The Thoughts of SES Blog

Grits cover of U2’s “With or Without You”

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And Im waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, shes got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you
With or without you

Lyrics obtained through http://www.justsomelyrics.com/677297/Grits-(Featuring-Jadyn-Maria)-With-Or-Without-You-Lyrics

Jesus, I wait for You. I wait for Your comfort. I wait for Your return. I wait for You.

The Dance of God

The story behind this is that Tuesday, I was helping with VBS decorations at the church and had just taken a break to go find my music director to ask him a question. Only when I got to where his office would be I learned he was not in at that moment. So I was heading back down the hall with the windows and noticed it had just started raining. Upon arriving back in the church lobby where we were working on the decorations, I announced that I had to do something, that my momma wouldn’t let me do it, but that I just had to. When asked what it was, I announced, I just feel like I have to take my socks off and go run in that rain. Everyone said, well do it. So I did. I got into that parking lot at the church and just started dancing in the rain, arms lifted up, and I looked toward Heaven and just let God wash away my fears and my worries.

I am no longer afraid of having a rare, incurable disease. I am no longer afraid to serve God in whatever way that will be. And thus begins the dance of God.

The Dance of God

All it takes is one heart, one mind, one soul, one life. All it takes is one breath, one hope, one prayer. All it takes is one small child, one new believer, one young life. All it takes is that to really know and experience the dance of God. The dance of God is not necessarily about the steps, the motions, the choreography because the dance of God is whatever is in the heart. It starts in the heart, moves through the veins, the arteries, the muscles, the brain. The next thing you know, the feet start moving, the arms start moving, the body starts moving. There doesn’t have to be music because the music is in your heart. An onlooker may think it crazy, but you don’t care. All you know is you have to dance, dance, dance. Dance like you don’t care because you don’t. All you care about is praising God, worshipping God. For the small things, for the large things. For the beautiful things, for the not so beautiful things. For all of creation. For all of mankind. And that is the dance of God.
-Written by SES, 2 June 2010

The little girl climbs on the daddy’s feet for a father-daughter dance. There doesn’t have to be music. The music is in the heart. I’m climbing on God’s feet and I’m hanging on for the dance and for the ride. God’s song in my heart is the music of the dance.

Psalm 149:3
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

“Be Glorified”
By Chris Tomlin

Your love has captured me
Your grace has set me free
Your life the air I breathe
Be glorified in me

Your love has captured me
Your grace has set me free
Your life the air I breathe
Be glorified in me

You set my feet to dancing
You set my heart on fire

In the presence of a thousand kings
you are my one desire

I stand before you now
With trembling hands lifted high
Be glorified

Your love has captured me
Your grace has set me free
Your life the air I breathe
Be glorified in me

Oh yeah

You set my feet to dancing
You set my heart on fire
In the presence of a thousand kings
You are my one desire

I stand before you now
With trembling hands lifted high
Be glorified

Be glorified in me
Be glorified in me
Be glorified in me
Be glorified
Be glorified in me
Be glorified in me
Be glorified in me
Be glorified in me
Be glorified

You set my feet to dancing
You set my heart on fire
In the presence of a thousand kings
You are my one desire

I stand before you now
With trembling hands lifted high

Be glorified

Gluten Free at Church

Sometimes, it takes little and sometimes it takes a lot, but as they say, faith as small as a mustard seed can move some mighty big mountains. Okay, so I’m not 100% quoting that verse from the Bible, but you get my point, right?

Well, I’d mentioned the possibility of it last year, but after I had an asthma attack the last time I ate a McDonald’s cheeseburger, made with of course a wheat bun, I noticed that some mountains moved at my church in Birmingham, Alabama area.

Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church now joins the ranks of a cluster of churches who are making the move to provide a gluten free alternative to the traditional communion cracker they usually use so people who have celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergy can still participate in its monthly communion service.

Although there may not be a percentage yet as to how many people are benefitting from this option, it is a sign of the changing times and the growing acceptance of people who have issues with gluten and wheat.

It also shows that they have compassion for a growing population of people who cannot tolerate gluten and wheat.

Now, I wonder what it would take for them to become a peanut free zone for those who have asthma attacks just from smelling peanuts?

Linkin Park’s “Numb” and a spiritual application

Lyrics are from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/linkinpark/numb.html

“Numb”

I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless lost under the surface
Don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)

[Chorus]
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
Become so tired so much more aware
I’m becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me
Holding too tightly afraid to lose control
Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
And every second I waste is more than I can take

[Chorus]
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
Become so tired so much more aware
I’m becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

And I know
I may end up failing too
But I know
You were just like me with someone disappointed in you

[Chorus]
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
Become so tired so much more aware
I’m becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

[Chorus]
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
I’m tired of being what you want me to be
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
I’m tired of being what you want me to be

The spiritual application I found in this is not only how sometimes in friendships, we have older, wiser friends who we look up to, but then something happens, and we start to question that person about everything. But see life is not perfect, people are not perfect. If we were perfect, then Jesus would not have needed to come to the earth to die for us.

But the hope is that things can be resolved and not fall apart.

The other spiritual application, and this is important, sometimes in conflicts we want to run away and hide, not just from the conflict, but from God as well. An important lesson that is getting reiterated for me right now is that God pursues His children.

So, the objective at that point is to accept God’s love and to not become so numb-to Him or to the person who you may have a struggle with. Because if we become numb, we may miss the opportunity for restoration.

What’s on Your iPod?

Posted in Thoughts on Friendship by ses31 on February 20, 2010

I have a collection of over 500 items, ranging from songs, news reports, videos, and sermons on the iPod I have access to.

Of those the first ten songs that pop up (I have it on random shuffle) are:
“A Cradle Prayer” from Christmas by Rebecca St. James
“What Hurts the Most” from Me and My Gang by Rascal Flatts
“Over It” from Radio Disney Jams, Volume 7 by Anneliese Van Der Pol
“Happy Christmas” from Christmas by Rebeccas St. James
“Supermodels” from Jordan’s Sister by Kendall Payne
“Last One Standing” from Radio Disney Jams, Volume 6 by Triple Image
“Don’t Say You Love Me” from Radio Disney Jams, Volume 3 by M2M
“What’s Your Name?” from Radio Disney Jams 8 by Jesse McCartney
“Juliet” from Radio Disney Ultimate Jams by LMNT
“Stayin’ Alive” from Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel by The Chipmunks
Part two of this blog post will have the first verse/chorus of the first ten songs on the iPod on that day.

But I write this to say that the Nick Jonas video post I have speaks a lot about how I feel right now.

I want someone to love me
For who I am
I want someone to need me
Is that so bad?
I want to break all the madness
But it’s all I have
I want someone to love me
For who I am

Nothing makes sense, nothing makes sense anymore
Nothing is right, nothing is right when your gone.
I want someone to love me
For who I am
I want someone to need me
Is that so bad?
I want to break all the madness
But it’s all I have
I want someone to love me
For who I am

Nothing makes sense, nothing makes sense anymore
Nothing is right, nothing is right when you’re gone
I’m losing my breath, I’m losing my right to be wrong
I’m frightened to death, I’m frightened that I won’t be strong

I want someone to love me
For who I am
I want someone to need me
Is that so bad?
I wanna break all the madness
But it’s all I have
I want someone to love me
For who I am

I’m shaking it off, I’m shaking off all of the pain.
Breaking my heart, breaking my heart once again

I want someone to love me
For who I am
I want someone to need me
Is that so bad?
I wanna break all the madness
But it’s all I have
I want someone to love me
For who I am

I want someone to love me
For who I am
I want someone to need me
Is that so bad?
I wanna break all the madness
But it’s all I have
I want someone to love me
For who I am

Yeah, who I am.

Lyrics from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/nick_jonas_and_the_administration/who_i_am.html

Of Bobs and Jasons (Or My Life As a New Christian at OMPC-Part I) copied from Facebook Notes

Posted in Thoughts on Church by ses31 on February 16, 2010

I was invited to church by a Bob. After the pastor returned from a mission trip to Ireland, I met him. Turned out his name was also Bob. The tone of the worship service is established by this somewhat “eccentric” but really cool music minister named Jason. After a couple of weeks, Bob number one’s wife took me to the new members’ inquiry class led by, you guessed it, another Jason. So, how do I keep all these awesome people in my life straight? At first, my relationship with Bob number one was hard to explain, but now we are just friends. I use the proper Southern Miss with his wife. Jason, the music minister, is just Jason. The other is Mr. Jason. Bob number one is now Mr. Bob and Bob, the pastor, has now respectfully become Pastor. I had to come up with a system because being a young Christian presents enough challenges without also dealing with “what do I call you?”

*In retrospect, I’m not so sure “eccentric” was quite the word I was looking for?!?

Why Legalized Gambling in Alabama Would Be Wrong

In a time of such deep recession when so many people continue to lose their jobs, yet the cost of living and health insurance continues to rise, the last thing Alabama needs is another thing to provide FALSE hope to gullible and innocent who are living on their last dime.

It would be morally and ethically irresponsible for the people and the legislation of Alabama to allow for gambling of any type to be legalized.

Let’s consider that smoking is legal. Does this mean it is good for a person? No. It causes lung cancer in not only the smoker, but also in those who breathe the air around the smoker. It also causes asthma in those who breathe that same air.

Let’s consider that drinking is legal. Is it good for a person? No. It damages the liver. Drunk drivers kill people.

Cell phones. They are both a way to stay in touch with people who are near and far at all times of the day through talk and text but they can also cause accidents and fatalities.

Gambling has led to addictions which in some states has led to taxpayer dollars being spent to put up billboards and set up hotlines for counseling to help those addicts. That is money that is being diverted away from the education that the gambling dollars was supposedly going to help.

Gambling can become addictive. People end up putting false hope into some machine that is rigged against them, that will cause them to fail, and then they lose everything they have because in the off-chance they happen to win, they want to do it again and again and again. There’s the addiction. Hook, line, and sinker.

Gambling is not good stewardship of our resources. It is wasteful and sinful.

God did not tell us to go waste everything He put us in charge of. He told us to be go be good stewards.

Part of being good stewards is using the money we have wisely for education and for road repairs. Part of being good stewards is helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

Gambling is not the answer. It is the harm.

We have several opportunities presented to help ourselves get out of the mess we are now in. We can allow higher property tax for education. It would only affect a few anyway, but oddly, the only people I see ever protesting these higher property taxes are the very people who can afford it and should be paying it.

And because in the end, the state would have to sponsor hotlines and counseling to help those who end up addicted, that would divert money that is supposedly going for education or roadwork or some other noble cause away from what the gambling was legalized to support.

The better solution would be for the people who live in those fancy houses that cost $500,000 and drive those fancy cars that they make $1000 per month car payments on and that insist on going out to eat every night at some fancy restaurant to get off their high horse, and vote for higher property taxes in Alabama, which would support education.

Because frankly, the only people I ever saw putting up a fight against that the last time was the people who can afford it and should pay it. The only people I hear complaining about raising some kind of tax somewhere should our state manage to cut taxes on groceries like most every other state in the United States is the rich people.

God asked us to take care of the poor and the hungry and those less fortunate than ourselves. Part of that would be to cut the taxes on essentials, like food at the grocery store, because the reason why American society is getting fatter is because the healthy food is unattainable to some 50 percent or more of Americans due to the inane taxes on groceries.

And the only reason why the state of Alabama is in the middle of another tax dollar-wasting debate on whether or not to legalize gambling is because of rich people who are greedy and want to see the poor and the needy fall flat on their faces in shame when they lose to a bunch of rigged machines.

How lowdown and uncaring can these sick people get?

In all honesty, it should be the church that comes along to make sure that no one will be victimized by such immoral, unethical, unhealthy, sinful, wasteful temptations. Every church in Alabama should be making sure their members are armed with the truth and the facts they need to make sure this won’t go through and then some. Every minister should make sure that no one will be able to be persuaded, that those who would be the most susceptible are taken care of, and that everyone is equipped to handle the consequences, whether good or bad.

But honestly, we don’t need gambling to fund education. We don’t need dirty money to teach our children. We don’t need dirty money helping healthcare costs. We don’t need dirty money repairing our roads. We just don’t need dirty money.

Deciding What to Do With Pain

Posted in Thoughts on Church, Thoughts on God by ses31 on February 9, 2010

I want to include something before I state my spiel. This is from Pastor Bob Flayhart’s blog:

http://www.bobflayhart.com/2010/02/gospel-armor-against-temptation.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Gospel Armor Against Temptation
Just before celebrating the Lord’s Supper last month I shared some words that others have asked me to post. The words were these: Those Christ-followers who are covered up with guilt and shame and self-condemnation are most open to giving in to temptation. Conversely, those Christ-followers who are most willing to receive and hope in the wondrous grace of God are most strengthened against temptation.

When we are wrestling with shame and guilt, the pain of the defeat and condemnation is so intense that we’ll look for anything that will numb the pain…the narcotics of choice, then, are often the pleasures of the world that we are deceived into believing will get rid of the pain. But that just creates a downward spiral of more guilt and shame and the pain multiplies. Guilty and condemned Christians will always be desperately looking for relief from their pain…and temptation to seek that relief in sin is very alluring.

However, Christians who are convinced of the hope of forgiveness and live in the grace of God are less trapped by feelings of shame and guilt, experience more joy, and are therefore more strengthened in the battle against sin…we still will be tempted by the so-called “pleasures” of the world, but equipped with the peace of forgiveness and the joy of grace, even when we blow it, we will be quick to repent and experience afresh the wonders of God’s love…thus entering into the Spirit-filled upward cycle of forgiveness and joy and strength.

There is no one who does not sin…daily…it’s what we choose to do with that sin that makes all the difference. If we beat ourselves up and live in self-condemnation…we will be more open to looking for relief from the pain and will be less equipped to fight against temptation. If we acknowledge afresh our need for amazing grace, we’ll experience forgiveness and will be gripped again by the love of the Father…and we’ll be more equipped to say no to sin and yes to righteousness.

This is why the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is so vital to Christian health…there’s no need to beat ourselves up over sin because Christ’s Body was broken for us; and there’s no need to live with guilt and shame because His blood was shed to grant us full and total forgiveness.
Posted by The Bobosphere at 4:32 AM

My heart breaks when I say that sometimes the people who present themselves as “trustworthy” and “respectable,” are not the best at practicing what they preach and showing others the very traits of God, they persistently reemphasize over and over again.

My heart breaks tonight as I contemplate resorting to an old method of coping to get the pain I feel out.

Let’s hope that this guilt and shame isn’t caused by another Christian.

Tagged with: ,

“You Never Let Go” post from Facebook Notes

Posted in Thoughts on Church, Thoughts on God, Thoughts on Health by ses31 on February 1, 2010

“I will fear no evil.” I wonder if this too applies to sickness, financial hardship, or any other trial or tribulation that may rear it’s ugly head?

“If my God is with me whom then shall I fear?” Isn’t God supposed to be the almighty protector? After all, if this God who loved me, all of us, so much that He sent His Son to die on a cross for my sins, past, present, and future, then would He not love me not enough to protect me from anything that might try to harm me, even if it is my own immune system?

Admittedly, how quickly and easily I can forget this and instead become paralyzed with fear of the unknown. I haven’t had my appointment yet. That’s not until Monday, February 8. At this point, I can only sit and wait and pray and hope for the best. Because I do not have a complete diagnosis and the stuff on the Internet does not help my natural tendency to worry any.

Worry leads to fear.

I am making a promise this week to anyone that knows me personally. I will not be researching anything further pertaining to what might be wrong or pertaining to what the immunologist might decide to do as far as a treatment plan. I will take the words of Mr. Redmond’s song to heart, and strive to remember that God IS with me and therefore, no matter what, I really don’t have anything to fear. And most of all, for my prayer warriors reading this post, I will post an updates on my blogs.

Bleak News and Brokenness

Posted in Thoughts on Church, Thoughts on Health by ses31 on January 27, 2010

I opened the mail today and when I opened my test results from the endocrinologist, there was a prescription for prescription strength Vitamin D with six refills.

This confirms my suspicion of malnutrition since the last time I was on prescription strength, it was only for one month.

I feel so broken right now.

As a Christian, I should know that God is with me through this, and that’s what I have been learning, but I ask where is God in this right now when I really NEED Him?

How I Feel Today

Posted in Thoughts on Health by ses31 on January 27, 2010

I woke up feeling like I should be back in the bed. I have been having an off-week this week, with restless nights and insomnia. I came home from church Sunday with a 100 degree fever and it has yet to come down below 99. I usually run a 97-98.

I got on the scale this morning only to find that I have lost 12 pounds total in one week. I am noticing from several other factors that I am starting to become malnourished in terms of my necessary vitamins and minerals.

My neurologist’s office called yesterday. They don’t want to wait until March to see me. They want to see me next week. Probably to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of my continuing on Topamax therapy for prevention of migraines in light of the kidney stone in December.

The urologist did not have the results of the pathology from that yet as of yesterday. But I will want them forwarded to me so I can make sure my primary care doctor, my endocrinologist, the immunologist, and I guess the neurologist and my mitral valve specialist gets them.

My mitral valve specialist told me when she looked at the results of the bloodwork that got me into the appointment with the immunologist that she would me more alarmed at my IgE level than my flagged IgG subclasses 1 and 3. Although in all honesty, even the IgA and the IgM and the other IgG subclasses 2 and 4 were a little troubling to me.

But she may be right. I have virtually no IgE, yet I have a multitude of allergies that the doctors can’t find on tests despite my clinical history-“Doctors can be stupid sometimes.” You’re right Mr. Bob. When will they learn that if a substance causes the symptoms, and the elimination of the substance eliminates the symptoms, but the reintroduction of the substance brings back the symptoms, it’s a strong possibility that an allergy exists?

But finally after two years, I am hoping to have some answers soon…. In the meantime, today, I feel kind of sick with sneezing, a slight ear ache, a fever, itchy, watery eyes and some mild pains again.

Hello world! This is me.

Posted in Thoughts on Church by ses31 on January 27, 2010

Hello. I am not going to be saying very much about myself personally on this blog as anyone that wants to know more about can find me on Facebook and friend me there if they really want to know more about me.

As the title of my blog says, these are my thoughts. Thoughts that I don’t mind sharing. Thoughts about what I am learning as a young Christian. Thoughts about life. Thoughts about the challenges I am and will be facing dealing with my health right now.

Some people already know that I learned in December that some parts of my immune system came back deficient. But see, this is only a half-knowledge. I don’t see the immunologist until February 8, and I am very much in hope that he will be able to help find out what is wrong and determine the best treatment for me to be able to live a more “normal” life again.

I have been trying to be brave, but that brave facade is falling apart before my very eyes as each day progresses closer to the big date. I guess I need to work on letting people in. Letting them love me. Letting God love me. Stop holding back and going in my little bubble out of fear and just open myself up to love.

But admittedly, this is one of the hardest things for me.

It wasn’t until I was invited to OMPC that I truly felt loved by a church. I mean, I’m not saying there aren’t people there, like there are anywhere else who think they are better than everyone else, but OMPC is unique in that, it is the first church I’ve ever been to that the focus is more on God and God’s grace-emphasis on God’s grace.

When I first started visited at the invitation of someone who is now just a friend and his wife over the summer, the pastor was in Ireland. But the morning he was back, he introduced himself to me (a rarity, in and of itself). So, of course, when my friend went to introduce the famous Pastor Bob Flayhart to me, he seemed a little bit disappointed that somehow we’d already managed to meet.

The funny thing is that even though I am as shy as shy can be and I don’t really talk much (except when I feel I have something important to say and usually when I do start to speak, please do not interrupt me because I hardly ever speak to begin with), I am probably one of the biggest social butterflies there is! I love people. I love being around people. I love working with children. Using puppetry. Using my sign language, my music, my creative movement.  I love being friends with as many people as I can.

In public places, I have to warm up to strangers, but once I do, then there’s potential for some friendships to bond. And the best thing is that I am one of those loyal friends. I fight for my friendships when they are right for me and worth keeping.

Over this past weekend, I decided I was ready to move my relationship with God from God is this really good friend who really cares and yet scares me because He is so powerful, to finally an upward and forward move into a Father-child relationship.

A lot of things led to this point, but the main three things I can account for are seeing some good examples of fathers in my church, including my friend who invited me to OMPC; Pastor Bob’s gentle compassion that he has shown me consistently the whole time I have known him; and then there was a specific line in this past Sunday’s sermon that hit me on the head, which I will add later.

One thing I love about Pastor Bob-he’s not afraid of stepping on people’s toes or clunking them on the heads with his sermons! Some ministers would never dare to venture that, but he wants us to be more proactive in our walk, more responsible, and if that means offending someone at some point, then oh well.

But this all I have to say for now. I may have more to say later, but until then-Grace!