Tag Archives: Community

Usher or Bouncer?

blog usher bouncer I read somewhere on the internet (I just cringed as I wrote that – I really can’t remember where I read it – sad but true – so much good stuff and I’m always reading!) a great question.  Here it is.  Are you an Usher or a Bouncer?

I love this. Especially as it applies to Christians and church and community.  To me this question is critical.

Which is it?  Are you an usher or a bouncer?

Do you welcome people in, invite them to sit, shake hands, maybe hug, smile, accept, connect?

Or do you shut people out, condemn, judge, deny, disconnect and hurt?

What are we called to do as Christians?  As humans?

I’m thinking of that song, “Rockstar” by Nickelback. “I’m through with standing in lines to clubs I’ll never get in…” Can you hear it? Aren’t we all.  Who wants to “not get in”?

I love to read about Studio 54 and it’s heyday.  I love the music and the fashion and the celebrities and the craziness.  I’m reminded now of the velvet rope and the bouncers and all of the “pretty people” getting in while others waited for hours to be rejected.

Rejection hurts.  Feeling not enough is the worst feeling – not pretty enough or rich enough or smart enough or good enough.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another and it hurts.

 Karen Armstrong said this: “Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” 

Rejection gives me pain. I never want to make anyone feel rejected.

I want to be an usher.

An usher lightens the load for others.  They say, “Welcome, come in, sit down, we’ve saved a spot for you, we were waiting for you,  you are important, we are glad you are here.”

This is how we build community.  This is how we honor Jesus and His message.  He said “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” He didn’t mention anything about the proper outfit or the right partner or the fancy background or the perfect past.

He invites everyone and when they show up in our lives…no matter where we are…we can usher them in.  If not physically into a place, we can usher them into a feeling of acceptance and love with a smile, a connection, a helping hand.  We can see them.  We can welcome them.

With regards to the church unfortunately I have known a lot of bouncers.  It makes me sad to think of this because so many people have been turned away from Jesus because of the “bouncers” at church living under a false notion that they are in charge of who gets in and out.  It’s sad and it’s maddening and frightening and infuriating and pathetic really.

We are called to be Ushers.

I am so grateful for all of the ushers in my life.  The ones who really know Jesus and His message of Love.  The ones who told me and showed me that to live in Christ is to live in Joy.  They welcomed me and showed me a path to generosity and kindness and non-judgment and wholeness and love and Freedom.

We are all invited.  Jesus is saving a place for all of us at His table.  I don’t just mean His table in Heaven but also His “table” here on earth. It’s good to know when we get to the table – no matter the path we took to get there and no matter the shape we are in when we finally accept His invitation and we show up… He will be there with open arms to usher us in.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup  Great Big Yes™  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

There but for the grace of God, go I

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Friends, we need to talk.

I was slapped into reality this morning when my friend called to tell me what happened to her son.

He was hit by a car yesterday on his way to school.  He’s okay. Praise God.

The really weird and crazy thing is that her other son was hit by a car a year ago. Same situation.  By the grace of God, he’s okay too.

She called me wondering why this happened twice to the same family.  She wondered all day yesterday if she should tell people about it just as a reminder to be aware, go slow, drive carefully.  She questioned out loud if this was God, with a message. She drove her son to school today and was struck by all of the people driving while texting or looking at their email or talking on the phone in a school zone.

Here’s where this gets tricky.  I have done that.  No wait…I do that. UGH. I’m sitting here with my heart beating fast thinking…I could have hit her son.  That could have been me.

I think of the poor woman who was pulling out of her driveway and couldn’t see maybe because of the fence, maybe because we live so close to each other, maybe her baby was crying in the back, maybe she was in a hurry…there are so many maybes.  But here’s the sure thing…NONE OF US WANTS TO HURT A CHILD.

This is not a condemnation of moms or dads or big cars or cell phones.  This is a reminder for all of us to WAKE UP and LOOK UP and SLOW DOWN.

This is a reminder for me.

Remember when Oprah asked us to sign a petition not to text while driving?  I was so gung ho at the time…all in…stoked…responsible.  But as time has gone on, I have been careless…in a hurry…selfish…self important…forgetful…distracted.  My kids have yelled at me to put the phone down.  Let me repeat that because it’s so awful but it’s the truth and I need to bring it to light…my kids have yelled at me in the car while I was driving to put the cell phone down.

I’m mortified and embarrassed and so, so sorry.

The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt a child.  Not the kids outside the car and not the kids inside the car.  I think of the kids walking and riding bikes and skateboarding and laughing and playing and trusting the adults in their lives to make good choices and keep them safe.

Let’s not disappoint them.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Share Your Prayer

Natalie and Jack

I have spent a lot of time over the years praying for my kids.  I don’t think there is any little corner of their lives that I have not covered in prayer.  That is, until something else comes up.  My kids are getting older and as they do, my prayers become different.  All the usuals apply of course, I pray for their health and their protection and their happiness.  But I pray more specific prayers now.

I recently asked a friend to pray for my daughter.  She not only said she would but she emailed me the prayer she was praying for her.  As I sat at my computer screen crying and thanking God for friends who get it…I was struck again by the power of prayer.

We pray because we cannot possibly do this on our own.

We pray because we need God’s power and grace.

We pray because sometimes just putting it out there, releases the tight grip it has on our heart and mind. 

We pray because we don’t know what else to do.

I have been blessed to have many friends (and my mom) with whom I can share my worries and concerns and what I’ve realized lately is that we all have a lot of worries and concerns.

A lot of these things we wrestle with are often not appropriate to talk about at dinner parties and happy hours.  These are private things.  Often we feel we should not share, we are embarrassed,  we don’t want to break our child’s trust – all of that is valid.  But if we don’t get it out, we suffer.

I was talking to my friend, Kate, yesterday…sharing some of my worries with her.  After we hung up, she called back and said, “I think we should write a book – a book about the REAL prayers moms say for their kids.”

So that’s what we are doing.  We want it to be the REAL prayers moms say for their kids, not the polite prayers we think we should be saying.

Honest. Authentic. Vulnerable prayers. Prayers that we say in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep because we are so worried.  What is your prayer for your child?

We are going to collect them and put them together in some form.  I say “some form” because a book is expensive and takes a long time and we need an agent and although that would be amazing, it’s really about the prayers and we are interested in getting this prayer wagon rolling immediately.

We are doing this so we can build a community of moms – a community where we will all feel less alone.  Here’s the thing…everyone has something going on that worries them.  Someone may see your prayer and thank God that they are not alone.  They may realize for the first time that other people are going through similar things.  Imagine all moms feeling less alone.  Incredible.

Here’s how it works.  Send your prayers.  I will not include names in anything.    The whole thing will be anonymous.  Send to or comment on the blog.  I will not “publish” the comment or any names (no one will see who it came from) but I will include it in our compilation of prayers.

We will not edit the prayers.  We are looking for raw unedited prayers.  Please don’t feel like you need to be polite.  Just be you…talking to God.  Some of you may be hesitant to send your honest prayers but in order to be truth tellers and soul sharers, we are going to need courage to speak from our hearts.  I know this can be difficult but we need each other.  We need you.

Not only will we see that others may be struggling with the same thing, but we will be able to pray for them too!  Oh my gosh, the power of this!  Can you imagine!  All of us praying together for each other’s kids!?!?  And for each other?!??

So cool.  Let’s do it.

Please send your prayers.

pray without ceasing

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved                                               picture of my oldest and Kate’s oldest about 10 years ago 🙂