Growing Pains

 Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ricky, why do you always do that?” I say to my oldest son. As he stands there I realize that he’s actually pondering the question in his mind. After carefully considering the question, he answers “I don’t know. I guess because I’ve always done it like that.”

He continues to work on his homework, and he repeats the mistake I just called him on.
“Ricky, didn’t I just tell you there’s a better way, a simpler way to get the correct answer?”

He just stares back at me with this blank stare, never really answering my question he gives a quick shrug of the shoulders and finishes up his work. After checking his work there were a few answers that were wrong. After trying to show him the correct way to do the work, I concede defeat and give up. He’ll have to learn by his own mistake. The next day, it was homework time again. By this time I’m sure that Ricky is dreading it.

“Mama, I got my papers back from my homework we did last night.” He handed over the papers and gave me that look, and said “you were right mom.”

“See honey, if you just slow down and listen to me.” I say to him, feeling somewhat vindicated. And that’s when I had an ah ha moment. You know the moments when the light comes on and it suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks that the lesson you thought you were teaching to your child, was turned around and you had become the student. How many times had I done just as my son did? How many times had I told God, I’ve got it? And how many lessons had a learned the hard way?

If I’d simply just listened and done as I was told, how much heart ache could have been saved on my end. I guess we are more like children than we’d like to admit at times. We get caught up doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. These are the growing moments. The times in life that God is killing, pruning away that thing that is not bearing fruit, or the wrong kind.

It is our imperfections that call us to the Cross. It's our human condition that brings us to the feet of Jesus. Even when we blow it he doesn't say I told you so or rub it in. He's not sitting on his throne wagging his finger in disapproval. There's no condemnation for those in Christ!


I Know A Change Is Gonna Come

 Monday, October 12, 2009

"I know a change is gonna come, if only I can just touch the hem of his garment", she said to herself as she followed the crowd. Shame and desperation had brought her here. Physician after physician had claimed to provide the healing she so desperately sought, but they all failed. So many had called her cursed. According to the other women in the village, God was punishing her for her sins. After all, its normal to bleed but not have a flow so long and so heavy that she remained continually unclean. They had all taken her money, and the shame was still there. You are cursed with a curse…the only diagnosis any of them offered.

She'd heard the rumors of a man but not just any man. He called himself the son God, who had performed miracle after miracle. And a miracle she needed.

"I believe, I believe" she whispered, anticipating her move. Immediately she found herself on her knees crawling through the crowd of people who pushed and shoved and pressed their way toward Jesus.

Stretching out her arm her fingers grabbed the hem of his garment with boldness and determination, and faith that could move a mountain. She wanted to shout for joy, she wanted to run through the streets praising God.

"Who Touched Me"

Anywhere but here, she thought. The reality of what just happened made her cower in fear.

Again, Jesus said "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." The crowd was mystified. People as far as the eyes can see and he asks who touched him, thinking to herself.

Knowing that she couldn't just retreat, there at the feet of Jesus she confessed in the midst of the crowd. At his feet she laid her shame, defeat, and pride.

"Daughter your peace has made you well; go in peace."

No condemnation, no scolding, no judgment, no punishment, just love.

Here I am Lord, grasping the hem of your garment. My shame kept me from coming boldly to your throne. Today I bring you everything that has bound me with chains. Today the prison doors are open and I no longer dwell in darkness, you have taken what was broken and made it new. I am your Daughter!


At The End of The Hall

 Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I wondered if anyone noticed her. And if anyone did notice, would they care enough just to stop? There she lingered outside the hospital room trying not to loose herself, her composure. It seemed as though she was hanging on to every ounce of her sanity that she could muster. Brave, determined, but at the same time....defeated.

My task at hand was to make it to the mailbox and back to my office to finish up my work for the day. There are always days like this on this floor. Death, tears, pain, live on this floor.

As I moved closer to her, I could see she was crying. Her eyes were puffy and pink and drained. "Can I give you a hug?" I asked reaching out to her at the same time. All she could do was shake her head. I grabbed this sister in my arms and loved on her. As we stood in the hall, people continued to go by us without thinking twice. She told me her husband was dying. She told me he wasn't going to make it much longer. She took my hand as we walked into her husband's room. There he lay, struggling for every breath, unaware that anyone was there. "Can we pray?", I asked her.

After we prayed I left their room, with peace. I learned later that day, as I was leaving to go home, her husband passed away shortly after me, her, and her daughter stood in his room and prayed. It was an honor to stand in prayer with this family. Sometimes we are called to just listen, to give a hug when needed, or to stand in be Jesus to others. We are the body of Christ.

Where one or two are gathered in your name, there you are in the midst. Lord, continue to show us opportunities to be more like Christ..reaching out in love to do your will Father. As we go through life continue to mold us and shape us to be imitators of You as dear children.



 Thursday, September 24, 2009

Luke 13:10-13 "Now He was teaching in one of the Synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her "woman, you are loosed from your infirmity. And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."

We don't know her name, age, or what she looks like. Can you see her bent over in pain? Does she notice the pain after 18 years; is it a dull throbbing pain that she's learned to live with? I see her there in the back, among others. Her face is etched in pain. Forgotten, lost, invisible to the others...there she sits listening to Jesus. Today I will leave the same way I came in; today will be no different than today or the days to come, she thinks to herself. But something happened that day. Something that she hadn't planned on. Jesus already knew that today this woman would be loosed. He already knew that starting this day life would no longer be as her days had been. As Jesus preached his eyes moved to her, focusing on her "Woman your are loosed from your infirmity" placing his hands on her. Immediately she was made straight and glorified God." Can you see her praising and glorifying God? Can you see her face now, smiling back at you? Can you see the tears streaming down her face?

Beloved, you have not gone unnoticed; Jesus sees you sitting in the crowd bowed over and crooked. He has already called your name from among the congregation to rise up and walk. You may have settled but God has other plans for you sister. He has said no longer do you have to walk bent over from sin, no longer do you have to settle for the pain and hurts, no longer do you have to be tied to years of abuse, years of immortality, and years of unforgiveness. You have been loosed from all those infirmities. He is calling you today just as he called our beloved sister years before. For far too long many have resigned themselves to living with life's junk, that they have grown accustomed to carrying the load, and fail to see the affects. How long have you been contorted, and twisted? Beloved, rise up and walk!


the hitchhiker

 Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing up mama told me the (3) big no no's.
1.) Never talk to strangers
2.) Never open the door to someone you don't know.
3.) Never pick up hitchhikers.

We'll I'm sorry to say mom, I've done all the above. I know what your thinking. The first top two aren't so bad. However, the third one its clear that you've lost your mind. How many times have you driven past that person holding the "will work for food sign" and had compassion, and empathy, but not enough to make you wanna stop the car? One thing that I've learned. Some times God will take you out of your comfort zone prompting you to make that ordained God stop.
And that's exactly what happened to me one cold night.

There she stood, at the intersection of interstate 81. She was kind of hard to miss. My headlights said hello to her before my eyes registered that she was an actual person standing in the cold at old dark thirty. Immediately after seeing her I knew that she was different and I felt that I needed to stop and so I did, practically in the middle of the road and told her to hop in.

Her name was Rachel. She seemed smart, educated, and not crazy in the weird kind of way.

“Hi” she said as she climb into the van. “Thanks so much for stopping and picking me up".

“oh no problem” I said cranking up the heat.

"You don’t mind me asking why someone like yourself would be out here hitchhiking?"
“oh no, she said smiling at me.

“I’m hitchhiking to tell people about Jesus.”

“Really …..(wondering if I’d made a mistake), is there somewhere that I can drive you to, say like a warm hotel room.

“Oh no, I just checked out of my room."

“Is there a reason why you left the comforts of a comfortable room on a night as cold as this. “

“Jesus told me to get my things and check out and I did. He’s sending me to Knoxville.”

Lord what have you gotten me into, I said to myself as I kept a view of Rachel out of the corner of my eye.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t take you far.”

“Oh that’s okay she said, I’ll go as far as you’ll drive me.”

“Are you not worried about crazy folks", I asked.

Rachel smiled at me and gave me a firm “NO! God will provide everything I need and he’ll send me to those I am to see.”

As I drove down Interstate 81 she told me about how she came to be hitchhiking. How Jesus saved her from a sinful life and how she is totally in love with him. And she would have to, to be out in the dark, freezing cold hitchhiking.

“I’m sorry, but this is as far as I can go Rachel” I said as I pulled of the highway.

There I sat with Rachel…no last name….crying, and telling her things I wouldn’t tell anyone else. There in my van, on the side of the highway she prayed for me and ministered to me. It felt strange leaving her on the side of the road, and I told her so. But she just replied “God will take care of me.” As I drove off, I cried and thanked God for our God ordained meeting. It was clear, I was "one" of those she had an appointment with.

To this day I’m not sure what happened to Rachel. I’m not sure if she were an angel or simply a sister in Christ. All I know is, God placed both of us in each others path. She needed a ride and I needed a word.



 Thursday, September 10, 2009

My mornings are fairly routine. Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off again. Hit snooze. Final alarm goes off, and I finally drag myself out of the bed. Now its time to awaken my lovely children and ready them for school. This usually turns out to be a bit chaotic; coaxing sleepy children out of bed, and making a mad dash to make sure everyone has brushed their teeth, and properly combed their hair. And not to mention, are properly dressed. Our bus driver is prompt. He is so prompt that he has a tendency to be as much as 5 minutes early. So making sure everyone is ready by the designated time is crucial. In order to do so I always, well 98% of the time, make sure clothes are prepared the night before.

By properly preparing myself for the following day, it allows me to kinda take it easy after my children board the bus to school. I take my time. I'm usually not in any big hurry. And the reason I take my time-----I've prepared myself the night before. However, things didn't go as smoothly as they normally do for me in the morning. Here is how my morning unfolded today.

Me: Honey, have you seen my head band? ( Of course I've already been searching for 10 min)

Richard: No babe, I'm sorry.

Me: Grunting in frustration.. ughhhhhhhhhhh

Richard: Did you check the closet?

Me: Yep (still more frustration)

Me: Rich, did you happen to throw it away while you cleaned the office last night, you know you do that sometimes (more frustration)

Richard: I'm sure. Don't worry it'll turn up.

Me: I've got one, but it doesn't match my outfit. But I have no choice. It's down to the wire and we are running out of time.

At this point panic sets in for me. I've gotta find this headband before I go to work. After all, I have to look good, which requires me to coordinate my outfit. Thus begins my frantic prayers about a headband.

Me: Lord, please hear me. I really need to find my black headband. I can't go to work without it. (I'll explain later). If you would please help me I'd really appreciate it.

And nothing happened. The headband didn't show up out of nowhere. It wasn't like magic and appear right before my eyes. Now by this time, I'm really heated, upset, mad (pick your word) and here came the "Lord you just don't care about me" spill. It was then that I remembered I did have a headband, but not the one that I was looking for. Nope this one, in my eyes didn't go with my pink pin striped pants suit, nope this one was arrayed with leaves, and circles and was brown.

Me: You've gotta be kidding me. Can't I get a break. Why does this always happen to me. Lord you just don't like me.

Alas, I was defeated. I'd have to walk into the Hospital wearing this perfectly coordinated suite, with this less than coordinating headband. As women its important to have an outfit that works. We all know this. Nobody wants to show up anywhere looking a hot to speak.

Richard: Honey you look great.

Me: Except for this headband.

Now God has a way of revealing things to me in scenario's such as this one. And He sure didn't disappoint.

God: Why are you fretting over a headband. And you turn me aside because I won't be your genie and magically make your headband appear. Next time I suggest you putting them where you can find them so that this problem can be avoided. Not to mention, I've got more serious prayers to tend to. If you didn't know people are being persecuted, tortured, killed, for professing Christ and here you are professing I don't care about you because of a headband! There are more pressing issues this morning. Get your priorities in order and stop being a self-centered diva.

Me: silence...........

"God forgive me for being a drama queen. It's all about you and not about me. I will seek first your Kingdom, your ways, and not my own. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, but follows hard after you!