Beach House before Sundown

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Beach House before Sundown

Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, California, 2013

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“The Day I Started Living”

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“The Day I Started Living”

By Shawn R. Jones

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1–4

 

My mother is not sure what came first—the hives or the convulsions. The doctor gave her a shot of penicillin. Her body convulsed. Shoes flew off her feet. Hives closed off her airway. She scratched at her neck, trying to make a hole to breathe. As one of the nurses said, “Oh my God, doctor, she’s dying,” my mother watched her own hand turn gray and stiffen.

A doctor and nurses tried to restore my mother’s breathing. As she watched from the ceiling, she thought comically, “Wow, they’re really working hard to bring me back.” Next, there was nothing but darkness. Then, there was a brilliant light, a light so brilliant she could not see the man’s face who had on a robe with his arms outstretched. He showed her everything she had done wrong in her life. My grandmother, who had died five years prior, was there also, speaking in my mother’s defense, reminding him of all the good her daughter had done.

My mother was active in her community, helping the underprivileged even though she was the underprivileged. She volunteered for Welfare Rights, NarcoticAddictsRecoveryCenter, and the Community Development Block Grant Program. She sat on several boards and was also a mother, struggling to raise a child in the projects.

My mother pleaded with the man, whom she now refers to as Jesus. “I can’t die now. I would stay here with you, but I have an eight-year-old daughter, and she doesn’t have anyone but me. She is just not ready for this.”

The man spoke calmly in the most beautiful voice my mother had ever heard. “Rhonda, scream. Just scream.”

My mother tried to scream. It was very difficult at first, but once she was able to get a bit of sound out, she saw a glimpse of the room where her earthly body lay. Whenever she would stop screaming, there would be darkness. The longer she screamed, the longer she saw the light of the room, so she began to scream uncontrollably. The doctor and nurses tried to calm her down, explaining that they had just given her a shot of adrenalin. Regarding her return, my mother has often said, “They think they brought me back, but it wasn’t them.”

After that ordeal, my mother just wanted to get home to make sure I was okay, but the doctor called an ambulance to transport her to the hospital. Meanwhile, I was home worried because she had not come home from work. My uncle picked me up and took me to the hospital to see her. When I got there, she was sitting in a wooden wheelchair, looking exhausted with bloody scratches on her neck. I asked her what happened. She grabbed my hands, looked into my eyes, and said the most meaningful thing I have ever heard her say. She enunciated each word slowly and sincerely. “Shawn, don’t you ever ask me again if there is a God, because there is a God.”

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My mother in the 70s

Prior to that day, which was October 8, 1976, I had often asked my mother, “Is there a God? Is God real?” One day she answered, “No. I don’t know, Shawn. When you die, you just go in the ground.” Yet she continued to read The Lord’s Prayer to me every night before bed, so I wasn’t fully convinced. Well, after October 8, 1976, I was fully convinced that there was a God, and I never asked her again.

My mother says, “October 8, 1976 is the day I started living.” Psychiatrists tried to convince her that she had imagined the whole incident, and others said it didn’t make sense biblically. Regardless of what others have to say about the validity of my mother’s story, the incident changed her life for the better. She became even more helpful in her community. She sent me to Sunday school, and she began to appreciate things on earth like grass, trees, and even concrete. For the first time, she could truly see the miracles on earth and look forward to spending eternity with Jesus.

Dear Lord, You have decorated heaven and earth with Your magnificent glory, divine creativity, and awesomeness, and I am so grateful that You have blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy both heaven and earth. Amen.

By Shawn R. Jones,

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

PIGF cover

Handling Disappointment

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Handling Disappointment

By Shawn R. Jones

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

As a Christian, your life is not based on chance, luck, or coincidences. When you follow God obediently and sincerely, He covers you until your last day on earth and into eternity. However, your Christian walk will not exclude you from disappointment. Disappointment is a reality in everyone’s life, saved or unsaved, but do not be discouraged. God still has a plan for you.

Both negative and positive situations can prepare you for divine destiny. For example, my son applied to the University of Pennsylvania when he was a senior in high school. He maintained honor roll throughout high school, was involved in several clubs, performed many community service hours, and received many awards. It seemed he was well qualified for the University of Pennsylvania, but he was not accepted.

So, what happened? He concluded that he was destined to be at another institution. However, he didn’t fully understand it until he had completed his second year at Rutgers-Camden. He was on the dean’s list every semester and received recognition and awards from Rutgers, the state, and local organizations for helping disadvantaged people in the surrounding community. He was truly happy and got so much joy out of helping the residents of Camden that he believed the state school was a divine selection and the Ivy League school, a divine rejection. Could he have gone to the University of Pennsylvania and done the same? No human knows for sure, but the important issue is that my son’s first responsibility was to God’s kingdom. As a result, God stayed with him and blessed his endeavors.  He graduated Rutgers magna cum laude with departmental honors a couple years ago, and today he is a home-owner, business owner, and husband-to-be.

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Like my son, many people want to go to the best school, get the best job, and just have the best of everything. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and having high expectations, but if things don’t work out according to your plans, remember God can bless you anywhere. Just because an institution or occupation has an esteemed reputation, that does not necessarily mean you are supposed to be there. Remember, God wants you in the place that is best for you. It may not be the most popular place in the world, and it may not be the most attractive position, but if God ordained it, it is for you.

 

Dear Lord, please lead me into Godly purpose. Choose my job, my neighborhood, and my friends. I welcome Your process of divine elimination. I appreciate Your choosing all that is best for me. Amen.

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

You can order your copy of my devotional, Pictures in Glass Frames, from the following site:

http://t.co/BxiNwWRG  It is also available on Nook and Kindle.

Presently Untitled

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Presently Untitled

By Shawn R. Jones

 

I have always been afraid of silence

and the sounds that imply silence

like church bells tolling at twelve,

soft, faint giggles after wine,

toddlers singing nursery rhymes

in schoolyards across town,

golden pendulums swinging

behind still chains, clocks ticking

lazily behind wooden frames,

featherless gray cardinals

pacing across thin perches,

machines beeping down quiet halls,

and the insistent ring of an unanswered call,

until I heard God’s voice

drizzle before hard rain,

replacing the pain-

fully unspeakable

eerie solitude

of silence.


Copyright 2003 Shawn R. Jones

This is a poem I am currently revising. I am not sure what it is really… about, but I am sure I will better understanding of it after the fifth draft or so.  Anyway, I hope you get something out of it.  Thank you for stopping by : )