Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A little poem...

I was sent this poem to my inbox by a friend before Christmas, and then I saw it on another person's blog, so I thought I'd share it here too. I've been sick and so has The Boy, so my motivation to write and be creative is a little low right now.

Some sites claim that it was written by Maya Angelou, but Snopes says otherwise. The words are often time changed by others, but here is the real deal.

When I say, "I am a Christian"
by Carol Wimmer

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved


Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A firestorm and some perspective

While I don't generally blog about it over here (that's what my family blog is for, right?), my husband is a basketball player, which has real challenges and consequences on our lives.* It also brings great job and opportunities.**

A friend of mine, Erin, was recently quoted in a CNN article titled "Life for wives of pro athletes no 'fairy tale'."  One thing I admire about Erin is her ability to keep things in perspective.  Quite honestly, I thought some of the comments after the article were especially sharp-tongued, and many of them are directed at someone I care about and my own life, which makes them especially hurtful. Yet when I returned to Erin's blog to offer her some support,  knowing she was probably being bombarded with comments and emails, I found her response to be much more gracious than my own. I encourage you to read her response.

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." -- Luke 6-45

*We spend six to nine months of the year apart, etc.
**We've been able to travel, etc.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

When Sunday comes...

Last week I taught my Sunday school class for the first time. Oh, let's make the full confession, it's the first time I have taught any class for persons above the age of twelve. I thought it went well, and I have been asked to teach again next Sunday while our normal teacher visits his son's church to hear him preach.  Anyway, please pray for me again! I need it more than ever.

Today was Consecration Sunday at Yale Avenue, and while it is relatively easy for me to check the box on the number of Sunday services I will attend and who I will pray for (church, family, others) and to fill in the line for financial giving, I always struggle with how to share my talents. This is one area where I am constantly at a loss-- especially in recognizing my talents and applying them as gifts towards others. Sure, I can host an amazing dinner party, but I don't think that's what was meant.

In discussing this with the teacher of my class, he tells me that I am talented in vigilance.  Sadly, I had to ask what he meant, not because I didn't know what the word means, but because I was having a hard time applying it to our class and how I could use it to help others.  Apparently, I am alert and take in what is around me and can go one step further in applying it to our class (paraphrasing his reply).  I read a lot, even books outside my comfort zone, and study the Bible. I was happy to learn he thinks this is a good thing, and I keep him on his toes, but I am still thinking about what that means and how I can use it when it comes to church. I admit, I have never thought of it as a talent, and sometimes see it as a burden! 

I ended up writing on the line that I would continue to volunteer to substitute for our teacher when he must be absent from class. This is stepping outside my comfort zone, but I will NUTS (never underestimate the spirit) and grow in the process!

What do you see as your talent? How do you use it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crown Financial Ministry And More

Yesterday, I didn't Crown Financial Ministry's Journey to True Financial Freedom one day seminar. Quite honestly, I had no idea how many practical tools I would walk away with! Yes, there was a lot of scripture, and there was some information on tithing, but the REAL LIFE practical budgeting, spending, and getting out of debt information was heads and tails above any other financial seminar I have attended. (Two to be exact.)  I think it was well worth my $25, and I am glad I went. I hope to write a bit more about our journey down that path more in the future, but first I have work to do!

Today I am substitute teaching in my Sunday School class. Pray for me. I thought I was going to teach a lesson on being Fearless (courtesy of Max Lucado), but instead, when I went shopping for a hard copy of the Lucado book (I read it on my phone courtesy of the Kindle app), I found a book called "Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate," which has some great material that I will use as a foundation in a lesson on judgment. There are portions of the book with which I do not agree, but it was written by a conservative evangelical (Jerry Bridges) for conservative evangelicals, so that does not surprise me. However, much of the material crosses over in to other denominations. 

I can't wait, but I admit, I am a bit nervous. This is my first time leading, and I have no idea what lead me to approach the instructor and VOLUNTEER (ACK) to teach a lesson in his absence.  Something in my heart...the Spirit...works in courageous ways. Pray for me!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Commercialism-- Another year, same topic

It is no secret that I am not a fan of commercialism and marketing, especially marketing geared towards children. As the holidays, and I mean ALL holidays, begin showing up in stores months and months in advance, I become increasingly disgusted. I saw Christmas items out in early October this year. Halloween items in August. Valentines as soon as Christmas is over. It's overwhelming, and in my opinion, completely unnecessary.

So what am I doing about it?

This year, I am carefully crafting a letter to my family asking that in lieu of gifts for me, Kevin and The Boy, they donate the funds they would have spent to charity.*** Each of us is picking one or two. Well, I will pick for The Boy, but he will pick when he gets older. We are still deciding which to will be picked for this year.

Every year, on average, Americans spend $450 BILLION on Christmas. Less than 10% of that could bring clean water to everyone in the world.

Instead of "things" I don't need, I think of how much good that money can do. I am one person. We are one family. But you are one too, and together, we can make a difference! We are joining the Advent Conspiracy. Giving less stuff and more of us. Won't you join us?




***If you are family and reading this, consider yourself ahead of the game. I will also be respectfully asking if you truly desire a gift or need something specific, and if not, I will do the same-- donate the money to the charity of your choice. I have something small picked out for each of you, but you know where I'm going.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Resonating message

Last week I was cleaning out my Google Reader like I generally do every couple of weeks. I subscribe to way too many blogs, and I can never keep up, but sometimes those I might have deleted bring a delightful message, so I am hesitant to cut too many out. None the less, I was reading through, when a post titled "We are Killing the Church" on Lives of Significance rang through to my heart. 

I fully believe that Jesus loves us. I truly believe that Jesus formed the church and loves the church. And I fully believe that we, the institutional church of North America, make Jesus want to puke.
I often think the same thing, especially as the institutions turn inward and forget the outward missions of Jesus. I think of this when I hear the considerable anger expressed during public discourse. And yes, I fall on the side that thinks this when I see other Christians failing to love their neighbors, irregardless of faith or non-faith, in the certainty that one group is so very right that all others are regulated to second class citizens.  I am convicted by the post, and yet my lack of certainty and humility leads me to know that I might not be right either.

I am currently reading The Faith Club, which has opened my eyes exponentially to the parallels of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. A lot of my past doubts about my own faith have been shared, but I am once again reminded that even if I am not "right," Christianity helps me to lead a good life-- one of love and compassion.

Yes,  I am convicted, but I am ok with that too. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Faith and Deeds

Our Senior Pastor is taking a mini-sabbatical this month, including a retreat and time for spiritual renewal. Because of this, our associate pastor was preaching last Sunday, and he did a bang up good job preaching on one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible-- James 2-- especially verse 18.
Favoritism Forbidden
 1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. 
2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 
 5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
 8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself,"[a] you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery,"[b] also said, "Do not murder."[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
 12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Faith and Deeds
 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 
 18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
      Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
 25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
The chapter always convicts and inspires me at the same time. It is a constant reminder that my deeds do matter, and they are truly a reflection of my faith. I do not do nice things for the praise they bring me, but rather to show others His love-- a love far greater than my own.
Pastor Will told of a shirt that stated-- Don't go to church. Be the church.
Does James 2 move you to be the church?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Unity

Today, I want to share this piece of writing* from the Sojourner's God's Politics blog. It is a lovely reminder that even when disagreement and conflict arise, we all share our humanity. Christians unite in prayer. The writing brought to the front of my mind the health care debate, gay marriage, and so many issues that we face on Earth-- issues where people pray for the outcome they want-- rather than God's will. What a stark contrast this presents! Praying for His will versus our own. I digress...

I'll leave the article to speak for itself, but I ask that you reflect on these two passages.
Jesus is between the red and the green microphones…between the red and the blue states offering us life and salvation in the Words of eternal life and in the Sacrament of his own body and blood. Jesus right there between the liberals and conservatives speaking the word that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Jesus standing there saying forgive as you have been forgiven.
...
There are words of eternal life, but they are not our words. So let us not go to ourselves because as deeply as we hold our beliefs about inclusion, or social justice, or as deeply as we hold our beliefs about social conservatism or personal morality…we do not have the words of eternal life. We have our beliefs, our convictions, our understandings of scripture and hear me clearly…these are not to be taken lightly or walked away from. But they are not the words of eternal life.
I have been reflecting on the post for the past couple of days-- especially in light of this verse (emphasis mine).
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
--John 3:16-17
Powerful and moving-- at least to me. Thoughts?

*The full, unadapted, sermon can be found here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Think About What You Saw

Really, I should write two posts about my trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum-- about the Museum itself and the experience and about my reflections on society as a result of my visit-- but instead, I am keeping it all together.
Truth be told, I have been to Dachau in 1997, so I thought I might have been prepared for the visit to the Museum yesterday. Before I began, I knew the facts. I had seen photos of the atrocities. I know the horribleness of what happened. I had been to a place where these things happened. Certainly a museum thousands of miles away could not possibly be as moving?
While the focus of the museum in D.C. was different than that of the one in Dachau, both are incredibly powerful. There were several times where I had to stop and and regain my composure and times when I sat down and just processed what I had seen and heard.
At the end of the museum, there is a Hall of Remembrance where I sat as people came and went. I read the inscriptions in the walls. I stared at the flame. I was lost with my thoughts and emotions. There were many stories shared, and I left with many more questions I might never be able to answer.

In the Hall of Remembrance, above a flame that burns over a coffin of soil from the death and concentration camps, ghettos, and mass execution sites, Deuteronomy 4:9 is prominently displayed.

Photo from the USHMM website
In some ways I wonder, are we doing this? Are we remembering what happened? Have we learned from the terror of the Nazi's?
Sometimes I think it is hard to tell. I say this not to minimize the horrible memory the Holocaust, but rather to learn from the past and hope for the future. There are unfortunate parallels to the past every day throughout the world, including in the United States. Anti-semitism still exists. "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" is still circulated. Everywhere you turn people hate one another and their beliefs. Buildings are bombed. People are shot. Families are displaced.
Genocide. Persecution. Hate.
In actions and in words.
We are all human.
Is it not time we start treating one another accordingly?
'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Matthew 22:39

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breastfeeding and my church

I have to admit openly that I really do love the church I attend. People are warm, accepting, and loving. This isn to say there are not strong opinions to be found, but that we engage regularily in civil discourse, acknowledge difference and continue to love one another without belittling any person's position. Our common ground binds us together. At least that has been my experience. 
What does this have to do with breastfeeding?
I have been incredibly comfortable breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere on our church's grounds. Quite honestly, most people did not even notice I was doing it unless they walked right up to me and tried to interact with The Boy or if I was nursing him at the book club. 
Some might not agree with my decision to nurse on his cues or in church. Some might not agree with our decision to continue to nurse beyond six months, a year, or even two years. But lucky for us, no one in our church was willing to make it a dividing issue. I was (am) respectful of others, and they of us. 
Did you breastfeed at your church? Under what conditions or circumstances? 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Love is the Point

I found this video through a blog called Rethinking Youth Ministry. The song is controversial and includes a couple of words that probably could have been left out (namely sh*t and d*mn), but the message is clear--  what REALLY matters?  Loving ALL people or spewing a full range of hate at people because of  differences. If you look through the comments on the song (this version and others on youtube), you will see people concerned more with the use of the word sh*t than the fact that people are dieing or being treated like ... well sh*t ... because they are different. This applies not only to sexuality, but to the way in which some people treat other people. The comments are full of judgement and, well, hate.
For Christians, we are commanded by Jesus to love God and one another.
All of this to get to my real point. When Mr. Webb asks, 
Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you? 
I have to wonder-- based on what I see in the world around me-- what does matter?  Do I care more about people living like me or loving all people? Do I care more about helping those in need or fulfilling my selfish desires? Do I care more about loving God or loving my earthly possessions? Do I care more about poeple's lifestyles or people dieing?

I wish in all cases I could say I have cared more about loving, but I know I am prey to fault as well and do not always make the right choices. 
As for the lyrics--
'Cause we can talk and debate until we're blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he's comin' to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don't give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin' today
I think that pretty much says it all. All of the debate in the world does not matter if we do not love one another and reach out to those in need.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parenting with Grace

Today, I share a piece written by Dulce. I read her blog regularly, and when she posted a piece on how God has parented her and how it influences her parenting, I had to share here!

Two of my favorite portions of her writing are:

I had memorized Romans 6 as a child. I know that as believers we are called to holiness. Suddenly, though, something was illuminated in my heart. Freedom from sin didn't come from being afraid of punishment. I didn't stop sinning because I was scared of what God would do to me. It came as He filled my heart with love for Him. I had something so much more satisfying in Him that the sin lost it's appeal.
and
It is very easy for me to fall into arrogance and pride, demanding obedience simply because it is convenient for me, and reacting to their mistakes harshly. Spanking would have been an easy way for me to justify revenge on my children for not catering to my pride. Yet that isn't the way Jesus treated the disciples. It isn't the way He treats me. His example was one of humility and service. He washed their feet. He explained things over and over, even if they should have gotten it the first time. He taught by example.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Knock each other down or unite?

Back when I was going through the Disciples Streamers ' lessons, I copied this quote. I think of it often when I see tests being applied by persons on Earth.  From page 119 (lesson four):
Paul’s letter [referring to I Corinthians 12: 12-27 ] suggests that the people of the earliest Christian churches were much like people today. Christ’s followers seem to have always struggled for ways to keep people of different ideas, talents, cultures, and opinions from getting sidetracked in quarrels. Such quarrels are most likely to lead to divisions when each side sees the issues only from their own viewpoint; those with other viewpoints are seen as un-Christian—so “not part of God’s family.” When this happens, a single viewpoint may end up being used as a test of fellowship for belief in Christ—one that divides Christians, the very idea that Stone-Campbell churches were formed to prevent. Sadly, divisions rising from such quarrels have a way of knocking the knees out from under those who are trying to be faithful in sharing Christ’s story and God’s love with the world.
Any time any doubt or question pops in to my mind about a fellow Christian, I am reminded of the passage and versus in the lessons. I have yet to meet the perfect person-- perfect Christian-- and I know I am not that person, so who am I to say that another Christian is wrong and I am right? For the most part, I don't (exceptions being some extremes such as you must spank to raise a Christian child and patriocentricity).
We are all one family, even when we disagree. Are you knocking people down? 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Changes in Life

Some might find this hard to believe, but for as much as I am an extrovert, I dislike sharing my problems with people. Not only does it make me uncomfortable, but I am not very good at it. I have an amazing life, and I feel like I am complaining when I share, so when I struggle, I internalize. I am aware this is not the best thing for me or those around me, but for a long time this has been how I functioned.

Something has changed though, or this post would not exist.

I read a book. Yes, I know. I wrote about commercialism, and I plan to return to that discussion, because I have more to say, but this book served a special purpose. It reminded me to leave things for God.

A part of that transformation in my life means opening up to people—asking for prayer. I am still uncomfortable doing so on a regular basis, and I am sometimes taken aback when someone asks if there is something specific in my life that they could pray about. Fortunately I have a couple of people I turn to when I need some additional strength AND when I have a triumph to celebrate! It’s amazing how much less stressed and happier I can be when I know I have people in my life, whom I trust, lifting me up.

On that note, this Sunday, I am giving an extra shout out to my friend and fellow basketball wife, Erin. She has done some amazing things for me this season—from thousands of miles away—to keep me strong and focused on how great God is. Each of us has an Erin in our life—or so I hope. Today I ask that all my praying readers say a prayer for her and the special praying friends in your life. I am thankful for those who pray for me.

"The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them." - John 15:13

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Quote to Ponder

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Maryanne Williamson

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What a difference God makes.

Let me start by saying -- by no means is this post meant to be in a complaining tone, nor is it to generate pitty. I live a very blessed and amazing life, but like all people, some times are harder than others. This past week... well, it pretty much stunk.  The Boy got a cold. Kevin was injured in a game. I caught The Boy's cold. Work was out of control. I am trying to wrap up my requirements for my Master's degree. Insanely, I decided to do the front landscaping (well, most of it) Saturday, and last night The Boy woke up every two hours or so complaining that his ear hurts. Today after church (and yes, during nap time), I took him to after hours care, because I knew if he napped first, we would go there later and wait...for HOURS instead of an hour.
The point of all of this?
I could have spent the week in a horrible mood. I could have been super stressed. I could look at it all in a completely negative light. I could allow the entire situation to overwhelm me and my normally positive attitude.
Instead, I took care of what I could and left the rest to God through prayer. Each day I would take care of what I could, and what I couldn't? I would leave that at Jesus' feet. 
I was not always like this. Overwhelming life events used to...well, overwhelm me. They would take me over and control me, but I have turned that over, and the result is a much happier and more productive me!
It's all a part of my journey.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

Easter. One of the most glorious days of the year. Last year, I was so wrapped up in grief  and busy taking care of a sick kid that I could not fully embrace the day.  This year, however, I was able to spend a little time trying to comprehend the pure torture that Jesus' death on the cross was-- from the nails to being unable to breathe. Pure torture. Because of that, this year is especially meaningful to me, but I am still trying to wrap my brain around the pain he felt. I think this will be a theme that I will have to revisit each and every year.

Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy this glorious day!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Open thoughts

"I have too much evidence of my liability to err to make my present opinions a test by which to judge the hearts of my fellow Christians."     
-- Barton Stone
I was reminded of this quote when Pastor Mike gave a moving sermon a few Sundays back. He spoke about "A Changed Life" (John 4:1-45), which really had me thinking about the way I interact with Christians and non-Christians alike. 
As a whole, I find I need to reach out more-- take an active role in befriending non-believers. I have said before (hmmm... on this blog or not?) that "Christians do not corner the market on morality." In believing this, I find no reason not to friend, hang out with, or otherwise become involved with good people outside the faith. Sure. Sometimes I will miss the mark and get burned, but I cannot disciple to others without reaching out. It is not enough for me to show His love to other believers or even those  believers perfectly aligned with my own beliefs, I must show it to ALL people.
I have also been studying the history of the Disciples church and came across this tidbit in Lesson 2 of Streamers:
Recognizing that God speaks differently to each believer and that each believer’s path to God is
personal and unique, then judging others’ beliefs was to be left up to God. Another motto grew from this belief: “Not the only Christians, but Christians only.”
and
As with a group of people holding hands and standing in a circle, so it is with the church. As with our hands, we overlap in an essential place—our belief in Christ and love for each other—while the rest of us are the wonderfully, uniquely diverse people of God.
 Believers and non-believers are an important part of my life. I feel no need to turn away from others. On the contrary. I feel compelled to reach out to good people of all faiths and non-faiths...believers and non-believers. Reading the above lessons and listening to Mike's sermon only reitereated that I am on the right path, but I still need to do better.
What about you? Do you stay in your comfort zone of like minded people? Or are you extending your hand (so to speak) to the Samaritan by the well?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ten Goods from Ten Mistakes

As I said, Erin sent me ten good things that come from days I fail (or feel like I fail) The Boy.

1. You get to experience God's forgiveness
2. Your son gets to see you demonstrate repentance
3. Your son gets to see that you are a sinner too
4. You get to pray with your son
5. Your son forgives you quickly and reminds you that we should all be as quick to forgive as children are
6. You learn about what you can do better next time
7. You get to blog about it and share wisdom with others
8. You get to ask God to grant you another chance tomorrow
9. You get to remind yourself that your righteousness is not based on how well you do
10. You get to remind yourself that how your son turns out is not solely dependent upon you, but on God's work in his heart

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Old Story and some thoughts...

My friend Ericka recently wrote about preparing for the hurdles in our lives. Her message came an an opportune time as I am putting on my armor in defense from commercialism and consumerism.  I know I will be tested in this and other areas of my life. 
Around the same time as I read her message, I was cleaning out my inbox and came across an old forward. I think we've all seen it...
This was written by a of Metro Denver Hospice Physician: I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the 'quickie mart' building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a Gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel. At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying ' don't want my kids to see me crying,' so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, 'And you were praying?' That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, 'He heard you, and He sent me.' I took out my card and swiped it through the ard reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little. She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there. So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there. I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, 'So, are you like an angel or something? 'This definitely made me cry. I said, 'Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.' It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong. Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings...Psalms 55:22 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.'
The two together reminded me to prepare, but also to lean on the Lord when I am facing those hurdles.  That's not all though...
The forward is something I continue to reflect on when I see someone in need or feel rushed when someone needs my help. In my busy life I tend to rush on when what I really should be doing is observing all that is around me and taking the initiative to help those in need. It is so hard to determine who is crossing my path for such a reason versus other reasons, but I have been slipping in my reactions, and I need to return to showing His love through action. Maybe I am hard on myself, but this is one area I believe I could never do enough or too much in. 
There's been a lot on my mind... again... always. Thanks for coming along on the ride!

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