Wednesday, September 26, 2012

God is in the Little Things

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Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7

God cares about the big AND the little things in our lives. This week His showed me His grace in one of the little things.

A computer glitch of unknown origin precipitated the crash of my MSWord . . . over and over and over. At one point it crashed five times within one hour! Though a minor malfunction for many, for a writer and blogger in the midst of three rather big projects, it is major.

My husband tried several suggestions he found online to correct the problem but nothing helped. I could only type about two paragraphs before a box popped up that read, “MSWord has stopped working.” Duh! Talk about stating the obvious! Then the thing locked up and I had to log off and log back on to even get the program to close. Grrrrrrrr!

My frustration level escalated. I really needed to prepare my writers’ Bible study lesson. What if the program degraded completely? How would I get ready to teach on Wednesday? In addition, my momentum for editing my writers’ devotions book ground to a halt. It was too difficult to concentrate when every two minutes I had to hit the Save button so that the next crash wouldn't lose the changes I had just made.

Though it might seem silly to some, I decided to ask God to heal my MS Word software. I literally held my hands out over the computer and prayed.

That evening Dick came home from a meeting with an idea to fix the problem. And by God’s grace, it worked! MSWord is now working fine.

I am convinced that the Lord knows what matters to us and cares for the little things as well as the big things. God uses even minor glitches in life as opportunities to reveal His love and grant us His grace.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Honeysuckle: A Childhood Memory

Honeysuckle by Theophilos
 Summer evenings fragrant with the perfume of honeysuckle remind me of my Grandma Flasher. The climbing vines, with their pretty yellow and white bell-shaped blooms, covered my Grandma’s front porch railings and posts. The twining tendrils formed a flowery, aromatic curtain that provided much-appreciated shade.

My dad visited his mom, dad, and brother, Allen nearly every day. Often one or two of us kids would go along. After supper we usually would find Grandma, still wearing her apron over her housedress, sitting out on the front porch, enjoying the early evening. We would plop down beside her on the old wooden swing. A well-worn blanket thrown over it kept our bare legs from sticking to the high-gloss paint in the heat.

Time seemed to stand still during those moments on Grandma Flasher’s porch. I never remember getting bored or antsy, which, when I think about it, is a bit of a miracle. We just pumped our legs back and forth in rhythm with the swing and listened to the adults chatting about seemingly nothing in particular, but connecting in a way that spoke volumes.

Eventually the honeysuckle lured us over for a taste of its ambrosia.  I’m not sure who taught us how to pull the stamen slowly out of the flower to suck the droplet of delicate nectar on it, but the plant’s name, honey plus suckle, soon made perfect sense to me. It's a flavor and fragrance that will always be reminiscent of Grandma Flasher.

I would love to hear your childhood memory. Won't you share it?

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Rewarding Job (Part Two): Foster Parenting

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“Whoever welcomes a child like this
in my name welcomes me.”
Matthew 18:5

While many women enjoy good health and experience great content during pregnancy, nausea and throwing up every single day for months on end drained me. Before our son was born, my husband and I had decided we wanted two children, but afterwards I knew I never wanted to journey through pregnancy again.  So we began investigating the possibility of adoption.

Even in the 70’s the chances of adopting a baby were slim. After contacting agency after agency and getting no encouragement, someone suggested we look into becoming foster parents. In reality, we now recognize that it was a nudge from God.

Over a ten year period we fostered 19 children through various county agencies. Some kids merely needed a bed for eight hours; others sojourned with us for six months. Each one brought unique gifts and challenges; all shared the wrenching heartache and trauma of separation.

Though similar in many ways to being a biological parent, foster parenting reaps somewhat different rewards due to the constraints of time and opportunity with the child.

One of the greatest rewards was seeing a foster child overcome monumental obstacles and begin to reach their potential. Jessica’s mother had wandered in and out of rehab for years, dragging Jess from place to place. Truancy precipitated her placement with us at age 15. My heart swelled with pride when Jess stopped by to tell us she had gotten a job, rented an apartment, and purchased a car—and she was only 18! She wanted us to know she was providing a stable home for her mother.

Watching a child take charge of his/her own well-being warms the heart. Barbie came to us directly from the police station. Someone had slipped a drug into her drink at a party and the police found her wandering down the middle of a busy highway. With a less than desirable home life, she was placed with us. In just a few weeks she gained the confidence to appear before a judge and prove she was capable of making good decisions despite no real guidance from parents.

Arlene basically answered to no one from the time she was 12 till she turned 15. Then suddenly her mother put restrictions on her and Arlene ran away. Over the course of six months Arlene showed she could be responsible and willing to obey reasonable rules of the house. How wonderful to be able to help a child and parent work through their issues and develop a mutually respectful relationship.

Few jobs offer the soul-satisfying pleasures of parenting. While also posing the toughest challenge, it still reaps the greatest rewards, hands down. Is God calling you to become a foster parent? Have you ever been a foster parent? I would love to hear about your most rewarding experience as a foster parent.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Rewarding Job

“What is the most rewarding job you have ever had?” the interviewer asked.

The answer popped into my head immediately: “In all honesty, my most rewarding job has been being a mother.”

I consider it a blessing and a privilege to have been able to stay at home with my children. No, my husband’s job didn’t pay a huge salary; we were just very frugal.

And it has definitely been worth the penny-pinching. Just consider some of the many, many rewards I received as a mother:

  • I felt the squeeze of little arms around my neck, the gentle touch of tender lips on my cheek, and the rhythmic breathing of a child asleep in my arms 
  • I watched young minds grow in knowledge and wisdom.
  • I listened as little voices sang songs I sang, repeated words I spoke and imitated actions I took—flattery in its highest form.
  • I experienced the comfort of a child’s pat on the back and reassuring words that “It’ll be okay, Mommy,” when a bat flew through the house and I took the kids and hide in the bedroom.
  • I witnessed self-absorbed teens blossom into responsible, self-sacrificing adults.
  • I heard, “I love you,” each night before bed for over 20 years. To this day I hear it at the end of every phone conversation or text.
No wonder I answered the interview question the way I did! Motherhood not only matters; it carries its own rewards.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3

What is the greatest reward you have experienced as a parent? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

Stay tuned for part two, “The Rewards of Foster Parenting”, coming soon.
©2012 Pamela D. Williams