Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Journey

I've been thinking lately about my purpose.
I guess I should try again to read Rick Warren's book about the purpose-driven life.

I think I just need to remember a few things:
Like God is much more concerned about my heart than He is my successes.
He doesn't need me to be good at anything,..He just wants me to be faithful and obedient.
If I can exercise consistent Godly characteristics,
then His ministry will occur through me.
Little ole me.
Having an eternal Kingdom impact.

Although I am not in a true leadership position anywhere,
I have found that I am constantly leading people.
In most of my relationships at work and church, my old age (!) has given me
much experience in a variety of interesting things.

As a leader, I want to remember to be the biggest servant.
I don't want to have a "disdain for the mundane".
If I'm stacking chairs after a church event, then I want to be the best chair stacker ever.
If I'm washing dishes, then I want others to see me standing joyful at the sink.
Does God care about dishes and chair-stacking?
Maybe or maybe not, but I know
He cares about how I feel and act when performing those tasks.

I can't expect any type of ministry in my life to flourish if I don't
seek God through prayer and scripture.
Desiring a close walk with God won't get me there.
Feeling guilty is non-productive.
Church attendance is important but by itself will not sustain a life of purpose and ministry.
It's not enough to discuss God and His wonderful ways.
I can surround myself with good dancers, talk all day of my dancing skills,
and immerse myself in performances,
but that doesn't make me a dancer.

My life is about the journey.
Unexpected detours seem to be in the plan.
The only place I need to "arrive" at is Heaven.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Youth Workers Convention

I don't think Satan wanted me to go to Atlanta this weekend.
There were 5 of us scheduled to go to the Youth Specialties Youth Workers Convention and each one of us had serious issues which made us want to stay or be home.
Four of us made the trip in our tiny capsule Mazda and arrived at 4 frazzlin o'clock in the morning!
We pull up to the Omni hotel which appears to have no lobby or parking lot. We somehow wind up in a valet area and are immediately surrounded by tuxedoed valets who did a great job at hiding their disgust with our old dented-up car filled with bubble gum wrappers and a hundred M&M's (which got thrown during a fierce fight).

Now, I need to tell you right here, that somehow, during the 8-9 hours ride sitting in a back seat the size of a milk crate, something serious happened to my right knee.
It began to hurt around Memphis, was killing me at Birmingham and absolutely locked-up as we drove into Atlanta.
It simply would not work.

As Ralph, Levi and Jackie unloaded the car, I was sent by the bellman to the elevator towards the 4th floor for check-in.
Dragging my leg across the cavernous deserted lobby towards 3 fresh-looking desk clerks, they greeted me professionally and I handed them my credit card. One of them apologized and said "I'm sorry ma'am, you have a Marriot credit card and this is an Omni Hotel chain. We can not accept this credit card."

It's four a.m.
My right leg has a mind of it's own.
I'm too tired to think.
He apologizes and repeats that the "Omni hotel does not accept credit cards which have other hotel names printed on them."

I had options here.

I could pull out another card
I could crawl over the desk and use his tie to choke the snot out of him.
I think he saw clearly that I was going for the second option because he laughed and yelled "I'm just kidding! Oh My Gosh! I'm joking! I'm so sorry ma'am,..I can see how tired you are and I should not have pranked you like that! Please forgive me!"

I should have known.

Welcome to the National Youth Workers Convention.

The weekend was wonderfully filled with refreshment and inspiration and I'm looking forward to sharing some it of here soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's On Your Mind?

I wonder sometimes, as I live, work and socialize with different people, what types of agonies lurk in the front of their minds as they carry on conversations with me.

As I laugh and joke about mundane things, mention newspaper articles or comment on life,..have my friends been mentally and emotionally sidetracked by horrible memories?

Could my friends be making a valiant attempt to respond to my conversation but deep inside their head, they are mulling an internal pain which would silence me if I knew of it?

That happened to me today.
I excused myself from the crowd so I would not make a scene.
Was I angry?
Were they insensitive?
Not really,..they didn't know me "before" so don't fully understand the sharp trajectory change my life has taken.
It's not noticeable to the eye.
I have a deep wound which appears healed, but festers under the surface.

My friends would not know that their topic of discussion began a mental train of thought which could not be stopped.
I could not tell them that as they were talking an joking among themselves that I was replaying a nightmarish scene that played itself out in my front yard of the afternoon of March 18th, 2004.
There are some pains which are never forgotten.
It becomes part of us without us wanting it to be so.
The hurt defies description, yet,.. it's ordinary and normal.
We pray to be separated from it, but it's utterly impossible.
It ebbs and fades at times, but we feel it from a distance knowing it will return.
We all say that "Pain comes to us all", but sleeping, waking and living with it is so,......painful.

It's not crippling by any means, but it is lonely.
Very lonely.

Maybe it's the grief of losing someone who we don't think we can live without.
Maybe it's the loss of love through divorce or rejection.
Violence inflicted upon us by another.
Physical illness and suffering.
A prodigal child.

Whatever it is,'s is never far from the mind.

I must remember that when I interact with people.
I must remember that about me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My book to study this month is Matthew.
Some of the things I learn in my study almost seem so elementary that I often find myself ashamed because I'm just now learning them
I think,.."everyone knows these things except me!"
Well, I'm not disclosing what I learned today at my kitchen table because you would think me a big doofus.

I WILL however, mention other interesting (to me) observations from my last couple of days in Matthew:

There are four women listed in Matthew's discussion of Jesus' linage.
Two were prostitutes. (Tamar and Rahab)
One was an adulterous. (Bathsheba)
The last one mentioned was from a sworn enemy people of the Jews. (Ruth)

John the Baptist is in the middle of a verbal tirade against the Pharisees and Sadducees when his cousin Jesus appears out of nowhere, pecks him on the shoulder and asks to be baptized. John switches instantly from a loud confident prophet to a knowledgeable but humble (confused?) brother.
I would have loved to have witnessed this moment shared between the two of them.

After Jesus was baptized,..the Spirit of God descended and "hovered" on Him as a dove. Did you know that in the second verse of Genesis 1,..before the world was formed,..the Spirit of God "hovered" over the darkness?
The Spirit of God as a tiny dove vs the Spirit of God hovering over a huge unformed planet.
One and the same.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekend Reflections

Went to Fayetteville this week-end to spend time with Casey. The Hogs just happened to play so I watched them too.
Here's some random reflections from the weekend.
Casey cleaned her apartment in anticipation of our arrival. Imagine that.

Breakfast at the Cracker Barrel is a great date.

The lady who sat next to me at the football game cried during the National anthem.

Casey's roommate is an Interior Design major. She's been "in studio" now for about 36 hours straight. Her schedule the past two semesters has been insane.
Mama's...don't let your babies grow up to be Interior Designers.

Every single coach and manager on the South Carolina Football team wears their pants about 4 inches too long.

If Jae were still with us, she would more than likely be a senior cheerleader at some university.

Casey plans, travels and roams because she still grieves deeply.

Abby is right now, the same age as Casey was when we lost Jae.

I am reminded that some of the most important jobs I can do or my girls is to pray, love and listen.

Anytime I see sunrises, sunsets, pretty moons, rainbows or storms,..I wonder what it all looks like from Heaven's viewpoint.

I love to come home.

I found out that we now have the BET channel on our TV.
Oh joy. Another channel to block.

Abby still fits nicely in my lap.

And lastly,.....a moment form the Hogs football game that I always look forward to.....


Thursday, November 5, 2009


Last week, our area experienced a torrential rainstorm which flooded many of our roads and bridges. As I drove home through the worst of it, I unexpectedly found myself driving through the deepest water I ever recall driving through.
I was in it before I knew it was there.

After being home about 20 minutes, I received a call from my mom who, to my dismay, had also been out in this storm.
Mom does not see well at night and the short distance she was driving was flooded which forced her to drive miles out of her way.
In the dark.
In the rain.
And she had forgotten her cell phone.

Mom has driven these roads for 50 years.
She knows every bump and dip.
She knows every home and mailbox along each road.
The distance was short....maybe a mile.
When she left home hours before, the weather was fine.

But Thursday night, the circumstances became very different.
Outside influences changed the normal into the unrecognizable.
Old knowledge was not useful.
What should have been an effortless drive was replaced by danger, worry and fear.

My brothers and I all sat in our homes unaware of what our mom was going through.

What are the lessons here for me?
1. People get blindsided by life.
It happened to me and I bet it will you too.
It nobodies fault,...Life just happens.
One minute you are safe, the next you are near-drowning.

2. Storms are normal.
However, I, like some of you, think storms are unfair.

3. We often don't realise that the people we love are in danger.
They don't tell us?
They can't tell us?
We don't ask?

4. God always knows exactly where we are.
Thank goodness He is reachable even when we are too frightened
or overwhelmed to seek Him.
He is the original "wireless".

5. Worrying about my parents is right up there with worrying about my kids.
I must nag fuss remind mom that we are not reachable when she is without her cellphone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Riding Pete Into War

Last night, Bro David referred to a text in Revelation 19 which describes the last battle.
It is in our future when the curtain of time is dropping and
all the forces of evil are gathered to fight against
He who is called Faithful and True.
The army will be all dressed up in white wedding garments
and riding on white horses behind Jesus Christ.
Now who in the world wears white to go into battle?
And who goes to war after a wedding?
And you.
But I don't think we really have to fight.
Good thing, because I'm afraid I'd have trouble staying on the horse,
much less fighting on one.
Does this all sound a little far-fetched? does to me too.
However,...if we're going to believe the Bible, then we need to believe the whole thing.
How exciting!