Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have to say that I worked for many years in the restaurant business; being a waitress, mostly, a hostess, bartender, floor manager (for a short time), and other things, and I used to (at a much younger age) love it. I could work Thursday thru Sunday doubles on pay-day weekends and make more money in tips than you can probably imagine. And, of course, being the totally dishonest person, I was not claiming all of those tips in my paycheck for taxing. Why???? Well, why? I mean what kind of doodoo would do that!? Certainly not me! We, Lee and I, were working opposite shifts trying to get as much money as possible to raise 3 very young children without 'dishing' out as much as was needed to survive. Daycare alone would have been astonomical even 15 years ago it was unbelievably high, so we worked around daycares, work schedules, and kids to make a buck. And trust you me, I did make a buck or two waiting on tables....ok maybe more than a buck or two! And I loved the money I made; it was like free cash because you only have to claim 10% (probably 15% now) of your sales. And goodness nows waitstaff is making much more than that, so why claim it...right? Well I don't work as a waitress anymore and haven't for many years...but I still, to some extent, live by the waitress mentality of "if the feds don't know about it, why claim it?" So maybe I do work a job on the side here an dthere for under the table money...but still I don't claim that as extra income, like I should. But who's the wiser right? Or at least that's my take on it!!!
Money has become a staple to me, not because we, as a family, are or ever have been money wealthy, but because since age 15 I have worked to make money. This November, that will all change, I am leaving my career position of the past 11 yrs and making a change to serve my family and be available for my children. This will, by no uncertain means, probably drive me crazy. You understand if you know me, but I have decided that I don't want to regret missing anything that my girls do or want to do because of my loyalty to money. And when you look at it the right way, that's exactly what it is, my loyalty to money. I have no problem putting work first, feeling bad when I ask for time off, work late for free or off the clock, and put my children after the making of money....that is, without a doubt a loyalty to money. So I have, as you can imagine, a little anxiety about this leaving the working force and being a 'stay at home mom' for my teenage girls, but for no other reason than because I will not be making money, cash, denaro, mulla, etc, etc, etc.
So this morning, I looked for anything that would give me a sense of peace about my decision, a confirmation of what I was doing was right, and found 1Peter 5:2 "be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers --- not because you must but because you are willing as God wants you to be, not greedy for money but eager to serve." This spoke to me, God spoke to me and spoke directly to what I was worried about, money! I have no idea who wrote this, my guess is Peter but my guesses are usually wrong, but for argument sake lets say its Peter, I like Peter because he tried with human might to be perfect and right and continually screwed up. So, he is very much like me and probably even you. But this passage, these words gave and give me new direction, 'be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care'. Now I'm sure that Peter was talking to a group of religious/spiritual leaders, but to me, God says 'be the mom that you need to be (be a shepherd), the mom that I made you to be, even when you didn't want to be a mom, you are and you were created for that role, to raise and watch over the (flock) children that I gave to you'. And I'm sure that Peter was telling this group that they needed to serve in the position that they were in because they desired and wanted to serve not because of the money (or offerings) that they were receiving on behalf of God. But to me God said "don't worry about the money, that's been your priority for long enough, don't make this about the money but about your family, your children, your friends, who will need you more than you know in the coming times; serve Me not money". So for me 1Peter 5:2 says "This is your calling, one you missed for many years but one that is still waiting for your attention, this is your place to watch and raise My children, to serve Me and be a blessing to those who need you and not be needy for money but for the joy that has already been placed before you. I will provide and care for your needs, you provide and care for My children with a willing heart."
I wonder what else I like to serve? I know that there is more, maybe deeper within me that I haven't found yet, but I know and trust that Lee has all the right decisions regarding our finances and that God has our back. All I have to do is let it go and follow that calling.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Have you ever thought of how many things in this life are named with the word "pressure"? But think about it, we have atmospheric pressure, low pressures, high pressures, blood pressure, pressure gages, pressure cookers (remember those fund things!!), peer pressure, and the list can go on, and on, and on. There is even a song about pressure "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen. It seems like no matter what is going on or what is not going on there is pressure everywhere. Pressure to make a decision, pressure to cook dinner, pressure to get up, pressure to go to bed....and if you don't think you're under pressure....think again. At some level in my life, I hope that the pressure lessens, that the pressure dissolves and goes away, wishful thinking huh?! I am, for lack of a better description, built with a pressure gage (and I think we all are-some of us just control it better than others). And like pressure gages, I have in different parts of me different types of gages. Currently, I have the one with the red area that tells you when to shut off the pressure and stand back (or as with me, you really can't see the pressure gage but you know when it's in the red). Its not, believe it or not, by choice. The pressure seems to build up quickly, especially lately, and it seems like just when things kind of even out, the pressure starts back up. The song 'Under Pressure' talks about pressure in the same way (if you have never read the lyrics look them up-very interesting). And when I get to the red, I'm generally like a pressure cooker..... the steam has nowhere to go but out. So why so much pressure? I thought I knew the answer to this question when I started typing this morning.....that changed in this paragraph and quickly. But in looking up the lyrics to the song 'Under Pressure', I found that I wasn't on the right track.
David Bowie & Queen, as wierd as they are, talk about pressure of the world and how it puts us in places that we never thought were possible and how pressure can destroy us. A very cool song really, not what I thought the words were when I first looked them up this morning. The lyrics begin "under pressure pressing down on me, pressing down on you no man ask for under pressure - burns a building down, splits a family in two, puts people on the streets" - not what you were expecting huh? Paul was under pressure too (as with many others) but he writes to his friends in 2Cor 1:8 "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We are under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despair even of life." I wonder if Paul and his followers in Asia were under pressure similar to what Bowie and Queen talk about? So much pressure that they were on the streets or families were split in two? Truthfully, I was surprised to see the word "pressure" when I looked it up. Paul says "we despair even of life", that seems like a lot of pressure and similar to the pressure in the song lyrics too. And I bet Paul was under such pressure in Asia that he felt like he was loosing his faith. I don't know for sure but this passage seems to talk about such strain that Paul's only out was to write to his distant friends, to detail what kind of position ('we') they were in to those far away. We despair even of life, that's pressure, pressure that even though I may not feel to the point of loss of my life, with which I identify. Pressure.
So how does this pressure affect me? Why is pressure so vivid and real in my life? Mostly because I focus on the pressure, really that's the reason. I focus on the pressure just like all of you do too. Focus on the things or thing that brings pressure; see that pressure gage is more real than if first appeared. But I wonder what would happen (not that I am advocating this procedure) if I focused on something other than pressure? Bowie & Queen goes on to sing "Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking, can't we give ourselves one more chance, why can't we give love one more chance....cause love's such an old fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves". I bet that through you for a loop!!!! I mean this song is about pressure not love...right? In comparison, Paul writes throughout 2Corinthians to his friends not only about pressure and despair (and only in two occasions) but throughout these letters about love. In 2Cor 2:4 Paul writes "For I wrote to you out of distress and great anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know of the depth of my love for you." Paul uses the word "love" and compares it in difference to the pressure of the times. He, in these letters of 2 Corinthans, challenges and encourages those he writes to continue to love, to show love, to be sincere in love, to be forth right in love, to give in love, love, love, love. Not to unlike my song. Paul used the description of pressure to show his distant friends that he was under and continued to be under pressure but not to bring them the same anguish he was under but to show them that in all the pressure love had to prevail.
Remember I told you that the reason I started this was not what it ended up to be by the end of the first paragraph. The pressure is huge on me right now, for a lot of reasons that I can not go in to detail about, but somewhere in all this pressure, God found a way to show me how to get my focus off of the pressure and on to the real focus, love. Maybe the pressure was suppose to bring me to a breaking point, where I would dash and run under the pressure? I think that was its (I do identify pressure as a thing and active thing-yes) sole initial purpose but somewhere in all the things that I see daily and don't really see, the pressure isn't really the thing I need to be focused on, more over its what I can make out of the pressure. So I wonder what pressures you are facing today? Pressures from work that trickle to home? Pressures from home that trickle to work? Pressures from outside beings that seem to trickle to every other part of your life? Maybe those pressures are designed to tear you apart, I know mine was and to some extent still is, but I think I have the passage way out of the pressure. Just change my focus, maybe you can too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

All Things?

I loved being a kid, the kid that believed and trusted everyone no matter how much that person might be lying or misleading, I would trust them. I even liked knowing that there was a pattern as I grew up and became a teenager, the fact that school was school from September to June and the teachers knew what to tell you, not entirely an issue of trust but on some level it is. I trusted that they would be in class and give me instruction (even when I didn't like it). And growing up, I learned that trusting is a difficult thing, that's what growing up does to you, makes you synical. I stopped trusting sometime when I was younger, I could tell you approximately when but it really doesn't matter. The fact that I stopped trusting is what matters. And I'm sure somewhere in your life, you had something happen that made you not be so trusting too. Maybe toward a person or type of person, situation or circumstance, but it happened and you have a wall around your heart that secludes you from being all trusting. It's ok, I haven't met an adult yet that totally trusts everyone in every situation for all things, so we're not alone. But on a level deep down, I miss that no fear of trusting, I'm not sure where it went but I do miss it. I miss not being afraid of getting to know someone and being able to be a friend and trust them. I know crazy. You're probably thinking, well you shouldn't trust everyone anyway. Well you're right I shouldn't but everyone, in some way, needs to know that someone gave them a chance. Don't you think that they, just like you deserve an opportunity to be trusted?
I have been building walls again, walls that will stop me from being to close to friends, walls that block who I am from the "real world". And I have found that in all things I am less trusting of even friends I have known for a very long time, people whom I know and who know me, people who I have no reason not to trust, and yet the walls are being built. The opportunities that I want so desperately are being whitled away from my path and I have no real desire to stop the process. No need to want to stop the process actually.
This week, unlike other weeks in the fairly recent past, I have not spent anytime in trying to trust God. Not unlike me in case you don't know me. I find other things that are far more important and far more needy of me than my spirit's desire to seek Him. But I read something from this week that I missed earlier - due to my lack of wanting to do it - and it struck something in me. The story is long but in short it was placed in a time when they had no other means of travel except an oceanliner from Europe to America. The water was socked in with fog and a man on the boat had to make an engagement in Quebec. The captain told him it was an impossible mission, the man said otherwise, he said "my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life." He prays and then the captain goes to kneel and pray and this man tells him "do not pray. First you do not believe He will answer, and second I believe He has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it." Kinda egotistical huh! But the man then told the captain to look outside and the fog was gone. The man made his destination on time. Acts 27:25 "I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me." I believe God. In all things He controls every circumstance of my life, I believe He has..... Total trust in belief that what you ask has already happened. The fog in this story was real but to the captain it was also a fog in his life for not believing God would 'do'.
How do I get through this fog that I am in? How do I believe in all things again? I don't know but I hope (altho I should believe) that God does know, that even tho my heart is untrusting, that I can not believe all things are for His purpose right now, He knows. He knows that somewhere in the path ahead, the walls being built, altho they look like Jericho's walls from the inside, will sometime in the future fall like rubble. He knows, I hope, that when I don't seek and my heart walls are thick somewhere deep inside I am trusting. He knows that the fog is thick right now but soon I will see it clearing and find my way. He knows and I just have to believe.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


When I was growing up, my mom traveled all over the place and me and my little brother, Scott, was in the car or truck with her. In those moments of traveling across the country (literally), we would, like kids do, call 'shotgun'. And happily the winner would jump in the front seat. But in our family, a different chore came with riding up front, we were the 'navigator' for my mom. So we would be given the road map shown where we are and told that we were traveling on 'I-80 West to wherever' and it was our job to tell mom where the exits were and what road was coming up that might be a place to stay and sleep over night or a good place to have lunch or dinner. And we learned how to read a road map and give directions. A trait I cherish today. Why you ask? Well for two reasons, one was learned during our office's Christmas party when I was traveling with 2 co-workers and handed them a road map and asked them to give me directions.....believe it or not they couldn't tell me where to go or read the map. The 2nd reason, over the past couple months Jennifer has been going to friends' homes where she hasn't been before and relied on directions from friends (who live in the houses we are going to) who could not give us directions. This weekend, I giggled about it but told Jenn "what is it with your friends and directions to their homes"; and she said "I don't know. They all have GPS on their phones." Ah Hah!!! The Reason! I jokingly told her that I was going to youth and give a class on giving directions (maybe not such a joke after all).
I was never good with giving directions correctly, you know the go north on blank road then turn west on that street. I even, as an adult, have to tap on the passenger window when I mean right and snap when I want a left. I really can't tell you why either, I know my left from my right I just have a problem getting the correct word out. But I can give directions by landmarks, something that people have told me that women do well, and I can give pretty clear directions to other women when using landmarks - by the way, men hate it when I do that. I can't believe how simple it is to give directions really. I mean you do live at your home, and at some point in time, you have had to leave and return to your home, so you should be able, to some extent, give directions to get someone to your home. Right? Well, maybe not so much anymore with dependence on machines and satellites why do we need to be able to give directions? My opinion, if you can't give directions you can't take directions. In Luke 10:27 Christ gave simple instructions on how to get other people 'home' to his disciples "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Pretty simple instructions I think, although I may be having problems with those simple instructions, they are pretty simple and straight forward. Christ gave a lot of direction, very simple and straight forward directions on how to get 'home'. In Matt 28:19 He says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." Again pretty simple instructions, right? Ok so these instructions may be a little more difficult to follow but its pretty straight forward. I picked these two directions from Christ for a reason. The first one is really simple, easy to follow, love the Lord with all of you, that means everything in you, by you, through you, you. Equate this to a neighbor coming over and you tell them "leave your drive way go left go two houses and your at my house". TaaDaa! Directions!! Pretty easy simple here ya go there's no way you can get lost. The second one, a little more difficult - go right out of your drive way, take a right down 15/501, go 2.5 miles, take a left on Pinebluff Rd, go over the bridge and stay straight, go thru the stop sign to the 2nd stop sign, take a right on US 1 North, go approximately 3.0 miles to 15/501 South, make a right go about 4 miles until you see a split in the road, thats Stubby Oaks go left, but don't take the immediate left its not the road you need, stay straight for about 1/2 miles and take the first left dirt road. That's easy to read but if you didn't know any better, I just sent you in a circle from my house to my house. The second set of directions Christ gave was to go and make disciples of all nations. How in the world do you do that? I can't tell you for sure, I'm not doing a very good job I don't think, but I think Lee is. He's working on leading yet again another group of men teach them to be teachers, or disciples. Lee and I both started with the simpliest of directions, Love the Lord your God. After that the directions seemed to flow without struggle or re-reading, like going from our house to our close friends house, natural.
So why are directions important? If I can't give directions to my home, like those friends of Jennifers, how am I ever going to be able to lead someone to Christ? My home is easy to find, and God's love and eternal life is too, you just have to read the directions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Love Factor

I grew up, probably like you, saying 'oh I love that'. And at that time really in truly meaning it, flying from one thing to love to the next. From any food that was just amazing to any pet, friend, TV show, or as a teenager, young man. 'I love' this and 'I love' that became a thing that was more than just words as a young girl, they were the words I would live by. If I loved something it was all about that something, I loved to watch TV and so at one point I could have told you every TV show on every channel (mind you the local channels we didn't have cable) on every night and even the times. No need for my mom to have a TV Guide at all with me around. I loved to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with orange juice right after school, I know yuck right there's no way I'd eat those together anymore, but at one point in my life, every school day ended with that snack. I loved my first car all beat up and old as it was, I loved it. I loved my best friend and she was really the only true friend I had growing up in Kalkaska, so I clung to her alot for protection and to be accounted as someone. I loved finding a nitch with horses, something that I thought would go like other loves but has stayed indefinitely in my life. I loved my first true boyfriend, I mean who didn't!! I really thought that we would be in love forever, unitl I found out he was sleeping with a friend of mine. But I loved all the things about, I loved them.

Now as an adult, I have found a different kind of love, a love that is strong and true love, a love that isn't come and go, its here to stay. So what is love, and where does it come from? In 1Cor 13:4-8 says " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not evny, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not selfseeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. it always protect, always trust, always hopes, always perserveres. Love never fails..." I think that really seems to sum up what love really is, deep down love is all these things, true love holds all these attributes. This week, I found a deeper different love. I met a part of my 14yr old daughter, Sydney, that I hadn't met. Odd to say that, especially since she is my daughter, but I found something that I hadn't noticed before. She loves from her heart and carries her heart on her sleeve, something I already knew, but something she never did before was express it outwardly. This week every day in the morning after she leaves the house, I've been getting a text message from her that is a simple "I love you" or " Have a good day, I love you". How simple a set of words? How non complex or extreme? These three little words hold so much more than I thought. I love you has much much more meaning. I am patient, I will not be quick to anger, I do not keep your wrongs in my mind, I trust you without question, and I will never fail you.
I bet there are things you love, in different ways for different reasons, but it is real love or just the words?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


There are lots of things that inspire me, from a book that might spark an imagination that I totally forgot I had to a person who pushes me to an achievement. I was inspired by a senior in my high school who could just run, even around a track, something that I had a difficult and hard time doing. She would finish before me, alot before me, and would stand on the in field and encourage me to finish and not stop. I was inspired by an unexpected pregnancy to become a mom, something I never wanted to be. My favorite was when a woman I didn't know allowed me to show my abilities by putting me on a horse. Inspiration!!!! It became more than an inspiration it became a love. I took alot of miss directed anger and insecurity and found a thing that became part of a life that drew out that part of me that I hid for so very long. I was inspired to become something I had never imagined would happen, a horseman (or horsewoman). Its funny how different things inspire us at times that are the most unusual.

This morning I was not inspired, I was - for a brief moment- very happy, then in the blink of an eye, I became very overwhelmed with anger. In the literal blink of an eye, a person I never met, turned my day inside out. Is that considered inspiration? I think on some level that's true. At some point of anger there has to be inspiration for that issue, thing, or person, to drive me to anger. Don't you think? So immediately my good morning turned to a morning full of inspiration - I have to say that I like inspiration much better than anger, don't you? So it began, like most things that inspire me, I am thrwarted to writing. So started my email (one I haven't sent yet) to an unknown character in the world. See this morning I was set on a course to defend my actions of allowing Lizzie to live with us but a family member who has never met me and, I'm sure, has only heard of me from other family members. And believe you me I was on the rampage but in an elegant way of words. I explained solely that who I was to this unknown person, from being a mother and wife to being a confident to my daughters, to being the one who pushes Lizzie to stay in contact with her family. And about the time I was ready to hit "send" I got a text message.
"Deuteronomy 4:31. Read it. Like now!" It was a message alert that Jennifer put on her facebook wall in the middle of the day. So out of sheer curiosity, I looked it up. "For the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will not abandon or destroy you, or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath." This book of the Bible I have never read! I mean parts and pieces and I know it has some of the story of Moses and the Isrealites, but I don't know much about this part of the Bible. So I read a little before to figure it out. And I believe it is the time when Moses was getting forgiveness for the Isrealites sin of creating a golden calf to idolize and he is reminding the people of the mercy of God because of a convenant that God had with their forefathers. Why was this inspiring? Well first of all it came at a moment when I was ready to tell the unknown person why the 'real' world wouldn't want to be come or having anything to do with Christians because of the actions of this person and her extended family - who are pronounced Christians. It came at a moment when I needed to be inspired by God, and He did a good job getting to me through my daughter, Jennifer, at high school, in the middle of the day. I was inspired, to know that God is merciful, and no matter what one person believes or says, He knows the heart of the matter. I was inspired by the drive of my daughter to be closer and closer to God and through that she drives me closer and closer. I was inspired to allow mistakes and show compassion for a convenant that was made with God when I was saved and He will stand by His convenant with me.

So I was inspired today, but not so much as I thought by the person unknown but by my child who has a heart for God and got to me through a text message. What inspires you? Do you know? And can you identify it daily? I'm getting better and learning that more inspires me daily than I think.

today- form of a 16 yr old high school junior

deuteronomy 4:31


Monday, August 9, 2010

Josh Wilson - Before the Morning

Truth or Dare Anyone!

Remember playing this game in middle school, maybe late elementary school, where someone says 'truth or dare' and everyone in the room gets the "uh-oh look" - well except the boys. So you and your friends would get together and someone would start with "truth or dare...Theresa" (I'll use my name since I'm writing-I figure its only fair). And inevitably, the first one was always truth, no one - again except the boys- wanted to accept the dare, truth seemed so much easier. So around the room you'd go, kind of like duck duck goose now that I think of it - truth truth DARE- finding out something about your friends that you never knew and then finding out that someone would do something so outrageously stupid you knew they would never Josh kissing Megan, or something crazy like that; and no matter how much embarrassment went on, it seemed like when you were together with a group of friends sooner or later truth or dare showed up too.
At almost 40 now (wow and yikes!) and in looking back at my adult life, its been a truth or dare game the whole way. At some point in my everyday life, I've had to play this teenage game, whether it is in my work or family life. And if you look closely at your life, you've been playing too. On a truth, I was fired from a job and on a dare I went to college late in life. On a dare, I sent my resume out hoping for someone to throw me a truth to get an interview. On a dare, I went out with a young man not knowing that I was going to be his wife. On a dare, we had and raised 3 children (if you don't think raising children is a dare-just wait). On a truth, I am a confident to my teenagers. On a dare, I try not to show the "OMG" on my face when they tell me stuff. On a dare, we took in a teenager girl, and on a truth our son convinced her that we are trustworth. On a dare, I am told stuff daily as a secret and on a truth I keep those close to my heart and hidden.

My spiritual life is truth or dare too (and so is yours). On a dare, I was asked to believe in something that I couldn't (and still can't see) and on a truth I was asked to have faith. On a dare, we were asked to accept something that was unbelievable, on a dare we are being asked to continue living, and on a truth we hope we are standing. The reason for this truth and dare game? I don't know, I am struggling with my spiritual truth and dare game. Trying to hold onto a belief it took 36 years for me to grasp onto. Wondering if its real this thing we call faith, wondering if God is real, and altho I 'know', sometimes I don't feel like a truth is being played right. About 3 weeks ago, I heard a song "Before the Morning?" The words are exactly the game of truth or dare... Truth of the song "Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you if there's a God who loves you where is He know?" Dare of the song " Would you dare, would you dare to believe that you have a reason to sing." Would you dare? I don't feel like playing truth or dare anymore. I don't feel like I have a truth to rely on - I know that there's a truth somewhere or at least I hope there is - because I need to live a truth and not a dare. So how do I find this to live on? How do I stop playing truth or dare and just play truth? 1 Peter 2:19-20 says "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God....But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." A couple of days ago, I found a promise - something that would cover my wondering if God was forgetting me or not. Maybe I found a truth this morning, unconsciously I was playing truth or dare, and got a truth.
So are you playing truth or dare? I am daily playing truth or dare, in my life life and my spiritual life, truth or dare is continuing. Would I dare to believe that in this suffering there is a truth that is coming? I'm trying to believe, and maybe I'm trying to hard, maybe this truth or dare game isn't suppose to be this hard. Maybe the dare that I'm in, like in 1Peter, is more commendable to God than I think? Maybe your dare is too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Deed to be Done!!

Remember being a kid and having chores to do at home, like dishes, trash, clean rooms and bathrooms, laundry day, etc? And like kids, we would delay, come up with excuses, find a way out of it, hunt for a way out of it (like homework), anything to avoid doing the chore! Tell the truth you know exactly what I'm talking about!!! Or how about homework where you'd get an assignment and you'd put it off until the night before it was due....ahh those were the days! Delay, delay delay!! Any excuse would work, and I do mean any excuse. I delay today to, now even as an adult, I delay work that could be done immediately for watching TV, riding a horse (sometimes), talking on the phone, playing on the computer, etc, etc, etc. I'm sure you do the same thing. I think all of us do, we just get tired of going from one thing to the next that when we get the change to not go to the next - we take every opportunity, or excuse, to not do it. So we delay, waiting until the very last minute to do the 'deed' that we have put off. For me, its usually when people are coming over, then it gets done.
My excuse lately has been reflective of those who didn't do things they were suppose to from the bible, I figure if they can do it well ... so can I. I mean that makes perfect, logical sense right??? Sure it does. Look at David he spent years yelling at God for foresaking him and David was mad for having to run and hide from Saul for years. So I'm good for yelling at God!! And Peter was not saint, he told Jesus he would die with Him and he would never deny Him. He delayed all those things. He outright denied Jesus, with no conviction, and he definitely (or as best as I can tell) out lived Jesus by many years. Ok so I'm good with denial and lying...whew! And look at the Isrealites, the complained to God to save them, then they were and then the delayed taking something that was theirs from God for 40 years!!! So, delaying is something that I'm definitely good with especially when a whole nation can do it for 40 yrs. Right? Maybe not........ David did a lot of yelling but he did just as much if not more praising of God during his trials. Do I do that? And Peter who was always messing up, became a rock foundation for Jesus's church. Am I part of that? And the Isrealites when you really look at them were a bunch of idiots. I mean really, 40yrs! But in the midst of these thousands of people God saved, 2 men, Caleb and Joshua, did not want to delay, they didn't see an obstacle but a promised home. Do I see that?
David spent days, sometimes weeks, without food talking to God and while yelling at Him, David found soltice and comfort in praise afterwards. And Peter, although the regular, in general screw up, gave everything he believed in to becoming something he didn't believe he could ever be, a foundation. Joshua and Caleb were the only 2 Isrealites from Egypt to see the promised land. So what deed need to be done? One of accepting forgiveness, one of becoming a foundation, and one of not delaying. I think Caleb and Joshua had it all figured out, " not be afraid....the Lord is with us.." (Num 14:9) I keep wondering if He is, maybe I need to stop wondering, stop worrying, and stop delaying. Maybe you do to.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thanks...but for What?

I was brought up to say 'thank you' for just about everything or 'sorry' if there was a problem that may have been caused by me...even tho in my head the sorry probably meant nothing, and the thank you became just words. What's funny is I raised my children to say 'thank you' too (dropped the sorry unless it was warranted) and they learned to say thank you very early in life for receiving something or having something done for them. And like good, well trained children they say thank you correctly with no prompting and sometimes they say thank you with a hint of sarcasism leaking out of their teenage mouths...not my favorite but most of the time in fun. So just like me, they learned to give thanks for whatever it is they got or asked for or didn't ask for but just received; probably not unlike you.
But in my life of growing up we were never taught to give thanks to God for anything, except the perverbial "thank God for....." but I don't know if that really counts, its not exactly a thank you. So, like my life, I didn't teach our children to give thanks for much to God either....not a big deal, right???? The only reason I bring this up, not because I want to, but mostly because I need to get it off my chest (so to speak), the way that I feel about giving thanks, especially lately. I know, I mean I KNOW, that God created, gave life to, and timed everything in this world - believe it or not its true (something I had a hard time getting to peace with in my journey to being a believer). And I know that I should give thanks for a lot of things, like my husband who I was fortunate and blessed to have met 19 yrs ago, and my children, and my home, and on and on and on. But truly, I don't, I mean given the facts of things, I really don't thank God for many things and mean them, not really, and looking back (figuratively of course) I can't remember when I thanked God for just the stuff.
This weekend I heard a message about giving thanks...first...before you receive the blessing or request. Well you can imagine how that settled, I don't thank afterwards why would I thank before and for what? The message was about 2 Chron 20 where Judah & Jerusalem had to fight 3 nations that were coming against them, and in the midst of their concern they were told to have faith. And they did. They sent out people singing and giving thanks to God before the war, that God was going to deliver them...well that just doesn't make sense!!! I mean really to the simple mind (the one in my head) that just doesn't click. So I heard it, dwelled on it for a little while (like a couple hrs) and then - fump- out of the mind it went. Until this morning when I was reading and the passage was about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. John 11:41 says "...Father I thank you for you have heard me.." Then he called Lazarus from the dead. I never read this before, not read, read it. And, even my little book calls this a 'very strange and unusual order....the thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection. I thought that the thanksgiving would hav risen when the great deed had been wrought...." Well that makes perfect sense to me!!! How about you??? I mean you ask for something, and when it comes, you say 'thank you', makes perfect sense. So why did Judah & Jerusalem thank first? Why did Jesus say thank you first? What did I miss here??? (And don't play coy you're wondering the same thing too, you're just afraid to say it!!!) Well apparently, I missed alot. I never have thanked God for the miracle of my children. Never thanked Him for the life He gave me of 18yrs with Kaleb, 16yrs with Jennifer or 14yrs with Sydney, not before or after or even now. And I think that's what I'm missing, not that this little insight unwinds my brain or covers my pain but it is what I missed. So this morning, with tears and stuttering, I thanked God for 18yrs of Kaleb's life, for his smile and way. It didn't make me less angry or more strong but it made me realize that I am sitting here waiting for a 'big' something, when its not always even big, like a resurrection or winning a war. Most of the time, the thanks has to be first just for waking up and being part of lives that I have the power to shape, encourage, destroy, or enlighten.
Thanks, for what? Thank you for this morning to see Jennifer and Sydney grow up to wonderful young women. Thank you for the friends that don't have to be friends. Thank you for the husband that goes to work every day and loves me for me and not some unexpected wife. Thank you for allowing me to be a mom to children who don't know the meaning of the word 'mom' and those who have grown up without a mom. Thank you for bringing those blessings to my life without asking for them, without seeking them out, and without knowing that they were something given.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mountains or Palms

When I was growing up my mom used to take me places that I didn't really like to go, as I'm sure your parents did too. My most unfavorite was the 'friends' house...usually a friend of my mom's who was older and had no other children to play with, so my brother and I would have to sit quietly and nothing. Sounds like great fun for 2 kids huh?! There were other places too, like the 2nd hand stores, and to the grocery store to use food stamps, not the highlights of a yount teenagers life in a small town. And while I was in that moment, they were embarrassing, non-fun, and caused anxiety. Now understand that I was not raised with rose colored glasses on, we were poor. My mom worked sometimes 3 jobs and we lived in a 2 room trailer in town, and drove a car that barely ran when it was suppose to and mostof the time without heat in the winter (in Northern Michigan). I knew that and I knew that my mom did everything she could to make our lives sufficient and as good as she could, that didn't change the fact that I was - internally- embarrassed. Unlike most of my friends, I started working at 15, the earliest possible time, to help with food and to buy my own things. And thats when my independence started, my ability to do things and work for things very hard, and .... among many other things...not ask for help. Ahh the joys of independence!!!
I've gone thru my whole life basically independent, even while married, I never really asked for 'help' in many things or situations; you can imagine the stress that has on a marriage. And lately I have been attempting to fall back on 'me' to handle and deal with the anxiety of the loss of our son, and like most things, it has not been pretty. I have been walking thru this life, lately, without direction or without knowing any direction and holding back just a little part of me in everything I do. That holding back is one of many things you learn when you grow up to early. the other part of me is just doing as much as possible and not asking for help, the part of me that is just actively trying to prove that I'm getting along, something you learn when you grow up without 'things'. And for the most part, I am surviving, but that's about it just surviving. I avoid things that I don't know what to do about, and I restrain from giving all my heart to something to avoid hurt. Yet all month I have been faced with words in a book that speak of my heart, I hear songs (both secular and spiritual) that are more than just songs but mean something to me. And everything is directing me even tho I resist. This morning I read Isa 49:11 "I will make my mountains my way." (I believe that is the King James version). And truthfully I didn't like this passage, not one bit. Because this one sentence didn't say anything except "suck it up". Really that's what it said to me this morning, and I didn't like it. Then I opened Isa 49 and read the passage before and after verse 11. From verse 9-26 it is about the restoration of Isreal. The verses before 11 talk about the time of God's favor, the time when He will answer all things and the day of salvation. How He will keep His people and they will walk beside the road and find everything they need. How His people will come out of every direction, north, south, east and west. And how, even when He is rescuing His people - a forgotten land will cry out how they were forsaken by Him. And He answered "...I will not forget you. See I have engraved you in the plams of my hands..." This is what spoke to me today; verse 11, alone, just brought to me that God in all His ability made mountains that are, right now unsurpassable. But together, I see that God is talking about salvation thru Christ and the mountains are going to be made easy passage. Still not much meaning to me, not really. But I relate to Zion, the forgotten/foresaken land. When they cried out that God has forgotten them. I don't know much about Zion except that it seems like they were believers, or Jewish, and had just not followed all the rules and they felt as tho God had foresaken them. I don't know but I can guess that Zion did their own thing; took on things independently, without asking for help; again just a guess. And in the time of salvation, they felt as tho God had forgotten them truly. That's the way I feel, and I think that's the way Lee and my friends feel too. That we have been forgotten; left to go on in life without the hope of restoration or fulfillment. So, probably like Zion (again a guess), our hearts are hardened and our emotions are tacked to our sleeves, and we go about it independently, feeling forsaken and forgotten. Then in verse 15 & 16 God answers Zion by saying "I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.." In this verse and the rest of the chapter God tells Zion of all the things He has in store for them......but not when they will get those things, just that they are there.
I don't know all of God's promises, people keep telling me there are hundreds of them throughout the bible, but I think I found one. This one "I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." Maybe that's all I'm suppose to know, this one promise - maybe that's all that is needed to be known and it doesn't matter if I am going on with my life independently, He know and He hasn't forgotten me, and I am engraved on His palms.