Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blue Butterfly #2 - We Are More Than Conquerors

Here is  a special blue butterfly perching below one of Johnny's proudest moments ever.  His Campbellton High, Florida basketball team had just won the state basketball championship (Johnny is #11.)  I know Johnny's heart was pounding with the feeling of the glory of winning and the feeling of accomplishment which comes with long hard work.  The trophy was a crowning moment that shaped the rest of his life.  I think we all have crowning moments but each with different names.  These are the moments that define us.  It's all a matter of choices.

In the game of life I have found our decisions determine whether we win or lose.  The basketball team is successful when it understands the team rules, the game rules, the penalties and the importance of good strength training.  The players make the decision to commit to do what it takes to win.  No exceptions.  They understand the goal and the price and just do it.

Sounds simple enough.  So why is this so hard for us to do?  Why do we make life so complicated?  What if we approached life as training for a championship game?  Imagine how different our lives would be.  Imagine  what we each could accomplish if we got beyond all our excuses we create for not doing it and just do it!

God tells us in Romans 8:37 we can conquer anything through His power by doing it His way.  He gives us the "rules book."  It's up to us to play the game.  A friend recently reminded me it's all about taking baby steps.  I understand though that it is easier said than done!  I am struggling to move forward right now - through that feeling of trying to get back up when the wind has been knocked out of you.

I have found there is no better place to pray then when knocked to your knees!  But then we have to get back up at some point and keep fighting for the victory.  Johnny taught me to never give up.  It's all about finishing the race no matter who comes in first.

Today I wish for you the strength and the discipline to make all your dreams come true.  I pray that you finish your own race and press on to the prize when you feel like giving in to frustration or impatience.  Keep your focus positive and on things of good report!

Believe you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  We indeed are more than Conquerors!  God designed us to be champions.  When we look at ourselves through God's eyes we should see only winners.  Decide today to just do it.  You can if you think you can.

Have a heavenly day!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blue butterfly#1 - I Believe In Miracles

     Last week was my 56th birthday.  It was my first birthday without Johnny.  This was also my first Father's Day without Johnny.  And it was my first Mother's Day without Johnny.  But yet, I know he was here.  Because the butterflies continue to appear each day since he has left.  Some may call it coincidence.  I call it miracles.

I have always believed that "whatever the question - love is the answer."  Now I see living proof that love can transcend everything, even the veil between heaven and earth.  I understand what God meant now when He promised "where two or more agree in His name - it is done."  There is an extraordinary power in "soulmate love."  What I have come to discover is that what unlocks this power is BELIEVING.  Johnny believed he could send them.  I believe I will find one each day.  Together we believed we could make a miracle.

And so the blue butterflies arrive every day,  in many different forms and often through many people.   I had a revelation the other night in the wee hours of the morning.  I have been struggling through writer's block and trying to find my voice again after finishing the last chapters of "Johnny's Journey To Victory."  I know I have a story to tell but a seismic shift has been taking place inside me as God repositions me to tackle the world alone, while pointing me to my new purpose. Where will blue butterflies lead me?  Lately I've been walking in circles.  Then in "the twinkling of an eye" when I finally got still,  God whispered to my heart.  He told me to follow the butterflies.

I realized that each blue butterfly I find has it's own story which is woven into my day.  I have spent the last few months looking for stories that are right before my eyes.  I was blind but now I see that miracles are always around us.......waiting for us to blink .  Waiting for us to believe.  In the bible, every miracle Jesus performed was done after He asked them "Do you believe?"

And so I got my I-phone out and started snapping all the pictures of blue butterflies that are filling up the house around me.  I got a brainstorm about how I could send them to my blog through the phone.  So now I can't wait to share them with you one by one.

So here is my first butterfly to share with you.  I found it when I went to visit my Sunday school teacher Shirley Howell in the hospital.  It is actually a glass plate that was in the window at the gift shop in Baptist Hospital downtown Jacksonville.  Shirley had just been through a grueling surgery.  

I realized how very precious my sweet teacher is to me.  I am sure each of us has a "Shirley" in our lives.  They are the quiet and faithful ones who love us unconditionally and never give up on us.  Shirley has been a teacher and a friend for over a decade.  She has watched me go through many trials and tribulations.  She has seen me make bad decisions.  She has seen me triumph.  But through it all she has been there for me.  Our special times together have often been afternoon coffees and quick lunches.  During those moments together she has listened to me and offered advice when I asked for it.  And always, she has prayed in that soft , sweet, whispering voice that can only come from a humble spirit.

I always got the sense that she believed in me to always come through victorious.  She has shared her own lessons she has learned and the power of trusting God through everything.  What a wonderful witness she is.  She is a classic example of how to live one's faith.  She teaches without preaching.  Her life is a living prayer.

I pray for her kind of strength in my everyday walk.  I ask God to help me love others in that unconditional way.  Even when I miss Sunday school she is waiting with a big smile and hug each time I return.  She never chides me for being gone.  She is always simply glad when I am back.

If there is a Shirley in your life then take the time today to stop and appreciate her.  Give her a call.  Write her a letter.  Send her a card.  Go visit her.  Don't wait for a crisis to realize how much she has blessed you.  Here is a poem someone gave me that I dedicate to my Shirley.  I hope you will pass it on to YOUR Shirley - whatever her name is:

You Are One of the Strongest Women I Know

Strong women are those who know the road ahead

will be strewn with obstacles, but they still choose

to walk it because it is the right one for them.

Strong women are those who make mistakes, 

who admit to them, learn from those failures,

and then use that knowledge.

Strong women face the daily trials of life,

sometimes with a tear, 

but always with their heads held high

as the new day dawns.

- Brenda Hager

I invite you to join me on my new quest to follow the butterflies.  I am excited about the marvelous people and places and lessons they will lead us to.  I will leave you today with a prayer you can pray for your own journey.  Take a moment to open your bible and look up the verses I include.  This will wash you in the wisdom of His truth as you spend just a quick quiet moment with our Father:

A Butterfly Prayer:

Most gracious and Heavenly Father,  I ask You to be with me today, as always.  You have promised us in Joshua 1:9  that you are with us wherever we go.  You have commanded us to be strong and of good courage - to not be dismayed - to not be afraid.  You have instructed us to read your words day and night so they may be planted in our hearts.  You have told us that this is the secret to our success and prosperity.

Lord, I thank you for loving me and planting strong women in my life, to remind me of your strength that waits inside each of us to be unleashed.  I thank you that through Your power there is nothing that can happen today that You and I can't handle together.

Today I will follow Your light and share the light with others to spread joy, and peace, and love everywhere I go.  Sure goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life!

Have a heavenly day!