Archives for May 2010

God Divorces

I will not give up too soon.

This phrase is becoming the mantra of my life. And while it feels exhausting at times, I am glad it is one of those things that stuck when it I heard it.

I think about it regularly – in business, in my family and in my faith – I will not give up to soon.

I have given up before. I call them my “God divorces.” Understand that while I am attempting a bit of humor, it is only to make those moments in history palpable and understandable. If you have never been there, you don’t understand the depth of the hurt a God divorce creates. But through the word divorce you get the general idea.

If you have, trust me, we are okay. While we sited irreconcilable differences, He did not. This is the definition of blessed.

God divorces happen for the same reason regular ones do – money, jobs, circumstances. Mine happened over women and behaviors.

Well intentioned but sorely misguided “church women” who gave the worst advice ever to a young twenty something woman.

God and I got back together through the counsel of a not so churchy but amazingly equipped friend.

Later, my understanding of hell and the people who were supposed to go there rocked my faith in His behavior. If that was who He was, I was out.

God and I are dating again. How thankful I am for the One who finds me worthy of pursuit and romance. He will not give up too soon.

Neither will I.

Every Journey has a Beginning

Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.
~ William MacNeile Dixon, (1866-1946) British author and academic

You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there.
~ Psalms 139:13-15

What an obvious statement to say I was born. But, I am finding it necessary to place a pinpoint on my “Start”. Birth is obviously not my actual beginning. However, as I cannot (or do not) consider factors prior to my birth as formulating my person, birth seems like a good place to start.

Explanation – Of course I respect and understand that factors prior to my entrance are important. DNA, family legacy, etc. contribute. But really, as if sorting the filing cabinet of what makes me a person isn’t crowded enough…

Explanation – A starting point is important. I was not dropped into existence a 33 year old woman. All that I am today is a net sum of every single step I have ever taken.

I was born the eldest child to the best parents in the whole world. Their backgrounds were amazingly different, I think. Even as I write that I realize how much my parents don’t talk about their childhoods.

The life lessons taught in my home were practical ones. Good people were good, bad people needed to be considered and evil needed to be shot. Belief was encouraged if you came to it on your own. Religion was allowed if we could participate without their involvement. Dedication was fine, evangelism was not.

In all it was the perfect garden to grow two things – wonderfully open minded, loving and tolerant children and confused adults.

I am okay with this fruit. I would prefer it to an oppressive, bigoted view. However, I am hoping that I am able to promote a bit more structure within my on family while still achieving that quest for understanding and belief through ones own seeking.

Prior to adulthood I participated in baptist youth group in spurts. I “accepted Christ” at the age of 10 during a skating party. I was baptized ten years later. I didn’t know what I was doing either time. I don’t find fault with that. Not every step on a journey is always understood.

I am committed to still walking.

Not About Me?

Money is tight all over – for me, for my friends, my customers, my clients – everybody. It is the one thing that gives me the most anxiety. I have spent a good deal of time trying to talk to God about it. I say trying because I always get distracted by the thoughts and end up just talking to myself.

During my morning reading (which I stopped in the middle of because I felt the strongest urge to tell you this), an interesting series of events happened. Today’s reading is John 15:12-17 with a focus on v.14 – You are my friends. The reading discusses the friendship of Jesus and how we are supposed to display His love to the world by reaching out and being that kind of friend to those in need around us. In part, it read

Even with our busy lives and rushed schedules, we can make room for the people around us. And when we do, we find that we are touching not just a lonely person but Jesus himself.

“Lord, teach me how to be a friend to the people around me. Open my eyes to see you in the lonely, the burdened, and the needy.”

Well that’s all well and good, I thought. But I need provision for me, not guidance to provide for others. So, I gave very little attention to today’s reading and went searching for the reading that says God is going to take care of me! So, I wondered, what was the reading for last year on my birthday (I am using The Word Among Us for my daily readings and they are archived by date). June 30, 2009 reading is about Abraham and Lot. As you can imagine, the focus was not on how God took care of Abraham, but how Abraham interceded for Lot. In part it read

Did you ever think that, like Abraham, you may be the means by which God saves another person from danger—either physical or spiritual? It really is possible.

”Father, in mercy you have stretched out your hand to me. As I draw closer to you, share with me your concern for your other children. Show me the role you want me to play in their salvation. Embolden me to say ‘yes’ to you.”

Seriously! I am looking for provision for me and yet another example of me for others. Hmmm, I hear in my head, how very good of you to worry about your results and your situation above all others. How very Christlike of you (not!). You keep asking God to provide for you, He tells you how and you blow Him off.

The thought began to get lofty and very Mother Theresa and I heard, there you go again. This isn’t life in theory, this is life for real.

I make money when I serve other people. I become wealthy when the service I provide to others is so red carpet rock star that they always come back to me and they send their friends to me. My cash flow goes up when I complete a project, remain on task, deliver on time and do what I say I am going to do without fear or hesitation.

When my cash flow goes up, so does my expendable resources, so does my ability to be charitable. I can be charitable now, in my limited way and I will. And God is providing for me right now – in my ability to serve others.

I am reminded to stop focusing on results and keep my eye on my purpose. I am reminded that fear paralyzes and that fails everything.

Anyway, just wanted to share…

Being in My Presence

Part of my daily reading was John 14:6-14. In this reading Philip asks Jesus to see the Father and then they can be certain. Jesus explains that He has been with them awhile and because of that they have seen the Father.

It raised the question in me, and I think it is akin to questions that have been asked by a friend of mine – and quite frankly, all of us. Who am I ? What am I doing here? What am I good at? My question specifically is then what do people see or what can people know when they have been in my presence? I know that God is supposed to reflect from us, but I am speaking more practically here. Jesus’ purpose, among other things, was to bring knowledge of the Father to the world in a new way. Because He lived His purpose, that was exactly what folks should have gotten if they were open just by being around Him.

I think if we can answer the question, what should people know by being in my presence, we start to get a better glimpse of our purpose. More than wants or goals, this natural place of being points to what we have been equipped for in order to accomplish our purpose as instilled is us at creation. While at times it was difficult and took effort for Jesus to love, forgive, with stand temptations, etc, it was never forced or unnatural. It was always in the being of who He was because that was what He was created for….

Just my thoughts for the day 🙂