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Archive for December, 2011

Riders on the storm 
Riders on the storm 
Into this house we’re born 
Into this world we’re thrown 
Like a dog without a bone 
An actor out alone 
Riders on the storm 

Jim Morrison.  American Idol.  Handsome.  Creative.  Successful.  Alcoholic.   Betrayer.

Almost 50 now, I look back at this time, wonder why we would idolize him.

Although Morrison’s mind was messed up , his words struck a chord.  “Riders on the storm”.  Now, through my Christian filter, I see a  promise of God.  We were trying to fill a void in our souls, Jim and me.

I made it out.  He didn’t.

In Genesis 15:13- 14, God promises Abram’s descendants (us) four things.  First, that we will be strangers in a foreign land. Second, that we will be oppressed.  “Riders on the Storm“.   We are God-souls stuck in sin-bodies.  Oppressed by Satan, we are surely in a foreign land on earth.

Here’s the good part of the promises:

Third, God will punish our oppressors.  Fourth, we will come away with great wealth.

Some get stuck on the first part of the promise, lose hope.  There is hope for the hopeless – the second part of the promise.

Some make it out.  Some don’t.

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I remember the first time a church leader let me down.

I grew up with a church home in the Presbyterian denomination.  God and my mother were very proud of me, especially when I accepted Christ as my Savior as a teen.  Taking a turn for the secular, I let God down from the time I started college to the time I had my first child.

I returned to the church structure I knew, the Presbyterian church, in a new town.  My first adult church.  Growing in the Word, growing spiritually. This personal relationship with God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit was new for me, and quite wonderful.  Like wooing a new love.

One day, I was asked to serve as an “Elder”, which is like the Board of Directors.  I felt great about that because 1) someone saw potential in me. Don’t we all crave attention?  Look at me! Look at me!), and 2) I looked young all my life, so now I could be an “elder” officially.

We know what often happens when someone hollers, “Look at me!”, don’t we?  They usually end up in the hospital.  Maybe it’s a Southern thing.

Well, that’s pretty much what happened to me.  I ended up wounded.  My dear beloved minister (DBM) was going to retire.  Consequently, he had an opinion on who should succeed him, my dear beloved associate minister. I happened to agree with him.   However, it doesn’t work that way in the Presbyterian Church.  A committee (and yes, they are just like the government) goes through this long process of picking a new pastor, and during this long time period the church has an interim pastor.

My DBM asked me to make a motion at the Elder meeting to try to establish this new person into a leadership position, so she could slide into the pastor-ship.  Seemed like a good idea to me at the time.

Much to my surprise and consternation, I received push back at the meeting and a thorough dressing down later from another Elder for bringing it up inappropriately.  So much for trusting my DBM.

I remember feeling betrayed.  Out of control.

My dear beloved associate minister reminded me who WAS  in control, and it wasn’t me.  It was the One who lives in me.

Forgiveness is a neat road to follow, and I did, and I loved my DBM again.

That was my foray into church politics, and I hope and pray that Jesus never wants me to do that again.

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In December, I feel for those disconnected.  I feel for them because I am one of them.  Whether by coincidence or by design, this introvert feels more connected to her pets than to people.

December is the worst month of the year for sensitive spirits.  When we are bombarded  by goodwill  and cheer in the secular world, and the joyous birth of Christ in the religious world, those of us who are glass half empty people by nature shrink into ourselves, just a little more.  Wonder why we don’t feel the joy others do.  Ponder once again, what is wrong with me?

Financial worries, deaths of loved ones during the year, suicides in December, these feelings are all exaggerated in comparison to all the merry, merry glad tidings.  The light is shining on the darkness, but doesn’t seem to overcome.

Like the fake white tree with the perfectly wrapped presents, many feel out of place.

Fortunately, I find blessings in little things, and in my umbilical cord link to Jesus.  He helps me when I cannot help myself.

I was watching “Extreme Christmas Trees” on TLC, and I heard these words said by a cake decorator preparing a 10 foot cake for a Children’s Hospital:  “You know, I do cake for a living.  I’m not saving the world.  But it does give me a sense of higher purpose.”

Wow.  Reality check.  You know, I lay in bed.  You know, I work in my office putting numbers in boxes waiting for accounting emergencies.  You know, I help at the barn some.  You know, I try to support my husband.  You know, I raise my children, I attend their functions, I am their biggest cheerleader.  I’m not saving the world.  But it does give me a sense of higher purpose.  

Thank God for God.

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Container garden life

Harnessing beauty

In small diameters

Colors, textures, height

Of  my own planning

Of my own planting

God the Creator

 

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Emmanuel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Linking with Jumping Tandem

  

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We are deadline people.

I watch my daughter work on a project for music class at 1am.

I watch my husband work feverishly to put together and write captions for a pictorial history book.  Misses one deadline, then another.  He talks to myriads of people, obtaining pictures and getting the story straight.

On a high school Chorus trip to Disney world, the teens and chaperones have deadlines to be here, to be there.  As the final deadline approaches to go back to the hotel, relief courses through my weary body and painful neck, thankful that I will soon be resting.

Buy and wrap those presents in time to go to the party.

Deadlines spur us to do things.

If I don’t have a deadline, I fall into laziness, just doing what I want to do.  Being complacent.

Which leads me to the question: What about the deadline for being dead?  Do you think about that? Or are you complacent because no deadline is firmly established?

Will your soul be clothed with Jesus when your body ceases to live?  If not, where will it be?

Does the light draw you near, do you hear the call on the other side of the door?  Open your eyes and ears and set a deadline to decide.

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Key

when I don’t know what to do

when I don’t know what to say

I can pray.

 

I can ask that God will take my burden

unlock it with a key

pour it from my yoke to his

still my soul will be.

 

from the dark into the Light

my heart can finally see

the burden that was so cumbersome

he takes it on his back for me.

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