Lies Suicide Will Tell You

There is an enemy among us. She has crept in with subtlety. Into our homes, into our schools, into our workplaces, and even into our churches. She has begun to tear away the very fabric of our society by devaluing the gift of life, itself. She has worked quietly and purposefully while we have looked the other way. She has filled the minds of our loved ones with lies as they go silently about their days. We must expose SUICIDE for the liar she is.

LIE #1: No One Loves You.

The Truth is there are a lot of people who love you. You have family members and friends who love you. You may not understand one another, or have an easy time communicating. Even if your relationships are on rocky ground because of misunderstandings or hurtful words and actions, that doesn’t diminish their love for you.

Furthermore, and most importantly, God loves you. The Creator of the universe was manifest in the flesh as the man, Jesus Christ. He was born, lived, suffered, died for your sins, and rose victorious because He loves you. Yes, He did it to offer all of humanity a way of salvation…but if there had been no other people to save, He would have done it just for you. He loves you that much.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

LIE #2: You Are All Alone.

The Truth is you have family, friends, church congregations, and a community that cares about you. There are people all around you that care how you feel, and want you to be okay. Many of them are people you have never met or gotten to know yet. It may be difficult and embarrassing, but please reach out to someone around you. If that person doesn’t take you seriously, reach out to another person. They might not be equipped to help you themselves, but they can point you to someone who can.

Even beyond all of these is Jesus. People will fail us, but God never will. Be filled with His Spirit as the scripture says, and you will truly never be alone.

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:17-18)

LIE #3: They’ll Be Better Off Without You.

The Truth is suicide is the most hurtful thing you could ever do to your family, friends, church family and community. They would NEVER get over it. They would NEVER recover from losing you. They would think of their loss EVERY DAY for the rest of their lives. Even rare joyful days would leave them wondering how you might have enjoyed it. Your death would impose a life sentence of sorrow on those you love the most.

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:” (1 Corinthians 12:18-22)

LIE #4: Death Is The Only Way Out.

The Truth is Jesus has a plan for your life, and if you walk in His ways, He will guide you through your problems. That doesn’t mean life won’t be difficult or painful. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have to suffer repercussions for your actions. It doesn’t mean you won’t have to endure hardship. What it DOES mean is that you will never be alone, and if you will be attentive to God’s Word and Spirit, He will lead you the best path through your circumstances.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

LIE #5: Death Is Like Falling Asleep.

The Truth is death is more like waking up. There is no long night of peaceful slumber after you die. There are no sweet dreams after death. Your body may rest in the ground, but your soul (the part of you that thinks, knows and is aware) awakes immediately to eternal reality.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27)

LIE #6: Your body is yours.

The Truth is your body is on loan from God, its Creator. It is the very first thing He entrusted to your care, and He expects you keep it in good repair and use it for His glory.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

LIE #7: You can finally have peace.

The Truth is there is no peace outside of God’s will. He created you to be filled with His Spirit, live according to His Word, and be beneficial to His Kingdom. Living for Jesus brings true peace.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

LIE #8: Suicide Is Your Friend.

The Truth is Suicide is the enemy of your soul. It is of the devil. It comes only to steal, kill and destroy your mind, your body, your soul, your hope and your future. Living for Jesus brings life.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

LIE #9: God will forgive you.

The Truth is that God is a God of mercy, but He is also a God of judgment. His Word assures us that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins if we repent. However, you cannot repent of suicide. Once it is done, it cannot be undone. Nor can you repent and ask the Lord to forgive you for what you are going to do. That is not true repentance, and will not be accepted as such by God.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-29)

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30)

LIE #10: Suicide Is Your Idea.

The Truth is suicide is a spirit. It is unholy. It roams the earth in search of hopeless people to seduce into following it into the lake of fire, which is its eternal judgement. This ungodly spirit cannot force you to do anything, but it uses the power of suggestion, lies and every negative emotion to persuade you into harming yourself. If you are having thoughts of suicide, I assure you, it is not your idea.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

LIE #11: You shouldn’t say anything.

The Truth is keeping you silent is the biggest deception of all. As long as you are silent, the lies suicide tells you are all you can hear.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

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*** I am not a counselor; nor am I a medical professional. I am simply someone who loves you, and wants God’s best for you. If you are toying with the idea of suicide, I beg you to reach out to someone.

!!!FOR HELP!!! Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255                                   or follow this link to the SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE WEBSITE.

Follow this link to LOCATE A MINISTER who will pray with you..

Other choices include a Pastor, Counselor, Teacher, Coach, Friend or Family Member. There are people who care. Make them understand you are in trouble. Let them point you in the right direction.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter, and email me: Pat@PATVICK.COM.

Choosing To Live In The Face Of Terror On 9/11

Anyone who knows my husband and me very well, knows that in recent months we have ramped up our travels out of the country doing Missions work. Today, in light of the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, I will answer the question that people have begun to ask me on a regular basis, “Aren’t you afraid to travel so far?”  The answer to that question is, “Yes, sometimes I am.”

FEAR ISN’T ALWAYS BAD
That being said, fear isn’t always a bad thing. It actually causes you to live your life on purpose. Fear is only bad when it paralyzes you from living. Healthy fear should cause you to keep your head up and your senses alert to make wise choices. It causes you to take inventory of your life, and make sure it is filled with worthwhile endeavors. Living fully for God, and working for His Kingdom, are definitely worth a calculated risk.

King David declared in Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”

DEATH IS UNAVOIDABLE
I have a newsflash for you: Everyone dies. We had just lost a close family member when I turned to my oldest son, looked him square in the eyes, and spoke these words. They washed over him the same way they just washed over you -thick, cold and sticky. I don’t regret saying them. I wanted him to know he only has one life, and it needs to be spent wisely.

THE TROUBLE WITH PLAYING IT SAFE
Here’s another newsflash for you: Living in certain safety doesn’t keep you from dying; It only keeps you from living. I choose to think of my life as currency. It’s going to be spent on something. That something might as well be eternal.

Living in certain safety doesn't keep you from dying; It only keeps you from living. Click To Tweet

NOT A LICENSE FOR FOOLISH LIVING
Healthy fear should cause you to move cautiously, not foolishly, forward. People that are running from God live foolishly. Taking crazy chances with your life is not using wisdom. Living strung out on whatever new and exciting high is just around the corner doesn’t bring glory to God. Get yourself under control and live with eternity in mind!

FEAR VERSUS TERROR
On September 11th, 2001, weak and foolish people attacked our country. They spent their lives in one swift payment to induce a state of terror upon their perceived enemies.

I’ll admit that in the wake of those events, I was panicked. Then I was numb. Then I was angry. After a while, I realized I wasn’t really living anymore. I was paralyzed by my fear…just like the terrorists wanted all along. It’s what they spent themselves for. One day I decided to send all that terror back for a refund. I refuse to give them what they paid for.

HONOR WHERE HONOR IS DUE
Who do you want to honor with your life? Terrorists? When you allow yourself to live in terror, that’s who gets the honor. Do you want to honor the victims? Our military? Our first responders? God? That won’t be done by hunkering down in a quivering puddle and refusing to live your life.

Are there more bad guys? Affirmative. Could something really bad happen again? Absolutely. Do bad things happen to good people? Unfortunately so.

When I’m tempted to allow my fear to paralyze me, I remind myself of the text that my friend in the Middle East sent me the night before I flew.

“Pat, I want to thank you for conquering your fear and getting on that plane…”

Because we got on that plane in the face of our fear, thirty-three people received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost for the first time. Most, if not all, of those thirty-three people have now been baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of their sins. Thirty-three faces that I will see in Heaven when my life is spent.

Lest you think I am promoting self, and are tempted to say, “God could have done that without you,”…Yes, but He chooses to use people.

So, today, in light of the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, I will not cower and give place to terror. Instead, I choose to live fully and on purpose for the glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

I will leave you with one of my very favorite quotes:

Safety is not in the absence of danger, but in the presence of the Lord.” -Unknown

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter, and email me: Pat@PATVICK.COM

 

Too Big

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

One evening, when my middle child was fifteen, he came up the basement stairs at a fast clip, very excited about something he had just seen. It seems he was shooting ball when he spotted a slim stream of ants coming from a small crevice beside the concrete court. The exodus was getting wider and longer. Going where? On a whim, he followed the little soldiers, and followed…and followed…

He told me how they marched on and on, making grand detours for no apparent reason, until they disappeared en masse into a miniature canyon in the field behind our house. He was so animated that I decided to see for myself.

He showed me where the small battalion trickled from the crack, and together we weaved in and out, round and round, to where thousands, perhaps millions, were vanishing beneath the earth. As we backtracked toward the house, I picked up a small stick and put it in their path. It was if they hardly even noticed the obstacle. We bent down so close that they should have felt our breath as we tried to corral them with the stick, and yet, they just kept on their detour-ridden journey.

In amazement, I said to my son, “We’re too big. They can’t even see us.”

There was a time when God was too big for us to see. Immense. Infinite. Immeasurable. He watched us on our hopeless journey, knowing that we were making it much more arduous than necessary. He intervened in the lives of mankind time after time, often coming so close that we should have felt His Breath through prophets, angels and theophanies.

Still, He remained too big for us to perceive, until the day that He became small. God became man. Suddenly, Visible. Tangible. Knowable.

If I could have stepped into that miniature world and taken on the form of an ant, they could have seen me. They could have perceived me. They could have come to know, trust and even love me. They could have understood I was working for their good.

But why would I do such a thing? Unimaginable. Unthinkable. Inconceivable. Yet, exactly what our omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Creator did when…

God became small for me. (1 Timothy 3:16) Click To Tweet

Warm Regards, -Pat

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How Defining Words Defined My Life

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

WORDS DEFINE BORDERS. From the beginning, it was God’s spoken Word that brought definition to the world as we know it. His Word defined the boundaries of the seas, and the frame of the mountains. Without His spoken Word, it would still remain without form and void.

Likewise, the spoken word defines our lives. Whether the literal Word of God, or a person simply speaking from their heart, spoken words define the parameters of our lives. With a simple word, you can cause someone’s life to be blessed and flourish, or to be cursed and wither.

With a word, you can cause someone's life to be blessed and flourish, or to be cursed and wither. Click To Tweet

There have been pivotal times in my life that words have been spoken to me that molded the course of my life. The people that spoke them didn’t realize they were defining the parameters of my life, or changing its outcome. They were simply speaking from their hearts.

POSITIVE WORDS BLESS. As a freshman in high school, I twirled a flag in the color guard. One day I spent a few minutes listening to and encouraging a fellow band member who was dealing with a life situation. This girl was several years older than me. We didn’t really have anything in common outside of the band room. I didn’t even play an instrument. It was simply an isolated encounter.

The band director noticed us chatting. Afterward, he came up to me and said, “Pat, you have the kind of personality that can relate to people in any social group.”

I don’t know if what he said was true before that day, but I do know that it became true from that day on. Throughout the rest of my high school years, and my life until now, I have never felt bound to any one exclusive social group. I have been able to interact and befriend people across multiple social barriers -age, financial, denomination. As a pastor’s wife, this gifting has served me well.

A similar incident happened years later, when a friend said to me, “Pat, you could minister to people in a palace or a mud hut.” Working alongside my husband in missions, I have often been appreciative of the reality these spoken words created in my life.

NEGATIVE WORDS CURSE. Words can also define the parameters of our lives in a negative way. I’ve always carried a song in my heart. I’m not sure that’s enough to make someone a singer, but I’ve always had a desire to let that melody out.

I had finally rallied the courage to sing in church…in front of real people. After service, several complimented my singing with kind words of encouragement. I knew my attempt had been less than stellar, due to a terrible case of nerves, and said so. A man in the congregation replied, “Well, we all can’t be good at everything.”

Looking back, I know this man truly thought he was being helpful, but I literally felt my world alter in that moment. Something shifted in the spirit realm. A rift was formed, a chasm that I’ve never been able to cross. Decades later, my throat stills swells closed in an anxiety attack when I try to sing in front of people.

IT’S NOT JUST MIND OVER MATTER. Spoken words create reality. Believing or disbelieving them is not enough to alter their effect. They are already at work the instant they are released. God’s Word didn’t require anyone to believe it for the Earth to be formed. Neither do our words have to be believed to create either a positive or negative reality.

WORDS ARE POWERFUL. Choose them wisely. Speak life.

I would love to hear your stories of how words defined your life in either a positive or negative way.

Warm Regards,

-Pat

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My Pastor’s Wife Embarrassed Me

We were hosting a get together at our house for the Church family. This was years ago in Birmingham. It was common that we would have people over for food and fellowship. Everyone was outside sitting in lawn chairs, laughing and talking. The kids were weaving in, out and all around, getting scolded or snatched up by a frustrated parent.

I was in the kitchen preparing food to take outside, and my Pastor’s wife came in to help. You know how it is in a kitchen with several ladies working. Each one is doing her part, filling glasses with ice, pouring soda, adding serving spoons to bowls of food, washing a few pots.  Sister Raggio’s task must have been to open a can of something. I suspect baked beans.

We were all chatting as we worked, content just being together. That’s when I heard the words that I would remember for the rest of my life. Over the hum of chatter and from across the kitchen, I heard, “Oh, this can opener!”

My Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.

I literally stopped in my tracks. Clueless. What was wrong with the can opener? I walked over to see what she was referring to. It looked the same as it always did. Actually, the same as it had for years. It was only the continued look of revulsion on my Pastor’s Wife’s face that caused me to look more closely.img_0851

As I leaned in for a closer inspection, I saw what she was reacting to. Thick, caked on crud was tightly gunked into the gears and around the magnet. Who knew you had to clean an electric can opener? Not me. I had never given it a moment’s thought. I had used this particular can opener for years, and never had any trouble. It had always worked fine. It had never occurred to me that it might be important to maintain it’s appearance for guests or to sanitize it so that they wouldn’t get sick. It had never occurred to me that what was on the outside of the can opener might cause a problem if it got inside the food I was preparing.

Until my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.

I never told Sis. Raggio that she embarrassed me. As a matter of fact, we never spoke of it again. I realized that it had not been intentional. She had simply reacted to filth. It was so disgusting and foreign to everything that she practiced in her own life, that she reacted without thinking. I couldn’t hold that against her. I also never forgot.

To this day twenty-fiveish years later, I cannot use an electric can opener without that incident coming to mind. I examine it closely. Every. Single. Time. I don’t remember if I went to work cleaning that old kitchen tool back in the day, or if I just chunked it and bought a new one. Today, I have a sleek, stainless steel model with detachable cutting gears that can be tossed in the dishwasher at a moment’s notice.

I wonder what would have happened if I would have gotten all bent out of shape that day. If I would have reacted in anger toward my Pastor’s Wife. If I had insisted on making my embarrassment the focus instead of the dirty can opener. I would have lost my relationship with one of the most important and influential people in my life…as well as made a lot of people sick through the years.

There are things in our lives that need cleaning up. Attitudes, conversations, wardrobes, entertainments, our very thoughts. Our Pastor’s Wife is often the one who notices these things and reacts first. Let’s not be offended at her, but simply start cleaning the dirty places in our lives. We’ll retain a beautiful relationship, and not infect a whole bunch of folks with the yuk we’ve been living with for years.

Sister Raggio went to be with her Lord years ago, but the lessons she taught me are just as powerful today, if not more so. She was an anointed speaker and teacher, but I find the lessons I’ve remembered and applied the most are the ones she taught me in our day to day relationship.

I’m so glad my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.img_0850

POINTS TO PONDER:

-Do you have a Pastor’s Wife that can speak freely into your life?

-Have you ever become offended when a spiritual leader gave direction?

-Are there areas in your life that you know you should clean up to be more spiritually productive?

-Can you think of a time when your Pastor’s Wife embarrassed you, but looking back, you are glad she did?

*****

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share on social media and link back to http://PatVick.com.

Warm Regards, -Pat

Seasons Change

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 

This time of the year always makes me a bit wistful, like something is slipping through my fingers that I want to grasp and hold tightly to. Beach sand. Warm breezes. An incomplete thought. Relationships.

This unsettledness seems to be brought on by two things. One is the crisp morning air. I can look out the window and see the horse and cows lift their faces in the morning coolness, breathing it in. Even they know change is coming.

The second is my hummingbird feeder on the back porch. In the middle of summer, it is the center of much activity. Once the weather starts to cool, it hangs idle. I leave nectar in it longer than most, because you never know when a lone traveler will need energy for her journey. But sooner or later, all my beautiful jeweled hummers leave for warmer places.img_0800

It reminds me of a time in my life about twenty-five years ago. We were living in Birmingham, Alabama, and were very active in the Church there. There was a young man in the Church who was from Florida, but was attending college in Birmingham. He spent a lot of time in our home. Everyone who ever met him, loved him. When it came time for his graduation, and for him to move back home, I was so distraught that I could hardly stand it. I just couldn’t bear the thought of him not being in our day to day lives.

Fast forward a quarter of a century…Our family is now very involved with Global Missions, something we could have never foreseen twenty-five years ago. My husband schedules Missionaries to be in Church services all over our state while they are traveling on deputation.

Would you believe that young man from our Birmingham days is now involved in the Associates In Missions program of the United Pentecostal Church?! This means that one day, in the relatively near future, this man’s family will travel through our state on deputation and my husband is likely to be the one scheduling his services in our Churches. I am looking so forward to catching up and enjoying his new season right along with him for a while.

As I’ve grown older and matured a little, I’ve realized that not everyone that God brings into my life is going to be a permanent fixture. People have to follow the path that God is leading them down. There are seasons in each of our lives, and occasionally those seasons overlap.

People come and go in our lives for many reasons. Schooling, jobs, illness, vacations, military, dreams, passions, travels, bad decisions, good decisions, death and endless other reasons that we often have no control over.

Just remember it’s all about seasons. Whoever God has placed in your life during this season of time, be a true friend to them. Cherish them. Add value to their lives. Then when a season of change is in the air, don’t hold on so tightly that you nor they can enjoy what is right around the corner.

As for me, I’m going to leave my hummingbird feeder up for another week or two. When I’m sure there won’t be anymore visitors, I’ll take it down, wash it up and store it until Spring. Until then, I’m going to turn my attention to the feeder in my front yard. It hasn’t had much traffic through the summer months. Now that cooler weather is coming, my winter birds will be getting hungry.

Warm Regards, -Pat

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QUESTIONS TO PONDER:

1. Have you lost someone and had no control over the situation?

2. If so, how does this affect your present relationships?

3. Do you hold on too tightly, or perhaps choose not to get too close?

4. Do you allow Jesus to be your constant and most treasured Friend?

*Please feel free to leave a comment, share content that has blessed you and link back to http://patvick.com.

Camma’s Tribute

image
“Camma” 3/04 – 9/12/16

My oldest son’s childhood friend passed away a few days ago. Logan worked for that little golden puppy the whole summer of his fourteenth year. It was hard work and quite a bit of responsibility working at the kennel where she was born, but he didn’t mind at all. He passed the time making big plans and dreaming big dreams for the two of them.

Every hour that he put into cleaning kennels, he was also being mentored by the best dog trainer around. Oh, he learned how to muck a pen, for sure, but he also learned self discipline, patience and respect. As he followed that old trainer around and did his bidding day after day, Logan thought he was working for the price of a puppy, when he was really learning to be a man.

Once he brought that wiggly canine home, they were inseparable. They tromped through every field and swamp within walking distance, and when they got tired, they rode. The four wheeler, the ranger, the truck, the boat. Camma loved to ride. Logan would drive and she would sit up tall and smile.

One of his big plans was to make her a great duck hunting dog. She never actually cared much for jumping into icy water or holding feathery birds in her mouth. She was a good sport, though, and would do anything that Logan asked of her. Mice. Now that was something Camma got excited about. One little rodent darting through the grass or a scurry under a brush pile would turn that pudgy pup into a well honed weapon of mouse destruction. Once we all stopped trying to make her something she wasn’t, everyone was happier for it. She was some kind of mouser.

There was only one time in Camma’s twelve years that she and Logan had a true falling out. He had wanted a litter of puppies so badly. All of the arrangements were made and the whole family anticipated sweet puppy breath. The big day arrived in the middle of a horrid, storm-ridden cold snap. You can imagine the pandemonium that ensued when Logan found brand new puppies scattered all over the muddy kennel. Of course, Momma and the whole brood were immediately brought into the basement and made comfortable.

We grieved over the first pup that didn’t make it through the storm. We comforted the anxious mom when she laid on the second pup and it didn’t recover. When Logan happened upon her intentionally doing away with a third pup, I was afraid for her life. The remaining three pups were raised on a bottle, and Camma went back to doing what she did best, being a boy’s best friend.

Logan came through his teenage years with Camma at his side. It wasn’t uncommon to see them in a distant field, coming home from their latest adventure. Logan would be talking, and Camma would be listening. I’m sure she heard all of his woes about girls and siblings and being a Pastor’s kid.

1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “…when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Logan’s friendship with Camma must not have been childish. After he got married and moved out on his own, he would still come over every couple of weeks to visit his childhood friend. I would look out the window and see them coming through the field. Logan would be talking, and Camma would be listening. Often they would be riding the ranger. Logan would be driving, and Camma would be sitting up tall and smiling.

Yes, today there is sadness because of the freshly turned soil under the pine trees. Yet, there is also much thankfulness for the memories of a little yellow pup and how she helped to raise the big, strong man who lives down the road.

-Pat Vick (All Rights Reserved 9/16/16)

a Bike, a Pool and a Cross

When I was a little girl, I didn’t want anyone teaching me how to do anything new. Not because I was too independent, but because I was too shy to try in front of anyone and possibly fail. Since the most meaningful and fulfilling endeavors in life take a lot of trying, I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime in excruciating embarrassment. 

I remember two learning adventures from my childhood when the adults thought I needed to learn a new skill. The first was learning to ride a bicycle. My foster dad did all the right things. He held on tight and walked beside, letting me find my balance. He sped up to a fast trot, and I peddled my chubby little legs harder. We were zipping along now. Don’t let go! Of course, he couldn’t keep holding on. Legs can’t go as fast as wheels. All was going well for a few seconds, until I began to hear yelling. What were they yelling? Turn! Turn! I looked up and saw the tree, but couldn’t make my arms respond to the instructions. I was locked in. I didn’t turn.

Not surprisingly, that lesson ended painfully and with much embarrassment. I did eventually master bicycle riding, however. Those few seconds of feeling the wind in my face were enough to make me practice in private until I could stay up on my own. The cause was greater than the embarrassment.

The second learning adventure was much like the first. The adults thought I needed to learn how to swim. Again, my foster dad was tasked with the duty. There we were in the pool. He finally coaxed me into letting him hold me up on top of the water so that he could teach me how to float on my back. I can still remember his hands solid against my upper and lower back, the sun warming my front. I had barely started to relax when I felt his hands gently turn loose. Of course they were only an inch beneath me, but I didn’t know that. My body, which had only seconds before felt so light and unencumbered, now felt like a rock. I was sinking. There was thrashing and flailing and coughing and crying.

That lesson also ended traumatically with much embarrassment. I did, however, eventually master the art of swimming. Those few seconds of delightful buoyancy were enough to make me go to the kiddy pool by myself and practice in six inches of water until I felt myself lift up off the hard bottom. The cause was greater than the embarrassment.

Today, all grown up, I’m still that same little girl inside, extremely embarrassed to learn something new in front of anyone. Therefore, this newly launched blog ministry has been excruciating. Oh, I’ve written a lot…in private…where it was safe to fail. But I’ve taken another look at Jesus’ Cross and realized His Cause must be greater than my embarrassment.

Hopefully, some of you will come along with me as I put my face in the wind and feel the delightful buoyancy of His Spirit lifting me. I cannot guarantee that there won’t be some flailing and crying, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.

Perhaps you have a ministry tucked safely inside, away from public view, that God is moving on you to bring out into the light. Let’s learn together. After all, the cause is greater than our embarrassment. 

-Pat Vick

A Lesson on Making Salmon Patties

While opening a can of salmon yesterday, I was reminded of the first time Granny (my husband’s maternal grandmother) ate my salmon patties.

The men in my husband’s family were farmers and because of this, the women were fantastic cooks. Now don’t get me wrong, the women in my family were great cooks, as well, in more of a gourmet meal kind of way. The women in my husband’s family were meat and potatoes, stick to your ribs, country cookin’ kind of gals.

Any time of day or night, you could go into Granny’s house and there would be pots on the stove with yummy smelling food inside. Any hour the men came in from the field or a grandchild wandered through, there would be something to eat. Inevitably, there were stewed potatoes, green beans, meat, a pan of cornbread and dessert.

I admired their cooking ability and aspired to learn their trade, knowing it would impress my husband if I could cook like his mother and grandmother.

Deciding to start with salmon patties (which my husband only tolerates to this day), I gave Granny a call and she walked me through the process on the phone. “A little of this. A pinch of that.”

I remember that salmon falling open in the bowl and seeing that long line of vertebrae and spindly rib bones. Mashing a little chunk of backbone between my fingers, I commented to Granny that the bones were surprisingly soft and did I have to remove them.

Now what she said and what I heard were obviously two different things. I thought she said I could leave them in, so I smashed them all as best I could, mixed up the whole batch of this and that, formed beautiful round patties and fried ’em up just like I thought she would do.

Granny and Papa came over that evening to do a taste test and I was so proud and eager for her approval. There they lay all golden and crispy on the platter (albeit a bit lumpy). I’ll never forget the expression on Granny’s face as she chewed that first bite. Slowly.

“You didn’t take out the bones,” she said in a hesitant voice as she swallowed. Slowly.

“I thought you said I could leave them in,” I replied, realizing that this wasn’t turning out as I had hoped. I wasn’t going to get Granny’s Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval for this batch of salmon patties.

She looked me in the eye and gently said, “I said if you missed a few you could leave them in. I didn’t say you should leave them all in.”
Of course, I was embarrassed. We laughed about it through the years, and I learned to make salmon patties with no bones.

The most important lesson that I learned, however, was in the wisdom she imparted to me that day which I have applied time and again in all areas of my life…Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

The Arrival

“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels…” (Malachi 3:17)

Every year at this time I begin to look for the first hummingbirds of the season to arrive. The early arrivals generally make their appearance on my oldest son’s birthday, April 9th. Sometimes a day early, sometimes a day late. Always weary and thirsty from their long journey. The red feeder with sweet nectar had been up a week.

This year, the big day came and went without a jeweled wing in sight. I watched for them with longing. I walked to the window time and again, at first with anticipation, and then with anxiety. I went out onto the porch and scanned the horizon. What could be keeping them?

I hung a new spring welcome flag and picked up some wayward trash from the yard. As I swept puffs of yellow pollen dust from the porch, I heard the familiar hum. I looked up with delight. Only a chubby bumble bee.

I went back into the house with a sigh. They’re going to make it. I’m sure of it. They know the way. Everything is prepared. They’re coming any time now. I’m sure of it.

Family members are filled with excitement. The atmosphere is charged with anticipation. One more time by the window. One more expectant glance.

I inhale a quick breath and let it out slowly. There at the feeder. A single traveler is home. She slipped in quietly. She made it safely. Sweet relief.

Celebration.