My Confident Hope

Archive for August, 2008

Adventures in Residential Treatment

I have been working in residential treatment for about 8 1/2 years. To say there is never a dull moment is an understatement. I have been on hiking trips from Hades, I have fallen over fences chasing kids in an animal pen. I have had restrained a child in an open field in the middle of a thunderstorm, I have chased a kid down a street in the middle of the night, I have visited my share of psychiatric hospitals, I have tromped through the woods and the marsh in every weather condition imaginable. I have chased a snake out of a cabin, I followed a kid down a busy road and crossed the overpass of I-95, and the list could go on and on. The one experience that I have yet to have was evacuating for a hurricane. So far I have managed to escape this experience but I came close last week with Tropical Storm Fay. There is nothing like a storm to get your anxiety level up. Especially when it looked like the storm was going to go back into the ocean and then hit land as a hurricane. Luckily it did not do that, but here in South Georgia the threat of tornadoes is very real. That was what we more concerned about. So, last Thursday night 4 of us decided to stay and spend the night on campus just in case we were needed. Luckily during the night it went a little more south than they thought so we escaped the tornadoes. We did have lots of rain and wind but we counted ourselves lucky.

My office during TS Fay

My office during TS Fay

My office before TS Fay

My office before TS FayMy office during TS Fay

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Bull in a China Shop

Graceful is not a word that anyone would use to describe me. I have been this way for most of my life. My dad used to tell me I was an accident waiting for a place to happen. When I was 10 or 11, I tripped over first base my first day of rec league softball. As I lay there spread eagle in the dirt, one of teammates christended me with the nickname Tripper, and it stuck…..probably because I kept falling down! It eventually got shortened to Trip and it stuck with me until I graduated from high school. I rememebe the first year we got baseball pants to go with our uniforms and the very first game, I put a big hole in the knee of my pants sliding into 2nd base. Then there was basketball. I think I would have been better than I was if I could have stayed on my feet more. When I started playing, I was one of the youngest,shortest players out there and I got knocked around alot by everybody. The running joke was, that they did not have to sweep the gym floor after I got done playing because I had done it for them. I fell down a flight of stairs in college because I was cramming for a test and missed a stair and fell. This resulted in a pinched nerve in my shoulder. Somehow I managed to bounce off the wall. I bruised my tailbone when I fell roller skating. That really hurt. I even managed to stab myself in the back. Okay see what had happened was, I washed dishes and instead of putting the sharp knife point down in the drying rack, I left it blade up. I live in an old house that you have to pull a string to turn on and off the light. As I went to pull the string, my badly sprained knee, buckled on me, causing me to fall backward at which time the knife stabbed me in the back.

Today was my latest adventure. I was going after a kid that decided that he wanted to go play with the animals. He climbed over the fence, jumped down and headed across the pond to the woods. I had to go after him and I got to the top of the fence and realized it was a long way down. As I got ready to jump, I hesitated long enough to lose my balance and fell very awkwardly. As I lay in the dirt, I realized that I was not 25 anymore  and I had no business trying to jump over fences. After the situation was resolved, I found myself at the Urgent Care very much in pain. I had managed to injure my sacroiliac joint. So, the doc sent me home with instructions to ice it frequently and gave me some medication and told me to come back on Tuesday. So much for gracefulness!


Give Me Your Eyes

It is easy for me to get frustrated with people and with circumstances that are out of my control. I find myself constantly throughout the day praying that God will let me see that person or that circumstance through His eyes. When He allows me this opportunity, it never fails to humble me and to realize that we are live in a world full of hurts and we are surrounded by people who have had devestating things happen to them. Most of the time, it is easier to live in my own world, and forget that there are hurting, broken people who are searching for the truth that I have found. I came across this song earlier and the lyrincs just jumped out me. I pray that the words of this song will be our prayer as we seek to show God to a hurting and broken world.

Give Me Your Eyes-Brandon Heath


Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Chorus:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasnt it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
again
again
yeah
yeah

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
Theres a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
Hes out of work
Hes buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Chorus

Ive Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all aloneChorus (x2)


Divine Encounters

Apparently TS Fay is not the only headline in the news this week. In Christian circles, the word has spread about worship leaders fabricating they had cancer to promote a song, and a key figure in the Lakeland Revials was recently found to have had an “unhealthy relationship” with a female staff memeber. There was a time in my life when I would have become judgmental over information like this. Then there was a time when I would have been cynical about the deal. So, where am I now with all this information? Humbled…….while it is disturbing to me, I am humbled because “for the grace of God, there go I.” While my sin my noe Holy God and fractures relationships. I am not anyone special. I believe that whether you stand before thousands and preach or to lead worship, or stand in a church of 50, it is our responsibility to ensure that we walk worthy of our calling. We are all flawed vessels that God has chosen to pour Himself into too. We are full of cracks and some of us a little more broken than others, but God has made us worthy.

What is resonating with me at this moment, is how easy it is to counterfeit the presence of God. Most of the time what people call the presence of God is just emotions. Emotions fade and when the rubber meets the road it has not made any difference in the way we live our lives. Throughout the Bible, those who had a true encounter with God were never the same again. Look at Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and Gideon. They had an encounter with God and went on to be great men of God. The really cool thing, is that they still made mistakes but God continued to use them.I want my life to be truly changed by the presence of God. It is a daily process. The more time that I spend getting to know who God is and what He is doing in and through me, the more I see myself becoming the person that God has created me to be.

My desire today is to know God and experience Him in a way that I never had before.


Divine Appointments

I live 35 miles from work and with this impending storm, I decided the smart thing for me would be to stay close to work just in case. I called one of my friends that I used to work with and she took pity on me and let me crash on her couch! This has been a really crazy, draining emotional week here at work, and I was empty when I got there. We sat on the couch eating Captain Crunch, catching up on each other’s lives since we had last seen each other. We started talking about what God was doing in our lives and what God has been showing us and it was amazing. The really cool thing was, we both confirmed things for each other that God had been showing us. It was during this conversation, that I knew my crashing on her couch was not a random act spurred by an impending storm but a divine appointment. It was an opportunity that God used to encourage and uplift. We both had an opportunity to pour into each other’s lives and to speak truth. We stayed up way later than I normally do on a work week, but then again this week has been anything but ordinary.

This passage of scripture in Phillipians 1:3-6 sums up our friendship.

3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.(The Message)


Lift Me Up

I came across this song this morning by Kate Voegele on the new soundtrack for Team USA. This is an amazing song. The bridge of this song was what really stood out to me. It said, “Down and out is overrated, I need to be elevated. Looking up is not enough, I would rather  rise above.” It is time for us to not just look up to God for our help and strength but to rise above. It is easier said than done but God will lift us up if we only allow Him too.

This road is anything but simple,

Twisted like a riddle, I’ve seen High and I’ve seen low.

So loud, the voices of all my doubts,

Telling me to give up, to pack up and leave town.

Even so I had to believe, Impossible means nothing to me,

So can you Lift Me Up?

And Turn the ashes into flames,

‘Cause I have overcome more than words will ever say,

And I’ve been given hope that there’s a light on up the hall,

And that a day will come when the fight is won,

And I think that day had just begun.

Somewhere, everybody starts there,

Counting on a small prayer, lost in a nightmare.

And I’m here, and suddenly it’s so clear,

The struggle through the long years,

It taught me to outrun my fears.

And everything that’s worth having,

Comes with trials worth withstanding.

So can you Lift Me Up?

And turn the ashes into flames,

‘Cause I have overcome more than words will ever say,

And I’ve been given hope that there’s a light on up the hall,

And that a day will come when the fight is won,

And I think that day has just begun.

Oh Lift Me Up, Lift Me up, Lift Me Up

Oh Lift Me Up, Llift me up, Lift Me Up, Oh

Down and out is overrated,

I need to be elevated,

Looking up is not enough,

I would rather rise above, Oh , Oh , Oh.

Chorus

Lift Me Up, Lift Me Up, Lift Me Up.


Be Still

This song hits me between the eyes every time I hear it. There have been times in my life when that is the way that I felt toward God. I felt like He was taking things away from me rather than trying to give me the things that are best for me. For me, just being still is hard. I so identify with “Can i get up now?” God just wants us to be still and know that He is God, but how many times do we try to figure out how we are going to do something. We often spend so much time doing that we just forget to be still. It is when we finally reach the end of ourselves that we can sit back and let God be God. But as the line goes “Living sacrifices move”. The process of becoming who God wants us to be can be painful and it does feel like you are surgery.  While we know that things that He is cutting out of our lives will only bring us closer to Him, it is still hard to give them up. so, i cahllange us all today to just be still and know that HE is God!