Under One Roof

The Winter Solstice has passed but today marks the official beginning of winter for the McMurray family. A cold front finally rolled through which means we can at least have the excuse to use our fireplace.

When I was young, Fall meant afternoons were filled with cutting firewood so that when winter came in Tennessee, we could open the door with snow on the ground. My dad knew how to keep a wood burning heater at it maximum potential. As it turns out, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. We just finished closing the doors trying to get the indoor temperature to at least under 80 degrees. Our neighbors in our cul-de-sac must think we are crazy.

The best thing about this season is having Jess home. Not just having her home, but the nostalgia of the word “HOME”.

When Jess left for college it was difficult. I think I took it harder than Tammy. We had friends excitedly tell us how wonderful it is to be “empty-nesters”. Don’t get me wrong, I forgot what kind of a cool gal I married. Being an empty-nester is a great season to bein. Tammy and I truly enjoy this stage of our lives. . . but there is an even sweeter homecoming when Jess is here.

It brings a deep sense of comfort to hear her footsteps upstairs. We get to laugh and joke more and everything seems to revolve around some kind of event. The term “on the go” just takes a different shape and for different purposes when she is home.

For some, the memories of this time of year can be less than wonderful. I know that everyone can’t have their loved ones under one roof this season. For one reason or twenty reasons, it is growing more and more difficult to have that old fashioned Christmas family gathering. I am truly sorry if you fall into this category. Please believe me, I know what it means to be unable to see family.

Please remember, in all circumstances and situations, you have a choice. We can choose to focus on our loneliness, bitterness, and the negativity. However, we can also choose to seek forgiveness, draw boundaries, and choose to see positive potential.

If it’s been so long that you can’t remember why you’ve not been under one roof, it’s time to push that aside. If you have forgotten, there are other things to remember. If all you do is remember with bitterness, forget it. It is time to choose something that will not produce the loneliness. There comes a point that our  lives become the very thing we allow. Take a stand. Stop allowing these things to happen. One of the most powerful things we posses is the power of choice. Exercise it today, and choose to have a merry Christmas.

Passing a Background Check

A few weeks ago I began the interview process with a church to become one of their Pastors. It was brutal but wonderful. Before you think this is a rant, hear me out.

Many of you know that I have two felonies in my past. No, they cannot define who I am. I am forgiven. Period!

Even though those things happened 20+ years ago, I can tell you, they still have consequences and influence in this world. No matter how qualified I may be, an HR department sees that scar and most employers will look elsewhere.

I’ve heard it all. “This place hires almost anyone.” No they don’t. I can’t tell you how many places Iv’e walked away from with hope yanked out from under me. Is this a pity party? NO. I tell you these things to say that friction can cause sharpening if you chose it. You may think this is bold, but through these things, I know who I am and what my task is because of this past decade of rejection.

“Friction can cause sharpening if you chose it.”

 

Rejection tends to stretch and tear down the way you see yourself. Getting stretched isn’t fun and it can be painful. It doesn’t take too many trips to the gym to learn that when you get stretched, strength is coming.

In the church I found out later that one comment was made that “If one of our pastors can’t pass a background check, then how can we trust him with our congregation?

In Scripture, the Church is often referenced as the Bride of Christ. In this world, I have a precious bride of my own. I do not trust just anyone to care for her when she has a need. I want the best care possible for her. I am being asked to care for Christ’s Bride in this church. That is a big responsibility. I do not take this task lightly.

Through my healing I have learned that the only cure for rejection is acceptance. Through this past decade God has shown me, guided me, prepared me and told me that I am accepted by Him and His people. I believe that. Not by getting a “job”, but by being welcomed into a congregation and into the homes of people who want to get to know me for who God made me to be. As I have pastored elsewhere and been accepted, this seems special. I don’t think I would be able to pick up on its tender, gentle, quiet whisper had it not been for the sharpening that occurred before.

Being sharpened is a choice. Everyone wants to be the sharpener. We want to be the one who “speaks truth in love” but few are willing to be the one who is sharpened. In order to sharpen something it takes grinding off some things from the past that made it dull. Sharpening takes a process applied with patience and when it is done, it takes less effort than ever before to be effective. A scalpel is used to heal when in the hands of a skilled person.

If you feel resistant when people spend time with you and want to get to know you, please see it for the investment value. If people aren’t investing into you, your task is to get somewhere that they can. That may mean that you are about to get a good old fashioned grinding. But take comfort, there is strength coming!

The writing process

I began writing a memoir book at the end of April. I gathered two people who helped me build an outline to follow and off I went! I can say that writing isn’t the hard part. The process by which your content comes is the more difficult thing to face. God’s desire is to heal us. God also has intent when He heals.
I was following the book outline and when I would write things that didn’t fit or follow that outline, I would put it into another document. That kept happening so frequently that I noticed a pattern. That pattern brings us to what will soon be published as “The Dominion of Anger”.

Here is the summary:
The Dominion of Anger is designed to give a biblical view of how to make the transition from being internally dominated by anger and moving toward understanding that we are designed to take dominion over anger. We are designed to use anger as an internal tool to reveal things about our alignment. God is a triune being. God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. We are made after His image, having three parts as well. The Dominion of Anger goes into detail of how we are made in His image and looks at how we can get out of alignment to our original design. The DoA offers a study guide at the end of each chapter and encourages the reader to put a Life Team together. There is a section in the back for the Life Team Member to have a Dominion of Anger Map. The Map is designed to coach the Life Team Member along while facilitating individual meetings or group.

 

Please let me know what your thoughts are. I would appreciate honest feedback.