Monday, June 30, 2014

Quiet Moments With God - Where You Are

Warning - Transparency Alert

I struggle with fear from time to time. Yesterday was one of those days. While watching a program on television I dozed off. I woke up to a scene of a family playing in a water park and my response was not one you'd expect. Instead of enjoying the scene of a happy family, I was struck by a wrenching thought - I will never be able to do anything like that again. 

I was afraid. Were the best of my days behind me? Were my greatest joys and triumphs a part of my past only?

Sorrow swept in. I had expected more from myself, from my body. I'm sixty-two and in today's world that's really not all that old, except that my body feels old. 

The damage began in 1991 when the van I was driving was hit by a log truck (a story for another day). The accident left me disabled and since then I've struggled to remain active. Pain can be a tough adversary. Sometimes I get tired of the battle and don't want to fight any more. 

Most of my physical difficulties stem from the accident, but some of it is purely my fault. I haven't taken good care of this body God calls a temple. And of course age does have some negative qualities that we all live with.

I need to see, to know in my gut that there's more to my life than pain, suffering, tears and fear and to be reminded that God is in the  middle of it. And today when I went to Him, fearful and needy, He was there. He always is. 

He turned a light on His truth. The real truth, which is that the Lord came to set me free, from sin and death but also from things like fear, hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness. He told me to stop listening to the voices in my head and the lies of the enemy. My life is not over until it's over. There is still much to be done. 

And from the midst of my morning devotional reading these words leaped out. "As you follow me, I lead you along paths of newness, ways you have never imagined."

Wow! That sounds exciting. It doesn't sound at all like I've been put out to pasture. 

John 8:31 - 32 says this, "If you abide in My Word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

My body may not allow me to do everything I want (whose does). But the Lord sets me free to live and serve and to experience new life every day. There is so much joy and peace waiting for me, if only I will set my heart upon Christ and upon the truth of God's Word.

I know that what I'm sharing is not foreign to you. For the Word says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man." We're all in this together. We all understand what it is to be fearful, or to be angry and to lash out in that anger or put up a shield against our sorrows. We also know a lot about courage, joy and jubilation.

I pray for you - that you will know the joy and peace of the Lord, no matter what circumstances you find yourself. For where you are, there He is also.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quiet Moments With God - What Is Your Focal Point?

I settled into my reading chair this morning and asked the Lord to speak to me. He is always faithful and I will hear . . . if I'm listening. Today as my eyes went to 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 18 His Word gave me strength.

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

My mind returned to the birth of my new grandson. The memory is still close. My daughter's labor became so intense she started to believe she couldn't do it, couldn't make it through even one more contraction. Frantic, she asked us to help her find a focal point. She needed something to set her eyes on that would help her mind contemplate on something other than the pain.

In our sometimes difficult lives, we share the same plight. We need to contemplate on something other than our pain. The Lord in His grace offers us a focal point. We are to fix our eyes on what is unseen - the Lord. But He is not really invisible to us. He reveals Himself in the glory of creation, in the hearts of His followers, and even in the sweet fragrance of new life. 

Do not lose heart, focus on the things of the Lord and you will be filled with the peace of God and the certainty of eternal glory.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life in 100 words or less - Gone

It happened at the county fair. My husband was with our son; I had our two little girls. I only took my eyes off Kristi for a moment, and then she was gone. 

Where was she? I searched for her face in the crowd. Called her name. Asked for help.

Had someone taken her? Oh Lord, no! Please no! Help me find her!

And then all of a sudden she was there, wearing a big smile, blonde curls bouncing. "I rode the merry-go-round!" I hugged her tightly. She was safe.

Fifteen minutes of agony. How do others bear a lifetime?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Journey - Forever Bonded

Life is made up of a series of events - births, deaths, marriages and sadly even divorces, triumphs, tragedies, joys and sorrows, pathways to travel and to complete. Sometimes we walk, sometimes we run our course which is littered with heartaches and bubbling with delights. But no matter what our journey looks like it is always better when we share it with others. 

I am sixty-two years old and have experienced the good and bad in life. I've been blessed to have precious people close by to share my journey. When the joys came and I was bursting to tell someone there was always a beloved friend or family member who would rejoice with me. And when heartache blustered its way into my life I've been fortunate to have someone to lean on, someone who cared enough to take my hand and to hold on.

The past year has been strewn with joys and sorrows. And this week has been exceptional. A new little person with his own future, his own path came into our lives. I was blessed to be there with his mother and father when he made his appearance, working alongside them to help a precious life enter the world. 

Sharing the momentous experience of birth produced a bond between me, my daughter, my son-in-law and this much loved little boy that will forever unite us. 

There was agony, but there was also ecstasy. And the blessed joy of a new life. 

Welcome to our family, Jase Lee Bayless.

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Journey - New Beginnings

We are burgeoning with new beginnings. Presently at the top of our list is a new grandchild. We are on baby watch. Jase should arrive any day.

Aside from a new baby, we've had lots of other new beginnings this year. 

A new perspective on life - Ezra's miracle. 
He went from this on March 22nd.

To this on June 2nd. 

The Lord has blessed us.

We are also in our new home and we moved my mom into a new place too. I've started another book and my first non-fiction (a memoir) will be birthed this summer. I'll tell you more about that in the weeks to come.

All of these new beginnings have set me to thinking about a huge new beginning that took place in my life nearly forty years ago. I was twenty-three and separated from my husband of four years. I was shipwrecked -  living on my own and grieving the death of my marriage. I had other deaths in my life that year - a dear friend died, my father died and I lost a baby. 

The Lord can resurrect shipwrecked lives and dead marriages. The devastation dropped me to my knees, which is where I needed to be. It's a place where we can meet God.

The Lord had been trying to get my attention all of my life, but I'd turned my face from Him. I wasn't even sure I believed in God. 

During the alone days after my marriage crumbled I cried a lot, every day, and I came to understand heartache. I still loved my husband, but he didn't love me. I thought I'd received what I deserved. Childhood wounds had convinced me I was worthless trash and being cast aside by the world and by my husband was all that could be expected for someone like me.

And then, an incredible thing happened. An old friend stopped by to see me. As teenagers, Kathie and I had gotten ourselves into all sorts of trouble, but now she was different. She'd found the Lord. That night she didn't say a lot about her new-found faith, but she did ask if we could watch the 700 Club (her new favorite television show). We watched and I pretended to be uninterested. 

Before Kathie left, she told me, "I just want to say one thing. Jesus loves you."

She didn't lay out a four-step plan or lecture me she just told me I was loved. That good news went straight to my heart. I pretended not to care but inside I rejoiced. Someone loved me! 

In the days to come, Kathie's words stayed with me and the Holy Spirit drew me to the Lord until one afternoon I turned on the the 700 Club. I'm not advocating television evangelism, but can't deny that God uses all kinds of ways to reach the lost. 

Pat Robertson shared the gospel that day, and I knew God was speaking to me. I needed a Savior. Right there in front of the television I dropped to my knees and prayed with Mr. Robertson. I believed Jesus went to the cross for me and that he loved me in a way that I couldn't even begin to comprehend. I became His. 

I was loved!

Filled with inexpressible joy I cried and cried as years of hurt were washed away in my tears. I don't know how long I kneeled there, but when I stood up I was a new person. Filled with the Holy Spirit and God's love.

It was a new beginning.

My life has never been the same. Like a new born foal I stood on wobbly legs, but I stood. My hunger for God's Word was insatiable and with each passing day I grew wiser and stronger. 

The journey that began all of those years ago continues. I've had mountain top experiences and I've wandered in dark valleys, but the Lord has never left me. He is good all the time. He restored my marriage, blessed Greg and I with three children and a passel of grandchildren. 

Life is filled with joys and sorrows, but there is also hope . . . always hope.

New beginnings can be scary, but mostly they are amazing. I thank the Lord for loving me just as I was and just as I am. And I praise Him for new beginnings. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


I'd love to hear about your new beginnings. Do you have a testimony you'd like to share? Send your story to me at and with your permission I'll post it here.