Monday, November 10, 2014

NaBloPoMo Day 10

Prompt frorm RevGalBlogPals:
Post a photo of what you can see out a window- any window. What do you notice in the picture that you didn't just looking out?

This is a picture just taken out of my office window @ church.
I hadn't noticed how much the swing set needs to be re-stained!

IF:Equip Day 41

IF:Equip Genesis 25:13-26

Video commentary by Dot Bowen & Cheryl Bell can be found here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
Okay, I'm just going to say it, God has got to have some wicked sense of humor! Here are all these kids and none of them get along. And now, after Issac has prayed for 20 years for his wife to have a baby she has two, that can't get along and are born literally grasping at one another! It gives me hope for some of our more cantankerous Christians out there!
God works out the story of the world and of salvation through imperfect occasionally downright hostile people. It's not the sweet sugary candy coated stuff of fairy tales. It's nitty gritty reality. It gives me even more faith that God really has been active. After all if your going to make up stuff about God interacting with humanity, you are going to pick better humans to be a part of the story!

What does it mean about me?
That struggles are a part of life, deal with them. That being the first born doesn't mean you will get all of the supposed benefits. That God's love and plan for the world can overcome anything, even fighting siblings!

What does it mean about the world?
There is still hope for this world. We struggle, we war, we hold one another in contempt. But God is our loving parent seeking to bring about salvation and wholeness. What joy there is in offering yourself to be a part of that process!

IF:Equip Day 40

IF:Equip Genesis 25:1-11

Video commentary by Rebekah Lyons & Debbie Eaton can be view here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
God gave Abraham a good long life, and he who was father of only two, and only one by Sarah, became the father of many sons with his third wife. Funny how I've never heard her spoken about before. God promised Abraham a legacy and allowed him to see glimpses of it. I wonder if God told Abraham to send his other sons away because he knew the tensions that would develop between them and Issac if they stayed.
I also find it very interesting that Issac and Ishmael both buried their father. It speaks to a certain level of reconciliation between the brothers if not between Abraham and Ishmael. How hard that must have been for them both!

What does it mean about me?
It makes me wonder who will be left to bury me. What kind of legacy did I leave behind? Will they be strains of reconciliation, like Issac and Ishmael coming together at least for this act? Or will there be distance, as the others are not mentioned? As a pastor who has led 8 funeral services in the past 12 months, I know how death can both separate and pull together. I hope that my life serves to promote wholeness and healing.

What does it mean about the world?
Abraham is the "father" of so many faiths, and we struggle to communicate with one another. Abraham lived only 175 years, which seems really long to us (compared to his ancestors was nothing!) but has forever affected the world in which we live. A few years of faithfulness goes a long way. We may never know the impact we have had on another's life, but if we allow God to lead us and be present with us, it could be long lasting.

Friday, November 7, 2014

NaBloPoMo number 7 aka Friday Five

It happened again this week. In a social setting, during a conversation with people that included some I had just met, I made a reference to the church I serve. “Oh!” one of the new acquaintances exclaimed, “I shouldn’t have said hell!” Sigh. This kind of projection can be so tiring, as can the general need to be mindful of how our words and actions are perceived as appropriate (or not). In light of that, I relish moments to myself when I can shed all such perceptions and projections and just be. Occasionally this involves what might be known as a guilty pleasure.

For this week’s Friday Five, share with us five “perception be damned!” pleasures in which you indulge. We promise we won’t judge, or tell. What happens at RevGals stays at RevGals.

1) a yummy glass of wine

2) a LONG bath

3) an expensive coffee

4) two Benadryl 

5) binge reading a series of books or binge watching a show on Netflix 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

IF: Equip Day 39

IF:Equip Genesis 24:55-67

Video Commentary by Alli Worthington & Amy Brown can be viewed here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
God's plans are not our plans, God's ways are not our ways. God had a plan for Rebekah, but she had to be willing to go along with it. Not just go along, but actively participate. God offers us opportunities and choices but does not often force us into compliance. Rebekah could have said no, but she said yes.

What does it mean about me?
When am I saying no to God or not taking full advantage of the opportunities placed before me? How often do I act as if my actions are independent from God rather than perhaps a part of God's plan to help direct not only me, but those who will come after me? Do I have the kind of faith it takes to accept that God might have something in store for me that I do not expect? Do I have the bravery to believe in what I see God bringing from the horizon into my life?

What does it mean about the world?
Obviously the answer is if we were less self absorbed and paid more attention to God we would make better choices! At least that's what I should say right?
God has an overarching big scale plan for this earth and we are privileged to get to participate in just one tiny part of the story. But what we do in our part affects what goes on in other parts. We may not see exactly how God is using us to change someones life, but our faithfulness, or lack thereof will one day, perhaps sooner than we care to think, change the world for someone else.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NaBloPoMo Day 5

Here's today's prompt: If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

I would slow down an action that goes by to quickly. Specifically those quite moments spent with family and/or close friends where you are just sure that life doesn't get any better than this. With three children under the age of 10 there is so much that I want to slow down and hold on to and treasure just a wee bit longer. 

Those moments where my 9 year old daughter looks up at me and says "you're the best Mommy ever!" (even though 9-10 times it means she wants something) are going to have to get me through her crazy and tumultuous teenage years.

The time spent cuddling with my six year old daughter in the bed will quickly give way to sneaking hugs and kisses when no one is watching.

Big wet slobbery kisses and hugs from my two year old son will all to soon become a head nod or embarrassed wave from a big boy on the playground or ball field.

I want to store these moments up and keep them close so that when I am overwhelmed or overtired or over-frustrated I can remember these times of pure bliss.

And be thankful.

IF:Equip Day 38

IF:Equip Genesis 24:32-54

Video commentary by Esther Havens and Lindsey Nobles can be viewed here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
God already knows what is best for us, God's just waiting for us to step up and be faithful. Rebekah was the girl with the right spirit and sense of hospitality to enter into this family. God was able to bless both families by this "Chance" encounter at a well. God's plans are always better than our plans. One day we will believe that and act on it!

What does it mean about me?
Looking back throughout my life I can see where God has turned me to the left and right. I can see where God has protected me and where God has allowed me to make poor choices and watched me deal with the consequences. My hope is that when others look at my life they can so obviously see God's presence as well. In my children, as they pray and bless others, in my husband who loves even the most unlovable, in the church I am blessed to serve with. I pray that people are in a better place after I spend time with them, at least a better mental and spiritual place!

What does it mean about the world?
If we lived our lives daily really convicted of God's plan and presence in our lives how might the world be changed for the better? But, as I said before, taking on the whole world is BIG, so how would those people who I have some level of influence on better if I really lived out the truth of the Gospel?

IF: Equip Day 37

If:Equip Genesis 24:15-31

Video commentary by Doris Bowen and Cheryl Bell can be viewed here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
God had trusted the right man for the job. Abraham had taught his household about God, how to pray, how to listen. Abraham was living out his faith and those around him noticed. The servant doesn't hesitate to ask God for guidance and then to follow through. A relationship cultivated with God will show through to others.

What does it mean about me?
How well am I living a real relationship with God? True as a pastor people will associate me with God,but how do my closest relationships bare it out? Am I living a life that shows the influences around me, and are they good or negative influences?

What does it mean about the world?
The world can be shown what life in Christ looks like if we are faithful. Can we change the world? No. But we can help one person change their world and that could make the difference.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NaBloPoMo Day 4

I didn't see a prompt this morning, so I guess I'll have to wing it!

I am going to the doctor tomorrow to see if this doctor is willing to do the surgery i have scheduled for November 12th. My original doctor left the practice and now I'm scrambling to get things pulled together.
I have everything set up for being out of commission for two weeks between the 12th and November 30th. Now these plans might have to change and I'm not happy.
Instead of getting too worked up about it (okay, I've already done that) I'm trying to pray for my former Dr and for the one I'm meeting tomorrow. I'm trying to make my anxiety into a positive reminder for prayer. Not sure if its working, but I am putting in the effort.
My current mantra goes along with the little engine that could "I think they will, I think they will, I think they will!"
Speaking of engines, here my cute little train engineer from Halloween. (Random, but adorable!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaBloPoMo Day Three

Okay, so I'm late getting to it, but better late than never, right?
Write about a trip you have taken, one that may not have turned out as you planned but was nevertheless a gift.

At the end of December/beginning of January 2013/2014 we went on a trip with my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, kids and their kids. We all stayed in a three bedroom rental house. That's 11 people in a 3 bedroom house, unfortunately, my idea. 

My husband got sick within the first 24 hours. My son slept in his pack-in-play in a closet while his same age cousin slept in her pack-in-play in the laundry room. Hubby and I slept on an air mattress in the floor of the kitchen. Not ideal. 
 We did take the kids to the Alamo and tried to get that classic Alamo picture. It took a few tries.

We eventually wound up with one passable one.
While the trip was chaotic and crazy, it was great to spend time with family that is so spread out (New Mexico, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas)
It was a trip we will never forget, and hopefully never duplicate!!

IF:Equip Day 36

It's been a bit over a week, and I am trying to get back into the swing of things. Having surgery next week so may be unable to complete blogs for a bit.

IF:Equip Genesis 24:1-14

Video Commentary by Jennie Allen and Ann Voskamp can be viewed here.

IF I believe this to be true then:

What does it mean about God?
God follows through on God's promises. Time and again throughout Genesis the faithfulness of God even in the face of our unfaithfulness is highlighted. Abraham is seeking a wife for his son and trusts that God will provide. God is such a presence in the household of Abraham that even his servant prays for God's guidance and wisdom.

What does it mean about me?
How I live my faith can be shown by those who I come in contact with. My children pray when they see an ambulance rushing down the road, for the people they are helping and for the EMT's inside. They are learning from example, which is great! But they are also watching when i am not faithful, when I fail to put my trust where it should be. I want my children to find their own faith in God and to find helpmates who share that faith. I need to begin praying more diligently for that .

What does it mean about the world?
There is no where we can go where God is not! The promised land, the land of birth, and into unknown lands, God walks before us. There is such joy in acknowledging this reality for me. Especially as I enter into this surgery and recovery time. God is in the world and moving in the world and loving and healing and just being in the world. Thanks be to God!