Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Not pleased with myself

If you are on my Facebook page or have been within 10 feet of me this month, you probably know two major things about me. 1. I have been busy to the point of exhaustion  2. I was put in charge of the large area decorations for my church's Vacation Bible School. You know these things because I have not exactly been handling them with peaceful grace. It has been more like with loud grumblings. Why? Because I have stress and control issues. I don't like being in charge because things go wrong, and in order to handle the idea that things go wrong, I make plans to compensate until I am literally sick with worry. Rocky called me out on it a couple weeks ago. He asked the hard question, "Why don't you trust yourself?" The ugly answer is because these things rarely turn out good enough to please me.

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.


I am a servant of Christ. He put this before me, and He will see me through it. Not only can I do what He needs me to do, but I can also do it joyfully. I don't need to be pleased with the finished product because it is not for me. It is for God and for the children who come into our church that week. If an old lady in the church doesn't like how it looks, if the pastor had something different in mind, or if (and much more likely) it isn't up to the impossible standard I set for myself, then the world will not end. If I do the best I can for God and to light up the imagination of the children, then the real standard has been met.
So, if you see me the next couple of weeks and I am grumbling or frazzled looking, do me a favor and ask me, "Are you remembering who needs to be pleased?"

On a side note, this has also given me an excuse to learn to makes these awesome 11 inch paper flowers. I love them, but could never justify making them until now. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


You know that feeling when you step out of Walmart and you can't for the life of you remember where you parked? You just wander to where you usually park hoping to hear the car beep when you hit your lock button on the key fob. Then you remember that you parked by the other door, so you trek across the whole lot only to see that everyone in town who has a car the same make and color as you has come to Walmart today. If you are my kind of crazy, you next get a fleeting thought that maybe someone stole it, and when the police come to help you, and ask when the last time you remember seeing your car, you will have to say, "Just before I left the house". Right before that fear takes hold is usually when I find it, and hope no one saw me wandering around the parking lot, because heaven forbid a stranger see me act crazy. I save that kind of behavior for friends and family.
In church, you hear often that we need to focus more on God. I just had trouble focusing on a very large vehicle, and you want me to try and focus on the unseen? That, my friends, is a whole different kind of wandering. One of my favorite lines from Lord of the Rings is when Gandolf says, "Not all who wander are lost." I know Tolkien meant it differently, but I am so thankful for how it also applies within Christianity. 

In Matthew 18:12-14 the Bible says that when we wander from God, He drops everything to bring us back as a shepherd would a lost lamb. Verse 14 says, "In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." How great is that! If we get distracted and don't remember how to get back, God will be there yelling at us "Hey! Over here!!!" Sometimes he may even send a friend to walk you over. It is such a comfort to know that even when I wander, I'm not lost to God.
Now, if we could only get Walmart to have valet parking, 

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Reading Lesson

This past week I was gently challenged to make an intentional effort to focus some of my writing on God, and to do so in a public way. I often do write down things that God has laid on my heart or a new (to me) insight, but rarely do I publish it to the blog. The question of "Why not?" was asked. My answer was a list of doubt filled questions. Who would want to read it? Who am I to tell people this stuff? What do I know in comparison to the others who are more qualified and better practiced in expressing things in a God honoring way? I'm nothing special.
This is me ignoring all of that.

"Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My father will love them, and we will come to them, and make our home with them."
John 14:23

I have spent a great deal of time not enjoying reading. Being dyslexic makes it a chore at times. Books assigned to read in school were awful. (Red Badge of Courage in 10th grade, really?) Trying to read the classic King James two column reference Bible was a nightmare. Page distractions, hyphenated words, and that awkward column down the middle filled with some sort of reference code designed to keep people like me from ever figuring it out (not really, but it feels that way at times)  

In my late 20''s I realized that my kid's reading level was about to pass my own, and I needed to be able to read what she was reading. This time it clicked, and I got hooked on a good read.

Some positive peer pressure shamed me into picking up Pride and Prejudice. It took me FOREVER to get through. The language was almost foreign. It stretched me like nothing had before. I had to watch the BBC series to really get some some of it. I was crazy proud when I finished. About a year later, I decided to read it again, and this time it took me less than a week to read it, and I caught so much more than before. I was use to the rhythm of it and had a lot less to look up. I picked it up again recently because I needed a familiar and beautiful read to quiet my busy mind. It went from being the biggest reading struggle of my life to being comfort food.
My biggest shame as a constantly failing person who wants to follow Christ is that I have not read through the Bible. Sure, I've hit most of it. I know all the highlights, and I've studied through several of the books, but I don't read it like I should at all.  Not even close. I still struggle. The begets are where my dreams of this feat usually die. It dawned on me that it is because I have never challenged myself to get through it like all the classic novels I have been pushing through these last few years.
The first time through will be hard. The second time through will be eye opening. The third time will make God's word home. I've been a Christian the vast majority of my life, but this is the first time I am excited by the idea of reading the entire Bible. It took me a full year to make it through one of Tolkien's works, so I'm afraid to set a timeline for me to finish this. Let's just say that when I do, you'll hear about it. Not out of pride for myself, but out of pride for what God will have seen me through.

If you also struggle with the usual format the Bible is printed in, you may want to look into this one. The ESV Reader Bible. It is written like any other book. No more red letters, breaks in lines every fourth word, or tiny distracting number everywhere. I'm sure it makes a terrible study Bible, but for straight reading, it may just be brilliant. It is on back order now so I must not be the only one who thought so.