Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A moral with a story

One of the scariest things about getting into foster care is knowing I'm going at this alone. I would literally be a single parent. I have the option of getting out, I wouldn't necessarily be taking children for the rest of my life, which is about the only thing that seems to set me apart from "real" single parents.

During the moments I freeze up with fear it seems that I am convinced that if there was a second person around I wouldn't have a doubt that what I'm doing is possible.

Unfortunately for all of us, those same feelings translate to nearly every single aspect of our lives. No one is immune.

How many times are we given the opportunity to do something, but we don't because we've decided we're not capable? We don't start a church program because we're the only ones interested in this program and we can't do it ourselves. Right? We don't start helping a neighbor with 6 kids because we can't handle the burden of 6 kids and we don't want them to start calling us for assistance. Right? We don't start neighborhood cleaning programs because we might be the only person cleaning the neighborhood. Right? Say you live in a house with 5 occupants, we might not even clean the house because we believe the other 4 won't. Right?

Are we all just doing the least we can do because no one else is doing more?

An e-mail I received prompted this post it came labelled as a 'joke' in the mail. It made me think more than it did laugh. But I hope you enjoy it either way.


An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch
on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by
with his big old horse named Benny.

The man asked for help. The farmer said Benny could pull his
car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched Benny to the man's
car bumper.

Then he yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull." Benny didn't move.

Then he yelled, "Come on, pull Ranger." Still, Benny didn't

Then he yelled really loud, "Now pull, Fred, pull hard." Benny
just stood.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Okay, Benny, pull."

Benny pulled the car out of the ditch.

The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer
why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, "Oh, Benny is blind, and if he thought he was
the only one pulling he wouldn't even try."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Behind closed doors.

Have you ever read some of my posts and wondered ' what brought this on?" Well, I'm blogging today because someone gifted me a shirt. And because of this gift I'm sitting here at work - in public - feeling like a freakishly long-armed floral pirate. Unfortunately my outward expressions of gratitude do not even closely resemble my inward feelings. And that is why I blog what I blog today.

If it weren't for closed doors, I don't know if I would ever have found my way into the relationship I have with God.

I was raised in church. As a pastors daughter I was raised to make the church people happy. The house was always neat because if someone came over they couldn't think we were dirty, and if my brother or I had to be disciplined during church our smiles during a pinch had to seem genuine so no one would known the pastors kids acted up. I was never charged to be perfect, but I was certainly expected to appear perfect.

Finally, Jan 17th, 2002 I moved into my own house. With no one else around to act to I could be the miserable wretch I am behind those closed doors.

But God worked. He molded and crafted, and my life began to take a real shape. I no longer want who I am behind closed doors to be any different than who I am to you my reader, you my family, and you my church. But the question remains, have I accomplished it?

Do I use words with my worldly friends that I wouldn't use in front of my pastor?
Do I treat people as a friend to their face but say unfriendly things about them behind their back?
Do I say a person should act one way, but I myself only act that way in public, not in private?
Do I put others first, but complain about them after they're gone?

Psalms says there isn't a word in my tongue, but lo O Lord thou knowest it altogether (I memorize KJV can you tell? ). Even if I somehow manage to keep from saying my selfish, self centered, unkind, unloving, rude, hateful, frustrated comments, God knows I thought them. And for God, who is the ever present judge of my heart, that's just as bad as having said them.

So, have I accomplished being exactly who I am both publicly and privately? No. But God and I are working on it. Maybe one day I'll be able to say these verses about myself.

Psalms 17 verses 1 - 8
Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal. Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What to say?

How does one prove they're alive?

During this last week I've been told my church is dead. It seems the person saying it believes that only certain people are dead, but if only certain members of the church are dead doesn't that mean there is some life? Or is this a crazy Terry Schivo case where you're dead but considered alive only by certain technicalities?

The guy that's decided we're dead "tested" us Sunday to see if we're alive and apparently we didn't worship during the song service enough to convince him we were alive.

Thinking back over the service, I honestly don't know what he wanted. And it may be that he'd say I don't know because I'm dead as well. I honestly don't know. I can think of few circumstances in my life that have been more confusing than this one.

It's strange to be told you're dead. And it prompts me to ask, how do I prove I'm alive? I bear fruit. The church is growing, so I would have assumed that constitutes growth, and dead things don't grow anything except mold. But if church growth doesn't constitute life, isn't all other claims to life absolutely subjective?

If I don't raise my hands am I dead? Not necessarily. Almost anyone would tell you that life is on the inside. How would you know if I'm dead or not? What is the scale you're judging me on?
The legalists are almost easier. At least I'm judged on things I can see and know. I know if they're mad because my hair is short or my ears are pierced. How on earth can I please someone that judges the actions on my heart?

Paul states that he was all things to all people and I want to imitate that. But it's certainly difficult when it is my heart and very salvation that is being judged. In the confusion of my mind right now, that leads me down yet another path I'm asking are the living dead saved? If our church is full of dead people, does that mean he's judged those people to be unsaved?
While testing us did he look into the room and see something that proved we were all damned to hell because of the hardness of our hearts? Surely spiritually dead people can't have Christ in their hearts.

I can't imagine how someone could look at these people that I love so dearly and see death. I see problems, and humanity, I see pride and selfishness. But in all that I see people that I could call when things got tough. I see simple people that accept me as I am, without the necessity that my sink be empty of dirty dishes, or that my floor be vacuumed. While I know those things don't make them saved, the sins I see in their lives don't necessarily make them unsaved.

There's a part of me that wonders if the problem lies with the person that thinks they're all dead. Would they have come up with a different answer to "what must I do to be saved?". But at the same time I ache for that person. If you can't see Christ all around you, then you generally don't see Him hardly anywhere in this sinful awful world. That might not be the case for him, but it might be. And that's hard to deal with.
Even if I'm dead, I don't want him to feel that way.

Friday, September 22, 2006

That wasn't what I was thinking.

Isaiah 58:8,9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Have you ever done exactly what you thought God wanted you to do and ended up looking at a colossal train wreck? You knew you were suppose to do xyz, and so you did. Everything goes along just fine and then suddenly, the next thing you know wham. This person is upset, this person is angry, and this other person is just plain hurt. It doesn't make sense. And you can't imagine what on earth God could have possibly been thinking.

Isaiah 58:8,9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The hardest part to me, is to not apologize. If God orchestrated the events, then I shouldn't be apologizing for God. But I feel very responsible for the hurt and frustration people are facing because of me doing what I knew to be right.

Isaiah 58:8,9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

All I can see to do is to sit back and simply wait for God. Surely He won't leave us like this. He might though. He promised all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'll see it happen. But that it will happen.

Isaiah 58:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is it really tradition?

There is a story about a family who always cut meatloaf in half before putting it in the oven. One day a man came over for dinner and being curious he asked why they cut the meatloaf in half before putting it in the oven, is there some secret that helps the meatloaf, wouldn't it cause it to be more dry? The cook of the family said good point and I'm not sure why, I've just always have done it that way and is the way I was taught by my mother.

Later they went to visit great grandma and decided to ask her why she use to cut the meatloaf in half before putting in in the oven and she answered "Because those darn stoves are too small to put the whole thing in at one time, you have to cook half later"

Turned out, the stoves were smaller in the old days.

Moral of the story, tradition is silly if there is no reason behind it - and one should know what that reason is.

So is it a tradition or just the simplest way to do things? And if so, to continue on in the spirit of those who came up with the way to do things, wouldn't you continually be coming up with new ways to do something as better ways become available?

This beings me back to what I was saying a few days ago. With legalism you must be bound or you're not saved. Anti-legalism tells us that with salvation comes freedom.
Matthew chapter 11 verses 28 - 30 read "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
We can go to Him and He will give us rest. The next sentence doesn't come with an "IF". It appears to be entirely optional "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me". If you take the verses literally, it comes out as
Go to Christ - Find rest.
Take up Christs' yoke, learn of Him and His meek and lowly spirit - Our souls find rest.
I don't want to stray too far off my point by making sure I'm clear about my belief in the two different phrases and their meanings. Technically the main point is in that very last sentence "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." There is a yoke and a burden. It's up to us whether we take it up or not, but if we're trying to grow and change we should take up His yoke.

At least that's why I'm trying to do. I want to take up my cross.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bridling my tongue

I have been trying stop criticizing people. Not only verbally but in my thoughts. I want to practice a love that sees the person beyond the mistakes. There were words to express what I've been feeling about the situation and was came up with nothing. Then, Keith Brenton over at Blog in myOwn Eye gave me the words. I'm going to post the entire thing here because the importance of the words is especially pressing on me. So read this, but also take time and head to his blog and see some of his other posts. It is worth the trip.

Anyone Can Criticize

It's true.

Any idiot like me can have a free blog. Any doofus with two lips and a voicebox who can form words, can form them into criticism of others.

You don't have to be smart, credentialed, unbiased, logical or even a critical thinker in order to be able to criticize.

You don't have to be willing to spend hours in research, or to write or create or dream or do. You don't have to take the time and engage another person's soul in the fine art of friendly persuasion.

All you have to do is know what you like, and what you don't.

You don't have to have a reason for it.

And if you have one, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.

If that.

I don't even know quite what has suddenly prompted this moment of outrage in my soul - maybe it's cumulative - because nothing has really happened in my life of late to nudge it on.

If anything, it's probably a sudden realization that I spend too much of myself in criticism.

It costs nothing. Requires nothing. Generally yields nothing.

And, yes, I'm even talking about constructive criticism. Not just the so-called kind that sugar-coats pure bile; I mean even the best-hearted, best-intentioned kind of criticism.

What does criticism add to anything? At the same time, what can it destroy?

As a general rule, the characters in the Bible, in literature, and in life whom I've encountered spending a lot of themselves in criticism are not my heroes. They aren't happy people. And they don't add to the joy of others.

As a general rule.

I don't want to be one of those people.

Criticism is judgment expressed, and it can be helpful or harmful or neither, depending on the recipient(s). But because it is expressed, it's relational - and has power. Criticism is the nitroglycerin of relationships. It can heal hearts. It can explode them.

It is best used in very small quantities by people who are keenly conscious of what they are doing.

I beg your forgiveness if I have been uncritically critical, whether harsh in disapproval or lavish in praise or shruggish in my indifference.

What you create in your life before God and others is among you and Him and them.

It's not that I don't appreciate criticism - especially the thoughtful, caring kind. It's that I don't want to need it. I don't want to feel so compelled to give it.

And I sure-as-judgment don't want to abuse it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What is important?

I received two interesting responses on my last post that instantly brought a reply to my lips so I'm going to respond in a post rather than a comment (since I'm not sure anyone reads the comments). The ideas presented excite me to no end, and I enjoy a lively *though blogged* conversation so please keep commenting!

In the first comment I read, they said "Seeing as Christ is trying to work on my heart, my mind, when I think I Him I do some more in terms of his spirit not his physical existence. It is the physical part which mankind could and did attack." Isn't this just a perfect statement that shows that it's the physical life that brings mans attention to you? It was the physical part of the man that OneSided mentioned speaking with a soft voice that got peoples attention. Would they have realized the gentle spirit within had he not initially grabbed their attention?
Maybe sacrificing the physical life we'd rather lead for one that draws attention would give us more opportunities to be a witness?
You'll find the opportunities fewer and farther between when you aren't leading a life any different from THEM. You watch the same movies as them, go to the same places as them, the only visible difference between you and them is the fact that on Sundays, while they sleep in you go to church. How does that draw others?
Is there something in todays society that says we can draw others to Christ by being able to connect with them over the latest episode of CSI?
Or is it that we know our loving Saviour offered us life and liberty even if we never win another soul?
If 10 converts were a requirement to get into heaven, wouldn't you be more diligent in witnessing? The sad, sad truth of the matter is that I feel 100% confident of a "yes" answer. Not only for myself, but those around me. We're so busy, so very busy with our tv shows, our friends and our hobbies.
But people are dying every day without a saving knowledge of Christ because we aren't being as diligent as we should.
The 2nd comment mentioned a Pharisee-like attitude, and it made me wonder. Do we run so far from the legalism of doing xyz, that we fail to see that we could do xyz out of a passionate absolute love for Christ? It's legalist to say you must attend church every single week and shouldn't miss. Does that give us the right to sleep in on Sundays? Absolutely. Christ did not promise salvation to those who attended church. BUT, it's the heart that is adoring their Savior that attends church every Sunday without fail because they want to know more, and they want to be with Christian brothers and sisters.
Are we so steeped in legalism and anti-legalism that we fail miserably at simply loving our Savior?
Let me ask you something, when did you last lead someone to the Savior? When did you last plant the seeds of the gospel in someones heart? If you aren't doing those things (most likely because opportunities aren't presenting themselves) doesn't that mean you need to re-evaluate things and figure out a plan as to how to bring those opportunities around? And not because of some bogus legalistic reason, but simply because your heart breaks over the idea of people dying, lost, eternally condemned to be separated from Christ and also eternally condemned to exist in a place of utter torment?
Or is the truth of the matter that we really don't care enough to alter our lifestyle?

Monday, September 18, 2006

A bad thing to do.

It's not a bad thing for everyone to do, but most definitely a bad thing for me to do.

I'm reading a book that challenges the way I live. It teaches poverty and humility, it exemplifies love that covers a multitude of sins as the main character is constantly derided for the way he lives and what he says. This book literally makes me want to move into a tiny town and try to live out the script that has been provided.

The problem?

I've been reading the book that this book was based off of and I never understood the exact same message I just finished reading.

The book Joshua, by Joseph Girzone. It's challenging and humbling at the same time. Imagining Christ living humbly never comes to my mind. I have to admit that I knew He was humble, but imagining Him living humbly hasn't been one of the ways that I generally pictured Him. And it should have been.

How do you picture Christ? How do you see Him responding to insults, and lack of consideration? How do you picture Him interacting day in and day out with His people? We see the big shining moments in the bible, but do we see the tender heart that loved the children and bade them to come to Him? Do we picture the Christ that spoke not "cover-all" words, but words that specifically pierced a heart because Christ knew that person and what words it would take to pierce that heart?

I've always thought it was a shining example when people with visitors would inform their visitors that it was a church day and so they would be going to church. It seems natural and good to show where your priorities lie and what's important to you. But, even now, having said why it seems natural, I wonder at the possible foolishness of even the thought. Aren't our priorities to love? Isn't loving others what's suppose to be important to us?

If Christ had company in his house, would He tell them He could only visit until church time? What would Jesus do? Would Jesus condemn people that smoke? Drink beer? Would Jesus talk sternly to those that don't dress in "church clothes" for church?
Are our minds so full of sins that we have made into sins that we have lost track of Gods love and unending compassion towards us?
So many of us pride ourselves on not being like the Pharisees, and I'm wondering if we're not far more like them than we'd like to think.
Think about your week, what do you have planned? Is it chock full of ways that you are humbly loving and serving? Are you looking forward to the intervals in which you rest (as God desires us to) and enjoy His creation?

Are you existing only for yourself, and just allowing time to pass?

Friday, September 15, 2006


Don't allow yourself to get discouraged. Everyone has imperfections. That's the way God made them, and as long as people are striving to love God and care for one another, they are pleasing to God. Perfection is more a process of striving than a state to be attained, so one's perfection is measured not by success in attaining a measurable goal but in attitudes constantly changing to ever more perfectly reflect the mind of God.

From the book Joshua - A parable for today by Joseph F. Girzone

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Renewed energy!

The quick quote I gave you earlier is still working in me. I'm excited to get home and get to work.
I've lately been seeing life as more of a "who can hold out the longest". When I get tired and I know there is a long road ahead of me so much about me changes. I talk less, move less, and when I attack a project it's with quietness and hardly any energy. Even the energy used to get excited takes a lot out of you.
But, with this quote I am reminded of Pauls statement that he has "run the race". There is a race to be run and while it is a marathon rather than a sprint, I need to remember it is a race. I'm pressing towards the prize. I'm not sitting still, I'm working. And I choose -note that word choose- to ride my work as a man rides a great horse; in a spirited and independent way; not a drudge.
Life is exciting, one excitement after another. One of the reasons people ride great horses in a spirited and independent way is because of the immediate feeling you get the moment you are astride that great horse. You're above the world, able to imagine the breeze in your face and the power underneath you.
I need all the reminders I can get to feel that way about God. To feel that passion and freedom, the power the guides me through each and every jump I have to make. I'll never leap over a 4 ft high fence on my own, but through the power of my ride, I'll jump even higher. I'll run farther than I could on my own, and I'll go faster than I could believe.
There is passion and excitement to be found in this life. Not because of anything on earth but because of the one that gets us through this time. Work until He comes, Press onward and fight the good fight. God is giving you eternity and He only wants you to work a scant lifetime until you get there.
Here on earth you work 40 yrs for a 401K that might last you 10. God's program is far better. You can reap eternity whether you've worked 1 day for him or every day of 90 yrs. But don't you want to do something for Him? Or are you content to sit at His table and do nothing.
I'm going to close with something that asks you not about God or the Devil, but about God or Yourself. And pray God forgive me for all the energy I spend serving only me.

Choose you this day whom you will serve.

Quick Quote

I get a quote every day through Positive Press. I had to read this through several times for it to sink in. But it caused an immediate attitude adjustment. So, since my momma raised me right... I share. :)


We have worked at full speed since May. And that is I'm persuaded the root and source and origin of all health and happiness, provided of course that one rides work as a man rides a great horse, in a spirited and independent way; not a drudge, but a man with spurs to his heels.

(Writing in her journal about her life as a publisher andwriter.) -- Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English Writer

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Getting your own way

I type this with a grin stretching my cheeks to an extent that it is actually painful. Yet, nothing I've tried so far can temper this smile.
What makes me so happy?

Not getting my own way.

I've often told people that getting my own way all the time is not nearly as much fun as one might think. I watch only the tv shows I want to watch, I listen only to the types of music I enjoy, and I eat only the things I enjoy eating. Not that I skip veggies, but if you like sauerkraut, and your husband doesn't, I guarantee you even if he isn't forced to eat it the smell is enough to drive him from the home.
So, in the interest of not getting my own way I did something I don't like. While I was at the library last night *something I very much do enjoy* I stopped and looked at their cd's. They happened to have a cd called "Night Jazz", and I've often wondered if maybe, possibly this cd might be good. I've listened to jazz before and just couldn't make sense of it. Music has a rythym to it and, well, jazz doesn't. Except for whoever is that talented guy playing the drums, because while all the other instruments are going absolutely haywire (I'm almost convinced they're still tuning up) the drummer is playing a beat to a real song. And he's doing a difficult job skillfully.
I've made myself listen to the cd 4 times now (it plays as I drive) and quite frankly the sax player sounds more like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons than a musician. Then the song with the marimba comes on and literally makes me want to plug my ears.
I've heard jazz is soulful, and emotional and I believe it. Do you remember the last time you had a problem and you started thinking on it? One thought led to another and the next thing you knew so many thoughts were jumbled all over each other until finally with a forceful insistance you tried to just stop thinking about the problem?
Jazz is the music soundtrack to that.
Next time you watch a movie, and the main character is depressed and upset and goes to his darkened apartment, turn up the volume because I can almost guarantee you there's some jazz music playing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's your passion?

It's a serious question. So I want you to think about it.

I almost said it's most easily figured out by where your money goes. But, if that's the case, I'm passionate about getting out of debt. I'm very serious about getting out of debt, but that isn't where my passion is.
It hasn't always been this way, but my passion today lies with God. The direction of my life is solely to please Him.

Don't think I'm boasting, because if you could see how short I'm falling you'd be astounded.

I've realized very recently that I'm always getting into something. Always. Someone else recently commented on it somewhat also. They weren't specific, but it just reminded me again of how I'm always getting into something. As a general rule people don't always understand why I do the things I do though, and that's why I'm grown so adept at simply not telling them.
Through this blog though I've revealed more of it than I should I think. You already know I'm training for foster care, my last post admitted I'd invited a sick older man to live in my home, and before that I was writing about how nervous I was being in charge of feeding 50 people when my sis-in-laws grandmother passed away.
It's only quite suddenly that I've realized, that He's answered my prayer.
So often I've prayed that He would make me a blessing. Not having a family or raising children of my own made me realize that without those connections I could die one day and no one have been the richer for my having lived. So I prayed He'd make me a blessing. That He'd give me opportunities to reach out.
When I told/warned my mom about the offer I'd made to the man that was dying, she said that maybe it would never happen, but that I was just suppose to offer. Someone else just this morning said almost the same thing to me. It made me wonder. How many times have I told God I wouldn't do something, that it was just ludicrous and couldn't be from Him because it was just insane? Could it be that all or some of those times, God was just continually checking to see just how willing a vessel I was?
He never intended Abraham to kill his son. But He always intended Abraham to sacrifice his son. He sacrificed his son the moment he began the trip with his son and every step along the way.

It's with those thoughts that I return to my original question. What is your passion? If your passion is music, as someone that is passionate about music, I can promise you you'll seek it out and find it every day. The same is true for God. If your passion is Christ, you'll find Him in every day of your life. But just as I said with music, you have to seek Him out. You see, even when there is no music around once you have music in you, you will never be without music.
There are many people out there that know how to play an instrument. They may even play with a skill that so few can master. But, not all of those people are musicians. The same it true with Christ. You may speak the religious jargon, and do all the right things better than most, but that doesn't make you a Christian. The bible commands us to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness".
So I ask you again, what is your passion?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wishes for Paul

I had spent over a year witnessing to Paul, telling him in a thousand different ways that the spirituality he felt and the oneness he felt with nature would not get him into Heaven. Finally about 2 months back he had come to the very end of his rope. I, and several others, had been praying earnestly for him that he would finally see the truth. Once at the end of his rope he caved, saying he wanted what we had, he knew there was something to it. He came together with me and we prayed, he confessed his need for a Savior and asked Christ to forgive him of his sins.
Immediately I felt a strong urge. It couldn't be explained in any other way except that I was certain it was God. This old man, Paul was his real name, was sick. He wasn't physically capable of holding down a job and was too stubborn to go to a hospital. He had no contact with family that we knew of and he was desperately alone. I invited him to live out his days in my home. I was scared, and not even sure he would accept, but I made certain he knew my offer was sincere. I picked a date a few weeks from that day and said if he'd only agree I'd drive out to Arizona (where he's from) and pick him up.
He refused. He said he'd never be able to repay that kind of debt, so he would continue on his own. I received this e-mail just days ago:

I wanted to let you that furr a.k.a Paul who visited #handsaroundtheworld frequently was found dead in his apartment, August 20th. Please keep his family in prayer. Lindy

I can't tell you how many different wishes have gone through my mind since I received this e-mail. The greatest of all my wishes, is a heartbroken wish that this hardened man, so stubborn and prideful, yet so obviously broken and lonely... I just wish he hadn't of been alone.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy anniversary

Hi there

I'm so very pleased to tell you that, as of today, I have been blogging for one year.
My first post Sept 8th 2005, was something along the lines of "I hope I keep this up, but we'll see". I guess I kept it up, huh? :) I spent this week printing out my posts so I would have a hard copy in a folder. While looking at some of the old posts, one thing jumped out at me, I haven't changed too much. Some of the original things I struggled with when I started are things I still post about struggling with now. Not too much has changed, but at the same time so very much has changed.

It has been an amazing year.

I started this blog because my sister-in-law, Glenda, got fired from her job at the church we attended. So because of that, and Gods leading, our entire family left that church. We all ended up splitting apart and attending different churches. After a few months I found "the" church God had for me to attend, but nearly left it because an old man kept being very inappropriate with me, despite his even being married. Thanks to my pastors efforts I stayed, and I was also instrumental in getting my brother and his family to move to my church as well.

In this year I also felt God holding me back from starting foster care, I started on with CASA, finished my CASA case and was released to start the processing for foster care.

I've learned to give God my dreams, watched what He could do with my dreams and which ones He'd ask me to walk away from entirely. I've learned better to trust God and not hold on to my desires so tightly. I still struggle with watching what I say. I've learned to set boundaries and standards that I never even considered setting before, and to my relief I've learned that sometimes if someone is upset with me and my boundaries, that it is their problem and not always my own.

I've enjoyed this year, and certainly enjoyed looking back at my old posts. I know it takes time, and you don't always have something to say, but I'd encourage those not blogging to start. It's a terrific way to look back and definitely a great way to see your growth throughout the year. I want to thank those of you that comment, and those of you that just read. Thanks for putting up with me.

I'd like to leave you with an old post that seems (to me) worth repeating.

Father God, I come before You now, with my heart breaking.
I have no ability to see beyond false smiles, and the superficial "I'm fines"
But Father God, YOU DO. Give me wisdom in my words,
Give me discernment, and perception that could only come from You.
Give Your followers insight to the lost and hurting around them.
All of us. Not just me.
Touch those hurting.
Lead them to those that can point out Your amazing love Lord.
With Your amazing Grace, draw them to Your own Word that will open their eyes to your love for them that came with such a high cost.
Give them hope.
And do whatever it takes to break our hearts for the nation that's lost and hurting around us.
Father, we're so calloused.
So hardened, that we don't see the big picture of those hurting.
Break my heart Father, again and again, until it is raw and tender.
So that I can be sensitive, and my heart will be towards the lost in a more fervent way.
Remind me daily. Of Your lost and dying world.
Touch through ME.
And forgive me for letting worldly, foolish distractions, take my eyes off the lost and dying, the hurting and mourning.
Please Father God, In the precious Holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Grant me this.

I couldn't resist

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Psalms 119:116 - My prayer

In the small way that this blog is a journal for me, I need to document something. In the larger way that this is a public forum, I need to announce something.

I've begun the steps to become a foster parent.

I've already told the only person that would really care (my mom) and I think she's been anticipating my beginning this almost as much as I have. I looked at the paperwork over a year ago and somehow felt the timing wasn't right. But suddenly everything started pointing towards it shortly after I finished up my last CASA case. The doors have opened widely and easily. But that doesn't mean a struggle isn't ahead.

The training is intense, especially when I'm currently working two jobs. I left work early yesterday, went to a training meeting in Richardson, Tx., and arrived home about midnight. At 1am I took off again to do my 2nd job and didn't get home to actually try and get some sleep until 3:45am. There seemed to be no mercy in the world at all when 3 hrs later my alarm clock went off and I stumbled off to work again.

Beyond the physical, there is the financial. The bunk bed God practically handed me needs bedding and sheets that I don't have. I need a chest of drawers, lock boxes, plastic covers for electrical outlets, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and even special trash cans. And this is only the initial list.

Beyond the physical, and financial, there is the emotional. I never, not even once, imagined what day one of a child in my home might be like. The childs day could have easily started like any other, they head off for school only to have the day end up with strangers all around you asking questions. Then, to cap it all off, instead of going home you're dropped off in some strangers home and told this is where you're to stay for who knows how long while who knows what happens to your parent/s - to your home. Sadly enough, thanks to vivid word pictures from our instructor, I can imagine it now and had to confess to God over and over last night that I can't imagine comforting that kind of pain, and that if He's really wanting someone like me to do this, He is going to have to equip me.

I've been telling God lately that there is just too much to pray about already. From my parents health and finances, to my church family's physical, financial and spiritual needs, to my pastors need for strength, wisdom, encouragement along with physical and financial needs, to the numerous needs inside my brothers family, not even counting my earnest prayer that my niece and nephew will grow in the grace, knowledge, wisdom, mercy, love, and faith of my perfect Savior. Looking at it all, I couldn't imagine a worse time to start this trip. But, I didn't start it of my own volition I know that for certain.
God has a plan and this is part of it. Even if I never foster a child, there is at least something in this process that God wants me to grab. And I'm determined to do that.

My mom always used the phrase "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." Quite recently she admonished a church that the needs they faced reaching out as a church weren't our needs, but God's needs. And He meets His purpose by using willing hands. Well, my hands are willing; they're shaking a bit much to be considered steady, but they're willing. And by God's grace, when the time does come, they'll be willing and able.

And I can hardly wait. :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Thankful hearts

I'm so thankful for a holiday weekend. A Monday came and went where I did absolutely no work at all.

I'm thankful for extended family, (I saw my mom's brother and his wife this weekend. It's been years since I've seen any of her family.)

I'm thankful for my home. My beautiful quirky home.

I'm thankful for my job, a great job that allows me to move my hours around as needed when family things arise.

I'm thankful for the 2nd job, that blends around my schedule and interrupts nothing but my sleep occassionally.

I'm thankful for my car, an absolute blessing that was parked on my driveway after my original car was totalled.

I'm thankful for my Pastor who is so graciously kind to me despite my absolute lack of social skills.

I'm thankful for my pastors wife who is the only person in my world that I've been able to talk for hours with.

I'm thankful for salvation and my Savior, pure and free.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Excuse me while I munch some Trix

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

I'm 25 yrs old, considered an adult to most people. But I'm still a child in so many ways. It seems I speak as a child, understand as a child, and think as a child far more often than I do those as a woman of God. Do you ever feel that same way?

It doesn't credit me that I've finally realized how selfish I am. While I accuse others of it (quite liberally) I know that even in the instances where I don't act out my selfishness, my heart and thoughts condemn me already.

I've looked back on my childhood and realized how much I have to be grateful for. And unfortunately, I see all the ways I was such an ungrateful brat. When I was young, my dad used an income tax refund to buy my brother and I each, a computer. He bought 2 computers! He allowed me to install an extra phone line (though he probably hated having to discuss it with his boss, since we were living in provided housing). And he let me connect myself to the internet. He took us on vacations, spending exhausting hours hauling us to science places and aquariums so that the places would be educational. He was always concerned with our education.

I easily condemned him saying he didn't love me because I could never seem to please him. Yet I wonder now, if mixed into that was a basic knowledge that we could do better and simply weren't. I never graduated college, never attended music school, and didn't (until recently) handle my money like I should. He wanted me to graduate college, wanted me to take music classes at college, and tried in some ways to teach me about money. Just a year or so back, when our church had a money management seminar, my dad bought both my brother and I the handbooks and encouraged us to attend.

My dad made mistakes too. He was determined that our sins were against him. After one particular incident he demanded I state that I hated him and explain why. I'm not sure he ever understood me any more than I understood him. But 25 yrs into life, I've finally figured out that I don't have to understand him. I just have to love him.

Here's the tougher part, I have to love him with God's love. Love that demands I suffer long and be kind, that I don't puff myself up thinking I'm better than him, that I seek his best over my own, that I not be provoked, that I think no evil. It demands that I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.

Love isn't easy. But let me tell you from experience, loving someone is a lot easier than living angry at someone.