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My Revolving Door by Dr. Lynnette Simm

It’s that time again. I had the pleasure of being an at-home mom again while both my daughters were home from college for most of the spring term and all of the summer. But now the door revolves and I am about to become an empty nester again. My oldest left last week to begin her final two years of her nursing program. She warned me that she probably won’t be back in the summer because she will be working. As I teared up she said, “Don’t cry mom, I will be home for the holidays and I’m only two hours away.”

I don’t think she grasps how my heart is aching as it takes in the fleeting moments of my life as her primary caregiver. Indeed, I know I will always be her mom, but those of us on this journey with the revolving door know that our job titles are changing and what was a full-time, or more appropriately described as “overtime” position is being diminished to consultant and financier. 

This realization hit my heart even more so this time because my youngest daughter is off to her second year of college. The other day, I went to her room and inquired with frustration, “When are you going to start packing?” Her words pricked my heart with tears as she said calmly, “Don’t worry Mom. I am an adult. I got this.” My frustration mixed with my wounded heart as I detailed all that had to be done in the shrinking timeframe. But with a calm like I haven’t seen before she just listened to me rant and said she understands. By the end of my tirade, I was smiling at her so proud that she didn’t feed into the false emotions I was displaying (frustration and anger) but kept calm as I got teary because we both realized our days were numbered. I gave her a hug and told her how proud I was of her. 

All the time we work to prepare our children for adulthood is not wasted. As my front door has continued to revolve with my daughter’s comings and goings, they have been taking in all that my husband and I have taught them and are becoming amazing adults.

I heard this statement and it stuck with me, especially during this time in my life. “Purpose of the light isn’t to light for itself but to provide light for others.”As parents that is what we are doing: lighting the path for our children. Giving them the grace to make mistakes. The freedom to make their own mark. A revolving door into our homes as they venture out into the world and home again until they are strong enough to stand on their own. 2 Corinthians 8:7: “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.”

Finally, we must remind our children that, no matter what, they have our unconditional hearts just as our Father does for us. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn with you lovingkindness.”

The door to my heart will never be closed even as the door to my home continues to revolve. I am looking forward to each time my beloveds come back so I can see how they have grown. My pride grows with them and my love deepens. This journey produces its own trials for us all, but I shall find joy. 

Romans 5:3-5 says: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Where in life’s journey are you? Are you counting all the blessings? Can you see how the Lord is growing you and those around you? Can you feel the love of the Father as He carries you through the suffering? Need help seeing the blessings? Reach out to any of us here at Pearls of Promise Ministries. We would love to encourage you with the love of Jesus. 

A Heart of Worship by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

This weekend my church opened its doors for the first time in five months since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. I wanted to be there. Sometimes we don’t know how much we appreciate something until its gone. So I said yes to volunteering on this momentous first day back.

I normally serve as an altar minister, praying with those who need intercession or healing but we can’t physically do that because of COVID. Instead, I was a greeter and wore a church logoed face mask. While I dislike the masks, I proudly wore this because it represented a return to some aspect of normalcy.

But after everyone arrived and I had fulfilled my duties, I was able to sneak into the service. Because of social distancing, all that was left were upper balcony seats so I slipped into the top row. I remember one service where I complained when we ended up in the last row, a far distance from the altar. The speaker was Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, and we had an overflow crowd. I was continuing to vocalize my disappointment when I heard, Who are you worshiping anyway? It was a reminder that God sees us wherever we are, and we can worship Him in any place.

But there is something special about corporate worship and a body of believers coming together. So this time I was elated to be on the last row, and as the presence of God infiltrated the sanctuary through the live worship, my hands were lifted high in praise to God who continues to bring us through this difficult season, both emotionally and physically.

Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” In Psalm 64:3­4, King David, who had a heart of worship said, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Prior to this verse David proclaimed, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory” (Psalm 63:2). On Sunday morning, I felt the Spirit of the Lord in the sanctuary—He is alive and well—and because of that I just wanted to show God how much I love Him through my praise. It was praise that flowed straight from my heart.

Choosing Faith Over Fear by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

My husband and I were in Denver, Colorado last weekend and rented a car for one day. On our way back to the rental car facility the tire pressure light came on. When we stopped to check it out, we found out the tire was down to 22 pounds and was supposed to carry 32 pounds of air.

So fear began to set in as we had about twenty more miles to drive on major highways. I keep praying, “Lord, please don’t let the tire blow.” I was worried we would have an accident, or worse. My body was tense. I was filled with anxiety and holding tightly onto the armrest of the car. I did not relax until we made it to the rental car facility, and was majorly relieved that we were safe.

In retrospect, why didn’t I just relax and trust God that he would get us to the rental car site without a problem? I had prayed, so where was my faith? Instead I chose fear over faith.

We can look at our current world scenario and the Global Pandemic the same way. Yes, people I know have gotten sick but they have recovered. Some are dying, but I have prayed proactive prayers asking God to shield our household from COVID-19, In an act of faith when all this started, I  anointed our door frames, and I need to trust that God can and will protect us. So far. So good. Faith is winning.

But if you are struggling to choose faith over fear, here are two practical ways to overcome fear both starting with “R.”

Recognize the Spirit of fear is not from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” When fear comes over us, we must rebuke it, in the name of Jesus. Speak back to it. Last Sunday, I started sneezing and my nose was running. I do have allergies, and this could possibly be a cold, but with all that’s going on with COVID-19, it’s easy to start worrying that this could be the Coronavirus. I am rebuking the thought. Do I have faith, or am I going to be fearful? Ephesians 6:16 says we need to take up the shield of faith and with it, we can dodge the fiery darts of the evil one. By Tuesday, I was well.

Remember that if we believe in God and His Son, Jesus, we can overcome fear. Psalm 56:8 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Jesus said in Mark 5:36, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” We need to remember how our heavenly Father has brought us through problems in the past. The Israelites provide a great example of this. They remembered that God had parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River for them, so when it was time to conquer Jericho, they pressed into faith rather that fear, despite the prerequisites required for victory. In Joshua 6, The Israelites were told to first march around the city once a day, then on the 7th day, circle Jericho seven times while the priests blew trumpets. On the final long blast of the trumpet, the whole army was instructed to shout. It was an act of faith, and when they did what God asked (even though it was unorthodox) the Jericho walls collapsed. Faith trumped their fear.

Fear can paralyze us and can prevent us from moving forward. Well known paster, Rick Warren, said, “Fear is a self- imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

Today, will you choose faith, or will you choose fear? Faith always diffuses fear.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

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The Whole is Important by Dr. Lynnette Simm

Aristotle said, “The whole is more greater than the sum of its parts.”

A whole person’s life is more important than the individual moments. Redemption. Forgiveness. Grace. Wisdom. Love. All are learned over time. Anything worth learning takes time and inevitably mistakes, big and small, will be made. A monument to a person’s life should be seen as a culmination of moments—what was done wrong, how one learned from those mistakes, and then changed direction. The past cannot be erased. It is impossible to turn back the clock. 

God doesn’t erase your sins. He forgives them. 

God doesn’t weigh which sins are worse. He forgives them all. 

God doesn’t look back at who you were, He sees who you will become. 

I, personally, regret many things I have done. Even today, I make mistakes and cringe because I so desperately want to be better. Some things I am really good at learning and doing better—others—well, I’m only human. I know my heart is full of love, but I also know my flesh disappoints me. Jealousy. Envy. Fear. Weakness. Insecurity. Selfishness. Pride. All stifle me at times and hold me captive, but I’m fighting against them everyday. 

I pray that when people look back on my life they see a broken girl who turned into a broken woman YET she spent her life trying to heal herself. She also tried to help heal her family and friends. I hope that grace will be given once people hear of the horrible sins I have committed. I wonder if people will see how the Lord changed my life and with His forgiveness I was able to forgive myself and others?

But most importantly, I hope and pray that when my life is done that the mistakes I have made will be seen as stepping stones to the woman I became. Beloved Wife.

Mother of three.

Sister, Daughter.

And Friend. 

I know in my heart that my Lord and Savior loves me and will welcome me home. He sees my true heart and has allowed my mistakes to draw me closer to Him. Thank you Father for all the parts of my life, good and bad parts, that brought me home to YOU! Thank you for seeing ALL OF ME AND NOT JUST MY PARTS. 

I pray for you all. May you see and be seen, not merely for the parts of you life, but for the whole of who you became, just as God sees you. 

Who are the Mamas in Your Life? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

On Friday, I was invited to listen to a live prayer event on YouTube involving both Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. Once enemies, these believers in Yeshua (Jesus), Jew and Gentile, are now joining together as “one new man” in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 talks about this one new man:

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

But what was most touching about this call, is that they began the gathering with both Jew and Arab women sharing their hearts. The women, are now good friends because of their common faith and call each other “mamas.” It was endearing and I wanted to be one of the mamas! You could feel their closeness. And then my mind wandered to all the “mamas” I’ve known over the years, both friends and adopted moms, many of whom I have remained close to despite physical distance.

What “mamas” come to your mind? Mother figures. Close friends who have survived the years—no matter where you’ve lived, no matter how you’ve changed.

One mama I’d like to highlight is turning 80 soon. Her name is Joyce. This past week I heard from Mama Joyce’s son, who invited me to his mother’s birthday party in Chattanooga, Tennessee in a couple of weeks. Because of my schedule, it requires leaving on one day and returning the next, but this is one special “mama,” so I’ve bought my ticket.

Back when I was in my early twenties and really needing a mom, because my own mother struggled, I met Joyce while working in my first television job in Chattanooga, TN. She happened to be my boyfriend’s mother, and on weekends she and I would chat like school girls most of the day while my boyfriend was off doing something else (In retrospect, that wasn’t so wise). When he and I broke up, Mama Joyce and I decided that did not mean we needed to break up, so we didn’t. Even though I moved away, I was there for her when she went through a painful divorce, and was by her side after the loss of her son, my former beau. She was around for me as well through heartache and joys. And to keep this mama–daughter relationship alive, I’ve made it a point to visit her periodically over the past 30+ years. We always pick up where we left off.

These kinds of lifelong friendships don’t come around every day so if you haven’t reached out to the mamas in your life lately, maybe today is a good day to tell them how much you care.

To close, I want to wish Mama Joyce an early Happy Birthday. You have been one of the constants in my life. I love you, I am thankful for you and I can’t wait to hug you in person.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

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