Archive - Uncategorized RSS Feed

Living a Life That Speaks

My sister-in-law’s father died this week.

I didn’t really know him except for the stories and happenings that Melissa would share. I know as a child she once thought he was Santa Clause – THE Santa Clause. Not because he looked like him (he didn’t) but because it wasn’t a stretch to believe he would want to spoil all the children of the world like he lovingly spoiled her. I know she adored him.

I didn’t know William Roy Buse. But I know Melissa Buse Warner.

I know that she loves my brother in such a way that grounds him. She has supported him through job changes and moves. She is his playmate and his biggest fan. As her mother and father were happily married for many years it’s not a stretch to imagine she might have seen her father treat her mother with tenderness. That they had a marriage based on deep friendship and mutual respect. I can imagine that Roy Buse was a good husband.

I know that Melissa is a wonderful mother. She adores her children and they love her. She is fun and sweet and champions their dreams. It would be hard to imagine that she wasn’t loved by Roy. That he made her feel special, and protected and deeply cherished. I think I know that Roy Buse was a good father.

I know Melissa probably best in the way she loves God. She is a passionate woman of God and we have stories in our family about her belief in His goodness, especially when times are tough. She is fearless in her faith. It is one of things I admire most about her. It is a faith that was born in her childhood and nurtured as she became a young woman. A faith than was encouraged by her father who set an example with his dedication to God, even serving as an elder in his church. I think I know Roy Buse was a man of God.

Not all children emulate their fathers. Not all parents live lives worthy of emulation. But William Roy Buse did. I’ve seen his legacy.

May all of our lives speak so loudly of our love of God, that even those who don’t know us are able to look at where we have been and those we have touched and say “I didn’t know them, but I know they belonged to Christ”.

 

Those who are blessed….

I love Christmas.   The joyous music, the time with family and friends, decorating the house – I love it all.  I especially enjoy watching Christmas movies, specifically, the ones where hearts are changed -  Miracle on 34th Street,  It’s a Wonderful Life, Family Man, even How The Grinch Stole Christmas!  But my favorite is A Christmas Carol .

Scrooge is a miserable man.  A man who finds no joy in his possessions, or his family, or anything in his life.  But on Christmas Day, after he has been visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, he is changed.  Thrilled with his chance at a new life he has a new-found appreciation of the world.  He takes pleasure in a conversation with a young boy.  He notices the beautiful day.  The children’s choir sounds “like angels” to him and he declares it “glorious music”.  He looks forward to having dinner with his nephew.  He even enjoys making a large donation to charity.

All of these opportunities for joy had existed in the days, and even the years, before this Christmas day, but he refused to see them.  Now, though the world is no different, he sees that his life is filled with people to love and gifts to appreciate.

Now, he knows he is blessed and it changes everything.

We do the same today.  We have in our minds the way our lives should look, how our prayers should be answered, and we hold the fulfillment of our longings as the only means to our happiness.  Our focus is so narrow and our desire for control so great, that we frequently miss the joy that could be ours.  But if we open our hands and hearts to the unexpected gifts around us, we see we are already blessed.

And because we know that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, we must confess: We are blessed by the hand of God.

There’s an important side effect to realizing you are blessed by Love:  Those who know they are blessed, bless others.

The praises we offer to God fill our hearts with overflowing joy. We leak hope and love.

It doesn’t change the fact that there are trials or tragedies in this life.  But those who know they are blessed bless others by extending the gift that was given to them – Love.  We bring the Love that was poured on us by offering our support, our presence, and our prayers.   And it changes the world for the better.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge has changed so much he is well-known for embodying the spirit of Christmas.

Those of us who know we are blessed, desire for God to be known as we bless others.

Scripture References:  James 1:17; 1 John 4:8

A letter to my teenage niece……

When my brother’s oldest daughter, Bailey, turned 13, they had party to celebrate her transition from child to young woman.  It was a different kind of party – Bailey invited women in her life whom she viewed as Godly women to a blessing ceremony.  They were not to bring gifts but words that would be a blessing to Bailey ….wisdom that she could use as she moved into adulthood.  I was very honored to be asked to attend and very disappointed that I couldn’t make the party as it was in Texas.  I sent a letter for my brother to read to her.  With Bailey’s permission, I am publishing it here. 

May all of our lives be a testament to Love.

Dear Bailey,

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I received a package in the mail here in Raleigh.  It was a video tape from your parents.  You had just been born a few weeks earlier and as I had not yet seen you, they sent me a video (an old-fashioned DVD) documenting your “activities”.  I took it to work and showed it to my friends.  I was already proud of you.  It doesn’t seem possible that we should be ”here” now - with you on the brink of claiming the title of young woman.

Your next few years will go by quickly and will be filled with changes….high school, dating, college!…..and oppportunities.  You are a precious girl with a soft heart – you have already shown an interest in helping others with your sign language- and you will find, even at your young age, you have a lot to offer others.  You will also find that the friends that you have and make over these next few years will be friends the rest of your life.

As you and your friends acquire more freedom to make your own decisions, you may see people make thoughtless choices.  (We all make some!)  Sometimes they will be choices that affect their relationship with their parents and the trust they had built with them;  sometimes they will be unwise choices that affect their education;  occasionally, you will see someone make a choice that has far-reaching effects on their young lives.  Regardless of the mistake, there is always a path back to God and it may be God’s love they see in you, Bailey, that helps them see that.

My guess is you may also find yourself in situations when you feel you’re the only clear head in the room.  That happened to all of us, too.  Pray for wisdom and God will give it to you!  Don’t be afraid when you are the only one who can see the danger in  unwise choices.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and for your faith.  Don’t be afraid to do the right thing even when it is unpopular.  You’ll be rewarded for your wisdom.

If I with you at your party today, I would encourage you to remember these three things:

1)       Who you are.  More than anything else, I want you to know that you have everything you need to fulfill the purpose God has for your life.    You are loved by parents who couldn’t love you more, a family that thinks you hung the moon, and by your Creator who loves you more than we are capable of ourselves.  And He tells you-

  • I have loved you with an everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3
  • The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17.

2)      Fret Not!  This is something all of us girls in particular have to work on.  Some of us always need to have a plan ; )…..this is a good trait, but there will always be things in our life we can’t control.  There are around 100 verses in the Bible that say “Fret not”, “Fear not”, “Do not be afraid” or “Do not worry”.   He knows us and wants us to know He is in control (with a plan!).  We have to believe in what we cannot see.  And know that He is there.

  • The Lord..who created you, says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”   Isaiah 43:1
  • Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.   Psalms 37:7-8

3)       Love God and make Him the desire of your heart.  Reading your Bible and having friends you can talk about God with, helps to keep Him on your heart.

  • I pray that you may grasp…how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.   Ephesians 3:17-19

Bailey, if I were there today, I would put my hand on your sweet head, and give you this blessing in person:

 Precious Bailey Erin Warner,

First child of my brother, 

First niece of mine, 

Child of God.

Go from this place of blessing

Knowing the Lord has plans for you, Bailey.

Plans we cannot imagine, plans for good,

Plans to fulfill the unique purpose He made you for.

I pray that as you go through this life,

You rest in His unfailing love,

That you draw strength from our love, and

That your life is a testament to the power of Love.

 

With much love,

Aunt Ginger

Sometimes He Quiets the Storm……

Change is always hard.  Harder still when you’re the one who has to make the change…or be changed.

I’ve fervently prayed His mercy and grace over difficult situations, and nothing has changed.

Actually, that’s not true….. the situation hasn’t changed, but I have.

As I have prayed for guidance, I have found His words of hope pouring from my lips rather than my discontent.

In spite of prayers for respite, I have received instead a Strength that allows me to stand in the middle of chaos and find Joy in His control and a Love that soothes me.

And in the darkness of the unknown, I have longed for His Presence even more than His Power over my circumstances.

And that’s a change for the better.

Because while these trials will pass, there will be others.  There is no doubt.   And if I choose to place my hope on anything but Him, I will be swept into a whirlwind of anxiety and panic as the sand I’ve built my courage on trickles away.

And I don’t want to live like that.

It’s a hard lesson….a much-needed remodeling project of the soul where I must replace familiar but unreliable earthly crutches, with the security of His promises.

But how do you stand on something as thin as a promise?

When it’s a promise from the Word that is God  – the I AM who spoke a universe into being, spoke Life into dead legs, deaf ears, and broken hearts, and speaks still today new Hope into shattered dreams and even Joy in the middle of pain.

How can I doubt that He will speak Life into my world as well?

The promise is His presence…..that Peace that He talks about again and again.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Frankly, I’ve skipped over those portions of scripture far too often for those I found more appealing…..wanting to see how He will take care of me materially instead of spiritually.

As if my soul could be comforted and filled with a dollar and the illusion of control, instead of a Love that drenches me in grace and His Spirit that guides me to Truth.

I am loving clinging to Him, at times it seems with my every breath, even if “ Lord, help my unbelief!”   is all my heart can muster.

This has not always been my pattern.  In the past, I have panicked in the storm and made plans to take matters into my own hands.

But that was before I knew He was Good.

Before I understood that He was really interested in the details of my life…..the minutia that makes up a day and leaves you with either peace or regret at as you crawl into bed…. I used to wield whatever small power I had in order to grasp some illusion of control.  But it is “striving after the wind“.  An empty life, especially when compared to entrusting your heart to only One who has control.

Now, I’m learning.

I don’t care about the outcome as much as I care about the Source of the answer.

I don’t care about the answer as much as I desire His Presence.

I am learning not to doubt a Love that fills like only His can.

And learning to want only those things that come from His hand.

Even if it means letting the storm rage.

I’m living in Love, with Him and His Presence in my life.

And I wonder….. Would I have known this Peace and the depths of His Love, without the storm?

 

“Sometimes He calms the storm.  Other times He lets the storm rage and calms His child.”

 

Scripture References:

Romans 15:13

Philippians 4:6-7

Mark 9:24

Ecclesiastes 1:17

A Single Life

It seems only appropriate that the first entry on a blog belonging to the “Ministry Coordinator for Single Women” is about singleness.

After all, I have been single for almost 15 years, so I should know something of dealing with that label if nothing else.

SINGLE
 
I am actuallycomfortable with it, and yet it seems difficult for some of my friends to accept!

These are just a few examples of the questions/comments I’ve fielded from well-meaning friends over the years:

…..”So, you’ve been single how long?”  This is said with the same inflection one uses to ask why that virus you’ve had for three weeks hasn’t gone away.

…..”So, why do you think you’re still single?” I have many witty comebacks to this….none of which I’ve ever used.

…..I’ve had well-meaning friends tell me they were worried about me, because I’m not getting any younger.  Thank you?

…..I’ve had someone tell me that I was “really weird” for choosing not to date for five years.  Ok.

…..If I am being quizzed by a Christian the question may turn to “Do you feel called to be single?”

The truth is, being single this many years has not been my goal; following God has been.  I have not made getting married my purpose; I have looked to Him for direction for my life.

The days have gone by and the years have accumulated while I have been living the life in front of me and learning to depend on Him for everything.

Everything.

And He has made life full, and sweet.

While I don’t feel that marriage is out of the question for me, until God brings a man into my life for that purpose, I do feel called to be single – today.

So what does that mean?

It means, today, I take what I’ve been given - two incredible kids, wonderful family, friends and neighbors, a  job that I love,  just to name a few blessings - and I live this life to the fullest.  Creating a home for my children that is full of joy and traditions, today.  Having a career, today.  Nurturing fulfilling relationships with family and friends, today. Having a church home, today. Making plans for my future, today.  Cultivating interests and hobbies, today.  Bascially, having all of life that there is to have outside of a marriage relationship, today.   And trusting God with my heart and happiness.

Honestly, I believe I live a blessed life. Our home is joyful.  My life is fulfilling and full of love - from friends and family and from Him.

I think some people look at the life of a single person and see only what is obviously missing – a spouse.  When in reality, ”missing” a spouse isn’t a tragedy….missing out on a life with God is.

I am a mother.  A sister.  A daughter.  A friend.   A project manager.  A sometimes-writer-and-speaker.    A Ministry Coordinator for Single Women.

And I am single.

Not because He hasn’t blessed me, but because He has- with this life, today.

 

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  John 1:4

 

 

COMMENT ON IT….

What about you?  How do you address others’ opinions or comments about your “single” status?   (go to the top of the post and click on “comments”)

 

Page 2 of 2«12