10 May 2019

I Am Old

I feel old. My thoughts are old. I feel sick. And tired.

And my daughter moved out yesterday.

Not my older daughter. She's 21years old and getting married in August, so I have time to plan, to pack her things with her, to get used to the idea that it's going to be a lot quieter around here, to notice all the things that she does now that will leave a hole when she's gone and to prepare for that feeling. We will celebrate her moving out with parties and a grand celebration of a small wedding with friends and family at the church's building where her father and her grandmother grew up. Sunflowers and lace. And joy. And a calm assurance.

I know I'll hear from her after the honeymoon, and she'll share stories of the fun, and the trouble, they have making their new house a home. A family.

My younger daughter left yesterday. She packed her backpack for school with more things than usual, and I asked her about it. She said it was books for school. She's in art, photography and drama. I asked her, "what books?" She said something about a project for photography class. Her dad drove her to school and dropped her off. I started off my day with our littlest girl's home school studies.

Then we got a jpeg of a letter typed out to us. She was saying goodbye in the letter. Our house was toxic and she needed someplace safe and healthy. She wasn't who she had pretended to be with us.

She lied to us for years.

I admit, I'm stupid sometimes. I gave her so many chances to tell me. I asked her straight out sometimes, and she straight up lied to me. I knew she was lying. I nudged and waited, and she wouldn't come out and just tell me what she was thinking. So she lied and hid and stayed on her phone texting and watching and never sharing.

And then a jpeg of a typed letter texted to us while she was at school, saying goodbye. Saying she was not coming home. Saying she was going to be legally changing her name. Signing the letter with the words, "your child," and her name with the parenthetical "for now" attached.

And for over 24 hours now we've all gone through the "steps" of grieving. Shock. Anger. Denial. Fear. Sadness. A quiet passes through and is suddenly torn apart when I wash HER cup. Her little sister asks again if she's coming back.


I guess she and the counselors at school decided that it was better this way. She apologized that it "had" to be this way.




Every paragraph break here is a cry break. I keep thinking it's like when my Dad passed away, only worse. I knew he was leaving. I knew he was right with God.






I'm going to be 51 years old tomorrow.  And I feel so old.

22 November 2016

What To Post in Social Media

Someone once posited: "What would Jesus post?"

I keep thinking, it's probably not: "Look at how bad things are! Look at what idiots some people are! See here, this bad thing? These bad people? Just look! Look and share with everyone how bad the world is! All is lost! Take up arms! Or at least pass on this post about the bad in the world!"

But I read the sermons and lessons he taught in the middle of a bad age. In the midst of bad, be holy, he said. Lean on him. When he had a problem with the leaders and Pharisees, he told them to their faces. He wept over the bad and the sad. He taught his disciples how to personally live rightly, in truth, with mercy.

He came to earth - and taught love and peace and submission to God, and suffered abuse and died - so that we could live. Abundantly.

What can I possibly do to change the feelings of others by posting something "faceless-ly" in Facebook? Can I even convince other followers of Christ that they might be missing the point that Christ made, even if I post his scripture? How much less those who don't believe in him, even if I post human opinion?

I read that we are to walk as he walked. Strengthening and encouraging others who want to hear. Not merely pointing out sin and then leaving people in fear and guilt, but also offering the good news, the Gospel: a better Way.

....

Today I am thankful for those who post good and healthy words. Who share joy and personal sorrows/needs as they ask others to come together in prayer, who realize that we all need each other. I'm thankful for those who post day to day good things: loving families, clever kids, the humor in a situation, encouraging stories, beautiful scenes of this earth we live on, personal victories and discoveries, hope. Even those who might post a thoughtful piece of warning or advice, if that ends with a call to humble action, for justice, or for mercy, or for good and healthy living.

"Do not let unwholesome, foul, profane, worthless, or vulgar words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear you speak." Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)

Let your words be like gifts of gold wrapped up in silver. Like snow in autumn, they may come as a shock, but they should ultimately refresh others.

.....

I'm just a middle aged white woman from the suburbs. This is what I know to do.

29 July 2016

"Don't Go Without"

Overheard: "Trying to grasp the overwhelming love and wisdom and power of Jehovah God with our finite minds is like trying to fit Niagara Falls through a straw."

As I was thinking about that quote above, I looked online to see if anyone else had ever used that illustration, and I came across this article. Good thoughts here. 

I have included footnotes for certain terms for those who may not be sure of the meanings. I feel that sometimes just using the plain words of scripture make more sense than trying to ascribe a specially invented word, which may not only cause confusion, but maybe division as well, since certain words and phrases may be so identified with someone that we don't agree with on all things, that we wind up missing the truths of what they observe.

Have you ever had a long-distance relationship or had to spend days, weeks, or months apart from tithe one you loved? I can tell you from experience that it is no fun for either party. When you are captivated by love, the last thing you want is to be separated from your lover.  
Our relationship with Christ is a relationship of love. But it isn’t simply like the love we have for a spouse, a friend, or a child — it’s all of these and much more. They love God has for us, this agape reality, is transformative, renewing, and life-giving. It causes a tangible reaction in us; it’s like the reaction of someone who tis seeing or hearing for the first time or tasting steak when they’ve only had dried bits of beef jerky. As Jesus says, it is like discovering a pearl of great price, something for which we are willing to sell all of our possessions to acquire (Matthew 13:46). 
We were created to receive this type of love and, in doing so, become more authentic in our humanity than we could have previously imagined. Love from God is so indescribable because of his limitless and inexhaustible reality. We could say that receiving it is like attempting to funnel Niagara Falls into a straw. Realistically, it would destroy the straw, but in the true exchange, God enables, us, the recipients, to receive this powerful love in a manner that we were capable of processing. The Eucharist is the overflow of actual love, truly, personally, entirely. Jesus is intentionally concealed in the bread and wine so that we have the opportunity to receive him. He is the entirety of what we long for and the provision and conduit that assist us in making a truly authentic response. It is this exchange of his heart with ours that creates the longing.  
This encounter with God is beyond complete articulation, but he has revealed himself to us intentionally throughout time, showing us that even the limitations of creation will not hinder his generous reaching for us. God doesn’t want us to be away from him for even a moment, so the constant opportunity to receive him in prayer and the sacraments fosters love every moment. God has gone out of his way so that we can hear, see, taste, and experience him. He now invites us to bring him to those who don’t know what they are missing. 
One of my close friends was at a Marian site where he unfortunately brought little money. He worried that he wouldn’t have enough to buy something for his special someone at home if he used his funds for food every day, so he bought one loaf of bread to last him the five days. Every day he grabbed a chunk of bread and walked around the city, visiting the sites, praying, and learning about his faith. He would come home exhausted and hungry. On the last day of wandering about, he stumbled into he home in which he’d been residing, only to be greeted by the family who lived there. They said, “We’ve been wondering how you were doing. It seemed you were always on the go. We had a meal prepared for you every morning and night, but unfortunately, we missed you.” He could have feasted every day! The meals were part of the cost of his lodging, and he went without basic nourishment when he never had to. 
This is like our relationship with God. We often go without, starving because we can’t afford more. God has paid for the feast and always wants us to participate in it with him. He always sets a place for us in the hope that the will receive his generosity. Truly we go without because we are really unaware of what it means to be loved by him. The Eucharist is the feast that nourishes us as we walk about and encounter the world. The Eucharist is the beautiful fulfillment of finally being reunited with our love. 
Don’t go without. God is ready to bless you with a beautiful reunification. 

From the devotional: "Why The Eucharist Matters For Your Life: The Practical Reality of Christ's Power and Presence," by Chris Padgett (The Word Among Us Press, 2014) 




1 agape - c.1600, from Greek agape "brotherly love, charity," from agapan "greet with affection, love," of unknown origin. Agape was used by early Christians for their "love feast" held in connection with the Lord's Supper. In modern use, often in simpler sense of "Christian love". -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Eucharist "sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Communion," mid-14c., from Old French eucariste, from Late Latin eucharistia, from Greek eukharistia "thanksgiving, gratitude," later "the Lord's Supper," .... Eukharisteo is the usual verb for "to thank, to be thankful" in the Septuagint and New Testament. --Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

3 sacraments"outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c.1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating", from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery ). 

Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick. -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

4 a Marian site - the term Marian refers to Mary, the mother of Christ, so a Marian site is a place or shrine devoted to Mary and is a destination of a pilgrimage (spiritual journey) for Roman Catholics. 

20 September 2014

I Shall Not Be Afraid ~ Sherri Youngward





This so beautifully accompanies the study that I have been doing about not being afraid.



Psalm 56:3-4New International Version (NIV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

17 September 2014

We Are Not Afraid

We are not afraid. 1

As such, we feel no need to fight 2 , shout, quarrel, raise a ruckus 3 , belittle our adversary 4 ... or pretend that danger does not exist 5.

We stand firm. 6  We trust in "a higher power". 7  We have peace of mind. 8

We have no need to approach others in order to stir up fear or anger or a desire to wipe out our adversaries. 9  We have no need to ridicule or belittle 10 , because we know we are on the winning side. 11

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses to the power of a faith of unconditional love and self discipline.  Unfortunately, we are also surrounded by shouts of fear and anger and calls to war and vengeance. And we are sad, disappointed, hurt, and misunderstood.

Because we do not fight, we are assumed to be fleeing, or hiding our heads in the sand.

Because we do not shout, it is assumed that we must be pretending to be at peace.

Because we do not agree with making fun of our enemies, or exaggerating the sins of our adversaries in order to stir up war and distrust, we are assumed to be on their side.

We are called doormats, wimps, cowards. Sometimes even "holier than thou."

And yet, here we stand. We have hope. We are at peace, as much as depends on us. We are able to weigh what is Truly Important, and let go that which merely Seems Important.

And We Are Not Afraid.

We are not afraid of the snow for our households; for all our household is clothed in scarlet. - Proverb 31:21

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil; for the Lord God is with us; his rod and staff comfort us. - Psalm 23

The LORD is our light and our salvation-- whom shall we fear? The LORD is the stronghold of our life-- of whom shall we be afraid? - Psalm 27:1

Jehovah God is with us. We shall not be afraid. What can man do to us? - Psalm 56:11

We are not afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, we are afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:28  Luke 12:4-5

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 1 Timothy 1:7

We are on guard; standing firm in the faith. We are men and women of courage. We are strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

We believe the writing of the Apostle Peter, who asked, "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." " - 1 Peter 3:13-14

We have heard the Word of God, and in God we truly trust. These are not mere words to us. - Psalm 143:8

The Apostle John wrote: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." - 1 John 4:18

Do you really believe this? Can you really place all your trust in Jehovah God? Have you died to yourself and placed your entire life and world in His hands? Or do you still struggle and fight and shout and try to hold on to your stuff? Do you still resort to put downs and pointing out others' sins and railing out against that which you do not trust? Do you surround yourself with those who spout angry words and hate for their fellow man? Have you ever considered putting everything on the line of trust - even your family, your children, "your" church, "your" earthly country? - Galatians 2:20

Throughout the ancient scriptures we read:  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6-7  Joshua 1:5-7, 9, 18  Joshua 10:25   1 Chronicles 22:13   2 Chronicles 32:7

Does this mean that we don't sometimes doubt, or tremble, or feel afraid? Of course not. That's why we need the constant reminders. We also understand that "do not be afraid" does not mean that we are blindly oblivious to the dangers of life.

The woman who is not afraid of the snow for her household, is not afraid because she knows her family is already prepared for the time to come.

The man who is on guard is watchful for those who will come, but he does not cower, for he is strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. We know "the rest of the story", when there will be no more fear, or sickness, or dying, or war any more. - Revelation 21  Isaiah 2:4   Micah 4:3

Our great cloud of witnesses? Hebrews 12:1 "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:13-16

Now, this world is beautiful, magnificent, complex, awesome. We are sad to see it mistreated and ruined. And we do see it happening. We are not blind.

The people of this world are wonder-full, complicated, lovely, awesome. We are disappointed and hurt to see so many like sheep without shepherds, everyone doing whatever is right in their own eyes, hurting each other, making each other cry. We are sad to see mankind mistreated and ruined. And we do see it happening. Our heads are not in the sand.

We are not blind, nor cowards, nor faithless. We are hopeful, and look for light in the storms, for good in the midst of evil. We are not merely optimists, we are realists. We see the evil. We may admit that worse things may come. But we will not resort to murder, to detestable actions, to lies, nor to any "idol" that comes before our Sonship to God. (see Revelation 21:5-8)

Fear may approach us, but we do not live or abide in fear, in hate, in worry, in dread. That is not the spirit we were given. When these feelings come, we turn to those of like faith and trust for encouragement, to the Word of God, like the scriptures referenced above, to God Himself in prayer and supplication, presenting our requests to Him, thinking on the good things and not the fearful things. Philippians 4:4-8

And the peace of God 
that passes all understanding
guards our hearts 
and minds 
in Christ Jesus.

--------------------

Below is a listing some of the Bible scriptures on which I have based my writing. In scripture, there is also a fear of God taught - a healthy respect, reverence, and awe for the Creator of the Universe, Who has made us and Who will judge righteously. But there is a weakening, doubting fear - of the wind and the waves within our view - to which Jesus said: "O you of little faith; why did you doubt?" It is that kind of crippling fear which shows a distrust in God.

Psalm 56:4
Deuteronomy 3:22
2 Timothy 2:22-24
Titus 3:2
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Ephesians 6:12-13
1 John 4:4
Philippians 4:6-7
Ephesians 4:29
Ephesians 4:31
Job 19:25


Remember, I do not claim to be perfect. I do experience fear and frustration. It's just that I know I don't have to live that way. Peace be with you. 


For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father."