Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What Wreck? I'm the Wreck!

Ephesians 6:16-18English Standard Version (ESV)

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Holy Smokes!!! 
 My shield (and cars) of faith is getting seriously dented up these days, but I'm sure glad the shield is strong and in place.  17 days ago, Esther called with THE VOICE.  The voice that only says the word MOM, but it translates a million things between MOM and the next word she could squeeze out of her emotionally constricted throat.  She had called to tell me that her and Charlie and Mik had been in a car wreck.  Once I could figure out what she was saying....I asked if everyone was OK, and they were all fine, so nothing else mattered.  I knew God had protected them so much.

Charlie  had been on edge and feeling the pains of "lonely boy construction" since Kole has moved,  and Charlie was adjusting to being back at it by himself. A few of my peeps and I had been texting about it, on and off all day. We realized later, that at the exact time that the wreck happened...Lashae and I were texting and AGREED to be praying for Charlie, at that exact minute.   How cool is that?  God just showing us his love and protection once again.
A few days after that a good friend of mine from Uganda told me that she didn't know why...but she had felt led to spend "extended time in prayer" for our family that morning. 
It is just so humbling and amazing that God works thru the prayers of his people for his people.   
Now, everytime I jump in the really nice rental car that I'm driving, I have a big reminder of God's protection, and it makes my heart so thankful!

SOOOOOOO, this morning my shield took another hit.  I get a call from Charsie who has been using a sweet little SUV that we bought to let her drive.
  The minute I heard her say MOM!! with THAT heart sank.
This is how it went:
Charsie:  MOM!!!!!!! large sucking sound and sobs....then a panicked burst of: MY CAR GOT STOLEN!!!!
Me:  CHARSIE!!!!  Is everyone OK?  Are you ok? Is Jesse Ok?  
Charsie:  Yes...but my car is gone.
Me:  Charsie, Everyone is ok?  
Charsie:  Yes!  But my car got stolen and my wallet and money were in there.
Me:  So, everyone is ok?
Charsie:  Yes.
Me:  Who cares about your car and wallet....everyone is OK?  Right?  EVeryone is OK?  right? ( I needed to let it sink in, since my heart was in my feet and all the blood had left my brain at the word MOM in THAT VOICE.)
Charsie:  Yes.  EVeryone is fine.
Me: the police and report your car stolen....everyone is OK?  Right?  Jesse's Ok?
Charsie:  Yes, everyone is OK.  sob sob sob.  I will call the police, and Jesse is on his way.
Me:  Honey, I could care less about the car or the wallet or money, as long as everyone is ok.  
Charsie: Everyone is fine Mom.
Me:  What kinda of idiot leaves their wallet in their car.....what kind of idiot parents didn't teach you to take everything out of your car at night.
Charsie:  MOM?!?!
Me:  Right!  I'm the idiot parent.  I'm just a dumb country need to be smart you live in the city.  Be city smart.  
Charsie:  I will never leave anything in my car again. 

Me to Charlie:  Charlie, Charsie's car got stolen....
Charlie:  What!?!? WHAT?!?!?!?  Is everyone OK?  
Me:  Ya, everyone is fine.
Charlie: !@#$%&*.(pause pause...deep breath). Who cares about the car...because everyone is OK...right?
Me: Everyone is fine, she had her wallet and money locked in the car.
Charlie:  What?!?!...didn't anyone teach that kid to NEVER leave her wallet in the car.
Me:  Charlie....where do you keep your wallet?
Charlie:  In the car.   Good point.....Dang it...we should have taught her better than that. 
Me to Lashae:  Lashae!
Lashae:  I know, I heard, I'm on my way over there right now.
Me:  Everyone is ok...right?  
Lashae: Ya...everyone is ok...
Me: You and the girls are ok...right? And Chaney?  Where's Chaney?
Lashae:  Yes mom, everyone is fine.  Chaney is out of town and he is fine.
Me:  Dang Charsie left everything in the car...poor girl.
Lashae:  I know....I have a confession....I left my purse in my car last night.  
Me:  LASHAE!!!!  You know better than that....didn't I teach you better than that??
Lashae:  Mom, where's your purse?  
Me:  In my car....good point!  Dang it.  Everyone is ok...right???  
Lashae: Yes Mom.  Everyone is good. 

Charsie calls Police, and after Jesse and Charsie endure a lengthy "stolen car report," they found the car had been hit by a "texting and driving" person in the night and the officer, that came to take the accident report at 1:30am, was brand new and didn't think to run the plates and call the owner.....just had the sucker towed without notifying anyone.  
So, the good and constant news is; everyone is OK and all the money and contents, including all cancelled credit and debit cards were safe and sound in the car.
Also, the texter/driver kid that hit her car is ok.
Charlie called him and his dad (and thankfully remained calm, because come to find out they go to the same church as our kids) and all is well. Bummed and feeling stupid....but ok.
The bad news is....the car is most likely totalled.  Poor texting/driving kid hit that sucker HARD and it rolled up and hit the car in front of it and then car in front of it, hit the car in front of it. Car dominos.  SOOOOOO....the front and back are smashed.  
BUT, everyone is OK!!!!
 So so thankful, and will continue holding up our shields!

Ephesians 6:10-12The Message (MSG)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Friday, September 23, 2016

It's Not Black and White, It's Blood RED

I have a little story to share:

This summer I had sent white Luke and black Mik into the store to run an errand.

Luke was leading the way and they walked in the door where the ATM machine was being serviced.  There was an armed guard and a armored truck in position and doing their job.  Luke doesn't even notice.  Mik takes a WIDE swing to NOT even be NEAR the situation.

They do their errand and get back in the car and Mik says to Luke:  Dude!!!  Don't ever walk by a situation like that when I am with you.

Luke responds:  What are you even talking about?  

Mik:  No black man should walk by that kind of situation.  Did you see the guy that was working on the ATM machine, and the guy guarding the area?

Luke:  Oh brother!!!  You are paranoid, nobody was even looking at you.  

Mik:  Shaking his head in discouragement and frustration......ok, whatever you think....

My head was spinning....Everyone was right, and everyone was wrong.  

Luke  - Doesn't have a racist bone in his body, but is also blind and deaf to what Mik sees and feels and experiences. 

Mik - Doing what he is told and learned by living in this world in this time, in his skin:
Don't put yourself in a *sketchy* situation, don't ever give people ANY reason to question WHAT you are up to.  NEVER be guilty, even by association. Never walk or dress or speak in a way that raises questions as to what you are doing. 

Luke - Unwilling to listen or understand that Mik has to live with a different level of awareness in every situation calls him paranoid.

Mik - Impatient with Luke's "lack of understanding" for the reality that he lives with,  Mik feels offended and unheard.  He gets bummed and quiet vs. trying to help Luke understand.  He just gives up and pushes the anxiety that he just felt near the ATM into a deeper place in his own heart, which only lends itself to more anxiety.

It opened up good conversation.  Most people don't get the opportunity to dialogue on it as much as we do.  It takes constant conversation and a lot of situations to help us all grow in understanding.

I have been Luke too many times....just because I'm not "racist" doesn't mean I don't have blind spots and an opinion that causes me to lack understanding.  

We need to sit across that table from people speak and listen, not with the intention of telling "them" how it is and how it isn't, but with a heart that wants to feel, and a mind that wants to understand, and eyes that want to see and ears that want to hear.

Just because we aren't experiencing things, because of where we live or who we are or how we look, does not mean it is not happening. Part of all this information and communication going on in the world gives us a new level of  responsibility.
 There is a responsibility to seek the
 TRUTH and respond in LOVE!

The only way to uncover the TRUTH, is to get face to face and get real relational. Share experiences.  Look across the table and see and feel and hear.

The life and breath of the conversation, maybe even the spit that sprays or the tears that flow in the passion of it all, may blow out and water down the fire that rages.

We may never solve "the issue" or agree on actions, but I promise there will be
 a seed planted - a compassion developed - because there is a FACE and a VOICE to the situation, not just a report and a riot.

This isn't a black and white skin issue, it is a red and bloody heart issue.

Jesus bled His pure RED blood to save all our SKINS!  

We need to humble ourselves, lay it all out on the table and let Jesus do surgery on our hearts.  Once our hearts are beating and flowing with the TRUTH, our eyes will open, our minds will be renewed, our ears will be tuned.


John 14:6English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 13:34-35English Standard Version (ESV)

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”