Saturday, September 29, 2007

Requesting Help

My week can be summarized as follows: Number 1: Asking God for help. Number 2: Crying to God for help. Number 3: Begging God for help. Number 4: Go back to number 1 and begin again.

My week can also be summarized as follows: Remembering that God does not need my strength but my weakness. Realizing that God is in control. Being filled for the next moment.

The highlight of my week is as follows: Praying for and knowing that God will and even has answered the following prayer: That God can and will equip me to perform a specific task He has called me to do. He can and will provide an enablement by His Holy Spirit to do His will. He has given me everything that I need to do His will.

The following concepts in my mind and life are changing: I am restructuring what I am to do and not to do at the hospital and at school. I am allowing God to use my time and not to try and impose on Him exactly what I think I should do with the time.

My prayer is as follows:

Dear Father: I know that You have directed me in some specific ways, so I am not going to go over those things again and again. If I am off target and off track, I trust You to bring me back in line with Your will. With that being understood, please enable me to do the things that are before me to do. Let me be successful and to find favor with God and man. Make our hospital an incredible wonder. Thank you for blessing us there and for passing the important Medicare survey last week, completely reinstating all privileges and removing any black mark against the hospital. Be with the other pending matter and clear that up next week in a great way. Then let everything be without blemish or bad reputation for the future. Please cause the relationships there to be touched by You. Please cause the work flow between all the interacting relationships to be unencumbered. Touch each person that works and is treated there. Please help me to be a useful contributing member to my School team, while at the same time not spending much time actually working. That is, to be effective and efficient and appreciated. Help me when I am at class to be able to answer all the questions given me with wisdom and grace. Provide for me the spirit of wisdom and revelation discussed in Ephesians. Please bless the Bible Study and thank you so very much for lifting up this study and putting it under Your power and control and not under mine. Help me to be prepared and have blessing with how to lead the discussion study. Bless each woman there. Help them not to be limited by their own previous assumptions from their denomination. Use them in their churches. Bless their words in the study and in bless their lives. Cause them to deeply grow in love for You. Give them joy in the Lord and to see and know the reality of Your power and pleasure. Lord, I thank You for the peace that You have put into our home and I know that is because my husband followed what You told him to do in having the children go to Capital this year. Thank you that You have constrained Him to do Your will, and how You are using Him. Please help him in the various areas of His life that need Your direction and control. Protect each of my children and draw them into a tight relationship with You, in the way like I described for the women in the Bible Study. Help my husband and I to continue to work incredibly together in the great tasks we each have to do at this time. Please enable my husband to continue to carry all that he is with the children and to do it with the joy and ease that he has shown. Clearly these things are from Your hand. Help with the various other duties and tasks that come up for me to do. It seems impossible, but I thank You that You have helped me to stand firm and move forward and not to be overwhelmed. Use these pressures to rearrange the way that I see and do things. Please keep me and hold me because You know that I really am completely and totally unable to do the things that I am actually doing at this time. Help me that I do not lose confidence in You, that I continue to look to You. Help me with my anxiety and timidity in assuming the role and position that You have called me to do. Help me to walk down the halls with the power and confidence of the fact that I am redeemed of Christ and am Your own possession. I am Your pot, cracked and all, and through these cracks, shine forth Your glory.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:55 PM | 0 comments

Friday, September 21, 2007


Well, wow. How about 65 pages to catch up? How about 65 days or years? Where do I begin?

I just spent a week in a residential week at my MBA program. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Respectfully of course)!!! It was hard and challenging. I survived, like I knew that I would I suppose, but afterwards was harder. That was this morning, the harder part, because it was like everything was hitting me.

They call the week “boot camp.” Night after night of inadequate time to sleep, timelines, outlines and deadlines, presentations, public speaking, skit performances, too much to read with no time to read, vague instructions and forced teams that have to work together or fail….Teachers that utilize the Socrates method and have it perfected to a grilling science. I kept looking for the “reality TV cameras,” figuring that they had to be around somewhere. It was harder than I can get you to understand, and it was hard for everybody, not just me.

So today after class ended I had about two hours to sit before the Lord. I imagined God the Father in a chair before me and Jesus the Son at His right hand in the chair next to Him and I spoke with Him about my problems and concerns. The Lord is our Friend and He is there. I prayed about Psalm 100 (the first verse I ever read as a Christian that the Lord freaked me out with – “Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He that has made us and not we ourselves.”) Luke 5 and Ephesians 5, “Trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” When I couldn’t find a Christian radio station, then the Lord found it for me and three songs played on it that the Lord knew were for me. “Cry out to Jesus,” “Reign in me,” and “He reigns.”

I have issues and I have concerns. I have things that I have prioritized for many years and are now very established habits and I still care about those things and don’t want to lose them. I have things that I want to do over these next two years, including surviving to tell about it with my family, loved ones and friends. I have a new opportunity. Western Seminary asked me to teach psychopharmacology to their Bible Counseling (MFT) students and I really want to do that. What a wonderful blessing. But is that crazy trying to do that also? (Six evenings in the winter is all).

I have thoughts in my mind that I don’t think anyone could really understand, but that is okay. They are real and right and true and the best so I will live by them. The just shall live by their faith.

God hasn’t taken off anything on my platter but I would have expected Him to by now. I’ve given them to Him. God is continuing to sustain. I don’t want to work hard to spin in a cycle like a washing machine. I want to work hard in my quest for running hard after the things of God. I want to influence things because I feel that I am called to do so. I feel that my current arena of work and family and home is God’s place that He has put me in to strengthen me and prepare me for what He wants to do in my life and for the world around me.

Currently, I am really tired and need sleep, but by the morning I will feel refreshed. I pray the Lord would enable me to stand and do whatever He wants with and for me and remove anything that is not of Him. “And having done everything to stand, stand therefore under the mighty hand of God.”

This morning I checked all the people in my life that I really am dependent upon that they are all there with me still. They know that I need them, and need their help. There are things that I need to learn and to accept. I need to let myself receive from God the help of other people and not to try and do everything myself. I need to allow myself to carry the role that I am called to carry, not for myself and not keeping my eyes on myself but by keeping my eyes on the Lord and doing it because it helps other people and it is God’s will for me. I enjoyed focusing this week on how if I do my best, how it lifts all the students. I prayed for them as they were tired and for their presentations. I need to do more praying for them. Btw, the first day I met my fellow student who is a doctor who is a Christian and does Bible Study in her home on Tuesday evenings. She was late the first day of class because she was praying with a patient and her family at the hospital and led someone to Christ during the prayer. She said, “Well, I just said, ‘this is more important.’” That was a blessing. But later in the week she flat out lied to the teacher about something and my heart just sank.

It was weird when I went to my class the first day this week. The students were supposed to post their bios on the web site. My husband did that for me, and did it way early and so it turned out a lot knew me already. (I don’t even know how to get on the web site actually. My husband has taken care of everything I need administratively.) I felt like I was esteemed then it only got “worse.” I know that the Lord establishes things like this, when He has me to be seen favorably before people. Then it came time to do things like the presentations and answer the questions and I had to decide if I was going to do these things in the power and strength of the Lord or stand behind the podium and mumble. So I did what I was supposed to do, because God has prepared beforehand for me certain works that I should walk in and I am going to do them because I really don’t have a choice. The hosts of heaven are watching. It is important. Spiritual battles rage and what to do? I will depend upon the Lord who goes with me and will give me what I need as I wait upon Him and depend upon Him and look to Him.

My verse for the week that I kept reading was, “I, a prisoner, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Eph 4:1ish).”

I don’t understand everything, of course. But think with me about something. God is sovereign and controls all things at all times. Yet at the same time He establishes that individuals are responsible for their own deeds and go to hell because they are accountable if they refuse God’s grace. Both of these things are true at the same time. My mind can not conceive them because they are too wonderful for me. So the Lord can do two seemingly opposing things at the same time. He controls what appears to be overlapping spheres completely independently from one another.

Likewise, is it not true that God looks at each person individually and what that person will need in his or her life to carry out His will? Is it not reasonable that God, if He only looked at the perspective of me, could put everything in place in the world because of how it would affect me for His will in my life? Because He is great, He does this for everybody together. But if there were no other people on the face of the planet, or they were all zombies, because He was working in my life, today He would have put the hotel I was staying at in its place, my city, state and the USA, all for me to accomplish what He wants to do in my life.

Kind of a weird thought. (I know that wasn’t well explained, but I don’t know if I especially want to be clear.) I don’t know why I thought of this today or why it seems relevant especially. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lard Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Eph 1:3).” With that perspective, what is a hotel? What is any earthly thing before God? It is almost blasphemy to look at some earthly thing and see it as a limitation in any way before an Almighty God. I guess there are allowances because we are mere dust and our faith is weak. However, how frustrated was Jesus with our lack of faith while He was on earth? “How long have I been with you and still you are so slow to believe?” Hebrews speaks of God not being pleased when we shrink back in unbelief. Unbelief is sin, the Bible says.

If God has instituted everything in its place so I can carry out His will, and I want to carry out His will, then what stands in the way of carrying out His will?

Gen 3:1, “Has God really said?” Has God really said? Are you really standing in the will of God? Does God really want that purpose for your life?

When I look back over the years, my biggest recurring struggle and battle has been believing that God wants me to be a doctor and that I am in His will. It is easier for me to do something else, like be a home school mother or adopt a needy child and sit with him, or be perhaps be tortured in another country for the sake of Christ (okay, maybe not), than to believe that God has called me to be a professional doctor, and now a leader in a hospital (and more, because He is going to use His investment). That He is calling me to work harder than I have ever worked before, with uncertain rewards (because I don’t fully know why I am working, the rewards are with Him primarily). So the enemy whispers things to cause me to doubt what God has called me to do. He did this with Jesus, “If You really are the Son of God…”

Here is a great line from a song, “It’s not about me, as if You should do things my way, You alone are God, and I surrender.”

Don’t forget to pray for me and my family.

I feel stronger, but not very strong. I do not feel very strong in faith at this time. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of the Lord.” I need some more God! This spoke to me, from above and I pray to assimilate it:

What is any earthly thing before God? It is almost blasphemy to look at some earthly thing and see it as a limitation in any way before an Almighty God. I guess there are allowances because we are mere dust and our faith is weak. However, how frustrated was Jesus with our lack of faith while He was on earth? “How long have I been with you and still you are so slow to believe?” Hebrews speaks of God not being pleased when we shrink back in unbelief. Unbelief is sin, the Bible says.

The only problem that I have is human tasks that I am to do. That really isn’t a big deal. It is step by step. It is taking hold by faith and He will do the rest, that is, whatever He wants. It is sitting in uncertainty and deciding whether or not to believe. It is believing for the next moment, and then the next.

His face. My future before Him.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:20 PM | 2 comments

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Forward to School Night

Two nights ago was “Back to School Night.” My husband and I ran into old friends. However, my husband had never actually met them. I knew them. From before. When I went to my old church.

They (I’ll call them the Smiths – they are the Smiths!) knew me from when I used to go to church alone. My husband had never attended for 150 years.

As I introduced Mr. and Mrs. Smith to my husband and we were talking about the kids activities and this and that you, you just kind of see their minds thinking, or trying to think and figure things out.

I wanted to exclaim, “God has done a new thing – well, He did what He said He was going to do!” (Only took about 20 years.)

Looking back over the years, despite the great difficulties and heartache, God never let go even when it didn’t look like God was in control. Now, He brought us to a new land and there was no divorce, separation, bankruptcy, arrests or firings! Like birth pangs of a baby. No damage done. Just a pretty baby. His baby. We are His project and I give myself entirely to anything that He, my faithful God and King wants to do with and through me. I just want to worship at His feet and enter in to the eternal life – which is to know Him and partake in the life of Christ through faith.

The Lord used to encourage me, day after day and month after month and year after year that the Lord was going to bring Brad in, that Brad was included in His plan. I used to recited the Psalm to Him that cried, “How long, oh Lord, how long.” (Till I’m ready baking my cake – “You are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians).” – I am His cake – don’t rush a masterpiece! – I am just ordinary but have an extraordinary God, which is what is special.)

The amazing thing about our family now is the level of peace that is here. Perfect? No, not that. Problems, yeah. It is just that I forget about them. “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in” – not yet but in God’s faithfulness that is where He wants me to be and is bringing me to one day, at least on my death bed, Lord willing.

Even with my work God has been faithful. There was a time it seemed that I couldn’t do anything “successful” there that I wanted to do. I had ideas and tried to implement them and – zap – no; no go. Anyway, that is changed also. And His plans were so much bigger and more seamless and great and fun and EASY than mine.

Yesterday the Lord spoke to me in a great way. I was listening to a Greg Laurie CD from a conference I went to recently at Precepts Ministries in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is what the CD said, citing a verse:

“ ‘The Lord cause His countenance to shine upon you.’ Countenance means to look to see, to know, to understand, to be interested it, to be watchful of and to pay full and undivided attention. That is what the Lord does for you.”

This was such a blessing because often times I am lonely at work and working these days. I realize that a lot of my pride problem stemmed from just a hunger and an ache to want to be paid attention to. God Himself is the perfect healer as He fills me up specifically with that which is lacking.

So, anyway, I got to work and I opened up my Oswald Chambers book, “My Utmost for His Highest.” I flipped to any “random” page. This is what is said, (approximately) on about Nov 14 devotional page: “Just as a servant’s eyes are riveted to his master, likewise we need to have our focus and attention onto God. This is how we come to know His CONTENENCE and how He reveals Himself to us.”

What a blessing. God speaks personally to me. He is a minister and a wonderful counselor. Rather, The Wonderful Counselor.

So I wrote out the two things – the one from the CD and the other from the book and I drew arrows between the two and I taped it up where I could see it – on my computer monitor. God puts His countenance and focus upon me, being ever watchful and I put my attention upon Him as my Lord and He puts His countenance upon me and reveals Himself to me.

Well, today is Saturday. For me is it the start of another week of ADVENTURE!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:19 AM | 8 comments

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Part 2

Well, Check out my blog from yesterday. This is an update, a part two.

Earlier today I got into a groove of condemning the “sinners” whom I hung out with Friday night. I was really upset that the leader was, well, acting according to the ways of the world.

By the late of the day today, I came to the realization that God does not want me to hold these sins against them but to move on in love. It reminds me of other times in my life – oh yeah, like when Romans chapter 2 totally convicted me. Like who are you, oh man, to condemn those ignorant Gentiles when you know better and do the same thing in your heart? Yeah, that was the message that God taught me in 1987 or so, again, in Philadelphia, the first time I read Romans I think. I was busy condemning my husband at the time. God had to show me over many years that I was not to condemn him but to love him and not worry about much else. I wasn’t sinning by loving a sinner; it was what God wanted me to do. That was a big long and difficult lesson actually. Taught me a lot about God - and me. So easy to become self-righteous (at least for me).

I am glad that I am not learning today the EXACT same message, but it is a sort of spin-off on the same message, but in another context. When Jonah was to go to Nineveh he couldn’t believe, or accept really, the reality that God forgave those people. When Moses stuck the rock twice, he wasn’t supposed to do that. Sometimes it is hard to accept the grace of God. Well, it does defy common sense, and seems kind of unreasonable.

Yesterday when I was crying about the sin of us (the hospital administration) and realizing the predicament that we are in, that it is unreasonable, according to common sense, that God would bless our hospital when the leaders have the sin of folly, it was as soon as I saw our sin and the unreasonableness of God’s blessing, God showed me through His word that He has heard my cry. He is going to bless our hospital because like in Chronicles, I think chapter 20 something when Josiah mourned for the sin and was tender that God had mercy. God let me know that He is merciful, that He is going to bless us – even though, yeah, it is not in keeping with the consequences of our actions.

Yet, it only took a few hours to get stuck back in condemning instead of thanking God for His rich act of mercy. A few hours to move to the place of trying to work to please God, of becoming judgmental when, how else are sinful people supposed to act?

There was a spiritual warfare in all of this. But I think that it has past, by the blood and sufficiency of resting in Jesus and His blood alone.

I can go back to work and work with those people and love them and look past what we all do naturally in our flesh and folly, all the while praying, waiting and expecting and moving towards the high calling of Christ. Of being an example of the grace of God while living a distinctively different life.

Pray for me!

Thank God for His indescribable gift!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 10:16 PM | 3 comments

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Is this just another day?

I am filled with such desire that I have – that I want to get it out on this blog. I want to shout in the streets and down the hall of the hospital and I want to call people up on their cell phones. But no. I am going to show patience on one hand on and on the other to fight the fight of faith.

Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course,” and what lied ahead of him was a crown, not only for him but for all who loves His appearing.

“But I know Whom I have believed, and I persuaded that He is able to protect that which I have entrusted to Him against that day.” I love that verse! The Lord first gave that to me in medical school. My old Pastor Bob Hoekstra said that it his sermon that I heard after I moved to Philadelphia, while listening to tape while walking my dogs. I heard that verse and played it again and again and hoped and believed that it was true for me. Because for me it was not clear whether I would make it or not - if I was going to become a doctor or not. But what do you know, God uses the foolish and the weak things of this world to profound the wise, and He continues to use me in a way that is similar this day.

At the hospital people did not initially think of me as a Medical Director. But I am being used as a very good Medical Director because it is not me who is successful or working but Christ in me. Paul said something to the effect as this: “For unto me this grace has been given (that I may preach the gospel) and I have worked harder than all the other apostles, yet not I but the grace of God that is in me."

This past week and weeks has been so intense with the problems of the hospital. “Whom the Lord loves He chastens,” and I think that it has to do with hospitals also. Yesterday cumulated with an intense session by government surveyors, which went … okay, but not that good but not bad either and I guess things are okay, but there is still more (unexpected) waiting to occur.

I was feeling a little out of sorts and got to talk and pray with my friend Marilyn Friday at 4:30 PM, as just the right time, who helped me to become re-established in God at that time. Then last night there was a dinner of sorts at a sports bar for the upper management people and I thought that I was ready for that. But it was so difficult really.

This morning I know I was out of sorts again. I cried (literally) unto the Lord as I have been doing for weeks now regarding our sin and the sin of our hospital and the leaders and it just struck me as terribly sad and so fully reasonable that there would be a problem with the blessing of God upon this sinful people. The people at the upper management hospital are not particularly more sinful, per say, than just regular people. They are just of the world. People who cheapen God’s creation by being carried away by their lusts. But for the grace of God go I as well.

So anyway, God was so beautiful to me this morning and gave me a promise from His Word right away. Psalm 40:1 says that “I waited patiently for the Lord and He turned to me and heard my cry.”

God is so personal and merciful and He was very specific in the manner that He showed me that this verse was for me and the hospital. His mercy triumphs over judgment. He longs to be merciful but our sins have separated us from Him. Well, while I was sad and broken about our plight of the hospital and seeing the unreasonableness that God would bless us and God reached down and declared that He will bless us. I am so thankful that my God is alive and personal! It remineded me of the pride filled man and the man who knew he was wretched as they prayed for God's mercy, and He heard the man who cried out for mercy and who saw his sin.

Today I felt quite drained, yet very motivated to work at hospital things, like a fire burns in me. A passion is in me to move things into correction where there is error, to take advantage of God’s grace and moving, to tap into what God Himself is doing, to be His workmanship, to count everything as loss because of the excellency of knowing Christ my Lord.

This morning I was thinking about my role with the hospital and my role in past years with my husband and children, and although I have always wanted to be a leader, and I guess I am an (unexpected) leader, really, I am an intercessor. That is the role that I think best describes my life in Christ. To feel the pull of something that is not right and to go to God and sit there with Him and wait in pain until things are put right.

I can not wait to go to heaven. Today is a hard day. It is hard because of several reasons. First, I miss my family who are away and whom I have been called away from too often while God is doing His own other thing through them without my apparent help of needing to be constantly present, and that is a pressure. I have a pressure from some reports that are late that I am to dictate. I have other pressures that are day to day. Currently I have a pressure that I want to think up and write out big reports about where our hospital needs to go next. That is what I intend and desire to do over the next four hours. I am writing this blog first because I am trying to get these things off of my chest and to burn off some of this energy, maybe then “tone” won’t come in my email reports.

I am not angry towards my co-workers in leadership, but disappointed. Also it is difficult for me because where my boss and I had been like one on so many fronts, we are not one when it comes to what I think is an appropriate example of leadership in socializing. You know, there are things of the world that are stupid and unnecessary and I hope never to copy those habits and copying them are unnecessary. Again, there was not some significant sin really. Just worldly folly. It is so frustrating.

“Labor to show yourself approved unto God, a worker that need not be ashamed.”

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 3:31 PM | 2 comments