A Place for All Women

Archive for October, 2011

What a friend

          The Sunday morning worship team’s rendition of “What a friend we have in Jesus” was all it took for the tears to start falling.  I just couldn’t help but remember the days when I stood next to my Mamaw, singing that same song in a little white wooden country church.  As we held hands, and I looked up at her, my heart was full of Jesus and I was happy

            A tap on my shoulder brought me back to my balcony seat in our large red brick church building where I now stand, feeling all alone, despite the capacity crowd. 

            I don’t know if a “walk in the wilderness” is ever something you really expect, but ours was most certainly a summer surprise.  We were grateful for God’s providential provision, yet caught off guard by how easily our regular routines could be uprooted when I returned to an all-consuming work schedule.  My freedom to be flexible for our family was temporarily placed on hold, and it was harder on all of us than we ever imagined. 

          I quickly confess that I began to stray away from God like the sheep we are described in the Bible to be.  I was headed for greener pastures… one bite at a time…both eyes open.  There didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to eat right, exercise or get a good night’s sleep; and that added to the rising level of stress I brought back into our home.  But we knew it was a necessary season of sacrifice, so we all moved through the motions.

            In two shorts months, the morning quiet time I covet with God went from an hour to 20 minutes to five minutes to none at all.  Our family prayer time became a quick drop of the knees to recite The Lord’s Prayer, and pop back up in order to get on with the days demands.  Even as it was happening, I knew better, and I knew what the end result would be.  It was like grasping the hand of someone trying to save me as I was falling away all on my own.

             As the tears fill my eyes, I fasten my gaze on the trees outside the big sanctuary windows so no one can see me.  I know I can regain my composure quickly, but at the moment, I just feel empty.     

           I turn to respond to the tap on my shoulder, and there stands our pastor’s wife, like an angel of light, letting me know that God has sent her to the balcony, that He is near…that He sees me…that He knows what has happened…that He is still my refuge and strength.  And, although I have felt alone out in the dry dusty desert where I chose to walk, the rains are on their way, and I will once again be able to stand before Him and soak up His living water. 

“Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” 

          It was only a few weeks later when I was blessed to be able to attend a women’s retreat where we were encouraged to stop for a time in order to immerse ourselves in God’s goodness.  I have to admit, I still walked through most of the weekend telling myself,  “Been here, done this, made the necklace.”  Despite my desire to feel God’s presence and hear His word, I was much more in the mood to hang out with my roommate, walk in the woods and soak up what remained of the autumn sunshine.  The “mountain-top” experience I have come to know and love at these retreats just wasn’t happening for me. So, I turned my attention to some of the other women.  First timers were finding they could leave this retreat with stronger convictions to stand confidently at their crossroads.  Tears were flowing as some women realized they had just come through a season of testing but had stood firm and would return home with even more determination.  Women, who knew no one when they arrived, were exchanging email addresses and cell phone numbers with their new friends. 

            I sat in the front row wishing I knew exactly why I was here.  It was almost over, and like a much-needed vacation, it had gone way too fast.  Then a young woman stepped forward with these words: 

My soul is a dry parched land

and my mind is a shattered piece of glass

I cough out the dust

and kick the broken shards to the sky 

Oh Lord, Gather me up

Oh Lord, fill my spirit

Oh Lord, Gather me up

Oh Lord, Quench my thirsty soul 

My feet won’t move toward you

and my hands are fists swinging wide

I scream out your name in pain

and cry out for healing rains 

Oh Lord, Gather me up

Oh Lord, quench my thirsty soul

Oh Lord, Gather me up! 

          She was like another angel of light delivering the message again.  He is near… He sees us…He knows what has happened…and He is still our refuge and strength.  Although we often feel alone, out in the dry dusty desert where we choose to walk, the rains are on their way, and we will once again be able to stand before Him and soak up His living water. 

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and grief to bear! What a privilege to carry
 Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer! 

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged—Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

Are we weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge— Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there. 

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised, Thou wilt all our burdens bear; May we ever, Lord, be bringing All to Thee in earnest prayer. Soon in glory bright, unclouded, There will be no need for prayer— Rapture, praise, and endless worship Will be our sweet portion there. 

            No matter where you are, no matter how worn out, weary and spent you must feel, God is faithful to deliver you.  We are the ones who get out on a limb, stand at the edge of a cliff and allow ourselves to empty out into the lives of others and the demands of our days. 

But Jesus is always there waiting for our return.

          It seems the more I write about Him, the more I return to thoughts of my childhood.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the way God wants us to come to Him.  

I pass on to you the words our pastor’s wife left me with that Sunday morning.  

“Stand in the rain, sister, stand in the rain!” 


(Gather Me Up/2011-Melissa Duckworth)

(What a Friend We Have in Jesus/1855-Joseph M. Scriven)

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Coffee Connection

          The woman juggling two cups of coffee, while trying to wrangle a toddler out the door and back to the car, was way past caring about her appearance.  The faded blue sweat suit, picked and pulled by too many outings, was the least of her concerns.  She was jockeying for position with those dressed in business suits on manic missions of self-importance.  The coffee shop was all a flutter with a few retirees, talking way louder than they should, along with the teleporting career climbers, who were here to be seen more than they were in a hurry to be served.  They were purchasing the most expensive coffees and stopping to speak to all the right people.  A few loners straggled in looking less secure, and I guess this is the category into which I fit, or I doubt I would have been sitting there analyzing each person who walked through the door.

          A group of exercise singles made the grandest entrance as heads turned, eyes stared, and mouths dropped open.  These twenty-somethings looked fabulous.  The level of confidence, with which they carried themselves across the room and up to the counter, confirmed for everyone watching that they knew how good they looked.

          It was a room full of people and those not watching each other were all on mobile devices…talking…texting…surfing.  Everyone looked important.  And some even sounded important as they recognized one another and stood for an obligatory handshake or a shoulder touching hug. Of course, these connections lasted only until one of their mobile devices distracted them from the social encounter at hand.  Then, whoever was on the other end must have been really special, because the “in-person” connection was sacrificed – for the digital one.

          We all want a connection. We want to matter, to be important. We want acceptance.  We want a divine empowerment…an anointing to do the things we were placed on this earth to do.  But we look to other people to give us the “thumbs up” and confirm for us that they “like” the direction in which we are headed.

          Just last night, my son asked if his dad and I would be okay if he decided to become an agent for the FBI.  As a quick — “Oh my God, that would be dangerous” — thought flew through my mind, I smiled my best loving mama smile, and with a beating heart, said, “Certainly we would.”  Okay, maybe I’m not so certain, but I have a way of discouraging people from doing things I don’t want them to do.  So, for once, I thought it best to tame my tongue and let his mind go wherever God leads.  God has a plan and a purpose for my son’s life, as He does for all of us.  But while we are all out furiously searching for acceptance, approval and all the right relationships, God says simply, “Come to me.”  He has the answers, the solutions, even the formula for success.  We don’t have to have the latest cell phone to reach Him and he won’t stop talking to answer a text.




           Okay, this is where my husband and son might say, “Don’t listen to her.  She is always talking, texting, and on the computer.”  And, they are right.  But I’m usually preaching to myself when I’m writing to you.  So, to you and to me, let’s try to take some time this week just to sit in His presence.  Ask God what we should do next.  Ask Him where we should go, who we should see, what He has planned.  And then wait, watch and listen, to see what He tells us.  It will be far more valuable, far more insightful and far more tailor-made for our needs than any advice another person could give us.

          Author and teacher Beth Moore says in the study, “Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed”, that we can’t complete our calling on our own, it’s beyond our natural abilities.

          God is the one who has a plan for our lives and He alone has the blueprint for completion. 

Ask God for the kind of success that says to all those around you… 

 “It has to be HIM because, otherwise, there’s no explanation.”

 In 2 Samuel 7:8-9 

 God said to David,

“I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.”

 When I read that verse, it says to me that He can take us out of the most obscure place, teach us to quit following the people who are all just following each other, and do great things in our lives.

God’s blessings are not reserved for the men and women of the Bible, He has plenty of favor He wants to pour out on us!

He’s the ultimate connection and He’s the one we need.


© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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