Personal Lessons - Knowledge Based on Experience

Apr. 23, 2018

Unfortunately, the Constitution of the United States has fallen on the same demanding times as God’s Holy Bible. People learn about it. They quote it. They reference it. They defend it. They demand it. And, they deem themselves experts in its content.

When I was in seminary, we had a professor with a Doctorate’s degree that used to say, “Unless you know what the bible meant at the time it was written, you will not know what the bible means today.” Wise words; some of the wisest I’ve heard. I am beginning to realize the same philosophy holds true when it comes to our Constitution.

Don’t dare try to tell anyone what they believe the bible teaches is not at all what the bible means. Friendships end, churches split, pastors quit, and members exit if what they want to hear the bible say isn’t what is being taught or preached. You see, if I’ve attended a bible study and someone I trust tells me the bible says something – then, that is EXACTLY what the bible says. I can tell you EXACTLY what the bible means based on what I want it to say to me. Just ask me. I’m an expert.

I am always amazed how those who know the least about the bible seem to believe they support its teachings the most. I am also amazed at the number of Americans who reference the Constitution despite never reading it. They’ve heard somewhere from somebody they trust EXACTLY what the Constitution says, and they can recite EXACTLY what they think the Constitution says. They are experts. Just ask them.

I think we need to be honest. None of us are experts. We may be know-it-alls, but we are not experts. So, I encourage all of us (myself, included) to stop quoting, referencing, defending and demanding that our way be deemed the only way to look at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Quite frankly, we cannot know what the Constitution meant at the time it was written by trying to mold it (by force) to fit our current society.

One of my favorite sayings is that I can’t wait until my Father gets home to set His children straight. I also can’t wait until I meet the authors of the Constitution. I want to ask them if they meant to say assault weapons and unlimited gun ownership was part of their idea of the right to bear arms. I also want them to clarify “well regulated.” I’m going to personally ask George Washington to explain what he meant by the word “sufficient” when discussing this well-regulated militia.

I suspect the authors are the experts. Kind of like God and His word, don’t you think? Get ready - all of our Constitutional experts who have never taken a single law class will share their expertise now <wink>. Ready, set, go!

Apr. 19, 2018

My grandparents were married forever. We celebrated their 50th anniversary prior to their deaths. There were several anniversaries past the 50th one. We just stopped counting and celebrated with greeting cards as they requested.

My parents married in 1949. They stayed married. Apparently, that’s how marriage used to work. You got married and you stayed married. They married when my Mom was 15 and my Daddy was 17. Getting married and having children were important life goals and a priority as my parents hit their teen years. Their early marriage was normal at the time. Their commitment to remain married is admirable anytime.

My husband and I married in 1977. We are still going strong. I don’t predict a divorce after all these years. Tommy says, “It’s cheaper to keep her.” He’s just kidding. Or is he?

I am not sharing this information to brag. I certainly have no intention of making anyone feel badly if they’ve experienced a divorce or haven’t had much luck in marriage. I am sharing the information to admit I’ve never had to survive a hostile home environment. I am not a child of divorce.  My life has been stable. For the most part, my life has been pleasant. Again, I’m not bragging. I’m making a point – or at least hoping to make a point.

The state of our country makes me feel like a child being brought up in a hostile home. I do not feel secure. Stability seems shaky. I’m tired of the yelling. I’m tired of the name calling. I’m tired of the blame game. I’m tired of one side asking me to reject the opposing side, or to believe everyone in the world is a liar; except for one.

I’m tired. I feel like a frightened little girl who just wants her parents to get along. I feel like a little girl that simply wants to exist in a happy home. I’m tired of the bickering, lying, feuding, and hatefulness. I’m tired of it. I want it to stop.

As with our families of origin, our health and happiness are dependent on our environment. People are mad. They’re sad. They’re frustrated. They’re anxious and nervous. I must tell you, folks, I don’t think our national family is showing any signs of commitment or unity to one another. I think division rules the roost.

My prayer is that the people in charge, those leading our country, will stop thinking about themselves and remember the ones they lead. When you run to lead, you need to lead; not destroy. Dear Lawmakers, please learn to get along or get a divorce. Your children cannot take it anymore!

If you need counseling, get it. If you need the services of a mediator, enlist one. Otherwise, grow up and lead. Our house is falling apart, and it isn’t fair to this family we call our country.

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:19

Stop with the lip service and SERVE, ppppllllleeeeeaaaaazzzzzeeee!

Apr. 18, 2018

April 21, 2018 - I wrote this blog a few days ago. I had some backlash from it, which I have grown accustomed to in my writing career. My key goals in life are to a) be obedient to my Lord, b) make the most of every teachable moment, and c) encourage people to think - not only think, but to learn to say, "Hmmmm...I never thought of it that way before."

I am a person who typically sides with the "underdog." It's just how I am wired. I'm also a person that was brought up in a home by a father who lived in the 1930's through the 1950's with a black child/teen/man as his very bestfriend. My grandparents and my dad were physically threatened and socially ostercized for the friendship. My dad taught his children that skin color doesn't matter. God sees the soul of every person.

With that said, I want to thank my friends of color (I hate that term. I wish I could just say "a few friends.") for sharing their insight with me privately. I've never understood how we want equality, but we still insist on defining people by color. Anyhow, I want to thank a few friends who were willing to allow me to ask some really tough questions openly in order to see what I was missing with the Starbucks situation.

Here is what I've gathered from people of every color - there was a mistake made in the beginning by two people assuming it is okay to sit in a place of business without making a purchase, even when asked/encouraged to and despite signs being posted. There is also something wrong with a manager that felt calling the police was the only solution, whether the manager felt "pushed" or not. There is something wrong that despite the first mistake and the last mistake, all of us formed an opinion not knowing the middle. As one friend said to me, "We don't know how the two men acted towards the manager. We weren't there." Oh, by the way - that friend was a man of color.

The point of this blog is to say that we must stop making big deals out of non-issues so that we can focus on the real issues. Do Black Lives Matter? Absolutely - 100%. Is it sad that two men went to Starbucks for a meeting and ended up handcuffed and hauled away? Absolutely, but I will not give that decision a 100% distaste rating. Because, I do not know what happened in the middle of the story. Do you?

I am reposting this blog because I was led to post it in the first place. If you are one of the ones who contacted me privately to say I shouldn't be arguing, I'm sorry. I don't think I am. I think quite the opposite. Let's decide when to argue, why to argue, and what constitutes simple conversation as opposed to arguing. Shall we?  Here's the original blog. Instead of making this about race, can we at least be willing to look at it from the issue of behavior and choices? Thank you.

"I've struggled with writing this blog. I can hear some of you now rolling your eyes. After all, I'm known for sharing my opinion and not holding back.

I struggle daily with the verses in the Bible that talk about meekness and gentleness. The verses that talk about not telling everything you know or saying everything you think.

That's why Barbara Bush inspires me. "The Enforcer" didn't hold back. She was, however, a respecter of differing views.

I'm a 60-year-old Caucasian female who was not allowed to use the bathroom at Starbucks. It was a little over a year ago when we were in New York City. If you know anything about New York City, you know that the public restrooms are in short supply. I suspect the population outgrew the sewer system. But, that's enough about that; I will not elaborate. I will share that the circumstances in New York City are at least better than in Mexico or Israel.

Moving on...

I entered a Starbucks in New York City to use their restroom facilities. There were signs posted everywhere that said, "Restroom for Customers Only." I’m going to be a real troublemaker now by sharing I have seen the same sign at other places in a variety of businesses throughout our country and the world.

Personally, I would never enter a place of business expecting them to serve as a meeting place or pit stop without making a purchase. But, that’s just me.

Back to the bathroom story, because I know you are on the edge of your seat... I entered the Starbucks, read the sign, and guess what? I bought something. That is why they are in business (to sell things). Once I followed the rule, I suddenly became a customer! Then, I used their bathroom.

Oh, by the way, I don't drink coffee. I only meet people at Starbucks when I'm willing to drink their tea. It's called capitalism and courtesy. It's called common sense."

Apr. 17, 2018

My heart is sad. Mrs. Barbara Bush made a very brave decision to stop any medical intervention and to spend her final days with her family instead. While I realize she is advanced in years, a person must have great faith to say, “I am ready, and I am okay.”

George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush represent my most favorite years in our country and in the White House. These people got it. They truly got it.

They were community advocates. I didn’t agree with every policy decision the older President Bush made, but I always knew he made decisions based on prayer. Real prayer. Not a pretend political prayer. The Bush’s were the “Real McCoy.” They weren’t into show business, manipulation, drama or theatrics. They entered the White House ready to serve and exited with strength and dignity.

The Clintons were upfront sharing that the transition from older Bush to Bill Clinton was paved in grace. While the two families had very different strategies, opinions, and feelings on social issues they moved forward in the best interest of the country.

Candidates, elected officials, and their spouses use well-trained writers to relay their message. Skilled writers are taught to use words to their advantage. Savvy political speech writers are taught how to toss in certain words to influence certain voters. I never felt the Bush’s speeches were scripted. They spoke from the heart. I believe even the “read my lips” comment came from President Bush’s heart. He meant what he said at the time. They are perfect examples that people in the White House must be adaptable remembering they represent all Americans. A President must make decisions that are best for the common good; even if they upset their base.

Christians are being courted and purchased just by the words a candidate or elected official throws into everyday speeches. “Buzz words,” or key words are incorporated that are designed to perk the ears of the listener. Campaign strategists work well with speech writers when targeting a certain focus group of voters. Words like: “Prayer,” “pray,” “pro-life,” “bible,” “bible study,” “evangelical,” “witness,” “scripture,” “church,” “worship,” “homosexuality,” and “Israel,” are just a few of the words speech writers are asked to include in speeches in an attempt to capture the attention of the Christian community. Studies indicate that it works.

I never felt bought by the President George H.W. Bush or Mrs. Barbara Bush. I did not agree with President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. I took it very personally since I am a military mama. I wrote the younger President Bush every single day asking him not to send American soldiers into another Vietnam. He didn’t listen. We went in. My son endured multiple deployments. I wish younger President Bush would have listened to someone besides those pushing for violence and for war. I know…. I know…water under the bridge.

I’m not convinced politics will ever recover in America. Sadly, it really doesn’t matter what your outward witness says anymore. At one time, lifestyle spoke volumes. Now, the speech writer has more of an influence on the public than does the candidate themselves. How do I know? I research candidates and their speech writers. I have a son that taught Communications in Politics at the university level and he helped me understand research, data, findings, and outcome.

Besides that, the bible tells me so.

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our LORD Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Romans 16:17-18

Apr. 16, 2018

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

God never moves out. He is a permanent fixture in the Universe and in life. God was; God is; and, God will always be. If life, people, professors, doubt, or circumstances convince us otherwise, we lose faith. Faith is a terrible thing to lose. Losing faith means we move away from God. However, God never moves away from us. He may turn His head, but He doesn't remove His presence.

I can think of people in my life that were once faithful, vibrant Christians. Through a variety of circumstances or false teachings, they abandoned their faith. I believe the bible teaches that we may shun God, but if we’ve asked Jesus into our hearts, God never abandons us. We do not become His enemies. We become His estranged children.

Let’s suppose that you and I were once Christians and now our lives are full of doubt. Let’s suppose that, regardless of how we ended up here, we simply stopped believing in God. We stopped praying. We stopped attending church. We removed ourselves from Christian influence. We feel so far away from God that His involvement in our life is a distant memory.

What now?

We have two courses of action when we realize we’ve moved away from God:

First, we come home. We acknowledge our rebellion. We do not make excuses. We do not blame anyone or anything. We simply say to God, “I know You are there, I just don’t feel it right now.”

Once we draw near to God with a sincere and humbled heart, He moves in us by stirring our spirit. He was always there. We were not receptive to His presence in us. It’s called a rededication of our faith. Turning back to God is called, “repentance.” There cannot be forgiveness without repentance. There cannot be a fresh start without a rededication.

It could be that someone had a hand in leading us astray. While our moving away from God isn’t their fault, we must acknowledge to them that we can no longer deny God. At that point, the decision to continue a relationship with us is up to the unbelieving person. If someone doesn’t love and accept you in your faith, they don’t really love and accept you.

Secondly, we can continue our self-made path of moving farther away from God. What happens then? I still believe the bible teaches that God will never un-love us. He does not un-save us. He does allow us to choose our path to travel. The first path restores our relationship with Him. The second path doesn’t lead to our eternal death if Jesus does indeed live in our hearts. Again, HE does not move out. The second path takes us to a Plan B existence for our life that is helpless and hopeless. We can keep running from Him. He simply stands at the door of our hearts and whispers, “Child, come home.”

Here’s the most important question I can ever ask: “Have you invited Christ into your heart the first time?” If not, He can’t move in. If you have, He never left you and never will.

Come home.