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Friday, April 30, 2010

All my brains

I dropped my son off at preschool today and his teacher told me a funny story. She said Caleb drew a picture of me with all of these circles around my head. When asked what the circles were, he said " All mommy's brains." She said " What does she need those for?" He replied "because she has to think of everything!"
That pretty much sums it up. Working, writing, church, etc. is making feel like I'm running in all different directions. I guess I need a few more "brains" to keep it all straight!
I'm sure you all have felt that way at one time or another. I obviously have as well. One thing I do to help keep it all straight is make a mental list of the things I need to accomplish.Iwork on them until they are done. If I can't get it to all, I make a written list, and file it away until the next day. It helps when it is out of my "brain"  and onto paper, so I don't have to expend energy thinking about it.  That helps me a lot.
But, I could use a few more "brains".......

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Harassed and Helpless

At 3 am this morning, I heard a desperate cry coming from the bathroom. It was my daughter, Leah, who was sick to her stomach. I'm sure any mother's heart who is reading this goes out to her. I know mine did, even though cleaning it up turns my own stomach. The reason why I felt for her because her cry told me exactly how she was feeling:alone, scared, unsure about what was coming next.
I'm sure that is how Jesus felt about those He saw around him during His ministry. " ... they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Why don't we feel the same way about the people around us? Why don't we stop pointing a finger and start hearing their desperate cries for help?
My daughter was harassed and helpless last night. The people around us are too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salt and Light

I have been reflecting on the verse "salt and light" in the wake of the Jennifer Knapp
"scandal" plastered all over the news right now.  The pastor that wrote about her in his blog, talked about being called to be salt and light into her and others' lives.  I'm not sure how I feel about how he is using that verse. I have been taught that it means to turn darkness into light, but I  have been wondering, isn't salt supposed to enhance the flavor of what is already present? The salt is not called to turn the steak into chicken, but rather make the steak more flavorful, to bring out the best in it. So, in the case of Jennifer Knapp, how is he bringing out the best in her? In the same way,  light is illuminating what is already darkened, not changing the environment that it is brightening up. So, when we are called in Matthew to be salt and light, I think it means to bring out the best in others around you.
How are you being salt and light to those around you?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Change the world

I am a rocker girl at heart. So, i was just shocked as anyone when I downloaded my first country song, change, by Carrie Underwood. She performed it beautifully on Idol Gives Back and it is a plea to ignore the naysayers of the world and believe that you can make a difference in the world. I thought about it a lot as I was listening, just how much I am impacting my world, simply by being a day care teacher, a church goer, a Christian.
It is important for me to always remember how I am coming across to other, especially to the unsaved. For example, one of my parents in my classroom is an atheist, and has been vocal about not mentioning god at all in the teaching or curriculum. The handbook states that I have a right to share my belief publicly, but do I?
I could be a pain and exercise my right, but will that further the Gospel message, either in his life, or in the life of his child. The most powerful thing I can do is bow my head and say a prayer for her whenever i think of her. I suppose it is the most powerful thing any of us can do.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blow the candles out on your pity party cake

"Hope might seem impossible when suffering has occurred. But, suffering makes a worthy advocate. Those who have gone through pain have the power to speak and act, so that others listen."
I was at my writers;' group on Thurs. night and someone gave this quote to a friend of mine. She is a daughter of divorce and is writing a book on how to survive and work through the pain of divorce. She was encouraged by these words, and I hope you are, too. I am as well. 
I have experienced a lot of pain in my life, and in the midst of it all, it was easy for me to throw a pity party and blame God, wondering  why he wasn't blessing me "after all I had done for Him". It took me a long time to blow out the candles out  on my pity party cake and realize that God had already done enough for me. He didn't owe me anything. In fact, I owed Him, and the debt was more than I could possibly repay. 
One way I could redeem my own pain was to redeem others; pain.  Be the blessing, in other words.
Sometimes I focus too much on the correction,and not enough on the encouragement. 
I have seen more fruit in my life when I changed my perspective and saw how much I had, rather than what I didn't, what I had gained rather than lost,  what He had already done, rather than what I wanted Him to do. I pray the same for you as well. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Life Support

I had a conversation with a friend of mine last night, and it makes me think and question about the role of relationship in the church. We both had commented that we would love to see a " woman if wisdom" come into our lives and speak life into it. As I was reflecting on my life as a Christian, I have had no one who has been an undying support to me and my ministry. I am wondering why that is. Titus 2: 3-5 speaks a lot about the role of the older women teaching the younger women.  I would love to see that model in every Christian church.
Do you have a woman who is your " life support?", that speaks into your life and encourages (and challenges you) to be a better woman?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

John's Pain

John was an incredible man. Not just as one of Jesus’ disciples, but for the fact that he chose to pass on the tradition that he learned from Jesus. Think about it. He learned from the best mentor he could ever have as far as how to become a disciple. He saw everything, and he took the good with the bad. With the privilege of  being with Jesus and learning  everything from him, he also saw the pain and grief  Jesus experienced from rejection.  In the previous chapter, I talked a little about John’s willingness to witness the gut wrenching event of Jesus’ crucifixion. In every account,  we see the pain and feel the sorrow of every labored breath and stream of blood.  And rightfully so.  It is his gospel.  But, there is a lot the Bible doesn’t talk about and a lot of perspectives we don’t see. For example, why doesn’t  John talk  about his own pain?  I can’t imagine what John must have been  feeling to watch his  best friend  brutally beaten and battered to the point of being barely recognizable.  When Jesus says “ Dear woman,  this is your son”, John knew what was coming. He knew the end is near.  In that culture, as in our today, it was customary to make arrangements to take care of what and whom we love.  Jesus was entrusting his mother to John’s care because he knew he could take care of her . And he did. Most scholars assert that John took Mary to live out the rest of her days in Ephesus.  He couldn’t just say he was a disciple. Jesus had just given him a great responsibility that he could not take for granted. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fighting Against the Grain

I feel like a fish swimming upstream.
Going against the grain.
Feeling diffrently, believing differently, trying to act differently.
 It is too much at times.
The water I swallow is consuming at times.
Doing what is right.
For others.
I know how Jesus felt when his own disciples left him at the cross.
How His heart must have grieved.
For them.
For His pain.
For his loneliness.
For our salvation.
The longing for relationship outweighed all that.
The burden of reconciliation changed all that.
The duty of righteousness pursued all that.
The pain and agony turned into joy.
And hope.
Because He fought against the grain.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Locked in a cage

I was watching tv the other day and a security system commercial came on. It was a very scary one, having a burglar break into a home in broad daylight! It makes me feel like i am locked in a cage.
But, it is like that in my spiritual life as well. Sometimes I feel locked in a cage,. not knowing which side to stand on, being in the middle of others' theological beliefs. Having a firm knowledge in the Word, yet questioning its practical applications for my life. The older I get, the less I know. The less I know, the more I rely on my Savior to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I am a troublemaker

I am a troublemaker.
 I shake things up.
I wake people up.
I make people see where their hearts lie.
According to JR Woodward, a classmate of my husband's, there are 5 " equippers" that are a part of any church, one of which is the prophet.
"They are basically the conscience of the church. They help us come into the presence if God and lead us to fight for justice on behalf of the oppressed. They question the status quo and lay our hearts bare before the living God. prophets disrupt our lives for the good of the Kingdom and they are easily despised."
I am she.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't confuse Christian with American 2

I've been having some difficulty with the symbolism surrounding this " tea party" movement. I've seen some of the banners, posters, etc. associated with it, and frankly, it concerns me greatly.  I hope I am not the only one.  For those who have not seen it, it is the picture of a serpent  and the tagline reads " Don't tread on me."  For one, I have trouble with any symbol that is associated with the devil in Genesis. But ,more so, do we not realize what we are doing with that statement. We have just alienated half of the unbelieving world with that statement. Anyone who is even close to seeking Christ will get scared off to the gospel through that statement. It is basically saying: " If you son believe how I believe, you are not welcome in my fellowship."  If Jesus is looking to come back soon, he might be too scared to take the first step.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't confuse Christian with American

" Do not confuse Christian for American.."  A.W. Tozer said this back in the 50s about America's habit of mixing American patriotism for Christian belief.  Although this was written in the 50s, we are still mixed up in this today.  Many Christians today link Christian with Republican Party. Although they do take a stand on many moral issues, Jesus was not one for taking stock on relying on government to legislate morality. In fact, he rebuked John for treating a city so harshly for not welcoming him.  Yet, if the government isn't doing things how we want them done, we treat in the same way John treated that city.  Isn't reliance on anything but Christ a " little god?"
Furthermore, what do we do when the government doesn't do what we think is right, do we pray for them? Fast for them? Treat them with the same Christlikeness we claim we possess?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I am a mess 2

I am a mess and still continue to be a mess. No matter how hard I try to be better, a thought, or a judgment pops into my head and I have to start
Will there ever be a time when I am who I want to be?
When I have reached all goals, and attained all of the character God wants from me?
When I look at everyone with the eyes of Jesus and not my own?
When I love unconditionally, live graciously and forgive easily?
I suppose that time will come one day.
That day is the day I see Jesus face to face.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am a mess

I do what I don't want to do, and I don't do what I should do.
I don't love as I should.
I want to quit when things get tough, and I don't give all of myself to others.

I am a mess.

And I am ok with that.

Because no matter how messy I become, I know there is one greater than me who can clean me up.
Someone whose thongs I would also be unworthy to tie.
And He's ok with me, too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's all about percpective

I was watching the show Undercover boss last night and it was interesting to see how the brothers,who are owners of 1-800-flowers, view their partnership. One brother said " He needs to be reminded that I am his partner in this company." The other brother said " He needs to be reminded that I am his boss." Throughout the show, they also mentioned that they are competitive, and that they like to be compete to see who is the best in the business.
It is an interesting perspective, and both need a wake-up call.
Isn't it the same in life? Aren't all our situations based on perspective? Did the situation really happen the way you thought it did, or maybe, just maybe, your perspective was a bit out of focus? If you looked at the situation differently, would you be mad at that person anymore? End that friendship? Leave that relationship?
What is the truth behind your situation? What is your perception?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Article Follow Up

I'm repeating my blog entry " I just couldn't let Him Go", for those of you who want to know which article the editor wanted to publish. Enjoy!

                                I Just Couldn’t Let Him Go
I walked onto the red stained deck of my workplace and was immediately greeted by the laughter of thirty energetic kindergarteners  and thought it was going to be an ordinary day.   I entered the adjacent playground and locked eyes with one of our “problem kids.”
This was no ordinary day.
 Upon hearing me discipline him for misuse of the facilities,  he screamed  “Shut Up! I don’t care” and scurried to the corner of the slide. I had heard this broken record so many times, but today enough was enough. I  leaned over  and met his stare. I firmly stated “ I don’t want you to say ‘shut up’ to me anymore.” Before I could even say another word, he hurled a handful of  woodchips at my face, one of which almost landed in my eye!
  I’d seen this episode played out a million times. Same story. Same ending. Until today. 
In that moment, I had a choice to make. I could either  allow this behavior to continue  or I could change it. So I did.
Crossing his arms in front of him, I firmly and quickly escorted  him to the edge of the fence.  He kicked me, screamed “ You freak!” and tried to break free. With mud- caked pants and bruised legs, I continued to hold onto him. 
I looked at him, and  I immediately realized the reason for my restraint.  I saw right past his tear –filled eyes into his soul. I saw fight after fight that he has endured and the fear that comes with family instability. I saw the baggage and self- rejection that was all too familiar.  I saw a scared little boy, grasping for whatever attention he can muster out of anyone who will take a moment to care. Most importantly, I looked beyond him and saw an all too familiar face: mine.
            It is the same in my relationship with Christ.  When I am in sin, I struggle and try to break free from God’s convicting grip on my heart. In His loving grace and mercy, He never  loosens His grip. “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined ( and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it.”( Hebrews 12:7-12 NIV).
In the face of my sin, I wriggle and squirm , hoping for an opportunity to run away and hide. God releases me, for a short time, to allow me room to breathe in my free will. When I come running back,  His tight grip turns into a loving embrace,  full of love and grace. I am so happy God has never loosened His grip on me completely, no matter how hard I struggle.  I’m also glad that when I return to Him, looking for those arms of grace, ( and I will need them again),  I am assured that they will be waiting there for me once again.
  I couldn’t let him go. Because I may be the only Jesus this child ever sees.
I patiently waited as he slowly regained his composure . When he was calm, I let him go.  I had done all that I could do for him in that moment. It was time to let him go. I loosened my grip, and released him. I not only released him from my grip, but also into the heavenly Father’s care so that God could do only what He could do with him.
I thought it was an ordinary day. But, instead I taught a little boy about the unending and unflinching grace of Jesus. All because I just couldn’t let him go. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Close but no cigar

So, I got a very encouraging e-mail from the editor of Fullfill Magazine. I had sent them an article for publication back in December. When I didn't hear from then for my rewrite, I figured it was over and the matter was settled. Yesterday I heard from them saying they want to use it i their magazine, but don't have the venue for it this year. But, she encouraged me to find another magazine ( perhaps MOPS or mothers of preschoolers) to publish it. Whenever I think a matter is done on something, God reopens the door. If anyone out there has any advice on where I could submit it, let me know!
Also, i just registered for a conference in July where I can sit with a publisher for the book. Wish me luck.....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One person can make or break your day

One person can make or break your day.  For example, yesterday I was having a tough day, feeling beaten down and discouraged. Then, I started my job again at the day care I used to work in two years ago. The minute I saw my old coworker, my whole attitude changed. I felt like i was home. We caught up on old times and she made me laugh, and soon I had forgotten about my previously sour outlook on life.
On the other hand, a rude boss or troubles at home can change a whole attitude for the worse.
So, which one are you, in the workplace, your home, your church? Are you the one who makes people feel like they are home, or are you the one who puts the lemons in the sweetened tea?

Monday, April 5, 2010

the Hamster on the Hamster Wheel

Do you ever feel like a hamster in the hamster wheel? I know when life gets busy, I can feel like a hamster on the wheel of life, ever running but not ever seeming to get anywhere.  It is in the life of the church.  In every church in which I have ever served, there seems to be the same conflicts, same nitpicking, same life attitudes. I always think the next church is going to be better, but I just keep going in the same circle.  The question that always remains is, how do I turn the circle into something more productive, like a straight line, where when I start at point A, I reach my destination at point B?
Sometimes my attitude towards these thing is also circular, same reaction to the same situation. Perhaps if I change my reaction to these things, perhaps the church will somehow change too?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Because I said so

" Because I said so!" I find myself saying that a lot to my children when they question why they have to do something.  Sometimes I don't have an answer to why they have to, or I don't feel like explaining it to them, so I use that as my reason. But, when is the last time you did something simply because " you said so?" Or, because God "said so"?
God says a lot of things in the bible, and does a lot of things,  and I don't know why he does or says them. but, I promised to follow Him, and the things that are muddy or unclear, I'm trusting God will make them clear at some point.

When is the last time you followed through with a commitment, even when it got tough, simply said because you said you would?