Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision & My Thoughts

For the record, I probably am not going to say anything different or better than Jen Hatmaker or Rachel Held Evans. And even if I do, I think their posts on the topic deserve to be read, thought through and discussed.

Rachel's Post:

Jen's Post:

Following Richard Stearns announcement that World Vision would allow same sex married couples employment, I felt a sense of elation...and then immediately wanted to head for the hills. I knew it was coming. If there was any prayerful, calm dialogue it was drowned out by the rabid howling of the  loud mouths who yearn for the opportunity to prove what a truly dedicated Pharisee they are. It doesn't matter if it is the same people over and over again, it doesn't matter if they are a majority or minority...they holler the loudest and therefore get the most attention. And because they get the most attention, everyone decides that this is the Christian stance.

This kind of mentality explains why a "church" of approximately 40 people (mostly related) can get as much media attention as Westboro Baptist Church has in the last decade. 

Last night I read an unconfirmed report stating 2000 children's sponsorship had been dropped since Stearn's announcement. TWO 24 hours.

Guys...I can't figure it out. I read my New Testament...and I just can't figure it out. I don't see Jesus responding this way. I don't see Him reacting this way. I don't see him caring for widows and orphans this way. I read the New Testament and read about Jesus eating with prostitutes and tax collectors, chilling with Samaritans at the well, touching lepers...and I've got to tell you, the Jesus I see may not have agreed with the sin in their life but it didn't stop Him from building relationship with them! And because He built relationship, their lives were changed.

I guess what I'm saying, regardless of how you feel about the LGBT community, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, you are called to build relationship with them. Not scream at them, polarize them, or push them from the church. The same goes with any sinner. Including an overweight, divorced female who may or may not visit on a daily basis (that, my friends, is the sin of gossip).

I certainly don't think you can refuse to care for orphans because you disagree with someone's lifestyle. The fact of the matter is whether or not you decide to continue supporting World Vision, you made a commitment to a child...a child who needed you desperately. The fact that 2000 children have been dropped in this short amount of time makes me think this is a knee jerk reaction, not a well thought out, prayed on decision. And I also believe if you can drop a commitment that fast that you weren't that committed in the first place...which makes me think your commitment was more about the warm fuzzies than investing in a child.

Being a follower of Jesus isn't easy. And it's complicated. And I get it. We cannot just accept sin but at the same time we are not called on to judge. We are supposed to be known for our love, not just our political stance. We are supposed to be slow to anger.

Many of the things that make us "Christians" (i.e. Christ followers or literally "Christ Like") fly in the face of our human nature. And in a world of entitlement, the idea that social media gives me that not only is it my right to express my opinion but I can do so in an abrasive manner, and it's better to be right than to show love, it's hard to keep a gentle, meek spirit. But that's what we are called it or not.

As far as World Vision's guys probably already know what I think about that...but that isn't the point right now. My point is that no matter what your opinion, as a Christian, your actions are to be the same.

Prayer for the leaders and staff of World Vision, care for widows and orphans, and known for your love.

I beseech you, if you can, to give a donation to World Vision or sponsor a child so that the negative impact of this doesn't trickle down to the "least of these". Jesus said when we give a cup of water or a meal to someone in need, we give Him a cup of water or a meal. Today, look beyond the politics of the situation, and help those who need it the most. This is a good time for our actions to be louder than the loud mouths. Especially for those of us who hope for equality for the LGBT community. We have to be ready to support Christian organizations who make decisions of this nature...because there will be fallout. Time to put our money where our mouth is.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Watch This Video! For Real! Like Now! (Grab tissue)


Guys, Guys...this was so good. Twelve minutes long but so insightful! But it's's hard to watch. So grab a tissue and your gumption.

Know what's harder. Loving a traumatized kid. I ought to know. I was one. And, as an adult, I love more than one traumatized teen. In fact, sometimes I let them live with me.

Know what's even harder, being a traumatized kid. For real. They've gone through hell and back...and often times they aren't back yet. And you'll wonder why in God's name they did that/said that/etc. And some of the time, they are wondering too. Other times they just do it. And sometimes they create chaos because "normal" just feels so, so wrong and like it's going to fall apart at any minute and chaos...well chaos feels like comfortable because they have been there so often.

God bless the foster parents who are willing to love, willing to try, to give everything they have and then find some more. God bless the social workers and recovery programs and homeless shelters. God bless the random people who just do what they can and show some love and hang out with these kids who need to be told they are worthy of all the love in the world. Kids who not only need to be shown the light but that it's okay to stand in it and bask.


And this happened...

The response from yesterday's post was pretty phenomenal. A friend of mine said it was like "you rang a bell and shouted YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" That thought resonated with me for the rest of the day. Not only was I discovering I was in good company, others were also discovering they weren't the only ones who felt that way. I gotta tell was inspiring.

I was still thinking of the whole "ring your bell" thing when I got off work. I've been craving spaghetti for three weeks and had decided tonight was the night. For some odd reason, I got the urge to go to the Kroger closest to my work instead of the one closest to my home but I really didn't think through is just as good as the other.

I pulled into Kroger parking lot and as I walked toward the door my eyes were drawn to an elderly woman sitting on the bench, talking on her phone, and crying. I immediately knew what I needed to do but I didn't want to interrupt her while she was on the phone. It came as no surprise to see her hang up just as I stepped on the sidewalk.

So I walked up to her. I asked her if I could help. She said all she needed was prayer. I told her I would definitely be praying for her and if it was okay, I'd like to pray with her now. She said "absolutely" and so I did. I spent about ten minutes with the lady, praying for her, letting her know she is not alone, just talking. And then I went into the store and bought dinner for my family. When I came back out, she was gone.

Ring your bell guys. Shout from the top of your lungs "You are not alone!"

And for the ones who need to hear it...listen...some of the bells probably clang, some of them tinkle, some of them resonate...but they are ringing so you know...we're here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I'm Not Okay

With two jobs, I'm in the car. A lot.

A few nights ago, I was driving home from work. I was thinking about the new house. About all we needed to get done. I realized that my love and excitement over the house had been replaced by fear. Fear that we would lose it. Because we really, really love this house. Because I never want to move out of it. But instead of being excited that we found it...I was already scared we were going to lose it.

And in my head I heard "Of course you will. You don't deserve it."

My first reaction was a "Whoa, where did that come from?!" But I thought about it and every thought and experience I've had over the last two months has been tinged with guilt, fear and anxiety. Even when we went to Orlando I vacillated between having fun, worrying about the budget and feeling the need to justify to myself and everyone else that even though we had other things we needed to spend the money on, we really deserved a vacation. 

I know me. I know some of this is being tired. Working two jobs, having three teenagers in your home, the stress of moving, of trying to figure things out. It's tough. 

Some of it is because in all the hustle and bustle, I have not spent time praying and reading my Bible the way I need to. Some of you won't understand the necessity of this but you will understand that to keep a relationship close, you need to stay in contact with the other person. Same concept. And I have to tell you, I am definitely one of those people who need a close relationship with God...or I fall apart pretty quickly. Not only do I know "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" I also know I can't do much without Him.

As I'm processing this, I'm longing for some solitude and time to relax. I think about the beach and suddenly find myself longing to just keep on driving. Go to Savannah for just a few days.

And then I found myself imagining not ever coming back. I checked myself. How could I even think of leaving my kids like that? My life? I have a good life! What is wrong with me???

And then, I thought it.

"I don't want to be here anymore."

I didn't want to drive my car off a cliff or anything like that. But the thought of an oncoming 18 Wheeler didn't seem to hold any terror for me. The thought my life could end was a bit more welcoming than it should have been.

I shook it off. Kept going. Tried to work through it. Not process it but literally work through it.
And then I blurted something terrible to my daughter. She immediately called my friend Jane who immediately called me. I sobbed, talked through it. Walked into work with the ugly crying face.

And that's sort of where I am...I recognize the thought that not wanting to be here is preposterous. Somehow acknowledging it and inviting others in it makes it easier.

I talked to a friend of mine the other night and she admitted she's feeling a lot of the same things. And  yet, instead of getting help, she continues the day to day taking care of home/children/husband. She said "We're Women, Moms, and Christians...the perfect trifecta for not acknowledging our own needs" And it's so true! I've talked about this we belittle our feelings or needs because there are so many others worse off than us, we ignore the tired because there are so many other things that need to be done...we keep going and going like we're the Energizer Bunny but we're not! And even in talking about it, I continue to do it. Like I haven't learned repeatedly that this is not only an unhealthy way to handle things but dangerous!

So here is how we shine a light on the dark spots:
1) Talk to people. Acknowledge the nasty. I am more than willing to bet that your friends are feeling it too. And you admitting it frees them to admit it. And next thing you know you are holding each other up, hugging, praying for each other...and the load is so much easier to bear that way!

2) Find some sunshine. Like for real. Take a walk. Bask in the sun.

3) Pamper yourself. Whatever it looks like. Retail therapy is a nightmare for me but a good movie, a good book...or the Shakespeare Tavern...that does something for my spirit! If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others.

4) Plug in...that verse "I can do all things..." We've kind of done our cheesy Christian thing to it but it stands true none the less. Remember Paul was in a prison when he said it. So he had to know what he was talking about!

I'm trying to do these things. I'm trying to process. I know this is just a season...but yesterday was a great day until I found myself tearing up in Kroger parking lot for no reason. Instead of berating myself I just started repeating my mantras:
"Pressing on and pressing in..."
"One day at a time" 
(My dad would be proud to know I really did read all his AA material he passed on)

I'm not okay yet. And that's okay. I don't know how long I will have to walk in this muck. But I will take it a step at a time. And I will throw up my hands and scream "HELP!" if the muck threatens to suck me under" And I will come out of this covered in sweat, mire and grime. But come out of it I will. 

Much love.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Catching up!

HEY!'s been more than a minute.

Just to recap the past few months:
Went from no job to two jobs (House Manager at Horizon Theatre in Atlanta and Administrator at deBeer Granite and Marble in Tyrone)

Was Stage Manager for Annie at Newnan Theatre Company.

Bree and Trey finished high school. Bree started college and Trey will start during the summer semester!

You've read about Grace...but if you haven't, I have another teenager in the house! Because adopting animals is too mainstream! Ha!

Found mold in house, four month process to try and get landlord to fix it, lost fight, started looking for new house, found new house, begin packing moving, trying to replace most of the furniture we can't take because of the danger they carry mold spores.

Four day trip to Orlando to celebrate Trey turning 18 and drink butter beer. It was fabulous!

And the biggest reason I haven't been computer broke! And I haven't been able to replace it.

So it's been eventful. But I'm still here, I promise! And there are so many things in my head! I believe sometimes I think in "blog". I certainly process in blog! And I can't wait to write my review of Gary Haugen's new book "The Locust Effect" but until then...don't wait for me, GO BUY IT!

MORE SOON! Sending love, good thoughts and prayers you way!