Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Leadership In Crisis

The subject of this post has been rolling around in my spirit for quite some time.  I have put off writing about it because of fears that it would be taken the wrong way and considered judgemental and offensive.  I assure you, that is not my intention.

As an adult, I have always been involved in many areas of ministry, in the churches I've attended.  Serving in Women's Ministry, Children's Ministry, Greeters Ministry and so much more, I quickly become acquainted with the leadership in the church I'm attending.  I have met so many men and women in leadership, serving God and the Church with complete honor and integrity, who are great examples of how to live the life we are called to live.

But all too often, I have also observed those in ministry leadership who succumb to the temptations of life and become involved in adultery, porn, alcoholism, drug abuse and other destroying lifestyles.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I am not saying that those in ministry will never sin or are never tempted to sin.  And I don't judge those who do.  I am not suggesting that they can't be forgiven and made whole.  But why does the Church choose to elevate and celebrate those leaders who get caught up in these harmful lifestyles and who leave many broken lives in their wake.  Why do we hold them up as the standard for coming out of sin and being made whole?
                 
                                                       
I have watched as many pastors, music ministers, youth leaders and the like, destroy their lives, their families and their ministries.  Then, they go through a short period of counseling, rehab and restoration and all of a sudden, they are writing books, speaking to churches, counseling and proclaiming how they fell into sin and God brought them out and restored them.  I don't doubt their testimonies and I don't question that they have been forgiven and made clean and righteous.

What I do question, is why does the Church celebrate this?  What does this say to these leader's  spouses, families and children, who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their broken lives?  Why doesn't the Church celebrate the minister who sticks in there and does the right thing, not because it's easy, but just because it is right.  Sin is the easy way out.  It's not difficult giving into temptation.  The hard thing is, when facing temptation, trials and forbidden pleasure, saying "no" to them and staying pure and clean.

Some would say that we need these types of testimonies so that when we fall and don't think God will forgive us, we can see other's examples of sin and restoration.  There are plenty of testimonies of every day folk, who are brought out of much sin and wrecked and ruined lives.  Why do we need these types of testimonies to come from the leadership of the Church?  Let them be the ones who show us how not to fall into these harmful lifestyles.  Scripture says that God calls and sets apart leaders and shepherds
                                                             who are called to a higher standard.
                                                             
During the last years of her life, my mom was in a wheel chair.  My father, a pastor, had to fix meals for her, bathe her, take her to the restroom, and not have any chance of an intimate relationship with his wife.  It was not easy.  It wasn't the life he had envisioned for him and my mom.  It wasn't pleasant.  Every day, he had to make the choice to do what was right and to rely on the Lord to be his strength and constant companion.

Of course I pray for all leaders who have fallen into sin, just as I hope they would pray for me when I am struggling.  I know that the Lord loves them dearly and wants to restore them fully and have them back in the fold.  But I wish that the Church would make a way for those in leadership, who are being tempted to fall into grave sin, to be able to share their struggle with someone without the fear of being judged, condemned and ostracized.  We should provide a way out before they fall!  Maybe then, they could join hands with someone and gain the faith and strength they need to reject sin, to not fall, so that they can live the life they are called to live, without destroying their lives and the lives of those they love.

From His lap,

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Tide Took It All Away



I'm lying here in the sand while the warmth of the sun settles over me like a cotton sheet. As I close my eyes, the sounds of the crashing waves collide with the call of seagulls overhead. The soft ocean breeze blows over me, tickling the tiny invisible hairs on my body, while each wave of the incoming tide washes over my heart. As the waves retreat, I feel every care, worry and hurt fade away to some distant place where I delightfully let them go. Maybe I'll just leave them there.

My life is busy, just like yours.  I work on the corporate staff of a company that oversees 150 franchises.  My husband and I are partners/owners of a popular restaurant in Tulsa, OK.  Between the 2 of us, we have 7 children and 5 grandchildren.  The list of things to do each day never gets completed, adding to tomorrow's duties and my frustration grows as the list grows.

I've worked outside of the home since I was quite young, and while raising my children.  So I'm used to the pace and the daily grind.  But this year has been different.  This year, things started to "get to me".  My heart and soul had been bumped and bruised in several places. My body began to tell me that I'd better slow down and take care of myself.  Do you think I listened?  I ignored the signs that my body, mind and spirit had simply had enough.  I developed a debilitating case of the Shingles that left me home bound and in excruciating pain for a long time.  My body basically said, "If you don't listen to me and slow down, I will do it for you."  And that's exactly what happened.

I don't want to bore you with the list of stressful things that were on my list this year; suffice it to say, I needed a break.  I needed emotional healing and some rest and relaxation.  Hence, the trip to the beach and the therapy it provided!  For the first time in my life, I think I truly understand what people mean when they say that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else.  I had reached my limit, poured myself out and had nothing left to give...to myself or others.

We all have that place we visit, that room in our house, that person to sit with, that refreshes us and fills our soul.  For me, it's the ocean.  For me, I find healing in just about every aspect of it; the breeze, the waves, the unforgiving sand, the call of the seagulls, the taste of salt on my lips, the tides...it's all healing to me.

I don't think I'll ever not listen to my body or soul again.  Why wait until your body shuts down, or you're emotionally worn out?  Make plans now to do whatever gives you renewed strength and hope!

From His lap!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Resting In Him


Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.  Open the eyes of my heart.  Help me to see how much you love me.  Let your grace flow over me like a river and descend on me with your peace.  Let me catch a dazzling glimpse of your smile as you delight over me.  Oh, Holy One, find every secret place in me and flood it with your love and mercy.  

I give you every worry and fear.  I turn them all over to you, realizing that everything pales in comparison to the love you have for me.  Let every word and action burn away, that doesn't reflect you.  I lay it all down at your feet so that I am unburdened to climb onto your lap, lay my head on your chest and feel your heart beat with love for me.

There is none like you.  None who see me and know me and yet love me so completely.  I rest in your arms as you pour out your healing balm over my wounded body and soul.  There is no lack or pain when I am with you.  You are strength and peace to my tired aching life.  The works of your hands are mighty in me, to the pulling down of strongholds.  

I find freedom and joy in the solace of your embrace.  I see things more clearly through the eyes of your grace and my sin falls away as I'm washed clean.  There is no place I'd rather be in the quiet moments when I face myself and know that I can only be whole, in you.  In you, I live and move and have my being.

From His Lap,


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Ring on My Thumb

Always.  Everyday.  I want to feel His presence.
So will I remember to ask Him to walk with me today?
How can I forget how sweet it is to brush shoulders as we walk together...my Lord and I?
I oft feel His hand on my cheek, sometimes brushing away a tear.
How can the God who created the universe walk so close, be so near?
Sometimes, we say nothing.  But there are those days when I pour out the hurts that fill my aching heart.  Pour them out to Him who washes away the ache and bathes me in His glory.
Our sweetest times are when the gratitude for His grace and mercy fills me to the point that it has to spill out. In these moments, praise and thanksgiving erupts from the altar of my heart and escapes my lips as a song.
I've made my heart an altar.  An altar to Him who listens, who speaks.  An altar to Him who asks me into His throne room and lets this daughter climb up on His lap.  Lets me lean my weary head against His chest.  So close.
How could I not want to tarry there? Always?  Everyday?
When I rise and when I sleep and those moments in between, will I pause, will I listen for His still small voice?
Will I look into the eyes of those around me and see Him in their lives, His presence there to bless all who would stop and take note?
I wear His ring on my right hand.  The ring on the thumb, it doesn't feel natural. I always feel it, notice it, touch it.  It's there to remind me, "Have you thought about Him today?"
Always.  Everyday.  I want to feel His presence.


From His lap,



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Will You Let the Son Melt the Ice?

In December of 2013, the frigid temperatures, the wind and the humidity swirled in a perfect combination and settled over Tulsa, OK in a thick sheet of ice.  Roads became impassable and the sounds of ice covered trees, snapping beneath the weight of the ice, filled the air for several days. Even from inside the house, we could hear the branches break and fall crashing to the ground.  Are there things in this life, Dear One, that are weighing you down? Are your burdens heavy and causing your will and your hope to snap and be torn in two?  Are you, like these trees, succumbing to the pressures of life?

Thankfully, there were trees that didn't crumple with the heavy ice.  But these trees, that once stood proud and tall, reaching toward heaven, were now, humbly bowed down, touching earth, frozen to the ground.  They were unable to free themselves and stretch their boughs to the sky.  I went out and stood underneath those branches, where it looked like I was in the middle of a frozen wonderland.  Limbs that I could normally never reach, surrounded me on all sides, with the ice shimmering in the sunshine.  It was as if I was standing among strands of diamonds!




Trees that once stood tall, now hung upside down with the weight of the ice!

Standing underneath branches that normally were high above my reach.

Not only were the trees encased in ice, but early blooms and buds, that had begun to come to life, were shrouded in a glittering shell.  It was all at once, beautiful and disturbing.  I wondered, would these delicate blooms be able to continue their growth and blossom and be fruitful, once the ice melted, or would they fall from the vine, unable to go on with life?  Do your troubles cover you, stopping you from going forward with life?  Do you feel stuck, unable to reach toward the Son?  Are you frozen in time by circumstances and fear?









Sure enough, after several days, the warmth of the sun began to melt the ice. You could hear small pieces of ice fall to the ground all around like the sound of breaking glass.  We watched in amazement as the biggest, strongest trees, broke loose from the ice.  They sprang right back to their proud position tall and reaching for the sky.  They basked in the sun, as strong as ever.  I wondered, if we drench ourselves in the presence of Christ, can our loads be lifted and can we be set free to reach toward the Son and all of His glory?

It was then, that I noticed something that broke my heart.  The youngest trees, the babies, the ones who were the smallest and weakest; they didn't bounce back when the ice left them.  I was confused and asked my husband, why those trees didn't stand back up, tall and strong.  The other trees were much heavier and it seemed as though it should have been those trees that had difficulty straightening up.  But it was not so.  The strong trees had roots that went deep and held firm to the earth that they were buried in.  The younger trees, my husband explained, came up by the roots, with the weight of the ice. They weren't deep enough, strong enough, to withstand the elements.

"Yes, that's it," I thought!  If we don't bury ourselves deep in Him, if our root system is shallow and not drinking in from rich deep soil, His Word and His Spirit, than we can be pulled up by the roots.  When life and burdens become heavy, we can be uprooted, lose hope and not stand tall and finish our race, our high calling!

If you are going through times that are trying and testing you, causing you to be weighed down, take heart.  I encourage you to make time with Him, in His Word, worshipping Him.  Send your roots deep, until you can't tell where you begin and the Son ends.  Become entwined, enmeshed in His heart.  Let Him bear your burdens and walk with you.  Tell Him your deepest hurts and fears.

The Son can melt that which is too heavy for you to bear.  He will be your grace and keep you strong.

From His lap,

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