How Does God Do That?

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Sometimes when I’m extremely tired and have life bullets zinging off me in a crazy pattern that doesn’t seem to make sense I have to dig deep into my store of faith to keep believing in God. I spent the first 20-plus years of my life thinking I was an atheist and when I got saved and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mother thought I was unbalanced and emotionally unstable.

Mom viewed everything strange in life as “coincidence.” Her favorite catch phrase when I tried to share something remarkable God had done in my life was, “That’s coincidence.”

God loves me so much that when I’m digging deep within my heart to rediscover my roots of faith—He sends me a Godincidence. He does something that only He could have done.

We live in a small house built on grounds where a gospel church used to stand. The church has been gone at least 10 years. Today we got a large envelope addressed to “Gospel Hall.”

We had no idea who to contact about the mail, or what to do with it. When I took our 11-week-old collie pup on a walk, she walked further than she usually does. On the way back I spotted an orange cat in a back yard. I stopped to show Savannah the cat. “That’s a cat,” I told her. As I stood there, a woman opened a second story window to throw birdseed down into her yard. She asked about Savannah’s name and age, and said she was on her way to the Gospel Hall in another village. I told her about the envelope I had received just a few hours earlier and she was as astonished as I was. We made plans to exchange the envelope. A Godincidence.

Why is it a Godincidence? I don’t usually walk Savannah at that time or in that direction. I had never walked her that far before. Had the timing not be orchestrated by God, I would not have been standing there at the precise moment the homeowner opened the window to dispense birdseed. Had we not spoken to one another—I would never have known she went to the Gospel Hall, and she would never have known that I had the envelope. Only God could have worked out all those details.

How does God do things like that? I don’t know, but I know He does. And knowing it’s a God thing holds my roots of faith firmly in place when the gale force winds of adversity strike.

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https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Christmas shadows & Lights

For seven years of single parenthood, my son Luke (the late Major Luke Gaines Parker, Aug. 19, 1976-Nov. 17, 2013) and I lived in the Nevada desert. One of our favorite entertainments was holding sagebrush jumping contests – which I hasten to add, he invariably won!

Except the mountains changing colors as clouds pass over them, shadows in the desert are short. Rocks, sagebrush, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), rabbit brush – all cast short shadows and there are virtually no trees. When we moved to the Texas Hill Country, trees along the road threw shadows down and when those shadows hit the road in front of me when I was driving, I got dizzy. It was a silly thing and I couldn’t understand it until Mom’s Christmas present.

Because Mom never had much money to spend on us at Christmas, she came up with unique, affordable gifts like the scrapbook of childhood photos she compiled for each of us one Christmas. It must have taken her weeks of sorting through pictures to get all the photos in the right albums for the right children. Luke loved the pictures of his mom as a child. We were looking at the album one day when I focused in on a small wooden house splattered with shade from trees surrounding it. Suddenly, the picture reached out and grabbed me. I was pulled through the hall to the back door where – partly outside my range of vision – my father was beating something to death. I couldn’t see the victim clearly enough to identify it, and the unexpected image frightened me so badly that I snapped out of the trance. I tried to revisit that picture later when I was alone, but I never could get past the front door again. The image of him pounding something and blood everywhere had terrorized me.

So my newest book, “Fear of Shadows,” was born from that Christmas gift and from the horrendous memory that almost surfaced.

My father was an atheist. He was a cruel wicked man who obeyed no law – God or man-made – except his law: “What’s good for J.L. Potter is good.” As a result, he committed shockingly evil crimes during his lifetime and was one of the first 51 people in the U.S. to die from a newly discovered disease that hadn’t even been named yet. We know it now as AIDS.

“Fear of Shadows” is a Christian mystery-romance-suspense book written from my imagination, not a true story. They say that fact is stranger than fiction. It is a fact that when I was five, my father loaded me, his mother, a Great Dane dog, my grandmother’s dog, and two cats into a wood-paneled station wagon and drove away from California in the middle of the night. He left my sister, my brother, and my pregnant mother behind. We camped out in the then-untamed Florida Everglades swamp along a lagoon with venomous snakes and alligators. We ate bread and peanut butter, and pancakes that my grandmother cooked over an open fire, every day…day after day. All these years later, I still can’t eat pancakes. My father claimed he was looking for work. Perhaps he wanted to herd alligators.

So…who and what was his victim? I don’t know. But I think you’ll enjoy the story that this experience wrote for me. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387341

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Knife to the heart

There’s no knife to the heart in this short blog about Major Luke Gaines Parker who graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps to Heaven on Nov. 17, 2013 – except for the wound left in the heart of his mother. But there are knives in the story – so keep reading!

Luke isn’t dead. His plane crashed. The outer shell of his body will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, Dec. 3, but Luke went straight from the sky into the arms of Jesus. So many people have poured out love, support and praise for Luke that I wanted to share a bit of what made him special.

I was raised an atheist. When Luke was four, I had only just discovered Jesus and started reading my Bible and going to church. We had no vehicle and sometimes we nearly missed the bus home from my work. So my four-year-old said, “Mom, why don’t you pray for a truck?” I was afraid to pray for a truck. What would happen to Luke’s faith if we prayed and didn’t get a truck? What would happen to mine? Luke had no doubts. He prayed for a truck. We got one the next day.

Luke read his Bible and believed it. He read that with faith, a person could move mountains. So when he got warts, he asked Jesus to remove them. Jesus did.

When our truck was sputtering and I didn’t think we’d make it home, Luke slapped his hands confidently on the dash and said, “Get the hens, Satan. Get the hens.” Puzzled, I asked him about the hens, only to find that he meant, “Get thee hence, Satan.” God wasn’t confused. The truck made it home.

From snakes and turtles to all things bigger and smaller, Luke loved animals and rescued them. He saved songbirds from bee traps and raised a one-legged baby raven. I found him hanging upside down in a tree one day teaching a baby opossum how to climb. When he ran a marathon in New York City, a bird landed on his shoulder. He fed it drops of water until it revived and flew away.

Luke accomplished everything his heart set out to do. When he wanted to learn to play the trumpet, he did. When he wanted to learn to play the piano, he did. When he wanted to join the Marine Corps and was told he couldn’t because he needed a steel rod to straighten his back, he got prayer for his back. Jesus healed his back and Luke started running up to eight miles a day – every day – to prepare for basic training. He worked his way up in the Marine Corps from enlisted to major. He graduated from college even though he froze during tests. He learned to fly a plane, then bought his own plane. He flew in air shows and preformed aerobatics. But that’s not why I’m so proud of him.

Luke walked with God. When he was in basic training, some of the guys got drunk and tried to get Luke to drink. He refused. When their mocking and taunts continued, Luke got into his bunk and covered himself with a sheet. In the morning, Luke’s mattress was slashed all around his body. One slash had just missed his heart.

When Luke was in Iraq, one of the men wrote in the newsletter, “No matter what we do, we can’t make Captain Parker cuss.”

Luke loved his wife and daughter. He was a great dad to his little girl. He walked with God. The Marines lost a man. I lost a son who walked with God.

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Magic

When I was a child, I lived in a magical world where fireflies were fairies dancing across the night sky. Not even catching lightning bugs in jars and using them as lanterns dispelled the magic. Fed by romantic fairy tales, my mind peopled toadstools with little people resting from their wanderings, drinking crystal dew drops out of the chalice of upturned flower blossoms and vanishing into the grass out of sight as morning crept into the world stealing darkness and shadows.

When I outgrew those fiction stories, I rode my bicycle up and down Georgia red clay roads at dusk looking for flying saucers. I explored spooky “haunted” houses that my friends were afraid to enter. I devoured stories about the Bermuda Triangle. One of my dreams was to travel to Scotland to look for the Loch Ness Monster.

God has a sense of humor. Here I am living in Scotland now, within fifteen miles of Loch Ness. I’ve made three trips to Loch Ness looking for Nessie. I’ve found one female mallard duck, one family of mallard ducks, and some hungry seagulls that were delighted to share lunch with me. Does that mean that I don’t believe in Nessie? Oh, no! Just because I haven’t found Nessie doesn’t mean that she doesn’t exist! I am fascinated by the sonar echoes and “swishing” sounds that exploratory vessels have picked up from the bottom of Scotland’s deepest lake.

Authors with vivid imaginations have written enduring stories that enthrall generations of readers. How blessed I will be if my grandchildren discover some of my books without being told about them: Bridge to Nowhere, Love’s Beating Heart, Heart Shadows, Until the Shadows Flee, Shadow Chase, Fear of Shadows. Or my husband’s time-travel adventures The Scent of Time and The Scent of Home. I would never equate my Christian mystery-romance-suspense books with literary classics, but I would match my imagination with the best of them!

This world is full of mystery, magic and miracles. Finding them depends on raising the line of heart vision from toadstools to Heaven. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has touched my life with miraculous healing and provision numerous times. But even if Jesus had never performed those visible outward physical signs and wonders, my changed heart itself would be a miracle.

My journey from a bitter, spiteful, unhappy God-hating atheist to a joyful Christ-loving Christian involved supernatural travel on the wings of God’s Holy Spirit. That, my friends, is magic!

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