Saturday, November 23

Larry's reminder .... "the best is yet to come" ... "in the twinkling of an eye ..."

It has been a week since I left the very beautiful confines of Glen Eyrie and have reentered life back home.  My heart has been overflowing, and while I have been able to begin to mull over what I have tucked away in my heart, I have found for the most part, that I hit the tarmac running.  All good - but running never the less.  So it has been, that I have begun to mull over the thoughts that have bubbled out and begun to run over.  And it is good.  While we were there - we were given the gift of Monday night, when we watched Anthony Lawton do a 90 minute dramatization of C.S.Lewis' "The Great Divorce" ....  I guess it got me thinking about Heaven.  Many thoughts ...

One of those thoughts lately, since Next Step school of spiritual direction - have focused around the thought that Dr. Crabb (Larry to us :) said.  It was not a new thought, but one that struck me deeply.  He said "Never forget - the best is yet to come..... In the twinkling of an eye..."
Dr. Crabb said that the "Second Coming" seems to be de-emphasized .... that he grew up with it (he was raised Plymouth Brethren like I was) and I remember hearing my father speak on the Second Coming with a quiver in his voice.  He loved to study the last book of the Bible - Revelation.
The interesting thing is, as I had been working through reading the Bible, and had read the 1st, 2nd, 3rd John and 1st and 2nd Peter ... I mentioned the same thing to Alvin - and asked him when was the last time he had heard a sermon on the Second Coming. 

I remember in my teens, the movie "A Thief in the Night" came out.  I remember watching it at Faith Bible Camp and being shaken - and wanted to make sure that I was ready if the Lord came.  I was never a kid that got into too much trouble, but the teen years really were years that cemented my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It had become "more" my own than when I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 8.  Life does that - we grow up and our faith is cemented for us.  Our life experience grows - along with our faith.  Or at least it should.

I have come to see that we really do live in the temporal - we love deeply - we live life to the fullest - we value family and friends and church and work.  It is good.  Very very good.  And we hate to see the reality of our existence - that we are really just passing through to eternity.  I know that I think often about heaven - especially since the deaths of my parents, and in-laws, and especially when our little grandson went to Heaven before we got a chance to know him .... not to mention other family and friends that I have loved deeply.  So I feel like Heaven does not hold a scariness that others perhaps feel.  (or at least I can say that now, as I am not facing any life and death situations.)

I know that I love what I am doing - and love all that God has made me to be - and I am learning more and more about embracing life.  BUT as Larry said - NEVER FORGET THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!  It makes me stop, and say, YES ... the best really IS yet to come!

So, I will go on about my every day life.  I want to be living fully in the hear and now - embracing life with Jesus and loving it - my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my extended family and friends.  I want to live a life of purpose - that will bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.  I want to make a difference in the life of someone else.  But I also want to live with my hands upturned and open - so that I am not clutching onto things but instead live open handed and ready.  I love this life - I am not going to lie.  But I can't help but wonder about life with Christ - and that excites me when I think of the best is still to come!!  YES.  Dr. Larry Crabb, thanks for the reminder!!

1 Corinthians 15:52

New Living Translation (NLT)
52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

Saturday, November 9

Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and meaningful conversation with Larry

Tonight I sat down at a table and within minutes, Larry (Dr. Crabb) and his wife also joined the table. I felt this mix of excitement and fear!! lol.  Excitement about what the conversation may be that takes place.  Fear about the same thing.  Healthy Fear (I think)

Larry (as he would rather be called) asked how our quad went this afternoon.  I shared some of that with him.  (Quad is a time spent together with 4 other people, talking about the assignment given).  After we talked about that a little I shared a bit of what I went to bed on my mind with last night.
He had revisited the topic of "conversations that matter - because they delight the Father; reveal the Son's heart, and provide opportunities for the Spirit to do what he most wants to do."  And then he asked us to think about conversations that fail to reach that bar.

My mind went immediately back to a time, while I was in leadership, that I had shared something that was very personal, and someone I worked with said something very hurtful. (this was not new for this person, but his response this time was at a time when I was very emotionally low and really hoped that someone would be there for me - if nothing else - at least to pray with me).  I had shared how I had once almost drowned physically, and now I felt like I was emotionally drowning. Later that day, my coworker felt that we should talk (I suppose) and poked his head into my office and began by telling me "those were very strong words you used" ....   the rest of the conversation I will not reveal, just suffice it to say, it went pretty downhill from there.  And no, there was no prayer either.  So this was the conversation that I remembered immediately when Larry asked us to think about a conversation that failed to reach the bar of delighting the Father, revealing the Son's heart and providing an opportunity for the Spirit to do hat he most wanted to do.

So tonight, as we ate supper, I told Larry that when I went back to my room last night, and got ready and crawled into bed, the memory of that  conversation made me feel sad again.  And then I shared how in SSD of October 09 when I was in my triad, I began to share something hard that happened to me in Kindergarten - only to stop in my tracks and I said these words, "Oh my goodness, I just realize that what I felt in kindergarten with that teacher, is the same way a co-worker made me feel often."   I told him about my "aha" moment in the middle of my conversation within my triad.

HOWEVER, I proceeded to say to him how last night, when I recalled all this, while it momentarily made me feel that pain and sadness again ~ the overriding feeling was one of seeing where God had brought me since the rawness in Oct 09 to this point, November 2013, and all that God had done in me, and with me, and yes, in spite of me in the last 4 years.  And the forgiveness, and joy, and growth.

4 years.  A lot has happened.  God has been at work.  I resigned from pastoral ministry.  We left the church that had been our home for over 30 years.  (HUGE DECISION that was made out of alot of feelings of hurt, however in retrospect, I really believe for a number of reasons that I would gladly say over coffee, but would rather not share here - I believe we would have left regardless of dealing with the pain and hurt).    And then we moved, and lost a mother to cancer, and built the ministry house, and in between those years added some grandchildren to our family.  And now, a ministry God laid on my heart in 2000 has been in operation for 7 full months.  God has been at work, and has changed our hearts, and has brought healing, and spiritual health.  He has continued to write our/my story and he still makes the hair stand up on my arms, and causes me to loose my breath at times!  God is just like that!!

Larry and I had more conversation - and towards the end of it, we talked about how my kindergarten experience and my experience with my coworker made me feel "stupid" and "less than" and how it has shaped me in such a way that I often feel like I don't have anything to offer, or I may not want to try anything, or say anything because of the fear of being called out in front of others, and made to feel stupid.  That feeling .... it is so real. And it drives my response (or no response) in certain areas.  Sometimes I wish I could tell my past coworker this, but I really don't think he would get it. That part, for his sake, is truly sad.

Larry encouraged me to think of something as I went to bed.  He had asked how my mom or dad had responded to me as a 5 year old.  I had no memory of telling them - maybe I did, maybe I didn't.  Can't remember.  Then he asked how my husband responded when I told him of my co worker's time(s) of making me feel stupid. (yes, there were several times before the one that hurt so much)  And then he said ... as you go to bed, think of what God would say to you, that would make you simply delight in his response to you.

So.... this is on my mind as I get ready for bed ... and will be no doubt as I drift off to sleep.

God, you know about my experiences with people who have made me feel stupid.  You know all about me, and how those experiences come out of a core terror.  (A core terror is a deep fear still living within that seems to require and justify that which makes us present as more together than we are)
God you know that I hate to be made to feel stupid.  And because of that, you know that it limits me in many ways - and it also makes me stifled from feeling fully alive for you!  Lord, I ask that you would work within me - and help me to hear what it is YOU want to say to me - O Lord, I want to be living a fully alive life!!  Please Lord, speak.

feeling surreal

I got on the plane yesterday morning and started my journey back to the Glen.  I met D and J at the airport and we got out car, made a pitstop at Walmart and then after getting a little lost (although we did get to travel through the Garden of the gods) we got to our final destination - Glen Eyrie.  We got our rooms and I brought my stuff down to my room, shut the door and that is when it hit.  I am back at the Glen, and in Next Step Class #5.  I have thought of it for a while, and prepared but it feels very very surreal.

I will be honest, I have come here very tired.  My life has been full, and starting out on our new ministry also has made it full.  IT'S GOOD but FULL, sometimes overflowing.  I am an introvert by nature, and I am finding it hard to figure out how to figure that out.  I love people, but I know that I need my alone time, and I especially get energized by being alone with God.  And lately, praise God, we have had many more people coming, so my life has been full with people. It somehow still seems a little bit complicated but I have great confidence that I will figure it out.

I have been tired too, and struggling with pain, so that has made it complex.  I am really really excited about the possibilities of this week - in many ways, one of them being that I have literally stepped out of the traffic (as the Message puts it) and I am waiting to see what God does because this gal is desiring all that he has for me, and I feel a little like a sponge.

Last night, in our first session, Dr. Crabb (although he likes being called Larry, somehow I find that hard lol) ... anyhow Larry said about this week ahead together that he wants "to play in the truth" ...
So Father - thank you for this most amazing setting that you have allowed me to come to again to learn and spend time with others, but mostly with you.  Thank you for this time of learning.  Lord, please enlarge my heart for all that you have for me.  Please refresh my physically weary body. Please open the eyes of my heart to learn more of your truth as I study and read the Scriptures.  Please make me teachable as I study under Dr. Crabb, so that I can use what I am learning in ministry with others.
I ask you Lord to bless my family and grandkids while we are apart.  Lord, may your will be done in my life - I am willing Lord.  Refresh this vessel, and pour into it till it is bubbling over.  May your will be done in my life.  Amen.