Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ha ha God. Very funny!

I love Angels and Mortals week at work. Everyone involved gives an anonymous little treat to two people twice a week. Just something to spoil them - a present, a good deed - nice idea, huh? I love doing all that secret squirrel stuff and get a warm fuzzy glow when I spot someone enjoying something I discreetly left in their pidgeon hole. I like most people. Even those EGR (Extra Grace Required) types have good points that I can generally appreciate. But God, what WERE You thinking when You assigned me the only person out of a staff of 150 odd people that I really struggle Nice one Lord. I'll bet You had the angels rolling about on the golden paving slabs when you pulled this one out of Your hat.

Really Lord, are you SERIOUSLY asking me to do THIS?
So, I admit it, someone stung me a while back and I've avoided them ever since. So initially I wasn't too happy about being their secret angel. Smiley and Lill thought it was hilarious when they got a peek at my covert orders. Bet you were laughing too, huh God.

Ummm...does this not-liking-everyone mean I'm not a nice person? Possibly, but I prefer to go with the notion that God actually considers me important enough to take a little lesson from Him.  Maybe He can see potential in me to become someone more like Him...eventually... Well since there's still a heck of a lot of work to do, that's probably going to take a I guess training starts now.

Hey, I'm only human...good thing God's a lot bigger than me :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So this is the weekend...

The mouth of the Pike River Mine
It's been a funny old weekend. We've had a couple of extra fosties, which has kept me on my toes. I'll probably write more on that next week. It's odd sometimes how we hang out for Friday afternoons to bring in the weekend and then something bizaare can happen which throws a spanner into the whole thing. As if having a major earthquake (right where my eldest daughter lives) wasn't enough to test the resilience of our little country, an exploding mine in Greymouth has given us something else to talk to our Majestical Bestie about. As I'm writing this, up to thirty men are missing underground, with their loved ones not knowing if they're living or not, while explosive gases are delaying the rescue effort. It seems like such a copycat disaster, considering the fame of the Chilean mine...but I don't think it's deliberate.  New Zealand already has a foot in the door of the movie industry but Chile's example can offer us some hope that things just might turn out all right.

So something crazy can happen and still the weekend continues. Meanwhile, someone might tell a cracking good joke and we start laughing. It's strange having life carry on when something so awful is happening. Am I the only one who feels guilty for it? I don't think that's the way Jesus wants us to be but hey, I'm human. Major disasters take their toll emotionally and if I were to add up every catastrophe around the globe, I think it would blow my brains and yet somehow God has managed to take every bit of it onto His own shoulders. Don't ask me how - I guess that's why God is God and I'm...just human. My job is to talk to Him about it - and to keep living and loving the people in my life, which means that it's probably okay to smile and go about my usual business. Maybe that's sort of how we're made. Hitching a ride to Greymouth on Jetstar just to stand at the mouth of the mine won't help. I'm not sure sure any miner would want mine to be the first face they see after being trapped underground without food, water or Facebook for days on end. I'd probably be all hysterical and get in the way anyway. Kind of makes you feel ineffective really. But we're not totally without clout. We can pray. If you happen to be someone who doesn't really believe in this God stuff, fair enough. But even the most hardcore atheist would have to agree that it's better than doing nothing. Praying is doing SOMETHING. And in my opinion, it's doing something freaking awesome.

To be honest, I'm a terrible pray-er. I never know quite what words to use and I'm not very clued up on all that thee and thou stuff. Thankfully, God doesn't expect me to go all Shakespearean on Him. Any way that I can find to talk with Him is just fine.

Yup, it's been a funny sort of weekend. As our pastor puts it, we had a "good dunking" at church this morning, which almost sounds like what they used to do to witches a few hundred years ago. Mind you, the beautiful young woman being baptised is the furthest thing from a witch, and our pastor, to the best of my knowledge, is nothing like a Salem executioner. Another cool thing about the baptism is that while Beloved went up the front with the kids so they could have a poolside view, I was able to sneak a couple of Tic Tacs in my mouth without having to share with the whole family. I'm thinking that the good Lord was right in that tank of water smiling with joy as He watched His little girl, the apple of His eye, get dunked this morning. And even at the same time, I think He was cuddling up to all those frightened and distraught people in the South Island and feeling every bit of anxiety that they feel. That's not an easy concept for little human me to get my tiny wee head around. So I'm glad that God is God and I'm...just me.
UPDATE 24th November 2010: Sadly at about 2:30pm today, five days after the initial explosion and collapse, there was an even bigger explosion at the mine. It's now believed that no-one could havepossibly survived it. 29 men have lost their lives. The youngest had only just turned 17. 
Early Miner's Candle

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank you Uncle Arthur

My 6 year old, C, is a deep thinker. Today she asked me "How did God get born?", which pretty much amounts to that age old question that has bugged mankind for thousands of years: "Who made God?".
I thought I had an answer that would satisfy most normal kids who still watch Kidzone on telly, "Well, Jesus was born and Mary was His Mum". It didn't satisfy her.
"But before then. How was GOD born? Jesus' Dad?"
I think she gave up on me so she came up with a plan "I'll type it into the computer."
She disappeared downstairs for a while. Eventually she ran back up, out of breath with excitement.
"Mum, you have to carry ALL my Bibles downstairs! I have to show you something!"
She was doing her best to be patient with me but decided the only way to get me to understand was to grab my arm and drag me into her room, where I found all ten volumes of Arthur S Maxwell's "The Bible Story" spread out on her bed. She commissioned me to carry all ten of the books the computer. So that's what had been keeping her quiet for so long. My clever 6 year old had followed her mum's example and when she couldn't find a satisfactory answer to her question she decided to ask Mr Google. She can type? I didn't know that. Smart kid! On screen was a powerpoint display with some of the very same pictures featured in her Bible Story books. Don't ask me how she'd come up with that!
C has this picture on her bedroom wall. We like to pretend that the children with our Bestie are members of our family. That's C, sitting on His lap, M is sitting on the grass, Zeeb is wearing the blue dress and (since our family is pretty big at times) everyone else must be playing hide and seek behind the lillies.

I tried to help C find the answer to her question and asked Mr Google myself but I didn't come up with anything nearly as good - just a lot of dry, theological ramblings that I didn't understand. In the end I think I mumbled something to C about God always being there right from before time even began. I'm just not too bright on heavy doctrinal stuff - I just believe what I know in my heart and the guts of that (oooh, lots of organs and body parts being mentioned now!) is that Jesus thinks I'm something special and because I'm His kid, that's good enough for me. Somehow my rambling seemed enough for her and she was delighted to watch the powerpoint display Mr Google had given her, but if anybody can come up with something better please post it in the comments below and I'll pass it on to her. Or maybe one day C will come up with the answer herself and she'll tell me - then I can pass it on to you.

As for Arthur S Maxwell - aka Uncle Arthur - he's the one who taught me about Jesus in the first place. Somewhere along the line, my mum had bought the set of books and when I was about 11 years old, with a smidge of Methodist Sunday School under my belt, I took it upon myself to read every single volume. The books were written in the 1950s and were old fashioned even for the 1970s, but the story in the books is relevant and life changing to any heart that's open to it. The illustrations are gorgeous too.
Note: Not actual picture of actual "Me" reading actual Bible Story books. Cute though, eh?

So thanks Uncle Arthur for telling me all the stuff I needed to know when I was 11. I don't know where I'd be today without you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hang In There

Now that the dust has settled with one of our fosties moving on, I've taken a moment to reflect. Just hours before life got turned upside down - umm...actually, it was desks being turned upside down but I wasn't to know that it was happening at the time - I was our having lunch with a friend.

Shhhh! Don't tell those that had to deal with our boy while he was running amok. It was my day off work and I was blissfully unaware of what was happening.

Anyway, I was having lunch with a friend at a local shopping mall. We were wandering around some of the shops and my friend bought a card for my wallet. She really is a sweetie. Althought I read it at the time, the words didn't really sink in until I needed them to. It was so well-timed and significant that I thought I'd pop the card's message on here:

"Hang In There
If you get discouraged, remember I am thinking of you...believing in you...and hoping you know that no matter how big a problem seems or how hopeless you feel, you are never alone, as God's grace is only one request away!"

The first thing I love about it is the use of ellipses (I think that's what they're called). I have a fondness for you can see. I used

Another cool thing about the card is that at the very moment my friend innocently placed it into my hand, our fostie was creating havoc in his classroom, which ultimately resulted in the previous sad post ("Please Say Amen"). I've just happened to catch sight of that card my wallet a few times during the last couple of weeks and it's been like a gentle pat on the shoulder (if I was a more demonstrative person I'd say a hug, but I'm not into all that touchy, feely stuff).  I'll be meeting my friend for a much-needed banana split tonight so I really must tell her that she has fabulous timing.  Do you suppose God gave her a nudge to get it for me? Am I really that special? It's nice to know that He knew what was happening in Room 12 at G Intermediate School, even though we didn't have a clue at the time.  I guess He really is in control. Things didn't turn out the way I would have planned but I'm not in charge of this messy world - thankfully - so I'm just going to hand it over the my Majestic Bestie and let Him take care of things.