Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Archive for July 2008

…are the words to a popular Christian song. We sang it at CFO. As we sang I started thinking about grace being enough. You know it’s great to have grace extended to us, and (at those times) grace IS enough for us. Grace was and is all about the work that Jesus did on the cross. Yet in our neck of the woods we tend to enjoy meddling in other people’s business. Call it what you will, but we have an opinion on everything and how people need to do it. It might be the dress Sister Bessie is wearing. It may be the way our friends are raising their children. 

Does a worship service consist of three songs and a prayer, or is it an hour of rocking, jumping and swaying as we become deeply connected with the Lord? I personally don’t care much for Southern Gospel genre of music. Last night I went to a concert that was the Southern Gospel equivalent of Country Music’s Fanfare.  There in the middle of rose-scented talcum powder (no doubt applied with a fluffy puff) and Old Spice After-Shave, I found myself experiencing a little bit of heaven on Earth. I was caught up in the richness of harmony that’s sung (generally) with family.

In our Christian homes, sometimes there is a disruption of harmony. Family will be at odds over the silliest things…my closest friend’s sister-in-law was mad at her mother for four years because of dish detergent. Sometimes it is big: a child or sibling or friend announces (s)he is gay. Oh my…then we get all structure and legalistic on our dearest gifts from God. Then grace isn’t enough. At least grace from us—the grace that says “I’ll love you no matter what” to “until you change you can’t come home”. Maybe there’s even a hint that it would have been better had we died.

So if grace is enough, then grace is enough. Grace isn’t “love the shoes, love the dress” when we honestly hate it. That’s lying. Grace is laying down our expectations, desires, wishes and loving beyond reason. That’s what Jesus did, and it was enough.

I think if it was enough for Jesus, then loving beyond reason and when it is most difficult should be enough for us. And when you love beyond reason…heaven will open no matter where you are. Corrie ten Boom was able to tell the world: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Grace isn’t subtly wrapped in rules or ultimatums. His grace is enough!

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While I was getting ready for CFO—working with the name tags and door signs—I discovered I am a bit over-zealous in my organization. So over-zealous that I think I can’t work with people because they begin to cause me to want to tear my hair out. Name tags and doors signs are simple tasks, but I had to wait on someone else who had all kinds of things to do AND was working from someone else’s files. THEN I get to camp and soon discover that I’ve sort of “clicked” my life.

God showed me that in my over-abundance of work and things to accomplish, that I’ve mentally fast-forwarded through things like in the movie Click. I haven’t missed much, but I’ve wanted to hurry and sort of do a Scarlett O’Hara “I’ll think of it tomorrow.”

I’m enjoying the camp. It is a wonderful time to go “farther out” with God. I think there is one in every state. Check out the website: http://www.acfona.org/index.asp?pageId=47

In the late 1970’s I read about a camp—Camp Farthest Out or CFO—where people go to rest with their families and get re-connected to God. I think it was in a book that referenced Jimmy Carter’s sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton. I just remember thinking how I’d love to find this camp. Then in 1982 a friend called and asked if I wanted to help with the youth.

In the council ring meeting (leaders) on the first day I was at camp, I remember a man saying that his kids picked CFO over the World’s Fair in Knoxville for the family vacation, because they loved CFO. I see that playing out now with my own children. My oldest is a youth leader this year. My youngest is so excited she can hardly contain herself, and says she is looking forward to CFO more than the trip to Disney World with her sister in August.

What makes CFO so special is that the power of God is so strong and people are so surrendered and things happen. As a need arises, it seems that someone comes along with a prayer or an answer. There have been times I’ve gone to camp barely able to crawl there spiritually.

This year I have no expectations, but am simply thankful that I can attend. The Lord worked out a summer school substitute and an understanding principal. As well the Lord has provided a fenced area for the dogs and a person to come feed them (I could buy 10 acres of land for what the vet would charge to board 3 dogs and a cat for a week). As well my best friend for the last 30 years is coming. She is very sick—has Lupus and extreme hypertension–but is making the trip down from Virginia. The night before we leave we’re having a house full of teens come over and eat Southern cooking! That means ribs, collards, corn bread and sweet tea.

 (The family on Father’s Day 2008).

There are lots of other exciting things brewing. My youngest is now swimming for a YMCA swim team AND she has won ribbons. She is being called an inspiration by some of the brass at the Y. She is overweight, but gets in there and competes as if she was Olive Oyle. (Did you know that swim meets that are not school-based last for six hours!?!?!). Her sister got her into it and now they are both swimmers.

I’m processing many thoughts as I go along, but haven’t felt compelled to write. I’ve been reading a great deal and sorting through questions. However for now we’re off to camp and time alone and away with God.