Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Unexpected Sparks

It's that time again, another throwback to my old entries at the b+ blog. Hope you enjoy.



Sunday, September 18, 2005

Unexpected Sparks


"Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
~Samuel Johnson

Have you ever had something fly out at you from left field and completely take you off guard? Of course you have....we ALL have....it's part of life. Some of those things that surprise us are good.........others aren't. The water main that broke in my house this week and ruined all of my furniture and donations for the homeless, wasn't a good thing. It was totally unexpected, unprepared for, and most definitely, unwanted.

SSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........POW!!! Curveball...left field.

Some of the things that hit us unexpectedly are FAR more tragic though......far more deep and earth shattering for us. Things that scar us and drag us to the depths of grief and agony. Hurricane Katrina is a good example. It wasn't a good thing, it was somewhat expected...but not to the cataclysmic level of devastation that it caused...and it is VERY safe to say that it was unwanted by ALL.

PPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttt..........**BOOM**!!!!! Cannon hit.........from behind.

What happens when we get hit out of the blue like that? Well....there are a few emotional and understandable possibilities.
Panic.......when everything goes into a slow motion dream state and you feel like you're watching a movie, because this couldn't possibly be happening. 
Shock........when you step back for a moment, survey your surroundings or what's left of them, you realize it is happening and you're helpless to do anything to stop it.
Devestation.......when your mind and heart begin to tally the depth of the loss that sends you into a tailspin.
Hopelessness.......the process of being in that tailspin, as you see the ground rapidly approaching your face.
Anger.......the justifiable rage at HOW could this have happened, WHO is to blame, and WHO will make it right.
Peace...........what?!?! PEACE?!?!?!? That doesn't fit in here.....WHAT peace?? We're talking tragedy and loss here.....they don't go hand in hand in this discussion......................................or do they? Foreign concept, ISN'T it?
However, somewhere.....buried within each unexpected hit....no matter how tragic..how devastating...how much it brings you to the depths of agony that you never even knew could be felt by a human......SOMEWHERE....there is a scarlet chord of hope and purpose that will, IN TIME......give birth to peace.

For me, the peace this week was in knowing that despite all the loss in my home our insurance will help us rebuild and replace the material things that were destroyed.
For others it goes deeper. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself...how selfish of her...how callous and unfeeling to use Katrina as a comparison because, there is no good that's come out of it...NO peace. I beg to differ though.
Just this week I saw a story about a family who went through Katrina and have reached and anchored into their peace.
They are a loving, poor African American family who were already experiencing the pangs of desperation before they lost everything...well.....not everything. You see...for them, they will never mourn the losses of their home, their car, their jobs, their possessions, their pets or whatever else they lost.....in fact....they will look back at Katrina as a miraculous answer to prayer. How on earth could that be possible....we've all seen and heard the stories of tragedy on TV. Well........it's very simple.
Their son who was lying in the hospital dying, because he was in desparate need of a heart transplant, is now alive even though they were told there was no hope for him. How? Well....they were poor and had no money to pay for all the special things he needed to sustain him until a donor could be found. So they sat at his bedside on a death watch......waiting for the moment he would take his last breath.
Suddenly however, a miracle came their way in the form of hurricane Katrina. The hospital was evacuated and they along with their son were transported to a children's hospital in Texas, a hospital that specializes in heart transplants for children. Suddenly....in realizing that this family had lost everything, the government paid for a special flight to Germany, for the hospital staff to pick up and PAY for the very expensive device that was needed to save his life, and flew it back to Texas and inserted it into his body so he could live. Now, this family, who would have not only lost their beloved son, but all they had worked for in their lives...has been handed a scarlet chord of hope and PEACE. They will never regret the loss of their home....or their possessions....and they will never curse hurricane Katrina....hard as that is to believe....because out of the ash heap, they have been handed something beautiful....the life of their dear son.

We are all victims of unexpected circumstances at some point in our lives....some worse than others....but somewhere....buried deep within....there can be found peace.
What do I wish for you? What do I pray for you? I pray that whatever hits you....no matter how devastating....you find and grasp onto your scarlet chord of peace and let it lead you to the brightest blazes of gladness that lie somewhere beyond the tragedy of the moment.

Peace,
~FG (I went by the pseudonym of FrannieGirl at the time, hence the FG)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - The Impact of Silence

Welcome to this month's TBT from my old b+ blogging days !  Hope it encourages you.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Impact of Silence


"It's good to shut up sometimes."
-Marcel Marceau

A rather interesting quote from a man who was made famous because of his silence, don't you think? Makes me wonder about the lessons he must have learned from being so silent and just watching and listening. As I read it I was reminded of an experience we had at our street ministry a little over a year ago. Two of our regular volunteers are a sweet, newly married couple who have great hearts of service and desparately want to serve their God with all that they have. However, at times I have seen pride cause them to struggle with an intense aversion towards a lot of the very people we minister to. I am always asking God to break through that pride and other mental or emotional garbage with them and show them how He sees these poor and homeless people. After all, these people that are so different than what we're used to, are in fact, the entire reason we are out there. They need someone, anyone, to show them love and acceptance in a wounded lonely life where they have had none.

I always love the fact that God is so gentle with us and even has a sense of humor. We tend to lash out and correct or judge harshly making a scene and leaving wounds in the hearts of others all in the name of justice. God is so opposite though. Like any loving father, He tends to discipline in creative ways that He knows will get our attention, and make the lesson stick. This was definitely one of those lessons.

On this particular Saturday, I was behind the table serving soup and the husband of this couple was standing next to me serving the drinks which consist of water and in warm weather iced tea. This was a beautiful warm day so the water was especially in demand. As I waited for the next person in line to reach me, I glanced over to see one of our regular ladies approaching the drinks. She is only about 35, about the same age as this newly married couple, and has a very sweet and childlike spirit due to severe mental illness.

Additionally, heavy medication tends to make her talk to herself a lot....and loudly. Usually though, the things she says keep us all laughing because they are the things a 5 year old would say, blunt and yet, innocent.

She has very curly hair, which she usually lets go fuzzy. She wears every piece of jewelry she has ever owned and odd clothing combinations as well as about five layers of nail polish, all of which are chipped and peeling. She's always so bubbly though that you can't help but smile at her when she comes by. I watched as she approached the table quietly muttering to herself, and then I suddenly felt a twinge in my stomach because I knew who would be handing her the water. I quickly looked at him just in time to see him scanning her up and down and curling his lip at her current state. I was so hurt inside I wanted to lash out at him and tell him to get off the serving line if he couldn't treat her with respect. However, inside my heart I heard God tell me to keep quiet and watch what would happen next.

Just then as I saw her reach for a cup and he pulled his hand away, her muttering became audible for all of us to hear. I watched in amazement as she looked him square in the eye and quoted him the Bible verse, "..And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Just then she took a sip and walked away and was gone for the day.

I wanted to start crying as I watched his eyes get big and follow her as she disappeared into the crowd. God is sooooooooo GOOD, and He always gets His point across far better than we ever could. Had I lashed out at him, I would have set a bad example for all the people around me, both behind and in front of the table. I wouldn't have gained anything, but instead, would have lost the trust and respect of so many who need us to be gentle with them, and learn from our example. I also wouldn't have made the point to this young man as well as God was able to, through the gentle ramblings of the very one who should have been offended by his actions the most.

Sometimes it truly is good to shut up and wait and to let God fight our battles for us. A misplaced word can illicit the effect of a bowling ball on a glass top table…sending shards of glass everywhere that can never be fixed or replaced…and some never even to be found. I'm glad I kept my mouth shut that day, and avoided those shards. I'm not always so successful however, but at least now I know if I can learn the art of well placed silence, I can avoid many regrets for years to come. Besides, God really does handle those situations so much better than we would.

Peace,
FG

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - Leap of Faith

Throw Back Thursday: 



I recently came across some old blog posts that I had written when I used to be a collaborative writer for a blog titled  b+ (Be Positive). So I thought it might be fun to dust them off and send them out again by sharing them here. So once a month I'll post one of them as a Throwback Thursday fun memory. Here was the very first one, enjoy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Leap of faith


Come to the edge, He said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came,He pushed them,...........and they flew.
~Guillaume Apollinaire


How many times in life have we felt like we are standing on the edge of a frightening and deadly precipice with no way out? I don't know about you....but I have felt that way many times. Each time however I have felt the gentle nudging of my God to trust Him and take a blind leap of faith. When I let go of my fears and my insecurities,my anger and my doubt I can jump......and each time He has caught me.
Much easier said than done though, right? Of course it is. The circumstances we are in dictate those fears and insecurities, anger and doubt. The key however is to come to the realization that as you stand on the edge of that precipice there is no turning back.....only forward. Those things are done and gone, they can not be undone unfortunately,they can not be taken back. So what are your choices from here? You can crumble and give up because things didn't go the way they were supposed to. You can become bitter and hard because things didn't go the way they were supposed to. Or, you can stand up,take a deep and possibly painful breath and somehow go on because for some reason things just didn't go the way they were supposed to. No matter what you can't change the fact that things didn't go the way they were supposed to, but you CAN change how you react to it.
When you feel you're at that edge, with a wasteland behind you.......take that frightening leap........He will never let you fall from His grasp.