Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moving on...

hey yall!! just wanted you to know that the Clearing it Up blog has merged with my Comings and Goings blog and can now be found at Please check it out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving!

"The body thrives when it's heart has a purpose." Thanks "Heroes" for the line that got me started blogging tonight after weeks/months of silence. How true is this statement? In my work, I see patients every day. Some are happy, some are thriving, some..... are not. For many, especially the elderly, it's like their fire is flickering...smoldering, but they've lost sight of something, or all hope in anything. It's sad when you see it. They lose their desires to even see the sunshine or talk to friends. If you're like me, you try and remind them of the things they like to do or people they like to see. But, if you can put a purpose back in there, they perk up in the meantime til I see them again. Think about it. Surely you've seen the face of a sweet old lady that just found out they're gonna have a new grandchild or great-grandchild. It just makes their day!! Even telling them about our upcoming family addition and explaining I'll be on maternity leave next time they come in makes them light up for a minute. It's really cute.

But this principle is true spiritually, too. Lately, I've been contemplating what to do about this Bible study I help with at a halfway house. In a way I feel like I should leave. In other ways, I feel like I should stay, like I would miss something if I stopped going. For the last few visits there, I have felt like it was a struggle to go...or even to remember it was my week to go. I didn't feel like I was much use to the girls. I didn't even want to prepare for the study. My body wasn't thriving. It wasn't my purpose to push myself to keep going. It was time to come out. After a lot of prayer and struggling, I finally asked God on 2 occasions to make a way for me to come out of the study without hurting anyone's feelings or putting anyone in a tight spot. The first time, the director of the house was there when I got there so all I had to do was talk to her.... but, one of the girls who had left the house was back and I had missed her so much, prayed and hoped for her to come back so much, and there she was! How could I leave when she had just come "home"? I missed my next visit there due to illness. Then, this week, I did the same thing. I prayed and prayed in my morning quiet time about what to do.... and then, later in the day, there was the director again. This time, it was just me and her. I knew then that God had been giving me what I asked for the first time, but I chose to ignore it!! Now was my time to act!

Nonetheless, I did speak with her and since then, I have felt so free again. Free spiritually. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders that was no longer mine to carry. Very nice. I am a child of God, therefore I know I have a purpose in his kingdom. The number one purpose is to glorify God, as vague as that sounds. Everything else is just a detail. So, I'll keep praying and figure out the next direction he'd have me to go. I hope you guys get a chance to find your purpose as well!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

God's Chisel

Whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever it takes.... I will wait for you, Lord. It is only by waiting and your response to my search for you that chains are broken, lives are healed, eyes are opened and you are revealed. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have you been sent?

There's a lot going on in my life these days. There are a lot of things to be thankful for and a lot of things I just don't understand. We all know those mixed blessings. Not just bittersweet circumstances in our own lives, but times when we are overjoyed with our personal lives, but there are significant factors playing in those around us. Our family is in one of those spots. I'm so hurt and frustrated with a family member that I don't even know where to begin and I'm afraid that all this callousness I am developing will hurt my relationship with God. Can how we interact with others on an earthly/personal level affect our spiritual lives? I absolutely believe that. There's an old testament passage that says if we have problems with our "brother" we should go mend things with him before we bother to offer our sacrifices to God so our sacrifice won't be tainted.

I just don't know what to do. Have you ever gotten so frustrated, so tired of talking to what/someone who seems like a WALL?? That's where I am with this person. I'm tired of the battle. I'm frustrated, confused.... weary. I've been working my way through Romans in my devotional readings the past few weeks. Sometimes I feel like I do this out of rote instead of piousness but God can and does still meet me there. He taught me an interesting lesson this week. I'm in Romans 10. Many people know this chapter as part of the "Roman's Road" based off this passage:
Romans 10:8-13
But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
I found myself thinking, "Oh, if only my family member could get this. If only they would hear it and give God a chance." If only.... then, I read the next verses and this is the lesson God has taught me today.
Romans 10:14-15
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
It is not my job to make my family member believe. It is my job, however, to pray for them to HEAR the words. For someone to come to them and preach the gospel to them (not "judge" them). For someone to be sent. This person may or may not be me. And, it is my job, as a believer, to share with her as doors open, to encourage her. Not to tear her down like I want to when she hurts me. There will be a lot of area to mend here if this person is me, because I'm human, but what else can I do but pray? God is just. His will prevails.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Kingdom of God

This is the way of the kingdom of God, this is the way of the kingdom of God.....

Well, I'm singing it, but you may not know this little song. It's one of the songs the kids learned at my church Vacation Bible School this week. I helped with the kindergarten class this year. We had 17 kids with perfect attendance and some mean energy levels, but they did GREAT! I really enjoyed being with them and watching them learn about Jesus. VBS and children's ministry in general is always interesting. I found myself looking at them, wondering when it was going to click. How long would it be before they have that epiphany moment when they understand how truly big God is and how small we are in comparison. Would they get out of elementary school? high school? college? Would God protect them from the evil in the world until they got to that point? Will they ever understand grace?

So, that's a lot of pondering. Of course, I have no idea when their time will come. And I have no idea what choice they will make when it does come. But, in the meantime, they learned some valuable lessons this week including the Lord's Prayer. But it was this little song they learned that got me blogging. I would hear kids singing this to themselves between activities, during class, during snacks. It's not just the song, but the motions. They sing, "This is the way of the kingdom of God" (hands go up), "This is the way of the kingdom of God"(hands come down). See, they are learning more than just a lesson in what the Lord's Prayer says, but also the importance of prayer! We pray our petitions to Heaven... God sends blessings down on us..... We raise our hands again in PRAISE for the blessings. This is the way of the kingdom of God. Relationship. We talk to God with prayer. We give our praise and thanksgiving with hands raised to him and we present our requests. He honors our praises with good things, blessings, love, forgiveness, grace... he pours them on us like a shower of his love. We worship him.

I'm trying to keep it short this morning. Hope you all have a blessed time at your VBS as well. To see a short video clip of the kids at Blackjack singing this very song, click here. (The kindergarten kids are the ones on the front row.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

faith, faith, faith, I gotta have faith, Faith, FAITH!

ok, so I can hear George Michael singing in my head and you can't, but it's still a funny, although fitting, blog title.

Faith. One small word with amazing power and implications. It seems like everything comes down to it. Small things.... faith that the car will start, that we'll wake up in the morning, that there is cereal in the box...... to the Big things... faith that Jesus is the son of God who saves us from our sins, that he could live and breathe on this earth to be killed as a sacrifice for sins and then to rise again to claim his place in Glory... and that because of him, I have a faith for tomorrow.... that tomorrow will come, that I will be provided for. I am because HE IS!

I have so much to say that I don't want to garble it all up with words. I just want to praise God. I don't know how faith works, I just know that it does. I don't know how God chooses to love us, sin and all, but He does!

I have learned so much about faith in the last six months, but particularly in the last 4 weeks... God is truly amazing. When I seek him, I truly find him. He gives me the strength I need to seek another day and to seek him in it. I have lived in James..... chapter one's "double minded man"... chapter 2's "faith without deeds is dead", faith and action working together make your faith complete.... chapter 3's tongue taming, b/c i can't praise him and be upset with him at the same time.... chapter 4's submission to God and not to my own will (the reason for arguments and quarrels amongst us.... and chapter 5's patience and prayer.... definitely found some great words to stand on!

Thank you so much Lord all that you have blessed us with. Not just my family, my friends, my circumstances, but the tangible things like Robbie's new job (yeah!) and passing my board recertification (yeah!) so I can still work. Thank you that you will always honor faith, even the size of a mustard seed and I can use that faith to move mountains. Thank you that faith without deeds is dead. Thank you that by putting our faith into action, you have blessed us greatly. Praise you, praise you, praise you... I can't wait to see what comes next...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Minding my own business...

I got to thinking about minding your own business or the concept of "stick to what you know" this afternoon while I was on the phone with a friend.  I'm studying for my boards (still, they are coming up June 1) and she asked me what all I had learned lately by studying.  She said, "Well, you already know a lot, can't be much more to learn."  I replied back, "Not really. I know a lot about my world, but I know absolutely nothing about others and there is always PLENTY to learn in just one specialty!"  This came into play with my car this week.  

My car, beloved Fiona Ford, broke.  It was great!  You know, looking back, she had been acting funny for a while.  I had noted about 5 or 6 weeks ago that the air conditioning no longer cooled things (as if I could forget it when it's over 80 degrees in Greenville).  Pish posh.  Money's tight, so I'm not getting it checked out.  Oh, it's a cool morning?  Bet I need my defroster for my windshield that's fogged up.  Oops, won't get warm air either....interesting.  Guess I'll just have to see out of this little crevice I can see through if I crane my neck and tilt my head. And surely that fan-type running noise even when the fan is off on the AC/heat doesn't mean anything.  I can just ignore it.  Until on the way to work this week, it just overheats.  Three times within a mile.  Now, I'm afraid. Little Fiona could blow up... I don't wanna blow up.... so we have to go to the specialist.  Here's where there are things I just don't know about.  I know a few basic words:  brakes, tires, radiators, distributor caps, engine block, pistons, spark plugs....but exactly what these things do (with the exception of tires and brakes), I'm not 100% clear.  No one on this earth could be, but I do happen to know a guy down the road who probably knows 90% . He's my mechanic.  And he fixed Fiona Ford by finding out what I was convinced was my car getting ready to blow up was just a leaky hose that was draining the fluid from my radiator.  

Man, how we can see things so unclearly sometimes.  I neglected Fiona's issues.  When she started to have a problem, I should have taken her on for some diagnostics and made sure she was in good working order. But instead, I just sat there feeling the hot air in the very hot weather, listening to her sound odd, thinking it was gonna be bad and I didn't want to know and I could live without knowing.    Now I know people do this with their health. I work for a breast cancer surgeon.  I see it everyday.  "Well, I felt this lump somewhere around Christmas, but my family was around and I didn't want to tell anyone or be a burden so I just let it go.  Yeah, I mean, it got bigger but by then, I was afraid to find out, I'm just scared." Then they come to the specialist (i.e. my office) for "diagnostics" and a plan to get better. 

I'm a specialist in breast cancer surgery. Garry is a specialists in cars/mechanics.  My husband is a specialist in computer programming and engineering.  My sister/mom are specialists in education.  My dad is excellent with traumas and my step-mom is an expert in loans and finance.   Now, can any of us know absolutely everything about everything???  NO!! We surely can not!  Our minds would just explode.  We're better off to mind our own business and stick to what we know and lean on the other specialists when we need them. Together, we can make a working body that comes close to doing everything and knowing everything, but no matter how much we know, we still can't know it all. 

But I do know this one guy who is a specialist in everything. I could refer you to him.  His name is Jesus, aka God.  He ultimately knows everything we need at any time. He just waits for us to come looking for him.  He's not just a spiritual specialist, but also a life specialist. He can direct you exactly where you need to go and in exactly the timing he has planned out for you.  But, just like I hope you don't neglect your physical health and Garry hopes I don't neglect the health of my vehicle, God doesn't want us neglecting our Spiritual Health. Spiritual Health is defined by our relationship with God.  It's just like that Casting Crowns song, "Slow Fade".  Where it says, "People never crumble in a day, it's a slow fade"... 'cause it is. 

One day you think you are going along fine, then you think, "well, I'm too busy today, I can't read my Bible before work, I'll get to it before bed." Then you don't, then you don't do even once a week. Then you start forgetting to pray.  You start caring more about yourself than those around you.  "I can't stop to help this old lady put her groceries in her car in that parking lot, I have to get home and start dinner. I'm too busy."  Then you start to not even care if you go to church or not.  Then it's, "Well, maybe I'll go play poker with the guys (or go out with the girls for a girls night) Saturday night. Yeah, we'll be out real late. We may not even get in til 2 in the morning. But it's okay, I can just sleep in on Sunday."  You do this until one day you just hit the biggest brick wall.  Things are crumbling all around you.  Sometimes its things others can't even see, emotional things even.  To the point that you just cry out for help. And you know what, God is there.  He is a sucker for us.  He can't shake us or refer us out to another specialist. He is then Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end (see Revelations 21). He will be there every time we turn to him.  But wouldn't it just be easier if we did the maintenance?  If when things got tough we dove deeper into our word and prayed more?  If we would reach out to each other more when we can tell our friends are suffering?  If we would pray for each other more, encourage each other more?  God would still be there. He'd be making us more like him every day.  And even though we'd still face trials, our well maintained spiritual health could help us cross through with ease.  In the real world, specialists cost money. sometimes lots of it.  But the Spiritual Specialist, Jesus Christ, is free.  It won't cost you a dime. 

If you haven't met Jesus, then I recommend you establish care with him.  He is the Great Physician. You won't find one better.  He can get you on the right track. Once you have established care though, don't neglect your maintenance exams.  Stay plugged into the church where you can get healthy arms and legs to help hold you up in tough times. .  Keep your prayer life strong so you can get some healthy air to breathe.  Prayer is how you will always have a safe place to vent your feelings and frustrations and you won't hurt anyone else with your words or actions.  Stay deep in the word, reading daily and looking for answers that you need and a word to stand on for each day.  This will be the spiritual fuel that keeps you going.  Drink in his love and blessings so you can sing his praises all the day long.**

Philippians 4:4-9  
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

**see also: 

Psalm 56, Matthew 26, Mark 4, Luke 6 & 8, John 8, Romans 8 & 10, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 8

(You know, I try to make these things shorter, but I always end up longwinded. Sorry guys.)