Monday, July 18, 2011

Ecc 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

Change is something no one seems to do well.  From changes in our lives, our relationships or our routines.  Change is something I learned about in jail; change from this dorm to that, this tank to that, this bunk to that; this schedule and routine to that.  I didn't like it but it wasn't my choice and I learned for the first time in my life, it was a part of life.

The same holds true for how we spend our time, who we have in our lives and what we can count on to be true.  God tells us nothing stays constant in the world we see but Him.  There is a time for everything and everything changes.

My ladies in Woodman and Lockhart live with change.  They live with the overpowering knowledge that tomorrow they could be wisked hundreds of miles away from one unit to another and not just a few doors down but literally to a city and unit that they have no idea where in the state it is; but they must go because the handcuffs that bind them are hard to break.

Out here in the world we think our lives are our own but we forget that we are His and He has plans that are in motion.  We can fight it but the seasons He lays out in our lives are the seasons we will walk through and trusting His purpose for them is the trust we lay at His feet if we are believers.

Change is our part of our lives.  Sowing and reaping, living and dying, laughing and crying, tearing and mending, speaking and silence.  Our family learned this recently and I am reminded that in the end days especially we will find times of turmoil and toil; brother against brother; believer against non believers and change we did not want or could not forsee is a part of a grander plan.

I can only take peace from what I know is constant.  I have a loving, forgiving, everlasting Father in Heaven, whose plans for me are grander than this station in which I find myself and this circumstance that seems so hard.  Our task is to walk through changes and not let the changes change us unless we are certain it is of God's molding and firing but trusting He has our back in all things and He is our rock in the storm.

I pray that today.  My house is shaken but my faith in Him is not.  I'm holding on.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vengeance is mine.........

I have to admit, I've been watching the Casey Anthony case for the last month.  I had strong opinions about her guilt or innocence and having stood before a judge and a room full of people angry and filled with disdain to say the least toward me personally, I had some idea how it feels to be "judged" by strangers.

As the trial progressed I was sure she was guilty and I was sure she would be convicted; I also became, like many, convinced she would face the death penalty. 

But I had other thoughts as well.  I wondered about her salvation, about whether she was being ministered to and whether she was getting the loving support of Christians who could look past her actions (or alleged actions) to tell her the Good News of her Lord and Savior.  Had she faced the outcome of lethal injection, I DID wonder, who is considering her afterlife and her reconciliation with God.

And even today I wonder who is talking to her about her relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Despite the actions of our lives, we all fall short of the grace and glory of God.  And each and every one of us, in little and big ways have sinned in the eyes of a purely just and righteous God.  In the passion of the headlines and the opinions we form based on news and what we believe our knowledge to be, we often forget that the ultimate questions aren't in this life and in our behaviors as much as our ultimate relationship with Jesus.

I avoid most posts about current events.  I focus on the ladies that we have served and those I meet as I walk into the TDCJ units.  I focus on the ladies I can talk with and share my story with that I hope provides hope and a new look at life as it relates to a life "in Christ".  But this case brought home many emotions in me that I wanted to share; I have been judged and not liked due to my crimes.  I still feel the sting of how my crimes were catagorized and the outcomes today.  I still cannot practice my profession and its still up in the air if I ever will be able to do so.  But I am not the person I was then and I have in my life someone who overshadows all that the world has to say about me.  I rejoice in that.

More than what we think about any case or person we see on the news, the outrage over their actions, the disgust that we somehow are "above" that action or person; we need to remember that we are sinners.  All.  Sin lies deep in each of us and none of us will avoid standing before the Lord. 

No matter what you think about this case or others; remember that our right standing with God is what comes first.  Focusing on our own relationship with Christ will help us deal in a gentler manner with others.  I am reminded of a famous tele-evangelist saying "We aren't called to judge anyone; we are called to love." 

Yes, I agree the heinous acts of some make it hard to "love them" and to find sympathy but if we hope to find ourselves standing before the Lord with more than negatives on our list of "things to discuss" we might want to summon up some emotion outside of hate, rage and anger toward others.  I may still believe Ms. Anthony guilty of her crimes but I am reminded of God's words...."'Vengeance is mine,'saith the Lord." I must leave it in His hands and focus on me and my relationship with Him.  I have to sigh, then look to Him.  Heavenly Father, I ask only for peace and for all hearts that need your love be filled to the full.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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