June 24th, 2011 :
By Kimber Weckel
I love Connection! I love what God is doing in our church community, how He shows up in our Sunday worship services, how He is bringing people into quality relationships with one another and how He is growing me, stretching me, and speaking to my heart’s cries. Notice the plural there? There are many things that remain a mystery to me and quite a few nooks and crannies of my life that God is shining light into.
I’m a person who seeks understanding – if I can understand it and get my head around it, then I can manage it. I can control it and/or use it to my advantage in life. I can make it work for me. Maybe that’s why my life verse has always been Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”. And now, I am realizing that this is why I seem to spend so much time in “time out”!
I won’t spend time here telling you about this past Sunday’s service but the rest of what I am going to share with you came out of that experience. Go to the podcast on the Connection website and listen to the 6.19.11 service! You should have been there! Anyway, getting back to Proverbs – much of the time I get the second half of that verse right. I believe that I acknowledge God in as many ways as is humanly possible for me and He has directed my paths. I wouldn’t be living the life I live or serving Him in the way I do if it wasn’t for that. Problem is, I struggle with the first half of that verse – trust with all my heart and don’t lean on my understanding. That means – leave it ALL up to God. Whether it appears that He is on the job or not, leave it up to Him. When I believe He is on the job and I want to help in what He is doing – leave it up to Him. Well, too often, I don’t leave it up to Him. So here’s the illustration God showed me this past Sunday.
In my life, as I think I see what God is doing in my circumstances (especially if it’s in the area of dating/men) I get pretty excited and I begin to “lean on my own understanding” and I rush in as if to say to God, “Thanks God, I see what you’re up to. I can take it from here”. And because that’s not at all what He has asked me to do, I lovingly get sent to “time out”. And you know how that works – parents send their children to time out as a way to set boundaries and discipline their children to abide by their limits. And what do kids do? They fight time out. They don’t want to sit quietly for the designated time in the first place and they want to get up when they have had enough. They want to get right back to doing the very thing they were put in time out for! And all this leads to is just more time spent in time out!
Ayy Yayy Yayy! That is exactly what I have been doing these past few months! I was sure that I could see God moving in a particular situation so I did what I’ve done many times before and I began to focus on what I believed He was doing more than I was focused on Him. I was ready to take things into my own hands, spending a lot of time trying to understand, figure things out so I could take action instead of trusting. So, I got sent to time out – repetitively. Because, unfortunately, I’m just a little stubborn and I have been letting myself out of time out so I could get back to what I needed to do to help God out! Ha! What a joke! But thankfully, because He loves me so much and because He wants me to receive His promises for my life, He continued to protect me so that I wouldn’t make a mess of things!
On Sunday, He let me out of time out and rather than running back to the situation I wanted so badly to manipulate in my favor, I took His hand and I am in the process of trusting Him with all my heart as He leads me wherever He thinks we need to go. To some degree, I sense that He is leading me away from what I was so sure He was doing in my life – whether that is temporary or permanent, either way is fine by me. One thing I am learning more and more is that my Father God loves me, wants the best for me and will do whatever it takes to give me His best! My part? Trust in the Lord with all my heart. Don’t try to figure things out in my understanding. In all I do, acknowledge Him – spend time with Him, seek His guidance and peace. And He will lead me in His purpose and plan for my life.
So, if like me, you spend a lot of time in “time out” – be encouraged, it’s for a good cause, wait patiently, God loves you, so……………….it will be worth it! Oh, and stay there until He says it’s time you can get up!
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June 18th, 2011 :
By Kimber Weckel
In honor of Father’s Day I decided to “share” my dad with you all. I just need to start out by saying that I do not know how I would have made it through these past 6 months without him. Yes, he’s been great for the past 38 years but while I’ve been going through such a roller coaster of sickness and weakness in my body he has been my hero!
My dad and I, we are a lot alike – and often times that has gotten us, me, into trouble. As a little girl I was pretty compliant, as best I can recall. I was a good little girl who did pretty much what was asked. I remember a few really good spankin’s – the “bend you over the knee” type spankin’s – but other than that we got along pretty smooth. We played – dad would wrestle with my brother and I until we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt and he has coached my softball team from 3rd grade until just this summer. Now he keeps our score book and gives us all pointers. As a little girl, on Saturdays, I would climb into dad’s truck and we would head out for whatever dad needed to do that day. Most times we would go visit grandpa and help him with things around his place – I loved driving the riding mower, pretending to be driving my car and singing at the top of my lungs, thinking no one could hear me. Grandpa told me one day that he could – I was mortified!!! And grandpa always had cookies in the cookie jar and it was a game to see if I could sneak in and out without him hearing me. I think I succeeded once, maybe twice, he had good ears! I can see where my dad gets his greatness – from his dad. My grandpa was the one man that I always felt unconditionally loved by. Looking back, I realize that my dad has always loved me unconditionally too but when you are in your teens it’s hard to see that. As I grew older I saw discipline as control and resented the boundaries my parents set. I wasn’t mature enough to realize that discipline and boundaries are a part of unconditional love. My dad wasn’t perfect but he sure has always loved me.
When I started dating, my dad was always a stickler for making sure that the guy picking me up for a date came to the door. He was not going to have some guy roll up, honk the horn and expect me to come running out of the house. If a guy was willing to come around my parents, my dad could begin to like him, maybe. Honestly though, he hasn’t met a guy I’ve dated yet that he really approves of.
My dad, both my parents actually, are extremely generous people. Generous with their time and their money. In my quest to become this grown up woman who could take care of herself I used to think I was failing if I needed help from them. Now I see that they are one of the vessels that God has placed in my life to help provide for me in tough times. He didn’t create us to be totally independent and so I have learned that, as my dad has always said, “No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little girl”. And I have learned to relax in letting him take care of me. As a single woman, going through tough stuff can be extremely lonely. A tough day at work, a flat tire, illness, all the things you do to keep the house up (cleaning, laundry, yard work, grocery shopping, repairs), can be challenging when you come home and you have no one there to help you shoulder the weight. Now I’m pretty capable and a “make it happen” kind of woman but I am not invincible – contrary to my past beliefs – and I do need a man in my life. I do need to know that I am not alone when I face challenges. I do need to be taken care of. And, God has done these things through the selfless, unconditional love and support from my dad. Now, I am still trusting and believing that God has a special man for me to share my life with someday, the fulfillment of a desire of my heart. But in the meantime I will be thankful, and receive with an open heart, the steadfast love of both my earthly and my heavenly fathers. And these fathers will remain significant men in my life even after I am married. And just a little warning, this man, destined to be my husband one day, he’s got big shoes to fill And I do believe that God is preparing my husband to be the kind of man who WILL be able to fill those shoes!
I don’t know what you’re experience has been like with your father, I know not everyone can say the same things as I can about my dad. Even so, I’m pretty sure that God wants to be that father for you and use others to meet your needs along the way. On this Father’s Day, if you have or have had a dad in your life who has loved you, provided for and taken care of you – cherish him, even though he wasn’t always perfect. If you have not, feel free to tell the Lord what you are needing and trust him to be that man, that father, for you.
Happy Father’s Day dad! I love you so much!
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June 3rd, 2011 :
By Kimber Weckel
Authenticity – much on this topic has been shared, discussed and modeled by our pastors recently. As I’ve read Jason and Matts latest blogs I find myself thinking of a passage from the book TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch . The authors describe a Room of Grace where as you enter you are asked “How are you?” You try to offer the easiest response of “I’m fine” but this room has a culture about it that almost expects you to be authentic and just say it like it is. So you say something that might sound a little like this; “All right, listen! I’m not fine. I haven’t been fine for a long time. I’m tired. I feel guilty, lonely, and depressed. I’m sad most of the time and I can’t make my life work. And if any of you knew half my daily thoughts, you’d want me out of your little club. So there, I’m doing not fine! Thanks for asking!” And when you are authentic in the Room of Grace you might hear a response that sounds something like this; “That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? I’ll take your confusion, guilt and bad thoughts, and I’ll raise you compulsive sin and chronic lower back pain! Oh, and I’m in debt up to my ears, and I wouldn’t know classical music from a show tune if it jumped up and bit me. You better have more than that puny list if you want to play in my league!”
As Jason shared about his symbol walk and Matt has shared personal thoughts, journal entries and poems – all of which have reflected their heart and spirit as a result of being hurt by life in one way or another – I find myself thinking “That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?” Not because I would ever minimize the weight of what they are going through or be insensitive to the affects on their mind, emotions and choices but rather in a way that says “I feel your pain.” I have struggled to blog over the past few months because there is A LOT going on in this heart, spirit, mind and body lately. Thankfully God is doing a deeper transforming work in me that, I have to believe, is the wilderness that he is using to prepare me for the “next thing” he has for me along this journey of loving and trusting him. But I don’t like it! It sucks most days! There are periods where the sun shines through the clouds and I just want to lay sprawled out and soak it all up forever. But, it is not to be for long and the clouds roll back in and I’m reminded that this wilderness is lonely, it’s meant to be lonely, and there is more to be discovered while I’m here. I feel so ready to run out of the wilderness and into a new horizon and yet God seems to be saying “not yet”. This “not yet” feels eternal – 14 years to be exact. But who’s counting right? Obviously I am
Ok, so I’m not saying I’ve been in a wilderness for 14 years but I have been on a journey toward a dream and desire that I believe with my whole heart has been planted in me by God because it’s part of his plan for my life and yet it seems this desire is just beyond my grasp. I’ve learned that anything just beyond my grasp is something that can only be fulfilled by God’s hand. There is nothing I can do to earn it, achieve it, orchestrate it’s development, or plan it’s arrival. All I can do is wait. And in the waiting, allow God to do whatever needs to be done in me to prepare me to be ready when the time comes. And this kind of waiting leaves me feeling powerless. Not a pleasant feeling. Not a feeling that strengthens confidence or assurance. Not a feeling that fosters hope. Feeling powerless leaves me angry and underlying that anger are feelings of hurt, being ignored, loneliness, frustration, and unfairness just to name a few. So I wrestle with these feelings on some level most days. I wish I could say I turn to the Lord every time the discouragement sets in but sometimes I’m angry at him and so I give him the cold shoulder. Yeah, that’s one of my masks – indifference. In future blogs I will share more about this dream and the roads that have led to today but for now, if you have identified with anything that I have shared or that has been shared by anyone else on the team at Connection, be encouraged! As much as we may be a struggling “band of rabble” I can say with confidence in my heart that God is up to something BIG and he wants us all to experience it!
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