Checking In … by Vicki Knotts


 Isaiah 41:10New International Version (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

My favorite part about the summer season is having the opportunity to walk along the beach and listen to the meditative rhythm of the ocean while deep in prayer.  I am often reminded of that beautiful poem, ‘Footprints in the Sand’ as I reflect upon the trials and tribulations of the year gone by.  As I breathe in deeply the scent of the salt air, I hold my heart in gratitude to the aid God has provided to me during those times when there was only one set of footprints in my life. 

We must remember that God sends his favor in many ways and, more importantly, we must be open to receiving it.  Here at Advent, God is hard at work through the many special members of Pastoral Care.  Some of them take time out of their week to visit our sick and/or homebound members.  Others take the time to prepare and deliver a meal to members who have celebrated the arrival of a new baby or perhaps have had a hardship arise.  There are some who take the time to knit comfort and prayer into a shawl that can be wrapped around one who is suffering.  They handle the planning of a reception following a funeral in order to ease the burden of a grieving family.  Some deliver the Altar Flowers following services on Sunday just to brighten the day of one of our members who could some cheer added to their day.  And others dedicate time to deep and strictly confidential prayer for those in sudden need.

These simple actions can mean so much; I know as I have personally been the recipient of many of these ministries while going through a difficult time. Please join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for the devotion of our Pastoral Care members.  Please be open to these blessings, let our office know if you could use a helping hand or even if you would like to lend one!   And, if you get a chance, take a walk along the shore, reflect upon the past year, and breathe deeply in prayer thanking God for all his glorious mercy.



Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. 
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

- by Mary Stevenson