He Is On The Bench
In the small, South Carolina town where I grew up, everyone knew everyone else. It was a community where the entire town helped to raise its children. We all attended church on Sunday and knew what God expected of us from an early age. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in such a place, surrounded by so many people who loved me.
The church I attended, from age three until I was twenty, was an old fashioned, Southern Baptist Church. The pastor was a wonderful man whom we all loved dearly. His sermons were quite typical of the Baptist Churches in the nineteen-fifties. He always chose his topics right from the verses in the Bible with great emphasis placed on Satan and Hell. He delivered his sermons with "fire and brimstone." It was a certainty that you had better be good or you were going to wind up down there in an awfully hot place.
Now, this was scary news for a small child, so I learned, at an early age, to be afraid of God. However, I did not learn to love Him. As a child, the fear of Him kept me on a straight and narrow path. But, as you grow older, fear doesn't control your actions as easily as when you were young.
Within My Own Heart
Something Was Missing
Once I became an adult, I married and moved away from my little town. I met several people over the next few years who carried a very deep love for God inside their hearts. I was curious as to how they had learned to love God so much. How were they able to obtain such a personal relationship with Him?
At that point, I began to worry about my own relationship with God. I knew I believed in Him and had for as long as I could remember. However, I realized something was missing and I just could not seem to apply what I saw in others to my own heart.
If He Were Your Only Son
About fifteen years ago, our choir began to prepare the music for our Easter Contata. One of the anthems within The Crimson Bridge is entitled, "If He Were Your Only Son." The message goes something like this:
"If he were you only son, could you send him to die?
If he were your only son, could you send him to die, in the way he died, knowing, in advance, what was going to happen?
If he were your only son, could you send him to die, in the way he died, knowing, in advance, what was going to happen, offering salvation to the very men who would destroy him?"
Could you do that? I have two sons and it would be impossible to love anyone on earth more than I love my children. Therefore, I know I could not do it. Loving another person that much is far beyond my own comprehension.
So, how do we turn away from His wonderful gift time and time again?
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God."
One Little Angel
By Eugenia S. Hunt
Asleep on God's shoulder
A tiny Babe,
With down soft hair.
Quietly, the sound
Of a tinkling bell,
The rhythm soon
Beginning to swell.
Swaying to and fro,
O'er a rainbow.
Not a single tear,
His birthday calling
Touched His ear.
One Little Angel
To earth, on a Dove,
Bringing with Him
It Is Well With My Soul...The Story of Horatio Spafford, The Composer And The Man - Video By Pianist, David Nevue
Scroll down and play the music video as you read:
Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known clergymen of the day.
At the very height of his success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe, to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation from tragedy, and so that he might join Moody and Sankey for an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters on ahead while he remained in Chicago, to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision in which all four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived. The wire from his wife stated only three words, "All Is Lost."
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna, in England. It was on this trip, just after passing the area of ocean where his children had drown, that he penned those now famous words, when sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..
Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford's life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.
For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing:
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
His Love For Me
Comparing My Own Life
As I thought about His love for me, I began to see its comparison to the way I feel about my own children. When they make poor choices, I am disappointed and it hurts me to see them fail. However, my love for them remains fathomless. This realization brought Him into reality in my own life.
I began to feel the love for Him growing inside me. I also realized that each of us has to find our walk with God in our own way.
My Time With God
By Eugenia S. Hunt
The quiet surrounds me
As the storm builds in the distance.
The hazy glow of the sun
Setting off to the west,
Its light slowly fading
As in rest from a long day.
The clouds roll in softly
With their promise of showers.
Quietly, at first, the droplets begin,
Leaving tiny circles on the sand.
The scent of a summer storm
Drifts softly into my senses.
In this moment, I feel peace,
As the gentle breeze carries the rain,
Renewing the land on which we stand
And breathing life back into its soil.
Such is my time with God.
The peace, the quiet, the renewal
Of a soul tired from daily trials.
Nurtured by His love of promise,
Strengthened by His touch
To a human heart slowly beating,
Carrying me along the paths
Of my walk with Him.
How Does It Affect Our Choices?
Since that day, I have grown to understand fully how much it means to love God. If we love Him, we want to please Him because you want anyone, whom you love, to be happy. When you make God happy, then your life is going to be blessed. You will make the right choices because they will be God's choices for your life.
Our love for God and His love for us will strengthen our lives and enable us to withstand anything this world directs our way.
By Eugenia S. Hunt
My heart is filled,
My spirit in tune.
The melody I hear
As it fills the room,
Engulfs me in joy,
Exciting my soul.
Through God given pleasure,
His love I behold.
As each note lifts
My heart to His hand,
I now lift my voice
And, with Him, I stand.
Amazed in the wonder,
My heart feels each beat,
God's medley of music
Heard, best, at His feet.
Accepting Christ As Our Savior
Where Is Jesus In Your Life?
Why do we, as adults, tend to make it so difficult on ourselves when God is right there beside us all the time, just waiting to be invited into our lives?
When my daughter was a little girl of seven, she accepted Christ as her Savior. Because of her young age, our pastor felt he needed to sit down with her and discuss her understanding of salvation. One of his questions was, "Where is Jesus right this very minute?" She easily replied. "He is right here on the bench beside me!"
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
God So Loved The World - By The St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 59, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.
After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.
We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one "stay at home" mother and wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.
In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 22. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.
Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.
Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of Riverside Baptist church where I am a soloist and a member of the Women's Bible Study Group.
And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Raven is a thirteen year old Skipperkee/Chow with bucked teeth and attitude and Whisper, our nine pound, twelve year old poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.
I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."
My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!