Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Love the Word of God

I love the Word of God. It cuts to the very chase. It rightly divides the truth. It is relevant for me today. If I am in the Word, I am out of this world. If I am out of this world, then I am in the Word. Beth Moore says, “Our great challenge is to take our place in loving ministry to a lost world without getting lost in worldly loves.” If I am in the Word, then I am not getting lost in worldly loves. This has been proven in my life over and over and over.
What are worldly loves? We know about the lust of the flesh and the jealousies that consume. We know about the sins of slothfulness, of gluttony, but can worldly loves be beautiful things like family? Beautiful things like serving in church? Beautiful things like a job we love?
One of the most frustrating things is trying to put into words what God is revealing to me daily through His Word. I love I and II Peter and have been reading through that message. I have literally spent hours devouring these very short passages but I want to make sure I thoroughly glean every morsel and try to understand God’s message for me. First of all, you must understand that God’s message for me is not necessarily God’s message for you. That is another beautiful thing about Scripture: it speaks to the individual.
Can beautiful things be worldly loves that must find their place in God’s plan for your life? Most certainly. I love my family beyond measure. I love my husband. I love my boys and their wives and their children. I love my parents, my sisters, their families. I love my in-laws. But God’s Word tells me that if I love these more than Him, then I have no place of service for Him. I love serving in the church. But God’s Word tells me that if I do not love Him and love the church, then I am a clanging cymbal and useless. I love my job (some days!) but God’s Word tells me that my work is worship and that if I am not worshipping Him through my work, then I am a failure.
I would love nothing more than right now be preparing Sunday lunch for my boys, their wives, and their children. Sunday lunch with family is a delight. But it is not in God’s plan for me right now. I have wrestled with this for the last five years. I keep telling God that time is short and I need all the time I can get with my family. God’s Word says, “that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” His plan included sending Jesus to die in the place of my family so that our fellowship would last throughout eternity. It doesn’t make it easier, but it brings peace to my heart. God’s Word also has told me that His promises are true and that He is “not slow with His promise, but is patient toward me.” Through this, I have learned that His timing is perfect timing. Mine is not to question but to listen and obey.
I would love to be serving in a church right now. But, I have also been that route in useless service. I was serving self and not serving others. God has rebuked me and my prideful attitude. He has told me, through His Word, that I am “lukewarm and He will spit me out.” He has kept me from serving so that my attitude would be His and not mine. The temptation is great, however, I have learned that serving Him includes serving my family – particularly my husband – and that the quiet heart of service is an immensely challenging job and humbling. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and in due time, He will lift you up.”
I use to love my job and I am struggling this year. But I am struggling because I love me more. Tomorrow I am going to challenge myself to think about how this work is worship to Him. I work with children who have no past that they can remember and give no consideration to their futures. They live for this moment and fail to see why work is necessary and they fail to see why effort is necessary for a future. It is a sad commentary on teen-agers today who live in lower middle class situations. But it is because they are lost and see no eternity. How can I give them glimpses of eternity in a public school setting where God is not invited? God’s Word tells me “Apply all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In my life, I have had the privilege of holding membership in two of the largest churches on the East Coast. I have read books by famous Christian authors. I have traveled on mission trips. I have moved so many times and met so many wonderful people. I have had the love of a man that adores me in spite of me and I have raised young men that love the Lord in spite of me. But, it is the Word of God that speaks to me. It is the Word of God that chastises me. It is the Word of God that holds me together through His Holy Spirit.
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but GROW in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the GLORY, both now and to the day of eternity. AMEN.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Friend, Sam

I have a friend named Sam that is 15 years old. She and I have been meeting together since she was in 8th grade on Thursday nights to sew together. We are quilt nerds and Joann shopping specialists. I love Sam's tender heart. She is definitely not high maintenance and, believe it or not, is not attached to her cell phone like most teens. (To be honest, half the time she cannot find it.)

Sam has had a hard past few weeks. In May, her uncle found out he had cancer and died 40 days later. This past week, she lost a classmate in a car accident. They had been friends since first grade AND her two sisters and one brother all returned to college ~ it is quiet around her house. I just want to pray for her and tell her that it is going to be okay.

Happy Birthday, Skip!

The past 30 years have been a blast ... except for the middle school years when your band teacher wanted to lock you in a closet. Other than that, it has been a fun ride !!! haha! I love you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What do you do for fun during the day?

I have rebelled big time this school year. It must have been something about starting school soooooo early that my mind just couldn't wrap around it. It didn't help having the crazy things happening around here. So I decided to write about some of the crazy things that go on in my day.

Yesterday, I was teaching about the prehistoric cultures of Georgia using a power point presentation. All of a sudden, a yardstick comes sailing through my room, over the LCD projector and hit my white board. I turned to find the other social studies teacher declaring that he was practicing his spear throwing since I was teaching the atlatl weapon. And he just could not resist when he walked by my classroom. He's weird.

Why don't cannibals eat clowns? Cause they taste funny. That was yesterday's joke of the day.

Every day I try to come up with a creative way to dismiss the class for lunch. Usually I just alternate between letting the girls go first and then the boys the next day. Well, it is just the second week of school and already I have forgotten who goes first cause I can't keep up. And they argue over it. Yesterday I dismissed them by birthday month. Everything was going great until I discovered that one of my most rebellious boys was born on my birthday. But evidently it was life-changing for him as well because he was great today and we have a totally new relationship. Today while I was trying to think up a new dismissal strategy for lunch, one of my students suggested that I let the mixed hair people go to lunch. So, naturally, I said, "Ok, all you mixed-hair people go to lunch." And then I said, "Joseph Garcia, you are not a mix hair!" He said, "Yes I am, Ms. Erdman. I am Cuban and Puerto Rican!" So I had no choice but to let him go.

So, what do you do for fun during the day?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The End of a Very Long Day

For the past three years, I have just had a peaceful existence on New Hope Drive. I knew neighbor Kathy and neighbor Suzanne. I was fine with that. Until Kathy decided to move out. Today was perhaps one of the most unusual days I have lived through. Kathy's family was next door cleaning her houseand there was a knock at the door. It was a man asking if our dog was out in the middle of the street. It wasn't our dog, so he took it next door to Kathy's house and they said it wasn't their dog but that the girl across the street (meaning Suzanne) was a "dog rescuer". Ten minutes later, Suzanne is knocking at my door saying, "Louanne I have a DOG in my garage. A golden retriever! I have cats! I can't have a dog!" So, I told Suzanne we could put the dog in our fence in the back yard until we find the owners. Rich and I trotted across the street with a leash to rescue the dog ... or, rather, rescue Suzanne. She said the man that found the dog gave her $20 in case she had to feed the dog. She was going to give us the $20. Sooooo, we begin our trek across the street and an SUV rides by, stops, and backs up and says, "Uh, that's our dog!" One of our neighbors didn't realize their dog had gotten out and they were very grateful that we had taken such good care of the dog. (that we had in our possession for 15 minutes.) So, Suzanne, being the kind-hearted person she is, is standing with the $20 bill and doesn't know what to do with it. Wouldn't you know it? The man who originally found the dog in the middle of the road pulls into the neighborhood 5 minutes later and she returns the $20 to him. And THEN, Tonya pulls up and we all have a long discussion about Kathy and her recent passing. I had never met Tonya and I really enjoyed talking to her and her girls. As everyone was departing, I told Suzanne that it was interesting that Kathy was bringing all these strangers together and that we probably would have never met had she not passed.

I went back into the house and cooked something for dinner. I went downstairs to settle into some quilting and t.v. and Rich said something. I muted the t.v. and asked what was going on. He said there was a terrible accident somewhere. It was so loud Rich heard it in the kitchen. We left the house to find that a terrible accident had occurred between two teen-aged drivers and one had lost his life. He was 16 and a high school sophomore. The horrible scene included many kids and adults sobbing, but nothing was worse than the gutteral grieving outburst from the mom and the dad. It is every parent's worst nightmare. As Rich and I served the families with water and tissues, I stood in my other neighbors' yard - Gene and Marlene - I talked with them for several hours. I would not have known them if it weren't for Kathy's passing because I had to deliver the news to them. Little by little, our neighbors walked up to the scene of the accident and I met people on my street that I had never spoken to before. I really enjoyed talking to them.

As I was totally surrounded by grief, I realized that these incidences are so surreal. You watching everything take place but not believing what you are really seeing. And you are meeting people you have lived near for three years but never noticed. Why does it take loss to recieve the blessing of friendship. Suzanne summed it up this way: "things like this bring us out of our houses and into the lives of others. that's the way it really should be." Long day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Neighbor Kathy

My neighbor died. She died alone in her house and all the while I was calling her to invite her to dinner and dessert. She didn't answer the phone, but that wasn't unusual. She always called me back after checking caller ID. I was concerned but didn't walk across the yard. It wasn't unusual for her to not answer the door either.
I have been physically ill since she left. I water our tomatoes and squash daily ~ the ones she helped me plant in my garden. I keep waiting for her to call me back with "Well hello little girl." That hasn't happened. I cry a little every day. We shared pizza and pasta, cake and cookies, and the most delicious food ever when she just felt like cooking and sharing.
I miss her terribly. One day I will open a drawer and I will find the little things she was always bringing me for my craft/quilt closet. I will cry again.
This has hit me harder than I ever expected. I expected this day to come, but I thought it would be after a longer life than her 71 years. I never expected it to come to this. And I never expected to react like this. My heart feels as if a heavy burden is on my chest and won't move.
There is no memorial service for her that I am aware of. There is no marker for a grave.
But I have the promise that I will see her again. And while I am grieving, I am grateful for what I had in her friendship. She was the one that encouraged Rich and me on his darkest days. She always told me that I needed to be lazy :) and that a day off was good for me. She told me that I worry about her more than she worries about herself. She told me I was good to her and that she had never had anyone to care so much about her. What she did not realize is how good she was for me. I miss her terribly.