Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

BLUES   Leave a comment

Have you ever attended a church camp or retreat, and the leader(s) warned you about the “let down” after you went home?  You get all pumped up and fired up and hopefully Holy Spirit-filled and inspired while away, and then you come back home and you don’t sustain that same feeling.

I get the Sunday blues.  So many years I’ve battled the Sunday blues.  When Randy was alive I didn’t have to worry – I had him as company and we often did something or talked after church.  Now that he’s gone, the Sunday Blues are back.

The whole afternoon and evening seem to stretch before me, without anything to keep me busy and take my mind away from how much I miss him and my grief.  I had forgotten to make plans, to make a list of things to do.  So I came home today and all I want to do is crawl back into bed.

I’m not going to.  I will continue to struggle the rest of today.  There is always something to do around the apartment.  I am blessed that I have a church that I can go to in freedom and be lifted up, spiritually, and taught and grow in my relationship with God.  Just, the blues are hard.

Posted May 28, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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LIKE A LITTLE KID   Leave a comment

I have been volunteering as a teacher or assistant in Children’s Ministry at churches I attend for…. wow – 16 years.  I didn’t quite realize how long it had been until I wrote that.  One of the things I have always heard was that to be successful in children’s ministry you have to be kind of a big kid yourself. And I have never really thought of myself as a big kid.

So this week was kind of a chuckling eye opener for me.  On Wednesday nights I trade off teaching the Grade School kids with another teacher.  We finished our curriculum last week and the new one has not come in, so we had a party.   Since she’s the Children’s Minister for the church she did all the work, bless her heart.  She bought snacks and drinks and set up games for us.

I came into the Kids area and a big grin spread across my face.  Ping Pong!  I LOVE ping pong!  Corn Hole!  I LOVE corn hole!  A carpet bowling game!  I LOVE carpet bowling!  Tiny cupcakes!  Pretzels!  YEAH!!!

I wrote her the next day how much I enjoyed it.  I was just being honest and letting her know her hard work and planning had not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  She wrote back, “One of the things I love about you is that you are truly a kid at heart.”  It made me smile.  ‘Cause, I guess I did sound like a little kid in my email.  And I guess I really am a kid at heart when you get right down to it.  And since Jesus said we should all have the heart of a child, that is okay with me that I am that way.

Posted May 26, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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OLD and NEW   Leave a comment

Easter is coming soon!  I love this time of year, though for now and forever it will always be linked with my dear husband’s death.

But life goes on and time continues to march on.  I have a niece getting married on what would have been Randy’s 60th birthday.  I love this niece and would have dearly loved to be there on her day, but this is the first birthday without Randy and I just can’t do it.  I only have so much emotional reserves, and I can’t paste on a happy face that day.

I got out my Easter things.  I don’t do a lot of decorating at Easter – not like Christmas.  I do have some favorite things I put out, and this is a picture of one of them:

I absolutely adore ceramic things.  And I never buy them.  I am very careful not to fill my house with too many “things”, and all the beautiful things made out ceramic I could buy definitely fit that!  But, I found this basket on sale years ago and so I bought it.  The cardboard painted eggs nestled inside it were from my mother.  She may have had them when she first got married — I am not sure, but they are least 60 years old and may be older.  I love combining old and new like this.  And for the next few weeks I’ll enjoy looking at my beautiful ceramic Easter basket.

 

Posted March 26, 2017 by Maureen in Musings

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NOTES FROM LENT REFLECTIONS   Leave a comment

I may have mentioned this before, but a few years ago I signed up for Lent and Advent daily devotional/reflections from Goshen College.  I so enjoy it!  I recommend signing up — you can get a gem in your email inbox during Lent and/or Advent.  I have been super busy at work and have met myself coming and going and have not had time to write blog posts like I want to.  But I did pull from the Lent devotionals a few things from just this week alone that I’d like to share with you.  Think about it, reflect on it.  Make it personal for your life.

“Remember how you were sustained before.  Remember”
Exodus 17

“No one party ever has a monopoly on Truth.  It is with this sense of wonder that I accept neither a sedating grace, nor a self-bestowed grace, but a “costly grace” that simultaneously comforts, discomforts, and calls us to follow the Incarnate God.”
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

“Brokenness happens in life.  It is not what we desire or hope for, but challenges and fractures befall us.  Looking at restorative processes in nature is a helpful reminder that renewal in the midst of brokenness does happen.  Jesus is the orchardist who is committed to acting in our lives.  Christ is the one who brings salve to our wounds. We are made right by the loving, Creator God.”
Romans 5:1-11

“This Lent, may we be able to see the strangeness of Jesus, the ways in which he pushes cultural boundaries.  May we be able to look beyond the surface of the familiar stories and be drawn in by Jesus, who confuses our expectations.  May we be so compelled that our lives speak of this Jesus.”
John 4:5-42

Posted March 17, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Uncategorized

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Daniel’s Parents   Leave a comment

The church I attend is starting “The Daniel Plan”, based on the Rick Warren book.  As part of that, we are studying the book of Daniel and talking about it.

My mind many times goes to ‘the story behind the story’ when reading the Bible.  And I was struck by how Daniel’s parents must have influenced him.  His friends also, but I’ll focus on Daniel.

As near as we can guess, he and the other young men that were taken to Babylon with the first invasion of Jerusalem were probably around 15 years old.  Daniel was born during King Josiah’s reign, so there was a great revival in Israel during that time which much have influenced his parents and him in his early years.

I like to think of Daniel’s parents being friends and even perhaps business associates of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s parents.  I picture all the boys as being friends, perhaps living in the same district in Jerusalem.  Playing together, going to temple together, being taught by their parents.  Celebrating Passover together, and the other feasts.  Living a good, carefree (one would hope) life.  Until the years before the first invasion by the Babylonians, when it must have been difficult to continue to live as an orthodox Jew.  The people were falling away from their worship of God and following other gods.  They must have seen shrines, and idols.  They probably saw and heard rituals and practices of those who worshiped the other gods.  Maybe some of their friends stopped coming to temple with them, stopped talking to them, because their parents started following these other gods.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to hear of and then see the Babylonian army come against Jerusalem.  How frightening that must have been!  And yet, I think that Daniel’s parents had started planning for this.  Instilling in their son the teachings of the Torah, and helping him to learn as much as he could.  I think they knew what an exceptional son they had.  And I think they knew it was a good chance this son of theirs would be taken from them and be brought to Babylon.

I’m imagining that Daniel’s parents, his father especially, had talked to traders and anyone else he could.  Asking them about the Babylonians.  Asking about what happened to people taken to Babylon.  And so he prepared his son.  I think he exhorted his son in the strongest terms to hold tight to his faith and belief in Yahweh, and no matter what, to  continue to pray and live as he should as a follower of God.  As the army came against Jerusalem and there was no more hope that God would save them as He had done before, I imagine that Daniel’s father, as well as the fathers of his three friends, took the boys and talked with them about what was to come.

They would make a long journey.  They would be taken care of, since they were to go into service for the King of Babylon.  They would be brought to the palace grounds, into the service of the chief of the eunuchs.  I am sure they explained to these boys they would never father children.  The King would want them to be eunuchs so they would devote all their time and energy to his kingdom and its business.  Can you imagine a teenage boy hearing that?  What must have gone through their minds?  What they must have been thinking?

I think the fathers encouraged the boys and told them to use the gifts Yahweh had given them to bring glory to Him.  To do the best they could.  To stand firm.  And these boys, being intelligent and quick to learn, used to following their parents and obeying, probably drew strength from their fathers.

There must have been tears.  Everyone must have been frightened. But the Babylonians did take the boys, just as the fathers said they would.  And everything happened as they had been told.  They made a long trip, but they were taken care of.  I imagine on the trip the four boys continued to pray and worship Yahweh, talking among themselves and helping each other to stay positive.

When they arrived and were made eunuchs, Daniel became their spokesperson.  He knew they should not be eating the food or drinking the wine that had been offered to idols and were unclean.  I’m sure he sent up prayers to God for help, and then he boldly spoke up, and was granted favor.  While the other young men ate the unclean food and drank the wine, Daniel and his friends stayed strong.  And they flourished.

If you notice, Daniel and his three friends are talked about during the book of Daniel, but all the other young men “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand” – they were never heard about again.

 

Hold tight to God!

Posted February 3, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Stories

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DEEP POOL   Leave a comment

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, as I’ve posted here before.  But this year I seem led to seek God’s will and plan and purpose for my life to a level I have not experienced before.  I want to live the way He wants me to live, and be the kind of light that He wants me to be, where He has placed me.

As I was praying today I thought about a deep pool.  Picture a tall hillside.  It is rocky, but covered densely in trees and brush.  There is a tall waterfall, seeming to come down from heaven.  It is falling straight into a natural pool.  The pool is wide and deep, and at the far end where it narrows a bit, the water spills out into another waterfall that falls into another pool, which falls into another pool, and so on.

The first waterfall is the presence of God, His blessings, the empowerment of God to me.  He pours down His wisdom, his discernment, his knowledge.  His blessings flow, and His peace, and His grace.  The water is His love and patience (oh, so much patience!) flowing down, pouring into the pool.  The water is the presence of the Holy Spirit, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The pool holds the water, swirls all of it around, and embraces it between the banks.  But it does not keep all this.  No, all those things make their way to the far end of the pool, where they find an opening, an outlet, and flow and splash down to others.

As I was praying today I saw the pool, and the waterfall, and the other waterfalls flowing down.  And I pictured myself in the pool.  I’m not a good swimmer, but in my prayer I was swimming down, deeper in the pool.  I embraced the water all around me, going deeper.  I could feel the water pressing in and the purity of it as I went deeper.  Though I was deep, I wasn’t afraid.  Though I was deep, it wasn’t too dark.  I could look up, and through the grace and love and peace and wisdom and blessings I was surrounded by, and I could see the light above.

And I wanted to go deeper still.  I think I will get there.  Maybe not this year, but someday.  In the Narnia series of books that C.S. Lewis wrote, in the last book, after the characters have entered Aslan’s land (though they don’t know it yet), one of them states “Further up and further in!”  I have always remembered that phrase. It is what I feel led to do.  Go further up in my walk; go further in, closer to God.

Posted January 24, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Randomness

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GIFTS   Leave a comment

I’ve had some time off at the end of the year, before and after Christmas.  It is a perk and a blessing of my job that I can take this time off.  I’ve so enjoyed it!  One of the things God has done during this time is work more healing in me.  I didn’t know I needed it, but He did.  I feel more healed from my dear husband’s passing.  I no longer have daily crying jags.  My memories are more often happy and comforting rather than sad and depressing.  Praise be to God, my healer and provider!

I am going to try to post weekly, at least in January.  I usually wait until I have something to say to post on this blog, but I will try a weekly post and see how it goes.  What do you think?

Something our Pastor’s wife shared on Sunday is what I want to share with you this week.  It may be that you have heard this already, but it was new to me.  She was paraphrasing from what she was told by someone she knows, so I am going to pass along that paraphrasing.

Imagine that you have died and gone to heaven.  At last!  St Peter is there to meet you, and offers to show you around a bit. You walk through the gate of pearl, on the street of gold.  You see trees and a river.  You see God on His throne.  As you walk you see mansions, but you also see large doors with names above them.  You stop — suddenly you see a door with your name.

“I want to go in there”, you tell St Peter.  “Oh, you don’t want to go in there”, St Peter says.  “Yes, I do. It has my name on it.  I want to see what’s in there.”  “Okay,” says St Peter with resignation.  “But you may be sorry.”

He opens the door and you look in.  It is a large, high ceilinged room, lined with shelves.  And on the shelves there are packages.  Gifts, really, because they are beautifully decorated and wrapped.  The most wonderful paper and with ribbons, and all of them are gorgeous.  You look around the whole room, at shelves and shelves of these beautiful gifts.  There are some empty spots on the shelves, but there are just so many gifts!

“What are all these?” you ask St Peter.  “Those are the gifts God had prepared for you and was ready to give you while you lived on the earth” he tells you.

“Oh!  I want to open them!” you exclaim.  Sadly, St Peter shakes his head.  “No, it is too late.  The boxes are all empty.”

See, it is not enough that you know God has good gifts to give his children.  It is not enough to know God is waiting to give His gifts to his precious children.  We have to receive them, and open them.  Unless or until we do, they just remain on the shelves, unopened.  Open your gifts this year.

Posted January 2, 2017 by Maureen in Musings, Stories

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