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living in pursuit of that

Archive for September, 2005

Painting Pictures of Egypt

Posted by hrgarippa on 21 September, 2005

I’ve been Painting Pictures of Egypt
leaving out what it lacks
cause the future seems so hard
and I wanna go back
but the places that use to fit me
cannot hold the things I’ve learned
and those roads were closed of to me, while my back was turned.
(From Sara Groves song, Painting Pictures of Egypt)

Sometimes I feel like I am so focused on the past that I cannot wrap my head around the future. It seems like I am always focused on one single moment of goodness. That one great quiet time, that one great conversation, one great date, or one great period when everyone in my life seemed to match to the life I wanted. The time I lived in Phoenix or when I lived in NY. Or when I felt like I’d figured out how to truly connect with God.

Why can’t I just survey who I am right now, and be content with me. Why do I always want to go back. I know that God is working in me right now to create who I will be next, just as he always has been. I’ve got to stop looking back and leaving out what it lacked, as the song says.

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D’Courious

Posted by hrgarippa on 19 September, 2005

This is D’Courious. He is six and comes to Mercy Street with his brother. He is my new buddy. I think he is pretty smart.

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Not Alone

Posted by hrgarippa on 18 September, 2005

I don’t know why I think I’m alone in this world.

I had lunch with Emily and Sarah today, and it was nice to be able to share with them where I’m at. And it was nice to know that they are in a similar place. I think I get pretty wrapped up in myself. That probably has to do with me being so introverted. It is so easy for me to become a recluse not just with my time, but mostly with my thoughts. It is FAR easier for me to open up to www.blogger.com than it is for me to talk to any of my closest friends. Mostly because I forget that I need them or that they might just need me, and that they might just still love me even with all my insanity.

I am so thankful for my friends.

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My first goodbye

Posted by hrgarippa on 17 September, 2005

I just said my first goodbye. Four of my favorite kids are moving away, and I don’t know where they will be. It may not be a forever goodbye, but the reality is that the way these folks move around it is hard to keep up.

It all started back in the March, we had this tough as nails kid, D’Montre, who was picking fights with everyone. We had a week long VBS type program during the week of Spring break and every day we had a problem with D’Montre. He is a cute kid but very troubled. He is 10 and walks around sucking his thumb and then trying to beat you down. We’ll I had enough and told him he couldn’t come back until he changed his attitude, that there could be no more fighting. The next morning I got to work early, and as I went to unlock the door D’Montre was standing there in the building. Someone had left a door unlocked and he was just waiting for us. It was about 7:00 am so I offered him some breakfast, this lead to some great conversation and then he helped me get ready for the day.

Things changed drastically between D’Montre and the rest of the kids after this. He didn’t seem so angry and he wasn’t so quick to fight. Then I met his sister Dre’Anna, she is a trip. The loudest, most antagonistic thing you’ve ever met. Every time I’d look at her she’d answer “What, I didn’t do anything.” But oh, how she captured my heart. From there I met their brother D’Autry and their sister Kennishia or Fat Fat as everyone calls her. They are all great kids, they have their issues but they are good.

My sister started mentoring Dre’Anna, I’ve never seen a child so proud to have a mentor. She would walk around school and Mercy Street saying, “Her sister is my mentor.” She called all the time, she even put Mary’s number on rocket dial.

Well now the family is splitting up. Cynthia their mother is moving to Oak Cliff and she has placed Kennishia with her dad, but doesn’t really know where that is, Dre is living with a cousin in Richardson, and the boys will be living with her. I don’t understand what is going on here, how a mother can just split up her kids like this.

I’m scared for all of these kids. I’m sad that I won’t see them after school and at MS. This goodbye is hard.

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Opportunity

Posted by hrgarippa on 17 September, 2005

I have a couple of friend who are teachers at a great private school here in Dallas. They have the privilege of teaching these wonderfully bright kids who have been given incredible encouragement and opportunity by their parents and all those around them. Every time we get together there are great stories about these kids and there are even some posted on their blogs, (http://secondgradethoughts.blogspot.com and http://sweetpea76.blogspot.com/ .)

But as I was reading about these great kids today, and looking at their art work and reading about the things they are learning and loving to learn. I couldn’t help but be brought to tears by the differences between those kids and my kids.

The kids here in West Dallas are not encouraged by their parents, they are not given every opportunity to succeed. They are not excited to learn because that behavior is not mirrored in their homes. Their parents do not help them with their homework, their teachers (most) are so frustrated by behavior that there is not fun in the classroom but only yelling and discipline. Most kids here have incredible gifts and talents, but there is no place for those talents to be cultivated and for them to shine.

The kids here need hope, they need to see that even without the support of their good-for-nothing parent(s) they can have a future that is more than what they see modeled for them. That just like everything else in this world, parents, encouragement, opportunity, even gifts and talents they come and go but Jesus, he is steadfast and forever.

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Sex in The City

Posted by hrgarippa on 15 September, 2005

I love this show. The relationships that are portrayed really speak to me. I have never watched it on HBO only TBS so I don’t think I could actually handle the real raunchy version…but TBS is pretty mild. I feel like each woman, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samanatha is version of me. I’ve got a little girl next door, fashion diva, shoe lovin, narcissistic, innocent, naive, tough bitch, calm, steady rock, that comprises each of the characters. I love their friendships, the way they are dealing with real issues that single woman deal with. It is tough being a single woman in this world where everything is meant for couples or for families.

I wish that I had friends like the ones that are represented on this show. I sometimes wish that I could recreate all the things that I love about it but in a good, really positive way that was sinless and edifying to the Lord. It is hard to find good Christian friends in this world. I have a few friends that I think are similar to this, but we are all so busy and in our stages of life. We don’t make enough time for each other, and I’m the biggest offender of all.

Why can’t life be as easy as on T.V., if only it was scripted by Darren Star.

My favorite line from an episode,

“The Fact is it’s hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes, that’s why we need really special ones every now and again to make the walk more fun.” – Carrie Bradshaw

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Inadequate

Posted by hrgarippa on 15 September, 2005

I have never felt so inadequate in my entire life. If I was doing my job description I wouldn’t feel so “lost in ministry” but my job somehow includes the strangest variety of things. I feel like a mother, a teacher, a counselor, a psychologist, a cop, a database administrator; and those are just some things that I did today.

When I said yes, I’ll come to West Dallas and work as the assistant to the Director of Mercy Street I had so many grand ideas of what my job was going to look like. I think I sort of pictured myself as this Michelle Pfieffer kind of person from Dangerous Minds. You know cool white girl in a mostly black neighborhood. Well its not so much like that. I still don’t know what it is. It evolves every day.

I am thankful though that in my weakness my Father is strong.

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Vision Life

Posted by hrgarippa on 14 September, 2005

That is what we call our Thursday afternoon program with the kids. It is similar to Young life. The kids come in we play games, sing songs, teach them about God’s Word…act crazy. But our kids, the kids we are trying to reach are in grades 4 – 6 and they don’t sit still very well.

I get frustrated easily and tend to want to yell rather than love. My brother he is great with the kids, he leans way over to the side of grace while I’m usually stuck over on the side of punishment and anger.

One of my hugest desires in all areas of my life is that LOVE would be my first reaction instead of anger.

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Me and Eustace

Posted by hrgarippa on 14 September, 2005

I read for the first the entire Chronicle of Narnia series and it profoundly changed my life. The charcter I most connected with was, I think, Eustace. My favorite part of all the books was this…

I started stratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe. But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means i had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underneath skin peeled of beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

Well exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got of a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good. Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – “you will have to let me undress you.” I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scap off a soreplace it hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been.

Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that very much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into
a boy again.

“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” By C.S. Lewis p. 108-109

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What do I want to do with my life?

Posted by hrgarippa on 13 September, 2005

That’s what we really need to figure out, a friend said to me recently.

There isn’t anything I can do with my life that my sin won’t follow. There is no hiding from it, and I can’t fully function as anything when I am consumed by it. It completely overwhelms me. It becomes my life, my job, my hobby, my everything. I have chosen it over what is good, what is right, what is lovely and what will, what I know will bring me joy…My Father’s never ending love.

I cannot function in this life this way. So what can I do, being forgiven obviously does nothing for me, because it doesn’t change me. Years and years I’ve been struggling with the same crap, and years and years I’ve been praying the same prayers. So now I wonder what good is salvation if it does nothing to change me. What was the point of Christ’s death if I am still acting this way, I have made a mockery out of His death. I am sick of me this way, but I cannot run from myself, I cannot get away from this person I’ve created. I do not know how to change into who God created me to be. I don’t know how to get all the voices out of my head, when the only thing I want to hear is my Father. I wish I could just start over.

The Word says, “You’ve created in me a clean heart.” How does that work when I keep making a mess? Can you, Father, make my desire to stop sinning greater than my desire to sin?

What I want to do with my life has nothing to do with a location, or an occupation. I want to be free, I want out of the duplicity of this world. I want to stop serving two masters. I want to be filled with the steadfast love of the Father so that I can love Him in return the way that He deserve to be loved. That is what I want to do with my life.

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