Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Spirit's Prompting

Well, tonight I was studying and trying to write my paper for my course.  I was really struggling to gather my thoughts and put them into some sort of coherence.  However, nothing I tried was working so I got up and went out on my deck, my lovely deck, and sat on the swing and stared out at the mountains.  Enjoying the warmth with a bit of a breeze, I let go and just relaxed and began to pray. 

"God, help me to concentrate.  I can't do this, I need your help!" 

And then into my head popped Gladys.  Gladys is a woman who comes to our church.  She's getting up there in years and has been in the hospital for a couple of months now.  She is such a sweetheart and is always encouraging.  Gladys has been a member of The Salvation Army for so long and only came to Maple Ridge a few years ago.  But I'm always so happy when she's in church because she is so encouraging.  So I thought, "I need to go and visit Gladys, perhaps tomorrow."  But no, the words were right there in my head - get up and go now.  But it was almost the end of visiting hours and I reasoned that tomorrow would be fine.  But that feeling wouldn't go away.  So up I got and went - hubby and the kids aren't here, no one to look after, just me.  I can go.  I can do what I want. 

Gotta tell ya, I don't like visiting hospitals.  There is something about it that drains me emotionally and I always leave the hospital/funeral stuff to my dear hubby.  I can't do both administration and all the pastoral stuff at the same time - I just can't turn it off and on like that. It was also the first time I'd been up to that ward since my mom passed away there last October.

Gladys seemed a bit off at first.  She was subdued and I thought, "Man, she's really losing it, this is like what happened to my mom."  I held her hand and it was really limp.  She seemed to be talking a lot of nonsense, asking me about things that I knew nothing about.  Anyway, after a while she asked me if I was still doing flower arranging and it occurred to me that she thought I was someone else.  Sure enough, she thought I was someone from Abbotsford.  She didn't recognize me because it's only just recently that I've let my hair go curly (who can fight it!) and I got new glasses.  When she realized who I was, it was just too funny. 

The look of horror on her face was priceless. 

Then the laughs started and the jokes were flying and the good hearted newfie girl was all smiles for me!  That's when the real visit started.

We sang some great songs... He Touched Me, Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance... It is Well With My Soul.... (the nurses came to listen) We laughed some more.  We read God's word together and we prayed.  We talked about the important things, the things that are important to God.  We talked about His will for us - His perfect will and what His purpose is for us.  What a grand and glorious time it was.

I was feeling so down about my lack of concentration. I told her that I had left my studies at home to take a break and she asked me all about them.

"You're a great leader!" she said.  "You're a special person."

My heart was full. Gladys always has an encouraging word for me.

God told me to come here for a good reason.

Obedience is always the best way.

I love you Gladys.  See you again soon....

grace... kathie

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Good question!

For me, it's neither.  You see, I would look and say, "That glass has 50% water in it."

I'm a realist.  Sometimes I feel quite positive and the spin is hope and faith that 50% more will show up.  Sometimes I feel quite negative and think that it will always and only be filled to 50% capacity.  But most of the time, I just say it like it is.

Some people find that negative and would prefer me, I'm sure, to be more positive.  And when I refuse to join in with the doom & gloom bunch, they say I'm always looking on the bright side.  You can never win when you're a realist.

Beware the positive police.  They like to look for all the people who are sounding a little negative and try and cheer you up, encourage you to place a positive spin on whatever the issue is.  If you can't get with their program, well then you're labelled "sooooo negative." 

I wonder what the positive police would do with Psalm 13?  You see, this is my kind of psalm.  The writer acknowledges how they feel, just listen....

Psalm 13
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

David here, is not afraid to say what he's feeling and he writes it down for all to see.  He doesn't keep his troubles to himself and put on a happy face when the others are around.  No!  He lets it all hang out.  I like that because when I'm feeling down and unhappy, a little negative perhaps, I like to talk it out.  I like to write it out.  I don't know why I'm that way, I just am! When things are getting me down I react and my first reaction is usually, "Oh no! How will I cope?" or some such crazy question.  I'll ask God what the heck He thinks He's doing letting it happen.  Doesn't He know I've had enough?  Doesn't He realize I can't take any more stress?
But then, I begin to realize as I talk it out and share it with my friends, that it will be ok. The stress will begin to ease as my friends reassure me.  And if I sense for one minute that I'm really discouraging someone else, then I'm usually quick to pick up my bootstraps and tell people just what David did next:
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

In my journey of faith, in spite of my position as a minister, I'm still not always there.  I can usually handle the biggies - oh ya, bring on a major disaster, illness or death and I'm good with that.  I can see the beginning and the end.  But bring on all those minor little stresses that add up over time, that sometimes never seem to end and the end of my rope quickly shows up.  My last nerve gives up and dies!  I think sometimes that I'd like to be all positive and paint a rosy picture on everything that happens, but I'm just not there yet. I'm working on it, give me a break!
But we are all different.  Some of us have an easier time than others to see the positive side of things.  Many times I'm going along and I'm just as positive as the next person.  But when the stresses of life add up, it can get a teeny bit tiring holding my head up.  That usually happens when I take my eyes off God - I get so busy with the business of living, that I forget to renew myself.
Forgive me for being human!  ;o)
He does. 
He forgives me for being negative sometimes.
He reminds me that some of his most negative servants made it into His Holy Book!
So I'm in good company.
And I will trust Him.  I will trust God's unfailing love.  I love to sing all about it.... have a listen!
grace... kathie