Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Gift of Quietness

Quiet is definitely a gift from God. Sometimes when we speak of the state of something, we put the adverb "perfectly" in front of in "perfectly" beautiful, or "perfectly" delicious...or "perfectly" quiet. It's perfectly quiet in our home for the moment...and it is perfect. Oddity of oddities that I somehow find myself at home alone this beautiful Saturday afternoon, and it's quiet - it's perfectly quiet.

There's not a TV going, no stereos or IPod's playing, and none of the phones have rang for at least an hour. The only sound that breaks the nearly total silence is the quiet hum of the ceiling fan over my head. It's so quiet that even the pressing of the keys on my laptop seem to be almost intrusive. Cooper the very spoiled dog is sound asleep in the chair, and Alli the supreme ruler of any space she's occupying at the moment cat, is in a near comatose state on the couch. It is q-u-i-e-t, and it is perfect.

It's never like this around the Shearon mothership. There's always something going on around here that creates noise of some type. I'm sure it's like that in your abode as well. We just live in a very loud, busy, world. Not saying that's right or wrong - bad or good - but quiet is definitely good.

But this day has brought about some sort of great harmonic convergence in the solar system...and there is not a soul at home save me...and it is quiet. It's amazing how easy it is to think once your brain has been exposed to quietness for just a little while...when there's nothing else audibly competing for your attention. And your hearing? Wow! Your hearing is so keen when it's this quiet. Every little sound makes itself known. It's been a long time since I've heard things this loud and clear! All because it's quiet...perfectly quiet.

Makes me think - no wonder I sometimes feel like I have a hard time hearing God. By way of confession, sometimes...okay, okay...often times, it's because I'm just not listening like I should. But often times, even when I'm trying to listen, God's voice gets drowned out by the cornucopia of sounds and noise that bombard me almost every moment of every day. God's spirit is always a gentleman, and He never screams, so it's up to me to listen...even if it means I have to do some very intentional noise reduction in my life to hear Him. It brings to mind that I have spent so much time preaching to my kids over the years about their "quiet-time" with God - all the while acting like because I'm an adult, and I'm busy, and I have a lot of "stuff" to do, it's somehow okay that I often times neglect that spiritual discipline myself.

God re-teach me the importance of being still and getting quiet before you every single day. Help me purposely tune out all the other "noise" of my day, if only for a few minutes, so that I can hear you speak.

Yes indeed, this has been nice...this quietness...this perfect quietness.

But hey, gotta run, someone just knocked on the door and the phone is ringing!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Date - Time Well Spent.

One of my favorite guys and I went on a date tonight before my hubby came home. The vehicle we were in does not go real fast - about 20 mph - give or take. The wind was blowing ever so right and the sun was shining. Familiar faces kept passing us by and waving.

There's a particular path this guy and I enjoy going on when spending time together. I could probably drive it with my eyes closed.... perhaps maybe I actually have, but I am not saying and the guy ain't telling. Kinda like a Bush's baked beans family secret recipe.

This guy and I laugh ourselves silly as we go around the bends and curves. Some times we go as fast as we can. Others we go real slow or somewhere in-between depending upon how much public access there really is to that stretch of the road.

As we came to a fork in the road, we decided to venture somewhere the wheels have not gone in a long time. We pulled into the parking lot, got out and started to walk. Underneath our feet the rocks were wiggling as we took each step. He even teased me about going over the railing to keep on our adventure.

Slowly, but surely, the rocks started having sand mixed in as we inched nearer and nearer. The water looking rather inviting - off went the sandals.... and in went the toes.... then feet. Soon enough - I was standing in the river almost up to my knees. The guy kept telling me to watch what I was doing - thinking I was determined to get all wet.

Then, it happened. We both were absolutely silent and listened to the sounds of nature in some of her finest. At times in the craziness of life's moments - we forget the river even exist and that it is so close by. We forget the beauty that waits to be held in our eyes, heart, and is meant to be taken in.... absorbed through our very skin and breath.

The guy and I crinkled up rocks in-between our toes and swayed back and forth as the river flowed gently to the tune we were helping to create with our very movement. The breeze blowing like whispers through the strings of pure oxygen. How peaceful and relaxing the moments were. Time seemed to tick by more slowly. The rhythm like a new song.

As we ventured back, we held hands and shared our thoughts on the whole experience. Before arriving back to the parking lot, we realized that a grassy spot is a place normally filled with bluebonnets at certain times of the year. Once upon a time we sat amongst them and had our picture taken. Sweet memories that had been stowed away until just the right time to pop out.

The drive back to where we had started off was filled with stops and starts and rich laughter along each roll of the tires. The sun setting as a backdrop on time well spent. As we pulled into the driveway - hubby's car was there.... The guy could not wait to get inside to see him and tell him all about the time we had spent together.

One of these days, this guy is going to be taller than me just like his older brothers.

But for today, he is my favorite ten-year-old. And I am beyond blessed to be his mommy.

In Walks Brenda...

I've written about Brenda numerous times before. Last time it was in reference to her being a prostitute.... or at least that was the rumor.

Brenda came into the physical church building this afternoon. She is looking for a job and saw our ad currently running in the local paper.

Brenda has been in CA.... not in jail.

Now, I've not only got that straightened out, but also had the privilege of sharing with Brenda that we've missed her. The highways of G-town have not been the same without Brenda walking up and down them wherever she needs/wants to go. While she was here - I made it a point to introduce her to those around.. Of course, she already knows Austin, Travis and Parker from having rode with us several times before.

I also had the privilege of meeting Brenda's mom who drove her to the physical church building today. Brenda is in her mid-40's.

I'm often questioned about why I pick up hitchhikers.....

Her name is Brenda.

Churches Sharing Resources!

VBS is officially over here at this physical church building.

It's sheer nuts! Individuals working together from various churches/groups/wherever sharing resources.

Clearly God is not found inside any one building alone.

How can you serve another today? This moment?

In the Midst of VBS

Melissa - it is not a coincidence she is working at the physical church building this week as a temp custodian. Her pain is deep. Real... real deep. As she was sharing with me her pain - I told her I'd ask for individuals to pray... So, I'm asking... please pray.

There are numerous others who have been walking past this desk... You can see it in their eyes, the way they carry themselves..... pain, heartache, despair, hopelessness...

In the midst of VBS.... may God be found here at the physical church building.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

VBS - 40 Make Life Changing Decisions!!!

Talk about dancing time!!!!!!!

Totals for week in attendance as reported thus far:

Monday - 506

Tuesday - 531

Keep praying!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

God Must Be From Missouri

Don't you just love it when, out of frustration or maybe even desperation, you blurt out a prayer at God that goes a little something like this: "God I know you're there, and I know you love me, and I know you are able to take care of me...but frankly, right now, I just don't see your me how you're going to get me through this!" Then, as if God just wants to prove the point that He is always good and always faithful, He spends the next several days showing you by throwing neon flashing billboards of His goodness directly into your path.

Let me confess to you that things have been a little tight financially around the Shearon mothership lately. The sluggish real estate market (my wife is one of the hardest working real estate agents in town) coupled with the soaring cost of everything from gas to granola bars, has definitely put the squeeze on this family's budget. The economic downturn has been prolonged enough that lately we've been playing the "tyranny of the urgent" game with our monthly in, okay, what do we need to pay this month to keep it from getting cut-off. Of course, the real fun starts when your next paycheck is already gone several days before you even get it. Then your left wondering what in the world you're going to do until the next paycheck. For those who've been there, you know the unbridled fun I'm describing here.

At times like this, I must confess to you, even as a Believer, I often find myself stuck somewhere between faint-hearted trust and all-out panic. However, no sooner than I had whispered the words "show me", God commenced showing me how He takes care of my family...all the time, not just when things seem to be financially tight. So here's how all this started. The phone rings at my office and it's a freind of mine from church saying he's been thinking about me lately, and he wants to buy my lunch. Hmmm...could that just be a coincidence? Probably so, I thought.

But then, later that evening I get to church to find out that another friend of mine has just sponsored me for a major portion of my upcoming mission trip expense. Okay God, are you trying to tell me something here? Then after church, the wife and I get invited to dinner by some friends - their treat. By George, I do believe He is trying to tell me something!

If that wasn't enough, the next morning, I get a call from my wife saying that she's just won a $50.00 gas card at her weekly Realtor luncheon. Okay God, maybe I was a little hasty with that whole questioning your hand of provision thing. By this time it's lunch time again, and for the second day in a row, a friend calls and says he wants to buy my lunch. Okay God, now you're just showing off. But it doesn't even stop there though. The next day, we get a check in the mail for $50.00 from some friends who said they had just felt "led" to send us a check. By this time, even someone with as thick a spiritual head as mine is getting the message.

But just in case I had fallen into a coma and missed His point, God sent me one more for good measure. Sometime back, we had paid for something for my mom and she had intended to pay us back, but never did. She had forgotten it until the other day she just "remembered it out of the blue". So when I was over visiting her the next day, she hands me $40.00 and tells me she's finally paying me back. Well by now, I'm speechless...which if you know me, you know is a miracle of sorts in itself!

But in all seriousness - all of this happened in the span of four days. Truth be known, if I really paid attention to what was going on around me all the time like I do when some little crisis is going on in my life, I believe I would find that things like this happen on a daily basis. Unfortunately, so many times it's not until I'm in a difficult spot that I really begin to get in tune with what God's up to in my life...or, as a friend of mine likes to say...God has to shake me to wake me. How true. My pastor announces from the pulpit all the time that we really don't have to learn all of life's lessons face down in a ditch somewhere. Man, I hate being face down in a ditch!

So what did I learn last week? Well, aside from being reminded of the obvious lesson that God is always in control and He is always taking care of us, I also got a refresher in how God's economy works. God doesn't want our worries and concerns - whether they be finances, family issues, physical health, etc - to become an obstacle that stands between us and doing what God wants us to do...which is to love and serve others in His name and for His sake. You see, when we allow ourselves to be consumed by our problems, we unwittingly become self-centered and unaware of the needs of other people around us.

That's why God goes to such great lengths in scripture to assure us that He will always take care of us in every area of our lives. It may not always be according to our time table (it seldom is), and it may not always happen the way we would draw it up, but we are never out of His care and He never fails to provide what we need. Armed with that security, God's desire is for us to always live above our day-to-day circumstances, and be outward focused - looking for every opportunity to be Jesus to those we come in contact with.

But God knows our frame, so says the Psalmist, and He knows that sometimes we need a little extra "showing". I know I did last week...and God went out of His way at every turn to show me His hand. I wonder what part of Missouri God is from!

Thoughts in the Night.

It's funny really. How one can be awake this time of night.... And yet, not surprising. This happens from time to time.

Tomorrow is Wednesday... and so far this week has looked like nothing I had planned. For those who thought you'd be seeing me in person - be thankful I've not been around.. not a pretty sight! Silly stomach bug. And yet, I am so incredibly grateful. WHAT?

As Brother G was preparing to leave this afternoon for another meeting in another city..... it struck me as we were holding hands to pray, "Thank You, Lord, for this stomach bug!" For had I not been sick - I would not have been here right then. Priceless time between Brother G and I as we continue on this part of the journey together especially.

And while the blogging has been quiet since Micky last posted here (thank you Micky)..... I have spent some quality time with The Father. Again... priceless. Really - no words at this moment to describe it.

As the comments continue to roll in about the article - I remain dumbfounded. As plans for the future are continued to be prayed about and discussed - I am found even dumber still. And as always am willing to risk looking like a complete fool.

Last night Austin came into our room and said, "Mom... I've been listening and here's what I'm supposed to do." Not what he might need to do.... not what he may need to do... What he is supposed to do. That totally Rocks! And rolls....

I've been questioned about why I said in the article, "It also included moving to a town I said I would never live in." Simple....

Ahhhhh.....more of that to come!