Psalms of a Middle Aged Woman
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Heidi Doose

Director and teacher for a faith based preschool. Mother to three children and one angel, grandmother to many. Avid collector of friends and snowmen.

Posted 8/8/12 at 1:39 PM | Heidi Doose

Profiles from Jos, Nigeria: Placida

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

Beauty from Ashes, OR How to Stay Humble When Everyone is Telling You How Wonderful You Are

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

Rain

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 Is Prayer to You?

     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.

John 14:14
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 16:23
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.

John 16:24
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

Posted 5/17/12 at 11:39 PM | Heidi Doose

Power of the Tongue: What are you speaking into existence?

In the beginning, God spoke. He created with words. From the very beginning He shows us the power that words have. Jesus is the Word, and to believers, there is no greater love or hope than this. The Word is salvation. The Word is healing. The Word is life. So then why wouldn't we conclude that the words we speak have power as well? The evidence for this is clear throughout scripture. In the book of Proverbs we learn just how powerful the words of men are: "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:20-22).

"You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor."
Psalm 52:1-3

"They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows."
Psalm 64:2-4

"They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips."
Psalm 140:2-4

"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:17-19

"The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit."
Proverbs 15:3-5

"Their tongue is a deadly arrow;"
Jeremiah 9:7 FULL POST

Posted 5/4/12 at 8:49 AM | Heidi Doose

Being Christian

Just because I am a Christian does not mean I won't make mistakes. I have and feel every emotion that every other person feels. I am not above cursing at you when your shopping cart slams into my car door. I am not above wishing I could be lucky enough to win millions in the lottery. I am no better than the mother at the playground who gossips while her 2 year old throws dirt at other children. Occasionally I will burp, pick at my nose, pass gas and bite my nails. My dog might dig up your garden and my cat will probably poo in your sandbox. I don't even want to think about what my children are likely to do.
I am that mother on the playground. I am that teenager who got caught making out behind the gym. I am the guy who scratched your car and didn't leave a note. I am the terrified and unwed mother to be, walking through those clinic doors. I shouldn't be, but I am. I am because I'm human. I am the tax collector, the prostitute, and the murderer who humbly sit at the feet of Jesus and weeps over every bad decisions I've made.
What makes me a Christian, despite my own selfishness and insecurities, is that I recognize that a creative, intelligent, and merciful God showed His great and unfailing love for me by giving me free will: allowing me to be the screw-up I am while growing into the person He wants me to be- and forgiving me when I fall short. What makes me a Christian is my undying belief that Jesus died, took all those stupid, selfish, arrogant and disobedient acts of mine upon Himself and became a sacrifice so that I could stand before an eternal throne, blameless.
Being a Christian doesn't excuse my bad behavior and poor decisions, but it should mean that I'm trying to learn from my mistakes. It should mean that I'm trying harder to improve myself and treat others with dignity and generosity. It should mean that in all situations I can conduct myself with grace, charity and self control. Maybe one day I will be that person, but more than likely I'm going to need the forgiveness of a Savior yet once again. That makes me human. Accepting that gift of the cross makes me a Christian.

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