Thursday, December 27, 2012

Twas a two days after Christmas and creatures (the dogs) were stirring, waking up the entire house. Ugh...so much for sleeping in to the late hour of 7am...Not bitter much at all, for sure.

These past few months were suppose to be quite different....but like my morning, quite different then I planned. So different. There were doors that kept getting slammed in my face, but I trudged onward towards a goal that didn't exist...until I used some good, old fashioned, Holy Spirit given, common sense. Common sense is often in short supply in my world, very short supply.

...and when common sense is used, don't be surprised when you are asked by godly people if are sure you really heard from God...you see there in lies the rub. There is a reason we Christians say things like, "I feel....I believe...I sense...I am pretty sure...I heard from God on this."  All of the prelude is so that if we are wrong, it won't be God's fault. It also leads others to point at you and say, "Well if you really heard from God, you would not have been wrong."

It is a year now that I began to ask some very hard questions about why I believed what I believed.  Do I believe that God can and does break into this dark world of ours and still performs miracles? I sure do! Do I believe I need to pray at all times? I sure do! Do I believe that I am a new creation and that I can do all things in Christ? I didn't...but I do now.

I have spent most of my life knowing that I am as incapable and ignorant and nothing as could ever be...but somewhere along the line, I missed an incredible fact: I am made in the image of God. I have been reborn into the image of Christ. The old has passed away and something new is here instead. I took Maryellen as an amazing creation of God, the workmanship of a master craftsman out of the entire equation. Somehow I missed that part of my faith...Even as I proclaimed that I am nothing with out Him, what I really meant was that I was nothing, period...and that my friends is a lie straight out of the pit of Hell.

The same is true for you...I know He can and does the extraordinary every day, in my life and yours. I don't mean to down play the God of all...just don't sell yourself short...in knowing you are the workmanship of His hands, you bring glory and praise to His name....and don't blame your mistakes on not hearing from Him...there is nothing wrong with your hearing. If man didn't make mistakes, we would be Him...and your not so there.

Common sense...use it. He gave it to you in the first place.


 

Monday, December 24, 2012

One more Christmas...

Ah, Christmas Eve...

It is not a big secret that I am not a huge Christmas fan. I am all for the birth of Christ, it is just the rest of it I am not terrific at. None of that matters this year though. This year, I am standing in gratitude for the life I have...and trying not to over plan the future I don't own.

At the very beginning of this season, I came closer to being a widow then I ever needed to consider before John was retired. The day before Thanksgiving John had a massive pulmonary embolism...clots in his lungs. There were way too many dangers in that for this wife/nurse/mom to explain...but it was bad, the worst...no. The worst didn't happen and for that I am so grateful.

From the start, there was not a lot of prayer on my part. How odd that I was somewhat silent. I just knew God is God and He knows what He is about. I have stood firm knowing that in His perfect plan, this fits...not how I would have gone with it, but not being God and all, I didn't question it a whole lot....deep faith is a gift for sure. Now, want to know what I did all wrong? Of course you do. This would not be the fun blog if you didn't get to chuckle for crying out loud!

I walked in His strength when it comes to keeping John alive. I am good at this kind of thing... I am good at keeping things moving in the worst of times. One problem...I am not good at the little things. Well not so little. Do not ask me to pay bills, look at prices in the grocery store, or Christmas shop with a budget in mind. Ido can all things through Christ...but I am a mess on my own. I spent almost three hundred bucks on snacks one shopping trip (snacks that only lasted a week) and I went to church with out shoes on one Sunday. I have only so many brain cells and mine have been busy firing on work, kids, and John...not the bank account.

No matter how hard I was trying, I kept blowing it. I started to get scared and was worrying, about everything. And then I showed up for prayer one morning. I spent some time in His Word and remembered a prayer I have prayed a million times:

"I can't. You can. So I will. Thy will be done."

It changed everything. As soon as the worry would begin, out of my mouth came, "Thank You for Your provision." and the worry went away. Not that I have to have all the answers, just that I simply do not have to have them.

We are finding our way to normal...although we are not sure what that means yet. A PE has a long recovery process. Long, very long.  There are "what ifs" that will need to be answered but not always by me. Some I have had to let go of and let be.

If I could describe what my soul looks like in this season, even as I walk around, it is me, lying before Him...Him as my Shepherd. Even as my soul lies before Him, my feet walk, my person keeps moving, but my soul lies before Him...still. Truely, it is well with my soul.

Merry Chrismas all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am a school nurse...Just a school nurse. Just...


Somehow, I found my way to school nurse. A job I was sure I never wanted...but it was a chance to work in both ministry and nursing...'cause nursing in and of itself is not ministry enough for an over achiever like me, don't you know.

...and last week, we saw another shooting, another massacre, another horror...Except this one was babies...first graders and their teachers and administrators. Working in a school this week means practicing safety drills, directions on new places to park, new rules for parents and students and school nurses.

First reports had the school nurse in Newtown CT as dead. The thought that she was killed just made me weep. Not that the slaughter of the children or the teachers was any less tragic...my word, I cannot quite wrap my brain around this...these babies. I cannot mediate on the killings or the heartache of an entire town, state, nation.

But it was the school nurse that got to me. I kept going back to it. It was two days before I learned the school nurse survived by hiding in the closet, hiding that is, after seeing the killer's legs from under her desk. She and one of the secretaries where able to make 911 calls and hide for four hours in that closet...

I have never met her, I have no connection to her at all, except that I too am a school nurse. Is this how teachers feel about their fellow teachers who were lost or survived? Are there school principles asking what they would have done in the same situation and mourning more deeply one of their own? Are there cops and firemen and medics out there sharing the grief they know their fellow cops and firemen and medics are facing?

Sally Cox was "just a school nurse" who ran a health office like an emergency room with no equipment. I presume to assume she hated lock down drills more than fire drills. I presume to assume she practiced in her head all the "what ifs" any nurse could...knowing she could be a first responder on a day of horrors. I know she was ready in skill and heart...that part I don't have to presume.

I am keeping Sally Cox RN in my prayers and thoughts this week. The challenge will be to keep her in prayer for the months and days and years to come. Lets not forget to pray...the funerals have only just begun but I can assure you so has the nightmare for those who survived.

Come, oh come, Emanuel.

 










Monday, September 3, 2012




Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:21-35)


I am that guy. Not the one the King who was kind and let the debt be forgiven, but the other guy...no not the one who owed a little and was getting thrown in prison, the other guy, the one we call the unforgiving servant. That guy? Yeah, I am that guy. Mortified.

I use to look at the Unforgiving Servant (US) and think he was such a loser. I mean seriously? What kind of jerk would act like that? That US there, makes life so hard on the other guy, the one he wouldn't forgive. And the King guy is made out to be so harsh. Like the king did something so wrong? He had a debt owed to him and wanted to be paid. It was his money after all.

As for US, tell me you have never felt that way. Have you ever waited for a payment, a paycheck, a refund check? Something you are counting on? Have you ever gotten annoyed at how long it is taking? Ever been fully aggravated by whoever it is that owes you what ever it is they owe you....and yet...

Have you ever made the phone company wait an extra day? How about the car loan? The electric bill? What if those people were actual people? How long has your buddy waited to be paid for those JETS tickets. And just why should they understand?

"Give me my money!" I yell, grabbing the imaginary collar of whoever it may be, at least in my heart. And I am fully convicted that I am That Guy. I am US.

Heavenly Father, forgive me my debts...and forgive me for all the times I have not forgive the debts owed to me...Mercy on my soul.

We live in a time of "I am owed." Thanking God for showing me my own wickedness. Not to humiliate me, but to humble me. Covered in the blood, knowing that no I am free to ask Him to change my heart, be forgiven, and live to try again. What a Dad we have.


Now I wish He would show me to move my signature line to the bottom of my page!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A quote of note...

Ah, the beginning of August. Hot, sticky, and hot. That is all I got. I am charmed that my daughters have Tumblers...don't know what it is? Kind of like Pinterest for the not middle aged. I love all of the deep and meaningful quotes on pretty pictures. Some are silly, all are meaningful.

But this is nothing new. Their grandmother kept a notebook of quotes. Some were silly, all are still meaningful. Thought I would share some on her anniversary. Here you go:




















I still find myself saying some of these things...things I thought that I thought up...but I didn't. Happy hot, sticky, August all.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kinda' stole this...

Not really, but sort of. A couple of weeks ago our pastor opened his sermon with the words from Simon and Garfunkel song, "America" and I have been on a S&G kick ever since. Frankly, mostly just the concert in Central Park. It reminds me so much of Mom. We use to watch it on PBS, just about every year she was on the vent. If it was a really good song, she would come off the machine and sing...not recommended by most health care professionals by the way! But mostly she just tapped her fingers and mouth the words...right along with me. One of my most precious memories ever. Still makes me smile.
So what about this song? America...yeah, we got some stuff going on for sure. I have found myself in the middle of more than one debate, thank you Facebook for reconnecting me to so many of my liberal friends of old-how I adore them. 

The thing is, we all have the same heart: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, heal the sick. It is our heart to serve...Oh how He has changed us from with in! Glory to His name to give us a heart like His.

We just expect all those things to be done differently. I've heard the liberal argument that the GOP wants to protect the unborn but won't feed them once they are here. Okay, lets go with that one. I have no interest in seeing children go hungry. I also firmly believe that when we take away personal responsibility from the parents of hungry children we take a primal force from those parents. Michele Bachman was mocked for saying "If you don't work, you don't eat." Um, yeah, Paul said it first, in Thessalonians I think. And I also don't know that it was an accurate account of scripture to use when she did. You see Paul was speaking about fellow believers in a specific community, not those who were not apart of the community. See the difference?  We cannot hold a none believer by the same standard. And let us be very careful how we wield The Word.

What if we began by taking care of the unborn, keeping them safe and move on from there? I happen to know that the cause of pregnancy has been found...there are great ways to not make babies available to everyone today. So what of the young mom who has a baby, daddy is gone, and she is on her own. What is our response to that? Let them go hungry? Put them out on the street? Seriously? Um I hope not. So where is the Body of Christ? Do we start with throwing stones? Hmmm, I think Jesus would frown upon that one. What if she tends to be the neighborhood harlot? I do believe Jesus confronted a woman at a well about such behavior...He gave her living water.

So here is the rub: no where in the Word does Jesus tell His disciples to pay extra taxes so the government can have a government program for the poor and the down trodden. As a matter of fact, and this one will get me in trouble with hard line tithers, The Word never demands we give a specific amount to any one. In one account after another, the people are instructed to give from their hearts, be it to build a temple or to care for the poor. "Give from your heart whatever you choose...." is stated over and over and over again. Somehow, God has always known that when people are forced to pay a tax they are subject to corruption...think about Matthew-the tax collector. Yeah, no one was too thrilled to see that guy get called as a fisher of men.  And yet, Jesus did pay his tax and tells us to do the same-think about the coin in the fish to pay the temple tax or what He said about giving to Cesar what is Cesar's.

So here we are. One group wants to care for the poor through the government. Another group longs to care for the poor on it's own terms. We happen to be the most generous nation the world has ever seen. No one made us give after the tsunami or earth quakes. We gave our time, our money, all of our resources in addition to money given by the government. No one made us do it....No one.

As a nation we have always fought for the underdog. We did so because as Americans we long to see everyone get a fighting chance. I've never seen this country, once aware there was a problem, not deal with it. I still believe in the over all goodness of We The People.

I also think there is a reason this topic is to hot right now. No, not because of the impending election. Right now, the needs of the poor are still being met through countless government programs...but there is a remnant preparing to serve the poor when the government can't. I don't have a bunker and I am not a doomsdayer at all. I just know the path our nation is on is unsustainable. So what will happen when there is no more cheese to hand out? Because there will come a day when there is no more cheese blocks. Are we ready now to open our homes? Are we ready now to open our wallets? Are we ready to use our resources?

I still stand on the conviction that our God is Grace and Truth, Justice and Mercy. Each goes hand in hand. Grace and Mercy with out Truth and Justice is a lie...and Jesus never demonstrated one with out the other.

Who do I want in office? A patriot. Don't care if he is a Catholic, a Jew, a Hindu, or Pagan....I want a patriot who will obey the rule of law set forth in the constitution. Because if that happens, we will be free to do all these things once again...only better I think. Why? We live in the information age folks. A couple of years ago, we were all under the assumption that slavery was dead. We all were impressed that we didn't see Red Light Districts (for the most part) anymore. Today we know the pimps and slave owners have gotten tech savoy...and who is helping to set these captives free? The Body of Christ.

So as a nation we stand at a cross roads as we all go off to look for America. I hope we re-find it...it is a pretty amazing place.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

GCB

Funny right? Sure it is. Go ahead, laugh...unless you don't know what it means, but then you should Google. Just sayen'.  Seriously, whats is not funny about calling Christian woman a biatch.. I probably already offended someone for saying just that much....if so, this is the wrong blog for you, but if not, stick around, I do have a point!
I am so not going to rail about how ABC could not make the same show only called GMB (no, not Mormon. Seriously, did ya' ever see Donny and Marie get their burkas up in bunch? No...)because there would a call to a not so holy war. The inappropriateness of the show in general does not even need to be discussed...it is the given in the equation.

I hear GCB will give Christian woman a bad name. Ahem. Could you all let that sink in for a moment please? GCB will paint Christian woman poorly....yup. That is what I have read.
I have an overwhelming need to smack my head and scream like Woody when he informs Buz that he is just a child's play thing.  Lets be clear, I have no problem with fabulously wealthy believers with great big hair and great big cars and great big houses...NO PROBLEM with it all! More power to ya'!

But I fear what is being depicted from ABC's new show, GCB is more of the Truth than we want to hear. A parody is only funny when there is some truth to it. When Christians are portrayed by the likes of Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer and Joel Olsteen and Rick Warren...yeah, I gotta' say, I am mortified. We, The Body have allowed these to define us...even if we have never set foot in a mega church.

We live in an age of false teachers and even more weak believers. I have had a very long season of being blown around by this teaching and that. It is real easy to memorize God's Word, twist it and make it do what we want. God does not play scriptural Whack-A-Mole with us. We are told so clearly to do what the Word says...do what it says, do what it says. Just because we can memorize it, does not mean the Word is hidden in our hearts.  The challenge isn't in manipulating His Word to do what we want it to do...the challenge is in allowing Him to shape us to become what the Word says we are.

So we have been tagged as GBC. Can we blame the world when it is we who have allowed some and  (and sometimes) even ourselves to define our faith. We should not be railing against the show and telling them how wrong they are...we should be looking into our hearts for all the times they are accurately depicting the Body of Christ.  The meek may inherit the earth but the charlatans got themselves a prime time show...again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Church Hopping...

That is a term I didn't not grow up with.

As a young woman, I found St. Mary's...and I was ruined for mass anywhere else. In the meantime, if you had a football game or a family party on Sunday, you could always hit the "5" on Saturday night at any one of the parishes in our area. No one ever questioned it. Mass was mass no matter where you went.

Well, I had my very own Protestant Reformation close to 14 years ago now. We started out in the Baptist church, but it was like being a kid in a candy store...so many to choose from! How about those Methodists? The Presbyterians? Episcopal? Lutheran? Assemblies of God?

But don't "Church Hop" was the biggest warning we received. Being a newbie, I knew it had to be bad, just by the tone. It takes a couple of years to get vested in a church....be aware~said with a scary voice from a bad cartoon.

Fast forward to 2012. I was asked by a dear friend if I was church hopping now. I am way to old now to even care if we are. If the church we are in can not meet the needs of our family and we cannot meet the needs of the church we are in do we stay? I did that...for years because I was afraid of church hopping! I think I was more afraid of being accused of it than doing it.

I have this thing, crammed into my head and my heart by my mom for years and years~absolute truth. Always seek out absolute truth. Do not settle for anything less. I know exactly how to find it and how to hear from God on it, with out a doubt. It does, however take four very important steps...don't mess them up!

1)Get a bible.
2)Open the bible.
3)Read the bible.
4)Do what it says.

After a season of feeling like I was playing biblical Whack-A-Mole...I remembered what I forgot, Absolute Truth is not that hard to find.

Something else I was raised on: When the hand clapping, arm waiving and foot stomping stops, and it will for one season or another, what will you have? Well I found out: Absolute Truth and it is still there.

Be blessed all,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It only seems fitting...

“Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19
What a year. I was asked on Christmas Eve if I was still writing...yeah, just not sharing so much. I lovely woman approached me a little while later and told she was reading and loving my book. Wow I found the reader! It made my night for sure.

For Christmas John gave me a new bible and a new perfume called Sensual Nude. Yup...we are just fine.

So how do we close out 2011? Wiser, I hope. It was a year of learning and realizing, freedom and joy and sorrow and lose. In the end, even the good byes were the best things that ever happened to me. Turns out, I am way better off leaving the past behind...

That question in Isaiah~that you know I needed spell check to spell~is the one that is tugging my heart this New Years Day; "Will you not be aware of it?" Wow! And Wow? What I love most is that He is not asking me if I "was aware of it" but "will I be aware of it" and that is an important distinction. That whole 22 vision and hindsight thing. How easy it is to look back and know what I've done right (no not spelling wise) and wrong is not so hard when I am six months past...but will I be aware of that fact that He is about His work while I walk through that river or desert?

There are moments when we are blindsided by events in our lives. I've had a few this year. Things that made me spin around and ask, "What in the world just happened?" or "Where in the world did that come from?" But the truth is, those things were always there. We like to ignore things in our face because they make us uncomfortable...but that does not make them go away.

So not a lot of looking back and "pondering" for me this New Years Day. Instead, I am looking at all the pieces that seem dis-jointed and know that He is going to take us through the wilderness and create rivers in the desert places.

A few months ago, I began asking what the purpose of this blog was. What was the purpose of this ministry? Who? What? Where? and for crying our loud Why? It all seemed very Maryellen serving. As God would have it, He had a plan for this space in the blogesphere and a place for my heart to serve as well. Even when there are those who may have rejected my offering, He did not. He took it, made it clean and pure through His precious blood and gave me a new vision for a new tomorrow. Somehow He has wrapped this heart of mine with a love for His people~that began years ago...while I was not aware of the how of it all, I am now. He has kept me safe from those who would take advantage of a heart that longs to serve. He has shut doors that no man can open. He has planted my feet on the solid Rock of Jesus and removed the area rug on top of Him...so that I may not stumble when that rug got all folded up and yucky.

I got me a new business to go with this old blog of mine. Bread to cast upon the waters as I take in the Bread of Life...This is the year that Five Loaves Bakery begins to serve in ways that I cannot see yet, and goes in places I only dream of. I am humbled by the call~aware of my own short comings. I can do all things...anything that He calls me to. That blows me away. Here we come 2012~watch out. Gonna' get ya'!