What are you wearing?

 

 

Although I prefer the King James Version of the Bible, I really like how Colossians 3:12-14 is worded  in The Message.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it.

If I could just remember these nuggets of truth every minute of every day! This is the key to a joy-filled life empty of self and full of God. Do you know anybody that dresses like this verse describes? I sure do!  It is a lovely sight…always gorgeous and in style! These people are refreshing, uplifting,  God-honoring, and Christ-like no matter their circumstances.

Do you need to make some changes in your wardrobe? What are you wearing today?

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

 

I Am?

left to right: Ashlee Bitton (4 yr. old teacher), Megan Smith (2 yr. old teacher), Me (phonics teacher for 2 & 3 yr. olds), Teena Anders (2 yr. old teacher), Alyx (4 yr. old teacher), Andrea Muse (owner and 4 yr. old phonics teacher), Brooke Eggleston (2 yr. old teacher).

I usually work as a phonics teacher at Muse Montessori, but I also substitute when a teacher is absent. Last week we had an unusual number of teachers absent due to sickness so each day I received a text asking, “Can you ‘be’ (name of teacher that was absent) today?”

We have exceptional teachers and they each bring their unique talents to the classroom. I gave up a long time ago trying to “be” them.  My boss doesn’t expect that. She just asks me to be me.

But one day it dawned on me, No matter who I’m asked to “be” today, as a Christian, God always asks me to be like Jesus. That means being loving, kind, patient, understanding, tender-hearted, and forgiving. It’s a tall order!  And just like I can’t “be” one of the teachers, I certainly can’t “be” Jesus….without His help.  But with His help, I can be what I need to be for these children.

My name means happy, keenly alive and exuberant. Although I’ve often failed miserably, I have tried to live up to my name. In Bible times, a name often signified a part of the person’s character.  That is one reason God changed people’s names.  He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning the father of many nations.  He changed Sarai (meaning contentious) to Sarah (meaning Princess). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (meaning wrestler with God).

Although it seemed God had a deaf ear to the Israelites crying out 400 years for God to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, that was far from true. God had seen their oppression and heard their cries for help. (Exodus 3:9) He appeared to Moses and told him He would use him to deliver them.  Then Moses asked an interesting question and the answer was even more bizarre.

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you: and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Did you notice that God repeated Himself?  He obviously wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding about His name. There is so much in the Bible that I don’t understand and many things are confusing to me, but there are other things, as in this case, where God leaves no doubt whatsoever what He means!

Have you ever wondered about the name/title God gave Himself here?  I sure have! How odd! What kind of name is this? It seems left unfinished.  I am… what? Why didn’t God say, I am Deliverer? I am Salvation. I am Savior. Why just…I AM?

In the Hebrew, I AM implies absolute self-existence and action. This is God’s promise to redeem His people. If God had used a single characteristic of Himself, maybe our little, finite minds couldn’t think outside the box. But God left this wide open as if we can fill in the blank! He is not only an active God that keeps His promises, He is our healer when we are sick.  He is our comforter when we mourn and are sad.  He is our peace when we are anxious.  He is our refuge when we are overwhelmed.  He is our rock when life wipes us off our feet. He is our provider when we’ve lost everything in this world. When we are afraid, He is our tower we run into and hide. He is our friend who will never fail or forsake us.

 

Then several years later, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said, She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)The name explains His purpose in coming.

 

 Later Jesus said,  I am the bread of life (John 6:48).  I am the light of the world (John 8:12). I am the door (John 10:7).  I am the good shepherd (John 10:14). I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). I am the true vine (John 15:1).

He is every single thing we ever need Him to be! Psalm 9:10 says, And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. When we know and understand God’s name, we know and understand Him.  To know Him is to love Him. And when we know and understand Him, we will put our trust in Him.  I challenge you to join me in dipping into God’s deep reservoir of riches. Let’s get to know God better!

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

 

 

A Christmas to Remember- 2017

From left to right- Abigail, Nathan, Gaye, Destin, Danilo, Anna (Christmas 2017)

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed Christmas with those you love. This was the first Christmas my immediate family was together since the passing of my husband, almost three years ago. Little Destin, my grandson (15 months old), was an entertaining addition! Someone taught him to fist bump. And my favorite present was learning that his little sibling will be arriving in July!

 

Anna woke up a few mornings after Christmas not feeling well. We thought it was due to that little one in her tummy, but as the day went on, we concluded she had a stomach bug. These germs fought with a vengeance! About every other time Anna got sick, she would faint.  So my family sprung into action!

Bethany and Wesley found a good deal on some snowboards! (12-2017)

Wesley, Bethany’s husband, is a health inspector and he suspected the Norovirus had found us.  According to Wesley, this virus can live on fabrics for up to 12 days, on hard surfaces for a week, and is highly contagious.  One is contagious before the  symptoms appear and up to three days after symptoms are gone! Lysol doesn’t kill it. The hot water in the washer and laundry detergent doesn’t kill it.  And the dryer isn’t hot enough to kill it. YUCK! It takes Clorox. So Bethany started wiping down doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces with Clorox wipes. We washed bedding and rugs in case it was an ordinary virus. And we began using paper towels, plastic cups, and paper plates.

Abigail was in charge of taking care of Destin and cooking food.  Bethany continued to sanitize and wash dishes. I cared for Anna.  Wesley hauled in wood and kept the fire going. After a long day at work, Nathan made a run back into town for Ginger Ale and saltines. Danilo had left to go back to Florida to work so he wasn’t exposed….yet. Anna felt much better the next morning after a predictable schedule of getting sick every hour.

 

The Vara family (Danilo works at Sherwin Williams)

Unfortunately, all our precautions seemed to be in vain.  While Anna was resting the next day, Wesley got a unique version of it. The next day I got it.  Bethany took her turn the next day. Abigail said she would like to go ahead and get it over with.  She got her wish the next day. Danilo had come back for the weekend and he also didn’t feel well when he left.

 

It was a miracle that Little Destin didn’t contract it.  Everyone had taken turns caring for him and he walked around touching everything. This raging virus could have easily sent him to the hospital, but God protected him. Nathan also escaped it.

 

Our dog, Rooster keeping warm!

As bad as this may sound, there were some blessings in the midst of this.  We were unable to attend church on Sunday so we spent several hours discussing the Bible.  It was such a blessing to hear my children and sons-in-law discuss what God was doing in their hearts. It was interesting to hear their thought processes, discernment, and wisdom.

 

It also warmed my heart to see my children loving each other and working together knowing what was at stake. They could have gotten out of Dodge, but they laid their stomachs on the line and sacrificed for the sick ones. I often heard, “I’m so sorry you are sick,” “Can I get anything for you?” and “What can I do to help?”

Please check out Abigail’s blog at Praycookblog.com!

So this Christmas didn’t turn out as we had anticipated, but it was still a very good Christmas. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus. He left His Father’s side to be born as a baby and came to Earth to lay down His perfect life so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He embodied love. God is love. God proved His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

If we will admit our sin, believe in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son and that He died and rose again, and ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, we can have His love in our hearts.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I John 4:11)

It always amazes me to see God’s deep, sacrificial love coming through one of His children. In a world of selfishness and pride, God’s love stands out in a lovely, unique, refreshing way and it gives hope.  Let’s spread that love around today, friends!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

(Pictures from the Gaylord  Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN- December 2017)