Every experience God gives us, every person that He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.
- Corrie Ten Boom

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Casting Crowns "Courageous"

I am a fan of Casting Crowns and have been for some time. I listened to their new song, "Courageous" today on Godtube, which will be in the movie of the same title by the creators of Fireproof, Fly Wheel, and Letters to God. On Mother's day the Pastor of the church I attend stated that it was really hard to be a woman of God in this time and place. Under my breath, I said, "but it's even harder to be a MAN of God." It is more acceptable to today's society for women to spend time and energy on their spiritual life than men. Men are told that they are supposed to be strong, not need anyone, and basically be self-sufficient whereas women are allowed (and often encouraged to) lean on others. My husband often complains that most of modern Christianity as practiced in the United States is geared towards women. My husband would also be the first to admit that he doesn't like to spend time with other people, so I am not sure what exactly he would like to see.

He also gets frustrated with women in full-time ministry over men, at the very least. I have tried to explain that, like in the time of Deborah and the judges, women feel the need to jump in when men are failing to do their jobs. Men are supposed to be heads of the church and their families, but often they are not, though we desperately need them to be. So, please pray for the men in your life, that they would be Godly men, that they would trust God in all areas of their life and that they would truly be the leaders of the church and their families. And also pray that the women would allow them the freedom and opportunity to do that. It is really essential that we do things the way that God asks us to, because it really is the BEST way.

Friday, June 10, 2011


No, not the reality TV show. Me. I am directionally challenged. Just ask my husband. It's bad. The moving around doesn't help any, because then I have to learn how to get around a new city/area every time we move. I've actually not done too bad here in Topeka, even though there are a lot of named streets. I even was able to tell Ben where something was one day--and he is not directionally challenged and he was here 5.5 months before I was! I was pretty impressed with myself, actuallyI however did get lost tonight. Actually, I knew how to get home without a problem from my original destination, I was just trying to get from one destination to another and took a wrong turn, which, if I had looked at the compass in my car I would have known immediately, but I was too busy looking for landmarks that I knew. Oh well, I made it and I only went about a mile out of my way, so overall not that bad.

There are other ways that I sometimes seem lost, though. I often, especially these days, with no job and all feel lost or without purpose. Don't get me wrong, I KNOW that my purpose is not in what I do for money, but what I do for Christ, but that seems to wane in the beginning of each move, as well. I tend to practice life-style evangelism, that is befriending people and getting to know them first, not just walking up to random people and telling them that they need Jesus or something. It seems to work better that way for me. Although, I do have to say that I gave my testimony to a group of teenagers my senior year of high school and I know that at least one person in that room gave their life to Christ that night. I actually didn't find that out until he told me 4 years later when I was giving him a tour of Houghton College, of which we are now both alumni. He is now a Chaplain at a homeless shelter in Maine, I believe. How cool is that? But, as far as I know, he's the only one that I've led to Christ in quite that manner, most have been through camps I was a counselor at, or Children's Church or Sunday School classes that I was teaching or something of that manner, plus a couple of friends here and there that were kind of random. I have no doubt that God will again use me to His glory, it's just that at this time, I feel a little, well, lost.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interview and Other Events

I had an interview this morning. I think that it went really well. I heard a lot of "outstanding," "awesome," "great," etc. from the interviewer. When I told him that I was going to be in NY part of next week and the week after, he jotted that down, so that he would recall that. Can I tell you, though, I hate interviewing! I know that I can do the job, no problem, it's getting through the interview process that's the problem. I guess, I hate to brag about myself and what I've done in the past. But, I think I did really well on this interview, and I wasn't nearly as nervous as I usually am. I think part of it is that I have more experience than most people who are likely to interview for the position, so I am not going into it feeling like I am at a disadvantage.

So, as I said, I am going to NY, actually a week from today, very early in the AM...I have to be at the airport at like 5ish AM and I should be with my parents by lunch time. I haven't been "home" in about 18 months and I haven't seen my 2 nieces that live there since then, either. They are now 5 and almost 11, so I am sure that they have grown a lot. I hear stories, but I have not been able to spend any time with them, so that will be exciting. I will also be seeing my brother get married. He's the last of my siblings to "tie the knot" and also the youngest in the family. It's going to be a very small, family only, wedding in the bride's mom's backyard followed by a BBQ. I am sure that the trip will be great and some part of me will not want to come back to the midwest, while another part of me can't wait to get home to see Ben and the cats. In other words, it'll be like every time I've gone back and forth since I met Ben, I'll have tears both ways. I know, I'm a sap, it's just the way that it is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nine Years

Some years ago I had a co-worker tell me that if Ben and I were to stay married for 7 years it would be a miracle. Well, we've now been married for 9, so I guess we got a miracle. Sometimes it seems like it's been longer, sometimes it seems like it was yesterday. Our marriage has been a bit bumpy at times, with 4 moves to 4 different states. I talked to my brother the other day and he says, "You live in Kansas now? Your call came up as Kansas and I said, 'I don't think I know anyone in Kansas.'" Sad, I know, my brother and I talk about once a year. We have way different values and it doesn't seem to work out well. I have a sister who moved out of state, as well, he doesn't really talk to her either, or her kids. I guess it's a distance thing as much as it is a values thing.

Anyway, 9 years ago today, I was sick. Actually I was sick for about a year leading up to the wedding. It was great fun, not. My husband still doesn't recognize that I was ill, because I still functioned to a point, at least when he was around. In actuality, I slept if I wasn't at work or doing something with him, or about to. My daily routine was get up, get ready, go to work, do my job (teach 4th grade), go home, sleep, get up and make dinner, eat dinner with him, clean up a little, do any school work I needed to do and go back to bed to do it all again the next day. It was miserable. I had no health insurance, I was making very little money and I couldn't afford to go to the doctors. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I could have? I wonder if things would be different now? You see my illness had everything to do with my "woman parts" and now I'm barren. 9 years, no kids. It makes me sad sometimes. Most of the time I'm okay, but there are definitely days of sadness. My husband doesn't understand. He never really cared if he had kids, which in some ways is good, because it doesn't look like he's going to have any; in other ways this is bad, because he doesn't understand AT ALL why this fact makes me upset. What? Just because I've wanted to be a mom for a long time? Just because I majored in Elementary Education in college so that I could home-school my kids and the state couldn't do anything about it? Yeah...anyway, he doesn't get it. Which is sad, too and often frustrating, as well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Atlas Shrugged, cont'd

As I read what I wrote yesterday, I thought it might be a bit unfair to my husband. While, he will be the first to tell you that he wholeheartedly agrees with Rand's statement and premise, I know that at least sometimes, when it comes to me, he doesn't follow it. I recently moved to Topeka, KS after he moved here about 5.5 months ago to start a new job. He hated the last job, but we've moved 4 times during our almost 9 year marriage (tomorrow), each time to a different state and he knew I didn't want to move again. We'd boughten a house for the first time, one that is still for sale six months after it was listed. We weren't in love with the town that we lived in and I didn't have a great job, but we were there, in home we could do what we wanted with. He tried to stick it out, even though he was miserable, was working all the time, his hours got shifted around all the time and his boss was a jerk. He was so miserable that I was about to tell him on a Sunday, when I finally got to spend more than a few minutes with him, to start looking for a new job, when he came home on Thursday and said that it was probably over. I can't say I was too sad, in fact I can recall writing "I can hear Ben laughing for the first time in a long time, so I know that this cannot be all bad," very shortly afterwards I knew that it meant we would probably have to move, as we lived in a very rural area, but I had already come to terms with that. I also knew that I had never seen him more miserable and that he was hanging on for me. It was so bad he went to see a Psychiatrist at one point. His advice? "Quit your job, it sucks, and you're not unreasonable, your boss is." Thanks, we already knew that. Have you seen the job market lately? I don't care what Obama says, it's not getting that much better. Quitting means moving, moving means we both have to get new jobs and try to sell our house. But, that's what we ended up doing. Well, he got a new job and then he moved, I finished out what I had committed to and now I'm still looking. God has a plan, I don't know it, but I know that He does. I also know that we are a lot happier here and life is a lot more peaceful, even with the uncertainty.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reading Notes

I've been reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged for longer than I care to admit now. It's one of my husband's favorite books and he's been asking me to read it for at least 10 years. So, once I exhausted most of the other books we owned and needed a new book to read I finally picked it up. It's not my favorite book, by any means, but I am now in part 3 and have roughly 350 more pages to go. I understand Rand's reasoning for her version of utopia, but have serious issues with her principle statement, "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." My husband and I have argued this out several times, once on facebook, until we deleted it all because it got too private for the world to see. In fact, when I read this sentence a couple of nights ago, I felt compelled to write out how I saw things. These four statements are what I came up with:
1) I believe that my words and actions have consequences far beyond my understanding, thus it is my aim that in each word spoken and each deed done I would consider this.
2) I believe that I am called to serve humanity with love and honesty because we are all created in the image of the Father.
3) I believe that I cannot do this on my own, it is the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who is in me, that allows my hands, feet, and mouth to do this work.
4) I believe that serving Christ, and thus people, is a calling to which I am privileged and not worthy, but by God's grace.

My point of view, of course, will be more honorable and closer to the truth to me simply because it is my point of view but I am curious what others will think? Feel free to comment. :-)


Man plans, God laughs. While I used this phrase to start our last Christmas letter (which was sent around New Year’s) upon further reflection it could describe much of my life. I am sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. When we are young, we set out these goals, these dreams, sure that we will be able to fulfill all of them. As we get older and “life happens” we understand that the path is not so straight, that the twists and turns and setbacks along the way will make these things more difficult to achieve. There are times I wonder whether I was really listening to God when I made those plans, as my life in the present seems so off base. Other times, I wonder about Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Am I not trusting Him now or did I not at some critical point that changed the course of my life? Or is it just that what I understand to be my path is not His? Really, I have no answers. All I know is that where I am is a far cry from where I thought I’d be.

I have often needed to write out my thoughts to help me process them. By making them public, I am inviting you into my world. Feel free to comment and make it a discussion. We do not live in a bubble, our lives are affected by and do effect those around us and sometimes go far beyond what we could ever imagine.