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
“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.
A 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
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
“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.
I 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
I’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’….
I keep trying to focus on what I’m supposed to be doing right now. It’s hard. There are distractions everywhere all the time. There are friends and family who I love and want to spend time with. There are great books to read. Good movies and television shows to watch. There are church events, conferences and small groups to attend. People to pour into and encourage. My house needs to be vacuumed, badly. I need to do laundry. There are dishes in the sink. I really could use a nap. I probably should to go to the gym. It’s so nice out, I really should be outside.
So many things I could be doing. Not one of them are bad things or wrong things…but right now I have a God project with a short deadline. Looking at it, it seems an impossible deadline to meet and I just want to quit. I want to give up and just sleep.
God’s confirmed to me that I am where I’m supposed to be and that this project is the beginning of the rest of the words spoken over me coming to pass. I’m so excited about all that God has for me and my future. Truly. But I’m still holding back. I’m still hiding. I know that God is faithful. I know that God wouldn’t ask me to do something He hasn’t equipped me to do. I know He’s with me and will do what I can’t. And yet, here I am just under three weeks out from my deadline and I’ve barely started.
I had a talk with a friend earlier this week and she said this, “Are you willing to do what ever it takes? Are you willing to go all in?” I have to admit that I’ve always been reluctant to go all in on anything. In relationships I always hold back a part of myself. In work and school, I’ve rarely given 100%. I’ve thought if don’t go all in and I fail…well…somehow that’s excusable to me. It’s ok. But if I were to go all in and fail…well then that makes me a failure. I do not know when or how I acquired this faulty logic….but I did. I’m not sure if it’s fear or laziness or a combination there of but this thinking’s got to go.
I keep thinking of what it says in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
I don’t want to be wishy washy or luke warm. But truthfully for most of my life I’ve just let things happen instead of choosing a path. I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted so how could I make a decision? I would still complain because I don’t like what was going on in my life, but I didn’t know how to change it. I didn’t realize I was doing this until a few years ago. Once I realized it, I tried very hard to seek God’s will for my life and choose to follow the path He set for me. Honestly, I thought I’d gotten better and improved, but truthfully….I haven’t. If I had, I’d be so much farther on my God project.
Life’s about choices. Both the ones we make and the ones we don’t make. I am standing at the fork in the road. I can choose to stay right where I am. I can let life just happen to me or I can choose to obey God. I can choose to do what it takes to complete this project. I can take the necessary steps to go in the direction of all the amazing things God has for me.
Today I choose to believe God and trust Him. Today I’ve decided that I’m going to do whatever it takes to accomplish the task God has given to me. I’ve decided to go all in and hold nothing back. It’s a whole lot scary…but I’m gonna do it anyway!
This is my prayer & my goal. Romans 12:11, “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” and I Corinthians 15:58, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
This song came to mind when I was writing this, and I found a video of Third Day singing it. (Yay!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpE2cLdVsk8
One of the women I’ve looked up to and admired is Eleanor Roosevelt. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I share a set of ancestors with her! To say I was pumped is an understatement!! It made me pull my shoulders back sit up straight and say “If she can be a world changer, so can I!” After all we do share some DNA! Right? Right! And since President Theodore Roosevelt was Eleanor’s uncle, so we also share DNA with a president. (Sweeeeet!)
The ancestors we share are Abraham Issacse VerPlanck and Maria De La Vigne (also records of her as Marie Vigne). They are Teddy and Eleanor’s ancestors through their daughter Catalyn/Catalina.
Catalyn VerPlanck-> Maria Schuyler -> Lydia VanDyck ->Cornelius Van Schaick Jr -> Maria Van Schaick -> Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt -> Theodore Roosevelt Sr (Father of President Theodore Roosevelt) -> Elliott Roosevelt -> Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
They are also ancestors of Eleanor’s Mother, Anna Hall, through their son Guleyn.
Guleyn VerPlanck -> Samuel VerPlanck -> Guleyn VerPlanck -> Ann VerPlanck -> Gabriel Verplanck Ludlow -> Edward Hunter Ludlow -> Mary Livingston Ludlow -> Anna Rebecca Ludlow -> Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
They are my ancestors through their daughter Ariaantje and her husband Melgert.
Ariaantje VerPlanck (1646-1692)-> Wynant Melgertse Van Der Poel (1681-1750) -> Anthony Vanderpool (1717-1775) -> Anthony Vanderpool (1749-1840)-> Richard “Dirk” Vanderpool (1784-1850) -> William C. Vanderpool (1803-1898) -> William B. Vanderpool (1826-1885) -> Almeda Vanderpool (1848-1882) -> John Henry Hoover (1869-1946) ->Eliza Ellen Hoover (1890-1978) -> Kenneth Clayton Clark (1911-1991)
A little bit about Abraham and Maria
Abraham Issacse VerPlanck was born in what is now Reusel-de Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands in 1606. Interestingly enough, this was the same year that, the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt van Rijn was born. It is also about half way through the Eighty Years War (when the Dutch were seeking independence from Spain). About a year after his arrival in Nieuw Nederland, Abraham married Maria De La Vigne in 1634 in Nieuw Amsterdam (Now known as New York, New York). Maria De La Vigne was born in Nieuw Nederland in 1613. Her parents, Adrienne Cuvellier and Guleyn De La Vigne, were both from Valenciennes, France.
A little bit about Ariaantje and Melgert
Ariaantje was born in 1646 in Albany, Nieuw Nederland. That’s right! Our people were here when New York was still under Dutch control and was called Nieuw Nederland. Ariaantje married Melgert Wynantse Van Der Poel in Albany on 4 December 1668. Melgert was born 2 December 1646 in Beverwyck, Nieuw Nederland and died 19 September 1710 in Albany, New York. Melgert owned a sawmill, bought and sold real estate, and also participated in the fur trade. In 1686, he was appointed assistant alderman by the governor under the new city charter. He later served as a firemaster and juror. In 1699, he signed a loyalty oath to the king of England. This was required of everyone living in Nieuw Nederland when the English took control. He was also fined by the city of Albany for having Native Americans in his house.
Hope you enjoyed this little history and mystery lesson.
PS The “se” on the end of the middle name means “son of” the “je” means “daughter of.”
PSS Ariaantje is the Dutch version of Adrienne.
PSSS Want to know about Beverwyck and early Nieuw Nederland? Check this out: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/beverwyck.html
PSSSS We are also related to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt through Maria De La Vigne. Before she married Abraham, she was married to Jan Roos. They had a son Gerrit Janse Roos. Through him Maria is the ancestor of FDR. Meaning we share ancestors with 2 presidents and a first lady. Sweeeeeet!
Time gets away from me so fast. There are days that it seems like I run and run and never get anywhere. It’s those days that I crave the rest that Psalm 23 talks about. “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” These verses remind me to slow down and to help me be still. They remind me to follow His lead. They remind me that rest and peace can be found even in the middle of chaos.
Don’t underestimate the power of time spent with God. When Moses met with God, his face actually shone with the glory of the Lord. How cool is that?! Spending time with God shows on us. Not only that but when we meet with Him, He can give us what we need. He can give us wisdom for our situation. He can give us peace & joy. He can restore us. We can rest in Him. So slow down and make some time for Him. He’s waiting for you.
In my quiet time with the Lord a few years ago, I kept hearing the music to Billy Joel’s “Vienna.” I often have random songs in my head, so that’s not anything unusual. A few days ago it was “I Think I Love You” as sung by David Cassidy of the Partridge Family….but I digress. When I looked up the lyrics to “Vienna” I was blown away! Here are the lyrics to “Vienna” with Vienna replaced with God’s Name.
Vienna By Billy Joel
Slow down you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart tell me why
Are you still so afraid?
Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day
But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize…Yahweh waits for you
Slow down you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong
You know you can’t always see when you’re right(you’re right)
You got your passion you got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize
Jesus waits for you
Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It’s alright you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize…
The Holy Spirit waits for you.
And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
Why don’t you realize…Jesus waits for you
When will you realize…the LORD GOD waits for you
PS: Photo taken of Muskegon River in 2012 by me & my phone.
PSS: Proverbs 31 Ministries posted this last week about learning to rest. It’s a good one: http://www.proverbs31.org/devotions/learn-rest-2013-05/