Thursday, November 30, 2006

Resting through the storm

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, Hired him.

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!"

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows."
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

A friend sent me a link to this story and the timing of it is wonderful.

I've chosen to make sure that I don't have any regrets. Or at least the regrets I do have will be as few as possible.
So many times I would fail to witness to someone because I wanted to keep their friendship. I'd fail to point out a problem in a relationship because I was afraid the relationship would only get worse.
And now, I'm talking more than people are use to. Things are changing.

So when a storm comes, and it will come, I'll know I haven't left anything unsaid that actually needed to be said. I'll rest easy, knowing that those I love know I love them. I've found myself apologizing to people that didn't even realize I'd done something wrong. Found myself writing more letters telling people how appreciated they are, and most challenging of all, found myself putting those "appreciate what you do's" into verbal conversation more.
I hope that in my daily work I will always take care to cover my friends and family with prayers. To put away grudges and old hurts. And most of all, I hope I never forget, to bar the door of offence. So when the storm comes, things will be ok. I can rest easy through storms knowing that I've done everything that needed to be done is done.
May I love daily, right and well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This just in

Apparently the FBI lost me.

Seriously, the Federal Bureau of Investigation - lost me.

I'd started calling Arrow (my foster agency) and pestering them about when my results would come in, and after they did some checking they discovered that, and this may sound repetitive, the FBI lost me.

But now, the results are in and sure enough I'm as innocent as I've always claimed. I play another waiting game while they schedule my home study. Hopefully they'll call soon with a date for that. Or, I suppose I'll have to go back to pestering people. It's my duty, can't be helped. :)

Anyway, that's your update for today.

Is God messing with my head?

Do you ever wonder at the kind of enjoyment God gets from watching our mouths drop open at something He's done?

Does He stop doing other things just so He can watch us as we glimpse some piece of our future that God has twisted around to amaze us? Does He chuckle as He turns the page in His book and sees that a part of the story in our lives that He was looking forward to is coming up? What must it be like, for the King of creation, to mess with not just my heart, but my head.

I was at work this morning and at 3:40 this lady I had known for less than 30 minutes for all intents and purposes asked me if I'd like to take a huge flying leap of faith and offered me something. She phrased the question a bit differently, but it's my blog so I can paraphrase. :) We'd been talking for the last 30 minutes about different things, her foot (which she'd crushed which was why I was helping her work) her other job, her upcoming move, my church, and her husband and daughter.

In the course of the discussion, she almost absently asked me if I'd like to come to her house and consider a decision. For me it'd be a big decision, and certainly a scary one.

This comes not even 24 hrs after posting that I felt I was at a turning point.

The question this lady asked me isn't necessarily the turning point that God wants me to take. It could just be a subplot in His story of me that would lead to nowhere. Just a mention on a page. I'm good at talking myself both in and out of things. So there's no real telling where this subplot goes. But that just brings me back to the idea of God messing with my head.

And let me tell you, I like that idea. I've mentioned before on this blog that I like tests. If you give me information and then hand me a piece of paper to quiz me on it, I'm perfectly happy. If I missed something I want to be corrected on it, and if I didn't miss anything I want to enjoy making that perfect score.

For me, this is more like a hearing test though. Shutting up and figuring out if I heard something, was it what I thought it was, and am I confident enough in my decision on what I heard to take a step like this.
Most of all, I'm just pleased because this feels like motion. At least a direction to fiddle around with until maybe the real direction comes along, or foster care begins leaving me too busy to worry about little things like lifes directions. :)

For all the trouble, confusion, and sadness of this world, I'm so glad to be alive. To have a mission and purpose and specific ways that I'm able to bless my Savior by my life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tree of memories

Taking a break from all my serious posts for a bit to give you a piece of foolishness.

Every year on the blessed Friday after Thanksgiving I have a tradition. That's the day that my house is decorated and I honor the traditional watching of Miracle on 34th St. No one beats Mara Wilson as Susan. No one. You might consider that to be an opinion, but I would steadfastly defend it to be fact. :)

Anyway, as I pulled out all my decorations I started thinking about which ones meant something to me.
Two years ago, a family that I'd been with a lot (I stayed with their children while the parents went through adoption training classes) knew I was waiting until after Christmas to buy some decorations for my house. My mother raised me well in that I know that decorations are unfortunately, best bought after the holiday has already passed. Well, this family did the same thing. Right after Christmas they went shopping for decorations and wrapped them. I was then called to their house for "Christmas". The girls had decorated the fireplace with a banner for me and I opened gift after gift of insanely discounted Christmas decorations.
Those are the decorations scattered around my house right now.
When I got to decorating the tree though, that's when I realized something. I wasn't interested in decoration for decorations sake this year. I might not do this every year, but this year I wanted only the ornaments that meant something to me. I have some crocheted decorations from friends in New York. They sent them to me for my birthday, and I remember waiting until we were all online to open their gifts. Those beautiful and unique ornaments grace my tree right now.
They grace my tree right next to the snowman made of felt and cotton and a bell and lots of glue. That was the gift from one of the girls I had stayed with. The other girl made me a reindeer that unfortunately I haven't been able to find.
And last year, after my niece and nephew got up in the middle of the night and seemingly ransacked my tree, (seriously, when I started taking the tree down after Christmas I discovered my nephews sock in there) I didn't have much "Christmas spirit" in me to want to redo the whole thing. That very day a package arrived, again, from my friends in New York with some ornaments, and 4 very delicate and precious glass ornaments. It was just the boost I needed to remember Christmas wasn't about the tree so much as my Savior that knows my needs before I need them. The Savior that put a package in the mail for me before I ever needed it. The Lamb that was born to die thousands of years before I would ever live to need Him to do that. Those 4 precious and delicate ornaments are on my tree right now.
Last year my family all went out to an event called "Ice" and walking out of that amazing display I noticed some gingerbread man ornaments. I blabbed on for too long about how much I liked them, and the next thing I knew my brother had grabbed one and headed to the checkout. Moments later I was holding my own gingerbread man ornament. As I look at it today I'm reminded of a God that loves us enough to give us the desires of our hearts.

This year my tree is meaningful. I like to think of it not as decorated, but adorned. And as I look at my tree, I'm more than alright with the bare spots. Those spots leave me room to grow. They tell me of so many memories yet to be had. And I can hardly wait.

Turn around and go the right way.

I'm happy.

But reading my more recent blog entries it's a little hard to see that in myself. Everything that I've written has been very serious lately.

I've succeeded somewhat in not thinking lifes problems into a huge rut, but I've only recently started thinking about the weight of them. It's hard to throw off the weight of sadness. And while I'm happy for so very many reasons, it seems like sadness weighs more than happiness. I hope that somehow makes sense to you.

I'd like to believe that if somehow I became a better Christian, followed God a little closer, mimicked God a little more precisely, that somehow other things would change. My church family would grow, my family would love each other, and those I'm praying for wouldn't hurt anymore. And while that might happen a bit, to some extent, for the most part a change in me won't change the world. At least not the world I'm specifically hoping to change, and most definitely not the overnight change I'm wishing and praying would happen.

That, that disappoints me.

I feel, strangely enough, as though I'm at a turning point in my life. As though I'm running a race, but am looking at a dead end.
Have you ever been lost? Lost in the woods, a big city, long strange corridors of a hospital? The first thing you do when you realize you don't know exactly where you're going is to slow down. You might even stop, stop and think a bit about the last things you saw that told you where you were or the right way to go. Your mind races as you slowly begin moving again searching, searching trees, or street signs, or room numbers. Anything that will tell you where you should turn.

I'm not lost. At least not spiritually speaking. But I'm searching for something. I'm in the waiting period for my official licensing for foster care. It might just be that that's the turn that's going to happen and I just have to trust God and wait. I'm ok with that. But I'm going to keep searching. Going to keep reading my bible looking for signs, listening to my pastor who might mention a direction, but most of all, listening for that Voice. The Voice of the very one I'm chasing.

I pray that I will walk steadily and confidently in good works. To walk in faith. To walk humbly in love, mercy, compassion, reverence and wisdom. I wouldn't take anything for my journey now.

Monday, November 27, 2006


To start, I didn't mean to badmouth the Holy Spirit. If it seemed like I was doing that in my recent post, I apologize sincerely. That wasn't my intent at all.

There is a lot going on. A lot. The only aspect of my life that doesn't feel a little battered is my work. Suffice it to say I'm enjoying my work more than ever now.

I'm disappointed. Disappointed that so many in my church choose to not go to church, more often than they choose to go to church. Disappointed that some of them literally can't attend every service. Disappointed that I haven't seen my niece and nephew in too long by my standards. Disappointed that my family can't just love each other. Disappointed that my family, that calls itself Christian, isn't something I can reference to when talking of God's love. And where my family is concerned, I bear the brunt of the responsibility for us not loving each other. That disappoints me as well.

I'm disappointed when I read that if you know to do good, and you don't do it, it's a sin. I'm disappointed because all around me I'm seeing good things that need to be done. I'm disappointed that I spend more time thinking about how there's not enough time or emotional energy to do all those good things, than I spend doing those good things. I'm disappointed that I just keep sinning.

I'm disappointed that I seem to fail so very often. They say failure is only counted if you don't get back up when you fall, but I don't count it that way. I'm disappointed because I hoped that somehow once I had the Holy Spirit that I'd be a better person. That I'd love better, and fail less. But I didn't (my fault, not His). I'm disappointed because I don't have nearly as much of God in my life as I know I could have. I'm disappointed because, even knowing how amazing God is, I still hold on to pieces of myself that I don't want to give away.

I'm disappointed because I see potential on each line of this post, yet am afraid that those that can't see it will only be discouraged further. I'm disappointed I'm not a better writer when it comes to writing of God's mercies.

If I have discouraged you, then read on and I'll give you the only hope I've got.

I'm encouraged in the fact that I can clearly see that I'm the source of my problems. And that God is the solution to my problems. Should I track my way to God, the way I'm suppose to, at the end of every journey I'd find Him there. Actually, I'd find He was beside me on the whole journey. There isn't anything too difficult for Him to fix. Whether it be relationships, hearts, lives, or souls. In Him there is strength.

I'm not searching for a God that doesn't want to be found, I'm not in a one sided relationship with someone that doesn't want to a better relationship.

When my niece and nephew play hide and seek with me, they stuff themselves into some nook or cranny (generally one they've hidden in a hundred times before) and wait excitedly for themselves to be found. They're hiding, but the most exciting part of the whole game is being found.

You see, if I am cooking dinner and the kids are in the house I can stay where I am and turn my head and probably be able to find them. But, for hide and seek, I have to drop everything I'm doing. Finding them may be simple, but I have to stop what I'm doing and go to where they are at for us BOTH to enjoy the thrill of the find. I can enjoy God's company while I'm cooking dinner, but to find Him, to enjoy the find and celebrate it, I have to stop what I'm doing, go to where He's at and then enjoy the growth, change, blessings, encouragement, strength, joy, peace, love, friendship, and comfort available to me as I find Him.

My disappointments lie in hindsight. The number of times I let the kids play by themselves and didn't search. The number of times I didn't search for God. I will always be disappointed in a sinful world. But, for me, utter disappointment is good in a way.

You see, if I weren't so disappointed, I wouldn't want to change so very badly.

Stuck in my head

Misguided and deluded

I had all sorts of Christmas and Thanksgiving posts just ready to go after a long 4 day weekend.

Unfortunately, or maybe not unfortunately, those are all going to be shoved aside while I get this out of my system.

I feel misguided, deluded, maybe even a little cheated.

You see, when I was seeking God for the Holy Ghost everyone constantly told me how the Holy Ghost would empower me. None of that was especially encouraging while I was seeking. It's almost mean to tell someone how great what they're not receiving is.

Now that I've got it though, I have to tell you, I couldn't feel less empowered.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

My blogs only a year old and already I'm doing reruns.
I love the thanksgiving poem I did last year and so I'm giving it to you again this year.
I hope you all have a wonderful day today, but more than anything I pray that on this special day we'd all be overwhelmed with a realization of our many many blessings. I pray that for this day, Our Father might look down on us and be honored and pleased by our thankful hearts.
So enjoy your turkey, and, if you can't be thankful for anything else, be thankful you're not a turkey. :)


The Turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom
then splattered all over the kitchen
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows
it totally coated the floor
there was turkey attached to the ceiling
where there'd never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance
it smeared every saucer and bowl
there wasn't a way I could stop it
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure
and thought with chagrin as I mopped
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Why I'm thankful today.

I can't forget the way life used to be. I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound I spent my days pouring my life without measure. Into a little treasure box I thought I found. Until the day when Jesus came to me and healed my soul with the wonder of His touch. So now I'm giving back to Him all the praise He's worthy of . I've been forgiven and that's why I love Him so much.

I've posted the lyrics to this song before, but I thought it was especially appropriate for me to post it today.

I remember bondage all too well.

If you had asked me 5 years ago to imagine my life today... I wouldn't have described anything like this. Under my Saviors tender ministrations to my heart so much pain, and anger and fear has just melted away. To imagine feeling this feeling - a feeling of love and protection. I walk with a feeling of perfect security as I follow The Shepherd who will do whatever it takes to make in me a reflection of Him.

He's forgiven me, adopted me, and loved me.

And that is why I am thankful.

Chuckle today

If you are prone to this kind of a story you could almost cry.

A man was on holiday in Kenya. While he was walking through the bush, he came across an elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot. As carefully and as gently as he could he removed the thorn and the elephant gingerly put down its foot.
The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.
For years after, the man remembered the elephant and the events of that day.
One day the man was walking through the zoo with his son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail. It stared at him and the man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.
The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Let go, but don't ever give up.

I had a strange dream last night.

I've noticed I'm having more strange dreams than I can recall ever having. I wonder if Kool-aid effects your dreams. That would certainly explain what's going on with me lately.

My most recent dream had more dead bodies in it than I could count, and I won't go into detail but I saw Ronald Reagan shot multiple times. I told you it was strange.

I woke up and pulled up the dream dictionary which informs me that the dead bodies obviously symbolize that I've got a negative relationship in my life that needs to end.

Strangely enough, a guest preacher at our church Sunday encouraged us to not give up on relationships. When in doubt I always tend to follow a Godly source rather than all the strange sources I can pull off the internet.

So I'm standing up.

I believe I've sat down for quite awhile, and I actually had to repent of that as God made something clear to me Sunday. You see, I have a problem.

Somewhere, sometime along the way, I lost my best friend.

I knew this person better I knew anyone else on earth. We thought alike, we believed alike, I knew where he was going to go in a song before he ever went there. We have a shared history of pain and secrets together that no one would probably imagine. There is no one on earth that I've enjoyed spending time with more than my friend. But somewhere along the way, I'm not even sure what or when that point was, but we came to a fork in the road and we each ended up taking a different path.

I've had so much to say to this person, that I never said, just so I wouldn't make them angry. I sinned, in that I wanted to preserve that friendship more than I was willing to follow God. I was afraid angering my friend would keep me from visiting his children, so I sinned in loving his children and placing them over my love for obeying my Saviour.

Ultimately now, the end result is that my relationship with my friend seems beyond repair, I've been kept from visiting with the very children I had made so important in my heart, and I've still never said the things that God continuously prompted me to say.

With hindsight I see that I wasn't putting these other people before God as much as I was putting my own desires before God. Facing a God of justice I have no excuse, and no option but to seek His mercy over my sins. The very idea of coming before my King with my wayward self, pains me. And I find myself calling on His mercies with a simple plea of 'one more time'.

In all of this, I've learned more about God's love for us.

You see, my friend promised me all kinds of physical support for when I begin doing foster care. And while I appreciate him thinking it, inwardly I felt something near physical pain as I wished he'd understand a love that simply desires him as he is. Not because of anything he could do for me. I wish I could hold onto the bond that held us together. I want things to be like they were before. I wish they'd never changed in the first place.

It made me wonder how many physical things I do for God when all He wants is my time. As I tell Him I'll go clean the church for Him, does He groan and wish I understood He'd rather me spend that 45 minutes just talking with Him? As I concentrate on how much I'm able to tithe, does He wish I'd just read His word more so He could tell me something?

God forgive me for holding onto so much so tightly.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hardheadedness part 2

Just a quick thought of thankfulness that occurred to me and I wanted to give it to you.

I am so very thankful that God is hardheaded about loving me.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38 & 39

The second slowest week on earth.

9 hours, from 8am to 5pm of staring at the wall.

Not necessarily just staring at the wall, but close. My job is to help people get jobs and no one wants a job the week of Thanksgiving.
So here I sit.
So I thought, being the season and all, that I'd take time to tell you of my blessings.

I've got a good job. An amazing co-worker (Lisa), truly nice people in our other offices, and the bosses couldn't be more generous.
My house, has survived a fire, and has the flimsiest looking roof you could picture yet doesn't leak. Not even a drop. When a tornado went through town this year water seemed to be blasted into the house through the windows, but that was the only damage to my home. Around town trees were uprooted, homes destroyed, at the very minimum most houses had multiple broken windows from huge balls of hail. Not my house. My house stood, solid and steady. Home.
My dad has prostate cancer. He's edging closer and closer to the end. I'm able to peacefully consider not just his death but his life as well. To remember back 14 years to a time when I easily considered taking his life - to now, the change in my heart overwhelms me.
My hand has become a serious issue for me, but almost immediately a blessing came from it as immediately after my struggle started someone came to me needing me to understand their struggle. And I could. I never would have before.
Last February an 18 wheeler plowed into my car and totalled it. Amazingly enough it was totalled in every way except the ways that would effect the driving (except for being able to see out the back). I walked out of the car with a headache and glass all over me and not one scratch.
I drove that same car home - a 14 hr drive. Within 10 hours of arriving home another car was sitting in my driveway. A gift to use as long as I needed it, or could pay for later if I wanted to buy it. I bought it, for the exact price I told God I needed a car for, and am still driving that car today.
My niece and nephew (ages 8 & 5). They're new blessings in the way that they're blessings each time I see them. They have taught me more about love and patience, acceptance and disciplining than I could have ever hoped to learn. I couldn't have asked for a more precious gift than those two.
I've noticed myself thinking and saying more often about how I might have thought I had peace and happiness before but back then I had no concept of what true peace and happiness really is. The something will happen the very next day and I'll tell you again how I have peace and happiness now that is so amazing that I surely didn't have even the slightest concept of what true peace and happiness was yesterday. I love going deeper.
This year I've finally spoken in tongues, and sang in tongues. It's become a whole different subject to study and grow in, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
I'm truly blessed to know my pastor and his wife. I wish I could tell you what a difference they've made in my life. I don't know what all they've had to go through to become exactly what I needed, or what all happened to bring them to the place I needed them to be at the time I needed them to be there, but happen it did.

For all the struggles and trials, for all the lessons I keep repeating over and over again, I am so truly blessed. I don't have time, nor the memory to tell you all that God has done this year so far. But there has been time after time after time that He's given me exactly what I needed for the exact price I needed, or when I counted my change it just happened to be the exact amount that whatever I was buying cost. I can't tell you how many sermons I've heard that taught on the very issue I was dealing with. The "coincidences" in my life, are far too many to be anything but God's handiwork in my life.
I am blessed. And I am so, simply because of God's love and His mercy, His goodness and His grace.

Nothing more.
Nothing less.


Yesterday I was informed that hardheadedness is not a virtue.

I didn't dispute the point, but I did spend far more time thinking about what the man had said than he probably would have expected me to.

As I walked to work this morning I was thinking it over. I actually had a completely different post planned for today, but this one ended up taking precedence. I thought about where I would be if I weren't hardheaded. I thought about the things that threaten to challenge my hardheadedness. And I came to one solid conclusion. Hardheadedness might not be a virtue, but it is most definitely an asset.

Because I'm hardheaded, doubts don't penetrate as deeply as they could a "soft" head. It's a stubborn attitude of 'I can do it and I will do it'. It doesn't allow me to take the easy route usually, in the particular case of yesterday it refused to allow me to stand back and do nothing while I waited for someone to be available to do something for me.

Hardheadedness rarely allows me to be weak. It rarely allows me to crawl back under the covers and give up. It rarely allows me to think something is too hard, too dangerous, too tall, too heavy, too far, too deep, or - and most importantly sometimes - too costly.
It tells me it doesn't hurt too much, physically or emotionally to stop.
It tells me that if something needs to be done that it's obviously possible to be done.
It tells me, every day, that I can keep going.
Hardheadedness is fearless in the face of fear, strong in the face of weakness, and practically laughs in the face of doubters.
If anything, I hope I become more hardheaded.

Unfortunately, there's also a drawback to it.

You see, it was my hardheadedness that caused the need for apology that I mentioned in my last post. I got so set on "I can do it and I will do it" that I failed to listen to someone telling me not to do it.

So as I made my trek to work I prayed simply this.

Father, balance me. Help my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my mouth to speak Your words, my feet to go where You'd have them go and my hands to help where You'd have them to help. Help my head to grow harder, that the doubts and fears and worries that so often try and find entrance to my mind would not be able to penetrate. But Father, more than any of those things cultivate, soften, and strengthen my heart until the only thing able to rule over every aspect of my eyes, ears, mouth, feet, hands and mind is a heart that is ever longing for You.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Please accept my sincerest apologies

I hate apologizing.

It's not because it's humbling, I can take that. But I hate it for two other reasons.

First, it means I've done something wrong - again.
Let's face it, this won't be my first time apologizing. So I'm a repeat offender. That comes as no surprise, especially to those that know me. But, there's probably no one that's only sinned once so at least I'm not alone.
When you look back on how many times I go around apologizing, and how few they are, I realize that there are probably so many other times that I'm just not aware of the sin. Among the many changes in my life, one of the priorities is to be aware of the sins in my life. It's rarely right away that I realize I have committed an offence, but later on as I'm thinking about the events of the day that the revelation that I should have handled something differently hits me. But when I think about the hundreds of words I say each day, and my penchant to spout off without thinking...I wonder how many sins my heart has overlooked.

The second reason I hate to apologize?
If you go back later and remind someone of an event and apologize for it, you almost always have to convince them that you should apologize. They are generally more than willing to gloss over your faults and failures either because they love you, want to act like they love you, or because they just don't want to seem harsh. It's a bit, well, strange trying to convince someone that you've wronged them, and thus sinned against God and that it is important, whether they were offended/noticed the crime or not.

I understand now why people have accountability partners. You could easily confess any sin to an accountability partner, and then because of their constant reminders go and apologize. But without those people, it's just between you and God. God knows what I did, saw me act without thinking because I was determined that doing this a certain way was better. God is the only one that will know if I don't apologize. And when, when I do apologize it won't be because of anyone elses reminders except God's.
I actually like this way better. This way God knows - by my actions, NOT just my words - that I want to please Him. My actions have no other motivation, no one else is pushing me, no one else is reminding me, it's just me. Me and God.

And that I like.

A quote about worship

"Worship is a powerful witness to others. More people are won to Christ by feeling God's presence than by all our theological arguments combined. Few people, if any, are converted to Christ on purely intellectual grounds. No, it's a sense of God's presence that melts hearts, and exposes and tears down mental barriers. In genuine worship God's presence is felt, God's pardon is offered, God's purposes are revealed, and God's power is displayed.When the spiritually hungry come to church and see us relate to God in heartfelt praise, it creates in them a desire to know Him too!"

Thanks to One-sided for this quote from Karen Brewer

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reverencing God

I worked in a little town called Cleburne yesterday. Our company has other offices around Texas and this particular one is two hours away.
Yesterday morning I got up at 1am, picked up newspapers for one job I've got and then went home and was able to take a 30 minute nap before heading to our other office.
I finished up at our other office at 5:20pm and wondered if there was any way to make it to church on time. Our church starts at 7:30. I breezed into town at 7:15 and then had to make the 20 minute drive to my church.
I didn't stop for anything. I made a note of my mileage and time for work so I could e-mail them later as to why I didn't clock out when I got back to town that way I wouldn't have to stop to make a stop at the office before heading on to church. I chose to go in the clothes I'd been wearing all day at work because stopping at my house would have taken time.
If I was too late, they might have skipped the song service and just done the teaching. If teaching only takes 30 minutes then if I have to stop and do all this other stuff before heading on, I might have missed it altogether.

You see, I like church. It's generally the only time I see or talk to my church family, and the only time I get to be taught by this particular pastor, about my particular Saviour. I want to learn more, and I can see my obvious growth since I've been at this church. I don't want to miss a thing.

So I went just as I was.

Now let me take you back to several days ago as I listened to another pastor preach to me about reverence and holiness. I know he was preaching to me because he was looking right at me and I was the only other person at the table besides my mom. I learned how we show up to church unprepared, without reverence in our hearts for God. How we'll show up wearing the same clothes we'd worn at work all day - or worse - and not give God the proper respect He deserves by our cleaning up and changing clothes. I learned, from this pastor, that according to God holiness may be an inward condition, but if the evidence of it isn't on the outside then it's obviously not on the inside.

I didn't plan to try and show my lack of holiness so quickly after my personal little sermonette. But it just worked out that way. So I'm wondering about the selfishness involved as I put my hunger for God over His need for the reverence that I failed to show by changing clothes. Which made me wonder something else.

Throughout the bible there are stories of people that offered sacrifices that weren't acceptable. King Uzziah wanted to burn incense, God didn't want him to so He struck Uzziah with leprosy.
Saul went out to war because God told him to. But instead of killing everything like he was instructed to do, he saved some of the animals in order to sacrifice them to God. Sounds good right? God didn't think so.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give only a portion rather than the whole and when they lied about it they were killed instantly.
You want to think badly about Ananias and Sapphira but, if you sold all your land and gave all the money to the church except a thousand dollars, you'll probably think you've still done something pretty incredible. God didn't. Not when they lied about it.

Reverencing God, giving Him a place of Holiness in my life has been exhausting. It's a never ending process of change and repentance. I guess that's why I haven't gotten to the outward evidence yet.

There's some sarcasm in this post. I'll admit that right out. But not as much as you'd probably think. In one sense huge portions of this post are sarcastic, and in another sobering sense it's hardly sarcastic at all.
You see, in a way I feel all self-righteous that some people are so worried about the outside that they fail to see that their heart is corrupt. But when I forget about other people and only think about my own life, I see so many ways in which outwardly I can show God's Holiness and the magnitude of it. The respect He deserves and the honor He's due. There are so many things I could do as outward signs since people can't see the inward signs.
Maybe one day I'll graduate to that. To something that goes beyond the fruits of the Spirit, something beyond just loving God and others, maybe to something that might look like legalism but is actually just pure unadulterated love for my perfect Savior.

If you have a moment..

Smile - Laugh - And be Happy

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Alright already! I get it!

I went home last night and was reading the book of Ephesians. Let's just say this is not the book to turn to if you're wanting to feel self-righteous and indignant.

Ephesians 4:2627, 29-31

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

So.. alright. I get it.

I won't delete my angry post, because truly documenting "this walk" means documenting the things that shame me as well. I'm sorry you'll see it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm angry

In case you skim over the titles of my post, let me repeat this for you - I'm Angry.

Friday afternoon I spent a couple of hours helping my parents move a shed that's in my yard 11.5 feet forward. It was required by a settlement agreement that we have this done by Monday. So, we moved it.
My mom is 58 yrs old. She had a heat stroke 2 months ago. She spends most of her days nauseous and trying to find the gentle balance between working around the house as much as she can and not over-doing which leaves her shaky and weak as jello and even more nauseous.
She stood next to me as we pushed and jacked and pulled this shed.

That's when I became angry.
Angry at a world where I can't protect those I love.
That started the ball rolling.

I minister to my neighbor and literally try to hide it from the Christians that have instructed me not to. I've been griped at, lectured, berated and that's only about the stuff people KNOW about.

I'm fed up with the Christian ideas of doing only as much as you can and still be "safe". I'm not going around deliberately trying to hurt myself but the people the bible says to be around are the ones you think I shouldn't be around.
At what point do you decide Jesus wouldn't pick up hitchhikers? At what point do you decide that the beggars and homeless in your city should not be approached, much less invited to your house. At what point?
At what point do we realize we've told God we'll only be faithful in certain rational and logical things.

My brother recently commented that he'd drop anything for me. He sent me a long e-mail saying that he supported me.
But when I called him, he didn't come.

I'm angry, but mostly because I can see so clearly the hundreds of times I've told God how much I love him, that I'd drop anything for Him, that I want to be used for His kingdom and make a difference.
But when He calls me, how many times do I say no? How many opportunities have I missed? How many hitchhikers have I passed up? How many people not spoken to? How many times have I thought I had a legitimate reason to tell God no?

The bible repeatedly talks about how He's not going to give you the big things unless you've proven yourself faithful in the small things. Yet, we seem to believe we'll be faithful in the big things - though we've failed in the small - because they're more important.

I've been praying a prayer from the last part of Psalms 139 lately, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." And unfortunately, ever since praying that prayer my thoughts seem to be running away with me.

I've apologized repeatedly to God for my anger. But it's probably not quite as sincere as I would like it to be because at some level deep down I'm wondering if my anger is really wrong. Have I sinned in my anger? So far I've been punished for my anger. But was it really sinful? Is all anger by nature sinful? Jesus got angry. So the answer would be no, it's not all sinful. Or maybe you'd just like to think any anger I direct towards you, or your belief system is sinful. Maybe anytime I'm angry and you don't think I should be, maybe that anger is sinful.

It's funny how we decide what is sinful or not depends on whether we agree, approve, or are not offended by "it". Far better if our criteria for sin was based on what God would agree and approve of.

The most frustrating part of this post is - did you see it yourself?? - how I just condemned myself.
"It's funny how whether I become angry or not depends on whether I agree, approve, or are/are not offended by whatever "it" is. Far better if MY criteria for anger was based on what God would agree and approve of."

Search me, oh God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Update on the updates

I have a crib!

I spent Thursday searching every second hand store in this city, and even some in another city and found didly squat. I prayed "God please, you know I need a crib, you know where it is, please just help me find it."
Friday I went to garage sales. Nothing.
Today, today, I went to garage sales again. I drove up and saw the newest, whitest, cleanest crib I could have possibly asked for. It came WITH the newest, cleanest mattress I could have possibly asked for, and it also came WITH a bed skirt, fitted sheet and the strange padded liner thing that goes around the bottom of the sleeping area in the crib.
Crib - $50.00
Having God answer my prayer - Priceless

There isn't anything left for me to do. Everything possibly dangerous in my house is locked away. I have all the basics required for me to become a licensed foster parent.
Now I just have to wait on them.
Pop Pop Fizz Fizz Oh what a relief it is!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Piddlin Updates

This is just a documented update, feel free to look elsewhere, nothing I say here will interest you.

You're still reading aren't you. That's just crazy.

You know I'm not going to say anything interesting and yet you're still reading.

Well, now I guess you're just going to keep on reading to the end so I might as well give my update.

I'm THREE steps away from finally being a licensed foster parent. If I want to be licensed I have to SHOW that I have a crib in my house. I don't necessarily have to put it together, but it does have to be in my house.
The FBI need to finish confirming that I'm innocent I tell ya, I'm innocent.
THEN after the FBI finish with me my agency will schedule my homestudy. A grueling day long interview in which I've been promised that should I total up the number of questions I've been asked in my life, the number will not be so great as the number of questions I'll be asked at that homestudy.
After that, and someone attempts to stay awake long enough to read through a 25 page report on my life, I will be licensed.

And that's all. I told you it wasn't that interesting, I still don't know why you're reading.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The mission

I've been reading a book called "Just Like Jesus" by Max Lucado. I'd never read a book by him and never imagined doing so but the title of this book grabbed me and I started reading. Yesterday evening I picked it up and after just a few pages I found something to blog about.

"The heart of Christ was relentlessly focused on one task. The day he left the carpentry shop of Nazareth he had one ultimate aim - the cross of Calvary. He was so focused that his final words were, "It is finished" (john 19:30)
How could Jesus say he was finished? There were still the hungry to feed, the sick to heal, the untaught to instruct, and the unloved to love. How could he say he was finished? Simple. He had completed his designated task. His commission was fulfilled. The painter could set aside his brush, the sculptor lay down his chisel, the writer put away his pen. The job was done."

Reading that I wondered what I would be able to say at the end of my life. Would I be "finished" or halfway through with something thinking "I was so close". Or would it be that I would wander through my life and reach the end wondering if I had done anything worthwhile.
Then I realized that for the past 5 years I've been walking towards the mission God has given me. I've known I was suppose to do foster care for a long time. I didn't always have to do much, sometimes just wait for the timing to be right, and for awhile I specifically did CASA volunteer work so that I would gain more experience with these kids.
So get this, God - gave - me - a - mission.
Did you read that?
God gave me a mission.

I really wasn't expecting too much to come from me.

You see, I know me. I know how selfish I am. I see the hurtful thoughts I think, and I hear the foolish words I say. I've watched me turn my face from God and say "No, I won't do that, give that, or be that". And I remember all too well the thousands of times I've willfully chosen the temporary pleasures of sin over the simple task of pleasing my King. I see the unworthiness and filthiness in my life like no one else will ever see it.

Even so, God. Even so, God. Even so, God in His infinite, fathomless, incomparable love looked down from His throne. He looked down from His majestic throne into the sea of faces, and He found mine. He saw me, and He loved me, and He chose my purpose. Much like any CEO or Project Leader figuring out who would do best at what, God assigned me my task.
While I see the unworthiness of my life, God saw something of use. All I have to do is, well, my task.
I'm so glad He saw something in me. As He equips me to accomplish what He has set forth for me to accomplish, I pray He will give me eyes that will see those same divine purposes and plans in the lives of each child. May I always remember what an honor it is to be under my Kings commission.

"To love the Lord our God is the heartbeat of our mission, the spring from which our service overflows. Across the street or around the world, the missions still the same; proclaim and live the truth in Jesus name."

Monday, November 06, 2006

For the Lord is with you

I've been focusing on the idea that God is with me lately.

You've seen the references in several posts and it showed up in my reading today. I'm reading 2 Chronicles seeing the leadership of king after king after king and this one particular kings words struck me.

The entire story is found in 2 Chronicles 20, and I'm not going to quote the whole story so here's the jist of what's happened.

King Jehoshaphat finds out he's about to be attacked and he's scared. The chapter relates a long prayer that finally ends in this statement; "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

I don't know what to do but my eyes are on you.

The end of the story turns out that by the time Jehoshaphat's army climbs the top of this hill and looks out, all his people see are dead bodies. And then they spend the next three days going back and forth collecting all the spoil that was left. That's a pretty good ending if you ask me.

I've been plotting something for the last couple of days. I knew I wanted to do something, but didn't know what I could actually do, what I could get away with doing, and what I could do without burdening others with what I'm doing. I'm still stuck, but I've taken up Jehoshaphats prayer. I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on You. And while I don't particularly want to find a load of dead bodies at the top of my hill, I would like to find a miracle.

"Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much"

Building God's house

This weekend I was reading in Haggai and came across something that intrigued me.
Haggai 1:2-11

2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.”
3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”
5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.
9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.
10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.
11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

I've worked very hard for the last few months to get my house in order. And while I don't particularly feel as though I've put my wages into a bag with holes, these verses still made me think.
My church isn't run down, I think it's beautiful. But I wonder, by putting more effort into my church could I be bringing more blessing onto my home?
Now that things have settled down and I've almost completed the process to become a foster parent I've found myself with time on my hands. While you might laugh at the idea of me being bored and tell me to enjoy it while it lasts, for me, it's still something to get beyond. That's how I ended up reading the book of Haggai and thinking.

What does God think when my home is clean and His is not? When I plant flowers in my yard and leave His unattended? When I fix minor problems around my house but leave His faucet dripping?

I know all too well the verses about those that hear the word and don't follow up with some "doing".

I'm not the same person today that I was last week. Something in my heart has changed, something in my desires has changed. Tv shows that use to interest me have me impatiently waiting for them to finish. And while you might think that fixing Gods house and something changing in me are two different topics, for me they are one and the same. As I see God's hand working in my life, changing, fixing, and teaching, the more I want to do in return.
Last night something changed in my hand. I got home from church and I considered my hand and this morning the weakness that has been the biggest problem this week is gone.
Last night I prayed in tongues for the first time.

It's time to give back.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I will fear no evil

Lisa and I and her boyfriend, Lee, went out to dinner after work. We had a really pleasant evening that unfortunately ended very badly. She's dealing with some really rough people that know some even rougher people and as we were leaving the restaurant we were physically threatened by several of them. Naturally we decided the best course of action was to get in our cars and leave PRONTO.

That worked for everyone but me. I got to my car, but the transmission was acting up and it wouldn't go. It would start and go a few feet but wouldn't go any further than that. So I did what anyone would do in that situation... I called my brother. :)

I tried my best to stress to him how serious the situation was, it was dark, the car wasn't starting, and the guys that had threatened us before were within 100 feet of my car watching me. But he told me he couldn't come because Brice (his best friend) was over and he and Glenda and Brice were in the middle of a game.
So I called my parents.
My mom answered the phone and I told her what was happening and asked her to please come get me and she just kept saying she'd had car trouble like that before and if I wait that it would start. She was certain she'd had this problem before and knew it would start if I'd just wait. Then, as I'm trying to convince her that waiting doesn't seem like an good option right now, thanks to modern cell phone technology my call is dropped.
Finally, feeling more than a little desperate and frightened I call a number from memory that I'm almost certain is the local police and I get some lady that wants to assist me with my call when my phone battery dies. I find a hundred different words for idiot as I think about how many times I've considered buying a car charger for my cell phone. It's just madness.
I finally decide there might be someplace, anyplace nearby that could be safer than sitting in my car so I get out of the car. There's a theatre close by and I head that direction.
At the theatre I discover they're playing a movie called "Black White Chicks" a movie whose plot is basically a bunch of black males dressing as white females. I turn and see 5-6 such guys that decided to dress in drag for the viewing of the movie heading my way. I decide that maybe this isn't the "safe place" I was looking for and move on, but not before that group accosted me. I don't even remember now what was said but they pushed me against the wall and tried to hurt me. I escaped the biggest guys grasp and ran, terrified across the street.

Then I woke up.

Before going to bed I'd read the book of Zephaniah. One of the verses that stood out at me was in Chapter 3, verses 1 & 2
1 "Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, To the oppressing city!
2 She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received correction;
She has not trusted in the Lord,
She has not drawn near to her God. "

Immediately after reading it I considered sinners not obeying, receiving correction, things like that. Then it became as clear as day to me the many many many many times I've failed to obey, that I didn't receive His correction humbly, that I didn't trust in the Lord, and that I didn't draw near to MY God.
My dream played out exactly as it would have in real life. The steps I took in the dream are steps I would have naturally taken in real life. While I don't fear strangers even if some situations seem dangerous, I do fear evil. Throughout the entire dream I felt the strongest sense of evil that was waiting to hurt me and I was scared.
Thinking on it later, I've realized how I generally equate the presence of evil with the absence of God; the presence of God with the absence of evil. But, as a famous musician/songwriter once wrote; "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me" Evil or no evil, GOD IS WITH ME.
There is a
song that says "there are depths of love that I cannot know" and the farther I go the more I think on the idea of "depths" of spirituality. There are depths of love, depths of trust, depths of peace, depths of faith.
Oh to walk deeper into the depths!
But a wise man I know once made it clear, 'you can only go so deep before you have to swim, and you can't swim if you're holding onto stuff'. At least that was the jist of it.

Before I close this post, I want to share one more verse with you. It may be that no one reading this will understand how much it meant to me as I read it but suffice it to say God knows what you need. He often meets that need through His Word. The words that touched my heart came from a tiny book called Zephaniah. A book people don't generally read too much. Read God's Word.

Zephaniah 3:16 & 17
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's all about love

I've found myself the last two days praying for love.

In a book I was reading recently it talked of a man that was trying to constantly keep his mind on God and it talked about the change in his love for others. He said he looked at someone with love and felt that they wanted to go with him. Just to be near that love. He remarked that He could only imagine how people felt that looking into the perfect love shining out of Christs eyes.

The lady I work with is going through a very rough time and she's got an almost desperate need for someone to listen to her. I can only imagine the emotional pain of telling your story over and over again wishing someone could speak the love that would bring peace to the situation. I constantly struggle with love vs. justice so I know my justice seeking words aren't helping her love seeking heart.

There's a guy in our office temporarily. He's been here a week and is slated to be here one more week at minimum. I cannot even begin to fathom his life. He's tried to convince us to call him "Ghost" and as a general rule it's impossible to carry on a conversation with him. He literally walked past us the other day saying "catch up", either that or "ketchup" we still haven't figured out what he was doing. Needless to say we weren't chasing him, and he wasn't getting a condiment. In a rare moment, actually the only full conversation we've had so far, I talked to him about God.
People aren't what they seem.
He said he didn't attend church anymore because the pastor told jokes from the pulpit. He said "you can't be talking about The Man and cracking jokes". So he quit going. He became quite outspoken against "Christian Rap" and said christian music should be christian music, and rap can't be christian. He dreams of owning his own recording studio one day, where he hopes to make making records affordable for those just starting out.
Yet, after that conversation we went straight back to strange 3-4 word statements that don't make a lot of sense.

I spent the morning hauling a spanish speaking employee around while trying to find a drs office that would see him. Apparently if you don't speak any english you must have a translator or the dr won't see you. I finally found a spanish speaking dr that let us in without an appointment. I can only try to imagine the emotions that a person would feel if they didn't understand what was going on and why I'm hauling them all over town and leaving drs offices without him being treated. Fortunately the injury wasn't serious, but I still wonder how many others go through this every day.
Looking into the weathered hispanic face of this 57 yr old man I wondered at what all he had seen, done, and how he got to the States.

It would be amazing to have a love in your eyes that could literally change lives. Much less the words of love that could change the stubborn heart.

God help me show the love that You would show.

A posted post

This post came from one of my favorite bloggers, gunner over at Raw Christianity posted this. I'd encourage anyone to make his blog a regular stop.


Harder to live

About ten minutes ago I finished a long and thought-out post about rejoicing in the midst of trials instead of simply rejoicing in hindsight. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few months. I felt that it was worth it to stay up later to write it, even though I knew I’d be more tired tomorrow. It probably took me an hour and a half to write, and I was relieved and satisfied when it was done. It’s always good to think hard about something and to labor to express it, and I hoped it might be an encouragement and challenge to those of you currently facing difficult trials (which is everyone). I finished the post with these words:
Everyone smiles at the rainbow. But can you smile in the rain?
Five seconds after I clicked “Publish,” my post disappeared. It was gone. I searched my blog to see if it might’ve been saved somewhere, and I prayed that the Lord would bring it back so that it might serve as an encouragement. But in His good pleasure, it’s gone for good. A similar thing actually happened with a post from last week, but the next morning I woke up and found that the Lord had preserved it somehow. All I had to do was re-post it. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen this time, though, judging by the looks of things.
So now I’m about to shut off my laptop, turn off the lights in my study, brush my teeth, and climb into bed. And I’m asking myself the same question that I was going to ask you:
Everyone smiles at the rainbow. But can you smile in the rain?
It’s harder to live the truth than to speak it. Even though it was hard work to write the post, I enjoyed it. But it’s much more laborious trying to embrace the pain of losing an hour and a half of work that I was satisfied with and that I had believed would be a fruitful act of service.
It’s going to be hard to go to sleep knowing that I put a lot of time and thought and energy and passion into something that vanished as quickly as I had finished it. It’s also going to be hard to accept the fact that no one will be encouraged by what I had hoped would be an encouragement. But this is what the Lord has chosen.
So now, in the few minutes that I’ll have between slipping under the covers and falling asleep, I hope to meditate on Job, to calm my heart, and to rediscover the joy that honors God most when exercised in pain and disappointment. Everyone rejoices when life is good. But when you lose something you love and you still rejoice, you show that your treasure is something greater than what you lost. Even though what I ”lost” was laughably small, may God stir this joy and sense this treasure in my heart tonight.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:20-22).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A quick quote

God's love never ceases. Never. Though we spurn him. Ignore him. Reject him. Despise him. Disobey him. He will not change. Our evil cannot diminish his love. Our goodness cannot increase it. Our faith does not earn it any more than our stupidity jeopardizes it. God doesn't love us less if we fail or more if we succeed. God's love never ceases. -- Max Lucado

God is good

Awhile back my brother and his family were going through some hard times. His last blog entry at his blog talks about how the violent take things by force and how he wrestled with God and God answered.

I'm not like that. I need God. I need God. I need God. I don't need a hand, a foot, 5 senses, money, didly squat. I need God. Everything else is a blessing, it's wonderful and seems necessary but it's still extra. When it comes to myself I've found I only feel right asking His Will in my life. When it comes to others and them wanting healing or something I approach it with the idea that I'm asking something "extra" for the person. I'm asking God, in all His mercy, to look down and give a drop more mercy, that He would be glorified through it.

So for 5 days now I've looked at my hand and wished certain things, but never took it to God saying "fix it please". I've tried to adjust my mind and be ready accept whatever outcome comes my way.

During Sunday school this past Sunday the lesson on Jonah, the teacher kept saying that sometimes we've disobeyed God and refused to do what He wants and that's why bad things happen to us. Last night my pastor started off talking about how God chastises us because He loves us. Then he began his sermon from Psalms 5. It's a short chapter if you want to read it. The pastor seemed to focus on the first two verses, but unfortunately for me I always read ahead. By the end of the sermon the words from verses 4 & 5 were burned into my head For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

I'd read those verses probably 30 times over and over, talking to God and trying my best to convince Him that if there was something I wasn't doing, I didn't have a clue what it was. He put foster care in my heart as clearly as spray painting it on my car. I knew what to do, when, and even the agency to use for my training. He's usually pretty clear for me. So if I'm being chastised because I'm not doing something, I don't know what on earth it is.

It was as I was completing this conversation with God again, I looked up from my bible and discovered my pastor staring at me. My heart sank, I'd made it this far, almost 3 full services without anyone praying for me. And then my pastor spoke and asked if they could pray for me.

If I'd had an ounce, just an ounce more courage I would have actually said no. I would rather everyone speculate and be disappointed in me than to have them disappointed in God because He said no. But I've been raised in church my whole life, I know protocol. When someone asks if they can pray for you, you just can't say no.

Everyone gathered around me and prayed.

I didn't hear a thing any of them said. The minute the murmur of prayers started I closed my eyes and I begged God in His mercy to not disappoint these precious people. I literally prayed He'd heal my arm and inflict me somewhere else just so these people could see their prayers answered and I'd still learn whatever it is He's trying to teach me. --feel free to comment that I'm insane --

This morning, I feel different. There have been a few moments where my hand almost felt normal for a moment, but that's not where I feel different. At 1am this morning I arrived at a place to pick up some newspapers and had to wait for them to arrive. I spent an hour and a half just sitting in my car. I was just quiet, which is rare if not next to impossible for my busy mind. It's the first time in my life I truly felt as though I'd had a conversation with God. He reminded me of things I hadn't thought of for awhile, and He pointed out some things in this situation that I hadn't put together. Every now and then my thoughts would fly away with me but then the quiet would return and after a bit the conversation would resume.

For all of the many crazy things I've been thinking of the last several days the one sure thing that has sunk into my head is that God is with me. I could have quoted you "I'll never leave you nor forsake you" a hundred times and thought I'd believed them. But since that first comfort He provided on Sunday I've felt His presence every moment since.

So let me tell you what I know.
God is good.