Five Minute Friday – Experience

Only a couple of weeks ago my cell phone rang. “Hey mom, the ring is ready to be picked up. Can you get it?” He had ordered the ring from a good jeweler close to home, even though he had moved.

Today, he would meet me half-way for breakfast exchanging the ring for a cup of coffee.

Here, still in the early morning and a few hours from breakfast, I sat alone with God at the dining room table. When I pulled the ring out to look at it one more time, I felt the deep need to pray.

I turned the smooth, white-gold ring in my hand and looked at it from every angle. I noticed its perfect condition. Nothing had tarnished it. No scratches. No bumps. No gouges. Gold is beautiful.

I felt tears coming up and closed my eyes. Holding the band in my hand I prayed. Thirty-one years of experience fueled my prayers and requests. I knew God would be there to see them through their highs and lows, laughter and tears and every bump and scratch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s. When I looked at the picture after posting it, I noticed where the bottom corner of the box was sitting, “A prudent wife is from the Lord”. I had no intentions of making a point in that way. I suppose we never go wrong putting our hope on God’s Word.
“Lord, you make me smile in my tears.”

Posted in Christian Poetry | 23 Comments

I Can Do That!

Some choices come easy. Those that do, usually don’t qualify as obedience.

I don’t fish. I’d be hard-pressed if you asked me to set a fishing pole. When I came across this sign on my walk, I chuckled and said to myself,

“I can do that!”

I had no problem obeying. Digging through six inches of fresh snow and several inches of ice and wait in the cold for a bite does not sound like a merry pastime to me. (I know some of you are avid ice-fishermen. Sorry, for you the analogy has just broken down.)

Obedience involves deliberate thought and effort. It is usually inconvenient, hard, annoying and scary. Our adoption worker told us something five years ago. Her words still come back to me.

“If adoption was easy, everybody would be doing it!”

Following Jesus into any calling is more than not doing something. Christian obedience is costly. Submitting to Christ means to follow Him, often into uncomfortable situations, many times seemingly impossible circumstances.

However, Jesus has promised to be with us. He told us He’d leave us a Helper who would not abandon us to the insurmountable. For the follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit is never more than a breath away. He lives in us.

With His help we can do more than simply follow what comes easy; In Him we have the power to obey, no matter how difficult the mission.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:15-18

~

(Pictures and Devotion, Heidi Viars, 2020)

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Always the Right Time

The sign wasn’t suppose to be there. I had other plans for the nail that holds it now. But each time I look at it, I remember the story and the goodness of God and smile.

We were at Bible Study around Christmas time several years ago. I had posed a question about our true motives behind the gifts we desire. After we took turns and shared, we came to the conclusion that it’s rarely the thing we want, but that the wishes for material possessions often hide our true heart’s cry.

One woman shared how she had always wanted metal measuring cups. However, Christmas after Christmas and birthday after birthday passed without receiving the simple gift. She shared with the group that it really wasn’t about the cups but about her deep desire to be heard.

After our study I ran a few errands. I had made plans to buy a clock for my kitchen.

Strolling through the household isle at the store, I came across the perfect clock. I had just enough cash. I grabbed it and headed toward the checkout. Suddenly I remembered my friend and the metal measuring cups.

I found them. I really wanted to bless her but realized quickly that I only had enough money for either the clock or the measuring cups. I decided against the clock, put it back in its place and picked up the cups instead, even though I had already pounded a nail in my kitchen wall for it.

Still in the parking lot of the store, I texted my friend to see if she was home. She was. She greeted me at her front door and opened her present; She was overwhelmed and said, “Crazy, I am making banana bread at this very moment!” We hugged and I headed home.

Back in my car, happy about my decision, my cell phone rang. It was another friend from Bible study. She told me that she had something for me. She didn’t say anything else except that she had made it herself. It “just so happened” that I was in the area and told her I would stop by for a quick visit.

When I walked into her home, she was excited and showed me the craft she had made for me: A pickle-board sign, matching the color of my kitchen walls. I couldn’t believe it. I told her I already had a nail in the wall where it needed to be hung. She had no idea what had just happened.

The words on the sign penetrated deeply that day and still strike me today. They are a great reminder of God’s kindness to me … and … that the time really doesn’t matter when you plan on doing something kind.

Zechariah 7:9
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments,
show kindness and mercy to one another”

~

(Pictures and devotional, Heidi Viars, 2020)

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

I Just Returned …

I just returned from a mission trip to India (or at least that’s where I think I went).

Here is what happened …
~~~~~~~~~~~

The scammers have been getting more sophisticated about tricking me to pick up the phone. When they call, my phone now regularly shows numbers of cell phones in my area.

My kids sometimes use their friends’ phones when their own phones are dead. I don’t like to ignore my kids, so I pick up when these numbers show up on an incoming call.

Today, I hesitantly picked up the phone knowing it could be another warranty on my car expiring, or worse, the IRS being after me.

The clicks gave it away. I listened carefully to the voice on the other end and calmed my spirit.

I tried to be as gentle as I could.

“No, I am not responding to your offer, but want to ask you if you know Jesus.” I said.

“Pardon, ma’am?” a man with an Indian accent replied.

“I know you don’t like what you are doing. God sees you and doesn’t like that you are taking money from people either. Would you lie like this to your mother or your sister? You would not like it if someone did this to them. Get out of this business and seek God! I am praying for you to find the Light.” I was still calm.

“You are right. I don’t want to be here!” the man’s voice sounded like he was looking over his shoulder.

Then he said it,

“Please pray for me!”

“What is your name? And don’t tell me it’s John!” I laughed.

“No, it’s not John.” He chuckled, but hesitated to say anything else.

“Never mind. Don’t tell me your name. God knows you well. I am going to pray now … if that is ok with you!”

“Yes, please, pray for me. I want to get out of this business. Please pray.” His voice was quiet.

I told him that God would provide for him if he was going to seek him.

Then I prayed for him. He stayed on the line until I finished begging God to make His Light, the Light of Life, known to this man who was walking in darkness. Then “John” thanked me – over and over.

~~~~~~~~

If by any chance you are heading to India anytime soon, and if you talk to “John”, let him know I am still praying for him.

 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
always being prepared to make a defense to anyone
who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and respect”
1 Peter 3:15
~
(Devo and Pictures by Heidi Viars, 2020)

Posted in Christian Poetry, Prayer, Revival | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Breath-Prayers

A recent post by Mitch Teemley titled

Prayer is Air!

made me think … a lot. I then remembered two prayers my husband prayed some time ago. He has prayed many times and many prayers, but I will never forget these two prayers as long as I live.

The first one he prayed several years ago. It was late at night. We had just pulled into our driveway after a long and hard day. We were alone and walked up the dark walkway to the house. He stopped for a moment, looked up into the starlit sky, took a deep breath and said,

“Lord, if you are not coming with us, we are going to die!”

It was as if the universe at that moment inhaled his words. I know I did. He wasn’t melodramatic or exaggerating. Those words portrayed our dire need and his confidence in our Living Hope. I knew he was right. I found great faith in that one statement, spoken in that moment. Those words were a reminder that we don’t need polished language to convey our need to an omniscient God. It is the awareness of our neediness that lays a necessary foundation for our communication.

The second prayer came out of a similar, but even bigger need. We were in the ICU room of our son. He was in an induced coma and on a ventilator after a serious accident which left him with three chest tubes and an inability to breathe. My husband got on his knees next to the bed and prayed out loud,

“Lord, he is yours. We will love you no matter what your plans are for our son!”

Our son needed breath. We did too, though a different kind. When my husband prayed that day, next to the hospital bed, God infused our souls with truth, confidence and faith. Words which came out of a desperate need brought the knowledge of who was in charge of filling it.

If you find yourself in need of a fresh breath of God, if your circumstances are dire, if you feel far away from God, try telling Him your need in the next breath you take. Then, just as you take the next one, remind your soul of who God IS. Then do it again … and again … and again.

The Spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 
Job 33:4 

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional, Ponderings, Prayer, Revival | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Abide – My WORD(s)

To this ONE WORD I want to cleave
It is the Word “ABIDE”
My foolish ways I want to leave;
In Jesus want to hide.

But I must know the Devil’s lies;
They say “Trapped!” not “Abiding”
There in the upside-down he tries
To turn “Leave” to “backsliding”.

“Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
John 15:4

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, poetry, Ponderings, Revival, Song | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Of Raising Kids and Writing

While at my sink doing the dishes today (that’s where I do my best thinking) something occurred to me. My thoughts were prompted by a blog-conversation with Phillip Mullins

Writing is a lot like raising kids.

My husband and I  have six kids. Their ages range from the oldest being old enough to get married this year and the youngest in middle school. When we adopted three of our kids about five years ago, we realized that having raised teenagers once was coming in handy. We are not as easily hoodwinked the second time around.

It has also been helpful that we don’t compare ourselves to other parents and their children as we did many years ago. We have realized that success in our children (and in parenting) is not what the world says it is and know that each child, adopted and biological, was given to us by God. Each person is an individual with unique gifts and tough challenges. Each person has been set in our family on purpose.

It has never occurred to me to question the place of my kids in our family. When looking at other parents who have been “more successful”, it has never crossed my mind to send my kids to live with them in hopes that they would be better off there (ok, maybe once or twice).

As writers we have been given unique creative power and individual stories, which are not better off with someone else. They are ours to “raise” and to bring to light, make known to a world that needs them. When God called the writer to write the story that He put there, He made provisions for that story to reach whomever He needed to reach.

Maybe our kids won’t become celebrities who are known by millions. Maybe they won’t be the next president of a huge company. But maybe they will change lives and be an encouragement to someone who has lost hope. Maybe they will be in the right place at the right time to bring a smile and hope to a hurting heart. Maybe they introduce others to Jesus.

So, don’t get rid of your stories because others are better at telling theirs. Tell them the way you know how  … and please … try not to get rid of your kids either.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Romans 12:3

Posted in Christian Poetry, church, Devotional, Ponderings, Revival, Song | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments