Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Christmas Letter

“[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

It took me forty years to grasp that truth about myself. Forty years to fully accept that there is nothing I can do to redeem myself. No amount of guilt, sacrifice, grief, or self-pity could make me any more acceptable to an almighty and perfect God. It wasn’t a visible change of heart nor a “revelation” of any kind. I just realized one day that I didn’t worry about my past anymore. I was no longer dragging junk back to God to fix. I just knew it was done. I knew this in my head, long before I allowed myself to accept it. But after forty years, I understand.

Now as my forty-first year comes to a close, I want to tell you of a new lesson I have learned. 2006 has most definitely been the most revealing year for me. Not that I learned so much in that one year, but that it was a relatively quick lesson. After forty years of learning about grace so that I could accept it myself, I learned this year, just one year, to extend that grace to others.

Many of you know of my trip to Indiana this summer to an Exodus Intl. Conference. And some of you know what led up to it. I won’t go into all of that here, but I will gladly share the story with you. Looking back I realize that even though changes were being wrought in me without my knowing it, all along. It wasn’t that long ago when I would have been on the “boycott this”, “rally against that” bandwagon. I firmly believed that we had a “Christian right” to demand that everyone fall into our moral box. Well, I was shaken like a Christmas globe in those beliefs this year.

First it was a movie (The End of The Spear-if you haven’t seen it, DO, better yet, get the book) and a subsequent boycott, then it was an e-mail box full of encouraging messages, then a man named Richard, a miracle of provision, and a church turned upside down. What a ride. I found myself, at times, preaching about things I didn’t even know I had in me. Afterward I found myself digging into scripture cause I wasn’t sure where the sermon had come from. I was actually afraid I had spoken something I knew nothing about, but it must have been God speaking through me. Not only was it confirmed, but it was like my eyes and heart were bursting open and seeing things for the first time.

All through history, God’s story has been woven together. You can pick up parts of the story here and there and see where they tie in hundreds of years later. For the first four thousand years, everything that happened was to prepare the way and lead up to the birth of Christ. It is fascinating to look at the Bible in that way and to realize that each and every word in it has a purpose. It is so intertwined in God’s plan that sometimes it takes quite a bit of digging to find the connections. But they are there.

In our homeschool studies, we have learned that Bible scholars place the earth around 6000 years. We have seen how the genealogies from different cultures, Kings lists, the table of Nations, and even archeology (though you will never hear about it) all seems to confirm this and even, according to Bishop Ussher, points to an exact date and time of the beginning of earth. We also learned that according to Jewish custom, forty years is a generation. If you think of it that way and do the math, there are only 150 generations of man! Only 50 something generations since the time of Christ! That puts things into a new perspective doesn’t it? The earth really isn’t all that old.

During that time, you don’t see God’s people having the freedom to serve God as freely as we have had in the last 230 years. Never once did Jesus say that to follow him would mean we had a right to anything but persecution. Even in the Old Testament, the followers of God were not guaranteed an easy life. The children of Abraham had to tow the line in order to receive the blessings of God. There was always someone waiting throughout Israel’s history to take advantage of the hand of God being removed. Christians in the New Testament and beyond have always suffered discrimination and outright persecution.

Yet somehow, in the last 230 years, we have gained a sense of entitlement. Instead of Christians being persecuted, we have become the persecutors. While I firmly believe that as Americans, we do have the right to worship who and how we want, as a Christian, I am guaranteed nothing but hatred and mistreatment while on this earth, and yet I see Christians (I am just as guilty as the next) showing hatred and contempt towards the very people Jesus came to save. He said to go and preach the gospel to ALL the world. Not only do we withhold it from those with certain sins, but when did the gospel become a message of damnation and hopelessness, hellfire and brimstone?

Now, we all know that Jesus wasn’t really born on Dec. 25. It’s just a day that was a traditional holiday for the pagan people that the Roman Emperor Constantine put a Christian label on in an effort to make everyone happy while trying to make everyone “Christian”. But it serves to remind us of the sacrifice our Lord, the God of the Universe, made for us. He put on this earthly skin to be like us. He became a man. I can’t begin to fathom that. I can’t grasp what kind of love it took, knowing he would be beaten and brutally put to death, to take on that form and enter this world.

The heavens couldn’t even contain the joy of that event and shouted out in the form of a star. Angels appears to lowly men and shared their joy. What a concert that must have been! I get chills when I hear a human choir, I can only try to imagine what those angels, in all their splendor, must have sounded like. Our Creator, the one who threw the stars in space and with a word, brought our world into existence, became one of us with the sole purpose of spilling his blood! His only reason for doing so…He wants us to be with Him! He loves us that much! None of us deserve to be in the presence of the Almighty God. Not a single one of us! We are all sinners. God does not see one sin greater than another. There is NOTHING we can do to deserve to be with Him. Yet we have that hope. Having accepted the gift of his sacrifice, we will be with Him. No, not everyone will accept His gift, but we were commanded to extend that offer to the world. There is not one sin that makes a person unworthy of the offer. Not one. And the offer stands till the day they die. We should never withhold what we ourselves have been given.

I leave you with one final thought for Christmas.

Share Him with the world!

May you experience the gift of knowing the Savior, and may you be blessed in 2007! We love you all!

And may the Lord come Quickly!
Maran atha!

Monday, November 6, 2006

Not quite time...

Several years ago, I felt the urging of God to tell my story. He even brought a couple of people to me to tell it to. Both of them said, "You have GOT to tell this story!" They went on to say that there was healing in the telling and yeas, each time I told it, I felt I owned it a little less. It was a great feeling. But it is a story of a VERY sensitive nature, so I had to be careful who I shared it with. I knew there would be some that would simply be too shocked to hear it...and some who would be terribly hurt, like my mother and, well, any of my family for that matter. It was such a good feeling to let go of it each time I told it though, that I really did have to make myself wait to tell it and seek God first, so I wouldn't tell it to the wrong people. As it is, I have shared it in it's entirety to exactly 4 people. Three of whom were put in the position of hearing it for accountability reasons, one was to hear it to build trust between us. She learned from it that if I could share that with her, she could talk to me. There are two others who know generalities who are in Spiritual authority over me-both men, and I believe that is the reason they are only to know generalities.

Then there is one who knows the story, the whole story, but without all the gory details. Telling her was a defining moment for me. I really felt that this particular telling of it was preparation for writing it and sharing publicly. The hearer was my oldest daughter. Sharing it opened her eyes to some of the dynamics of our family and gave her a new, deepened respect for her father. Yes, I think it even brought us closer together because I think she felt priviledged to be allowed to hear this information. She was probably the least judgemental of anyone else I had told. No, no one made me feel bad, but I do think their idea of who I am was changed considerably. Actually, when my daughter heard it, it was like a light went on in her mind and she seemed to understand me better as well as some of the events in our family that had never been explained.

I have mentioned here that I had a story-a past-that most people would frown upon. I have mentioned that I have dealt with sin in my younger days as most, but again also in my adult years. I have also mentioned here that I never really saw the second round of this mess coming, nor do I know how or why it happened. Amazingly, each time I have told the story seemed like it was less and less about me. I was removed from the events further and further each time I shared it. Now, I truly can't imagine that it was really ME. I could describe it as dying a little to it each time I told it. It was like cutting it away from myself like cutting the fat away from a piece of meat. It was freeing. Each time it seemed God ordained and felt GOOD to get it out in the open. I was heavy with the thought that sharing it more publicly was coming soon-like a pregnant woman about to give birth. I was excited, but frightened too.

Over the last few weeks, I feel that God has released me from that heaviness. Not that I am never going to tell my story, but not now. It's not quite time. I thank God for holding me back. I was very close to posting it all here. I do believe there are people that need to hear it. I do believe in being transparent. If anyone asks me, I will tell them. But I don't believe that EVERYone can handle it, just like there are some things, that if someone told me they do or did, I would not be able to handle it. (there's not much that can shake me, but I am sure there are some things) I believe to subject them to it could be a stumbling block for them. And I believe God has been speaking to me that not everyone has to know everything. It's the past and I need to release it as such.

So this is where I stand right now. This is what I have been mulling over during the last few days that I haven't posted. There is another topic I will address too that has been rising to the surface over these last few days. I will have to write about that later on though.

For now, be encouraged to know that your past, is just that...YOUR PAST! God does not hold it in His memory any longer and does not require you to either. Perhaps your experiences may minister to someone, but God will let you know when to share and how much. Trust Him. And know grace!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Family Photo Shoot

These may be our last family photos. It's just getting too hard to get everybody together anymore.
 
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Friday, October 27, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daddy's girl still.

*Disclaimer* This will probably be the saddest post you will ever read of mine. Of all the things I carry with me, this is the source of every dark nook and cranny of my soul. Every hidden secret stems from this one subject and all that is "my story" centers around it. I don't lay blame on anyone for my choices in life, but I do acknowledge the fact that if it weren't for this, the choices I had to make would have been very different. Please do not feel you have to read it. Please do not feel you have to comment. It is simply my effort to put some thoughts into words and round it up with some hopefulness. Today gave me an way to do that.

All I remember of my early years was that I was a Daddy's girl. My fondest memories involve sitting in my Daddy's lap, waiting for him to come home to see what he had for me (he was a drugstore pharmacist and would often pick up some little something for me when he had worked those long weekend shifts), and seeing the fish he would bring home from an early morning fishing trip with my brothers. Indeed, I owe my strong stomach to the mornings of watching him clean fish. Unfortunately, it is only strong where fish are concerned. I would also stand on his feet while he held my hands and walked around the house. I was "walking on daddy". He would sit with one leg crossed over the other in the shape of a 4, making a "hole" between his knees and I would slip through the hole behind his paper and knock on it till he let me climb in his lap.

The summer I was 9, I was shuffled off to a friend's house. I didn't know why. After what seemed like weeks, my mother finally came. But she didn't come to take me home. She came to tell me that my Daddy wanted a divorce. Now my mother never said anything bad about my dad to me, so I am sure she did not say it, but my little girl mind heard "your daddy doesn't love us anymore.

I don't want this post to become a total bummer, but in order to get the point across, I will tell you that over the years, my dad left us and eventually married another family. I say it that way because that is how it really was. There was even a girl my age in that new family. Back then there was no joint custody so I rarely saw him after age 12. I was back and forth, even still I am, between loving him so much I couldn't stand it and hating him to the point I wished he were dead. I have forgiven, hated, resented, and forgiven again so many times, that my own kids are confused about how to feel about him. And out of my ache for him to know my feelings, I have been open to anyone who would listen and might could sway him, about those raging emotions. To this day, I honestly believe he had no idea that his choices DEEPLY affected who I was and am. He thinks he did nothing wrong. In fact, he still speaks quite spitefully about my mother and lays the blame at her feet. At one point I wanted to scream "She's not the one who couldn't keep it in her pants!!!" But what's the use? He would just think she had turned me against him.

As an adult of this situation, I have gone from tentatively reaching out to him, desperately wanting him to be MY father and MY children's grandfather, bitterly resenting his "new" daughter (I never even met her till I was nearly 30 so I don't really consider her my step sister, nor her mother my step mother) and her children for having him, to respectfully and obediently trying to honor my father, to finally, slowly, and with much pain, realizing that he is never going to be what I want him to be and deciding to let him be the adult and the parent in the situation. I was going to continue to write occasionally, but it's his responsibility to initiate anything further. There will never be the closure I have always longed for. No, "I'm sorry I hurt you", no "I have always loved you", none of that. I just have to accept that he does not feel or see things that way. I really don't expect him to be around much longer and though I know I will regret it later, I cannot bring myself to think I would attend his funeral. I would not be able to contain my grief and I don't know what all I have bottled up in the name of forgiveness that will come out. But I have truly gotten to the place where I just don't think about him that often.

This morning, I awoke at 5 AM, thinking of my father and fighting tears. A quiet grief was there. I missed him. I had written him a couple of months ago and had heard nothing. He missed my birthday. Not that it was a huge deal, he does most of the time, but it was waying on me. I knew, as I always take those times to pray for whoever is on my heart, that God was moving me to pray for him. So I got up and went about my blogging activities with a prayer on my lips. Reading other blogs pulled me out of my funk and sent me on my way. Everything was fine.

This afternoon, in the mail, I recieved a birthday card from my Daddy. He had accidentally written the wrong zip code on it and it was returned to him. He wrote a short note telling me of the delay and re-sent it. Needless to say, the tears held back for months and even this morning, came. I still love my Daddy.

Wordless Wednesday-Going, going, gone...did I mention that it was about 45 degrees ?.

 
 
 
 

For more Wordless Wednesday see 5 Minutes for Mom.

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
The Grand Scheme of Things.
Gracie
A Prayer Request
Southern Pearls
Enraptured
Concentration
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh how the years go by...

It's been a long time since I was overwhelmed by diapers and nursing babies. For 12 long years I had at least one in diapers. Now, one is basically out of the nest and the next is getting ready to fly. My youngest is 10 now. Am I relieved not to have diaper duty and sleepless nights? YES, yes, a resounding yes! Am I no longer overwhlemed? I most definately AM! It's over different things now, but oh yes, it plagues me still.

But above all of that is the nagging sense that I am losing my babies. While I am of course, quite proud of their accomplishments and thoroughly enjoy watching them become young men and women, I can't help but draw inside myself as I watch them and try to remember that sweet little voice, or those chubby little smiles. There isn't a trace of that left in their faces now. It saddens me that I can't remember it. I have pictures. Oh you better believe I have pictures. I have about 30 of those boxes that are specially made to hold pictures-you know the ones that are about shoebox size and are acid free? Not to mention albums galore full of their pictures. I always thought that would suffice. But I find myself grieving that I can't recall it on my own. The images are just not there anymore. I remember them as children, but the details that I loved so are just blurs now. Like a really faded photograph.

Here they are all except for the oldest. Babies no more.
 
 
 
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

They grow up too fast.

My youngest, my baby, is 10 years old. I don't advocate a girl that young being into boys and I know that there are some out there that are going to think this is terrible. But sometimes, when hormones kick in, young girls get crushes. It isn't anything you can put a stop to. It just happens For anyone who wants to beef about that, just ask yourself if you have ever had an emotion kick in whether you wanted it to or not and if you could easily control it AS AN ADULT. What about that last time someone cut you off on the highway? Did a certain emotion get the best of you? Okay, nuff said.

Anyway, she has been hinting around that there was this certain boy...! She hinted at his age, he's about 12. She hinted that he was in our youth group at church. She's hinted that she has played air hockey with him on one of the nights we were helping with the youth, but she has never told me who, and I didn't press her. I know she will tell me in time.

Today, she asked if we had to go back to church next Sunday. Yes of course was our reply and she proceeded to look very glum. I somehow knew it had something to do with that boy, but other than quipping, "boy-trouble?" I didn't push the issue. She said nothing. A few minutes later I had a ball of 10 year old girl curled up beside me. She had turned with her back to me, leaning on me and balled up so no one else could see her pout. I caressed her hair and waiting for her to talk.

Finally, "now I know why they call it a crush." was ever so quietly pouted out. My heart broke. "She's too young to have to deal with these emotions!" my heart cried out to God. "Please protect her tender heart and keep her innocence where her emotions are concerned. It's just too soon."

But like it or not, she has crossed a line. The childlike trust has been broken and she now knows a taste of what a broken heart is like. My poor sweet girl. I ache for her. I am trying to teach her not to give her heart away, but who of us women can remember those first few stirrings over a boy. Could any of us ever imagined a way to curb those feelings, much less put a stop to them? No I don't think I could even do it now, much less when I still had the faith and innocent love of a child. My other girls never really went through this. Oh yeah they had crushes, but they were short lived enough that they didn't experience the rejection. They usually got over the boy first. This one, she is so much like me and I worry for her self image. There SHOULD be nothing there to give her a bad one, but with boys being such a big deal already...SHE'S TEN!!!! It is too soon.

So what is a mom to do? Well, what else do you do for a broken heart? I got her some chocolate.

Hey, don't knock it, it worked!

Friday, October 13, 2006

What region are you from?

This is one of my favorite jokes to tell people who aren't familiar with Southern colloqialisms. Can you read this?

MR Ducks
MR Not
OSAR
CM Wangs
LIB
MR Ducks

If you can read this, you are from the South.


What about this:
Do you know what PSDS are or pocked cah is?
If you do, then you are probably from Boston.

I have heard a few others, but would like to hear from you. What are some of the phonectically spelled sayings from your neck of the woods?

Oh, and in case you DIDN't know, the defined versions of the above are:

Them are ducks. MR Ducks
Them are not. MR Not
Oh yes they are. OSAR
See them Wings? CM WAngs
Well, I'll be. LIB
Them ARE ducks. MR Ducks


Peirced Ears (PSDS) and Parked Car (Pocked Cah)

Dan is on his way to the States!

Just recieved this from Beverly:

"Okay, the good news first...

Daniel is on his way home!!! We called Germany early this morning and Dan
has been discharged and is on the plane headed for the USA!!! Yea!!! He
will be at Walter Reed sometime this evening.

Because Dan has been taken off of the SI List (seriously injured list), he
will most probably be redirected back to Ft. Bragg, which is his home base.
The Womack Hospital on the base is expecting his arrival sometime Saturday
afternoon. Because it is the weekend, paperwork will not be completed and
filed until Monday morning. Because he may be considered an outpatient, the
military may not transport us, his family, down to see him.

In the midst of all the good news about Dan, there is some frustration on my
part that the timing on things seems to keep us from being able to act on
our impulses to just get down there, wherever "there" may be, to see our
son. I am reminded daily that our timing is not God's timing, nor are we any
more special than all the other servicemen and women who are returning from
the battlefront to their awaiting family members. I am so very grateful that
Dan's wounds have been attended to in such a way that he is healing at a
progressive rate and his outlook is very positive.

The military personnel that we've been in contact with have been wonderfully
supportive of our circumstance. They are working with us as best as
possible "to make all things work together for good" (sound familiar?) :-)
One way or another, we will go down to see Daniel. We just aren't sure how
or when, but we will go.

Heidi is home again from college with the anticipation of seeing her brother
soon. My sister, Karen, who lives with us, will be traveling along with us
as well...She's anxious to see Daniel with the hurt legs and all the
nurses... :-) She thinks Dan is pretty special and having nurses and
doctors take care of him is just icing on the cake for her. :-) You'd have
to know Karen to understand. She's very special to us.

I pray that Dan's plane ride home today will be as comfortable as possible
for him and the other wounded soldiers. Hopefully soon I'll have some
pictures for you of us with Daniel in our arms. Your faithfulness of
prayers is what's sustaining us...

By His Grace,
Bev"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Updates on Dan-and a quick church stuff update

I have been so busy the last week and am so behind on everything. I just want to say a quick thing about the meeting with the pastor for the 2 or 3 of you that have been keeping up with that. I can't say much more about that right now (for time's sake) than that it went well and my pastor and the head of the Sight Ministry hit it off real well. I think it is the beginning of something beautiful:-)

Okay, here are the latest reports on Dan Peters. Please continue praying for him. I am just copying the e-mails I have gotten from his mother.

"To Stay or Not to Stay...(Recieved Monday. 10/9)
The title says it all.....Dan's flight home tomorrow has been delayed. It
seems there are mechanical problems with the plane. His new departure date
is Wed....maybe.... I'd like to just jump on a plane and head over there,
but just as sure as I would, then we would cross paths in the air. It's
hard to be patient....

I did talk to Dan this morning. He had just gotten out of OR again. He was
in quite a bit of pain. I'm not sure what procedure they did this
morning...so don't have many details other than he said his right leg was
numb and he was sweating profusely...He sounded very uncomfortable. But the
nurses were there attending to him. I just have to trust that they were able
to stabilize the situation.

Dan did call home a little later and talked to Heidi. I was off getting
medicine for Heidi because she has come down with a double ear infection.
She's been getting worse ever since she got home. Tomorrow she leaves to go
back to school with medicine in hand...What's a mother to do...???

They have transferred Dan's buddy, SSG Robertson (notice his rank...I had it
wrong before...)ooops... He left Germany on Sunday. I'm not sure why they
decided to send them separate... Hopefully they will meet up again in MD.
Somehow I will get him the messages that all of you have been sending.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring better news...By His Grace, Bev"




(Recieved Wed. Oct. 11)
"Well, it¹s Wed. Just got off the phone with Dan. He won¹t be headed home
today. It seems his blood count it too low. Also, his last two toes are not
looking good. Thanks to all of you who are praying for him. It means so much
to him and to us to know that there are others that care. I¹ll update his
progress once I talk to his case manager todayĆ "



Recieved today, Oct. 12)
"Hi Everyone,
Well, yesterday was certainly a trying day...I spent about 6 hours on the
phone with Daniel. We cried, we laughed, we prayed, we talked...He's very
frustrated about being stuck in Germany. I tried to assure him that he is
there for a reason...His faith is being stretched...and we all know that
that can be a good thing. We talked a lot about his walk with Jesus and how
his life has been spared...more than once these last few weeks. All in all,
it was a good day. Wish I could have been by his bedside, but being able to
hear his voice and listen to his stories is the next best thing. Thank you
to the army for making that possible for this momma and son.

He did receive some more units of blood yesterday. He wasn't happy about
getting someone else's blood...he's not a big fan of needles...especially
large ones. ;-) I was told by the nurse that he'd most likely be receiving
some more units today during his procedure this morning. When they wash out
his wounds and do more stitching and repairs, it's only natural that he will
bleed more...and he lost so much in the beginning; his body just hasn't been
able to replenish it to normal yet. They may also take the last two toes
today. The fourth one wasn't looking good at all yesterday and the fifth
one was also completely black. The two broken bones in his leg still have
not been cast. There are too many wounds on the exterior that need
attention. They were finally able to completely close the 6 inch gash on his
upper left thigh (backside) yesterday. All the other ones are still open and
very raw.

He's talking to me about the last events of his journey. Although they are
gruesome details, I'm glad that he is able to voice them. I know that will
be healing to him today as well as down the road. Your prayers are a big
part of that. I've been receiving many encouraging emails and cards for him
and SSG Robertson I can't wait to deliver them.

Dan has been removed from the seriously injured list...although this is a
good thing, it may also delay him coming home as the ones in most urgent
need get priority first. I know that God will bring him home in His perfect
timing.....but it sure is hard to wait. ;-)

By His Grace, Bev"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wordless Wednesday-Gracie

She was a silly baby, but now she really fits her name.

 
 

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
A Prayer Request
Southern Pearls
Enraptured
Concentration
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Sunday's News-new update on Dan

Beverly would really like to know who is praying for her son. If you can, jot them off an e-mail to let them know. byhisgrace404@verizon.net She also says that if you want to sent personal messages, she will print them and hand deliver them this week.

The following is straight from Beverly:

"We were able to talk to Dan again yesterday. Some good news is that his
buddy that lost his foot in the battle has been moved to Daniel's room. The
plan is for the two of them to be transferred to the states together. I'm
glad they have each other to get through this ordeal. Maybe they won't
focus so much on their own pain. This soldier's name is SPC Robertson.
Please add him to your prayer list. Losing a foot at any age would be
tough. I believe that he is close to Daniel's age (22).

The next good news is that they are scheduled to come stateside on Tuesday.
Barring any other set backs, that means that we should be able to go see him
in Maryland either Wed or Thurs. Yea!

Yesterday, when I talked to Dan he sounded stronger, but did say that his
fourth toe is looking a little grey. However, he still has feeling in it;
so they haven't given up hope on it yet. It sounds like the hospital staff
is doing a wonderful job keeping these young men comfortable. I can't wait
to go see for myself! ;-)

We've been trying all day to get through to him again, but haven't had much
luck. I'm sure weekend staff is more limited than on weekdays. At least
that's my conclusion, anyway. ;-) I will update again when I know something
of significance. ....by the way, I am keeping track of how many of you are
praying for them. I am going to take him a list so he can see just how many
people care about our soldiers....thank you for your gift of prayers. If
you'd like to send a message to him or SPC Robertson, you can email it to me
and I will hand deliver it to them this week.


I've finally created a group listing so that I can send these updates more
efficiently. Because I have added several new names, I'm going to include
some earlier notes that I sent went this ordeal started. So these next few
paragraphs will be repetitious for some of you. Bare with me... For those
of you who are posting these emails, you can cut and paste the new
info....(you probably already new that) ;-)





Dan's Unit Ambushed (Oct 3rd)

> Okay, I think most of you know by now that Dan was injured in a mortar
> attack this past evening. After the initial call from one of the captains,
> we received a call from Dan. What a relief to hear his sweet voice!!! He
> sounded very groggy and was probably still in a little bit of shock. Both
> legs were badly injured. He said he has holes in both legs and his right
> leg and foot are broken. They had to reattach a few of his toes. So there
> is a chance he may loose them. He did have a head injury, but he said he
> didn't think it was bad. He said there was so much blood on his face that
> he thought he was blind. How scary that must have been!
>
> He is being sent to Germany sometime today. I'm not sure how the process
> will go. I'm sure they will re-evaluate his injuries in Germany before they
> decide when he can come home. I will send out another update as I get more
> information.
>
> Please pray for the remaining soldiers in his unit. They were still under
> attack when Dan was evacuated. The Taliban are not letting up. Our
> soldiers need every bit of support that we can give them.
>
> Beverly
>
> PS. Thanks for your many notes of encouragement and prayers



Subject: 10 little toes (Oct.6th)

Hey Everyone,

I just got off the phone with Daniel. First of all, he wanted me to thank
all of you for the many prayers spoken on his behalf. I'm trying to save
all of them so that he can have a glimpse of the number of people that have
been bathing him in prayer.

Second, the procedure that he endured this morning went very well. They
were able to wash out and bandage all of his wounds. I'm still not sure
what exactly they have done to his right foot, but the nurse told me that
all the pins and wires are stable. They cleaned up the area and doused it
with medication and new bandages. The nurse told me that his 5 toes on his
right foot are rosy pink. There's quite a bit of damage to the bone area
where to toes attach themselves to the foot. But for now, everything looks
as it should be.

There are no orders for him to be transported immediately. Dan still thinks
that he will head for the states on Sunday. Where he is coming to is still
not determined for sure. He says one thing and we are told another. I am
just so thankful that he is getting the medical treatment that he needs and
he's got so many prayer warriors covering that and every other detail, too.

My daughter, Heidi, is coming home tonight for her first trip home from
college. I can't wait to hug her! We'll call Dan again tomorrow and let
her talk to him then.

Once again, thank you for your concern and for your prayers. By His Mighty
Hand, Dan's life has been spared.

By His Grace,
Beverly
"

Friday, October 6, 2006

Ten Little Toes-new update on wounded soldier.

This is the latest news from the Peters' about their son. Anyone who wants to link to these stories, please do so. Let's bathe this young man, AND his unit that is still in Afghanistan, in prayer. There is also a really cute picture of Dan as a toddler at this blog. It really puts this into perspecting when you see his little toes when they were just tiny things. Just kinda brings it home a bit more.

Just copy this link to the original post and put it in your post. Thanks so much!
http://randomgems.blogspot.com/2006/10/wordless-wednesday.html

"Hey Everyone,

I just got off the phone with Daniel. First of all, he wanted me to thank
all of you for the many prayers spoken on his behalf. I'm trying to save
all of them so that he can have a glimpse of the number of people that have
been bathing him in prayer.

Second, the procedure that he endured this morning went very well. They
were able to wash out and bandage all of his wounds. I'm still not sure
what exactly they have done to his right foot, but the nurse told me that
all the pins and wires are stable. They cleaned up the area and doused it
with medication and new bandages. The nurse told me that his 5 toes on his
right foot are rosy pink. There's quite a bit of damage to the bone area
where to toes attach themselves to the foot. But for now, everything looks
as it should be.

There are no orders for him to be transported immediately. Dan still thinks
that he will head for the states on Sunday. Where he is coming to is still
not determined for sure. He says one thing and we are told another. I am
just so thankful that he is getting the medical treatment that he needs and
he's got so many prayer warriors covering that and every other detail, too.

My daughter, H, is coming home tonight for her first trip home from
college. I can't wait to hug her! We'll call Dan again tomorrow and let
her talk to him then.

Once again, thank you for your concern and for your prayers. By His Mighty
Hand, Dan's life has been spared.

By His Grace,
Beverly"

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Update on Dan and a meme

Sorry to include serious and not so serious in the same post, but I am trying to update and play catch up at the same time.

First, here’s an update on Dan Peters, Sarah Walston’s cousin.

“We were finally able to get through to Daniel tonight. Poor thing...It was
1 am there and he still hasn't been able to rest because of x-rays, blood
draws and his mom and dad tracking him down. ;-) All in all he sounded
good, but tired. He still remembers quite a bit of detail. So that tells
me that the head injury wasn't too bad. Yea!

The doctors will perform a procedure on him in the morning. The purpose is
to take a closer look at the broken bones in his right leg and foot and to
see how the re-attachment of his toes is coming along. I thought he had
said a few toes. As it turns out, it is all 5 toes. They were all severed,
as well as the ball of his right foot. Ouch! The rest of the injuries are
chunks taken out of his legs from the flying shrapnel. Hopefully they will
heal quickly. He said his dog tags have a dent in them! If all goes well
tomorrow, he's thinking that he will head for the states on Sunday. So now
we wait for the diagnosis of his doctors.

I've included a link below that pretty much tells the story of what
happened. Please keep these Canadian families in your prayers as they grieve
for these men.

Again, thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Bev”


The link she sent didn’t work so here’s one to the same story:
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=2d19a6cc-90ae-4356-ab70-c3c224404549&k=13599
_____________________________________________________________________

Now, I am a little late with this one, and I apologize to kpjara at Can You Hear Me Now for missing it the first time around. Kp tagged me with this word meme. Sorry, I was so caught up in the whirlwind here. I am committed to getting all my blog stuff caught up by Monday.

Okay, I’m not sure if I’ve done this right. As I understand it, I am supposed to write what the words mean to me.
Miracle
Dangerous
Obedient
Imagine


Miracle-Life. I have to think that life is the ultimate miracle. I can fathom that anyone could hold a newborn baby in their arms and not believe in miracles.

Dangerous-false doctrine. The first thing that popped into my mind was the scripture about even the very elect being deceived. That is a scary thought. I pray protection from this danger!

Obedient-to die to self. I think of those 5 missionaries in Ecuador, trying to reach a people that everyone else feared, just to save them. I believe with all my heart, they were called to obey and they were obedient unto death. I believe that there are those that this is asked of. It is the ultimate death to self.

Imagine-The first thing that I think of with this word is joy. Great abounding joy. The joy that we will experience when we see him face to face. And even though I know Tam at Time for Twittering used this as well, the song , “I Can Only Imagine” is exactly the words I would use.

And for the bonus, I’m going to do the original 4 words. (drum roll please)

Angel
Twist
Vibrant
Quest

Angel-I have to tell a story with this one. We lived in Murray, KY at the time and were heading to Hendersonville for a reunion. We were on this little 2 lane highway just outside of Clarksville. We passed this side road and I saw an ambulance with lights flashing in the distance on that side road. I didn’t think much more of it other than to watch in the rear view to see which direction it would turn when it got to the highway. I knew it would turn in behind us headed toward Clarksville, but I just kept my eye on it. When it turned onto the highway, it was about a mile behind us. I just casually mentioned to my husband that it was coming up behind him and to watch for it. I didn’t think any more about it. As it passed us, I felt the iciest chill run down my spine as I saw in my mind an angel laying on the top of that ambulance and holding on like he was on the ride of his life. He turned as they passed and looked at me with the most urgent expression I have ever seen, pointed at me and said, “PRAY, there’s a child in here!” All of this happened in my head but the hairs that were standing on end told me that this was for real. I started praying silently, but with a stunned urgency as I continued to stare, wide-eyed, at the ambulance that was now in the distance. Hubby looked over at me and asked “are you okay?” I didn’t know what to say. He’s an ultra-logical person and I don’t think he would’ve believed me if I told him. I DID tell my mom after we got to her house.

Later that night after we were back home, Mom called me and said she caught the tail end of a story on the news about an injured child being taken by ambulance to a Clarksville hospital that morning and was doing well. She didn’t hear what happened that led to it all.

Oh yeah, I’ve had encounters with them.

Twist-This is so unreligious, but the first thing that came to my mind was this Lemon Twist thing I had when I was a kid. It was a plastic tube thing that went over your foot and around your ankle. On the other end of it was a weighted lemon shaped thing that had shakers inside. You slung it around with the foot it was attached to and jumped it with the other. Sort of a skip step. In fifth grade we LOVED those things. EVERYone (girls anyway) had them and we would bring them to school and play with them on the playground. Silly huh?

Vibrant-Ever have those moments when you have to take a deep breath and the air just seems so much sweeter? Just for a second you realize how wonderful life is and you just want to take it all in. The breeze feels wonderful, the sky is a brilliant blue, you seem to “understand” and everything is right with the world. It only lasts for a second before you are back in reality and you can’t recapture that fresh breath of air no matter how hard you try. I truly believe that is the breath of God being breathed into us. And that is what I would call “vibrant”.

Quest-haha A quest is when you step out of the boat. When Jesus says “follow me” or “come” and you do.

But then, Johnny Quest comes to mind as wellJ

Now I tag Cool Mama and Susan with:

Tinker
Coffee
Lavish
Silence

PS Keep praying for Susan’s cousin, Dan.

pics from Pigeon Forge

Well, from our picnic anyways. We were in Pigeon Forge, but we didn't get out much. Here's hubby with his picnic on our patio. And the bottom pic is THE cake. Chocolate amaretto cake with a hint of cinnamon, and an apricot filling, covered in a dark chocolate glaze and topped with chocolate dipped strawberries!!!!!!! Oh was it good! Oh, and the rose? It's made out of tootsie rolls with a glaze painted on. Cool huh?

 
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Updates

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for the Peters'. Bev (Dan's mom) sent an e-mail last night saying he was being transported to Germany and should have a phone so they can talk to him sometime today.

Second, I would like to thank those who have been praying for me as I follow God wherever it is He is leading me. To this point, I am not sure where this is all going yet. I did meet with the Pastor on Tues. He was excited about what I had to say and eager. So now he wants to meet Richard, the head of the Sight Ministry. The Sight Ministry is the Exodus affiliate ministry here that I have been involved with. Part of what I would like to see is for our church to support this ministry. My Pastor seemed very receptive to that and wants to talk to Richard about what kind of structure our own church should be developing as an effort to be prepared for this area of ministry. The Pastor also want to meet with my daughter who started this whole thing to begin with. I wrote earlier about her friend who came out to her in their senior year of high school. Through him she has met and befriended many young gay men. And I began praying for them. Out of those prayers as well as my daughter's witness to them, one of them, the one who was her friend in high school, has decided to leave the lifestyle! Praise God!!!!!! Anyway, he is so afraid of his old church and it is my goal to have a safe place for him to heal and seek God. A place where it is understood that he won't just change overnight, but where there are people willing to accept that and stand with him as he finds freedom. Thank you for your prayers and keep praying, please. First for this young man and the many others that I wish I could name. Second for me, I have to SPEAK about this on Sunday and for the next 2 Sundays after, to a group of youth leaders about the standing firm with compassion and the reality of this among our own youth. Have I mentioned that I am scare to DEATH of public speaking? Yes, it's true! Microphones make me CRY! But back when God first started dealing with me about sharing my own story, He gave me a vision of sharing it publicly. I knew it was coming and I feel this is training for that day. I figure it's easier to speak about something that's not so personal when I am just starting out.

I want to leave you with this. Think about your own church for a minute. I bet you never realized that probably as much as a third of your church members have something to hide. Maybe it's something that happened long ago. But the chances are it is sexual in nature and very painful for them. Now think of this...Who do they have to confide in? Could they come to you? Would you love them enough to help them deal with it and find freedom in Christ? Or would it just be too shocking and make you fearful to be around them?

If they could come to you, how would they know?

The church, in general, is so unprepared to deal with this issues. Why is it that the very place that God intended for us to find healing, is so ill-equipped to help us? This is my mission. I don't know how, and I don't know what, but I believe God has placed it on my heart to see that, at least my own church, has the resources, the training, and the means, to meet the ever growing population of sexually broken people. We are so inundated with it in our society. It's everywhere we look, everywhere we turn. It's no wonder we have people who are "broken" in this area. The internet alone has brought a tremendous flood of an epidemic of people addicted to sex and porn. Yet the church is only now beginning to wake up and pull its head out of the sand on this issue.

I will stop on that note for now. It's time to start chauffeuring my kids for the afternoon. But think about these things for a bit. And keep praying.

Thank you so much!!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

Dan Peters was injured in Afghanistan yesterday. His cousin, Sarah Walston, has the info on her blog.

Please visit this link and join with me in prayer for this young man and his unit.
 
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For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
Southern Pearls
Enraptured
Concentration
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The long-awaited moment

I only have 30 minutes before the moment, so I will have to make this quick. Before I go on, I want to thank those of you who sent wishes to My Man. I relayed them to him and he was very appreciative. He had a very relaxing time this weekend, which is what i was hoping for. I will post a pic or two and tell more later.

Okay, this is where it all began.. I worte more about it here. From that point on, God sent me on a whirlwind journey and I wasn't even sure where I would end up. That journey sent me to another state without my family to see and know His compassion for a people that have been, for the most part, shut out by the church. Now, this journey has mostly been focused on the homosexual community, but through it, I have gained a compassion for anyone in bondage to ANYthing. This trip launched a vision in me for the church. Not just mine, but THE church. Much of the stirrings in my heart were merely confirmed at the Exodus conference and the multitude of God directed moments over the last few months. The vision itself, solidified and cleared over the days and weeks following Exodus. I sent this letter to my pastor and posted it here the week after I went to Exodus. I have been not-so-patiently waiting for a response from my pastor. I know that in the waiting period, the vision God gave me, has grown and the details have been clarified. So even though I did grumble about it, I knew I needed to submit to it.

Well, that moment is here. In 15 minutes, I will sit down with my Pastor and share with him what I feel God has given me to share. I am nervous, but uncannily sure of myself. Nervous in that I know this will eventually involve public speaking. Sure in that I KNOW that this is something God has placed in my heart. The youth pastor has already scheduled me to speak on the topic of homosexuality to the youth leaders beginning next Sunday. Not that I am an authority, but I am the only one who has had any experience whatsoever on the topic due to my daughter's gay friends and my working with the Sight Ministry, as well as the Exodus conference. They know that young people are faced with this earlier and earlier (my son was first faced with someone declaring homosexuality in SEVENTH GRADE). Yes, it's out there folks and if your kids are in public school, they are hearing and learning about it. The sad thing is that at such a tender age, many of them are deciding to identify themselves with it. There are even "fads" or "trends", especially among teenage girls, to be bisexual. Yes, it even has a name-L.U.G.-lesbian until graduation.

How do we deal with this as Christians? So far, we have merely stuck our heads in the sand or thrown stones at it. Neither works. I will write more on this later. Keep me in your prayers cause I am now out of the boat.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Superman

This is my Superman. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see why he's getting so much attention today.

 
 
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My Superman
My knight in shining armor
My Hosea
He works so hard so I can stay home with our children. Then he comes home and works hard for us. He's our grillmaster, coach, handyman, and he cheers us all on in everything we do. This is my man. God gave him to me and I love him so much. Thank you, Father for this wonderful blessing of a man! You of course picked the perfect one for me.

Today is his birthday and we are off to Pigeon Forge, TN WITHOUT the kids! I made chicken salad, homemade pimento cheese, bought fresh ground whole wheat bread from a friend, and steamed whole green beans for a picnic lunch. For his birthday cake, I had another friend, who is a pastry chef, make a chocolate almond cake with and apricot filling and a dark chocolate glaze over the top. He went the extra mile and covered the top with chocolate dipped strawberries. Top all of this off with a bottle of white zin and we are set. (As good as this all sounds, I don't know if I am doing all of that for myself or for him. LOL)


See you gals next week!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wordless Wednesday-Southern Pearls


Posted early because I am going to be away from the computer on Wednesday.


For more Wordless Wednesday see 5 Minutes for Mom

My previous Wordless Wednesdays:
Enraptured
Concentration
Mantis Meal
Intelligent Design

Sunday, September 24, 2006

In answer to the question, "Do you trust Me?"

Before you read this, I have 3 Earthly sources that I want to credit:

  1. Cool Mama in this post called God Remembers
  2. Kpjara in this post called Strongtower
  3. And BibleGateway.com, which is a GREAT source for finding and studying scripture, and is where this post begins.

Bible Gateway.com. Search…"Trust". Results…"See FAITH".

The result of this search was over 3 pages of Instances of Faith in the Bible. 85 all-together.

God has given us so many good faith examples to go by. Abraham trusted God enough to leave his home and go somewhere without really knowing where he was going. Then he trusted God that he would have heirs (although he too tried to take things into his own hands here. I am notorious for doing that). He trusted God when God told him to sacrifice his only son. Jochabed trusted God with Moses life. Rahab, David, Elijah, Daniel…on and on, stories of people who had faith in God. Not just a general faith that God is real, but also a specific trust that God was going to enter the situation.

Time after time, I will be faced with a decision or a dilemma and will not even think to take it to the Lord. Usually it’s my mother that reminds me. Her first question is usually, “Did you pray about it?”

DUUUUH!

Why didn’t I think of that earlier? Come to think of it, why didn’t I think of that FIRST? Why do I even allow myself to worry over anything? God has proven Himself faithful. He never fails to let me see His hand in situations-after the fact. You’d think I would know by now to give things to Him.

But even my mom, who is always asking, “Did you pray about it,” often forgets to go to the Lord from the beginning of a situation. Many of my Christian friends would admit to this too.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for-the evidence of things not seen.” Look at that chapter. Paul tells what faith is and then lists incidences of faith. He goes on to say that without faith…it…is…IMPOSSIBLE…to please God. Why? Because we have to have faith to even believe that HE IS. The very I AM wants us first and foremost to believe HE IS.

Let me offer you this: to not trust God is to put our faith in something else. In doing so, we have set up an idol-another god-before Him.

Faith, trust, is reliance-confident expectation (dictionary.com). We have a hope of eternal life. Faith gives substance to that by the fact that we have a confident expectation that our hope of eternal life is true. It is the evidence, or reliance, that even though we don’t see it, it exists. The NAS version says Faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things not seen.

You trust gravity when you jump in the air. You don’t see it, but you are assured that when you jump you aren’t going to go flying off into space. You don’t even question it, you just KNOW it-with conviction.

That’s the kind of trust I want to have in God-a pleasing, confident, assured, convicted reliance in the One WHO IS. The knowledge that if the world around me falls apart, He is still in control. NOTHING happens that he doesn’t know about and has already planned for.

In the days to come, there may be much to fear with three bully nations rattling their swords at our country. Be still and hear Him ask, “Will you trust Me?” He will be with us always and we have the ultimate hope to come. I choose to trust Him. When all else fails-and it does-and I am to the point where there is nothing else to do? No! I will trust Him NOW. He NEVER fails. And He has my fate in His hands.

On a related theme: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of journaling. Journaling offers a point of reference and a reminder. Just as the Bible gives us examples of faith, so our journals do on a more personal level. Read Cool Mama's post linked above. Nothing builds your faith more than to be reminded through your own journals that God himself is faithful and trustworthy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wow

It's been a long time since I have watched a series on TV other than reruns of MASH and Star Trek. But, WOW! Did anyone see the CBS premier of "Jericho" tonight?

It looks like it's going to be a really good show and Gerald McRaney is in it. I love his down to earth, no nonsense, conservative characters. Looks like he is playing another good one.

Definately a thought provoker and especially after the comments by Chavez and Ahmadinejad about America to the UN, and the radio rumors running rampant these days(they are just that, rumors, been around since 2003 they just seem to be re-running them)

I was starting to get a little fearful. I read an article yesterday about a brother and sister reunited last weekend for the first time since the holocaust. It didn't really have any more of an effect on me other than just that it was a sweet story. But of course the story came back to me with a very different America and my own children as the characters. Along with those thoughts was that I have a son that is 17 and has to sign with the draft next year. So I am sitting there after the show, this train of thought charging into my brain, I'm about to launch into this "God what're we going to do" prayer, when I hear this quiet whisper that somehow rang out above the raging flood in my head, "Do you trust Me?"

Wow.

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Wordless Wednesday-Enraptured





More Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes For Mom

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Concentration
Mantis Meal
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Anatomy of a Life Change

I'm not feeling well today so this is going to be short. I have a need to get this written down but I may have to tie up the loose ends later on. So bear with me.

From experience and from the testimonies I heard over this weekend: Many people come to Christ and it doesn't "stick". When this happens, the opportunity for reconcilliation goes quickly down the tubes due to the "fallen" being fearful of what the "faithful" will think or say. There are some solid truths that we who see ourselves as "faithful" would do well to remember. I offer these as a means to foster compassion, not judgmentalism.

Life change, such as a decision for the Lord, is not always good or complete. Sometimes, it can be a person's last ditch effort to connect and they have been told Christianity is the answer to all their problems. With no discipleship these people never learn to show Christ's love and often their expectations, both of their own faith or of those around them, leave them angry, bitter and in a place far from God that is harder to reach than they were in to begin with. Sometimes, life change is a flash in the pan, a show, and even a desperate attempt to grasp hope. Often Christians see them come in, pat them on the back, Go about our merry way, and watch them leave, wondering what happened to them. Salvation is NOT the end. It is imperative to involve new Christians in such a way that they are around people they can learn from. Look at Jesus. He called those disciples and immediately put them to work. Did they mess up? You bet they did, but they learned from their mistakes in a way that would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Life change is not always visible. Some are seeking God, but have not left their old lifestyle. Their hearts can truly be for God in spite of the fact that they still sin. They can even love Him to the point that they hate what they are doing and may even try to share the knowledge they have even DURING their sin. Our pastor calls it "buzz witnessing" and yes, God is capable of using it. You see, those people Often, it is their perception of what their former friends, both christian and not, think about them that keep them from making a choice one way or another.

Life Change is not always permanent. The old way of life is often more of a draw than a person can withstand. We cannot allow ourselves to be shocked by their stories. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking that they have to be "changed" to be a Christian. Certainly it will show with time, but it takes just that, TIME, and quite often, MANY FAILURES. We have to be ready to "go get" the ones who fall away and promise to stand with them. We must be there to say, "God has not given up on you!" And we must always remember that in spite of what we think, we are just as capable of falling into the same sin...or worse. ANYONE is capable.

To this last comment I want to add that life change is NOT ONLY not always permanent, but it RARELY is. Few who are left to their own can find their own way and I find it a RARITY indeed when an adult convert does not lose his way and fall over and over again, even with help. How often do we get to a place that we think we will be in for the rest of our lives only to have something come along and shake our little world off it's foundation. I'll add this to shake up the theory even more...I was saved when I was 8. When I was a teen, I rebelled and lived the wild life. In my early 20's I had a very real reconcilliation with God and recommitted my life to God. Then in my early 30's, well, I really don't know what happened, but it wasn't Godly. Was my salvation real? Yes. My heart has always been for the Lord, even in my ugliest moments. Do I expect to remain faithful to Him for the rest of my earthly life? I am much wiser than that now. I do expect to be more on my guard and watch more carefully what I put into my heart and mind. But I know that "there but for the grace of God go I".

Wanna know what called me back?

Grace. Unfathomable, unlimited, beautiful, grace.

The voice of One whispering "Beloved, come away with me," to a woman so stained and filthy that the mere use of the word "Beloved" sent me running out of fear.

A husband, who is my Hosea, who in spite of his own pain came after me and brought me home-to my family and to my God, then took all the blame.

A worship leader who followed the call of God to stop the music and say, "The love of God is so great, that when we sin, he calls us to repent, and we do, and he forgives us and picks us up and we go on our way. Then we fall again, and he calls to us, and we repent, and he forgives us and picks us up and we go on our way. Then we fall again...!" I don't know how many times he said it, but it was from God and it was for me. Each time he said it he built to a crescendo and added, "It doesn't matter HOW MANY TIMES WE FALL! HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US, ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS REPENT. WILL WE FALL AGAIN? PROBABLY. WILL HE EVER TURN US AWAY? NEVER"

Yes, the time to choose will one day pass, but until that day, our creator longs for us, yearns for us. He will not stop wooing us till the end of our days.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Seeing the Other Side

There are two women in my church who know my story. It's a dark one that will shock most church people although I think that if I wait a couple more years to tell it, it will be mainstream like everything else. No I can say that I pioneered this blackness all on my own with the exception of satan setting me up with very ripe circumstances and a blindsided attack that left me wondering what hit me. To this day I can't explain the things from my past. There are things from my teenage years that I CAN explain now, but for whatever reason, after years of living the conservative, homemaking, raising Godly children, perfect-little-family, mom life, I found myself in a PIT. A deep, black, full-of-despair, turn-my-back-on-God, PIT! Someday, I will tell the story. I know it has to be told, but I don't know when or how. I am a firm believer that you die to bondage a little each time you tell your story and that for every time you tell it, someone else finds freedom. For now, it is too overwhelming a task to even think about.

To be honest, I'm not sure how honest I should be with the whole thing anyway. I know there are those who need to hear the real, raw, nitty-gritty version, but I also know there are those who would merely be shocked and perhaps change their entire opinion of me if they even knew the gist of it.

You would think that with such a dark and foreboding story hanging over me, I would be very understanding of people and oh so slow to judge. But guess what.

I do have a much greater empathy for those with addictions and bondages. I do know what that feels like and how hard it is to overcome. What I do NOT have understanding for is "Christians".

People are so flippant with that word anymore. I tend to refer to people who are genuinely seeking God as "Christ Followers" because of the negative connotation the word "Christian" seems to carry nowadays. I won't go any further with it. You can already see where the judgmentalism comes in to play. I am never surprised when a "sinner" (used as a general term, not as derogatory), sins. My biggest angst is when "Christians" deem "sinners" unworthy of salvation. I'm sure most people would agree that this is a worthy angst, but trust me, it's not. In doing so, I have deemed alot of "Christians" unworthy of salvation. ooooh. That's harsh. Honestly, I didn't realize it in that light till this morning.

In the Nashville area, it is not uncommon to have musicians on a church worship team who are there just to play a gig. They have no interest, in God except to get their talents on display to whatever talent or producer may happen to be in the audience. I have a tendency, when I know this for a fact, to not even be able to participate in the worship for the attitude I get over it. It is horrible. I have seen this as a satanic tool in my life for some time and have learned, not to control it-I'm not that far yet, but to recognize it and immediately pray to God to let me see them through His eyes.

Well today, God answered me with a real eye opening experience. He said, "Look around you. How many people are dealing with secrets? Secrets they can't tell because people like you will judge them. Isn't that what you were afraid of? Can you win any one of these people (including the one up front) to Me with those stones you are casting with your thoughts?"

The Kingdom of God has NEVER been advanced through ideals or even scripture used as stones.

Father,
Help me to see people through Your eyes. Fill me with a love for them that is so overwhelming that I can't help but share it. Remind me, yes even when it hurts, that being a judge is not my job, but yours. I know, Lord that there are even Christians who will disagree with my way of serving You. I just want to be like Jesus and You are so tearing down the sides of the box I have always had Him in. I see now that alot of the "pit" that I walked through was in preparation for this time. And I know that had I not been through it, I would never have allowed You to bust open my box. I would have retreated and found another one. You know this has been a difficult time-learning to trust You while my ideas of faith, worship and love have all been first bashed against the wall, then stripped away and reconfigured. I had always heard of You as a radical, but to really EXPERIENCE it has been something else. Forgive me for judging Your people so harshly. It's not up to me the way they live out their faith and You are most capable of convicting them of the things YOU think are wrong. Just like you do with me. Forgive me specifically for the thoughts about N****** this morning and about J*****. Even now I have to fight to keep from seething just over her name. I KNOW that is not what you would have me to do. Most of the time, I don't even realize I am doing it. I ask you to please catch me every time and remind me to pray for her and to forgive, just as you have forgiven me.
Amen

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Belated Grandparent's Day Tribute.

I would love to pay tribute to all my grandparents, but I knew my mother's parents best. Due to my parent's separation when I was 10, I don't remember much of my father's parents.


William Sylvester Goff was born in April of 1896. Josephine Constance Ford was born on the same day in April 1900. They married in 1917. He was a coal miner in Kentucky. Together they had five children.

My mom always told me that my grandfather was a hard man, but by the time I knew him, he was as soft as a kitten, having mellowed with age. I often remember him telling stories and tearing up during some of them. He had some of the funniest stories and I wish to this day somebody had thought to write them down. He played music. I remember him hooking up his amplifier and playing for us. He played guitar and had formed a brace out of coat hangers to hold his harmonica (harp as he called it) so he could play both at the same time. I remember my cousins and I kicking up our heels to his tunes after supper. I remember a song called "The Letter Edged in Red", and "The Old Rugged Cross" best. Later in life William developed Parkinson's disease and I always remember him patting me on the back with that trembling hand. Every time we would go to visit them (they lived in a two bedroom trailer), I would hear the teakettle go off in the morning meaning breakfast was ready. My grandfather would get up and cook breakfast and put the kettle on to whistle about the time the food would be done, in order to wake everyone up. As far as I know, my grandfather did this every morning for my grandmother. I just never could imagine him the way my mother remembered him. He seemed to love my grandmother dearly. When she got Alzheimer’s, he was the one who took care of her in spite of it breaking his heart.

Josephine...what I remember most about her was her LOOOOONG hair and her cooking. She had gray hair that she could sit on and kept it in a bun all day. I would ask to brush it in the evenings when she would take it down. I loved the feel of it. She was famous in our family for her homemade rolls and her cakes. She made a killer German chocolate cake. But those rolls, oh those rolls. She would let me have some of the dough and a little pan to make my own in. MMMMMMM

My grandmother's mind started failing about the time I was a teenager. I was losing interest in them and she was losing her memory of us. I went one time after she got Alzheimer’s and while she greeted us with enthusiastic friendliness, she added, "I don't know who you are, but it's always nice to have company!" I had heard of some of the strange things she had been saying and doing so it didn't really bother me. I know that she was afraid of my grandfather most of the time and this broke his heart. He loved her so much.

When I was 17, I got pregnant. It was out of wedlock and though I was being a very defiant teen, my mother was ashamed and didn't want the rest of the family to know. That was okay with me, cause inside, I was ashamed too. I was due in May of that year. I was still going to school and trying to blend in with the walls so no one would notice me. In April, William was sent to the hospital with what I assume was a heart attack. While he was there, my grandmother, who was staying with my aunt, caught some kind of viral infection and died in her sleep. A few days later, William woke up and just knew she was gone. His reason for carrying on was gone and he went home to be with her less than two weeks after her. I know it is stretching it, but just let me go on remembering them this way...My grandparents loved each other so much and their spirits were so connected, that he couldn't linger here without her.

But I never got to say goodbye to them. I had my baby and put her up for adoption and went on to college. I never cried over them, I never thought another thing about them...till I had my oldest daughter. I will never forget. I was sitting in a rocking chair singing to my baby. I just happened to start singing "The Old Rugged Cross". At some point it dawned on me what I was singing and the memory of my Grandfather overwhelmed me. I held my baby close and sang through uncontrollable, grief stricken tears. I was finally saying goodbye to them and wishing desperately they could see their latest great-grandchild. But most of all, I grieved not wanting to see them more often before they went home and that I had messed things up so much that I didn't even get to say goodbye.

Having said my goodbyes to them since, here is a photo tribute to William and Josephine Goff.


Josephine Constance Ford (April 1900-April 1983)













William Sylvester Goff (April 1896-April1983) He is the boy standing in the gate, the baby is his brother.
William and Josephine (taken around 1945)

William and Josephine (taken in 1982) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That day...

I heard it from the neighbor boy. They were getting ready to move so he was home. This 14 year old boy banged on my door and said, "a plane crashed into the World Trade Center!" I didn't believe him and he urged me to turn on the TV. We didn't have cable at the time and the picture was fuzzy, but I had turned it on just it time to see the second plane crashing into the tower. Then the reports about the Pentagon, planes being hijacked, we were under attack. You don't hear about it much anymore, but I remember the reports coming in right and left, mostly rumors, of fires, more planes missing, bomb reports...it sounded like DC was being invaded. Of course we later learned that many of those reports were rumors or hoaxes, but at the time, I really felt like THIS WAS IT. I had to sit down for a minute and think.

My knee-jerk reaction was to gather my children close to me. I was sooo tempted to rush to the school to bring them all home. The only thing that stopped me was that if parents started coming to get their kids, and this wasn't real, it might frightened the kids who had to stay. It was so hard to stay away, but I made that choice early on and am glad now that I stuck by it.

I was babysitting for my best friend's daughter at that time and had to fight hard to keep that little girl from seeing my tears and feeling my panic. Because the tv signal was horrible, I had taken her and gone to the neighbor's house to watch it all. It was there that we watched the 1st tower fall. I remember we were talking and watching it fall, but it didn't really dawn on us till it was over that it had fallen. I remember foggily interupting the conversation and saying, completely without feeling or understanding of what I was saying, "it's falling". Just like that-totally deadpan-but it stopped the conversation and we all stood there in silence. For the life of me, I can't remember what the tv people were saying. I suddenly felt the urge to move. I had to get out of there. I decided to go to my mother's who was out of town, but in my panic I was having a hard time deciding what I needed to do to get there. I finally got us loade up in the care with things to entertain BF'sD. I listened to the radio as I drove. I will never forget the words, (pardon the use of words, it is a quote) "OH MY G*D! The second tower is falling! NO, no, it can't be!" I was sitting at a stop sign and couldn't go. I had burst into tears and was trying desperately to get control for BF'sD's sake.

At some point that day, I walked outside and sat in my mother's swing. Looking up at a the clearest, bluest sky I could remember, I tried to find the words to pray, but all I could muster was, "God, how can it be real? It's such a perfect day,"

I won't go on with MY reaction. My oldest daughter was the only one of my children who knew. I had to break the news to them and was amazed at how little I had to explain to them. Even my kindergartener knew about the "twin towers" in New York City. I think the most notable reaction was when I told my oldest boy-then in 8th grade. He said "nuh uh". Who COULD believe the unbelievable?

There are a couple of things that happened that day that I want to make note of that took place that day. These things were a result of the attacks, but my memory of them have been nearly drowned out by the memories of the attacks themselves. Bear with me while I record them for my own memory's sake.

The kindergarten students got out of school an hour earlier than the rest of the students here. I had gone to line up to pick up my youngest daughter. While parked in the line, I saw someone roll down their window and look out...and up. Then they got out of their car and looked up. The person behind them got out and looked up. After the 3rd or fourth person, I started looking myself. By the time I got out of the car and the reality of what was happening dawned on me, everyone was out, pointing and talking. It didn't dawn on me right away. We live under a flight path. There was a plane. HIGH up in the sky, but in that crystal clear blue, it's con trails were perfectly visible-in a sky with NO other con trails. Talk about thoughts running through your head. I mean normally we wouldn't have thought twice about a plane or con trails, but the absence of any others made a stark statement about the fact that there weren't supposed to be ANY planes up there. Of course later we would learn that it was probably a fighter in route, or maybe even Air Force One, but now I find it a perfect example of the palpable fear that we all had that day. In fact, up until that moment, I hadn't realize why the sky was so perfectly clear and blue. It was normally criss-crossed with con trails.

The second was when...SOMEwhere...in rural TN...some wise guy gas station owner got scared of the possibility of a fuel shortage and decided he was going to start profitting from it. About 5 o'clock, reports of gas prices shooting through the roof...and quick...sent enough people to the gas station, including myself, to cause very long waits. We had ended up at a little gas station with one bank of pumps and a line on each side at least 20 cars long. I remember the gas was already at $2.49 and there were rumors flying on the radio of it surging up to $5 per gallon by morning with a very real possibility of not having ANY by the end of the week. WE were there for an hour or more. I'm sure the people behind us, were happy with me cause I had a 30-something gallon van to fill.

During all of these events, I had a very real sense of us all being in this together-Community. That's what we became in the following weeks. In spite of the terribleness of that day. I loved what came from it. The events of that day were unbelievable, but what I find even moreso is that just five short years later, we have returned to status quo. How easily we forget.


More Sept. 11 stories are found at Rocks in My Dryer.

A list of trubutes to each of the 2,996 victims of 9/11