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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tell the Truth

We were back in MN this weekend, for Ben's cousin's going-away get together. She's going to be living overseas for the next 4 years or so with her family, so it was our last chance for some time to see her. While we were there, we visited our old church (as in 3-4 churches ago, ack!) and they have been going through the Ten Commandments. They were on "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (KJV) So, in modern language--don't lie. And herein lies the problem, as Dr. House says, "Everybody lies." And we often dismiss our lies, as "white" lies, that we say don't hurt anyone. But, if everybody lies, and we all know this, than how do we trust anyone else? The truth of the matter is, we don't. We rarely trust the people around us and that does hurt. Have you ever been accused of lying when you didn't? I have! And you know what, it made me distrust the person accusing me a little. It made me wonder whether he was telling me the whole truth.

Our relationships need to be based on love and trust. When that trust is broken, or even perceived to be broken, we have issues. If we have a pattern of lying, others don't feel that they can trust us and telling one lie often leads to another and another, until the snowball effect is that we are telling even bigger lies and more of them, in order for our first lie to not be found out. It can get out of hand very quickly. So, as the old saying goes, "honesty is the best policy." Have I gotten in trouble because I've told the truth, but someone didn't like it. Yup, I am sure you have, as well. But, in the end, would it have been better to tell a lie, no.

Now, I remember, several years ago, I was in a Bible Study with some other people from my church and we were discussing lying and one of the other people in the group asks, "Well, what if I tell my daughter-in-law that I like her casserole, when really I think it tastes like wallpaper paste?" It's a lie. It's said so that someone else saves face, perhaps, if one is asked directly. Most people don't want to say that the food is awful if someone else took the time to prepare it for you. I know I don't! So, what do you do or say? Do you get creative with your answer, or not really answer it? I think that's pretty much what we decided that night. For example, with the casserole, you could say, "It had an interesting texture" or "Where'd you get the recipe?" Sometimes you want to be careful, though, you might be eating that casserole every time you visit, because someone thinks you REALLY like it! lol It's hard, but honesty is the best policy, every time. What do you do/say when you are put into a position where you either have to lie or put someone else or their efforts down?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Muddled Mind Musings

If I had written this earlier today, I would have written solely about how sad I was that no one posted anything in response to my wall post on Wednesday on facebook about how it was 19 years ago that I accepted Christ and invited anyone who had seen God work in or through me in the past 19 years to share an example. And it does sadden me, it makes me question my effectiveness at being the salt and light that I am called to be. I know that I have affected the Kingdom, both for good and not so good, in the past 19 years. When I am obedient, when I am allowing God to work through me I do well and I know that there are times when I haven't done that. There are times that I have had to repent from, that I have failed to do what God was calling me to do. While all of us could say that, it doesn't excuse it in any way. That doesn't mean that I (or you) should continually beat ourselves up for it, but that it should spur us on to make those time fewer and farther apart.

But, it is late in the day, and there is another thing on my mind now. The Children's Pastor at my new church is leaving very shortly. This is something that I have thought about doing in the past, but never had the opportunity to pursue. I have done all sorts of children's ministry on a volunteer basis for the past 14 years including: Sunday school, Children's Church and VBS, both teaching and more behind the scenes as well as assistant director (VBS), director (Children's Church) and assistant superintendent (Sunday School). I also have a degree in Elementary Education from a Christian College. The question (for me) is am I called? Is God calling me to this work or is it a just another job that I am fairly qualified for? The work is far too important for me to do without a calling, I fully recognize this. My faith is too solidified to allow me to do this against God's will, so I am now trying to discern whether this IS God's will for me. Whether He brought us to Topeka and the current Children's Pastor to Indiana for just this reason, because HE wanted ME in this position, or not. It's kind of scary, in a way, and an exciting prospect at the same time. Prayers, and thoughts, are definitely appreciated.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Costs, part 2

Some of you may know that I want to be a mom, but that it hasn't happened, yet. I have faith that should God want to change this, He is more than capable of doing so. But, for now, my womb is still barren. There is a way that I probably could have had a baby in my arms now, but after much prayer about it, both my husband and I got the most distinct "no" God could have given us. My sisters, both of them actually, have volunteered to surrogate for us. My older sister has 2 daughters; my younger sister has a daughter and 3 sons, including the one she is currently about 6 months pregnant with. Both of them said that they would provide an egg and a womb to my husband and I so that we could have a child that looks like us, that we fully know the medical history of, etc. This child would be very much my child, I just wouldn't carry it or deliver it. My husband, amazingly, consented to think about it, pray about it. So, we did. Individually. Every time I brought this up with God, the story of Sarah and Abraham and Haggar and Ishmael and all the drama and hurt, all the problems that are still ensuing because of it immediately came to mind. The same happened for him. It was the wrong way for them, it was the wrong way for us. God said, "no." I do not know if the other part of that story will be true, whether God will someday open up my womb and allow me to have my own child(ren), or if He has another plan through which I will be a mom, but I know this: following Him will bring me the greatest happiness and peace, whether anyone ever calls me "mom" or not.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Counting the Costs

I've decided that each post this week will be a narration of something that following Christ has cost me or  how it's changed me. This first one is a little of both, and will really sound strange to some of you: it has cost me the freedom to do some potentially dangerous things for Christ. Yup, you read that correctly. You see, if I take God's Word to be Truth, then I have to take all of it and that means that the several times in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Peter that it says I have to submit to my husband, I have to submit to my husband, whether I like it or not. And that means, that I can't go around doing things that my husband has asked me not to do, like help people on the side of the road with car trouble. Yes, I've done that; at least three times that I can easily recall, all before I was married. Never, at any point, was I hurt in any way, shape or form while doing this, nor did I ever do it without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, my husband asked me to stop doing this, and so I have.

When I was single, I did not have this restriction. I was free to honor God in some ways that I can't now and I think that this is why Paul says that it is better to not marry. I can understand his reasoning. This does not mean that I in any way regret marrying my husband, just that I understand that we can/should do for Christ when we are married is different from what we can/should do for Christ when we are single. In my opinion, it's not always better one way or the other, just different and as Christ calls us each to different things, He thus equips us to do them.

There is also honor in marriage, it helps God refine us. It helps us to see ourselves as others see us, and sometimes as God sees us. As iron sharpens iron, so a husband and wife can spur each other on to be better than they ever could be alone. It is also the human relationship that we have that is closest to the way that God loves us, or at least it should be. Do our spouses disappoint us, make us angry, hurt us, etc. YES! And we do it to them, as well. But, we are called to love them anyway, just as God loves us, unconditionally. That doesn't mean that there won't be consequences for the hurts, just as there are still consequences from our sin, but that when asked to forgive, we do. Our marriages aren't perfect, but the secret is to put the other person before us; their needs before our own. When both spouses do that, there is nothing that can't be overcome.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fan or Follower?

During the sermon I listened to this morning, we were asked to reflect on whether we were fans or followers of Christ. In the realm of facebook, we can simply click a "like" to be a fan of something or someone, or even a status or post of someone. We can follow a host of people, groups, and companies, again with the click of a button. There is little difference, we get updates about all of them as they come in. In the realm of "the real world" there is a difference. To be a fan, the costs are low, the changes to our lives are low or non-existent. But to follow someone or something, changes our lives and it costs us something.

To follow Christ changes our lives. It could change the direction of our life in it's entirety, Sometimes what God calls us to do makes us uncomfortable. It should. If you read about the characters in the Bible, SO many of them  were asked to do things that scared them, that they didn't want to do or didn't feel equipped to do. Moses stuttered, Abraham and Sarah were really old, David was an adulterer and murderer, Jonah ran in the other direction, and on and on it goes. Just like us, they struggled, but in the end God USED them in extraordinary ways. The whole key to know whether you are truly a follower of Christ is whether or not you are willing to let God interfere with your life, to change you, to shape you and to control your every move. It will not be comfortable, it will not always be fun, it will sometimes be down right scary, but it will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be worth it.

Friday, July 15, 2011


This week I have been at our house in MO, packing up and supervising the loading of much of our "stuff" to be put into storage until such time as we move into another house. I mentioned earlier, that we may rent a house, but this has not panned out. Once I viewed the house in person, I came to the conclusion that it would not serve our needs any better than the apartment that we are already in, and would cost us more money, thus it would take longer for us to buy our own home again. I have come to the realization that I have too much stuff...and much of it is worth almost nothing. I need to go through much of what is on that trailer and figure out what I do and do not want/need. I suppose after some time without any of it, it will make it more clear that which I will use and that which would be better utilized by someone else. The thing is, I am generally more conscience of my spending than many people. I will do research on items on the Internet and look at items in the store several times before I buy, making sure that my money is being well spent. Most of the time, my eye is towards value. Sometimes that means that I will buy a high quality item for a higher cost, for an item that will be used often; other times that will mean that I will buy a lower quality item for a lower cost, for items that I will use less often.

Americans are known for their insistence on value. What does that mean for American Christians? I heard one person say that once they had "accepted Christ" they were "safe" and could do whatever they pleased. After all, the more sin that was covered by Christ's blood, the more "value" there was to His suffering. To me, that is ridiculous! There are so many things wrong with that statement, that I would not be surprised if my jaw dropped when I heard it. First and foremost, if you have truly accepted Christ, you will want to obey Him, thus your general attitude should be one that is trying NOT to sin, not one that you can do whatever you want. Secondly, if you profess to be a Christian, but do not act, or even attempt to act, like Christ, then that is a misnomer, the early church were called "Christians" by outsiders, not by themselves. You are not going to win anyone to Christ if you act this way. The value, then, of Christ's suffering is lost, because the true value of Christ's suffering is NOT found in the number of sins forgiven, but in the number of souls saved. So let us value Christ's suffering for us, by the way that we live this life, so that we will see those who we have influenced for Christ one day in Heaven and along the way the "stuff" will become less and less important to us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Better, Not Bitter?

"What doesn't make you bitter, makes you better." We all, I am sure, know bitter people and more than likely we have been bitter about something at some point in our lives. I am not, generally, a bitter person. I know that I don't deserve anything good in this world. So, when hard or painful things happen that I have no control over, they happen. Dwelling on them only makes it that much harder or painful. It is when I have more control over the situation, that makes things more difficult. That is when I am more likely to weep bitterly, like Peter after denying Jesus three times. (Luke 22: 54-62). Often, even in these times, while we must deal with the issue at hand we must do so relatively quickly (repent) and then move on with our lives. We often wish we could go back and change the way that we do things, what we said, or make a different decision; but we can't. What's in the past, is in the past, we need to learn from it what we can, and move on to a new day. This is easier said than done, I know.

To remind myself that I am a new creation, (2 Corinthians 5:17) I wear a butterfly necklace on a nearly daily basis. It is a symbol of my faith, that in my humble opinion, more closely represents my faith than a cross at this point in time. The cross was an instrument of torture and shame and one that Jesus took on for us, for me, and I am ever so grateful for this. However, in terms of a piece of jewelry, it is often meaningless because of it's overuse. A few years ago, when I was selling jewelry at Target, I had a guest come up to me and buy a cross necklace for a friend, who "was not religious, but this is pretty." But, it wasn't just that one time, it was all the time and so I determined to find a better symbol, not so much for others around me, but for me, as a reminder of who I am striving to be. So, now I wear a silver butterfly with a heart of gold in the center of it. Silver, because when not worn or taken care of, silver tarnishes, just as our relationships do when we don't take care of them. A butterfly, to symbolize the metamorphosis of a life lived for me, to one lived for Christ. And the heart of gold in the center, to represent the immense love and grace of God that keeps me centered and allows me to be of service to Him. Praise God for His mercies are new every morning!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Restless Ramblings

I went to church this morning after being up for over 24 consecutive hours and am writing roughly three hours after returning home with maybe a 15 minute nap in that time. I was alone, my husband was sleeping, as we got in at 4 AM from the drive-in movies. I never fell asleep so I went to church, confident that God kept me awake because He wanted me there. At some point during "worship" (i.e. singing) after we had done the shaking hands thing a young man slipped into the seat behind me. At the very beginning of the sermon, the Pastor asked us to get on our knees at our seats, something that is unusual in my experience, and asked that we really tune out all others around us and just focus on what God would have us do today. On my knees, I did ask God this, and the answer to my spirit was to ask the man behind you (now in front of me) what you can pray for him about. As this was coming to me, he let out a stifled sob. Well, no opportunity was given to get up and immediately talk to the man, without disturbing others, so I waited. Several times during the closing moments of the service, which ended how it began, with songs of worship, I felt the Spirit's leading to turn around and ask already, but I resisted, not wanting to disturb others. As soon as the last notes were played, before the benediction, I turned around to say something, but the man had already left. I looked for him in the foyer and in the parking lot, but alas, I did not find him.

I wanted to sing the last song, a song of praise and commitment to my Lord, that I cannot (sadly) think of the title of now, but the message was essentially that I would live my life to honor Him, that I would do as He led. The pitiful thing is, that by singing it rather than doing what He was leading me to do, I was, at that moment, a hypocrite. I was singing that I would do whatever He led me to do, in church, and yet ignoring Him to do so. Really? So, now I may forever wonder, what that man was/is struggling with. To be sure, I have prayed for him, several times, before and after I walked out of the building and I ask you to join me in doing so. I don't know his name, nor the situation, only that he is in need of prayer. God already knows the details. Also, pray for me, that I would not only be sensitive to the Lord's calling, but actually answer it as well. Thanks.

I struggle with this more than I care to admit, and I doubt I am alone. Paul said it best in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." It's not that I hate to worship, but that I hate to disobey and I don't think you can really call it worship (to God) if you are disobeying Him to do it, regardless of what it is you are saying or doing. Now, before I confuse you (and perhaps myself) any further, I shall sign-off and hopefully take another short nap. Please assure me that I am not alone in the comments...but more than that, pray for that young man, as I said before God knows the details. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I have to make a bunch of phone calls in the AM, making sure that the closing on our house in MO is going to happen before I call the rental management company that we rent from to see if we can move from the townhouse that we are now in to a house that they have for rent without a penalty for breaking our lease here. It's ridiculous that we might be moving again already, but we don't want to stay in this place for long, and we could stay in that house a long time so that'd we'd be able to save up for another down payment for a house of our own again. The rental house is slightly bigger than our house in MO and has a 3 car garage, so we would be able to have all of our "stuff" with us again, which is nice. As it is, I only have about a third of my kitchen items with me and I know that I will miss many of those items once fall comes and I want to cook more. But, if we do not move soon, they will go into storage and I will not see them again until we move into a house of our own, which could be a year or two, depending on a lot of factors, including where I get a job and how much I am making. There is an opening for a receptionist with the same company Ben works for, that I should apply for. They like to hire family, so I have a shot, even though I haven't been a receptionist before, though I have answered the phones at four different businesses and done a lot of the other things that a receptionist does through various jobs and volunteer work. So, we shall see. I am not sure that it's even the best time to try to get a job, if I am going to have to go back to MO three times in the next couple of weeks to finish up and close on the house, but I guess I can just say that I am not available to start until after all that is done, and hope that all works out on the right time table. God is good, though, and His plans are always the best.