Labels are alive and well!!!!!

The Labels are alive and well!

My dear friend Deanna Martin gave me a lovely label s(hero), one I can accept from her because I am now more than just someone’s mother and a fellow church member, I have presented the “faith” side of myself. What I came to realize when she said this was that labels are not the only problem, that it is the expectations that come with the labels that gives me concern, and that maybe we must need to heighten our sense of how we utilize the labels. But as I redesign my concept of labels a commercial airs that took me all the way back to 1985 when I first decided to write a book. I really had talked myself into believing that the use of labels was minimal and then a commercial blasted through that misconception. In the commercial the wife says: “Honey, we need to talk”. Now that is a usual way to begin a conversation with one’s husband. But his response reflects the mental tape, perceived topic of roles and labels and one of the most demeaning types of conversations we can have with one another. His response: “I took out the trash”. Now that revealing response yells at me, screams stereotyping and the negative aspect in a marital relationship of nagging. Why would the ones who wrote that commercial come up with that response? This topic is representative of the old concept that labels men and their chore of taking out the trash as a topic of contention in the marital roles and relationships. For weeks I could not comprehend why this commercial bothered me, then the light came on for me. Trash was the first “discussion” my husband and I had as a married couple, one that highlighted the perceived gender roles as well as throwing a spotlight on the minuscule things that we waste our time on with senseless discussion such as taking out the trash. Trash is not a life issue! I dealt with the labels, and yes, even the trash topic in Asking What: No More Whys, Chapter 5: Be sure you have on clean underwear. This commercial serves to demonstrate that gender roles and labeling are still prevalent. Why would a woman be concerned about the trash, although she did “thank him for that”, and why would a man think that is the only thing wives are concerned with in life? As God’s creation, we really are capable of focusing on real life issues and there is so much more in life that needs to be a topic of discussion. Did I tell you it revived old feelings of anger in me? We have diseases, challenges, world violence, life and death decisions and relationships on which we can focus, let’s just move away from the simplistic ideas that ascribe labels to whom and what we are in life. I know it is just a commercial, but it reinforces through subliminal suggestion to the younger generation that there are gender specific roles and this then becomes a part of our future generations’ mental tapes. All of this over a simple commercial – guess my friends were correct about one of my character traits is that of being intense.

Ministering for God is lifelong and beyond

Sometimes we forget that we are ALWAYS a witness for God. I have been thinking about my dad and remembering the last witnessing he did. It was the day of his funeral and although he was gone, his life’s story touched one of his descendants. My youngest uncle, Rev. Wiley E. Dorman, had spoken on the sounds in Charlie Leroy Dorman’s life. My dad was the sound technician (and a deacon) at First Baptist Church of Jacinto City, so sound was important to him, after all, the Dorman children all sang in the choir – just expected of us. My dad heard so many sounds, ones that go along with Ecclesiastes’ to everything there is a season. He heard the sounds of war, he served in those sounds; the sound of love in his heart, he fell in love with my mom; the sounds of family, he was the father of four children and I have no doubt we were noisy; the sound of music, the sound technician that he was but also my oldest brother played the oboe and the flute, the sounds of joy and celebration, the sounds of worship and the sounds that sin can bring into one’s life. Then the sounds became so heavy. Dad heard the sound of grief as he buried first Gregory (my brother) in 1985 and then he repeated the grief when Darlene (my only sister) died in 1995; then the sounds of renewal through the addition of grandchildren and the laughter that brings. There were many more sounds my uncle mentioned on that day, but the sound my dad did not hear was the sound of his great granddaughter making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ in the cemetery as my dad was laid to rest next to the love of his life, my mom. My Uncle Wiley shared with me this joyous event and that she was specific in that she wanted to be like the man described in the message brought that day. What a sound in heaven as the angels rejoiced! Even at 84, my dad was a witness. I have now seen mature men make commitments to Christ, men who were good men – but who knew good was not enough. My husband, Joe, made a profession of faith at age 60 – he is a good man but he knew he was a man without God. Young people who experience these events just get it – they realize down the road that people need Jesus Christ in their lives, directing their lives and that there is a Savior who needs to be proclaimed. I strive to touch lives in my daily walk never knowing who needs the ministry of what my life reflects. I do know we cannot ever stop reaching out or stop living our ministry through the gifts God has given us. I have been made acutely aware of the one person for whom Asking What: No More Whys had to be written. As Christians, we always think of sharing orally our personal testimony with someone, but people observe, listen and read and God uses our availability to accomplish HIS Will for us all. I discussed grief in Chapter 6 of my life’s story and how I have been tested throughout my life to grow my faith. We are never finished with “growing” our faith as I have been through another test and am acutely aware that my faith is still challenged by fear. Being aware of the fear in my life is a reminder that daily devotional time is a must, maintaining a journal about my emotional response to life is vital to maintaining peace and joy, and lastly that God’s work in our lives is never complete – NEVER!

On Being Temperant

While at our camp on Lake Fork, I was reading my devotional and listening to the sound of the gentle, soothing rain on the roof of our RV, my home away from reality. Reading Joyce Meyer’s New Day New You, I was so moved by her use of 1 Peter 5:8 and the focus on finding balance in our emotions and responses to others. Quoting Meyers : “On one hand, we must not be harsh and hard. But on the other hand, we must not be weak and excessively soft. ….we must not be so mild … that we become doormats ….”. I struggled in the doormat mode of operation for so many years, because I thought it was the best way to live my Christianity. Then a wise minister, Rev. John S Harris, counseled me on holding others accountable and responsible, rather than ‘swallow’ the abusive actions of others, I needed to value who I am as a unique creature in God. It changed my life course as I began to honor myself as a single parent and held those around me to a standard that respected me and became more able to not accept labels, exploitation and hurt. Things could only hurt me if I accepted the words and actions as a genuine assessment of who I am. I pursued my bachelor’s degree and later my masters’. I learned to love and respect myself, even in my brokeness, and live in the love God has for me. It changed my relationship with my daughters and then in adult relationships and eventually in marriage again. I faced cancer and other health challanges through a balanced life and it changed how the focus of how Asking What: No More Why’s would be written. I am more aware of my emotional responses to others, and practice the thank yous to God in every situation, after 48 – 72 hours of course, because God has the lesson on the way to my life. I continue to experience anger, but I do a self check to discover the true emotion behind the anger. I had my first horrendous migraine last week, and knew that within me, I was angry and started the discovery effort to identify the real impetus that led me to choose anger rather than own my true emotion and deal with it. It is only then can I receive the lesson that comes with the blessing and live in a true balance within.IMG_20120705_133933