Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bdubs goes Po Po

Today is the day I went gangsta’ in the West Town Mall parking lot.  I want to take you on a journey of my day leading up to said event.  I had very little sleep due to the dog with (if you are from East Tennessee) “sugars” (aka: diabetes), who would not leave me in peace.  I drag myself out of bed at 6:09AM to give Sophie her insulin shot only to be welcomed with a present on my living room floor.  Thank you, Jesus, for Stanley Steemer.  So, I was in a wonderful mood as I laid back down on the couch and eventually turned on the Today Show only to watch the top story IN OUR WORLD be about the NFL referees.  I was so glad to see they highlighted this pivotal event over the trivial issues such as world hunger, people dying unloved every day, and adoption.  Thank you, NBC. 

Rabbit trail?

I get ready and accidentally stab myself in the face with those flossing pics.

I leave my house with a sore and maimed face and go to meet a dear lady who is becoming such a mentor to me. I am sharing in tears with her about something challenging (don’t try to guess, I’ll tell ya if ya wanna know), and she commented about my heart being beautiful to God…no joke.  She even commented on my femininity (I must admit I do have on a cute top).  I was leaving her to run to the mall to get a shirt before heading out of town (not as feminine of  a shirt, just a plain black one – I know some of you women were wondering).  First of all, I missed my turn in to the mall.  I don’t miss my turn.  I can be an “assertive” driver, right?? Rachel, Emily, Kindal – stop laughing!!   Anyway, the point being, I was delayed in getting to the Sears parking lot.  So, in I pull to the mall and am driving kind of fast and I see this old (and I mean OLD) lady and her husband WALKING ON HER WALKER and I slow down and was praying, “I hope I my heart is beautiful before you, Lord. The flesh and the Spirit battle it out, but you know my heart." AND THEN IT HAPPENED!!

ZOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!  This skinny, white guy with really bad hair comes running in front of my car at full speed ahead and he had a huge, nice purse in hand and the old lady (not the one on the walker, but another one) was SCREAMING!! People everywhere had stopped (okay, so there were about six people).  What did I do? I took off after him in my car.  I was flying diagonally through the mall parking lot and drove over a curb.  He, I’ll call him , “Donald”,  because Donald Trump also has really bad hair.  And as a side note, you’d think with all that money he would do something about that. 

I digress. Anyway, Donald keeps looking over his shoulder and starts to panic.  Because I am not leaving him any room to run anywhere but back towards the mall.  So he darts into this grassy area and runs up the hill.  I pull up and corner him on said grassy knoll (JFK) and he is STUCK.  He is in a triangle area of tree’s and up against a fence.  Donald is short and is freaking out.  Another guy comes up in his car and gets behind me.  I roll my window down because I am laughing so hard and Donald can’t easily go anywhere.  So here’s what he does.  He turns sideways and tries to hide behind a tree.  I yell, “I can see you!!! Do you really think I can’t see you?  I have pictures!!!”  I don’t really have pictures, but I want him to think I have pictures.  Dang. I wish I had pictures.  Well, at this point the cops arrive (and by cops I mean, “mall security” which is a woman in her early 100’s).  Donald-son, hops da fence (said in my best Mr. Miyagi voice – I love Karate Kid).  And the mall cop goes to town. 

At this point I can’t quit laughing.  I strutted around that mall like a guy who had just , well, honestly I have no idea what makes a guy strut around, but you get the idea.  I’m guessing if this staff care counseling thing doesn't work out I will always have a career in law enforcement.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why on earth do I raise support?

A question I am often asked by my close friends is this, “What is it like to raise your own support?”  I chuckle and scratch my head.  Let me give you two responses.

Here’s what I have personally experienced:
“I could never do that.”  “When are you going to get a real job?”  “I hate Bill Bright.”  “I can’t believe you would ask me for money.”  “Why don’t you go with the Baptists?”  “I’m not going to support you, but you could sell rocks and call them prayer rocks.”  “I hate that you raise support.”  “Don’t bother asking them.” 

I have two friends who joined this ministry and one parent threatened to take a gun and shoot the campus director that had challenged her to come on staff.   The other friend’s family disowned her for seven years.  Tears are shed, families divided and rocks are being sold.  Why do I do this?

Asking for money is offensive.  Inviting others to invest in a small piece of what God is doing, is not. 

Currently, I am in another season of support raising.  As difficult as this time is, it is causing me once again to become deeply anchored in Christ and in His provision.  I know that I mentioned the hard comments first, but those comments are NOTHING compared to the team that surrounds me; the team who felt God was leading them to join with me.  Not everyone will want to be a part of the little niche’ of Kingdom building that God has called me to AND THAT IS OKAY!!!! Be BLESSED!  Give to the things that God has uniquely placed in your heart and I will cheer you on in those dreams and visions and desires. 

I want to speak about my supporters.  This is how I feel about you. 

“10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”  - Exodus 17:10-13

My God-called supporters hold my hands up when I am tired.  They sacrifice and give for years on end.  Some chose not to give Christmas gifts to their family because they wanted to support me.  One beloved brother gave and gave and gave out of his company fund and cheered me on personally as well.  One family didn’t have groceries and they gave me $100.  My sister sold her class ring and gave me the money so I could pay a bill.  Another supporter has two in college and one in high school, yet they give.  I have a whole Sunday School class who loves me and wants to hear from me often, because their hearts and wallets are invested into Kingdom building and eternity. 

So why do I raise support?  God has called me, yet my supporters are one of the reasons why I continue.  To have accountability, people who love you and want to be a part……it is irreplaceable.  I needed to remind myself of this today when raising support has flattened me on my face this week.  Thank you, Lord for those who give to the Kingdom (not just to me, but to many other needs)…..may you BLESS them with eternal blessings and the opportunity to know you in a deeper way.  I love you all so much.  Thanks for helping me when my arms hurt.

Here are a few more reasons why I raise support.  Every face has a name and a story.

                                         Investing in lives.

                                                                 Staff women who pour out!!

                                             Staff and students trusting God for the homeless!

                                                Seeing our friends on staff celebrate Baptism!

Lindsey going to Sweden long-term!

                                             Praying for Lindsey Lohan to eat!

                                                        Doing life with a team!!!

                                         Being looked at as total looney tunes by praying for people
                                         in Washington Square Park.

                                            Weekly meetings where students are hungry for more!

Never once have I ever walked alone


Thursday, September 6, 2012

To be or not to be.....a mom.

I am not a mom.  For many of you that might have come as a surprise. J  In my home you will not find Elmo, legos, or that faint scent of Johnson and Johnson/baby poop combo.  However, you will find a diabetic dog that will never die and the option of having a white couch.  I do not have babies to rock or children to occupy my time, but I do have a job that I love and the freedom to travel.  I do not have a minivan nor do I care to ever own one, but I do have a great Toyota, compliments of many supporters.  PERSPECTIVE.  GRATITUDE.  TRUST.  OPENNESS.  All of these words are key to embracing the here-and-now in each  unique and individual season of life.  God has me doing the homework. 

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (okay, so it was two years ago in New York City),  I found myself in the most awkward position. I was on a summer mission’s project for six weeks and my assignment was to help mentor staff women with my particular ministry.  You see, I had done quite a bit of homework on how to really care for and shepherd mom’s.  The plan was for me to meet with two of the mom’s on our staff team and pass off all the information and ideas I had gathered so they could implement them.  Well, the mom’s felt that I should be the one to implement the ideas and lead the weekly mom’s time.  I wanted to puke. Too much?  How could a 35 year old single woman encourage a group of mom’s?  I didn’t even know how the  &^%$ to operate a diaper genie, and can you believe I had no strong opinion on breast feeding versus bottle, and what the heck was Growing Kids God’s Way?  Wasn’t every mama just trying to do the best that she could do? So with great vulnerability and nervousness,  I obeyed and God gently met us in our times.  Because after all, what each mama needed was just someone who noticed and cared enough to even try to have a mom’s time.  I share all this not to brag or for someone to think I’m special, but I share that because for a lot of my life I just didn’t notice the needs of mom’s.  For one, I was too busy focused on my own (still am a lot of times), to focus on someone else who I felt had gained the American Dream of family.  This is where perspective comes in. 

Over the past few months I have wrestled with longing for acknowledgement of not having a family. When you are single, most church people just think you might be sad because you want a boyfriend, but there’s not acknowledgement that you are grieving a whole family that you had imagined would have been a reality by now – a strange type of infertility. I couldn’t have named it, but after my sixth friend in a month’s time shared that she was pregnant and another handful got engaged, I think what I longed for was some sort of acknowledgement, “Beth, what is this like for you?”  However, in the midst of someone’s great happiness, why should they?  Perhaps this is why since that summer in 2010, and especially over the past week, my mom friends have been so heavily on my mind and heart.  They live day in and day out with little if any acknowledgement.  No one is around to cheer, “Way to go! Way to clean up your kid’s nasty diaper! Way to expand the Kingdom!” They don’t hear, “I know you feel like you have a second butt with that child following you around everywhere, but this will matter in the long run.”  And my guess is that when they are up at 4AM and want to cry from total exhaustion, no one is around saying, “These moments are an invitation to something greater and it is just for a season.”  Sigh.  Mom’s, we see you.  God sees you. And… matter. 

Gratitude enters the picture when you begin to see what you do have versus what you don’t.  Like the first paragraph of this blog – with perspective, gratitude can come.  Not sure which comes first?  I am grateful that while I am not a mom I have friends who let me be Auntie to their children.  I often laugh with my sister/cousin Ami who happens to have six kids, that when I am at her house in Texas, I don’t have time to think about myself or be sad.  What a gift AND what exhaustion.  Happy exhaustion.  A way I can love my friends is to love their kids and to take a meal or give them a break.  Who says I can’t be a little piece of a mom to a lot of kids?  If I continued to sit around in my house with my diabetic dog and be sad, then it is my own fault.  Jesus offers a way to get out of ourselves as single people and be the Body to our friends.  Can we put selfishness aside?  Not longing, but just self-centeredness long enough to love on those who could use a hand? 
Will you trust God with me that He will somehow use our feeble attempts to love one another and allow that to go a long way in the lives of those that feel unnoticed?  Don’t we all just occasionally want to know we are not alone?  Isn’t that why people fight and argue because they don’t feel heard or noticed? The concern is when the desire to be acknowledged becomes a demand.  Disordered desires can shoot us in the foot and keep us from OPENNESS to what God has for us.  Choosing to dream new dreams beyond what I want in the next year is where I am.  Asking God for a dream and vision of what life could be like if I remain open to Him…………perspective, gratitude, trust, openness.  The invitation is for you too!  And for all my mom friends, you are my heroes and I love you. Thank you for teaching me about dying to selfishness.