Thursday, April 29, 2010

Activated Obedience

Regardless of our mission, when Brenda Pousson and I are together we usually add a ‘quick stop to shop’ to our day. We were in the middle of one such impromptu mall visit when my husband called.
“Still at the doctor’s office?” Michael asked.
“All done. Everything’s fine.”
“Great! Are y’all stopping for lunch?”
“Just ate. Now we’re in Macy’s.”
“Your new card came in. Don’t forget to activate it when you get home.”
I held up my shopping bag as though he could see it. “Oh, my account is very active.” I keep that account active by using it. Sometimes I buy something for myself, but usually my children benefit from my purchases.
Michael’s reminder to activate my account set catapulted my thoughts far from the mall. Over and over I wondered, Have I activated my faith recently? For what, for whom am I using my faith?
As soon as my heart was settled and at peace with my responses, I remembered the instructions in 2 Peter 1: 5-7, “… add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” Wow! It takes a lot of faith for me to believe that I can do all of those things! However, I have a huge desire to obey God’s Word.
That desire originates from a heart full of love for Him, and eternal gratefulness for all He has done, then extends to thoughts of my children. Their lives are affected by my decisions. Although they have the responsibility to find and maintain an ever-increasing relationship with their Savior, I want them to benefit, and not be hindered, by my example. My prayer is for my life, and my activated obedience to the Word of God, to leave a clear path with strong imprints of the way to the Father.

Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Little Things that Stop Me

Hearts in Touch
By Ronny Michel

The stretch of Interstate between Kenner and LaPlace is a road I’ve often traveled. I usually enjoy that drive over the lake, but a few weeks ago, something happened which caused me to spend a lot more time there than I anticipated.
My Mom and I were engrossed in a conversation, while my daughters, Lauren and Victoria, shared the backseat with their friend, Renee. The mission of our trip has been lost in the part of my mind that prioritizes information and apparently spit out that fact. In its place lie the details of the trip home.
The girls heard an odd sound, followed by another strange knock, coming from the rear of the car. I pulled to the side of the road and hoped that I wouldn’t see the flat tire we feared was the cause of the noise. A quick glance at the rear tire on the driver’s side confirmed our diagnosis.
As soon as I found my cell phone, I called my husband. “Michael, I have a flat.”
“Is it bad?” he asked.
Thinking he was referring to the time I was with my sister when she had a blow out, I answered, “Oh, no. This time it’s only flat on the bottom.” My Mom groaned as I instantly regretted that response.
As we waited for Michael and AAA to arrive, my Mom was amazingly calm, while I tried not to worry about the cars, trucks, and eighteen-wheelers that whizzed by.
Because she is always a witness to events such as these, Lauren was convinced that a hidden camera was recording her life. Renee wondered if we had a fishing pole so they could fish over the side of the bridge, and Victoria gained instant popularity when she brought out a bag of chocolate. The trio then used their phones to update their statuses on Facebook.
When Michael arrived, he said that he’d wait for AAA. We quickly left the car with the flat tire. Except for Lauren. She looked over the side of the bridge, and very reluctantly joined us in the other vehicle. “Lauren,” I asked, “Why were you afraid?”
“It’s a whole different world out there,” she said.
When my thoughts return to the time we spent on the bridge, I think of the small piece of metal that punctured the tire, and immobilized us for an hour. And in this journey through life, I want to pay attention to the things I don’t always notice, like the wrong attitudes, misplaced priorities, and sharp words, which can suck the air right out of me and impede my progress. I’m so grateful for a God Who urges me to, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:2 He has never failed to put me back on track.

Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Victoria's Vision

I’ve sewn my last seam, ripped my last mistake, and positioned my last bead. When Victoria was invited to the prom, I knew that somehow, somewhere, she would find a dress. I even jokingly said that I’d make one for her. I really was joking.
Then it happened. We were in the second dress shop, trying on the fifth dress, when she said, “I’d like you to make one something like this one, in another color, with a different bow.”
“Can’t we just order this one in another color?” I asked while searching for the price tag.
The owner of the shop quickly rounded the corner and chimed in, “If you buy this dress, I’ll take off 10%.”
I forced myself to swallow a scream. My math skills may be meager, but they are sufficient to subtract $49 from a $498, and leave me with a number that was not within the budget. (To be honest, I never finished the subtraction problem, and I wasn’t sure what the budget was, but this dress was out of it.)
Before I could say, “I’m really nervous about sewing a prom dress,” Lauren, Victoria and I were in the fabric shop. They quickly found a pattern and debated only a few minutes over the fabric. I can do this, I thought, I can sew this dress. While I headed toward the register, Victoria took one more step in the direction of her dream dress with words which caused me to stop in my tracks, “Mom, can you bead the top?”
“I’ve never beaded anything. I can’t do this. I can’t bead this dress.”
“Sure you can and I’ll help. We’ll learn together. I’ll work on it every day after school.”
What she probably meant to say was, “You can work on the dress every day. Then one day after school, cheerleading practice, eating with friends, and homework, I will watch you sew one bead.” That’s what happened. She sat next to me for less than a minute, stood and said “Wow, that’s a lot of work,” then left the room.
As she walked away, I looked back at the dress that was being transformed by tiny beads that lit up against the emerald bodice. Victoria’s vision was becoming reality because she trusted that I could do something that I had never done before to give her something that previously existed only in her mind.
My prayer throughout this project has also undergone transformation. What began as a desperate plea, God, help me to make this, has changed into a prayer not just for Victoria, but for your children, too.
May our children’s dreams sparkle against the fabric of their futures. May the confidence that they have in us be magnified and placed in God, the giver of dreams, and the One Who will provide them with the means to bring their visions to reality. And may God do something so wonderful with their lives that only He can get the glory.

Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Raise your hand if you have more than one daughter. Now, pat yourself on the back if you have solved the “she’s wearing my clothes” argument. If your hand is still raised, don’t worry, so is mine. In fact, both my hand and my method of handling such situations are up in the air.
I’ve tried the “only wear your own clothes” rule, which never works. Sooner than later they are granting permission for certain objects to be borrowed, but I can never keep up with the list.
I once glanced out of the kitchen window and said to Monique, “Look at Lauren out there. Did you know that she’s wearing your shirt? I’ll take care of this.”
“Ssshhh,” was the urgent response from Monique, “Don’t say anything. I’m wearing her shoes.”
Not long after, Victoria called Elise. “I’m missing two pairs of shorts.”
“Oh, yeah,” Elise said, “I took them to Thibodaux.”
“Great,” said Victoria, “My shorts went to college before I did.”
To further rub it in, Elise sent a text message to Victoria, “I need some advice.”
Thinking this was serious sister stuff, Victoria scrolled down to find a photo of Elise wearing one pair of the missing shorts and holding the other pair in her hand. The caption read, “Which should I wear tomorrow?” Victoria just laughed.
Our latest episode involved a pair of jeans. Elise was ready to return to college when she realized that Victoria and I were at a baseball game, and Victoria was wearing her jeans. Elise called to say that she was headed to the game to reclaim her clothes. Victoria calmly said that she wasn’t changing, I kept insisting she do so, and Elise searched for us at a ballpark five miles from where we were.
When she finally arrived, Victoria met her at the car for the big showdown. They looked at each other, burst into laughter, swapped clothes, and each happily went on their way as though nothing had happened.
That afternoon, around the fifth inning of the game, I realized that my little girls have grown up. They’ve discovered ways to resolve their conflicts, and it’s usually with heavy doses of laughter. They still borrow clothes, replace what they ruin, and hopefully realize that relationships are worth more than even the best fitting pair of jeans.
One day they will probably quit borrowing from each other, but until then, I should let them know how proud I am of the way they get along. I’ll tell them as soon as I get back from my sister’s house. She’s lending me her black shoes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Spring has sprung. I’ve spent much of the past week in my backyard enjoying the pleasant weather, and the rest of the time replacing the candy that I wish my family had saved for Sunday. It’s difficult for me to believe that Easter is already here.
Although I enjoy this season, I don’t wait for it to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. That’s something that I think of daily. As a child, I never understood why it was necessary for Jesus to die. I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around the idea of a sinless man dying a brutal death. Now, when I think of Easter, my thoughts go back to the Garden of Eden.
Created in the image of God and clothed with His Glory, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Once they disobeyed God, they realized their nakedness, attempted to clothe themselves with fig leaves, and then tried to hide from the presence of God.
Before banishing them from the Garden, God made them garments from an animal skin. This animal was sacrificed to cover for the guilt and shame brought on by the sin of Adam and Eve. For many years after that, people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins, while prophets predicted that God would send a Messiah to redeem man.
John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. God had sent His Son to be the sacrifice for the sins of the people. Although tempted in every area, Jesus was without sin, yet He willingly became the final sacrifice for our sins. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” I Peter 2:24
I could make a lengthy list of the sins from which I’ve been forgiven, the sicknesses from which I’ve been healed, and the freedom that I’ve found from financial difficulties, fear, and mental torment, all as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice. As difficult as each one was to bear in my life, they were spread out over a fifty year period. What astounds me is that Jesus bore not only the contents of my list, but the lists of everyone at one time. This is a pain I cannot imagine endured by a Savior I will not deny.
Although my sins were enough to nail Jesus to the cross, they couldn’t keep Him there. Easter Sunday marks His triumph over death. May we daily experience the results of His sacrifice, and live in the freedom He so willingly purchased for us.