Jimmy & Rach ~ Valentine's Day 2007

Jimmy & Rach ~ Valentine's Day 2007

Were we young, or what?

Were we young, or what?

Joshua & Meghann

Joshua & Meghann
I've got some good looking kids!

10 January, 2009

Today I am reminded of these verses in Ezekiel 36:25-27;

'Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them'.

I remember how hard my heart was back before I knew the Lord. It's amazing to me how HE has changed me! And yet on some days I choose to become that ole hard person I was once. I can remember not believing these words when I first read them. So many verses of Scripture I didn't believe in the beginning. I still pray all the time to my Lord and ask him 'help thou my unbelief'. How can he love me so?

I like tomatoes and squash from the garden. I like to go out and pick them until it's so hot outside. That's when they get left for Jimmy to pick. I like to can tomatoes and make jelly and all sorts of stuff like that.

You must tend to a garden in order to make it grow. It must be prepared before you ever even plant a seed, and then it needs watering and weeding and the work goes on and on. But then you get the benefit of the vegetables that you have grown. I don't claim to have a lot of patience with gardening. I let Jimmy do all the hard work and then I pick the bounty and can it and it looks like I did it all. But I don't.

I love flower gardens too. I truly do envy people who have pretty flowers in their yards. I can't seem to grow anything to bloom. It bugs me that I can't. My Moma sure could, why can't I?

Our hearts are like a garden. It needs tending to before it can ever grow, and it needs to be prepared for the seed to be planted. And of course the watering and weeding. I remember back in 2003 when one of my best friends, Lizzy, asked me to come to this new Church that she was going to. Me and Liz, we go way back. I knew her pretty good and she knew me too. She seemed so different to me. She didn't want to talk bad about anybody, but she didn't make herself out to be self-righteous. But the first time she asked, I wasn't interested.

But you know what. God had already been preparing me for the seed that Lizzy was to plant. I had started buying Bible study books several months before she asked me to go to her Church. I would sit out on the porch and I'd try to get some meaning out of them. I'd try to pray but didn't really know how. I felt embarrassed and so lonely and abandoned by God. My heart was so hard! The pain I felt was cemented to the linings of my heart and I could not break free of it.

And then one day I prayed to God and I said, 'please show me a sign that you hear me, that you love me. If you do hear me and love me, send me a warm fuzzy'. I kid you not, the next thing I knew I was having a warm fuzzy. Don't think I'm lying about this, it was REAL! I always explain my warm fuzzy as this; you know how your heart feels when you get your feelings hurt, like it gets all warm and fuzzy and you tear up and you just want some love....that's the way it felt, but it wasn't a hurt feeling it was the most joyful feeling I ever had. It still brought tears to my eyes, but they were joyful tears. I must admit though that the very first thing I felt was fear. God is talking to my heart? How can this be! But HE did!

I had so much pain from the losses and tragedies in my life. Losing Emily in 1993 was the hardest I think. I guess I somehow figured that death wouldn't come a calling again in the way it had back in 1976 when we lost Bonnie in a car wreck, or 1977 when we lost Billy in a car wreck, or 1979 when we lost David to murder! But it did! Another murder! Each time a loss would occur that 'ole cement truck would pull up and yank out that chute right into my heart and pour that cement on. The day we lost Emily, on September 15, I remember feeling so heavy. As though the world was on my shoulders! I still felt that way and much worse by 2003.

Oh, I don't think I even noticed it really. It seemed so gradual in a way. I was mean to people. I'd cuss people out, be hateful to them. I began to stay at home more and more. I wouldn't answer the phone, I really didn't go out of the house much at all. Jimmy, I remember even bought the groceries. I became too overprotective of the kids and yet at the same time, I pushed them away for fear of losing them too. How I rationalized that, I don't know!

And then one day I found this book called 'Mary Magdalene'. I was buying groceries at HEB in Cedar Park and I didn't really have the money to buy it, it wasn't expensive but we were kind of broke. I guess God was speaking to me then coz I got the book and you know I've never seen that book anywhere else again. But it truly spoke to my heart!

Take that along with the Bible studies and the prayer time...my heart was being prepared for the beautiful garden it would become!

I remember when I was first saved, I would pray for the fruit of the Spirit to become a part of me. To me, prayer is like water to a flower that has been in the full sunlight in the heat of the day! I'd pray that I would be kind to others no matter what they did or said to me. I'd pray for God to even change my old gruff voice and make it soft and kind. I was so eager to please my Lord and Master! As weedy and untended my heart was God made it beautiful.

I think somewhere along the way I forgot what that joy felt like in pleasing God, I gradually let bitter take root in my heart instead of the fruit of the Spirit. I allowed the weeds to grow in my heart instead of the bounty of God's goodness.

So today, I am reminded that I need to tend to my heart and weed out the bitter feelings and the feelings of loneliness and abandonment that I sometimes feel. Or the feeling that I need justification or why me Lord. I need to rely on my God and know that HE will take care of me. HE will never leave me nor forsake me.

And you know even after a garden has yielded it's bounty, it still needs tending to. You need to toil the soil and fertilize it. That's what I need to be doing all the time. Toil this old hearts soil and fertilize it with the Word of God.

Pray for me, will you, that I will allow God to work in my heart in the coming days!

09 January, 2009

Hey, I'm Rach! I've been married 30 years this year to Jimmy. He's a wonderful, caring and loving christian husband and father. We have 2 children, Joshua, 27 and Meghann 23. Since they haven't had us some grand kids yet we've adopted two, Krista 5, and Caden 7. We are committed Christian Baptists and we are members at Victory Baptist Church in Burnet, Texas where the people there have become family to us.

We love our home, 'Twelve Acres'. We love animals and can prove it! We have 5 dogs, (children really); yorkies, Gracie, Grady, Gabby, and Gus, and Chance, just a mutt! A miniature donkey, Hank and a shetlon pony, Molly-Girl, a pet goat, Buttermilk, a cat named Hobble. 8 chickens and 7 roosters, and 4 geese.

I love sitting on my porch watching the birds at their feeders. I've placed the feeders right where I can see them feeding. It always reminds me of Brother J.D. Weido's sermon, 'The Birds are Still Singing'.

My porch was a place for special talks with Joshua and Meghann (still have them at times), and it's an absolute haven for Jimmy and I, especially on Sunday mornings! When I say I'm out on the porch, someone will answer back 'with Jim Swift'.

We renewed our vows on our 25 wedding anniversary and you guessed it, we decorated the porch and had it there. It was beautiful to me.

I have several life verses, but I'll just give a few:
2 Timothy 1:7; 'For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind'.
Isaiah 53:4,5; 'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed'.
One that reminds me of my dear Mother, is in 1 John 1:5; 'This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all'.

My porch is where I have my best conversations with my Lord. I go out every morning and have my prayer time there and I'm reminded of Scripture. I go when I'm lonesome and I'm reminded of John 15:4; Abide in me, and I in you'.

I go to my porch when I'm happy and just giddy about life and I am reminded to 'Rejoice evermore' 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

I go to my porch when sadness comes and I pour out my heart to my Lord and Savior. HE reminds me of the Scripture in Isaiah 65:24; 'And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear'. Before I yet speak, HE will hear? What peace this brings me.

I even go to my porch when I'm mad, to cool off and I remember Ephesians 4:26; 'Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath'.

I go to my porch when I'm afraid and I feel the gentle breeze brush across my face, calming me and reminding me of Jesus telling the disciples, 'Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid'. Matthew 14:29.

When I feel hopeless and desperate I am reminded of
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 'But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words'.

If you come to my house and I ask you to sit on my porch, consider it a compliment! We can sit on the porch swing or in the wicker rockers and visit a while, and maybe you'll walk away with the feeling of peace and comfort that my porch gives me!

25th Wedding Anniversary!

25th Wedding Anniversary!