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Ecstasy

Mother Teresa

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Ecstasy   

I've been deeply moved the past couple of days after reading the links Eric put up regarding Mother Teresa and Why Doesn't God Heal Amputees. I needed a little time to process things and try to sort out my feelings and pray for clarity to say what I'd really like to share. I'm not James <smile> but I hope Eric and others will be willing to hear the thoughts of another believer. For you see, the request of hearing from a "believer" as opposed to a link from an "expert" is what spoke to me the deepest --- what is it we believe so dearly and why?

I know that some feel that a message board isn't the place to share deeply personal stories but it's the only way I have to answer the links Eric listed so I ask your patience, please. The article on Mother Teresa didn't surprise me. I think it would have surprised me if she HADN'T felt the way her letters revealed! I do not compare myself to her nor to the lifelong work she did that was an embodiment of faith. Still, when you grow up in an abusive home and go on to work in a system to save abused kids you see evil, darkness, and hopelessness. I, too, used to wonder why God left me in an abusive home --- why weren't my prayers heard? Why did one father abandon me and another abuse me? Lesson One for me: sometimes prayers aren't answered at the time they're made. Years later when dealing with Brian and Annie I found that God used my past, the atrocities that others committed against me and my siblings, to forge a connection of true understanding between me and my children. When they would come to me and ask "why?" their bio parents had done these things to them I could tell them honestly that I understood and that I survived and so would they. But the foster care system is brutal and criminal. We have witnessed and experienced horrors that have left my family severely damaged. Even though we were serving the Lord these things happened to us. Annie's adoption was nothing short of a miracle as not one but two agencies falsified documents and lied through their teeth to keep a white family from adopting a black child. It almost destroyed us fighting for her (one day John came home to find me collapsed in the middle of the kitchen floor a sobbing heap.) But what we learned was that other foster families were watching what we were doing and HOW we were doing it! After the fraud came to light and our agency drew a reprimand (and Annie's adoption was awarded to us) a friend told us that 2/3 of our agency was fired and that all the other foster parents were going to start fighting for their children now that we had won and they knew what to do. Yes, I can see how Mother Teresa could be in the middle of such pain and horror and become lost. Yet just as the priest in that article said, I can also see how her continuing her ministry was an act of faith in the absence of what she thought she should be feeling. Her feelings were human, her accomplishments were godly and that's where the difference comes in --- faith is stepping out even when you can't feel the answer! Our actions hopefully affected the lives of several children in our agency. HER actions forged an entirely new means of givity charity!

In response to the amputee article, that's a lot harder to grasp. The opening title of Understanding God's Plan in itself made me laugh. We can't understand, we won't understand until we're in heaven and He explains it to us, and that's the whole reason it's HIS PLAN. I can tell you that Lesson Two for me was: sometimes the answer to prayer is no. It doesn't mean that our prayers are ignored. It means that our request isn't the whole picture. How could requesting that the deaths of the Holocaust be stopped be wrong. I don't believe that requesting it was wrong and I don't believe that God was responsible. I do believe that humans filled with hatred were responsible and that God took what was the very worst moment in world history and inspired an entire planet to say that this must NEVER happen again. I believe that it was the godliness in each of the faiths that reside within us, whatever they may be, to say that this horror can be used to say that the planet will never allow this to happen again and that humanity must prevail. I can only speak from my small microcosm as a believer and from the perspective of our family. To date, the most devastating thing to have happened to my family was to have had our children taken away by the state in 2000. We were accused of medical and environmental neglect and Laura, Brian, and Annie were taken from us and placed with friends. All this because they wouldn't call Brian's doctors to find that he had been born with the condition they accused us of and that it was a result of Fetal Alcohol Sundrome! Christopher was in and out of crisis constantly but was 18 so they couldn't take him, Shaun was already an adult and out of the house. I was not able to handle the investigation so John encouraged me to leave before DCFS arrived. I went to church to pray for this to be over and in my head I repeatedly kept hearing the hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." I was sure everything would be fine. I can't even describe how I felt when John called and said they ruled against us and the kids had to leave. I remember being so angry and feeling so betrayed by God thinking that I had been faithful so why hadn't HE? What about the hymn I kept hearing? This moment (and 4 miscarriages) wer my greatest crises of faith. But crises make us grow stronger and give us more wisdom and experience. I was diagnosed as being in shock by our family psychiatrist and was heavily medicated and put on a suicide watch having to call in daily by a certain time. It took two months for us to disprove the charges but still our name was illegally kept in the state central registry as child neglectors. You will never know to this day how that feels, all for saving the live of our son, but we would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant saving Brian life. Obviously the answer to my prayers that day was no and I'm not sure of what the purpose of that disaster was meant to be. I suspect that just as with the adoption it's been to teach other families how to fight they system (which I've done) and how to correct our own mistakes such as keeping solid documentation on hand. Whatever the reason I've had almost 9 yrs to learn to accept that there was a plan I may never understand but that by faith I have to believe there was a purpose. Still, I don't think it's always the large, bold, life-changing events in our life that show God bursting through the front door saying "Here I AM". I think it's the smaller, quieter events where God enters through the back door and speaks to us in a whisper. Are we quiet, are we listening, do we hear?

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Shelley   

Well said Kathy lee, I have always believed..God has a reason for everything, we might not like it or understand why, but it will turn out ok somewhere down the line, personally, I cannot imagine life without faith, but I respect what others believe, and I don't wish to sway my beliefs to them...I havn't been to church in 15 years, but God is strong in my life....I just wish peace and respect for everyone in their beliefs...

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Kathy Lee,

No, you're not James nor Mother Teresa...you're Kathy Lee. And I think you expressed yourself beautifully!

My favotire part of your post:

*Still, I don't think it's always the large, bold, life-changing events in our life that show God bursting through the front door saying "Here I AM". I think it's the smaller, quieter events where God enters through the back door and speaks to us in a whisper. Are we quiet, are we listening, do we hear?*

WORD! wink

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teragram   

I think it's a fantastic post, but I'm one of those people who have to read an article like that several times, and each time, I would get something more out of it. Thank you very much for posting this Ecstasy.

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Ecstasy   

My personal feeling for what it's worth is that academics and experts don't work here. This all breaks down to an inter-personal relationship between God and the individual --- what do you want that relationship to be and how do you want to play a role in making that happen? That being said, the only person who can be an expert in this is YOU! I believe that's why 'religion' doesn't often work but personal faith does. the testimony of a person's life is a direct reflection of their relationship with God and how they live out that relationship. Hopefully, their public life matches their private life because that's what is true and real to them and that gives it meaning to direct them.

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missm   

Kathy Lee - what a beautiful testimony. I read it and will, no doubt, read it again. You are right, it is all about an inter-personal relationship between God and the individual.

You know what is said about "Religion"..it is the opiate of the masses. I like "Faith" better, since we walk by faith and not by sight.

Take care and God Bless you as you continue your journey. smile

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It is very gracious of you Kathy Lee to share so much with us. I will tell you I haven't read the Mel Gibson thread or the links.

Right now I choose not to, I am trying stay away from areas like that. Those threads are simply not part of what I am.

As a Christian I am not perfect. People who know me will say Way,way from perfect! I don't expect anyone else to be perfect, either. Sure, there are differences in peoples faith's but I am here to encourage, not to condemn anyone.

My wink "favotire" or favorite part is

**I think it's the smaller, quieter events where God enters through the back door and speaks to us in a whisper. Are we quiet, are we listening, do we hear?**

Those are my favorite ah-ha oh I see now Lord, moments. Somehow I miss it when it is right there in front of me.

Thanks again KL

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Ecstasy   

You can't overthink this stuff. It's not about the 'head' and knowledge. All knowledge is just what's known in front of us and that'll drive you crazy because it's human foibles. It's about the 'heart' and what you feel. That's what can't be seen so you have to feel your way. Look around. Peace will not come from man, it'll come from within.

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You can't overthink this stuff. It's not about the 'head' and knowledge. All knowledge is just what's known in front of us and that'll drive you crazy because it's human foibles. It's about the 'heart' and what you feel. That's what can't be seen so you have to feel your way. Look around. Peace will not come from man, it'll come from within.

That is a good explanation

Faith is not a mathematical equation,it is a relationship. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

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Donna L   

Dear Kathie Lee, Your post was so sincere and beautiful.

I also have a personal relationship with GOD...My faith gets me through the day.......

I saw a flyer once in a catalog that read:

You Plan and God laughs.........

It works for me.......

:rolleyes::rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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Kathy Lee,

You are such a remarkable human being that I would listen with an open mind to anything you had to say.

In my experience, I have met many people who talk the talk, but very few who walk the walk. You are one of the ones who truly practice your faith.

Personally, I'd still be a lot happier if God would make himself a bit less obscure. We remember the horrors of the Holocaust, and it was certainly a very, very costly lesson, but we still have slavery, genocide and unspeakable cruelty all over the world.

Perhaps, this is all necessary, perhaps not. And maybe, someday, we will get the answers we all seek.

I'm sorry I find it hard to dismiss every horrible atrocity as just part of God's inscrutable plan that is "too big" for me to understand. I think it is too much to ask of us.

How can I believe in God if he will give me no explanation for the Holocaust? I'm a "glass-half-full" kind-of guy, but I can't get past this one. I can't find a silver lining in the brutal murder of 12 million men, women and children.

Truth be told, I can't get past the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, or any other little boy or girl who has been raped and murdered.

None of it makes any sense to me. And if God's plan is so big it's not supposed to make any sense to me, I don't know how he can ask me to believe in him.

With that logic, we ascribe everything great and wonderful to God, and everything horrible and evil to man. I don't buy it.

If God made man, then he knew how it would all play out. He created us full of flaws, knowing full well we could never live up to his impossible ideals, and that we were doomed to eternal failure from the beginning.

Why?

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Kholvn   

Maybe (just maybe) it took the lives of 12 million men, women and children to get the attention of some folks. Sad to say but when even one light is extinguished, darkness gets a better hold on those who curse it. The silver lining in murder... The act of taking a life is horrible, however, those who were ready to go don't have to worry about this world and what it can do anymore. But we who remain, do. Which is why we need to love one another. And God's plan isn't so big... it's simple. All He wants is for us to love Him as much as He loves us. It's man who makes it all difficult.

And yes, God knows we can't live up to his standards and yes, we are full of flaws so what's a person to do, Eric? The answer is again simple. For God so loved the world... you know the rest.

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Ecstasy   

Eric, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm really glad you shared your thoughts with me. You allowed yourself to share from a personal and emotional perspective and that told me a lot more about where you're coming from on these issues. Your thoughts were coming from a deep, empathetic place within you which told me you're thinking with your heart and not your head (at this particular moment) and I believe that'll bring you much closer to experiencing the things I was trying to express if you so choose. <smile>

You mentioned that I practice my faith. As a highly trained musician you know all too well that practice takes work, time, and commitment. It does not happen overnight. The Christian I am now is different than the Christian I was in my 20s. I've had to work through a lot of the stumbling blocks in my faith but time and commitment have allowed me to see things from a more mature perspective than when I was younger. You see, I believe we can see God around us but most of the time we don't choose to look at things that way. We focus on the negatives and the things we can't 'fix'. Been there, done that to death! LOL People usually say that I'm such a positive person but please believe me when I say that's all part of the practice in learning to change my attitude.

Oh, sweetie, I wish I had answers for you. All of humanity has asked the same type of questions you're asking since the beginning of time. Some have chosen to accept their realities like me, some have chosen to keep searching and challenging like you. But if you don't have hope and faith how can you even bother to get up the next morning? How can you believe that today I can make a difference in the life of just one person and make things a little better? Your music and your posts tell me that you have that within you so you have to recognize that it's there! I met a tremendously compassionate and caring man in Cleveland so I know you feel things deeply and people like that get hurt by what's around them. They feel what others feel and sometimes can get lost by the intensity of it. I'm one of those people, too. May I respectfully offer the suggestion of keeping it small. There's too much out there for us to handle. No one person can handle the atrocities of the entire planet through the entire history of existence. You know the old adage of "just working on my corner of the world"? How about that? Can you see and feel God just by making a difference in your little corner of the world just for today and then wake up and do the same thing again tomorrow? You see, that's practice! That's adding one day's worth of work to the next and to the next until you find that you're more proficient and it becomes second nature! Now it's not foreign anymore.

I won't presume to put words in your mouth but I'd bet you're thinking that this is just too simplistic and I'm missing the point. LOL That's exactly what I'm trying to say in my own way --- it's all so very simple that we miss it just by overthinking! Faith is so incredibly simple, mankind isn't. We look at things on such a grand scale and we've acquired knowledge which give us power which give us control... and it's all an illusion because look at what we've done with that! That's why it takes catastrophes of epic proportion to get through to us and bring us to the point where we have to change. Again, I can only speak from my microcosm. I cannot possibly believe that we ended up with five special needs kids by accident. I believe that John and I were meant to have THESE kids and do THIS job that no one else would have done the exact same way. We were the ones meant to bring about THESE results. Now if you go off of the concept that we have saved the lives of five children then that's a magnificent thing. And if you add that these five children will influence the lives of their children then that's even better. But what of the lives that THEY will touch, what of the differences that THEY will make in the lives of the people around them? What of the mental health boards I've sat on and the youth organizations I've started? (I believed someone had to get off of their behind and say let's just get started already so I did!) What will my children and the other children present have learned that they can take into their lives? And THAT, my friend, is how you change your little corner of the world and begin to see God in the things around you! Plug into the right source and you get the right kind of power! That's all we can do, Eric... feel the difference and get up and do it again the next day. Trust me on this. <smile>

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Isn't it about time for James to chime in and tell us about the wonderful times he had when Mother Teresa was a member of his harem? insane

Mother Theresa was a member of James' harem? Wow! She filled out an application to join The TUNESETTES but I had to turn her down. It was for thr greater good, you know. This is proof that James has lower standards than TOMMY TUNES.

The TUNESETTES- The Proud, The Few, The Chosen.

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If we all died in a peaceful way and there were no tragic deaths the existence of a higher power would be abundantly clear And there would be no need for faith God wants us to believe in his existence through faith

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