Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Office

I love The Office on NBC! We are having a little Halloween fun at our office today. The real Michael Scott would be proud.

That's Senior Minister Joel Quile on the left as Michael Scott, Youth Minister Matt McBryde on the right as Jim Halpert, Administrator Karen Black front and center as Pam Beesly and yours truly in the back as Dwight K. Schrute.

This picture was taken shortly after retrieving my stapler from the center of a jell-o mold. Jim refuses to admit he did it. Fact: I found an empty jell-o box in Jim's trash can. Fact: I shook Jim's hand in a secret effort to find out if his fingers were sticky. Result: Affirmative.

Question: Who is really in charge here? They can call me Assistant to the Regional Manager if they so desire. I'm armed with the knowledge and security that this office would not be able to function without Dwight K. Schrute.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Show the Way

I've struggled to write lately. Circumstances have been stacking up on me. To be honest, I'm simply tired which is leading to extreme feelings of frustration. Sickness, death, rebellion, divorce and other nightmares both real and imagined are always hovering around our world, but they have landed on my doorstep and I'm out of sorts to say the least. So, I'm letting God speak to me through David Wilcox today. Perhaps He'll speak to you too.

You say you see no hope,
You say you see no reason we should dream
That the world would ever change
You're saying love is foolish to believe
'Cause there'll always be some crazy
With an Army or a Knife
To wake you from your day dream,
Put the fear back in your life...

Look, if someone wrote a play
Just to glorify what's stronger than hate,
Would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the hero came too late
He's almost in defeat
It's looking like the Evil side will win,
So on the edge of every seat,
From the moment that the whole thing begins

It is Love who makes the mortar
And it's Love who stacked these stones
And it's Love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's Love that wrote the play...
For in this darkness love can show the way

So now the stage is set.
Feel you own heart beating in your chest.
This life's not over yet.
So we get up on our feet and do our best.
We play against the fear.
We play against the reasons not to try
We're playing for the tears
Burning in the happy angel's eyes

For it's Love who makes the mortar
And it's Love who stacked these stones
And it's Love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's Love that wrote the play...
For in this darkness love can show the way

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

It's funny to think of those words from Ecclesiastes. Even after all that has happened over the last few months, when I hear those words I think of Kevin Bacon's character in Footloose using scripture to convince the Town Council to allow a school dance. Let's Hear It for the Boy...

Those words came to mind again this weekend. My sister's family was in town for the Midland Christian/Fort Worth Christian football game. Bailey didn't come in from Abilene for the game. She is too busy and "happy" at ACU. I put quotation marks around that word because it is hers and it is significant considering where she's been. Hutton thrilled us by playing the best game he's ever played. His special teams play was the icing on a cake that included a couple of sacks and breaking up two passes during a goal line stand. His Grandmothers were high-fiving in the stands! All this in a week which also included giving his testimony to thousands at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering in Midland. It was a much needed time to dance.

On Saturday morning we gathered at my parents house for breakfast. Hutton had gone home on the team bus and Reagan had to get back to Midland for his football game that night, so they had to hit the road as soon as the meal was finished.

As Tod, Lee Ann and Reagan backed down the drive it was evident what a difference a year has made. Last year, they would have had four kids in the car, this year they had one. We celebrate Bailey's good college experience and thank God for the community she has found there. We burst with pride over Hutton's accomplishments and his desire to be part of a team with it's ups and downs and long bus rides.

And Reagan...well Reagan embodies life celebration. He is full of energy and joy. Seeing him sitting alone in the back seat on Saturday morning however, was reason once again to mourn. The grief goes on, but we are doing our best not to miss the dance.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Zoe and Sadness and Thanksgiving

Thanks to all the Zoe family for asking me to participate in the conferences again this year. My time in Nashville this past weekend was rich and healing. Brian McLaren challenged me, the worship inspired and moved me and spending time with old and new friends warmed my heart.

I can't tell you how tired I am of being sad. I'm afraid I'm not bearing all that well under the heavy weight of mourning. I fear I'm becoming the phone call you dread receiving or the party guest who constantly brings the room down. I want to have a different answer when people ask me how I'm doing, but a different answer would not be an honest one.

I wish there was a ransom to hand over to get our energy back. I wish there was a toll to pay that would allow us to cross over the bridge of hurt. If I could cry it all out, I would. If a vacation would help, I'd take one. But sometimes the tears won't come and there is no escaping sadness even on a beach or mountain somewhere.

Connor's tragic death was the blow that bruised us deeply and as my friend Joel reminded me, once you are bruised, anything that pokes that bruise is painful. Our "pokes" this summer have included other losses including a miscarriage and the death of Steph's grandmother. They've also included other death's, divorces and illnesses that by themselves would be difficult to deal with, but together can make you feel like you are at the bottom of a very large dog pile.

I'm holding on to the fact that things will get better, that this is a season, that time will heal the wounds and I'm hopeful that the scars left behind will turn to beauty marks.

Today, I'm thankful for community. I'm thankful for the hugs and whispers of prayer and encouragement I received from so many at the Zoe conference. I'm thankful for Brandon's understanding and Eric's prayers; for Paul and Pat's story and for the listening ear's of brothers like Rich and George. I'm thankful for old friends like Murray, Val and John Scott who make me feel loved even when all we have time for is a quick hello. I'm thankful for Julie's "hand-hug", Judy's wisdom and Mike's warm greeting. I'm thankful for the Henderson's ability to laugh and love and serve in ways that inspire me and for the joy of being with younger disciples like Luke and Josh and their families and Peter and Lindsey and Kylar and Jeremiah and so many others who are such strong ambassadors for Christ. And I'm thankful for the warm reception I received yesterday when I returned home to Lake Cities.

It's people like you, family like you that give me the strength to go on when I don't feel like it. It's people like you whose prayers hold me up.
It's people like you who bring Zoe (life) into the midst of my sadness and remind me that God is good.