Friday, March 16, 2018

Redeemed

Psalm 49:7-8
“No man can by any means redeem his brother.  Or give to God a ransom for him.  For the redemption of his soul is costly.”

It is an amazing thing when someone comes to faith in God.  Last night I got to witness my brother in-law give his life to Jesus.  His life was redeemed.  The ransom for his soul was paid by Jesus long ago, but yesterday he was set free.


My brother in-law was in darkness.  He knows his life was full of darkness and demonic presence.  He has been hearing about Jesus for years and knew that if he ever decided to become a follower that he would do it completely, not half heartedly.  He finally saw that he needed Jesus.  So yesterday he prayed a beautiful prayer acknowledging his need to get rid of the darkness in his life and knowing he can’t do it on his own.  Jesus filled his life.  My brother in-law said he felt something leave.  It was the darkness.  Jesus has filled his life with light.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

One More Year

As I was driving home today in the beautiful Southern California December weather, I saw a kid on a bike.  It just hit me that Micah has only owned a bike for a few months when he was in second grade.  I felt sad.  I know he knows how to ride a bike because apparently you never forget how to ride a bike.  But I would feel a bit nervous if he road on the busy roads here.  Then I was thinking how he has never had a yard to play in.  He has hardly had an outside childhood.

And after I thought about that I realized that he has only one more year of childhood.  Well, he has only one more year of school anyway.  And really it is a year and a half.  But in my sad mood it seemed like just a year.  It doesn't seem that long ago that he was in second grade.  It was 9 years ago!  How does that happen.

Anyway, I drove on thinking my sad thoughts and drinking my Dr. Pepper and realized I have to soak in all my days with Micah.  I have to snuggle with him as much as I can.  Soon he will be out of our house and going to college or something and I won't get to snuggle with him.  So today, I will snuggle (and tomorrow and the next tomorrow and so on and so on).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Job

I started a new job this week.  I still work for the BBB store but now a new location and a new title.  I am the Customer Service Lead.  I will be responsible for all the training of new hires and keeping everyone up to date on the product training.  I also will be responsible for the Bridal Registry and college stuff.

I have had two days so far of training.  I think I will like this.  The thing I have to get use to is being a boss.  I'm no where near the top boss, but I am still seen as a boss.  And I get to boss people around.  The real weird thing is that one of the supervisors from my old store is now at this new store and I get to boss him around a bit.

I'm not sure yet what I will have people address me as.  Some options:  Mrs. Boss, Boss Lady, Lady Superior (which fits well with my IQ), Leslie Mother, Oh Captain my Captain, or just Leslie.

Monday, September 12, 2016

You Don't Know Me

Last week was my one year anniversary of working at BBB.  I was excited for two reasons, I would get a raise and no longer get minimum wage and I would get my review.  I knew the raise wasn't much since 20 cents is the average raise, but at least it would be more then minimum wage.  And I was excited about the review because I like to hear how great I am.  At different times I have been praised for doing well at the job so I was expecting high marks.  I also was expecting some areas where I could improve and I wanted to hear these also so I could work on them.

The day started out great.  I took my CLEP test for intro to psychology and did really well.  I was feeling very good about myself and the accomplishment.  The teacher who was taking care of the CLEP test people was shocked that I got done in just 30 minutes and then she said my score was high.  I treated myself to a Dr. Pepper on the way home and it was only 9:30 in the morning.

It was the Day of Leslie!  At work I got called into the office for my review.  I was all smiles.  So I got a copy of the review to go over with the manager.  I looked over it quickly and my smile went away.  Actually I had to keep a fake smile on my face and remain composed.  But my real smile was gone.

The questions are rated: excellent, very good, good, needs improvement, and not good.  I had all goods and 3 needs improvement.  I agreed with the three needs improvements mostly.  They are areas I can work on so that is fair.  But I was really disappointed I didn't have a single "very good".    I mean, I have been on time every day, never called out, I come in when they need help, so at least in the attendance I think I deserve a "very good".  And what about all the praises I got for being the top bridal registry?  I think that should be a "very good" rating.

The manager that was going over the review is not the one who reviewed me.  The one who reviewed me was transferred to another store.  So the guy with me was also saying that I should talk to the store manager about it because he also thought I should have higher ratings.

As I thought about it all during the rest of my shift I had to remind myself that the review isn't who I am.  It isn't even accurate.  It isn't like the reviewer watched me all the time and saw all the things I did.  But then I started to think that maybe I was delusional.  Maybe I'm not as great as I think I am.

I am usually the hardest critic on myself so it is a bummer when others see me as worse then I do.  I may come across over confident but it is all an act.  As I drove home I had to remind myself that it doesn't matter how others see me, because God sees me accurately.  He loves me.  My value doesn't come from others but from God.  And he highly values me.

My response to the review is two ways.  Sometimes I want to slack off if it just doesn't matter.  And then other times I want to improve on the areas that they mentioned.  But one thing that I know that I need to work on is how it effects me when I feel like people don't see me.  Instead I need to focus on what my heavenly father sees.  And that is the biggest lesson I can get from my review.  So in the end, it was a good day.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Duck, Duck, Goose

I went to the duck park today that is by our apartment.  I like to get out and walk a bit in the sunshine to get both exercise and vitamin D.  It is about a 15 minute walk from our apartment.  There is a pond with a small island of trees in the middle.  I enjoy watching the different birds.  And recently discovered that there are also turtles that live on the island.

This time of year is when the little ones are born.  There have been geese babies and one set of ducklings.  The geese are interesting because they are all a week or two apart in age.  So there are babies, middle schoolers, and your awkward teens.  The teens are now getting their feathers and their wings are growing.  Soon they will learn to fly.  But for now they all just float around and waddle on the grass.

The little ducks were out for a swim today without any parents.  Six baby ducks that are just a few weeks old were swimming around the pond.  I wondered if maybe their mom was the dead duck I saw in the road.  I was feeling sorry for them and wondering what would happen to them.  So I sat and watched them swim around.

One of the little ducks started swimming back the way they had come from.  He seemed to be swimming faster then the others and was gaining distance between himself and his siblings.  I watched him.  Then he started quacking his sweet, little, desperate quack.  I thought maybe his siblings would quack for him to figure out where they were and come back.  Soon, to my surprise, two ducks flew in over my head and came in for a landing by the lost baby.  It was the mom and dad.  They came around the baby and helped him head in the right direction.  They had a ways to go on their journey to get back with the other babies.  So I walked along the edge of the pond watching them go.  Then I heard another little quack.  Another baby had gotten separated from his siblings.  So the parents gathered him too and the four of them kept heading for the other four.  

I walked ahead of the ducks to see where the babies were.  The four little ones were all together.  And then a bird of some sort flew down at them.  All the little ducks ducked underwater and I was so happy that they knew how to do that.  The bird came at them again and horror of horrors, it swooped one of those babies up in his beak and flew off to eat him.

The parents and the two lost but now found babies were with them.  I wondered if the other babies were telling the parents about what happened to the missing baby.  I watched them as they all stopped near where the tragedy happened.  They swam close to the island and the bird swooped down again.  But this time the mom protected the babies defensively.  I watched them a while and thought that it is all just part of nature.  The birds need to eat (although there was a perfectly good dead duck in the road that they could have eaten).

So as I walked home I thought about what happened and tried to come up with an analogy.  I thought about parenting, about churches, schools, and then about youth groups.  The youth group analogy made the most sense.

Sometimes in youth groups you have kids that start going off in the wrong direction.  And they start demanding attention.  Most of the attention goes towards the kids who are lost.  The lessons are not as deep as they could be.  Programs are to reach out to the lost.  There are lots of games and joking around instead of training those who are ready to go deeper.  And while the attention is on those who are not doing so well, the ones who are go off on their own and are left unprepared for when a crisis hits.  And when the crisis hits you never know if one will be lost permanently.


Maybe one adult duck should have been with the group while the other parent went after the lost.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fears

I went to a ladies retreat last week.  The topic of the retreat was on fear.  I didn't really feel I had a lot of fears.  My big one was worrying that my hair was falling out and how I would look bald.  But then came Sunday.  Nothing fearful happened on Sunday, I just remembered how Sundays use to be for me.

In India I was fearful.  The roads scared me.  So driving to church on Sunday morning was sometimes too much for me.  I would skip church just so I didn't have to go in the car.  I was scared of road rage I guess.  I had seen angry people do some pretty crazy stuff.  I remember when I was driving and Micah was in the front seat and we saw a motorcycle get pushed off the road into a pile of bricks.  The motorcyclist was okay.  He got up and picked up a brick and charged for the car with his arm raised like he was going to smash the other driver with it.  I remember Micah slouching down in the seat as we watched in horror.  I remember our friend coming over with a cut face because a driver got mad at him and slugged him in the face.  I remember our first few months in India and the time a man came up to our driver and yelled at him.  I didn't want to see Steve get hurt or to have Micah see it.  So I wanted Steve to drive very calmly and cautiously.  But he didn't see my fear.  So most times we were together in the car, I was uptight.

And then there was church.  I was fearful in church.  I remember that first year in India when the church in Pakistan was attacked and several people were killed.  The church that was attacked was a church that foreigners went to.  So sometimes when tensions were high and security along with it, I would be fearful at church.  And when there was any commotions during the service my blood pressure went up.  I imagined us dropping to the floor to avoid being shot.  I would cover Micah with my body.  We went to a well known international church without security so it seemed like an easy target.

As I sat in church last Sunday I realized how unafraid I was.  I was calm.  The drive there was easy and I had no stress.  My only uneasiness is the social time after church, but I'm working on that.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Israelites Complain a Lot

Recently I read the Bible story of Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt.  I was thinking about the part where the people were grumbling about not having water and then God provided water through Moses hitting the rock.  And then not long after that (not sure how long in time it was, but in the Bible it was short) they complained about something else.  They kept saying that Moses brought them out of Egypt so that they would now die in the desert.

The people complained about Moses but in reality they were complaining about God.  I started to think about myself.  I find myself complaining about how some people have hurt me and all the life changes it has brought.  We have had to move, change jobs, leave friends, and start over in a way all because of what happened.  I start blaming people for my predicament.  I say, “If they wouldn’t have done such and such we would still have the skate park.”  Or, “If they didn’t do that, Micah wouldn’t have had to leave his friends.”  But as I saw the reality of the Israelites I realized it was exactly what I was doing.  I was complaining about what someone did but it was really what God had done.  I know that God is ultimately in control of all that happens in my life and he is the one who brought the big changes in our life.  So my complaints are actually towards God.  “God, why did you do this to us?  Why did we have to go through this?  How could you allow this to happen?”  


As I thought about all of this I again turned to God and said, “God, I trust that you are leading us to a good place.  You are moving us forward.  You are with me.  You have set me free.  You are a good God.”