Sunday, October 31, 2004

That Time of Year Again

I was doing really well. I was. I decided to go to church today if for no other reason than it was Halloween and that would be a Good Place To Be on Halloween. So I got up at 7:30 this morning (yes, that's how early I have to get up to attend the LATE service!) Cooked breakfast and got dressed and all, and as the morning wore on I became more and more acutely aware of what today is. I only freaked out a little, but it made me sad. And I sat there in church in a not very good mood.

However, I'm very glad I went. The music was good. The sermon was on children and families (Genesis 1) and had no relevance to me, but no biggie. That happens sometimes.

My friend Janice, who I haven't seen in months, showed up and I left my spot next to Carol to sit with her. Janice is in her 40s or 50s and also single. We first met at my old church where we both used to attend. We left independent of each other and somehow both of us ended up occasionally attending City Church. Anyway, it was good to see her and we chatted after the service.

Communion was the most meaningful not because of what it symbolized in itself, but because it symbolizes my belonging to Him on a day that once meant anything BUT Him. I can't put it into words, but it was very meaningful to be able to take communion on Halloween. Like poking a stick into the eye of the goddess. She nearly got me back this year, but He still won. :)

After church I was able to smile. I'm still not thrilled that today is today, but tomorrow it'll be over and perhaps I can get on with life again. For now, I'll do my best not to freak out, and try to remember that I belong to Him now and He loves me no matter what, died for me, will guide me for the rest of my life.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Loose ring!, take 2

Took my ring in to get it resized today because it's so loose. Discovered that the ring was a 9, and I now take a 7 1/2! Just from loosing 38 pounds! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I'm Voting For _____ Because _____.

Full thread can be found here. If you have no account and it asks you to register, just enter as a guest.

From: The Mostly Respectful Brian P. (PENDELL1) 10:18 am

I'm starting this thread so people can tell who they're voting for, and why.
I don't intend this to be a matter for discussion or debate. I simply hope to foster greater understanding of different points of view. Who are you voting for, and why? If you're not voting, why? If you haven't decided, what factors make it difficult to decide?

Me first.

Who I'm voting for: Bush

When I made that decision: March of this year.

Why: Couple reasons.

1. Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban which President Clinton vetoed twice. That alone tells me all I need to know about the differences between the two parties.
I consider abortion and it's related issues -- euthanasia, stem-cells, cloning -- to be the pre-eminent moral issue of the day, as segregation was the pre-eminent issue of the 60s. It is innocent blood being shed. I believe the death of millions every year overrides the other, legitimate concerns Democrats have, and until this problem is solved I don't believe God will give his countenance to any politician who supports this.

I believe that a lot of the strife we've had over the past two years can be traced to this. Kerry has taken many stands on many issues, but he has been unapologetic in his support for abortion without limit, no matter how much he "regrets" it. He has been ambiguous on Iraq, but he has been unambiguous in his support for the harvesting of human embryos for the sake of research. Despite his belief that life begins at "conception". Bush, on the other hand, has chosen the opposite approach. If they are different in no other way, they are different here. The choice, for me, is clear-cut and indisputable.

Further, I believe that much energy has been consumed in the spiritual world on this issue. Do you remember the 2000 election? I believe that was more than humans being unable to agree on an election result -- I think contending spirits were warring powerfully in the heavenlies, each having chosen a candidate to support and each trying to influence the election their way. I could feel it in the air when it happened.

After Bush's election, the drumbeat did not let up -- the Enemy stirred up hatred against him. Bush draws more aggravation and more stress than any President in recent memory, and I think the reason is that he is a pro-life President, and the Enemy cannot stand that. Consequently the immense hatred pouring out of Hollywood. The lies and deceit of the Michael Moores. The absolute deadlock on judicial appointments in the Senate. The slander campaign against him and Ashcroft. Why? Because, as real believers, they pose a threat to everything the Enemy stands for, merely by their existence.

Even today, what should be a walkover election is being contested powerfully. It is likely that this election, too, will be fought for months after the election. Why? Because, IMO, the Enemy is investing a lot of spiritual capital in taking Bush down. And those who -- willingly or unwillingly -- are deceived by him -- are caught up in that same paroxysm of unreasoning hatred that he himself feels. Because he wants abortion to continue, and God does not. Perhaps there is someone coming that he fears to come? And I believe there is another reason.

Does this mean that I believe all Democrats are evil? Not even close. I know many fine Democrats who love God with all their heart and soul and strength and mind, my own parents among them. But I believe their leaders have chosen the wrong side on THE issue that both God and the Enemy care about more than any other -- the paramount moral issue of our day. And until the Dems call their leaders to account on this issue, I do not believe they will be blessed.

But that's not the only reason:

2. Israel.

I noticed Clinton twisting the arms of several Israeli administrations to fit his "peace process", and I saw the terror that resulted. I see Bush giving them a free hand, and the result has been that -- while no one was looking -- Israel "won" the Intifada (Jewish World Review). Certainly terrorism is much less than it was.

I believe that if Bush is elected, this state of affairs will continue. And I believe with Charles Krauthammer (Jewish World Review) that if Kerry is elected, he will attempt to "rebuild our foreign alliances" by screwing Isreal.

I think this is another thing that both God and the Enemy have on their agendas -- one of the Enemy's pre-eminent goals since the beginning of creation is to kill Jews in carload lots. I'm not convinced that Isreal is fully in the right, but I certainly oppose the lies, deceit, and murder which characterize the tactics of their enemies. I think that Kerry's plan will -- inadvertently -- lead to much more terrorism, much more death in Isreal, but nothing anyone would recognize as "peace". So again, I choose Bush.

3. Iraq.

I'm not convinced Bush did the right thing in Iraq. It could be his biggest mistake. Then again, if it works out, it could be the greatest step forward for the Middle East in generations.

But right or wrong, we must finish the job. I don't believe Kerry will do that. He's got a very cogent discussion on his web site (, but his big solution seems to be to bring in France and Germany, which have already said they will not get involved no matter what he says or does (

If he really wants to "rebuild alliances", he has to do what France and Germany -- and his anti-war base, such as Michael Moore who believe that Saddam's leftover thugs are "freedom fighters" (spits) -- is to pull out, as quickly as possible. Declare victory and go home.

It may be that we will pull out of Iraq next year in any case -- we shall see. There's certainly a lot of speculation about that. And the sooner Iraqis are doing the job for themselves the happier everyone will be. But I still trust Bush to get the job done more than I do Kerry.

Why? Because Bush is stubborn. Consequently, I believe he'll finish what he starts. Kerry's nuances and sophistication lead me to believe he may not. Clinton's bug-out from Somalia and his handling of the rest of the world with kid gloves during his tenure does nothing to change my mind on this score. There's a time for a stubborn man, and there's a time for an open-minded man, and wartime is a time for stubborn men like Churchill and Patton.


You'll notice I haven't mentioned the economy in all this. That is because I do not believe the government has much power to effect the economy for good or for ill, and consequently it isn't even on my list of priorities. I've learned the hard way that little good ever came out of a government bureaucracy, and I certainly have no trust in the government being there for me when things go bad. The government programs have nothing to offer me, and I don't see how it can possibly help the economy, and while I care about poverty I think voluntary private action will do more than the government ever can or will.

Besides -- I believe what Jesus said about "seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well". If we get the moral issues right, the economy will take care of itself -- if we get them wrong, God will curse the work of our hands no matter how clever we are with the economy.

Respectfully, Brian P.

And my response, starting off by quoting a paragraph from Brian's post:

From: StumblingToBethlehem (Newbirth) 5:08 pm
To: The Mostly Respectful Brian P. (PENDELL1)

I consider abortion and it's related issues -- euthanasia, stem-cells, cloning -- to be the pre-eminent moral issue of the day, as segregation was the pre-eminent issue of the 60s. It is innocent blood being shed. I believe the death of millions every year overrides the other, legitimate concerns Democrats have, and until this problem is solved I don't believe God will give his countenance to any politican who supports this.

Totally agree. This is a BIG reason I am voting for Bush, because those lives override just about everything else. That, and the gay marriage issue.

Kerry would do a good job on healthcare (and as someone without insurance who needs expensive medicine, this could even benefit me directly). Kerry would do a good job on a lot of things. But he supports abortion, homosexual marriage, and frankly, I don't trust him when it comes to Iraq. He'll do okay, but I agree with Brian...we need to finish what we started, and Bush is the best man for this.

For anyone interested in praying for the election, here's some ideas. And no, this site endorces neither candidate. You can and should pray for the election without mentioning either candidate by name. Rather, as American Christians, we should pray for a godly candidate. Let God sort out who that is. :)

Election prayer: Election prayer from

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Just popping in to say that today was workout #100 at Curves for me. :) That's just since February and doesn't count working out at home (which I do rarely, but it does happen). Still four months to go before my contract is up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Taking Me Deeper, take 2

This is long. Sorry. Stream of consciousness stuff going on.

Been thinking further about the different analogies people here have used. I resonate the most with David's description of Jesus leading you into a valley and then seeming to disappear, but that's entirely by faith. I feel more like Greg's analogy of just being tossed into a pit with no warning. When I talk about Jesus leading me down into the valley I don't feel that; my faith teaches me He is there even when I can't see or sense Him, so I assume He must be there. That's what poem #5 on this page, Into the Valley II - Alone, captures.

Brian said:
It's disappointing because it is rare in most people. Most people deliberately choose to stop their growth at some point, and remain babies their entire lives. I'm glad to see you are not making that mistake.

He won't let me. Not if I want to be close to Him. And I do. He is everything.

Brian said:
Hmm .. although my storming may have been different. I didn't so much leave him as say "Look, I need some space. Can we be as distant as possible while still maintaining a relationship?" And he agreed. It wasn't until I encountered EW that I really tried to get close again.

While I haven't walked away this year, I did make one big mistake. God told me not to take revenge, and when the opportunity came to get revenge without having to DO anything, I jumped at it. I also got disciplined for my rebelliousness. I won't be doing THAT again! It wasn't worth it.

Brian said:
I would say so. God has great things in store for you. The enemy wants to thwart that, of course. Strangling babies in their crib has ever been his/her way. It was her last, best chance to kill you spiritually for awhile, so naturally she took it. I suspect you'll find she'll never pose the same degree of challenge again.

I suspect you're right. Of course, God let her step in and test me. I failed the test initially, allowing her to be in my life and talk to me; He had to step in and rescue me. But now I am aware of her schemes. She has never gunned for me so hard before, and next time I will be wiser. I will not let her stay next time. She's going right out the door!

How can I be so foolhardy? I bear her scars to this day. Literally. I'm wearing a skirt today and I looked down at my leg - the one that got cut in the accident in 1996 - and I once more saw the faint scar. Even when I still worshipped her, as soon as she saw me take the smallest step toward God, she got scared (because she knew He answers honest prayers such as mine) and tried to take me out. Thankfully God sent a guardian angel (or somebody) to intervene. The motorcycle rider turned his cycle at the last moment and only clipped me, rather than hitting me head on.

I said:
Children can get away with things that adults can't.

Am I making sense?

And Brian said:

When I think back on what I used to get away with 8 years ago...whew...He practically let me run amok, breaking every rule, and I received little if any discipline for my infractions. If I were stupid enough to pull the same stunts now...I don't want to think what He'd do. Then again, I have no desire to pull those stunts now.

Sometimes, I miss those day of being a baby and getting away with anything. But it is better to be a little older and know God better. I didn't know who He was then. Everything taught me about Him because I had no clue who He was. He first showed me His merciful side; it was what I needed at the time. To realize He wasn't the mean ogre I thought He was. As time has gone on He's also showed me His sterner side. The Holy Spirit has a way of getting His point across when I've displeased Him.

And strange as it may sound, He's taught me about covenants. I didn't realize when I committed to Him that I was making a covenant, nor how seriously He takes that. He seems to see this as a sort of marriage, and expects me to stay true to the covenant promise I made no matter what happens.

A few years ago being mugged might have sent me into a snit and a brief walk away from Him; this year it only served to renew my commitment to Him. I pulled my cross ring from my jewelry box and put it on my wedding finger. I told Him in so many words that I would follow Him and that some druggie mugger wasn't going to pull me away from Him.

A long time ago on the old C-P forum, back during a questioning phase of mine, FOAF posted the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. It's always stayed with me because his final comment on the story was so perfect that I copied it to my quotes document, and it also sits in my profile under the "Personal Quote" section. The rabbit in the story was loved by the boy until it was worn out. But it was because of this love, that it became real. FOAF said, "Sometimes, I think Christians are like that. We don't become real until we've been loved so hard."

And he's right. I've managed to catch glimpses of sun in this valley, and I wouldn't trade either of the two major valleys I've been through for ANYTHING. He takes something away, but the return has always been worth the cost. I've seen and learned too much to ever say that the tears and pain weren't worth it. They were and are. He has given me a crown of beauty to replace the crown of ashes I've worn this year (Isaiah 61:3). He is my God. She loses. I will never go back.

Monday, October 18, 2004


I get to pick up my Patti Scialfa CD, 23rd Street Lullaby, today! I have to run into the City and I plan to stop at the Virgin Megastore when I'm there. I need to open the CD player Dad gave me a while back and break it in. :) It's still in the package! I will finally get to listen to Stumbling to Bethlehem all the way through! Woohoo!

There Goes the Sun...

Well, the dry season is officially over and the wet season here. Somewhere between 2 weeks before Halloween to two weeks after we usually get the first good rain of the season. It may rain before that, but it won't be a good strong rain. So far this year, we've only had a shower. Until yesterday. Yesterday it rained...a good, strong rain, on and off, from Saturday night all the way through Sunday. And so our second season, the wet season when things grow, begins. Good-bye summer! :(

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom...

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

--Habakkuk 3:17-18

It's been a hell of a year, but last night as I lay in bed, still not feeling Him around me, I resolved yet again to follow no matter what. I don't know where He is, why He's so quiet, or why He's letting all this happen to me.

So He calls me to walk by faith, to move forward even when I can't sense Him. I think faith in the darkness is the faith that pleases Him most. Faith in the light is easy. It is in the darkness that it is put to the test. C.S. Lewis touches on this in The Screwtape Letters.

I have experiences I can build on. I can have faith because I've walked with Him long enough to know that "this too shall pass." There will again be highs on the mountain, praising in greatfulness as the trials and troubles fade into insignificance in His presence.

I love You, Father. I have come too far in the last eight years, seen too much, to ever go back. I will follow You even if I can't feel You. I know You are there, I know You see me, and I know You are involved, even if I can't see it. I will follow the path laid before me.

Taking Me Deeper

I've been thinking about some stuff. Something a friend said to me yesterday along with what happened this past weekend coalessed this in my brain.

Quite simply, my relationship with God is changing. It's time to grow up so I can go deeper into Him than before.

A week ago Saturday at church the sermon was about the fifth commandment, honoring our parents. At the time I was like, "Whatever." A couple days later my Dad called me to tell me he'd be coming down for the weekend. The sermon suddenly made sense.
I failed the test horribly, as usual. But I feel something happening with God. He was warning me, telling me. And somehow I know that, while I can get away with failing the test this time, next time there may be consequences. It's time to grow up and ACT like a grown up. Children can get away with things that adults can't.

Am I making sense?

This whole year has been about growth, growing closer to Him, and trusting in Him even in the valley when I can't see Him or feel Him. Yesterday somebody told me she has seen me grow this year. Could this be the furfillment of Susan's vision? Could the vision have been about more than just one thing?

See, for the eight years that I've been a Christian my relationship with Him has been very stormy, and not in a healthy way. This year, that shifted. Through the hell that I have been put through, my reaction has changed.

Oh my God...thinking about it...I have not walked away from Him once this whole year! I used to do that on a regular basis! Oh my goodness. I may lash out and rant at Him, but I remain. I don't pick up my toys and storm out of the throne room when I don't get my way. Even when He removes the sense of His presence. I know this may seem a small thing to all of you, but it is HUGE for me.

I don't believe that any of the bad stuff that happened this year was His perfect will. He can, however, bring good out of it, and I have learned more about Romans 8:28 this year than ever before. I am learning to trust.

Perhaps that's why "Stumbling to Bethlehem" fits me so well. I've certainly been knocked about this year, deliberatly tripped, but I haven't fallen. I'm stumbling for sure, but - and this is the important part - I'm on my feet and moving forward.
I have to wonder, when I came to that fork in the road in January and February of this year, if a lot more was at stake than I realized. I've walked away from God before, had temper tantrums, and I thought that if I did so in January it would probably be the same.

But then I remember that the goddess told me that in order to come back to her I had to renounce Jehovah. One thing that stayed my hand was feeling the imensity and importance of what she asked me to do. It wasn't something to be done lightly and I knew that attempting to sever my relationship with Him would have big consequences.
It's just that I grew so much through that experience that I have to wonder if trying to walk away wouldn't have been just as important in a detrimental way.
I had to get this out, tell someone. I may not sense Him, but I can clearly see that He is working with mighty power in my life.

Life Is Suffering

This is the First Nobel Truth of Buddhism. And it's just got my thinking about Christianity and it's views on suffering. I know that one of the saints sometime back said that in light of eternity, the worst suffering on earth will seem no more than one night in an inconvenient hotel. I know that's true. It's just that in the middle of the suffering, it's so easy to lose sight of "Forever" and only focus on "Now."

Catholics have an age old tradition of dealing with suffering by "offering it up." Even after reading the link, I still don't "get" it. Maybe's it's just because I'm Protestant. But I like to be able to grasp concepts, so this being a mystery to me is frustrating.

So what's the Christian view on suffering? I'm tired but I'll do my best. First, we can expect to suffer. If the only perfect Person to ever live suffered horribly, how can we expect to live lives devoid of suffering? And yet, God promises to never give us more than we can handle. Never less, but never more.

Next, suffering makes us better people. "...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." --Romans 5:3-5 Paul says that, for a Christian, the end result of suffering should be hope. I guess I've seen that in my life. I have a sure hope that God will bring good out of everything this year - Romans 8:28. As one person once said to me, "All means all and that's all all means." :) He can redeem even the bad in our lives for good.

Lastly, God will stand with us through it. He walks with us through the valley, and, as He sees all time at once, He knows the entire path ahead, and therefore, the best way to lead us through and out.

Well, I need to get some sleep. My brain is not functioning on all cylanders right now. *yawn* Nighty night.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

No exercise. Fridays are my Saturday, but I went into work and worked 6 1/2 hours. I need the money but I am tired. Managed to cook the tofu up when I got home, then portioned it out yesterday for lunches.

Saturday I went a bit overboard but I did make up some of the Big Train drink mix and it was GOOD! I mixed in some Kahlua which gave it a lot more carbs, but made it taste like a low sugar Mudslide. Yum! I was thinking of having a Cosmo after that but decided that a glass of wine would have fewer carbs. I can have the Cosmo another time.

Also thought about mixing in broken up sugar free Oreos into my homemade Mudslide. Something I need to try at some point.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Blast From the Past

I've been going through some of my old journals, specifically looking for old depressing poems I can use for my new poetry pages I'm working on. I'll announce it here when I finally get them up.

Anyway, yesterday I pulled out a journal from 1996, covering the time frame of 2 weeks before my conversion to 6 weeks after. I wanted to read more than the poetry. I wanted to read the actual entries. I was astonished by what I found.

What did I find? I found a girl who was scared and unsure of what was happening to her. I found a girl who hated literal interpretations of the Bible and who had some weird ideas about Paul. (Evidentally I thought that he did not write all the books ascribed to him. Hebrews I can see, but any others? What was I thinking?) I found a girl who didn't know the Bible or God, and had some pretty twisted ideas on each. I found a girl who had not walked away from Paganism and was trying to be a Christo-Pagan.

And yet He showed patience in the face of my ignorance, never slapping me down for my strange ideas and refusal to give up my past faith. For going to the Ancient Ways Festival, all I got was a cold - a relitively minor punishment for a fairly large infraction.

I guess I am just awed His patience with me in those early days, especially in the face of the stupid stunts I pulled. I could never get away with those things now, nor would I want to. Thank You, Father, for being so patient with me and walking me through things at my own pace. I know I must have frustrated You, yet You never showed me anything but love. I never did anything to deserve that. It is all Him and His love.

In my story, Charles said that my writings showed more peace after my conversion than before. I have never thought that was true and I certainly didn't feelmore peacful. But after reading my journal yesterday, I wonder. There was no fear or sadness in the entries. The poetry was explorational and hopeful, not fearful and depressing. I'll need to read more old journals, but what if Charles was right?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Prayer Request: Work

[Names have been edited to first initial only.]

Seems there's a snitch at work who's been sending boss J every little thing I forget to do, such as locking the door to the KEAR studio. J came to me with his latest letter today and I am hopping mad.

However something is SUPPOSED to work, co-workers should support and cover for one another. That's the reality of the situation. When one co-worker goes behind the backs of other co-workers to get the first co-worker in trouble (and without trying to work it out with that person first!)...well, that's a way to get marked as a snitch. Now that I know who M TRULY is, I hate him. I would never DREAM or going to J with some little infraction committed by B or L...or anybody here.

I have gotten J involved only once, when repeated attempts with two co-workers didn't help them to show up on time so I could catch my bus. One of those time the co-worker was terminated for other reasons before I had enough evidence to go to J. In both those cases, I tried to reason with the co-workers to correct the problem on their own.

I hate snitches, and I hate M, and I hate that he never talked to me about this, just went to J. I'm never going to say anymore than is necessary to him. Thanks to him, this goes into my permanent file. It is not an official letter, just one more bit of evidence against me. Why didn't he come to me first and try to work it out? Can we say passive-aggresive, boy and girls? I thought we could. Now I have to respond to what M did by explaining how I am going to remember to the lock the studio door. :(

J denies that he ever said I'd be fired on the third letter, that only what's in writing counts, and that isn't in writing. But I don't know what to believe anymore. I only know that I'm terrfied of him, and not in a "fear of the Lord" good way.

And my meeting with J and N is tomorrow and I hate my life and this whole thing sucks and my life is over. Why is God out to get me this year? I'm at work and on the verge of tears. I can't take anymore so why does more keep happening? Why does God hate me?

Avenge Them, Lord!

Tape of Bigley Beheading Posted on Web

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A videotape of the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley appeared Sunday on an Islamist Web site, showing the civil engineer pleading that he wanted "to live a simple life" moments before he was decapitated.
Full story here.

This makes me so mad. God, avenge their deaths! Brian's prayer from before is even more apropos now:

Brian said:
Great Father in Heaven, see this and call them to account. Remember mercy, and grant them repentence if they're willing to accept it. But do not let this innocent blood be unavenged.

I agree with Brian in prayer, Father. Call them to account, or grant them repentence if they will receive it. Avenge the innocents who have been murdered.

Amen and amen.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Prayer request: Just pray for me!

I hardly know where to start. I'm far too tired to be writing posts on a keyboard with a sticky space bar.

Dad is coming down this week and wants me all Friday evening and night, and all day Sunday until I have to be at work. Saturday won't be a picnic. Pastor's gone, which means it falls to Doug, Anita, and I to make a service happen. I just HAD to open my big mouth with an idea, and now *I* have been volunteered to come up with an outline for the service. I'm too tired and just not in a space to go to City Church tomorrow, now next Sunday's out, so that means 3 weeks until I can go. Bleh.

And hell, my high school reunion is next month and my only friend is MIA. They haven't got contact information to invite her. She was my best friend there, and one of only two friends I had. The other moved back to Germany and didn't graduate from my school. And I have nothing to show. Everyone else graduated college and "made it" in life. I have nothing to show. I'm fine with my life, but they will look down on me. Heck, my Dad is paying for me to go because I couldn't go otherwise, AND he is paying for a family friend to go so I will have a ride. Otherwise, that would stop me from going.

So yeah, life sux. God, why am I here?

Here We Go Again

Dad is coming down next weekend. Since he is paying for me to go to my high school reunion next month, he expects a beautiful, obedience daughter. He had comendeered my entire weekend - Friday evening until bedtime, and Sunday morning until I have to start work at 3 pm. Ug. I'll have Saturday off, but since pastor will be in So. Cal., I was asked to come up with an outline for the service based on the "ACTS" prayer model - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. So I'll have no time to myself for the next couple of Saturdays/Sundays to just sit in a church and let someone else do the work. At least Doug said he'd speak it; I don't do well in front of people unless every word is scripted. The funniest part of this whole thing - pastor's sermon today was on honoring our parents, the fifth commandment.

Speaking of my high school reunion, Dad wants me to ask Eleanor to drive me, and then he would pay for an extra ticket for her. He says I really have no other way to get there. There is no public transit out to the new school site.

Father, You know how well I (don't) get along with my earthly father. Please help me to be a good daughter while he is here, and help me to be a good witness to him of Your Kingdom. Save him that I might see him again in heaven. I don't want his death to be our final good-bye.

And Lord, give me the strength to get through the coming days and weeks. I am so weak right now -tired, stressed, and frightened. Give me Your strength to get me through.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Went to City Church today and would you believe what the sermon topic was - suffering! Geez. Like I needed that clue-by-four! ;)

I sat at the back of the church to hide and be alone. I didn't want to sit with anyone I knew. And I cried a bit during the service. My counselor says it's normal to cry where you feel safe, and I know I am safe with God. I can express my emotions to Him without the fear of being slapped down.

The sermon was on Romans 8 (great chapter!), but Pastor Harrell did point out one interesting thing elsewhere...Psalm 44. Psalm 44 is not about people who have done wrong and are being punished by God; it's about people who have kept His laws, lived their lives righteously - all that - and yet are suffering hardship anyway. Wow.
That set me off just reading the psalms in general - a good read if you are depressed. I went to Carrows and read the psalms and ate my lunch, and felt a bit better afterward.

God is here. I just need to cling to Him somehow.

As I walked from the church to the bus stop, I talked to God and told Him that I knew Romans 8:28 ("God works all things for good") is true, but... And I stopped myself. It was like God was saying to me, "No buts." It either is true or isn't. It's black and white, like being preganant - you either are or aren't; you can't be a little pregnant.

Like Pastor Harrell said, if God can redeem the suffering of Christ to bring salvation to all who believe, He can and will surely redeem my suffering.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Joan of Arcadia, take 2

Wow. Tonight's episode was cool. I'm humbled. Joan wanted to go to a party and God told her to go (evidentally knowing the effect it would have on her), but to keep her eyes open. She didn't, and her friend nearly died from drinking too much too fast. Joan asks God why He didn't stop it from happening, and God says, "I told you to keep your eyes open." Then Joan gets indignant and says, "You're not going to blame this on me!"

Later in the hospital Joan sees God again, goes up to her (He was in His older lady disguise at that time), and says, "You should have been more clear." Of course, God says He can only point the way. Then it happens. Joan says, "But what if I mess up again? I don't want to mess up again." And I knew then that she had stopped running. She was coming home. :) God takes her in her (His) arms and just holds her.

I don't want to mess up either. I've been through so much this week, getting written up and all. I know the next time I get written up I'll be canned. This is just one more stress on top of everything else I've been through. I just want it all to stop.
And my reaction to it all is to get mad at God. Not walk away like I have in the past, but get angry and think about how I don't like Him. And then Joan of Arcadia comes on and shows me God again. I don't want to mess up, hurt other people, displease Him. I pledged myself to Him eight years ago, and like God continually seeking out Joan even when she didn't want Him in her life, God takes my covenant with Him seriously. He has sought me out time and time again when I have tried to renig and walk away. It is the most powerful love I have ever known. It is a love I want in my life, a love I don't want to wound.

I know that hard times lie ahead. I can't be perfect forever and will screw up at some point and be canned. When that happens I don't know what I'll do. But I do know that even now, He is there and knows it all. He is capeable of guiding me through it.
As my eyes wander around my computer screen, they fall on a prayer I have taped to the monitor, an old prayer written a few years ago by someone on a forum who was going through a hard time. He felt like a toy being played with by a hyper housecat. It is my prayer tonight. This became known as the "cat toy prayer."

Oh Lord, Play with me as you will for your amusement, Lord, for I am as you made me. If this is my purpose for now, help me to offer myself to you, and accept your pounces with joy. And when you have finished playing with me, please sprinkle me with catnip, groom me thoroughly, and tuck me under your chin when you take your nap.

God wants me to endure hardship this year. He has His reasons I am sure. There is no use fighting Him. He will always get His way in the end. I can work with Him and grow, or fight Him and only get hurt worse. This ring, this "wedding band" on my finger reminds me of my choice - Him, and Him alone.

Yesterday I was once again confronted with the song from Conference. Here I am terribly depressed, and I'm confronted with the song. Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness...on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name. I must learn to praise Him in the dark. That is where real faith lives. Not from the mountaintops when life is good, but in the depths when every circumstance argues against Him and His goodness. Help me, Father, to be obedient through the rest of this trial.