Friday, May 27, 2011

Hurting Hearts

Oh, I so just want to turn off the TV, radio and internet and hide for awhile. The last few days have seemed overwhelming with bad weather, rising gas prices and depression rears it's ugly head. It seems like it would be easier to just go back to bed....and stay there for awhile. And the thing is? In the whole scheme of life, my overwhelmed feeling(s) and problems for the most part are fixable. My house hasn't blown away, I haven't lost someone close to me, I have a bed to crawl back into.

Honestly, that is why I have stopped watching scary movies. Real life is scary enough! But Hollywood keeps cranking them out so someone must be watching them. Video games keep looking more and more realistic. The blood splatters in the war ones? Too lifelike for my liking....even if it is "zombies". I purposely have to limit my exposure to bad news or I get sucked in and down. With most of the disasters, I have not watched more than a few minutes. I cannot watch someone else be sad without feeling their pain too deeply. I cry just from seeing someone else cry.

I am glad that there are people who can keep it in perspective. I admire emergency responders, nurses, drs, news reporters, etc. Not that they don't show or have feelings. I admire that they can do a job where they deal with this stuff everyday. I pray that they have people surrounding them that can help them decompress at the end of the day.

In a world of ever expanding social networks, I fear that we are losing our ability to see others hurting hearts. Or make ourselves too busy to deal with our own. We Facebook instead of getting together face to face. Let's be honest, a ((((you)))) cyberhug cannot beat the real thing of feeling another person's arms around you. In the effort to get a news story, reporters urge people to share their grief. They tread a fine line between actually helping and just exploiting someone's pain. And we watch it. And we shake our heads in sorrow. And maybe we say a prayer or two or three.

I think one of the many things I find amazing about God is that He doesn't compare our hurts. He doesn't tell us to suck it up because things that are bothering us or hurting our hearts are less than what someone else is going through. He offers to carry those burdens. ALL of them. Big or small. Then the issue becomes us. Are we willing to let them go....and not take them back? God sees the pain - even the pain we hide from others and sometimes ourselves. He wants to heal our hurts so we can see and help others with theirs.

Psalm 62:7-8 (NIV) My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV) Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

A Call to Persevere in Faith 
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NIV) Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hands On History

Recently, I was given the opportunity to accompany our daughter and her classmates on a trip to Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. We have been there before as a family. It was definitely different attending with 4 busloads of kids, chaperones and teachers. We had pretty much the whole day until closing. We went to Greenfield Village first mainly due to weather and anticipating it getting warmer in the afternoon.

Greenfield Village is set up like a town with various stages of history. There are several cabins, Edison's laboratory and a working farm. Many of the cabins we looked in were very small. Many times during the day I overheard, "How did they live like that?"

The answer I usually gave was, "They didn't know any different." And they didn't at the time. When you think of how much things have changed even in the last hundred or so years, it is amazing. Each generation has made contributions to making life "better".

Many times at our house we have had the discussion (usually over something on TV) that if there was a way for someone from back then to somehow magically be able to come back in this present time they would be shocked. The way clothing (or lack of), transportation, electronics, technology, radio, television have impacted our world would frighten someone from back then. After a little while and the shock wore off, the amazement would kick in. I really wonder though if they would think it was "better" than what they had.

One of the things that saddened me was that the kids interest was not held for long. They are used to getting information instantly and, more than likely, on a screen. When given the chance to experience some history first hand, a lot of the kids were ready to keep moving barely looking at what was right in front of them. Of course, some of it might have been the excitement that they were heading to the Tiger game at the end of the day!

I am praying that our generations will take the time to really appreciate the history that has already happened so that we make our right now and our history to come.....better. Years from now when another class goes through things that are popular now they will probably also ask, "how did they live like that?"
Deuteronomy 4 (NLT)32 “Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Under His Umbrella

I have thought about this for a few days and have still hesitated before actually writing this. Mainly because I don't want to come across as sounding all preachy. I fear that the recent storms in Alabama, rising gas prices, and other world events will make this seem hard to believe, but hang with me. I definitely do not want to diminish the fact that these events can rock someone's faith.  I feel that we are living in interesting times and if not now, when? goes.

One of the things I struggle with a lot is when bad things happen to "good people" and others wonder how can God "let" this happen. If God can control the weather, why doesn't He? What if it's not physical storms, but events that are happening in our lives that feel like storms? 

Maybe we want protection....but not restraint.  Boundaries but we don't want to feel caged in. What if sometimes we don't realize how bad things COULD have been?

I started to think about umbrellas.  They help keep us dry. The wind may whip below the umbrella and even turn it inside out. We pull them out when we fear the weather will be bad.  However when things are looking sunny we keep them put away somewhere....until the next time it rains.  My prayer life is kind of like that.  When things are going well, sentence prayers seem to fill the need.  BUT when life gets stormy?  Out come my umbrella prayers.  My leave the radio off when I'm driving, really talk to God prayers. 

I'm thinking that even though we have our little umbrella of protection God provides an even bigger umbrella over us.  An umbrella of protection and boundaries.  An umbrella that sometimes we think blocks the sun and we ask God to let us just step out from the umbrella for a little while.  And He lets us.  Because He loves us enough to still give us that choice.  We wander out into the sun.  We enjoy the warmth and the brightness.  But then it gets TOO hot or the horizon starts looking a little dark.  The storms are back and we rush back under His umbrella.  It was never put away.  It is there when we need it and there when we think we don't need it.

When we're under the umbrella, we don't always see what is going on overhead or around us.  We may not even realize that we need protection every day in every weather because weather changes quickly. God loves us too much to leave us unprotected.

It's raining even if right now it's just a drizzle. There's room under His umbrella.

Psalm 140:4 Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, May 02, 2011

A Royal Wedding

The months of hype will begin to draw to a close.  The "royal wedding" of Prince William to Kate Middleton has taken place.  My guess is that unless you are a person of relatively high station, myself, were not invited or included in the 1900 people in attendance.  We were invited to watch it on TV...and millions (or more) did.  The questions of who designed "the dress" and what it would look like have been answered.  There will be magazine covers and special issues in the coming weeks to cover every intimate detail of this wedding.

Summer - the wedding season - approaches.  You may have already received a save the date card or an invitation to join in the happy celebration as another couple becomes husband and wife.

I want to take this opportunity to remind you that there is another upcoming wedding celebration that you are invited to.  You may not receive an engraved invitation.  It may come as an invitation from a friend to learn more about the wedding.  In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as a bridegroom numerous times.  God is king.  That's a Royal Wedding I want to attend.  It's a party that will last for eternity.  I hope you'll join me.
Isaiah 61:9 (NIV) I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 

Revelation 19:9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”