Today's the day that I type THE END on my manuscript. Finishing a project always feels good when I know I've done everything the way I was supposed to--given it my all--trusted God's direction. Finishing a book, a day of work, a race--it leaves us with a sense of achievement and completion. Finishing our time on earth should give us the same sense of accomplishment.
Several big name people died this week, along with a great many whose names were not so recognizable. As I saw the television flashing information about some of these folks, I couldn't help but wonder if they completed their life in the way they'd hoped. Had they trusted the Lord? Would they be remembered for things that would last? Would they stand before God and hear, "Well done," or would they spend eternity in regret.
None of us know how much time we have here on earth, so we need to make it count.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning... Ecclesiastes 7:8a
I know that when my life ends here on earth, I'll be in the presence of the Lord and the end really will be better than the beginning. I pray the same happy ending for you. Tracie
Juneteenth is the day that African Americans in Texas celebrate liberty from slavery. Just a little history lesson - Lincoln issued the Emanicipation Proclamation in 1863, but that didn't automatically free anyone. As the Union troops moved through areas where slaves were kept, the freedom began to trickle down. When Reconstruction in Texas began in June 1865, General Gordon Granger was responsible for paroling Confederate soldiers and putting aside slavery once and for all. He declared on June 19th, that "all slaves are free" - further advising freedmen "to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages."
I'd like to tell you that everyone lived happily-ever-after, but of course we know that's not the way life works. Most slaves were unable to leave their former masters and instead, continued to work for them and receive a very small amount of pay. One was quoted as saying, "freedom could make folks proud, but it didn't make them rich."
The years that followed were tumultuous and often deadly. Still, how precious that freedom.
I think of the freedom we enjoy in this country. Freedom to speak and worship. Freedom to live and make choices important to us. I think of the freedom we have in Christ. Freedom from sin and death--from the chains Satan would put upon us.
Freedom always comes at a dear price. I'm blessed to enjoy freedom both physical and spiritual, and today I will remember the sacrifices made on my behalf, as well as the behalf of others.
Last weekend I attended a New Life Ministries weekend seminar in Denver. It was so rewarding and refreshing. If you are dealing with grief, depression, anxiety, anger, body image, and so many other issues, New Life has a wonderful weekend of counseling and laughter.
Stephen Arterburn is an incredible man with a heart for healing and encouragement. He put together Women of Faith and New Life Ministries just to name a couple of things. He loves God and his focus on healing, forgiving and surrender was amazing.
One thing really impacted me. He said: Whatever you bury - you bury alive - and you have to feed it.
Wow. That really hit me. When I think of the painful things I've buried and fed over the years I can truly start to see the damage it's done. I think sometimes we convince ourselves that burying the pain, sorrow and frustration is the best thing we can do. We wrap ourselves up in that old adage "forgive and forget", but Steve said no. We definitely forgive, but forgetting and not learning from the mistakes or situation just makes us foolish. I found great liberty in that statement. After years of Satan standing as an accuser whispering in my ear, "Hey you're remembering so that means you didn't really forgive," I'm glad to know otherwise. I was steeped in thoughts that because "God remembers our sins no more for his own sake" that I needed to do likewise to emulate God.
But, I'm not God. (Okay I hear the snickering out there.) But don't we often beat ourselves up and let Satan wound us over and over by making us believe that we've failed to live up to what we're supposed to be?
I want to encourage you today to heal - to unbury those things you've become slave to - to let God start you on a new journey. Tracie
PS: My daughter Jen and I also brought home influenza from Denver and would appreciate your prayers.
We're back from Texas and what a fun and productive trip. I love it when everything falls into place in such concise order.
We flew into Houston and immediately drove northeast to Lufkin, TX. The next day we went to an amazing History Center in DiBoll where the staff turned out to be the friendliest and best informed folks I could have hoped for. Here's a picture of my husband Jim, the director John Gerland and me.
John is one smart guy when it comes to knowing his Texas history, but so too was Emily, Louis and Patsy. Great folks and I can't praise them enough.
From there we went to the Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin. Again there was so much to learn about the Texas logging industry. Yes, this is for a new series. Most folks don't think logging and Texas go hand in hand, but they do. It's an amazing history to be sure.
We also learned 3 things about Texas. 1. There is a Dairy Queen in every East Texas town. 2. There is a Donut Palace in every East Texas town. 3. There is a fried cat-fish cafe, restaurant, BBQ or other eating facility in every East Texas town. So if you are hankerin' for donuts, ice cream or catfish - Texas may be the place for you.
I never fail to be amazed at the way God puts me in the right place at the right time. Texas is usually hard for me because of the heat and humidity, but the weather was perfect and both temps and humidity were low enough that I didn't have a bit of trouble. I kept thinking of how God watches over the birds and flowers and has numbered the hairs on my head, so of course He can manage the the temps and humidity for me.