My Praising Momma

It was just now on the radio.  The song that always reminds me of my mom.  When we sing it at church, sometimes I can’t even sing the last verse because I see Mom as she lay in the hospital bed we had exchanged for her double bed, dying, practically comatose, unable to eat or talk or give orders — I mean instructions.

Mom 1960

This is always how I remember Mom.  Here she is ready for church.

She had “instructed” us for many, many years, and, well, it was just a hard habit to give up.  As hard to give up as everything else she had to give up:  bathing herself, feeding herself, cooking for her family (the thing she loved best), cleaning her house (that may be a toss-up with the cooking for her family), mowing her yard, driving her car.  The list got bigger every year, every month, every week, and then every day.

She was being birthed into heaven.  Anyone who has given birth or witnessed a birth (humans or animals) knows what a difficult labor that usually is.  Being birthed into heaven is a labor as well.  Mom had struggled to eat with the coughing spells that accompany the death process.  She had struggled with the pain of her arthritis that came from not being able to get up and move around, lying in bed due to her weakened state.  Failure to thrive is what the medical field calls it.  I think she was tired and ready to go home.  All her life she had been afraid of death, and I always thought that odd because she so loved her Lord.  But at the end, when the journey home had truly begun, her peace and joy was abundant each day.90 cake

This particular day, as my sisters stood at the foot of Mom’s bed and sang hymn after hymn, no music, just their beautiful voices blending together, Mom’s little toes started  tapping to the music.  She couldn’t eat.  She couldn’t walk.  She couldn’t talk.  She couldn’t move her arms.

But she could praise the One who was bringing her home.  One little toe tap at a time.

And my heart is full of praise for the God Mom taught me about, dragged me to Sunday School to learn about, and forced me to play piano during the worship service to praise a name I didn’t fully understand yet.

Now… I have 10,000 Reasons and more to praise Jesus the Christ.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
10, 000 Reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Sing my soul, sing my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
10, 000 Years and then forever more
Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name (For all Your Goodness)
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name
Songwriters: Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
10000 Reasons lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
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I Can Only Imagine

HOLY WEEK

Sitting here listening to Pandora, my Third Day station.  And I am once again awed by God.

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD by Promise Keepers

Name above all names.  Worthy of all praise.  My heart will sing How Great Is Our God.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE by MercyMe

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THIEF by Third Day

Who is this man? This man beside me
They call the King of the Jews
They don’t believe that He’s the Messiah
But, somehow I know it’s true.

And they laugh at Him in mockery,
and beat Him till he bleeds
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
and raise Him, they raise Him up next to me

‘ Thief ‘ performed by Third Day

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May your Easter be filled with thoughts of the Christ who loves you.

A Man Of God

(This week the header picture will be one James took; he loved shooting animals and landscapes.)

Jimmie Joe, JJ, (James to me because that’s what he liked to be called) had the most infectious smile that lit up his whole face and the space around him.  He was such a stinker until the day God grabbed his heart and changed him forever.

what a cutie

I have always loved God, loved my relationship with Jesus the Christ, and loved the fact that the Spirit can move me with the His quiet presence.  Some of my favorite radio stations are the ones that play contemporary Christian music: 104.5 around these parts is one.  I had been telling James he should listen to it because it played great music, had great stuff on there.

One day, he came home and said he had been listening to that station all day, and I don’t think he ever turned the radio dial away from it after that, calling in and winning contests; books, CD’s.  Nor did he turn back from the path he had embarked on with God as his guide.  He began to lead the youth in our church, play his trombone in worship, and love the things of God.

His love for the youth of our church, as well as the whole county, was obvious to anybody that was around him.  He had a deep conviction to show these youth there was a better, greater, more exciting way than drugs or alcohol.  He was filled with the joy of the Lord and wanted them to experience that too.  He worked diligently to teach them, to make things interesting, to give them opportunities that showed them who Jesus really is.

with the youth at Agape

He took them to the Agape music festival at Greenville College, had lock-ins, had cook-outs at our home, and just generally was there, present, in case they needed him.  Those kids still, ten years later, have him in their hearts.

cooking for the kids

He loved music and encouraged those of us who could play a musical instrument in church to get together and practice to play during worship.  And we did:  keyboard, drums, trombone, clarinet, guitars, whatever we could play.  He also worked at getting the sound system just right, good for recording the music and the church services.  My sister and I have always sang together and wanted to make our mother a recording of songs for her birthday.  James went with us to the church to record the music.  At one point in the evening I noticed him leaning back in the chair with his eyes closed.  Thinking he was getting bored and tired of listening and relistening to us, I told him we would hurry.  He sat up, tears on his face, and said, “No, I’m enjoying this.”

Joe, his grandfather, would come to the house, and we would all three watch the Gaithers on television.  I mean, I love the Gaithers, but contemporary Christian was more our style, and yet James would sit there and loved watching this.  His grandpa loved it, too.

He would call me outside of an evening to look at a particularly beautiful sunset and say, “I stand amazed in the Presence.”  And although that beautiful senset was, of course, amazing, it was not nearly as amazing as the transformation that took place in James’ life.

An amazing man of God.