A Life of Thanksgiving

standard November 15, 2017 Leave a response

We were sitting around my parent’s kitchen table with tears in our eyes but a smile on our lips, reading through a list that my brother had made named “Things to be Thankful for (Blessings).”

We found this list in Jeremy’s room after he had passed away in a tragic car accident at the age of 17. Topping the list was his relationship with God and his family members, but as the list progressed there were humorous entries such as, “cool personallity” and “fairly intelligent.” (Thank goodness he spelled that last one correctly!)

We couldn’t help but laugh through the pain.

I’ve often thought of this list and the positive impact that it has had on me. I was inspired to make my own list because I too wanted God and others to know just how thankful I am for each of them in my life.

Paul instructs us in Colossians 2:
You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. Quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Jeremy certainly did let his thanksgiving overflow within his short life and because he took the time to make his list of blessings, we can look back today and see how very much we meant to him.

I also loved that he was thankful for JOY because that is exactly what we all remember about Jeremy: his overwhelming joy.

If you knew Jeremy’s joy in a personal way, the Jeremy Barnhill Foundation for Christian Teens​ would like to invite you to share a memory that you have of him on our page. It would be a true blessing.

As you get ready to celebrate this season, I encourage you to make your own list of blessings. Let your daily living spill over into a life of thanksgiving.

Finding Your Pearl

standard September 28, 2017 Leave a response

Reposted from LifeWay Women’s Blog

A Note from Kelly King: We continue to hear about the impact of Deb Douglas, one of our LifeWay Women’s trainers, who suddenly passed away on Friday, September 15. One of those women impacted by Deb was April Rodgers. I’m grateful for her encouraging words today. As leaders, it’s a good reminder of our need to have mentors in our lives.

Have you ever met someone for the first time and instantly knew your life would forever be changed? That is precisely the feeling that I had when I met Dr. Debra Douglas, affectionately known as “Pearl,” exactly one year ago.

I remember that I had just returned from a trip to the Philippines and the travel had left me exhausted and feeling a little under the weather. However, my best friend’s sister was getting married that weekend, and I wasn’t going to miss the chance to celebrate with good friends! So, I strapped on my dancing shoes and to my delight Deb was there officiating the ceremony.

Deb had commented in an endearing way on one of my blog posts after discovering that we had a commonality of both graduating from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. So naturally I knew we were destined to be friends. At the reception, I made a beeline for her table and I introduced myself, not really thinking through what I would say, only knowing that I wanted to meet this special woman.

And oh my, was she special! Her ministry work reached far and wide from counseling families to women’s ministry for her church to rescuing countless women from the claws of sex trafficking. She told me that she wrote a weekly article for LifeWay Women on the theme of Ministering in the Messy and that I was welcome to write a guest post for her. I tried to control my excitement as we exchanged numbers, but obviously this was a huge answer to prayer for me. However, what God had in store was more than just a blog post; it was a chance to have a deep and meaningful relationship with a woman who had been in my shoes not so long ago. It was a chance to glean some pearls of wisdom.

At the time, I was leading Beth Moore’s Bible study Entrusted, and I had been longing for a mentor like Timothy had in Paul. The more I prayed about it, the more God kept bringing Deb to mind. I boldly asked Deb if she would mentor me and without hesitation she agreed. This sparked a monthly visit to Bossier City to sit over chips and salsa and soak up every word that she was willing to pour into me. Sometimes the conversation was more serious, filled with opportunities for my improvement. Oftentimes it consisted of how she had ministered in the messy that week. But ALWAYS it included stories of her beloved family, especially her grandchildren.

I knew that Deb had not been feeling well over the summer, but still she would text me to tell me that she was praying for me. The week before she died she suggested that we get together for our monthly lunch saying that we had “much to discuss.” I told her we could wait until she was feeling better, but she insisted that she felt good enough to listen. She bought my lunch and told me that I could pay for her meal next time. And we talked and talked and talked, until it was just the two of us left in the restaurant.

As I was leaving she hugged me and said, “I’m proud of you.” Then she looked into my eyes and said, “And I’m proud of what God’s going to do through you.” I never would have thought those would be the last words that I would hear from her, but how precious to have been given that gift! Words of life.

What had started off as a pearl of wisdom here and a pearl of encouragement there was added with a pearl of prayer, and a pearl of accountability, and a pearl of love…until eventually there was enough to string a short pearl necklace.

Today I proudly wear my beautiful pearls that Deb gave to me. And even though I would have loved to have had a longer strand of them, I am so very grateful for each and every pearl the Lord allowed me to have. They are truly priceless.

In Titus 2, Paul urges the older women to teach the younger women “what is good.”

If you are a younger woman who desires a mentor:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a woman to you that will teach you what is good, keeping in mind that you may meet her in an unlikely place (e.g., your best friend’s sister’s wedding).
  • Be bold and ask her to mentor you, offering to drive to where she is and buy her lunch (if she will let you!).
  • Take the initiative to make the meetings consistent, yet be flexible when life happens.
  • Start stringing all the different pearls together.

If you are an older woman with the ability to mentor:

  • Always point her to what is good and ask about her true relationship with God. Don’t be afraid to get messy.
  • Have equal parts of listening, encouraging, and pushing her to get out of her comfort zone and then hold her accountable to the meeting time and topics discussed.
  • Don’t underestimate the impact that you can have on her ministry and her life (even in a short period of time).
  • Freely give your pearls away.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it.” —Matthew 13:45-46 (CSB)


April Rodgers is a Christian author and speaker with a passion for encouraging women in their daily walk with Christ. Her involvement in women’s ministry initiated her obtaining a Master’s degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is happily married to Adams and the Lord has blessed them with two daughters, Adelene, age 10, and Ellanora, age 8. April loves coffee, group texts, Wednesday Bible Studies, and Sunday afternoon naps. You can follow April and her blog Reflecting Light in Everyday Life at AprilRodgers.com.

A Faithful Friend

standard September 6, 2017 1 response

Just then some men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed.  They tried to bring him in and set him down before Him [Jesus].  Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the roof titles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus.  Seeing their faith He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:18-20)

Have you ever experienced paralysis in your life?  The kind of paralysis where one debilitating episode comes after the other.  Your body aches all over, even though your muscles have long stopped working.  You struggle to pick yourself up off the ground, but to no avail.

And then you hear that there is a man in town who performs miracles.  He goes by the name of Jesus, some are even calling him the Son of God.  Every fiber of your being knows that your healing lies within the building that is close enough to hit with a stone…that is, if you could throw a stone.

And as you lie there simply defeated, your friends walk in and gently place you on a stretcher. They inform you that they are taking you to meet this Jesus.  Just as your hope begins to soar, it is immediately dashed as the realization that the chances of your friends getting you inside the jam-packed building to where your healing lies are slim to none. There is not an inch of room to spare.

But your friends are not ordinary.  No. They are extraordinary.

They look at the seemingly impossible situation and find a way to climb the walls with you on the stretcher, remove part of the roof, and lower you into the room where the Son of God is teaching.  But you didn’t end up just anywhere in the room.  Amazingly, you are placed at the very spot you need to be: in front of the only One who is capable of forgiving your sins and healing your limp body. 

This is all because of your friends, who saw your need as greater than their own. You know that they each have things they would like to ask of the Son of God.  They could use miracles in their own lives, but their selflessness and desire to see you restored took precedence.  They are faithful friends.

And Jesus, seeing their faith, grants the healing and forgiveness that you have desperately hoped for since the paralysis hit.  You will never be the same.  Your healing came because of the self-sacrificial love of your friends who were willing to do whatever it took to place you directly in front of your Savior.

Now that you are healed, will you do the same for others?  Are you willing to be a faithful friend?

Lord, would You allow me to be a faithful friend to others, pointing them to the only One who can heal them and forgive them of their sins, Jesus? Thank You also for the friends that You have placed in my life who show me Your love continually.      

Keep Shining

standard December 31, 2015 Leave a response

Can you believe that another year has passed us by? Wow! That went quick.

It feels like just yesterday I was nervously hitting the “publish” button on my very first blog post here at Reflecting Light waiting to see if anyone other than my family and besties would read it.  But you did and I am beyond grateful for each and every word that you read!  You will never know how much your comments and encouragement and shares have blessed me.  Each one touched my heart and I do not take your kindness for granted.  It is a true gift.

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Looking back, we tackled some controversial topics such as True Love Is Not Grey and America the Broken, but we also had a lot of fun with Back to School Blues, Southern Snow Days, and Shrimp & Grits.  We explored different theological truths such as Joy, Peace, Forgiveness and How to Pray.  To be sure, there were plenty of technological challenges to overcome (i.e. upside down pics, unattached media, etc.), but for the most part I had so much fun putting the posts together and I learned to give myself lots of grace (which is hard for a first-born perfectionist to do).

But most importantly, I hope you saw the LIGHT of Christ in every post that you read.  It is only because of Him that we exist and have our being and I pray that He was glorified.

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Looking ahead, our future looks bright! Each one of us has an opportunity to reflect Christ’s light in a way that is unique and will touch the lives of others.  The way that you reflect His light in your everyday life is different from the way that I do and that’s what makes each one of us valuable and beautiful in His eyes.

What do you say we take hold of 2016 and use it as an opportunity to continue REFLECTING LIGHT in our everyday lives?  Keep Shining, Beautiful One. This world needs YOUR LIGHT.

Have Courage & Be Kind

standard November 11, 2015 14 responses

“Have you ever experienced this kind of pain?…you received a phone call from the doctor’s office saying that they would rather you come in to discuss your test results.  ~ Help me, Jesus! I need You now!”

When I wrote these words in When The Earth Keeps Spinning, But Your World Has Stopped, I never imagined that our family would be experiencing them within a few short weeks.

My mother, Kathi, was recently diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer and we were all in disbelief. My mom? The one who eats healthy and exercises regularly? You mean to tell me that a bunch of cells coagulated together into a lump and formed cancer inside her body and now she has to have surgery, and chemo, AND radiation? Stop it. You’re joking, right?

But it was true. So we put on our pink boxing gloves and jumped up and down in the corner, ready to knock this thing out. But that’s not my mom’s style.  She’s more like Cinderella in her approach and the saying, “Have Courage & Be Kind” fits her to a tee.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s a fighter, but she’s a different kind of fighter. She fights with courage and she fights with kindness, but most importantly, she fights on her knees.

From the very beginning she put her trust in the Lord and she told everyone around her that she was already healed. When she met her oncologist she told him, “You’re my doctor and I am grateful for you, but the Lord is my Great Physician.” What could he say to that but “Yes, Ma’am”?

As news spread of mom’s cancer she ended up on countless prayer lists and more than a few times she was placed in the middle of a prayer circle with people laying hands on her. She told me, “I feel the peace of the Lord. Through every turn, He’s been there. Leading me to the right doctors, opening doors, showing me kindness through others. And, oh the kindness of others! Of course, my friends have poured out their love on me but I have also felt the love of people who hardly know me. They are kind to me because they love my kids. They are sending me notes of encouragement, making me quilts for chemo treatments, praying Scripture over me and our family, posting sweet comments on social media. That’s what really touches me and makes me cry. The kindness of others.”

And it makes me cry too.

The examples are so many, from the gentleness of the lady at the barber shop who shaved Mom’s head with such tenderness to the unknown contact of my sister’s coworker who offered her apartment in Houston for my mom and dad to use during radiation treatments. It is the sweetness of the Lord manifesting itself through human hands and feet. It is community and it is beautiful to witness.

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The second part of the equation is how much courage has played a part in Mom’s battle with cancer to the point that others can see courage radiating from her.  She described an exchange with a perfect stranger who was battling a serious struggle of her own whom Mom befriended. By the end of the conversation the woman told her, “I see such courage in you.”

When I asked Mom where she got her courageous spirit, she said, “It’s a gift. I didn’t get it, it was just handed to me. Growing up the way I did makes a difference. I don’t know if it is courage or not, but I feel such an assurance that God is in control and I don’t have to be in control. He orchestrated everything and He is the One who makes it livable, workable. The Lord is good. He holds you up and covers you.”

This is what it means to me to have courage and be kind. Thank you, Mom, for your beautiful, selfless example. Your testimony of God’s faithfulness in your life is an inspiration to many and I hope that one day I can be just like you. Kind and courageous.IMG_2652

‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26