Tag Archives: legacy

walking the line

Editors Note: This article was originally published in our local paper, the Waynesboro True Citizen on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 I wrote it to spotlight our local High school football program and how influential faith in God has been to the program led by a few humble and godly men. My husband (sports photographer) encouraged me to repost it here because it’s such a great tribute to the big things God is doing in little places like Waynesboro all over the world.


The sun is hanging low in the western sky casting long shadows across the Bear Den where the Burke County Bears are finishing their warmup on this cool Friday night in October.

A steady current of anticipation and excitement swirls around the field as the coaching staff watches and directs from the sidelines.  It’s the middle of football season in Burke County and expectations are riding high after last season’s championship season.

A shrill whistle pierces the air as the team files off the field and into the gym, taking their place on the bleachers for the pre-game devotion. The room goes quiet and all eyes are on Head Coach Eric Parker. Let me tell you more…

Something bigger than me

beautiful-in-its-time3I still recall the night I lay on my belly, top bunk gazing out the window… past the pussy willows and lilacs…. into an endless night sky littered with stars so numerous it terrified me.

The mountain breeze was early-autumn crisp and clear,  light was scarce, except for that blanket of stars winking above me in the night sky.

I was 8 or 9 years old  and I had a secret: a calm and steady Voice inside my head  somehow held things together inside of me even as the adult world around me was falling apart.

It held me when parents were fighting and the police would come, when bullies were mean and friends were scarce. It held me together all through days I seemed invisible to everyone around me. It sheltered and protected me even when those who should have, did not.

Looking out the window, I struggled to think past the angry voices rising,  falling and crashing in the other room. Fixing my eyes on the starry sky above and the stars, I relaxed and an inner dialogue began:

“Where did I come from?”
“Mother.” I heard.
” And where did she come from?”
“Many mothers before.”
“And them?”
“Heaven.” came the answer.
“Yes, and Mary and Joseph and Jesus came from God.” I thought.
“God is in heaven too.”
“He is.”
“Those stars came from God too. And all the planets…the entire universe….everything!”
“Yes. “

Suddenly, panic seized in my chest. Earth shaking awareness came over me so terrifying because my next question… somehow, even in my child-like, barely-churched existence… I knew…would not have an answer:

“Where did God come from?”.


No answer….not then.   I cried myself to sleep that night.

A few years , a nasty divorce and an abusive stepmother later, an early morning escape on a Greyhound headed south would deliver me to Georgia and although I didn’t know it then, it would lead me one step closer to the answer I’d stopped seeking.  The Answer, however, never stopped seeking me.

Places inside of me were hardening while Something else struggled to take root in the softer parts left of my soul.

Still, there’s very little love to be found for an awkward Yankee transplant in the heart of the deep South and I soon felt myself sliding sideways into my early teens with little to hold on to and the dirty weight of gravity pulling me down. Parts of me contemplated  selling out to the “status quo” even while that Something inside encouraged me to hold on.  Why or what, I really did not know.

An invitation outside of the norm of my deeply abnormal existence would change the tenor of my life. A neighbor, a concert…a group going from their “church”, a rock band was playing for the youth that night…did I want to go?   Sure… why not?

You need to understand, “church” was not at all a part of my family’s history. They wore the label “Catholic” which  was about as meaningful as ” 100% Cotton” or “Dry Clean Only” on their shirt tags.   Nothing more.

Until that point, my recollection of “church things” was shaped by time spent with a childhood neighbor, Elsie and shrouded in vague memories of a Sunday bus ride to a Big Place of juice, cookies, happy Ladies, flannelgraph stories and crayons. While I didn’t get to stay in these places for very long, Something met me there and seeds were planted.

So off I went with the neighbors to “church” that night.
No cookies…
No juice…
but whoa…the place was PACKED!
These people were HAPPY!
These people were LOUD!
The band,  “Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart”, kicked in playing the most amazing music (to my highly sophisticated, Journey, Styx and Billy Joel lovin’ 13-year old ears!). I was trans-FIXED…in awe of this energy…this music…these happy people and those words. The combination was overwhelming.  OK, honestly….  I was confused as hell.

Things settled down and the lead singer, Mylon started telling a story. It was his story… his messed up and broken, sold-out to the world, rebellion, pain, drug and alcohol story. The story of a man from a successful family who’d hit bottom nearly killing himself….until Something clicked inside of him. “It was Jesus.” he explained.

This Something is Jesus?

Then Mylon sang a love song and… I can’t explain it any other way but that Something came alive inside of me.  A connection was made and a million pieces of me came together. It wasn’t weird or cosmic or all that spiritual… just a growing warmth of love, peace and acceptance for the first time ever and suddenly, the answer to my question of long ago rang out loud and clear;

“I am….   and I always have been   and I always will be …. for you.   Come.”

I did.  I walked straight into that place…towards the Voice I now knew was Jesus. Salvation was mine and the restoration had begun.

I’d like to put the finishing touches on this story, cue the cheesy inspirational music and call forth the “Happily Ever After ” but there isn’t one. Life didn’t get easier after that night; in fact it got much harder almost immediately. Many things still didn’t make sense.

I walked wide circles of misunderstanding God and floundered without discipleship.  Further home disintegration would place me in foster care where, in low self-esteem and quiet rebellion, I chased after other lovers and wandered in enemy territory for a time. Too long.

But God…
was faithful …
even then …
even when …
even though
I am not.

  • God was there before I was born, knitting me in my mother’s womb and whispering to me even then. I knew His voice.
  • He met with me through the darkness of my world, at my window and showed me how to fix my eyes on Him…long before I ever knew His name.
  • He guided me safely through each moment of pain and confusion, guiding me to Elsie, and the happy Big Church Ladies, caring teachers at school and  just loving me through the years of abuse and onto that Greyhound bound for Georgia.

In every moment, God was plowing my life and allowing seeds to be planted…His deep Gospel seeds. They would begin to sprout at a concert that night where I’d learn the name of the One who put them there.  Although the growth was painfully slow and for many years, largely unseen…God was still at work.  I’m thankful to say, He still is!!

Of course there are many details from that point forward shuttling back and forth weaving the tapestry I know as my life. Many good, wonderful,  difficult and still happening  God things.

Some argue it’s “not fair” what God allows in the lives of those He loves and calls according to His purpose. I disagree. Looking back, I agree with Paul that whatever I was for good or for evil…is garbage compared to the glory I know in Christ. It was worth it. It’s making me who I am and making me wholly His.

Some who read this  are today struggling to come to terms with life and what God is allowing to happen to you or a loved one. It’s no small thing.  I am sorry.  I only know He is faithful.  I pray you’ll  find ways to lean hard into God and learn of Him with the prayers of a faithful friend.    Message me; I’d be honored to pray and walk with you.

Others need to know that time you spend inviting  friends and neighbors to church and into your home, or ministering to “those” kids from crazy, fractured places; those of you who have taken the time to invest in broken lives,  discipling a young mom,  family or foster kid…it’s worth it.

You truly never know where you’ll find yourself the lineup of God’s grace in another person’s life. And since you may not  hear it from them, allow me say…“Thank you.”

I have the privileged perspective of one who’s lived life on both sides –as one “sheltered” and now as one who can “shelter”. It’s a wondrous blessing.

This is my story. This is my song…praising my Savior, all the day long. Do you know it?

Singing and Dancing,Lorretta signature

Thanks living

I was going through some old files on my computer last night when I came across this conversation I’d recorded between Granny and I about 7 years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it!  A lot has changed since then; Granny is now 102 (almost 103) and has moved into assisted living care since the death of my beloved Mother-in-law, Charlotte, who was her primary caregiver.  I’ve dusted it off and found a few pictures to share as well…of Vera Gresham, a.k.a “Granny”.


“Lorrie,  could you come here just a minute” I heard Granny call from the other room.

“Sure.” I said. I met Granny in the doorway of her bedroom. She motioned to the bed. “Could you help me change the sheets on my bed? I have been meaning to change them and I thought you wouldn’t mind doing it for me.”

“Of course not Granny” I said, “I’m happy to help.”. Strangely, I was remembering Jesus words in my bible reading the night before  speaking on how his disciples should consider it an honor and to serve without expecting any further recognition. This was my chance to practice on that thought some more. Little did I know,  the gift I believed I’d be offering to her  was soon to be mine instead.

We moved to either side of the bed and began to remove the sheets.

“I usually do this myself” she said, “but it takes me about 45 minutes to get it done because I have to sit on the edge of the bed  and feel my way as I go around.” Granny, then 96 and nearly blind from macular degeneration, had lost little of her spunk and kept plugging along at whatever she felt she could manage.

As I helped her peel off the sheets and pillowcases, I smiled at her neatly folded nightgown and socks left underneath her pillow awaiting use that evening. Looking around her room, everything was in order–where she could find it easily by memory or touch. Meanwhile, she rummaged around in her dresser for a set of matching sheets and finally came up with the set she wanted. I stood there amazed at her ability to still be able to find what she needed although most of her sight was gone.

As we worked together we chatted a bit. And then a quiet settled in as I began to smooth and tuck. Granny broke the silence.

“You know Lorrie, I can’t go on for much longer.”

This was more than a statement of obvious information coming from a woman in her late 90’s. I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was deeply concerned. “Yes Granny, I know. What’s worrying you?”

“You’re right I’m worried. Worried that I will lose my mind and end up not being able to care for myself here any longer. I don’t want to go to a nursing home and I know I can’t get anyone to stay here with me and couldn’t afford that anyway.”

I confess to being just a little amused inside. It wasn’t funny at all but, here was Granny, worried about losing her grannys-hands1mind and yet seemed to have so much more of it intact than most folks 20 years her junior! Still, this was a serious concern for all of us and most certainly for her. I wanted to reassure her in any way possible that someone would always be there for her.

“No Granny, I feel like if you were going to lose your mind, it would already have happened.”

Still,  she went on to explain how she just couldn’t remember things the way she used to. How she couldn’t remember something from yesterday, but that she often could recall with such clarity things that happened to her when she was just a girl. I knew that quite probably her short term memory was slipping because she could no longer really see things to cement the memory in her mind whereas those other things still seem bright and clear because, although they’ve faded some, they still hold the color and light from long ago.

Vera GreshamI decided to ask her a few questions about her early years and she began to rattle off stories of girls and parties, dresses and gardens and early Christmases. She told of marriage and babies and a photograph of her children that got her in quite a bit of trouble with Granddaddy! It seemed like she was in a talkative mood so I decided to ask her then the most important question of all. One I’d been hesitant to ask before.

“Granny, how old were you when you accepted Jesus as your Savior?” She stopped to think…maybe a bit surprised that anyone had asked her at all.

She  said, “Honey, I just can’t remember how old I was but I will never forget that day. I sat there in that Methodist church and I just felt something, I don’t know…just a “spirit” telling me to go down to the altar. The Preacherman  just kept talking and I knew I just had to go on down. I did and they took me off to a little room and prayed with me some. When I came back to my seat, Granddaddy was there and he said to me ‘Gosh, if I’da known you was going to go down, I’da gone with you.’ I told him I didn’t even know it myself! I’ve never forgotten that a day in my life.”

And it seemed to me that of all the things she could remember and of all the things she’d forgotten, Granny had known and remembered the most important thing at all; the day she met Jesus.

“You forgot a pillow case Granny.”  Expertly, she rustled through the dresser drawer and even half-blind pulled out just the right one. Amazing.

“Granny, it seems to me  that you still remember all the right things. Not every thing, but you remember what counts. When the time comes, Jesus will give you and the rest of us the peace we need to make the journey. For now, let’s just be here where we are and go there when we have to”

“That’s right.” she declared firmly, the tension gone from her voice. “And don’t tuck the bottoms in so tight, I need to leave a little “give” in the bottom of these sheets for my feet.” She tugged out a pocket, evenly all the way across the bottom and once again I stood amazed.

And I’m still thankful for the remembrance of that day 6 or 7 years ago and what I discovered with Granny while helping her change the bedsheets. I’m glad she met Jesus at some point in her life and I feel certain that she knows Him. I’m glad I asked.

Visiting with GrannyWe went to visit Granny again this past week. She is now in a very nice assisted living center and in her words, “Just does what she can!” At 102, you can’t ask for much more than that I suppose. She can’t see much beyond shadows but once you get her talking, she just goes on and on!

She cried when we left and my heart was broken. We couldn’t stay but I pray everyday that Jesus will show up and keep her company until the Lord calls her home to heaven where she belongs.

And my prayer for you Dear Reader is that you have this same sweet assurance for yourself and your loved ones so that at the end of your life and theirs here on earth, it will only be a moment of sweet transition.

If you don’t know, ask and be prepared to share the hope. If you need to know, here is a good place to start.

******Note: We’ve just received the call that “Granny” Vera Gresham passed into the arms of Jesus this morning at 1:00. No doubt her daughter, our beloved Charlotte greeted her warmly with, “Mother? What took you so long to get here?” We love you Granny.