God had a Plan

33830443_10216158022326917_8166564710557155328_nRose Hayes Swope:  Lovely!  That is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Rose.  She is as beautiful as a rose in full bloom.  That might be because she allow Christ to work in her and He formed every petal as a work of art. I also see gentleness, acceptance, love, compassion, empathy, feistiness and even more love.  I am blessed to have her in my life.  Thank you Rose for loving me.

Eastern Kentucky after the depression: “My journey as a Christian” 1940-Present

Mother was an Irish Catholic and married outside the church to a Scottish Baptist.  The nearest church was 25 miles away which was a hard travel in those days.  My dad was an “old regular Baptist”.  They were opposite extremes.   The old regular Baptist didn’t have bible school or anything for children so there were Missionary Baptist that would come into town and did bible schools at the schools during the week.  And they would have bible school on Sundays and pick us up in a van and during the summer they would also have Sunday school.   I did that until the 8th grade, I didn’t convert to Christ but I believed in prayer.   Mom, being a Catholic, relied on prayer and so I believed in it too.  I remember once, I dropped a key in the creek and it was stuck between some rocks.  I had worked, worked and worked to get it and it would not come out.  I remember getting out on the bank of the creek and praying and when I went back it came out real easy.    So I really believed in prayer after that.

My dad continued to go to church but because of the distance they only meet about every 3 weeks and didn’t have anything for children.  My mom would go with him but they never discussed with anyone that she was Catholic.  Mom would sit there and listen to them disgrace the Catholic Church and never would say anything.  She was a meek but knowledgeable lady.   She came from a family that had money because her father was an engineer on the railroad.  Both her parents were dead by the time she was 25 so she would have to go to work, instead of going to college.   She worked at a bank which was progressive for those times.  When the brother that she lived with in Summerset got married, she left and came to Lexington to work.  She worked for a nice clothing store and loved clothing when she saw that Mary Breckenridge (pioneered in mid-wifery) needed a secretary.  People would come from England to Eastern Kentucky to learn to become mid-wives. My mother said nurses would ride horse back to the homes and deliver the babies.  After about 18 months my mom came by bus to Knott County and my father met her on horseback and that was the beginning of my story. 37042554_225500728075807_225216862252695552_n

My dad built our home, a modest log cabin, on the farm where he was raised on and all it cost him was my mom’s last $25, which paid for the stone mason to build the fire place and well.  After I finished grade school my mother bought an old typewriter and got her typing skills back up and applied for a job at the extension office so that my brother and I could go to the boarding school.  Without her willingness to do that I would not

ROSE 3

have had the privileges’ that I had.   And that was a real turning point in my life. My class mates and I were like a big family and we learned a lot of things .  We were able to have jobs for about 10 hours a week and I learned a lot of different trades and some from the Irish heritage. My mom’s parents were married on the boat coming over to the U.S.A and they were Scotch/Irish.

 

I applied for Berea College and I was boarder line being able to attend.  In high school, I wanted to study home economics but my mother wanted me to study Latin.   But I saw it as a dead language so I didn’t see any point in memorizing it.  I got a D in that class and that hurt my score to get into Berea College.  The woman that ran the boarding school fought for me and I was able to get into Berea College.  I graduated high school in the summer of 1958 and I had to take a course in English.  That was another turning point in my life. I still had not accepted Christ but I would go to church on Sundays at the Methodist church.  I’m made up of all these doctrines, a little bit Baptist, a little bit Catholic and little bit Methodist, then later the Christian Church.   That summer there was a girl at Berea taking a summer coarse.  Her parents had attended college there but she couldn’t attend because they made too much money but she would come take courses during the summer. There was a revival going on at the Baptist church and she influenced me to go and that right there is where I became a Christian.  God had it planned out for me. [I sit there as tears are running down her face as she remembers that moment] All the way through college I wanted to be an extension agent.  My clothing teacher wanted me to go to teach at Pine Mountain Settlement School but the school was in nowhere land and I didn’t want to go there but I had the opportunity to go back to Hindman High school, where I attended and teach.   But I really knew that teaching wasn’t what I wanted to do so I graduated with enough points standing to be able to get into graduate school at UK.   I got a job at the extension office, which is the job I really wanted.   But this didn’t come without hard choices.  I had to choose from 2 different counties one being Lee County and one being Powell County.  Of course Mother had been praying through all of this.   I found myself a place to live, which was also a hard choice, but found a room to rent in a home that belonged to a woman in town.   Because of her I am in the Christian Church.  Beulah was like a second mother.  Every day I would come home from work and she would have tea fixed.  We’d sit down and she’d ask, “How was your day?” and I would tell her.  I would pray and write down everything that was bothering me and put it by my head board at night and then I could sleep. Every morning when I would get up I would pray and things got better.   Things continued getting better!  I had an old Chevy II but it was in bad repair so I purchased a Turquoise Oldsmobile and I thought I was flying high.  This was the 2nd car I ever owned.  19554282_110589839566897_3111753390247705797_nEvery morning the girls and I would walk across the hall to have coffee.  I was sitting back at my desk and this guy comes in.   I didn’t know who he was so I asked “Can I help you Sir?” and He said “Yes, I’m Bill Swope, you can help me by giving me a date.”  I said “I don’t know you Sir!”  [As she laughs at the memory.  And we both agree he was bold!]   And so I said I would have to check my calendar and get back with him.  I told the girls and they encourage me to go out with him.  So I decided to go out with him but I was going to pay for my own way and I would have no obligations to him.   The only thing to do at that time was to go to the Natural Bridge and go square dancing and that began our relationship.

Shortly after I went to Detroit for some training on how to deal with inner city and poverty kids and while I was gone he sent me flowers and gifts, he was really romancing me and awaiting my return.   That July we would be married.   We didn’t go to church for a while because he didn’t go to church and later I had a miscarriage.   That is when I was asked to come back to the Christian Church and we started going there.  I taught Sunday school and 5 years later we had our son.   I was commuting between Powell Co and Lexington for 13 years and then the Lord had another plan for me.  My job moved from Clark County, where we built an excellent program at the Extension office.   God keeps working things out.  I was able to move my mom who was failing mentally close to me so I could care for her.

Bill worked as a nurse in the day and then ran the boat business at night.  Our son still has that business in Winchester.  Bill retired when our son was 9.   He would move boats from state to state and one trip he had a cerebral hemorrhage.  I was sitting in the chair praying over some hard issues and I had a vision of him going over in a ravine so I stopped praying and asked the Lord, “Don’t let that not be the answer” and then I got the call.   Bill had the hemorrhage and had been swerving on and off the road at the same time I was praying.   [Tears running down her face as she remembers] I then took a cargo plane to Las Vegas to be with him.  The doctors didn’t give much hope but the Lord continued to answer prayers.

We came back to Winchester and while I worked the men from church came to sit with him.  He was in and out of consciousness for 2 weeks.  He woke up and said “I’m Home!”

But he never was quiet the same.  He had many other medical issues and several near death experiences.  We would pass the time by me throwing him a kiss and him throwing me one back.  That seemed to give him peace.  We just couldn’t give up on him.  “I’m a control freak.  But God healed me of that.  I now know I’m not in control, I know who is in control”.  He has humbled me!  I told my son one day that God put me through all this just to humble me.  Instead of taking him to Hospice we were blessed with a nurse to come to the home.  God kept taking care of things.   The cancer had gone to his bones but the Lord provided what was needed to keep him fairly comfortable.  We were married 47 ½ years.

That has been 3 years and I am still healing.  But God is good!  Shortly after Bill’s death, I talked with Vern Mohr and that is when the Care Team got started. We would provide food and care for the people at church.  Vern was the Leader and I was the food chairperson.

I have lost 7 members of my family in the last several years and it’s been hard.  But my son and my grandchildren are still here. I thank God, He still has me here for a purpose. [Tears still streaming]  I have a journal where I keep a list of those I know who are in need and I pray for them daily.

I now do watercolor painting.

 

This is something that I have always wanted to do. One summer before my husband died I went to UK and took a drawing and painting class.  I meet a friend in class and we became very close.  I have since lost her to cancer also.  I’ve been painting for 10 years.  [More tears]  [We discussed briefly those tears.  Those tears are for cleansing. Then she began encouraging me.  She shared that she believed that I had a God given gift of empathy, not everyone has that gift, she says.]  I know what my gifts are and I’m happy doing it.  It’s clear to me.  It’s listening, service, caring and counseling and yours are too [she says to me], I can tell.

I recently was able to go on a life dream vacation to South America and the Panama Canal.  That is a place that my father traveled and always spoke of.  I dreamed and God made it happen.  While I was on the cruise the locals would ask, “Where are you from?” and I would answer, “I’m just a poor girl from the mountains”.

God humbled me once and I don’t want to be humbled again.  [And she laughed]   I know where my roots are. I know who I am.  When we are professional and people look up to us, we get caught up.  And when I was no longer in that position, I had to find myself.  I feel comfortable in my skin now.  I know whose I am, I know who I worship, and I know what I believe.  Every morning I just say, “God whatever you want me to do. Whatever and where ever”.

One of the things that I have always said to myself a lot through all the times of struggle is this…..

“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into heart of the sea and though its waters roar and foam and the mountain quack with their surging.”  Ps 46:1-3

I would say this over and over and over again.   I also memorized…….

“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God and he will give you peace that passes all understanding. He will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:6-7

Amen!  [Amen]

We get so anxious when we are control freaks.  “Why can’t I fix this?”  “Why can’t I control this?” And I learned it’s not in my power, it’s in His power.   And He has to work through us.  We are his hands and his feet and his mouth piece.

[We discussed God’s timing being perfect. We have to stop trying to control it.  Make things happen when we want it to happen.  Stop trying to always fix things.]

I’ve learned that I can’t change things.  I can’t change people but I can pray for them. God has the plan!

I am moving on………………whatever God has planned for me next!   I still remind myself daily who’s in control of my life.  Christ who gave His life for me, and by His grace I have a home in Heaven.

Humbly, Rose Hayes Swope

Lord I thank you for putting Rose in my path.  Be with her daily as she serves others and encourages them to draw closer to You.  Amen!

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Fences and Gates

Fences and Gates, they have been around for ever.  Generally they are used to keep live stock in a certain parameter so not to wonder off and the owner loose that investment.   But they have been used for many other reasons.   Whatever reason one would use fences and gates, the goal is to keep something in and keep something out.   That is why it’s such a good visual for boundaries.

Boundaries in my life have helped me visualize what is my responsibility and what is the responsibility of others.    If the situation lies within my property lines, it’s my responsibility to take care of it.  My body is my personal property line. My actions and my behaviors fall within that boundary.

Fences and gates help me determine who or what I want to keep out of my area.  It helps me understand what or who to say NO to so the ungodliness and worldly desires of my own are kept at a distance.  It also helps me keep those out that cause me harm.  This helps me be a good steward of what He has given me. My self!

Fences and gates are also help me determine who or what I want to allow in to my area.  People who challenge me to be better.  People who love me and want to support me in my Godly and personal desires for my life.   It helps me see the good and know when to say Yes to the things God would have waiting for me. My God created, perfectly loved self!

Fences and gates also help me see where I’m crossing the line into someone else’s boundary.  Helps me encourage them to carry their own load and be responsible for their stuff but in that it also helps me see where I am consciously or unconsciously wanting to pick up their load for them.  Or in some cases, where I have over powered their personal boundaries with forms of manipulation and control.

Regardless of why it is we have those fences and gates, our boundaries, they are there and given by God to help us lead a better and more loving life.

Titus 2:12

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

Some would say that fences and gates, my boundaries, are selfish but that simply isn’t a true statement.  Boundaries are not walls, they are simply fences with gates in them.  Without the gates I would keep the bad inside.  Allowing no room to open up and confess my sin and hurts so that I can be forgive by God and others and find healing.  They are also necessary so that I can open up the gate and allow Jesus into my heart and others into my life.  The gate is a vital part of my boundary.  Allows the good in and keeps the bad out.

So explore those boundaries and allow God to show you when you should open and close the gate.

Boundary Book on Amazon

Lord, You have shown me boundaries and has changed my life.  Thank you for bringing me Jesus so I would know the forgiveness and restoration needed to heal from the boundaries that have been crossed in my life.   I pray Lord that others would seek that same healing.  Amen.

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Humility

Philippians 2:3-11

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. …

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

 

Humility, this is a hard one. We all want to be humble but sometimes that takes us to a place of being prideful that we’re so humble.  Does that make sense?   We’re so proud of the fact that we are humble that we actually become NOT humble.   I catch myself doing that sometimes.  I catch myself doing exactly what Philippians 2 tells me NOT to do, count myself more significant than others and look to my interest over others.  Am I alone in this?   In James 4, pride is something that God opposes but yet he gives grace to the humble.  I think for me humility is a constant self inventory of my behavior and thoughts throughout the day.   Just being aware of how He would view them.  Not so much that my every focus is on it because that’s when pride can creep in but making little changes as I become aware of them.  I absolutely may be rambling and making no sense at all but surely I can’t be alone in this quest for humility.

Now for the reason I choose the picture I did for this post.  I was at CR (Celebrate Recovery) tonight and the lesson was on Victory.  Part of the Victory is turning over our character defects to God and with that turning over comes the start of humility.  So in the lesson it was stated:

Humility is like Underwear! 

Yes, I had this confused look on my face I’m sure.

Then it was said:

You can have it but you don’t have to let it show.

And I laughed out loud!

How clever is that????????????

You might not see the humor in it but I hope you understand that to count others as more significant than ourselves and to look to their interests more than ours is something that God finds favor in.  Just as in finding Victory you must, voluntarily submit, identify your defects, change your mind, turn over those defects, take one day at a time, recovery is a process and you must choose to change then and only then will Humility be a natural part of who you are.

Lord, I ask you to help me choose to Not count equally with You but take the form of a servant.  Amen!

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Repentance

It’s me again with a little bit of “Boundary” talk.  It it so confusing.  Boundaries are good for me but harmful to others, are they?  Boundaries are selfish, really?  Boundaries are just a way to get what I want and not give the other what they want, right?  All though the end result of setting boundaries may appear to say YES to all the above questions, that is not what they are intended.  They are a form of protection.  People we love and say they love us do not always accept our boundaries and causes harm to us.  Sometimes we use manipulation to get what we want from others and in that case we are stepping over their boundaries even if they don’t know what boundaries are.  Then we have the struggle of how to forgive someone that has harmed us.  Should we allow them immediately back into our lives?  The answer to this is a tough one. It depends what type of harm they have or could cause.  But it’s safe bet that they should show steps of repentance and show proof that they want to stay on that path.    Is it wrong to forgive them but say no to them being part of our life?   Well, it’s never wrong to forgive.  Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about us.  So always forgive!   And in some instances allowing them to be a part of our lives is just not a possibility.

Below is a snip it of what Henry Cloud says about Repentance:

Repentance means someone has had a change of mind about their behavior and shows it by changing direction. They turn around and do things differently. Their turnaround may have missteps in it, but you can usually see whether someone has changed or not. If someone is really sticking to the plan and fails and then repents and gets back into the plan, be patient. If repentance has no change of direction, go back to setting limits. 

You can be patient with some things while they are being resolved without giving the other person freedom to hurt you. Patience doesn’t mean that you let down your boundaries. Some things, such as physical or drug abuse, are too hurtful and dangerous to be around to just forgive and forget. Forgive and remember to be careful while you are being patient. With less serious things, if the pattern is being addressed, forgive and forget. 

Here’s a snip it of what the bible says about it.

Acts 3:19

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.j

So all this to say.  Love others but love yourselves too.  Forgive doesn’t always mean forget.

Lord thank You!   Amen!

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Anniversary

#fmf

Anniversary, that’s a day of celebration!  Whatever it is you’re celebrating.  Usually it’s thought of a wedding anniversary or it could be the anniversary of starting a new job or putting down that drug of choice.  These are all special times and times worthy of celebrating.

But we could also think of an anniversary as a milestone, worthy of celebration!  We have many milestones in our lives.  When we started walking, said our 1st word,  cut our first tooth, started school, started driving, went on our 1st date, graduated high school, accepted into college, finished college, got our 1st “real” job, first promotion, got married, had a baby and our 1st grandchild.  And the list could literally go on and on with many in between.  All worthy of great celebration!

Our 1st celebration was the celebration of our birth. Obviously we don’t remember all the joy that surrounded that moment but it was the moment that started the movement towards all the other celebrations, milestones and anniversaries.   At this moment, this child was knit together by a Father that would walk with us through the rest of our celebrations.  We may not acknowledge His presence but that doesn’t mean He is not there.  We may not see His impact on our daily lives because we may not be looking for it. But the day we do, the day we accept Him as our Father, the day we accept Jesus into our heart and the day we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our walk is the 2nd greatest celebration, milestone and anniversary.  If I’m being honest and I usually am, I didn’t grasp that great anniversary when it came.  It has taken me almost 40 years to truly understand the reason for that celebration.  But now that I do understand it my mind goes directly to the greatest anniversary I can imagine.  The celebration, milestone and anniversary of the greatest day in my life that will ever be.  The day the Lord calls me home.   I know that is usually a day of great sadness for people, particularly if the circumstances surrounding that day were not joyous, but for me, I will be celebrating that great anniversary.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Many of us living and walking this earth do not know of most of these reasons for celebration.  Many have suffered great, either by the hand of others or by their own choices.  We all have the opportunity to hear His call.  We simply have to be listening.   But you may say, some don’t know, some aren’t hearing.  To that I say, for those of us who have celebrated, had the milestone and reached the anniversary of accepting Him into our hearts, that is where we come in!  We must pave the way for those who don’t know of the reason for celebration.   Show them the way to hear Him call.

Lord, Wow!  You amaze me and make me joyous !  You have provided for me a path that leads to the greatest anniversary there could ever be.  Help me Lord be brave enough to show others.  Amen!

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Lay it Down

I think God maybe trying to tell me something.  I meet with a couple women in two different meetings one day this week and the same word came from both of them.  The circumstances of why He told them this word was different but the impact was the same.

Basically:  When we continue to cry out to Him in anxiety over and over about the same thing or when our worry is overtaking our every thought.

He says to us, “I’ve got this! Stop worrying!”  and “You’ve lifted them up, now it’s time to lay them down!”

All we can do is Pray, Give it to Him and Trust He’s handling it.  Whether I’m praying for a friend, family, finances, whatever,  I tell Him about it and lay it down at His feet.   Man if I’d learned that a long time ago, there would have been a lot let sleepless nights.

So going back to God trying to tell me something.  I’m thinking, “have I been worrying?” about something specific.  Have I been talking to him over and over about a certain situation to the point of running out of words, hoping that the more I talk the quicker He’ll move?  I can say it with an emphatic “YES”!  I need to be okay just being okay and trusting that in His time it’ll all be good.  When I obsess about something, I usually act in hast and the outcome is never as good as it would be if I’d just trusted in His timing.

1 Peter 5:7 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

If you are reading this, I pray that you also will let this word speak to you.  Lift them up and then lay them down.  Whatever “them” are!

Lord I’m so grateful that you have given me Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me walk through this life.  I ask you to help me to wait on You.  I ask you to give me a calm spirit.  I pray that I will remember these words that you have given me.  Amen!

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Boundaries

Anyone that knows me, they know that I am a firm believer of having good boundaries.  When I first started studying boundaries, I thought it was going to prepare me on how to control and fix everyone else or at least how to teach them how to treat me.  And in some ways it did teach me how to allow people to treat me but mostly it taught me how to treat others.  I only thought I was doing it right!

If you haven’t ever read the book “Boundaries: When to say Yes and How to say No” by Townsend and Cloud , I would highly suggest it.  If you can find a small group in your area that would be willing to study it along with you that would be even better.  Either way, don’t delay.  It can change your life!

I had a foundation of Jesus in my life, so understanding how HE loved me and how HE loved others was just solidified by the words in the boundaries book.

I frequently get emails from Henry Cloud about boundaries and I love this one……

Don’t confuse acceptance with agreement.

When you’re in the middle of a growth process, and you start to open up and be vulnerable, you may feel persecuted and wrongfully judged when you start to get feedback from others. You think that criticism proves you aren’t accepted, and you may be in a situation where you feel rejected. You say to yourself, “That church/group/counselor is so unaccepting of people. I need to find a place where there is grace.”

While some criticism can be judgmental, direct loving criticism is a necessary part of growth. In fact, where there is no confrontation, growth is seriously hampered. At the same time, agreement and acceptance are not equal. You can and should be in an environment in which both total acceptance and clear honesty are operating when honesty comes from love.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Lord thank You for being patient with me and leading me to knowledge that makes my life better. Help me be the light that shines to help other find You.  Amen!

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1 CORINTHIAN 13

#fmf

1 Corinthians 13 (click here)

Only if we all would live by these standards.

Lord help me love even when love is not being shown.  Help me love as you love.  Help me show the love that Paul writes about in Corinthians.

LOVE IS

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Write your Story

Have you have lived and had experiences? Your life is worth sharing!

I am looking for women who are willing to be vulnerable allowing others to know they are not alone. Give hope!! bigstock_Notebook_Paper_3453328

Future

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

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