Saturday, January 30, 2010

My ministry

Nothing, and I mean, nothing has scared me more than those two words "Your Ministry". It made me want to run and hide. It's a scary thing when God gives you the gift of "ministry".

I beg God, daily, to keep me humble. Don't allow me to get swelled up and think it's all ME. I know, Lord, it is YOU, IN me, that allows me to spread your word. Please keep me humble. I can only do this, because you have allowed it! Thank you, Lord!

I also feel gratitude is vital. It is an incredible honor for me to hand out God's word. A few times, recently, He has even allowed me to teach (I always beg for guidance before opening my mouth or typing). God gets the glory, God gets the honor! I am a simple, broken tool. I am grateful that He chooses to use me. Far "better" choices exist!

That's another thing - it is constantly amazing that God wants to use someone like me. I'm "crazy". I have brain damage. I can't even drive. But BECAUSE I have these problems, God can use me in amazing ways. Who else will hand out Bibles at the bus stop? Or give a bus driver a bag of candy with a tract? I don't see anyone else. I am a lantern, shining God's love everywhere I go.

I am certain, if I failed somehow, God would raise up someone else to fill in the gap. I know it's an honor to hand out Bibles and share God's love with everyone I meet. He has given me a "heart" for them. I hunger to serve them. If I had a choice between eating and handing out a Bible, I'd serve the hungry soul. That attitude is a gift from God.

Sometimes I may miss an opportunity, due to things I can't control. If that happens I always ask God for another chance and often get one. I yearned to give one man a Bible for weeks, but things always consipired to prevent it. One happy day, I was able to present it. Thank you, Lord!

I believe the most important aspect of any ministry is obedience. God can only use us if we are obedient to His will. I have a few little "favorite" Bibles and such. One, in particular, was an out-of-print Bible Promise book. One day, the calling was unmistakable. God wanted me to give it away.

I did not want to give it away. It was mine. But I am God's daughter, bought with the blood of Jesus. I had two choices: obey, or refuse. I don't want to be the child who refuses! Besides, all of my possessions come from God anyway. God was so generous in allowing me to keep my personal Bible when I was mugged - I don't see how it fell out of the bag as I strugged. How could I repay him with a nasty pout and a NO?

So, I put it where God directed me. It was gone in minutes. I know some hungry soul is reading it, and drawing sustenance from God's words. I asked God, if He minded, sending me another one.

However, the book I liked was out of print. But yesterday - I found one at the thrift store. Thank you, Lord. God is so generous, He knows exactly what we need every second of our lives.

So, I accept the "handle" of "My Ministry". Yes, I have a ministry. I'm a Bible Woman. I hand out Bibles. I go where He leads me. It's a tremendous honor. I am so grateful He has chosen me! I beg for humility, and I remain his obedient daughter.

Oh, and Lord, I'm sorry I didn't give the scary homeless guy a cough drop, on the bus, when You directed me to do so. I'm sorry, and I won't fail you next time.

Stalking God

Luke 18:1 "Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart"
Matthew 5:44 "Pray for those who spitefully use you"
1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing"
James 5:16 "Pray for one another"
Ezra 4:2 "We seek your God as you do"
Zeph. 2:3 "Seek the Lord"

I like to talk. Obviously, if you've read any of my writing, you know this. I love to tell you every little detail.

I've been working on growing closer to God, and being a daughter He can use. A daughter He's proud to call "His". I spend time in prayer and Bible study, but I've noticed, with the prayer, that the more I talk to God, the more I WANT to talk.

As humans, we're taught from an early age not to "bother" each other. Don't talk so much. Listen. Encourage the other person to share. All good lessons.

In fact, paying someone TOO much attention will get you labeled a "stalker". Everyone knows how awkward it is to garner unwanted attention. There's someone I wish would forget I ever existed.

So, I had the feeling, that I was "bothering" God with all my attentions. Until the passage from Thessalonians knocked on my door. "Pray without ceasing".

God wants me to talk to him, all day long. He craves it, as much as I do! It's an honor for him to listen to me, and have me share every thought and feeling - far past the point of human interest. He loves it when I seek his word and spend hours in study. He loves it when I pick up my Bible and flip it open at random, in addition to my formalized Bible study program. He loves it when I write down favorite passages on my index cards and tote them around in my bag.

God wants us to stalk him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Deliver us from Evil

I have been slacking. While I pray fairly often, I spent a lot more time blogging than I do in prayer. I spend a lot more time vacantly staring at the TV, than praying. And, I haven't been praying for Thug Boy and Cohort.

Good old Thug Boy - the kid who mugged me last month. It's only been a month but it feels like a lot longer. I like to think I'm pretty much "over" it. Interestingly enough, the Devil chose a young man who fit the profile of most bigots - and also fit the profile of a Bible recipient! He was exactly the sort of young man I'd give a Bible, if I felt God leading me to do so.

He's also the sort of young man who shot me with a BB gun, while I was carrying 2 bags of New Testaments! That kid got me in July, hanging out the side of a car. The worst part of that experience - the heavy salve I applied to the bruising inhibited sweating, so I had a creepy "sweaty grease" appearance. That bruise lasted about 2 weeks, a lot longer than the mugging bruises.

I count it all an HONOR to get banged up for Jesus - and no permanent damage! God is great, and merciful. Anyway, he allowed Thug Boy and Cohort to mug me for, I feel, a couple of reasons: 1. Immediate high priority on the prayer list - whenever I had a flashback I would pray for them. I have also felt as though I should be praying for them daily, but I haven't been doing that. 2. God wanted me to be a LITTLE more careful. Be aware of surroundings, watch your back. Just because you live in a better neighborhood, doesn't mean you let your guard down.

I should be praying for both those kids, but I haven't. Oh, and they also fit the profile of our burglar - the one who broke into our garage, back in 2004, and made off with the lawnmower. I told Ron I feel as if I've been doing some racial profiling, but looking at my experiences I guess it's understandable.

I don't want to be a bigot, though. I want to be God's Daughter, and I want Him to be proud of me. Right now, I could use a little work on praying for my enemies. I don't really think they were enemies, though, just dumb pawns of the Devil - who I do take as a serious adversary. However, I'm with Jesus, and He's gonna win.

So, I'm sorry Lord. I haven't been praying for those who've done me wrong, although I sure talk as if I have. Please help me to see these guys as Your Children, precious to You. I can't do that on my own. Without you, I'm worthless and I know that. Help me to be a strong warrior for You. Help bring them to You, if that's Your will. Please protect them until they can make a choice for You. Help them to eliminate the negative influences from their lives, and guide them in Your wisdom.

Thank you for Your protection. I know You have done an amazing job of protecting me in some very bad areas. Help me to balance the security of knowing You're there, with the common-sense needed to operate in this evil world. Please deliver me from evil, if that's your will.

Thank you for all the wonderful things in my life, and please protect and encourage everyone who reads this. Thanks again!

H.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Put Your thoughts in my head"

Last month was pretty challenging: I had a major problem with Ron, severe enough that I had seriously considered moving out. I was handling that, to the best of my ability, when I was violently mugged. I had to wear long-sleeved shirts for over a week, because my arms were covered with bruises.

On the positive side, I learned that when I had 2 deliveries and a repair man, I would, after 2 hours' sleep, get up, go to work, and literally take care of business all by myself. Then, go out and have fun.

The mugging? I learned that if someone tries to take my Bible, I'll FIGHT for it! How wonderful to learn, I'm gonna fight for God's promises to me.

It's happened before, and will happen again: I knew I could not carry all this by myself, and did the whole mental image: Put the problem in a trebuchet, and flip it over to God. OK, Lord, it's YOUR problem! If I caught myself "picking it up" again, I'd do the imagery again. It's very effective for me. Dad in ICU? Husband in ICU? Husband in ICU, laid off, no cash on hand, and rent overdue? "It's YOUR problem, Lord!" I've had some practice!

Even my own issues, Bad Thoughts and hallucinations, wondering why I was alive, the temptation of suicide overwhelming and oh, so easy.... "CHUNK! It's YOUR problem, Lord!" God has always sent me who or what I needed to overcome.

Anyway, December 11. Ron made the unfortunate mistake of mixing his prescription medication with vodka. He had a blackout. I had a very difficult 12 hours. I was very, very, angry. At one point, he was lying on the floor, completely disgusting, and I had an overwhelming urge to just kick him again and again. I left the house for more than one reason! Sure, I needed to go to work, but I also believe in avoiding temptation.

I had a Day Out after work. Ron hadn't called yet, as I knew he'd do when he woke up. It was a snow day, very rare for Houston. I wanted to get out and experience the weather, which I did. I had a lot of fun, but I had to ask God for help.

I kept going back to Ron's behavior, and thinking bitter thoughts. I finally got smart and said "Lord, put Your thoughts in my head!" It's a wonderful prayer, let me tell you. I was able to focus on joyful, happy things, and not bitterness and resentment.

After I asked God for help, Ron finally woke up, realized what had happened, and called, begging forgiveness. I didn't give it lightly, but I was able to forgive him.

Last month, I was able (with God's help) to realize I am a far stronger woman than I think. I tend to view myself as a soft and weak person, but I'm not.

When I got mugged, I resisted, beating the mugger. He cried for help, and the other guy refused to get involved. When Ron dropped the ball with work, I picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown! Those are good lessons to learn.

So, I often find myself repeating my little prayer: "Put your thoughts in my head" and then I add, "And Your love in my heart".

Friday, January 8, 2010

Accident Day

Yesterday was the anniversary of Ron's accident. It's not surprising I got depressed. A brief montage of some memories:
Pain:
  • The look on "Lee's" face as he told me "Ron's been hit by a truck"
  • My frantic desire to reach Ron, as dear Lee got completely lost in the Medical Center.
  • My anger at Ron's family, who did not even try to contact me when they heard of his injuries. They told each other and raced downtown, completely forgetting me.
  • All the horrible hassles I endured because I wasn't legally married.
  • Battling to take Ron home.
  • Wondering when he'd wake up, if ever.
  • Wondering WHAT would wake up.

Surprises:

  • The amazing community at work, pulling together.
  • The astounding volume of phone calls.
  • The fact that a wife from the Blind Vendor program came to sit with ME, who cared about MY needs.
  • My aunt's compassion and advocacy for the both of us. She is an amazing, unpaid, social worker.
  • My family's support, inspite of my "sinful" relationship.
  • The money. Just when I needed it.
  • God's amazing provision for us, just when we needed it most.
  • Wonderful, compassionate, social workers.
  • Beautiful souls posing as Certified Nursing Assistants, who taught me EVERYTHING I needed to know about home care. Who knows how to empty a catheter bag? I didn't! I can make a bed, with someone in it, too.
  • The simple tasks people did for us, bringing Ron a takeout meal, a trip for me to Walmart, feeding my cat,
  • Doctors who performed life-restoring operations and recognized "He does better with you around".
  • Ron, for coming back from the dead for me!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Regrets

The New Year has me thinking about my life and actions. I have been thinking, recently, about some of the regrets I have.

  • I wish I had gone hiking more with my husband, before "The door closed on that" (as my Dad puts it). I do like to think my husband's health problems have had a direct influence on Dad getting out and enjoying life while he can.
  • I wish I had paid for Ron to get a professional massage before he had the neuropathy. He'd pay NOT to get one, now. I wish I had given him more back rubs and foot rubs. He used to love a good foot rub.
  • I wish I had truly hunted my mother down, before her death, and let her know how much I loved her. She's in Heaven now, she knows I love her, but I regret that she died thinking I hated her.
  • I wish I had been a stronger person about sharing my faith. I was always so worried I would look wierd or offend someone. People are starving for Jesus, but I didn't realize it and I missed some opportunities.

I have other regrets, but they're ones I can't do anything about. I would have rather been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 10, instead of 32. Things I wish I'd known about Ron, but then we wouldn't be here today, would we?

I can honestly say, I don't have many regrets, and I can pray for the people I couldn't reach with the Gospel, when I could have.

Spanish Bible Handout

Today was my all Spanish Handout.  I thought it would be interesting, but never could I have dreamed how odd it would get.  I had trouble ...