Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Sexist Observation #341: It is physically impossible for male children to actually get their dirty clothes INTO the dirty clothes basket, even in a well-lit and uncluttered laundry room. I have no experience with female children. If you have no children yet, it is best to begin lowering your expectations now.

--If you have a minute, check out Tim Stevens blog from yesterday. It is obnoxiously in your face and I usually have a deep appreciation for that.

--Fav quote of the week: "Halloween is just an excuse for women to dress like prostitutes. You know it totally is." Jim Gaffigan

--Confession: I might have previously exaggerated just a teensy bit on how often I get shopping carts with broken wheels. However, since I first posted about it in my blog, I swear it has happened EVERY TIME I have gone to Walmart. Must be some communist-buggy-sabbotage-conspiracy-thingy!

--Another linky dink...check out Eddie's blog from last Friday. Truly rocked our little world.

--Still praying for our house to sell. I'm not gonna lie...I am about a quart low on faith today. I really shouldn't be in light of the aforementioned occurence in Eddie's blog. What can I say? I am painfully human.

--I raked leaves yesterday. I think that everyone that winds up in hell will most likely be raking leaves for the rest of eternity. Either that or cleaning grout. It's a toss-up.

--If the stars align just right then perhaps our beloved Georgia Bulldogs will actually beat Florida on Saturday. You can stop laughing now!!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Breast Awareness Month

No, the title is NOT a mistake. Recently my son, Periwinkle, (names have been changed to protect the innocent) announced to his brothers that the reason the waitresses at a local restaurant were wearing "Save the Ta Tas" tee shirts is because it is Breast Awareness Month. That's right...cancer has nothing to do with it. So, dear readers, take a moment before this month is over to pause and become aware of your breasts. Or your lack of breasts. Go ahead...have a leisurely stroll down mammary lane. Now don't you feel truly inspired??

I am Beth Taylor and I approved this message.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scratch That.....

In my post this morning I declared that I would not share my political  opinions.  I am retracting that statement and I am asking you to please read this article before you go and vote.  I am categorically and unapologetically opposed to abortion.   Nothing anyone could ever say to me would change my mind.  I am also pro-choice.  I think a woman should have a right to choose and that choice should be made before she has sex.   

The article I reference here by Robert George is the most thorough explanation of Barak Obama's stance on abortion that I have ever read.  Please be informed on where Obama stands on this issue and what this will mean for our country should he be elected.  Many issues are at stake at this pivotal time in history, but none so important as the preservation of human life.  This is not a short article but it is hugely important.  Feel free to forward a link to this blog or a link directly to the article.  Please be informed and please, please vote.


The Wisdom of Yesterday

I avoid all things political in this blog because I am highly opinionated on the subject and basically intolerant of opposing views in this one arena.  Hey, at least I get points for honesty here, right?  Anyhoo, since we are fast approaching the big election day I want to spare you any personal opinions and instead share with you the words of some of our founding fathers.  

--"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."  George Washington

--"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  John Adams

--"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."  Thomas Jefferson

--"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone."  John Quincy Adams

--"The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests."  Andrew Jackson

--"The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."  Martin Van Buren

These words represent the heart of the leadership that aided in laying the foundation of this great nation.  How have we drifted so far from our beginnings?  As you prepare to go out and vote next week for our next President, please consider the words of the Presidents of yesterday and remember why we came here in the first place.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Everybody Limbo!!!

I looked up the word limbo in the dictionary and I found the following definitions:  suspended, on hold, up in the air, on the back burner.  This is a good description of what limbo is.  

 The other definition of limbo is the Indian dance in which the dancer bends backwords in order to pass under a horizontal bar that is progressively lowered.  I think this definition is a more accurate picture of what it feels like to be  "in limbo".  You feel like if you bend any further, you might snap in two.  And the fire is a nice touch in this picture.  Nothing like the fear of incineration to help you bend backwards even further.  Funny but there is no one standing around in festive hats clapping for me right now and I am bent way backwards!
Limbo is a most unusual "unplace" in which to find yourself.  Have you ever found yourself there for an undetermined amount of time?  How did you cope?


Monday, October 27, 2008

The Beauty of Margins

One of my favorite leadership talks to give is that of self-leadership.  You cannot effectively lead others until you are successfully managing yourself.  Of great importance in this arena is building margin into your life.  Margin is the extra time that you may need as you live this gloriously unpredictable life.

Case in point would be my life yesterday morning.  I was gathering my family together so that I could drive my husband to the airport to catch a flight.  We left plenty of margin within our schedule and it was a good thing as our battery was dead-graveyard dead-when my husband tried to start the van.  Time for plan B.  Because of the margin we had built into our schedule, we had plenty of time to go get another battery, install it and still get to the airport, after having a quick lunch, with time to spare.  This is the beauty of margin.  

I was taught early in life by my grandmother that tardiness is the highest form of selfishness because it communicates to others that your time is more important than theirs.  She always told me to allow more time than I thought I would need so as to NEVER keep others waiting.  And this lesson has served me well in life.  The slow traffic, dead batteries and coffee spilled in your lap as you pull out of your driveway can all be handled without costing others if you build margin into your schedules.  Try it this week.  It will bring you great freedom, cost you little, and speak volumes to others.  And if the unexpected doesn't happen, you will have a little extra time to create something beautiful in the margin of your life.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Chronicles of Charmia: Epilogue...I went to Walmart (see below) this week to buy toilet paper and lo and behold, what did I see in the middle of the aisle? A HUGE display of Charmin multipacks....on sale. Then the heavens opened and the angels sang and a blue bird landed on my shoulder. Okay, not really, but it could have happened. It had to be a sign from God and right now I could use one.

--I went to Walmart again this week and rather than take the first cart available, I gave it to the older lady that came in the door right behind me. My good deed for the day. I then took the next cart for me to use and I PROMISE YOU....two of the wheels were broken! I am going to have to shift the percentage up from last week to approximately 84%. Moral of the story: Nice girls finish last due to a broken-down buggy.

--Important quote of the week: It is a well-documented fact that guys will not ask for directions. This is a biological thing. This is why it takes several million sperm cells to locate a female egg, despite the fact that the egg is, relative to them, the size of Wisconsin. --Dave Barry

--My sons were discussing breast implants in the van earlier this week. We passed a Curves gym and my youngest thought it was a place to get breast implants (or boob jobs as he so eloquently put it). He then began a monologue about how interesting it would be to have an implant in your forhead to make you look like an alien. He said it would be called a "freast". I can only imagine what he will become when he grows up...boggles the mind.

--If you are considering buying a new fragrance for the man in your life and you have thought that the new Tim McGraw cologne might be nice, please lie down until this urge passes. Eddie sprayed it on himself (without smelling it first, mind you) in the store the other day and we had to ride home with the windows down. One of the boys even gagged. I think this was just for effect.

--I was driving around town the other day and I got behind a truck that had a bumper sticker that read, "TURD". Now I ask you, what would possess a person to put that on their vehicle?? Is it a southern thing? Should you really need a passport to come down here? You can't even find anything like that in a country song on the radio! Just one of those things that makes you say, "Hmmmmmmmm."


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get Paid For Your Passion

I think I have already mentioned that I have been reading Seth Godin's most recent book, Tribes, and it is really speaking to me where I am.  One sentence in particular grabbed my attention.  Seth says,

 "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don't need to escape from."  

  Godin asserts that the people who love what they do and are eager to get to work each day are people who are affecting change in their sphere of influence.  'They challenge the status quo and push something forward-something they believe in.  They lead."  Many people get up each day and head to jobs where they are working to help someone else accomplish their hopes/dreams/goals.  How many of us are getting paid to "do" the desire of our own heart?  

One of the things I love to do when I get the opportunity to speak to a group of leaders is encourage them to allow the desires of their heart to be resurrected that they might begin living from the overflow of those dreams and desires.  Most folks are taught to get a good job with great benefits and retirement.  I am telling people to make smart financial decisions but live your dreams.  If you are college age or younger, get in touch with your heart and discover what keeps you up at night, where your passion is.  Then figure out how to get paid to do that.  It may take some time and require paying a few dues, but you really can live, and get paid for, the passion in your heart.  If you are further along in life, but disappointed with where you are, it is NOT too late to get paid for your passion.  You just have to take that first step.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Unicorn In A Balloon Factory

As I pray and talk to the Lord about His heart for women to lead strongly in His body, I go back to the handful of scriptures that have been misinterpreted and then used as institutional bars in the church to keep women safely imprisoned in the cage of the status quo.  Sadly, many women have accepted these rules as a reflection of God's heart towards them.  They assume that what they are allowed to do in the church is all that they were created for and that men were designed to carry the weight of real leadership.  Some of the women I have talked to even seem relieved that they are limited because it is safer to hide behind man-made walls of limitation than to have to step out and lead where it might feel uncomfortable.  This is understandable given the fact that it is all they have known their entire lives.

I remember years ago asking one woman, who I greatly respect as a leader in the church, her opinion of women in leadership and she gave to me the response I have heard so often from men in my 25 years in the church, "Women can teach and preach and lead in any way they choose except for church government.  Pastoring and and leading in positions of eldership are for men only."  I remember how stunned I felt when those words left her lips.  I had never felt so alone as I did in that moment.  I never expected her to have swallowed such a gross misrepresentation of God's plan for His daughters.  But she did and so have many others.  

On the flip side of that coin is a moment I recently experienced.  I asked Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine and author of two books on women in leadership, to speak at our women's conference earlier this month at Christian Heritage Church.  During one of his teaching sessions Lee had the women come forward who had been trapped by fear so he could pray for them to be free to lead and fulfill God's destiny for them.  So many women come forward crying out to God to free them to rise up for such a time as this.  My heart was ignited with such a passion to see women come to the place of understanding that God places no gender limitations on them.  He longs to see the misuse of His word come to an end, just as He did when slavery was an issue in this country and people were misusing His word to validate their sin of holding back other races.  I was reminded in that moment, as I stood and watched the women find freedom, that THIS is my holy discontent and the reason I have been given a voice at this time.  

It is time and I am excited.  I realize that this makes me much like (to borrow a phrase from Seth Godin) a unicorn in a balloon factory.  And I'm okay with that.  This is not about me.  This is about the other half of the army of God.  In the coming days and weeks I will be addressing some of these passages of Scripture with the hope of bringing light to a dark place in the church.  To quote Loren Cunningham (Youth With A Mission), "If we don't seize this opportunity now, the church will fall behind for generations."


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confessions of a Neat-Freak

Ahhhh, the sweet consolation of things put in order.  I realize that not everyone is a fan of order and some just may not know how to attain order much less maintain it.  For me, order is part of my DNA...I crave it and I thrive in it.  I have been told that this is indicative of a deep, dark,  hidden issue and that I organize and straighten to compensate for those things over which I have no control.  And to this I say, "WHAT????!!!!"  I don't think that I need to tell you that the people who have said this to me were chronically messy, perhaps even terminally so.  Now this is not a criticism of messies or adulation for neat freaks, but rather a confession that I find difficult circumstances easier to endure when my little world is in order.  Of great comfort to me is the fact that I am married to a man who is just like me in this arena.  In fact, he is worse, and I say this with great respect and admiration.  His sock drawer is color-coded as are the clothes in his closet and once, I caught him alphabetizing the spice cabinet.  I pointed out to him that alphabetizing spices might border on some sort of neurosis, but he did not think so.  

The only problem with these OCD (actually it should be alphabetical order, the way God intended it) tendencies is that my friends who are gifted in messiness do not like to have me over unless their homes are clean.  This is crazy because I don't care how messy your house is...I don't have to live in it.  And I would certainly never criticize you for it.   I'm a live-and-let-live kinda girl.  You be messy, I'll be organized and the world will continue to spin on it's axis.  Spinning and spinning, making complete rotations every twenty-four hours, while revolving in an orderly orbit around the sun........

So which are you?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Risky Business

Following God can be risky business.  Sometimes the thrill of adventure is exhausting and I just want to take a little nap and pretend I'm not hanging out on a limb.  Sloths eat, sleep, and even give birth while hanging from tree limbs and I have never understood that as "hanging" anywhere is not comfortable for me.  But you do get used to the view and you even begin thinking, after a while, that you might just be hugging a small space forever. I reminded myself today that I am not a sloth, but a daughter with a destiny and that this "hanging" is not a permanent condition.  Oftentimes I don't listen well to my own advice.  I am great at giving pep-talks to others but I am not a good listener when I am the only one in the conversation.  This is one of those times when I find myself yelling my own words in my own ears, hoping like crazy that they will penetrate my heart.  I am reminded that when Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water, he was fine until he began looking at what was around him.  Taking your eyes off of the face of God is never a good idea.  Why do our eyes like to wander so?  Why does the heart doubt what the head knows so well?  When will I ever be like my friend, Jesus, who could sleep so peacefully in the middle of a raging storm?  Someday.  Someday.  

If you,too, are finding yourself hanging in an uncomfortable place for an uncomfortable amount of time, just know that you are not alone.  And it is not forever.  And He will never, ever leave you alone.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Exit Interview

Wouldn't it be interesting if you could have an exit interview with everyone you have encountered this past week? What would they say about their interaction with you?  Were your words dazzling?  Were your arguments convincing?  Did you make your point with dizzying clarity? 

I have been thinking that what we say really doesn’t matter.  It is how we make people feel that matters.  Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  That might sound a little “touchy-feely”, but I find that in most of my dealings with people, it is what they walk away with that matters to them.  Kind of like the aftertaste when you have something to eat or drink….it doesn’t really matter what you swallowed, your stomach doesn’t know the difference.  But your mouth will register the aftertaste for quite some time and it is that by which you judge the meal or the drink.  You leave a mark on each one you touch, a fingerprint on their soul.  What does it look like?  What will others see in your wake?

My wake could have been better this week.  I would like to say that my fingerprints were lovely, but some of them were not.  Tomorrow is a new day and I will purpose to think before I speak, listen much, and leave behind something remarkable on others.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Jumbles

Alright bloggy are my thoughts for this week:

--In this, the final chapter of the Chronicles of Charmia, I would like to report to you all (because, of course, you care) that the last of the John Wayne toilet paper is now currently somewhere in the depths of my septic tank. And in the drawers beside each toilet??? My beloved Charmin. (sigh) I considered taking this Chronicles of Narnia analogy to another level, renaming characters with potty words, but alas, as I thought it out to its logical conclusion, it took me down a road for which I would inevitably have to apologize. And so I won't.

--While eating my mini wheats yesterday morning, I noticed a claim printed on the box that stated that it is "clinically shown to improve kids attentiveness by nearly 20%." Oh, whatever. How in the world did they come up with those results and how can they be proven? Don't you love random studies and the claims they make supported by rediculous percentages?

--Perhaps I am a bit narcissistic, but I am pretty sure that I am the only person who seems to get the shopping cart at Walmart that has the broken wheel.

--In the spirit of thoughts two and three above, I would like to assert that I get a cart with a broken wheel on approximately 81% of my trips to Walmart.

--I am still reflecting/chewing on all of my notes from Catalyst last week. As leaders we should make time to fully digest all of the information and inspiration on which we feed. To swallow it whole and consider it no more will never bring about personal growth.
--Leaders who do not continually learn and grow are like hood ornaments. They serve absolutely no purpose in their ministry/organization

--Lesson from last nights' episode of The Office: Spelling is everything. Astrid....Astird....hmmmmm.

--You must check out Eddie's blog post from yesterday. Two words: armpit hair.

--And finally, if you are going to simmer pot pourri on your stove so your home will smell nice while the realtor is showing it to a prospective buyer, you should turn on the burner underneath the pot rather than the burner in front of it. One of the seven wonders of the modern world is the fact that my house is still standing and not a sad, charred heap of good intentions.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Sexual Christian

I know, I know, the title is unforgivable, but I swear it really is the title of a book. Years ago I was at the home of a friend and on her bookshelf was a copy of this book which is now out of print. In true "beth" style, I cracked up laughing because, really, doesn't it sound like a line from a Saturday Night Live skit? "I'm Beth Taylor and I AM........the SEXUAL CHRISTIAN!"

Anyhoo, as cornball as the title sounds, it is true that as Christians we should be comfortable with our sexuality, and as married christians we should be all about loving the spouse God gave us. After these years of pastoring I am well acquainted with how many troubled marriages there are in the church and how sexual dysfunction runs rampant among Christians. What is so very sad is that God intends for sex to be this incredible gift, but so often the church has no idea how to teach people to unwrap and enjoy it. I long to see marriages healed and husbands and wives free to give themselves wholeheartedly to one another. It is important for older couples with healthy marriages to come alongside younger couples and mentor them, giving encouragement and counsel as they work through their issues. Yet sadly, many couples struggle in a hellish, private world where they have no one with whom they can unmask and find the fulfillment that they find so elusive.

If you are struggling in your marriage, if physical intimacy is less than not lose hope. God can heal and restore, inspire and ignite. It is His deep desire that you might know heaven on earth. It is not some intangible fairy tale. It is real. And you can have it. Seek out that couple in your life that has a marriage you envy and pursue them as marriage mentors. Don't hide and pretend that all is well when you are dying inside. It could be that all you have to do is ask.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Slip Into Something Comforting...

Humans are funny creatures.  When life gets unpredictable, scary or disappointing, we reach for whatever will bring us comfort.  For some of us that might be a favorite "comfort food" or even a comforting drink.  If the drink happens to require proper ID, well that is a whole other level of comfort.  Some folks reach for a familiar book or movie to bring them the comfort of escape.  And me?  Well, being the overachiever that I am, I reach for the "comfort combo".  This usually consists of one of my three favorite chick flicks accompanied by something luscious and chocolatey.  If this doesn't do the trick then I just have a little more chocolate and watch movie number two.  I know, I know...I should reach for something spiritual, but honestly now, dark chocolate IS a deeply moving and religious experience.  Really.  So what do you do when you need a little comfort??


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Out Of Seclusion

I am holding my breath as I write this post.  I have been blogging on this site for nearly a year and I have not yet written about the one issue in Christiandom that keeps me up at night.  I am passionate about a number of things, but this one issue is the sum total of all that has consumed me for the past two decades.  And this one thing is how the church limits women in leadership and how God wants to set them free.  

I became a Christian when I was fifteen years old and I began chasing God with a passion unlike any I had ever possessed.  I was mentored by my youth pastor, Ray Owens, and in all of those years I was never told that there would be limits put on me because of my gender.  I was raised in a home where gender was never an issue and I was always told by both of my parents that I could do anything to which I applied myself.  At the age of twenty I married a man who adored me and wanted to see me fulfill all of God's plans for me.  We were, and still are, a true team.  We walk side by side and we lead those around us hand in hand.  No heirarchy.  No power struggles.  Just mutual respect and mutual laying down of our lives for each other.  All was right in my world.

And then I met "the church".  After leaving the safety of Ray's leadership, I ran right smack into the deepest disappointment I have ever known.  And it has taken me nearly two decades to come to a place where I am now free to come out of seclusion to begin publicly speaking and writing about this.  It has taken me this long to understand that God's heart is not reflected in the church's narrow and culturally influenced interpretations of a handful of Scriptures.  It has also taken me this long to hear God's voice calling me out to be an instrument of revolution in His church.  I assumed that a man would need to be the one to proclaim freedom to God's daughters.  And there are a few.  Lee Grady is one such man and so is my amazing husband.  David Joel Hamilton and Loren Cunningham number among them, as well.  But God has also called me and the time is now.  I have nothing against the church.  I love her because God loves her.  I am not "against" anything.  I am "for" seeing God's heart exposed on this issue.  I have no axe to grind, I have a sword to brandish...the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  And His Word has much to say.  But not what you have most likely heard.  So I am out and I have some things that I believe He would have me say....


Monday, October 13, 2008

Inspiration Buffet

Many of the bloggers I read have posted notes from each of the Catalyst speakers.  Rather than do that, I am going to offer a tasty sampling of the high points (in my opinion, of course) from some of the speakers that truly spoke to my soul:

Tim Sanders:
   -A true leader gauges reality and gives hope.

Seth Godin:
   -Positive deviants: you have to do something people can criticize.
   -Become heretics! (person who holds controversial opinions in an area)
   -A heretic is someone whose faith is so deep, they are willing to endure the criticism of the status quo.
   -Heretics don't let the rules of religion get in the way of their faith.

William Young:
   -Can you get through your theological paradigms that don't work but you hold on to?
   -Many Christians have a problem with the book's depiction of the Trinity as a circle of relationship rather than a chain of command.  God is inviting us into His circle!
   -God has an affection that is relentless in our direction.

Jim Collins:
   -A "to-do" list without a "stop doing" list shows a profound lack of discipline.
   -Invest your time in being "interested" rather than "interesting".

Steven Furtick:
   -God is preparing you for what He is preparing for you.
   -Don't forget the promise and forfeit the payoff because you fainted in the process.

Andy Crouch:
   -There is something that you can create in our culture that may otherwise go undone.

Andy Stanley:
   -Pay attention to the people who are breaking the rules.  It is the rule-breakers who are often 
        the problem-solvers.

Yum yum!  Hope you enjoyed the random sampling from the feast that is Catalyst.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Jumbles

Wow...what a goes...

--I am staying with friends who watch ER and I am about to pass out. This is not entertainment, it is torture. For all of my bloggy friends who find it entertaining to watch blood and pain and trauma, I must ask, "What is WRONG with you?????"

--I LOVE Catalyst! Thank you my good friends Tara and Chris (Hilderbrandt)!

--If you have never used Big Sexy Hair root pump, go get you some. I ran out recently and had to use something else. NOT a blessing.

--I will be posting some notes from the Catalyst Conference next week. Sharing the love...that's what I do.

--In my ongoing efforts at having a thankful heart for even the small things in this life I would just like to say how nice it is to get new underwear. Some folks only get excited over something big like a new car, and rightly so, but I get pretty dang happy over five new pairs of panties. And I don't care who knows it. Obviously.

--I missed the Office last night. Whatever will I do? Not to teenagers will re-enact the entire show for me when I get back home Saturday.

--I realized this week how much I need to write. I have felt sad and out of sorts at times during this transition, especially this past week, but when I sit down to write, I am at home and peace settles over me. I somehow find myself as I sit and stare at a blank screen with my fingers poised over the keys. I thank God for the solace of this gift.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Gift of Catalyst

Woo hoo!  I am away at Catalyst today!!  My merciful friend, Tara, from Tarpon Springs gave me an extra ticket she had so I am in Atlanta at the conference with her and as happy as a hog in slop.  I am not sure how much hogs really like slop but I am loving being here.  It has been a few years since I have been and it is good to be back.  There is an amazing line-up of speakers this year, such as Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Tim Sanders, Billy Graham, Craig Groeschel, Jim Collins, William Young (The Shack), and the list goes on.  More later,  my bloggy friends...


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Shack

I finished reading The Shack by William Young and I must say that it was most definitely one of the strangest books I have ever read.  I love anything that is outside of the box and Young never even got close to the box in this story.  I am not experienced at the art of reviewing books so please pardon the informality of my opinions here.  

When I closed the book for the final time, I was moved more than anything by the deep sense of how much God loves me.  At one point in the book the character who was Holy Spirit spoke to Mack, the central character, and said, "To the degree that fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you."  Wow...right between the eyes!  This is where I have found myself on more occasions that I care to admit.  I have grappled with the love of God my entire life and this story helped me get a picture of how much He really loves me.  Not a religious picture...a real picture.

Another important point this story makes is the wonderful intention God had for men and women and their unique relationship to each other when He created us.  The church has wrongly interpreted Scripture for so long that most people, particularly in the south, have no clue what marriage should really look like.  The emphasis on roles and heirarchy and headship completely misses the beautiful, mutually submitted dance that marriage, and all human relationships for that matter, should and can be.  I have been living it with my fantastic husband for twenty years and Young describes it perfectly in his story.

I love that Mack is pursued by God and then allowed to be completely himself in his quest to truly find God and see His heart.  Because the truth is that God loves who we are and He just wants us to pursue Him and discover who He really is and not what religion tells us He is.  Let the critics have their say...Iloved this story.  It sounded more like God and Heaven than 98% of what I have heard in church my whole life.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Profoundly Grateful

My heart is heavy tonight.  I have been sitting here reading cards and letters (and crying my blasted eyes out) from so many of our wonderful friends at Christian Heritage Church whom we have had the privilege of pastoring and loving for the past four years.  Never have we felt the sense of "belonging" that we feel here with these people, our people,  and even as we leave and head into the next adventure, our hearts will always have a home here. 

I am especially thankful that God allowed me to be in this place with these people during the long year of caring for my mother through her illness and death.  I cannot imagine finding anywhere else the enduring love that I found here among my church family.  It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket during the coldest time of my life. 

If I have learned anything from this past year it is the importance of grieving.  It is so very necessary to allow your heart time to grieve over and release anything that will no longer be.  So now I begin the important process of letting this season of my life go although a part of me would love to hold onto it for just a little while longer.  It is easy to walk away from seasons of difficulty and pain, but it is a labor of the heart to give up what has been so precious and good.  I know that God will hold carefully my aching heart and I will cooperate with Him in this as I cry and laugh and remember so many wonderful yesterdays we have had here.  

It is a wonder to be allowed to love others and a miracle to be loved in return.  This has been a four year parade of wonders and miracles and for this I am profoundly grateful.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Jumbles

Thoughts from the edge:

--Toilet paper update: because I know you care, we are STILL using up the last of the John Wayne toilet paper. But I dream of a place called Charmin...

--Our Christian Heritage Church annual ladies conference begins tonight. Can't wait to hear Lee Grady speak. If you cannot be here then get his books here.

--I am enjoying an interesting read right now called, "Is God On America's Side?" by Erwin Lutzer. It is very eye-opening. If you would like a copy, go here.

--I always thought waiting for your unborn child to arrive was nerve-wracking, but I think waiting for your house to sell in a sluggish economy may be worse, although easier on your back.

--It is a good idea to limit how many Raisinettes you eat at one time. However, eating too many is a great way to use up all that awful toilet paper you have sitting around. Hhhhmmmm...maybe I will slip some into the family's meatloaf tomorrow....

--Erwin McManus says, "When you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions." This is so very freeing, don't you think?

--I am swearing off Nyquil. I took some last night at bedtime and four hours later I was wide awake and wondering why I had dreamed that all of my teeth fell out. If I am going to drink alcohol-laden cold remedies, I want to sleep ALL night. And keep my teeth, thank you very much.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Field or Force??

This video is Mark Beeson who is speaking about two kinds of churches. I talked about this in this post a few months ago. Invest four minutes in this and see what you think.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Transition is a funny thing. You are caught somewhere between enjoying the moment and wondering about the future. You feel as though you don't really belong anywhere as you hang over the abyss of change. It is much like that place between asleep and awake where you really aren't one or the other and all you feel is strange. I love to ride roller coasters and I was thinking how similar are the experiences of roller coaster riding and riding the winds of change. You know how you feel as you wait in line, questioning your sanity yet unable to turn back? And then comes the moment of no return when you are buckled in your seat with the safety harness in place and your stomach is doing flip flops as you are tempted to start screaming, "Get me off this contraption!!!!!" Well that is how I feel in times of transition...that odd mixture of thrilled but I could pee in my pants at any moment.

Oswald Chambers said, "The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere." I think as His children we must be ready and willing to move, shift, or change in whatever capacity He desires. For some of us, this requires cardboard boxes and packing tape, but for all of us it requires soft, malleable hearts that are willing to let Him have His way in our lives. And the catch of our breath as we make the ascent to the top of a hill of His making is, I believe, music in His ears.