Thursday, April 26, 2012

Under Construction....BEWARE OF MESS!

Recently, I came to a point in my life that I realized that if I didn't have an attitude adjustment, I was going to be one of those ugly, bitter old ladies.  I had had it with God not answering me like I thought He should and people running all over me.  I took a close look at myself and realized that I did not like who I had become.  Yes, it has been a rough journey the past 3 1/2 years.  Yes, I am living in a small church apartment with my husband and four boys.  Yes, we are on the verge of financial ruin.  Yes, we came to Colorado to do what we felt God asked of us, to church plant.  And yes, it was a bust.  Yes, my son has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.  Yes, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.   SO WHAT?  There are so many stories of hardship out there and many much worse than ours.  I needed to stop blaming God and do something.  My journal, as of late, has been angry words to God, wondering why He hasn't heard my prayers.  I would see or hear of others who were praising God for the answers that they had been praying for, and I just got more angry.  If I asked them, "where is my answer?  I have fervently prayed for three plus years!!"  Their answer would be, "in God's perfect timing."  That added to my anger.  If He is going to do what He thinks is best, then why pray?  WHY PRAY?  I came back to my blog about conversations with God and revisited my thought process.  He is not just going to do anything I ask.  He has a plan and He knows what is best.  He wants me to come to Him for comfort, rest, companionship.  He will lead me through my path and it will no doubt look much different than I think it should be at the time.  As I look back, I can see His leading and protection.  I need to trust Him.  Meanwhile, I need to change my attitude and find things to be grateful for.

I am currently under construction, trying to get back down to the basics.  I have more thoughts and a whole lot of work to do.  So, this is my current state.....UNDER CONSTRUCTION...BEWARE OF MESS.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Makes a Good Friend?

This is a question that comes up throughout your life's journey, no matter how young or old you are.  Being in the ministry, I have had numerous people ask this, from teens to young married, to talking with my 7 year old as well as someone in their late 30's.   It is one that is pretty universal.  We all need friends and desire a close friendship.  My first question usually is, "what do you see as a good friend?"  That is usually followed by things like,  someone who accepts you for who you are and doesn't judge you, or someone you can go to for anything, or someone who wants to hang out with you and just enjoy company, or someone who will listen to you and keep it to themselves.  The list goes on and on.  The truth is, we all have expectations of people we call our friends and if they don't follow those, we get hurt or frustrated.

My next question when talking about friendship is, "what kind of friend are you?"  I have seen it over and over again.  Those who feel like nobody wants to be their friend, do not attempt to "be" a friend to others.  Our expectations in that case, are that others are just going to be drawn to us and go out of their way to befriend us.  That happens, I believe, but rarely.  I am a very quiet person, I don't draw people to me, so making friends is a lengthy process.  I have to be trustworthy.

I read a passage today about this called, What Makes a True Friend by Alex Lickerman, M.D.  from his book Happiness in this World

  1. Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can't still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it's probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
  2. History.  Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
  3. Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it's difficult for a friendship to thrive.
  4. Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can't be said to define a true friendship.
  1. A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It's said that "good advice grates on the ear," but a true friend won't refrain from telling you something you don't want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you're wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can't see yourself.
  2. Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won't ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
  3. A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.

I completely agree with this.  He went on to talk about how to attract others.  Honestly, this is where I think we lack, or at least I do.  He says this:

  •         HOW TO ATTRACT TRUE FRIENDS       This one is easy, at least on paper: become a true friend yourself. One of my favorite quotations comes from Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Be the friend you want to have. We all tend to attract people into our lives whose character mirrors our own. You don't have to make yourself into what you think others would find attractive. 

So, I have found, that to gain good friends, I have to first, be a good friend.  That is not to say that I am a perfect friend who will never let anyone down. We are not perfect people, so our expectations will be crushed from time to time.  The truth is, God created us all for relationship.  He wants a relationship with us and wants us to have relationships with one another.  Genesis 2:18....

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."  New International Version

Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't Let Time Rush By You

Doesn't it feel like as we get older, time flies by?  Here it is, almost 2012....I don't feel as old as the year makes me but here I am.  As children, we can't wait to grow up.  We look forward to milestone birthdays, Christmas, learning to drive, getting a boyfriend or girlfriend, graduating from high school, graduating from college, finding a great job, getting married, having least those were things I remember looking forward to.  And, here I am, watching my kids want life to hurry up.  I just want to slow time down, enjoy my boys and every aspect of their lives.

2011 has been yet another rough year.  And I must admit, I am kind of in a hurry to see what is on the other side of this mountain.  I want to do great things, make a difference in lives, enjoy Colorado and my family and find some stability.  However, I feel like I need to just slow down and let God be God.  He must have me here for this time for a reason.  I have to continually remind myself of this.  I have had such a great opportunity to meet some wonderful friends here and be an extension of God's love.  You know, I have asked "what's next? what's next? what's next?  Come on God....I need to know!"  And after three years of this, and no clear direction, I think maybe I need to just be still and know that He has me right where he wants me.

I will still pray for direction and I am believing for great things this next year.  After finding out that I may have rheumatoid arthritis, I have had a new outlook.  Being in pain a majority of the time, I have purposed that when I have a good day without pain, I will do all possible to enjoy something that Colorado has to offer outside of the house.  When I am in pain, I choose to cope by loving my boys and husband through it.  I can't let it put me out of commission.  Am I giving up hope on God's healing?  Absolutely not!  I believe He heals and I will continue to pray for healing.  I have so many people that I would love to see God heal of their physical issues.  Maybe this will be a big year of healing!!

Have a wonderful 2012!  May God bless you this year! BUT...slow down and enjoy what God has for you!  Don't rush through life!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The gift of giving

Christmas is a season when people like to give.  It is so amazing to read story after story of the gracious people giving out of selflessness.  We actually were a recipient of someone being kind.  We had put some things on layaway for our boys for Christmas.  I received a phone call from Walmart the day we were to pay it off and pick it up.  The voice that left the message on my phone was so excited to tell me that a 'secret santa' had paid the remaining balance of our layaway and that we could come pick up our items.  I cried at the generosity of this person who didn't know me or my family but had chosen to be a blessing.  As, I went out that day, it made me want to bless another.  I was on the lookout for a way to do something without being known.  It really is amazing how one person's act of kindness stirs that same thought in you. I am reminded of several commercials that I have seen about this very thing.  One, is showing how others around the giver and the person being blessed, see the kindness and purpose to do something themselves.  It doesn't have to be as extreme as paying off a bill, but as simple as holding the door for someone or picking up something someone has dropped or saying a kind word to someone.  Maybe you see a young mom who is struggling with a crying little one....maybe say something encouraging like, "you are a great mom."  The day that I received a blessing, I thought as I was putting gas in my car that I could go prepay at a pump that someone would later pull up to.  Or, pay for the lunch of someone in line behind me at McDonald's.  My sister in law pulled up to a toll booth only to find that the person ahead of her had paid for her.

These are such great ideas but why must it only be at Christmas?  I encourage you to continually be a blessing throughout the year.  It does several things....first, it blesses others....second, it is like food for your own soul to know that you have helped someone.....and last, it models to others the act of kindness and starts a wave.

I had a friend ask on her fb how she could get her kids to understand the act of giving.  I think it is a continual attitude that rubs off as they see the happiness it brings and the joy it is to give.  I have to say, that it warms my heart to see my kids catch on to the act of kindness.

Monday, December 19, 2011

so ready to move on....but WHERE???

I am so ready to move from this place of not knowing our future. We have been living in our "wilderness" for three years now and I try to just live day to day, but am growing more and more frustrated. We have been blessed with a roof over our head for this time. I know that because we live on the church property, and in the church education building, people have got to be frustrated with us. We are a family of six....FOUR boys. My boys need a place of permanence and security. I have to fight back tears as they beg to move to a place with grass to play in. They have no place to play and be boys. I need a place where they can thrive and also grow in their faith. Church planting is tough especially on families with kids.

Not only that, but I am wondering if God has plans for us in the ministry as pastors. That is what my husband studied to do but as time goes on, it is looking like ministry is not where we are headed. I was thinking the other day about this. I really am okay with not being in the ministry if that is what God is telling us. I just want to know. I will say, there is a certain easiness about being a pastor's wife. I am not a strong leader, never have been. But, it makes it easy for me to be a witness when I can say that my husband in a minister. I have noticed that in the past three years, since he has had to work outside the church, my beliefs have become mine and I have learned so much about how Jesus would do things. Maybe that was the lesson I needed to learn....I don't know. I am not afraid to be Jesus to those who need love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I know that I don't have to be a pastor's wife to do that, but it sure made it easier.

We have been through such ups and downs since our move to Colorado. I do hope that God will show us His plans soon. Meanwhile, I hope that my boys don't annoy and tear up this place that has so graciously been offered and where we call home for this time.

Where to God....?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Honor ~ What does that look like?

I recently had a good friend of mine ask me the question, "what does honoring your husband look like?"  Wow, what a great question....we can all benefit from that way of thinking.  Honoring you spouse may look different from honoring another person but the idea is really the same.  When she asked this, I really had to sit down and think about it.  I even asked my husband to get his thoughts.

My idea is this.  Honoring happens in many ways, some visible and some not so much.  I may honor my husband in ways that he wouldn't notice, for instance, biting my tongue and letting him tell a story in his own way even though I may want to interrupt.  It may happen when there are many around and get to complaining about their spouses, and I choose to not enter into that talk.  It may be in backing up a decision that he has made that others might question.

There is a book out there called, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.  I believe that reading this book could possibly help in your endeavors to honor anyone, including your spouse.  It helps you discover what makes you tick, or makes you feel loved.  The five love languages include, quality time, physical touch, encouraging words, gift giving and acts of service.  If you can find out what your spouse needs, this can definitely help you honor them. My husband has two that are important to him, encouraging words and physical touch.  I have really had to work on the encouragement because I am not good at that.  But knowing that has helped me to work on that and try to do the things that make him feel loved.  My love language is quality time and I know that he works hard to fulfill that for me.  Adding to this thought, I believe that it does take a lifetime of learning about your spouse, to know the things that make them feel honored.  So, in that thought, it is something we have to purpose to do.

In asking my husband, the other day, if he could recall an instance when he felt like I honored him, he mentioned two that recently happened.  First, he had asked me about my thoughts on a decision that he was contemplating that would involve the whole family.  I gave him my thoughts and concerns but also added that I would support his decision either way.  He told me that he felt honored in that because he really wanted my thoughts to make a decision but felt like I really would support his final decision.

Now, my husband LOVES football, college, NFL, etc....and can get lost in watching game after game on a Saturday.  I used to get so offended by this, thinking that he would rather spend his time in front of a TV than with me.  But, I have come to realize that this is a way for him to relax and he just enjoys the game.  So, a couple Saturdays ago, I was trying to talk to him and noticed that he was trying but really wanted to watch the game.  So, I just said, "I will let you enjoy this game and I will go find something else for now."  Little did I know, he felt honored in that I recognized that he needed some rest and relaxation and it wasn't a threat to me at all.  He works hard and needs to have these moments to relax.

We can honor those around us in many ways.  Recognition is a good one.  Appreciation is another.  Honoring is really just thinking of another and placing them above yourself.  I am so glad that my friend asked me this question, because I think that we all can gain in the long run if we can learn what it is to honor another.