My Proverbs 31 Woman


“An excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.”  (Proverbs 31:10-31)

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”. I am long over due!

The 13th of next month I will have been married to this wonderful woman 11 years. How do I describe her? In a word, Amazing!

If I chronicled here all she has accomplished, just since I have known her, most of you would applaud and perhaps a few of you would grumble that a woman has that much influence. Much of what she initiated, suggested, or orchestrated behind the scenes, she will not be credited for. But she didn’t do those things to improve her ego, trust me when I tell you, she doesn’t have a self-esteem problem.

When I read the passage where Paul mentioned and commended those “women who labored with me in the gospel” I always think first of Carol. I know no person with more ambition and determination to get things done for the kingdom. She is a driven lady who is just as ambitious in her singing, preparing for a house party, or getting help to people in need, she is an equal opportunity enthusiast. Only God can anticipate what she can facilitate!

Carol is a woman of vision. I have never known any person, man or woman, who can see the end of a dream long before I start to think. She just assumes nothing is too hard and if something is worth visualizing it is worth realizing. Again and again, I’m thinking, “That will never work!”, but it usually does work.

Hard work is her gait. God made this gal with her cruise control set on about 85. She thrives on getting tasks accomplished. And she is not bashful about recruiting others to help. I lovingly gave her the nick name “The Little General”. She has come close to making grown men run away screaming. As I told one friend who was her pack mule for the hour, “Just do what she says and everything will be fine”.

She is generous to a fault. Her heart and her hands are always open to those in need. Again and again I have seen her heart open and her hands busy to meet someone’s needs. I have seen her reach out in tangible ways to scores of people in amazing and creative ways to simply help. Her care for others is one of her traits I admire most.

Her ear is tuned to that still small voice. It is not uncommon to hear her say to me, “I just said that before I even thought about it.” Or “I believe the Spirit (of God) wanted me to do….” or “say ….”. And there is a couple with an adopted child, a husband with a godly wife and a one time widow with a godly man, and ….well you get the point I hope. From babies to marriages, singers and church vans, new ministries, and saying exactly the right thing to inspire hope in the hopeless, I am married to a woman who ‘walks in the Spirit”.

Loving is as natural as breathing. I have been loved in an amazing ways by this great woman, my wife. She loves her children and especially her grand children, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, old friends and new friends, the grieving, the poor, the lonely and the list goes on… They all are the objects of this great lover, My Carol Jane.

Am I bragging? You bet I am!

(Carol, when you read this, please know that I love you, honor you, respect you, and am excited to see what unfolds in all of our shared tomorrows for God’s glory.  Happy Anniversary!)

Royce

The Journey of Grief


Have you walked that lonely road, desperately missing a loved one who has died? Perhaps you have recently lost a family member or a dear friend and the pain is still raw and sharp. Or, it might be that even though your loss was several years ago the hurt never seems to heal like you expected it would.

Welcome to GriefShare.

“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.

GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.” (from the GriefShare website)

My wife Carol and I became vividly acquainted with grief and grieving in 1997. Her husband Terry died suddenly in the summer and my wife Jeanine died the same way just before Christmas and her 44th birthday.

Because we knew first hand how difficult it is for survivors to go through the grief process we decided to offer a hand to those who are hurting  as we did. In just a few days we will begin our 8th year of facilitating GriefShare groups. Our experience has been a mixture of sadness and joy as we have walked along side many wonderful people with broken hearts. We have seen some amazing transformations through this ministry of love and mercy.

Last year we were joined in our GriefShare ministry by John and Maggie Dobbs. John is the pulpit minister at the Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe. John and Maggie lost their son, John Robert, several months ago, a few days before he was to graduate high school. John is a prolific writer and has chronicled much of his personal journey of grief at his popular blog “Out Here Hope Remains”.

We began having our groups meet at Forsythe last year after several years at Whites Ferry Road Church in West Monroe. The Forsythe Church is centrally located on Forsythe west of the Oliver and Forsythe intersection.

On Monday, January 11th at 6:00 p.m. we will have a time of greeting and registration for the upcoming series. We will meet weekly for 13 weeks. Each week we will watch a DVD (30 to 40 min.) and then have a discussion time.

You can expect the following:

  • Very helpful information. The series includes ministers, Christian counselors, famous authors and other experts on grief, and people just like you who share their stories of hope.
  • People who really care about you. Our only goal is to love and nurture hurting people in Christ’s name.
  • Tears are welcomed. Tears are the beautiful expression of a hurting heart and God’s unique way of cleansing a troubled soul. Don’t be fearful of crying, all of us do cry, or have, it is normal and expected.
  • A safe place. Your confidentiality will be respected and honored. What you choose to share in a GriefShare group will not leave the group. “What happens in GriefShare stays in GriefShare”.
  • You don’t have to talk. It’s really up to you. Often people are not ready to talk in a group setting. That is OK. You will be expected to talk only if and when you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Christ centered. Our resources are biblical in nature and we readily say that our ultimate comfort in times of trouble comes from a vibrant, authentic, relationship with Jesus Christ. Our mission is not to have you change your church membership or to pressure you into anything you don’t want to do. We only want to love you in Christ’s stead and point you to him.
  • You will get better! I’ll make you a promise. If you attend each week and take advantage of the resources available to you, I assure you that you will realize that you have found comfort, peace, and a new hope that makes daily living without your loved one much more bearable.

Remember! Each Monday at 6:00 p.m. at Forsythe Church of Christ, 2101 Forsythe Ave. in Monroe. Put it on your calendar now so you can’t forget, you’ll be glad you did. I look forward to meeting you!

Questions? Call Carol Ogle at 318.348.2291

Agape,

Royce

Alive one more day…so far


I don’t know when my life will end but I do know where my human body will stop at last.

The place is jut waiting for me in Lake Dallas, Texas. As of this moment I plan on waiting to go to that last destination as long as possible.

Remember the verse of the song “Everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die”? That’s me. This morning I read the obituary column in the local paper and about a half-dozen people younger than me had died. There is little that is a better reminder of one’s mortality.

Thankfully, this small piece of real estate in North Texas is not really the end. It is the place where my temporary home will be planted. But some day the one who said to Martha “I am the Resurrection and the Life” will call his own to himself and the bodies of believers will be recreated as immortal beings living in bodies that reflect the glory of Jesus Christ, like him, with him forever.

So, for me, what is called in the Scriptures the “blessed hope” (the return of Jesus) is a blessed certainty. The question is never “If?” but rather “When?”.

These days of family gatherings, parties, and fun are filled with pain and misery for some of your friends, neighbors, or perhaps even family. The sorrow of who is missing from the festivities is very, very painful for some survivors. So, be respectful, be sensitive, and give space to those who are still grieving. Be a good listener, weep with them, hug them, and just be with them at their request. That is the best gift you can give someone who is grieving.

Merry Christmas all,

Royce

Surviving the Holidays


surviving-the-holidaysOnly 40 days until Christmas! Where does the time go? What do you have planned for Thanksgiving Day this year?

I love this time of year. Even I, a Scrooge, am already thinking of doing some Christmas shopping. I was thinking today that soon I’ ll be putting up some lights along the edge of my house. The air is crisp and I can almost taste the turkey and dressing.

For many people the holiday season is not something to look forward to. Thanksgiving and Christmas are anchors for family in almost every American home. It is the season each year when almost every family member will be around the table. The intimate family time with those we love most is a happy event.

For some people the holidays only make the sadness more profound and the darkness even blacker. While most of the family is busy planning family meals and which parties to attend others are trying desperately to figure a way to avoid the crowds, even family, and just be left alone.

For the grieving, birthdays, anniversaries, and especially Thanksgiving and Christmas are very tough to handle. These times that should be so much fun are only reminder of what was, or rather “who was”, and is now gone. There are likely members of your family, or a neighbor, co-worker, or someone you know well at church, who is in intense pain now and as the days tick off toward the holidays the hurt only intensifies.

There is help. You or your friend or loved one can Survive the Holiday season. Here in the Monroe/West Monroe area there will be several opportunities to participate in a Surviving the Holidays group in the next few weeks. Tomorrow, November 14th at 2 p.m. the Forsythe church of Christ in Monroe will be hosting a group. There will be a DVD to watch, a beautiful song by a soloist, a candle lighting, and people just like me and you who have lost someone they loved deeply. After the DVD there will be a time to talk, or listen, and friendly, caring people there to help.

The minister at Forsythe Church, John Dobbs, and wife Maggie, and my wife Carol and I, are facilitators for Grief Share and invite you to come. If you can’t attend this time there will be another session at White’s Ferry Rd Church in West Monroe on Dec 12th and First Baptist West Monroe will have one a few days later. If you want more info visit the Forsythe Church website or call Carol Ogle at 665-0569.

Don’t go it alone, please accept our offer to walk the lonely road with you. Beginning the 2nd week of January the first of 13 weekly sessions of Grief Share will begin and you are invited. You will be glad you came. Do it for yourself or someone you love.

for healing,

Royce