Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fields of Grace

I joined a Bible study at my sister-in-laws church because the nice elderly population at my church decided the book of Judges would be their Bible study of choice this time. Ugh.
Sigh....
It's titled Seamless and it was written by Angie Smith.
Now I've seen Angie Smith speak in person before. 
It was 6 years ago at a Women of Faith conference and she was goooood. 
She spoke from the heart, and as she told her story she cried; with the telling of one particular part of her story she made the entire convention center burst into tears.
I saw her again a few years later, watching from my laptop during a Live Podcast of the IF Gathering.
She cried when she spoke that time too, only it wasn't because of the story she was telling. 
She cried because she didn't feel like she was enough.
"Enough".
She didn't feel like she was enough in the eyes of Christ. She felt less than, not worthy to be standing at that podium speaking to a group of women, and she bawled the entire way through it.
Ok. So.  Here's my take on this.
She gets paid to do this gig. She gets paid to travel around the country and speak to women of faith, in packed convention centers and sold out arenas. She tells her story, she cries her way through it and I'm not sure, but I believe there may be a little bit of a marketing ploy here...she sells her books, of which there are 7 to date.
So I'm thinking to myself that she has found an angle, right? 
Get 'em crying, get 'em hooked and BAM! 
You can buy Angie's book after the show, and she will tell you how to become beloved by God.
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So... back to my story about this Bible study.

I have a dark sense of humor. I am a tad bit snarky. I use caustic words and I am abrasive in nature when I am in a situation where I am uncertain as to what to do or say and then I disguise my mean behaviour behind a joking manner.
All true statements right there.
But the funny thing is I don't consider myself a sinner when I do those things.
(And perhaps THAT is my sin.)
Last Thursday at this Seamless Bible study, the leader spoke about herself being a sinner and not being good enough for God and she had to remind herself daily that Christ crucified Himself on that cross for her, so her sin could be forgiven. And she knew she could never measure up for that. And she cried.

Blech. What a bunch of dreck.
Forgive me and my snarky nature but what a bunch of whoo-ha.
My brain started to sizzle and I reached under the table and pinched my sister-in-law on the thigh.

Listen...as a Christian woman, let me say this...
I AM AWARE THAT JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED HISSELF ON THAT CROSS  FOR ME, FOR YOU, FOR US.

But I don't focus on that. I choose NOT to focus on that. Because Jesus is so much more than that.
I believe in the Jesus of Mercy, Grace and Light. I believe in the Jesus who has a sense of humor. I believe in the compassionate Jesus who forgives us all, all of the time. I will even be honest enough to admit that sometimes I believe in the Parking Lot Jesus. You know who that is, right? Two sick kids in the car and it is raining and it is the dark of night and someone has a fever and you need Tylenol and lo and behold, Jesus has saved us a parking spot right next to the in door of the drug store. Thank YOU Jesus!
I believe in the Jesus who is one with God and shows us beauty in unexpected places.
I believe in the Jesus of sunrises and laughter and nature and ocean waves that speak His name.

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Our table leader named Chris said to us that she too believes that she is a sinner that can never measure up to what Jesus did for her. She said she loves Jesus with her whole heart and wants to learn more about him and that she loves to be immersed in "The Word", that Jesus speaks to her and He resonates with her when she is immersed in "The Word."
I read the Bible, a few verses a day, as directed by my daily devotionals. It is enough for me at this moment in time. I have no issue with Chris immersing herself in "The Word" as she sees fit.
My point here is that for me  Jesus can be found everywhere and not just specifically in the written words of the Bible.
I don't believe that I need to immerse myself in His word in order to see Him or know Him.

I sent my sister-in-law a text and asked her to help me not make rude noises (such as pffftt, or tsk) or to roll my eyes at next weeks Bible study when another woman stands up and professes to be an undeserving bad girl sinner that Christ climbed up and crucified hisself for.

Do You feel bad?  Do You feel a constant need to remind Yourself of His sacrifice?
Is that what being a good christian is all about? Focusing on the bad and not the good?

Cuz the thing is...I don't feel like a bad girl, like I don't matter to Jesus or that my sin is so great that he could never love a sinner like me.


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I heard a song called Fields of Grace and I was looking for the lyrics on Google when I came across this-



Be still, and know that I am God  Ps 46:10

I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart  (Ps 100:4)

     This is the day that the Lord had made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

                                            (Ps 118:24Modern English Version (MEV) )


Thanksgiving, joy, gladness. That's the stuff that I look to Jesus for.


And when I picked up my devotional to do my reading for that day, it directed me to the following Bible passage-


    When you come looking for me you'll find me. 
                                                   (Jeremiah 29:13 The Message)

Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me. I find Jesus everywhere.
I am always directed to passages right when I need them. 
Just like at Al-anon...That's just what I needed to hear today.


 I prefer to think of myself as Dancing in Fields of His Grace everyday. 
And I'm hopeful that THAT isn't my sin either. Because Jesus is too good to punish us for finding the Mercy, Grace and Light that He shows us.






Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Monday, January 15, 2018

Do ya?

So I'm sitting here looking at the list of blogs that I follow trying not to be embarrassed about it.
I follow 60 blogs. Sixty!
(Well, I follow 60 blogs but some of them are no longer active.)
But still, I hesitate to delete some of them. And I'm not sure why.
What if their next post is exactly what I've been needing to hear?
I started following them for some reason...do I really want to delete them just because they aren't posting anymore?
Do you all do this? Or am I simply looking too far into things?
In all honesty, nobody cares if I follow 60 blogs, do they?
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So I'm sitting here looking at a stack of books that I should be reading.
I have 20 books checked out from our local library right now. Twenty!
And there they sit,  next to my computer untouched and unread because there are too many of them.
It feels like I have some sort of library induced A.D.D.
Oooo, look at this one! Hey! I've wanted to read that one for a while now. This one comes highly recommended by a friend. Wow! This one is a must read!
Books, books, books! Gratitude books, cookbooks, Winter poems, books on Solstice and Light, God, Jesus, Laura Ingalls Wilder and a Scottish Highlander trashy novel thrown in just for fun. ;)
Do you all do this too?
Y'all don't care if I have 20 unread books sitting here either, do you?
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Christmas trappings have been removed for two weeks already. Winter is slogging along without much fanfare. We got 3 inches of snow last night.. no big deal.
We survived being in the deep freeze for 2 solid weeks. Temps never got out of the single digits.
We survived the flu. By "We" I mean everybody got it but me. My husband, all 3 of my grown kids, in-laws, and all four grandkids got it. I drank Emergen C and Elderberry syrup every day. Plus I diffused Thieves by Young Living Essential Oil  and I put it on my feet too.
(Now I'm hoping that I didn't just jinx myself by bragging about surviving the flu.)
My anxiety is better and most nights here lately I have been sleeping pretty good, which helps with the anxiety a lot!
I'm teaching myself to meditate and I'm learning to take really deep breaths, hold and release them.
Thank you all for caring about me and inquiring after my well being.
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As you can see from the above paragraphs, I live an exciting and scintillating life.
Do you?

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly


Monday, January 1, 2018

Gray and white and cold

                                   Grant me Your Sense of Timing by Ted Loder
O God of all seasons and senses,
grant me your sense of timing
to submit gracefully
and rejoice quietly
in the turn of the seasons.
In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach me the lessons of waiting:
of the snow joining the mystery
of the hunkered-down seeds
growing in their sleep
watched over by gnarled-limbed, grandparent trees
resting from autumn’s staggering energy;
of the silent, whirling earth
circling to race back home to the sun.
                                          O God, grant me your sense of timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach me the lessons of endings:
children growing
friends leaving
jobs concluding
stages finishing
grieving over
grudges over
blaming over
excuses over.
                                         O God, grant me your sense of timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach me the lessons of beginnings:
that such waitings and endings
may be a starting place,
of planting seeds
which bring to birth
what is ready to be born—
something right and just and different,
a new song,
a deeper relationship,
a fuller lover—
in the fullness of your time.
                                        O God, grant me your sense of timing.


Hope you all had lovely holidays spent with family and friends.
Happy New Year to all of you too!

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The light returns

These are a few of the things I've found on the internet in the past few days. 
I kept copying and pasting them here thinking that maybe I would use them at a later date.
The most wonderful thing happened tho...
I was looking for a quote to use for the Winter Solstice tomorrow when I remembered about these quotes being pasted here.
They all fit for my purpose so I am going to use them all.

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It is tempting this Advent to see only leafless trees, falling sunlight, and a darkening cultural horizon. But this is God’s pattern: death to life, bad news to good, sorrow to joy. Lift up your shoulders, shed your burdens, and open your eyes; joy springs up in unlikely places. James Amadon

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Lord I sit in this circle of light,
surrounded by your love,
embraced by your peace,
infused with your joy.
Lord I sit in this circle of light,
with all the people of this world
secure in the wonder of your presence.
~ Christine Sine

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From out of the darkness and cold, the light...and hope return.

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Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays,
and a Merry Winter Solstice to you all!!
Allelujah! Let's welcome back the light.
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Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Friday, December 8, 2017

Winter of the soul


There are days when my loneliness turns to liquid and runs down my face.
There are days when I think to myself...My God! How long must I bare this aloneness.

I'm not kidding you when I say that my cell phone does. not. ring.  Ever.
I feel like everybody else is getting together and having a good time and I'm not there.
Hell...I'm not even invited. There are no women friends to go out with.
There are no last minute texts saying "Hey we're getting together; you wanna come with?"
No coffee clatches...No parties...no book clubs...no ladies church guild...no play groups.
Remember those two ladies I tried to befriend at the end of the school year?
I gave them my phone number and address and asked if we could get the kids together to play sometime over the Summer. And they never called. And then at the beginning of this school year I ran into them again and they ignored me...twice. Pointedly. And it shames me.
They don't even acknowledge my presence. They look through me. And I don't know why.

It feels as if I live my life in a void...in a vacuum of space where no one knows I exist.

I've never been a bluesy in December kind of a gal. The dark days and the cold temps don't bother me. I'm just so mother fucking lonely I don't know what to do anymore.

People of the Christian faith call this a "Hard Season".
They say that God is asking me to wait.

( start at 52 seconds)

They say I should be still and revel in the silence of the waiting.
"Be still and know..." Ps 46:10
They say that God is preparing me for something; maybe something bigger, something better.

Can I tell ya something?
After a long season of silence and waiting ANYTHING is going to look like a gift from God.
And speaking of gifts...

I read this on FB today.
It sorta made me feel better. It made me think HEY! Wait a minute!
Maybe it's not me, maybe it's them! Maybe it's been them all along.
I don't know why I put the burden of that shame onto my shoulders.

Yes I do.
I did it because I'm lonely and introverted and I don't know how to make friends.
I thought it would be easy, ya know?
Get the kids together, make a little bit of small talk with the the moms, make a connection of sorts.
Only it didn't happen at all how I envisioned it would.
The phone calls never came. Then the shunning thing started. Now I am Invisa-Girl to them.
AND WHY DOES THIS BOTHER ME???

I think it's the loneliness that hurts. It's the wanting in thing that is haunting me.
It's the shame of not feeling good enough, or of somehow lacking something vital that they can see I don't posses, so let's ignore her and act like we are 12 year olds in junior high.

Did I tell you that one of these ladies is married to a pastor?
And the other one is the room mom at the school.
Huh. Go figure that one.

Anyway...I feel better now that I have typed this out.
Rant over. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly







Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent-tagious

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Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.
Every year I look for a reading plan that has specific readings and Bible verses to attach to the words of   HOPE  PEACE  JOY  LOVE  that usher in the holiday season.
This one even includes songs to listen to along with the readings.

The first word of the advent season is HOPE.
This was part of the reading from our church sermon yesterday-

Isaiah 11:6-9

1.  No War,  just Peace
2.  No Sadness,  just Joy
3.  No Sickness,  just Health
4.  No Death,  just Life
5.  No Hatred,  just Love
6.  No Fear,  just Faith

Our Pastor preached that "the state of your heart reflects the amount of Jesus in your heart."
Meaning how you treat others (including yourself), how you see the world; maybe even how you treat the world, what you do or don't do for the least of these, reflects or should reflect your feelings about Jesus and his influence in your life.
I think this is true.

When I'm not anxious, it's because I have been in touch with Jesus...through reading scripture or praying or seeing evidence of him in the sky above me or the earth below me. When I'm feeling generous and loving and kind it's because I do feel Jesus in my heart and I want to spread this feeling to others. Not just at Christmastime but all through the year.

When I am anxious and filled with fear or feeling angry, I know it's because I've moved away from Jesus.

We fought before church, him and I.
I feel like he keeps correcting me on the things I observe or say or do.
Maybe contradicts is a better word.
Either way, I've been feeling especially aggravated whenever he "corrects" me.
I've kept my mouth shut for too long and let resentments build up.
15 minutes before church on Sunday I huffed loudly and left the room, sick unto death of him for correcting me (AGAIN!!) about the weather forecast on my phone.
He followed me out of the room to reiterate his point because he heard me huff in reply to him.
(Isn't this silly? These stupid little irritants the we let get under our skin??)

Anyway, he doesn't fight fair...never has.
He has a little bit of a passive/aggressive nature. (and I'm being kind here)
The first thing he does after I try to defend my point is swear at me, loudly, then he yells-
"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"
Then he shouts "I'm not going to church because it doesn't work. It's not real. There's nothing there!"
And I stand there stunned.
Doesn't work?? Nothing there? What's he talking about???
"Are YOU still going to church? I don't see how you can!" he says
What's church got to do with this? I ask him. And Yes! I'm still going to church.
"We've been doing this for 34 years and church is NOT the place to be when we're fighting."

He couldn't be more wrong. Church is exactly where we need to be.
He has this strange idea that imperfect people don't belong in church.
He doesn't like the people that he believes are hypocrites to be going to church.
And a fighting married couple certainly don't belong there among the rest of the congregation.

I wonder if he realizes that 3/4 of the married people sitting in those church pews are fighting with each other this morning.
Or that the parents have yelled at their kids to hurry the F up! We are gonna be late! Get in the car!!
Or maybe those hypocrites that he doesn't approve are there because they ARE hypocrites!
I'm wondering if he remembers who Jesus hung around with.
I'm wondering if he knows that church isn't supposed to be for those who are perfect.
Church is a hospital for the rest of us... the so called normal people.
The liars and sinners,  the fighters and the hypocrites.
The moms and dads who are about to lose their shit if they have to tell the kids to put their shoes on ONE MORE TIME!
The hypocrites and the Pharisees who spout all sorts of nonsense and feel holier than thou.
The husbands and wives who can't even stand to be in the same room with each other at the moment will all have to sit next to each other for an hour and listen to a sermon that will be spot on in regards to where their hearts are at, at that exact moment in time.
And they will be asked to pass the Peace to each other with a handshake or a hug.
And the hug will feel warm & reassuring and last a fraction of a second too long.
See?? Healing, like a hospital.

I like the Bible verse at the top of the page. It gives me a measure of hope.
I want to believe that there will be no war or sadness or sickness or death or hatred or fear anymore.

Wouldn't that be a glorious thing?
One can only hope.
I'm looking forward to what next Sunday brings. That advent word is PEACE.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Paying Attention


Glennon Doyle Melton was once asked:
Why do you cry so often?
And her answer was this:
For the same reason I laugh so often.
Because I'm paying attention.
Truer words were never said.

The older I get the more easily I find myself laughing uproariously at a comedy show on TV. Everybody Loves Raymond is my favorite show and honestly I laugh out loud, even when I'm watching it all by myself.
Or I find myself laughing uncontrollably at something my sister, who has a wicked sense of humor, just said or maybe giggling at one of the grandchildrens silly antics.
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I also find myself reduced to tears more often by the slightest little thing.
Our cat caught a mouse and as only cats can do, slowly took it's life.
I felt so badly for that injured mouse. I saw it escape from the cats clutches just once, dragging its injured and unusable hind quarters behind it, across the floor and then underneath my desk.
Five minutes later it was all over but in my minds eye I still saw the look on that poor frightened little mouse face as it tried to make its escape.
It made me feel sad knowing it's last hour on this earth was filled with terror and pain and I cried for it's terrified little self, even as I praised the cat for being a good boy.
Such is the life of an empath.
I feel emotions for a vermin filled; injured mouse that had been running loose through my house.
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Our 84 year old neighbor Joann is a Snow Bird.
She lives across the street from us 6 months out of the year.
The other 6 months she lives in Arizona .
This morning she left to go back to her desert, later than her usual October departure.
Her daughter wanted her to spend Thanksgiving here, in Illinois, with their family.
I stood on the front step and watched as they left for the airport.
She waved and hollered Bye! out the open car window.
I found myself choking back tears; I could only wave at her.
But in my head I was shouting "Bye Joann!"
Because for some reason it felt final to me, like I won't be seeing her again.
And it makes me incredibly sad. And so I stood there and I cried.
Bye Joann.......Good-bye.

Is that being empathetic or psychotic?
I don't know.
What I DO know is that I find myself paying attention to a lot of little details that others miss. And I also know that these little details have the ability to control my day or brighten my mood or rend me in half depending on what it is I am seeing and in turn how what I see makes me feel.
Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, plant, outdoor and nature The way the clouds cause a particular color to form during the sunrise out my front window, or the glorious peach and rose alpine glow of the sunset as seen through the trees behind our house.

Image may contain: sky, tree, twilight, outdoor and nature Or when it gets frigid outside and the birds seem to want to play more often, chasing each other and flying higher and faster, over and over and over again.
(Do you suppose they're doing that just to keep warm?)


Or being with family at Thanksgiving and "feeling" the unhappiness of a certain person in the room and how it affected everybody else in the room.
(It wasn't me!😃)

Or that him and I are walking on eggshells around each other lately, both of us knowing that we are a little off but not knowing what it is or how to fix it.

Or seeing with our own eyes our three year old grandson being mean to his one year old sister ON PURPOSE by scratching her or pushing her down or squeezing her too hard or taking away any toy she has. It is maddening how often he makes her cry.

The world itself feels off kilter, I see it, I feel it, I know it, and yet I am powerless to do anything about it.
And so I guess that's where Let Go and Let God comes in to play.

Because if I truly believe in God like I say I do, then what do I have to worry or stress about?
If God is in the details, then what am I doing in there mucking things up with my incessant anxiety and worry?
How does my anxiety serve me? What can I learn from it? What is it trying to show me?

Is my empathy a hindrance or a help?

Maybe it's time I started paying better attention to what my mind is trying to tell me.
Stop thinking about what could go wrong and start seeing what is already going right!

I see beauty all around me in nature- birds, squirrels, sunrises and sunsets. I can smell pine trees and oranges and clean sheets. I can taste coffee and mashed potatoes and gravy and chocolate. I can hear birds chirping and my ipod music and my husband snoring. I have four grand kids who amaze me with their wonder of the world and also make me crazy with their meanness to each other on more than one occasion.

I am a work in progress.
I am learning to let go.
I am starting to rise.
I am ok with today.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly