Saturday, August 3, 2019

Do Preachers Make Too Much Money?

I’ve been a Christian for 50 years. During that time, I’ve been in countless church meetings, conferences and Christian events. We always prayed and tried to choose a good church that taught the Bible wherever we lived. In all those years, I can’t tell you how many church services I was in where the preacher/pastor taught and encouraged people to give.

I get the reason for that. They’ve got a light bill and rent to pay. But as the years rolled on, the message changed from simple teaching about the benefits of giving your tithe each week to ludicrous messages. Preachers would actually encourage people to send them $1000. They would all but promise that if you would make this type of sacrifice, then God would certainly reward you with a big financial breakthrough.

They had so many stories about people who had done this and gotten huge cash windfalls. Of course, my husband and I were never in a place where we could send that much, but we did faithfully give larger amounts than we could really afford.

All these years later, I look back on that and I see it for what it really was and is. We made those preachers into multi-millionaires. And most of us never got that spectacular financial windfall.

What they should have taught is to give yourself away—not your money! Give yourself to your family, your friends and your neighbors. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t send some ministry a lot of money! He gave HIMSELF away!

He laid it all on the line! And He did so that each of us could be reconciled to our Creator…so that our sins could be washed away. Imagine someone like me—with all the things I’ve done throughout my life—imagine if God would give me a clean slate. That’s what happened. All my sins were forgiven and God gave me a fresh start. And He continues to do that each and every day-because I haven’t stopped making mistakes.

As long as we live in these earthly suits of flesh, we will all screw up from time to time. And we will need to be newly forgiven all over again. That’s grace. That’s how it works.

If only those preachers would have taught us what Jesus taught, think of how different the world would be right now. Millions of Christians around the world helping their neighbors, volunteering at the children’s hospital, bringing food and blankets to the poor and homeless.

That’s what ALL Christians should have been doing all these years. Instead, we sent our money to those preachers and now they all live in huge mansions. They have airplanes and expensive cars and servants. The congregations they are responsible for still live in crappy neighborhoods and drive used cars. We still buy our clothes at Ross or Goodwill. What they taught us was a lie.

If we will begin NOW to go out into the world and love people—if we will search for people who need help and help them—if we will give OURSELVES away, then God will help us and bless us. He’s waiting for us to get a clue. And a few people do; I don’t want to minimize what some Christians and organizations are doing across the world.

But the individual Christians are still sitting at home listening to a message about how they can live their best life. They’re not out in the highways and byways trying to help some poor struggling family.

If only a small portion of the Christian church could get this revelation, the world could be turned upside down in a few years. I don’t know that this will happen. I pray it will, but realistically speaking, it probably won’t. It’s just too easy to sit at home and listen to messages or read books about how you can become a successful business owner.

It’s hard to get up, go out into the world and touch the untouchables.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

How I Got Where I Am Today

How did I get here? If you've ever been lost, you know the feeling.

For most of my life, people didn’t understand me. When I married and had a daughter, I was sure I’d have at least have 2 people who would love me unconditionally. But sometimes life doesn’t work out like you want it to.

My daughter became rebellious at age 15. She ran away from home and told all her friends that my husband and I were abusing her so they wouldn’t tell where she was and so she could get their sympathy. She became addicted to getting sympathy from people. My mother was like this too. She would tell you whatever you needed to hear so you’d feel sorry for her.

Over the years my daughter has told many lies about me to people that have been very embarrassing. She once told the pastor at our church that we were drug users and since we were teaching a class of middle school kids, we lost that position, not to mention everyone’s respect. Rumors get around fast in a small church. She did this because she was angry at me and my husband because we would not help her get a car.

Throughout her life, my daughter has blamed everything on me. Even when her husband was accused of raping our granddaughter, she found a way to blame ME for the whole incident. I was at home baking cookies for my other grandchildren. I was nowhere near the alleged event and went into shock the moment I heard about it because me and my granddaughter were so close. I couldn’t believe anyone would hurt such a beautiful little girl.

My daughter and her husband packed all their things and ran away in the middle of the night which is what guilty people do. She took my grandchildren (except for the girl) away to another state and she gradually poisoned their minds toward me. After 20 years of brainwashing, my grandkids don’t know me at all. They don’t come to see me. They know nothing about me now. Not one of them has ever read anything I’ve written and I’ve been a writer since I was a little girl.

Because of the alleged rape and police investigation, I suffered for some years with an emotional breakdown. My husband and I got divorced. He tried to be a good father to my daughter but she was always ungrateful, angry and self-absorbed. Since he wasn’t her biological father, he decided to just walk away from the whole situation. I wish I could do that too. I’ve dreamed of ways I could do that for many years.

For most of my life I was an excellent wife, homemaker, mother and grandmother. For the last 20 years, I’ve been a broken, lonely sad person and I have my daughter to thank for all this.

I felt that the best way to handle her rebellion and lies was to just keep loving her and praying for her. But I was wrong. I should have stood up to her and called her out for every single lie! Now it’s too late. You can’t go back in time and change things and make things right.

The only person who has steadfastly stood by me during all these trials was Jesus. I know religion and Christians are very shady these days. But I can’t speak for every Christian. I can just tell you that I would have sliced my wrists and died 20 years ago when my daughter took my grandkids away without even allowing us to say good-bye.

But God stepped in and began repairing all the damage. He helped me rebuild my life. It’s a very lonely life but I do have a nice place to live, nice furniture and things. I always have the money to pay the bills on time. I wear upscale clothing, jewelry and shoes. God has provided very well for me. But I’d trade it all in a heartbeat to have my family love me again like they once did.

You think you’re indispensable and that your family couldn’t go on without you but it isn’t true. I was very easy to leave behind. For the remainder of my life, I must be content with the fact that I do have a home and family in heaven. I will pass from this earth one day soon and be welcomed into heaven by my parents and siblings. I’ll see my aunts, old friends—there will be lots of people there who love me and there will be no lies, deceit or evil there.

I rest in these eternal rewards that lay in store for me. I will find no peace or comfort here on this earth, but I do look forward to my heavenly future.

Here's my short story called: How I Got Where I am Today - It's about 2 boys who grow up together but their lives take a very different direction. It's fiction.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Best Gift to Give the World

I’ve never told anyone this story. I guess I’m a really private person. I don’t share things that mean a lot to me…only the inconsequential BS.

My husband and I always owned a motorcycle. My favorite was a Yamaha 1100. It was a big bike that you could ride comfortably for long trips. We would meet up with our friends, who also owned bikes, and ride up to Grapevine Lake on weekends. We’d build a big fire and roast hot dogs. We made so many wonderful miles and memories on that bike.

After our divorce, I moved into the same apartment complex as my husband and his new girlfriend. It was just my little quirky sense of humor. They were planning to get married so I thought, “Hmmm, moving in next door to them will be my special wedding gift.”

So my ex called me one day and says, “Hey, I just bought a new bike. Wanna go for a ride?”

I said, “Sure, I’ll meet you outside in a few minutes.”

So I put on my jeans and tennis shoes and went outside and he pulled up on a really nice dark blue Kawasaki 900. We talked about the bike and all its glory. People that love bikes will understand—we stand around a lot and discuss all the specs on our machines.

Finally I went over to climb on the back. I’ve ridden motorcycles my whole life…even in the coldest weather. If we were going on a long trip, I would just wrap my arms around my husband’s stomach and go to sleep and he’d wake me up when we got there.

I went to throw my leg over the bike and couldn’t. For years, my legs had been getting worse due to post-polio syndrome. My ex tried to help me but it was no use. Finally, after 10 minutes of trying, it hit me that I would never be able to ride a bike again. My legs weren’t strong enough to get on and off anymore.

I stood right there in the midday sunlight in the middle of that parking lot and cried like a baby. My husband got teary eyed too. “It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Bikes are dangerous anyway.”

He smiled and tried to reassure me but right then I knew that my life was going in a bad direction and I would not like the end game.

Right now, I’m a few years away from the end of my life. When you reach this point, you stop worrying about all the small stuff and just try to finish out your course with as much dignity as possible.

I don’t have time for regrets anymore. Every day where I can feel the wind on my face is a miracle. I don’t make excuses either for my mistakes. All I can say is what I always used to say each time I would reach the end of a long deployment.

I used to travel a lot and work disasters for FEMA. I’ve spent lots of time in little towns that were virtually destroyed by a big storm. No matter how hard the work was and how difficult the clients could be, I’d always say this one thing while driving toward the city limits and leaving to go home:

“Well, I enjoyed my time here.”

That’s all I have to say about my life and my time on this planet. I mostly enjoyed it. I learned a lot. I made some friends. I leave behind some family. And a whole lot of stories.

I tried to write it all down in case anyone wanted to see through my eyes what New Orleans looked like right after Katrina. Or what polio feels like. Or what it feels like when your family abandons you. Someday maybe someone will read the stories and they’ll feel something of what it was like to be me.

I always encourage people to write their stories down and leave them for their friends and family. Humans have always passed those stories on from one generation to another and that’s an important part of our culture and legacy.

Someday perhaps the humans won’t exist anymore. But perhaps an alien species will find some of our stories and they’ll read them and see what it was like to live on our planet—what it was like to be a woman or even a human being.

For a brief moment, those aliens will have some idea of what our lives were like. They’ll say, “Wow! It’s too bad the humans don’t exist anymore. They had a pretty cool culture. Wish we could have known them.”