Friday, March 31, 2006

Sunhats and Homemaking

Disclaimer: The following is in no way intended to undermine the efforts of those not classified as homemakers. It's just about those that are...

I was in Kohl’s today and next to me in line were two women who appeared to be about twenty years my senior. One was holding a hat in her hands and asking her companion about whether it could be laundered. The second woman read the tag and they began an earnest discussion about cotton, laundering, ironing, how to maintain the shape through the process, etc.
Some of you are already thinking that this must have been the world’s most boring conversation. Not to me. To me it sounded like women who had learned the fine art of keeping a home. A fine art indeed, and becoming a lost art.
There are career women, home makers, young, old, college, and elderly women and every combination you can think of in between. Most women wear many hats but today I was thinking about the woman who calls herself a home maker.
I used to be a full-time home maker. For ten years I cooked, cleaned, and cared for our home and our two sons. I liked it. I never felt unfulfilled in any way but financially. Were it not for the need to earn a little cash to send daboyz to college, I'd still be a home maker. I have great regard for women who stay at home and create a soft place for their families to fall.
The women in Kohl’s today made me smile as they talked about how to launder a cotton sun hat. Homemakers are fascinated by this kind of thing, it’s science to them. Which stain removers work on which stains. Presoaking, cool irons, line drying. They also simmer, stir, baste, and marinade. They do things the hard way, the complicated way, the long way. They chaperone field trips and go days without putting on mascara. They sometimes become unglamourous. But I think they are beautiful.
I was most myself as a woman in the days of home making. I loved seeing to the finer details of our lives that honestly now get left in the dust. Is it truly important that our jeans are creased? No. But it was a detail born of loving care to the small things that I had time to see to. I was here when daboyz awoke in the morning and here when they came home after school. Dinners were hot, homemade and on the table. I had time to stay ahead of the game where now I often scramble to stay just a few steps behind.
So this is for you, homemakers. You who find your identity in the care of your family’s affairs. You who search far and wide for the perfect prom dress for your daughter, the socks your son likes best or the brand of lunch meat your husband prefers. You who wash your cotton sun hats. You who sit back at the end of a long day tired and smiling at the place you’ve created, your offering to your family, your home. You who are often suspicious you are unnoticed and under appreciated. By the way, you’re right on both counts.
For the details no one but you sees. For the career you left behind. For the potential you wonder if you’ve lost. For the money your bank account lacks. For the sacrifice of self to a greater cause that only you can see...thank you.

Proverbs 31:29
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Dedicated to my mom.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sara & The Whale

“Jonah Syndrome”
That was what the Mr. called it.
I was waxing eloquent about a new concept I had just discovered, heretofore unknown to the minds of men. It consisted of the desire of “good” people to see “bad” people punished. Sure, we want them to find Christ and be saved from hell (most of the time) but justice would seem to require a little earthly bamboo under the fingernails for all the trouble they’ve caused.
I asked the Mr. if he had ever considered such a thing. Had he ever, in his finite mind, realized that such a phenomena existed?
“Jonah Syndrome.”
Apparently there is indeed nothing new under the sun. Rats.
Anyway, here’s how it goes. We want to evangelize the unsaved but we have a hard time letting them get away with their sin. We feel a little better about the whole affair if we can see some damage to their lives. Then we are willing to swoop in wearing our SuperChristian capes and by pointing out how messed up they are, we lovingly point them toward the cross and the opportunity to be like us. Uh, I mean like Jesus.
Case in point; prison ministry. Nary a Christian exists who doesn’t support the concept of prison ministry. And yet, many of our folk will turn their noses up at the free and unsaved. Why? Because the guy in prison is paying for his crime. We like that. Paying for crimes. As long as you’re sitting in a cell, we’ll come with great love and compassion to bring you the gospel. Likewise if you’re in Africa living in ignorance of the Word. We’ll come there too and share the love of God.
But the cousin with the foul mouth, living with boy/girlfriend. Making babies all over the place. Not holding down a job. Drinking, partying. The one who borrows money and never pays it back. The one who always excuses their own poor choices or blames somebody else. The downright unlikeable. Those are the ones I have a harder time with. So let me just be plain; if I don’t like you, I have a harder time wanting salvation minus punishment for you.
I’d feel better about them being granted grace if I saw them paying a little fine for their spiritual infractions. It’s the unmerited mercy that really grinds me.
Jonah Syndrome.
Read the book of Jonah if you’ve not done so. It’s a short easy read. It’s the story of the every-Christian if you ask me. Even if I didn’t invent it.
Jonah is a man of God. God tells him to go preach in Nineveh. Jonah feels those stinking Ninevites need a good smiting so he goes in the other direction. God sees him. He gets swallowed by a fish. Gets puked out in the direction of Nineveh. Let me just say that I’m glad God doesn’t deal quite so harshly when I go the other direction from His instructions. Anyway, Jonah goes to Nineveh, preaches, the town turns toward God. They repent. God forgives. And Jonah is TICKED OFF.
I’ll paraphrase..
“So that’s it? They get off scot free? No hell-fire? No brimstone? No canker sores or bad hair?”
What the heck?!
We love justice, we just don’t want it for ourselves.
So I’m going to try to recover from my own personal Jonah. I’m going to have to pray good and hard about that. I want to have the heart of Christ and I suspect that means I will grieve when people get what they have coming. And I’ll rejoice if I can see them dodging the bullet by way of grace. That’s who I want to be.
Jesus was the ultimate criminal defense attorney.
Lord, please de-Jonah me.

Jonah 4 Jonah's Anger at the Lord 's Compassion
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"
"I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."
10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Carpe Diem

It occurs to me that I should already be whatever it is I am supposed to be. Driving to work I was having the regularly scheduled inner dialogue that goes like this...
“I don’t want to go to work. I wish I didn’t have to work. I wish I could do something else today. Going to work gets in the way of the stuff I should be doing. I have no desire to do this for the rest of my life.”
I don’t necessarily want to trade places with Paris Hilton, I just want to do something more; something...meaningful.
Ok, vulnerability alert; I wish I could be in full-time ministry. I wish I could write and counsel and speak and teach for a living. But I’m not in full-time ministry. I’m a nurse. So I have to go to the hospital for several hours a week which gets in the way of my more spiritual endeavors such as studying, praying, writing and teaching.
So I’m telling God about this and He must be getting a little tired of this daily whine fest because He informs me that right now, today, this is the spiritual endeavor that’s scheduled. This is what my day is made of. This is my ministry. Just shut up about the wishes and wannabes and go be a nurse. Today. Live today.
That’s something I need to be told regularly. Live today. Stop trying to crane your neck to figure out what’s coming and live this today. Live it well. Live it spiritually, lovingly, compassionately and sacrificially. Live magnificently; today.
I made myself stop the wishes and wannabes and started giving the day to God and asking Him to fully realize the nurse in me, and help me accept this today in front of me. I am not Sara the teacher, counselor or writer from 7 to 3:30; I”m the nurse.
It felt good. To release the wonder what I coulda and shoulda been thoughts and be the nurse that I am. Did I do my job differently? Work a little harder? Care a little deeper? No. I always work hard to give the best care I can. I’m a Christian; that’s what I should be doing.
So what changed? The inside of my day changed. My heart took a different perspective. I had a good day, worked hard and left feeling completely satisfied with my eight hours doing what God sent me to do.
There is a hidden well of contentment in taking this today. Life flies by. Days that seem to drag run together into years that pass in a blur. There isn’t enough time on this side of heaven to devote many moments to wishes and wannabes. They steal the is and the now of it. Take your day. Take your position in this day. And do it magnificently.
Carpe Diem.

Job 1:10 (New International Version)
10 "... You have blessed the work of his hands..."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I had a moment of hysterical laughter the other day. I was on the phone with my mom and going through the mail when Jay’s financial aid award letter from U of M. arrived. I opened it. He got some assistance. Not enough. I started to smile. And then it listed the expected “parental contribution”. I got the giggles. Then I doubled it to account for next year when Mac starts college. Something snapped and I went into uncontrollable laughter.
Have you ever seen the scene in Mary Poppins when Uncle Arthur is laughing himself silly and floating around the room? That was me.
My mom was not initially amused by the amount offered to our boy but I guess at being an ear- witness to her daughter’s final breakdown she figured why not join the fun? She started laughing too. There we were, two grown women who had before this moment been doing a fine job of feigning sanity. We lost it. We laughed for a few more minutes, blew our noses, wiped our eyes and hung up the phone.
I won’t tell you what he got in assistance or what our expected contribution is because it’s none of your business and I don’t want to give myself a laughter headache by starting up again.
Why, you might ask, were we laughing so hard? Are we crazy? Yeah, that’s actually it exactly. Crazy faith. So crazy with faith that we’re beyond fighting with the stuff we can see and just waiting around for the sea to part, the manna to fall, the fish to cough up the coins (that one would be really good right about now).
I’ve never known God to fail and I’ve given Him plenty of opportunities to turn and walk away. He likes me. He likes my kids. We prove that He’s a miracle worker pretty much constantly as we are in constant need of miracles.
I’m not saying I don’t have my moments of doubt, fear, worry and tension but today was a good old fashioned crazy faith day.
When you realize you can’t count on yourself you’re on the road to seeing how big God is. So if you’re up against something that seems insurmountable and undoable, I promise you God is just warming up. Grab a tissue and get ready for a belly laugh.
That’s so good, it’s a two-verser!

Hebrews 11:1
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Psalm 37:25
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Poor Me

At the beginning of this year I started a personal Bible study not out of some great insight on my own part but on the Holy Spirit’s prompting, then leading, then pushing. I had to be pushed because the text was the Sermon on the Mount, which I felt was such familiar territory that it had little to offer me. I was wrong. So here are some excerpts from my own study/prayer journal woven into what I learned from Jesus by revisiting the Beatitudes. You’ll see my entries fro m January in italics.

Matthew 5:3-Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You’d think that with the PhD in Sunday School I hold I’d be able to immediately define “poor in spirit” but I really had no idea what this meant. So I followed the foot notes and margin references and I came up with what this meant. Poor in spirit=Humble, contrite, servant
Ok, so now I can at least understand a one sentence verse...if a person is humble, contrite and a servant they will have the kingdom of heaven. Whatever. If you’re sensing some sarcasm and indignation there, you know me too well. I decided to just go ahead and take my medicine by breaking it down again.
Humble means I do not consider myself above, but below others
Contrite is penitent sorrow and remorse for sin
A personal attendant or one who provides support and/or service to an organization or individual.
I could not in honesty say that I was consistently poor in spirit. I couldn’t even say that I wanted to be. I had a life lesson going on for approximately my entire adult life to parallel the verse too. I have been consistently throughout my marriage the one who does the housework. The Mr. seems to possess superhuman x-ray vision allowing him to see through any given mess or chore. I felt very sorry for myself about this and very angry with the Mr. Then God brings up this Matthew 5:3 business and I’m wondering why I have to learn so many lessons and trying to call his attention to the Mr. But the point, you see, was not the right or wrong of the division of household tasks. The point was my spirit and whether I was achieving the kingdom of heaven with it. And I wasn’t. My Achilles heel in this is specifically waking up to a mess when I went to sleep with a neat house. I am the first to bed so daboyz and the Mr. are the culprits in this problem.
I read this passage and God issued a challenge. You wanna learn this? You wanna apply this? You wanna grow up a little? Clean the mess and shut up. Shoot.
So for a few days I cleaned the house (AGAIN) as soon as I woke up in the morning and it made my attitude slightly improved since I wasn’t looking at the pop cans and cereal bowls all day long. But I was still doing a lot of grumbling in the process and still telling those guys I had to get up and clean their mess and I’m sick and tired of it.
And I need to fix my attitude to humble while I’m doing this
...makes me feel unimportant. I am unimportant. I am not humble after all. I am not a servant either. Servants have no agenda. I have a lot of agendas to get rid of.

I started getting up, cleaning the mess and biting my tongue about it. If I’m not above them; if I’m below my family on my own agenda, I’ll serve them. I’ll do it.
I’m fighting the same battles I’ve been fighting forever but it is a different battle if I’m fighting with myself now
At first it was so hard to do this simple thing; straighten the house (it took all of 5-10 minutes every morning), go about my day and not announce my sacrifice when my guys got home. The initial shocker of this was how little time it took me to put the house in order and how many years YEARS I had spent angry about it. Stupid. I am so stupid. I realized it was a matter of moments in my life and that in return I was serving, I was humbling myself and I was living in the kingdom of heaven as a result. I felt...blessed. I stopped fighting my family and turned myself in for what I’d been doing wrong. When I realized that whether or not they were in the wrong for making a mess, I was absolutely in the wrong for my own response I felt...contrite.
Contrite is penitent sorrow and remorse for sin.
I honestly thought the Mr. was the sinner here. I thought there was one sin to any given situation and it was his. But there can be more than one sin happening in any given situation. I saw mine now. I was not humble and not a servant. I was proud and resentful. I thought myself above cleaning up a mess someone else had made. Ironically, I have never had a problem with Christ cleaning up my messes. Yet, I grumbled about the Diet Pepsi can on the coffee table.
I had a new take on penitence and remorse. God, I am so sorry.
I will not demand recognition or complain; I am sorry God, for pushing myself into the first position. I am sorry for being petty and demanding and belligerent and angry. Forgive me. I need to learn to serve at home if I am going to serve your people. This is hard God. I need to not feel humiliated but I do. Make me humble and help me to find joy in pleasing you.

Matthew 5:3-Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blog Church 3/26/06

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

welcome back!

welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out.
welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sister Sara, Youth Leader

From 1992 to 2002 I was the worst youth leader in the history of teenagers. Seriously. Our former church had lost its latest youth leader in a string of several and I just felt bad for the kids. I had lots of experience with Sunday School for little ones and nursery duty (having a 3 and 4 year old myself) but had never worked with adolescents. After the last team fled the scene, I told my husband I thought I should step up and fill in until someone else was available, just to give some stability to the kids.
“I can do the teaching if you’ll help me.” says I.
“Uh, I don’t think...” says the Mr.
“Ok, I’m glad we agree! It’ll be great!” says I.
And thus began the worst youth leadership in the history of teenagers.
I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t like teenagers. I didn’t like teenagery activities. Our church had a youth room slightly smaller than the back of my truck. My husband was reluctant, to say the least.
To this day, I have no idea why God didn’t reign down brimstone or frogs or something to stop this travesty. I walked into that room for our first Sunday School and was met with about a half dozen sets of rolling eyes and blank stares. I felt my face getting red and I realized then and there that I disliked teenagers more than I had realized. My husband sat there saying nothing and looking decidedly unhelpful, unspiritual and terrified. I realized I disliked him more than I had realized as well. The following Sunday morning I brought donuts to class. This became the only redeeming quality of my ministry.
In the meantime, I taught over their heads, around their interests, in spite of their indifference and with varying degrees of preparation and inspiration.
I taught about sex by comparing it to hamburger. I don’t remember exactly what I was trying to prove but that’s what the leader’s book said to say. All these years later I will occasionally run in to one of my “kids” and they will say “Sex is like hamburgers!” and walk away laughing hysterically.
I hated giving up my time for youth outings. I know, that’s terrible but I’m being honest. I hated miniature golf and bowling and Cedar Point. I offered very little in the way of extracurricular spiritually stimulating youth activity.
I saw little impact from my ministry of deep-thinking and spiritual insight. I continued to ply the kids with donuts, they liked Boston Cream best. Most of the kids still went off the path I would’ve chosen for them. A poor reflection on me.
I was honored more than I deserved to have kids share hurts and shame and fear with me. I didn’t know what to tell them, I was no youth leader. But I learned to hurt with them, cry with them and pray for them.
Somewhere in that ten years I learned that I loved teenagers.
I never became a good youth leader, but I became someone who tried to cover her own short-comings with extra doses of love. I hope when it’s all said and done, it meant something.
Some of my kids I haven’t seen in years, and when I do there’s no glimmer of recognition that we ever spent time together in that little room eating donuts. I deserve the cold shoulder, I wasn’t a good youth leader. I’ll admit that hurts. I don’t deserve their love and admiration and I know it; but I love them anyway and it always hurts to love and not be loved back. It also hurts to know I failed them. That’s the worst.
Some of my kids come up and hug me and kiss me on the cheek and tell me they love me; and about what’s happening in their lives today. Some of them make fun of me for comparing sex to hamburger and downright tell me I sucked. They’re right on all counts. I’m glad they’ve forgiven me enough to give me a hug.
A few of my “kids” read my blog. I remain close to some of them. Some of them are now my closest friends, hurting, crying, praying and loving me through life now. What a privilege for me, to count them as my friends.
All of them, all those WWC teenagers; rolling their eyes and making noise and rocking in their chairs and never answering any questions and necking with their boy/girl friends in the church van (yes I saw you!); they all shaped me more than I shaped them.
They shaped me into a better teacher, although they reaped little benefit for their efforts. They taught me to pray because I was truly at the mercy of Jesus every time I walked into that room. They taught me to hurt with hurting people. They honored me with their trust. They kept coming back to that little room with the world’s worst youth leader.
I wasn’t much to write home about guys. I know that. I’m sorry. But in case I didn’t make it clear back in the day, I love you guys. I am proud of every one of you. I am privileged that God let me have some time in your life. I wish I had done better.
Thank you for teaching me to love teenagers.

1 Timothy 4:12 (New International Version)
12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Blog Church 3/19/06

2 Timothy 1:7 (New International Version)
7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I collect...

1. Spoons.
2. Hymnals.
3. Sketchers.
4. Sock monkeys.
5. Books.
6. Books.
7. Books.
8. Photographs.
9. Notes & text messages from the Mr.
10.My kids' schoolwork.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm Overdrawn!

I need some time in the Word today. You might assume that at this point in my life, daily scripture study has already been permanently ingrained in my schedule but sadly, not so. In fact, some of the very things I am committed to; like life groups and counseling; can actually interfere with my personal scripture time if I’m not careful.
I have Problems & Promises to prepare for, I write on this blog and I teach a life group every other week so I’m spending lots of time looking for specific focuses but I need time to be me-focused as well. I need to balance what goes out and what comes in to my spirit. So today I’m going to sit down with my Bible and find something just for me. And I’m going to resist the temptation to find a lesson or a blog out of it.
Like everybody else in the world, I have decisions to make and a life to live requiring wisdom, peace, joy and the need to be productive. I won’t say it’s just a woman thing but as a woman I have some specific insight to that side of life and life takes a little something from me every day. I’m not complaining; it’s just the fact. Actually I should give something from myself into the world every day, that doesn’t make me a hero. The danger is that I can forget to refill my heart and then I start feeling like I’m emptying myself out.
My life is not so much like a box of chocolates (don’t I wish!) as it is like a bank account. I withdraw for any number of good reasons and give away much of what I withdraw. But if I don’t deposit as well, the account gets lower and lower and pretty soon, I’m overdrawn.
And what does overdrawn look like? Short-tempered. Tired. Overwhelmed. Depressed. For me it also manifests itself physically (being ever so delicate and fragile as I am). One of the surest signs that I’m overdrawn is what I call my “stress sickness”. It starts as this free-floating tiredness that seems to emanate from my bones. I am compelled to lay down for a nap or to fall asleep where I stand. My muscles start to ache. Dull headache. Irritated eye-balls. It’s not a big leap from the beginning of that to downright sick and in bed for a few days. Stress-sickness is a reaction to anything from truly dreadful and painful things in my life to just the overwhelming running list of to-dos in my head. Guess what started yesterday at about 2:00 in the afternoon? Yup.
So today I’m going to do some serious depositing into my heart account. I still have the mom, wife and human being requirements to fulfill but I’m going to put my Bible and my spirit on the schedule too. I’m going to have to do some thinking because some of the things I had planned to do today are going to have to be postponed. Some of the things must happen today and so I’ll step up and take care of those. On the must-happen list; God’s Word.
I hope that someday I become a great accountant of my heart and learn how to keep the books balanced without going into the red as often as I do now. For now, I”ll take the warning shots fired by my aching body and stuffy nose and slow down.
I’m going to finish this post, turn off the tube and grab my Bible out of my car (where I left it two days ago; a good sign that I’m going into the red). I’m going to sit in my pajamas on the couch and deposit some Proverbs into my heart. Maybe some Hebrews too. And whatever else God wants to talk to me about.
Don’t let the good and necessary stuff of life push your heart into being overdrawn. You’ll need the account to be full for the hard stuff anyway. Save for a rainy day. Deposit enough to give some away and keep some for yourself.
Balance your books.

Matthew 4:3-5
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The following takes place during a 24 hour period. The events described happen in real time.
I wear myself out.
It is six a.m. and I have to leave for work in a few minutes. I’ve been up since 4:30. Didn’t sleep well.
There is a list I could attach here of the reasons for my poor sleep but they aren’t really what’s doing me in. I’m worn out because my feelings are hurt.
I had what I thought was exciting news yesterday. I waiting for a few hours for the Mr. to get off work so I could share it and let’s just say when I told him my big news; he was underwhelmed. Now I’m hurt. He has his explanation for his reaction and it makes sense to him but it doesn’t seem to do anything in the way of making me feel better.
I am a poor manager of hurt feelings. I really don’t know where to put them. It seems that I should just let it go, as that is the prevailing wisdom. But I can’t seem to get my fingers to unclench from around the hurt. It makes no sense, that I should insist on keeping pain but here I am, thirteen hours and a few apologies later still hurt with no plan on how to be unhurt.
I’ve mentioned that I’m quite the anger diva and I’m working on getting off that sinking ship. Which I’m doing in baby steps but as I step away from angry girl, I find myself more vulnerable to hurt girl. I don’t know which I like better. At least angry girl felt powerful.
It’s 10:36 p.m. now. I went to work and then to our ladies’ life group and now I’m home, long day behind me. I’d like to say that in the course of this long day I gave the hurt feelings over to Jesus and walked in victory throughout the work day. Not so. I stayed good and hurt all day and most of the evening.
Went to my ladies’ group and had a really sweet time of sharing and fellowship. These women honor me with their presence and friendship. During the evening at some point I accidently stopped being hurt. After I came home I was suddenly aware that I was talking to the Mr. minus my patented clipped tones and stoic countenance. Doggone, I forgot to stay hurt. Wonder how that happened?
I have my suspicions. I suspect that despite my resolve to remember forever how much he hurt me, my heart betrayed me and the love trumped the hurt.
I suspect that the being the middle of two hours of God-seeking and heart-sharing with my home girls, the Holy Spirit did some rearranging in me.
I suspect that I’m addicted to the freedom of releasing pain and sometimes I just let it go ahead of schedule.
Driving home tonight I was chatting with my sweet friend Michelle (a.k.a. Michelle Mabelle). We were talking about how upset we can get over small issues and how long we can hold them and how foolish it is. We were wondering what makes us do that. Why we grab after pain so much harder than we grab after grace. How we don’t want to continue in that. How much better grace is.
I used to do a better job of holding on to pain. I could go days, weeks, months. Go so long I didn’t know how to turn it back. Now I lose steam after a mere 24 hours. It’s rolling off of me, this hurt thing. The older I get, the more years I stretch my life toward Christ, the faster my fist opens up to drop the pain. I’m not explaining right so I’ll let Paul finish the thought...

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Celiac Disease
A lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder, found in individuals who are genetically susceptible. Damage to the mucosal surface of the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Celiac Disease (CD) is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger. Gluten is the common name for the offending proteins in specific cereal grains that are harmful to persons with CD. These proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro), and related grains, rye, barley, and triticale and must be eliminated.

My son Jay has Celiac Disease.

Last night on VH-1 I was watching Kid Rock, Behind the Music. I am a multi-faceted woman.
Kid Rock used to hang out with this “little person” named Joe C. My kids called him Kid Rock’s midget. I’m not sure if that’s politically correct. Joe C was 3'9" and from our hometown. He died a few years ago. Local big news for a few minutes.
But last night there was a moment on VH-1 that made time freeze. Here it was; “And so Joe C finally lost his battle with Celiac Disease dying at age twenty six.”
I realized I was staring at the television and my mouth was hanging open. Celiac Disease isn’t fatal. Isn’t supposed to be fatal.
Why did Joe C die and why are they saying he died from Celiac Disease?
I sat there for a long time frozen and staring. Jay was in his room. The Mr. was gone, Mac was out. Just me trying to unparalyze myself.
I thought about going online and checking it out but I wasn’t prepared for the answers I might find. I went to bed. I woke up this morning and did what I didn’t want to do. I went online and checked it out. Joe C died. Some sites name Celiac Disease as cause of death, some say cause unspecified.
I was looking at my computer screen feeling my jaw clenching and my hands sweating and my brow furrowing and my skull starting to scream and tried to identify what was going on.Had I missed something in all my research? Had all the doctors I’ve spoken to hidden the truth? Is my son dying?
I was clicking and reading about a hundred miles an hour. I needed to get a grip, so I did. I slowed down to check myself, figure out what was going on. I was not afraid, not exactly. I was...angry. ANGRY. I am very good at angry.
But this is a different angry, what we used to call righteous anger. It’s powerful. I’m not going to try to quiet this anger. I’m embracing it. I am angry. Somebody better get scared. That means you devil.
So let me just tell you this, I am not about to lose my son. I am not about to accept sickness into my house. I am ticked off.
I’m glad I watched that show about Kid Rock. I’m glad I was reminded that I’m in a war zone. I had gotten a little too comfortable with this enemy in my house, Celiac Disease. Sure, I pray for Jay. For healing. I want him to be free of it. I ask people to pray. But I had stopped being angry. I was angry at first, but I got used to it.
Let me insert a disclaimer here, I realize that God chooses to heal some and not others. I accept that it is in His hands. I don’t think that if I pray a certain way for so many days or do it all “right” that I have a guarantee. But I sure as shootin’ am not going to wonder if my boy could’ve been healed. If hell wants to touch my kid with disease, it’s got a butt-kickin’ coming. Here I come.
When Jay first got sick three years ago, we didn’t know what the deal was. He was seriously ill and getting sicker fast. The doctor was openly alarmed. Lots of tests to look at some horrific possibilities like liver failure, lymphoma, leukemia. Turns out it was Celiac. All things considered, it was a bitter relief.
But I remember the day the blood work was due back I called the doctor’s office and the receptionist said that the doctor would speak to me the next day because he was busy. I asked her what the results were over the phone and she said, “Umm, abnormal. You better just talk to the doctor.”
Enter psycho-mom. That poor receptionist is probably still in therapy.
I ranted, raved and openly threatened to come to the office immediately and rip someone a new one and scare away every patient in the place. I promised that I was in my car and on my way.
“Hang on just one moment.”
And the doctor came on.
No one wants a psycho-mom in their place of business.
But see, that was back in the good old days of righteous anger, before complacency.
Well, brace yourself because psycho-mom is back and she is really mad this time. I’m going after hell with a new resolve. It’s a take-no-prisoners battle. It will last until Jay is healed or I breathe my last.
It’s time we started getting angry when satan tries to lay a hand on our families. It’s time we stopped accepting whatever garbage hell tosses onto our front lawns.
I’m going back in and I’m bringing my son out healthy and whole.
I don’t know what the date will be, but someday Jordan Trent Smith will not have Celiac Disease.
I’m recruiting you to the frontlines.
This soldier will not stand down any longer.

James 5:16 (New International Version)
16... The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

**Joe C appears to have died as a result of conditions that sometimes co-exist with Celiac, such as his short stature. While Celiac is more likely to happen with people dealing with these other conditions, Celiac does not cause those issues. The specifics of these other conditions in Joe C are not readily available. Most patients experience complete remission of Celiac through a strict gluten-free diet. Jay is one of those people and his self-discipline is awesome. He does not have any of those other more dangerous issues. He continues to claim his healing. So do we. To God be the Glory!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Stupid Evangelism Trick #1

Unfortunately I look at the work of evangelism today in my own life and in what I’m seeing out there and I think we (the Church, Christians, Brothers & Sisters in Christ, the Family of God, Believers, the Born-Again...) have added a few things to the salvation mix that don’t work too well.
I’ve lived an admittedly sheltered life and I’m pretty much thankful for it. It’s kept me from some missteps that I would be quite capable of left to my own devices. Then again, it’s also left me with a poor understanding of people who haven’t had the cocoon experience I’ve had and so I have to learn how to be effective when telling people about Christ.
I may launch a semi-annual series on this blog about the things Christians do with good intentions and rotten results.
Let this be number one in the series.
We try to convince people who don’t know God to stop sinning.
Now, not sinning is a good thing whether one is a Christian or an atheist or a Democrat or whatever. The world will definitely benefit from less sin. The problem in the approach is we seem to inadvertently skip the salvation message and go straight to the condemnation stop the sin message which is nice but ultimately ineffective to the individual life.
First of all, many unbelievers will have a hard time embracing the concept that what they are doing is sin. It’s kind of a contradiction of the thought process to reject the need for forgiveness but accept the rejection of sin. You might need to go back and reread that. It’s kind of redundant but it’s true.
If they truly believed they were sinning, they might just be willing to look at the need for redemption.
Also, the ability to cease sinning., at last for this chick, is completely dependent upon Christ exercising influence in my heart. I can’t just knuckle down and stop it. Maybe I’m exceptionally weak-willed or something. It creates a cycle of self-loathing and frustration to try to “be good” outside of Jesus.
Secondly, no matter how good we are, without the blood of Christ we remained condemned. What good does it do if I convince Johnny Sinsalot to knock it off but he never accepts the Lord? So he lives nicer but dies lost. The only benefit might be that I am more comfortable around Mr. Sinsalot because now I don’t feel quite so compelled to talk Jesus to him. We can more readily pretend that all is right in his heart.
I discovered this anomaly in evangelism when I re-entered the work force. Prior to this I had pretty much been surrounded by Christians as these were my friends and most of my family. But when I went to work I had no choice about who I was spending my days with and over time; you start to hear how they live their lives. The sheltered Christian in me wanted to try to convince them to stop sleeping with people they weren’t married to, stop swearing, stop whatever I identified as wrong. But none of that will get them to the throne. Salvation is first.
The bonus is that with a relationship with Christ, the “stuff” that offends gets dealt with in its time as a result of the relationship. It’s really hard for me to convince someone to change, but when they get on the receiving end of the love of God; they want to change. The Holy Spirit does a much better job of it than I do.
Convincing unbelievers to stop sinning: Stupid Evangelism Trick #1
Encouraging Reconciliation with Christ: Evangelism 101.

2 Corinthians 5 (New International Version)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blogchurch 3/12/06

Ecclesiastes 4:10
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Weird Things

1. The front teeth of dogs.
2. Mac's girlfriend's neck and his ankles are the same diameter.
3. I know the lyrics to every song but can't carry a tune.
4. The MR.'s pajama pants that have AC/DC on them.
5. Blizzards with lightening.
6. Smithisms (backety-back, oogidy, turnada, bonga, squirdles, girdles, puc, etc.)
7. That the Mr. isn't fed up with me yet.
8. That I'm not fed up with the Mr. yet.
9. That we managed to produce THESE children.
10. That Jesus gives a flip.

Ain't No Sunshine When I'm Gone

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. It's not warm when she's away
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
She's gone much too long, Any time she goes away

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home, Anytime she goes away

So Tuesday morning I got up and was hanging out with daboyz before school. For reasons I don't really understand, they like it when I'm off work despite the fact that we're only together for about an hour before they head to school.
Mac and I are in the living room and he tells me how much better it is when I'm there in the mornings. That's weird, says I.
He proceeds to tell me that the house is just brighter when I'm there before school. How it actually feels sunnier and happier for him. Just to have me there, his old mom.
Ahh, warms the cockles of my heart. I wonder sometimes, do my children know how much I love them. Do they realize how hard I try to be a Godly woman, inspiring them toward holiness. Do they notice my gentle hand lovingly leading them into bright and promising futures?
Yes they do. Because my dear sweet son actually feels that the house is brighter when I'm there with him. I am a light in his life. I light up his life. I am the sunshine of his life. Ain't no sunshine when I'm gone.
How my heart swelled! How my spirit sang! How the heavens rejoiced! Yes! All my love and intercession into his life does make a difference! Hallelujah and praise be to Jesus! I could not have done it without my Savior!
Wednesday morning I had to go to work. Poor boys. They would awaken to a house void of their mother. Be a comfort to them Jesus.
So I'm going about my daily morning thing and as I'm about to walk out the door I flip off the living room lights (I leave at 6 a.m.) And then it hits me.
When I'm home in the mornings I open the living room curtains before the boys wake up. When I work I leave the curtains drawn.
That's why the house seems brighter. It is brighter. It's called sunlight, Stupid.
It's not me shining an iridescent glow of motherly wisdom and love. It's the daggone curtains being opened.
I'll have a cup of coffee and a slice of humble pie please.

Isaiah 23:9
The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Porn Sunday

Good morning guys,
Last Sunday our church ( had something called "Porn Sunday". You read right; porn. Shocking and offensive, and important. Jesus came after us when we were lost in sin and told us to follow His path. So we have to go after the stuff we'd rather ignore. Like porn.
I did some talking with the Mr. and daboyz after Porn Sunday. Then our pastor asked for my comments and I sent back what I've posted below. Nothing brilliant. No new theology hot from the Holy Spirit. Actually, it's the doctrine I was raised on. A little bit of something can make a big impact, guard your heart. So whether it's pornography or something else, don't compromise. Don't accept. Don't water down holiness. Diluted holiness is called sin.
Just my thoughts, coming full circle from Sunday School thirty years ago.

I am surprised with my own reaction to porn Sunday. There really was not anything in the content that I was shocked by. Because of my line of work, I'm exposed to some pretty intense depravity and actually I've seen and heard much worse. I guess I expected to see "nice" families realize that they were allowing too much in their homes and lives and to make a decision to clean house. Which is something I think we all need to do regularly as time and culture march on. But my "aha" moment, per Oprah, came during Sunday nights Q&A following the movie...

Two people (if I remember correctly) basically questioned the movie in that it didn't seem to depict the dark and ugly side of pornography sufficiently. That's where I was a little surprised. That with all we saw and heard and learned, it wasn't ugly enough. Wow. I had one word rolling around in my head for the next twenty four hours...desensitization.

Just off the top of my head, I remember that Missionary Positions included a man living in a 6 month rehab to try to avoid suicide, a woman whose marriage had ended, a young guy unable to pursue a healthy relationship with a girlfriend, an actress vomiting in a corner, a film maker who was clearly bottomed out emotionally and sickened by his own lifestyle, hundreds of people degrading themselves at porn shows and a young pastor trying to do the God thing and being spiritually beaten down in the process. How ugly does it need to be?
We are desensitized in our culture. That's the hook that draws us toward all the wrong decisions in our lives. We have filters in our spirits but the holes are way too big, everything fits through. When we can look at one broken life and think it's not ugly enough we've become too hard shelled. I'm as guilty as anybody on that. I think if we would've seen a 14 year old girl in a body bag who died in a gang rape inspired by a snuff film, we would be moved. But one balding guy in a Kentucky rehab center who mentioned suicide on his way out the door, we kind of miss the poignancy of.
So I think one of the things I need to pray about is not just the specific, "God keep me away from porn" or "God keep my family away from porn" but "God, make me ultra sensitive so that the things that grieve you would grieve me."
The truth of it is, people get involved because they don't see themselves being involved in the ultimate consequences, they can't picture themselves being involved in a gang rape. But maybe, just maybe, there's some one sitting there realizing that they are just a few steps removed from that kid who sits at his computer unable to find a healthy and whole relationship. Or maybe they are that kid. I think there is wisdom in not making it about drama. We are drama addicts in this country. We need to find life in the subtle moments. If we stop looking for the ugliest, bloodiest, saddest, sickest; we might find ourselves in the softer, gentler, "cleaner" places that still destroy lives. Satan doesn't necessarily want to dismember us. He just wants to find that road that will lead to our destruction. If that's murder, he'll go for it. But if it's sitting alone in front of a computer looking at porn while your marriage very slowly grows cold or your wife very quietly is broken he'll do that. I think our destruction more often happens in the quieter places that we are desensitized to.
So here's my point...99% of people involved with porn are not going to connect looking at the swimsuit edition to some porn star slitting her wrists. BUT they just might see themselves in those people who look and sound and act like us but are paying a price we don't want to pay for secret obsessions.
It is ugliness of the heart that kills.


Proverbs 4:23 (New International Version)
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hello, My Name is Monica

I’d like to say that I struggle with the Mary and the Martha in myself. But I’m afraid I’m more of the third and heretofore little known sister, Monica.
You see, Martha was running around the house when Jesus visited. Making crab cakes, refilling the punch bowl, keeping the chip dip full. It’s a little-known fact that she is the great, great, great grandmother of Martha Stewart. It’s true.
So Martha is being the perfect hostess. In the perfect house. Just as she’s hand-grinding Columbian coffee beans to make the after dinner espresso she looks up and notices her sister, Mary.
Mary is sitting on a beanbag yacking it up with the Lord. She didn’t set out the good coffee cups like Martha asked. She didn’t even get her roots touched up for Jesus’ visit. She’s just hanging out soaking it in as though the creme brulee is going to caramelize itself.
And then there’s Monica. Monica is in her bedroom watching Mr. Ed reruns. I’m Monica.
I don’t keep a perfect house. I don’t even really keep an acceptable house. At any given moment there is some staple grocery item that everyone should have in their pantry that I am missing. I make dinner on a hit or miss basis, more often it’s a miss. Sometimes I make dinner and then refuse to eat it. Sometimes I forget to turn the crock pot on and come home to semi thawed gross chicken. Sometimes I don’t wash the crockpot out and just throw the whole thing away.
I hate making desserts and anything involving more than two preparation steps is beyond my wildest imaginings.
Well! You say. Well! That’s good! Jesus was happy with Mary because she chose the better things! She chose to sit at Jesus’ feet! Yeah! But, uh, as I mentioned, I’m not really like Mary either.
I don’t sit at Jesus feet all day and that’s why my laundry is creeping vertically back up the laundry chute. I’m not so deep into the Word that I forgot to scrub my kitchen floor. I’m not praying for hours and therefore didn’t make dinner.
I’m Monica. I didn’t do laundry, clean the floor or make dinner because I spent several hours staring into space. I failed to grocery shop because I was distracted by the new Entertainment Weekly that just came in the mail. I didn’t pray and do my devotional because I was at Kohl’s combing through the clearance racks (which are awesome by the way).
I’m Monica. I am neither over productive nor over spiritual.
I wish I was a little more Mary and a lot more Martha. And a little more Martha and a lot more Mary. And a lot less Monica.
I think I’m gonna work on that. On balance I mean. Not on avoiding Kohl’s altogether because that’s just crazy talk. No, it’s ok to have some Monica in there. And I’m not going to become such a Mary that my home continues the downward spiral. I don’t think that’s what the Lord is looking for.
And I think we all know there is little danger of me becoming such a Martha that I do nothing but whittle rocking chairs from saplings and make my own marshmallows. Fat chance.
I’m looking for a total life experience. Of shopping and praying and doing all in one life, lived whole and right. Balance.
So Monica, put down that People Magazine.
And Martha, well, Martha is still missing in action. So let’s try to coax her out of the closet.
And Mary, well, you just keep on going with your spiritual self. But maybe you can learn to soak and suds at the same time?

Luke 10:38 (New International Version)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
(Wondering about Mary and Monica? Read it yourself! Luke 10:38 and beyond...)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Let's Pray

Good morning,
The boys were already on the computer this morning when I woke up, so I'm running behind. I start every morning with prayer so I thought maybe you'd like to join me?

Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for this day. I thank you for the health and safety of my family and I ask you to be with them and to set a hedge around them through the rest of today. I ask you to be with me, to guard my lips and my mind. Give me wisdom to direct my actions and peace in you.
Lord, I pray for those who are sick and hurting today. You are the Healer and so I bring those to you in need of healing of mind and body.
You are the Provider and so I ask for Your provision. There is nothing I can grasp after that will sustain my life better than You. Help me to receive with wisdom and gratitude your provision over my life; and make me a good steward of that provision.
For the leaders of homes, churches and governments I pray Your wisdom and insight. Touch President Bush this morning and give him strength for the task ahead of him today. Touch Pastors Jeremy, Mike and Adam as well as pastors around the world as they face another day to care for your children. Touch my husband and other men who are going to work to provide for their families even as they work through the daily burden of leading those families before You. Those single moms raising kids alone need Your hand as well. Be an encouragment to those who carry the mantle of leadership in any capacity. Give them an extra measure of wisdom, courage and strength to do well in Your eyes.
Be with the troops fighting today. Grand them safety and peace. Lord, especially those who are in the military who already know You; give them opportunity to share the truth they carry in their hearts. Comfort them, be their constant companion in lonely and frightening places.
Finally Father, take my day into Your hands. Use my time and my life to Your glory. Give me peace about things that weigh heavily on me. Give me wisdom to make right decisions. Give me discipline to walk in that wisdom. Give me more love and patience. Keep me in your care. I am Yours.
In Jesus name, thank you.

And all God's people say...

Monday, March 06, 2006

What if?

What if I never made a mistake?
What if all the pain had been pleasure?
What if I never exercised poor judgement?
What if a friend never hurt me?
What if no one ever let me down?
What if I never let myself down?
What if I was never angry, jealous, critical, petty or foolish?
What if I stopped eating when I was “full”?
What if I liked my body, face, hair, hands...?
What if I was never short of money?
What if I was consumed by spiritual matters?
What if I was never selfish?
What if I never doubted?
What if everyone understood me?
What if I felt loved all the time?
What if I did everything I always thought I’d do?
What if I kept a cleaner house?
What if I exercised daily?
What if I kept up with my scripture devotions?
What if I organized my closets?
What if I prayed more?
What if I was smarter?
What if I went back to school?
What if I was more ambitious?
What if I had more opportunities?
What if I was a better mom?
What if I was a better wife?
What if I was a better daughter & sister?
What if I gave more money to the church?
What if I helped the needy more?
What if I wasn't perfect?

1 Corinthians 1:25-27 (New International Version)
25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Blog Church 2/5/2006

Matthew 11:29 (New International Version)

29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Friday, March 03, 2006

10 Things the Mr. Should Do This Weekend

1. Clean my bedroom.
2. Organize my desk area.
3. Organize my papers.
4. Clean my coat closet.
5. Throw away everything in my basement.
6. Steam clean my carpets.
7. Finish my kitchen cabinets.
8. Grocery shop.
9. Get taxes done.
10. Buy me a gift.

Truly, Madly, Deeply

Relationship with God is becoming huge in my life in ways I didn’t even know I was missing. I am becoming someone hungry to just spend some time with Him, tragedy lists put to the side for the moment. As usual, someone is teaching me this lesson because I remain spiritually dense to the more subtle methodologies.
My teacher on this is the Mr. I have always been moved by the passages that call the church the Bride of Christ in the Scripture. It’s such a beautiful picture and so much more rich than just the shameful sinner begging at the cross. Don’t think I’m underestimating my need of the cross; but I’m saying the relationship goes somewhere after the altar, ya know?
So for me, the lesson of the ongoing relationship is the marriage picture. You can find it through the entire Bible if you look close enough. If you’re not into searching for types and shadows, check out the Song of Solomon. Passion baby, passion.
I want prayers of passion and I’m learning them through earthly conversations with the husband given me for this side of my journey. I’m seeing His passion in our passion, so to speak.
Yesterday was a day of feeling myself as the bride and the Bride. I was just really looking forward to the weekend and thinking about the Mr. all day. At 6:00 in the morning I was already missing him and wishing I could talk to him. That is the passion I want for Christ. Just missing Him and wanting to hear His voice. Wanting time with Him for nothing more or less than the Him of it. Not taking needs to Him to be met, but like my earthly husband; just wanting to be in His presence.
Can I be vulnerable here and admit that I don’t always walk around hungry for God? Moments and hours and sometimes days go by without me really feeling an aching need to just talk to Jesus. I don’t go that long without talking to the Mr. And there is a lesson in it. I want the same awareness, the same passion for my Savior.
Here’s the truth of it; I know that God is there all the time so I can be a little bit lazy. I know He is aware of me and my needs so I can assume He’s watching out for me without my chatting about everything. I know He will never walk away from me, so I don’t feel that I have to work so hard to maintain the intimacy; to pursue the passion.
But then I’m realizing that there is such a thing as a passionless marriage. It is possible to settle for less than the full-blown crazy in love I’m gonna die if I don’t see him relationship that I want with the Mr. It happens that marriages don’t run cold; but can run cool. I don’t want my husband to be able to go days without a conversation or a kiss and not feel it. I don’t want anyone else to fill the places in his life where I belong.
For my part, I am acutely aware of my passionate need for the Mr. This past summer he went up north on UAW business for a few days and I got a real tutorial in this lesson of passion and need. I was miserable; much more so than I expected I’d be. Even the people at work said I was looking rough! I missed him so much I couldn’t stand it. I hung on every syllable when he called in the evenings. I thought of him often, then more often, then constantly. I was downright distracted with the missing of my Mr. He got home around noon on a day I was working and I asked him to come to the hospital so I could see him, I wanted to put my arms around him and just breathe him in. Passion. Irrational inexplicable and unexpected need for this guy I’ve been hooked up with for twenty three years.
To my shame, I do much better when I’m distanced from Christ. I can be entertained and distracted by anything from Italian food to a pedicure to I Love Lucy reruns. I go a lot longer before the need for a touch overtakes me. Nobody notices the distance from Christ by the look on my face. I don’t stop work midday for a drive-by kiss from my Redeemer. Hanging on every syllable? I don’t wait to see if He’s speaking to me most of the time.
I want more passion. I want intimacy. I want to talk to Him, touch Him and breathe Him in. I want to be His bride. I want to know He thinks I’m beautiful. I want to know how beautiful He is. I want to know how His heart beats and what He’s doing in the world and my world. I want to know what He wants of me. I want no one else to fill the spaces that I belong in. I want to be at work and think to myself that if I don’t get a few minutes to talk to Jesus, I’m not going to make it. I want to be crazy in love. I don’t want to walk a faith of assumptions that He is there; I want to know it because we’ve just talked. He just touched my hand, He just kissed me.
Give me passion or give me nothing. I’m not afraid of hell anymore, I’m redeemed. I’m afraid of a cool relationship. I want intimacy.
If you’re not married, this isn’t about grabbing a spot on The Bachelor and then you’ll be complete. It’s about a bigger relationship and a deeper passion with the only one who will ever really know you and love you anyway. It’s a soul-need this bride is looking to fill. It’s feeling the passion of loving and being loved in perfection.
After 9/11 we all coped with varying degrees of pain. We all felt a little more vulnerable. A little more acutely aware that we loved those we called loved-ones. We found ways to use that love as a comfort and a stronghold in fear. I had one specific thing I did for about two weeks. I wore the Mr.’s cologne everyday. Weird, huh? Something about breathing in the scent of him calmed my frazzled self. Made me feel like there was still something good and strong and real in the middle of ugliness and death.
It was about breathing in love. Feeling closer to the one my heart beats for.
I don’t wear the Mr.’s cologne anymore, I’m past that need. But I still need to breathe in love. I need passion. The One my heart beats for, the One my soul lives for. The eternal bride in me is longing for intimacy with her greatest Love.

Song of Solomon 4:10
10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

blog lag

just got home and realized that the post i posted didn't post! it says it did, but it ain't there.
so any-hoo; i'm calling today a loss and i'll attempt again tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Real World

Good morning!
If you're an early morning blogger, you've probably come and gone because there was nothing here. But now there is, come back!
I usually write lots of blogs and save them, getting up early and posting them day by day but today the getting up early didn't happen. And then the saved posts didn't rock my world. So I'm going off the cuff today for anyone who happens by later.
In case you're wondering and I know you are; why I'm so late, I slept in. Just woke up at around 8:40 a.m. I'm not looking too great right now. All because God answered my prayers.
I really wanted to go to church this coming Sunday but I'm scheduled to work. But I really wanted to go. REALLY. So I prayed about it and asked the Mr. to pray about it and sent out a few e mails asking some others to pray with me. Basically that got added to my daily prayer list which also included this standard, "Lord I need some money!"
So Monday morning I went into work and my boss asked me to work Thursday, my day off. I said yes. Doggone it, yes. Drat.
Then he came back and asked me to work a double on Monday. So I took a big breath and asked if I could work that double in exchange for Sunday off? (please please please please). And he said........"Sure!"
So I worked sixteen hours Monday and back for eight more Tuesday and slept twelve hours last night trying to recover. So I didn't post early this morning. And I'm really tired and looking unfabulous. And I lost my Thursday off.
And God answered my prayers.
I picked up a shift adding eight hours of pay for Thursday and traded the double Monday for my Sunday off. Answered prayer, I guess. Not answered the way I wanted, I'll tell ya that much!
I had visions of my boss telling me I wasn't needed Sunday why don't I just take the day off. And as far as the money thing, I am forever waiting for my millions to fall from heaven for no apparent reason. Like manna. It's totally scriptural.
But God goes and answers prayers in real world ways that sometimes I don't even notice and on bad days I downright resent or reject.
I want money! Here's a job! No thank you! I want money! But, here's this job... No! I want money! But you could make some money if you did this job. No! I want money!
I want Sunday off! OK, work a double to do your boss a favor and he'll find favor with you. No! I want Sunday off! But I arranged a need in your job that will provide the opportunity. No! I want Sunday off!
And so it goes. I like miracle answers but more often I get real world answers. Answered prayer is often spelled opportunity (I hope I spelled that right, I'm very sleepy). A chance to make my way through on my own feet, using my own mind and muscles. I think I've categorized some prayers unanswered when the truth was I didn't take the initiave to walk out the answer provided.
I'm a spoiled child crying "I want, I need, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!" I have spiritual silver platter syndrome, give it to me on a silver platter and I will praise you. I would've been an Israelite in the dessert complaining a blue streak. I would've been standing at the Egypt exit ramp asking God to deliver me from this terrible walk before me. I would've been the woman in the tent when the manna fell who said, "What is this?" (insert hilarious Jewish accent here).
Back door answers to prayer. They happen every day. God will provide a way out I've often been told. I guess that means He ain't gonna pick me up and set me down on the other side of my situation but He will give me the chance to work it through.
So thank God, for doubles and extra shifts and Sunday off. For answers that I received and said, "What is this?" For letting me be, as my friend Mike says, a part of the story. The story of this life...walking to the promised land on my own two feet courtesy of Christ.
See ya in church on Sunday.

Psalm 69:17 (New International Version)
17 Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.