I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for April, 2014

Faith or a Road Map?

I recently finished reading a challenging book entitled “Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand” by Rick Lawrence.  It was a timely reading choice in my own life but those details are for another post. Maybe.

I read this particular book in ebook format but that didn’t keep me from highlighting the parts that were thought-provoking, striking or even those parts that made me bristle a bit.  (Let’s face it – sometimes we really CAN’T handle the truth!)

I keep coming back to a handful of the passages that struck a chord with me.  I will likely be sharing a few of them in the next few posts.  Maybe very few.  Just not sure where all of this is heading yet.  But this one I knew I needed to share:

Martin Luther King Jr. was embracing the beauty of the darkness when he said, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  And we’re motivated to take that “first step” because we know who made the stairs, not because we’re sure of where they’re leading us.

When the author mentions “the beauty of the darkness” he’s talking about those times in our lives when we don’t see a way out of the circumstances we’re in and all we have left is faith.  Those times when we can’t see the “light at the end of the tunnel” and we secretly fear that the tunnel may have collapsed around us!

I keep coming back to the idea of taking the first step without seeing the staircase (thank you, Dr. King).  If I can see the end – if I have the road map or a clearly marked path to follow – is that really faith?!  Those who are wary of technology may say that it takes ALOT of faith to trust their GPS.  But not really.  When I can see where I’m going I don’t have to have much faith to get me there and it allows me to be in control (or at least feel like I am!).

In recent weeks, my life has been an interesting experience because some doors have been very clearly opened and others very clearly closed while in other areas big fat questions marks seem to cover the landscape with doors that may or may not be slightly ajar.  To say that my plans for the next school year are still rather fuzzy would be pretty accurate.

I’d like answers.  A clear agenda.  I’d like to have all of it spelled out for me; not only the actual plan but the reasoning and thought behind all of it.

But none of that takes faith.

Yeah, taking that first step of faith is hard.  Maybe even scary.  And you just might be too exhausted to even THINK about stepping.  But to simply sit and do nothing is to guarantee stagnation.

So there are my choices.  Step out in faith and risk . . . something.  Maybe.  Or sit and do nothing and guarantee that nothing will happen.  One brings with it the chance for growth and reward.  The other is safe and predictable and ultimately sucks the life out of you.

Well, . . . here goes nothin’.

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Staying Power

Why is it that we can feel the sting of an insult years after the words were uttered but can’t remember a compliment someone paid us two days ago?!

Why do the vicious words of a middle school bully linger long into adulthood, leaving scars that we never forget?  And yet sincere compliments barely make an impression?

Whatever the reason, I’m tired of it.  I don’t know how to fix it, but I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of getting a compliment from someone and having some ugly, negative phrase from my past immediately sneak into my head to contradict the positive one.

I could tear your heart out with stories of the ugly things people have spoken into my life.  But I’m done.  Time to, as my father would say, re-write the script.  It won’t be easy.  It won’t happen quickly.  But it’s going to happen.

I’m going to focus on the positive things uttered into my life by those who have chosen to be a part of it.  As for those individuals who hang around because they see it as their job to fix me . . . them, I will politely ignore.

I don’t know why insults have so much more staying power than compliments.  But I’m about to change things up.

Changing a Mindset

I’m often baffled by the young people I work with.  Specifically the young women.  I see beauty and grace and talent . . . you get the idea.  So when I get a peek at the insecurity they each battle I’m a touch confused.  But I really shouldn’t be.  I’m in my mid-40’s and struggle EVERY DAY with not feeling pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough . . . so rather than try to talk them out of the exact same feelings I battle, I’m going to work on myself first.

I hate having my picture taken.  Despise it.  Always have.  A bout of Bell’s Palsy 14 years ago left me with a “weird” smile and made me even more self-conscious about looks that I thought weren’t terribly appealing to begin with.

Today I start to beat back those personal demons.  I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world.  I’m okay with that.  I’ve got stretch marks from four pregnancies and the droop on the right side of my face will never go away.  I’m okay with all of that as well.  Yes, I should get in better physical shape but I have to learn to like myself – love myself – regardless of the outward appearance first.  Fix the mental state and maybe I’ll believe I deserve to be fit!  So here they are.  Selfies.  I almost never take them but the purchase of a phone upgrade inspired some bravery.  I’m not looking for positive feedback, believe me.  Just putting these out there to say that I’m working to become comfortable enough with my own appearance that I will stop hiding from the camera!

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Just at the Right Time

Proverbs-25

Circumstances right now are challenging.  Most of life is clipping along quite nicely.  Just a job situation I wish . . . well. . . I wish it wasn’t.  Feeling a little down this morning when I got up, knowing I had to deal with the unpleasantness.  Checked Facebook before I went to work and there it was.

Psst. You’re phenomenal.
 

Just three words.  From a friend I’ve known since I was in Junior High!  (She’s younger than me so I’m not giving away her age!)  But in the face of some challenges I would rather not be facing, it was just what I needed.  This friend and I met when I went to a music camp where her dad was working.  That music camp eventually ended and some of the staff went to work at a summer music camp on a college campus.  I got information about that camp and, while I didn’t go to the camp, I DID end up attending the college where the camp was held.  My friend did to.  We actually got to hang out as college students together for a bit!

She had no way of knowing.  I have talked about the stress I’m dealing with on Facebook but kept much of the “meatier” details to myself.  And I hadn’t said much about the current “slump”, preferring instead to spend my online “social networking” time talking about the good things!  She couldn’t have known that I needed – DESPERATELY needed – to know today that someone believed in me; that there was someone out there who knew things about me that some of my crankier co-workers will never know and that this particular someone thought that all the parts of me together made for a pretty okay person.

The lesson?  When you have the impulse/urge/random idea to speak something positive into someone’s life – even if it’s only three quick words – DO IT!!  Your words may be just what they need at that moment.

This is real religious persecution

Just have to share my hubby’s thoughts on an important topic!

pastorjim86

Just imagine you sent a text to me, a Baptist minister, that somehow insulted Jesus.  Maybe, in public or private, you used His name as a type of swearing.  Maybe you somehow did some type of desecration to a copy of the Bible.  Now imagine being turned in to the authorities, arrested, and charged with the crime of blasphemy for doing any of these things and potentially facing the punishment of execution for it.

Hard to imagine?  Well, hopefully in this country it would be, but in other countries, it isn’t hard to imagine because it is reality.  Take Pakistan for instance.  In a recent story from the BBC, a Pakistani Christian couple allegedly sent a text to an imam in which they somehow insulted the prophet Mohammed.  The imam file a complaint, the couple was arrested, charged with blasphemy and potentially face execution for this dastardly and heinous act…

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Song for Sunday

How to Cope

It’s one thing to admit that you need to learn some coping skills.

It’s another thing to have at least an idea of what those skills might be.

It’s a completely different, altogether terrifying thing to have absolutely no clue what those coping skills are.

I’ve heard it said that identifying the problem is half the battle. But I don’t feel like I’m halfway to a solution. I feel like I’ve barely taken a step toward a solution.

Don’t care how much work is involved – just need to start working toward a solution.

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