Archive for the ‘Musings’ 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.

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Posted June 24, 2019 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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Both to Blame   Leave a comment

Here is another story from my dating days.  I was recalling recently a small thing that happened about 7 years ago.  The church I was attending was having a missions dinner.  We were going to have several missionaries and a guest speaker.  It was going to be a dinner and an auction, and I signed up as a helper.  I love missions dinners, and I was looking forward to this one.  You never knew where you might meet someone, right?  And what better place to meet them than at church!

So there was lots of planning and setup, and then the guests started to arrive.  Of course there were lots of people I knew, but some I didn’t know.  There were people arriving and groups would form and then dissolve and new groups would form, while people greeted and met people.

I was standing in a group of men I knew and there was a man I hadn’t met in the group.  He was good looking and he looked to be around my age. so I smiled big and greeted him to the dinner.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but his reaction caught me totally by surprise.  He said something along the lines of, “I’ll be sitting at a table with others from my church,” which he said to the group of us, looking around, and then looked straight at me and said, “With my WIFE.”  He said the last very forcefully, and loudly.

I was embarrassed.  Embarrassed that I had been that obvious in my interest in him, and embarrassed that he was reacting so strongly to my 3 seconds of interest.  Everyone in the group got a little uncomfortable, and he just kept staring at me intensely.  I excused myself and found some little jobs to do.

I happened to be sitting at a table way across the room from the table he was sitting at.  That wasn’t planned, it just happened that way.  Since I was a helper, there were times during the night I would get up and move around the room.  Every time I did I could feel his intense gaze on me.  It wasn’t a glare, but it was defensive.  It creeped me out a little.  Did he really think I was going to make a move on him or something?   That he was so irresistible that I would go over and flirt with him, with his wife right there?  At church?!  I kept my eyes away from that part of the room.

The evening was fun, the food was good, and the auction was also fun.  One of the things we auctioned off were the centerpieces at each table.  At the end of the auction, the volunteers went around and gathered up the centerpieces.  It happened that I ended up on the side of the room where he was sitting. He kept an eagle eye on me while I was walking around.  He didn’t look at anyone else, he didn’t watch anyone else, he kept his eyes on me.  “Honestly!” I thought.  “Just how big is his ego?”  I went to his table and he leaned over and put his arm around his wife, still not taking his eyes off me.

Without making eye contact with anyone at the table I picked up the centerpiece on the table. He kept leaning to the side with his arm around his wife’s shoulders, watching me.  I walked away and then stayed away from that side of the room during what was left of the night.

So yes – it was quite the ego on him to think I would pursue him after he had clearly told me he had a wife.  And yes – I obviously came on too strong when I said hello to him; I made my interest too well known.  We were both to blame.

Posted March 30, 2019 by Maureen in Being Single, Musings

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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

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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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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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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

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