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Thursday, December 30, 2010

When NOT to go to the Beach

     So, we went out with our kids, the nephew and his family yesterday.  There's a playground we hit every trip and usually take a family photo there for posterity sake so we headed on over with the kids and enjoyed ourselves.  Then we all walked several blocks over to enjoy some old ruins through the eyes of the kids.  That usually would be a good enough outing but we weren't exactly finished yet.  We had to include a trip to the beach.  

Yes, we're totally nuts!  

     It's like in the 50's at the highest temp for the day.  We let the kids take their shoes and socks off and dip their feet in the water.  You know, the water should be cold enough that they won't do that for very long and they'll be done with the beach...  no,no, we forgot we were dealing with kids.  I don't know why we thought that common sense would prevail.  

     Next thing I know, my littlest comes back from the water totally soaked and freezing to death.  Seems that the water was lapping around his ankles and he was bending over when a much larger wave hit him soaking him from head to toe.  His hands and feet, cheeks and nose were red and he was frozen and shivering.  We had to send him to the van to get out of his wet clothes and get wrapped in a Mexican blanket.  My oldest then held him to try and help him warm up faster.  About 15 minutes later his toes were getting enough feeling back into them that he was getting pins and needles.  

So, if you're ever asking yourself if there ever is a time that you shouldn't go to the beach..... this is it. 

You should not go to the beach when :
  • it's cold enough outside to wear a jacket
  • when you are hoping that common sense will prevail

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thoughts From the Road

I'm currently on the road with my family and we're literally headed to grandmothers house. (ha ha). I've just been watching road signs and realized there are so many interesting places being advertised. How easy it would be to just take a little detour and check some of these places out. Tiger Creek sounds so exotic and rustic cabins sounds like the perfect place to get away. The signs make it look so inviting and not very far away... but they never tell you what it's going to cost. You won't find that out till you take the detour.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Simple Things

Dealing with the flu in the house for almost a week can take a lot out of you but right now, I'm in the right place.  I'm laid back in my comfy chair listening to the silence and it is such a welcome sound.  There is no coughing... at least for the moment.  I'm watching Joel, my youngest, sleep so peacefully.  This is the first morning since the flu hit that I've heard him breathing normally.  (I pray he sounds the same when he wakes up.) 

Kathryn, my second in command (lol), is on the couch.  

Since the first day that I realized Joel was sick and moved his bed to the living room so I could better take care of him, Kathryn has slept on the couch beside him.  She's done so in order to watch over him... giving me the chance to sleep in my own bed and stay rested.  What a blessing!  Even when she got feverish she didn't leave his side.  Matthew, my eldest, has gotten up now and is beginning to make strawberry pancakes.  Soon the smell will spread through the whole house waking all the sleepy heads from their beds then they'll start calling out dibs on who gets the next pancake.  

These are the simple things.  
The things we usually don't slow down enough to recognize. 
Copyright Voice From the End of Town

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Image of God

While spending several days in the hospital lately with my sister-in-law I had an unexpected revelation on the image of God... and how we normally portray him... I'd like to share it with you.  

Take a minute and pull out a piece of paper.  I want you to do a little work with me.  It's up to you, you can look at my answers if you want to and then try to add your own. 

#1 - Describe man. What is he like? 
What words do we use to describe him and masculinity?

resilient, resourceful, intelligent, persistent, defender, protector, provider, leader, decision maker, adventurous, creative...

#2 - Describe woman.  What is she like? W
What words do we use to describe her and femininity?

talkers, touchers, feelers, tender, nurturers, encourager, all about relationships, concerned with beauty, life givers, creative...

#3 - Now, take a moment and think about God.  
Think about his characteristics.  How do we describe God?  
Go beyond the normal listing of God is love, he's good, he's faithful, he's just.  Think about it... have you begun to use words that you used to describe man and woman?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Body & the Anointing

     This has been on my heart a lot lately as I've had the opportunity to see a precious example of the true unity of the body of Christ... the way God means for it to be with each part of the body learning to courageously step up to do their part and learning to hear God and step back so another part of the body can do the ministry it was called and anointed to do... all in God's timing.

     So many times we in the church find ourselves wishing that God would give us just a little of the anointing he has on someone else.  We lift them up to sit on pedestals so high that we can't see how we could ever walk in the anointing like they do.  I'm not talking about those who spend little time with God nurturing and building their relationship with him.  I'm talking about people who care about their relationship with God... who spend time with him regularly.  And yet, still cannot see themselves the way God sees them and are easily distracted thinking about things that don't really matter.

     As we are each a part of the body of Christ, we need to realize that we all have different purposes, different paths and different ministries.  God's anointing will be on us at different times and for different purposes but it's the same spirit and the same anointing.  God wants our attention on him and not on his gifts. 

Discernment is like the eyes in a allows us to see what's coming.  

Healing and service are like our hands that reach out and touch the people helping them up when they've fallen.  

Prophecy and encouragement are like the mouth when it speaks... either bringing warning, wisdom, support or comfort.  

Counselors are like the ears in the body.  They are gifted in a way unlike many others to really be able to hear the hearts cry of his people and thereby minister.  

We really need to be thankful for all the diversity in the body... I mean, how freaky would we look if as a "body" we had 3 hands, 5 feet, 2 mouths, and 1 ear?  And yet, thru jealousy and envy, thru a lack of understanding of our place and purpose in the body of Christ this is what we make ourselves look like.  

There should never be any jealousy in the body of Christ "God never uses ME that way!"  

There should also never be pride in the body of Christ... 
"I'm so anointed by God just look how he's using me! 
I'm so glad I'm not you... 
what you do is not as anointed as what I do."  

Neither should there be this... 
"Well I just don't understand why they keep talking about how anointed I am, don't they realize I don't walk in the anointing they walk in?"  

     At any given moment as God is using you in your ministry, in the anointing that he has placed on you, you may look to them as if you walk in an anointing they just haven't attained.  So, truly, here is where the issue is....... 

God isn't looking at the anointing, He's the one that put it on you for a time, a place and a purpose.... so maybe we should get our eyes off of it as well.  

     God is more concerned about our relationship with Him and our relationship with others so..... lets just DO what God has called us to do.... together, as a body with all it's differing parts working in unison and in unity of purpose. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Father Effect

     Good father, bad father, absent, emotionally vacant, abusive, overbearing, even loving, and supportive... no matter how you characterize your father, good, bad or otherwise, his effect has been global in your life.

     I know cause my father, well actually, I should say this right...... how I've always seen my father has had  life changing effects.  

I didn't plan on this!  

If I could have had my druthers then how I saw my father wouldn't have touched anything else in my life.  But it doesn't work that way.  I didn't feel accepted for who I was.  I didn't feel like I was good enough.  I felt like I was a failure in his eyes.  When I didn't feel like I was in harms way that when I felt over-protected and smothered and yet, when I felt I needed his protection the most, I felt he wasn't there to protect me at all. 

     A very dear friend confronted me about my relationship with my father and it was time to deal with it.  I'd gotten to the point where I didn't even want to talk to him.  Everytime he told me of something he found useful, something he thought I ought to check out and use... I heard how stupid I was and how very little I knew.  Every conversation was stressful for me. I knew I could only get a few minutes into any conversation before I was looking for a way to get off the phone.  Everything he said to me I heard and saw thru the "lenses" of my experiences with him, the way I felt about him, every time I thought he had failed me.  I'd actually gotten to the point where when he called I'd either ignore his phone calls or hand the phone to my husband and expect him to talk to my father.

     It was so hard to pick up the phone and call my dad.  I punched his number into the phone but couldn't bring myself to hit connect.  It took me awhile, just staring at the phone, to be able to finally make the call.  Everything in me was screaming!  I wanted to tell him how I felt but I was afraid of having him prove to me that what I felt he thought of me was true.  When he picked up the phone I knew there was no going back.  "Dad, are you busy?  Do you have some time to talk?  I need to have a serious conversation with you."  From there I had to open up, it was time to let it all out but I needed dad to listen.  "Dad, I have always felt like I was a failure in your eyes."  That was the beginning of healing for me.  I poured out to him what was in my heart.  I had never had the guts to tell him how the things he did, or didn't do made me feel.  I'd never told him how much I desired to spend time with him but he wasn't there for me.  I felt ugly, unwanted, unloved, a failure, fat & stupid.  I took care to tell him how I felt without saying "YOU MADE ME FEEL THIS WAY!"  ...cause truth be known, he didn't tell me I was those things... this is what I "felt."    By the time our conversation was over, my father ask me to forgive him, and I did. 

     This is when I realized just how much my relationship with my father had affected everything else in my life.  The way I looked at my friendships with men, my relationships with those in authority over me, even my marriage and especially my relationship with God ... all these drastically changed.  

The simple act of forgiving my father 
took a load off my shoulders.  

     The idea of calling him and talking on the phone was no longer a chore.  I began to realize over the next week or so that I'd felt most everyone, including God, thought those very same things about me.... stupid, ugly, fat, unwanted, unloved, a failure, useless and of little to no value.  The simple act of accepting my father's apology and forgiving him for those hurts whether real or imagined has lifted my spirit.  When I did what I could do to set my relationship right with my earthly father I found it so much easier to set my relationship right with my Heavenly Father...... and truly accept his love.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Not a Respecter of Persons"

     In September of 1988, three years after I got married, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  *PCOS is a health problem that can affect many areas of a woman's life including her ability to have children.  It is, in fact, the most common cause of female infertility.

     My doctor had run a diagnostic laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, that allowed him to see the condition of my abdominal organs including my ovaries.  My ovaries were so messed up he described them as looking like swiss cheese.  Medically, having children was out of the picture.  He knew of my christian faith, the fact that I believe that miracles do still happen and this is what he said...

" ....because I know of your faith, I won't tell you that you'll never have children but that it'll take four to five years of constantly trying before you'll get pregnant."  

     I knew at that point that he was telling me that, (if I use biblical terms), I was barren.... incapable of producing a child.  That left me with only one option.... I needed God to intervene so I took it to God.  In the Bible there are many barren women and God opened their wombs and gave them children.  If God is no respecter of persons then it doesn't matter whether I live in Biblical times or now.... he still works miracles.  My husband and I came together in unity on the desire to have a child.  We prayed and acknowledged that the decision to give us a child was God's and prayed that in his timing he would give us a child.  

     Three months after being diagnosed with PCOS...... I was pregnant !!!   Matthew was born in September of 1989.  This was fabulous!  In December of 1990, I conceived again and in September of 1991 Kathryn and Michael were born.  As we began to settle down into our family with three wonderful little ones, I was surprised to find out that I had conceived again, this time in December of 1992.  So in September of 1993 Sarah was born.  Now, there were issues with Sarah's birth that I may cover in a later blog but I'll just say we had to take her off life support.  It was a hard decision that left us wondering if we wanted to have anymore kids.  We figured that we'd wait till a year had passed from the time of Sarah's death to make a decision but, as the decisions to have all the previous children had been God's and not ours.... it was, at least for now, going to stay in God's hands.  

     In 1994, nine months after Sarah died, I found out I was pregnant again and Kimberly was born in March of 1995.  At this time my husband and I decided that we didn't think it was a good idea for me to get pregnant again so I had my tubes tied.  As far as we knew, this was the end, this was all the children we'd have and physically speaking that's true.... but God wasn't thru with us yet. 

     Joel, my youngest son, was born to his birth mother in April of 1999 but God had started dealing with our hearts back in 1997.  It took back to back dreams of being pregnant, dreams that went on for two years, to finally get us both to the point where we said, " God we accept your will for our lives even if it includes another child."  Six months after Joel was born he was placed in our hands to take care of and care for.  We were able to officially make him our son in 2007. 

copyright Voice From the End of Town
March 2007 / copyright Voice From the end of Town
Our precious children are miracles.  I was medically not supposed to have any kids.  My body doesn't produce enough of the female hormones to carry a pregnancy to term.  My hormones have been, according to the doctor, imbalanced since my conception.  Because of this imbalance there was no way that I could take any form of birth control pills in order to hopefully even things out.... even the lowest dosages had pretty bad side effects for me.  We didn't use any form of medical aid to help us get pregnant and I got pregnant the first three times in the month of December and each time was two years apart.  (if I'd been planning it, it wouldn't have happened that way !)

God is real, he does exist.  He cares about you.  He doesn't love me and my family any more than he loves you.  

He gave me five wonderful children that I birthed myself and a child birthed by another. 

So, take heart, God is willing to work wonders in your life.  He really is "not a respecter of persons" which means, if he'll do it for me he'll do it for you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Don't walk alone...

     This I know,  that God has never left us nor has he ever forsaken us.  We are his children and no matter what we think or do, he never stops "being."  He was, is and forever shall be.
     When we are told to "have faith"... that God is in control... it doesn't mean that we are to just take our hands off everything and just float on a "spiritual inner-tube" down the rivers of our life.  We're not meant to just float along going wherever the waters take us.  

That's not faith.... that's reckless abandonment to the elements and it'll get you killed.  

     You wouldn't get on an boat without an oar or at least a rudder, and just float off where ever the next current took you.  And God doesn't want you to.  He is in this life with us.  He has come alongside of us but if we don't put our hand to the oar and paddle as he says paddle and stop when he says stop then how can we ever reach our destination, how will we fulfill his destiny in us?  

     He says, my yoke is easy and my burden lite.  We are to walk with Christ, joined with him in his father's business.  He needs our hands to touch the people, our voice to speak to them, our eyes to see them the way God sees them.  You have an anointing on you, a destiny that is yearning to be fulfilled, a purpose that cries out to be followed.... a vision begging to be seen.  You cannot walk out what God has called you to alone.  He does not mean for us to walk alone.

     In Genesis 2:18 it says, " And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. "  

     Now, you may disagree with me but I believe there is a deeper meaning here than just the one we always come to.  In the Hebrew (in this scripture) " be" means exist; and "alone" means separated so you can say "The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should exist separated .."  

     Separated from whom?  

     Is it only that it is not good that he should exist separated from his spouse who is his help meet?  Or, could it be also that God in his infinite wisdom was prophesying the coming fall of Adam and the coming separation of humanity from his holy presence....and was speaking the creation of our renewed relationship with him. 

     Whatever God has called you to, he has not called you to walk it alone.  He has put others in your life and they are meant to come alongside you.... let them in. 

Less of Ourselves

Today, December 1st, I celebrated my birthday, surrounded by my husband and children, I was so blessed.  I'm thankful for them.  They mean so very much to me and my life wouldn't be the same without them.  Funny thing is, even though today was my birthday, what we did wasn't about ME.  It wasn't about what they did for me or got me..... it was about what we were doing together.  We came together in unity of thought and purpose to help someone else do something important to them.  In this process, I believe WE recieved the greater blessing..... I know I did.  And it always works that way.  When we take our eyes off of ourselves and realize that "IT" is not all about us.... we have a greater capacity for blessing.  There is so much more we can do together, so much more that we can accomplish..... so many more people whose lives we can touch and bless if we can each find a way to think less of ourselves and more of others.
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