Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Will you be ashamed?

I was raised, bathed, immersed, in a Christian home. Not just a Christian Home – but a Church Goin Churchianity Home.

In the 1980’s we wore sweatshirts with the words NOT ASHAMED – the only trouble was that we lived in the Bible Belt of America – where the only shame seemed to be of those who weren’t participating in church lock-ins and Spring Break Mission Trips. I had no problem with shame – what others thought – of my church activities. In fact, I had alot of pride.  Still battle with pride over all of the opportunities that we had in those days in Oklahoma City attending the huge churches – all of the connections to celebrity and opportunity.  It was easy to wear the sweatshirt.

Romans 1;16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for the salvation of everyone who believes, of the Jew first and of the Greek as well.

But as I grew older – I was immersed in a different home. It was the World, Work, School.  It told me that Christian Sweatshirts were OK for youth rallies, but not the work place.  That our Joy of Christ needed to be replaced by our Spirit of the Mascot of our school. That our fellowship with the youth group was training to blend and carry to the fellowship at the local pub with employees networking in the evenings.  I never lost my thrill of the “glory days” of churchianity, yet, taken out of that bible belt experience, I wasn’t sure how to blend the World and the Church.  When the Church just wasn’t important in the Northwest – the activities weren’t there – neither was my passion.  I kept my sweatshirt on – telling people of the gospel, not ashamed – yet living to produce an income, a skill, a name, product.

In 1995 I was in a very high position in a dream job – Oh for the Pride and Opportunity that came my way.  People, Places, We created so much for so many – and then it fell away.  It was gone, without warning, all it took was a meeting of less than 5 minutes, and my husband and I were both unemployed.

Stripped of everything I thought we had been building – We started over – using the connections and skills – to start up the ladder again. It wasn’t as hard – people love to connect  networking bar hop. On the drive to work one morning a verse came to me – 1 John 2:28.  I  was listening to KLight Radio in the morning – and heard a man I knew from my youth – he shared this verse - And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.KJV

I think I almost drove off the road at the Realization

                                   – I had MISSED IT!

My whole youthful life had missed HOW TO LIVE. 

      I had been living so as to not be ashamed BEFORE MAN. 

             I had not learned to have the desire to not be ashamed

                                            BEFORE HIM!

That evening, I was in a local pub, looking up at the ceiling, which was painted black, with silver flecks, wondering – KNOWING that I would have hung my head in shame – remorse – and fear – if the Lord were to return to find me in this place.  Seeking worldly connections for employment – seeking people for validation – seeking networking for the trust of security.

I left that place – driving home – and read a banner – of a contemporary service – new to the area at the time – at the First Baptist Church in Coos Bay. I met the ladies – they brought me in – which is a whole other blog post. – but it was the start. 

First Baptist Church and KLight Radio – Instruments God Used in my life – so that I can live -

Are you living a life – that when he returns, you can see him Face to Face – Eye to Eye – in Confidence and Courage when He Returns?

As we enter into this time of reflecting on the Resurrection of Christ – and the Hope of His Return – I ask you – Are you Ready?   With the Gospel and your Life?

This morning I was reading the book of 1st John and came to 2:28 – the memories came flooding in – it has been over 15 years – and each day, moment by moment in my day I still ask -

Is this what I want to be doing when the Lord returns?

What will He find you Doing? Believing in? Trusting in ?

More Versions – Just in Case ya didn’t hear it!

And now, dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.NLT

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.NIV

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at  His coming. NASB

And the Amplified - And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We take a break to Scream and Cry and Laugh

We’ve been through almost an entire year  - together steeped together – with another family – bound together, walking together, with many other families of  kindred spirits – helping this family through.  There was nothing we could really do while watching them walk through it, just pray, give support, and not turn away.

I won’t share their story – I am sure that they are writing it – but I am here to report -

NO MATTER WHAT is happening to you,

NO MATTER HOW FAR the odds are stacked against you,

NO MATTER HOW HIGH the powers to be are after you,

NO MATTER HOW MANY people have turned against you -





For those who persevere –

with or without patience

faith to move mountains,  faith of a mustard seed

with tears or with joy

His Plan Will Unfold.

I am glad to be standing by my friends at what appears to be the finish line – and now watching the rebuilding of the team.

Their family will never be the same – be the wistful naive, day in day out family of Pre-June 2009,

So things will not go back to normal. I hope, I know that their normal will NEVER be normal again. I know that they will take the strength gained, and remember it , use it - for a life time.

And when they publish their story, when they are free to share it -

I will share it with you. But I can ALMOST guarantee – It’s more than you are walking through right now.

When I heard the victory shouts ring, I shouted as well. Whooped and Hollered.

And then it hit me, Its Real. Its Really Real. It’s as good as over!

And the tears came, shock, relief, maybe even a bit of denial.

I am seeing the reports – but the walls built around my heart, standing on the wall for them, are shattered as this long awaited ending has come. I can step down, praying in a different direction now.

It will become real, and I will keep rejoicing. And I will remember that God Still Has a Plan- can’t wait to see it unfold.

Friday, March 5, 2010

When you are adrift in the middle of the Lake,

being pushed by the winds and moved by currents, is not the time to find out that ~

  • you really don’t know how to paddle,
  • your communication skills are lacking,
  • you are trusting in people who also paddle willy nilly,
  • you have set an impossible arrival time to cross the lake, and
  • it will be several hours before the wind changes direction to help push you home.

IMG_2616I have several photos of the boys in canoes, kayaks, and little rafts paddling around little ponds.  They like to paddle. They love water crafts - the freedom of movement. However, what I missed seeing, is that they are only really stirring the water with a stick, being happy to go wherever the stirring takes them. I’ve seen them get frustrated with the one man rubber raft, both declaring it too hard to use, paddles are all wrong – joy gone, tiredness sets in, and they put up the boat. I never gave it second thought  -

Until today. When I had the bright idea to bring in PE to the learning  time late morning, paddle a bit in the boat, and then pick up hubby for lunch.  We happily paddled willy nilly out ot the middoe of the lake, then turned back east to head home. However, we were unaware of the currents in the lake, or that the small wind that picked up was enough to spin us around, or that we lacked the power to paddle against it. The harder we tried, the further the wind blew our craft west across the lake.

IMG_2614We came up with a plan to paddle/drift to the south edge of the lake, then take our time and move dock to dock, so we could rest without the wind moving the avon.  It took us an hour to move from the middle of the lake to the south edge.

We stopped at one dock point, had a rally, an impromptu demonstration of how to really control the boat, using the oars as a rudder, how to take turns on either side paddling, how to use a better fluid move with the paddles, how to watch the stern to judge direction, how to keep the wind from spinning us in donuts.

With a deep breath, the determination to get home, and the confidence that we could work together, we went dock by dock, for an hour, and made it back. We got to see a variety of birds, several enormous carp, and some great dock designs.IMG_2567

My arms are like jello. If I did that every day for a week or a month, I’d probably have an entirely chiseled upper body!

There were times when each of us felt like crying, and times when we felt alone. Hubby didn’t have a car to deliver the motor to us. The motor was in the boat house, I thought it would be fun to paddle on our own. . . .

IMG_2615And I started thinking –

Of how many of us think we knew how to paddle, but found our ignorance and lack of skill when forced to paddle against the storm?

How many of us think our relationships are great until one of the people decides to speak their own truth and the other disagrees?

How many of us think we have the faith to move mountains, until a few pebbles fall in our paths?

How many of us think we have patience and trust with prayer, until prayer doesn’t seem to move the boat forward?

Faith, Trust, Hope, and Paddling – can not be tested, until you thrust head first into the wind trying to continue forward in the way you know you are supposed to go.

We think we trust, we think we walk in the Spirit, we think we battle as prayer warriors – but there is a difference from sitting on a lounger on the deck with a cup of coffee and being in the wind drifting with children in a canoe that can flip.

As an update – I wish I had re-read this before I started my Saturday. I was enjoying a wonderful morning with my husband, in our coastal town, partaking in all of the tourist activities, sun, no wind, low tide. When the mechanic and I started disagreeing. And he started accusing me of false statements. And I started accusing them of false dealings. Round and Round, the phone calls went for 2 hours, culminating in my most embarrassing moment ever picking while picking up the car. In the end, I received what I needed, and they delivered what they promised, with alot of ugly in the middle.  Un necessary ugly.  At some point, I should have taken my own wandering thoughtful advice to Put the Rudder Down and Change Direction.  How quickly we are put into an environment to test what He is teaching.  May the next exercise go better. :)

May the wind be always at your back, but may you persevere and come through .  Love to you! :)


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Affirmation Junkie – weaning from Social Sites

I spent the greater part of yesterday “hunkered down” at the house, save for one small trip to the store for tongue depressors for math class. . . .

During my time home without interruption, I prayed and weighed truth – to how much I continue to do, for the hopes that someone, anyone, will comment – and say well done, or think Well Played or Well Presented or Well Taught, or Great Effort or such.

I have a Twitter Account and a Facebook Account.  I post things there often, in the beginning it was a social network of friends that all lived in the same town.  A post proclaiming that we were going to go sledding, would round up friends who had the afternoon off.  A post about perking coffee in the afternoon would gather thirsty tired caffeine deprived friends. A post about  a river walk would spark a nature journal class and letterboxing impromptu trip.

Now, away from the crowds, without spontaneous friends, my posts seem to not have meaning.  Who really cares if we just got back from the beach, or if we are going to go trout fishing or if we are playing with tongue depressors  for the 2-5 ours that our status will be on top of Twitter or Facebook.  What am I wanting from that? To tell you the truth, I’m really not sure.  I’ve been sharing our lives for the hope of someone joining us for so long that I’ve lost focus on priorities and the why.

I post on Twitter and Facebook to let people know I’ve updated my blogs. But really, I could email the friend that is specific to the post, message them even.  If I find a great link, why not send it specifically to the friend that came to mind, instead of pulling in 127 other people?

I sit in my cozy chair, with a fleece blanket given to me by a friend, with a steamy cup of coffee over looking a beautiful lake. My family is at rest still this morning, I had a wonderful time reading Psalm 72 this morning. I could draw, or fold laundry, but instead, I push myself into the lives of other affirmation junkies on line.

If the only virtual friends that I make on Facebook, those willing to have online one line banter with a long time friend, with no possibility of in real life get togethers, and I am feeding their need for affirmation, is it what is causing the hole in my heart of not being filled?  Always giving to them, in the hopes that they will push my like button as well? Always serving, Always sharing, Always going.

So – the action plan that I have prayed about, thought about, pondered really for the past several days -

Cancel Twitter.  One line ramblings of people promoting a product or total affirmation junkies.  Retweet what I’ve said! Um. No.

DeStatus Facebook.  The fact remains that most of my family and real friends have given up the way of emails, and gone to chat and messaging on Facebook.  I do like to be connected, and be a part of their lives, so it will not be cancelled. But before I post several random links or status updates, I will searchingly ask, who am I encouraging with this? What am I asking for? Who really needs to know my flittering thoughts?

I do not need Twitter or Facebook to promote my blogs. I am writing them for my family, as a year book of sorts for my boys at the end of the year.  I really could care less who reads them, but they are tagged in such a way that if someone wanted to know about the areas I share, they could see how we do things.

I am going to step down from the offer of being a product tester for a homeschool magazine.  The job has not started yet, but one of the main requirements is stirring up the crowd of friends enough to promote the product for sales. I earn nothing. I spend alot of time reviewing products I may not even ever use, telling my family – I’m Working, while the bank account remains the same. . . . .

I am going to keep pondering the balance of Affirmation Junkie Activities with openly sharing a life with people. I have taken time to step back and see who my real friends are, and who just likes to banter with me online. I am considering which long time acquaintances I will continue to post with, in the hopes that “when the kids are grown” yada yada, we’ll get together.

I want to be a Child of the King. At Peace and At Rest. Resting in the knowledge of his saving Grace. Knowing He loves me and my Hope is in Him. Not in the continual checking to see if someone has commented on a status update. :)

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. How do you balance being an Affirmation Junkie with Facebook with Twitter and with Blogging?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Affirmation Junkie

One more label to tag onto my self description – Affirmation Junkie. I’d like to say it doesn’t matter what people thing, I get to varying degrees of saying, acting as if I don’t care, but – by my online and in real life actions – I know its true. In my heart I know its true.

I love when people comment on the blogs, or send an email. I love hearing that others like what I’ve done. 

I love the instant gratification of posting on Facebook and getting the Likes and Comments. Secretly I know why they do not have a dislike button. It would ruin Facebook. Tear apart families and friendships.  No one REALLY wants a dislike button. :) It would be the end of the fuzzy feeling. It would bring in fear. and Fear would take down Facebook.

I have gone through several shifts of my addiction to online social sites – working through what is real, what is created. Seeing those in real life, and seeing their online persona – wondering if mine is so vastly different as well, praying that I am portraying myself in a consistent truthful light.

This morning I read the term Affirmation Junkie on A Holy Experience. Depending on what spectrum of junkie you are, would tell you if this article will make you feel better, or shed a light on a dark side of a needy personality. Honestly I think I lie in the middle. I do find my joy and love and friendship in Christ. It is what he has been teaching me these 5 months alone on the coast.  To find the answers in and through his word alone. To find love and friendship and fulfillment and contentment in him alone.

Each day I think I’m real close – and then a tragedy happens, like yesterday, when I was bawling on the beach again, about our broken car, wondering who to call, fingering my cell phone, who would tell me what I need to hear?  I heard it. Loud and Clear.  TALK TO ME! So I walked a mile down the beach, in tears, talking to him. Sorting it out. Hearing. Listening. Feeling comfort. Called my family and had them meet me there. Walked some more. But my knee jerk reaction was – who do I call to tell me it will be ok?  Which Friend? Why?

I have felt the need to distance myself from my daily dose of Facebook. Virtual friends in a virtual world.  I’m not really needing to spend time knowing that they had the perfect cup of coffee or to see the latest picture of the new shirt. I’m not sure that a total withdrawal is needed, as I’m so very alone here.  But, thanks to the article, I think I am hearing over and over where my involvement comes from  - being an affirmation junkie.

If you are reading my babbling and goings on here, and havn’t clicked out of this ongoing praddle of a post – could you pray for me? For my learning process in this? For a healthy learning of friendships and involvement and servant hood? Going from the front lines of social media and co-op event planning to being a hermit crab living alone on the lake isn’t my goal.  Some healthy medium would be nice. :)