Friday, March 28, 2014

I Will Give You Rest


Matthew 11:28
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Dear Friends, Followers, and Fellow Bloggers,

Beginning this Sunday, I'm taking a break from all things internet until Friday, April 4th.  That is when this blog will resume its usual schedule of Friday and Tuesday posting.  I hope each and every one of you will tune back in at that time.

There are many bloggers whom I love to read and religiously leave comments on their posts.  Please understand my temporary absence in the week to come.  Know I will do my best to catch up with your wonderful inspirations when my sabbatical is over.

Simply stated, I need time.  Time to mourn, to rest, to relive memories, and to rejoice in the healing power of the Lord.  Losing my father has been tough on my entire family.  Your continued prayers and positive thoughts are treasured more than you could ever know.

So, until next Friday, may God bless you all and hold you close in His loving hands.

Love and blessings,

Martha

Friday, March 21, 2014

Eternal Life


William Henry Murdy
December 25, 1928 - March 19, 2014

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Dear Faithful Friends and Followers,

This past Wednesday, my father, Bill Murdy, lost his battle with Alzheimer's but won the victory of eternal life.  While we are deeply saddened by his loss, we rejoice in knowing that his soul is at peace, resting in the arms of the Lord.

In light of this, as I know all of you will understand, Meditations of My Heart will be on hiatus for a time.  Your prayers for my mother, Nancy, and for our family are greatly appreciated.

May our loving Father bless and keep you all.

Love and blessings always,

Martha

Dad's memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, March 26th, at 11:00 at the Old Church, Oxford, Georgia.    In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Bill and Nancy Murdy Scholarship Fund, Oxford College, Oxford Georgia, 30054 or the Nature Conservancy of Georgia, 1330 West Peachtree Street, Suite 410, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Transformed!


Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Sweetened iced tea is a staple beverage here in the South.  Even though I've lived in Georgia most of my life, however, I've never developed a taste for it.  When I tell friends I don't drink sweet tea, they look at me as if I've grown a third eye.  Until, that is, I explain that any tea, unless it's herbal, doesn't agree with my stomach.  Which, truth be told, keeps me from drinking any teas, herbal or otherwise.  Just not one of my favorite things to imbibe.

Another savory taste in the South is honey.  Yes, I've tried it.  Ugh!  Too icky sweet for my palate!  I'll pass, thank you very much.  Honey resides in the category of "Evil Foods I'll Never Eat," where it enjoys the company of beets and radishes.

But, this past February when my husband, Danny, and I both fall prey to a vicious bug, all of that changes.  We need to keep hydrated, but it's too cold to just drink water.  Danny drags himself to the store to buy some Sleepytime Peach Tea so we can have something warm and soothing to sip on.  Though, even now, it takes some convincing before I acquiesce.

"Here," Danny says, handing me a steaming mug.  "Just try it.  I guarantee you'll feel better for drinking it."



I'm too miserable to argue.  I take a sip.  Then, two.  Then, three.

"This is delicious!"  I declare.  "What did you put in here besides the tea itself?"

"Lemon and honey."

What???  I'm drinking tea sweetened with honey?  And, liking it?  Must be the illness messing with my taste buds.

But, I can't deny that this is one delectable drink.  So, I continue to consume it in great quantities.  Does it make me feel better?  In the sense of comfort and warmth and taste, yes.

The most amazing transformation, however, happens when my sickness abates and I begin to feel human again.  I still crave the tea!  So much so that I now drink two cups a day, late morning and mid-afternoon, instead of that third cup of coffee I used to relish.  In fact, as I write this post, I'm sipping on a delightful cup of the Sleepytime adorned with lemon and honey.  Heavenly!


And, it is in this simple change of heart and palate, I am reminded of how God transforms us into His children when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  We may be, as I was so many years ago, caught up by and conforming to the patterns of this world, but God wants to change all that.  He wants us to follow His will, and when we do, He will help us to discern what His good, pleasing and perfect will is for our lives.

What could be more comforting, warming and tasty than that?

~

Are you allowing God to transform your life?

Prayer:  Father, may our prayer ever be that Your will, not ours, be done.  Let us be transformed by Your incomparable love and grace, and renewed each day by Your Holy Spirit.  In the precious name of Christ Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Get Over Yourself!


Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It's no secret that I write often about my granddaughter, Virginia Rose.  And, to be honest, I paint a glowing portrait of her almost every time.  That's because it's so easy to do.  Virginia is, for the most part, an outgoing, energetic, and cheerful child.

But, just like all of us, Virginia has her less than picture-perfect moments.  Especially when she is overtired or simply not feeling up to snuff.  Now that I'm caring for her at least three days a week while her mom and dad are working, I'm witnessing a bit more of her "dark" side.  Admittedly, some days, more than this Gammie would like to see.

Virginia assumes, in typical three-year-old fashion, that the world revolves around her.  If anything uncomfortable or disagreeable happens, it immediately becomes a personal affront, and someone else is to blame for her distress.  One of her favorite "go-tos" when a crying fit descends upon her is to say, "___________ make me cry again!"  You can fill in the blank with Daddy, Mommy, Papa, or Gammie depending upon the circumstances.

The other day, Papa, a.k.a. Danny, carries Virginia down to the garage and sets her in her car seat so we can fetch her mom from work.  As he tries to secure the seat belt, he accidentally pinches her arm at the shoulder.  She is already not feeling great, and this incident only fuels her fire.  She begins to wail, "Papa make me cry again!"

I don't think I can endure another one of Virginia's hysterical fits while trying to drive, so, in the calmest way I can muster, I address this latest drama.

"Virginia, your Papa loves you and would never hurt you on purpose.  You know that, don't you?"

Still howling . . .

"Sweetie, Gammie doesn't want to hear you cry all the way to the mall like you did the other day.  Can you make up your mind to settle down?"

Still yowling . . .

"Papa make me . . ."

"No, Virginia, you're the one making you cry.  No one else is responsible.  I know you can get yourself under control."

Sniffling.  Whimpering.  Silence.

Really???  She actually listened to me?  AND, stopped crying?

Then, I hear the most unexpected phrase from Virginia's lips.  So startling, I'm afraid I'll burst out laughing (and hear, "Gammie, stop waffing at Ginna!").

"Git ovah yosef.  Git ovah yosef.  Git ovah yosef."

Get over yourself?  Where has she heard that?  How in the world does she, at three, know what it means?

No matter.  Virginia's self-correcting litany quiets her.  Turns her focus from being the victim into being accountable for her actions and feelings.

And, perhaps, for the first time in her young life, Virginia realizes she is not the center of the universe.

~

When we, like St. Paul, become committed Christians, the first thing we need to do is get over ourselves.  It's not about us.  We are crucified with our Lord.  We no longer live for us, but for Him.  

Our lives should reflect this.

Always . . .

~

Is Christ Jesus at the center of your life?

Prayer:  We thank You, Father, for the gift of Your precious Son, Jesus, who laid down His life that we might become Your children, forgiven and free.  Let us lay down our lives in service and thanksgiving to You, and let the light of Christ shine in our lives through Your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What a Beautiful Thing . . .


Matthew 26:8-12
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant.  "Why this waste?"  they asked.  "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."

This past February for me is a lost month.  I am down with the creeping crud and the continuous cough for almost three weeks.  It is a miracle that I can even muster the energy and wherewithal to keep this blog up-to-date during these hacking-up-a-lung days of misery and lost sleep; nights when retreat to the couch where I can prop up and indulge in cough suppressants becomes the norm.

It is February 28th, the night before my birthday.  I disappear into our bathroom to brush and floss my teeth, don pajamas, and scrub my face.  When I return to our dining area, I find an early birthday gift from my husband, Danny, enticingly placed on the table.  I am so surprised, I forget to cough!  These are the gifts I open to both my disbelief and delight.



I'm so undeserving of this magnanimous assortment of complexion enhancing treasures!  And, I'm already anticipating what fun it will be to try each one out in time.  Though I'm unworthy of such luxury, I'm blessed beyond blessed that Danny thinks I am.  Overwhelmed?  You bet!

Enter Saturday morning.  My birthday.  I wake to the pleasant surprise of not being on the couch.  I've made it the entire night in the calm and comfort of my own bed.  No cough suppressant.  No coughing fits.  I'm elated!  It looks like I'll be able to sing in church this coming Sunday after missing three services in a row.  What could be better than that?

Yet, Danny, trying to make things even better on my actual birthday, presents me with yet another surprise.



How much more could I have possibly anticipated?  Dreamed of?  Before me are gifts I would never, ever dared purchase on my own.

Never . . .

But, oh, what a beautiful thing Danny has done for me.  How nourished my face feels!  How my skin glows with renewed vibrancy.  I feel years younger, and I am rejuvenated in ways I would not have expected.

And, as Jesus reminds us, gifts of luxury, given in the spirit of genuine generosity, cannot be wrong.  The woman who acted from her heart to anoint our Lord with extravagant perfume gave from her heart and soul.  She pleased and soothed Jesus and gave Him comfort on this earth.

Who among us wouldn't want to be in her shoes?

Who among us wouldn't want to offer all we are and all we have to the Lord?

~

Are you offering your all to Jesus today?

Prayer:  We cannot thank You enough, Father, for the sacrifice Your Son, Christ Jesus, made on the cross for our sins.  Of all the gifts we have received or will ever receive, this is the greatest and grandest of them all.  May we ever be grateful and give all that we are and all that we have to Your service.  Amen.

Friday, March 7, 2014

For Dust You Are . . .


Genesis 3:19
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Lent began on Ash Wednesday of this week.  As I did last year, I visit Pastor Emily at our local Starbucks where she is dispensing ashes and praying with us for penitent hearts and a spirit of humility as we enter into this holy, reflective season in the church year.  Receiving ashes at a secular place of business may seem to many of you, especially my Catholic friends, a bit odd, and that's certainly understandable.  However, Emily believes this is a chance for Christian witness in the community at large, and I'm with her on that.

Traditionally, Lent is a time when we give up a favorite food, drink or pastime in order to be more mindful of the ultimate sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for us on the cross for our sins.  While I'm comfortable with giving something up, I also feel that Lent is a time for taking something on.  Creating new habits and practices which can strengthen and enhance my walk with God.

So, what am I giving up this year?  The same time-waster I've given up the past two Lenten seasons:  computer solitaire.  I know, I know, it sounds cheesy, but I play it way too often when I should be embracing Bible study, reading, and my creative writing.

And, what am I taking on?  Two things.  First (I'm ashamed to admit this as I didn't complete this project last Lent), I'm determined to finish reading the entire Bible with the aid of the book 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb.  A much better use of my time than playing solitaire, wouldn't you agree?  Second, I'm making my quasi-resolution to write a minimum of 500 words per day a true commitment.  As I've stated here before, when I write is when I feel the closest to God.

Oh, and just a reminder for you courtesy of Pastor Wallace:  Every Sunday in Lent is a mini-Easter.  It's the one day of the week when you can indulge in the habits you have given up and take a break from the new habits you've begun.  I don't know about you, but this makes me feel a lot more confident about tackling the season of Lent successfully.

~

What about you?  What are you giving up/taking on for Lent?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Prayer:  May this season of Lent be a blessed on for us, Father, as we grow in our faith walk with You.  Let us remember each and every day the sacrifice made for us by Your precious Son, Christ Jesus, as we prepare once again to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Read Me a Story

Virginia Rose feeding the birds

Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is an extremely active child.  She loves doing things whether it's kicking a ball, dancing ("Look!  Cool moves, Gammie!), coloring, making things with her play-do and blocks, or feeding the birds.  Though her parents have diligently tried reading to her as she grows from baby to toddler, Virginia doesn't seem to be interested in the actual story.  She prefers them to name the characters in the pictures and simply explain what they are up to.

This Gammie, who is both an avid writer and notorious book worm, can't help but feel somewhat disheartened.  I keep praying Virginia will come around and actually gain the patience necessary to listen to a good story.  That, one day, she'll ask me to read to her.

On top of just reading children's books to Virginia, I long to acquaint her with stories from the Bible.  I've had The Beginner's Bible recommended by a trusted church friend who has small children.  However, I hesitate for months to order it, waiting to see if Virginia will have a change of heart and realize that reading is fun.


Finally, I can wait no longer.  I purposely bring up some children's books from our library downstairs, coax Virginia into my lap, open the first one, The Three Little Pigs, cross my fingers, and start reading to her.  Half way through the tale, her Papa, a.k.a. Danny, takes over, telling the story in the voice of Porky Pig.  That does the trick!  Virginia is enthralled with the story all the way to end.  There is hope!

That very evening, Danny orders The Beginner's Bible from Amazon Prime.  It should arrive by Virginia's next scheduled visit!  Oh, how I'm anxious for a positive reaction from her!

I mention nothing to Virginia about her new Bible when I pick her up and bring her over to our house.  I've set it on a small table beside our couch wondering if she'll notice it on her own.  She is not in the living room 20 seconds when we hear:  "Gammie!  Papa!  You got Ginna a book!"

Grasping it in both hands and with a beaming smile on her face, Virginia races over to me, hands me the Bible, and utters the one phrase I've been dying to hear from her.

"Gammie, read me a story."

"Of course, Virginia," I say happily, eager to share with my precious granddaughter the greatest stories ever told . . .

~

Were you a reluctant reader as a child?  Do you have or know any children who are?

Prayer:
We are so thankful, Father, for the gift of Your Word.  May we teach our children about Your great love for them through all Your stories in the Bible.  Let them learn to follow and trust You through the examples we set for them.  Amen.

Give Thanks!

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. As our annual observ...