Redemption 

February 25, 2017

God is in the redemption business. Taking something and making something new out of it.

Romans 8:28 promises it. The context of the verses before it talk about persevering through hardship and he concludes that God makes it work together for good. For our good. Not that what happens is good but that God who made creation from chaos will make good come out of bad things. “He makes all things beautiful in His time.”

In the middle of my ugly divorce my children and I needed counseling. My children had been victimized and there was someone deliberately try to make it worse than it already was.To pay for the session, the therapist had me do editing work on her current paper on an Apple IIe.

I had never worked on a real computer before and after some serious trial and error I figured out how it worked. I loved it. It worked the same way my brain did. I found my gift.

That was the first step in a long line of God-incidences that brought me where I am today. I volunteer in the church office doing computer work after a 30 year career in IT. I am retired from the largest computer company in the world. I loved that job and was very successful at it. But what I do at Eastside is all that I did before but for something eternal. Something of true worth. It’s my job to give the ones that can preach and teach more time to use those gifts while I do what God built me to do in great joy in the office. I am happier than I have ever been.

The season of my divorce was the second most painful time in my life…(BUT GOD…two of the best words in the Bible) but God made something for mine and my family’s good from it.

I may not see all the things He has redeemed but I believe in His promise that it will happen.


Mexico Post-Mortem

August 1, 2016

I can’t believe it’s over. It was an awesome 5 weekends spread over a 6 week period. Months of preparation and hours of work and planning come to fruition. I know people were blessed. I hope most of all that God was glorified.

There was wonderful worship, deep fellowship and a couple of heart-breaking problems. I hugged a lot of people. I had to let go of things I couldn’t control which was just about everything and God never missed a thing. 

I revealed to the general public that I have cancer. That went way better than I expected.

Physically I was about as useless as I could be. But, I have never felt so used of God in my life. In my greatest physical weakness God’s strength was made perfect. 

I even felt loved on occasion which is tremendously scary. 

They team did some amazing ministry at the orphanage and in the valley surrounding it. I helped get them all there so that’s something I guess.

I am very happy. I thought I’d be depressed after it was all over. I’m not. I hope with my whole heart that God lets me stay useful. I know I’ll probably never again be as busy as I have been these last few months but I hope He gives me purpose.

You’re never poor if you’ve got something to give away.

God will take care of me like He always has.


Saved By Praise

July 13, 2016

So, if they’re going to cut out the cancer they’re going to remove a section of my lung. They had to test my lung function. This was scary because I had one of these tests a couple of years after my initial cancer surgery and I didn’t do very well. The doctor frowned a lot.

I was so afraid that if I didn’t do well on this test, they wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I was so worried I began having an anxiety attack. Trouble breathing. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

The tech was really nice and we started the test. After the first go-through he said, “You’re a Singer, aren’t you? You sing at church.” 

With a shocked look on my face I nodded.

“Thought so. You guys always do well.”

I’ve been singing and leading worship for most of my life. The first time I sang special music at church I was 3 years old. I lead worship in children’s church with my Aunt Gladys at 10. If there was a choir, I was in it. Music used to be the biggest part of my identity. It was my worship language. I always felt like God smiled when I sang.

I asked him “How’d you know?”

“You needed a 70 to pass the test. 100 would be good. You got a 137. Singers, divers, musicians know how to breathe.”

Not only was God smiling when I sang, he was probably laughing that while I was praising him I was saving myself.

God has always taken care of me.


You Can’t Take the Blame

July 10, 2016

In a previous post below I told of being forced by God to stay in one place and be blessed by the wonder of His creation. Look below for Just In From Utah.

While it was a terrific time, it also left me with little time to plan for the monthly gathering of our prayer groups at church. I was blessed to lead my fellow prayer warriors in worship. This was a non-denominational Christian church with the usual kind of service. Sort of straight-laced but loving. I thought just for something different I would ask a dear friend, schooled in the old ways to lead us in a liturgical service. I was really looking forward to it.

Then I got stuck in the desert during what should have been my worship planning and practice with my guitarists. All the rest of the 8 hour drive home I tried to think of songs that we knew, that would fit with the service my friend was going to lead us in…nothing. I was panicked. I prayed and prayed while going through our music library but nothing. I had been sensing that this service was supposed to be very special. That God was going to move in a very obvious way – but I was going to let Him down with my part.. I finally got to the church a couple of hours early. I liked to set the stage for worship with various candle arrangements. We usually kept the lights dimmed and lit the service with candles representing the many prayers of the groups that were meeting for worship. I digress.

After I got the candles set, I sat in the corner and reminded God that He still needed to give me the worship songs and by the way, where were my guitarists? I must have looked like a deer in the headlights when my precious friend and mentor Carol walked in. She always helped me with the candles. I told her what was going on and she told me that maybe God didn’t want music for this service. I almost hyperventilated.

Then she said something that changed my life.

“Judy, if this service goes perfectly and people are incredibly blessed, can you take the credit for it?”

Shocked, I told her of course not.

“Then you can’t take the blame either.”

Freedom flooded my soul.

By now it was about 6:45, only 15 minutes before the service was to start. A good friend of mine decided out of the blue to come to our service. He had previously been the music minister at the church. I picked a few song sheets that I had brought and he said he’d be happy to play. His guitar was in the car. We quickly strummed through some standard choruses and thought they fit. We knew them well. Everybody did.

At 7 PM my pastor friend walked in and behind him was my best volunteer guitarist. We all settled into our places, the candles were lit and all the prayer warriors turned their hearts to worship. 

From the first note and the words of gathering God’s people in, something started to happen. We were no longer in the children’s church room – we were in God’s holy temple. As we said the ancient words of the liturgy spoken by the great cloud of witnesses that had gone before us for 2000 years, we were the church. Somehow we were joined by other voices of the neverending praise that is constantly before the throne of God. By communion time, all of us were on our knees, some on their faces. I was crying and singing and praying as led by my blessed pastor friend. The room seemed to be filled with the smoke of incense. I’ll never forget that night.

I try always to remember what an incredible thing God did and allowed me to be a part of. He showed me that He will take full responsibility for everything we hand over to Him and in my inability, bless me. He gets all the credit.

I know most of you believe I’m a little crazy and I won’t deny it…but it really happened. I can give you the names of people that were there. Sane people. People who know…

God has always cared for us.


Pork Chops of Shame

July 2, 2016

I have been poor before. Living in my car, handout begging poor. With two babies. We did ok, God always took care of us. Still, it made me develop strategies like always buying meat on sale and freezing it so we always had a source of protein.  During this time and pretty much all the time I tithed.  God had always taken care of us.

But then I took a job that turned out not to be full time. I was mislead. We went through all of my frozen meat except one package of pork chops. I wouldn’t touch that last package – then I wouldn’t have anything for backup. Just in case.

You have to know what happened…eventually the pork chops became buried under God’s new supply. I knew they were there but I was too ashamed to uncover them. I eventually ended up throwing away the freezer-burned carcass of my backup plan.

I completely missed the blessing that comes to the fully surrendered.

And God supplied anyway. While I clung to my pork chops of shame.

 

 


Delete some drama

April 15, 2007

I used to say that my mom hated me but now I see that is way too dramatic. Not just dramatic but inaccurate. Hate requires caring and my mom was too self-involved to hate me. I annoyed her, she resented me is probably the most accurate way to put it.

My mom lived in a constant search for love. He childhood sucked and she had no idea what it looked like. She just new she needed it. She knew my dad didn’t love her and was using her for sex but it was close enough. He asked her to marry him as an excuse for missing work because he had been on a drunk. So his family pulled together a makeshift wedding – he got his excuse and mom got married.

I was born two years later. I looked just like my dad and he adored me. As in most families, babies are very well loved in our clan. I wasn’t anymore exceptional than anyone else’s baby. I was just my dad’s first and he was 31 years old. He expressed his love openly, affectionately to me – the way my mom wanted him to express it to her. It didn’t happen. I was competition.

It totally sucked to be me in that place where it already sucked to be my mom. My mom didn’t know how to receive or give love AND was pissed off that I got what she wanted. It wasn’t fair but it just was what it was.

 


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