April 30, 2010

Be Stronger Than Your Phone

Friday morning, last day of school for me. Finals next week....woohooo! I made it. My house has stayed in some semblance of order, only a week or so made life stressful for me when I had exams and work up to my ears. I have served homemade dinner often. My family has been totally supportive. I would say that this endeavor has been a success. And even though in the long run it is not important but it was important to me....I made all A's. Or at least that is how it is looking now. Thankful to God who has sustained me and my family through this joyous adventure.


I am done with it....texting/talking on my cell while driving. I don't do it a lot, in fact almost nill for the last year or so, but almost is not none. No more, I will have no legs to stand on when my kids start to drive and I tell them they can not text or talk while driving. I am turning off my phone so I don't even hear it ring while I am in my car, putting it in my purse and going retro, like it was before I could be contacted or make contact 24 hours a day. Nothing is more important than the safety of those around me, my kids and myself. How could I live with myself if I was distracted and caused an accident or couldn't swerve away because I wasn't paying attention.

I signed a statement to the above on the No Phone Zone website. Google it, make the choice, be stronger than your phone. If I can do it you can too.

April 26, 2010

Take a leap of faith and God shows Himself every time.

Monday afternoon, the LAST week of classes of my spring semester. I can't believe that this semester is almost over, my days have flown by, but not so quickly I can't smell the roses along the way. However as I suspected these last couple of weeks have been challenging, I just need about 30 hours a day to get work and school done. As that is not going to happen I just choose to put on a happy face and deal with it the best I can. Thanks be to God that He is my sustainer, of my life and of my smile.

God has shown Himself mighty to me in many ways this year, but the ways most apparent to me are places I have stepped out in faith. School is of course one place, but another place is through a small group that I am facilitating with one of the elders at my church, along with a couple more people who have felt a calling to serve in this ministry whose love and compassion shine bright. I have written here before about centerpeace.org, an organization that opens up the table for discussion about Same S*x Attraction for the struggler. There are many people who were raised in church and hearing what Christians had to say about this struggle, and did not feel safe (rightly so in many cases), to share what was going on with their feelings.

The only expertise I have in this area is that I am a broken child of God, and I know how it feels to perceive yourself as being isolated and misunderstood and scared to death. Satan is VERY good at making us feel unloved, even if there are loving people around us. One harsh word that we hear can have us convinced "all" feel that way. That's just not true. My journey to walk a long side those with SSA started with my friend Carey who I have written about before. We had a blessed friendship and he was very open about his struggle and how he felt about it. If he would have been able to choose whom he would adore romantically it would have been a woman, and he even tried to walk it out for a while, but there was not a connection there. He did not feel safe to talk to his church family about this, so he entered the only community he would feel accepted and lived the lifestyle most of his adult life. He spent time with my family and there were occasions I would take him a meal, many times had tears streaming down his cheeks when we were together, he would always have his bible close, and we would search scripture together for him to understand who he was in Christ. He was LOVED. I never initiated any spiritual talk, he would be the one who would ask me questions and then our discussion would start. Why did he feel comfortable asking me? Because I had testified where my journey of drugs and alcohol had taken me. He didn't feel judged by me, because he saw a fellow sojourner and friend not someone who was asking Him to change to be accepted. I was just his friend.

He was my precious friend.

Fast forward many years and along comes Sally Gary who came to our church to talk about SSA with our bible class and her ministry of centerpeace.org. I immediately knew I wanted to become equipped, to start the journey of understanding, so that I might be of better use to God in this area. After she spoke to our bible class, I attended a month long study at a different church that she taught, then attended the conference late last year. The reason I am so excited to know and learn and understand is that there is ignorance all around us in our churches about how we should treat this struggle. Ignorance about how "they" just need to snap out of it. Try telling a man who is attracted to females to snap out of it and choose to be attracted to males. It just doesn't happen that way. Centerpeace is an organization that has caused controversy from both sides, you will find many Christians who think that Centerpeace is advocating the SSA lifestyle because they love the struggler without attaching rules and condemnation, and you will find those who advocate the SSA lifestyle disliking Centerpeace because it brings about feelings of discomfort for them. I find Centerpeace a blessing in every way. It is a safe place for the SSA struggler who wishes to walk out their s*xuality within the teachings of scripture.

This group that I am blessed to meet with are some of the most brave individuals I have ever met. They have felt the nudgings of the Lord and are willing to look to Him each day to be loved and guided into places that are very difficult and emotional. I am always inspired by people who will take up their cross and follow Christ no matter what the circumstance. Many of us bring wounds from our childhood, insecurities, lack of trust, trying to fill the empty places with whatever we can find, this group is no different, and together we are allowing God to speak into those old wounds, clean them, gently bandage them so He can heal them, most of all we are there for each other to point to Jesus, and to remind each other that we are loved.

God's Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in the hearts of His people all over this world, it is a blessing when we feel that work taking place in ourselves and an honor when we are journeying with others that allow us a glimpse into their walk. All praise to the Father.

April 20, 2010

Dr. Daisy Allen

I was taking pictures last night of a senior and the location we used was a home out by Lawn. The owner of the home also owned the property next door which was previously owned by the first woman in the state of Texas that graduated from medical school and practiced as a Dr. It was very cool to be there and take some pictures around it. We were not visited by the porcupine which apparently lives under the house, which I guess is a good thing. We were however mindful of the fact that little pokey pines could shoot out from under the home at any time.
In sociology we have been studying those who are the dominant culture, and those who are not. One fact we learned was that even though there are more women in the United States men are considered the dominant culture. I have always heard that women get paid less than men for the same job, but never really gave it a lot of thought. I don't want to get into a discussion on my blog about the rights and wrongs of it all. But becoming aware of how difficult is has been for women to make their mark and be taken seriously in the workplace has made me think of things differently. I certainly have more respect for women who have gone against the norms of the culture and pursued jobs that have been typically dominated by males. So when I was on this property last night, and thought about the first woman in Texas who went to medical school, Dr. Daisy Allen, it was a very meaningful experience. I googled Dr. Allen and read a bit about her, and saw that at first she was turned down from attending medical school because she was a woman, but she appealed because there was no where on the application that stated that women could not attend. She was allowed in and graduated 2nd in a class of 17. Go Dr. Daisy!!!

April 19, 2010

The Best of Times and The Worst of Times.

It was the best of days and the worst of days. That is how I feel today, today in bible class we studied the book of James, which is my all time favorite book in the bible. It was my abc's on how to be a Christian when I had absolutely no idea what being a Christian meant. The book of James is so special to me. Today Randy Harris taught Mike's class, either would teach the book amazingly, but I always am challenged by Randy's perspective and I have never left a lecture or presentation that he has given empty. Today he chose the most famous parts of James to talk about. From the Faith without works is dead, to guarding your tongue, then to the lure of desire, and then to the radical prayer. I didn't think class could get any better until Mike who was sitting on the front row chimed in as the character of the Apostle Paul to question Randy for speaking the words about works. They bantered back and forth about the friction that is seen between the two ideology's, and then Randy summed the banter up. James believes we are saved by Jesus, the end. But our faith changes us, when we really believe that Christ died for us, when we really believe that we can not save ourselves, and that we have been doled out more than truckloads of mercy to be given the opportunity to see Christ face to face for eternity, then there is a transformation that takes place that causes us to start making a difference for good around us. As Christians we just can't help it, if we truly believe, if Christ is our Savior AND Lord, then we will be changed from our selfish and sinful nature over time to a nature more like that of Christ. Thankful for the book of James.

Then I came home to prepare a treat of epic proportion that has been in my head for almost a year. Julie and Julia, the movie, starts with a scene where Julie has prepared Bruschetta with sauteed bread. Anyone who has seen the movie will remember the delectable Bruschetta. I have waited and waited for some yellow cherry tomatoes to arrive in our stores, and when I saw them at Sam's yesterday I grabbed up a container, then bought some grape tomatoes and fresh basil...and today's lunch for me was Bruschetta with bread sauteed in Olive Oil and then fresh garlic rubbed onto the bread with the bruschetta piled on top. I bought some Gouda cheese to serve on the side and voila, it was the best lunch EVER!! Here is the recipe.... I would have loved to have shared that special moment with my hubby, but as I am taking pics most every evening this week it would have been 9pm before I was ready to sit down for a meal. I did however, leave him and Sophie (the boys would gag at the thought of eating it), their own portions. It was such a treat.

The worst of times, in the midst of my day...there are non-stop utterances of groans and pains within me as I call upon the Lord for some very special people who have suffered a great tragedy. The words "how long," from the Psalms come to mind when I think of the suffering that goes on here on this earth. On the way back to Ft. Worth/Dallas area yesterday there was a car accident that took the life of two of the four people in the vehicle. The people in the accident were family members of some friends from church. There was a husband and wife, Phil and Debbie, then their daughter and grand daughter, the accident took the life of Phil and their daughter. Debbie and the baby survived. Unimaginable. How long, O Lord, until you come again? How long until we are all together on the New Earth without pain and sorrow? Please pray for God's supernatural consolation to wrap His arms around this entire family.

April 12, 2010

Week One of Crazy Month

I have looked at my blog for a week now thinking I need to update it. I have hit "the month" of most concern for my school year. I have almost a month left of school, which is going marvelously, but it is also one month left for all the other people in school and that means, graduation pictures. I have done my best to keep my schedule limited, but the wind is not cooperating with me, and I have had to reschedule sittings several times for the tops of trees were sideways. I am in week one of a crazy month, so wish me luck....

April 02, 2010

The V8 Moment

Good Friday, Holy Friday, Black Friday. It is a a Friday that is filled with much sorrow. A day that we can think upon what Christ suffered for you and me. That is not where are thoughts end, because we know Sunday will be here soon. But I find it beneficial to really spend time in prayer and meditation upon the walk to the cross. It helps me take my sins much more seriously, it helps me see that the power of the Spirit is available for me to overcome my sin in the name of Christ. It is a day I take personally, Christ died for all mankind, men and women, but he also died individually for each of us. When I make a choice to sin, I can literally see myself driving a nail into the hand of my Savior. Thinking of sin that way, keeps me from falling prey to Satan's schemes more often than naught.

I love the following verses. Starting from when Christ gave up his spirit, then all the amazing events that follow right after. I love that the centurion, comes to the awareness that he has just been a part of killing the Son of God. It is a V8 moment. I am grateful for the word of the Lord, I am grateful that we can learn from His life. I am grateful that because Christ gave up His spirit, that the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, helps me today, may I never take for granted the great gift of grace that was imparted on me the day I took Jesus as my King. May I continue to strive to my best to walk in step with the Spirit, and may I never quit seeking the mysteries of the Lord that He chooses to reveal to my inadequate and feeble self. With Christ All Things Are Possible.

Matthew 27:50....
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

55Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

April 01, 2010

Maundy Thursday Thoughts

Maundy Thursday. The day that remembers the passover meal, Christ's last meal with His friends. He washes the feet of the apostles. He speaks these words:

John 15:18

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

26“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

My thoughts on the scriptures above...in the words of Mary, the mother of Christ, may it be to me as You will. With the Counselor who was sent after Christ's crucifixion we as Christ's followers can rejoice in persecution, because it is for His Name. May we wash other's feet like Christ, may we humble ourselves as Christ did, may we bear the bitter cup as He did, and may we rely on the Spirit to fill us to the point of overflow that we do not deny Christ due to hardships and persecution. May we be given His peace that passes understanding, and the words to proclaim His goodness.