The Feeding Frenzy

September 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Diane Mayfield –

Five women got their bags packed and out the door by 6:15 AM to make a 7:10 flight from Vail to Fort Worth. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time to turn in our rental car, check our bags and go through security with time to spare.

We were on the plane, headed down the runway right on schedule. Then it happened. The captain comes on the speaker and says, “Folks, there seems to be a problem in the instrument panel. We have to return to the gate.”

The return to the gate ended up being a six-hour flight delay out of Vail. The good news is that we did get to disembark.

Once back in the waiting area, all five of us sit against the wall with our electronics plugged in and charging. We look like little ducklings (maybe not so little) all lined up in a row. It’s 10:00 and I am hungry. We all are. We’ve been up since five. In this tiny airport there is one choice for food, a tiny coffee shop with pre-made sandwiches. That was not going to work for me. I have celiac disease and have to eat gluten free.

I start the hunt. First I find out that I can have food delivered, but it must pass through security like everyone and everything else. Now I have to find the food. Pizza is the logical choice. It’s easy to deliver and many places now offer gluten free pizzas.

After about an hour of searching, I finally find a place open and close by that serves gluten free pizzas. The only problem is that a major bike race is happening and traffic is an issue. The restaurant owner wants a guaranteed order of $100 to deliver the pizza to us.

That is not stopping me. I’ll gladly pay. Then it hits me; everyone else is going to be hungry too. I shout out to other passengers in the waiting areas. “Anyone interested in purchasing pizza slices if I order it?” The number of yeses convinces me I would at least break even. I place the order, and forty-five minutes later, pizza arrives.

When I look at the slices, I know I can’t charge people the five dollars per slice I was going to originally. My four traveling companions, who obviously have better business sense than I, aren’t initially too happy paying the lion’s share of feeding the masses. That is until it is over and they witness with me what happens.

In the pizza frenzy and afterwards, the atmosphere in that waiting room completely changes. The dreariness of waiting shifts to lightheartedness, smiles and laughter. People come up to us and share some of their stories. Chatter fills the once silent room. The little children run by us and say hi. In an hour, a community is formed among strangers.

We all laugh, commenting that this is a little like feeding the five thousand.

Five sisters in Christ traveling home from a girls’ trip already full and rich with blessing, received another one. We built a memory that will carry us through the years of living life together. I can’t help wondering if that same sense of community occurred among the followers of Jesus that day He broke bread and fed the multitudes.

Becoming Mary

August 22, 2022 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Diane Mayfield –

I’d like to think I conquered the Martha in me and have become more like her sister Mary. That’s what I get for thinking. Jesus, in His gentle way, showed me not to think too highly of myself lest I fall.

I recently planned my extended family’s second annual Burton Family Christmas in July. I created a schedule of events on Friday night and Saturday, hoping it was clear to all that the gathering did not start until 6:00 Friday night. That would give me plenty of time to cover all the details and be ready for the crowd. Hoping to circumvent a seed of bitterness creeping in if I was left to do all the work, everyone had meal assignments and clean up duty.

The schedule of events for Saturday included pool time and boating. Built into the plan was a break for me on the boat, so I would have a moment to relax and interact with everyone. Just so no one would forget that they had duties and responsibilities in this family event, I posted the assignments on the refrigerator door in brightly colored magnets that matched my color scheme.

Everyone did indeed have a blast, me included. They complimented me on the flow of the event, the decorations and all the planning. By the laughter and lingering conversations at the table Saturday night, it seemed the celebration was a success.

It was Sunday at 11:00 when Martha appeared in my head. I’d planned on everyone leaving by Sunday morning, noon at the latest. I wrote in an e-mail that nothing officially was scheduled for Sunday, hoping that would communicate, “the inn was closed.”

Oops. Someone didn’t read between the lines. They decided to stay and swim one more time. Then, instead of packing up and going before they left for lunch, they asked if they could come back after lunch, have dessert and then leave.

What do I say in that situation? I had a plan that I was working towards and it was about to be challenged. I politely said “sure.” And then I griped and griped as I worked to organize my house, pick up toys, clean out the refrigerator, empty the dishwasher and start the sheets and towels.

It never occurred to me to go to Jesus and listen to His words and ask for His help in stretching my capacity. I was being asked to give in a way that I had not planned on giving.

I could just hear Jesus saying, “Diane, Diane, why do you worry about getting all this done today and your life back to normal? Can’t you enjoy these people a little longer than you planned? What is really important here?”

No one who asked to change the plan knew of my inner struggle, but the One who matters most did. The good news is that His gentle revelation humbled me. I was reminded that becoming Mary isn’t just about sitting at His feet in the morning because it works for me. It’s about measuring priorities and choosing those that count for eternity. Obviously Martha is still living and breathing in me. I haven’t become Mary yet, but I’m listening.

Unbroken by the Storm

July 27, 2022 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Diane Mayfield –

When I first started coming to Navarre Beach, I was drawn to the mounds of broken shells I saw. They appeared in little groupings, like villages, up and down the shoreline. They were beautiful in their diverse colors and shapes, lying on top of each other, as if to form a whole community.

Because I was then struggling with Christian brothers and sisters at that time, I saw those broken shells as Christian communities. Like those shells, we too are broken when we come to Christ, desperate in our need for a Savior. While He does His mighty work in us, we still have weaknesses that keep us from being holy and complete.

Mercy, compassion and a good dose of humility filled my heart because of those broken shells. I saw my Christian brothers and sisters and, most of all, I saw myself, just like them.

This trip I’m drawn to the unbroken shells. Not because I’m now into being perfect. Oh no, it’s for quite another reason.

I just started Beth Moore’s study of James. The first lesson begins with quite a punch. “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (NIV James 1:2). She goes on to make the point that trials will come. That’s life. God uses those trials to perfect us. It’s our faith that gets us through those storms of life.

By abiding in Him through trust and prayer, we will come through those storms unbroken, like the shells. Hurricane Isaac sent his forceful wind, rain and storm surges up and down the Gulf Coast a few weeks before I arrived. Navarre Beach felt his impact. Debris litters the sand as a result of Isaac’s power. The shoreline eroded in places and parts of the beach vanished.

And yet, there in the sand, I discovered hundreds, probably thousands but who’s really counting, of unbroken shells. Those shells made it through the storm unscathed. They spoke to me of the lesson I began. I, too, can come through the storms of life, the various trials, unbroken. When I persevere in faith, Jesus turns those trials into joy for what He is completing in me. It doesn’t mean I won’t feel pain or experience negative emotions. But, like Louie Zamperini in the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I will come out of my storms, whole in Jesus.

Hence, this time the unbroken shells call to me. They made it through the storm and so can we all because of our wonderful Savior Jesus.

His Love Reflected in our Relationships

July 8, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

Diane Mayfield –

I saw the caller ID and knew our daughter was calling to wish her dad a happy birthday. Only when I heard her voice, I knew that was not the reason for the call.

“Honey, what’s wrong,” I asked.

“Mom, I miscarried.” Then all I heard was sobbing.

Between sobs she tried to tell me the details. Over our cell phones, I could only catch portions of what she was saying, but it didn’t matter. Her heart was broken, and mine was breaking, too.

It took me back to another time. When this same daughter was in junior high school, she was trying out for cheerleader with all her friends. Tryouts were over and we parents were waiting outside the gym to hear who had made it. When she found us, she was sobbing that she didn’t make it, and all her friends did. My heart broke then as it was breaking now.

With her pregnancy, we had been waiting for our daughter to see the heartbeat so we could tell the world our good news that we would be grandparents for a third time. They were to have a sonogram on Thursday, but the radiologist said the baby was still too small.

Disappointed and yet hopeful, my daughter left for a bachelorette party in New Orleans, and her husband went to San Antonio to golf with a friend. While in New Orleans, she experienced excruciating pain at dinner, went back to the hotel where she officially miscarried.

My husband and I were so numb, shocked and aching for our daughter. As a parent I don’t think that ever changes. We found ourselves just staring into space, lost in our own pain. We had three days until we would get to see her.

When I finally held her in my arms, I could breathe again. It was the same for my husband. One of our most tender moments was our group hug with our son-in-law. It was heartwarming to see the love and care that my son-in-law has for our daughter and she for him. I could see their love deepening through this difficult time.

I stayed with her for a few days at her request while her husband attended an out of town business meeting. There were many sweet moments with my daughter over the next few days. Once again she needed me, and I was so glad to be there.

We all walked this journey together. I couldn’t fix it and I couldn’t take it away. I can’t guarantee the future either. But I know I’ll be there for her, for both of them. My husband and I both will.

Isn’t that just what our Lord does for us? We never walk this place alone. Difficulty will come but he longs to be invited to walk it with us. He aches for our pain, and He holds us along the way in the same way I held her.

This beautiful special relationship with my daughter is but a reflection of the one He has with us.

Yielding Your Right Away

May 28, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Diane Mayfield –

Once again, I find myself learning important lessons in this laboratory of life called the family. When I was a young mother, I knew children were God’s way of revealing my impurities and bringing me to my knees. But that was before adolescence. Those years were about running the race of endurance, perseverance, and prayer.

Now that my children are young adults, two married and one a parent, I think I imagined personal growth through my family was over for me. Well, I was wrong.

I just finished Beth Moore’s Bible Study on James. One of the lessons from that study was “ to yield your right away.” It’s all part of one of James’ major themes on proving to others that your faith matters, being a doer of the Word.

Picture the red and white yield sign on the frontage road helping to control traffic and prevent collisions. I’ve seen cars completely ignore those signs and I’ve been guilty of it too. If I think I can beat the other car, I’ll put my foot to the pedal and speed up.

That’s not Beth Moore’s idea of yielding the right away according to James. True to His way, God has given me several opportunities to learn this lesson. At 58, I still am not thrilled about growth opportunities. It’s just not natural. And I suspect that is the point.

My daughter and son-in-law came to town for a visit. It was suppose to be my Mother’s Day celebration with them. Prior to their arrival, my daughter and I had talked about plans for the weekend, both of us conferring together. Saturday the guys were going to play golf and the girls got to shop. We were having lunch at the club before that.

Lunch came and the plans shifted completely. After playing in a work golf tournament, my son-in-law was not sure he wanted to play golf, at least not eighteen holes. So after much discussion between the men, eighteen holes of golf changed to possibly nine later in the afternoon. Lunch was now at a local Mexican food place.

After lunch, we returned home and the guys are still discussing their plans. Suddenly golf was out and, consequently, so was shopping. My son-in-law wanted us all to hang out. I think he really wanted to be with his wife. Up popped that red and white yield sign.

I had a choice. By all rights, it was my Mother’s Day celebration. “Yield your right way,” the voice in my head said. When I saw that yield sign in my head and heard these words, “a sign of wisdom from God is to yield your right away,” I knew this was a God moment. I could choose to be a doer of the Word or just a reader of it. Praise God I did not put my pedal to the medal but yielded my rights away.

I’ve decided that’s what being an “in-law” is all about-yielding my right away. This is a new family member interrupting the “family system.” I can compete for control or yield, whether or not the yield sign is for me or not. In doing so, I prevent a collision, openly or behind closed doors. In doing that this time, we had a restful, relaxed afternoon watching a movie before going to dinner

It’s not natural for me this yielding. I take the lead in making plans. I look forward to experiencing what is planned. I learned though that those plans, being in the right, having it my way, means nothing in the light of being a doer of God’s Word.

“But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere” (James 3:17 NIV).

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