Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It seemed almost idyllic as I laid upon my bed,
to listen to that squirrel each night run above my head.
He seemed so energetic, frisky and even spry,
It never did occur to me, he was about to die.
Until one fateful evening as I opened up my door,
I could hardly stand for noticing a very strong odor.
For sometime earlier it seems, the little tyke had died,
Right above the heads where two children would soon lie.
They covered their noses and they coughed, frowning all the while,
While one struggled to hold down, a sudden burst of bile.
They glared at me and announced that my house badly smelled,
I stood convinced that just to wait would bode me very well.
Until that next chilly morning, as I worked to breakfast soon,
I really quite unthinkingly heated up the room.
We all three grew so quiet as the house grew warm and rank,
With that warmed up smell of something dead, our stomachs quickly sank.
Quickly we fled the house; the smell of cinnamon and death
When suddenly a happy thought, stole away my breath.
What a memory this would be, surely one to cherish,
All because that frisky tyke, unhappily had to perish.
Monday, April 28, 2008
What a night.
It seems almost wrong to write tonight, just because no words I could say would really tell the story of what happened tonight. But it was good. All those things I've been saying for the last couple of years on this blog... they're entirely true.
It's hard to like yourself. Easy to believe bad things about yourself. And really hard to fight for yourself. In one of my posts I remember writing that it's a lot easier to cry to God that you're worthless than it is to yell at the devil that you have value. And the devil certainly creamed me this time.
But tonight I suddenly had the urge to go to my piano, and I found myself singing the old Carmen song "Hunger for Holiness" and one piece of a verse goes like this:
The tempter stalks about me as a lion
Searching for the slightest scent of blood
For when the skin of my resistance is broken
He moves in swiftly to deepen the cut.
And I realized that the intial cut wasn't really all that deep. It was actually more of a scab pulled off an old wound and after months of festering and the devil at work, I found myself with a gaping, gushing, and putrid wound.
I don't know what the difference was tonight. Well I guess I do. God made the difference. I don't know what He was waiting on for me, because tonight didn't feel any different until I sang those words, and the realization of what the devil had done for the last months washed over me.
Even for all the questions that I still have, at this exact moment, I have peace about them.
One thing I do know was different tonight is when I said I needed God, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I couldn't do it on my own. I couldn't will myself to be at peace. I couldn't decide I would be full of faith. And I couldn't make myself hope. When I said I needed God, I knew there wasn't any other way.
It's late, by my standards, and I've already said a lot, so I'm not going to get in too deep with this post. Especially when I can summarize things pretty easily with very few words.
I've been asking where the God of miracles is, why doesn't He do miracles today. And tonight He did a miracle in me. And while I'd love to see a mountain move, I think this qualifies as a rock moving.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I figure it all has to do with timing, and it just timed in with some other things that happened and made a trinity of conviction.
The message tonight was on safety, and I sat there just mentally shaking my head while thinking "It doesn't feel safe." And then two thoughts came crashing in at once.
Before the service ever started I was at the piano playing an old song called "He hideth my soul" It's worth a second to read the words if you have the time(or listen here). It's a pretty song about Gods protection, His watchful care.
So as I sat there complaining how it doesn't feel safe the thought came to mind about that song and the words of it. He hideth my soul. My soul. And then that verse from Matthew came to mind, about fearing those that can kill the soul, and not fearing those that can kill the body.
And then I got all huffy. I have to tell you, in utter honesty, I want a God that protects me from all physical harm, all emotional harm, and if He could include in that wish list all the stupid harm I inflict on myself with bad decisions... well that'd be great too.
But I know with certainty He's protected my soul during the last months. And while that may seem a strange thing to say, it's absolutely true. I could have easily walked away from everything, except for this constant pull that was on my heart. It was a pull that said despite what I was thinking and feeling, despite how unsaved I felt I should be, despite how fed up I was convinced He was with me, and despite how fed up He knew I was with Him, that pull said He had not let me go.
The entire idea, doesn't necessarily go against my beliefs (I believe you can walk away from your salvation), but it just wasn't something that I ever imagined that God did. If you had described it to me, I really wouldn't have understood what you could have meant. I certainly wouldn't have been able to imagine how such a thing would feel. But I have to tell you, while it almost feels nice, it's also very frustrating.
When you just can't get it together and someone is hanging onto you. I imagine it like a moment where you're dangling off the edge of a cliff, and someone has barely got you by the fingertips. You know help won't arrive fast enough, and you're going to die so at some point you consider your life and tell you friend to just let go, it's hopeless - but they won't. So you're left there, dangling, wishing they'd let go, fearing they will, and knowing any minute now the drop is going to happen unexpectedly and it would have been less scary to know that you made the decision yourself.
I love God.
I don't get Him, I don't understand one wit, and I'm still reeling from some of lifes blows. A blow He allowed.
I'm also still praying for sick people that He hasn't healed.
Mean people that aren't nice yet.
And I know anyone that is reading this - IS TOO.
And I just don't get that.
And Christians everywhere just seem to 'stuff it' and never talk about how confused they are that God's not doing something spectacular. Or even better are all the Christians that somehow just shrug off the fact that nothing spectacular is happening and put it under the heading of "faith". While it doesn't feel like FAITH at all to accept the less than spectacular. Yet, I feel faithless for not being able to accept the less than spectacular because I'm over here putting rocks on my porch saying "God, forget mountains, would You even make this ROCK move?"
All that said.. I'm glad He didn't let me go, I just wish He'd finally pull me up from this blasted cliff.
It was also so good, that I'm not going to just put a link to this persons blog in my sidebar, I'm going to put a link to this guys POST in my sidebar under the heading "Passion of Christ".
It came from the blog "Stuff Christians Like" I've been a fan of this blog since shortly after it began, and it's generally light hearted and enjoyable, with insights every now and then that blindside you much like this post blindsided me, but had me racing to read each word.
This post, is great. And for the record, it has almost nothing to do with the movie "Passion of The Christ", yet the post is titled:
"#183: The Movie "The Passion of the Christ."
It's from a site called "Stuff Christians Like" by Jon Acuff
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
406.2 divided by 9.831
Can you do that math in your head? No? Well let me help you. The answer is 41.3
Right up there with 5 loaves 2 fishes divided by 5,000 equaling 12 baskets.
Ok.. Maybe not quite that miraculous but still….
That 41.3 is Miles Per Gallon.
I’ve been practicing this wonderful art called Hypermiling. Most simply put, it's just a bunch of tricks to get the very most out of every last drop of gasoline in your car. I typically got 27mpg. Then I started hypermiling. My first go-round netted me a whopping 33MPG. So, having seen results I got a little more serious about it, and this last time I netted that wonderful 41.3MPG. And just for the record (since it's always the next question) I drive a '97 Nissan Sentra.
I’m still learning, but I know I haven’t gotten as good a mileage as I could have yet so I’m excited to see what my next reading is. It doesn’t have much to do with my Christian walk, except if I try and put it under the heading of being a good steward of my money. Just to throw a little bit more math out there for you; by working on this hypermiling thing, this last tank of gas saved me 6.22222222 gallons of gas and $21.71 (that’s using the current rate of $3.49 for gas).
Ok. Just in case anyone else is willing to give this a shot, here are the few tips I’ve learned along the way.
I’ve read tips that give you lots of facts, and I’ll link you to them, but I’m just going to tell you what I did. You want better details and facts… read the articles.
1: I slowed down. I don’t go any faster than 50mph. Yeah, it’s slow. Get over it. So far, based on where I generally drive it hasn't posed a hazard so far. If it did, I'd speed up some. Some.
2: Yeah I know this one is crazy, but if I put my car in a position I have to back out of, I try and do it on an incline. Then, to back out I simply put my car in neutral, and roll backwards without ever turning on my car. Once I’m out then I start the car and drive off.
3: For a 4 cylinder, my car has some get-up-and-go to it. I had to stop that. No quick take offs. Period. It's a bummer.
4: I use my brakes as little as possible. Brakes slow you down, you paid gas to gain that speed, so don’t throw it away by using your brakes unless you have to. That means watching out for lights and, especially when no one is behind me, I just coast up to stop signs with my car in neutral rather than spending the gas to get to the stop sign quickly. Also, I usually keep a good distance from the car in front of me anyway, and it's helped out in this experiment because sometimes they've hit their brakes and most of the time by the time I've coasted up to them, they've sped up, or turned, whatever it was that made them slow down.
5: The hardest step so far. For no good reason. This is the step where I emptied stuff out of my car before I took a short drive, even though I knew I’d have to put it in after the drive because I had to haul it somewhere. You take stuff out because the more stuff you have in your car, the more gas it takes to move your car.
6: The simplest to do, but hardest to remember. I put my seatbelt on before I start the car. Rather than leaving my car running (a.k.a burning gas) while I’m buckling up.
7: Pay attention before you ever start your car. I usually don't remember till after I've already started the car, but, if the car next to me is about to back out then that means I'm sitting there, burning gas, waiting for them to back out and go. So as best I can (when I remember...) I'll hold off starting the car until it looks pretty clear to go.
That’s all I’ve got so far.
If you know more tricks, let me know.
Wikicars - Hypermiling
Wayne Gerdes - King of the hypermilers (The article that got me interested in this.)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I know we're not on great terms right now, I'm all kinds of ticked off because I don't understand You at all, and at this point, even Santa wouldn't bring me a present.
But I'm going to tell You about this anyway.
And I proceeded to tell Him stuff He already knows. I told Him the reasons for the decisions, and the fear behind the worst case scenario and I said I really wish I knew what the right decision was.
Then, to continue in my vein of honesty, I told Him I wouldn't trust whatever He said about the issue because He might lead me into something awful. All under the label of 'testing' or 'trying'. And yes, Lord, I know I'm whining, but it seems like I've seen more "all things" in my life and other peoples lives, than I've seen them "work together for good".
Then I gave up tossing and turning, and read a book.
An hour later, something entirely unexplainable happened.
I was at peace concerning the decision.
I knew exactly what I was going to do.
And I wasn't obsessing over the worst case scenario or what might happen.
I went to sleep.
I don't remember the last time I experienced something like that. I've been able to be peaceful in the middle of problems before, but this was different because I went from 'not at peace' to 'at peace' within the space of an hour. And that kind of thing just doesn't happen. At least not lately.
So I guess, amidst all my other rantings, I wanted to make sure and give God His props. He did something specifically nice for me, and I appreciate it.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
As I was thinking about it tonight, I remembered that verse in Proverbs that says "Hope deferred makes a heart sick." (That's only a piece of the verse, the whole thing is at Proverbs 13:12)
I realized I couldn't go on the way I have been. A person just can't live like this. So I told God all about it, and as I walked away from the conversation I realized I had just given up. That just giving up seemed like the only way to survive. It was the only way I could plaster a smile back on my face and get up off the floor. It meant giving up that blasted eternal hope that something could possibly change, and that God had something spectacular around the corner. It meant giving up the hope that a supernatural, extraordinary life was not only possible, but expected as a child of God.
Christianity, seems to be full of explanations why things don't happen. They say that the most difficult part of the Gospel is the simplicity of it. Yet, even after saying that, they'll easily tell you that your prayer wasn't answered for many different reasons. Maybe you've sinned, maybe you didn't pray in faith, maybe you didn't pray Gods will, maybe God did answer but He said wait, or No.
Somehow, in bible times everyone that came near Christ seemed to be healed. But I know quite a few chronically sick people that just never get better and somehow the reason always seems to be that God is using their sickness. I just don't get that.
I suppose somewhere in there is when my 'faith' changed. I'll easily tell anyone, that almighty God is capable of anything, impossible or not. I know He can. My faith doesn't doubt His ability. I just don't think He will.
Obviously, my faith isn't quite what it should be on the issue, but what about all the other people praying for the same people I'm praying for. Between all of us, do we really not have a mustard seed? Do we really not have a mustard seed of faith?
If we do, then where is the miracle?
I just don't understand.
I know God is good. He loves me, and I know I don't deserve it, yet I feel the anchor of it holding onto me almost every day- some days it's more clear than others.
He's been a loving friend, when I had no one to turn to, He's helped me learn things, and spared me from some pretty crazy problems. He's often provided exactly what was necessary, exactly when it was necessary. He's been my Savior, comforter, and shelter quite clearly at times. And as I got to know Him better and better, I began to expect more and more simply because I had felt the effects of His love, and yearned more and more to see it break free around me.
Only to suddenly find myself feeling dissatisfied.
Somewhere in this "simple" gospel, I went wrong. I did something wrong, my thought process went wrong, my desires went wrong. I don't know what all happened, but quite obviously it did.
That's all. No answers, no questions, just thinking out loud.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I drive on, but something in my head tells me that it's hard to change a tire in the dark and I didn't see any flashlights or anything.
Then, as I'm thinking how much I would hate to have someone I know change a tire in the dark I'm also thinking that I couldn't think of a single person that would say stopping would be a good idea for ME - a 27 yr old female.
About two more miles down the road I realize I won't feel good the rest of the night unless I turn around, so I hang a uey and go back to check things out.
Sure enough, I wasn't able to do much. They were in need of a jack and my jack wasn't heavy duty enough to lift their truck, but they'd called someone to bring a jack and so I went on my way.
But once again, the question had come up in my mind. When deciding what Jesus would do, am I suppose to be Jesus, or is Jesus suppose to be me?
I hate limitations, and that's generally what crops up when I say Jesus is me. Because then the answer to what He might do is always restricted to what the general public has deemed safe for a female to do.
I suppose, in a way I don't know or care. I'm happy to have survived the last months. Happy that the gripping pain has lost it's sharp edge, and the make-you-want-to-vomit panic has dulled.
My question stems from a simple hope to "get it right" and after the last few months that seems like something that might not necessarily happen. When you wander as far from the path as I am, you lose confidence in your ability to know True North.
In the long run it just doesn't matter though, not right now, right now, I want to make it through tomorrow.
Friday, April 11, 2008
It was at a site called Swerve and the post was titled "Am I broken Yet?" I was linked there by Louie over at Marshian Chronicles.
And it just made me start thinking about that term. Broken.
I like broken things.
My old house, I loved it. It was broken. It had been fully and significantly broken (it had caught fire) and had to be remodeled. The most significant changes though when the remodeling was done, was all on the inside. The outside still looked a little thrashed. And it had enough little quirks that you just had to learn to navigate.
The one I liked most was that the bathroom floor was crazily unlevel and unless you were careful you could come out of the shower the fast and hard way.
It was home though, and I loved it. My broken home.
But I knew it's breaks because of the time that I spent there. And I suppose, in that exact same way, God sees how to navigate His way through my breaks, my unlevel areas, and certainly my short-circuited areas, because He knows me. It makes me wonder if God likes broken things as much as I do. Or if He's just all into fixing things so they won't be broken.
As much as I'd like to not be broken, to not have those crazily unlevel areas where it's so easy to fall and trip - I wonder if they don't add to my value in some other way. Though, everyone wants to present themselves as their best, looking their best, acting their best. We don't want those flaws to show for the world to see. And yet, I wonder, in one of those brief moments when I try and consider the breadth, length, height and depth of Gods love, I wonder what He thinks about those cracks that show through on my surface.
My house could have been worth more financially had all those flaws been fixed. But it was special to me because of it's flaws - not despite them. While it's nice to be perfect, level, and free from those stress cracks that every home tends to develop - I wonder if we don't all have more overall value just because of those things.
Unless of course you short-circuit too much and your house catches fire. Then it's pretty much all bad.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It's been interesting checking my stats. You all keep coming back even though I wasn't posting.
So... I decided I'd give something back to you. Just to hopefully make this pit stop a little more worth your while.
Bob, over at In The Clearing wrote a great post.
Just a piece of it that has really stuck with me was the greeting he talked about Paul addressing to the Romans. "all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints."
We've got a big hoopla at work where the accounting department (comprised of 4 really nice ladies) has come to odds with the HR department (comprised of 3 really nice ladies) - and yes, that is my department. One of the ladies from accounting is just outstandingly sweet, and she stopped by my office to visit and I offered her a sucker (blowpops are just wonderful creations - gum, and sucker... all on one stick!). I then pushed off on her a couple more suckers for the rest of her comrades and she looked at me and, apparently considering the feud, said "Are you sure?"
Later on I considered how easy it is to forget who people are. People can get so wrapped up in what he said/she said and the next thing you know you're mortal enemies over a signature. At least that's what I think the war is about, I'm not even sure actually what caused the division.
At some point though, you get wrapped up into your separate worlds of friends, church, family, work, and whatever other groups a person might have, and you forget that huge banner that falls over each of us: those in someplace who are loved by God and called to be saints.
To those that read my blog, who are loved by God and called to be saints.
For me, reading it over at In the Clearing, it really just caught my eye. It didn't just address me, it addressed me and told me I was loved. And it didn't just do that either; it addressed me, told me I was loved, and reminded me of my calling.
I guess, especially with feeling the way I feel, and knowing that I haven't been acting like someone "loved by God and called to be a saint", I realize that life does a lot of crazy things to people. And sometimes singers don't sing, writers don't write, musicians don't play, and artists don't create; but that doesn't change what they are.
So the next time I want to gripe about my neighbor, or that
Bob's post went beyond that greeting, far beyond it. So go check it out.