Friday, August 28, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

Last night at 1am my sister, Robbie and I heard a scream and a bang coming from our Mom's room. Our mom is 86 yrs. old and lives with us. We had been up late watching a movie and Mom had decided to stay up and watch it with us. She had gone into her bathroom to take a shower and fell, hitting her ribs on the toilet. We were able to get her up off the floor and onto the bed, but she was in a great deal of pain. I called 911 and asked for an ambulance. We all ended up in the ER until 6 am because it was a busy night in the ER. After x-rays it was determined that Mom had indeed fractured one of her ribs; however, there's not a lot they can do for fractured ribs except give you pain medicine and wait for the ribs to heal. 

It was a long sleepless night as we waited in the ER, but Robbie and I did have a good laugh when the nurse came in and asked if Mom was able to sign. I had been busy telling everyone that she is hard of hearing and they needed to speak up. So when the nurse asked if she could sign, for some strange reason, I thought she was talking about sign language. (I blame it on lack of sleep). I went into a long explanation of why Mom can't hear and she doesn't know sign language. The nurse and Robbie looked very confused. Finally she just stared at me and said, "No ma'am, I mean can she sign papers." I felt sooo stupid, but we got a hearty laugh out of it; not the nurse, just me and Robbie. I felt bad laughing while mom was groaning in pain, but it was a diversion from everything that was going on. You know we can't do anything normal.

We also had a funny moment when the nurse asked us to remove Mom's bra so they could do x-rays. They pulled the curtain and, because Mom was in such pain, we tried to take off her bra without taking off her night gown. This was hilarious because the sleeves on her gown were kind of tight and we had her configured in every shape you can imagine trying to get that dang bra off. Mom was looking at us like we were crazy as I said, "Okay bend your arm. Now turn your head like this. Wait, put your arm back and bend your other arm." Robbie and I were starting to lose it while the nurse waited outside and listened to Mom groaning in agony while we wrestled her bra off. I know the nurse was wondering, "What are they doing to that poor woman?" It seemed like a simple task, but harder than it looked. I guess there's humor in everything if you look for it, but Mom wasn't laughing. 

Mom's been resting since the ordeal. We feel kind of helpless but we just have to wait for the ribs to heal and try to manage the pain and the fact that she will be very uncomfortable for some time to come as she recovers. The doctors told us to make sure she takes deep breaths as often as possible to ensure pneumonia doesn't set in. Apparently, with sore ribs you tend to take shallow breaths because it's painful to breathe and this can cause the lungs to collapse because they don't fully inflate. The doctor also recommended that we get her walking a little each day instead of just letting her sit still for long periods of time. 

I was thinking about this whole ordeal with regards to life in general. Sometimes we walk through difficult situations, or walk through them with friends and family and we feel helpless. We want to do more, something that will make healing come more quickly, but there's no easy answer. Often we can only be there for them, offering them comforting words and reminding them to take a deep breath and take one step at a time. Having faith can often mean you just have to trust God to walk you through difficult seasons and bring you out on the other side a stronger and better person. 

As a Christian, we often expect a fast miracle, or a supernatural event to erase our pain, but there are times we just have to take deep breaths, keep our spiritual lungs inflated, and keep moving forward, one step at a time, one day at a time, trusting God for everything we need. 

We can't just give into our pain and become immobile and cause even more damage. We just have to let the healing take place. There's no quick fix. No fast miracle. No supernatural burning bush. Just trust and faith that God can bring good out of every situation if we allow Him to manage our pain and our recovery. 

That's it, take a deep breath, keep moving and let the healing begin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Don’t you just love it when life throws you one of those unexpected little surprises? You think you have it all together and you’re looking good and then suddenly, whoosh, a big gust of wind blows your dress up over your head and there you are. Suddenly, nothing is more important than getting that dress back in place and regaining some semblance of dignity and composure. 

These kinds of surprises happen to me a lot, it seems. Like the morning when I was on my way to work, all dressed up with my briefcase in hand and my hair styled just the way I like it. If I recall correctly, I was actually whistling as I walked out of the parking garage on my way to the office. Then, just as I turned the corner out of the garage, whoosh, a big gust of wind attacked me from out of nowhere. It picked me up off the ground, slamming me down on the pavement with my skirt over my head, right in front of a busload of people. There I was, sprawled out on the pavement, humiliated and embarrassed. 

The people on the bus seemed pleased to have some entertainment to break up their morning commute to work. They glared out of the bus window like they were watching some kind of reality television show. I have found people just can’t help but watch when they see someone in a car accident, or stranded beside the road, or, as in my case, slam-dunked by nature. If I had been on the bus, I would have been staring too. After all, I know good entertainment when I see it. 

After a few minutes, I managed to slowly pick myself up off the pavement, brush myself off, grab my briefcase and, with my head held high, finish making my way to the office. Only this time I wasn’t whistling. 

By the time I got to my desk my nice hair style had been blown into a Bride-of-Frankenstein look. 

“Did you come by broom this morning?” a co-worker asked jokingly. 

I just slumped in my chair, put my head down and tried to ignore the remark. Little did I know when I got up that morning, showered, styled my hair and put on my makeup that I would later be sprawled out on a public street, with a busload of people staring down at me. This definitely was not part of my plan for the day. 

That’s how life is though. We plan, prepare, put everything in place and, whoosh; life sends us a surprise gust of wind. That’s why it’s so important to do what it says in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” (The Message) 

If we only trust in our own plans and our own understanding, we leave a lot of room for discouragement, confusion and sudden gusts of wind. Trusting in God beyond all our own understanding goes against our human nature because we want to reason everything out for ourselves. However, life is much simpler when we place every aspect of it in the hands of God, listening to His voice and following His guidance and direction. It may not always follow our own reasoning, but God’s ways are higher than our ways. Anchoring ourselves in His Word and His promises and trusting Him to know what is right for our lives will protect us when that sudden whoosh of wind blows around us. Then we won’t find ourselves flat on our back in the middle of our journey with our dresses up over our heads. 

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette  "All rights reserved."

Friday, August 21, 2009


So What Are You Waiting For?

I hate waiting for doctor’s appointments. I can’t count the number of times I have arrived early or on time for an appointment only to be kept waiting. I know doctors usually have very busy schedules, but then, so do I most days. However, I wait patiently, most of the time, flipping through one of three magazines in the office, which are normally to do with very interesting subjects like golf, real estate or the financial affairs of Wall Street. Then I start to get very sleepy, but I don’t dare close my eyes. If I do, I’ll slide out of my chair and onto the floor, 

collapsing into a coma. When I go to sleep, I am very asleep. So I make sure I stay awake in public places. Otherwise, it could prove to be very embarrassing with lots of snorting and drooling involved. 

Finally, they call my name and carry me back to a room where they ask me to put on a paper gown and sit on an examining table. It’s always freezing cold in these rooms, which makes for the perfect place to sit and wait while wearing only a paper napkin. This room is usually void of magazines, but they make up for it by putting up pictures of the inside of my body for me to admire while I wait. I also get to stare at a wide variety of medical instruments. Here I can play a game which involves trying to guess what purpose each instrument serves and how it will be used in my personal examination. I also use this opportunity to read any certificates that are hanging on the wall, paying close attention to the dates. Anything before 1950 makes me very nervous. 

When the doctor finally opens the door, I snap to attention and adjust my paper napkin to make sure I am fully covered. Of course, once the doctor starts to examine me, the paper napkin is just in the way and by this time I don’t really care anymore. I’m always a little disappointed when the doctor only uses the tools that are in his or her pocket and not the instruments I’ve been staring at for almost thirty minutes. Why is this? Are those instruments only for display? 

After only about two minutes the doctor scribbles something in my file and tells me his or her diagnosis, which usually involves a virus, bacteria or a very long name I can’t pronounce, much less remember. Then the doctor says the magic words, “You can get dressed now,” and disappears into the sea of waiting patients patiently waiting.

Life can be all about waiting sometimes. We spend a lot of time doing just that; waiting for a doctor; waiting for our car to be repaired; waiting for the cable man to come out to the house; or just waiting our turn in line at the grocery store. We wait for children who are going through phases to come out of the phase or to start a new phase. We wait for a husband or a wife to turn back into the person we fell in love with and married. We wait for a daughter or a son to realize we are not completely crazy and we can offer some sound advice for their road ahead. 

Christ came to give us an abundant life right now. Don't be one of the chosen frozen. Life involves enough waiting as it is, but as Christians we need to live the open and expansive life God has called us to live. 

We seem to do a lot of unnecessary waiting along the way. We accept Christ as our personal Savior and everything is wonderful, but then we just stop living. Instead we sit down and start to wait. Christ didn’t die on the cross so we could just sit and wait for His return. He did not die so we could stop living our lives and find nice comfortable chairs to sit in until He calls us to heaven to be with Him. 

In II Corinthians 6:11-13 Paul says,

“Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.” (The Message) 

We should never be caught waiting at the heaven bound bus stop, twiddling our thumbs and checking our watches. We should live full and abundant lives. What better way to draw others to God. Instead of playing the waiting game, get busy doing what you see in front of you to do. So what are you waiting for? 

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette "All rights reserved."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taking Time

Take time to slow down and enjoy life whenever possible. You'll find a new perspective and a refreshed mind. It can be something as simple as enjoying the view from a dock or eating your favorite flavor ice cream. 

I got to enjoy a relaxing visit with friends, a swim in a spa pool all by myself and a nap on the beach all in just a few days time. It's great to just allow yourself to have fun and shake off the stress of the day. 

It's okay to have fun and to pamper yourself now and again. I've met some Christians who are so tense and uptight they make me nervous. They take themselves way too seriously for their own good. Being a Christian doesn't mean you stop having fun. To me, it's when the fun really began. 

Relax, chillout, God is in control, not us. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hit and Run Christian

On one hot Sunday afternoon in 2009 my sister, Robbie and I were involved in an accident coming back from D.C. We were on I-95 South going 55 miles an hour when a guy hit us from behind and suddenly sent our car spinning out of control. It felt like we were just flying through the air (although we never left the ground). I did the best I could steering an uncontrollable car knowing that we were in heavy traffic on a four lane interstate with cars speeding all around us. I was braced for the worst to happen.

I remember feeling terrified as I hopelessly tried my best to get the car back under control while traveling at speeds between 50 and 60 miles an hour. Everything was a blur. I didn’t know which way was left and which was right. Our lives were at stake, but I had absolutely no control of the situation. 

When the car finally came to rest on the side of the road we were naturally very shaken, but we slowly began to realize we were completely unharmed. We didn’t even bump our heads. We didn't hit any of the other cars around us (and there were lots). Then I started to cry as my adrenalin rushed at an all time high. Robbie had to reach over and put the car in park as we were still slowly rolling down the shoulder of the road. As I looked to my left, we saw a car weaving up the exit. It was the driver who hit us. He didn't even stop to see if we were dead or alive. He just bolted for the nearest exit. Robbie saw him turn around and look back at us, but he kept going. At that moment, we were just simply thankful that God kept us from harm, even though I couldn’t believe nobody stopped to see if we were okay. We felt abused and abandoned on the side of a busy highway. People just continued on their way to wherever they were headed with no time to stop and see if there was anything they could do to help.  

We called the State police and they sent a trooper right out. But a few minutes later another car pulled up behind. They had witnessed the accident and took the time to follow the driver off of the interstate and got his tag number. Then they drove back to the scene of the accident to give the information to the trooper. When I stuck my head in their car to say “Thanks” I saw a Bible sitting in the front seat. I noticed they were all dressed up with their children in the back seat. 

“Are you guys Christians?” I asked. 

“Yes, we are,” the lady in the passenger side answered. “We’ve just come from church and we saw what happened to you.” 

“I wanted to stop to see if you were okay, but my wife suggested that we follow the driver of the car that hit you so we could get the tag information and report it to the police,” said her husband. 

I couldn’t believe they had taken the time to go through so much trouble for us. I wanted to wrap my arms around the entire family, but I just blurted out “thank you” about a million times while tears streamed down my face. They just smiled back as if to say, “We understand.” 

As it turns out the police radioed the tag information to other troopers and they were able to track the guy to his parents home. He had been driving their car. He was drunk and his blood alcohol was twice the allowed limit and he was uninsured. 

I stood beside the car as the trooper informed me of everything that was going on. The witness came over to share some information with the trooper and me. He reached out to shake my hand, but I opened my arms and gave him a great big hug. He didn’t know me, but we were brother and sister through Christ.  

I stood back and surveyed the damage to my car. It was pretty bad, but still driveable. My sister and I just stared at each other as everything began to sink in. God had protected us. While we were completely out of control, He was totally in control. He used others to come to our aid and provided information we didn’t have. We were dazed and amazed. 

As we finally were able to get on our way and continue our trip back home, there was mostly silence in the car. The occasional sniffle was the only sound. We had prayed for protection before we got on the road, but little did we realize how much protection we needed. 

We were both very emotional for days after the accident. I just couldn’t get that moment out of my mind when someone crashed into us and the feeling of having no control over what might happen next. We had no control, but God had complete control. The other miraculous thing was God had spoken to Robbie some time ago and said "I have saved you from certain death, because you belong to me and to me only. I am in control." Robbie wasn't sure what that meant at the time, but now we know. We serve an amazing God. 

The morning after the accident when Robbie was reading her devotion, this is the scripture given to read: 

Isaiah 35:8-10 - "There will be a highway called The Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It's for God's people exclusively-impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous, wild animals-Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it. The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They'll sing as they make their way back to Zion, unfading halos of joy, encircling their heads, welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night." (The Message).

How cool is it that God spoke to her using a scripture referencing a highway, The Holy Road?  I’m so thankful to have been given the gift of salvation through Christ which entitles me to travel on that Holy Road.  

Life is precious. I realize that now more than ever before. Within a few moments everything can change, but God is constant and never changes. Rest in that peace. Live life on purpose and celebrate every moment, trusting that even though we travel on highways that can spin us out of control, He is completely in control of everything.

Be thankful for your life and enjoy your walk with Christ. Keep your eyes focused on Him and don't let the little distractions affect you. We serve a loving God (who luckily knows how to drive a car when it is completely out of control.) 

The day after our accident, Robbie and I went to our favorite restaurant and we ordered something completely different from our usual order. We both felt like we'd been given a brand new day. I realize even more now how much more He is in control than we are or can ever be. Even if God had decided it was time for us to go that day, I know where we’re going without a doubt because He already made that sacrifice long ago for me and I have accepted the gift of salvation. I guess He has more for us to do here. 

We're thankful for all of the prayers and for having such a great bunch of people in our lives. I just wanted to take the time to give Him praise and honor and to say again, for the millionth time, thanks God. Now I want to get busy and do something for Him, but my love for Him pales compared to His love for me. I don’t want to be a hit and run Christian. I want to linger in His word and in His love. I want to listen for His voice and be obedient to what I’m called to do for Him. I want to have a life that can be interrupted by the needs of others. I want to take the time to stop and help those who feel they’ve been knocked off of their life’s track and have been abandoned along side the road. I want to be the one with the information that’s going to lead them to their destination and into the plan God has for their life. I want to be the one who God uses to search and rescue. Use me God. I’ll pull out of the speeding fast lane of life and be that extension of your love, your heart and your hand. 

How about it? Are you a hit and run Christian?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clean Up Your Act

One of my least favorite things to do is to clean out the garage or my closet. Of course, eventually I have to give in and clean them out or I will end up with heaps of stuff on top of piles of stuff and I won’t have any idea what I do and do not have. Robbie Lee, on the other hand, loves to clean out anything. She is a very sick person if you ask me. We live together and so this is a big issue between us. She will get this look that says, “It’s time to tackle the garage” and I run and hide in my room. 

Robbie Lee loves to sort, organize, make lists, alphabetize items and color coordinate. This is very scary to me. Cleaning out the garage becomes, not just a tedious task, but an event when Robbie Lee is involved. She carefully creates a give-away stack, a throw-away stack, a what-is-it stack, a bulky–item-pick-up stack, a hazardous-chemical stack, and the list goes on and on. We have to start this project at about 5:30 a.m. in order to finish by bedtime. 

On the day of the project I wake up with a sense of dread. Robbie Lee wakes up with a yippee sound in her voice. It makes me want to strangle her and put her body in the throw-away stack. I drag my feet as long as I can to prolong the blessed event, finding a million other things to do until Robbie Lee finally starts screaming, “Let’s get this party started!” 

I have never seen a woman any happier than when Robbie Lee is standing in the middle of a big clean out project. I’m telling you this is not a normal person. My problem is that I want to keep everything. “Don’t throw away that thing-a-ma-bob,” I say, rescuing it out of the throw-away stack. “I might need it later.” 

Robbie Lee just keeps tossing things in her neatly labeled piles until we collapse on the front lawn with a completely empty garage. 

“Now,” Robbie Lee will say smiling, “let’s put each thing in a specific place, color coordinated according to labels and in categories such as gardening, lawn, tools, etc.” 

And so it goes. I usually find myself lying on my back, staring up at the sky, praying frantically for the rapture. “God, if you’re a just God, please send Jesus back now to rescue me from the ‘Evil Queen of Lists.’” I listen carefully for the sound of the trumpet or for a glimpse of Jesus on one of the clouds, but, alas, I have to get up and finish the grand garage project. 

When we finally finish, Robbie Lee stands back with her hands on her hips and says with great pride, "Now, doesn't that just make you feel good?"

I usually just go back inside, mumbling under my breath. Robbie Lee will go in and out of the garage about sixty times, commenting each time on how nice the garage looks. I shower and collapse on my bed, locking the door behind me so Robbie Lee can’t get in to see my closet. 

We have to sift through a lot of stuff  in life to sort out what is worth keeping from the junk we need to toss. Too many times we let the junk influence our decisions and we throw out the gold nuggets along with the useless stuff . Maybe we are in a great church, but one thing happens that offends us and we are ready to throw away the whole church because of it. Perhaps we have tossed aside a good friend because it takes too much effort on our part to keep up the relationship. 

Sometimes we clutter up our lives with so much junk we couldn’t find the real priceless things if we tried. We don’t sort or sift; we just accept and keep with no consideration of quality or value. As Christians, we should live what we value. The things we value in our lives should shine through for others to see. The clutter and piles of junk we collect in life will only reflect chaos and lack of vision. 

We must pay close attention to the things we toss aside and the things we decide to keep. In Hebrews 12:26-27 we’re warned, “His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—He’s told us this quite plainly—He’ll also rock the heavens: ‘One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.’ The phrase ‘one last shaking’ means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakeable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.” (The Message) 

We need to get out our sifter and make sure we are catching all the gold pieces that life has to offer and then get rid of the junk. Our lives should reflect direction, purpose, and vision. People will see what is valuable and important in our lives once we strip away the junk, and it will set an example for others to follow. They will want what we have to offer and our lives will bring honor to God. 

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly Boyette  “All rights reserved.”