Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scripture Exchange

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
This was the daily devotional sent by Pastor Greg Laurie a couple of weeks ago and it really spoke to me. The title of the devotion was "Eyes on Him," but the line that stood out for me is "since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses." I can only scratch the surface on the "cloud of witnesses" surrounding me.
I can start with the obvious, the unbelievers or those I know that have wandered in their walk, my mom and sister, Grammie, Travis (my ex husband), close friends. Those that I pray for daily. I pray for their salvation, I pray that the Lord will draw them close. I pray that I can be a living example to them, that through me they may be drawn to the Lord. I see them as witnesses surrounding me. Then I goof up. I complain to my mom about some wrong that I see someone has committed against me. I blow my cork when I let Travis get under my skin. I gossip with my girlfriends. Here I am blowing my witness. How will they see the Love of Jesus in me? I try my best. I even apologize to them for putting the burden on them. The unbeliever doesn't understand what the apology is for, but I hope that someday they will understand. I don't want to be poor example of a Christian. Hopefully my apology can help them see His love. Maybe?
The other obvious witnesses are the children. The kids that I see every week at church, the kids that I teach in Children's Ministry. My friends' children. Korey. I can preach the gospel to them all day long, but unless I live my life according the Word, I won't have the right impact. Wouldn't we all rather "see a sermon than hear one?"
The less obvious witnesses are my church family. I need to remember to live in a way that will not "put a stumbling block in my brothers way" (Romans 14:13). I need to remember to smile, be cheerful. Not grumble. Live according to Jesus. I don't know what is going on in each persons mind, so try to be a light to them. Always remember to err on the side of grace. No easy task for me, but with His help and guidance I can only hope to improve each day.

Today's verse from Pastor Greg is "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Thank you for sending that to me, Pastor Greg. That is what I have been trying to say here.
Turns out, Fran, that I am just as long winded as you are. Maybe more so!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Queit Strength - by Tony Dungy

I have never been one to think that a Superbowl winning NFL coach would write an amazing book, but he did. I was interested in it as soon as I heard Tony Dungy on Focus on the Family a couple weeks ago.

Tony's book isn't so much about football (although it is laden with NFL characters and stories) as it is about following where the Lord leads you.

I was inspired by this book. It is full of advice on how to live and on parenting. I recommend it to anyone who has time (it was a fast read, I did it in 2 days. OK. I should have been reading LIT books, but...) and I especially recommend it to fathers. I am having both Joel and Travis read it!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The End of a Friendship

"Hey i'm gonna ask someone else to be in the wedding because i think your schedule conflicts with whats going on. I will pay you for your dress and whatever else you bought. I still want you to come"

That was the text message I received at 5:13 this afternoon. Yes, you read that correctly, I got dumped in a text message. My first reaction was hurt. Hurt, obviously because I am no longer wanted by someone who 4 months ago considered me a good enough friend to ask me to be one of her 6 bridesmaids. Hurt because she TEXTED me. Hurt because after all the grief she caused me this time last year planning my wedding (she was my maid-of-honor), she can't forgive me for missing her shower this afternoon. Hurt because she beat me to it. Mostly hurt because I see this as what it is. An end of a friendship. Another door closed on my old life.

Once the initial shock of the text message (still a little bitter about the delivery) wore off I mostly felt relief. Last night I prayed about not going to the Bridal Shower. I originally told her I couldn't go today. We had our Annual Baptism and BBQ at Kayak Point and I wanted to go there with my family. Also, Korey was coming home after being on vacation for a week with his dad and I knew I would be missing him. After the invitation arrived I thought maybe I should go, and RSVP'd yes. That was my mistake. I should have left it at no, sorry. The anxiety started on Wednesday. I had plans to spend the day with my friend, who I haven't seen in months. I was excited. I turned down other people to go over to her place. Monday night she tried getting a hold of me. When I woke up Tuesday it was to a text message letting me know she had some other commitment. It was a good one, but I was still disappointed. It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that I read her myspace and discovered she wasn't completely honest about why she canceled. The anxiety about the shower began.

After our conversation this afternoon when I called to let her know I couldn't make a ferry and I wouldn't be coming, I began to feel that I wasn't going to be in the wedding. We talked about my schedule for the next month, and about the planning that I offered to help with but was told no. I explained that a 3:00 Friday afternoon rehearsal might not work for me because I have to pick Korey up from school, but I would try to find daycare. I could tell she was hurt that I wasn't coming. I apologized again and told her I loved her. (I didn't mention that my maid-of-honor didn't come to my shower so I know how disappointed she was.) I had previously told her that I wouldn't be coming to her bachelorette party, because I didn't want to be around drunkenness and the behavior associated with it. I know my flesh well enough to know that would be a bad situation to put myself in. Thursday my daily Spirit 105.3 text message was "4 at 1 time u were darkness, but now u r light in the Lord. Walk as children of light! Ephesians 5:8-10" Reminding me that as a Christian those not walking with the Lord will not understand all of my choices.

At the baptism I sought the advice of a good friend who made me feel a peace and comfort I hadn't felt since Wednesday about the situation. On my way home I prayed. I came up with (I, yeah right, the Lord spoke to me) the solution. Tomorrow I will call her. (Tomorrow because I don't feel mature enough today and I know I will try to justify myself) I will explain how I feel. I will ask, Honestly do you want me in your wedding? Are we even still friends? Have we grown apart too much and are we now living in different worlds? I wanted to talk to her. Explain that I love her, but if she wants me out of the wedding I would understand. I would still be her friend. I felt good about that.

Joel read the message first. He has never read my text messages first before (unless he's picking on Kim). He held my hand and said you have a new message you better read. I knew what it was when he said that. I went in the other room and cried. And called my good friend I mentioned before and left her a voice mail. Within 5 minutes I was done with tears and felt a huge weight lifted. I will probably send her an email explaining how I feel and what I was going to say. Again, it will wait until tomorrow.

My God is awesome! He knows how I feel about confrontation. He saved me from a painful, drawn out conversation. I was asked on Thursday to teach in Children's Ministry this weekend. The lesson we taught was on Psalm 23. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me. We explained to the children that the "valley of the shadow of death" is anything scary that comes before us. He did comfort me in my valley. Of course He did. He is my Shepherd.