Saturday, April 30, 2011


Yesterday would have been my Granny Agnew's 87th birthday.  She was one of those people that if you knew her, you instantly loved her.  She was filled with mercy and grace, and had the best sense of humor and an infectious giggle.  When I was with her, I felt like I was the center of the universe--and to her...I probably was because when I was around, everything seemed to stop so she could spend time with me.

Mildred Agnew was a woman of strong faith and love.  She loved her family and her God with all of her heart.  That love spilled out to everyone who knew her.  As a child, I remember sitting in the living room, and her reading bible stories to me...David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, and Sampson and Delilah.  We would sing songs, and have the best times together.

Granny Agnew loved to walk.  She would take me with her on her walks around the neighborhood.  At the age of 64, she would walk about 5 miles a day, up hills on a little country road on the edge of town.  As a child, I remember going on those walks and talking about how pretty everything was.  We had some of our best talks on those walks.

When I got old enough to like Barbie dolls, we would sit in the floor, and I would pour all of the clothes out on the floor, and we would dress those dolls up and play.  Somehow she always did what I wanted, and while some may consider that being spoiled (which with her, I probably was), it made the time that we had together special.  Because of that, I knew that I was loved.

We had a special friendship, one that I don't necessarily see with kids growing up today.  You see, my granny was a friend, but looking back, I can see that she was a big mentor in my life.  A lot of the time that she poured into me was fun, but it was also having a hand in shaping the woman that I would become.  As a child, she read to me constantly, and when I learned to read, we would read together.  I think that gave me my love for books and learning.

She used object lessons about whatever was happening that moment to teach me about life--although I probably did not realize it at the time, she was preparing me for my adulthood and knowing how to handle the things that life would throw my way.

My grandmother came down with cancer when I was in Jr. High.  I remember sitting on her bed, when she was so sick.  I looked at her and said "This is not fair.", and I meant it too.  It was not fair that she was suffering so...but she looked at me and told me "Who are we to tell God what is fair...when I go to the doctor for my treatments, I see little children, and think this is not fair, because they have not had a chance to grow up and have fun like other kids..."  Although I never knew the impact of those words at the time she said them,  I remember them twenty something years later and remember them when things don't seem fair.

The bible tells the older women in the church to mentor the younger ones.  I am so lucky to have had some great women to mentor me.  My mom and Granny Agnew probably were the two biggest influences on my life, my attitude, and the way I look at things.  I have been blessed to have such people in my life to guide and shape who I am, and today I thank God for putting them in my life to show me the way.

Marigold is an annual flower with a long bloom. American marigolds are tall; French marigolds, or triploids, are more compact.

**The pictures of the Daffodils and Marigolds were chosen because Granny Agnew always had these flowers growing underneath a tree that was up from the garden.  We would sit under that tree and talk...or eat fresh homegrown strawberries.  When I see them, I always think of her!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Lesson from the Master

Harry Anderson, "Triumphal Entry"

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus entering Jerusalem during kicking off the Holy Week.  I was thinking about that this morning, and one thing really hit me right between the eyes.  Palm Sunday was a day when everyone was praising Jesus.  They were excited to see him, and anxiously waiting to see him work.  The people expected great things, and welcomed him as he arrived to the Holy city to celebrate Passover.

What strikes me, is less than a week later, Jesus is being dragged from the Garden of Gethsemane and dragged before the religious court, before Pilate, before Herrod.  His disciples (who would probably be listed as his best friends on this earth) have all scattered and deserted him.  He is questioned.  He is accused.  He is brought before the people (probably many of which who were in the crowd during Palm Sunday shouting Hosanna and waving their palm branches) who in returned shouted for his crucifixion. He was beaten beyond recognition, and brought back before the people who called for a man known to be a murderer to be released from the death sentence than the sinless Son of God who spent his life healing, serving, and teaching the people about God.  He was tortured, spat upon, humiliated, scorned, and ridiculed.  How could they be so mean?  Where was their compassion?  How could people be so cruel and bloodthirsty?

It is easy for me to point a finger.  How horrible!  Those people saw Jesus.  They  sat with him, worked alongside him.  He had probably even healed some of them.  He had spent three years sharing his life with his disciples, and yet one of them betrays him---while the other eleven  flee from him to save their own necks. But, as I look at these people and shake my finger at their lack of love, compassion, and loyalty, I am condemning myself.

I see myself in that mirror. How many times have I not made that stand--in fear of what others thought.  How many times have I turned my back, knowing that someone really needed help?  How many times have I praised God for the things that were good, and when things start taking a turn for the worse blame Him and complain about my uncomfortable situation.  How many times have I been wronged, and yet been unforgiving of their actions?  

When I look at this story, the thing that really hits me is Jesus' reaction.  Jesus never confronted Peter for denying him, and He was aware of the denial.  He never asked where his disciples went.  He never scolded the people who were calling for his crucifixion.  He never told them that they were acting like ungrateful brats.  Instead, He endure and called for their forgiveness on the cross amid the climax of his pain and torture.

You see, Jesus saw us as we really were at that moment.  His words said it all, "Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing." That to me, is a radical reaction when you take into consideration all that Jesus had gone through at that point.  Jesus looked upon them (and us) with the compassion, grace and love that they lacked...and decided to forgive them, even though he had been  continuously hurt during this circumstance.

 When we get caught up in the moment, we really do not know what we are doing.  The people were frustrated with Roman oppression.  They wanted someone who would overthrow those powers.  What they did not realize was Jesus' mission was to free them from more than the Roman soldiers...He was there to free them from Satan, and eternal death.  He was freeing them from sin, but the people were too caught up in the moment to realize it.

I think Jesus' final acts were a lesson straight from God's heart on how we are to react when things go wrong.  We are to endure, and stay the course of the mission that God called us to do.  Christ saw his work as too important to be interrupted by the pettiness of the actions of others.  He forgave and moved on, and that is just what we need to do.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goodbye Status Quo

I am wanting something more.  I want a powerful relationship with God.  I want to hear God and see Him moving in my life.  I want to see a miracle....but I don't like the tough spot where God's miracles always happen.  I want God's word to come alive, that its words and wisdom jump off of the page and slap me upside the head so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I am supposed to do.  I want to emerge through the dry wilderness that I have been traveling through for the past three years as a women who is stronger in her faith, stronger in her love for her Savior, and more faithful and obedient to her God.

I don't want the  "status quo" version of Christianity  where I just occupy a pew on Sunday morning and live the rest of the week like the rest of the world.  I want life altering, world changing, miracle seeking, obedience driven, love motivated kind of life. I want something radical. I want more of God and less of me...and I am going to get it.

Now this is not something that is going to fall into my lap.  It takes work and commitment.  It takes time and faithfulness.  It takes committing myself to studying God's word.  It takes comitting myself to prayer.  It takes me shutting up and allowing God to say and move in the ways that He wants without interference from me.  It takes handing over the mess that I have created and trusting and allowing Him to make something beautiful out of it.  

In short, I want to be transformed into the woman that God wants me to be, and I am placing my life, my plans, and my dreams into his hands to do as he wishes. This may mean that my already busy schedule may have a few added divine appointments, and it may mean some useless things get stripped away so that I can effectively do what He wants for me to do.  My life is not my was bought with a price, that Jesus paid on the cross, and I want my life to be worth that price he paid.