Friday, March 28, 2008

Together with Christ

Yesterday was a busy day for me at work. I have been trying to catch up on some projects that have been put off due to an influx of proposals this grant cycle. And I had a few meetings with some potential grantees to learn more about their programs. I decided I needed a break and took some time to visit a local free medical clinic to learn more about this organization and what it's needs might be.

It was a pretty dreary day outside, and the wind was tossing my jeep around quite a bit. I was trying to relax a little and change my attitude around as I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed. I pulled up to the clinic and stepped inside and was instantly greeted with a warm smile and a invitiation to come on back to speak with someone.

How warm and comforting that was. How welcomed I felt. As I explained who I was and why I was there, I noticed that each person who came through the door was welcomed in such a friendly manner. Patients who had come in to see a doctor filled the waiting room and were treated with kindness and compassion.

I continued to learn more about the clinic and how it has been blessed by the number of volunteers that give of their time, that donate supplies. I learned of a doctor who is retired, but spends most of his time volunteering at free clinics around northern Indiana. I met a pastor who showed me their one examination room, their small space for an old computer to keep records, etc...but did it with such gratitude and praise to God that they had what they had and that they could help others.

I didn't see a clinic, but the family of Christ working together to serve others. I saw hope in the eyes of the patients.

I have been studying Numbers lately. As I read Numbers 11, I began to see the idea of community. Numbers 11:10-17 states, Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin." The LORD said to Moses: "Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.

We are not alone. But more importantly, God is the provider of our needs. He didn't call us and then leave us. He calls us, prepares us, and provides for us. Each one of us, in some way are called to serve. And together, filled with the Holy Spirit and love, we can fulfill God's will.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

They Know All...Right?

Okay, so maybe I am not one to talk about the topic of parenting. I definitely don't have any children of my own. Although I have taken care of two cats before, but it probably doesn't really compare to being a parent.

The title of "parent" to me seems to give some kind of connotation that they should know all. Maybe because of 18 years of life we count on them for pretty much everything...basic necessities, guidance, love. For most of us, they are the ones we turned to or still turn to.

I hear those around me wonder if they will be good parents, what to do in certain parenting situations, or just how they are going to handle all that they may face raising a family. It is a big responsibility and many don't feel qualified. Maybe that is why my expectations for my own parents has been pretty high. And then when something I don't expect happens or a disagreement takes place, I am shocked. But why?

Aren't parents just as human as I? Don't they face challenges in their own life? Don't they sometimes struggle to know what to do in certain situations? Don't they seek love as well as give it? I believe parents do the best they can, and with the guidance of God, are able to raise children with good values, to love them abundantly, and to teach them all that they know.

Does the task of parenting ever stop? Probably not. It does change though. The love and support continues to be shared, but needs change...past the give and take scenarios, but to the building of a true of respect, appreciation, and above all

So to my parents I want to say that I love you...not because you are the "all-knowing parents", but because you are simply, you.

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Picture of Spring

Okay, just a random post for all of you who were disappointed in my welcome spring post depicting the snow from winter :).

Welcome Spring

May you enjoy all the beautiful colors, warm weather, rain showers, and great memories that spring brings!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Than A Day...

Even more than a weekend...

After tomorrow, Easter baskets will be put a way for the year. Easter dresses and suits will be saved for another special occassion. Some will have checked the one or two times they attend church for the year off of their calendars. And Easter will officially be over...

But is it?

It is more than a day, a weekend...It is life...everyday and every moment!

Most people will sing He Arose!, but did He arise in our hearts?

Do we only remember His love for us just on Easter? Shouldn't we be filled by hope, love, thankfulness and praise that we gladly choose to share that with others everyday, and express it daily to God through each moment of our lives?

Is it just a history lesson, or is it a way of life?

The story continues, for Christ lives in us and with us and all praise and glory be given to him!

Matthew 28:19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Welcome Spring

I am excited to be enjoying this first day of spring with such great weather and dinner with family and friends tonight. But I can't help but wonder...

is this what I will be enjoying tomorrow?
Gotta love spring in Indiana!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Day of Purpose!

"It is just another day."

How often we think that or even say it out loud. "It is just another Monday"...or..."It is just another day." We count down the days to the weekend. And then sometimes spend Saturday or Sunday doing nothing but thinking to ourselves..."it is just another day."

I was scrapping a lot this weekend, trying to get caught up as I was about a year behind. Yes, you heard me right...a year. Yikes! So I had a lot to do. But as I was looking at the pictures, I couldn't help but think about how a lot of those special moments happened on "regular" days. I particularly thought about the great fun I had playing with Grace in the snow. It was just a Tuesday. But because an opportunity was taken, it became a day of purpose.

How much we are missing going through life saying, "it is just another day". Why not welcome each and every day as a day of purpose, opening our minds to all that is possible, asking ourselves..."What is God showing me today?"

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Walk...

Hello! My name is Jennifer. I attend Union Center Church of the Brethren and I sit at the table of Sarah!

I thought it appropriate to introduce this post like this as it is how we introduced ourselves when we shared all we had been learning this weekend on the Brethren Way of Christ #34.

I don't plan on going into too many details about the little touches and special things done just for me, as to not cheat anyone out of the experience they might encounter when they participate in the retreat themselves. But let me just say that God has a plan, has a purpose, and His timing is perfect.

First, I knew there was something special about this when I realized this was #34...yup, Walter Peyton's number. I left not knowing what to expect and really not sure what I would gain from this. But I came back changed by all God wanted to teach me. Each day I drew closer and closer to God. I opened my heart to Him and cleared all the distractions from my mind and heart that kept me from really listening to Him.

And I was moved. I was stirred. I was overcome!

I mentioned to some people that I no longer liked my good friend sarah (my sponsor for BWOC) anymore, for making me cry so much. I said it as a joke, because I consider it a priviledge to have experienced this. I broke down...and through the tears and the joy saw Jesus in every moment and in every face.

I was filled with His love and grace and want and desire nothing more than to share that hope with others, with the world. Why would I want to do anything else? While sharing with the group, a pastor in the back said..."preach it!" And I realized, just how we are ALL called to share what we know, what we are learning through Christ, and his love for us all!

I love God as he called my name and made himself know and seen in my heart and mind. I love my sisters who took this walk with they held me up, made me laugh, challenged me, and prayed with and for me. I love my friend Sarah who took the opportunity to sponsor me. I love each and everyone of you who supported, prayed, and wrote to me.

I am in a community...a family of Christ. We are all connected and it is time to reach out and help the family of Christ grow!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Personal Reminder...

Keep the Faith!
May I follow the path HE has prepared

Monday, March 03, 2008

Let Go!

Ahhh...I'm human....

And once again got caught up in the attachments I have on things in my life. After communicating throughout the day about following through with an agreement I made, I found myself fighting with a feeling of possession. I reacted on this feeling without thinking things through. After taking some time to understand why I felt this particular way, it became very clear that I had an attachment to this object in my life. Why?

Maybe because of the memories it holds...
Maybe because of the time invested in it...
Maybe because of the roots it has...

But it was "mine".

Yikes! What kind of attitude is that? It took some time to realize how holding tightly to it was taking away the "gift" God blessed me with. So I work on letting it Go. Letting the feeling of possession go. Letting the attachment go. And enjoying the time God has blessed me with such a gift. Enjoying the freedom I have by letting all my "attachments" go, all that hold me back from being open to God and following Him.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More Than A Contractor!

Getting to know Amos over the past few years has been an exciting journey as his many various skills seem to show when you least expect it. I had been looking to remodel the kitchen for awhile now, but wasn't sure how I would really be able to afford it. Then Amos stepped in and offered to be my contractor, helping me work within my budget, and just guiding me through the process. He was an incredible contractor, helping me find things that his opinion here and there...and just working hard to get things finished in a timely manor, as it is pretty tough to live in a house when the kitchen is torn up. The hours he put in the project were many as you can see the before pictures in my sis' blog. It was quite the project. But the end product turned out better than imagined. I now have a place to cook, to entertain, and to enjoy.

But mostly, I enjoyed working with Amos. He is such a talented man. What makes the space so much more special to me is that it was literally done by the hands of my extraordinary brother-in-law! He is a great husband to my sister, a loving father to their children, a great friend to many of us, and a special guy! I look forward to learning more about him and discovering his many other skills. He is more than a contractor. Thanks Amos for rescuing me once again. I am blessed to call you family!