Riding Coat Tails and Red Letter Days

For someone who loves stories, family, history, and worshipping Jesus with like-minded believers, it was a red letter day!

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I got to travel back in time once again, to that small country church I’ve told y’all about, where five generations of my family members before me have worshipped. Only this time my son and his family were with us, so you can make that seven! If you’re thinking the day probably makes me emotional, you would be correct. Although regular services are no longer held at Hickory Springs, the small church building that was constructed in the 1800’s far back in the woods of north Louisiana is well kept by loyal descendants of the May family. Once a year friends and family alike make their return trip to those hallowed grounds for a combination family reunion/worship service. Present are May family descendants, honorary May family members and ornery May family members, that last distinction was given to me by someone who freely identified himself more with the ornery.

As it has before, this past Sunday yielded particulars on family stories that I’ve never heard, like those I learned about my great-grandfather Harvey’s fall from a deer stand at the age of 83. Alone in the woods, unable to get to his feet from the resulting internal injuries, Harvey May summoned the strength to use his rifle like a cane. He even managed to pull himself through a creek bed before help came. That is tough stock right there!

And once again, I was introduced to people who seemed to love me on sight all because I was “Ruth’s granddaughter and Charlotte’s girl.” No doubt, you’ve experienced that sort of thing. Meeting someone who loves your people is to enjoy favor that’s long been established. You simply get to ride their coat tails.

That, friends, is a beautiful picture of the grace of Christ. As believers, we get to enjoy the favor Father God has for Jesus, His Son. Anyone who desires to know God can come in the name of His Son and be welcomed with open arms. Talk about a red letter day!

Hugs, Shellie

They Want to Brand Her!

 

“They want to brand me,” my friend said.

Be at peace, y’all. It’s not as ominous as it sounds. My friend Joneal and I were talking business and all things Jesus when the conversation turned to branding. Dr. Joneal Kirby is the creator and director of a mentoring ministry for women called, Heart to Home. I’ll be mentioning her name more in the coming months as I have the privilege of speaking at her really big, extremely fun Heart to Home conference early 2015, along with a few ladies you may know from a little show called Duck Dynasty. Yes, girls. Y’all will need to get thy-selves to Monroe, LA for this one.

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Because of her Heart to Home ministry, Joneal has been using The Heart Mom title for some time, but the promotional people were saying they needed her given name to be synonymous with her life’s work. When folks hear The Heart Mom, they should think of Joneal, and vice versa. It sounded familiar. That’s what my publishing house told me several years ago, that they needed to personalize the All Things Southern brand and identify it with yours truly. Trust me, I shot down a number of their suggestions before we agreed on The Belle of All Things Southern. Imagine my using “The Dixie Diva”. My family and friends would’ve laughed me straight out of this small town!

Friends, I mention all of this branding talk to tell you of a goal that is dearer to me than any professional title and I know The Heart Mom feels the same way.

I want to be branded with the name of my Jesus. When you hear me, I may you think of Him, and when you think of Him, may you linger and listen for His voice. For as He Himself said in John 6:63, it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words He speaks are spirit and they are life.”

Hugs, Shellie

Beware the Stealthy Fog

A light fog blanketing the landscape can be calming to the soul. Sitting on my back porch, for instance, talking to the Good Lord while the early morning is trying to slip out of its thin pale robe. That’s a nice prescription for peace.

There are other times when fog is less appreciated, say when you’re driving, or how about when it begins to roll up from the floorboards of an airplane cabin as you’re flying through the friendly skies with a group of polite strangers? That’s not so relaxing. But, that’s exactly where I found myself a couple years ago.

I remember how uncomfortable my fellow travelers and I were at the onset of the mist and I remember how our pilot’s cheerful announcement over the PA did little to alleviate our growing apprehension, not when he told us it was “nothing to be concerned about”, not when he explained the small “incidental wiring issue” behind it. We were eager to settle down, just as soon as we got our feet on the ground. In the end, the fog of smoke dissipated as slowly as it had arrived and we landed without incident.

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“Don’t worry, be happy” may have worked that day but you and I would be foolhardy to adopt it as a blanket prescription against all early warning signs and especially not the internal God-given monitor of our conscience. The snare that trips us up in the walk of faith is rarely the obvious one.

Sin is stealthy and apathy, why, apathy rolls in as silently and insidiously as a fog. Our inner warning system goes off when we first start choosing other activities over church, when we quit praying quite as often and open our Bibles even less. But it grows fainter over time. The less attention we pay to the growing fog of apathy, the more it builds until we can’t see the forest for the trees and we can’t find the way back home to Jesus if our lives depended on it. And they do.

Hugs, Shellie