God Bless the Orphan

The love of God grips my soul when I hear stories of orphan children being rescued and given hope in this lost world.  The love of God speaks to me when I see videos of men and women as they follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out and help a child who has no home.  The love of God breaths life into my every being when I hear a song about children praying for a mom and dad and to see God answer those prayers.

Every day a child somewhere in the world is left without a mom or dad. Every day a child goes to bed hungry. Every day a child has no bed, but only the cold ground beneath them to lie upon. Every day a child does not go to school because they are forced to beg for money so that their family might have something to eat. Every day a child somewhere has no shoes to wear and goes to bed with hurting, dirty and sometimes bleeding feet.  And every day a child somewhere is praying for God to send them a mom or dad to rescue them.

There are many organizations that need support to help these children.  Today, I highlight Project 143 Orphan Hope Project where you can welcome an orphan into your home for 4-10 weeks in the summer and/or winter to show them love and help teach them English. You never know what life will be changed. If you aren’t able to host a child then maybe you have the resources to donate so that someone else might have the means to do so.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

May God Bless and multiply your efforts.

 

 

 

 

My Vote for Mom of the Year

This year my vote for mom of the year (dual ownership with my mom of course) goes to Joey’s mom, Chrystal.  When I heard their story I wept.  We all have our own reasons for nominating mothers for the #1 mom or mother of the year, but I when I stepped outside my own self and saw this selfless woman I thought who could be more deserving of this title than her.

Webster’s dictionary defines a mother in these terms: 1a) a female parent; 1b) (1) a woman in authority; specifically: the superior of a religious group of women: (2) an old or elderly woman. 2 source origin <necessity is the mother of invention>. 3 maternal tenderness or affection. 4 vulgar (which i choose not to post). 5 something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind especially in terms of scale  <the mother of all construction projects>. 

The full definition (transitive verb) is 1a) to give birth to; 1b) to give rise to: produce; 2) to care for or protect like a mother.

Obviously Webster was trying to abbreviate the definition, for we all know there is so much more to a mother than this. And I believe that Proverbs 31 10:31 in describing the virtuous woman captures the very essence of motherhood.

Joey’s mom, after being recently divorced, felt the call to visit an orphanage in Romania. The video captures when the two met.  Joey was born without legs and had two club feet. But that did not keep her from loving him.  She was determined to adopt him and get the surgeries he needed so that one day he could walk.  To give of oneself so deeply is very inspiring and uplifting in a world where people are desperate for love.

It is through the efforts of this woman that little boy with no legs now has prosthetics and can walk. It is through her obedience to listening to God that a foundation has been established. Graceʼs Lamp is a charity that Joey Funderburk and his family started to help Joey and others like him receive the medical treatment that they need and also to help other families adopt children. When they originally started raising funds to get new prosthetic legs for Joey, they had no idea they would see such an incredible outpouring of love and generosity for Joeyʼs needs. Everyone was so kind and encouraging, that they soon realized they could not just sit back and accept all these blessings without doing something to help others in similar situations. Graceʼs Lamp was established to help families adopt children, go on missions, and get the medical treatment that they need.

Chrystal, just before adopting Joey, got married. They have now have two daughters of their own and are helping other families.  One woman on a mission to be a mother truly deserves to be Mother of the Year.

 

From Those You Touched

candles

I was privileged and honored to sing at the funeral of the mother-in-law of a dear friend a few days ago. When I received the call asking if I could and would do it I immediately said yes, but then I started doubting myself. Although I sing in choir and on the praise team of the church I attend it has been many years that I have actually sang a solo in public. But I had said yes, so I was committed. That did not prevent fear from coming into place; however, so I began to pray for God to give me peace and calm me during the time I would sing.  The songs of choice from the family were “How Great Thou Art”, and “It Is Well With My Soul”. I had sang these songs hundreds of times in my life and could probably sing them in my sleep so I shouldn’t be worried or nervous should I? When we pray God will answer us, sometimes immediately, sometimes years after our prayers. I believe since this prayer was for an immediate need God chose to answer immediately.  What I learned though was that he didn’t calm my nerves for “me”, He did it to glorify Himself and to uplift this Godly woman.

I’ll tell you about Enid, whom I had never met. She was destined to be a woman of God even before she was born. Her parents chose to name her Enid. No one knows why but there’s something to be said about the meaning of someone’s name. The preacher who delivered the sermon that day, and it was a sermon, said he had never known anyone named Enid before so he was curious why she was named Enid and since no one in the family had an answer he researched the meaning of the name. The name itself comes from English, Welsh and Celtic decent. It means soul, spirit, life, fair. The preacher elaborated on the details of what the name meant and settled on the fact that Enid, through the nature of the meaning of her own name, had her soul filled with the Holy Spirit. It was evident in her life as she became a believer of Christ in her early 20’s and devoted her life to sharing God’s word with others. She was a Sunday School teacher for many years and led a bible study group. No one knows just how many people came to know the Lord because of Enid’s faithfulness, but there are probably many who met her at the gate when she entered into Heaven. Her heart was filled with scripture. As a matter of fact, the preacher went on to say that he had been preaching at funerals for many years and had probably delivered the message of over 400 people who had died. But, never once had he delivered the message of someone who had written their own sermon. Never, until today, he went on to say.  God works things out for His word to be heard and I realized that when Jimmy said Enid had even planned who she wanted to preach her sermon. She had several on her list. The first preacher had died long ago, the second one passed more recently and the third one could not be found. So it was left upon him to deliver Enid’s sermon from her handwritten notes from years ago. He was really put on the spot to deliver her message and throw the winning touchdown in the Superbowl.  But, he said he really didn’t have to worry about that because Enid had already done that herself. I believe Enid would have hugged Jimmy’s neck and said thank you.

Enid had seven points to her message. I’m sorry to say that I can’t share them with you because I wasn’t taking notes but each point had a scripture reference that was very spot on.  The message was clear, she went to be with the Lord on Valentines Day of 2015 and He was saying well done my faithful servant.  She talked about, through this preacher Jimmy, that God loves “U” and he wants you to come to know Him. Her message was focused on acknowledging and praising her Savior and not about herself. Jimmy added his own summation of Enid and said that if there ever was a virtuous woman that is described in Proverbs 31:10-31, it would be Enid.

Proverbs 31:10-31New International Version (NIV)

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

The preacher spoke to the family and then said a prayer. God then breathed on me as I sang “It Is Well With My Soul”, and then I wept tears of joy for my dear sister who I never met.

May you rest in peace Enid, oh you faithful servant of God.

 

The Hurt that Never Heals

candle

What is it that makes us hurt?  I mean, that thing that brings tears to our eyes. The thing that makes us say, I feel like I can’t breath and I think my heart is breaking. It’s different for all of us, but just in general I’d say we can relate to things such as, death, divorce, the betrayal of a friend, our hurting child, or the loss of a job, as being some of the things that cause us pain. Some of these wounds heal while others, though they may get easier,  never really heal.

My first husband’s mother went to be with the Lord in the mid-afternoon of December 9, 2014. I had been anxiously awaiting this date, more specifically, 6:30pm (EST) because it was the opening show of our “Living Christmas Tree”.  This year’s Tree was “Oh Happy Day”. My phone rang at 5:50p just as I was starting to walk out of the door to go to the church and I could see it was my daughter calling. Naturally I assumed she was calling to wish me luck and to tell me she would be praying for God to move in a mighty way. This had become what we would say to each other every year since we were now members of different churches due to the distance between us. But after four or five words of telling me hello and asking how I was doing I knew something was wrong.

When I asked her if something was wrong, the flood gates opened and she began to cry and tell me the news she had just received from her dad. Her grand-momma had had a heart attack and didn’t make it. I ached for my little girl (now a grown woman) and longed  to put my arms around her and comfort her while her heart was breaking. On the way to our opening show I had my own moment of heart ache and remembered how good my ex-mother-in-law had been to me. A gracious woman of God would be her legacy. And I knew the family could take comfort in that and would be able to say that this too was a Happy Day now that she was with the Lord!

In the next few days I wondered what I could do for the family to show my love and respect and I settled on honoring her with a poem. I somehow think that since it came from my heart, it also helped to heal my heart.

Her Heavenly Home

It’s with a smile I remember her
It’s with a tear I cry
It’s with a song I pray for her
And sadly say goodbye

Find joy in the memories
Shed tears of joy and praise
Sing to her beloved One
For she is with Him today

As she enters into His gates
He smiles and says well done
Go find the place I have prepared
And feast on your heavenly home

So then she turns in time to see
All the loved ones who await
But my babies, don’t you cry
I’ll see you too one day.

Annette R Burrell © 2014

My prayer is that if you have lost a loved one who was a believer claim God’s promises and rejoice that they are with Him in Heaven.

 

Here Comes the Sun (Series 2)

Don’t you just love to watch a beautiful sunrise?

Each morning when I get out of bed, even though it isn’t intentional, I am looking for the sun.  I am longing for a sunny day; for with the sun comes warmth.  With the sun comes brightness.  With the sun comes a clearer day.  Oh how I love sunny days.

For many years I worked in a high-rise building and was fortunate enough to have a window office which faced the East.  Because I am not a morning person it was rare that I was in the office early; however, on those rare occasions that I did arrive in the wee hours of the morning just before sunrise I would raise the blinds to the ceiling so that I could get a full view of the sun rising on the horizon.  Because my office overlooked the interstate there were no other buildings to block the view so I could see for miles.  It was spectacular to see the sun rising and to watch the sky change colors as it did.  On cloudy days the sky would light up with various shades of pink, orange and blue.  But on a clear day when there was not a cloud in the sky as the sun would rise, the darkness would begin to go away and the sky would get brighter and brighter until the sun was fully above the horizon.

I loved watching the sun when it appeared to be on fire.  A huge orange sun rising to bring light to another day is something to behold.

George Harrison of the Beatles wrote a simple song about the sun.  It’s been said that he dreaded the long winters in England and he was at Eric Clapton’s garden in the spring and watching the sun he wrote the song “Here Comes the Sun”.  Knowing that he wrote it because of England’s long winters, it’s easy to see where he came up with the lyrics.  I think this could very easily be a cross-over song from the rock-n-roll world into the spiritual world by changing “Sun” to “Son”.

Click on the link for the song and sing along, and see if you know what I mean:

Here comes the Son, here comes the Son,
And I say it’s all right.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since he’s been here.
Here comes the Son, here comes the Son,
And I say it’s all right.

Little darling, the smiles returning to their faces,
Little darling it seems like years since he’s been here,
Here comes the Son, here comes the Son,
And I say it’s all right.

Son, Son, Son, here he comes.
Son, Son, Son, here he comes.
Son, Son, Son, here he comes.
Son, Son, Son, here he comes.

Little darling ,I feel that ice is slowly melting,
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear,
Here comes the Son, here comes the Son, I say,
It’s all right,

Here comes the Son, Here comes the Son, and I say he’s all right.

Without God in our lives it’s a cold and lonely place to be.  When we have him in our hearts he brings us joy which brings a smile to our face.