Monday, March 31, 2008

Eye Contact

I am a people person. I enjoy talking to people and I even get a kick out of watching people. Today was a great day for this as people were everywhere outside. This weekend we had some severe weather and the university sustained some damage. So, there were facility workers out in force cleaning up debris from trees and bushes. Students were out jogging and there were groups of people milling around - glad to be outside without precipitation pelting down.

Most days I have to walk three buildings down to another office on campus and invariably pass people on the sidewalks. Today I passed by lots of people and just a few made eye contact and offered a greeting. And I wondered, why is this? Some people look at the ground until the last possible moment, glance up, nod and keep on walking. Others look away the entire time and you know they are relieved when you pass. Some look down, unashamed that they are completely ignoring your presence. And then, the joy when I find someone like me who is glad to smile and say a simple, "Hi!"

One day, I was passing a building and a professor walks out gets in step with me and asks me how my children are. I look at him and say, "They are great. But I'm not who you think I am." He takes a second look and realizes that he has no idea who I am! It cracks me up! But at least he took time to acknowledge that there are people in his world.

So as you are out today, look up and make eye contact with those around you. Take a chance and offer a greeting and a smile. It might be just the thing that other person needs. However, I'm sure you will get the most out of the experience!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

God's Amazing Grace!

Once again, God's ways are not my ways.

As I was praying for Rachel and her baby and asking my friends to do the same, I was confident in God showing favor and blessing. And perhaps He did just that. Baby Grace died Monday morning, March 17, 2008. Her mommy and daddy were able to hold her and love her for awhile and that in itself was a blessing.

Throughout my 34 years of being a child of the King I have seen my share of prayers being answered differently than I had planned - but always answered. Just a few years ago I prayed for God to honor my mother's heart and provide a way for me to be home with my boys in the summer and along came Chloe. Twenty years ago I prayed for God to heal my mom of cancer and she received the ultimate healing.

Although His ways are so much better than mine and His thoughts so much higher than mine - to the point where I cannot comprehend - I can always trust Him and know deep down in my core that He loves me and has a plan in every situation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rachel's Baby

James 5:14-16 is very fitting for today. It says, "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up... Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

My good friend, Rachel, is pregnant and due to deliver her first baby in July. However, her water broke on Saturday and she went to the hospital. They were able to stop the leak and Rachel is on bed rest in the prenatal ICU. The doctors are saying that the baby could not survive if born this early. Please pray that Rachel will keep from going into labor for at least fourteen more weeks...four at the very least.

Amazingly enough (God's creation is fabulous) it is not until week 24 that our lungs are developed enough to distinguish the difference between oxygen and carbon dioxide. I never even considered this important ability. Saying this means that the little one wouldn't even be able to be under a ventilator if born today.

Join me in prayerfully examining our lives, confessing our sins and being confident that our prayers for Rachel and the little baby will be powerful and effective.

Please comment and let me know you are praying with me. "For where two or three are gathered togethered in my name, so I am in the midst of them." "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."

Agree with me in seeking God's healing for Rachel's little baby.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Have you ever told someone you would pray for them and completely forgot? I'm sure we all have done this. In college, my Christian Woman professor mentioned that when you say you will pray for someone to do it right away. I have begun this practice and somehow praying right away helps me to remember to pray later.

This week I was invited to an event on Facebook to remember a dear friend's mom who passed away on March 13th many years ago. I responded that I would be there in remembrance and prayer. I immediately began asking God for the grace to remember her. I didn't want to let my friend down. Especially since I lost my mother twenty years ago. I know how painful the anniversary of her death is. I always wished for a way to let people know about her and the beauty of her life and now my friend found a way.

Well, yesterday (March 13) was a long, slow day. I was searching for things to do to occupy my time and thoughts. But not once did I remember my friend's mom until I began to talk about my pastor's wife and I called her the wrong name. The name I used was my friend's mom's name. As soon as I said it, I knew it was wrong but was so thankful at the same time.

God didn't let me down and I didn't let my friend down. I thanked God for Angie Pearson and the beautiful daughter, Abby, that I get to call my friend. At the same time I thanked God for my own mother, whom I miss tremendously. And also it was a time of remembrance for Rhonda Martin - a friend and mother who passed away unexpectantly last year.

Don't ever take your mom for granted! Lavish her with love, respect and attention. Go and see her, take her flowers, ask her to go shopping with you and take her to lunch. Nurture her with all that you have because she has done that for you.

My favorite book says, "Every good and precious gift is from above." Your mom is one of these gifts and each day is precious.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Five years ago as Kelly and I began our faith walk of planting a church in Las Vegas, people began telling me to enjoy the journey. It didn't take long for me to realize that enjoyment would definitely NOT be a part of this journey! And yet well intentioned friends and family continued to say it. I decided that I simply wanted to travel well. I wanted to be respectful and hold my head high. I wanted to be strong and understanding. I wanted God, my heavenly Father to be proud of me even if I wasn't enjoying the journey He was leading me on.

Moving to Texas last summer finally brought an end to the pain of Vegas although we are still searching for a full-time ministry position. I don't know yet if I am enjoying the journey I am on right now, but Monday night I received some insight that I know I will always remember.

I was watching "The Bachelor: Where are they now." Kelly was in the room and forced to endure the agony! (can anyone relate!) Ryan and Trista came on and Chris Harrison talked about how romantic their story has been. He asked Ryan how he keeps romance in their relationship and Ryan's response is now one of my favorite quotes. He said, "Living life properly is romantic."

I love romance! I love being with my husband, spending time with him and enjoying his company. I love that he makes us all lunches every morning. I love that he gives my babies their baths. I love when he calls me in the middle of the day just to say "hi." But, wow! Knowing that the way we lived our last five years - properly - is viewed as romantic. It definitely changes my perspective on the past.

Colossians 1:10 says, "We pray that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."

I think through all the struggles and heartaches, the failures and growth I have pleased God. I have been living and will continue to live a romantic life!

I love my Kelly, Jackson, Cameron and Chloe! I love my family!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My boys won Excellent ribbons at the ACSI regional speech meet in Tyler, Texas last week! They worked so diligently on their selections and spoke well. First time nerves took over and I am confident that next year Superior ribbons and even gold medals could be in their reach!

I am now on Facebook! The IT guys with facebook had to set up my account for me as my name is blacklisted! I'm still rather disgusted and wish I could file suit, but... As I was setting up my profile, I couldn't use my maiden name because again, it wouldn't accept Gay. So if anyone out there from my high school or college days tries to find me they will be unsuccessful.

I now have a literary agent! I wrote a children's book over Christmas break and signed a contract with an agency last week. It is an exciting time for me. I have so many book ideas running through my mind and one is actually in print looking for a publisher. The book is the first in a series which focuses on character development. I'm going to go ahead and begin on the second.

The Kansas Jayhawks are finishing the regular season as the Big 12 champs! (tying with Texas - but I don't want to mention that!)

Life is exciting and definitely full of possibility! I am dreaming and living!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Proud to be Gay

For the majority of my life I have had to deal with people snickering and poking fun of my name. Some are brazen in their enjoyment of making fun, others quietly try to hide their amusement and still others think I am laughing with them.
In junior high I tried to go by my middle name, but it just doesn't fit me. In college I decided that I could tell the maturity of a person by their reaction to my name. But I have never experienced the reaction to my name that has happened this week.

I have been trying to set up a facebook page and I can't because they will not accept my name. Can you believe it? It took me a while to catch on to what the error messages were actually saying to me. Seriously. I tried over and over to get setup before it dawned on me that the problem is that my name is Gay.

You know, the thing I stand on is that no matter what anyone says about me or my name, no matter how anyone treats me or laughs at me because of the way I look or the way I dress or because of my name, I know who I really am.

My favorite book says that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are God's works and I know this completely!"

I am wonderful just the way I am!
And keep watching because I will have a facebook page and I want you all to be my friend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Keeping it Straight

What a day! I have started a new job at a college here in Texas, and am I feeling overwhelmed! I am the Coordinator of Donor Services which is a fancy name for someone who receipts all the donations that come in to the school. And let me tell you, there are more than I expected- and I haven't experienced end of year donations yet! Anyway, with donations come people wanting to know what has come in for their departments and accounts. Everyone calls with requests of income and confirmations.

Well, I am a people person and not a numbers person and I'm nervous that I can't keep it all straight. My red notebook is more important than ever! It causes me to be in awe that my heavenly Father can keep all of our requests and wonderings straight. I am simply dealing with 20 or 30 and He is dealing with millions!

We have been created by an awesome God and He wants to have a relationship with each and every one of us. He will not forget me or overlook me or get distracted! He remains focused on me and my needs and concerns. He even knows what I'm going to pray for before I actually do it. Wouldn't that be a great trait! I could have someone's information ready for them when they call instead of having to add it to the list!

Following is a devotional I have written for my church's website. ( check out the women's ministry page for devotionals) It goes right along with this.

“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,
each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book.”
Psalm 56:9 (The Message)

When I was in high school I wanted to be just like my youth minister’s wife. She was beautiful, smart, married (which is always a dream for a teenage girl) and in an obvious love relationship with Jesus. I began to watch her closely and emulate what I saw. One thing I learned from her that I still enjoy to this day is journaling.

My mom bought my first journal and I began taking notes in church. I had the amazing privilege of sitting under the preaching of Paige Patterson and my first exposure to a little Greek. This ignited a spark of desire to learn on my own and my journal grew from simply church notes to devotional thoughts and prayers of response.

Through this relationship that was budding in the pages of my journal, I began talking with Jesus all day and my journal became an integral part of my days. I jotted down thoughts and prayers and all my important nothings. My journal is simply full of letters to Jesus; letters from my heart.

I have looked back through my journals and my important nothings in high school were all about boys. I prayed about which ones to date, which ones to set my friends up with and which one I would marry. In college, my letters to Jesus remained on boys but also showed my first true hurt in life as my mom died. The pages written during those days truly display the pain and confusion I felt as I lost my best friend.

My journals from the early years of marriage show my excitement and faith in the life God had chosen for my new husband and me. The way He provided for us during seminary and our first place of ministry is recorded in my journals. The struggle between wanting to become parents and not becoming pregnant brought questions but not always answers. And yet, my love and trust in Jesus remains evident in my journal, especially at the birth of my first and shortly after, second sons. I returned to the days of journaling about boys.

Besides the grief of losing my mom, my journals are happy and content memories of how God directs and uses us to build His kingdom. They are full of verses that God used to speak to me specifically about situations. These journals are my life story.

A few years ago my life story became one of seeming failure. My husband and I stepped out in faith and came back broken and in pain. The pages in my journal are now tear-stained with words that cannot be read. Many nights I fall asleep on a wet pillow and wake up with a headache from the tossing and turning which keeps true rest far away. I wonder when the joy of ministry will find me again and my life story return to joy.

Until that time, it is comforting to know that God is also journaling. His important nothings are all about me. He keeps track of each toss and turn that keeps me awake and counts each tear that falls down my cheek and those that get wiped away. He knows about my sleepless nights and each ache that lives in my heart. God journals about me and includes His very own words to cover my life. The Bible says that Jesus lives to make intercession for me and that intercession is evident in His ledger, His journal.

Friend, God also cares about you. He cares about your joys and your tears. He knows what keeps you awake at night. So even when physical rest eludes you, know that you can find true spiritual rest in the arms of our Father.

Gay Anne Bates

Monday, March 3, 2008

March is here!

God's creation is amazing with the four seasons and all the different celebrations we can enjoy. Valentine's has always been a favorite, the 4th of July - what's not to love? - Thanksgiving and grandma's cooking and of course there is the magic of Christmas!

But the most exciting time of the year is most definitely March Madness! Especially as a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks! I have been cheering for this legendary team for 17 years and each and every year could be the year they win it all!

March Madness is the optimist's dream! The time to believe that this really could be the year! This could be our time! Our one shining moment!

My favorite book says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for.." Well, I have faith and the thing I hope for in March is for the Kansas Jayhawks to make it to the Final Four and win the NCAA National Championship!

WOW! March is finally here!