Friday, July 29, 2011

In search of shells…that’s part of what this family’s vacation was about.
Many years ago I had invented a game of finding shells for the grandkids while at the beach.

Are you a “Shell Seeker?” Our family is…..

It was a hot hot Sunday and our family was headed to Edisto Island, SC.
This was going to be a brand new adventure to an unfamiliar beach with the promise of new treasure to be found washed in by the waves and tide.
As a family we had not taken our annual beach trip in several years.
One of the first questions the grandchildren asked was would we have our usual shell contest? Of course the answer was yes. This had been a tradition that was started when the oldest were pre-schoolers and the tradition was carried on each year. Our week at the beach was highlighted with a display of all of the treasures the children had collected.
Now, you must understand as the children grew older this shell seeking really became a contest for who could find the most, the biggest, the smallest, and the most unusual. The children guarded their treasures with fierce competition and there was always a battle over who put their shells where. This was remedied by providing each child with a special bucket or bag to hold their shells.

Usually the shell seekers were given categories for the competition of gathering shells.
On the final day of the week much time was spent by the children doing one last search of the beach for that one special shell which was yet to be found. The shells were washed for the display and arranged in categories. As the grand’s became older this became an important aspect of the week. There were oh so many shells the children had on display for the adults to look at. There were always the NC clam shells which were always a favorite of the littlest ones. There were the beautiful colors of orange, brown, pink and dark burgundy of the scallops. There were tiny tiny examples and large examples of each shell found. We all got into shell finding as we walked the beach with eyes always to the sand to see what the ocean had washed up for us to find. A treasure… a reminder of the Creator and of life. The life of a shell which was found in the smallest one or in the larger ones. All a part of creation that would bring joy to the finder.

This year as we traveled through the salt marshes on our approach to Edisto Island, SC I had a new thought about the shells that they would find and about the shell seekers. This year, as they enjoyed seeking shells, they would need to think about why, out of all the shells they had collected that week, just one of them was special. They then would have to write on an index card, or tell a parent to write, why their shell was so special. This was something new and I just was not so sure how receptive the grand’s would be.

On the evening chosen, the shell seekers would present their treasure from the sea with their own feeling as to why that shell was so special. There was much suspense and anticipation as each child presented and shared their thoughts. The youngest wrote, “My shell is special because I like the color and I love it”. One of the older grand’s wrote, “This shell is special because I think that it can resemble a person. On the outside it has a lot of barnacles and it’s rough and not a pretty color. But when you turn the shell over and look on the inside it looks iridescent. When you put it in the light it shows the colors of the rainbow. This is a lot like a person because we are not all beautiful on the outside but we are all beautiful on the inside. I think that this is how God wants us to be.”

I think that this sums up what the shell seekers found. Are you a “Seeker of Shells,” looking for beauty in each person?

Friday, July 22, 2011

It Takes A Little Time

In less than a week, our team of 19 people will be traveling to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to build a house and put on a VBS for the kids in a village. It is exciting to look at all the donations we have received and think about the kids that will get them in a few days. we pray for each heart that hears about Jesus, that it will be softened and ready to hear the words we speak.

This trip comes on the heels of another week I recently experienced with the middle school group from our church. I was so blessed to spend a week with these amazing boys and girls. God did amazing things in their hearts as they served people in this community.

Please be in prayer for both of these ministries; that people will be called to serve both locally in the many departments of our church like the youth, children's Sunday School, or even the food pantry. And that people will be called to go to foreign countries to share Christ with people who have never heard about His love.

A Blank Journal and a Dare

Have you ever been dared to do something? One of my favorite movie scenes is the little boys in A Christmas Story triple dog daring each other to lick a frozen pole on the playground. Oh, the silly things we do when we have to defend our honor by accepting a dare.

I have accepted a dare this week. No, I'm not going to lick a pole or streak through a ball game or TP Pastor Bob's house....although that last one has a certain appeal. I've decided, in conjunction with the group of ladies reading Ann Voskamp's book, to begin a list and each and every day look for ways I can thank God. The goal is 1,000.

I have to share number 10.

Today I was plodding around Target with a very long list of items. My husband and two of my sons will be heading to Honduras next week and they were to gather hygiene items for children there and a few fun things as well. I was stumped...I mean stumped at what fun thing to get a 13 year old boy in a foreign country. I was stock still in the aisle and two young associates came up behind me and a soft voice asked, "Can we help you find anything?"

Here is where I stop and have to say how good God is. Have you ever thought how wonderful His timing is and how great his concern for even the smallest details? I forget and have to be reminded as I'm sure most of us do. God was there in the aisle of Target and this meeting has become my number 10.

In response to the question, I showed them my list and told them of Honduras. One of the young men said (this part makes me cry because God is SOOOO good), "I'm from Honduras and I can help you."

He could have been from India, or Peru, or Russia or anywhere, but HE WAS FROM HONDURAS and he helped me and I am grateful.

Have you thought of keeping a list of the good things in your life? Maybe you are having trouble seeing them and think God has turned away from you. Maybe you think nothing good will ever happen again and you can't imagine making it to 10 much less 1,000. I challenge you to start small. Look and ask God, the Father who loves us all, to point out something to you. I dare you to write them down. I triple DOG dare you.

Ann Voskamp's book is One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Friday, July 15, 2011

If You Like to Talk to Tomatoes

This summer I’ve had an obsession with tomatoes - I hit a great sale and ended up with 20 plants! I’m excited about my plants and looking forward to enjoying (eating) them.

I was telling my father, once a farmer, about how great the plants were doing and how some of them had grown so they were now taller than me. His response took me by surprise - he said I needed to strip the bottoms of the bushy plants so to reap more fruit. Take off leaves? Strip my plants of what I thought was the proof of being healthy?

I decided to just wait and see….guess what? Very few tomatoes - so Britta and I have been out thinning the bottoms of the plants leaving them rather straggly but with the promise of producing the fruits that they were made to produce. This got me thinking about my life and the fruit I’m supposed to be producing and the process of maybe needing to be trimmed so I can be productive. So many of us get so busy with the extra “leaves” of life activities, obligations self made expectations - are they commitments that still allow me to nurture and grow or just stay busy?

I shared last time about my sweet daughter Alaena who has down syndrome. Awhile back her physical therapist had me order a special seat for her from the “Special Tomato” web site. The story behind the site struck home and I’ve thought of it often as I’ve been growing my garden….

The Special Tomato of My Family

My dad and mom had four children. The first three children were healthy and regular people. Than I cam along, a baby with a difference, Down syndrome. I had a hole in my heart, a rip in my heart value, jaundice, a big tongue and a wobbly head. As I got older I also realized I was a slow learner.

One day it was bothering me that I was having a hard time doing my school work. I told my dad about this problem and he shared a story about when he was out in his garden picking tomatoes the year I was born. Every year my dad grows a garden and loves to plant tomatoes. At harvest time there were beefsteak tomatoes on a bush. When he saw a differently shaped tomato it got his attention. It had a large, smooth bright red enlarged side that made my dad want to pick it up and study the bump because it was so unique and looked appetizing. At supper, that tomato was just as juicy as the others.

Even though I’m different like the tomato as a person with Down syndrome, my family and friends love me even more and want to help me when I need it. My dad tells me that even thought I have more difficulty learning than my brother and sisters, my loveable and outgoing personality and strong character make me just as special as they are. I guess I am the special “tomato” on our family’s bush!

Carrie Bergeron copyright 2001 special

Isn’t that a neat way to look at life - we are all “special” in the eyes of Jesus.
So I’m out gathering my tomatoes - traditional big boys, beefeaters but my favorites are the yellow pear, striped and heirloom - not “regular” tomatoes but ones that take just a little longer to mature but ones that I love with a new insight. God is excited for the crop He anticipates in our life are we slowing down so that we allow that harvest to come to fruition?

Loving Jesus and leaning into Him


Thursday, July 14, 2011

“The prayer of a righteous man ...

is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Every weekday, I rise at 5:20 am, to the bathroom light shining in my eyes. My feet “hit the ground running” as I dash about the kitchen cooking eggs and bacon, packing lunchboxes, checking the day’s events on my Outlook calendar, and putting away the previous night’s pots and pans. In a fog, my husband and I eat together and at 5:50 sharp, he heads off to work. I grab my steaming mug of tea, Bible, BSF questions (when in session), and head straight for my thinking/praying spot on the couch. Ahhhh. Stillness. Quiet. Peace. There is yet an hour before I will hear the first alarm sound in my kid’s rooms, or the phone rings about work. A golden hour of solitude and prayer stretches out before me. It is my favorite time of day!

Early morning prayer is medicine for the soul. God has graciously carved out this time for me each day, so I pray because I can. It is a gift He’s given me of connection, thanksgiving, praise, repentance and correction, off-loading of fears, and petition to the throne. It is this petition that I want to mention now. Have you ever considered what an awesome privilege it is to intercede for another?

God hears the Christian’s prayer (1 Peter 3:12). Does He hear the unbeliever’s prayer? The Bible says that sin separates man from God, “so that He will not hear” (Is 59:2). But through Christ, believers are forgiven of sin and thus, free to converse with our Creator (Col 1:22). In fact, Hebrews 4:16 encourages believers to approach the throne of grace with confidence. But what about the unbeliever? John 14:6 says that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Is 59.2 and Ps 66:18 both say that the Lord does not hear/listen to a person when unresolved sin is involved. I am forced to conclude: No, God does not hear the unbeliever’s prayer. At least, not in the same way He hears our prayers.

You can see, then, what a huge opportunity and responsibility we have to pray for the unbelievers in our lives. We know that God hears our prayers. Now the question arises, “What affect do those prayers have on a sovereign God?” Since God is omniscient and omnipotent, he knows and controls future events. James 1:17b says He is unchanging. Do my prayers make a difference? Can I presume to change God’s mind? To answer this, we need to look again to the Bible. We are commanded us to pray (Col 4:2). Jesus himself engaged in prayer on many occasions (Luke 5:16). Further, we see situations when prayer DID have an effect on God’s plan. Consider Moses’ plea for God’s mercy, when the Israelites chose to worship the golden calf. God planned to destroy the whole rotten bunch of them. But Moses intervened on their behalf. Ex 32:14 states, “Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” Moses’ intercession for the people brought about a change in the outcome. Without a doubt, prayer works!

It is my highest privilege to pray for my loved one’s salvation– because I can. Because God hears. And because my prayers work! God has ordained the prayers of His people as a means to His end. Let’s exercise our God-given right to speak into our Father’s ear, and bring those we love before His feet. I leave with you with a quote from my earthly dad: “Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except those things outside the will of God.” The sky’s the limit!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Joy Stealer……

I let it happen….I knew what I was doing…..I just let a small amount of “what if” happen….just one little thought and it mushroomed from there. Just like the latest, faster than light “monster roller coaster.” Can’t you feel it struggling up that steep angled incline only to reach the highest point and then to fling you down to your "death" (ha ha) faster than the speed of light so to speak? It takes your breath away…makes you cry out…makes you shut your eyes and pray that soon it will be over. At last the ride has ended and your shaky legs carry you to the platform and you promise yourself that you will never do that again. Yep…that is just what I always do when I let anxiety/worry/doubt get the upper hand. You would think at my age I would have learned a thing or two….oh no, I continue to return to old patterns of not trusting in the One who is in control of the world. And I return to misery of that self -inflicted monster ride the “Joy Stealer”.

That was more or less what was going on in my life late Thursday and into Friday. The “Joy Stealer” had my full attention with all of the “what ifs”. So my companions for the next day and a half were the " Joy Stealers", doubt, anxiety, worry”….etc. You get the picture.

I really had no need to feel this way since I had been praying, and so had a group of prayer warriors, for weeks before - not just the day of the events. There were several concerns that I had. The first one was Whitney. She was leaving for several weeks of study in England. Worry….would she be okay while gone. She had had some serious health issues and then her plane had just been delayed. The second one was Mattie, who had been on a turtle study in Belize and was due to arrive home later that night. Would her plane be on time? Would there be trouble with customs, etc? Three, our Lab, Shadow, had just had a tumor removed from his eye. Next worry…Whitney's flight to England was canceled until the next day. Now she would be traveling by herself, would arrive early on Saturday and would need to find a taxi and make her way to Kings College on her own. So there you have it. Could you ask for anymore Joy Stealers? You see, it was also my birthday but I sure did not feel like any celebration. You all must recognize that feeling in the pit of your stomach of anxiety. Yep, went to bed with that. About 2:30AM or so the Lord woke me up and said enough is enough! Don’t you realize I love her and I am in control? The rest of the night was very peaceful. Then in the morning as I was reading Scripture the Lord spoke to me again through several passages of Scripture.

Psalms 54:4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Proverbs 3:5 trust in the Lord with all your heart….
Philippians 4:5-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petitions …present your requests…and His peace will guard your hearts and minds.

And then again on Sunday with worship time. Breathe (Mercy Me)

This is the air I breathe
Your Holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I’m desperate for You
And I, I’m lost without You.

Will I remember this lesson the next time the Joy Stealer arrives? I hope so!
PS. Mattie arrived home safe with many adventures to share.
Whitney made all of her connections. In fact when I called her house on Saturday I heard her voice on Skype. Yea! She is having a blast.
Shadow is doing great. And my husband has recovered from trying to make my birthday happen. PSS. There was a Joy Bringer on Friday my great nephew arrived early just in time for his Navy Dad to have some time with him before he deploys again at the end of July.

God Is So Good, so don’t let the Joy Stealer steal your joy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pandamania! GLCC And The Ladies Who Made It Happen

This post is mostly pictures. The faces of the women of our church say it all so I won't bother with words. When I know names I'll try to list them, but I'd appreciate our reader's help in identifying anyone I miss (or those I mistakenly id since it is 4 in the morning!!).

I only snapped photos of some of the volunteers because I was in with the two year olds all week, but know there were many, many more!

Pam Benedict, Susan Wallace, Patty Easley

Paola Wilson
Amy Gee
Cindy Shiflet
Nicole Russell and Heather Kifer
Jan Smith
Sandra Sample, Catherine Kifer, Kimberly Golub, Kerri Keppel, Karen Emkes, Pam Layton
Julie Davis
?, Louise Wilson
Jennifer Suliga, Catherine White, Susan Ellis
Stephanie MacDougall, ?, Cindy Hagenhoff, Sara Hagenhoff (check out Jeremiah to the left!! LOL!)

Diana Rich
Liza Rachford
Michaela Reilly, Suzi Hersey
Stephanie Hugh, Nellie Popa, Laura Lund

The community of Bristow is so blessed by these women and their dedication to children and serving our Lord. Give them a big hug and a thank you if you see them out and about.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I Pray You Enough

Have you had a “God Thing” in your life lately?

Cyber-space delivered one from a friend to my e-mail the other day.

This one got me thinking about various friends who call me, and in our conversations there usually are all of the usual questions and comments about what is going on in their lives. And then I learn that…. some of my friends are going through some tough times with no real answers to be given. Several of my friends have husbands who have some severe medical issues; another one is facing bankruptcy and also dealing with severe spinal pain; another friend who was diagnosed several months ago with stage 4 lung cancer. My niece is dealing with the birth of a second child and a Navy husband who will soon depart of his 4th tour of hazard duty. And a friend who is still “standing” for her marriage to be restored after her husband left 10 yrs. ago. These are some of the tough things in life.

I am sure we all have had conversations with others that have been similar to mine. So what can we say in return to all of this? Is it, “I will pray for you?” This brings comfort to many and this is what they want to hear. Or is it, “I Pray You Enough?”

I pray you enough……

Enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day
Enough rain to appreciate the sun even more
Enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting
Enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger
Enough gain to satisfy your wanting
Enough loss to appreciate all you possess
Enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye
(Taken in part from an e-mail - no author noted)

Or do I offer them …I Pray You Enough to Sustain You Each Day With all You Need?

I ask myself just what do I need Enough of?

I need all of the above but I also need a challenge each day. A challenge to look for all of the beauty in the simple things of this world.

Like the joy of watching the birds and squirrels feed on my deck.
Being able to walk outside and plant small American flags all over my flower beds.
The simple act of being able to reach down and love on my dogs (Labs) who sit by me while I am writing this. This unconditional love is always there.
The joy of being able to read from the Word of God each day.
Watching my colorful pinwheels spin in my flowerpots.
Smelling the herbs in the garden and introducing the grandchildren to the special smell of each one.
Joy of receiving text messages from grandchildren.
Connecting with past youth on Facebook.
The pleasure of being able to pray for others.
Oh, not the least, but the most important comfort all just falling asleep holding on to my Beloved!

Wow I guess that this really is not a challenge but a blessing and a joy. Looks like I already have Enough for today. That is all any of us need - just Enough for each day that we are given. I pray the same for you that you always have Enough.

So as I pray Enough for my friends I include me and ask that He only give me Enough for each day He grants me and that’s Enough!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Update On The Launch

The three amigos who left here yesterday to view the shuttle launch arrived successfully! Prayers answered and big steps for Mom in letting go:) Evan texted me while the shuttle was being prepared and I gave him countdowns from the NASA site. It was neat to feel connected despite the 800 miles between us. Now....praying for the rest of the week!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Watching the Launch

Have you ever wanted to watch the space shuttle launch, up close and personal? I haven't. I'm perfectly content to watch it on my television (if at all....shh....don't tell!) Give me A/C, the remote, and a bowl of popcorn and I'm good. I have given birth to adventurers, though, and it's rough on this old mom to step aside and watch them spread their wings.

This morning, 7am, my oldest and two of his friends from church took off for Florida to watch the shuttle launch tomorrow. It's the last one ever and they HAD to see it. Who am I to stand in their way, but I've had to do some serious praying and trusting in the Lord in order to face it calmly.

You see, I'm a worrier. I've imagined them in twisted metal on interstate 95. I've imagined them with sunstroke on the side of the road as they've attempted to change a tire. I've thought of them being accosted in some seedy diner (what they're doing in a seedy diner I do NOT know) and I have had them being kidnapped by roving bands of bad guys who are on the look out for naive kids from the 'burbs. Does anyone else out there think like me? Am I the only one who has this crazy imagination that causes me to work overtime in the mental anguish department?

Well, they left this morning and have been gone 2 hours so far. We prayed with them before they left and I packed enough food to see them safely through the Oregon Trail, let alone down 95 with the eleventy-billion McDonald's between here and FL. They'll have a great adventure and I will get to hear a bit about it when the texts arrive to update me on the progress....if Evan remembers to text me.

I hugged him last night and prayed privately with him. This morning I wanted to hug him again. His friends were there and he was embarrassed so I didn't push. They piled in his little Honda, made a speedy Uturn and drove off into the morning sunshine. I guess I witnessed the launch after all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Give thanks in ALL circumstances...

So lately my life has felt like an out of control tornado. Now, I'm this type A, plan it all out, go in with my list type of gal - which has made things a bit difficult. I would describe my day-to-day recently as this... Make a list and juggle it around with everything else that gets thrown my way throughtout the day. Sound like fun? Ya, not to me either! Then I realized last weekend that I was turning into a complete grump. Boo-Hiss! I don't like having the grumps :( Especially when I have one of those aha moments where you realize that you're so wrapped up in your own grumps that you are failing to be there for others when you should be (Boo-Hiss again!).

I've made a conscious decision. I'm not going to let my "boohoo moments" get the best of me! Now, this isn't an easy trick. There must be a zillion times a day when my brain starts going "are you kidding me???" or "oh no, not again" or "seriously? the kids are fighting again?!" or "I wish I didn't have to..." BUT, there's this little bible verse that says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Yes, you read that correctly... it said to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Not just when you are being blessed, or when things are going the way that you had planned, but in ALL circumstances. OUCH, I haven't been doing very much of that last week! This week, with the help of that verse repeating over and over and over again in my brain, I've been doing much better.

Now, let me tell you how my day began. I got up early and got ready for work. I got to work a little before 9. At 9:20 I get a text from my husband that says "Got to go. When can you come home?" The cop husband had been called in to work. Deep breath... I asked if he could just bring the kids to my office. Well, one was still asleep, the other still in his pj's. Trying to keep myself calm... frazzled that I have to explain the situation to my bosses, irritated that I got out of bed early and got all ready for work to have to leave after 20 minutes. I finished a few things and got in my car to drive home at 9:45 and started thinking -- I sure am lucky to have a husband that loves me. I sure am blessed to have a husband with a stable career. Wow, how great is it that I have three healthy kids?! My day isn't at all going as I had planned but I'm finding the good... being thankful in ALL things!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I am my Beloved's, and He is mine.

This week i really just want to say thank you to Jesus. I have been feeling a little out of sorts, honestly for quite some time now.. (about 9 months). It just feels like ive been in one of those desert places, you know.. where you're just wandering around dry and thirsty, praying for an oasis up ahead. Just hoping to get a glimpse of the passionate, life altering love that you once knew so intimately. I have been graduated from Bible School for a year now and after i left i was so 'on fire' for God, i talked about Him all the time and i prayed and read my bible everyday.. I went to Africa to teach about the Love of God... and after i returned its like that drive and passion seemed to whither and fade into the background of life. Slowly i stopped reading my bible as much, and i wasnt giving Him very much of my free time and just the same, His presence seemed more distant, i didnt feel Him around me as much. I didn't see him or hear Him like i had when everyday was spent in worship and deep study of His word.. It felt like our love was growing cold (at least on my end).
So in a fury last night i sat in my car in the driveway crying and yelling at God about the way my life has been going recently.. Demanding that he speak to me, that he give me some reason for letting all this happen to me. I mean, i had been doing all these great things for him after all, i thought we were good, and then He pulls away from me and im left to fend for myself... i felt so alone, i was scared and angry and my heart was breaking... and then in the dark of the night, my face swollen with tears.. i hear Him begin to sing over me...

"You're my beloved
Lover I'm yours
Death shall not part us
It's you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we'll be
My love it unites us
And it binds you to me
It's a mystery

Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes
There you will find what you need
I'm the giver of life
I'll clothe you in white
My immaculate bride you will be
Oh come running home to me yeah now"-Tenth Avenue North(Beloved)

.. How could i have forgotten.. How could i think He didnt care, or He didnt love me anymore or that He wasnt there with me all along. He loves me more that i will ever know and it was pride that made me believe any credit for our relationship was due to something i did. I want to thank Him now for never leaving me or giving up on me. I want to give Him praise because He is worthy of everything i have and am.No amount of death, or pain, or separation will ever be enough to keep us apart. No matter how long this lasts, or what i lose in the process, my life will glorify Him who gave his life for me. No matter how far i go or how long of a journey it takes to get there I will never stop seeking Him.. He is my home, my only Peace, my only Beloved, and I am His.

“There are different kinds of service" (1 Cor 12:5)

Have you noticed that people have vastly different tolerance levels for chaos? Like a “threshold of pain”, it’s my theory that people also have a “threshold of disorder”. To illustrate this point, let me introduce you to two very different friends of mine. Friend 1 was at my house every day last week to pick up my middle son for volunteering. At 7:30 am, her mini-van screeches into our drive way, worship music blaring through her car speakers, kids packed into every seat. She laughs heartedly into her cell phone as she smiles and waves “good morning” to us. As my son slides in through the back door, a McDonald’s cup falls out onto our driveway. Side-stepping wet bathing suits, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers, he climbs in to find his seat.

Friend 1 is on her way to an outreach VBS that she and her small group have put together in a low income neighborhood. (With a budget of $0.00, but a God of infinite resources, she has seen countless God-sized miracles take place!) In fact, Friend 1 is ALWAYS on her way somewhere, doing, going, helping, volunteering. She works full-time, is the mother of 4 active children (one with special needs), serves everywhere in her church, and is the first to say, “I’ll go!” She never has fewer than 10 balls in the air at once! Her family even won “volunteer of the year” in 2009, with an all expense paid trip to Disney for a week.

Friend 2 is the polar opposite of Friend 1! She is a quiet and tranquil person, living a life of structure and organization. Like Friend 1, she too volunteers, but only after she’s had many months (or years!) to think and pray about it. She and her family have been contemplating finding another church for over 5 years now. (Does “look before you leap” come to mind?) Her cars are immaculate, and her house and yard (tended to by hired hands) are magazine-quality beautiful. She’s a stay-at-home mom, who infallibly arrives on time and with a picture perfect hair do, and well-dressed children. When we talk, she’s one of the deepest and most attentive listeners I know!!

I wonder where I fall in the spectrum… somewhere in the middle, I suppose. I know this spring I was closer to Friend 1, but without the smile on my face. I searched for serene escapes like a caged animal! At other times, I have felt like Friend 2, agonizing about a decision, or just peacefully floating along in the calm waters of life.

So why did God bring this observation to my attention? Maybe it’s to show me that we are made uniquely, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to service. He can work with all types of people, speaking to and using us whatever our personality and comfort level. Maybe He is admonishing me for becoming cranky about my Sunday school. See, recently, my co-teacher and I have had to be away for 2 Sundays. For weeks, we advertised, sent emails, posted sign ups, talked with the kids, in an effort to get coverage. We secured videos and instructional materials, so the substitute parent would simply need to show up and press the “start” button. Nothing. We ended up having to close the class the first week, and God got me there for the second.

Now, God is telling me to withhold my judgment. People are at different spiritual places, and we serve with different “thresholds of disorder”. From the outside, I can look and wonder, “Why isn’t he/she helping more?”, but never see the chaos in their lives, and more importantly, their reaction to it. If a person is responding to God’s call, whatever that may look like to me, I need to keep my mouth shut and my heart open!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Light Posting

Sorry about the light posting this week. Many of our regulars are involved in VBS and others are traveling. We hope to be posting more frequently next week.