Musings of a Super Girl | Archives 6
126. I was recently told that I needed to take some time to just relax. We all know how realistic that is. I tried, but my brain wouldn’t shut off and let me just watch the mind numbing TV show and enjoy the kitten doing various yoga poses on my lap. So I made a to-do list and started ticking things off of it. These weren’t important things, they were merely the little things that pile up, don’t get dealt with, and cause stress from being undone. You know these things, the pile of mail that needs going through or the craft bin that’s overflowing with unusable scraps of felt. With every to-do that I crossed off, the weight slowly lifted from my shoulders.
This got me to thinking about what’s weighing us down spiritually. Maybe we haven’t taken the time to read a quick devotion. Perhaps we find ourselves unable to sit through a sermon without our minds wandering. It could be that we forget to discuss our faith with our children.
There are any number of things that are spiritually weighing us down. I think the biggest culprit of this weight is that pile of mail that’s building up. We let our minds get bogged down with all of those little unusable scraps of felt.
Take a moment, make a list of all those small things that are left undone, and deal with them. Everything that you check off your list is going to relieve heaviness you’ve been carrying around. Every time you cross one more thing off the list, you’ll find yourself breathing easier. When you’re done with your list, sit down and thank God for the time, read that devotion, talk to the kids about your and their faith.
The most important part of relieving that spiritual heaviness? “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
October 29, 2015
127. I was told yesterday that when I’m feeling overwhelmed I need to focus on my breathing. Why would focusing on breathing help? Here’s how it works: Our oxygen levels are much like our hydration levels; most of us take in just enough water to not get a headache, but we’re not truly hydrated. This is true of our oxygen levels when we’re anxious; we breathe just enough to not pass out, but we’re not getting enough oxygen to function beyond that. As with so many of these things, this made me think of how we are with our spiritual lives.
When Jesus was in the desert, hungry and alone, he was tempted to turn the stones into bread. After 40 days of not taking in sustenance or hearing another voice, I can only imagine how physically weak, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained Jesus must have been. His humanness must have felt spiritually depleted as well. Instead of taking in just enough God to not fall, Jesus responded to the temptation with this (I paraphrase), “Bread isn’t gonna do it, that’s not the real hunger. Man needs every word from God to live.”
When we are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, are we breathing and bringing in enough oxygen to think clearly? Are we taking in enough God? We cannot live on bread alone, but by every word of our Father. (Matthew 4:4)
November 5, 2015
128. In my high school Bible study class we don’t pick apart verses and try to apply them to our lives. We discuss current events and the things that they are dealing with every day. If you were to walk into our class on any given Sunday it would look like chaos and mayhem. In fact, many of the adults who stop by our room ask later what in the world was happening. Some Sundays we’re “just” talking about how our week went, what happened to us, and things like that. Other Sundays we’re talking about our responsibilities to illegal immigrants, the teacher who is being charged with statutory rape, politics, and anything else that’s happening in the news.
This doesn’t mean that our Bibles aren’t out. Everything we discuss is tied back to our faith, what the Bible says about it, what our Christian responsibility is. We do Bible study and life together in that room. These kids have recently faced news that challenges all of us as Christians and they did it together. They pray for each other. They tease each other. They tease me. They sit in chairs or lay on the floor. They talk over each other and with each other.
It’s true. If you were to walk into my class on any given Sunday, it would look like mayhem. Or, as I like to see it, life. You will see life happening. You won’t see photocopied worksheets or people waiting their turn to speak with their hand raised. That’s not how we do things in life, so that’s not how we do it in our class.
We don’t do it that way because we need to pick apart what we believe and why we believe it. We need to see the real life applications of our faith. We need to be more than Sunday Christians. We need to see and know that even in a day of ISIS and nukes, the Bible has current answers. We need to see each other struggle and we need to lift each other up. We need to be a functional family in a dysfunctional world.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” -Ephesians 2:19-20
November 12, 2015
129. I’ve been struggling with anger and apathy. Odd combination, I know, so let me explain:
My Foundational Studies class has been looking at the refugee situation this semester and asking what our responsibility is to them. As a Christian I’ve asked myself what the church’s responsibility is and have come up with the answer that we are to care for the fatherless and the widowed, that we are to feed the poor and care for the ill, and that we are to accept the foreigners in our land. And then Paris.
Now what is our responsibility? Has it changed? Are we more aware of the dangers posed by the wolves in sheep’s clothing? Absolutely. But does that void our God given responsibility to care for the least of these? No, it absolutely does not.
Paul was beaten, thrown into prison, and was ultimately beheaded because of his drive to reach out and share his faith. Peter was beaten, thrown into prison, and ultimately crucified. John the Baptist suffered the same as Paul. The list is long of those who have suffered in the name of our Lord. Most recently we can look to Roseburg, Oregon where people died for refusing to deny their faith.
Not very promising for us is it? But we knew all of this going in. To back down, to run away and hide, is not what we have been called to do. We know this, we read the verses where Jesus promises us this is a dangerous life to live. Yet, for some reason, we as Christians are among the first to shout that we should stop reaching out.
That’s my anger.
My apathy comes from the realization that I am only one person. My voice is small in the crowd. What really can I do since I’m just one?
What can I do? I can continue to follow my Lord, regardless of the discomfort and fear. I can rely on His promise that this world is not my soul’s last stop and that there is peace and perfection waiting for me. I can understand that peace and perfection is not for me alone and my job here is to sow the seeds of faith so that others may enjoy it too at the end of their earthly journey. Wouldn’t it be awesome to arrive in heaven and see the faces of those whose lives we’ve touched? I think so. My father has the power to make that happen, and He has allowed me the privilege of being one of His many tools in that process.
Go feed them, they need you. Some may be dangerous, but do not fear for the Lord our God will uphold us. – Isaiah 41:10
November 19, 2015
130. I keep seeing memes on Facebook about keeping Christ in Christmas or to share something if we really love Jesus. Is this what our role is? To be slacktivists on social media? While it is a good thing to share our faith in every medium, what are we really sharing? Frequently, I’m guilty of this too, I’ll see a beautiful verse reminding us of God’s fierce love for us immediately followed by some snarky ecard about a fun little lollipop triple dipped in psycho (or something equally mean aimed at another). What are really telling the world?
How about instead of insisting on keeping Christ in just Christmas, we keep Christ in the New Year, Valentine’s Day, Ground Hog Day, Arbor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and every day in between?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus is indeed the reason for the season. He is the reason for EVERY season.
December 3, 2015
131. We have some misconceptions in the church about certain illnesses. We (in general) hear of somebody suffering from one of these illnesses and we either tell them directly or whisper behind their backs that they are not really sick, they just don’t have enough faith or they are committing a sin or they don’t pray enough; that’s the reason they are suffering from this type of illness. It couldn’t possibly be that this group of illnesses is just like any other, just as much as a result of living in a fallen world. Yet we still believe that it is related directly to the sin of the sufferer and not to the fact of living in imperfect bodies in an imperfect world.
Either we or somebody we love suffers from Mental Illness. But somehow we miss the fact that mental illness is just like any other illness. We don’t think the person with asthma is somehow lacking in the faith department, we don’t tell them it will all be better if they just smile because God loves them. So why do we do that with people who are suffering from mental illness? Because we don’t understand it.
Here’s a quick explanation: My physical brain does things it’s not supposed to. This is just like the person who suffers from arthritis, their joints are doing things they shouldn’t. The person with arthritis takes medication to minimize the pain and inflammation; the person with mental illness takes medication to minimize the pain and unwelcome pressures. The fact is simply this: some people suffer from chronic illness; it may be in the body or brain.
Maybe it would help if we called these illnesses Brain Illness. I don’t know. What I do know is that we need, as the body of Christ, to understand what is happening, to know that these are not from lack of faith. We need to understand that all illnesses are worth praying for and the sufferers are worth encouraging.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
- Psalm 34:17-20
December 10, 2015
132. Yesterday I took the last of my finals. One part on this particular final was an article comprehension and then I had to write a contradicting narrative. Sounds easy enough. The problem is that the article we had to read was about what a big lie Christmas is. It was about how Christmas, as a religious institution, is shoved down the throats of those who don’t believe. It talked about the damage to the environment from all the excess driving to buy gifts and go to parties and the exorbitant amount of electricity used to light houses and trees. The article discussed the false gaiety in the form of insincere wishes of a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. It went on to discuss the guilt that is dumped on the poor for not being able to purchase the latest and greatest for the kids.
My contradictory piece discussed memories from childhood of traipsing around the forest with Grandpa and Papa to find the perfect tree or going to the tree farm to dig one up so that we could plant it in the yard after enjoying it indoors. I talked about not having much money growing up and never feeling disappointed that we didn’t get an Atari like the neighbor kids. I talked about how the holiday was spent as a family, doing family things, not racing about trying to find the perfect gift. I let Professor Grinch in on a little secret; every day is what you make it, not just Christmas.
This holiday season are you caught up in the chase for the perfect gift? I’ll let you in on a little secret; you’re not going to find it at Walmart. The perfect gift your kids are looking for is stressing out about what to get them. The most excellent present your husband wants is freaking out over what to get him.
What they all want this year is you. So fill their stockings with sugarplums, stick a bow on your head, and quit freaking out. You are all they want.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19
December 17, 2015
133. My sister and her family were here for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. It will be our turn to go to her place for Spring Break and then again during the summer. Any time in between one of us wants to get in the car and make the drive, we’ll see each other. Time and distance isn’t a big deal, especially since we can text, call, email, or Facebook each other. I have friends and family that aren’t a mere 8 hour drive away, but because of modern technology, I actually “see” them every day.
These relationships are no longer difficult to maintain. We pay a set amount for our phones and then we are free to call and text wherever we want within the boundaries of the continent. If that doesn’t work for us because our loved ones are outside of the boundaries, we have other means such as Facetime, Google Hangouts, Skype… Long distance is now only a matter of physical location.
Technology has also allowed us to create places where we can come together as the body of Christ regardless of where we are in the world. It has given us the ability to be armchair evangelists and desktop missionaries. Our personal reach can go much further, much faster than a speeding bullet. What are we doing with it?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” – Matthew 28:19-20
January 7, 2016
134. I’m a feminist. In spite of that I think that your run of the mill feminist would like to have me flogged. Here’s why:
I believe that women are still being oppressed. An honest look at the wage gap (by that I mean not the overall but individually according to career and geographic location). Women are still subjected to sexist jokes. Considerably more violent crimes are committed against women than men. We are still referred to as “the weaker sex” and are still objectified by men. While I do not blame women for the existence of these problems, ESPECIALLY the violent crimes, I do believe that we are participants in the perpetuation of our own oppression. This is why the standard feminist wants to flog me.
We say things like, “I can do that as well as any man” instead of choosing language that doesn’t compare us to men such as, “I am the best person for the job.” We allow young girls to be objectified and sexualized through television, advertising, and beauty pageants, thus we lend to the twisted thinking that allows some men to abuse us. We fail to fight for our own value when negotiating wages for fear of being perceived in a negative light.
Make no mistake, I am not bashing on us. I am, however, concerned that we don’t see ourselves for what we are. Valuable.
God looked at His creation and declared it good, this included Eve. Solomon described the perfect wife as strong and worthwhile, it cannot be found in his description that for all the woman does she should be perceived as less than a man who does these things. Paul directed husbands to care for their wives as they care for their own bodies, to love them as Christ loved the church. This last one, ladies, means that they are to lay down their lives for us.
Yes, we have different spiritual and familial roles than men. That does NOT mean we are less. In allowing others and ourselves to see us as such we are failing to honor the God that made us. He sees us for what He made us to be: His daughters. He sent His son for us who bought us with His blood. We are not as good as any man, we are as good as God created us to be.
January 14, 2016
135. I feel like I’m a terrible wife. Between school, the kids, and church, I’m massively stressed out. More often than not I forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner. By the time I get home from class all I want to do is sit in my recliner for a bit, half the time I fall asleep. My husband usually comes home to a messy house and dinner half made. I’m forever apologizing for not being a good wife. When I’m told to stop apologizing, I apologize for apologizing.
I live with a heavy guilt for not being as good at life as my mom was. She went to school, took care of us kids, kept a clean house, always made sure that there was a plan for dinner, was on the library board, and was in charge of the Sunday school program at our church. She’s still that awesome, even though at this point in her life she prefers to eat out instead of cooking.
There is no way I can measure up to my mother.
Times have changed. We are beginning to realize that men’s and women’s roles are spiritual. They have nothing to do with who changes the diapers, washes the dishes, does laundry, or vacuums the floor. My husband doesn’t expect me to do those things alone, he’s a part of the running of the household, and it hurts him when my guilt of not living up to my mother causes me to apologize and hang my head in shame.
We are partners. We make decisions together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We work together to meet and set goals. We acquiesce to each other’s wants and needs. He’s the structure to my chaos, I am the whimsy to his logic. We are in this together.
So I’m not the best housekeeper. My husband didn’t marry me because he wanted a maid with benefits. He married me because he loves me with all of my quirks, weaknesses, and oddities. I have no doubt that your husbands feel the same about you. So stop feeling guilty that you’re not Donna Reed. Relax, he loves you, you’re in this together.
January 28, 2016
136. I saw a meme yesterday that irritated me beyond belief. It didn’t irritate me because it was yet another attack on Christianity, I’ve come to expect that and receive it with an eye roll, a quick prayer for the poster, and then move on. This one, however, was different. It was different because it wasn’t “merely” a misuse or misunderstanding of scripture, this one was a blatant fallacy parading as enlightened truth.
The meme in question talked about how the Bible must be false because the history of the Jews was passed down orally long before it was written. It went on to explain that from there it has been rewritten, retranslated, translated by kings for power until we have received it in its current state.
One could systematically pick apart this argument by pointing out that we rely on the tradition of handing down history orally; we don’t question Native American history, for example, and it was largely spoken. We could point out that the Jewish scribes were so meticulous in their transcribing that if even a single letter was out of place the whole thing got scrapped. We could further inform them that the different translations of the Bible were not translated from other translations but, rather, directly from the original texts. Finally we could wrap up the whole argument with the fact that the tweaks in language have not changed a single thing and give us a clearer understanding in our modern language.
One could systematically pick apart the argument. But to what end? I suspect that when a person comes to the point that they are now interested in attacking Christianity instead of actually asking for clarification, there is no point in arguing. So, when I see one of these memes or hear obviously ignorant comments, I pray. I pray and I call on this promise:
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
- Luke 19:39-40
February 4, 2016
137. A word of encouragement: YOU ROCK!
It’s true. The creator of all that we survey and more made you. He knew you before you did. He knew you before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye. He’s known you since the beginning. He knew what choices you would make and He created you in spite of yourself. He knows the parts of you that science can’t even begin to fathom.
No matter how bad you may be feeling, no matter what life is throwing at you, no matter what image you may have of yourself, remember this: You rock. You are loved especially in your deepest, darkest hour.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14
February 11, 2016
138. If you could go back and tell your 10 year-old self that life would sometimes feel like being in a canoe in the middle of the ocean during a hurricane, but that all of it is worth it because you’re a better, stronger, more beautiful version of you than without it, would you? Would you arm your young self with the comfort that all of it’s worth it? What if your 20-years-in-the-future self appeared and told you the same? Would you listen?
I probably wouldn’t.
In fact, I know I wouldn’t. I know this because right after Jesus promised that we will have some pretty rough times, He promised that he had overcome them (John 16:33). Yet I still cry out, “WHYYYYYYYYY?” every time.
Every. Single. Time.
Cast all your cares on Him, He has overcome the world, do not be afraid, you will be with me in heaven… All of these are the promise to us that even though life is going to be a rough ride, He’s got it covered and it will all be good. No, not just good, it will be perfect.
So ladies, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. And then it will be perfect.
February 25, 2016
139. My husband got me a dog. She’s a beautiful black lab border collie mix. I love her. The cats hate her. They are terrified of her. But one of them taunts the puppy. Seriously. The kitty will sit on the stairs and meow until the dog notices her and then hiss or run away. The cat also jumps on the table and leaves a paw or her tail dangling so the dog will notice and when she does, the kitten takes a swipe at her. I swear she gloats whenever we yell at the dog to stop chasing the cat. For the most part this particular cat sits on the high ground taunting the dog and rather enjoying her perch.
The cat reminds me of how we behave about sin. It’s ok to taunt. It’s ok to dangle our paws in front of it. When it gets too close we hiss and run away. We gloat in our forgiveness. “Ha ha sin! You can’t get me!”
The thing is, the dog frequently catches the cat. She traps the kitten in a corner and shows her just how helpless she is. Yet for some reason, the kitty doesn’t learn her lesson and goes back to her snooty, taunting ways.
So it is with us. We’re Christians. We’re not perfect, we’re forgiven! On and on we go, resting in the forgiveness for the things we begged to notice us, to chase us. And then we cry out when they catch us and show us exactly how helpless we are.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? By no means!
Sin is going to find us and it will touch our lives. What’s the point in begging it to chase us?
March 17, 2016
140. Here it is, my entire musing for the day:
Today is it. Today is the only day we have. Tomorrow isn’t a sure thing. So just do it. Do what needs to be done. Show Jesus to the world. Do it today. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
March 31, 2016
141. We’re doing a series of Bible studies with the high school youth group called “Is it Christian?” This study looks at things we have dubbed unchristian. These are the rules that we have added on to the rules God laid out for us, the gray areas that we don’t like being gray. We like everything in black and white. We want everybody, especially other Christians, to conform to our beliefs about those gray areas; to achieve this we turn the gray into black or white.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. – 1 Corinthians 10:23
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1
I can see those things that are permissible, but not beneficial to me. I can see those areas that I have burdened myself with a yoke of slavery. Those things are not necessarily the same for you.
Can we learn to accept each other with our different choices about those gray areas? Can we learn to pick apart those things we have deemed unchristian that really aren’t?
April 7, 2016
142. A couple weeks ago I scratched my eye. The scratch was so bad that when the doctor put the dye in my eye it all ran into the scratch. From there everything quickly spiraled out of control, it felt like I belonged in one of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. The end result is that I turned an assignment in late and my professor/advisor realized that something was going badly wrong. She called me to her office and helped me figure out how to resolve the issues, both personal and academic, before the end of the semester.
My professor asked me this one question, “Why didn’t you ask for help sooner?” She wasn’t be accusatory or mean, she was sincerely asking. Why didn’t I ask for help? Pride. I’m a strong woman. Physically, mentally, emotionally… But I’m also strong willed which can become stubbornness and pride, these in turn become arrogance. As always, my assumption is that I am not the only one who suffers from this particular malady.
The biggest problem with not asking for help is that we don’t ask God for help. We know He is our refuge and strength, He is the rock that holds our foundations strong through the storms, He is our comforter, our Father. He even showed as that when we pray we are to ask for help.
…Give us this day our daily bread
…Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
…Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
…Cast all your anxieties on Him
…Ask and it shall be given unto you
Need I go on?
Ask for help when you need it. Ask for help when you’re not sure whether you need it. Be the help for others in their time of need.
April 21, 2016
143. Is it Christian? We’ve been going through a series of topics with the high school Bible study class aimed at picking apart areas in our society that directly affect them. So far we’ve looked at feminism, politics, men’s roles, Christian music, and groups such as the Westboro Baptists. We do this in a sort of Socratic Seminar style, the kids are required to find scriptures on their own (we love Google in our class), and we hash it out. So far they’ve discovered that hellfire and brimstone cannot be taught in the absence of redemption and salvation. They’ve also discovered that, according to scripture, men and women are equals with different spiritual roles. Finally they’ve found that just because something has a Christian label it doesn’t mean that it’s actually Christian.
As adults, do we dig in and look to see if the things around us are Christian? Or do we just fire from the hip based on what we think we know? There’s a lot happening out there that seems to be a Christian, scripturally based notion. Other things appear to have a completely unchristian quality about them. Take, for example, the Westboro bunch: They have the judgment aspect of God down pat. They scream it at the top of their lungs and paint it on signs. Are they wrong? No, but they’re not right either. They know God the Judge, but they do not know God the Merciful. They’ve also forgotten, or never knew, the concept of Truth in Love.
That’s just one example of the depth to which my 14-18 year old group has uncovered truths about our societal beliefs. How are we doing with that?
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them For the ways of the LORD are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them. – Hosea 14:9
Lord, help us to be wise and discerning. Help us to dig deep into your word for understanding.
May 12, 2016
144. One of our pastors comes over every week to give any of our three adult, living at home, children a Bible Study. Whoever happens to be here is welcome to sit in, but it is specifically for them because they asked for it. Yesterday, however, one of them drove off to run a quick errand and didn’t come back for an hour, the other was hung up at work but showed up a few minutes late, the last one was here but was running about packing stuff up to take her daughter out. Instead of a Bible Study per se, it turned into a rather interesting conversation about faith and science, fairness and love, and how to approach those friends who sort of believe.
That, however, is not what I really want you to know about yesterday’s meeting. Yes, quite a few questions lingering in the back of our son’s mind were answered. But, the most important thing in my mind was the moment that our boy, in response to our pastor’s probing about his absence from church, said, “It would be really hard for me not to come if you called me on Sunday morning.” Our pastor promptly whipped out his phone, pulled up his calendar, and added the recurring event to call my son at 8:00 am on Sundays.
How many of us are willing to do that? It seems so obvious, but it never occurred to me to do such a thing. I can’t tell you why it didn’t either. Sometimes I think that it’s easier to just say, “You should come to church with me” and when they don’t show up to ask them why. Do we see it as intrusive or pushy to ask what we can do to make sure our friends arrive at the building where we all worship our Creator and Savior together? Or maybe we’re simply apathetic in our witnessing. “I told so-and-so about God, now it’s up to her to put in the effort” is not an appropriate response. I’m not saying we need to nag, but we do need to be willing to put in the effort to make sure our friends know how important it is to us that they are there with us, that they hear and learn.
Paul, Peter and others travelled to far away places to make sure others knew about Jesus. Many were and are still imprisoned for their beliefs. Is it too much to ask for us to simply offer a ride or a wakeup call on a Sunday morning?
May 19, 2016
145. Every now and then I think about Isaac, a Down’s syndrome young man, taking his first Communion. Isaac is one of the most beautiful people I know. After he took his first Communion, Isaac set the cup in the basket and threw his fist in the air shouting “Woo Hoo!”
Any Sunday I happen to be sitting in the lobby instead of the chapel I get to hear the young children praying the Lord’s Prayer. They’re not stoic and rhythmic with it, frequently they shout it or say it all in a blur. At the end is always a, “…forever and ever. AMEN!!!”
If you ask any one of them, Isaac or the children, why they believe they will tell you quite simply that it is the truth. They will all be a bit baffled by the question to begin with. It’s the truth and they believe it. End of story.
So what’s our problem? Our problem is that we don’t have faith like children. We always wonder whether or not we believe enough, if we pray enough, whether God is real, or any number of other things that come along with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
Do I believe enough? Do I pray enough? Do I sin too much? Do you? Are these even questions worth asking?
Isaiah 42:3 tells us, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Sometimes my wick burns bright and hot, other times it smolders like a freshly blown out candle. Those smoldering times are when I am most grateful for another promise in Isaiah, that he will strengthen me and uphold me (41:10).
I pray that like Isaac and the children we can have faith like theirs. I also pray that we lean heavily on the promises made to us. We believe. It is the truth. He will not snuff us out in our moments of weakness.
June 2, 2016
146. The recent events in the news have my brain spinning with my own hypocrisy. I’ve been following the Brock Turner case and am as outraged as everybody else that the judge was so lenient. Yesterday I shared an opinion piece about how the rape culture is perpetuated before we are even truly aware that we are encouraging it. Petitions are going around to have the judge on this case recalled, threats are being made against Turner, people are swearing up one side and down the other that they will always remember him and make sure that he is shunned for the rest of his life.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. – Exodus 20:17
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” – Mark 7:20-23
The heinous act that Turner committed started long before he ever laid eyes on his victim. This culture of victimizing others is symptomatic of an ungodly culture; the godlessness of even the believers. Like I said, my brain is spinning with my own hypocrisy. So should yours. According to this I am an adulterous, lying, thieving, prideful, foolish, serial killer. Can you say any differently?
June 9, 2016
When I originally posted this, it did not sit well with my spirit to include the fact of grace. Romans 6:1-2 serves as an excellent reminder that we often rely so heavily on grace that we take it for granted. We do this so frequently that we fail to recognize the plank in our own eye while we are displaying our disgust at the speck in our brother's.
I thank God we have grace. If not for grace we would all deserve worse than the fate of the Ted Bundys and Jeffrey Dahmers of this earth. If not for grace we would not have true paradise and perfection to look forward to. Let us never forget that grace. Let us always remember that "there but by the grace of God go I" and that includes our thoughts as much as our actions.
147. After I gave my granddaughter her breakfast this morning I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her mouth was full of toast and blackberry jam so she just shrugged her shoulders and blinked her twinkling eyes at me. Because she couldn’t participate in the conversation, I told her a story about what she would do in the future. This is the story:
My granddaughter will grow up to be the one who fulfills Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a transporter beam. She’s going to call me up one day and say, “Hey, Grandma, wanna come see me in Australia?” and I’ll answer, “I’d love to, but I really can’t afford the ticket right now.” She’ll respond, “That’s not a problem. Prepare to beam over.” And then I’ll find myself standing next to her in the outback staring at the kangaroos and wallabies.
Of course, there will be problems with her invention, such as people beaming where they don’t belong and hostile takeovers of foreign governments. With her mouth now full of boiled egg, my dearest granddaughter gave me a look that said, “We can fix that.” And right she was. It turns out that the problem will be solved quite simply by genetically tracking where people beam. As she pointed out, while handing the dog her milk, this won’t be any different than tracking people through credit card use or any other means we have today.
As we sat there, spinning this tale, I couldn’t help but realize what a bright and beautiful world she has to look forward to. The dark needs to sometimes have our focus, our own darkness should be taken out and examined in the light of day. But there is a remedy for it. “… for I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33.
We can dream big, live our lives to the fullest, never forgetting Whose we are, learning to recognize how badly we mess up on our own. We can do this and look forward in all confidence because we have the promise that He has overcome. So, like my granddaughter, we can sit in our highchairs stuffing our faces and dreaming huge, or at least listen to others dreaming huge for us. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us, for He has overcome the world.
Today, my huge dream is to show my granddaughter that as much as I love her, her Father loves her more. What’s yours?
June 30, 2016
148. When her daughter was born, my daughter decided that we need to change our evening routine. It started with praying as a family before bed. Then we started going on a walk after dinner. After that, at my husband’s request, we included melon and sorbet after the walk. The way it stands now, we go on a walk after dinner, eat melon and sorbet, read from the Bible (right now we’re doing Psalms), share our prayer requests, hug each other, and go to bed.
I know it all sounds rather Norman Rockwell. It’s not. My daughter is 16, her daughter is one month old. My other daughter has moved home with her daughter. My oldest son and my middle son don’t live at home any more, but they are not without their oopsies. My youngest son tends to hole up in his room and ignore the world. We are not picturesque.
But then, who really is picturesque? We get to church on Sunday morning with smiles plastered on our faces even though we all know what a fight it was to get there. We practice the equivalent of the Sunday morning smiles on social media, painting a picture of nothing but awesomeness. We wear clothes to hide our self-perceived flaws, contacts to change the color of our eyes, dye to mask our grey hair, botox to obscure our wrinkles…
What is picturesque? Who decided what that is and when did the rest of us buy into it? There is only one important ideal:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. – Hebrews 10:14
Picturesque is being a child of God. We have lumps and bumps and fake Sunday morning smiles, but we are God’s children. We are being made holy. So go and be perfect as your Father is perfect, not as society describes it.
August 4, 2016
149. I was up way to late last night. Actually, I was up way too early this morning. What I mean by that is that it was nearly 4 am before we went to bed. My sister’s here, we had some friends over, we tried out the new fire pit, sat around in the backyard and talked and, most likely, annoyed the neighbors until the wee hours of the morning. There are two truths that were hammered into my brain last night/this morning: One is that I am too old to be up that late. The other is that sometimes sitting around an open flame with friends, talking, laughing, and getting to know each other better trumps the fact that I am too old to be up that late.
With all of our technology, how often do we set it down and truly interact with other actual human beings? I’m not talking about the forced separation from technology that requires a call to customer care because the tech is malfunctioning. I’m talking about the intentional detachment from a thing in order to intentionally connect with the living.
Tech addiction is a hard one to deal with because it’s all around us; this was written on tech and is being read on tech. Almost nothing in our lives lacks an e-component. Our technology and such easy access to those things that were once dark and hidden is one of the biggest reasons families are torn apart.
Pornography, websites built specifically for cheating on spouses… these are terrible, horrible things that have become easily accessible and so common that we hardly blink an eye at them. People’s lives are being destroyed for forever, and we have become so numb to it that we shrug and move on.
Today, I’m not moving on. If you or someone you love is being crushed by the weight of this temptation, this addiction there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. And there is help:
“…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37
The sooner you get help, the sooner you can go back to the days of truly being with those you love.
August 11, 2016
150. “In the absence of a moral compass, we are left with nothing more than how we feel.
That’s the nutshell of the conversation my daughter and I had the other day. We were discussing why there seems to be no moral stability in our nation right now.
“Why is it ok to commit suicide if you need assistance to do so, but not ok if assistance is not needed? That’s such a confusing message to send to those who are susceptible.”
That’s the nutshell of my argument in class against physician assisted suicide. We watched “The Sea Inside” about a paraplegic man who was done living in a state of dependence and was fighting to commit assisted suicide.
There are many, many areas in society today where we’re left wondering which end is up.
The transgendered individual is praised for altering her body to match what she thinks her gender was supposed to be. On the other hand, the woman who pours bleach in her eyes because she thought she was meant to be blind is looked at in outrage.
A pre-birth baby is considered a wonderful and beautiful human being who should be protected at all costs. Unless the mother doesn’t want it, then it’s considered a clump of cells with no humanity yet.
“In the absence of a moral compass, we are left with nothing more than how we feel.”
As Christians we have a tendency to muddy the waters a bit further by adding new directions to the compass we were given. For example:
• Dancing is bad
• Piercing anything but ears and only on a girl is sinful
• Dying your hair any color not naturally found on hair is un Christian
• Visible sin is more sinful than invisible sin
Our moral compass was given to us in plain, easy to understand language; there’s no need to add more. What we do need to do is share that super easy and freeing compass with others. As we share and combat the lack of direction in the world we live in, we need to remember that we too are corrupted by sin; what makes us different is that we recognize it.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31
What is more loving than giving the desperately seeking a compass to find their way?
September 1, 2016