Reaching Out

I once knew a man
Named Johnny McGee.
He lived down the road
A couple houses from me.

He worked hard in the week,
But weekend parties didn’t end.
He had so much money
That he was eager to spend.

His house was quite grand;
His car was the best,
On his property: a boat and more
Grown-up toys filled the rest.

He was that man
That men wanted to be,
And women loved to be with
To live frivolously.

After a few years
Watching this week after week,
I noticed action was gone.
Things seemed to look bleak.

I wondered what happened;
Why the house had no noise.
Where were the people
Who played with the toys.

The grass grew tall
Around the house in the lawn.
The boat no longer moved.
The parties were gone.

The quiet was quite nice
But yet unsettling too.
Were things going okay
For Johnny and his crew?

I prayed for my neighbor,
Then I wanted to see
What may have happened
To Johnny McGee.

I took a deep breath
And walked to his place.
I knocked on the door
To see him face to face.

A grouchy voice hollered,
“What?” through the screen door.
I entered into darkness
And saw him sitting on the floor.

“What do YOU want?”
He asked without thought.
“No one comes here anymore!”
He seemed angry and distraught.

He looked thin and sad.
This couldn’t be the same man.
He wasn’t laughing anymore,
And had lost his golden tan.

“I live a few houses down,” I said.
“We’ve met a time or two before,
I wondered if you were ok?
I hadn’t seen you anymore.”

“I know who you are,”
He said with some pride
“You’re that pastor that prays.
We all hear you outside”

He grumbled, ” Why do you care?
All my friends have all gone.
Nothing matters anymore
And everything’s gone wrong.”

Suddenly he began to ramble
Like he hadn’t spoken for years.
And as he shared about his life
I noticed his eyes fill with tears.

“I thought I had it all,” he began,
“The joy that money can bring.
But now it doesn’t have a spark,
It doesn’t mean a thing.

One day I lost it all.
I made a wrong choice.
Lost all of my hope.”
He began to clear his voice.

“I don’t know why I’m saying this
I don’t really know you well.
But I feel I need to speak,
I need someone to tell.

I was driving too fast
Around the bend down the way.
And I lost control of the car
And I crashed it that day.”

He stared in the air
Perhaps remembering the minute
When he rolled his car
And his girlfriend was in it.

I had heard about that crash
Someone told me the next day.
I didn’t think on it more
Now I didn’t know what to say.

“I lost the girl I wanted to marry
The girl who brought me life.
What was my purpose now?
I killed my future wife.”

Silence entered into the room
I struggled with words to say
Suddenly a thought hit me
And I began it this way,

“I’m sorry for your loss.
I’m sorry for your pain.
I’m sorry nothing seems right,
And your life seems insane.

But the Lord loves you dearly.
He knew how this would end.
He knew that you needed hope.
He knew you would need a friend.”

I reached my hand out to him.
He got onto his feet.
He hugged me in tears,
Expressing his hurt and defeat.

That was ONE moment
Of many times we would share.
He opened up more each time
Realizing someone did care.

One day he met someone
Who knew him better than me.
That someone was the Lord
Who eventually set him free.

And in time he met another
Who shared his hopes and life.
That was the time I married them
And they became husband and wife.

Take the time to listen,
Take the time for prayer.
Someone might need to know
They are worthy enough for you to care.

I now know a family
Whose last name is McGee
They live down the road
A couple houses from me.









Phrases like “he isn’t acting normal” or “that isn’t the normal way to do it” are broad at best. What is normal to me may seem completely abnormal to my neighbor. The definition to the word normal according to is “-conforming to a standard, or what is common, usual, regular or natural.”

Still even that can be different according to cultures, religions, languages, customs, countries, cities, neighborhoods, families or even individuals. Age or the era that we were raised in can even promote different “normal” lifestyles. And when we begin to grow accustomed to the way things are done it is sometimes difficult to change. The custom begins to become part of who we are and we identify it as NORMAL.

Tradition plays a huge role in this,” normalcy”.  If you celebrate Christmas  (as I assume most believers do) the tradition in each family can be different. Perhaps you put up a Christmas tree in your house, or pretend that Santa is coming down your chimney or maybe you do not include Santa, at all.  You might celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve or when the clock strikes mid-night or in the morning hours. There are a thousands of different traditions that are promoted in different cultures and even families. Who said that we must eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, though it is a strong tradition in America.

Tradition can melt into what you might perceive as normal.  I can only relate to what is familiar to me as people from around the world live differently.  But in America the “traditional family” has begun to change. When I was little it was normal to have a mom and dad. Soon it became normal to see a lot of single-parent households, then there was mixed families. From there couples quit getting married and began to just live together. That became normal. Then we began to see homosexual lifestyles evolve into families. And now the transgender lifestyle, though a minority, is fighting to become a new normal.

Life in America and across the world is changing. The normal is changing. People have grown accustomed to the new lifestyles. What was once thought of as “normal” in my era is fading into the background. As much as people want to ignore this fact, at one time in America it was normal to be a slave or have slaves. But THANKFULLY many good men fought to abolish that. And though it is no longer our “normal” in America today there is so much anger over our past, “normal”,  that violence is erupting. And violence, instead of peace, is becoming popular and normal.

What is normal? Does acceptance equate normal?

IF you profess to be a believer –and I write this to believers as unbelievers may have a different standard to base their truth or may believe that truth is negotiable. But as a believer, we must get back to the basics. The Word of God is the basis to use as any standard of truth. Jesus said that HE is the truth.

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

He also stated that we are not of this world and that this world does not and cannot understand, “our normal”.  Read John 17:14-16, John 15:19, 1 John 5:19, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, John 18:36, 1 Peter 2:11-12 to name a few.

What should be normal for the believer is what we read in the scripture regarding the life of Jesus. It should be normal to heal the sick, raise the dead, set people free from darkness. It should be normal to love the lost and forgive quickly. It should be normal to live in freedom and to overcome the darkness that plagues our souls.

Though Jesus died for each of us, because WE ARE ALL SINNERS, it does not mean that we have to change what He stated as truth (or normal.)

I say all of this because different lifestyle choices than what I hold as truth, are all around me and will continue to be as long as I live in this world. Should I love all people?ABSOLUTELY!  Should I change my view of what I consider as “normal” because others think I should? No.

There is a gray line that confuses many. There is an unseen difference between loving people as Jesus did. (And HE LOVES PEOPLE) and living our lives by a standard that holds true to scripture.

I DESIRE to love ALL people–as Jesus did. He loved us so MUCH that he was willing to die for our brokenness and deception and sin.

I DESIRE to love our heavenly Father–as Jesus did.  He loved him so much that he REFUSED to compromise his standards and though he didn’t want to, he went to the cross so WE would be free.

“Lord grant your children wisdom. We need to learn to live a life that shows abundant love, as Jesus did. And we need to live a life without compromising with sin, as Jesus did. We cannot do it without your wisdom and strength.  Amen”

God bless.


Happy Mother’s Day

I have a slight change in my blog as Mother’s Day approaches.

I just want to say Happy Mother’s Day to those who are anticipating children, to those who have them at home and underfoot, to those whose children have grown up long ago and to those who have lost their children through tragedy and loss.

And Happy Mother’s Day to those that wanted children and never got the opportunity to have them on this earth. To them I ask that the Lord would reveal to them the great influence they have had in people’s lives who may not be their child but whom they’ve loved just the same.

During this time I also wanted to joyfully relive a couple “mommy moments” of my own. Of course the joy is because most of those “mommy moments” were many yesterdays ago. Just kidding. But seriously, now I get to watch my four grown children go through similar things with their own children. And I also have the opportunity to have a younger one at home to do it all over again. At home or miles away you really never stop being a parent.

My first child was born when I was 19. I look back and realize how incredibly young I was. I made a comment once that I felt like people looked at me and assumed that I was a pregnant teenager. “Well”, said a friend, “you ARE a pregnant teenager.” Hmm, I guess I was. Nineteen is that weird age when you are no longer a kid, but not considered an adult, yet old enough to die for your country.

Then when I was pregnant with my 5th child I was on the opposite side of the spectrum.  I was the older mom, the one considered “high risk”.  I recall standing in line at a check out counter when this little girl, maybe 6, looks up at me and asks me if I was a grandma. I was pregnant, but not with my grandchild. I was hoping her mom would quickly complete her transaction.

As a parent you can be guaranteed that your children will use their ability to embarrass you. Some incidences you simply want to run and hide. Others are more light-hearted, like when one of my sons convinced me that he could sit by himself in the front row of the church when he was around 9.  He leaned back in his folding chair (we didn’t have pews in that church) and fell during the service making a loud crash while also knocking over the chairs beside him. I sat quietly in my chair. The thought that rushed into my mind was, “boy I’m glad that’s not my kid“. It wasn’t intentional but I didn’t get up or even move. Some nice lady got up and helped him as I innocently sat seemingly oblivious to the incident. Oops.

As a mom, I’ve endured the sleepless nights of a newborn, of a sick child, of a loud slumber party (when no one slumbered) and waiting up for a teen not home yet from the dance.

There was never much “down time”.  I have had the opportunity to go to wrestling matches, swimming practices, baseball and soccer games, gymnastics, dance and cheer amongst other events. One summer we almost lived in the van going from practice to practice and then from one game after the other.  Of course there were concerts and the Christmas programs and birthday parties. I volunteered for EVERYTHING it seemed.

And then there were accidents. They each had their share but I was in the emergency room the most often with my second son, from getting attacked by a neighborhood dog which included many stitches, being hit in the eye with a paint ball gun (we thought he might lose his sight) to busting his arm which needed a couple of surgeries. And as they got older I got the call regarding car accidents (which fortunately was never major) and the call about a broken down vehicle when someone needed rescued.

There is emotional heartache that goes along with motherhood too. Several times the kids would come home saying someone was mean or said cruel things on the playground or someone was left out. And it was hard watching your child try so hard on the baseball team but rarely get to play. As they got older there were relationship dramas and sad breakups. I have walked with them through many disappointments. Sometimes they kept things hidden that eventually came out later in life.

One of the most difficult moments that I recall as a mother was when my six-year-old Facebook-20170509-123217was lost in the mountains of Colorado when we had gone on a family camping trip. I was horrified. It took Search and Rescue and what seemed like forever (but was only a couple of hours) for him to be found. I counted it as one of my worst days and best days.

But there were also precious fun times. The most memorable times were those that were the least expensive, like when the kids would gather around me in the evening as I read to them and more recently listening to my youngest talk about her plans for her future. Then there were road trips, hiking adventures, watching movies together or just talking around the fire on a cool night.

I cannot count the hours I have spent praying for my kids. I would go into their bedrooms and cry out to God regarding a trial they were facing or simply pray for their futures. It broke my heart when my oldest left the house so quickly. It was hard to take when I waved goodbye to my second born as he left to Afghanistan, promising he’d return. It was heart wrenching to watch my daughter choose to join the Army and be stationed so far away. It seemed unfair to say goodbye to my youngest son as he hurriedly left the state as soon as he graduated.

Where did those moments disappear? That is what being a mother is all about. Loving your children through so much from the moment they are conceived until, well, forever.  It’s about cherishing the moments we have together and then having the wisdom to know when to let go.

Fortunately for me I have the opportunity to have a younger one at home so I can enjoy the laughter and the heartaches all over again. And fortunately for me I have grown children that are a joy to visit and a joy to watch as they parent their own children.

Whatever part of this life you find yourself in today…Happy Mother’s Day.

“May your children rise up and call you blessed.” Proverbs 31:28


PS: Happy Mother’s Day to my mother who taught me how to be a mom and is still teaching me the wonderful qualities of motherhood.