Thursday, July 28, 2011

I have a dream... Or do I?

Doesn't everyone love M.L.K. jr. "I have a dream speech?  Now, maybe but in Mr. King Jr's day it was not quite the same story... He had a dream that he believed in very much but he was told on many fronts that dream would never come to fruition... Including, I'm sure from his own thoughts.  Not only did he have to suffer the uncertanty of not knowing he would live to see his dream come true but he had to watch many people, including his own friends and family suffer humiliation, verbal and even physical abuse because of his dream.  Can you imagine? 

"I told the world one day I would pay it back
say it on tape, and lay it, record it
so that one day I could play it back"

Oh, the excitement of a dream when it's first begun!  The thrill of just knowing someday it will all be worth it, that expectancy of your very own "what do you think of me now" moment with each person who never seemed to believe in you!  But then a moment comes when your song changes to:

"but I don't even know if I believe it when I'm saying that
doubt starting to creep in, everyday it's just so grey and black
Hope - I just need a ray of that
'Cause no one sees my vision when I play it for 'em
They just say it's wack
they don't know what dope is
and I don't know if I was awake or asleep
when I wrote this..."

That moment when you realize you're standing alone in the belief in a dream... That moment when someone you expect to believe in you and help you reach for your dream tells you in some way "it'll never happen.." That unexpected enemy creeps back into your mind and begins to tear away at your confidence... Doubt darkens every hope in a dream not yet born into existance.

Losing hope is so easy these days... Everyone seems to be afraid to dream. And if they do dream, God help 'em if they share it with someone else looking for encouragement.  I know how it feels to have friends and family look at you like you're crazy when you express a vision for your future... I've felt the disappointment crash in all around me when I'm told with their eyes "that'll never happen for you."  Because the truth is I'm not even sure I can believe it totally on my own... We all want an "I second that" on the board of our dreams, just that validation of someone else believing with you.  Unfortunately, like Joseph and his dream in Genesis 37... In fact, in verse 7 when Joseph told his brothers about his dream for his future they hated him for even speaking the thought! So number one is covered, you now know you're not alone...

Number 2 is who does a dream come from?  If your dream is telling you to do something to benedit the kingdom of God you can bet it's a dream from Him... Really, you're probably not that spiritual to dream it up on your own (at least I'm not and neither are my friends ha!) and you know it's not going to be a evil dream telling you to do something for God... So if it comes from God, listen to it... and realize, God mixed up in your faithfulness to Him is all you need to make your dreams come true! "When God gives a command there is power resident in it to fulfill it: Let there be light!! Let my people go!! Let him that is athirst come!!" R. W. Woodward

Just two nights ago as I lay in bed trying to convince myself to sleep a dream passed through my mind. It wasn't the first time I've considered the dream. There have been people who have believed in my dream along the way but there have also been those who have (whether intentionally or not) chipped away at my hope of someday seeng the dream come true. This dream begun years ago for me and it seems each day tat passes has now become one more insult and doubt against even the possibility that dream may come to pass. But when the thought crossed my mind this time I couldn't help but feel excited and hopeful again! Usually I try not to think of it in that way, you know, "be realistic" and not "get my hopes up" but this night I just enjoyed the optimism and freed myself to believe again... Last night my mum received a phone call from my aunt... She had a dream she was sying to tell us about! And, as I'm sure you've already guessed, on the same night I was laying in bed thinking of my dream she was sleeping in her own room actually dreaming my very thoughts! You can take that how you will but I am taking it as a sign, confirmation, if you will that my dream's fulfillment is just around the corner!

Number 3 is the kicker for you:  BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS! You don't have to be a child or an optimist, just believe!  Dreams are realistic in God's plan for our lives and God has instructed us to believe in the dreams he's given us and promised that when we believe enough to follow His footsteps He will lead us into our destiny! And please remember, if you feel like you're standing in belief alone, the God who gives the dream believes in the dream... And I believe in your dreams with you!
And a great reminder that often helps me in times of impatience are these words from my postor "WAIT for God's timing in your life! Many things that will be a blessing to you later on can be a curse to you now, if you get them too soon." R. W. Woodward

Monday, July 25, 2011

Arms - Christina Perri - the translation

"You put your arms around me
And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go
You put your arms around me and..."

The first time I thought the next word of this verse was "hold..." I immediately though of God, holding me throughout my life's struggles. How it would be so much easier for Him to have let me go than to fight for my life.  I most likely wouldn't have written a blog on those words alone but when I heard the next verse, it just had to be translated in my paraphrase for you!

"How many times will you let me change my mind and turn around
I can't decide if I'll let you save my life or if I'll drown
I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling..."

How many times have I changed my mind and turned around?  Back and forth, back and forth... The beating of life made me want to quit trying... Quit being.  So many questions, "is it worth it?" "Can God really make a difference in my life?" "Does God really care about me enough to help?" "I know He can but I don't deserve it, so will He?" 

So many years of my life speant in the indecision... Will I let Him save me?  And that's what it really comes down to, doesn't it?  Will we, each of us, allow God's plan and process in our lives?  Or, will we cut it short of our destiny because we are tired, we've lost vision, lost the excitement of the beginning of the journey or lost hope? 

Even more of my time was spent not realizing I was already falling...  So much time defending with "well, I'm not really doing anything bad..." or  "at least I would never do what they are doing..."  even, my personal fall back "if they can get away with that why can't I get away with this?" Always thinking that sitting in a church made me a Christian you've heard this one before "Well, I go to church..." Which by the way can be used either to downplay or upplay your relationship with God. As my pastor would say "sitting in a church building doesn't anymore make you a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car."

"The world is coming down on me and I can't find a reason to be loved..."

That's on of the hard ones for me... My dad left our home when I was nine years old, and re-married when I was thirteen to a woman that we will just say I had some difficulty with... The wedding which I found out about one night before it happened and was not apologized to but told "well, you can come if you want to..." I was that lost little daddy's girl who felt like her daddy didn't love her anymore... (I will say that at this point I have regained a lot of my relationship with my dad after much work and effort on both sides but it's not entirely the same and those kind of scars never completely fade.) My relationship experience? Just as fantastic, I somehow seemed to find the cheater in the crowd and yell out "oh, oh! Pick me! PICK ME!"  So for me, finding myself worthy of God's love did not (and sometimes still does not) come easy... At first because of my actions and words to defend my own heart, I was quite the horrible little girl once upon a time; my basic moto being "get them before they get you" and "find out their weak spot, if they ever come close to hurting you, go for the jugular." Now, even though I made up my mind I love God and want to follow Him I sometimes make mistakes, have a really nasty thought or say something that very well could and definitely should have been left unsaid and yes, I've embarrassed myself and God... The beauty in salvation is that deservedness is not a prerequisit! Just like all the superman & batman movies, the hero never takes the time to check your worthiness for salvation, he just swoops down, scoops you up and carries you home!

"I've never truly loved 'til you put your arms around me
And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go
I hope that you see right through my walls
You put your arms around me and I'm home"

The plain truth of it is, we've all made it easier at one point or another for God (and everyone else in our lives for that matter) to let us go...  We all have put up walls of some sort to protect our hearts and found too late that those walls have actually created a cage we don't have the key to... BUT GOD! But God will still put his arms around you because he already knew you would make mistakes and fall on your face in sin and shame... Romans 3:23 (ESV) "Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory." But Isiah 53 (MSG), speaking of Jesus' crucifixion says "But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him." And, just in case you're worried about someone causing God to let go of you John 10:28-30 (KJV) takes care of that worry "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one!"  And one last thing... Those walls that are now holding you locked prisoner, just praise God anyway... When you can't get out, God can get in! Acts 16:25&26 (NIV) "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose." Jesus tells us He has the keys to get let you out! Revelation 1:18 (MSG) "Don't fear: I am First, I am Last, I'm Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death's doors, they open and lock Hell's gates."

Sick Puppy

Hi honeys!

I'm so sorry for not posting Thursday, work is so crazy busy I completely forgot until it was already time for me to be sleeping... And today I am not sure I have much either. My puppy is sick (been to the vet twice since Saturday) so I'm all over the place as far as thought process goes....

I hope you all have a great week anyway but I will still look to see if I have anything previously prepared for you!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Beating the Bitty

I've always been a little self conscious... Always wanted to be liked by everyone around me. I am also an analytical mind; something I usually take pride in... But when applied to other people and what they are thinking has given me a lot of wrong impressions, unnecessary question of intention and caused needless fracture of relationship... I understand that some relationships are not meant to last and some intentions must be questioned. The problem with what I was doing is not the act of analysing in itself but the timing and object of analysis. But I'm learning and changing... Saving myself heartache and hopefully, through this blog I'll get to pay it forward.

I'm learning to stop analyzing the look on a face, stop trying to figure out what the whispers in the corner are about and more importantly, not allowing myself the thought those whispers are about me... I know, I know, in some cases those looks are rude, and those whispers are in fact biting but lesson is not "ignoring an idiot." The lesson is, while realizing the offending party may very well be aware their actions make me feel insignificant and those two gossiping in the corner may be speaking negatively about my weakness I think I hide so well, I also must realize the look down the nose only makes the offending person seem snotty to others and those gossips are just that, gossips.  Understanding that if not now, soon everyone will come to see that gossips only have negative to speak about everything and everyone and their biting words will become worthless on all counts. I'm not saying you will that initial sensation of hurt won't present itself strong in the moment but you must learn to reject those feelings "Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears." Marcus Aurelius, as tweeted by Philo_Quotes

My paraphrase: it will hurt you when you hear, see or assume an offence has been made against you, your character or your dream but reject that hurt, don't allow yourself to dwell on that feeling find something good to think on until that pain fades.

Paul the Apostle's paraphrase: "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."

Paul adds something that I would also like to touch on... Revising my own paraphrase: ALLOW God to take care of any false words that bring you down in the sight of others... Remember, if you're faithfully following the Word of God and you are pouring yourself out for the good of the Gospel God has committed himself to backing you up, so just let him!  Undoubtedly there is someone reading these words thinking "well, I try to follow God but I screw up so this doesn't apply to me."  Don't be silly, we all make mistakes... Even the apostles made mistakes (Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times in one night!) Repent (which is confessing the sin to God.. But not confession only, a turn in action... STOP making the same "mistakes" over and over again, it's only a mistake until it becomes a habit... Don't let it get that far.) And once you've changed your direction, don't continue to beat yourself up about your error remember: "Your life can be under construction & still be a marvel to behold!"  TheSingleWoman

So all in all, I just want you all to follow my lead into an easier life!  Think better about others, try to stop yourself from assuming every dirty look is intentional (some people just carry a sour-puss look all the time haha!) lastly, don't allow yourself to believe the gossip in the corner is about you just because the old (or young) bitty is starring you down... IF you just can't curb the assumption/knowledge the look and/or words are directed at you, just remind yourself the conversation/look will turn to the next person who walks by and the next after that... A gossip is a gossip and a sour-puss will be bitter to everyone... The offences are not about the target of conversation or glare but about the disease of dissatisfaction running ramped inside the offender's heart. Reject the hurt you feel in the moment and replace it with confidence in God backing up your loyalty to Him!  I'm reminded of a song my uncle, Lloyd, wrote for his new CD (which I was privileged to hear prior to the release date.) One particular line in the song I've mentioned says "I'll be loyal to the royal in me!"  God lives INSIDE the heart of his followers! It's not just being loyal to some pie-in-the-sky idea, it's being a part of a royal family, having royal blood coursing through your veins... If you're loyal to the family you are protected by that loyalty! So, step out from under the clouds of analytical assumption and pain and into the blessing of peace!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

General Hospital - the Completion

I've saved what I view as possibly the most important comparisons of the church vs. the hospital for the end of the series...

Nurses - Nurses aren't the ones with the signature that can medicate any pain you may have but they are the ones who administer the medication and perhaps more importantly a nurse brings comfort. A nurse is there for each patient in every unit of this hospital; bringing a laugh on a dark day, comforting family members going through stressful situations, supporting the doctors who are much overwhelmed with many patients and befriending those patients who are alone, without their family in the hospital. Some may say nurses are the most important staff members in a hospital... And, I tend to agree with that line of thinking myself.

In comparison, in church we should be overstaffed when it comes to nurses! Everyone can and should be a nurse to those around them... Whether it's bringing a laugh or smile to someone, comforting our church family members who are going through situations we can't even fathom, supporting our leadership through volunteering our time, talent and prayer or a card or not sent on a non-occasion to uplift or being a friend to the person who walks through the doors alone or who's family is not there ("Friend," by the way, is a "permanent position" if you will, you're not just covering a "leave of absence" so stick with the person instead of befriending them for a week or two then, at the first sign of inconvenience, leaving them in the dust to figure it out on their own.)

My very last thought on the matter is "whatever happened to the day of a house visit from your physician?" I understand in the physical, but spiritually. In the day of horse and carriage doctors did have their office for appointments and drop-ins, but the would also come to your home in case of emergency, moreover, people were welcomed to knock on the door of the doctor's own home! We need to apply this in our lives today! People should know they are welcome to come to our homes, call us on the telephone or e-mail when they feel they need help! We should go to them whether there is an emergency or not (although in the opinion of some, including my own, salvation is always an emergency) even if we are there to give a check-up on a previous condition now in remission!

I love you all now lets get all of our hospital units up and running so we can help everyone who comes through the doors... Better yet, lets walk out of the doors of our hospital and make some house-calls to the world surrounding us! GO!

Monday, July 11, 2011

General Hospital Part 3

Clinic Staff - These are the ones who help the people who can't help themselves... Some may say they don't deserve anything they can't pay for but the volunteers in the clinic believe any life is worth saving... It gets messy and a clinic can't save them all but they always try.  Thank you to those clinic staff who push for the rights of the down and out and needy, thank you for keeping your eyes open to the "least of these," you make the world a better place. 

As Christians we need to take a lesson here and see people for what they are, in need of something they don't deserve and can't pay for on their own... The great thing we can share with these people is, everyone in the world has a medicare plan through a red cross. Thank you Jesus.

Labour & Delivery Physician - This is a busy ward in the hospital!  You're on call all hours in case there's a baby who needs to make it's appearance... But the long hours are well worth it, what could be more rewarding than the birth of a new baby!  Not all the people come in to us are ready to support the needs of a new life but there are lots of people just waiting to love that life into adulthood!

In ministry we can always use volunteers in bringing new life into the family!  There are always great "moms" looking for new little ones to love, support and nurture and luckily, the babies born here will have the best father anyone can ask for!  Just remember, we are dealing with babies so we can't be too rough on them... We shouldn't expect them to jump out of the womb onto the floor, dress up in a suit and start speaking our language all in an hour, it takes time so be gentle!

Cardiac Care - Everyone on this floor has a damaged heart... Weather it's caused by years of abuse of their own doing or a sudden heart attack that knocks them down, it's our job to help them heal and move on into a fulfilling life.  They may not run as fast as they used to, they may have to medicate daily but they will live if we have anything to do with it. There's a lot of work for us in this position, we are there from the moment they arrive at the hospital through the operations, recovery, monitoring and physiotherapy until they are walking out the door and going home.  It's very important to help keep their spirits up, it's easy to get discouraged and to feel like you will never be healed from the damage to your heart but we cannot allow the patient to feel this way because the next step is giving up... These patients will survive and will live a full life if they don't give up so let us encourage them into all health! Amen?

Oncology - A lot of the patients here are fighting for their life, sometimes times they lose the battle before our eyes... You must be strong to work here!  Again, you will not be able to save every patient but all must be given the best chance possible!  We have the best doctor in the universe if they choose to fight and live they will, we have to try and lead them into choosing to fight for their life.  Not all choose to fight, sometimes they feel life is not worth it or they are simply to exhausted to try and that's the hard part, we can't force them to fight for it, but we must try. 

Other times passing away is the best thing for the patient, they are ready to go on and it's our responsibility to ready them for the journey. Even though their pain and struggle will be over and they are in a better place, it's hard on the family and on you, be strong.  You are here to support that family, be a friend, a confidant and strength to them.  You are here to guide that patient into the next life and help them know they are going to end up in a better place and watch the fear dissolve from their being.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

General Hospital - Part 2

Pediatricians - Sunday school would be the obvious comparison and that is part of it... But really it's anyone who pours into a child's life. Whether it be experiences, knowledge, wisdom, love, encouragement or just plain fun you are affecting that child's growing process.

I was at Wendy's restaurant yesterday and overheard the family next to me... The mother and son (probably around 7 years old) were seated with their drinks waiting for the father to order and bring the meal. After sitting the food down on the table the first words from the father's lips were directed at his son "LOOK AT THE MESS YOU'VE ALREADY MADE!" the son didn't utter a word but, clearly embarrassed, shrunk behind his mother's shoulder as she wiped up the few drops of milkshake that were on the table. That was the end of it but I was left thinking about the effects those sharp words would have on the child... He would grow up to be one of those stiff, careful eaters wiping his mouth continuously through a meal... Not to say that is a problem but parents, nay, all adults please be aware of your words and tone with children. Every word spoken in any tone will have lasting effect on the character of each child so we need to make sure we are effecting them for the better!

Psychiatrists - These are the people who deal with matters of the mind... Who through knowledge, wisdom and experience teach others how to sort through depression, decision making and strategy (among other things.)

Mind over matter, huh? Sometimes it is just that, we need to pull our socks up, get a backbone, make a decision and stick with it until we see results. That is one process I do happen to believe we could use more of and I've been known to give that advice on occasion... Most likely because while I was growing up that's the advice I frequently received from my mum. But a couple of other aspects of psychiatry we sometimes forget in comparison to Christian behavior are understanding, listening, CONFIDENTIALITY and being non-judgemental. People don't tell us about their "issues" if they think we won't be understanding of the human condition, if we are not listening or if we are judging and certainly not if we are going to broadcast it to every other bubble head who will listen... That's called gossip and a CHRISTIAN should have NO PART in it.... At least, that's what Jesus said.

Surgeons - Usually specializing in one area of surgery, these are the people you really want on your team when it comes to getting rid of a life threatening disease or when trying to repair a heart! A surgeon keeps a steady, strong hand guided by the knowledge gained from absorbing the text books in his training and prior experience both of his own and of the leading physician(s) in his field.

Most people have one area they feel especially capable with... And that one area, my friend, is the area you are to train in to become a master surgeon! You are to be guided by the words you've read in our text book, the Bible. You are to listen to Jesus, the leading physician in every area and allow him to impart confidence and steady your hand. Also learning through your own experiences and pain. Now get out there are repair a hole in some one's heart!

Monday, July 4, 2011

General Hospital

This blog is going to extend into more than one post... I've learned a lot just writing it and want to take my time, or give God time to really allow every bit to absorb and I would hope you will do the same.  We can't cover everything on our own but we each have an area to specialize in... So find yours and get to work!  Remember, you're on call!

I've often heard the "church" (being both the building and the people it's comprised of) compared to a hospital...  I've put a bit of thought into the comparison and realized it's one of the best analogies I've heard!  Here's why:

On Call - The first thing you have to remember about working in the hospital is you are always on call... Especially when you are a specialist.  It may be late, a weekend or holiday that gets interrupted and you may even be annoyed but remember it's all part of the job and the compensation is amazing... Not to mention, "the retirement plan is out of this world!" (Thank you R. W. Woodward for that quote.)

Emergency Medical Technicians - These may not be doctors but they are certainly courageous members of the staff who will rush to the rescue of any patient risking life and limb to save a life! They have understanding of all the vitals in keeping someone alive as they are transported to the doctor!

And don't we need more EMTs in the church! Amen? People who are willing to rush to the rescue of those people who need to be saved. Risking life and limb in the unstable conditions of the world around just to possibly save one more life, just to help get that person to the great physician, Jesus! People willing to actually get out and witness, to reach, to understand the vitals and try to save a life!