Tag Archives: faith

No Boxes Please

How many boxes do we tend to put people in?  You know what I’m talking about…….

They dress this way therefore they are……..

They talk this way, they must be………

They are homeless or over weight or have mud on their jeans.  Therefore………

We all do it.  How many boxes do you have for God?  We all do that also.  God is this way and that way and all the things we can come up with that fits our own theology.  This scripture says this and this one says that and it’s as plain and black and white as can be…….. I had God in all kinds of boxes.  Boxes that I made and boxes that others made for me and stuffed me in them with their God.

He held me and He talked to me and told me who I was when I was created.  He told me when I was ready to listen.  Slowly I took Him out of the boxes and crushed them and tossed them to the curb.  I took myself out of those boxes even slower and crushed them and threw them to the curb.

Everyday is an adventure and a new day.  Everyday those boxes try to make their way back into my life…… pretty ones that tempt me into using them.  NO!  No More Boxes!

Today, after we picked up our grand girls, we stopped by a park that had a butterfly garden.  Or so I thought.  It was a conservation area – a small prairie.  we walked around the garden and read the names of various plants and then we saw a trail in the tall prairie grass.  No stopping me…….

Hubby, myself and a four year old and an almost two year old (both girls in dresses) started walking on the trail.  Long prairie grass slapped us in the face, in our mouths, on our legs.  Bees were buzzing and grasshoppers hopping.  I was in my element.  Two in our group were not.  One complained and got stuck by a tiny thorn.  One kept saying we were lost.  But two of us were smiling and looking and enjoying ourselves to the max.

Can you guess which two had the most fun? Ready?  I was one and the almost two year old was the other.

At the end of our walk, back in the garden, we saw a monarch butterfly.  They girls were fascinated by it.  I leaned over and put out my hand and he walked right onto it.  That blew their minds.  The littlest one wanted to hold it so bad but I new to put him back to safety.  Next year.

My husband and I were discussing this walk on the way home.  We believe that God is right there involved in our conversations – no boxes here – my husband wanted to be prepared for the walk.  I can get that in some ways.  But I talked about being spontaneous or flexible.  We should be spontaneous in our walk with God.  We think He is spontaneous but He sees the whole picture from beginning to end.  He has a birds eye view, so to speak.  We just need to trust Him.  He knew we weren’t lost and He knew we weren’t going to get attacked by jungle thorns or whatever.

Spontaneity and flexibility must come out of our boxes.  If we want to trust God with our lives and have that fantastic relationship with Him with no holds barred then that is one box we need to empty and crush and toss to the curb for pick up.

I challenge you to look at the boxes you have made for yourself and God and others.  It’s a constant journey.  But can be fulfilled and awesome —— if we allow 😉

I foolishly left my camera home but here is an image of prairie flowers:

imageshhh

Enjoy!

cate b

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Book Review

A fellow blogger that crossed my path a while ago has published a book.  It is full of truth and pain and her reality.  Her memoir.

I purchased this book through amazon.com for my kindle.  I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.  But I had to.  I tend to feel the pain as I read and needed short breaks.  That is a GOOD thing.  Why?  Because we all have come from dysfunctional backgrounds.  But some faced harder things than we may have.  Or perhaps I should say different things in our past.

I never went hungry or was physically abused.  I had more of the verbal attacks and great loss and left to myself to heal.

As I read through Mary’s book, Running in Heels, I thought of people I have met over the years who had to endure great pain.  Is it fair – no.  But the way our God had his hand on her (and you, dear readers) through all the pain is fantastic.

This book is a great read for anyone.  For your heart – yes.  And for others you know  and those you will meet, it will be of great help.  A must read.

We all need to know that someone else has gone through what we are facing or have faced.  We all need to know that God was with us and is and will see us through.  Life is not easy, for anyone.  But it can be redeemed and turned around.

Thank you Mary for writing your memoir.

http://maryaperez.com/running-in-heels-a-memoir-of-grit-and-grace-2/

Running in Heels

check out her blog here                                                    heelshbk13

cate b

Stop In The Name Of Love…….

……. before it breaks my heart.

Love is a funny thing.  It’s something we all want and need.  But it is also something we tend to run away from.

We’ve all seen others do it or have done it ourselves.  Just when the love is being poured out on you, you want to run away from it.  We start laying brick upon brick faster than The Flash himself!  Then we stop.  We hesitate, with the next brick still in hand.  Isn’t this the love I’ve been waiting for and longing for?

Drop that brick!  Stop resisting love.  I’m not talking about desires and one night stands or even about the guy or girl that may not stick around.  I’m talking about true love.  Love that accepts us the way we are – baggage and all.  Love that we pour out on someone – with their baggage and all.  Sacrificial love.

Sacrificial love.  It comes it many shapes and sizes.  Currently mine is for the two little girls that I care for.  The daughters of my youngest child.  Is caring for them inconvenient – yes – not all the time.  Is it hard physically – sometimes.  Am I tired – yes.    Could I be doing something else for myself and maybe even making money doing it – yes.

But that love.  That look from their eyes into yours.  It goes very deep into my heart.  It is a love I have longed for and a love I have longed to give.  That love they dish out on you even though you are way older.  It’s a love that they feel secure in when mom and dad drop them off.  They feel safe, they feel at home.

I’ve had thoughts lately of when the kids graduate from the university and find jobs, who knows where, and they will move and begin a new chapter.  Where do I and my husband fit in?  I’ve even thought of hardening my heart, laying brick after brick to my wall that is ever so tempting to build,,,,,, why?  So I won’t get hurt when they say goodbye.  So my heart does’t break in a million pieces when they don’t need me anymore.

Then, like the slowly rising of the sunlight on my window, I realize I can’t live without the love they give me and the love I have for them.  So, we will do our best to follow them and care for them until…. until …. until they have to care for us – Hahahaha.

I’m saying this because the love I have for the grand girls, and for the grand boys we had to leave back east, is stronger and ever growing.  I never want to build the wall of protection over my heart because, no matter how convincing we are in our heads, that heart wants the love.  And with great love can come great hurt, BUT when we surrender to love it comes around to great love again.  Love doesn’t go away.  Love works to heal, to stand, to hold  and to continue.  Love never fails.  Love is truth.

And, Dear Readers, love originated in God.  His heart is so big and so loving and so merciful.  He has taught me to lay down the bricks and let His love come to me.  And that is how, and only how I can give true love to my self, my husband and my kids and their kids and to friends and strangers.   And most of all the only way I can love my God.

Let Love in today and everyday.

Enjoy!

cate b

Thinking Too Small

I’ve mentioned before that I have a passion for seeing people progress into their destiny.  For seeing their potential and hopefully I can encourage them to get there.

I am not a professional in that area.  Heck, I don’t even know what to call it.  It’s something that I can do.

Let me tie the title of this post and the paragraphs above, together.  Bear with me on my thoughts here.

Today, I went to a function in our lovely town.  It was a Christmas event where people dressed as characters from Dicken’s era.  Some set up in shop windows weaving a basket or drinking tea, etc.  Some were on the streets strolling around town.  Some were singing Christmas Carols and some were carrying instruments to local businesses.  There was a cart pulled by two horses that you could ride in around the town.  There is to be a tree decoration and lighting in about an hour.

All great ideas but poorly attended.  The very dreary weather and penetrating dampness could have been a factor.  We went into the old courthouse building, mostly to get warm, but some students/faculty from University of Missouri encouraged us to go inside for a hot drink and cookies.  We did, apprehensively.  You see, our town is a University town.  But not for University of Missouri.  We have UCMUniversity of Central Missouri.  We went in and I asked the people if they knew they were in Mules territory.  We all laughed.  I was secretly trying to scare them.  No where did we see recruiting for our beloved UCM.  Just a banner on the courthouse lawn. 🙂

Now, I know I’m new to town and I am still new to the way of thinking of the Mid-West.  I admit that. But I just couldn’t help it, as I walked around I saw potential.  I saw potential in the community, the locals, the ones not even connected to the University.  I realize that towns in the midwest are likely not to be connected geographically – there are a lot of farms out there – like a vast ocean between towns.  But The Burg is the county seat.  I could see building up this type of event to the point where more people will want to come.

So now, where I’m really going with this.  It got me thinking about my own life and potential.  I think too small.  I get ideas of things I can do or see others with their ideas and then I get discouraged.  I actually talk myself out of those dreams and desires and ideas.  They look too gigantic and just down-right impossible.  But are they?

I do not see the whole picture.  I do not see the hows and the whens.  I give up way too easy.  I think most of us do.

I also have a firm belief that my dreams and desires do not start with me.  They start with the God that I put trust and faith and anchor my hoper in.  But do I really believe that?  I confess right now, that when I doubt and talk myself out of pursuing my desires and dreams, that I do not believe that they can happen.  That’s not good.  I’m my own worst enemy.

What makes me doubt?  The delays mostly.  I read an encouraging post today from a fellow blogger here: http://howleadersmanage.com/2014/12/06/go-the-extra-mile/

This part shined right out at me: “For the longer payment is withheld, the better for you. Compound interest is this law’s greatest benefit. While you wait consider it an investment in your character.”

Payment being what I dream and desire……my character is being greatly invested in.…. if I let that happen.  We really need to stop looking at delays and discouragement as failures.  Failures should be the very instrument that makes us succeed.  We need to get a new perspective on our life.  Many great people will tell you of their failings and how they were necessary.  We do not see the whole picture of our life – we just don’t.  But we can gain a new perspective.  A higher view, so to speak.  A God’s – eye – view.

I can do this.  I can dream and I can slow down and gain new perspective.  I can also encourage others that I see doubting and floundering around, on the verge of giving up.  Let’s help ourselves to rise up to new heights and let’s help those around us.  Every human being has potential to be great.

I’ll leave with this thought.  From the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, the main character, PL Travers, handed her driver (Ralph) a piece of paper for his daughter (who was disabled).  The paper had a list of names on one side:

download (2)

 

Even with their deficiencies, these people succeeded to greatness.

Now Let’s go!

cate b

You Married Who?

The year was 1974, the month April, the day, the thirteenth.  I married my best friend who also happened to be my pastor.  We had spent the last couple of years ( a little longer for him) in a Christian Communal Ministry that studied and worked together and then were sent out to various cities to start, what we called, outreach centers.  These basically were houses we rented to take in people off the streets for a meal, a bed, prayer and good old-fashioned gospel preaching.  There was a movement across America during that time.  A movement of God that came in all shapes and sizes and some false gods.  There was a movement of youth that were searching.  There was a war still in progress and our boys and men were caught up fighting a battle that few understood.  It was no longer our parents life.  It was new, it was different.

I tried one year at the local community college in my hometown.  Freedom rang everywhere – hippie professors, drugs all around, new music – or was it freedom?  I knew that I did not want to go to college.  Through various travels I ended up in Oregon and met my husband to be.  It was good times back then.  We were all young and searching for a purpose.

We ended up in San Diego and opened an outreach center.  Fun times.  We met people from all walks of life: the lady who wore her purse on her head to protect her from alien’s powers, the Children of God couple that wanted to entice young girls to be apart of their cult, the upper class men and woman who were searching for their purpose in life.  Very good times and very eye-opening to a gal who never traveled and had a very sheltered childhood.

We were in love, this man and I, and off we went into the world together.  The Jesus People/Hippie Movement dwindled and we were forced to become regular people in a regular world.  We ended up in a small mountain town in southern California with three kids and a dog and pastoring our first church.  I learned very fast that I was not what the people would call a typical pastor’s wife.  You see, the church members in most organized churches have a certain idea of what a pastor and his wife should be like.  My husband was better at it that I was. After about seven years we said goodbye to California and moved the now four kids and a dog and parakeet to the east coast where I came from.  We learned a lot about our faith and about our mission in life.  We knew what we didn’t want to be or to do and set about being who God made us to be.

I continued to be a “pastor’s wife” and I continued to fail the people’s expectations.  Did I feel as if I failed God?  No.  I was true to myself as often as I could be.  You see, He made me.  I cannot be someone I am not.  And as a Christian, I cannot be someone who others want me to be.  I have to be me.  The scriptures people pull out of the bible and use to dictate what church leaders are to do and be are not always used in the proper context.  The original languages alone that this wonderful book was written in are much deeper than our simple English.  I got tired.  I felt like an actress trying to play a part I wasn’t meant to play.

It was during this time on the east coast that I really came alive and things became clearer to both my husband and I about ourselves and about what we were to do and be to others.  We love working with people and helping people.  I got an unexpected job at a police department (will blog about that real soon) and that taught me even more about who I am and what I am passionate about.  People in our church still didn’t get me.  I had other pastor’s wives tell me of the “duties” I was to be doing.  I ignored them.  I had church members tell me that I wasn’t like their last pastor’s wife – I ignored them also.  I began to live and enjoy life even more.  I believe I finally became more of whom God intended.  He liked that.

So, I wrote this to tell you a little more about me.  I also write this to tell you to find out who you are and what your passions are in life and DO NOT let others dictate who you are or what you should be doing.  Understand, we all need guidance.  We all need instruction. We all need others to help us in this journey called Life – but be true to yourself.  Surround yourself with other people who see you for who you are.  This is a BIG key to success.  Let life’s bumps and bruises and forks-in-the-road become your instructors also.  Be humble about the things you go through and the hurts that are dumped on you.  They hurt, but they are a big part in making you to become who you are meant to be.  And biggest of all try your hardest to love.  Love those who are used to hurt.  Spending time being hurt and broken and bitter is a major waste of energy.  Put your energy in letting go and forgiving as best you can and YOU will come out on top.  Let those others go.

You Can Do It!

Enjoy!

cate b

The Subject of Faith

faith |fāθ|
noun
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one’s faith in politicians.
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
• a system of religious belief : the Christian faith.
• a strongly held belief or theory : the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.

Faith.  This word has so many meanings and is attached to so many things.  For me it has multiple meanings and I want to clarify one of them here.

Religion.  I hate that word because it is so misused.  Many will say of me that my religion is Christianity.  Or non-denominational or for some is Catholicism or Presbyterian.  I beg to differ.  For me it is a relationship.  I don’t like being categorized as a “born again” Christian – even though I am.  But that phrase also means so many different things to people.  A word is a word with a definition but in life and experiences those words can mean different things.  Many people I have met over the years react negatively to a persons response to what religion are you?  If I say Christian then some just do not like that because they were hurt by a Christian or by a Christian church.  That can go for any belief.  They assume I’m republican.  Haha.  Give me a break.

Truth is, we’ve all been hurt by someone or some group at least once in our lifetime.  I married a pastor and we together have pastored in various locations.  I’m sure we have hurt people out of our ignorance and immaturity.  Out of our religion.

I just know that over the years my beliefs have changed and my theology has changed.  I’ve found that the older I get the less I know.  It’s come down to this:  I know God sent His only son to live on this earth, to be born as a man and He sacrificed Him on the cross so that through His death and resurrection I can have eternal life.  I know because of that I know a God who fully understands what it’s like to be a human and all that entails.  Do I fully understand all that?  No.  But by faith I believe it.  I have seen unbelievable things happen in my life and our family and friends to know without a doubt that God is very real.  Do we go through hard times?  Yes.  Read my Prisoner of Hope series https://wingedprisms.com/2012/07/22/our-darkest-day/

So, my faith?  I am a lover of God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.  They are my friends.  I will gladly keep company with them.  They are amazing.

Enjoy!

cate b

 

Prisoner of Hope – Our Darkest Day

Part 1 …….

I am about to bring to you, Reader, a personal account of great loss to me and my family.  I will open to you an experience of great loss and grief and, at the same time, great victory and triumph and peace for us.  I hope that you can glean from our hurt and loss to apply to yours or to help someone you love.

In January of 2005 I worked in a small town Police Department on the East Coast of the United States.  It was a normal day in my life – went to work, I knew at four o’clock I would drive home and feed the dogs and myself (my husband worked evenings so I wouldn’t see him until very late) and just relax with the TV or a book.

Our children were all adults by this time.  One married and living about 4 miles away from us.  Our daughter on the West Coast and  a son in China studying Mandarin and the youngest living in the Mid-West.  It was a bit lonely since we were a close family but communicated by phone regularly and saw the oldest often with his wife and our grandsons.

In the afternoon, while still at work, I felt a strong desire to call my daughter and see if all was OK.  I had seen on CNN that there were heavy rains in Southern California and that always meant possible mud-slides.  I called her and she said everyone was home in the small community of LaConchita due to mud on the main freeway.  That was pretty normal there in the winter months.  She sounded a bit afraid.  She told me there were reports of possible tornados and I asked if she was near a hill.  She said she was fine there and we told each other, “I love you”.

Those were the last words I heard our only daughter say to me.  My heart broke that day.

She, along with 9 others perished as the hillside broke free and covered several homes and streets.  A mother and her three young daughters perished next door while their dad went for ice cream.  It was a heartbreaking day in La Conchita that January 10th, 2005.  And a heartbreaking day for our family.

Being on the east coast was difficult.  I received a phone call from a friend that told me what happened and at the time all they knew was that my daughter was missing.  I immediately called my husband and he came home from work so we could pray and wait.  We had to call our sons.  We called Jonathan, who lived the closet and our youngest, Kirk, who was in Missouri.  We decided to wait to call Matthias who was in Shanghai, China until we knew the outcome.

That night was the longest night of out lives.  Waiting is hard on a normal basis.  But to be waiting the outcome of a tragic situation is pure hell.  We are a God-fearing family with a personal relationship with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We try our best to trust and depend on Him to guide and carry us through life.  We are human.  We lack trust often and lack faith often.  But one thing I can say that was proven that dark day in January of 2005 is that we have a Hope in God that is anchored deep.  Meaning that when the clouds crash down on you and all looks dark – we saw an anchor fastened deep that would carry us all through this dark, hurtful time.

…………… to be continued ………….