Monday, February 26, 2018

NYC, Music, Irish Pub and a Son Named Chris - February 26, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, my son Christopher drives me to New York City. What an honor and privilege to be with this man. We are heading to Carnegie Hall to hear one of our favorite Jazz Singers, Gregory Porter. This is our second time to hear him, the first on Valentine's Day a year before. Our time in a nearby Irish Pub before the concert sets the stage for the flavorful evening as we sit in window seats peering out onto the busy town. Enchanted, what an understatement.

The older I become the more I enjoy the city "feels." I am trying to figure it out, what is it that makes me enjoy a crowd now more than ever? What is it that draws me to the structures? I am not sure and that is part of the charm; the mystery.

Lynn, the man who sets me up for success, purchases me a camera for Christmas. As Chris drives us into NYC, I am shooting away, swapping out the zoom lenses every once and a while and playing around with settings I pretend to understand. Please something of a technical nature stay in my brain longer than five seconds! 

I love people. And the men and women in the Turnpike turnstiles all over the country intrigue me. Who are their parents? Do they have another job? What books are they currently reading? Are they married? Are THEY travelers? Do they have children? Are they good story tellers? WHO ARE THEY?

This man about to take our money has the most pleasant face and even from this view you see the angle hints at a kind smile. The zoom lens is fun, he has no idea.

This man, my son, is someone I can travel with anytime, anywhere. Chris, what a guy. We both love people and enjoy interacting with strangers. He teaches me so much about music, life, ministry, and faith. He is my son and yet equally and more so He is my brother in Christ. He loves city driving just as much as I do and though he accelerates at a pace that races my heart I do enjoy the ride! Listening to Gregory Porter with him is pure pleasure as both he and I sit in our seats, eyes closed, swaying to the music. We are the minority at this concert and this, for us, is an honor!

David Bowie makes the side of a tall building ensconced by two beautifully rusted water towers. C' Mary Faus would say. Gorgeous, brilliant! Murals on buildings are evidence of the lengths to which humans will go to express. This fills me with pride. I LOVE humanity. How in the world do they do this?

I capture with the zoom lens not an amazing picture but one which Chris and I enjoy. This is a sports car and if I was up on my models I would rattle off to you the make but I am not. All I know is that it is loud, real loud, and this officer stops this young man because of it. I hear him say, "Buddy, I hear you all the way from back there. You need not be so loud." The driver's face tells you his thoughts "Oh yeah, I'll be more considerate.....NOT!" Spot on! The Holland Tunnel reverberates with the insane noise of this sporty make. I swear the dude is straight out of Gossip Girl!

Yes, that is him on the left. His little cop talk...whatevs! We see him all of 1 second and I catch it on the Canon. I ain't called "Quick Click" for nothing.

The Holland Tunnel, what can I say? Every time I descend into one I pray a little harder as the mental videos begin to load and quickly fast forward. It's the The Poseidon Adventure from the 1970's that reels through.  It's roller coaster terrifying. All the "What if's" play loud until the light emerges at the end and the internal countdown begins. You're hoping you're not tomorrow's fatal photo on the paper's front page. And then there's the exit... such relief.

Structures, I am in love. This one straight out of Dr. Seuss' collection, thrills my senses. And I love the branches introducing it. The geometric ways in which we build are highlighted by nature's growth of curves and twists. Nature excels in more than squares, rectangles, straight lines. While we are entrenched in polygons upon polygons and more polygons with straight lines finding curves to be a challenge. There's something there.

A street full of lights, stacked with buildings on both sides, sidewalks at the base, it is a feast. The sky is only allowed a small amount to be showcased and this feels so beautiful.

I wonder if blurry is how most people see life. It moves fast and though there is great detail to enjoy we are often moving too quick to focus in. What's it like for you?

If I could have stepped out of the car and placed myself head-on in the middle of this crowd I would have. The energy walking past me and the stories, the collection of destinies, was a feast. What did each one of their homes look like? What were they making for dinner? It is Valentine's Day, what are their plans for the dreamy night. One thing I do know, they all got the memo - dress black.

The night is magical. The crowded walkways, the movement of the day into the night, it is rich. I want to walk into the light of Times Square after the concert but Chris thinks it not wise and then adds, "You sound like a little girl and I like an old man." Maybe so, maybe so....New York, New York!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas - December 25, 2017

A baby. What can a baby do for you? End all wars? Cure cancer? Save the environment?

A baby is helpless.
A baby is vulnerable.
A baby has no words.

A baby. What can a baby do for you?

Why don't you take this next year and ponder these senseless thoughts.
And throw this in the mix - A baby born destined to die a criminal's death? What's his crime?

Really, what can a baby do for you? 

Merry Christmas? Tragic Christmas? Hopeful Christmas?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Charming Reality - November 19, 2017

I walk the streets of Nashville one day and LA the other. And I ask myself, where is the fanfare, the sparkle? Nashville is so little - who knew? And Hollywood Boulevard is so dirty. Where are the cameras, the glimmer, the glitz? Why a homeless person lying on a dirty blanket with soiled socks? Why in Nashville are there homeless on the corner with tattered and torn placards? Where is the shine, the ever constant music? Where? Why do these places look so dull? And then I realize, to be disappointed by a famous location is really disappointment with a break from illusion. We hate when the sparkle fizzles, we actually love delusion and crave escape.
Privileged to be able to pray for Alma and her book and for
Mike and his next brave move.
May God prove to be all they need.

Lynne, I want you to see their sorrow - would you mind lifting them up in prayer? In all kindness, I need you to know Lynne that your crave for escape is always at the expense of others. Would you mind staying present with me? Thanks.

What is this man doing outside Starbucks looking into the air with a worn face wearing pants that not only need washing but have never seen a washer and his nails look so in need of a manicure? There has to be cameras somewhere, surely this is an actor. While walking on the streets of LA and Nashville separated by a month I walk across a divide; a divide between reality and illusion. And I realize something very important, a place holds charm because of me, because of you, because of our real interactions, the memories we have made, our connections, the food, the dives, the studios, the favored places and the unique stores. The legends built around these cities remain in a vaporous, hazy zone, not grounded in reality. But you and I are reality and we are the ones who make a place a place.

Lynne, this place holds no charm for this guy. Would you mind lifting him up in prayer? Hey, thanks. 

I am uncomfortable - this delusional dude outside Starbucks looks me straight in the eye through the thick window pane. Buddy, this is Hollywood Boulevard don't do this to me. I am suppose to be gawking. Could you move?

Lynne, he has a story.

It is confirmed, I am a sucker. The screen sucks me into an illusive world of shine, glimmer and glitz. While walking Hollywood Boulevard I am appalled at the soiled blanket, dirty socked homeless scattered along the star studded sidewalk. Why? I have listened to a lie. My head says, this can not be true. The stars studding the sidewalk seem, well, stuck in the sidewalk, trapped and continually trampled on. Even the stars are deceived, fame held something more for them than a cement casing. Instagram what? I am in revolt. Please, my delusion?

Lynne, calling you Lynne. Hey Lynne, can you glance over here and give me a quick listen. I am here in this place and that reality never changes.

LA and or Nashville is just another place and I again am brought back to a constant truth. It is our life, your life and my life, the life we live that is reality, not someone else's. It is you and I who make a lovely place. We are the ones charming the small haunts, the spaces we fill, the local dives. My life and your life is worth living fully. We are in charge of creating the shine. So I throw my illusion to the illusion makers and say, "I'll take His to be mine. I want to remain grounded in truth."

Lynne, follow my lead. True charm is in all places for I am everywhere and I need you to stay grounded. And would you mind lifting up in prayer who and what you see? You can help to change their reality.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Pursuer.... October 30, 2017

I tried to keep you awake by playing your music - it lulled you to sleep. I had to take the wheel Cletis! You are one of a kind. Fame is not your pursuit, making someone shine, making someone further walk into their destiny - this is what keeps you awake. This is what I so appreciate about you. Honoring your family - this is what jacks you up. To pursue that illusive cloud of fame, somewhere along the way you worked that through your heart, mind and soul and your game plan is an all out pursuit of the Glory Receiver. You are captivated by the One and Only, not wanting to go the way of the one who couldn't appreciate but wanted it all, wanted to dominate. You actively reject that pursuit.

My prayer for you is that you will continue to pursue the One and Only and in that pursuit you will find more and more fulfillment in Him. My prayer is that you will continue to help unlock the resources and talents of those around you whether it be in the Body of Christ or out in the waiting rooms. You have helped usher life into weary souls, you have given of your time, your talent and your resources. You will always have an open door in towns and cities all over the world and not because you are somebody but because you know the Somebody of all bodies.

It is with extreme honor that I continue to not only pray for my brother in Christ but my son in the flesh. This is what I consider a double whammy! Keep on keeping on.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Glory Revealed - October 29, 2017

Lynne, do not take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO not take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT take any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE any of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE ANY of my glory.
Lynne, DO NOT TAKE ANY OF my glory. 


It felt a little much. Had I been? Was I doing it on the sly? I'm liable to do that but I didn't feel like it warranted such an onslaught. And then it would start again...

"Lynne, PLEASE! Do not take any of my glory.
You do not understand, LYNNE.
You can not handle it. Lynne.
I'M SERIOUS! Please! Do not take any of my Glory.

This was going on for days. And then the visuals started coming - His glory likened to a gigantic menacing black smoldering pit of lava.

"Lynne, you put your hand in the pit, and it will never come out. These are the consequences of taking my glory. Your flesh and spirit will not survive."

Ok, that seems a bit much. God. I get it.

But the Spirit was relentless and continually pled. Over and over, again and again and again. Then on our family vacation as I am kayaking back to the dock, having spent two hours on the lake listening to the book of Revelation, I hear him say one phrase. "Lynne, It is all for my glory and it is because I love you." (And just so you know, listening to Revelation on a lake is a bit of a challenge.)

In one split second God surfaces something I have wrestled with for years, something I have always seen as a discrepancy. It is this - He asks us to give Him all the glory yet he tells us to remain humble. It seems as if He is asking us to do what He will not do. Like, do what I say but not what I do. I have been bothered with this for years and at this moment God decides it is time for this girl to get some clarity, a redirection of stale thoughts towards brilliant light.

"Lynne, I want you to come see what I do with my Glory." My interest peaks. Where is He taking me?

The confusion immediately leaves as I stand at the foot of the cross. Everything swirls into extreme perspective. And now, It all makes sense, good extreme loving sense.

"Lynne, I am the only one who can handle all the world's Glory. The. Only. One. I will, I did, and will continue to always handle it with love, humility, servanthood, faithfulness, compassion, grace and mercy. When you give me Glory it spills out in acts of kindness, it spills out in mercy triumphing over judgment, it reaches deep and wide to save the lost. This Lynne, is what I do with your glory. Lynne, it is all for my glory and it is because I love you." The cross covers completely, explains perfectly and dispels what I thought was a  discrepancy forever.

So, In one statement following a series of extreme warnings on taking any of God's Glory, My God and Savior provides me with a lesson, a sermon of sorts, and unpacks and explains a concept that had you asked I would never have been able to articulate or even identify the discrepancy that has niggled me on a subconscious level for all these years. But God knew and He wanted me to think clearly.

I stand corrected and all I want to do is give Him glory.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday's Seminar - We Must Be Informed - Deadly Topic - September 30, 2017

My eyes are opened. My ears hear differently.  My heart hurts.

Twenty-five percent of marriages are abusive.
One in four women report being in an abusive relationship.
Twenty-four percent of women and thirteen percent of men report experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
Fifty percent of men who assault their wives frequently assault their children.
Forced sex or sexual assault occurs in forty to forty-five percent of battering.
Mothers in abusive relationships said that their children witnessed twenty percent of the sexual violence the mother experienced.
Eighteen percent of Intimate Partners of Sexual Violence (IPSV) said their child witnessed their rape at least once. 
(Source-Darby Strickland's Notes) 

I will never let bad-awful, uneducated advice come out of my mouth ever again to any woman who is struggling with abuse. I have learned way too much.

Two weeks ago in Lancaster on a Saturday, with my soul-friend, Pam Hopkins, I attended an Abuse Seminar at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Here is a smattering of what Darby Strickland had to share.

Smattering of Saturday's Seminar:

Emotional abuse is a heart problem, stemming from an abusive person's un-Christlike drive to attain and maintain dominance.

God designed marriage to be a place of mutual trust, sacrifice, care and honesty.

Your calling is not to submit to and accept rampant destructive behavior. The opposite is true. God cares about safety.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner.

It is not that the perpetrator of the violence is 'out of control' it is quite the opposite. They are using violence to maintain control. 

It is not about anger management. When a man is selective about when , where and to whom he is abusive, the problem is not he looses is that he takes control.

The oppressed experience being owned, confused, enslavement, crushed, alone, physically ill, feels responsible, devalued, angry, guilty.

Oftentimes what we see is not what is! This is the kicker for me. This is where I failed so many.

Do you have the freedom to be yourself, make decisions, give your input and to disagree?
Do you ever feel fearful around your partner?
Have you ever been threatened or physically hurt?
Have you ever been an unwilling participant in a sexual act?

Violence only escalates and it always picks up from where it left off.

One Love is an app and it is all about safety planning.

You might know just enough to be dangerous and put a victim at more risk - 1.800.799.SAFE (7933)

The Bible does not say to stay and suffer abuse and violence.

Sex Abuse: Rape - Unnecessary Roughness when you clearly say something hurts and it does not stop - Unwanted actions - Causing damage - Duration and or frequency with insistence and punishment.

Marriage does not equal consent.

Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership...

Does he exhibit control-oriented leadership?
Demand submission and unquestioning loyalty or obedience?
How does he utilize Scripture in daily life and in conflict?
How does your spouse pray for you?
Are guilt, fear and intimidation used control and manipulate you?

Is he closely watching what you buy? Hiding assets? Using your social security number to obtain credit without your permission? Running up debt? Refusing to give you money? Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions? The list goes on...

Abuse doesn't start out looking like abuse: whirlwind romance, gifts-obligation, jealousy, show up unexpectedly, check your phone, see you all the time, sexual pressure as can't help myself.

What happens when you give negative feedback? When you have needs? When you have a different preference? When they are disappointed? When there is conflict? When he interacts with his family? When there is physical intimacy?

You, the oppressed, you are not responsible for another's sin. Your oppressor will blame you for their anger and rage. But God clearly says it is never your fault. You do not deserve this. You are being oppressed not because of your part or current sins but because of your oppressors current sins.

The oppressor needs to admit fully to all past patterns, admit behavior was wrong without blame-shifting, understand it was a choice not lack of control, recognize effects and show empathy, identify in detail past entitled and controlling attitudes, develop respectful behaviors, replace his distorted view of spouse, make amends, accept consequences, commit to non repeating, give up past privileges, understand lifelong process...

Signs of not changing - he tells you that you are the one that is abusive, uses counseling sessions or info against you in any way, pressures you to to go therapy for yourself, he is minimizing the abuse, he demands a second chance, he says it is impossible to change without your support, he expects something in return from you for attending counseling, he is pressuring you to make up your mind about the relationship or to move back in together, he is pressuring you to drop criminal charges.

~Bancroft, Lundy. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men -2003
~Holcomb, Justin and Lindsey Holcome, Is it My Fault?: Hope and healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence - 2014
~Strcikland, Darby Entitlement: When Expectations Go Toxic Journal of Biblical Counseling - Winter 2015, p. 19-33
~Vernick, Leslie. The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, - 2013

Zephanaih 3:19 - Psalms 119:34 - Psalms 11: 5-6 - Proverbs 22:3 - Luke 4:18-19

And to help us distinguish between God's voice and Satan's voice here is an excellent list:

God stills you, 
reassures you, 
leads you, 
enlightens you, 
forgives you, 
calms you, 
encourages you, 
comforts you.

Satan rushes you, 
frightens you, 
pushes you, 
confuses you, 
condemns you, 
stresses you, 
discourages you, 
and worries you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy Birthday David O. Burkholder - 90 is Impressive - September 27, 2017

To know David O. Burkholder is my distinct privilege. He is and has been my father in law since August 2, 1986. Today he turns 90 and I am so thankful for the thirty two years I have known him.  If I would have known what I know today about being Lynn Burkholder's wife and all that it means - I would have been entirely too impatient up until the time I met the man Lynn! And to think of missing all that I have enjoyed being married to Lynn - I shudder. I can not even. Just stop!

To have missionary in laws is a gift that continues to give into my life equally pouring over into my children's lives as well. My soul is content. The prayers that Dad and my mother in law have prayed for us - we tangibly see today. The stories between the two of them - GOLD. My mother in law has journeyed on beyond, she has left the planet a little earlier than the rest of us. So today I sit alone with my father in law soaking in his stories, his cherished stories. 

My father in law so loves His heavenly Father. I feel it, I see it and I am thankful for his relationship with Our Father who is in heaven! All of His stories swirl around either God's goodness and mercy or the adventures he has had spreading the gospel.

One Saturday ago, as clouds are piling on top of one another, my father in law and I are unaware of the storm brewing outside the kitchen window. We are processing one of the many adventures in his life- a time when he and his sister, his future brother in law - Johnny and another friend are called to go and share the gospel. And on that Saturday, he sits in a chair, calm, composed, and patient, while I retype the story he wrote many years ago.  He is a such a good story teller - I am freezing, cringing, squirming and hoping I make it out alive. He's good.

David, my father in law, is young, he is brave, and he and his four gospel-driven friends are simply not thinking as they head to a reservation with little to nothing on their backs except one pack-sack between them. I am imagining angels debating amongst themselves whether they should just show up in bodily form and shove them back to safety. The four cross a frozen body of water and had they been familiar with these parts they would have known there is real danger underneath their feet. Typically, this spot does not freeze due to the current. But their guide, familiar with these parts, has left them. No one is there to warn them of the danger. They are on their own.

Today, the man, some seventy years later, relives his story as if it was yesterday. He recalls the exhaustion, his legs bone tired and extremely sore. He has his theories as to why that is. He also has his theories as to why the guide left, all of which he shares with me but desires it not to find its way to print. I try to persuade him otherwise but I know the point at which I must relent. This is his story.

Today he turns 90. He lives supported by His Heavenly Father who has graciously allowed Him to see His hand provide. Dad Burkholder is a man of prayer and you can hear him audibly calling out to God in his home. He completely depends on Him.

He and I have much to accomplish with the book he is writing. I am selfishly asking for continued longevity along with good health so that we can finish this task. The effort is made easy due to all that he has written since the 50's. In essence we are collectors and gatherers of his written material. This is a privilege.

Happy Birthday Dad and thank you for your warm welcome you gave to me many moons ago. To watch you and your wife always put the LORD before earthly possessions or pursuits has been the best sermon a daughter in law could ever ask for.

My birthday wish for you is that while you are still on the planet you can witness a remarkable shift in the atmosphere at Pikangikum. God is a good finisher and He has heard your prayers. I just desire for you to see them answered.  May your faith increase to new levels going beyond what you can even imagine.