Saturday, May 31, 2008

When I am bad?

I recently came across some interesting reading on one of my favorite sites and I thought I'd share since it definitely spoke to me. I'm not that great at linking but it's from a site called Stuff Christians Like.

When I am bad, God does not love me and gives me bad times. When I am good, God loves me and gives me good times."

Christians often let this dangerous belief seep into their lives. No one sets out to design a works-based God, it just sort of happens. When you do well on a test, your teacher is happy with you. When you try hard in a game, your coach is happy with you. When you do all your chores around the house, your spouse is happy with you. When you finish the project early, your boss is happy with you. It's very easy to find examples in our lives of cause and effect relationships. Areas where if we do something deemed as "good," we are rewarded with something good. That makes sense. That is a logical way to look at life. And so we start to naturally and quietly apply that same filter to God.

But here's the thing, God is weird. I know that does not sound theological, but He is. He does not operate like us. His ways are different. Sometimes He gives us seemingly horrible things because He loves us. That is a weird sentence that begs further explanation.

(If you've never read the story of the prodigal son, here's a one sentence recap: Young son runs away from home to spend his inheritance on hookers and comes back broke but is thrown a party by a father that is overwhelmed he is still alive.)

I missed a word the first 100 times I read this story. The word I am talking about is "famine." Here is what Luke 15:14 says:

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

Did you ever wonder why he needed a severe famine before he began to be in need? I mean he had nothing. His money was gone. His friends were presumably gone. He had nothing and was nothing, but that was not enough for him. He needed the famine to hit rock bottom. He needed the famine as the final straw that broke his stubborn back. And I did too.

I think God is in the famine giving business. I think in the prodigal son story He gave the son that famine. He funded the downfall by not refusing to give the son his money. Certainly he knew the son's intentions and yet he gave him the money anyway. He even helped create a famine moment for the older brother. Did you ever notice that? He didn't invite the older brother to the party initially. He says get a robe, slaughter a calf but never "and go tell his older brother to come." He broke the older brother by throwing that party for the son and he knew it. When the older brother comes home and realizes his messup brother is back, he angrily says:

'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.'

That's not just an angry relative yelling at a father. That is a man standing in the middle of a famine, a moment during which everything he knows about life has been proven incorrect. Good deeds don't equal good rewards. His world is upside down.

Why does God give us famine moments? Because there is nothing He won't do to draw us close to Him. Would the God that killed His son to get closer to us find it too cruel to throw you into a famine? Would the God that watched His only son hang on a cross find it too harsh to bring you to the bottom of a dark pit if that's where you would call out for light? I don't think so.

Chances are, you know someone in your life that is in the middle of a famine. If you do, please don't try to rescue them. Don't try to pull them out of it or Bible verse them out of it. Go stand in it with them. If they are hungry, go be hungry beside them. If they are drowning, let the ocean sweep you up too. They might be right where God wants them. They might be standing in His embrace without even knowing it. Tell them about the gift of famines. They might not understand but tell them that God loves them. And He will do anything to show them that.

Maybe you're in a famine right now. Maybe right now in Houston or California or Singapore or London or New Zealand you're the reason I was supposed to write this. I can't stand in your famine because I'm a thousand miles away but there's something God wants you to know - He loves this. This doesn't have to be about failure. His love is not only expressed through goodness. Sometimes deep love is expressed through deep storms. But He loves you.

I really relate to feeling as though God punishes when we are bad and rewards when we are good. I can't help but wonder if maybe I hadn't decided to step down as a sunday school teacher would I have had to go through some of the things I have recently.

(before I go on my bronchitis is slowly healing, and my mother is safe at home with medicine thanks for all the prayers).

It's incredible to me that God can love me no matter how horribly self pitying I am, no matter how much anger is in my heart, nor how much doubt I face. He's still there loving me and holding me. I love the picture the writer expresses of seeing someone in a famine instead of trying to get them out of it stand with them through it. I feel like I may be in a spiritual famine in which as I have discussed before I feel as though I'm on the brink of something but I'm not sure what or even how to go about finding out. I am still very unsure of my place in life right now. I feel like I'm supposed to be doing more I just wish I knew what it was. I was spoken to through this message. God is good, and I must be patient.

Friday, May 30, 2008

renewed spirit

Well I have to say I got a beautiful comment from some anonymous person that really uplifted me and made me realize that no matter how bad it gets I'm not a quitter.

I will keep fighting the good fight. After a lot of tears and a few sleepless nights I have to come to the conclusion that life isn't worth living unless you are trying to improve it. Afterall isn't that what living the good life is all about. It's truly about setting goals for yourself that may seem absolutely positively impossible but then you reach them. I guess sometimes you have to have valleys in life in order to make the mountaintops that much sweeter.

In the meantime pray for my mom she's in the hospital and pray for me I have bronchitis.

I will write more soon.

Mrs. A

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom's the Word

What a wonderful day yesterday was. I got to spend the day celebrating a woman who has become a true friend my mother.

First let me start out by saying my mom and I have always been close. My mom had me when she was quite a bit older and well that meant I got to spend much more time with her. I was involved in everything in school and my mom never missed any of it. Not one piano recital, not one cheerleading competition, not even a science fair.

My mom has always been someone I feel like I can talk to. I can't recall how many nights I would come home late after away games, and sit at the foot of mom's bed and talk for hours she used to get so mad at me. But I know she secretly loved it.

Senior year of high school proved to be rather difficult for us my mom was diagnosed with cancer and her world and mine were turned upside down. We decided together that we were going to take each day as it came. We laughed together, cried together, and had our fair share of ups and downs that year.

I went off to college to cheer and mom was my biggest fan I can remember my first college game every time I turned around that camera was in my face. I hated it at the time but now I wouldn't trade those memories for anything in the world.

After my inujury and I had to make the decision to leave school I called mom and told her and I remember actually sensing her heartbreak over the phone. I was the first of mom's seven kids to go to college and now I had to quit. I promised mom that day that I would finish my college degree someday and I am finally making good on that promise.

My mom is so incredibly strong to have endured all the things she has over the years.

She was my confidante and my terror when planning our wedding but I wouldn't have changed the tears that I saw from her that day.

Growing up and becoming a wife has made me appreciate my mom that much more. There were times I didn't appreciate my mom especially because she didn't have a model marriage for me to watch and learn from. In fact she was a single parent for most of my life. But when I look at her now I realize she did everything in her power to give me the best life possible and there are many times I took it for granted.

I love my mom she means the world to me and I am so thankful to have her in my life.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Real Heart of Relay.

In a darkened room….
With drapes drawn…….
Door shut……..
And lights off…….

Head in hands…….
One heavy heart asks….
How did this happen to me?
How could I have gotten this disease…
Can I be strong enough to SURVIVE?

Who will take care of my family?

Where is the light…..

The question most frequently asked of American Cancer Society volunteers is “why do you do this event year after year?” Many of us look at the people asking this question and realize that they don’t “get it” and wonder if there is any way to explain how Relay changes people’s lives.

How do you explain the story of a newly diagnosed cancer patient who attends a Relay and meets another survivor who has the exact same disease and is still thriving in life?

How do you explain the story of a caregiver who has traveled down a path of compassion, love joy, sorrow, guilt, loss and depression and yet at Relay a caregiver can talk to the only other person who could possibly understand this difficult journey……..Another caregiver.

How do you explain the story of a friend or co-worker who has seen someone they know battle this deadly disease and has felt they could do so very little to help? Sure they may take the person treatments or bring them dinner but they feel it just isn’t enough. Yet at Relay a team can be formed, money raised and society educated with the tools to fight back against this disease that takes far too much.

What each and every person at Relay finds is hope…. You can feel it in the air at 3:00 AM when you walk onto a football field damp with dew. You can almost touch the energy no matter how tired the people are. That energy is hope.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is held to remember those we have lost to cancer, to support all those who are battling the disease and to work toward the day that no one has to hear the words “you have cancer”……………

Relay For Life provides……….


Cancer touches millions of people’s lives……. maybe even yours.

As a caregiver to my mother a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor Relay means so much to me because it is my opportunity to realize I am not alone in my journey of being the primary support system of someone who has had their whole world turned upside down.

Will you join me in creating hope Relay For Life 2008?

Mrs. A