Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Women's Bible Group

I sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office, looked around, and wondered, "Where did Michael send me?" My shoulder had been hurting for a few weeks. Whether he was concerned for me, or just tired of my complaints, my husband made an appointment and gave me an address. I should have been more involved in the process. The other patients looked as though they were seriously injured. Some had crutches, others had casts, and since I wanted neither, I politely approached the receptionist and said, "I think I'm in the wrong place." Her expression led me to believe I was the first person to express that concern, so I kept talking, "My shoulder's just bothering me. Well, it really hurts when I lift my arm and…"
"Have a seat. I'll call you when it's your turn."
My turn came quickly. I guess she didn't want me escaping, or worse, talking to the other patients. In any case, I was x-rayed, treated, and on my way.
Only a few weeks later, I had a similar experience. This time, I was in Houston with a friend who had invited me to a writer's seminar. I sat in the room filled with authors and speakers and had trouble quieting the question, "Am I in the wrong place?" Although uncomfortable being there, I stayed, met new people, and had a great time.
In contrast to the above experiences, I never question myself on Tuesday afternoons. That portion of my week is devoted to a Women's Bible Study where I meet with a group of friends to discuss God's Word. We share Scriptures, and stories, and concern for our children. And we pray. It's always a surprise to see who will be there each week. I never know who will be released, or arrested. Oh, I forgot to mention, the Bible Study is conducted in the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility.
I love to study the Bible with these ladies and every week I gain fresh insights as I look at Scriptures from their perspective. They are precious to me. I pray for them, learn from them, and yearn for God's Word to permeate their lives.
If you were given a glimpse of our group, I might stand out since I'm the only one not in uniform. (Sort of like I did at the doctor's office because I didn't have crutches or a cast.) However, a closer look would reveal a group of hearts eager to learn from each other and the Word of God so that when we leave the room, we are a little better than when we arrived.
Yes, on Tuesday afternoons, I know I'm in the right place.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Heart Makeover

I don't remember when the shift occurred, but it has definitely happened. I now consult my girls for advice on fashion and make-up. I'm not sure if that's good or bad news for me. Granted, I prefer the way I look when I follow their advice, but the process is sometimes painful. And lengthy. But always fruitful.
Last week we had another episode of "Getting Mom Ready to Leave the House." I was headed to church to deliver a message into which I had poured hours in both preparation and prayer. It only took me a few minutes to dress and apply make-up. "Is this outfit alright?" I asked the girls. With minimal changes, my clothes were approved. Turning to Lauren, I asked, "Do my eyes look okay?"
"They're fine," she said, unconvincingly.
"What about my blush?" I continued.
"You don't have any on," Lauren said.
"Yes, I do," I insisted.
"Let me add some and fix your eye shadow. And that shade of lipstick is wrong for you."
"I'm not wearing any lipstick!"
Oh, how I wish I was making this up, no pun intended. This really is my life. I thought everything was fine until I had someone with a little more experience help out. Lauren can do wonders with cosmetics and I must admit it was worth the time I spent allowing her to correct my efforts.
When my needs turn inward, I seek God's help by praying the words found in Psalm 139: 23-24. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
As I turn my heart towards my God, He faithfully instructs me, and helps me to correct my efforts. Sometimes I have to add a little more love and mercy to my words. Often, I'm challenged to alter my thoughts, and almost always I am led to examine my motives. I don't want to just do the right things, I want to do them for the right reasons.
The good news is that I always prefer the way I am after I submit my heart to God and respond to His Will. The process is sometimes lengthy. And painful. But always fruitful.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Victoria's Learner's Permit

The State of Louisiana has issued a Learner's Permit to Victoria Grace. Finally! She took the week-long driver's education course in November, logged the required number of hours driving in December and January, then, on the last day of February, asked, "When will you bring me to get my permit?"
"Not today. The office is probably closed."
"It's 3:15," my daughter, who seems too young to drive, said.
"Have you been studying the book?"
"Mom, it's common sense. I passed the course in November. I'll do fine."
"Then let's go. Find your papers from driving school. I'll get your birth certificate. Lauren, do you have any cash?"
We walked into the DMV at 3:30 and I cringed to discover the office closed at 4:00. They'll never let her take the test, I thought. It wasn't long before Victoria's number was called, and a very kind lady began to process her request, while I continued to apologize for arriving so late.
Victoria was sent to the room to take the written portion of the test, and soon returned saying, "Well, I'll just come back tomorrow." She didn’t pass, but took the news well.
"Victoria," I began, "you do have a lot of common sense, but we're on their turf. To have success here, you have to know the answers to the test they've created. You have to study their manual." And she did.
The next day, I met Victoria and her cousin, Tiffani, at the DMV immediately after school. I was much more nervous than Victoria. Tiffani did her best to talk and try to keep me occupied, but I relaxed only when I saw Victoria leave the testing room with a smile on her face.
I wish the tests in life were as easy as those for learner's permits. However, success is derived the same way for both. To pass the test, study the manual. For me to have success in life, I must study the Bible, the manual from the Creator. I want His wisdom when handling situations presented in life.
Bible teacher Bill Gothard defines wisdom as, "seeing life from God's point of view and tracing our problems to violations of His principles." In order to know God's point of view and His principles, I study His Word.
My goal, which I don't always meet, is to daily read one chapter from the book of Proverbs. Since the book has 31 chapters, I read the chapter corresponding to the day of the month. On the first day of every month, I read the first chapter of Proverbs. This way, on most months, I read all 31 chapters.
In addition to learning by reading, I ask a lot of questions. And that's okay, too. James 1:5 assures me, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you."
Speaking of questions, Victoria doesn't ask many while driving. But then, I don't give her much opportunity. I'm too busy saying, "Slow down. Speed up. Don't turn yet. Turn now…" To her credit, she has the wisdom to obey. May God say the same of me.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lauren's Fashion Show

Lauren, my marvelous middle child, is rarely found worrying. She's full of life, enjoys her journey, and doesn't fret over the future. Because of this, I was surprised to hear her say, "When I graduate from college, I'll have a degree in Fashion and Theater. People say we're in a recession. What am I going to do?"
One friend had a quick answer, "She'll look good and act like it doesn't matter."
For a recent project in her fashion class, Lauren had to present a makeover. It could be in the form of a poster or a power point presentation. In typical Lauren-style, she decided to organize a fashion show. I thought the obvious choices for models would be her friends or sisters, but then realized school and job obligations ruled them out. Lauren's idea was quite different, "I want you, Mimi, Aunt Judy, and Tommye Lou to model."
Lauren was confident because her first three choices don't work outside of the home, and her cousin, Tommye Lou, doesn't work on Wednesdays. Oh, the things we'll do for Lauren.
The topic of her presentation was "Making the Most of What You Have." (I think it should have been, "Making the Most of WHO You Have," but this was Lauren's project.) Lauren assigned us each an event, instructed us to wear an outfit from our closets to fit the occasion, and asked Aunt Judy to bring some of her many accessories so that we could display ways to change our looks.
We met the night before to finalize the details. Lauren's words got faster and louder as she filled us in on what she'd say, when we'd walk, and what we'd wear. During the only pause, we all waited, wondering what could be causing this delay. Finally she admitted, "I just can't think of my opening line. I want it to grab the attention of the audience. I want it to be a shocker."
Aunt Judy instantly replied, "You don't need to say a thing. When your class sees that we are your models, they will all be in a state of shock!"
The next day, before leaving for school, I overheard Lauren answering her grandmother's questions concerning a jewelry change. "Mimi," she patiently answered, "I'm not sure when I want you to do that. I'm just going to be led by the Spirit." And I prayed, again, for Lauren's presentation. Do I even pray about my children's school projects? Yes, I pray about everything that concerns them.
Was Lauren nervous before the fashion show? Very! But she was prepared and when she began to speak, she did so the with calmness and confidence she typically displays. The class loved us, or they were too polite to act otherwise, and we had so much fun.
Our grade, I mean, Lauren's grade, has not yet been posted, but I'm sure it will be a good one. And although I'd love to take the credit for her success, I know it lies elsewhere. Without realizing it, Lauren followed the advice of George Washington Carver, "Pray as if it all depends on God, but work as if it all depends upon you."
So what will Lauren do upon graduation next year? Her uncle asked her that same question. If she continues to prepare for her future, and trust God to empower those preparations, I have no doubt that Lauren's answer to her uncle will come to pass. "I'm not sure, but something will open up."
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I'm worried about Elise.
Am I concerned with her health? No. Glory to God, every test and scan proves that she continues to be cancer-free.
Is she experiencing financial difficulty? Apparently not. In a recent apartment move, she told her roommates that she would take the larger bedroom with the private bath even though it will cost her more each month. Pretty impressive for someone who, at the time, didn't have a job. I guess she figured she had a Daddy and would go to him. She knows better than to ask me for money; I always tell her to get a job. (At least she's too smart to point out the fact that I don't work.)
The reason I'm worried about Elise is because, although she lives within walking distance to Nicholls State, I rarely hear a word about classes, teachers, homework, or tests. I hear lots about the friends she works out with, the places they go, the beach trip they're planning, their bike rides, shopping sprees, and even the meals they prepare.
Elise assures me of their enrollment at NSU, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to discover that in the midst of all of their adventures, they forgot to register for college. I've even threatened to ride to Thibodaux and haul them all to the Admissions Office. Elise just laughs and tells me not to worry.
King Solomon would tell me the same thing, for he knew the importance of friendships. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, he wrote, "Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
I am truly grateful for the friendships Elise has found. She knows that more can be accomplished when you have someone helping you, like when you move into a new apartment! Even if a friend can't help you with your work, their encouragement is priceless. Working out is much more fun with a friend and greatly helps the time go by faster. I don't know if I'd still show up at the gym if I didn't have friends there to talk to me.
Friends also keep me from falling. Linda Green, one of my dear friends, says, "If you're the smartest person in your circle, you need a new circle." Well, I'm smart enough to know I'm not smart enough. And the older I get, the more I realize that I know less than I thought. I think that all my ideas and opinions are right. No, I think they're brilliant. I love my smart and discerning friends who are honest with me.
And on the really bad days in my life, I just need the comfort of someone's company. The people who have let me sob on their shoulders. The ones who don't attempt to explain life, or tell me to put my chin up, but allow me to vent, or to mourn. Sometimes the world can be a very cold place. Friends may not be able to change the temperature, but their companionship helps to take away the chill.
True friends are loyal. They have each other's backs, will protect the other, and most importantly, pray for one another.
So, Elise, cherish your friends. And I really do love when you call me every day, but tomorrow, could we please talk about school?
Ronny may be reached at