As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, May 16, 2011


There are limbs drooping low and scrubbing the shingles of my roof. They need to be trimmed.

In my children's bathroom is a hole in the floor where the linen closet is supposed to be. Three months ago I had a slab leak repaired. In the midst of everything going on, I have not had time to frame, drywall, tape, and paint it.

He is a senior pastor in his church, wants to know what he can do to help out. I tell him about the limbs and the floor and the heavy stuff I need moved in the backyard. He nods, tells me they are praying for the children and me, and doesn't call back.

We are friends of two decades, and he thinks I need to be in church. I'm in sin because I don't sit and listen to sermons every week. When he leaves, he comments that I need to get someone out there to remove the limbs from the roof.

It is a bad day, a painful day, the engulfing kind. I text, "Can you meet for coffee?" She would love to, but she has singles group and doesn't want to miss it. I should come. They are talking about how much God loves us, and it would be good for me to hear.

Oh, I hear.

I hear a lot.

I hear the contruction business owner who tells me he can't help with the bathroom repair because he isn't comfortable coming to the house of a single woman who "has no covering" but is happy to give me the name of a competitor.

I hear the friend who tells me how I need to depend on God and then says I should ask my church about having someone come trim the limbs.

I hear the woman who is "always here for you" but is so busy with various church activities that she can't find time to get together or even call me back.

I'm listening to the people who tell me I need to hear a sermon, read a book, get a worship CD, or take a class because I need to hear that God cares and is always here for me. At least some of the people have the courtesy to buy the book or CD for me. That is thoughtful and considerate.

Yes, I'm listening, and I'm taking notes.

If God ever allows me to be on staff at a church or allows me to have my own ministry, I want to do outreach, not just missions in other countries but right in my own backyard.

I want a list of the single parents, not just so I can plan vacations or parties for them but so my church can be the applied husband/father or helpmeet/mom for that family.

A single mom or widow should not have to call a prefessional to get handyman jobs done. Since when is the church so busy with meetings, Bible studies, and social agenda that no one has time to mow a yard, clean a sink trap, or drop off a meal?

And what about men who are trying to figure out school, meals, and girls’ hormones? What about those dads? Where are the spiritual moms who are also concerned with helping buy that first bra or explaining pads and tampons because of the first menstrual cycle or listening to a broken heart because "that boy" Dad can't stand still hurts when he's mean to tender heart? Who is helping by giving a favorite recipe Dad can use to make cookies for school or offering to pick up a child from school when he/she is sick?

Who do these people call at 2 am when their child’s fever is running 102 and they realize they are out of ibuprofen? Who makes them soup, drops by with a movie and pizza for the kids and sends the parent out the door for a much needed break? Who makes sure they have birthday cakes or that special party?

It should be people in the church.

Jesus never meant for the church to be a self-contained four-wall entity. He meant for it to be the helpmeet and husband on earth that God is in heaven. He never meant for us to need to hear a sermon or a Bible study to know God loves us. He meant for it to be obvious in the way we treat each other.

I want to know who the widows and widowers are, and I want them set into families who check on them, make sure they are eating, give them a place to go on holidays, drop a card in the mail for special days, talk to them regularly, find out if they have heat/air, if their basic needs are met.

It is an abomination to God that we can build bigger and fancier buildings for “worship” when His people who walk in those buildings are doing without basic needs. God is not a God of grand buildings but a God of great love.

He is not about seeing how big we can build
but about how far we can reach.

Because the world is reaching.
...reaching the end of their rope...
...reaching the end of their faith...
...reaching the end of their strength...
...reaching the end of their belief prayer makes a difference...
...reaching the end of hoping someone will actually care and reach back to them.

The limbs are still rubbing my roof.

The bathroom floor still has a hole in it.

I still feel utterly alone and am more disillusioned by the church than ever.

But I’m sure the right sermon will fix all that or the right Bible study or the right worship CD or book or….because after all, I just need to HEAR AGAIN that God loves me and is always there for me.

And yet, I have never felt so alone, and I wonder how many other people are out there who feel the same way but can't tell the difference between man and God and when abandoned by the former give up on the latter...

...because they never see Him reaching...


My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Jerri. I've been hurt by a few of those helpful people. So heavenly concerned they're of no earthly good. But your attitude is spot on. If you can see how others are not meeting your needs as they (the church) should, when you are ready, you will know what to offer. I could jump in here and gripe with you but its of no value. Can I make a suggestion? God says to seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness, then all the rest (limb removal, bathroom hole filling) will be added. It makes no sense but I have experienced if you focus on Him, and Him alone, the rest will be sorted.

I don't want to make out like 'follow this recipe and life will come right' and I'd like to say if I lived nearby I'd help but that's easy to say a continent away. But that person who God is preparing to come do all those things is there. God is just dealing with them too! Look up, not left, right, down, etc. Look up.
Still praying for you (and now for your tree and bathroom!) god bless, Tracy

Jenny B. said...

If I lived close enough, I'd climb up on that roof (even though I hate heights) and trim those branches.

Jerri Kelley said...

Jenny, I'd hold the ladder for you. When I get up there, I get dizzy. I think that isn't a good thing.

Tracy, when I read your comment, my heart pounded. It would take a long letter, but thank you for your wording. Some day I'll tell you all...God bless, Jerri

That's Who I Am said...

I keep trying to leave you a message but this computer keeps eating it. Will you email me so I can write you?

I LOVE YOU, Jerri... you are one of the best, kindest, most real friends I've ever had and I want to come visit you. Me and my dog Luna, if that's cool. :) Now let's see if THIS one will post... LOL

mizzbrizz said...

I wish I lived close by because I don't mind heights and would be happy to help you with any of those things. Heck, even on the weeks I have the kids you could come to me to have coffee or if I could bring them, I'd come to you. God meant us to be his hands and feet. If your church is just a 4-walled sanctuary, we've missed the mark--because church is in the communities where He is not yet known. Our pastor just preached on that last week. We know nothing of the sacrifice others make to call Jesus their savior as we are free to worship as we please in the US.

Jerri Kelley said...

Nicole, you bless me more than words can say. I love you, dear one.

MizzBrizz, I would love to hang with you and your children.

"If your church is just a 4-walled sanctuary, we've missed the mark--because church is in the communities where He is not yet known." -- Powerful truth, woman of God.