Jim Honeycutt: Running Forward
Just a few days shy of my sixtieth birthday I find myself running towards that milestone with great anticipation. Where I kind of limped into my fifties, with an eye towards the grave. I am so settled with my earthly mortality that all I can do is live in confidence. For the knowledge and experience I have acquired by trial and testing, reinforces the scripture taught me from the days of my youth.
As I reflect on the day that quickly approaches my mind turns towards all the gifts I have been given over the years. The ones that I cherish most are not the typical gifts one might think of, toys, tools or even money. No, the gifts that have endured throughout my life are the intangible lessons and skills taught by those that know and love me. Taking time to list them helps me in my prayers as I voice thanks to my Heavenly Father for His abundant grace.
The gift on the top of my list that made so many other things possible is my adoption. Just as God gave me to Walter and Mertice Honeycutt to love and raise, He gave them to me so I would learn about Him. My earthly adoption helps me understand the deeper meaning of my Heavenly adoption. In that I am secure in the knowledge of being part of His Family. Never to be disowned.
Very early in my life my mother gave me a gift that I fought with her over. A gift so precious that without it I don’t know what I would do. Many a stressful evening took place in the Honeycutt home as my intensely patient mother used every idea she could think of trying to teach me to read. At six, written words meant nothing to me, just a bunch of squiggly lines put together. Then one evening, with her gentle prodding, meaning formed before me, as the written words took life.
Not long after that when I was in the second grade, Miss. Inez Folley, who appeared very old and frightfully scary to me as I entered her classroom for the first time, won my heart as she taught me the art of storytelling. A gift I have enjoyed for a lifetime.
At seven years old, one Sunday morning as Brother Bill Smith explained the Scripture concerning the wages of sin vs The Gift of Eternal Life, I accepted God’s promised word. This is by far the most important gift I have been given for it gives me hopeful security.
One summer day while attending Church youth camp, as a teen, I felt the call of ministry upon my life. Though I wrestled with this for many years, God has been faithful, leading me one step at a time, helping me to understand what that truly means.
As my twenties arrived, I found myself wandering without self-purpose. Something appeared to be missing in my life. Looking around I saw all my friends dating and getting married. I realized I was lonely. Longing for love with someone special, God answered my prayer bringing Melissa and I together. Through our love, God blessed us with the joy of our heart, our daughter. And through her has given us a bright star, our grandson.
My walk with Christ in this world has not always been smooth. Many a time He has helped me along, gifting me with friends that have become family.
One night as I laid in bed praying, I did something I never thought I would do, I attempted to bargain with God. Unfulfilled in my career and lacking the understanding on how to proceed, I promised God if He would bless me with a business that became self-sufficient, I would put my hand to whatever He directed. Little did I realize at the time how that would play out. With a thriving business that is now lead by our daughter, God has equipped me to turn my attention to His work. Without the burden upon others to provide for the ministry I feel called to.
When I turned fifty-seven, I was relieved by the fact I had lived past the age where my birth father had died by a heart attack. Within less than a month I also had one. But God was merciful and allowed me to survive that experience. Even as I laid upon the operation table getting ready for a triple bypass, I knew my life was fully in God’s hands. I no longer have the fear of death that I once had and that is a tremendous gift.
Sprinting into my sixties I am fully aware that it will not be monotonous. Experience has taught that the twists and turns of life can bring about unexpected trials. But I also know that unexpected blessings follow me by The Power of His Mercy and Grace.
My list of gifts is so long that I could spend days counting them. And I know that if you took the time to review yours, you would be amazed. I also know that there are dark days that make them seem veiled, but they are there. It might be you need His light to shine upon them so you see them better. I pray He does just that. I pray that as you read this, rather than listen to that little whisper of how terrible things are for you. You would ask God to help you grasp all the wonderful, amazing gifts you have been given.
The Scripture says in James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
As the old hymn says- Count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.