Monday, October 8, 2007

Life and Death and Seasons of Change


No matter how distracted I get with my life, this is ALWAYS one of the toughest weeks in my year....the week leading up to my birthday.

I'm already missing the normal effects of sunlight...our days are so much shorter, and it's happened so quickly! It seems to happen faster and faster each year. *sigh*

Then it's a week full of anniversary's...not good wedding ones, but sad "missing people who have died" ones. My mom, Frances Derderian Peters, died when I was almost 13. Then, just a few years ago, one of the girls that worked at the library with me, Amanda, died in a car accident on her way back to Cassville after the football game in a neighboring town. She was just 17, full of life. It was as if one of my own children had died...we were that close.

Now, this very evening, we got a call from Mark's mom, that her mother, Mark's "Nana" has died. She turned 100 last month, a life full of love and memories and joy. But still...it's sad to think that we won't see her in a few weeks...that we won't get that 5 generation photo when Melissa's baby arrives in a few weeks.

Still I'm grateful that we got to see her last spring, when we were out there. We had a great visit, and she was so much fun, with Mark and his brother Tom there together.

Someday I will see this week as the week leading up to my birthday, leading up to Melissa's baby's birthday, and not miss all those that have gone before me...but not now...not this year. It's still a sad time for me...just reflective of what God is doing in nature...

I'm grateful that my hope is in the fact that "joy comes in the morning" as surely it will arrive. And if not in the morning, in the spring...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Instant Gratification

I love to paint....I love to watercolor, but NEVER do it, even though I have all the supplies to. My favorite painting is WALLS!! ROOMS!! I'm sure the guys at Lowe's think I'm crazy. I know my husband KNOWS I am!! (he HATES to paint, but likes the results...usually).

The need to create and change amazes me. That's what I love about most of my hobbies and interests...INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Preparing to paint is boring...like cleaning house. Yes, it's an immediate change, but it's temporary. Any mom knows how quickly the room that took you all day to get picked up can again be destroyed. But painting a wall, or an entire room STAYS painted!! Even all of a college kids' clutter for a weekend break will not ruin that!

So, today I paint. The Marina Way. I'll take an area at a time...pick up and put away the clutter, move the furniture, paint the wall. Take a little break, and do it again. I'm hoping to schedule the heaviest stuff to hit RIGHT as Mark comes home for lunch. I know he'll do that gladly, as long as I don't put a brush in his hand.

I've got Sirius Spirit on the satellite (at least until the storms roll in this afternoon) and I'm ready to roll...it will be a good day of worship and wonder. Worship will come along with the painting....and WONDER will come with the thought of why can't I change as quickly (and as permanently) as the walls in this room?? That will be my prayer for today....to allow God to change this in me...and that the changes on my inside will be as visible on my outside by my actions and re-actions. Change me. I want instant gratification for my Heavenly Father as He works on ME.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What I Wish Church Could Be


For a long time we went to a church here that didn’t reach out in community at all. I was suffering physically, and no one listened to my cries for help, no one offered to help at all. It wasn’t until after surgery (after hemorrhaging for 40 days one summer) that the entire women’s group of maybe 30 women offered to bring dinner one night…AFTER I was back home from surgery. All I could think of was “too little, too late”. My family could have used help all summer long, but no one took time to get to know there was a need, or they ignored us all together.

Then for a few years I went to a church that was great about reaching out when there was a need…but not when there was NO need. I guess I learned that in TRUE community we are supposed to reach out all the time. Keep reaching out. You don’t have to be lying on the side of the road to have a need. So many are hurting on the inside, are lonely, are recovering, or are just beginning to suffer.

I want to reach out, constantly. Not in a busy-body way, but in a way that others know that I am here for them. I am not the Savior, but in my wanting to be “the hands and feet of Jesus” in community, I can point others to Him. Not to “church” but to Jesus. I think that’s often how we lose focus…we get so wrapped up in the numbers game of bringing people to church, or pointing them to church, or selling them on church, that we forget to show them Jesus.

When Jesus isn’t living in the church, it’s easy to lose site of the reason you are there. When you keep bringing Him in, and others keep pushing Him out and making it about “the church” and “the numbers” then I get weary. They are good people. Some of them are very committed to Jesus and love Him very much and do a lot for the body of Christ, but they don’t get the BIGGER PICTURE…. The part about loving our enemies, or even liking the people in the church next door, or feeding the ones that vote differently than you, or the ones that despise the fact that we worship Jesus at all. I’d rather do all the right things in community, and not go to church, than to go to church and only do the right things there.

I want people to love me NOT because I can cook for youth, or finance a program, or arrange meals for a widow, or house a youth. I want them to love me because I love Jesus. PERIOD. Reach out to those that are healthy, not just sick. Do things when it’s NOT expected. Reach beyond the walls of the church. Be a movement, not a building, not a denomination, not a program. BE.

Romans 12, Parts 2 and 3: Balanced and Beautiful in Christ

The new posts that I wrote for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ are now live on their Facebook page, and here on my new blog site (subscrib...