The Accidental Pharisee

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday #17

Three of my favorite quotes on change:

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”
~ Pericles, Ancient Greek statesman

“Any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”
~ Arnold Bennett, British novelist

“Don’t fear change; embrace it.” ~Anthony D’Angelo, author

My favorite Scripture verse about change:

Hebrews 13: 8 (NIV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus doesn't change.
And for that truth--in the midst of a world that is full of change--I am thankful.
Thanks, Iris at Sting My Heart, for hosting Thankful Thursday!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Staying in the Moment

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
~2 Corinthians 12:9a

Imagine being a woman who bled for 12 years.
You spend all you have on doctors. No relief.
In Jesus' day, if you were this woman, you had no life.
According to the Law, you were unclean.
If you were married, that meant you couldn't be intimate with your husband.
You couldn't go to the Temple and worship.
You couldn't even go to the well and draw water with the other women. No freedom to meet with your friends and chat, talk about your day, your struggles, your hopes ...
You're a prisoner to 12 years of bleeding.
One day, you've had enough. You're desperate for something more.
Something other than the life you've been living.
And so you dare to leave your house and go out into the crowds.
You're looking for someone--the man named Jesus. You've heard he can heal people.
Maybe, just maybe he can heal you.
You aren't brave enough to face Jesus and ask him to heal you.
But you dare to come up behind him while he's in a crowd and reach out and touch the hem of his cloak ... and you are healed. Immediately.
Yes, there's more to that story. But I don't want to talk about the rest of the story yet. I want to stay in the moment--the moment where the woman gathered her weakness in her hands and took it to Jesus.
Here. I can't do anything with this. I can't fix it. I can't live with this any more. Can you--would you, please, help me?

Just Thinking Out Loud: Sometimes that's all anyone can do. Stay in the moment of your weakness and admit: I can't fix this. I can't live with this anymore. Can you, would you, please, help me, God?
God promises that his power his perfected in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I need to remind my Accidental Pharisee-self that my weakness isn't about what I can't do. It's about what God can do.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting Random, Just For The Fun Of It

Lea, my blogging pal at Shabby Olde Potting Shed, tagged me for a Random MeMe. I'm to share 7 random things about myself and then tag 7 other blogging friends to do the same.

So, here goes:

  • I love waterfalls! My husband Rob took that photo on a recent weekend hike with a close buddy.

  • When I get nervous, I tend to laugh. You should have heard me the first time I tried rock climbing. Once I got down, the instructor looked at me and said, "You didn't hear a word I said, did you? My reply? "Nope. But I'm on the ground--and I'm smiling."

  • My favorite treat? Jellybeans! I like my sugar with just a little bit of added color.

  • Up until this year, I could say I had never eaten brussel sprouts. I am now sorry to say that I have tasted exactly one brussel sprout. And I confess I spit it out.

  • I am a twin. My sister, Brenda, was born 4 minutes after me, which makes me the older sister. Brenda and I are fraternal twins. We couldn't even convince people we were sisters, much less twins, when we were growing up. No fun stories of switching places. That's Brenda in the red dress and me in the yellow dress. See, only similarity is we're both girls! Those other folks are my older brother, Bobby, my younger (and taller) brother, Kenny, and my younger sister, Theresa.

  • I hate spiders. Hates them. Hates. them. 'Nough said about that.

  • I've been to Venice once--and would love to go again. What a magical, lyrical, beautiful city. My son, Josh, took this photo when he visited there a couple of years ago.

And, I now tag these seven blogging friends to tell us some fun random things about themselves:

Tiffany, over at Tea for Tiffany
Kristi, over at KiKi's Corner
Denise, over at Teacups and Time
Marsha, over at Marsha's Musings
Laurie Ann, over at A Magnolia's Heart Beats
Lori, over at Front Porch Legacy
Nancie, over at More Than Conquerors


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday # 16

Thank you, Iris at Sting My Heart for rallying woman all around the world to be thankful on Thursdays. I find the choice to be thankful on this one particular day overflows into the other six days of the week.

Those of you who read my post last week know that I was worn out and struggling to be thankful. A great big Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all of the encouraging words posted on my blog and for the prayers that were prayed for me. To be honest, the battle with weariness and discouragement didn't disappear until early this week. But, reading the other TT posts and your messages to me kept me in a continual spirit of thankfulness, in spite of the pressure I faced.

So, what am I thankful for today? So many, many things:

  • Each one of you Thankful Thursday friends who posted an encouraging word and/or prayer for me last week. You were my spiritual "ground support."

  • That we got not 1 but 2 phone calls from my daughter, Amy, on Sunday! I was a happy mom!! Amy is now in Nicaragua and beginning her adventure with her team. I know she is in the center of God's will for her life. (And, yes, I miss her!)

  • My iPod and my praise and worship music--and the chance to fall asleep listening to songs that lighten my spirit and redirect my anxious thoughts and remind me that God is faithful.

  • That I've experienced breakthrough with the oppression and discouragement I've battled the last month. My feet are back on firm ground--thank God!

  • For my husband Rob, because he loves me during good times and bad, good moods and bad, and is truly my best and most faithful friend.

  • For fun family walks with Rob and our two daughters and our two dogs. Ah, stress relief.

  • For the chance to sit in my den in my rocking chair--the one I rocked all my babies in--and read God's word and have my spirit be refreshed. To have God speak specifically to the needs of my life through his word--amazing.

  • For "Wise Guy"--my trusted counselor. (You can read about him in other Accidental Pharisee posts.) And for his unwavering belief that I am a person of worth.

  • For this specific Scripture passage: The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23


Just Thinking Out Loud

Spent some time with Wise Guy today. It seems I either laugh or cry when I hang out with him. Pardon me while I indulge in a reminiscence.

The first time I met Wise Guy, I told him I wasn't going to waste my time--or his--crying. It was inappropriate, I said, like kissing on a first date. That was during the time in my life when I didn't cry for 18 months.

I've been known to say, "What's the use in crying? It doesn't do any good."

And Wise Guy always challenges me when I say that.

Oh really?

And then he sits there and looks at me. And I wonder, "Do I really mean what I just said--that crying doesn't do any good? Or do I mean something else?"

So this Accidental Pharisee is going to muse on tears for a bit ... just ponder the need for tears, the purpose of tears, the solace of tears ...

Starting with others' thoughts on tears:

"Tears are words the heart can't express" ~Unknown

"Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again." Alex Tan

"Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it." Albert Smith

"A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven." Charles R. Swindoll


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday # 15

It's late and I'm exhausted.
And, to be honest, I thought about skipping Thankful Thursday this week. I just don't have the time to post a blog entry this week. My To Do list is taunting me and my eyes are begging to close--and I still have to climb the stairs to my bedroom ...
But I've learned the value of being grateful. Sometimes taking the time--making the time to say thank you to God makes all the difference between a good day and a bad day.
The last few weeks have been rough. I've battled discouragement. Doubt. Migraines. Work overload. Intense sadness at having to say goodbye to my daughter, Amy, who left for a 9 month mission trip this past Monday.
Even in the midst of all that, I have reason--REASONS--to be thankful. And all of those reasons have names.
This week I am thankful for:
  • Rob, my husband, who lives with me in an understanding, servant-hearted way
  • and for my friends (in no particular order): Gloria, Tiffany, Scoti, Jeanne, Kristin, Margo, Fran, Barbara --You've all prayed for me, listened to me, comforted me, and pointed me back to God when my faith has wobbled. You've fulfilled the exhortation of Galatians 6:2: Bear one another's burdens. Because of your friendships, my burden has been lighter.

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12: Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

With thanks to Iris at Sting My Heart for encouraging us to be thankful. And with many, many thanks to all the women in the TT community whose grateful hearts inspire me!


Listening to the Coach

"Fatigue makes cowards of us all." ~ Coach Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi said it.

I'm here to tell you he was right.

When I'm tired, I'm scared.

Now, you may be wondering why I'm not quoting Scripture or someone with biblical authority. Well, I figure God can use all sorts of people to talk sense into us. He's God, isn't he? The Creator of so many wonderfully different, brilliant people.

And that includes football coaches.

Besides, Wise Guy was the one who first quoted Lombardi's wisdom to me--and he's reminded me of it many times--and as recently as last week.

I admit it: I am an exhausted coward.

Life has been busy, busy, busy in my little corner of the world. I'm up late, up early, running, running, running. Never finishing the To Do list.

I'm not complaining--not really. I'm just telling you what's causing the complete physical exhaustion. Throw in a couple migraines, some other recurrent physical problems ... and you've got one tired woman.

And there's no pause button on my life. No way to slow things down so I can rest up and prepare for tomorrow. Nope--tomorrow's already here and I'm still working on yesterday's list.

You know the one thing that gets overlooked in all this madness?

My relationship with God.

I tend to say, "I'll be with you in just a second"--and then I make another phone call. I answer another e-mail, post another blog entry, empty the sink of the dirty dishes, throw another load of laundry in ... you know, life.

And before I know it, I'm exhausted and overwhelmed--feeling a bit scared--and realizing I need to reconnect with God.

It's the only way to find firm ground again. It's the only way to truly find rest for my soul.

Just Thinking Out Loud: Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who were weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) I think he knew that fatigue makes cowards of us all. I think he knew how debilitating exhaustion is. And I think he knew he was the answer to our exhaustion. He is where we find rest. Naps are nice, sure. But I find mine are often interrupted by phone calls or someone ringing my doorbell. The question is why do I let so many other things interrupt my relationship with God?


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday #14

With thanks to Iris at Sting My Heart for giving me a chance to stop and be thankful--and for allowing my life to intertwine with so many other women whose grateful hearts encourage mine! Iris quoted Ecclesiastes this week--about ""For everything thing there is a season . . ."

I'm entering a season of letting go. My 20-year-old daughter, Amy, leaves next week for a 9 month mission trip to Nicaragua. It is what I call a "wonderful-horrible" mom moment.

It's wonderful because I know this is the next right step for my daughter. I know she will be right in the center of God's will for her life while she is down in Nicaragua.

And it is horrible because I love my daughter dearly and I will miss her every minute of every day she is gone, with every beat of my heart.

Today I am thankful for my daughter, Amy because:

  • her courageous spirit challenges me to live without fear
  • she has a sweet, merciful spirit. This is my child who said, "I love everybody's eyes, Mom. Even bats' eyes!"
  • she chose her relationship with her dad and I over a tattoo. Need I say more?
  • she may not keep her room neat, but then again, neither do I. But she has an amazingly creative ability. Just ask her art teacher!
  • she lives life outside the box--following where God is leading her. Yes, that is scary for me--but it also makes me very, very proud.
  • she has "emerald-sapphire" eyes--a beatiful blend of my green eyes and her dad's blue eyes. How fun is that?
  • she embodies one of my favorite sayings: She is living her life out loud.
  • she laughs with me, not at me, and she sings along with the radio with me and her sisters--there's nothing like a Mom and daughters car duet to make your day!
  • she is willing to say, "I'm sorry" and she doesn't hold a grudge.
  • she is a loyal friend--sticking with you through thick and through thin.

It's one thing to realize, "Wow, I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter!" It's another thing to realize, "Wow--I'd be blessed to be my daughter's friend."

My daughter Amy is an amazing young woman--and I am blessed to be her mom. I hope I've earned the right to be her friend.

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