September 30, 2009

Tell Me More & Me Too

Tell me more. One of the presenters at the Centerpeace Conference that has been working with support/recovery groups at his church for years gave us those 3 words. If someone is sharing a struggle of whatever kind, "tell me more," is a way we can support them, allow them to share, and not be filling them with empty words that are SO tempting to utter. I'm a fixer. I have always been a fixer. One of the places in my life I have had to give over to the Lord. It's o.k. to be a fixer on some levels, household items that break, they need to be fixed, but when it comes to people, I can't fix them even if I have the best intentions. I had to learn this "not fixing" mindset when I had kids. Natural consequences are important for them to experience. They will never mature into teens and then adults with their own thought processes if I am "attempting" to fix all their stuff for them.

God has taught me oceans of information through my own rebellion to Him. What helped me find Him? Love from his people, consistent prayer from my grandparents, and most of all the Holy Spirit. What can we do to help others who are struggling? We can journey along beside with agape love, allowing them to be authentic and truthful without judgement on our part, loving and praying for them.

Another class I went to talked about the "me too." My struggles might not be the same as the people God will bring into my life, but confession is the great equalizer. Take an opportunity to confess what is going on in your life with those you are journeying along with so they know that you are not perfect, that you are not holier than thou, that you are safe and welcoming to them. For those of us who have made mistakes in our lives it might almost be impossible to open up and be vulnerable to someone who appears to have never made a mistake.

The day I opened up with my testimony to my church years ago was the very day I started to know people's hearts that were around me. I always knew them in a pass in the hall kind of way, but never knew their hearts. That day I became a safe friend to have. This is exactly what I spoke about at the retreat a couple of weeks ago. Freedom from the mask, was the title. In my talk I read a story about a girl named Rachel who was a ministry leader, had been given gifts from the Lord to serve her church family, but always felt lonely. She had plenty of people around her but she was lonely. After talking to her pastor she came to realize that she presented the "I have it all together facade" and no one felt comfortable being authentic around her. She confessed that in her church and before she knew it she had real relationships for the first time.

I think we have to see that Satan wants to keep us afraid of what people will think when they become an authentic individual. I know that is what kept me in my jail cell of fakeness for so long. I was so afraid people would turn away from me. Isn't it funny how even in our adult years we allow what others think of us drive our actions? During the Centerpeace Conference I was able to watch silently as parents shared their fears about what their church family would think of them if they knew their child was living a h*m*s*xual lifestyle. These parents were suffering in silence, afraid to even tell their small groups. With tears in their eyes and streaming down their faces they shared that they were afraid to tell their friends. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to live like that? We have failed the people around us if we don't make it a safe place for them, a soft place for them to fall. Satan is stealing from us the gift of community if we allow him dominion in this area over our lives, and he is keeping us from the full blessings of of God just waiting for us to be truthful with the people around us. When God chased me down and allowed me no rest when the opportunity came for me to share my testimony publicly I chose to honor where God was leading, all the while believing the lies that I was giving everything up to be faithful to God. I thought I wouldn't have a friend left once they knew I had abused drugs/alcohol/my temple. I took that step of faith, and then the lie was dissolved, because as I said earlier, that was the day my relationships started becoming real and authentic. I had believed the lie and it kept me miserable for years until that day. I also want to say that there are some people who probably did walk away from me at that point, but that is o.k., God has a work to do there. I wanted to follow God more than I wanted to hold onto the facade.

Tell me more, and me too. 5 very important words to be a blessing to those around you.

September 29, 2009

Be The Gospel; Let the Spirit Work


Last weekend was the first Centerpeace Conference. It was such a blessing to attend. The conference was for people who are struggling with unwanted same s*x attraction, their families and friends, and those who want to know how how better to minister to all the above. I attended several break out sessions that were part of the "Bridges" track. Those of us who want to reach out, share the love of Christ, and learn how to do just that.

It was a privilege to listen to the stories and hearts of those who shared their lives, whether they were on the stage or in a classroom and asking how to navigate through unclear waters.

I have written paragraph's here, but nothing seems right. Just read the sign and go with it.

September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur - The Holiest Jewish Day of the Year


Thanks to Wikipedia here is a bit of information on this day with amazing history.
Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר‎, IPA: [ˈjɔm kiˈpur]), also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for religious Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximately 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days.
Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a "book" on Rosh Hashanah and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers one's self absolved by God.
The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike a regular day, which has three prayer services (Ma'ariv, the evening prayer; Shacharit, the morning prayer; and Mincha, the afternoon prayer), or a Shabbat or Yom Tov, which have four prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Musaf, the additional prayer; and Mincha), Yom Kippur has five prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Musaf; Mincha; and Ne'ilah, the closing prayer). The prayer services also include a public confession of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Yom Kippur is considered one of the holiest of Jewish holidays and it is observed by many secular Jews who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews fast and attend synagogue on Yom Kippur, where the number of worshippers attending is often double or triple[citation needed] the normal attendance. Many other Jews choose not to fast[1].

---------------

As a Christian I can learn so much from the Jewish traditions. This is a powerful day. Thank you God for all those who have prepared the way for us today.

September 25, 2009

Dennis Jernigan

There was a concert about 16 or 17 years ago that changed my walk with the Lord. Tonight I was blessed to photograph that same artist in concert. Some blessings are too sweet to even understand. Thank you Jesus.


September 24, 2009

Front Lawn Eye Candy

Just downloaded the pictures from my camera from last weekend. My friends and fellow speakers and I from The Coffee Group were returning from an amazing retreat with the Georgetown C of C that took place in the quaint town of Salado. As we were driving home we were driving through all sorts of little towns. At one point in the journey we drove by a black and white striped house with this scene. The conversation in the car went something like this, "Were those two flamingo's looking into a toilet? yes, I think so, did you see the beer bottles adding decorative value? Yes, I did." Then I said, Hmmm I think I might need a picture of that. So after a bit of effort and a couple of turns we ended up back by this house and here is the picture of some true west Texas charm.

I should have taken a wide shot, but I was so enamored by this bit of art that I couldn't get my eyes off of it. If I had taken the wide shot you would have also seen a family of wooden skunks to the left of the sidewalk, the black and white striped house, with a big red sign that said "Call me if you want to know what I think about the city courthouse" and then listed the phone number.
It was quite an interesting view.

September 23, 2009

Summit 2009 Recap/ Don Miller

Wednesday afternoon. Summit is almost officially over and next year's theme will be announced in a few short hours at the close of tonight's speaker. It has been a wonderful year of speakers and learning. Every year I look forward to heading up to ACU during the daytime to glean insight and learning from people who come from all over to teach and lecture. This year has been even better because the main speakers in Moody Coliseum have been broadcast via UStream on line. So the night time lectures which I generally miss due to my kids needing to be in bed at a decent hour have been broadcast for me to enjoy.

I went Monday and Wednesday (today), and rested in bed with Gilmore Girls keeping me laughing on Tuesday. It has been a grand week. I am fighting a cold since Monday night but haven't let it get the best of me. It is not the flu of which it seems is at every corner waiting to impose itself on innocent people everywhere. To that I am grateful.

The classes I attended were amazing.
9am was taught by Dr. Jackie Halstead from ACU. She is truly gifted in SO many areas. I first heard her last year when Dr. Wray invited her in to speak to the Spiritual Formation class on Spiritual Director's. The non-guru type as she added today. A spiritual director is someone who journey's along with others, walking alonside and offering insight and listening to God on their behalf. I knew when I saw Jackie's name in the Summit catalog I would attend no matter what she was teaching on. She taught 3 classes on Discernment this week. The two I was able to attend M & W were great, I plan to order the 2nd day which was on Examen. Jackie has a voice that is comforting and loving, inviting to others and a spirit that is calming and full of wisdom from God. Her class was a true joy.

The 10ish class I attended on Monday was taught by Dr. Daryl Tippens. It was wonderful also.

The afternoon class I attended was with Dr. Randy Harris who is always thought provoking and very straight forward. He taught on Christian Ethics. Very interesting. As his class was busting at the seams they moved his final day to Cullen, although myself and about 75 other people missed that announcement, so there was a 2nd wave of people who entered once we found out we were in the wrong place. Here is Randy speaking words of wisdom. I always say that he has the only wardrobe I envy. Black, every day. Simple.



Then the reason I brought my camera today was to take some pics of Don Miller. He is the author of Searching For God Knows What and Blue Like Jazz, among other books too. I have loved all of the books of his I have read. When I bought "searching" at Lifeway they had a disclaimer in the book stating that they might or might not agree with all in this book, but they were carrying it due to popular demand....I thought every word of it was thought provoking and interesting.

Here is the first picture I took of Don. He is sitting while Brady Bryce is announcing all of his accomplishments. That is a very uncomfortable time for humble people, I don't know his personality well, but by the look on his face he looks a bit uncomfortable. This however is the only time Don looks uncomfortable. Once he got to the microphone he was at home, which is not always the case with a writer.



Don takes the microphone and is speaking to the theme of Summit. The mountaintop experience of Exodus. I LOVED what he had to say that we as Christians will never have our mountain top experience while we are still alive on this earth. The mountain top experience for us is at the wedding feast, the day we see Christ face to face. He talked about conflict and the importance of it in any great masterpiece, and that is what our lives are here and now. He spoke of conflict in the Garden with Adam before God formed Eve. The conflict of being lonely. He talked a bit about how we search for the mountain top experience within our world, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, or in our churches where we expect to have everything just perfect, but that we will continually be let down if our expectations are so high that we expect our needs to be completely met by whatever vice or even our church assemblies that our expectations are for perfection. We are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. There will always be conflict until we meet Christ face to face. He said it much better than I can write it.

Here are some pics during the first part of Don's talk.






All the while Don is talking there are 3 bat's flying around Moody. They are flying over the people, in front of Don, in front of the screen's. They were worked up. Once the crowd noises alerted Don to the flying critters and he realizes they are BATS, he decides to make a joke out of it and says, "Now would be a good time for me to go ahead and tell you that I am secretly a vampire and that is my girlfriend flying around." Here he is laughing at that joke, looking proud that he came up with a one liner that made everyone laugh out loud. I was impressed that his talk didn't skip a beat. Right back where he was handling the bats with grace. At one point a couple minutes later, someone shrieked at a bat that must have flown too close and Don asked if the bat had bit her, was his girlfriend cheating on him, another laugh for all of us. He was funny and full of great insight, what more could we ask for?







Here is a picture of one of the bats flying in front of the big screen.



Once the Don finished his talk then he and Brady headed to the camping chairs to have their one on one discussion that is filled with Brady's questions and questions of those who text or email in. Don made a comment about the interesting choice of camping chairs, and said that maybe he could donate some chairs to ACU.



Here Don and Brady are having the "chair" discussion. Great laughs all around.





Here is a pic of the big screen with the bat flying at Don's forehead on the screen.


Once the main event was complete, Don was quickly moved over to the Hunter Welcome Center to give a bit of a more informal talk along with a reading from a chapter out of his book, then some Q&A and autographs. I couldn't stay for all of it as I needed to pick up Derek from football practice but it was a lot of fun listening to a bit of what went into making his latest book, "Million Miles...." and then I left towards the end of his reading. I would have loved to hear the Q&A but alas, I was blessed to hear and attend what I did, so no complaints.



Don is on the 7th city of a 75 city tour, Susan Isaacs is touring with him for all engagements but Abilene. She is the author of Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir. If you get a chance to hear them speak, go!, you will be blessed and will laugh. I follow both of them on twitter and enjoy reading their posts. I logged onto Susan Isaacs website from her twitter page a couple of weeks ago and saw that I had seen her in dozens of commercials over the years, but the most memorable place I had seen her face was in an 8x10 picture held by John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, she was his wife whom he was traveling home to see. Also on a side note, during the wildfires in California a couple of weeks ago, Susan tweeted that the fires were heading in their direction. I tweeted her back and said that many of us in Abilene were praying for all those touched by the fires and I would be praying for her too. She quickly replied back thanking me for my prayers. Then a day or two later replied again telling me that they were out of danger. I was surprised to have ever had her reply but then to follow up with me a day or two later, wow. That is when I went from calling Donald to Don, because I tweeted her asking if she would be in Abilene with Donald and she responded that "Don" would be coming to Abilene solo. So "Don" it is.

September 20, 2009

Back Home...great time in Salado.

Had a wonderfully blessed time in Salado with the women of the Georgetown Church of Christ. Besides meeting the amazing women, sharing our stories, and just being with friends one of the things I loved were there video's. Here is one of the video's we watched. You can find these on God Tube, or if you want to order them to show at your church the website is onetimeblind.com.
A group of professional actors have put together some great fun skits that make you think about your relationship with Jesus.

September 15, 2009

County Fair - 2009

Rob and I took the kids to the fair tonight. We had a blast and wore ourselves out walking around. We all had free tickets to get in except Derek and then I gave each of the kids a set amount of money ($15) and they got to spend it how they chose. It worked out great, it was fun to watch them decide what to spend their money on. I think I missed grabbing a pic of Derek for the blog, he was there with us. I am sure his future football pics for the season that will be posted will make up for the lack there of on this post ; )














September 13, 2009

New Eyes At Emmaus

Sunday night. I should be in bed asleep already, but am getting caught up on what seems like a million emails and some work. I just returned from a Walk To Emmaus. If you have gone on a walk...De Colores!! If not, I pray that you will one day have the opportunity. Several ladies whom I know who have gone on a walk are some of the most love filled people I know. I wanted that. I love a statement Beth Moore makes in one of her studies..."I don't want anything that the Lord does not have for me but I don't want to miss out on one thing He does." And He has love. Love that if allowed will overflow from me and into the lives of others. And love that flows freely and super naturally.

The last 20 years of my life I have worked through a lot of my junk with the Lord. I went to the walk knowing that there was not a big area in my life that I needed to lay at the cross. Those that I have struggled with forgiveness, I have forgiven thanks be to God. The idolatry of "control" is not something I struggle with, I made a mess of my life, I have learned by default that when I try to control my life there is nothing good that comes with that....I knew that this weekend would hold spiritual renewal and I also knew God would meet me right where I am on my journey to Him. So what was I anticipating that God would change in me, that He would transform? What did I ask for? I asked for God to bring my love for Him to a new level, and a love for His people to a new level.

There are so many wonderful moments that are scattered throughout the 3 days at Emmaus. Many that I would not want to spoil for another first time attender in the future. Part of the blessings are the amazing surprises along the way. One of the girls in our group knew most everything that was going to happen. She said today that knowing about it and experiencing it are two different things, but I am very glad I didn't know.

I wanted to come home and tell Rob all about it, but I want him to experience it for himself so I just shared glimpses. The smile on my face and the tears testified for me.

I will have so much processing to do as time goes on.

But one thing is for sure, the fragrance of the Lord is the aroma at a walk. The servants who made our weekend possible, the woman who had been praying over me for months from the time my name showed up on the list to attend, the people who kept us (over) fed, the amazing testimonies of God's faithfulness and power, the spiritual directors, the up front leaders and the behind the scenes people we never even saw until the last day, they have the aroma of Christ on their being. They were amazing blessings.

I had a special moment with Christ as I was in prayer to Him and I asked for Him to bless me with His eyes. I want to see people the way He see's them. I said that I gave Him my eyes, would He wash them in the blood of the cross and give them back to me with His view. And He did.

I had a pretty tall order, I am aware even today that my flesh wants to put my take on someone. But I want none of it, I only want His. In Christ alone can I trust....for the colors of His love, grace and mercy are all over His people even in the ones that I might not expect. I decided this weekend that in order for me to see with eyes like Christ, I must gaze into other's eyes without letting myself judge what is surrounding those eyes.

And the love for Him. It has been made even sweeter. Breath taking.

thank.you.Jesus.

September 09, 2009

Jack's Report - Finally / J Tip / Emmaus

For those of you sweet people who are praying for Jack, I am SO sorry I haven't made a post since we returned from Children's for Jack's MRI and Oncology visit. I have been underway trying to get a record amount of work done, among other things that are keeping me from putting thought to paper, or blog in this case. The reports were great. He had an eye dr. visit and they told us his vision had never been better over the last 4 years, he is still dealing with double vision occasionally through the day, but only when he moves quickly, like standing up or sitting down. Once he adjusts all is good. The "nodules" that were found on his last scan have not changed. They are stable at this time. The oncologist seems almost completely unconcerned at this point, he reiterated that they are not presenting like cancer and at some point could just disappear. We all have fluctuations of cells here and there, but because Jack's brain is under a microscope every 3 months with his MRI, each little change is noted. The doctor said we must still monitor these nodules but they are nothing to be concerned about at this time. We are just rejoicing.

We did get to stay at the Ronald McDonald House which is always such a blessing. There hadn't been room for us the last couple of times we went to Dallas Children's, over a year they said. Life goes by fast, it didn't seem like that long ago we were checking in and out.

Jack is feeling well, looking well and enjoying school more than he expected ; ) He is a delight and has his own ways, he marches to the beat of his own drum and we love that about him. Thank you so much for your prayers.
Thanks be to God.
----------------------

One of the reasons that I didn't post right away was because I wanted to share some new medical technology. I was going to take a picture of this "thing" and post about it, but the picture has never happened so I will have to settle for a description and a link.

J Tip


We became familiar with Emla when Jack was first diagnosed. In our little town of Abilene, you just take the pain whether your a kid or not when you go to the dr. or the hospital. The hospitals here have on a hit and miss basis instituted emla cream when asked, and I think Hendrick on the children's floor uses it for their patients. Jack was like any kid afraid of shots. To make a long story short, we got to Dallas 4 years ago, me dreading the tumor and him dreading the shots. We found out that Children's Hospitals do things night and day to adult hospitals. They quickly covered Jack up with Emla Cream to numb the feeling in the skin so when he got his blood draws and iv's he never felt a thing. The drawback with Emla is that it takes about 45 minutes to completely work. Well let me tell you that there is a new painless shot called a J Tip, it sounds like your opening a coke can, it is a little thing of C 0 2 mixed with lidocaine and it pushes the lidocaine through your skin without the needle. And there is no pain, and the lidocaine takes affect almost instantaneously. It is like a miracle. I believe that we just need a prescription, because there is no needle involved we are able to administer it. I took my emla cream with us to the ER, now I will take J Tips.

Children's is using it hospital wide.
They come in single doses and they just pull one out and administer it, before they get the needle out the skin is completely numb, even works better than the emla.

So the next time you are at your dr.'s office you can tell them about this. Ask them if they have heard of it. It is a wonderful blessing for our kids to have treatment (and adults too ; ) ) pain free. J Tip....Rocks!!! Because of the mindset of the system here in Abilene, our doctors and pediatricians for the most part think we and our kids just need to suck it up. But that is not how I feel after being in a different type of system. You might need to take the website address to your doctor, but keep on keeping on, and maybe we can together be a voice for pain free injections and needle sticks for our kids. Not all dr.'s here have that mindset, they might just not know a better way. Let's help them stay informed about the latest medical advances for our kids.

--------------

Last but not least. I leave Thursday for my Walk To Emmaus. Will you pray for me, but will you also pray for Rob and the kids and Tom and Elaine as they navigate the rest of the school week and weekend without mom around. There is a lot going on and it is going to be crazy for them.

I am SO excited to go on the walk. I have been wanting to attend for about 12 years, with Rob's new job this year it has opened up the possibility of me going, as he works regular hours and will be here with the kids in the morning as they board the bus. He used to be at work by 5am, so there was no way I could have worked it out to be gone for several days before without making it a very complicated week. So my time has come, this is the time I was supposed to go there is no doubt. My heart is so soft to the Lord and I am anticipating Him in each moment.

September 04, 2009

Centerpeace The Conference, I am SO There, Let us be defined as lovers not haters.

If you are a long time reader of my blog you know that I am a seeker. I always know that God has more and more for me the farther I walk along in my journey with Him. I am tearful to think of where I have come from and what God has brought me to.

You might also remember my story of one of my good friends Cary. He came from a church going family, he grew up feeling shame and fear because he struggled with unwanted same-sex attraction. He sat in the church pew and knew very well that he would not be accepted there if those around him knew of his struggle. Cary didn't ask for this, he didn't even understand it. He wished that he could be in a relationship with a woman, or that he found women remotely attractive, but he didn't and he didn't know what to do. As there was no place for him to feel safe in confession in his little church in Wisconsin and then in our big church in Abilene, he listened to those secular voices in his life, this is how you were made, this is how you will always be, join us because we will accept you for who you are.

There were no voices of love for him from his church family, only words like abomination, freak, disgusting were heard when the subject of homos*xuality came up. He believed that his sin defined who he was and began a life away from God's people where he was given acceptance. Hear this loud and clear, OUR SINS DO NOT DEFINE WHO WE ARE, Cary was kind and had a servants heart. WE ARE DEFINED BY CHRIST ALONE, HE DIED FOR US AND LOVES EACH ONE OF US NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR HOW BROKEN WE ARE. He does want us to leave our sinful ways behind and follow Him, but that is a process, a journey and that takes supernatural transformation that comes from God when we seek Him with all our heart. As someone who has experienced supernatural transformation in so many areas in my life it is not something that happens overnight, God has a work to do in us and it can take years for us to be healed. Our timing is not God's timing. The more I fall in love with Christ, the less I struggle with walking outside His path for me. God says, "seek me with all your heart and I will make your path straight." As followers of Christ we need to look into people's eyes and see them as the cherished child of God they are, loving them and not allowing our own baggage or fears stop us from doing so.

As God's people we are to give those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction a soft place to land. We are to love one another as Christ loves us. If someone came into our church and had a problem with gossip, or anger, would we even address it? Maybe so, but we wouldn't get in their face and quote scripture as our only means of communication to them. Change or you are not welcome. What if we accept this person into our church, and they don't change overnight, or say like in a month? then what do we do? If we allow ourselves to be the conduit of Christ's love for all those who are hurting and broken that God brings into our path then God will take care of the rest. I say if we don't accept people into our lives that are hurting and broken we will answer to the Lord for that, He says clearly "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." WE ARE TO LOVE.

HOW DO WE LOVE? Just like the person who allowed themselves to be defined by their same sex attraction because of the words they heard in the pew, most of us that grew up along side that person and were shaped by those words also. We have to overcome our fears, we have to unlearn the condemnation and the harshness that we have been taught. In order for God's people to be a safe place for people who struggle with this we have to conquer our own fears. How do we love those who are different than us? Most importantly through prayer and seeking the love of God, then we put a face with it. Are you afraid of poverty and homeless people? Go work in a shelter, put a face on it. Are you afraid of homosexuals? Educate yourself, put a face on it. How do we do that?
We have an amazing opportunity in Abilene, people are flying in from all over the U.S. to attend the first conference by Centerpeace. Here is the link. This conference is for those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction, for their families, and for those of us who want to be a soft place for them to fall. We will learn how best to minister to a section of the population that has had no place in the churches as a whole. This is an exciting time to learn how to be the church, show the love of Christ, to be a part of a revolution of love and not condemnation.

This conference will be an excellent resource for all ministers, support staff, people who want to just be a friend to those in need and want to learn how best to do that.

Satan has long had the upper hand in those who have unwanted same sex attraction because they have felt there was no other option but to leave God or to hide in shame because his people would never welcome them, this is an opportunity to bring Christ back into that conversation, and to lift our eyes to Him and to be a part of the healing process. It is a divine honor.

There is some great info at the link about the conference when you click over, but if you don't take the time to click over, then just know this conference is about journeying with God to be who He created us to be, one who strives to be holy. Each one of us can benefit from that, it will be a safe place for all who attend. This conference is a large leap of faith and when people step out on faith God shows up big time. I hope you will consider being a part of a leap of faith, even if it is not the easy thing to do.

There even might be a feeling of, I am not struggling with same sex attraction, but I want to overcome my fears and know how to help those who are, but if I go to the conference people might think that it is my struggle. I say to that BE STRONG, BE OF GREAT COURAGE, DON'T ALLOW WHAT OTHERS THINK TO STOP YOU FROM COMING TO THE CONFERENCE. WE CAN NOT LET OTHERS IDEAS ABOUT US DEFINE US, BE BOLD IN YOUR FOLLOWING OF THE LORD, TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH. I say who cares what other people think, we should only care what God thinks. If He has put it on your heart to attend this conference then GO and don't let your own fears quench the Spirit. For those of us who are looking for the big God, the God who we know exists but we don't see Him very often because we stay safe in our perfect little lives, this will be a place to see the Big God, you will be a part of His great and mighty plan. To love when it is not easy, is to be a conduit of Christ's love. I am ALL about that. Rob and I are going, we will see you there if you decide to go.

As a side note: When I travel to speak with the Coffee Group this subject has come up numerous times. Not because we have spoken to this subject specifically but because God's healing of our brokenness is generally talked about. Each time there are women who are in tears because one of their children is living an alternative lifestyle. These moms are brokenhearted because they don't know what to do, they don't understand it, they themselves might even feel responsible. There is so much woundedness and shame that they are almost suffocating because of it. Let us gather together and not heap pain and shame on our fellow journey goers, let's be a soft place and let the love of Christ be our guide when we are given the opportunity. We do that by being authentic with our own struggles and just showing up to walk the path with them. We also do that by starting the conversation on this topic within the church walls, let us not be defined as haters but as lovers.

-------
p.s. as I stood by my friend Cary's bedside about 45 minutes before he died of Aids, with his mother, and his companion, I was asked to pray over him, the presence of God was there and the love God offered to all of us very present. After Cary and I became friends, for whatever reason - he sought God like he hadn't in a long time, he read the bible, he asked me questions, he prayed, he was on a journey. He desired to be holy and to be loved by God, he wanted to do the right thing. I would be lying to say that I knew if he had ended his physical relationship with his companion but this I do know, that God allowed me to be His light and love in a place that He had not been welcomed for a very long time. Sometimes stories have messy endings and the corners don't look all in place, but as long as we show up with God's love we will be closer to Him and He will fill our hearts with love for others that we never knew possible.
Thank you God.

September 01, 2009

MRI Tomorrow

Checking in. We leave in the morning to take Jack for his MRI, an Eye Dr. Appt., and then Thursday we have his Oncology Clinic. Please keep us in your prayers.

------------------