The other morning I thought I’d start work early so I could spend most of my
day with the kids, who are now on summer vacation.
As I sat down on my IKEA chair, my Shih Tzu Delilah jumped up to sit at my feet on the ottoman. Her barrel-chested brother Samson, a few pounds heavier and a bit more awkward, couldn’t leap up to join her, so he pawed my arm and whined for several minutes until I heaved him up. This time he didn’t want her company. He wanted to be close to me.
He immediately resituated so he could lick my bare feet and then laid his soft, teddy-bear head against them.
I believe this was Samson’s way of snuggling in, receiving reassurance, tapping into my “master love.”
Oh, Samson, Buddy, what a parallel I draw here. Thank you for being my morning muse.
[Samson’s sister likes to lick laptops. Yeah, dogs are weird.]
How much I am like Samson! When I wake and know my Master is with me, Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: anxiety, deep love, everyday faith, fear, feet of Jesus, go in peace, holiness, Isaiah 52:7, kissed his feet, luke 7:36-50, Master's feet, OCD, peace, posture of worship, relationship with God, salvation, shih tzu, sit at His feet, the feet of him who brings good news, tween girls, wet his feet with her tears
This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today on Father’s Day.
As I sit here waiting on news from my father after a three-month check-up, CAT scan, and blood work were performed to let us know if the beast that is cancer is keeping its nasty little talons out of his body, I watch another father patiently brushing his son’s limbs, back, and extremities. He follows it up with joint compressions and rolls the yoga ball onto our youngest son’s back.
I am sandwiched in life by two fathers:
- One still on guard against a disease that has launched pathological assault weapons at his body multiple times in different places over the span of about 35 years
- One who helps with the five-times-a-day occupational therapy at home for a child with sensory integration issues, anxiety, and ADHD
My father has never backed down in the face of a nonstop onslaught on his organs, muscle, and tissue. He knows prayer (in the name of Jesus) is a powerful weapon.
My husband will never stop serving my son—not until he sees a settled, healthier version of him.
I am struck by the fact that my Father in heaven sent Jesus to do both of these things for us: Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: a father's love, brokenness, cancer, CAT scan, father as defender, father as servant, Father in heaven, father's day, fathers, go in peace, jesus came to serve, joint compression, Luke 8:43-48, Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 8:1-3, son of man came to serve, woman touches Jesus, woman with discharge of blood
Espressos of Faith is excited to have Tammie Wommack back in our continued series on “Stories of Hope, Healing, and Courage.” Tammie has joined us several times to share her journey from the incredible pain of losing her son Joshua to finding moments of hope, healing, and even joy again.
What I love about my friend Tammie is that she is not afraid to be raw and real. She wants to take parents who have lost a child through the real phases of healing, letting them know that their experiences/feelings are normal, they aren’t alone, and peace can be found despite the ongoing ache left when a child is no longer here. I have been on the other end of this—the desperation of depression—and because her story ran parallel to my own and I knew her when her loss was new and raw and I was lost and broken, I believe she can truly minister to those left behind grieving with her beautiful words of encouragement. Our stories coincided in 2008 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and through God’s grace and despite moving away to different locations, we are still heart-connected.
Please share this with anyone you know who needs her words as a soothing balm, and feel free to leave a comment for Tammie. She would love to connect with you. She is making a deliberate choice to live in intentional ministry. Please feel free to reference her other articles at the end of this blog as well as the resources (suicide hotline) listed there.
And now, here’s Tammie…. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 2 corinthians 1:3-4, after the funeral, child loss, comfort, comforted by God, funeral, graveside, grief, kwajalein, light my lamp, lightens my darkness, Marshall Islands, mourning, parent grief, psalm 18:28, republic of the marshall islands, suicide, suicide loss, the last goodbye
I watched my young son walk by her on his way toward me at dismissal time. She waved a tiny wave at him, and he waved sheepishly back, giving a quick smile.
It had been a year since she was his teacher. They were both broken in their own ways that particular year. Nobody could have predicted it. Seeing them tentatively offer each other a quiet reassurance this week taught me something so profound. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that scene: The one where my son had a stockpile of grace from somewhere deep within. The one where he got in the car and told me, when I asked: “I made sure to smile so she knew I was smiling at her.”
What? Oh, dear Jesus, please tell me. I want to know where that supply of grace is. Little Man seemed to tap right into it and out of the overflow, he worried about the feelings of someone who shared a sad year with him—someone who was just as stuck as he was that year. Don’t we all have moments, seasons, years like that?
Because I feel so protective of our beautiful school community and the teachers and other staff within those walls, the details of their sad year don’t really need to be told here. Suffice it to say that sadness was matched with unrelated sadness, and it made it hard for Little Man to climb out of his own lack of functioning and depression.
My mama heart was all over the map that year because Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 1 Peter 4:8, child depression, depression, emotional pain, emotional wound, forgiveness, fortress, give love away, God's love, hearts heal, love covers, proverbs 10:12, psalm 91, refuge, shadow of the Almighty, shelter of the Most High, teacher-child relationship, under his wings
There is truly nothing about me that has a green thumb. I’m really proud of myself if I can keep a few hanging baskets alive two-thirds of the way through the summer. I’m not outdoorsy garden girl by any stretch of the imagination. I take my Vitamin D in a pill and sit outside only when I have to watch my kids in the pool. Summer sunlight does horrible things to my fair skin (trust me, I used to live in the South Pacific!), and pollen makes a beeline for the inside of my nose as soon as I exit my house to walk the dogs.
This is why it made absolutely no sense to me when a few weeks ago I felt a strong prompting to buy some pots, potting soil, and various seeds. I had no idea why I drove to Walmart one day with those items on my list, but I felt compelled to have them, as if someday in the near future, God would fill in the blanks for this assignment.
I went about my usual business for weeks, not doing anything about those pots—wishing I suddenly became Grow-It Jane but knowing I really was Read-and-Drink-Lattes Bonnie. Even my husband and children were puzzled when they saw the potting soil, but they know me well enough by now to just nod and move on with their day.
You would think that I would have learned how much I do not actually know after last year’s sunflower seed episode.
(After I finished rolling my eyes up in my head that my son came home with a sunflower seed to plant on the last day of first grade, we watched that 6-footer grow all summer—trusting it was more than a weed but not really sure for about 9 weeks. Know when it bloomed? First day of second grade. Yeah, it took a lot of trust not to toss that thing from its pot into the woods and assume it was another loss before it actually gave us beauty.)
God’s promises are just that: Ones we can’t see fully until they bloom. They are there, climbing toward heaven as if to give a holy nod to the Big Guy in the Sky until they reveal themselves to us.
Sometimes it feels like we go on blind trust, doesn’t it?
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 1 Corinthians 3, ADD, ADHD, anxiety, body regulation, garden, gardener, God gave the growth, God's building, God's fellow workers, God's field, God's promises, occupational therapist, personal growth, regulate the body, soil, sunflower, tilling the ground
I’m very honored that a new review was written for “Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day”! Thank you to Amanda at “The Nerdy Bookworm” for your lovely description and for so beautifully capturing the heart behind this project. Amanda’s book reviews are a great place to check before you start your summer reading. I enjoy receiving her reviews emailed directly to me.
For more reviews of NJOS, feel free to check out the Amazon.com page.
Blessings to my “Espressos of Faith” readers for letting me hone my craft and share my heart lessons so intimately with you on such a regular basis.
Bonnie Lyn Smith
the nerdy bookworm
Image courtesy of Bonnie Lyn Smith
When I first got an email from Bonnie Smith asking me to review her book, Not Just On Sundays, I was excited. Not simply because I enjoy reading and reviewing books, but because she sounded like such a kindred spirit.
When Not Just On Sunday arrived a few weeks later, the subtitle excited me: “Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day”. Yes! That sounds like what I desire to do with my life!
Not Just On Sunday might appear daunting with 312 pages, but don’t let that intimidate you. Filled with Scripture, and reflections on faith and life drawn from Bonnie’s personal journey, you will laugh, cry, and be refreshed.
Simply written, Not Just On Sunday is an easy read, and I felt as though I was reading Bonnie’s journal, or sitting with her in a coffee shop discussing what God is teaching her…
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Tags: Bonnie Lyn Smith, book review, Christian book, Christian nonfiction, coffee shop book, Espressos ofFaith, god in the everyday, God's purposes, inspirational book, not just on sundays, relational reconciliation, relationship with God, seeking god's purposes, the nerdy bookworm, walking in grace, walking with God
We walked hand in hand down Wright Avenue headed toward her home after a visit to the Five & Dime. I treasured my visits with Grandmom. Her hand was gnarly and warm, securing me somehow in decades of wisdom and life lived that I would not understand for many decades of my own. I guess on some level I knew her street of row homes was unsafe now, that her longtime homestead where she raised her family had become a place that sold dark—filled with poverty, broken families, addictions, violence, racial tensions, and a lack of hope.
But when Grandmom walked down that street, heads of all colors looked up and spoke reverently: “Hi, Mrs. H!”
And her response? She’d know them by name and say: “Hey, Willis, how is your mother doing?” She showed them respect.
From what I remember, she absolutely felt confused and disheartened by the changes on her street—maybe at times even a little scared (she’d been mugged twice in her elder years). But she absolutely chose to stay, to not tremble or cower, and…
As we started approaching a scene of a young teen couple arguing, and the boyfriend was punching his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach, I remember my grandmother not shying away from it. She didn’t move to the other side of the street. She walked us right past them. I honestly can’t recall if she had words in those moments or not. She may have. But as she approached, the Light of Christ she carried with her was enough to settle down the violence going on. He looked as though he had been caught in something and wore a look of shame. I had never seen anything like it. I was not more than a 10 year old child at the time, but
that scene has never left me.
I have no idea what happened after we passed. He could have gone after my grandmother for witnessing that, but he didn’t. He could have justified his own behavior by continuing to beat his girlfriend. I really don’t know. What I do know is that he could not keep offending when my grandmother was on the street.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 2 corinthians 4:6, created for good works, espressos of faith, Holy Spirit, illuminate Christ, John 1:4-9, John 8:12, let you light shine before others, light in the dark, light of Christ, light of life, light of the world, light shines in the darkness, matthew 5:14-16, relationship with God, shine out darkness, shining God's light, spiritual warfare, walking with God