Monday, April 26, 2010

300,000 "ones"

This weekend was the Live Simulcast by Beth Moore, talking about the topic of Insecurity.

She wrote a book called "So, Long Insecurity," and I read it prior to attending the Simulcast. I was wondering how much of the material would be directly from the book. True to how Beth Moore is, she allowed God to craft her message, and though it contained material from the book, it was fueled by her own journey to security.

One of the things that I really didn't realize was just how many women were tuning in through the satellite host sites.

Normal simulcasts through the Living Proof Live events average around 90,000 women (and a handful of men) :)

This simulcast represented 300,000 or more women, and again, some men.

300,000 women turned out for a talk about insecurity.

To learn how to be secure women in Christ.

300, 000!!!

God didn't see a nameless, identity-less mass of people. He saw individual women, each with their own hurts, desires, brokenness, joys, fears, excitement, anticipation, and hunger for more of Him.

And He spoke a word to each of us. Specifically meant for me. Specifically meant for you.

We were 300,000 "ones."

Beth said (paraphrasing here cause I didn't write it down) at one point that in her book, she said that we couldn't change our culture, but we could change ourselves. We can become women who are secure in Christ and influence our spheres of influence.

When she was in the actual simulcast, she was overwhelmed by the numbers, and essentially said that we had to imagine 300,000 women all over the U.S. and Canada in our churches. If each "one" of us makes the decision to change our thinking, our actions, and allow God to change our hearts and work on us, in our areas of insecurity, we will influence our churches.

Think about what 300,000 women can do spread all over this land!

What can we do and 300,000 "ones?"
Our Christian culture can change.
Really change.

We will stand out as exceptions.

We will stand out as the example of what it means to be secure.
No longer fear driven.
No longer reacting to situations and conversations.
No longer perceiving threats from other women.

Others say, "Everyone there did .......... except, well, her."
Or they say, "No one ................... oh, except her."

We can become the exception to the rule.
Other women will notice.

If I am bathed with Christ, if His light shines in this jar of clay, others will notice. If I am willing to follow Christ everywhere, even in areas I am uncomfortable, yet let Christ cloth me with His strength and dignity that no one can take away, that will be so different from the rest of the world, others will want what I have.

And I want to be that way.

I have found myself walking around since the simulcast, and really since I finished her book, with the phrases ringing in my head,

"I am clothed with strength and dignity. No one and no thing can take that away from me. God gave it to me. It is mine."

What if all of us who participated in the simulcast actually adopted those thought patterns? What if we started to speak the truth to ourselves? What if we started with the truth in our minds, and acted out the truth with our feet, until it really did grow in our hearts?

What would I look like?

What would you look like?

What would our churches look like?

Wouldn't it be amazing to see the generations around us starting to really let go of what the culture says will make us secure?! Oh to see my daughter learn to overcome insecurity! I know she will be confronted by it. But I also know that God can use me, and other secure women in her life to show her how to navigate through these waters until she is able to adopt and apply the phrase,

"I am clothed with strength and dignity."

Beth asked us if others are worth what it takes to walk in security in Christ.

I can answer that with a resounding yes!

My daughter is worth it, my son is worth it. My family is worth it. My friends, my church are worth it.

More than that....

I am realizing the motivation isn't others alone. The motivation for me to pursue security and drop off this old me, is the new me that I am putting on. I am worth it because God created me and loves me, and it is what He desires for me.

Others are worth the effort it takes to walk in security in Christ.

So am I.

Monday, April 19, 2010

a phone call and visit

On Saturday, while I was away from the house, I got a phone call from my mom.

When I listened to her message, though she revealed nothing, other than to call her back, I immediately sensed there was something wrong.

I braced myself for bad news about my grandmother, who's been sick for a while now, and called her back.

In my heart I have known that she doesn't have long left in this world. She is 95. She has had a good life, a long one, and I know she is ready to die. She wants to.

My mom told me that when they were going to do a minor procedure for her, they found a tumor in her abdomen, near her esophagus, preventing her from swallowing much of anything.

The reason Mom called me when she did is because she found out from my uncle, Steve (her brother) that the tumor was malignant. The doctor said that she had 3 weeks with IV fluids, one week without.

Steve is working out the details with facilities and coordinators and doing all the research to get her into a hospice facility. She is still in the hospital right now.

I went to Madison to see her yesterday. I met Mom there. I got to see Steve and Connie, as they were leaving and I was walking into the building.

Did I mention that I hate hospitals?
And I married a nurse.


I got to her room and Mom was already there with her. I got to spend some time with the two of them.... probably just shy of 2 hours.

I would say that I had a chance to talk with her, but I didn't really. She did most of the talking and steered the conversation. Mom and I were along for the ride.

It was really hard seeing her in the hospital, because this time, more than any other time recently, I could see that she was different from my Gram that I remember and love. She was more relaxed and comfortable than I have seen her in a while, so that was good. But her personality seemed different to me some.

I don't know how to describe it. I can't put it into words.

My heart is that I want to see her come to Jesus. I want to know that she is a believer, if that is the case. I may never know that, but I got the sense that she isn't and it just breaks my heart. I want to see her in heaven again. I want her to spend eternity with Jesus, in heaven.

My heart is breaking now because, though she isn't clinging to this life, and she says that she wants to go on to something "new" or "different," as she put it, there was an emptiness in those words.

I don't think my family would agree with me, because she was so involved with church all her life. One way or another she was a church choir director, or she did something with church as long as Mom could remember, during her growing up years.

I think my family would be upset if they knew that I am not sure that Gram has Jesus living in her heart, or that I had doubts about whether she will be going to heaven when she dies.

I am taking a risk of their reading this, and getting upset with me, just by posting it, but at the same time....

...well, this blog has been a safe place to pour out my heart before. I am going to risk it again here, and pray that God will bring understanding and unity in Him in all my family.

I am afraid that if they read this, I will sound very judgmental and fundamental to my family.

I love them so very much. I am not judging them, or Gram. I just want them to know, really know, where they are going to be when they die.

Maybe I am fundamental.... in that I believe that God gives everyone a will, and the chance to choose whether they want life with God or life without Him. I believe that God loves everyone of us and wants us all to be with Him, otherwise He wouldn't have sent Jesus to die on the cross to make the way open for us to be with Him.

All we have to do is accept, receive, the sacrifice Jesus made, seek forgiveness from Him for the wrongs we have done.... and commit our hearts and lives to Him. It doesn't matter how long or short we have to live.

If my family has done that, oh I want to praise God with them for that!
If they haven't, how I pray that they would!

If Gram hasn't done that, made a choice for God in her 95 years, I want her to have that choice clearly presented to her in these last weeks she has on this earth, in this body.

Maybe she will ask Jesus to forgive her, and accept Him into her heart.
Maybe she already has.
Maybe it will be through someone else who has spoken to her.
Maybe someone already has.
Maybe it will be me.
Maybe it will be someone else ministering to her these last days.

I don't know.
God does.

I just hate the thought that she is holding out a hope of something new or different, when she could be holding onto Jesus, knowing He is holding her, with His peace and assurance inside of her.

I am praying that anything I sensed yesterday wasn't true, and that she truly has a living faith in Christ.

Please pray for me. Pray for my family. Pray for Gram (Jean). Pray that I have the opportunity to talk to her, or pray with her (or both) before she dies.

Thank you so much,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Christ in the overwhelming...

Tomorrow is the day!

Tomorrow. Moving day.

Not for me, but for a friend of mine. She is moving from her parents house, just outside of Milwaukee, to ours. She is going to rent a room downstairs, just off our laundry room. Privacy, and a chance to get established here in the area. A safe place to get on her feet, independent. A chance to grow up.

She is scared, emotionally overwhelmed and spent.

She called me today, in the midst of packing up everything.

She will be leaving behind most of her furniture, as our former office is furnished.

She will be leaving behind her friends and parents (though her parents come up to the area frequently because she has relatives in the area).

She will be gaining the chance to stand on her own, strengthen her walk with Christ, and a supportive church family who is willing to do anything to help her make her way.... new friends... a new job... a new chapter in her life.

We will be gaining a sister in Christ, just learning to make her way. Not only in living on her own and supporting herself.... but also making her way closer to Jesus again.

Please pray for all of us. Pray for us as we embrace her and bring her into our home, our family, our lives, our hearts (though she's already been in our hearts for a long time!)

My hope is that this transition for her will go smoothly, that she will see sure signs from God that this is the right choice to move out and into the new chapter.

I am thankful that the forecast is for good sunny weather tomorrow. We are using 2 pickup trucks to help her move. One has a topper, but the other doesn't.

I find myself struggling with fighting off a cold today. Angela is too.

Please pray with us for a safe trip, for our health, and for the strength and energy to do the whole move.

All I want to do is take a nap, but I find that I am laying expectations on myself. Expectations that no one else is laying on me. That my house (upstairs, not where she is moving into) should be clean and spotless, that I should have everything neat and orderly up there. There is so much cleaning to do, and only a few hours after work to do it in tonight. I have to get to bed early as I will be driving for 6+ hours tomorrow. Just over 3 down, and the same back.

I am more than willing to take the time out and help her. I am glad to do it.

I find myself getting overwhelmed because I am trying to do it in my own strength today. I know I shouldn't be. I don't have to have it all together before I take someone into my home. If I did, I would never take someone in. Because I can never have it all together.

I am so thankful that God's strength is shown perfect in my weakness. My weaknesses are many. But His grace and mercy cover all of them. He loves with a perfect, unfailing love, when my love is weak or half-hearted at best. His hope is an eternal one, when my hope falters in the middle of a circumstance. His joy reigns supreme when my joy strength reaches it's end and I feel I can't go further.

God is so much bigger than we could ever comprehend.... yet He chooses to live with these frail jars of clay that we are, so that through our cracks and imperfections His glorious light can shine for all the world to see.

So, though I feel overwhelmed, imperfect and unable.... in Christ's strength all things are possible.... and His Light is shining in me... through me.