Thursday, June 30, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Dearest reader, part of my exercise in writing this blog is to hold myself accountable to the lessons that God is teaching me. I am also learning to tell my story without barging in on the narratives of others, especially in a way that might leave them vulnerable. I am hoping that my account of this next installment of instruction will stay true to those motives.


Thoughts for today’s lesson:

1. Precisely because we can hurt people so grievously when we don't know what we're doing, it's our responsibility to know what we're doing. It's our responsibility to look at all the angles. Self-knowledge is not just a luxury. It's more a responsibility. It's like learning to drive right so you don't run people down. – Cary Tennis

2. Mercifulness: a disposition to be kind and forgiving


My education in mercy would be so much nicer and tidier if my only object lesson was helping a little boy in Africa. I knew it would not work out like that, but I was completely surprised when an opportunity to be merciful sort of exploded on me last night.

The setting for this situation is an online conversation in which me and 3 or 4 other people are encouraging someone who was very disheartened. The original storm seemed to have passed and we were even joking around just a little when I had to step away for just a bit.

I came back to the conversation to see how things were going and was just flabbergasted at what had transpired in a short amount of time. The discussion now involved the betrayer, the betrayed (which is which is a matter of perspective, I think), various family members and several friends. Except for the aforementioned betrayer and betrayed, I know none of these people and have no clue what the normal dynamics are in the group. That means that I had no idea what I was about to step into.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Michah 6:8

Do you remember how I was seeing Micah 6:8 everywhere? After I wrote that, it started showing up EVEN MORE. How is that even possible? But it was in more articles, websites, emails, and blogs. It showed up in my doctor’s office. It got so I was surprised every morning when I didn't wake up with it tattooed on my forehead. I was so thankful for that that I bought it on a necklace instead.

I’ve concentrated on the part of the verse that talks about mercy. But I am starting to see “justice” everywhere too. Some translations say “act justly” and some say “seek justice”. I haven’t done an exhaustive study on all the wordings. But I do know that God sees the justice as important as the mercy (I eat enough crow these days to know that He is serious about the “walking humbly” part too).

Today, justice showed up on a t-shirt. The quote is:

“Justice is what love looks like in public” ~ Cornel West

Hmmmm… don’t have any profound thoughts about that yet. Still spending some time with it. But I definitely wanted to share how Micah 6:8 is still very much part of my daily journey. I suppose more will be revealed in time…

Grieving "With Hope"

It is the middle of the night. I have brought my little computer into Mom’s room so that I won’t disturb my husband or the dogs. It is not lost on me that my refuge at this moment was the home of the one who often gave me refuge from the storms throughout my life.

I awoke into one of those moments of terrible grief. I want Mom back so much that I can feel her arms around me. At this moment, that actually is more hurtful than comforting.

Several hours ago, my sister and I were talking on the phone about how sad it is that our family waited until Mom had passed to start learning how to take care of each other. Mom had even left a note with her final instructions about how the most important thing was “family UNITY’” [emphasis hers]. We agree with that now and sometimes say, “Mom would have wanted it this way.” Why was it so hard to do before? What a gift to her it would have been to show this type of caring when she was here to see it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Humble Pie

Let me tell you a little bit more about how we came to sponsor Kimenyi and how that relates to my journey in showing mercy.

The day it happened – the day God spoke to my heart – started with Charles and I having to consider committing to spend $45 a month on our grown children. We are already spending money regularly on several family members, so we are already stretched. But this would also really help them.

For those of you who don’t know me, you need to know that my earthly nature is to be extremely selfish and self-centered. Anything good that comes through me is purely Divine intervention. And that day, my selfish nature was just screaming. “Why don’t you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do it yourself? Why do you keep getting yourself into these situations? When are you going to be able to take care of yourselves?” On and on. This is coming from the mind of a woman who has been constantly helped in many ways by family. So it was somewhat like the Bible story of the servant who was forgiven much but then turned around and did not forgive his fellow (Matt 18:23-35). And if this parable had been in my conscious thought at that point, I would have seen that the word “mercy” is mentioned again in that passage. But I wasn’t thinking of much more than myself at that point.

That same day I read a blog post by a Christian woman who pointed out how petty some of our disagreements are when we should be spending our time worrying about those who have far less than we do. She had a link to Compassion on her blog and I know that she has advocated for them as a sponsoring agency. And I felt heavily that hand of God on me right at that moment. I knew I was supposed to look at these children right then. I went to the Compassion home page to see what was involved in sponsoring a child. $38 a month. Less than what we were talking about giving our children. And I thought, “see there? God is saying that we should spend that money more wisely by sponsoring this child”. Now, that is not exactly what God was saying, but that was all I could hear at that moment.

Friday, June 24, 2011


So, in the last post, I asked you to watch a video before we moved on to new developments. If you didn’t, don’t worry. It was great stuff, but you can appreciate what comes next without it. I will tell you that I received the link to that video in an email from the Compassion International blog. That is important because…


I did not know how excited I would be for us to sponsor a child, but when I hit “send” on that online form, I got tingles all over! I felt like we had just expanded our family, not just by one, but by 5, because we will love his whole family!!!

How we came to be sponsors is all wrapped up in this continuing journey of learning to show and LOVE mercy. I will share the details of that in another post, but right now I just want to tell you about this child.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stand Against the Schemes of the Devil

This link will take you to a video that is about 33 minutes long, so you'll need to make time for listening. But I want to share it with you because it just an awesome lesson. It is also a great way to prepare you for what comes next in my story.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cool Quote of the Day

People talk about special providences. I believe in the providences, but not in the speciality. I do not believe that God lets the thread of my affairs go for six days, and on the seventh evening takes it up for a moment.
-- George MacDonald

"Where's The Love, Man?"

A long time ago (it seems) I had a boyfriend who wanted to talk about the word "love". I was flattered and thought that he was going to say something really romantic that would make me teary-eyed and all mushy. No such luck. I've never seemed to really attract the romantic types. Eh. Whatever.

So he says, "have you ever thought about the fact that we say that we love pizza or we love chocolate and then we say 'I love you' to each other?" Um, no, I had not thought about that. He continues, "so do I feel the same about you as I do about pizza?" Well, darlin', I'm really hoping that isn't the case, but I know that I love you even more than chocolate (at least I thought so at the time). Thought-provoking though it was, that was not my most satisfying conversation ever.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Thoughts Are Not His Thoughts

I seem to have had a lot of  "alone time" recently. Most of the time when I'm alone, I ponder things. It's a stream of consciousness that would seem pretty odd to most people. I start with a collection of thoughts that come from conversations I've had, articles/blogs I've read, work I've done, and memories. The free association of these thoughts in my head can lead me down a bunny trail sometimes. And sometimes, it leads me to something profound. I'll let you decide for yourself if I got to a worthwhile conclusion this time, but humor me while I get to the point, okay?

It started with thoughts of babies because of a blog I had read. I was thinking about how we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). The Almighty Creator brings forth from tiny cells these amazing beings so that He can love them and hopefully (if they are willing) be in a relationship with them for all of their lives.

Then there was the capture of Ratko Mladić, a former Bosnian Serb military leader who is being brought before a United Nations war crimes tribunal to face charges including genocide and crimes against humanity.  The dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the resulting violence was just a small blip on my radar at the time; but I remember hearing about Mladić and I don't remember any of it being good. He evaded capture for about 16 years, and I admit to being happy to know that he had been caught.

The next thought had to do with another blog I had read that addressed friends who grow apart. I remember thinking at the time I read it about relationships that I thought had too much drama in them. That drama seemed to be a good enough reason to "grow apart". There had even recently been a little "repost this" snippet on Facebook that started out, "there comes a time when you outgrow the drama..." or words to that effect.

The last thought that sort of started bringing this all together was the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). I don't know where this came from other than to say God was trying to get my attention. It was while I was considering this parable that all the other thoughts started coming together as if maybe there was a point to be made. Consider it with me for a moment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Advice to my Nieces and Nephews

I actually posted this elsewhere last summer, but I think it is worth sharing again.

Some of this is advice borrowed from others. Some of it is just from my experience. Either way, I have found it helpful.

*It is PRICELESS to have a friend who understands you even when you "just can't explain it". Treat them well.

*Kisses are not promises.

*Someday you will want to give your heart to a girl or boy. This is the same heart that you have already given to Christ. Make sure that girl or boy is worthy of being part of this heart relationship.

*Good manners before bad temper.

*The commandment to "Honor thy Father and Mother" DOES come with a promise, "that it may go well with you". And that promise does come true when you keep that commandment, even the times you wouldn't expect it to. So be good to Mom and Dad always.

*Do not keep secrets about illegal activity unless you are a Priest. This makes you an accessory. Use this advice for personal and professional situations.

*Keep all the other secrets given to you close to your heart. God will let you know what to do with them.

*Do what you say you are going to do. Be who you say you are going to be. This is sometimes harder than it sounds, but worth it.

*It's always an added bonus in life if you have an Auntie who adores you.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

To post or not to post...

The past 24 hours has been hard. So do I post or just wait until I'm feeling "peppier"?  I'm trying out this blog thing, so I guess post it is.

Last night our Son and Grandson were in a car wreck. A car that was full of teenagers ran a red light and Son t-boned them. One of the teens was hurt badly and we don't even know if she made it through the night. Son is afraid to find out because he thinks that if she died, he'll never be able to live with himself. All of the many witnesses who stayed to help said that it was not Son's fault, but try to convince him of that... Grandson is very shaken up. He just cried and cried and kept saying, "I don't want those people to be hurt". If you feel like praying a little bit more today, please remember all those involved in the wreck. I have a feeling that there will be many long-range implications for all of them.

More expected but not much easier for me to deal with is that Daddy is leaving tomorrow.  He will be working in Yellowstone National Park for the summer and won't be home until late October. It hasn't been quite three months since Mom passed away and now he is leaving too. The man is 80 years old and had a small stroke in March. I cannot help but fear that we won't see him again. I know that is borrowing tomorrow's troubles. Jesus cautioned us against that, didn't he?

I guess I am still just raw from losing Mom. I don't want to in any way diminish the grief of my Siblings, but I envy them. I envy that they get to go back to their daily lives that didn't have Mom all over every detail and they get a few minutes of break from the hurt. Mom lived with me. Every square inch of my house is just covered in Mom. We bought this house with her comfort foremost in our minds. I don't regret a moment of it. I just want a little relief from feeling like I am on the side of a cliff with my grief waiting to push me over the edge. Even though I am functioning most days, that is how I feel. And because of that, I want my Daddy to stay right here and keep me from feeling abandoned. Self-centered but honest. Actually, I'll get up early in the morning and give him a kiss goodbye. But I hate to see him go.

I'm also carrying some other hurts with me right now. God is teaching me how to carry the load with His help. Its a little funny how He is using some totally unrelated (or they seemed so) events that have happened over the course of three years to mold me and make me. So often I feel like I have no idea what His plan is for me. So I get a kick out of seeing it all come together. I've learned through hard experience that I don't want to try life without Him (gets messy), so I have to trust that He has my best interests in mind. It sure is nice, though, to actually see that it was all in aid of burning the chaff away and getting to the good stuff.

So that is my un-peppy post for the night. There will be more good stuff to come for us. I know it. I'm glad we are all linked together. I'll be praying for you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Longing for Heaven

At a women's retreat a few years ago, I was nodding off (first night, long day at work, so tired...) and the speaker said something that caught my attention. She said, "when people ask you how you are doing, most of you say 'fine', but would you ever think about saying, 'I'm longing for heaven'?" Most of the women around me looked shocked at the idea. The speaker wasn't talking about being depressed and wishing you could die. I wish I could articulate this better, but basically she was just talking about how heaven is far better (Paul said that somewhere in the New Testament) than being here in this life. I saw some young mothers (some who had babies with them) have almost violent reactions to this. From things I have heard, I will assume that the thought of not being with their baby, not seeing all of the child's growing up, etc., didn't set too well at first. Not being a mother (yes, yes, I know that it is different when you have children), I cannot know how that feels. But I do know this: there have been times when people asked me how I was doing and I said, "Jesus could come today and I would be fine with that." That doesn't mean I'm suicidal and you need to have me checked out. That means that I know that Jesus will provide for me in Heaven in ways that I cannot imagine. I can think of plenty of reasons why He hasn't come yet, one of them hopefully being that my closest friend has not accepted Him as Savior yet - He's still working on her. But imagine... no more tears... getting to see Mama again... no worrying that my sister has been unemployed for months... sitting at the feet of my Savior and praising Him. I wish that it was not so shocking to hear people say, "I'm longing for Heaven". I want to hear the angels sing a new song. Are you longing to see Him or is there something here that you would rather do first? We don't usually think in terms of those things meaning more to us than He does... but do they hold a higher place in our heart sometimes? Hopefully I yearn to see Jesus just as much on my good days as I do on my bad days, but I can't promise that is always true. Just something to think about. xxooxxoo