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a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

Category: faith


what I deserve


Do you ever think to yourself (or say out loud?) “I don’t deserve this.”  Like,

“I didn’t deserve to be talked back to like that by my teenager.”  

“I didn’t deserve that put-down from my husband/wife.”  

“I didn’t deserve that reprimand from my boss.”

If you’re like 99.999% of the human race, you HAVE had that thought in one situation or more.  Or at least you have thought that it wasn’t fair that you were treated in whatever way.

Isn’t that how we think?  We humans?

Earlier this week, I was going through my devotion on YouVersion in the book of Numbers (chapter 16) when I read this:::

Numbers 16:32-33

32And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.  So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.

This is the story of when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt…after all the plagues and Pharoh following them into the Red Sea.  The Hebrews have seen God part the Red Sea and allow them to cross on dry ground (that always blows my mind…that the ground was DRY), they’ve seen manna appear on the ground, they’ve seen God send hundreds of pheasants to feed them, they’ve seen the pillar of cloud and fire that leads them.  They have SEEN God do so many miracles on their behalf.

When I younger, I would think to myself, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE!!  THEY LITERALLY SAW THE HAND OF GOD MOVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM AND THEY STILL COMPLAINED?!?!?”

I guess wisdom really does come with age since now, I often find that I’m giving myself a good talking-to about not trusting God to take care of things since I have, yes, ****I HAVE SEEN GOD’S HAND MOVE IN FRONT OF MY OWN EYES**** before as well.

And so this Korah guy and a couple of his buddies decide there needs to be a change in management.  They decide Moses, God’s chosen leader, isn’t doing a good enough job (red flag:  it may have been Moses they were looking at, but it was God they were rebelling against!)  They decide they’re going to get folks all riled up and force Moses out and replace him with someone they think can do better.

If you’re a pastor or any sort of church or even a business leader, you know how this goes.  No matter what you do, some of the people aren’t going to be satisfied.  At least part, if not all, of the people you ‘lead’ or shepherd aren’t going to be happy with the way you do things, no matter how much you pray, no matter how whole-heartedly you seek for God’s guidance…SOMEbody out there is going to be displeased and they’re either going to tell you about it — repeatedly — or they’re going to tell everyone else about it until the whole place is having doubts about your abilities.

ahem  I can save THAT sermon for another post, heh let me get back on my thought…  What struck me upon reading that, or rather hearing it since I was playing the scripture on my phone, was OH MY GOODNESS!!  What if God still did that kind of thing today??  What if He opened the earth to swallow us up when we grumbled or complained?  What if He wasn’t longsuffering and merciful?  What if He gave us exactly what we deserve instead of what we could never earn by ourselves?

Now, let me say this before someone out there who isn’t sure they like God or want to believe in Him or follow Him says, “That does it!  I don’t want to serve a God Who acts so impulsively.”  I don’t believe God acted on impulse.  You can read again and again throughout Numbers how the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, rebelled over and over.  They’d already been in the desert for a long time when this happened.  There had been many an uprising during this time.  The people had griped, grumbled and whined about everything.  They EVEN went so far as to say they’d have been better off as slaves beaten and overworked, unfairly treated, than to have God lead them out into this forsaken desert.

I can’t quite imagine that, but I try not to judge them too harshly.  But I will admit, when I read this account I find myself ALWAYS wanting to smack a bunch-a Hebrews up-side the head and say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”   I believe that Korah and the others had done this same thing several times already.  I think they were probably always trying to stir up discontentment and division among the Hebrew congregation.  I don’t KNOW that, but I know that God isn’t reactionary.  He’s not a God who makes ‘snap judgements’ or ‘goes off’ on people.  I mean, c’MON…if He did, do you think the world would be the way it is today?

No, God is and always has been long-suffering.  If He wasn’t merciful, He would have left them all in bondage in Egypt.  He’d have gone looking for other people to call His own, I daresay.

And that brings me to thinking about myself and how I am constantly failing God in one way or other (or multiple ways!)  It’s like that little saying or meme you see sometimes…

So, here’s my thought before I get side-tracked… I am SO THANKFUL that God isn’t in the business of giving us “what we deserve”.  If He was, then WE would have been swallowed up, sent alive to our “just desserts”, an eternity in hellfire!

That IS what we deserve, after all.  It’s so easy to lose sight of that in our comfy lives where we don’t have to fight for food or shelter every day.  We think we “deserve” to have things go our way.  We think we’re good.  Whether because we’re unaware of what God did for us in sending Jesus to shoulder our punishment or we think we’re “okay” since we “serve God”…we attend church once a week or we volunteer at the soup kitchen…whatever.

But we don’t even deserve to breathe.  We certainly don’t deserve the opportunity to live out eternity in heaven with Jesus.  But He still came

 

 


so gone so long


Sheez!!  I have missed writing so much!!  It’s been crazy around here, of course.  I began having physical therapy on my neck and shoulders, as I’ve mentioned before, but they also started occupational therapy on my hands.  Or rather, my right hand, which has been going numb a LOT!  At first, because there was some initial pain too, I figured I just needed to sign up to have carpal tunnel surgery on this hand too, but my doctor (my general practitioner) was SO against it!  She was telling me how it only worked about half the time, etc. etc.  Which was surprising to me since when I had it done in my left hand, it was like a miracle!!  Took care of all my problems in that hand!  But then, talking to others who have had CT surgery done, they’ve had bad experiences.

As of now, the pain is much decreased and the numbness isn’t as constant so I’m trying to get by without seeing an orthopedic doctor.  I think a lot of the pain I had at first was arthritis.  The weather was horribly rainy then and while a lot of times, the rain doesn’t seem to affect me at all, this time, it really did and I had aches in joints I’d for

gotten all about.  UGH!

So anyhow, they keep you busy running to therapy umpteen times a week.  Thank God it’s not too far from the house!

As for other doin’s… Tommy and I both went to Cincy to see the kids on the weekend of June 4th.  Since I had an appointment with my endo in Lexington on Monday afternoon, we just stayed Sunday night too and stopped for the appointment on the way home.  So we left here on Friday afternoon.  I was able to leave Max with a friend, thankfully, so we loaded up our bikes, the kids’ life jackets and ours and as little luggage as we could get by with, their two camping chairs we thought they’d forgotten (they meant to leave them!) and a small cooler with drinks and snacks ALLLLL into our Challenger!

Yes, I said the Challenger!  Ha ha ha!!  We checked to be sure we could even get our bikes in there first and surprisingly, with the front wheels off and the back seats folded down, we were able to get both of them in without too much trouble.

We DO have an older bike hauler, but it takes a hitch reciever and Tommy’s not been willing to cut into the body and stick one of those ugly things in between the two chrome-tipped exhausts.  I can’t say I blame him one bit.  If we get to where we’re riding a lot, maybe…but right now?  Nope.  Ruby is too sharp to mess up like that!  Ha ha!

 

We had an amazing time while we were visiting Corey and Melissa.  Most of the time it’s rushed.  We don’t have much time to be there so we have squeezed a ton of sight-seeing and visiting into them.  This time, we just took it easy and had a couple things planned.  We did those and then just fiddled around the rest of the time.  We rode the Little Miami River trail which was awesome.  It’s a rails-to-trails trail and so it was mostly flat.  We rode up to what’s called The Old Powder Factory where they used to make ammunition.  It, um…it blew up, so now what’s left of the buidling, which is substantial, is abandoned and it’s a cool place to see.  There are white and turquoise tile decoration up on the towers of red brick and it’s all by itself almost in the middle of nowhere, so it’s an eery sort of place.  Very cool.  The ride was just wonderful since it was mostly shaded and follows the river.  We started in historic Loveland, which is such a quaint, beautiful area of town.  Little shops and tons of people just out milling around, either riding or running/walking the trail, or working at the shops, some playing music, some sitting around the park-like area just snoozing or playing games.  It was SO fun!  And it really got Tommy and me both back on a cycling kick, which thrills me to no end!

In fact, we actually have 76 miles under our belts in a week’s time! (3 more rides after the one in Ohio)  WOW!  I am so shocked that we were able to accomplish this!! That I was able to accomplish it!  I can’t describe how good it felt to be back on the bikes with the wind blowing past us, seeing turkey, deer, rabbits, foxes and horses….oh, and of course, cows as we rode down our familiar country roads.  We even got to ride with some folks from our cycling club, so it was fun catching up with them, assuring them that, no, we hadn’t died, we just got busy.  Cycling has been one of the only hobbies that Tommy and I both really enjoy that we can do together.  It’s good for our health and our relationship.  You can’t beat that with a stick!

While we were with the kids, we also went to the Cincinnati Zoo and to a couple of bike and outdoor shops, out to a few neat places to eat and to several places scoping out the best place for them to put in their kayaks.  Yeah, Corey and Mel just bought kayaks, so they will have a busy summer for sure!

The weekend before, Memorial Day weekend, Corey and Melissa came down to Kentucky for a few days, so we were busy then too.  We went to a friend’s family farm a couple of times where they often camp out and enjoyed the campfire, cooking and company.

Friends and folks who know my eldest and his wife often ask me how I’ve done with their move to Ohio and I have to tell them it’s been a bit easier than I thought it would.  I thought sure I would just die without them here but in all honesty?  We see them more now than we did when they lived right next door.  It seems absence really does make the heart grow fonder and the people take a lot less for granted!

And so this past weekend, I have been serving on an Emmaus weekend!  Since our Emmaus community has not had access to the Christian camp we have used for the past several years, we hadn’t been able to host a walk, but a generous church offered their campus to us (actually it’s where the first few walks were held when our community was brand new!) and so I’ve had a spiritually refreshing, physically exhausting weekend!  It was really wonderful and I’m still basking in the glow of the heavy presence of God we had all weekend.

Since waking up this morning, though, my face is swollen, my sinuses are all gobbed up and my head is pounding like someone’s playing drum on it with a hammer, so I’m going to treat my aching self for awhile…see if I can get my bones to stop protesting and settle in with my Bible for a bit.  As usual, I’ve come away from the weekend convicted of the lack of time I spent with my sweet Savior, so I’m getting back to it and sighing with relief that my God is big on second, third, fiftieth chances.

He is just SO good!

Be blessed today and go bless someone else!  mwah!

 

 

impossible


You know how things become “hip” and “trendy” so fast these days.  Like the one that immediately comes to mind (and is very much done, for the most part, so yeah, it’s old, but it was super-annoying!) is the RickRoll (<–click the link for definition & lengthy exposition of the rickrolling phenomenon).

Or that meme that you find repeatedly or in various forms all over social media and the internet in general.  Like, it become a sort of techno-folklore type of thing.  (overused memes, linked in case you’re confused about what I mean…ha!)

OR (yes, I’m getting to my point here…) like all those baby-fied Noah/Noah’s ark things.  All sorts of things…baby toys, wallpaper border, wall hangings, bed sets, play sets, notebooks, stationery…you name it!  It has or has had something that was Noah-ark themed made of it.

I never got into that.  I didn’t give my boys any things that were made that way. To drive the point home for you, check out this link!  I mean, it’s like Noah’s ark-o-rama!  GAH!

Now, the above photo depicts, among other things, some top-notch cake-decorating skills but also is representative of my point that the whole story of Noah has been turned into a children’s story at best; a fairytale at worst!  This cake is for a baby shower.  It’s adorable, don’t get me wrong.  But the theme, the actual story, whether the person who ordered it believes it’s truth or fiction, is really a little questionable.  This is from a “story” (for lack of a better word right now) about when God found the earth so corrupt and wicked that He found it necessary to wipe the slate clean.  A time when He instructed the one moral man He could find who still followed God’s teachings to build a gigantic vessel (that took over ONE HUNDRED YEARS to build, by the way) for a nature event that had never yet happened (it had never rained at all, let alone flooded!) and then to fill it with two of EVERY creature on earth (plus the extra ones God instructed Noah to take).

~blink, blink~

Can you even imagine?  That’s what gets me every time.  What a wholly unfathomable idea it all was…

I can remember when my boys were young and we were homeschooling when we came to the scripture about Noah.  Often, I’d take the boys outside to read the Bible to them and we would talk about what we had read.  I can recall how it just hit me suddenly what a gigantic faith Noah had to have.  I mean, at that time, the earth sort of “watered itself”.  The dew was sufficient to create enough water to sustain all the vegetation in the world and even to supply all the people with enough water.

I’m drawing from my reading of Many Waters, by A Wrinkle In Time author, Madeleine L’Engle.

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time)
(I love this series of books and recommend you give them a read if you haven’t already!)

 

Ahem!  So when I say that, I mean that in Many Waters, the imagery was that of a dry, arid atmosphere.  Like a desert, I guess.  And scripture doesn’t indicate if there was a body of water nearby, so I really don’t know if they could, at that time, even imagine what sort of thing was about to happen or why in the world they would need to build such a “contraption” as the ark.  Who knows?  Perhaps they had never seen any sort of boat before?

I tried to get across to the boys how HUGE Noah’s faith had to be for him to just go ahead and do what God told him when he had never seen or even heard of rain or a flood before.  I told them it would be like God telling them to build a gigantic whatchamajigger (because they wouldn’t know whatever word God would use… they wouldn’t understand what He was talking about if they’d never seen it before, if it had never even happened before) because purple, singing flowers were going to fall from the sky.

Seriously.

What if God told you something like that?  Don’t you imagine it was along the same lines with Noah?  I can almost imagine this sort of conversation happening…

“Yes, I’m going to send water down from the sky.  Yes, I know it usually appears on all the leaves.  But I will…yes.  Yes, I know you’ve never seen water come out of the sky before, but I am going to do it that way this time.  Yes…enough to cover the entire earth.  Yes, Noah, I know you’ve never seen that much water in your life.  I know you can’t imagine it.  It’s okay though.  I always do what I say I will do and this time won’t be any different.  Just trust in Me, do what I ask you to and you will get to see something that has never ever happened on earth before!”

Wouldn’t it be the same way for us?  I honestly wonder if Noah even questioned what God was talking about, or maybe he wasn’t fully aware.  I really think about this thing a lot.

I really think about this thing a lot.

I mean, did Noah just trust God so fully and completely that he didn’t even bat an eye?  That’s pretty awe inspiring if you ask me.  And here I sit, questioning and wondering if God can or will help us be able to pay our bills or do something or other, and I fret and worry about it.  What a little-faith-er I am!!  I can’t even have faith that God will sustain us with the things we need let alone to do something outlandish and be considered crazy by the world just because He said to.

I had big plans of showing how various factions of society look at or consider the Ark and the whole story of Noah.  From the hostile to the mocking to the sold-out to the “adventurer/historian/myth-buster”.  There are all kinds of opinions and views about Noah’s Ark.  It’s probably one of the most visible, socially acceptable stories in the Bible, even when it’s completely wrong or based in emotion.  You may come across a representation of the ark anywhere!

Go read the account of the ark with this in mind.  Think of how they lived back then, think of what it was like to live that way and how it would be to have God ask you something like that in a time of such rampant evil and violence….

The World When Noah Was Alive….Genesis 6…

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  ~Genesis 6:5


stormy weather…


It’s getting to be tornado season around my house.  It’s a little funny (not ha-ha funny, but odd-funny) for me to say that since we have been blessed to avoid any huge damage from tornados since we’ve lived here.  That’s over 20 years now!  But there have been some bad ones come through very close to us over the years.

I don’t mind a thunderstorm every now and then.  I like the feeling of being safe and protected in my house while the thunder rages outside.  It reminds me of how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things.  It reminds me of how awesome and huge God is and conjures up visions of Him sitting amongst the clouds, flicking His hand to instigate bright flashes of lightening and earth-shaking booms of thunder.

It also usually always makes me think of how amazingly cool it would be to see a storm from His point of view.  I mean, how cool would it be to be able to look over God’s shoulder, or rather, probably, from atop His shoulder, and watch all the action from the topside?  I think it’s fascinating to ponder how utterly awesome that would be.

Heh.  Do you ever think about things like that?

One of my daughters-in-law is really afraid of storms.  Not so much that she’s panicking, but she doesn’t care for them at all.  I have never really been afraid of them.  I actually liked to be outside watching when one rolled in.  I know.  Not very bright of me, right?  Ha!  But it’s true.  I can remember one time when a storm was rolling in over our house.  I was nine or ten years old, I guess, and Dad made me go outside and get some lawn chairs I’d left out in the yard.

As I opened the storm door and stepped outside, the wildness of the winds hit me in the face and the darkness of the sky became up close and personal and I felt incredulous that my dad had sent his poor little daughter out in that weather. Heh.  But I knew he was watching me and wouldn’t let me back out of it, so I ran as fast as my legs would go.  I grabbed up those two chairs, slapped them together and ran for dear life back to the garage to stow them and get back in the house as quick as I could.  

Being all by myself out there was a bit more scary than I had anticipated.

But watching a storm with someone else is a little different.  Another time I remember is when we got caught in the barn when a bad storm hit.  I think it was maybe Mom and my sister this time.  We ended up getting some hail with that one and it was so cool to me to sit in the hay up in the loft and listen to the fury outside.  I think we had some puppies at the time, so that was lots of fun, too.

Or it could be that I’m completely mixing up my memories.  You never know with me these days.  Never the less, at one time in history, I was caught in the barn during a hailstorm and the crazy, loudness of the ice hitting the tin roof was really amazing.  It’s like you have absolutely no control and no choice but to hunker down and let God’s enormous-ness happen all around you.

I dunno… maybe I’m just weird thinking about stuff like that?

Another, more recent time I remember was when my boys were young and we’d gone camping!  We didn’t get hail that time, thank God, but there was lots of lightening and thunder and all we could do was hunker in the tent (yes, a TENT!) while the rain battered against the thin nylon.  The very idea that some flimsy fabric was the only thing between us and the wild weather outside was pretty sobering.  And of course, I did some praying in there that the stitching and fabric would hold!

I’m pretty sure that’s the four-day weekend we spent when it would rain at least once a day, then be beautifully sunny.  Tommy and I ended up buying extra tarps and reinforcing our rain protection that time.  The boys thought it was great fun.  Mud didn’t bother them at all.

smile

Fun times.

This time of year also brings birthday month.  Casey’s birthday was last Sunday.  Corey’s will be the Sunday after this.  I can’t believe they are now 24 and 28!!  I mean, seriously!?!?  When did I get old enough to have an almost-30-year-old kid?!?

Thinking about them being this old makes me really wonder if I’m ever going to get a grandbaby.  I try not to talk about that, especially to them, but c’mon you guys!!  You’re not getting any younger!

I can’t imagine having been married this long and not having any kids.  Of course, our marriage is nothing like either of our kids’ marriages.  Casey and Tay continue talking like soon as she’s done with her BSN (which is next month, hallelujah!) they will be up for having kids.  I guess I can’t see it though because they’re never still long enough.

They are both constantly running to this or that meeting, some sort of sporting event or party or concert or just getting together with friends.  It makes my head spin!  I mean, you have to plan months ahead if you want to do something with them and then it’s likely to be a no-go if Taylor has a lot of homework.  Sheesh!  I just wish I had that much energy!  Ha!

Anyhow, yeah… I’m staring 50 in the eyeball right now and most of my friends have at least one grandbaby if not more!  I feel so left out.  (heh)  That’s only when I let myself think about it, though.

Right now, I’m just trying to work up to where I can ride my stinkin’ bike again!!  Tommy and I went out Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t even finish six miles!  Of course, I hadn’t been on that bike in a good year, so I’m trying to cut myself some slack, but it sure felt horrible to realize how much stamina I have lost.  How much endurance and ability.

It definitely proves the phrase “Use it or lose it” because I’ve definitely lost it.  Every last bit of it!!

But here’s to better things and a stronger body.  Please, Lord!  🙂

Okay, that’s all I have on my brain right now.  Take some time to watch the sky today and think about what and Who stands beyond your view…

Blessings!

Psalm 95:4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.


belonging


I think it’s kinda funny, since God can be a very humorous sorta deity, that the word “longing” makes up the majority of the word “belonging”.

I mean, isn’t that what we all long for, at least part of the time?  We want to belong.  We want to be part of something.  We want to be accepted and loved.  We long to BE.

I’ve spent most of my life not knowing where I belong, never being sure of myself.  I was never gripped by a desire to do something so much that I “just knew” it was my “calling”, it was what I was supposed to do.

I’m sure that a lot of people who know me in real life may not think words like “insecure”, “doubting”, “confused” and “aimless” describe me, but they do.  I mean, they sure describe how I feel about myself.

I hate the feeling I have when I’m chatting in a small group or even one on one.  Before long, another person comes along and suddenly all attention is toward that person who (usually) I don’t know. It’s not that I’ve lost the person’s attention but that I sorta cease to exist.  Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t know what to do with myself.

This happens on a pretty regular basis and it’s not with one particular person or group.  And I don’t even think people realize that it bothers me.  I feel like, “Okay…no one’s talking with me anymore.  No one is including me in this conversation.  Do I leave?  I feel like I’m eavesdropping or creeping if I just hover around the outside of this circle.  Do I say bye?  See ya later?  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”  Most of the time, I’ll just wander quietly away, leaving the group or the other two people talking.  Most of the time, I don’t think anyone notices.

I really need to know if I’m the only one this happens to.  I mean, if not, then thank God and give me some tips on how to deal with it.  But if I am “the only one” who experiences this, well shoot, that’s pretty doggone sad!!

So with that little glimpse inside my mind, you should get a sense of how I feel a lot of the time.  Just insecure, uncertain if people like me, doubtful that they want to talk with me, confused about how I can feel this way but be able to get up in front of a roomful of people and give a talk.

I’ve pondered this a lot, as you might imagine.  Why am I this way?  Why do I feel so unsure about whether I am liked by others, whether I’m wanted in a particular group?  The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I still carry a statement in my head that my mother said to me once.  Don’t worry.  This isn’t gonna become a mom-blaming post.  I love my mom, but she said something to me once that I’ve carried with me.  Well, no.  That makes it sound like I choose to carry it.  It has just followed me, stuck on a loop in my mind sometimes.  Other times, I only hear it when something like the above situation happens.

I was probably around ten or eleven years old at the time.  We were probably at a baptism or something after church.  I remember being in a sort of overgrown area, gravel and bunches of Queen Anne’s lace and clover. Baptisms were done outside in the creek, of course!  My closest friend had asked if I wanted to come play ball at her sister’s house with all her other siblings.  She was the youngest of six so three of her siblings were already married and having kids.  I went to ask Mom if I could go.  She immediately said no, which was usual.  We were never allowed to go many places without Mom being there, too.  I protested and she said, “They don’t really want you over there.  She’s just being nice and inviting you.”

At the time, all I remember feeling was fury.  I was so mad at her for not letting me go.  It wasn’t until decades later that I realized I still hear those words in my head whenever I’m in a crowd or trying to decide whether to go to a party or a shower or any sort of gathering.  I hear, “You aren’t wanted in that group.  Nobody really cares if you are there.  They don’t like you.  They won’t tell you not to come, but that’s only because it would look bad if they did. They just don’t want you.”

I would never tell my mom this.  As a mother myself, my heart breaks when my boys let slip with something I said to them that was really hurtful.  I don’t want to hurt her, so I would never tell her about this.  (don’t worry.  she thinks the internet is where the devil lives, so she’ll never find my blog or anyone else’s for that matter!)

Finally pinning down the root of this thing has been good for me.  I’m not comparing my mother with satan, but these days when I hear those words, I know he is the one saying them.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to realize after I’ve already let the sting of rejection wash over me, but I’m trying to get better at that.

That’s how I feel about my book. I get these nudges that I feel must be from God that I should write it and I feel that some of the things in it would be helpful for others who are struggling…be it depression or a marriage problem like we had or just knowing someone else out here has and is dealing with the same things.  Then here comes that voice…“Why in the world would anyone want to read about you!  laughter  You’re nobody and your little life is nothing to be excited about.  You can’t even put the words together anymore, so how will you do it anyway?”

Today, when my ancient laptop refused to boot up, I instantly started hearing “This is a sign that you should give up on the book.”  I have my draft saved on here.  Over 8,000 words that I worked hard to get out of me.  The thought of doing it again was horrific!  So, I am going to save my draft to a thumb drive.  I know.  It’s about time, right?Obviously, the hubby came home and “fixed” my computer with just a few keystrokes.  I don’t ask questions, I just go with it.  And I continue to ponder the latest sermon series at church…all about growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has just been like an extra push when I’m sitting there listening and there’s scriptural confirmation that I need to “just do it”, as they say.  This one really hit me hard…

 

“It is difficult to sense the presence of God in your life when you ignore the purpose God has for your life.”

The “main point” of becoming a Jesus follower is to lead others to follow Jesus.  So in that way, we all know what our purpose is.  We don’t have to wonder.  Your way of leading people to Jesus is probably a lot different than mine.  I feel like within that “main point” lies our purpose, our gift, our God-given talent. If we will focus ourselves on “the main point”, then our purpose, our “reason for being” will become clear.  Does that make sense?  For instance, if you have a musical talent, you can use that talent without the “main point” in mind or you can do what you love, what you’re best at, as a starting point to show others the love of Christ. Like if your gift was music…you could play and sing just any old songs, or you could use your talents to share Christ with people.  See?

Okay, well I’m just going to hope this made sense to you.  It seems to take me so long to get posts together anymore that I am writing a single post in two or more sessions and I lose my focus.  I really hate that and am hoping to get past this soon.  I have a ton of stuff to catch you up on but for now, I’ll close this one.

Blessings!

 

 


The #1 Misconception about Jesus


[NOTE:  This post was written last week, Monday, November 28, 2016.  However, I didn’t get the chance to post it because I ended up in the hospital that evening.  More on that later, though… I think this is an important post!]


Wow.  What a heavy title, huh?  Well, stick with me.  I think you will be as blown away by this as I was.

If you’ve read here much at all, you will know I am very much a “grace and truth” person.  Taken from this scripture: [notes in brackets are mine]

John 1: 14 ~ “And the Word became flesh [Jesus] and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father [God], full of grace and truth.”

I believe Jesus was more about love than law. Not that we should dismiss God’s law outright.  However, Jesus valued a proper balance of grace with truth, not beating people up with truth until we feel like giving them a little grace.  Not about hurting people with truth without also giving them a good dose of grace to go along with it.  He did not disregard the Law, but Jesus simply loved more than He fretted about law-keeping.  As our pastor started the sermon yesterday, he read from Matthew…

Matthew 12:1-2 ~  At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.””

He pointed out how the Pharisees’ first thought was to point out the law-breaking.  They were not concerned that these men were hungry and had no other food available to them.  Remember that another law in play here is the one about leaving behind  any plants that are missed or any grain that has fallen during harvest in order that the needy could glean the fields and feed themselves.  (Leviticus 23:22)

The first thing that came rushing to my mind is all the times, as I was growing up in a traditional, conservative Christian church, I had seen people shunned or ignored because they were not dressed like the rest of us, or because they had done things considered ‘unforgivable’ while at the same time, only moments later, hearing a sermon about how loving and kind Jesus was to all people… the drunkards and the harlots and the sinners.  How He seemed to always reserve His harshest words for those in the “religious elite”, the high priests, and the religious scholars.

As a child, this always seemed so backward, but as anyone raised in this sort of environment knows, you don’t question those unspoken rules.  That is frowned upon and discouraged if not outright disallowed!  You just don’t question things that seem to be wrong with the status quo of the church.

Even as an adult, I went along with these sort of things.  My thinking was just as convoluted as those I still love today who are so set on sticking with the man-made rules and traditions in most churches.  I thought if you didn’t dress correctly, you were better off to stay home than come to church ill-dressed.  If you had been in jail or were known to be “living in sin”/shacking up, etc, then you had best sit in the back if you dared to show your face at all.  Don’t expect to be welcomed or even greeted in most cases.

Now, I am NOT saying that we should just ignore what the Bible clearly calls sin, but you cannot claim to “love the sinner and hate the sin” if you treat people like second-class citizens and push them to the fringe, making sure they know they’re ‘not good enough’.  That was the favorite cop-out of most churches I was ever involved in…”love the sinner and hate the sin”.  In theory, this is an excellent way to live, however, if you’re not willing to actually love the sinner then it becomes merely hypocrisy.

We are to hate sin just as much as God Himself hates it!!  He hated it so much and loved the children He had created so much that He became flesh and submitted Himself to the cross to save us from it!!  The thing we have really screwed up down here is the value God places on people (love) versus the value He places on things (law).

We think God places utmost value on His law and thus, our keeping of His law, when in reality, He values people the most.  That’s us, you and me and everyone you know…and everyone I know AND all the people they know.  So the essence of what Jesus came to do was not bulk up religion, not reinforce it or endorse it but to reject it, rescind it, to show us the better way.  Religion is about the law.  We, as our sin nature tends to do, have perverted the value of the law, putting it above love and human life.  It was love that caused God to give us the law.  The law is and has always been to help protect us, God’s children, His creations.  It was never created to be a noose, a burden, a dead weight that makes us view life as dreary.  Therefore, when it comes to a situation where it is love versus law, love always wins in God’s eyes.  God created the law for man, not man for the law.  He didn’t create laws first and then people to keep them.  He created people first, and then laws they needed to protect them.

That’s not to say we can make excuses to discount and disregard God’s law.  But, as in this instance, when it comes to our well-being or keeping a law, God will always opt in favor of our well-being, which is why He even made any law to begin with.

The example that Jesus used up there in Matthew to let the Pharisees know they were seeing things wrong was of David, when he was running from the murderous wrath of King Saul and sought shelter in a temple.  He and his men were tired and hungry.  The only thing available to eat was the consecrated bread which the law dictated was only to be eaten by the priests.  In the presence of the priest, David and his men ate the “shew bread”, the bread blessed and set aside for the temple priests, without condemnation from either God or the priests.  Nowhere in the scripture does it ever indicate or mention that God showed any displeasure or outrage at what David did in this scripture.

I had NEVER caught that part of the story.  I mean, it’s right there.  Plain as day.  Jesus is telling the Pharisees that just as David wasn’t condemned for eating consecrated bread because his well being was threatened if he and his men didn’t feed themselves, that He and the disciples were also not condemned for picking grain to eat right there on the Sabbath because they  had no previously prepared food nor place to get any food that day.  It was a necessity that they eat.  As strict law-keepers, the Pharisees would have rather they starved for the day instead of sustain themselves.  To them, that law was more important than loving the men enough to let them feed themselves.  The scripture goes on to inform us that after this, when they couldn’t prove Jesus to be wrong (because that would have meant they had to say David, the man they bragged 0f having as their ancestor, had committed a dreadful sin!) the Pharisees responded by beginning to plot how they could kill Jesus.  Yeah.  Law was WAY more important than Love to them.

For Jesus, LOVE is much more important than LAW.

Why has the church or we as Christians lost sight of this today?  Why can’t we see that loving people is so much more important than harping on such unimportant things as how they dress or whether they attend church on a certain day, or what type of music they prefer to worship with or how their preacher dresses?  Why must we focus on a person’s past when there is so much potential for their future in Christ?  Why do we drive people away because they don’t fit our preferences instead of loving them as Jesus would?

Our pastor has titled this series “Reeds and Wicks” and the message yesterday “Why Christmas is Not a Religious Holiday” using this scripture, also in Matthew:

Matthew 12:20 ~ “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.”

We are those bruised reeds, the ones broken and rendered useless to the world…the wicks that are so low in the wax that we are barely able to hold the tiny flame and people will soon throw us out because we don’t produce enough light.  Jesus repairs us, He makes us whole, He pours out the excess wax snuffing out our flames, He provides a use for our bent and bruised reeds.  Where the world calls us worthless, Jesus calls us worthwhile.  He gives us purpose and perspective.  He loves us even though we’ve been stepped on or are almost to the point of drowning in the wax.  He rescues us from our lowly state and not only uses us, cleans us up and gives us a purpose, but He loves us more than anyone ever will.

How can we trivialize Him by confining His love inside laws that don’t always apply?  When we use the law of God to withhold the love of God, we misrepresent God!  Rather than asking, like the Pharisees, “Is it lawful?”, we should ask “Is it loving?”  God’s love draws in those whom God’s law has cast out.  God cares more about sinners than their sins, and more about lawbreakers than broken laws.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to endeavor to do the same.  Lord, let me love like You do!

Blessings,

G~

 


do you have dreams?


Not the kind when you’re asleep that you can’t quite remember when you wake up.  I’m talking about “big” dreams…some people call them goals.  Things you wish for, think about, plan to do, ponder and well…dream about doing.  

The current series our pastor is in at church is mostly about dreams and what we are doing (or not doing) to accomplish them.  It’s brought home a really uncomfortable truth for me:

I don’t really have goals and dreams.  Is that weird?  I’m not sure.  I’ve actually always known that I tend to not set goals and thus, I don’t really dream dreams for things I want or would like to do.  

Maybe it’s because I deal with depression, but I’m not sure I can blame it on that.  I need to poll my depression peeps and see if that’s a connection we have as folks who struggle to be happy sometimes.

I feel like my lack of goals stems from the fact that I want to avoid being disappointed.  I don’t want to fail to meet said goal, and so my solution is to just not set one.  And that’s always seemed to work for me.  heh  Not that I consciously did that, it’s just how I operated.  It’s how I still operate for the most part.

Tommy and I have talked about this, at least partially, a few times.  He likes to “window shop”.  He’ll get a big idea that he wants something we could never afford and he’ll go look at whatever it is, looking it up online or going to a store to check it out.

I don’t do that.  For instance, if I wanted some fancy dress, (I don’t, but if I did…) I would avoid all the fancy dress stores.  I would avoid any online store that sells fancy dresses.  I figure if it’s a given that I’ll never be able to have the thing I desire, I won’t look at the thing knowing it can never be mine.

Maybe Tommy doesn’t feel that way.  Even though realistically we can’t afford his desired thing, he will look at and research and learn all he can about it.  Maybe it’s because he doesn’t feel it’s an impossibility?  Maybe he thinks one day he might actually get the thing he wants. 

I dunno…he and I are very different in that area.  I seldom spend on myself.  I’m not as bad as I used to be, like when the boys were still at home, but I only bought clothes for myself if I absolutely HAD to have something and then it was only off the sale racks.  I didn’t feel like it was “fair” for me to spend on myself when the boys or even Tommy needed something else.  Whether that something else was clothes or a hobby item or maybe a birthday gift.  I never felt it was “okay” to spend on myself.

And that’s not because Tommy did anything to make me feel that way.  He’s never been a control freak about our money.  Maybe that’s part of my refusal to spend on myself…the fear that he might make a rash decision to purchase something we couldn’t afford so then I needed to be “the responsible one”.  Or maybe…maybe I cloaked my self-denial in the title of “responsible”??  Hmm….

Not that he’s terrible about doing that, but in years past, it happened a few times.  Money we’d agreed to use for an improvement to the house, for example, bought go karts instead.  That was a bad time in our marriage.  The times he spent what I considered ungodly amounts on fishing poles or guns or some hunting item… I would be livid about that.  And looking back, I probably had a right to be since we could barely pay the bills most of the time.

Then I’d feel guilty because Tommy is a hard worker.  Anyone who knows him knows he works all the time.  Especially the past few years.  He never tells anyone ‘no’ he won’t fix their broken whatever or  no, he doesn’t have time to diagnose their car or some machine that isn’t working.  

Then when I had times like I’ve had the past couple of months, being so sick I couldn’t even keep up with the bare minimum chores around the house, I’d feel like a big bum and start thinking “What right do you have to begrudge him some splurge item?  You never lift a finger around here…”  Maybe that’s another reason I have always refused to spend on myself.

I guess, if I had to say, “THIS…this is my dream,”  since I’ve never really given it a lot of thought, it would be to be debt free and not have to worry about money.  I don’t wanna be rich, like I don’t want to live in a mansion.  I’d love to be able to fix what needs fixing on our house and do some remodeling.  We need to replace the siding and windows desperately.  We need to pave our driveway and finish pouring sidewalk to the shop.  The landscape needs serious attention and we need to get rid of the carpet now that I’m trying to get rid of dust/dust mites and so I’d like to put down hardwood or tile in the four rooms that have carpet.  I’d like to expand our bedroom which was too small to begin with.  Originally, our closet was going to be in the kitchen, not “in” the bedroom, but when we changed the layout of the kitchen, we pushed the closet into the bedroom, which took up a considerable amount of room.  If there were only a twin bed in there, the amount of room would probably be adequate, but a king-size bed plus two chests and a dresser leave very little room.  It’s cramped and makes me feel claustrophobic.  I’d also sorta like to expand the master bath, which is a decent size, but not laid out well since it is a ‘walk thru’…you can come into it from the bedroom on one side or from the utility room on the other side.  That leaves very little storage space after you add the commode, tub and a double vanity.  We put a pocket door between it and our bedroom because otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to use the bathroom at all!  So I’d like to expand it and if we went to that length, I’d really hope we could put in a jacuzzi, which I would use all the time.  heh  Nothing fancy, just something to bubble the aches and pains away and big enough for Tommy to feel comfy in whenever he takes a bath.

Beyond that?  Well, I’d really like to paint all my oak cabinets, in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  I’d like to eventually get new living room furniture.  What we have now is in good shape.  Mom bought it for us several years ago but I’d love to have a matching set of what I want, ya know?  Not just what’s on sale or what I can afford to get by with..but something I really like.  I’d love to have a nice leather set with the big brass tacks and deep, soft cushions.

Then?  Then I’d love to be able to give gifts without worrying.  I would love to be a gift giver, but we always struggle to buy gifts for our family, let alone giving to others.  Like, I don’t go to showers, baby showers or household showers, because many times, I don’t have money to buy a decent gift without worrying if we’d have enough money to pay bills and if we do happen to have a bit of extra so that I could buy a gift, I don’t go because I’m worried that someone else, down the road will be offended when I don’t buy for them.  I think I probably get that from Mom.  She keeps track of who bought gifts when and for which occasion.  She keeps track of how many daughters or sons she has showered and whether or not they or their parents reciprocated for her children.  Ugh.

Anyhow, for all my talk about overcoming fear and not being afraid of anything because God is our Father and we shouldn’t be afraid of anything… my biggest fear is needing money.  That we won’t have enough money.  Worrying about affording necessary medicines or supplies.  I’m not sure why I am like that.  I mean, we’ve never been well off by any means, but as a kid I never worried about money.  Mom and Dad never let us know if things were tight or if there were worries about having enough for that month.  I think they always had plenty, but Mom did tell me about when I was in junior high and needing a dress for the prom (needing?!?) and they didn’t have the money and she put it on a card and then was able to pay it off in a couple months.  I had no clue.  I had no idea they couldn’t afford to just buy whatever we needed because they always did.

I don’t think our boys knew every time we worried about having enough money, but they knew that things were tight.  That’s why they had to work for what they wanted, which, I think, has made them better men.  Nothing was ever given to them.  They earned it all and I guess that’s why they have nice things today and take such good care of their belongings.  I never really learned about money until I got married and then it was sort of a shock.

We didn’t really have money problems, after marriage, until insurance became a big issue.  When we didn’t have insurance for awhile, it got really scary really fast.  I found out no one wanted to insure a woman with diabetes, and if they DID perhaps say that they would, they wanted an arm and a leg to do it.   I think that’s when my fear of never having enough really settled in.

I’m the type of person who will use a product so sparingly that I don’t get its full effects, or I’ll start trying to spread it out to last as long as possible or I’ll stop using it so I “don’t run out”….  I know it’s bizarre, but I can’t seem to help myself.  I hate sample products.  I hate them because what if I find that the product is really great and I want to keep using it?  What if it’s expensive and I can’t afford to buy it?  Then what?  Then I’ll just be sad because I can’t afford it, so I just won’t use it at all.

I’m not kidding…that’s how my mind works.  

Now, is it that I “love money”?  Because we know, loving money is the root of all evil, right?  No, it’s not that.  I don’t “love” money.   I just want to have enough so that I don’t have to worry about not having enough.  Ha.  Honestly.  I don’t want to be rich.  Comfortable, yes.  But then, God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, huh?  However, living the way we do, struggling and worrying about how to pay the bills feels like I’m not doing something right.  It makes me feel like I haven’t done whatever I am, or we as a family are supposed to do.

And it’s not that we’re wasteful.  I mean, yeah, we’ve made mistakes over the years, but to say we waste money on stuff, I can really say we don’t.  We don’t have cable, we don’t have any satellite radio subscriptions or anything like that.  We don’t have a lot of toys.  I mean, we have our bikes, which have been good for our health, when we were riding, that is.  And I hope we will ride next year and get back into like we were last year.  We don’t have a new vehicle.  Ours is over 6 years old, and it’s a base model.  We only have one vehicle that can be considered “nice” and Tommy usually has an old beat-up truck of some sort.  Right now, he’s trying to fix the 2009 F150 so we can trade our 2010 F150 to a car for me and still have a 4WD truck for winters.  And he got this truck in an even trade for a 2004 pickup so we don’t owe anything on it.   Since I started this post before THIS one, you now know that we were able to trade, and for an amazing car, the one I have maybe not “dreamed” of, but wanted the most and we love it!

Our house is financed for way less than it is valued because we built it ourselves, so we do have equity in it.  Of course, without being able to make repairs and updates, it won’t retain as much value.  sigh

When I started selling Mary Kay a couple years ago, I thought I’d just do it to get the discount.  I thought I could get enough together to make an order with the girls and Mom, but one is allergic to it and the other buys from someone else and so just two people don’t need enough for a minimum order each time.  Of course, then I got sick…that nasty arm pit rash, increased sensitivity to scents and the depression.  I really had to just quit and I felt like that was God’s way of moving me away from that.  I was torn between feeling like a failure and that it was a good experience.

I wonder if this is really true...

I wonder if this is really true…

Then I started feeling like I should try to do something to help add to our family finances, so I started looking into medical coding courses with the idea that I could work from home.  I had gone so far as to reach out to the college and seeing what paperwork I needed to be getting in order so I could enroll.  The more I looked into the actual market though, the more I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get a position working from home.  I saw that most of the job postings asked for 3 years of experience to work in an office, let alone working from home.  So then I got this strong feeling that I should try blogging again.  I read and I researched about making an income from a blog and after a few months of that and talking to Tommy and praying and just feeling convinced that this is what God wanted me to do, I jumped in with both feet.

And here I am.  I haven’t earned a dime and have spent MUCH more than that on this blog and I still don’t have any regular readers, let alone anything resembling an audience.  Granted, I haven’t been very regular with posting lately, but I’m not beating myself up over it since I’ve been sicker than a dog.

Now I tend to second-guess myself a lot.  Usually, when I get to that point, I end up quickly reassuring myself that this IS what God wanted and wants me to do.  I feel like I’ve just not figured out HOW to do it yet.  I obviously haven’t figured out what my “niche” is, if I even have one.  I haven’t found my voice.  I haven’t decided if I’m bold enough, brave enough to really put myself out there like I envisioned.  Dirty laundry, ugly moles and everything.  And this applies more to the book I really feel I’m supposed to write.  I’m wrestling with whether I “tell all” and risk having people get hurt or mad at me.  If I don’t “tell all”, then what’s the use in telling anything?  Why bother?  I used to think that no one would want to read what I want to write, but when I talk to people about those stories, they are very interested and either tell me I should write a book or tell me when I write it, they’ll read it.

Honestly, I thought writing a book would be tons easier.  Yes, I am that naive!  I know what I want to say, what I want to write about, but man…putting words on paper (or a screen) is much harder when it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.  That makes me wish I had access to writing classes.  I did a class with the boys when we were homeschooling that I found to be a lot of fun.  It was more about fiction writing, but it helped you understand about various forms of writing and using creative writing. It wasn’t a super-formal class, but I think we all enjoyed it.  Well, maybe not Casey,  my unconventional learner, but Corey really enjoyed the story writing exercises.  

Anyhow, so yeah, am I the only person who doesn’t really have dreams and goals?  Surely I can’t be the only one.  I mean, it’s pitiful enough when I realize this about myself… what kind of person doesn’t have at least one goal or dream?!?!  But to be THE ONLY person who is that way??

That’s pathetic!!

Or… do I actually have a dream and it’s more that I’m afraid to actually call it that?  Maybe it’s that my ‘dream’ is too vague?  I can’t clearly see it?  I don’t know.  But I want to figure this out, or at least look into it a little deeper.

Am I just a big scaredy cat?  Am I merely afraid to dream a big dream?  Am I so opposed to possible failure that I just refuse to set any goal?  Do I have to have “a dream”?  Should I have one…does every person need to “have a dream”?  Hmm… deep thoughts.

Let me know what you think!

(If you would, please comment on this post.  If you CAN’T comment OR if the process to use the comment feature is giving you problems or is too much trouble, please email me:  geannie [at] live [dot] com  I’d like to know what I can do to make commenting easier!  THANKS!)


1 step forward and 2 steps back


Seriously.  That seems to be the norm for me a lot of the time.  I’m usually a fairly positive person, but when I start to feel good for a change and then get SICK.  Not just sick, mind you, but S-to-the-ICK, it can bring me down a little bit.  (see previous post here)

On top of that this morning, I’m more than a little perturbed that I can’t get an appointment with my regular doctor.  They have more problems with their flippin’ computer system than a dog has fleas!  This morning, I was informed that the system was down and they couldn’t make appointments.  As in, “We don’t even know how to use a time chart and schedule people the old-fashioned way. shrugs  Sorry.” 

ARGH! The lady asked me to call back.  I fumed and fussed and reported the sitch to my husband, who told me to call his doc (who is my FORMER doc, so I declined) and when I finally called back, I had to do it four times.  The first three times I got that annoying busy signal.  The fourth, I got an “all circuits are busy” message.

Are you kidding me?

So I texted Tommy back and told him that if he wanted to get me an appointment, go ahead.  I just didn’t think I could call the old office up and ask to be worked in, ya know?

ANYhow, so I have an appointment with some new lady doc who will be taking over the office when the current guy leaves.  Yeah, he’s sick of dealing with our state’s ridiculous healthcare monopoly.  I dunno what you call it, but all of the doctor’s offices around here (almost) are hooked into this company, so they all have basically the same name and they all share records and they can apparently fire people you have hired to work in your office and dictate how to treat your patients.  Yeah.  I’m surprised we have as many doctors as we do around here.  I can’t imagine that sort of thing is at all pleasant to deal with.

But back to me and how sick I am…

I’m not sure what’s going on.  This came on pretty suddenly and started as just
a sinus-y thing…lots more drainage than usual.  Thick, choking stuff that hung in my throat, literally choking me to the point of gagging and all-but throwing up.  (sorry for the TMI… I’m all about the facts, y’all)  Then that slight cough that quickly escalated into this barking, hacking, chest-rattling cough.  I feel like I might possibly have an ear infection too, so I am feeling really and royally craptacular right now.

I always think, when someone asks or comments about how “strong” or whatever I am living with diabetes or whatever other health thing I’m dealing with at the time.  I don’t really see myself that way.  I mean, I just play the hand I’m dealt, to dabble with a card metaphor.  God equips us to deal with or grow from our life situations, ya know?  We may not feel strong enough to deal with whatever is happening at the time, but He sustains those of us who call Him Father.  None of that has to do with my abilities.  It’s just that I trust Him, sometimes a little belatedly, but He gets me through stuff.  It’s nothing that I can do on my own.

My favorite scripture and what I claim as my life verse/s is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

That one has kept me sane during several long stays in the hospital or long dark nights in misery and pain.

So yeah, I’m really sick right now and feeling whiny because it’s come right on the heels of starting to feel better than I have in months, maybe even years! (see previous post here)  But I’m trying to be patient and learn whatever lesson God has for me in this.

What’s your life scripture?  What one verse (or verses) do you go back to over and over again when life gets rough?  What does the Bible say that keeps you centered when your world seems to be crumbling?


humbled and honored


NOTE:  This post is going to consist of all manner of references to all things Emmaus.  If you have never attended a Walk To Emmaus, you might feel a little lost.  I’m so sorry about that, but my prayer is that you will have the opportunity to go on your own Walk in the very near future.  If you want to learn more about what a Walk To Emmaus is or find your closest Emmaus community, please do a Google search.  You can find tons of info at TheUpperRoom.  A super-abbreviated explanation of what “a Walk” is, just to whet your appetite:  It’s a 72-hour experience designed to strengthen a Christian’s zeal for serving in his or her own church and community.  It’s a time to see and feel the love of Christ in a unique, very dynamic way and really have your “fire stoked” or “rekindled”.  Most people come away from a Walk saying it was one of the best experiences of their lives…..me, included.

Hoo!  I’m back from another Emmaus Walk weekend.  Not that I went on another walk myself (those of you in the Emmaus community know that your first walk, your “pilgrim” walk, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience) but serving on yet another walk.

This time, I served the Prayer Team as coordinator.  What an amazing time I had!

Serving on a Walk is always a great experience.  Sometimes it’s greater than others, but there is always a refreshing to be had in going back to serve a new batch of Emmausites.  I sometimes tell people it’s the craziest thing that we all pay to “volunteer” to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion and come away walking on air, spiritually that is.  🙂

I don’t intend to “give away” any so-called secrets of the Walk, but just have to share how invigorating it can be to spend three days working together with other sisters in Christ for the common goal of bringing other people to the same place.  And don’t let my use of the word “secrets” put you off.  There really are NO secrets (even though there are some people who portray it all as a big secret weekend…which, in my opinion, does a disservice to the community as a whole).  The only “secrets” are just to allow each person to have their own unique experience and not form pre-conceived ideas about the Walk from what others have told them.  Each person comes away with different opinions and revelations or whatever, so if they are told about each thing that happens, it can color their experience.  THAT is the only reason no one sits you down and tells you EVERYthing about a Walk.  AND it’s really  hard to explain.  It’s such a unique and sometimes emotionally-charged experience, it can be all but impossible to explain to someone else.  You have to experience for yourself.  I tell people who are over-anxious about attending a Walk that if they trust the person who wants to sponsor them, then they should just put their faith in Christ and “go with” the experience.  It’s best not to try to anticipate things or figure out what’s going to happen next, but just enjoy and learn from each part of the weekend.  By the time the end of the Walk rolls around, you will wonder why you were so hesitant to just enjoy the process.

Okay, so on the other side of a Walk are all the teams that make it happen.  This could sorta be considered “giving it away” for someone who hasn’t been on a Walk, but I’m gonna do it anyway.  For me, it was fascinating to find out how many, many people had been working behind the scenes on my Walk.  Walks are (or should be!) very organized.  There’s a team who’s sole responsibility it is to cook meals for the entire camp…anywhere from 25-50+ attendees (called Pilgrims) along with at least 60 team members.  There’s an “Agape” team who basically do everything from set-up of any rooms used for the weekend (some require multiple set-ups!) and clean-up, getting anything other teams may have run out of, organizing Walk info for distributing at the end, … just a myriad of things are taken care of by the Agape team.  There is a team who takes care of decorating the dining room for each meal, including arranging the tables into various formations that are later explained and each have a meaning and purpose.  The Dining Room team also serves the meals and takes care of getting extra help if needed to serve meals.

Then there is the Prayer team.  People don’t realize how much prayer goes into an Emmaus Walk until they begin to serve.  There is prayer to choose the Lay Director of each Walk (the person who chooses the themes, the team members, etc. and oversees all aspects of the walk), prayer to choose the dates of the Walks, prayers to choose the speakers who give one of the 15 different talks delivered during a Walk, prayers to choose coordinators for each team and even team members.  Prayer is the key to a great Emmaus Walk.

This was my second time serving as Prayer Team coordinator.  I let the Lay Director (or LD) know she might want to reconsider once she spoke with the LD for the walk when I served as Prayer Team coordinator the first time.  I was nervous and also trying to help some other teams do what they were supposed to do and I forgot a crucial element of one of the main chapel services!!  I was SO mortified when one of the assistants tried to gently inform me of my oversight.  Thankfully the LD of that walk was a good friend who promptly got me on the cell phone and told me to knock it off.   She said everything was fine, that part of the chapel service could be done as soon as I got it set up and to stop crying!  (yes, I was bawling, just devastated that I’d let my friend down, along with all the other people in the chapel)

Later, I was told by several people that it turned out to be one of the best services of any of the Walks they had previously worked.  Isn’t God good?  But that “failure” stuck with me and haunted me (while the enemy whispered what a terrible disappointment I was) so I was a little reluctant to accept that position again.  But accept I did and was soon planning and organizing the prayer team for this latest Walk.

It wasn’t long before I had a team assigned to me.  A larger-than-usual team (for me, at least… I’d never worked on a prayer team with this many members) only to find out that 9 of the 11 team members had never worked on prayer before!!  I was a little nervous about that because most of the noobs were asking questions and feeling nervous about serving!

I tried to answer all their questions, along with questions I’d had the first time I served on a prayer team.  I tried to explain what was expected, what we were ultimately responsible for and then how to fill each of their 3-hour shifts.  I had to arrange teams of 2-3 ladies per 3-hour shift which they served for both a.m. and p.m.  (for instance, the 3-12 shift would serve 3-12 AM as well as 3-12 PM each day)  It’s a good system.

The coordinator is responsible for scheduling, making sure meals are provided for those on prayer shift during meal times, setting up each chapel service as dictated in the manual and then clean-up and return of all prayer room items so they can be found the next time!  Doesn’t sound like a big deal and really, it’s not except when the enemy tries to throw obstacles in your way.

As you might suspect, making sure that one particular service I’d flubbed my first time around was NOT flubbed again was a BIG deal for me.  I was pleased with myself for having it all set up well ahead of time and having had most of the off-duty prayer ladies in there covering the whole chapel with prayers beforehand.  I sat out communion elements without unwrapping the bread or pouring the juice, but leaving them in place so I could run back in a few minute before the pilgrims would arrive and get them ready.

After that, we all worked with the Agape team setting up the next part of the weekend that required our team and that meant walking quite a bit.  I was apparently on the low side already with my blood sugars and so after I’d set up my items, I started back to my truck and noticed my vision doing weird things.  I pulled out my CGM receiver to see I was at 70 with one arrow straight down (which meant I was dropping 1 point every 5 minutes).  I veered off the path to my truck and headed straight for the team dorm where the prayer room is and all my snacks.  By the time I made it there, I was at 60 with two arrows straight down (that means I’m dropping 2-3 points/5 minutes) and I was obviously in trouble.  I grabbed some food, sat down in the prayer room and started eating.  As I slowly recuperated, I realized I didn’t have my phone meaning the alarm I’d set to let me know when to go complete the chapel setup was NOT with me!

One of the dear ladies went to my truck to see if she could find my phone since that’s the last place I recalled having it.  Bless her heart, she looked all in the seat with no luck and then spotted my purse.  She was so hesitant to look through it, but she kept hearing the phone make faint notification noises, so she knew it was in there SOMEwhere!  She finally decided to search my purse…several times, to no avail.  Finally, she raised the center console to find it had slid under there.  By the time she handed the phone to me, I had gotten a few texts from the Agape coordinator saying the pilgrims were coming to chapel early!!  Then I got a text saying the clergy person had unwrapped the bread himself and I literally lost it right there.

In my mind, I pictured him uncovering the bread in front of the entire conference room (which is where most of the Walk takes place and the 15 or so team members spend time with the pilgrims) to find it covered with a noisy plastic bag.

The ladies who were in the prayer room at the time were a little stunned, I guess, to see me cry about that, I guess.  But the feeling of repeating such a huge failure just undid me.  I was so upset that I’d once again let people down.

The sweet, understanding ladies gathered around me, hugging and praying for me as I continued to treat my low blood sugar.  Soon after that, the Agape coordinator came in wondering why I was all upset when the ladies told her, she said, “No, no, NO!  He came up early and unwrapped the bread.  No one else was in there!  It’s all fine!”

Sheesh!  Boy, was that a gigantic relief!  And once again, God is so good to me!

That’s not the only amazing thing that happened.  I’ve had a “bad” neck for about 10 years now.  I think a local chiropractor messed me up when he tweaked my neck because after he did that, I began to have terrible migraines and after getting relief from daily migraines through an orthogonal chiropractor about 5 years ago, I’ve continued to have awful neck and shoulder pain every single day.  In the past couple of months, this had become a lot worse to the point I was having some nasty grinding noises when I moved my head.  So I took my heating pad and a couple of ice-gel packs.

When I went into the prayer room to get one of the ice packs, one of the ladies on shift (who I’d never met before this walk) came up behind my chair, asked what was going on and began to feel my neck and say she could feel insert techincal medical gobbledeegook here.  As I slowly tried to crane my head around to look at her inquisitively, she informed me, “I’m a chiropractor.”  I said, “Hallelujah!  Carry on!”  Seriously, it was a complete God-thing that she was there.  I’d spoken with her on the phone once prior to coming to camp about her schedule, but I had no idea what she did for a living.  She said she could adjust me later if we could find a low table or bench.

After breakfast, she did just that, using a wooden bench on the front porch, she did the most gentle, seemingly minimal adjustments on me and I felt a tiny release in my neck.  She told me to drink lots of water and that I “might get a little sore.”   I was accustomed to this type of advice having been to the other chiro many times (however, I had stopped going to him once it was clear he couldn’t get any results on alleviating the constant pain in my neck)…and I was always drinking water since it was really hot and I jokingly told her I wouldn’t know if I got sore.

Boy, was I wrong!  I got a chance to take a little nap just before lunch since I hadn’t slept much since the Walk started.  I woke up, worrying that it was close to time I needed to go light the candle in the chapel, only to find out I could barely move my neck and a huge area around the worst part of my neck and down my left shoulder was in intense pain.  I was almost in tears when I went into the prayer room to see who I might be able to send to light the candle.  There was no way I could walk up the hill to do it myself at that point.  My chiro lady was in there and I got the sense that she was a little shocked to see me in so much pain.  I hated for her to feel bad about it, but I was just as shocked as she was.  I never EVER expected such slight adjustments to make me so completely miserable!

She massaged my neck a bit, rubbed it down with Biofreeze, told me to get another bottle of water in me and take some ibuprofen, which I gladly did!  I made sure someone was lighting the candle and went back to bed.

The pain was a bit less when I got up the next time.  I was getting really worried about being able to stay at camp if this didn’t stop, but I was able to do what needed to be done for the day and took more ibuprofen and settled in for the night after several of the ladies prayed over me again.

Thank God, when I got up the next morning (I had to make sure the candle was lit before 6:30 a.m.) the pain was much less and I had most of my range of motion back.  I ran into another dear friend who was working in the conference room when I came back from chapel who asked if I was okay.  She’d seen me last night and could tell I was in pain.  When I told her what was going on, she said, “Oh, OH!  I have a TENS unit!” which she promptly pulled out of a bag and handed to me.

Once again, God’s love and mercy toward me is astounding.  That He bothered to have her pack that thing, to have her be right there, right then, and ask me that particular question (because otherwise, I probably would not have mentioned the pain to her) and of course, to have put a chiropractor on the team I was coordinating… I have no doubt all those things were organized just for my benefit.

Without that TENS unit, I would have no doubt had to go home.  I kept it on and running almost the entire day and most of the night as I slept.  The next day,  I tried to wean off it, both because I knew I would eventually have to give it up (ha, ha!) and to see how much it was actually helping me (A LOT!) and I was just sure I was burning the thing up with my constant re-starting after the timer kicked it off.  I ended up wearing it most of the next day too.  And yes, I have one on the way to the house as I type.  Ordered it last night!!

And I have my first official appointment with my friend, the chiro, tomorrow.  She’s in Middlesboro, which is over an hour away, so it’s a good thing she is so dear to me!  LOL!  I’m not sure I’d travel that far for a mediocre chiro appointment.  I’m hoping we get the chance to have lunch together, too.  We’ll see how it goes and how busy she is.  I’m just thankful to have found someone with such a passion for healing, who loves the Lord and who I can trust to do the best for me.

So there you go.  That’s the highlights of last weekend.  Now we are moving on to getting ready for a camping trip that was supposed to have happened at the first of the month but was postponed.  Some of our kiddos are going and some other Emmaus family to camp in Red River Gorge.  I hope to be in better shape by then…sleeping in a tent is much nicer when you’re not already in a lot of pain, amiright?  🙂

Blessings!


I’m a slacker (or hypo?)


ADDENDUM:  I had this all ready to go Tuesday, feeling SO guilty for not having posted SOMEthing already when Chrome locked up on me.  (for some reason, it hates when I try to load a “featured image”  argh!)  so I fiddled with trying to get it to work until I gave up.  I’ve had major neck/shoulder pain for months & now that’s worse (plus this morning, my left jaw is killing me?!?!) so I went to lie down with an ice pack hoping to ease the pain some.  I ended up falling asleep and waking to the phone ringing.  It was Tommy & he’d apparently called a few times already.  He kept saying, “Go check your sugar!”  I kept saying, “It’s too cold!” but I finally realized I must have been really low (I was in the freezing stage after sweating so  much the sheets were wet!) So I tested:  35.  Sheesh!  Anyhow, I never got around to posting this yesterday… Argh!  #stupiddiabetes )

Seriously!  I completely missed posting anything this past “frankly friday”!  In my defense, it has been cray-ZEE around here.

Tommy and I are both serving Emmaus walks this month.  He just got back Sunday evening.   We are now a one-vehicle family until he gets this other truck fixed, so I took him down to camp Thursday afternoon.  It was hotter than blue blazes and I was sweating like a racehorse, but they needed some help, so I stayed and assisted doing what I could.

I had been given the “community laptop” a week or so earlier by the lady who usually keeps it since she’s moving out of town and told to give it to the director of the women’s walk.  It never dawned on me that they would need it for the men’s walk too.  Heh.  So, there I stood like a doofus with them asking me where it was.  “Hey, I was told to give it to her!  That’s what I planned to do!… NEXT week!”  LOL!  So, I needed to drive the 30 miles back home to get that computer and bring back.

Which was fine, but I didn’t plan on not getting to head out til after 10:30 that night!!  I will be serving as the prayer team coordinator, which I’ve done before, so it’s not a huge deal, but our daughter-in-law Taylor has been asked to be dining room coordinator, and she’s never even served on the dining room team before, so she’s a little stressed.  Anyhow, I’ve been DR Coord many times so I’ve been trying to help her with tips and ideas.  That position requires decorating the dining room for each meal and moving the tables into the various formations Emmaus uses.  That most often means borrowing decor from anyone who might be willing to loan what you need.  After doing this so many times, a few times at the last minute, I’ve gotten to where I try to do the most with the least amount of stuff possible.  It’s a lot of on-your-feet, hurry-hurry-wait-hurry sort of stuff.  All day, every day!  You also serve the meals and help clean the tables, so it can feel like you never get to sit down.  It’s fun, the decorating can be a blast, but it is definitely physical and tiring!

So anyway, I had told Taylor I’d pick up some of the stuff from a lady there at camp so she wouldn’t have to make the trip.  Once I got to her house, she got a visitor, someone I also knew but not very well.  As I sat there, watching it get darker and darker outside while they chatted about stuff I wasn’t in the loop on, I started thinking about how late it was going to be getting back with that laptop.

The new dining hall (with chapel attached in back) completed 2013

LOL… so finally, company left and I loaded the box into the truck, drove straight home where all the dogs were waiting to be fed, the chickens to be watered, eggs to be gathered and then there was Max, who was nasty and needed a bath before he’d be fit to be in the house!

Once I got Max bathed and dried, I fixed myself a bite to eat.  It was now a little after 11 pm.  I contemplated just waiting to take the laptop early the next morning, but decided I did NOT want to get up at 6 am and drive down there and straight back (OR get caught down there doing something or other!  LOL)  so I loaded Max and the computer and took off.

Everyone seemed to have turned in already, so I left the laptop in the dark Agape room and headed straight back home.  Tommy called me about the time I got back to the interstate, floored that I’d already come and gone.  I didn’t want to wander around the men’s camp looking for him, and it was so late, I thought maybe he’d gone to bed.  Anyhow, by the time I got home the second time, it was about 11:45 or so.

I collapsed on the couch and thought, “I should sleep really good.” only… I couldn’t fall asleep.  I wasn’t even feeling a little sleepy.  SHEESH!

This happens to me all the time.  There’s something about Tommy being gone that keeps me from sleeping.  It’s not really that I’m afraid or that I hear every little noise, whatever… I just can’t rest.  Maybe it’s from all the years he worked construction and when I’d finally go to bed after getting too tired to wait up, just about the time I’d fall asleep, he’d get home and wake me up showering and getting into bed.  Then it would take me another hour to fall back to sleep.  Maybe I just got used to that??  I dunno, but whatever it is, I can’t sleep when he’s gone, so it was after 3 am before I finally crawled into bed and slept.

inside the new chapel

The next morning (er, afternoon?) I woke up just in time to realize I would miss the hair appointment I’d made.  ARGH!  I need my hair cut in THE worst way!  I called my stylist, who is also an Emmaus friend and she informs me that she was getting ready to call me because she was worried.  sigh  I explained and apologized.  She didn’t have another opening til Wednesday, so I’m still having to put up with this horrible hair!

I felt kinda crampy and my neck/shoulder has been a lot worse lately, so I didn’t get much accomplished other than a little laundry and a few dishes.  I worked on lists and schedules for the prayer team and later I went up to Taylor’s to help paint some decor she’d bought for camp.  I sat and visited with her and Casey while they ate supper, too so that was nice.

I rested a little better that night, but it was after midnight before I could fall asleep.  Saturday was busy since our eldest son, Corey, was going to be singing at camp that night for dinner and during special service.  I wanted to catch a ride with someone but wasn’t able to, so I ended up driving back home around 10 pm by myself again.  Ugh.

Sunday, I had to go serve at church for the early service, so when I got done there, after service, I drove through Wendy’s and got a bite to eat and headed on home.  I ate my food and flopped back into bed.  By now, the cramping was pretty constant so I didn’t feel much good at all.  I slept til about 2 pm when I got up and started getting ready to head back to camp for closing.

By the time I had checked on the things and talked to the people I needed to in prep for the next weekend, and we stopped for supper, it was about 8 pm by the time we got home and Tommy was exhausted and ready to hit the hay.  And so, we did.  LOL!

beautiful sunset behind the bell tower

I woke up around 11 pm, got up and took my night meds and went back to bed.  Tommy might have got up once to use the bathroom, but otherwise, he slept til time to get up for work the next morning.

So now I’m working to get the rest of my stuff prepared for the weekend (which will begin Thursday) and help Taylor finish the rest of her stuff for dining room.  I still have to pack my clothes and stuff, but think I’ll wait til I get back from my hair appointment tomorrow.  I also have to stop by the store and pick up some things I’ll need down at camp.

beautiful area on the grounds…

Right now, I’m trying to get some focus, some ‘stress-relief’, some ‘stop worrying’… ha.  I always love working at camp.  It’s such a beautiful place and working with other Jesus-loving people is always a great refresher for my soul.  Seeing God move in people’s lives is a great blessing too!

Now I need to go post the link to the 72-hour prayer vigil again.  I still have lots of spaces to fill before Thursday!  If you’d like to help by taking a 30-minute prayer slot, please use THIS LINK!  And THANK YOU!

 



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