Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reality.... When freedom doesn't seem free?

The conflict of my emotions at the end of my yesterday wasn't expected. I woke with such enthusiasm... such excitement. (Woke up? Who am I kidding. I hardly slept! I was SO excited!) And yet, I left the house with one kind of whoa-ing emotion.... but came home wearing a whole other woe-ing one....... 

To attempt to tell of it, words won't describe. The sweet lady (who I'll call Miss 88, because of her age) that I picked up from prison was precious! Fiesty! Full of life. Funny! (Hilarious, more like it.) Sharp minded. Quick witted. NOT at all as I'd pictured her. She looked much younger than her age.... and acted more like a 40 year old, than one a mere two years away from 90. The whole prison loved her. She got well-wishes from both her former fellow inmates and the officers. Everyone was yelling and blowing kisses when we were leaving. I can't began to tell you how sweet it was! Tears rolled down her cheeks as we left and threatened to rolled down mine.

She'd been inside those very same gates for 16 years! What does it feel like to walk out of them for the first time after all that time?

She kept telling me that, "Words can't describe it." 

She oohed and ahhed over the trees that we past on the road. The fields. The sky. The air-conditioning. The feel of a car. The houses. The buildings. The sky. EVERYTHING! Everything was so exciting to see! I loved looking and seeing for a few minutes through her eyes.

Long story (one for another day), but I left the prison with two new-releasees, not just the one. It was such a God-thing that it's funny to see His set-up. So Him! So what He does.

It was so sweet to begin with. I can't tell you how many times I looked over at Miss 88 and saw her wiping her eyes. It was so overwhelming! Still, so hard to believe. She kept telling me that I think I'm just having a dream. She was scared she'd wake up............ it was perfect!

And then.....

A lot happened between pickup and drop off. We had breakfast..... ate a late lunch..... stopped by multiple gas stations.... the AIM Center.... the General Dollar.... a Thrift Store..... Rite Aid..... and more! Hours later I dropped one off one place... and the other in another.

On my way home (immediately upon dropping the last (younger) girl off), my mood changed. Here's how I worded it when telling it to a friend:

I was so down on my drive home. It seemed sad for Miss 88 to get out of prison and yet be dropped off at a very unfamiliar place (a transitional home). At least she did see some people there that she knows, former inmates that had recently been released. But still! Why not home??? Why no family???

I took Kim to Huntsville first to meet her probation officer. The house where she plans to go had no beds open. They told her to call back in a week and a half. I left her in a homeless shelter! It was a sweet place. But HORRIBLE to have to go to!

All the way home I wondered: one left scared in Lovelady...... the other afraid in a homeless shelter??, scared (but acting brave), all alone by herself....????? WHAT KIND OF FREEDOM IS THAT??????????????? Why get out of prison if that's all you've got left and that's where you're going??? I am distraught over what kind of life that is. I wouldn't want to live like that. If that were my case, I don't think prison would look so bad.


I've been upset about it since. It was a 14 hour round trip. I spent lots of time, and lots of money, I bought them things that I knew they'd need and some they didn't, I gave them encouragement, support, talked about Jesus, I fed them, loved on them, patted them, hugged them. And yet, after all that, I keep thinking, "What good is it?"!!! How much did that really help? They have no home. No family willing to take them. None, evidently, right now to go back to. No job. No support. They're alone and are left to figure it all out by themselves. You lock me up for sixteen years and let me out when I'm eighty-eight with a mere $10 bill...... and where am I gonna go? How am I going to take care of myself? She told me the place where she's staying charges $150 a week. How in the world will she ever be able to come up with that? Whatever will she do next? What would I do? What in the world does she have to live for? And will she live the rest of her life afraid? Not knowing? In a strange land somewhere? With strange people? 

What about the younger girl? I'm sure she can make it, others have, BUT!!!!! She's basically left on the street! What now? How? And who? And where? Who's gonna hire her? How will she get there if they did? How will she make it? And a thousand other questions...........................??? Again, that doesn't sound like freedom to me! It sounds scary! Sad! Lonely! And unsafe! No wonder so many end back inside prison...... prison, to me, sounds better than that.

"What can I do?"......... "What can I do???"....... "Lord, what can I do????".............................. I'm so sick! The question plague me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

They don't remember who they are.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, in a world where fairy-tales were lived, not just told; evil was battled and good won, and life ended in happily-ever afters....

I started watching a new TV series called: Once Upon A Time. The very first episode opens with these words:

"There was an enchanted forest filled with all of the classic characters we know. Or think we know. One day they found themselves trapped in a place where all their happy endings were stolen. Our world."

Those words quoted above that scrolled on the screen intrigued me. Especially these, "One day they found themselves trapped in a place where all their happy endings were stolen." 

Well, that is what the enemy tries to do to us, isn't it? That is his goal. That is his whole purpose. He can't really (unless we allow him to), but he sure hopes that we'll fall for that lie. He sure wants to steal our happy endings. He wants to make us believe that happily-ever-afters.... REAL happily-ever-afters never really happen. 

Through each episode the story flips from the "our world" that they find themselves in... and the fairy-tale world in which they have been doomed from. In the book, the fairy-tale world is where they're really from, their characters there in fairyland are who they really are. And the interesting part of several of the episodes is hearing one little boy (the only one that still truly knows) say about the characters in "our world" is that, "They don't remember who they are."


And isn't it that truth that entraps us. If we're believers, true believers in the King and His Son and His Kingdom, then we are really royalty! This "our world" that we find ourselves living in is only temporary. There is evil still fighting against us. And whether we always think so or not, good really will win in the end. And yet, in  this "our world" deception, we rarely see ourselves in our mirrors as our Father the King sees us. We too, too often, don't remember who we really are! The spell, if you will, of the deceit of the enemy.... and the wardrobe we find ourselves wearing against a greater inside intense knowing..... We fail to remember that this world isn't our home, and that yes, our happily-ever-after ending really, really, really, truly IS coming! 

If you are a believer in Jesus, then, if you are not royalty, then God is not King. But... if you are... (*big smile!*), then one day You'll see Him.... and we'll see us as He does!!!! We'll know who we really are... like we've never begun to imagine before! And we'll know Him in a way that we cannot even fathom! It really is real, right now we're stuck in this world... but one day we'll live in our Eternal One!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Your chariots awaits you...


I am greatly anticipating my tomorrow's meeting! (Is that ever an understatement!) And in my anticipation I FaceBooked a friend requesting prayers for the treasure that I'm assigned to pick up and deliver. If you've not met her yet, click here to do so. Here is a copy of our conversation.... perhaps you'll see the excitement in the words that we typed to each other?
  • Me: Pray for my 88 year old new friend that I'll meet for the very first time in the morning!! I am greatly anticipating our visit! I feel like I am the soldier sent to drive the carriage that is being sent to pick up one of God's most prized precious princesses! Woe, at the honor, that He'd chose me to do it! I plan to be a sponge.... and hope to glean much! May Jesus' love FILL our chariot!
  • Her:  Woe!! As I read your words I was smiling! I LOVED your verbiage... carriage... I so went to another carriage: The Ethiopian Eunuch!!! Don't know why... Honor, indeed!
  • Me: Maybe you and your ladies can pray for us in your Bible study in the morning... and be the wind beneath our wings...? I'm sure if you do that we cannot help but feel (fill!) it!!! 
  • Her: I am SO proud of you AND inspired by your willingness to DO!!! To DO what He has put inside your "want to" for years!!! PLEASE call... I want to hear every detail!! AND you MUST HUG that Princess for ME!!! Tell her my name..... Oh SWEETEST friend, we SHALL pray!! 
  • Me: Wow.... at the Ethiopian Eunuch comparison! Perhaps I was sent to go like Philip... Just a vessel of His when one of His children needs it!
  • Her: Yes!!! Yes! I believe so! He sent! You GO!!! Willingly!!!
  • Me: I will!!!! I'll hug her for you!! I thought all evening of greeting her (after we get inside the carriage, of course, so as not to scare her when I first meet her) as a Princess. And tell her that it is my honor... and that The King Himself has sent me to her. :)
  • Me: Wow! Fun! Do you know how big this is?! Little things that we take lightly.... are really never "little things" in the Kingdom at all! Okay. I'll hush! You can see I'm excited!
  • Her: Can you imagine? I mean 'really'? I can NOT! 
  • Her: Serving is so UNDER rated!!! The more you give... truly the MORE we receive!!! I love your heart! Your passion that comes!
  • Me: No. I cannot imagine either. Can you imagine her heart tonight as she tries to sleep? Can you imagine God as He sees her... and what He thinks? Can you imagine Jesus and the angels around her? Can you imagine all that the Heavenlies are thinking? You know what? I think that it's truly a very big deal to Them! I wish I could see a glimpse of Their rejoicing!
  • Her: OK. Your words brought visuals...... now tears!! YES! He sees! Yes, His angels ARE rejoicing!! She is being SET FREE!!! GLORY!!!!!!! I can recall MANY occasions where I KNEW I was being "set free" / absolved / served my time. HOW can she sleep? Only by the peace of God!!! I will pray for her!! YOU have made her "real" to me!!!
  • Me: Thank you for "loving" those that I love!!! 
  • Her: You "paint" such a real "picture" that I wonder if we truly REALLY consider?? Heavenlies!??!! WOE! Whoa!! REAL!!!!
  • Her: How can I not? Love those you love? There was a time I WAS the petition you begged for!!
  • Me: As you have bent your knees for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Her: Someone is Praying You Through... will forever be a "life~link" for me!!!
  • Me: God's GOoD, isn't He!?! I love all that He does! And to think that He lets us play a part in whatever it is that He's doing!!! Incredible! Too big for our minds to imagine! Yes, people pray us through... simply because GOD HIMSELF puts it in our hearts to! How big is that??!! How massive!!! What Love!!! Incredible! You have to KNOW that God's excited about our excitement over His girl! Wow... minds canNOT imagine!
[Hmmm.... and you know, looking at the picture above that I found to post as a visual.... I wonder at the invisible "court"... the counts and soldiers of the Heavenlies... that will surround us on our journey in our own feeble vehicle tomorrow? Woe, really! IF we only knew!!! Not only that!!!!!! One day there really IS going to be a Royal Wedding!!!!!!! WE (children of God's) really, really, really will be royally attired! We'll have royal robes, and royal slippers, and a royal crown on our heads! Our Prince will meet us! He really rides in on His white horse! Can you even fathom the wonder that awaits us!!].

This shall NEVER happen to you!

Never Lord!

"... Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

"Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. "Never Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to You!"

"Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny himself and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done." ~ Matt 16:21-23 (emphasis mine)

How often have we thought that about ourselves, or said that to someone else that we cared about, "This shall NEVER happen to you!" This thing, this whatever thing this is, we'll never let it happen to you! We'll pound on the doors of Heaven, we'll plead at the foot of our Savior, we'll bow before the Throne of Grace, we'll ask... and it will be given!... Never! There is no way that God will ever allow this to happen to you!

How often do we say that or think that WHEN... it was the very plan that our Creator, that the Author of our stories, put together in the first place! It's what we've been prepared for! What we've been called to. It's in the Sovereign plan of God and was laid out before we were ever born..... Perhaps it's the very instrument that God will use in our lives to take Jesus Christ to another in?! What makes us think that we won't suffer.... even after He's told us that we'll share in His sufferings?! Do we truly "have in mind the concerns of God"? Or rather is what's in our minds, "merely human concerns"? Do we consider God's plan? Or only see it our way and consider our own? Will we truly deny ourselves, take up our crosses and lose our lives seeking only our Savior's? Do we "follow" Him and live and die as He did? Or do we try to save our lives in order to gain something else (health, wealth, and prosperity, etc) in this temporary world?

I wonder if just perhaps this "this"-thing that happened to you that you never thought that should have.... happened for a reason, happened for a bigger purpose..... perhaps it happened because it was really supposed to?!

[To ponder upon the thought of it more, click here to read this post (Oh Lord, You are NOT to be my servant.... I am to be Yours!).]

Like... really? Like.... behind the wheel??

My husband is an excellent salesman! He's evidently a super-duper-dude at his job! He's been one of the top salesman probably as long as we've been married. And we've been married 26 years... that's a very long time. People love him! I often tell people that he's like Joseph and Samuel, every since I've known him, he's grown in favor with men and with God. I don't know that he's ever met an enemy.

He's won lots of prizes... many of them places. We've gone on cruises and flown to exotic vacation islands and here and there all through the years. All I can say about his latest win is... is that it sure is gonna be different! It was defined in the email as a "Nascar Experience"! We're to expect another email that is soon to follow giving more detail.... But what I got from the one that was just sent us? I think that HE is one of the ones that will be getting behind the wheel and driving! You've got to understand this, he doesn't know how to drive a manual. And he has trouble staying between the lines in the neighborhood. He isn't sure what a stop sign is. He may be a great salesman... but his driving is known for his inability to do it! 

Hmmm.....? What can I make of this? It's three weeks from now. Surely God has something fun and interesting to teach us in there somewhere? Surely there's a parallel to learn? A parable of sorts? A visual in the experience to teach something in the spiritual realm. I shall wait... and ponder in the meantime... and anticipate what it is that my Jesus can show and then teach me there and through this! :)

He doesn't have to. I just know Him. And I know, too, that it's something that He often does! Especially when asking. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be pleading at His door asking for Him to! I am anxiously expecting.... and I bet my Jesus is just as anxious... since we've involved Him, I think He's enjoying this journey with us just as much as we are! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What "thing" could you enjoy more than God?

"When sin looks more enjoyable than God." ~ Here you'll find a super power sermon by Francis Chan on the crazy trade that we make in search, we think, for something better! That's what temptation is all about. Its hope is to deceive you so that you'll turn your face from your God's, and you'll worship lesser things until ensnared by the trap that was set for you. It's not worth it! Nothing compares to God and all He has for us!


Warning: Danger Ahead

Maybe it's the mood (or the week of the month, if you know what I mean!), for it's another day... and another thing... that begs to hurt my feelings too (as it did yesterday). It was strange when it knocked. Unexpected. I wanted to go with it at first, and then, I wondered what am I thinking? Where did that come from? Am I going to make a mountain over every molehill? Am I going to grow it until seething?

I let my mind hurt my feelings again this morning! Not over something someone did, but something someone didn't do. Really? Am I that nit picky? Am I that tender? Is my skin that thin? Am I that pitiful? Do I really (and will I let myself let me!?!) have to go looking for something?

It's then that I decided it wasn't them.... it's me! And it's what my mind keeps trying to do to me. Ridiculous! I've a made-up mind though, to extinguish every fiery dart that the enemy throws at me.

I was reading in Exodus 12 and 13 about the regulations to follow for the Passover. After my mind's thinking and it's current battle, what was said in 13:4 stopped me. It says, "Eat nothing containing yeast." Another version, "Don't eat anything with yeast in it." Shooo... in these circumstances, isn't that true! No, the content of the passage is not referring to my current mood of the moment's feelings.... but the Holy Spirit is able to use anything for revelation to convict me when I need convicting!

Yeast represented sin. And I kept thinking, don't eat any thing (don't eat any thought!) with yeast in it! Yeast is used because you can put a teeny tiny amount into dough, and it rises the dough and makes it grow into a whole lot more of it! If I continue to take this teeny tiny bit of yeast (this little teeny tiny bitty negative thought to lead to such an overload of negative thinking) and leave it left there without dealing with it.. it'll grow (as I alluded to in my earlier post) to something hugely massive! 

I suppose one reason this particular verse mentioned above stuck out today was because yesterday the one (while I wasn't looking for it) in Matthew 16:6,12 jumped out at me. It says, ""Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."... They [the disciples] understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."  AND... both yesterday and again today I decided that I need to be careful, too, of the yeast in my own mind that can multiply to full grown sin and take over my whole mind and all of its thinking if I refuse to guard myself against and don't get rid of it upon seeing it!

(1 Cor 5:6-8; Matt 16:6-12; Mark 8:15).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't you dare hold that!

My feelings are hurt! Someone did something ugly. And it hurt. And as good as my yesterday was, it's silly really, it's not worthy of the battle I find myself fighting.

And yet...

It happened last evening, and the memory of it keeps coming up. All day long I've quickly talked myself out of it and dismissed it as soon as it did. And before I know it or mean for it to, my mind throws it back up again... and then, wham, there's goes the feeling.....

Ugh! What is that?

I'll get over it. Because I'll continue to battle it. Like I said, it's silly really. The enemy just wants to mess with my mind.... and he hopes that I'll mull over it and grow the wound until bigger. He hopes to keep it bleeding. Well, his hope really is that I'll pick at the wound until I puncture it deeper. He hopes that evidently, it'll be a grudge that I'll keep and I'll carry. He hopes I'll nurse the grudge in order to keep its misery active. He's trying to pierce me. He'd love for this thing... this little thing... to grow to be massive! That I'll continue to hoard and harbor bad feelings until it produces a dividing wedge and keeps the person and I forever weirdly divided. 

But! I won't let him! 

Sin.... be off with ya!

Hear my God say to me as He once said to Cain and said later in New Testament Scriptures [These Scriptures are changed to personalize and fit my right now's moment... it's not a direct quote, but its meaning to me is the same], "Sharon, why are you hurt? Why does your face look saddened and why are your brows furrowed? If you take every thought captive as I've told you... If you think only on good things... If you continue to renew your mind... Won't you find victory? But, if you don't, sin is crouching at your door, its desire is to have you, it wants to master and rule over you, but you must master and rule over it... You have inside you that same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Use the power I've enabled you with!"  (Gen 4:5b-7; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Phil 4:8; Rom 12:2; Eph 1:19a-20; 1 Cor 10:13; Eph 3:20)

The above picture has words on it that say, "Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you." 

I like that! 

What did it teach me? It taught me not to do to another as was done to me. Honesty, it wasn't meant to hurt me in the first place. It wasn't done with that purpose. What hurt, was the lie... the deceit that tried to cover up what they didn't want to tell me that wasn't hard to figure out. So un-hard, matter-of-fact, that I figured it out without meaning to, without first even pondering upon it. 

Again, what did it teach me? It taught me not to lie and attempt to cover the truth up. It taught me that it hurts the one you're deceiving when we chose to deceive them. It taught me to remember to just go ahead and to tell the truth to begin with. Truth is freeing. Lies entangle... Lies entrap us.. 

Why are my feelings hurt? Why does my face look like this?..... I don't know, Lord. Your GOoDness, Your grace, Your mercy, Your love.............................................

Oh wow, "Your love"? That same "love" that "keeps no record of wrongs" and tells us not to! Well then, there's my answer. "Record" forgiven! "Record" erased! Because love does that, doesn't it! My face is smiling now! You've given me the Truth, "sent forth Your word," and thus, fixed and healed my feeling!

A good day. A prayer. And some wonders.

Yesterday was a very good day. It was one huge, sweet, good, thing after another. It was a day packed full with woe-ing wonder of God.... what He's doing, what He's done, and what He's going to do. What He's put into place. What He's accomplished. What He's setting-up to bring about... in His perfect time to. I cannot begin to tell you the puzzle pieces that He showed us! "Us"? Me and a friend. We ahhhed and ooohed over each new found piece! We looked hard at them. We turned them over. Examined each crevice, each nook, each shape, and each corner. We valued them. Weighed them. And wondered..... at the picture that these puzzle pieces showed us a glimpse of!!! We couldn't control our marvel! One of the most interesting parts, is comparing her pieces with my pieces when we've not talked in a very long time, in how similar they were and how they so succinctly fit together. Who, but God, can do what He does?!

The evening/night ended with me driving to Birmingham. I went to the Church of the Highlands to give ADOC training for those interested in prison ministry. We were blown away by a multitude of things when we got there... but perhaps that is for another day....?

I had the sweetest drive up there alone in my vehicle with my Father. At one point, as serious as my heart could be, I said to Him (yes, I wrote it while driving):

"Lord, I don't want to miss what You've called me to do, what You've beckoned me to, what You've convicted me of, and compelled me to do. I don't want to dismiss Your probings and Your proddings. I don't want to miss the whisper of Your voice, or dismiss the loud voice of Yours that I've heard when I KNOW You've called me. Help me to not only hear You, but also to heed to what I've heard! Help me not to ignore You whether on purpose or because I get busy and distracted before I go through with it. I don't want to leave this earth before I've done all that You've purposed and prepared and planned for me to do. Before I've done what You've equipped me for! "Every day ordained for me was written in Your Book before even one of them came to be...".... Oh Lord, please forgive me for not bowing and submitting and fulfilling all those things "ordained"-for-me-to-do things on all the ordained-beforehand-days that I didn't! Keen my ears to hear! And pierce my heart until doing! Provoke the passion inside me so much so that I am uncomfortable until moving! Help me to know, Jesus, that You are still going about Your Father's business... this time in me! Help me to realize what that is.... and then, Lord, help me to get busy and to be about it!....."

"What do God's hands look like," I wondered on the way? The answer was simple. They look like mine and like yours... when we're doing what He's told us. How can people see them if we fail to carry out His mission? If we fail to help the need of our neighbor when we see it? When we pretend to not hear the cry when we walk by that someone that's hurting? When God shows us the need, and we look, but then we do nothing? 

When I look at my hands, I wonder, do they look like the hands of Jesus like they're supposed to? I know, but I sure want them to!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh Lord, You're not MY servant... I am to be YOURS!

How backward we too often have it.... and without knowing or realizing that we've even got it backward. How quickly we become disoriented.

I was reading in a book yesterday. The book made mention of a respected Christian physician in the early 1900s, his name Walter Wilson. Dr. Wilson had a deep love of Scripture and diligently studied the Bible, applying himself to doing everything He found in God's Word. Even though, doing all of that and in spite of all his effort, he felt his life unfruitful.... as in, not seeming to bear the spiritual fruit that we're made to.

He continued his work as a physician and a lay preacher... all the while, frustratingly longing for more. In time he was met by a missionary from France challenging him with a question, "Who is the Holy Spirit to you?" Not being able to answer that to his satisfaction, the question haunted him. Then, on the evening of January 14, 1914, everything changed. Hearing a sermon by Dr. James Gray (a former president of Moody Bible Institute) preached from Romans 12:1, Gray asked, "Have you noticed that this verse does not tell us to whom we should give our bodies? It is not the Lord Jesus... He has His own body. It is not God the Father.. He remains on His throne. Another has come to earth without a body... God gives you the privilege and the indescribable honor of presenting your bodies to the Holy Spirit, to be His dwelling place on earth."

When Wilson was later able to get alone with God he said to Him, "My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated You like a servant. When I wanted You, I called for You. When I was about to engage in something important, I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task. I have sought to use You only as a servant to help me in my self-appointed work. I shall do so no more. Lord, I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without. I hand over to You. Live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is Your body from this moment on. Help Yourself to it...."

Wow! What a powerful prayer! After reading it I wondered if we could we say the same? Are we willing to give to that extent that Dr. Wilson just prayed? Would we allow God to send our body to Africa? Would we willingly let Him lay it on a bed with cancer? Uncomplainingly, would we let Him blind us? Or rack our body with pneumonia?

We treat God like our hired servant. We come to Him when we want something, when we want Him to do something, heal something, give something, help something, bless something, provide something, protect something. When we want Him to move us, relocate us, position us, put us in the job or the school or ministry we're wanting. We want Him to keep us free from all sicknesses and diseases. We want Him to prosper us and bless us abundantly. We want Him to do as we've asked Him to do. And when He doesn't? We don't believe in Him, we lose trust in Him, we're disappointed in Him. We feel defeated, rejected, alone, ignored. And because of that (if we can), we often take the matter into our own hands and do as we originally wished to anyway, that He didn't.

Thinking of what Dr. Wilson said, and being that I am where I am in my life right now, and also in the book that I am currently studying in Ruth, may I add to that list of his?

Are you willing that He lay your husband down and put you on a journey of suffering alone all by yourself? Can He take your children from you and you still trust and be willing to serve Him? We want Him to heal our loved one that lays sick or dying... and when He doesn't we shun Him, holler at Him, shake our fists at Him, or refuse to talk to Him. We don't see it as the place and path that He wants us to walk in. And if we do, we quickly think that if this is what God wants from us just to be used as a tool or instrument of His for others to be blessed or learn something from, then we don't want to be the instrument He uses... God, we rebuke, that's not reason enough! 

Is it satisfactory to you if He choses to take all that you have due to a famine of some sort or due to the destruction of disaster? Will You let Him take you to prison.... not just as a visitor, but as one that serves with Him as a prisoner there along with those other inmates? Will you feel blessed if His desire is to use you as a single, never meeting your mate to marry, but serving as His bride alone? Can He cripple your legs without your whining and writhing and fighting against Him? Can He strip all that you have and leave you homeless and you still praise His name and joyfully serve Him.... knowing that He has you in the exact place and position that He (before the foundation of the world) purposed and planned for you?

I often think of our bodies as His vehicles; He just needs a willing vehicle to ride in. He needs someone willing to go where He wills for it to. Are we honestly willing to do as He wills... or rather, do we will Him to do only as we do? Is our motto truly "Jesus take the wheel"... or do we say that, but do we instead have our hands firmly gribbing the wheel and beg for Him to bless where we are willing to take Him?

Are we guilty of doing as Dr. Wilson pointed out to us, are we guilty of treating God as our servant instead of us being His? Do we tell Him what we want to do and ask Him to bless it? Do we not like the vehicle He's specifically and individually chosen for us... whatever it is... because it hurts and it's painful and it's not what we'd like to be dressed as or doing?

When we seriously lay our lives before Him to be used as He's planned and prepared it, we get completely out of the way and allow Him to live through us... wherever and however and in whatever way He chooses.... whether that be through death to self or death through someone else or the worse case scenario that our minds can imagine.... Our true thinking then would be: Here am I, Lord, do what You want. May You use me in the manner that truly brings You the greatest glory.

With that mindset, it makes no difference where He places us or in what condition He places us in... we're submitted and trust all that He's doing. And knowing that we're submitted, we know that He's "doing,"... instead of believing that He doesn't care and that He is truly doing nothing at all even when we can't see Him.

What if you could hear Him saying to you now: I am seeking someone to serve Me, but I constantly find that I am the One you're expecting to serve. You bow and pray and ask Me to let you do My will... and then you turn right around and ask Me if I will do yours... all the while fully expecting Me to do it?

Oh Lord, what is the vehicle You've chosen for me that You want to use? The vehicle of poverty, sickness, disease, suffering, sorrow, death, imprisonment...? It's easy to be excited to be used in all of the glorified things that bring us highs and makes us feel good.. yet often He choses to use instead the foolish things of the world. May I be willing, Lord, even in the suffering.... because in all truth, that is mostly when Your light shines the brightest. It's through the hard that You can be seen the easiest and You can get the most glory.

Who (what?) in your life are you truly serving? Are you living to serve your Savior? Or, are spending your life trying to get Him to serve you in whatever the ways that you want Him to do so?

[Reposted today from a last years post because of the conversation I just had with the sweetest lady whose daughter is serving a lot of her life in prison.]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh wow! What shall I get her???

I just got an email from the prison. The social worker was asking me if I would pick up and transport a lady getting out of prison on this coming Monday? She's sorry for the late notice, "But," she wrote:

"... She's 87. Her birthday is Saturday, she'll be turning 88. She's been incarcerated 16 years. She's frail. In a wheelchair. I don't feel comfortable putting her on a bus. Would you mind taking her?...."

Would I mind? 

Is that a question? 

I'd consider it an honor to! 

And now the thought plagues me..... "What'll I get her... for her birthday????" For at 88... surely, I'll have to get her something!!!

Sadly, I am taking her to a transitional home about an hour and a half from here. (Wow, when typing that just now, I realize that I am actually taking her to the city that I just moved my daughter to. Hmmm??? Perhaps there are visits in the forecast??? Perhaps Divinedly ordained, planned on purpose by our God, ones? I have to wonder, "God, is this another one of Your set-ups?")

Anyway, back to the "sadly" part. I'm taking her to a transitional home... not home-home. Why? Does no one at home want her? Can no familiar face and none of her family pick her up to rejoice a minute with her? At 88??? Surely, can't someone?

Eighty-eight... and finally being wheeled out of prison after all that time. Wonder, I wonder, wonder what in the world that feels like?

I'm excited! I can't wait to meet her!

Oh no, she'd better not be leaving too!

Oh the throes of my last post. LQQK what came (or what we found out that came) immediately in the mail after posting it:

You have GOT to me kidding me, right?! I mean, she's beautiful! The pictures are beautiful! We ordered them. We knew they were coming. We'd been looking for them. We were expecting them. 


After the thoughts in the last post? You do realize where my mind took me the moment upon seeing them (Senior pics) after that, don't you?! That: Oh my, she'll soon be leaving me too!

A Senior already! The baby of my three. She doesn't know and we haven't decided yet..... there's no telling WHERE she'll be next year!

Perhaps she'll choose to stay home with her brother? He chose to go to a nearby college on a football scholarship and stay at home with his precious parents ((*smile*)). All three of my babes are the sweetest thangs eva! All three make me laugh until I cross my legs to keep from wetting my pants. They make me dance with them. Sing with them. Watch something on TV with them. Search things on the Internet with them. Shop with them. Eat with them. Come walk outside with them. They're a bowl full of laughter and super fun to be around. And they honesty really do like hanging around their mom and their dad.  It's hard to imagine being left in the one day future without all three of them still living at home with us.

As I said in my last post, Prissy's left. And now Sabrina reminds me everyday that she is very soon graduating... and that she could very well very soon be leaving as well. ................ ........... ........... ....................... ............. Hmmm????................ I think if she does, I just very well may follow her! 


Oh Lord, how blessed I am! Never for a day even do I take those babes of mine for granted! Thank You every day for every second You've loaned them to me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

She's gone...

Well, she's 21. Perhaps she's old enough to leave and start out on her own endeavor? But to a mom, do we ever truly want to let go? I had to pry my fingers off of her. Not on the outside where she could see, but from the inside where I tried my dog-level best to hide it from her. She watched us when we left, surprised that we weren't crying.... that, too, was kept concealed. For I didn't think she needed for us to.... she herself was too tender.

This isn't the first time. She's left before. But when she left for the University of Alabama.... I pretty much thought that she'd be back. When she left for Legacy... which took her to Ewtah, Alabama, and to Israel, and to California.... I pretty much thought the same. But this time I'm afraid it could be different. This time she left on her own.... with her own job, paying her own bills, in her own apartment, with her own career, on her own adventure.... This time, I'm not so sure! :/

I don't know what to say. My  feelings right now are too feelingnizationing to be expressed. (Made up word? Yes, exactly. Perfectly fitting to describe me.)

I so VERY MUSH LOVE her!!!!!!!!!!!! We have such fUnnnn t(w)ogether! ! She's barely even gone, but I so miSsSSs my gurl!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What was it like?

What was it like?

What was it like to be pregnant and due to have a child in the times of Pharaoh? In the times when Pharaoh had given orders to have all the baby boys birthed to the Hebrew women thrown into the Nile? It was safe to have a girl child, those weren't snatched away and so rapidly slaughtered; but the boys..........

What, I wonder, was that like?

Did they dread the news of pregnancy? No doubt panic set in from the moment they knew that they were with child. Fear, like none that I can imagine, had to flood the mind like no other time. Did they spend their days and nights praying, "Please Lord, let this child that I'm carrying be a girl. I  cannot bare for it to be ripped away from me and drowned after carrying it for so long. Lord, please, I don't know how I could stand it." ?? 

Were there prayers like that?

In a time and day in culture when boys were the choice gender to give birth to.... that season of time had changed the choices, I'm sure, of so many of the women.

It takes a lot out of you to have a babe in your womb. Yet, even the hardness and challenging moments of the pregnancy endears you toward that child inside. Even the throes and thrashing of the labor does the same. Pain seeks its reward. Pain searches for purpose. Pain demands a reason. And seeing that precious babe's face for the very first time, makes the excruciatingness of the pain an even greater exuberance of joy. And yet, in this day, even that was ripped away. The anguishing look of the mom just after birth, sweat drenching her hair and beading on her face, her eyes in anguish in that first few seconds of not knowing.......................... Then the mere whisper (even if not spoken verbally, shown on the face), "What is it?"

"It's a ______________." What was the sex that they longed for?

"It's a girl!" Surely exhaled breaths that had been held was expelled with a relief that can't be measured. Perhaps, "it's a boy" wasn't even spoken.... but instead sorrowed eyes were made more furrowed and sorrowed with a slight shake of the head from the sadness of the knowing.

How horrid! What was that like?

Then, seeing moms that you'd seen growing a belly for months walking the streets with empty arms in horrified reality and mourning...... What if you'd been pregnant too, at the same time, and you now carried a female infant, while the other mom carried none.... Or vice versa. What horror! What an absolutely ferocious time to live in.

Can you imagine the emptiness on the streets that showed for years and years and years until that whole generation was no more. Only girl children playing girl games and doing girl things and girl chores.... with no boy children throwing rocks and sticks and learning how to wield a bow or a sword. No little boy toddler's feet following their father's footsteps. No little boys being circumcised or presented to the priest for purification. 

If they had school in their day as we do in ours, can you imagine those schools years filled with chairs of one gender? Can you imagine the weirdness in the lack of guys in the seats? It was an everyday everywhere constant reminder of what had been done.  

What was that like?

And then.... in all that..... there was Moses. "Drawn out"... as his name means.... but "what exactly for?" I'm sure he wondered. And again, everywhere he went in all that he did, he was consciously aware of what had happened in his loneness. No boys to play with his very same age........................No men of his nationality his same age when he grew older.....................?

What was that like?

And then again, it happened again.... this time in Jesus' day.

What was it like?..... What was it like so lonely in its realness?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Base to Unit 1...

"Base to Unit 1."


"Come in Unit 1...."


"Base to Unit 1.... Unit 1........... Can you hear me Unit 1?"

.............. Silence............

I miss my dad!

I miss the company.

I miss the hustle and bustle and craziness. I miss the radios and calling units and at the end of the the call saying our call letters, "KWT594 Base clear." I miss ordering parts. And the men. And the commotion. And the crunch. And the bidding. And the suspense waiting to see if we got it. And doing payroll. Though I doubt I'll ever miss paying those taxes. Where do the days go?

Unit 1. It makes me both smile and tear up. 

Unit 1. That was the unit that my daddy answered to. My mind can remember his voice now. "Go ahead," he'd say. Yet sadly, he's not here to answer anymore. The owner and president of his construction company. Well known around these parts. And well respected. My daddy not only departed this earthly sod, but his company no longer exists either. And yet, we still... and always will... still have his memory!

Unit 1. I wonder how many times a day we called him? He (we thought) was indispensable. We couldn't run it or make a decision without him. He was a good man. I miss his voice. I miss his answer. I miss his direction. I miss his truck. I miss him driving it.

Today is my mama's birthday. But she spent it sad. No amount of try-to could cheer her up. She misses her man. She misses base's contact with her "Unit 1." It's been 8 months and 4 days and she still can't figure out how to do life without him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Imagination... a made-up mind!

Meet Karson. He's got a lesson to teach.

Karson is a cutie. A tiny thing in a three year old body, still shroud in clothes measured for 18 month olds. He was still two when this happened. He may be young, but he has a vocabulary that, for his age is mind-boggling.

He loves words. He loves sentences. He loves putting them together. He'll tell you something in one sentence, and then tell you the same thing again in another using different words for the things he's just told you about. He can literally carry a conversation quite impressively well with adult men. He's hilarious. And a fun little man to watch in action. 

Okay now.... now how do I tell this? How do I start to get to my point?

Keep Karson in mind. Pause his story for a minute. Let me retrack a sec and tell you about Stacy.

Stacy divorced a dozen years ago and hasn't dated since. Until just recently. She's falling quickly for this new man she's met. And with her fall, because of her uncertainty, she has new fear. Her fear in the last couple of weeks has been developing into panic. 

Steve hadn't called her since Friday. It was Sunday when she called to tell me. By Tuesday she couldn't stand it any longer. She stopped by his office to see him. To ask why? What's up? What's he thinking? What's he doing? Does he not want to do this anymore?

The story's complicated. Too long to tell. But seriously, his excuse sounded excusable. I had told her earlier that it probably was. He was overwhelmed. Over burdened. Over stressed. Over everything about all sorts of things. And he was just trying to work some things out. 

Evidently her stop helped refresh him, uplift him, lessen his load. By that afternoon, he was back to his normal. He called so much, in fact, that by Friday afternoon she confronted him again. Wondering how he could bounce back so quickly to normal as if nothing had happened after a whole weekend of cold? This time, without meaning to, she heavied his load.

The last three weeks have been back and forth like this. And mostly this is the problem. Her mind's imagination. Her wonder of what might be happening when she doesn't hear from him. The scenarios her mind makes up for what might be happening. Her speculation.

It's like when my son fails to text me back when I've texted him. I'll allow him the permitted estimated time that I think it should take... and when I don't hear in the properly time allotted, I'll text again. If I still don't hear, I'll call. If he doesn't answer?................. I start to panic. My mind quickly escalades! My mind quickly decides why. He's probably doing something he shouldn't. Or he's somewhere he's not supposed to be. Or, he's dead! He's had a wreck, and it has to have killed him, because if he were conscious he would have called. I mourn his death. Picture the family and friends that will soon be coming by. Visualize the funeral. And all of his friends that will be there. And............................ I make myself miserable! I'm a mess when he calls. And mad, by then! Poor thing. It's really because of nothing he did, more simply it's because of where all my mind went because he didn't. [Please forgive! It's hard being a mom! A mom's imagination is scary!]

That's what Stacey is doing with Steve. And it's not healthful or joyful for either of them.

Back to Karson. He called his "Honey" (his grandmother). While on the phone he decided to tell her a story. One he made up. But not made up in advance. He was making up this story as he was talking to her. It went something like this....

"Honey, I was walking in the woods, Honey. I was walking in the woods down a trail. And, Honey, as I was walking a fox came out from the woods. Then, Honey, not just one fox, but so many foxes came that they were surrounding me................ Mama! Mama! I need you, mama!! Come hold me, mama!! Mama!!! Come hold me!" 

At this point my sister (his "Honey") questioned him, "Karson? Are you okay, Karson?.... Karson!" She was on the phone, so she couldn't see what was happening. 

Karson continues his urgent plea with his mom, "Mama! Come hold me! I need you to come hold me! Mama!"

Honey hears his fear and so asks him, "What's wrong, Karson....?" But before he answers and as he continues to plead with his mom she figures it out. "Karson? Are you afraid of the foxes, Karson? It's not real. It's just what your mind made up. It's just your made up story. There are no foxes around you really." But.... he still needed his mama to console him. :)

How often are we like that? We make up things in our own minds to make us fearful about. It's not true. It's just a made-up place that our visual in our imaginations took us off to. It's not really happening, but our thinking convinces us that it is, or that it will.., that is already has, or that it's going to....

That's what Abraham did. When he journeyed in the land that God had told him to go to that He had promised him. Abraham was fearful of the Pharaohs in the land. Sarah, his wife, was beautiful. Abraham was afraid that the kings would put him to death in order to take her into their kingdom. So before they even left, he made an agreement with Sarah to not tell them that she was his wife, but to tell them instead that she was his sister (she actually was his half-sister.. but yes, his wife too!) whenever they came to a new land.

I had been studying this (about Abraham) when I heard what Karson did. And after I'd talked to Stacy about what she'd imagined about Steve. I loved the parallels between the three pictures. It's amazing to me though how Abraham could believe and have faith that God would give him the son that He'd promised him... but that he was afraid that the people in the land that he was going into would kill him. His fear blinded him to see the logic. He couldn't have a son.... if they (to get him out of the way) put him to death. :)

During this same time of pondering all three of the above stories a friend of mine posted something on his Facebook status. He said that he had had to break up a wrestling match between two of his sons that morning. One, a 4 year old. The other, 2. After breaking up their madness he asked them what in the world had them in such a tizzy that they had to fight like that? One son told him that the other son had stolen his imaginary chicken and wouldn't give it back to him!

How hilarious is that! They were fighting over something that they'd made up in their minds! I laughed when I saw it and asked if they couldn't have just made up another one so that they both could have one, therefore leaving them with nothing at all to cause such a fuss and a fight over? 

All of these examples may sound so silly, but aren't we all like that? Don't our imaginations and made-up wonder give us grief and often get us into trouble? Sometimes they even get us into fights! Next time your mind starts to wonder, think of the imaginary chicken and ask yourself: Is this real... or, have I just made my mind up? :) Don't fight or be frustrated or fearful over something merely imagined............. real life is hard enough as it is, without all the added not-really-real stuff!

I found a verse that fits so perfectly. From out of the mouth of Job, he says, “When I think about this I am terrified and trembling seizes my body” ~ Job 21:6. What do you "think about" that sends your body to seizing senselessly without actually having true need to?

A "made-up mind"..... Wooo!.... and the needless control that it often has over us................

[images above (Imagination / Dream Preferred) were used pending permission from archann.deviantart.com/gallery/.... Let's hope she says "yes"... or i'll have to pull them. But until then, beautifully done, aren't they!]

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My daughter texted me a picture of a partial texted conversation between her and a guy friend of hers. It went like this:

Him: You bumfuzzle me.

Her: Bumfuzzle? Shall I 

Him: Haha yeah bc im not 
sure its a real word!

Her: bumfuzzle - to create a
chaotic situation within a
person's mind.

Him: Exactly what you do to
me! :)

Ha. Bumfuzzled. Been there, done that, worn the t-shirt. Had it done to me. Done it to another.

I couldn't resist the have-to. I also myself looked it up. Bumfuzzle:

  • to confuse
  • to fluster
  • to baffle
  • (and the one chosen to share by my daughter... which happens to have resonated with me as my favorite as well, as obviously as it was hers) to create a chaotic situation within a person's mind

Let me say that again (Read slowly! HEAR what you're reading): "to create a chaotic situation within a person's mind!" 

Oh my goodness, at all the chaotic situations that have been created within my mind!!!!!!!! And depending upon the mood, I'm sad to say that sometimes it doesn't take much to create a chaotic situation happening!

Against my daughter's knowing I was writing about such as this earlier (hopefully the post will soon follow) about "chaotic situations" being created inside our minds (although, I didn't know yet to define it as such).

You know, it doesn't take another person to create it for us. We, all by our lonesomes, have grown very good at creating our own chaotic thinking. And sometimes (it seems), that after we've created such, we can't shut our minds up! What turmoil they muster! What havoc they produce! What misery we wallow in after all that chaos has been created and it sloshes around... breathing more confusion with each new sloosh....

I looked that up, as well, and defined "chaos" too. Some of chaos' definitions described the word like this:

  • the polar opposite of order
  • a state of reality in which one's reality is NOT under control [woe! Love that!]
  • the state of utter confusion

Who can't relate to this? Once the mind loses its control on its thinking, we've lost the state of our reality! Once "bumfuzzled-ness" is allowed to take over and drive, our reality state is no longer sensible! And often, when the thinking is sinful and we allow the sin to set in, once we've given it audience and permission to go where it next desires to takes us to.... chaos! confusion! bumfuzzle-ness! a horrible "situation" of corruption is found erupted between our ears! 

I am reminded that in that state that we have great need to hear God saying to us as God is recorded as saying in Jeremiah 4:14, "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shalt thy vain thoughts lodge [stop over, abide, remain, dwell, complain, murmur, grumble] within thee?" 

Woe! Wash thine heart from wickedness!

Wash thine heart so that thou mayest be saved!

How long... how long.... how l.o.n.g shalt thy vain thoughts lodge, stop over, abide, remain, dwell, complain, murmur grumble, within thee?????

Woo! I'll tell you what's scary... it's scary how quickly and easily and FAR an unreined thought can take us! And "how long" we can be all caught up in wherever that is!  

Hmmm... it doesn't even really take much to start the bumfuzzling!.................. It doesn't take much to create that chaotic situation inside a person's mind. Bless our hearts, because goodness at all that goes on in there!


Mostly... I thought it was the funniest text ever! I love that guy (and his confusionment). I had to figure out a way to share it! Who knew that God simply wanted to elaborate on it to tell me so much?! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

"How did you get caught?"

I heard a question.

An ex-felon was being interviewed by some students. One student asked him, "How did you get caught?"

The ex-felon's answer? "A momentary lapse in concentration."

"It wasn't the feds?"

"Well," the ex-offender said, "the feds would like to take credit for it. But in reality, for a moment I was concentrated on something else."


So us!

How do we get caught?

We have a 'momentary lax of concentration'! A momentary lax of focus!

The enemy tries to take credit for it, but he only sets the bait, while we're the ones that turns our heads. We loose our looks! We loose our concentration. We take our faces off of our Savior's. Our attention's stolen! And then, before we meant for it to happen, sin catches us in its trap and we find ourselves imprisoned by it! Caught... by the very thing that we turned to!

Scary how quickly it can happen.

Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us FIX our eyes on Jesus..." And then for the rest of our lives in our try to.... sin tempts, the enemy fights and will try to use anything to turn our heads..... and trap us!

Let me give you an example... 

I was talking to a girl in prison the other day. She's fired up for Jesus! She consumes her time in studying about Him. And if you're around her very long, she can preach it, girlfriend! Her animosity for her Savior is powerful and contagious! I've not known her long, but I'm impressed with her passion.

She came to class on Wednesday. We went about our lesson with enthusiasm until some question was asked. I don't remember what it was, so I can't remember what prompted her answer, but then she told us of the new fury at hand. Her mom had recently died and she's not liking what her brother is doing with her affairs while she's stuck inside a prison with absolutely no say-so. She's so mad that you can feel the heat from just sitting by her. After she finished, I asked, "But is it worth it? The things that you're now mad at him for because of the things that you want that you can't get?" In her eyes, at the moment, they daggered: It is! I didn't get very far in my attempt to convince, so we continued on with the lesson.

It was right after then that this sentence came up from the book in our study, "Verse 11 [in 2 Cor 2:10-11] says that if we refuse to forgive, Satan finds an open door to outwit us or take advantage of us.... The enemy specializes in taking advantage over someone's refusal to forgive."

Needless to say, her eyes opened wide at the timely perfectness of the statement! This is the perfect example of the enemy trying to make us "momentarily loose our concentration" and focus so that we'd be caught! If she focuses too long on her anger toward her brother, rage wins.. and soon bitterness takes over. In her freedom, she's lost her look and become imprisoned again!

"Fix your eyes on Jesus..."! Yes! A simple fix....... A real FIX on the true Face will stop any trap from happening!

We need a true FIX!.. despite all of the things that tries to steal it!