Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why do you eat?

I think a small mutiny is about to break out in the house over Honey Nut cheerios.

It's the third week of these cheerios, with only one small interval of corn flakes.

Corn flakes were cheaper so I tried switching us, only to find out that the box of corn flakes emptied far faster than the cheerios box so it really wasn't a savings. Plus it wasn't as filling. And when you're scrimping on things, filling is super helpful.

The kids however, are beginning to hate my cheerios. They want variety. They want to eat something different. And since cheerios are the only option, many a morning they try and skip breakfast altogether.

This is important to me, so read that again - Cheerios are the only option so since they don't like cheerios they try and skip breakfast altogether.

But, breakfast isn't about putting something in your mouth to taste.
It's about putting something in your stomach to survive.

Switching all of this over to spiritual terms, I got stuck on Exodus recently... I needed to read it to move through to the next book but, really um, wasn't enjoying myself too much and my heart certainly wasn't racing at the knowledge that Leviticus was next.

But you read to grow, to stay alive and vibrant in Christ, you cannot just skip from exciting story to story. What if you read about the battle of Jericho and Sampson, but didn't bother reading the Psalms because they bored you? What if you kept on reading the Psalms and Proverbs because you find them comforting, but skip the obscure books you might not think about usually like Ruth, or Jude? It's like living a constant life of eating cakes and hamburgers, but never the fiber and vegetables you need in order to be healthy.

Eating can be enjoyable, tasty, wonderful... but the reasons for eating should always be foremost in our minds. I'm reading, because I want to live, I want to be healthy. I do not want to be weak. So, even when the food looks a little bland - Numbers anyone?? - I eat, when it looks too complicated - Ezekiel?? - I eat anyway. When it looks too spicy - SoS, seriously, not for single readers - I eat.

Variety is wonderful, but it often leads to waste. When you hippity hop from preference to preference you miss out on some staples that your biblical diet absolutely needs.
So next time I'm tempted to turn my nose up at the cauliflower, I'll have to remember it's probably just the Deuteronomy of the food world. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Joy unspeakable and full of glory and air guitars

So I have a song. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you who sings it because I hate the name of the band. It's by a group apparently called "Big Daddy Weave" yeah I know, I'm sorry.
Regardless, looking past the muddy name to the music is the song "You Found Me." It is one of the few songs I will crank the volume up and actually sit in the car and wait for it to finish (even when it came on just as I parked).

I like this song.
I'll give you the words and a video in a minute, you should at least read the words even if you don't hit the video so you can hear the song.

This morning I was on my way to babysit with my niece and nephew when the song came on and I instantly turned the volume up and began... uhum... enjoying the song. I admit, I stopped at a very long stop light. I also admit there were other cars around. And according to my niece and nephew people were apparently... looking.

I honestly doubt that information because when I looked at the kids they were scrunched down so very low in their seats that it was surely impossible for them to see "all the people staring".
Still, an incredible air guitar song opportunity is not to be squandered away just because of watchers. Matter of fact, that's all the more reason to continue. So I did, quite happily until the end of the song.

The song ended as did the red light thankfully (how long are the lights up here... seriously... someone should write someone about this) and the protests immediately began.

"So?" wasn't the answer they were looking for.

So I told them about joy, and how if you continue to smush joy down so others can't see it it will become harder and harder for you to see it.
Then, they both gaped at me as I forcefully called them cowards who will never change the world.

They simply couldn't believe I'd say that.

And I told them that to change the world, you have to be willing to let people see you be changed in the world. The world looks up when you act different just to see what you're doing. And they do that because so few people actually act different anymore. (At least in a joyful and good way.)

I played hopscotch on kitchen tiles, and ran circles around a three year old, I shook my face making blubbering sounds all because it made two little kids enjoy a moment of j o y, happiness, laughter. And a lot of people would have done the exact same thing for these kids. Just to see them giggle and laugh. But then, we crazy people, stand up and soberly look at other adults and speak about stern important issues like when we'll get our next x-box game or if Michael Jacksons doctor actually killed MJ.

I think we adults are stupid sometimes.

I lost my joy when I wondered if I was making others unhappy with it.. it just didn't make sense and then suddenly I fell off balance and couldn't just manufacture that joy back inside me. Little wonder that I got sick during that period eh?

But something happened to me late Tuesday afternoon when I finally took a Tylenol. (Have I mentioned how very much I hate medicine??) 20 minutes later I was no longer looking for ways to rip my jaw off my face and while it was obviously still swollen - it didn't hurt anymore.
Instantly, the words "Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." Tylenol had been 15 feet away from me ever since I got home Sunday night... I had just refused to take it.

Sometimes we just refuse to give the burdens to God and leave them entirely with Him so that even though we're not sure how bad it will get we know. We know that we know that we know that we know, God is in control somehow and it's going to be OK. The important things will be OK. And despite my opinion.. my credit score is not labelled among Gods top 10 "Important things concerning Jeanette".

But when you do leave it with God... and you just trust, and wait, and stress a little, and wonder... that's when you can settle into this beautiful thing called "J o y". *Here's where I take a moment to mention that for reasons that I still can't figure out, $190 dollars showed up in my bank account the week that we moved here - there are no new deposits, it's almost as though I was looking at someone elses account when I first looked. I haven't the faintest idea where the money appeared from. And yes, that's why I tithe faithfully. I'm too chicken not to.

Joy unspeakable and full of glory and air guitars.

The lyrics as promised followed by the video.
"You Found Me" by Good band name here Big Daddy Weave

I saw 03.00 AM come and go again
Another sleepless night, thanks to living my own way
All my great ideas, I’ve regretted most of them
But that was back long before the day

When I saw a flash of light and I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember ever feeling my heartbeat
And the arms that gripped me felt like grace
And I realized in their embrace
To be held so tight
I’ve never felt so free
Hmmm hmm
Also know as,The day that you found me

My whole life has changed ever since the day You came
The way I see, the things I want, it’s everything
Some may call it strange, I don’t care what people say
I knew You were the only way

When I saw a flash of light and I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember ever feeling my heartbeat
And the arms that gripped me felt like grace
And I realized in their embrace
To be held so tight
I’ve never felt so free
Hmmm hmm
Also know as,The day that you found me

I’ve never known a love like this
You’ve captured my heart and You brought the sweetest
Peace to my life, brought me into the light
Now I’m all Yours, Jesus, draw me into You
I don’t think that I could ever be the same
Who would want to be anyway

When I saw a flash of light and I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember ever feeling my heartbeat
And the arms that gripped me felt like grace
And I realized in their embrace
To be held so tight
I’ve never felt so free

Faith, wavering. Faith? Receive nothing of the Lord?
Faith, nothing wavering.

"Count it all joy," James wrote, "when you fall into diverse temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing."

"If any of you lack wisdom," he adds, "let Him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
"For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."

... I'm strangely reminded of (not surprising to know my mind is working in a strange way...) the movie "You're a good man Charlie Brown." Terrific movie if you haven't seen it. In one vital scene all the Peanuts gang is circled around Charlie Brown giving him the song of his life, "YOU COULD BE KING CHARLIE BROWN, YOU COULD BE KIINNNNGGG!" they bellow ever so loudly.

Then Lucy, good ol' Lucy, finishes if off with "If only you weren't so wishy-washy."

End scene.

Everyone knows someone wishy-washy. I'd hazard a guess that you yourself are wishy washy on certain things. I'm so wishy washy that I've spent the last two months of my life saying boldly "Gods going to do something amazing." almost immediately followed by the nail biting crazy-eyed statement "What is God doing?"

On the drive - the very l o n g drive to San Antonio following the Penske truck with all my possessions in it (except of course the possessions crammed in my trunk and backseat) I found myself quoting those verses from James to myself over and over again. At one point I was even yelling the primary one I was focused in on. "For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."


When is the last time you wrote a letter to someone and felt confident enough to say "If so-n-so does _______ I hope you make sure he knows he's not going to get his prayers answered."

Yeah, I didn't write a letter like that either. Probably never will. (Though, now I may have jinxed it.)

But it's one of the few places that I know of... ok, the only one that I know of but I'm only familiar with this one because I memorized the first chapter of James at one point - I'm sure there's more in the Bible if I look for it. But it's the only place that I know of where someone says "If you do this, God will not give you what you're asking for."

Sure there are tips on HOW to get what you're asking for... pure heart, Gods will, no brothers with ought against you, etc. but no other that tells me: "God WILL say no."

I find this very important. Because these have been the two crazy walk-away-from-everythingmost months and asking in "faith, nothing wavering" is difficult. Nothing wavering? Not even a little bit? Oh come on...

But I can't change what God said.

And, though I've asked, God didn't rewrite that portion of the Bible for me. Believe me, I checked.

Faith, nothing wavering.

Lord I have faith...
Help Thou my unbelief.

And you know what... as wishy-washy as that prayer sounds I believe you can let this girl think she'll receive something of the Lord. You'd be hard pressed to convince me otherwise.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where God wants you...

It's.... odd... or at least hard to wrap my mind around how God takes time to know where I should be, where I should work, and who I should meet.

I got a little part time job babysitting while I continued looking for "real work". Then as I told people about my new job, I had more people than I stopped to count inform me that I needed to find work as a Nanny.

Almost as a joke, I responded to an ad on craigslist of all places. (I like craigslist, really, but craigslist has a bunnnnnch of scams.)
And the next thing I know, I'm a nanny.

To top it off, the mother liked me so much she wanted to offer me the job the same evening I interviewed (Her next two interviews were not scheduled until today.) That's simply called the favor of God preceding my interview because that's more than should be expected.

So... I'm a nanny. Crazy.

But at the same time as I write this putting in boldface the idea that God would care so much about the details of MY life. I know that as much as He loves me it really isn't so entirely about me.

It's about HIS work, being done in HIS timing, and HIS way.

Unfortunately, He's using a crack pot for a vessel, and I can only pray I get all of the "HIS" parts right, and hit a few less of the "I" parts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God, You Reign

I'd headed out last weekend to pay my official respects to the title "dad" by visiting him. It could have actually qualified as a good weekend except one thing: about 6pm Saturday I felt a sinus infection coming on.

At least that's what I think it is. Next thing I know it feels like I've got a tooth ache on every single tooth on the right side of my face. It's.... so.... special...
I've got a miracle cure for this problem - since I hate medicine - it's a nifty little thing called Colloidal Silver.
Unfortunately, I couldn't just go off and find some right then.
Saturday became Sunday, and Sunday became Monday. It hurt. So Monday morning I found "Vitamin World!" who sells my precious.

It didn't work instantly, as it normally does, because by then I had some beautiful swelling going on, was trying not to talk any more than I absolutely had to, and was reminding myself that no one ever died of "face pain".

Here's where the post gets real.

I have a baby sitting job, it's just a very small part time thing that occupies two days a week while I look for work. Monday I was praying that God would heal the stupid infection (or whatever it actually is) so I could go to work. It's really hard to babysit a 2 yr old without, you know, t a l k i n g.

And here's the kicker:
God told me to go to work.

I reminded Him of the obvious.
He told me to go to work.

Tuesday morning arrived, my face throbbing more than any of the previous days, I called the employer and said I just couldn't be there that day.

It's one of those events where you tell yourself; "You know, that probably wasn't really God anyway. That's just my inner work-a-holic speaking."

We went to church tonight, and the song service stomped all over me. The second song especially got to me with the words to the verses speaking very specifically to me and what had transpired between myself and God.

I see a generation
Rising up to take the place
With selfless faith, with selfless faith
I see a new revival
Starting as we pray and seek
We're on our knees, we're on our knees
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what is yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
(Hosanna by Brook Fraser)

I repented, then and there of disobeying - but God wasn't done yet.
The next song began, and the chorus to that song simply repeats over and over again "God, You Reign."

And that's when I realized - I'd taken control of myself from God by refusing His directive. Yes I disobeyed - but in one of the few, very real, moments when He's told me to do something specific and out of the ordinary that I didn't like I chose my will over His.

It was hard to sing out "God You Reign!" when I knew I hadn't allowed Him to.
I'm thankful God allowed me to see the deeper implications to my sin rather than just assume the initial idea of disobedience.

As I listened to the song, repenting and most of all praying to do better - I was surprised at the completely different tone of the next song that was played. It was almost as if the leader knew I was out there repenting - it sang:

I cling to the cross and everything it means
I know it's the only hope there is for saving me
For without Your great mercy
I would be forever lost
With a thankful heart I come
And cling to the cross
(I cling to the cross - Paul Baloche)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the secret, quiet place.

My co-worker, or as she affectionately called me her "roommate" since we shared a 10x8 office together, once told me that I sang more the worse the day was. (Thankfully she liked music enough to not mind.)

I think that is simply because on the hard days, you spend more time reminding yourself to keep your attitude in check and to rejoice in the things that bring you joy which are so much greater than the things that temporarily frustrate you.

But it's here in the quiet hours... it's midnight right now... there is no one awake that I must smile to, there is no one around to have faith in front of, there is simply myself and God and we are spending the secret quiet hours alone tonight.

And the weight of the world sits on my shoulders it seems.

I sit here, wondering why He brought me so far, what am I doing and what are His plans. There are so many things that are so much bigger than I and I feel more alone than ever as I face them, and I found myself tonight trying to remind myself how big my God is. I wish I knew more scriptures along those lines.

These are the nights, where in this secret, quiet place I sit on the floor and tell God all about it. Whatever my "it" might be. Each time I sit in these moments, I pledge that I'll be content and trust Him where ever He leads me, and whatever He leads me into, whether He puts the kibosh on something or whether He insists on something that hurts like all get out.

"I'll love You whichever way it goes." I always say.*

But then, just before I dry my eyes and pick myself up off the floor I ask God for the strength to let that promise be true.

I find myself growing impatient for answers, reasons, for the emotion that tells me things are settled, and instead that twisted knot only sits there still, silent. This is my secret quiet place, where I find peace to get me through tomorrow. Where every day is received with joy only because of a hope in God and His ability.

I need to learn more scriptures that remind me of His ability. Because in this midnight hour, I need to hear it.

*Ironically enough I heard those words on a movie this week - the entire experience is a post in itself that I can't wait to write about. Hopefully you'll see it next week.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


You have two choices - your house or your bible.

Which would you choose?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life is a lot more distracting...

That's why I haven't blogged much lately. I'm here, I'm able to blog, but there's so much activity that it's hard to find that quiet spot in my head. I miss that quiet spot in my head.
But around here, if you're AWOL, the kids immediately search you out in case you're doing something interesting.
I don't mind though - I want to make sure that is clear. I'm glad of it... case in point - I was just interrupted by my nephew who just stopped in to give me a hug. He was followed almost immediately by my niece who wanted to invite me to come see a movie that "you probably wouldn't like". Her words not mine.

But I did find myself at church on Sunday. Both services were really very good. The best part of it was Sunday mornings service in which the pastor taught on "atmosphere". What kind of atmosphere do you create? And in it I felt the freedom to not worry about being cheerful. To always have faith and to always rejoice in my God. With the few obvious exceptions where meeting people where they're at is required.

But, I won't mourn with you without faith. If I sit down and cry with you, it will be for a world of reasons but not with doubt that my God will supply all my needs. I won't doubt with you. And I also won't pout with you.

It's funny how on some days your faith feels invincible isn't it?

Right now, the two that were worried so much about money and work have both got jobs. In fact, one of them has two full time jobs he can pick and choose from.

And the incessantly cheerful person hasn't even gotten a phone call. It's interesting. Maybe I should worry more since it seems to produce results.

Instead, I just keep waiting. Something is going to happen... I just don't know what or when. It's certainly keeping me praying because I'd hate to miss it.

God is good. Really, truly, deep down, bone saturating good.

Even when He leaves you hanging.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being a Christian in public - a question.

I knew this part would take some getting adjusted to. I'm no longer single and solitary, but single and surrounded by 4 other people. All the time. Every day.
It takes some adjustment.
But I didn't realize my attitude would have to change here.
I'm not put out about it, it's just an adjustment.

I was called incessantly cheerful.

I'm actually proud of it. Maybe I shouldn't be, I know they certainly didn't mean it as a good thing, things were stressful and I was still cheerful and cheerful was the last thing needed.

We'd been here 4 days and turned down one job and had not gotten another job yet. Money is tight and bills will show up whether we have a job or not.
I was told that I should weep with the weeping.

I can control my cheerfulness. I've stopped myself from the continuous singing or humming, on a grueling hike in the hot San Antonio sun I managed not to comment about how beautiful the scenery was or how great the hike was. I did not even hint at the idea that life was grand.

But that didn't get me where others wanted me though. I don't know how, or why I should weep with the weeping when I know the answer is on it's way. If you were mourning for a loved one, I could weep for what is lost. But, if you are weeping for something fixable and I know within myself that the answer is coming - I don't know how to weep with you.

My relationship with Christ is singularly the most important thing to me. But, it simply has to translate to others outside my door. It can't just hide within me and bear no fruit of compassion or empathy. And I can assure you, my faith in my Provider was... not the representation of Christ they were looking for.

So, what do you do when a brother tells you to weep with them? And if you are supposed to - how do you do that despite your faith? It feels like crying that the bus hasn't gotten here yet and yet you know it's going to get there in 5 minutes. How do you mourn with those that (you're convinced) just need to wait a little longer?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My move.

It's about time I posted, but the annoying thing is that I need to write about the move first... it just seems natural and necessary. But so much has happened since the move that I want to write about that it's hard for me to mentally backtrack to the move.

I'm profoundly thankful that it's over. We're here. We're slowly getting settled.

The house is beautiful, one set of neighbors actually brought us oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and the husband - who looks like a very proficient salesman - winked at me when he shook my hand. Picture any of the neighbors on "The Truman Show" and you've got a good idea of our neighbors.

The city is... big. That part takes some getting used to. Everything in the world is seemingly within 3 miles of the place yet, it takes about 15 minutes to get to it still. Not all, but if you've ever lived in a big city you know what I mean.

The one and only exciting part of driving a 28 foot truck toting a car carrier with a minivan loading with stuff 330 miles was when we pulled into a gas station not meant for trucks and spent 20 minutes trying to back it out onto a 3 lane service road. My poor brother at the wheel, my poor sister-in-law trying to help him navigate, and me using my body to block 2 lanes of traffic. It was quite a moment.

One that, thankfully, is over.

As for being here - I feel confident, and patient. We have absolutely no money now (quite a bit went into the move) and yet we have small ways of procuring it that seemingly will tide us over.We're not hurting, our needs are supplied quite adequately, but for once our wants are having to sit back and sit in submission to our new frugality.

As I returned from a quick trip back to where I just moved from I struggled with the feeling that this new world isn't "my" world yet. And I find myself just waiting to see what's going to happen next. Again, it's odd how patient this is, though sometimes there's a bit of longing in there to have it already 'handled' and see how it's going to end but for the most part.

I sometimes just sit and wonder, what is God doing? What's just around the next bend?

I had some moments where I questioned - is this all really God? Mostly because the entire thing just seems so unreal sometimes. But on the way up here, I was quoting some of my favorite verses from James.

"If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."

(I might have gotten a few words off, but that's pretty much what the verses say starting just a few verses into chapter 1 of James.)

And I realized how much I ask for I ask wavering. I do things very waveringly most of the time. I go for something and talk with faith about it, but then in the back of my mind (and sometimes in my conversation) I include the disclaimer how it's not as nice, or it's flaws, or how I "won't be disappointed if it doesn't happen."

But I want to start being disappointed. I want to ask in faith with every ounce of me pushing for what it is I'm praying for. I don't want my words to waver, I don't want my heart to waver. I simply want to pray asking, believing, and hoping with all I am.

So, while I don't quite feel "at home" yet, I'm holding firmly to the confirmation I received before the move that told me to go. It's all I know to do. And I'm holding firm, I refuse to allow myself to waver. Because I need something great from God while I'm here. I need a great many things of the Lord while I'm here. So I choose to speak, and act, and believe in faith, nothing wavering.

And that's my move.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

An update on the fact that I can't update.

So, I returned from several days in Louisiana only to find that my internet has died at home.
So unless I go abuse the "House of God" again (I knew I would never regret setting my church up with wireless internet) I don't have the internet for awhile.

Supposedly internet activity will resume Monday. Between now and then, enjoy wondering about our progress - or at least some quiet blogging days.