Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ready To Rumble

Growing all the time...or in all honesty...trying to grow. As God works in each of us, we are transformed from glory to glory. It doesn't come in big leaps, and I know it is a miracle for me that growth even comes in small baby steps in my life.

I have been struggling lately with my love walk. I have no problem loving the people that love me. I have no problem loving the people who, by my standards, act right and play by the rules. I stumble (more like fall flat on my face) when the Holy Spirit gives me that "nudge" and tells me that I also must love the "unlovely".

I have been really tempted lately to let the former Russ emerge and set some things straight. There are a few folks from my parents' former church that I think are much deserving of a good-old "right hand of Christian fellowship"! It pains me to see what has happened there and how the enemy has set up shop. In that church, God has been replaced with a thirst for power, manipulation, and strife. Check out Psalm 140 and you'll get an idea.

I am still on the mailing list to receive their newsletter; and every time I see it in my mailbox, I cringe. My first inclination is to send the newsletter back to them with a fiery diatribe reflecting just what I think of what they have done to my mom. Then that pesky growth thing shows up again.

God reminds me that the battle belongs to Him. He tells me that He can actually handle it on His own. My job is to pray for them; not hate them. Imagine.

He says that He is the Vindicator. He is sovreign. My job is to not only pray for them, not only to not hate them...but to LOVE them! What? I have always been willing to fight, fight, fight for what I believe in. I would always fight against injustice. I would fight to prove a point. God tells me to fight with love.

1 Corinthians 5:1&2 says "Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. AND WALK IN LOVE as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God."

Conviction with a capital "C".

It's not easy to sit and watch...waiting. I used to think that was being passive. Now, if I am watching and waiting in prayer and in love...well, I think that is the most aggresive warfare available.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Wow! The green velvet "holiday" dress was always one of Beth's favorites, and I always loved seeing her in it. That dress looked good on its own, but my wife gave it LIFE!
I discovered this picture of us at her company's Christmas party in 2004...just two months before her death. The thing is this...I wasn't looking through pictures. I came across a file on the computer that Beth had and I accidentally opened it. It was a picture file of lots of photos from this Christmas party.
That memory jolt sent me spiraling. I discovered it Monday night, and have not really slept since. It's all part of grieving; it's natural, I know. The "unexpected waves" such as this are the toughest for me.
I want part of this blog to be about my journey since Beth's death. It helps me to share my thoughts and memories of her, but I believe it can help us all learn. I do talk a lot about her, and I talk a lot about losing her because it is a huge part of who I am, where I am, and my life experience.
My emotions Monday were really just right there at the surface...ready to rise up and make themselves visible! I had been praying for Lisa Austin (see previous post), and visiting her carepages website. This in turn prompted me to look at the CaringBridge website that my sister had established while Beth was in the hospital. Just reading the updates and prayers made it seem in "real time" all over again. I'm glad that site is still up so I can read was just different this week.
See...reminders are always there.
A house full of memories...but not able to make new ones with Beth.
Lingering medical bills...but not a healthy Beth alive today.
Lots of pictures...but memories only...not Beth.
Those reminders I get "accustomed" to having around as part of my daily life. Through the strength I find in Christ, I can work through those. It's the "new discoveries" that wreck me.
It's the birthday card she gave me...which I saved...which I recently found in a drawer.
It's her eyeglasses I put away after she died...which I came across recently.
It's the memory of her in that beautiful green velvet dress.
I don't mean to be a "downer". It's life. Not every day is so bad. I have wonderful days, too; and I know I will have many ahead of me. Maybe sharing this helps me. Maybe sharing this will help you know me better. Maybe sharing this will help us all understand how to help others in similar circumstances.
Just had to share.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I have never had the privilege of meeting Lisa Austin, and it has been years since I have seen her husband, Bobby; but I wanted to send a request out to you all to be praying for them. Lisa was diagnosed about three weeks ago with breast cancer. Please take the time to visit to read what has been going on in their journey to this point. Her page name is: lisaausinjourney. Bobby inadvertently left out the "t" in their last name. Once on the page, you can read updates, see photos of their family, and leave a message for them.

Bobby and I were born just hours apart in Prebyterian Hospital in Charlotte. Our fathers even worked for the same company! Even though Bobby and I never kept in touch, our families have been connected literally my entire life.

It was Bobby's father, Bob, who was the first one with me at the hospital when Beth suffered her heart attack. My dad had called him to let him know what had happened and that it would take them (Mom and Dad) several hours to make it to Cary. I think Bob got to the hospital before we did in the ambulance!

He sat with me in the emergency room and in the waiting room, and he prayed and prayed and consoled and comforted me, and then he would pray some more. I will NEVER forget that. I have no idea what I would have done without his calming presence there by my side.

So now we surround this family in the midst of this storm. They are no strangers to a battle. Bobby fought leukemia as a young boy. The battle indeed belongs to the Lord.

So, I implore you to pray for this family. I know you will.

Bobby included this in one of his posts on the site:

He referenced Isaiah 43, and wrote "May our gracious Lord be glorified as we walk the steps He has set before us. We know that He walks them as well."


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wanting Something I Already Have

I love God's patience. Obvioulsy, God has many, many characteristics, but I always lean so heavily on His patience with me! As I grow (from glory to glory) in my life with Christ, the Holy Spirit works to transform me...plucking and pruning and fine-tuning all along the way.

I so enjoy and thrive in my prayer life with God, but He is always there reminding me to "come up higher". The Holy Spirit will "nudge" me...sometimes gently...sometimes not so gently. Patience will reign, and then I need a good "kick".

Now I don't subscribe to any set "rules" or outlines in my prayers. It is just as God leads me. Sometimes, the prayers are lengthy, sometimes they are brief; and sometimes the prayer consists of a few groans, "ugggh's", and "Father...Help Me's"! I just pray until we are done!

Lately, God has really been teaching me to be mindful of the words I use when I speak with Him. Let me explain:

I can get caught up in praying, "God, give me your peace" or "God, be with me". God has very boldly spoken to my heart, and said..."Why don't you pray that you will BE AWARE of my peace and BE AWARE that I am ALWAYS with you!"

1 John 4:15 > "Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he (abides, lives, makes his home) in God."

God lives in ME. I had been praying for peace that was already mine.

God lives in ME. I had been praying for God to be with me when He is ALWAYS with me.

God lives in ME. I had been praying for things that I already have through the power of Christ who LIVES IN ME!

Holy Spirit Conviction in my life. I am not trying to establish some "word police" on prayers. This was truth for Russ, and I just wanted to share that with you.