Monday, December 05, 2016

That could have been me....

I've just watched a well crafted video on face book "put together by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings..."

The video is really classy with a surprise ending - and not to put anyone down - I think that it misses the mark completely.  Instead of me thinking yes, I need to be more aware, my kids need to be more aware, it disturbed me on a intimate personal level.

I could have been that kid.  

Not the victim.

The killer.

No one thinks of me that way.  And I am not that person now.

But I had it in me.  When I was 9 years old I chased a boy who had been bullying me with a butcher knife through our apartment complex.  By the grace of God, that boy was just fast enough to stay two feet ahead of me. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have hurt him with that knife.

By Junior high I was not only writing suicidal, depressed poetry, I wrote a play in which I killed every member of my family and then myself.

I won an award for it.  

I know that boy.  I could have been him. 

I googled "What Do We know About the Sandy Hook Shooter?"   I needed the answers to 2 questions: 

 What was Adam Lanza like as a pre-schooler or younger?  And were his parents divorced?


A child's personality set by first grade.  All the building blocks for a destructive personality will be in place by first grade.  The best chance to influence and impact a child's personality are loving, consistent, active, and involved primary care givers during these formative years of life.  Who are the primary caregivers?  Who or what spends the most time interacting with a child?  Adam Lanza was shown to be delayed developmentally - but the later impact had  more to do with how the delay was dealt with and "who" dealt with the delay.  

Which brings me to the second question. Were his parents divorced?

Divorce is a trauma that effects a child their entire life.   I think it is really about the consistent role of two involved and engaged parents - the ideal environment for this is a committed marriage, but the key is in the family relationships, not the marriage certificate.   (Not all children of divorce will become mass murders obviously, but there is a whole host of statistical evidence that proves it is a trauma most children struggle to deal with their entire lives.  Children of  divorce are more likely to consider suicide and self medicate with drugs or alcohol among other issues.)

The  pain of divorce on an insecure, unliked, awkward child who didn't quite fit in ... devastating. 

That video  passionately put together by the parents of those lost in the Sandy Hook tragedy doesn't ask either of these questions.  The only one it seems to ask, actually, is "Did this boy like guns?"  

I think that's the wrong question to be asking. 

(You can read what changed me here.)

If you haven't seen it - The video is here:

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Why is that lady so loud?" An explanation of worship.

We were in church on Sunday morning and one of my boys leans over to me and says, "Mom, you know, you really are the loudest one here."

We attend City Harvest- a Spirit-filled non-denominational church - not quite considered holy roller church, with chandelier swinging, but definitely a big step from my Catholic up-bringing and a little bit "nontraditional." The Gospel is the center of course, with solid Bible focused  preaching. But the worship is my favorite.

And I think by now, most people know I feel that way.

In 1984 I was fifteen.  My favorite band was Duran Duran and I worshiped them.  I had every album, and every album memorized.  I cried at video releases.  I freaked out when I found a rare record.  I spent my money on music, memorabilia, and clothing that that mimicked their "new romantic" look.  I carved my name next to theirs in my desk.  I adored and loved them.  They were beautiful, bright, shining and perfect.

(They were also doing drugs, contracting STD's, and the total 80's party band.)

They came to town.  We waited hours in the snow to get front row seats.  FRONT ROW.  While dressed in our rather weather-ridiculous Durannie outfits.

The concert was amazing to my fifteen year old eyes.  I was on my feet the whole time.  Dancing.  Hands in the air.  Laughing.  Screaming and Crying - in total emotional raptures of teenage delight.  "I love you!"  I cried.  "Please love me," my heart wept desperately.

I was not a happy teenager.  At age two my mother was already struggling with my emotional high's and low's.  My parents divorce when I was six did not help.  Nor did Dad's getting remarried. I won't go into it now, but you might have thought I had ADD or Bi-Polar disorder.  I was emotional and somewhat destructive.  I truly believe that age two is a precursor to puberty.  My two year old issues did not go away at ten or twelve and by  age fifteen everything was amplified by ten.

When I became a Christian at sixteen - through a series of circumstances and coincidences that are really quite amazing and point directly to Holy Spirit involvement - it was a fierce, radical transformation.

 I cried, "I love you!" and Jesus responded, "I love you now.  I love you then.  I love you always, through anything." 

My previous worship experiences had set a standard.  How could I ever give Jesus less than I had given to mere men, who did drugs, lived wretched lives, and didn't know or care if I was alive?

Confessing Christ as my Lord and Savior from sin, repenting of my sin and the ugliness I felt deep inside me, and committing my life to follow Jesus did not FIX all those issues I had had when I was 2 and fifteen.  I did not radically change to become a perfect, rule following little robot. -  The issues were still there.

When Jesus was born he was born in a cave/barn filled with animals, greeted by people who were on the same level as today's homeless people - unwanted and often unbathed. His birth into that place did not change that place, that situation, those circumstances.  Even after His resurrection - the poor, hurting, corrupted and uncorrupted still existed.

So what did He give me?

He brought hope.  He brought love.  He brought:

"I love you now.  I love you then.  I love you always, through anything."

I am no longer the emotional, heart on her sleeve, feel everything out-loud kind of person - Not really.  My husband could tell you that.  My kids could tell you that.  Even my mom - who I recspent three weeks sharing teeny-tiny hotel rooms could tell you.  I am much more even tempered than in my teenage and young adult years.

But the one who LOVED me to His Death and Ressurection gets Everything I have to give, whether I have the energy or desire.    I know what my everything looks like, the standard was set long ago, and just because it is thirty years later, doesn't change that standard.  It doesn't change who Christ is.

Let me be baldly honest. It is not always easy to worship the way I worship.  It is often embarrassing in retrospect when I realize how loud I am being, or that I am not standing where I started standing, that everyone can hear me when I say something that makes no sense or sing the wrong words to a song.

 It's not some competition for me.  I don't particularly want attention. I know I don't have to be loud.  The Lord can always hear me at whatever volume.  I am responding to the presence of God in His House.  -  I get loud when I am worshiping in my own home too.

My emotional response to Him is Everything IN me.

 People thought I was out of control - and sometimes it has felt that way.

 I always sit in the front now so I am not singing into someones ear.

 Jesus is so very good.  I can almost see the Holy Spirit moving among us, inviting me to dance and be free, stirring the church, and God is so pleased by our response to Him - So I move, I sing, I shout, I dance, I kneel, I listen, I laugh, I cry. 

If the presence of God moves "rocks to cry out,"  It requires something quite a bit more of me.

The psalms ask for many types of worship responses.  None of them are, "stand still and sing quietly." 

And a standard was set in my being - long ago.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

God wants Me (and you too)

God wants me (and you) to trust Him to be who He created me (us) to be.  That is the person He will use to move mountains, that is the person He will use to feed the five thousand with just a little bread and dried up salty fish.  The lie of our whole culture is the person (family, life, home, etc...) we were born with is not good enough and it's a lie that keeps us hog-tied and frozen.  It's a lie that strangles our true destiny.

John 15:16 says, "You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you."

Jesus points to me, lays his hand over my heart, touches my spirit, and looks in my eyes.  And there is no qualifier. - "Well, Dapoppins, when you have more education, when you have more discipline, when you are a more patient person, when you keep your home clean, when your baking is better, when you wear makeup and do your hair every time you leave the house, when your art projects look more like actual art...only then my dear Dapoppins...will I choose you..."-  HE NEVER SAID THAT...   in fact,  Jesus's qualifier was, "Follow me."

Just..."Do what I do and use the gifts and talents I have given you."  (Matthew 25: 14-30  Ephesians 4:11)

I am FREE to BE who GOD made me to BE. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Prayer time

I woke up last night and couldn't get back to sleep...there was too much anticipation, too much joy, too much bubbling the silence of my house I could almost hear the music of it. Revival. A move of God's Holy Spirit, breathing on my family, my town, my city, my state and country. A move of new, deeper, stronger, pure relationship with the Holy Spirit. We can bow at the very throne of God because of Jesus, we can sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His love, but we often forget the Face and Person-hood of the Holy Spirit. Oh...He's coming to remind us. And I will see it! I declare that I will see it in my life time. Holy Spirit my arms are open. I yield. I am hungry, willing, and longing for your presence in my life. I want to see you. I want my family, town, city, state and country and the world to see you. Come Holy Spirit. Come.

John 5:39  You search the scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to me.

Lord, don't let me be like that.  Don't let me be like those old stuffy wise men, searching the pages of your book in hopes of finding life, of finding You, of touching Your glory.  Where was Moses when You revealed your Glory to Him?  Where were the faithful when flame appeared over their heads?  Lord, don't let the church, my church, be like that...stuck in the pages of Your book instead of living the pages of Your book. Revival is not going to come out the Bible....although all of Your actions will align themselves fully with Your Word and Personality...but Life Changing Revival will come out of your Presence...and I know Your word is the map to find your Presence...but if we keep looking at the Map we will never see where we are going, when we have arrived, when Your standing right in front of us saying, "I have come in my Father's Name!"

Oh Lord I pray this publicly to declare it publicly. I declare that Your coming to bring change to the church and to the community.     Help us to see.  To be vulnerable to You.  To look up from our Maps and see the beautiful things You are doing and the incredible thing You are going to accomplish.

Oh.  I am so excited.  Thank You.  Thank You Jesus.  Thank You Holy Spirit.  Thank You Father God.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Is there a glass ceiling for women in the church?

I became a Christian the year I turned 16. Jesus saw me and He loved me.  When I was baptized my brief explanation was, "He raised me out of death in to life!"  And it was true.

I'd been to a Duran Duran concert the winter before I became a Christian.  I was a true "80's Durannie. We had front row seats.  I spent the whole concert raising my hands, singing, yelling, screaming, dancing, clapping, shouting, moving in a joyous expression of love and devotion to the five men on stage.  Those men didn't even know I was alive.  But Jesus had saved me from death, depression, loneliness, and every one of my teenage angst's.  Jesus saw who I was and loved me anyway.  So, I made a commitment.  I would give my Jesus more than I had given those men in the pop band.

Even in a Pentecostal Non-denominational Church this made me stand out.  Add to that I was usually in the front rows.

I read my Bible in that first year and came away with ideas.  I wanted to be like Jesus.  I wanted to love the lost, heal the sick, comfort the broken hearted the way Jesus always comforted me.  I wanted to glow like Moses, commune with God Himself on His Holy Mountain.  I wanted to do miracles like Elijah.  I wanted to prophesy like Isaiah.

It was during an amazing short term mission trip the summer I turned 18 that I began to see things in a different way.  It had became clear to me that because I was female I couldn't  do any of those things.  I could be Moses' wife. I could be the wife of an Elijah.  I could be the wife of an Isaiah.  But I couldn't BE an Isaiah. It was devastating to me.

I was a woman.  Women had roles in the church.  Men and women were obviously different, and a woman's role as a Christian was obviously different from a man's.  I didn't want to just be a man. I wasn't a feminist.  But I wanted to be LIKE JESUS.

I did have some conversations with both men and women (mostly women) about how I should act and what was proper.  But I didn't feel persecuted so much as pressured.   I was also in a way, ignored.

A young man might come from a hard background and get "radically saved." His youth pastor and others will see his potential and an obvious bent and destiny to do amazing things in the name of Jesus and to His Glory. This  young man is groomed, trained,  and mentored to grow into a more mature role in one of the "five fold" ministries" ie: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher. I had all the obvious creditials that a young man might have had. I was radically saved.  I was fearless.  I was very willing.  But, in 1985, a young woman is groomed, trained, and mentored to be that young man's wife. 

Is that what God intended?  Is that in the Bible?

I'm reading this book and it asks some uncomfortable questions about today's Church.  This isn't about feminism.  I am not a feminist.  I think feminism has damaged our society, our families, and our children.  Equality for women was an idea that came from God that the enemy twisted and warped and visited on us in away I am not sure we can ever repair.  This book is not about feminism or that women do the same job as men because they are the same.  

I dare you to read it. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What's the word?

In 2012 my word was  ALL.  As in All things work together for the good of those who love God, as in God's ALL.   I looked up scriptures, and don't have all my All scriptures handy, but there was a lot of ALL in there.  Alot of amazing God and faithful God, in that one little word.  Alot of life change there.

I don't have my word yet for 2013.  But it is going to be good.