Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compassion--Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!

My phone rang the familiar Stuck on You ringtone. I knew it was hubby on the other end and I knew what his first words to me would be. "What'r ya doin'?" He has asked me that question every time he has called me for over thirty years. He is so dependable. I love that man. But sometimes, when he asks me that question, I want to tell him, "Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!"

At first I thought about making up some good story, but I try to make it a practice not to lie to the man I love, and I knew I'd have to come clean about my activity eventually. So, "I'm sitting down resting."

No big deal, right? But then I had to explain why I needed to sit down and rest. Ohhh, I did not want to do that!

It really all started the night before when I took one of those ease your pain PM pills. I slept like a dead log and even overslept a few minutes. A text message got me out of bed and I jumped into the day full steam ahead.
Well, not really. I kind of stumbled into the day with a head full of furry cobwebs. You see, when I packed all my junk back into the camper (those are details I haven't mention here in my blog that I may have to do as a flash-back post) I packed the coffee beans, the grinder, and the white mocha creamer, but failed to put in the french press. Consequently, all day long I fought the effects of the little blue pill that made me rest so well the night before. So what happened later was not my fault. Really. Sort of...not...anyway...

When you live in an RV you have this thing called a holding tank. We've got three of them in our rig. One catches the water drained from the kitchen sink. One catches the water from the shower and bathroom sink. These two are called gray water tanks. And the third tank catches the water from the toilet and is known as the black water tank. (ewww) I don't want to get too boring technical here, but just so you will understand--we leave the valves on the two gray water tanks open all the time we are camped so they consistently drain into the campground sewer system. We allow the black water tank to hold the...well...the...STUFF...until it gets pretty full, then we empty it by pulling a little handle thingy which opens a valve. Then SWOOSH, most of the STUFF goes down a big hose and into the sewer system. Some STUFF will lag behind and has to be rinsed out. No big deal. There's a little dohicky where you attach a garden hose, and when you turn on the water, it runs into the tank.

The procedure goes like this: Attach hose to the dohicky. Open valve. STUFF starts to drain. Turn on water faucet, wait for STUFF draining from tank to...well...look less like STUFF and more like light brown water. (There's a section of the drain hose that is clear so you can see without smelling. Pretty cool.) Close valve and allow water to continue to fill holding tank until you hear a squeely noise (air being pushed up around the seal in the toilet) that lets you know the tank is full. This usually takes a while, especially when you are staying at a place where the water pressure is low. You can do other things while you wait like fold clothes, sweep the floor, talk on the phone, look at cool stuff on Pinterest, read blogs, etc. When you hear the squeely noise, DASH back outside, (try not to fall down the steps in your haste or whack your head on the bedroom slide as you run round the corner) open the valve, SWOOSH, turn off water, wait for tank to finish draining, close valve, remove hose from dohicky, and you're done.

It's a simple routine that works well. Pretty well...except when...

Hey! Is it MY fault that the water pressure was SO low that it took the tank SO long to fill that I totally forgot about it? And it really wasn't MY fault that my head was full of fuzzy cobwebs because I had taken a pill and hadn't had any coffee for a whole WEEK so it was easy to forget that I had left water running! And it sure wasn't my fault that this one time, for reasons unknown, the toilet didn't make it's usual squeely noise when the tank got full! Maybe I shouldn't have been so focused on folding clothes and sweeping floors (that part about reading blogs, talking on the phone, and checking out Pinterest was just examples of what one COULD do, if she wanted to, while she waited) that I didn't recognize the sound of water splashing from the toilet rim to the floor at the very first drop, but I was trying to do a good job! Okay?

After my guardian angel pulled some fuzzy web out of my ear and I realized what the splashing noise was, I rushed to the bathroom and found the toilet trying to imitate the falls of the great Niagara. The water pressure had miraculously increase several gallons per minute. That black water tank was clean now!

I'm sorry I didn't take pictures for you to see. It was something to behold!

Back to why I needed to sit down to rest. When the toilet overflows, its contents makes its way into the heater duct work and through slight openings in the floor around the plumbing and into the "basement" of the RV. The basement is full of things like lawn chairs, fishing waders, bird feeders, you name it. Emptying all that out and cleaning up the flood made me tired. Very hot and tired.

Empty out, vacuum out,...
and let the hot wind blow through!


After I explained why I was sitting and resting, hubby was silent for a moment. Then, "So I guess I'll have to replace the floor in the bathroom when we get home."

I was silent for a briefer moment, then I started trying to break the world's record for how many times a woman can apologize for a single offense.

Hubby seemed less upset with me than I thought he should be, especially since he was sitting outside in 102 degree temperature waiting for a tow truck to come get his broken down pickup. When he got home that evening, he remarked, "The time I did that, water came out the vent pipe on the roof."

Did I tell you how much I love that man? He didn't tell me it was all okay, (I kind of wish he would have) but he didn't yell or scold me either. He had clemency for me. Though he didn't know it, and he might not have meant to, or maybe he did, he reminded me why sometimes we have trials, bad days, and tough times.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
May we remember to show compassion and comfort with the comfort we have received.


Lavonda

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Self-discovery #2

Posting two days in a row? Somebody, get me a cold rag for my forehead!

I really am going to get around to telling you what I've been up to lately--one of these days--but be warned, it will be old news. Today, I need, and I mean NEED some help. I need help from people who know me well or are very perceptive. If you are related to me, have worked with me, have served beside me in church, or watched me work and serve from a distance, or have had deep enough conversations with me to feel like you know me well, I need your input. And if you know me only through my blog and want to chime in, you also are welcomed to do so.

Do you remember that I am on a self-discovery journey? I first mentioned it back in January. Then I told you about my first discovery: I'd make a good pet. Now today, I think I've made another discovery, but I need confirmation. Let me explain.

I've been participating in an online Bible study by Renee Swope called A Confident Heart. It has been a blessing to me, and I recommend it to any woman who is going through a bit, or a bunch, of negative and discouraging days filled with doubts and fears. I'm behind on my lessons (naturally) and have been trying to play catch up. Today I am working on about three chapters because I have read ahead in the book farther than the extra assignments I've completed. Yeah, I'm a mess. Anyway, one of the "extras" I did today was a Spiritual Gift Assessment.

I've been a Christian for a bunch of years. And for the majority of those years, I've been very active in an organized body of believers aka a church. I've done a little bit of just about everything there is for a church member to do. I've served in almost every kind of ministry and worn many different hats. But one thing I don't recall doing is taking a Spiritual Gift Assessment to determine where I should be serving and what I should be doing. I've heard about them and looked at other people's results and read over assessment question, but I don't recall taking one myself. (Maybe I have and my memory is kaput.)

Now let me say that I think God can, and does, give us the gifts we need to do the jobs placed before us. And I believe that sometimes He gifts us with temporary strengths, abilities, and power to accomplish His work. He has the right and the ability to give and take away gifts as He sees fit.  But I also believe that there are certain areas, or gifts, that He has given each of us that remain consistently dominate throughout our Christian lives. It's the way He wired us at the time of our rebirth. (I'm not talking personality types here. I've done one of those tests and decided I'm schitzo, so I don't want to talk about that at the moment.) *grin*

The assessment I took today has 96 statements preceded by an instructional paragraph that includes this sentence. "Respond to each statement below according to who you are, not who you would like to be or think you ought to be."  *furrowed brow* (hmm...Maybe that's why I failed the personality test.)

I'm going to share my assessment results with you (it's almost like letting you look through my dresser drawers) and this is where I need your help. I want to make sure I responded to the statements according to who I am and not who I want to be or who I think I should be. So, if you don't agree with the results based on what you know about me, speak up! If you do agree, it's okay to say so as well. So here goes. I will list the gifts in order of how I scored, highest to lowest.

  1. Tied Teaching and Wisdom (I do have a lot of gray hair for my less than 50 years but I'm not so sure about the wisdom part.)
  2. Discernment
  3. Tied Knowledge and Faith
  4. Exhortation
  5. Tied Administration/Ruling and Mercy (Now that's an interesting mix.)
  6. Pastor
  7. Helps/Serving/Ministering
  8. Evangelism
  9. Giving (Now isn't that sad? I'm embarrassed.)

Here is an explanation of my top three. If you would like to see explanations of the rest, then you can check out the assessment for yourself. (Click here) Scroll on down past the 96 statements to find the explanations.

Wisdom This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit empowers particular Christians with a supernatural understanding of God's Word and the will to apply it to life situations. See I Corinthians 12:8,James 3:13-17.

Teaching This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables particular Christians to communicate and clarify the details and truths of God's Word for others to learn.See Romans 12:7, Ephesians 4:11

Discernment This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables certain Christians to know without a doubt whether a statement or behavior is of God, Satan, or man. See I Corinthians 12:10,Acts 5:3-6, Acts 16:16-18, I John 4:1

 I am serious about this self-discovery thing, and you have no idea how much I would like feedback here. Consider it help with vital research. If you all think that I've really missed the mark and that I don't have a clue who I really am, at least you know who I want to be!

Please leave your comments. You don't have to have any kind of an account, just sign in as anonymous (if you don't already have a listed id), but let me know who you are if you don't mind. If you know someone who knows me, please pass a link to this blog post on to them. Thank you so much!

Now if I can get over feeling like I just hung my unmentionables out on the line to dry in Time Square, I'll work on a blog post about what I've been up to lately. Maybe.




Lavonda

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redeemed

I'm so far behind on posting, it almost seems pointless to try to continue on. Most of my readers have stopped reading, and I fear that all my "followers" have wondered on down the road without me. So I ask myself, and my audience of chirping crickets, should I continue to try to blog or should I just hit the big ol' delete button and call it quits? (This is not the first time I've struggled with this thought.)
Hmm. When I started this blog I didn't care if anyone read it or not, and I didn't understand the term "followers" as it related to my writing.  I started blogging just so I would have a place and a reason to write, and it was an assignment in a course I was taking at the time. Now I'm more informed and it is very easy to get bummed out because somehow, what I now know makes me see myself as a bit of a failure. I think I can relate to Adam and Eve after they gained knowledge of good and evil. They were completely happy, naked, hanging out in the garden, chatting with God... Then BOOM! All of a sudden, when they ate the fruit from the knowledge tree, things changed, and they were ashamed. (You can read the story for yourself here.) Sometimes what you know can hurt you. Yeah, you can call me Eve.

The good news is, the God they were hanging and chatting with is a redeeming God who, believe it or not, had never ending, more than enough, blow your mind mercy, and He dumped it all over them. And guess what? I hang out and chat with the same God, so I think I'll give Him my blog and let Him redeem it. (Sorry delete button, not now, not yet.) And I'll return to the reason I began: I want a place and reason to write.

Just for kicks, I looked up the word redeem. I already know what it means but sometimes I can get a fresh outlook on life just by studying words--what they mean and what they don't mean.

Mostly it means to buy something back that was lost, pay a ransom for something, regain possession of, or to liberate. I like that one. If my blog is liberated by God, then it doesn't have to be bound up by followers, web crawlers, search engines, reader stats, etc. I continued to search and found an antonym for redeem. What it DOES NOT mean: abandon.

Did you just get goosebumps? I did.

Let's savor that for a moment in the shade of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When someone (or something) is redeemed, they (or it) cannot be abandoned. Eve messed up big time. She totally failed in obedience. What she did changed the relationship between man and God forever. In blog terms she had only one follower, Adam, and he participated in her sick and destructive meme--trying to be as smart as God--when he should have known better. Together they just about destroyed the whole human race. No more posting, no more readers, no more comments, just crickets--so to speak.

Shame had them hiding in the bushes when God found them. He never stopped checking in or stopping by to see what they were up to. He followed them even when they stopped following Him. That's what a redeemer does. He does not abandon. God pulled them from their hiding places, clothed them with fine furs, & made a way for them, and us, to get things right again. Jesus--the new meme.

So, I continue to try to write here from time to time and I guess I will continue to come up short of readers, followers, comments, hits--all those measuring sticks that make a blog a "success." But no matter how low my stat numbers fall or how big of a mess or a mistake I make, I know God won't abandon me because I have been redeemed. I will not be ashamed.

Afterthought:

When I sat down here to write a post, I had no intention on writing about redemption. I was going to try to tell you what I have been doing since the last time I posted anything. (Like you really want to know. Ha!) But that's what happens when God refuses to abandon us and regains possession of us and our stuff. He changes our thoughts and intentions and actions to bring attention and praise...and followers...to himself.

Do you have a redemption story? Please share it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!


Lavonda