Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Moments of Thanksgiving

Most of us will think at this time of year what we are thankful for. I chose for purposes of this simple blog to select ten moments that have occurred this year that I am grateful for. It is not by any means the top ten most important. Obviously I could write dozens for Julie and my wedding day alone. Mom slipped through the veil in July and God gave me a hundred moments I could share.

1. My last conversation with Mom when she was already one foot on the other side. I believe God allowed her to hear my every animated word. But my last words that I am grateful I could share was to say to her with all the pride I possess, "I am my mother's child."
2.The day I was emailed a publishing contract for my novel, "The River Hideaway."
3.Todd Osborne and part of the following Facebook post he wrote in October.
Let me tell you something. When someone sees potential in you as a 10 - year old, and continues to believe in you and encourage you when you're almost 39, and that person isn't blood-related, words cannot even convey how that feels. The best coach I ever played for, hands-down, both on and off the court, still makes an impact on me to this day. Coach Billy Beasley I love you my friend! Thanks for your encouraging words and telling me what I need to hear, not always what I want to hear.
4.My son Micah giving a loving eulogy about his sainted Mimi. 
5.The wedding toasts given by Jack, Todd, Katie, and Micah. Such heartfelt words. 
6.The night my new wife got angry at something I said and thought she was going to sleep in the other room. I simply and calmly said, "No, we will not start down this road."
7.The phone call from my sister Ada just before sunrise telling me that Mom was gone and I knew she was at her party with all the saints. My wife holding me as I cried when I put the phone down.
8.During a difficult time when I was exhausted and Julie held me and said firmly, "Billy, you are not broken."
9.Jim Glasgow my friend first, my minister second, when asked about performing our wedding replied, "I would be honored."
10.After Jim pronounced Julie and I husband and wife, and obviously after I kissed her, the sharing of a group hug with Micah and Julie saying to him, "You always have a safe place to come home too with us."
11.I know this is #11. I could write a thousand. The moment captured in this photo when I saw my beautiful wife to be walking toward me on April 6. This is a favorite picture for Julie.

12. Allow me this last addition. My sister Ada read this and spoke of something I shared several times with Mom, including the time written about in #1.  Mom never gave up on me. She prayed without ceasing over me, particularly during times so dark I could find no light. That last day with her I told her she could go home and that all her prayers over me had come to fruition. I was heart to heart with our God. Walking humbly, waiting, praying for His direction on all things. That I had a wonderful spiritual woman to share my life with. Thank you Mom once again for never giving up on me. As Micah once so eloquently stated, "Mimi taught me everything about grace that I know." Amen Micah, Mom was the picture of grace.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Billy Graham, Passion 2012 & No turning back

How many of you watched and listened to Billy Graham last night? Many things he shared resonated with me but none more so then when he spoke of what an offense the Cross is to so many.

"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening." There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God." Billy Graham
USA Today wrote an article about the show on Fox. I could not resist the urge to scroll down and read a few comments. The viscous remarks about a simple man who preached a simple message were of course present. I wrote an earlier blog, "Ugliness in a Fast Paced World." People lashing out from their deep seeded anger and often with no facts or incorrect ones at best. Aw the age of technology at its finest.

It made me think of many things. I don't know if Billy was aware of the ugly comments but if so I am confident he did not respond in anything but love and prayer for those that attacked him. He has seen the cross, preached it, lived it. He understands the gift and the sacrifice better than most. But even he said he does not understand it all.

If he can't understand it fully then I surely can't. So I share what I know. It was the greatest victory in all of mankind. Please don't confuse this with religion. I am talking about the supernatural gift of the cross. I do know that well.

Lifting weights with Julie this morning I played the song "No Turning Back," from Passion 2012. I never knew as I was leaving that event how much my life was going to be impacted. I knew I had experienced something wonderful but I had failed so many times that I did not trust myself. But that was okay because I begin to trust God. He has not failed me. I believed that lie for a long time. My anger toward him is gone. Replaced by a peace I can scarcely comprehend.

Thinking of Billy's message of the cross and his prayer for a spiritual awakening in our country reminds me this morning of a simple song. I believe it was the last song played at Passion 2012.

No Turning Back

.....This is my heart cry
Though none go with me
The cross before me
The world behind me
I will follow You
I will follow You....

Yes the cross before me the world behind me.