Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Church at work

Our landlord had a screen door installed on our front door today. I am enjoying the wonderful sunshine while working as I can leave my solid front door open with this new contraption keeping the bugs and cold out. It's marvelous. I can watch the cars go by, hear the sounds of kids coming home from school and bask in the warmth of the sun as it slowly moves across the carpet. One wouldn't think that something as simple and common as a screen door could provide such joy but today I am just a kid again with this newly installed, functional item at my disposal and I want to praise God for the generosity of our landlord.

I recognize she did not have to install this door on our unit. We rented it without a screen door so we had no expectation of one nor should we have. Yet, when our landlord decided to move into the other half of the duplex to "downsize" she began upgrading little things for her own convenience and has included us in each upgrade she has done. There has been no added expense to us and she hasn't raised the rent in the two years we've been here, she just says she appreciates us as tenants and we are a blessing to her!

She continues to watch us ready ourselves for upgrading and renovating the housing units. She knows what we are about and what we do to serve the Lord. She has contributed painting supplies, carpet and the use of her pick up for transporting large items to Copperas Cove. She continues to demonstrate a love for us that is unique these days. We continue to keep her in our prayers and to be the most timely and conscientious tenant we know how to be.

The Church was meant to be this way. Yet today in our dog eat dog world we are often quick to forget the giving, loving and generous hearts that God created in us. While Mark and I work diligently to provide housing to a woman who may otherwise wind up homeless and without care; our landlord gives generously to us in simple ways that bring us joy and comfort. The sharing of our resources, the giving and spreading of what we have is an expression of Christ in us and I am humbled today to see evidence of it as the suns pours in and the cold is kept out.

Screen doors may not bring everyone the same joy I am experiencing, but I challenge each of us to look around and find the generosity sent your way today you might have overlooked. And I challenge each of us to find a way today to be a generous Christian to someone else. This is the Church at work.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Job descriptions

We're gearing up for our first resident to join us in February but of course amid the busy work of painting and redecorating the housing units we still have clients whom we work with that are not part of our housing program. Those clients, whose needs are different but just as necessary make up a large part of my day. Whether I'm referring them to a professional service or engaging them in life coaching exercises, they too need the attention and time that only one on one can provide.

Over the weekend I received some distressing emails from a client who was released late last quarter and was blessed with a safe and warm home to return to with a loving partner who was there and ready to accept her back into his life. She is very fortunate. Blessed one might say. Yet amid all of God's blessings; a home, food, clothes, a car, even money for more frivolous things such as hair appointments and pedicures (a weakness of mine) she still feels so much anger, confusion, betrayal, fear and uncertainty in her life. It's difficult talking to her at times. In one moment she's rational and clearly sees God working in her life. In the next, she cannot shake off the old life, the old temptations, the anger and hurt that always explode in a rage of alcohol and drugs. She relapsed this weekend. After a night in a hotel and waking to remorse and shame the next morning she returned home to find a prayerful and forgiving spouse who laid out totally new ground rules to her. That was her one fall, in his home, he said. His sobriety and his stable life wasn't worth her chaos. The price was now too high for him. God, he said, told him to forgive her but to make clear he was not responsible for her ungodly lifestyle. One more time and he was done.

She called today and we talked. As we did, God was with us both and we were able to see how far, even in her relapse she was already healed by God's love. While she did choose drugs over other coping skills, this time, when she did she did not feel the physical compulsion to just keep drugging.

I always love when God just takes over my mouth and speaks words that I have no idea where they come from (of course knowing as its happening and always afterward that I had nothing to do with what was said!) I pointed out to her that the physical compulsion, the part that sends you back for more and more, the part any addict will tell you keeps you bound in the insidious spiral, was gone. During her incarceration, in letter after letter, she agonized over why God had not and was not healing her of her addictions. Why was He not healing her as He had done so many others! Today, as we talked, God revealed to her just how much He had already done in her. The compulsion was gone. The craving didn't rear its ugly head and in the dawn of the morning, the bad choice, the behavior, became manageable. Physical compulsions were almost more than a human can manage, behavior can be modified! God has already done in her body what she would never be able to cure or heal on her own; the physical compulsion simply wasn't there.

I have witnessed many repentant tears, broken hearts, hopeful smiles in the work I do but I have never witnessed the dawning of hope in quite the same way until today. God was at work long before we ever knew, doing what only He can do in us; miraculous healing.

There is nothing I can do to change or heal or cure any of the women that we work with. I have to rely on God to do what only He can do. I was humbled today as I watched Him at work realizing that while I am busy building a ministry to serve His beautiful daughters, He is at work doing what He needs done. And the overwhelming feelings I've been having lately about all there is to do in our ministry are diminished.

God wrote out our job descriptions.

Tonight I'm busy with paperwork and getting things lined up for the housing unit. And tonight God is busy doing what He does best, healing hearts. Anyone can do what I'm doing. God is amazing. I'm also thanking Him tonight for job descriptions. Who'd ever thought?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

COURAGEOUS - The New Movie From Sherwood Pictures Announcement

The new film by Provident Films; maker of Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Flywheel!

Books worth a look