Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"the Beatitudes seem merely mild and beautiful precepts for all unworldly and useless people, but of very little practical use in the stern workaday world in which we live" Chambers...

Until we begin to see them played out in our world in intimate ways.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3



I cannot do it.

Only YOU can.

I don't desire the earth - but I do desire those people on this earth to know You as their personal, in real-time, forever and ever Savior. I do desire the kingdom of heaven.

I ache for that. I ache for them. I cannot do, or be, or have, or learn enough to bring them to this awareness.

I cannot.
only you can.
my abilities are hindered by my humanity
you conquered my humanity and infuse me with Your Spirit
you make me more human than humanity allows

all for You my lovely LORD, all for You.

May You receive All Glory, All Power, All Honor.

Use all that You gave me to be Your conduit in this land.

I cry Holy, Holy, Holy. Holy is the Lamb.

You, the God of heaven and earth. You the God that demands more than I am able to give and lovingly supplies everything You demand with the gift of Your Son's Holy death and resurrection.

I break open and cry for the lost. Use your servants Lord, use us.

mutating missionary

Friday, July 20, 2012

Childlike faith?

 nasty noses don't make a child less adorable
 side-tracked activities don't make her less loved
 Quizzical nature only strengthens her mind 
 Wondering how things work allows her to be more fun
 Touching, reaching, pondering allows her to grow well-rounded
 Watching and Learning from those all around
Allows her to be more grounded
Questioning and discussing gives community 
depth, empathy, and understanding.

Matthew 19:14
"But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them
from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven
belongs to such as these."

Don't ever let me get too complicated.
Remind me not to involve myself in things too difficult.
Remind me to rest on Your knee - like a weaned child rests against his mother
I desire to rest my soul like a weaned child within me

Keep me free from encumbrances that keep me from You
Surely I have quieted and composed my soul

my hope is in You
(taken from Psalm 131)

mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The time is 9:27 pm.
The sun hasn't set yet behind the mountain.
Ebenezer and I have already been to the grape vineyards to walk.
We found our favorite red bench and watched the evening slip by.
Today nostalgia sweeps over me.
"Give what you have.
To someone else
 it may be better than you dare think."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I don't know why exactly. Perhaps the never ending endeavor of cleaning out my files on my computer. Re-reading and deciding whether or not to pitch each written word - one by one.  ????

Perhaps it is my friend leaving to see her Grandmother near death in the hospital in Stuttgart.

collecting thoughts this day to chronicle in my heart somehow

 "When you pray for anyone
you tend to modify
your personal attitude toward him."
Norman Vincent Peale

I am a collector. I collect word/thoughts/emotions. I love pictures, because a picture to me doesn't just have a thousand words, but even more thoughts, even more emotions. I love poems, e-mails from my mom/sister, e-mails from my kids, e-mails from my friends. I cherish every word.  I don't throw things away well.

Often I attribute this to my extremely peripatetic life.

Moving over 39 times in my life, I decided to stop counting at 39. It is depressing to think of that many moves, that many faces lost, that many doctors changed, that many schools attended. Only a few of these moves were my decision. I moved with my family from the time I was 5. I moved with my ex-husband throughout our married years. I moved because I couldn't afford this home or that any longer during my early divorce - with three small children - years.

The last move because I heard the call of Jesus after being on my own for over 20 years, rearing my children to adulthood. Surprised He desired to use me.
"When you cease to make a contribution
you begin to die."
Eleanor Roosevelt

I've moved.

Walls covered with pictures and sayings say home to me. Home is not a place.

Quiet environments and much alone time bring peace. Extending all of who God made me to be when I am with people, requires stillness to regroup and recharge.

"Our real blessings often appear to us
in the shape of pains, losses, and
Joseph Addison

Beauty makes me smile. Simple, complex, silly, intricate - beauty. Beauty symbolizes God. I am so eclectic it is hard to know what I might be drawn to. But these eyes crave beauty.

"He must pull out his own eyes
and see no creature before he
can say
he sees no God."
John Donne
 your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Monday, July 16, 2012

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24

Enoch walked with God
I would like to have known Enoch.
I would like to learn from Enoch.
I want to walk with God.

mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"God is more interested in what He is doing in than through us"

great quote. Right?
God brought me to this page in Life with God by Richard Foster again:
"In our desire for a packaged, user friendly, "just tell me what to do" life of faith, we distort the Bible into an owners' manual for successful living. Or even moral living: then we can judge ourselves superior to others if we follow the rules more faithfully than they. ...God is concerned with the process of our growth, not in our human estimation of how well we accomplished it. Moral ism flattens life with God by draining off the dimension of relationship. After all it is much easier to follow a to-do list than to engage in the messy business of personal relations." Richard Foster

Relationship IS messy.

Yesterday I was reminded about how incredibly messy it is. It hurts. It hurts a lot. Similar to that old children's poem I would quote to my daughter. Relationships are like the little girl with the curl right in the middle of her forehead.

Do you remember that one?

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the center of her forehead.

And when she was good
She was very very good
And when she was bad
She was horrid.

That my dear friends, is relationship.

When it is good, we are flying high on the enjoyment of our fellow-man. When it is bad, it is the lowest point of existence.

And God says, "I want to be with you in this!"

I have been sitting back this morning with Him and in the Word. Licking my wounds - so to speak.

A huge reason for returning to the states from a foreign fields mission life is working relationships.  Not relationships with the nationals. Those we seem to be able to handle well. Nope, with the co-workers, the other Christians that we are supposed to be working along side of, with our 'American teammates'... SAD!

When we don't know how to relate to the other Christians that are working around us - what do we do? I vote not to pack up and go home. In fact, that one has never crossed my  mind.

Instead, how do we do this Christian work together, move forward simultaneously but apart? How do we encourage each other when we are not completely on the same page with how we relate to others. Or even with how we interpret the Word.

How do we handle standing in a kitchen with a national that has been repeatedly hurt by the actions of a Christian ministry and not come out without feeling battered and bruised?

We can't.

Not to say we don't have problems in the States with issues in the churches. We do. But issues seem to be heightened when we are separated to be ambassadors in a foreign land.  They might be fairly small from some peoples perspectives. But magnified when placed in these waters of walking in a strange land.

How do we, with all honesty, walk side by side with those that have repeatedly harmed us and those we love? Do we bail?

Once again I desire to be healthy in boundary drawing. Remind myself of my own frailties and failures. Loving to those around me. Encouraging to those learning to walk in the Christian walk and above all recognize that God is more interested in what He is doing within me than in what He is doing through me.

So, what is He doing within me?

Be aware. Be sensitive. Be on time. Be inclusive. Be a careful friend. Don't just call someone when I need them for doing something for me. Be involved in their lives. Be tender. Be real. Be more for them than for myself.

Mentoring life is more than a life of telling someone what to do. It is listening and uplifting. It is picking up pieces. It is always pointing to the God Who Is With US.  It is mutating.

By watching others make some mistakes... As Beth Moore has said: This one I want to learn on the page.
In other words, God allow me to learn from others mistakes. I don't want to fail You. Protect me from hurting others. Give me the sensitivity I need while preventing me from being over-sensitive.

Remind me that Your work within me in this present moment is the most important work I can be doing. Remind me that those I work with are human and filled with inadequacies, as am I.

Teach me Lord.
Hold me Lord.
Heal me Lord.
Spread your Love through me Lord
Use me Lord
in this present moment.
in this present land.

mutating missionary
and ebenezer

As for the quote used as title: I know that quote... I just can't remember or find who wrote it.  If anyone can give me that info ... feel free. In fact, I think I have quoted it with the correct author somewhere in this blogspot. I hate that!  But, all I know is that it is not mine.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Divine Invitation

In October of last year I wrote about a book I was reading: Life with God By Richard Foster.

I have returned to the book several times this year.

"The divine assurance thundering throughout the ages is also a divine invitation:
 "I am with you -- will you be with Me?"... God wants relationship with us, not mechanical transactions." Richard Foster Life with God
A divine invitation.

This morning I met one of the girls I mentor here in Germany. We went for breakfast at 1 of the 3 restaurants we tend to frequent in this little corner of the world.

I had invited her last evening. We have Tuesdays set aside for this bible study, but she has been out of sorts lately due to some heavy problems surrounding her world. I didn't want to push the bible study on her. Instead, I encouraged her to read and write last evening and let me know if the bible study was just too much in the morning.

At 7:45 this morning I received a text. She wanted to meet for bible study. I was elated. I love bible studies together. I love them in one-to-one context. I love them in small groups. I love them in hundreds! I love bible studies.

This morning we talked. We shared our stories. We ate a really good breakfast. We ordered our second cups of coffee (mine milchkaffee... natuerlich!)

We opened the word and I asked her to pray. She told me she didn't feel like it.

Now this is a woman that is not afraid to pray. She was when I first met her. In fact, when I first met her she had never prayed a prayer aloud. And she had definitely never prayed in front of someone.  But now... she prays boldly! It is such a wonder and praise to the God who desires relationship.

For some reason I could not go forward. I felt that learning curve moment was pushing me to say something. She and I are very good friends.

I have shared with her often my view of Sunday mornings. When I don't feel like going to church, then I better get up and get going - God has something to say and Satan probably doesn't want me to hear it.

I told her this morning that is the same with prayer.

When we have been invited to pray it is a divine invitation. Enter into the prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct our words. Allow the divine invitation to be met. He assures us:
"I am with You, will you be with Me?

her prayer was intimate and precious - her prayer was whispered to the God who IS - her prayer was!

And we both came away enriched.

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Friday, July 6, 2012

I don't know if I like you already or not - I don't know you.

I'm reading a lot of blogs of late. I haven't been sleeping so well the past few nights because of a knee that is really out of sorts. So, I sit in my red-prayer-chair and soak up some special words from blogwriters I know and blogwriters I don't.

I find it interesting that a lot of bloggers are writing in their 'about me' sections that they like me already.

How do they know? What does that mean? When will they ever meet me? When will they ever know me? Why would they need to like me?

Many years ago I learned a wonderful truth. I don't have to like everybody and I don't have to be liked by everybody.

Does this conflict with my Christianity? I don't believe so. I get the distinct impression that God doesn't necessarily like everybody and I know for sure that everybody doesn't like God.

Are we that shallow that we think that just because someone writes these words on their blog that they might actually like us? Are we craving community that badly that we settle for community on a blog to meet that need? Empty words that are cold and unspoken soothe nothing in reality.

I don't know who is reading this blog. I don't know if anyone will. But I do know this. I pray for those that do read this blog. Now in that corner I will set up camp. God knows you. I don't.

And I pray for you. I don't have to know you. I don't ever have to meet you. But I know the God who does.

I am thrilled to know that He sees me. He knows me. He gives me guidance. But it is not a guidance, knowledge or sight that is solely around me. He is the great God who IS. He covers this world with His mighty eyes. He sees all that goes on. Our intimacy (His and mine) does not eliminate intimacy between you and Him.

The more that we desire to know Him the more He opens our eyes to the reality that He is more than we will ever know.

Tonight I had a fight with my phone. It isn't working correctly. After returning to Germany from a 14 month stay in the USA my internet didn't work. I was frustrated! I got around it by going to other places to 'log on'. Then I got it working again.  I was even more frustrated when my phone (which was on its last leg) finally caved.  I went to the store and bought another one. It was simply wonderful to have a nice 'working' phone --- right? NO.. not at all. This one didn't work either.

So I cannot receive phone calls and I cannot make phone calls. I am irritated. Sitting on the side of this mountain one might have heard a great big DANG IT! and a whirring sound as a hand-held receiver went flying through the air, hitting the wall in my wonderful yellow nest.  Yep, I got so frustrated I sent it flying. Then, I stomped around... well limped around my Wohnung and muttered all sorts of things about how irritating it is to be in a place I can't get things done in.

Ebenezer caught my eye. His back so straight and his head so high as he sat so still. His dark eyes sought to show me the sympathy that he always desires to give when I am at my wits end.  I smiled. How could one resist?

He knows me. This dog that I love. He knows my ups and downs and as I melted into the massive red-prayer-chair he joined me with his great black soft nose flaring a bit as it snuggled to calm me.

We packed up and went for a walk - ok... not a walk, because of my knee, but a drive. That is always a good answer.

I return to my Wohnung and smile. The phone is still not working (but we have some help coming), the house is still a mess because I can't move so well, the rain threatens to be visiting us again tonight - but we are happy to know the flowers will drink their full tonight.

And now I settle into my red-prayer-chair to study/pray/write. Who needs a phone every minute of every day? I pray thanks for the man that will help us correct the problem soon

Tonight I cannot speak with my family, friends or even strangers. And I am thankful - this night I snuggle into Him.

He knows how to slow it down so I can enjoy Him alone.  Why? Because He knows me. He loves me. He even likes me. And the deepest part of that reality: these are not just empty words in my ears.

I am not a facsimile of the real thing - I am the real thing.
You are not a facsimile of the real thing - you are the real thing.
God is not a facsimile of the real thing - He is the real thing.
And He knows every fiber of our being - He created us to be as distinctive and different as He created every sunflower to be as distinctive and different.

your mutating missionary
 and ebenezer

The God who never sleeps

It's raining here in the Schwarzwald. The mountains are covered with light sheaths of rain. It was hard and strong last night. Ebenezer paced the floor until I finally made him jump up on his blanket onto my bed to stop him from pacing.  It was a hard night. The mountains rains during the nights in this beautiful place can be overwhelming. It was a hard night. I didn't sleep well.

 I just got off of the phone with a dear friend. We must go and pick up my visa today. I got word that I could pick my visa up last week and I was so excited. The letter I received told me where I could pick up this new visa card and what to bring to pick it up.  It listed 3 things: Passport, Money, and some paper with a German title!

I searched all of my papers and could not find one paper with this German title. I stewed on it for a few days and when I was over last evening with my dear friends (they attend their sons Abi Ball tonight and are learning how to ballroom dance together - so suss!) Anyway, I asked the friend that went with me if they knew what this particular paper was.  They don't.

He called the Rathaus this morning to clarify.  The plan: He would call and clarify, call me and clarify and all would be well.
Looks like the woman at the Rathaus didn't give me the paper I needed to pick up my visa.

I don't know exactly what this means. My friend goes with me today to find out.

I love being on the receiving end of mishap. :-)

It flings me into the arms of the Jesus that knows, the God who sees, the non-sleeping GOD, that never lets me out of HIS sight, that guards my steps.

"I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains? No, my strength comes from GOD who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won't let you stumble, your Guardian God won't fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep. GOD's your Guardian right at your side to protect your -- Shielding you from sunsroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. GOD guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always."  Psalm 121 quoted from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson
 Your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to Wilhelm Strasse 3

On days like today sit in wonder at the beauty of surroundings.

This street, these neighbors, a live, more loves, joys, learnings, happiness

I'm home

Such a gift of grace.

mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Sunday, July 1, 2012

You are welcome here, but I have decided to remain anonymous and not get rich quick or become a multi-millionaire.

What is the purpose of your blog?

It seems this is a real buzz question - the blogging purpose...
Blogging has become a place to get 'traffic' to get money, to make a living, to get rich quick????

People put links for their blog - everywhere... (on Face book, on Tweeter, on this on that). These are great because these blogs have determined their purpose for their blog is readership, blogging traffic, getting rich. 

I'm sure it has always been that way to some degree.

I never envisioned anyone ever even reading this blog spot.

I used to write emails to a certain man I know and he pretty much got all my thoughts. We are still friends, (it is fun to actually have a really famous jazz musician friend) but I woke up one day and questioned: "what am I doing to this poor person that receives all this dribble and might not care two hoots and a holler about it." Instead of just stopping the emails cold turkey - I added this blog.
It was at the perfect time - I had just been commissioned by a mission organization to Europe, I was coming up on the end of my years as a full-on mom, I was morphing/mutating - so a change was in the air.

I had a minister/friend that blogged and I wanted to investigate doing it. I talked to him about it and he very graciously gave me a file on how to get started. I promptly left the file on my desk for months. Then another friend began the blogging process and shared how much she got out of it.  She actually sat with me at a Starbucks to set up my blog.  You can read about that in the archives of this blog - if I was more savvy I would link it - I'm not.

Both of them had great followers on their blogs. That concerned me a bit. I didn't know exactly who my audience was going to be because my purpose for blogging was to get my thoughts/concerns/ideas/morphing out and I didn't really know what I was doing on the internet, much less blogging.

Another concern I had: These two bloggers were very regular in their blogging posts. In fact, one wrote on it daily. But, I really didn't want that kind of blog. I simply wanted a place to write my personal growth, my personal concerns, and my personal questions down. I loved the idea of having people possibly read this, but even that held some concerns once I got on the field.

Other people encouraged me to get real on the page and let it be seen what 'becoming a full-time missionary' really feels like. But how do you do that and not jeopardize ministry? I mean come on... when one has to deal with fears and disappointments and ups and downs... that means you have to be a bit nervy!

I have been hearing about the importance of the purpose of one's blog.

I have been reading lots of blogs that sell something, teach something, support something. And these are good. I even had one friend that really got frustrated with me for my lack of my support fund number and link to my mission organization on this blog. I knew why it was not there. Earning money was not the purpose of this blog. Sharing my story was.

I am seriously considering doing a writing workshop blog, a ministry blog, and a bible study blog - I've even bounced around the idea of a poetry blog. I've been considering these for over a year - but I do not want to do anything half-way. So until I get that sorted out, I won't be starting. Some feel that if I wait too long it will be too late. I disagree. I will let God direct me on that one.

But - I must admit. I will never change this blog. In fact, the purpose of this blog is really quite personal. I don't give my name, my ministry fund, my organization's name. I write my heart, I write my concerns, I write about the lover of my soul.  I have battled with this for over a year and have finally come full circle.

I determined the purpose of this blog years ago, right from the beginning. This is where I write the story of my life.  If the purpose gets confused, the blog gets weak. I don't want that. So, I will not tell you my name here, I will not ask you for money here, I will not reveal all the ins and outs of ministry here, I will simply share my journey here. A journey of life. A journey of adventure. A journey of disappointments and encouragements. I will live on this blog spot.

I really do think it is important for there to be a place to chronicle life as God mutates a missionary into who He is forming.  And for future reference - this is another stake in the ground for this blog-spot. I do have a purpose and it has never changed. Living life with the Lover Of My Soul...on the page.

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

PS - after reading this over I realize my sentence structure has gone very German! :-) I will have to work on that. Verb in the second place stands in most of the sentences... How does one operate well in two cultures - impossible. God ALONE!