Thursday, December 30, 2010

FEW ~~~ F-----E-----W ~~~ FEW

I wish I were an artist. If I had any capabilities in that area whatsoever I would draw an ornate and breathtakingly beautiful doorway, a doorway so beautiful that it grabs your attention from far away, and beside it would be a majestic wall with rubies and pearls and diamonds. On one side of the door, you'd see a few gaping, awestruck people walking in the doorway while the hoards and hoards of distracted people on their cell phones, reading their kindles, and using their Ipad to watch a movie, those people would distractedly walk straight into the wall as though they expect a door to be there.

Underneath this marvelous painting would be the words:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matt. 7:14

Any artists out there want to help me out?

Living in the Bible Belt I'm really frustrated with getting to know "christians".

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Listen to this - and blog changes.

Hi there...

So, it's been awhile since I've done anything truly substantial on here hasn't it?

I really think that that is about to change finally and I'll explain why - but first I want to try and convince you to click this link right here. CLICK ME!!!! REALLY!!! I"M GREAT!!! CLICK CLICK CLICK! It will just open up Windows Media Player, so go ahead and click it and it can just play in the background while you read on. It's a sermon by a Pastor Ryan at a church here that I've been going to. One of the best sermons I've heard - and I've heard a LOT of sermons in my lifetime - I'd rank this one into the top 10. So click it and listen why don't you?

So,, this blog here.... it's been a wonderful thing. As someone else recently commented about blogging - It's cheaper than therapy. And he's 100% right. I think it might even be more effective than therapy.
But part of my struggle with blogging lately is that.. well... you're here. No offense, truly. Every blogger wants someone reading their work and I'm no exception. But at some point I quit blogging for myself and I began talking to you. I began worrying about whether I was saying too much, talking about too many struggles, showing all my many colors both bright and dark, whether I came off too goodie goodie, too crazy crazy, or whether my thoughts were relevant to you.

So, I still welcome your comments (it's like a surprise gift on a day that's not your birthday), and your e-mails - but for the most part I'm going back to what this blog was originally intended for, and honestly the writings which caused it to grow some in the first place before I focused too much on you.

This is a good change, and I think you'll find you enjoy it as well... eventually. Introspective writing is what I love best, and I've just been afraid of what I might be introspecting on you all.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and make some powerful and wonderful decisions for the coming new year and it's typical changes. God is great.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What will I remember?

Nearly two months ago when talking with the Lord concerning my mom's situation and how it needed to change, I felt impressed by the time frame of the second week of January. I have no further revelation beyond that, but it was just something that went through my mind during the conversation and has persisted throughout the two months.

I fasted then, agreeing with the Lord for the 2nd week of January (assuming it was an actual word from God and not just wishful thinking). 3 days into the fast I received a phone call that finally, the situation had come to a head enough to absolutely require change. The ball had begun rolling.

Tomorrow, she is scheduled to move into the nursing home. My wish is that the 2nd week of January brings her something far better than a nursing home, but if this is the answer and it just took place before the 2nd week of Jan, I'm accepting of that. God knows my hearts desire. I will serve and love Him. Period.

But it's left me holding onto moments more this weekend as I spend the days with them realizing that each event is my last. It made last nights conversation all the more poignant.

My mother has seizures, a deep chunk missing from her leg that has developed staph infection, a broken foot that has never received any treatment, and randomly suffers from dizzy spells and nausea - she passes out easily while just standing there. All that is piled on top of the nasty fear and confusion of wondering why these rotten people don't understand that she HAS to get home to her momma and daddy who don't know where she is and she's got to help them. (Her parents are so long since deceased it's surprising she doesn't remember that with her long term memory).

Last night, she's having a spell and wandering back and forth from her bed to the living room - during one trip to her bed, she lies down and calls me into the room to pray for her.

I need help, it's too much.

What is too much?

I need you to pray for me.

What is happening that I should pray for?

I don't think I can keep breathing.

Is it hard to catch your breath?

No, it's just I tell myself to breathe and it goes into my brain and gets confused there.

(My own desires make me point blank on my next question) What do you want me to pray? Do you want me to pray God will help you breathe or that God will help you go home to Him?

Oh, I can't go home yet.

Why not?

Because of Steve, he needs someone here to pray for him. He says he loves God but he just goes up and down. He isn't sold out and won't give God everything. Steve has been so good to me, all my brothers have and I just can't stand them going to hell. Someone has to tell them, to convince them, to really give all of themselves to Jesus.

She doesn't know I'm her daughter. She hates the strange man that she declares isn't her husband, she's losing the ability to put together sentences that make sense, and she can't even remember how to breathe without effort - but she knows her brothers need Jesus.

What have I made so important to me that if I lost my ability to think and remember, that this one core issue would remain engraved in my mind? I doubt my one lingering memory will be quite so noble.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And still obeys.

As time creeps closer to Christmas there is a part of me that almost panics with desperation. This year's Christmas is so incredibly difficult.

Even now, I write this weeping, struggling with envy over a brother in Christ who is about to lose his grandmother - I know that sentence doesn't make sense, but all my eyes can see is that someones suffering is over, they will see Heaven, he will only mourn a very temporal loss as he is heaven-bound as well.

I've prayed so hard for my mother to find relief. I have fasted, I have wept, I have literally groaned with emotion. Yet now, as we approach the final days before my mother enters a nursing home my imagination envisions her first night in a cold institution that is not home and cries out to God that He would let her see home.

I've struggled with God. There's always that foolish wish that God just do it, you know, whatever it is you're wanting. But He doesn't quite work that way.

Slowly I've been making my way through The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and one part caught my attention and I thought it might reach someone else the way it did me. Because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in the world who has failed at using God as her magic lamp.

For those of you not familiar with the book, Lewis writes from the perspective of a older, wiser demon writing to a novice demon just starting out on how to best win the patient away from the Enemy (God) and over to "Our Father Below" (The Devil). The older demon/Uncle "Screwtape" writes to his nephew Wormwood:

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Those words convicted me when I read them because as much as I'd like the world to revolve around my answers to my prayers - it doesn't. I love Him and I want to want to serve Him even when I ache so much for her pain that I can't breathe. I love Him and I want to want to serve Him when the answers I get don't make sense, when the plans don't work out, and when the substance of things hoped for never becomes actual "substance".

So when that day comes, roughly 9 days from now, when my mother spends her first night in a building, rather than a home, I will weep again and I will feel shattered into pieces...

...and I will love You Lord.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My incredible present.

I've discovered something interesting:
Christmas wish lists rarely give you the things near and dear to a persons heart.

I've asked people "What do you want for Christmas"

The best presents I've found for people didn't come from pulling the item off a list or heading to the store to get what they mentioned. No. The best gifts came from spending time with them. Then, based on things they said that they didn't realize you were really listening too, I make the purchase.

Those have always gotten the best reactions.

Which left me wondering about the gift I've received and the person who gave it. I wouldn't have asked for it. I wouldn't have imagined a gift so... impossible and amazing. It's like asking someone to stop the sun in the sky so that a happy day could last longer. It's crazy to ask, so you don't even think it.

Yet someone that knows me, and knows what I could use and want and need, someone who knew the meager desires of my heart and took those desires and presented me with an offer so phenomenally beyond those desires that it's.... mind-boggling. Hard to believe sometimes even. I got an amazing amazing gift.

If you know me, you probably already know what it is.

Thank You God for Jesus.
Thank You Jesus for salvation.
Thank You Holy Spirit for Your indwelling.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Lemons and Lessons

I own a lemon. I bought it at the very end of October. It was an ugly shade of red, in the right price range, and it got an all clear from a mechanic that I took it to. The very first car I've ever taken to a mechanic before purchasing, ironically enough.

Two weeks after purchase, my brakes failed. $466.95 to fix.
Not even two weeks after that, a pulley withered away and they had to drop my engine to get to it. $480 to fix.
Just barely a week later some unknown issue with my transmission won't allow the car to shift gears. The mechanic I talked to thinks he knows what it is and if my lemon has the piece on the outside of the transmission it's a fairly easy fix. If it's inside the transmission it's going to be like having my transmission rebuilt. I had to have it towed - $$$ - and tomorrow I find out what the official verdict is for the lemon.

As I sat for nearly an hour waiting for the lemon tow guy to arrive I simply had to ask something: "God, did I tick You off?"

I've been spoiled with so many blessings that it's easy to confuse blessings with favor and problems with disfavor. But as I sat there, pondering when you give up on a lemon and how long a person should keep trying or whether I'm a doofus for having tried this long; I couldn't help but ask that question. Are You mad at me?

But tonight, sitting here with a kitten in my lap I considered how pathetic I should become.
I got this dumb kitten maybe a month ago. It was right after the kids left the house, the neighbors had several kittens whose momma cat had died shortly after birth and the lady and her husband had been bottle feeding them. Finally at 4 weeks old the husband was giving them away or taking them to a shelter. I felt bad for the kittens, and considered how having one of these in the house would help keep me firm on my decision not to foster again (pet rules are ridiculous); I snagged one.

Today, still insanely small and likely as not to die just from being underfoot, this kitten has one huge preference in life: it just wants to sit in my lap. The moment I sat down to write this blog I had to remove it from my lap 3 times in just the few moments it took to put my laptop in my lap. Even now, he's wedged himself onto my lap right inbetween me and the laptop.

He follows me around the house - even trails me next door and back when I go to visit. He's almost - almost - as good as a dog.

But he's also obnoxious too and he's had some special moments where he was "taught" that some things weren't allowed in the house. The first time he climbed on my piano for example... But he has yet to hold a grudge. He never seems to worry about discipline no matter how strict or frustrated I get with him. He just does what he wants, and is slowly learning what not to do - and that the word "no" means something.

No matter what though, when I sit down I can fully expect that he is going to come climbing up.

It may seem irreverent but I couldn't help but think - so what if God is mad at me? God, if You are mad, teach me, lead me, smack me around with difficult circumstances until I learn to do what You want me to do. I'm sorry I'm stupid and undisciplined about some things - but while You're teaching me, just let me be in Your presence. Let me sit with You, let me be near You.
Hurt me if You must, bankrupt me with lemon after lemon, take my health, take my family. But God, when You sit, I want to sit with You. As You walk from room to room, I want to follow You. When I see You walk out the door, Lord I want You to have to restrain me to keep me from following after You.

I'm diligent in my life to try and not be "needy" towards people. They have their own burdens and don't need mine so I take care of myself and rarely look to others asking for support. But I'm constantly needing the reminder that I need to be needy with God. I need to be the pathetic little kitten that just got in trouble that doesn't care that it's in trouble as long as it's in His presence.

Perhaps one day I'll be as smart as this dumb kitten.

Though I'm not sure if God might be more of a dog-person.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Big things...

I've written about this before, but I enjoyed an interesting reminder last night as I was reading through Hebrews. I'd reached the "Faith Chapter", amazing story after story of amazing things that happened simply by faith. Those verses make me look at my life and grumble that I'm not doing big enough things for God.

But then Paul carries on to say that he doesn't have enough time to tell all the stories of those who through faith subdued kingdoms, quenched the violence of fire, became valiant in battle. Then in the very next sentences: "And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance...." "trial of mockings and scourgings..." "they were stoned, they were sawn in two", "wandered about destitute, afflicted, tormented"

It certainly puts simple things like grief into perspective.

It's easy to sit here, in my warm home, automatic dryer drying my clothes while I type out my thoughts, and wonder if God would ever call me to something so noble as what those martyrs went through. And while, in my time, it's easy for me to say that I'd face a gunman and easily declare my faith - the idea of "sawn in two"... it honestly makes me wonder if I'd be strong enough. I'd like to hope, but I cannot even begin to imagine that kind of suffering - or that kind of cruelty.

But it also reminded me of something I'd read somewhere else. In a book the girl declares she'd walk through fire for the boy she loved - but then she amended, that less dramatically, she'd be willing to slosh through the rain and cold every day for him. It was a simple reminder I suppose.

God isn't calling me to be sawn in two just yet, but He is calling me today to live for Him.
I wonder, truly, which is harder?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What if we lived only for our mission?

I'm pretty sure I've said it before, but I need reminding of it fairly often: It's all just a part of growing up.

I don't mean growing older physically, but growing up in Christ. Some of the mistakes you make as a babe in Christ need to be schooled out of you as you grow. It is within that growth that some of the verses that talk about speaking soberly and avoiding vain babblings begin to make sense.

When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man - or woman in my case - I put away childish things.

I'm afraid there is something to the childishness in me that allows for wavering. It allows for a lot more mistakes because even I will excuse myself sometimes.

But to the honest, for reasons that I'm not even sure of it's downright scary to plunge into the solid, sober, non-vain babblings of a grown Christian. Perhaps the greatest reason to fear it is simply that I might fail, that I'll fall while grasping hold of this special maturity and be held to a greater accountability before God.

Perhaps another reason is that as I even test these waters on my own I see others watching me and I fear so greatly that I will lead them astray.

Or perhaps the greatest reason of all is simply that it's just a little bit more dead to self than I want to be.

As I pondered those ideas I found myself thinking on the words "To live is Christ, to die is gain". When Paul said them, he had to have understood that there was nothing here worth truly living for except for Gods mission for his life.
People don't like to think that way though, we make up all sorts of reasons for people to want to live - family, friends, work, things to see, dreams to aspire to - but I wondered what it would be like if we all lived our lives out only because there was still another person that needed to be reached.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You won't get it till you get it.

I was driving back to San Antonio from visiting my parents during the Thanksgiving holiday. Most predominately on my mind was my last moment with my mom.
When I am down, she becomes my shadow - I can't go anywhere without her hardly and when she went to bed early she had to get up several times to make sure I was still there. So Sunday morning when I put a few things into my car preparing to leave right after they left for church my mom followed me back and forth.

Finally, I stopped and we just stood outside together. She commented on the trees not having bark, two branches that were dying, and how there were a lot of cars at a neighbors house. Dad came out, told me to lock up the house behind me and we said a quick see you later so mom wouldn't catch on that I wouldn't be there when she got back.

By the time I made it back up the steps to the house I could hardly breathe it hurt so badly. I sagged against the wall and wept for my mothers constant misery.

Then I got up and I went to church.

As we sang and older song in the service one of the verses said for us to forget about ourselves and magnify the Lord and as I sang those words in my heart I realized how easy it is for me to magnify my problems, my heartaches, my whatever - until I can't see God anymore.

But on that drive home I realized something amazing surrounded the ache of grief in my heart and it was joy. Joy in the greatness of a God that is bigger than whatever troubles me. Joy that is stronger than pain. Joy that is brighter than the darkness of grief. Joy that overwhelms despair with hope.

As I considered it and how I could tell the world about it I realized that something like that just doesn't make sense. It's incomprehensible that in the middle of something horrible something so wonderful could still overpower the grief of it. And I realized, no one can get this concept until they actually get it. Until you've seen the heartache and seen how much greater God is.

I'm sorry for the circumstances under which things like this have to be learned - but I'm less afraid of tomorrow knowing the things I've learned through suffering.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interrupting the silence,

My dear friends,

It's amazing what can happen in 2 months time.

Thank you all for bearing with me in the silence. I have one post I feel compelled to write, possibly over this weekend, but for the time being the silence will continue a bit longer.
The last 2 months have been easily the most difficult in my entire life. Looking at the problems I'm facing, perhaps I've been a bit sheltered I suppose. I'm not homeless, and I do still have my job. So while it is the most difficulty I've ever faced - I have no selfish notions that things couldn't be worse or that others aren't suffering far more dearly tonight.

In and amongst those difficult times is the fact that this is my last holiday season with my "family". As soon as the holidays have ended, I will make one special trip back North to assist my dad in placing mom in a home. Ahh, there they are, the familiar tears. The nursing home is as entirely necessary as it could be. There are no other options. From the phone calls I've attempted to handle, I can tell it is pretty close to a miracle my dad has lasted this long.

I've sat here tonight, simply listening to my Gather Homecoming dvd called "Heaven". I say I'm listening to it, but in reality I've only backtracked over and over again to listen to David Phelps sing "No More Night".

I long for a day with no more night.

I have much to say. But for awhile, the words in my mind changed directions so quickly; it certainly helped solidify the decision to not blog for awhile. I've even prayed for a strong Christian that could come along side me and I could just talk to. But, seeing as I've never settled into a home church here, along with the events of the past 2 months - I'm settled to simply resolving things between myself and God.

The words have settled down a bit for me, but I've realized that some of this I need to simply hold quietly within my heart.

All that to say, that I appreciate that you read my blog. I appreciate that you let me be a small part of your life, to be one of your stops as you come to see what I might say or do next. And I hope you know I have not stopped blogging. I will be back, it's quite possible that it may not be until after I've seen my mother safely into a nursing home after the holidays. But inbetween, I do expect at least one more post simply because it's nearly written in my mind, I just need to write it down for you to read.

I'm hurting, but I'm not without hope. I weep with grief and stress and sorrow, but I weep with the confidence that one day I will live in the light of the risen Lamb. And that one day there will be no more night, no more pain, no more crying again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A statement

I've always tried to be painfully honest with this blog. My most earnest frustration is that I will appear spiritually devout and free from the troublesome afflictions that every Christian faces: fear, doubt, anger, frustration, discouragement, sadness, just to name a few. I feel I've succeeded in my attempt to counteract that false impression so well (perhaps too well) that I cannot imagine anyone could read this blog and see me as somehow superior to them or to place me on a pedestal.

This post will further distance me from such a pedestal.

I failed. I attempted to foster two children and failed. In talking with God I finally found the words to define my failure in a way that brought all the frustration and sadness home. I simply said to Him: "I wasn't like You."

And dear God, how I've tried to be, but in a moment of testing - I wasn't.

My God accepts failure. He accepts my broken-heartedness over the failure, my repentance of so many specific sins that led to the failure. He loves me as a broken, nearly impossible vessel.
But I struggle with coming to God with failure. I want to be worthy in my own right. He calls my own attempts to be filthy rags and beckons me to accept that HE has made me worthy.

I feel broken, unsure how to proceed.

Something has happened to me though - still happening - and it's burning within me in a passionate flame that leaves me burning to touch this world for Christ. I will not walk away from my Savior. My love has changed, it is still passionate and strong, but now there is such a strong sense of my own unworthiness and His great mercy towards me that I want to take time to grow and understand it better before I bring this blog along for the amazing ride that will take place after this period. But I hope all of you may come along on this walk as well.

If you're not saved - Jesus loves you. He died for you. Whatever you're longing for, hoping for, aching for, regardless of what name you give it I know it is truly called Jesus. You may call it money, or another cigarette, or drugs, or marriage or physical satisfaction of your "needs" through whatever means, you may call it the love of a man or a woman, but the true name is Jesus.

I have avoided Him myself some this last week because I see how weak and dirty I can be on my own. And maybe you've felt too weak, too dirty to meet Him as well. But I will tell you honestly, He will not reject you. He is loving you with such a love that you have never imagined regardless of how good or bad a family you may have come from. His love so far surpasses that of the love here in this world that your mind will struggle to conceive it.

But your sin will forever separate you from Him unless you pray, repent and turn from your wicked ways and give Him your life - He is waiting. Hell is waiting. Choose. Choose quickly.

This blog is still on hold, feel free to converse at if needed but for now I want to figure out what He's teaching me. I covet your prayers as I write this with a broken heart, sad, hurting over a struggle I never imagined facing through false accusations, and what may be the ending of a vision I've carried for over 10 years.

Seeing as this post may be here for awhile I hope you might feel free to post a prayer request for yourself as well in the comments. I'll be doing a lot of praying the coming weeks especially and it would be wonderful to have a name besides "the people that read my blog" to speak in prayer. Or you may e-mail the request if you'd like it kept private.

Thank you for watching my walk through this blog. Let us begin to walk together.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Blog Walking - 4

It's a little bit light this week, but that just means you should be able to read all of them. :) These are some terrific posts that will either really resonate with you, or make you think. It's some good stuff, so take a minute to read some of these.


The Little Engine that Could, The Good Samaritan, And The Inborn Law Of Love - Gunner @ Raw Christianity

Go Again - Christie @ Satisfaction Through Christ

We Are Where We Are For a Reason - Jana @ The Meanest Mom

When Cleanliness Thwarts Godliness - Dan Edelen @ Cerulean Sanctum

Of Glenn Beck and Beards - Rob Bowman @ Parchment and Pen

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reading the Bible for someone else.

Wednesdays walk has been cancelled due to the fact that I can't get off the floor.

It's not as bad as all that, but, emotionally it's awfully close. I have received 7 yr old TC, and 2 yr old Precious into my home. We are on day 6. Day 5 came out of the pits of hell and threw up all over my home and all of our lives. Day 6 was tentative until about 7:30pm when the hell came and threw up on us again.

I woke up this morning and began preparing myself for battle before waking up the kids. And I thought, "I need WISDOM", so I swayed back and forth between reading James - which talks about how God will give me wisdom, or Proverbs - which is just wisdom. So I went with Proverbs and as I opened my Bible I remembered how people follow the "Proverb a day" by reading the proverb that corresponds with todays date so chapter 29 it was.

As I read, I noticed a pattern emerging in that I was reading wonderful scriptures.... for someone else. Not for me. I whispered quiet "Amens" to verses concerning the raging fool, the wicked, the angry, the boastful. And for some reason I just couldn't find myself in the chapter. I couldn't find the wisdom I was hoping would get me through the day within these verses.

Now, at the end of the day, I can't even find the verses that I was applying to someone else. I see myself in so many verses, and ways that I need to grow and change.

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules the people groan."

"The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it."

"If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace."

"A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.

"Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes he will give delight to your soul."

"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe."

"Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD."

And last but not least:

"Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

I see tonight what I couldn't see this morning. Tonight something happened that while I wish I could explain it in detail, I cannot. But after all the prayers and leaning hard on God yesterday and today, I can't help but believe that perhaps God had His hand in it and while it might not make tomorrow better, in the long run I'm praying it has some effect.

The Bible is alive, ready to apply itself to your heart. So while you might not understand it at first, and maybe if you're anything like me you'll find ways to condemn others with the verses you find. But God also promised that His word would always accomplish what it set out to do. So while you might not feel the affects of it today - you will.

I believe it.

I'm counting on it to get me through tomorrow.

God is gracious.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blog Walking 3

Here we are again, a day late but all the dollars are here. Especially since this is a free service. :)

Kids are getting settled in, I've practiced my frequency words with TC like a good little mother, and had small little precious strapped to my hip all evening long as she recovered from her very first day of daycare. I got firm with an outburst and it went away. I feel peaceful. Tired, concerned about "getting it right", but peaceful.

And now, after that little new "kids are here" sentiment, let me share the great blog posts I've found this week!


The Slavery of False Liberty - by Jeff Weddle @ Anti-Itch Meditation. - “Our willingness to suffer for the sake of the perception of freedom is remarkable.”

The Lords Army Episode 3 - Jeff Weddle @ Anti-Itch Meditation - Short little cartoons with a spiritual hit on Christianity at it's weakest.

Walking in the Light (Without a Spotlight on Them) - Terry Laudett @ A disciples thoughts. -He's in Oklahoma... I'd love to attend his services one day if things like this go on. It honestly makes me want to hug one of them then go eat at their house. I've never seen a church actually operate like this. I want it.

Can You Help Raise The Dead? - Royce @ Grace Digest (But I found it on Miltons blog Transforming Sermons)"What is your church doing in the community, or around the world, that could not be done just as well by a good civic club made up of non-Christians?

A near life experience - John Acuff @ Stuff Christians Like.... sooooo it seems like I'm going to refer you to his serious Wednesday post every single week. I'm telling you, they're good. :)

He Rejoices Over Us - Josh Etter @ Of First Importance - just a quick good quote.

What is a Man? - Terry Laudett @ A Disciples Thoughts - AMEN! I've wanted to write that post for a very long time but, ehem... being a female it kind of makes it a bit less powerful, plus I wouldn't have written it as clearly as he did. Please go read this one. As an unmarried female, let me tell you I'm still single because there aren't many "men" around. And I've watched too many other women married to guys that are not men. Go read it.

Pauls Prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 - Gunner @ Raw Christianity - He takes a verse of scripture, turns it into Q & A, and leaves me loving Pauls epistles far more than I did before. He's done another one since then, and his posts are usually good (sometimes a bit too Masters in Theology for me to keep up, but good).

God is gracious.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Catch up....

So, my Facebook would tell you a lot of things have happened this past week. But I need to catch the blog up as well.
I am still hoping to post 5 days a week, but this week may just be iffy. We'll see how it goes.

I received 2 foster kids on Friday morning. Ages 7 (boy) and 2 (girl). It's been a busy weekend where there isn't a routine yet so they flounder some. I'm looking forward to this week that will quickly get us a bit more settled as we begin going back to school/work/daycare. It is good here though. Difficult though - I've never met a person that so distinctly needed me to be able to forgive the past and move on. I'm still negotiating for the first hug. ;) It'll come.

Despite all that activity, I actually would have several posts up but the Internet has failed me the last several days. It's up at the moment, but it could be down by the time I hit publish. I'll work it out though and the posts will start rolling out.

Meanwhile, use the extra time to pray. :)

No, I'm serious.

Go pray!

Friday, September 24, 2010


But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.

For You, O LORD, Will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Psalms 5:11,12.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taking care of ourselves.

Awhile back I was reading in Acts and chapter 4 really caught my attention. It's just shortly after Pentecost exploded on them, the disciples (plus some) were filled with the Holy Ghost, and things began to change for them. They began teaching people, healing people, doing some amazing things and sure enough, here came the leaders to tell them to stop. They threatened them and told them to no longer teach in the name of Jesus. So Peter and John then responded with a statement that's quite well known: "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard".

Peter and John came back to the group, told them about how they were threatened and told quite bluntly "Don't talk about Jesus anymore" (basically). All the people then, stood up and prayed "God help us be bold" (basically).

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
Acts 4:24

Do you know what they didn't pray?

"God give us favor with these leaders."
"God protect us"
"God give us justice"
"God give us new leaders"
"God help us not get caught"

And do you know what happened?

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Acts 4:31-37

It was a time in history that I'd give my eye teeth to have been a part of. For a short period of time, it was the perfect church.

And while I'm sure there are many keys in this chapter as to how to get the perfect church, the biggest part that always jumps out at me is their prayer.
We pray for protection from pain, and I can't seem to find a lot of Biblical examples of that. And certainly none that plead for that protection to the magnitude that we do - and we're not even asking it for the gospels sake. We're just asking for less financial worries so we can go out to eat more often, and maybe upgrade to the HD channels on our HDTV.

It's just natural instinct to say "self first". These guys knew the leaders weren't making idle threats though, and yet their first prayer was "Give us boldness". I'm betting they knew they were a little short on boldness.

It's a challenging thought, because even I see the value of adding a "...and protect us" to the prayer. But I wonder.. I just wonder.. if God doesn't want us to stop praying about our own care and leave that up to Him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedndays Walk - 2

So, quite honestly, this week feels even less eventful than last week. I was out of town, and visiting for most of it.
I did get 3 unusual things though that I had to respond to more boldly than I normally would have.

1st, someone came to tell me about the sermon they heard. They proudly announced that they'd taken notes and everything. This one isn't anything I've done, he's actually going to church to impress a girl, but I'm getting the fallout of what he thought of the sermons and such. It's a good thing. And it's incredibly interesting to hear what he finds unusual or interesting in the message.

2nd, someone else at work approached me because "I know you read the Bible at work". They had a question about something a lady was telling her husband at work about her beliefs that were.... to put it kindly ... a little out there. She's part of a well-known church in this area that isn't quite right. So we had a long discussion as I tried to clarify some of the things she'd said that was incorrect.

3rd, someone else (not saved) e-mailed me out of the blue to ask how to respond to someone (also not saved) asking "Why does God punish good people?" and that one might have been my biggest opportunity yet.

These are things that are slightly unusual, people don't generally approach me to ask Biblical questions or tell me about something in the Christian world they heard or didn't understand. So I do feel this is an answer to my prayers that God bring more opportunities my way, and also to help me SEE some opportunities that I might have just been missing before.

So it's not much, but it's a start. Let's see what happens next.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't be content with wine miracles.

It was Jesus' first recorded miracle. He made water into wine. Pretty cool miracle. I'm sure the hosts, the servants, and everyone else who knew the story were duly impressed and in wonder.
But do you know what happened from that miracle?

Some big important man of the feast said to the bridegroom of the feast, "Hey, most people serve the best wine first, but you served it last."

Excuse me, but... big whoopee.

And actually, my earlier statement isn't 100% accurate because later on in that same chapter it mentions that many believed when they saw the "miracles that He did". So, while it sounds like there was more than 1 that day, I won't say that this whole water/wine thing didn't sway people as well. It'd sure sway me if I was on the fence.

But honestly, He made a beverage.

I don't want to discount miracles, even the small ones because goodness knows I've needed a thousand small miracles and God has come through for me in ways I was surprised at. I'm sure this bridegroom was ever so thankful that Jesus performed a miracle that saved his little mini-crisis of running out.

But I think it's time we expected something bigger.

Because the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us.

WE can see the dead raised.
WE can see the deaf hear.
WE can see the blind see.
WE can see the lame walk.
WE can see the sick healed.
WE can see the very sun stand still.

Every time I get this familiar longing in me to see something, to go deeper, to experience the Holy of Holies in a greater fullness than before it never fails that there'll be a message come forth in the church service that almost seems to be directed right at me. And it's always the same:
You have free access to the throne. What is stopping you?

And I want to stomp my foot and scream "I DON'T KNOW!"

I honestly don't know what stops us. I've sat in attendance at funerals praying the dead will rise, and I've sat at the bedside of sick children just praying a fever would go down. Occasionally I get a result but only on small scale. Trust me when I say I would have blogged if dear old Sister Harp had popped up out of her casket. You'd have heard.

There is more to be had. Yet so many of us are just happy with "the car started!" and "the washing machine didn't spew this time!" or "I paid the water bill!"

All great. All good. All gifts of assistance to us in everyday ordinary practical needs.

There is more to be had.

So I want to encourage anyone and every, to be willing to be scared to death. Steps of big faith create bigger faith. Quitting that job when He tells you to - even though it's a rough economy and you don't know what you'll do, will scare you.

Moving away from your family and friends when you have no job lined up? Scary.

Committing that large sum of money when you don't think you can actually afford it? Scary.

Walking away from a live-in relationship when don't know where you'll sleep that night? Scary.

Going into a hospital room and not praying that the person will feel better, but commanding by the power of God that the person be healed? Stinking overwhelmingly terrifying.

But it's doubtful you'll ever see the big miracles unless you're willing to operate using only the substance of things hoped for. Faith.

At some point in your Christian walk - and if you've been a Christian for any amount of time I'd be willing to bet it's already happened at least a few times - God is going to point you in some direction that doesn't sound sane. In the past, you may have shrugged it off simply saying "Well that's a crazy thought!"

Listen next time.

Do it - even if you feel ridiculous or your friends and family think you've taken leave of your sense.

God can do incredible things with willing vessels.
(A.K.A. Crazies)

Monday, September 20, 2010

When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.

I visited my parents this past weekend.

I've been hearing stories about how she's been passing out more and more often and having "spells" but this weekend I got my first opportunity to see one.

I was woke up early Saturday morning to my dad calling to me, telling me she was having a spell and he thought I should see it. So I crawled out of bed, and went to her. I found her lying on her bed, her hand clutching her robe so that the involuntary shaking of her hand would be controlled somewhat. She couldn't speak normally, and practically couldn't move.

I asked her to move her legs and she was barely able to bend only her right knee. Her feet/toes wouldn't move. Through her garbled speech she asked what was wrong with her body. And said she'd never felt that way before; and thanks to alzheimers, every event seems like the first time to her. You evil, hateful alzheimers.

My dad left the room to get her a blanket, and I was holding her hand and attempting to "straighten her toes" as she said they were cramped and were curled under, when her shaking stopped, her eyes closed, and she ceased to move.

It's one of those moments where all I could do for a moment was look at her, and shamefully I have to admit everything in me screamed "NOW GOD, NOW!" I spoke her name several times, attempting to rouse her, and doing the standard "look, listen, feel" of CPR to make sure she was breathing. About 45 seconds later she came out of it with a start and but still couldn't communicate for another minute at least. Thankfully, when she came to, her shaking had stopped, but a new problem had apparently begun and she her feet were hurting her worse. She remained immobile on the bed, tears rolling down her cheeks. I laid on the bed next to her, holding her hand and stonily refusing to cry or vomit as I begged God to take my mothers life.

I curse alzheimers to the bitter hell from which it came from.

It was 20 minutes before she could move her toes, and another 40 until she was able to get up and move to the living room.

God heard a lot of screaming during that time. Inwardly I screamed for God to take my poor, scared, confused, hurting mother, and just take her. Take her now, while I'm lying on the bed next to her because I'm selfish and it would comfort me so much to be beside her when eventually the day comes. But dear God, please make this misery stop for her.

Eventually though, we moved to the living room and she sat while dad fixed her toast and I scrambled her an egg and we just hoped she'd feel better. And I had to accept that her time wasn't today. And I had to accept it without being angry that God didn't accept that my decision on the subject was the perfect and obvious direction He should take us.
I had to accept it without that bitter disappointment that leaves you unable to speak to God for awhile until you get past the worst of it.

And you do this because God doesn't always do what you want. Because you believe that God knows best even when it hurts and frustrates you. Because when you said you trusted Him, you meant that you trusted Him in things beyond just good times. Because when you say "I love You God" and make Him LORD of your life, He has every right to expect it. Because sometimes life is hard and God is enough to get you through it. Because sometimes life hurts but God is a comfort when you can't imagine anything could comfort you. You do it because being a fair weather Christian isn't really following Christ at all. You do it, because you love Him too much to stop over this.

Something as insignificant as circumstances can never change the powerful fact that God is enough. Whether I understand or not.

PS. Alzheimers isn't what's causing these spells, and she just had an MRI to hopefully explain what's happening to her. But without alzheimers, any other illness would be more bearable. I hate alzheimers. I hate alzheimers. I hate alzheimers. I hate the devil. I hate the devil. I hate the devil.


Trust His Heart

All things work for our good
though sometimes we can't see how they could
struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blinds us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim, and you just can't see Him
Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hands
So don't live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me to someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Walking 2

As this posts I'll be on the road heading away from North Texas to my beautiful San Antone. It's been a great weekend back here for awhile, but it will be nice to get back home. My niece has her first band concert at 6pm Monday and I'm honor bound to be there clapping.

So, as the week has progressed I've found some fantastic articles online and it's time to share them again. Enjoy this little stroll through the blogosphere with me. :)


"Power in the Blood" by Jeff Weddle @ Anti-Itch Meditation - Great article that speaks of how the blood does more than save you.

"Two lessons for the Christian to learn" by Fred Eaton @ Of First Importance - It's a two sentence short quote that you'll agree with but may not have thought of yourself.

"God doesn't need me" @ At the Center - Great article! "I suddenly realized that He didn't need me. I was devastated. I almost had to pull over, the feeling was so strong. But as I continued, I felt His arms around me. No, He didn't need me, but He wanted me." Go read the whole thing.

Kind-Of Confessions by Gunner @ Raw Christianity It's something I've been thinking for awhile but he put it far more clearly. "We do everything we can to avoid full, complete, unmistakable admission of our guilt. "But when confession is made while staring straight into the holiness of God and retreating to the cross in anticipation of free grace, abundant mercy, and full forgiveness, we find the honesty and the humility to confess freely, fully, and even embarrassingly."

"Valiant For Truth" by Ray Ortlund @ Christ is Deeper Still Outstanding quote by Spurgeon. Go read it.

"When Being Discerning isn't Part 1" by Dan Edelen @ Cerulean Sanctum - I thought he made some great points in this article about how Christians sometimes take the idea of fleeing from sin too far.

"Church Visit#3" by Bob @ In the Clearing - It's a series I've been following that's been so interesting. First he, being disillusioned with church (much like me) he quit attending. He's slowly visiting some churches and reporting on what he finds.

"Honesty, Prayer, Healing" by Ray Ortlund @ Christ is Deeper Still. 2 church orders from 1738. The real church.

"What did Job fear"? @ At The Center - It wasn't boils.

"7 Ways Working For Dave Ramsey Is Like Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory" by Jon Acuff @... Jon linked to the article on his Stuff Christians Like blog, but the article originally appeared on Dave Ramseys website. I enjoy Dave Ramsey, but wasn't aware of all the things Ramsey did. It was very interesting - it's great to read about a guy working at a great job and loving it.

And last but not least:

"Walking by Faith" by Jeff @ Anti-Itch Meditation - EVERYONE should understand this concept. "Walking by faith does not mean that Jesus makes all temptation go away." Go read the whole article.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Protecting God.

        I have tried very hard over the last many years to be a good daughter because I've got a lot to make up for. I'm the one that didn't go to college, my brother did. I'm the one still single, my brother's married with two kids. I've tried to make up for those "failures" by being around more to help since that's what the single daughter is supposed to be good for.

But shortly after my mom began going downhill and things really became difficult for my parents, God moved me to San Antonio. My mom is there. I am here. My mom wants me there. She does not understand at all why I am not there. Some of her family have pointed out that I should be there, and while that's difficult to face, nothing - and I mean nothing - compares to my mother crying and saying she thought I would take care of her and help her.

To others, as they question what I am going to do about the situation I can only point them to her caregiver. Because it isn't me. It should be me.

        But one thing I don't do is tell the questioners why it's not me. I don't tell them God moved me to San Antonio. I don't tell them about moving in with my parents for a month, then finally going back to San Antonio because I knew I was out of Gods will.

I don't tell them that because they might think God is wrong. And apparently I feel the need to protect Gods reputation. I believe that if people heard the story, they would blame God and say that's ridiculous. Or they may just say I don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe they won't say anything at all, but they'll walk away thinking "Just someone else that doesn't want to do the right thing and is going to pin it on God." Either way, it still looks bad on God. I'll feel like a bad daughter either way it goes so it really doesn't matter which conclusion they come to about me.

But here is the reason that daughters aren't supposed to protect their Fathers. It's simple even. Father knows best. See? Just that simple.

I know God put me here.
Everything God does is to bring glory to Himself.
So the end result of me being where He brought me is going to bring Him glory.

At least it will, if I don't try and hide His involvement. All of my wonderful "protection" is holding back some of the glory that God could be getting as I bear witness to His leading and guidance in the situation.

        That said: God moved me to San Antonio knowing that I wouldn't be around to help my mother during the hardest time in her life. I feel sick about it, but I know God has a plan and it's for our good. More than I want to help her, I need to obey God. So here we are. I don't understand it any more than you do probably. But I believe God. I'm willing to risk my mothers life on it.

I'm laying it all on the line, it's all on God. I know what I know, I believe what I believe, and God is in charge. If that means I have to do something odd - then God can have the ridicule, I'll be a willing vessel. And my words will point to Him in good things and bad.

He can handle it.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus... but to trust and obey.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesdays Walk - Week One

It’s not an easy thing.

I feel I ought to say that in case I start this post and describe what I’m doing and some of you walk away going “Well it’s easy for her, but it’s hard for me so I’m not doing it.”

So let me repeat:

It’s not an easy thing.

I’m spending more time in prayer, and asking God to show me people that He wants me to talk to. I’m praying He’ll lead me not with just the right words, the right actions, but also to the right people at the right time. Because the last thing I want to do is talk to the wrong person at the wrong time if you know what I mean.

So, beginning, I have to say my start feels weak.

First off, I met an elderly lady named Gladys. She is widowed technically? If your most recent husband is deceased, but your last 3 husbands are still alive are you still a widow? After a long conversation with her, I discovered she had no kids/family living in this area that could help her. By the end of the conversation I’d given her my cell phone number if she needed help again. From my experience, most of her necessary help would be in just listening to her, being companionable. It’s not exactly evangelizing, but the verse from James telling me to take care of the widow was bright and clear in my mind while I listened to her talk. So, we’ll see what comes of it.

Second off, I’ve begun slowly picking at a guy I know. He may or may not read my blog so just in case I want to be careful and want to preface this whole section with “I mean no offense whatsoever.” He is willing to state quite clearly that he is saved. Yet he’s afraid of what will happen when he dies. And, while I only know a small small portion of his life, what I know leaves me afraid right along with him. He also isn’t the type I feel comfortable discussing spiritual things at all. I look around and see roomfuls of other people that I’d be happy to talk to other than him (about Godly things that is), but for some reason he’s the one that I keep coming back to.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m still praying and watching for opportunities and trying to make sure if one opens up that I don’t neglect it out of discomfort.

On a related note, Mel over at “Walking on Water” posted about "Treasure Hunting" with one of my favorite bloggers Mark H (who unfortunately for me no longer blogs *sigh*). And I just this last week I had listened to an old sermon by Matt Chandler where he mentioned doing something quite similar to Mark and Mel.(Story is at 35:19 – 43:00)

If you’re attempting to fulfill Ephesians 2:10 as well, please comment or e-mail your stories to


“Now, if you are intelligent human beings - and I believe you are - then you automatically have to start looking inward and going ‘Now wait a minute, if that same power that raised Jesus from the dead and destroys evil lives in me why don’t I see it? Why don’t I get to walk in it? Why don’t I get to taste it? Why don’t I get to see it like so many others do in the bible and in Christian history?’

I’ll tell you why I think it is. I think we don’t experience the fullness of the power of God in our lives because most of us live lives that don’t require it. We take no risks, we expend no energy to share our faith. Church and Jesus Christ to us are a Sunday Wednesday affair and no more. And when you live like that you do not require the power of God because it is through risk and through faith that the power of God manifests itself.”
- Matt Chandler - "The Hope to Which We Have Been Called"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It IS for me.

This is a part 2 to my first post "Welcome to Heaven...erm...I mean the library"
I need to add something to my first post, because it was a strong message for me.


Wandering through the halls of that beautiful library I was clutching something awful. An overdue library book. I could have rechecked it online so it wouldn't be late, but for some reason I only believe in doing that for books I haven't finished yet. If I've finished it, there's no good reason I haven't returned it, so I feel I ought to pay the fine. It sounds absurd to me too, but alas! I am me.

So there I am walking through that library, holding the dreaded overdue book, and I wasn't sure of my standing with the library. If I went to check something out, (they have automated self-check out machines) would it refuse me because I owed the fine? And even without that, as I wandered from room to room, floor to floor, a haunted feeling of "It won't work out" followed me.
It seemed as though at any moment someone would say "I'm sorry miss, you don't have the right membership to be in this library." It was ridiculous. It's a public library. I have a public library card. And while my head told me this all throughout my explorations, something in my heart wasn't confident that I would leave with books that day.

I equated the library to Heaven in my first post, and when I do so again I see something that all too often believers do. We shy away from the biggest and the best that God tries to offer us because we just don't think something so amazing is meant for us. Love so freely given and genuine? Forgiveness, free and full and utterly complete? Mercy that leads us into beauty and power even while we are children just stumbling along? Truth, undeniable and infallible in a world where everything has become subjective?
For me?

As we sit at His table and begin to eat and grow in the riches of His goodness and grace given to us - we shift our heads to the left and right, and with tentative hands we take, we taste, we experience, just waiting for someone to finally intervene and say "No miss,' or "No sir," "I'm sorry, but this isn't for you, it's for the others."

When I finally went to the librarians desk with the stack of books I desired to check out, and my one overdue book I explained that I probably had a fine that I needed to pay before I checked out the other books. He took the offending book, scanned it, and announced that the book had been due the day before but no fines had been assessed to my account. I was in good standing. I was free to go and read in peace.

One day, as I stand before my LORD, I will sit and wait explaining my only - my only - ticket of entrance is Jesus Christ, and dear Lord, is my name written down?

I'll be in good standing that day as well. So though my knees will probably quake and barely hold me as I wait for the response; and though my heart and mind fail to reassure me sometimes that my faults and failures weren't stronger than His perfect redeeming blood; it's just not true.

I'm in good standing.

If you're not in good standing, you can be with simple repentance, belief, and trusting in Him and allowing Him to be your Savior.

Then we will all go and read in peace. Because I'm pretty sure there are books in Heaven. :)

See you there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome to Heaven... erm... I mean the library

There are... a LOT of libraries in this area. All of the small cities have their own, but then San Antonio has 27 branches scattered throughout San Antonio. Over the course of the 14 months I've lived here, I've been to 3 of the branches and 2 other small city libraries. Only one of them was small - the rest... beautiful. Far nicer than any other library I've been in before. And with staff that is actually kind and helpful.

(Gainesville Public Library, that was a dig at you. Before you, I never dreamed I, I would boycott a library of all things. But you drove me to it.)

I'd heard wonderful things about the Central SAPL location though. It's the "Central" one, the MAIN one, the BEST one. But it wasn't until Saturday that a book that I wanted was there and not my regular library, so I decided I'd finally venture downtown and visit this supposedly wonderful place.

I got downtown easily enough, it's less than 20 minutes from me, but then, as apparently everyone is prone to do I got lost and drove around for about 10 minutes wondering if I'd ever find it among the construction and 1 way streets. (City of SA, please finish sometime within my lifetime.) I passed by the parking garage entrance not realizing it was the garage for the library, but thankfully it was early morning on a Saturday so there was no traffic and only one spectator as I reversed in the middle of the street until I got back to the entrance. I grabbed my parking receipt from the box, noting that I had to "pay" to go to this library in terms of parking $1 for 1 hr, $1.75 for the next (I ended up paying $1.75). Then, my dear friends I walked across the garage, past more construction boards and tarps, and stepped into the building.

And there I stopped.

Let me preface this with the fact that I've always lived in a small town before coming to SA. I've seen big buildings but for me, it's like seeing a big zucchini, - big, pretty, don't care. No friends, this was a big library. I stood there, looking to the far left, the far right, and then craning my neck backwards to see the beauty of the ceiling and the other 4 stories of books above me. Impressed is a word that does not do justice. I was awed.

I ventured to the 3rd floor, where the childrens section was larger than every other library I'd ever been in. I caressed books of braille. Then I ventured to the 2nd floor where they keep only non-fiction reference books. I ventured back to my treasure trove the 1st floor fiction. Sorted by author I finally stopped to count - there were 5 rows of H's. Row upon row upon row upon row upon row (and I could happily and legitimately keep going with the "row upon row") of books. It was more than my mind could grasp. It seemed as though I could find a book, sit down, and read for the rest of my life. And still not finish all the books I wanted.

At the end of my $1.75 parking time I was clutching 7 books and I had not even finished the "B" author section. It physically hurt to leave. And I said to myself - "I don't see how Heaven could be better than this."

Aside from the whole "Jesus" thing of course.

I'm looking forward to seeing Jesus, and while I've read words about how beautiful Heaven is, my mind can't fathom it. Just as others telling me how great that library was did no justice whatever to the grandeur and awestruck feeling I had when I stepped into it's wide entrance unable to take it all in.

So until I meet Jesus, until I get a glimpse of Heaven itself and am carried away by it's superiority to everything conceivable on Earth, Heaven for me will be that library. And I have to imagine that God is in His Heaven laughing at that very idea.

What a day that will be!

Enjoy a glimpse that doesn't even remotely convey it's grandeur.

The outside, pretty though it is, gives no clues as to the wonderment inside its doors.

Even the homeless people READ here. My old library, the homeless people just sit; happy to be indoors. Here, they read. Because you cannot help but sit and read.

I did not want to come down. Truly.

Blog Walking!

As promised, some of my favorite blog articles through this past week!

(A small tip, if you hold down the Ctrl key when you click a link, it will open it in another browser so you won't lose this page by opening the article.)

From Tolle Lege a great article called "The Gospel is for Christians too" by Carl Trueman -Good GOOD words.

From Stuff Christians Like - "Wondering why God makes life impossible sometimes." - If you don't care for the comedic writings on his site, I highly recommend at least hitting his blog on Wednesdays when he writes a serious post. Amazing stuff.

From A Disciples Thoughts - "The Power of Respect" Read his story, it brings me peace just knowing people like that still exist.

From Todds Thoughts - "Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman" Won't take 2 seconds for you to read this and get hit in the gut.

From Solid Rock of Sinking Sand - "Is Glenn Beck being used by God?" Interesting article displaying his Mormonism faith and asking the question "Is he saved?"

From The Gospel-Driven Church "C.S. Lewis Gospel Wakefulness" LOVED this.

And if you're in the mood for something funny and enjoyable to read, try this post from C Jane Enjoy It: "Sir, I'm going to need you to step out of the car...Chup's account of getting arrested"

And last but not least a sermon by Matt Chandler called Destiny. The main thing I want to share is from minute 19:35 to 24:50. If you've struggled with the love of God like I have I hope the few minutes of this sermon brings that celebration that it brought me. When he screams "HE'S WALKING!" if you're not crying I'd be surprised. *Clicking the link opens up the sermon in media player, no downloading necessary*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Coming out of the closet.

I am blessed beyond description to have found one of my favorite online ministers sermons are not blocked through my work filters. So at work I've been listening to sermons quite a bit - I'm looking forward to posting a clip of one so you can enjoy perhaps the same breakthrough I had.
But in one of his sermons he said just a fast statement that stopped me in my tracks.

"You praise what you love."

Man, have you seen that new movie Avatar?? The graphics are AWESOME!
Have you got the new Itouch 4? The apps on this is just amazing!
The Cowboys are definitely going to make it to the superbowl this year, their players are more sober and less drugged up than any year before!
Have you seen the pictures of the Audi A9??? MAN that car is Saweeeeeeet!
Wow! I just bought a new Wii and this thing is the best gaming system I've used yet!
Have you been to the China Dragon? Chicken Fried Rice man, it's the best I've ever had.

And the thing is, I don't care who you're talking to, you'd be willing to say those things. I'd tell a vegetarian how great the chicken fried rice is, and I'd tell an Amish man how great the Itouch4 is (if there even is such a thing... I don't have it, I made the name up.. I think).
But when it comes to telling the world how great Jesus is, first we skirt through all our knowledge of a person, consider how easily they're offended and how likely our specific praise is to set something off, then we consider things that have happened to them recently to make sure our "good news" isn't stomping on their "bad day" which might make them even angrier.
All that speculation just to say "Hey, last night I was really discouraged but wow... God touched me and I've got joy this morning that just doesn't make sense.

I honestly feel stuffed in a closet. And if homosexuality can come out of it into the public world, then the Gospel of Jesus Christ most certainly needs to get out of it. For I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel, but I am too timid about it.

It's time for that to change.

Free Book offer

One of the bloggers I read regularly, Jeff Weddle over at Anti-Itch Meditation, has a book called "The Gospel-Filled Wallet" which offers up what the Bible really says about your money and the basic message is to "give it away". So, following his own advice he's giving the book away as well.

Go to his blog for the e-mail address, and just tell him where to send it.

Offer is good until 8am Monday Sept 13th (or until he runs out).

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Joy=Strength - Depression=Weakness

To clarify, before anyone says anything - I don't think you're a weak person for being depressed. Period.

I know someone who is struggling with depression brought on by grief of losing a loved one a year and a half ago. They're so weak and tired that they can hardly get out of bed in the morning. There's no reason, no motivation, and simply sheer weariness at the idea of moving/going/doing. They're too tired.
They're depressed.
(Please know dear friends, it's not as cut and dry as I'm making it, and having felt even a speckle of grief myself, I know there is a canyon more that I'm leaving unsaid.)

And as I listened to my new friend as she asked for prayer and confessed her struggles, one scripture popped into my mind: "The joy of the Lord is my strength"

I came home, and searched my Bible for the full scripture fully expecting to find it within the book of Psalms. It just sounds like a David thing to say. But that's not where I found it.
Instead I found it within the pages of Nehemiah. Nehemiah chapter 8 verse 10

Ezra reads the law to Israel and they understand how grievously they, and their forefathers have transgressed that law and the people began to weep and mourn. but Nehemiah and Ezra and the Levites teaching the law to the people said "Don't weep or mourn". Then Nehemiah says the words in verse 10: "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

I expected the verse to be in Psalms because it just sounds like something that should be in a praise song. But instead, it's surrounded by mourning, weeping, and grieved souls.

2nd Corinthians 12:10 is one of many that uses the statement of weak people being strong: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. And I like those verses in connection with the "joy of the Lord is our strength" because it's not about WE are strong. But it's about Paul being weak in body but still going about his Masters business. Because the Master provides strength for the day. Paul wasn't strong enough to survive everything he was put through - no one would be. No one in their right mind/body sings praise songs after being whipped and chained into a prison cell. But by Gods strength something different came from it than what Paul could do in his human strength.

It doesn't seem right or good to tell someone grieving that the joy of the Lord is their strength - but when you're at your weakest, when you begin to stand up in God from the moment you wake up and have to force yourself out of bed, to the moment you have to crawl into that empty bed at night, at the end of the day you'll know you got through that day because of a strength other than your own.

It's bitter/sweet words, I know. I'm sorry, so deeply sorry for the suffering she and so many others are facing right at this moment, but there is strength in joy. And I pray you all find a way to walk in that joy today, tomorrow, and the next until you can't imagine any other way.


Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in society has always been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage which it contained. That so few [people] now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our times. ~ John Stuart Mill
~As quoted by Alan Hirsch

Next time you wonder why I'm doing what I'm doing... now you know I'm just keeping our times safe from it's chiefest danger.

Blogging updates

So, in the course of doing some blogging housekeeping work I thought I'd throw something out there.

I'm sorting through my links and am about to get rid of some, and exchange them for some new ones. If you're a reader of this blog, and would like me to link to your blog just leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail at flyawaynet at hotmail dot com.
I would ask though, that you kindly post a link to me as well. Please. :)

I think you will enjoy the new blogs I'm going to add.

I've noticed that when I made some other changes to the blog that my google reader "shared items" disappeared. Since it appears to be too much trouble to get it back on, I'm going to try and begin my own little "Short Rounds" like Louie does over at Marshian Chronicles. It'll require me to get organized about what I read, so wish me luck.

But I hope you enjoy some of the changes - hopefully the biggest change will be that I'm posting more often now. I'd like to get back to 5 days a week if at all possible. Think you guys can put up with me that often? :)

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Experimenting with my walk - A series on walking in good works

I'm going public with this experiment because I want to be able to hold myself accountable by it. So I'm counting on your continual subscription to my blog, or occasional comment to keep me moving on. This, I believe, will be the very first recurring series I've done on this blog.
And, because I lack imagination, I'm calling it "Experimenting with my walk"
The plan is to post on this series once a week, and since tonight is Wednesday, I'll make the posts every Wednesday.
Sounds simple enough.

The experiment is the random part.

My life contains a lot of living, a lot of ME living, and something in my gut is clenched to the reality that I need to impact this world for Christ with my life every day, in every encounter, whether by doing obvious things or just displaying the fruits of the Spirit and exhibiting the peace or joy He gives.
But lets face it, it's easy to walk around in peace and joy and tell yourself that's a good enough witness so I don't have to actually do anything. When the truth is, I'm not doing didly squat. I'm still living for me. And that needs to change.

So, once a week I must step out of my comfort zone and wander into the unknown area of being a witness, a living breathing testimony of Gods goodness and love.
Then I must return to my blog and account for my efforts.

Just so I wouldn't be empty handed on my first post I'll share todays efforts.

1st and foremost, I began praying today that God would use me.
2nd, a random person commented on how they like that I bring my Bible to work.
3rd, another person took a moment to specifically tell me God had helped them.
Which led me to ask a question I'm trying to ask more often "Is there anything that I could pray for you about?" which, surprisingly enough, got me an actual answer.

Then, on the way home, turning into the residential areas I waved at a middle aged man walking down the sidewalk. He waved back, but then yelled to get my attention. When I stopped, he apologetically said "Nevermind, I thought you were a man and I need a ride to H.E.B"
Well, while I'm still holding a grudge that he announced that I look like a man, I turned around to pull up beside him and - despite my gender deficiencies - gave him a ride. I sat outside of HEB for 45 minutes waiting for him to come out - texting my family that I was probably the worlds biggest idiot because he'd probably just caught a ride with someone else despite our arrangements - when he came strolling along, pushing his cart.
We loaded up and I drove him home. I took a deep breath just before parting and asked my question, "Is there anything I could pray for you about?" And again, I got a real answer.
(I define "real" being something other than "Oh, I'm fine, can't think of anything, just pray for a blessing".)

By the time I ended the day, I had 3 names and issues that have been specifically asked prayer for. And I haven't even done anything yet.

In an absence of a "Pastor" leading me to food and in discipline for the 15 months I have to confess I've grown lax. I've allowed myself to back away from fellowship with other believers. And without that stimulation a lot of other personal study habits and reading habits changed as well.

I need to be a dead Jeanette, and begin to live and move and have my being in Christ. I don't know where to start, so 1 blog day a week is dedicated to this. If you don't know how to do it, feel free to start this challenge as well and comment on your results.

At least one time in this next week - I need to offer Gods love specifically outside of my comfort zone.

I don't have to preach a sermon and I'm not doing altar calls - I'm just loving someone, asking questions or praying, even when it's difficult to make the words come and initiate the contact with strangers/neighbors.

Last but not least - I didn't want this to be a long post but... alas, I am what I am - the most important thing I'm doing during the next days is praying for opportunities and help when the opportunities come. Because I know it changed the outcome of my day already today.

I'm giving myself the opportunity to embarrass myself or fail miserably. It's going to be a fun week.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dear Pastors

Please know that I started this post quite sincerely with the words "Dear" Pastors. Regardless of whether I enjoy your services or not, I hope you understand that something inside me so deeply respects your title and your calling, that you are "dear" people.

But there are a few things in general that concern me about all of you, and I hope to politely, and respectfully address them.

I didn't come to church for a sermon.

I came to worship Christ, and learn of Him and how to walk more closely with Him.
I come, because like a personal trainer, you say the words that remind me why I'm doing what I'm doing and how much deeper there is to go than where I'm at.
I come because often, Christs presence is manifested and that just amazes me. But it's beyond disappointing to have you take a moment when we should be waiting quietly on the Lord, and since nothing happened for 2 minutes you move us on to give your sermon.

And speaking on that sermon... I expect you to speak of Christ. Christ crucified, and how that impacts my life today. I expect you to verbally challenge not only the dross, but the silver in my life - anything that takes away from the gold purity of the perfect life of Christ living in me.

I expect you to explore concepts of the Bible that have come to you through careful study of the Word. Because, of all the programs in your church that require your attention, few are quite as important as gathering the food with which you must "feed His sheep". Because if you are a pastor, of a church, then I assume that was your calling. Feeding.

I'm responsible for feeding myself. But I've got to tell you, nothing is quite as wonderful as having someone preach Christ, and Christ crucified, and who is willing to preach Jeanette crucified as well. Because regardless of the fact that I write a Christian blog, who cares that I've spent 29 years listening to sermons and I should know all these things - I still need to have you remind me that I'm supposed to be dead, and Christ is supposed to be living in me. I need to be reminded that I'm supposed to do EVERYTHING as unto the Lord. And not just the few items that I deem to be "Spiritual". I just need a lot of reminders.

To go a little further than that - I need you to preach this gospel without apology or the considerate way people have of saying "I know it's hard, but you really should." I need you to stand up, firmly, and say this is the way walk ye in it. Period. No mollycoddling. No sympathy for how much I might not want to commit to memorizing scripture or giving up my hobby horses that consume my time and thoughts and emotions.

And I need you to do it yourself too.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

He's not the God you think He is.

He’s kind, and merciful, and longsuffering with us.
It isn’t His will that any should perish.
He has loved us with an everlasting love.


Imagine if you sold your land and gave all the proceeds to the church except for a small bit – then lied about the selling price so they’d think you gave all – and God killed you and your spouse for it?

He’s not the God you think He is.

Imagine if I took a nice robe and some money from someones home and God set fire to me, and my sons and daughters?

He’s not the God you think He is.

Imagine if your husband was murdered by a man and God made his murderer a king, allowed you to be the murderers wife, and then called the murderer a man after His very own heart?

He’s not the God you think He is.

There are those stories, and so many more concerning Gods handling of situations where His consequences are so far beyond our realm of thinking that if a man chose to do those things today his name would quickly be ranked among those like Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.

And unfortunately, they’re stories that we can’t explain within our beautiful descriptions of Gods love and mercy, His graciousness and overflowing forgiveness and aide to us. So we neglect them. We leave them unlearned from, untaught, unstudied, and leave our views of God woefully halftrue.

I don’t understand the violent nature of God. I wish He were all nice, all the time, and that when He did have to punish someone He’d simply slap their hand and give their new job promotion to someone else. Maybe even give them a flat tire if they’d been really wrong.

But then that’s me. That’s not God.

You see when we do even small things like hold back a part of ourselves and say it’s our all – He gets angry. He demands our all.
And when we hold onto something for ourselves that God didn’t want us to have because he wanted every last bit of it gone – He gets angry. He demands our desires be for Him and not for the physical things He’s trying to purge out complete.
And when someone sins against you, in gory, ugly ways that we know God has to have hated and (to us) devalues everything good that persons ever done – He forgives so radically that it doesn’t seem fair to us.

He’s not "exactly like us only nicer".

He’s a King. King of ALL Kings. He is a Mighty Terrible One.

e is also a Friend and Comforter, and loving Father.

But when you stop your definition of Him as a friend that sticks closer than a brother He’s not the God you think He is.