The Mr., The Guys & The Girl singer getting funky at Baxter's on Saturday, November 8 @ 7:30.
3000 Van Horn Road, Trenton, MI
*attached to MetroSouth Church...Billy Jean is NOT our lover.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Mr., The Guys & The Girl singer coming soon to the best coffee house on the communist block...Baxter's~3000 Van Horn, Trenton on Saturday, November 8 @ 7:30.
*attached to MetroSouth Church...Tsar "who ate my Fabrege' egg?" Jeremy, lead pastor.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Job 8:5-7 But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
What is today? Today is Friday and it has taken forever to get here! Today is the last day before my 22nd honeymoon. Today I'm wearing fabulous boots and a cute jumper my sister gave me. Today I am wearing my hair down which I never do.Today is a good day at work because I get to cover my unit plus another one that I love. Today is Autumn and cool and not as cold so I wore a shawl to work. Today is another back on my diet and I mean it day. Today is 11:30 in the morning and I've had several laughs with co-workers. Today is feeling easy inside myself. Today I remember last Sunday at church as the best Sunday in a very long time. Today is in love. Today is looking forward to the Mr., the Guys and the Girl singer getting ready for November 8 so it's front and center at our house. Today is having a set of friends I didn't have five years ago and loving them. Today is being the oldest ones in our circle of friends and being ok with that. Today is a week away from a dream coming true (actually five days or so.) Today is not making my bed before work because Donny wouldn't get out of it. Today is wearing one of my grandma's necklaces.Today is reminded that I am really good at my job. Today is not thinking about stuff that worries me not because I'm avoiding but because today, I am letting God have it. Today is trying not to eat the candy on my desk. Knowing the best way to avoid eating the candy is not to keep it on my desk but keeping candy on my desk anyway.
Today is raining on the way home and having thin crust veggie pizza for dinner and watching a DVD.
Today is a good day.
What is your today?
Deuteronomy 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Me to Kevin: I have these two ferns in my truck I need you to go carry them in for me.
Kevin to Me: I am not carrying anything in for you but why do you have two ferns in your truck anyway?
Me to Kevin: I had them on my deck but it got too cold so I brought them in and put them in my bathtub. My Husband doesn't want them in the bath tub so I am bringing them in for my office. Now go out there and carry in my ferns!
Jan (who has been quietly eating her soup): Carry in your turds?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Learning to communicate shouldn't be so hard, but when you take a step back to watch communication in action you see that it's not so easy either.
One of the abilities that I believe God has given me is to find the least common denominator of a situation and to push aside the extra stuff. The extra stuff is generally what causes discord. Most people agree on the common goal, believe it or not. But we grab on to tones or facial expressions or what we perceive the message to mean and the actual topic of discussion gets so far out of focus we don't even know what we started talking about. Then we will say we are fighting about Issue A when in fact, we are fighting about ten other little things and Issue A wasn't even addressed.
In behavioral medicine, we do a lot of reflective listening, "what I'm hearing is ...." Sounds corny and it feels even cornier when you are doing it. But it's actually a valuable tool. Especially if you can be courageous enough to reveal what's really going on with yourself as well. This has been vitally important in my marriage. "What you're doing is asking me to repeat what I'm saying after I've spent five minutes telling you something." "What I'm feeling is that you aren't interested enough to focus in while I'm talking." If it seems ridiculously simple, consider that for a long time I'd replace that second sentence with "Why aren't you listening? What is so much more fascinating than I am that you can't even pretend to care what I'm saying to you?" It's actually the same message but the intention is to fix it and not fight about it. Now that we've gotten good at this whole thing, I will even add on, "You're hurting my feelings." It's taking away the accusation and replacing it with an opportunity to do better. I don't want the Mr. to hurt my feelings, so why not just tell him exactly what's happening and let him fix it? I don't always get it right, but even getting it wrong can please God. We have created a relationship where apologizing is easy and sweet. Forgiveness is guaranteed. Moving forward is immediate. This makes learning a part of loving.
We feed off of one another's emotion. Mood is contagious. When I start out with a sarcastic or belittling tone, he picks that up and reflects it right back at me. In truth, all communication is reflective. So when you're getting an ugly image, you need to stop and wonder if it is bouncing off of your own.
I'm not a perfect communicator by a long shot. But I want to be better. I want my communication to be right and holy. So I have to give it to God to make it so. I've asked him to teach me to do a better job. It usually comes down to a single question, what's the priority here?
If my priority is to make you feel guilty, bad, inferior, stupid...I can do it.
If my priority is to figure something out so that the result will glorify God...I can do that too.
You might think corrupt communication is intentionally deceitful or offensive. I don't think so. Corrupted just means unredeemed by God. In other words, if God wouldn't use those words and that tone in this situation, neither should I.
When I open my mouth, my prayer is that my priorities are right. And if they are not, let me be wise enough to keep quiet.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I'm afraid I don't have much interesting to say today because I am preoccupied with our upcoming annual anniversary trip! We are taking off this weekend for Marshall and the bed and breakfast we've spent the last few anniversaries at. Only three more days of work and then I'm on vacation for five whole days, yahoo!
This year we celebrate twenty two years of marriage and twenty six years as a couple although our going steady anniversary isn't until November 19. Halloween marks the anniversary of when, in 1982, I hosted a party for our church's youth group just to get the guy over to my house! Since we were going steady nineteen days later, I guess it was a success.
My friends are sure I'm getting a third ring like the other two. Any bets?
1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth...
Pic: Lobby of the National House Inn Bed & Breakfast in Marhall, Michigan where we spend our anniversary every year.
Monday, October 20, 2008
In the last few weeks I have been seeing some changes at my job that could have any number of effects on me. Some good, some bad. Finally I decided that it didn't matter what specifically happened because there is an up and down to everything so I just stopped wondering about it. At the end of last week, decisions were made that again, had both positive and negative effects on me. But having decided not to become overly invested in any particular preferences, I quickly aligned myself to the new plan.
Matthew 254:21 His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
For several days I would come home and talk to the Mr. about what might happen and what it might mean to me. As with most things in life, any positive outcomes would come with their own cost. He listened to me talking and trying to figure out what I hoped for. The silliness of it is that these decisions were coming from way above my insignificant station so I didn't even have much information to base my conversations on, more speculation than fact. Finally when it seemed that the dust had settled and I could see what was going on clearly, I figured out the answer.
Stop making this so complicated. That was the answer.
When things are beyond our control, when no one is asking our opinion or counting our votes; that means something. It means mind your own business. It means that you just have to know what you are supposed to be doing and leave the other stuff to the people God chose to deal with it.
When I finally got that message, I stopped fretting over what was going to happen and just focused on my own little corner of the world. And I found out there are lots of challenging and interesting things I can be working on when I stop trying to manage other peoples' corners. I spend a good portion of time getting frustrated over the effects someone else's decisions will have on me. It was nice to relinquish control over the stuff I hadn't had any control over in the first place. The cool thing is, if it's messed up; it ain't my fault! If the decision is wrong, it wasn't mine.
I got a whole lot accomplished and discovered some exciting things I want to do when I stopped trying to figure out answers to questions that weren't mine.
So that was my lesson for last week. Yeah, there are 100 decisions to make but only a few of them are mine. Stop showboating. Stop making myself the center of the universe. Stop being such a freaking narcissist and just settle in and take care of my corner.
There is something called locus of control. When we try to stretch that out beyond what God intends for us to control we start getting frustrated. We start feeling like he isn't hearing us or helping us. That's when it's time to reign it in. Make our world smaller. Make really good choices over a few really important things. Do an awesome small job instead of a sloppy huge one. Sure, fewer people will notice that small success but the truth of it is, the hunger for big success usually comes from the hunger for attention. The attention of men. It can't be God's attention we're looking for because he knows it all, great and small. He isn't impressed with the size of the accomplishment, he's pleased with the measure of obedience.
So I gave up and returned to my own little nursing unit and got to work. I stopped trying to figure out how to fix 100 things and gave myself a few small goals. When those are done, I'll move on. No one will ever notice most of the things I'm working on. Except God. He'll notice.
And he'll take care of me when other people make their decisions too.
It's being smaller and quieter in my own little corner.
But what a peaceful and joyful little corner it is.
Matthew 254:21 His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
1. Make a pot of peasant soup.
2. Maybe an apple crisp?
3. Help around Jay's house.
6. Errands? Maybe, maybe not.
7. Laundry, almost done!
8. High probability of afternoon napping.
9. Wash my truck.
10. Look forward to next weekend...Marshall!
Yes, I realize today is Sweetest Day. We just don't particularly care around here. But if you do care, happy Sweetest Day to ya!
Friday, October 17, 2008
This week flew by pretty fast and here we are on the most promising day of the week, Friday evening! The WHOLE weekend ahead of us.
The Mr. and I went to Carraba's for dinner, again he had it all planned when I got home! We brought take-out Chinese home for daboyz. Won't lie to ya, there are lots of evenings when I think, "why are they here!?" But tonight I'm feeling mellow and just glad to have a family that is healthy and intact and laying around my family room.
I had a good day at work today and yesterday my co-workers had cake and snacks and bought me a beautiful necklace. I've set my mind on being more God-focused and made my first goal using my usual bed time reading to read the Bible. I've gotten through Joshua and half of Judges and as usual I'm asking myself why I don't just do this and why does it take such self discipline? I feel better in my mind the way my body feels better with diet and exercise. Better sleep, more peaceful. Just from that miraculous Word of God soaking in. Not even that there are some scriptures that have taught me some great lessons, it is just the very power of His Word entering into my mind that stills me. And I feel surrounded by a hedge of protection and hope. That evening when I predicted insomnia and panic attacks from caffeine? Nope, I read Joshua and slept soundly.
Tonight I'm loving the Autumn colors and cool weather. The Mr. has made me promise to keep the furnace at 68 or lower and I'm obeying. I am going to throw a load of laundry in and make a pot of tea (decaf!) and just sit here with the Mr., daboyz and Donny.
Not too exciting, but very very good.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We both had the day off and although I have pretty strict rules about caffeine and water, I broke 'em.
Instead of two cups of coffee in the morning, I had four.
Instead of stopping caffeine after 9:00 a.m. and switching to water, I drank none. No water. All day.
Instead I had a McDonald's iced coffee, large. Sugar and caffeine!
At dinner I had a large diet Pepsi.
When I got home I had a Snapple Plum-a-granate iced tea.
I think there was another Snapple in there somewhere.
As we were driving home from dinner I thought to myself, self, you know what's coming. You're going to get into bed and all this caffeine is gonna kick in. I know what that feels like. It's not simple insomnia. Nope. It's an anxiety attack that takes about three hours to subside. This if I have caffeinated pop at dinner. Never mind all the other caffeine I'd taken in and no water in the mix whatsoever. So I knew what was coming and that there is nothing but to prepare my mind by knowing what's coming and start talking myself off the ledge.
ECONOMY! ELECTION! AUTO INDUSTRY! MORTGAGES! BANK FAILURES! JOB LOSS! COLLEGE! FAMINE, FLOOD AND PESTILANCE! BAD HAIR!
Oh, yeah, I can spiral right outta control faster than you can make another pot of coffee.
And yet, it always feels so real, the oppression and fear of the anxiety attack. Even when I predicted it as a caffeine fit three hours before it happens, when it hits I'm freaked.So why did I do this to myself? Stupidity, not thinking ahead, convincing myself this time it wouldn't matter. Forgetting just how miserable that all night anxiety attack is.
More interestingly, why, when I know what is going to happen does it still freak me out?
Jesus talked to us about this very thing. Be prepared, the world will hate you. And yet, when it does we are shocked. The world can hurt my little feelings. The world is mean and I don't like playing with it. You know who the world is? People. One of which I sometimes am. Just as people hate on me, I hate on people. Sometimes I'm left speechless by the crazies that come knocking on my door. People who expend an amount of energy on me when really, I'm not worth the effort. I'd climb on a high horse except that I fear that I'm spending some energy I shouldn't spend on people myself. Probably when I've had too much caffeine.
So I shouldn't be surprised when people hate on me. I should do some emotional prep work by believing Jesus when he warned me about it and so finding my true satisfaction in him and him alone. Put my trust only in Christ and let the crazies roll on by.
Oh, and lay off the caffeine. You crazies out there could try that one yourself.
1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Today I had a conversation that I feel finally closed a door I've been holding open. Why? Security? Disbelief? Fear? I don't know. Maybe just some innate thought that I always need a Plan B. So it appears clear to me now that this door I've had my foot jammed into needs to quietly click shut. And what a relief it was! I felt so silly when I walked away thinking, why have I been so reluctant? I think I don't trust in myself and then I can't quite figure out where I end and God begins so accidentally, the mistrust spills over onto him.
I started thinking a few weeks back about something and then decided I needed to try, one more time, and see if there was anything there to pursue. Sound mysterious? It's not all that interesting but private enough that I think it needs to stay unnamed. But anyway, I went ahead and did some investigating. After my initial glance back (like Lot's wife?), I found myself caught up in conversations that left me wondering exactly what was I looking for? Well I figured it out.
I was looking for something that wasn't there. Something that had a purpose and was a wonderful time in my life and a tremendous blessing but it was limited by time. And time had run out.
I took away lots of treasures but the thing itself was done.
And that's not a bad realization. It allows me to get up tomorrow morning with a new perspective. One of embracing and claiming what is on the other side of the door. And I have come to understand recently that I was still standing on the thresh hold, peeking in but not really settling in. Standing in the doorway and imagining paint on the walls and furnishings to claim it as my own but not feeling brave or sure enough. Wondering if I should step forward or backward. And so, in a way, occupying neither space completely.
Now I know. I have stepped forward and allowed the door to click shut. Locked? I don't know. But firmly shut. I'm ready and even excited to embrace the new.
Am I talking about my new old house?
But not really. It is all of a piece. It's a lesson happening figuratively and literally at the same time. How dense do you have to be for God to do that before you get it?
So that conversation this morning, it was almost insulting. I almost became hurt, suspicious, humiliated and offended. And then the Holy Spirit quickly settled me down and I understood that all those negative emotions were born of my own glancing backwards. By turning my vision toward the new my heart found joy. And an embarrassed confession to God that I had been holding on to a safety net just in case he let me down or I missed the message or something.
I told the Mr. it feels good to have the safety net snatched away. Because now I'm forced to fly.
Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife!
Now I just need to learn to stop mixing metaphors!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Shack by William Young seems to have become an overnight controversy, huh? I picked it up at Target because it was the right price and looked interesting. Had never heard of it before that moment and I was surprised at the cover's claim to time on the New York Times Bestseller's List.
I won't put any spoilers in here but I'll give my thoughts as best I can and I'm hoping to hear from you guys as well. It seems like some people are already reading the book or planning on it. First off I'll say that the book did not offend my sensibilities nor did I find it to be sacrilegious in any context. And yes, when I first hit the chapter where God appears (literally) I had to pause a moment or two to figure out if I would go directly to hell without passing go or collecting $200 if I continued reading. So far, no money but no hell either.
The argument the book generates is likely to be whether or not it offers a theologically sound interpretation of God. Sidebar; how many people who sit around huffing and puffing about such things are actual theologians? I haven't met one yet. Back to the discussion; I don't know if it is sound theology. Because I don't think it was intended to be a theology so much as a journey. Our problem is we love theology and religion so we really like to put things into the category of good or evil. That's my point, the journey is what gets you the destination of good or evil. A book cannot make you either.
Here's The Shack as reviewed by me.
Writing: not great. Often not even good. Nobody talks or thinks the way these characters do. High school quality story-telling.
Story: Good. Again, not the best. A truly clever idea that gets the point across successfully however, the foundations of the character's conflict are not realistically addressed. A horrific tragedy is not given the weight it should carry, I think as a simple result of the author's limitations.
Theology: Unintentional. Or at least I think so. The author explains that this was a book written as a gift to his family that his friends felt was worthy of publication. And apparently, they were correct. My sense was that this was one man's attempt to pull God down from heaven and into the living rooms and the guts of the people he loves. And in this, the story was successful. The controversy for the reader will be a matter of whether he/she wants God to stay in heaven or not.
Reaction: The Shack gave me a new determination to focus my Christianity on really understanding how much God loves me personally. It made me want to spend the next year pursuing really getting that concept. Additionally, it gave me a new perspective on the way God means things to be, what we make of them and that he remains in the middle of it with us.
Footnote: A person I know who has no relationship with God read the book and said that this is the first time she felt that God was real and interested in her. Can that be bad?
So read on, and let me know what you got from The Shack.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
<-- Wonder where I can get one of these get-ups?
I slept in flannel pajamas, socks and a chenille robe and froze all night. Job one this morning, put the electric blanket on the bed! I was on call overnight but happily no phone calls from work. Probably because when I called in at 9:30 I made much ado of my terrible illness. So I slept through the night.
This morning feeling pretty much the same but somehow being that it's my regular day off I resent being sick. Speaking of resentful, I awaken to pop cans in the family room and dirty dishes in the sink. This is perhaps my greatest pet peeve around here, waking up to a messy house. I HATE THAT. I know being that I'm not working today and it took me all of 3 minutes to pick up it's not a big deal but it just grinds me to wake up to a sloppy house. Especially if I went to bed in a neat one.
Well it's laundry day and dirty drawers wait for no man nor unwell woman. Off to get some chores done and to perhaps to put on yet another layer of clothing.
Current read: "Loving Frank."
Revelations 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Good news for me, I'm FREEZING.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
After a week or so of suspecting there's a cootie lurking within, I'm sick. I should've known when I went to bed at 6:00 on Tuesday night and could barely wake up at 6:30 Wednesday morning that something was amiss. Can't get warm until I take a hot shower. Slightly achy. You know how it is. So I'm sick. Woke up with two ears aching and head pounding. I just changed from my pajamas into different pajamas with a hoodie (warmer) and brushed my teeth and I think that will be the extent of my beauty regime for the day. Tomorrow is my regular day off so I'm hoping that two days of lots of fluids and lots of rest will have me back up to speed for Saturday since I am working the weekend. On the bright side, I always have a pot of home made soup on hand during the fall and winter so I'm going to just settle in with endless bowls of that and hope for some good movies on Turner. And if there are no movies, I have a book I'm in the middle of, a historical novel. So if one has to be sick, this is an acceptable situation.
Again, I blame my subarctic office for this. Do not tell me that cold does not make a person sick. I have been cold and now I am sick. It's science.
Hope all is well on your end on this sunny Autumn day. As for me, I'm sick.
2 Chronicles 21:15 And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I've nothing profound saved or to say today so I guess I'm just checking in. Work has been pretty busy with lots of changes going on but I'm enjoying it. I was told in the beginning of my career to give any new position at least six months to get acclimated and one year to know if it makes you really happy and I've found that to be good advice. I'm in month ten and having less moments of panic and more of feeling like I just might be good at this! Of course, you might find my co-workers would say otherwise! A person I work with invited me into their office and closed the door just to share some worries they are having and I realized that I've arrived in some manner, when someone honors you with a conversation they wouldn't have with anyone else.
I think I may be the only one who likes rainy Autumn days. Every year when we go to Marshall it's cold and rainy so that has made it the kind of day that makes me happy instead of depressed. It reminds me of good things. I need to learn how to attach goodness to things that usually wouldn't thrill me so I can enjoy more of life instead of focusing on smaller details that aren't exactly perfect. The only problem is I am freezing 99% of the time! And my office is subarctic. The maintenance guy keeps insisting that the "system" says my office is 77 degrees but the "system" is a liar! Then when I insist that he comes by and sits with me, he says "D___! It's cold in here!" I put in an injury report that I had slipped in penguin poop. Today when it was in the mid sixties outside I wore a shirt and sweater to work and was almost comfortable.
What else is there to report? The Mr. and I went out to dinner this evening and when I got home he had already decided on a restaurant. I LOVE it when he does that. Seriously. Makes me think he's been thinking of me and relieves me of the debate about where to eat. I just finished a book called "The Shack" and it was extremely thought-provoking. Anybody read it? I'll have to write about it later in the week. I recommend it only if you feel your preconceived God notions can be challenged.
Tina and I are planning a fabulous vacation that you will be very jealous of when you hear about it. It is European, let me just say that. We'll post pictures. And there will be coupons involved.
Is anybody else out there eating tiny Halloween candy bars at an alarming rate? This has never been an issue with me! Suddenly I'm actually accounting for candy calories in my daily menus!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Dear Those Of Us Who Think We Are Getting Away With Something,
I caught you. You don't even know that I know but I know that you know if I knew you wouldn't know what to do. Meanwhile, I know 'cause I caught you.
It is very hilarious although deeply sad when we do things we feel the need to hide. Hilarious because someone always knows. Sad because all we are hiding from is ourselves.
So anyway, I caught you. I almost went up to you to show you you'd been caught but I decided not to because your own heart's accusation is enough.
And if you are wondering if it is you I caught. It is.
Genesis 3:10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Was when I was less than four years old and living on Clippert Street. I remember the small back bedroom being my room and yellow paint on the walls. I remember a white chenille bedspread and maybe a brass headboard? I remember the bed rails that had these arms things that would swing out to tuck under the mattress to anchor the rail and that the rail was made of beige colored metal and cold to touch. I remember that when it wasn't keeping me from rolling out of bed it was propped up vertically against the wall. I remember trying to smooth out the chenille bedspread and playing Gilligan's Island and imagining that the bed rail against the wall which was much taller than me was Ginger or the Skipper or Maryann...That is memory number one. It actually feels like my memory suddenly turned on in that little bedroom one morning. I remember being in the den on Clippert Street and it seems like it was within a few days of my memory switching on. My mom said that gramma and grampa were taking me to The Farm. The pulled up in their red El Camino and it was sunny and warm on Avalon Street which is where they parked at the side of our house. I just remember getting into the truck, not the actual trip.
And that's all. My first memory. The next time my memory took notes was the first day of kindergarten. Mrs. Steen's class. I was wearing a dress and tights, I don't remember which ones. There were blond stained wooden climbers in the big room and a rocking boat made from the same wood. The play equipment was against a long wall of windows that looked out over the playground. The desks were pushed together to form islands of tables and there were name cards at each spot, my mom helped me find mine. There was milk in little cartons and cookies. I had never seen little cartons of milk before and although they were amusing enough; I still didn't like milk. The cartons were red and white. I don't know what kind of cookies but it seems like chocolate covered graham crackers. There were lots of kids and moms. I had new shoes.
Ephesians 3:14-16 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man...
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Last night the Mr. and I were driving home talking about a friend of ours about whom we're concerned. This guy made a decision and I'm sure he did it with lots of prayer and thoughtfulness but we were still concerned about some ramifications of the decision. The Mr. didn't really know how to exactly counsel his friend so he just brought up a few of the things that might happen if he went in one direction versus the other.
Some of those things are happening now. That doesn't mean the decision was wrong, not by a long shot. In fact, sometimes the only way you know for sure you made the right decision is that basically your life goes down the sewer so you figure you've made the devil mad.
When I was trying to decide whether or not to get a divorce, the only things that made me not get it were my fears. I didn't have some kind of dream where everything would turn out happy. I just had nightmares of being divorced and how bad that might get. That was enough to keep me married. Not hope or faith or love; terror. The fear kept me still long enough for God to do his work.
I've heard people say they never thought twice about something. I find that amazing because I think more than twice about which sheets to put on my bed every week. I give great consideration to toe nail polish.
My problem is the things I don't think twice about are usually things that I should've not been thinking at all, and then I act on them. Often with words I shouldn't have spoken. As per usual, I am learning about that problem by being ashamed of myself. After several years of being ashamed on a regular basis, I'm learning to hold my tongue and think twice. Interestingly, usually on second thought I decide to zip it.
I just wonder why I need terror and humiliation to inspire me instead of knowing God is pleased with me to push me in the right direction. Actually, I know why. Because I am usually not close enough to hear if he whispers in my ear that I done good. Pain I get. I'm like a little kid whose father tells them to come close to hear a secret but I stand across the room and don't hear him quietly say, "Good girl." Or maybe that just isn't an important enough pay-off for me? Ouch.
Could I actually be like a little kid who gets so many toys that she doesn't appreciate a gift anymore? Am I spiritually entitled?
I always wanted daboyz to honor us out of a true respect and love for us instead of fear of a spanking. I believe that is the only way for a family to remain intact after a child is grown up and can make their own decisions. So why do I still need fear more than favor?
If I change from a god to an Abba, maybe everything else would change too.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I have made so many mistakes I cringe when I let myself dwell on it. Sometimes I get embarrassed just to be in the room with myself. Mistakes from ignorance, accidental mistakes, selfishness-driven mistakes, mistakes I thought wouldn't count if they remained secret, mistakes I intended to fix later so I thought those wouldn't count either. Mistakes from being young, immature, unwise, depressed, unknowing and impulsive. I am a mistake aficionado.
You'd think after all this magnificent mistake-making I'd at least have learned how to learn from my mistakes. Or at least to make them gracefully. No. Not me. I hate making mistakes. Although I do realize on some intellectual level that it is the human condition to make mistakes, I still hate it. I still hope nobody notices or that I can back track and fix it. I still blush and get defensive and dwell on it for long after it is over. I also realize that it is really my own ego that makes mistakes so awful for me, hence the embarrassment. It's this pride in my heart that makes me want to present some kind of perfection, even if it is fake.
I have learned to go back where I've messed up and fess up. I have learned to tell someone that on second (or third or tenth) thought, I took the wrong path. I've learned to apologize and I've learned enough about how I tick to be able to usually figure out where the mistake originated. And sometimes, to use that experience to make a smaller mistake next time.
I have also been dealt with both severely and beautifully when I've blundered. I've experienced the punitive approach where just when I feel like I can show my face again, someone reminds me that I am still on some kind of existential probation. And I've had people pat me on the hand and look at me with a truly loving face and tell me that it's ok, I can hold my head up and move on. I've had people share their own humiliations and failures to shine a light on my dark road, such generosity makes my own recovery less painful. I feel that we are walking together that way.
I've had people look the other way and let me right myself, pretending they didn't see. Such generosity saves me from humiliation.
Mistakes become divine though when we allow our own to become someone else's light. Instead of righting my wounded ego by pushing someone else a few notches below me, I've learned to reach out my hand and say, "Hey, this way. This is how you find your way out of this. Follow me. We're together in this." I've learned that the joy of this far outweighs the finicky balance my pride demands.
Finally I have experienced Jesus in mistakes. Yes, in the obvious grace and mercy he covers me with. But more than that, Jesus with skin on. When I snap at my husband and then five minutes later I want to be held, he holds me. When I spend too much money and he juggles the budget to work it out without making me feel wasteful. When I don't deserve generosity because of all of my mistakes and he still pours out extravagant love over me; this is Jesus.
And so I wonder, if Jesus really sees all of these things as mistakes? Or doors cracked open by blundering hands?
Job 33:26-27 He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state. Then he comes to men and says, 'I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved.'