Posted on May 31, 2009 by fghart
We had an awesome celebration today in recognition of Pentecost (Whitsunday). Pentecost is explained in Acts 2:1-13.
I got home from church and immediately changed into my grungy “work clothes,” ready to get busy pulling grass from my flowerbeds. Then, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit reminding me to share a video study for today. Who am I to argue?
I didn’t take the time to change back into something more presentable. Picture me in red, the traditional color of the Pentecost celebration.
Happy Pentecost, y’all!
Filed under: Sunday Study | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 30, 2009 by fghart
Click the Café Chat button to get the context for today’s topic:
“So today, I would like for us to share some of the words that were said to us, or words we said to others that were not comforting, or maybe even made the situation worse. Today’s sharing is not at all an exercise to condemn those around us who may have said things that were not good, but to help our community see what words can do if they are not filtered through Jesus.”
I cringe at the thought of the many times I may have hurt someone by speaking thoughtlessly. I’ve learned that often the best response to others’ grief is quiet sympathy (not empathy which implies I know how they feel). I might say something like “I’ve had similar experiences if you’d ever like to talk about it.”
There is one aspect of my life that is very difficult for me to talk about – parenthood (and grandparenthood). One of my grandchildren is adopted. She doesn’t live with my daughter, her birthmom. She lives with a couple in another part of the country. A couple who, when the adoption went off track gave up hope. Because I believed (and still believe) that God knows best and I was obeying the message I was hearing – I continued to work with both birth-parents to facilitate resolution. I cried rivers of tears during those dark days. Eventually the adoption was back on track. The adoptive Mom stayed with us for a few days, the last days that we saw and held our precious granddaughter. Even though the plan was to maintain an open adoption, the adoptive parents have since changed their minds and we’ve not held our granddaughter for 2 1/2 years. I’m grateful that they send pictures and we’ve stayed somewhat in touch over e-mail.
A year and a half ago my daughter and her oldest child, our grandson, came to stay with us. She was in trouble with the law, creditors, CPS… it’s still hard to think about some aspects of that time. She was not effectively parenting our grandson and that was obvious. The week before Christmas she announced she was taking our grandson to live with his aunt (the father’s sister). She drove halfway across the country to drop him off (they met at a fastfood restaurant halfway between our place and his new home). Another river of tears flowed. I’m crying now. It’s hard not to mourn. We do stay in touch – after all, they’re extended members of our family. We visited them before Christmas. We talk on the phone and over skype (we love skype!). But it’s not the same as being together and it’s certainly not “traditional”.
My daughter is getting her life together, finally, but I don’t know that she’ll be ready to parent any time soon. By the time she is, well, I’m trusting God to help us work through what will be a difficult conversation. Our grandson is doing so well with his new Mom. My daughter is not his Mom.
So…needless to say sometimes this topic is a little touchy for me. It can be awkward trying to explain the whereabouts of my grandchildren. And no, I don’t think anyone can tell me they know how I feel. I do know that everything happens for a reason and I trust God. That’s all we need to hear when we’re lost in a mournful situation.
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Posted on May 29, 2009 by fghart
In early April I participated in my first ever webinar “A Woman Inspired” and it truly inspired me. On June 8th I’ll be joining round 2 of this fabulous experience. I don’t know how to describe it and do justice to the awesomeness of logging in and listening to relevant topics along with 100+ other women, while sitting in my office with headphones on. It wasn’t easy to squeeze the sessions into the middle of my “busyness” but it was definitely worth it. I’m ready to do it again.
Since the April event I’ve become even more pumped up about committing my life to my Creator. He who made me can claim me and use me at will. I am ready.
I have been so richly blessed by this experience (and I know I will be more blessed with the next experience), I’m hoping to give a ticket away. Please let me know if you are interested.
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Posted on May 28, 2009 by fghart
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)
A little while ago I lost patience with someone at work. I was not feeling stressed or tense regarding the situation that went badly…until it went badly, of course. But I trust God’s ability to teach us in all circumstances and I was reminded that I have room to grow when it comes to seeking God’s constant companionship. I shared with you here that I wrote an apology note.
Yesterday, I had two encounters that are relevant to this story. First, I ran into a co-worker in the cafeteria and I shared with him some positive feedback I’d heard from his boss. It’s important to pass on praise and let folks know when others say good things about them – we so often only hear the negative. During the course of that conversation we touched on the topic that had “blown up” with a different co-worker. He knew the meeting with that co-worker went badly and commented that he’d heard about my written apology. He also commented that the other co-worker had indicated some reluctance to meet with me again. Awkward? Maybe. I didn’t get any context and didn’t have time to fish. My comment? “Aw! I’m not that scary!”
Later, I ran into the other co-worker. It was clear there was no tension or anxiety. We were both smiling and we had a nice follow-up chat. I believe my prayers for wisdom and guidance, prayers that led me to write a note sown in peace, were answered. The world of my employment is not a world of humility and submission but increasingly I find that humility and submission are the paths to greater reward. Should I be surprised that God knows best? Of course not.
I’ve been thinking a lot about our journeys and our final destinations and I’m reminded of the thought that prevails: “It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Pay attention to the road you’re traveling and measure the steps you are taking.” I tend to drive too fast and rush to my destination. I’m challenging myself to slow down and enjoy the “getting there” instead of rushing to “be there.”
God, bless me on this journey and help me to focus on the small acts and chance encounters instead of always focusing on the goal. May I always seek Your heavenly guidance and be blessed by Your wisdom. Your blessings abound in the here and now.
Praise Your name!
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Posted on May 26, 2009 by fghart
“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”(Proverbs 16:2)
Isn’t that the truth? We can all rationalize away the things that we’ve done. “Gee! I didn’t mean to!” That should make it all good, right? Maybe…maybe….
The key message today is “Examine your motives.” Don’t kid yourself. Look within. Shine a cold, hard light into your core and be sure that when God weighs your motives you are considered righteous. This is not something that is subject to the judgment of others – it’s just between you and the Almighty. But it’s not a deal you want to jack with. You know what I mean?
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Posted on May 25, 2009 by fghart
I’m continuing on the theme of upward spirals. What fabulously atypical spiral staircases. In the middle of an airy room (right image), you step into a chamber of shadows. One step at a time, in semi-darkness, in a tight circle of upward mobility…stepping up in faith.
The double-spiral is also interesting. You can’t tell who else might be ascending or descending beside you.
I’m fascinated by the images. What a wonderful feat of architecture – to allow ascension without taking up much “real estate.”
Spiritually, our own ascension can take place without adding or detracting from our environments. We should not consider this acceptable, no matter how common.
No matter whether our spiral staircase is grand or simple, we should plan to make an impact. It’s not enough to slip quietly from view! We need to be proud of who we are. We need to bring light into the world. Declare yourself! Step out in faith!
Happy Memorial Day! In recognition for all who stepped out in faith and courage, losing their lives to protect our freedom and/or to support the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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Posted on May 24, 2009 by fghart
This is the third in the series on Judges. I haven’t figured out where, if anywhere, this series is going. I’m taking it one step at a time – a lot like the Israelites did. Hopefully I can avoid doing evil, avoid getting myself cross-ways with God…but should I find myself in need I will indeed cry out for mercy and expect his blessed deliverance.
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