Monday, December 27, 2010

Encouraging Words for 2011 by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

My mother believed that giving should always require a cost, not money, but a sacrifice. If you give, and you don't give a piece of yourself with it, than you've really given nothing at all.

When I was young, my mother put her belief into action. She would often reach into her empty pockets, and miraculously, she would bring forth just exactly what the other person needed. It was inspiring to me, while, to my sister, it was cause for scorn. Anything childlike and beautiful in my mother, was effectively stomped out, as though one might snuff out a candle or put out a campfire. I don't know why, because it was at these times that I loved my mother the most.

Why would anyone rather look at a pile of ashes? How could anyone not see, that by casting her down, they were killing her just a bit at a time? It is why I have difficulty forgiving my siblings, for all they did to my mother, and all they failed to do for her. My efforts were never enough for her. My mother wanted them to understand her and to love her. I doubt they ever did. Oh how I loved my mother, but she never accepted it. But still, with all of the pain and heartache of our later lives, I love her still, and I forgive her for not understanding just how much I loved her.

My spirit of giving comes from my mother's example: the day she gave a beggar my father's only suit; the Christmas in which she protected a mother mouse and her naked little newborns from harm, and she fed them until they grew up and left the nest. Birds, kittens, pups, and chicks, all were the same to my mother, God's little children who needed someone to love and look after them, and she did.

My mother was a woman who was filled with a tender heart, and it was broken repeatedly, so much so that she lost her grasp upon reality, and became a bitter old woman. But those were the later years. I focus on the younger ones, and I have tried to become the woman my mother really wanted to be.

I am my own woman, but I remember her with each event, where I am able to give a piece of myself with each act of giving. Others may be logical and say well you can't help everyone. I agree, but when did knowing the "hard" of anything stop me from investing the "heart" of everything? With every act, with every word I write, with every prayer, I leave a piece of myself. The miracle in all of this, is that I've discovered the more that I give of myself, the more that is left over for me to give again. Another saying of my mother's is giving is a reward in itself.

I've often told my children that the only thing that you can take with you when you die, is what you have given away. There are various versions of that saying, and it is nothing new. But it can be new for you, just as it can be new for me. Jesus said, that by giving a cup of water to one of his little ones, it is as though we have given to Him. As we approach this new year, thoughtfully and prayerfully, may it be so for you and for me.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Blessings and Happy New Year!!! By Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

In the Name of Christ for whom we celebrate; In the Spirit of His love, joy, peace, and hope, I wish each of you a joyous Christmas and a New Year filled with promise. My prayer is that all good things happen to you and yours, today and the year to come.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

How Dare I?! By Jaye Lewis

I’m always amazed to read the scathing blast of a Christian’s self-righteous sermon in print. A couple of Bible passages are always given as a reference to illustrate the point of the sermon. Then the inevitable guilt club is picked up and swung, right at a sinful heart, in perfect judgment.

“How dare you ask God’s forgiveness, when you are not forgiving?!” They shriek.

“How dare you ask for mercy when you are not merciful!” They ask.

The questions and accusations are hurled like darts at a pulsing target, and when they hit the heart, many things can happen. These accusations can make a person, weighed heavy by sin, to feel hopeless, as they suppose that “not even God will forgive my sin.” I have seen this happen, and I have also been that sinner, who gave up before I even tried.

What happened to the Scripture, “Judge not that you be not judged? For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2.

Have we forgotten Jesus’ exchange with the woman caught in adultery?

“And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11

We Christians! How we love to judge other Christians. We have so much compassion for the lost, but we seem to have very little compassion for one another. Why is that? Are we beginning to feel a bit holy? We must remember that we are not holy. We are deserving of the same wrath as those who war against Christ. The difference is that we depend on Him to bring us to the Father through His holiness. Except that the Father sees us through Christ’s mercy, His sacrifice, His perfection, then we would have no hope. I cannot say this loud enough. We have no perfection of our own!

So, now, before God and my fellow Christians, I will confess, “How dare I.”

I dare to go to God for mercy, every day, every hour, every minute, because I know that I have no mercy in my heart, except by His grace.

I dare to ask forgiveness, again, and again, and again, because I have no forgiveness in my heart, except by His grace.

I go to Him throughout my day, and into the night, as I sin again,and again, with my heart, with my mind, and with my mouth.

I ask for forgiveness, because of my unforgiveness.

Then I ask Him to grant me the grace to change my heart, so that one day, I will be able to forgive, selflessly and utterly.

I ask for mercy because of my lack of mercy.

I ask Him to forgive me, even as I brood over those who have hurt me.

I ask Him to forgive me, and to forget my sin, even as I remember…remember every hurt and every unkind word that has been hurled at me.

I ask Him, yet again, for forgiveness, for my unforgiveness.

Each time that I repeat myself, begging for God’s presence within my sinful life, He comes to me, if I let Him. He reminds me that David, beloved of God, also cried out in desperation.

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou Judgest.” Psalms 51:1-4

I, too, have cried out just like David:

"Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”Psalms 139:21-22

I also cry out, like David:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Only God can do that, and I am certain that I can trust God to take my old sinful heart and make a new one.

I am certain that when I try to be like Jesus, I am going to fail, utterly and miserably; however I also am confident that God, who searches my heart, knows that my desire is to be like Him, and only Christ can make me so. Jesus knows that when my faith is weakened by anger and outrage, I will stubbornly cling to Him. He knows that I am painfully aware that I cannot change myself. I can only allow Him to change me.

I am a sinner. A forgiven sinner. Not because of my efforts, intent, or goodness. I am not good. I am capable of any sin…except for, and only because of His grace, am I saved. I am helpless to help myself, so I depend on Jesus.

I go to Him in every ugly moment of my life, confessing, then sinning again; but I keep going. And that is how, and that is why I can say, "I dare!"

Father in heaven, Abba, my only God. Please forgive me my unforgiveness, and help me to forgive, even as you have forgiven me. Help me to have mercy, even as you have been merciful to me. Help my faith to be founded, not upon emotionalism, but in the sure, abiding grace of Your love. You are my rock to which I cling, and You are my hiding place, and there is none other who can take your place in my heart.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

© Jaye Lewis, 2005

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doorway of Heaven by Jaye Lewis

I've been to the doorway of heaven,
Where the sky is a lavender blue,
Where brilliant light surrounded me,
And the warmth of kindness too.

I have seen the people gathered,
Worshiping the King.
Then I heard the angel whisper,
“This is where you enter in.”

He held my hand so gently,
I could barely feel his touch.
In spite of my sins he led me
To the King I love so much.

As we walked into the throne room,
The crowd parted in the mist,
Slowly he led me onward
To the feet I longed to kiss.

Kneeling down before Him
The King smiled as He looked down.
Then gathering us in His loving arms,
I could hear His heartbeat sound.

Like lightening He struck my heart!
Don’t stop! Please give me more!
Then all at once I hurtled back
To the life I’d known before!

“No-o-o-o-o!” I screamed. “Don’t leave me!”
“Please bring me back again!”
But over it was, and He left me
Sobbing out my pain.

It’s hard for me to understand
Why God blessed me in this way.
Perhaps it was because He knew
I’d tell you all today:

He’s alive! He’s real! He loves you!
He wants to bring you home;
To heal each lonely, broken heart,
And leave you not alone.

My words are so inadequate
To tell you what transpired,
And how I felt when lightening
Set my heart on fire.

Please think about the moment
When your soul and body part.
Don’t leave your future all to chance.
Please give Him now your heart.

© Jaye Lewis, November 22, 2010

My friends,

This is a true event that I can't explain. I'm not holy, nor am I more than a sinful woman who happened to be blessed in an extraordinary way. This experience took place thirty-five years ago, when my youngest child was born. I planned never to share this outside my immediate family; however I feel called to share this with you, right now.

On Thanksgiving Day, it will have been a month since my husband's heart attack. Thank God he survived and is doing well. So, I thought, maybe you should know, that God is real. That there is hope. Heaven is a real place where God wants us to be, with Him. If you don't know Him, I hope you seek Him. It's not hard. He'll show you the way. God bless and keep you. I will hold you in my heart.

With love and a Blessed Thanksgiving Day,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Angels Wings by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

On October 25, 2010, my husband had a massive heart attack at work. He suddenly knew he was going to fall, so he lay down on the concrete. One of his co-workers saw him and ran over to help.

"I'm having a heart attack," Louie said.
"John, quick, call 911!" Andy hollered.

John ran like the wind, and the ambulance was there in a flash. All of Louie's closest friends were there to help.

"How can I help?" His boss asked.
"Pray for me." Steve said.
"I will." Said Travis.
"Now!!!" Steve demanded weakly. So Travis prayed.

Before God, with everyone watching, Travis knelt on the cement, and he humbly prayed for Louie's life. God heard, and He answered immediately.

Louie was rushed to our local hospital, where they called for a MedEvac helicopter from a large hospital to our south. Even though there was an electrical storm that whipped our small region, and against all odds, the pilot flew into the storm, and he rescued my husband.

There is a ninety minute window of time between the beginning of a heart attack and the life saving catheter stent. After that, there can be massive heart damage. Ninety minutes. Miraculously, from the time my precious husband was carried into the ambulance, and the heart catheter with its life saving stent opened his artery, it was eighty-eight minutes. Eighty-eight minutes. My husband's heart began to beat normally, and God spared his life.

There is much more to the story, but this is the important part. God is in control and He is always on time. He comes when He chooses, and He often gives his people angel's wings.

So, in His honor, with deepest humility, I share the above pictures, and the poem which goes with them.

The Morning of the Wow

Had I not got up at seven,
I'd have missed a lovely day,
When the mist hung on the mountain,
And took my breath away.

The sun began its journey
With a soft and rosy glow,
That touched the edges of the clouds
Painting all the valley below.

Then all at once the dawn broke
Shooting out with golden light.
It gathered mist up like a ball
And chased away the night.

The birds began their morning feed
At the breaking of the day.
Chirping out their cheerful songs
Chasing all my cares away.

I stood in awe and reverence,
Thanking God for this great gift.
In moments it was over,
And the mist began to lift;

And all around me was the day,
Not much to speak of now;
But I'll remember blissfully,
The morning of the WOW!

Copyright, Jaye Lewis, 2002

With love,
Jaye Lewis

The above entry is the original work and property of the author. Please feel free to forward the above piece in its entirety to friends and family. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Dawn by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

For the last ten years, I have spent nearly every day, on the internet, posting stories for books, magazines, websites, and online publications. It was a meaningful and sometimes lucrative endeavor. At the same time, I heard from, and wrote to hundreds of people across the globe. I tried to be a comfort, and I tried to validate their emotions and experiences, in their own lives, in such a way as not to "preach."

I tried to be Christ, meaning love without condition, and bring a sense of hope to their hearts. Sometimes I succeeded, and often I failed. I wonder what Jesus will say to me about that. I've been mocked, ridiculed, and misunderstood, amazingly, seldom. Most readers have hearts with love in their souls. I thank all of them, now.

Now, I feel called to a new work, and labor of love. With so many, at this time, doing without, I feel I must start giving more, in a more tangible way, to those in need. My daughters began a drive for the animal shelters in our area. Throughout the company where they work, people have opened their hearts and their pocket books, to save the animals, by providing funding, food, and supplies for the shelters and families, who cannot afford to feed their pets. It's been successful and a wonderful thing to watch.

So, what can I do? What can a woman shut-in do to help the people in our area. Well, God has made the answer obvious. I can sew dolls, quilts, and other toys for children in need. The quilts are aimed at both girls and boys, targeting their imagination and giving them hope. I'm working on my second quilt now. The quilts are small, more like lap robes, but into each one I will put all the beauty and faith that God has given to me. Next Christmas I, and my daughters, will have spent a year preparing, sewing and stuffing, making dolls and quilts for as many as we can. It's a new dawn, and already a labor of love.

I will continue with this blog, giving you updates on my efforts, and I hope you will pray for me. I will share photos of my progress, as I have always done, keeping in mind that this is for the greater glory of the Lord of my life, Jesus. May He reward and bless you in all that you do.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keeping Our Families Healthy by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Have you ever gone to the Doctor's office and wondered if you are the only one who washes your hands? Then you go home again and wash and wash your hands, because you know you've been exposed to something awful? You count down the days, and finally after seven or ten days you feel you're safe; and BAM! you come down with a mystery illness that takes months to cure.

What about the week-end trek to the emergency room? You find yourself sitting in a room full of people who are hacking, coughing, sneezing, and sniffling, and you think, I'm gonna be sicker than I am now in another week. You bring in your alcohol wipes, your big name antiseptic wipes, and still you come down with a mystery disease.

The mystery diseases that I'm speaking of are clinically called Healthcare-Associated Infections or (HAIs). During the H1N1 pandemic, these secondary diseases, which are often unresponsive to antibiotics, were prowling the hospital corridors, by the unwashed hands of caring professionals and the grimy surfaces that we all come in contact with. They are pervasive and insidious illnesses, and they just might kill you.

I was scared to death during the panic of H1N1. Yes, I'm an asthmatic and diabetic, which made me six times more likely to die of the flu, but my biggest fear was HAIs. I wanted to arm myself with a bottle of bleach, and wipe down every surface in my doctor's office and (lucky me) the emergency room. I'm glad that I made it through. However HAIs are still out there, making their rounds from patient to patient, and even though most hospitals FAILED (probably yours) an infectious disease sweep by the CDC, still there are few hospitals that see a need to change.

Well, there is good news. Kimberly Clark is leading the way with a new initiative watch dog group called, of all things, The HAI Watchdog Community, and they invite you to join. It's about time someone watched out for all of us, who want to keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe. This is a good thing. The new website can be found at the following link:

I invite you to check out the HAI website and see for yourselves. Consider joining and become informed. This is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of something that we've all become concerned about: healthcare which actually takes care of us, our families, and our community. I intend to join for a healthier tomorrow for my family. I hope that you will too.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Autumn of My Life by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Time has a way of slipping away from us. We start out in the springtime of our lives. Everything we dream about is far, far away. Christmas will never come, and when it does, it ends so quickly. Summer speeds by us way too fast, and before we know it, summer is over and we are back in school.

Some of us have happy memories of our school days. I don't. School was a constant barrage of moving here and there, and meeting strangers, not friends. Days crawled by, exchanging one humiliation for another, always knowing that when we left, I would be forgotten and never remembered again.

Then comes the summer of our lives. Summer is a time of colorful parties, with ice cream running down our arms. It is a time for playing tag in the wee hours of the evening, while it is still light. At fifteen we lived in Louisville, Kentucky, and the evening was long and just light enough to get me in trouble. I loved to take my tennis racket and ball, and I would go over to the parking lot across the street to bounce my tennis ball against the blank, brick wall. Back and forth I'd go, bouncing away until the sweat dripped into my eyes, and I was tired to the bone. I enjoyed being alone, doing the things I loved. Being alone meant I didn't have to think of something interesting to say, to someone who didn't care. Being alone meant I could do healthy things that were possible simply because I was alone.

Now, I am in the autumn of my life. I'm sixty-four years old. The number, itself, means very little to me. I can't feel a number. Of course, I would love to look into a full length mirror and see a perfect picture of myself. But then, when I was young and beautiful, I would have told you I was plain, and even ugly, because I had been taught that of all those in my family, I was the least attractive of all. It's only now that I can look at a picture of me, long ago, and see what a lovely creature I was.

Now, I must look at myself in a whole new way. I must see my body through the eyes of my heart. Am I beautiful in my thoughts and my actions? Do I love much? Do I laugh more? Do I listen first, and talk last? Okay, I'm still working on that. Is my life so intertwined with the hopes and dreams of those I love, so that our lives, and hopes, and dreams become woven into a tapestry of reds, and greens, and gold? Or are our lives separate, and stingy, and cold?

Life is a tapestry. Much like a tartan plaid, each life is a thread, without which the cloth would be dull, and without beauty. In the autumn of my life, I strive for that tapestry, to be beautiful with warmth, and humor, and love. We cannot be young forever. Our youth will run by in a flash. And if our young lives are shallow, how can we have depth when we are old?

I have seen both sides. I have seen the very old be mean and calculating, having nothing but bitterness and loathing come out of their mouths. And I have seen those whose lives are filled with laughter, generosity, and love. Jesus said that the good man speaks from the goodness of his heart, and the evil man speaks from the evil of his heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Age is a reflection of the youth we have lived, with a life of generosity of spirit or the emptiness of selfishness. I have seen evil destroy itself, but I've also seen goodness live in the remembrance of those whose lives have been blessed with love and unselfishness. An ugly old man was once an ugly young one; and a mean old lady was a selfish young one. We cannot escape what we will become, except by intentional change and the grace of God.

These are the things that I have been mulling over in the autumn of my life. The rosy glow of dawn has been exchanged for the red and purple sky of the evening. However, I have seen sunsets which have lasted long into the purple dark of night. And these sunsets are the most beautiful of all. So, perhaps the autumn of my life will be a long and golden one, where I still have time to be a blessing to others, as I take the time to be thankful for each breath the Lord will give to me, before He comes to take me home. I hope I'll see you there.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friends, feel free to forward this message to friends and acquaintances, however forward in entirety and always include my name and website address. Copyright Jaye Lewis, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Great Health Resource by Jaye Lewis

Hello Friends,

Sometimes, no matter how big you are, or how small, you discover that you have something in common, something to share. I thought that this picture of our littlest dog, Peanut, and our biggest dog Jessie, is a good example of big and small depending on one another, and sharing a space.

I have something to share with you, that I believe will become a good resource for your questions about health and disease, especially after a year, behind us (thank God) where we were facing a frightening Pandemic. The resource that I'd like to share is

I hope that you will turn to this new resource and get involved in their community, if that appeals to you. I'm sure that you will find something of interest to you.

God bless and keep you, with love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moderation In All Things By Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

This has been a unique and painful day. I just lost a fight with our local government, over a new water line. I refused to sign an easement over to them, to allow them to dig up my yard. I was given the choice today. Either sign or have no water hook-up. Gee, let me think. Sign? Or no water? Difficult choice, since I have had no shower and my hair looks like a chicken had a bad hair day. So, we’re going to sign. The good news is that the water line is going down the other side of the street, because we resisted signing. Now, the worst they can do – I hope – is make a trench across the road, and cut the roots of a thirty year old maple tree, that was a young sapling when we bought our home. So, there’s gonna be a mess, but the trees that I planted as one-year-old seedlings will be saved. I hope.

The illustration I’m sharing, this inequity, is that life isn’t fair. We are frequently given difficult choices, and often we have to take the hard tumbles, roll over, and get up again. After all, my character hasn’t been assassinated, which has been the case of Shirley Sherrod, the ex-head of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia.

Shirley Sherrod’s true story is one of redemption. A change of heart. The heart we all should have. Having been raised in the south, I understand her story intimately. It is very strange, but I came across the accusation that was made about her, accusing her of racism. Failing to find a video of the snippet of a forty-five minute speech, I, of course, went to YouTube. There I found a longer version of her speech. It was there that I learned about her initial reaction to the plea of a white farmer, twenty years ago, and it was there that I learned the rest of the story and her change of heart. She said “it was revealed” to her that the issue was not about black or white, but the needs of the poor. So, she had a revelation, and there is only One Person who reveals and changes the human heart. God.

Of course, she suffered humiliation, helplessness, and the loss of her job, by a government which reacted without all the facts, leaving Shirley no choice, but to resign on the side of the road, through her Blackberry. Wow. No one has illustrated her plight more poignantly than Glen Beck on Fox News. Yes, Fox News journalists can do the right thing. I’ve never been a fan of Glen Beck, but I am proud of him for telling all of Shirley’s story.

So, here are two unrelated cases, Shirley’s and mine, where the power of the government meets the helplessness of the individual, and serves only itself. My humiliation is very small, while hers is very large, yet they are related when Government overcomes the rights of the individual, simply because they can. As an American, I ask you, what have we become?

The blogger, who released two lines of a speech, without investigating. Who didn’t bother to at least go to YouTube, in search of the whole story – was wrong. I say again, he was wrong. He justified his actions, by explaining away the agony that he was a part of. So, I ask, as human beings, what have we become?

Are we a nation of gossips? Do we accuse and refuse to seek the truth? Are we those whom the Bible speaks of, who have ears, yet refuse to hear? Or do we have eyes to see, yet we refuse to see? Have we become a country divided? Have we thrown away the grace of compassion or fairness? Truth is not truth, when we are satisfied with only half of it. If we believe in a just, as well as a merciful God, then we must – I repeat – we must seek the truth. We will stand before Him, and it will not matter our party affiliation. We will stand before Him whether we believe in Him or not. And if we are believers, and we are asked by Him, how did you spend your time on earth? How much, of the gifts I have given you, have you shared? What then?

I am fatigued by the climate of blame, in our government. I am sick of the corruption. I am sick of the incompetence and the constant finger pointing. I am a conservative; however, as a Christian believer, I must follow the teachings of Paul the Apostle, that we must practice moderation in all things. In all things. So, I will do my best to live by the teachings of Christ – to love others, to reach out with compassion, to forgive, even if I cannot trust, and above all to allow my life to reflect the Savior whom I serve. I fail. All the time. And I failed today.

Father in heaven, I know that I am inadequate in the message I try to give. I pray that You will accept these words by the intentions of my heart, even though I know how insufficient they are. May I live by your word. May I judge others only as I pray that You will judge me. I ask your forgiveness for my impetuous vanity, when I do not know the facts. Lord, please lead me on the paths of righteousness and grant me the grace to follow You.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God Doesn't Sleep by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

It seems like forever since I’ve written. First, I had an asthma attack, and at sixty-four I don’t have the ability to shake things off so easily, it was really bad. It was my fifth attack since the arrival of the H1N1 virus, last year, which hit us with a vengeance. Was it really just a year ago? I can’t believe it. It seemed like it would never end. Well, we survived, praise God. Only by His grace. I’m better now, able to eat healthfully and bike at least two miles a day, sometimes three to five.

This spring, however, we’ve had other difficulties. Many of us, across the U.S., have had rain, rain, rain. We have fared better, than people in flash flood areas, although we’ve had our share of anxiety, as the river and streams rose to flood stage. Most of us in the higher elevations of Virginia have been blessed with no flooding or rock slides. However, up the road, at the top of our ridge, there’s been some clear cutting. So, we’re beginning to rethink that whole “flood insurance” and rock slide insurance. We don’t want to be insurance poor, but we want to protect our family and our home.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful green, atop a granite and sandstone base. It must have been a popular place for Paleo-Indian to hang out, because most people I know can turn over artifacts, simply by putting a shovel in the ground. It can be very exciting, just to peer through the grass and hope. I’m a rock hound. I cannot throw away a rock that looks remotely interesting. Usually I find that I’ve “ooohed and ahhhhhhhhed” over a “road rock,” basically granite. We have occasional rock slides, where the ground has been cut away for a road, but we have been blessed with few casualties. God bless the rescue teams all across this land. They are the unsung heroes. And common citizens have also risked their lives to save others.

I, presently, am laid up with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation in the tendon on the arch of my foot, which has made it unbearable to walk, or do my favorite chores. Both my daughters have been afflicted with injuries, too. My youngest daughter twisted her ankle, then fell down the stairs, so she’s on crutches. while my oldest suddenly flared up with two herniated discs. We have all been experiencing excruciating pain. So, in my beautiful garden, tall weeds have taken over, and my house…well, let’s not mention the floors, the laundry, and the dishes.

So what do we do? We are a close family, and we work together. We do what we can, and when we can’t, then we wait until we can again. We love God, and we each have a personal relationship with Him, as well as family worship. God knows us, and He loves us. He’s shown us this in the protected region where we live. He’s shown us in the relationships we have with Him and one another. He’s shown us in great ways and in small. Yet, still he allows us to suffer and fail. Why?

Is it because He is an unjust God? Does He no longer love us? Does He like watching us suffer? Or does He not exist at all? All of these accusations have been thrown in my face from time to time. However they are all lies. Not only do I know that God is just, but I have seen His mercy in my own life, and in my family’s. I know that it pains Him when I suffer; that He comforts me in my sorrow, and He has proven to me time after time, just how much He loves me. But most of all, I confess, GOD IS REAL!! So, we can’t see Him. He lives! The evidence is all around us. No accident gave us the beauty of this land. He loves us, all of us, and He is as close to each of us as is our next heartbeat.

I’m always amazed when a self-professed atheist goes on the attack. There is no God. There is no proof. Prove it. All this and more he accuses. Okay, here is my argument.

Tell me, what is gravity? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Are you willing to accept that gravity cannot be seen? That one can only know it is there, by observing it’s effects? So it is with God.

He is alive and with us, even though we can’t prove it by sight or touch, but we can see his effects. Can you have a relationship with gravity? I doubt it, nor would you want to; however, a relationship with God is constant, growing from grace to grace. He is with you in ways that gravity fails. I don’t know why He is not irresistible to everyone. He is warm and wonderful, and He fills my heart with His love, which I accept with all my heart. God fills me with love for others, even when, and perhaps, because they are different than I.

So, argue away, atheist. Believe in nothing, and when you die, quite frankly, you will receive a reward equal to your beliefs here on earth. I am quite certain that the only thing that you can take with you when you die, are the things you have given to others while you were here on earth: your service, your love, your forgiveness, your time, your energy, your encouragement – all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that even a cup of water to a thirsty soul, is more important than all the gold in the temple. A cup of water. Blessing one another. Respecting His earth, without being ridiculous. There are so many things that I could mention, but each of us must investigate with our own hearts. I Corinthians 13 Chapter is a good place to start.

I’ve thought a lot about the oil spill in the Gulf, I have shed many tears. It is a horror beyond imagining. My heart and my prayers go out to the people in the Gulf, many who have lived there all their lives. Many families go back hundreds of years. Why has this happened, aside from human error? I don’t know. It’s certainly not an Act of God, nor do I lay the blame on those who make their living in the Gulf. Perhaps there was greed. Was the company in a hurry? Were they neglectful regarding safety? Did they disregard the harm they could do? Yes, I believe they were callous, but I also have seen that they are trying to make amends, and, sadly, their efforts may have proven too little, too late.

So it is with all of us thoughtless human beings. We sin. It’s as simple as that. We make excuses, perhaps we repent, but then we sin again. Each person faces his own conscience. Each person to His own God, whether it is a false God or true. I only know that I worship the One, True, Living God, and at His feet I ask forgiveness.

God Doesn’t Sleep

God doesn’t sleep,
I’ve heard it said.
He hears our every cry.
He’s with us through every sorrow
And every last good-bye.

God doesn’t sleep.
His eyes can see
The trace of every tear.
He hears every child’s whisper
That is lisped into His ear.

Once I didn’t know Him,
And, yet, He carried me through
My deepest, darkest valley,
Saying, “Child I’m still with you.”

I’ve heard His voice within my heart,
A caress sent from above,
Saying, “Child, no matter your suffering,
“I command you now to love.”

To love? Where could it come from,
In a life filled with hopeless dreams,
Where hate was my only weapon
To take away the screams?

God made Himself so lovely
That I longed to feel His touch.
How pleasant was my sorrow
With a God who loves so much!

A paradox, I know it is.
How could God fill the dark
And reach inside my terror
To touch my trembling heart?

I don’t know how He did it.
I only know He did.
He opened all my secrets
Where I thought they were safely hid.

He banished all my sadness.
He gave me a life of hope.
He shows me how love triumphs,
When I’m at the end of my rope.

God doesn’t sleep when my eyelids close
In the bleak, uncertain night.
He rocks me in His gentle arms
And turns the dark to light.

I promise you, that God is here
No matter your sorrow or woe.
He’ll open His safe and gentle arms
And give you a place to go.

Run to His arms, He’s waiting.
His arms are big and wide.
He’ll rock you in His certain love
And give you a place to hide.

I should not be here, not at all,
And yet I’m here to say,
That God can take a weary life
And brush the tears away.

Trust His love, no matter what
Life has dealt to you.
He’ll turn your sorrow into joy
Before your journey’s through.

© Jaye Lewis, 2002

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, May 07, 2010

His Grace is Sufficient by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

It’s two days before Mother’s Day, and I’m spending mine in bed with another asthma attack. I hate these attacks. The feeling of suffocation is overwhelming at times. Since I’m a diabetic, I have to avoid prednisone, and so I’m on another corticosteroid, which usually takes longer, but also helps me control my blood sugar better.

Hospitalization is not on my list of things to do, especially with hourly insulin shots that may or may not work, and which could (improperly applied) bring on coma, insulin shock, or even death. I know, these words seem fatalistic, but that is my other choice. So, I’ll wait this out, be a good girl, and I will get well soon, I’m sure.

I’ve done some thinking about all of this, since my attack began last Thursday. I should NOT have waited until Monday to do a call into my doctor. Earlier treatment might just have nipped this in the bud, a lot sooner. So I have only myself to blame. But still, why this attack? Why did God not simply lift me from this ailment, and deliver me before I even got it? I have the evidence of His intimate caring.

Every day He gives to me. He shows me the sunsets, which He paints across the sky, just for me. And I get it. He shows me the colorful little birds which grace my yard and deck, trustingly knowing they will have water and food. And I get it. He encircles my life with my family, who are filled with sacrificial love, and they see to my every need. I am warm when it is cold outside, and I am cool when it is hot.

Then there are the little ways God gives to me; perhaps they are the biggest of all. I’ve been losing my sight, and it is very difficult at times. When the sun is shining, I can still see my garden, with all the trees that I raised from tiny seedlings. I can see the flowers and the towering maples that graced this yard the day we moved in. It has been a long process, turning this yard into something so breathtaking, yet God has led me on.

Almost daily, I lose things that are right in front of my eyes. When the light is low on a cloudy day, I cannot see the tiny details. So, I look and look, knowing that I’ve just passed each item by. That is when I truly turn to the Lord in trust and expectation.

“Lord,” I pray, “I cannot find this small item, that you know I need. Please lead me to where I may find it. You know I depend upon you.” It is rare for me not to immediately find, a lost prescription pill, that my dogs might eat; or an alcohol wipe so that I may test my sugar. Little things. Necessary things. Often things that might harm someone, even me: a tack or pin or toothpick that could go through my shoe. So many little things. And God takes the time and the care to find them for me. This is the God I worship and love.

So, why am I sitting up in bed, with my hair a mess, and, yet again, with that corticosteroid face beginning to show? Doesn’t God love me in this, too? Doesn’t He want to heal me of this? Doesn’t He want me to find my health, and keep it? I’m sure He does. But that’s not what He told the Apostle Paul.

Paul tells his story like this:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of…surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So God has told me today, “Jaye, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

“But Father, I want to be well and strong. It’s planting time, weeding time, digging up rocks, and transferring worms to other beds, time. I WANT TO BE WELLLL!!”

“Jaye, My grace is sufficient for you .”

“But Father…”

“My power is made perfect in [your] weakness.”

In just a few words, I’ve gone from anger and resentment, to acceptance and willingness. God is helping me find a need that I didn’t know I needed, and certainly didn’t want. But now I understand in my own small way. If I bear this testimony, that I give in my bed, wishing I could be outside and pull those gosh-awful weeds that are taking over my yard…well, His power is made great in my weakness.

For the longest time, in my Christian walk, I didn’t comprehend that illusive meaning of grace. “For it is by grace that we are saved, and not of ourselves,” the Bible tells us. What could this possibly mean? Suddenly one day, while pouring over these verses, the light suddenly dawned. The grace that I sought, had already been given, on a lonely hill called Golgotha, 2000 years ago. I can’t earn it. I can’t buy it. I can’t bribe God or promise Him anything for His great gift of grace. And then for Him to say that His grace is sufficient for me, because His power is made perfect in my weakness…? Tears come to my eyes, and I see so many more things than my eyes can behold.

Shining Star by Jaye Lewis

Shining Star filled with light,
For You, I’ll not give up the fight.
Through fire, cold, or rushing water,
I will be Your faithful daughter.

You are the One Who comes for me,
And pulls me from the raging sea.
You gather me within your arm
And keep me safe from any harm.

Dear Lord, my God, they do not see
The evidence you give to me.
They feel not your fingers brush their hair,
They know you not, yet do not care.

What shall I do? I’m just one voice;
A little one who makes the choice,
That I will serve you all my days,
In unimportant little ways.

Those little ways can change another,
Father, mother, sister, brother,
That all mankind will see in me,
The Shining Star I see in Thee.

© Jaye Lewis, May 5, 2010

Thank you, my friends, for listening today. I needed to write this. I needed to hear it. God’s grace is sufficient for me, just as it is for you.

With love, Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

She Stood Alone by Jaye Lewis

As we come to the week before Easter, we commemorate the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is my belief, and it is the belief of all true Christians. Without taking away from this sacred tenant of my faith, that I am lost without Him; that He is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I tiptoe into another view of that night.

I am no theologian, nor a scholar, nor a traditionalist, nor a Catholic. I aspire to the Evangelical creed that began hundreds of years ago, with the Protestant Reformation. My faith, however, is more compassionate than the originators, but certainly just as passionate.

It is easy, as a Protestant, of any faith, to forget the other “players” in this Divine production: God, Himself, on the Cross, dying so that I might be forgiven, washed by His cleansing blood, alone. But there is one whom we either forget about, or we deify. Both are wrong. She was only a woman; only a mother, and very much alone. This is her story:

She Stood Alone by Jaye Lewis

She stood, alone, with broken heart,
Upon a rocky hill.
The sky was dark, the voices harsh;
Eternity stood still.

She saw His eyes, so full of hurt;
His blood upon her hand;
But, though, He was the Lord of love;
She couldn’t understand.

For wasn’t He just a little boy,
Just a moment before?
Didn’t he cry, when he stumbled and fell,
As she helped him through the door?
Didn’t she wipe away his tears,
And wash away the blood?
Didn’t she lift him safely up,
As he tripped into the mud?

Wasn’t he all the world to her,
Just a baby in her arms?
Cooing and laughing, contentedly,
With all his baby charms?

Didn’t she hold him in the night,
When he ‘woke from terrible dreams?
And didn’t she promise she’d keep him safe,
As she hushed away his screams?

Yet, there she stood, beneath a Cross,
Helpless to ease His pain;
Trusting in God, yet, shuddering so,
As she heard His screams again.

Friendless, alone, abandoned,
Far from His mother’s breast;
A mother’s tears, wet the holy ground,
Where her Son passed His final test.

“It’s FINISHED!” She heard his valiant voice,
As with one, last burst he cried.
His broken body, collapsed on a cross,
She watched as her baby died.

At that moment, the heavens broke,
Redemption had its start;
But the mother remembered tiny hands,
Entwined within her heart.

So, as I await on my own bleak hill,
As my world seems tempest tossed,
I remember a mother, silent and still,
Beneath her “baby’s” Cross.

Jaye Lewis © 2001

At the time that I wrote this poem, my own child was very close to death. While sitting on the back deck, looking at the night sky, I had to ask the question that every mother asks. Why? My answer, and my peace, was this poem. In a strange way, with my own motherly fear, I felt connected to another mother, who stood, not at the Cross of the Savior of the World, but beneath the Cross of her baby. Yet, just as she saw her Son restored to her upon His Resurrection, I, also, received back from God, my own child, who was miraculously healed.

Some may call this thought, and this poem, blasphemy, but I call it the compassion of God, who knows and cares about all mothers.

With love, and Happy Easter,

Jaye Lewis

Monday, March 15, 2010

Leaning On God's Promises By Jaye Lewis

My hardest job as a person with numerous medical conditions is overcoming my mid-winter blues. Sadness and despondency have haunted me in the last few weeks. It seems like forever since I’ve seen the sun for more than a day. Our climate is changing; that’s obvious, but I don’t think it’s getting warmer. We’ve had three summers in a row, that have been cooler than I ever remember. Last year, it rained all summer, and our garden was trashed so hard, that we now have a greenhouse and garden seedlings in the basement. Winters have been harsh and bitter cold. We can no longer get out into the garden in February, even wearing our warmest snuggies. Digging new beds for spring seems like a distant memory.

Having lived much of my younger days in the deep south, with ocean breezes and sunny days, these winters have been particularly depressing. On top of that, my mobility, due to fibromyalgia and neuropathy, has been marginal, and I fall frequently. So my days of skipping over hills and dales are over, and this, too, makes me sad. Oh, how I long for the sun.

My health has, actually, been pretty good. My asthma has finally come under control. I can now lay down to sleep, instead of nearly sitting up. My diabetes is also under control, due to my Lantus® Insulin, a timed release insulin shot, that I give myself once a day. I can eat normal things without worrying that my blood sugar will shoot up to dangerous levels. This should make me happy, but often I am nearly overcome with sadness.

Probably the hardest thing for me to accept is my lack of normal mobility. I seldom go anywhere, unless I’m taken, and my eyesight is so poor that I would be a danger on the road, to myself and everyone else. So what can I do?

Here we are, you and me – you with your problems, and me with mine. We are much alike. Perhaps you have only a few friends, just like me. It may be for a number of reasons. My reasons for so few friends, is because I can’t do the things that friends do – going here and going there. It’s an old story. “We’d love to have you come along, but…” There is always a “but.” You fill in the blanks.

Each of us, no matter who we are, no matter our position in life, has struggles. Health, whether physical or mental; family, whether loving or hateful; depression, whether temporary, like mine, or enduring like others — all these things, and many more, can be profound burdens, and heavy to bear.

I know of only one way to alleviate my suffering. I throw myself into the arms of the Lord. He is my Savior. He is the healer of my problems. He is the One person who never leaves me. He knows me better than anyone, and He loves me in spite of all the times that I let Him down.

I see myself as a little child, who has slipped into a raging torrent. He comes for me, and He finds me. I’ve been calling, and He’s been coming to solve all that assails me.

“Here I am, Lord. Please take my hand and save me!” Suddenly, I feel His strong hand clasping mine, as He lifts me out of the creek. Sobbing into his shoulder, He wipes away my tears.

“Come, child,” He says. “You are safe with me.” And I am…safe with Him.

Because of You

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.
When I laugh, in the midst of my day,
It is a gift;
For You have shown me the ludicrous
In my situation.

Because of You, when tears come to my eyes,
I know that it is You Who have placed that seed
Of compassion, in my heart, for others.

You are my light,
My strength,
And my shield.

Without you, I have no life;
No peace;
And no joy.

Because of You and Your grace,
And Your love for me,
I take joy in every lovely thing I see.

You hold my breath in Your hand,
nd You own all my ways.
Because of You, I feel no self pity,
And I am thankful beyond words,
Just to be alive!

© Jaye Lewis, 2002

"God who holds [my] breath in His hand and owns all [my] ways." Daniel 5:23 NKJ

"Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence." W.S. Bowden

Friday, February 12, 2010

Only God Can Understand by Jaye Lewis

Only God can understand
The loneliness I feel,
When friendship turns to ashes
And nothing else seems real.

Only God can understand
Every yearning in my soul.
Only God can understand
How to make my spirit whole.

When I cry myself to sleep
Only He can see my tears.
Then I reach out with my heart,
And he banishes my fears.

Only He knows who I am;
Only He knows where I’ve been.
When I stand outside the gate
Then His love invites me in.

Only God can understand
Just how much I long to be
Strong and worthy in His eyes
In a way that I can see.

I cannot see myself
Through another person’s eyes;
For I am neither weak,
Nor am I strong and wise.

Neither view is truly me,
As I face my darkest day,
Begging God to make me well,
And take my pain away.

Only God can understand
The times I’ve given up.
Angry tears came bursting forth,
As I drank each bitter cup.

Only God can see beyond
My rebellious, childish ways.
Only He can take my nights
And turn them into days.

Only God can understand
My desperate whispered prayer.
Only He can touch my heart,
Telling me He’s truly there.

Do I run or do I stay?
That’s the paradox I face,
As I tremble on my knees,
When I now accept His grace.

Only God is with me still
Deep within my healing heart;
May I abide within His Love;
May I nevermore depart.

© Jaye Lewis, February 9, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Celebrate Life by Jaye Lewis

We’ve lived in our Virginia home for twelve years. It was our dream home when we retired from the Navy, and it still is. It’s cool in summer, and it’s warm in winter. From my deck I can see the mountains all around me. And the sunsets are a glorious celebration of what this world can be. In hushed wonder, I watch the sky turn from rose, to gold, and red. One evening I even caught the images of the heavens on fire. Even the birds were quiet, as though they too were moved by God’s gift to each of us.

Every morning of my life is another celebration of movement and color, as birds from all around flock to my deck for safety, water, and food. Each creature, from the most drab to the most colorful, fills my day with such joy. Even the starlings, who gobble up the suet with glutinous glee, have a place in my heart. In mid-winter, they move themselves in, along with all their relatives, and hog the feeders until the following spring. As soon as the earth begins to warm, they poke their beaks greedily into the earth to eradicate every grub they can find. Because of their ingenuity, army worms no longer march, and web worms build their webs, and suddenly spin no more. This gardener is grateful for the assistance of these unlovely birds.

While most birds shed their colorful feathers, and put on a dull winter coat, so that they are less noticeable against the snow, the cardinal stands out in a brilliant Christmas red. No wonder they are celebrated on clothing, artwork, and greeting cards all season long. After twelve years of certainty that the restaurant is always open at our house, we’ve seen descendants of every bird species gather on our deck. We’ve cared for early and late nestlings, providing every kind of food they need. Even the hummingbirds come here to drink their fill at our nectar rich feeders, all summer long. Birders who study these things tell us that hummingbirds return year after year to the same garden, and often to the same branch of the tree on which they were hatched.

Each spring, my garden reflects the beauty of the sky and birds. Each flower arrays itself in brilliant color. I’m amazed that anyone can see such magnificence and believe that all these gifts are merely an accident. No God, they say, could provide such beauty, nor would He. And I say, they are liars, because the person who beholds such heart and soul, without feeling, must have no soul at all. And it is then that I think, perhaps their ancestors did, after all, climb out of a primordial goop. But mine were created and placed in a garden, where the Creator of the Universe breathed within them, the breath of life.

So, I will celebrate my life, in shades of red, and green, and blue, and gold. I will be thankful for each feather and flower and sunset – a cacophony of sight and sound, sent by God, so that I may fill my life with pure joy.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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