Midday Connection

A safe place to process your story.

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Midday blog: Grief

Well, I’ll just echo Josh’s blog of last week: You need community in grief. Oh yeah.

My grief just now is personal, so I won’t go into details. It wouldn’t be appropriate. And, no, it’s not about Dave and me.

Here’s the daily routine: I wake up in the morning and wonder about the weather, do I need an umbrella, did the sump pump work all night. And then, it softly creeps into my mind and heart, and the sadness and helplessness wash right in: the circumstances of our present grief.

Every morning.

This is going to be a long and difficult journey that I have little knowledge to know how to deal with. So here’s what‘s helped about 15%…my slather of soul-Neosporin, which is better than nothing right now.

We decided to tell our “stuff” to others. Proverbs 24:6 “…And in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (ASV) We rolled out our confusion in waves to others, not everyone at once. First a big toe, then up to our knees, then a little deeper. We didn’t drown, so we slowly kept at it. We found people are pretty understanding and good hearted and non-judgmental.

We invested in getting wisdom from a counselor.  Oh yes, that one hour of, “You aren’t crazy,” goes a long way. And thank you email, texts and FB for helping us stay connected to supportive far-away others.

We received.  As I write this, I feel very thankful and grateful for those who seem to know what I need right now. Not just words, but strong hugs that say, “I am so with you right now and you can do this and I believe in you.”

In any given day I mostly feel utterly distracted and deeply sad and wonder, “How did I get here?” But I get it – God has shown His love to us anyway, with all of the above.  And the sump pump kept up this week. I’ll take that. I’ll take it all.

“Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a wise counselor to the king, a man of great insight…Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend….” (I Chronicles 27:32, 33 NLT)

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner.

Listener blog: Freedom from Complaining

“Grandma, how come you never complain?”

I asked this question as a teenager. Even then I excelled at finding fault with the world around me and was amazed by my cheerful grandmother. I had watched her care for my grandfather, an invalid confined to a wheelchair. She pushed him or lifted him wherever he needed to go, always maintaining her positive, peaceful demeanor.

“If complaining did any good, I might try it,” she explained, “but since it doesn’t, why bother?”

Unlike my grandmother, I believed for many years that complaining could accomplish something. My habit was to pour out my heart full of woes to anyone who would listen. I saw grumbling as a release, like tears or laughter. If I could just get it out of my system, then I’d feel better.

But I’ve discovered as I’ve sought the Lord about the subject of complaining that it’s like scratching a bothersome itch. The more I do it, the worse I feel. Psalm 77:3 describes it this way: “I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.” KJV  And the less I whine about the negative aspects of my life, the more clearly I see the positives, which I tend to take for granted.

If I feel I must complain, I can take my complaints to God. He does not feel overburdened when I moan to Him. I can count on my Lord to listen objectively—and then to open my eyes to see from His perspective. He brings my past into focus as I recall the many times He has worked His best when my life was at its worst.

Instead of having a “Life—isn’t it terrible?” attitude, my goal is to more and more hold out to others the word of life, speaking about Jesus and the truths He brings.

As God continues to free me, I’m hoping someday my granddaughter will ask, “Grandma, how come you never complain?”

Elaine Creasman
Elaine Creasman is a wife, mother and grandmother.  She lives in Florida.

Midday blog: Walking Together

“Oh how good it is

On this journey we share

To rejoice with the happy

And weep with those who mourn.”

I fought back tears as I sang those words, surrounded by the congregation at my church. The words were taking on new meaning for me. I hadn’t received any emails, text messages, calls, no updates of any kind…I was fairly certain of what was coming.

My grandfather had been admitted to the hospital less than 48 hours earlier, and since that time I had received regular updates on how he was doing. Things did not look good, and the last updated I had received on Saturday said, “Not a lot is different.” At Christmas I had talked with my mom, we were wondering if my grandfather’s health had started a downhill slide, and now we had an answer, his healthiest days were behind him.

After the service, I talked with friends as if everything was normal, but I knew that things were not. I said goodbye to my friends, and as I was preparing to leave the church parking lot, I got the call. My mom was on the other end of the phone line; my grandfather had passed away earlier that morning. I cried there in my car. Then I texted my friends and told them that I had changed my mind; I would join them for lunch. I knew that while my inclination might be to go off by myself, I needed other people to walk alongside, and that I had people who I knew would walk alongside me during this time. At lunch, my closest friends protected me from the larger crowd of friends who were out eating lunch together. They took care of me, gave me hugs, and sat with me. A friend who had recently lost her grandfather gave me a hug and simply said, “I’m sorry friend.”

So why am I telling you all this? Because the words that start off this post are true. We need to be people who are there in both the good times and the bad. And we need those who will be with us in the good times and bad. God designed us to be a diverse, and yet whole community. I know that community is lacking for many people…but I would encourage you, that it is worth whatever the cost to build that community of fellow believers, for as the movie my friends and I went and saw that afternoon reminded us, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” We are God’s ambassadors, messengers, outworking in each other’s lives here on this earth.

So thank you. Thank you Aaron, Natalie, Jonathan, Kirsten, and David. Thank you for walking beside me, both then and now.

Josh Klos is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Radio Communications, he has served as the engineer for Midday Connection since 2010. He is also a part of the volunteer College & 20’s group staff at his church and enjoys spending time outside, as well as at libraries, bookstores and various coffee shops. He’s busy these days with graduate school, where he studying communication and culture.

To learn more about Josh and read his blog, please visit his website.

Listener blog: Courage

courage ritaOh, Dear Papa, me grow up?!   What does that really mean? Will I look like what everyone else thinks I should, will I be free to be a fun-loving, kid-loving, Jesus-loving gal?   Or am I really a quiet woman, always thinking up question after question, trying to find answers to all the ‘big’ questions?  Classical music or Bluegrass?  Writing books, or just reading them?  I believe…. if I keep my heart and mind focused on You…. knowing and believing that You will continue the work you started in me (Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  NIV) that You will!!  Could you please give me the courage to do so?!   Thank you, Papa!!! amen

Do you sometimes find it difficult to just be yourself? What fear is holding you back?

rita beedy

Rita Beedy is a wife, mother, grandma, rural mail carrier.

Midday blog: Planted

Recently, I was able to tell some of my story on Midday Connection. I talked about how I’d spent a bunch of my life feeling invisible – unimportant – unworthy of taking up space.

As God began working in this area of my life, I heard a Tom Petty on the radio and, while I’m not a big fan of his, one line of the song would literally bring me to tears: “Think of me what you will, I’ve got a little space to fill.”  I cried because I didn’t believe that… and I wanted to!  I wanted to feel worthy of the physical space I took up.

It’s been a long road for me as I combat the lies I’ve believed for so many years – and those old voices still like to pester me from time to time.  I’ve tried to incorporate reminders in my life to help me along the way.  I created a simple piece of art that I keep in my bathroom.  The background is full of lively, messy, bright colors and splashed across the front are the words: “You are definitely NOT invisible!  Did you act like you were today?”  Each day I have the opportunity to answer that question as I reflect on my day while brushing my teeth before heading to bed.

I also do yoga occasionally and I love the Mountain Pose.  It’s simple – just standing, really – but, a key to the pose is to fully feel your feet grounded on the floor, feel your legs solidly underneath you. I often imagine that pose when I feel shaky inside. I imagine myself internally doing the Mountain Pose as I breathe a prayer for courage and truth, reminding myself that I belong here – I am “allowed” to take up space and feel my feet planted on the floor.

What reminders do you have in your life of the work God in doing in you?

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Guest blog: Animal Care

Ben with mom The other day, Melinda Schmidt and I were talking about animals for the Bring to Mind podcast, and I had a chance to tell her a story my mother Cheryl wrote in a journal she kept for me during my first year of grade school:

Today, Ben told us about a butterfly that he and some friends caught outside.  Unfortunately, they broke one of its wings.  When we talked about being kind to animals and never hurting them, Ben felt very bad.  He looked at me with his eyes brimful of tears and said, “I think I’m going to cry.”

Later, as we talked about the butterfly not being able to fly, he said, “Maybe the Daddy and Mommy butterfly will come along and carry the butterfly.  Can butterflies carry things?”  When we were at home later, Ben made a “book” and told me, “I’m making a Fragile Book of things you have to be fragile with.”  And he had drawn an ant and a butterfly …

Like most children, I was very sensitive to animal (or “aminal” as I apparently called them well into kindergarten) death and suffering from an early age, including the untimely demise of my first pets.  But beyond that, I was completely fascinated with anything having to do with animals.  I’m so thrilled to see that natural fascination in my own preschool son Jadon, and maybe you see it in the children you are close to?

Ben with Kitten

During our conversation, Melinda asked why we seem to lose touch with animals as we grow up.  We may have a pet or two, watch an occasional wildlife special on TV, and know that much of our food comes from animals — but we don’t often pay much more attention to them.  And we aren’t very tuned in to the suffering and cruelty animals experience on a regular basis, both in the wild and under human care.

Most of us won’t be animal advocates specifically, and that’s ok.  But I do think God wants us to grow in our appreciation and concern for His creatures, “great and small” as the old hymn says.  After all, if He doesn’t forget a single sparrow (Luke 12:6) — or dog, or cow, or even butterfly — there’s something about being made in His image which would somehow ideally echo that awareness and love.

What are your thoughts?

(Thank you to my mother for allowing me to including this journal entry, and to my father Daryl [both Moody alumni] for the childhood photos.) 

Ben DevriesBen DeVries founded Not One Sparrow, a Christian Voice for Animals after completing his capstone paper on animal welfare at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School almost five years ago. Ben lives in southeastern Wisconsin with his wife Cheryl (an amazing childhood educator and vegetarian cook), almost-four-year-old son Jadon (a lover of dinosaurs and various other animals), and three adopted cats.  For more information about Not One Sparrow, please visit the website.

Midday blog: Abuse

What sends you through the roof, or often moves you to tears, or even creates an angry fire in your belly when you encounter it? For me, it’s the issue of abuse.  Abuse of all kinds. Emotional, physical, verbal, spiritual, sexual, even power abuse. These are just a few kinds of abuses that can destroy lives. When I think of how people are held captive because of abuse, or stuck emotionally or spiritually because of something that happened years ago, my heart breaks. It affects me deeply and I can start to burn with anger, a righteous anger. Not at the person who is quagmired, but at the evil that is keeping them bound and in chains.

Recently we’ve been doing a series on emotional and verbal abuse with Dr. Jennifer Degler.  The emails that have poured in are astounding. Sometimes the emails announced a person’s first time discovery of abuse. Other emails spoke of suspecting themselves as the abuser and wanting to change.

Sometimes when one type of abuse occurs other abuses are also present.  I’m always shocked at the level of abuse within the Christian community, and maybe even more so when the abuse is sexual in nature.

Another kind of abuse that raises my ire is spiritual abuse.  Possibly because I’ve been a victim of it and I can’t stand seeing it perpetrated on others, especially young people. What makes certain kinds of abuses more difficult to spot and name? I believe it is the subtle nature of the abuse. There might be some truth laced with some lies. When scripture or the gospel is distorted sometimes the concept of grace can become totally lost and a church or a person becomes no longer safe. In May we’ll wrap up our Verbal and Emotional Abuse Series, and we’ll have a broadcast focused on Spiritual Abuse.

What is it that stirs up your righteous anger?

Anita LustreaAnita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

 

Guest blog: Keep Moving Forward

I’ve got this saying I love.

I might have stolen it a little.

But it was in a movie, so it’s basically public domain, right?

It goes like this:

“Keep Moving Forward.”

I love that. It’s broken out of a longer quote from one of my favorite people to ever exist, Walt Disney.

Here’s the whole thing (he’s talking about Disney Corporation):

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

But isn’t that wonderful? Think about that in terms of your life. Forgetting the past, letting go of all the things that so entangle us, and keeping moving forward. Toward God, toward achieving goals, toward crossing things off your bucket list, toward learning new things, toward hurting, mourning, laughing, glorifying, savoring, forgetting guilt and who we once were, toward living. And not just living, but living as though we have begun all over again, made clean and new (because, if you are in Christ, you have been.)

That’s my humble advice for you today. Keep Moving Forward. Do not become idle. Do something. Use your life to do things, and whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Elizabeth DooganElizabeth (Liz) is a student at Moody Bible Institute, majoring in Radio and Social Media. She has spent the last year working with Midday Connection as Office Assistant. Elizabeth hopes to pursue a career in radio, and works with Moody Campus Radio as its Program Director. In her free time she loves to disciple young girls, tweet, and explore Chicago.

Midday blog: Broken-hearted Mamas

I’m guilty of assuming Jesus’ mother, Mary, got the Advance Reader’s Copy of His life at birth and that she knew everything that was going to happen to Him, like she got the manuscript of the Life of Jesus novel before anyone else. Not so. Mary watched her son’s life unfold right along with everyone else. She even wondered if her son was out of His mind later in His ministry, despite that remarkable pre-pregnancy vision-casting from Gabriel. (Mark 3:21, 31-35)

(So I ask you: If Mary, the mother of Jesus, had her doubts about her child, can we expect anything less of our own parenting? I mean really, her son was Jesus!)

And since her son was Jesus, she was front row as her adult child’s tortured and naked body was nailed to a cross to die. (John 19:25) Not on her radar years earlier when Gabriel had visited. As He was perhaps laid in her arms at His death (Michelangelo’s sculpture, “Pieta”), is there any conceivable way to capture the pain she felt in that moment? (How do you speak, write or sketch in a drawing, “broken dreams for my child?” Have you ever tried?)

Jesus took care of business with His mom before He died, making sure she would be cared for in her post-traumatic stress. (John 19:26, 27) So here’s the rub two thousand years later: Mary, with the halo on top of her head, is a natural candidate for His care. But what about me in my own stress: ringing ears, churning stomach, wakeful, short nights, non-stop sadness, and no Gabriel-assurance? Who will He assign to take care of me, to show me love, hope and a glimmer of a rainbow?

Around our cross, are others who are watching our fears unfold, whatever they might be. Some of those folks aren’t nice. (Luke 23:35, 36) Others – if we will call, text or email them will be at our side. (John 19:25)

And Scripture, in often obscure passages, was made for moments like this. Just go looking. (e.g. Zephaniah 3:17)

Yes, just go looking, for people, for Scripture. And keep looking up for that glimmer of the rainbow. There’s lots of moms out there craning our necks, with our arms around each other and our box of tissues, just looking up.

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner.

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