Inspiration & Motivation

Focus

Not really sure where to start now that this site was ready to launch, it seemed the best place might be to give a little background into my journey from Peachtree Street to writing a blog.

I was saved at the age of eleven (while living on Peachtree) in the Church I had attended from early childhood.  Reared by parents very dedicated to the things of God, I grew up sensitive to spiritual issues as well.  In retrospect I realize that the words of Psalm 71:16 (“O God thou hast taught me from my youth”) are very much a description of my life.  Yet, it was only after I was married, and had a young son, did I sense an emptiness that seemingly could not be filled by the material blessing life had afforded me.  I was drawn to the Lord in a new and fulfilling way as I learned how to surrender my dreams and ambitions to His will for my life.  The Bible took on new meaning and subtly, without my really knowing what was taking place, the Scriptures began to be internalized in my heart.  I was so happy.  I had a good marriage, two precious little boys and a wonderful Church in which to worship and offer my few talents back to God.  Life, it seemed, could not get any better.

It was in May 1979, after sixteen years of marriage, that Cliff walks in and tells me that God has called him into the ministry.  For reasons I did not really understand, this just blew me out of the water.  I screamed, begged, cried – “surely you have missed God…this just cannot be.”  It wasn’t the thought of leaving our home, our families – it was purely a feeling of inadequacy.  All his training had been in Mortuary Science.  No Bible schooling – no great people skills – “we just can’t do this,” I said.  The next two weeks were a blur until God settled it in my heart that He had indeed called us to follow Him.  Eighteen months later Cliff accepted a pastorate in South Carolina.  It was a small, struggling congregation of hurting people and before many months passed, these people had worked their way into our hearts.  We enjoyed the ministry and gave ourselves without hesitation.

Our congregation participated in an annual winter meeting at my Dad’s church in Chattanooga, and we looked forward to this meeting each year with great anticipation.  However, in 1983 as I prepared to go, it seemed that at every turn I found myself whispering, “Lord, please give me something in this meeting.  I am so needy.”  As usual the week-long meeting was wonderful but as the week drew to a close, the heavy longing was still in my heart.  That is, until the final night.  Each evening the ladies of the host church had met for prayer prior to the service and invited those of us visiting to pray with them.  On this final night, several of the ladies gave words of testimony about how they had agreed among themselves (at the end of the previous year’s meeting) to spend one hour every day in the upcoming year to pray for this meeting.  And, one by one, they said, “We do not plan to stop – this hour has changed our lives.”  And immediately the Lord whispered, “This is the answer to your needy heart – you are giving out more than you are taking in – commit to Me one hour each day.”  And I said, “Yes, Lord, I will” as I realized that the majority of my Bible study was spent preparing Sunday School lessons, finding answers to the questions of others, etc. I was not taking time for my own benefit and was beginning to feel the drain.

I came home so excited and looked forward to my commitment – that is, until I tried it.  Satan met me at every hour with, “How long are you going to do this?”  It was sheer torment until one day I returned the question, “Why don’t you ever ask me how long I am going to eat three meals a day?”  And right there I recognized that this hour was as important to my spiritual life as eating was to my physical life.  The hour took on new meaning and anticipation.  And with renewed determination I seized an hour of each day to get to the place of prayer and reading – a practice that has continued to this day. 

Let me explain that the time spent is very fluid, not rigid nor binding – some days are rich, while others are dry as sawdust – but I keep going back. A typical morning goes like this:  Grasping my warm blanket and a good cup of coffee in a favorite cup, I continue the practice started back in the ‘60s of reading the Bible through once a year – the plan I follow varies from year to year – but nonetheless the entire Bible is completed every year.   I read Streams in the Desert (Volume 1 – Anniversary Edition) every year and choose another devotional book or two as well. I also have a repertoire of memorized Scripture in PowerPoint (iPad) slides from which ten to twelve references are rehearsed daily (if I don’t use it, I lose it). And if time permits, I read a chapter or two in a good inspirational book.  Prayer is the beginning and the end of this special time with the Lord.  I keep a journal, mark my Bible and make notes in the books I read. These notes and memories span more than fifty years and have brought clarity to my journey, encouragement in the dark days of pain and loss, and have become the inspiration and motivation for this blog. 

SHARE WITH A FRIEND

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *