Friday, September 30, 2011

Heavy heart....

My heart is so heavy this morning. All around me are tragic stories. Last night I learned of another as I was attempting to conquer the evil stair treadmill at the TAG Center. The e-mail nearly knocked me right off that treadmill.

I have SUCH a heart for those whose life seems out of control. I know the pain and fear that comes from your emotions telling you, "God has forgotten me!" while your Bible and everything you have learned since you were a child is SCREAMING, "No!!!!  He has NOT!!!" My heart just BREAKS for those in pain. I grieve over your loss. I ache from your tragedy. And (OF COURSE) I have a few things to say to you:

1. You are NOT alone! You are NOT!!!  The enemy wants you to think that. He wants you to believe that no one understands, no one has been down this road before, no one CARES that you are reeling from pain. That is a LIE from the PIT of HELL! Listen to me! Stop whatever you are multi-tasking on right now... Focus on the words of this page... and HEAR me NOW! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This tragedy I heard of last night... This terrible, heart-breaking story... I don't even know the person. I only have a "six-degrees of separation" kind of connection to the family, but I ACHE for them! I wish I could take away some of their pain. I wish I could help them! SURELY there are those in their direct circle of influence who care MUCH more than I do!

2. It will get better. I know it doesn't seem so. I know the pain and agony seem they will overwhelm you. I KNOW the waves are crashing over your head... you are inhaling breaths filled with water.... you are being dragged down to the depths of despair... but just HANG ON! Because it WILL get better... weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning... Psalm 30:5


3. He has NOT forgotten you! I purposely saved this one for last. He has NOT forgotten you. He sees the tears you have cried in the middle of the night. He knows you feel like the pain will overwhelm you. He knows you are lonely, tired, weary, losing hope. He knows that you are at the END OF YOUR ROPE. He has NOT forgotten you. If there is ONE thing you can take to the bank, it is THIS!!!!  He has NOT forgotten you!!!

Sometimes I think I should stop trolling around the Internet, stop reading people's blogs, unsubscribe from group lists. My heart hurts SO badly from all the pain I encounter via this World Wide Web.... But then I know that I need to keep doing it... I need to pray for all these lost children I read about on Fox News... for all these broken people I meet on the Internet... for all those touched by the gut-wrenching pain of loss... So on I go reading, trolling, PRAYING...

If you read this blog and thought, "Ohmigosh! she wrote this for ME!" know that I am praying for YOU today. Praying that God would rush in and surround you with His love. That He would bring the light of hope to your darkness. That He would send the warmth of a hug into your loneliness. That He would give you the strength to hold on just a little longer, but most of all that He just WOULD... so you know that He has NOT forgotten.

Hang on my friends!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More on forgiveness and forgetting....

I didn't have much time to blog the other day when I posted the link to Pastor's Aaron's sermon. I don't really have more time today, but when something BURNS on my heart, I gotta write it out.

forgive - to give up resentment of or claim to compensation for

forget - to lose the remembrance of: be unable to think of or recall

First of all, just to be clear, does everyone know that the Bible doesn't tell us to forgive and forget? The Bible's directives regarding forgiveness include:

*forgive seventy times seven
*forgive as your Father in Heaven forgives

But the Bible does NOT tell us to forgive and forget.

Here's the deal folks: forgiveness is NOT forgetting. Forgiveness is letting go of our hurt and anger over the injustice caused. Forgiveness is letting go of the slight, betrayal, offense. Forgiveness says you don't have to pay me back for this sin any more. You don't have to make this up to me. Forgiveness is NOT forgetting the slight, betrayal, offense happened. Forgiveness is not removing it from your memory (which is impossible).

God forgives our sins. God tosses them as far as the east is from the west. But God doesn't allow us to forget them because we need to remember. Just the same, we should forgive those who have sinned against us, but that doesn't include forgetting!

1. We need to REMEMBER so we REMEMBER how much we have been forgiven of. REMEMBERING the mercy God (and others) has shown us makes us grateful and increases our love toward them.

2. We need to REMEMBER so we learn a lesson. Our past failures... The past failures of others.... These things forgiven teach us VALUABLE lessons. As I stated on Monday, REMEMBERING that a hot stove burns, helps us LEARN not to touch it again. Also, REMEMBERING that I have no self-control when it comes to chocolate helps me LEARN not to keep chocolate in the house. REMEMBERING that a situation led to sin helps us LEARN to avoid it in the future. REMEMBERING that a friend blabbed a secret we begged them not to share, helps us REMEMBER not to reveal so much next time.

3. We need to REMEMBER so we can be used. The best comfort in pain and agony comes from someone who has walked the road we are on before us. The best comfort to someone struggling with the pain from a broken marriage, comes from another who has been there. The best comfort to someone walking down the dark path of the loss of a child, comes from another who has been there. The best comfort to someone battling an addiction, comes from another who has been there.

So here's the deal...

Do you need to forgive others?  YES! How often? INFINITY times INFINITY.

Do you need to forget what they did? NO! Absolutely not. You can't.

I look at it like this... most of the time when you forgive a slight it couldn't have been "made right" anyways. Sorry doesn't make it better. If I punch you in the face as hard as I can, sorry doesn't take away the pain, the redness or the swelling. Sorry doesn't make it better. If I say sorry, it doesn't magically erase the fact that it ever happened. If I say sorry I'm saying, "I wish I could go back and NOT do that the second time." And when you forgive me you are saying, "I let go of it. I won't make you pay it back." (The funny thing about it is OFTEN there is NO way that it could be paid back anyways.) There is also NO way it can be forgotten. The next time I lift my hand up in a fist aimed at your face you're going to flinch!  You should! It's called self-preservation. AND the next time a friend gets punched in the face you are going to be able to say, "I remember how that felt. I hated that!"

Forgiving is GOOD for you and the person who slighted you. Bitterness, resentment, anger held onto... these things are a cancer eating away at the bones.

Forgetting is IMPOSSIBLE so stop trying. Instead embrace it. Remember the lessons your pain has taught you. Remember the pain and use that to help others. Finally, REMEMBER how much you too have been forgiven of!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Worship Wednesday: Courageous

It is just 2 days away!!!!  My hubby (and me... but mostly HIM) is soooooooooo excited!  The new movie by the makers of Fireproof and Facing the Giants is coming in TWO DAYS!!!! John has been promoting this movie for MONTHS! He is a sucker for a GOOD Christian movie (aren't we all?) but this one is especially meaningful because it is about fathers. It's called Courageous.

Have you heard the song Courageous by Casting Crowns (has Casting Crowns EVER written ANYTHING that is not PURELY amazing?????).  

We were made to be courageous
We were made to lead the way
We could be the generation
That finally breaks the chain
We were made to be courageous
We were made to be courageous



Lately I have been walking around with this STRONG and URGENT sense of expectation. I explained it to my mom the other day as being "pregnant with expectation." It's like I can FEEL something big coming in this world. I am no prophet. I can't tell you if it is the end of the world, the rapture or what... but I can tell you what I hope it is. I hope it is a revival. A burning flame of love for God that sweeps across this nation like the Great Awakening did. We are RIPE for it. Our economy is in shambles. Morality has taken a tanker. Families are falling apart. Marriages lie dashed on the rocks. And do you know who is poised to lead us into this battle? You know who stands as the underdog beaten down by society... told he was no good... discarded like a useless broken tool... MAN! In fact ALL of  the MEN of this world!!!  

We were warriors on the front lines
Standing unafraid
But now we're watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away



DON'T STAND ON THE SIDELINES, MEN! GET IN THERE AND FIGHT!

Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more
Let the pounding of our hearts cry
We will serve the Lord



YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS! IT IS YOUR DESTINY!

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous



And here it is.... the clincher... the secret to success: The only way to be courageous.... the only way to be strong and lead the way... It is ONLY with Christ behind you. You stand by getting down on your knees. You fight by lifting up your hands.

This is our resolution
Our answer to the call
We will love our wives and children
We refuse to let them fall

We will reignite the passion
That we buried deep inside
May the watchers become warriors
Let the men of God arise

Seek justice
Love mercy
Walk humbly with your God (repeat)

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand (X2)


My last word about this song/concept is for the women:


Help them be courageous. Be their partner in this stand. Don't nitpick their efforts to be strong. Don't point out their failures. Egg them ON! Encourage them! Cheer loudly for them:  Be strong! Be courageous!  The men in your life need your SUPPORT!!!  Trust me if the men of our world stand up and are COURAGEOUS, we all win.


So Friday night... 9/30... opening night... John & I are schlepping all the kids... meeting Christina and Matt (and I think Tracey and J.J. but I'm not sure if I ever communicated this change of plans to them) and Amanda and James (don't you back out on us NOW!) and anyone else who wants to meet us there... I'm actually going to pre-buy our tickets TODAY to make sure we don't miss out. Meet us there if you are interested.  The more the merrier!


Courageous


Courageous
Menomonee Falls Marcus Theater
6:40 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New look

I'm trying to give my blog a new look... inspired by my computer assistant who promises to help me shake it up even more.  I'd love some opinions on the new look... Leave a comment here. Thanks a bunch!

(One more thing I enabled the mobile function so if u r accessing this from a smartphone or iPhone you will see the mobile version.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forgive but don't forget....

I have LONG struggled with this concept. I loathe when people say we should "forgive and forget." I can't get past that concept. It drives me nuts. If we "forgive and forget," we would CONTINUALLY stick our hand on a hot burner burning our hand over and over and over again. It is just not WISE to FORGET the things we forgive. Remembering is helpful.

Yesterday Pastor Aaron preached about this.  WOW! He hit a grand slam, outta the park, unbelievable HOME RUN!

Please follow this link when you have a good 35 minutes.  This sermon is AWESOME!  I'm not sure what will happen to this link after this week so check it out before 10/1 or it might not be viable anymore.

There's an App for that: Forgiveness

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I need a computer geek...

This post is atypical for my site... It is a help wanted ad. I need a computer geek BAD.

WANTED:  Computer Geek
Experience: none necessary... just get the job DONE!
Pay: lots o' love, a little publicity here at this silly little site, REWARDS in Heaven for being a nice person

I am desperately seeking someone with EXTENSIVE knowledge about blogger/websites. I want to do a revamp of mine but I am LOST. I feel in my bones that somewhere within my network of former students, cheerleaders, youth group kids, peops I used to teach with, family, friends, and even COMPLETE strangers who have stumbled upon this little blog, I have GOT to have a person who can help me fix my blogs! If that it you, please contact me!  e-mail/facebook/tweet/call/text/send a smoke signal!  I'm waiting!



Saturday, September 3, 2011

1-2-3, eyes on me

I've blogged about this saying before... but it was in a different context. This morning it didn't occur to me as God saying it to me, but instead as me saying it to myself... Here's what I mean:

1-2-3, eyes on ME!

For whatever reason, the concept I have been processing lately is that I can only CONTROL my own self... my own actions... my own words... my own heart. And because of that my eyes should only focus on my sin... my shortcomings... my screw ups... the changes I need to make.

I guess this blog post could come off as a bit self-centered, but I guess I'm starting to believe that it is okay to be self-centered when "judging". It is okay to be self-centered when playing detective in search of sin.

Last year my children were having an all out war about some VERY important issue such as who's fault the argument was or what that person did with the Power Rangers toy to cause them to ___________.  I launched off on one of my "lectures" that ended up as some of the wisest words that have EVER come out of my mouth. I frequently reuse the words... I hear my kids reusing them... I even hear Auntie Marge saying them to herself.  Here's kidna how it went down:

I told them all to keep your eyes inside your own fence. I went on to say they are looking over their fences into their brother or sister's yard and pointing out the weeds growing there when their own yards are overgrown, in need of some weed killer and desperately needing a little water. I took a LONG time to explain this concept. Telling them I didn't want to hear them saying, "But he said ---" or "He did it first!"  I want them to STOP and keep your eyes inside your own fence and see what THEY did... see what THEY need to change... see what THEY said....

Too often I think we get caught up in looking down our nose at the sin of another person, completely forgetting we are not so perfect either. Or when we are hurt we focus on what the other person "did first" forgetting we can only control how we respond to what they did.  I guess I'm just really trying HARD to remember that in ALL situations of blame, sin, fault... I am WAY better off if I focus on what I did, what I can do, what I should change instead of worrying about the other person.

So this morning I'm saying to myself, "1-2-3 eyes on ME" to remind myself, keep your eyes inside your own fence, Jami!  You've got a lot of weeds to pull, spots to water, and trimming that could be done!

Hope this blessed you just a little bit.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a flippin, flappin DAY!!!!

For two days now, I have had "one of those days"... nothing major... no one needed brain surgery; no eye muscle reattachment; car didn't blow up; axe murderer didn't find me unaware... just tons and tons and TONS of little stuff:

*messy accidents of the elderly
*not one but THREE attempts before a viable urine sample could be obtained (from same senior citizen), confirming my suspicions that a UTI was causing some of our problems (I'm not a doctor. I just play one on TV.)
*no work.. I mean NO work to be had... until the morning of the day that I had to take my aunt to the doctor... SERIOUSLY???
*5 year old who learned to light a match (THANK YOU JESUS she only burned her finger and not the whole house down)
*4 trips to Walmart in 4 days.. If I'm lying, I'm dying!  FOUR TRIPS!!!!!
   Monday - because Hannah was promised a bike if she bravely endured surgery, all post-op appointments AND the evil eye drops;
   Tuesday - because in the middle of a cake pop project I needed to get candy melts;
   Wednesday - because our regularly scheduled programming calls for an every Wednesday trip and I had been putting of the normal stuff till the regular trip
   Thursday - needed burn cream and gauze

Along the way, it was like the devil was throwing snowballs at my frostbitten spots!  ERGH!

***navigating Walmart with four kids and a 90-year old lady on the DAY BEFORE school starts is NOT fun!
***while normally very helpful, the people at Aurora Hartford were NOT my favorite people today
***old people canNOT seem to "go" when needed but ALWAYS seem to need to "go" when NOT needed
***golly 4 kiddos are irritating at Walmart (wait did I already say that one?)
***I have A LOT on my plate at any one given moment (that's not really a brand-new revelation... I'm just saying)

So anyways, I was LITERALLY and TRULY in tears by about 4 p.m. It was FREAKING hot out there today! the kids had pushed me to my limit! previously mentioned Aurora peops were trying to make my life difficult I think. previously mentioned old person wasn't helping either.....

I realized a few things today:

Sometimes it IS the little things... a TON of little things is still a TON. It was that last one little STRAW that broke the camel's back and sometimes the load of all those straws can be as heavy as one BIG thing!

No matter what... When my day is NOT good, my God still is. The day can fall apart. One TERRIBLE revelation or TONS of tiny little irritations, but REGARDLESS, my God is still on the throne!

Also, while the muscle spasms in my back and shoulders don't really prove this point: I am starting to see that there is only so much I can do in any one given day. When things go perfectly, I may be able to write my 5 articles, do any reference checking that is needed, homeschool 4 kids, care for one old lady, and not lose my mind... But when someone gets burned, gets a UTI, has three bathroom accidents... on those days... I'm not going to get much "work" done. I have to learn to just accept that and walk away. I have to see that the productivity of my day isn't only measured in articles written, blogs posted and reference checks completed... owies soothed, messes made right, battles mediated, and cake pops placed in the hand of a smiling child ALL COUNT TOWARD MY PRODUCTIVITY!!!!

Finally a couple of quick less lofty lessons:
*Auntie Marge does NOT go to Walmart... EVER... AGAIN!
*Do NOT run out of burn cream, bandaids, or benadryl. Not in THIS house.
*Hannah should be glued to my side... Maybe another trip to Walmart to buy a bunch of those sticky mouse traps???
*Walmart may not be much fun, but I would NOT make it without one.
*Cake pops are YUMMY!
*Kids cooking for you is heavenly.

Sooooooo here's to hoping for a better day tomorrow. I realized tonight, even if tomorrow bites too, it is still FRIDAY!!!!! Homeschooler bonfire, LifeChurch, Christian Life Fellowship and a WHOLE lotta laying around on Labor Day are ALL on the docket for my weekend and I can't WAIT!

Have a GREAT Friday everyone!



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