Psalms of a Middle Aged WomanTweet
Posted 4/23/13 at 10:54 PM | Heidi Doose
I can't do it. I cannot celebrate the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev or his brother Dzhokhar's attempt at suicide. I don't condone anything that either one of them did, and their acts of terrorism and hate were abominable. I don't believe for one moment that either of them is innocent. They plotted heinous acts of terrorism and carried out their murderous plans without fear. Innocent people died. Tamerlan died in the murky, black depths of sin, full of hate for Americans and Christians.
"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,"
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth."1 Corinthians 13:5-7
These two men will answer to God. Rejecting the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus in life, leads to condemnation in death. The eternal consequences far outweigh the punishment of the American judicial system. I cannot dance in the streets, or shout for joy that even the most hate-filled murderer is looking at eternity in hell. I just can't. All I can think about is the people that were hurt, the lives that were lost, the potential for good that disappeared, and the only opportunity for forgiveness gone forever.
Posted 3/26/13 at 12:45 PM | Heidi Doose
Trips to Africa don't come along every day. I have been twice blessed after two mission trips to Ukraine. They were life changing. I have always wanted to go to Africa. Wanted...but didn't really believe I would have that kind of opportunity. When my husband, Stacy was asked to go to Nigeria, he very lovingly made it clear that we would be going together. It is his talent as a videographer and his generous gifts that made this trip possible, but I needed to find a way to pay for my wings across the Atlantic. We don't have that kind of money, especially in the short amount of time we were given to raise it. One might think that five months is plenty of time to prepare for an overseas trip. However, airfare must be paid for long in advance, and we were down to two months. We prayed. I prayed. I asked for prayer. I REALLY hate asking people for money and sometimes, they just don't have it to give. I would often hear, " all I can do is pray for you." When people tell me, "I'm so sorry, all I can do is pray", I tell them, "that's like telling me, 'I'm going into battle and all I have to take is this nuclear warhead."
I needed time to think so I took our dog, Molly, out for a walk. It was one of those amazing autumn evenings where it's just as it should be: crisp, golden, still warm enough to walk without a jacket, and quiet. I used that quiet time to chat with God. He's that kind, loving, Fatherly friend I can be completely honest with. I'm not embarrassed to tell Him that we don't have the money to pay for my ticket. There's no shame in setting my concerns at His feet and saying, " I can't do this one on my own." I just laid it all out there. FULL POST
Posted 3/24/13 at 11:25 PM | Heidi Doose
Every year as we approach Good Friday and the Resurrection, I feel the need to draw closer to the real person of Jesus. The God who became man and showed His unfathomable mercy and love for His own creation by dying on a cross and becoming the sacrifice that atones for all sin.
We simply cannot understand that kind of love. Because of our human nature, our selfishness and ego centric lives we are unable to give ourselves completely or without conditions. The closest thing or person I've read about or witnessed was the life of Mother Teresa. Even she herself admits that she occasionally doubted her faith and all that she worked towards. I have doubts too, if I am honest, and they usually arrive, like the eruption of a teenage zit, when "science" makes a claim to the truth. The "truth" is that much of science is based on a theory or many theories come together and presented as a fact. Some of those facts are indisputable. Some of those facts will, in my eyes, remain as theories until God Himself sets the record straight.
I love the History Channel. Well, okay, since we're talking about the truth, I must confess I'm actually addicted to the History Channel. It has a wonderful balance of the natural, the supernatural and the paranormal. (We'll discuss my obsession with Sasquatch another time) However, I can only assume that my loving husband has grown weary of my constant commentary on the theories that are all too often presented as facts. It is these theories that linger in my mind as I try to rationalize both science and faith. Not science that bravely declares what Believers already hold dear, but the overachieving souls who feel the need to explain how certain Biblical events probably, actually, realistically might have occurred.
During the 50 years of my life - a respectable expanse of time- I've experienced quite a lot. A lot of good. A lot of bad. Some of it my own doing, some if it the victim of circumstance. In those 50 years I have discovered that whether good, bad, deserved or undeserved, I have not gone through any of it alone. That's my own testimony to the life of Heidi.
Is any one person's experiences perceived as fact or theory? Depends on who you ask. The person going through an incident would tell you that whatever they experienced was real. The person listening to an account might take into consideration the mental or emotional stability of that person, or perhaps even whether the memory of that event could be trusted, therefore believing the story to be "possible".
Was the story of the resurrection "possible" ? Consider the historical facts:
-Jesus was real. He lived. Whether you believe He is the Messiah is irrelevant. Historians witnessed and documented the fact that He lived.
-He was loved by many... and still is. His life has affected more people than any other in history.
-He died a horrible death, innocent of any crime, and that death was witnessed by men and women from all walks of life.
-Three days after His death and for 40 days He was seen by thousands.
-Many of those, and their friends and families, were put to death because they refused to deny Him. They were tortured in ways we can't even imagine. Some were forced to watch those they loved tortured and killed because they knew and believed with their whole being the testimony of a life lived -and they refused to betray - even unto death, a truth they could not deny.
-More than 2,000 years later His life and death, and His heavenly reign are still held in high esteem. He is adored, worshiped and imitated more than any other man.
These are the facts. Any believer and most non-believers can fill in the gaps between those statements. Believers would call His miracles, His love, His sacrifice, His resurrection and His perfection as God incarnate as fact. We believe that He fulfilled every Messianic prophecy. We believe that He came to save without force, coercion, or violence, but with a loving invitation to accept his grace and mercy. We believe that His sacrifice paid a price we could never afford. FULL POST
Posted 2/10/13 at 2:26 PM | Heidi Doose
"sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them." Isaiah 42:10
When friends come to me, face down, eyes averted and full of tears, and wanting words of encouragement, I tell them to sing. Yes, they often look at me like my cheese has slid off the cracker, but with all my heart I believe that if we can put our grief and anger aside, just for a few minutes, we can find a song and sing to our Creator. Our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, and Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds," James 1:2
Your faith, or lack thereof, is what either holds you back or moves you forward. Do you believe that God is greater than evil ? Do you believe that He can overcome anything ? Do we not believe that through Christ ALL things are possible? God already has it all figured out. He knows and loves you so much He died for you. So it seems fairly easy to tackle this problem when you look at what He's already done on the cross.
Colossians 3:16 says:
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." FULL POST
Posted 1/4/13 at 9:40 PM | Heidi Doose |
As a woman, I think I can speak freely, and as an expert, on what the majority of American women feel about the subject of submission. We don't like it. In a society that has taught us for decades that women are equal to men, we were made to understand that to submit to anyone meant that you were a person of little worth. Only servants submitted to a higher authority. A vast majority of women today have always lived with the current social norm of equality. You'd have to go back to the 1960's to have a complete understanding of what was once considered a "woman's role" in the family and outside the home.
Most of history shows us that women were seen as second class citizens or less. Unfortunately, in many countries today, that is still the case. In ancient times, a women had so little worth that the livestock were considered more valuable. Her life consisted of catering to her family and serving her husband. A woman who was without a husband had an incredibly harsh life, many of them turning to a life of prostitution to survive. Very few were priviledged enough to have a position of prestige, but only because her father or husband afforded her that luxury. Women could not vote, hold positions of authority, preach, inherit land, or basically make decisions about her own life herself. FULL POST
Posted 8/26/12 at 2:10 PM | Heidi Doose
A lot of people have want and need confused. When that happens we're able to convince ourselves that we always NEED more and there's nothing left to give.
The vast majority of Americans have never traveled outside the US. They have no idea how the rest of the world lives, struggling day to day just to survive. It's so much easier to turn away and forget what we've seen than to become involved and to allow our hearts to be broken for someone else.
Helping requires courage. It forces us to look at things that we can't understand. It takes hold of our fears and confronts our insecurities. Then it breaks us and we have to choose between apathy and sympathy.
When we choose apathy, we simply close our eyes and walk away. When we choose sympathy, we are motivated to give,
and to love
Without asking for anything in return.
Posted 8/8/12 at 1:39 PM | Heidi Doose
A young girl, her skin as brown as dark chocolate, sweetly sits at my side, holding my arm and smiling. Her eyes meet mine with genuine and innocent child-love. She nestles into the little space left and begins to run her fingers through my curly, blond hair, exploring the texture. The once painfully shy young girl laughs as we enjoy each other’s company. I have fallen in love with this girl and her six classmates. They are the reason I can’t wait to leave for the Kisayhip village Learning Center every Monday through Thursday.
I met Placida a year ago when I came to Jos with my husband. I wandered quietly over to the Igmin Kibe Learning Center and peeked into the classroom. It became a habit to visit each time we were on the property. This proved to be the catalyst for my second trip to Jos and the offer to use my many years as an early childhood educator to serve God and the children of Kisayhip village. Once again, I asked God to use me and He opened the door.
Placida lives with her mother, a widow, in the Kisayhip village. She has an older brother and sister. Her brother Godwin had been accepted into the educational program at Igmin Kibe when I first met them. Placida would lay on the cement floor, in front of the classroom door, and listen to the daily lesson. She would repeat every word she heard, "This is a library, this is a bank..." More than anything she wanted to be a part of a class. FULL POST
Posted 8/2/12 at 11:41 PM | Heidi Doose
God and I had a little chat one evening. It had been a trying day and I was my least favorite person. “Something’s been troubling my heart”, I said. There was no answer. “I don’t like who I am”, I cried, “I feel like I’m following a script. I don’t know if I wrote it, or if I’m just playing a part that someone else has directed. I don’t like the screenplay anymore, God. I don’t want to be a part of this show.” Silence still. I called out a little louder, “I don’t like me, I don’t like the part I’m playing, and I don’t know what I’m doing. Am I pleasing You or myself? Am I here because I think I should be or because I’m doing the right thing?” God didn’t answer me. He let me cry and think about my questions as I lay next to the bed, my head resting on my arm. I was going to have to work this one out on my own.
I doubted everything: my work here, teaching at the preschool, my friendships, and my sincerity in living what I believed. I felt like a big, fat, phony and I wanted God to make me feel better; to validate my attempts at being a “good Christian.” Before I left for Nigeria I loved telling people that I was headed to Africa to work with children. It was completely selfish, but I rationalized it all by telling myself that I was doing God’s work. FULL POST
Posted 6/17/12 at 2:46 PM | Heidi Doose
The rain falls as if all the water on the earth was collected and then poured out onto this hot, dusty Nigerian village. Lightning flashes, filling the sky with a spider web of light and then the thunder rolls across the valleys and plains. The rain cleanses the air and the thirsty ground drinks in all it can, then leaves large puddles that quickly evaporate when the sun returns. It’s the rainy season in Nigeria and many other African nations. That’s a very good thing. I have been here when the earth is cracked and dry, and the air is full of dust. Very little grows and it’s hard to imagine that life is anything but difficult. When I was a child, I was used to people complaining about rain. It meant that picnics were cancelled, rivers overflowed, and if you were caught without an umbrella, your hair and clothing suffered. It seemed to me that it was a very good thing when the rain subsided and the birds began to sing again. My brothers and I would find the largest puddles in our neighborhood and, much to my mother’s dismay, float any stick we could find, wade up to our knees and eventually jump until we were soaked. Over the years I have come to love the rain and everything about it.
Scripture says, “it rains on the just and the unjust” and whether you see rain as a gift from God or a destructive force, both apply to every day life. If you live in the desert then rain is life. Without it, there is only dust and desolation. With it, the earth awakens and blooms. No matter who you are, what religion you follow or the deeds/misdeeds you’ve accomplished, the dark clouds and thunder are a promise of good things to come. So it is with God’s blessings. He provides for all His children and shows no favor, longing to have a relationship with every one of us. It gives Him pleasure to give us our hearts desire. Just as it is with blessings, we also suffer our own tragedies. The storms of life are common to one and all. Just when life blooms and grows, the floods come and wipe away much of what we’ve planted. It can sweep over us like a raging river, leaving its victim gasping for breath. One thing each of us knows to be true is that life can be difficult. If your faith is firmly grounded in Christ, you learn to sing through the storm. You find that each difficulty teaches a much-needed lesson and leaves you stronger. You learn to lean on the Author of life, instead of your own incomplete understanding. However you choose to look at rain, either as a blessing or one of life’s inconveniences, you cannot avoid it. Unless you were born in a cave and plan to never enter society, which means you wouldn’t be reading this anyway, you’re going to get caught in the rain. Let’s thank God for every good thing, and lean on Him when the storms of life rage around us. Bloom where you’ve been planted.
Posted 6/9/12 at 6:10 AM | Heidi Doose
What does prayer mean to you? Is it simply a form of meditation? Perhaps a last ditch effort or plea when times are tough? Or is it an amazing and powerful connection between the Divine and mankind? I’m usually amazed when I hear the phrase, “all I can do is pray.” In my opinion, that’s the equivalent of “I’m sorry, all I have is this nuclear warhead to take into battle.” I have seen amazing things happen, things that can’t be explained away by science, but by faith alone that a prayer was answered. Prayer is powerful stuff! Jesus promises us if we ask for anything in His name, He will give it to us.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Now, please don’t confuse Jesus and Santa. Promising to be good for a year and handing over a list of wants isn’t exactly where I’m going. But God knows the desires of our heart and right now, the desire of my heart is to somehow sit in first class as my husband and I fly overseas to Abuja, Nigeria. I have short legs that swing like a kindergartener’s when I sit in almost any seat. After sitting for hours, they hurt with an ache that isn’t easily remedied and my feet and toes swell like little sausages. In first class, there are wonderful recliners that have foot rests and passengers are able to stretch out. Ahh “sleep, perchance to dream…” FULL POST