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Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on August 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm

apparently going to the farmer’s market without showering, or for that matter not having any concern for what you look like, means that there is a good chance you will be mistaken for a farmer. Mind if you were as out of it as I was then it will take you a while to realize what is happening.

It went something like this. After a late night, and not so great sleep, Phil and I woke up and ate breakfast while finishing a movie on Netflix. I then threw clothes on, pulled my dirty hair up in a tie and we headed out for the Chester farmer’s market. Upon arrival I went to the first stand where I found green beans.  I was simply standing there contemplating how many I needed, when two older women walked up to me. I had just reached up to grab a plastic bag (terrible I know) when one of the women said “I need a bag” and looked at me. So I handed her the bag not thinking much of it. I went to grab another bag, having given away my own, when the other woman reached out her hand towards me and took the bag. I became confused. Why were these women taking my bags. It finally dawned on me that these women thought I was working the produce stand. My first thought was to laugh at it. My second thought was that perhaps these two could have been a little nicer to the person they were seeking assistance from.

I finally managed to snag a bag of my own, which I promptly filled with a good amount of green beans. At this point one of the women looked at me, started to hand me her bag, and asked for green beans. I stared at her for a moment and finally said “I’m sorry, but I don’t work here.” She looked utterly annoyed, turned away from me, and loudly asked for help from someone who did work there. I walked away laughing. In fact, dirtiness and all I take it as a compliment to be mistaken for a farmer, because they are great.

The great, minor, tragedy of the day was that by the time we arrived the Israeli women had sold out of their amazing flatbread. The good news is we got so many good and fresh fruits and veggies. Plums, peaches, peppers, corn, tomatoes, green beans, squash, zucchini, potatoes…and other wonders.

Shopping at the farmer’s market certainly changes the dynamics of how you buy things. It is not as easy to assume. Those women simply assumed I was a worker, and were not the nicest. I hope that they will become nicer as they begin to get used to buying their food from actual people versus a sign in a supermarket. Shopping so up close and personal definitely takes some getting used to, but I know it is good for me. It helps me practice patience while I wait for the one worker to be free to tell me how much the potatoes cost. It helps me assume less about my food, by my having to ask about how they grow their food. It makes me work on trusting people. Some people tell you their food is organic. And instead of demanding proof, which they might not be able to produce anyways, I get to work on trusting people and being a little less cynical.

Not a bad start to a Saturday.

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it won’t kill you.

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Something good to remember: when people speak things into your life, they might just come true.

A little over a year ago I was in Cambodia with a team from my church. On our last night we spent time over dinner, encouraging the YWAM staff we had been working with. At the end of our time together one of the YWAM staffers came up to me and told me that he felt I should pursue preaching at some point, that it was something I should do. At the time I thought well that is cool. It is always great to have a male encourage someone of the female gender pursue any position of leadership within the church, since we often get the opposite.

I have already shared on here about how a few months ago while our church was having a day of prayer and fasting a stranger came up to me and prayed over me focusing on how it was time to walk into my calling and that God would make the path clear. I have readily accepted that word and can thankfully report that God was completely faithful to do so. I finished school and found a job immediately, and along the way Phil and I got a new car and new place to live. The thing is I believe there was one more part to what that guy prayed over me. You see the next Monday of prayer and fasting I showed up to pray and was approached by my pastor about being part of the summer sermon series.After going back and forth, praying, crying, trying to find ways to say no, praying that I would hear thats okay, I finally said yes.

A few days before the sermon, while I was feeling manic with nerves and fears of speaking my own message versus Gods, I spent some time sitting in my church sanctuary. What an appropriate name. It was a wonderful sanctuary of holiness and peace for me during those moments. God in all his wisdom and all-knowingness gently spoke to me…”Joy it won’t kill you, and it won’t be THAT bad”.

So this past Sunday I preached my first sermon. Twice…Since my church has two Sunday services. It did not kill me. And it was not THAT bad once I got started. Our church has been doing a series on Benedictions from the Bible all summer long. I spoke on a benediction from 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 verses 12-14 that focuses on the Christian’s call to grow in love towards others, and how holiness results out of our obedience to do so. To sum it up, I focused on how the entire church (not just the pastors and leaders) is called to grow in love towards the world that is great need of a benediction.

As I have gotten some distance from Sunday, and all the craziness that was the week leading up to it, I have been left with a big sense of thankfulness and grace. I’m amazed at how God’s grace made this happen. I had never before experienced seeking God for a word for an entire group of people…and I had never before experienced receiving an answer. I think back amazed at all the times I typed out ideas that I myself had not, before that moment, realized about Jesus’ message. I am amazed at the grace God showed me in helping me feel better on Sunday when just the previous day I had been diagnosed with bronchitis.

I am also incredibly thankful. I am thankful that I had a chance to grow in love by going through this process. I am thankful for the ways God challenged me. I am thankful for my husband who supported/encouraged/admonished me over the past few months and cooked many of the family meals last week. I am thankful for my pastors who all not just encouraged me, but also prayed with me, and spent time letting me run my sermon by them. They gave great feedback, and I am even more thankful and appreciative of the work they do each week to deliver God’s word to my church. I am so thankful for all the friends and family who provided prayers and encouragement. For the friends who showed up to hear my preach that do not even attend my church. For the friends who answered my crazed texts on Saturday night as I searched for an NIV bible that did not weigh five pounds.

Most of all I am thankful to Jesus/God, who made this possible. The life Jesus lived is what has taught us how to love people. And ohhh did he paint a beautiful picture for us to follow. Like any good leader he did it first, and best. He went to the cross first so that we could be encouraged as we approach it too.

God’s grace has always been sufficient hasn’t it?

Sometimes I get these grandiose ideas about where Phil and I may end up in our lives. Perhaps a foreign country doing development work. Perhaps DC fighting the good policy fight. Perhaps a rural farm raising lots of babies with our friends. For now though I am here and I am remembering that we must grow where we are planted.

I am so thankful to God for challenging me grow where I am planted. I know that in some form I am called to ministry. I don’t know what this looks like, and I’m certainly not about to quit my day job. If anything though God just reminded me that the things he/she has made me passionate about (seeing the church unified around loving as Jesus did, seeing the whole church released to make a difference in the world, seeing women released into public ministry) are happening where I am currently planted.

babies.

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

So many of my friends are having/have babies. Beautiful babies at that. I think about their babies a lot. I think about my friends as mothers and fathers a lot. I think about becoming a parent a lot. And then I think it is not time yet. Then I wonder when will it be time. This should be a much longer, more thought out post, but it is not. Another time perhaps….

I have…

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

a husband who:

  1. loves Jesus
  2. is a feminist
  3. does the dishes and laundry probably more often than I do
  4. is amazing with children
  5. has the best laugh
  6. gets angry at injustice
  7. who taught me to sew
  8. is always reading a book
  9. has an incredible imagination for how we can consume less and create more
  10. indulges me on my dumb tv shows and watches them with me
  11. confronts me when I am wrong
  12. encourages me daily
  13. has awesome hair
  14. is a great writer
  15. possesses my favorite sense of humor

I have a husband that I love a whole lot. This much (insert mental picture of me spreading my arms out as wide as possible).

Phil you are the coolest dude I know. I think we should date.

absurd peace

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Like many of you I have been incredibly saddened to listen to the news of the 10 aid workers that were recently murdered in Afghanistan. I think of all the good they were doing, and how vicious a person must be to simply take their lives. To be honest fear begins to well up in me as well. I start to think that perhaps the hard work of peace and love is not worth it. That those who do this work will more often than not wind up with a bullet in their head. I begin to question whether I would ever be brave enough to follow God into such a journey of faith, love, and compassion. I doubt my heart. I doubt my sincerity. I doubt basically everything.

This morning though as I was reading my Bible I came across a verse in Proverbs chapter 6, where the author is talking about things that God hates. As I read down the list I came to “hands that shed innocent blood”. I immediately thought of not only the recent murderous actions of the Taliban against these aid workers, but also the US’s actions against civilians there. Of the untold number of innocents that have been murdered with our tax dollars. I was reminded that God hates all of this. God hates it because it has nothing to do with who he/she is-  love. How can you love someone and kill them? It is not possible. That is why when I came across the quote below today I was reminded again why this all is worth it. Why we must live with sincerity, and be willing to lay down our lives for love and peace. Simply put, it is the way of Jesus. And it is the only thing that has given the world hope, and the only thing that can. It is absurd, and makes little sense to any of us (including myself often). But it is the way God chose to save us, and I choose to trust in it.

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at the goal.
Through violence you can murder a murderer but cannot murder murder.
Through violence you can murder a liar but you cannot establish truth.
Through violence you can murder a hater but you cannot murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we should not wage war, it is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but on the positive affirmation of peace. We must say that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.”

home.

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

A few Sundays ago our church had our monthly picnic in Shady Hill, one of the many trailer parks along the Jeff Davis corridor. Phil and I have been to many a picnic, but there was something new about it this time though- We were late in arriving (not new or unusual), but we actually walked to get there this time instead of driving. This was possible because Phil and I now live two blocks from Shady Hill. I feel incredibly blessed and excited to be living in our new home, because it is the part of a dream that has been on Phil and I’s heart for a couple of years now. We did not want to just “do” ministry in the poor parts of our community. We wanted to live in the community. We wanted our Shady Hill friends to be our neighbors. In the short time we have been here, it has already been eye-opening. I now hear the gunshots (or other random, loud, and sometimes frightening noises) too. I drive home and have to take side streets because three cop cars are blocking my street as they make their arrests.

Cops, violence, and gun shots aside I have to say that I feel safe in our new home. While I am close to Shady Hill, and sometimes the deals are going down on the end of my street, our home’s location is actually quite peaceful. When we go for jogs through the neighborhood (aka our street and the one right next to it) we run past old homes and under trees that stretch up a hundred plus feet above us…reminding us that this story is much older than Phil or I. God has been in this neighborhood for a long time, even though many feel he/she abandoned it. As we run under the trees I get the sense that Phil and I are here in part to celebrate, and point out all the ways that God is still here.

Slowly, very slowing we have begun meeting a few neighbors. Other neighbors seem to be going out of their way to not meet us, but we have plenty of time. We plan on spending time, and putting down roots. As Phil and I spent Saturday outside pulling up weeds and planting a blackberry bush we talked about our dreams for our new, huge, backyard. We have so much we want to do (a family garden, a community garden, a labyrinth…) and at one point I questioned Phil whether it was worth it investing so much in a place we are simply renting. As I walked around the yard though God reminded me that it is our calling as Christians to invest wherever we are, because really we are all renting in the larger sense. We are to sweat, sacrifice, and dream even if we do not see any of it come to fruition, because we are called to be faithful in all we do. And so we will plant blackberry and blueberry bushes, flowers, and vegetables. We will gather stones to create a labyrinth. We will invite our neighbors over to play cornhole or simply sit on the porch and talk.  We will invest and hope that if and when we leave this place, we will have left it in a better state. Either way I know that our investment will leave Phil and I in a better place.

If you are in the neighborhood you should stop by. We have a great, GREAT porch for hanging out. And you will not have to see our bed from the living room couch anymore, which seemed to make some of you think twice about hanging out with us. Haha!

Love and peace and many prayers go out to you my friends…and to the people of this world. We all need it.