I have always had a hard time standing up for myself. I don't like confrontation and negativity for one thing, but sometimes I have to because I end up getting stepped all over and then some.
And I usually get to the point where enough is enough.
At work I am beginning to get really sick and tired of being taken advantage of, from the day shift leaving their unfinished work for me because they know I will do it to the Lead changing my schedule around all the time just because she can.
Now the thing with the scheduling has absolutely gotten on my last nerve and yesterday I put my foot down when she wanted to change my schedule again at the last minute.
Two weeks ago, another c0-worker told the lead that she needed tomorrow off because her husband has to have surgery. I was standing there when she told the lead and heard her quite clearly.
Yesterday, this co-worker reminded the lead and the lead got an attitude over it and when this co-worker was out of earshot she complained saying she should have told her sooner. Two weeks ago wasn't soon enough?
So she pulled out the schedule and first asked another co-worker if she could do it and she initially said yes, but then realized that she has an appointment tomorrow. The lead got snotty and said, 'Well, I CAN'T do it, I have an appointment!' even though she is already scheduled for tomorrow and all she would have to do is come in earlier.
Then she looked at me and said, 'Well, Deni is off Wednesday!'
I looked at her and said, 'Yeah and I would like to be off!'
In other words, NO.
I have not had two days off in a row in forever, because every time I am scheduled that way the lead changes my schedule and I am blamed tired of it.
And another thing, I am not trained to do this other person's job, even though I have learned a little from watching and helping there is a lot I don't know and I think that it's a bad deal to put someone in a spot who doesn't know what they are doing.
She really wasn't happy with me, but oh well, I found out that company policy says I don't have to work when I am not scheduled. I don't mind helping out but I have plans on getting some much needed things done around my house, and I just can't do it in one day. If I have one day off, then have to work three or five, by the time my next day off comes there is even more work and I just can't catch up.
Was this wrong of me to want the days off I was scheduled? Was it wrong for me to stand up and say no? I have gone into work every single time she has asked me to or changed my schedule without telling me first and I need a break, even two days is better than nothing.
I am feeling kind of selfish for not agreeing to work, but I am also a bit angry that they keep expecting me to change my plans for work. I work to live not live to work. My family and home comes first, and I am getting really disgusted with this job.
I am also disgusted with the stupid, petty, immature, spiteful things some co-workers do to one other one. These are grown women and they act like they are in junior high. They keep trying to drag me into it, and I won't have it.
I try to keep to myself, not say anything, but it's getting harder.
I just want to tell them to just cut it out already and grow up! It's ridiculous and they expect me to not talk to this person, help her or anything just because they don't like her. Well, she never did anything to me and I happen to like her, and I think she is getting a bum rap. She stays to herself, and tries to ignore their spitefulness as hard as it must be.
I am the type, I don't dislike a person based on what someone else tells me. I try to get to know people for who they are not based on someone else's perceptions. I would want someone to do that for me, so that is how I treat people. If I believed every thing people told me, then I would never talk to anyone. And I figure the ones who sit and gossip and back stab people would do the same to me in a heartbeat, so the women who are against this other co-worker are just showing me that they are not people I really want to associate with, instead of pushing me away from this co-worker, they are actually creating the opposite affect.
I try to be kind to every one, even people who I don't really like I will help, that is my nature. I always believed that kindness is a better way to go than being spiteful and mean, especially treating those who are mean as kindly as possible.
I also will not verbally take sides, I am not on anybody's side at work, I am there to do a job, earn a paycheck, I am not there to make friends or enemies. Making friends can be a nice benefit to working, but I am one who is very careful of who to make friends with, since I have been majorly burned in the past by so called 'friends'.
And after working there for almost nine months, I can see some really nasty personality traits in some people that I initially thought were nice people. Time brings people's true colors out eventually, and it makes me glad that I didn't pursue friendship with these people.
I am trying to figure out a way to handle this diplomatically, but these two women I am afraid would suddenly perceive me as an enemy if I say anything even though I want to just tell them to leave me out of it. Every time I even help this other co-worker they ask me why I am doing so, or like yesterday, asked me if I was on crack. No, I am not, I am doing my job, I believe in being a team player and helping my co-workers, and I really don't feel like standing around gossiping when I have work to do.
Am I wrong? How does one handle something like this? Especially as a Christian? I am finding it a difficult issue to deal with, and I don't even know who at work I can talk t about this, since the Lead seems to be on the their side, and the managers don't seem to care when you tell them anything and if you do nothing changes. I have tried to talk to two different managers about other issues but nothing was done.
So do I put up with it and just keep doing what I am doing? Is there a way to diffuse this?
I am starting to look at the want ads, there are so many things that I dislike about this job that it seems like my only option.
Sorry for the long rant, I needed to get this off my chest I guess and hoping maybe someone has a suggestion as to how to deal with it.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I have always had a hard time standing up for myself. I don't like confrontation and negativity for one thing, but sometimes I have to because I end up getting stepped all over and then some.
Monday, January 21, 2008
No more snow, the storm they called for on Saturday petered out and we only got a few flurries. Since then the temps have dropped in the teens, needless to say, we are freezing!
It's supposed to get up to forty degrees today, but who knows.
I caught the tail end of the play off game last night between the Green Bay Packers and the NY Giants, what a game! I wish I could have seen the whole game, but I was at work.
Tied in the fourth quarter, 20/20, they went into over time, and the Giants brought the game to an end at 23/20.
They are headed to the Super Bowl!
NY Giants against the undefeated New England Patriots, that should be one good game.
I am off Super Bowl Sunday, so I will be camped in front of the tv for the game.
With junk food.
And of course, hubby.
Who of course will want junk food.
You can't watch the Super Bowl without it.
I really don't have much to post, nothing much has happened. Every one seems to be hibernating as much as they can from the cold.
I have been working and haven't had much time to do anything at home. I am off tomorrow and Wednesday, and since I finally have two days off in a row, I want to get some things done around here.
Like take my Christmas tree down, yeah, it's still up. And I am sick of looking at it. DT took the decorations down that we had outside long ago, I just haven't had time to do the rest. So that is on my list of things to do.
Boo doesn't have school today, and she only has a half day tomorrow so we plan on ripping her bedroom apart and cleaning it really good. Maybe rearrange things a bit, I would like to get her bed away from the windows, the problem is that it's a queen size bed so finding a place for it may be a problem. The computer is also in her room and since there is only one place to hook it up to the Internet it pretty much has to stay where it's at. So that kills that corner.
And the closet is in the opposite corner, so there is limited possibilities.
Oh well, we will figure it out.
Well, I am off, I need to eat something, my tummy is complaining.
Have a good one, and stay warm!
Friday, January 18, 2008
We had snow, in North Carolina.
The first real snow we've seen since we moved here almost two years ago.
This is when it was still dark out, if you click on it, you will be able to see the shadows of the trees.
This is the view early in the morning yesterday from my front porch. You can see how it's already covering the grass.
Maggie and Wizard wondering what all the fuss is about.
The view of the trees in my back yard.
After the snow, we had rain and it washed it all away. It lasted maybe a day, but it was kind of nice, especially since there wasn't enough to have to shovel. I don't miss shoveling.
They are calling for more snow tomorrow. We shall see and maybe I will have more pics.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
DT keeps pointing out that Glory is getting fat.
Since her c-section and spay last year, she is packing on the pounds.
If DT would stop giving her pizza and chips then that would help.
In fact, if DT would stop eating pizza and chips he would lose the weight the doctor told him to. LOL
DT and I were also talking about how terrible we both feel physically, fatigued, unmotivated, lack of energy.
We have come to the conclusion that we are not getting enough exercise.
Part of DT's problem is that he has been working night shift for well over a year, with his insomnia it's hard for him to sleep during the day. Yesterday, he went on day shift, so now his body has to readjust to sleeping at night.
On night shift, it was really hard for him to even eat right, he would often grab something to eat out of the vending machines at work. Stuff that really is high in fat and cholesterol.
So between not sleeping and eating right and no exercise no wonder he feels terrible, has high cholesterol, is pre-diabetic and his thyroid is way out of whack.
So what's my problem?
I noticed when I am moving and doing I feel a whole lot better than when I am inactive.
DT has decided that he will start going to the gym after work with some of the guys to get on the treadmill.
I have decided since the dog is fat to start walking her in the mornings after I take Boo to school.
So this morning, even though it's crisp and cold out, I donned my coat and gloves, grabbed the leash and off we went for a twenty minute jaunt.
The dog must be really out of shape, when we got home, she plopped on her pillow due to her extreme workout. LOL Poor thing is exhausted.
Years ago, I used to walk everyday, eight to ten miles a day. Of course that was before I had to enter the working world, when my kids were young and still in school, and I had loads of free time.
I also did a lot of strength training at the time, and I remember feeling so good. I had energy, I was motivated, and I could handle things even mentally so much better.
So I am determined that I am going to start getting myself into a healthier lifestyle.
I am older now, and things hurt more, but when you are active and your muscles are strong, it helps the bones.
I am tired of feeling awful all the time, and I need to be pro active to get myself to feeling better.
I am also going to make a doctor appointment to get a full check up, to make sure there is nothing wrong.
I have also decided to cut out junk food, which is soooooo hard, especially since I work in a bakery.
Work is another thing. There is a lot of stress there lately, for one thing, I hate the scheduling. Every time they schedule me two days off in a row, the department manager changes the schedule and I end up working one of those days. Sunday is another problem, even though I talked to the manager a step above, they are still scheduling me at 11:00 on Sundays even though my availability says 1:00, and I really hate working Sundays, and they have been scheduling me EVERY Sunday.
There is also a mini war going on in our department between co workers, which I am trying my best to stay out of but they keep trying to pull me in. I prefer to be neutral. And it's such petty stuff, and is aggravating. Mostly two women are trying so hard to figure out how NOT to help one other woman that work isn't getting done and since I am the closer, I end up doing it. I don't mind working or doing tasks that fall on me, but it does get to be overwhelming. I tried to talk to another manager about it, but of course nothing was done and things are getting worse.
I am trying to see if God is leading me in another direction. I am praying about it, and I can see myself moving on to another job.
The most important thing on my job requirements is Sundays, then the second thing is a day job, now that Boo is done with internship.
This scheduling prevents me from serving in the church since most activities and committees are in the evenings and on Sundays.
I also feel like I have a lot of skills developed over the years that aren't being utilized. I am bored in my job and I feel like I am stagnating, there is no challenge.
I want to go in a different direction, but I don't know what direction.
I need to be patient, surely God will lead me and open doors where there were none.
And looking at the time, I really need to be off, since this is one of those days when I was supposed to be off but have to go in to work.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Prayer is so important in my life and I find myself praying throughout the day, in the shower, in the car, at work. When I hear of someone who is hurting, who has problems I immediately pray.
The funny thing about prayer is that the more you do it, the more you want to do it.
I get a daily message in my email of God's promises. Yesterday's had an interesting quote about prayer.
When we don't pray, we quit the fight.
Prayer keeps the Christian's armor bright.
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees. WILLIAM COWPER
Daily prayer makes us stronger, in our faith, in our daily walk, and against the temptations of the world.
I am learning to include praise in my prayers, no matter what circumstances I am in. I praise Him because I know he hears and has already answered even if I don't see the answer right away. I praise Him in my prayers because it is pleasing to Him.
I have a little sister. She is truly my baby sister being fifteen years younger than me. She is not a Christian. She has a an eight year old daughter.
Three years ago, as she sat in her car waiting for a light to change, a moving truck rear ended her vehicle. It hit her so hard the trunk of her car was in her backseat.
God must have been watching out for them, her little girl who was just five at the time was in the back seat and didn't have a scratch on her.
My little sister however suffered major back damage to the point where the doctors had to cauterize the nerves in her back just to relieve the pain.
She has a law suit pending, and she is hinging all her hopes on it.
In the meantime, her common law husband left her. She hasn't worked since the accident, she has no money to pay bills, her rent hasn't been paid for five months, the gas company will be turning off her heat, and on and on.
Overwhelmed, and on anti depressants, she went out drinking to try and numb herself of the reality that has become her life.
She had a breakdown. The police took her to the hospital.
Her daughter was at a baby sitter's, but now she is in the foster care system, placed with my older sister who is trying to forge her way through the reams of paperwork in order to keep her.
My niece is traumatized to say the least.
Little sis is home but the problems are still there.
I spoke to her last night after praying all day that God would give me words.
I didn't want to be preachy or judgemental.
'I have been where you are at, and drinking is not the answer.'
'I don't want to lecture you, but you have to see that this has made things worse.'
'I know you hate hearing this, but I am telling you anyway because I love you, that I AM praying for you.'
I am not praying that God will fix her finances or miraculously make all her problems go away, I am praying for her heart to be opened up to God and for her to turn to Him.
Being a Christian doesn't mean all of our problems magically disappear, they don't.
Being a Christian means we have Someone to turn to who will help us through all that life has to throw at us.
Previously I mentioned my own breakdown in 2000.
At the time I was depressed, suicidal, conflicted, hurting.
I sat on the side of my bed with a .38 special in my hand wanting so bad to end my misery.
As you can see, God brought me through that time.
The following years were anything but easy, and I often wavered back and forth between following God and following myself.
It has only been in the last year that I made a real commitment to God and I can honestly say that as my journey brings me closer and closer to God each day, my heart becomes lighter and lighter.
I still have bad moments, sad moments, hard times physically, emotionally and spiritually, but I also realized that satan wants me to stay down and that is when I pray.
A very smart man I know, a pastor and book author and lecturer said something in a sermon once that I remember to this day.
'Any renewed determination to obey God results in opposition (from satan).'
I have that written in my Bible.
There is a battle going on, a battle for our souls.
One weapon God has equipped us with is prayer.
I am praying.
Will you be a Prayer Warrior too?
Friday, January 11, 2008
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
In this letter to the Philippians, Paul writes that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances he was in. He spent much time in prison, but even from prison he continued to work for God.
How often we are not content with our own circumstances. I think about how often the Israelites grumbled and complained to God, and I realize that we are no different.
The Israelites even complained about the manna God sent them from Heaven so they would not starve in the wilderness.
I realize that I do my own share of whining to God, just because I think that things shouldn't be this way, because like the Israelites who tired of eating manna every day for forty years, I get tired of living paycheck to paycheck and struggling financially.
But I have realized something, my situation is the consequences of bad financial choices in the past, just as the Israelites choices resulted in them wandering in the wilderness for forty years, a whole generation never able to enter into the Promised Land.
For a long time I prayed for God to rescue us from this mess, maybe I expected some kind of major miracle, like a big fat check to suddenly arrive in the mail. I wanted it handed to me, as if I deserved it.
But sometimes God wants us to learn from our mistakes and He doesn't answer the way we want Him too.
Hubby said something a while back about this, he said that we made this mess and God wants us to work to get out of it.
In the above passage it also says 'I can do everything through Him who gives me strength'.
This tells me that even if I have to work to fix this mess, He will sustain me. When I feel weak, like I just can't go on one more day, He is there, holding me up and lending me His strength.
Yesterday I had a bad moment, and I ended up crying in the car and crying out to God, 'I give up, Lord! I just can't do it anymore!'
But when I think about it, really think about it, I realize that things could be worse, have been worse and the pile of bills is slowly getting smaller.
There are others in way worse situations than I am in. Yes, I am late on my mortgage, but there are others who don't have a home to live in. My daughter needs to see the eye doctor and get new contacts but there are others who are blind. I need a new heating system in my house, but my house is warm with the portable heaters and there are people who freeze to death. I may not always have a lot of food, but there are others who have no food at all. I can't afford to buy new clothes, but there are others wearing rags. I lay in bed at night and wake frequently from the pain from arthritis, but there are people who have worse pain than mine. I sometimes get angry with my husband, but there are others who are totally alone. I miss my family, but others don't have families to miss. I am not happy with my job, but so many others are unemployed.
I need to be thankful for the blessings I do have because in so many ways I am richer than many others. Not just financially but in family, in friends, in my church, spiritually and physically. I have my health, my abilities, and my talents. And most importantly, I have God, my Father who loves me and cares for me even when I don't deserve it.
I need to be content.
Lord, help me to be content.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
For a long time, even since before we moved here, I have felt like I had no purpose, no real passion for anything, and no motivation for anything.
Lately, I seem to keep running into things in books, at church, on the radio, and on tv with the common theme of finding one's purpose and passion.
A passion can be anything, a hobby, an activity, another person, volunteering, a club, or just about anything you love doing.
I started thinking about this, and researching it.
And I read a couple of things to do in the quest of finding one's passion.
Make a list of everything you like to do.
Look around your home, at your memories, at things you did in the past that you enjoyed doing.
From the time I was very little, there were two things that always enjoyed doing, reading and drawing.
I am definitely the artsy type, and through basic reading and drawing other things developed. Writing for one, I love to write, I feel compelled to write. For a long time I wanted to write a book, but isn't it every writer's dream to write the next Great American Novel? And the competition is fierce, to say the least. But I have discovered that my writing talents such as they are don't lie in the fictional area but the inspirational.
From drawing and an Aunt who loves crafts of all sorts I learned that I also love to make things. Through the years I have learned how to do many different types of crafts, some self taught, some taught by others. My grandmother taught me the basics of crochet when I was little, from there I learned more complicated stitches, with the help of my ex MIL eventually graduating to crocheting snowflakes and doilies. I learned how to cross stitch, and crewel. I taught myself how to do flower arrangements and wreaths, I even made the bouquets for both my son's and daughter's weddings. I taught myself how to tole paint. How to draw with pen and ink, and watercolor. I know how to sew, thanks to home ec class in Jr. High. I have made my own curtains, even a shower curtain due to the need of a special size. I also taught myself how to refinish furniture, stripping it down to bare wood, and I know how to stencil. I have done decoupage and scrap booking wall art in shadowboxes and in frames. I have made yard decorations out of wood with a jig saw and paint. And if I sat and thought about it, this list would probably grow even longer.
I have also learned how to do 'DIY' things around the house, changing locks and washers in faucets and such.
I have a creative side that needs to be let loose.
But I haven't been motivated to do anything creative except write for at least several years now.
There are other skills that I have also developed over the years, like cooking, especially baking. I even considered for a while going to school to become a pastry chef. I also thought I would like to open my own restaurant, one problem with that is I don't have the capitol.
My older daughter, Pookie recently told me that she always thought I should be an interior decorator, my son, JP told me I should be a tattoo artist which made me laugh. I just can't see myself doing that, especially since I am not very fond of tattoos.
So lately I have been pondering about this and praying for direction.
And one thing I know about myself is that I do not like working outside the home, probably one reason why I have had so many jobs. For one thing, I get bored with jobs after the initial excitement of learning something new. Another thing is that I really dislike working on someone else's timetable. I feel restricted and caged in.
I have done so many things but what do I really love to do? And how do I implement some of the skills I have developed into something I not only enjoy doing, but that can eventually develop into something I can do as a business venture?
My goal is to eventually replace my income from my job with something I can do at home. I don't make huge amounts of money, about $800.00 a month clear, so what can I do, implementing my skills to replace that?
I don't believe in coincidence, I believe that God leads us to where we are to go and what we are to do, and He can use any means to show us.
Last week one night I decided to turn the tv on, I don't watch much tv, I can go weeks on end without even looking at it. But on this particular night I did, and browsing through the channels, I came across HGTV, which is a channel that has home decorating shows, remodeling, design shows, etc. You can check their website out, http://www.hgtv.com/.
I was totally enraptured.
I realized that there are some things people purchase, one is food, people need to eat, another is clothes, people love clothes some to the point of addiction, and there is one more thing people buy.
Things for their homes. I am not talking about fancy gadgets, I am talking basic things like floor and window treatments.
Which is something I think about a lot for my own home.
People also like things that are quality, they also want to get the best their money can buy.
I watched it again last night, and once more I was enraptured. My eyes were glued to it for several hours as show after show came on until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
This morning I checked out their website, and it is just chock full of stuff.
And I found something that I know I can do. And I am bound and determined to try it.
At first I was thinking big, no, more than big, HUGE, my mind and stomach jumping with excitement, then I realized that I need to approach this rationally and start small and experiment with one project to see if this is really what I want to do.
And if it works then I feel it is a beginning of something bigger.
And I don't even need to spend a lot of money since a lot of the stuff I need I have on hand. Paint, paintbrushes, and as for design, God gave me the ability to think and draw. With this, I can use some of the skills I have developed over the years.
Later I am going to dig through my shed to see what I have, to take stock.
I don't quite have a plan yet, that will come as I think about it, write things down, research and start small.
But I am hopeful, excited and motivated.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Lately, I have taken notice of something in church.
That there are quite a few married women who attend church week after week without our husbands.
Yes, myself included.
In the year 2000, things were really bad between my husband and I. It's a long story that I don't want to rehash, so simply put, we separated for a while, I had a major break down, he wasn't much better, and when we reconciled we earnestly sought the Lord.
We began attending church, even taking marriage classes at church, we prayed together, read the Bible together, and I have never felt such intimacy with my husband as I did during that time. Even though it was during the worst storm of my life, it was a major turning point for us. It was the best time in our marriage.
But then something happened, slowly at first, almost imperceptibly we started to wander away from church, we stopped praying together, we stopped reading together, we stopped talking about the things of God.
We just stopped.
Eight years later, I now attend church by myself, I read my Bible by myself, I pray by myself.
But the desire of my heart is for him to be there with me.
However, a realization came over me as I prayed about it, and a question reverberated through me that just wouldn't go away.
Do I want him to go to church for him or for me? Am I really concerned about his soul or about what I want and need?
I came to this realization after the Christmas Eve service.
God wasn't moving fast enough for me, so I took things in my own hands, with disastrous results.
Around Thanksgiving, I had found out that the church was having a Christmas Eve service, so taking the opportunity I asked my husband if he would like to go with me.
To my immense joy, he said yes.
Then Christmas Eve came.
Suddenly, he had nothing to wear, which isn't true, he has a closet full of dress clothes from our church going days.
I felt like he was making excuses not to go. I became upset and angry and told him if he didn't want to go he should have just told me to begin with instead of saying yes.
And I cried.
He then started insisting that he was going.
I told him I didn't want him to go, that I didn't want to force him.
But I lied, I wanted him to go, and yes, I was hurt, but I used my own hurt and tears to manipulate him into going.
My selfish wants and needs came rearing up, God wasn't working the way I wanted Him to, so I took it upon myself to manipulate things the way I wanted them to go.
We went to church.
He was bored.
The service, which I am disappointed to say was not what it was the year before. Last year they had a lovely candlelight service with beautiful music and a great sermon.
This year, no candlelight, and the service was totally different even compared to a regular service. The sermon wasn't preached by our regular Pastor, and even I have to admit, it was boring and hard to follow.
Afterwards, he told me it was the worst church service he had ever been too, he got nothing out of it at all, and he implied that I should never ask him to go again.
Instead of waiting on God to move in my husband's heart, I messed up royally.
In forcing the issue, I pushed him farther away.
Every week, I see couples in church, couples not only obviously in love with each other, but in love with God.
This is an area where the sin of envy can be a real problem for me.
I want what they have.
I had it once, and I resent the loss of it.
I am a child of God, but my human nature often stands in the way of surrendering certain things to God.
Last night, through the conversation with my friend Crystal, I was convicted. It was nothing she said, it was what I said. I told her what I need to learn for myself, to wait on God.
And I thought, I am telling her this, but do I do it myself? Do I wait?
No, I am often impatient, I want things my way, I want them now or even sooner.
There is nothing wrong with desiring spiritual intimacy with my husband. God has created us to desire intimacy with our spouses, from the time of Adam and Eve.
God told Eve in Genesis that your desire will be for your husband.
I think He meant much more than the physical desire, but desire for a true and lasting closeness, a spiritual oneness that only comes when we have a personal relationship with God together.
I long for my husband to share my beliefs and faith, I long to journey with him towards God, learning together, striving together, being united as only God can unite two people.
My husband does believe in God, but I don't know where he stands, I don't know where his heart is, I don't know about his faith or if he truly has it.
But God knows.
Just as He knows the desires of my heart, and even if I haven't seen the results of my prayers, He has already answered me.
And He is telling me to wait.
Sometimes waiting is the hardest thing to do.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I read somewhere, not too long ago that pastors should stop preaching the salvation message in church. That the people in church are already Christians, so therefore don't need to hear the gospel message Sunday after Sunday.
I thought about this, then I realized something.
Not everyone who goes to church is a Christian. There may be someone there who has sat in the same pew, week after week, for years, and never understood, never accepted, never believed.
There may be a guest there who never heard the gospel.
Or some one's teenage child who is headed towards the wrong path.
Or how about the husband of the faithful wife who has attended for years and suddenly he decides to go to church to see what his wife is getting out of it.
It says in the Bible to go out and preach the gospel to the world. Where is the world?
It's in our very own backyards, our local grocery stores, our neighbors homes. It's in our schools, our workplaces, and recreational facilities. It's on the streets, in libraries, it's anywhere where there are people who need Jesus. And yes, it's even in our churches.
People get saved where ever Jesus meets them, even in Church. And there are unbelievers in church, in all churches, all across the world.
Yes, there are Christians in churches, but how many are really Christians?
Only God knows the heart of man.
I am a Christian, one that struggles at times, one that sins, imperfect, yet I know that Jesus loves me unconditionally.
I have sat in church and listened to the message of salvation many times, and have never ever once got tired of hearing it. I always learn something, even if it's just one small gem that God lays on my heart.
And as a child who didn't know God, who didn't even know who Jesus was, church was where I first heard the message.
I hope preachers everywhere, no matter their title, Pastor, Minister, Reverend, or even Layman, keep preachin' to that choir the message of salvation, of Christ's sacrifice, of the hope that He gives us, because sometimes one person in the choir just doesn't know the words.
And one soul is very much worth it.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
For a month now I have been feeling pretty terrible, physically.
I have been fatigued for one thing, so much so that some days I feel like I can barely function. I have also had this lingering cold, which is better but not quite gone. Then the arthritis flareups, probably one reason I am fatigued because the pain wakes me throughout the night. It's not just one thing hurting, it's my hands and wrists, my shoulders, neck, lower back and hips, and my knees and ankles. I have also been experiencing numbness and tingling in my hands.
I was starting to think there was something seriously wrong with me.
Then a thought occurred to me, it hit me when after two weeks from my last shot, I started to feel better, much better. Then I went for my last shot this past Thursday and guess what? I feel terrible again.
So I did a quick search on the side effects of rabies shots.
Check, check, check, check.
Hmmm, no WONDER I have been feeling awful!
One side effect is arthritis type pain. Now I do have arthritis, but never this bad, and apparently the shots compounded the pain.
Which affected my sleep, in a major way.
It can also cause headaches and nausea.
I didn't experience the headaches, but here and there the thought of eating wanted to make me gag, even when I was really hungry. I would start to eat and suddenly I just wouldn't be able to take another bite, leaving nearly whole plates of food unfinished and discarded.
After reading this info, I feel assured that I am not losing my mind or that I haven't developed some awful illness.
And at least it's only temporary, especially since I am done with the series now.
Boy, I am glad about that!
And I would rather have experienced these side effects than the alternative, but I think the hospital should have told me that these side effects were possible.
The doctor never said a word, and there was nothing on the papers they gave me.
I should have realized sooner though, I don't like taking meds unless I absolutely have too since I often experience side effects, my body just does not metabolize things the same way as others.
This has even happened with meds I took in the past that never bothered me, and suddenly I was experiencing sleeplessness or headaches or worse.
So I live a basically no meds life, and if I buy something OTC then I read the label carefully because certain ingredients will really effect me.
If a doctor prescribes something, I ask about possible side effects, but this time I didn't think to do so, probable because it was necessary and I really had no choice.
Any time you put anything in your body there is a risk, even something like a rabies shot.
I am just glad they changed the way they do it, instead of 15 to 30 shots in the stomach, in a matter of a few days, it is now done over a course of a month, 7 to 13 shots depending on the wound, and most of them are in the arm. The first 3 shots were done in one visit, one around the wound site, one in the bottom and one in the arm, after that they were all administered in the arm.
If I felt this bad after getting 7 shots over a months time, it makes me glad I didn't have to have 15 to 30 in a matter of days. I can't imagine how sick I would have been.
So I am thankful that it is over with now, and I am thankful that they changed it.
I am also thankful that soon I should be feeling like my old self again.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The other day I submitted an article to a writing contest.
The article was on the subject, 'What Makes A Christian Different Than Anyone Else?'
I really don't think I will win. For one thing, I really struggled while writing it, the words didn't flow as smoothly as when I write here or personally.
Afterwards I wondered why, and then I realized it was because for that article, I wasn't writing for God, I wasn't writing to glorify Him, I was focused on the $1,000.00 prize.
Today I looked at my article on the site I submitted it to, http://www.faithvine.com/, and even though I know that it is very doubtful I will win, not because of my writing per se, considering that even though it's not my best, it's not really bad writing either, but one mistake I made was not giving it a title that stood out, it's the same or nearly so than most of the submissions.
Why is this a problem? Because it's based on reader's votes, and if my title doesn't stand out, then the chances of it being read are very random.
As I browsed through the articles, I atomically clicked on the titles that caught my interest.
And if I do that then surely others will too.
It's ok though. Although winning would be nice, it was a learning experience.
For a long time, I was writing things that weren't exactly wholesome, I was writing for me, and I surely wasn't being blessed because of it.
And then something happened to me, inside. It bothered me, my soul groaned, and after a time I found that I wasn't able to write much at all.
I started praying about it, and after a time I decided that if my writings didn't reflect God, if my writings weren't honoring God and edifying to others, then I shouldn't be writing.
The following verses kept reverberating through me, and I realized that I wasn't thinking about the pure, lovely, noble things of God, but I was thinking and writing for my own purposes, and as a result, I didn't have peace about it.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Verse 9 really is a potent command and promise, if we put the good things of God into practice then He will be with us.
And what does the word 'practice' mean? It means striving to get something right, to do it over and over until it's flawless or nearly so.
When I wrote that article, I was selfishly motivated, not God motivated, as is so often the case. I focused on not only the money, but on getting noticed, looking for accolades, for commendation, distinction and honor, for myself.
I let pride get in the way. Pride in my own abilities, and we all know that pride is a stumbling block.
God doesn't want us to be prideful, if we boast, we should boast of the things God does through us, not on our own abilities or actions, because without God those things mean nothing.
30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
23 This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD.
This new year seems to be starting off as a year of lessons. As I reflect more on God and less on myself, I am learning something daily.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I believe that God prepares us for things in advance through our struggles, our day to day lives, and lessons we learn along the way.
However, only God knows what He is preparing us for, we have no way of knowing what is ahead of us.
And if we think we know, then God proves us wrong. We can not assume we know what God is thinking.
On New Year's Eve, I was alone. DT was working, and Boo was bringing in the new year with friends.
I was in the pit of loneliness and self pity.
A few minutes before midnight, I turned the tv on to watch the ball drop.
On the stroke of midnight, I began crying. Through my tears I watched couples kiss, people were shouting and laughing, and my tears fell harder.
I thought, 'Well maybe someone will call to wish me a Happy New Year.'
But the phone remained silent.
The problem isn't that I was alone on New Year's Eve. It's that I am alone more than I should be.
As I cried that night, I turned to my one source of comfort and solace. I turned to my Father and gave Him the tears of aching loneliness.
And a sense that He understands came over me.
He also laid on my heart that I am being prepared for something.
I haven't a clue what, even though my mind automatically goes to the worst case scenario, I know my thoughts on this are probably not any where close to what God has planned for my life.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I am God's work in progress, every thing in my life, good and bad, big and small, is preparing me for what's to come. There are lessons in each moment, if we just look for them. Sometimes what we need to learn is hard to see, sometimes because we become so self oriented that we are blinded, sometimes because it's a difficult lesson that we don't want to learn, sometimes just because we aren't quite ready for that lesson, but later when we look back things become clearer.
God doesn't want us to just stand still and wait for life to happen, He wants not only to prepare us, but for us to get ready, to be prepared, to learn, to grow, to strive, to reach. We may make many mistakes along the way, but God even uses our mistakes to teach us.
He doesn't leave us alone, He is constantly prodding us, moving us forward, guiding us to His ways.
I could have done so much to make my night less lonely instead of wallowing in my own self pity.
I could have called or visited someone to ease their loneliness. I could have done something constructive with my time. I could have spent the time in prayer and Bible reading.
I could have turned to God to begin with and asked Him what to do.
This morning I had to go to Wally World for a couple of necessities. Since I had time before I had to pick Boo up from her internship, I took my time and browsed the shelves, nothing really catching my eye at first. I was getting ready to check out when I felt compelled to go to the book section. I looked around, nothing really catching my interest until I started walking away. A book caught my eye at the last moment.
World Changers: Live to Serve by Bob Beltz and Walt Kallestad. A book inspired by the life of William Wilberforce and the Amazing Grace movie.
I don't know how many of you have seen this movie, but it was really good, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
I feel God led me to this book for a purpose, there maybe something I need to learn from it's pages.
The next time I feel lonely, I am not going to sit and feel sorry for myself, I am going to do something positive.
This is lesson one for the New Year.
What has God taught you today?