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The Legacies of My Daddy

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I receive this wonderful blog called Coffee for Your Heart, by Holley Gerth. Each Wednesday, we are given a prompt to write about for the following Wednesday’s post. Last Wednesday, the prompt was “Who Inspires You?” and I instantly knew I would be writing about my daddy. What I didn’t know at the time, was that when I wrote this blog, my daddy would have joined the two greatest loves of his life in heaven, his beloved Jesus and his beloved wife, my mother.

Edward Bailey Evans was the most outstanding and upstanding Christians anyone was privileged to know. What one saw in public was also the exact same person we saw at home. My dad loved God with all his heart and during his lifetime, he served as a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer. He (and my mother) were faithful in attendance to church every week until my mom was to ill to go. My dad stayed with her then, refusing to leave her side to go to church, or pretty much anywhere else except his doctor’s appointments. My daddy was faithful in giving of his time, talents and money. Before he wrote any checks for the month, he always wrote his tithe check. And if he was not able to go to church, he made sure the check was mailed or after they moved in with my sister and brother-in-law, he sent his tithe check with them.

My daddy was a great man of prayer. Every night, without fail, he and my mom would pray together before retiring for the evening. If you were a guest in their home you were politely included in the prayer time. As their family grew (2 daughters and 2 sons-in-love; 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren) they both would name off each person – by name and for the most part, in the order of their birth. It was a rare evening for them to miss praying together and praying for each of their family members.

My daddy left a letter for us to be opened upon the event of his death. Among many things he wrote in the letter was the fact that he was sorry he wasn’t leaving much money. In fact, he said that twice.

“Daddy, we don’t want your money.  What you left us far outweighs any amount of money you could have left.”

“You left us the legacy of a Christian home. Until just before my senior year of high school, we lived less than a block from the church we belonged to. Postal employees had nothing on the Evans family because rain, sleet, snow, shine, ice, hail – you name it – we were going to be in church. Weather permitting, we walked, even in the snow and ice.”

“You showed my sister, Marie, and me, and everyone who knew you how to live a Christian life, and you set the bar high. You were a man of faith and trust, of compassion and mercy (except for those times when I really got in trouble), and of grace.” 

“You demonstrated your work ethic to Marie and me. When I was the ripe old age of 16 and thought I knew everything you told me I wasn’t to give 100% to my job, I was to give 150% to my job.’No one is irreplaceable,’ you said. ‘There will always be someone waiting to give their 150% when you are only giving 100% or less.’ “

“One of your most outstanding qualities that you left to us is your love. Yes, there were times when you and mom argued (what married couple doesn’t) and times when your punishment for my crime seemed unreasonable. Looking back, I know it wasn’t unreasonable – in fact, it was quite lenient. Your love for me and Marie, all of your family, never wavered, was never conditional upon our behavior or anything. It was, in fact, the perfect example of our Heavenly Father’s love for us.” 

“For all of these wonderful legacies, and more, we will always be thankful. Most of all, we are thankful that we will see you again one day because we have the eternal promise as believers of seeing you and mother again one day!”

    “Daddy, I love you and miss you!”

    (This is the last photo taken of Daddy by his grandaughter, Tana Lyle. It was taken during the recent snow. She was outside with her children and he was inside looking out the window at his great grandchildren playing in the snow. When she saw him looking out the window, she snapped this picture.)Daddy looking out window at snow

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A Legend Among Men

A legend among men has left us. He was not a famous athlete, rock star or actor. In the world at large, he was not well known. Most of you reading this blog will not recognize his name. Small in stature, he was a gentle giant of a man, who loved God with all his heart and served Him with all his strength. 

Bishop John William Holloway walked – dare I say ran – through the gates of Heaven on Saturday, February 22, 2014. He ran on two legs, completely healed and whole. There was, I’m sure, great rejoicing and Bishop John’s voice (he was never known for his quiet worship) rang out above all the heavenly hosts. I can picture in my mind’s eye Bishop John running towards the throne of God and I see God standing up, and receiving Bishop John in His outstretched arms, saying “Well done! Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of My Kingdom.” (from Matthew 25:21; interpretation, mine.)

I first met Bishop John in the early-to-mid nineties.when he came to the church where I was employed at that time. He had an appointment with the Senior Pastor and as they left for lunch, I was invited to go with them. Not being one to turn down a free lunch, I said “Yes” and off we went. I was so impressed with Bishop’s warmth and sincerity. He had a wonderful sense of humor and the most delightful, infectious laugh I’ve ever heard.  He was the kind of man who never met a stranger, reaching out to everyone who even glanced his way. By the time we left the restaurant, he knew our waitress’s name, and a little of her background and she had received an invitation to come to Thomaston on Sunday to church. 

There were many times over the next decade when I was privileged to hear him preach, receive his counsel and accept his blessings. He always listened intently, prayed mightily and spoke the truth frankly, but in love.  

He will be greatly missed.

 

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We Are All Okay!

 

If I ever needed to know that I’m going to be okay, then today has been that day.

When I first started this post, it was about 5:30 am. I opened my Documents folder to pull up a contract for a new client. There’s a teensy-weensy problem. There are no folders, files or anything else in my Documents folder. NOTHING! Six years of blood, sweat and tears, of short stories and books, of contests entered and contests judged, of clients’ work, of family and friends’ pictures that cannot be replaced. I’m in a near state of panic. My hands are trembling, my body is shaking as if I’m having a chill. I feel sick. Literally.

“This did not catch Me off guard.”

“God, is that you?”

“Of course, my child. You know I care about what concerns you, My Word even says I will “perfect those things that concern you.”

The shaking begins to subside. “I know. You always know what’s going to happen. You have everything under control You’ve got it.”

“That’s right. So don’t worry.”

I am blessed to be married to a computer genius who found the problem and it was easily corrected. Thank you God!

Later in the morning, I drove to the office on roads that were mostly clear. Unless you live on an abandoned island, or refuse to watch national news, you will know that Atlanta went through their second storm of the winter. And this one was much worse that two weeks ago because the ice came first – about 3/4 of an inch and then the snow. But by today, most of it had melted. Except for that patch in front of the office door. That I didn’t see. Until it was too late. Yep – you guessed it – I went flying. Landed on my rear first and fell back on my head, which hit the concrete so hard it bounced, then I passed out. When I woke up. I realized that I could be in some major trouble. No one was scheduled to come into the office today and our building sits back from the road.

“OK God. You said this morning that You are not caught off guard so I know You realize I’m lying here freezing and in a lot of pain.”

“Start waving your arm.”

“Waving my arm?”

“Yes.”

So my arm goes up and I thought “no one will see my waving arm.” Within two minutes, a young man drove up, saw me lying on the ground and called 911.

To make a long story short, I have a concussion and a fractured tailbone. And I’m okay.

I know that these two incidents pale in comparison to the seriousness of others’ situations. I’ve been in those kind of situations too. And I came through okay. And so will you.

You will be okay. God is there with you, no matter how dire your circumstances. Your situation did not catch God off guard.

“For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor  let you down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5  The Amplified Bible).

We are all okay!

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The Back-story to my God-sized Dream

My back-story has everything to do with my God-sized dream. Everything I’ve gone through, from the time I was an infant until today, has made me the woman that I am. There is nothing I’ve gone through that God has not taken and used it to grow me spiritually, emotionally, to bring me to my place as His daughter. It hasn’t been easy–nothing this wonderful ever is.

I knew rejection from the womb and that theme of rejection wove itself throughout my life until the day I finally understood and comprehended in my heart that there is One who will never, ever reject me. 

I have known love–the supportive, encouraging, unquestioning love of my husband. And I’ve known love that was controlling, manipulative, smothering, and understood that was not love at all. I know the love of a Father that is unconditional, extravagant, reckless. And healing. A love that pours its healing power into open wounds until the wounds are healed and no scars are left to remind me of the cause of the wound. 

I’ve known the darkness of depression so deep that I couldn’t see beyond the next minute. I know the Son – the Source of Light and Peace. It is a peace that “passes all understanding.”

These things, and more, have led me to the desire of my heart and my God-sized dream: to share the heart of God with the hearts of women through writing, speaking, teaching and counseling. The dream continues to unfold and wherever it takes me, God will be my Guide.

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