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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Walking About On My Own

Posted by admin in May 11th, 2013 | 5 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I hate being a hateful person who hates people. A good friend of mine wrote to me today, “You know one of the reasons I want to be in heaven is I want to see what it feels like to have no sin in my life—I am not sure how we get rid of the hate and frustration…and I am sure my sin clouds my view of things. So I would love to know what it feels like to have no sin.”

It was the first time I’d ever thought of Heaven in those terms—as being sin-free living. To me Heaven always has meant seeing Jesus (yay), being healed of all of our diseases, getting along well with others, and being able to live in peace. But being completely free of sin hadn’t really entered my mind; not like that. I read my friend’s words and just started to weep. Yes. I want to be free from sin. I know I’m forgiven each time I ask God to cleanse me of my sin. And I know the Holy Spirit works in me to convict me of sin and help me to overcome it, but I can honestly say that I sin every day in word, thought, or deed. For example: I want my way above others’. I get my feelings hurt easily. I get angry. I exaggerate—which is really lying. And those are just a few of my sins of commission. I have hundreds of sins that are the sins of omission—not praying as I should, not reading the Word as I should, neglecting those I love in order to do something I want to do. But I struggle with frustration that leads to unforgiveness that can eventually lead to hate.

I know it’s wrong. I know it is as sinful as murder. Jesus said, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them” I John 3:15. Yikes!

It is very clear to me that I am NOT to hate people. My Mom wouldn’t even let us say it when we were growing up. If my sister and I fought we’d get in so much trouble if we said, “I hate you!” It was absolutely forbidden. My Mom didn’t even let me say “I hate lima beans.” Because she said that if you get in the habit of saying the word, it’s easier to say about people. So yes, I should know better. I should be better. Larry Crabb writes, “True morality is loving as God does; it’s the freedom to love people I think I have reason to hate.” I really, really want that kind of true morality.

Corrie and Betsy ten Boom were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp for helping Jews in German-occupied Holland. The women, well into their 50s, suffered unspeakable cruelty at the hands of the SS guards. Betsy was once severely beaten by a prison guard for daring to speak to the guard while working. The beating eventually led to Betsy’s death. Betsy’s words to Corrie after the beating, “Don’t hate, Corrie, never hate.” If Corrie ten Boom wasn’t allowed to hate a Nazi prison guard who beat her sister to death, then why do I think I have the right to hate a brother or sister? I don’t. The simple truth is that God asks me to forgive others just as He has forgiven me. And then He tells me that He will give me a Helper—the Holy Spirit—to do the things that bring freedom from this hate; things that bring freedom to my life. I love Corrie’s prayer as she struggled with the hatred in her heart, “Lord I can’t let go of it. Take this hate out of my life and put a love in its place. Jesus there are many things I do not understand. Please do not let me go mad in this place walking about on my own. You know what I am Savior. Please hide me in the center of Your will.”

You know what I am Savior. I love these words. Jesus knows me in all my weakness and in all my sin. He knows me and He promises to cleanse me, free me; Jesus will take hate out of my heart and put His love in its place and He will keep me from walking about on my own and hide me in the center of His will. All I have to do is ask and surrender. Peace.

A Postcard from the Ledge

Posted by admin in December 4th, 2012 | 9 comments 
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

I love being in Lithuania. Especially on days like today when the sun is shining and there is fresh snow on the ground. A delicious 21 degrees Fahrenheit is for me a perfect temperature. But not all days are like this…some days it’s a struggle. Not because of Lithuania, but because of homesickness, missing family and friends. I often wonder what am I missing in the lives and events of those I love back home in America?

Obedience means different things to different people. For some it is raising a family; for others it is starting a small business or keeping financial records at an organization that provides humanitarian aid. For Daryl and me it has meant to travel 5,057 miles away from home to live as strangers in a foreign land. We are deaf—we have no idea what is being said around us. If someone was to call out, “FIRE”, we’d have no idea what was going on. We are illiterate: as academics it is a difficult struggle to not be able to read or write; not to comprehend something as simple as a label on a jar. We are mute: we can’t answer when people speak to [...] Continue Reading…

Patches of Godlight

Posted by admin in October 1st, 2012 | 5 comments 
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

In our apartment building here in Vilnius we are required to clean the common areas/entry areas of our building every third month. There’s a list on the door as you leave the building reminding all the tenants which month is their month to clean. Welcome to the cooperative neighborhood of a former Soviet State. September was our month.

It’s not that I mind this duty so much, it’s more of a hassle than anything else. Daryl and I do clean the area together, sweeping, dusting and mopping. We also shake the welcome mats and clean off the sidewalk leading up to the building. But to be perfectly honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Once I just half-heartedly swept and didn’t even mop! There are times when it is our turn that we take a paper towel and spot clean. Not really the right way to do this job. Argh! (Not the pirate argh, more like the ugh argh).

But recently Colossians 3:23 kept rolling around in my head, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Not just when you get paid? Not just when people are watching? Not [...] Continue Reading…

Who Remembers Second Place?

Posted by admin in May 23rd, 2012 | 9 comments 
Published in Lithuania

Okay, I gotta start out telling you how all this came about. I wanted to read the Book of Acts this year and remind myself of the life and times of the early Church. This has to be at least my 20th reading of this book, but for the first time EVER something hit me. Let’s look at these verses then I’ll explain.

Acts 1:21-26: “‘Judas must now be replaced. The replacement must come from the company of men who stayed together with us from the time Jesus was baptized by John up to the day of his ascension, designated along with us as a witness to his resurrection.’”

(Insert: So we’re talking about 120 people. And out of that band of Jesus’s followers they selected two…)

“They nominated two: Joseph Barsabbas, nicknamed Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘You, O God, know every one of us inside and out. Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry and leadership that Judas threw away in order to go his own way.’ They then drew straws. Matthias won and was counted in with the eleven apostles.”

For me, this story illustrates perfectly how guys [...] Continue Reading…

Waiting…

Posted by admin in November 21st, 2011 | 5 comments 
Published in Waiting

I spend a lot of time waiting these days. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for FedEx. Waiting for OTR carpools. Waiting for water delivery. Waiting for laundry to dry. Waiting for translation. Waiting for Daryl. Waiting in line for groceries. Waiting.

Funny thing about waiting in a foreign land–it’s not like waiting for a checkup in the doctor’s office back home or teeth cleaning at my dentist’s. For those things I usually take a book, a favorite magazine and a nice cup of coffee and actually enjoy the wait. Waiting in that way is different. No real worries like, “Did I misunderstand my appointment?” “Am I sure I’m waiting in the right place?” “What’s holding things up?” “What am I missing here?”

Waiting in a foreign land is more difficult than in one’s native country. Why? Well there are two main reasons: one, if you don’t speak the language you are a deaf, illiterate mute. Secondly, you can never rest while waiting in a foreign land because you are constantly looking for cues, clues, watching others, ‘on alert’ in case an announcement is made and the crowd moves. In a foreign land you are always defining, redefining, interpreting and most [...] Continue Reading…

I’m Simply Not Good Enough

Posted by admin in August 10th, 2011 | 8 comments 
Published in Lithuania, missions, obedience, teaching

We are one week from leaving for Lithuania and we still don’t have a place to live. But I keep humming the Christmas carol, “No crib for a bed…” Even the Son of God on His advent to earth didn’t have a place to live. That strikes me as so strange. It wasn’t like God didn’t know He was sending Jesus to earth during a census. That’s so odd to me. Is there a lesson in that? Probably.

I’m still struggling with certain aspects of leaving the U.S. We kept our grandsons for several days last week and I found myself crying at every funny phrase, every hysterical expression, every tender moment. How can we leave such precious ones behind? Will they forget us?

I found myself saying a bad word on Monday when I dropped something on the floor. What a mouth I have! And yet I want to use this same mouth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the lost. I’m such a weirdo.

We’re trying to get packed and I am fretting over what to take, what not to take, what we’ll need, what we don’t know we’ll need and over and over in my head [...] Continue Reading…

Heading Back to Lithuania

Posted by admin in June 5th, 2011 | 3 comments 
Published in Blessings, Lithuania, prayer

Sorry guys. I think I promised not to use my blog for newsletters and self-promotion! Ugh. But again, I’m up against a timeline and so wanted to let everyone know how God has answered prayers and opened doors. Please forgive the format.

Abraham heard from God at Ur. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Paul had that Damascus Road experience. And Teri McCarthy? Well I heard God as I was coming out of the ladies’ room at Vilnius Pedagogical University. (Of course you did!) It was May 12, 2009. Daryl and I had just met with university officials working to place IICS professors in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania.

After our meeting, I went to the ladies’ room. When I came out, the bell rang dismissing classes. Suddenly I was caught in the helter-skelter of students running to and for; from one class to the next. As I stood there everything went kind of slow motion. I started hearing students’ voices clearly and distinctly. My heart started racing. I stood there for what seemed like minutes, but was actually just seconds. But something happened to me in those brief moments in that crowed hallway and I [...] Continue Reading…

Am I Free or Just Loose?

Posted by admin in March 3rd, 2011 | 3 comments 
Published in freedom, obedience

Annie Dillard makes a very interesting distinction between freedom and just being loose in her book An American Childhood. Daryl is reading this book to me as part of our evening ritual. Dillard’s phrase, (used to describe her father that quit his job to travel the river), keeps rolling around in my head, “He wasn’t free so much as loose.”

So I have to ask, what’s the difference between free and loose? I think it’s a very important question. It makes me think of the Chinese legend about the Jealous Empress and the Favored Concubine.

The Empress hated the Concubine because she was the Emperor’s favorite. The Concubine was always happy and singing and she was a beautiful dancer. Every night the Emperor would ask the Concubine to dance and sing for him. She was doted on by all of the Palace because she was pleasant and kind and happy and beautiful. The Empress was beautiful too, and of excellent royal breeding, but people didn’t dote on her. So in a fit of jealousy and anger she had the Concubine kidnapped and hidden away in a prison-like fortress many days’ journey from the Capital. On occasion the Empress would [...] Continue Reading…

Epaphroditus and Fibroid Tumors

Posted by admin in February 18th, 2011 | 2 comments 
Published in Blessings, faith, gratitude, missions, prayer, Uncategorized

Some things I’ll just never understand this side of heaven. A friend said to me recently, “I don’t want to go to hell over a mystery.” I know exactly what he was saying even though I believe once saved always saved. If I edited that statement and made it mine it’d go like this: “I don’t want to lose my love relationship with Abba Father and His peace that passes understanding just because I can’t figure out why He said no to something I earnestly asked Him for.” Yeah. That’s more my take on it.

Daryl and I love Lithuania. I can’t explain loving a piece of land. We love the people too, even though we don’t know each and every one of the three million there personally. But I can definitely say I love the ones we met. I love teaching and my students carried me away into one of the sweetest dreams I’ve ever known. But…and in my life there are some pretty big buts…

My body started going through a process that every woman in the world can relate to in one way or another. I thought my process was pretty well complete and I was on the [...] Continue Reading…

They Shall Be Comforted (Rerun)

Posted by admin in December 27th, 2010 | 5 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

On December 11, 2010, my Dad went to be with the Lord. His time of death is estimated at 6:35 AM (CST) on that Saturday morning, the exact moment that my and Daryl’s airplane was lifting off from the Palanga Airport in Lithuania heading back to the States to see him. He was 77 years old.

I am rerunning this blog post from February of this year in honor of my Dad. But with an important postscript: My Dad made things right with his family before he died. He found peace, love and forgiveness. My sister said his face changed, his spirit sweetened and his words of affirmation were like honey poured forth. He and my Mom experienced true healing in their marriage those final weeks of his life. His last day on earth he couldn’t take his eyes off of her and could only mouth the words, “I love you” to her. We thank God for Dad’s life, his healing and now his perfect renewal. Daryl said that when my Dad looked upon Heaven he said, “Finally, a city that’s built right!” Amen to that.

Mourning isn’t just about loss of life. We can also mourn the loss [...] Continue Reading…

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Recent Articles

  • Walking About On My Own
  • I hate being a hateful person who hates people. A good friend of mine wrote to me today, “You know...
  • A Postcard from the Ledge
  • I love being in Lithuania. Especially on days like today when the sun is shining and there is fresh snow...
  • Patches of Godlight
  • In our apartment building here in Vilnius we are required to clean the common areas/entry areas of our building every...
  • Who Remembers Second Place?
  • Okay, I gotta start out telling you how all this came about. I wanted to read the Book of Acts...
  • Waiting…
  • I spend a lot of time waiting these days. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for FedEx. Waiting for OTR carpools....

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