Sunday, August 2, 2009

God Will Make a Way

Working at Wal-Mart gives me the opportunity to see people’s faces turn from a frown to a smile when they come through my checkout lane. Some will hurry with their business at hand, while others will give you their life stories. I don’t mind, because I love to hear people’s story.

It’s early in the morning when a woman dressed in sport clothing came through my line. She placed her small order on the belt and asked if I would scan the greeting card and borrow a pen so she could sign it. As I was checking out her order, she asked if I knew what John’s (not his real name) wife name is. I answered, “You know, I never heard him say what his wife name is. “ When John talks about his wife, he always referred to her as ‘my wife’.

John has been taking his wife to Chicago every week for cancer treatment. John has strong faith in the Lord’s healing. He also works part-time at a nursing facility and is taking classes online. As you can see, John’s plate is full.

The woman finished writing on the card, sealed it and asked if John was working. I told her that John had the night off. She was little disappointed and left saying that it was okay.
About a week later, the same woman came through my line. John was coming up behind her with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you!” She smiled and said, “No, Thank you!”
She went on to say, “I come in here asking you how you are. Your answer constantly is, ‘fine as always’ even though you are going through tough times with your wife sick, working two jobs, going to school and trying to raise a family.”

Tears started to flow as she continued, “Every time I hear “fine as always”, it makes my day because if you can still say that everyday, then I cannot complain about my day.”
John told her that the day before he received a phone call from the insurance company requesting payment. The payment of $100 was not due until the 20th (it was near the 1st of the month), but they wanted the money sent that day to continue their health coverage.

The money they had left was accounted for their next trip to Chicago. John mailed the money he had left to the insurance company and told his wife that God will make a way. So when he came into work today there was an encouragement card from the woman with $100 gas card in it, the exact amount that was sent to the insurance company the day before. Therefore, God made a way when there seems to be no way.

God made sure I witnessed that event that morning because I was wondering how I was going to make ends meet when I was cut to working only 24 hours a week. I was also thinking of about my ministry career and how God was going to use my degree and experience since I am no longer a licensed minister. Along with other burdens I was carrying. The answer is, God Will May a Way and this song has been on my heart for the past month.

What burden are you carrying today? Take a moment to listen to this song. My prayer that this song, God Will Make a Way, will give you hope and remain on your heart as you surrender your burden to God each day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Be True to Thine Self

Over the past two weeks, I have been very reflective. It’s amazing how God place people in your life that may or may not be a barrier of what to come. About Eleven years ago, I met a man from Ohio via internet that turned into an 18 months relationship. At the time, he was an over the road truck driver and a PK of a Nazarene pastor. He terminated our relationship and said he wanted to return to his family because his kids were important to him.
Over the years, I have prayed for him to return to the Lord. I did not have any contact with him, but I always wondered how he was doing. I also prayed that someday, the Lord will let me know. Recently, through another friend on Facebook, he showed up. I had the opportunity to review his Facebook pages. It appears that he has reconciled with is family and with the Lord. His daughter has graduated last year and she is in the Air Force. His eldest son, graduated from High School this year. His youngest son appears to be doing as well in school. He and his wife are communicating better than eleven years ago. Praise the Lord! After about three days, the connection to his website was close for me. But that is okay, because my prayers were answered and I am content with that.
While in Clinical Pastoral Education, I met someone who had shown me what a Christian brother is all about. I witnessed his loving relationship with his wife as he talked with her on the phone. I also heard stories how he came to Christ through his wife and his wife shown him what God’s Love is.
His relationships with his patient at the hospital were of empathy, patient, and God’s Love. He also passed the same relationship to his co-workers. We talked over McFlurries many occasions about patients, my troubled marriage with Jerry and Nazarene theology. (He is also a Nazarene) Because of his Christian Brotherly love, I placed him high on my list of trust next to God, until recently.
God has shown me that no man (or woman) can be placed next to Him or be equal to Him. All men have fallen short of the glory of God. We, as human, are not perfect. We make wrong choices. We place a mask over our face, when we are face to face with other people. We put on an image or persona that we want others to see. Base on our trust in others, is how high the walls is built or taken down. It is when the wall is down, we see the true person for who he/she is.
God says to be true to thine self. This is the image I have been striving for since my salvation. In the movie “Pretty Woman”, Vivian (played by Julia Roberts) was asked by Edward (played by Richard Gere), “How do you like your eggs cooked?” Vivian would choose how her current boyfriend like his eggs cooked. She did not know for herself how she like her eggs cooked until she was face to face with herself, asking, “Who am I as a person?”
When we meet other people, we tend to take on the quality and nature that we like in that person. It’s like a chameleon effect. We merge in to our environment around us, whether consciously or unconsciously. How we act when we are with family is usually different than how we act with friends.
There was a time that I was considered “wild”. I got around a lot and could talk about anything a guy could talk about. But I didn’t like who I was as a person.
The day I accept Christ into my life, I went from one side of the pendulum to the other side of the pendulum. I went from being “wild” to being a conservative Christian. I was trying to “fit in” to what I thought people wanted me to be. Not who I am.
Recently a short term relationship with a Christian brother, whom I highly trust, shown me that the image I seen as a friend was not the same image he portrayed after the walls were lowered when getting to know each other as more than friends. As I am sure, my image has changed for him as well. He thought I was very conservative in nature and I thought he was very conservative in nature. Knowing where I came from, I had fear that he would not like the “whole” me as a person. Therefore, I had only shown a part of me.
Yesterday was Lola’s funeral. Lola is an aunt of my first husband. Lola had requested me to do officiate her funeral years ago if her nephew was unable to do so. The family honored her request and I was honored they called me. As usual, I was nervous before the service. I wondered why God chose this day for the service.
Afterward, we went to Vicky’s (Lola’s daughter) house for the reception. Unlike the last ten years, I felt for the first time that I belong in the family. When I was “wild”, many have shunned me, especially when I divorced Everett. Now I am accepted. More importantly, I am content with who I was yesterday and who I am today. My goal is to find a balance between the wild child and the very conservative religious child. Be who God has created me to be.
Now that you have read this story, I want you to know that this journey has taken years to get to where I am today. My questions for you; “Who are you?” “Are you being true to yourself or to what someone want you to be?” “Who do you want to become?” “Do you like yourself the way you are today?” “Do you want to change?”
If you desire to change who you are, then start with a prayer. Ask God to come into your life. Ask God what He wants you to change first. Then ask God to help you to make this change and become a child in His image.
When you do this, be ready for change in your relationship with others. Some changes may not be welcomed by others in your clique. While others will open eyes and make them wonder what has happened to you.
The change may come quickly or it may take awhile. Sometimes it takes other changes to occur before this change can happen. Be open. If you can’t trust anyone or yourself, then trust God. After all, He created you.
May your journey be blessed and an adventurous one. God Bless.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Many of you are familiar with Facebook, where you can reconnect with old friends from high school, college, and workplace and with families. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been playing a game on Facebook called Farm Town . It is a game where you simply create your farm, plant your crops, wait for it to mature and then either harvest it yourself, or hire someone to harvest your crops for you.
As I go to the marketplace to hire a person for my farm, the parable of the workers comes to mind. If you stand around the marketplace, you will hear people begging for work. It is up to the owner to hire the best person for the job. As for me, I like to hire the person that does not beg.
When you accept the job on Farm Town, you may get a big job and earned a lot of money, or a small job which earns little money. The purpose of earning money is to build your farm.
Lately, Wal-Mart has been cutting hours because sales are dropping. I listen to the employees complain about hours being cut, how they will not be able to pay bills and keep up with their style of living, while others are happy to have a job to go. These people who have taken jobs after being on unemployment and not able to find equal jobs as before, also learned to cut back on their unnecessary expenses, spend more time with their family, and count their blessings.
Unemployment rate is at their all time high. People are learning to get back to basic by going to restaurants once a week or not at all, taking the kids to the park and having a picnic, spending the day with relatives, going to the library instead of buying books, spending time at museums and zoos.
In the parable, the people who worked all day for the same wage as the people who worked just an hour were upset and angry with the owner. People at Wal-Mart, who has worked several years, are upset because their hours are getting cut as those who just started a month ago.
As Christian, whether you have been a Christian all your life or accepted Christ as your Savior five minutes ago, the gift is the same for all. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Christ has given his life for all who believe in him. He paid the ransom when he laid down his life for us. Not just a few of us…all of us.
As for those of us who is begging for more, whether it’s a job, bigger house, a new car, a new I-pod or Wii….(the list goes on and on), how about finding ways to spend time with the people you love and get back to basic. Donate your time at a non-profit organization or your church. Become a community who is not afraid of their neighbors, but is happy to help those in needs. It all begins with you.

Quote From Benjamin Button

For it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start wherever you are. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this. We can make the best or worst of it. And I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you have never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live the life you’re proud of. And if you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. –The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Friday, June 5, 2009

Keeping It Simple

Over the past week, many scriptures have come to mind as I reflect on what life is all about. I have been packing up the living room and moving the furnitures out so the sanding and refinishing of the floors can be done. Currently the dining and living rooms are empty and there is an illusion of starting over, a new season in the air and keeping it simple.
As a child, we are dependent on our parents to provide for our basic needs. Some of us were lucky to have food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes on our back, whether it was designer clothes or clothes from yard sales it did not matter. Some of us had love in our homes and was able to strive and become a mature adult. While others had to fight for survival to get through the day.
As a teenager there is a sense of being invinsible. We take on more risks without considering the consequences. Based on our nurturing experience as a child, we tend to carry it into our teenage years and adulthood. Some of us were able to break the cycle of abuse, whether physical, emotional, financial, mental or spiritual. While others continue to be trapped in a world where forgiveness and redemption is unheard of. Therefore it is difficult to understand or experience the relationship of God.
We teach children in church the ABC of salvation. A= accept; Confess to God that you are a sinner. Repent and turn away from your sin. B= Believe; that Jesus is the son of God and that he was sent by God to save people from their sins. C= Commit; Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Savior and Lord. Sounds simple? Not always, especially when the first time you have heard it was when you are an adult and have experienced the hard and/or troubled life.
In Matthew 18:1-6, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Another word, to enter the kingdom of heaven, we need to go back to the beginning and start over by accepting that we are a sinner. Then we are to repent (doing a 180) from our old sinful ways.
Like an empty room with nothing but the walls and the unfinished floors that has scars from years of hard times. These scars are forgiven but add characters which will make it beautiful in its own way. The way God forgives you when you accept Jesus into your life. Come as you are, broken and scarred, God loves you the way you are.
It is up to the matured Christian to disciple or rather guide the new Christian in the teaching of the Bible. Not to judge, bully, or take advantage of their simple trust. It's hard enough for new Christian to walk the narrow path of God so why mislead them and make it harder for them?
Some children will have a hard time trusting people of authority because the trust was violated by his/her parents or those in authority when he/she was a child of the world. If a mature christian takes advantage of their simple trust, then they are doomed to enter the kingdom of heaven because we caused the child (new christian) to stumble. Mature Christians have responsiblities to young Christians.
Another Scripture came to mind as I look at my empty rooms. Matthew 19:16-30 tells us the story of the rich young man.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me bout what is good?" Jeus replied, "There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." ' Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
"All these I have kept," the young man said, "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, Then come, follow me.
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, becuase he had great wealth."
Over the past ten years, God has been refining me as to what is important, which is relationships. Before I emptied the rooms, I had Precious Moments and my best China displayed in their cabinets. I had a wood entertainment center with the best stereo system in its time and a television, a lazy boy love seat, two recliners, a nice coffee table and end tables that my dad made. All of these I had to have and could not live without; material wealth.
I remembered a time when I had to have a new car every three years, the newest technology on the market, and the best of everything. But what have I gained from all this wealth? It was not a trusted relationship with my husband, family or friends. Let alone, Jesus himself. Everytime I got something new and better, it gave me happiness. A happiness that was temporary and not long lasting and I desired a long lasting relationship.
Over the past year, I lost what I thought was important. I lost my ministerial license due to my second divorce. Recently, my son, Brad, and I discussed this. For four years, I was trying to find a loop hole to keep my license. Only to find that there was no loop hole. Just as a friend was trying to find a loop hole to continue a relationship with a divorced woman and he did not find one.
The discussing led to dependency? Are we being dependent on the church, God or self? Or are we trusting God to lead us to what is right?
All of us have made the wrong choices and because of our choices, we suffered consequences. We are taught in church that there is forgiveness and redemption from God. But what happens when there is no forgiveness and redemption from the church? Is it any wonder why new Christians does want to be a part of a church? After what my own family witnessed with me, they do not want anything to do with the institutional church.
This is going off on another topic. So let's to get back to relationships.
If a person continues to hang on to their status and material wealth, then is it impossible to have a relationship with God, let alone people? Is material wealth and status (what defines us) is more important than our relationship with God?
When we have a relationship with Jesus, we are one with the Father in making this world a better place to live. Therefore all the wealth and/or status in the world should not matter. And when we have a healthy realtionship with Jesus, then that relationship will overflow to other relationships.
Are you willing to surrender all to God? Or are you like the rich man who hang onto what he has because he has trouble letting go of his wealth? Which are you?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beautiful Cake

As many of you have read, I am working as a cashier at Walmart. Last weekend we were selling a lot of graduation cakes and they were beautiful.

A customer came through the line with last minute shopping for his son's graduation party the next day. He brought a beautiful cake to my check out, but without a price tag on it. I called the customer service manager for a price check and he called back saying it was 11.88. I proceeded with the order and congratulated his son for graduating.

Two nights ago, I was told that I sold a syroform display cake to a customer that did not have a price tag on it. The customer found out it was syroform when they actually tried to cut into the cake. Thankfully they thought it was hillarious as it was an unplanned joke for all of them.

Needless to say, they brought the cake back to exchange it for a real cake. The situation brought laughter to all who witnessed and heard about this. As my boys will say, "It's a mom!" For I would do things that makes them laugh and remember it for a lifetime.

I may not have a beachfront property in Arizona to sell you, but I do have a beautiful cake to sell that just might make you laugh for a lifetime.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Field of Dreams

Over the past few days I have been thinking about a movie, Field of Dreams, played by Kevin Costner. Tonight, a possible long-term relationship has ended and it brought this movie to the foreground once again.

It's about a character, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), an Iowa corn farmer, who becomes convinced by a mysterious voice that he is supposed to construct a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field. The film's underlying themes are the fulfillment of dreams, and how people can overcome any regrets they may have about the life choices they make. It's no secret that I had many regrets in life because of the choices I made.

Ray has helped several people made amend with the choices they made along the way. Shoeless Joe Jackson who brought a team together to play in the field that he thought was heaven. Terrance Mann, 1960 author, who had once written about the golden days of baseball and became a controversial author later. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, a 1920 baseball player who later became a doctor. "Archie" Graham gotten the chance to play once again as a young man, but later when Ray's daughter was choking on a hotdog, Archie crossed over the line and did what he was called to be and that is to be a doctor.

At the end of the show, Terrance was asked by Shoeless Joe if he would like to go with them and write about baseball, which he has always dreamed of doing for he loved baseball. This made Ray angry and wondered what was in it for him. He followed everything the voice told him and sacrificed his farm and family. Shoeless Joe then said, "If you build it, He will come." Ray's dad was in the field. Ray wanted another chance to introduce his dad to his family and play catch with him and he got that chance.

Over the years, I have heard from many people how I have helped them and inspired them move on with their lives. That I must be an angel sent down from heaven and how I deserve someone better. For all this, I will have to give God the glory for he has created me to be a loving and caring person.

Once again tonight I was told, that if anything, I helped this person laughed, joke around, have joy and to live again. I'm truly glad of this.

Regrets, I have one, my last marriage. A marriage that turned into a divorce. A divorce that changed my call in life to be an ordained chaplain. A divorce that prevents me to build a relationship with widowed ordained elder due to church laws.

On a positive note it was a marriage and divorce that changed me when ministering to others in similar situations, even without my ministerial license. I can now empathetic and provide resources to these women.

Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

"What's in it for me?" Kinda selfish, huh? God has a plan for me as well as for you and he promised that the plans will prosper and not harm us and to give us hope and a future."

We are in seasons of life as stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2. a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3. a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5. a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6. a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7. a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8. a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Even though this possible long-term relationship has ended. We are still friends. I pray that God will be able to use this situation for His greater good in the future. For now it is time to weep and heal.