Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hello dear friends. Recently I finished reading "Panic Room: Living Beyond Fear" written this year by Curt Simmons, the pastor of Friendship Church which I have been attending. The editing wasn't spectacular, but the content is very good stuff. It is a very encouraging book. I have more fear to deal with than usual right now with less than a month before the Saint Jo Rodeo, and only TWO WEEKS before the Riding Club's first playday of the year. I want everything to go well. I want everyone to be happy and have fun. But is that realistic? Some things will likely go wrong, and some folks are bound to get upset about something, so I just need to not be afraid.

I experienced a little fear of the unknown last weekend when I went to San Saba to visit my friend Marcy at the TDCJ unit there. It's a 4-hour drive, and after getting down there in time for church at Hill Country Bible at 10:30 AM, I went over to the jail to find all of the visitors out in the parking log. Long story short, there had been a gas leak in the new boiler in the laundry room, and some of the inmates and guards had gotten carbon monoxide poisoning. The warden told us that she hoped to have it all resolved in time to let visitors back in (visitation only happens Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 5), but after sitting there for a couple hours watching the ambulances and firetrucks rolling in and people going out on stretchers, we were told that visitation was cancelled for the rest of the day. Of course they couldn't tell us any details about what we really wanted to know - were the people that we came to visit okay?? So I had to drive the 4 hours back home without seeing my friend and without knowing if she was one of the ones who needed medical attention. I don't think that's really the kind of "Panic Room" situation that Pastor Curt was really talking about, but I do know for sure that the whole ordeal would have been pretty much impossible to get through without some faith that God had it under control. In church that morning, Pastor Russell was preaching from Ephesians 1:3-6 about how God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing. We are as blessed as we can possibly be - that is impossible to comprehend - and how we have been chosen, predestined and adopted. I heard all of these great and encouraging words, and was immediately worried when I saw all the drama going down at the prison. But I did not need to worry. I'm not sure that I believe that God had a purpose for my 8-hour drive without getting to see my friend, but maybe His reason will come to light eventually. I'm always looking for the deeper meaning in things when sometimes the reason is very simple. And simple can be beautiful.

The next day she called and told me that she was okay except for a headache and a long, uncomfortable day of sitting in the gym waiting for their living area to air out. I hope we can all learn to live beyond fear. Faith really does change your life.

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