Inauguration

My friend said it eloquently on Sunday morning. I will try to get it right.

She basically indicated that studies show that more born again believers are likely to be Republican than Democrat. She went on to point out that when the Democrats we know express that they are concerned or afraid about the incoming POTUS, that they are very serious. And as they are likely not Christians, then they have no way to process their fear; no one in whom to place their hope. Therefore, those Christians who encounter comments about fear of the future under the new administration should be attempting to comfort these people. Too often, it is about fixing their political viewpoint instead of addressing their pain.

As I said, this friend was very eloquent in her presentation of the plight of those suffering from fallout fear. She made a good point that I hope will be heeded.

It is hard to say what will trigger fear for people; you know what triggers yours, I know what triggers mine. And we know what triggered it for a vast number of our population this year. Perhaps the more basic issue is that this population has no way of moving through the fear to a better conclusion. Unfortunately, it demonstrates itself as mean and hurtful backlash toward those who could be a real help to them. And it is true that those who could minister to the root cause of their fear are too focused on the symptom rather than understanding the cause and presenting the cure.

As we move through the coming days, perhaps you will encounter people who fear the new administration and reflect that by their own brand of meanness. This is an opportunity to address a basic heart need, rather than to engage in political dialogue. We all know that no matter what administration is in place, there is a great deal of uncertainty to living on this earth. The point is to look through the uncertainty to the One who never changes; who offers a stable future.

Christian friend, when you encounter the fear, if you don’t have time to engage in dialogue about the heart issue, then please don’t engage. If you have time, engage in love and perhaps even via instant messenger or, better, in person and in private. Draw the person into a discussion about their fear. You have an opportunity to shine God’s love that casts out all fear.

To my Christian friends who are of the Democrat persuasion . . . Please don’t be a fear monger. When your friends display their fear, you are in a prime position to diffuse that fear for them. Instead of agreeing, present Jesus and how He is the only safe administration. Instead of starting or joining a rant, or posting a meme that would increase the fear or anger, choose instead to display God’s great love and how He will never leave us. Reaching peoples’ hearts is not this easy; but hindering the flow of fear has to start somewhere. What a blessing it would be if you were the one to guide your friends into real and lasting Peace. And it can be as easy and as gentle as this.

Rest assured, Christian Republicans are not fearless. Christians in general understand that Satan is in the rant, the anger, and the fear. And he wants to perpetuate it for his own purposes and glory. While not fearless, we are not without Hope. We know the character of the One whom we believe, and we know that He is able to guard us.

Be the whisper that will share the love of God that forces fear to leave.

 

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Moving Mom

Well, this has been a week-and-a-year-and-a-half!

That is to say, we’ve crammed a lot of living into the past ten days! On the 19th of the month, I flew to Florida to begin my portion of helping my mother prepare to move. She had put her house on the market on September 22, just before Hurricane Matthew.  She accepted an offer just days after the hurricane blew out of Florida.

During my weekend there, we boxed and dumped and shifted and cleaned. We picked up my youngest daughter from the local airport to help us box and dump and shift and clean some more. On Sunday, we picked up my husband from Orlando airport and had a somewhat relaxing evening.

Monday, we packed up a 26 foot super-mover, locked the doors, and rolled out. We put about 3 hours on the road and stopped for the night. Tuesday, we arrived in Rock Hill, South Carolina to spend our Thanksgiving with my oldest daughter. Friday, my husband took that super-mover and headed out to Indiana to deliver my sister’s belongings to her.

On Saturday morning (3:00 a.m.!) my mother and I drove my youngest daughter to the Charlotte airport so that she could return to Albuquerque. From there, we continued north, destination–Wellsville, New York. Also Saturday morning, my husband started rolling again across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and part of New York to bring the truck to our funeral home in Wellsville where Mom’s belongings would be unloaded. The truck arrived from the west at about 5 pm. Mom and I arrived from the south at about 6 pm. Later, leaving the unloading for Sunday, my husband and I drove to Rochester to pick up his van (left from where he drove himself to the airport for the flight to Orlando.) We arrived home around 11:00 pm.

Sunday, we went to church and after services FOURTEEN people came to help us unload the truck. We then returned the truck to the rental location in Alfred and went home for some lunch! Amid all this living, my mom contracted an upper respiratory infection, which was diagnosed after a walk-in visit to the clinic today.

So much living! It was incredible! Before all of this, I had been praying in particular about that 26-foot Super Mover. I know that my husband is perfectly comfortable driving it; he is, after all, used to driving a school bus. However, if he were called away, I knew I would be the most likely candidate to take over the driving of that monster. I had a great fear about it. But my prayer was that if God wanted me to drive it, that he would remove the fear and be my ever present Help! I am so thankful that it was not His plan that I drive that truck!

I am also thankful for His watch care over us. For the vehicle that I was driving, I am only aware of one lapse in good driving. We always tell our kids to “watch out for the other guy.” On Saturday, I was that “other guy” but God intervened and kept all parties safe.

I am thankful for family. We had a sweet holiday in South Carolina….and I have to say that I am thankful for friends of the family. These friends opened their home to us, even in their absence, and allowed us to stay there for four nights.

I am thankful for eternal family. We rolled into Wellsville too spent to unload the vehicle. But on Sunday, after services, people from our church were right there to help us with this leg of the project. In about 45 minutes, the work was done and they were on their way. It was a tornado of love in action.

Now, as the Christmas season grows nearer, Mom is here with us and we are settling in to enjoy the time together. Seventeen hundred miles for my husband; 1,000 miles for me. Round trip safe and sound.

I am profoundly grateful for how God loves and protects…

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Gratitude

We’ve been there for months, wallowing in pre-election day media, opinions, moanings, and groanings. The “Breaking News” on social media has continued ad nauseam and I am just ready to cross over the November 8 threshold. This is the eve of a momentous day for our country. As the events crescendo toward the final result of all the campaigning and campaign spending I am stepping back to offer my gratitude.

I am thankful for the United States of America. Though I have not traveled much outside our borders, I view our country as truly unique among nations. We do, in fact, have a heritage of a godly foundation. God has guided our country and we have enjoyed unparalleled spiritual freedom, economic freedom, and individual freedom.There is no country on earth simultaneously loved and hated for all the same characteristics, depending on how those characteristics inspire or offend the beholder.

I offer my gratitude to God for His obvious care of our country through many wars and many conflicts. I believe that as we have “been on His side” He has been on ours. I truly believe that we will never fully comprehend all that done for us as a nation and as citizens of that nation.

I offer my gratitude to God that everything does not depend upon this nation. No matter which party is the victor tomorrow, I believe that we are in a “this changes everything” moment in the United States. But that doesn’t have to drive me into a panic or into euphoria. Life is not about this moment.

I am thankful that “life” in its fullest and most rich sense is not driven by the events, emotions, or reality of walking this earth. True life springs from the heart of our loving God in heaven.

I am wondering how you, my reader, are invested in the politics of our day. How many view one of these candidates as the one who will make everything right in your world? For everyone who holds this hope, I know that each and every one will be disappointed. There is only One Person who in whom we can invest that much hope and he is not a USPOTUS candidate. Only Jesus can see us through the political issues, through the unfair class separation of the masses, through the traumatic pains of injury and disease, through the chronic trials of being earth bound.

While we are in a “this changes everything” moment, the truth is that Jesus never changes. He is always with us, He will always help us, He will always love us…those who have placed their hope in Him. For this I am most thankful–that He never changes and that He still waits for each one to come to Him.

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Standing with Infants

I have never confessed this before in public.

I’m deeply ashamed of it; therefore, it is not something that I talk about. I’ve shared it with my husband, but that’s about the extent of my openness thus far.

In the late 1970’s, when I was in high school, there was a particularly horrible genre of “jokes” about babies floating around our area. I participated in propagating these cruel non-witticisms with a fellow classmate. It seemed benign at the time and I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought (obviously.)  Sadly, today I just cannot fathom how I would ever think this quasi-repartee would even be acceptable; and, thankfully, I cannot remember any of them today.

In July, 1987 I had our first child, Caleb. In August, 1987 — just six weeks into his earthly journey — we buried him. He died of SIDS early one morning. During this time, the horror of my attitude and actions in high school came full circle. What an understatement to say that the things that came from my mouth were truly atrocious. In this season of my life, while grieving the loss of our son, I was also mourning the words that I had flung out so callously just a few short years prior.

These are two events in my life, along with what I have learn

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Our Family in 2014

ed from God’s Word, that have helped to shape my beliefs.  We went on to raise four beautiful babies into adulthood and I am so thankful for each of them. I remember the days of hugs, snuggling, growing, loving. I cherish the memories that I have of our baby-days and I play those memories often.

And now, we are in the midst of a presidential election season. The questions are always “Who?” questions. Who is better qualified? Who is more responsible? Who are you voting for? Who is the less evil?

My question is this: Who needs my vote the most? I believe the person who needs my vote the most is the infant among us. I will be standing in the gap for the unborn of our nation.

Only one candidate indicates a concer
n about the unborn. I know what you’re thinking. “He’s only saying that to get the votes. He’ll change once he’s in office.” You don’t know that. I don’t know that. Only God knows what he will do once he has the prize. But I do know that he at least has the concern; he has not blatantly turned his back on our babies; he at least says he believes these little ones have the fundamental right of life. And he is willing to go on record as being a man who will stand up for these not-yet-citizens who have no voice of their own — even though this stand will cost him votes in the long run.

I just know you’re dying to ask … “So how can you vote for someone who disrespects women and calls them names?”

Any self-respecting woman who is in business, media, or politics knows that what people say about her is only what people say–just words. Everyone, man or woman, who steps into community or national awareness via television, public office, arts, music, journalism (and even this forum, blogging) knows that it is only a matter of time before someone takes pot shots at them. I don’t excuse the comments that were made; they were unfortunate. I, just like everyone I know, desire that every presidential candidate be Presidential in speech and actions.

So now what is the response? Are we going to whine to one another about what we’ve heard? Are we women going to band together and shout “Unfair! Unfair!” Are we going to retaliate with our own brand of degrading talk? Are we going to get our ultimate justice by not voting for him?

Or will we step back and look at the issues and compare them to the heart of God?

Children are a gift from Him – Psalm 127:3; killing is forbidden – Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17, Matthew 19:18.

Personally, I am going to pursue James 1:27 – Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. The unwanted unborn among us are the essence of “orphans in distress.” Who will care for them? Who will stand up for them?

I believe I will take even the name-calling if it comes down to saving babies.

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Three Steps to Righting Your World When Your Worldview is Rocked

Teaching a women’s Sunday School class is an experience. In my case, it’s a great experience. What I find is that the women generally teach one another. I can bring material for the lesson, but the insights and application flow from one woman to the next with comfortable ease and biblical accuracy.

As the “teacher” who gets to sit at the very end of the table, I have a great vantage point. Once in a while, I will see a surprised look, or that “light bulb” moment, or a gentle tear making its journey down a cheek from a pierced heart. Occasionally, though a topic comes up that is quite surprising in the outcome. And almost never do I hear something like “I just can’t get my head around that . . . ” And when I did hear it, I had to ask for more information because I couldn’t distill the message she was trying to convey.

The content of the study apparently just tilted on its head the worldview of one of my dear friends. For which I was totally unprepared. So as I’ve thought about this situation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have to have all the answers. Even as the “teacher” — I don’t have to have all the answers. And I have decided that I don’t want to have all the answers.

If I could give this dear one the answers that she is seeking on this issue, what would be the benefit for her? Where would be her struggle for understanding? Where would be her determination to own the conviction? Where would be her walk with God (or wrestle with Him) toward growth?

But I did determine that I can give her this:

Three Steps to Righting Your World When Your Worldview is Rocked . . .

Step Back – Look at the belief objectively. Where did you learn it? How did it develop to what it is today? How is it playing itself out in your actions and attitudes?

Step Up -Take the belief apart piece by piece. Step up and do the research and study required to understand what the Bible says about what you are thinking. Discuss it with godly friends, get wise counsel. Figure it out for yourself, for your heart, for your growth.

Step Down – Way down, all the way to your knees. Make it a matter of daily prayer. As you talk it through with God, ask Him to settle it in your heart. Ask Him to show you what needs to change, if anything, in your quest for a truth based belief system. Ask Him how to live what you have learned.

These are three steps and they take up very little space on this page. But they are hard steps. It is hard to say where they will actually take you as you journey through the issue at hand. But in the end, you will come out of your darkened corridor into glorious light.

Step In – I know, I do that all the time. I have a hard time limiting myself to the number that I start out with. I think I just like to give a “little extra.”  Any way, step in … Step in the light. Walk joyfully in the knowledge that you have worked through the issue with God Himself to see His heart on the matter. Walk in joy; walk in freedom.

Eliza Hewitt said it beautifully: How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light, How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, Led in paths of light.

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The Shepherd Knows . . .

For me, going to a women’s event is a mixed bag. I look forward to the speaker but I am usually concerned that I will get disappointed once she has actually taken the stage. Or I will be disappointed by something before she even has a chance to take the stage. Or I will just be in a disappointed frame of mind before I even have a chance to see the stage.

Fun events, for me, are times when I have to guard myself very closely. I anticipate them so much that I find that I sabotage the event before it has an opportunity to unfold. It’s as if I expect disappointment, so I just set it in motion to get it over with. Have you been there, done that?

Well, I worked very hard on that this weekend. The car I was driving on Friday started playing games with me by not starting after I exited the mall (in which I had only been for an hour.) It proceeded to stall a second time, in the middle of traffic. And it was hot… BLIMEY, was it hot! But, I refused to plummet. Instead, the car was put to rights, temporarily. And I rented a car for the rest of the day. I was sure that an evil minion was afoot but I was not going to miss the first night of the “Loved Back to Life” conference in Melbourne, FL.

I went to the event with my mother…who I think wanted to go, anyway, but didn’t have a choice once she knew that I wanted to mom-9-16-2016go! Yes, drag your family with you when you go to these things. You never know how God will speak to their hearts too.

Well, Sheila Walsh took the stage after some appropriate lighthearted greetings, some worship music, and prayer. I didn’t know much of anything about her, but the real surprise, was the lovely lilting Scottish brogue that flowed so freely from her. It was music to my ears.

Then she shared some of her story (more would come in the two Saturday sessions.) And she had great things to say … “Guilt says that I have done something wrong. Shame says that I am something wrong.” “It’s not about us getting it right; it’s about Jesus making us right.”

And one of the great ones: “I am not the good news.” Isn’t that simple? Do you get a sense of freedom from that? Jesus is the good news. It’s all, all, all about Him. I don’t have to live a perfect life; I don’t have to “get my act together.” It. is. not. about. me. It is all about Him. And He loves each one of us and wants each one of us to have a relationship with Him. And He will come to us where we are and draw us closer to Himself.

And finally, the best quote of the night . . . “The Shepherd knows where to find you.” Are you feeling lost and alone? Are you feeling like there is no one for you? The Shepherd knows where to find you.” If you want Him, He will come…

The Shepherd knows where to find you.

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Zing!

Zing! That’s such a fun word, right?Ephesians 4.png

It is the root word for “zinger” — which also sounds fun but may not actually be so fun. . .

Have you ever delivered a truly hilarious zinger with just the right comedic timing? How gratifying it is when everyone in the room erupts in laughter over good, wholesome humor!  My zinger heroes include Tim Hawkins, Ken Davis, Titus Baker and Nathanael Cline!

But then there’s that other zinger. Life is hectic and tensions rise and I fail to take a breath and actually engage my brain when someone says something that just screams to have a remark flung back at them …. and …. ZING! (The sharp rapport that a zinger makes as it’s flying through the air.)

ZING!

And sting goes that sarcastic thing that I just couldn’t wrap my lips around in time to contain it in order to save a season of hurt feelings. This zinger-ease is one of my truly gifted accomplishments and one of my most loathsome as well. I know that it causes pain for the recipient (usually my undeserving husband) and for myself, even though it felt momentarily good.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

I taught this verse to our children as one of their very early memory verses. And, yes, I’m still working on it. And what is apparent is that my desire to fling the zinger, is the lack of forgiveness on my part.

Because here is the real scenario, re-written from earlier: Life is hectic and tensions rise and I fail to pause and understand that a wrong was not intended, or if it was, then I need to pull out the forgiveness and apply it, when someone says something that just screams to have a remark flung back at them. And if I actually did this, then there would be “NO ZING!” And instead of hurt feelings and conflict, peace and progress would rule the moment — because of kindness and forgiveness.

And yes, more accurately, Jesus is still working on me.

via Daily Prompt: Zing!

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