Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alzheimers report

I know sometimes these little things are helpful so I just wanted to take a moment to update on where mom and her alzheimers are at.

She's now in the wandering stage, she knows my dads name (most of the time) but not their relationship. She believes I'm living with her brother (his name is Jay, my brothers name is J.W. so if you're easily confused I can see how you'd make that little jump). She talks constantly about going home to her family (hence the wandering off to get to them).

She doesn't know her address, her children (though she recognizes my voice she doesn't know who I am), and her personality has changed. She went from a kind woman who wouldn't fight with anyone to a usually kind woman who will fight over anything and be rude and uncaring. Or perhaps it's only rude and uncaring to us, if we were in her world and saw things through her eyes I'd probably be really proud of her for standing up for herself. At the moment she's still hiding food from dad so he won't "eat her out of house and home." She's very upset at the strange man coming in and eating her food.

She's losing control of her bodily functions - she needs help in the restroom but won't admit it and it isn't an issue any of us have a clue how to force.

She's passing out, often, having nosebleeds and when she's having a spell where she might pass out she says her tongue feels thick. Whatever that means. Her blood pressure which was once too high, is now quite low. Her caregiver is talking about taking her to a doctor to see about that last part.

Hygiene is difficult, she refuses to shower on a regular basis (a change from 9 months ago when she showered 3-4 times a night) and once she finds an outfit she likes, it's hard to get her to wear anything but that one.

We're officially on stage 6 of 7 but I would say we're at the early beginnings of 7. In my last conversations with her there were several occasions where her speech was impaired. She couldn't say the word she was trying to say so a completely different non-word came out.

She is still currently taking Aricept though I've pushed dad to discontinue the medicine. My hope has always been that she could take the medicine for as long as possible to delay the disease, but once the disease had a horrific grip that she could discontinue it and go as quickly as possible. The situation as it is now, makes me sick. But that - as any of you with relatives, or friends with this disease know - is a sick feeling that began shortly after diagnosis and won't leave until the suffering is over for her.

On the personal side of it, I'm praying God will take her. She's leading a miserable existence constantly scared, physically in pain (she's broken her ankle) and confused. My prayer time at church the last two Sundays has been intense prayer that God would please take her. I beg, I plead, all the while following the petition with my apologies for asking such a thing. I got a call saying she'd passed out in church two Sundays ago, and I wondered if my prayers had caused it then I hated myself that maybe if I had just prayed a little bit harder...

I feel blessed that I'm able to write this without the emotions that usually hit me when I write about this horrible disease and my mother. But I've talked to others enough, and read enough articles to know that it helps to read real-life stories of what people are going through and how they're coping/not coping. If you're going through this, you have my full sympathy. I would pray that you as a husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother - whatever your relationship is, find a way to live through the disease yourself.

But most of all, for those of you not affected by this awful disease - I pray that you never will be.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

If you're anything like me, sometimes you might need this reminder:
This is just alzheimers. It's a disease and it's hurting a few years here on earth for my mother. But here's what I know - an eternity is waiting for her. An eternity so beautiful and beyond description in it's wonder and greatness that she could have lived each of her 62 years with the disease and it would have been worth every minute of it for her. Bad things happen, diseases happen, but God is still good. One thing doesn't change the other.

Trust Him, depend on Him, and allow Him to see you through. He will. He always will.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sharing your miracles - Testify.

One of my many favorite songs is one that simply says "Look what the Lord has done" then it goes on to list what He's done. "He healed my body, He touched my mind, He saved me just in time." That old song makes me happy.

But it's a story that isn't meant to be confined to song.

It's a story that's meant to be told.

One of my many complaints with our local churches today is that there is rarely an opportunity to testify. But as I came across something to bear witness to the power and love of God (see:testify), I realized I'm an idiot if I wait to tell someone until someone in a church building asks people if they have anything to say.

My opportunity to testify isn't on a Sunday evening during the 'small crowd'. It's Monday - Saturday to a huge crowd. It's Friday afternoon to the checker who checks me out at HEB. It's Tuesday afternoon through a mass e-mail to my co-workers and friends. It's Thursday evening in a phone call to a friend. It's Monday night in a chat session on Facebook.

The people that need to know God does miracles, and loves us, aren't really the people at church. The people that need to know are all around me, hurting, dying without Jesus Christ as their Savior because I'm too afraid to be 'pushy' with the "Jesus thing".

It's not pushy though to speak the truth, and especially the excitement, of what God has done. And I intend to.

Miracles, are amazing things. To see God working in your life and getting you through obstacles and leading you in directions you never imagined - that just astounds me. So the world doesn't have to believe me. The world can imagine that I'm as crazy as someone announcing a pink elephant just bought me a new car. But that's isn't as important as giving credit where credit is most spectacularly due.

Sometimes your miracle wasn't just for you.
So share it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's Gods business?

Saturday was a long and tiring day, it had begun at 1:30am, followed by a 5 and a half hour drive, followed by 12 hours of trying to make my old house that I'd rented out, livable again for someone else. I'd listened to the neighbors as they came over to tell me how awful my renters had been, I'd photographed damages that don't even make sense how it occurred, and I'd even looked at the sites where they'd set fires around the house. It was a draining day in several ways.

I was ashamed at what I'd put my neighbors through. And disappointed in my renter more than I can express. I expected so much better from all of them.

As all of this was rolling through my head, I happened to mention out loud that I intended to pray a little harder for my next renters. And that's when it happened.

Someone had stopped by to bring me some more supplies and help me move the heaviest item, and they said to me, in no uncertain terms, "God is not in the property management business" They went on to say that no matter how much I pray it won't stop someone from doing me dirty. I can pray or not pray and it won't change a thing. (I'm paraphrasing because I was trying to go temporarily deaf after he said those first words).

Once I came home, and got a little bit of sleep, I finally took the time to think about what he had said and why it was wrong.

If God isn't in the property management business it's because I haven't put Him there! I absolutely do not believe that there are certainly areas in our lives that God just doesn't care about. That God just leaves us alone in and shrugs off whatever it is that we're doing and going through and ignores.

I think there are areas of our lives that we hope God ignores, like our habitual sins, our willful disobedience in certain areas. When we make a decision we know He was against we hope He just ignores it. When we take a job He told us wasn't in His plan, we hope His just leaves it alone. When we make a financial decision that costs us quite a bit and was unnecessary, we hope He still blesses us and maybe even blesses a little "extra" to cover the expenses we just racked up.

But even those areas have Gods attention.

Because WE have Gods attention.

God cares. He cares about my renters, He cares about me. He isn't some magic genie that I can just tell Him what I want and He goes and gets it for me, but when I pray that God will bless my renters, and draw them to Him, that He will give them peace and wisdom - I believe He hears me. And I believe that puts Him in my property management business. And any other business I have in this life that I'm living for Him.

Tell me what business God isn't in and I'll tell you an area in your life you've forgotten to pray about.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Testify - I saved 418 Dollars or more by switching to Jesus.

So today I went online to just check my bank balance and write a few transactions down and I discover, much to my surprise, a bunch of red ink all over my account. My paycheck had not gone into my account. I checked into it and discovered the last two digits of my account “29” had accidentally been typed “10”. The money was nowhere.

I’d also spent the weekend in Whitesboro messing with my rent house, racking up charges for people to haul away trash, clean carpet, stops for gas, stops for food, and charges to newspapers to put ads showing my property for rent.

All in all, at my last check, thanks to the paycheck not being deposited I had 11 overdraft charges of $38 each.

I had money in savings that would have easily covered it, but, not knowing anything was amiss with my paycheck there was no reason for me to think about moving the funds.

In case you don’t have a calculator handy 11 x 38=$418.

First things first I moved savings over to keep myself from racking up more charges.

Then reality set in. I could have cried. I literally could have just sat down and cried I was so disappointed that something like this would happen when I’d been hoarding my savings so carefully. But as I was driving between my two banks getting money from one to put in the other I remembered that God hadn’t failed me yet. So the money was gone, so Compass "per company policy" might only refund 2 of the 11 charges. So what? God was still in control and God wasn’t going to worry about my savings being gone when He provided for my needs as always. Once I remembered that I let go of the fear and frustration attached to the money and I began praising God. (And by praising God I mean I was singing God the chorus to the oldies song “I love you more today than yesterday” thanks to Eric from work for sending me that song and getting it stuck in my head.

Then I came back to work.

Joe from Compass was on the phone and he wanted me to know that a man with my incorrect account number had come in on Saturday to close his account. Literally, this man showed up and the bank tried to give him my money which had been accidentally deposited into his account. And HE SAID NO. He said it wasn’t his money. He turned down nearly 700 dollars. So the bank had begun investigating the error.

Which also took one less obstacle out of the way as I tried to convince Compass to transfer money from his account to mine. ;)

They’re going through the process to transfer the funds into my account and Joe also says that because of the nature of the error every overdraft fee will be refunded to me.

There is more to the story, but I will tell it in a later post because it veers off from the point of this story. But I just want to add - I'm so thankful I reached the "trusting God" point before I got back to work and the situation changed. It was a strange sense of joy that rushed in as I praised God in the middle of a situation that just STUNK. And God moved on my behalf. I gained favor with every person I talked to. I was blessed. But I found the joy before the miracle. And there seems to be something valuable and necessary in that. Because the joy is in God, not in good situations, not in a lack of problems, not even in money. It's just in God. In the middle of a temporary shortage of over $1100 dollars, I found joy.

It was worth so much more than $1100.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A time for living and a time for building...

Friday evening was difficult. At 9pm I was loading my car with cleaning supplies, and tools and such to 'fix-it' and even a 2-wheel dolly to 'move-it' since I knew I had a large item to move. I knew the weekend would be too short to accomplish everything I needed to get done in a short 36 hours.

As I loaded my car I suddenly had the thought: "I don't want to go." I didn't want to make this trip. I wanted to stay in San Antonio and continue all the preparations for the work needed here. And as I worked to have a good attitude about the work and trip and interruption to my little world here I suddenly realized something so basic that I don't know why I haven't enjoyed this thought sooner:
I'm building a life.

I'm not just living a life, I'm building it. I'm building things, jobs, memories, experience, relationships and even a house to last my lifetime.

Perhaps, when I'm old and gray I'll retire from the "workforce" and simply maintain the big things I've built through the years, and maybe build a few things - new relationships, new experiences, etc. But now isn't the time for me to rest. It is the time to build.
I'm building a life.

And it reminded me of something I've long since wondered about. Do you recall when Jesus turns to His disciples and says "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also."

Those words have always made me stop because my Savior isn't up in Heaven with a hammer and nails building me a nice mansion. He created the world in 6 days. So I'm pretty sure He had my little niche in Heaven knocked out before I turned 4 hours old.

And while I don't quite think this is the answer to the questions I've always had about that verse, I couldn't help but imagine something along these lines:

He's building me an eternity.

He's building me opportunities for relationships, to give, to learn, to grow. He's lining up moments of pain that break and mold me into what He needs me to be in His Kingdom. He's building significant moments of joy and challenging times of decisions. He's building me. And He's building me an eternity.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What am I doing?

I keep saying as soon as life slows down into a routine of some sort I'll finally be able to start blogging again....
Obviously it hasn't too much. I miss writing. And I have the feeling I'm going to regret not having some posts to look back on to remember this time with.

So this is just a mini life update for those of you that might possibly be interested.

I'm caught up on all my foster parenting classes again (I even have a head start on next year).
I've passed 1 inspection, 1 more bigger one to go (most likely next week).
And then an update has to be done on my homestudy.
And then I'm done. Sometimes the homestudy update might be scheduled 3 weeks out or so depending on the persons schedule, but it shouldn't be too long.

Also, I'd gotten a renter lined up for my house and taken the ad out of the paper only to have the renter back out at the last minute. Pray for Kevin, his wife has brain cancer and they've just found out it's spreading.
I'll be in my house, my house, this weekend seeing what the house looks like and getting it ready for another renter. I'll be changing locks, mowing lawn, and adult sitting my mother so my dad can have a break.

And Sunday morning, bright and early, I get to visit my Little One. She's nearly 6. She'll be entering Kindergarten this fall. I met her when she was 2.... it's crazy how the time flies. I'll never forget waiting for a 2 yr old to get out of that car only to see this super tall girl, in a brown shirt, brown and pink camo skirt and a buzz cut come out and shyly meet me. I have the feeling I've been gone long enough that I'll get that shy greeting again. Her parents are still doing incredible, and when I talked to them this week they were disciplining their daughter (which I am always thankful to hear when they are firm with her) and mom had a new, quieter responsible tone to her voice. She'd been through a lot this year and she'd stepped up to the plate, they both had. If you ask me to point to the few success stories I know of in life - they're the #1 slot. They love their daughter. And that's good enough for me.

I'm off to work, this "post" has become more like a letter to old friends rather than a spiritual post of some sort. Some of you I don't even know, but you've read through my journey for the last several years and even though you didn't comment I've known you all were there. So I appreciate you all.

Have a great weekend,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How to make yourself not sick.

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones Proverbs 16:24

It's a natural talent I have to completely freak out while sitting perfectly calmly. I didn't have any special training for it, though life did give me enough experience to perfect the art, and perfected it I certainly have.
I was at work when something happened to completely throw me a curve. I flipped out. I cried, I ranted, I moved out of state, I quit my job, I said all those things that you wish you could say but you can't, I ran away from home. Suffice it to say I had my own personal meltdown: and it all took place in my mind. I simply sat there, staring at my computer screen, clicking buttons to process my claim while I melted down.
As I regained control of my mind, before I got to the point where I would eventually remind myself that God is in control; something strange happened:
I began sweating.
Then I got the chills.
Then my stomach got queasy.
Then I felt a rush of heat and began sweating again.

Then I ran for the bathroom.

I'm not one who gets sick a lot. And I can't remember the last time that I threw up for no good reason. As I began pondering things that you only ponder while sitting on the nasty floor of a public restroom I knew, deep down, that I had done this to myself. My attitude and my emotions affected my body.
And I began remembering all the different ways Solomon finds to say that our words, wisdom, and attitudes affect our bodies. So, keep in mind when I say this I know that obviously it's not true in every case. Sometimes I'm sick and I know why I'm sick and it's no big deal. But on that day, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my attitude had made me sick.

So next time you're suffering from something mild (I won't name things off lest you jump on me saying that you've got it and it's nothing to call mild) I want you to ask yourself if there's a good reason for it or if maybe your attitude has caused it.
We all know by now the negative effects of fear, stress, and anxiety to our bodies. Angina, Arrhythmias, asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, irritable bowel, tension headaches, strokes, impotence, insomnia, diabetes, prostatitis, malabsorption, eczema are but a few of the many diseases known to be stress related.

It is important to understand what happens to the body when one becomes angry. In a moment of anger, you may experience muscle tension, grinding of teeth and teeth clenching, ringing in the ears, flushing, higher blood pressure, chest pains, excessive sweating, chills, severe headaches or migraines.

With chronic anger people can also experience peptic ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal cramping, hiccups, chronic indigestion, heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, obesity, and frequent colds. Medical experts have found the heart muscle is affected by anger, and anger can actually reduce the heart's ability to properly pump blood.

The results of prolonged anger can harm the body's largest organ, the skin. People who hold in their anger often have skin diseases such as rashes, hives, warts, eczema and acne. Researchers have studied the relationship of anger and skin disorders and discovered that when a person resolves his anger, skin disorders dramatically improve.

One of the major effects anger has on the body is the release of chemicals and hormones, primarily the adrenaline and non-adrenaline. The adrenaline hormones act on all organs that reach the sympathetic nervous system, stimulating the heart, dilating the coronary vessels, constricting blood vessels in the intestines, and shutting off digestion.

These are just two of the main ones people struggle with. But our bad attitudes are killing us. Maybe your issues are due to something different - but I know at least some of you out there, like me, sometimes make your own problems for yourselves. And I think changing the way we think is a good place to start.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things Philippians 4:8

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pass out the fish!

I've been considering miracles because, simply, Gods been working on my behalf. And as I pondered how to act, and live, while living within Gods provision I pondered one idea that screams inside my head with it's own importance.

You have to pass out the fish!

When the little boy showed up with his few little fish and tiny bit of bread, Jesus took hold of it and it instantly became potential for a miracle.
Jesus wasn't holding one loaf of bread and suddenly was surrounded by piles of bread.

The miracle began when the disciples handed out piece of bread, after piece of bread. Piece of fish after piece of fish. The miracle begins when you begin using what God hands you and trust Him to make it last through all 5,000 people.

Whatever your situation is, whatever you are facing, whatever you need God to provide - use what He's given you. Pass out the fish. Pour the oil. Use the last bit of meal.
Use it. Use it trusting, believing, knowing in faith that He who has provided will provide.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Be anxious for nothing.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The preacher stopped in the middle of his sermon today about God being the Alpha and Omega and he said he felt God wanted him to say something to someone: "Be anxious for nothing, the Bible doesn't say 'be anxious for some things' but be anxious for nothing. I feel there is someone here holding onto a burden and God wants me to tell you "Don't worry"

He also said "God is large and in charge" but I think it takes away from the moment. ;)

He then carried on with his sermon and his original 4 points to make, but those words stayed with me. I've said I trusted God and I do, but I've got a burden that I've been trying to carry myself rather than just leaving the entire event in Gods hands.

This afternoon, I feel lighter than I have in months. And I can honestly say the burden has been cast onto God. And I've left it there. Sure, I may pick it up again - I tend to do things like that - but for this moment the peace of God that passeth all understanding is keeping my heart and my mind through Christ Jesus.

And I'm enjoying it.

I've got a house that I purchased for myself but ended up renting out when I moved down here. My tenants are moving out this month - something that could hurt me financially if I don't get another (hopefully good) tenant quickly.
And I've got plans, Gods plans, to be a foster parent again. An endeavor that I know from experience is very expensive.

Both of these things have weighed on my mind as I wondered how I was going to do all the things I needed to do. But as the preacher said the words "Be anxious for nothing" it was truly as if God Himself turned to me and said "Jeanette, be anxious for nothing." And I believed Him. Suddenly the question became "How is God going to have me do all these things He's got planned?"

The problem became Gods almost as if the pastors words were the "open sesame" to my freedom. I don't know the hows, and the whats. But for tonight, I'm resting in peace that goes beyond my ability to understand and I'm just trusting God. And I know I've said that before, but during those letters I wrote to my friends, and during those blog posts, I was still tense and nervous about how I was going to do it with God helping me.

God has officially reversed the roles and I'm helping Him now.
So friends, truly, if God says be anxious for nothing... He means be anxious for nothing. So try it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I needed to be broke.

My savings account was depleted when I first moved to San Antonio. And I spent 5 long months looking for a job. The money was gone, nothing was coming in. Yet somehow I paid my bills, paid my rent, and helped out others that couldn't pay their bills, and never once encountered over-draft charges from my bank. I still smile about that one.

This month and last month have/had challenges all their own but I'm not the least bit afraid to meet them. When I first saw the situation I immediately thought "oh no... what will I do?" but the second thought was, "What am I talking about? I'll do the same thing I did last time except better this time - I'll trust God."

For that reason, I have to say I needed to be broke financially. God needed to bring me to San Antonio, break my bank, and force me to trust Him. And He did. I found myself in a situation so completely beyond myself that I couldn't imagine how to survive - and God just worked. God. Just. Worked.
If He hadn't of let me be broke, I would never have realized that I'm never broke as long as I've got God. I've got enough. I needed to be broke.


I needed to be broke.

Last year, when I moved I was in pieces. My blog certainly shows it. I was angry with God, at odds with my church, and hurting more than I remember being hurt before. I tried every trick in the world to put myself back together again - including a 40 days of faith series. Ironic since despite my words I was the most faithless person I knew. Some parts of me were not quite as bad as it was before but I was still broken, and hurting, struggling every day to just get through.

It's hard to say this because I remember it quite vividly, but I needed to be broke.

People I walked proudly in front of have now seen me at my worst. I'm probably still proud in ways I shouldn't be, but coming through this I've found myself in the grip of the God who can put me back together. He is the God of the broken.


I think the idea behind being broken is simply that whether it's financial, spiritual, emotional, physical, or mental. Just the word broken - I went to Merriam Webster and looked it up just to see how he defined it and I'd like you to read the definitions associated with "broken"

1 : violently separated into parts : shattered
2 : damaged or altered by breaking : having undergone or been subjected to fracture : being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles c : violated by transgression d: discontinuous, interrupted : disrupted by change
3 a : made weak or infirm b : subdued completely : crushed, sorrowful c : bankrupted
4 a : cut off : disconnected
5 : not complete or full

I wouldn't recommend brokenness as a constant state. But I think everyone needs that time in their lives. Probably more than once. But I can think of no better way to understand how great, and how powerful God is than to experience Him at your weakest.

I wouldn't have the relationship with Him that I have right now if I hadn't been broke, both financially and emotionally and Spiritually. I wouldn't. I would still know the words, but now I've experienced the words.

I just needed to be broke.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

John 11

I've skipped around a lot lately in my Bible reading, but seem to be slowly coming back to John chapter by chapter. This time I was in John 11 when a couple of things gripped me that I wanted to write out.

Chapter 11 is primarily about Lazarus dying and being raised from the dead. For those that might not know the details here's just the cliff note version.

Mary is the woman who anointed Jesus feet with oil and wiped them with her hair. As something completely unrelated - she's among my favorite women in the Bible. Her brother was Lazarus, her sister is Martha.
Lazarus gets sick so Martha and Mary send word to Jesus. Jesus waits a couple of days until Lazarus dies to come to see them - Jesus knows Lazarus is dead only because He's Jesus, no one has told Him yet.

So He's walking down the road to Bethany - the town of Lazarus and his sisters. Martha finds out Jesus is coming and she goes out to meet Him. Mary chooses to stay home.
Martha comes out and tells Jesus, "He's dead, if you had been here my brother wouldn't have died but I know that whatever You ask of God He will give it to you."
*skipping some*
Martha returns home and tells Mary that Jesus is calling for Mary. Mary goes to Jesus with her heart breaking, weeping with grief, and says "If You had been there, my brother wouldn't have died."
Jesus weeps.
Skipping a lot again, the end of the story is Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. They all live happily ever after.

I told you it was the cliff notes version - just go read John chapter 11 and then come back. Really.
I'll wait.


Here's what grips me.

Part 1:
Mary stays home.

I've been the girl that stayed home. Angry, bitter, hurt that Jesus didn't do what I wanted Him to do. What's that? Jesus is passing this way? Well, He didn't come when I really needed Him to, so He's probably not coming this way for me now - and even if He is, who wants Him? I needed Him TWO DAYS AGO. Today is too late.

But even in that anger, when someone comes up and says "Jesus is asking for you" there's something inside us - even when we hate that part of ourselves - that gets to our feet. It takes us where we swore we were strong enough not to go. I'm strong enough to hate Him. I'm strong enough not to care. But no, He calls, and we go. We go and we fling ourselves and our hurts and anger and bitterness at Him. 'YOU FAILED ME" is what we all say. For Mary her "You failed me" came out as "If you had been here". You words might be "If you had stopped the drunk driver...", "If you had taken away the cancer...", "If you had kept my husband faithful...", "If you had spared my child...", "If you had helped me keep my job...", "If you had protected me..."

Regardless of the words we use, the meaning is still the same. "You've failed me." And that's exactly what Mary said, broken and weeping at Jesus' feet.

If she had stayed home. If she had refused to come at His call, I believe Jesus was still prepared to work His miracle. And everyone would have seen it except one of the people that truly needed to see it. She would have been locked away in her bitterness and missed the miracle in her attempt to shut out the Rescuer.

I want to be the girl who comes when Jesus calls, no matter how angry, hurt, or confused I might be. Because I don't want to miss the miracle.

Part 2

Martha comes out to Jesus with the news Jesus is too late, Lazarus is dead. They then begin a theological discussion on the 2nd coming and the resurrection of the dead in the last days.

Mary comes out to Jesus with the news Jesus is too late, Lazarus is dead. She weeps and throws herself at His feet. He weeps with her.

Here's what I like about this because I've been both of these people. I've been the one standing there saying "I know you can raise people from the dead." and I've been the one weeping "He's dead!" The greatest thing about each of these is that Jesus didn't weep with Martha, and He didn't have a theological discussion with Mary.

Maybe I could have a theological discussion with Jesus - but if I weep and mourn and hurt, He will meet me exactly where I'm at on the road. It's the first example I recall seeing in the Bible where He responds to the exact same situation two different ways. I like that.

Part 3

I think Martha is a liar. And I love her for it.
Maybe she's not, maybe the writer of John (most likely John) simply didn't include the conversation but; my Bible shows Martha and Jesus have a theological discussion. The end. The next verse:
"And when she had said, she went her way, and called Mary he sister secretly saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee."

Umm... No He didn't. And why are you sneaking around secretly Martha?

When you know someone is at odds with Jesus, you'll do whatever you need to to get them to His feet. Martha did.


Part 4:

Last but not least.

The verse right after the one I just quoted shows Mary getting up and going to Jesus. The next verse after that says Jesus was in the place where Martha met Him.

Why did Jesus quit walking into town? Why did Jesus sit down and not go anywhere?
I think sometimes we get all lovey gooey with Him and expect Him to come into our house and wallow in our sadness with us when we're mad at Him. And a lot of times He does. But I think this is an example of something very important.

We have to get up and go.

There's an old song that says "He came to me when I could not go to where He was." But there are times in our lives when we could go to where He was, we were just too angry to. Jesus was on His way to them.... but then He stopped and let Mary come to Him.

Transportation back then was foot. She was walking. Martha was walking back to the house from there - either way, between the two women walking back and forth Jesus was sitting there a good amount of time. Which leads me to the conclusion - He's doing this on purpose.

It may sound strange, and I probably will never repeat this idea when I'm angry or hurt, but I need a God who will make me get up and go to Him sometimes.

How about you?

Friday, July 02, 2010

The God who knows.

I like to know. Trust me, if you had known me as a kid you would realize that too. I have to know what's going on and I have to understand how it's going to end. I plot ends to conversations, how one action might lead to another action, and every book I've ever read has been rewritten multiple times each night as I go to bed wondering how it's going to end.

I want to know.

This last year, has been a year of not knowing.
This month, is one great big unknown.
After writing last nights post about disasters and God using them... I went to bed.
Then I woke up this morning to find out that well... for the moment I want to keep the events just between me and God. But it's quite a bit to lump into one month and expect everything to turn out ok.

I. Don't. Know.

But here's what I do know. God is still in charge. He knew what was going to happen, He knows the how's and whens, He knows how to provide what I NEED, and sometimes an abundance of wants. I'm tempted to worry and do crazy things to help circumstances, I'm tempted to sit in an anxious ball and wait for the month to end. I'm tempted to lose faith in a God that hasn't failed me yet.

But I'm not. Perhaps this month might be my biggest step of faith ever.

I was sitting here, wondering what I was going to do and how I can make things work by myself, when God brought to my mind that He provides for His childrens daily needs. What I need today. Tomorrows problem is tomorrows. He's providing for me today. And I trust in that.
So I've made a conscious decision to use His resources (time, money, wisdom, strength) today and trust He'll provide more for tomorrow.

Because I just know He will.

And if this disaster leads me somewhere I didn't expect to be, I'll simply know God had His hand in it and trust in that.

I wish I could give you all the details, but I tend to worry that I'll discount Gods provision if I've allowed others to know the needs (sometimes, depending on the circumstances). But I need to tell you, a year ago I'd be whimpering right now. Tonight, I'm sitting here simply saying "I still trust You God. I'm not worried."

And the crazy thing is, it's actually true.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Rescued by disaster

A co-worker sent me a popular story this afternoon, one I've heard several times before but never ceases to be move me.

It's a story of a man sailing the ocean, when tragedy strikes and he finds himself shipwrecked on a deserted island. Weak with exhaustion and hunger, for days he works and builds himself a small hut to provide shelter from the elements for himself and his few salvaged possessions. One afternoon he returns from searching for food on the island to discover that his feeble little hut has caught fire and is entirely burnt down. Exhausted, hungry and finally broken he screams at God "How could You do this to me!?!"
The very next day, a ship sails near the island, drops anchor and two men row onto the shore. The stranded man sinks to his knees in gratitude and asks 'How on earth did you find me?"
Their response, "Our planes saw your smoke signal late yesterday afternoon, we got here as soon as we could."

We don't thank God for disaster. But if it weren't for disasters, those awful moments that turn us from whatever we had planned to suddenly going in a brand new direction - we'd find that we'd missed the best roads God had for us.

I don't know what it is about the idea, but I've seen enough that I don't see disasters in quite the same ways anymore. Lives change, but God has His hand in all of it - no matter how painful or difficult. U-turns are often dangerous. But God can handle it, He'll turn you down whatever special path He has for you and you will find - once you've made the turn - that this scenic route has changed your life profoundly for the best.

He's rescued me more than once with something I thought was horrible at the time.

I know it doesn't feel good, look good, or even seem inspirational - but truly, the next time something awful happens you might just ask yourself who God might be rescuing.