Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Matthew 8: 26 “And He said unto them, Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He rose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

In the last two weeks of study of the Introduction of Pastoral Care I have been exposed to a great many needs and uses for pastoral care. And even though I have been through some pretty tough times I have now been exposed to a lot of different areas of life where pastoral care is so important: depression, abuse, death, violations of many kinds and others. The one thread that seems to go through all of these areas is loss.

The disciples in this passage are fearful of the storm. They thought they were going to lose their lives to the sea. Then they were mad because they believed that Jesus was withholding His presence from them by sleeping during the storm. Storms do not last forever and it is hard to learn lessons during the storm. When God teaches us the lessons He wishes us to learn then, in my experience, He quiets us and takes us by ourselves to teach us what He needs us to learn. He even took those same disciples up on a mountain where it was quiet to teach them the truths about the Kingdom of Heaven. I think God does the same with us. He takes us, quiets us and then speaks His truth to us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes (maybe hiking boots for the trip up the mountain), count your blessings and say your prayers. Please pray for our family and I will continue to pray for you. Love you so very much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Please pray travel mercy as we spend a really long day traveling between Arlington, Howe and Sherman, Oklahoma and back. Thanks, gc
Happy Friday!

Today was my last class day. As we were leaving class today we were saying good-bye’s and wishing each other a wonderful remainder of the summer. We discovered that several of us will be in the same class together in the fall. This class has been so wonderful that we are looking forward to being together once again.

Psalm 27:5 “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.”

This week the task before me is to write an 8-10 page paper about the movie Ordinary People. I am not quite sure how to craft this paper so I will begin on Monday morning (after Matlock!) to begin to dissect this movie and write about the places in the script where pastoral care would be appropriate. I will also be trying to ascertain the style of pastoral care which would be most appropriate. I learned in my last two weeks of study that it is not my job to tell someone how to grieve, but to care enough to ask how I can help.

This coming week as I write this paper, Bruce will be gone for the Emmaus Weekend beginning on Wednesday and ending Saturday evening. Bruce and I share a partnership in my writing. I write and he edits. My editor is not going to be here so I am going to have to be extra careful and critical as I write this paper and my nightly blogs! I sort of need that hiding place as I write to focus to write an account of pastoral interventions this movie family needs to heal over the loss of one son and the attempted suicide of the other. As I pray before I write and while I am writing I will ask for a measure of knowledge that I do not have as I am very, very novice at this pastoral care. I ask you to be in prayer for me.

Know that we have a powerful God. Trust in him. He offers the safety of His tabernacle as His hiding place out of His love for us. I ask you to pray for Bruce as he prepares to serve on this Emmaus men’s Walk over in Fort Worth. I pray that God will hide these pilgrims and team members away from Satan’s grasp as they walk the journey of this weekend. May their campus become as holy ground within the tabernacle of God.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your payers. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Thursday!

My paper is printed and in my notebook in my backpack. I have my notes learned for the test tomorrow and I am pretty sure I am ready for tomorrow. Today I also received my instructions for the next steps in the candidacy process. There are interviews, background checks, psychiatric and career evaluations. This process makes me a little nervous, but God has set me on the path and as the old saying goes, If God brings you to it, God will get you through it. I will keep you posted.

Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”

What a wonderful passage! I love the song we sing with these similar words. They bring me comfort in a time of need and reaffirm God’s Lordship over my life and how much I count on God to always be with me.

This weekend seems to be a weekend filled with music and those who make it. This weekend we will attend two different music events. Bruce was a part of a singing group in high school called the New Generation Singers which formed within his church. The director who directed Bruce in high school is still living and is succeeded by his son. We will be attending the concert in Guthrie, Oklahoma on Sunday night. This director, Byron, helped shaped Bruce’s musical abilities and opportunities while in high school. Bruce has attended reunions of this group.

That same afternoon we will attend a very special reunion of Sherman High School former choir members. The purpose of the reunion is to honor Duane Gohlke. I was his assistant my junior and senior years. He was always the director of the cross town rival when I was in junior high. His choirs always won honors and awards. I had been Mr. Gohlke’s assistant for a week and a member of the A Cappella choir for about a week and he put me on a stage out in the mall and said, “Sing, Helvey!” He never called me Gaylene, just my last name, Helvey. He shaped me musically, spiritually and was my best friend. I have always named him my mentor.

Mr. Gohlke (pronounced go—kee) was a musical genius with perfect pitch, a concert pianist and a masterful director and I wanted nothing more than to be just like him. Mr. Gohlke and his wife Bobbie were a part of our wedding and Casey’s first babysitters. Mr. Gohlke, just ten years older than me which would make him 64, has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, and it breaks my heart. I sang in front of him not to very long ago and he did not know me. I remember praying that God would let my singing and the song reach him somewhere through that ghastly disease.

I don’t know a lot about Alzheimer’s except it robs a person of so many things. I don’t even know if music is a part of Mr. Gohlke’s life or cognition any more. But I know this, that there are songs on the way just for him. God will make sure that which has been taken from him here on earth will be restored a 100 times over in heaven.

There are lots of hard roads to walk here on earth. But I know if we walk a particularly hard road and God walks with us then we are on holy ground. When we stand in the presence of God wherever we are and whatever our lot is we are on holy ground. And as we walk with God I know there are songs to sing.

Take joy in the journey (singing as you go). Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am continuously praying for you and ask for you to pray for our family. Love you all so much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

OOPS! I was a day off on last night’s journal entry. I thought yesterday was the 14th only to find out today at the bank that today is the 14th. The teller inside the drive through sent the check back to me I was trying to cash and asked me to change the date to the 14th. I had written the 15th on the check. I will be better after 12:30 on Friday. My next to last paper will have been turned in and I am not beginning the next one until Monday!

I have until Thursday to complete the final paper. It is going to be a most interesting piece of writing. I am to watch the movie Ordinary People staring Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland and a very young Timothy Hutton. It is the story of a family’s loss of a child and how each member deals with or does not deal with that loss. I am supposed to identify spots in the movie that could benefit from some pastoral care. The paper is to be 8—10 pages in length. Please continue your prayers.

FYI OH! Doc Martinelli has pronounced me healed from the cancer. Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow! The last directive is on or about August 1, I am to massage my nose with Vitamin E oil. This oil and the massaging action will break down the scar tissue and allow my nose to return to its original shape and size. Thank you all for your wonderful and heartfelt prayers. I have felt them all and appreciated them so much.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Tonight my meditation is only about two sentences long, but it has brought about some memories. Bruce’s Mom, God rest her soul, had the kindest and most giving heart, but she seemed to live from crisis to crisis. We used to tease among ourselves that if there was not a current crisis she would create one just to stay busy. She did not look for the next victory or the next blessing, she seemed to look for the next disaster. She was a wonderful woman of faith and prayed continuously for her children and their families, but just struggled in looking for and receiving blessings and (forgive me) taking joy in the journey.

Our God is a God of faith and was kind enough to give us His gift of faith. God’s faith gift to us is one of being expectant. Faith expects with joyful trust that good things are in store for us.

How can we get that joyful trust that God has good things in store for us? First, we can remember how much God loves us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We can acknowledge that the love of God is greater than any crisis that we can experience either real or imagined. Living a life of joy during adversity really hacks Satan off so much that he eventually leaves us alone because Satan has no power where the perfect love of God is present.

So my friends, take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for you. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS With one exception all of the pieces of the application process for candidacy are in the hands of those who handle all of the procedures and processes. I should hear from the committee shortly to begin the next phase which includes background check, psychological/career counseling and an initial interview. I am going to need mighty prayer warriors. I am a bit nervous. I will keep you posted. Thanks friends, gc

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

Joshua 1:3 “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”

Our Lord, thank You that You have kept us. Amen.

Twenty one months ago today our beloved Casey went into the arms of the Father. It was even on a Tuesday. Today in class we studied grief. How amazingly appropriate this study was for today! I have finally gotten to the point when I remember Casey I do not remember him at the point of his death. I think about other times before he was so sick. I remember his silly smile, kitchen dancing, how much he loved to play pool, how much he loved his family and how precious he was to all of us. But mostly I miss him.

On Sunday we sang “All to Jesus I Surrender.” I did not make it through the song. I just buried my face in Bruce’s shoulder and wept tears of loss and remembrance. I looked over at Geni and she was unable to sing either. I know I have told you the story of how the instant the first chemotherapy was opened up and those ghastly drugs began flowing through him and in his state of half sleep and half awake he began to sing, “All to Jesus I Surrender.” It was a holy moment I will forever be grateful to have witnessed.

God did not give Casey cancer, but God did give us the road in which to walk. Throughout the last year of Casey’s life God kept us so close that we were never out of His loving care and tender mercies. God sent us to the most phenomenal hospital for cancer treatment on the planet. God called a congregation to empty themselves into our lives and to model the perfect example of grace in action. God has called me into a ministry where I can hopefully help others through loss and give them the hope that God will keep them so close.

God has a road for each of us to walk. His Word says that if we walk in obedience then the road becomes holy ground. God will be with us and will keep us close to Himself because of His amazing love for us.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. Keep praying for us and we will certainly continue our prayers for you. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS I have a test tomorrow. An extra prayer would be wonderful! Thanks and peace, gc

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy Monday!

I have spent the day working on the three part paper due on Friday. I have three chapters left in which to analyze my pastoral conversation. The assignment was to produce a pastoral conversation with me as the pastor counseling with a parishioner. Then we were to write down the conversation and analyze our skills as pastoral care givers as to listening, body language, ethics etc...It has been an interesting assignment and has already shown me some strengths and areas in which I need to work and get more practice. I like classes that will absolutely help me in the process to become a hospital chaplain.

Today I mailed the autobiography piece of the candidacy process off to the synod office today. I think that is the last piece that is needed to complete the application process. Most of the students in my class are already licensed as pastors, but not ordained. The Lutheran Church does not license ministers prior to ordination. This gives them some advantages over me in that they get to practice their skills in a church setting (as they are employed by a church), but that is okay, I am not yet ready to be able to give the time commitment to any parish beyond a laity position. When I announced that I was in the application for candidacy process my classmates were clueless as to what that meant.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

What an awesome passage! It is full of promise. It is full of a future. When we are baptized either as infants, children, young adults or older adults, God marks us with His seal and the cross of Christ forever. When we are sealed by this precious and wonderful cross we can count on God working in our lives.

At the moment of our baptism God began that good work in us and the scripture says that we are to be confident that the good work will continue forever. God will always guide us in the way we should go because He is our heavenly Father and has great and compassionate and amazing love for each of us. Whatever God has planned for each of us He will be relentless in His work in each of us until He has completed in us His perfect will and purpose. This passage gives me hope and belief that I can through His complete the task set before me. He will do the same for you. Isn’t God good?!

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for all of you, please continue to pray for me and my family. Love you all so very much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blessed Sunday to you all!

I finished my Formation Paper today. It is due on Tuesday and another paper has to be ready, but not turned in as yet. The second paper is the first part of a three part paper due on Friday. So since I do not have class tomorrow I plan to begin the preparation work for the paper due on Friday and hopefully begin the paper on Tuesday afternoon. Say a prayer for me please.

Psalm 139 :14 “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Today I was honored to teach Sunday School with my daughter. We had 12 children ranging in ages from about 4 to 12. We divided them up in two age groups and each worked with a different table. Today’s lesson was about Queen Esther. What a brave, courageous and faithful woman! She came from a tragic situation, was placed in a country that was not her home. She was a Jewish woman placed in Persia; a country that did not believe in a living god, but believed in idols. Her faith would not let Haman kill the Jewish people and through her courage, God worked through her to save His people from death.

After telling this story to the children I asked them how we could be like Queen Esther. How could we help God take care of the earth and everything in it. Their answers were so thoughtful. They said we can take care of the earth by not littering, recycling and taking care of our parks. They said we can be nice to others and help them when they need help. They said we can tell people about God and how much He loves them. Out of the mouths of babes…comes the wisdom of the ages.

These children, even though they did not know it, were praising God with their willingness to do what they could to take care of the earth and everyone in it. They do not have a concept of everyone in the earth, but they certainly know who their friends are, they care about their community and they know about God and His love for them and how much others need to know about that love. “Kids say the darndest things!” (I know I’m old.)

We could all take a lesson from Queen Esther and the children. We do not live in palaces and perhaps we are not being persecuted unto death, but we can be channels for love to others from our homes and help our earth throughout our community, to find ways to help and keep on loving.

Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, count your blessings and say your prayers. I am praying for you and please keep praying for me. Love you all so much, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni and Travis.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe and I believe God.

PS Special prayers for Geni, please, as she begins her second round of summer classes tomorrow. She will again go to Denton during the day and TCC at night. She is beginning to get tired so please say a special prayer for her. Thanks. gc