I have had several people ask me, "How do you come up with the things you write about in your blog?" and "Why do you wait so long between blogs?" The answer is always the same for both questions.
I write when the Lord lays something on my heart. Before I am asked the follow up question, let me assure you....I have no problem distinguishing His voice from my own ego's. When it is of God, it is placed gently on my heart and grows steadily over time. I find myself not able to relax or put it out of my mind for any significant amount of time. This has been my experience over the last few days.
Several days ago, I came across some scripture that stayed with me and at the time, I had NO idea why. I kept going back to it time and time again. That little nagging thought of "God, You are trying to tell me something" remained in my spirit, yet I never asked what it was He wanted to tell me. Now, it has become crystal clear.
I have a brother that has truly been "out of God's will" for quite awhile. Drugs, drinking and heaven knows what else, became his idols of worship. Sadly, he lost much. No one knows that better than my brother. There were times I was so angry with him that I just severed all contact. Surely my ignoring him, denying him access to MY life and my child, a niece he loves dearly....would be the great wake up call he needed. Not only did I envision his "reawakening" but I could someday pat myself on the back for my small part in it.
Who in the heck did I think I was? As I kneel before the Throne of God now, I humbly beg His forgiveness for taking out a "Help Wanted" ad in His name and hiring myself to replace the Holy Spirit and God so that I could not only become Judge and Conscience....but, I also ask that He forgive me (and give me a swift kick in the pants) for having the audacity to think I, Julia, a sinner, could possibly think for one moment that I know more than HE, almighty, all knowing God!
I hear it now...."But Julia, you are a pastor's wife. You attend church. You read and study your Bible daily. You pray for others. You don't do drugs and drink and lie to others. You were just doing what you had to do." Don't be ridiculous! (You do realize I am speaking to myself!) I not only hired myself, I immediately gave myself a promotion to TRY and elevate myself to the position of my Father. I cringe as I write this.
As I said before, I love my brother, but I have come to the heartbreaking realization, I have not loved him unconditionally, as God has loved me. Don't get me wrong, at times in our lives, we must distance ourselves if those we love maintain a life style that goes against God and our beliefs. It is scary when someone you love is on drugs. My brother became someone I did not even recognize when he was on a binge. Recently, he has rediscovered the joy of his salvation....just as David did so long ago. There are things that are being reawakened in him, that have NOTHING to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with God. Have we gone down this road before with my brother? Absolutely. I found myself allowing him back in, only to lose him to the world. I refuse to be "guardedly optimistic." I will rejoice with him. I will be his biggest cheerleader (well, actually, our mother is captain of that squad!) I'm claiming all of the promises that God made to our mother regarding her children long ago as she and our dad raised us in God's House and taught us to love Him. My parents know that they merely planted the seeds in us...God did all the hard work.
As I lay in my bed wide awake last night.....the same Scripture played over and over in my head and heart from Proverbs. ""For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin." (Prov 5:21-22)
What do I take away from that? I hear God speaking to me, ever so lovingly, "Julia, I love you and you are my child. However, I see ALL. I do not need for you to do MY job. I will let you know what I need for you to do. Work on being less judgemental and critical.....and I will help YOU with that."
Thank you Lord for loving me the most when I deserve it the least. Most of all, I thank You for forgiving me the many, many times I've been less than perfect in others eyes....yet, when You saw me through Christ, I was perfect to you! (Oh, and THANK YOU Michael, for always loving your big sister, despite my many flaws! I love you!)
Friday, April 1, 2011
Recently we seem to be bombarded by stories of bullying across not only our country but others. Only a couple of weeks ago, we learned of a young middle schooler, Casey Heynes from Australia that had been bullied by a boy for weeks on end and finally snapped and body slammed the tormentor. While it is no surprise that he did indeed snap, what followed was shocking to me. Young Casey was hailed a "hero." The video went viral and exploded onto the media circuit and everyone was cheering this kid. More than likely, young Casey's parents had contacted the school to speak with the principal and teachers....to no avail. The young man that is labeled the tormentor, was slammed to the ground and had trouble getting up to walk. This kid was half the size of the kid he bullied, which should have been a no brainer to the bully. Yet, he seemed to have picked an easy target. Now, I do not know either young man, but I am guessing that Casey had endured the bullying for an extended amount of time. While we have come to expect bullying in school, sad as that is to say, we do not so much expect it from adults. But, is it alive and well and thriving in the world of adults? As Sarah Palin would say, "You betcha!" We see examples of it in the work place, in recreational type activities and sadly, in our churches. Churches? Yes, you read it correctly...even in our churches. I am incredibly blessed to have NOT witnessed this in my own church, but as a pastor's wife, I am often the EAR that so many come to with problems in their own churches. One such case lately has left me greatly disturbed. A single mom who has been out of church for years, loses a husband of 30 years and is struggling to raise her son who has special needs....finally, grasps the opportunity to visit a church. It becomes a place where the joy of her salvation is restored, like David so long ago. Just as she is getting into the groove and feeling like she has found not only a church home, but a resting place surrounded by the body of Christ.....she is confronted with bullies. These are not children. When I say children...I refer to where they are in their walk of faith. They are not still babes that need only milk. They are meat eating adults. Leaders in the church. Esteemed members of the church. I readily admit that it is not the entire church, however, one bad apple spoils the who bunch, right? I do not fear that this young woman is in danger of "snapping" and body slamming the bullies right there in the church. Worse than that, the church is in danger of losing this talented and gifted woman. They will have missed a golden opportunity to stand up against the bullies BEFORE the "snapping" occurs. We teach our kids that we cannot fight violence with violence. Why aren't we as vigilant with our adults? Pastors, do not be afraid to confront bullies. If we expect the principals and teachers of our schools to handle it and put a stop to it....(who are adults, I might add) we should expect no less from our pastors and other leaders of our churches. As the body of Christ....let's use our mouths, our arms, our eyes.... reach out to others. A bully is simply someone who preys on the weak and the vulnerable. Know anyone like that? I do. Satan comes to mind. Christ, who lives inside of each and every christian brother and sister....never bullies!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world, red and yellow back and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." This particular song is a favorite of our 7 year old daughter's. She sings it in the car. She sings it while playing with her toys. It is a song we hear a lot around the Wallace house. It is a very heartwarming sound to hear your little child singing, with such confidence, that her Jesus loves ALL the children of the world. Sadly, as an adult, I have witnessed firsthand, that adults do not seem to believe this is true. The innocence of childhood left them long ago as they grew into their rather jaded existence known as adulthood. I do realize that as we get older that there are things that we learn are not real...tooth fairy, Easter bunny, sand man, Santa Clause. These are all things that our parents made magical for their children and we in turn, carried on the tradition. I never felt it was a betrayal or that my parents lied to me...it was just a very sweet magical time. The beauty of childhood is that young ones have not seen enough of the world yet to be prejudiced against others. They only see color as shades of crayons. They do not look at others less fortunate as "poor," they merely see a new playmate. One of my favorite memories of my oldest daughter as a child was when we were shopping one day and Ryan came into contact with a special needs child in a wheelchair and she walked directly up to her and kissed her hand and said hi. The mother of the child broke into this ear to ear smile and said "Most little kids are afraid and just stare." It was at that very moment that God said to me "Julia, you are doing your job and doing it well." Recently, someone I love very dearly, was crushed when her special needs son, was targeted by other parents...someone they felt their daughter should have "limited exposure to." Any parent I know that has a child and loves that child, would find this to be a crushing blow. Christian parents that feel that their child should not be around a child that has special needs? Why? Because their child may mimic that special needs child? What a missed opportunity for those parents! By their child mimicking that special needs child, couldn't they see that their own child was embracing his differences? Their child was breaking into the often sealed world of this beautifully autistic child. The autistic child was given a chance to see that he would not be shunned. He could become part of the same world that other children were accepted into without question. After consoling this mother of the special needs child, I began to pray in earnest: "Lord, please do not allow this sweet child, that loves and accepts this little boy without hesitation...to grow up and mimic her parents that so readily pick and choose who is good enough or normal enough for their child to befriend. Help her to keep that childlike innocence that loves ALL the little children...just as YOU did." Jesus said "Let the little children come unto me." He did not distinguish between normal or special needs....He just wanted them to come to Him. ALL of them!