God Loves You   Leave a comment

When we see a beautiful sunset or sunrise, when we see a beautiful mountain lake or the ocean waves splashing on white sand, we may sigh and enjoy the beauty.  When we see a bald eagle soaring above or a fat Robin hopping in the grass, or a dappled fawn hiding with its mom on the edge of a wood, we may sigh and wonder at creation and the variety.  We may not like to see the ants and beetles and spiders, but they are all around us.

I think God looks at that sunset and says, “Ahhhhh.  I got just the right amount of orange in that one.”  I think he looks at the waves splashing and remembers the first time he blew on the waters he had just spoke into being, creating the first wave.  He saw the bald eagle in its nest when it was still in its egg.  He knew where the Robin had grown up and He has watched it every day as He provides food and shelter for it.  He knows that dappled fawn will some day be a large buck, and sees all the days of its life.  He watches the ants and marvels at the spider’s web and provides for the beetles.

God knows you.  God knew you before you were born.  He knows how many hairs you have on your head.  He knows each day that you will have.  You were created in His image, and He loves you.  He loves you.  He loves you.  You are his dear child.  All He wants is for you to accept him for the one and true and only God, and to believe that He sent His only son so you would not have to die apart from Him.

Whether you have a sweetheart to spend the day with today or you feel alone: know that God loves you.  He watches over you; He never sleeps.  Just as much as He cares for the ants on the ground or the eagle who soars, He cares for you.  God loves you.

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Posted February 14, 2019 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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This and That   Leave a comment

Every time I end my reading of the whole Bible, I start over again.  And almost always, I start with the Pentateuch.  I have tried my daily Bible reading different ways, but I just like to start with the Pentateuch.  I always like the part in Genesis 2 where it says that God planted a garden.  Wow.  Can you imagine what that garden looked like?  And I’m sure (the Bible doesn’t say – this is Maureen talking) that God just *spoke*, and it came to be. He didn’t draw it out.  He didn’t consult with anyone.  He didn’t look over the land and try to make up his mind what would go where.  He just spoke – and it came into being.  Wow.

The other thing that struck me this year is in Exodus when the tabernacle and all the furnishings are finally done and they set it up for the first time. Can you imagine how fun, exciting, thrilling, and fulfilling that must have been for Moses?  Months previous he had been given the plans and exact design specifications.  For months he had watched the workmen, the craftsmen, create everything.  And finally it was the day when it could all be set up for the first time.  I can just picture him: “Now, put the table for the bread of the presence right there.  Ahhhh – yes.  Right there.”  Just a little fancy of mine; my imagination taking off where my Bible reading is taking me.

Our Pastor’s wife has gotten a word from God for each year.  She prays about it, asks for it, and each year the word she gets epitomizes that year, and what happens in it.  She encourages all of us to ask God for our word for the year.  I’m glad for her and I’m glad God speaks to her that way, but I have never gotten a word for the year.  Which is okay.  Just because our Pastor’s wife gets one does not mean everyone should get one.  But while Pastor was speaking one Sunday about a month ago, he quoted John 2:5 – “Do whatever He tells you”, and I just felt as if that was my word for the year.  Well, phrase to be specific.  And so I’ve been thinking of that and wondering what God will be telling me this year. So far the only thing I have gotten for sure is that I am not to go out looking for a husband.  No promise about whether I will ever have another husband; He just clearly told me I wasn’t to go out looking for one.  So I haven’t.

This year I will be turning 60.  Kind of a milestone. Kind of mind blowing, actually.  I can’t believe I’m that old.  I don’t feel that old.  I have learned some things in my almost 60 years … which I won’t bore you with.  But what I have learned recently, probably in the last 10 years or so, is what is my bliss.  Remember that phrase: Follow Your Bliss?  Well, I now know what gives me joy.  Bliss.  Satisfaction.  Fulfillment.  And one of those things that I am just recently rediscovering is… writing.  I have wanted to be a writer for a very long time.  In my 20’s I submitted my stories to panels of writers for critique I think 4-5 times.  And each time my story, my writing, was eviscerated.  Truly – ripped up one side and down the other.  Nothing positive, only negative comments.  I knew then I was not a good writer, but I thought I could get better with a bit of encouragement and constructive criticism.  I didn’t receive that.  So, I got very discouraged and put that idea/dream away.  About a year ago I had an idea for a story.  It just wouldn’t let me know. I listened to the old voices, “Don’t do it!  You’re no good!  You can’t write!”, but this story wouldn’t leave my back brain.  And I started to remember all the writing I had to do in college, and that my papers and reports almost always got A’s.  And that I had gotten compliments on my writing at work. Emails and instructions, mostly, but people thought they were done well.  And so I recently took the plunge and wrote my first words on my story.  I have no plans to do anything with it, and I have no idea how long it will be when I’m done.  Will it be a book?  A novella?  A short story?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I just am enjoying writing.  I like it.  And it is turning out … not bad so far.  I’m pleased with it.  I’ve found another bliss to add to the list.

Posted February 9, 2019 by Maureen in Musings, Randomness, Uncategorized

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You Too?   Leave a comment

There has been a lot of news about the #metoo movement in the past few years.  Women coming forward, speaking out, revealing sexual assault and harassment they have gone through.  Perhaps it is the way my brain works.  Perhaps it is because I could join the ranks of #metoo.  I am not sure, but when I hear stories about revealed sexual assault, my mind goes to all the victims of – let us go ahead and name it – the crimes.

The mother, the father, the brother or sister who saw, who knew. And never said anything.  The teacher, the coach who saw.  Maybe they were even confessed to.  And they did not say anything.  The co-workers who noticed the bruises and changes in behavior and didn’t ask.  The family members who saw what was happening but didn’t say anything because — that is the way it happened in their family.  It happened to them, and now it was happening to another generation, and no one ever said anything about it.

What about those people?  What are they going through, hearing all this recent talk about standing together, speaking up, not being silent, calling out?  What kind of guilt, anger, loathing they might be feeling?  And what do they do with those feelings?  Who helps them?

What about the men?  The men who were boys once.  Teenagers.  Now they are grown men.  Do they feel guilt?  Do they feel bad about what they did?  Do they even remember?  Do they care about lives forever changed?  Lives forever scared because of what they did?  Who helps them?  Who do they go to for support, for help?

I know someone who I am quite sure had a sexual assault when she was in her 20’s.  I saw the changes in her.  I asked her about it.  She denied it.  She denies anything happened to this day.  Do these news stories dredge it all up for her?  I know someone I worked with who came to work every day in long sleeves and/or turtle necks.  She finally told us a little bit about how her husband treated her.  We listened and were supportive.  We let her know we were there for her.  She finally left him and lived with my friend for a few months.  That was 30 years ago.  What does she think when she hears these stories?  Does she wonder if things would have been different if she had spoken up and reported her husband?

I have my own sexual assault stories.  Over the years, God slowly healed me.  It would take too long to explain how that happened. I am not sure why God chose to heal me so slowly instead of all at once.  But I am healed.  I have forgiven them.  It happened a long time ago.  It is past and gone. Forgiven.  Not forgotten, but it is behind me and I am looking ahead.  So what do I think when I hear these stories?  What do I think when I read the articles about someone finally speaking out about something that had happened 20 years previously?

I grieve with them that it ever happened.  I accept that their healing process, their way of dealing with what happened, is not the same as me.  I accept that though I am healed and I have put what happened behind me — not everyone has had the same experience.  Not everyone can say that.  And for some, it is part of their healing, part of their process to put it behind them, to finally speak up and say something.  Even many years later.

Though, I still can’t help thinking of everyone else who also were/are affected by what happened.  What kind of #metoo movement can there be for them?

Posted October 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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MODESTY   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question of a Christian Facebook group.  I must not have phrased myself very well, as I got lots of judgmental and curt answers back.  It was pretty hurtful to me, but the question remains in my mind.

In the church I attend, it happens that the Pastor’s oldest daughter leads worship every Sunday.  She also does other things around the church, and from my observation (and listening to worship) she does a fine job.  She is a lovely (inside and out) woman of God who seeks after Him and is using her gifts for Him.  She has graduated college and is an integral part of our church.

The … what do you call it?  Issue?  Problem?  Question?  I don’t know what to call it so I will choose issue since that comes first alphabetically.  The issue is she wears very tight pants on the platform.  Pants that hug her body so closely you can see everything.

Now before you jump in and judge me and call me an old bitty, please understand that I have shopped with and bought clothes for young ladies.  Being a lady myself, I have seen the clothing available in stores and I see the ads on TV and other places.  I know, I fully understand, how hard it is to find modest clothing for young women.  Even ladies as young as grade school.  It is hard for me to find modest clothing, being a plus-sized middle-aged woman.

I am not criticizing her.  I am not shaking my finger at her saying “Shame!”  I am not looking down my nose at her saying, “She wouldn’t be wearing that if she were MY daughter!”  Remember – she leads worship.  So she is up on the platform every Sunday, both services, front and center.  She is elevated (physically, because the platform is higher than the chairs), and naturally we all look at her while she and the other folks sing songs and play instruments.  So it is not as if I can avert my eyes.  I am not staring at her, nor am I oogling her.

For me, it boils down to this:  Being the worship leader means she has to be above reproach.  She has to be an example.  There can’t be a hint of impropriety.  Yes, I used that word.  Almost, she has to be a paragon.  Yes, this puts a lot of pressure on her.  It is unfair, really, that so much pressure should be put on her, but that is the way it is for people in leadership roles.  They lead.  By example, my modeling.  And I don’t think it is just my middle-aged brain that thinks by wearing tight clothing on the platform she is stumbling in her duties of showing modesty and being above reproach as a leader.

She is a young lady just out of college.  No doubt with student debt to clear.  She works at the church so she is not making a lot of money.  She is living in our church subsidized housing.  I doubt she has a lot of money to spend on clothing.  She very likely is wearing the only clothing she has available to wear.

I don’t have money myself to buy her clothes, even if I thought that was appropriate for me to do.  My original question to my Facebook group was “What would you do?”  Among the many “mind your own business!” and “she’s not hurting anyone!” I got not one single concrete answer as to what others would do.

So, here is the other thing that bothers me about all this.  The answers I received from the under 40 Facebook members of that group pretty much followed the theme of “She’s not hurting anyone!  If it doesn’t hurt anyone, there is nothing wrong with it!  She should wear what she wants!”  And, it surprised me.  It surprised me because: who are you to judge whether it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if someone in the congregation is struggling with lust?  With sexual sin?  Who are you to know if there is someone in the congregation that looks at that lovely young lady in her tight pants and stops thinking about worship and starts thinking about unsavory things?  Yes, it is true that it is unfair to judge or lust after a woman simply by what she wears.  However, whether it is fair or not, it is reality.  It happens.  And we are foolish if we do not take heed and remember that.  We are foolish, I believe, if we say, “I can wear what I want!  If it bothers you then that is your problem, not mine!”

In the New Testament, Paul writes a whole chapter about not causing others to stumble.  Read 1 Corinthians 8.  And if you are a leader, standing up where everyone can see you Sunday after Sunday, I believe you should be even more careful about leading anyone possibly astray or possibly causing them to stumble in their walk.  For me, that is the bottom line.

That is what I think, and how I feel.  I have thought about this for a year, and I still have no solution.  I believe God has made it clear that I am not to say anything.  So, I continue to pray about it.  But I fear there is a whole generation of women who firmly believe they can wear anything, do anything, and not think about any consequences or how it might affect others.

Posted October 2, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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GOD   Leave a comment

Our opening question at Bible study last night was “What picture or word(s) come to mind when someone says ‘God’?”   This was my list:

Creator
The Only God
Master
Powerful
Immutable
Adorable
Loving
Gracious
Patient
All Knowing
Everywhere
Judge
Law Giver
All Seeing
Father
Healer
Provider

I’m not good at drawing so I just used words.  What would you word(s) be?  Or picture?

Posted August 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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DEEP THINGS   Leave a comment

I haven’t written on here in a long time.  I’ve been going through some deep things over the past months of this year.  I feel God has been working on me, in me, through me.  I ask every day for His will to be done in my life and you can’t pray a prayer like that without things happening.  I’ve been under spiritual attack pretty regularly, and while that gets tiresome it also tells me I’m doing the right thing(s).

I put a profile on a dating web site.  After praying about it for a few months, I took the plunge.  Ug.  Yep, it was pretty much not a good experience.  As a lady in her late 50’s I had no trouble attracting men, but they were not men I was interested in.  For one thing, I am not looking for someone in their 30’s.  And someone who lives across the country from me is really not a practical option.  Even when I put it plainly on my profile, I still got lots of interest from people on the east coast.  Sigh.  I connected with a few men, but none of them stood up to scrutiny, and by that I mean they all turned out to not be Godly men.  And I am looking for a Godly man.

Well, actually, I’m not looking.  I’m praying about it, but I am done with dating web sites for now at least.  Our Pastor’s wife says often: (I’m paraphrasing her)  If you want a different outcome, you need to do something different.  So I am not doing the web site thing and instead I’m searching for wisdom.

My health is much better this year than last year, Praise God for that.  I’ve been able to do craft things I like and enjoy.  My family is doing well, and the job is going great.  For all that and more I give Praise and Glory and Honor to God.

 

Posted August 28, 2018 by Maureen in Being Single, Randomness

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RESURRECTION   Leave a comment

I heard a Christian song recently, and part of the chorus went like this:

“The resurrected King is resurrecting me”

That is what I have been feeling lately.  I feel, almost, ready to perhaps start dating again.  Which is quite a revelation for me and I am still surprised by it.

The reason I’m feeling a bit like a resurrected being is that, for the first time in my life, I am living alone and I will perhaps be starting to date.  I’ll be 59 years old pretty soon, so you would think I would have experienced this already.  But no.  I had my son to raise that was living with me most of the time, up until his death.  Right after that, I spent 7 1/2 years being single and living alone, it was true, but I was not looking to date.  I was working full time, going to school part-time (and sometimes full time) and volunteering at my church.  I didn’t have time to see my girlfriends, let alone date anyone.

Then a few months after I graduated, I moved into my sister’s house.  My sister who really wasn’t happy with me dating.  Sharing a house with 3 others made it awkward to have a date over.  The other reason I feel resurrected is that, also for the first time in my life, if I date again I will be only looking for a true Godly man for a husband.  I’ve been a born-again Christian for over 30 years, but remember for most of that I was either 1) a mom or 2) not looking and not dating.  I realized I had no idea what dating a true Godly man was like.  I can’t say I have ever had a date with a true Godly man – ever – in my life.  I have no prior experience to guide me.

What a strange place to find myself in at my age!  I am moving very slowly and cautiously on this, with a lot of prayer and thought.

Posted March 12, 2018 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian

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