The first week of August, Hannah, Ross and I took a mini-vacation to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL. After being talked into joining them on a ride that I was less than certain about, The Mummy, an indoor roller coaster, our ride all of a sudden came to a complete stop in the middle of the darkness. Needless to say, my claustrophobia got the best of me the longer the repeated female computerized announcement said, "Please remain calm. Your ride has momentarily been interrupted. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and remain in your seat. Your ride will resume as soon as possible." Were they kidding?! We could not move an inch with the lap bar pinning us in place. I began to panic on the inside, not having any idea how long we were going to be stuck there, but trying to not let it show on the outside to my children who were seated next to me. As I looked over at them at one point, Ross had told Hannah he was struggling and she was holding his hand. All I could do was shut my eyes and pray...non-stop. Over and over I claimed 2 Corinthians 12:9, my mom's life verse, "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." As I look back over those unnerving minutes of feeling I would be stuck there on that ride for an eternity, in circumstances that were completely out of my control, I can laugh now, as I am obviously not still stuck in that seat! But at the moment, I felt sure I would not make it out of that ride alive without a panic attack of some kind! I prayed, and God's grace was sufficient, as it has been in all of my life, in circumstances much more serious than the one I just described.
Later that day we stopped for dinner, and as I was making my way back to the table after going to grab some napkins, I caught Hannah and Ross praying over their meal together. I was so grateful to see my children bowing in prayer, knowing Whom to turn to in gratitude for a simple slice of pizza, as well as in times of fear and distress.
In September of 2009, as I shared with you, Ross asked to go live with his dad and step-mom, and though it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a mother, I let him go. All I could do was pray as I woke up each day, giving the pain and circumstances over to my Father, who loved Ross more than I could ever begin to fathom. I knew it was what Ross needed, and that the Lord would give me to grace to walk it out.As Hannah moved to Charleston to begin her college career at CSU 2 weeks ago tomorrow, I had been fully expecting to have an empty nest, though it was a grievous thought. The Lord, however, completely surprised me when Ross told me he wanted to stay at home this year. All I could do regarding the thought of him not being at home, and the thought of Hannah going away to college and me finding myself alone for the first time in 18 years, was pray. What I found through it all was that the grace of God sustained me through each and every day, and He assured me that no matter what, He would be faithful to do the same. Oh how I am enjoying having my son back home with me as he is in his sophomore year of high school.
As Hannah is now adjusting to living away from home and having a difficult time struggling with a full class load, homesickness, and the adjustment process, I find myself once again not knowing what else to do but pray. Sometimes we simply can do nothing more than stay on our knees, trusting that it won't always be this way, and God's grace will be sufficient in our weakness.
August has been a continuation of my busy summer with non-stop concerts and women's ministry events. Not counting our mini-vacation to Orlando, or the trip to Charleston to move Hannah to Charleston Southern University, I logged 1,907 driving miles in August! It seems to have been my "Georgia month" as several weekends took me to the peach state once again. I was blessed to be a part of the Christian Supply Choral Festival in Spartanburg, SC, and so enjoyed returning to Forest Hills Baptist Church in Wilson, NC once more (joined by Hannah). I shared with my children at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia. Then I shared at a ladies event at Satilla Missionary Baptist Church in Hortense, GA, a ladies breakfast and morning service at Calvary Baptist Church in Jesup, GA, and returned to FBC Folkston, GA for an evening concert. The following weekend I returned to Georgia again for a ladies event and homecoming service at Milford Baptist Church in Marietta. This past weekend I was able to return to First Baptist Church of Holly Hill in Holly Hill, SC after many years. While the traveling itself is not always easy, I am so blessed to do what God has called me to do and the ministry He has entrusted to me, while always enjoying the time spent with precious members of the body of Christ.
After a very busy summer, I am looking forward to a long Labor Day weekend at home with Ross, as Hannah will stay in Charleston and continue to settle into college life. While I tremendously enjoy speaking and singing, it is nice to have those "in between" breaks with nowhere to go but just time to rest up and refresh for the weeks ahead. On September 10th I leave for an extended weekend in Florida where I will be singing during the morning service at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Orange Park, FL on the 11th, giving an evening concert at Shindler Drive Baptist Church in Jacksonville and then speaking on the 12th at a Ladies Event at Turning Point at Calvary in St. Augustine. On September 25th, I will be in concert during the morning service at FBC Laurens, SC and I will be giving an evening concert at Mountain Springs Baptist Church in Piedmont, SC. If you are in the area I sure would love for you to join me and be sure to say hello!
Also, in late September, I am hoping to release my new project, "This Far" on Urgent Records. I will let you know the moment is available, as I can hardly wait to share it with you.
Thank you for taking the time to let me catch up with you.