A woman's walk through marriage, parenthood, servanthood and the family of God.
Monday, September 30, 2002
Decision made. I went to see "the powers that be" this morning. They now tell me there WILL be a meeting with the person causing the problem. I have agreed to it, though the thought turns my stomach (I am so gonna have an ulcer when this is done). I have three weeks to dread it. I also found out there is another person on the ballot for my position so asking to be removed will not leave them stuck. I haven't made it official, but am pretty sure that's what I'm going to do. I love ministry, but just don't want to play the political game any more. It takes too much focus off the important things. I sure can't be ministering for others when it is taking all my energy just to keep my head above water. I pray that it all ends with this meeting.
There was some good news today. The bus company called me and as it stands now, I'll begin training Oct. 22. That's two months earlier than expected.
We're driving down to Pittsburgh this evening. Matt wants cases for his drum set. Drum World is the cheapest place to get them and also the only place that doesn't have to order them. His birthday is Wednesday, so we need them now.
posted by Stacy at 2:16 PM
Moving closer to the happy place, but still have a way to go and admittedly heart and mind are still warring over what to do. Do I stay and tough it out? Do I bail and let the "dark side" win? Or if I bail, do I win by having less stress and anxiety and more peace? What to do, what to do? (wringing hands)
posted by Stacy at 9:24 AM
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Well.....can't say I'm exactly in a happy place today, but I am a little better off than in my last post, so that's something. The thing that's helped me the most was this morning's sermon on vision. I'm not sure what it had to do with my situation, but it somehow spoke to the very core of my being and I heard what I needed to hear, even though I'm not exactly sure what it was. We closed the service with an awesome prayer that I want to share.
A PRAYER FOR THE FUTURE
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
posted by Stacy at 10:03 PM
Friday, September 27, 2002
The kingdom is crumbling! As I sit here tonight I am close to surrender. I am weary of the battle, of the anger and stress, of the attacks, of the physical toll. My mind and heart are warring. Do I resign all positions except for my beloved youth group? Or do I hang in there and fight another day...and another...and another...and another? I don't know if I have that much fight left. I am tired, discouraged, hurt, angry in my own right, and pretty much disillusioned. My heart just isn't in it. No snap decisions for me, but my survival instinct says RUN!!!!
posted by Stacy at 11:27 PM
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Hello Isadore! Even though my friendly and ever so accurate weather man still says Isadore will not be showing her face in these parts until this evening it is raining...and raining...and raining. Guess the girl's got her own itinerary.
Goodbye Iron Mike. I'm a total Steelers fan, created back in the days of the Steel Curtain, when the great ones played the game. I met Mike once at the Steelers' training camp. A very nice man that always had time for his fans and always gave his best and then some on the field. So sad to see him pass at such a young age (50) and so sad to learn how his last years were spent. Mike was the center, arguably the best center ever and he hardly ever missed a game in 17 years. Think about it. The center takes at least one hit in every play he is on the field for. In Mike's case that's a phenominal number of hits for a body to have absorbed. Apparently quite a few resulted in concussions, which left him with "cognative deficiencies." Close friends and family say he was unable to make simple decisions and live a normal life. He suffered legal and financial problems in recent years and at one point lived in his car. The game he loved and gave his all to, took all from him in the end. It matters not to me. I'll always remember Iron Mike and see the heart of a champion.
posted by Stacy at 11:50 AM
It's raining. Where did that come from? The nice weatherman didn't say anything about rain. Ah well, we haven't had nearly enough rain this year and do need it very much. I hope it keeps up...rainy days are great for naps and I am in need as I once again find myself among the sleep deprived. Got to bed around 11:00 last night only to be awoken from deep REM sleep at 12:30 by Baby Girl who was "scared," though of what she could not say. Stumbled to her room to tuck her back in/chase away shadows and stumbled back. Sleep came easily enough, but was so rudely interrupted by some one hit wonder singing in my ear at 4:30. Tim is working at a distant development today and towing a trailer, so required extra time to get there. Going back to sleep after he left would only result in a really groggy me to get up with the kids. I am better off to wait until they are off to school and then crash. By the way....found my neurotic princess on the livingroom floor when I got up. She was nesting with mounds of pillows and blankets and quite cozy and comfortable and not at all happy about being made to get up and go to bed. :oP
Matt casually asked for money for the homecoming dance last night. Seems he needs to buy his ticket today at school. Hmmm....got to thinking this morning. The amount he asked for seems high for just one ticket. Could it be that he is taking someone? I will have to interrogate him when he finally emerges. Since he resents any intrusion into his private life, it's guaranteed to make him surly. Well, more surly than usual. Just please don't let it be a certain girl from the youth group that he is asking. She has a major crush on him, but he has assured us repeatedly that he has no interest beyond friendship.
posted by Stacy at 6:14 AM
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
What is up with this guy they fished out of the ocean after being adrift on his boat for three (or four depending on your news source) months? They say he survived by catching rain water and eating the fish, turtles and gulls he caught. How did he cook these things? Surely whatever fuel he had on board would not have lasted this long. And you couldn't have a campfire on the deck....could you? I saw the pictures of the boat, inside and out. Let's just say it wasn't looking too good at the time of rescue. I hear the Coast Guard sank it. Hmm...interesting, because Robinson Carusoe reportedly asked them to fix his boat so he could go on his way. Guess they decided he might need a little "observation" instead. It will be interesting to hear the rest of this story.
posted by Stacy at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
It is way too early in the morning to be trying to have deep, meaningful thoughts. Yes, I know it is 6:00 which in some circles is not considered early and in my reality really isn't either when you take into consideration that I've been awake since 4:00 and actually vertical and mobile since 4:30. 4:00 was not by choice or design. It just happened. 4:30, on the other hand, is when hubby's alarm went off. He had to be at the job site early today and being the goddess of domesticity that I am, I got up and packed him a lunch, filled his thermos with hot tea and made his breakfast. Not much point in going back to bed after all that when the young'uns soon begin to make their presence known.
An interesting meeting at the church last night. Wish I could have been there, but it was a council members only thing. I thought it was to be kind of a brainstorming session, but turns out they looked at a lot of problems head on...probably not by choice for some. The seriousness of the financial situation was the hot topic. The first thing brought up was the idea of capping the building fund...that when it hits a certain level spending stops except in cases of emergency. That went over like a lead balloon with a certain trustee who protested mightily because soooo much NEEDS to be done. What you ask is so vitally important that we risk the church's financial stability for? Shrubs. That's right. We can not possible go on or minister successfully without new shrubs all the way around the church. And of course if you have new shrubs then you are going to have to have new stone. Give me a ##$%@&*^% break!! I seriously doubt anyone ever drove down a street, saw a church and said, "Gee, the landscaping at that church is incredible. I've been searching for a church with great shrubs. I bet God is really working here and the people are in His will, because look how He is blessing those bushes!" Uh, huh. Anyway.....seems the pastor asked how the financial woes can be dealt with and someone looked him right in the eye and said (this is a loose quote since I wasn't there), "We need to look at why so many are leaving the church. Why are they? Do we know? It seems that there is no financial problem so much as there is a lack of money because of all the people who have left. That's the problem we need to address." Yes! It is about time things turn around. The pastor and a handful of others have needed to hear that for a long time...and from someone other than Tim who has been saying it for a long time and getting poo-pooed (is that a word? seems like one at the moment). Now it's out in the open, dumped into the laps of the leadership...kind of hard to ignore (I hope) when delivered in such a way. There is finally a strong core on the council that is fed up and is trying to bring about the right changes. I hope they can turn the tide.
A heartbreaking e-mail from one of the youth this morning. Seems a huge problem that was brought to me, which I in turn took to the pastor, who took it to the parents....is being swept under the rug. The parents act as if there is no problem and continue as before. I'm guessing the pastor feels he has done all he can or needs to do?? I'm hearing pain and a lot of anger from this teen that nothing is changing, that the same things are continuing to happen. I see both pastors this morning and plan to speak to them about it again (I think they wish I'd go away on this one). I am not going to let it drop. I may not be a pastor, but the teens are my ministry and I have to look out for them. The family, too. Right now I don't think we are doing right by any of them by allowing them to act like what happened is no big deal.
Must go try to function at some level resembling awake.
posted by Stacy at 6:38 AM
Sunday, September 22, 2002
ON MY MIND:
Typical Sunday afternoon here. The spouse is crashed, number one son has left the building to practice with the praise team and baby girl took the dog out and never came back (actually nextdoor visiting grandma). Sigh. Whatever happened to the good old days when families actually spent Sundays together and for the most part, at home? A friend and I were just reminissing about blue laws the other day. Remember those? I for one, would love to see them make a come back, but doubt it will ever happen. Families and society have eroded too far to ever return to the "dark ages."
Not much, honestly. It's been kind of a slow weekend for us. Tim got home earlier than usual Friday night and treated us to dinner at Halula's. We dropped Matt off at the high school for the football game then stopped by the store for snacks and I picked up the latest issue of "Farm and Ranch Living." Each issue has four month-long diaries from farm families. I love reading those and dreaming of living the life some day. When we got home, Megan packed her overnight bag and I walked her over to her friend, Amber's, to spend the night. I picked Matt up from the game around 10:00 and took Scooby with me. Silly dog barked at everyone he saw. Yap, yap, yap! He will not be going again. Saturday found Tim working. I hate when he works weekends, but we can use the overtime right now. My cousin and his family were home visiting his mother this weekend and his wife and kids walked down Saturday morning to say hello and show us their new puppy...an adorable black lab that Scooby is head over heels in love with even though at four months, Velvet is about three times his size. Megan stayed with her friend till I sent Matt for her in the afternoon. It worked out nicely. I took Matt grocery shopping with me. He wasn't thrilled, but I was doing some major shopping and needed the brawn. We went to Aldi's and Giant Eagle. I spent nearly $200, but we are stocked and I shouldn't have to shop for a while other than for things like milk, eggs and bread. I spent a lot of time making a list and cutting out coupons, something I haven't been doing for the longest time. Between the store sales, store coupons and regular coupons I saved a little over $46. Not too bad, but I can do better. My best deal was a store coupon for $15 off on ten boxes of General Mills cereal (had to buy all ten at once). I also had several other coupons good for $1 off on any two boxes of GM cereal or $1 off on a specific kind. Roasts were on sale buy one get one free and I'd hoped to pick up a couple, but passed on them when I saw that the prices had been nearly doubled for the big "sale." You have to wonder how the store managers can sleep at night. You also have to wonder how so many people can be so dumb, but having worked in a couple of grocery stores I can tell you they are. If you say it is buy one get one free they will buy it like crazy because they think they are getting a great deal. Dollar stores bug me, too. Have you ever realized how much of their crap you can buy elsewhere for LESS than $1? Climbing down off my consumer soapbox...:oP Last night was the church's first coffee house of the year. The band was called Blushing Well. They had a good sound. Kinda like Skillet. It was way too loud for our dinky church basement, though. Everyone was complaining. Small children were crying. Adults were leaving. Even some teens complained they had headaches and left. The bright spot was a testimony by one of the girls in the youth group. She just got saved this summer and she shared about what had been happening in her life during the past year. I had no idea. Anyway, it was extremely powerful (she has a gift for speaking....and coincidentally says she feels called to speak). I think she impacted some of her peers. In fact, I'm pretty sure she impacted a lot of the adults, too. Just more proof that God is good, because this is a girl that the other kids in the youth group actually begged me not to include in things just a year ago. I am so grateful God convinced me not to give up on her (and it would have been so easy). We actually got up and made it to Sunday School on time this morning and with minimal grouching from anyone. If you've ever been in a Christian home on Sunday morning you know that's a miracle. Sunday morning is probably the one time no Christian in their right mind would want anyone to see their behavior. It's true. If I'm completely honest...I HATE Sunday mornings. At least until I make it out of the house. Seems Satan just does all he can to stress me out and I know I'm not alone when I start talking to others. The service was ok, not one of our better ones. Something just seemed off today, but it ended on a high note with people sharing testimonies about what's going right in the church. Pastor Matt and I had a short meeting with the youth group parents after the service that went well and we'd have gotten out in good time if not for having to take a friend home. We couldn't get him to stop schmoozing and leave. That pretty much catches you up on life here. I have about an hour before I head back down to the church for youth group. Sundays are really easy days for me now that I don't teach Sunday School, Bible quizzing isn't my sole responsibility and I don't teach the Sunday night lesson, either. I just help out, plan the activities and teach on Wednesdays. It's kinda hard to let go after two years of doing it all, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.
posted by Stacy at 4:30 PM
Friday, September 20, 2002
Blah, blah, blah. There are a lot of thoughts going around in my head today, but none that I seem to be able to form into a full concept and write down. So, I guess instead I will tell you what is up in the kingdom of this domestic goddess (aren't you the lucky one?). Pull up a chair, kick your shoes off. We'll just hang out a while.
Have you watched Dr. Phil's new show yet? I sat down to watch for the first time today and fell asleep. That's no reflection on the show. I just feel kinda crappy and tired today. Actually, I tend to like Dr. Phil's advice and delivery of said advice. I like that he just flat out tells it like it is. You know, if the person is being a moron, he tells them they are being a moron. Sometimes it is time to stop coddling folks and hit 'em right between the eyes with the cold, hard truth. The show really isn't anything new, though. He pretty much took his Tuesdays on Oprah and stretched them out. Same format...him and the people in question sitting there talking.
I got another call from Mark at the bus company today. Seems I forgot on my references that at one of the jobs I listed I was still using my maiden name and when he called they had no record of me. Oops! Oh well, it worked out nicely because he let me know that all my references are checking out well and that he will be passing my application on to the owner for final approval next week. He even asked if I was going to the football game tonight. He said if I do and I get bored to come over and visit at the bus...he might even let me honk the horn. Oooo....I feel special. :oP Hey, I know he's being nice, but I just can't get excited about honking a bus horn at a high school football game. There is doubt that I'm even going. The forecast for tonight calls for rain and storms. If that is going on, there is no way I'm sitting at a football game. Call me a wimp, but I'd rather be home all toasty and dry reading a good book (maybe even "The Case for Faith").
Well, the life of a goddess is not her own and the demands of my subjects in the land of Laundry call me away. Enjoy your Friday evening wherever it takes you.
posted by Stacy at 3:01 PM
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Woo-hoo! Looks like come December I'll be learning how to drive a school bus. The interview went really well (it was with the same guy I had already talked to) and he said as far as he was concerned I'm in, but they do have to check with my references, run clearances and then the owner gets the final say. But Mark says he can't see any problems. Cool beans, though I do wish it was starting sooner. Ah well, God's timing is perfect, so I'm sure there is a reason for the delay. It will be a nice company to work for. The owner is also a Christian and several drivers are, so it's a great atmosphere and how awesome is it that they actually encourage you to get involved with the kids, to make a difference...and if you're careful and handle it just right...play the God card?! Mark does it all the time....invites kids to his church for one activity or another (some have even accepted Christ)...and they stay in touch with him even after they're out of school. He is an incredible guy and I hope to do half as much with kids as he does.
Had a great session with the teens last night. Not as many turned out, but that's okay. This is a time for the kids who are really committed and serious. Anyway, the lesson built off of and expanded on the Armor of God lesson from last week. We talked about the Word and how important it is to hear it and obey, because when we do that we are right with God and when we are right with God, we can't be shaken, because we know that the victory is already won. We went off on a lot of little side tracks (I'm sure that never happens to anyone else), but it was okay as they are thinking, asking questions and talking. I've got one little guy with a lot of fears, doubts and questions and the conversation lead to the end times at one point...a subject he's got a lot of interest in since he isn't sure what he believes about God or even if he is really saved. The kids offered their insights to my comments and it was a really good time of sharing. The kids that said they never doubt their salvation shared how they can be so sure. I don't know if we helped him, but we at least gave him a lot to think about. We also had a profound thought as a group....in talking about the importance of the Word, we read John 1:1-2. Think about it. In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. We know that Jesus is the Word and as such he was with God and is God. So if Jesus is the Word...then the Bible is the written expression of God. It is a true and accurate reflection of God. Whoa! We sat around for a while with our jaws on the floor processing that. Kinda put the importance into clear perspective. My little guy didn't quite get it, though, and had us being quadritarians. Ugh. I can see it now....he goes home and says I'm teaching that God doesn't exist in three persons, but rather in Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Bible. Fortunately the others got it and helped me try to explain it to him. I think before he left he understood. By the way, all but one did the devotions for the week. I am really pleased....and I hear the kids are telling others that it's a good class. Cool.
Getting nowhere on "The Case for Faith." It really is an excellent book. I just haven't had any time lately.
posted by Stacy at 1:11 PM
Monday, September 16, 2002
Started out to work at the church this morning, but ended up going to the elementary school instead. Megan was complaining of an upset stomach and headache and they said she had to come home. She's been calm...sitting and watching television all afternoon...but I've seen no signs of any serious illness. Certainly nothing that warranted coming home. Oh well, can't argue with the school nurse. :oP
I got a call from the bus company that serves our school district. I have an interview Wednesday morning. They had representatives at the football game Friday and I talked to the guy that does the hiring there. He is a Christian and we yakked a lot about what an opportunity driving a school bus is to minister to kids. He was very encouraging and again today. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I hope not, when I think it seems like a pretty sure thing. The hours would be so perfect. Home when the kids are home and free when I need to be to keep working with the youth and getting my CDL could be a plus.
Looks like a quiet evening around here. Yea! I've got pork chops and potatoes on the grill and we are all actually here to sit down to dinner together. I so miss that. When I was growing up that was one thing my dad would not bend on. We all sat down and ate dinner together every day. I can't seem to rope my crew into that. Too many things pulling in too many directions. Next month it gets worse when Matt begins driver's ed and volleyball.
posted by Stacy at 5:53 PM
Sunday, September 15, 2002
This has not been a happy day for me. I'm not sure why, exactly....tiredness due to the stupid dog keeping me awake most of the night...an argument with my spouse...kids who are in a mouthy, disrepectful mood that no amount of discipline seems to discourage...life's stresses in general...but whatever the cause, I've got a major case of the blues today. In Sunday School we talked about why bad things happen to good people and why bad people seem to get all the breaks. I've been reading about that in "The Case for Faith" and had a lot of things come to mind to share, but just kept my mouth shut thinking "what's the point?" A friend of mine is reading "Messy Spirituality" and sharing about it on his blog site. His posts lately deal with the phenomenon of "perfect" Christians. You know 'em. We all do. Heck, somebody probably thinks I'm one. "Perfect" Christians are the ones that sit there on Sunday mornings looking and acting like they have it all together and are living a blessed life. They are the ones that make everyone else afraid to 'fess up to their own mistakes, problems and hardships. It would seem the church I attend is almost completely populated with these types. It always has been. When I am feeling down, experiencing grief, have made a mistake or life is just eroding my well-being, I would love nothing more than to feel I had a safe harbor, a sanctuary, from the world where I was loved and understood. A place where I knew I'd be accepted as I am. That is so not what I have. I look around me on Sundays and there is no way I'm going to share what's really on my heart...even with the ones I'm closest, too. It's a judgemental crowd that really does expect you to be better than others and tends to look down on you if you don't meet the standard (now whether that standard is true or false for those judging is another question, but they want you to buy into it and see them as great saints). Church can sometimes be a very lonely place.
posted by Stacy at 5:10 PM
Saturday, September 14, 2002
My house still stinks like cabbage! Maybe because that is just one of those smells that lingers for a while....or maybe it's because I reheated it this morning and had it for breakfast. Yeah, I know. I have issues.
We went to the high school football game last night. They did the completely unexpected. They won!! It was a close game and pretty exciting right up to the last second. Quite a surprise from the team that lost the first game of the season 48-0 and didn't do much better last week. We hadn't planned to go, but the kids wanted to and a girl from the church asked for a ride. Turned out to be a nice night.
Birthday parties, a craft fair and hanging out at home are on the agenda for today. Sounds like a perfect Saturday. Have a great weekend.
posted by Stacy at 9:06 AM
Friday, September 13, 2002
My whole house stinks like cabbage...and you know what? I like it! This little burg of a town I live in had a decidedly ethnic flavor as I was growing up and that flavor was positively Slavic. Now I am not Polish, Hungarian or Russian, not even in the darkest reaches of some lonely gene passed down through the ages, but having spent my childhood in a neighborhood populated with Hunky bubbas (that's nice round grandma's wearing babushkas and sensible shoes) I've developed an appreciation for all the delicasies of Polish cuisine. So, on this sunny, cold autumn morning with a big pot of cabbage, potatoes and ham stinking up the place, I say....it doesn't get any better than this.
posted by Stacy at 10:36 AM
Thursday, September 12, 2002
THE PRESENT by Anita Renfroe
Once when I was young, days were like honey
Golden and slow and sweet
Time was my best friend, joy fell like the rain
And danced all around my feet
If only I could capture that feeling again
When I sang in the sunshine
And chased the wild wind
There's healing for the past that's done
And hope for all that's yet to come
Each day holds just enough
Sorrow and pleasure, oh
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
But today is a gift and a treasure
That's why they call it the present
Now, time flies like the wind, I relive mistakes
And worry in future tense
Joy slips by me each day as I rush to find
The next great experience
But life will never be all that I've
Hoped for somehow
If I never find the joy in the
Right here and now
Time stands still for no one, for nothing
Time has wings of its own
And yet we neglect the sweet gift of this day
Til most of our time here has flown
So God--give me this day
Don't let me miss what's in this moment
posted by Stacy at 1:13 PM
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Yes!! Every once in a while something in youth ministry goes exactly the way you hoped and dreamed it would. Tonight was a resounding success. I went a half hour early and hung out at the McDonalds behind the church to give the kids a chance to just hang out, chat, whatever, before the Bible study. A big group turned out to check out the new material and everything was just amazing. I love the way the material is set up....I was able to give a smoother, better quality message than usual and the kids really responded with questions and discussion. They transitioned easily into the small group work and were actually excited about the required daily devotional work. It was just one of those times when you know you've got it right and God is smiling on your efforts.
posted by Stacy at 10:09 PM
Ok, I broke my own promise to myself already. I turned the television on first thing this morning and tuned in the news. It is nothing but constant images from last Sept. 11 and stories of the coping that has followed. Being in SW Pennsylvania, we are not all that far from where Flight 93 went down. The coverage from there is constant and aimed to tug at the emotions (and get ratings, I'm sure). It works. I found myself sitting on my sofa at 5:30am with tears running down my face as all of the initial feelings came rushing back...the fear, the disbelief, the overwhelming grief. I cannot watch this stuff all day. I will watch some just to know what the teens will have been seeing and hearing so I can be prepared (somewhat) to deal with anything that may come up tonight at the Bible study.
I have to ask one thing. In the wake of 9/11, has anything really changed for this nation except that we are more fearful? Has it really made a difference in the way we live our lives? Has our new found commitment to God and prayer stood the test of time? May God have mercy on us in our foolishness.
posted by Stacy at 7:03 AM
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
ON MY MIND:
"That is why the Lord says, 'Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don't tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts." Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you. Who knows? Perhaps even yet he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this terrible curse. Perhaps he will give you so much that you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before!" Joel 2:12-14 NLT
To give God our heart may mean a tearing within, a brokenness of spirit, a horrified realization that our sins have grieved the very heart of God. This SHOULD tear us up inside. But our loving God wants to forgive us. Out of our brokenness, he wants to give blessing. This message to turn back to God carries a promise of restoration and revival, but no restorations comes without returning and no revival comes without repentance.
Does my heart break because of the sin that breaks the heart of God? Moment by moment am I realizing the pain unholiness causes him? When I give him my heart, I have to expect that it will be broken...but out of the brokenness will come blessing.
Sorry, I have not been able to pick up "The Case for Faith" during the last few days. Busyness and preoccupation are to blame. I will try to get back to it later today.
WHAT'S GOING ON:
Of the matter I wrote about yesterday, my heart still weeps. Persons have been confronted and others counseled, but has there been any repentance? I don't believe so.
I am so grateful for my life, my husband and my kids. We have our problems, no doubt, but it is very clear at times like this just how blessed I am.
I have had so much "stuff" land in my lap in the last year or two...big, major "stuff"...that I am beginning to have thoughts about getting some training in counseling. If this is something that is going to continue to come up in my life, then I would prefer to be much better equipped to handle it.
On normal business, I finished putting together the notebooks the youth will use for the Truth Seeker Bible study this morning (I should so be paid staff for all the hours I put in). I am very excited about the material...sounds kinda dumb considering the material is THE BIBLE!! It is presented in such a clear way and is so solid. It is exactly what they have been asking for...and need.
I am listening to the press conference about raising the national security level for tomorrow based on intelligence reports. It sounds like the fear is that there are those who will feel tomorrow is the perfect day to die a hero for the cause. We should all pray for any who may be having those thoughts. Who needs prayer more than they?
Am I doing anything to commemorate tomorrow? No. There is a community-wide service in town, but I have opted to go ahead with the regular Bible study. I'll address 9/11 at the beginning, but that is it. I'm feeling like the character I saw in a recent cartoon: two men are walking down a city street and everywhere you look are headlines, signs, banners, bumper stickers, flags, etc. about 9/11. The first man asks the other what he's doing for 9/11 and the second says, "I was thinking a moment of silence might be nice." AMEN!!
posted by Stacy at 3:00 PM
Monday, September 09, 2002
I am being confronted by the depravity and evilness of human nature. It is so easy for Satan to trap us, even the most godly of us, and once he has us he can keep drawing us in deeper and deeper. Till we get to a point of enjoying the sin so much we can't see or don't care what it is doing to ourselves and the people around us that we love. Right now he is destroying a family that is a big part of the church and the youth ministry. I am so sick with the knowledge of what is going on and so worried for the kids.
posted by Stacy at 7:11 AM
Sunday, September 08, 2002
The concert in the park went fairly well for being only local bands and poorly publicized. The best guess was a little over 200 attending. The youth I talked with seemed to be having a good time, but said it was kind of a let down to go from having Pillar and Justified last year to the local bands this year. Thank goodness the inflatible games were rented. They were a huge hit and without them I don't think as many would have stayed. I owe Travis one, he asked me to introduce one of the bands. I agreed, even though I detest speaking in front of a group, because it seemed only 3 or 4 sentences were necessary. Next thing I know he had me making all kinds of announcements. I was up there for about 5 minutes...pure agony. Well, gotta run. It's time to head to the church.
posted by Stacy at 9:25 AM
Saturday, September 07, 2002
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...and remember, I live in Mr. Roger's original neighborhood...a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be.......AAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH! Ok, 'nuff of that. I apologize. I woke up to no kids in the house (both stayed the night with friends). The husband is off to lend a helping hand hanging gutters at the home of our retired pastor, then on to the home of one of the church deacons to move some top soil around. I am alone....so blissfully, wonderfully ALONE. I'm positively giddy. Big plans? Nope. Just enjoying the peacefulness. Later I have to go to the church and finish making copies of the youth newsletter. I had thought to have it mailed by now, but life threw a couple of curves in my plans. At 4:00 we will all probably go to the park for See You at the Park, a Christian music festival aimed at teens. There will be several local bands playing, including The Witness Protection Program, and some inflatible extreme games. I hope it is successful. There are no lessons to plan today as I am not teaching Sunday School any longer and Pastor Matt is teaching Sundays, while I will continue with Wednesdays. It takes a lot of pressure off, not having to plan three lessons every Sunday and I can focus a little more on activities and projects, which have admittedly suffered the last year
or two. For the first time in months I feel excited, rather than exhausted and discouraged when I think of the youth program. I admit, I was very close to burning out.
posted by Stacy at 8:23 AM
Friday, September 06, 2002
Someone, I think it was Ghandi, said, "I'd like Christianity more if it weren't for the Christians." I know exactly what he means. We Christians aren't perfect, it's true, but I will never understand how some who have studied and (supposedly) followed Christ for all or most of their lives can treat their fellow man so abominally. Never mind the beef or the cream filling....where's the love and compassion?
posted by Stacy at 12:31 PM
Moving ahead with plans to move deeper in all areas of the youth program. God confronted the kids this summer about what position He holds in their lives...for most it was second, or third or even fourth. They came to realize that for most of them when they had an activity that conflicted with church or the youth group, they were consistantly choosing the activity that took them away from God. It really shook them up and they have recommited as a group and have been asking for more prayer, deeper Bible studies and accountability. God is so good! Anyway, Sunday we are beginning a new series of hands-on lessons on prayer to let the kids learn about and experience different ways to talk (and listen) to God and once a month we're going to have a very talented musician come in and lead them in a time of worship. The Wednesday evening group is going to move from being a discussion, share-your-feelings, feel good group to a serious Bible study based on Bill Kagey's Truth Seekers lessons that includes required daily devotions. We've shared the changes with the group and they are EXCITED! I am so blessed to be able to work with a group of kids that are so commited and serious about their walk as a whole, but I admit to wanting to work with the not so commited as well. Outreach is something we need to work
on as well.
I'm working on "The Case for Faith" by Lee Stobel. I just started it yesterday, but have read a good bit already. Once I got started on it, I had a hard time putting it down. One of the most powerful things I read happened during Strobel's interview with Charles Templeton, the agnostic who had once been an evangelist poised to become greater than his friend and contemporary, Billy Graham. In the interview, Templeton spends a great deal of time explaining why there cannot be a loving God before the subject of Jesus comes up. Templeton says he believes Jesus lived and actually admires him as the greatest man that ever lived. He begins to get emotional and describes his feelings for Jesus as adoration, saying that everything good he knows he learned from Jesus and that the world would do well to emulate Jesus. Breaking down even more, Templeton says very quietly that he "misses" Jesus. Whoa! That unguarded look into the emptiness and hunger of an agnostic's soul really hit me. Even when we don't realize it, we still want Christ. Strobel speculates that while Templeton's heart is very open and that he desires Christ as much as anyone else, he doesn't believe he can accept him because of his objections and questions. I can't wait to continue reading about his quest to find answers.
posted by Stacy at 8:08 AM
Thursday, September 05, 2002
When I have a problem it can look as big as Jericho. The walls seem formidable, defying prayer. I find myself going around and around the problem. It's easy to become obsessed. God told Joshua to go around Jericho once each day and then return to camp and tend to other things. The "Jericho Principle" is such a simple thing. Give your problems to God each day and trust Him to take care of them. I have seen proof of God's faithfullness over and over so why is it so hard to let go?
Today I am letting go. I'm meeting a friend for lunch and I'm going to laugh and have fun and forget about the rest. It is in God's hands.