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Take My Hand, Daddy

For my dad

Take my hand daddy, I’m just a little girl, I’m kinda scared of this great big world.

Take my hand daddy, they’re making me start school, what if I get in trouble and can’t follow the rules. 

Take my hand daddy, it’s my wedding day, you have to walk me down the aisle and give me away.

Take my hand daddy, it’s my turn to take care of you, my very best for you is what I will do.

Take my hand daddy, I’m not ready for you to leave, but now I know that you will be here watching over me.

Gina Barton Sewell

Changing Your Focus

Lord, I have so many things to be thankful for, so many more than I ever imagined and I don’t even know where to begin. I thank you first and foremost for your son Jesus Christ. I thank you for saving me from a life of drugs, alcohol and abuse. I’m thankful for the relationships that you have restored between me and my children. My family is everything to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for my kids and my grandkids. I’m thankful for my husband even though we went through a rough spot at one point, you brought us through it and better than ever. We were apart for thirty years and you still brought us back to each other. 

 I’m thankful for my gift of writing and for the fact that you allow me to write for your glory. I’m thankful that I have a job, and a nice place to live because there was a time I had no place to live at all….. I was homeless. I’m thankful for my car that gets me back and forth to work as well as to see my kids. Because there was several years that I didn’t even have a car and I had to walk everywhere with my fibromyalgia.

 Oh Lord, I’m thankful for so many things and sometimes I get sad or depressed, as well as lonely, because I miss the people I’ve lost, but even so, I must remember the blessings. Nothing is perfect in life and not everything Is beautiful, but even in the worst of circumstances, there are always blessings to be found, if we can bring ourselves to search for them. Thank you Lord Jesus for everything that you have done. In Jesus name……

When I start to feel down or sad or even angry thinking about those days I realize where I am now. And that’s not something I could have done on my own… it’s something that you did for me and my family, because of your grace.

A few years ago, I could not see blessings in anything, because I was so angry and so very depressed. But you know what? The blessings were there. I just couldn’t see them because I was so focused on the negative. 

I remember a time that if, even the smallest thing went wrong, I would just fall to pieces. But when I began to focus on Him and the blessings that he was giving me and the love that he was showing me, I found my joy and my peace.

Change your focus and I guarantee, life will begin to change.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Gina Barton Sewell

Heaven Is Not That Far

I wrote this poem for my dad a few months after he passed. I’d like to share it with you.

I went to the cemetery to visit your grave
I bawled like a baby, so much for being brave.
I know that you’re in heaven, of that I have no doubt
But heaven seems so far away, far beyond the clouds.
Even though some may not know because of the times we didn’t speak
But I remember growing up how proud you were of me.
You took me everywhere and bragged about your little girl
You would have done anything for me, anything in the world.
I know that you’re still with me, you still have my hand
You’re guiding me through, helping me to understand.
Sometimes a faint whisper I can hear in the breeze
Sometimes the sun just seems brighter when it’s shining on me.
Sometimes just a feeling deep within my heart
Are all signs telling me heaven really isn’t that far.

Gina Barton Sewell

Prayer

Thank you God for your many blessings. If anyone has gone down the wrong road and made mistakes too numerous to count, that would be me. I turned my back on you and went in my own direction, quite effectively destroying my life. I ended up with no one, but You, Lord, were still there.
Even though I turned away…..even though I did all the things that I always said I’d never do, You were still there. When I was at the end of my rope and didn’t even want to live anymore and I needed help so desperately, I turned to You and You were there.


You set my feet upon a rock and you gave me my life back now I’m living dreams that I had given up on years ago. That’s all you Lord, I did nothing to deserve these things but you’ve given them to me anyway. All you ask is that we love you and obey your teachings.Thank you from the very bottom of my heart Lord. I love you so very much. In Jesus precious name, Amen


“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4

Family is Everything

My husband and I were able to take a short weekend trip to see the kids and grandkids. We had so much fun. It was really hard moving away from my family and it doesn’t get any easier. I get so excited when we go there and I’m very happy, but it also kind of leaves me with mixed emotions. Knowing that my parents and my best friend are gone…..its really difficult seeing the places that I have so many memories of them.

 I recently gave my home that I own there to my son. He actually lived there with my dad so that was like his home. They’re totally remodeling it and I’m so excited for them. But at the same time it’s really hard because I remember when Daddy bought that place. I remember Mom and I helping Daddy do the work on it to turn it into an office. We lived next door when I was growing up, but that house is long gone now. But still I was raised on that property.  My daddy’s shop is back there and that’s where I can go to feel him with me and it’s not mine anymore. But I am happy to know that my grandchildren will be raised on that same property and I know that my daddy is looking down from heaven and he’s very happy about it as well.

I’m so proud of all of my sons. There’s not a day that goes by, that I don’t thank the Lord above for my wonderful family. 

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart,

I will tell of all your good deeds. ” Psalm 9:1

Nothing but Faith

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A coworker had just put in his notice and when another coworker asked why he was leaving, he said that he felt God was ready to take him elsewhere in his life. She asked, what are you going to do for a job,?” He simply replied, “I’m praying about it.”

She was very puzzled by his attitude. “Why would he leave the safety and security of a job he had worked for years with no plans for the immediate future….nothing really to fall back on?” Quite frankly, I think she thought he was crazy.

Later, she was telling a large group of us the story and laughing at his expense, while she told it.

Everyone laughed and made jokes. Being young in my life with Jesus, I laughed too. 

As we all walked away from our little circle, I felt immediate conviction. “Why did I laugh? That’s not honoring God. That’s not showing people the new me or much more importantly, showing them Jesus through me.

As days went on, my mind kept going back to that day. I felt so disappointed in myself. That could have been used as a moment to speak up for God. That was an opportunity to potentially help someone and I blew it.

I wondered how I could laugh, when that was exactly what I did. I didn’t quit my job as he had because I wasn’t working at the time, but I left my home, my marriage, everything that I knew with no place to go. Nothing to rely on but my faith in God, which, actually, is everything. My life has completely changed for the better since the day and it all began with a prayer. Just like my coworker,  I had felt it was time for a change and I prayed about it. 

I don’t like that I laughed about it that day. But I did try to make up for it later. I began to stand up in my faith and be bolder concerning my relationship with God. I began letting everyone know that I loved Jesus and even told my story to those who wanted to hear it. 

That is what we are called to do….. To be a light in the darkness for those who are searching. We are to be the hands and feet of God.I will never again be ashamed of my faith for the Lord is my savior and my strength.

Every Step of the Way

It’s funny how we tend to think it’s the end of the world when some little thing goes wrong. Whether it’s a small thing, or even a big thing, it’s certainly not the end of the world. But somehow that’s what we focus on. We can have a hundred good things going on in our lives and we will focus on that one bad thing and bring ourselves down.

We all have a thorn in our side as Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Mine would have to be my fibromyalgia that’s a big thorn. Even though life is going really good sometimes it’s hard to look past the pain I feel each and every day. Sometimes I just want to stay in my bed all day and feel sorry for myself. But then I think, “I’ve got this wonderful husband, I’ve got awesome kids,I have a job, I have a nice place to live.”

 There was a time I didn’t have any of those things. There was a time I was homeless, addicted, and abused. I have lost loved ones. I’ve been through so much and for God to bring me back up from the pit, the way he has, well, it makes me feel guilty for feeling bad about one thing out of a million good things.

 So I keep going, I put one foot in front of the other and I get through my day. Some days are easier than others. Some days are really difficult, but I do it because I know what God has done for me and I know he’s with me every step of the way.

Heal My Heart, Lord

When I am hurting and my heart is broken

I always tend to run away,

No matter the gesture or words spoken

Nothing can make me want to stay.

The sadness in my heart intensifies

As I try to continue the facade,

But I know that none of this

Is what’s expected of a woman of God.

I lift my hands, I surrender it al Lord, I am bringing you my heart,

Please, Lord, I am asking you to heal it,

Every single, shattered part.

True strength comes from the Lord

Of this we can be sure,

We know His grace is sufficient

And that His love for us is pure.

So Lord take away this sadness

And all the pain I feel inside,

And replace it with peace, love, and joy

As all your commands I abide.

As I place my faith firmly in You

I feel my strength reforming

Because I know sorrow lasts for a night

But joy comes in the morning.

Written by Gina Barton Sewell 

Originally published in Agape Review

Close Calls

Life is full of close calls. Yesterday, I was in my kitchen snacking on some cantaloupe and my husband was in the other room on the phone. I took a bite and the next thing I knew I was choking. Not just hard to swallow, but fully choking. I could feel it wasn’t too far down so I just kept trying to dislodge it. Spike ran in the room the instant he realized what was happening and just as he got there. I managed to dislodge the fruit and I could breathe.

One morning, back when I was taking care of my ex husband, I had just gotten off work and was completely exhausted. I worked overnights at that time. I went home, got into my comfy bed and had barely shut my eyes, when the phone rang. It was Tommy, my ex, and his pump that runs his iv medication was not working properly and he was afraid. After telling him I would be right there, I hung up the phone  and jumped in the car. I was not even a mile away from my house when I apparently fell asleep behind the wheel. 

All I know is that I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and the next thing I knew, I heard my dad’s voice very sharply exclaim, “wake up!” Which was very strange because not only was he not in the car with me, he had passed away several years before this happened.

 I opened my eyes to find I had veered off the road and was driving in the ditch. I quickly reacted and corrected my mistake without flipping the car or running into anything, continuing to drive like nothing happened. Thank you Lord.

These types of things happen to me quite frequently. Not even to mention the things He saves is from that we’re not even aware of. He is always with us, there to protect us.

Gina Barton Sewell

Praying for the Lost and Addicted

This may be you or it may be someone you love. Or maybe you’re one of the very lucky ones who are not affected at all by drugs.

A lot of times you feel there’s no choice but to give up and walk away. But when it’s someone close to you, that’s a little harder to do. How can you walk away from your own child? You can’t, so you keep praying, but sometimes it seems to be to no avail. I’m here to tell you Dont Give Up. There is hope.

A lot of times it’s a parent, and the child grows up feeling so hurt, they walk away from that parent. I am so blessed and so incredibly thankful to have my kids in my life. In all actuality, they have every right, every reason to hate me, but they don’t. They still love me and we have rebuilt amazing relationships. That is Gods grace. And it’s available to all that love Him.

There were years that my dad and I barely spoke and I thought he had given up on me. I mean, “why not?” I thought. I had given up on myself.

Thankfully, after I stepped out of that world and he could see I was really trying hard, we made amends. I even moved in with him and my son, so that i could take care of him. I am so blessed that I got my head together and spent those last couple of years of my dad’s life with him.

At the time, I was also going to college working toward a degree in accounting. His last couple of months I never left his side, but he was adamant that I stay in school, so I was allowed to take some time out and do my studies at home. One day, as I was doing my homework, I looked up and caught him smiling at me. I asked why he was smiling and his response is something I will never forget as long as I live. It touched my heart deeply.

“I always knew you would change your life and do good for yourself and your family,” he replied. Honestly, I laughed a little because I thought he gave up on me a long time ago. “No you did not,” I laughed..

He looked at me with the most loving, yet serious look and said, “yes, I knew you would because I prayed to the good Lord for you every night and I knew He wouldn’t let me down.” That is faith and that faith saved my life.

I always knew someone was praying for me. When I think of the dangerous situations I found myself in and how far I had gone away from everyone in my life and to do a complete turn around…..I knew I was blessed with prayers. But I never imagined they were from my dad.

Just that conversation, which sadly, was one of our last, meant so much to me and kept me going through some of the more difficult times during my recovery.

So, keep praying for that loved one. As much as it hurts, dont give up, because no matter how long it might take, God can and will answer your prayer.

Father God, I pray for those who have found themselves in addiction. They need you to fill that emptiness inside them that they try to fill with drugs. For me, it was my physical pain that started it. Whatever reason one may have for their addiction, they are in some type pain. Please Father, I ask that you take away their pain and give peace and comfort to the families who are out there fighting for them each day. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace. In Jesus name. Amen.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:15-16

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it, 1 Corinthians 10:13

Gina Barton Sewell