Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kindergarten is a Dangerous Sport

Whodathunk it?

One of my little darlings, who has had some difficult days in the past, had a wonderful day last Tuesday. A stupendous day. A red-letter day. She earned twenty minutes of computer time to be awarded during the last half hour of said day. Sounds like the makings of a date to circle on the calendar, huh?

Oh, it got circled alright.

Dad, in his infinite wisdom, decided to pull my little darling out forty minutes early. HE had an appointment. He never thought to call and let us know ahead of time. Oh, no. And so I had a sobbing five-year-old who had jumped through every hoop of the day with alacrity only to be crushed with the injustice of it all.

And if that wasn’t enough, when I knelt to comfort my little kidlett, my knee landed on something—or at least I was sure it had due to the stab of pain shooting up my knee. I quickly moved to see nothing between my knee and the carpet and felt the burn—and not the good kind.

The next few minutes were a blur of getting the child to the parent in tears (both mine and hers) and sending another child to the nurse’s office for an ice pack. Wrong move The ice-pack request generated paperwork and a trip to Occupational Therapy. By the time I was seen (and I have to say my nurse had the best sense of humor) the X-ray department was closing so I had neither x-rays nor MRIs done. However, I was given instructions to stay off it and allowed five minutes per hour to maneuver myself to the facilities should I feel the need. Other than that, no standing.

I teach Kindergarten.

Alrighty then.

First there was Tuesday night (also known as my husband’s birthday—he spent it pushing me around in a wheelchair. I SO owe him big time) when I was supposed to be at Kindergarten Registration. In the wheelchair it felt more like a cry for attention than being there for parents to get to know me.

Wednesday, a team member had called in for a sub already so I knew I could not miss. That day was spent with children vying for the privilege of pushing me in the wheelchair. The above-mentioned little darling had a very difficult day as did a couple of her friends and I left the second I could roll myself out the door.

The good news is I had extra writing time this week (Pollyanna will now return to her corner)

Thursday and Friday I hobbled on a crutch, waiting for the weekend. And now we’re back to that key word in my life—waiting.
I am really getting tired of waiting.

Even things I thought were good to work through while I waited have been stripped away. I was up to walking three miles (count’m T-H-R-double E) and now I hobble. So much for losing a dress size before attending the CCWC in Estes Park next month. There are so many exciting things on the horizon but not here yet. So I keep asking my Abba what am I supposed to be learning in all this waiting?

I may be starting to get it—at least intellectually. Up until now I have been looking forward and excited like a kid at Christmas. All the goodies that might come my way. But I don’t’ think that is the definition I am supposed to be taking to heart. Somehow I’m getting this picture of a waiter, like in a five-star restaurant. The type of waiter who is unobtrusive but always available. One who doesn’t ask how things are the second you have just put food in your mouth but instead knows exactly when to remove the salad plate and bring the entrĂ© and fill the beverage glasses without a request.

Am I that type of waiter for my Abba?

As much as I’d love to say yes, I know the answer is no. So, maybe if I can take that head knowledge and get it into my heart, I will begin to appreciate the journey and not be so focused on the destination—the ultimate destination is up there ahead and I am excited for that. But the big oases along the way are only enjoyable if the journey brings about the right attitude.

At the moment, mine needs an adjustment.

Abundant blessings to all!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Just Fiddling Around

“A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” I feel sort of like Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof for this post. Today I’m just sharing snippets of interest.

Actually a good one came this morning. My pastor made a confession that rocked the church—to be fair, I’ll put it into context. He began a new sermon series on relationships and is using a driving/rode motif to illustrate his points. Today his focus was that no one likes a road hog. And in the midst of this very spiritual, moving sermon, he asked of the married people in the congregation how many disagree with their spouses on the types of movies they like to watch. Hands flew up all over (mine and Phil’s included). And that is when Pastor Steve confessed. He likes movies where somebody blows up—he’s not picky, he just wants bloodshed and mayhem. However, his wife prefers something to make her cry. He went further. After the last Elder’s Meeting (a grueling one that saw my own Elder/hubby crawl in way after his bedtime) he popped in Rambo First Blood to feel better.

Something about knowing that little quirk about Steve leaves me unsettled. However, the men in our congregation had else to say. Especially when I suggested a good ol’ chick flick comedy (and yeah, Jen, I was thinking about your favorite nail polish at the time) instead of a tear-jerker. Uh, no. Rather it was countered we find one where the hero blows up things, but sheds a sensitive tear in the process. Where’s the chick flick fun in that, I ask you?

So, before I let flashbacks from Steve’s confession and the resulting aftershocks scar me forever, I’ll switch topics.

One of my very favorite people in the whole world—yeah, he’s got a corner on the market most of the time—is having a birthday this coming Tuesday. He will officially be old. But that’s okay, I’m learning to like antiques. Happy birthday, dear husband of mine. I love you.

And with that I will wish you all abundant blessings!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dealing With Rejection

I had jury duty this week. I didn’t get picked. Again. I never get picked. Okay, for the first few times I trotted my little self down to one of the courthouses we have around here I was happy to escape the final selection. But now, I’ve done this about six times already. You’d think someone down there would like me. At least a little.

But no, I’m rejected again. Went off to moan and groan to my Abba. Bad move—especially this week. He knows more about rejection than I’ll ever experience. Talk about feeling like a whiner.

But when I got over my little pity party and let Him give me that attitude adjustment I was just begging for, I was reminded once again that it is all Him. Even though he did it for me. And you.

Bottom line, my rejection meant I got to sit in an air-conditioned courthouse, make a couple new friends for lunch, and read a novella without having to deal with kidletts poking and prodding and calling, “Teacher, TEACH-er.” Don’t get me wrong. I love my little rug rats, but Spring Break is long over and there are still six weeks left (count’m S-I-X) until I kiss their dear little heads so-long. It doesn’t even compare to the ridicule and rejection Jesus endured on my account.

Our motives were different as well. Way different. I went for the vacation from school—and to do my civic duty, of course. He did it to give me life everlasting. And he did not allow the rejection, the ridicule, or the pain to keep him from his appointed goal—the original postman living out a love letter from the Father.

So, have I grasped the lesson now that it isn’t all about me? Well, the jury is still out on that one. For the long term, don't know. But for the moment, I’m grateful He hasn’t rejected me. Thank You, Abba.

Have a happy and very blessed Easter.

Abundant blessings!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

E is for Easter

I just got back from viewing Lee Stobel’s The Case for Easter. It is late and I am tired but I want to share what I learned. To hear and see irrefutable proof of what I hold dear in my soul demands that I share, so here are the basics.

1. Execution—there is no way that Jesus could have lived through the torturous execution he suffered. Medical and historical documents cannot be argued away. Jesus died.

2. Early—the accounts, including the creed passed on from the Apostle Paul in Corinthians, would have been argued or declared shams. Instead they can be dated back to soon after the actual event. Studies show legends and myths take much longer than two generations to generate. Less time is involved with the reporting of the early accounts. Mr. Strobel calles this a News Flash.

3. Empty—this is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence. If somehow Jesus could have lived through the crucifixion and having his lung and possibly his heart stabbed with a spear, and if he could have gotten himself unwound from the linen cloths and seventy pounds of spices, and if he could have moved the stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb, He would have held far more scars than just the ones on his wrists and feet--the only ones attested to in any account. So, he really did die, but the tomb was empty—historical evidence other that the Bible backs that up. The Jewish leadership and the Roman government didn’t want Jesus to be alive. If he was dead, all they had to do was produce the body. For Roman soldiers to admit they fell asleep on the job? They would have been put to death for that. And to be tricked by a bunch of itinerant fishermen? Oh, please! The tomb was empty.

4. Eyewitnesses—over five hundred people personally saw and interacted with the risen Jesus. FIVE HUNDRED EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS! If you produce less than one-fifth that many in any court of law, you will get the verdict you want.

5. Emergence—the birth of the Christian Church is based on the sermon Peter gave at Pentecost. Three thousand people heard him cite information they knew to be true—"Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed though Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—" That is verse 22 of Acts 2. Peter is telling them things they knew—they knew Jesus did miracles and had walked among them. The also knew He’d been crucified. And after seeing and hearing the apostles in their own language, they could not refute it—3000 people could not refute and asked what to do, begged to be told what to do. Three thousand people gave their hearts and lives over to the Lord. Mr. Stobel also pointed out that people of all creeds will die for their faith. The difference was, the apostles knew the truth. If they had been making up the story, each would have died a martyr's death for a lie they knew to be a lie. To die for what you hope is true is one thing, but to die for what you know is not true of your own accord when you can easily say “hey, I was just telling a good story to make a point” and live just wouldn’t happen. And it didn’t happen.

So as you go through this Passion Week, it isn’t just a good story that teaches a lesson. It isn’t a warm fuzzy in your heart to help you get through your grief at the loss of a loved one. It is the truth—He is the truth. It is His story in history. And I am overcome with gratitude and love for my Abba.

Abundant blessings!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Savoring Satisfaction

I struggled this week with what to write. Somehow I knew the answer would come at church this morning. I was right.

Our pastor, Steve Chiles , is in the middle of a six part sermon series that examines who Jesus said He is. Today Pastor Steve spoke on “I Am . . . The Bread Of Life!” I thought I would share (with his permission) some of the insights of today's three hankie sermon.

To begin, the main Scripture reference is John 6:25-35. I won’t print it here but you can follow the link. Steve made two main points based on those verses: 1.) He (Jesus) wants us to look to Him as the true source of satisfaction; and, 2.) He wants us to learn to savor Him.

Amid an unruly chorus of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” Pastor Steve noted that most of what we seek for satisfaction is simply medication. We look for Mr. or Miss Right in all the wrong places. We fill our time up with busy-work and “holic-isms” (my word) and miss out on the One Who can satisfy our every need. Remember the verse “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”? (Psalm 37:4 NIV) I thought I had matured when I realized it didn’t mean "love God and He will give you what you want the most,” but instead meant “put God first in all things and He will place within you what your heart needs to desire, longs to desire.” Sounds pretty good, huh?

I had an epiphany this morning when Steve shared how the Lord had opened his eyes. “He (God) is not a MEANS to what your heart is looking for; HE IS what your heart is looking for!” I draw near to Him and HE IS the desire of my heart. He gives Himself to me freely. All I have to do is open the door. Powerful!

The second point--He, Jesus, wants us to learn to savor Him--also hit home. I have my quiet time each morning. My dog, Mack, and I have a routine involving Scripture, a devotional, prayer and yogurt—Mack’s favorite part. I’ve learned my day will not be as it should be, or as it could be if I neglect to begin it with my Abba. This doesn’t make me extra pious, it's just that I’ve learned a few things in my fifty years on the planet. But the savor part, that was new—“to enjoy something with unhurried appreciation.”

And then Steve made this telling statement: “We say Jesus is the Bread of Life, but treat Him like fast food.” Ouch! But I have to work for a living. I have to be at work on time. People depend on me. Then my pastor asked, “What does God dream?” If I knew Him well enough, I would know that answer. The point being, when we savor Him, we truly come to know Him. And the only way to know someone is to spend time with him.

That led to the next point—when we savor Him, we move from salvation to transformation. And we aren’t transformed by walking with Him across the street. We need to walk the whole journey with Him, every step of the way. With that in mind, read 2 Corinthians 3:18. I just love it when familiar Scripture becomes new again.

Steve’s final thought was when we savor Jesus, His life flows in us and through us. Think about how Peter’s mere shadow flowed with healing power ( Acts 5:15-16) My shadow only offers shade.

So, tomorrow morning, I want my first thought to be, in the words of King David, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” No more nibbling at the Bread of Life and hurrying on with my day. That diet is over. From now on, I want to savor my Savior. May you find satisfaction at His table as you linger to savor His goodness.

Abundant blessings!