While in Nuremberg, I took some pictures of unique doors. The trip was for research on a screenplay I had written, but the week before I left, my Aunt Sallie was admitted to the ICU. I had the opportunity to see her when she was first taken to the emergency room and listen to her voice one more time. I didn't know it was the last time I would hear her speak clearly. We all thought we had more time with her. I wrote out how we handled the news of her breast cancer here.
In Nuremberg, Berlin and Munich, she was on my mind. I remember walking the hallways of the hotel praying for her, after getting the latest updates on her condition. I flew back to the States on my fiftieth birthday, then drove to Birmingham the next morning to see her. Jet lag and memories of my mother's passing fought with my faith, but that's another blog post. She recognized me, but couldn't speak. I drove back to Atlanta in tears and went straight to bed. My husband let me know she passed that night. It didn't seem real, but there was so much to do. Auto pilot engage.
My Aunt Sallie was stunningly beautiful, inside and out. I always thought she looked like a certain Charlie's Angel. I had a vivid memory of tagging along with her and her husband, Terry, in their Trans Am listening to Paul McCartney and Wings' Let 'Em In song. Out of all the 70's songs played on the radio, this song is the one deposited into my memory bank. Now, I find it interesting that this door had ME marked on the outside. Didn't think anything of it at the time, but it relates.
I was honored to speak about Sallie's life at her funeral. With her first birthday in August, since her passing, I wanted to once again honor her and my promise. The following is an excerpt from her going home service.
"Anyone who would allow their future, talkative niece to come along on dates, must have a wealth of love and patience in their possession. I would basically perch myself on the arm rest between the driver and passenger’s seat and take in every cool moment of cruising Eastlake and Roebuck Parkway with you (talking to my Uncle Terry) and Sallie’s, Farrah Fawcett like, hair blowing in the wind.
To this day, I still think of Paul McCartney and Wings’ Let ‘Em In song playing over the radio. I won’t sing it, but the lyrics were very deep . . . Somebody’s knockin' at the door, somebody’s ringin' the bell (2x) followed by . . . do me a favor, open the door and let ‘em in. Somehow that, Let ’Em In, song is seared in my mind as I recall all the fun times I was allowed, tagging along, inside the forever cool, Trans Am.
When I first heard that Sallie wanted a small funeral, I didn’t know how that would be possible - unless we just didn’t tell anyone, knowing how many lives Sallie touched with her own. And I really don’t have an accurate number of how many lives that was or is, because she wasn’t one to boast. But I knew she had had an impact on many others, because she had such a HUGE impact of my life.
However, it made perfect sense that Sallie wanted an intimate type of service, because that’s how she was in all her relationships. She was down to earth and transparent about her struggles, and you could talk to her about anything . . . ANYTHING. And she would put you right at ease. She was relatable and had no pretense or false piety about her.
When I was praying about what to speak on today, the word REGRET kept coming to mind. I know if I could talk to her one more time, I would express some of the regrets that I am struggling with right now. When somebody dies this young and unexpected, it’s normal for regrets to mess with your mind. But here’s the thing, Sallie wasn’t a stranger to regrets and knew the only way to deal with those types of thoughts was to go to the Lord with them. She knew they were too heavy to carry alone, and she knew the Lord could be trusted with every one of our shortcomings. Sallie often spoke of God’s grace and how she wanted people to understand the deep love of God. I remember her coming to speak at my young ladies’ Bible class at Briarwood Christian High School back in the mid-eighties, and I still have classmates bring up how much her talk meant to them.
Three verses come to mind with Sallie.
The first one is from Psalm 150:6 - Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Even though she could hardly breath, her last message to me was that she wanted the Lord to be glorified through all of this. She is no longer short of breath and I have no doubt she is shouting and singing praises to the Lord in heaven. She left us with instructions to praise Him through this service. If you can take in a deep breath right now, give Him praise for it, because each and every breath comes from Him.
Isaiah 52:7 - How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns. The day she died, I brought anointing oil with me that our friends brought back from Israel. We anointed her head, arms, hands and feet with oil. When I saw her feet, I thought they were so beautiful, physically and spiritually. She desired for everyone to know the love and grace of Jesus. Even though her feet are now dancing on streets of gold, we remaining on this earth still have the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with those around us who are in need.
Which brings me to where Jesus speaks in Revelation 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. It turns out that Paul McCartney song might have been really deep after all. If you know that He’s been knocking on the door of your heart and you haven’t responded yet. Ask yourself . . . why not. The God of the universe, who created you and loves you with an everlasting love, offers you salvation once again today through His son, Jesus Christ. Why not open that door and let Jesus in. If you do, please tell someone today. Don’t do it for Sallie or someone else. Do yourself the favor and let Him in. You won’t ever regret inviting Him in to dine with you today."
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)
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"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
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Humble & Bold teams up with Shofar Outreach for a podcast interview with Larry R. Walker, author of Faithful To Compete It. Looking back on his life, Larry describes how the Lord was faithful to direct his steps through many obstacles, after being called to missions as a young teenager.
Larry graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Building Construction degree and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps Reserves, serving three years of active duty, with thirteen long months in Vietnam. Afterwards, he worked as Vice President for his father's steel erection business in Birmingham, but believed God would use his skills in construction to serve in missions.
Larry and his wife, Sherry, faithful missionaries for 29 years, have served in four different countries: Kenya in East Africa, Paraguay in South America, and Costa Rica and Honduras in Central America. Listen to this podcast interview for a glimpse of what it's like to follow the call God has on your life.
Jennifer's Wild and Free - 40th Birthday party brunch was a ROarYAL event that began with a private screening of the new Lion King movie on opening day. Such a fun time was had celebrating Jennifer's blessed life with friends and family. Definitely wanted to share some pictures of the amazing job Jennifer's friend, Akeisha Thomas, did with event planning. By the way, if you're in search of booking someone in Atlanta for your next event, you can contact her by email at email@example.com.
There's also a cool God story at the end of this post!
Love how the brunch and dessert menus complimented the party's décor and theme. Amazing southern brunch by the way!
Jennifer, the birthday girl, was so gracious in her welcoming of guests to the party and offered to pray a blessing over all who attended.
Special touches created beautiful photo backdrops.
After Jennifer offered to pray over us, her friend, Tonya, came forward to lead a special prayer of blessing over her.
The table centerpieces popped with color and looked so festive. Just wanted to take it all in, before being seated.
Thankful for dear friendships and strong, prayer warrior sisters.
Enjoyed handmaking this bow, and taking time to wrap her birthday gift with party's theme in mind.
Green and white hydrangeas in initial vase beautifully accompany the Publix cake, fruit cups and peach cobbler that were such a big hit with guests.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17 New International Version (NIV)
Some of you may have noticed this is my first post in five months, and thankfully, it hasn't been for a lack of anything to write. In fact, quite the opposite. So much has happened, my mind feels like it is just trying to keep up with all that has transpired. There was the excitement of finishing my screenplay and traveling to Nuremberg, to the deep pain of losing my Aunt Sallie, the day after my fiftieth birthday. I drove to Birmingham to see her the morning after my flight came in from Munich. She went home to be with our Lord, later that night.
Just like the things we struggle with in the natural and spiritual realms, The Lion King tells of two lions, one who is the real royal king (think about The Lion of Judah) and leads well those in his kingdom. But then there's that other lion, the ruler wanna be, who goes about seeking to steal, kill and destroy. In the real world, knowing which voice to listen to is crucial to our survival and success in running the race God has called us to. We have to know our true identity in Christ to be free of deceptive lies. Knowing whose we are, and His great love for us, starts the process in setting us free.
So, I promised to share a cool God story at the end of this post, and here it is. I had mentioned to my husband, before going to the party, that I missed getting up early during the summer and getting my time alone with the Lord, before the bustling activities of the day. My heart desired to make that a priority again. At the event, I started up a conversation with Jennifer's prayer warrior sister, Tonya. She had a sweet countenance and looked at me and said, "Wow, with your red hair and that burnt orange top you're wearing, it makes me think of a sunrise." She paused and then looked at me more intently. "I have a message for you. The Lord wants you to meet with Him at sunrise. I don't know if that means anything to you, but that is the impression the Lord is putting on my heart right now." I told Tonya that that it indeed meant a lot to me because of what I had shared with my husband earlier. Her and I smiled, and I thanked her for sharing that word with me. How awesome that we serve a God who longs to meet with us! Who knows our deepest hurts and can answer the longings of our heart. What a priceless invitation to meet with Him and listen to His voice, the right voice!
Later in our conversation, I found out Tonya was a writer as well. Meeting her was such an encouragement and since she gave me that message, I've been meeting Him at sunrise daily. Now to close with this encouragement, please know that He desires to meet with you. Will you accept His royal invitation?
Christina is an
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