Musings of a Super Girl | Archives 3
51. ‘Twas the day after Christmas,
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring for they all were passed out
From the rigors of opening the toys and the games
Candy and clothing wrapped and tagged with their names.
The children still snoring in comatose state
While visions of the mess to clean gave rise to much sighing from me and my mate.
We went straight to work, sullen and bored
Wishing to do something we both adored,
When out of the corner of my eye, what should I see
But a Cross ornament adorning the still decorated tree.
A lump in my throat, tears fall on my smile,
I am humbled by the reminder of the One who went the extra mile.
Grinning goofily from ear to ear,
I thank Him for all the gifts this year.
December 26, 2013
52. December 31st was rough. Really rough. We watched as all that she had was stripped away from our daughter. All she wanted to portray, wanted to be, was taken. Broken and alone she held her head up, the only thing she had left was the mental knowledge that we love her. Emotionally she was beaten.
"What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms."
I heard the things they said and wanted to scream at them how they misinterpreted, how wrong they were. I wanted to hold my baby girl and rock away the terrible things they were saying, plug her ears so she couldn't hear them.
"O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms."
And then she was taken away. I wasn't allowed to hug her, remind her that no matter what has happened or what is still to come, I love her. All that was left was to hold her car keys in my hand, blow her a kiss, and smile reassuringly into her tear filled eyes.
"What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms."
This was not my dream for her. I dreamed of a beautiful house populated by an adoring husband and children. I dreamed of seeing her fulfilled in her career, singing duets with her at church, bouncing her grandchildren on her knee. I dreamed a fairy-tale happily ever after for her. Instead I helplessly hold my Super Girl cape and beg her forgiveness for not rescuing her sooner.
"Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms."
Now I dream that she hears, finally hears, the forgiveness, love, and peace that comes from leaning on His everlasting arms. I pray that for all our children, yours and mine. I pray that they learn it sooner rather than later. I pray that they never know the pain of turning away. I pray that if yours have done so, like my daughter, that you rest assured in the promise of mercy and forgiveness. I pray that we all have the peace of knowing our Father will work all things to the good of those who believe. Listen to the pain easing words of Moses’s blessing to the Israelites:
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. -Deuteronomy 33:27a
January 2, 2014
53. I’m lazy today. Got up this morning, took my husband to work, and went back to bed. I think the kids asked me some things while I was sleeping, but I’m not sure; this may mean that I gave permission for some sort of wild party this evening that may or may not involve firecrackers and taking the car out unsupervised. When I woke up for reals it was because my husband called on his break. Instead of popping straight out of bed and getting on with the day, I lolled about playing games on my phone. When I finally did exit my bedroom it was only because the dregs of the coffee my husband left for me on my nightstand was cold.
Came downstairs only to realize that the children not only asked for permission to do things unknown after school but also left the toaster, the blender, and the ingredients used in those devices on the counter. Normally that would tick me off. Today I just kind of looked at it, shrugged, and refilled my coffee. They’re still sitting there. If the day continues this way, they’ll probably be sitting there when my collection miniature humans gets home from school. I have no plans to do anything about it and the rest of the mess left behind. In fact, I have no real plans for my day. And that’s OK.
We spend quite a bit of time running around being busy. We feel compelled to be the hardest worker at our jobs, the most productive team mom, the best homemaker/housekeeper, the most involved member at church… In fact, we do so much that on these rare days when there are no errands to run, no desire to have the cleanest house on the block, no job beckoning us, we tend to feel guilty. We shouldn't.
Remember the story about Mary and Martha? Martha was us; running about trying to create a perfect atmosphere. She worked hard and was frustrated by her sister’s seeming laziness. We've all been there; we can all understand Martha’s frustration. There we are in the kitchen simultaneously making dinner, putting the groceries away, doing the dishes, and feeling angry that the rest of the family is dorking around while we slave away for the little jerks.
When Martha asked Jesus to back her up in her whine against her sister he simply responded, “Sit down, you’re just being busy with unimportant things. Sit down and listen to the only thing that really matters.” (I paraphrase, of course.)
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Let’s do that. Let’s sit down and listen to what’s really important, let’s unload our busyness on our Lord, and let’s rest. Play a game with the kids, read a book, dig in to the devotion you've been wanting to. But, please, sit back relax and listen to what’s really important. I’ll give you hint to get you started: It’s not the laundry.
January 9, 2014
54. Recently, as in the last few years, I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel bad. It’s not like I’m constantly ill, just a feeling of malaise and crabbiness that hangs out. No answers, no medical reason, for why I’m tired all the time. The only answer I could get is this may be because I’m overweight. Then the condescension comes. If I could just lose weight I’d feel better. Great, Doctor, you just forgot that one of the things that’s wrong is that I can’t lose weight in spite of diet and exercise. AAARGH!
So dang frustrating! I’ll bet I’m not the only one out there who is frustrated by unrealistic images, by the tendency of thought that if you’re overweight you must be closely related to the porcine family. How about those who can’t gain weight and the world assumes they have an eating disorder? And then, if we’ve avoided it up to this point, comes the self-doubt and loathing. What am I not doing that I could be doing better?
The answer for me is to pay even closer attention to what I put in my mouth. Yes, that apple looks really healthy, but is it covered in pesticides that could alter my ability to metabolize it? Not that I’m paranoid, just more careful. Also, I’m tuning out those who make assumptions without listening to me; they have no business taking up space in my brain.
The big answer is this: the realization that God made me. He made me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He fearfully and wonderfully made me and all His works are wonderful. He loves me. Period. He made me knowing all that I would endure, good and bad. He made me because he loves me.
Overweight, underweight, too big nose, man hands, acne, can’t sing, stutter… Whatever it is that has you feeling badly about yourself, filling your head with self-deprecation, remember David. He had so, so much to beat himself up for and sometimes he did, but he also wrote this:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
Remember that. You are loved so much by your maker that He knit you together. He didn't just “poof!” you into existence, he made you the way he wanted you to be. He gave you the warts you need to be humble and the beauty you need to go forth.
January 16, 2014
55. The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong; - Psalm 5:5
“Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,
I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;
all their leaders are rebellious. – Hosea 9:15
“God hates homosexuals.” He also hates prostitutes, murderers, and psychics. He hates them. We know this because the Bible tells us so. With this mindset we storm out into the world, crushing these faithless abominations with righteous glee.
You know what else the Bible tells us? Jesus loves us. Apparently he loves us because we are so much better than the rest, we are not guilty of those evils. Thank God I’m heterosexual, never sold my body, killed anybody, or spoke to a dead person. No wonder I think I’m safe from hell; the Bible tells me I am!
Jesus was enjoying a lovely dinner one evening when a despicable woman came in. She was crying; her repentant tears fell on Jesus’s feet. She wiped the tears from his feet with her hair then poured expensive perfume on them. The host knew this woman was a plague on society. So did Jesus so he threw her out because he hates her and her kind.
Wait. No he didn't. He told her that her sins are forgiven, her faith has saved her, and to go in peace.
Why would he do that? Why would he bother with a person he hates? The answer is very simple: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Every. Single. One. James reminds us that whoever manages to follow all the rules except one is guilty of breaking all of them (James 2:10). In Romans 3 Paul paints quite the picture of humanity, “There is no one righteous, not even one…there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away… become worthless…their throats are open graves…the poison of vipers is on their lips…there is no fear of God before their eyes.” Yet he loves us.
For God so loved the world that he sent us his son to die in our place. He doesn't hate us, any of us. He hates our vile and selfish behavior, ALL of it. “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin,” 1 John 3:5. Our sins are forgiven, we are free to go in peace.
Instead of raising our fists in angry self-righteousness let us use our hands and voices to show a loving and forgiving God to as many as we can. Let us LIVE it.
In order of appearance, the scripture references are:
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Deuteronomy 23:18, 1 Kings 14:24, and Ezekiel 16:22
January 23, 2014
56. You know what? It’s been a peaceful week over here. My cold went away and then came back with a vengeance, one kid or another ticked me off beyond belief, my kitchen got messy multiple times, homework stressed me out, the children argued with each other and tried to argue with us, my feelings were hurt, and I struggled through filing taxes but, the week was peaceful.
It was peaceful because, in spite of the things that didn’t go perfectly, I didn’t expect them to. When there are so many strong willed people in the house, arguments will break out and feelings will get hurt. When the kitchen is actually used, it will get messy. If I want my degree, I must do my homework. If I don’t want to get in trouble with the IRS, I must fill out their paperwork. I don’t have to like those things, I just have to recognize that they are inevitable and, in the end, not worth stressing over.
Something I’m working on is letting go. Letting go of the things that don’t merit anger, letting go of the things that are really unnecessary to my day to day functioning. It’s not that they aren't important in the grand scheme, just that I don’t have to mull them over day in and day out; they can be addressed at the appropriate time in the appropriate place.
This doesn't always work out so well for me; I can spend quite a bit of energy in a riled state. I know for a fact that I’m not the only one. No matter our best intentions, something that we can immediately do nothing about raises our blood pressure and throws us into a tailspin of anger or defeat. When that happens, let us make 1 Peter 5:6-7 our mantra.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
January 30, 2014
57. I've talked to you before about some of the craziness that goes on around here. Tough life things mingle with good life things. A while back when I was really struggling with the tough things a friend recognized the battle for what it was: desperation and fear. She gave me a very simple reminder of the power and love my Father has for me. Today, in this picture, I’m giving it to you. Whatever you are going through, God will use what you have to provide what you need.
2 Kings 4:1-7
February 6, 2014
58. My friend Laura wrote the below, it's a good reminder of how we should carry out Matthew 28:16-20
An open letter to the woman who approached me in Spencer's.
Thank you so much for offering to pray with me and I sincerely thank you for your heart for evangelism. There are, however, a couple of things I would like to point out: I'm not sure that you know me well enough to pray that I "make better choices" or that I "become more concerned with the example I set" or that you should be so shocked that I said I DID in fact know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. You have no idea that I was just picking up a small 60th birthday gag gift for my boss or that I had passed over the less appropriate gifts in favor of one more tasteful. You also do not know that I used this experience to have a discussion with my adult daughter about how calling ourselves by demeaning names shows a lack of respect for ourselves and that we are princesses of the Most High. You seemed more concerned that I would have my daughter in such a place as "gasp" Spencer's.
Instead of casting your judgement upon me based upon your 5 seconds of getting to know me, might I suggest you pray about what you DO know about me. I am wholly loved by a glorious God!! I am no longer under condemnation but I have been set FREE by a Savior who gave His very life for ME! That I am chosen and accepted. This you know for sure yet you made no mention.
What you also may not know is that the sales clerk who cheerfully greeted me as I walked in the store witnessed this whole exchange. I can only assume that her subsequent brush off and indignant behavior towards me was as a result of what she saw. At this point if I had discovered she did not know God, any chance I may have had to witness to her about the AMAZING love God has for her was quickly extinguished. She witnessed your condemnation of my choice of stores and her place of employment. If I am to be condemned for shopping there what did that say about her? She will not know that God cares more about her than she can ever imagine. She would not hear of His great love for her. She may even believe that there is no place for her in His kingdom. Instead she may harden her heart just a little more, dig in a little deeper, and continue to live her life as one who does not know the restorative unconditional love of God.
Next time I hope you would consider praying Gods love over someone rather than your condemnation. "For God so loved THE WORLD!!!!!" - this means YOU! I pray you experience to the fullest His love for you and that it overflows onto everyone you meet!
God bless you! Sincerely!!!!
My comments regarding the ability to witness to someone after they've experienced condemnation was a blanket statement and not a statement on any particular person’s beliefs.
February 13, 2014
59. His shirt says “Follow Me” and they do. Without his or their understanding why, they follow him. They would follow his hulking gentleness off the edge of the Earth if that was the direction he went. They follow him and trust him to not lead them astray, knowing that he will never hurt them but will protect them at all costs. They want to be like him, big and strong and safe, and maybe by following in his trail they will be.
Every Sunday morning finds him with a line of children behind him, meekly walking from class to class. Every Thursday night finds him with the children, one in particular in his sights; his presence keeping them calm so the teacher can teach.
They love him. And not a single one could tell you why.
“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16,17
Do we need to know why we follow him before we do? Can we be like the children and just follow in the trust that he will protect us? Do we desire to be just like him and believe that following in his trail will make us like him? Can we set aside our rebellious whims and become like the little children?
February 20, 2014
60. It’s getting rough out there. Christians are in jail in the Middle East for no other reason than they are Christian. Businesses being run by Christians are getting sued (and losing the suits) for standing firm in their convictions. It’s getting rough out there. Why are we surprised?
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
Jesus never promised us it would be easy. He never promised that our lives would always be filled with sunshine and butterflies. Our paths will not be paved in gold nor our journeys guided by rainbows. It’s getting rough out there.
Stand your ground. You’ve been given the armor. You’ve also been given the promise of victory.
“…But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
February 27, 2014
61. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody pays for it even if we don’t; it may be free for me, but somebody forked over some cash, somebody worked hard to earn the cash they just dropped on a gift for me. All that is expected in return is gratitude, happiness that someone took their time and financial blessing to buy me something.
How often have we witnessed a selfish person reject a gift with a condescending sneer, a patronizing “try harder” look, or outright anger that her expectations weren't met? Or worse, a person who fakes gratitude and then throws the gift in the trash?
We say that Grace is a free gift. It’s not. Somebody paid for it even though we don’t. Grace is free for you and me, but it was bought at the cost of blood and excruciating pain. Not even gratitude is expected in return; the gift was purchased whether we want it or not.
How often have we been that selfish person rejecting the gift with a condescending sneer? How often have we been so ungrateful for Grace that we threw the gift in the trash?
Grace wasn't free for the giver, even though it’s free for us. Next time we find ourselves tempted to fake our gratitude while throwing the gift away, let us remember how and why Grace was given to us.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Ephesians 2:8
March 6, 2014
62. Bad things happen to bad people. They also happen to good people. They happen to Christians and non-Christians alike. Because they are bad things, we feel bad when they happen. We ask ourselves questions like, “What did I do to deserve this?” The answer is simple: Bad things happen because sin happened.
Sometimes those bad things happen because of another’s sin, sometimes they are a direct result of our own, and other times they are simply the result of sin in the world. Because of sin our bodies are imperfect so we become ill, for example.
Because we know that bad things will happen, what do we do? How do we cope? I tend to be a “walk it off, rub some dirt on it kind of person” so my answer is simply this: Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will be not be put to shame (Isaiah 50:7). And I know that this too shall pass.
Whatever bad thing is happening to you, it will pass. The Sovereign Lord helps you and you will not be disgraced.
March 13, 2014
63. Ladies, I got nothing for you today. This is for the men.
I keep seeing memes depicting disparaging images about what women want or how to understand women. You don’t need the 10,000 page manual or to cower in fear because the answer is really quite simple: Love us.
Love us like there is nothing else in this world that you love more (except God, of course). Let us know that all others, no matter how celebrated, are not more beautiful to you than we are. Show us that, as commanded in Ephesians, you are willing to lay down your life to protect ours. Assure us that we are important to you; listen to us, we need to talk.
How many times have you heard somebody dismiss a woman by saying something like, “Must be that time of month” or some other hormone related put down? Yes, sometimes our hormones get the better of us, but that’s not always the reason we are upset and blaming them for it is not helpful. In fact, blaming hormones for every time we are upset only upsets us more. So listen to us, validate us, show us our concerns are important to you, and under no circumstances demean us.
In a nutshell, treat us the way you want us to treat you. Don’t like male bashing jokes? Don’t tell female bashing jokes. Just want your concerns and frustrations heard? So do we. I know it sounds simplistic, because it is. There is no great mystery to understanding women. Love us fiercely, protect us completely, and cherish us thoroughly. You might be surprised at wonderful your life becomes if you do those things.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— Ephesians 5:25-29
March 20, 2014
64. Last week was for the men, this week we’re back to you ladies. I’m not going to tell you what men want because, in the interest of honesty, I’m a chick and can’t give you the male perspective. Although, I suspect that they really just want the same thing we do: just love them and all that it implies.
I really want to talk about what it is to be a good wife. If you look at Proverbs 31 the list is long and exhausting of what a good wife is.
• She is worth far more than rubies
• She brings him good, not harm
• She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family
• She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard
• She sets about her work vigorously
• She sees that her trading is profitable
• She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy
• She makes coverings for her bed
• She makes linen garments and sells them
• She is clothed with strength and dignity
• She speaks with wisdom
• She watches over the affairs of her household
• Her children arise and call her blessed
• Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised
Seems like an impossible task to be that woman doesn’t it? Makes me glad I’m not married to Solomon (well, that and I don’t want to share my husband with a thousand other women).
When I stop to think about it, though, I am that wife. Yes, I have the tendency to sleep in when I can, however I do take care of my family. Stay-at-home or employee, I have always made sure that our needs were taken care of. I don’t sew, but I do see that my husband and children are dressed as nicely as we can afford. I wouldn’t categorize myself as strong and dignified; my husband does. I do my best to be wise in my words, thoughts, and actions. It surprises my children when I know what they are trying to hide and even when they are in trouble, they tell me they love me.
This isn’t a brag session about how wonderful I am, it is meant to show you that even though the list is daunting when written out, we achieve it with ease. Every place the previous paragraph says “I” don’t read “Kelly Heuer”, insert your own name; read it as yourself. It is who we are, what we were made to be.
We can do this. We can wake up every morning, face the world, and know in our hearts that God has made us the ideal woman for the man we are married to or will one day marry. We got this, ladies.
March 27, 2014
65. The sun is up. It’s a clear, beautiful day. After days of rain, the sun is a precious sight. Yet all I can think is, “8.60 out of 12 pollen count. Great, today is going to be fun. Where did I put my Zyrtec and my tissues?” In the 2 hours since I’ve been up all the yuck of the day has washed over me. One kid is faking sick, another is stressing about a physics test, I have a math test, I forgot to do my reading for my American Literature class, and yet another kid is just now stretching out and considering the remote possibility of waking up... Over the top of that is the incessant babbling of the guilty voice, “THIS is what you complain about? Look around you, you’ve got it good.” Now we get to add guilt to the list of wrong things floating through my head. I’ve learned to never underestimate my ability to whine and moan.
You know who else whined and moaned? Jonah. Yeah, yeah, he got swallowed by a whale; who wouldn’t whine about that? Then there was that whole thing about teaching God to a nation full of depraved people who didn’t deserve salvation to begin with. Interestingly enough, that’s not the thing that finally got Jonah’s goat.
You know what finally did Jonah in? A plant.
Jonah, in his pouting anger that God saved the people of Ninevah, went and sat on a hill to watch the city and see what would happen. Maybe he hoped to see that destruction would befall these vile people after all. Who knows? We know he was mad and God, in a nutshell, told him to knock it off and get over himself.
But God loved Jonah and grew him a plant to protect him from the heat; Jonah was happy for a bit. Then God, because he is a God of object lessons, killed the plant. Jonah threw a humdinger of a fit, “I’m so angry I wish I were dead!” he railed like a child whose mother won’t let him have a third cookie.
“Jonah,” said God, “Why do you think you have the right to be angry about a plant that you didn’t even take care of? Don’t you think I should at least have as much concern for all the people of Ninevah?”
Why do I think I have the right to be angry about the silly little things? Why do I feel I have the right to rail against the big things? Didn’t God promise me that he would work everything out for the good?
With the Lord’s help, I am going to set aside the “plants” that have me riled, worried, and angry. With the Lord’s help I will look at everything today and ponder how it will be ultimately worked for my good and God’s glory. Even if means losing a plant or two along the way.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
April 3, 2014
66. Yesterday the kids and I were driving home from track practice when we saw a guy jogging down the road. He looked to be in his late 30s to early 40s and was seriously overweight. The sweat glistened on his pale, unaccustomed to the outdoors skin. He was breathing heavily and was obviously having a hard time of it; his feet stumbling with every step. As we got closer to him I could see the look of concentration and shame on his face. I called out to him, “Keep going man! You got this!” He smiled the weak smile only the truly exhausted can give and gave me the thumbs up.
I drove on, a lump in my throat, my eyes watering, knowing that he will never know how much he inspired me and, most likely, others on the road yesterday. I wondered if maybe he’d come to the condition he was in because he was afraid of what others would say if they saw him running. Maybe he got there because he was complacent and always thought there would be time later. Whatever the reason, he arrived at nearly middle aged, overweight, and struggling with it. The reality hit him that he needed to do something about it, so he strapped on a pair of running shoes and went to work in spite of the reasons he ended up there.
The comparison was obvious to me. As Christians we sometimes, frequently really, clam up. We don’t share our faith because we are afraid of what others will say. We don’t spend time studying, praying, or just being around other Christians because there will always be time later. We become fearful and complacent. When does the reality hit you and me that we are that middle aged man and we need to put on our running shoes and get out there?
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
Let’s go Ladies! Let’s fight this fight. Let’s finish this race.
April 10, 2014 ·
67. The Lenten season is coming to a close, culminating in Holy Week. Even Holy Week is almost over and soon we get to have a big Easter breakfast, hunt for eggs, hide baskets of goodies for the kids… You know, we get to do those things that have absolutely nothing to do with Resurrection Sunday but rather with the Pagan celebration of Easter happening at the same time.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
OUR sins, OUR transgressions, OUR badness was laid on Jesus. He took the full force of our punishment. And we’re going to squirm our way through church on Sunday waiting to get out so we can cook the ham for the family dinner. We’re going to fidget while we wait for the pastor to be done with his long winded prayer so we can put the freshly dyed egg in that perfect spot.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - John 19:30
When you go to church on Resurrection Sunday, really think about what that means. He healed us. And then told us it is finished. We need not fear anymore. Let us not spend the day we hold this truth in celebration playing pagan games. Let us spend it in joy, reveling in our risen Savior.
It is finished!
April 17, 2014
68. Have you ever been attacked, verbally or otherwise, for being a Christian? This last semester in one of my classes I’ve been under fire for my beliefs. Now, I don’t walk into a room and announce that I’m a Christian, but I don’t hide it either. So, when one of the stories we read involved Christian beliefs and misquoted the Bible, I spoke up. Since then there has been a barrage of anti-Christian sentiment, but the conversation polite and respectful. Most days I walk out of class shaking my head at the lack of original thought concerning the matter, that all things thrown at me have been lobbed my way (and the way of all Christians) repeatedly from the time we can formulate the words, “I am Christian”.
“The reason I believe all Christians are judgmental is because the religion itself says that if you aren’t a Christian you’re going to hell.”
“Yes it does,” I confirmed. “But we are also told that we, humans, are not to judge another’s salvation or damnation. It’s not up to me whether you go to heaven or hell.”
“So what you’re saying is that you believe in a god that sends people to hell because he doesn’t like them or just because, even though they’re good people, don’t believe in him.”
“No, what I’m saying is that my job here is to share the truth of God. It is up to you whether you listen and respond or reject it. You, not God, are the one who sends yourself to hell.”
“That’s a very strange religion you’ve got.”
“Any stranger than believing that we were a happy mistake of the universe managing to strike an amino acid with electricity at just the right time to cause us to eventually evolve into the superior beings that we are? And, by the way, nobody knows where the amino acid and the electricity, or the universe for that matter, came from.”
All is well, we go our separate ways and interact politely in passing. Nobody’s feelings are hurt, nobody feels attacked. In the end I hope that some small shred of Truth sticks and the Holy Spirit sparks the growth of faith.
The other day my faith was blatantly attacked. Not questioned, no curiosity, just flat out attacked. I let the man know he’d crossed the line from conversation to combat, yet he continued. When my anger and frustration cooled I was left with the reminders:
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31,32
And then in the parable of the seeds “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” – Mark 4:18,19
Go, spread the seeds of Truth. For those that listen the truth will set them free. Do not be troubled by those who do not, because they have chosen to be the thorny ground. You’ve done your part, that’s between you and God. Their decision to remain in ignorance is between them and God. But never, under any circumstances, hide the Truth of Who’s you are and Who’s you wish them to be as well.
April 24, 2014
69. What comes to mind when I say, “Pure”?
The topic of internet pornography is an important topic that we’ve been talking about recently on A Word for Women. Nobody really wants to think about it, much less discuss it, and we therefore sweep it under the rug. By doing this we can’t address the shame of an addiction or even a “casual glance”. Worse, by pretending that there is no problem, we withhold the freeing forgiveness from those who need it the most. Have you ever considered that by doing this we inadvertently contribute to the victimization of the dehumanized images on the screen?
Now think about the word “pure” again. What does it mean? The dictionary definition of the word is this: free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter. Pure, blameless. We are the bride of Christ. In Ephesians Paul explains what that means, in a more focused sense of how it relates to husband and wife, in a broader sense how it relates to the Church and Christ. “… and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:27
We have the stain, the blemish, of pornography tarnishing us. And we sit silently pretending it’s not there. We mutely allow this horrendous thing to go on in our midst and turn a blind eye. How can we present ourselves as pure to our bridegroom in this state?
We must address this. We must offer forgiveness and help to those caught in its grip. And there is help. I beg you, if you are caught in the snare, or love somebody who is, get help.
I’m praying for you, for us. There is no shame in Christ, let’s come back to Him.
2 Corinthians 11:2 says, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”
May 1, 2014
70. I’m in the middle of review week for my finals. The kids are gearing up for theirs. We have chess club, cheer leading, football practice, work, meals to prepare, chores, Bible Study to teach and attend, and any number of random errands that pop up in day-to-day life. We are busy. To say that we look like a kite in high winds with all our running about and doing is an understatement. I imagine our family is not the only one.
Last week the bulk of the insanity was getting ready for our daughter’s confirmation. We were in high gear trying to get all the normal stuff done while making sure she had shoes, an appropriate cover for her strapless dress, her verses memorized, picking up the cake… We got so busy that we almost lost sight of why we were doing it.
In the middle of it all, my daughter and I stopped to have some fun. We did the Color Me Rad run. Well, we mostly walked, but the point was the fun and relaxation of it. It made me think about how often we forget why we are doing what we do. Are we preparing that Bible lesson because it’s just another thing we do or are we doing it for the glory of our God?
On the seventh day, our Father rested. I don’t think He needed a nap due to exhaustion, I think He wanted to sit back and enjoy all that He had done. He made that day holy, commanded us to sit back and revel in what He has done. He knew our bodies would grow weary and that we would lose focus, so He modeled for us how to handle it, how to remember why we do what we do.
Throughout the Bible there are verses reminding us to rest, to hone in on the peace in the craziness that only He can give. In Mark 6 there is a lot going on. Jesus was mocked in His hometown, traveled from village to village preaching, gave His disciples the power to drive out demons, and His cousin died. When the Twelve rejoin Him there are so many people coming and going that they don’t even get a chance to eat. He says to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
We need to do that. We need to go with Him, by ourselves and rest.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:1-3
May 8, 2014
71. Monday night I sat at the dining room table cramming for my math final. The usual frustration of doing math was absent and I flew through the problems, the formulas came to me easier than they ever have. I was thrilled in the knowledge that I would do well on this test. My text messaging went off and I picked up my phone to see who was interrupting me now. The message on my screen stopped me in my tracks and brought my euphoria to screeching halt.
“Uncle Roger passed away a little over an hour ago.”
I dropped my phone like a hot coal. My screamed “NO!” brought the kids and my husband running. I couldn’t stop the sobs to tell them what happened. For what felt like an eternity all I could do was cry and rant internally. When I could finally speak, I stood and yelled, “It’s not fair!” In my mind, rolling over like a marquee reader, was the thought, “But we prayed that he be healed. Why wasn’t he healed?”
The thought is invasive when we lose someone. “Lord, I asked you to heal him. You said, ‘Ask and it shall be given unto you.’ I asked and you didn’t give it to me.” James 5:14-15 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
Why, in light of that promise, did my Uncle Roger die from his illness? Did we not pray enough, trust enough? Or did God break His promise to us?
We prayed enough. We trusted enough. And God did not break His promise to us. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philipians 3:20-21.
Our Father answered our prayers. Just not in the way we thought He should. God gave my uncle a perfect body on Monday night, one without illness or weakness. We asked God to heal him, and He did.
May 15, 2014
72. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a hard time coming up with something to talk to you ladies about today. It’s not that there’s nothing to say, or that thoughts aren’t running rampant through my head. The problem is that I don’t know what you want to hear. What’s important to you?
You hear about my life and what I’ve learned from it every week. So I’d like to try something a bit different. Tell me about you, tell me what you want to hear. The reason I use so much of my own life in my writings is because it’s what I know, now I want to know more about you. Send us a message at A Word for Women, let us know how to pray for you. We really want to!
One of our roles as Christian women is to encourage each other. Whether it’s struggling with a two year old who won’t stay in bed and let you sleep through the night, or crying out to God to bless you with that problem. Whatever it is, let us encourage you and hold you up! If you’re not struggling with anything, let us know that too so we can celebrate and praise God with you!
Let’s hear it, ladies. What’s going on with you today?
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
May 22, 2014
73. I have scars. A lot of them. So do my kids. In fact, I'm the kind of mom that looks at her injured child and, with a high five, says, "Awesome! That's gonna leave a scar!" We have a couple of mantras in this house regarding scars and the activities that caused them. "If you didn't get hurt, you weren't playing hard enough." And, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Then it's time to play find the eyeball." Or one of my favorite movie quotes, "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever."
What's the big deal with scars? Why do I get such a kick out of them? They are a kind of road map to who we are from who we were. Not all of my scars are visible to the human eye, yet they too are an atlas of me. Scars give us our Super Girl qualities. It is our scars that make our shoulders strong, our compassion deep, and our love fierce. They remind us that we've been there, done that, survived it, and we're going to be forever changed for the good if we allow it.
In the midst of one of those events that invisibly scarred me, my personal Super Girl (I call her Mama) showed me this promise:
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
I hold on to this promise every day, with every struggle. My scars are NOT a disgrace. My scars do NOT bring me shame. Neither do yours.
May 29, 2014
74. Being the mother of teenagers is a unique challenge. When they were little it was easy enough to impart my wisdom upon them, “Don’t touch the stove, it will burn you.” And they, for the most part, trusted me implicitly. Occasionally a child would believe that I wasn’t completely honest with them and would, foolishly, touch the stove. Many tears and buckets of Aloe Vera taught them that when I said things like “Don’t touch the stove, it will burn you”, I was telling the truth. Now, however, they don’t seem to trust my judgment. “Don’t get involved with that boy, he does not have your best interest at heart” falls on deaf ears. Buckets of Aloe will not heal this pain.
To a certain extent, this ignoring of the once all knowing parents is natural. The kids have entered a stage where they are learning to be independent of Mom and Dad. They are testing their wings and gathering their strength in preparation to fly out of my nest. Their testing isn’t “just” of their own judgment.
Up to this point our children are taught that Jesus loves them. He loves them so much he died for them. He loves them so much that he took the punishment for all their disobedience. He loves them so much that he doesn’t want them to live with guilt, but to be happy that they are forgiven. Something happens when these precious little children are too old to be cute singing “Jesus Loves Me” in front of the congregation. That something is that they are digging deeper beneath the “Sunday School” answers and we forget about them.
You know those people who absolutely adore their brand new puppy but once he’s grown out of his cuteness he’s confined to a chain in the backyard? As a church we do that to our teens. We put a lot of focus on children’s ministry and adult studies, which is good, but we lose focus on our teens in that crucial moment when they are developing themselves as separate from Mom and Dad. They no longer believe just because Mom said it’s true. They no longer have faith in God only because Dad promises He’s real. They are in a place where they are questioning everything and need to be taught in their own language. Instead we shove them into an adult Bible Study class where barely anything relates to them and their experience.
We send these spiritually starving children out in to the world having poorly equipped them beyond, “Jesus loves me” and “your sins are forgiven”. And we wonder why they stray. We wonder what happened that they were so easily led astray. They knowingly spout things like “Buddha, Allah… They’re all just different names for God. It doesn’t matter which you worship.” We shed tears over them and wonder why they believe this crap when we’ve taken them to church every Sunday for the first 18 years of their lives.
“Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13, 14
Do we think this applies only to the cute little girl with pig tails and missing teeth or the chubby cheeked toddler? I don’t think so. We are hindering our teens, we are sending them out in to the world spiritually crippled. It. Must. Stop. I challenge you to look at your own church and do something about this. Change it. Give our kids the preparation they need to stand up and say, “No, Buddha and Allah are NOT just different names for Jehovah.” Give them the foundation they desperately need to stand strong and fierce in their faith. If I don’t do it, if you don’t do it, who will?
June 5, 2014
75. When I was 16 I got pregnant. And then I got married. I had my eldest at 17. When I was 28 I left my ex-husband. And then at 29 I lost my ever-lovin mind. I was a wreck; in fact I looked like something you might expect in a movie about frat boys. Not a good time. I’ve run screaming away from my faith. I’ve been so angry with God because of things that have happened to my family that I thought I’d never stop being mad. I came back to myself and God brought me back to Him when I was 31. I still fight my inner liar, my pride and arrogance, my anger, and my lack of trust (just to name a few). I am not perfect, none of us are.
A few years ago I sat with a group of high school kids and taught a very blunt Bible study on sex. We discussed what the Bible says about it. We talked about purity and how we can never physically regain it once it’s gone, but because of the cross we can regain our spiritual purity. We discussed the beauty that sex is intended to be between a husband and a wife. We discussed the consequences of stepping outside the boundaries God set for us. That meant discussing my own experience.
Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t think so. Very frequently we hide our sins out of fear of being labeled false or looked down on. Sometimes we, in prideful sin, think that we have no right to say, “Don’t do that,” because we did it. When we share our experience, whether it’s teenage pregnancy or abortion, whether it’s jealousy or murder, we have a powerful voice.
I am by no means saying to go out and purposely sin so that we have something to talk about. Rather I am saying that we should not be afraid of sharing those times when it is beneficial to others. God promised that it would all work out for our good. How much better can it be than to help guide others around the piles of disobedience that lay in wait for them?
When my eldest was about 10 years old an adult, who should have known better, told him that he was my sin. He immediately dropped into a depression and became angry. It took me a long time to get out of him what had happened. When he finally told me, I hugged him and said, “You are not my sin. The sin is my own. YOU are the promise fulfilled.”
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." – Romans 8:28
Trust this promise. Don’t hide the ugliness, don’t rob yourself and others of the fulfillment of this promise. From the ashes, beauty can emerge.
June 12, 2014