Psalms of a Middle Aged WomanTweet
Posted 11/1/13 at 8:59 PM | Heidi Doose
I am guilty of trying to earn my ticket to heaven. At one time in my life, I actually believed that if I was good enough, then God would love me and forgive me for all my past wrongs. If I memorized enough scripture, if I donated enough money to the poor, if I could balance out the bad with the good on some cosmic scale of justice, then God would smile down on me and love me. Unfortunately, every time I messed up, I found myself wallowing in self loathing, wondering if God would forgive yet another transgression. After 50 years, that’s a lot of self-loathing. Enough so, I started to convince myself that I had crossed some imaginary line in the sands of time and there was no possible way for me to ever make it up to God. “If I had only tried harder.” I found out that a lot of people felt that way too. We had been led to believe that you had to act righteous if you were going to be righteous. Wrong!! Only Jesus is righteous! But if you believe that He sacrificed His life to save you, then His innocent blood covers you and makes you righteous. You see? You can’t do anything to make yourself good enough. We are a bunch of messed up, hypocritical, finger-pointing, sneaky, selfish rabble-rousers…and He loves us. He loves us so much He couldn’t stand the thought of living without us near Him.
“But, I can’t come before Jesus because I’ve had an abortion. I murdered an innocent child”. The flesh was torn from his body by sharp bits of metal on a leather whip. Wasn’t that enough to convince you?
“But, I’m an addict. I can’t walk away from this craving, this sickness and stand before God and ask Him to love me.” Too late! He already loves you! Soldiers who had no respect or mercy for Him beat and bruised his body. When they brutally pressed that thorny crown into his head and mocked Him, wasn’t that enough?
“But I have a past! I can’t let go of what I’ve done; all the horrible, selfish things I’ve said or been a part of. God could never forgive me.” His friends betrayed him, turned and ran while He was led away like a criminal. They denied Him and hid, afraid that they too would be tortured. Was there more He needed to do to show you He loved you?
“But, I’m not worthy. I’m a nobody and just not good enough for God to take the time to notice.” He noticed you. Every step up to Golgotha, as He carried that wooden plank against his torn and bleeding body, He thought of you. He thought about His great love for you. When nails pierced his hands and feet and when he gasped for breath as he slowly suffocated, He thought of you. When He walked through the gates of Hell and demanded the keys from His enemy, so that you would be free to live without condemnation, wasn’t that enough?
When you hear yourself making an excuse as to why God couldn’t love someone like you, ask yourself this question: “Wasn’t the sacrifice enough? Was there something more He could have done to show His unconditional love for you? If you can come up with one possibility, then you have denied the very truth of the gospel. Confessing that you’ve done something so heinous that God could never forgive you is admitting that all that Jesus did was not enough. The good news of Christ Jesus is that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, BUT! If you “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved.” You cannot earn it. You cannot be good enough! Nothing you can do with your life can earn your passage to eternal life. It’s not yours to give or take. It belonged to the Creator of heaven and earth and He decided to extend His grace to all His children – every one of them! His grace is sufficient for murderers. His grace is sufficient for adulterers. His grace is sufficient for liars and thieves. His grace is sufficient for you. What more could He do to prove it? "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Posted 6/27/13 at 11:08 PM | Heidi Doose |
I wasn't born a Jew, nor do I believe in reincarnation, but it's true: I used to be a Pharisee. I was the woman with that look of disgust when I disapproved of some sinner's actions. I practiced my public prayers for hours, worried that they weren't eloquent or long enough. It was important to impress people with my "holier than thou" lifestyle. I was working hard to earn my ticket to Heaven and I wanted anyone and everyone to know how holy I was and my thoughts and opinions on how they too could earn the seal of approval. Whether I had forgotten or just didn't understand, this whole sanctimonius side show wasn't necessary. Infact, it was the Pharisees, not the sinners, that Jesus took to task.
Matt. 5:20 "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
There is the story of the woman at the well. You know, the one with five husbands, living with a man she wasn't married to? We see Jesus, patient and loving, initiating a conversation with *gasp* a Samaritan woman, and inviting her to drink of the living water that leads to salvation. There was no scolding, no lecture, no wrinkling the nose to show disdain. Just His unconditional love. To a *gasp* Samaritan.
Zaccheus? You remember him. He collected taxes and padded his pockets with money he stole from hard working people. He knew that his lifestyle made him unworthy of inviting Jesus to dinner, so Jesus invited himself. He shared the good news of eternal life and made Zaccheus worthy of his time. The little man was so overwhelmed by the Savior's words and compassion that he vowed to return the money he stole, and then some. There was no demand for a Supreme Court Hearing, no letters to the Editor. Just His unconditional love. FULL POST
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