Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Lovelife.

I love my family. I have amazing and loyal friends. They all are my past, present, and future. They are my roots and my legacy.

At night when all are asleep and silence surrounds me, and I'm up yet again unable to shut my brain off; I realize that I am an individual. I am connected to these wonderful people. Relationships make up what I recognize as life. Yet, people fail to be constant. People move. People change. People die. Life takes us in directions we never plan. Controlling our life or the lives of others is a grand farce.

When I consider my children all snug in their beds tonight, I know that for now I can hear them softly breathing in the next room. They are temporarily mine...temporarily. Eventually, they will wander and find loves of their own and live a life all their own. I'm excited to watch their lives unfold.

When I consider my husband, my sweet, wonderful, loyal husband, I am ever thankful of the time we share; every second we share. Still, our relationship is marked my seconds because it is temporary.

These are the reasons it is futile for me to resist a relationship with Christ. These relationships daily reveal to me that I do not wish for a life alone, an eternity alone. Most of the time, relationships mark the reason I love Him.

If there were no Christ, no eternity, then this carnal, temporary life would be all I had to cling to. Good byes, literally, would mean good bye.
Why would I want to believe that?
What is simple about that?
What is comforting about love forever gone?

I have a selfish faith. I don't want my relationships to be futile or pointless. I don't want to give and love so that I can wisp away into nothingness or watch the owners of my heart wisp away into nothingness. I want it to go on. I want my love to go on. I want them to go on. For this reason eternity makes sense to me.

It is my opinion, that it is human to seek the divine. To some, divinity in found internally, an internal journey to perfect oneself. To others, divinity is far above, an accomplishment never to be achieved. To a Christian, we walked with Divinity. He walked in our dirt, held our hands, and loved our children. He reminded us that to love one another is the second greatest achievement (to love Him is the first) born out of law that came from some of the earliest recorded moments in history. I can do that. I can love. Love is divine.

In the quiet of a still house, while all my loved ones are safe, I see that each moment is precious. I fill the moments with love, so that we recognize eternity when we reach it. I fill the moments with love, so my loved one's recognize me within eternity.

The more we cling to the temporary; the more we live a life alone.
The more we cling to love; the more we live.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Eternal Judgment and Blogging.

It's been seven months since I started blogging. I've really enjoyed being able to put my thoughts in one place. I don't know how many people actually read what I write, but that really is not why I began writing in the first place. I desired an outlet and here it is.

What I've learned from blogging: Most of the time, blogging is a fun positive experience. The people who read my posts relate to them. They are either parents, fellow believers in Christ, or both. It seems a comfort to me to discover that people share similar trials whether it is a fight with a clogged toilette or a spiritual warfare issue. It is also a comfort connecting with friends who can share and help bear my burdens, so to speak. This is the best of blogging. I like to believe that that's what blogging was intended to do; create a community of people separated by miles bringing what would be impossible relationships right into your living room, home office, or iphone (if you're lucky).

To contrast that: The worst aspect of blogging is hearing from folks who are hateful. What blows my mind are people out in digital land that take it upon themselves to rip apart my faith and my family simply because they don't like what I write. Many of you may believe I'm giving them a voice by writing this. Perhaps that is true. I will say that EVERY time I've been contacted by one of these folks it has been because of my spirituality and my belief in Jesus. My perception of these anonymous posters is...
bitterness that I have a belief system,
irritation that I have standards,
and hatred that I choose to live by them.

The commonality that each of these posts share is the clear indication that they feel "judged". Most of them express disdain with Christianity because of previous bad experiences within it. I don't blame them for resenting structured religion. I share many similar issues and experiences, I'm sure. I, however, chose to love Christ and cling to Him and all the wonderful believers in this world, rather than systematically accuse or blame all of Christendom for my personal hardships. Regardless, of whether or not anyone wants to admit it, true Christianity promotes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (the fruits of the spirit-The book of Galatians 5:22).

In respect to the "judged" feeling. I will say this. I have heard this same contention between fellow Christians. It stems from a passage in Matthew 7 where Christ says, "Judge not, that you be not judged". It seems to be the go-to verse when someone feels attacked or has sore toes from a sermon, fellow Christian...or blog in this case. However, There are also verses that describe "encouraging the fainthearted and helping the weak" (1 Thessalonians 5:14), and verses that state "if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him gently" (Galatians 6:5). You don't hear those verses very much these days. It appears to not be politically correct or tolerable in any situation to restore another person. We like to uphold the 'you take care of you, and I'll take care of me' mentality...even though that was never the case in early Christianity and pretty much a ludicrous notion considering the early church.

In reality, who wants to hear that their personal behavior could/should be modified? It is an uncomfortable feeling. I'm the first to admit that.

Here is what I examined over the last few days. The definition of judgment is... the cognitive process of reaching a decision or drawing conclusions. Being judged is being informed of one's final conclusion. It is defining the end of what a thing is or is to become.

Here's my point with all this.. We can't continue to assume that making a factual statement is a judgment, especially within the bounds of spirituality.

If I say I own pug dog, it is because I own a pug dog.
If I say my friend has red hair, it is because she has red hair.
If I say someone sleeps through a sermon, it is because I saw them sleep through a sermon.

If factual statements define you, it is an opportunity not a judgment. It is the point where you decide to determine your future. A factual statement is not a death sentence or a leaning toward an eternal resting place. I don't feel I should apologize for stating facts. If facts bother you, then readjust that which defines you.

I write about my life; my personal struggles with spirituality within a community, and my struggles with parenting. I like to hold people accountable to that which they are promised: Christ. I've been known to point out inconsistencies within the church or ask people for authenticity. None of which make mention of eternal judgment. None. On this, I will defend myself.

People actually believe they can convert me to their limited scope of spirituality by being mean and nasty. Let me clue you in on another secret...chances are if you approach me in a hateful manner, if you attack my family or friends, if you are crude or call lost me the minute you clicked "post".

If you are respectful of my faith, my friends, and my family...then we can have a discussion. I welcome it.

Don't play the judgment card though. That is not my department.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tribute to my first-born.

We were on vacation during my daughter's birthday, so I missed the chance to write her tribute post. Here it is a couple weeks late.

The minute in my sonogram when my husband heard the lab tech say those fateful words, "You're having a girl", his face turned an odd shade of green. I was thrilled. I don't have brothers, so the world of girl is not new to me. Dave, however, was obviously scared out of his mind because he is from the world of boy and knows the territory all too well. As you would expect, when she arrived we instantly fell in love with the bundle of noisy pink joy.

My daughter is an interesting girl. She put complete sentences together before the end of her first year. She has not stopped sharing her opinion since. She could read on the third grade level by kindergarten, and by the end of Kindergarten she started the Harry Potter series. (No I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes I wish I was.) She is a literary smarty pants, and continually is absorbed by several books at a time.

She is also highly dramatic. My friends and family should not be surprised by this... considering the gene pool.

My favorite memory of my girl was at her first ballet performance when she was six. Her little first-year ballet class was stars (literally)in the Nutcracker Suite. At the end of the performance during the bows, she kept dancing. She had no concept that the show was over or that the music had stopped. She was still performing in a world all her own with her own internal music, and she was the beautiful prima donna. When SHE decided her dance was done, she then gave the biggest most melodramatic bow to grace the stage in Abilene, Texas.

My daughter, much like one of her relations who may or may not be writing this post, has strong opinions about everything. Most of the time, she is not ashamed to share those opinions especially if those thoughts have anything to do with the appropriate and timely disciplining of her brothers. She loves her brothers. Sometimes I feel she can mother them better than I.

She is eight years old and a self-proclaimed missionary. She taught her little friend down the street how to pray, and she is currently saving her money to purchase that little girl a bible. How much I could learn from my sweet daughter! She has a bold faith that oftentimes keeps her up late at night. She worries about life and death. She experiences anxiety over family members who take no interest in Jesus. Her faith makes me see what I lack in mine.

I am so proud of my girl. My dreams for her are simple. I don't care if in life she is a rocket scientist or a rock star. I simply want her to maintain her real faith and devotion to the life-giver. I see in her the potential to reach so many for Jesus, simply because she is not afraid to share her faith or live it. The memory of her dancing to her own music in front of so many gawking onlookers gives me hope that she can maintain a faith in a world where she will undoubtedly be different; where she will undoubtedly hear a music that many will deny exists. I hope she dances for Him even when others do not.

Happy Birthday, Lil!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Letting You In on a Little Secret.

After nearly thirty years of being a minister's daughter and now eleven years of being a youth minister's wife, I've decided it is time to let the masses in on something that maybe they don't know.

When in front of the congregation preaching a sermon that you studied for hours upon hours before presenting, after days of prayer and often fasting before bringing the word to the might be pertinent to make you aware...

we can see you sleeping. Did you know that?

When you complement the sermon after we watch you sleep through it, it just rubs salt in the wound.

Now, I'm not daft enough to believe, or even suggest, that every sermon is a winner. Come on, we've all struggled through some snoozers, and even the best orators will confess to butchering a sermon every now and then. Nevertheless, let's just be honest shall we?

Believe me, I know it's tough to sit still for twenty minutes after staying up all night with a screaming infant, wrestling her into a Sunday dress just so she can decorate it with last night's digested pasta, and once you get to worship notice that digested pasta is now an undesirable accessory on your skirt. I know. I've been there. I don't even really mind if you fall asleep. Let's just not deny it or pretend it doesn't happen. I just want honesty people!

There you have it...another secret revealed. I have many more where that came from.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Cup Runneth and Runneth.

The last three weeks have meant the world to me. I am up at 4AM trying to put it all into words and for what seems like the first time...I just can't sum it up yet.

For now, what I want to share with the world is...

I have an amazing husband who allows me to study, be myself, travel, and grow. He is the biggest blessing in my life and I love him. How do I deserve this guy?

I have amazing friends. Last week I reunited with my college buddies. Though separated by miles, our relationships are still in tact and growing. Thanks girls for an amazing week of laughter, music, and the stomach flu. I love each of you so much. The triad of power reigns supreme.

I live in an amazing place. I like to travel. I can feel at home pretty much anywhere. HOWEVER, it was great coming home to Michigan. We are so blessed with our church family, and I am ever thankful to God for allowing us to live here. Bring on the Vernor's and cider mills!

God is so good. Maybe I'll head back to bed and when I wake up I'll be able to compose more thought provoking material. But for now...God is truly a good God. So often I'm hung up on the little things that grow into BIG bitterness, but that is my problem not God's. When I boil it all down, I see that I am blessed.