Maybe one day soon...
Saturday, November 21
I really wish families gathered and flew in to see each other more at birthday's, anniversaries, or 'Aunt's day' at the local elementary school. I would love to fly home (from Indiana to Maryland) just to see a play that my nieces and nephews are performing in at their school or church. Instead I seem to fly home a lot for those horrible family events like funerals and other tragedies . I am glad that my husband and I have been able to work out a way for me to join my family during these hard times so we can all bring comfort to each other. I do hope, in the somewhat near future, I can fly home with my husband and kids just to spend time with my dad and sisters and brothers and all their kids. Take those fun pictures of everyone happy and playing with not so much weighing on their minds.
Sunday, November 8
Roses are Red
Violets are blue
But this is a statement proven untrue
Roses are Red
but also yellow orange, and pink
So there are some things that we must rethink
The world is not concrete
As we would like it to be
Some things come easy but nothing is free
Things we have learned
are proven untrue
so we must relearn them and learn them anew.
Tuesday, October 6
While in a class, my professor started a sentence on a touchy subject with the line... "don't quote me on this or I'll deny it". Now when ever somebody says that you should get out a pen and jot down not only what they say but the date and time as well. Not really, but what followed seemed to not only shock me but hurt my heart. It was in a class on Leadership and the comment was to the effect of 'A man can work for a woman, a woman can work for a man, a man can work for a man, but a woman can not work for/with other women.' It took me a minute to let it set in. The professor then went on to explain why. I was not angry (like some other women in my class appeared to be), I was not "fuming" as the guy sitting behind me thought I might be... I was actually more hurt. The professor went on to say that through many many years of experience, seeing many women working together and how hard it was for them, that the statement was true and "just the way it is".
In some ways, sadly, I agreed with him. I have seen many groups of women act just as he was describing and it was not pretty and I could not stand it. On the other hand, I have seen many woman, leading strong, with character, confidence, purity, and the heart of God. These women like, Linda Howell, Leader of the Women's division for NLI (Next Level International), a leadership training for women all over Europe and Tammy Thomas Women's Director for NOW women's ministry, both of whom work with many women and do so very well. Now there are problems that arise for sure but not due to the fact that women are working together but because people are working together and people can be messy.
Over all I think the reason this statement hurt so much was because I felt like it devalued these women and many others like them. Statements like these cling to a stereotype and not to the truth. Secondly, it perpetuates the stereotype, not only with men but with women as well which leads to more unhealthy situations because that is what is now expected. Lastly, in this class at a Bible College, in a ministry program, there were some women (including myself) in the class, and the message it sent to these women, who are already leading in some capacity in various ministry positions and are planning on continuing to follow the call of God in that area, is that women can't lead women with out it being a hellish experience and that is just how it is.
The intent of this blog is not to put any bad light on the professor who made this comment, in all honesty I continue to admire and respect this professor. I did need to process why this comment hit me so hard. I also wanted to say yet another Thank You to all of the women I have had the opportunity and honor to serve under or with! Most of my experiences have been positive and have shown me healthy examples of women serving with other women in leadership while demonstrating the heart of God. For that I am truly grateful!
Wednesday, September 23
Samuel was healed today! My little boy has experienced the healing touch of God before but was too young to know about it. As a baby he had significant digestive problems. We were unaware at the time that is what the problem was, but my little boy was not keeping most of his food down and was very tiny. When I look back at pictures I see a little alien with a big head and a little body. Samuel lost weight after we left the hospital, as most babies tend to do, the only difference with Samuel is that he wasn't gaining any of the wait back. It wasn't until he was 3 months old that Samuel finally reached his birth weight. We were with him at the hospital and they were doing a test to see if his intestines were tangled up and therefore not letting most of the food pass through his system, but forcing it back up. The test seemed to take forever. We know that there were many people praying for Samuel and that this test would be clean. As the liquid was highlighting Samuel's digestive process it got "stuck". We waited and waited praying that the liquid would move past the 'hump'. If it did not they told us Samuel would need surgery to re-adjust his intestines. We were all praying so desperatly and then all the sudden the liquid rushed through and finished the process and Samuel had no more problems after that. No more spitting up/throwing up 90% of what he ate and that week he finally passed his birth weight and kept growing steadily. We knew that it was a 'God-thing'!
Today... Now fast forward 3 years. This afternoon I was up stairs with Samuel in his bedroom as he was preparing to take a nap. All the sudden he says 'mama I got to potty!' So I told him to go and I would wait for him in his room. Then I hear a loud thud. Samuel say's "my head" and I could tell the screams were on there way so I ran out into the hall, picked him up and swooped him away into my bedroom so that the screams wouldn't wake up his sister who was already asleep. There was silence and then came the wails. I looked at his head and saw the dreaded news. Instead of a red mark or a bump there was a good size indent in his forehead with a red line showing where he ran into the edge of the wall. I immediately held him close and began to pray out loud over him. After about 15 seconds Samuel stopped crying and looked at me. I looked at his forehead and there was no indent, no redness, no bruise nothing! I ran my finger over where I had previously felt the indent and it was smooth. Samuel looked at me and Said "mommy its all better now" I told him "Samuel Jesus Healed you!" and his response was "yea Jesus made Samuel all better, now I get down and go potty Mama" So I let him down and he went potty, then we slowly walked back into his bedroom and Samuel laid down in his bed. We began to pray again before his nap time and we thanked Jesus for healing Samuel and Samuel thanked Jesus himself for making his head all better.
I thank God for his goodness. I have been told my kids doctor all the time "bumps and bruises are o.k. as long as there not too bad but indents are dangerous- especially when the kids are so little". I also thank God that my little boy is becoming aware of the character and goodness of God from the time he is young and I pray that we, that I, am always available to help capture those moments and step out in my Faith mixed with the faith of my little one and see God work.
Thank you God for your provision in my family, for your goodness and care for us. For your attention to the little things and for your gentle, simple reminders of your faithfulness!!!
Thursday, June 11
I have been thinking alot lately about the possibility of growing a community garden on some of the empty lots in some of the rougher neighborhoods in my town. This is something both my husband and I would love to do but know would take a lot of work and other people to get involved. How cool would it be though to be able to give people who are impoverished fresh veggies and fruit along w/receipes that have affordable ingred. so they can eat well. I want to be able to help the whole person. I desire to see people connect with God and learn who He is in truth but I also desire for them to have food in their bellies and not leave hungry. Do I have to choose or can I participate in the Health and growth of the whole person?
Sunday, May 31
I work with kids. Partly because its my job and partly because I really enjoy it. Every Sunday morning I get to spend time with a group of 60+ kids and play games, talk about life and engage in some creative ways of learning more about God and experiencing Him as well. We have a very eclectic group of kids that attend; some are from the stereotypical christian middle class type of family, some are from families that look stereotypical but have a completely different reality behind closed doors, some are foster kids, some come every other week depending on if there at their Dad's or Mom's house and some come because we pick them up. One of these kids had particularly touched my heart and tried my patience every time she graces me with her presence.
Today was no different! My little friend [I won't use her name so we'll call her 'd'] often ends up sitting on my lap or trying to sneak out of the room or throw a fit... what ever can draw attention and a hug from the person of her choice. While this can be very trying, especially when you have 60 other kids to think about, I have to come to realize I learn a lot from my encounters 'd'. Today after going and getting her out of a game room and bringing her to re-join the group (which meant that she was sitting on my lap begging for a back scratch) I had to get up quickly to handle a minor computer issue. She, of course, followed my to the computer. Just then another little girl came up to me and asked "why does 'she' get to be special and sit with you all the time and come back to the computer and stuff? (apparently being allowed anywhere near an electrical appliance = awesome in a kids mind) I didn't know how to answer. Kids have this desire for everything to be fair but for them to always get their way. How does that work. If you get your way that means somebody else didn't get theirs so it's not really fair because its not fair for that person. Right?
I was torn because, in a way, 'd' is special, not in a "i love her more..." sort of way but she comes from a very different place. She is only about 8 or 9 yrs old, her mother passed away a couple of years ago while in labor. That is only a small part of the story but for privacy sake that is all that matters for now. I remember sitting in church with my mom when I was little. She would let me sit on her lap or snuggled up close beside her and she would scratch my back. My mom scratched my back a lot...any time I was sad, sick, tired, or just asked she would gently let her fingers glide across my back and I felt so safe and just like the rest of the world melted away and everything sounded muffled. 'd' has no one to do that for her anymore.
Tonight, as I was folding laundry I came across a show that I have never watched and don't even know the name of (Sally Feild was in it) but it was on one of those touching grown-up daughter-Mother scenes where the Mother was reading the dedication on the inside of her daughters new book... it was to her- Mom who taught her how to be strong, how to fight etc... I welled up with emotion and all I could think was "God, I miss my Mom!" I don't get to walk into the kitchen and tell her what I think or ask if she wants to go do something... my kids never got a chance to meet the woman who gave me life and then taught me so much of how to and not to live it.
There are so many Sunday's when 'd' walks up to me and simply says "I miss my mommy" and I just put my arms around her and tell her that I miss my mommy to and then we sit together and I scratch her back.
Wednesday, May 27
I have heard it said that God is a "one size fits all" kind of deal. I am not sure this statement is true. As I look at the people around me, hear them describe their life experiences, their troubles etc. I wonder why some people come to God and start 'hearing' Him speak to them right away, they have a deep sense of being with God, they are easily able to believe the Bible and see it working in their lives. They experience 'New-Testament' Christianity (not my term but I am at a loss for a better non-cheesy descriptive), they pray and people are healed on the spot, they speak words of truth and see lives change. Then there are the others. Those who truly believe in God and submit their lives to Him and yet they still always struggle, can't give up smoking right away, or their spouse still hates them. They pray and feel like they always hit a brick wall. Why do the majority of Christians I see and talk to you believe but lack experience of what God says that we can experience. I have heard many different answers to this question. Some have said that people, like the one's I am describing, must not actually have believed. If they really did believe they would experience. Isn't that the message we get in scripture? Others say that God deals with everyone differently and we can't all expect things to look the same or always work out. Then there is the Spiritual side, there could be soul ties or generational issues that are inhibiting the full-life. In reality it could be any number or all of the above then some. Still I wonder, why does it happen for some right away and others have to struggle. Part of it is our western culture I am sure, but I am at a loss for how things can be different. For how people can experience life in Christ with joy. I am not discounting the process! I realize that christianity is a relationship and all relationships are progressive. I just wonder why we all have such drastically different experiences when we come to Christ and I trust that God is big enough to know what each of us needs and align things so that it is possible while not forcing us to do anything. That is the blessing and the seemingly curse all at the same time.
Saturday, April 11
This will be a little longer because it is part of my term paper for a NT
class. The topic is on the Woman with the Issue of Blood.
Through out the Gospels you find many asking, as it relates to Jesus, who is this man? There is speculation around His teaching, healings, observance of the ritual cleansings and laws (eg. Healing and working on the Sabbath, touching the unclean). Still, there are many healings, teachings and deliverances that attest to His power and authority. So what are we to think of this man? Even His disciples find themselves asking this very question. Everyone knows that He is different than other Rabbis and teachers of the Law but so far, no one is willing to make the leap and say whom He might be. That is until the day Jesus is walking to Jairus house to help his little girl. On the way, there is a woman who not only believes in the miracles this man can produce but seems to see much more. She sees and proclaims that He is the one; the long awaited Messiah of Israel.
We shall start at the beginning to get a glimpse of what is taking place here. Jesus had just left a town, on the request of the townspeople, after calling a legion of demons out of a man, but allowing them to enter a herd of pigs, whereupon they run them into the water where they all drown. Jesus and the Disciples leave by boat, and reaching land are met by a crowd. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, sees Jesus and falls at His feet begging Him to come and heal his daughter, who is dying. Jesus agrees, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him (Mark 5:24). Thronged, literally means to choke or suffocate, the crowd was pressing in on all sides waiting to see what would happen.
It is in the midst of this scene that our lady finds herself. She had heard about Jesus, Mark doesnt let us know exactly she heard about this man but the Greek tense Mark uses is Aorist or a simple past tense. This may simply mean that she had previously heard and learned about Jesus, as oppose to just asking somebody in the crowd that day. However it happened, it must
have stirred something deep inside of her. So deep, she was willing to break custom, and fight her way through the crowd. Often, we picture an old woman crawling through the crowd reaching out her frail hand to grasp any part she can, before anyone sees or possibly recognizes her. The only problem with this picture is that if she was an old and frail woman crawling though a crowd so thick that it was suffocating, she would have probably been stomped on or seriously injured. Mark is also very clear in the word he uses to describe how this woman touches Jesus, it is not a quick grab of whatever she can reach, but the word used here literally means to fasten ones self to, adhere or cling to. There is a strength portrayed in how this woman touches Jesus, and what it took for her to actually get through the crowd to be close enough to Him in the first place. Everyone wanted to be close to the Master. The only modern day comparison would be of Bono or George Clooney walking through a crowd, in a developing country like Africa. Everyone is trying to touch some part of them and be near them. It would be impossible to be on the outside and fight your way to the center of the action, well near impossible that is.
This woman is like many in the Gospels. She is an outcast, through no fault of her own, but because she is sick. She has been bleeding for 12 years and though she has sought help on every front there has been no relief. Her sickness involves blood therefore she is unclean (Lev.15:25). There is to be no contact with this woman (Lev.15:19), and she should be announcing her presence wherever others are, so that they do not become unknowingly defiled. She was also divorced from her husband, not allowed to live in her home or to come into contact with old friends, was excommunicated from services at the Synagogue and not allowed in the womans court of the temple. She was alone in her sickness, seperated from her family, her
people, and her religion.
So, as we look at this story, you may ask, where exactly is this Messianic Declaration? I see an unclean woman doing what ever it takes to be healed by whatever means this man may be healing, but I don't see her calling Him Messiah.
To fully understand what is taking place I think we need to jump back into History. In Numbers 15:37, 38 The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations." The word used here for corners is Kanaf meaning extremity, edge, border wings or winged. So God told Moses to put tassels on the Kanaf of the garment.
This garment was called a Tallit, we would know it as a prayer shawl. The Prayer Shawl was a very intricate garment. The tassels had knots and some represented the 613 laws, some had knots that were spaced apart and represented letters. So that as you were walking and your hand fell upon a tassel, you would allow your fingers to feel the knots you would know that that tassel, perhaps, spelled the name of Yahweh and you would be reminded of your God. As you read further in Numbers, you see that God commanded this because He knew how easy it was for them (and us) to forget Him and His way. We are a tactile and visual people!
Even though it is believed that the daily wearing of the prayer shawl was diminishing in practice during Jesus day, at this time in our story, Jesus is still wearing His. We know this because in Lukes account (Lk 8:44) it says that She (the woman with the issue of blood) came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment and immediately her issue of blood was
stanched. The same word, Kanaf, is used here; she was clinging on to His Prayer Shawl. So, you may still wonder, how is this a Messianic Declaration? For that we must look back to Malachi 4:2. Malachi is making a prophetic statement as he says, "the Sun of Righteousness (a reference to the Messiah) shall arise with healing in His wings (italics mine). One of the defining words we mentioned earlier for Kanaf is wings. The prayer shawl was often referred to as wings, and when the arms were outstretched and the tassels were hanging it actually looked like wings. Through out the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, when you see the word wings it is
often this word, Kanaf. It was thus believed, among the Jews, that there would be healing in His, the Messiahs, tallit (prayer shawl).
Let us now jump back to our story. This woman has heard of Jesus and she seems to put two and two together really quickly. Either this man is from Satan or uses sorcery to perform these seemingly miraculous acts OR He is something, someone, entirely different. The only other option is that He is the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah. If this is true then simply touching His tassels hanging on the Kanaf (border) of His garment would bring healing and restoration into her present life. She has made her decision and starts throwing elbows to get in close enough because she believes that this man is who He says He is and that is enough for her.
There is so much taking place in this story and so much to be gained from it. You have an unclean woman who is not only physically healed, but spiritually and socially as well. She is restored in society, no longer to be seperated and humiliated. The idea that Jesus knows that a little girl is dieing and yet stops to call out what has taken place, and lets everyone else know that this woman is now whole. This is also the only recorded time in scripture that Jesus used the term Daughter, as he says in Mark 5:34 Daughter, your faith has made you well. And yet, some have said that this woman had an ignorant faith, believing that Jesus used magic and there was magical powers in His clothes, But as we look into scripture, where she grabbed, what the Jewish people believed about the place that she grabbed, we can see that she was not ignorant as to where the power truly came from, but was referencing Malachi's promise that the Messiah would have healing in His Kanaf. We need not misunderstand the symbolism here. It is not to promote the transference of power to clothing, but we need to understand all that the prayer shawl represented to the Jewish people. It wasn't simply carrying around the 10 commandments in their wallet in case they forgot, but it was a reminder that God has laid out the way in His commands, and that it is the way that restores their relationship with God that was broken in the Garden so long ago. It was through theses things that they were connected to God, and yet Jesus has fulfilled all that the commands of God required. Through Him, we are now made whole!
Even though there is so much taking place here, for me it is this one fact that stands out. This woman hears about Jesus, sees Him, and makes a public decision. In front of everyone, she is not only begging for a healing like others, but she is saying I know that you are the Messiah. At a time when the masses were wishy-washy and the Disciples were confused, one woman makes it quite clear to everyone what she thinks of this Man.
That is the Messianic Declaration!
(Bibliography not included but you can post any reference questions and i will reply)
Wednesday, March 18
Matthew and I have been going through the Love Dare challenge along with many other couples from our church. Our marriage is not in trouble or anything, of course we have our 'hard times' but I have been really blessed to have such an amazing husband who has never called me a name or been outright disrespectful even when I have chosen to say things that cross the proverbial line, he holds his tongue. The Love Dare challenge includes little assignments for each day. These are not suppose to be done out of guilt, they are simple ways to demonstrate love for your spouse.
While I was in prayer this morning a thought entered my mind. What if there was a 'Love Dare' with God. The point to this whole Love Dare thing is really just to keep your spouse in the forefront of your mind, to think about them and demonstrate how you feel toward them. So lets be creative... what are ways we could, in the midst of our days, demonstrate our love for God?
Just to be clear, I am not talking about "works". Doing things because you have to is not a demonstration of love. On the other hand, there are times when doing something we don't want to do unlocks something with in and we find life and love there. Motive is the key in Love Dare. The principle is that in the beginning you may start out doing things simply to meet the requirements of the assignment but as time goes by you begin to feel differently, see things differently, look for the others point of view. Now translate those same concepts to our relationship with God. In the midst of demonstrating our love, our love grows. In the circumstances that we don't understand we will find patience and may even begin to see how God sees what is going on. It could take our relationship to new levels.
I am not sure what the 'dares' should look like. For me I think of what God says that He loves, what matters to him and will build my dares around that. God loves truth, he loves patience, he loves when we show kindness. He also loves acts of service, especially for the under-dog. Maybe i can show love to a stranger, buy a meal for someone downtown, hold the door for the lady with the walker. Not just doing these things as a nice gesture but as a demonstration of my Love for God. I love God... God loves you... therefore, in loving you I am loving God.
Saturday, January 10
During this time of economic crisis I have found watching the news almost humorous. They parade these Guru's in front of us all claiming to have the cure but none of them able to get us out of the mess. This past week has been even more ridiculous than normal. I found myself laughing out loud as one of our self-proclaimed advisors said that the problem is my fault. American's, me, are only buying what we need, we are watching our money and trying diligently not to over spend. I almost choked on my coffee as he said this with disgust. The very thing that got us into this mess, people overextending themselves and buying things they couldn't afford and buying it on credit, this is what our "advisor" wanted us to start doing again. "We need to encourage the American people to get out there and spend money...start buying things again" He acted as if the fact that Americans are actually using wisdom is a bad thing. Now just to be accurate, it is a bad thing. If you have built an economy on the understanding that people are going to buy stuff they don't need and not just stuff they don't need but the top of the line stuff they don't need. Not just a new t.v. but a New Plasma 42'' built in DVD player t.v.!
I found all of this so amusing due to the fact that when this all went down every spokes person I saw on t.v. was emphasizing the fact that what led to this downfall was the combination of lack of regulations mixed with negligent credit/lending companies and throwing in a little bit of over extended home owners (those who either thru their own fault or the deception of the lending agency bought more than they could afford). Now some of those same people are saying that what we need to get us out of this mess is the very thing that got us into this mess. People buying stuff they don't need.
I know this will sound a little cheesy but I am proud of the every-day American right now. Every time I see people in the market using coupons for the first time or taking the 2 for one special while taking the expensive item out of their cart, I smile a little. Not because of the fact they might not be able to afford it but because they are making an effort to give up what they might want and get what they need. I am proud that this past Christmas sales were down. I am also sad that it will mean that many people, Good People, will loose their jobs. Companies who built themselves and their products on people over extending themselves are now suffering and it effects all of us. I do hope though that this time will serve as an Economic Awakening in America. Maybe its unattainable, maybe we will stay greedy and as thing start to pick up we will go back to over extending ourselves. Slowly at first but in time back to normal.
As for my family, we have decided that we are going to live with in our means. I know that if everyone does this the economic guru's are going to need to come up with a better plan than getting Americans to buy more. Not only will we try to live with in our means but as our "means" increases we want to continue to live sensibly. This is our goal. We refuse to be another young couple with two kids and 20,000 in credit card debt. We have been able to avoid debt most of our married life and we are committing to stay that way!
Saturday, January 3
If religion comprises rules you follow, faith is demonstrated by the actions you take"
When reading lately I have been stopping and thinking about what I just read. A novel idea I know and one I am sure I didn't invent. As I was reading Tribes (by: Seth Godin) the above section caught me and took up my mind for a little while. I began thinking, what are my actions? If I were to really look at the dailies of my life what do I do out of 'rules' and what is actually demonstrated by my actions (when I am not trying to 'make a point'). Is most of my time 'comprised' by rules or 'demonstrated'. Even those two words in themselves communicate a heavy message. I don't have an answer of course, all I know is that I need to spend more time on the question. Maybe we all do. Religion isn't necessarily bad but as Seth also points out in Tribes "Religion works great when it amplifies faith"... "at its worst, Religion reinforces the status Quo, often at the expense faith.
So what is my Religion and what is my Faith?