Monday, March 24, 2008
What's wrong with people? I just want to scream. I'm pretty sure I ruined what I thought was a great friendship but at this point, I'm not sure how much I care. Perhaps I'll calm down later but I'm just pissed off right now.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Last night we watched the movie, Enchanted with some friends. We thought it was cute, so I played it for the kids this morning. I have a habit of viewing movies through "Christian" eyes - thinking about life lessons and how they are applicable to my Christian walk. As I was watching the very disturbing (from a clean POV) part of the movie (shown at the end of this post), the lessons inside the movie hit me.
1. Giselle is very naive. It's funny the first time you watch it with her princess squeals of surprise at everyday events we take for granted. But watching it the second time through I realized how truly priceless her naive world view was. She wasn't bitter, she was forgiving, and she looked at life as this wonderful, exciting, loving adventure. Which of course it is, but "in the real world" as Robert says, we can loose this worldview very easily. Love is forever, endings are happy, and all is as it should be. I know I can become cynical - especially when I'm babysitting 4 year olds that drive me insane. :P
2. Giselle is very committed to making the best of each of her circumstances. From her song, "A Happy Working Song"
You could do a lot when you got
Such a happy little tune to hum
While you’re sponging up the soapy scum
We adore each filthy chore
That we determine
So friends even though you’re vermin
We’re a happy working song
Wow - imagine that view. Make the best of one's circumstances, keep a grateful heart, and sing a happy song. This is something that as a SAHM that really can make a difference for a moment and/or a whole day. My whole day can be decided by what outlook I'm going to take. Am I going to adore each "filthy chore" because I know that each chore is serving Jesus? Am I going to determine to be a "happy working song"? As Steve and I read over Mr. Steady in DP's book, he told me how happy he is when I don't call him to vent - because to him that's me displaying an inability to handle everyday, mundane tasks. Imagine how that hit me. Wow - just keeping a cheery attitude makes my husband happy.
3. Giselle's outlook changed. As she stayed in the world longer, she - like Eve, changed her outlook. She went from being the typical, often mocked, Disney princess to an independent feminist. From the girl always being rescued by a man, to rescuing the man. Not that I'm against women becoming self sufficient (yet still God dependent of course) and able to handle themselves - at what point are we being strong, godly women and at what point are we becoming God? I know it's quite the leap - we see that Giselle marries someone entirely different (the cynical Robert) and keeps her positive outlook on life as we see her laughing throughout the end, she becomes industrious and uses her amazing seamstress skills to create a fashion line. But at what point, does she become, like Eve, corrupted? Where she thinks she knows best - apart from her Creator? Was this switch from naive, innocent, typical princess to to the heroin herself a part of growing up and maturing or a part of submitting to the world?
Enjoy the clip below! :)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This past weekend, I heard a really great sermon about Nehemiah. The pastor was talking about having a vision, a purpose, and staying with it.
3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
The pastor encouraged his congregation to repeat, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down." It made me ponder - what's God vision for me? He's told me before, but I should be careful to keep it at the front of my mind so that when tempted, I can repeat to myself, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down."
As I've been reading Created to be His Help Meet I've seen the vision God has burdened my heart with taking more specific shape. Through this book, I've been able to identify my husband as a Mr. Steady. DP reminds her readers that man was created in the image of God. Well since the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all God, then it makes sense that there are three types of men - Mr. Command who is in the image of the Father, Mr. Visionary in the image of the Spirit, and Mr. Steady - in the image of Jesus. My man is Mr. Steady - quiet, dependable, loving, the servant. DP has then expressed the importance of a doer wife - to strive to really be the P31 woman.
American Standard Prov. 31:10-31
10 A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband trusteth in her, And he shall have no lack of gain.
12 She doeth him good and not evil All the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool and flax, And worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant-ships; She bringeth her bread from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, And giveth food to her household, And their task to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it; With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, And maketh strong her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable: Her lamp goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the distaff, And her hands hold the spindle.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh linen garments and selleth them, And delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing; And she laugheth at the time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, And eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:
29 Many daughters have done worthily, But thou excellest them all.
30 Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates.
I don't know about you, but for me that's A LOT. But I continue hearing the message, "Your first ministry is your family." Not over-volunteering in your community, not over-volunteering in your church, not having a Better Homes and Garden home.
The vision God has burdened my heart with is going straight back to my roots - open doors to welcome anyone, teaching my children every day, pouring myself into the next generation, and becoming God dependent - not ME dependent. I've slowly taken away distractions in my life - which I really didn't want to do because I worry. A little while ago I settled for no more babysitting (occasionally I still do, but not anything like before) and then this past weekend I gave up my night job as well - I am hoping that I do not have to go find a day job, but right now, I am fully 100% at home.
And during this past week fully at home - I've noticed my mind shift from making it from one day to the next - but the passion and desire to host and to be a mother to my children. We've been having highs and lows as we readjust to this new schedule, but we've been enjoying one another, learning together, and embarking on each day as an adventure (and of course with two toddlers it is). Before we moved to this house, I always had my doors open and inviting people over. And at that time, we had no backyard and a small two bedroom apartment. Granted, I think in my head that my home has to be perfect to have people over - something I'm sure God will refine me on, but I am itching to minster to my family and with my family and in my home.
A friend once told me, "Hospitality is the catalyst for the miraculous." DP writes, "Your home should be clean and orderly so that his friends and buisness contacts will be impressed and at ease... At the end of the day, Mr. Steady will enjoy weighing what he has accomplished with what you have accomplished and will rejoice in the value of having a worthy partner in the grace of life." (p. 90) Not just for Mr. Steady but for me, and the vision God has put on my heart - I need to make sure that my home is orderly (not perfect, not white glove clean - just orderly) and welcoming to any who wish to enter.
God has put such a burning vision on my heart, that I feel almost overwhelmed with it:
1. To train up my children - as they are the next generation and they are my responsibility. And most importantly, for their protection from a seductive world that doesn't care about their eternal spiritual well being.
2. To create a haven inside my home. To borrow from a non-biblical but still wise source, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;" (D&C 88:119) Not bad advice from Joseph Smith.
3. To create a welcoming environment for ANYONE who wants to drop by my home and spend some time. :)
4. To spend time with God everyday and keep my focus on Him. This one seems so simple - yet at the same time can be the most challenging. And without that relationship to come back to, then the vision just won't work.
5. To submit to, honor, and respect my husband. Especially when I don't agree with him.
And when something comes up there is only one question, "Does it support this vision?" And if not, then I must remember the words of Nehemiah, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down."
Home Sweet Home: The Center of Evangelism
Monday, March 17, 2008
Right now I'm creating orange "pumpkin" socks for Steve and Paul to wear. Nope, they don't have near the same sized foot - but Paul loves walking around in Daddy's socks. Whenever I turn the heel I get tiny holes at the increases - so I'm sorta frustrated about that, but I'm sure with practice it'll get better. I'm thinking of making green toes since I forgot to do a green edging for the brim. We'll see how it goes. Since I'm currently trying to create a baby blanket for GP friend, the socks are on hold.
I'm dying to knit up my shawl - I want to do it right now! :P I imagine once I finish the socks and the blanket, my sock loom will arrive. We'll see.
Also, I've mentioned this before - but I'm trying to get GP women together to have some fun - whether that be teaching a skill, learning a new one, or just heading to Chilli's or Applebee's for some a snack. Of course, you don't have to attend GP so if you're in the area .....
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Personally, I've got my own convictions - not popular ones apparently, but I don't really base my opinions on popularity these days. :P I absolutely believe in the Biblical principal of families in heaven.
Matthew 22:30." (See also Luke 20:35, Mark 12:25) - Even if you never look at the Greek it's pretty clear that people will not be given in marriage.
"nor are given in marriage,"
And even the Greek, "gameo", states that this verb means, "to lead in marriage, take to wife, to give one's self in marriage; to give a daughter in marriage". IE - no need to buy bridal gifts. :) Now of course I know people will disagree with me - and that's fine. Everyone has their own idea of what heaven will be like, however, I don't really see that as a fault of others.
One of the biggest problems I ever saw when I was a Mormon looking in on Christians was the absolute control factor. Don't agree? It's not just being able to agree to disagree, but one is heretical, blasphemy, wrong, or just plain selfish. Will heaven have marriage, sex, pizza? Who knows? Will it affect salvation? No way.
Since Adam and Eve were married and having sex before the Fall, I take the marriage covenant as an eternal Biblical principal. You don't? That's fine, but I'm not stumbling over it in my faith and if you're going to - then that's your issue, not mine. The only time we stumble in our faith is when we choose to - not when someone has a different take on what heaven looks like.
Wisdom really is controlling one's tongue - no matter who you are. And listening is always a virtue, sometimes overlooked even by those you feel closest to.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've been wanting to blog a lot lately - but between knitting, reading, and just working - at home and at work, I've just been way too busy. I swear, I need a break!
So a few really random notes:
1. An update: After several suggestions, I went ahead and emailed our pastor to request permission to try to start some women "groups" outside of Grace Point. Steve laughed so hard at me for this because he was like, "You do realize that this church is not controlling like that right?" I felt foolish enough thinking I would have stepped on anyone's toes - but I guess it was a lesson worth learning. :) We'll see how it goes - so for any women in my area that read my blog, if you want to start a game night, ladies night, learn or teach a skill - etc, PLEASE let me know. Honestly, I'd love it if I could get my friends from other churches to join in. :) I'm hoping I can convince my bestie friend to teach cake (or cupcake) decorating since she totally rocks!
2. While thinking about this, I was listening to Numbers I believe where God wiped out the complainers who wanted meat and were not satisfied with mana. It made me realize, that God provides and I need to be satisifed with that. Lest I get burnt outside the city. :P
3. I also have re-connected with some of my former ward friends - which is awesome because I've totally missed them. One of them is moving to a different state in May so I am eager to spend time with her and her family again. They totally are awesome people who make the best pies and have the greatest games. Of course, the same day that I emailed her asking if I could come to her cooking class - she and another friend dropped by with the ward cookbook. I felt so touched by this small gesture of kindness and welcome. And to ease anyone reading out there - I have made it VERY clear that I have no interest in being a LDS again or believe that the church is true.
4. I had the most uncomfortable time this week. But I really believe God is refining me through it.
5. Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE LOST? Ah! It's so good!
6. I heard the most amazing, touching story today on Focus on the Family. It's moments like these that I enjoy listening to James Dobson. I really suggest that you listen to it. I was shocked to learn, that this sermon was delivered in 1984! Grab some tissue and be prepared to cry, laugh, and be so incredibly touched. Listen to, "A Man called Norman".
7. And finally - submission. It's been on my mind lately, especially while listening to various sermons from Integrated church movement (I have not heard them mention the WORD submission because sadly, today it's like a foul swear word :P ). My other best friend sent me, "Created to be His Help Meet" written by Debbie Pearl. Add to it, that on BID we are discussing what a CHRISTIAN, Biblically based submitted marriage looks like. I'll be the first to say - it's not easy, it's not always comfortable, but when God refines us, it's not always comfortable. More on this topic later.
8. Chipotle ROCKS. If you haven't tried it, then you MUST.
That's all my jumbled thoughts for now. :)
Monday, March 10, 2008
I've been reading through various mega church sites and I haven't seen any of them that are proactive like this. I miss being Mormon right now.
The church equipped it's members to be effective mothers, wives, and godly women - they taught us skills perhaps we didn't learn and gave us chances to teach others skills we know but perhaps other didn't learn. I got to teach a jam and canning class one day and was amazed at all the various skills these women possessed. I learned a little piano earlier in life and could probably play one handed simple tunes - but man I'd love to learn how to play with both hands and/or lead music. The sentence from our Bishop, "you're always welcome to our activities" in my resignation letter is so incredibly tempting. I mean, if it doesn't cut into my time serving GP or anything, really is there any harm in picking up new skills with old friends? It's not like they have a doctrine related lesson or anything - the most they do is pray before and after.
I just want to learn again - not to be spiritually fed, but to be with others who share my ideals and goals and understanding of some important things. Like modesty - which took my awhile to learn, didn't even fully kick in until I went to the temple and was forced really to be modest or show my garments (and I'm not saying anything against those who are not modest - it took me almost THREE YEARS to be a modest dresser, I just enjoy being around others like this - I'm weird); or basic homemaking skills like sewing, knitting (which yes I only recently learned); or practical service which may not include going to the local homeless shelter (which is awesome - actually my particular passion) but rather just next door. At times, I feel out of sorts - in GP I feel like the focus is on Jesus but that perhaps I am too liberal (weird huh?) whereas at my old ward I felt like it was okay to be so liberal but that the focus wasn't always on Christ - but rather on church doctrine.
A friend of mine recently was able to return to her Catholic roots - a church that has intrigued me (probably the legalism) but not something I've been too interested in persueing further than a few doctrinal conversations with Mark - our former neighbor or quick flips through the cachetism. I have to admit as I read more of her blogs about various doctrines and practices I am so jealous.
I remind myself that I really do love GP and have a heart for it and I love that I can bring others there AND it's an awesome church, I really miss my roots. I miss having a church that not only served the community (differently but did serve) around it, but also poured working and applicable knowledge and skills into it's members.
As a Christian I believe that mothers are called to be mothers (wives first, mothers second). And that if able, one should stay home with their kids. What I loved about being LDS was that the church assumed that one would be a homemaker (and it was okay if one wasn't) and then proceeded to teach women the skills they needed to be a good homemaker. My mother never taught me to cook - I burnt water when I was in college. One night I wanted to make my at the time boyfriend (and now dear husband) his favorite side dish of mashed potatoes - I did everything I recalled my parents doing - except forgot to boil them. They were NASTY. But I enjoy learning how to be a helpmeet to my husband - I'm not all knowing, there are just some things that I need help in learning.
DH says he is totally fine if I want to attend a few activities. I'll keep you all updated. :)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I think the writers of the law do have good points, BUT as a someone who strongly believes in parental rights am strongly opposed to the whole idea of requiring teaching credentials to home school. And again, the Dobson cult has made this all about Christians and not all about other reasons people perhaps home school - from gang issues, drugs, sex, and get this - food allergies. Schools and parents are not always kind to those with food allergies. Some kids are just not safe in a public school regardless if they are Christians or not.
Yet, melodramatic, over-reacting Christians have of course made this all about persecuation when you know, there are Chinese or Sudan Christians who are being killed, tortured, mutalated, families in danger persecuted. But let's worry and focus on homeschooling being all about Christian persecution. Dobson can put another notch in his belt for making a fool of Christianity and real persecation. Props.
-- You can go to the petition against this here.---
Don't worry - this blog won't contain ANY of that. :P The other day while I was driving home I began thinking about being authentic and transparent followers of Christ. What all does that entail? Real life. What does real life contain? Real sex. Lack of sex. Too much sex. Problems with sex. Sex, sex, sex. And more sex.
Christians are perceived as nightly missionary style sexual creatures - conservative in sex and conservative in orgasms. I realized with such a sexualized past I really haven't always been transparent in my blogging. And no - I won't be blogging about my personal intimacy with DH. You can all breathe a sigh of relief - especially those who know us in real life (IRL) because that would just be awkward!
But that brings me to my first thought - if sex is blessed and even outlined in God's Word (see Song of Solomon) then why on Earth do we shy away from talking sex with each other in the body? I'm not talking xXx rated conversations with erotic details or anything - but achieving a godly and fulfilling marriage including our sex lives? Why is it so taboo? As a former stripper to this day I am fascinated and L-O-V-E poles. To be honest, I want a pole in our home (probably the bedroom because not sure what message that would send to people) but not just for our sex life (although that does of course play a part - albeit shockingly minor) but for me personally. I loved dancing on the pole when I was a stripper - it was thrilling, awesome, fun, and healthy. Yes - healthy. I dropped three dress sizes while stripping going from a size 7/8 to a 4/5. Which is the one and only time I've ever been that lean in my entire life. I stayed with stripping long after I had come to hate the industry and people just to stay with the pole.
However, as a Christian I feel as if I should be hiding this - hiding my past, hiding my desire to own a pole, and hiding that I think they're awesome. I'm not in anyway supporting the porn/adult industry but what I am saying is that sex is apart of who we are.
As a married couple, we create a oneness, a completion to God's plan for us. Man was not complete without Eve and Eve was not complete without Adam. Together, they were one and they were complete. Yet, how did they become one? Through sex, through santification, through their everyday walk.
So why is talking about sex so taboo? I learned pretty early on how to come out of my discomfort zone about sex after five years of talking to high school students about sex in high school and then teen pregnancy that resulted from that. And they ask every question under the sun...
Couples struggle with sex, with what they might think other Christians would frown upon, upon becoming satisfied, and so on and so forth. I live in Sin City (although I really try to focus on the stories of Grace ..) so sex is quite the forefront of our culture here. Which makes it all the more important to talk about sex, about God and sex, and at the very least there to help along others who are struggling with understanding sex and it's place, and how it relates to God and our relationship with God. Young parents struggle to understand the importance of taking time to have sex, how to take the time to have sex - and when they reach out to other young parents are totally uncomfortable asking about the whole topic. Yet it needs to be talked about. People surprise me when they think I would be uncomfortable discussing sex - and I'm sure there are situations that I can think of when I'd be uncomfortable talking about sex and I wonder if they are more cultural or substantial, however I have to remind myself that they don't all know that I talked about it with high school students or that I was a stripper or a teen parent. When a Christian girlfriend of mine who is also a young parent sought my advice about her sex life I was intrigued by her total discomfort while we discussed the issue. It's just SEX - it's not like I'm sitting in their bedroom while they have it making notes to discuss with them later. It's just sex - I'm not going to visualize an image while we're talking and I'm not going to ask for erotic details, so why the discomfort? In a society that is all about sex, it seems to me that we are hopelessly unarmed and uneducated about the subject.
In the five years that I spoke to high school classes about sex I was always curious about the religious parents who would pull their kids from the entire sex class. Why? Why not come sit in on the class? Why not request the syllabus and have your own mini class at home? Why not bluntly and openly talk about sex with our kids? Would we rather find out that our kids are considering sex when they come and talk to us about it because they feel safe in doing so OR when our daughter's bellies start getting bigger?
Sex - it's a natural part of who God designed us to be, let's try to not get so hung up on it or use it to measure how spiritual or mature we are. ;)
We live in a community that we thought was going to be nice - atleast for awhile. And for the most part it is, however two summers ago (basically within a month of moving in) we realized there were some bad seeds in the neighborhood. It really tainted our view of kids in general - and I mean just about every school aged kid - from kindergarten to high school to college. It just really upset us. They trashed the TODDLER park, they stayed out late at night and made way too much noise (hello I'm only 25 but I feel so old saying that), and more. It just made me mad - I would sit out late at night on my computer on the patio and just watch them until 2 am sometimes.
Slowly, we've had the bad neighbors move out - from either getting evicted to totally trashing their own homes, to SWAT team invasions (hello our next door neighbors!), to simply not being able to renew their lease thanks to the HOA (one of the few things a HOA is good for). However, since this experience I've been so skeptical of all new move ins in our community - especially if there are young adults or kids. So when a favorite neighbor across the street moved out and some loud, rude, obnoxious young adults moved in in their place, my stomach turned. Their first night here didn't go well either - like us they have a super long driveway and so therefor had plenty of room to park their moving truck however, they choose to park the truck in the middle of the street basically blocking any cars from driving there. So of course, our other neighbors went and asked them to move their truck from the street - words were exchanged and the police were called. Then it came to light that these new neighbors had friends in the police department here and nothing was done. Situations have repeated like this for some time now - months now. Luckily, DH and I haven't really felt the effects of this - but because our friends and neighbors are receiving very unfair treatment and even RACIST treatment from these newbies to the community, it angers me. Because of these newbies, another favorite neighbor just moved out who would talk religion with me and teach me about Catholic cachetism (or loan me books which was great!). In short - I never had met this people and I just loathed them.
On Thursday after cleaning up our disgusting back yard - we will have to replace our backyard for now a THIRD time! - I took the kids out to play in our super duper long driveway. So nice to have. When I noticed that a very large dog with a pitbull face was roaming free and collarless. I have a huge fear of large dogs so I instantly began gathering the kids to put them back inside - the dog chased two people and then noticed us. So I picked up a chair and began backing the kids inside. Obviously, I called animal control who came and picked up the dog. Which belonged to the newbies. Who then blamed our friends and other neighbors for being "racist" and so they stole the dog. I was F-U-R-I-O-U-S, fuming! I decided to go over there and give them a piece of my mind. As I was getting ready to go to a shower and thinking over what exactly I would say to them, DH came in and began musing on what had occurred - reminding me that as Christians we are to control our tongues. Reminding me of my all time favorite Bible verse:
4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:4-6 NIV)
The Word is pretty clear how we should deal with others. And if that wasn't clear enough - James is blunt about the topic:
26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
(*Please don't leave comments on my blog, "But as a Christian we are NOT 'religious' but rather have a personal relationship with God." Christians who always get in a bunch because of the religious/religion words vs using relationship really try my patience.... :P *)
I felt so convicted by Steve and realized that I was being so ungodly in my thoughts.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.
Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
I began thinking about my day at work - I realized that my heart was fully in control of my mouth - my tongue was way out of control. I talked back to customers instead of showing grace, I smarted off to my Aunt instead of showing respect and honor, I aired my opinion to the homeless men I serve instead of showing grace and love and listening to them.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
I decided to make Psalm 19:14 and 49:3 my prayer to God and He planted a vision in my heart. I loathed these neighbors, they totally offended me and angered me because of their treatment to my friends - yet how much more do they need grace? If, "at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6) then why can't I hold my tongue and share His grace with someone I'd rather back over with my car a few times?
I prayed, then taking a deep breath walked across the street. I explained to them what had occurred with their dog and found out that they worked an unimaginable amount of hours each week. It was as if God was in the driver's seat and I was just watching, "Well if you're dog is nice, I'm a stay at home mom (SAHM) and would love to watch her for you. My kids and I would play with her during the day, take her on our walks with us, and make sure she doesn't get out to roam free again and possibly get hurt." I don't know if they'll take us up on the offer.
This does bring to question life application - as friends what does loyalty look like? I despise blind loyalty or misunderstood loyalty where one will equal loyalty to agreement or silence even when someone is in the wrong. However, another recent situation involved my friend Barbie who was wrongly accused of abusing and beating her kids! I recall feeling such anger over this issue, that someone would use her kids to try to intimidate her and now am extremly sensitive to the topic - so much so, that when a fellow ex-Mormon posted the same dirty lies about my friend, I gave her a huge piece of my mind reminding her (see my blog about lying ex-Mormons here) that all ex-Mormons are "evil" "liars" and thanking her for making this lie true. :/ Probably should have shown grace there - in fact I know I should have, however I was just so ticked off. I knew what this whole ordeal had done to my friend on all fronts - spiritual, mental, and emotional and I was extremly protective of her because of the whole thing.
So as friends, where is the line drawn? Is there a line? To what point do we remain loyal? What does loyalty look like? Are we betraying our friends by serving their enemies?
I hated offering to serve the rude and racist newbies, but God clearly showed me that it's not about ME anymore, it is about Him. God is using the uncomfortable, the undesirable, the annoying to sanctify me and make me more like Him. I may hate sharing grace with some people - but I just have to remember, that Christ shared it with me when I didn't even want it.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
In my very first Beth Moore book I read (paraphrasing here) that when God gives her a message, He surrounds her with it. I believe God is radically speaking into my life something uncomfortable yet again. I sometimes wonder if there will ever be a break between calls to obediance and change in my life.
God is returning my heart towards home. Wait - aren't I an ex-Mormon? LDS for years? Hello, isn't the whole religion turned towards home? Eternal families? Temple ceremonies? Why yes, it is. And yes, my heart has on the surface and in very real legalistic ways been turned towards home since my son was born but like most parents I've always looked forward to the next stage. If Paul was holding up his head, I couldn't wait for him to sit up, if he was sitting up I couldn't wait for him to scoot or crawl, and then I couldn't wait for him to toddle and walk and so on and so forth. And now, I just can't wait for kindergarten so I can finally have a clean home during at the very least, school hours. I'm a help meet and a keeper of my home but if my name and the words, "house" "clean" or "keeper" are used - Steve certainly has a good laugh. During both pregnancies and throughout the past years, I go through clean stages where everything MUST be tidy - but overall I become overwhelmed with vacuuming a floor only to have it remain clean overnight while the kids are sleeping but by 8 am is a total wreck again. Breaking my back to mop my tile floor just to have the kids spill juice by the end of the day and then run through it all over the first floor. I become sick of working so hard and then it getting messed up not a day later, not a week later, but sometimes just minutes later. And so, I daydream about the future.
But God has been calling for repentance in my life and radical obediance on the way I see motherhood, being a help meet and wife to my husband, and being a godly woman in general. He is calling for more than just head knowledge, but obediance and a change of heart - otherwise the obediance is only short lived.
Tonight, Focus on the Family had an amazing program about SAHM (Stay at Home Moms). It was so refreshing - I had to listen to it "live" on the radio so I had to refrain from "sushing" people in the store. Here is a link to part 1 (I haven't heard it yet) and here is a link to what I listened to tonight - part 2. It was about the very real importance of choosing motherhood as our profession. I have also been listening to Voddie Baucham's podcasts from his, Truth in Grace podcast - I have to say that I've finished both podcasts and am hungry for more. It's great stuff! I almost want to go out and find a Southern Baptist church now. The very real passion that is demonstrated by this man is amazing - his message is not by any means comfortable, in fact it had my quite uncomfortable since a lot of what he condemned as un-biblical are things Steve and I are doing right now and plan to do in the future.
As Baucham rattled off various statistics it really worried me about how we as Christians and we - Steve and I are doing as parents to younger generations. Don't get me wrong - I love how emerging churches like GP for example, are trying to connect with people to share the gospel with them, but I cannot help but return to my original line of thinking almost a year ago - if Christians come to be entertained on Sundays how real is their relationship? Will they be able to endure? I think connecting to people where they are and sharing the gospel with them is so extremly Biblical and incredibly needed however I also wonder how many people that are coming to these very modern and engaging churches are simply people who grew up in a Christian church and then fell away from church? How many Christians are returning to modern churches because they were never properly discipled by their parents? As parents, are we stepping up and engaging OUR children, OUR youth and discpling them? As mothers are we preparing (not just teaching) our daughters to become mothers and keepers of their homes? I love how Baucham phrased this, OR are we merely teaching our daughters to be men who also happen to be able to have babies? Are we bending to a worldview or are we standing firm in a Biblical worldview?
Steve and I recently listened to a piece NPR (This American Life) did about LDS missionaries - the piece followed two Elders in NYC. Towards the end of the piece the Elders were discussing who they loved engaging in conversations the most - Jews and Muslims because (and I'll quote them here), "they understand what covenants mean" - WOW! What a remark about Christians! That we do not know or understand convenants. Al Mohler did a piece last week about Christians and divorce and he made a very good point that since we don't publicly honor marriage because of the divorce rate AND because our pastors and leaders can get divorced with little to no fuss, we (Christians) have made a statement that marriage isn't really a covenant we stick with. Really, can you think of one way that Christians are known for ANY type of covenant? Yet the Bible itself consists of covenants - the Old Covenant and the NEW Covenant (Old Testament and New Testament). In fact, the cross is all about a covenant.
I hope my thoughts are not reading as scattered as I feel right now - but I hope that you can all see the very importance of taking the time in each season and being obedient to God's call in our lives. My call is motherhood right now - so I must allow God to change my heart and shape me into the mother HE envisions me to be. It's not easy - every time I see the childless volunteers at GP I feel jealous because I wish I could devote more time to volunteer work both inside GP and outside of it - but as a mother I really just don't have the time. Every time I read about some great work a Christian is doing, I wish I could be doing that work and yet, I don't even acknowledge how great the work of a mother really is.
I love the multi-generational promise that Baucham talks about and right now it's the call on my heart - to raise a godly generation to the Lord. After listening to stats from both Baucham and Dr. Mohler - I am even more convinced of how important it is for me to raise my children starting right now in the Word. With youth leaving Christian churches once they hit college, not being spiritually or theologically re-born, changing religions, and eventually having to go out into the world that is intolerant of Christian world views - as a mother I've got to do everything possible to ground them now. Again, I love the emerging church movement (possibly not the theology but I'll get back to you on that one) however I do not want my children to need to be entertained in order to come to Jesus.
Lastly, as I drove home I listened to Manna's updated podcast, particularly a sermon about rewards following sacrifice. It seemed to really drive home the point and message God has been really convicting me of - there is sacrifice in being a godly mother and raising my children in the gospel and in grace - it means my home will always be dirty five minutes after I clean it - but I clean it again and I accept that I will not have a model for Better Homes and Garden, it means that yes I'd like to volunteer more but I really just cannot, it means that I want to knit all day but I cannot - I need to disciple my children through play time, snack time, when they rise, while they play, when they lay down at night. I must accept that what God teaches me is not always going to be politically correct, and that I need to accept that now instead of always trying to smooth and gloss things over. It means that I am to lay myself down, even when I don't feel like it, even when I don't want to, even when I have other plans - I need to lay myself down. It means my actions alone should be able to teach my children about grace, mercy, God's love, and the gospel. It means training my children to worship together as a family, it means putting in time and energy I'd probably love to use to knit, blog, soak in a tub, or just hang out with my husband. It means God comes first, Steve comes second, and children come third - it means having and knowing my priorities. It means being very uncomfortable.
This really sticks out to me - God doesn't fluff us up in pillows, comforters, and scented spa candles to refine us - He makes us uncomfortable. How scary. But if we shrink away from the hardships, then we also shrink away from the blessings.
It means discipline. Spending time with God when I'd rather do something else, when I'd rather nap, when I'd rather blog, when I'd rather even do laundry (which I hate). It means painfully working on my prayer life.
Being a Christian isn't about the culture, the political soap boxes, or the cool t-shirts - it's about endurance, santification, and as we become refined, becoming more and more like Jesus. We aren't talking about cheap grace here - we're talking about the real deal, bought with Christ's blood - the work of the cross.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sometimes I wake up on Monday mornings a little grumpy. Time to do it all again. I'll buy food that gets eaten. I'll wash clothes that get dirty again. I'll sweep floors that an hour later will be littered with crumbs.
Is there more to all this than just doing the tasks of everyday life?
Before I jumped into the normal routine this morning, I sat with Jesus. And I found some big truths as I took a little glance into David's life. Despite how others saw him, his own propensity to sin, and lack of position in his own family, David had the sweet reassurance of God and that was enough.
Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.
I love how she started this devotional! A long time ago I was blessed that I would be a blessing to my children and that I would raise them in the ways of the Lord - this has always been in my mind, but at times wonder what exactly I'm doing to bless my children and family outside the everyday needs which a monkey could handle.
But as I caught up on my podcasts and listened to the scary stories of young girls becoming the targets of cosmetic companies and sexy clothing - I realized how important my role as a woman and mother is. I am handpicked by God to be MY children's mother - I was not handpicked by God to be my neighbor's children's mother - but MY children's mother.
As my daughter's mother - I am her role model for her to be a godly wife and P31 woman, I am her comforter, I am her representative of Jesus, I am her example. As my son's mother I am the example of what he should look for in a godly wife. I teach them both compassion by example, the gospel by unspoken words, and unconditional love by living in grace instead of my flesh. Laying down my self and breathing in grace, depending on God, and drowning in the Word is what I'm supposed to do. Of course I am a fallen human being so it's easy to know the answers, but hard to apply it and live it.
As my kids' mother I have to warn them about the world - about false gods, false ideas, and build them up on the foundation of a desperate need for Jesus.
Without these much needed lessons my kids can easily fall away from Jesus and into the hands of the world - my daughter wearing makeup and dressing "sexy" at far too early an age, never knowing how to boil water without burning it as a woman, or diving in head first into whatever new fad Oprah decides to get on board with. :P They could spend a life chasing falsehoods, lies, and living lonely unsatisfying lives because without Jesus, there will always be a hole that cannot be filled, a need that is not met, a restlessness that cannot ever be rested, and an ache that never dulls. Create a whole generation of children, young adults, and finally adults like this and the world becomes a very scary place. Our children needs US, their parents to be Jesus in their lives, by actions AND words.
Our children need us to take the time daily to disciple them. In the past two weeks, I've created a new habit in our daily schedule - stepping up and training my children to be the adults - the GODLY adults that I envision them to be. For nap time we are reading for the fifth time now, "The Jesus Storybook - Every Story Whispers His Name", we sing Jesus Loves Me and then I hum it while I knit until they go to sleep. They make their beds, they pick up their bathroom, we "play cook" together - I want to make sure they mature in the important areas, and stay children as long as they can in the worldly areas.
It's Monday. Mondays can be great - and last week I decided to start taking Mondays off - but just couldn't do it this Monday. Although, I've gotten a pretty slow start to cleaning and laundry. ;)
It's been a pretty good weekend - I think we all had a good time. We saw "30 Days of Night" with some friends from our Sunday night small group. Well perhaps I should correct myself - Steve saw the movie, I listened from behind a pillow. :P I really enjoy watching movies from people with our small group because then I'm not the weirdo in the group for some of the thoughts, concerns, etc I have - we usually all have the same ones which is nice. Besides this movie being graphic beyond need, there was something I find pretty disturbing which seems to mirror our society as a whole. In the beginning of the movie, there were several sled dogs slaughtered - yet they didn't show it - they merely left it to your imagination, there were barking dogs, a knife, a tightened chain, blood, then no more barking. Yet, when they had to behead a little girl (read: a child) vampire, they were pretty graphic. What's up with that? Are we really bending to the rights of animals over the rights of children? We know that in a movie like this animals aren't harmed or killed (hello CGI), we also know that people are not really harmed either. So why show the graphic deaths of say children on screen but not animals?
I'm not saying that I'm a heartless person when it comes to animals - I don't want any animals getting run over, if I saw someone beating an animal I'd probably stop and yell at them, I'd never hurt an animal (unless of course you count steak.. ;) ) but they are A-N-I-M-A-L-S - God gave us dominion over them. So sure, I'll knit with their fur, I'll eat them, I'll ride them (hello horses!), I'll drink their milk, so on and so forth. I don't believe God made them our equals, I do believe God gave us stewardship over them - to care and keep them, to provide for them, and so forth. But our society is pretty backwards so...
I've been listening to the Bible Experience - I doubt I'll make my 90 day goal now, but I'm still trucking on - who cares if it's 90 days or 6 months as long as I get through it cover to cover? As I trudge on through Leviticus I have a new found appreciation for my Savior. Wow - He freed me from more than just what I've realized - I knew the Jewish law had 613 commands but MAN it's harsh listening to them. I've sat and wondered if Jesus was considered unclean by just humans (ie the religious people of the day since there were more than just the infamous Pharisees) or if God ever considered Jesus unclean and how that really affected Him and so on and so forth. I've also noticed that a lot of the laws that God is handing down are ones that prominent figures in the OT have already broken - Steve says that since they weren't aware that say Rubuen sleeping with one of Jacob's concubines would make him unclean, that it wasn't held against him. I find this interesting and worth pondering about. I will be SO glad to be through Leviticus. While it defiantly makes some things clear, it's just really boring to listen to overall and I'm having a hard time - even with knitting - focusing on it.
Our Sunday night small group has exploded and they've even talked a little about splitting the group with Steve and I - not sure how I feel about that since first we're not members of their church (but hello we're all members of the body) and second, we just don't have the room to handle a group which is why we didn't sign up to be small group leaders for GP. We enjoy hosting the group during times when the leaders can't, but to do it regularly just seems a little much for us. Right now, we are starting a study on, "becoming authentic followers of Christ" - did they run over to GP's website and copy? ;) The first lesson - spiritual maturity and how to "measure it". LOVED it. This past Sunday the group was more of the original or long attending members instead of all the newbies - which was so nice. Our little small group family is really the first spiritual family Steve and I have ever had and it's nice when it's just us.
My "mom" has come and gone. Thank God. I tried to be a more forgiving person and better daughter by letting her spend (supervised) time with her grandchildren - but she rose to my expectations, spending just a little time with them, then taking a nap or totally ignoring everyone.
On Sunday Devin discussed the exclusive way to heaven - Jesus. It was a great and refreshing message. It was also nice to hear such a great message without feeling convicted - since I feel like God's been using GP messages to heavily convict me for months now, it's such a nice change of pace to just enjoy the message and not feel like God is whacking me on the head for 45 minutes or so. Nice. I will try to blog on the actual message because it's not a popular idea, but it's true - Jesus IS the only way to heaven and there are no second chances to get it right or accept Him as Lord and Savior.
Finally, I thought I'd share a few knitting projects with you all. I'm currently knitting two projects at once - not a preferance, just the way it worked out. I'm making Nikki some raspberry color leg warmers on my blue loom - however, I am also working on a baby shower gift and need the blue loom. I've finished the first part of this gift - a baby blanket (I swear it's in the nursery colors!) and now just need to make the matching hat.
I cannot believe I've knitted my first blanket! It's totally got me excited to make Steve some comfy house socks (our downstairs tile is ALWAYS freezing!) and a nice comfy super large afghan.
Here is Anya wearing "Esua's hairy arms" that I made for GP Kidz. That was fun, but a bit stressful.
Here is Steve lounging around in our freezing downstairs popping stove popcorn (ROCKS) in the green hat I made for him. His hat was the third project I tackled. I ended up making three of them and they each got better.
This hat was supposed to be for Paul, but his melon was too big and the yarn was not stretchy at all. So I packed it up in a basket with some cookies and other goodies and gave it to the new mommy down the street.
My ugly yarn that I love so much. Haven't made anything with this yet, but I'm going to make a shawl for me (yay something for me now on the project list!) with this super fun yarn. Who needs a day at the spa when I can just purchase yarn from the most awesome seller ever? Buying this amazing yarn was quite the luxury experience - that just might equal knitting with it. :)
Not pictured: the Alpacha hat for my MIL, the pink hat for Savannah (the family I sit for just had their newest addition), and of course Nikki's leg warmers. I've also totally given up 100% cotton - perhaps I'll try cotton blends in the future. I'm totally frustrated with the leg warmers (simply because of the knit two, purl two... grrr!) but I know they'll look super cute once finished.
That's it for now.