Welcome to the longest post ever. I promise it's worth the reading. Happy 4th of July!
WOW! I received a Rockin' Girl Blogger award from Bev at Scratchin' the Surface! That is SO COOL! THANK YOU! Here's what she had to say, "I've met her once, liked her immediately, wish I could meet with her weekly to fix all that ails me. She's genuine to the core, funny, smart. She's like the Energizer Rabbit - she just doesn't quit no matter how tough it gets."
You never really know how you impact others. There have been two wilderness times in my life: now and 20 years ago in Oregon. In both times when I was just struggling to put one foot in front of the other and hold on to Jesus with what little strength I had, God was using me to impact others. It was not anything I was conscious of at the time, so I can certainly not take credit for it. Even through the fulfillment of my dream of going back to school - I was inspiring others. Go figure.
I just have to share with you the amazing story of last week. A couple of years ago my church put together a cd, "Hymns of Our Faith," to give out at a community event. For the most part it was a family project as my nephew and his wife, my niece and her husband, my mom, my sister-in-law, my friend Lauren and I did an "unplugged" version of several hymns. I haven't thought much about that cd - I've given out a couple, but raised in a Pentecostal/Baptist home, it felt a lot like showing off, which is not good! That kinda goes against my love for the stage, so you can imagine my constant inner conflict.
Anyway, I received this email from my brother (the pastor) last week:
Dear Pastor Hulet,
I am an Active Duty Navy Chaplain, ordained through the Assemblies of God, presently serving as the Senior Officer Chaplain at Camp Bucca, Iraq. Camp Bucca is the largest Detention Facility in the world for Detainees. We have over double digit thousands here. The mission is difficult, tension filled, and fatiguing.
So , when I rummaged through a drawer, I found the CD: Hymns of Our Faith. The following words quickened my spirit and spoke to my weary soul:
"These songs are meant to offer a moment of peace and reflection in a world of stress and distraction."
I just finished a pastoral care counseling with a service member who received the news that his wife, pregnant at 8 1/2 months with their 3rd child, experienced a fetal demise. The devastation is indescribable.
The Hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness ministered to him and to me in ways I will never be able to articulate. Please thank Lisa Taylor, the vocalist on that hymn, on our behalf.
I don't know how this CD made it clear to Camp Bucca, Iraq but I am sure glad that it did. Mission accomplished! Thank you for your ministry and foresight to let the rich theology of these great hymns of the church speak life, liberty and strength to weary souls.
I salute you.
Chaplain Louis Rosa
I replied to Chaplain Lou:
I received your kind words about the song I sang, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," on the Hymns of Our Faith cd. It is amazing how God uses things we do in ways we can never imagine. I am so blessed to know that I was able to encourage and minister to someone through what I love doing the most. I often wonder what I could be doing to support our troops in such a difficult time - and now found that in some small way I have.
Please send my condolences to this service member in this time of loss. I have also lost a child, and know how painful it is. I'm certain it must be so difficult for him to not be with his wife to grieve and comfort.
I also am a counselor, and know that it can be difficult to lay down the burden at the end of the day. I'll be praying for you and for this man and his family. May God bring a swift end to this unrest, establish stable and strong leadership in Iraq, and bring you all home safely.
His reply was even more amazing, and I offer it today for anyone who has loved ones in the military at this difficult time:
I look fwd to meeting you one day. Your gift of music is more than a gift; it is the voice of Christ extended.
Your prayers and gift of music is more than sufficient to demonstrate your support of the troops. This is a very difficult environment for a host of reasons. However, the God of peace which surpasses all understanding is in the midst of it all. Your singing is proof positive of that.
The serviceman in question is home with his bride. We got him off on a bird as soon as it was available. He is now comforting his wife and they are beginning the process of good grief.
I am very sorry for your loss. The loss of a child is indescribably painful. I hope that you are able to practice the type of pain management that allows you to get on with life and own your grief at the same time.
In my 15 years of active duty, 10 years as a chaplain with the US Marines, I have seen a lot of death, destruction and devastation i.e. Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (2004-2005) and now. I am confident that Genesis 1:2 is true: 'And the world was without form and void and the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters.' God is in the chaos. I guess that is why I have always, with no exception, felt perfect peace even in the midst of some of the worse firefights seen in Iraq. We went through the battle for Fallujah during my last deployment. We sent 31 of our young Marines home in body bags and over 200 critically wounded. I know Christ was in the chaos.
Keep your gift flowing. It has reached the far ends of the earth. I play the CD often. Sometimes I play it while the troops enter the chapel for worship. Plz convey my thanks to Jenni, Lauren, Erica and Maurietta for their consecration and dedication to praise and worship.
Michelangelo once said that if the general public knew how hard he labored on each piece, it would diminish the magic of his work. I don't understand how difficult it is to make a great cd. If knowing means it will diminish it's beauty plz don't tell me. I want to appreciate it for what it is.
I look fwd to keeping in touch.
If you know someone who would be encouraged by reading this note from Chaplain Lou, please pass it along.