Tag Archives: Christianity

Dancin’ With Lemons

Normally, I’ve tried to be upbeat on my blog, but lately, things have been … well, less than upbeat.

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This is my current FaceBook cover. It’s also the attitude I’ve been trying to maintain, but it hasn’t been easy.

Try as I might, the serious stuff of life keeps creeping in and smashing my good moods to bits. As you can see from the frequency of my latest blog posts, keeping an upbeat blog has not been in the cards. In fact, I find it rather amusing that in my last blog, I “complained,” tongue in cheek, about my lack of readership, then proceeded to kill it off even more by not posting anything since May. Ollie ollie oxen free! Everybody come back now! Oh, well.

So, I’m not very happy that I’m here writing about not being happy. It’s definitely not the way I want my blog posts to read, but lately, it just seems like the world has been pressing down on my shoulders. Despite my bright, cheery, optimistic, Pollyanna, and whatever other rainbow-butted-unicorns-make-me-gag personality traits I might exhibit, I’m sitting here at my computer, trying to put my feelings into words that don’t sound like a funeral dirge, with the thought that it might help me find some balance somewhere in between. No, I’m not depressed. I’m just tired. I know the difference, believe me. And sometimes, a gal just needs to vent.

The headphones are in and some relaxing classical music is on. Classical, I know, right? Surprised me, too. I’ll bet you were thinking that Weird Al was my musical icon. Nope, but I confess to listening to John Mayer one evening last week. I queued him up on YouTube and let that sucker sing his heart out for me. Private concert for one, please. One evening of that was enough, but at least now, I know who John Mayer is. As for this classical stuff, I’m discovering that I’m really not in the mood for it. It’s not that I don’t like classical because I do. But not tonight, or at least not what is playing. 2 Cellos or Celtic Thunder or Piano Guys all would have worked, but I think I’ll go the Christian music path tonight with MercyMe. It’s fast; it’s upbeat; I’ve got God singing in my ear. Well, maybe not God exactly, but close enough.

Of all the musical choices I could have made to lift my spirits, why is it that I always gravitate to Christian/gospel music? It used to be in my younger days that my go-to music was the group America of “Horse With No Name” fame. They have been a favorite of mine since high school. I feel a little like I’m out in that desert and the nameless horse is what I’m feeling right now. I can’t put a finger on it or a name to it. I just know that at some point the desert ends and the horse will go free. In other words, I’ll get through this, but for now, all I can do is hang on for the ride. Not exactly Christian music, but I lurves me a good metaphor. While I could put on America and be perfectly content, I seem to need the Christian content tonight. Sing it, MercyMe.

Gradually, the words are sinking in. Here’s my hope, invading my ears, penetrating my brain, sinking into my heart. “Count it pure joy when the world comes crashin.’ Hold your head up and keep on dancin.’”

Maybe I’ll squish a few lemons and make lemonade while I’m dancing. I’d offer you some, but I’m still looking for the sugar. Don’t worry; it’ll be “Alright.” I’ll find the sweetness again eventually.

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The Caller’s New Name

One of the fun things that I do is edit the monthly newsletter for our church. I started in January of 2006, so I’ve been at it for 99 months, but really it only seems like 3 months, plus 8 years. The newsletter is called The Caller. It wasn’t my choice. It’s been The Caller for over 20 years, through at least two other editors. As a title, it’s kind of old fashioned, with that “sittin’ on the porch swing with your best gal” feel to it.

We could probably update it to something more in tune with today’s world, like The InstaChrist or Jesusgram or iCall. My favorite is GraceBook. Something with a more technological feel would give people the impression that we’re a groovy and happening church, or should that be a tight and rad church? Because we are a tight and rad church.

We have a cool outreach to over 150 children on Wednesday nights. If we include the adults that volunteer their time to help, that number reaches 300. We have rad programs that reach out to the LGBT community within and without our building, programs that are committed to helping feed and clothe adults and children in our community and programs that reach out into the world through mission trips. We have an on-line presence with a website and FaceBook page. Our choir is growing again with a new choir director. Our one-on-one caring ministry is touching more and more people in need. A few years ago, our congregation decided that it was time for our building to be more attuned to our current ministries, so we’re completing a remodeling project that turned around our 50 year old sanctuary a full 180 degrees. It’s turned us on our ears, as we re-examined our ministries, stream-lining some, expanding others, adding new ones that count. Even cynics would have to agree that what we’ve done and are doing is tighter than skinny jeans on a hipster.

Our church is “tight and rad.” Translate that to “active and growing.” We are fulfilling our Christian commitment to reach out and care for those beyond our building’s walls. Growth is good, and yet the newsletter is stuck with an old-fashioned name. The Caller. As if we’re going to go knocking on doors and invite you to church. Who does that anymore? It’s not like we can go a-callin’ on the neighbors at any time of day. As a society, we’re not that way now. Who has time to sit and chat? We’ve all got phones that go with us every place we go. Why visit in person when a text will do? So, I’m proposing that an appropriate name for The Caller that would be in keeping with the current times and mission of the church would be … The Caller.

That’s right. No change. It may seem like an old-fashioned name for a church newsletter at first, like we’re not keeping up with the trends of the modern, secular society, but really, it is the universal message for all Christians to call people to Christ. That has never changed. We are called again and again to reach out. In response, we, the called, are reaching out to those who are in need of Christ and Christ’s care through us. We are calling them to us. We are The Caller.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be the editor of The Caller. I will continue until God calls me elsewhere or calls someone else to do it, just like He called me. What I do know is that during my turn as editor, I will always champion the name, The Caller. It’s a little awkward, a little old-fashioned, but it also says everything about who our church is as Christians. We are The Caller. And people are answering.

 

 

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That Sinking Feeling

I was sitting at a drive-through window yesterday when I got that sinking feeling. No, I wasn’t debating the merits of fast food on my waistline, nor was I kvetching about spending the money on fast food when it could have gone into my European vacation fund (if I had one). I wasn’t saddened by my choices. Nor was I aware of any upcoming doom that might have been averted by forewarning. My heart and my head were unaffected by this sinking feeling.  Instead, it was my right foot that gave way beneath me. Only my right foot.

Odd, I thought. I cautiously raised my foot part way and put it back down. Again, my foot sank. By now, I hope you’ve figured out where my right foot was and possibly what was being affected. I’ll give you a hint. Consider that I was in a drive-through. In my car. Oh, what the heck, I’ll just say it. That sinking feeling was caused by my brake pedal. MY brake pedal. My BRAKE pedal. My brake PED … you get the picture — when you realize something is wrong with your car and the moment of panic sets in.

How was I going to get home? Safely.

 Obviously, I’m no mechanic. I had no idea why this was happening. All I could do was have an “Oh, Lord, is it the Apocalypse” moment and then regroup, pull myself out from in front of the raging locomotive of anxiety and onto the placid lake of “I’ve got this.” Who am I kidding? It’s bad enough that I mixed metaphors, but I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t pretty upset by the situation. My motor of perpetual escalation was running faster than the car’s, but what could I do?

Once I got my food, I very carefully pulled into a parking space and got out to examine the car. I live in the Upper Midwest. The Upper Midwest has snow in the winter. A lot of it. My car had what I affectionately call “snow poop” built up in the wheel wells. Hmm, thought I, I shall kicketh off the snow poopeth and the vehicle shall be saved. Yeah, no. That wasn’t it.

So what do I do? I sat and debated about calling my husband. I could drop the car off at the mechanics which was sort of on the way home and have him pick me up, but by then the food would be cold. Plus, the mechanic was closed by now. The car was still drive-able, so I made the decision to drive the three miles home. If I could hit the lights just right, I would be okay, I figured. There were no warning lights on in the dash, and the car still braked. It was when I applied continuous pressure that the pedal sank. So, wise or not, after making sure that there was a wide gap in traffic, I set off for home.

And prayed. I prayed for green lights. I prayed that the car in front of me would turn. I prayed that the car behind me would back off. (Okay, I always pray for that one. I’ve been rear-ended more than once.) I prayed to make it safely home. And I did. The food was still warm. Bonus!

So the car is currently parked in the garage waiting for our next harrowing trip to the mechanic this afternoon. The hardest part will be going down our sloped drive-way backwards. I hope.

When I apply the brakes in my car, I expect them to work. If they don’t, I know something is wrong, and hopefully, it can be fixed. Quite often, it’s not the problem that I think it might be. I’m no mechanic, so it’s no wonder that I’m often wrong. What I know for certain is that my brakes need fixed, and I need to leave my car in the hands of someone who can fix it.

I’m like the broken brakes; I cave under pressure. When I apply prayer, I expect it to work. If it doesn’t, I get that sinking feeling. I get angry and anxious and confused about what I should do. But, it’s not the prayer that is broken. It’s that what I’m praying about is often times not the problem that God knows needs to be fixed.

The Great Mechanic knows what’s wrong with me. He’s the one that fixes me, despite my self-diagnosis, because He’s the one who knows my ins and outs.

Just like my mechanic knows my car. I’ll have to pay him, of course. Depending on what’s wrong, it may cost an arm and a leg. But that’s a lot less than what Jesus paid to fix the broken me.

Well, off I go … after I pray for green lights all the way.