Thursday, November 26, 2015

Life as a Noun

I used to hate diagramming sentences in English class.  I could always get the subject and verb right.  Easy peasy.  But when it came time to drawing lines thisaway and thataway.....ugh.  I was terrible at distinguishing between prepositions and predicates and things that dangle.  Adverbs and adjectives were a little easier to discover.  Is it any wonder I am the run on sentence queen?

But I wonder....

What would the world be like if there were only nouns in our vocabulary.  If the only words we used were object words, like

apple
truck
shirt
boy
girl
house
farm
book
tv
couch
dog
horse
cow
egg
hamburger
bun

Would there be a word for Love or Joy or Compassion?  How would our lives be different if we lived like we were all just nouns with no verbs or participle phrases or prepositional phrases or run on sentences?

Some of us do live more on the noun side than a complicated sentence diagram.  Our lives live in the mundane and are very content to be there, thank you very much.  Change - a verb telling a noun I need to move - makes a noun feel very uncomfortable.

Nouns are easy.  They are one word.  They are easy to spot.  The most complicated thing about a noun is if it's dressed up in PROnoun garb or is wearing its PROPERnoun clothes.  That's about the excitement a noun has in its job description.

Nouns are happy right where they're at, but what if we all just lived our lives as a noun?

Boy.  Girl.  Kiss.  Child.  Boys.  Girls.

Wait a minute.  Wait just a cotton picking minute!  Where's the juice?  Where are the details.  How did one plus one make two then three, four and a gaggle of kids?  What would our life be like if we only lived like nouns?

Some of us are living like nouns while others of us are living like a fragmented sentence structure, with no clear subject, predicate, verb or dangling participle to our name.  Our lives are one continuous run on sentence with no beginning middle or end in sight.

Which are you?

Do you have some verbs and adjectives next to you, breathing life into your Noun world?  Or if you were a diagrammed sentence would there be lines jutting out all over the place trying to find a spot for all your extras?

Jesus has made you a noun, but He's called you to live like a verb with some beautiful adverbs and adjectives to describe what he's called you to do and to be.  Like: live courageously, love deeply, forgive abundantly, grieve freely.

You are not meant to live like only a bump on a log.  You are meant to be a verb on the log, providing nourishment to all the other bumps around you.

Live like a verb and throw some adjectives and adverbs into the mix.  Get daring and don't fret if you end on a preposition.   Don't worry about what dangles and runs forever, your work is not being graded,  I promise you that!  Come on, get up you Noun.  Stretch out that scrunched up faith, put on some clothes that end in "ly" and MOVE!


Peace, oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ronda




Monday, November 23, 2015

Pressing on

I know.  It wasn't a very long break.  I've always been teased that I'm afraid I'll miss something, and even though I was sure I was DONE with social media, here I am.  Catching up on what I've missed.

Sidebar - my parents took a picture of me when I was about 3 years old.  They had company over playing cards or something and when I was sent upstairs to bed apparently I didn't stay in bed.  When my parents opened the stairway door to check on me after everyone had left, there I lay, sleeping, cuddled up on the floor between the bottom step and the door.  I AM afraid of missing out!  Lord, help me, it's true.

So, anyway.  A new start, a push of the restart button.

Did you know that when the Apostle Paul wrote the words I have as a tag line at the top of my blog he used a word that means to pursue, to persecute, to chase after, to zealously hunt down, earnestly desiring to overtake?

What do you press on and pursue and chase after with earnest?

I think all of us who belong to Christ wish to pursue and chase after Him earnestly, but we get stuck on the little obstacle called remembering.

No one had more he wished he could forget than Paul, formerly called Saul, the ISIS of the first century.  No one had more memories to tackle and push down and try and hide and forget and run from then Paul.  We're not talking little regrets either, we're talking about murder - over and over and over again - of women, children, and men whose only crime was their belief in a man named Jesus.

So when we see those lovely words about pressing on and straining toward, don't miss the introductory words of that sentence:

Forgetting what is behind.

Our job is to not only press on, but press on while forgetting to remember and remembering to forget.

You have no business bringing up the past to yourself or anyone else.  You have no business reminding God of all you've done to convince Him that you are undeserving of His mercy and love.

Your only business is to pursue and hunt and chase down and never give up chasing after Jesus Christ and the prize that awaits.

It's time to forget about it.  It's time to lay the past to rest.  It's time to give the past it's funeral, to cover it and bury it and walk away.  You can't change a second of it.  Not one lousy second.  What's done is done.

Stop torturing yourself.

These verbs are your responsibility now - if you belong to Christ:

Forget the past
Reach towards the future
Press on

In that order.

So when you're straining and pressing and you see a marker for the past, forget the past.  Remember to forget the past.  The scar may be there, but when someone asks how you got it, just say, "I forget."

God has.  Now it's your turn.


Peace,

Ronda









Sunday, November 15, 2015

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from cyber world for awhile.  I don't know how long but...I need to.  For my own well being.  As selfish as that is, it's the truth.

I've been "feeling" the push to do so for awhile, but I waited to see if the "feeling" would pass and I would be able to push through and keep visiting cyber world every day and become more informed and less angry; more enlightened and less need to sucker punch.  But I haven't.  In fact, it's a daily battle to hold off the negative from happening.

Many times I scroll through the feeds of Facebook and Twitter and clicking on links only to find them covered up with advertisements for things I don't need nor do I want to see.  I get bored waiting for things to load and then am disappointed when the links are hateful or so one sided that the weight of them leave a bad taste in my mouth.

It's been a long time since I've gotten up in the morning without first looking at my phone or iPad to see what I missed.  Maybe I'll start reading more, praying more, studying more. Maybe I'll just start breathing more.

Maybe Paris is the big sign God is using to tell me to step back and live the life He's made for me instead of watching and worrying about the lives of those who I have absolutely no control over.

It hurts to see the pain and broken relationships occurring because we have so many more venues to share our thoughts, yet the more we speak the less we hear each other.

I don't need to know what so and so thinks about this or that.  And I most certainly don't want any of you to be wondering what I think about this or that before forming your own opinion or, most importantly, seeing what God thinks about this or that first.

So thank you for coming to visit and thank you for coming back if you did.  I wish you well and most importantly, I wish you God's

Eirene,

Ronda


Monday, November 9, 2015

When Mercy Calls Your Name

I didn't know exactly what mercy meant until I felt it.  I knew the definition of it from my religious upbringing.  Something to the effect of God not giving me what I deserve and instead giving me what I don't deserve.  Wait, maybe that's grace's definition....I get them mixed up.

Mercy me, I am challenged to write what I've learned about mercy, both in head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Let's start with the head:

Mercy - eleeo (verb) - to have pity or mercy on, to show mercy.  The word has often been inadequately defined merely as clemency or forgiveness, holding back deserved punishment or affliction.  Actually, eleeo means to relieve affliction, alleviate suffering or distress, ease misery.  It is the concrete expression of pity and compassion for the destitute or those in misery which undertakes to mollify or remove their suffering.

I find words easier to understand if I see how they are used in a sentence or a scenario.  Take for example how it is used in Matthew 5:7; 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 18:33; 20:30, 31.  Each of these scenes the word eleeos (mercy) is used in a way that if I were to translate it for you I would say this:  Lord, feel my pain!

Matthew 5:7 - Blessed are those who feel the pain of others for then their pain will be felt by others.

Matthew 9:27 - As Jesus went on, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Jesus, feel our pain then please do something about it!"

Matthew 15:22 - A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, feel my pain and help my daughter."

Matthew 17:15 - "Lord, feel the pain of my son and help him," he said.  "he has seizures and is suffering greatly...."

Now, I wasn't at any of these encounters Jesus had with these suffering people.  And if you read this from our 2015 eyes, at first you may think mercy is the beginning of the definition I shared above.  "clemency or forgiveness, holding back deserved punishment or affliction."

Isn't that the first thing we think when someone is suffering and in great pain.  They deserve it.  They did it to themselves.  That's what they get for smoking, drinking, chewing, overeating......etc. etc. etc. If that's all you read in these passages, I agree, it's an honest conclusion to reach.

But you can't just read those passages, you have to read the rest of the story and see what Jesus did next so you may see like I did they were crying to him to help them, to relieve the suffering.

Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you," and their sight was restored.

Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

You see what the blind man, the Canaanite woman and the father did, don't you?  They asked for help.

They saw Jesus, they believed in his power to heal and they asked for help in their suffering.

I would venture to guess that they were not asking for clemency or forgiveness.  When people suffer and believe the lies that they somehow cause the suffering and even deserve the suffering, forgiveness is not the first thing they seek.  There is an unhealthy belief that they are getting what they deserve.

But Jesus doesn't operate that way.  At least it doesn't appear that he does in these lives.

He felt their pain, he agonized in their suffering.  He hurt just as much as they did, but he wasn't going to just heal them for his sake.

The hardest thing for a sin drenched slug to do sometimes is ask for help.

That's why Jesus had to do the work on the cross.  If he had waited for us to realize we needed help, he would still be waiting.  Our sins would still be unpunished and the suffering we suffer may be directly related to our unredeemed sins.

But they're not.  His work on the cross has taken care of the punishment we deserve.

Some of our suffering may be consequences of things we've done, but some may just be because we live in a sin drenched world.

Jesus sees and feels and hears and suffers our sufferings no matter where they originate.

But just like a whiny child who whines and complains and gets angry when things don't go his or her way and refuses to ask for help to do something his mom and dad are more than capable of helping with, Jesus sometimes, not always, but sometimes does the same thing.

He has no problem waiting for us to ask for help.

Lord, have mercy on me!  Lord, help me.

Please, Lord, help me.  I can't see and I stumble and I feel people laughing at me, making a joke of me as I walk along blindly, my arms held out trying to find my way.  

Please, Lord, help my child.  I know I don't deserve anything you have for me, but Jesus, help me anyway.

Please, Lord, help my son.  We've tried everything, we've gone to the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best of everything and still my child suffers.  Lord, help me.  Please, help me.

So Jesus is good at eleeo.  Ir comes from the eleos (noun) of his heart.  The attitude, the disposition, the feeling, the compassion he has for us.  He wants to help us.  He longs to relieve us from our daily suffering and misery.

But he also likes to be asked.

I know though, that I am very, very guilty of expecting something from Him, just because I know he knows and he could do something about it. I would guess that he appreciates being asked for help and not just assumed he will help because he's God and he should know my needs and want to help me without needing me to ask.

(Hmmmmm.....I don't appreciate anyone assuming I will help just because I am a "Christian" and that's what Christians are supposed to do.  Maybe I get that characteristic from Him.  But when I'm asked and aware of what the need is, I will do my best to find a way I can help.  I think that comes from him too.  But you have to tell me what your need is before I can help you.)

Often, when I'm whining and complaining to him, but not asking him for help, this still small voice whispers, "You just need to ask me for help."

So I do and he does.  Not always immediately, nor in the way I think he should, but when I cry out to him for help, immediately I am released from the suffering and misery of trying to figure out things for myself or waiting for answer to drop from the sky.

He just wants to be asked.

Lord, help me.  In the eleos that is in your heart, eleeos me!  Help me.

All we have to do is ask.  Go ahead, ask Him.  Jesus doesn't just talk about showing mercy, he acts mercifully.  Always has, always will.  He is a noun and a verb, evenly balanced.  ASK!!!!

Peace,

Ronda


Eleeo (verb)

Matthew 5:7; 9:27, 15:22; 17:15; 18:33; 20:30; 20:31
Mark 5:19; 10:47, 48
Luke 18:38,39
Romans 9:15, 16, 18; 11:30, 31,32; 12:8
1 Corinthians 7:25
2 Corinthians 4:1
Philippians 2:27
1 Timothy 1:13,16
1 Peter 2:10
Jude 23

Eleos (noun)

Matthew 9:13; 12:7; 23:23
Luke 1:50,58,72,78 (and this tender mercy - tender means comes from the gut, the deepest part of his being, I can hardly stand it! Friends, God is soooooooo in love with you); 10:37
Romans 9:23,11:31; 15:9
Galatians 6:16
Ephesians 2:4
1 Timothy 1:2
2 Timothy 1:2, 16,18
Titus 3:5
Hebrews 4:16
James 2:13; 3:17
1 Peter 1:3
2 John 1:3
Jud 2, 21






Saturday, November 7, 2015

When God gets a bad rap

My words and actions don't always help keep his reputation good either.  If I could only make my heart translate to my fingers the words to describe the God I know.  The real God.  The God who has blasted through my life and blown up the lies I thought were truth about Him.  I fumble with the right way to say what He truly has done, can do, and wants to do in the life of the weakest saint and strongest sinners.

But the translation gets lost and muddled and misappropriated and, like many before me, who have trudged through words and done a better job of interpretation than I can do, they fail too.  Even those who penned the words Jesus said, who heard him say what he said, who wrote it down as the Holy Spirit gave it to them, their words fall and fail just as hard as mine do. 

Falling down, down, down, bumping against hard rock and steel, making dents here and there but still not breaking through to the soul.

And God lets it.

Doesn't that drive you bananas, Church?!  It does me!  He is the one who gives faith.  He is the one who gives wisdom, understanding, and grace abundant, yet somehow, for some reason known only to Him, He keeps the door open enough for us to walk through, yet closed enough -not latched or locked, just resting on the latch - so that somehow we are the ones who have to push the door open. To enter into the place of His rest, His truth, and His hope.

We can't unlock the door to our hardened hearts, but we do, I think anyway, have to be the ones to push the door open to let the fulness of His light in.

Lots of people walk by that unlocked door thinking it's locked, that God is keeping it locked so we can't walk in.  

But here are some clearly written words (your misinterpretation of them is your fault alone):

The door is unlocked!

Jesus is on the other side of that unlocked door, knocking, trying to get your attention - boy he has to use some hard things to get you to notice - but he's there on the other side as you walk by a door you think is locked.  You hear the knocking.  Knock, knock, knock.  He's on the other side of that door, standing there, waiting for you to just give it a little poke with your finger.  You don't even have to try and turn the knob, just give it a little push with your pinky.

Or don't.

That's why you give God a bad rap (pun intended). 

You say, "If God were really a loving God He would open the door wide so I could see Him standing there on the other side."

Friend, if you could see God, you would fall on your knees and His light and goodness would be too bright for your mind and soul and eyes to handle. 

You say, "If there is a God, He would be a fair God and He would stop the evil that is going on."  

Friend, He is a fair God and before you can blink, His fairness will be distributed, evenly and without doubt.  All things will be given their fair and just reward.  Are you sure you want ALL things to be made fair your way?

You say, "I don't deserve God's love and grace after all I've done."

Friend, you're right.  But God doesn't give like we give.  God's reward and punishment is so not like our system. 

You say, "If there is a God, why didn't/doesn't he do something to fix my past, my present, or my sins I keep repeating.  When God does what I require of Him, then...then, I'll believe there is a God."

Ok, Friend.  Sooner or later you'll have to stop telling him how you would fix your life and just let him fix your life.  His way.  Your way isn't working or you wouldn't be arguing with him.  Stop arguing and telling him what to do.  When you can make a tree, then you can tell him what to do and how to do it.

You say, "I don't like God because his people are a bunch of hypocrites."

Yep.  No argument there.  Jesus wouldn't disagree with you, but the word Jesus used was based on a theatrical practice.  Acting.  We pay a lot of money to watch people act in movies and waste a lot of time watching them act on tv.  Why do you like those "hypocrites" and applaud their indiscretions not holding them accountable by not paying to see them with your time and money?  Why is their hypocriteness less hypocritical then a follower of Jesus?

See, you have all these excuses for why God is not trustworthy, yet all those things are on your terms,  based on second hand knowledge.  You haven't found out for yourself.  You haven't pushed open the door just a little bit to let his light in.

You've used a lot of excuses and pointed a long finger at many reasons why, but in the end, it really is up to you to open the unlocked door.  No one can do it for you.  I can't.  Your friend can't.  Your annoying spouse can't.  Your even more annoying Christian neighbor can't.  Only you can walk through the unlocked door.

Jesus unlocked it for you.  If you need help to open it, He'll do that for you too.  But stop wasting your time finding more and more reasons as to why you won't at least let God speak for Himself to your life.

The blame game has to stop.  The accusations have to be laid down.  Either God is who He said he is or He's not.  


Peace, Friend, really, I wish you

Peace,

Ronda


To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wicked Shingles Shenanigans

I've had an interesting few weeks, and after you read this you may have better understanding as to why I got a little testy on here - two deleted posts because I was so grouchy - and a vomiting of words on Facebook that spewed all over undeserving friends.

Three Saturdays ago I woke up with a pain in my left hip.  As those of us over 40 often do, I blamed it on sleeping wrong and waited for the pain to work its way out.  It didn't.  It hurt Saturday.  And Sunday.  I couldn't sit or lay down without pain.  I had a bruise in the area where it hurt so I assumed I probably had run into something and hurt the tissue a little deeper than normal.  Being a nurse, the last to seek help, I avoided doing anything about it because

A.  I had already self-diagnosed myself with a deep tissue injury, nothing can be done for those

and

B.  I would go to the doctor on Wednesday, when my time off started, if it wasn't better.  As I stated, being a nurse has made me seek medical help as a last resort because our self diagnosis skills are so good.  Plus, going when I had to work just made things more complicated.

To which my husband shook his head and scolded me, "You need to go to the doctor."

I will, Wednesday.  Surely, it will be better.

It wasn't.

I started losing sleep.  There was no comfortable position accept standing and tylenol wasn't even coming close to taking the edge off.

Wednesday morning I went to the doctor.  I couldn't sit in the waiting room, I couldn't sit or lie on the examining table.  I was sure I would have to have an X-ray.  The pain was on the hip joint, the bruising was still there, yet when the doctor came in and took a glance at the red area two inches above the joint she said, "Oh no, you're not going to like this."

Ugh.  You don't want to hear those words coming from your doctor.

She checked out my range of motion in the hip, it was fine, and then said, again, "You're not going to like this.  It's shingles."

What!!!!!

Noooooooo!

Yes.

So, I texted my husband who was in the waiting room, Shingles.

Crap, he texted back.

Yep.

On the way to the Pharmacy to pick up the antiviral my doctor prescribed and the blessed pain pills, we joked that I would be going to the theater stoned the next day.

Sidebar:  A couple months ago I bought two tickets to see Wicked on tour.  It was a gamble to get them and expect my husband would go, as it is hunting season and the rut would be on his brain.  But he said that October 22nd would be the last possible day it would be safe for him to go and if I wanted to go he would be available to go with me (roll eyes and mutter, brother).

So, back to my shingles story.

We joked about me being stoned, but at least I would be able to ride the 90 minutes in the car and sit for the show, I hoped.

The pharmacist told me the side effects of the anti viral had been found to be minimal and I shouldn't have any problem.  Did I need to take them with food? I asked.   You can, he said, but you shouldn't need to.  Just in case I did, we stopped at the grocery story so I could take them with crackers.  I was able to get three doses in by the time I went to bed.  The pain meds were kicking in and I was good to go.

Until I woke up in the middle of the night more nauseous than I have ever been.  In.  My.  Life.  The thought of eating anything, let alone a cracker so I could take a pain pill - Shingles hurt, bad; the stories are true I can testify to that - made me so sick I didn't know what I was going to do.  By 8 in the morning, the day of the Wicked show, I was so sick, there was no way I could be better to make it to the 2:00 matinee.

My husband tried to find someone to use the tickets, but on that short notice, on a Wednesday of all days, there was no one.

We were going to eat the tickets, that is if I could get past the nausea.

By midday, when we got in touch with the doctor to see if I could have something for nausea, she told me to stop taking the antiviral.  (Oh yeah, on the medication handout it said there is a chance of an adverse reaction of nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea.  I had the first three.  #4, or would that be #2, was probably just a matter of time).

Once the antiviral got out of my system and the pain meds were working, I was feeling pretty good.  It wasn't easy to sit or wear underwear even, but I was doing better.

Five days later, feeling better and lamenting we were not able to see Wicked, I took a chance and emailed my sad shingles story to the venue hosting Wicked.  I asked if there was some way, anyway I could exchange my unused tickets for any unsold seats in the remaining performances.  I would even provide documentation from my doctor if needed.  (Surely someone has tried to use this story to say they couldn't go).  They promptly responded and said although they couldn't replace the Wicked tickets they would gladly send two passes to another upcoming event (non Broadway) in the future.

I said that would be lovely.

Then I thought, well, why not ask Wicked themselves?  What could it hurt?  The worst they could say was, "No."

So, I found the email for THE Wicked, on Broadway, in New York City and emailed them my sad Shingles story.  To which they contacted the venue, who contacted me again and said I could exchange my tickets for unsold tickets for the Oct.31 show!

So, hubs and I got to the venue 2 1/2 hours early, and got BETTER seats then the original tickets I had purchased.


My shingles outbreak may or may not be responsible for someone who had been standing in this long long when we got there, 2 1/2 hours before the show, to hopefully get tickets.  If it was you, I'm so sorry.


We had a great time, the show was awesome and all is well.  The little bit of the antiviral I got seems to have suppressed an extended run of the shingles.  The rash is fading and the pain is very minimal.

So, if I got testy and sassy in the last few weeks here or anywhere,  please accept my apology.  Pain affects us in more ways than one.

Moral of the story -
1.  If you're a nurse, don't self diagnosis, at least get a second opinion, a doctor's  is preferred.
2.  Never assume it's over.  Nice words do go a long way, and if one answer is no...but, the next answer may be Sure!
3. Always good to have proof.   I didn't have to have documentation to prove my plight, but I did bring it along just in case.

And most importantly,
4.  There are still really nice people in this world who care even though they have never met you.

Peace,

Ronda