Jesus Loves Me!

Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! Ephesians 3:18,19 The Passion Translation It was a God-ordained moment that August morning in 2005.  A rare moment when my mother and I were completely alone in her hospital room. No doctors prognosticating.  No nurses prodding.  No visitors praying.  Just the two of us, engulfed in God's peace.  A moment-–poignant and precious—that I will always hold in my heart. I gingerly climbed in the bed with Mommy and snuggled close.  She was tired. She hadn’t slept for days as if  she knew that if she closed her eyes, she’d awaken in the Presence of God.  Not that she was afraid of death; she wasn’t.  She’d seen beyond this earthly place and knew Who awaited her.  All she needed to know now was that I’d be OK. I snuggled closer and began singing:           Jesus, loves me this I know;           For the Bible tells me so;           Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. Mom shifted in the bed. I continued:          Yes, Jesus loves me;          Yes, Jesus loves me. . . She looked at me with knowing and sang, her…

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Unapologetically (Sorry, Not Sorry)

"But God's amazing grace has made me what I am! And his grace to me was not fruitless. In fact, I worked harder than all the rest, yet not in my own strength, but God's, for his empowering grace is poured out upon me." 1 Corinthians 15:10 The Passion Translation  She’d answer the phone speaking in tongues! “Hello, Mother Clark!” I’d say. She’d laugh with such delight as she always did when I called, and she’d say (as she always did), “Ah, Sister Deborah! Daughter, I was just thinking about you!”  She’d barely give me a chance to ask how she was or if she needed anything before she’d go straight prophetic on me, give me a “thus saith the Lord,” and then pray for me.  I’d hang up, eyes filled with tears and heart filled with gratitude. I admit I don’t remember a lot of those conversations now. But there are some that I will never forget, for the words lodged deep in my spirit.   They didn’t necessarily take root at the time, but from time to time now those words returned to me to heal, to shift my perspective, to settle me more deeply, to strengthen my resolve. I’d come home from work one afternoon and called Mother Clark just to check on her. She began telling me about a segment of the Oprah Show about birth order that she’d just watched. Then she said, “You are bold, full of dazzle and sparkle! Full of life! Gifted…

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A Change of Season

Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity! Proverbs 10:5 TPT  Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I like the changing of the leaves from green to vibrant reds, and oranges, and yellows. I like to watch those leaves dancing on the breeze as they drift gingerly to the ground.  I like the sound of their crunch under my feet. I look forward to the sweater days, the hoodie days and light jacket days of fall. I even invested in a new London Fog coat this year—my ease-into-winter garment. I like the gradual shortening of days ( Daylight Saving Time disrupts my internal clock). I like “falling back” and the illusion of gaining the hour I never recovered from losing the previous Spring.  Autumn makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I want it to last. I want it to last right into Spring. And if not, then at least through Thanksgiving. So, when I woke one morning in early November to sub-freezing temps, saw the still-leaf-clad trees bending and breaking under the weight of ice on their branches, and read the school delays and closures that scrolled across the TV screen, I had to readjust – mentally, emotionally and physically. No easing into the idea of winter.  Winter had arrived!  I had to dig out the ice scraper buried in the trunk of the car, buy…

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The Heart and Art of Rest

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug if for a few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott Introduction The waves danced at my feet and I could feel myself sinking into the soft, white sand.  This was a feeling I’d grown to love, a feeling I hadn't had for a long time.  And  I delighted in every tiny grain of sand, every ebb and flow of the waves as I walked along the Gulf shore, airpods in ear, listening to one of my favorite playlists, and feeling the kiss of the sun on my face. I hadn’t had a beach vacation in years, and I had been looking forward to sitting at the water's edge, wiggling my toes in the sand and, as terns and sandpipers skittered by, listening to God speak. The beach was  always a place of renewal and rejuvenation for me.I didn’t realize how much I needed it.  Hadn’t realized just how exhausted I was. Hadn’t realized how much the busyness of my life had depleted me of energy, motivation, focus. The Lord had spoken to me before I’d left Cincinnati that this time away would be a time of recalibration.  So I was intentional to unplug – no social media, no emails, no texts messages, no phone calls.   I was also intentional not to fill my vacation days with activity. I didn’t want to get sucked into the…

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Live Wisely, Live Well
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Live Wisely, Live Well

“…But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow.” John 10:10b The Passion Translation  Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!  Psalm 90:12 The Message “The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away days waiting for better ones ahead." Unknown It was a quiet Sunday evening. The big brown chair in my living room embraced me like two loving arms and cradled me.  I was relaxing in front of the television when the phone rang.  I checked the caller ID to see that the call was from my friend in Cleveland. We had not spoken with each other in a few weeks and I elated to hear from him. But the voice on the other end was not my friend’s.  Immediately I knew. “My father passed away yesterday morning. . .” My heart sank, and pools of tears filled my eyes. “He always spoke of you -- of how much you encouraged and inspired him.   Your friendship meant a lot to him.  You inspired him to fight.” I was stunned.  Yes, I knew he was sick.  He had been battling a rare form of cancer for well over two years.  The last time we'd spoken, he sounded better than he had in a long while. He was in a place of peace and filled with a hope and faith that made my heart swell.  I prayed  with him; we…

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Lessons from the Stylist’s Chair

“Those who watch and wait for favorable winds never plant, and those who watch and fret over every cloud never harvest.” Ecc. 11:4  “Thinking ‘Here goes nothing’ could be the start of everything.”  Drew Wagner “Are we cutting today?” she asked as I sat down in the chair. Well, at least she asked, I thought. She has been known to cut first and apologize as an afterthought.  I looked in the mirror, not sure there was much to cut. “The pixie is in style,” she informed me in a “I-really-want-to-get-my-scissors-in-your-hair” kind of way. “Hmmm… is it?” I chuckled. My hair has been various lengths and shades over my 64 years.  As a child, I had a thick mane that my mother was very intentional about growing. By the time I was in junior high school, it hung well past my shoulders. The thought of cutting it never entered my mind -- even during my “I’m-Black-and-I’m-Proud-More-Power-to the-People” Afro days.  But as I grew older, an inch or two here for the health of my hair. A snip or two there for some kind of manageable style. Then came the day when I was finally ready for the big chop.  And once it was gone, I never looked back. Long hair was a thing of the past. But I’d never had it pixie short. “I could give you a long pixie,” she said.   Long pixie? Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron? But it’s summer, mid-June and we’re already seeing “feels-like” temps…

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