Friday, May 28, 2010

Just a Shepherd Boy

I love studying the life of David. I find such encouragement in his life. God called him ‘a man after my own heart’ and while he was that, he stumbled, fell and hurt just like the rest of us. That speaks to the melancholy in me that is determined to do it all and do it perfectly. I can mess up and God will still allow my heart to beat just for him. First and Second Samuel read to me like the most fascinating of any novel I could find on the shelf at my local Barnes and Noble and right now in this blessed season, I have the privilege of studying the life of David once again.

I’ll have you know that I’m only on the second day of my Bible Study and already my mind is ablaze in wonder.

I wonder what David thought when he was brought in from the field that day and anointed by Samuel. I wonder what he had been thinking about while tending to the sheep in that field just hours before. Were his thoughts lofty or mundane? Was he happy and content tending to the sheep or did he dream of greater things?

These are just a few of the many questions I have the day that I meet my King face to face.

This speaks to me, because in my life right now I feel like I am in a season of sheep tending. Not the pastoral type of sheep tending, but the real sit in a field all day watching sheep graze the grass type of shepherding. I wake up in the morning, eat a bowl of cereal, get the baby ready, kiss the hubby, head to work, sit, answer the phone, sit, greet a guest, sit, pick the baby up, cook dinner, bathe the baby, go to bed. Surely I thought life would be so much greater when I was a young girl. Perhaps you feel this way, too.

Today I read a blog entry written by one of my best friends. She’s really struggling in life right now. Through her written words I can hear her practically screaming “Is this all life has to offer me?” at the top of her lungs.

And then I think of David. I wonder if he thought those exact thoughts while he spent his days watching sheep eat grass, poop and sleep. It’s a known fact that sheep aren’t the smartest or the most interesting animals, surely he got bored.

Perhaps he loved being a shepherd. One of the sweetest moments in my day is having the Daycare’s Bye-Bye buggy make a visit past my desk. (The Bye-Bye Buggy is a cart full of precious one year olds who make their way around our establishment, either in order to prevent boredom or keep the babies from falling asleep.) I love those babies; I know each of them by name. It’s a sweet thought to think that David knew each of his sheep by name- that they were more than just sheep, they were cherished pets.

Regardless, David’s life changed one afternoon when his father sent for him to leave the field and head home. In just a matter of hours, David went from being just a shepherd boy to the anointed and chosen one of God. It says in The Message that the spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind. Can you even imagine?

I’m going to think about David, the shepherd boy David, when I find myself in a rut. When life feels mundane and I want to shout at the top of my lungs “Is this it, Lord?”

Where are you in your life right now? Are you feeling bored, weary, unimportant, overlooked?

Tomorrow could be the very day that God pulls you off of the field to anoint you and call you to the very thing he chosen for you to bring glory to Him. Are you allowing God to prepare you for that time or are you too busy wallowing in your sorrows?

Make a choice to be thankful for wherever God has you in this movement. Learn from it, cherish it, live in it.

I imagine that when David looked back on his exciting and prosperous life, he was indeed thankful for that time he spent in the field merely tending to the sheep.

Sunni Scott

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blessed By Cancer

As I read what a friend wrote about being "blessed by the fire" that burned her house to the ground, I was reminded of something that I had said recently to my daughter's Sunday School class of women. It was something that had been tumbling around in my head for a while, but I had never actually verbalized the thought. And if you had told me just a year ago that I would ever say those words, I would have said that you were crazy. It was just this past weekend that I said the words for the second time, and it was to the group of my closest friends when we went on our annual retreat together. I'm still very cautious about saying these words because most people won't understand, but I have to say them anyway and trust that God will use the words wherever they need to be read or heard.

"I'm grateful I had cancer." There! I've said it again! It took me only three years to say that out loud. Do I want to do it again? A resounding NO! I didn't want to do it the first time, and I certainly don't want to do it again! God and I have had that discussion—more than once! I pray daily that I never have a repeat of that experience, especially for my family's sake. However, I have arrived at the point that I can truly say that if that is how He chooses to use my life, then so be it.

2007 was without a doubt the worst year of my family's life. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer (lymph node involvement) in April and finished with surgeries, chemo, and radiation on December 21, 2007. There is so much I could say about that year—none of it good. Then how can I be "grateful I had cancer," you may ask: because God was involved, and He did many, many wonderful, loving, compassionate things for us that year, and, to me, the greatest thing He did was to change me. For that I am eternally grateful! I am a much better person than I was, and I like the "new me" much more. I have a clearer picture of so many things—what my priorities need to be, how blessed I am in everyday life, the reality of what God wants me to do and be while I'm on this earth. The most important "clearer picture" is that I got to know—really know—God so much better. For those things (and many others), I am grateful! Have I "arrived"? Absolutely not, but I am farther along than I was b.c. (before cancer). I do not want to go back to being the person I was b.c. So "Thank you, God, for teaching me, for changing me, for allowing me to learn so many things—even if it took cancer to do it."

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8 – 9

Written by Sandra Timmons

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


When you meet Carol, you cannot help but fall in love with her and her love of the Lord. Her faith is so strong, and God truly comes first in her life.

And, oh, how she loves her family; her eyes light up and sparkle as she talks about her husband and her sons. She shares that she is married to “a very special man” -- Frank Andrews -- and that she cannot imagine life without him. He has always been there to support and love her and the kids through all the struggles, and she is happy to say they have been married for 54 and a half years; it will be 55 years in September.

Then there are the boys who truly touch within the depths of her heart -- Andy, Billy, and Johnny. These children are so precious in Carol’s eyes. God blessed her greatly with these particular sons. Andy was 18 months old when Billy was born, and then Johnny was born 2 years later.

When Billy was 3 months old, he was diagnosed with Trachial Stenosis and had his first tracheotomy at that time. Those early years were so hard: when Billy cried, Carol could not hear him because of the trachea; and when he cried without sound, Carol cried out of hurt for him. During this time, it was so hard for the other boys, as mom and dad could not always be there at bedtime. But praise the Lord, Carol’s mother was there to help. GOD IS SO GOOD!

Then the doctor suggested breathing treatments for Billy, and there was no one to give him the type of swimming lessons he needed. Carol did not want to sit on the sidelines and decided to change her profession as a secretary to become a swimming instructor. She took four years of swimming instructions, became a lifeguard, and even wrote a book about swimming. Not only was she able to help Billy with his needs, Andy and Johnny also benefited from the swimming. She developed a special heartbeat for the handicapped and taught swimming to these special children for over 30 years. AMAZING MOM -- she always has and now still gives from her heart where she is needed.

AWESOME THINGS happened through the years. The doctors told Billy he would never talk; but even when the chips were down, Billy surprised everyone by talking through a tube. Billy was told that he would not be able to go to work, but praise God, he went to work anyway in the billing department at LSU Medical Center.

And then there is this sweet answer to Billy’s prayer. He wanted a wife, and it seemed that was not going to happen. He prayed for over 20 years, and then he met his lovely wife, Cathy, at LSU. God has blessed Billy and the love of his life with 10 years of marriage.

What troopers in this family! Andy and Johnny support and love their brother intensely and want things to get better for Billy. Frank and Carol were blessed with exactly the right brothers for Billy, and they are so proud of them for their own strength through these struggling years. And God blessed even further with just the right wives -- Johnny’s wife Lisa and Billy’s wife Cathy -- so full of love and understanding and support. GOD IS SO GOOD!

There is no way in this limited space to tell about all the ups and downs in the lives of this family, but Carol shares that only with her faith in God and the love and support of Frank, Andy, Johnny, Lisa, Cathy, and Billy himself have they been able to move on in these circumstances.

One thing Carol learned is to always give the tithe to the Lord -- even when times are hard. One time, they needed to buy a suction machine and did not have the money for it. Frank said they were going to tithe anyway, and, yes, God did provide the $100 -- and it was a gift. When Billy was 6 months old, Carol said they were honored to give their testimony on tithing in hard times, and she reminds that “God blesses when you give to Him from your heart.”

There are so many good things to say about Carol Andrews! WHAT AN AMAZING WOMAN -- MOTHER AND WIFE -- with a faith that never stops! Her favorite song is “Amazing Grace” because she experiences that every day of her life. To get through the hard times, she says to draw from God’s Word. Her favorite Scripture is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” When it hurts the worst, be sure to tithe anyway and draw close to the Lord.

GOD IS SO GOOD ! He has blessed Carol with the best Mother’s Day present ever -- truly a miracle! Billy’s vocal cords are now working, and his trachea is straight. The doctor says nothing he did caused this. AMAZING GRACE! Please pray for Billy that he will have complete healing.


May God bless you as you have blessed us!


Oh, Father, we do pray for this AMAZING MOM, Carol Andrews, and her precious family. Please continue to bless them as they move forward in their lives. We thank you, Lord, for the miracles in Billy’s life, and we pray that you will bless him with complete healing. We pray knowing that nothing is too difficult for you (Jeremiah 32:17), and we pray believing that the answer is on the way.

“As for me, I trust in you, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’”

Psalm 31:14

Written By: Lavahn Stillwell