Saturday, September 01, 2007

under construction

Hallo :)

Its been very busy 'round here since I last blogged. We've been to the doctor's office several times as they adjusted his medications to get his blood balanced back like it should be. Seems all those surgeries had been too big a strain. Once one of the readings went way off kilter, other elements faltered as well. Thank God, he was in for treatment before he would have to be hospitalized for it. Its just a matter of taking some new pills and monitering often. Tom has been responding extremely well to this regimen - and the little spots that wouldn't stay healed are subsiding. He still has the last surgery coming up. He's now stabilised nicely, but they want him to stay that way a bit before rescheduling.

Meantime we've had the guys finally come back to redo the systems in the yard & work on it some more. After the yard was filled back in and all that- it was decided that a new deeper well & septic system was necessary to replace the old ones. (very old- both were antiques!) So- over the last couple of weeks the crews have been bustling in and out with big pipes and trucks & excavators... They are mostly done now, and hope to finish up right after labor day. The well is competely finished & the water from it is lovely. We will keep up the triple filtering for now, but probably won't have to once it is tested again next month. ^_^

While out and about, we checked some of our favorite stores for goodies in our range & found some lovely ones. I now have my favorite old "Man of LaMancha" production on cd! I also found Offenbach, an original Traveling Wilburies vol 1 cd, & one of my old fav Clannad albums on cd turned up in a secondhand store cheaply too. I am truly amazed at the grace in these inexpensive delights. I was looking forward to ordering them off the net when I was well-off again as these are comparatively rare and hard to order any other way. Now they are mine for like 2.00 each. Wow! Just about takes the sting out of not winning the lottery. :)

It may sound silly, but I had really wanted to win this month because of some neighbors I gotta deal with. Got another situation where a 'respecter of persons' thing seems to me to be a huge issue. If people just have to worship success, or think it puts them at a level where they don't have to treat God's other children with equal respect, I would like God to back up the words He gives me with a position they will recognize, ya know? But, no, God gives me the grace to do as He leads, continues in upholding us miraculously well where we are -even sends lovely treats our way, and asks us to believe Him for tomorrow. I know that's enough. I just would love to abound again and be content. I've been working on being content in this situation for what seems like a long time already. ;-)

I keep getting reminded as I read God's word that many of those God sent to speak to people where not blessed with huge material goods or an official position for a long time. Daniel was recognized and beloved by one king, but pretty much ignored by the next guy until he got that famous hand writing on the wall. Actually that guy's preferments were something Daniel would have been glad to have done without! Even John the Baptist (though a priest's son) was only recognized by the Pharisees because of the crowds that came to be baptized- which was really God's calling them through John. The prophet Jeremiah received hardly any respect at all until after a number of his prophecies had come true - and then it was by those put in charge by the Babylonians. His own relations had tried to betray him. The king had him thrown down a dry well!

I remember Oakleigh's weak point as well. They had done many things well, but most of the elders had been blessed with earthly financial success before or during going into the leadership there. When God sent them special messengers who weren't well-heeled, it was uphill slogging to be recognized at all- and that was WITH the Holy Spirit vouching for His own every step of the way in a church where the Holy Spirit spoke through people quite often! I have yet to see (in person) another church as close to Christ's heart as Oakleigh, so its never been surprising to see this problem not even recognized, let alone dealt with in other circles- but it *is* disheartening.

Eventually God ordained the dissolution of the best church home I would ever know. I was one of those given that word - though I was only a child. We would all be seeds on the wind, and learn to sing to Him in the wilderness before we would be brought home. I knew the why of it as well. The projects the church undertook were always begun with much prayer, but when God sent them people to fulfill them who weren't well-heeled, they would often be bumped for the socially adept and for wealthier believers/ministries who showed an interest. They didn't keep praying about the people they chose to back after seeing that the project itself was to blessed and a blessing.

God sent people from all over to Oakleigh- and I can remember hearing some of them talking to God about it, shocked that the doors they believed they were told about were being closed in their face because they who had left everything to follow Christ had not then arrived well-enough endowed. Now some may have been kidding themselves but at least three definitely were not - they came in the spirit of God, and when they were rejected, God opened other doors for their ministry. It still surprises me that someone who receives their own raising - especially in a difficult industry- correctly, in the spirit, and as a gift of God- will still fall for the 'its just good business' line afterward, will look to lean upon the hand of pharaoh, until their own hand is pierced by that broken reed.

Seems like the only churches immune from this problem are the ones where everybody is broke. As soon as one of them is blessed financially, even they are tempted to presume that one is also more with it spiritually. Not too many St Francis-style ministries recognized by God's people in this day and time...and then it helps to already be a Franciscan. This is an advantage even St Francis lacked at first. He was regarded as a nut for several years, as was St Clare, and the few others who listened to him then.

I remember also the word God gave one of those downtown Christian cafes that the church ran back then. The Holy Spirit told us a person very dear to His heart was coming that afternoon. I watched to greet this person for hours. When the word of the Lord came again, saying 'this is the one' the person's appearance was a shock...because he looked just like all the other hobo types we served all day long - but this elderly, impoverished African-American believer was someone God dearly loved (and still loves). Jesus especially wished us to honor His servant that day. Thinking about it as a grown person, I realized that this was not a word God has given very often - even to many of His best known and most faithful servants. This last was first with Him. Had God given an African-American hobo a prophetic word for you -- would you be inclined to listen?

And yet you would be a fool not to listen.

I have realized lately how many unique experiences have shaped my unusual view of the world and of life. I do not value the unsupported word of 'experts' at least partly because I grew up listening to many senior citizens who told me the truth of the history they remembered, and showed me the holes in the stories I heard. My values have been shaped in a very serious way by experiences like the ones I have shared, and many more. I am serious minded- which is why I value silliness. I can use the break! What some people have chosen to misunderstand as pride is actually strength of will. I know who I am. I know God is and that He loves me. I do not have to wonder about it. Sometimes this bedrock certainty spreads too easily to my other opinions - but its not pride. I am just sure I am right. {grin}

I live by principles and by faith. I admire those who I see also trying for these goals. If you abandon the good fight, and lose your grip on the unshakable truths, talent or success is not an adequate replacement for it in Christ's eyes or mine. Indeed, why should God be impressed by our feeble gifts? He gave us every good thing we have. Christ has ordained ALL our provisioning - including our 'natural' gifts. We are not supposed to bury them (even if the most rare sometimes get mis-identified by fellow believers), but we aren't supposed to think ourselves better than anyone else for having them either.

A great servant of the Lord once told me that every talent- every gift, is a responsibility before God. Those who have few talents also have great freedom! God loves the simple hearts too- and their position is a generous gift. They are free to simply enjoy Him.

It may sound diminishing to regard every talent under our control as also belonging to God - but this awareness is also very freeing. We are not responsible for talents we are not given. God promised me that He had (and would) give me everything I would ever need in this life if I would just continue to walk in Him. I would never discover I needed a particular talent, and find it lacking.

This is true word for everyone.

No one of us is better than another because we are clever or creative or wealthy or cute or have a beautiful voice. Nor are we lacking if we do not possess one of these gifts. God is faithful, and has given to each of us what we really need in this life. Once we truly grasp this truth, we are free to prefer one in love as scripture requires. Once we understand that we owe God even what makes us so special to others, then we are free to use those gifts with a fitting humility that will clothe us far more gloriously than any photo op.

I used to worry about a friend I had when I was very little. He was such a sweetheart! But he was also much simpler in the head than I was, and he was in a situation that all my 'cleverness' would have found very challenging. I prayed for him often, and was surprised when I heard he'd had an accident and gone home to God early - but the crucial thing was that he had gone home in grace, still full of the love and generosity of spirit for which I'd always loved him. God had given him what he'd needed for while he was here - he was to be 'finished' in heaven.

Meantime, I struggle on in this life, stumbling over the roots removed in the garden of my heart, asking the patience of those who see the flaws exposed during the renovation and reconstruction of my life and heart. God's still digging here, but the results will be worth it I am sure.

1 comment:

Kathy in WA said...

Glad you're back blogging again. It's hard to fit in computer time, especially when life is busy.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment. :)