Old Soldiers and Grandsons

Sometimes it takes thinking about a certain event a second or even third time to clearly see details that may have been missed the first. Here is a personal story about that.

I ran some errands with my daughter and grandsons the other day. First off, when I arrived to pick them up, I realized that I did not have the 4 year old’s car seat with me. So, I had to drive back home and retrieve it from the garage. Oh well, another thirty minutes gone, but not a problem as I was finished working and we were not on a time schedule.

We had several places to go that day, so first, we headed out to good ole Walmart. You know, Walmart, where everyone shops and since it was the end of November, guess what they were doing? Yes, Christmas shopping was in full swing. People everywhere with cars zig zagging in and out of the parking lot continuously.

My daughter was sporting a “boot” on her left foot as the result of a shopping cart incident at her place of employment and her two little boys were in the back seat chattering and being silly, one 9 years old and the other as previously mentioned 4.

Foolish me, I take the isle in the parking lot that is the most popular, right in front of the doors, hoping to find a close space. Just when I thought I was never going to find one there it was, the space right after the the ones designated for disabled folks. Yay, we all pile out and head into the store.

With the boys hanging off the end and side of the shopping cart off we go on our separate ways, me with the boys and my daughter to do some Christmas “business” without the little ones tagging along.

I grabbed several items that I needed, including butter, we always need more butter! As the boys were walking ahead of me and the cart I was pushing, we passed many people along the way. Interestingly, my eyes fixed on the face of an older gentleman who was walking by me. He was wearing navy blue dress pants and a light blue button down shirt and over that was a military winter jacket. He was well groomed with closely clipped beautiful white hair. His jacket was full of patches representing his extensive career serving our country. Without thinking, I made eye contact with him and said hello as I passed. I really didn’t give him time to answer as I was following the boys and quickly reassigned my attention to them.

We finished up with our shopping having traveled most of the store and headed to the check out. The “self check out” experience went amazingly smooth this time and we headed to the car to wait for their Mom to join us.

We had just gotten into our seats when I looked up to see the old soldier approaching. His car was parked right beside ours. He took a glance our way and got into his car, preparing to leave. I spoke to the boys and told them to take notice of this man, that he was a soldier and had served in the military years ago and obviously was a long time veteran who may have been in several wars and that he may have seen awful things and deserved our respect for his service. As I was speaking I looked back and saw my 9 year old grandson giving the old soldier a salute. He held his hand above his eye as the old soldier looked at me. I smiled at him and then he looked to the back seat of my car and returned the salute. I could have cried! My grandsons were very taken with his gesture as was I. “That’s how you show respect to those who have served our country,” I told them. We drove away with a warm comfort in knowing that we had taken the time to engage an old gentleman and had paused to acknowledge him.

So, was it a coincidence that I forgot the car seat that made us thirty minutes late? Was it a coincidence that I took my eyes off my grandsons for a second in order to engage an old soldier passing by me in Walmart? Was a coincidence that I “just happened” to “find” a parking space near the ones with the stamped wheel chairs on the signs. Maybe, and maybe not. You can decide that for yourself. I happen to think that when we pray in the morning to cover our day, and ask the Lord to help us be more like Him that He may just set in our pathway and old soldier that needed to be acknowledged by a little boy. Maybe he needed to hear a friendly hello. Just maybe his day was made by these small encounters. I sure do hope so!

Or perhaps this was one of those “angels unaware” encounters, that was set before us. Perhaps even , as we took pause and like one of my teacher friends says, were “boots on the ground” Christians to an old soldier who was walking the isles of Walmart alone, we left a mark that will only be revealed when we are face to face with Him. Perhaps this one time we were like Jesus, the only One who really sees inside our hearts. Again, I sure do hope so!

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What’s new? New Year musings and discoveries!

Well, here we are starting a new year! 2014, is it really?  Oh wow, how time does fly!

I remember hearing the “older folks” speak like this. Time flies, why yesterday we… and other similar sayings. Now, I am the one using these familiar sentences. This past year has been one filled with wonderful happenings and hard struggles. A new grandson came to our family, our son got married to the love of his life, we discovered another wonderful grandbaby is on the way later in this year, changes and transitions at our church. Many things humming along with the same smiles and frowns as usual.

Our pastor is teaching us some of the basics for the new year, prayer, getting alone with God and reading through the bible. I believe the Lord is taking me to higher AND deeper places with Him and will use these new revelations as I sit with clients in the counseling room. I’ll be sorting and separating these new thoughts and truths with much study and prayer.

In what ways are you moving forward into the new year with the Lord? How is he taking you to new horizons? Please share and encourage us! Thanks! Let’s keep moving along this journey with Him. Remember, if you need to pull off the tracks and rest in the “station” for a while with us, our invitation stands for you to connect with our counseling ministry. Blessings! Linda

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There’s A Light at the End of the Tunnel, Can you See It?

Recently I was talking with a counseling client about the choices we get to make. The point was, that we GET to make these choices.

Sometimes when we get bogged down with life and the things that have happened either to us or around us we forget that these “things” are circumstances that we can choose to be overwhelmed with or choose to use  to get to that “next level.” Whether the level is a spiritual one or an emotional one, we never stop advancing or rather we should never stop desiring to move forward in life.

As I was talking with my client the Lord gave me a picture. I saw some miners in a collapsed dark mine tunnel sitting around in the rubble. Some were focused on the destruction all around them, some were focused on the injuries they had sustained and some others were looking in the direction of where they knew the tunnel opened up toward the light. These men were not miles under the earth as we have seen with some recent mining accidents. They were probably several hundred feet from where there might be an opening.

One miner thought he saw a speck of light off in the distance. He strained his eyes to make it out. However, there was a mountain of rubble and dust in the way. He immediately started to crawl over boulders and sharp  dirty rocks and debris in order to get to the light. He didn’t mind or even notice that he was perhaps injured or hurt, or that it would take all his strength just to get through the rubble.  He just had a driving instinct to get to the place of freedom! As he was moving forward, he noticed that others were not even looking in his direction, they were focused on what had happened,they were looking back into the darkness and the devastation that had just occurred.  Fear was gripping them and their only thought was “I’m trapped”.

The difference between these two groups of people is that one group was focused on the  freedom that was somewhere in the distance and  were willing to get to it no matter the work, and the others were focused on the darkness that had surrounded them and their current situation.

In life, we get to focus on either light or darkness. That is our choice. One or the other. When we choose to stay in the dark, we may feel that familiar sense of being separate or isolated. Although this place may be dark and suffocating, we may choose to stay here just because of it’s familiarity. However, when we get a glimpse of the light and the way to freedom, we have a choice. We can take a step forward, and be renewed and refreshed, or stay where we are. As scary as that might seem to be, the light is where God is and His freedom awaits us.

Jesus says,”I am the way, I am the truth and I am the life”. What does that mean to you? Are you willing to find out? Or do you feel that sense of false safety in the familiar darkness. Sometimes, we just need to take a step, that’s all, just a tiny step toward the light. Even if it hurts our eyes. Because when we do, a whole new world that is bright and fresh will be waiting for us. Taking that step may be the hardest thing ever! But when it happens, the light that is available in Him will envelop us with a warm peace that we can experience no other place. That is His peace, that is His Shalom.

Where are you on this journey? Are you moving toward His light or maybe you have stepped out a bit, but seem to be pulled back into the miry darkness by some false sense of familiarity and saftey it poses? Sometimes, we just need to re-evaluate where we are. Look around, is darkness heavily breathing down your neck, or have you truly placed yourself into the hands of the One who is forever lighting the way.

If this is a new concept to you or you would like to hear more, please call us. We would love to talk with you! Let us know what you think! 717-638-8703 Please leave a comment. -Linda-