Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guess who I met?

I was at Woodland Park with Bryan and his friend. They were skateboarding, and I was reading on my blanket. It really was the perfect evening to lay out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I was perfectly content all by myself on my blanket when he walked up.

He smelled. Really bad.

He was a little drunk, I am quite sure.

He was strange, talking to himself at times, but friendly.

He was looking for conversation.

He told me his name as Dean Martin, then James Dean, then Charlie Brown. When he asked my name, I said "Farrah Fawcett", to which he responded "touche'".

We talked about the weather, where he was from (Michigan) and how he got to KY. He asked me to watch his "house" (backpack) while he went to "show those kids how to throw a frisbee the right way". He schooled them, for sure! He told me that his parents had died when he was a child, and his grandparents raised him. He ran away "as soon as possible so I didn't have to follow their rules". He had spoken to them a few weeks before, and they told him he could come home, but he said he didn't think he would. He said that his Grandma made him go to church if he lived with her, and I argued that maybe that was not a bad deal for three meals a day and a good warm bed to sleep in. He just shrugged his shoulders and laughed. Then he said "Life's tough, but faith gets ya through, you know?"

Yeah, I do know.

I asked him what or who he put his faith in, and he said "well, not Jesus, that's for sure", and he went on to ask if I was going to "get my preach on". I assured him I would not be preaching, but that he had mentioned faith, so I wondered what he had faith in. He asked me where I placed my faith, and I told him in Jesus Christ.

His response made me weep.

He said "I don't care for Jesus or Christians. You never get second chances from them. They judge you at every turn". He went on to tell me that he had been given more help from the "drunks, winos, prostitutes and homeless" than anyone who had ever professed to know Jesus. I apologized on behalf of all of us believers who have looked down on him because he was less fortunate. I told him I had done it too, and I was sorry. After all, the first thing I noticed was his smell, his sandals held together by duct tape, the smell of liquor on him, the dirty hands, face and feet. I hadn't looked at the person, but the outward appearance.

I was able to give him some money for a meal, since he had not eaten for several days (except for some peanut butter out of someone's trash). He asked me how I knew he wouldn't go get drunk with the money, and I told him I didn't; that was entirely up to him. But I was going to try to make him see that some who claim the name of Christ really do care, really do want to see the needs of the man he is, not just his circumstance.

I am not sure what God is doing with me these days.. leading me to homeless around me and giving me the chance to know them. But I am changed for the better because of it. Oh, that I never go back to being the person I was before I met Dean Martin/James Dean/Charlie Brown.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God is Alive and Well, Folks

Today has been one of those days when God's power is just shoved in my face, down my throat and everywhere else. AND I LOVE IT.

For those of you who think that miracles are a thing of the past, just for the "bible times", you are wrong. Very wrong.

For those of you who think that God only speaks to a certain few, you are wrong. Very wrong.

For those of you who think that God doesn't have a perfect plan for everyone of us, you are wrong. Very wrong.

For those of you who think you are too far gone, too bad to ever be forgiven by God, you are wrong. Very wrong.

God is STILL in the business of miracles, of forgiveness, of healing, of speaking, and of bringing about His perfect plans. And this morning, in Bible study, I saw proof of it all over the room. God is moving. I can't wait to see what happens next!

How about you? Are you seeing Him move too? I promise He is...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Perspective is Everything

This morning started just like every other day. I took a shower and washed my hair just like I always do. But then the hairdryer blew up and my hair was still really wet. Really wet. I put my makeup on, got dressed, drove to the store and bought a new hairdryer, then went to work to fix my hair. Gotta love starting the day like that.

The first client in the building was WILD. He ran all over the office, threw toys, stole food, hit his mom, etc etc. When I tried to redirect him, he spit on me. I almost puked. Spit is gross people.

I forgot my lunch at home, so I went out to get something. As I walked out the front door, the heavens opened up and it poured the rain. Lucky for me, I had a hairdryer at work.

When I got back to work, I slipped and fell in front of many clients as I came in the front door.

My son was frustrated that he had to do his chores, and he told me he didn't want to live here anymore.

I burnt my finger cooking dinner.

Jeff is late getting home because he got held up at work.

I came downstairs to pray because it's quiet down here. I was just telling God that I really had a bad day. And then it hit me...

These people are the ones having a bad day. These people and so many more are mourning the loss of a parent or child today. These people lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 because terrorists chose to kill the innocent.

My husband may be later than usual, but he is coming home. My son may have been angry, but he is still here (and he did the chores, then he apologized). My finger may be burnt, but I am alive, healthy and well. I was inconvenienced a little this morning, but big deal...I was safe all day long.

I have no idea what a bad day is like. It's all about perspective. May God's peace surround all of the families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks today and every day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Have you seen this woman?

I will answer for you. No, you haven't seen this lady. The simple sad truth is that most of us have never even seen anyone like her. This is Lucy Burns. I know that the media is calling John McCain "the maverick", but let me tell you... Lucy Burns was a REAL maverick.

Lucy was one of the key people responsible for the eventual passage of the right for women to vote in this country. You see, it wasn't until 1920 that we ladies were given that freedom. Before that, women like Lucy fought hard and courageously to gain that right.

On November 15, 1917, Lucy (and numerous other women) were jailed after picketing at the White House, holding signs asking for the right to vote. They were innocent (freedom of speech was already in effect), and they were defenseless, yet they were imprisoned anyway. By the end of the night, they were also barely alive. Forty prison officials went on a rampage, beating Lucy and the approximately 30 other ladies for "obstructing sidewalk traffic".

Lucy was beaten then chained by her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left bleeding and gasping for breath. Additional affidavits describe ladies being beaten, choked, kicked, twisted and pinched. This night is historically referred to as "the Night of Terror", and it marked the beginning of weeks of torture for Lucy and the other women.

On November 4, 2008 some ladies will choose not to vote because we are too tired, too busy, too whatever. We will make excuses on why we will not vote because we don't like our choices in the election. We will complain that our one little vote won't make a difference anyway.

I say... tell that to Lucy Burns! She fought hard so that we have this right. How dare I not act upon this privilege?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Out of Africa...

Tonight we completed our application for adoption. Again.

This time, we are going with Ethiopia. There are a lot of reasons for this choice. For one, it's known to be a very smooth process, and after the mess of Vietnam, we are ready for "smooth". But there are more important reasons than this. Here are a few to start with...

~ One in ten children die before their first birthday
~ One in six children die before their fifth birthday
~ 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
~ 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
~ The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years
~ 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
~ 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia

I really believed that we would find Ellie in Vietnam, and for a while I was ready to quit the whole process because that country fell through. But Jeff and I believe that God has called us to adopt. Period. And we love Ellie, wherever she is out there. So, we will look in Ethiopia. And I do believe that she is out there.

Please pray with us that God unites us with her. I trust that He has chosen the perfect little girl for our family, a girl whose personality and spirit matches our own. A girl who will know that we are her mommy, daddy and brother.

So... she will look a bit differently than we originally thought. But who cares? She will be ours, and well, that's enough for me!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Books.. the good and not-so-good

Here's the latest in my book reading..

Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversations about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper.

I read this book at the urging of Jeff, and I was not disappointed. Well, maybe I was a little disappointed, but certainly not in the book itself. Let me explain. This book is a candid look at how we Christians "do church" and what non-believers think about it. It is a journey to some of America's most well-known churches with Jim, a former pastor, and Casper, an atheist. Together, they take a good hard look at today's church services, worship styles, outreach, missions, and lots of other stuff. I say it's disappointing only because I found myself disappointed in myself and how I do church. I found myself sometimes angry that an atheist would dare say such mean things about church..what does he know anyway? Then, I found myself praying for forgiveness for those same thoughts because, after all, is church really for me? Aren't we supposed to be reaching those who don't know and haven't heard?

If you are a Christian, read this book. If you want to look at how those outside the walls of the church view you, read this book. If you just want sunshine and fluff blown in your face, don't even bother. This isn't the book for you.

I feel I have to tell you about this book because that was the plan here.. to let you know what I have been reading. However, let me say that this was one of the biggest disappointments in a book I have read in a LNG LONG time!

Riven, by Jerry B. Jenkins really intrigued me. I was excited to read this book. After all, the author himself called this "the book I've always wanted to write". Reviews about Riven raved that it was masterful, insightful, gripping. I will admit that initially I was drawn in by the characters, really feeling as if I knew them somehow. But as the story developed, I found myself thinking "Haven't I read this before?". I found the book repetitive. To put it bluntly, I was bored. Now, that is not to say that I didn't finish it. I will admit that there was a "twist" that I didn't quite expect, but I found it strange and completely unbelievable really, not like the rest of the book. However, I did want to see how it ended nonetheless.

If the book were 200 pages shorter, I might recommend it. But at well over 500 pages, I just can't. Sorry Jerry. If you have read this and feel differently, I would love to hear your point of view!