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Archive for the category “Ecumenically Speaking”

All I Need Is A Miracle

If this thought ever occurs to you realize that your very existence qualifies, and be about you Father’s business.

In the throws of confusion and certain catastrophe one is hard pressed to gather themselves up and have a pep-talk, but that is exactly what I am going to suggest here. I am not just writing it I and hoping to live this as well.

I searched through places that I had been, not just physically but mentally. Having a relatively quiet childhood because I had two parents that clearly made me feel safe, I continued my search. As with most I found the turmoil I searched for in my teens, from there it was easy.When you stray from your comfort zone, either through growth or rebellion, there will be disquiet.

However, as I visited these places I had to come to grips with the fact I had survived each of these things that were “Earthshaking” at the time. I didn’t know how I had gotten through them. The truth is I did/do know; but as fast as I put them behind me, I put them out of my mind.  I forgot them because I wanted to.

Over the years I have heard different people say things like “God moves in mysterious ways” or “God allows things to happen to you so that when you are saved/rescued you will know it was Him”. I submit this though; God does so many things for so many of us that these very same things are often overlooked and thought of as minor. These “little miracles” are chocked up to something else, they become commonplace and expected.

The next time you look into the eyes of someone you love, and I mean look deep into those eyes not just at them, let this be a reminder that God is providing you with your personal miracle and thank him for that.

So A Man Thinketh

My father who I loved dearly, who was a tremendous man, used to tell me this very thing when I was down on myself. I rarely listened, I don’t even think I was able to grasp what he was in fact saying to me on the slightest level. I thought he was being kind and obligatory. I did not see what he saw.

I don’t want to make my blog all about me, but I cannot completely avoid interjecting me in some places. I realize that the thoughts, ideas, and experiences of life are shared ones. Sometimes we all need the same type of reminders. Sometimes we need someone to pull us back and anchor us into place.

God is that which we need. He is all that we need, but He goes a step further, He provides us with others to help us in ways that we do not even realize. We look up and there is a solution, we look up and there is a comforter, we look up and there is a provider. The key here is, that we look up.

Dove did an experiment on a group of women, it was a venture into self discovery. This experiment was all about how we see ourselves in comparison to how others see us. When these women were asked to describe themselves they first talked about what they didn’t have or what wasn’t so good. Then these same women were described by other people who had just met them but asked to spend time with them and get to know them. The results were astonishing, yet I could not help but wonder what would have happened if Dove had gotten people who actually knew and cared about the women. God sees us as we can be, as He knows we can be.  Therefore what He is seeing is what we are.He doesn’t look at us for our imperfections for they are many. When He sees us He see beauty, tenderness , compassion, kindness. He sees love. He sees this through a father’s eyes. So A Man Thinketh….

My father who I loved dearly, who was a tremendous man, used to tell his beloved daughter this very thing when she was down on herself. Though she heard, she rarely listened. I don’t even think she was able to grasp what he was, in fact, saying to her on the slightest level. She thought he was being kind and obligatory. She didn’t know or understand what a beautiful gift she had been given, when our Heavenly Father gave her to him. She did not know what a beautiful gift her father saw, that his Heavenly Father had given to him.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, believe in yourself, strive to be what God sees. If you don’t make it, know He loves you anyway. In His eyes you are perfect.

Time In Purgatory

Not being Catholic, I believe Purgatory is among some of the most familiar concepts non-Catholics are familiar with. Now note I said familiar, NOT knowledgeable. Through time and interpretation the definition of Purgatory has changed, but in general most associate it with purification; pain and suffering on a temporary basis.

As I wrote that I allowed my mid to wander a bit briefly to a time period in which people were tortured and killed in public in the name of God? The concepts surrounding God in Christianity does address His wrath, but what on Earth ever made people think they were qualified and capable to do God’s work, when it comes to punishment. God is quite capable of handling ALL things Himself. Certainly given the nature of man he would not rely on us to handle such a thing. Man, in his ever present arrogance, decided man was capable, qualified, and he therefore acted. I will move on.

Thus, what we associate Purgatory with is what man has decided it should be. I will not get into a religious debate, I have said before I am not versed enough. I do possess a minor understanding; and can see how concepts in the wrong hands, even religious ones, can get carried away.

During an unhappy time or particularly difficult period, do you ask WHY? When you ask why, do you also provide yourself with an answer, an explanation. For if you do then you are ” treading dangerous waters”. God allows us free will, but when decision that we make do not turn out like we thought they should or were not to our liking we blame God in one way or another.

On a massive scale the idea associated with prison; the way we deal with crime and punishment, is this a distorted solution. For how many actually come away from that experience better than before? I believe you had to have good in you, but you just needed something to bring it out of you, in order to survive the ordeal and then have the desire to be new and improved.

One thing the idea of Purgatory does, is it puts you in a place that allows you to think; although I cannot and do not see how one could think or reflect in a place where pain and suffering were so great. Perhaps, the submission part is all that is needed here.

I think God wants us because he loves us, nothing more. If we examine other aspect of our humanity we are not a very good gamble. He gives us free will to do right or wrong. We are not worthy, yet he loves us anyway.  On those bad or challenging days remember this. You have the reins over your life, and what you do with this control is entirely within your power. Make your choices wisely.

Maybe God Is Trying To Tell You Something

I was headed to work early one morning. Not in a particularly good mood. My job was 45 miles away one direction, I disliked my work, my co-workers thought I had denied them something due to my mere presence, and the Postmaster did not want me there. This was my reality at the time. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Acworth  from my home in Duluth. However more than my travel time to the job, I had to prepare myself for the environment. I was angry and distant from everyone at that place, all I wanted to do was get away from there. Hating my job took on a whole new meaning at Acworth.

I was headed north on the I-75 one cold January morning about 5:15 a.m. when I saw the red lights flashing. I did not have a lot of traffic around me but I did have to slow down. In the darkness I could not make out the vehicle, I do not even know how many were involved. I knew, I could feel someone was leaving this Earth at that moment. I believe I witnessed a soul passing. I felt it and I was overcome with emotion. When I arrived at the post office that same morning and opened it I sat down after it was disarmed and cried.  I did not know it at the time but before the month of January was out; I would be transferred to a location less than 6 miles away from my home, working in an environment where my co-workers held no animosity for me, and my boss was glad to have an assistant.

As I saw smoke rising from what was left of what had to be a car, I was eerily reminded of  bad accident I was involved in back in California in 1989. You don’t forget head on collisions that you walk away from. The same misty like smoke passed in front of me when my Jaguar came to a stop just short of a brick wall. My father had only passed away less than a month earlier. I always felt he was with me and protecting me that night.

However, the message that was sent to me was how quickly things can change and do not put you heart into “things”. I loved that CAR, it was all I had wanted in a vehicle. It meant way too much to me and as I sat pinned in it unable to move. I remember crying for the loss of my car. I also remember crying as I realized the Lord was speaking to me about something more than that CAR. I did not realize I was doing it before the accident, but I stopped worshiping things that night.

Sometimes you are in a situation that does not allow you to see beyond yourself, you are unable to see the “big picture”. God will step in when and where you least expect it and show you a way or wake you up so you don’t miss something you need to see or act upon. I know; He has literally waken me from sleep to show me something. What do you do when God is trying to tell you something? It is not always easy to read, it may be unclear to you what the Lord is saying to you at the time, but you know there is a message and it is to you. I will tell you what I do, I pray. Not anything in particular, I just pray to let God know I hear Him. I just did.

Say It Like You Believe It

In the throws of crisis, when you haven’t the answer or you don’t know where to turn; what do you do? Well for those of us who have faith, the answer is simple. We all know exactly what we need to do, the problem is do we actually “practice what we preach”.

All of us have been there, in these places that challenge our very being. Things get difficult and at first you are steadfast, but as time continues with no relief in sight YOUR strength is under attack you begin to falter.  We are weak and must realize that we cannot always do it alone. Depending on where you are in your journey with your faith there are”booster shots” available. The trouble with that is generally shots hurt a bit, if nothing more than a sting and in your weakened state even a sting can seem unreasonable, as though you cannot take anymore pain or discomfort.

The truth is you will endure and survive this your current trial or test as you have ones before.  It is the way you will get past this particular one, that you question. Just as the pain or discomfort from the shot dissipates, and the medicine needed begins to make you feel better. My experience has been during these times you have to realize your faith has some partners you must keep with you; they are bravery and trust. All the strength in the world is meaningless if you are unable or unwilling to come forth and show your strength. Your faith cannot sustain itself without trust in a time when you are being tested.

Finally knowing these things are simply not enough; you have to say it to yourself and say it to others like you believe it, but more than saying it you have to actually mean it.

They Keep You Sane

I remember the haunting hypnotic sound of her voice, Deniece Williams, as she sang, “Cause after all…. that’s what friends are for.” How many times have you been on the receiving end of a sympathetic, knowledgeable, loving ear? How many times have you had to be the sounding block for one who needs that same type of caring?

Throughout my blogging, as well as throughout my life I have thought in passing how very blessed I have been to have some very special people in my life. I call them” friends” and I take them very seriously. I know in the earlier part of my life I would hear folks referring to individuals they knew as” friends”. Through the hard times, and there have been  lets just say”a few”, these special people in their special way have helped me to carry on. They are “Godsends” and I thank God for them all.

Every-once-in-awhile, as a friend, you get to do the role reversal and help them through. It is at that point in time YOU should realize and thank them for giving you and opportunity to give back. After you have some things in your life the acquisition of more doesn’t seem quite as important. However, the ability to share part of yourself/ your very being with another, is indescribable. Couple that emotion with the love you feel for that individual… well money can’t buy that.

Hold close these people you call “friends” and be the same kind of friend that you have needed, “once upon a time”. This is my “Hats Off to my “FRIENDS” .

Daddy’s Baaaby…..

As I was driving one morning I saw I tall slender man walking. In his arms gripping him tightly about his neck was a small child. It was chilly this particular morning so the child was bundled up, hat and overcoat, I could not tell if this was a boy or a girl. However, what I can tell you is that child was surrounded by all it needed in the world, the obvious love and protection of this man. My heart filled with admiration, I smiled and thought of the two of them all day long. I knew I had to say something about DADDIES. I got all of this passing these two on a busy four lane street.

Love is a funny thing. We speak of it or don’t say a word about it. We oversimplify the impact of it and we take it for granted. Love does make the world go round and you see it in the eyes of children. In my times of turmoil, when my center was a bit off I could always find my way back, because my foundation was formed by the constant presence and influence of my father.

Now I watch my granddaughter as she interacts with my son, her DADDY. Her eyes light up when she sees him after spending the day with her “Abuela”,  “Grandpapa” and “Uncle Tio”. While we are alright and she loves us, no one takes the place of DADDY.  She laughs for him in a way that no one else can make her, and in her own little way she lets you know she does not appreciate anyone trying to hurt him, as when we are “play fighting”.

What is this mysterious element DADDY possesses? As I sit and think of it/remember it, it is as mundane and non-affecting as standing up to walk. Yet, in a functioning  fashion, you are completely aware that you cannot take the tiniest of steps without completing the first action.

God made “him” a mountain of strength, a fortress of security, who gives you a confidence that only an unselfish love can provide. Although many have made it through without his presence, many of those same individuals wish “he” would have been there for them. Next time you have an opportunity to see “him”, be it your very own or some random stranger like the one I saw; stand back, enjoy, and observe the love. It will warm your heart and put a smile on your face.

Caryl’s First Rose

I see a little girl dressed the way I used to dress/be dressed at Easter in a mid-western city, but she was a thousand or so miles away. I see her picking flowers maybe wearing a bonnet, after all it is Easter-time. I see her holding the banister rail as she navigates downward to the yard filled with flowers or eating chocolate laughing with her brother.

Today the first rose bud bloomed on a bush given to that same little girl’s dad, commemorating her passing last October. It is a lone flower right now, but the promise is it will have more flowers than you can pick.

When we watch our children, we never think of the reality of the future. It is all fantasy and hope. We see them graduating from high school and/or college. We imagine them getting married or becoming parents themselves. We see them changing the world lying in their cribs sleeping.

If we allow the fleeting moment of reality, we quickly shoe-it away with a fear the thought might bring bad luck. I know Caryl’s dad did this. He lived/lives with regret of not doing this or not doing that… If he knew her life would be cut short by cancer, things would have been different.The truth is we have to give our loved ones our love, while they are here. We have to cherish the moments with the knowledge they are moments, not filled with fear but with freedom. The freedom of giving away all you have, because you have no worry of tomorrow. This is where our hope must meet faith. Simply put, our loved ones, they are blessings.

Caryl’s first rose bloom will last until it withers away; picking it or leaving it on the bush, does not change the fact it was here and it was first. So I will take a picture of it to preserve it’s beauty in a way that will allow revisiting, ever mindful it is representing a visit. This place, this Earth is a stopping over point.  Hold her hand a little tighter, enjoy her laughter a little longer and appreciate her beauty with a little more intensely.

I Don’t Want To Know…

All of our lives, if we are open minded and fortunate, we are able to learn. Each new day you will have an opportunity to see something, hear something, experience something that you never have before. The world is an open book, all you have to do is read. This is so wonderful yet we take it for granted. I am not the avid reader. I can give you a boatload of reasons and excuses, but none of them makes me feel good. I know that I should read more and I know my reasons are inadequate. However, my head began to pound and I started creating reasons to stop writing this piece. My day and evening ahead were planned. I needed to get started, but I refused to stop this until the first part or most of my thought here was recorded. This piece was written because as hard as I try to stay away from  reading especially negative things, somehow they manage to invade my life. Ironically, I am grateful that they do. For they keep me aware of the fact things are much more difficult than we realize.

Atheist say there is no God. There is an explanation for everything the atheist says. Miracles can be broken down to a series of events. Agnostics say I don’t know. Christians say there is a God and that is all the explanation I need. Do you know why? Here is my take.Well one thing we all share is arrogance. Each one of us is confident we have the answer.  It is commonly accepted the only way to offer proof in a reliable fashion is to have performed tests and offer documented results. Yet if we are challenged or tested, I believe the outcome would come as a surprise.

To loose a child is something that no mother or father wants to experience, we do not even want to think about it. To watch an ailing child suffer is unimaginable, no matter what we say. I pray for people I love everyday throughout the day, because I don’t want to know what it is like to see or know they are suffering, I don’t want to feel the hurt of loosing them. My contribution to the agnostic and atheist for the day is look in the headlines research a little history see the hurt that man inflicts upon himself and see how through the horror we live with everyday, we somehow manage to rise again. Left to our own devices all we would do is maim and destroy. However, the fact that we don’t is not a testament to the greatness of man, it is to God. How else could a mother survive her child being shot to death in a so-called safe community, how could any father allow his child to go to war to fight for a way of life, how could we look one another in the eye and say you are my brother and/or sister I have your back. I don’t want to know a life without God.

Special Moms

Hey first of all I want to say, they are/we are all special. Not a single one of us would not take away the hurt, no matter how minor no matter how major, from any of our children in order to spare them the experience of anything unpleasant. However, at 4 a.m. this is my “swan song” of sorts, to the Moms out there with children who are suffering with life threatening illnesses.

How many nights have  you paced the floors or rocked in silence? Giving your all, but feeling as though it is not enough. Praying to exchange places with the helpless one who came into your life and changed it forever. I catch my breath as I think of you , and though you are faceless you are not formless. My heart goes out to you as I pray for your strength. Not callously or unfeeling I do in a quiet reverie, thank the Lord that the task you are given was not given to me.  I know how very weak I am. The ricocheting effects have touched me through a niece and a nephew.

You hear “the Lord does not put more on you than you can bare”; I know that does not help in those times when your baby is suffering, for your heart aches from the inside out. The sounds of machines, the flickering lights that tell you, my child is still in the fight. You wonder how will you go on. Yet, you know as long as they are in this fight, you will be too.

Crying is a part of your process, so let the tears come. Think of them as a refreshing rain. Know that we, in the sisterhood of mothers, are thinking and praying for you. Though we may not know you by name or by your individual circumstance, any of us who has entered into motherhood knows “you” are out there somewhere. We feel you.

The touch of a nurse’s hand on your shoulder or a smile from a passing stranger; these are subtle little signs from God that say, “You are not alone”.  You are strong, you are beautiful, and you are loved by people who don’t even know your name. The very next time you hold your baby, be it in a rough time or one of the easier times, believe there is some faceless form out there who the Lord has touched, that is praying for you. “God can move mountains, but prayer can move God”.

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