We need to keep God first

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

What would Jesus want us to do while living in times when ‘what is wrong seems right and what is right seems wrong’? Rising Up courageously, paying it forward, giving a helping hand, trusting Jesus through all seasons and storms, treating others the way we want to be treated, and loving one another are a few of His favorite things God would want His children to do…in any times!

This story stirred as my sister and I headed home from Illinois recently. We dodged a snow storm in Ohio, constructions sites in Indiana, detours that drove our GPS crazy, but the dense fog in the mountains of Kentucky sent us to Cumberland Inn for refuge from another storm headed our way. A good night’s sleep and time shared with my sister – friend who is always in my corner and speaks words of truth (lovingly and sternly) into my life – were exactly what I needed. Both of these are gifts to be cherished, not taken for granted. Taking a road trip together is a treasure for siblings to enjoy before taking a trip together is not possible for one reason or another. Another blessing to behold: best friends there for one another through thick and thin. Life’s best blessings come when we invest time together with love and respect for those God puts in our stories. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for faithful family and friends.

Gaye and I made it home on February 16th. Finishing this story took priority after unpacking and preparing for work the next day. Yet, things did not go as planned with this message. I knew what I wanted to write but words stared at me from my computer screen with no divine connection. So, I wrote and deleted more times than ever in all my years of writing these good news stories. I would fall asleep at night with computer in lap, write after work, write early morning, write at work, but delete over and over words that would not convey His message.

Finally, on Feb. 28, the story gelled while attending my neighbor’s grandson’s baby dedication service at The Journey. Cameron, my eldest son, and I stood with Ryan Spell’s family as the preacher dedicated him to the Lord. Then, Pastor Andy asked family and friends to be Christian role models and encouragers for Ryan to watch and learn from while growing up for God. He prayed over the family. This family friend wiped tears and took my seat with a tendered heart ready to hear God’s Word.

Throughout the worship service, my heart and head were in tune to Rev. Andy Shaffer’s message about Super Relationships. I sat in awe as he preached the Word with passion and purpose ‘for such a time as this’ when knowing the Lord as Best Friend is wise and wonderful! His plea for people to share a close relationship with the Lord and loved ones struck a chord of conviction in my heart. A hurt, healing, happy heart filled with so much love and awe for God – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was being blessed beyond measure by a man of God who heard and heeded His calling ten years ago.

My crying heart took me so close to Christ as Pastor Andy showed his love and honor for God in the delivery of the Word. The shepherd of The Journey humbly shared the message of being a super friend with The Shepherd of all children. He shared through scripture and stories about God who guides us to do what is right even when the world says it is wrong… the Father who loves and longs for us to be still and listen to Him in these trying times…the Helper He sent as our internal GPS and forever Friend who encourages us to keep God first and enjoy life, and He touched me with joy that filled my soul. When the pastor prayed for those who took a step of faith to the front, sweet peace flowed and more pieces of my broken heart were mended.

Cameron and I talked about the wonderful worship experience all the way home. While preparing a meal for my family, finishing this story was on my mind. The message of Super Relationships and doing what is right even in times when it seems wrong stirred strong inside as I stirred milk and cheese in my creative casserole.

Sunday night brought joy to my home as sixteen family members gathered for food and fellowship around the table where so many memories have been made together. Sweet sounds of laughter, loving jabs about my cooking, and everyone talking a mile a minute filled the room with me in awe. I was still in the chair where Tim, then James, and now I sit at the head of the table and knew God was there.

Clint was home for a visit before he and his wife move to Dallas, Cameron and his wife were celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary, my sister was here helping our sister in law who broke her shoulder, our neighbors were celebrating baby dedication, Tina’s family came to celebrate ‘family’. We bowed our heads, held hands, and thanked our heavenly Father and Friend for blessings of life, love, food, faith, and fun times together with our big, happy, blended family. I was in hog heaven as laughter and joy filled our home!

On Monday, February 29th, God gave another gift when He worked out a road trip with my son, Clint. We loaded up and headed for Florida after making sure everything was okay at The Learning Station. I continue to be in awe of my Best Friend who walks and talks with me wherever I go. He is with us in Clint’s Chevrolet on February 29th, a day that comes only every four years.

This trip is still in progress as I finish up the story that seemed stuck, yet flows like a fountain with words of love and honor for the Lord who loves and looks after all His children and longs to share a close relationship if we chose to trust and obey.

With computer in my lap and joy in my heart, I write in wonder of it all as Clint drives and we make memories that touch from here to Heaven on our road trip together.

And I’m lovin’ it!

Keeping God first, standing up for what is right, enjoying life, sharing time with family and friends, and staying closely connected on our journeys through life can never be wrong…even in times like this when ‘what is right seems wrong and what is wrong seems right’! We make the choices that distance or keep us connected in right relationships with our Father, family, and friends. “Just do it” rings in my heart as Clint and I sing along with The Temptations “we’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day”, stars shine through his sun roof, and the presence of the Lord is in this place where we are communing with Him and having the time of our lives.

And I’m praising God!

A new song starts with me making up lyrics along the way, singing my heart out in the middle of the night on a road I’ve never traveled…”Lord, I thank you for a blended family that loves You and me and one another and we will all be together with You and our loved ones living in Heaven when our journeys here are done. Living close to You and them is fun! And I thank You for road trips with my sister and my son and hope there are many more with family and friends to come. Now I gotta’ close Father, ‘cause my son is looking at me like I’m nuts and he just hit some rough road ruts. Thank You again for being our Friend and the blessings You timely send. I praise You for being with us, for it truly is better when we’re together, and I look forward to family reunions and happiness in Heaven forever and ever.”

And I’m thanking God!

Riding down Interstate 95 singing, laughing, and enjoying time together in the wee hours of the morning is right where I am supposed to be, for God worked it all out as only He can do and finally sent the rest of this story to share with you.

And, I’m giving Him all the glory!

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist


Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

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