Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am drawn to autobiographical books, so naturally my last trip to that "big famous" bookstore, found me in that section, trying to choose new items for my wish list. (Especially important since there are now only 85 days until Christmas, right Don?) Anyway, I was leafing through this one book, the life story of a very famous man, one who seemed to have it all together, a successful life, a long marriage, healthy and prosperous children, a man well-known and respected amongst his peers. As I scanned the table of contents, I was most surprised to find that the biggest chapter by far, was entitled, "Regrets". Because they frown on one reading the entire book without purchasing it, I do not know the details of his life's regrets, but because I am me, I began thinking about what regrets I have about my life.
At forty-seven years old, I am considered neither young nor old and my life, like that of others, has not gone exactly as I'd planned. Although I grew up in the church, my life has not been exempt from the effects of death, divorce, violence, drugs, illness, sin, or stupidity. Many times have been to the mountaintop but I have also been known to reside in the desert. And yet, I cannot truly say I have a lot of regrets.
While in the desert, struggling with the elements of sin and its consequences, regrets circle like vultures, waiting for one to succumb to hopelessness and despair. The desert heat plays tricks on the mind, trying to confuse one and make us believe that there is a source of Living Water ---a source other than the Savior, but it is nothing more than a mirage, a simple self-delusion. While in the desert, one could choke and die on regrets.
But the view from the mountaintop is different. From there, we can see that God did indeed work good things from our bad choices. We see that the time in the desert made us stronger, made us more reliant on Him, and gave us some practical wisdom. And while we should feel remorse for our bad choices and repent of our sinfulness, I am not sure there is any benefit to regrets.
I often think about Moses, this young Israelite of Pharoah's household. He sees his countrymen being abused and responds with violence and then in fear, runs away. He runs away and spends the next few years as a shepherd----most likely a job he was unfamiliar with. I would not think the son of the Princess would need shepherding is his skill set. But the leader of God's people would----he would need to know how to lead God's sheep, how to protect them and how to get them to follow him. He would need to know how to get them food, how to provide shelter and how to get them to listen. It would be quite a step down from the son of the Princess to a herder of sheep. And perhaps, Moses did regret his time in the pasture. It does not appear so since he made excuses to not lead God's sheep. And it was as a shepherd that he married and fathered children, that he developed what appeared to be a loving and respectful relationship with his father in law. No, I don't think Moses regretted being a shepherd. I believe he was able to see God's divine ability to use our choices to further His mission.
There is great comfort in knowing that God is working in our lives, and even through sinful or unpleasant circumstances He can make something good. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded out of the senseless loss of a child. A man who was once a drug and alcohol addict is able to sponsor another as they each struggle with their own addiction. The abandoned mother may not have all she dreamed but she has beautiful children from the relationship. The abused wife is not only able to heal but to help others heal. She has more clarity, she now knows exactly what she wants and what she does not. The widow goes back to school and is able to get a college degree as a non-traditional student and is able to teach others. The young man who is paralyzed in a sports injury is able to go on the speaking circuit, insipiring other youngsters to focus on more than just sports. On and on the stories go--stories of the mountain top experiences that began in the desert.
As renowned philosopher, Jennifer Aniston, (smile) said in American Actress, "there are no regrets, just life's lessons. " And so, as we are faced with more choices, perhaps we can make them with prayerful confidence, knowing that as we are seeking to serve God, He is already planning to work things out for our good and for the good of those who love Him. Perhaps we are to be a people in the process of growing and changing, a people with no regrets.


Monday, September 24, 2007

The Simulated Church

Last week, I took residents from our local nursing home to the city for a doctor's appointment. For two days in a row, I spent several hours sitting in a waiting room, watching television, visiting with other patients, and reading magazines. I looked at the magazine ads and found it interesting that if one has the money, they can simulate anything. We can have enamel veneers over our teeth to make them look straighter and whiter. We can get that sun-kissed glow, not by sitting out or working out in the sun, but by paying money to have a special tint sprayed on us. We can purchase plumper lips by allowing a physician to inject botox (from the same root word as botulism) and this same injection can be injected in our frown lines to make us look younger. We can go under the knife and have liposuction and augmentations to give us the figure we never had but always wanted. We have hair plugs implanted so that baldness is no longer an issue, and if we have hair, we can have it colored, frosted, tinted or even have other hair woven in with it, giving us the kind of hair we want. We can buy colored contacts and have acrylic nails put on at a salon. The "fully simulated package" would show a couple with neon white teeth, an orange tan, hair colored to resemble a burbur carpet, plastic looking faces, and Barbie and Ken bodies---and instead of looking real, they would look like cartoons, out of place in the real world.
I began to think about how we, as Christians, seem to be becoming a simulated church. We have big beautiful buildings with stained glass windows and perfectly manicured yards. The upkeep on such a facility often necessitates a reduction in our missions and evangelism budget. We call it community reputation. In an effort to appeal to the world, we begin offering coffee and then donuts then breakfast. We call it Sunday school class. In order to keep our worship from being "boring", we inject much worldliness into our services. We call it praise worship. We offer social activities that include church league volleyball, church golf tournaments, etc. We call it fellowship. Most of our conversations with others is done via internet, email, facebook, blog, my space, etc. We call it evangelism. We come together with the saints, all dressed up, smiles on our faces, appearing to have it all together. We call ourselves the church.
I am afraid we are becoming less and less real. The real church is a group of people, sinners who were lost and are now redeemed by the Blood. The real church has struggles, they don't live perfect lives. The real church gives no thought to whether worship bores them, they realize it is suppose to be pleasing to God. The real church longs to be together, needing each other, making time to spend with each other, and for them, three times a week is not enough. The real church doesn't need food to entice them to Bible class. They are up early and have already eaten breakfast, they are anxious to come to be fed spiritually. The real church looks for real live human beings to talk to about God. They are concerned about the lost, they are encouraged by the saved and inspired by the Word.
I believe we are sincere in our efforts to be pleasing to God. But, sometimes we go so far that we become a simulated church. We become cartoonish in character. The world does not recognize us as the bride of Christ. All of the trappings that have become important to us have masked the radiance, purity and glow of the Bride. Perhaps we could even go so far that even our Groom would not recognize us. We need to refocus our spiritual lives on that which is important. We need to strive to be real, ridding ourselves of all that is fake or phony. We need to shine with the realness that comes from belonging to Christ. Let's be the real church rather than the simulated one. After all it was a real church He died for and it is the real bride He is coming back to get, taking her home with Him for all eternity.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Remember The Letter

I will never forget the day I opened my mailbox and found "the letter"---the letter signed by the men of the church, the letter telling me how much they each loved my dad, the letter detailing his sins: the breaking of his vows, the destruction of his and another's marriage, the shaming of the congregation, the abandoning of his family, and the breaking of my mother's heart. I remember that letter, that letter telling me that in an effort to bring him back, he had been disfellowshipped, and that he was not only no longer their minister but neither was he a member of that congregation. I read and reread that letter, crying and confused, wishing it to be untrue. I remember that letter!
I am not sure I can describe how that letter made me feel. Surely, there was hurt and anger. Surely, there were feelings of betrayal and bitterness. But mostly, there was sadness, a sadness bigger than myself, deeper than my thoughts and stronger than my strength. A sadness beyond all sadness. My mother and my sister came to live with us for awhile, and the sadness grew even greater. I saw in Mom's eyes the pain, the anger and the betrayal, and I was powerless to help. In my little sister, I saw mostly rage and disgust and I could offer no comfort or peace. That made me even sadder! I was confused about how I could love him so much and still be angry and hurt. Confused about how I could love my mother and my sister and not hate the one who'd wounded them so deeply.
The "love him or hate him battle" raged in my soul---it kept me from sleeping, it caused me to alternately cry and pray. But, hate doesn't come easily to me and so I sent my dad letters telling him that I loved him and that I was praying for him. I sent him pictures of his new grandson begging him to come and hold him. I left messages on his phone asking him to call me, telling him how much I missed him. The letters and pictures were returned-----the phone calls were not.
It would be February 22nd, almost a year later, before I would see my dad again. Earlier in the week, I'd called to tell him that my sister, his nineteen year old daughter, had died unexpectedly. He showed up at her funeral. He looked so much older and even frailer than I'd remembered. He was grief-stricken, haggard and blaming himself. I hugged him for a long time, his hug so tight, I thought he might break me. As we cried on each other, I realized that he would always be my dad and I would love him no matter what. We grieved together that day, no, not as an entire family, but as a daughter and her father, as a father and a sister. We grieved together not just for my sister, but for all the losses of the past year.
That day would birth a change in our lives. We would talk on the phone and write letters. And eventually the vast sadness would be replaced by the joy of his repentance. Our life could not ever be the way it was before, for neither of us were the same people. My sister would not be there to celebrate my dad's return to his faith. She would have been so happy. My dad, his sins ever before him, would struggle with forgiving himself. And there would be some who would choose to doubt his repentance and question his faith, rather than share in our joy. Twenty + years later, some still choose to remember his past. They choose to remember that letter.
Throughout the years, I have learned a lot from my dad. One of the greatest lessons is that sin is real and that sin causes pain. Sin hurts not only the sinner but those who love them. Sin challenges our faith and our willingness to forgive. But I also learned that God loves the penitent and that love heals. And that love endures, it never gives up, in the very face of sin, love still is. Love does not die, in spite of the past and regardless of what is said in letters.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Than I Am

My husband is a wonderful man! He is kind and good and thoughtful. He is a true minister and a proclaimer of God's Word. I love being his wife! One of the best things about belonging to Ned is that he makes all my faults seem almost miniscule and my good qualities seem great. He loves me for more than I am.
The Bible tells us that God loves us in the same way. Ephesians tell us that He loved us even before He created us. In his paraphrase, The Message, Eugene Peterson says "Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living . . . " Isn't that beautiful? Before we were made, He wanted us, saw in us the potential for glorious living.
I am humbled and amazed when I read God's words about me--about you---about His people.
Ephesians tells us that God see us as light "For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord." We know that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all---and we, we are children of light. Galatians says that we are His sons, His children, His heirs. We were once nothing more than children of the servant but we have been adopted into the Master's family. He looks at us and sees His child. I John 3:1 also speaks of God's lavish giftgiving bestowed on us--His children. II Corinthians 5:17, as well as many verses elsewhere say that we are brand new, the old is gone, the new is here. We don't have to live like the old, sick man we once were. Spiritual health has been restored, we have been washed and we are new! We know from Romans that we are victorious, more than conquerors. The fight has been fought and the battle has been won for us, the victory is already ours. Romans 8:1-2 says that we are vindicated, justified, not condemned! Our guilt has been paid and we walk away as free men.
I Corinthians 1:30 reminds us that we are holy, righteous and redeemed! We are sanctified, pure, good, and paid for! Isn't that just incredible? II Corinthians 5 also says that He became our sin so that we might become His righteousness.
There are hundreds of verses that tell us what God sees in His own people. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful that God has chosen me to be His, that He desires a relationship with me and that He loves me for more than I am!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Amazing Jesus

There isn't a day that passes when I don't think about what an incredible Savior we have. I read the Gospel accounts of His life and I find myself thrilled by His power, amazed by His righteousness and overwhelmed by His sacrifice. What an amazing Lord we serve! There are thousands of posts out in blogland that very eloquently detail this amazing Savior.
A few weeks ago during our public reading of scripture, the first few verses in Mark chapter six were read. You know the passage, Jesus is in His hometown. He has been teaching in the synagogue and the people, although awed by His words, begin to question His authority. "Where did he get this stuff?" "Isn't he that one who works with wood?" "Don't his brothers and sisters still live here?" "He is that hometown boy, isn't he?" At this point, it is obvious they are not ready to accept the deity of Jesus and He tells the disciples that "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." The text then says, "He could not do any miracles there except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith."
Isn't that powerful? He was amazed by their lack of faith. The same lack of faith that amazed God Incarnate, allowed for few miracles and healings. Think about that for awhile! Obviously they knew Jesus. They'd known Him His whole life. They also could see that He was wise and able to do miracles. He could heal the sick and make the blind see, and yet Jesus calls their faith lacking. The nature of their questions suggests that while they accept His humanity, they are struggling with His deity. Is their faith so immature that they cannot see that this Man of Miracles is from God, is of God, is indeed God?
Sometimes it seems our society is a "prove it to me" society! We are very intelligent and accomplished. We have great faith in all things physical. I mean, we get in an airplane don't we? We accept the laws of physics and of gravity. We understand and believe in the rules of mathematics. But, like those in Nazareth, we sometimes struggle with accepting what we do not understand. Those things spiritual oftentimes seem illogical and difficult to grasp. For many it is difficult to admit we do not understand such things, and so we have become the masters of looking for theological loopholes, as if Jesus needed us to prove His spirituality or His deity. Because we cannot comprehend a sacrificial love, we convince ourselves that our salvation is a matter of checks and balances and we become a people pharasaical in nature, attempting to work our way into heaven. Because christian humility is difficult to understand, we put on a mask of false humility right over the top of our self-righteousness. Because we struggle with focusing on eternal life, we work and work to accumulate treasures here on earth. Because we don't fully understand His deity, we spend time and money on our own immortality. We are masters of rationalizing the spiritual---just like the inhabitants of ancient Nazareth.
Doesn't it make you wonder if we ever amaze Jesus with our lack of faith? Do you wonder if that same lack of faith prohibits His working in our lives? If we just accepted His deity, accepted His sacrifice, and accepted His mercy, would our faith grow? And would He look at us and see a heart and soul, ripe and ready for miracles, ready for His workings in our lives? Or would He just be amazed?


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Nice Matters

I received this award from my friend, Helen (http://muisto.blogspot.com/)
She is very sweet and kind and I am humbled by her words. According to the rules: "This award is for those bloggers who are nice people, good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration, for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've received this award please pass it on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award."
There are so many deserving bloggers out there but since I must choose seven, these are my picks. (Go check out their blogs and see that they are truly deserving of this award)
1. Kathy (http://beauangelkitty.blogspot.com/) at Beauange's world is a dear. She is always ready with an encouraging word or comment. She is a marvelous prayer partner and I am blessed by her friendship.
2. Monalea (http://monalea1.blogspot.com/) I have known Monalea for a long time. She is one of the few bloggers I happen to know personally. Her blog is a good mix of scripture and fun. She is a dear.
3. Nicki (http://threegirlygirlz.blogspot.com/) Nicki is a new e-friend. She is deeply spiritual and her posts chronicle her life with her three girls and the Lord.
4. Liz (http://lizmoore01.blogspot.com/) We have all seen Liz's comments around the blogosphere. Her kind heart and her spirituality are evidenced in her writings. Check out her blog.
5. Monica (http://mommysmart.blogspot.com/) Monica shares with us the adventures of raising a family in West Texas. She is married to a coach and has recently relocated. Her sweet spirit is obvious in her posts and comments.
6. Amy (http://growingcloser.wordpress.com/) Amy shares her spiritual journey as a wife, mother, teacher and singer. Her blog is always refreshing and inspirational.
7. Charlie (http://candlw.blogspot.com/) I am not sure how Charlie will feel about receiving a "nice award" but he is truly a kind soul. His posts from Canada show his deep love for the Lord, for the lost and for his wife. His comments are always welcomed on any site.
Okay, these are my nominees. They all deserve this award, go check them out and let them know how much "nice matters". Thank you Helen, you are such a blessing to me.