A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘judgement’ Category

A Date with a Preacher


A year of meals shared and truths told went by, and I hadn’t thought much about our relationship until Earl surprised me at supper one evening, “Would you go out with me?”
“Are you crazy?” All I could think about was how terrible I was. How can he like me?
A month later, he asked again, “Will you go out with me?”
Reluctantly I agreed and on a hot July evening, I sat waiting for Earl in the hospital parking lot because I wouldn’t tell him where I lived. My palms were sweaty and when I saw his baby-blue Thunderbird, I caught my breath. I still couldn’t believe I was going on a date with a preacher. (I’d even had my hair done and was wearing the only dress I owned.)
Getting in his car my voice cracked as I said, “Hi.”
“Hi.”
“Where are we going?”
“I made reservations at The 91st Bomb Group restaurant on the Memphis airport flight line.” The restaurant reminded me of one my Uncle Don had taken me to when I was eighteen. After dinner, we sat in the lounge and watched the runway and airplane lights as planes took off and landed.
“Have I told you how much I like flying?”
“Yes, that’s why I brought you here. Doesn’t your uncle fly?”
“Yes, he has a Cherokee 180 now. I remember flying over my hometown as a little girl and seeing Momma waving at me from the sidewalk in front of the Candyland. I guess I’ve loved flying ever since. Uncle Don even let me take the controls a few times when I visited him as an adult.”
We were unusually quiet for us on the trip back to the hospital. Earl parked next to my car, turned and asked, “May I kiss you.”
“No!” I can’t kiss a preacher.
In Christ,
Berta
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 A Piper Cherokee 180
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You Are Worthy

One thing holding you captive right now is your belief that you are not worthy of God’s forgiveness and therefore your inability to forgive yourself.


I felt guilty and unlovable when I met Jesus. That guilt held me back. When Christian friends shared their stories of sin and redemption with me the Holy Spirit began to minister to my brokenness. He set my feet on the path to righteousness.

My struggle continued though—with a fear of man. What would my Sunday school class think if they knew about my past? Can I tell the truth and still be a part of the church?

The truth is that what man thinks is of no consequence to my life—or yours. The only fear we are to harbor is for God. To do what is right before Him. To love and have faith that He will carry us through the trials and tribulations of this life. His Son died that we may live and live life to the fullest.

What is holding you back? A piercing? A tattoo? A withered arm? Are you a single parent? Divorced?

Whatever it is, it isn’t too big for God. Nothing is. Your guilt and fear can be lifted.

Don’t fear God’s judgement for your sin. Confess and accept God’s forgiveness.

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
Charles Wesley

“He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free:
His blood can make the foulest clean:
His blood availed for me.”

“He speaks – and listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe.”

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Romans 4:7, 8 NIV).

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

In Christian Love,
Berta

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Planting Seeds

Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.

Though I had made a profession of faith in my twenty’s, I was far from Christ. I felt I was drowning in a sea of personal sin I didn’t dare share with my Christian friends.
Fear of their judgement scared me in to my own private hell.

Then I went to a retreat where I heard Christians talk about their sins and God’s forgiving heart. My shell shattered and I cried out to Him and found freedom in the love and forgiveness He held for me. I made a promise then, “I’m going to tell everyone I meet about Jesus.” And I did. Friends turned away and “perceived enemies” became brothers and sisters.

Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.

The cost was high in body, mind and spirit, but God’s blessings are phenomenal. In His infinite wisdom, He prepared the way. Earl had served as a hospital chaplain on a reconstructive surgery floor where many of the patients had a spinal cord injury. In rehab, the staff taught us how to take care of me at home. According to them, I would live to within five years of my natural lifespan if I had something to look forward to and got out of the house routinely.

Earl took me on nearly every pastoral visit and preachers meeting he went to, but I just leaned back in my wheelchair with my eyes closed. He encouraged me to keep a journal and try teaching Sunday school. He loved me even when I failed.

As I filled those roles with study and preparation, I learned more than I taught. I read the story about how David sinned but was a man after God’s heart.* Job lost everything yet said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”** I began sharing my story of God’s faithfulness again and grew stronger in my faith each time. I wrote my brief story and passed it out as a tract to everyone who spoke to me.

While in a small group studying Steve Harper’s Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition many years later, a friend pointed out my seemingly fearless sharing of my faith. I made light of it, “I just tell what God has done for me, but I’ve never led anyone to accept Christ.”

She said, “You may not have, but you have planted many seeds. You may never know until you get to heaven how many people are there because of your testimony.”

Those words have encouraged me to be bold as I tell my stories of His faithfulness to friends and strangers. Old and young. Churched and un-churched. In stores, in doctors offices or on the telephone with sales associates. Earl says, “Imagine that, Berta’s talking.”

Jesus tells us to make disciples. You too can plant and water to prepare hearts for God’s harvest. Trust Him and tell what He has done for you.

Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NRSV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Acts 13:22 KJV
**Job 13:15 KJV

Have You Ever Been Compared?

After returning home from rehab at Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, GA, in June 1991, Earl’s dad gave me a movie titled “Joni.” He told me she had broken her neck and severed her spinal cord in a diving accident when 17. A quadriplegic, she had shattered myths about living with a disability and excelled in Christian ministry.
As soon as we got away I said, “Earl, I don’t care about Joni. I’m not her!” Earl placed the video on a shelf in his office. He’d mention it to me occasionally. Each time, my thoughts went to Joni’s success. How could I compare to her? He told me many times, “Berta, you’re no more Joni Eareckson Tada than I am Billy Graham.”

Fast forward to June 1994, Earl and I attended a conference for evangelism where both Billy Graham and Joni would be speaking. When we registered for the conference, I didn’t sign up for Joni’s workshops.

As we waited for Dr. Graham to speak in the auditorium the first evening, someone touched my shoulder. Surprised, I looked over to see Joni. I smiled and we focused on Dr. Graham. As he closed, I turned to talk to Joni—she had left. Disappointed, I asked myself, “What’s the big deal? You didn’t want to meet her anyway.”



 

                                           ~     ~     ~

Well, I did attend Joni’s workshops, and she invited Earl to take a picture of the two of us. Throughout the week, as I wheeled through the displays, several people asked, “Are you Joni?” With joy in my heart I responded, “No, but she’s here.”

One table held a Bible near enough for me to open. It was a spiral-bound, NIV, hardcover with large print, which made the text easy to read. The Bibles’ spiral binding allowed it to lie flat on the table and made it easy to handle. It contained the New Testament and Psalms, and Joni had written an introduction to each book. How perfect for me!

I tried to purchase the Bible but learned it was for display only.

The last afternoon, I went outside to warm up in the sun. A shadow fell across my face and I sat up. “Excuse me, mam. I’d like to give you this Bible.” Yes. God is good. I received that special gift with delight from a friend I did not want.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV).

In Christian Love,
Berta

Check out my new site http://afaithfulfather.com to follow Earl and I on our journey.

Do You Fit In?

I remember my first “sleep-over.” Elizabeth’s family had just moved to our small town and seemed worldly having lived elsewhere. We snuggled in sleeping bags on her front porch and she pointed out stars and constellations in the clear dark sky. Soon she guided my innocent eyes, “Look at that bright one straight above us.”

I strained to pick out the one she was talking about.

“See it?”

There were so many and I really wanted Elizabeth to be my friend so I said, “Yes.”

“Watch it close ‘cause it’s moving. It’s a UFO. Look. It’s coming right at us.”

The star I chose seemed to be moving toward me and I thought my heart would stop.

When I remember the foolishness and gullibility of my childhood, I consider my ongoing desire to fit in. Not just as that little girl but as a young adult in the Navy where my lifestyle fit in with seasoned sailors. And even later as a young mother.

When I accepted Christ as my savior, I continued to fear “not fitting in.” “What if they knew of my past, would they accept me anyway?” I wondered. I kept my secrets for several years until I learned that I only had to fit in to Jesus Christ. The peoples judgement, Christians included, didn’t matter anymore as I began to tell my story of what God had done for me.

I almost fit in to several small groups, but to tell of God’s grace and forgiveness in my life I had to tell of my sin. A word or two of truth dissolved many relationships.

I continued to testify to everyone God placed on my heart and in my path. I witnessed in my home and while waiting at appointments. In department stores and bookstores. In restaurants and grocery stores. In churches, at retreats, and in Christian bookstores, too.

Do I fit in? Sometimes with people. Always with God

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe (Proverbs 29:25 NIV).

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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