If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours
Author: Judith A. Dempsey
While working as an elementary school counselor Judith A. Dempsey was offered the opportunity to attend NCAT in Western North Carolina. "Everyone has a story to tell and write." The writing bug bit her and she hasn't stopped writing since.
Our Pastor’s sermon today was on “A Sense of Wonder.”
Young children seem to naturally have a sense of wonder about many things. Unfortunately, as we grow older we seem to lose this feeling of awe and replace it by the ordinary demands of life.
Our many trails seem to weigh us down and we lose this awe of God and His world and work in us.
Many individuals with disabilities have this unique gift of seeing beyond situations and have a purpose and sense of wonder in their daily lives.
An elderly blind man who lost his sight in middle age, greets every individual with, “Isn’t it a beautiful day.”
He seems to feel the uniqueness of each day as special.
Gracie who is unable to speak clearly and is wheelchair bound, always tries to say hello and reaches to give me a hug. I always get a Christmas card in which she writes her name as best she can.
My own daughter, Kathy, who had Down’s Syndrome. is delighted to greet people and had her own fan club.
She learned to say The Lord’s Prayer but was always a word behind. After she died, church members would tell me they were still waiting for Kathy’s “Amen.”
A wrote a piece about seeing God’s care in finding a bird’s feather. Even now people who hear the story are giving me feathers.
How wonderful that God signals His presence in different ways.
But His greatest gift was that of His son to teach us love and then to pay the price of our transgressions through His life and death.
After He rose from the grave He continued to tell His disciplines to teach His message of love to all the peoples of the earth and lastly He promised to be with us always, even in our most difficult trails.
Recently, I have been fighting God. He said, “Ask and you shall receive.” I have been asking for healing or deliverance.
Neither is happening. Then, our bible study, CBS, had the memory verse of the week, “And whomever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it. and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39.
That is tough stuff. I am really struggling with this! Is part of the struggle, part of the cross? Jesus sure doesn’t make it easy for us! Sometimes we feel on top of the mountain, but many times we are down in the valley.
It helps to remember, Jesus never asks us to do anything, He hasn’t already done!
Lord, I am in the valley right now and I need your help!
You are my Savior, but Lord, even you needed help carrying that cross. As I continue to lose ground physically as I am aging, Lord send me your help!
Be thou my guide and example. Send me your Holy Spirit to guide and support me. I am your child and I need your help to carry the crosses you send so I can be worthy of you and some day be able to see your beautiful face and thank you for all you have done in my life and in the lives of those I love.
You are my role model, and Lord, it sure isn’t easy following you but I love you because you first loved me enough to live this earthly life and die on the cross for me. Amen
Recently I read an article from a devotional book, Tune My Heart to Sing, from Our Daily Bread. Songs have always been a way of helping me focus on God’s goodness and guidance.
Even though I can no longer sing in a choir, I continue to add my elderly voice in praise of my Savior.
It is difficult to accept the loss of skills as I continue to age.
My recent falls, surgeries and therapy sessions have taxed my mood. No longer am I the cheery old lady who smiles at adults and children alike. I have to confess I am that grumpy old lady no one likes to meet.
Have I asked God why me? The answer comes back “Pick up your cross and follow me.” Is it easy, because it is God answering? No way. In fact it is much harder because I know Jesus did it first, and he expects me to follow because he loves me and did it for the whole world first. So Just As I AM, grump or not I come.
This is July 4th, 2018. One day not long ago a young lady said to me,”This is the anniversary of my Baptism. I was taken back because I had never heard that expression before.
Curious about my own Baptismal date, I returned home and found my Baptismal certificate. To my overwhelming surprise I discovered my Baptismal anniversary was July 4th, 1937.
I was baptized in St. Ann’s Church in Toledo, Ohio. An Edward and Julia Clancy were my sponsors. Now, I knew the day I was set free and became a child of God.
The enormity of this action never penetrated my consciousness until one day my pastor illustrated the reality of Christ’s death in my life by the very large letters in red Jesus plus nothing.
Finally this miracle registered. I was eighty years old when I learned Jesus was my Savior.
Then I fall and broke my left hip. One operation later, four weeks in the habitation center, having to depend upon others for most of my needs, my physical life has totally changed but I have the joy of knowing Jesus died for me and soon I will see Him face to face.
What joy indeed to be His child, even in my physical distress, He is my Shepherd and won’t leave me behind. Amen
The gospels report several times when Jesus went off be himself, to pray.
These examples suggest to us that communicating our needs to God, the Father, are necessary in order to strengthen our bond with our creator.
Many years ago when my oldest daughter was a teenager, she was going through some difficulty and ran away just before Christmas. After attending the Christmas service in which I implored God to return her I noticed some geraniums blooming. These flowers had been dormant since October when I brought them inside for the winter.
At that moment I knew she was safe. At supper-time there was a knock on the front door. When I opened it there stood a young girl with a lollipop in her mouth.
After I earned my Masters in School Counseling. I was told there were no openings in Baltimore County so I asked God to find me a job in Dare county, North Carolina. He did not. Instead when I interviewed in Dare the gentlemen suggested I try Currituck County.
After applying and having an interview I was given an elementary counselor’s job. My orginal office was in the school book room. Later I graduated to an office inside the school building. That job was one of the most satisfying ones I ever had.
The new job required my move to North Carolina, where we owned a beach house. I was delighted but my Down’s Syndrome daughter started acting out.
Eventually, we had to hospitalize her. As I drove back on the beach, I prayed,”Father, if you don’t send your grace, I’ll never get through this!” As I looked up, on the hill there stood Grace Lutheran Church. The next Sunday I was there.
My sister was in a coma for three weeks. When we had a prayer service I sat in for her. The very next day, she opened her eyes and said her name.
There are times God does not answer your prayers. When my husband suddenly took ill and was flown to Cheapeake hospital. I kept hearing, “On wings of an eagle.”
It was three weeks of suffering for him when finally the doctors agreed there was no more they could do. He was released from his machines and the pastor blessed him.
Three hours later he passed. I knew he was safe with Jesus. God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we ask but in a way that is best for us. Thank you, God, that you care for us so much, you even let your son die for our wrong-doings.
Like any young animal or human, Teddy finds more things to get into than I could ever imagine.
The closest I can remember are two small, young terriers we picked up in Vermont. Our yard was always filled with trash they gathered from the yards of neighbors.
The event that topped all others was the day they cooperated in taking the lady’s nylon slip from her clothes line in the yard across the street.
Teddy has found a new object to destroy, my daughter’s plastic red drinking cup. He couldn’t be happier than he is right now.
When I returned from watering the flowers this morning I discovered pieces of a large cardboard box all over the kitchen floor. I have no doubt is was a cooperative effort between Teddy and my daughter’s two beagles.
When they join forces, the three of them can be quite destructive. Thankfully, they didn’t get beyond the cardboard box, the prize was inside, a twenty-five pound bag of dog food.
The beagles have fallen asleep but Teddy continues his pursuit of the total dismemberment of the plastic red cup.
Life is somewhat like this. One person starts a task, others join in until sleep overtakes them.
Hopefully, our pursuit of godliness, which often comes at a price, doesn’t overwhelm us so much, we stop and sleep.
May we become more like Teddy and not give-up on the pursuit of goodness.