Wednesday, November 25, 2009

some silence isn't golden...

A friend wrote an email to me yesterday.

His title of the email....

"Silence is golden, but..."

Yes, I have been pretty silent over here.

It's not just the season, and how busy it gets. It's not working.
Though, those things do contribute.

Emotionally I have been on a roller coaster the past week. Wrestling with God. Wrestling with myself. And, really spending a lot of that time trying to hide and stuff those emotions any way I could.

I know, not healthy. But its where I am at.

In the process of this day alone, God has shown me how off I have been, and started to reveal some other things to me that I really need to deal with... a lie or two laying there that have been hiding away. Things I thought were dealt with, but explain my reactions and behavior this week.

All that to say....

....depending on how tired I am tonight, I might not get to post about it till later on this weekend. But I wanted you to know that I am here. I am ok. Not great but ok.

Choosing to trust in the Lord, even when He doesn't make sense, and I don't get what He's doing or how in the world He can or will redeem things.

Fear has been pounding me pretty bad all week, and today is the first chance to take a deep breath without it constricting me.

Choosing to trust when fear is screaming in your face is extremely difficult. But I am trying. Today I keep refocusing myself.

One day at a time. One breath at a time.

I am grateful for my friend inquiring after me. It made me realize that if I cut myself off from others (yes, here on my blog as well as "in real life" people that I know and love) I am going to "go down under" so to speak. I can't live in isolation... and that was what the enemy has been trying to do... get me to isolate myself. From everyone.

Pray for me. And please pray for a dear sister, who is facing surgery and some serious health issues this coming week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Silence is golden...

The healing of silence.

Sitting at the table in the sun, warm cup of coffee in hand, bible spread before me.

Struggling to quiet my heart so I can hear.

I started learning this art of silence, by having someone else model it in my presence... together we sought to just sit still and start our time together in silence, prayerfully seeking God's presence, Spirit, guidance, words to us.

The more we did it together, the more I tried it alone.
The more I tried it alone, the better I did at stilling myself.

How else to help others come to that point of silence? That point of listening to God?

Do what was modeled to me.
Model it for them.

Listening quietly.
Reflecting before speaking.

Seeking God's presence, starting our time together in prayer, and sitting still before Him, before we talk or do anything else.

That silence is so healing.

When I was in counseling, my counselor also modeled this for me. She sat and listened to me. She waited, as I shared. Then she waited as I sat quiet. She used a therapy that ended up encouraging me to listen to God and take that time to really focus on Him, hear what He had to say, and process it in relation to the struggles I was having at the time.

That's where I first started to gain healing in the inmost parts of my being.

Only now, as I look back do I see how powerful silence before God was.

"Silence is golden" we have heard so many times in reference to children. That is true, as a mother of two youngsters, sometimes that silence from the constant chatter and yelling is truly golden.

However, I would like to suggest a new twist. Silence is golden.... filled with the presence of the glory of God... His royal, sovereign majesty reaching down to flood our souls with the golden light of His presence within us... and we can only really see the depth of His presence in our hearts and lives through being silent before him.

Silence, in the presence of our God is truly a golden, healing balm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Conflict, redemption and reconciliation....

I'm a very passive person.

I hate conflict.

To me, conflict means pain, and pain or hurt isn't good.

Or is it?

*When we are exercising, it's painful, but has a great payoff.
*When we burn our hand on a fire, it's painful, but the resulting lesson, to keep our hands out of the fire, it very good.
*When we find ourselves growing the most in our faith, our walk with God, it usually is after, or even during a painful, hard time.

But hasn't our culture taught us that pain is bad? If it feels good do it. If it hurts, stay away. Numb out the pain, medicate the hurt... ignore it and it will go away... but will it really?

Haven't we brought that cultural perspective right into our churches?

The church, the body of Christ, is supposed to model Christ's life to the world. Jesus sure didn't run away from pain and conflict.

He cleansed the temple using a whip to drive out the money changers... if that wasn't conflict....
Instead of walking away from pain, Jesus walked right onto the path of reconciliation opened to Him by His father. All the way to the bitter, painful ending on the cross.

That pain was good.... Horrible for Jesus, but ended up for good in that it made it possible for Him to have intimate relationships with His creation. Good for us that His pain opened up a pathway to redemption that we were invited to.

So, how in the world to we model the redemption and reconciliation we ourselves have discovered?

Do we do it by avoiding and running away from conflict? Letting our churches get torn apart over sexual immorality, abuse, worship styles, refusing to hold one another accountable...

In reality, do we avoid conflict because we don't care enough about our brother or sister to actually cross the lines of culture, go against the grain, and outside of our comfort zones?

It was Jesus' love for us that caused him to walk into conflict, into pain, away from His glory to become one of us. It was His love for us that propelled Him to become one of us and experience the conflict that we have. It was His love for us that then that gave Him the courage and passion to reach out to us through His death to resolve the ultimate conflict between us and God.

So, watching people we love walk away from church because "it isn't our problem" is loving them how, exactly???

Watching people we claim to love fight and argue, fall into sin, etc, isn't love at all. It's self preservation. It's protecting ourselves. It's keeping our own love and security. It has nothing to do with the real love that Jesus displayed.

Real love for one another is love that knows no boundaries.

No holds barred.

No fear.

No selfishness.

No room for anything but compassion and care for our brothers and sisters, and the desire to see them live in peace and community and fellowship.

Real love for one another is the love that moves us beyond the culturally accepted norms, and into really living "in" the lives of one another.

I may be passive.

I may hate conflict.


I hate the thought of not really loving my brothers and sisters in Christ even more.

Today, I choose to go OUT. Love my "one anothers" better. Live in their lives.
Today, I choose to move IN when I see a conflict, not shut down or run away.
Today, I choose to really LOVE, working through conflict to show true redemption and reconciliation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My friend, my heart

I'm just going to put it out there.

I'm having a hard week.

Work has been good, and I love the job.
I put in a ton of hours earlier this week, and drained myself.
It was my own fault for not putting up boundaries.

It took me nearly all day Wednesday to recover.

Yesterday I talked to my friend Cindy on the phone. I snuggled up under the covers on my bed while we talked. When we were done, I hung up and immediately started sobbing into the pillows.

All I wanted to do was get to her somehow and give her a big hug.

She is so overwhelmed by all that is going on in her life, that "Miss Empathy" herself, the dear woman who cries at almost anything, can't cry.

I think it is a flip of the switch that her brain did to enable her, with all the traumas in her life, to keep functioning. She is hurting terribly, but can't cry, can't break down, or let it go.

I get to see her, for a bit this morning for the first time in almost 4 weeks. I have missed her so much. She was gone, dealing with her father's death, and then caring for her mother, as she suddenly got worse and was hospitalized.

Now on top of all of that, she is preparing for surgery herself.

My heart is breaking for her. She is so glazed over, as she said to me just recently.

She is here right now on the phone, with another doctor, who is asking her questions to prep her for surgery.

I just promised her that she wouldn't be alone in the hospital if her husband couldn't be with her all the time. I want to do as much for her as I can, as God wants me to, even if it isn't me staying with her, but me arranging to have others stay with her.

Another friend went through surgery, cancer, and chemo last year, and I had peace pretty much through the whole thing, though it was traumatic. I was able to help and bring food, and do as much as possible to help her and her husband.

I never expected to have this type of response to all the things Cindy is going through, from her dad dying, to her mom almost gone now, to her having surgery... She just has been hit with so much. So my empathy is kicking into overdrive, as she "can't" feel right now, I have been for her.

That probably prompted my storm of tears yesterday.
It's probably why I am so close to tears today.

Please pray for me as I try to do all that God is asking me to, in my life, and all the things that I want to do, as God gives me permission, for Cindy. I know it is normal to hurt and grieve for someone, especially someone with whom I am so close. But I also want to be strong for her, and not make her think that she can't tell me things because I can't "handle" it.

Please pray for Cindy, that a some point (preferably before the surgery) she will be able to let go of some of the emotions building up.

God has been showing His perfect timing in everything, allowing her to reschedule an appointment with a doctor who really is scheduled out so far, it was nearly impossible for her to get her first appointment with him... and she was able to get her surgery scheduled soon. If her mom does die now, please pray that the timing will work out for the best for Cindy.

Pray that the people around Bob and Cindy will be able to help and come around them, supporting them during this time. They have no immediate family in this area, but have a whole church who loves them dearly. Please pray that they would accept the help that is offered to them, and not try to tough it out alone.

Pray for God's peace over all, in all, and through all.

She had to run to another appointment here in town, so Marina and I are going to run to meet her somewhere for lunch, after her appointment.

I am praying for a sweet time of fellowship... because I think we both need it.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for a forum where I can be honest about where I am at, my emotions, and the things going on in my life right now... the aches, and joys too, in my heart.

Hopefully be able to write more soon,
Love in Him

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

God's warmth and light....

The night falls so swiftly now.

Here I sit, in my office at the church, after hours, waiting for the time to come to pick up my kids. I will be going only half way home from work tonight, due to the kindness of a friend. They get a play date and dinner, and my car gets a break!

I got up this morning early, got Peter off to school, and took a few stolen moments at the coffee shop before work.

I had some time there yesterday morning, warmed by the coffee cup in my hands and the brief sunlight streaming across me, across the deep red table in front of me.

How God met me in that warmth!

He warmed my heart. Through the bible study I did. Through the words he spoke to me. Through the sweet time of fellowship with him. Through the conversation we had.

As I left the coffee shop, slipped into my car, and headed for work, here at the church, praise started bubbling up inside of me.

I couldn't stop it.
Didn't want to!

My soul overflowed from the time we had shared together. I worshiped and prayed like I haven't in a while... I mean I have prayed. I have worshiped. But this was different. This felt different somehow.

Maybe it was the place I was at.
The place He had moved me to.

Whatever the reason, I cried all the way to church, mopping my eyes with tissues as I drove. And prayed. And praised Him.

I prayed for my church. My pastors. My work for the day. My close friends. My associate pastor who is giving the message this week. My family. My husband. My kids.

I prayed that God would enable me to do the work that I had been overwhelmed with the day before. The work that I was sure I couldn't do. Yet God has placed me here, and I have to do it..... I was scared. Yet God just washed that away.

He filled me with the knowledge that He had set me here in this church, in this position for such a time as this. He knows if my primary job will be as the church administrator, or if there are other, more important reasons I am here.

Only time will tell.
Only God will tell.

And then again....
Maybe He won't.

All I know is this job is so life giving to me right now.... even in the stretching, in areas that are new to me.

It is much more than I ever thought it would be. To be in a position where things are expected of me, and I have obligations to fill, yet no pressure is placed. No censure for taking time out for yourself, or other needs in the middle of the day as needed. Its a redemptive, loving family I have been placed in here.

A family within a family.

Bethany (our church) has been a family since we walked in these doors.
Our small group became a small family within the big one.
The worship teams I have been a part of have been a specialized family within the big one.
Now the staff here (two pastors, the secretary and myself) have become another small family within the big one.

The more I look at it, at my days, and at my willingness to stay here at the computer (even though it is now personal time) well after my workday's end... the more I realize how far too many people never experience this grace and love in the workplace.

It makes me want to come in every day (even when I am only part time). The Christ-likeness here makes me want to work longer hours, harder and beyond my capacity.

God is good, and so mighty in His ways.
He brings life from death.
He renews His creation.

He brings light from the darkness.

Though the darkness fell rapidly tonight, especially with the clouds, it feels anything but dark here.

I still have the memory of that coffee cup in my hands, the sunlight, and the warmth in my heart as I conversed with my God, my Savior.

He truly is the Light for my path.
Even and always in the swift nightfall.