Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And now for a break from the normal heaviness of this blog:

I am reviewing the new book by Patsy Clairmont - Kaleidoscope.  In this book, Patsy takes an honest, raw, yet whimsical look at Proverbs and applies them to real life today.  I chose to take a chapter at a time as use as a devotional reading, although you could just as easily sit down and visit with Patsy all the way through.  With each chapter, she takes a Proverb, puts it into everyday use, and then at the end of the chapter she asks questions that help you to absorb it into your own life.  Stepping on toes, as my pastor growing up would call it.  It drew a great amount of reflection for me, and then to top it off, she offers several other verses to support and help you work through what you have read.

It is a quick, light read, but packed with spiritual insight.  In her great humor, she draws you closer to what we should become as Christians, especially in the way we react with and to the world around us.

Just so you know, I was not compensated for the review of this book, but I did get the book for free and so can you!! is a wonderful site where you can get books for free and then blog a review.  Check it out!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cancer.  The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach.  I do not understand the hos and whys of it.   I am really struggling right now.  Here are my honest, raw thoughts.  Warning, if you have this perfect picture of a pastor's wife in your mind right now, how she would respond, you may not want to read the rest of this post.  I don't want to hear how you had cancer 21 years ago, and look at you know.  I don't want to hear how you prayed a double anointing over someone and their tumor disappeared.  I don't want you to ask how I am doing, or how my mom is doing.  She has cancer, she has Alzheimer's.  She is not doing well.  She dissolves into an anxious, tearful person often.  This is not my mom.  I am an only child, with one parent left on this earth.  I am not doing well.  I dissolved into an anxious, tearful person daily.  Honestly, I don't want anyone to assume I am trusting God with the outcome of this.  I am a realist.  I know that realistically, my mom's days on this earth are few.  My dad had a year.  I don't want anyone to offer to meet me to pray.  I am just not there yet. 

I know that God is sovereign.  I know that He is not surprised by this stuff going on right now.  I know that he has my mom and I in the palm of His hand.  I know all of this.  I will come around to everything above.  Right now, I am angry, I am scared, I can't see or fathom how any of this will work out for our good.  But deep down I know that He is Lord.  I have that foundation that He is my rock, my fortress, my shield.  I just need to find my way to where I can believe it and claim it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seriously.  That should be the title of my blog.  I am at a place where I just wish there were someplace to crawl under and hide.  In the past month, my mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and just yesterday had a biopsy of a mass in one of her breasts.  Seriously.  As if the stress of being a pastor's wife isn't enough.  As if being in the ministry isn't going to send me over the edge one day.  Now I am watching my mom, the only family I have besides my great husband and kids, deteriorate before my eyes.  I am seeing her go from a strong, independent woman to an unsure, anxious person.  And I hate it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It saddens me to see people become discouraged by the church because some people are merely religious and not Christ-followers.  When did we ever get the idea that the church exists for us?  We, the church, exist for those in the world, and if we act no different or worse than they do, why would they want to change?  And pastors leaving the ministry or not even going into it because of the lack of respect and dignity given them or the discouragement of seeing how the "religious" can ruin a church just saddens me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

WOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  Over half way through the Bible in 90 Days.  Tomorrow I am leading worship at our state Prayer Summit.  I promise, I'll get to how the two relate, really.  Anyhoo, I needed a scripture to transition between song sets.  My thought process was, I'm reading 12 pages of the Bible every day, surely something will be in there for me to read.  Up until the other day, I was beginning to wonder.  It was all good stuff, just nothing to strike me to share in worship.  Until.....Isaiah 40, The Message: 
Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger?
Who has put all the earth's dirt in one of his baskets, weighed each mountain and hill?
Who could ever have told God what to do or taught him his business?
What expert would he have gone to for advice?
What god do you suppose might have taught him what he knows, showed him how things work?
Why, the nations are but a drip in the bucket, a mere smudge on a window.

So, who even comes close to being like God?  To whom can you compare him?
Some no-god idol?  Ridiculous!  It's make in a workship, cast in bronze, given a thin veneer of god and draped with silver filigree

Have you not been paying attention?  Have you not been listening?
Haven't you heard these stories all your life?  Don't you understand the foundation of all things?
God sits high above the round ball of earth, the people look like mere ants.
He stretches out the sky like a canvas to live under.

So, who is like me?  Who holds a candle to me?  Says the holy.
Look at the night skies, who do you think made this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, call each by name and never overlooks a single one?

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying
"God has lost track of me.  He doesn't care what happens to me"
Don't you know anything?  Haven't you been listening?
God does not come and go.  God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch His breath.
And He knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength
They spread their wings and soar like eagles.
They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.

WOW!!!!!!  My favorite part is God doesn't come and go.  God lasts.

In this season of my life (which I've yet to blog about) I need to hear that.  God is holy.  He lasts.  He knows.  He cares and He loves.  How  much we need to remember that!  When we get tired, He knows and sustains us. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm on Day 35 of the 90 Days Through the Bible.  I am reading things I had never read before.  I am reading things that I have read before, but getting a whole new perspective on things.  Recently I had a conversation with someone that was less than encouraging.  There was a difference of opinion in the air.  It was all handled like children of God, yet the differing view was there.  It was regarding an issue which should not be an issue.  And it was all about how we should deal with it.  What steps we should take to "fix" the problem.  The discussion ended, we all went home.  And then I started reading.  And here is what was smacking me in the face:  And Joshua prayed to God.....and Samuel prayed....and Jehoshaphat asked God for guidance...King Hezekiah responded by praying, calling up to heaven...

All of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks.  This situation is no surprise to God!!  He has perfectly ordained every day!  He has called us here, with this set of leadership and with this set of people with this particular set of issues.  HE KNOWS!!!  All He waits for us to do is call upon Him.  I am sure He was sitting up there shaking His head as we debated the possible solutions, pros and cons, outcomes.  He already knows how He is going to work this out!! 

Why do we waste time trying to figure things out on our own?  Why not immediately look to the One who knew what was going to come up and knows how it will all end?  I am challenged to humble myself, not thinking that I have all the answers or need to be in control of something, and just lay it at His feet.  Surrender it to my heavenly Father, who knows and cares.  It is all about Him, and in His time, it will all work out to His glory.  I don't need to worry or consume myself with things that I have absolutely no control over, I need to let prayer be my first action and my first reaction.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today as I was spending time with the Lord, I was perfectly fine wallowing in my pity party.  I do not like what I am having to go through with my mom.  I really don't want to share it with people.  I want to save her dignity as much as possible.  But in keeping it in, I feel alienated.  This road I am walking is teaching me many things.  The main point is learning dependence on Him.  Trusting Him.  Letting go of control.  Walking into the future, now knowing what but knowing Who.

Knowing that a pity party is not where I needed to spend my energy today, the Lord brought to mind the story of Mary as she poured the jar of oil on the Lord.  My friend Elisabeth shared about this much more eloquently than I would.  Check her out at  Anyway, I was walking and praying and crying.  I was thinking about Mary, how alone she must have felt as people mocked her, despised her, ridiculed her decision of worship.  Jesus knew how she felt.  He heard the people.  And he came to her rescue.  He came to her rescue.  Then this song flooded my soul:

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are
And how great your affections are for me

O, How He loves us
O, how He loves us
How He loves us oh

We are His portion
He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
Then heaven touches earth like an unforseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside my chest
And I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about

O, How he loves us
O, How he loves us
How He loves us

And suddenly, I am at peace.  My father is jealous for me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I feel most alone when in a big crowd.

It's true.  I think the fact is, I am lonely, but when I am by myself or with my family, I don't know it.  But when in a large crowd, it is glaringly clear. 

I think that over the years of pastors wiving (is that a word?) I have been burned by most of the relationships that I bothered to cultivate.  In the church.  Those outside, they thrived.  Weird, isn't it.  How the one place I should feel safe and belonged is the one place I am most wary of making relationships.  And it is the place that dominates my life.  The church is our life.  And I love it.  Yet I feel alone.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I lost my dad 17 years ago.  I was 21.  I miss him more now than I did then.  I miss that he would have been gaga over my kids.  He would have been the best grandfather.  I miss that my kids never knew him, only of him.  I miss that my mom has been alone all these years, and we are now getting ready to deal with something that my dad would have been a huge source of strength through.  I miss that he is missing my better days.  I was such a self-absorbed person back then.  I miss the advice I know he would give me.  I miss that he hasn't seen my marriage and life grow to what it is today.  I miss that I didn't get to see what Christ was going to do in his life.  I would have loved to see him serve in the church.   There are days that he just springs to my mind and tears cloud my eyes, and I just miss him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti.  It's on everyone's mind and blog today.  We can't fathom the devastation, in a country already struggling so much, and now this.  For many reasons, this resonates within me:
1.  Our church started a church in St. Ard
2.  We have been to Haiti numerous times on medical missions, to care for the orphans, to help them build a bakery, to worship with them, serve them.
3.  We had a team that was supposed to go again on the 22nd.
4.  Barb and Darren adopted sweet Moise 2 years ago, after a 3 year wait.  The change in him has been phenomenal.
5.  Rousseau's whole family is still there, he has not heard from them.
6.  Junior and Gethro's whole family is still there.  Their dad, Pastor Jean Marie, is the pastor of the church we started.  They are all fine, but the road to St. Ard is destroyed.
7.  Wendy's family is there.  He has not heard from them.
8.  Phil's brother and his family died in the earthquake, along with several uncles and other family members.  He and Debby's daughter Beth was in Port Au Prince during the earthquake.  Amazingly, she escaped with just cuts and bruises.
9.  Sweet Sis. Phyllis, giving her life to the orphans there.  She is fine, as are the kids, the building sustained some damage.  

With all of this, what will happen to Haiti?  How will any supplies get to St. Ard and the like when the roads are demolished?  Where will all of those people live?  How will Haiti recover?  Will Haiti recover?  I do not have the answers to any of these questions.  But the God I serve is not surprised by what happened in Haiti on Tuesday.  The God I serve is fully capable of bringing people together to rebuild Haiti, possibly better than it was before.   So as I sit here, heart breaking at what is going on, I have to rest in the knowledge that my God is able.

Monday, January 11, 2010

So, I'm in Numbers, and I am reading along and the Israelites are still complaining and whining.  Then God comes on the scene, and later he is talking to Aaron.  Now, I know Aaron is a Levite, and they are not to gather land or anything.  But God says something the Aaron that spoke volumes to me today.  In Numbers 18:20, he tells Aaron, You won't get any inheritance in land, nt so much as a small gift of ground:  I am your plot of ground.  I am your inheritance.

Did you get that?  I am your plot of ground, I am your inheritance.  Even back then, God wants dependence on Him.  Even back then, he wants us not to worry or scheme or fret.  He is our plot of ground.  He is our inheritance.

That has resonated in me all day.  We are not far from the Israelites.  We whine, we grumble, we wish for what was when our current situation isn't what we think it should be.  Even when what was was worse than what is.  God hears it all.  He hears us wishing for what we don't have.  And He wants us to recognize that He is our plot of ground, our inheritance.  Be satisfied in Him.  Be content with what He has given us for this time.  He wants to be all that we need, He is all that we need, we just refuse to recognize it.

Lord, help me remember that You are my plot of ground, You are my inheritance.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I started this blog with an idea of journaling my trip Through the Bible in 90 Days.  While I may blog some about that journey,  the past few days have given me something else to process through.  My mom is beginning a season in her life that is scary for me.  She has been experiencing major issues with her short term memory, to the point where we have made an appointment for evaluation at The Center for Healthy Aging in Indy.

I am scared, mad, worried, heartbroken.  In a nutshell, this just stinks.  I lost my dad to the horror of cancer, my mom is all I have left (besides Joel and my kids).  I do not want to lose her like this.  I do not want to lose her inside of herself.  I do not want my kids to see their grandmother come to the point where she does not know them.  I do not want to go through this season.

My usual response to stuff like this is to retreat, denial is my friend.  Not really.  This verse came to me this morning,    Psalm 94:18-19,  "When I said, 'My foot is slipping, your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."  It is easy for me to feel my foot slipping.  If worry were a spiritual gift, I would have scores through the roof.    But this verse grounds me.  I need that support the Lord can give.  I need that consolation that brings joy in spite of......