Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Blurry Days of August

I'm certain I blinked, and August vanished. Here is a run-down of how the days went by in a blur for me.

As I often do, I made memories with my grand niece on her memaw's couch one evening after work. She melts my heart, and is growing as fast as the days are going by. How I wish our precious babies could stay small, and innocent, and carefree.

Big Sister invited me to share dinner at Black Sheep Bistro one evening...her treat. I'd never been, but oh, my! What a treat it was!

Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Soy Garlic Spinach

Chocolate something-or-other. So smooth and creamy beneath the crunch.
I can't wait for a return visit!

And again....Big Sister invited me to join her and hubby and granddaughter for a Sunday lunch. It was a wonderful time. Have you ever seen such cuteness?

I ordered some new shoes. Yay. Yes, I can still wear high heels. As I told someone recently, it's in my DNA, and they'll probably bury me in mine.

The twin and I often drive to church together. We have a habit of stopping at Cracker Barrel for a bite of dinner and a whole lot of chatting before church. Nothing better than good food and the twin!

Three of the males in our family have birthdays in August, so to celebrate, we gathered at Minute Maid Park and cheered the Houston Astros on to a great victory! Here I am, smiling in the parking lot with my beautiful niece Anna. I love her so much and am amazed at how strong she is.

And finally, tomorrow (the 31st), I will have been divorced 14 years. It seems impossible at times. This picture of me, slumped in a chair, looking less than cheerful, while my belongings are being moved into storage—until I can get steady on my feet—makes me a little teary-eyed. Not because of the challenging times that followed, understand, but because of how far I've come.

As I write, God's blessings and gifts astound me, and the smile on my face is real. Life isn't perfect, of course—and I can't know what a day might bring—but the future looks bright, and I'm happy to be me. 

And now...on to September!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pain, Purpose and a Plan

As a person of faith, I should never be speechless when it comes to God’s ways and his timing, but the last few weeks have rendered me a little speechless, I must say. I keep thinking about a message I heard one Sunday morning, months ago, while visiting my parents.

On the way to church that morning, I prayed a simple prayer aloud in my car, “Lord, you knew I would be here today, and you know the heartache I’ve carried for so long. I need a word from you. What would you have me know?”

When the pastor announced the title of his message, I felt goosebumps everywhere, and I knew, beyond all doubt, that God had sent me to that church that morning. 

The title of his message was: “The Countenance of Faith,” and within a few sentences, God’s word for me was delivered to my front door: As much as you trust my ability to do something, you have to equally trust my timing in doing it.

Now I’ll admit, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear—heartache fosters impatience, after all—but it was exactly what I needed to know, and I clung to it for all I was worth.

In the weeks following, whenever my grief would overwhelm me, I would revisit the message, and hold tightly to what God had said: Trust my timing, Gayle. Not yours. Mine. It was the hardest thing I've ever done—trusting through my tears—but I did.

Fast forward to today, and although the fog of heartache hasn't lifted, I clearly see God's hand, rearranging the clouds, unfolding a beautiful rainbow in ways I could never have imagined or would have believed. A beautiful, unexpected, perfectly-timed rainbow just for me.

I shared that to say this: If you’re desperate to escape from your misery, your confusion, or your grief, remember that, sometimes distressing things have to happen in our lives in order for God's master plan to be accomplished. He doesn't necessarily send the crisis, but he allows it to happen, and he uses it as a means of placing us where we need to be when we need to be thereemotionally, mentally or even physically sometimes.

Remember Joseph? He could never have saved his people from starvation if he had not been in Egypt. Yes, he arrived there as a scared boy, sold into slavery by his own brothers, no less. But through it all, the Bible says that God was with Joseph. And in the end, Joseph fully understood that the pain he endured had purpose, because Almighty God had a plan. Joseph's words to his brothers, after years of separation were: "You thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."

So, my friend, regardless of the situation you find yourself in today, don't despair. If your faith is secure in God, and your life is surrendered to his ways and his timing, all things will work together for your good. Hold tightly to his promise and believe. 

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