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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Happy Birthday Colleyanna and Digging Deep!

Today is Colleyanna Mae’s fifth birthday. She’s Covid-quarantined, so I will not get to see her today, but I cannot wait to get to celebrate with her. She’s bright-eyed and her smile’s possibly the most infectious of the family. She loves tiny things that sparkle (Right now I have to make a trip to the church building because she thinks she left her red crystal there. She’s hoping it is in the lost-and-found. I think it is probably in the “lost-and-trashed” because that’s what any finder [or vacuum] would do with that teeny piece of plastic, but I bet she gets another crystal. She even called to ask if I’d checked lost-and-found.) She loves the Lord, too, and she prays for Baxter, her cat, faithfully.

I love that girl more than she will ever know (at least till she’s a mammy.) This year’s Digging Deep study book is dedicated to the Lord first and then to Colleyanna’s future. Here’s the dedication page:

For Colleyanna Mae Giselbach. You are my little sunshine ray. All I have to do, when a morning is challenging, is think about your little life’s philosophies, and I’m counting my blessings again!You are sleeping, this week, in my bathtub, your favorite place to spend your nights when you visit Mammy’s house. You have your little nightlight that puts stars—stars that slowly change colors—on the ceiling.You have your little “pings” (things) that you collect and carefully organize all around you before you fall asleep. I don’t want you to grow past the sleeping-in-the -bathtub stage.

But one day, when you do, I want to study these important conversations of the Lord with you.And my heart’s most thrilling picture is the two of us talking with the Lord about these things in a land where the conversation is not punctuated by darkness and day’s end.

Happy birthday, Colleyanna!

It’s another special birthday, too. Digging Deep turns 11 today! Eleven years ago, someone had faith as a grain of mustard seed and started a little facebook group that’s grown into a tree in which birds can build their nests. God is so good like that!

So, start digging into my favorite study, so far. (It’s always the one I’m doing right now! His Word is so good like that!) What He did, on purpose, for me is what I need to be thinking about these days. It will keep us going in challenging times and add to our joy in the times when faith is soaring. So get going, get inviting, and get excited with me. The eleventh year is about the eleventh hour of the life of my Lord. It’s riveting to any spiritually-minded person. I hope you can get some friends who need the Lord to do it with us!

Happy Birthday, Digging Deep. 1…2…3…Go!


(Here’s a fun DD birthday retro pic. I think this group was beginning “Authority.”) 



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: A Paw Patrol Cup

A Paw Patrol cup.  That’s what three-year-old Colleyanna asked Santa to bring her this year. I don’t think she’s ever even watched the show. She has, though, been enamored with those puppies, since she first began seeing them in WalMart and Dollar Tree.  She wanted Paw Patrol panties when she was potty-trained. She has a few little Paw Patrol figures that she carries in her purse. And she always runs to my sippy-cup basket and searches for the one Paw Patrol cup whenever she visits.  But she asked Santa for a Paw Patrol cup when she visited him. And that is ALL she requested that day. 

As we were walking away from Santa that day, we had this little conversation:

Mammy: “What did you ask for, Colleyanna?”

Colleyanna: “A Paw Patrol cup. I wanted a Paw Patrol cup dus wike yours.”

Mammy: “Well, that’s a great idea! You love Paw Patrol!”

Colleyanna: “Yes, but I want a Paw Patrol cup so we can match!”

May I live my life so that blessedness always comes to sweet souls who aspire to “match” me. 

Have a happy holiday time today and try to be “match-worthy” for all the little people in your world!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Maybe there’s a Kitty…

I was the teacher for the ladies Bible class. I proceeded to try and get there early, so I could put a chart on the board comparing Melchizedek with Christ. I dropped off Colleyanna, my sweet two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, who’s staying with me this week, in her classroom and hurried to room 119. I was a minute early, but there were lots of girlfriends in there already and they were chatting about potty-training…all about the stress you go through when your kids are first out of diapers—You have about ten seconds to find the bathroom when they tell you they’ve got to go. There was advice about not rushing it…”My Joy’s only been potty trained for a couple of weeks and she just turned three.” 

And I was listening while I was writing my chart. In my Mammy-head was “Maybe I should be glad she’s not potty-trained, then, because I don’t think I could handle any more stress just now,” and “Oh, well. Colleyanna is just two-and-a a-half. There’s plenty of time…But we have to do it before PTP, for sure, so she can go to class.” 

And just as sure as the world, I wrote a column on my chart entitled “Melchizedek” and, on the opposite column (instead of “Christ”), I wrote “Colleyanna” and started listing my verses of comparison. 

When it came time to actually study the verses with that room full of ladies, I had them look up the verses as we discussed the list and someone would read them out loud. Only the first verse had nothing to do with the topic. Astute women in the class (who should have been teaching) quickly realized I’d added a one and it was verse five instead of 15 …or some such simple mistake. Those ladies are very forgiving. 

Then we got to the second verse. Same thing. One chapter off. Nothing about the fact that Jesus is the King of Peace. This time they laughed that i’d mess up two verses in a row.  I commented about how I was going for 100 percent wrong scripture citations and we moved on. 

…To the third wrong citation. My phrase about the King of Righteousness was in the previous verse. And I could not stop laughing at myself. “Why am I up here teaching instead of you all who can find the verses?!” I was thinking. “This is a great game though. See if you can find the verse she really meant.” Kind of like those kids’ secret code puzzlers over on the elementary hall, where you break the code and every letter in the “solution” is really two letters off. I started to wonder if I would be able to regain my composure and go on with Hebrews 7. (In the back of my head, I also wondered how such an airhead would possibly be speaking 287 times in Israel in a couple of weeks, put together a live podcast from the Sea of Galilee, complete a lectureship manuscript before leaving, try to counsel a sane person though a failing marriage later in the week, and follow simple recipes to send meals to my in-laws tomorrow…And how’s anybody entrusting the care of a two-year-old to this Mammy?…”Make a note to get all of your loved ones to be sure and be at the web-inar about caring for loved ones with dementia, for sure,” I told myself while moving to the point about how we do not know the genealogy or descent of Melchizedek. Soon I will not know mine either. 

And then the bell rang and  I forgot…just forgot…to go and get Colleyanna from Bible class. I just proceeded to go right in the auditorium and have a seat. She was a lonely little thing, still sitting there buckled in her little seat just admiring her coloring sheet on a perfectly empty table. “We wondered if you were coming,” the teacher said. 

“Oh, you mean this is “pick-up-only’ class?” 

I forgot to bring the ice-cream freezer I was loaning to my friend for the youth devo. I forgot to bring the “Awake at Night” book I was giving to another friend. (But fitting title for my week.) I forgot to get the details of my international phone plan for the folks who are helping me do that podcast from the Sea of Galilee. I found myself humming that hymn that ends up with the words “Remember No More.”

Pulling into the parking lot of WalMart late last night, I felt a little like I should not be allowed behind the wheel at all. But there, at the door of WalMart was an ambulance in full flashing-lights mode. I thought about some poor soul that had suffered a stroke or heart attack while in the store. Someone inside had a real problem. I needed to stop and pray for them, take a deep breath, and count my blessings.

Then I noticed wide eyes in the backseat of my SUV and I heard a little voice from the carseat behind me “Look Mammy! Maybe there’s a kitty stuck in a tree.”

Count your blessings while you can still count. But then again, none of us can count that high!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “…thank you for letting me hold Colleyanna’s hand…”

They got their food to go. The parents, for the first time ever, let the three-year-old hold his sister’s hand on the way across the parking lot to the car.  Ezra took that job very seriously and talked with her gently about being careful to watch for cars. He never let go of that sweet little hand till they reached the car and climbed into their car seats. The little family distributed the chicken nuggets and asked Ezra to say the prayer before they ate their food. This is what he prayed  from that back seat where hearts are really pretty fresh from God, Himself:

Dear God, thank you for letting me hold Colleyanna’s hand all the way to the car while we didn’t hold on to anyone else.” 

The child did not even know what all he said in that little prayer. 

He said he loves his sister. He said he already knows that it’s his job to protect her and take care of her. Brothers and sisters are for loving. It’s our responsibility to take care of each other…especially in the family of God.

He said that he was happy he got to hold her hand all the way. There was a destination and the little boy wasn’t letting go till they were safely there. Are we thankful for the “all- the-way” aspect of Christianity? Are we willing to go the distance with brothers and sisters till we, together, arrive safely at the big destination? Forbearance in Ephesians 4:2, is a characteristic of walking worthy of the vocation to which we have been called. It means the ability to “keep on putting up with” each other. We are flawed and sinful and, sometimes, going the distance with each other is not a walk in the park. 

He knew the reason she needed his hand. He had been taught about danger. Do we take the spiritual dangers around us seriously?  I mean, relative to the souls that we influence, …those who are younger in the faith than are we…do we hold their hands and do everything we can to protect them from the roaring lion, the subtle snake, the wolf in sheep’s clothing and the father of lies? Are we sober about the danger?

He knew that the big difference on this day was that Daddy had let him do this without either of their tiny hands holding to the hand of an adult. If he only could imagine the trepidation living in the hearts of those Christian parents. Today, it’s sending them a few feet ahead in the parking lot. Tomorrow, it’s sending them a bit further… to the classroom or the workplace or the university.  One day soon, it’s that father giving away the little hand of that sweet little girl for good, by the light of some candles, in front of the minister… to some young man who’s not nearly good enough. 

Without one reality, it would all just be too big…too much…too overwhelming for good parents to do. But the saving reality is this. One day…maybe even a little bit every day…the daddy will give the hands of those sweet children to Jesus. And really, that little boy who thanked the Lord that “we didn’t hold on to anyone else” will be ever grateful to the same Lord that we are holding on to Someone Else. And that Someone is a very present help in any time of trouble (Psa. 46:1). He is the ultimate Protector. And He will never let us go until we safely reach the destination. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Colleyanna Mae Giselbach!!…9 lbs, 5 oz…9-1-16…6:21a.m.

14202669_10154648225322446_6950069074743094361_nDear Colleyanna, 

First of all, let me just say that that’s a very big name for such a small soul. Maybe your middle name, Mae, is  the more appropriate size for someone who tallies up more toes than pounds. Maybe Colleyanna Mae, especially when paired with Giselbach will fill up two whole lines when you get to kindergarten…that’s IF you can remember all the letters in the right order. It’s a mouthful for your brother Ezra, but he can say “my baby” just fine and he loves to hold you in his “wap.” it’s sweetness when you think about the Colley part. That part of the name is the part I really wanted to wear when I married your Papa, who is protective of his family, brave and faithful to our God. He preaches the gospel, as does his father and as his grandfather did. He gave that sterling name, Colley, to your mother. I’m glad she wanted to give it to you, because sharing a name is a special kind of bond. You and I are both Colleys!

Anna. Anna was a proclaimer of that wonderful gospel, too. In fact, the Good Book says that she stayed in the temple and spoke of God to all who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem. That’s in Luke 2. I hope you will be an “Anna” who will devote all of her days to speaking to people who are looking for the Redeemer. You are so tiny, but remember, Moses was just a baby in that little basket in the river when God fished him out for the purpose of saving Israel. You, too, can take the message of redemption.

Mae. Mae was your father’s grandmother. It was actually Jenet Garner’s middle name. Now it is your middle name.  A faithful preacher’s wife, the original middle-named-Mae influenced many people to be, simply and only New Testament Christians. She did it through hospitality, service, home Bible studies, mission travels, genuine friendship evangelism and through her children.  This woman of God died just a few weeks before you were born, but she already loved you and smiled sweetly just a few hours before her death when she learned you would wear her name.  She asked her family to gather around her bedside and sing her favorite hymns as she traveled with the angels from this life to the next. God granted her this moment just as she had wished. Then he granted her someone to carry a part of her sweet name through another life cycle.We are glad that’s you. 

Giselbach. That’s the name your Daddy gives you now. It’s the name that ties your little family together. It’s the one you will one day call your maiden name. It’s the one you will exchange when your daddy walks you down that aisle one day. Treasure the wearing while you can.  Your Giselbach father and  grandfather are faithful proclaimers of the Word, too. 

As I write, you are not yet 24 hours old, but, let me tell you, you stay up at night like a champ. Room 279 wins for the rowdiest night spot in the obstetrics ward. It’s now 4:20 and I think it would be a pretty big stretch to say we’ve had an hour’s sleep so far tonight—your first night outside the dark haven where God formed you.  I guess it’s been a pretty scary day for you…learning to breathe, to wear diapers, to cry, and to experience the sharp little pains of needles and the coldness of thermometers and scales. But there was one point of this day that was scary for even me. Your Papa led us all in prayer in that little hospital room just a few moments after you were born…just the six of us: both sets of your grandparents and your parents. He implored God on behalf of your soul, which is arguably the biggest part of you right now. He asked us to hep bring you to heaven with us. In this old world you entered today, that proposition is challenging and scary.

But here is what I know. In your daddy’s family there are/were at least  a half dozen gospel preachers. In your mother’s there are/were upwards of twenty. There surely should  be nothing that could stop you from knowing the gospel…the good news of redemption that Anna shared at Jerusalem. Yes….You were born into a scary place; a place where sins that I wish you would never have to hear about are celebrated. But, even in the scariest of American times, you will have the gospel which is the anchor of the soul. It’s the power of God to save (Romans 1:16). It’s the separating influence (Romans 1:1). It’s the big blessing (Romans 15:29). It’s glorious (II Cor. 4:4). It’s grace (Gal. 1:6). It’s salvation (Eph. 1:13), peace (Eph. 6:15) and promise (Eph. 3:6). It’s truth (Col. 1:5). It is your hope, Colleyanna (Colossians 1:23).                                                            

There was a lot of good news yesterday, my sweet Colleyanna. You were the best news of yesterday, to us. But what makes you such a joy to our family is that you are forever. That soul can defy the devil and give God the glory for His Good News…the gospel. The gospel is good news because it’s the answer to every scary prayer. It is all we need to have our fondest dreams come true. 

We love you Colleyanna…your pink cheeks, little blondish fuzz, your super long feet, your sweet fingers wrapped around ours and, especially the de-ja-vu of the way you look just like Ezra! You are rich already and you have brought great wealth to your Papa and me. We hope we have lots more time to make memories with you. But lots more time is nothing compared to eternity. Let’s do eternity together with all the people who prayed that scary prayer with us today. Let’s do eternity with God!