Sunday, July 15, 2012


"[He will] give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." Is 61: 3

I read the most heartwarming story this morning written by David Waters in the Commercial Appeal.  Rev. Randall Mullins and his wife, Sharon, had been given a devastating diagnosis.  Rev. Mullins had been diagnosed with the terminal, neurological disease of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  He was told in January that if he didn't stop eating and drinking and resort to a feeding tube that he could very well choke to death.  He opted for further tests. In June, they traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he underwent a battery of tests. 

Now if you know anything about ALS you know that it is a debilitating disease.  It progresses rather quickly, paralyzing the patient until he can do little more than move his eyes.

So you would think if you had been diagnosed with this disease, had undergone more tests than you'd ever had in your life, and you were anxiously awaiting the results, the last thing you would be thinking about would be dancing!

Yet as Randall and Sharon waited on the results from the Mayo physicians, that is exactly what they did.  It seems that in the Mayo clinic atrium was a piano and when the pianist began to play the Patsy Cline song, Crazy, in Randall's words "What could we do?  It was the first song we had ever danced to and the song we danced to at our wedding nine years and one month to the day before."  So like a scene from a Hollywood movie, they danced!  "Randall put down his briefcase filled with doctors reports and test results, took me in his arms, and danced me all over that floor.  I have to say , it was glorious!  I only had eyes for him, but when it was over and folks were applauding, we became acutely aware of how many people gathered around were in wheelchairs or were with those who were."

Now I don't know about you, but for this romantic, that just melted my heart!!  But beyond the romance of it, was the fact that in the midst of difficult circumstances, they still had joy.  That joy was not born of optimism but of faith in the One who would see them through no matter what the outcome of those tests.  It was the same joy we saw in Trey Erwin and his family as they walked through their ordeal and we were awed by it.  It is not natural.  It is born of the supernatural, it is born of faith in a God who will never forsake you even in the midst of life's most difficult and devastating circumstances.

Randall and Sharon's dance story did not end with that dance, however.  Two days later they received the news from Mayo that Randall did NOT have ALS!  He still has a battle before him, but it is not fatal.  As they were leaving, they walked back through the same atrium as a man sat at the piano playing "He Touched Me".  They got all the way to the exit and realized that they had to go back and dance one more time.  "We had to go back and dance our prayer of gratitude" said Sharon.   They asked the pianist if he would mind if they danced.  His reply was "DANCE!"   "So we twirled and spun and improvised with great JOY".

Randall and Sharon, both in their 60's will be dancing at their son's wedding this weekend!

There was a country song recorded by Lee Ann Womack a few years ago, entitled "I Hope You Dance".  I hope you will watch the video below and listen to the words.  And most of all.....I hope when life hands you difficult circumstances, you will hold on to the God of all hope and joy and that you DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Our last night at the beach, I walked onto our balcony and saw a spectacular sight.  The moon was reflecting on the water like so many sparkling diamonds sprinkled against a black velvet canvas.  What a display of God's marvelous handiwork!!

As I sat staring at the view, I was amazed to think that the moon is thousands of miles away, but it's light was still brilliant enough to illuminate the water below.   Yet in scripture, the moon is described as the "lesser light".  I imagined how brilliant it must be close up if it were this bright so far away.

As I reflected on that, I was reminded that one day there will be no more moon, no more stars and no more sun.  "And the city [the new Jerusalem] had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it." Rev. 21:23  God in his glory will shine so bright, brighter than the moon sparkling upon the ocean, that there will be no need for any other light!

What's more...and this makes this ocean lover a bit sad...there will be no more sea.  Rev. 21:1 says "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth will pass away and there will be no more sea."

So I sat and drank in the beauty of this moonlit ocean and thanked God for his beautiful creation that always points to Him and looked forward to the day when I will be Home with Him, basking in the light of His presence and worshiping Him at His throne on bended knee.  Not even a moonlit night at the beach can compare to that!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Lies Beneath

We were at the beach last week as Tropical Storm Debbie approached.  The waves were enormous...especially for the gulf coast.  As I sat watching the weaves build and then crash as they rushed to shore, a thought occurred to me.  How powerful...and yet how deadly!  You see the rip currents beneath the surface were extremely strong.  All day they had patrolled the beach warning people to stay out of the water!!  Double red flags dotted the landscape, again spreading the warning to stay out.

What is frightening to me is to think of the years we went to the beach, oblivious of those rip currents.  My children were small and yet we would play for hours in the ocean, jumping wave after wave or riding in our boat-like float.  If there were flags, I had no clue what they were for.  It was not until our son was in high school and I chaperoned a youth trip that I learned about rip currents.  It was then I learned about the flags, too.  Green - it's ok to get in the water; Yellow = caution; Red means stay out.  Double red means "No really, STAY OUT OF THE WATER!" 

However, it was on a green flag day that I learned first hand about rip currents.  We were sitting on the beach with a group of our kids, when suddenly we heard the voice of a panic stricken mom, yelling for help.  Her son was being pulled out and she could't get to him.  One of our girls was a life guard.  She instinctively ran to help, as did a couple of men.  However, by that time the little boy had been pulled farther and farther out.  I had jumped up to try and keep our teenager out of the water (after all we were responsible for her), but it was too late.  As I stood watching her go out, I saw that one of the men had gotten the boy.  But the other man was now caught in the current and was struggling.  Our teen was trying to help him, but he was battling her and they were both obviously in trouble.  She was yelling for help.  I knew I had to do something...I could not just stand there and do nothing.  So in I went. 

Before I knew it, the strong current was taking me farther and farther out.  Every time I'd come up after being pulled under by a strong wave, another wave would overtake me.  I could see the beach getting farther and farther away.  I really thought it was the end.

Suddenly, someone was in front of me saying "Pull to the side".  I was so exhausted.  Another wave took me down.  Again when I came up, this person said "Don't try to go forward, pull to the side".  I could not tell you anything about this person, whether it was male or female or any distinguishing features.  All I could see was a form of someone and hear their calm, but commanding voice.  I cried out "I can't!!"  But the voice responded "Yes you can.  Pull to the side."  When I came up again, I pulled to the side with all the strength I had left.  Then I pulled again.  I went under and when I came up I pulled and suddenly my feet touched bottom.  I was shocked and thrilled to realize how close I now was to safety and the shore.  I stumbled into the beach and looked around to thank the one who had saved me. There was no one there. 

Thankfully, all the others had been safely rescued, too.  But I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that as beautiful and inviting as the ocean is, what lies beneath can kill you!!

So as I sat watching these monster waves being propelled to shore by Debbie, I was reminded of how attractive sin can be too.

It can come in the form of a handsome, charming man who can sweet talk a girl into going farther than she ever planned to go.  His good looks and smooth talk concealing what really was lying beneath...a conniving, devious spirit bent on nothing less than getting his way.  Then once the conquest is made, he will leave her broken and used.

It may come in a bottle or a pill, promising only a good time, a way to "fit in" and be like the others.  But before you know it, it takes more and more to satisfy the craving that develops so suddenly and you realize what started out as "just a little fun" has suddenly become an addiction.  No one could have told you what lay beneath that pretty little drink in the frosty glass could ultimately steal your looks, your family, your home and your health.

Or maybe what lies beneath in your case is jealousy or bitterness or deep-seated anger.  Maybe it has festered for years.  And the longer it goes, the worse it gets.  You look fine to everyone around you, but they can't see what lies beneath.  Yet the anger builds and builds.  Forgiveness would set you free.  But instead you hold tight to your feelings and as you do, it's like holding a burning coal in your hand.  The longer you refuse to let go, the more you will suffer.

So I ask you your ocean of prosperity, good looks, charm, success, etc. what really lies beneath?  Don't let sin pull you under.  It can destroy you.  God wants to throw you a lifeline.  Grab hold and let Him give you true life.  A life of meaning and purpose...a life with  Him as your lifeguard.  Today you can experience TRUE freedom, lasting freedom.  I hope today will be YOUR real Independence Day!!