Sunday, January 2, 2011


“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3

I found out yesterday afternoon that one of my friends had passed away yesterday morning. Her mother thought to call me and I am so thankful that in her time of grief she did. Teresea was the first friend I made at college. We were both Freshmen and actually met on the first day of Freshman orientation and placement testing at Liberty University in August of 1992. I cannot remember who first started up the conversation or how we found ourselves alone on the couches in the DeMoss atrium. (Oh, how DeMoss has changed since those days.) We began talking and did not stop for at least two hours. Before we went our separate ways for the remainder of the day, we compared our schedules and found that we shared three classes together that semester—Psychology, Christian Ethics, and, I believe, Theology. We were both relieved that we would have someone to sit with in those classes. That was the beginning of a friendship that has spanned these last 18 years.

Teresea and I discovered shortly after our meeting that our birthdays were exactly one week apart and I had the privilege of being older. She would get great delight out of greeting me on my birthday and making sure to point out that I was and always would be older than her. I believe on more than one occassion she actually called me “Old Lady” before breaking out in her most memorable laughter. After distance was put between us when our days together at LU came to an end, we continued to keep in touch. As life became busier, our conversations became more infrequent, for which I feel great responsibility. However, we both knew that if even if we failed to talk during the course of the year we would talk on February 15 and February 22. Those phone calls would span two hours easily even though only a week apart. There were some years when we had something going on in life that we talk more often than other times. I guess maybe we both took it for granted that each other would always just be there—at least I know I did. I think that’s what hurts the most.

Teresea had been fighting cancer since July of 2009. I found out a year later because she did not know how to tell me. She had the best attitude about her illness. She told me that it was no use to have a negative attitude about the cancer—it would still be there. It was not going to go away if she decided to be negative. I remember laughing during that telephone conversation almost as much as I have during our previous conversations. Teresea and I spoke a few times after that conversation, but not as much as I now wish we had. She was doing well the last time I spoke to her and we had made plans to see each other in the new year. That was before the cancer reappeared in another area. So many times I wish I had called her when she came to mind. That is something I will have to live with until I see her again. I know that she would tell me not to worry about that—that now she has the healing that she could not find on this Earth. I know that Heaven got a little livelier yesterday and that Teresea’s laughter is ringing through Heaven today.

Teresea, I will forever miss you and love you always, my Friend.

In Loving Memory of Teresea Ault

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Fabric of a Family

This year has been one of many ups and downs. There has been a lot of laughter, but also a torrent of tears. Like a lot of others families I know, we lost dear family members to death. The death of a loved one leaves a tear in the fabric of the family. Just as in mending a tear in a favorite shirt or jeans, families may deal with this tear several different ways. One way of dealing with the tear is to do nothing and continue wearing the shirt or jeans. This exposes the raw edges of the tear to the elements of life. During repeated wears and washings, these raw edges become more tattered, the tattered edges become entangled with each other, and the tear gets bigger. Another way of dealing with the tear is to put a patch on it—just cover up the tear. The tear may be covered with a patch that is bright and cheerful like a rainbow or flowers or may be covered with a patch made to mimic the fabric that it is covering. The problem with patches is that they are usually ironed on and, therefore, just a temporary fix. After several wears and washings, the patches begin to pucker at the corners and eventually begin to peel off. When this happens, the patch must be ripped off—sometimes making the tear bigger—and a new patch replaced. The most effective way of mending a tear is to face it head-on with a needle and thread. The needle and thread are used to pull the fabric back together and bind it back to itself. It does not make the cloth as it once was—one is still able to see that a tear had once been there, but the fabric is reinforced at the tear and protected from the elements of repeated wearing and washing.

So, it is with the fabric of a family after a death. Do we merely allow the elements of life to continually tatter our family fabric? Do we merely cover our pain with the patches of this world? Or do we pull together as a family—supporting one another despite the own pain we feel? The choice is ours to make and my choice is to use needle and thread.

“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” –Ecclesiastes 4:12

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Three R's: Relax...Renew...Refresh

How many times must I hear something before it finally sinks in? I have had the same thing told to me several times lately by different people in my life. Every time I would hear this same statement, I would agree with the advice, but then go about my days and change nothing. It was only fitting that I again received this message last week from an unexpected source. This time was through a fortune cookie following lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet restaurant. I had been able to have lunch with a friend after weeks (OK, truth be told, it was months) of us saying that "we really must get together for lunch." We both work very demanding jobs and juggling schedules where we both have lunch at the same time has proven to be difficult. Due to work related duties, we found ourselves in the same office building when lunchtime rolled around. It worked out perfectly for us to finally fit in that lunch we had been planning on for months (OK, truth be told, it was almost a full year of planning). It ended up being a relaxing time of much needed fellowship--something that I find too little of in my life. I have a hard time making time for the fun things in life--I let the responsibilities of work and school sap me and then fail to schedule time to restore my mind, body, and spirit. I learned that day at lunch (actually before I opened the fortune cookie) that I need to find the time to regroup and restore. I returned to work that afternoon and faced the same challenges and situations, but I had a renewed spirit and was able to attack those challenges and situations with a fresh perspective. God created us for a need for renewal and refreshment. God Himself took a day of rest after He finished His creation. We, as being created in His image, have this same need for rest. May we all take time to renew and refresh in mind, body, and spirit so that we may be effective wherever God has placed us and with the tasks He has ultimately entrusted to us. Oh yeah, you may be wondering about the words that were imprinted on that "fortune" cookie. I believe that cookie was divinely selected just for me. It read, "One is most productive by finding a balance between the professional life and the personal life."

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." --Matthew 11:28

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where Has the Time Gone?

I have been thinking lately that I need to update my blog and post something new. I knew that it had been a while since I had updated anything on it, but imagine my surprise when I logged in and realized that it had been over a year since my last posting. Oh my goodness. I must admit it has been a busy year, but where has the time gone? The first part of the year brought about a job promotion. Just as I was trying to get settled into the new position, I found myself looking for a new home and before I knew it I was in smack-dab in the middle of a a townhouse...with two flights of stairs...up which heavy furniture had to be carried. All the while I have been continuing to take classes toward my Master's degree in counseling. I was more than a little pleased when I finally sat down a couple of weeks ago to figure out just how far into the program I am. I should be finished in December of 2010. I have tried to make time for family and friends throughout the year, but have not been very successful in this area. I am hoping to do better in this aspect during the coming year.

I do thank my God for my wonderful family and friends and pray for many blessing for all as this year ends and we make our way into the new year.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just a Thought...

People come and go, in and out of our lives. Some come to stay while others make their mark and then go away. Some leave, only to return later . . . at another time. However, they are all present at their own time for a special purpose. I do not believe people come into our lives by chance. Each has a purpose—a lesson to teach from which it is our responsibility to learn.

I am truly grateful for everyone who God allowed to come into my life. I hope I have taken the time to learn the lessons they had for me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not According to My Plan...

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” --Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Last weekend my mother and I attended the Extraordinary Women conference in Lynchburg, Virginia. The theme for this year’s conference is “Discovering God’s Dream.” I really heard God speaking to me throughout the conference. I went to last year’s conference and was spiritually refreshed, but this year was different. It was as if each speaker was speaking directly to me.

My life did not turn out according to my dreams for my future. My dreams included graduating from college and then graduate school with a degree in Speech Pathology. I dreamed of marrying a loving, caring husband and having three children. I wanted the house with a two-car garage and a white picket fence. Those of you who know me, know those dreams certainly did not come to fruition.

I did graduate from college, but definitely not on schedule and not with a Speech Pathology degree. I am currently enrolled in graduate school (and doing well, I might add); however, I am pursuing my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling with an emphasis on women’s ministry. I did get married, but he was often neither loving nor caring. I am now divorced. And I have no children, unless you count my cat. I currently live in an apartment with a 2000 Ford Focus (at least it is paid for) which sits in a multi-car parking lot, not its own garage.

At this point in my life, I look back and sometimes think that my life turned out nothing like I had planned. Instead I have to acknowledge that God allowed my experiences to bring me to this place. I will admit that I wish I could have gotten to this place without the abuse and pain I endured in my past marriage and without having been through a divorce. But it was those experiences which have shown me my purpose and God’s plan, or His dreams for my life. God has given me the vision for a ministry for hurting women—women who, like me, have escaped abusive relationships. All too often these women do not have supportive families to whom they can turn. All too often these women do not have the skills required to care for themselves and their children or even the necessary skills required to find employment to support themselves and their children. God has given me a vision for a ministry where these women can learn such skills while healing spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Had it not been for God allowing me to live through and learn from my experiences, I do not believe I would have had the desire for this kind of ministry.

My encouragement to whoever may be reading this is to not doubt God or wonder where He is when you are walking (or crawling) through the darkest period of your life. He is right there with you—leading you and cheering you on. He wants the best for you and wants you to experience the dreams He has for you. Sometimes He has to get your attention, but once He has it, remember, the sky is the limit!