Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm sitting in a dark hallway atop a stack of living room pillows. The carpet is a burnt orange and has undoubtedly seen better days. I'm on my neice's laptop and hooked up to the phone with the computer on a piano bench. It's my workstation. It'll do.
Our trip from CA to AR was painfully long. I couldn't drive more than four or five hours at a time. I wore open sandals, and by the time I had arrived, my feet were a horrible black colour, with a thick layer between my toes. But, the dirt took the eyes off of my swollen grandma ankles. There's always an upside, right?
The van was stuffed to gills. What do you bring with you when you don't know where you're going, how long you're staying, if you'll be camping, interviewing or just going right back to where you came from? What do you bring? As much as you can.
I even brought my stoopid guitar and a book hoping to learn on the trip. Turns out, while Derek was driving, I was supposed to be sleeping so that I could make myself remotely useful for a few hours as he rested. The guitar just got in the way. Perhaps I'll still find time while I'm here. I'm determined to learn how to play it, dang it!
We arrived in Little Rock just after midnight and found our family putting up wedding decorations in the church building. We hugged and said hello to everyone. Cousins came out from everywhere which thrilled our kids... Shortly after, we headed home to a pink, very pink room and crashed under the pink canopy. I think we slept till 10 the next morning.
The next few days would be filled with wedding plans, decorations, shopping, cooking, and lots of visiting! Eventually, we'd eat dinner together and shout "OOOooPaaaa!" as folks came through the door during dinner. It was an inside Williams' joke. Pretty funny if you ask me. Though the New Yorker had a puzzled look on his face.
The wedding was beautiful. The princess Di of our family got married... and with style! She married a Harding University Professor's kid... it had to have panache... ya know?! The reception was fantastic. A great difference from the rehearsal dinner... though both formal, the rehearsal dinner was accompanied by a young pianist who is training to be an orchestra conductor. Ours was emceed by Uncle Mike and we were entertained by family members with silly songs... true Williams' style. Loved it. The Neller family and the Williams' family clearly had different wedding cultures. Hehe... I was glad I'd seen My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding. I knew how it all ended!
We're still in the pink room. Kids roaming about. Aunties insisting that we "eat! eat!". Card games, RISK, and chatting late into the night... and cooling off at the local water park. A few Starbucks trips have taken me momentarily back to CA... refreshing.
I don't know what the Lord has in store for us. I'm unaccustomed to not being informed, in control or even consulted with my life's plans... so this is a matter of faith and patience. Much patience... sigh.
I'm going to put the Hummus and Pita chips away. Will join the kids in playing Nertz after finishing my laundry...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tadpoles and fireflies. Stars peeking through the fog. What a change of scenery in my living. Daily. Not just in my living... In my life. The issues that were issues only a few months ago aren't even realities in my life anymore! Now... my life's scenery is completely changed. I like the tadpoles and fireflies... but it comes with humidity and bad hair. I think I can deal with that. Could you?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Faith. Believing in the things unseen. Mom said to me a few weeks ago "Live with the expectation of God's blessing!" Every step in sync with that. Every thought. Every doubt removed. Every fear cast aside. Living with the expectation. Living as though you are in it, as though you see it. Knowing what you don't know. Faith.

I've been living rather faithless this past week. I was in denial about it until the night before last. I was showing all the physical signs though I spoke as though I was faithful. (Speaking about faith comes much more easily than living by it.) My stomach was tight. Eventually, needed Pepto-Bismol. I lay awake at night after a long night of T.V. Wondering. Worrying. Entertaining surges of anger. In the daytime, I would begin a packing project and once overwhelmed by my thoughts, I'd lay on the bed under the fan and just think. Eventually, I'd give in to sleep. I hadn't talked to my husband about it. I hadn't resumed my prayers with God. I internalized it all. And, late one night, I began to weep. I was overwhelmed. Derek listened and reassured me that things were going to be alright. But for the first time in my life, I actually dreaded the future rather than pressing for it.

He asked me to join him on the floor next to our bed to pray.I poured out my heart to God. First, I confessed all my sin. Sins of doubt, fear, faithlessness, betrayal, stubbornness. I asked for forgiveness knowing that He'd already done it. Thanking him for that never ending flow of grace. Then I prayed for my doubting self. I asked for wisdom, strength, clarity of thought, boldness of Spirit. Not just for me, but for my husband as well. I prayed for our elders, leaders in the congregation. For those that I loved. Those that I never took the time to get to know. I prayed for the weak. I prayed for those that had done me harm. I prayed for their children. I prayed for my closest friends whose faith is also being tested. And, when I was done praying... after Derek had finished praying... I was calm. Finally.

All the food, rest, relaxation in the world couldn't bring me the kind of peace that God brought to me through prayer. Let that be a lesson...

So, though we still have no real leads on a new ministry. I believe there is one out there that will come just in time. In God's time.

Though we are moving out of our place in to a storage unit, I believe God has a home lined up for me... a quaint little place that will tickle me pink.

Though my kids are out of the loop with their friends, I believe that God is preparing life-long friendships in the road ahead.

Though our bank account is quickly fading, I believe that every dollar we've ever spent was a blessing directly from God, and He will replenish in His good time. It's a matter of faith.

Faith. We all live by it. Christian or not. We all live with the expectation that "it" will be there.

I hadn't written in days. I was in a state of ... oh, lets just say... ugliness. I'm glad that I wrote it here so that I can look back on it and marvel at God's faithfulness...


Monday, May 08, 2006

I've started this blog over four times.
Not for a lack of wanting to write.
Just a problem with WHAT to write.
I know you've been there.

So, it's Monday.

Just had a dream that I went shopping for an outfit to wear to my nephew's prom. Weird. He's twenty-something. Married now and he was homeschooled, and they didn't have a prom. And, even if they did - I wouldn't be asked to it.

Anyway, customer service was horrible, and I ended up eating a "Fatboy" icecream sandwich (talk about truth in advertising!) on the way out of the store. My husband was at the door, and asked about the confectionary... I explained that I'd been here all day, and this was all they had to eat.

He took me to a mechanic's shop before taking me home. Inside I saw a couple of rappers... Half-Dollar and other thugs. We decided not to stay long... peeled out in our white pimped-out mini-van and went home.

Was wakened when a friend who is in Hawaii called to say hello... that was cool. I ended up raining on her parade when she asked how things were going. Ugh. I hate it when I do that. Just call me Debbie Downer.

I've eaten more mexican food in this last weekend than I think I've eaten all year! Was it just because it was Cinco de Mayo or did I really have that much of a hankerin' for good nachos? Prolly the latter. Didn't even know what Cinco de Mayo was until I asked my black sister-in-law. She explained that it was the Mexican's Martin Luther King Day. Ooooohhhh... Now I got it. Any excuse for good nachos... I'll take it!

So, I ramble.

Can I get serious for a moment?

Just one.

My heart is here with the people. My head is in the future... what might be coming around the corner. How do I reconcile these things? Church two Sundays ago was torture for me. I was so incredibly hurt. I was near sobbing point with a couple of the songs. I don't cry. I make ugly face and tears and snot run down my face... then I sob. It's horrible. I had to leave, only to have a deacon grab me at the back of the church and hug me... I made ugly face all over his nice sunday shirt.

Derek was still leading the final song before the sermon, and he joined me outside. He was tore up too. We hugged... he went back in to find kleenex... and then another couple of friends came outside. Gosh! I sooooo didn't want to be seen crying! But there I was in all my splotchy glory!

This Sunday was much easier. My walls had been rebuilt. My switch had been turned off. I sang all the songs (Derek has been replaced) with no real emotion (sorry God!) and I was in control! BUT... I guess it hit all my friends this week! I was hugging and comforting and reassuring that everything was gonna be alright. I realized during those moments that my friends make ugly face too.

My head is in the future. Things are moving much slower than they need to be. But, I know that they are moving on God's time, for God's glory.

I hope that in all I do and say, that I will prove God's faithfulness.

I'm struggling with frustration, anger and my short temper. I don't know if now is the time to let my "Jennifer-style" frankness be heard... or if I should continue in the meek manner that I've been trying out. (So far, it's been driving me nuts.)

Gotta run.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I've been enrolled in Life University, and I had a test this week. Here are the results of my test. Jennifer's answer key. Hope I did okay...
Ministry requires sacrifice. Religion without sacrifice is not religion at all.
There will be those who work against you. Sometimes it's God's will. And, believe it or not, sometimes it benefits the church. Sometimes it destroys it.
Plant yourself deeper in the Lord than you do in your congregation. This way, when things go awry, you will have been loved by the Lord, and can afford to continue loving the church.
Remember that the church is made of sheople. They are willful, easily led astry, and turf-oriented. So are you.
Remember that you are a vessel used by God. In any way he pleases. Don't get too comfortable - if you are doing good work, he will continue using you! What a blessing to be used by the Lord for his good work!
Never become prideful of what you have accomplished. Never complacent. God has a plan that is so much bigger than what you can do. To humble yourself and commit your service to God is to do greater things than humanly possible!
Love the weak. Even when they are the leaders. Christ loved us even when we were more than just weak... when we were unrepentant sinners.
Take off your churchianity glasses and see people as God sees them. Never size people up and think you have it all figured out. God was always throwing people off when he'd choose the "least likely of these" to be his workmen. (Gideon, Moses, Paul...)
Don't ever give up. Not for one day, not for one minute. Someone's spirit is crying out for what they don't realize is GOD! Keep watch. Be faithful. You may work for salary, but you serve the Lord.