Me? A worrywart? Nah.

I never have been actually.  A worrywart that is.  Other members of my family, well, let’s just say that they have made it an exact science.  It truly is an art form.  But the practice of worrying over something is not one that I tend to do.  I know that things will be taken care of in their own way, things that have already happened can’t change and therefore it’s a waste of time, and things I can’t influence are a waste of energy if I worry.  So I don’t.

I found a passage today in my ‘library’ book that talked about worrying, and it had a checklist of things on there, I think it was ten or so, that could tell you if you have a tendency to worry.  The only one I answered yes to was the final statement–you have a grandparent that worries incessantly.  But me? Not so much.

I saw this sentence and it was one of two that really struck me: a fog bank that is a hundred feet deep and over seven city blocks  is composed of less than a singular glass of water.  Something that in a moment can seem gigantic, inconvenient, endless, not able to penetrate or get through, and that brings a city to a standstill is, in fact, small enough to hold the container in your hand.  It’s not insurmountable.  It’s not impossible.  It is able to be done.

The second sentence that stuck with me was from Psalm 139: 23-24.  It’s one I have heard many times, especially given that the theme of the kid’s production we just did was “Searching”.  But this translation was a bit different: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  I think that the reason this stuck with me was the phrasing of “See if there is any offensive way in me”.  I don’t know about you, but I know there is in me, and it is something that I strive to overcome.

So I will continue to try not to be a worrywart.  To not take sometime that to me seems like it’s insurmountable, like having a job, and turn it into my own personal fog bank.  For I know that I can make it through if I keep my mind on the right path and if I truly trust in God to lead me through the dark.

Discipleship

I started a(nother) new bible study this week. One that was supposed to start back in February but due to snow we never got together.  The topic is Discipleship, and we are using a book called Sacred Roads.  During our discussion tonight I started to wonder if I even really knew the definition of discipleship.  It’s a word that is thrown around all the time–one of the ‘churchy’ words that you are given to use as a Christian–but what does it really mean?  Wikipedia has no entry for it–it brings up Disciple.  Which, yes, is probably part of it, but I was looking for more of a dictionary type of explanation.

On the Wikipedia page, it doesn’t list a definition it just goes into seven sub-article divisions:

  • “Love one another”
  • “Be transformed”
  • The Great Commission
  • Discipleship for The Twelve Disciples
  • Family and wealth
  • Other Biblical uses
  • Discipleship Movement

I guess these can be a guideline to the meaning of discipleship, but it still doesn’t answer my question.

What do YOU think of when you hear the word discipleship?

Dispersement

My life group (small group, bible study, whatever you want to call it), as previously mentioned on this blog, has grown by leaps and bounds this past year.  So much so that we have had to branch off into two different groups to remain effective–a “small” group cannot have two dozen people, you know?  Tonight was the first night of that break.

It was odd being in a group that small, but it was nice.  We had six regulars, one new girl (who lives around the corner from me and I teach with her husband, so I gave her a ride–plus she’s our leader’s former roommate), and two that couldn’t come.  So even being “dispersed” we are still at a pretty good size.  (The word “split” or “divided” didn’t work for us, sounded too negative.  Don’t remember how they came to use “disperse” but it cracks me up.)

I’m looking forward to this new study.  The group was divided based on the book we voted on for the next session, and since I didn’t give a vote (I liked both books so I didn’t care) I was put into the ‘newer’ group.  It’s nice for me as it is all of about six seconds down the street from me, but it was still a small pang of longing to be with the other girls.  The book we are studying is regarding prayer.  Ironically enough, it is also the subject of the new sermon series at church.  I think it’s absolutely divine intervention that has me in this group as opposed to the other group which is focusing on another discipline.  Prayer is something I very strongly believe in.  Someday I might even write out the story of why I believe it actually works and that there is a God that listens to us when we pray.  But it is a discipline that I feel I need a lot of work in.

I pray.  I do, I pray.  I tend to pray in a conversational style rather than in a formalized structured method, and instead of setting aside a few moments at the start of each day or at the end of the day to pray I tend to have conversations with God in my head throughout my waking hours.  Some of the greatest conversations that I have with him take place while I’m swimming.  Since I am in the water for so long, the meditative movement is a perfect time for me to have a chat with God.

Yes, I tend to pray without speaking.  Yes, I have conversations in my head.  No, I do not think I need psychological consultation for such a thing (although for other matters, well, that’s probably another story).  I think that God hears my prayers and that he answers them, but I feel that there is room for improvement and for consistency in my prayer life.

So I am really looking forward to this study!

When the girls gather….

There shall be laughter.

At least that’s my thought.  Tonight my life group got together for dinner before our split.  We had a dozen show up, which was a nice number, but there were still a few regulars missing.  Somehow we divided into two groups for games, and the shrieking laughter commenced.

I was in the table group (floor group played Taboo) playing Catch Phrase.  And like Taboo, there are some strange answers that were thrown out.  Like when I was trying to get them to say Frog’s Legs.  I said Kermit and made some reference to the first Muppet Movie (where he was wanted for a restaurant for Frog’s Legs, but these girls are either too young or too uncultured to have seen the glory that is The Muppet Movie.  **Sigh**)  One girl, convinced she had the answer, screamed “crabs”.  We lost it.

Or the time someone was trying to get her team to say “Peace Pipe”.  She used hippies to get to the word peace, but when she said this is something you smoke the shouted response was “a joint”, which had us rolling again.  (I guess you had to be there.)

But the absolute best was when we were all upstairs playing Apples to Apples, and our fearless leader won the round with the word Touchable.  Her card, that was thrown in, “My Body”, which to a bunch of women had us screaming with peals of laughter even though she meant it in a totally innocent way.

I love these women.  I’m going to miss them in the off weeks and I truly look forward to having every monthly dinner with them so that we can get together.  What a great way to start off the new sessions!

So stinkin’ proud

This morning I got up before dawn (which if you know me is pretty darn impressive) to be at church by 7 and at the mall by 720.  The kids from the choir I assist in were singing the national anthem and providing entertainment for the SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) 5k that occurs out by the mall.  We have 115 in the choir, and since this was optional were hoping that 40 or so showed up.

We had that, plus a few more! The parents were so enthusiastic to take photos that they couldn’t get out of the way of the runners that the runners could watch, but that’s okay.  It made them look good.  We (meaning the kids) sang for about an hour, doing very very well in the FREEZING cold. Parents cheered and passed out fliers

But the best part was this little girl in a pink coat.  She kept bringing her grandmother over to see the kids sing, and eventually the grandmother let her walk over on her own.  She was copying the movements for some of the songs, and after about ten minutes and walked so close that she was IN the group.  Best part of all?  The last song the kids sang has no movements, so we just had the director up front.  And this little girl thought they were the movements so she was doing them as best as she could, right along with the leader.

Absolutely adorable!

Growing up is hard to do

Tonight was my life group meeting.  It’s a group of girls that meets every other Monday night, and lately we’ve been discussing Esther.  It started about sixteen months ago, and I’ve been going for about fourteen.  Through last year and the summer we had about 12 on roster and maybe 6-8 active.  Once the fall started we had a growth explosion.  God truly blessed our group and our numbers just rocketed.  We had as many as 18-20 crammed into that living room, and maybe 8-10 more that would come sporadically.  Lately we’ve leveled out around 12-14 each week, and I’m so thankful that I can call these women my friends and my closest confidants.  I was telling one of them tonight–I don’t know what I would have done the last year-plus without having this group to turn to.  It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a group of women that I had this much in common with, and even not in common with, but we all love Jesus and come together to grow through God.  For that matter, I’ve NEVER had a group like this, for in high school and college it wasn’t the same.  And I wouldn’t change what I have now for the world.

Unfortunately, I’m not the one that gets to choose if we change or not.  Tonight the decision was announced that the group is splitting in half.  It is something I dreaded.  I knew it was coming, I expected it, but I didn’t want to see it because I don’t want to lose the connection with whatever girls are going to be in the other group.  We have to do it, I understand that.  The church has ‘closed’ our group for five months now because we cannot accept more, yet there are still women looking to join groups and to fill a need.  By splitting, we are now able to accommodate them and ‘reopen’.  I know that change is good, and that growth is good, but selfishly I do not want to split for the aforementioned reason.

We are going to try to have a social once a month minimum so that we can stay close.  And who knows, if membership dwindles then we will reform, but as for now we’ll make the best of it and see how things go.  I’m excited about the opportunity, and hope for the best with both sets of women, though I will miss having J as my leader!!!

Fat Tuesday Eve

Let’s make something clear.

I am not a Catholic.

This is something that my mother tries to force down my throat every year around this time, when I start talking about what I might give up for Lent.  “You’re not Catholic!” she says.  “You were raised Baptist! You’re not supposed to give up anything!”

I was in college when I first encountered people close to me that observed Lent.  Sheltered as I was, I had a lot of questions.  It was a few years, but after much deliberation I started giving up things for Lent as well.  At first it was the more popular sacrifices: chocolate, alcohol, salt, swearing.  Not too difficult, seeing as how I don’t go to chocolate first, don’t drink much (I was the permanent Designated Driver in college), I don’t add salt to my food, and at the time I was on a righteous kick so I rarely swore.  Plus there was always Sunday, which as a feast day was the day where you could indulge.  I made up for the prior week with mimosas and horrid food at brunch! 🙂

As I grew older, there were years where I halfheartedly made Lenten sacrifices.  Candy.  (Don’t really eat it.)  Sex.  (Wasn’t having it anyway.)  Smoking.  (Never smoked in my life.) Going out and partying.  (Never partied–I was working three jobs, so when I had free time all I wanted to do was sleep.)  Then, about five years ago, I finally got serious.  What is the point of sacrificing something if it wasn’t something that was difficult?  Continue reading