I am shy. I am introverted too. I am embarrassed to say that it takes me a long time to warm up to people because of these two traits. However, if an extroverted person is interacting with me, I come out of my shell quickly and I make fast friends with people. I base friendship on trust, laughter, shared memories, and especially deep conversations regarding uncomfortable topics shared without judgment. One-on-one time is precious time to me. After years of trust, laughter, shared memories, and discussions regarding uncomfortable topics, I considered a certain person one of my best friends. During a discussion after I did something randomly unexpected for them, I said I did it because they are my best friend.
The look on their face told me otherwise.
It was a split second, but I caught it all on the tape I replay in my mind. I saw the furled brow appear as well as the questioning eye squint. Their lips remained pursed together. It was a split second, but that split second was packed with a punch.
I am not short of friends, but something triggered me to think about this person lately. I miss what used to be before I spilled the beans. Maybe the relationship was not really as strong as I had conjured up in my mind. I live and I learn. Some people stay in our lives, and others don’t. They weren’t my only best friend as there can be more than one based on the shared qualities of the relationship. I accepted the fact that they had other best friends as we cannot be everything to everyone we meet. But I was never on their list of best friends. Perhaps they hit their limit and had no room for me.
Situations like this make me recoil and go back to the shy and introverted person I am deep down. “Back to the drawing board” I tell myself. At the proverbial drawing board, I take inventory of who my friends really are. Who sticks with me through thick and thin? Who can I call on any time of the day and they answer me? Who does not judge me and loves me even though they know my sin?
I can count my absolute best friends on one hand. And the ultimate best friend is Jesus and he is counted on my heart. All I learned about being a friend, I learned from Jesus. He sticks with me through thick and thin, He answers me whenever I call, He does not judge me and loves me even though I sin.
Thank you, God, for your son Jesus and that I can truly call Him my best friend, forever. Thank you also for my earthly friends. May I continue to be there for them through thick and thin, answer whenever they call and never judge them though they sin.
Galatians 5:22-23New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I have a hard time with God sometimes. I can pray to Him and I can also talk as if He was right next to me, like talking to a friend or a parent. But there are so many times I just want to see Him, though, you know? I confess often that I wish I had someone just like Him in the flesh to talk to, to share my troubles with and physically put my head on their shoulder while embracing in a hug.
I feel so bad for confessing that because spiritually, I know God is right here with me. Always. Putting his arm around me and comforting me. Spiritually I feel it, but physically I want to feel it more.
Then, out of the blue, a friend sends me a message telling me her “God sighting”, telling me that she thought of me when it happened.
It didn’t take long to have it hit me that God was speaking to me through my friend. The story she shared was so filled with the word of God to me, even though it was her own encounter with God. God answered my prayer and became a human.
I have a hard time with God sometimes, but am so thankful that he doesn’t feel the same about me.
Thank you God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman,why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
No doubt about it, weddings are expensive. The bride and groom hope to have enough food and drink for their guests to enjoy themselves. At the wedding at Cana in Galilee, the wine ran out. With Jesus’ help, water was turned into wine and it was better than the best wine they had already served.
Our local television news station, eightWest, is hosting a Dream Wedding contest. The winning couple will be awarded $25,000 in gift certificates to be used toward everything they need for a Dream Wedding to be performed on 12-12-12. The top three couples were revealed on the show today and my friends, Megan and Erik, have been selected!
The viewers have until October 8, 2012 to place their vote online for the winning couple to be revealed on October 10, 2012. After the couple is selected, the viewers will vote on the dress, the menu and the honeymoon destination as well as a few other wedding details.
Would you please take a moment to look at this website, read the submission that Erik wrote, register your email address and place a vote for Megan and Erik? I know that Jesus is going to be on their guest list and he is going to be in their lives forever.
The church I attend has been without a permanent Pastor for approximately two years. Our Bishop called Pastor Michael Kemper, who is a full-time Interim Pastor, to fill in and shepherd our flock.
After the entrance hymn, opening prayers, and before the readings, Pastor Mike invites the little children to join him on the steps to the altar to sit around him as he shares a story, on their level, based on the Bible readings for the day. Pastor Mike’s first children’s sermon was a little longer than our church family had ever heard. The second week, a little boy asked Pastor if he was going to tell them a long story again. Oh, such honesty. 🙂 As time pressed forward, Pastor Mike told his stories at whatever length was necessary to get the message across and I feel that no one, young or old, concerned themselves with a time limit as he is an engaging story-teller. My inner child would always run up to the altar, with the little children, to hear their special sermon.
Pastor Mike never gave a bad sermon to the adults either. Truly, I wish he would write books as I know he would be my favorite author.
On October 2, 2011, we will blot tears from our eyes as we wave good-bye to Pastor Mike and his lovely wife, Jane. The Bishop has a new assignment for our favorite Interim Pastor. My inner child is throwing a tantrum because I do not want him to leave. My adult self understands that people must pass through our lives as they serve God’s purpose for our growth as well as their own. If I feel this way about my Interim Pastor, just think how the people felt in the towns that Jesus passed through during his ministry. I hope our paths will cross again on this earth, but if not, I will look for Pastor Mike in heaven some day.
Pastor Mike, you have given our church stability at a time we felt broken, prayed for us when we could not, and shared your smile every time we saw you. Our congregation is blessed to have been under your leadership. I pray the church(es) you serve will realize you are a blessing from God.
On November 9, 2010 I came out of the closet on this blog. Not the typical closet that most are accustomed to hearing about; I came out of an even more secret closet…the childless closet. This is the blog Blessing in Disguise, if you have not read it before.
It was a very vulnerable move on my part as only select people were privy to this information in the past. So why did I do it? I did it because I made peace with this part of my life.
I am a charter member of ChildlessNotByChoice, a childless website begun in 2002. I owe so much to Diane and Kimberly who founded the site out of their own need for a childless community. I thank the members there for their virtual hand-holding and understanding of the pain, fears, and frustrations of being childless not by choice. With all of their support, I have been able to make peace with my surgically removed dreams of motherhood.
For years I focused on the fact that children are a gift from God, and I wasn’t given this gift. I felt left out and I allowed this to block my view of all of the other blessings that God has given me. I realized this week that even though I am a parent to none, God’s children are everywhere and every age. I am able to share His word and love with God’s children I never bore.
I made my exit from the childless closet to let you know that while I was in there, I struggled with what I thought should have been my blessing. In my humanness, I was angry and confused with God.
Today, I am walking in faith, by the grace of God, knowing that I am right where I should be. I extend to you my virtual hand to hold, along with my virtual shoulder to lean on, from this day forward. I am willing to listen to you without judging, walk along side you without running away, and pray for you unceasingly. Whatever burden you carry, I want you to know the love of God.
This is a confidential invitation. I will only share your burdens in prayer with God.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Your sparkling blue eyes and friendly smile always lit up a room.
Your strong hands built bikes, fixed everything broken, threw an awesome knuckle ball, and changed into the best back-scratcher ever.
Your character, integrity, and wit cannot be duplicated.
Your time, talents, and treasures you shared gave every indication that Jesus lived in your heart.
I love you and miss you Dad.
My Dad, 1927-2009
1 Timothy 5:4(NIV)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
I was present at the birth of my great-niece almost eight years ago. I was standing next to the crib where she was placed within seconds of entering the world. I watched wide-eyed in amazement at how the nurse cleaned her up, cleared out her nostrils, mouth and eyes. She was so little and dependent on everyone around her. This precious child of God will need food, clothing and shelter, I thought, and I knew her needs would be met by the loving family who waited for her arrival.
Under the veil of protection, some children do not receive the proper food, clothing and shelter they deserve. Some families do not realize children are a gift from God and so the children are mistreated as objects instead of humans.
My first encounter with child abuse was by reading the book A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, written by Dave Pelzer about his own experience. Dave’s mother was mentally disturbed and an alcoholic. She mentally and physically abused him with tortuous games only she thought were amusing. Child abuse is often cyclical. Once abused, that person will abuse and that person will abuse, and so the ripple effect moves on. Dave was able to overcome and broke this chain of destruction in his family.
Some children are sexually abused. Usually the abused knows the abuser. Sexually abused children are threatened to remain silent and this silence may bring about behavioral changes. The following is taken from http://www.stopitnow.org/warning_signs_child_behavior April 9, 2011.
Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent
Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
Seems distracted or distant at odd times
Has a sudden change in eating habits
Refuses to eat
Loses or drastically increases appetite
Has trouble swallowing
Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal
Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images
Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
Talks about a new older friend
Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason
Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad
Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge
Signs more typical of younger children
An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)
Has new words for private body parts
Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)
Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games
Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal
Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
Signs more typical in adolescents
Self-injury (cutting, burning)
Inadequate personal hygiene
Drug and alcohol abuse
Running away from home
Fear of intimacy or closeness
Compulsive eating or dieting
You cannot pick a child abuser out of a crowd, but you can pick up on the warning signs listed above. Reach out to a child or adolescent, they need you to be their silent voice.
I witnessed my beautiful great-niece coming into the world and I know she is a gift from God. I would do everything in my power to protect her and her siblings.
2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (New International Version, ©2011)
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
Imagine sitting at a window on a rainy day. You notice one small droplet at the top of the window is motivated by gravity. Rolling down the window, it zigs left and it zags right, left, right, left right… picking up other droplets on its journey. This once small droplet has turned into a bigger mass of water landing as a puddle at the base of the window. One final tug from gravity and it drops to the ground below, next to a flower in bloom.
What if this droplet is your hunger for God in your life? The Holy Spirit ignites desire in your heart to know more about God and the life of Jesus. You begin searching for answers. The droplets of information could come from Bible Studies, church sermons, Christian mentors, personal prayer time, service work and fellowship with other Christians. The momentum from this desire in your heart begins to overflow and you cannot help but share it with others.
Do not imagine watching the droplet zig-zag down the window; be the droplet to the world.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.