Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

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Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

This That JOY!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you are having issues with angst and depression or you just need to uncover your own joy; find something to do that’s in service of someone else.

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I think I’m victim of the change of seasons. One day it’s perfectly beautiful here and the next it’s forty degrees. I’ve had a low fever coupled with a few random symptoms for a while now. While I don’t think it’s serious, it’s enough to make me feel run down and achy. Yesterday was the first day I considered staying home from work because of it. Not only did I not feel up to going to do my regular work, Charlie and I had slated ourselves to help with kitchen duty for the Church’s weekly, parish-wide meeting. I decided to push through and I am EVER so happy I did!

Who knew how much fun it would be to get to cook in a huge kitchen and then serve a huge group of people? I know it’s not every person’s idea of a great time, but it is mine. I love to cook and being in that kitchen took me back to grade school days where the biggest worry I carrived was whether to choose french fries or mashed potatoes.

The harder I worked, the better I felt and when it came time to stand on my side of the table and serve the people coming through the line, in true Grinch fashion, I felt my heart start to grow and grow. It was so fun to look across and see all of the faces and take a moment to try to make each one of them smile. I think by the time the night was over, I was floating a few feet above the ground and my illness? What fever? What symptoms?

Last night I revisited the Bobbe of days gone by, who IS very social and loves to cater to people. I do know where my joy comes from…it’s in connecting with and in serving others. Trust me when I say that not every person I encountered yesterday had a bright, shining face, and not everyone was responsive. It didn’t matter. Joy’s got game; it doesn’t recognize snarls and snarky remarks. Joy only sees other people with compassion and love.

I would have been justified if I’d chosen to stay home yesterday. Thank GOD I didn’t or I’d have missed the most fun I’ve had in quite a long while.

When I finally collapsed in bed last night I truly felt I’d been of good service. Nothing replaces that feeling, except perhaps what it feels like to first be falling in love. I think joy lives equally in both experiences.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you are having issues with angst and depression or you just need to uncover your own joy; find something to do that’s in service of someone else. Go out of your way to be kind when you don’t feel like it. Help someone who cannot reciprocate. Offer a heartfelt compliment to a stranger. Tutor a student. Visit with the elderly. Find something to do that takes the focus OFF of you and places it onto someone else.

Joy lives there.


ACTION

An Angel Reminder: A man is the origin of his actions. Aristotle

Action is movements. It is the exertion of energy or influence. As humans, we are in action a lot of the time. We take action, or we go in and out of action. If we are the origin of our actions as Aristotle said, then who are you? What have your actions in the past hour said about you? How about in the past year? How about your actions toward certain people? What is is that your actions are trying to get across? Once we take action in response to something, we can’t undo the action. We can know many things, but we will never really know the effect of and extent of all our actions.

Think about your actions today. Think about the actions of the angels. Is it always possible to think before we act? Do you recognize all your actions, or do you sometimes look back and ask, “Did I do that?” Ask the angels for help in acting consciously, with courage and compassion.

An Angelic Reflection: With the angels in my life, I can be a true action hero.

(Angel Courage: Terry Lynn Taylor & Mary Beth Crain (c)1999, Harper Collins San Francisco)


From The Angels:

answered-prayer Answered Prayer: Each day connect with your soul allow the divine light in. Your prayers have been answered.

In your life find a way to experience spiritual devotion through prayer or meditation in a way that brings out devotional qualities. These qualities or energies are healing. They drive away anger. All of your prayers are always answered.

The angels request that you be observant of everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or sense in any way it is an aspect of Divinity.

celebration Celebration: This time of light is a time of rejuvenation, of recharging your batteries. Take time to celebrate and rejoice in the uplifting of spirits. Lighten up. Acknowledge your diligence and give yourself credit and appreciation for all that you have accomplished. Stop and smell the roses. Stop to appreciate the beauty and majesty that is present in your lives.

Focus on what you are creating, not what is crumbling. Remember: neutral compassion, this is especially important for what is in your personal experience. Witness and bless. All the angels join with you in celebrations of light at this time, it is by this light that you are united, and by this light that you have created all that is on its way to you. What a glorious time to rejoice in all that is good and all that is true.

Don’t give up – for while it appears that you are on a solitary path, you are supported by reams of fellow beings of light on all around you. If you do nothing else at this time of celebration, remember the unseen party that is going on everywhere!

image Serenity: You are free from stress and your disposition is of greater inner peace and tranquility.

Even if your unable to resolve a current task at hand, your peace of mind and faith will allow you to trust that the angels and God will take care of you. If something in your life isn’t working, be willing to release it to God and the angels.

The angels reassure you that tranquility and refreshed peace of mind is within you. As you work toward serenity, and inner peace your life’s unforeseen problems begin to lessen and disappear.


Blessed are they who give
without expecting even thanks in return,
for they shall be abundantly rewarded.

Blessed are they who translate
every good thing they know into action,
for ever higher truths shall be revealed unto them.

Blessed are they who do God’s will
without asking to see results,
for great shall be their recompense.

Blessed are they who love and trust their fellow beings,
for they shall reach the good in people and
receive a loving response.

Blessed are they who have seen reality, for they know
that not the garment of clay but that which activates
the garment of clay is real and indestructible.

Blessed are they who see the change we call death
as a liberation from the limitation of this earth-life,
for they shall rejoice with their loved ones
who make the glorious transition.

Blessed are they who after dedicating their lives
and thereby receiving a blessing, have the courage and faith
to surmount the difficulties of the path ahead,
for they shall receive a second blessing.

Blessed are they who advance toward the spiritual path
without the selfish motive of seeking inner peace,
for they shall find it.

Blessed are they who instead of trying to
batter down the gates of the kingdom of heaven
approach them humbly and lovingly and purified,
for they shall pass right through.

Peace Pilgrim’s Beatitudes – Mildred Norman


I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart
And I’m so happy
So very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart

 

 

Warrior Souls

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others.

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“No one can put a leash on my spirit and I’ll follow it exactly and precisely where it wants me to go, thank you!” ~Bobbe Ann Crouch circa 2009

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others. We give power to what other people think and do and say about us, even at the very high cost of our precious self worth and self esteem. Why is this?

My feeling has always been that people are basically good at the core. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it’s important to think before speaking to others, to assess whether our words are important or just wasted air. It’s of high importance to recognize that no one has the right or ability to squash the spirit, but it still happens, doesn’t it?

Preventing this makes connecting to one’s basic goodness, a very high priority. Words cannot penetrate the soul of a person who is connected to the basic goodness of the spirit. This is why so often, I require people to literally start to count their Blessings. A person focused on the good side of life cannot be easily harmed by the word daggers someone else may be throwing.

Remember this phrase: “Words have Weight”. Watch what you say to others so that you are not unwittingly covering someone else’s goodness. Likewise, put on your suit of armor and remember that you have the ability to deflect negativity at every turn.

Connect to the goodness inside you and refuse to let it go.

PS: When I got home yesterday, this was waiting for me!

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Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

381455_484719604916428_702273273_n

Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Day Three – More on Community

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I grow weary of hearing people say, “All organized religion is nonsense created by humans, for profit and control”.

First, I hate generalizations.  It’s funny because I can remember a time growing up when that’s all my father used to say to me, “Stop generalizing”.  At the time, I didn’t really understand what he meant, but he was right.  I used to make statements like, “You always find fault in anything I say”; “This person is always wrong.”; “You never listen to a word I say.” etc… At fifty, I finally understand what my Dad meant.

I admit for a time, when I was being lazy in my faith and wallowing in self pity, I used to say things about organized religion too. I would tell myself that I didn’t need to go to church because God lives in me, etc.  “Church is a building”; “Faith is what’s in my heart.”; “God lives everywhere, I don’t have to go there to talk to God.”, etc.”

I was right (on some level), until I landed in the finance office of a church that isn’t of my own religion. (I laugh these days, because God absolutely does know what He’s doing at any given time.) I started there as an account temp because they lost their finance secretary to a full time job. I thought this job would be pretty clear cut: I’d do their finances and leave each day. NOT.

I never expected that as the finance secretary of a church, I would be the only person who got to see what good “a church” actually does in a community. As a lifelong Catholic, my only experience with church was going to Mass on Sundays, receiving the Sacraments and tithing each week or month.  I never stopped to think or find out just where my tithes went.  I thought they were supporting the church building and the school, period.  I never went beyond this in my thinking. Why would I? I just showed up on Sundays, gave what I could, and left.

Until I landed at my current work place.

Yes, it is true that tithes do go to the upkeep of the building and the staff. Church’s are non profit organizations, which means that they do depend on weekly/monthly tithing and gifts from estates and outside entities.  Without the kindness and faith of others, they don’t get to exist.

I worked for about six months just trying to find my way in the finance office. No one could help me because the business of the finance office of a church is completely confidential. Thankfully, my life long accounting background afforded me the experience and knowledge to be able to create the statements etc.

What I did not expect, however, was learning just what it means to be a church.  What I get to experience every single day is happiness and love.  While we do have a small number of staff, who are paid, the place where I work is largely governed and staffed by volunteers who give of their time freely and willfully day in and day out.  This doesn’t mean that they just write checks to the church.  It means that they come into the office to answer phones, they write thank you notes when we receive memorial donations, they go out to visit the shut-ins and those who are hospitalized, they organize visits to the home-bound, they plan picnics for new members, they create ministries for the elderly and the youth and the children, they buy beds and clothes for people new in the country, they walk in parades, the list is endless.  In short, wherever there is a need, they are there.

My “ah-ha” moment came one day the first year of my employment, when a random envelope of cash was received and on the outside it simply said, “Please give to the church”. It was a substantial amount of cash and we worked hard to find out where it had come from so I could give tax credit. In the end, a random person had given this envelope to a congregant who was leaving Sunday services…he didn’t care about “credit”.

The day we finally figured this out, my heart just opened and I cried. Not knowing the story, I envisioned some stranger saving his pennies until he felt he had enough and then he gave it to the first person he saw coming out of services. The person who received this money and turned it in could only say that this was a foreign person who offered the envelope.

My workplace caters to foreigners and refugees and I love it.  Several times I’ve gotten to use my Spanish to help visitors looking for the “English as a Second Language” classes, which are hosted by the church. (I have a degree in Spanish yet have never gotten to use it for any reason until now.) (PS-Thanks God!)

The Minsters of this place work 24/7.  If a person has a medical emergency in the middle of the night, they jump up and go. Often times during the day, I witness the Minsters going on countless “appointments” to pray with the sick, the lonely, the depressed or those who are trying to figure out “God”, period. They go when they are called, period, and it doesn’t matter how many times per day they are called…they GO.

In short, I’ve been at this place for three years part-time. I’d be there full-time in a heart beat because I’ve finally learned what a church really is. It’s LOVE actualized.

Yes, you can love and pray and worship God all on your own and HE IS there, but a church is a community of people all working together to help others.  At least, this is MY experience.

Lots of times I’m the only person who gets to read beautiful letters attached to checks that talk about what this church has meant and why “this donation” is being made and I feel so honored.  I look at it as God entrusting me as the go-between.  I make sure the donation gets where it’s supposed to, I get to write the thank you note and I get to keep the secret of who gave it.  (That’s between God and me and the donor and it’s so fun!)

So.  Yeah, I’m weary of hearing that organized religion sucks because it doesn’t.  I didn’t even mention all of the money that my workplace donates to local charities OR what it does to take care of refugees from other countries. We receive calls daily from people wanting help on their rent or utility bills and we work in conjunction with other area charities to help as much as possible. I’ve seen our Ministers (and members)buy clothes and shoes for children  (sometimes out of their own pockets), buy a bus ticket to get a stranded traveler home, deliver food to those who need it; I’ve even seen them invite a person in to sit in our church parlor to eat a meal and just chat with a fellow human. I could go on and on.

If you think, for one moment, that organized religion sucks.  I hope you will do some more research.  We give away most of what comes in and what we don’t have to give away, we make up with our own money, time and effort.

I’m so Blessed.

Those who used to know me on Myspace have to KNOW that God led me here to this place and that I’m happy as a clam.  I don’t make much money, but my heart is FULL times infinity.  I haven’t even scratched the surface here.

I think it’s time for all of us to either re-discover or discover for the first time, what it’s like to be a real member of a real community.  Church might just be the first stop.  No. I’m certain it should be.

Praise God. (I do.)