Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Be Merciful to Me, A Fool"--A Poem...My Prayer

Years ago I found this poem. When I found myself without words because I knew I had kept heaven from earth by my own foolish choices...was so undeserving of mercy...and yet in such desperate need of it...I would whisper these words...Even now there are times when shame of my own stupidity drowns eloquence and honor...and all I know to plead is, "Dear God, be merciful to this fool."

THE FOOL'S PRAYER
by: Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
      HE royal feast was done; the King
      Sought some new sport to banish care,
      And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
      Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"
       
      The jester doffed his cap and bells,
      And stood the mocking court before;
      They could not see the bitter smile
      Behind the painted grin he wore.
       
      He bowed his head, and bent his knee
      Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
      His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
      Be merciful to me, a fool!
       
      "No pity, Lord, could change the heart
      From red with wrong to white as wool;
      The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
      Be merciful to me, a fool!
       
      "'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
      Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
      'T is by our follies that so long
      We hold the earth from heaven away.
       
      "These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
      Go crushing blossoms without end;
      These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
      Among the heart-strings of a friend.
       
      "The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
      Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
      The word we had not sense to say--
      Who knows how grandly it had rung!
       
      "Our faults no tenderness should ask.
      The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
      But for our blunders -- oh, in shame
      Before the eyes of heaven we fall.
       
      "Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
      Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
      That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
      Be merciful to me, a fool!"
       
      The room was hushed; in silence rose
      The King, and sought his gardens cool,
      And walked apart, and murmured low,
      "Be merciful to me, a fool!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Am Second--Josh Hamilton

For His glory...everything else is detail...



Because Josh Hamilton knows there is nothing like being second....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I've Been Blessed Deep

I have been blessed with some amazing...AMAZING...friends, family, and friends who look like family. Steven Sauke is one of my little brothers by a different mother. He has blessed me immensely with words of encouragement, the most creative hugs I've ever seen, and his deep, faithful love. Today he blessed me with a blog. Please drop by his place to read the blog and see the blessing.

"Have You Considered my Servant Jerri?"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Real

She relays the information almost mechanically. Somewhere behind the words are the tears.

She is scared.

I am scared for her.

Her husband is sick. Very sick. Could die sick.

She doesn’t say it, but I hear it in what she doesn’t say. It’ll take a miracle.

I have nothing. I refuse to tell her somehow God will make it okay because it is not okay.

She is not okay.

I am not okay.

At that moment in time, nothing is okay.

And I have nothing. No words. No hug. No….anything.

Except, I do, and I walk myself right into the throne room of my Daddy and look into His face, and as she talks aloud, I talk silently.

“Surely You did not take me through that to leave me with nothing to help with. Surely that hell served no purpose. I need something. Her world is crumbling, and she needs somewhere to land, if only for a moment. Please, Daddy, give me something to give her.”

No booming voice. No big production. Just a quiet thought of what I would have wanted…what I still sometimes want.

“Are you busy?” I ask.

Well, she has some plans. Needs to take care of some things. Trying to fumble through life’s quicksand.

“Do you want to come over here?”

Not really. She needs to handle some stuff, tick things off her check list…feel some sense of control and enjoy the escape while doing it.

I understand.

“What is your favorite beer?”

Her voice says she is confused, but she tells me anyway.

I write it down.

“Okay. This is what we are going to do. I’m going to buy that beer and have some of it cold from now until we get to the other side of this. Whenever you need to, you come over here. We are going to sit on the deck. You can scream and rage about how unfair this is, about how this stinks, about how you don’t understand, about how it hurts more than you could EVER dream, about how you have no clue how you are going to get through, about how angry you are, about all those things you would never unleash to anyone else. My house and my deck is your safe place to say whatever you want, use whatever language you want, to drink however much you want. I will either take you home, or you can sleep in the guest room. Whatever. But this is where you can come and be real. There is no judgment, no answers, and no pressure to be better. Whatever you need to be—even if it is silent, you can be it here.”

I hear it in the silence. That inhale that comes in the silence of a breath caught between the smile of gratitude and the sobbing of being found.

“You really do understand, don’t you?”

I swallow the tears so words will come. “Yes. I really understand.”

Quiet comes, and we sit with phones to ears, hearts together.

“I need to get busy, so I’ll let you go," she finally says.

I tell her to have a good day, I love her, I’m praying, I’ll keep the beer cold.

“I love you, too.” That is the first smile I’ve heard in her voice…and it is real.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Smore to God Than I Imagined

I just think God is so crazy cool.

I ask Him for something like one of those goofy 25 cent toys out of the machines at the store, and He shows up with Smore makings. Not only does He always out do what I ask for, He does it with creative flair that makes my heart all warm and marshmallow-y. Never saw God as a hopeless romantic before, but now, I seem Him like that all the time.

I think it is because I'm His favorite. :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It Really Is THAT Simple

Okay, I'm trying to think of a really cool alliteration for the title of this post because I don't want it to be bland or intimidating. I want it to be EXCITING because the Bible IS exciting. Learning God's Word, hearing His heart, understanding Him...THAT is wondrous stuff.

Unfortunately, I think people have made it hard. The truth is learning the Bible is easy. Really. I wouldn't lie about this.

I get asked fairly often how I know so much about the Bible. Let me say up front, I do not consider myself a Bible scholar. I don't get into the whole theological religiousity of it all. My Bible knowledge is not from a library of books or a college Bible program. I don't have time for all that.

I also don't have time or patience for hard reading programs. Really? Someone wants me to keep that paper that tells me to read all those disjointed chapters for a whole year? Thank you for thinking I am either that organized or I really care that much.

Nope. I need simple. So here it is. Jerri's super spiritual, only religious if you make it that way, don't need anything but a Bible reading program:

Three chapters a day.

Seriously. I learned tons about the Bible by simply reading it.

All I did was read three chapters a day. By reading three chapters a day, I could finish the Bible in a year, so I did.

About 22 or 23 years ago, I started reading the Bible through from beginning to end. I did that for three or four years in a row. It is like any material. If I expose myself to it enough times, my mind will retain it. I just kept reading it over and over.

I didn't read it to study it or for memorization purposes. I simply read it. Beginning to end.

The wonderful thing is I didn't have to figure out which day I was on or try to catch up. I could start any day of the year and simply read the next three chapters in the Bible. Doesn't get any simpler than that.

So now you know. I'm no Bible genius. I'm just a Bible reader. It really is that simple.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Merciful Firecrackers

You know one of the wondrous things about God is His amazing mercy.

He looks at us and says, "You are doing something stupid, and you know it is stupid, but you're still doing it. Obviously you need me to save you from yourself because that thing you think is a crackerjack is really an A-bomb in the making."

Then He gives us a hard slap on the wrist, and we whine about the slap on the wrist that saves us from the major explosion with potential to destroy us.

I am thankful for the slap on the wrist.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holy Laundry, Batman!

So many of us want to do great things,
but sometimes the greatest thing we can do is what needs to be done.

My beautiful friend Amelia sometimes struggles with feeling like enough, wanting to be holy, wanting to do something important...but is stuck doing laundry. But as she shares in her blog "Laundry for Life", sometimes doing laundry is holy enough.

"Sum of All Trials"--A Devotional


   I am honored that my devotional "Sum of All Trials" is the devotional for October 11th in the wonderful book:

The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter.

Other authors you may know:

Lisa Buffaloe
Marla Livers
Charles R. Swindoll
Marion C. Eukermann
Sue Bohlin
Al Speegle, Jr.
Gloria J. Wallace
...and so many more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Don't Do Dog and Pony Shows

When I considered shutting down my blogs, it wasn't for the reason folks might think.

I considered shutting them down for the same reason I closed my Facebook accounts, rarely responded to email, and reponded to texts either with short answers or evasive ones. I feel people see me, see us, through their own lenses and no matter what I say, they comment according to their view, even when it is totally wrong.

That leaves me with three options: 1. Don't respond, which upsets folks and gives them room to feel unloved and unappreciated. 2. Respond with some weak statement of gratitiude that I really don't feel but is politically correct and allows the person to feel she did some good. 3. Be honest and say, "You missed it. Here is how." I have tried this approach many times. ONE time the person said, "Thank you for sharing that. I had never considered it that way." The rest of the time I hear how I am unfair, ungrateful, angry, or to blame. After all, if I talked more, shared more, thanked more, was happy to take what I got more, did the dog and pony show more.

I don't do dog and pony shows.

The fact is a lot of comments aren't helpful. In fact, a lot of them are hurtful because it is obvious the person didn't really read what I had written or said.

Example: I went to a wedding a few weeks ago. Nice ceremony. Miserable experience. The children and I didn't know a lot of the people there, but we knew some. One spoke to us. The rest sat across the room, stared at us, and seemed to talk out of the side of their mouths. I said nothing, just waited until we could leave without looking like we were make some overly emotional exit. Didn't matter. The one person who spoke to us asked how we are. I told her great. She said, "Yeah. You look good." I assured her we are good and asked how she was. She answered. Awkward silence, "So y'all doing okay?" Mental sigh. Yep. Same conversationl few sentences, then back to, "So y'all are doing well?"

When she left, Robert said, "Mom, that is why I hate being around people. They don't see us. They see the pathetic broken Phillips family who is trying to survive anyway. I hate people."

I understand.

Later that night I received texts from folks asking if I was emotionally okay after the wedding. It was nice they remembered the wedding and considered it might be emotional. Fact is it wasn't...at all. It was just a wedding. Most were glad to hear it, but then I made the mistake of mentioning the irony of folks being all worried about the wedding being emotional when the next day was a year since my mom had died, but I was excited to spend the day with my friend Scott going to caves, the zoo, and the Riverwalk. Notice all I said about my mom is that it had been a year. Note the excitement about seeing Scott. The responses?

Cyberhugs, offers of wine or hard booze, kleenex handouts, and, "I wish I could be there with you. I would just hold on to you and let you be sad."

Um. I'm not sad. I don't need booze, but I am wondering about the suggestion to drink to overcome sadness. I don't need kleenex. I don't want hugs, and I don't want you hanging on me.

I tried to handle it with kindness, but what I wanted to say is, "Did you hear me at all? Did you actually read what I wrote? Have you considered addressing that codependency thing you've got going? I refuse to be broken so you can feel better about helping fix me. And you wonder why I don't try to talk to you."

Fact is, most folks think that is harsh...unless they are one of those people being suffocated by well-meaning huggers and kleenex holders, and if you are one of them, you are saying, "Oh, thank God someone gets it!"

I get it.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people do, and instead of dealing with those who want to tell me how hurtful my comments are or how ungrateful I am or how I need to see it from their perspective, I decided to say nothing and heard THAT was wrong, too. Seems the only right answer is to tell people what they want to hear.

And who does that help? Not me. Not others who are being suffocated. And while it may protect egos and comfort spots, it does not educate people to actually be helpful.

Fact is, a dog and pony show might be fun to watch and let the audience leave with a smile and a warm fuzzy, but the Truth sets a person free.

I've been a prisoner to the lie of biting my tongue, stuffing my feelings, living in others' faulty view of my family and me, and pretending to be grateful so I wouldn't get told how critical, ungrateful, and harsh I am or how I make someone feel unappreciated or whatever. To those who would accuse me of such, I can only say, I don't care about comfort zones, warm fuzzies, or egos. They are nothing more than lies that keep people imprisoned to the way things are and keep them from what things should be.

I refuse to settle for what is because I'm afraid of the cost of what should be.

And if I have to do a dog and pony show to maintain relationships with people who wear me out emotionally, mentally, or spiritually just so I don't look "bad", ungrateful, or angry and make the presentation of a nice Christian girl, well, I only have one answer:

I don't do dog and pony shows.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Courageous Enough

In the last few weeks I have considered closing this blog. Actually, I considered closing ALL my blogs, starting an anonymous one, and telling no one I know. In fact, I considered it as early as this morning.

However, something the Lord has been really drilling into me the last week or so, well, longer than that but intensely in my face about the last few weeks is courage.

Courage does not run.

Courage may want to vomit. Courage may be shaking from head to toe. Courage may be getting in the saddle when one's knees are so weak with fear one can barely lift to the saddle. BUT, courage does not run.

I do not run.

In April, I changed blogs and didn't give the new address because I didn't want Rob's family or some of his friends to find my new blog. I have tried to be very respectful of them because their loss is huge. However, I've also been trying to avoid the "he said, she said" stuff that can come when honesty is more than what one wants to hear. It wasn't worth the fight, so, I did what I had done for 19 years. I just kept quiet.

But here is the thing with that, God did not send me through hell to be quiet about it. He let me walk the road He did so I could tell about His faithfulness, so I could point out His goodness, so others could have hope, and just how in the world is anyone going to find hope for their own darkness if I am so afraid of rocking boats that I don't talk about how dark it really was...or how great He really is?

So let the boat rocking begin. I'm not afraid of being tossed out of the boat anymore. I know Who has called me, and I know Who holds my hand, and I know if I get tossed out of the boat, I'm fine. I'll just walk on water.

And, yes, I am courageous enough to believe that is exactly what He expects me to do.