, very soon I pray, that they will know each other and I know that he will give them the biggest hug in the whole world.

It makes me happy to know that I am raising my kids to have the same type of faith and values that my Poppy and Granny have passed along.  Yes, we are ornery at times; but, my kids know how much God loves them and that He has a plan for their lives.

Do you have a person who is an example of Christ in your life?  If so, and you get a chance; tell that person how much they mean in your life.  Let them know you appreciate the Godly example they have made in your walk with God.

And for my family members who may be reading this, “Oooey Gooey was a worm.  A big fat worm was he.  He climbed up on a railroad track, the train he did not see.  OOOOEEYY GOOEY!!!”

BySherry

The Power Of Forgiving Others

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. –Ephesians 4:31-32

 

One thing that my husband and I have taught our children is to always apologize and forgive when needed.  It is not always easy, and teaching them to forgive and actually mean it is a whole different story.  My son does this easier than my teenage daughter.  Getting them to really forgive has been hard.  It has helped to remind them of Ephesians 4:32.  To know that we should forgive others because God forgave us is thought provoking.

This past year, as I was looking for a counselor, I got a call from someone from who was related to the man who abused me.  It was a very hard phone call to take and I was very quiet until the shock wore off.  I finally told this person to not contact me anymore.

As I was going through counseling, I went through all of the emotions of my past as if they had just happened.  I also realized that the person who contacted me was very much a part of my abuse as she would put me in harm’s way if I didn’t do what this man wanted me to do.  She would be the one who would sic the dog on me; she would be the one to coerce me into this.  I also found out if she didn’t, the man would do the same to her.  So I was her scapegoat.

About a month later, I received a message on my Facebook page.  It was a nice message telling me how they were praying for me and hoped I was getting the help I needed.  I have to admit, that really pushed my buttons!

It is not easy for me to forgive someone who has hurt me.  It is not easy to forgive someone who has hurt my family.  It is easy to put it behind us and continue to hold that grudge.  To tell people, “I don’t like so and so, because they did this to me.”  That causes dissension between the people.

I took quite some time to write the person back.  When I did, I wrote the words, “I can, through God’s help, forgive your family”.  As soon as those words were written I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.  I felt a freedom that I’ve never felt before.  The reward of forgiving was peace and freedom.

Does this mean I have to confront people to forgive them?  Do I wait until they apologize?  No, not at all!!!  I have never been apologized to for my abuse.  Yet, I forgave.  It also doesn’t mean you have to run everyone who has hurt you and tell them you forgive them.

It also doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with them. God does sometimes put the people back into your life, not always though.  This doesn’t mean you continue to be bitter toward them, but be Christ-like toward them.  Love them with the love of God.  When Satan brings up the past, forgive the person again. It is a daily process at times, but you can do it.

My challenge for you this week is to really forgive someone who has hurt you.  If you talk with them, or not, get down on your knees and ask God to help you forgive with the same forgiveness that He has given you.  Then either call that person, or write it down in a journal or letter, and forgive them.

Dear Jesus,

I thank you today for dying on the cross for my sins, for forgiving me when You didn’t have to. Thank you for those who are reading this and making changes in their lives to become more like You.  Father, I ask as they are forgiving others, you bring a freedom to their lives as You have brought me.  I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

 

BySherry

The Power Of An Apology

I have to admit, I have a big mouth!! It gets me in trouble a lot!!   I am always able to stick both of my feet into it at the same time.  In the past, I had the tendency to ignore the urge to apologize.  However, I’ve been drawn more and more to apologize for my actions.

 

Today in the age of computer and social networking, it is easy to post things without even realizing that damage that can be made to ones reputation, or even be taken the wrong way; especially us women, with our wide range of emotions.

 

A few months ago, I watched a reality show on television featuring a prominent member of our city.  Not having met the gentleman, I slandered him on Facebook.  In the process I hurt two friends, who are very close to him.  Boy, did I get convicted that day.  There were many people commenting in favor of my post; however, it still didn’t set right with me.  I removed the post and apologized to all for my judgment and to my friends who were hurt.  I also said that if I ever met the gentlemen that I would apologize to him for my actions.  All the while secretly praying I wouldn’t have to meet him. HA!

 

I really think God wanted to challenge me on this.  Last night, my friends and I performed in a local talent show, and low and behold the man I judged was there.  I started getting butterflies, and started making excuses that if I kept myself away from him I wouldn’t have to apologize.  I even had a hard time singing our first song!  During intermission, I saw him talking with another friend of mine.  I walked over to him, said hello to my friend when they were done talking, and introduced myself to the man and explained what I did.  Then I apologized to him for judging him.  That was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.  He was very quick to forgive me and thanked me for having the courage to come to him and apologize.

 

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  You will see this verse pop up in a later blog.

 

Sometimes it’s not easy to admit when you are wrong, or that you’ve sinned.  It is easy to place the incident in the back of your mind.  That you can ask God to forgive you of your sins and He will.  Sometimes, He asks us to step out of our comfort zone and go to the other person.  I have to warn you, you may not always get a forgiving response; but, you will have the joy in knowing you did what God asked of you.  That reward is more wonderful than the response that you may receive.

 

Do you need to apologize to someone for actions?  I don’t write this to tell you how wonderfully spiritual I am, because sometimes I am not.  I do write this to challenge you to be more like Christ.  So your challenge for this week is to apologize to someone you’ve wronged.  Don’t expect them to forgive you, just repent for your part in whatever it may be.  Then rejoice in the Lord that you’ve done as He has asked.

BySherry

Trust In The Lord

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

This verse has not always been an easy one for me.  Some days it’s still not.  As a child I was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused for two years by a teenager in the church we were attending.  During the time of the abuse, I was told by a Sunday School teacher that if we are truly children of God and love him no harm will ever come to us.

The abuse took place almost 30 years ago, and yet I still have a problem with trust.  I have a hard time trusting God, my husband, friends, etc.  I spent quite a bit of time in counseling this summer to deal with the abuse and my trust issues.

I can’t quite say I’m totally ready to trust everything everyone says to me, which may not be a real bad thing.  However, I am learning to trust in the Lord my God, who has used my abuse for good.

So, how did this change come about?  First of all, in Proverbs 3:5 Solomon tells us to Trust in the LORD with all your heart.  It sounds easy doesn’t it, until some trial or circumstance comes against us.  I know when situations arise I start to doubt and freak out that God is not really there for me.

Yet, verse 5 goes on to say, “and lean not on your own understanding.”  WOW!!!!  What a concept!  At 10 years old when the abuse started, I had no idea how this could be good.  All I could think about was how to stop this from happening.  I felt helpless and that no one was there for me, even God.

Growing up I still went to church and 2 years after the abuse started, God moved my family to a different church.  Things got better, because I was no longer in the same church or home of the teen.  Yet, with not telling anyone about the abuse until I was 22, I found myself serving God, but not trusting Him to really care for me.

I didn’t realize how it could be used for good until this past summer when I asked my pastor’s wife, my mom, if I could give my testimony during a Ladies Night Out. As I told about 20 women what had happened as a child and how God has completely renewed my relationship with my husband, and the forgiveness I offered towards the people I saw a lady, I didn’t know, who was just bawling.  She came up to me afterwards and expressed how brave she thought I was to give such a testimony.  She then proceeded to tell me that she was abused as a child the way I was by her own father.  The lasting effects of abuse took a toll on her marriage and family.  Yet now she feels that she could put her trust in God and He could help with the turmoil.  I saw her recently and she told me that she has gotten help and God is really using her.

I had no idea that almost 30 years later that God cold turn something horrible into something good.  Recently, I’ve felt that I need to tell people more of my testimony.  I also feel that God is leading me to help those who have been abused.  I do not know how yet, but Proverbs 3:6 states, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

Sometimes trust is like faith in the way that sometimes it is hard for me to say, “Ok, God, I place my trust in You in this situation.  I know that You know what is best for me.  I may not understand, but I will trust You. You said in Your word that You direct my path, and no matter where that leads I will place my trust in You and learn from it.”

I want to challenge you this week to place the trial, circumstance that may arise, or even a past pain in the hand of Jesus and trust Him to take care of it.  It may not be overnight, but praise Him and thank Him for the difficult time and when the end finally comes around, let Him use you to minister to someone else.