Monday, October 31, 2011

{preconceived notions}

A  few weeks back I experienced multiple days of wanting to sit in a church like this:

I desired to be all alone, in a quiet, dimly lit sanctuary.  I wanted to feel the presence of God without interruption.  Just to sit.  For about an hour.  Bible along.  No music.  No other people.  Just me staring at stained glass windows.  That would have been great. 

Regular church attendance has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  If you read my previous blog entry, you know that our family is without a church home.  Which means we have begun the church hunt.  There are a few people in my life who know this, and have recommended churches for us to try.  Which is thoughtful, of course.  It's nice they care.

The first church on our Let's Give These Churches a Try List was a mega church.  And I must confess I walked into their lovely building yesterday with preconceived notions:
  • Their worship music will be more entertaining than participatory
  • Their pastor will throw out a few bible verses, but won't speak directly from scripture
  • They will be fairly self consumed, not aware of what's happening outside their walls
None of these were true.  And the pastor began a new series on JOY.  And guess what?  My word of the day yesterday was. . . . .

Yes, that's right:

Confirmation that this is where we should be long term?  I don't know if I'd go that far.  It might be.  But I realize if nothing else, it is confirmation that yesterday we were in the right place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

something brand-new

I am an avid reader and sometimes when I finish a book, it's like saying good-bye to a friend.  If the book is really, really good it can be difficult to reach the end.  Or if I read a new book by one of my favorite authors, knowing it could be years before they produce another work, it can be hard to let go.  Returning the book to the library can take a little out of me.  What if the next book I read doesn't measure up?  

I was invited to two reunions in October:  my 25th high school and another related to a music group I was a part of in my hometown.  Chapters that are now closed.  Chapters I can never truly return to, except in memories and visits with others who experienced the chapters with me.  Recently, our family closed a chapter.  Likewise, we won't return to the way things were.  

It's hard to move on.  But move on we must.  Life is all about moving on.  Like the yellow words above, you can't keep re-reading the last chapter.  Well, you can, but you'll never get anywhere.

Sometimes I wonder how many "new days" a person gets in a lifetime.  It seems like I've had my share lately:
job changes
cross town move
kids' school transitions

But. . . . .This is what God says,
   the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
   who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
   they lie down and then can't get up;
   they're snuffed out like so many candles:
"Forget about what's happened;
   don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. 
   It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say 'Thank you!'
   —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
   the people I made especially for myself,
   a people custom-made to praise me.

Isaiah 43:16-21 (MSG)

I have not blogged in quite some time, because for the life of me, I couldn't come up with anything to write. I'd think of things, then decided not to record them. Maybe my thoughts would come across as harsh or mean spirited. Righteous anger? Fears that others won't understand or comprehend? 

So much has happened in the last few weeks: 
Good news was received.  
We're in the height of our son's marching band season. 
We were able to get away for a relaxing weekend.
I've attended two open houses regarding where our daughter will attend high school.
My workplace held its biggest event of the year.
My husband has traveled to visit his parents for the first time in quite some time.
A chapter has ended.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The More Things Change. . .

I grew up watching the Brady Bunch [and I loved those people].  My sister and I saw every rerun,  many times throughout our childhood.  Persons born in the late 60s or early 70s most likely remember a song the Brady kids sang, featuring Peter (middle son), whose voice was changing:  Time to Change. [youtube is glorious for moments like these!]  The chorus lyrics state,

when it's time to change, you've got to rearrange,
who you are into what you're gonna be.

Really, we need more music like this today, don't you think?  Okay, maybe not. . . . . 

I've been thinking a bunch (I had to use the word bunch, because of the Brady reference above! [get it?]) about change because, well because my life tends to be in a constant change.  Well, maybe not constant, but at least in this sort of repeat cycle.

Two years ago, at this time of year, my husband left his job as a pastor.  Our son was in marching band, not exactly having the time of his life.  Our daughter had just begun middle school, facing the barrage of emotion that brings.

Today my husband has twelve days left in his current position as a pastor.  Our son is in marching band, not exactly having the time of his life.  And. . .our daughter, after successfully navigating through 2+ years of middle school, faces a decision on where to attend high school.  

The more things change. . . . . . . 

Two years ago, at this time of year, my workplace received word that we'd received a federal grant that would keep us operating.  

Yesterday, my workplace (mind you, not the same place as two years ago), received word we received a federal grant that will keep us operating.

The more things change. . . . . . . 

This very week, my wiser than his years son, laid out a plan for his life.  Mind you, he's 16, so the plan didn't cover the next 50 years, but it did cover some pretty significant changes in his life and the direction he believes he's to follow [college choices and majors, career goals, changes in musical instrument focus].   

Also, yesterday, my husband laid out a plan for our family regarding a significant part of our existence.  We haven't had the chance to finalize the plan, or hear each member's feedback, but it's a plan nonetheless.  A plan that if followed, will take us down a new path.  

So maybe, just maybe, we can this time break the mantra. . . .  

The more things change. . . . . . 

Wouldn't it be nice if:

The more things change, the more things stay the same, the better things got?

I like this:

But I think if I could, I'd take out creating yourself and replace it with 
letting God create you.  

A new day is a chance to begin [one more time, with feeling] at the starting point.  

 Isaiah 42 {The Message}
5-9God's Message,
   the God who created the cosmos, stretched out the skies,
   laid out the earth and all that grows from it,
Who breathes life into earth's people,
   makes them alive with his own life:
"I am God. I have called you to live right and well.
   I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe.
I have set you among my people to bind them to me,
   and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations,
To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light:
   opening blind eyes,
   releasing prisoners from dungeons,
   emptying the dark prisons.
I am God. That's my name.
   I don't franchise my glory,
   don't endorse the no-god idols.
Take note: The earlier predictions of judgment have been fulfilled.
   I'm announcing the new salvation work.
Before it bursts on the scene,
   I'm telling you all about it."