My Holy Indifference

November 29th, 2017

I love the story in Mark of the 4 friends who take their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. These guys are the kind of friends we all need, determined and loyal to the end. Scripture tells us the crowd was bonkers (my interpretation) no one could get near Jesus (I imagine Black Friday shoppers all racing for a great steal). Still, these guys wanted to see their friend healed by Christ. They knew if they could just get him close to Jesus….He would take it from there.

I want friends like that.

Better than that, I want to be a friend like that.

If you know the story, you know these friends hoist their buddy up on top of the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching. Have you ever helped someone move? Good friends carry one another’s sofa and grandma’s heavy antique china cabinet — real friends find a way to get you to Jesus!

They tear through the roof and lower their beloved friend down to the Lord. Mark 2:5 says, “Jesus saw THEIR faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” The man gets up and walks out proving that Jesus has the power to heal & forgive. Meanwhile, the scribes and Pharisees are watching the whole thing and inside their heads are thinking, “Who does he think he is?”. Because Jesus is Jesus, he knows their thoughts and calls them out on it.

This story gets me in a few different ways. One, these friends. Wow. Who doesn’t want friends like that? Can you imagine having someone love you so much that they climb up on top of a roof and rip a hole to let you down to see God? Two, the indifference of the scribes and Pharisees. They were all about finding fault (how often do I do that?), they were looking to point a finger. Instead of being pro-active like the 4 friends, they sat there doing nothing for anyone else.

I’ve been guilty of wrapping up ME in my own little protective cocoon and focusing on all my needs for most of my life. I haven’t climbed any rooftops for any person lost from the love of God. I’ve felt sad for them. I’ve even prayed for them. But, I’ve mostly been indifferent.

Who wants to embarrass someone and talk about Jesus? Not me.

Who wants to seem weird? Not me.

Who wants to point out sin in someone’s life? Not me.

Who wants to seem holier than thou? Not me.

In the meantime, people are hurting, lost and in need of Christ. I don’t want to talk about all the feelings I’ve experienced during this 446 days of unemployment. They’ve been rough. Ugly. More than words can even describe. Still, I’ve felt loved by friends who’ve carried us on our mats to the roof of encouragement. But, I’ve also felt the indifference of those who don’t really care whether or not 446 days without a job go by. It’s life. Not my problem.

Yesterday was a terribly discouraging day. The lowest of lows plagued both hubby and me. Something silly like not being able to find our outdoor Christmas lights pushed us both over the hold-it-together edge. He gritted his teeth and I snapped back to JUST GET ALL THE CHRISTMAS BOXES OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM!!!

We are unraveling at the seams.

Today, I feel better. The process of waiting is a lesson in holy humility. I give it to God. Like the paralyzed man, He cares about my situation.

Lord,
I don’t want to be indifferent when it comes to you or loving others enough to bring them to you. Help me focus on those outside of myself. Knowing you, trusting you and obeying you deserves all my attention and care.
Amen.

Desperate Measures

November 22nd, 2017

Here we are, Thanksgiving 2017. Many, many months from the last day my husband had a normal job and yet I AM THANKFUL! I’m thankful for a long list of reasons because I know in one instant my life can change and the things I count as troubles now may not hold a candle to what tragedy or sadness can bring.

This morning I jumped out of bed and started all the things on my to-do list to make hosting my children a success; peeling potato’s, baking cornbread, throwing towels in the wash, reading my Bible and praying, layering beds with extra blankies and cleaning up an army of dust bunnies! While I waited on the oven timer to buzz, I scrolled through Facebook (just to read up on the happenings) and watched a video of a big truck busting through a convenience store. The driver rammed through the glass, backed up and rammed again. He kept pushing his way around the store knocking down everything in his path. The truck spun and twisted around, still the driver floored it to get to his prize. The video lasts quite a bit of time and I stood there thinking of his obvious desperation.

What makes a person so desperate?

I cannot answer. I know for me, I’ve felt all the burden of how we were going to keep living the last 15 months. Living is one thing, paying for all the things that must be paid while you’re here on earth is another. Bills are real. No one cares (lenders, that is) that you’re unemployed with no job in sight. Pay up! One thing I’ve repeated to myself a thousand times this last year is that WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES to lose a job! People are hurting all around us, jobloss….illness…..loneliness.

Feelings like that make us desperate.

I admit, I’ve never wanted to rob a store or sell drugs or steal something of value that someone else worked hard to attain. That’s not how I’m wired but I know the world is full of scoundrels who think nothing of smashing out your car windows for a cell-phone or wallet. The guy tearing up all of creation with his big truck just to get to an ATM machine falls into that group. His desperation, greed or just insanity lulled him into a scenario that I wonder if he now regrets.

I saw a news segment this week about 2 ladies working at a convenience store here in Indiana that spent their entire shift peeling off Lotto tickets and scratching away. The video goes on all night of the two genius crazies yelling back and forth when they hit a winner. They even hit the register and paid themselves when the ticket offered a prize. The owner of the store was interviewed and said the employees blew through around $20,000 dollars worth of Hoosier Lotto. They even played the games on the Lotto register!

Desperation.

I caught myself saying, “What were they thinking?!”.

People, we live in a world full of desperate folks. I bet if you thought about it honestly, you could pull up your own dance with desperation. It might not look like driving your vehicle through a store or stealing lotto tickets but it might look more like rearranging things to your advantage when you should just leave well enough alone. Or perhaps, you’ve jumped in a parking space someone had their blinker on for (filthy animal!)..maybe you’ve bought up all the best sale items and left none for anyone else. Did you know that was greed? Probably not, because that is our new society.

Get yours and then some.

Who cares about anyone else?

Look, I’m no different than anyone else on this earth except that I have the LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST inside of me and I want to please HIM with my life and choices.

I don’t drive my car through a store because that’s not the way to get paid. I don’t steal lotto because I trust God to provide for me minus the video action of it being played out on the local news. I don’t go in and wipe out all the cokes, cute boots or hot toy item of the season because my greed isn’t going to bless anyone I know or don’t know.

I wonder what our world would be like if we were all desperate for Christ instead of all the things we place value on in this earthly journey? How awesome would it be? There are people all over this planet who cannot openly love Jesus! It’s literally a life-endangering truth. Meanwhile, we wander around ignoring God and much of what He graciously blesses us with every single day.

Have you thought to thank God today? Have you stopped for one minute and imagined your life without the love of God? Or for your loving family? Healthy parents? Warm house? Fridge full of the best foods? A fancy car to drive to all the Black Friday sales? Money to spend there?

We have so much to be thankful for and I’m not preaching to anyone but myself here. I am all hyped up on all the cooking and game-playing time I’m planning to do this week with my grown-up kids. Still, I don’t want to miss a chance to be desperate for Christ.

Everything I have, do or ever will be is because of Him.

Just Walking It Out

November 8th, 2017

I spent hours on the phone with an old friend from seminary days today. We had a lot of catching up to do. So much has happened since our last conversation; I’ve been on a faith journey with my hubby’s unemployment and she, along with her family closed the door on a “cushy” ministry life/job in Alabama and moved to NEW YORK CITY to church plant.

Yea, I’m thinking of changing the name of my blog to The Chronicles of a Whiny Christian at this point. Who am I? What is my problem? Why can’t I be holy enough? Sacrificial enough? Willing to let THINGS go? All things. Not only stuff things. Dumb life things.

I appreciate that God is so loving to me that He lavishes me with life perspectives in all sorts of creative ways. Obviously, He knows my wormy pathetic’ness and goes above what He must have to with “normal” folks just to get my attention.

I have the flesh of a hundred humans.

I feel everything. Times a hundred. If it can be dramatized, sister has a show in store for ya. All I’ve done in this life is behave like a dang drama queen. I am the worst!

Don’t feel sorry for me (there I go again!) because I need to crash here and there to recognize my need to rest from all my chaos. Self-induced chaos at that. I’ve confessed repeatedly my tendency to pick up trouble & worry as attributes. I cannot hide that I love to fret and freak over just about every single thing.

Got an issue? Just let me know, I’ll stress over it for you.

I fired off questions to my fancy NYC friend and she answered every one of my curiosities with grace. As if, she had a choice. I’ve never been to New York, ever. All I know about the Big Apple I’ve learned from others and tv. Surely, I sound pretty lame but everything I’ve ever heard makes me feel completely intimidated. It’s also DANGEROUS there! Like, people die or get killed every day in all sorts of ways. Okay, they die here in the Indy area too. But, NEW YORK CITY!!! Come on. You know what I mean, right?

I know about those muggings!!! I watch movies!

Do you know how hard it is to buy a bedroom dresser? It’s ridiculous! In my world, if I want to purchase furniture….I do it and go get it. With my fancy vehicle (yea, they ditched their cars to serve Jesus in NYC!) I cruise on down the road (and yea, if I sit in traffic at a red light too long…I get JERKY!!!) and pick up my furniture and go home with it. That’s not quite how it gets done in NYC. She told me some of the crazy hoops they’ve had to jump through just to buy a dang dresser from IKEA.

They travel by foot and subway.

My life. Seriously.

I’m not trying to put anyone on a pedestal of faith here, she wouldn’t dare let me. I told her how impressed I was by her willingness to sacrifice so much and she mentioned all the need for Christ in NYC. Did I mention this lady is leaps and bounds ahead of me in spiritual maturity? Why WOULDN’T she give up her cushy life to serve God in bustling New York? Uhh, duh. Yea. I was thinking all that too.

Not.

After talking all morning, I got the feeling that all my troubles…the things I’ve felt so wrecked over here in my easy life are really not so gigantic afterall. I have so many simple luxuries that I take for granted. The things that I think I cannot do, I absolutely CAN DO! Nothing is so difficult, perhaps…challenging that I cannot push on through and do.

My ministry (and I do have one when I’m not succumbing to my own disasters) is to walk my walk right here where I am this very moment. Like my precious friend in NYC, she’s walking her ministry out there…doing just what God has called her and her family to do. God isn’t expecting me to do what she is doing. He’s called her to walk her road (or busy 5th Avenue, whichever) and me to mine here in Indiana. I need to stop comparing my journey with everyone else and so do you!

Just walk out your faith friend. Wherever it is God is calling you to walk.

And, something very important…. Don’t look back!

Who Are Your People?

October 27th, 2017

I’ve learned some very valuable lessons this last year. Not everyone who’s in your circle is in your corner. People who you think are your friends aren’t always genuinely your friend. Maybe acquaintance is a better label.

I have 2 friends that have reached out to me just this week that are hurting and struggling with job loss. Both friends are deep into their pain right now. I can relate after all this last year has prepared me for job loss battle. While I don’t have much to offer either sweet friend, I do have the ability to love & encourage them.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

Just being there, listening. Letting them pour out words, tears and fears. Times like these do not call for attitudes of “pick yourself up and get over it” messages. Those come. Right now, both friends need gentle love and understanding.

I’ve felt so alone, so many times over this last year. Friends that I thought were my friends have all but disappeared. I can’t say why and I won’t even try to explain their actions. I have even felt that their shun or absence was because of something I’ve done.

People don’t like weakness. Some people, anyway.

I haven’t needed anything big. Just encouragement. Or a listening ear. Maybe even a “how are you guys doing?” here and there. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had friends do that….I’m talking about the ones who I thought were IN MY CORNER!

Look, I’ve learned that God puts people in your life for a reason. Some are to love you, some are to wreck you, some are to wisen you up and some are to teach you how NOT TO BE. I thank God for every one of them.

Those who stand by and watch you burn…stop giving them the matches.

Back to what I’ve learned, God will reveal YOUR PEOPLE. Pay attention. Stop fretting when He removes the ones that don’t belong there.

Let.
Them.
Go.

In spite of losing a few friends….God opened up the door to some real and lasting relationships for me. I’ve never been a superficial surface kind of friend anyway. God knows friendships take work. I’ve experienced some great support from people who never had a reason to get involved in my chaotic life.

Honestly, it’s a reflection of their heart and of course, God’s love for me.

So, to the people who aren’t my people. Thank you. Thank you for the friendship that we’ve shared and for the lesson on true friendship. I’m not dwelling on what could’ve been or even mad that you’re gone. I’m grateful that I have a heart to love others and see them for who they are – just people.

Who are your people?

Do you know?

Lord,

I want to be a good friend to the people you place in my life. Let me be just what they need, even if it’s temporary. Not every relationship is meant to go the long haul. Help me see every friend with your eyes and not my own. Everyone deserves love, a listening ear and the truth. I want to love like that.

Amen

Call Me Back

October 20th, 2017

For over a year, I’ve wandered around trying to figure out what God was doing in my life. Why was this very terrible thing happening to me and my family? If you’ve read any of my posts in the last 14 months then you’ve picked up on my desperation and fear of all the damage losing a job can cause.

I’ve been a mess.

Losing a job is NO JOKE! Sometimes I feel like no one understands just how horrible being in this position feels. I appreciate every single person who’s encouraged us, prayed for us and hoped alongside us for a job offer. Wow, what a blessing it has been to see friends and family rally for us. Thank you!

Still, here we are wondering what in the heck is going to happen to us.

Can you imagine applying for countless jobs (which is like a full-time job in itself!) and never ever ever hearing back from the companies? Throughout this whole long year, we’ve sat waiting while employers give a time frame for “getting back to you” AND THEY NEVER EVEN EMAIL BACK! Who does that? What’s so very difficult about sending a NO THANK YOU message? Who are these people? And why in the world do they even have jobs? Clearly, they don’t know what they are doing!

Several weeks ago, my hubby interviewed for a job that took over 4 long hours and by the time he arrived back home, he felt it went very well. The company told him they expected to offer “someone” the job by the next week.

Crickets.

He’s never heard diddly from these jokers. What? Unbelievable! Why not shoot out an email that ends the relationship? As in, “Hey…So & So, thanks for taking time to meet with us. We appreciate your interest in our company. At this time, we’ve decided to go a different route. We have found our candidate and we wish you luck in your search for employment.

How hard is that? What in the world does it cost someone to offer such a simple courtesy?

I’m baffled. I’m frustrated. I’m shocked.

This world is not my home. But, I’ll tell you…the longer I’m stuck here the greater my dislike for pathetic behavior grows.

I don’t know what your life looks like right now. Hopefully, it’s on the right track and loaded down with blessings. Here’s what I’m learning about my own situation — Be good to others. Help them when you can. Encourage those who are struggling or hurting. Ask God how He wants to use you (right where you are). Be ready to stretch your own faith. Look for opportunities to share God’s love.

I believe for certain that my struggle has not been in vain. I’m not the same person I was over a year ago and that’s a good thing.

Thank you, Lord that I never have to wonder if you’re going to get back with me. You are always willing and ready to meet me, if I will just call on you!
Amen.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

September 1st, 2017

For the last year I’ve felt as if my life has skidded off the rails. In my human strength I’ve held on for dear life. I clung to whatever life preservers came my way; homemade furniture sales, IT consult jobs, security camera installations, support help jobs…retirement monies, hocking stuff and whatever else that would save us from going under. It’s been humbling!

Some days, I’ve been a real peach. I’ve taken our circumstance to be a part of God’s plan and moved forward. Other days, I’ve cried, fallen in the pit of desperation and wanted to go to bed and give up. I’ve been ugly and felt miserable… I’ve not handled the situation like a lover of Jesus at all.

I’ve let Satan push me (it wasn’t even a hard push) into feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy and revenge!

What can I say, my whole world came crashing down the day my hubby came home to tell me his company decided to outsource him for a lame crappy IT support company. Everything changed. Poof. One minute I was smiling, excited about my new car and the next I was on the floor crying and feeling the ultimate betrayal. Wondering how we were going to make it. Looking back, it was a gift from God that I could not see it would be a long year of unemployment. Still. Going. Strong.

My hurt feelings have intensified over this year. Imagine how it feels getting calls for IT help from the very hand that slapped you down. Wow. More embarrassment, more frustration. More anger.

This morning as I stepped out of the shower my mind went to a memory of a big kickoff meeting with the employees of my husband’s former company. Happy employees were sharing kind words and boasting as to the goodness of the family. It was heartwarming! At the time, I felt so honored to be a part,on the same team as them. Even handpicked! And like all memories, I thought back to all the other folks who left their lives to follow and work for this family only to eventually lose their jobs too. Just because they changed their mind.

God gave me a clear message through that memory – He decides WHO good people Are! Many will boast of the goodness of others or maybe even of themselves. But, the truth is only God can say who is truly good & honorable. I’ve learned the hard way that the world is full of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

It’s painful to be burned and forgotten.

This year I’ve learned so much about my flesh & all it’s weak spots. I’m vulnerable to all the same frustrations and setbacks the rest of the world feels. My heart knows better than to wish ill or worse. Still, I fought with it like a lion!

Focus on the difficulty and God is difficult to see. Focus on God and GLORY seeps through the broken places.

My faith has been strengthened through the darkness of this last year. I’ve turned to God and leaned on him when the world made me feel like giving up. That’s all I’ve had. People fall away, they ditch you or disappear from your life when calamity hits. I get it, it’s depressing to live my reality.

Imagine, the breadwinner of your life losing his bread. No money, no prospect of a job, thousands of job applications and resumes submitted….tons of crappy bigfatjoke phone interviews that you NEVER hear back from — just imagine that for a whole dang year! That’s been our life.

I’d avoid me too.

So many times I’ve thought I’ll never recover. The pain so deep, the embarrassment of being jobless has wrecked me and nearly beaten my husband to a pulp. I feel all the feels of helplessness…

Still, I’m learning.

God does have a plan. He keeps waking me up every day for something, he loves on me when no one else bothers and He shows me all the ways I need to let go! My flesh has run roughshod over my emotions and I’ve learned to trust God with every ugly detail of my situation. When I am at my lowest (which I have been many times through this) – Romans 15:13 reminds me, I’m going to make it! There is HOPE!

My life isn’t going as planned, it’s going as God planned.

Lord,

Let me see You and not my circumstances. Seep through the broken places and fill up every cracked hole inside me. Do all the great things in and through me as you’ve planned. I trust in You.

Amen