Saturday, September 8, 2012


"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, 
and called the name of it Ebenezer saying, 
Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
I Samuel 7:12

Warner Press bought a birthday greeting card verse from me,
that read something like this, 
"Don't look at your birthday as just a milestone,
think of it as a smilestone...
one more reason to give thanks to Him!"

Some people dread their birthdays.
I look forward to mine.
If I made it another year,
to me, that is a great reason to rejoice...
and smile.
Mom used to say that there are two things you do not ask a woman....ever.
Her weight....
and her age.
I guess I see that a bit differently than most.
The way I view it is that you can't very well hide your weight.
Unfortunately, that is a part of us that is pretty obvious,
and it doesn't take rocket science to come pretty close to estimating what it is!

And, I don't mind getting older.
It doesn't bother me to tell my all.
I constanty realize that I am very blessed to have lived, 
loved, laughed, and experienced all of the facets of life on earth...
for 46 years.

As I blew out my candles this year,
I thanked God for the family and friends who were around me.
Each one means SO much to me.
I thanked God for allowing me to see another day that brought so many reasons to smile.
My sister, Debbie, told me to make a wish...
before I blew them out.

I could think of nothing to wish for.
I wish for nothing more than what I have.

I am at peace...
and so very, very blessed.
And though there was a dearly loved presence missing this year...
that was very blatant and painful for us all...
I thank God for all of the past birthdays Mom sat beside me...
at the table....
and we were able to enjoy the moments.

As I stood there, holding my cake...
the candles softly burning....
the ones I love singing "Happy Birthday"...
it was painfully obvious that there was a voice missing.
The absence of her familiar soprano hurt...deep inside.

When they were finished singing, 
I turned to hug Debbie, and we both cried...
on each other's shoulders....
but not for long.

Because there is so much to smile about.
I thanked God for the ones who were there...
who love me enough to buy food and prepare it...
who went out of their way to make it a special day....
who put themselves out to try to make up for the loss....
who care so much and had driven a distance...
to be there...
to celebrate...
the gift of another year of life.

Smilestones aren't just birthdays.
There are reasons to rejoice all around us.
Overlooked blessings that we take for granted...or don't even notice.
Unappreciated joys that we walk upon, 
and never turn our faces upward to thank Him for.

I love thrift stores.
Recently, while out of town, we got to visit some brand new shops we had never 
been to before.
All three of us had a ball.
I found a primitive wooden plaque that is painted a burgundy color.
It says, "REJOICE"...
and has a red and white gingham ribbon attached to the top.
I hung it directly over the kitchen sink...
right under the window so I can look at it several times a day while doing dishes.

Each time I look at it, I have made it a habit to stop and smile.
To rejoice...from the depths of my heart.
To praise Him for all of my many blessings.
To give thanks for the dishes...and the food that soiled them.
To offer my gratitude for eyes that can see well enough to wash them clean...
that can look beyond the sink to the green trees and grass in our back yard.
To glorify His name for the precious little boy I have ears to hear splashing in his swimming pool....
just beyond the back wall.
Every now and then, I stand on tip-toe to look out at him...
and praise wells from deep inside my inmost soul.
We waited for him for so long!
I pause to thank Him for the comfortable, soothing mat under my tired feet....
and the dear, thoughtful, caring, precious husband who insisted on buying it for me...
even though I contested profusely that it wasn't necessary.
It makes such a difference!

In today's passage of Scripture, 
the Old Testament prophet, Samuel
had great reason to rejoice...
and smile.
God had performed an amazing miracle for the Israelites, His chosen ones.
The armies of the Philistines came near to fight them, 
and God sent loud thunder that confused them and caused them to become disoriented.
So much so, that Israel won the battle.

When the battle was all over and Samuel realized the magnitude of the miracle,
he chose to remember it by taking a stone and erecting it at the battle site.
He named it Ebenezer and said, 
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
The word Ebenezer means,
"The stone of help".

I can just imagine the many who passed by that stone after that day
and how they were reminded of the great victory and blessing
God had bestowed.
Had Samuel not placed the stone there,
quite possibly, the miracle could have been forgotten.
But, because of his faithfulness, the site was long remembered,
along with the great miracle God had performed.
I hope each passerby paused when they saw the stone...
long enough to lift their praise and worship to the God of their fathers.
It was a reason to rejoice...
to pause and reflect and remember....
and praise God...
and smile.

We all have Ebenezer stones in our lives, do we not?
Moments of miracles...
impossibilities that God came through and made possible.....
reasons to rejoice...
and give Him our heartfelt, sincere praise.

I call them "smilestones".

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