Monday, May 6, 2013

Fitly Spoken Words

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
Proverbs 25:11

Sometimes, I get discouraged.
Don't we all?
In the moments of deepest, darkest discouragement,
I miss Mom.
I miss calling her and 
hearing her voice.

She never let me feel discouraged for long.
She would, in the way only Mom could,
do the thing that always picks me up the most.
She would quote Scriptures to me...
one right after the other.
I would jot them down and study them,
and in them I would find relief....
no matter how far into the mire of discouragement I had sunk.

We have a little "preacher" on our hands.
From the time Zachary was around 5 years old,
he and Mom and I would get to church early on Wednesday nights,
just so he could "preach" to us.
I would set up the recorder and give him the microphone
and let him go at it....
until others started filing in for church.
Mom and I were his only audience, since Kevin had to work 
and was never able to attend Wednesday night services.

Those tapes are beyond precious to me now.
How I thank God for allowing me to have recorded those moments!
Those times!
Those memories!

Tonight, he came to me after spending some completely self-appointed time reading his Bible.
He had one of those far-off looks in his eyes....
like he gets when God is talking to him.

"Mama, is there some way I can get my thoughts out?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, is there a way I can record some things?"

"Sure, you can use the karaoke."

"Will you help me set it up?"
Who can resist his melted-chocolate brown eyes?

I dropped what I was doing, sensing this was way more important
than anything else in the world.

"Sure, I will."

We dug it out of the living room closet, 
got the microphone ready,
then realized we needed a cassette tape.

Soon, we found one, and we stuck it in.

I hit the play button, and what I heard wrenched big old tears from somewhere way beneath the surface,
pulled them from my eyes, and sent them coursing down my cheeks.

I hung my head...and sobbed like a baby.

It was Mom.

She was singing....
during one of Zach's "services"....
dated February 18, 2008.

Her sweet voice....familiar, comforting, reassuring...
giving me exactly what I needed to hear.

"I mean to go right on, 
Until the crown is won,
I mean to fight the fight of faith,
'Til life on earth is done;
I'll never more turn back,
Defeat I shall not know,
For God will give me victory,
If onward I shall go"

"I'm going on,
I'm going on,
Until the final triumph, 
I'm going on;
I'm going on,
I'm going on,
Until the final triumph,
I'm going on."

Her words fell on my ears,
then sank deep into my heart.
Their meaning!
Their impact!

Zach spoke.
"She did, Mama!
She did go on...
until the final triumph.
She did it, Mama!"
He was crying right along with me.

Yes, bless God, she did.
Mom made it.
I haven't the slightest, most minuscule doubt...
that my Mother absolutely made Heaven,
and she is now sweetly and peacefully resting in Jesus' arms....
the arms she came to trust throughout life....
to support her, uphold her, help her, and be the constant Source of all she needed.

After my meltdown,
I felt so encouraged...
it was like she was calling back to me from the grave.

"Cheryl, go on.
Keep fighting the good fight of faith.
Lay hold on eternal life.
I did.
I made it.
Oh, the glory!
You can, too, Cheryl.
Keep writing.
Keep doing what God has called you to do.
Keep your chin up, girl.
Keep running the race.
The prize is at the end...
and oh, the victory!"

I wish somehow I could thank Mom for all she did for me...
all she was to me...
throughout life.
I wish I could repay her for the kindness and encouragement
she provided every time I was feeling low.

I think she had a deep-seated fear that I would one day give up my faith in God.
That I would become so overwhelmed by the current and storms of life
I would eventually throw in the towel and let go of the Lifeline.

If she only knew.
What else would there be?
Where else could I go?
How else could I have survived the last year and a half...
and all of the other years of my life....
without leaning fully on those same everlasting arms she had come to trust?

Sometimes, I confess, I get plain discouraged....with writing these devotionals.
My life-long dream of writing a devotional book is so real to me...
so vivid...
sometimes I want it so bad...and it seems so far out of reach.
I thought it would have happened by now.
I keep plugging along...sharing my heart....voicing my thoughts....
in this way....hoping, praying, trusting with all my heart...
that the words are falling like rain on to parched, thirsty hearts.
Never knowing for sure...
exactly what God is doing...
or wants to do....
through this blog.

I have come to the conclusion that unless God opens the door,
no man can open it.
No matter how hard I pound....or try to knock it down...
it will remain firmly shut...
until He is ready.

In all honesty, I've been fighting the urge to just stop writing...altogether.
To just drop the ball.
To put it out of my mind....and just toss it on the pile of unfulfilled dreams.

Just when I start to give the notion serious thought....
something happens....
every, single time.

Like today, for example.
This morning, I opened email to find the sweetest words....
from my dear friend and encourager, Anne.
Her words hit me...right in the heart.
They were just what I needed....
she will never know how much.

And though I don't ever remember having told her, 
she is precious to me.

As are others.

God uses you to hold my feet to the fire.
To speak words...."fitly spoken"...right when I need to hear them the most.
Your words and deeds of kindness are like goads to me...
urging, prodding, propelling, compelling....
me to keep writing.
To do one more God leads.

As long as He inspires, I will not refuse to be the instrument.

Who am I?
To balk at His will?
To rebel against His plan?

His plans are to prosper, not to harm...
plans to give hope...and a expected end.
(Jeremiah 29:11)

I could name names...of the ones I regularly lean on for encouragement.
But, I am afraid I would forget someone,
and to slight any who has been and continues to be such a dear blessing to me
would wound me to the core.
So, I will refrain from mentioning particular names at the moment.

You know who you are.

You, my sweet, caring, precious far away...yet, so easy to reach.
So matter what I say, you just know.
So encouraging...always saying just the right thing...when I need it most.
Such a part of every chapter of my history...our past.
We've been through so much together...pulled each other through.
How I thank God to still have you!
You mean more to me than I could ever manage to put into words.
Have I ever told you how much it means to be able to pick up the phone
and know that you will drop everything else....just to talk to me?
To listen?
To understand?
I love you with all my heart.
I worry about you...being so alone now that Kristen moved out.
I pray for you more than you know.

And, you, the one who greets me...with sweet fellowship...every time we meet for church,
the ear you lend to me time after time after time,
your shoulder...always available when I need to cry,
the broccoli cornbread you especially make...just because you know it makes me smile,
the laughter that comes so automatic...every time we're together,
the fun, easy way we spend our time...the comfortable way we can be...
have I ever told you how much it all means to me?
How much you mean to me?
You bless my life in more ways than I can count.
There are no words to thank you enough....
or tell you how much it means...
to have you in my life.
God sure knew what He was doing when He orchestrated that homeschool meeting!

And, you,
my sweet, trusted, friend-of-a-lifetime.
Remember our trip to find Randy Travis?
Or should I say "Traywick"?
Remember his uncle's car lot?
We were so young...I was so silly.  :~)
You went along....just because you knew it meant so much to me.
Do they still make friends like you??
Our adventures....boy, have we had 'em.
I knew the moment we met we would be forever friends.
Nothing has ever been able to sever the sincerity and strength of our bond.
Nothing ever will.
I loved the sweet card...with the puppies on the front...
that told of how much our friendship means to you.
Do you have the slightest inkling of how much it me, too?

And, you,
where do I begin?
The wonderful memory box you took the time to make...
with pictures on all sides and the top...
of the flowers from Mom's funeral....
and of Mom, Kevin, Zachary, and me....
have you any idea what it meant to get that last week?
When I was at one of my lowest points?
It was beyond difficult to pull through....your kindness made it easier.
Your continual love and support and true friendship....
how could I ever tell you what it has meant and still means?
Are there words?
Thank you for still believing in me...
for caring regardless,
for friendship, tried and true.
You are one of God's most precious gifts.

And, you, 
the one who still cares so deeply, 
regarding not the slander.
You are close to my heart.
You knew the one-year anniversary of Mom's death was soon to be,
so you took the time...and energy...and order "My Beautiful Broken Shell"...
and have it sent, along with the sweetest note, from
straight to our mailbox.
Thank you, my dear, sweet from-childhood, lifelong friend....
for loving me in spite of all.
I love you back....I always will.

And, you,
my sweet childhood Sunday School teacher.
You always made it fun.
I still remember the Christmas party in your basement,
and the fun goodie bags you gave us every Christmas.
Your consistent life for God has been an inspiration to me more than you know.
The e-card you sent last week...from you and your family....
letting me know that we are not alone...
in our grief....
meant so very much.
Knowing you remain faithful...after all these years....
brings a deep down comfort 
and gives me hope that I can be faithful, too.
You are precious...and dear....and I love you.

And all of you others....too many to count...
the purple jacket you sent...because you knew it is my favorite color
and you thought I'd like one.
The packs of chili mix you threw in...
because you know I miss being close enough to buy that kind.
I think of you and love you more each time I wear the coat...
or eat the chili.  :~)

The little packages you send now and then, just because...
have I ever told you much you brighten my day every time you do that?

The faithful emails....every, single one of them, 
do you realize how dependent upon them I really am?
I don't think you ever could....really realize how much I need you.

All of your many of them prayed...
that mention my family's names...and mine..
how could I ever repay that kind of love?

I truly don't know how I could ever repay all of the love I have been shown.
All of the encouragement you have given.
All of the stability you consistently provide.
Without you, I think I would stop writing.
It just wouldn't seem so important.

Knowing you are there...always faithful...
gives me courage.
To face another day.
To take another step.
To pick myself up by the bootstraps...
and keep walking....and typing.
Even when I don't feel like it.
Even when I am discouraged.
Even when I feel like giving up.

My words...
sharing what God places in my heart...
is my gift back to you...
however small it be.

And my prayers.
I pray for you.
With fervency.
With earnestness.
With sincerity.
With a burden.
Because I love you.
Every single one of you.
Not just the ones I mentioned.
There are too many to mention.
That is how very blessed I am.

Because of you, and God's grace,
I will go on....
dreaming, hoping, writing...
following Jesus...
wherever He leads.


  1. Cheryl,
    I have tried leaving comments on your blog several times and it wouldn't let here I am trying once again to say how much I appreciate you and your writing from the heart! What a wonderful tribute to your mom! Keep dreaming, sister dreamer and together we'll keep our eyes on the one who gave us our dreams! Love, Bev

  2. Dear Bev, Bless your dear heart! I have had issues with the comments, and I am hoping this will work this time! I was finally able to get your comment to post the other day. I am so sorry, and I thank you ever so much for your perseverance! Your kind words mean everything to me. I was so blessed by them again today. And I so appreciate your blog, as well. God bless you in a big way! Love, Cheryl

  3. it's been a rough season, but your encouragement warms my heart. ""A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Proverbs 25:11" So well chosen.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and your dreams.
    Peace and good to you in pursuing all God has for you, sister,

    1. Dear Chelle, You are such a blessing to me! Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for your sweet comments. I trust God will bless you and continue to lead and guide you as you follow His dreams for you, dear sister! Love,

  4. A post filled with love and grace! Keep going...Blessings!

    1. Dear Elise, It was SO nice to see that you had dropped by! I appreciate you and all you do. You are a gift! May the Lord bless you richly. Love, Cheryl

  5. Dear Cheryl, you are richly blessed with what is important in life. I can read it in your writing, and most of all you know the One that covers us with His Grace. Reading about your relationships with your mother, your son, and your dear friends make my heart feel so very full. When our son lay in the hospital with his broken body in and out of a coma, "My Beautiful Broken Shell" was a blessing. I'm glad to know that book found it's way to you through a friend. I'm thinking of you and praying for you. It's hard to lose those we love. And it is difficult seeing them suffer. Love and Prayers, Debby xxoo

    1. Dear Deborah, Thank you so much for stopping by with your sweet words of encouragement. I can sense that you have suffered much and know how it feels to lose. I so appreciate you, your support, and most of all your prayers. I am thinking of you and praying for you, too....I trust God will give you a pain-free, productive day today. You are precious and such a gift! Love, Cheryl

  6. Yes, friend...keep going. Keep writing. Keep dreaming big dreams. Keep holding those memories close. I can't wait to see your book in print...yes, write it. Blessings, sweet sister! :)

    1. Dear Mel, Your words are like goads to me hope and courage to press the battle on! I can't thank you enough for stopping by with words of cheer and so much meaning. I will go on, by God's grace, thanks to HIM, my loving family, and dear, caring friends like you! Love, Cheryl