Monthly Archives: August 2010

Pick me! Pick me!

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Recently my pastor was preaching on the Orphan Heart. We have a weekend conference coming up on the subject coming up. Check it out if you’re interested.

Now, I will admit. I don’t feel like I struggle with this. I know who the Father is, His love for me and how He loves me. Maybe it’s because I have a great dad. And of course, we transfer a lot from our earthly dad relationship onto the Father so I got lucky in that regard.

But during this sermon, my pastor said one of the “signs” of an orphan heart is an overwhelming need to be loved. This pierced my woman’s heart and I immediately disagreed in my head.

**Sidenote** I have a running conversation going in my head with God. So when this disagreement happens, it usually has nothing to do with the truth of what I’m hearing but rather what is going on in me. And 9 times out of 10, God has put His finger on it so I can deal with it. (The 10th time is usually me ignoring Him because I don’t want deal with it…)

Ok, so I disagreed in my head and thought, “Psshh, everyone wants to be loved (duh was added too I think)…what we really want is to be chosen.”

And I hear: No, Love, what you want is to be chosen. Damn it. Fine, let’s deal with this…

Jesus began to unfold some ugly stuff in how I treat Him as a woman.

(Didn’t see that coming did you?)

I know God (and trust His character) as Father and as Comforter (the Holy Spirit’s role), Jesus as my Savior and Friend. Got it. But Jesus, the Bridegroom…as husband… the one who has chosen His love? Not so much.

My attitude has been coming to light during my unemployment. I know why I am in this season (that’s for another blog) and its purpose. But I still struggle with the barely-making-it provision, the boredom of not writing; of being stuck and alone in this place. And I’ll be honest, I’ve had a couple of prayer tantrums (to the point of calling Him a liar. Don’t do that, by the way) that caught me off guard.

Yeah, You take care of me when it’s easy. But now, when I really need You. When I really need rescue, You’re helping someone else find what she needs but not me…

Oh, ugly, ugly.  And then He reminded me of Isaiah 54, a favorite for divorced women: Your Maker is your husband.

“Blah blah blah,” I think, rolling my eyes, “got it…” But then I actually read it with a purposed heart and the truth of it washed over me:

“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

It’s painful how much this speaks to my heart but Jesus has also breathed in it peace and truth: He picked me. I was chosen. And I need to stop treating Him like a slacker husband who acts like He’s “stuck” with me. Because it’s not who He is and it isn’t how He treats me.

He picked me: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. John 15:16

He picked you, too. Let’s meditate on the truth today!

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Check your snout

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I have been praying for this woman I know and over the last 2 weeks anytime I pray for her the scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 11:22:

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

Harsh, right?

But sadly, true in this case because she shows no discretion. Now don’t get me wrong, I fully see the log in my own eye. I know that I’m full-fledged member of Golden Snout Anonymous. And every woman with an ounce of self-reflection reading this right now is thinking, “Is it me?” Because God knows, we’ve all played the pig.

Discretion is not just about behaving well. Nor is it about knowing what is right and wrong. Discretion is about behavior driven by wisdom.

Dancing on a table in a bar in an ill-fitting mini skirt…no discretion. Pulling your friend off of the table and taking her home as she protests…discretion. (Although I would argue Discretion would also have not let her out in a mini skirt but I digress.)

But what about these scenarios? Going out with a guy friend and leaving your honey at home? Well, it was just lunch and you work together…ok. How about a cruise to the Bahamas on his dime? Is that ok if Honey gets sea sick and will never take you on one? And you really deserve to go on a cruise.

What about posting everything on Facebook? Every feeling, family issue and heartbreak…Are these prayer requests or a lack of discretion?

It gets fuzzy. I know I’ve said, “I’m a free spirit. What you see is what you get. You can take me or leave me, I don’t care.” And while I don’t believe in living solely to make other people happy, I do know that the times I have  said these statements they preceded some selfish or self-serving behavior. I want what I want because I want it.

A woman with discretion knows that her behavior has consequences. That it impacts and influences the people around her. Our children, our men, our weaker Christian sisters, our unsaved friends, our family.

And as God’s girl, it also impacts Him. Reflects on Him. When we show discretion we are asking ourselves, “How can I live for Christ in this situation?” Or more simply, how can I better love because He is love. 1 John 4:16 says, And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

How can I show love in this situation? Or, what will they remember about me and this when they look back on it? Did my behavior make the ones around me feel/know/experience my (or God’s) love for them more? Or less?

And I’ll be honest, like my friend who is living a life of indiscretion right now, I too can bedazzle a snout-ring with the best of ’em. That’s where having women around who will check your snout and let you know if it’s gold or not is important. Because a woman with discretion knows being with other women who desire discretion is the only way to stay gold-free.

But what about 17?

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If you’ve been in the church for more than 20 minutes or just watched a football game you’ve seen the sign or heard the scripture address “John 3:16.” And most of us (even those not lovin’ Jesus) can even recite it:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Yeah, yeah, we got it. But as I was contemplating this, I found myself asking, one, why is it always a fat dude with no shirt on in the snow who holds up that sign? And, two, why do we leave out verse 17?

Because 17 is where it gets radical.

All of John 3 is pretty radical anyway: thick-headed Nicodemus trying to figure out being “born again”, Jesus telling secrets and Johnny B (John the Baptist) setting his peeps straight. Read all of it when you can because we church-folk tend to gloss over it…

I think 16 makes us feel good and loved, and it sums up God’s motivation pretty well. But I also think we forget that Jesus just told thick-headed Nick He was going to have to die for the world (v. 15). We forget that verses 16-21 is Jesus talking about Himself not BFF disciple John talking about Him. And we neglect verse 17, the place where 16’s love manifests its power and Jesus tells us a secret:

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but in order that world might be saved through him.

In verse 17, Jesus let’s us in on the secret–the Father’s heart is not condemning.

What? I thought God and Jesus and all that stuff was about rules and conforming. I thought the whole idea was to feel bad for all your quote/unquote sins until you die… Uh, not so much.

It’s time His kids shared 17, not just 16. And it’s time we walk in the truth of 17–because that’s the where the love becomes relevant and relational.

So someone tell that guy to put a shirt on and write verse 17 on his sign. I’m tired of just seeing 16….

The Truth About Timing Belts

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Yesterday I was once again reminded that shit happens. It does. And when it does it usually hits the fan, sprays everywhere and gets on everything. And yesterday, it got all over my car’s timing belt.

I have been unemployed since March and as part of my job search, I’ve decided to cast a wide net and see where God wants me. Yesterday I had an interview at a software company in Greensboro. (Greensboro is an hour and 20 minutes west of Raleigh where I live).

It was a bit of a drive (but not bad) and it was early (9 a.m. interview) and, as is my usual modus operandi, I got lost on the way. No worries, I thought, I will just turn around. I have plenty of time.

So, I’m idling in the turn lane, my blinker happily clicking, “I’m turning left, I’m turning left, I’m turning left.” The light changes, I begin to turn and my car turns off. Just stops. And it won’t restart.

Huh. Well, that sucks.

Now, while I’d love to tell you I embraced the situation immediately, however there was a moment of rapid-fire prayer that went like this:

Seriously?! Please don’t do this to me… I don’t have the money. I need help! I’m in Greensboro! I need a job! God! Come on!

But traffic was waiting on me so I had to stop “praying” and push Betty (my car) through the intersection. In high heels. Up hill. And it was 82 already.

We have now reached awesome.com.

In the following 2 hours this happened: my friend Henry who lives in the ‘Boro as it were and who is an auto body guy, hooked me up with a tow truck and a mechanic he trusts who firmly diagnosed Betty with a broken timing belt. Henry took off from work to help me with all of this with a “just take care of her” blessing from his normally-cranky-boss-man Marv. And Henry took my sister (who drove from Raleigh to get me) and I out to lunch (Sushi. Because sushi makes me happy).

Ok, so Henry was there. My sister was there. But where was Jesus? I mean, if God loved me, wouldn’t He have shown it by not letting the timing belt break? If He loved me, wouldn’t He see what I needed was the interview more than sushi time with Henry and my sister? If He loved me, wouldn’t He have been there and made it all just not happen?

Shit happens, kitten. It’s in the bible. Matthew 5:45 says, “For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” And how we (His kids) handle it, that matters to Him.

Timing belts break (especially if you don’t properly take care of your car). That’s a fact. The other fact? God is always good and works all things for good for those who love Him (that’s in the bible too–Romans 8:28).

My timing belt was going to break. And the God of the universe, who loves me  beyond my comprehension,  made sure He orchestrated the “perfect” break.

I was driving (not my 15 year old daughter). I was practically stopped–so no  engine damage and I didn’t lose control of my car and injure someone. I was 10 minutes away from a friend who could help me immediately versus  stuck on I-40 or  between towns and/or without cell phone service. I was completely taken care of…

Tragedy…pain…broken timing belts happen sometimes. And we have 2 choices. Whine (which I did some of) and question, “why me?!” OR look for God.

When the shit happens, and it does to all of us, He puts on waders and walks His kids through it. Pay attention to how He shows up because when it hits the fan, He does.

I got to experience God yesterday. He helped me avoid a major disaster and get my neglected car fixed (thanks to my sister’s giving heart and Henry’s proximity and knowledge of all things auto).

And I got to have sushi… God is good.