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.


Apply the Blood

February 25, 2017

First thing in the morning I’m supposed to check my blood sugar. I put the little stick in the machine and the screen lights up.

I’m trying to use it to remind myself to have my quiet time first thing too. Apply the blood of Jesus. It lights up in the dark. 

It makes me giggle like the simpleton I can be but it works sometimes so I’ll keep doing it.


The Rejection

February 25, 2017

In a conference room for a demo of a kid’s program, we were asked to turn to the person next to us and give an example of when we were rejected. Unfortunately, the person next to me was someone I admire so much and value his opinion so greatly that I can rarely speak intelligently in his presence. He frightens me. So I babbled something stupid and he told me something awful that happened to him and we moved on.

I realized today that in my paradym the question was null. “Recall a time when my heart pumped?” That is the same question. Jesus was rejected and told us to expect it too. It makes me laugh. No wonder the question was so hard. I had to think about it.

Here’s a few answers:

  • When my mom gave me 3rd degree burns over my neck and arm. I almost died. She always told me it was my fault. I was 18 months old.
  • One of the many times I was left alone as a child and the water heater exploded on me. I fell asleep waiting for help –  blackened, burned and cut.
  • The time my friends in high school told me (as a joke) they’d pick me up for a football game on a certain corner. I sat there until midnight rather than go home to be shamed by my mother and made fun of by my family.
  • The time my husband tried to sell me as a prostitute.
  • The many times that same husband would look at me and then turn away with a look of revulsion. (Even today I have trouble looking in a mirror.)
  • The time after we were separated that he raped me.
  • When he abandoned us and we had to live in our car.
  • The times I was still at school and my family left to go somewhere without leaving a note. I came home to climb through the window. Once there was an earthquake. I gathered their coats and some water by the door while I was waiting. They laughed at me for a long time about that.
  • When I had anaphylactic shock at church and the choir director moved my legs out of the way so she could close the door and start rehearsal. She never even asked if something was wrong. Never knew that the paramedics jump started me, gave me 3 shots of adrenaline and were about to give up.
  • The times my mom would say “Sue’s the pretty one. But it’s ok – Judy’s smart” in company.
  • The one time I had a birthday party and no one came.

So there’s a few times I’ve felt rejected. Sometimes people suck.

But then there are wonderful people too. People who love me so much I can cry just thinking about them. They outnumber the jerks incredibly.

Their acts of acceptance can’t be numbered.

But more importantly there is the God who made me. The one who holds all creation together. Even me. He sent all those wonderful arms to hug me and kind words and deeds to bless me.


Worship Therapy

August 13, 2016

​I used to do this for my Aunt Gladys. I’d be on the way back from taking her to a doctor appt and she’d be sitting there with TV face in another world. So I’d just start singing the old hymns. After a while she would start to sing quietly then louder, then in harmony. After driving around for awhile in worship therapy we ended up in the Taco Bell drive up because she was hungry. Then she’d tell me the old stories of her family when her dad led the church and her mom played the piano. Worship therapy, that’s what is. Able to reach us when nothing else can.


Tired

July 25, 2016

WARNING: THIS WAS WRITTEN DURING A LOW POINT AND WHILE I’M HESITANT TO PUBLISH THIS, IN THE INTEREST OF TRANSPARENCY I HAVE TO DO IT. 

 It’s been a wild ride the last couple of months. I am so fat and out of shape that walking to my car makes me sweat bullets. I think I’m having mini anxiety attacks because I find it hard to breathe. God says “Be anxious for nothing” but I’m not doing so well in that. It’s funny but the idea of cancer and surgery doesn’t bother me.

There been a campfire devotional taught for 3 weeks of the 4 where the speaker describes Jesus taking him into the place prepared for him in heaven. Jesus pulls back this curtain there is this fantastic pen and ink drawing of his life. It has some colored highlights and is absolutely beautiful. Jesus reviews his life with him and then they start to leave when a gust of wind raises the corner on another curtain and a flash of brilliant color shows through. Jesus doesn’t really want to but at the speaker’s insistence pulls back the curtain on an incredible, Technicolor masterpiece. Jesus tells him that it was what his life could have been had he listened and obeyed God’s voice.  And he’s a pastor.

I’ve mostly wasted my life making bad decisions from birth. I love my kids and am proud of their kind hearts but they are so wounded. One has such anger issues that they prevent having loving relationships. They’ve been so hurt but in spite of my failures they are good people. They don’t love Jesus and are angry at God. They are so foul-mouthed and angry that it hurts my soul. Because of the lousy fathers I picked for them and my failure as a Christian witness.

I worry about my grandbabies going to hell but the father of one of my grandsons attacks Christianity and religion so vehemently on a regular basis that I’m scared to tell him anything. I’m afraid to talk to them about God. I’ve never been good at it. I’ve always been so overwhelmed by my failures that I just figured they’d laugh in my face and I’d make God look bad.

So after listening to this same lesson about the murals, in my mind I can see Jesus pulling off the Kleenex and revealing the post-it note that is my life to reveal the words,”Mexico ” in pencil. I’m almost too ashamed to go to heaven but it has always been my only hope.

Back in early spring I asked the Lord to just get me through this summer. Before I had any idea of the cancer. It was like I could feel myself losing life everyday. I’m so tired I’m ready.

I dread seeing that post-it note of my life but there’s not much I can do here anymore. I can sit in one place and work the computer. I’m grateful that God lets me use my one ability to still serve Him. Maybe my post-it note will have a little colored Mexican flag. :)


My Drug Of Choice

July 23, 2016

If you see it in the store, buy it for me and I’ll pay you back. It’s not the Puffcorn. It’s hard to find so when I do I usually buy it all. 

It’s $1.49 now. I should probably go to Celebrate Recovery and try to get off it but not right now. I haven’t hit bottom yet. I’m sure Bill W has something to say about it. I’ll ask him later. Call me Cleopatra – the queen of denial.


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.


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