23 April 2006


On Sundays I head to church to seek sanctuary. It's not the building, it's a state of mind and heart. I can find it while not in the building labeled as such.

Two women who sat behind me spent the entire service whispering to each other about everything from where to hit a good sale on shoes to why one of their acquaintances was unable to get a good man. I noticed from time to time others would turn and look pointedly at them but they never noticed.

As the service progressed I wanted to weep. They were in the presence of many people of faith, heard beautiful music and a sermon from the Word of God full of encouragement and comfort. Sanctuary was there all around them and they failed to see it. How monumentally dismal it is that they got up, got dressed and made the trip to the sanctuary only to never find it. It is overwhelming to think of all the people in the world who need to find God. I do not know words enough to express how disheartening it is to realize many are in the pew next to you.

22 April 2006

Is there an end to this tunnel ?

I am doing my best not to feel persecuted but today it is difficult. I got a break from the early morning duty at the store. I can still handle the job but I am left feeling sore. My boss is working with me to find things for me to do that aren't quite so taxing.

I went to help a colleague move a trolley today. He had place some acrylic bins on the top and hadn't gotten them securely situated. I didn't know this until they tumbled down upon me with quite a good conk on my noggin. I teased him saying he would have to try harder if he wanted to kill me. I did not realize that the edge of one of the bins had made a small cut in my scalp. A customer was kind enough to point that out for me. It was very shallow and didn't bleed much. I did however have a headache for the morning.

I worked a little late to help out with a rush and then headed home for a quick dinner before going to another job tonight. A fun job of playing with my favorite Houston gals. I had noodles with cheese. Believe it or not I broke my tooth while eating. Now don't put too much stock in that as I have bad teeth to begin with. What is troubling me now is that if I give a big smile you can now see a gap. It's official, I have crossed the line to hillbilly. I'm doing my best to take a light hearted approach to the problem. After all, it is just vanity that has been dealt a blow, nothing life threatening.

Having vented my frustration I'll complain no more about it. I know things are rough now but I don't want to be one of those people everyone runs from so they don't have to listen to the whining.

Smiling with my mouth closed,


13 April 2006

Discipline of Darkness

As I was sitting in the chapel tonight for Maundy Thursday service a myriad of thoughts wandered through my mind as I was meditating. I felt the memories of the past year come forward for review. I want to share them with you now.

On Wednesday we had the last session of Lent in the Living room. There were many great moments in the sessions and much support from the class members. The thing that made the biggest impact on me was when I was reading through one of the scripture passages. The difficulty of a rich person getting into heaven is in Matthew 19, and verse 26 hit me hard.

23 As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God's kingdom? 24 Let me tell you, it's easier to gallop a camel through a needless eye than for the rich to enter God's kingdom."

25 The disciples were staggered. "Then who has any chance at all?"

26 Jesus looked hard at them and said, "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."

-The Message

The moment I read that it was if I had never read that passage before. These past few months have been agony and I have relied on asking for God's grace every morning to get through the day. It occurred to me that God had answered my prayers in ways I hadn't even realized.

I've learned to ask for help. And no, it's not important if help comes in ways you think you need it. It's the asking that is the key. Things may not work out how I think they need to but they will work out the way God needs them to work for me. Both my father and Heavenly Father have taught me that the results are not in my control, my obedience is.

I've been learning new ways to express my creativity. I am unable to hold a pencil for long periods to sketch. The lack of stability in my fine motor skills make it awkward to hold a brush. So, I've been learning to paint digitally. At least there when my hands don't work as they should I can just delete a brushstroke. Tonight it dawned on me that every effort I have made in this new art form have dealt with darkness and light.

The second Sunday of Lent I was blessed to hear the testimony of a wonderful man from Africa named Steven Lungu. Listening to his testimony and seeing the joy on his face was a testament to God's marvelous Grace. He shared that God used many disciplines in his life and that one was the discipline of darkness.

I had known God goes with us into the darkness to bring us light. God created both the darkness and the light when He created the world. Now I know God has used the darkness to bring me closer to Him. All the things I was focusing on this past year are not visible in the darkness. Looking for work, trying to figure out how I'm to spend this portion of my life, and every other concern is indistinguishable in the darkness. Even the pain which plunges me there can't be clearly seen. All you can do is look for the light. At times it seems so bright that it is almost blinding. Other times you can't tell where it is coming from. There have been days when I felt I was holding out my hand to see if it could catch any light so I could tell where it originated.

As I was sitting in the pew tonight I had a real awareness of how much of a blessing this time has been. When you have nothing but the Grace of God to cling to you know just how precious it is. So I'm thankful for my time here in the shadows, and grateful for the lessons I have learned. I still think of myself as clay God is molding to His design, but now think I need to be a glow in the dark variety to reflect His light.

Still learning,