Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quadruple Bypass

It was a phone call I was totally unprepared for...."This is dad. (silence).  Mom had a heart attack this morning and emergency heart surgery. They're doing another one on Monday. Call me back."  As I sat in shock, I wondered what I would do without my mom.  Her mom died when she was barely 20. Mom is young, too.  Too young for heart attacks. The past three days have been a whirlwind of hurrying up, waiting, more hurrying up, dropping kids off, phone calls, driving hundreds of miles, three tanks of gas, breakfast, lunches and dinners out and really bad (I mean really, super duper bad) hospital coffee.  It's also been three days of watching several other ICU families cling to the last moments of life with their loved ones among tears, wailing, shaking heads, and very little comfort by a non-existent hospital chaplain.  In as much as I was a patient's daughter, the pastoral side of me wanted so badly to hug the older gentleman who was losing his life partner and couldn't hold it together anymore.  I wanted to hold the hand of the young woman with the baby on her hip who was losing a loved one. I cried with the group of twenty+ family members as they sat vigil for the patient in the next pod over from my mom's pod. They had been there for a few days prior to our arrival.  I wanted to be there for them.  But I couldn't because I was in my own crisis.  So we sat and just watched the world happen in that waiting room around us.  Children crying, TV blaring, nurses running in and out, Doctors giving hope and taking hope away.  When it was our turn, hope was restored but a part of me was still grieving with the others in the room.  My mom is doing alright today. She's in recovery from her quadruple bypass because a very insightful ER doc did a test he wasn't required to do.  Today we are rejoicing instead of sitting in a funeral home, and for that I am grateful.  Today we have a miracle among us all because of God's mercy and grace. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Poem

The walk has been long, the journey across this sand so dry and brittle
My heart has ached and I've wept for days trudging through this desert place
Praying the sun would set quickly on another day
No relief, no water to quench my thirsty soul in this dusty, bone-dry heart
Just my own tears, feeling alone with thoughts and dreams that may never be

Betrayal and anger creep up into my throat as I try to cry out for mercy
Reminded of how assumptions made way for an unexpected captivity
No longer free to run and stand on my own two feet
But, instead bound by the slavery of this hell I'm in

In the darkness of this private cell I try to focus on a miniscule sliver of light
It whispers to me in the midst of near sanity,"You're going to be ok."
My head is flooded with doubt, but my heart and soul want to believe
Oh God, help my unbelief.

I want to bottle up that mustard seed of hope, but I know it must be planted
In order to grow and thrive
Could it really be true? Will I really be alright? 
Wavering....wobbling....scared....no, absolutely frightened.




Then I remember.....
Even my Lord was tempted in his desert place
Trapped by those who made assumptions
Crucified by those who thought they knew better
I can try to grasp the hem of His garment
I can attempt to find the Source once again 
in this cold, battered and scarred heart
He breathed life, He parted the sea, He danced in the fire, 
He was in the room
If I look for Him, I can find Him and drink from the Fountain
Look.....cry out.....He's still there
And then don't let go of the One 
Who brings gushing water to heal and mend the brokenhearted
And sets the captives free

-CJH
Sept.01, 2014

+Copyrightys May not be shared or duplicated without author's approval in writing.
 
 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Origin of Christmas Traditions

Visual History of Christmas Traditions Infographic by Balsam Hill

Christmas is celebrated in a multitude of rich and cherished traditions. This illustrated timeline, brought to you by Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Company, captures the flow of some of the most popular Christmas traditions and figures throughout Christmas History.



Thought this was interesting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why People Leave Churches

I think this just about sums it all up, however, it doesn't negate the pain and frustration the pastor and staff feel when someone leaves.  This summer has been a tough one for us.  People don't want to be honest and real and when there are only 30 people in the room, they feel exposed.  When are we gonna stop playing church with each other and start being the Body?  When are people gonna start loving each other to the point where they can be honest and open?  When is the Church gonna start taking care of it's leaders?  I'm not sure it can......

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tap, Tap, Tap......

IS THIS THING ON?

I am 99.9% sure that Pastors often feel (maybe even 99.9% of the time) very alone in this world.  It's hard to have deep friendships, hard to trust, hard to forge relationships due to past wounds and fears that people will stab you in the back (as they often do).  For me, feelings of abandonment bring forth the need to belong to something outside of the church walls without having to put my "pastor" hat on.  So I went and did something a little not-wallflower-me-ish. (Yes, it's a word!).  

I started a Bunco Group.  Yes, dice.  Yes, a monetary pot that one wins at the end of the night (some might even call it....gambling!!).  And guess what, I didn't invite my church gal-pals.  On purpose.  Yup.  I felt a twinge of guilt over that fact for about 20 minutes and then it subsided.  If I'm to be "salt and light" to the world and tell people about Jesus' amazing gift for them, how on earth am I to do that if I trap myself inside the walls of a church service or at church socials?  Bunco is giving me an opportunity to take my "Rev. Hat" off and have a little fun once a month.  And guess what?  I enjoy it :)  I have a Facebook Page for our local community that has over 25 women and most of them have no clue who I am or what I do.  The ones that do still want to play! LOL

However, being in the "real world" is not without it's dangers and strange moments.  My "Rev. Hat" brings weird reactions and emotions out of people when they realize that you are a member of the....wait for it....dum, dum duuuuuummmm....FEMALE CLERGY.  People are predictable.  At least when they find out what my chosen calling/profession is.  They start fidgeting and then begin telling me about their last visit to a church (which was somewhere between 5 and 20 years ago) and how they know they should get back there soon.  Some even ask me what time our service starts on Sunday and where we are located.  I've learned not to get my hopes up on actually seeing them that following Sunday (or ever), so I'm convinced it's a "gap-filler" of our conversation.   Some start to repent for smoking or drinking or the divorce they had.  Then, in an instant, they clam up.  They don't know what to say.  I mean, after all, how does one talk with a representative of God?  "She knows all of my dark, deep secrets right?  She has a direct connection to the BMUS (Big Man Up Stairs), doesn't she?"

Although I would love to say that I've got an "in" with God, I just want to put it out there that I'm as human as anybody else.  Yes, I call Jesus "Lord" and yes, I technically "work" for Him, but I --- hard to believe --- am NOT perfect.   FAR FROM IT.  Ask my husband and my kids.  Ask our congregation.  Ask my sisters and my parents.  I sin just like everyone else.  I stumble, fall, get mad, get jealous, have a hissy fit, feel entitled, get bitter and whine and cry better than most 2 year olds.  But, I guess, most people don't see that side of me and it must be tough to figure out how to converse with someone of the clergy.  Not that this is anything new for me.  I've been an "official" pastor for over 9 years now.  But it just makes me uncomfortable at times to have to carry the conversation because others clam up.  Maybe I'll ask them if they've ever played Canasta....

  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Church = Small Group

And then there were nineteen ....19!

6 of them were my family.  Pathetic.  I swung into an uber- funk this morning and got mad.  I got mad at the church.  I got mad at the devil.  I got mad at God.  I admit it.  Furiously, fuming, raging pissed off.  God, how on earth are we supposed to pay our obligations as a church and how is Joe supposed to support our family if no one ever shows up? I know that summers are hard.  I realize people have things to do.  But honestly?  I want to sleep in on Sunday mornings.  I don't want to have to deal with the heat of the unconditioned gymnasium.  I seriously questioned God this morning as to what we are doing wrong and if it's time to finally throw in the towel.

I found this quote by John Wimber today -
        "Individualism erodes our sense of being part of a covenant people and family. Gods idea of Church is family.."

So, perhaps we don't understand what it means to be a covenant people.  Perhaps, in this individualistic society that we live in we don't get family.   I don't know why the other 30 people who claim that we're their church home didn't show up today, but I do know something.  THEY MISSED OUT ON GOD.  We did worship, we prayed, Joe preached.  Then God showed up.  Every person in that room, except Joe, received a prophetic word from the Lord today.  Every person went home knowing that God loved them and was there with us.  Every person, hopefully, left a little more encouraged than when they came.  I'm grateful for those who did make the effort to be a family today.  I don't know how we're going to pay our past due bills or buy groceries this week, but I do know that God was with us and He loves us.  Guess I'll have to rest in that covenant for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mosaic Homeschooling

I jumped onto the bandwagon and started my own blog for homeschooling. I've also got a Facebook page. Let me know what you think! Thanks! :) Mosaic Homeschool blog Mosaic Homeschool on Facebook