Wednesday, February 20, 2013


"This Is Home"
By:  Switchfoot

This Is Home For Me
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

"Home".....don't you think that's a beautiful word?  Home for me leaves a connotation of all that is, security, warmth, peace, solitude, joy, serenity, calmness....all that says welcome to my weary body when I've been away too long.

Just one step inside the door and that sigh escapes my lips...I am home.  Then, there are other times when this feels more like a prison than home.  My soul gets sick for my real home, my heavenly home.  That place that Jesus has prepared for me that will be perfect in every way and meant just for me.

Home, where I belong.  I remember those old hymns about home when I was growing up in our little country church.  Oh Think of the Home Over There....Home of the Soul....Precious Memories (...and old home scenes of my childhood in fond memory appear...)....I Feel Like Traveling On (My heavenly home is bright and fair, I feel like traveling on...)...and this was my favorite, Going Home.  Momma and Ms. Dean used to sing it often.

All those things make me lonely for a time that has passed and a time yet to come.  I cannot go back and I cannot remain here; it is the future that beckons me to my heavenly home.  As this old song says...."What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand, And leads me through the Promised Land, What a day, glorious day that will be."  Then, of course there's Won't It Be Wonderful There!  ABSOLUTELY!!!

So my heart calls me home, to that place I've never seen before...........Beulah Land.  "I'm kind of homesick for a country to which I've never been before; no sad goodbyes will there be spoken for time won't matter anymore...."  I am longing for that day, but until then I have a mission to complete here.  I must not allow the home that awaits me to distract me from my journey's tell those who have no hope that all hope begins and ends in Jesus.

I see those poor souls on the street and I think how blessed I am.  I have a home, a roof over my head, warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  I am protected from the elements....wind, rain, snow, ice, humidity, extreme temperatures....yes, how blessed I am!  When I see them, my heart aches for them.  I don't know their stories, but maybe their story isn't the important part.  We all have our own story to tell, but we also have a commonality among us from which no one is immune...we are sinners, either saved by grace or still searching for grace.

Dear Father, help me to be vigilant to lift my neighbor and help to make their 'here' better so they can care about their future.  Help me to help them to see that nothing in their past, present or future can stop the love of God from reaching them if they ask for it.  Help me to speak kindly, to treat them with respect and dignity, to love them unconditionally and pray for them continuously.  I am them....but for the grace You gave me. 

Yes, this is home, but it's only temporal; that home awaiting is my goal.  May I ever be careful to remember that each day I travel my journey.  My highest calling is to sacrifice so that others may know His love, His mercy, His grace, His presence in their life.

The Lord is the one who keeps you safe.
So let the Most High God be like a home to you.
Psalm 91:9   (NIRV)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Leaving and cleaving.........

My Maternal Grandparents
Lula Mae Sisco Howell & James Elbert (Elb) Howell
50th Anniversary Picture, 1984

On February 15, 1934, Lula Sisco left her parent's home with her beau, Elb Howell.  Telling her parents Elb was going to take her for a haircut, she sneaked away and the couple were married on that date in the Courthouse in Ripley, Tippah County, MS.  Seventy-nine years have passed since then.  Though both have passed, their love and commitment remained true until the day they left the earth.
They had nine children:  Cecil Edward, Bobby Gene, Thelma Mae, John Thomas, Donald Ray, Shirley Ann, Glenda Jo, Kenneth Wayne and Sandra Kaye.  At the time of their 50th anniversary they had 26 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  Those numbers have increased substantially since that time, now having added great, great-grandchildren to the family. 
Grandma could neither read nor write.  She stayed at home with her children and tended house and helped Grandpa with the farm work.  Grandpa raised farm animals, grew crops and worked a full time job at the local hide tannery.  Momma spoke of having gone days without seeing Grandpa removed his shoes.  He would work his factory job at night, come home and work on the farm and sit in a chair to take a nap before having to go back to the factory.  With eleven mouths to feed and bodies to clothe, there was little time for anything but work.
Over the years their hearts were broken many times by loss through death.  Grandchildren were stillborn or lived only hours.  A daughter, Shirley, had suffered through the devastation of divorce.  Their oldest child, Cecil,  died in January, 1993 from heart failure.  He had been on the waiting list for a transplant for about one year when he died.  Their 5th child, Donald,  had also died of heart failure in March, 1996.  A granddaughter's (Judy, daughter of Donald) life had been forever altered by the effects of a car accident that left her in a coma for many weeks and which caused the death of her unborn daughter.
Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and they had to be admitted to a nursing home.  Grandpa said goodbye to Grandma in June, 1999.  Grandpa lived to be 93 and died of natural causes in a hospital room next door to the room where his 4th child (John Thomas) was dying of liver failure.  Uncle John died approximately one hour prior to Grandpa in November, 2005.
There were also moments of triumph over the years.  After raising 7 of their children into adulthood and the other two quickly growing in that direction, they were finally able to purchase their own home somewhere around 1969-1970.  They had survived a burn out in their earlier years together and had lost every material possession they had.  Thankfully, lives were not lost, nor was there major injuries.
They lived to see retirement together and traveled some within the country.  Family gatherings were filled with laughter and joy as everyone came home.  Grandpa would always make his famous vegetable soup for those occasions.  His greatest joy in life was his family; that, and a good Rook game or some checkers from time to time!  He loved life, my Grandma and all of his family.
Grandma and Grandpa now rest with the Lord.  I can only imagine the joy and beauty of being in heaven together after loving each other for so many years hear below.

I Can Only Imagine
Mercy Me
4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied.
“They record that from the beginning
‘God made them male and female.’”
5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man
leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one.’
6 Since they are no longer two but one,
let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Matthew 19: 4-6  (NLT)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Meditation on the Word


May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:13-14   (NLT)