Cloudy Days

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It is a new day, and I came to watch the sunrise at Galveston Beach. It wasn’t spectacular as I had hoped. Instead, it was subtle, overcast with clouds. Behind the clouds the sun is shining bright, and it gives enough light for what I know as day-to be.

Steady and predictable are the rhythms of the sun.  Throughout history as I know it, that is the one thing that is certain. The sun will rise today.

One thing is certain in my life. That I will have today, a new day, every day until my life is no more. God is my sun, my light and my salvation. I can always count on His light to be there. On cloudy overcast days, he gives enough light to face the day. The rhythms of Life and the rhythms of God in my life are fundamentally the same: Unchangeable. Steady. Every day. He is as devoted to me as the sun to is Him, it’s Creator.

From the darkness of where I slept last night, I awoke to the the call of its early light. I am met by flocks of birds spreading their wings over the ocean waves, fishermen casting their lines for an early catch, disciplined souls taking their early morning walks.

Though the struggles of this life be many, and cast their clouds over the true and living Sun in my life, He is here. Giver of life. I need only to step into the light of this day. And to make this day count for eternity. To exist today for that which I was created- relationship with my creator.  And from the overflow of that love relationship-to be the expression of who he is. HE IS LOVE. And love does.

IMG_0248May love take action through my heart and life today. As I wrap up this Devo, drops of rain are falling, and he is here, with me, on this cloudy, rainy day. Shining through me, though at times cloudy, for me to be His light to a soul who needs enough light to face their day.

Jana Lackey

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Eyes Of The Morning Sun

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photo by me

As the sun rises in Africa today and as I read the morning news feed on Facebook, in different parts of the world some are asleep others greeted the dawn hours ago. One thing in life is certain. We all are given the morning, the new day.

-To the grieving parents and their families, awake to the cold, harsh sting of the void that will never be filled again by the one they have lost.

-For the morning cry of a baby, parents awake with tired bodies, but once their arms embrace their warmth and wonder, their hearts are are full.

-Some awake to the harsh reality that is their life. Another day waking in hunger, on the streets, just trying to survive by whatever means possible to feed themselves and those in their care.

Through the breaking of the dawn, eyes around the world open, feeling its bidding.

-To some it is a sting, wishing it to go away as their bed is merely a piece of worn plastic on a cold concrete floor, a foul smelling street, a sandy desert, a scratchy bed of grass under a tree.

-Others eyes fall on the lushness of their lives, a thick, down mattress, with Egyptian cotton sheets and a lush duvet.

-If you are following me in this prose, you probably woke up in a bed with sheets, in a room with a door, and a roof overhead.

In this morning, on this day, I am grateful for the joy this sunrise has brought me, but I also remember and share in the heart cries of fellow humanity who feel the pain that this day brings. May someone today, bring love, a helping hand, a smile, a hug, a cup of coffee, a piece of bread to those, to the majority of the world’s population who did’t wake to joy, comfort or peace.

May those who carry on the inside of them, the Hope found in God’s love through the gift of life, have eyes to see their need, ears to hear their cries and do something, today, for another.

10 Things

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images-1Today my husband, Jerry, challenged me to list 10 things for which I am Thankful. It really puts things in perspective. Here goes:

1. Thankful for the Morning

Each day is a new day, with a new story to write.

2. Thankful for my 4 Children

Four blessings, each unique, healthy, full of purpose and life. Though on their own journey, are not completely off the rails!

3. Thankful for my home.

Beyond my wildest dreams, such a haven in the midst of wildlife, and river view that brings tranquility of soul.

4. Thankful for My Husband

A man who fears God, loves God and loves me. And a bonus-he doesn’t dominate the TV with sports. He’s just not into it.

So, the occasional car show is perfectly bearable!

5. Thankful for the joy of seeing fruit from our labors in the lives of people. Souls whose lives have been lifted and helped in practical ways.

Children who grew up and now have children and are living on purpose for Christ.

6. Thankful for my Mother in Law and the 5 month journey we have shared. The furnace of affliction has been tough.

God is more concerned with my heart condition than my comfort. It has been revelational to me to be the vessel through which God’s love has been poured out to her.

7. Thankful, even proud to be called a Missionary, and to be Christ’s extension of peace and reconciliation in this world.

8. Equally thankful for giving me the grace to be away from my earthly family in Texas all these years.

Longing and sadness is replaced by joy, knowing who they all have become and quality times when I do see them.

9. Thankful for the brave people in my life who cheer me on to be a better person and for those who just cheer me on in the good times and the bad.

10. Thankful for Social Media-Skype, Facebook, Twitter, What’s App, etc.

For the seconds and not months to connect with people. It makes the world accessible to me from my life here, in Northern Botswana, unlike missionaries of old who packed their belongings in the coffin in which they would be buried and had only mail by ships to make contact with their loved ones.

I want to extend this exercise to anyone else who might need a reminder that the good in our lives far outweighs the stormy times.

**Photo compliments of myheartmyhandsasl

What Is The meaning Of Life?

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meaningoflifeI asked this question on my Facebook wall this week and had some great and, yet some predictable answers from Christians. My other friends were mostly quiet, other than a joke or two. I guess I was asking myself that question, not wanting to be predictable. When circumstances in life become overwhelming and you have to just keep going, but eventually, this question seems to surface in some way or another.

Life is so much more than yesterday. Tomorrow has not yet come. What I have is now. I am thankful for all my yesterdays because without them, I wouldn’t be what I am today. The losses and gains of yesterday- all make this moment possible.

And in this moment, I feel profound loneliness. Living so far from my family al these years in Africa, has created a chasm greater and longer than I could have imagined. It is a longing that has never left me. Yet, I have been given the riches of the most special kind of life, family, and of friendship. People have reached out to us. in times of crisis, in times of joy, and in times of just living life. Families are complex things. Does anyone ever really have their expectations met through family members?  From Generations before and those to follow, unwanted records are kept of our inconstancies and failures. Heart wounds sometimes never heal and are most raw when felt by a close loved one. To me, it has been part of the “calling”, to leave all and follow where God leads. We did that, but there has been a price, a price we were willing to make. The cost has been great, not only to me, but to my mother, father, sister and brother. Not to mention, the multitude of extended relatives I hold dear, including a 97 year old grandma in Texas! I love them and I miss them a lot of the time. I long for that phone call for no reason, that quick “pop-in” surprise visit.

As a Christian, I also have a family that surpasses my own genetic connections, though treasured and loved. I also have people in my life that don’t believe like me, but they have been there for me and their hearts are good. Better sometimes than those who carry the title of Christian. Of course, I want all my friends to know God like I know Him, feel His love like I have. To really know what it is to have a purpose in this life that outlives us.

If I figure it out, I will sure let you know! As I write, my house is quiet. It has turned into another day by the clock striking 12. Besides the noise of the Eland walking around the fence, the hippo grunting as he grazes in the grass nearby, and the sound of the jet’s night flight overhead on its way to Joburg, and the humming of my fan that I need to lull me to sleep, I know this one thing. I may feel lonely, but I am not alone. I may miss my loved ones, but they are still my loved ones. I may not know the direction my 4 children will take, but I do know that they have an imperfect family, but they have a family that loves them and is there for them in their parents. I would move heaven and earth to be there for my kids. They will never be able to say otherwise. As my boys once watched Anne of Green Gables and saw the fiery red-headed Meagan Follows in a rage for her cause and her mistakes, they all looked at each other and said, “Oh my gosh, that’s our mom!” Between being called Scarlet O’Hara for my fiery temper and Lucille Ball for the messes I find myself in, I think at one point, I might need some help! Well, I have received lots of it from lots of people through the years. In the lonely times, I just have to remember those are the very people who were there for me. Family, friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers. Through a house fire, stage 4 cancer in my husband, kids’ crises time and again, I have never been alone. God is so real, so present and you know what? He has loved me and been there for me-through-you, the people in my life. He wraps His great arms of love around me when I need it most, through a smile, a hug, a special note.

8dc32804-3e4e-4da4-a7dd-ff45d8e9689dI am grateful for you. Grateful for the kindness expressed through each “like”, each comment, each thought. Perhaps I have scratched the surface as the clock strikes 12 in the darkness of my room. I don’t feel so alone now. Life without others in it, is no life at all. Go and find someone today who you can touch with whatever you find yourself able to give. I promise you, it not only feels good, it feels great! It abolishes loneliness and ushers in a connection with another human being and even, God. He is so creative to love us through others. Be that other today. And after you do-come back and share it with me, will you? People need to know how to do it-its simple-so DO IT!

*Photos from Photobucket

Is It Possible To Be A Virgin Till You Get Married?

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Hello to all you awesome young people!

I was 14 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. He washed me clean and I had a new start! Somehow, before Christ, I managed to remain a virgin through that time of drugs, alcohol, skipping school and extreme rebellion to my parents. When I met Jesus, my whole life changed. I even had a beauty that came from the inside out. God’s love began to shine through me to others.

Sometimes I even found that young men were attracted to that light in me, and didn’t even understand that themselves. Do you know what I mean girls? I mean, you are growing in your faith, having the JOY of the Lord, and you seem to attract people to you. Here’s a joke for you, “even bugs have enough sense to come around the light!”

Seriously though, when I got saved, I had a boyfriend. He wanted to get into my pants but I never let him. Then, when I got saved, I prayed and asked the Lord if I was supposed to continue in that relationship? I really felt the Lord saying to me, “I can do MUCH better than this, you just wait and see!”

So, I broke up with the guy, and laid down that part of my life for God to be in control. The very next weekend, at a youth meeting, there was this guy who showed up. He loved Jesus, was tall, well-built, handsome AND played the guitar and sang! Guess what? We hit it off and he asked me to go out with him! It was a sweet little romance. Pure, like God would want. We were friends first and had the goosebumps to go along with it!

That wasn’t long, and it was like the Lord showed me that he CAN in fact, do much better than me. Throughout the rest of my teens and into my 20’s I made a decision that I was going to keep the gift of virginity for my husband. It wasn’t easy and trust me, there were times I could easily have given that gift away with a guy I thought I loved and cared about. I did date, and I always tried to make sure that I didn’t find myself in a compromising situation. God was so faithful to me that, a few times when I could have given it up, the guy was the one who would stop it because he knew my standards and committment. Can you believe it? It’s true. God can even do that!

Any of you who know Pastor Jerry Lackey-knows God did real good for me! He is exactly the ONE I needed in my life for us to fulfill our destinies together! And best of all, I had a precious gift to give him on our wedding night! I am so glad I waited for my one and only!

But be on your toes girls-and guys! Surround yourself with people who will support your decision to be pure. It is a lot of work, and there is a line that you, yourself have to decide NOT to cross.

Take up the challenge. Wherever you are in your life, even if you have already had sex. Do it for yourself. Do it for your mate. God is a God of forgiveness and restoration. It’s not too late. Reach for Life! Abstain, be faithful, and commit to Christ and He will help you all the way!

*This was a video script I wrote today for our youth in Northern Botswana at the Annual Reach4Life Event which promotes abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. To see the video click here. Visit www.lovebotswana.org for more information.