The Greater Love

Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

(John 15:13)

Jesus is our greatest example of sacrificial love.  The kind of love that would endure torment.  The kind of love that would carry the burden of sin.  The kind of love that willingly gives of self for the saving of others.

Not many of us can fully grasp the implication of laying one’s life down.  Most of us won’t find ourselves in a position to do it.  But there are men and women who quite literally died for this country.  Who fought for the preservation of freedom.

Others made it through but with the knowledge it could cost his or her life.  That was my dad.  He served on the front lines of Vietnam.  He faced choices that no person should ever have to make.  He witnessed things that no person should ever have to see.

I grew up knowing there was a price paid for that willingness to lay down one’s life.  I was taught to honor those who serve this country.  I learned the importance of respect for the American flag.  I was taught patriotism…something we seem to be losing in the younger generations.

I will always stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.  I will always sing for the National Anthem.  I will never bend a knee unless it’s to the King of Glory.

On this day, I say THANK YOU to every man and woman who has served this country.  I am so grateful that you were willing to lay down your life.  Greater love has no one that that…

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Defending the Weak, Even When It’s Risky and Uncomfortable

Working at a school, I have an especially keen sense of brokenness.  Families who are broken apart by divorce and now the kids are being shuffled back and forth from one home to the other.  Allegations of abuse as child protective service workers interview students in the adjacent conference room.  Grandparents raising their grandchildren because parents are strung out on drugs.  Police involvement because of an altercation between adults in front of the school.

I don’t need to turn on the nightly news to see the brokenness of our world.  I see it every single day at work.  The information that I know, the conversations that I hear, the involvement that I have…makes it quite clear there are a lot of hurting people.

It would be fairly easy to ignore the hurt and pain surrounding me.  To stay comfortable in my little bubble.  To focus solely on completing my tasks and going home to my safe, mostly normal family.

Maybe it’s because I come from a childhood of brokenness that I can see beyond the “bad behavior” of students to the hurt that’s inside.  This sensitivity isn’t always appreciated by others.  Some would prefer to focus on the child’s actions, with no thought to what else may be happening in his world.

Psalm 82:3 talks about defending the weak and the fatherless; upholding the cause of the poor and oppressed.  If we want to even remotely portray Jesus to the world, there has to be a willingness to stand up for those who don’t have a voice.  To see beyond the surface level of stuff to the deeper issues at hand.

I don’t say all this as a declaration of how I live each and every day.  In all honesty, most days I can put aside the events that have transpired and go on with my business.  I sit on the sidelines, watching things unfold, thinking only about getting to the end of my workday.

Every-once-in-a-while I get out of myself and genuinely care about someone else.  I sincerely desire to improve the situation, understand the underlying issues and try to make some kind of positive difference.

It’s always risky to be a selfless person.

Maybe that’s why we’re prone to not step out.  To turn our eyes away.  To pretend it’s not a problem.  To justify our inaction.

Sometimes there is a price to pay to be a selfless person.  It may cost a relationship, your reputation or even your pride.

This past week I took a selfless risk.  I came to the defense of two middle school boys, who from outward appearances didn’t “deserve” it.  You might agree if you had heard their language and seen their body language.  Yet I knew there was more going on than disrespect and cursing.  I had knowledge of their backstory.  I also observed the way they were being handled and how it wasn’t helping the situation.

So I stepped in.  Or should I say, I stepped on some toes.  In a school setting, the secretary doesn’t exactly rank above a teaching professional.  But I felt the boys were at a disadvantage and I had to defend the weak.

It was one of those (sad to say) rarer moments of choosing not to bury my head in the sand, taking a risk, and ultimately, paying a price.  In that moment I saw beyond myself.  Overriding the outward behavior was an understanding of the inner hurt.  This caused me to go into a protective mode, shielding them from what I felt was an inappropriate response and handling of the situation.

They needed someone to defend them, to have their backs.  Because there really was more to the story than a couple of “unruly” students showing disrespect.  I truly believe this insight and understanding came from God.  In that moment, He called me to defend the weak.

It became a messy situation, with parents and police involved.  Definitely uncomfortable.  Certainly risky.

But here’s the thing.  You can never go wrong in any situation when God is involved.  The discomfort is a small price to pay when compared to the joy of knowing God has used you.  And that’s what it’s really about…God.  Not me choosing to care.  Not me focusing on someone other than self.

I’m challenged to pay more attention to the hurt and pain surrounding me.  To step out of my comfort zone.  To focus on meeting the needs of others instead of watching the clock.  To do what all believers are called to do…not just talk the talk but actually walk the walk.  To be a true reflection of God’s love and grace.

What about you?  How are you doing in the area of defending the weak?  Share your thoughts on what it means to take a risk and step out of your comfort zone.

The Day I Stopped Rescuing My Child

Every parent has experienced it, one of their worst mothering (or fathering) moments.  Not that I don’t have more than one…but there is always that particular moment that tends to stand out the most.

Let me set the stage.  It was the first year I put all three of my children into a public school after homeschooling them.  My oldest son was in 5th grade, my daughter was in 2nd grade and my youngest son was in Kindergarten.  Not working, I had plenty of time to volunteer and help out at their school, so needless to say, I was a frequent visitor.

I honestly can’t remember why I was at school on this particular day…nor do I know why I went out on the playground at recess time.  But what I do recall is walking onto the playground and seeing my 5th grader get punched in the head.  Not by a kid I didn’t know but in fact, my son’s best friend that he had grown up with in the church.

With my blood boiling and no concern for those around me, I yelled the name of his friend and told him to keep his hands off my son.  Well, it wasn’t quite as nice as that.  Mama Bear had reared up and bared her teeth in front of nearly the entire school.  My son was embarrassed and his friend was scared (at least that’s what I assume since he ran away).

It didn’t end there.  I marched myself right into the school, declared my outrage to the principal, got on the phone to call the mother (right there in the office) of the boy who had punched my son and proceeded to argue loudly with her (keep in mind she was my friend).  While it temporarily fractured our friendship, thankfully it wasn’t permanently broken…we’re still friends 15 years after that incident.

Why did I feel it necessary to act that way?  I was the type of parent who felt a need to rescue my children.  Whether it’s a school fight on the playground or repercussions from a bad decision, it’s always been a natural response for me…to throw a lifeline to my children.

However, there comes a time when we have to let them struggle.  We may even have to let our child sink.  I know what some of you are thinking.  This sounds so cruel.  Perhaps even impossible.

What parent would deny their child a lifeline to safety?

A parent who recognizes the value of hard lessons learned.  A parent who realizes that coming to her aid hasn’t really helped.  A parent who truly gets what it means to entrust her child to God.  A parent who loves her child enough to not rescue him.

 

It has taken me 20 years to get this…with one child in particular who seemed to always be in need of rescuing.  One poor decision after another and yet—I threw the lifeline each and every time.

The day I stopped rescuing my child happened not that long ago.  I had to make a decision to withdraw the lifeline.  It went against everything in me as a mother.  When I shared with my prayer group what I had done, one of the ladies responded, “Dang.  That’s gotta be so hard.”

Did I doubt myself?  A little.  Did I feel bad?  Slightly.  But I had finally arrived at the place where I found peace in God and what He could do, instead of relying on my own (oftentimes flawed) lifesaving efforts.

In the end it turned out to be the right decision.  Even though some had doubted me, I put my faith in God.  I had a peace in my heart that didn’t make earthly sense but was like a divine gift from above.  Even my child seemed to understand that my denial of rescue was necessary.

Here’s the thing we have to remember.  While it might hurt to stand on the shoreline watching our child flail in the treacherous waters of life, we can know that in God’s timing and way, He will come to the aid.  His timing and way is critical in the rescue efforts.  It may appear that time is running out, but He knows just the right moment to help.  We may see the method of rescuing as one that doesn’t cause negative consequences, but He knows what it will take to keep our child from sinking again.

A rescuing parent is a loving one with good intentions but oftentimes makes decisions out of fear.  A non-rescuing parent is a loving one with godly intentions, who makes decisions out of faith in God’s plans.

Which type of parent do you tend to be?  Why do you think this is?  What kind of parent do you want to be?  Please FEEL FREE TO share YOUR THOUGHTS!

The Value of a Discerning Spirit

In my early days as a believer, I didn’t understand the value of a discerning spirit.  Especially when it came to sharing my heart with others.  I pretty much put it all out there, not giving a whole lot of thought as to how much information was divulged.  I also didn’t use much discretion, opening up to anyone willing to listen.  Believe me…there were a lot of willing participants.  Which I can’t entirely blame them because I definitely had a juicy past.

Let’s just say it didn’t take long for me to realize two things.  One, not everything is meant to be shared.  There are parts of our past that should stay there—buried, never to be resurrected again.  But there are also parts that in the right time should be shared.  Which brings me to the second realization, not everyone is the right person to share with.  Yes, even if the person shares our faith.  Because the reality is that we’re still human, so that means we’re dealing with people who may be unreliable, untrustworthy or uninformed.

I learned this the hard way, early on in my walk with God.  The freedom I felt in baring my soul to Him carried over onto others.  I used little, if any, discretion.   That left me vulnerable.

Proverbs 2:11 “Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you.”

Discretion serves as a protective measure.  If we don’t use it, we risk all kinds of problems.  Some of what I shared in confidence was blabbed all over the place.  And while one person was sympathetic to my face, she talked about me like a dog behind my back.

My expectations that people in the church would be different seriously impacted my ability to trust.  I put my own guard up, instead of allowing discretion to be my guard.   As a result, I felt let down by the church and oftentimes suffered in silence.  What made it worse is that trust had already been an issue for me.  Events from my childhood and past experiences caused me to put up a wall that made forming relationships difficult.

Although it took quite a few years to get to this place…I now realize the importance of discernment.  Just because it happened doesn’t mean it has to be shared.  In fact, most things are better kept between me and God.  I find comfort in being vulnerable with Him.  He understands me in ways that no one else can.  He knows the whole story and He is ultimately the source of all healing, restoration and reconciliation.

If I am to share with someone else, I trust God to show me who that person is and how much information should be given.  We need trustworthy people who sincerely care about us and will pray for our needs, but we also need a discerning spirit.  If this is something you’re lacking, just ask God, who gives generously to all (James 1:5).

What You Did Is Not Who You Are

I recently shared some thoughts on how “what you do” doesn’t define “who you are,” and how sometimes we allow our roles to cloud the truth about who we are in Christ.   Yet there’s an even bigger danger we face when it comes to our identities.  It is basing “who we are” on “what we did”.

I don’t get many opportunities to tell my story on how I came to know Christ.  My hope is that it helps to lay a foundation for why I think it’s so important we don’t allow our past to identify who we are right now and who we are yet to become.

I’m not aware of any church history in my family.  What I do know is we have a history of mental illness, addiction, suicide and yes, even murder.  When I was just two months old, my maternal grandfather killed my maternal grandmother.  Of course, growing up I didn’t give much thought to my family’s history.  I certainly didn’t understand the impact it would have on me.

Needless to say, my childhood wasn’t ideal.  The result was an insecure, scared little girl who didn’t understand boundaries.  That turned into an attention seeking, reckless teenager…which then turned into an angry, promiscuous, controlling woman.

You can probably guess there were some struggles with finding my identity in Christ.  Coming to know Him was the most wonderful, freeing experience of my life.  Yet the “who I was” seemed to overshadow the “who I am” in Christ.

My initial response to the gospel message was like a kid in the candy store.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  The realization that all of the icky stuff I’d done was forgiven—nailed to the cross—began the process of finding deliverance from shame.  Long “churchy” dresses replaced short skirts.  A fun night no longer consisted of a brandy and coke at a bar but coffee and sweets at a Bible study.  My speakers now blasted the likes of Steven Curtis Chapman and Point of Grace, instead of Beastie Boys and Bon Jovi.

Maybe it’s not glaringly obvious—but as “good” as these changes might have been in my life—they did little to address the deep-rooted shame that laid the foundation of who I was.  In my head I could say I was new in Christ.  But in my heart, I still felt like the old me, especially when I continued to battle with some of my past struggles.

Despite ongoing years of Bible study, church teachings, and doing my best to be the right kind of Christian wife, mother and friend…”who I was” continued to be “who I am.”  I wasn’t living in the freedom of being a new creation in Christ.  When I looked in the mirror I still saw the unredeemed me.  The broken, messed up, lost soul who yes, was saved by the grace of God…but just couldn’t believe I was loved and accepted.  How could One so holy accept the likes of me?!

There is a danger in identifying ourselves as “who we were” rather than “who we are” (in Christ).  On the most surface level, it keeps us from reaching our potential as a believer.  But on a deeper level, it chains us to the past.  That eliminates freedom of movement in the things that God has for us.

One of my favorite bloggers is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t allow “who she was” to identify “who she is.”  At “Beauty Beyond Bones,” you will meet a young lady who overcame her eating disorder and now offers hope and encouragement to others.  While I have never struggled with this particular issue, her blog feeds my soul.  I can relate to the journey she has taken in learning to love herself.

No, we can’t erase our past.  We can’t pretend it never happened.  Nor can we deny its impact on our lives.  But we can embrace what’s in front of us.  We can learn from the struggles of our past.  And we can finally find freedom in Christ.

What Is the Answer to Evil?

I don’t have words to adequately convey the deep sorrow I feel about the state of our nation.  Las Vegas was rocked by the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This at a time when the country is at odds with one another regarding the appropriateness of protesting during the National Anthem.  Mix in with that threats of war and terrorism.

Everyone is looking for “answers.”  Talking heads believe they have them.  Opinions permeate our Facebook newsfeeds.

The world is losing hope.  Even those who know to find their hope in Christ are struggling.

There are no easy answers.  More gun control sounds like an obvious solution.  Yet those bent on evil, individuals with severe mental illness, people intent on hurting others…will find another way.  How many lives have been lost by a maniac behind the wheel, plowing into a crowd of people?

The passing of new laws, the demanding of rights, the disrespecting of our flag…these will never cure the sin-sickness of this world.  Jesus is the only answer.

But here’s the thing about declaring He is the answer.  Some misinterpret this to mean that He has the ability to stop evil and so it’s in His hands to end mass shootings…to stop violence…to ensure equal rights and fair treatment.

Believers declare that Jesus is the answer…but the world wants to know if that’s true, why is there still so much evil?  Why are people treated unfairly?  Why is there so much violence?

Unless those who commit such atrocities surrender their lives to Jesus, there can’t be healing of mental illness and a bent toward evil.  He is the answer because He is the One who cleanses us from sin.  He is the One who can help us find freedom, deliverance and healing from the sin that imprisons us.

Jesus being the answer doesn’t mean He holds the puppet strings of this world.  He is Ruler of this world but unless He is made ruler of our hearts, sin will prevail.

I can understand the struggle with hopelessness.  Yes, even for the believer.  What took place in Las Vegas is senseless and absolutely heartbreaking.  But I don’t have to park my thoughts there.  I know that Jesus is the answer and that means regardless of what happens on this earth, a day is coming when all wrong will be made right.  When all sin will be washed away.  When tears will no longer fall and gravesites will no longer exist.

We need to share the hope of Christ with a hurting world.  But we can’t do that if we start to lose hope.

Our agendas and opinions can’t make a difference.  What we need is the Difference Maker.  What this world needs is a Savior…yes, Jesus IS the answer.

What You Do Is Not Who You Are

Last month my daughter moved out.  Two down, one to go.  Yahoo!!!

I have to laugh at myself, though.  There was a time when the thought of my children moving out was unimaginable.  I didn’t want my babies to leave…ever.  Even as they began to enter the teen years, I didn’t think I’d ever be ready to let them go.  And I always thought any parent who couldn’t wait for their child to leave was cruel.

Ask me if I feel the same way today…go ahead…ask.

Here’s the thing about the way I used to feel…yes, those feelings were based on my love for my children.  But they were also rooted in how my identity was so connected to them that I couldn’t possibly imagine being someone other than a mom.  Don’t get me wrong—not that I thought my mom title would be taken away.  I just knew it was going to be different and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

It’s interesting how the “what we do” becomes the “who we are.”  The way we sometimes place our identity in the doing and not the who-ing (yes, I made that word up).  The idea of my role changing as a mom was quite honestly, a bit frightening.  Trying to imagine a house no longer filled with noise but silence.  The thought of no longer being needed, when all I’m used to is meeting needs.

Who would I become if I wasn’t mom?

Getting to the place of realizing I’m more than mom hasn’t been easy.  I don’t need to become anyone because I already am the person I’ve always been.  My role as a mom is just one facet of my life.  There is so much more to me than that.

And really, this is a chance to celebrate a new season of life—not mourn for what will no longer be.  I will always be a mom but the way that looks is going to be different.   Different isn’t bad.  In fact, different can become something quite wonderful.  And that’s exactly what I’m discovering in this time that I once dreaded.

I’m relishing in the near empty nest season of live I’m in.  It’s not only rediscovering myself but there is a revival of my marriage, friendships, interests and passions.  Life has slowed down and I’m learning to enjoy its leisurely pace.  There’s more time to pursue those things I’ve always wanted to do and unearth new interests.

Children aren’t the only way our “what we do” becomes “who we are.”  This can happen with our jobs, relationships, interests and anything else that becomes our identity.  It’s not really a problem until that thing (or person) is no longer a part of our lives.  When that job ends, the relationship deteriorates or the thing we most loved doing is no longer possible…it can stir up uncertainty, fear and unrest.

The only way to truly avoid this pitfall is to remember that our identity as a follower of Christ should be found in Him.  Not in our spouse, our children, our pursuits, or this world.  When “who we are” is wrapped up in Christ, we won’t be shaken by the negative events of this life.  Fear won’t have a place in our hearts and we won’t have to be concerned about the future.    We will always know who we are when we’re in Christ.

It goes back to the beginning in Genesis 1:27, when God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.

The “what we do” is the outward, earthly stuff that we get to enjoy on a temporary basis.  The “who we are” is the spirit of God inside us, the heavenly blessing that lasts an eternity.

So…do I feel the same way I once did about my kids leaving home?  Oh, heck no!  Do I better understand my identity?  Yes!  It’s not what I do but who I am in Christ.

It’s Not Our Job to Fix

I’m a problem solver.  For almost all situations, I believe there is a way to fix it.  Whether it’s something tangible that’s broken or it’s something much more complicated—such as a relationship—repair is possible.  In many ways, a desire to fix things is good.  But it can also get in the way of my faith when God really doesn’t want (nor need) me to “fix” that broken situation or person.

Unfortunately, I’m not always cognizant of my “need to fix” efforts.   That lack of awareness prevents me from doing my real job…which is to seek God for guidance, listen carefully to His voice and follow His directions.  As a result, I’m prone to seek wisdom from others or within (what little bit there is), my ears are closed to God’s voice and I do my own thing.

There was a long season in which my daughter was like a “fixer-upper” project.  Her foundation was cracked and in great need of repair.   Ignoring the Master Builder, I attempted to do the work myself.  We were dealing with some issues that no mama, even one with all the love in the world and every best intention, could fix.

It was a long, heartbreaking journey.  Coming to grips with the reality that I couldn’t fix her wasn’t easy.  But God had a different role in mind for me.  It was to show her love and grace through that difficult time.

My role was also to not only trust God to do the fixing, but trust His timing and means of doing it.  This is important because it’s easy to say we trust God…until His way doesn’t make sense (or we have a better idea in mind).  It’s easy to trust until it’s taking too long.

What do you find yourself trying to fix?  A crumbling marriage?  A loved one’s addiction?  A wayward child?

Whatever broken situation you’re facing, whatever broken person you’re struggling with…know that it’s not your job to fix.   Our faith doesn’t grow based on what we think we can accomplish but on what we know God can accomplish.

The Beauty of Being Messy

This past summer I tended to what had been a longtime neglected part of my yard, a “garden” on the side of our house.  My enthusiasm quickly turned to dread when I realized the mess it had become.  Weeds so high they went up to my waist.  A rose bush that had grown out of control.

I needed something productive to do while I was off work for a few weeks, so it seemed the perfect summertime project.  It was painstaking work…and I mean literal pain.  Being a novice gardener, it never crossed my mind to use gloves as I pulled weeds.  My vigorous pulling and tugging must have numbed my hands.  It wasn’t until I saw blood running down that I realized there were cuts all over both hands.  Blood mixed with dirt.  Messy.

With time, patience, dedication (and yes, the purchase of gardening gloves), the mess became something beautiful.  I didn’t think to take a before picture, but at least my family can appreciate the transformation.

That messy garden was a reminder of my own mess…those parts of me that my inner circle sees and those parts that only God can see.  I saw potential despite the weeds.  I envisioned something beautiful.  God is the same way with us.  He sees beyond the mess to the beauty deep within.

I spent years agonizing over the messy me.  I didn’t like who I was, and I was convinced God was running out of patience with me.  All the focus on what was “wrong” with me stood in the way of not only recognizing but enjoying the process of change.  While I certainly enjoyed the transformation of my garden, I hadn’t done the same with the transformation of my heart and mind.

There’s a line in one of my favorite movies, “Trains, Planes and Automobiles,” in which John Candy’s character says, “I like me.  My wife likes me.  My customers like me because I’m the real article.  What you see is what you get.”

I’ve learned to adopt the same kind of mindset about myself.  It’s not that I have a cavalier attitude about my messy parts.  God knows there’s still a whole lot of work to be done in me!  But I don’t dwell on them as much.  I have hope because there’s a history of transformation in my life.  God has done and continues to do a work in me.

Oftentimes when I seek God’s forgiveness, I give thanks according to Philippians 1:6:  being confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I’m so grateful that He continues to pull the weeds in my life.  I’m so thankful for the mixture of dirt (my sins) and blood (His poured out for me) that is working toward something quite lovely.  A day is coming when all that is messy will truly become beautiful.

 

A Holy Interruption

My firstborn, Type-A personality doesn’t do well with interruptions.  When I’m in the middle of doing something, I’m on a mission and want to get it done.  I greatly dislike what I see as an intrusion on my time.  That doesn’t fit so well with my job as a secretary in a K-8 school.  Because if I had to define my job using one word it would be:

INTERRUPTIONS

Constant interruptions from a ringing phone, front door buzzer, and people.  Staff.  Parents.  Students.

  • Questions
  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Complaints

Needless to say, this job has been a huge growing experience for me.  I haven’t always done it well, the whole acceptance of constantly being interrupted, but I’m growing in this area.

I’m reminded of Someone who dealt with interruptions on a consistent basis.  Jesus.  Fully divine, yet fully human as He walked this earth.  People  surrounded him all the time.  They had questions.  Needs.  Wants.  And yes, even complaints (remember Martha complaining about her sister Mary not helping?)

Just when He would finally get away to pray and to seek His Father, people would show up. Crowds of people.  Jesus never got frustrated.  He met the need with grace.

As difficult as my silly interruptions at work can be, an even greater challenge is when it happens to your life.  When plans or dreams are interrupted by an unexpected (and oftentimes unwanted) circumstance.

What if the thing you see as an intrusion is really a holy interruption?  My definition for a holy interruption is one that appears to be inconvenient, unwanted, or frustrating and yet becomes something quite sacred.

One of the best examples I can give are the circumstances that made me a grandmother. Definitely an interruption and not in my plans was my 17-year-old daughter getting pregnant. That was just the start to what would become a fairly long season of interruptions to my life.

My granddaughter was born the day after my father died.  I can’t even tell you how “inconvenient” and disruptive that was to my grieving process.

Fast-forward a few months…all plans for my daughter and the father of her child to have this big happy family (including moving out) came to a halt when he decided to back out of the relationship.  Oh my.  It was not in the plan to help raise my granddaughter.

The next several months would include a lengthy and expensive custody battle.  Mixed in with that was a lot of drama and stress involving the father of my granddaughter and his new girlfriend.  Frustrating is not a big enough word to describe these experiences.  I remember thinking often how I just wanted my life back.

These snippets of interruptions to my life don’t appear to be holy.  Oh, but they were…because the culmination is a little girl that has completely changed my world for the better.  What’s more sacred than life?  Not only that, but God did a whole lot of work in my heart.

This little girl was most definitely a holy interruption to my life!

I’ve seen other types of interruptions to peoples’ lives become something so sacred.  It’s in those moments when things are uncertain and we feel afraid and it seems nothing makes sense that God is behind the scenes putting together something quite wonderful.

Holy interruptions come into our life and sometimes turn things upside down.  They oftentimes don’t make sense.  In the moment, we may not see the sacred but in God’s timing, He will reveal it.

The next time your life is interrupted, consider that God may be doing something deeper than what’s on the surface.  You just might be in for a holy interruption.