Friday, June 27, 2014

Reactor or a Responder?

This morning I was having a conversation with a young man named, Ricky Callahan. We were discussing relationships and healing. He was telling me about the moment that redirected him.

Not long ago, at work, one of his co-workers had a reaction to Ricky's directives as the manager.  Ricky found himself stirred up in anger, but he did not reply. He stewed on it all day, and when he got into his car for his hour commute home, he was praying about it.

Immediately, he heard the voice of the Lord say,"I don't react, I respond."

I was immediately brought to attention by these words.  I began to ponder the differences between the two words.  I first thought of  "First Responders."  First responders go into a bad situation, and bring those involved, out of the situation, into safety, protection, even life!

One who reacts is in effect, re-acting the bad behavior; in others words, acting out the words, or behavior, or pain in the given situation, by acting with the same hurtful behavior or words. Reactions can cause explosions, disasters, and sometimes the damage can take years to repair.  I speak from personal experience.

I am one who has been guilty of reacting instead of responding.  Every time I have reacted, as oppose to responded, I caused a fracture in a relationship, there-by making the situation worse.

One of the definitions of react, from is: to act in opposition, as against some force. This immediately brings to mind what happens in opposition.  Opposition, if not handled with care and diplomacy can cause irreparable damage. (Or, I should say, only the Blood of Jesus Christ repairs this damage.)  Reactors do not need any training to react; they just do it. Reactors operate through fear.

First Responders are trained.  One of the first things they receive training for is CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  

As followers of Christ, we must train to be First Responders in the kingdom of God. We have the authority to heal the broken hearts, and bring the breath of life into those who are hurting.

Part of the training, for me, has been letting the Lord heal the areas in my heart that have allowed my to be triggered to react, rather than respond.  As He has healed my heart and restored my breath, I have more peace and wisdom for dealing with painful relationships.

Beloveds, I urge you and myself to receive all the healing and training we can, as followers of Jesus, so that when the assaults and divisions come,  we, like our Heavenly Father, respond and thereby bring those in distress into safety and freedom!

Blessings, Anna Marie

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crossing the Finish Line!

Today, I found a journal that I wrote during, and immediately after the years of fighting leukemia with our son, Stephen. Kicked the stuffing out of me, for sure. Then I read some words that really undid me.

After our son passed away, I began running every day with a new intensity. We lived in rural East Texas. I would run for miles and miles, singing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," over, and over, and over. It is all I sang for one solid year. Even now, almost 30 years later, I can feel the grief of those months.

It was during that time, I began to run fun-runs. 5ks, 10ks etc. In February of 1987, just months after losing Stevie, my husband Jack and I, and two other friends, Fran  and Charles, ran a 6.5 run to raise money for a child that needed a liver transplant. It was a tough run for me, because of the emotions involved, but practically speaking the hills were about to kill me. ( I have lung issues) About half way through the run, Jack took off sprinting! He never ceases to amaze me with his skills. Charles, Fran and I stayed together, encouraging each other, and talking.

I was getting slower and slower. I wanted to quit. But my running buddies kept encouraging me, "You can do it!"  Even though they weren't struggling, they slowed to my pace, and wouldn't let me give up.

Finally, the finish line was in view. We were the last runners coming in. People were cheering us on as if we were the first ones in!  At the last few feet, I stalled, and said," I can't do it," through heaving gasps.  Fran and Charles took hold of both my hands, and threw me across the finish line in front of them!

It was those last words I read in the journal, them throwing me across the line, at the end of my race that undid me today.

This race we are running can be unbearable at times.  We were not meant to run it alone.  God put us into community for a reason.  We need each other.  As we run let us keep our eyes on Jesus, and our hands on our brothers and sisters.  We will reach the goal together! The first shall be last, and the last shall be first, and the joy of the finish line will be awesome for all!!

Thank you to Charles and Fran, and to many others who have grabbed me by the hand and not let me quit.  May God grant me the courage, and fortitude, and love to do the same for all those He places on my journey.

Courage to all! Anna Marie

Hebrews12:1  NKJV

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us... 

Exodus 17:12 ESV

But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Are You Easily Distracted?

Psalm 39:4-5  NKJV
LORD, make me to know my end,  And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Cerrtainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says, "So much to do and so much to distract me from doing it."

I am smiling as I type these words, because this blog post is a perfect example of that expression.

I posted this photo of the rose as a point for meditating on the simple beauty of it.  The next thing I knew I was "google-ing" roses to learn of their history, which led me to a site at a university in Illinois that explained how to care for roses.  This prompted me to go outside to begin trimming my rose bushes, and then I remembered I had left my freshly brewed cup of coffee inside.

I went inside and to get my coffee, which prompted the thought of telling Jack my new knowlege of rose cultivation.  I went back into our back room to tell him, and as we talked, I had the brilliant idea of going to see the Japanese Tea Garden.  We decided to go, in a bit.

I remembered about the blog I was writing and went back to crank it up again.  As I began to type, the keyboard went crazy, so I called my good friend and computer guru, Cavan.

He realized that something called sticky keys had been activated and walked me through the process to disable it.  Realization dawned, the cat had been walking on my keyboard again!

Cavan and I had a good laugh when I told him about the blog post I was writing about getting distracted.  Which led to a fun conversation about cats, computers and chickens!

By this time, my coffee had grown cold so I made myself another, and here I am!  I started this little piece at about 10:00am and now it is 1:15pm and I still haven't finished it, or finished cutting my roses,  or gotten dressed for our jaunt to the park....

Which brings me back to my main point.  Are you easily distracted?  Don't despair, rejoice in the simple moment of beauty all around you.  Stop and smell the roses....squirrel!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tangles or Tapestry?

Genesis 50:20 NKJ
... you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good...

Have you ever had a peek at God's view of the embroidered tapestry of life?

Many years ago, my husband, Jack, took an embroidery picture that my mother had made for me, and used it as an illustration for a sermon. As he spoke, he removed the fabric from the frame and turned the back side of it to us. What a mess! Crisscross threads, knots, dangling bits.  He said this is what our life looks like to us. So often the events we go through, and the changes of direction that move us seem tangled, knotted up and cut off without explanation.

Then, he turned it over to show us the completed picture.  It was so lovely!  He smiled as he revealed to us that this is the way God sees our lives.  God has a different perspective than we do. He knows our beginning from our end.  We can trust Him to turn every tragedy into triumph, every change of direction into a story of journey. Someday, the knots and tangles will make sense, and we will behold the glory He has wrought in our lives.

Occasionally, along the way, we do get glimpses of the beauty of the picture.  We just heard of a powerful story from our friends in Chile, the Colbys.  Their car was broken into and their very important personal documents and sentimental things were stolen.  A few days later, after much anguish, someone found the most important things in the woods, and discovered their names.  He returned them to the Colby's, traveling many miles to do so, and in return, this out of work man was offered a job.  A few days later, the man met Jesus as his personal savior! 

One time, my truck window was smashed, and my radio was stolen.  I had to make a trip to Austin from San Antonio that day.  Usually, I listened to talk radio or played music while driving. This day, I just prayed. For the hour and a half it took me to get to Austin, my son's face kept coming to me, so I prayed for him all the way.  That night, he didn't come home from work on time.  Several hours later, he called.  He had been involved in a hit and run accident!  I knew immediately I had been praying for him for this very reason. It could have been a tragedy! Instantly, I thanked God for those thieves that took my radio, and asked Him to bless them! 

What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good! Shalom!