I Believe in Miracles

Our son, Wes, and his wife, Taylor, were robbed recently. It was awful. When Taylor came home from work and opened the front door she saw nothing but chaos. Making things worse, Wes was several states away on a work project. The burglar has broken into the back door and ransacked  their entire house, including all the drawers downstairs and upstairs.  Of course they took all the electronics. … and these kids of ours have lots of those – big TV’s, X-box, Echo (whatever that is) and numerous other items. While I was devastated for them and the emotional trauma they were experiencing, I knew that much of that “stuff” could be replaced. And I was so grateful and proud that they had insurance! But my heart sank when Taylor told me first and then Wes told me when he called, “Mama, they took the watch.” A million thoughts and memories ran through my mind, and I literally hurt and felt sick. Earlier this year we gave Wes a very old, fine pocket watch. For all my life it hung in a display dome on my Mama’s secretary in the living room. This watch was beautiful and it belonged to my Daddy, who was born in 1924. His grandfather gave it to him on his 21st birthday. This could never be replaced. Wes’s personality is a lot like his Papa’s, and he loves old family things. I will always remember how he lovingly held that watch and smiled his sweetest smile, thanking us for sharing this family treasure. Within hours of receiving it he had looked up and made notes of all the details on the watch – when and where it was made, the serial number, and other bits of information. I knew Wes would treasure this gift and the history that went with it for the rest of his life.

Over the next few days following the robbery, they discovered other special and even random things that had been stolen – Taylor’s charm bracelet with lots of special meaning, a necklace Wes gave her, the wristwatch Mama gave Wes for graduation, and all of his socks!  Go figure!

I Prayed, Believing!

In spite of this awful robbery, invasion of privacy and violation of personal space and emotion, I did what I tell other people to do in challenging circumstances –  paused and began to focus on things to be grateful for in the midst of this awful situation. I prayed and asked God for a miracle, specifically that He would bring that watch back to them. I prayed, believing, knowing that God can do anything and that He knew exactly where it was. I asked friends to join me in praying for recovery of their stolen items, always adding, “especially the pocket watch.” I even went so far as to tell Taylor, “and I know what the name of my blog will be when you get the watch back!  It will be ‘I Believe in Miracles!'”

Being Grateful is A Choice

Being grateful is a choice. Regardless of the outcome, it is always better than griping and fussing and cussing.  Here are some of my thoughts and the progress while choosing to be thankful over the days and weeks following the robbery:

  • I am grateful Taylor was not at home when the thief came; she was not killed, hurt, or kidnapped. This was huge!
  • I am grateful the police came quickly and were kind and thoughtful as they asked her a million questions.
  • I am grateful Wes was able to fly home late that night.
  • I am grateful three couples who are dear friends came to the house immediately, stayed with Taylor the entire evening, brought in food, and one of them picked Wes up at the airport. Loyal friends are such a blessing.
  • I am grateful their insurance company was cooperative, helpful, and quick to respond.
  • I am grateful Taylor became a super-sleuth, doing what she could to track down their stuff! She went online to sites where people in Lexington offer things for sale and found a person selling exact electronics that had been taken.
  • I am grateful Wes had saved all the serial numbers to their electronics.
  • I am grateful the detective assigned to their case took Taylor’s lead and pursued making a purchase from that seller. Taylor’s lead uncovered an entire theft ring!
  • I am grateful the detective got in to the apartment where the items were and confirmed with serial numbers that these were their stolen property and that he pressured the girls in that apartment for other stolen items.
  • AND I am especially grateful that he walked out of that apartment with THE POCKET WATCH! The crown is gone, which makes me sad, but the watch has been returned.

Do I Believe in Miracles?  You’re Mighty Right I Do!

Wes and Taylor did not get back all their stolen items. The rest of their jewelry and other things may never be recovered, although I still pray they might. Thanks to insurance they have replaced the electronics and Wes has a drawer full of new socks!  The trauma of being robbed will stay with them for a while, but I pray they will recover and only be stronger.

In summary, God is good …. all the time. Our world is full of sinful people and bad things happen; it’s just a fact. But God, in his love for the fallen world, provided salvation from sin for those who accept Jesus. He paid the price for sin and offers peace and hope and miracles, even in the midst of unpleasantness. I am proud to be rescued from my heart of sin and to be a believer and receiver of God’s grace because of Jesus. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would reject such a good, loving God who is alive today and still working miracles!

Thank you God for your sustaining grace, your loving heart to all, and your specific miracle in bringing back this family heirloom to our family.

You Are Loved by Your Father

I am one of the lucky ones. My Daddy was the sweetest and best. He loved me and my brother unconditionally and provided security, wisdom, love, fun, memories, discipline, and counsel. He always urged me to follow Jesus and obey him above all others. Daddy was unselfish and taught us how to care for others by his example. He loved his extended family, his hometown and community, his church, and his business. He was loyal to all and committed to doing the right thing and urging others to do likewise. Daddy was not perfect; he had flaws and made mistakes, but I admired his honesty and integrity. He owned up to his weaknesses, knew how to say sorry, and always turned a mistake into an opportunity to learn a lesson and do better in the future. Those may have been the best lessons. My friends all loved him and wanted to sit by him and talk about boyfriends, big decisions they were pondering, and other life issues.

While others also had wonderful dads, many did not. Some fathers were absent, un-caring, selfish, unfaithful, and lots of other bad things. Those with a bad dad did not deserve that any more than those with a good dad deserved theirs. The dad we each got was out of our control. Good dads or bad dads are not earned by their children; to some extent it is just luck-of-the-draw. If you have a wonderful dad, be careful that you don’t think you are somehow better than someone whose dad is not so stellar. And on the other hand, if your dad has disappointed you over and over, do not feel responsible for his choices or doomed by them.

The best news ever is that we all have a Father who loves us beyond our comprehension. He is ready and waiting for all to receive him and experience the love and compassion and peace he has to offer. See the story of the prodigal son which depicts God’s love for us (Luke 15:11-24). He accepts us with our weaknesses, mistakes, and failures, and offers us a life free from the penalty of sin. This Father of all created the universe and all the beauty that we see in this world. He loved us enough to send his son, Jesus, to live on earth and to die to pay the price for our sin. While our sins may vary, the reality of a sin nature in each human being is undeniable. Our Father provided a solution to our sin; it is a free gift and he longs for each of us to accept it. God makes himself known, and down in our heart of hearts we all see and experience evidence of him: it is everywhere. If you seek him, you will find him!  “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3)  God’s offer to humanity is made possible by his amazing grace – unconditional love provided to those who do not deserve it.

Seek and you will find

Giving up control is hard for most of us, but it is worth it. My way or God’s way? It was a no-brainer from the start and I have never had a regret. In fact, the greatest freedom comes when we get ourselves off the throne of our lives and put God in his rightful place. God our Father is trustworthy and He is able to do in and through our lives so much more than we could ever do on our own. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you had a good and godly dad, he made choices creating his own reputation; you have to make your own decisions that will impact your life and character. A good reputation is not inherited; each individual writes his/her own story. On the other hand, if you had a disappointing dad, that resulted from his decisions. As his child you have an opportunity to do better and make your story a great one. So will you assume you are “entitled” to a great life because your dad was who he was? Or will you be defeated and assume you can never become a good man because of your dad and the choices he made?

Satan will try to mess with you and play mind games with you. He will try to keep you from becoming all that God has in mind for you. Don’t let him bring you down. Turn to the loving Father who has your back; he will never leave you or forsake you.

Remember today and everyday – You are loved by your Father.

Blessed But Broken

FAMILY VACATION 2017 took place last week at Daytona Beach Shores, our every year place. Rob is now married to Rebeccah (1-15-17), Wes and Taylor are two and a half years married and going strong, and Mary Margaret invited her boyfriend, Jonathan, to join us and he seemed to survive the Collingsworth madness very well. It was a good week with lots of new memories made and lots of time to revisit memories made over all the vacations in this same spot. I am hoping “that time I fell into the hot tub” won’t be the most remembered and laughed at event of the week! They have all left now and I get to stay a few extra days to savor (and maybe recover) from all the high action of last week.

How do I feel?

Blessed… I am overcome with gratitude. JB has arranged his schedule and priorities to make this happen every year. While he is not really a beach person, he knows that I am, and he is willing to come and to use his creative ability with fun activities, mystery dinners, parties, etc.

Mary Margaret is doing so well in her career. She has great friends and takes full advantage of living in Nashville, enjoying musical and sporting events. She travels all over the country and uses her gifts of teaching and mentoring so many. WOW, I am a proud Mama.

Rob and Rebeccah live in Ft. Worth and both have great jobs – he, as Communications Director at Criswell College in Dallas, and she, as a Pediatric Cardiac Care Nurse at Cook Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth. They are a perfect match for each other and bring out the best in each other. My heart is full.

Wes and Taylor enjoy life in Lexington, KY. He does what he loves everyday in his work –  designing and installing audio, video, and lighting systems in churches and training people on how to use these. Taylor is the queen of hospitality and all things crafty. They have company over regularly and lead a small group. They make me laugh and smile everyday.

The temptation…

So, yes, I am blessed. The temptation, and it is real, is to take credit for the good choices and the good places our kids are right now. But, oh, how well I know that I am broken and I cannot take credit for any good in my children. And even if I did, would I also be willing to take credit for the terrible messes they have made over the years? And there have been some messes from all of us in this family….

The brokenness that I recognize and choose to admit is my sinful nature. I scare myself with some of the thoughts that go through my mind. I know for sure, those who know me best know, and God certainly knows I have natural tendencies that are totally not acceptable. These come from my heart that is sinful and full of pride and deceit. In relating to JB and our children it is tempting to push for what I want and to expect them to pursue the things I want them to pursue. And, trust me, what I want for myself and for others has often led to disasters. Too often when I have related, responded, and reacted to others based on my personal perspective, things have blown up in one way or another. The concept of “doing it my way” is not one I would recommend to anyone.

Lord, you are my only hope!

When Mary Margaret was in elementary school, we butted heads much of the time (while my Mama smiled). I recognized that stubborn, independent streak in her because it was like looking in a mirror. One day, in utter frustration, I said out loud, “Lord, You are my only hope!”  That is about the smartest thing I have ever said. God began to reveal to me one day at a time that He really is my only hope – for me and for the others in our family. I got to witness first-hand as God got ahold of Mary Margaret’s heart and He began to do in her what I could never do!  Any good in that child today totally goes to God’s credit.

The same goes for the boys. The more we entrusted them to God and pointed them to Him for counsel and direction, the more we saw Him working things out in and through them.

That’s not to say all has been smooth sailing. We have our ups and downs but God is good and He is always for our good. He gives us hope on our very worst days and He can work wonders and miracles when we choose to trust him and surrender to him. It is a daily choice.

Bad news… Good news

Bad news:  Brokenness is a given, and I can’t escape it on my own.

Good news:  Admitting my brokenness and the fact that I need help is such a relief. It is freeing and takes away much anxiety.

Bad news:  It is frustrating that I can’t fix it and no other person or things of this world can either.

Good news: The grace of God is real and is available; Jesus is the answer for my brokenness. He paid the price for my sin. For those who admit their need and accept his gift, He will provide a new heart and life direction.

Bad news: Life will be tough. Sickness, consequences, tragedies, disappointments are part of life in this broken world.

Good news: Jesus will be with his followers and give us grace, strength, courage, direction, and peace in the midst of life as it happens. So, even though life is tough we can be assured always that God is good.

Life is tough but God is good.

I have no desire to take credit for any good God is doing in our family right now. To Him be the glory and the praise for what He can do when any one takes him at his word and surrenders control to him.

Though I am broken I am grateful to God that I also am blessed.

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