On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Her giving hands”

The first time I met her I was sick with a fever. We’d been traveling for days and I was dragging. She welcomed me into her home and nursed me back to health. Now, whenever I see her, she feels my forehead with her well-worn hands and says, “There now, no fever today,” as she smiles up at me. At five-foot-nothing, she has to look up to most everyone. Small and wiry, Gran is a bundle of energy, even now in her late eighties. And she gives that energy away, to everyone she meets.

She lives in a stone cottage with a thatched roof that was built by her great-great-grandfather. Until 1965, it didn’t have electricity. Gran still likes to make tea and soda bread on the turf fire, although she has a modern kitchen. All 6 of her children were born in this house, just like Gran was. Her husband died here almost 30 years ago. Gran has some chickens and a milk cow, but the rest of her farm is rented out for cattle and silage. She has flowers on every windowsill and patch of ground and a few tomatoes and cucumbers growing in a tiny greenhouse. There are probably a thousand other cottages like hers in this corner of Ireland, but not one of them is more full of life and love than Gran’s house.

I asked her once what kept her going, especially after her husband’s death, all these years ago. We were shelling peas in the sunshine behind the kitchen. Her hands flew down each pod as the peas dropped into the pan on her lap. She smiled down at her work and, not missing a beat, answered, “Because my life doesn’t belong to me. It’s meant to be given away.”

And for more than 8 decades, that’s what she’s done. As the eldest of 5 children, she helped care for her younger brothers and sisters and worked on their large farm while going to school. When she was 17, she got married, and she and her husband made their home with her parents, caring for them both until their deaths. She helped her neighbors when childbirth came and nursed the sick and the dying. Her hands never stopped. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, milking, and holding babies. Gran’s life is told in her warm, wrinkled hands. As she sits by the fire in the evening, she embroiders altar linens for her parish church. One day several years ago, I was with her when there was a knock at her door. In this heavily-Catholic part of Ireland, two young Mormon men wanted to talk with Gran. She smiled and listened for a few minutes and then she pointed down across the fields to the small village she called home. There soared the spire of her Church. She said, “Look there. I can go there and sit with my Lord. I can receive His Body and Blood at every Holy Communion. Can your church give me more than that?” The young men thanked her and went on their way — with a loaf of her soda bread in their backpack.

Gran has given me so many things over the years I’ve known her but what I treasure the most is her reminder to work hard at being generous and kind. Give your time to help others and listen twice as much as you talk. And a little whiskey at bedtime is a blessing. Her faith sustains her. I remember one day in her living room. She was watching the evening news on her new flat-screen television. The lead story was about the terror attack in Nice. I noticed that her eyes were nearly closed and her hands were busy in her lap, praying her Rosary. Probably for France, but also for her large family, now spread out over 4 continents. Those hands are always busy. Weaving a life lived for others, giving away love every day and never stopping to think of herself. I pray that God will make me more like her and I give thanks to Him for her example of a grateful servant of the Lord. Thank you, Gran. You’re a wonderful gift to everyone who knows you.

“Love does not measure, it just gives.” — Blessed Mother Teresa

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday was a mixture of rain and sunshine. Kinda like life!

Pastor Flood’s message was about life and feeling sometimes pulled in two different directions. Pleasant Valley Baptist is having revival meetings this week, but the message Sunday was used by Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and prepare us for what God has in store.

As Christians, we should not feel at home or be attached to the things of this world. In the book of Job, we read, “a man is born of few days and full of trouble”. The average Christian has no vision of heaven. In this life, all have struggles, some more than others. God’s marvelous grace is sufficient in each situation.

Paul’s epistle, Philippians, was written to Christians of Phillppi to encourage them as they had become discouraged by the things which had happened to Paul as he served God. Paul now sat in a cold, damp, rat-infested prison cell. He was torn between life or death as the reality of this situation. Prison, life or death! This very moment could be our last. Too often we pass off opportunities to know God by thinking the odds are in our favor. Thinking there will be another breath, another day, another opportunity. Paul wanted Christians to know no matter the situation, to be content, and know God will take care.

Most of the generation of today has not been brought up in church. They reject God and the things of God. Without Christ, no one has the hope of heaven. God’s Word tells us it rains on the just and the unjust. The just are those who accept Jesus, the unjust those who reject. Everyone experiences problems, trials, and temptations. Psalm 116:2 tells us the Lord inclines His ear unto those who call upon Him. God who is maintaining and sustaining the universe down to the most minor detail. Yet, when one calls unto Him, He hears, He listens, and He answers.

Paul was pulled in two directions, desiring to go to heaven, which he had not known or stay on earth which he did know. The greatest fear of humanity is the unknown. Death for some is the greatest unknown. For those who have trusted Christ, God has removed the fear of death. Death has been overcome and the Christian is victorious over death. Christians have eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus. Because He lives, Christians too shall live!

Paul was torn between twixt, wanted to go home but still needed to be here. Philippians l:12 says the things which happened to Paul had resulted in the furtherance of the gospel. Verses 21-24, Paul says to live is Christ to die is gain but to abide in the flesh is more needful.

In closing, Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Victory in Jesus!! Seek to have a vision of heaven, keep it fresh, and look unto Jesus.

Revival meetings are this week, June 24 until! Brother Dean McNeese is God’s man during these meetings. We encourage and invite you to be present to hear what God has for you.

Pray with us for revival, not just meetings, but that a real holy ghost revival will begin with each of us and move out across our county, state and country, the world! This world needs God-sent revival. Pray for those in need physically and spiritually. Pray for salvation of souls.

Vacation Bible School will be July 22-26. Mark you calendars and make preparations to have your children involved in this special time of learning about God. Ages are 4K-12th grade, beginning at 6:30 pm.

Service times are Sunday School 10 AM, Worship 11 AM, Evening 6 PM with prayer time at 5:45 PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth are 7PM. Call for transportation 706 537-3633.

You are warmly and earnestly invited to join us in worshipping the Lord. We count it an honor to have you as our guest and would hope to be a blessing to your life.