Tears Fell

So this morning, I dragged myself out of a “cough syrup” coma, got dressed, and presented myself to my church family with a smile and a happy disposition in spite of the lousy cold feeling I have lugged around for two weeks.

After Sunday School, I felt prayed over and ready to enjoy a good old fashioned “thumping” that God seems to deliver each week.  Well, He didn’t disappoint.  Yes, before, the sermon could even start, God thumped me a big one.

This is what happened:

We sang our first song,  sat in order to listen to the announcements, and then we sang our next two songs.  Normal Sunday routine…….. until, our pastor, gathered the children up front.

Ya’ll.  I cried. I am crying as I am remembering this morning’s events.

It is uncontrollable crying.

Was I happy to see the children up front and center again?  Yes, I was.  It is a part of the service I’ve missed terribly.

The moment the children gathered, my mind went back to the day…… the moment when I was told I was no longer going to start our children’s service in front at the alter.  That moment that forever changed me.  It was the start of the unraveling of the ministry I was serving.

Ya’ll I sat there this morning and relived that day.  The disappointment and disapproval that stung years ago brought forth the tears.  I was back sitting in the blue wing-backed chair hearing those words, “You will NOT come forward with the children any more.”  The confusion and the gut wrenching anger churned my stomach sour again.

Then the guilt of “It was because of me the kids no longer came forward” stirred up the old feelings. I was too silly.  I was too much into character.  I was a distraction.  It was because of me.  Oh, the explanation of why I wasn’t allowed to do it any more, rang in my ears.

I didn’t hear a word my pastor said to those children today.  I was only listening to the list of reasons why I couldn’t do it any more.  Tears were falling down my face just as hard as that day.

And then, I prayed, “Why God?  Why are You making me relive this?  I was over it. I promised not to allow the fear to get in the way again. Why?”  I got my answer two fold.

First, it was when we were driving home…… I asked Mark point blank, “Why do you think it bothers me so much to see the kids come forward for the Children’s Talk?”  Mark’s answer was simple.  “Well, you miss it.”

Yes, I do miss ministry.  I miss being active.  I miss be a part of it.  But, the crippling affects of the past keep me pinned down.  I am afraid of failing again.  I am afraid of doing ministry.  I got the chance to hide behind the bakery and now teaching.  It is true.  As much as I miss doing ministry; I am equally afraid.

Secondly, I was pondering over what the message was today.  Renewal.  I thought about how much I have changed since my ministry days.  I am a writer.  I found peace within myself and I have grown spiritually.  The harsh words “You don’t know ministry” no longer can apply.  I do know ministry.  I do know Christ.  I do know. My mind, body and soul has been renewed by Christ, His knowledge and His love.  I am no longer the ministry misfit I was conditioned to believe.

So, now, where do I go with all this renewal and regret?  I don’t know.  All I know it is time for me to say, “Yes” to the ministry God places in front of me.  I will no longer allow the fear of years past keep me down.

Lent 2016

Lent is fast approaching.  I have been scratching my head as to what to give up or take on this year.

When my son was younger, he proudly announced he was giving up homework.  I shook my head in shame.  No. No. No.  I am sure Jesus laughed out loud.

I have done the whole give up soda, sugar, meat, dairy, eggs–going vegan idea.  I have prayed “continuously” throughout the day–7 times a day–I sat may alarm and then prayed.  I have given something away for 40 days.  I have done just about everything possible.  We even lit a candle every night at dinner as a countdown.

This year, I want to take it a step further.  I have no idea what I am going to do….. I am currently cruising Pinterest for ideas.  Nothing has slapped me in the face just yet.

I am open to suggestions………

To Teach

So yesterday while stuck on I-30 in traffic, I saw a LAMAR billboard flashing:

To Teach is to Learn– a Japanese Proverb

First of all, how cool that a billboard company was displaying something besides an advertisement.  How refreshing!!!  To say the least!!!!

Secondly, the proverb resounded deeply.

To teach IS to learn!

I mean teaching is merely restating or demonstrating something already learned.  It doesn’t matter who my audience is……. 4th graders, 5th graders, Christian women, my children, my friends, and the audience of one….. me…… I am basically taking something I have learned, discovered, or seen/heard and handing it over to them.

And 9 times out of 10, I am learning while I am teaching.  I am learning whether or not my method, avenue or technique is understood.  I am learning to read facial expressions.  And sometimes, I am learning that I don’t know enough to effectively teach the subject.  Sometimes, that is the hardest thing to accept.

Teaching comes naturally to me.  I guess I owe that much to my mother.  She was a great teacher in the classroom and at home.  She taught me so much more than a textbook, cookbook, or lecture could.  I hope I have followed in her footsteps to do the same for my children and students.

I did learn something at my mother’s funeral.  Former students and her current students flooded the funeral chapel.  I remember watching the current 3rd graders file into the front row followed by their parents.  She was teaching me the love of teaching even though she had left this world behind.

And just last week, my favorite English teacher in High School passed away.  I read so many testimonies of former students and friends of hers on Facebook that truly painted a beautiful picture of her.  One interesting thing I learned about her was that she read a book every week.  She never stopped learning.  She never stopped loving the subject she taught for so many years.  And she never stopped teaching those around her.  A true inspiration to all of us teachers out there in the world.  I can only hope that my life tributes will be as honorable as hers.

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:2

Friday Night–Prayer Night

So at the Dettra household we have a Friday night ritual.  This ritual has been in my family for decades.  Every Friday night since the birth of the VCR, pizza and a movie has been enjoyed.

The past Friday night, we had our favorite bacon pizza from Domino’s (each Friday we have pizza from different pizza parlors or we make our own) and we rented “The War Room.”  This movie was a game changer for me.

war room

It is a Christian movie.  It had a powerful message.  Basically using prayer as a weapon against the evil forces that lurk to steal our joy.  At one point in the movie, I was like screaming, “Yeah!” It really hit home.  Made me think about my prayer life.

In Matthew, we find a passage that this movie is based upon…..  I’ve read this passage before and I have even participated in a Bible Study regarding it.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (Holman)

So, after we stuffed ourselves with pizza, watched the movie, and climbed into bed, I got to thinking about the idea of a War Room.  I laid there wondering if I should convert my closet or the linen closet.  I poked Mark and said something to that fact.  He chuckled and asked where exactly would I put my clothes since all the closets are used.  And between you and me, the linen closet…… well, I will have to lose a lot of weight to fit in it.

I went back to my pondering.  Then I remembered………

Years ago, I prayed that God would interrupt me and I would pray.  Kid you not.  God did interrupt my sleep each and every night.  I would climb out of bed, grab my Bible and prayer journal.  I would find a cozy spot on the floor next to the couch.  I would meditate and pray.  I would read my Bible and I would journal prayers.

I had experienced a War Room of my own.  I remember the power the Holy Spirit poured over me.  I remember the empowered feeling I got.  My heart had been crushed and I was deeply wounded spiritually.  And this experience brought healing.

Hmmmm…… so that got me to thinking as to why I stopped.  Was my life so filled with distraction that I put it on the back burner then forgot about it?  Or was it something even deeper and more bothersome than that?  Was I some how and at some level angry at God?  Was it because I hadn’t become the speaker He had promised me?  Was it because the bakery failed?  Or was it because I didn’t trust Him at His word?

This truly bothers me.  I have been searching for the answer.  And I have come up short.

But this revelation came today…… maybe I should just stop searching and pick up where I left off.  Maybe God is waiting for me to return to my personal War Room and prayer life. Maybe instead of turning on Netflix when I can’t sleep, I should open my Bible and journal again.

 

Showing Kindness

A year or so ago, a woman entered my bakery.  It was the week of Mardi Gras and I had baked a few King Cakes.  One of which was on display near the register.

The woman was dressed in a dirty dressy dress….almost like a dress a mother of the bride would wear.   She came in, looked around, and asked for the manager.  I came forth.

Now, Benton is a small town.  And by this time, I pretty much knew the “street” folks that were often found down by the Care Center.  She was one.

She brushed her hair back from her face.  She smoothed out her dress and in the most professional tone she began to tell me that she worked for the KLOVE radio station.  She commented on the music that was playing in the background and pointed out correctly that it was KLOVE.

I smiled.  It had been just a few weeks before that she came into the bakery.  Same story.  My heart was breaking.  I could feel the stares of my beloved family and staff behind me.

She stated that she was a marketing director at the station and was wondering if I could share a cup of coffee with her.  Again, I smiled and politely explained that my attention needed to be on the week’s orders.  She sat down to read the newspaper.  It was cold outside and her dress wasn’t sheltering her from the cold.

She got up and came back to the counter.  She held out her hand and whispered, “Will this be enough for a cup of coffee?”  It was three pennies and a nickle.  I told her that the coffee was free that day because I was running a Mardi Gras special.

Her eyes lit up like she had won the lottery.  She went over to the coffee pot and poured a cup.  All the while, I watched her fill her pocket with creamers and sugar.  She sat down again with the newspaper.

I watched her from afar.  She opened sugar packets and trying not to draw attention to herself, she held her head back and poured the sugar into her opened mouth.  Then, she drank the Mini Moo’s creamer.  She did so until her pockets were empty.

I had to run back to the kitchen.  My daughter wasn’t too far behind me.  “Mom, she keeps drinking the creamers.  We are almost out.”

“I know.  She has been in before.  Just don’t fill the creamer basket until she leaves.”

It pained my heart.  I wish I could have given her everything in the bakery to eat.  My year had started off poorly and I just didn’t have the extra room in the budget to do so.

My employee, whom called me “Mom”, entered the kitchen, “Mom, someone wants to buy the display King Cake.  How long has it been on display?”

I went to the storefront and explained to the customer that I could make a fresh one for her.  The one on display had been there for three days and was stale.  I took the order and said good bye to the customer.

The door hadn’t closed before the dressy dress lady waltzed up to me.  I knew exactly what she wanted.  I pulled out a cake box and without a word, I placed the King Cake in the box.

“This needs to be thrown out or would you like to have it?”  I asked the lady.

She smiled and took the cake.  She hurried out into the cold like she had a gift of gold.

Sadly, two days later, the bookstore owner from down the square called me saying a strange lady had left a cake as she fled from the store.  She was never seen again to my knowledge.

She had held onto the cake for two days.  It had not been touched.  My mind can’t wrap itself around the reason for fleeing or more so why she didn’t eat the cake.

I guess I will never know the answer.

A poor man is hated even by his neighbor, but there are many who love the rich. The one who despises his neighbor sins, but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.  Proverbs 14:20-21