Are You Okay?

This past week, people have continuously asked me how I was doing. Even people I don’t know have stopped me and asked how all of the Suwannee Middle School faculty and staff were doing. I appreciate their concern very much, and I know this is one great thing about living in a smaller, rural community. Still, there were a few moments this week when someone went the extra mile, so to speak, to truly show they genuinely cared about how I was doing. It wasn’t, how are the students, or how is the school? It was, how are you? Not only that, but they took the time to listen to my response. You see, they could see the sadness in my eyes and in my actions. They knew I needed a smile, a hug, or a word of encouragement. And they simply wanted to know the answer to the question, “Are you okay?”

Sadly, we get so busy in our daily lives that we forget to ask if people are doing okay. Oh, we may ask how they are doing, but we may not take the time to ask someone if they really are doing okay. Many times, we greet someone by saying, “Hello, how are you?” Instead of really wanting to know how they are at the moment, it almost becomes more of a courtesy to ask such a question. Unfortunately, people may ask this question as a formality, yet they may not even care how the person is actually doing. Because of the large number of times people ask this question each day, the sincerity with which it is asked is sometimes lacking. Still, there are times when we encounter someone who goes the extra mile to ask us how we are really doing and if we are really okay.

Recently, one dear friend took time out of her busy day to put her arm around me, and then proceeded to ask me if I was doing alright. Then, we shared how we were both feeling about the loss of Coach Edwards. Our sentiments were the same: shock, disbelief, sadness. She asked me if I was okay. She also said if there was anything she could do to help me, she would; all I had to do was to let her know. In truth, she helped me more than she will ever know, just by showing that she cared. Another dear friend gave me a hug, and asked me how I was holding up. Then, she gave one of the sweetest, most unselfish gifts of all: a listening ear. She listened to my sorrows and joys, my worries and cares. And she offered support when I needed it most. These two kindhearted ladies took time to see how I was doing. And in doing so, I left them with my head a little higher, my steps a little lighter, and my smile a little wider.

One day this week, I had an appointment to go to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. I had dreaded this appointment for quite some time, as routine cleanings are somewhat uncomfortable due to my overly sensitive teeth. I worried about how much it would hurt and whether or not the dental hygienist would be gentle or not. As soon as I sat down with everything in place, the hygienist asked me if I was okay. Consistently, she asked this same question over and over during the entire process. And she didn’t just ask the question and keep working. Instead, she listened to any request I made and corrected anything that might have been making me uncomfortable. You see, she didn’t just ask the question as a formality. She cared about my well-being. She cared if I was experiencing undue pain or discomfort. She cared if I was okay or not.

On your journey through life, there will be times when people ask you if you are okay. Sometimes, they will be sincere and take the time to hear your response. Other times, they will hurry on to their next appointment without even giving you the time of day. I am thankful to know that I can cherish the moments when someone takes the time to show they care. And during the times when people do not genuinely want to know how I am doing, I am grateful that there is One who will always care how I am doing. Jesus Christ is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). There is never a time when I cannot talk to Him. And there is never a time when He will not listen. He will always take time to see if I am doing alright. And He will do the same for you. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He will always love you. He will always care for you. And He will always want to know if you’re okay.

In Christ’s Love,

Do you ever encounter a difficult situation and wish you could simply run away?  Or do you face it head on, trying not think about what is going on around you?  Sadly, there are moments in time when we cannot run away from rough weeks, trying days, and emotionally draining hours.  In these times of sadness and despair, we must not lose hope.  We must keep the faith.  No matter what, we need to keep on keeping on.

Yesterday, I attended the viewing for a dear friend and colleague, Corporal Gary Edwards.  Today, I attended his funeral.  For me personally, these are events that I would prefer to avoid.  The floral arrangements, the song selections, the eulogies…all are reminders of where my Dad and I were standing less than three years ago.  The photographs, the memories, the tears…all of them bring sadness instead of joy.  The casket, the hearse, the graveside…all of these remind me of how life is so very fragile.

As I walked toward the chapel yesterday evening, I encountered several friends and colleagues.  We shed a few tears, embraced, and shared words of encouragement.  While I was dealing with sorrow of my own, I felt in my heart that God was giving me the words to speak, even when I did not know what to say.  I told a couple of them what a blessing it was to have God’s strength in times like these.  Then, I told them that we just have to keep on keeping on.  They agreed, and one of them asked me to keep reminding them of this fact.  I told them I would.

In life, we are going to encounter some situations that seem impossible.  We will run into some valleys that seem too wide to cross, mountains that seem too high to climb, and rivers that seem too treacherous to brave.  Even when we face difficult circumstances, we need to keep the faith.  We do not have to do it on our own.  God will walk beside us, hold our hand, and even carry us.

Of course, when we are in the midst of the darkness, there are times when we are blinded to the point that we do not even realize that God is there with us.  I know I have had some moments this week when I felt like I had taken one step forward and was now taking two steps back.  I miss my Mom every single day of the year.  My heart remains broken.  Losing a colleague and friend this week breaks my heart a little more.  Just when a scab was beginning to heal over the brokenness I feel inside, something like this occurs and rips off the scab once more.  Still, I have hope.  I know God has not forsaken me.  He loves me more than I could ever imagine.  He has a dream for my life, and I will follow Him wherever He leads.

Even when we are down and out, God is working for our good.  Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”  Sometimes, it is hard to see the good that will come from the situation you find yourself in.  Even so, you must hold on a little longer.  Don’t run away and hide.  And don’t push your emotions aside and act as if nothing happened.  Trust that God will provide the strength you need to make it through this difficult time in your life.  There is joy around the bend.  Life may change, but God will never change.  Put your hope in Jesus Christ.  Keep the faith, and keep on keeping on.

In Christ’s Love,


On the way to church yesterday morning, I clearly recall that I was quite concerned over the fact that I had forgotten to apply mascara and did not bring a comfortable pair of shoes for shopping later in the afternoon.  In addition, we were running a little late, which compounded the problem.  As we slid into the pew just as the service was beginning, I took a deep breath, trying not to worry about these minor details that had seemingly grown to major league proportions.  All of the sudden, all of these minor details vanished, overwrought by unexpected news that jolted me to the core.

As the service began, a dear friend delivered news that Corporal Gary Edwards, the School Resource Officer at the school where I teach, had passed away Sunday morning from injuries sustained in an accident.  The Ford Ranger he was driving was struck by a drunk driver.  The impact caused his vehicle to veer into a utility pole.  He was taken off of life support late Sunday morning.  As I sat there listening to the words my friend spoke, I was stunned.  That morning, I had been awakened by an unpleasant dream.  Now, I felt as if I was living a nightmare.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear news like this.  Only a few moments before, my major concern was whether or not I was wearing mascara.  Soon, I realized that mascara would have only made black streaks on my cheeks, due to the tears that welled up in my eyes.

My heart crumbled with every single word.  I sat there in disbelief as I tried to process the information I had just been given.  This Christian man, who loved the Lord with all of his heart and also loved his family more than anything, was taken from this world in an instant.  There was no indication that this would be his last day on earth.  He had lived on this earth for 43 years, always smiling, always lending a hand, always abiding by the commandment to love one another.  He leaves behind a loving wife and two precious daughters.  I can’t help but wonder…  Of all the people in the world, how could this happen to someone who was so loving, so supportive, and so genuine?  Why did this have to happen at all?

In life, there are no guarantees.  We may be here one day, and then we may be gone the next.  One simple action can be the difference between life and death.  The driver of the other car could have been the one killed in Gary’s place.  But instead, the driver was taken to jail unscathed.  No single person on earth knows why these things happen the way they do.  Still, we know that God’s word remains true, even in trying times like these.  Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) states, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  No matter what difficult times may come, there is nothing that can take away God’s love.  Not even death nor life can take us away from the unconditional love that He continually pours out to us.

Tomorrow, when you go to work or school, I encourage you to do one thing.  No matter where you are or what you are doing, treasure life itself.  Show others around you that you have the blessed hope of Christ.  Reveal to them the special love that God bestows upon us.  Officer Edwards always had a smile on his face, a song in his heart, and a kind word on his lips.  The love of Jesus was evident in everything he did.  He was a wonderful husband to his wife Robyne, father to his daughters Tyla and Toi, and friend to everyone who knew him.  Above all, he was the prime example of a Christian who loved the Lord with all of his heart.  Although we are sad without this special individual in our lives, we can find comfort in the fact that we will see him again in Heaven, if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Do not wait until it is too late.  There are no guarantees in life.  Live.  Love.  Laugh.  Live every moment to the fullest.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Laugh and share joy with others.  Cherish life.  It is God’s gift to you.

In Christ’s Love,


Have Faith

As I was visiting with a friend this afternoon, I happened to pay special attention to the perpetual calendar on their desk.  Today’s message read, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).  When was the last time you had complete faith that something you wanted would come to pass?  Can you honestly say that you always put your faith in God, no matter what trials come against you?  Or does Satan often wriggle his way in, causing you to question whether or not God truly has everything under control?  No matter what you may encounter on your journey, have faith.  God will see you through.

In August 2005, one of the deadliest hurricanes recorded in U.S. history struck the coast of Louisiana.  Hurricane Katrina was responsible for the loss of more than 1,800 lives.  I can recall sitting in front of the television, barely able to believe what had happened.  With every levee that gave way, my heart sunk a little deeper into my chest.  The homes destroyed, the lives lost, and an entire city changed forever.  While I prayed fervently for the people residing in the path of destruction, I wondered, how can they have hope?  When they are wading through waist deep water full of sewage, how could they possibly even think God exists?  As they pull a loved one out of the water, only to find they were a moment too late, how can they put their faith in God?  Still, I prayed that God would walk beside them, helping them from one moment to the next.

As I switched the channel from CNN to The 700 Club, I was introduced to a precious woman of God whom I will always remember.  Her name is Gerta.  She lives in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.  She was being interviewed because she had experienced a deadly hurricane many years back.  Even though the location where she lived was being evacuated, she was unwilling to leave.  Instead, she stood inside her kitchen, surrounding by glass windows, praying.  She had complete assurance that God would see her through the storm.  While many homes around her were completely demolished, her home remained unscathed.  Although I cannot recall her last name, nor would I recognize her face if she walked in the door of my home, the words she spoke are forever etched in my memory bank.  She said, “If you’re anchored in Jesus, you’ll be safe.”  At that very moment, I knew she had said something wise beyond my years.

A few days later, I wrote a song titled, “Have Faith.”  The lyrics of the song talk about a woman who is sitting next to a loved one who has gone on to be with the Lord.  Then, it talks about little children who are crying out in fear.  In life, there are situations we cannot avoid.  There are problems we cannot solve on our own.  There are moments when we may want to simply throw in the towel.  I want to encourage you by telling you that there is never a time in your life when you should just give up.  When you feel like giving up, give your burdens to Jesus.  He is waiting with open arms, waiting to help you when life gets to hard to handle.  He will walk with you through the flood.  He will be your Shelter from the storm.  He loves you more than you could ever imagine.  Have faith.  God will see you through.
In Christ’s Love,


Did you ever wonder what it would be like if every day was Sunday?  Today, I find myself wishing this to be true.  Sundays are the one day a week when I can slow down, take a deep breath, and truly enjoy the day.  There are generally no deadlines to meet, no work-related phone calls to make, and no stressful situations to wade through.  Instead, there are delightful conversations with friends and family, uplifting church services to attend, and delicious food of which to partake.  Not to mention the fact that Sunday afternoons also bring several luxuries to me personally: surfing the web, working on my blog, and one of my absolute favorites, playing the piano.  But the one thing I like the most about Sunday is not the absence of stress or the ability to do as I please.  The thing I enjoy the most is the fact that people around the world are simultaneously lifting up their voices in praise to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

Additionally, the arrival of Sunday morning means that Christians in all four corners of the world are standing together in prayer, united together.  If only for a moment, their hearts are joined in one accord.  God’s Word says where two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ, there He will be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).  Just imagine how the angels must rejoice in Heaven when thousands upon thousands gather together on Sunday.  What would the world be like if Christians united together every single day of the week?  How would the news change if Christians everywhere met each morning to pray?  Surely, the world would no longer be the same.  Life would change for the better if every day was Sunday.
Philippians 4:4 (NIV) says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  Paul does not say to rejoice in the Lord only on Sundays.  Instead, he says that we should rejoice always.  Even if we are sitting in an emergency room waiting room, we can still rejoice in the Lord.  If we are bombarded with constant stress at work, finding ourselves being pulled in every direction, we can still rejoice in the Lord.  And if we find ourselves in the darkest valley we have ever walked through, we can still rejoice in the Lord.  Paul is not saying to rejoice for the difficulties that may arise, but to rejoice in the Lord always.  There is never a moment when a Christian should not be filled with the joy of the Lord.  If you feel weak, remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength!  Rejoice, be glad, and thank God for every single day He gives you.
The psalmist David gives us similar advice when he writes, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 ESV).  David does not tell us that Sunday is the only day the Lord has made.  The exact word he uses is the word, “This.”  While this may apply to a particular day, such as the day when Christ returns to take His children home, we could also apply this advice to any day of the year.  God has given us 365 days a year to either enjoy or dread.  No matter what is going on in your life, there is always something to be thankful for.  There is always a reason to rejoice.  This morning, you woke up.  That is a miracle in itself.  Thank God for the miracles in your life.  Rejoice every single day.  Rejoice in every situation.  Rejoice as if every day was Sunday.

In Christ’s Love,


All of my life, I have heard how important it is to get back on the horse.   If a person is riding a horse and falls off, the possibility exists that they may develop a lifelong fear of horses if they do not climb back into the saddle right away.  When they are first learning to ride, or if they are training a horse, they may even have the unfortunate experience of falling repeatedly.  Yet, for all of the bumps and bruises, broken bones and concussions, they are encouraged to dust themselves off and ride again.

In reality, life is a lot like riding a horse.  If we get knocked down, we have to stand back up again.  If we find ourselves with our face in the dirt, we must find the courage to get up, wash the dirt off, and move on.  And if we fall into a situation that we cannot get out of on our own, we need to call on Jesus to help us.  Sometimes, we need to simply avoid the horse altogether.  When you look at the parallel between riding a horse and living life, there are times when it is not always in our best interest to get back on the horse.  For there will likely be a pivotal moment in all of our lives when all we really need to do is get off the horse.

Let’s look at the world of equines.  Would you choose to ride a bucking bronco, or would you prefer a trail ride on a well-trained thoroughbred?  Unless you are a member of the rodeo circuit, you would probably prefer a nice, relaxing ride on a gentle horse.  Surely, there would be less chance of you falling off the horse if you chose the latter.  Even if you wear a helmet, boots, and all of the appropriate safety gear, there still exists the possibility of sustaining an injury.  Either option comes with some risk involved.  Yet, by choosing the tamer horse, you can greatly decrease the likelihood of suffering a serious injury.  One wise choice could essentially be the difference between life and death.

We are faced with similar choices in life.  We may see the bucking bronco as the glamorous or adventurous option, failing to see the danger that awaits.  This “bucking bronco” could represent any decision we make in life.  It could be a decision to drink and drive, take drugs, or abuse a child or spouse.  Or it could represent a choice to consistently slander someone, ignore a relative or long-time friend, or hold a grudge against a friend or family member.  Because of our inability to see the consequences of our choice, we may encounter unexpected hurdles.  Each time we jump over a hurdle, we may fall off the horse.  Still, get back on the horse and persevere, hoping things get better.  We repeatedly get back on the horse, only to find that things get worse instead.

There are many temptations in this world.  Satan wants to ensure that you have every opportunity to take advantage of them, and he will stop at nothing to make sure you focus on the bucking broncos of life.  He does not want you to choose the straight and narrow path, but instead, he wants you to choose to travel down the wide road of destruction (Matthew 7:13).  Much like the bucking bronco, this path may seem alluring.  You may fantasize about what it would like to experience the thrill, but once you are on that horse, you may get bucked off and find yourself crumpled on the ground.  That thrill may cause you to get back on the horse.  But if you want to live your life, you need to get off the horse.

In reality, there are times when we shouldn’t get on the horse in the first place.  But if you find yourself on a bucking bronco, hold on tight until you find a safe place to dismount the horse.  And if you fall off, God will be there to pick you up and carry you along.  Psalm 145:13-14 (NIV) says, “The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.  The LORD upholds all who fall.”  Trust in the Lord today.  He will never disappoint you.  He has your best interest at heart.  He knows how to avoid the dangers of bucking broncos on the path of destruction, and He can show you how to enjoy a smooth ride on the straight and narrow path. 

God wants us to make wise decisions.  He gives us the freedom to choose our own paths, but He hopes that we will always have our best interest at heart.  When we find ourselves sitting atop a wild horse, getting bucked off consistently, we need to ask God to guide us to a place of safety.  Inevitably, the first thing we need to do is to get off of the horse and then stay off the horse.  Getting back on will only result in further disappointments in life.  Don’t be disappointed with life.  Look to God, the One who will never disappoint you.  No matter how many times you have fallen off the horse, God will take your brokenness and make you whole.

In Christ’s Love,


May Day

When I was growing up, the first day in the month of May was always one of the highlights of spring.  My Mom always helped me pick wildflowers or make May baskets to give to friends and family, in honor of May Day, as it is observed in the United States.  And of course, I always made sure to give my Mom something extra special.  It was a glorious day, brightened even more by the colorful beauty of the flowers and other goodies stowed inside each and every basket.  As I have grown older, I can no longer find time to make May baskets to place on people’s doorsteps.  While this special day will always bring to mind fond memories from my childhood, the phrase May Day truly has a double meaning for me personally.

When I think of the phrase May Day, I do not solely think of the times when my Mom and I enjoyed such happy times together.  I also think of the times in my life when I was venturing through a dark storm.  There have been times when I felt I would drown in a sea of sorrow, due to the torrential rain pouring down upon me.  You could liken my distress to the captain of a ship who has suffered a breach to the hull of their ship, striving to remain focused on getting the lifeboats launched and other emergency operations under way.  Other times, I felt like a pilot who is flying in the darkest of night, with zero visibility, unable to control the plane due to the wind, rain, and hail falling down from the heavens above.  Certainly, in a dire circumstance such as this, the pilot would immediately call out, without hesitation, “Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday!”

While the distress signal “Mayday” is primarily used by mariners and aviators, the term would be quite appropriate for any sort of emergency.  The term Mayday comes from the French venez m'aider, meaning “come help me” (  Even though we do not have a radio on which to call for help, there is never a time that we cannot call on the name of Jesus Christ to help us.  God’s Word says, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear” (Hebrews 13:6 ESV).  If you find yourself drowning in despair, call out to Him.  If you are struggling to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, ask Him to give you strength and purpose.  If you feel like you are in a sinking ship, or if you feel that you are flying in a plane that is about to collide into the mountains ahead of you, call out to Jesus, saying, “Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday!”  Jesus Christ will answer your request, and come to help you.

Personally, I feel a little like calling out, “Mayday,” myself right now.  One week from today, I will be delivering the special music on Mother’s Day.  Not only that, but I am singing one of my Mom’s favorite songs that I have written.  My heart strings are being pulled in every direction.  My mind is worried.  Will I be able to sing on key?  Will I cry in front of everyone?  Will I forget the words, due to my distress?  I have been calling on the name of Jesus to help me.  When I am talking to our Heavenly Father, it seems like a hand rests upon my shoulder.  I feel a sudden calm.  It’s as if Jesus is saying to me, “I heard your distress call, my child.  I’m here to help you.  I know it will be difficult for you, but you can do it.  I know you can.  And I will be standing right beside you, holding your hand, guiding you all along the way.”

Jesus Christ does not desire for any of His children to experience fear, hopelessness, or despair.  He does not want us to feel as though we are being drawn into a dark tunnel from which we will never escape.  He wants us to see the light.  Not just the light at the end of the tunnel, but the Light.  Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 ESV).  Jesus is the Light of the entire world.  He can take away the darkness that surrounds you.  He can make the sun shine again.  With Jesus on your side, the shipwrecks and plane crashes of life will seem less treacherous.  The hurdles you are required to jump over will seem less strenuous.  And when you feel the walls are closing in around you, He will be there to help you.  Call on the precious name of Jesus.  He will take your miserable Mayday nightmare and turn it into a beautiful May Day dream.

In Christ’s Love,