Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It seems like things are moving VERY quickly lately!  The girls are back at school and activities there have begun and while my office is quiet the planning for fall is well consuming me.  I love the bustle, but somewhere in there I've lost the silence and the time to stop and know God.  Oh, don't get me wrong...I talk and I seek God's presence for others and myself...but I don't seem to have time to listen.

It's really the best part of being in God's presence...that listening.  To just soak into the presence of God without words...just the Spirit moving around and between.  To hear the still small voice of God.  To feel God's strength wrawp around.  It's really the best part.

Double dog dare you to stop and listen!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I like sentence prayers...shocking I would like simple and to the point, huh?  Anyway, I do.  I like the simplicity of one sentence that keeps the conversation going all day and reminds me of God's presence being ever present.  My favorite lately has been make me a blessing, not a burden, Lord.  Guide me.

See, I fully understand my limitations.  I stumble on my own.  My foot goes directly in my mouth, my face turns bright red and feel like an idiot for days.  That's what happens when I try to be in relationship with anyone with recognizing God's presence and my need for the Holy Spirit. 

There's a lot to walking with God!  Lord, make all of us blessings and not burdens.  Guide us.  Oh, by the way, folks...may we all know the presence of God is with us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's been one of those days where God is ever present, but I have nothing to say.  They are rare.  I don't feel the need to fill the silence with my voice, my thoughts, noise, but am very comfortable just being in the moment.  I like watching the wind in the trees, the sun setting, and crazy hum of my house living around me.

It's been a whirlwind the past several days.  Suddenly saying goodbye to a friend as we sat at her deathbed with her family...sharing the news and preparing for her funeral....celebrating her life...grieving, laughing, living.  She was a blessing to so many so hearing the stories of her life was wonderful.

So many friends kids went back to school this week and it made me think about my own girls.  My youngest who is somewhere between innocent childhood and awkward teen oldest who is blossoming and well into her senior year with confidence and poise. 

My parents celebrate 48 years of marriage and my father is 71 today.  I miss them...but that's another story for another day.

Life has been a whirlwind...for some it's been an earthquake or a hurricane...but it is definitely chaotic lately in many ways.  So, sitting still and knowing God is a blessing.  Letting God fill the space is like being held in a loving embrace.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No, I don't usually post twice in one day, but I never thought God's fingeres would shave my life like this.  Today after blogging the phone rang.  It was someone from my congregation...her mom was in the hospital and it didn't look good.  To say I was on my way was an understatement.

Now, let me explain.  Mary, the woman in the hospital, turned 99 in January and I was already planning her 100th.  She's precious to me.  She had been in the hospital years ago and I had the honor of praying for her, but when I said Amen she picked up and prayed for me.  Here I was on my knees before this woman sick in the hospital and she prayed for me.  It began a relationship I will always cherish.

Last night Mary was fine.  Not up to her perky self, but good enough to go out to dinner and stay up waiting on her daughter to come home.  She was good.  But during the night her body took a turn and by this afternoon she was gone.  I was blessed to pray over her with her family and honored to be there when she passed.  It was an honor.

On the way home we stopped as we watched young people walking in honor of fallen friend...tazed by policed a few weeks ago.

Life ends quickly.  Life changes in a moment.  God's fingers are ever moving and weaving the fabric of life in patterns unexplainable.  I didn't expect to to meet God so intimately today nor be reminded of how life is often a shave rather than a molding.

For Mary Young I give praise...for Everette Howard I give praise...for those who grieve, may they know God's healing strength...for those who grow from their lives may our witness be Christlike in our living.
It's been an interesting week.  The girls started another school year on Monday, which was less painful than I anticipated.  Yes, there's some grief in watching my oldest start her Senior year, but there's also a great sense of accomplishment at seeing who she is.  There's also a deep recognition of God's movement because she is clay I had no idea what to do with, but God did/does.  Watching her blossom is awe inspiring!

I spent time dreaming for me and my congregation and looking at calenda,r doing all of those organizational things one does in preparing for fall.  God has some interesting challenges ahead for us, but we have the strength of faith to live it.  It's good to spend time reflecting on where God has brought us and see how we've changed.  As a church...and for me as a person.

When I look at my own life and see the shaving God has done to my own clay I smile.  I am grateful for the changes and the fingers of God molding me.  Yes, some of those moments of being molded were painfilled, but I can see I am better now.  Kind of exciting to think about where I'll be someday.

I have many friends going through those molding times with some shaving going on in their lives.  I know they are in pain, but I also know they are growing and moving towards who they are becoming.  This is life in faith...knowing that things/people/life changes and we grow into something more, and hopefully, better.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Amazing moments...watching a community deal with the death of a young own heart has changed by some of the racism I've seen.    Seeing The Help and watching systemic racism somehow turned into entertainment....educational entertainment?

It's been a summer of ministry reflections.  Tomorrow is another Ordination of a young man with so much ahead of him.  Sunday I help celebrate the 65th anniversary of a friend's Ordination.  To be somewhere in the middle of both of these milestones and reflective of where ministry is moving...not just my own, but ministry in general.

I opened my door and windows to let the cool breeze refresh my home yesterday.  I live on a busy street, but I heard the firetrucks 4 times in 2 hours...excessive for where I live.  A reminder of the chaos all around.  I talk with friends and see divorce, lost jobs, lost homes, cancer, drugs, abuse, hatred....all kinds of pain.

I'm watching/praying a facebook page of teenage prayers and am saddened by the grown up issues of their lives.  Gun violence, police violence, family issues, school fears, cancers and illness, and so much more.  Cries for answers and compassionate embraces across the miles.

The passage for preaching I'm using Sunday...Nothing can separate us from the love of God!  Lord, help me to be a vessel of your love....Make my ministry a reflection of your love for us in an aching world.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Church camp!  They're home and exhausted.  And camp prepared my daughter for reality when she came home.  A young man who had graduated in the star, academic honors, popular, college bound...was killed last night.  Was tazed by an officer...the kid was African-American.

It's hard to watch the social network move on this and it's not. These kids are grieving and they are angry...and they are turning to their faith!  The first gathering they are calling folks to is a youth rally at his church tomorrow.  Not an angry place, but a deep place of faith.  Oh, don't get me wrong...there are some angry kids who trust police less now than before.  There are some confused kids not sure how the world changed over night.  But they are turning to each other and to their faith.  May they know the strength of God's love and peace...and not the anger of evil...or the evil of anger for that matter.

I'm sure as the story plays out in the media it will eventually get to the fact that we've lost a really neat young man with lots of potential...but I doubt it will ever get to the bigotry in our society that makes being a black youth so difficult.  God helps us all!

Friday, August 5, 2011

This summer has been an amazing time for me.  While it's been quiet and calm in so many ways I can look back over the last 2 months and see where God's hand is moving in new ways.  It's kind of scary to see, but it also gives me quite the tingle of anticipation. 

I've spent a great deal of time reflecting on my own call to ministry and the path it has been to get me to this place in my life.  I've made plenty of mistakes....but I've also done some good things.  When asked to preach a friend's Ordination I was brought to tears by the honor of it and the preparation was truly a spiritual experience.  Realizing that my life was an example that someone else chose to set as a role model brought me to my knees.  But watching a beloved young person set my friend as a role model was even more powerful.  To watch the weave of life threads was, and is, breath taking.

I think about those who have been my role models...and the list has changed regularly as time has gone by, but each was there for a reason at the time needed to guide me.  Men and women who may or may not have known I was watching them and shaping my life in their reflections.  I am grateful for their good and bad examples...yep, I learn/learned a lot from other's mistakes!

My husband and daughter come home from camp's been an amazing week for them and I know this God moment has been incredibly rich for my daughter...if not life changing/life shaping.  I know for me, I think I'm ready for the next threads to be woven in life because of the threads that have already been woven.  The examples that have been set before me have been strong and I pray I am as strong and good as they were.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Michael and Patricia are at church camp and Bekkah and I are home this week.  It's amazing how strange it feels to be home rather than in the office.  We're also living with less structure to our plans so it seems really odd.  I keep thinking I supposed to do...which is a good reminder that I've probably been doing too much.  I don't know how to relax...but I'm learning!

It's amazing how easy it is to become too busy without even realizing we're busy.  Saying yes is so much easier than letting people down.  And then all of the sudden we're tired and in need of a break...but too much to do to take one.  It's nice when a break is dropped on us...without illness, guilt or threat of more to do to earn it.

This week is my mandatory break to be with Bekkah.  We don't plan much, but we are just together.  I look at her face and realize how much she's grown since last year...her hands are becoming long and elegant next to my short fingers.  She's almost taller than her principal so kindly pointed out today.  I don't notice these things in the busyness of life.  We are just together in silence or giggling or listening to a book on tape or just being together.  She's so calm and patient in life.  I learn much from her!

We need breaks.  We need time to stop and do nothing.  We need to look at our lives and notice the changes.  We need to stop and know our lives rather than reflect on what has passed us by.