“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Monday, October 31, 2011

A High Tower For The Oppressed

Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower

The Lord also will be a refuge and 
a high tower for the oppressed, 
a refuge and a stronghold in times of 
trouble(high cost, destitution, and desperation).
Psalm 9:9 Amplified Version

I was visiting with a friend yesterday.  And she was heart-sick.  Broken.  And wondering... Where was God in all of this?  Financial strain.  Broken relationships.  A daughter who was in an abusive relationship... and pregnant.  Illness.  Parents aging.  Family stress.

And she was wondering... Where was God in all of this?  And I felt like she was asking me for an answer.  What do you think, Sheri?  Where is God in all of this?  You know I believe Him and trust in Him and I know you do, too.  So, give me your perspective.  Where is God in all of this?

And I was desperately begging God to show me where He was in all of this.  Where are you God?  Because I have to give her an answer and she is hurting right now.  And I don't want to tell her that I don't know where you are.  Because it is hard for me to see that in all that she is dealing with right now.  And her problems are so big that I cannot do anything to help her.  I want to give her comfort, Lord.  I need some words that would lift her spirit.

And... nothing.  No catchy words.  Nothing spiritual.  And I waited.  For a nudge.  For something.  God, quick... I need to tell her something so she will feel better right now.  And so that I will feel better right now.  And I will feel like I helped her.  And she will feel like I helped her.  And she will be glad that she saw me today. 

Moments seemed like hours as I was catching my breath to try and speak some life-changing words.  So, I grabbed her hand and pulled it tight into mine... and prayed over her.  And as I was praying the thought came to me, What did that Philip Yancey book say about what to say to those who are hurting?  What wise words?  What were those words?  What magnificent meaningful words could I pray over her?

And I remembered.  Hope.  God is our hope.  He offers us hope.  Sometimes there are no words.  Just hope.  And as I prayed them... prayed words of hope over her... they seemed at first hollow.  Was I wishing for her?  Was there really something hopeful in her situation?  Would God really work all these things out?  Would He show Himself to her?  I feared that I might be just trying to give her hope.  Give her hope. Give her hope.  

And that's when I realized that I truly did believe that God would follow through.  He always has.  He always will.  And that in the end... it's not about me... and what I say... or how I pray.  But it is truth.  That He gives us hope.  That He is a tower.  A refuge.  A stronghold.  And sometimes when we are in a moment of desperation we need our friends to come around us and point out the strong tower.  Who is there.  Has always been there.  Will always be there.

Praying that if you need hope today... you'll let me encourage you and pray for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And in my heart I knew... I was going to Houston.

Siestas - Linda, Sheri, Beth Moore, Jackie and Charlotte
I had decided that I wasn't going to go.  To Houston.  To see Beth Moore.  To celebrate another year of memorizing scripture.  To see wonderful women who I had met in January 2010.  I was not going to go.  

Well, actually I had planned on going, but after a year of dealing with the TSA on multiple occasions... I vowed that my travel via airplane would be severely limited.  And I meant it.  Of course, I did.

But when our son, Christopher, returned from a recent Christian Youth Convention I felt a familiar nudge.  A nudge that reminded me that sometimes... we need to get away.  Get away and get with God.  Have a spiritual retreat.  Hear a word from the Word of God.  Be separate.  Set apart.  And in my heart I knew... I was going to Houston.

I have kept in touch with quite a few Siestas that I met in January of 2010 via Facebook.  Wonderful women who encourage me.  I can't wait to hug their necks... and perhaps stop by Pappasito's... and don a little something feathery and pink. 

I would love to know if you'll be there.  

Just a post from the past to remind me of the future...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration!
I'm Not Exactly What You Call a Redneck...

I arrived in Houston yesterday afternoon to SUN and warmth.  The sun actually warms your skin as it hits you.  Oh my!  It is sweet... and I even remembered to bring my sunglasses and sandals. 

It had been suggested (by Siesta Anne) to wear something pink to recognize one another at the airports and throughout the weekend.  If you were brave enough... or silly enough... they suggested a pink boa.  I am wearing a bright pink feather boa which attracts a lot of siestas and attention!  But it is molting! and unbeknownst to me - staining my clothes and neck!  So, I'm not exactly what you call a redneck... but I guess you could call me a pinkneck? 
Thursday morning, I flew from Portland to Seattle.  When I got on the plane in Seattle I noticed two gals wearing pink scarves... and I asked them if they were going to see Beth.  They were and then they pointed out the other Siestas who coincidentally (wink) were sitting around us.  We hadn't planned it... but God did.  There were seven of us within three rows of each other.  I even got to sit next to Siesta Angie.  Other Siestas were Marybeth, Donna, Emily, Marykay and Amanda.  Seven in all!

I met up with Siesta Jackie (aka Rooney) at the airport.  We had found each other through Siesta Angie's spreadsheet.  Siesta Charlotte and her mom Julie also had hooked up with Siesta Jackie.

I am so glad I did not rent a car on my own!  I read the directions as Siesta Jackie drove.  I would have been in tears if I would have had to navigate the streets of Houston on my own.

Thursday night, we hopped in the hotel's stretch limo and had dinner at PF Changs.  Yum!  And returned to a hotel which had been ordered by the city to turn off the water for emergency repairs.  We had to fill our tubs just in case of emergency, and the hotel provided bottled water and antiseptic wipes.  It really was a non issue... but memorable oddly enough.

We started meeting more and more ladies who had traveled alone to the SSTMC.  They were drawn to us because of our boas... and we jokingly said... "We've met our new BFFs for the first time!"  We would invite them to ride with us to the church... or join us for dinner.  Always amazed at how quickly we bonded.  A lot of people mistook us as having come together because we chatted together like lifelong friends... which is what we are now.

Today we hung out in the Presidential Suite at the Omni.  LPM had reserved it for the Siestas as just a place to meet.  Charlotte, Jackie and I were up there reviewing our memory verses as ladies came in to chat or just check out the room.  We met siestas who stopped by... like Danelle, Eleanor, Sheila and Janice.  You just might end up seeing some of them on my Facebook!

And of course, the SUN was here... bright and vivid and WARM!  I sat by the pool just soaking it in!  (I am serious when I say that it immediately "brightened" my day!)
Siestas Sheri, Charlotte, Anne & Linda

We met Amanda (Beth's daughter) as we left the hotel parking lot... and of course, took plenty of photos.  We told her we were going to Papasito's and she highly recommended the chicken fajitas... and was she right!  While at dinner, Siesta Anne was about to dine on her own, but we pulled her right in... and she is just a delight!  Well, you would have to be if you were the one who thought of the pink feather boas, right?

We arrived at the church to meet our 507 other BFFs.  We met in Beth's former Bible Study room.  Still we stood at the door for almost an hour waiting to get good seats, but any seat was a good seat!  Amanda, Melissa and Travis were there along with all the other wonderful LPM staff.

Then I saw Siesta Christina who I met on Audrey's spreadsheet via blogland... and she lives in Roseburg, OR.  Sounds like a roadtrip to me!  Of course, there are a couple of ladies trying to convince me to fly to Lexington, Kentucky for the Beth Moore conference in August... and what about the one in Spokane, Washington in October?

LPM hard working staff.

And then... Beth shared how they were audio taping the event... and how the other 1,500 Siestas who completed their 24 verses would be able to download the event.  She soooo missed you Siestas!  And the rest of us, too!

Well, I better get to bed.  I have to get up and pack in the morning so I can check out and head to the event... and hang out with some amazing women... and then hop on a plane back to Oregon tomorrow night... where with anticipation... I'll be walking through the security area... leaving the gate area... and I will see a familiar sight... and feel a familiar tug.  There will be people (Anthony and Christopher!) lined up waiting anxiously for me to walk through the security area... and well, I have to tell you I am looking forward to that moment... when I am waited for... looked for... and feel special... even if it took a little planning ahead of time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hurt, Hope, Healing

Grand Canyon

"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold." 
2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV 1984

I recently finished reading Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey.  A friend of mine was reading it for a small group.  She mentioned that it would give insight into helping others who are going through something difficult.  She was right.

The book touched me so much that I wanted to make sure I remembered its central theme.  Hope.  So, I chose 2 Corinthians 3:12 as my 20th verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team.  The book is a bit longer than most, but worth the investment of every word that is read.  Technical at times, but always revolving around the fact that pain is a necessary evil warning signal that something is not right.  And that we are lovingly made by God.  I marvel at the fact that there is not a pain nervous system.  Pleasure and pain use the same nerves.  And that our brains can tell the difference... well, we are marvelously made by God.

Earlier in the summer I had read A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada.  To my delight Philip Yancey used Joni Eareckson Tada as an example of how someone who deals with pain presses into God and His ultimate goodness and finds hope in trusting Him.  This particular audiobook was read by the author and was such a blessing.

I pray that if you are dealing with your own suffering and pain or a loved one's that you might find these books as a comfort and a guide.  I know I will be referring back to them.

I know this sounds like a paid endorsement... but it isn't.
It's just me.
Me being bold.
Because I have such a hope.
And I want you to have that hope, too.

I choose 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #20.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Girls Behaving Prudishly

Perceived Judgment.  I am sure it comes across that way.  People reading my current Facebook status and thinking... "Who is she to judge?"  And I have to accept the fact that my boldness today may cause others to think me judgmental... and prudish!

My Facebook status:
Just found it necessary to unfriend someone on FB. A "friend" who was commenting on photos of young women who are scantily clad. Women who are not his wife. (I never would have "seen" this but the new FB ticker so generously gave me this information.) Just wanting to take this opportunity to let you know that this type of behavior can kill the soul of your wife. I will be praying for this family.
And you are right.  Prude and Prejudiced.  But let's get down to the reality of the situation.  I looked.  I saw.  And I looked, again.  And my self-talk went something like this, "Well, I better just check and make sure I saw what I saw.  I am sure that was not what I saw.  So, I better go check their Facebook wall."  And when I went to their wall... there was more.  And I looked.  Again.

Eerily enough I wrote about this very subject last year... almost exactly a year ago, in the post "I have a reputation for being a prude." And so, as I protect my eyes (and my mind and heart and soul), I pray that those of you who may not suffer from a past of sexual dysfunctional would be aware that those of us who do... may need to unfriend you.  And know that I am praying... and considering what to do with the information... especially because this "friend" may be friends with your daughters... and sons.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
I have a reputation for being a prude.

It happens in a blink, It happens in a flash...

You may want to skip this reading this post.  I'm getting on my soap box... I'm a little emotional... and most of you will find this contentious, so here's your way out... S T O P  READING NOW!

I have a reputation of being a prude.  Although I disagree with that assessment, I will not deny that many times I may come across that way.  Actually, I like to think of myself not as a prude... but as prudent.  

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'm angry or incensed or mad or frustrated.  Why?  Because there is a current Facebook message that is circulating around that says something to the effect of:  "In order to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month: Women will be posting to their Facebook status where they put their handbag the moment they get home... ie likes it on the couch, likes it on the kitchen counter or likes it on the dresser."  For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook, basically a status would look like this
Sheri Kaetzel likes it on the kitchen counter.
And here's the big joke... we are NOT supposed to let men know what we are talking about... as if they are imbeciles.  And in reality men aren't even concerned with what we are talking about because the innuendo is obvious... and intentional... my status has now become a sexual innuendo.  I have caused someone pause to wonder... What exactly does Sheri like on the kitchen counter?

Perhaps this wouldn't bother me quite as much but last year to "encourage Breast Cancer Awareness" this same type of message was sent around but this time it was encouraging women to write the color of the bra they were wearing as their status.  And again... hee hee, don't tell the men.  Of course, the men did find out... and that meant that my husband and the rest of the world knew the colors of the bras that young girls in my church were wearing that day.  Sad.  All in the name of "promoting" Breast Cancer Awareness... not.

Why this bothers me so much?  Because I have a history of sexual dysfunction in my generational background.  I am bound and determined to break that cycle for the generations to come.  And that includes my son.  We are raising him to be pure of heart and soul and mind... and body.  And to one day look forward to a loving marriage without sexual baggage to take along... and to find a young woman with the same heart and soul and mind... and body.

And if you have ever read Shaunti Feldhahn's For Women Only:  What You Need To Know About The Inner Lives of Men... you'll know what I am talking about... men's minds are wired a certain way... which is much different than women's minds.  We think we are being cute or funny... or supposedly promoting a good cause... but what we are really doing are leading men's minds to think on things that are not really lovely or pure or honorable...

And you know what, you can disagree with me all you like, but the thing is that I was raised thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo whether it was or not... and then I started making sexual innuendos with  men... not caring the least bit whether they were married or not... just wanting their attention.  So when I made a decision to stop the sexual dysfunction in my own life... one of the things that had to change was sexual innuendos.  I had to stop thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo... and I had to stop causing others to stumble, too.

Now, you may think this is my problem.  And I need to get over it.  And you are right.  But the thing is if you take a look around... this is a huge problem.  And these little innuendos may be cute for the moment... but they may assist in the downfall of someone else.

And I'm truly sorry if this makes anyone feel guilty about their status.  That is NOT my intent.  My intent is to help you have an awareness of the slippery slope that a lot of us live on... and to remember that we are in this world, but not of it.  And that there are better ways to promote October as Breast Cancer Awareness month.   Maybe with a status something like:
Sheri Kaetzel would like to remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And she thanks God that there is HOPE... and a future... for those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. 
Okay... I'm done now.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Straight Paths

 "In all your ways acknowledge him, 
and he will make your paths straight." 
Proverbs 3:6 NIV 1984
"At first glance, it looks as if Solomon is guaranteeing that if we trust God, he will straighten out whatever path we choose.  But what this verse actually asserts is that God will make the best path obvious.  If we trust with all our hearts, refuse to lean into our limited understanding, and submit every aspect of our lives to him, the best path will become unmistakably clear.  Divine direction begins with unconditional submission.  Not information." Andy Stanley, The Principle Of The Path
"Have you ever asked God to give you several alternatives so you could choose the best one for you? How many options does God have to give you for you to have the right one?" ~ Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
These quotes came across my path today in my Bible Study and in my reading.  Something about asking God to make the best path obvious and trusting Him that it will be the right one.  So I thought this verse would be good for memorizing.

I choose Proverbs 3:6 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 19.   
I choose Exodus 14:31 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #18... but forgot to post it.

"And when the Israelites saw the great power of the Lord 
displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord 
and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." 
Exodus 14:31 NIV 1984

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yesterday does not define you...

Yesterday at Bible Study, our table leader, Jean Balle, encouraged us to discuss our feelings about the teaching that morning from Experiencing God (Session 3).  Getting no response from the rest of us... she relented and shared first.

She had been touched by the story of a woman who had difficulty accepting love from God (or anyone for that matter) due to her fractured relationship with her father.  Not only did the woman have difficulty receiving love... she had difficulty sharing her love because she had set up so many walls to protect herself from ever being hurt, again.

Jean then shared how this affected her... and it spurred the rest of us to share about our relationships with our earthly fathers.  It wasn't pretty.  Sometimes you hear about the good, the bad and the ugly?  Well, this was the bad and the ugly.  It was NOT a time of persecuting those men who were not taught about how to be a father, but it was a time of grieving for the little girls who never felt loved or accepted or wanted by their fathers... and how that affected their ability to think of God... to love God... to receive God's love... as Abba Father.

But then... it did get good.  We discussed how we longed to know a Father's love.  How we wanted our children to know the Father's love. How we wanted to be the change that we desired.  That in this moment of painful healing, we would allow God to redeem our pain, so that we could touch the future generations.

And then this morning, as I was listening to my current favorites playlist, Matthew West's song came on.  It is the song that has ministered to me the most from his album (er, CD for you younger folks) The Story of Your Life -- "Family Tree."  I know the words by heart.  They tend to my heart.  They speak of who I am.  Not carrying on the sins of my earthly father.  Of God breaking the chains that wanted to bind me to a different legacy... of finding real love... of holding my precious son... of changing the course of generations... knowing that I am loved and chosen by my Heavenly Father.

I pray that this song and lyrics minister to your hurting soul, too.

Know that you are not alone.
Know that you do not have to leave a legacy of dysfunction.
Know that you are loved and chosen. 
Know that He will restore all that was broken.

You are loved.

And PS... Jean Balle, you are leaving quite a phenomenal legacy.

Family Tree
Artist:  Matthew West

You didn't ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It's your sad reality
It's your messed up family tree
And all your left with all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they've handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It's better than where you've been
It's bigger than your imagination
You're gonna find real love
And you're gonna hold your kids
You'll change the course of generations

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

Cause you're my child
You're my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore
All that was broken
You are loved
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You're bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are
You are

No, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
No, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You're bringing new life to your family tree now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Decision.

 Quick snap of the camera shutter... catching beauty at the Grand Canyon.

Quick.  I had to make a decision.
She wouldn't look at me.
We have known each other for a couple years.
We hadn't spoken in a while.
I stood there waiting to say hello.
But she would not even share a glance with me.
She spoke to others.
Carried on a conversation with others.

And I had to make a decision.
The self-talk was overwhelming me.
Like a wave.  A big wave.  An overwhelming wave.
Would I ride the wave?
Or would the wave ride me?
Would I swim?
Or would I sink?
Or would I drown?

I had to make a quick decision.
As the thoughts raced through my head.
Did I do something wrong?
Is there something wrong with me?
Does she know that she is ignoring me?
Right in front of others. 

Okay, deep breath.
Am I being insecure?
Is she hurting my feelings?
Is she being mean?

Okay, what am I going to do?
What am I going to do?
I am fading.
Into my insecurity.
Quick, Sheri.  Make the decision.
The decision.
What's it going to be?

Okay, deep breath.
Am I being insecure?
Is she hurting my feelings?
Is she being mean?
Is there something else going on?
Is she insecure around me?

The decision.
For her.
For me.

Okay, Lord.
I am redirecting my thoughts.
It's not about me. 
I don't need it to be about me.
I will offer her grace.
I will offer her grace for my sake.

And I will gracefully turn around.
Look for someone else.
Offer a smile.  A hello.
And move on. 

Reminding myself that she may not realize that I am not as secure as she thinks I am. 
Of course, she isn't thinking of me at all. 
But part of me wants to let her know...
Just because I look like I am a really secure person...
It doesn't mean her insecurity doesn't affect me.
And for her sake I will pray for her.
And for my sake I will pray for her.

But for my own sake... I made the decision.  Praying that you can, too.