Wednesday, October 28, 2015


photo by Pam Williams

Baxter, our part Maine Coon cat, thought he was a dog. He played fetch, ran to the door when the doorbell rang, greeted everyone who came to visit, and knew when we were sick and hurting.

We were aware that he had a heart problem but we were still caught off guard early Saturday morning when Baxter passed away. He had blessed our lives for 11+ years.

Yet, even in the midst of our grief, we see God’s hand. This past summer, while I was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and feeling really crappy, Baxter often lay down by my side to keep me company all night. I knew he was having health issues himself and I actually prayed God wouldn’t take him while I was so sick. I just couldn’t have faced that loss on top of everything else. My last treatment was eleven days before we lost Baxter.

With the increasing frequency of his “episodes”, we certainly would never allow Baxter to suffer, but neither did we want to have to make an end of life decision. We had to do that with two previous cats and with our dog. It is a horrible, guilt-ridden, agonizing, but often necessary step that no pet owner wants to take. I prayed that when it was time, Baxter would just go to sleep, and that is exactly what happened.

People wonder if God cares. I know that He does. God loves us, hears our prayers, and knows our limit—even when it comes to our much-loved pets.

We miss you already, Baxter.

With love,

 ©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Be An Encourager

photo by Pam Williams

It is a week to celebrate for Dick and me. I received my last chemotherapy treatment on October 13th! As usual, the week following treatment was mind-numbingly exhausting. BUT, I have turned the corner and am feeling on the upswing now! Dick and I are thanking God that the worst is over. Yes, I will still have several weeks of uncomfortable symptoms, but from here on out, every improvement is permanent—not just a temporary reprieve till the next treatment! What a sense of relief and deep-seated joy!

There have been times during the past 21 weeks I have felt utterly discouraged knowing that no matter how good I might be on a particular day, the next treatment would knock me back down. Several times I wondered if I had the strength to enter the ring and go another round. Inevitably, on those days I would receive an especially heart-felt card reassuring me that someone was praying and God was in control, not the cancer or the treatment.
A card seems a little thing—a few ounces of paper with a smattering of words—but they have been a mountain of encouragement for both Dick and me on this unwanted journey. We have gotten hand-crafted cards, beautiful photographs, loving notes, touching children’s drawings, moving verses, and carefully-chosen sentiments.

Ultimately, the cards we received have ministered in four ways: They showered us with love and encouragement; they prompted us to pray for the ones who sent the cards; they helped us realize how uplifting it is to see the words, we are praying for you, in print; and, they inspired us to send far more cards assuring others of our prayers.

It reminds me of the story in Exodus 17:8-15 of Moses and the battle with the Amalekites. During the conflict, Moses held the staff of God in his hands. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset and the Amalekite army was defeated.

We all face that type of overwhelming battle from time to time. As one who has been there, I can tell you that KNOWING others are holding you up, standing in the gap for you, makes all the difference in how the battle is fought and won.

I urge you to take the time to jot a few words on a note card, slap on a stamp, and send someone who is hurting a little concrete reassurance that they don’t walk alone. No matter how devoted a Christian a person may be, everyone stands in need of a reminder that they are being upheld in the strong arms of faith.

Be an encourager!



©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


“Lord, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” (Psalm 90:14)

How many of us can say we are satisfied—that we are contented, well-pleased, our desires, expectations, needs, and demands fulfilled? Perhaps our lack of satisfaction comes from seeking fulfillment in places that it cannot be found—jobs, relationships, money, power, positions, achievements, material possessions and the like.

Psalm 90:14 asks God to satisfy us with His mercy. What does that mean? For me it is resting in His ability to love me even when I am most unlovable, believing in His forgiveness when I repeatedly fail, relying on His compassion when it is within His power to punish, trusting in His benevolence when I deserve His anger—unearned blessings from His hand.

I see myself as God’s child—albeit a wayward, ornery, disobedient one. Yet, in His mercy, He gathers me close, hugs away my resistance, wipes my tears, smoothes my worried brow, and whispers words of love and endearment in my ear. How can I do anything but burrow in closer to His chest and rest there in His arms, sighing in total contentment, and smiling with delight, despite what disarray, challenges, and terrors may be going on around the two of us?

As I re-read this verse the words “early” and “all our days” emphasized that the sooner I am satisfied in God’s mercy, the better. For that satisfaction will bring lifelong, deep-seated joy and gladness—gifts that all of us covert for ourselves and our loved ones.

Are you satisfied? There is fulfillment in God’s mercy. Why wait another minute?

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Skate Key

Have you ever worn old-fashioned metal roller skates that strapped onto your shoes? I spent many happy hours winging my way along the sidewalks around our house and neighborhood.

These skates required a skate “key”. I remember stringing a piece of yarn through the long slit in the middle of the key so I could wear it around my neck while skating. The hexagonal loop on top was used to turn the bolt that adjusted the length of the skate and the other end fit on the pin that tightened the toe grips. This made it possible for siblings with different shoe sizes to share the same pair of skates.

 After rolling over cement sidewalks, with the rhythmic ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk of the wheels hitting the cracks, I often discovered the fittings had loosened with the repetitive jarring. If not taken care of, the parts of the skates would slip and slid or even fall off, causing twisted ankles, skinned knees and bruised palms. Having my key handy for adjustments assured a good, long and safe skate time.

As we skate along in life we often encounter bumps in the road. At times, it can feel like we are being as regularly bombarded as those unending cracks in the sidewalk that I skated over as a kid. Our life can feel like a series of ka-thunks that eventually rattle us to our core.

What serves as our “skate key” when that happens? Where do we turn to regain our strength, to help us adjust and hold us together? For me, it is God and His Word.
2 Timothy 3:16 informs us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

When I think I can’t go on anymore without falling apart, God reminds me, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2). He urges me onward with the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

When my faith is wobbling under pressure, I hear God’s still, small voice encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. (Hebrews 12:2).

When I am out of alignment, Isaiah 30:21 promises: “Your own ears will hear the Lord. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.”

I trusted my old skate key to keep my skates in good working order; and I can depend on God’s Word as I traverse the cracks and bumps of life.

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams