Wednesday, May 31, 2006

All Roads Lead Home

I got lost today. I got turned around and misdirected and the sun was almost directly above me so I couldn't tell East from West and... (breath)... I was lost.

So I pulled over. I tried to access mapquest on my cell phone. Nope. Network unavailable. So I tried calling 411. "What city and state?" asked the recording.

Oh crap. "Ummm... somewhere in Kansas." I said quickly. "I need directions."

"Somewhere, Kansas?" the lady operator repeated, matter-of-factly.

"Never mind," I mumbled, and hung up.

Shoot. I hate it when I get lost in parts unknown. I was about to head back the way I came (again) when this rumbling old truck pulled up alongside me. The guy in the cab asked if I was looking for someplace.

"Yeah, I am," I said. "The highway?"

He laughed. Then he pointed. To this road. "That'll get you there," he said. "But they say all roads lead home, eh?"

Right. Nice man.

I took off down the road, and started kicking myself for being such an idiot... for just taking off this morning without directions or maps or printed-out mapquests or anything. As I drove, my thoughts suddenly turned to that part in the Bible where Abram takes off. To parts unknown.

The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your country... and go to the land I will show you. So Abram left." -Genesis 12:1, 4

Talk about parts unknown. Talk about being lost! That long road in front of Abram must have looked awfully intimidating. I can't imagine how that day must have played out for him- waking up, packing up, psyching himself up, and then... what? Walking. Just walking. Where to? He didn't know. When would he get there? He didn't know that, either. All he knew was that the Lord said: "Leave." So Abram "left".

But he left in faith. Abram walked down the road God placed him on secure in the knowledge that while he may not know where his road was leading, he knew the One who did. He supplied the faith, and God supplied ("... I will show you") the directions. (And by the way, Abram's road led home - home to the future nation of Israel.)

I made a mental note (and took a picture) while driving down this road today. I made a mental note to remind myself that while it seems like the roads in our Christian lives sometimes lead to parts unknown - or seem to lead nowhere, even - that's far from the case. God knows where we're headed. And if we'll supply the faith, our God will supply the directions.

After all, look at Abram. His bewildering road leading to parts unknown made sense in the end. And, as someone once told me when I got lost, "All roads lead home."

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
-Fanny Crosby

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

"In times like these, we realize how weak and inadequate we are, and our greatest need is to turn in repentance and faith to the God of all mercy and the Father of all comfort. If ever there was a time for us to turn to God and to pray as a nation, it is now."
-Billy Graham

Both my grandfathers served in the United States Army. They were brave, handsome, selfless men who dedicated their lives to their families and their country. Death claimed one of them. Parkinson's possesses the other.

I miss those men every day- especially days like this one.

The battles and the wars that distinguished us as Americans - that birthed our anthems, our flag, our heroes - seem long forgotten. The reverent faith in a sovereign God - the God in whom our forefathers pledged their allegiance - seems to have been discounted in our fight for equality and political correctness.

I miss that faith every day- especially days like this one.

The devotion of ordinary citizens to defend and display our Stars and Stripes, to freely and heartily mouth the Pledge of Allegiance, to participate in our political process - seems to have been slighted by an all-consuming pursuit of happiness.

I miss that devotion every day- especially days like this one.

The sacrifice of everyday Americans to serve, to support, to do the right thing - instead of the easy one - seems to have been neglected in favor of comfort and convenience.

I miss that sacrifice every day- especially days like this one.

The privleges that distinguished America from her forgotten foes ... the freedom of speech, the freedom to keep and bear arms, the expectation of privacy... seem increasingly disregarded in favor of special interests and sensitive toes.

We'll miss those privleges one day- especially days like this one.

Happy Memorial Day. -Brin

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Show

My first radio interview hit the air in South Dakota when I was 16.

At 17, I anchored my first TV broadcast.

By the time I was 18, I was covering live news and anchoring a morning news radio show for an ABC affiliate.

I interviewed President Bush when I was 20.

By 22, I worked for CBS.

At 23, I interviewed Martha Stewart. FoxNews Radio Network offered me a job. I turned it down.

After turning 24, I wrote, produced, and guest anchored for the nationally-syndicated radio program America at Night.

At 27, I lived in a house without an indoor shower. I haven't been near a microphone for 2 years.
Of all the questions I get... to this day... they all sound something like, "Why exactly did you leave such a promising career?" Or, my favorite, "What in the world happened to you?"

It's funny how you start out in life wanting something so badly - badly enough to work a 4 am to 12 pm shift - while in college. Badly enough to tell your highschool sweetheart that maybe he should marry someone else because you had things to see... places to go... stories to break. Badly enough that you'd work so hard - stay gone so long - that you didn't even recognize yourself in the mirror anymore. It's funny - and heartbreaking - what we'll do for dreams.

It's strange how I hit bottom when I was on top. I hated my life. I despised the cynical, paranoid, hardened person I was becoming. I remember passing over a story on a multiple-fatality accident. The family actually wanted news coverage to warn other families of the danger that had claimed their two kids' lives. Why did I pass up the story? Only two kids died. And in a Top 5 market, two traffic deaths weren't compelling. As they say, If it bleeds, it leads, and two kids bleeding didn't sound tragic enough for me at the time.

I'm distressed - even now - when I think back to those days. And while I know that most of you don't understand why I've chosen the life I have - I do. I guess I realized: it's not about what I do. It's about who I am. And it's not about pleasing you. It's about pleasing my God.

I got a phone call after the finale of American Idol tonight. A well-intentioned friend said, "Don't you watch things like that and wonder where you could be if you hadn't given up?"

No, actually. No, I don't. But thanks.

The old drive-in movie theatre in the picture above has haunted me for months. Every time I pass, it seems to mock me. It seems to remind me: Show's over. Nothing more to see here.

So today I pulled over, took its picture, and faced the wrapped-up show that's haunted me for so long.

Why? Because my show's not over. I'm just playing to a different audience now. Welcome to my messy, thrilling, blessed life.

But whatever was my profit I
now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything
a loss compared to the surpassing
greatness of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord.
Philippians 3:7-8

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Limping to Laughing: The Proverbs Guide

Please pass the crutches. I'm limping today.

It's been one of those weeks already. You have them too, right? That occasional, random day (or week) that leaves you reeling - emotions arrested, equilibrium attacked, and dreams hijacked. Lesser women would break under such circumstances. But not us. Oh no. We women of God limp on, swallowing our pride and sniffing (as opposed to crying out) to our Maker.

I mean, we are lame. We are not defeated.

But living lame isn't all that appealing either, I guess. I considered my lame-ish plight as I spent the second day in a row on Interstate 35 between Dallas and Wichita. (You know, that drive would be a breeze if Oklahoma would fall off the map. That would cut my drive time down to 4 hours, tops.) As I drove, I wondered how I should be handling my cute little situation. The faster I drove the more I wondered. The more I wondered, the faster my head spun. The faster my head spun I had to get out of that car, so I did the only thing I could do under such mental/emotional duress: I veered sharply to the right, jumped the shoulder, and screeched to a stop alongside a Kansas wheat field. (See above.)

Into the amber waves of grain I ran. And belly-flopped. And stayed. I lay on my back, staring at the blue, blue sky - listening to the amber waves as the wind came sweeping down the plains. And right there, amid the wheat, I sniffed out to my Maker. "Lord, how do I handle this one?" I implored. "What do You want to see from me in this situation? How do I pull through this with my heart... and Your approval... intact?"

And just like that I was reminded of that verse in Proverbs 31. You know, the chapter that details the perfect woman. (Note to self: ever notice how the Bible details the qualities of the really great woman, but not the really great man? Find out what happened to that chapter.) Anyway, as I lay there it was verse 25 that pounded through my ears. The one that says, She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

"...She can laugh at the days to come." Isn't she great? Good, bad, and in between, this woman can laugh at her days to come. Not cower from them. Not limp through them. Not hide out in wheat fields, sniffling-out because of them. She laughs at them. And not a Sarah kind of laugh (see Genesis 18:10-15), but a strength and dignity-backed kind of laugh.

I bounded back to my illegally-parked-along-Interstate-35 car and hopped in. If this woman could laugh at her days, so could I. If she could stare her future - come what may - in the face and grin... then chuckle... then laugh out loud, so can I.

So I did. I gripped the steering wheel and I grinned. I chuckled. I laughed. Sure, it was forced. And yes, it was cheesy. But I laughed. And the longer I cheesy-laughed, the harder I laughed. In fact, I laughed so hard I almost had to get out again and run for the crop-circle-like indentation I'd left in the amber waves of grain.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Please pass the Kleenex. I'm laughing today.

Dare You to Wonder

I passed this Dr. Seuss-like contraption while headed to a meeting today. It made me wonder. And giggle. I mean - what in the world is this thing? What makes it go? What kind of "BOOM-clickity-clank-clank-BOOM-rattle-rattle" noise must it make when fired up? It made me wonder.

It's strange, I think, what many of us would say when asked what we'd like more of. Plenty of us would decide that we could stand more money. More time. More things. More love. I don't know of anyone who would announce that they would appreciate more wonder in his or her life.

Unless, that is, you exclude me. I decided almost six months ago that I wanted more wonder in my life. Yes, wonder. I made a New Year's resolution, actually, to seek wonderment... to spend this next year of my life completely and utterly wonderstruck. Amazed. Awed.

Why? Well, life can grow stale. Despite new ventures, life just seemed ... stale. To quote Solomon, "everything seemed meaningless, a chasing after the wind". And then it dawned on me. My life wasn't ordinary. I had just forgotten the power of wonder.

I think we've educated and employed ourselves out of wonder. Think of the things that thrilled you as a kid. Things like... eating gummy worms. Staying up late. Wearing a Koolaid mustache. Climbing a tree. Getting a $5 bill. Waking on Christmas morning. Building a blanket fort. They were pretty ordinary things, really, but back then we had such a capacity for wonder. For amazement. For awe.... Where did that go?

I love the book of Job. Talk about a guy who had an excuse to lose his sense of wonder. After all, he'd lost everything else: his family, his home, his health - even his animals. I suppose that's why Job's friend, in chapter 37, reminded him:

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.... Listen to this... stop and consider God's wonders.

There has to be something to that - to stopping and considering God's wonders. There has to be something to living a life that stands in awe of lightning. That wonders "how the clouds hang poised". That delights in the smell of fresh peaches. That giggles when they wonder how God could create someone humorous enough to invent such a thingamajig.... There has to be something to the consideration of God's marvelous ways. To the consideration of God's wonders.

Dare you to stop and consider. I dare you to wonder.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Promise for the Path

So I was thinking this morning about paths. About the paths our lives take. About how some of us wake up one day and think, Is this my life I'm living in? Is this the bed I chose to make?

I wondered these things while driving through the Arbuckle National Wilderness in Oklahoma. (That's it above.) Driving through that winding, rocky terrain had me thinking that some days I feel like a passenger in my own life. As if I'm looking in. As if I don't even recognize the winding, rocky path I'm heading down.

After all, it seems like life's specialty is throwing curves into our path, doesn't it? Whether they're the result of our own decisions and circumstances or someone else's decisions or circumstances, it sometimes feels like we are at the mercy of coincidences or split-second decisions that could have gone either way... that could fork our path in a million different directions.

I memorized Proverbs 3:5 when I was still wearing Bugs Bunny pajamas. You know it too, I'm sure: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

That verse pounded through my ears yesterday as I checked out paths through the Arbuckle Wilderness. You see, I think I've spent most of my life trying to lean on some of my own understanding. Sure, I say I trust. I say I acknowledge. But really, I lean. I lean on my own limited understanding and then spend time decrying my situation and lamenting that I "just don't understand". And let's be honest. We don't understand most of the time. People die, accidents happen, divorces finalize, churches crumble, and hearts break. We know it's a reality of life, but still - we don't understand.

But maybe that's just it. We don't understand. But God knew we wouldn't understand. And He so sent us a promise. A promise for the path. A 'trust Me and you will see' path promise.

No, my path isn't what I expected. Yours probably isn't either. So where do we go from here?
We go onward. We press onward, armed with the promise of Proverbs 3. We persevere onward, secure in the knowledge that if we trust and acknowledge the Lord and laugh at (instead of lean on) our own understanding, our paths will be navigable. Our paths will be straight.

I have this quote by Amy Carmichael written in the margin of my Bible near Proverbs 3:5. I've read it so many times I can repeat it while driving through my own winding, rocky paths in the wilderness:

"Your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil ... with its unexplained perplexity, its sheer mystery - it is His path, on which He will show Himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less."

Don't forget that. Don't ever forget that. It's your promise. Your promise for the path.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Laundry Day

Today's laundry day.

I usually tackle laundry on Mondays. I mean, we dread Monday enough anyway, right? So a long time ago I figured I'd throw everything I hate doing - laundry, bill paying, pity dating, oil changing, leg waxing, etc. - into one day. Seems to have worked out just fine for me.

But when I moved to Freeman House, all that changed. You see, in Dallas I had to share laundry facilities with people of... questionable... character. And mental stability. It gave me the heeby-jeebies knowing my lingerie was hanging out with those people. But here I have a new Whirlpool laundry duo. And a clothesline.

It's funny, too. (Or sad. Depending on how you see it.) For some reason, I use that clothesline all the time. Really, it's not all that unusual out here. In fact, some neighbors still keep up with each other based on their clotheslines. After all - the clothesline will tell you what's going on inside the house. Good towels and sheets hanging out to dry? Guess someone's expecting company. Baby clothes? Guess someone's welcomed a new little one. Bathing suits and beach towels? Someone just went for a dip. Bare lines? Someone's busy. Or out of town. Or waiting for a husband to pitch in. Seems like our lines say a lot about us.

I was thinking about that while hanging out my own laundry a few hours ago. (Yep, on a Thursday.) I was thinking about laundry. About the lengths we go at times to air - or bury - our dirty laundry. I was also thinking how many other things are a dead giveaway as to what's going on inside our houses. Or our hearts. I was thinking how my words... my actions... my attitudes... are, in a sense, airing my spiritual laundry. Displaying - for the world to see - the condition of my heart and acting as a true barometer of my relationship with God. And these words, actions, and attitudes... well, they're hanging out there all the time. Not just on Monday, but on Thursday, too. On every day. Every day is laundry day.

I sat down beneath the Magnolia tree alongside my clothesline. I looked at my laundry and thought.

Kind of makes you wonder what the neighbors see on your clothesline, huh?

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. - Colossians 3:12

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Organ Donor

I was painting the dining room ceiling and rocking out to Teddy Geiger's "Love is a Marathon" yesterday when the phone rang. I ignored it and kept rocking out. (I mean, you've heard him, right? The young Teddy Geiger? Next to kissing Tom Cavanaugh, my dying wish would be to sit outside my barn listening to Teddy Geiger play me Teddy Geiger songs.)


But the phone was persistent. So I climbed down from high atop my ladder perch (darn these 12 foot ceilings!) and answered it. Well, here. Listen in:

"Hello?" (Me.)

"Uh, yeah, hi. Brin? It's Mike Carter." (He's the town plumber and my neighbor's boyfriend.)

"Yeah, hi," I respond. "What can I do for ya?"

"Well," Carter says, "I want to donate an organ to you."

Pause. (Me.) Then, "Oh.... right. Er... um... well, I'm not sure what you've heard, but I'm not sick quite like that," I say, bewildered.

"Well, no matter," Carter says. "Will you be there this afternoon? I'll be over. I really want you to have this organ. It will do you some good," he insists.

"Okay," I reply feebly. "Guess I'll fill the bathtub with ice and find some nice pliers."


Holy smokes. I'm bewildered. I knew people in this town would give you the clothes off their back, but organs, too?! And what's he planning to do... carve something out himself? I mean, I watch Grey's Anatomy and all, but I don't think even Preston Burke could pull off an organ removal procedure in this house.

About three hours later, I hear the knock at the front door. Carter's standing there grinning. Behind him, two hooligans are unloading an organ. A Wurlitzer organ.

"Where do you want my organ?" Carter asks.

I've never laughed so hard in all my life.

So they get the organ unloaded and into the entry way of Freeman House. Then Carter asks me to play. I sit, mash a few levers and pedals, and it wheezes to life. They stood respectfully as strains of Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow filled the house. It seemed appropriate.

After all, it's not every day you get an organ donation.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits -
Who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires for good things....
-Psalm 103:1-5

Monday, May 15, 2006

The 'Real Things' Vacation

It's like Laura Ingalls Wilder said: "The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."

I read that earlier today and decided it would be the theme of my vacation. The vacation that started this morning. It was really time for one. I know many of you will remember the health issue I had back in 2002-2003. Looks like the problem creeped back up when I wasn't looking.

I got the call from my doctor in Dallas last week. Guess it's just taken a few days to process and contact my nearest next-of-kin. I've spent the last... er... week... walking around repeating Psalm 42:5 to myself: Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

Determined not to let these new circumstances derail me - emotionally or spiritually - I got up this morning ready to vacation. I considered flying to Colorado. Or Florida. Or heck, even Italy. I have a little money and some time, so why not? I mean, what was I going to do - stay at home for an entire week?

Then I read that Laura Ingalls Wilder quote this morning, and suddenly I felt strangely comforted.

So in the spirit of my new bucolic lifestyle, I decided to spend my vacation at home. (Isn't it funny how as kids we hated staying at home doing nothing in the summer... but as adults we long to do nothing more than stay home sometimes?) I made a jar of sun tea, grabbed the Sunday paper (which I never have time to read), and headed for the herb patio off the soon-to-be kitchen of Freeman House. (So I guess the picture above is from my vacation. Don't laugh.)

All this to say that I'm on vacation this week. So don't be surprised if I can't get to the phone. Or answer your text messages. Or dispatch carrier pigeons or return your smoke signals.

I think I'll be too busy putting my hope in God and having courage when things go wrong....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Peaceful Dwelling Places

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
- Isaiah 32:18

I love barns. I've been enamored with barns since I was a girl. The first book I ever tried to write was about a girl named Gwen who fell out of a barn hay shoot and broke her arm. In fact, the last time I read my story Gwen was still lying outside the barn, writhing in pain. Guess I never figured out how to inject the dashing, young farm guy (born only to save Gwen, of course) into my compelling story line.

Lately if I've had a really bad day, you can find me in a barn. Well, not just any barn. (I mean, yes, Pastor Parks, I will pull over and hang out in other people's wheat fields. But I draw the line at barns.) I like the one behind Freeman House the best anyway.

I was in the barn yesterday evening when my cell phone rang. It was my friend Tray. (Yes, Tray... as in 'cafeteria tray'. His Mom named him Tracy, but he hates it, so he goes by Tray.)

"Where are you?" cafeteria Tray asks.

"In the barn," I reply.


"That bad?" Tray asks.

"Yeah," I say. "Can you come over to the barn and bring your guitar and play me Shawn Mullins songs?" I ask.

"Yeah," says Tray.

So he does. We sit on the grass and lean against the barn and drink sweet tea and listen until the guitar coaxes all the stars above Freeman House out of hiding.

"Hey Brin," Tray says suddenly.


"Can we go inside now?" he asks.

"No," I say.


"Hey Brin," Tray presses.


"What's your deal with barns?"

"It's a peaceful dwelling place," I say matter-of-factly.

Truth is, I think we all need undisturbed rest sometimes. We all need a place where there ain't no rats to race.

I love that my God cares about seeing us in peaceful dwelling places and secure homes. Lord knows we need more of them.

And by the way, next time you have a bad day I'm more than willing to share my barn.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bow or Burn

Compromise is a part of life. Regardless of age, marital status, or occupation, we all must compromise. And that's good sometimes. Compromise helps us gets things done. It keeps marriages together and friendships fulfilled and jobs on track.

Sure, compromise is good. But only to a point. Which brings me to my point. Have we gotten too good at compromise? Have we as Christians lost our righteous resolve? Has our politically-correct, I'm-a-yes-man-at-all-costs living caused us to compromise what isn't negotiable?

Case in point. My job requires me to make judgment calls that could divert lots of money to the right - or wrong - hands. It doesn't come up everyday, but when it does I always dread making the call. So today as I try to think myself out of this proverbial paper bag of my company's making, I realize: this isn't about money. This isn't about my boss. This is about one thing and one thing only: am I willing to compromise what I know is right to make important people happy? To make my day go a little easier?

And that's when it hit me - just as if someone had thrown open the door to the fiery furnace itself. He hasn't gone anywhere. We are still facing Nebuchadnezzar.

You remember the story. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar played the part of the spoiled and dream-riddled king who commanded everyone to bow and worship his ridiculous golden statue. The story might have ended there, but three of the king's own "employees" - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - refused to bow. Despite threats to bow or burn, the three were steadfast in their refusal to compromise.

Of course, I have no idea what those young guys could have thought before they issued their bold refusal to bow. Maybe one of them reasoned, "It's just a stupid statue. God knows where my heart is and knows I don't really worship the thing. I'll just bow really quickly and get out of there."

Another could have argued, "I need this job. I mean, I don't agree with bowing, but this guy's our boss. When he says bow, I say 'how low?'."

The last one could have decided, "This is not worth my life. Burning just because I won't bow? Forget it. Besides, I've needed to work on being a team player."

Somehow, I doubt it. Somehow, I think each had already resolved in his heart to live righteously. To stand - at all costs - without compromise. All my Bible says is that the three told the king they wouldn't bow - even if it ultimately meant their lives - and were thrown into the fiery furnace. And whadya know. God met them in the midst of their refusal to compromise and delivered them from the flames.

All that because they wouldn't bow. Because they wouldn't be team players. Because they had adopted a lifestyle of righteous resolve... a place of firm decision to live morally upright without guilt or sin... likely before that statue ever went up.

It makes me wonder. What statues are in my future? Who's my Nebuchadnezzar? Do I have that kind of righteous resolve?

Sure, compromise can be good. But it can also mean the difference between bow or burn.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Reminding the Debt Collector

I still get a kick out of radio.

It was my first real job, you know - radio. I started at a small ABC affiliate station in my college town. I'll never forget the rush the first time I turned on the microphone and realized that every syllable, inflection, (and laugh... ohmygosh... laugh!) would be heard by the general public.

(That laugh part is important. It's important because one day a guy at the station went through my news copy and inserted the word "booger" at very inappropriate places. (Which was the entire newscast, come to think of it.) I managed to miss every "booger" reference until I got to the obits. When I came across Mabel Booger Smith, or whatever that name was, I lost it. The station ended up having to send something like a million dollars worth of flowers to the family because I laughed hysterically through her whole funeral announcement.)

Anyway, I listened to one of my old stations coming home today, and found one segment particularly entertaining. It featured a consumer credit expert. You know, the guy who goes after the guys who go after some of us who get late or behind on certain... er... payments. (And if that's not you, please do the rest of us a favor and go away.) I actually booked the guy occasionally for a radio show I used to write for. He's great.

So this woman calls into the show. "I need help," she says breathlessly. "I had a hospital bill that went to collections. I made arrangements to take care of it and it's dealt with, but they won't leave me alone. They claim it isn't over. They're harassing me," she adds dramatically.

The consumer credit guy is all over it. "What are they doing to you?" he asks empathetically. (By the way... that empathetic radio voice is taught. Seriously. They will actually coach on-air talent on how to sound like they care. Which most of the talking heads truly need. Trust me.)

"They showed up at my house!" the tortured woman shrieks. "I mean... MY HOUSE! They aren't supposed to do that, right?! I didn't say they could do that! I didn't invite them!"

Credit guy is immediately enraged on her behalf, but is also quick to explain that, yes, debt collectors can legally come to your place of residence to collect a debt. "But," he quickly adds, "You can tell them to leave. And if they don't, or if they come back, you can call law enforcement. You don't have to live with that nuisance. And if they keep it up, read them your agreement. Remind them it's been taken care of."

Of course, my mind is immediately racing. But not how you might suspect. You see, I've been in the same place as the tortured woman. But it's not with a financial mess. Oh no. It's a spiritual one. I had a debt, and it went to collections, all right. And just like the woman on the radio, I made arrangements for it. God dealt with it. And yet, a certain idiot won't leave me alone. He's claiming it isn't over. He's harassing me.

I got enraged on my own behalf. I mean, he's showing up at my house. MY HOUSE. I mean, he's not supposed to do that, right? I didn't say he could do that. I didn't invite him.

And even as I'm enraged, I'm reminded. Reminded that I am a child of God. A child of the God who deals in debts. A God who also deals with the debtor. And I'm reminded that I can tell that debtor to leave. And that if he doesn't, or if he comes back, I can call upon THE law enforcement. I don't have to put with that nuisance.

So I come home. To MY HOUSE. "Listen up, idiot!" I yell. And as loudly as I can, I read from Psalm 103: He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Hope he heard me. Hope he heard that my God doesn't treat my debt as I deserve or repay me according to my inquities. And if he didn't, I'll reread the nuisance the agreement again.