Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Like John   Leave a comment

A couple of Sundays ago, on Father’s Day, our Pastor preached a sermon that talked about being authentic.  About being honest in your walk and talk.  About having integrity.  There were other things, but that was the theme for the day.  He used men from his life, especially his own father and father-in-law, as real-life examples.  It was inspiring and even heart-warming.

At the end of his sermon, Pastor asked for any men who wanted to, to come forward before the platform.  He asked them to come forward if they wanted to commit or re-commit to being men of integrity, who would follow God and walk the talk.

I am a member of a small church, but we are multi-generational and multi-ethnic.  It is one of the many reasons I like attending there.  We have an older man in our congregation, I’ll call him “John” (not his real name).  John married late in life – he was in his 60’s and his wife was in her 50’s.  They have had a happy marriage, from what I have heard.  John is now in his late 70’s and is much more frail, even just in the last couple of years.  He does not make it every Sunday, and when he does he has an assistant (aside from his wife) to help him, and uses a walker.

That Father’s Day Sunday a couple of weeks ago, John was in church by himself.  Pastor called for the men to come forward, and many did.  He started praying for them, and I reached out my hand (like others did) and prayed with him for these men.  I usually keep my eyes closed when I’m praying, but for whatever reason I opened them as Pastor prayed, and I saw John.  He had gotten himself up, I’m sure with difficulty.  He was slowly making his way down the aisle, using his walker.  Very slowly, he kept walking until he was standing behind the men.  Pastor had continued to pray.

And I thought to myself: “I want to be like John.”  John has been a Christian many years, and yet he still sought to be better.  To walk more of the talk than he had before.  To be more authentic, more honest in his relationship with God than he had before.  I don’t know how much John could even hear the points of the sermon, and I know that it is a slow, difficult process for him to move at all.  And yet John had gotten himself up and had walked up to stand with the other men, because he wanted to be a better Christian.  I want to be like John.  I want to be willing to be molded by God, used by God, and humble enough to recognize I could do better, when I am as old as John.  Be like John.

Posted June 24, 2019 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

Tagged with , ,

SF Dude Dating Story   Leave a comment

I have been writing a lot lately.  Not on this blog (obviously).  I’ve been writing a book.  Actually, the story I wanted to tell turned out to be so long it ended up being two books.  It was a very gratifying, fun process to go through.  I truly loved every minute of it.  I have no idea what (if anything) I will be doing with my two books.  I’m still waiting on God to lead me.  In the meantime, I have started on the next one.  I am just having so much fun writing Christian romances!

But today I wanted to share another dating of my stories with you.  This one took place last year, when I went through a brief time where I thought I’d try internet dating again.  It is super hard to find a true Christian man, on an internet dating site, that lives in my general area.  But on this particular site I met a man who said he lived in San Francisco.  Let’s call him Bob (not his real name).  According to what he said, he lived about 30 minutes from me, which is terrific.  We exchanged some emails and then, as is usual, our personal phone numbers.

I was getting some mixed signals from him and I wasn’t sure about him. But, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, since that is how I like to be treated.  And I hadn’t gotten a clear answer from God about him, so I continued to casually talk to him.  My more-recent strategy when I meet men is to talk about God.  Keep the focus on God, on my faith, my church, reading the Bible, etc.  A true Christian man will not mind this.  Someone who is not a true Christian might parrot some things back to me, but they will not be able to hide the fact they are not true Christians for long.

At one point we agreed via email that I would call him when I got home one night.  I was still feeling pretty unsure about him.  It was about 6:15pm or so when my phone rang.  It was Bob.  He wanted to know (well, it was more of a demand) why I hadn’t called him yet?  Hadn’t we agreed that I would call him?  He’d been waiting for my call.  I was taken aback.  I told him I did remember I was going to call him, but it was 6:15pm and I had only gotten home about 7 minutes prior to that.  After that he calmed down.  It was during that conversation that he told me he does not go to church every Sunday.  He “likes to sleep in”, and so he doesn’t go every Sunday.

If you are a true Christian man, you go to church every Sunday.  That fact, combined with a bunch of other little clues, started me drawing back from Bob.  Another red flag for me was that, at this point we had been emailing for a week.  At no time during that time did he ever once offer to meet me or pick me up so we could meet in person.  If you only live 30 minutes away from someone, generally you want to meet them right away.  He didn’t make excuses about it – he just didn’t offer to meet me.

The next day he seemed to kick his anxiety and hovering into high gear.  I got a phone call at 11:30pm, which I did not answer.  The next day he wanted to know why I didn’t answer.  He wanted to hear my voice before he went to bed, he told me.  I told him I go to bed before 10:00pm and his call woke me up.  I got text after text from him during the day.  He wanted me to go on Google Hangouts so we could instant message during the day.  I told him our network at work wouldn’t allow that, and that I couldn’t do it even if I could, since I was, you know, working.  The next day the text messages were just as bad. I asked him to stop since I was at work, and he just kept asking me to instant message him.

So I sent Bob a text message, telling him that because he didn’t go to church every Sunday like I did, I did not think we were compatible.  I thanked him for his time and wished him good luck on his continued search.  He was surprised and started to argue with me.  I blocked him on my phone and email.  I couldn’t block him, per se, on the dating web site.  He left me a hateful message there, so I deleted my account.

I don’t normally break off with someone via text messaging, nor do I recommend it.  In his particular case, he was showing no respect for my boundaries or feelings, and I had no qualms about doing it.  I hope he can find someone, but for me – it is just me and God. Unless or until He sends a true Godly man to me, if that is God’s will for me.

Posted June 3, 2019 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian

Tagged with ,

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.

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

Tagged with ,

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

Tagged with , , ,

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

Tagged with , ,

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

Tagged with

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

Tagged with , , ,

MISSED?   Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

Over the New Years weekend I drove 7 hours from my sister’s house back to my apartment in another state.  My brother-in-law was in the car with me for half that trip; I was dropping him off at his mother’s so he could drive her to her winter spot in Arizona.

I had asked my church for prayer about the trip, because my brother-in-law is an atheist and I have heard him say some hostile things about Christians.  We were going to be sitting next to each other for 5 hours or so and I asked for prayer about what to say or not say.

To be honest, I had forgotten about the drive with him or the chance to witness to him or talk to him about his beliefs…. until the morning we had to leave.  I had prayed about it ahead of time, but I was having so much fun relaxing and enjoying myself that I forgot all about it until we were on the road.

Once I remembered, I started thinking about what I could say.  How do I bring up the subject of faith, and his own beliefs? In my head, I starting singing that chorus:

Come Holy Spirit, I need thee
Come sweet spirit I pray
Come in thy strength and thy power
Come in thy own special way

And as it turned out… we talked about various things, but faith wasn’t one of them.   And I’ve been wondering ever since if I failed, if I missed an opportunity. Or, if it all happened the way God wanted?  I still don’t know.

One of the reasons I doubt is because I know in myself that I always try to get along with people.  I always try to find some middle ground, some common ground, with them.  I listen to them and I am respectful.  And I think that characteristic in myself means I miss opportunities.

I am the way God created me.  I have always been this way, so I do believe it is the way God wants me to be.  But, I think it is not ALL He wants me to be. I think I can be more.

Posted January 9, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

Tagged with , ,

Joy?   Leave a comment

Our sermon this morning blessed my heart.  Pastor was giving us a word for the Christmas season, from the book of Nehemiah.  As a side note, I love the book of Nehemiah.  Years ago we had an adult Bible study on it, using a book titled “Hand me Another Brick”.  It is an excellent book – I recommend it.

He was in chapter 8 this morning.  The setting was after the wall was completed.  It was the day of the New Year celebration, and all the people had gathered to hear Ezra reading the book of the Law.  As he read, the words were explained to the people.  The Bible tells us that the people praised the Lord, but also as they heard the words Ezra was reading, they started weeping.  They were convicted in their hearts of their sins, and the sins of their fathers as they heard how they were supposed to live and worship God.

Nehemiah consoled and encouraged them.  “This day is holy to our Lord”, he said.  “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength“.  (my emphasis) You may have heard those words before.  You may have said them, or taught them.  This morning Pastor reminded us that the joy does not come from us.  We don’t have to have joy before we can get joy.  The joy is a free gift, from God.  It is God’s joy.  He doesn’t wait until we are perfect to give it to us.  He doesn’t wait for our lives to be trouble-free to give it to us.  It is a joy we can have today, for today is holy.

This holiday season, you may not be feeling your best. Your life may not be at a high point right now.  God says to receive the joy.  Receive it on faith if you have to, but receive it.  It is a free gift He gives willingly.  Enjoy the joy.

 

Posted December 17, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

Tagged with , , ,

Hiding? Or Just Okay?   Leave a comment

I recently watched half of an hour-long TV show, waiting for the show I wanted to watch to come on.  I don’t remember the name of the show; I had never watched it before.  It took place in a hospital.  A older woman was brought in and it turned out her husband had died over a year prior, and at that time (it was a car crash, and she was in the car) she got paralyzed from the waist down.  But now she was starting to feel things in her legs again.

She was a woman of faith and believed that God was healing her, and that all glory and praise should go to Him for her getting feeling back in her legs.  The doctors told her, however, that there was no reason for her paralysis in the first place and that she always had the ability to walk.  Basically, her being paralyzed was her way of putting off dealing with the death of her husband.

And I wondered: Is that me?  This year especially I have been very busy at work, almost all the time.  It is tiring and stressful, but it has also felt like a God-send. It helps me get through each day, and helps take my mind off how much I miss my wonderful husband.

Am I in denial?  Will I wake up one day and feel different?  Have I been stuffing my feelings into the background and busying myself with other things so I don’t have to think about Randy’s death?

I think ….. not. I have already been through devastating loss, when my son was murdered in 2000.  I know about shock, and slowly going through the stages of grief. I know about coming to grips with my loss. I know about thinking of my loss and how it affects me and my life, and I know about facing it.

I don’t believe I am in denial about Randy’s death.  My tears are testament to the fact that I am not denying my feelings.   So, I keep going on.  Trying to be the light that God wants me to be.  Trying to find ways I can shine for Jesus.

I hope this season finds you shining out for God, and receiving blessings in return.

Posted December 15, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

Tagged with , ,