Thursday, December 6, 2018

'Glory'

I am thinking...
Everyone has or has had a special person in his or her life that impacted them forever.  That impact was so profound that you never forgot that individual. You wondered how they did what they did. They went through so much and seem to come out untarnished, unscathed, praising, shouting and giving God the Glory for even the hardships!
Well in my lifetime, I have met a few ‘Praising and Praying’ women.  But one sister, Gloria (Sally) Criswell, impacted my life deeply.
I met Sister Sally (as we all called her) a number of years ago when I was still a ‘babe in Christ’. We were both young women at the time, but she had, I know, a special gift.  She was prayerful and humble.  I was impressionable and ‘on fire’ for the Lord. I absorbed and gravitated to every little positive setting I encountered.   I desired to work in His Church in whatever capacity I could.

I loved to sing, but also soon became a part of a group of Lady Prayer Warriors, for lack of a better title. There were a number of us, as we would go to homes and hospitals to pray with the elderly, sick and shut-in. I recognized instantly that Sister Sally always prayed hard and fervently. I thought…  ”It’s as though no one else is in the room… just her and God.” Whenever she finished, I felt as though I had been cleansed and renewed spiritually! That’s how powerful her prayers were.
There was a mutual bond in this group, but for some reason, a few of us just ‘clicked.’  Soon we begin to take turns going to each other’s home, to fellowship and pray. I think Sister Sally literally taught me how to pray. We prayed for each other, as we were all married, had children, and had no shame in “Letting Go and Letting God!”  We allowed His Spirit to encompass, move and envelope our very being, remembering the scripture: Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst”. And it never failed, as we would each take a turn to pray, it seems Sister Sally would ALWAYS say the last prayer. And time was of no essence, as we let God have His way.  
I loved watching her when we would meet. Through our initial conversations, she would sometimes sit with her hands on her lap, a smile on her face, eyes closed and she would rock back and forth… a very serene vision.  It was like she was slowly gearing up; getting ready to exalt God through prayer. She would pray so passionately and unselfishly, we were automatically brought to tears. On many occasions, we could have easily used more than one box of Kleenex.  She would be crying and her nose would be red and runny (as did ours) and by the time we released hands and opened our eyes, we needed a shower.  “Ain’t God Good!” 

I can’t forget those days. This is for ‘The Praying Woman’ who is still in my life.  She taught by example, how a woman prays. “God bless you, Sister Sally!”
  
The Praying Woman

The praying woman has a prayer for every situation
The praying woman always prays without hesitation
She goes about as though her life is not one of her own
Her first focus is on others, knowing prayer changes what’s wrong

She deems ‘Too blessed to be stressed’
As a powerful endorsement
And prayer, a necessary
And essential re-enforcement 
The praying woman has no need
To keep problems on her mind
She automatically prays and heeds
To situations that she finds
She has a role in others’ lives
They don’t even seem to notice
She’s there without a visual concept
As she senses and can focus 
Without a doubt, she’s the praying woman
God has given to all indeed
In body and soul, she gives her all
Unconscious of what she needs 
She prays for you unselfishly
With a God-given gift of discernment
You see, the praying woman
Is grounded and rooted with positive refinement 
The praying woman has grace and gratitude
Not seeking praise or fame.
For she gives God ALL the glory,
Doing it all, in Jesus’ name!
Amen

PS: "In 2019, Find Your Glory." 
Blessings,
PJ Payne








Thursday, November 29, 2018

'You Don't Miss Your Water...'

Image result for coffee outside
There is an old saying my momma used to say all the time… “You don’t miss your water ‘til your well runs dry.”  I cannot recall if she was quoting lyrics from an old song or if it was just another one of her ‘off the tip of the tongue’ animated expressions she often planted in our heads. Either way, it was repeated enough to embed an everlasting impression. I must admit, I initially did not ‘get it!’ “A well? What is a well?”  I am sure I did one of those ‘eye rolls’ most kids do when they are lectured by their elders. But as time passed, I understood her words clearly.
Too many times we go about our daily duties and onuses without giving a second thought to how we make it from day to day. We go to jobs that we think will always be available; take for granted our good health; give and buy kids things that are well above our means, which they presuppose is a ‘given…’ and the list goes on.
What that expression means is that we cannot appreciate what we have, until we no longer have it. Even the simplest of things, like the air we so freely breathe, is taken for granted. Consider those who no longer have the capability of freely inhaling fresh air, as they become dependent on a breathing apparatus.

As I sit back with my ‘brew’ in one hand and pen in the other, I consider how blessed I really am.  I have had so many ‘water missing’ moments. And now, I think I am ever so grateful for the tiny things because this is my birthday month... A benchmark birthday!  As I embark on a new stage of this wonderful life God has granted me, I seem to have had a huge growth-spurt! Uhhh, mentally and physically! I am not embracing the physical aspect easily, but I am accepting it and claiming good health, Lol. As a whole, I’m enlightened, learned, more vibrant, and comfortable in my own skin. But most importantly, I have grown to REALLY know Jesus. I am Sooo Thankful!  He has and still sustains me. Everything I am and have gracefully endured is because of Him.
Life and those ‘water missing’ moments have taught me so much…
-To be still and listen when I’m anxious- Philippians 4: 6-7
-To take my hands off when I want to fix everything- Exodus 14:14
-When God seemed so far away- Psalm 139
-When I have lost a loved one- John 14:18
-How to let go of pain when I have been wronged- 1 Peter 5:7
-When I realized everyone around me had grown or is gone- Deuteronomy 31:8
-When I put trust in man and not in Him- Psalm 27
-When I have been taken for granted; walked over- 2 Chronicles 15:7
And if I can’t remember anything else but that childhood scripture, encompassing all, I recite- Psalm 23.

So if you are wondering, what will happen next? Why has your well seemingly dried up? How will you make it? Please remember this-

Be grateful. Be thankful
For your now
For whatever situation
That has been bestowed
For He didn’t bring you this far
So that you’d turn around
Be grateful. Be graceful
Start thanking Him.
For He is your
‘How’

Blessings,

PJ Payne

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Unforeseen Hope

Have you ever had someone in your life that you probably didn’t appreciate at the time? Then you come to realize that it wasn’t so bad after all? I’m sure this has happened to us all at some point and time; be it male or female. See, we learn through ups and downs, trials and tribulations that we were going through, things were not just about you, it was about them too. I definitely had that happen to me and had to figure it out. 
Making this story short, I had a girlfriend in my life for many years.  We had so much in common. We both had wonderful marriages (or so we thought); both had three kids; both were Christians and members of a church community… so everything should have been fine, right? Well, it wasn’t. We were always talking, doing things together, trips with family, singing events etc. As our kids grew up and life happened, her marriage fell apart.  I tried to be there for her but felt as though we didn’t mesh anymore. She stated there was a strain, as she was all of a sudden single and I wasn’t.  It was quite hard for me to accept, and I bucked against it, stating nothing had changed about my adoration for her as a friend. I soon felt as though she threw quite a few insinuations towards me, so I resolved to fold and back away from the friendship.
As a few years, there were other devastating situations we endured… but what I remembered the most was that I felt abandoned. What I didn’t see at the time was how abandoned she must have felt, going through a divorce, feeling unwanted, unloved which may have in a way caused her to harbor ill feelings of jealousy or resentment.
As I stated, there is more to this story, but this was the beginning of understanding that we tend to take too many things personal.  Sometimes things are not what they seem... There's always hope.

Unforeseen

I used to gripe about
My very best friend
And didn’t realize
My distinction she depended

Thought she was a mimic
Thought she was a mime
Didn’t put it together, then
What she needed was my time
I was that distinguishing part
Representative of her deficiency
Later I found, I gave hope
Imparting proficiency

She wouldn’t let on
How important to her I was
And wouldn’t give me the benefit
Of bestowing unequivocal love

I began to doubt our friendship
Had qualms about the treatment
I was receiving all but kinship
My importance, I wasn’t believing

So… I became defensive
I began to question commitment
Was what we had all these years
Fake… only a figment?

Finding later, a deeper sense
As we went through some things
Some folks just can’t accept flaws
No matter the pain it brings

See, she was one side of me
And I am who she admired
Didn’t really see the big picture then
Time apart was what was required

Stepping aside
Taking inventory
And in all things, ups or downs

Giving God the Glory

Blessings,
PJ Payne

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The 'Chauffeur'

What I’ve learned is, when something unexpected or drastic happens, we naturally seek answers and ask why. Everything you deem as ‘going wrong’ is not necessarily going wrong. “He wouldn’t have brought you to it, if He couldn’t bring you through it.” Brace yourself and hunker down, because He may be preparing you for the ride of a lifetime!  
But remember who is your pilot, your chauffeur, your navigator; you can make the worst thing that ever happened in your life, work for your best.
It’s hard to be grateful and thankful when everything around you seems to be in shambles. This is especially so, if you are the type of person who is the ‘leanee,’ instead of the leaner. Basically, you have been the one on whom everyone can depend … the confidante, spiritual adviser, the listening ear, the Rock of Gibraltar, the invincible one - need I go on? I’m sure you get the picture. So tell me, who do you go to when you’re in need of support? Do you deny yourself? Do you not open up? Are you repudiating the fact that you have problems or issues? Do you just hold it all in?
Well God knows us better than we know ourselves. He allows us to fall down sometimes so that we will understand exactly where our help AND the help of others, comes from when we get up. Psalm 121:1-2 KJV …from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
There is just no escaping what God’s plan is for your life. Just let Him take the reins. Stop saying ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ when your little feeble mind tells you that you don’t need to go through the hardships you’re enduring. Let the chips fall where they may. Somehow, by way of those downfalls, you really will be able to help someone in dire need of support. The comfort you will be able to give will have been through experience and the BEST teacher.
So, take your punches and don’t run away. Instead, pick yourself up, pick your space and time, and give Him thanks for it all. Yes, it’s Thanksgiving time! Thank him for what you’ve been through AND as hard as it seems, what you are about to go through.

Blessings,
PJ Payne


Thursday, October 11, 2018

'Emotional'

Ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong? Everything you touch turns to mush. You can’t make sound decisions. All you want to do is crawl back into bed.
Well, get up! Brush yourself off! Exhale! Make a fresh pot of coffee and drink up! Go to your quiet place… Whatever it takes to get back on track, do it! Don’t be conquered.  You are the conqueror. You set the standards. You set the pace. You don’t know who is watching you. You don’t know who is looking up to you. You don’t know who is thinking “I want to be like her/him when I grow up.” You just don’t know.  Therefore, seek and find the tiniest thread of hope- tie a knot and hold on. Push forward.  Find the strength you need to continue. This slump you’re feeling is only temporary… just a block, not a bombardment. There is a difference.
Find that passion you know you already possess. You haven’t lost it… only misplaced that fuel, fire, energy, the oomph to forge on.  
Also remember it’s okay to feel this way, as we are all human and have ‘those days.’ Just don’t wallow in self-pity.  We all go through it. Don’t lose your focus. Don’t let anyone hamper or dampen your spirit.

So mixed up,
So confused
You’re hoping your heart
Will not be abused
Putting your trust
Yet again in man
Forgetting that only
One Man can
Fulfill your hopes
Fulfill your dreams
Lord, please help
Set us all free
From doubts
From fears
Remind us of possibilities
If we’d listen and hear
The words… Your words
Over and over again
‘I can do all things…’
And we know we can
If we block out all
The negativity of man
If complete faith and trust
Is put in You
Piercing our hearts
Through and through
Freeing the mind
Freeing the spirit
Of distrust when
We can’t get rid of it
And remind us too, that
‘This too shall pass’
When the fog clears,
Free at last!

Remember, the things
You go through
Are trial and error
You can’t let it control you
With fear, with terror
Let go, give Him
The okay to teach
Again, lessons you have
Already heard preached
That you are not alone
He’s got your back
That you are not infallible
And that’s a fact
That we are all human
Emotions will come
Even if we can’t identify
Where they’re coming from
…just Emotional

Blessings,
PJ Payne


Thursday, October 4, 2018

For Me...

What do you do in the early mornings when you can't sleep? These are the very moments our Father is waiting for us… the quiet moments when intimacy is so important, no interruption.
So why do we become so annoyed when someone is hovering around us especially kids? Kids, normally do this when they are making an attempt to get our attention or our love in that lonely moment. YES, they need reassurance as well. This is exactly what God does with us. So the real question is who has taken up residence in your home?
Consider a marathon that you had no idea you had entered… not to lose weight or to change our outer appearance, BUT to make us remember who the ‘I Am’ really is. He is Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep’s voice. He is the one who will open doors when we knock. He is the Son of God, He is the Light of the World. He is the Living Bread. Remember how we take the Lord's Supper? He is The Vine and we are the branches, He is the Way, the Truth and the Light! He is the Creator of ALL.
Expressions of who HE is, become more personal for each of us depending on our needs for the moment.

For Me…
He is my Strength.
He is my Protector.
He is my Provider.
He is my Burden Carrier.
He is my Guide.
He is my Healer.
He is my Love.
He is my Friend.
He is my Teacher.
He is my Doctor.
He is my Judge.
He is my Forgiver.
He is my Pilot.
He is the air I breathe.
He is the gleaming sun.
He is the sand on the beach.
He is the one who gave freedom.
He is the one who calms my storms.
He is the one who suffered for me.
He is the one who will never leave me.
He is the one who will wipe away tears.
He is the one who never sleeps.
He is the one who gives me peace and shows me mercy.
He is the one who calms me in frustrating moments.
He is the one I seek.
He is my example of how ‘I Am’ to be.
He is who He says He is.

All we have to do is whisper His name and He is there. So, I ask you again, “Who is living in your residence?”

Have a blessed day!

(From the meditating mind of my beautiful and spiritual friend, Cindy)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Scared...

Ever been so afraid that you just had to let the circumstances surrounding a situation, work itself out? I’ve learned that is called ‘Letting go and letting God.’
Several years ago my daughter was going through some medical issues. As moms, we instinctively want to take care of our children, no matter how young or old. Being a young adult, of course, she didn’t want Mama hovering over her. BUT me, knowing my daughter, knew the real deal. Her voice said she wanted her Mama! So after I got the ‘I’m sick’ call and the ‘unsure’ reassuring phrase, “but, I’m ok,” I decided to pay her a visit and told her so. She hesitantly agreed.
I packed up all of my ‘mommy remedies’ and started the tedious journey to her place. On a good day, the commute was about 40 minutes.  That day was NOT one of those days. Midday traffic was horrific and it didn’t help that I was already anxious, knowing she was sick.
After about an hour’s commute, I made it and began my irksome tread up 3, yes I said T.H.R.E.E flights of stairs. “Why daughter, why do you live on the third floor?”  Panting and feeling ‘I’ needed to call 911, I walked to her door and literally leaned on it as I knocked. I waited a couple of minutes and knocked again. No answer. Okay, so I am telling myself not to get excited, so and I knocked harder. After this third time, I decided to call. No answer. Maybe she fell asleep. I then proceeded to walk to what I thought to be the closest wall to her bedroom. I knocked really loud a couple of times. By now, I am also trying not to disturb the neighbors and bring any attention to what was going on, but I am beginning to panic. She didn’t sound completely coherent during our last conversation. What was wrong?
I ran downstairs to see if I had or could see any office contact info where she lived. Meanwhile, I had already called her brother who lived near but wasn’t home. Great! I found an office number, but it went straight to voicemail. Now what? I raced back upstairs and felt no pain in my sprint. My heart was beating out of my chest, not from the run, but because I was so scared. Approximately 40 minutes had passed since I first arrived. What happened? What if she was unconscious, fell, couldn’t move, comatose… Nooo, I needed answers. With knuckles hurting, I bammed on her door, not caring who, what, or where. Nothing!
“Oh, God, let my child be alright,” I fervently prayed. Teary-eyed and with trembling hands, I pulled out my phone to dial 911. As frantic as I was, this was my last resort.
Then I heard the latch on her door as it slowly opened. She stood there, looking totally bewildered and weak. I walked in with questions on my face.  She asked, ”What’s the matter?”  After I told her about the goings-on of the past hour, she explained that she had taken the meds she was prescribed, fell asleep, and the rest was blank…
I could only hug her in relief, and thank God. 

After getting her settled in, this was my write...

Fear- knowing something is wrong
Fear- a void; The unknown
Fear- the ultimate sense of being alone
Fear- the unexpected, you can’t prolong

Fear tears away at the strongest of us all
Fear saturates the mind; you make wrong calls
Anxious to know about the notion
Anxious to see positivity in motion
But God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear
Anticipated results are why we adhere

Stop negations
Stop that train of thought
Have positive expectations
You shouldn’t and you ought
Not think of things
That kill the spirit
Because God is on it
Listen carefully- hear Him

There’s nothing to fear
But fear, itself
Mind over matter
Just the mind 
…Nothing else

Trust Him,
PJ Payne