CHOICES

CHOICES

*** DISCLAIMER: This post is not about pointing fingers at anyone for past  mistakes. It is about life lessons. And integrity. If anyone happens to recognize any of the people involved, please refrain from commenting. This happened a very long time ago and it is just an example. All of the people concerned are people who, I’m sure, mean well. ***

Many years ago, I was in charge of all of the Wednesday night classes for the children at what was then my church. The Sunday School department was a separate department. My elementary school aged daughter came home from Sunday school one day and was excited to report that her teacher, who I will call Miss Lisa (not her real name) was going to host a class party in a few weeks, I am out on an upcoming Saturday. After granting her permission to go, she RSVPed to this teacher, who is new to that congregation, and I wrote the event down in my daily planner.

A week or so later, my daughter came home with the news that her Wednesday night teacher, who I will call Miss Sandra, (not her real name), had planned a class party on the exact same day and time. Sandra’s home was much more beautiful and bigger than the other woman’s modest house was, and my daughter reported to me that all of the girls at church in her age group we’re going to go to that party instead. Sandra was a long time member of the church, her husband was a deacon, so she was very well-known and respected in the community. She was also of the reputation of having an extraordinarily kind heart.

As the Director of the Wednesday night programs, which Sandra’s class fell under, I Felt compelled to approach her and ask her nicely if she would move her party to the following week or later in the summer. I did not hesitate, because I knew she had a spirit of cooperation. I was sure that she would understand my concern, that the other woman, a relatively new church member, might get her feelings hurt if all of the class members went to the other party.

Unfortunately, Sandra did not see it that way. She informed me that she had plans the next few weeks that would conflict with her throwing a party and she insisted on giving it the exact same day as Lisa’s party. So my daughter told me that she wanted to go to Sandra’s party with her friends instead of honoring her original commitment. I was in a quandary. My heart felt for my daughter.  

I wanted her to be able to go to the bigger party and enjoy pool time with her friends. But I also decided to use this as a teaching moment to try to instill into her a life lesson. So we sat down and I asked her if she thought that was the right thing to do? Unhesitatingly she said yes, because that is what all of her friends were doing. Then I asked her how she thought she wouldfeel if no one showed up at her party? I then talked to her about the importance of honoring her word. I asked her how she would feel, if someone canceled plans with her, just because something better came up?

We did not debate this for long. My daughter has the ability to empathize with others, and though I had presented the case in such a manner that I hopedthat she would do the right thing, I left the decision as to which party to attend entirely up to her, though she was only about nine years old at the time. She said to me this, “Momma, I am going to go to Miss Lisa’s party. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”

When the day of the do parties arrived, I dropped my daughter off at the very modest home of Lisa, and said a prayer as I was leaving that someone else would show up, because my daughter was the only one there at that time, other than a handful of Lisa’s family members. On the ride home after the party, my daughter told me that she was so glad that she had gone to Lisa’s party, because only one other person from church had attended. It was just my daughter, another student, and the teacher’s family. The other party had been jampacked with almost every other class member. I was very proud of my daughter and hoped that this would be a life lesson that would stick with her throughout her lifetime. As an unexpected bonus, because my daughter and the other young lady were the only two students there, they got a lot of attention and one on one personal time with the teacher that they would not have gotten that the other party.

Fast forward many years, to when I was going through my divorce. My ex-husband and I had long since left that particular church and had started attending a different one. Lisa no longer went to church anywhere. But I ran into her at some functions with friends, and she said that she was also going through a bad divorce. We then met together for dinner a few times to compare notes and commiserate. I had known Lisa for many years, but had  never been good friends with her. Nonetheless, I was hurt, disappointed, and shocked when she betrayed my confidencesto some of our mutual friends and literally stabbed me in the back to boot. Instantly, my mind flashed back to that incident so long ago when I have persuaded my daughter to go to her party instead of the other one. I wanted to scream at her and fling that in her face. That is the human side of me.

But I did not do so. Instead I held my tongue. I simply cut ties with her and started avoiding her altogether. For she had also confided in me, and I knew that she was also suffering. It would’ve been so easy for me to turn around and breach her  confidences, as she had done to me. But I do not have a vengeful nature. So I did no such thing. And while we all sit around and laugh about the possibilities of revenge at some point or another in our lives,that is something I leave to God. I don’t know if He will ever enlighten Lisa as to the fact that breaching confidentiality is not a good thing to do. But that is between her and God.

Instead, I simply walked away with my head held high. If I had it to do over again, knowing that she would betray me on down the road, would I still have gently persuaded my daughter to go to her party, rather than the other woman’s party? Absolutely! I do not hesitate in saying that. For my grandmother instilled into me the importance of honoring one’s word. Even if it is it is inconvenient. Even if it is uncomfortable. Even if something better comes along. She taught me the value of looking at things from the other person’s perspective. From being considerate to making sacrifices, to donating her time and resources, the way she lived was a witness to me that reminds me every day of my life to this day, though she has been long gone from this earth for many years.

To me, honor is of utmost importance. There is no substitute for integrity. But having a tender heart, I know what it’s like to have my own feelings hurt, and I try never to intentionally do that to someone else. Please don’t misunderstand: I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I can sit around and plot revenge with the best of them, then sit around and laugh about those things with friends over dinner. Like when my friends used to tell me I should put Ex-Lax in my soon to be ex-husband’s food supply. We had many laughs over that – though I never did any such thing – it was great comedic relief from the pain of divorce to consider it. I recognize that this is sinful behavior, and I’ve had many long talks with God about it. For though I didn’t act upon it, it is probably not the best witness. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that I would never do such a thing. And I’m sure hoping that if my ex-husband had any gastrointestinal distress during our divorce process, that he knows I would never do that. 

The point is, that we don’t have to act upon every thought or impulse. Life is about choices! We get to choose whether or not to honor our word. We get to choose whether or not to be spiteful or execute revenge. We get to choose whether or not to consider someone else’s feelings. We get to choose to be considerate or inconsiderate. 

I hope and pray that, with God’s help, I will continue to make good choices. I am an imperfect human being, and I have made my fair share of mistakes. But I do always try to honor my word.

When I was in the seventh grade, my English teacher gave us an assignment of making a slogan out of our last names.  I remember a young man whom I did not think was particularly attractive in terms of the boy girl crush thing, whose last name was bond. He came up with, or borrowed, the slogan, “My word is my bond!” I just love that! After I heard him say that, he suddenly became much more attractive to me, because he said it was such sincerity.And though it is not my last name, I have tried to adopt that slogan, as well.

I am quite sure that I will mess up again soon. I will make a mistake. I will inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. I will miss the time on an appointment. I will think up a way of getting back at someone who has been unkind to me. I will do something that is not right. It is guaranteed, because I am, like the other women in this story, a human being. I may even do one of those things later today, though I pray I will have the presence of mind not to do so. But I am sharing this story as a reminder that every choice we make does count, somehow, someway, to someone. Let’s try to make them good ones!

“But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him.”

 – I John 2:5

– Lou Lehman Sams

SINGLE BECAUSE

SINGLE BECAUSE

I have written about this rather annoying but constant question before: “WHY are you still single?!?” Whether one has never been married, or is single again, that is what everyone wants to know, as if we singles have nothing else in our brains about which to converse. You can almost visualize the little mental tallying process going on behind their foreheads, as they secretly work their gray matter, right in your presence, trying to ascertain what it is that is “wrong” with you. For there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ANYBODY over the age of 30 years old who does not have a mate.

Are they insane? Abusive? Sociopath? Addict? Cheater? Mentally ill? Secretly involved in an illicit affair? Gay, but afraid to come out? “WHAT is wrong with you”, their eyes seem to scream.

Becoming single again is a time when many of your married or coupled friends drop you off of their guest lists. I mean, what woman in her right mind wants a divorcee around their man, for all divorced women are desperate for a hook up, right? Or they do not want to mess up the seating arrangements at the dinner party, or try to find that “extra” to balance it out. For some, it is as simple as they no longer know how to relate to you.


There is even a local church that asks people to join hands during the offering if you are married, and who says they come into agreement with you if you are single. I’m sorry, but in my Bible it says there is no marriage in heaven. And that we are to be the bride of Christ. So by calling out the single people in the audience, to me is a discrimination that does not need to happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for some of us. A Christian is a Christian, married or single. Period.


And the fact is, though, that singles need their friends even more than others, for we have no significant other off of which to bounce our ideas, soothe our souls, or with which to just enjoy mealtimes. SIngle​ ​people​ ​still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​plethora​ ​of​ ​topics​ ​about​ ​which​ ​to​ ​converse:​ ​we​ ​still​ ​care​ ​about​ ​the weather,​ ​politics,​ ​religion,​ ​health​ ​issues,​ ​the​ ​economy,​ ​our​ ​workplaces,​ ​etc.


Some singles, like myself, are lucky enough to have married friends that they see on a regular basis. Not so much the dinner parties, but brunches, lunches & such are always enjoyable. But many of the singles I know just give up trying to be with their coupled up friends, & find one or more other singles to hang out with from time to time. Some just become semi-reclusive instead, sadly.

All of this being said, it hit me after a recent conversation with a group of single friends about “WHY we are single” that they were, each of them in that group, some of the very BEST all around people that I know. Could it really be true, do nice people just finish last? Is the nice guy who chivalrously opens doors setting himself up to be relegated to the Friend Zone?

After much pondering, combined with reflection on my personal experiences over the past 4-½ years, I have arrived at my own conclusions: The answer is that yes, indeed, SOME people remain single because they are O.C.D. or addicted to drugs or have other characteristics that are off putting to potential mates. But as for most of the singles I know, they do not fit into that category. I know men & women alike who are the salt of the earth – caring individuals with a lot to offer the right person – yet they remain single. WHY??


That is what I am here to tell you!

SINGLE BECAUSE …

… too KIND to lead people on when there is no true connection.

… too SMART to be led on, cheated on, or lied to themselves.

… too LOVING to settle for less than their heart’s desire.

… too STRONG to need someone to carry their weight.

… too much FUN to sit around with couch potatoes all day.

… too ENERGETIC to waste their lives.

… too BEAUTIFUL to allow someone else’s ugly inside.

… too POSITIVE to settle for negativity.

… too ADVENTUROUS to stop seeking.

… too INDEPENDENT to be owned.
… too GENEROUS to take advantage of generosity.


The long list goes on. If you are single, I am here to tell you, there are some really good men & women out there, waiting on someone just like you! If you are not single, I ask that you not judge us for preferring to spend our time walking our dogs or snapping photographs than pretending to care about someone so we can get a free meal, have our bills paid, or a roof over our heads. Though there are indeed single people who do the latter, they are not amongst my close friends, for we are definitely not kindred spirits!!

But just because we are single or single again, that does not change the essence of who we are – one does not suddenly become promiscuous because they sign divorce papers. If we were upstanding, trustworthy citizens prior to divorce, chances are we still are the same. Do not get me wrong – divorce does change people, often in less than becoming ways. However, it does not negate character.

The single people I know are often the very first ones to step up & offer assistance to those in need, or lend a helping hand to their neighbors. They do not care whether that friend or neighbor is married or single. So why should you???


I’m single. By choice. Don’t think I couldn’t find a man to pay my bills or be my meal ticket, if that’s all I wanted? But like many of my single friends, I want that relationship that actually is about more than money or sex. I want a soul connection, & I won’t settle for less than a gentleman with a heart like mine, who values love & loyalty far above luxury & lust. Someone that loves God, family & country. A man’s man that is secure enough  in himself that he does not need to prove his masculinity  by sleeping with every woman  aged 19 to 90 that he can find. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a human being with human desires. Being a lady does not mean that one is a prude. But being single does not mean that one is less the lady.


Cheers to all my single friends who value themselves enough to wait for the right relationship. And kudos to my friends who are couples that are supportive of all of us.


We are single because there is something right with us, not because there is something wrong with us! And those nice guys? They sometimes get a bad rap because they don’t play games that happen to be the same games that people supposedly don’t want to play. But I will let you in on a little secret: While we women do like to be chased, I’m pretty sure it is the bad boy, not the good guy who will finish last. The good guy will stay focused on his prize, valuing her as such, whereas the other guy will be so scattered chasing every little squirrel tail that comes by that he may end up never crossing the finish line and receiving a real trophy.

As for me? Boys, you can open my doors anytime! While I’m a true southern belle, which means that while I am strong enough and perfectly capable of doing it for myself, I do so appreciate a true Southern gentleman who knows that manners do matter! And I am always grateful when my guy goes the extra mile for me, and I am willing to do the same for him. I am from pioneering stock, and as most everybody knows, prima donnas and pioneers don’t belong in the same sentence! Just call me an old fashioned Bama Belle who knows the difference between a gentle man who is in touch with his inner scoundrel, and a bad boy who cannot be reformed. 

I’m Single, Because …!

  • Lou Lehman Sams 

COPY AND PASTE

COPY AND PASTE

So let me get this straight here … 

In the past few months on social media I have scrolled through:

* 987,675,432 political posts, many of which had zero point, & quite a few which could possibly be classified as hate-filled diatribes against the other parties,

* 321,456,877 pictures of puppies in various cute poses,

* 123,432,567 posts of people whining over the common cold, or getting caught at a traffic light,

* 2,908 rude or vulgar crass comments,

* 3,400 pictures of drooling babies with half chewed food strewn down their bibs,

* 986,655 posts disparaging others for their religious beliefs,

* 352 pictures of romantic Valentine’s dates,

* 221 posts about the Grammy awards,

* 899,543,211 pitches to buy mascara or creams that will keep me from ever aging,

And 

Countless posts about what is for dinner, vacation, wardrobe, etc.

Now, admittedly, I have pretty much posted something in almost every category above, including my never ending stream of sunset pictures. (With the exception of being hate-filled or disparaging towards others with differing religious or political beliefs. I do not believe in that.)

But some of you are upset that I, along with others, have copied & pasted a post to raise awareness for the ravages of cancer? Seriously, not much on social media ticks me off, but this one does. Cancer is a dreadful disaster that pretty much affects every single family in the United States. I once had a family member tell me that they would rather die than go through the ravages of chemotherapy again. (Although they did choose to do that very thing when their cancer returned.)

The post that I copied & pasted was not threatening a curse if you chose not to participate. It was not promising money or blessings if you chose to do so. It was originally written by a cancer survivor to raise awareness. And note that I posted it on my own wall, without peppering people’s private inboxes. 

By raising awareness, many things are accomplished in the battle, such as the propensity for the opening of pocketbooks to help fund research to eradicate the disease & save lives increases, as well as the opening of hearts to have more compassion & sympathy towards its victims, which should hopefully entail more personal support services to help them win their victories.

I am proud to call each of you on my Friend’s list my friend, whether I know you in person or only via social media. If you unfriend me over this post or the one that prompted it, I will be disappointed, but it will not hurt my feelings. I will not apologize for the post I copied & pasted. Flooding the newsfeed with it in order to raise awareness is much better than 99% of the posts I see floating by, including my own feeble attempts at inspiration. 

If you are a cancer survivor, know that I stand beside you, praising God for your victory. If you are currently battling any form of cancer now, I pray for peace, healing, strength, courage, & ultimately victory. 

If you have never had to face this beast called Cancer in your own life, I ask you this, have you ever done any of the following?

Watched an acquaintances posts showing her child, sick, month after month, until finally she loses the battle? 

Held the hands of one of the bravest women you know & prayed with her as her eyes filled with tears because she was facing a second cancer surgery?

Listened to a childhood friend tell how she elected to have a preventative mastectomy on her second breast at the same time she had the necessary mastectomy of the other one, because of her genetic predisposition to recurrence?

Sat beside a friend at BUNCO who told you, in the midst of a female conversation about cup sizes, that, “I have no breasts. Mine were cut off (due to cancer)”?

Attended the funeral of a family member who lost their lives to cancer?

Had a total stranger break down into tears of joy & hug you for raising money at a Relay for Life booth at a festival?

Visited sick children in the hospital who were bald from radiation & chemo therapy?

Tried to comfort a young mother whose child had been diagnosed with leukemia?

Had a woman who was dying with liver cancer look you straight in the eyes & tell you that she was not ready to die yet, a few weeks before she succumbed to that disease?

Reunited with a high school friend on Facebook, only to learn of his passing a couple of weeks after he posted a prayer request for his upcoming liver scans?

Walked into the Clearview Cancer Institute & had them take your photograph so they can make sure that they give the right treatments to you when you come back?      

Watched a TV documentary showing a young 9 year old boy’s battle & loss of his life to leukemia?

I have done all of these things, and much more! I have had precancerous cells, but never had cancer. I have had five legit cancer scares. I have seen family members suffer with cancer, & the effects of treatment. I have seen business colleagues lives totally redefined from it all. 

Yes, the fact that people have complained about a copy & paste social media post written by a cancer survivor to raise awareness for cancer makes me mad. Fighting mad!! I will stand beside you, pray for you, raise money with you, run errands for you, walk in the Relay for a life with you, or whatever it takes to help you through, should you fall victim. 

As for the rest of you, I hope & pray you will find something else to complain about, because this is one complaint that my logical & reasonable mind will not tolerate. If you need to unfollow or unfriend me as a result, so be it. But I pray that you nor your family members never have to face this disease. Unfortunately, the odds do not support that, as one in four people gets cancer. May God bless you, whether you are a victim, a survivor, a family member, or just a complainer. Whatever the case, save your complaints for your own page, I ain’t interested. 

And setting aside the cancer for just one brief moment, think about what good you might could accomplish in the time that you are wasting in complaining about someone else’s posts? Whether they are writing about puppies, politics, or posting pics of their personal stuff, they are entitled to write whatever they please on their own pages, as long as they are not breaking the law. In case you don’t know, there are nifty little features called scrolling, deleting, & unfollowing these days.

I wish I could say that I feel much better now that I have written this. But I don’t. I am just hoping that the time I took to write this post will somehow make it to the hands of one of those whose calloused hearts need revelation. Thank you.

– Lou Lehman Sams





FAMILY LESSONS 

FAMILY LESSONS

This may be a bit sappy, but it is straight from my heart. 

I come from a family of kind hearted, industrious, hardworking, pioneering, generous, loving, civic minded, patriotic Christians, & this evening several of them are on my mind, as they are ever in my heart: 

Pa-pa Lehman was the salt of the earth, & many who knew him have said the same thing about him, which is that he was one of the nicest men that they ever met. He sang me silly songs like “The Animal Fair” when he picked me up from school, he made me wooden, carved toys, cracked pecans from his yard for me with his hammer, & peeled & sliced small, sour green apples off of his tree in the back yard with his pocket knife, which happened to be the same one he used for innumerable things, such as cleaning his fingernails & tightening screws. He was a wizard with metallic gray duct tape, which is all that they made back then. He let me help him sow seeds, weed, & harvest in the garden out behind his house. We sat together, just the two of us, in the dark summer evenings & he pointed out the constellations to me, engaged my mind with the latest article he had read in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, & assured me that the bats flying overhead were not going to swoop down & harm me. He let me sit on the hood of his car, & as I leaned back against the windshield, he showed me the glory of the heavens. He allowed the scuppernong vines to sweep low to the ground in the grape arbor, for he knew that the grandkids loved to play house or hide & seek beneath its shaded arms, & he did not care if we left dozens of grape skins littering the ground after we had feasted on their sweetness. But I suppose the best lesson which he ever taught me was tolerance, for one hot summer day the neighbor kids were leaning through the wire fence & picking our hard earned baby tomatoes & running off with them, presumably taking them home to their parent’s dinner table. Pa-pa & I had worked all summer long together, just the two of us that year, in that garden, & I was very proud of its produce. Beside, I loved those “Tom-EE-Toes”, as we called them. So I shouted out to the kids, berating them, & warning them of possible consequences if they stole any more of our vegetables. I was so shocked when my Pa-pa fussed on ME for scolding them. It is the one & ONLY time that I ever remember him getting on to me about anything. But he actually raised his voice to me as he demanded that I “leave them alone, because they don’t know any better. Their Momma ran off with the postman, & their Daddy is trying to raise them all alone. They probably need those tomatoes more than we do.” With that, he abruptly took the hoe from my hands, & irritably went into his garage to sharpen it, leaving me to sob into my hands, standing alone amidst the okra, squash & cucumbers. It was not until after he had passed away a few years later that I fully grasped the lesson which he taught me that day. But he was, indeed, one of the nicest men that I have ever, even to this day, met.

My Daddy was a very smart, but very insecure man. He allowed his insecurities to cause him to drink more than he should, but he was a functioning alcoholic who always held down a job which took him away from home at times. When he was not drinking, he was a gentle man. We would, like I did with his father before him, sit out on the covered back porch, listening to the breezes blow through the leaves overhead, late into the summer nights, & have the most delightfully intriguing conversations on a wide & diverse range of topics. He had an Associates degree in Business, yet he turned down an opportunity to move up to Pennsylvania with a chemical company for which he worked in order to stay close to family. His mother’s family had settled North Alabama when it was still the Mississippi Territory, & he wanted to remain close to his then widowed mother. So his job as a fireman belied his intellect. But he was a very smart man. We talked for hours on end, & sometimes the only lights flickering in the darkness were the occasional lightning bugs & the glow of his Winston cigarette. He would get me to fetch him a beer, & I would drink my Dr. Pepper while we talked about God, the Universe, human nature, psychology, science, etc. We were estranged at the end of his life, but he taught me many things, & we loved each other. He had MANY friends of all walks of life, & he was extremely loyal to them. He loved children & could easily make them laugh. Though he no longer attended Church, he talked to me about the importance of loving God, obeying the law, about patriotism (he was a veteran of the United States Air Force), & about how I could make a difference in the world if I would just apply myself. He was a good encourager, & was always proud of my good grades. He always told me that I should grow up to be a writer. Alas, I have not done that, but maybe he would be proud of my sophomoric blog posts. The most important lesson my Daddy taught me, though, was not sitting out on that back porch beneath the big old pecan tree, but in his actions, for he was one of the most generous souls I have ever known. He would literally give anyone – family member, friend, or stranger – his very last dime, if they needed it. 

Aunt Helen was, by all accounts, “A Mess”, which was a Southern expression meaning she was “something else”, not that she was literally a mess. She was vivacious, a bit kooky, & had sparkling green eyes & a ready laugh. She, too, loved children, & to this day I have not understood why God in His wisdom did not allow someone who wanted a baby of their own as much as she did to have one. But Aunt Helen made up for the lack of biological children by loving on her stepson & nieces. When I was very small I would go & play at the country home of her & her first husband. She let me just be me. I could, without pressure, chase Monarch butterflies through the yard for no reason other than it delighted me to do so. She knew how much I loved to read, & so she arranged for her mother-in-law, who was the librarian at the local school, to bring her a big stack of books whenever I was going to spend the night with her. She was a Dental Hygienist by vocation, & whenever she cleaned my teeth, she would reward me for being a good patient by taking me for a piece of lemon ice box pie at Krystal. She is actually the one who taught me to drive. Unbelievably, my first few times behind the wheel of her sage green car were in the most narrow of roads at Maple Hill Cemetery – the ones that are so narrow that today they are blocked off from modern day, larger vehicles. It is a wonder I did not veer off & run over my great-grandparent’s graves, or worse yet, one of the “famous” Huntsvillians in the historic part of the graveyard. Aunt Helen had a zest for life that few possess. She showed me to always keep your spirits up, despite adverse circumstances, which in her case included two divorces from the same man. The most important lesson I learned from her, though, was not to be afraid to approach others & be the first to extend the hand of friendship. For wherever we went, whether it was the supermarket or the movie theater, she greeted everyone with kind eyes & a smile. 

Ma-ma Lehman had the most profound & lasting influence on my life of anyone who ever walked the earth during my lifetime. It would take an entire book to list all of the many things which we did together. She kept me during the summers & after school when my mother worked. She had a knack for making every single one of her ten grandkids feel as if they were the most special one of them all. She had countless friends, whom she was always ministering to in one way or another. She had that gift of gab, & I well recall many days when I, reclining on the wicker settee in the broad foyer with a Nancy Drew mystery book in hand, halfway listening to her as she sat across the room from me on the black telephone table with the vinyl seat, chatting on that black rotary dial phone, assuring one of her innumerable friends that everything would be all right. She took up money for flowers whenever someone in the neighborhood had a death in the family, & she took food to those who were ill. She made me grilled cheese with Campbell’s Tomato Soup & Pepsi whenever I had an upset stomach. She was my mentor, my champion, & my rescuer from an unhappy mother. She let me play dress up in her lace gloves & coat with the mink collar. She spent hours culling through old family photos with me, which she had stored in two huge blanket boxes from Montgomery Wards. She regaled me with tales of growing up on that farm in Big Cove, & how she eventually moved to town to work in T.T.Terry’s Department store. Though she was not a politician, she was heavily involved in politics. Her ancestors had been constables, County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, & Postmasters who were well known & respected in the area. Her great uncle had even been a six term United States Congressman from Jackson County. How many times she must have said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know  that counts!” She was the Queen of Networking before that word was ever coined. She could make beautiful dresses on her pedal driven sewing machine. She was a fabulous cook & I loved to stir the buttermilk cornbread or divinity candy – everything she made was from scratch, without a recipe or mix, & it was always perfect. She took me to Church every single Sunday, & let me carry her prized possession: her Bible. She was a country girl who “could out pick every man in Big Cove in a cotton picking contest.” She was a Christian woman who taught several local boys about God in Sunday School, boys who grew up to be preachers in well known Church of Christ congregations in the area. She was a mischievous prankster who delighted in entertaining people with the corniest jokes. A fastidious dresser who preferred the conveniences of city life to the rigors of the farm, she would nonetheless  lapse into her country vernacular & say that, “Funny things keeps you going!” She was a well respected community leader whose calls were taken & opinions valued by Governors, Senators, Mayors, County Commissioners, & City Councilmen alike. She was a force to be reckoned with, if you dared cross someone she loved. I owe my very life to her in more ways than one. But the most important thing that she taught me was this, “The good Lord gives, & He takes away.” That is a lesson I am still trying to fully grasp. But the faith which she instilled in me has resounded throughout the years, & I know that God only takes away something which we percieve to be good if He has something better in mind for us.

These & more of my God fearing family members have long ago passed on. But their legacy remains. They all loved God, country & family. They all valued good morals & hard work. They all believed in the sense of community, in giving back, that, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” They all loved the innocence of children, valued friendships, lent helping hands to neighbors, enjoyed making others laugh, & had a song, joke, or Bible verse at the ready, if anyone needed their spirits to be lifted. 

My own children have grown up & moved away. But I am not alone, for like Aunt Helen, I meet no strangers, & have been blessed with an outgoing personality; like my Pa-pa, I survey the wonders of the Universe & my mind is occupied with thoughts higher than my own which make times of solitude enjoyable; like my Daddy, I understand that a generosity of spirit is returned a thousandfold by the respect of friends; & like my Ma-ma, I know the value of networking, & the power of God. So whenever I feel a wee but lonesome, I remind myself that I come from good stock. And I thank God above that He has blessed me with an abundance of friends. Though my biological sister died a very long time ago at a young age, I have women that I am proud to call my sisters, & a couple of those I claim kin, though we are not related by blood. I have friends who allow me to join in their family celebrations, & those who allow me to love on their kids, for my heart, like my family members I have written about, has always had a soft spot for kids & young people of all ages. Some of them even let me love on their parents & grandkids, too!

The most important lessons I have learned from all of this is that there really is not any substitute for loving kindness, & if being a nice, hardworking person who loved God, country, family & friends can one day be my own legacy, too, then I shall feel that I have lived my life well. 

I still miss you, Pa-pa, Ma-ma, Aunt Helen & Daddy. If y’all have any say so up there in Heaven, please put in a good word for me. One day when we are reunited, I want to hear all of your stories again, & hopefully I will add a few of my own into the mix. Meanwhile, I look for the good in people & situations, like y’all taught me, & “Funny things keeps me going!”

– Lou Lehman Sams

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE 

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE

If you are a student in high school, they ask, 

“Where are you going to college?”

If you are a college student, they ask,

“What is your major?”

If you are a single graduate, they ask,

“When are you going to get married?”

If you are a young married, they ask,

“When are you going to have a baby?”

When you have your first baby, they ask, 

“When are you going to have another one?”

When you have had all of your kids, they ask,

“What are your kids doing?”

When your nest becomes empty, they ask,

“When are you going to retire?”

And my LEAST favorite question of all is …

When you become “Single Again”, they ask,

“WHY are you ‘still’ SINGLE?!?”


The inflection is as if being single at my age is a disease of some sort. I assure you, it is not! I am single by choice. I am single because I still believe in love. I am single because I refuse to settle. I am single because I would rather be alone than use a man whom I do not love for a big house, vacations, clothes, cars, & a Meal Ticket. 


Here’s the thing:

I’ve had the custom built, 3,700 some odd square foot house in the neighborhood that had a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a fishing pond. But I can do without all of that. I’d sincerely be content in a little log cabin by a quiet stream, so long as it was warmed by love. 


Like most readers, I like nice things. I always wanted both a beach house getaway & a cabin in the mountains. I could do without the regular house, if I had those, because I find so much peace in the beauty in nature. 


As I was going through my divorce, during which period I refused to date, I spent a lot of time with female friends, playing BUNCO, going out to eat, & indulging in Girl Talk. Sometimes I would cry, & tell them that I knew I was not as young as I once was, & I wondered if I would ever get a date, once the divorce was final. They always asked me what I was looking for in a man.


So I comprised a list, which I delivered tongue-in-cheek, akin to a mini Comedy Act. It went something like this:

“The first thing I need is TEETH. I DO live in Alabama, you know, & if you take a look at the guys at the gas station, many are missing teeth. I want at least a dozen! As a former Dental Hygienist, this is important to me!

Next, no beer bellies. I don’t do beer bellies, & if they look like they are about to deliver a baby at any moment, they are not the one for me. 

A sense of humor is mandatory! If they cannot handle my sense of humor, they won’t be able to handle me.

They need a brain, too. It is even better if they know how to use it!

And I understand that hair is optional at this age, but I do like hair! Preferably not a toupe that is about to fall off.”


That was it. By injecting humor into the whole topic of what I was looking for, I was able to entertain the inquisitor & change the subject at the same time, because inevitably we would get off on a side topic, like why people do not floss.


Finally, the divorce was final, & I had to describe, on a dating site, what I was interested in from a man. Totally different answers!! They went something like this:

“Loyalty is non-negotiable. A sense of humor is mandatory. Communication is key. Chemistry is essential. Everything else in a relationship can be navigated.”


Though I have always had a thing for blue eyes & biceps, I was mature enough to realize that those things are superficial. My first boy friend post divorce, did in fact, have a small belly, but he had other attributes that counterbalanced that. After two failed relationships in 3 years, though, I had to add that I would prefer it if they do not have any crazy exes lurking about. Those make for very stressful relationships, to say the least. 


After getting hit on by men I’d never even met from ages 25 to 75 who were proposing for me to jump in my car & meet them at the beach, the mountains, or wherever, I started adding that I am not interested in a one night stand or a hookup. Really. Had to specify that to keep them at bay. Then, had to add that I do not want to communicate privately with married men, or those whose divorces are not final yet. Such  is the world in which we live …


Eventually I have added that the potential suitor himself must not be crazy, either. But that is a mental note. Can’t exactly put on your dating profile that narcissists, sociopaths & psychopaths need not apply. As an Empath, I am a natural magnet for these guys, it seems, but it does not take long to figure it out.


I have now been “Single Again” for 4 years. I have learned so much about myself, such as the fact that I was pretty naive when I got divorced, & had no idea how to date in the modern world, but that is a story for another day. I know that everyone in these shoes has baggage & some of it I am willing to help carry, but some of it needs to be checked at the door. I am learning the difference between these men being physically &  emotionally available – two very different things! I have learned that there are some bizarre fetishes out there that were beyond the realm of my wildest imagination. To be clear, I do not even kiss on the first couple of dates, but some of these guys will just throw these things out there over appetizers on the first date! Yikes!! I guess that is really important to them, sort of like not dating a crazy person is important to me. Truly, I did not come this far in life to end up chopped into little pieces in the deep freezer of someone’s garage!!! (Maybe I should be nicer to those crazy exes in the future …?)

Finally, it has occurred to me, the most important criteria I seek, the one reason I am single: The key to my own heart lies hidden within His heart. 

What I mean by that is that my heart’s desire is a man who desires to have a heart like God’s. I am not talking about a “Jesus freak”, per se. And while some of my very happiest memories were Sunday mornings spent holding hands or sitting with a man’s strong arm about me in Church, I realize that organized religion is not for everyone. My beloved grandmother, as long as she was physically able, never missed a Sunday morning at Church, while her husband, my beloved  grandfather, stayed at home, drinking strong, black, coffee from the percolator & reading the Sunday paper. But he read his Bible, along with excerpts from the encyclopedia, every day. He had a quest for knowledge, a love for learning, and he definitely knew God. 

I want a man who knows God. Who relishes the laughter of children. Who appreciates sunsets and storms and the wind howling through the trees. Who can find contentment walking along the beach or working with his hands. Who gives of his time freely to help others. Someone who is kind. Who understands that no one is perfect, not even himself. Someone who is not angry at the world every day, but who makes allowances for others. Someone who loves unconditionally, is fiercely protective, and who can laugh at themselves and life’s curve balls. A man who means it when he says he will, “always love, always protect and always take care of me.” One who honors his word, rather than just giving lip service. One who spends his free time golfing or hunting or volunteering or doing something productive, rather than surfing Tinder.

Please understand that I have met some fantastic, kind, caring, and wonderful men since my divorce. I am blessed and proud to call many of them my friends! I am thankful for what they have brought to my life. Although I frequently make jokes about my search for the “perfect man, I am all too cognizant that no perfect man – or woman – exists on earth. And if one did exist, I would not want him, for I am far from perfect! 

But I am a one man woman, and I will settle for nothing less than a one woman man. And as much as I do still love blue eyes & biceps, I now know what I REALLY want: I want a man who, though it is impossible to achieve here on earth, strives to have a heart like His.

Until he finds me, I will be content with the One who ALWAYS keeps His word: He ALWAYS loves, ALWAYS protects, & ALWAYS takes care of me!! ALWAYS!!! Therefore, I do not have to settle for less than the best, for I already have it! That, my friends, is why I am still single. My guy is out there, somewhere, getting excited about hearing the laughter of little children at the upcoming holiday dinner, or helping a neighbor repair storm damage, because he is working on having a heart like His. The rest of the things – the hair, the eye color, the car, the house, the clothes – do not matter. My heart’s desire is to have His heart. 

(P.S. Not sure if I can give up on those teeth, though. Lord, let him have at least a dozen, please???)

– Lou Lehman Sams  

Four Leaf Clover Bible

Four Leaf Clover Bible

I became a Christian at the age of 11, & I love to read my Bible. Actually, I have several Bibles, because I was once involved in a Bible study program that delved into homiletics. In those days, we did not have access to online Bibles, so I purchased different versions of them for comparison purposes. Some of them even have built in study guides. However, my very favorite Bible is a small new King James version from 1988. It is the Bible that I have carried to church constantly for nearly 30 years. I have read and used it so many times that all of the tabs have fallen off of the edges of the pages. Once it even fell into a toilet. Fortunately, the water was clean! My children played with it when they were little. I have scribbled notes in it. But the thing that stands out the most is a little sticker that I placed on one of the pages a few years ago.


When I was growing up, we did not have Bible journaling sessions. People did not color in their Bibles. Most of the writing was an occasional note from the preacher here or there that especially touched a chord. In previous generations, Bibles were used to record family genealogies, & important information such as birth & death, before the era of government certifications regarding those major life events. So it was not until recent days that I began underlining parts & verses that had touched me in a particular manner. And prior to my divorce, I doubt that I would ever have placed a sticker inside of my Bible.


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To be clear, I did not say “I Do” to one day turn around & say “I Don’t.” But sometimes divorce is necessary. Besides that is story for another day. But here where I live, contested divorces can get very ugly, & worse than that, our backed up court system can mean that they take a very long time to accomplish the process, as in my case, which dragged on for nearly two interminable years.


Living in this same house with an unhappy spouse wears down even the most optimistic of souls. So I did any variety of things to keep myself busy. I did whatever I could to stay out of the volatile atmosphere of that house. I joined a gym. I went to activities with a Meet-Up group for women. I reconnected with girl friends, some of whom I had long since lost touch with prior to that time. I went out sometimes on Friday or Saturday nights to listen to live music with friends. And of course I went to Church, prayed, & read my Bible. And I discovered the joys & challenges of social media. I did a LOT of volunteer work, including being an Ambassador at the local Chamber of Commerce. Anything to keep me out of the tension in that house!


One night, I was meeting with a group of female friends at a restaurant for a “Girl’s Night Out” dinner that I had suggested. On the spur of the moment, I invited another girl from high school that I did not know well, but who I knew was going through a hard time. I arrived a few minutes late, frazzled from a difficult negotiation regarding repairs on the house that I had under contract, and looking very much the worse for wear from having been out showing houses all day in the rain. So when that girl arrived and told me that she had invited a male friend of hers that was also going through a divorce and whom she thought I might enjoy meeting, I was none too happy! I was refusing to date anyone until after my divorce was final. I was not in the mood to meet anyone new. And to top it all off, I looked dreadful! I told her to tell him not to come because it was only women, but she informed me that it was too late, & that he would be arriving momentarily. I ran to the ladies’ restroom, applied a little lipstick & tried to run a brush through my tangled hair. 


I cringed. I did not want to entertain a stranger, but I do that for a living when I show real estate, so I decided that I could suffer through. Sure enough, he walked in & sat beside me almost immediately after I got back to the table. But he was a handsome & charismatic man, filled with charm & personality. Something about his quick wit drew me in. Or perhaps it was the pain that was almost hidden beneath his sparkling blue eyes. I’m always a sucker for someone who is hurting. Nonetheless, we became engaged in a conversation to such an extent that a couple of the ladies at the table began texting me with little jokes, because he & I seemed to be enrapt in one another. As dinner drew to a close, I innocently handed him my business card, because he is in a real estate related industry, & that is what I do: I network. 


I was so surprised when he texted me upon my arrival home. I was flattered by the attention, as I had never texted with a man before. But I quickly let him know I was not interested in dating until my divorce was final. Somehow we developed a friendship over text. In the ensuing months, we would text off & on about all sorts of things, but mostly just about our divorces. We would encourage each other, & commiserate. Not often, but if things got especially trying, we would have an occasional chat on the phone. I decided that I really liked him, & hoped we would date one day. Some times we would go for weeks with no communication. 


Eventually he asked me if I would like to go to a movie, & I agreed, because his mother & kids were our chaperones! And I did break down & meet him for a movie once after that, & we had dinner a couple of times. But each of us had contested & highly contentious divorces, so no dating. Secretly, I hoped that we would date after our divorces were final. 


This was long before I had ever heard of SQuire Rushnell’s books “Divine Alignment” & “God Winks.” The concept of a series of unusual coincidences being signs from God was foreign to me & my religious upbringing. But in his writings, Rushnell cites numerous examples of repeated “coincidences” that turn out to be a part of Divine alignment, or God trying to get your attention. These things can be number sequences, things in Nature, phone calls, etc. and though I did not know then during that two year period of my divorce, a Bible verse that I encountered repeatedly in numerous places was just that: God winking at me.


It started one night when I was playing “Bible Roulette”, which is where you are praying about something & ask God to speak to you through a Bible verse. I was getting a divorce at the worst possible time – real estate was a not exactly booming in 2011, as we were still, as a nation, feeling the after effects of the Economic crisis of 2008-2009. And of course, my soon to be ex-husband’s attorney was adversarial, looking for anything at all against me to try to make me look bad in court. Though I had done nothing wrong & had never committed adultery, my own attorney had been successfully playing the game of trying to make me feel as if the other side was “our” mortal enemy. It is always “us” against “them” in contested divorce cases. As I prayed for comfort, I randomly opened my Bible to this verse:


 “The Lord is my rock & my fortress & my deliverer, the God of my strength, In whom I will trust. My shield & the horn of my salvation, My stronghold, & My refuge. My Savior, you save me from violence. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, So shall I be saved from my enemies.” – 2 Samuel 22:2-4.


The words leapt off of the page, for this was the exact same verse that I had claimed when I had been embroiled in another spiritual battle of a different nature back in 1997. Back then, I had purchased a paperweight with that verse on it, & put it on my desk as a reminder of impending victory, which indeed did come. Anyway, after that evening, I began seeing that Bible verse turn up frequently, & not just in my Bible, but on plaques in stores, on email devotionals, in sermons at Church, on Christian shows on TV, in houses I was showing, etc. so I knew immediately what to quote to this male friend of mine when he called me one night to chat. He was filled with desperation, because, as sometimes happens in nasty divorces where considerable resources are involved, he was being falsely accused of something. (No, it did not involve me.) I read this verse to him, & prayed with him on the phone.


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His battle was much worse than mine, & some days I would just text him that verse & tell him I was praying for him, & for a favorable outcome. One day, he told me he was worried that his luck was running out. Again, I prayed with him. Later that same day, I was standing in the back yard of a home I was showing, & I looked down to see that I was standing in a bed of clover. There was a four leaf clover! I stooped & plucked that little clover. Though I used to look for four leaf clovers in beds of clover when I was a child, that was the very first one I had ever found in my entire life! So I snapped a picture of it on my cell phone, & texted it to him as a sign that his luck was about to change for the better. Later, at home, I randomly opened my Bible to insert that clover to press it, & sure enough, it fell open to 2 Samuel 22, so I gently placed that four leaf clover there, & left it there for many months. 


Finally, my divorce was final, & I was looking forward to to the prospect of going on my first date since I had met my ex-husband so many years before. This man’s divorce was still not final, but I decided to invite him to stop by my new townhouse for a few minutes, so I could give him a birthday present. We were not dating, but I wanted to give him that clover. So I bought a tiny shadow box, printed out that verse, & glued the clover to it. I thought this might help him get through the final days of his divorce. But I bought myself a four leaf clover sticker, & placed it on that page in my Bible as a reminder that God is faithful to be our refuge & our strength, as He has been mine many times before.


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A few weeks later, I met another handsome, charming, & witty man, & fell in love with him. Two days after I agreed to date him exclusively, the first man’s divorce became final, & he called me to invite me out on a real dinner date. I explained that I was in a relationship with someone, but thanked him for the offer. As I hung up the phone, I wept. It was almost as if I was breaking up with a man with whom I had never even been in a relationship. But I loved the man I was dating, & I refused to be disloyal to him. Occasionally, the first guy would text me to see if I was still in that relationship, & each time I would tell him that I was, & wish him well. However, after nineteen months, I separated from my new love, & I found myself once again without a significant other. After many months of  being single yet again, I texted the first man, but this time he was in a relationship. But I knew that we had a bond from surviving those extraordinarily stressful divorces, & that we would always be friends. 


A couple of months ago, the first man & I reconnected, & had a lovely dinner date, where he came to my home & picked me up for a real date! During dinner, we caught up with all that had transpired since we had last spoken. He told me that he still has the little shadow box with the four leaf clover & that Bible verse in it on his kitchen window sill, where he can see it for encouragement every single morning. It was such a simple gesture on my part, but it goes to show you that the smallest things can sometimes have a lasting impact. 


After dinner, we went back to my place & rented a movie. We were both exhausted from work, so about half way through, he had to leave, as he lives quite some distance away. It was a very pleasant evening with a dear “old friend.” But the chemistry I thought I felt when we first met just was not there. If ever we go out again, I am sure it would just be as friends this time. Yet I know that God did bring us together for a reason. It just was not for the reason I originally thought.


Something may be happening in your life, & you do not understand the reason. Hold on. You may understand it – eventually. After reading this, I hope that you will think of some small gesture that you can make towards a friend who is going through a tough time. Whatever it is that your heart comes up with to do, I assure you that they need it! 


As for me? I got another God wink this morning. After seeing that verse & that clover sticker in my Bible yesterday, I decided to write this blog post. But I had to write an offer on a house instead. I awakened this morning thinking again about writing it. But I hesitated. Then I saw a sweet friend’s Facebook post. She is struggling with some things right now, & her son had picked her several four leaf clovers for good luck. I told her that is a sign that her luck is about to change. And it was a sign for me to write this – for whom, I do not know. But I hope you find a four leaf clover somewhere today. Or at least read 2 Samuel 22:2-4. God IS your rock, your FORTRESS, & YOUR deliverer! Good luck is on its way. 


P. S. Thanks, God, for winking at me, today! 


– Lou Lehman Sams


Waiting in the Presence of Saints

Back in the day when I was a Dental Hygienist & managed a dental office, people would sometimes schedule appointments for cosmetic dentistry. Perhaps they needed a crown or veneers on one or more teeth. They wanted these things in order to protect their teeth or to improve their appearance, & self-esteem. The dentist I worked for did a good job with cosmetic issues such as this, & the end results were usually very esthetically pleasing, with the patients being happier & more content. They were able to chew their food better, or smile more easily, or express themselves in a more confident manner, or sometimes, all of these. However, there was a PROCESS involved in getting to this place of satisfaction. That entailed getting a shot – ouch – did I say that word out loud?!? To re-phrase, they had an injection of anesthesia to numb the affected area, so that they could not feel the pain that was about to ensue as a result of drilling out tooth decay, removing bits of tooth, or filing & smoothing rough surfaces. They had to lie prone in an uncomfortable position, & be totally still for a time that was undetermined by them. They could not even get up to go to the restroom unless the dentist was at an appropriate stopping place, for fear of messing up the procedure. They had a bright light shining down onto their faces, so that, while the dental professionals could see everything going on with them very clearly, they could not see very well themselves. And since they could not turn their heads without being instructed to do so, they could not even see everything that was going on in the room around them. Sometimes they had to make 2 or 3 visits in order to get everything done. At those times, they were given temporary crowns, ones which were only a facsimile of what the real crown would look like. The patients would get tired of holding their mouths open in such an awkward, uncomfortable & unusual manner for such an extended time. Some of them were so very fearful of the entire process that they were given nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas to help ease their anxieties.

But the choice to have the procedures done was always theirs – they were not forced into the chairs, tied down, or held down by chains. They could have, if they really wanted to do so, gotten up & walked out at any time. But they made a choice, these adult patients, to be still, & let the doctor do his work. They trusted him to do a good job, in as short a time possible & that they would be pleased with the end result. And sometimes they had to wait for extended periods of time in the outer waiting room, just to get in & have the procedure begin in the first place. But they did wait. For they wanted what the doctor had to offer them. They wanted to look & feel better. Once in a great while, there would be a patient with an abscessed tooth or something who did not follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment. What right did that patient, who refused the antibiotics, who refused to have the decay removed, who refused to allow the doctor’s hand to work on him, what right did that patient have to complain when they eventually lost that tooth? In my eyes, they had no right to complain at all.

No patient in their right mind would have squirmed, wiggled, or otherwise wrestle while the doctor had his drill actively engaged inside their mouth, for they knew that to do so might cause him to slip & cause them further harm. And I had occasion to act as the doctor’s assistant on procedures ranging from cosmetic improvements to oral surgery. No one ever enjoyed any of these uncomfortable experiences. And I hated that for them, but I tried to be as reassuring as possible to them while they were being worked on. No one ever begged to get onto the calendar, wished for a cavity, or volunteered for surgery unnecessarily. Going to the dentist was, for most people, considered to be an unpleasant experience that they would just as soon avoid at all costs. Yet still they came.

They sat as still as possible & allowed the dentist to do his work. Most of them did not speak unless spoken to, for that meant further delay in getting through the procedure. They were never left unattended, as either the dentist or his assistant or both were in the room with them at all times. One of the jobs of the assistant was to reassure the patients, & for those who were really anxious, sometimes this meant literally holding their hand while they were being worked on. The patients could not see everything going on around them – the times the assistant turned her back on them to mix a bonding compound, or when the drill bits were being changed out, or when an x-ray was being developed. But they could hear sounds, were cognizant of activity, & knew things were being worked out on their behalf. They simply trusted that the doctor knew exactly what he was doing. They listen for his directions about what to do next – which way to turn, when to rinse, how wide to open, etc. And they followed his directives without question.

So why then is it that we have such a difficult time sitting still & letting the Great Physician perform His work in our lives? Perhaps there are times when He must make us lie still, be uncomfortable, or be temporarily blinded by something external in order that He can remove decay, transform something ugly into something beautiful, or smooth off rough spots within us? Perhaps we are made to feel numb about something that has transpired in our lives because otherwise the pain would be far too great for us to bear? Perhaps we are not supposed to see every little movement that is occurring around us on our behalf? Perhaps …

I have always been a very good patient – in the physical realm. I guess that is because not only was I a dental health professional, but so was my aunt & my mother, so I was trained at a very early age that things will go a lot more smoothly & quickly & comfortably if you will lie still when needed & just relax & trust the doctor. Why then, do I have such a problem with this in my spiritual life? Why do I have such a difficult time when I feel God working on me? I KNOW that the end result will be a new, improved, & better me. Yet I squirm. I wiggle. I protest. I get impatient with waiting. At times I even get up out of that chair & start to head out the door before the procedure is completed.

I hate that bright light shining down on me, exposing all of my flaws! I abhor being confined. I detest being still for extended periods. I dislike not knowing what is going on around me. I deny that I have decay that needs to be removed.

But I know that I will not be happy with the end results if I do not allow him to finish. I know that, if the decay is not removed, excessive pain will result that will eventually cause a part of me to die. So I endure that discomfort. I listen for directions.

Yes, sometimes I misunderstand those directions. Sometimes the anesthetic wears off enough that the pain brings tears. Sometimes I get really, really frustrated with having to lie there for so long, thinking about all of the other things that I want to be doing. At those times, a soothing voice calms my spirit, or a warm hand clasps mine, or I feel a gentle squeeze on my shoulder. Sometimes those things are from the Master Himself. But when He is busy preparing things on my behalf, sometimes it is His “assistants” that help me through.

I am so very thankful for all of the Godly men & women that God has sent to me to help me be still, keep calm, & be quiet when I was having a hard time doing so by myself. For the ones that dried my tears & reassured me that everything was going to be all right. For the ones who sat in that Waiting Room with me, until it was my time to be seen, & for the ones who were assigned the task of helping me through the procedure.

Yes, waiting is very hard, especially for someone as active & hyper as me! My best advice for waiting? Surround yourself with the presence of Godly people who will wait with you as you trust in God to make the restorations you need in your life. But wait on the Lord – He knows what He is doing. Trust Him. The end result is worth the wait.

And if you know someone that is being told to lie still while God is working? Perhaps you can be the one that waits with them. Pray with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Pray for them. Reassure them. Soothe them. Distract them. Most of all, just be there to wait with them! Be present for them!!

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever & ever.
I will praise You forever,
because You have done it:
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.”
-Psalm 52:8-9

~ Lou Lehman Sams