Category Archives: Disabilities

Miserably Failing People

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

… Weaknesses are with me for the whole journey.

Paul was particularly thinking of persecutions, but how much more does this passage apply to human frailty, brokenness and hurt? How essential is it for us to be broken, if Christ is going to be our strength?

When I am weak I am strong.

Not, “When I am cured,”
or “When I am successful,”
or “When I am a good Christian,”
but when I am weak.

Weakness- the human experience of weakness- is God’s blueprint for exalting and magnifying his Son.

When broken people,
miserably failing people,
continue to belong to, believe in and worship Jesus,

God is happy.

~The Internet Monk
Read the whole article…it just might change your life…
😉

Redeeming the Scars

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God’s passion is to weave glory out of broken shards
of past sexual abuse,
an affair,
financial disaster,
a divorce,
death,
or any other experience of powerlessness or sin.

Everything hinges on the past.

“The scars of sin and death can’t be erased, but they can become the weather-beaten marks of character that bring depth and intrigue to what would have been merely a beautiful but ordinary vase.  God’s passion is to weave glory out of broken shards of past sexual abuse, an affair, financial disaster, a divorce, death, or any other experience of powerlessness or sin…
What was yesterday?  The loss of a job, victimization, bottomless grief, pointless sacrifice that brought little good?  Was it deep struggle, intense drama and terror that eventually brought us to our knees and to the face of God?  Everything hinges on the past.  We will project the past into every new moment and either repeat our past themes of victimization or marvel at the work of God in redeeming us in spite of our questions and doubt.”
~Dan Allender, The Healing Path

Everything hinges on the past.

If I’m beginning to repeat myself, please be patient.
It takes awhile for some things to sink in.
Especially if you’ve been living in shame-bound systems for fifty years…

We will project the past into every new moment and
EITHER
Repeat our past themes of victimization
OR
Marvel at the work of God in redeeming us

Oh, I have spent so many years allowing the theme of abuse to be projected into every moment of my life.
I desire to move forward. I really do.

However, before I can, I must allow the deeper work of healing to wash over me, to cleanse me through and through. Jesus prayed for us to be sanctified in the truth. His word is the Truth. Paul reminded the church that Christ died “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

I want to see the work of redemption in my story.  I desire to see the Truth of the Word working in my life.  I press forward recognizing betrayals can be redeemed through faith, powerlessness can be infused with hope, and ambivalence can be turned to bold love.  These are the great gifts of redemption and restoration: Faith, Hope, and Love.

Many scars have formed over the years.  I pray they will not be as numerous as the freckles… but, honestly,… there could be more.

This path of healing I am choosing to take may be a long one, so…

“I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”   ~Chris Cleave, Little Bee

Hug Him, Please.

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Oh, this is a sad day…

So many memories. He made me laugh and cry and praise my Lord all in the space of a couple minutes of visiting. I enjoyed Big Lang on a daily basis. Some days were better than others, but each encounter was memorable.

It was new for both of us. He’d never known a “you-so-white-suburban-child” and I’d never trusted a past convict with my life.  He let me know I could call him night or day and he’d be there to help.  He’s the one who told me I was “livin’ in the ‘hood.”  No, not South Dallas, but the ‘hood, nonetheless.  He learned that some people had never stepped foot in a liquor store (that would’ve been me) and I learned that some people had never known safety, or freedom from fear.

Goodness.
Now,

He’s gone.

And, he left without me knowing…

I saw him last Thanksgiving, but I’d moved away from the complex. We didn’t see one another on a regular basis. Today, I saw on Facebook that the movie in which he has a role is coming out this summer, “Seasons of Gray.” I went to my site to read about him, and then clicked on his site to see if he’d posted anything new.

“Roderick Lang passed away on Friday, December 14th, 2012…”

It had only been three weeks since I’d seen him. Oh, how I wish I’d called him back the last time I saw his number in my missed calls list. It wasn’t a good day for me. It might not have been a good day for him . . . Oh, please, dear Lord, don’t let that be the day!

He taught me so much in the short space of time I knew him. He struggled, day in and day out, with his past. But, he knew his God and had enormous faith in the promise of new life in Jesus. On his worst days I wouldn’t see him . . .  but most days he was outside, three doors down, sitting on his back patio. And oh, so happy to get to visit for a few minutes! He’d share a funny memory, a joke, or a tall tale just to hear me laugh. He said I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and he just wanted to help lift it a bit.  He had no fear of letting me know my dog looked like she was on drugs and needed a good grooming!  He’d come to the back door, knock, and ask me to join him for coffee on the patio.  Oh, so many memories…

Oh, Jesus.

Thank you.

Thank you for letting me meet Rod.

Thank you for letting him be my friend.

Please, hug him for me.

A huge bear hug.  He’s such a big man…

Please…

Big Lang
Roderick Earl Lang
Rod

Thank you, Jesus, for letting him rest in Your peace.
For eternity.

Big Lang on the set

Yahweh’s Deep Love

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Yahweh turned rivers into wasteland,
springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
because of the evil of the people who lived there.

Then He changed wasteland into fresh pools of water,
arid earth into springs of water,
Brought in the hungry and settled them there;
they moved in–what a great place to live!

They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards,
they reaped a bountiful harvest.
He blessed them and they prospered greatly;
their herds of cattle never decreased.

But abuse and evil and trouble declined
as He heaped scorn on princes and sent them away.
He gave the poor a safe place to live,
treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep.

Good people see this and are glad;
bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over–
it’s time you appreciated Yahweh’s deep love.

You called out to Yahweh in your desperate condition
He got you out in the nick of time.

He spoke the word that healed you,
that pulled you back from the brink of death.

So thank Yahweh for His marvelous love,
for His miracle mercy to the children He loves!

~thoughts from Psalm 107, The Message

The Grace of Catastrophe

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After seeing my favorite opera on the Big Screen yesterday,  “Les Miserables,” I have been singing Fantine’s song and thinking of Jean Valjean’s choices in life.  I read Les Miserables while taking a Humanities course in college.  I fell in love with Jean Valjean, if it’s possible to love a fictitious character.  He is a type of Christ, being willing to step into our mess and carry us through to life (think sewer scene here).  So many fantastic metaphors in that story!  No wonder, outside of the Bible, we’re told Les Miserables is the next favorite story of God’s redemptive power. 

It brought to mind this article I’d bookmarked months ago.  What happens when life becomes messy?  Does grace cover catastrophe?  Oh, yes!  Read on, if you need some insight. THIS is what we can learn, if willing, through the messiness of life:

Life in the Midst of Mess

Jan Winebrenner

What We Really Believe

A. W. Tozer wrote, “The difference between a great Christian life and any other kind lies in the quality of our religious concepts . . . i.e., what we think of God, what we believe about Him.”

Nothing so challenges us to examine what we believe about God like catastrophe.

That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. . . . Often only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.

We face difficulty, and we have to ask:
Do we really believe God is strong and faithful?
We face pain and illness, and we wonder:
Is He as good as I’ve always been told to believe?

Death comes, and weeping, and we ask: Is heaven a reality? Is prayer effective? Does God really hear? The struggles and disasters of our lives prompt us to ask these questions, and dozens more. Every tragedy, every crisis, offers us this:

It can be a means of grace—an instrument used by God by which we can cease floating passively on all manner of external attractions. It is by the grace of catastrophe that people sometimes come to themselves and see what is before them as if for the first time. Catastrophe can, like a mighty wind, blow away the abstracting veils of theory and ideology and enable our own sovereign seeing.  ~Eugene Peterson

It is the testimony of the ancients, as well as contemporary saints, that the greatest lessons of faith have been learned against the backdrop of suffering. The theology we say we believe takes root in soil watered by tears and bears fruit in lives characterized by peace and righteousness, lives that delight in the person of God Himself.

The “grace of catastrophe” comes through in places where our theology is tested, our faith forged, our knowledge of God made personal and practical, and our love for Him impassioned.

On the Brink

John Piper wrote, “Every moment in every circumstance we stand on the brink between the lure of idolatry and the delight of seeing and knowing God.”

Our stance is never more precarious than when we are in pain
—any kind of pain.
The voice of God whispers in our souls, “Love Me, worship Me, trust Me.”

But His soft words are hard to hear over the raucous voices in our culture and in our own hearts—voices that shout at us to berate God, to ignore Him and move on in search of other comforts, if there be any—any that don’t wear off after a few minutes or hours.

Still, Jesus calls us to come close, to cuddle in His love and rest in the certainty of His goodness and His sovereign power. He invites us to take comfort in all that He has promised to be to us—savior, friend, healer, lover.

This is the challenge we face with each day as we step out into life.

Will we seek God and take our refuge in Him
when our path is littered with broken dreams?
Or will we turn elsewhere?

We have only these two options when catastrophe strikes. If we choose God, then catastrophe becomes for us a special grace-gift, ushering us into the place where we can experience God in ways we never before imagined. We find ourselves poised on the brink of life’s greatest discovery:

that God is the ultimate presence in the universe, and that knowing Him, interacting with Him, by faith, is more satisfying, more exhilarating than anything the human heart ever hoped for or imagined.

(Go here to read more…)

I’m FIFTY!?!?!?!

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How did that happen???

One day at a time.

It seems like only yesterday I was 49! (lol)  Honestly, these years have gone by so quickly and yet, at times, they’ve dragged.  Babies grow too quickly.  Before you can blink, they’re graduating.  Then college…and they’re on their own!

My twenties came and went in a flash.  The thirties slowed a bit, trying to keep up with the kids.  My forties moved at a snail’s pace.  So…what will fifty bring?

One day at a time.

In my twenties I wanted to be “teacher of the year”…

In my thirties I desired “the world’s greatest mom” award…

In my forties I prayed (and searched for doctors) to get my health back…

One day at a time.

Now, here I am, at the beginning of the next decade…

Divorced.

Living alone.
(Well, I still have my dog.)

Most relationships are strained, at best.
(Except those friends who stick closer than a brother.)
(Thank you, Heavenly Father, for friends!!)

One day at a time.

I’ve lost most everything I ever believed I wanted:  The love of my life (or so I thought).  “World’s Greatest Mom” award.  The house in the ‘burbs with the swimming pool.  My reputation.  Being a bible teacher/leader.  Relationships I thought were real.

And, I can’t blame anyone but myself.

I did it.

It happened because was  am a fool.

One day at a time.

And I can’t go back.  That’s not what I’m to do, if the scripture is to be believed.

I did repent.  I did return.  But, I was rejected…

And now, I must move forward.

One day at a time.

Forgetting what lies behind,
Reaching forward to what lies ahead.
I press on toward the goal:
The upward call of Christ Jesus!

The sanctifying process…

One day at a time.

I’m leaning on Him…

One day at a time, Sweet Jesus,

I’M FIFTY!?!?!?!

A Season of Funk

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Who’s to say when the season ends?
God.
Who’s to say when the crying stops?
God.
Who’s to say when it’s time to move on?
God.

Not you.
Not me.

God.

You may give a “buck up” message to help someone “get past” their crud.
But, unless you’ve walked their path (and no one has the exact same path),
You have no idea the length of time it will take for them to be able to “move on”.

And, believe it or not, some people are created to grieve.
You might not like that, but it’s biblical.
Some people are given hurt after hurt after hurt to be an example of the reality of a sinful world.

You can’t know who that person is…and it’s way too easy to say, “Get over it!”

God determines the seasons of our lives.
WE are to be compassionate in whatever season we find others…

Mourn with those who mourn.
Rejoice with those who rejoice.

YOU are not God.
I am not God.

He determines the times and the seasons…
…the epochs of our lives.

Love covers a multitude of sins…even self-pity…
Be gentle, compassionate, forgiving…let the fruit of kindness be ever on your lips.

Grace, people.

My Friend, Big Lang

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Big Lang was one of the first neighbors I met after moving.  He often sits on the steps across from my parking spot.  We smiled, waved, and eventually, talked.  Our first conversation delved into race relations in Dallas, alongwith childhood experiences, and the movie, “The Help.”  It spoke of our different lifestyles growing up on opposite sides of this huge metroplex we both call Home.

I’m really glad God put Big Lang in my path.

I found out what kind of heart he has when the holidays rolled around.  I don’t know if a day passed that he didn’t have someone he was helping out…me included.  And if he knew of someone who needed help, yet, he was unable to meet the need, he’d call on others to see what we could do.  The day he showed me his apartment filled with frozen chickens to pass around, I knew I had found a friend for life.  For, you see, he had a hundred chickens to pass out and walking is not something he can do easily.  He is disabled.  Like me…

Big Lang (yes, he is well over 6’6″!  I barely reach 5’…) has been through hell and back many times.  No, we don’t have the same disability, but we both know the struggles of life.  Of course, when I hear his story, I don’t know if I can call my life a struggle.  Gracious, what some people have to endure…

He speaks freely of his trials and the faith he has in Jesus.  His words of encouragement always hit the spot.  I find wisdom beyond understanding when he shares pieces of his life story.  He has lived the hardest of lives and yet, he has an enduring trust in God.  It doesn’t always make sense to me how someone with such a background (the hardest, remember) can speak so faithfully of God.  He has no tinge of bitterness.  He doesn’t bemoan the hard knocks he’s endured.  (And even the term ‘hard knocks’ is so benign for what he has lived!)  The only way I can understand his attitude is from the scriptures…

He has a peace that passes understanding.
He has joy in the LORD, not his circumstances.
He knows it is much more of a blessing to give than to receive.

Big Lang has become a model of Christianity I hope to emulate.

What a man…
I’m blessed to call him friend.

Would you like to contact Big Lang or read more about his life? Go to:
Changed Life Ministry