While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Day of Good News

Today I got a phone call from the nursing home I applied at. I was informed that my name is on the registry... Which means...


Whoooo!!! I'm super excited!! She also offered me a job!! Lord knows I need one, after 5+ months of not working. Unfortunately it's 3rd shift, but I'm young, and can't really afford (literally) to be picky.

Tomorrow I go for my drug testing, when the results come back we'll set up my orientation. whoooo!!!

I'm exhausted, so I'm not going to write any more. Good night :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Easter Family Hope

As many of you did, today I celebrated the Resurrection of my Lord and Savior.

Today brought about a twinge of pain. I looked around and saw most everyone celebrating this glorious day with their family. Please do not get me wrong, I love my mom and dad, I am blessed beyond measure to have such supportive, Godly parents. However, I'm speaking of FAMILY... you know...the in-laws, and out-laws. The big boisterous bunch. The family, that after a get-together, there are ALWAYS stories of remember when's and so-and-so did such-and-such.

I look at my family, and I wonder what happened. At what point did we let bitterness creep in? At what point was love replaced with lack of support, respect lost to resentment?

Sure...we may all disagree, in face, I KNOW we do, because no two people share the EXACT same ideas, but...Family is STILL Family. When everyone else leaves....they are still the ones there.

I wonder if Grandma was the 'glue' to the family. Yes, I miss her. Especially on days like today! I want to give her hugs, share my Easter outfit with her, know what she thought of the play, share moments that can only be shared with a grandmother. I wonder if people would just take a moment, to stop thinking about themselves long enough to think about another person, would they realize, that while they are protecting themselves from being hurt, they are hurting the other person? Would they realize that one decision can change everything, and affects everyone? While one person feels like an outcast, everyone else is hurting, feeling a 'loss' of what 'used' to be there.

In the meantime, people who aren't directly involved suffer. They miss out on "family". The get-togethers, the holidays, the laughter, the games, the food, the stories. Without the history, and stories what used to be family ceases to exist, the bond is lost, the ties are cut, and people are scarred.

I will leave you with this thought from Amy: (my memory to Grandma)

As I took time today to remember our risen Savior it occurred to me what an awesome correlation there was between His death and our hope. We all have loved ones who we know are in Heaven but the only way that was possible was through His death, burial and resurrection. What an awesome thing to know that because of what He did for us we have hope not only for ourselves but that someday we will see those we love. I don't claim to know what Heaven will be like but I do think that our loved ones that are with God will know us and we will know them.

As Vince Huff played the song Because He Lives it brought encouragement to me. Just think that because of what our Savior did our days are brighter and although it hurts now and we miss those loved ones someday we will see them again and that makes life worth living.

My hope is that Next Easter I will have a family again. A family who loves one another, who cares for one another, and who respects both sides of an opinion.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things Fall Apart

Tonight I was, once again, at Amy and Patrick's house. Patrick had just gotten done laying some of the tile in what will be the mud room, and sat down to eat dinner. He began to flip through the channels. He tends to watch informative "stuff" like about history, the other night was about Jesse James.... the man who died as Jesse James, really wasn't him. Anyway tonight he stopped on a show called Planet Green. It was a documentary on the Zoe Tribe in Brazil. It's known as the marrying tribe in the Amazon.

This tribe was discovered in the 1980's and has been protected/secluded by the Brazilian Government. When a child is between the ages of 6 and 9 a "porturu", wood plug is inserted into their lower lip. At adult age the plug can be 7 inches in length. They are polygamists as well as polyamorous. The husbands have multiple wives, and the wives have multiple husbands. However it seems that incest is not a problem. As a "society" they are very trusting and selfless. Aggression has not been seen among the tribe's people. The women regulate their pregnancies to every 3 years. Young women are married to older men, then they eventually get a "young" husband to "groom" and train to be a good husband for the next generation of women. The children are taught to fend for themselves at a very young age. Oh yeah, they also don't wear clothes, of any sort.

Yes, I am extremely intrigued by this group of people. I'm amazed that we have only known about them for 30 years, and still do not seem to know much about them. Amy and I began talking. When "we" have come so far, it is hard to imagine people still live in such a fashion. A people who are so unaware of what is around them. They continue in what they know, because, quite simply it works...for them.

The Zo'e are unaware of their land rights and human rights. They don't even know that they are Brazilians. Contacts with our society are always harmful to Native Americans. Each object introduced to them is another nail in their coffin. It triggers new needs and selfish behavior. They soon contract new diseases and develop greed for the timber or gold on their land.

Protecting them is the responsibility of the Brazilian government and of each one of us. Otherwise the Zoe will disappear, like hundreds of other native tribes since Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas.

Amy seemed to disagree. She wonders how they have been so sheltered. Have they not seen airplanes in the sky and wondered what they were, where they were going? (what HAS happened, they were discovered by a missionary accidently landing among them)
However, as we were discussing, a quote popped into my head from 

 Things Fall Apart --- an important African novel by Chinua Achebe--one of the most greatest classics of its time. The book involves the class of cultures and belief systems, as colonization affects the people.

"The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart."

I looked that quote up once I got home. An odd thought popped into my head. What if the above quote took on a spiritual sense.

"The devil is very clever. He comes about quietly and peaceably with his diversion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our sisters, and the Church body can no longer effectively do it's job. He has sown discord and taken away our insulation and robbed us of our convictions which held us together"

A few chapters earlier, "We have heard stories about white men who made the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slaves away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true."


I don't want to be so naive, to be so amused by foolishness that I am unaware of the spiritual battle. A daily war for my soul, and souls all around me

 Yes, the little things matter. Because, after a while little things accumulate to be big things.

I don't want to be just "prepared" for an attack, I want to be "ready".

 Preparation can be Prevention, But Readiness is Responsiveness.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Living A Vindicated Life

Yesterday I watched my best friend marry the man she loves. I'm the only girl in the entire world who will ever sit in the audience as her life long friend gives her life to a man she has already given her love to.

I'd be lying to myself if I said it didn't hurt. I guess part of my problem is I wasn't JUST watching her give her life away. It's knowing that I wasn't a part of it. Yeah... if you're reading this, and you know me, or the situation at all, you're probably thinking "well, gee Steph, it's your own fault. If you could have just kept your mouth shut" well see, that's the thing...

Even now, I don't think I could do things differently. I feel as a "bestie" I have a duty to say the truth, even when it hurts. More so, when you ask for my honest opinion. I came across a song...I think It's really fitting.

Spotlights have a funny glow. They can keep you warm, but they can make you go crazy. Always got to be the show. So you never know what it's like bein' in the crowd. Lately I'm hearing people say you're a runaway. And somebody's got to be blamed, move back to reality, Help you see the things that you might have been lookin' passed

Ain't got nothin' to hide. Yeah I know I've got a soul that's naked like water. You and I wouldn't want to see, the girl I'd be if I didn't have you in my life. Show me so many things, but the best would be never ever rolled over. Stand up for what I believe. And eventually, everyone will come back around

I ain't burnin' bridges... I'm tryin' to mend them

I apologize if I ever hurt your feelings. Got my own convictions and I got to live them

I ain't burnin' bridges, that ain't my intention

I think the hardest part of all of this, is thinking I was over it... then like a band aid ripped off an open wound, all the hurt comes screaming to the surface. It's not that I had a different opinion than that of my best friend... it's that an entire group of people wanted us to stop being friends entirely.

I look at "that" group. My peers... I look where they are all at. I've wondered what has made me different. How I can be hurt repeatedly and still keep selflessly giving?

I had a surprise baby shower for Sheena this week. I've had several people talk to me about the positive spirit there. They said "you could feel God's love" I know that's because of nothing I did. But looking at everything, I truly believe there was a healing that took place, emotionally and spiritually. Did I think the idea was crazy? yes! Did worry who would come? yes! Did I worry what people would think? yes! Did I stress? A WHOLE LOT!! But looking back, I truly think it was the right thing to do. I am once again reminded that God has a plan...and it may seem to be a tangled web...but God knows...

Pastor spoke today on Job. I'm in no way comparing myself to Job... I have my health, a family who loves me and supports me. However, there are times I seriously question what's going on in my life. The Bible says did Job worship God for naught? Did he worship God because of his bountiful blessings? We have to worship God even when it seems like our prayers aren't getting answered and it seems everything has been taken away. Sometimes I DO feel like I stand alone, and honestly, I've felt that a lot lately...I was reading 2nd Timothy.

Honestly... my "favorite" part of the bible was the "fluff" well maybe not fluff....but that stuff that you feel good after reading... you know. You read your bible when you're having a bad day. You turn to Psalm. Recently, I've realized the bible really deals with stuff that affects my life. Solomon said "there is nothing new under the sun"

Anyway.. I was reading 2nd Timothy...which is Paul's 2nd letter. I realize that my circumstances are far less troublesome than theirs... yet, for me... my grain of sand appears to be a mountain.

1-2 I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God's plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours! To Be Bold with God's Gifts <--- This is such an encouragement...

3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion. <---- A reminder that even when I feel alone, and it seems there is no one around me. I am NEVER alone. There are still people lifting me up.

5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. <--- God has blessed me. Given me talents and abilities. I need to trust Him, and use them. I have a Godly heritage that has been passed down to me. Many prayers have been sent up. I know without a doubt that God's hand has been on my life.

8-10 So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. <---Even if I have lost friends...or even been turned on by family, I'm not the only one. Timothy and Paul endured the same situation. But no matter who turns their back on me, God won't. He gives me the power to keep going. The last part gives me so much hope. "Life vindicated...all through Jesus"

11-12 This is the Message I've been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It's also the cause of all this trouble I'm in. But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground—the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end. <---I will echo the words of Paul. "I have no regrets. The One I've trusted in can take care of what He's trusted me to do" Does that affect any one else as much as it affects me?

13-14 So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us. <---This is my reminder not to be side tracked by the petty things in my life. "Buy the Truth and sell it not" I don't want to let my guard down and be easily led astray.

15-18 I'm sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me, even Phygelus and Hermogenes. But God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many's the time I've been refreshed in that house. And he wasn't embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. And then there was all the help he provided in Ephesus—but you know that better than I. <---People turned their back on Paul... yet still when it was dark.. God made a way, provided an encouragement to Paul, who could then turn and uplift Timothy.

Maybe this seems a whole lot of ramblings and mumble jumble. But if it somehow made any sense to you, I hope it encouraged you as I have been encouraged. I know that everything is going to work out in the end...and that through it all I will have grown, and been molded. Less of me, and More of Him.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Catharsis

If you know me at all, you know I'm not an excessively outward display of emotion type of person. Tonight I was going through pictures and I came across some of me and Becky, in 2nd grade. For those of you who don't know, Becky was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and heaven gained an angel dec. 30, 2010.

I think about the 7 hour visitation...the constant flow of people, to celebrate the life she lived. The lives, which were touched by her life.

Sometimes I wonder if we even realize how many people our lives are affecting. I decided to torture myself emotionally and read all her mom's updates on her carepage...yes I cried, because I miss my friend, I cried because of the loss of life, I cried at all the things that will never be done, and I cried because of all the missed opportunities.

Part of me wonders...well I guess what every proclaimed christian wonders when they're dealing so close with death. Did I do all I could do? Is her eternity on my hands?

Today I weep, not only for my own selfish loss, but at my own lack of display of true love. We were friends 15 years.... Did I share christ? Yeah, in the same way a kid shows off new clothes at christmas time. Why wasn't I more enthusiastic like a rare antique's collector who has finally found the unique piece I've searched my whole life for. Overwhelmingly excited to share the beauty and knowledge with everyone. Is Christ not worth that? We're doing our Easter drama, I look at the Trials and Tribulation scene when God of the earth is robed in flesh and condemned to death...for me...and I can't even share His love?

I'm sorry Becky. I'm sorry I didn't share Jesus with you. I can't reason and rationalize "hoping" You saw Jesus in me, through my life.

Dear God, Please forgive me for not loving You enough to share You with my world. Forgive me for taking life for granted. I have learned that we are not promised tomorrow. Truly, in the blink of an eye life can be gone. Please give me a daily, growing conviction to share Your love with all I come in contact with. Continue to mold me, an make me more like you. Thank you for being a Just God, a Forgiving Savior, a Merciful Judge, and a Graceful Reedemer.

Go live each and every moment. Tell people what they mean to you. Hugs, touches, are important. Don't miss the opportunities. Don't worry over the small things. Be NICE to people. Give people a second chance or a third....