Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I remember gathering up all the 8-year-old strength I could muster to get that rope back in my hands. I floundered and struggled in the water with all that gear attached to me - a life jacket that seemed the size of a small car and water skis that seemed a mile long. I would get exhausted trying to get to that rope in time not to lose my turn.
One day I remember my dad calling out, "Pat, just relax, lay back on your life jacket and I will bring the rope to you!" And he did. I would rest in the water and my dad would drive the boat slowly and carefully around me until the ski rope would just float right into my hands. No struggle, no fear of missing it, no one jumping in and taking my place.
After 22 years of women's ministry, I have often found myself or watched a sister in her struggle to grab something she was afraid she might loose. A ministry spot, a child, a husband, a friend.
Maybe you can relate. Have you been struggling to make something happen in your life or to protect a position or opportunity that you are afraid you will miss if you don't strive for it?
Let's listen to the words of our Abba Father, let's just relax in the moment and trust God to "bring the rope to us." If it's His best for us, He will do just that. "
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I met "K" during the summer of 2006 on a family short term mission trip to the "Island of the Spices" and we became instant friends. Both of us Special Ed. teachers, we seemed to have many of the same interests, and common beliefs.
"K" is a pioneer and advocate for the developmentally delayed children of Trinidad. Parents of children with special needs must pay extra for education in the public schools where they are basically ignored by teachers and taunted by other students. She has selflessly given her life to teach and manage a Christian Special Education school that reaches out to children and families of many different faiths. The work and ministry done at that school is amazing!
Before leaving Trinidad in 2006 we prayed that there would be a way that I could return to help in some way with the school. A year later, August of 2007, someone called and asked what they could to help the work in Trinidad. When I shared about the needs of the school, she told me she wanted to give a donation that would allow me and my family to return to Trinidad.
In the summer of 2008, I was able to lead a parent workshop and a teacher workshop in the school, sharing materials and ideas for instruction and offering support for parents. What an honor! My friendship with "K" grew that summer as we enjoyed working together and sharing good times touring the island. I got to know her family and was especially drawn to her son, "J."
This summer, the summer of 2009 "K" and her precious family came to the U. S. and stayed in our home. We enjoyed sharing meals together, shopping together, and exposing them to the culture of South Georgia. They were crazy about boiled peanuts! Although they did manage to slip in some much-deserved R & R on their visit, the main reason for traveling to the U. S. was to find medical care for their son, "J". Before their arrival in the states, we prayed and made numerous calls, talking to different hospitals and doctors throughout the southeastern U. S. We were so excited when we discovered a compassionate orthopedic doctor in our very own town that would see "J" free of charge.
When the doctor examined "J" he advised that he see a physical therapist and be fitted for braces, a costly treatment. Concerned about the cost, we prayed again. Within a few hours, the doctor called to say that the physical therapy and the braces would be a gift. "K" and her husband "T" were overwhelmed with gratitude and struggled with how to thank the doctors' gift of care for their son. We sat in the den of our home talking late one night. I watched as they tried to grasp this gift. This love. This compassion.
Ephesians 3:20 says He gives exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. He gives much more than you think He should give. He gives according to His riches because He is a rich God. He gives in full measure, just as it says in Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you: good measure', pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put info your bosom. To give in good measure means to give abundantly. It means using a larger measure than is really necessary—the largest measure one has. "Pressed down" means packing the measure as full as possible, then shaking it together to add a little more. Finally, when the measure is completely full, even more is added until it ends up running over. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
At sunrise this morning, I gazed at an insect called a pond skater darting and skimming across the pond, its feet dimpling the surface tension. Funny how he seemed to just scoot across the pond as if it were a solid surface, unmindful of the deep waters below.
Later in the morning, a friend called. An invitation to dinner for husband and myself. We talked. We shared. She understands. Encouragement.
She talked about the disciple Peter in the storm. The fisherman. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Several hours later in the night, the disciples encountered a storm. Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. This terrified the disciples and they think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus tells them in verse 27,
Sometimes I feel as if I am sinking. I look around at the circumstances of my life and at the storms and think I’m going under! Everything is going wrong! No matter how hard I try, all I get is problems and more problems and more problems!
Monday, August 10, 2009
overlooking footing, uncertain shaky,
slippery, helpless, falling, grasping, dependent
I cling, I confide in you,
my one true God.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The way we gain real access to people's minds and hearts is being altered so quickly that only those who are doing evangelism in the trenches seem to recognize the real significance and power of this hyper-change.
Navigator's President Alan Andrews...In my opinion the time has come to do church differently. I am convinced that we must shift our focus from highly programmed ministry to developing Missional / Transformational Communities that are formed as a seamless organic whole. These types of communities are rare and difficult to visualize because we have moved so forcefully to programmatic ministry in the last half of the previous century. . . . Now the climate in America has begun to shift. Much of the culture is beginning to look for integrity and wholeness. Many people are coming from broken backgrounds with deep wounds in their souls. They long for something that provides real relationships, something that provides integration for their lives, and something that fills the longings of their soul. In short, though they are not aware of it, they seek the whole Gospel for their whole lives.
Steve Addison's Movements That Change the WorldJesus did not come to found a religious organization. He came to found a missionary movement that would spread to the ends of the earth.Christianity conquered the Roman world without an organizational structure, without access to significant resources, without academic institutions, and without a professionalized clergy. Ordinary people, on fire with the love of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, told their families, friends, and casual acquaintances what God had done for them.For a movement to grow rapidly it has to spread both within social networks and between social networks.Jesus turned individual encounters into opportunities to touch whole social networks. The Gerasene demoniac begged Jesus to be allowed to join his band of disciples. Instead, Jesus told him to go home and tell his family what God had done.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Transition....passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.
That word, transition defines me at this moment.
I am not fond of change, especially the older I get. It is uncomfortable. Goes against my grain.
For a long time, almost 22 years, I have been a mother. I really like that job. I am comfortable with that position. Love it. And for many of those years I have also been a school teacher. I was comfortable with that position, too.
However, children grow up. They do not need you in the same way. Which is the object of the game, so to speak. I mean, that is the goal, right? Nevertheless, this is an adjustment, a transition for the mom when their children become adults.
And all I have ever done is teach, but teaching jobs have been cut in our county and there are threats that more jobs will be cut. I have applied, interviewed but nothing is available.
So, two of the defining roles in my life have been altered, changed, even omitted from my life.
As a result, I am trying to re-defne who I am, what my purpose is all over again.
I am learning to let go and mother in a different way and I am applying for a job out of field. It's a change, something different, transition. And I am not a happy camper.
As I meditated on this today, I came across some notes on a Scott Presson devotion. He said, "...that God’s will is always changing us. He is always transforming us and molding us to be something different than we are. In the Word, God even refers to Himself as a potter and we are His clay. It’s an easy image to see. A lump of clay is shaped into a vessel and then refined in the fire until it is becomes purified and hardened. Only then is worthy of use. Change is never comfortable but it is a fact of life and it is the will of God. We are changed as we grow in age and maturity. We are changed when we accept Christ into our hearts. We are changed as we move deeper into a relationship with God and accept His will in our lives.
God is refining us in His furnance. God is molding us into vessels that glorify Him. This time of transition is going to make us feel uncomfortable but it is God’s will. We all have certain things in life that we want and even have planned for. Some of those plans will undoubtedly be disrupted. Don’t fret.
So here I am learning to trust Him...allowing Him to have His way. Casting all my anxiety on him because he cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)
I am so thankful that He is patient with me. What a loving Father He is.