Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 3

Please watch the video since some guy worked awfully hard for the $5 I paid him to make it!


video


Several years ago I had a homemade t-shirt that I would wear to adoption conferences. On the front it said, "Darth Vader could be my birthfather for all you know" (on the back it said "Help! I'm in the witness protection program and nobody will tell me who I am!"). Imagine my surprise when I found out that People of the Second Chance had picked Darth Vader as this week's Never Beyond villain. Take a look at this bad boy:


Isn't that a face that is just in desperate need of a second chance?

Okay, seriously now...

Let's just pretend for a minute that the Star Wars saga is real (sorry, Star Wars fans, it is just pretend). Luke Skywalker had been raised believing that his father had been killed. He ends up thinking that it was Darth Vader who killed his father, Anakin Skywalker. He had some mighty righteous rage going at Darth Vader. Can you imagine the sorrow and revulsion Luke must have felt when he found out (after his hand has been cut off by said villain) that Darth Vader actually was Anakin Skywalker, his father? Luke was literally hanging on for dear life while having to process the fact that this evil mask-wearing killer, who had slaughtered innocents and been party to blowing up whole planets full of people, was the father he had always yearned to know. Not afraid to lose his Macho Card (because he obviously didn't know we were all watching), Luke cries and screams out, "Ben [Obi-wan], why didn't you tell me?" He's asking his friend who is dead, but lives on in The Force, why he didn't tell him this awful news. You have to admit, that is a lot of information to handle at one time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Things I Know Right This Minute

1. Step-parenting is not for sissies. Even when the kids are grown.

2. Having the keys to ALL of the electric panel boxes in the house is a really good thing.

3. It is a waste of time to have resentments against dead people. I really need to move these people out of my head so it will be less crowded.

4. Time flies when you are Facebooking with friends.

5. Eating a pink monkey for dinner is not the same thing as buying a pet elephant. Learn to differentiate.

6. Telling the truth is highly underrated. Having the ability to do it will set you apart from the pack.

7. I'm going to end this post with a dangling parti-thistle.
Click on the photo to go to the Bungled Jungle website. 
It's a blast!

(God told me to write about what I'm learning and these are all very important things - except for maybe #2 - I'm told you can bust the lock if needed.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Shadow Self

It comes in the dark of the night. Sometimes my husband is just a few feet away. Tonight he is almost 900 miles away. The soundtrack for this goes through my head. Sometimes it plays on my computer. This is not the kind of music that will ever win a Dove Award.

I don’t know when this part of me started. So, so long ago. Was it always there? Is this part of the sinful nature of man – it is just waiting to wake up at some cue that is not even consciously recognized? Is this why God warned us away from so many things? He isn’t trying to come up with more rules – He’s just trying to protect us from ourselves?

We certainly didn’t talk much about “original sin” as a concept when I was growing up in church. Of course, we all knew the story of Adam and Eve. But I feel like I got shortchanged on that little anecdote. What I got was this: the serpent (go back and read it – it never mentions Satan at all) was a crafty little fellow and convinced Eve to eat the only forbidden fruit in that massive garden. Adam, the dolt, was standing right there and didn’t stop her (as if he had already been beaten into some sort of “yes dear” submission that men show on shopping trips so they can hurry up and get out of there). He eats some of the fruit too and then everything changes.  Poof! They’re naked. Who knew? They get busy sewing fig leaves and God stops by for a chat. This is the first recorded instance of “we’re not dressed for visitors” as an excuse.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Older



It's that time again! Another writing exercise just for the fun of it. Let's join Gypsy Mama and her friends to see what we can create in five minutes.


Take five minutes and remember what it feels like to weave words together for the simple pleasure of how they sound. Without worrying about how they’re edited or perfected.
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Older…



GO:


This subject made me giggle for some reason. Just six days ago, I turned another year older. The day before was my best friend's birthday. We've known each other for 26 years, but when people ask us, we just say we met in high school three years ago. To make ourselves feel better about our age, I guess. Silly, but fun.


There are a few more friends whose birthdays follow mine within a week or two. Some of them have  been lamenting getting older and I remind them (to make it feel a little better) that no matter how old they get, I'll always be older. ;)


On my recent trip to California, one of the TSA people checking my ID and ticket noticed that my birthday was the next day. She wished me happy birthday. Another person heard and wished me a happy birthday. I mentioned that I would be 42 and I was told that that is "just a babe". I responded that this is the oldest I've ever been (which is true). I don't need anybody rushing me.


I wonder if all these years passing have brought about positive change. I realize that I need to shift my perspective. Of course there has been positive change. It just does not look the way I expected it to. I need to drop the expectations and just enjoy the journey. Of getting older.


There's my five minutes.


STOP.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cool Quote of the Day

The loving service which God sends His people into the world to render includes both evangelism and social action, for each is in itself an authentic expression of love, and neither needs the other to justify it.

      -- John R. W. Stott




Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 2

Here we are at another Wednesday. Time to turn to the People of the Second Chance's poster series, Never Beyond. I will admit that it has been a trying week and I have not been looking forward to writing this post. It has nothing to do with this week's supposed villain. It has to do with how much of a villain I have been this week. I have had little patience for people these last seven days. I have not felt like giving a second chance to anyone. The redeeming feature here is that I have (mostly) been able to keep my mouth shut and not spout out all of the unkind thoughts running through my head. I think what is happening is a combination of me feeling more ungracious than usual and also being more aware of it now that I have jumped  right into working with People of the Second Chance. God evidently intends to make sure that this is not just an academic exercise for me!

So let's jump in! The subject of this week's POTSC poster is Mike Tyson.


It has been quite awhile since I thought about him. Never one to follow boxing, and only somewhat interested in pop culture, he has been off my radar. I actually sort of wondered why he even made it into the Never Beyond series, and then I read the brief summary POTSC had posted of his life. He has not been an angel, that is for sure. He was just never one of my personal villains.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Study the Creator or the Creation?


Flying half-way across the country has been bittersweet in ways that I would not have expected. Going over countryside, I get to watch as we pass over all kinds of different geological regions (not to be confused with geographical regions, although we are obviously going over them too). I get to see deserts, forests, rivers running down a steep hillside. I wonder at the obvious signs of streams in the desert. I see sharp edges next to curves. I see a cliff that drops off into dry canyon in such a way that it looks like someone took a giant shovel to it and formed it all at once instead of slowly picking it apart.

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite college courses:  physical geology. I got learn about glaciers and fjords. We studied about the ocean floor. I discovered the origin of the oxbow lake. Our professor taught us about the shoreline processes that we would be able to see taking place on our bay all year long. Learning about our local geology was fascinating.  I also learned practical advice for the future like why I should never, ever cut out the toe of a slope. Never. And over the years I’ve been able to see where people have not listened to that advice. Oops. What fun it would have been to pursue this course of study further, although it would have meant more math (yuck).

What I also remembered was that I had been timid, weak, and undisciplined. The New Testament advises us to always have an answer when asked about the hope we have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).  I don’t know that that verse was aimed at how to handle yourself in science class in 1990, but then again, maybe God had let the ApostlePeter see the future. What I do know is that having a firm testimony, even if I never spoke it out loud in class, would have made me feel much more secure in my faith when in the presence of non-believers. But I didn’t bother to learn the way in which God wanted me to speak the Truth. I wanted a nice little world like I had grown up in, where everyone believed the same thing and defending “The Faith” was taken care of by the older men in our circle. I wanted somebody to take care of me and make it easy to go out into the world with my Christianity. I didn’t want to be challenged or have to explain myself. How childish of me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Best Friend

I've never been a truly healthy person. All kinds of minor infections and malaise when I was younger. (hasn't changed much as an adult) So it was no surprise that during Spring Break my Junior year in high school, I was home sick. (yay me) Debbie decided to drop by, and she brought this lovely new creature (she glowed a little more than the rest of us, so I can't just say "person"), Elizabeth, with her. We talked for a little while. Found out that Elizabeth lived across the street from my ex-boyfriend (who I was still on good terms with). We figured out that she would be turning 15 the day before I turned 17. Debbie would be 17 a few days after that and we all decided that it was good to be an August baby. The next week I needed (in a teenager "need" kinda way) to go pick something up from the mall. The rest of my friends were busy, so I went by Elizabeth's house to see if she wanted to come along. She was thrilled that I had thought of her and her Mom said it was good. So started a long relationship.

That was 26 years ago. Elizabeth and I have gone through a lot with each other. I can safely say that we've gone through a lot because of each other. We have grown apart and grown back together. We have treated each other badly and we have learned how to show each other respect. Our tears have mingled on many occasions. I feel joy when she is happy more keenly than with any other person (even my beloved Hubby). I am tied to her with a cord that she has probably wanted to cut a few times. We have become part of each other's families and will always have a connection. We don't talk to each other every day or every week. Sometimes our lives are so busy that a month or more goes by without a call or email. But that does not change the nature of our relationship. It is good to have someone who completely understands the lack of communication but still loves as if the gap never happened.

One of the things that I appreciate most about Elizabeth is that she is completely biased in my favor, but she sees the real me. There are probably people who know just enough about me to think I am witchy, but I don't spend time around them. There are other people who see my good side regularly and think that is all there is to it. Elizabeth sees the deep extremes of my personality and loves me still. And this makes a difference in how she treats me.

I sometimes will tell people, "I don't treat my husband very well." Since I don't hang around the people who think badly of me, I don't get much agreement. But I do get people telling me, "oh I'm sure you treat him well - you are just being hard on yourself." Elizabeth believes me. She knows me well enough to know that  I would mistreat a person who lived with me all of the time. But she does not judge me or berate me. She just looks at me and says, "well stop doing that." I love that.

I think... I think God uses her to love me. God sees all of me and loves me still. He knows that I need something a little more tangible sometimes to understand these things. So He lets Elizabeth see all of me and she loves me still.

Ticket to come out to California for my birthday: $520 (didn't buy 21 days ahead of time). Texas gifts for whole family: $50. Friend who loves the whole me: Priceless.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cool Quote of the Day

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter” Francis Chan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Minute Friday - "New"



Here is the drill again:


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.



2. Link back here and invite others to join in.


3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.


OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt:



"New"… GO.

New, huh? Today is a new kind of day. I told you yesterday that today would be Elizabeth's first birthday without Mom. Tomorrow will be my first birthday without Mom. It is a whole new world without her. There would have been no way to imagine this.

And there are new things happening that I would have wanted to share with Mom. Blogging on a fairly regular basis is a new thing for me. Because of it, I am making new friends. I am thinking new thoughts. I am learning new, better ways to look at my Lord and my God. It is new for me to let the Spirit push me the way He does to say things for the benefit of others instead of myself. Mom always liked my writing. I think she would have enjoyed these new things.

I am typing slow because the thoughts aren't coming very fast. "New" caught me by surprise. But now I have that song in my head that we used to sing at church camp and youth devotionals:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning.
Great Thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion says my soul.
Therefore I will hope in Him.

I know that song was meant to help us memorize scripture, but I cannot remember what book that is in. Isaiah? Psalms? Somewhere in the New Testament? I don't know. But it is the Word. The Word that always has been and always will be.

His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Amen, Lord.

Stop.

Come join me over at the Gypsy Mama. Link up your own post or just see what five minutes looked like for others.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts Late in a Day

It has been a long 24 hours. There was drama in the extended family that made for a late night yesterday. We are hoping that the storm has passed. Sometimes it is just like being in the eye of a hurricane - it will come and hit you again once the eye has moved on. We pray for relief, but damage has already been done. Have mercy, Lord Jesus.

* * * * *
I have yet to do all my packing for my trip. Tomorrow I will fly to California to see my best friend Elizabeth. She is really more like a sister. Elizabeth was very much my parents' "third daughter". She was always introduced as such. She had her own room at our house until my parents downsized and moved. She had a stocking that we hung up at Christmas. She was in the family picture at my wedding. We have shared as sisters. We have fought and made up as sisters. We have faced life's struggles as sisters.

This trip is important for so many reasons. Elizabeth's birthday is tomorrow and mine is Saturday. We haven't been able to celebrate with each other in years. This will also be our first birthday without Mom. All of these "firsts" are so hard. Elizabeth was in the midst of a horrible bout of post-partum depression when Mom was sick, so she didn't get to come say goodbye. She didn't come to the funeral. She missed out on the rituals that go with losing a loved one. I will be taking her a suitcase full of mementos that were left for her. We will look at each of them and remember. We will probably cry a little. We will share gratitude for having been blessed with such a loving Mother. I might cry a little bit more.

This trip is also important because it will be my first chance to meet Elizabeth's first child - a baby boy born at the end of last December. He already has some teeth and I've never held him! I've been missing out! Hopefully he will have some wiggly cuddles for Auntie Carolyn. I will have plenty of smooches for him! God was gracious to send him to us.

* * * * *
Last year when I was having a hard time, my dear, dear friend Amy Peterson (make sure Eric sees how I wrote your name, Amy - inside joke) started sending me text messages at 4pm every day. Each text was meant to have me focus on God. I saved a few quotes and made a computer desktop screen out of them. They are still relevant and so I thought I would share them with you.

A) To-Do list: God is good ALL the time. He has a plan for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Pray for faith to own this truth.


B) Take just a minute. You are right where God needs you to be. He knows what He is doing.


C) Rejoice when life sucks. Don't get stuck in this moment. You owe God better than a pouty lip. Ask Him for the faith it takes to choose joy.


D) To do list: 1) lean not on your own understanding, but trust in the Lord your God who alone can redeem you.


E) You did not make it into God’s Kingdom by clerical error. You are here because He invited you and He intends to use you.


F) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Every action was deliberate. No brush stroke an error. If you’re here, it’s on purpose.

Feel free to share these quotes liberally if they might help someone. Just please make sure to credit Amy PETERSON.  One of these days she is going to start paying attention again to her own blog and I will send you over there to bathe in her wisdom.

* * * * *
That is all for now, my lovelies. Blessings upon you all.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 1

Have you ever heard God laugh? No. Here’s what you do: tell Him your plans. Then sit back and listen for the chuckle of the Almighty.  It is kind of like my parents chuckling at me when I told them – at the ripe old age of four – that I was going to marry Buck Owens one day and be on Hee Haw with him.  There is no malice in His laughter. Just Him saying, “oh my child, that is lovely… now let Me show you what *I* have planned…”

So... all five of you loyal readers are obviously breathlessly waiting to see what I told God that He laughed at, so I’ll give. (Note: this conversation with God was totally private, so I could probably get away with not telling any of you and you would be none the wiser. But then the rest of the post might not have as much impact. And He is definitely telling me to share that.) Let me lay some ground work for what my plan was.

People of the Second Chance (POTSC) have started a new campaign called “Never Beyond,” meaning never beyond grace. They will be putting out a new poster each week that has a likeness (or partial likeness) to a person - historical or contemporary, real or fictional - who has harmed society in some way. (I’m holding out for one of the posters to have the Cucuy on it!). POTSC has asked bloggers to then write a post about that person and talk about giving second chances. I was asked to participate and I said yes. (ask me in a few weeks how that is working out for me!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A New Project


Hello lovely people!

I just wanted to share a quick note about a project that I will be participating in and lending my blog to.

The organization People of the Second Chance has asked bloggers to give some writing time and bandwidth for a new campaign they have started. I need more than my fingers and toes to count how many second chances I have received, so I believe they deserve some effort from me.

So for several weeks you will see me writing about second chances on Wednesdays. I would love to have you join me in discussing the subject. Bring some friends too! The more, the merrier!

Also, click on the POTSC logo below, which will take you to their website. Go visit. Get to know them and their mission. Get involved if you feel led to do so.

And come back tomorrow to discuss second chances!





Monday, August 15, 2011

Evil Chocolate Bunnies and Taking Care of Your Body

Greetings and felicitations to you, my five readers! (We are up from three last week!) 

For those of you who forgot to bring your Bible, I have conveniently copied and pasted the text for today's musings from BibleGateway.com!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

New International Version (NIV)
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Ah! Honor God with your bodies. This verse (and any verse remotely resembling it) has been used throughout my life as a teaching for why we should not drink, smoke, or hang out with loose women. (so my Dad says) And it has also been used as an excuse to try to get me to eat broccoli and tofu (but not together). 

Where is that verse from the Apostle Paul when you need it? Something about "I do the thing that I do not wish to do". Anyone? Anyway... I have always wished to obey the things written in the Bible. Maybe my motivation was legalistic in nature, but it was still my motivation. We have already spent some time in a previous post on how I did not honor God with my body when it came to men. But right now I am thinking about how I have not honored God with my body as it relates to my eating.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Having a Reaction, Part 2

So a few days ago I wrote a post about Having a Reaction. A friend who gets my blog posts by email replied directly to me and started a further conversation on the subject. The gist of the discussion was that maybe everything is a reaction. Are we reacting to God or to people? My dear friend was trying to put it all together. The conversation went basically like this:

*******
Friend:
I can relate, Carolyn. I certainly "get it" -- intellectually at least, but too much of my time is spent "being reactive instead of proactive." ... I let God send me things (blog entries for instance) that I need to react to, and then I try to "show up and pay attention." ... Okay, now I'll have to think about where I need to be more proactive - intentional was your word. (But isn't that a reaction to what you wrote? Arrgh.)

Me:
It is hard to parse it out, isn't it? God definitely asks us for a faith response. He gives some pretty interesting cues sometimes. But what if all of our life really was supposed to be a reaction? But it was reaction to Him rather than to others? So in every situation, whether the other person is being nice or horrid, we would ask Him how He would have us react? That would kinda be acting with intention, wouldn't it? His intention? And the times we are supposed to be proactive instead of waiting for other people, our actions would be faith reactions to Him? We could chase our tales in circles on the semantics of this, but what it comes down to is acting for Him, in His time, with His purpose. NOT my own selfish purposes. NOT waiting for Him to make circumstances perfect before I will act. NOT responding to people out of my own willfulness, but with His heart. Can you imagine what this world would look like if we always responded with His heart instead of our own? I suspect that is a little bit of what the new Heaven and new earth will look like.

Friend:
Nicely done, Carolyn!  Thank you!  Even Biblical, I think -- we love because He first loved us!  (1 John 4:19)
*******

I was glad for the validation, of course, because sometimes blogland is so silent that I don't know if you all think I'm off my rocker or if you are even paying attention.

I was glad for the discussion, because it made me think it through a little more. I knew the first post was somewhat disjointed just because I could feel His presence so keenly that my thinking was all muddled - I was just feeling Him.

I was glad that my friend added the Bible verse. I want to make sure that I'm making scriptural suggestions.

And can you just imagine? What if we were all acting intentionally on His love? What if our faith/love response to God was so strong that it overrode any other reactions we might have? That would be Heaven for me...

I am still muddled right now because there is a four-year-old granddaughter sitting next to me asking more questions than I knew existed. But this raw stuff - just back and forth off the cuff - is what God wanted me to share... the things I'm really learning, as I'm learning it. Hope y'all weren't looking for something all polished up. Polished isn't much my strength. Real is... or is becoming...

Five Minute Friday: Beauty



Here is the drill again:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt:

Beauty… GO.

I missed the assignment this week to be writing down beauty everywhere I see it in myself. So what I am going to write in my five minutes is not the result of a week’s worth of reflection.

The proofs for our photos came back this week. This was the first time I had been able to get Hubby to step in front of a professional photographer since we got married over four years ago. Too bad I had booked us for an outside shoot in one of the hottest summers we’ve ever had. By the end of the shoot we were both wilted. I had no idea what to expect when I saw the proofs.

I looked at a me that I am not used to seeing. Every time I look in the mirror, I am seeing myself in reverse. When I look at the pictures, I get to see what Hubby sees in me. Thanks to Caller ID, he knows when it is me on his phone. He always answers, “Hey, beautiful!” He sees me as beautiful.

He sees me as beautiful. What a statement. He loves my smile, which I have always disliked. He even loves my figure that is getting rounder from the comfort food I’ve been eating since we lost Mom. He loves my funky hair that can’t decide if it is straight or wavy. He thinks I’m beautiful.

Am I supposed to tell him that he is wrong? The man that I love? Should I tell him that God’s creation – the woman He picked especially for Hubby – is not beautiful?

Maybe Hubby is showing me what God is seeing. He is showing me that I am beautiful.

STOP. That was five minutes.

Follow me to Five Minute Friday to see what others wrote about Beauty.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cool Quote of the Day

Just messing around on the computer. You can click on the picture to enlarge it so that  you can actually read the quote. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cool Quote of the Day

I have things I want to say, but no time to say them. There are grandkids at my house! So here is a little thought to ponder:

Living for others, commitment to God's redeeming purposes, is a means of grace. We give because of our faith, and it deepens as we give. If we permit ourselves and our people to give casually, we are really teaching contempt.

-- Richard S. Emrich

I've never heard of Mr. Emrich before. Might have to look him up. But it sounds like he knows a few things.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Having a Reaction

Have you ever had a moment when you are sort of daydreaming or the committee in your head is just softly droning in the background and then God just throws something right in your face? All of the sudden He is there with you and it is intense and real and you are seeing things in His light instead of your own dim wattage. Yes? No? Hmmm… well let me tell you about my “moment”.


I was just sitting here at the computer, kind of messing around, and listening to “Shiny Happy People” by REM. Somewhere in the background I had a little scenario playing out: “well if she says this then I will say that”. For some reason the noise in my head all of the sudden got a little bit louder: “why is your life about reacting, Carolyn?” What? Who said that? Where did that come from? Seemingly out of nowhere thoughts just started bombarding me. I’ll try to make sense of it, but I’m still somewhat in the moment and He is still very much here, so pardon me if it gets a little jumbled.

I have to admit that my Bible-reading life has been pretty much non-existent for a long time. I have not been living in the Word and I’m sure my life reflects that in many ways. However, I have a rich history of Sunday School, Wednesday Night Bible Class, youth devotionals, and church camp in my past, so I do have a small working knowledge of the Scriptures.

And in this moment that I am having with God, I heard Him pointing out to me how there is so much in His Word about how to worship, love, and glorify Him. There is so much about being a loving person and growth that produces the fruit of the Spirit. There is instruction on how to stand against the wiles of the devil. And yes, there is certainly scripture that talks about how to react when others hurt you. But if my memory serves (Hubby says my memory never serves. Hmph. What does he know?), learning to react as opposed to how to act is just a small portion of the Bible. Learning to live purposefully rather than just bouncing off of those around us is a where He is leading me.

Then the dogs needed to go outside and all of my thoughts got jumbled. Where were we? Ah, yes, living with purpose. Acting rather than reacting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let It Go

This was an email that was going around in 2006. I think I got it again in 2007. It seems to still be pertinent today, so I thought I would share. I wish I knew who actually wrote it so that I could give them credit.

Let it go for 2006...

There are people who can walk away from you.

And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone.

When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

The Bible said that they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay.

Let them go.

And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person. It just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead.

You've got to know when it's dead.

You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Needed Sayin'...

I have searched the web for the name of the photographer who took this picture, but I cannot find it. (Help? Anyone?) However, if you click on the photo it will take you to the website where I found it.


Twice in the past week the subject of a woman saying no, meaning no, and having her answer respected has come up in conversation. I do think women need to be responsible for themselves and not recklessly put themselves in dangerous situations. But "no" should still always mean "no". I've met men who don't think that "no" should be a valid answer. I've met men who always respect "no" and so do not understand why this is a cause of concern for women. I'm sure there are even more viewpoints out there that I haven't heard.

The only thing I can tell you for sure is where I stand on the subject. Women do not ask to be raped. Even believing that God created gender roles is no excuse for violence - sexual or otherwise - against women. "No" should always mean "no". "No" is a complete sentence. More people should learn to say it and more people should learn to accept it.

It just needed sayin'...


PS. If you want to read a recent male viewpoint on women's empowerment, you can read David Nilsen's review of the movie Sucker Punch here. Could be an interesting conversation starter.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whole


Here we go again with Five Minute Friday...

Whole. I need to be whole. I figured out that I have a God-shaped hole that only He can fill. And when I let Him, He fills it and makes me whole.

I have tried to fill my God-shaped hole with so many things. Relationships, sex (not even in a relationship), friends, books (throw myself right into the middle of the plot and I am in a daydream that can last weeks). I try to fill my hole with junk food, romantic movies, chocolate chip cookie dough (in ice cream or by itself).  I looked for things that I can see right in front of my face to fill my hole.

What I did not realize for the longest time is that God was asking me to step out in faith and let Him fill me up. There is a great song by Vocal Union called "Fill Me Up". It talks all about letting Him be the One to fill our gaping wound of a hole. I have always liked the idea. Faith and letting God in - those are great, worthy ideas. I just had no idea how to live that out in MY life. It took way too long, but I'm learning.

Faith. Just having faith in Him. He will fill me with all good things. He will be faithful to complete the good work He has begun in me. And then I will be whole...

Wow. This writing unedited for 5 minutes thing is hard. But it is worth a try and I'm getting better. Having faith that He will give me the words...



PS. Click on the 5-Minute-Friday logo above and follow me to some great writing!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What It Looks Like

So the post about childlessness took a lot out of me. I thought I would lighten it up a little. Instead of just telling you what it feels like, I'm going to show you what it feels like.

Even with Jesus as my Tandem Master (strapped to my back with a parachute on His back), sometimes putting myself out there emotionally feels like free-fall.


Sometimes we start flipping around.


Sometimes it is hard to tell which way is up.


And then sometimes He yanks me up by the harness. That is a shocking sensation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Answer For A Friend

The other day I wrote here on the blog that I was “childless not by preference but out of absolute fear and disobedience.” My dear friend Rebekah mentioned in the comments that her becoming a mother was out of rebellion and disobedience and she said she would like to hear my story. It’s obviously been a few days that I have been pondering this and I think I’m ready to write.

My first thought was how I was going to tell the story without giving out sordid details of my sinful life. Then I wondered what the point of the exercise would be anyway. I know that I had told God that I would be obedient in writing about the lessons He has taught me. And this lesson is one that I finally figured out recently, so it’s applicable to my pledge. Sometimes I don’t even worry about what God might use my essays for, but this time I wanted to know. The only thing that came to me as I turned this idea over and over is that disobedience and fear do not outwardly look the same on each person. Instead of comparing our insides to other peoples’ outsides, we might need to come along side of them and know them better. We might be able to help someone through a struggle that was not apparent at first glance. So with that thought in mind, let us start at the beginning.