Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Time for Forethought

Hello friends,

Forethought: careful planning, prudence, carefulness, farsightedness, wisdom, caution. These are words that I wonder if we understand. Forethought is a word that seems archaic to modern language, and, sadly, I think that its meaning is no longer understood, much less practiced.

In other words, I'm getting those forwards that insult just about everyone -- each candidate that is running for U.S. office, the Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, believers in general, etc. You probably get them, too. I don't know why the month of December and the end of the year brings out the worst of humanity, as well as the good; and I certainly don't know why anyone thinks I even read these things or want them.

It reminds me of a time, when I lived across the street from a young woman, who happened to belong to an extremely conservative Christian faith. Since I stupidly confided that I had once been divorced, and that I was now happily married to the love of my life, she immediately gave me her unnecessary opinion:

"You know you are an adulteress, don't you?" Wow! That made my hair stand on end, and I was insulted. However, I was kind, stating that I had never cheated on anyone. So, you might say we agreed to an unspoken truce.

Fast forward about 2 and 1/2 years. One day, she showed up at my house, wearing a red, satin, "lady of the night" dress. "Jaye," she began, "I'm leaving my husband and children (four of them), and I'm so happy, I just had to tell you. I knew you'd understand."

What in the world was she thinking? "You thought I'd understand? What part did you think I'd understand?" The red, cocktail dress? Leaving your husband? Or abandoning your children?

"But, Jaye, you're divorced. You should understand."

"Look," I said, "First of all, I'm not divorced. I'm married. Secondly, I never abandoned my children. Thirdly, I left my ex-husband, because he was abusive. Again, I never abandoned my children!"

So, I wondered if I had a sign on my forehead that said:

First, please call me names. Then confess your sins. It boggles the mind.

So, now, we have the internet, and we have "Forwards." And many of us have given ourselves permission to send any insulting thing we can think up or copy, to someone we barely know. This is a mystery to me. Because, you see, if I chance to read one of these forwards, I'm never going to send it on. And if it is insulting to any group, who never did anything to me (or even if they did) personally, I'm going to think less of the sender, not the object of ridicule.

So, I think that we have come to a time, where we must learn the meaning of "forethought," and it is not too late to practice it. Do I really want to send an insulting email? Do I hate all these persons or groups, that I have never met, so much, that I would send a hurtful forward to you? I hope I have more forethought than that. And if I am a believer, I should love God so much, that I also love others who were also made in His image and likeness.

Lord, may I cast away, in this season of Your Grace, all the human prejudices in my heart, knowing that I not only hurt the one for whom it is intended, but I also hurt You. As Francis of Assisi said, in his beautiful prayer for peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

Francis of Assisi

My friends, I probably fail at this every day. I certainly do in my heart, often. Perhaps if I can live each line at a time, one day, I will be a more loving person, and I will understand and practice, forethought.

Father in Heaven, grant me the Grace to bless You, as I bless others. Make me a more loving daughter, not only to my family and friends, but also to strangers, especially those who are different than I. May I breathe Your love in every breath that I take, and please forgive me when I fail.

With love,

Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Time for Kindness

Hello friends,

This has been a difficult week for me, and, gee, it's only Wednesday. However, I have also had a great blessing. Here are some personal things that I would like to share:

I have a heart problem. It began when I was about twenty-six years old, and by the time I was twenty-nine, it became serious. I also have an insurance company. My husband spent twenty years in the military earning the right to have our health looked after. Well, our insurance company has a heart problem, a spiritual heart problem, so they have been ignoring my doctor's advice, and they have been trying to force me onto a less expensive drug, which is largely ineffective. Well, if it doesn't work, what does a 62 year old woman with a heart problem do? Well, I think they haven't thought that far, just as many people with a spiritual heart problem do. They don't think that far.

My blessing is that there is a new drug...one that has made a difference in one night. So, my heart problem is now pretty much under control. It is scary to depend upon medication, and to be denied what you need. So, here I am, very blessed with a good doctor. A kind doctor. One who has great humility. One who cares. My heart problem is being taken care of.

This has gotten me thinking, just what kind of a heart do I have? Do I have a heart problem? One that God would be ashamed of? Am I wise, in my own eyes? Am I kind? Do I need a change of heart? Whenever I have a crisis in my health, after the whining, I try to look at what God is saying to me. I try to look at it from His point of view. I often don't know what God is saying to me. So, I wonder, beyond physical health, does God think there is something wrong with my heart? So, I have begun to search my soul, and I am asking God what I need to understand when I fear for my life.

"What do you want me to understand, Lord?"
"How do you want me to change?"
"In what way do you want me to grow?"

"Well, Jaye, how about showing more kindness?"
"How about complaining less, and being thankful more?"

This is what I have thought about all day. Perhaps we live in a time where kindness has become obsolete. The Bible says, that in the last days (our time), men (meaning the human race) "shall be lovers of their own selves...proud...unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers...despisers of those that are good...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." 2 Timothy 3:1-7

I think this scripture could be depressing, but somehow it makes me feel better, because I know that God sees just how weary our world has become. In a way, 2 Timothy states the obvious; but it was written nearly 2,000 years ago. God knows. He knows our pain. He knows our anxieties. He knows our problems. And He cares. He is kind. Oh, we can deny Him, but we can't make Him go away; nor would I want to. Oh, if I could only express the joy I feel, when I can almost hear His heart beat. In the darkness of my room, as I lay upon my bed, His light is so evident. Night time is the perfect time for me to have a heart to heart talk with my Lord.

I love you, Lord. Thank You for being with me, even when I have felt most alone. Thank You for holding my hand in the dark. Thank You, Lord, for rescuing me, and especially, thank you for being so kind. Help me, Lord, to be kind, like You.

God bless and keep you, my friends.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Time for Compassion

Hello friends,

As we approach the beginning of the second week before Christmas, I like to think about who needs help. In the past, our children have needed help, and God has sent earthly angels to minister to them. Helping is not just about money, or the holidays, or about toys, or about clothes. I think about those who may need a kind word, a smile, a hug, or just affirmation about their feelings.

I think about Psalms 4:4: In your anger do not sin; when you are on your bed; search your heart and be silent (Paraphrase mine).

Silence. That is a very difficult command to obey. If I have nothing else, I always have more words. Words can hurt. I know that intimately. I do not come from a family, where words were carefully weighed. Words were weapons, and not much else. The hardest thing for me, was that I actually thought of a response. It would have been the simplest thing to slaughter someone with a single sentence. I can't say that I wasn't tempted. I was. I also can't say, that I always held my peace. That would be a lie. But I can say that hurtful words were difficult for me to say, even in anger. When I saw the look of hurt in another's eyes, it would devastate me, and I would feel guilty for years. So, for my own peace of mind, for my physical and mental health, and for a more intimate walk with the Lord, I learned to hold my peace.

One day, long ago, I heard the voice of God, in my heart. He said to me: "Someone has to love. Someone has to forgive," and His loving pressure on my heart made me agree, "it might as well be me." That was the day that I began to surrender my will to His. That was the day that I began to understand just what compassion is. You see, I began to understand that compassion doesn't begin with a donation. Compassion begins with a changed heart, which translates into love.

Not everyone can go out and do. I can't, because my health is tenuous. I can't go to nursing homes, as I would like to do. I can't go to Africa and be a missionary. There are many things that I cannot do.

But I can say "thank you; you have blessed my life."
I can uplift.
And I can not hold a grudge.

There are those who are reading this, who suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, and many other afflictions, that can't readily be seen. I just want you to know, that the day you make it out of bed, and into the shower, is a triumphant day. The day you give your spouse a smile, instead of a sigh, is a day for celebration. You see, every journey begins with a single step.

When I was suffering from depression, I wrote to God, just as I am writing to you. Here is part of what I wrote:

"I walk through this day, because of You, Lord.
No personal power of my own gets me out of bed and onto my knees.

You are the One Who gives me the desire to look up,
To open my eyes,
To push myself up off of the floor.
By Your strength I walk.
By Your grace, I keep going.
When I stumble, You catch me in Your arms,
And when I fall, You carry me."

(Excerpt "Because of You" Copyright Jaye Lewis, 2002)

There is not a day that goes by, that I believe I can take a single step, without leaning on the One who is my strength. He is forever in my heart. His love is beyond any love I have ever had. I live each day, one day at a time. Depression, bi-polar, and mania run in my family. And no one can push my buttons quite like a relative can. So, I will leave them alone. I've done all the contacting I'm going to do. However, I can feel compassion. I can keep silent. I can let them live or die by their own sword, figuratively speaking. You see, nothing cuts like an unkind word. Nothing wounds quite like knowing someone's weakness, and then using that against them. And nothing destroys us, quite like our own words against others. Evil, you see, destroys itself.

Again, I know I'm blessed. I have a most wonderful husband. I know what it feels like to be cherished every day of my life. I have wonderful daughters. I know what it is to be honored by my children. I know their devotion. And I know their beauty, which shines through their eyes, from their remarkable souls.

I know what it is to have a relationship with Christ; to honor Our Father in heaven. I also know what it is like to try Him; to turn away; and I know what it is to repent, and to be forgiven. How can I not love a God like that? So, this Christmas season, I want to celebrate the Babe of Bethlehem. I want to celebrate His Divinity. I want to celebrate His humility as a Man, and His power, as God Himself. I also want to celebrate His Jewish roots. Remember, Jesus said, that He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. So, this Christmas, I want to remember Israel, God's land, and God's people.

At the same time, I have many Muslim and Hindu friends. I have a deep respect for them, in all their diverse humanity. I have agnostic and atheist friends, and I do appreciate our mutual respect for one another.

So, here I am, a child of God, in submission to Christ, celebrating His birth, His sacrifice, and His love. But I must have compassion for those who suffer in this season. I must have compassion for the lost and hurting. I must have mercy for someone besides myself, and for those who are not easy to love. Some may be dangerous to be near, but that is okay. I can pray for them; and I can wish them no harm, even if they wish harm to me.

I belong to Jesus, and I cannot tell you what that means to me. Why did He remember me on the Cross? Why did He choose Me? Who am I that my Lord should even notice me? So, for His great love, and to honor Him, I can have compassion for others; and in my heart, because of Him, I can forgive.

Sweet Lord of my life. I am unworthy of You, but I will celebrate You every day of my life. And when I see my sin, I will repent, and ask for Your forgiveness, knowing that You will forgive, not because of what I am, but for Who You are.

With all my love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Time to Choose Direction

Hello friends,

Today is a day of choosing direction for me. Yes, I do remember when I had no idea just what that means. I thought, if I can just find Jesus, I'll know my direction, and I'll never get lost. I used to pray, "Lord, please never let go of my hand." It never occurred to me that I was the one who was letting go. It was "His" job to hold my hand and lead me to where "I" wanted to go. If I decided on this direction, then He was supposed to bless my efforts. If I decided to go in that direction, then He would make me successful in that. And, if I changed my mind, well, then it was His job to keep up.

There is some humor in that frame of mind, no doubt; but there is much foolishness, also. What does the Preacher tell us in Ecclesiastes? "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJ). Vanity can also be translated, "useless," but I prefer the word "vanity." It more accurately describes the human condition. After all, we are often so important to ourselves.

"Look at me, God! Look how I am suffering for You!"

"Can't You see how humble I am?!"

"Why do you let others make me suffer? Smite them, Lord...and let me watch!"

"See how good I am! Look at the example I'm setting!"

I could, literally, go on and on, because, to be honest, I'm very good at whining.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible centers on Elijah, who is literally shouting at God. Remember that Elijah had just finished slaying the false prophets of Baal, Jezebel's pet priests. Now, Elijah has "girded his loins," literally pulled his robes up and, unceremoniously, tucked them into his belt. Then he ran like the dickens into the mountains (and to think that I have difficulty running up the hill after my dog). Standing at the door of a cave, Elijah entreats God to explain Himself.

Then God teaches Elijah a lesson. He sends a great wind, then an earthquake, and finally fire; but the Lord was in none of these. Soon after, the Lord whispers. There was the Lord, whispering. Do you know how hard it is to hear a whisper, when you are hollering and scared to death? But, Elijah heard the Lord. The Lord then did what the Lord does best. He asked Elijah what he wanted. Well, this was not because God was confused; it was because Elijah was confused. Then Elijah proceeds to inform the Lord, as to just how faithful he was (above everyone else). He declares to the Lord, just how he has fought for the Lord, because of God's disobedient children, who have been unfaithful.... And then, Elijah, moves on to the point of his tirade:

"...I, ALONE, am left; and they seek to take my life...!"

It is as if Elijah is saying, Then what will you do, Lord? Who will be here for you, then?! So, the Lord sends Elijah back with an even greater mission. His parting words were, oh by the way, you are NOT alone. "I have reserved seven thousand (faithful) in Israel, who have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has NOT kissed him" (emphasis mine). 1 Kings 19:18 (NKJ). Elijah was not alone. He was not the only faithful one. God had a personal relationship with seven thousand others. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," says the Preacher.

It is encouraging to note, that the prophet who was so loved by God that he never died, felt alone. I don't think that Elijah meant to be vain. He was terrified and all too human. And I think that God loved him the more, because of his humanity. Elijah continued to be obedient, and he served God faithfully, until God sent His fiery chariot to bring him into heaven. What a thrilling story, about a real man, who had human foibles, who was simply obedient, even unto a death that never came.

How in the world could this Prophet's conflict apply to me? Well, each of us is called to be obedient. Each of us is called to walk a path, and our faith is not perfect. Each step we take is uncertain, and our faith must be that when we reach out with our feet, we can be assured that God will make straight the path before us. Hard, isn't it? But, fulfilling.

I have told my children, time and again, "Keep your eyes on the Light; and when the Light moves, you are going in the wrong direction." I've also said, and I believe it with all my life, that if I ever think the world can save me; if I believe this world even has the answer; if I line up to receive the world's blessings, then I'm standing in the wrong line!

Father, please forgive me for my vanities. I reject this course, and I renew my faith in You. Jesus, You are my only way; my only choice; and I renew my faith in You. May I walk this day, setting my feet on Your path, unknowing which way the path will turn, always believing that you will make my path straight.

With love,

Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Time for Trust

Hello friends,
Today is like many days I have, as a writer.  I feel like I'm standing still.  I live a partially reclusive life.  Everyone goes off to work or school, and I take care of the dogs...and I write.  I get on the treadmill, going as long as I can go; I rest...and again, I write.  And often, I wait.  I wait for my kids to come home.  I wait for our elderly dogs to find the perfect spot.  I wait for my husband to walk through the door, and I wait for my stories and articles to be published.  Then I wait for the check.
The most important waiting I do, is what every believer struggles with:  waiting on God.  But waiting on God is more than just passing time.  Waiting on God requires trust.  My mistake, often, is forgetting that whole trust part, and instead, I whine and complain, and I try to read God's mind.  Think about it...me, reading God's mind.  Okay.  Quit laughing.  I know that I'm wrong, but it is the human condition...to demand; to complain; to try to read God's mind; and when we can't read His mind, all too often we give up on Him.  Or we deny Him altogether.
The one thing I have the most struggle with, is patience.  Oh, I have patience with the dogs, especially the old ones.  I have patience with my children (who are adults, by the way), and I have patience with my husband.  But I have no patience for myself, and I often am impatient with God.
So, I thought I would share with you, my imperfections, today, since this Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.  This is a big deal in our country.  It is a commemoration of the first successful English settlement.  It is also a commemoration of a rare event in our history...cooperation with those whom we barely knew (the Native Americans), and a mutual respect between two diametrically opposed societies.  Together, they celebrated the first American Thanksgiving.
In light of this anticipated feast, I hold in my heart those families, who will never see their loved ones again.  I pray for the parents, brothers, sisters, spouses, and sweethearts of the fallen.  I also lift my heart in prayer for those who have not come back from war whole, whether in body, mind, or spirit.  I pray for their families, and I beg their forgiveness, for my selfishness.  Oh, how I want this war to end!  How I want to see families reunited!  Oh, how I want peace to triumph over profit.  Oh, how I long for Jesus to come.  Now there is something worth waiting for...and worth waiting well.
So, today...this moment...I begin anew.  I ask God's forgiveness, and I ask your forgiveness, for my impatience over my own desires and aspirations.  I renew my faith in God, and I choose to trust Him, going against every selfish bone in my body.  I have the evidence of His loving kindness.  I trust you, Lord, though I often let you down.  I trust you, Lord, though I don't deserve your notice.  I trust You, Lord, because You have brought me through the shadows of my life, and into a place of hope, peace, and love...a hope in You...a peace that only You can supply...and love immeasurable.  I am a happy woman, Lord, because You have given me everything.
As a veteran, and the wife of a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, I just want parents, sweethearts, spouses, brothers and sisters to know, that at night when we pray for our own children, we pray for yours.  We pray for the protection for your loved ones on the front lines.  We pray for those in the line of fire, as though each one is our own child.  We pray for this war to be over, and we pray for peace.
And, then, as everyone in my house is asleep, I am blessed to keep the night watches, just me and God, and I lift you up to Him, and I pray that He will keep you in his care; as though you were my very own, for I know that you are His.  It is all I have to give you, just these prayers.  And, I beg your forgiveness for ever believing my life is not blessed.  And I want you to know that your sacrifice for each of us is more precious than rubies...and the tears of those who have lost loved ones...your tears are as diamonds...to all of us.  God will not forget you or your sacrifice.  And if you feel alone, I'm honored to keep watch and to pray with you.
My daughter Jenny took a picture of me and my Happy Dog, last spring, after a killing frost had destroyed every blossom in my garden, except for my beautiful, flowering crabapple.  Right before my 61st birthday, we had a surprise snow, here in the Southern Appalachians.  It was beautiful!  Each time I look at that picture, with the snow covering the destruction that was my garden, I realize that Jesus is coming to change the earth into something bright and beautiful. I don't know when.  I just know that I will wait, and I will trust in Him.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Time for Worship

Hello friends,

I just got off of my treadmill. I was on there for less than 15 minutes. Getting back into worship walk, after so many failures, is not easy; but I am determined this time, to get back up to a mile a day, even if I have to do it in stages.

Which brings me to a rather funny encounter in one of my doctor's offices. His nursing assistant, a much younger woman, and by the size of her and her muscle tone, it was obvious that she was a runner, decided to give me advice on my exercise program. Now, I have serious arthritis, fibromyalgia, and a neurological condition. And I am nearly 62 years old!!! That's what we had been talking about. When I told her that I walked a mile a day, and that I was controlling my diabetes with diet and exercise, she immediately launched into unsolicited exercise advice.

"You need to POWER walk 3 miles!" She exclaimed. Well, unsolicited exercise advice always irritates me.

"No," I explained, "It's really important that I be able to get up there every day. So, I'll just be plugging along at my own pace, thank you."

"No. No! No!" She insisted. "You MUST power walk! You'll lose more weight, and you'll get better, faster!

"Really," I mused, "Is that before or after my coma diet?"

"What?" She asked.

"My coma diet...you know, after I fall and break my neck, and I wind up in a coma. Is that when my exercise level will improve? Or is it merely after my broken leg is mended."

The nursing assistant gave me a confused look. Finally, I said, "I'll tell you what...you run your way; and I'll walk mine." Then the doctor came in, and her sermon was finished.

Yes, I can make a joke out of it, now; but I remember vividly when a successful day for me, was merely getting out of bed. When a person has health issues, and has neglected to exercise, you don't recommend that he or she take up racquet ball or squash. I get so aggravated with that. No one, out of shape and very ill begins with POWER WALKING, especially 3 miles! Begin where you are, and proceed slowly. I have seen more people crippled, spending days in bed, just trying to recover from that first day of exercise, including myself. Wisdom dictates that you begin; perseverance will bring slow, but steady, progress; and it's nobody's business where you end up.

I hope you won't give up on your exercise program, and be careful of unsolicited advice. I don't know why people insist on dominating others, especially where diet and exercise programs are concerned. If it sounds like baloney, it probably is. Don't let people intimidate you. Even if you feel a need to agree, just to get them out of your face. You can always do your own thing later.

So, this morning, I wish you success; not as the world claims; but as God has proclaimed. He is not interested in how many miles we go. He is interested in us. It's not about muscle or brawn or strength. It's about our hearts. That's all that God wants from us - our hearts in tune with His.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Time for Prayer

Hello friends,

I'm so sorry that it has taken so long to write to you. I'm going through what most diabetics have trouble with. My diabetes is changing. I'm still able to control my blood sugar with diet and exercise, but I'm losing weight quickly, now that I have changed neurological medications, and now, I have to find out, carefully, what I can eat; when to exercise; and back to the frequent testing. Basically I have lost 16 pounds. I Still have a ways to go, but that's still a lot of weight loss in a short amount of time. So, I've gone from 188 lbs. down to 172 lbs.

I've been praying, a lot. The medication that I was on, for my neurological issues, could suck the calories from a hunk of lettuce and slap on another five pounds. I was very discouraged, because my grandmother weighed over 200 pounds. Now, on my new medication, I am being careful NOT to lose my weight too fast; so I'm praying for wisdom, and I'm praying that my weight will gradually come off, over time. It's a healthy way to lose weight.

Certain medications really do affect one's weight control, no matter what the nay-sayers claim. A person with diabetes, especially one on diabetes medication, can have a terrible time controlling their weight. I've been blessed. I'm still able to control my diabetes, and even lose weight, without diabetic drugs. So, have a little mercy, I say to the judgmental people who make fun of someone overweight. You don't know. You don't know their family history. You don't know what medications they are on. And you certainly don't know enough about genetics to fit into a teaspoon.

It makes me angry, when I see prejudice against people who are a higher weight. One time I actually heard a dietician claim that the little carved idols that people worshiped many millennia ago, were actually an indication that people had weight problems, then, too. What a bunch of know-it-alls. The fact is, that during the Victorian Age, not that long ago; women made certain to put on weight, so that others would see just how successful their husbands were. I know, because my grandmother was one of those women. Our fixation with hyper-thinness is a new thing, probably begun in the 1920's. Before that time, a beautiful woman was a plump woman, and skinny was anything but in.

Now, my present philosophy is, to learn all I can about my disease; find a style of eating that includes slow release carbohydrates; get on my treadmill; and pray. Yes, I said it. I pray. So, if the governor of Georgia is willing to humble himself and kneel on the Capitol steps, asking God to send rain, I'm with him. Because, we have been praying for rain, here in the middle Atlantic. So far, we have had nearly a week of rain, after a terrible drought. Now we pray for the southeast, and for other areas of the country who need it.

Prayer, for the uninitiated, or for the unbelieving is like a musical symphony that we sing with our hearts. God knows who is sincere, and he knows who is repentant; because repentance goes hand in hand with prayer. None of us are perfect, and I believe in going to God each day to ask Him for forgiveness; THEN I pray for my needs and the needs of family and friends. And, yes, I even pray for my enemies, although that's a lot harder.

It hurts my heart, when someone belittles God or a prayerful person. We cannot read their hearts. Only God can. And, yes, there are those who praise Him with their lips, and their hearts are far from Him. He told us in the Bible that would happen.

I've spent my whole life searching for the right path. Finally, in the autumn of my life, I really understood who Jesus is, my Savior, Christ the Lord. No one has to believe that, except me. I do wonder, though, about those who totally reject God. Have they ever thought about where they are going when they die? One thing is for sure, each of us is going to die, and for those non-believers, I just want to ask, if you're wrong, and there is something more, would you want to know?

These are the things that have been on my heart this week. These are the questions I asked myself throughout my own life. I did not know Him; and the joy of knowing Him later in life is the greatest blessing I've ever known.

Lord, help me to be understanding. Help me to be Your true servant. And please pardon me for my sins. I don't deserve it, but I know you will give it, not for who I am, but for who You are.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Time for Reflection

Hello friends,

Yesterday, one of my stories, "Real Hero," was published again on HeartTouchers.com It is about my encounter, during the Vietnam War, with a wounded Marine officer. I was an active duty WAVE in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the Military Information Booth in San Francisco International Airport. I was there for one reason, to assist active duty G.I.s and their families. To me, it was a calling from God, and I think I would have laid down my life for them. I didn't have to. They laid down their lives for me.

I've received many emails in the last couple of days, calling me a hero. I can assure you, I was not. I did, however, have an extremely defined sense of honor. To serve, in my small way, and to defend each G.I. who was in my care was an honor.

Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, defined courage as action over fear. Without thinking about the present danger, you act. If your defined values are already set, you will simply do what you should; but it doesn't make you a better person than anyone else.

When I was young, and I guess, even now, I was rash and impulsive. When outraged, I simply acted. I don't know why, and often my decisions were foolish or dangerous. Of course, at 61, I don't go saving the world that much. A light-hearted run, can send me cascading down the hill, rolling in the pine needles. Now I pray.

I want to share with you, the honor code, that I try to live by:

Always tell the truth, even, and perhaps most especially, when it hurts. Be kind, when you can. Truth does not mean harming another. Truth must be wrapped in gentleness. Do not back down when you know you are right. At the same time, when it is not for a righteous cause, or if it's none of your business, hold your peace. Never let a day go by that you miss telling your loved ones just how much you love them. Forgive, when possible. Wish no harm upon the one who has hurt you, when making amends is NOT possible. Smile and laugh until you can't breathe or until you wet your pants. It will make you feel good. Cry, when you need to, but don't throw your own pity party. No one wants to come.

Grit your teeth in the face of adversity, and believe that God will deliver you, or give you the strength to endure. Read the Bible every day. Never compromise your honor, or God's. Pray that you never have absolute power. You will never own it. It will always own you. Recognize the evil in those who have power. Don't hold on to your ideal of them. They will only let you down. Most important of all, be brutally honest with yourself.

Do not long for riches, because riches will bury you. In time, you will not even know who you are. And, when the road gets weary, as it will, and stumbling blocks are before you every step of the way, surrender and let God carry you.

In Jesus name, I pray that this is the best week of your life; and if it turns out to be the worst, try to remember what He suffered for you. These are the things I hope for. These are the ideals I aspire to. These are the ways in which I often fail. I'm human. I fail, a lot.

Just for today,
The only person I will 'rescue' is myself.
I will not try to 'save the world,' just for today.

Just for today,
I will feel peace;
Knowing that there is Someone greater than I
To deal with my problems.

Just for today,
I will allow God to be God.
I will be His reflection.
I will not try to create Him, in my image.

Just for today,
I will cease to block His love,
And I will allow the passion within me,
To embrace the lover of my soul.

Just for today,
I will ask God to forgive me.
Just for today, I will let Him.

Excerpt from "Just for Today"
Copyright Jaye Lewis, 1993

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

Hello friends,
Do you ever feel weary from the struggles of life?  I'm especially speaking of the struggles where someone else is involved; someone who doesn't care; someone who is supposed to care, then shows by actions, that they just don't care.  Do you ever feel as though righteousness, in society, no longer has meaning?  I'm having one of those weeks.
Years ago, when I worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, taking care of service members, I found myself working along side of people who simply didn't care.  It always made me angry.  In the military, taking care of service members' pay records and service records is probably the most important job one could have.  If a pay record was lost, it could mean their children would suffer.  If a service record was lost, then there was no record of their rank, where they were stationed, and so, their ability to go up in pay-grades was impaired, which in turn made their families suffer.
All these worries that I had for people I didn't know was one of the reasons that I was good at my job.  Making certain that their families would be able to be taken care of.  Time after time someone would come up with a lost record.  Someone else, who didn't care, would say, "oh, I looked."
"Well, did you look under their last name or first name?"
"I looked, I tell you, I looked!  It's not there!"
Nine times out to ten, I would find the record.  I'd find a pay record in with the service records; or I would find a record "filed" under their middle name, their first name, or (in the case of a female service member) under their maiden name.  It made me so angry to know that so-and-so, obviously didn't care if they found the record at all.  This week, I've been on the receiving end.  You see, in the U.S. Military, after you've retired, you are still attached to the Department of Defense.  So, aside from my doctor; aside from my pharmacist; aside from my sweet husband, who is calling people to task, right now; aside from my children; and aside from God, nobody cares.  You can see it in the neglect of our young wounded, whose lives have been ripped asunder by war.  Perhaps I am saying too much.  I try not to address my country's government.  There is just too much to say that would be negative.  And, please, don't tell me how tender hearted someone is by that photo-op tear running down his cheek.  That's not what the Bible tells us.
The Bible tells us that by our fruits (results) we are known.  It tells us that love, honor, and kindness are everything.  It teaches us to care, and frankly, caring and doing something about it are a rare treasure these days.
So, this little tirade, I apologize for.  I just want you to know, that I understand your sorrows.  I may not know what they are, but I care...really care.  I also wanted to share that this world gets heavy for me, too.  And even though I know God loves me, and the evidence in my life is unmistakable, I sometimes get angry with God, because He doesn't immediately fix it.  I do harangue Him sometimes; and later I wonder why He bothers to put up with me.
Then, I'll just sit and look at the birds that come to my yard.  I'll think about how important their well-being is to me.  We keep their bird baths full.  We keep seed and fruit and suet available, and I care about them with all my heart.  A few days ago, all the bird baths were full; yet we found two wild turkeys...one sitting on a bird bath pecking like crazy at the ice, and one underneath scratching at the ground.
How in the world is this story relevant?  Well, I wasn't expecting the water to freeze.  Sometimes it has gotten so cold that seed has frozen to the ground.  The birds don't know that there is a reason.  They only know they have no drink and they have no feed.  While I am certain that God knows exactly who and what is responsible for our troubles; He doesn't interfere with human free will.  And we humans expect Him to, when we need Him to smite someone.  But not a single one of us would be willing to give up our own free will, so that the dirty so-and-so will get what's coming to him.
It's hard sometimes to keep my perspective.  I want satisfaction, and I want it now!  But in my heart, and in my life, I see the love God has for me.  I see His hand of favor upon my children, no matter their adversities.  I see how much He loves my husband, and I see how they all bless my life.  If that's not evidence of God in my life, then I don't know anything.  I know He loves me, and I know there is one who hates good, and only loves evil, and he never rests.
However, as I write this, I think of all the storms in my life, that God has brought me through, and I must acknowledge that and be grateful.

The Eye of the Storm


Keep me, oh Lord, in the eye of the storm,

Where my heart can beat without fear.

In the silence so deep;

In the warmth of Your love;

I know that Your presence is near.


For though it is dark, and the silence so still,

Your Light still illumines the place.

You are with me, oh Lord;

You surround me with hope;

In the dark I can still see Your face.


© Jaye Lewis, 1999

(Verse one and two of The Eye of the Storm)


With love,


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Time for a Reality Check

Hello friends,

Do you ever find the world too heavy to bear? Sometimes it's financial. Sometimes it's work issues. Sometimes it is family. And sometimes it seems as though it's everything rolled into one. Are we alone in all of this? Are those who believe in a Supreme Being, simply deluding themselves? Lot's of people would say, "Yeah! What a crock! There's no one out there who cares. We're all alone, and we're going nowhere!"

So, if there is someone out there who feels so alone, that the moon has more life on it, I have not answers, but questions. And they are the same questions that I ask myself, when my prayers seem fruitless and my body tells me I'm growing old faster than I want to. So, here goes, Jaye.

Have you ever wondered:

Who paints the sunset?
Who dots the starlit night?
Who fills my heart with wonder?
Who fills my soul with light?

Who rescued me from danger,
And turned my life around?
Who gave me peace and comfort,
And showed me I am found?

Who lifts the mist of morning
And lights the break of day?
Who sends a lovely rainbow
To chase the clouds away.

I think of all these precious things
When life is killing me;
Then I'll remember Whose I am
Throughout eternity.

Copyright, Jaye Lewis, 2007

Yesterday was just such a day, filled with triumph and tragedy. Like most people, I trust my country's leaders just about as far as I can throw them. And, often, nothing pleases me more than the fact that I live in an unimportant place, and nobody knows who the heck I am. However, I do see blessings in my own life. I see that my husband is an honorable man...a man whose word is his bond...a man who is faithful to me and our children...a man who cares for those who work for him. He is a humble man, who is not afraid of getting his hands dirty, and he will never send a person to do a job, that he wouldn't do himself. It touches my heart just to know how selfless he is. And I know with all my heart, that I can trust the God who placed that giving heart within him.

My daughters light up my life. Their beauty and intelligence fill my life; and their devotion warms my soul. I am a blessed woman, and I know it.

Last night, after much prayer this past week, we had rain. The weather folk insisted last week that the drought would continue. (Isn't it wonderful how they can see into the future and make sweeping predictions that are unavoidable? NOT!) There is Another in charge, and He doesn't mind surprising those who think they know everything. We are still praying for the lower southeast, that their weather patterns will change and rain will fill their reservoirs and relieve their parched thirst.

I can't help but wonder, though, if God is trying to get our attention. In the Book of Isaiah, God warns those who have poisoned His earth, that there will be judgment. I pray every day, as we also do in family prayer, that God will have mercy on those who try to care for our planet; that He will not punish those who depend on Him for protection. I also pray that He will watch over our children. We are so dependant upon Him to care for our children in an unsafe and uncertain world.

The world is getting larger, as our minds become smaller. If we acknowledge that we are poisoning our planet, our profits will be smaller. I cannot help but remember the words of Jesus, "Thou fool! Tonight thy soul will be required of thee!" Is profit greater than truth? Is gain on this earth all we care about? Are we blind and deaf? I pray that we are not.

Yesterday, I read online about the Pharaoh, King Tutankhamen. His head was removed from his sarcophagus and it was put on display. His bare skull. This once great king. This boy-King who was buried with more gold than anyone has ever seen. His golden coffin is here on earth. His shrunken skull is still here, but where is his soul? What makes the world believe that we can amass so much wealth, at any cost, and that we won't ever suffer the consequences?

At least, these are the things that I think about, when the world seems too great to bear. I feed the birds, giving them shelter, food and water; and I try to remember that Jesus said, "You are worth more than many sparrows."

Thank You, Lord, for Your precious Word, which warns and promises. Thank You for being clear in what we should do. Thank You, Lord, for cutting through our hypocrisies, and for showing us the way on the narrow road. Help us, Lord, to be very certain, that as we place our hand in Yours, you will make our paths straight.

With love,

Jaye Lewis

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Time for Humility

Hello friends,

I have heard from so many wonderful people these last few days, and I just want you to know that I have been touched by your kind words, advice and prayers. When I post a blog, it is my diary...my journal, that I am sharing with whomever God sends. I open my soul, to Him and to you, and there is a healing love that washes over me, even when I have no idea who is, or who is not, reading my blog post.

I have been asked some questions about my diet, so I feel a need to clarify that my intent is not to preach, but to share what has worked for me. I don't usually do this, but I feel that some clarification is in order. I have poor health, and a host of diseases, that I control with medication, diet and exercise. You might say that in the past, I was kind of a health nut. My children never tasted white sugar, or processed foods, until they were nearly in their teens. I ate all of the foods that are considered to make one healthy. I took natural vitamins, drank herbal teas, etc., etc. And all of this may have delayed, but did not prevent arthritis, life-threatening asthma, trigeminal neuralgia, migraines and other neurological conditions, and diabetes. I'm aware that it is in my genes, and we live in a fallen world.

Most of the time, I'm able to forge ahead. I'm more of a half-a-glass-full kind of person, so I live on hope, faith, and my personal relationship with God. However, there are those days when I wonder why I'm doing this. Last night was one of those nights. My blood sugar, which I must keep under 140, no matter what I eat, was 160, and I could feel it climbing. I thought I was eating a food with no sugar. I discovered that although that was true, the food was loaded with carbohydrates, which turns into glucose in the body. This may seem small, but I am not on diabetes drugs. I'm doing this with diet, exercise, and holding God's hand.

I was so discouraged last night. I'm going to be 62 in less than six months, and I just don't know how long this diet and exercise will be all that I need to control my blood sugar. I will say this, for those who may be interested in my diet, that there are some fruits that have a lower "inulin" response (less likely to affect blood sugar rises). Here are the fruits that I stick to: one small apple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, fresh cherries, apricots, peach, nectarine, and an occasional plum. I test my blood sugar before I eat, and one hour after I eat. That lets me know if I need to get on my treadmill.

A normal fasting-blood sugar, taken in the morning is 80. In a healthy person, blood sugar rarely rises much more than that, but in a diabetic, a fasting-blood sugar of 115 is a cause for dancing, and after I eat, if I can keep my blood sugar under 140, I can still get on my treadmill and walk it off. I use Splenda. You might say that I am very strict with what I eat, but some would say that artificial sweeteners are a poison. Well, I can't say that, since my poison is sugar. I believe that Splenda has given me quality of life.

I've recently discovered that I have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), in spite of how strict I have been in the last four years. Then I found out that I can't avoid neuropathy, I can merely slow it down. I'm stubborn. No doubt about it. I fight my diseases with every ounce of my strength. I often say that I'm going down swinging.

I do feel that it is important to let you know, that anything I mention, that I eat, is merely a window into my world. It is not meant to say, you must eat this, too. You see, diabetes is NOT a one-size-fits-all disease. It is a complicated disease, and no two people react exactly the same. So NEVER do what I have done, without a heart-to-heart conference with your doctor. He or she may send you to a dietician. The Harvard School of Health released an excellent food pyramid, which can be adjusted to your own lifestyle. The link can be found at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pyramids.html

I realize that there are those who must be on diabetes medication. Let's face it, we all want to live as long as God allows. We do not want to "test" Him, by doing things that would hurt our bodies. I used to know two women, lovely women, who were diabetics. About once a year they would decide "I don't have diabetes." They would go off of their medication, and head for the chocolate cake. Both of them wound up in a diabetic coma, again and again. That's scary stuff. It scares the wits out of me. They actually were my inspiration to control what I eat, to test my sugar frequently during the day, and to stay on my treadmill.

So, now, it's just you and God and your doctor. Believe me, my prayers are with you. This is a tough life, but it is also a rich life. I can see. I can breathe. I can love. I can count all my fingers and toes. I don't have to die of an asthma attack or diabetes. And while I'm doing what is right for my body, I can praise God for the privilege of walking behind Jesus as He carries His Cross to Calvary. It's a small price to pay to honor Him.

Father, I begin again this day, to carry my Cross, with humor, faith in You, and a dogged determination that I will not dishonor You. Help me to understand what my body needs to keep as healthy as I can be in the body I have. Please bless those who are struggling with weight, diabetes, or any disease. Please give them hope, and strength, and love. Help each of us realize that we are incapable of saving ourselves. Grant us the grace to place our hand in Yours, believing as our Savior did, that it is not our will, but Yours that must be done.

With Love,

Jaye Lewis

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Time to Keep

Hello friends,

I guess you can tell by my title on this blog, that I love Ecclesiastes, especially Chapter 3. "There is a time and a purpose for everything under the heavens." How lovely are those words to me. If you go back and read the first 8 verses of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, you will notice that for every action, there is an opposite reaction. It's also one of the laws of physics. Gee, I wonder who created "the laws of physics?"

Anyhow, I'm amazed that God, in His Word, gave such an understanding to Solomon; and that He would allow us to share in that. So, I chose today, "a time to keep." Sometimes it is hard to understand Biblical language, so I thought I would focus on this verse.

A time to keep. A time to work things out, instead of walking away. A time to keep mercy in our hearts. A time to keep understanding, even when I feel misunderstood. A time to keep my distance, when I must walk away from bad habits, from bad people, and bad things.

The opposite, of course, is "a time to cast away." These two go hand-in-hand. In order to keep one thing, I may need to cast another away. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I come from a dysfunctional family. Cruelty was easy for them. Criticism, ridicule, and accusations were paraded as truth. "Why not insult someone. It's only the truth." I don't know why they were that way. I was often the target. I don't know why that, either. But I decided to take a different road. I decided that I'd rather heal, than hurt. I decided to forgive, rather than hold a grudge. However, in choosing that path, I had to walk away. I had to let go of my relatives, in order to keep my sanity. I had to cast away values that I could no longer live with. I desperately wanted to keep my budding relationship with God. I clung to my Savior, Jesus, and I walked away.

Yes, it hurt. Family is very important to me; but not a family who takes delight in hurting. I was given a choice...them, or Jesus. I chose Jesus. I have to have Him. I can't live without Him. In return, God has given me a wonderful family, in my husband, and in my two adult daughters. These devoted women are the light of my husband's and my life. I'm happy, and I'm not alone.

I guess my message is that sometimes we have to turn away. Sometimes, we have to leave the wrong thing, so that we can keep the right thing. It's not easy. In fact, it's plain hard, but it has been very healing.

A Time to Keep. A Time to Cast Away. I'm so thankful for the clarity of these words. Thank You, Lord, for all of your blessings. And when I was the last person on earth for You to have chosen, thank You, Lord, for keeping me.

With Love,

Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Time to Remember Who Is In Charge

Hello friends,

This morning I am waiting to find out the decision a doctor will make about my youngest daughter. She is 33, but to me and my husband, she is still our baby. She has a pituitary tumor, and the decision will be either powerful drugs or surgery. Thankfully, the top hospital for treating these tumors is the one that she is at. My husband is there with her, and, as usual, I await word.

It's very difficult to face the serious illness of one's own child. I feel helpless and a little afraid. I thank God that my faith, which was so little not that long ago, has grown stronger; so that I can truly trust in Him.

So, why do we suffer? I used to ask that, a lot. And being human, I sometimes still do. My only answer is that I'm not in charge. And the strange thing about not being in charge is that I know the One who is in charge. Think about it. What would we do with all the evil people in the world? And would it be the right thing? I struggle with that nearly every day. Thankfully, I'm not in charge, and I don't have to make those decisions.

I wish I could say that life gets easier, as one's faith gets stronger, but that's not really the case. We suffer, because we live in a fallen world, where perfection is an illusion. People who have fame and fortune gladly tell us that they have the answer. They have everything, they say, and they can make us "rich." Just ask them, and, of course, buy their product, their book, or their C.D. But they don't have the answers either. They also face the night watches, often alone. What if they knew, or could accept, that they are never alone? What if they reached out to feel God's heart beating within their own chest? What if they were very quiet, and they listened, would they want to hear that they are not alone?

Jesus said, that the good man speaks from the overflow of a good heart; while the evil man speaks from the overflow of an evil heart. It gives me chills to read His one sentence synopsis of this passage of scripture. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

I hope that the abundance of my heart is kindness, forgiveness, and faith. Not in myself, but in Him. What will He choose for me today? And will I place my trust fully in Him? Will I honor Him? And will I understand that as I suffer or am discouraged, that I can place my trust in the One Who was discouraged and suffered, first, for me?

Thank You, Father, for loving me anyway. Thank You for the blessings that You give to me, simply because I try and so often fail. And thank You most of all for overlooking my failures. Help me, Lord, to be strong today, and when I'm weak, thank You for being here to carry me through.

With Love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Time of Wonder

Hello friends,

In a few moments, I'll be stepping onto my treadmill. Who knows how far I'll walk, or how many trips it will take me to make a mile. I'm just thankful that I can walk. My husband gave me an MP3 player, so that I could listen to my favorite worship music. Oh me! I'm finally getting the hang of it, and yesterday was a wonderful worship day.

Because of pain and neurological issues, I can no longer hold my Bible to study and mark with highlighters of every hue. Writing comments and thoughts and prayers is also a painful process. So, my husband bought me a PDA with the complete NKJV Bible translation. There it is with Christ's words in red. I'm still learning how to use it. I can't be hurried, because I grew up in a different age, where writing, calligraphy, and penmanship was an art-form learned in grade school. We wrote with an instrument called a "quill." No, not the ones with feathers. I'm not quite that old. These were writing instruments similar to calligraphy pens. We would dip the points in India Ink, which stayed in our inkwell (that little hole in the top of old school desks). I can still smell the pungency of the ink, as I uncapped the bottle; and I can still hear the sound of pen on paper, carefully written so as not to smudge the ink or tear the paper.

So, now, I'm using this computer to write to you, and I'm listening to music on my MP3 player, as well as studying my Bible on a tiny computer that fits into the palm of my hand. WOULD THE WORLD PLEASE SLOW DOWN??? It's bad enough that I'm dragged kicking and screaming to each new technological discovery, but please, don't change anything until I take a second breath. Then I'll get on my motorized treadmill, pushing play on my MP3, and I'll worship the old fashioned way, heart to heart with God.

I will thank Him for the wild turkeys that come all the way up into my yard, just to feed on the bird seed scattered beneath the feeders. I'll thank Him that I'm not careful enough to get all the seed into the feeders. I'll thank Him for my aching hands that cause the seed to spill on the ground. I'll thank Him for a tender heart that makes it so easy for tears to well up in my eyes, as I contemplate the wonders of His creation. Oh, sure, there are those who insist, let the wildlife remain wild and fend for themselves. Of course, I would if we truly lived in the wild, and there was enough wild food for the wild birds. But I know better. God knows what we have done to our planet. And why are we on this earth? To ignore little creatures who have no food? Jesus said, that God feeds the birds, but in our uncertain world, shouldn't we do His will, which is to see that His critters are fed?

On our back deck, we have a few potted plants and small trees, which attract the birds. They are nesting earlier, and they are continuing to hatch later. We've watched a plethora of babies grow into breathtakingly beautiful adults, who all cluster around our birdbaths and feeders. It feels like our hands are in the hands of God; and I believe that with each new bird that we can save, that God smiles on our efforts.

Oh how different it was when I was young, and I was first learning how to scratch my name with my lovely quill pen. Birds appeared without number. Small animals were abundant. I grew up in Florida, and I can still remember visiting flamingoes in all their pink and scarlet beauty. In the past ten years in our yard, we have concentrated on wildlife plantings, and now wildlife comes to us, even as the animals came to Noah. How do we not know that our yards are the Ark of the future, and what we do, will save an entire species? I only know that my heart skips a beat every time I see the trust in the eyes and behavior of the wildlife, who depend on me. I can only do as much as I can.

So, now, as we download music into our MP3s, and we text message our friends in code, so that we don't have to actually write in syllables, and as I study my Bible on my PDA, perhaps we can also remember those little ones whom God expects us to care for. At least, that's how I see it.

Thank You, Lord, for each new life that I can touch, and help me, oh Lord, to heal and not harm. Let me not miss, but to look, for all the gifts of nature that I have forgotten before. Help me not to hide my eyes. Fill my heart, oh Lord, with wonder for each living thing. Help me to protect what is Yours. And let me never forget how to feel the wonder of your loving kindness and mercy and grace. Let my heart be a reflection of Your living waters, a spring that will never be filled.

Please, dear friends, pray for the people in California, who have had to flee from their homes, because of the fires. And for the animals that they, too will be saved. Let us also pray for the southeastern U.S., that has suffered so much drought. And let us not forget to pray for ourselves.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Time to Begin

Hello friends,

In the past, I have promised more information to help diabetics and dieters. While I've spoken of heart changes, I've not said much about health changes. So, today is the day for a heart to heart on where to begin, right where you are.

Those of us who would rather buy the magazine with the chocolate fudge cake on the cover, often find ourselves defeated by that large salad sitting on the table in front of us. While I like French Dressing as well as the tall, skinny model at the next table, let's face it. Cake is not salad, and salad is not cake. It annoys me to watch a weight-loss guru on T.V., who looks like she runs twelve miles a day, and lives on spring water. There she is, starving her way towards serious osteoporosis in her later years, but now she's telling me about food! Does she really think I don't know what food is? I'm seriously wondering if SHE knows what food is.

So, now that I've rattled the cages of the ultra-thin, good-stiff-wind-would-blow-you-over crowd, I want to share with you how to begin to be more healthy. Change one thing. Change one thing today. And make it healthy. Don't leap from peanut butter banana sandwiches to plain salad, and think you are going to be successful. Just change one thing. Switch from sugar to Splenda. Switch from sugary cola to sugar-free. I had a friend who did nothing more than a switch, and in six months she lost forty pounds.

Don't look ahead. Don't look further than where you are. Just change one thing. And walk. I'm not talking about a mile or two. I'm not talking about power walking. I'm talking about making it to the end of the block. I began, after a long illness, years ago, with that walk to the end of the block. When I arrived, my husband drove the car down to meet me, and he drove me home.

Beginning is the most important thing you can do. Every change begins with one choice, and every mile begins with one step. Today, after a year of neurological problems, I began again. Back up on the treadmill, very slowly, and because of my prior walking, I was able to walk a mile. You don't have to start there. Take it easy, and take that first step. Slow, persistent forward motion will bring you to a place that you never thought you'd reach. Remember the tortoise and the hare (the turtle and the rabbit). Even the Bible tells us, in Ecclesiastes 9:11a, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong..."

So, be weak, and lean on the One who has said that His power is made strong in weakness. Start where you are, and let God carry you over the finish line. God be with you!

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Time to Heal My Heart

Hello friends,

Not long ago, I decided to reach out to a distant cousin, whom I had never met. He was compiling a family genealogy. Since I learned my family history at my mother's knee, I decided to help him. POW!! To be brief, it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

First of all, he really didn't want my help. You could say that I was all about the heart of my family history: real people, who really lived, who experienced pain and sorrow, laughter and tears, just like me. My unknown cousin made it clear that all he wanted were names and dates. Quite frankly, it felt more like a high school quiz. My ancestors are real people to me, who once lived and loved, whose hearts pulsed with anticipation, and who often quaked in fear. They are not simply a list of names and dates.

Perhaps God placed something different in me. I look for miracles in the day to day, and I often find them. After I wrote to this cousin, people began to show up from my painful past. I do not come from a family who forgives; I come from a family who strikes, like vipers. I've never understood that. My decision to forgive, was seen as weakness, and I suffered from that.

I forgive them. But I have learned that in forgiving, I need not return to let them strike again. I must move on. I can forgive them from a distance - a long distance. Every time I initiate contact, it plays havoc with my health. One of my doctor's warned me, "if you keep this up, Jaye, you will have a very short life." So once again, I take a giant leap away. I am giving them their freedom to do whatever they want to do to one another. I have placed them in the hands of God. They are not my project. Let them answer to Him.

God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters. Why seek the poison of a dysfunctional life, when God has given me healing and love? It is time to move ahead, to accept God's healing and celebrate Him. In the Bible, Jesus says:

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for {today} is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34.

I believe that is also for the past. Poison is poison, whether it is alcohol, drugs, or gambling. In a Twelve Step program one must agree to never go back to the people, places, or things that make you sick. It is the same with poisonous people. Do I really want to put them before my relationship with God or my family, or my own happiness? No!

So, today, I make a promise, before God, my family, and you. My focus will be on the here and now, where love rules. Today is a new day. Today is the day that I will begin again. With faith in God, and my hand tightly tucked in His, today is the day to heal my heart.

With love,

Jaye Lewis


Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Time to Wait on God

Hello friends,

Waiting on God. It's the hardest thing for me to do, in my spiritual walk with Him. Of course I would like my request to be answered in the way that I want, preferably immediately. And waiting can make me absolutely crazy! Understanding why the wait is necessary is the second thing that I struggle with. I have a wonderful friend, whose walk with the Lord is similar to mine. She used to say, "I thought I was an only child." Then I would say, "well, I thought I was God's favorite child." Then we'd both laugh.

So, here I am, waiting, and I don't understand why. The ironic side of this, is when the Lord moves in my favor, He is always right on time. THEN I understand why He said 'No.' THEN I understand His wisdom, and I am so glad that He didn't give me what I asked for, right away. Then, I am so thankful that He said, 'No," or "Not Yet."

You see, I rely on God. Oh, I know that the wisdom of our day says, "Make Yourself Rich. Just send me this amount, and you'll be rich like me!" It doesn't matter who says these things, whether they be Christians or Secular; I simply don't believe it. I know it's not true. I need God, and though I am human, with lots of wants, I'd rather God say 'No,' then to have the riches of this world, without Him.

I find the wisdom of the world very depressing. My father's God was money. He didn't have any, so he spent his life looking for it, believing that his "windfall" was just around the corner, and one day his "ship would come in." Well, I can tell you honestly, the windfall never came, and 'til the day he died, his "ship" was still out to sea.

I taught my children that the best things in life were, first God, then family, and country. I also taught them that there is no windfall; there is no ship. There is only this: love, faith, and hard work. There will be tribulations. Life can be scary. We must be vigilant that we are not setting ourselves up to be victims. Conduct yourself wisely. Remove the sign from your forehead that says, "Victim here!" And always beware of the person who has easy answers. Because most answers only come through prayer, blood, sweat, and tears...and waiting on God.

I believe that it is time to smell the roses, if you haven't lost your sense of smell. Hug those you love, and tell them that you love them. Take a step back from the world. Slow down, and look at the beauty around you. Take a deep breath, and pray. Then wait on God. I'm still learning how to do that.

With love,

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Time to Be Thankful for the Manna

Hello friends,

Probably the most difficult problem that I have spiritually is to surrender my will to God's. With financial and medical needs, and the price of gasoline in the U.S., I have my list of needs, along with my list of wants:

"I'd really like to have this today, Lord."

"Could you please hold back the flood, just this once, and I'll surrender tomorrow?"

I am signed up for every online catalogue that holds my every desire: gardening, clothing, furniture, and things to buy to spoil my dog. If it is for someone else, I'll spend every penny I have. When it comes to myself, I'm cheap. My family keeps careful watch, so that I don't buy the dress for $9.99 that looks like a Halloween costume. Somehow, I find it within myself to declare, "but I really DO love orange, purple and black polka-dots!"

"No you don't, Mom."

"No. I really do love it."

"No you don't, Dear."

"But it's only $9.99!"

Then pandemonium sets in.

"Quick, hide the check book!"

"Cancel the credit cards!"

"Don't let her near the phone!"

This is a closer truth than you could possibly imagine. I'm beyond thrifty. Way past frugal. If it's for me, and it's mismatched, purple and green, and ONLY $9.99, I'm standing in line. "It looks warm." So are Army fatigues. "It's colorful." So are lollipops. But you wouldn't lick them and stick them all over your body and call it a dress! But it's so CHEAP! Uh-huh.

Then, there are my larger dreams: the cyclone fencing for my acre and a half yard; hardwood floors; a four season sun room; Anderson windows; sky-lights; and someone to clean my bathrooms and those nifty hardwood floors. Like everyone else, I have wants that I keep translating into "gotta have" needs. Please, God, give me the surplus, and I'll never ask for another thing. Until next time. Often I see that in myself, and I don't like it.

You see, I do know that there are other real needs to pray for. Please, Lord, heal my friend's cancer. Watch over my children and husband. Lord, make me more like You. And then there is the "thank You, Lord." For Your hand of protection, for Your hand of favor; no matter the tribulation, thank You for carrying me through. And so much more.

Thank You. For the birds that come to my feeders, depending on me to give them food and drink. For the elegantly lovely sunrise, and the beauty of the mountains. For the love that I see in my husband's eyes. For the beauty and devotion of my children. For my darling, dapper dachshund. For the adorable creatures You have put in my care, who give me so much joy. For laughter that makes my sides ache. For peace in my home. Protection from storms. Surprise snow showers. And let me not forget, thank You, Lord, for Your provision every day. THANK YOU, GOD, FOR YOUR MANNA!

Manna. That bread from heaven; for food and drink; for each day's gift. Thank You for each day's needs. Thank You, Lord, for MANNA.

With love,


Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Time for Trust

Hello friends,

I wanted to share, with you, a window into my prayer life:

Do I love You, Lord? Do I? Does my heart beat first for You?
You are worthy, Lord, and I know it. Have I truly surrendered to You?
I try. Oh yes, I try. To listen to Your Will.
Am I obedient in all things? Okay. Most things? Ah yes, some things.
Am I patiently awaiting, trusting in Your love?

Is my anger under Your control? Or is it an explosion waiting to happen?
Am I still one of Your favorites? Have I tried you way too long?
Can I feel Your Holy Presence? When the night seems filled with fear?
I am talking, Lord; but am I listening? Will You still my trembling heart.

Will you guard the little creatures that fill my yard with joy?
And what about my pets, Lord? Are they also in Your Care?
And my children, Lord, are You watching? Keep them safe within Your arms.
And my strong and faithful husband. Please, Lord, keep him in your care.
I can't live without him, Father, his safe and gentle arms.
Always waiting just to comfort, he's an angel in disguise.
Keep him by my side forever. Here on earth and way beyond.
Just the thought of life without him, fills my heart with fear and dread.

And my dreams and aspirations; Lord please keep them on Your heart.
Thank you, Lord, for every blessing; for Your comfort and Your peace.
I will trust You with each sorrow, knowing I am in Your care.
My decision is to trust You, even when the road seems dark.
I will look ahead in wonder as You light my every step.

Trusting You is joy and sorrow, as I try to see ahead;
As my plans are dashed and broken, and I must begin again.
Yes, my God, I trust You, knowing with my every breath,
You are holding me above the tempest, in the shadow of Your wings. Jaye Lewis

My friends, I wanted to share with you, the journey that I am taking. I wanted you to know that for each of us, as we seek answers, the journey involves much struggle and much joy.

I've been asked again and again, how to have a relationship with God; and my answer is this: Start. Begin where you are. Talk to Him, even when your strength and dreams turn to ashes. He will carry you the rest of the way. This is what I do every day. It's hard, joyful, and often filled with questions without answers, at least not the answers that I wish. I had a very wise pastor who once said, "if you're not struggling, you're not doing it right." I laughed at the time, but I have found it to be true.

So, now, I wish you a weekend filled with family, friends, and joy. I wish you peace and happiness. God be with you, and may He guide You on the roadway of your life. I once told my daughters, "look towards His light. When the light moves, you know that you are standing in the wrong line."

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Time for Reason

Hello friends,

Probably the hardest thing I do in life is to keep silent. When I brandish my opinion, especially when I believe that I am right, I always get sick. My body and my emotion are entwined much like two wire fences. In a short amount of time it is impossible to distinguish the two. I seldom get angry. No. Really. Except when I see something as unfair, selfish, or cruel. It doesn't matter if someone is manipulating people for "the sake of the state" or "for the sake of religion," (their words, not mine), when I see that, I get beside myself with anger and outrage.

I will often complain to God, sometimes at the top of my lungs, as though I have the answer to life's complexities. I'm simply stunned at political leaders who fail to look at the lessons of history; and religious leaders who pervert the Word of God, for money, gain, or power.

Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? King David often felt like a stranger. In Psalm 39:12, he says to God, "for I am a stranger with You," as he entreated God to answer his prayer. In Psalm 69:8 he tells God, "I have become a stranger to my brothers," for the Lord's sake. David is not afraid to approach God with a reasoning argument. And then in Psalm 119, in the first verse, "I am a stranger in the earth." Wow! How often I have felt this way.

David says, in effect, "Look, God, this is what I have done, only for You. And look what is happening to me. Friends, family, and even the world itself treats me like a stranger. Aren't they supposed to want me? Aren't they supposed to love me? Aren't I supposed to feel like family? So, why do I feel so different; so alien; so like a stranger? As though I don't even belong on this earth."

All through the Bible we run into people who cried out to God, "I feel so alone! Help me!" That's often the way I feel. So then, I look to the Words of God, to tell me what He said about this very issue. In the first Chapter of Isaiah, verse 18, God says to His people:

"Come now, and let us reason together,'' says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

I will often read it like this: Come, Jaye, let Me reason with you. You be reasonable, says God. For I am filled with reason. I receive so much comfort in God's passionate pleadings with His people. Continuously He pleads for His people (me) to understand Him. Love me, He begs; for I will not force you to love Me, at the point of a sword.

Man forces. God pleads. God's passionate love fills me with joy, peace, and love for Him. There is no soul beyond His reach. There is no peace He cannot give. And the peace I seek can only come from Him. It's the only way that I can face the next five minutes on this strange and often awful world in which we live.

Blessedly, I have a loving husband and two beautiful daughters to share my journey. I also have four dogs, a cat, and an acre full of critters who make my heart beat warm, in the process.

So, now, in spite of me, I reason with God. Why have you given me this happiness? And the answer I receive is this: "Because I can."

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Time for His Arms to Hold Me

Hello friends,

Have you ever wondered what to do when calamity strikes? Your life goes along peaceably, and then you turn a corner and BOOM! Your life blows up. Someone you love gets terribly sick; divorce is suddenly thrust upon you; the child that you raised with love turns on you like a viper; your health gives out; you grow old and your body becomes weaker. I'm certain that each individual who reads this has experienced one or more of these blows to their life.

So how do we continue? Do we give up? Do we look for our answers in the bottom of a bottle? Do we seek oblivion in a bottle of pills. Or do we simply allow ourselves to be overcome and quietly go insane? What is our next step? Is there a next step? And who do we turn to?

I'm blessed with a wonderful husband and two loving daughters; however it was not always so. I remember the days of loneliness, without a loving voice or hand. And to tell the truth, I still have a day here and there, where I feel overcome by the world and the cares of life. My health becomes more complicated. My children go from one auto-immune disease to another. And I grow old. So where is that pitcher of lemonade, made from all those lemons? Where are all the platitudes that we love to cling to? Whose arms will catch me when the rug is snatched from beneath my feet? There is only One.

Years ago when abuse was heaped upon abuse; when hope was inconceivable; when no one wanted nor understood me; I found my answer. I run into God's arms. He enfolds me with His warmth; His protection; and His love. Are there times when I rail at Him and enumerate my complaints? Of course there are. Like a petulant child I cry "You don't love me! How could you let me suffer?! Why do you leave me alone?!"

That is often when His voice becomes more clear, as I remember the words of the Savior of the world crying from His Cross: "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?!!" Then I am reminded that even Jesus had moments when He was so terribly alone, all He could do was cry, "Why." And that is when I feel my Father's breath upon my face. That is when I feel his hand upon my brow. That is when He gathers me into His arms, and He cradles me, with a love that is greater than all my problems, a protection that conquers all my fears.

So, now, as health and family sorrows try to become the focus of my life, I reach for His arms to hold me tight. I can feel Him swing me around, holding me close. I can see only Him.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Time to Say Good-bye

Hello friends,

This week-end I did something spontaneous. I came across the email address of a distant cousin, who has been compiling our family genealogy. I wrote him and offered to help in the few areas that I could. Memories of my childhood and young adult years were complicated, to say the least, and tragic in the worst of times. I was irrelevant, you might say. My grandmother forgot me, and my mother often spoke about her three children. I was her fourth child, and I remember wondering what she was talking about, because there I was, standing next to her. So, who was I?

My cousin sent me a copy of the entire line of ancestors, something I have wanted my whole life. Who was married to whom? What was the real name of the woman that I heard only called "Muddah?" Within this genealogy I learned the new names of married girl cousins, and who they married. What I wasn't expecting was the deaths. Here I am 61 years old. I've been at death's door more than once, yet I am alive. There they were, favorite cousins that I so seldom saw, but who are brilliant memories, brief encounters of my childhood. Joey, the adorable two year old, fourteen years my junior, passed away. James, my hilarious twelve year old cousin, eight years my junior, gone. Ronnie, who died her hair red, so that we could be twins. Drew, who owned all the comic books in the world, gone. What did they die of? Did they suffer? Was I as alive in their memories, as they are to me? Probably not. But, then, maybe that is why I'm the writer, one who celebrates memories; someone who remembers in minute detail.

My heart broke over the shock of discovering that those who were so much alive in my heart, are now gone, and have been so for years. All the while I laughed till I cried, and repeated the events again and again, to my children, and to anyone who would stand still, they were no longer with us.

One advantage I have over those who have always belonged, who lost a spouse, a mother, a husband, a friend. To me, they will always be young and laughing. My uncle Andy will always be kind and crazy. All of you. You will remain alive and young forever in my heart.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Time for Wins and Losses

Hello friends,

I expected to write much earlier today, but, blessedly we are having rain in our very drought stricken part of the Appalachians. We are praying for more, and it looks like it is headed our way. Already our outside temperature has gone from 89 to 77 degrees. Yeah!

I'm writing you between storms, and I thought you'd like to know that I made it onto the treadmill yesterday, just knowing I would be able to go the entire mile. It was a struggle to go half that distance. I still have an injured knee from my swan dive in the tub, last July, but it will get stronger.

More good news. I got paid for some stories. I don't know about you, but I just love paydays. For a writer, paydays come and go. Infrequently there's a windfall, when someone just can't get enough of your stuff, and then there's the rest of the time, when you crawl along wondering if some editor knows you're still on the planet. I'm not especially aggressive, and I really try not to do this alone. Just about everything I do, I do with much prayer, along with occasional white knuckle begging.

Yesterday afternoon suddenly became very hard. It was like a desert outside, and my beloved dachshund has been crated for over a week. He injured his back, a frequent disability of dachshunds, and we have been carrying him outside to do his business in a cumbersome pink, carry-along, that looks every bit like a tiny circus wagon. If Happy Dog only knew that it is PINK, I doubt that he would forgive me. On my third trip down the stairs, with my precious cargo on board, I stepped into an oven. Happy Dog took forever to find the perfect spot, and I thought, if I die out here, everyone going by will assume I'm sun bathing. "Oh yes, there's Mrs. Lewis, sunbathing. Now, what would make her do that in this kind of weather? And what's her weenie dog doing out in the street?" Needless to say, by the time I dragged the pink, cabana back up the stairs and huffed and puffed my way over to the big crate, making sure, with my last breath, that my weenie dog was safe and sound, I died on the couch!

I still had to get on that blasted treadmill, and I wasn't happy about it. Drinking about a gallon of water, I checked my blood pressure, discovering that I was not only alive, but my blood pressure was down, and my pulse was steady. No heart palpitations, but in a gloomy mood, I turned my worship cd on loud-enough-to-wake-the dead, and I started trekking. "This is for You, God, not for me." By the time I got to the third song, something happened. The words hit me, and I began to experience the worship I'd promised over morning coffee. I struggled with the rest of the afternoon, but I knew through each stumble, that I'd connected with Someone greater than myself.

Yesterday wasn't the best day, all day, but then, if every day were my best day, how would I understand that my prayer, as W.S. Bowden says, "is weakness leaning on Omnipotence."

"By Your strength, I walk.

By Your grace, I keep going.

When I stumble, You catch me in Your arms,

And when I fall, You carry me." From "Because of You," by Jaye Lewis, 2002

So, winning and losing, yesterday was a good day. I learned that God can touch my heart, even when I feel reluctant, and faithfulness is more than solemn promises. Sometimes it's merely showing up.

With love,

Jaye Lewis

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Time for Second Chances

Hello friends,

I've been so remiss in writing in my blog, and I apologize. A new internet friend contacted me yesterday, and I found myself so encouraged. As I told her, writing is a very lonely art, and sometimes it feels as though the heavens are silent. That is usually when I'm doing all the talking.

Isn't it strange how we think time is forever? Especially when we want something -- that new raise that we deserve; that pat on the back from a supervisor; or words of love from our loved one? So many things we wait for, and we sometimes think that we can do everything ourselves. Just push along; just keep our heads down and shove. We'll start our diet tomorrow. We'll get back on the wagon, after just this one -- whatever it is that is our great temptation. And times in between, when we feel bad about ourselves, simply go on forever. I've had a few months of that, and I'd like to share it with you, now.

My mother died at 64. She was having a typical argument with my father. She was loud. He was cruel. At the point that she grabbed her stomach and chest, and screamed, "I'm going to die," my father snarled back, "oh no, you're not!" And she did. She died.

I just turned 61, and I have had the specter of my mother's early death hanging over me. My life is different than hers. My husband is thoughtful and loving, and he still sees a young, beautiful woman in me. Of course, my look in the mirror shows something else. How like my mother I look, except for the smile and the happiness in my eyes. I neither drink nor smoke, and up until a few months ago (when sudden illness struck) I have been diligently walking a mile a day on my treadmill. That was the ticket for me. That time in the sick-bed has given me back over 20 pounds. My blood pressure has never been fully under control. I was retaining water, and I was so depressed.

On our anniversary, my husband and I went away for a couple of days. Oh how I love that, but there I was afraid to be seen by the man who still sees a girl in me. Luckily, the next day I slipped and fell in the tub with a mighty crash. Stark naked and afraid I would drown from the fast beating shower, my husband saved me, as he always does. Once I could stand, nothing could dissuade me from continuing our vacation. Days later, when I realized something was terribly wrong, I called my doctor, and she sent me to a neurologist. A great one.

What did I find out? Well, my blood pressure was too high, so my medication is being increased. I am on a new medicine for my trimengial neuralgia. Unbelievably, the unrelenting fire that has been my pain, has ceased, almost immediately. My blood pressure is down, and I'm beginning my treadmill worship walk again. Yes, I do have mild neuropathy (painful deterioration of the nerves in my feet and legs), but my diabetes is under control, simply from exercise and diet, and I feel hope in my heart.

I will be getting an MRI. No tube. THANK GOD! The hospital has an open MRI, made for people like me, who are dragged kicking and screaming to any enclosed space. I told my neurologist, if it wasn't an open MRI, I would drag everyone within reach and pull them into the tube with me! He laughed.

As I increase my dosage of my new medication, I feel better each day. I feel hopeful that I can begin anew. I feel as though I have been given one more second chance from God. As I record my journey of diet, exercise, and a closer walk with the Lord, I want you to walk with me. Each day, I will record in my binary log whether I'm successful or not; how I feel, whether joyful or not. Every new insight that God gives me, I will share with you. I will share recipes and diet tips. It's not like I don't know the stuff.

Please, if you know someone who is struggling with weight loss and diet. If you know someone with diabetes, who believes that they have been given a death sentence, please pass my blog-link to them. It could mean a life. With proper diet and care, and someone to walk with, each of us can live a long life. And if God should decide to bring us home, why then we can die happy.

I am a happy woman today. I realize my blessings. My husband asked me, in one of my lowest hours, recently, "have you thought about counting your blessings?" I was annoyed, because I wanted to feel bad that day. But I heard you, Honey! And I'm counting now! Today, I thank God for life, breath, joy, and sorrows, for it's in there that I grow. Today, Louie, I'm thanking God for you! And, my friends, I thank God for you, too!

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Time to Heal

Hello friends,

The time between my last post and today's has been a long time, considering how much writing that I do; and it has been a difficult time. I've been thinking about my family medical history, my medical history, and why it seems that in this world of "health masters," people seem to get sick more and die more. It seems as though there is an open season of evil. Perhaps the things that are in our faces today always happened; we just didn't know. Or evil is running rampant, and we are only safe in the hands of the Lord. I believe that the latter is the case.

Depression runs in my family, possibly manic-depression. No one ever sought help. It just wasn't done. My mother said that women in our family were "high-strung." Really, Mom! If you ever saw my mother in a rage, or my aunt, her sister, turn from a peaceful valley into a raging volcano, in a split second, you would believe her observation. According to my mother we were artistic souls. Yeah! Like Van Gogh cutting off his ear! My childhood was very confusing growing up, to say the least, and I couldn't wait for it to pass.

So, where is my healing? Well, there is only one place that I can truly run to, when life becomes so heavy that I have to climb five flights of stairs, just to reach bottom. Jesus. I run, just as fast as I can, and I throw myself into His arms. In His arms I am neither old nor weak. In His arms I am young and strong.

There are those who would laugh at my faith. In fact, right now, there is a movement to prove that Jesus was merely a man, who had all the foibles that we all have. It is like a crusade to prove that we have no Savior. I have to ask why? Go live your own life. Believe your own imaginings. Dream your own dreams. Cling tightly to those dreams as you take your final breath. And then what? That is the question they never answer. And then what? And that is the question that Jesus answers. And then what?

Do you know how Jesus answered that question? He said:

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3

Believe it or not, when I read those words, I can feel the power of His presence. I can feel the peace that He sends: "Let not your heart be troubled...." Don't worry, He says. Don't be troubled. One day, after the world has taken everything out of me, except my faith. He will come for me. He will hold out His arms, and I will run into them for the last time. I have a home. I have a mansion, which is built not of stone or wood or brick. It is built of His love and sacrifice.

The love of Jesus Christ transcends every awful experience of my childhood. It transcends every happiness of my present life. Jesus loves me. He truly does. And with all the temptations of this modern world; with all the false gods of prosperity and possessions, this fact remains true. I will go to the mansion that He has prepared, and I will spend an eternity with Him.

This morning I dreamed that I was in heaven. I dreamed that I was put in charge of the animals on some distant world. Can you imagine? What a beautiful Eden this earth must have been before we messed it all up. Every time I look out my door at the mountains that surround our home, I think about how beautiful it would be, to actually have a clear day and see forever.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Email Jaye