Archive | June 2013

Life Message

Life may have

taken a body part,

broken my heart,

discouraged my

spirit, & tested

my faith but I am

still here. Why?

Because my God
is

stronger, better,

greater,
more

enduring and totally

undefeatable! I am

His daughter, His

hier and after

this life I have

a whole new life

with Him
in eternity!

So LIFE bring

it on, in the end

God wins!

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Being a Drop for Jesus

There was a Facebook conversation going on between some friends about not looking at the numbers on our blogs, (number of readers, comments, subscribers in particular). Everyone was encouraging everyone else to just “write what God wants you to write and forget about the numbers”. Truth is if I went by numbers I would have given up months ago.

Who do I write for? God? Yes, I want some way of letting people know that being Christian doesn’t mean you are perfect, that there are different viewpoints on issues and topics from many different sects of Believers, from males and females, church to church and even Christian to Christian. Being disabled and in a situation where I’m not involved in the world beyond my house and the drive to my daughter’s school a lot I wanted a way to connect with people, to share the simple message that God loves them. And I was burning within when I would read other blogs and as I got to know those bloggers to write again. To seriously write.

Since that Facebook conversation where we all encouraged one another to keep writing regardless of how few or how many read what we wrote I’ve been thinking. And initially I was thinking, “Are we wrong? Do the numbers matter? If no one is reading what we’re writing but us and God then aren’t we failing if our goal is to reach people with the message, “God loves you”?

If no one is reading that as Christians we struggle with earthly matters, screw up at times, and become annoyed, angry, and resentful how will they see there’s another way to handle those feelings rather than acting out toward someone violently? Or seeking revenge?

If no one is reading about how someone’s faith in God helps them with tremendous burdens in life how will they know God can help them?

If no one is reading about Heaven how can they find their way out of Sodom and Gomorrah?

We have at our fingertips technology that Paul, Peter, James, Luke, Matthew and John couldn’t have even dreamed existed in their missionary days. Would these men be okay with an audience of one? As a people we are so richly blessed to be able to communicate to an infinite number of people our witness for Jesus Christ.

Do numbers matter? Yes. I think they do.

My 16 followers, and whatever numbers that aren’t counted officially, are a drop in the bucket of need in this world for Jesus; but they are a drop. And all the other bloggers who take the time to write for God, whether they have subscribers and readers into the thousands or like me in the double digits or even single digits those are all drops in the bucket. Granted some drops are bigger than others but they are only drops when measured against the need.

And the need is great.

So we keep dropping our drops of Living Water to the thirsty world.

One

Drop

At

A

Time.

We will never fill the bucket. We can’t. Only Jesus can. But we can be His tools.

So

Drop

For

Jesus

One

Drop

At

A

Time.

With my drop for today,

-Faye

Of All the Men I Loved Before


Today’s post touches on a subject of much controversy in the Christian church, homosexuality. There is no need to respond with the multitude of Biblical passages concerning God’s view of this topic. Both Mitch, the man in the story, and myself know all of them. Instead this post is intended to put a face on the controversy and perhaps help us all not only understand but find a common ground to work towards healing in and of all parts of this issue. It is a true story, one of my own, which I believe may surprise a few of my readers but I did change the name of this man to Mitch to protect not his identity but his privacy.

God brought my spouse into my life when I was 35, I was 36 when we married. We’ve been married 16 years after only a four month courtship. We had much in common from the beginning; a love of and for God, bad examples of marriage in our parents, music, and a desire to have a successful marriage, just to name a few. Before God, our pastor and quite a few of our congregation we vowed to love one, and to remain married to one another until death did us part.

Our promise to one another every single day, whether spoken verbally or not has been, divorce is not an option. We’ve had our share of difficult patches. But we have worked through it, together, getting whatever professional help we needed as individuals or as a couple to help. Today we share a home with our almost twelve year old daughter, the ups and downs of life with one of us disabled and the other in a career that keeps them away from home for long hours and at inconvenient times. I love my husband. He is a man who strives to please God and who takes his relationship with God very seriously. He is my desire. He is solid and dependable and kind. I can think of nothing that I’ve ever asked of, or from him, that he hasn’t moved mountains to provide. Whenever I am in the hospital he moves in right along beside me, taking care of me, holding my hand and in the time his job takes him away as anxious to return to me as I am to have him return. This man has even learned to wash my hair using five gallon buckets or trash cans (clean of course) and trash can liners to prevent spills while I lay with my head hanging off the edge of the bed. Even between the time we have called 9-1-1 and the time they arrived.

The only times my mind ever wanders back to the men I dated before my husband are if someone else brings them up or my daughter mentions something that reminds me of a lesson I learned the hard way that I hope she hears to save herself the heartache. There is no one I’d like to “catch up with” or talk to again. Except Mitch.

Mitch and I dated, hung out, and drove one another crazy during our college days. He was initially a friend of my brothers and normally my brother’s dislike of us sharing friends would have been enough to keep me away from being Mitch’s friend but this time was different. I really liked Mitch. He and I clicked.

Mitch was Christian, cute and kind, serious and funny, reserved, quiet, shy, and introvert for the most part and could play the piano like nobody’s business! Boy could he make those ebony and ivory keys dance. My best memories of us are of me just sitting near him while he rehearsed or he just played for the love of playing. He didn’t mind when I sang along and he didn’t hesitate to follow me when my mood took the music and notes into other styles than what they were written.

Music was Mitch’s dream then and he wanted to go to a private college near the town my brother and I grew up in and he got his start on his dream. When he was accepted there as a student we helped him move into his housing assignment. I knew I was going to miss Mitch like crazy but I also knew I’d get to see him if he went to college so close to my home. I don’t think three weeks went by and classes were just really gearing up at both colleges when I looked up and there was Mitch. He was back!

We drove around in Mitch’s car to aught up. You would have thought he’d been gone a few years instead of just a few weeks by the amount of talking that went on. My brother had a thing about back seats and he still wasn’t happy about how close Mitch and I were, so he had claimed “shot gun”. For once I didn’t let it irritate me, I sat in the back behind Mitch and all through the drive Mitch would catch my eyes in the rearview mirror until it was too dark to see. I was just content to have him back. Finally we pulled up to all go our separate ways and my brother asked Mitch a question, “So, why did you really give it up?”

Mitch turned on the interior light, and waited until I met his eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “What I love is here.” And my heart stopped beating and the air left my lungs and then I’d never been that happy before. He came back for me!

That one night I expected a fairy tale ending. That one night I built castles in the air and wore rose colored glasses. But the fairy tale shattered.

Sadly Mitch and I just couldn’t make it. Not for lack of love but perhaps for a lack of the right kind of love. As perfect as Mitch was in my eyes he was waging a war within himself I couldn’t contend with, or compete with. My funny, cute, marvelous piano playing man was gay.

The music died, the spotlight flickered out and I was left alone on an empty stage before an empty audience. Not that I didn’t try to make being straight more appealing but some things are beyond our ability to influence. Frankly, Mitch and I drove one another crazy with an on again/off again friendship sort of more kind of relationship.

I tried to understand. My mind grasped the events that led Mitch down the path of homosexuality but my heart was shattered. Of all the people to do this to me it crushed me that it was Mitch! Mitch the guy who said he loved me in front of my brother! Mitch the man who could fill my heart and soul with music! Mitch the man who remembered everything I told him even down to that I wanted a gold chain when I graduated from college and bought me one like I’d never seen before, or seen again. Mitch who would grin knowingly when I’d date another guy! Perhaps I was too hurt but I think the main problem was I just didn’t understand.

Mitch and I lost touch. I moved to Virginia and once he called me and said he was thinking of moving up there to be near me. He didn’t call again.

Meanwhile I was dating other men. A few of whom would also make that confession that would start with, “Faye, I have to tell you something…” and I would see Mitch’s face and hear his voice.

I learned to be kinder. I learned to be more understanding and more forgiving. I learned to treasure these men’s friendships. I learned it was time to let them go when they would say, “Faye, if I were straight I’d marry you.” For they weren’t straight. And in my heart of hearts I knew if I wasn’t “woman enough” for Mitch to change I wasn’t for any of these friends either. Besides none of them were my cute, funny, kind, piano playing man Mitch and I didn’t love a single one of them.

After a few years I just stopped dating. I focused on the healing I needed from my own childhood burdens and battles. I told God when He was ready for me to get married He’d have to hit me upside the head with the man because I was through with dating. Shortly thereafter I met my husband to be.

In the last four or five years though I’ve wondered more about what became of Mitch. I would hear things now and then but nothing concrete, nothing certain. Then through all of the social media we have today I located him. We talked a couple times and typical Mitch, he dropped out of my life again. Recently we’ve talked a few times and the connection seems steadier yet only time will tell.

I don’t have a deep insight to Mitch’s life now. We’ve stuck to the current lives we’re living without diving into the past. Should we have a conversation that covers all the old ground all I would want to say to him is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend to him then. I’m sorry I never really understood his battle. I’m sorry for the hurt he’s had and the pain he’s carried. I’m sorry we haven’t been a part of one another’s lives. I’m sorry he gave up playing the piano.

Mitch has his own insights into not only our friendship/not a relationship but not just a friendship and of course into his sexuality. I hope one day he’ll share them with me. But in his time, not mine. I sent him this blog before posting it for his approval. So I break no promise of secrecy in sharing.

Meanwhile I will pray for him and remember there are numerous faces behind the word homosexuality and all the controversy. One of those faces is my friend, Mitch.

-Faye

Wheeltracks in the Sand

During worship yesterday the poem by Mary Stevenson Zangara “Footprints in the Sand” came to my mind. Since her original poem is copyrighted I will not repeat it here and besides many of you will have read it numerous times. However, I offer a poem that I hope will also be inspiring.

Though inspired, in part, by Mary Stevenson Zangara’s poem, “Footprints in the Sand” this poem below is my own work and from a different perspective.

 

I’ve no doubt I’ve come thus far

Through all life’s ups and downs

Because when I was unable to go on

Jesus helped me get around.

One set of wheeltracks,

One set of footprints.

Into His arms He’s lifted me

And carried me through the fight

Soothed my weary soul and heart

Through many day and many night.

        One set of footprints.

 

When death came knocking at the door

Jesus held me close to Him

And death has passed me for now

This time, that time and time again…

        One set of footprints.

The road ahead I cannot see

I trust in God to see me home

The wheelchair now shows its use

And Jesus footsteps show the way.

        One set of wheeltracks,

        One set of footprints.

 

Yet shining clearly in the evening sun

Is a beach at Heaven’s shore

And just at the ocean’s edge

I can see Heaven’s door.

        One set of wheeltracks,

        One set of footprints.

The wheelchair tracks are clearly seen

Deep grooves dug in the sand

Then Jesus steps and takes my hand

And at last there are two sets of footprints

Two sets of footprints in the sand.

 

As Heaven’s door swings open wide

My last earthly breath a brief goodbye

Then our feet walk through the door

Two sets of footprints left in the sand.

And on the other side, just out of sight

With tears rolling from my eyes

I’ll kneel at my Savior’s feet

Before Him prostate I will fall

 

Then when He bids me rise

A look of joy on His face

He’ll give His nod of consent

And I will dance, and run for Him.

I know in Heaven I won’t look back

To this earth again

But if I should I know I’d see

An empty wheelchair on the shore

And at the end

Two sets of footprints in the sand.

 

Till we’re all home together,

-Faye

Wrong Words of Encouragement

These words are so often spoken when someone we know is going through a difficult time or a course of trying events, “Remember, God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.” I think we’re wrong about that.

Before you stop reading in a statement of disgust at my statement I offer you this challenge. Find the verse in the Bible where it says that. Where does it say “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.”?

The thinking is flawed, though this “wisdom saying” has good intentions (And need I remind you of the wisdom saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?). People when in pain, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual crave comfort and we who are witness to their pain want to offer words of comfort, encouragement, inspiration. But there are some reasons we have to take a second look at a waving banner for encouragement that is incorrect.

One, God does not “give us” life’s troubles. We suffer in this life, as Jesus told us we would, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) Life has trouble because life is flawed due to sin. When Adam and Eve sinned humanity gave up paradise and perfection until we come into God’s presence in Heaven after our physical death. Yes, God is in control but He does not force His will upon us. This world is corrupt but that corruption is due to Satan and humanity’s sins, Jesus is in the business of redeeming man. God does not bring us trouble. As in the case of Job, God allows trouble, but He doesn’t cause trouble.

Two, we suffer in this life because we sin and there are consequences to our actions even when forgiveness is given. Our own sins can bring us suffering, but so can the sins of other people. Regardless of what we’d like to believe none of us live without our lives impacting someone else. The unfaithful spouse causes suffering to their spouse and family. The wayward child causes suffering to his or her parents. The thief his victims. The drunk driver his own family and the family and actual victims of his accident.

Three, we have pain in this life because we love. We love our spouses, our children, our friends, our extended family and church family. Most of us share a sense of love for the mass of humanity around us, at least we share sympathy or empathy with those in life who suffer in natural disasters, terrorism, poverty, hunger and war. So when those we love suffer, we suffer too.

But we can offer very real and very Biblically accurate words of encouragement to those who suffer and even to ourselves.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11, 13)

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

In times of sorrow and trouble we are right to offer hope, to offer comfort but let us offer them in truth.

-Faye