Friday, March 30, 2007

Little Fifi

This is worth a chuckle.

The train was very crowded, so the soldier walked the length of the train, looking for an empty seat. The only unoccupied seat was directly adjacent to a well-dressed middle-aged lady and was being used by her little dog.

The war weary soldier asked, "Please, ma'am, may I sit in that seat?"

The French woman looked down her nose at the soldier, sniffed and said, "You Americans. You are such a rude class of people. Can't you see my little Fifi is using that seat?" The soldier walked away, determined to find a place to rest, but after another trip down to the end of the train, found himself again facing the woman with the dog. Again he asked, "Please, Madame. May I sit there? I'm very tired."

The French woman wrinkled her nose and snorted, "You Americans! Not only are you rude, you are also arrogant. Imagine!" The soldier didn't say anything else; he leaned over, picked up the little dog, tossed it out the window of the train and sat down in the empty seat. The woman shrieked and railed, and demanded that someone defend her and chastise the soldier.

An English gentleman sitting across the aisle spoke up, "You know, sir, you Yanks do seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You eat holding the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your autos on the wrong side of the road, and now you've thrown the wrong one out the window!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What Need Am I Trying to Fill?

"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you,

the part of you that chooses,

into something a little different from what it was before...

either into a creature that is in harmony with God,

or into one that is in a state of war with God.

Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."

~ C.S. Lewis ~
Mere Christianity

She stood before this group of high school girls, clearly nervous, yet determined to share her message. She is a happily married Christian woman, yet, in her other life, she was a drug addict, a topless dancer, and finally, a prostitute.

She held the girls in rapt attention, because her life began in similar fashion to theirs. She grew up living with her mom and dad in an upper middle class home. She was a “daddy’s girl” who loved sports and especially riding her horse. She attended a private, Christian school, and was very involved in church; she led the idyllic life, until she reached middle school. The summer after 8th grade, she and her mom left their home in Arizona and came to Texas to visit her aunt. It was there that her mom announced that she was leaving her dad. She had no warning, no chance to say goodbye to her friends, her church, her school, and most importantly, her dad.

This one event initiated the spiral. She immediately latched on to another girl in pain, and together they began experimenting with drugs, which led to skipping school, and finally, running away from home. Shortly after, she was raped. She lived on the streets for awhile, until circumstances forced her to bow her head in shame and return home.

She tried to clean up. A very intelligent girl, she managed to pull in excellent grades during the week, but it wasn’t long before her weekends consisted of alcohol, drugs, partying, and casual sex. She ended up dropping out of school and moving in with a boyfriend. She heard through a friend that a lot of money could be made topless dancing, so she entered that world. Tragically, this led to prostitution, which consumed her life and fed her drug habit for the next 10 years.

Sometime in her late 20’s, she stumbled upon New Friends, New Life, formerly known as Amy’s Friends. This non-profit organization helps women get out of sexually oriented businesses and provides the support and training to finish their educations and get jobs. She went through the program and now works for the organization. She is truly one of their success stories. Part of her ministry is to speak to young girls about the choices she has made and the consequences she has faced as a result.

I will never forget the day she came to speak to the girls at our school. There were two things in particular that she said that resonated with me. As she explained the importance of making wise choices that determine the course of your life, she used the analogy of a geometric angle. In drawing a 90 degree angle, if, instead, you reach the apex and veer slightly, the small adjustment will get larger and larger as your line leaves the apex. She said that it is the same with choices. One choice leads to another, which leads to another, which will either take you closer to your goal or further and further away from it.

During the question and answer period, the girls had a lot of “Why?” questions. Many of the girls in the audience came from broken homes, and her background of a broken home, Christian education, etc. made them a little uncomfortable. She talked about many of the things that she did in response to what was happening in her life, and what she was trying to accomplish. In every incidence, she said she was trying to fill a need that she had at the time. She took drugs to numb the pain. She lived on the streets because of her shame in being raped. She became a topless dancer and a prostitute because of the money, the power, and the “love” that she craved. So, in hindsight, she cautioned the girls, when faced with temptations, to ask themselves, “What need am I trying to fill?”

If you are interested in learning more about New Friends, New Life, you might want to check out the following websites. The first is their website; the others are articles that have been written about them. These women are victims of their own poor choices and need our prayers and support.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Racing Tumbleweeds

During our first years of marriage, we lived in the high plains of New Mexico, where you could drive along flat, straight roads with nothing but miles of flat land on either side. The highlight of a long drive like this is the tumbleweed race.

It is amazing, actually. You can be driving along, with tumbleweed rolling toward you at a 45 degree angle, and if you slow down, it slows down; if you speed up, it speeds up, or so it appears. This continues on until finally it comes right at you, hurls itself at your car, and bursts into a million twigs.

I guess if I were standing in a field, it might hurt to be hit by tumbleweed, with its thorns and dry, scratchy branches. But cocooned within the armor of my car, I am safe and sheltered.

God provides armor to protect us from the evil one. Although we tend to lash out against the evil that we see in this world, in actuality, there is an unseen world, a spiritual war going on, and what is at stake is my soul.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

God desires to protect us, so he provides the tools we need.

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:13-17

Finally, we are reminded that this battle is spiritual and must be fought in God’s strength, depending on Him through His word and prayer.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18