R & R

Acadia National Park, 2013 (c) 2013 Michele Huey All rights reserved.
Acadia National Park (c) 2013 Michele Huey All rights reserved.


The LORD is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. – Psalm 23:1,2 (NIV)

When the kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, January was my R & R month. Just as the military gives its troops time for rest and relaxation to refresh them for the battles to come, I, too, found fighting life’s day-to-day battles left me with an I’m-so-tired-I-can’t-go-on feeling. Especially after the hectic holidays.

So, after the decorations were put away and the house somewhat back to normal, I decided I needed a vacation of sorts. I couldn’t afford to fly off to a warmer climate, and the frigid temperatures, blowing snow, and howling winds of a typical Northeast January made traveling anywhere but to town for groceries a battle in itself. So why not hole up and take the first month of the year to refresh my spirits and rejuvenate my energy?

I spent the time reading and working on a sewing or crocheting project. My family enjoyed homemade bread, cinnamon rolls made from scratch, and other goodies I usually didn’t have the time to make. When the kids had a snow day, we played board games and sipped hot chocolate topped with a healthy dollop of extra creamy whipped topping.

When February rolled around, I was ready to come out of my self-imposed hibernation and face the world.

Rest is important to body, mind, and spirit. That’s why God commands us “to remember the Sabbath day.” The Hebrew words for Sabbath means “cessation.” One day in seven was set aside for rest and worship. God Himself set the precedent when He ceased from His work of creating the universe and everything in it.

Nowadays it seems the world spins faster. Technology has increased the pace of life. We’re slaves to overcrowded schedules. We overcommit our time and overdo ourselves, but for what purpose?

January is almost over, and I’ve spent most of it taking myself on a guilt trip because I haven’t done what I’d planned to do on my projects. Perhaps my R & R has been calling to me, and I’ve been resisting.

Since I preach every Sunday, that day for me is a workday. Instead of choosing another day for my Sabbath, I work through an ambitious to-do list every day of the week, then wonder why I’m always feeling so tired.

God ordained the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2–3), and His Son reminded us that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). This is a day God purposed for our benefit, to restore us physically, mentally, and spiritually—and to give balance to our lives.

More than ever, we need a Sabbath day, and, yes, even a Sabbath month or year, to recharge our spent energy, refocus our goals, redirect our steps, and renew stalled-out dreams.

Thank You, God, for the renewal a Sabbath brings. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 23

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

A Woman of Noble Character


Mary Fugate (Family picture, used with permission)
Mary Fugate (Family picture, used with permission)

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:29–30 NIV

Rarely, if ever, have I used this column as a tribute to a person. This week, however, I’m stepping out of bounds in order to honor a woman who impacted many lives in the Punxsutawney community and beyond, mine included.

I was a brand new Christian when I met Mary Fugate nearly 40 years ago at my first Bible study. A young mother with a busy two-year-old, I was struggling with the adjustment from being a fulltime teacher to a fulltime wife and mother—not only to my life and my schedule, but also to our pocketbooks.

Mary, herself the mother of six, took me under her wing, inviting me to the local Christian Women’s Club luncheon as her guest. I couldn’t have afforded it otherwise.

A whole new world—new friendships (most of them lifelong), a new purpose—opened up to me. Eventually, thanks to her influence, I became a member of the CWC committee, a guide for the Friendship Bible Studies, a teacher for Good News Club (Child Evangelism Fellowship), and now, a lay preacher and inspirational columnist and speaker.

Over the years, I was honored to serve with two of her five sons on the steering committee, and subsequently the board of directors, that launched two community ministries, Campus Life/Youth for Christ and the Punxsutawney Christian School. When I taught at the school, I was further blessed to teach four of her grandsons, all fine young men.

Although I saw little of Mary through the years, I could always count on her prayers and support. For as long as I knew her, Mary hosted a Thursday morning prayer time in her home. I can’t express how much it meant to me to know my requests and needs were being lifted to the throne of grace week after week.

I ran into Mary in the grocery store right before Christmas. That moment is forever etched in my mind, heart, and spirit. She looked great—vibrant, full of joy and peace. Love shone in her eyes, encouraging words poured from her lips. We hugged. Little did I know it would be the last time I’d see her on this earth.

My heart is breaking and tears blur my vision as I write this.

To paraphrase John Donne, “No woman is an island.” Our lives are an ongoing stream in the course of time, one life touching another, touching another, touching another, on and on, until time is no more.

What I am today is because of Mary’s influence. And I know I’m not the only one. Her godly example, her love, her prayers, her support, and her encouragement are ripples that will go on through generations.

Well done, good and faithful servant! Rest in peace, Mary Fugate. I love you.

Thank you, Father, for this woman whose life has blessed my life and the lives of countless others. May the godly example she set of love, loyalty, friendship, encouragement, and support ripple down through eternity. Amen.

Read and meditate on Proverbs 31:10–31

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.