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Being Trapped Sucks

Today’s Deep Thought:  Being trapped sucks.  But if you pay attention, you might just learn something. 

I need to go through a guarded gate to get to work.  There are 2 gates to choose from.  95% of the time I go through the one gate.  But yesterday I felt like I should go to the other one, but I brushed it off and pulled into the turn around like I do most days.  I was the third car in line so I was waiting my turn.  From where I was all needed to do was shoot across the 4 lanes and into the gate.  It was 6:50 am, so I was exactly on time.  Then I notice the traffic beginning to get squirrely and start to back up.  Took me about 30 seconds to see the problem, an accident blocking the middle lane about 50 feet beyond the gate. 

I was literally across the street from work and I couldn’t get there because the accident was backing up the traffic in front of me.  No one was letting people over.  People were honking and screaming and flipping each other off.  It was then I realized I should have listened and gone to the other gate. 

I decided that the easiest way to get out of this situation is to just turn left into the closest lane and then flip back around and drive to the other gate.  Simple right?  Wrong.  The one car in front of me was determined to shoot across 4 lanes of dead stopped traffic to the gate.  So I can’t go forward or turn left.  I can’t back up because there’s a line up behind me.  Trapped!

How many times does this happen in our lives?  We get stuck in a situation that we can do nothing about.  We get trapped by circumstances that may or may not be our fault.  Sometimes we blow up!  Sometimes we want to quit!  Other times we can see the problem and the solution but can’t fix it, so we have no choice but to wait it out.

No matter what it seems like at the time, God’s not trying to frustrate or torture us when we are forced to wait.  He knows that waiting is a process that produces fruit in us.  Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance,and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

God loves to bless His children.  He desires to prosper us.  He wants to give us the desire of our hearts.  But He’s much more concerned with our heart attitude and our character than giving us things.  That’s why the waiting is necessary.  It shows us our heart attitude.  It reveals areas that we need to work on.  It shows our maturity and character.  It shows whether or not we REALLY trust God. 

In the case of my delay yesterday, I had to wait for about 15 minutes for the person in front of me to cross the road.  It was a little like Frogger.  I don’t like Frogger because I never actually made it off the first board.  But I digress.  About the 10 minute mark of my 15 minute wait, I lost it.  I was calling everyone around me names.  Obscene ones.  Then I looked up at the sky and asked God how He was able to make it even a single minute without destroying us, because people are really stupid.  Now normally I pray and praise on my commute so that this does not happen.  But not today.   I have to admit I shut my ipod off about that same time, saying now is not the time for “O How He Loves Us” by Kim Walker-Smith & Jesus Culture.  It was actually the perfect time for that song, but again I digress. 

Anywho, the person in front of me FINALLY went I was able to turn left and go around to the other gate.  I pulled into one of the lanes and waited my turn.  When I was the next car I had to wait again for this lady to walk across in front of me.  Then I noticed the man walking with her.  My favorite guard!  He’s friendly and cute and seriously has THE BEST smile.  He could brighten anyone’s darkest day with that smile.  I pulled up at the exact time he was taking his post in my lane.  I may or may not have swooned. 

Then I hear God say, “Don’t curse what I have blessed.  My delays are for your good.  They are for your protection.”

I felt stupid for blowing up over something so stupid as a traffic delay.  I threw a fit like a toddler and swore like a sailor for absolutely no reason.  Ridiculous.

The point of all this is that when you feel trapped, remember Romans 5:3-5.  Remember that you are in process.  Know that God sees the whole picture so you can trust His timing.  Know that if there’s a delay, it’s for your protection, not your harm.  He’s not trying to keep something from you.  He’s making sure you are ready to receive the good He has in store for you.  God has appointed times and seasons for everything.  See Ecclesiastes 3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203&version=NKJV

PS:  I want to clarify something.  I’m not saying God caused an accident so that I could see the guard with the great smile.  God doesn’t work that way.  If you think He works that way, you’re wrong.  He doesn’t cause bad things.  Bad things happen all on their own.  But God will take those bad things and turn them for our good.  If I had listened and gone to the other gate in the first place, I’d have been to work on time and there would have been no issue.  But I didn’t.  I got trapped because I didn’t listen.  Then God used that bad situation to teach me something, and blessed me anyway.  He turns things meant for harm around for our good (Romans 8:28).  He’s still good, even when we’re not.

If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” -2 Timothy 2:13

Wonderful Wednesday: Love is not Boastful

“Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud”  I Corinthians 13:4

God doesn’t need to boast.  He’s God!  He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  He’s not insecure.  God does not suffer from low self esteem.  He created everything and everything belongs to Him.  Read Genesis 1 or Job 38-39 for a reminder of just HOW BIG our God is. 

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements?  Surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?   To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”  Job 38:4-6 NKJV

I don’t know about you…but that makes me want to bow down in reverence.  God is awesome.

But the kicker of all this is that as big as He is.  As mighty and powerful as He is.  He still loves us.  He still wants a relationship with us.  Blows me away.

Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers

unknown_sunriseA few years ago I went to Arlington National Cemetary.  One of the things that impacted me was the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknowns.  The respect shown by these young men for those who gave their lives anonymously is inspiring to me.  They guard the Tomb 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  They do this no matter the weather, and have maintainted their post even during hurricanes and snow storms. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/VisitorInformation/ChangingofTheGuard.aspx?tb=2

I was thinking about respect and honor today as we head into Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day is meant to be a day of mourning and rememberance to those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice. Take some time on Monday to remember our fallen service men and women.  Let’s also not forget the families who’ve lost a loved one in service to our country. Remember them in your prayers! To both those fallen and to those whose families were forever changed by their loss I say, “Thank you.”

PS:  Memorial Day (4th Monday in May) is not the same as Veterans Day. Veterans Day (November 11th) is meant to be a day of gratitude and respect to honor all those who’ve served honorably, whether in war or peace time. It is focused on the living veterans. Memorial Day’s focus is those who died in battle or by wounds sustained in battle. But any day of the year is a good day to thank a veteran for their service and honor those who never came home.

PSS:  Did you know that many countries have monuments and memorials to their unknown soldiers?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier

PSSS:  The above photo isn’t mine I found it on http://www.barefootsworld.net/unknownsoldier.html

PSSSS:  Here’s some additional info about the Tomb of the Unknowns: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/VisitorInformation/TombofUnknowns.aspx

Deep Thought Thursday: Expectations

Today’s Deep Thought: You Get What You Expect.

I used to think that keeping my expectations low would protect me from disappointment.  My thinking was that if I didn’t expect much I couldn’t be disappointed.  If I didn’t expect relationships to last, when they inevitably ended, I wouldn’t get hurt. 

Low expectations mean you aren’t disappointed.  Right?  WRONG!  Low expectations mean you don’t know who you are!  Low expectations of God mean you don’t know who God is!

I didn’t understand that I was a blood bought child of the Most High God with covenant rights.  I had authority.  I was deeply loved. I had the right to go BOLDLY to the throne of my Father. Despite all this, I was living like a slave. Hoping that if I kept my head down and did everything I was told I’d be able to eek by.  My prayers were basically me begging for crumbs. I felt like I couldn’t ask God for what I needed or tell Him how I felt.  I was lucky that He forgave me in the first place and allowed me back in the sheep fold.  I didn’t expect any more than that, that was enough. 

Then I learned the truth about expectations-you get what you expect. I expected nothing so I got nothing. I sought nothing so I found nothing.

What are you seeking?  What are you expecting?  What are you asking for?

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

Are you living like a slave begging for crumbs or are you approaching the throne of your Father boldly?  What are your expectations of the promises in His Word?

REMEMBER:  Hope is the joyful and confident expectation of good!  “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5

Wonderful Wednesday-Love Does Not Envy

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” I Corinthians 13:4

 Envy here refers to someone being heated to a boil due to envy, hatred or anger. 

God has never been motivated by envy, hatred or anger.  He may get angry, but anger doesn’t drive Him.  He’s motivated by compassion.  His motives are pure.  God sent Jesus simply because He saw our condition and knew we were helpless to save ourselves.  How do we know this?  Romans 5:8 tells us that, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  We didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. 

We also see that same compassion in the life of Jesus also.  Both Matthew and Mark tell us Jesus was “moved with compassion” to heal and teach.  (Matthew 9:36 & 14:14 and Mark 1:41 & 6:34). 

Jesus learned this compassion from the Father.  In John 5:19, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” 

Jesus is our head and we are His body, so we need to be motivated by compassion too.  Genuine love for one another.  The action love that speaks truth, but covers people.  The action love that assists some one but doesn’t coddle them or allow excuses.  Love should MOVE us to help someone who is struggling.  Love should MOVE us to pray for those around us.  Love should MOVE us to come along side people and encourage them.

When I find that my motivations are wrong or I find myself simmering and about to boil, I take a step back.  I breathe deep and I try to figure out what’s the root of my issue.  Am I afraid?  Am I hurt?  Am I frustrated?  Am I feeling discontented or feeling a resentful longing because of someone else’s position, possessions, qualities or attributes (envy)?  Am I full of intense dislike or have ill will towards another person (hatred)?  Am I desirous of revenge or full of a desire to fight back (angry*)? 

Sometimes I can figure it out.  Sometimes I can’t.  Either way I take it to the Father in prayer.  I ask Him to help me to diffuse the situation and respond in love.  Sometimes this is a simple under my breath prayer, that is handled immediately.  Sometimes it’s deeper and takes longer.  Like a broken place that needs to be healed or a mindset that needs to be changed.  Whether the issue is big or small, God is big enough to take care of it.  God is Yahweh Rophe.  He is healing.  He heals broke hearts along with broken bodies.   He wants His people to be fully healed and whole.

Are  you dealing with anger, hatred or envy?  The first step in dealing with those things is prayer, asking God to help.

Just as important as prayer is, is receiving God’s love.  It is absolutely essential that you believe He loves you and actually accept His love.  Without you receiving His love, you won’t have any love to give to anyone else.  You cannot give something that you don’t have.

For more on God’s love…check out this message on the God Kind of Love from Pastor Dino Lasala:  https://vimeo.com/album/1518523/video/65513155

*PS  Anger is actually a secondary emotion. It usually comes from hurt, fear or frustration. When you feel anger rising, ask yourself if you are hurt, afraid or frustrated. (Or a combination of the above).  When you deal with the root, either the fear or the hurt or the frustration, the anger will go away.

Mysteries and Family History: Immigration of the Polaseks

Baltimore, Passenger ListsJozef PolasekI recognize that this is very hard to read.  But it is the actual ship manifest from 1902 in which Frank Polasek and his family entered the United States.  It’s rare that I can actually find the ship manifest, so these are a great treasure.  You can get a lot of information from these manifests, although sometimes the information is unreadable or not complete.  This one is complete and readable.  Woohoo!

What this tells me is the last city they lived in before coming to the United States was Dúbrava in the Austria Hungarian Empire.  Dúbrava is now within the borders of Croatia.  It also tells me they sailed from Bremen, Germany (as many Eastern European immigrants did) and entered Baltimore, Maryland in July of 1902.  It also gives ages, tells us they came from Croatia (even though they were actually were Czech).  It tells us that they had $300 with them and they are going to Cleveland, Ohio.

It also tells us that Frank had lived in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1892-1902.  (I found records of him coming into New York, New York on 12 February  1892). Usually one or two of the family members would come here and once they were settled, send for the family.  In this case, Frank went back to get his family.

Here are the names and ages listed for the family:

Franz (Frank) Polasek, age 45, is listed as a farmer.

Kata (Katherine) Polasek age 39

Mathias Polasek age 14

Elisabeth Polasek age 13

Jozef (Joseph) Polasek age 9

Franz (Frank) Polasek age 4

Jan (John) Polasek age 3

Benedikt (Benedict) Polasek age 2

Mary, Patrick and George were all born in the United States.

Since Mary was born in Cleveland in 1903 we know that the family did travel to Cleveland.  And Since Patrick was born in Owosso in 1904, we know that the family didn’t stay long in Cleveland, Ohio.  I could not find the family on the 1910 Federal Census, but I did find Frank, Katherine, John, Benedict, Patrick and George on the 1920 Census in Owosso, Michigan.  In 1920, Mathias was living in Chicago, Illinois, and Joseph, Frank Jr, and Mary were all living in Pontiac, Michigan.

Until next time… Much love, Velma

Fun Fact Friday…Miles and Miles

rearviewI’m in dire need of a road trip.  I want to get into my car and drive somewhere.  It’s one of two things I do when life gets stale or I need a change (the other one is to either dye or cut my hair).  When I was unemployed in 2010, I spent 3 weeks driving around because I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a job.  I drove 5800+ miles in 17 states all by myself.   I wasn’t alone the whole time though, I visited cousins in CA, friends and an uncle in AZ, friends in Missouri and friends in Georgia.

So that all being said did you know that a mile on the ocean and a mile on land are not the same distance.  A nautical mile is 1.1508 miles, or 6,076 feet.  A mile on land is 5,280 feet.

So if people were going to swim a marathon they’d actually swim an extra 20,696 feet or 3.92 extra land miles.  I don’t see myself ever running or swimming that far.  Ever.  That’s why we have cars and boats.  Just sayin’….