Mentoring for Jesus

Follow Him and you can't go wrong

Follow Him and you can’t go wrong

Last night Brian and I met with the youth pastor at our church. We want to volunteer Wednesday nights with the youth group and be mentors to high school students. We both feel strongly about this, especially me, because I want to make myself available to youth who are vulnerable at this tender age.

We’re not volunteering for this position because we think we are perfect people and want youth to “follow our lead” in life. We recognize we are sinners, no different than anyone else on this planet, made in God’s image yet forever imperfect. But, I know I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was a year ago and I know it’s because I finally found a church that helps me in my Godly walk in life. Every day is a fresh start to get things right, even though we fail daily, God’s grace saves.

Brian and I are blessed. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I’ve always had a strong faith in God but in the past year, this faith has brought changes to my life, not just the blessing of getting out of a bad marriage that I was rushed into, but the feeling of genuine love from a man who supports me for being the person I am. When I said I wanted to find a church to attend, Brian didn’t bulk, didn’t roll his eyes, and didn’t protest. He was supportive and joined me in hunting for the church that would help us grow in our faith together.

That has been the key to our success and the amazing strength in our love. God is with us every step of the way. We know the path we are meant to take, the choices we need to make. “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Each night I pray, thanking God for the blessed life I am living and for the amazing man in my life and the church that has allowed our faith to grow. We can’t achieve purity but we can strive to be as pure as possible and pass that desire to be pleasing to God on to the youth we mentor.

Mentoring teens is tricky. They are old enough to be free thinkers so just saying “do this or do that” isn’t going to cut it. But we can share the scripture with them in hopes of making a difference. “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

It is easy to be led astray, especially as a teenager or young adult. God knows I’ve strayed in my walk, but I recognize my sins and ask for forgiveness. I don’t want to be the person I was before. I was angry on so many levels and acted out both verbally and in my writing. I lived in a relationship not once, but twice, that wasn’t pleasing to God. Those days are behind me.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I try not to speak or write in anger, but instead refuse to be pulled into drama that will bring the old, sarcastic Pattie out of the woodwork. I want to show I can be a better, Godly person with my daily actions and not just showing up on Sundays or Wednesdays with “words” to regurgitate to the youth. The youth need role models, not mouth pieces.

I have been given the gift of everlasting life because I have faith in God and asked Jesus to be in my heart. Faith is the key because I can’t PROVE God exists, but I believe he does and is with me every step of my day. Because I believe this, I want to do the best I can to show my love and appreciation for all he has done. I came into the world with nothing, but I now have the greatest gift possible because God gave his son to release us from our sins and unworthiness.

“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” I am so thankful for the spirit within Brian and I because not only has it brought us closer to God, it has brought us closer to each other in marriage. I have never been in such awe of how I feel. Surely God has done great things for me and now it is my turn (and Brian’s) to share how great God can be in other’s lives.

The Biblical quotes from this post are from 1 John chapter 3, a wonderful passage to read in full.

Please feel free to comment on my post or Facebook page in the ways God has touched your life.

God Bless!
~P.

Does God Love?

Pattie Crider

PHL250

04/24/2014

Does God Love?

 

The pain in my chest is overwhelming today and I wonder how much I can endure. I’m angry at God and can’t understand why there must be so much suffering. God if you love us why do you let tragedy into our lives? I want to love you. I want to believe you love me and all of us on earth, but you make it difficult. Is it a test of our faith? If it is, you are taking it to a level I can barely endure.

“Aunt Peggy! Hi, it’s Pattie. I’m calling to see what time you want us to come for Easter dinner.”

“Oh Pattie, I have terrible news. My Frankie died in his sleep last night. I’m still having dinner and want you to come, but I’m pushing it back to later in the day. More of our family will be coming.”

I felt like I had just been punched in the gut. Frankie, my 34 year-old cousin was so full of life. He made even the grumpiest person smile with his antics. I sat down to let what my aunt had just said sink in. Frank was gone. I wouldn’t see him at dinner tomorrow and he wouldn’t get all the kids wound-up to the point we would have to yell at him to settle down as if he were 8 years old himself.

I went to Philadelphia the next day and ate dinner with my family but there wasn’t much praising of God, or even a prayer thanking him for giving up his son for our lives. We were all thinking the same thing, “Why did he take our Frank?” My aunt did not plan a funeral for Frank, no opportunity for us to gather and see him one last time. No prayers or hymns asking God to welcome him into Heaven. We left Philadelphia still dazed, hugging our family members, some we haven’t seen since we were children, hating that the only reason for our reunion was the death of our dear cousin. I will be honest; we weren’t thinking about God’s sacrifice of his son, we were thinking about ourselves and the loss of a man we loved dearly.

I came home and tried to get back into the swing of things. I was making progress, accepting that Frank made poor choices in his life and perhaps God took him out of love to save others from the dangers he could have brought into their life, particularly his young son’s life. I almost convinced myself that God did this out of love and Frank is now in Heaven with his wings, no longer suffering severe back pain from a work injury.

Then yesterday happened and my anger towards God is nearly at a boiling point. My dear friend for some unknown reason shot herself to death Tuesday night in her home. I cannot understand why and I’m overwhelmed with guilt for not calling her more often or stopping to see her at work. She was literally two minutes up the road and I barely saw her in person. She always seemed happy even, when I dropped off her Girl Scout cookies last month. Would a God who loves take or allow her to take her life? I am so angry that this happened and even angrier at myself for not being a better friend.

Last night my dad called about 8:30 PM to tell me my mom isn’t doing well. She is in Pittsburgh recovering from the first of two surgeries necessary for a small intestine transplant. The thought of losing my mother terrifies me. I am praying to God to make her strong and to give me the strength to get through this unbelievable amount of stress going on in my life. My mom is the most kind, caring and loving person I know and did nothing to deserve the suffering she has endured for the past 20 years. If God loves, why does my mother’s pain continue? My dad said they will probably move her to critical care because she is having such difficulties breathing. It is devastating to me that she isn’t even strong enough to talk to right now. In fact, she is so weak we don’t want to tell her about the loss of Frank in fear she will begin crying and her body won’t be able to take the stress.

I want to believe in a Christian, loving God. That is the God I pray to asking him to hold my strength as I get through the loss of my cousin and friend, as I try to be patient with my mother’s recovery, as I finish my last term in college, as I try to get custody of my daughter from my abusive ex and finish the divorce he started six years ago. The stress is incredible and I try to have faith that God will be by my side, especially since I have a life growing inside me that should not be touched by the drama and sadness taking place.

Could the Hebrew God really be what looks down at us? Not really caring, but just going on with business as usual because what he started with Adam and Eve has been a bust and we humans are just the mess left behind that he must try to tidy up daily? I can’t say I’d blame God if that’s how he feels. God demanded we obey and worship him but most of us fail. If his love is contingent on a transaction in which we fulfill, I’m not surprised by all the suffering the world endures, or even my own suffering. I would expect the pleasure he gets from our creation to be minimal because the reality is we humans suck at upholding even the simplest of obligations. We had the opportunity to have perfect lives and it was ruined in the Garden of Eden with rebellion, sin and crimes against one another. So those original sins perhaps are the cause for the suffering we have every day. I don’t believe it’s fair. I feel bound to God through the love I was raised to believe in and feel towards him, but the weight of life and the recent happening in my personal life make holding this love difficult.

I don’t want to believe that God doesn’t love us. That belief is what keeps me holding my faith. I want to believe God loves us and there is a reason for everything that happens, whether it is the death of a loved one or the surprise of becoming pregnant at 43 years old. I don’t want to think there has to be bad to compensate for good or that all this happens randomly with no higher power involved. It would obliterate everything I’ve been taught since I was old enough to understand Bible stories. I instead place my life in God’s hands and will replace my anger with stronger faith because anger and hate will never make things better and only bring me down further.

This wasn’t a fictional story, I just couldn’t bring myself to write fiction when my reality is so tangible right now and making me question whether God does love. I will continue to believe he does in the Christian thought because to allow the Hebrew view of God enter my life would not be beneficial to my family and me. I need to believe God is good and God loves otherwise, all I’ve been taught would have been the fictional story.

Faith and Yard Sales

IMG_3168

I enjoy yard sales because, getting something I need cheap, is cool.  

Dale enjoys yard sales because getting something cheap is cool.

Notice the difference?

Saturday morning, I set out to find a coffee pot and clothes for India.  I found a coffee pot for $3 and five pieces of clothing I believe suitable for India.  As a bonus, I discovered a pair of sandals for 50 cents.   We walked to several yard sales before leaving for the May Fair at Tesla’s school.  At the last yard sale, I met a lovely lady named Cass.  She was selling a few things and noticed Tesla looking at a simple, gold-tone, watch.  Cass told her it needed a battery and if her Mommy would get one, she could have the watch.  Tesla looked to me and I said “Sure, I’ll get you a battery.”  Tesla thanked Cass and me and went to tell Aunt Sue about her new watch.  Cass and I began talking, and somehow, in conversation, she shared that in 1980, her vindictive husband came into Turkey Hill Mini Market, where she was a clerk, and fire three shots from his handgun.  Those three shots each hit her, two into the chest and one in her face. Two bullets were found in her, one in the wall of the store.  And she lived.  She lived!  Her husband served three years and was free.  He remarried and had two more children.  Cass forgave him and allowed him to see his children, even allowing him into her home as their daughter passed away from cancer.  Cass said her ex-husband fought with his new wife and one day, during an argument, had a heart attack and hit the ground dead.  Karma.  Enough said.

I learned Cass attends Friendship Community Church and she had wonderful things to say about the pastor, the music and congregation.  I told her the church sounded wonderful and I would like to come.  She was so excited!  Sue walked over to us and I introduced her to Cass.  Sue had been to FCC for service in the past and said she would go to the service also.  And that is how faith is passed from one person to another.  Just talking to Cass for fifteen minutes and I knew there was something special about her.  When she told me she sits on the left side of the church because she can’t see out of her left eye, I never dreamed the reason her vision was impaired was because her husband shot her in the face.  Damn.

The six of us (Dale, Tesla, Andrew, Sue, Blaine and I) wandered into the church, checking things out.  Just inside, they hooked us up with name tags and I asked about Cass.  The ladies knew who I was asking for and said she was sitting at the last table directly in front of us.  They asked how we knew Cass.  I told them we just met her the day before, at her yard sale and she invited us to her church.  The ladies were delighted and welcomed us to the service.  

I heard one say to the other as we walked away, “Way to go Cass.”

Indeed, 

~P.

Stone Pilgrimage

This is how my mind works.  If you scare easily, stop reading now.

Ok, you are still reading….you must be a glutton for punishment.  There are many of you out there.

On Tuesday, June 19, I had the television on the History channel and they were showing a marathon of Ancient Alien Theory, a show I absolutely love.  Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is my favorite speaker on this show.  He has crazy man hair and likes it.

Giorgio A. Tsoukalos

I was listening to Giorgio talk about the Mayan calendar, extra-terrestrial life, UFOs, etc. and I was overcome with the desire to get my ass to Georgia to see the Georgia Guidestones.  I don’t remember how I first heard about the stones but last year I watched Brad Meltzer’s Decoded episode featuring them.   I also did a tremendous amount of research to make it part of my New Religious Movement final thesis.  My fictional religion was based on the Guidestones and Lady Gaga as a charismatic leader for the apocalyptic end of the world.

https://girlboxer1970.com/2012/01/01/lady-gaga-leader-of-the-church-of-ga/

Don’t be silly.  I don’t believe Lady Gaga is going to take over the world even if she has enough little monsters following her to do so.

I had previously looked into traveling by train to Georgia but that didn’t seem like an appropriate action.  I wanted to drive to Georgia in the worst way so I called for a car rental price.  That was a no go because I didn’t have a major credit card or a job and Dale could not rent a car for me to drive.  This was a very personal, spiritual trip that I wanted to take alone or possibly with my sister Suz.  She just started a new job so she wasn’t going to be able to travel.  With no way to legally rent a car, I decided I was going to take my 20 year old Honda Accord and travel in faith.

I planned to drive to Cummings, GA first (near Atlanta) and stay with Dale’s sister, Georgie.  In my duffel bag I had a pair of jeans, a nice blouse, a York College t-shirt, two pair of shorts, swimsuit and other essentials I expected to need.  Grabbed Ying’s dog food, my laptop, camera and cell and I walked out the door for Georgia at 1:30 PM without telling anyone.

A few hours into driving I texted Dale “I’ve got GA in my GPS!” and he responded “good!”  It wasn’t until he came home from work that he realized I meant I was driving at that moment.  My leaving without saying goodbye upset him and I completely understood why he was upset.  I explained that I believe God wanted me to leave right then.  I didn’t question myself with this belief and I didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to question it.  There would be no one trying to talk me out of driving my car over 1,000 miles to see this granite monument if Ying and I just left.

At first it seemed like I was making great time.  I was passing through states quickly and my GPS (speaking in Spanish) gave an arrival time of 2:00 AM.  I drove straight through to South Carolina before I stopped at midnight at a rest area and fell asleep in my car.  Ying who had been napping the entire trip stood guard while I dozed.  I awoke at 6 AM seriously cramped from sleeping in a Honda Accord.  After a potty trip and some stretching, Ying and I hit the road.

We drove for about an hour and I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  At the next rest stop I pulled off again and slept until 8 AM.  I know the dangers of driving when you are so sleepy you can’t keep your eyes open.  Another hour of rest did me wonders and for the second time on Wednesday, we left for Georgia.

At noon I noticed Elberton had popped up on the GPS and suddenly driving to Cummings first was no longer an option.  I texted Dale I was going to the stones first, then to his sister’s house.  That didn’t happen either…

I didn’t know the road the stones were on so I just put Elberton into the GPS.  I saw the Georgia Guidestones on the hill before the GPS announced we were in Elberton.  There was a small sign noting the Guidestones location on Guidestone Road.  I had already passed the road so I turned around.  If you are not looking, the sign and the stones would easily be missed.

At first I felt giddy at finally reaching my destination 24 hours after leaving Pennsylvania. But as I drove up the gravel road, I was overcome with emotion.  This was not the reaction I had expected.  Tears were flowing out of my eyes and my nose was running so bad it grossed me out.  I had no tissues or napkins left in the car so I opted for my York College t-shirt.  I couldn’t get out of my car at first, even after all that driving.

After making a video with Ying full of crying, blubbering and probably not making much sense, I exited my car and headed to the stones.  There were other people there also.  Two men appeared to be making a documentary and were interviewing another man.  I didn’t pay much attention to them as I walked towards the stones.  When I came around to the English inscription and read it in person, touching the granite, I lost it again.

The documentary guys had finished talking to the other man and now they were apparently watching me.  I have no idea who they were and their white passenger van gave no clues to their business.  No one else got out of the van even though I could see the outline of other people through the tinted windows.

The tears were really rolling while I leaned on that granite stone trying to grasp what all it meant for the future of the world.  I tried to get a grip but it was pointless so I just bawled like a baby.  I could hear the man with the video saying, “Now tell me people don’t believe what these stones say?  There is a woman weeping on the monument and that is proof of belief.”  How the hell did I wind up in this man’s video about the Georgia Guidestones?  Neither man tried to speak to me and I was pleased.  I didn’t drive there to have some religious debate or discuss my personal beliefs.  That’s what I have a blog for.

Engraved on the stones:

A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: EnglishSpanishSwahiliHindiHebrewArabicChinese, andRussian.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

So why was I crying?  Relief.  I felt a huge relief.  Maybe because my car made it and that was my goal.  No, that’s not why.  I cried because I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.  When I read on these huge tablets that the population of the Earth will be reduced to 500 million people I interpret that as the apocalypse that is written about in the Bible.  I’m not going to be one of the people left behind.  On December 21, 2012 the Mayan calendar ends.  What do a bunch of Mayan people know?  I’m thinking they knew more about the Heavens then we will ever learn before the end of times.  They didn’t just run out of rocks so there must be a reason the calendar ends on that day.  I was at the Mayan ruins and there was no shortage of stones.

My religious beliefs are out there.  I was raised in the Lutheran faith and I’m thankful for that.  I learned all the Bible stories, went to Sunday school and VBS over the summers.  I memorized the Lord’s Prayer, the Nicene Creed, Bible verses and songs.  I believe what it says in the Bible.  It’s not some fictional book full of crazy stories.  It’s a non-fiction book full of crazy stories.  All of the stories revolving around an alien named God who decided to create Earth and everything on it.

There were many people who came to see the stones in the 45 minutes I was there.  I could tell by watching them who knew what the stones were all about and who was getting a shock by way of huge, granite tablets that day.  Some were outraged and stated it was someone with money who wanted to cause a stir.  That theory doesn’t work for me.  The land had to be purchased, the monument drawn up on blueprints, and then taken to the granite company to be made and placed.  This all happened in 1979-1980 so if the goal was just to stir things up in the world, it was a complete failure.  Even in Georgia, people had no idea what I was talking about.  Dale’s sister Georgie lives less than 2 hours from the monument and had never heard about it.

It was hot on that hill and there was no shade available other than standing under the capstone of the monument.  Ying had crawled under my car to get out of the sun.  I would have left the car run if I had air-conditioning but that took a shit back when the car was still my brother Sam’s.  This trip has reminded me how luxurious cooled air is.  I texted Dale I was leaving the stones and coming home.  He asked why and I wrote back, “I saw what I came to see in GA.”  I pushed the home button on my GPS and was headed back to Pennsylvania.

My faith in God is stronger than it has ever been and I am thankful he watched over me on my pilgrimage to see the Georgia Guidestones.  ~P.

Want to read more about the Guidestones and why people feel the need to do this?

Click here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones

%d bloggers like this: