Conquering Fear

Is there anything you fear? 

I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone felt safe.  Well, almost everyone it seemed … except me.  I was what my mother called a “scaredy cat.”

I hated darkness and I was always convinced there were monsters out there.  My mother tried to reassure me and sweetly told me I was “goofy.”

She was right.  Nothing bad ever happened … until … while visiting my parents during my adult years, out of nowhere what I feared happened. 

While we were peacefully sleeping, a matter of feet away, our neighbor was brutally murdered.  I, like everyone else, was shaken to the core.  

That pivotal event set off a chain of anxieties rooted in the knowledge that sometimes what one fears might actually happen.

There were other events in life that were devastating.  Medical crises that we hoped would never happen did happen.

When something we fear happens, satan has an inroad into our minds and spirits.  We start believing if we think of something, it is sure to happen.

The more things happen that we fear, the stronger is our preoccupation with evil overtaking us.  

So what are we to do?  God never intended for us to live in fear.  The Bible is full of His Words of “do not fear.”  

If we are to reject fear, we must start with one simple Truth.  Ironically it is the very truth most of us fear.  We cannot control anything.  

Jesus did not sugarcoat The Truth.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

John 16:33

He said to expect it.  Sometimes it will be trouble we anticipated.  Sometimes it will be totally unexpected.

In spite of that, Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow.”

Matthew 6:34

In Matthew 6, He goes into great detail describing God’s care of His Creation.  He assures God will take care of us in our troubles.

After Jesus gave the bad news that there would be troubles in this world, He gave the good news.  

“But take heart! I have overcome the world!”

John 16:33

John said,

“There is no fear in Love. But Perfect Love drives out fear!”

1 John 4:18

Perfect Love happens when we trust The One Who controls everything.  

When we are in the midst of trouble, we can fully acknowledge we do not understand and we do not know what is going to happen.

But when we do not know, we can trust God Who does know.  All we have to know is He is present and He is God.  He has The Ultimate Plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“Peace I leave with you; My Peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 14:27

Here is the link to Mercy Me’s powerful song about trusting God in troubled times.

Did Jesus Have Scars?

I always had the idea Jesus’ Resurrected Body still showed the nail prints on His Hands.  

Many pictures show Him that way.  There have been poems and songs written that way.

Jesus healed many.  One man had a shriveled hand.  Jesus healed him completely.

He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other!

Matthew 12:13

If Jesus was raised with evidence of His Wounds, it would not have seemed to line up with how He healed others.

This discrepancy bothered me.  So I went back to see what was actually written about Jesus’ Resurrection Body.

Luke 24:37-40 describes Jesus’ Appearance to His Disciples.

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 

He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My Hands and My Feet.  It is I Myself!

Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When He had said this, He showed them His Hands and Feet.

He said nothing to indicate He had scars.

I am betting His Disciples were amazed to see The Body they had just seen beaten beyond recognition now standing before them completely healed without scars!

Now let’s look at another much quoted account involving Jesus’ Body.  Thomas was not present for the first revealing of Jesus’ Resurrection Body.  He doubted it was really Him.

He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His Hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His Side, I will not believe.”

John 20:25

Jesus appeared again when Thomas was there.  He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My Hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My Side. Stop doubting and believe.”

John 20:27

Again, Jesus said nothing to indicate He had wounds or scars.

I am betting Thomas saw and felt no wounds or scars.  When he put his hands to Jesus’ Side, he said, “My Lord and my God!”

John 25:28

I imagine he raised both hands to Jesus’ sides and they shared a Holy Hug.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 25:29

What does that mean for us?  

We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!

1 John 3:2

And if our resurrected bodies will be like His, we can look forward to no wounds of any kind and no scars to even remind us we were ever wounded!

The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create!

Isaiah 65:17

Seasons Of A Marriage

September 25th will mark 46 years that Jay and I have been married.  Every year, we have posted pictures of our wedding, which was a very memorable day.

I will probably still post the story again sometime in the next week.  We started married life with a carefully planned wedding that deteriorated into something more like slap stick comedy.

However, as the years have passed, we have noticed the wedding pictures do not give us the same “feel good” feelings as they once did.

The ones identified as us in the pictures are not us.  Oh sure they were the people who we were in 1977, but they represent only a bare glimpse of who we are now.

Those two youngsters thought they knew what love was, but they didn’t.  In fact, if we could have told our younger selves all the ways they would learn about True Love in the next 46 years, they may not have even wanted to get married.

But God is merciful in how He spoon feeds us life, letting us digest it a little at a time.  

Marriage has also been repeated seasons of planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding and watching beautiful things grow.

We are happy to report we are perennials, not annuals.  We go down, but we bloom again.  God is a Masterful Gardener.

The other reason we don’t look at the wedding pictures as longingly as we once did is because we cannot have a do over with many of the people in the pictures ….  at least not now.  One day we hope to be together again at the ultimate wedding in Heaven.

But for now, my parents, Jay’s parents, Jay’s Grandmother, Jay’s best man, Jay’s groomsman and various wedding guests have moved off earth.  We treasure their memories, but they are no longer physically here.

And finally, the place where we got married has also been repurposed.  A big building stands where our lovely garden used to be.  We cannot even sit under the tree and reminisce.

But oh what joy we have in what we have now.  We have mature bodies that have stood even through many assaults over the years.  Our faces have enough laugh lines to say there were a lot of funny things in life.  

We still are in love with each other and most days like each other.  (By way of full disclosure, we do have the unique ability to get on each other’s very last nerve and provoke feelings that result in very loud words that are not nice at all.😡)

We have had fulfilling careers that allowed us to help others.  We made it to retirement and we have been able to do joint projects as the Jones team in various other ways.

We live in our dream house.  We dreamed it together and have recreated it again and again, molding our nest more and more to fit who we are now.

We have claimed as our home the city and state where we found each other.  We can drive two major roads here and find landmarks of most of our history.

God has further blessed us by bringing our daughter, son in law and grandson back to Kentucky.  They have brought a new and exciting addition to our life as we watch them making their memories.

And that is another reason the wedding pictures have lost a little of their luster.  I look at them and find myself searching for our daughter.  She is so much a part of our life that I can hardly process there was a time in our history when she was not there.

I find myself dreaming a new dream.  I want to get married again to the Love of My Life as the people we now are. 

I want to do it at one of the places we now find special.   And I’d like our daughter and her family to be there this time.

Having a senior wedding would give us a chance to look back and a chance to look forward.

We can have some new wedding pictures and you all can be in them too!

Since it would be something new, it would be on a different date too … perhaps even a different season.  

And less anyone say, “Isn’t that more like a 50th Anniversary celebration,” I would say, “We’ve never done anything in the traditional way.  Why start now?”

Here is the link to one of my favorite songs that puts memories in the proper balance.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! 

Isaiah 43:19

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Psalm 118:24

What I Learned From My Supervisors

Still true.  I am grateful to have survived 30 years of hospital nursing.  I am so glad I am not there now.  I pray for all who are faithfully serving.

I worked from the time I was 16 until I retired (the second time … I was so used to working, the first retirement didn’t last …).  I always had a boss.

Some were wonderful.  They taught me, put up with my immaturity and mistakes, and nurtured me.  I thank God for them.  Their influence lives on in me today.

Some bosses were not wonderful.  I learned who I did not want to be.  I saw abuse of power, lying, cover ups, pay backs for what was seen as a lack of loyalty, unmerciful hazing and at times preventing people from retiring with benefits after years of working.  Those bosses gave me opportunities to learn forgiveness.

When I retired, I suddenly realized I was unsupervised.  I did not have to set a clock.  I could more easily control my own schedule.  I could participate in new things.  I could refuse to do things I did not want to do.  I was free!

I said to God, “Looks like it’s just You and me.  You are my supervisor.”

He smiled and said, “I always have been!”

I know I work for God now.  Sometimes He gets me up early.  Sometimes we sleep in.  He gives me assignments.  Some I love.  Some I don’t.  

But He puts up with my grumbling and nudges me to grow a little more.  He forgives me.  He never lies or deceives.  And He has set me on a course guaranteed to get me a promotion.  I am so blessed.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-15

What Heaven Will Be Like

Would you like to know what Heaven will be like?  We don’t have to imagine.  God has already told us in His Word.

Jesus Himself will be your escort from this life to the next Life.  There may be angels too.  But Jesus is pleased to take you Himself.  He wants to show you the place He has been preparing just for you.  And He wants to be with you forever.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:3

You will leave your old life of suffering and go out with Joy.

You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands!

Isaiah 55:12

 You will hear and see things you have never seen or heard before.  The mountains and hills will be singing.  There will be the sound of music and Life everywhere.  The trees will be so excited they will be clapping their branches!

You will 

Enter into His Gates with thanksgiving, and into His Courts with praise: you will be thankful unto Him,and bless His Name.

Psalm 100:4

You will discover that everything you thought you knew on earth was tiny in comparison to the new knowledge God will give you.

For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Every question you ever had will be answered by God Himself.  You will see Him and know Him up close and personal.  

And you will understand at last how it feels to be completely known and completely loved.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16

You will be so full of Love you will overflow.  You will look at every creation of God and love them.  It will be impossible for you to have a negative thought.

When you look around, you will discover your new Home is not only a place of Joy, but it is also filled with Peace.

Animals who once were enemies are friends.  All animals are friends with humans too.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 

Isaiah 11:6

That peace will extend to all humans too.

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of The Knowledge of The Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

Isaiah 2:4

There will be no more pain, physical, emotional, spiritual or otherwise.  No more grieving what was lost.  All will be restored.  All will be reunited, never to be separated again.  

God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.

Revelation 21:1-4

And you will join every creation the universe in joy as you praise Jesus Who is One with The Father!

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God The Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

I invite you to begin praising Him now.  Here is the link to my all time favorite praise song.

Keep Watch With Me …

We think of Jesus as all powerful.  He is!

So it may be a little unnerving to see Him in the role of needing anyone but God.  It might be even more disturbing to us to see Him in mental anguish, so much so that He sweat drops of blood.

We think of Jesus’ only temptation as His desert experience.  But I wonder if His greatest temptation came in The Garden of Gethsemane.

He was staring a very painful death in the face.  It was imminent.  Of course He knew He would soon be sitting at the Right Hand of God, but it was not going to be easy to get there.

I have not experienced what Jesus did, but I have wondered what I might have to go through on the way to Glory.  I was a nurse for many years … a labor coach of sorts … as I walked with many who suffered on their way Home.

In His hour of preparation, Jesus called for backup.

Then Jesus went with His Disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 

He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 

Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”

Matthew 26:36-38

In so doing, Jesus humbled Himself.

And He gave a lesson that will save many of us today if we are willing to do what Jesus did.

Humble ourselves.  Tell someone, “I need help.”

Jesus was also inviting His Disciples to connect with Him in prayer.  They would share part of His Pain, but they would also share in His Forthcoming Victory.

If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.

2 Timothy 2:12

We have been very blessed to have a kind, compassionate doctor.  He has been an Instrument of God’s Peace and Healing many times.  

He has concluded every visit by holding our hands and praying for us.  The Presence of Jesus radiates from him.

Today was no different except for one very significant difference.  He was in a wheelchair.  His grip on our hands was not quite as strong.  He prayed for us, but in all humility, he asked for our prayers.

He has been diagnosed with ALS.

As a doctor, he knows the potential hard road ahead of him.  Given a choice, he would have taken another way home.

But he said with faith, “God knows The Plan He has for me.  It is all for His Glory.”

And so it is.  He plans to continue working in whatever way God calls him.  We ask for your prayers for our dear friend.  His name is Brad.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Would You Let God Do Something New With You?

Our daughter went to a Montessori School. It seemed like a very good system where children advanced at their own pace.

However, it required close observation and intervention by the teacher to keep things moving forward.

One of the teachers shared that their greatest challenge was getting children to move on to something less familiar after they had achieved success in one area.

The feeling of familiarity and success translates into a false sense of security for many of us. We often do not see giving up the familiar as growth. We see it as loss.

As I get older, when I find I cannot do something anymore, it concerns me. I long for the “good old days” when not only could I do those things, but they were easy!

However, when I look back, I realize how mercifully God eased me into the next phases of life, giving me new things to do and new ways to do them.

God shows the same Mercy in our physical bodies. Skin cells quietly drop away without our even noticing. New skin grows. Same with hair and even other parts of our body.

When it is time, God does something new. Instead of worrying about what He is going to do, we should rejoice in the certain knowledge that He has The Plan and it is a Good One!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

When we ponder giving up this body, we should also look forward to what God has planned next Perhaps the discomforts of this present body are just God’s Nudge that better things are coming!

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of Glory beyond all comparison!
2 Corinthians 4:17

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth!
Isaiah 43:19

Aging Gracefully

Continuing earthly work does not get easier with age and increased physical and mental challenges. It can become tempting to give up, sit in the rocking chair and dream of Heaven.

But we are not Heaven bound until we pass the tests here on earth.

Some of the greatest testimonies of God’s Grace and Mercy came to me through physically or mentally weakened earthly saints.

The creative ways in which they still found ways to serve inspired me. Seeing once strong, in charge, people graciously submit to the care of others touched my heart.

The ways in which they thanked other people for even simple acts of kindness often seemed God’s Way of saying “Thank You.”

And their stories and testimonies of God’s Provision through both the highs and lows of life encouraged me and gave me hope.

When I gave student nurses the assignment to ask their nursing home residents what their plans for the future were, a bedfast lady, who was 104 years old, said, “Lie here and let you learn on me until God calls me home.”

God’s Work is never finished nor should we resist whatever mission He chooses for us. I am still learning and not very good at submitting to any loss of independence.

But perhaps it is God’s Way of calling us back Home where we began as infants, dependent on His Mercy and Grace brought by other people.

This is what The Lord says. Hold His Words in your heart.

“Listen to me …
whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am He, I am He Who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:3-4

May we be able to say with Jesus,
“I have brought You Glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do.

And now, Father, glorify Me in Your Presence with The Glory I had with You before the world began!”
John 17:4-5

What To Remember About 9/11

I grew up in the Deep South in a time when racial discrimination was all around me. I was blessed to be raised by two parents who treated everyone equally. They saw everyone simply as a child of God. We were all related.

I did not personally experience discrimination until I lived in Germany in the early 70s. Some people pointed at me, made obscene gestures and yelled out “stupid American woman.”

I was truly baffled by it. I had done nothing to them. They did not know me. But they judged me by the group with whom I was associated. They hated me because I was American and I was a military wife.

A German friend later tried to explain it to me. She said, “You have to understand. The Americans killed their grandparents and they grew up learning to hate Americans.”

“But, “ I protested, “The war ended a long time ago. I had nothing to do with killing anyone.”

She said simply, “They were raised to hate.”

September 11, 2001, was a day that no one would want to repeat. What happened was horrific. We are being encouraged to remember and not forget. However, we should be very careful about what we choose to remember.

The young nurse I referenced in my last post ended up moving with her family to another location. Even as American citizens, they had to live in fear.

We should not use September 11th to open old wounds and reactivate fear and hatred. We should not use it to judge and stereotype people. We should not use it to raise our children to hate.

We should remember those who lost their lives. We should pray for their family and friends who carry the scars of grief even twenty years later.

We should remember those who were enemies that day. We should also pray for their families and friends, who grieve. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

We should remember that violence never happens overnight. Even at this moment, potentially future terrorists are being born into hate. We should pray that satan never gets a grip on them … that they will experience The Love of God and only reflect that Love back into the world.

We should remember the courage of those who rose to the occasion on September 11, 2001. They put their own lives at risk to save others. Some exited this earthly life trying to protect others.

We should remember the way Todd Beamer prepared for battle. He prayed and reached out through the phone, imploring a total stranger to speak The Word of God with him. And it could be heard in the background that others were joining them, claiming The Promises of God.

We should remember that those who resemble the enemy in physical appearance, race or creed are not the enemy. We should never become terrorists ourselves by labeling, stereotyping, or judging.

We should remember that The Light still shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.

We should remember we have been born into this time to be Light bearers. When you tell others about September 11th, tell them about the courage, faith and love that sprang up from the ashes.

Yes .. remember September 11 … and plant seeds of Hope for the future.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it!
John 1:5


We each remember where we were on September 11, 2001. Ironically the numbers 911 used to summon emergency help came to life that day.

I was the Nurse Manager of a busy medical surgical unit at the VA Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. I was in my office when a nurse ran in and said, “Come quick.”

I jumped, thinking a patient had crashed. But she followed with, “Look at the tv in the break room.” I heard the horrifying news as many others had — by tv.

Hardly had I had enough time to process what was happening when I was called to the phone. My boss told me to operationalize the disaster plan.

The disaster plan was something we had rehearsed on a regular basis, but staff almost went to sleep during the mandatory reviews. After all, we never thought we would actually have to use it.

The other chilling reminder we got that day was that the VA was a backup to the military.

Since it was unclear what had happened or what was about to happen, we were told to prepare for any extra patients that might arrive … either fresh casualties or more stable patients moved from other parts of the country to decompress areas that needed room to treat mass casualties.

There were no cell phones then. We had to stay off the phones, so all communication channels could remain open.

Therefore, we were in a lockdown where we could not communicate with our families. Everyone quietly went about doing their assigned tasks, while periodically checking the tv and awaiting the next updates from my supervisor.

We did not receive casualties or extra patients from the outside, but there was a casualty from the inside.

When I returned to my office, one of the nurses was waiting. She was a wonderful nurse and a true team player, liked and respected by all. But that day, she was crying and shaking all over.

In the midst of carrying out her duties during this crisis, her life was threatened. Later she would find out her husband and children’s lives had also been threatened.

Why? Their skin tone, manner of dressing and slight accent revealed their heritage. They were originally from the Middle East.

In a matter of hours, they, who had nothing to do with the horrible crimes committed that day, became victims of what became a growing wave of hate.

Jesus understood. He saw some of the same people He had seen waving on Palm Sunday calling for His Death on Friday.

I will share the rest of the story in my part two post.