Searching

Poetry and other random thoughts from a wandering mind and a searching heart!


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Iron Sharpening Iron


Iron-Sharpens-Iron-So-one-man-sharpens-another

What if we talked to each other instead of about each other?

I was recently blessed to have a sister in Christ approach me after I, in a moment of hurt, had done something in a public way that should not have been handled that way. She came to me and asked if she could share her heart, if she could speak freely to me. I told her to speak what was on her mind. She challenged me and asked if the way I had handled this event that had disappointed and hurt me was the way I should have done it. She reminded me that scripture tells us to go to each other with our concerns, disappointments, and hurts. She acknowledged my hurt and simply asked that I consider what would glorify God, what I could do that would be building rather than divisive.
I confessed sin, the error of my actions…I acknowledge that I had acted out of hurt….and I thanked her for her willingness to be vulnerable, to come to me, to speak truth, to help me to reorient my thinking.
Her actions and her words just confirmed for me a path that I am convinced we are called to follow. I mess up. We all mess up. What if when we saw sin in each other we talked to each other instead of about each other? What if we had the courage to go and confront the issue? What if we refused to gossip, to listen to gossip? What if we refused to let rumors grow? What if we loved each other enough to help each other change our harmful ways?
It is so easy to get hurt and go to others to seek affirmation, to vent our frustrations, to paint others in a bad light. It is so much easier to gather together and try to put together our puzzle pieces about a person or a situation to try to come up with a reason or an explanation for things we do not understand.
Can we find the courage, the resolve to love each other enough to talk to each other instead of about each other? Can we be iron that sharpens iron? Can we be the people who bring about healing, hope and reconciliation? Can we march boldly into the war and take away the enemies weapons?
To my sister, Thank you for reaching out, for speaking truth and for being a source of light in the middle of darkness.

Ephesians 4:2-3New International Version (NIV)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

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The pain that won’t end


When you can’t move forward
And you can’t go back
When you are stuck in the middle
When you are off the track
When nothing feels right
When the tears freely flow
When you can’t get a breath
Cause the pains so intense
When there is no way to fix it
No direction to go
When you guard your words
When you try so hard
But your silence speaks
And the hopes all gone
When you pray and you pray
But don’t find the answers you seek
When you’d rather die
Than cause them pain

But look, oh look…
You did it again.


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Vitamins for the soul.


A friend texted me on Friday to see if I wanted to meet for coffee. She only had an hour to spare but I readily agreed to meet her. We ordered our coffee and found a table. We launched immediately into talking, filling the hour so quickly and covering quite a few topics. Too soon it was time to part.

I had entered our time together feeling pressed and frustrated about so many things. But I left it feeling calm and renewed. After several weeks of snow, too much time spent at home alone and pressures at work that were dragging me down, it was like a breath of fresh air to get to sit down with a friend and talk.

As I got back into my car to continue my errands I realized that I was craving connection and real conversation.   Not the chatter at work, not the pleasantries that I exchange with people at church, but real conversation, sharing of life.

That thought took me back to a question that had been asked on Wednesday night at church about why people leave the church. I have so often talked to people who say “I don’t feel connected.” That set the gears in motion for me and I started to wonder, what is this connection we all seek? And we do all seek it.   Everyone wants to fit in, to belong, to be a part of something. Everyone wants to feel wanted, needed, special. Everyone wants connection.

I heard a report on the news this week that research was being done to try to discern why teenagers and young adults are leaving their countries to go and join terrorist groups.   It was discovered that at least in some cases, these young people had sought relationships, had tried to find a place to belong, only to meet with failure over and over. And so they go to join this cause, something they can unite around, a place where people want them, accept them, where they are part of something bigger than themselves.

That brought me back to the church question. Don’t we have something bigger than ourselves to unite around? Jesus died for each of us, sinners, bought with a price, washed in the blood….saved by grace. Why does this great truth and His extravagant love for us not pull us together and cause us to pour out lavish love on each other? Why does any member among us feel unaccepted, unloved, like they don’t belong? Why do they feel adrift and not connected?

Is it our own individual sin that causes us to feel disconnected? Is it that as a people we are too distracted, to busy, to unwilling to make commitments?   Is it that we have let ministry take the place of ministering? Is it that while we say it is all about Jesus, it is really more about us?

Do we let our backgrounds, our hurts, our slights, our perceptions and misconceptions, our passion and desire, our pride and our pain, keep us from pursuing connection, from offering connection? Do we walk by hurting people on our way to take care of that tasks that is on our to-do list, do we put up walls that keep people from coming near?

As is always the case with me, I have more questions than answers. What I know is that God created us for community. He did not create us to journey alone. He has left us so many instructions on how to treat each other, how to love each other. Will you join me today in praying that he will show us each how to love as He wishes us to and in learning to do that, find community and connection with each other?

That hour on Friday, that cup of coffee and real conversation….it was a vitamin for my soul!


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He Loves me


I grew up in a house where love was hard to come by. If anyone truly loved anyone else it was really hard to tell by the way they acted, by the way they treated each other. I am not sure how old I was by the time I realized that not all families operated the way mine did. I know by the age of ten I knew that much of what I was being taught in my home life was not truth and so began my never ending quest to make sense of life.

The need for love and affection created huge holes in my life and I sought attention from anyone who would offer it. I overreached and made quite a pest of myself at times as I sought to find someone who could fill those empty holes. In the absence of adults who could offer me the guidance and the stability I needed, I spent much time alone thinking and trying to sort out life.

I was sent to church with my aunt and uncle from a very early age and in that environment I found some of the direction for life that I so desperately sought. As I got older my interest in being there became more than just a way to get out of my house and I became involved in activities and was deeply interested in the scripture.

I became a Christian at the age of 13 confident that this was the life I wanted, that I wanted to worship and serve this God I had learned so much about. I involved myself with people in my church and got involved in youth activities. It was not unusual for me to stop by the preacher’s office after school in the afternoons to talk with him about some new question I had or to ask questions about his sermon from the previous Sunday.

But even though that provided me with some support and some guidance I am not sure I ever truly understood who God was or what it meant to be loved by Him. I was much older when I realized that much of view of God was formed by my relationship with my own father. He was cold and distant, always busy and often impatient. I think I expected God to be the same distant parent.

Through the years my relationship with God waned hot and cold. I had a period in my middle twenties when we were so close and I felt His presence as if He sat right beside me…so real that I felt I could reach out and touch him. But I suffered much hurt at the hands of people, people who were supposed to be His and I confused how they treated me with who He was. It seemed like everyone that I ever loved hurt me or left me at some point. I felt the weight of guilt and shame, always believing that somehow there was something wrong with me that caused them to go. I came to see God as someone who would be there as long as I was good and who would leave me if I messed up. I alternated between seeking Him desperately and pulling back into the shadows to try to deal with guilt and shame.

About ten years ago I was part of a church that split and not too long after that my best friend told me that God had told her not to be friends with me and ended our friendship. The split left me hurt in ways I could never put words to. With that hurt and the end of the friendship I found myself in a deep depression. I was not at all sure where God fit into all of this and sincerely went through a period of time where I believed He hated me. I know that everything in scripture speaks against that but it was the only thing that seemed to make sense for the way my life was going. Like Job I needed for something to make sense.

I decided I was done with God and with church. For most of my life it seemed those two together had only brought me incredible hurt and sorrow. And so I went about trying to ignore Him, to keep my distance from Him. Still I could not escape my desire to know Him, to want to understand His word, to figure out what all of this life meant.

On a Friday morning several years later I found myself heading to Charlotte, NC to go to a Beth Moore conference, alone. My adventures alone always have mixed results. Sometimes I really enjoy doing things and going places alone and at others I plan to do something and find myself feeling uncomfortable and awkward. This day found me looking forward to the time away, hoping to find some renewed hope and faith. I had managed to book a hotel in the downtown area within walking distance of the arena. Once I settled into my room I set off to explore downtown Charlotte. I had a wonderful time wandering around and finally stopped to eat dinner. I walked to the arena, found a great seat and looked down to the floor below to see the person who had ended our friendship sitting in the floor seats just below me. Twenty thousand women and I had to find a seat right where I could see her. I sank into my seat wondering how the weekend could possibly bring me the hope and the comfort I had hoped it would when it had started this way.

Every time I go to one of these events it is always my prayer that God will speak to me, that He will show me why I have come, that I will get a word that I can know is from Him. It had been my prayer driving there and I had come desperate for some kind of direction from Him. But with this turn of events I was discouraged already. Nevertheless I prayed again and soon we began to sing and worship. If you have never been to a Beth Moore conference I encourage you to go. There is nothing quite like the experience and the worship is fantastic. Soon I was lost in the music and the praise and the most amazing thing happened. Suddenly in a way I never had and still cannot explain, God overwhelmed me with His presence and the message that He loved me, that no matter how confused or lost I felt, no matter how messy my life had been, no matter how broken and messed up I felt, that He loved me. He loved me just as I was. As strange as it sounds for someone who grew up in the church and who had committed to Him at age thirteen it was the first time I had truly known and felt that He loved me, not the masses, not just the church, but me. I cannot tell you what the message was that weekend or much else about what happened. I just finally knew that I was loved deeply and personally by the God I so longed to know.

Seems a strange story to tell here and it is deeply personal but I believe there may be others who abide in churches and church circles, that find themselves unsure of His love for them. Like me, you might think He only loves you if you are good, or your life is perfect or if you always follow after Him. But I want you, whoever you are, wherever you are to know He loves YOU! He wants you and He will never stop pursuing you.

In my darkest moments I always remember that Friday night in Charlotte when God reached down and wrapped His arms around me and told me that I was His and that He loved ME. There  is a great peace and deep joy in knowing that no matter what else is happening I am loved by the one who created me, the one who will one day welcome me home!

He loves you too! He never gives up on you…don’t give up on Him. In your darkness, in your grief, in your brokenness, in your sorrow…..no matter where you are, He loves you!

Zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Music connects my soul to God’s and this song by Chris Tomlin is one of my favorites.


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Enjoy or Endure


The holidays are here.  What emotion does that evoke for you?

I confess that I have a love/hate relationship with this time of the year.  When I was a child Christmas was a magical time.   Most of my fond memories of childhood are of Christmas.   It was the only time of the year that my whole family came together.  We all lived in the same small town, but it took the celebration of Christmas to bring us all together.  For several days family was in and out, food was eaten and gifts opened.   As a child I loved all of it but it took becoming an adult and the benefit of hindsight for me to realize it was the family coming together that had been what was really important to me.

I won’t pretend that all of those “family events” were peaceful, that we all got along, that everyone minded their manners….but still somehow it was just important to me that we were together.  I waited all year for those few days.   On Christmas Eve my anticipation and excitement reached higher than the stars and I was dressed and ready hours before the first person would arrive, standing at the door, waiting.   No matter what bad thing happened, or what argument marred the joy of the moment, somehow my memories were always of it being a special time.

My father died when I was 19 and the family slowly fell apart.  He was the glue that held us together.  The once magical Christmases ceased to exist and so began my battle with the holidays.   There is still so much I love about this time of the year.  I start playing Christmas music long before it is politically correct to do so and in my good years I put up as many as 5 trees.  The lights bring a joyful peace to me and I am positively ridiculous about matching tree ornaments with wall color.  And then of course wrapping paper and ribbons have to match the tree they reside under.   I find great joy in buying gifts for the people I love, in baking and sharing food, in humble attempts to share with those who have less than I do, in the wonder and delight of children, in the laughter and warmth and beauty of the season.   There is so much to love about this season when love is in the air.

There is also so much I hate about the holidays.   I hate the feeling of not belonging, the loneliness, the not having a good answer to the question “what are you doing for the holidays? I hate the empty tree on Christmas morning and the pain and sadness that always come with the joy and laughter.   And so there is the battle between finding such joy in this season and trying to endure the other emotions.

I know I am not alone with this struggle and so my challenge to all of us is to look around you as we enter into this season of celebration.   If you are with friends and family, embrace those moments, be present and patient and engaged.  Value the time you have, even with the people that may not be your favorite family member.    Look around you and be aware of those who do not have strong family ties, those who may be in need or those who may be far away from their families this holiday season.  Some are fighting life threatening illness, others may be going through the first holiday since losing a significant person in their life.   When God puts one of these people in your path, ask Him how you can help, how you can make this season a little brighter for them, how He might use you to bring joy to them even in the midst of all your busy and joyous holiday preparation and celebrating.

The truth is that this is the season of love.  We celebrate because someone loved us enough to send His son, born of a virgin, to be our savior.  And while historically this is probably not the right time of year for the birth of Jesus, it is the time the world has chosen to celebrate His birth.  For this period of time in our year, the focus is on Jesus, the baby born in a manager.   What an opportunity for us to share our faith, to talk to those who might not otherwise listen and to show the love He has shown us, to reach out and be love to those who might be hurting.    In all our shopping, decorating, cooking and being together let us remember to reflect the one who gave us the greatest gift of all….Life and a home with Him forever!

May your travels be safe, your visits be loving and your joy be full!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Inside the monster


 

She rants, she raves…her anger is fierce

She hides, she pulls away.

Those who would help, she pushes aside.

Because she cannot show the heart inside.

The heart so fragile, so tender and true

Battered and broken and misunderstood

She longs for connection, for people who stay

She wants to be heard and valued and desired

The wounds have been many, the challenges hard

Her heart broken too many times.

So vulnerable and scared

Alone with her thoughts

Alone with her tears

She acts out, her weaknesses clear

She fights for clarity

Yearns to understand

While the voices in her head only condemn

Weary of the battle

And needing protection

She becomes a monster

Paranoid and irrational

Fighting to survive

In a world that seems cruel

She sits and weeps

Trying to protect the heart too easily broken


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Noise


Silence falls like a familiar friend

And here I am alone again

Listening to the sounds I can’t quite hear

Musical notes that are still unclear.

Instinct tells me words will come

Time will reveal what is yet unknown

Truth rushes at me like a cold, hard stone

Breaking my heart and delivering pain

Tears all hidden, expression the same

Quiet reigns and the world rushes on

The silence grows louder

I strain to hear

Waiting for the moment when it all becomes clear.

 


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Together we built a barn..


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Together we built a barn…..

Barn raising, as defined by Wikipedia; “A barn raising, also historically called a “raising bee” or “rearing” in the U.K., describes a collective action of a community, in which a barn for one of the members is built or rebuilt collectively by members of the community.”
This week I got to participate in a fund raising event to help with opening a new charter school for special needs children. With charter in hand, building secured and an opening date of August 25, the school was moving along with great enthusiasm toward the start date. As enthusiasm and momentum was at a high, they were informed they had a month, until July 31 to raise $100,000.00. Without that money in the bank, the school would not be allowed to open. Wow. A steep hill to climb. With the paper work that would allow them to solicit…

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Together we built a barn..


Together we built a barn…..

Barn raising, as defined by Wikipedia; “A barn raising, also historically called a “raising bee” or “rearing” in the U.K., describes a collective action of a community, in which a barn for one of the members is built or rebuilt collectively by members of the community.”
This week I got to participate in a fund raising event to help with opening a new charter school for special needs children. With charter in hand, building secured and an opening date of August 25, the school was moving along with great enthusiasm toward the start date. As enthusiasm and momentum was at a high, they were informed they had a month, until July 31 to raise $100,000.00. Without that money in the bank, the school would not be allowed to open. Wow. A steep hill to climb. With the paper work that would allow them to solicit corporate donations not yet approved, they set out to come up with a plan to raise these funds. Fundraisers were planned the communications committee got out the word, friends and family were asked to help…and much prayer was lifted up for this cause.

I knew about this from the beginning and immediately gave a contribution to the cause. I was confident that with God’s help they would find a way to do this. The donations came in steady and sure but with only five days left they had only reached $80,000.00. That is a substantial amount of money in 26 days. But $20,000.00 seemed a lot to get in the next five days. I decided I could help out a little more and so I did.

With two days left they still needed $15,000.00. I had been posting their updates on my Facebook page, encouraging people to donate. But on this day something clicked inside of me and I knew this thing was possible and I set out to see if I could help make it happen.

You may be asking what about this particular project had caught my interest. Well there is this boy, this autistic child, the son of a very dear friend, who will attend this school this fall. Long ago he stole my heart and I so deeply want him to be in a place where he can learn and grow. But not just him, others like him for whom the world is not a very comfortable place. It is hard to explain it all but I have been passionate about seeing this goal met and that school be able to open.

My post on Facebook increased. I began to talk to friends and share about this worthy cause. What happened next stunned and amazed me. Friends of mine began to post the fund raising request on their timelines. They emailed and texted and called their friends bringing the need to their attention, asking them to give. People handed me cash in the hall. At one point I did something I had never done before and I emailed a large group of people, begging them to donate. And some did.

For two days people that know nothing of this school, do not know any people from the school, reached deep and gave and tried to help in getting others to give and the total kept going up. As each new total was posted my excitement grew and so did my amazement at what I was experiencing, at what I had been privileged to be a part of. Co-workers greeted me with “what’s the total, are we there?”

This event evoked in me a depth of passion that I had long since forgotten that existed. I watched as people came together to help, as they united around a common cause and together made something good and positive happen. I am not a fan of clichés but I kept thinking “United we stand, divided we fall”. What a powerful force for good we can be when we are willing to die to self and join together to reach a goal. We accomplished together what none of us could have accomplished alone. Being a loner, this has been a powerful lesson for me.

I am profoundly grateful for the friends and co-workers who united with me to promote and recruit, to give. Their actions speak volumes about who they are. Their willingness to step up and help makes me proud to know them, grateful to have them in my circle of friends and committed to help them when they need it. It validates my belief that “love does.”

I deeply believe in community, especially in the church and somehow it seems this is at least part of what it should look like. One among us has a need and the rest of us come along side and bring others with us to see that need gets met.
For me, I know that for a moment in time, God held me with His hand in the cleft of the rock and allowed me to see His glory as it passed by. I stand in awe of Him, of the hearts he touched and I marvel that when we just love each other as He commanded us to, that amazing things can and do happen.

To each and every person that participated in any way in this effort, especially those in my circle, I thank you not only for what you did, but for your part in making this a moving and amazing experience for me.

As I end this post the total sits at $99,000.00. Somehow I just know before the day is out it will reach $100,000.00.
If you are reading this and want to be part of this amazing journey, just click on the link below to donate.

https://dynamiccommunitycs.donortools.com/my/funds/61573-The-Henegar-Family-Fund-for-Dynamic-Community-Chart

Within hours of me orignally posting this the goal was reached!

Together we built a barn……


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Change


It has been a year of loss and pain and sadness
It has been a time that left me broken and beaten and alone
I have slept and cried and tried to escape
I am changed
And it is time for change
I do not know what that means yet
Just that I cannot continue as I have before
Everything is different
My days feel more numbered
And I do not wish to pretend
To accept that which I do not want
To not live making a difference
It is time for change
God calls me to be still
To listen
To wait
It is time for change….