Sunday, December 16, 2012


In 1962 my parents were serving as missionaries on Guam.  On November 11, 1962 we endured one of the deadliest typhoons ever to hit Guam.  I wrote about it a little while back.

Tonight I was looking through some of Dad's sermon notes and found something he had written about experiencing the typhoon.  I'm not sure when he wrote this but from some of the other notes in this notebook I believe it was the fall of 1968.  The title of the sermon was "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing".  Here is what he wrote:

"During Typhoon Karen, this lesson of the 'Blessedness of Possessing Nothing' was made very vivid to me.  When for 8 grueling hours winds of 150 to 200 mph are driving rain and debris through your house, you have time to get over some of your 'scared-ness'  and think.  God's power is certainly not doubted in such an hour, as you see your furniture smashed, even the big upright piano being blown around like a matchbox, you sure feel your helplessness!  Somehow, at a time like that, when you see your prized possessions being blown around and broken, the books that you so dearly loved dripping with water, it doesn't seem to matter too much.  But when you see your children huddled, sopping wet under water-soaked mattresses to protect them from the wind and flying debris, it makes you feel your nothingness.  You search for a dry corner and their is none.  you search for dry clothing but the clothes in the closet are dripping and the chest of drawers is filling with water.  All is black.  The wind is howling.  The rain soaked clothing chills the body.  Yet there was a light and peace and warmth that came to my soul and an assurance that all would be well.  Believe me, it was a night spent in prayer, and it was a night of real spiritual victory.  Striped to nothing, yet richest of all, we simply had God."

I went to the jail tonight for Bible study with the ladies of cell block C.  When I got home I was reading through the prayer requests I had collected.  Most of the requests centered around prayers for children and families of the women (my heart really goes out to them as they face the holidays apart) or for upcoming court dates.  But one of the prayer requests really struck me.  This young lady simply wrote "Pray for the families of the people and children involved in the school shootings".

Wow!  This young woman certainly knows what it feels like to be striped to nothing yet her prayer request is for those involved in this horrific tragedy.  God, may I never forget what is most important!  May I never get so wrapped up in things, busy-ness, and just plain ME that I lose sight of others.  Please join with me in honoring this prayer request throughout the upcoming days, weeks, and months.  I feel certain that if we spend nights in prayer for these families, God will have the victory in this senseless act of evil.

Proverbs 15:3 (The Message)

God doesn’t miss a thing—
    he’s alert to good and evil alike.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I just got back from Kentucky where I was visiting with Uncle Jim and Aunt Lee Wilburn and Aunt Frankie.  My son, Mike, and grandson, Kristopher, went with me.  What a wonderful time we had reminiscing about the past and hearing stories from long before I was born.

As I was listening to Dad's sisters and brother-in-law, it struck me all over again that I am blessed with a rich spiritual heritage.  Throughout past decades (and even centuries!)  many of my ancestors loved the Lord and served Him with their very lives.  I am sure that many of them prayed for me long before they had any idea I would ever be born.  They have prayed for my children and grandchildren.  I feel confident they even prayed for my yet unborn great-grandchildren and their children!

I am so very blessed!  These ancestors of my mine did not leave me great material wealth but they left me a far greater wealth!  The wealth they left me with will never fade away.  No one can take it away from me.  It has no dependence on the stock market or the current price of gold.  Because of this, I feel compelled to pray for my children, grandchildren and yes even my great-grandchildren, their children and their children.

Dad spoke often about the importance of praying through the generations.  My life can impact lives for decades and centuries to come!  I do not live in vain.  As long as I spend time on my knees in prayer, my life will matter not only to people around me today but to those who are yet unborn!

Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (The Message)

Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.
God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations.

 Hallelujah!  Thank you, Aunt Frankie, Aunt Lee, and Uncle Jim for reminding me not only of the value of our lives but how fleeting time is.  I love you!

Friday, December 7, 2012


As my daughter, Stacie, was digging out the Christmas decorations the other day she found a stack of cards.  Who knows why I stuck them in the box with the Christmas stuff but as she scanned through them she found a Thanksgiving card Mom had sent me.

I am not sure when she sent it but it must have been about 4 or 5 years ago.  I think that because she mentioned my son-in-law, Troy.  She most likely sent it shortly after Sarah and Troy were married.  It was just like Mom to be sure that everyone felt included.

The front of the card has a sunflower - my favorite flower - and says "For You, Daughter, and Your Family".  On the inside she wrote "Donna - " just above the printed portion.  She always did that - personalized whatever was written on the card by adding my name just above.  Mom's mother, Gram, always did that, too and so does my Aunt Sis.  Such a nice personal touch.

The printed portion said "May your home be warm with love and happiness on this Thanksgiving Day"

Of course, she always wrote a note herself as well.  Her note on this card is what really got to me.  In her perfect handwriting she wrote:

You will be in our thoughts - we'll miss seeing you, but pray your Day will be filled with joy as you reflect on your many blessings.  We love you and all your "offspring" and thank God for each one - including Troy. 

Mom & Dad

As I read and re-read her note, I thought that her prayers must be just as effective today as they were before her death.  My Thanksgiving Day was filled with joy this year even though I miss Mom and Dad terribly.  I know they would both want it that way.  How thankful I am for the prayers of my faithful parents!

Psalm 22:27-31 (The Message)

From the four corners of the earth
    people are coming to their senses,
    are running back to God.
Long-lost families
    are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
    from now on he has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too
Along with those who never got it together
Our children and their children
    will get in on this
As the word is passed along
    from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
    will hear the good news—
    that God does what he says.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

O Come All Ye Faithful

I cannot believe December is here already.  Time just keeps moving right along.  Sometimes I feel Mom and Dad's passing has been forgotten.  The days and months march right along as though nothing happened.  Sometimes my life seems so normal and then something will strike me and their memory comes flooding back.

I attended my first Christmas concert of the season last night.  My son, Mike, was kind enough to escort me.  It was the Vespers program at Milliken University in Decatur, Illinois.  What an eventful evening it was!  I am grateful to my dear friend Eric Hendrickson for providing my son and I with tickets.  The music was heavenly.  I was struck by the discipline of the choir members in their presentation.  The message was divine as well.  I literally had goose bumps from the very first song.

At a few points during evening they had the audience stand and sing along on some of the old standard Christmas carols.  One of the songs they asked us to join in on was "O Come All Ye Faithful".  As we were singing I thought how much Mom and Dad would enjoy this concert.  Then came the verse:

Sing choirs of angels.  Sing in exultation.  
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above.  
Glory to God all glory in the highest.
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. 

As soon as I saw the familiar words, "Sing all ye citizens of heaven above" flash on the screen I immediately thought I could hear Dad's beautiful tenor voice and mom's tender soprano voice singing along with us.  For a moment I could not sing at all.  I just listened.  Are you there?  Are you singing praises to God?

Then the answer came, Yes!  Yes we are singing praises to our Lord right along with you, Donna.  With tears in my eyes I sang the rest of the song with new gusto.  All the citizens of heaven are singing along!

Psalm 149:1-4 (The Message)

Sing to God a brand-new song,
    praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
    Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
    strike up the band and make great music!
And why? Because God delights in his people,
    festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!