We is going camping!

I am tired. So tired from all I have seen and felt and heard in the past few months. Tired from just thinking about all there is still to do. Tired from trying to explain to family and friends why I want to move my family half way around the world to a 3rd world country they see as ugly and dirty but I see as the most beautiful, full of  precious people, place on earth. Tired from worrying and knowing I’m not supposed to worry but not being able to help it … how God? How?

So very tired from fighting myself.

My words yesterday were aimed at myself. They were meant for me. I know them to be true … so then why is it so hard to drop everything, give up the meaningless, trust in my Almighty Father, let go of what little perceived control I think I have, spread my arms wide and say, ‘Here I am. I will go.’ Why is that so hard? It shouldn’t be.

But I grew up here. Among all my things. In complete and utter comfort. Never enduring a moment of want. Always having plenty. Never being hungry. Always having a warm bed. Always having a mother and father to love me and care for me. I have had everything this world has to offer. All the days of my life. And to top off this perfectness … I have been further blessed with an all-consuming love for my Creator. I want desperately to do whatever He asks of me. I want to follow His call with all I am. I want to be everything He meant me to be.

I knew the moment I set foot in the Philippines it was where God wanted me. I couldn’t believe how it felt like home. It shouldn’t have. Everything was so foreign, so different. But it was obvious. So obvious. I think He knew I would need it to be so when I grew weary from the battle and needed a moment to look back on and hold to, I would have that moment. The fact that my spouse feels the same only makes it weirder. And more perfect. But he is having to fight his own battles. This is not going to be easy. I never thought it would be but I am spent. Exhausted. I am bruised, sore and weary from this spiritual battle I don’t really understand.

So … I’m going camping!

In the mountains. With my family. I’m going to breath in the fresh air. Drink in the glory of God’s abundant wilderness. I’m going to hike. I’m going to fish. I’m going to hunt rocks with my kids. I’m going to run, jump and play. I’m going to get wonderfully filthy so when I get home, a shower feels like the greatest luxury known to man.  I’m going to sit by the fire and stare into the flames. I’m going to have camp-fire coffee at daybreak beside my husband. I’m going to pray. Read. Worship. A lot! In this beautiful place God has me at this very moment. I’m going to let it refresh me. I’m going to give a little of myself away. I’m going to let it go so I can continue the good fight. I’m going to come back rested, stronger, better. This is a big job and I am one small girl. I need to practice the peace and joy that can only be found by actively choosing to stay in my Father’s hands.

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Be careful what you wish for

I have lots to say about the Philippines. I have even more pictures, thanks to Chris. But I am having a hard time saying the words and looking through the pictures.

I have prayed to be just like this … Back to Life Ministries. The author of this blog is a girl, just like me, with a love and a passion for what I know is good and right and makes perfect sense, especially when it doesn’t.

I got it. Ever hear, ‘Be careful what you wish for?’

This love and passion rooted deep in my soul for ‘the least of these’ has taken a form I am not at all comfortable with. I am not the serene, peaceful, full of love and compassion, Jesus of my imagination. Oh no. I am the Jesus turning over tables in the temple. I get PISSED, y’all. I want to take some people out. I want to get others fired up. I want to send the big, fat fakes that have turned my Father’s house into nothing more than a disgusting market place running. I want heads to turn. I want people to take notice. Of what? How completely stupid we all sound. We have missed it. We have completely missed it. We talk about the most ridiculous things. We are not smart, or witty, or good, or pious – we are complete idiots who think we know it all but we know less than nothing.

WE ARE THE RICH THAT WILL FIND IT HARDER TO GET TO HEAVEN THAN A CAMEL WILL FIND IT TO GO THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE.

WE ARE THE RICH MAN WHO WILL HANG HIS HEAD AS WE WALK AWAY FROM JESUS BECAUSE WE HAVE SO MUCH WE SIMPLY CANNOT GIVE IT ALL AWAY.

WE ARE THE LUKEWARM CHURCH THAT GOD WANTS TO SPIT OUT OF HIS MOUTH.

Who is we? The American Christian.

Aren’t you glad you came on over to read my thoughts today? I am not comfortable with this kind of passion because it is not like me. I am a fairly laid back, easy-going girl. Ask anybody. And I really hate making people unhappy with me. I am a little bit of a people pleaser. I can’t imagine I please too many people with the above statements. But they are true. I have to say them.

I’m not saying I am right for the way I am expressing these huge convictions that are too big for me to keep in. I am saying they are real. They are true. They are the things I think and feel. And they just get stronger the closer I get to God.

I haven’t talked much about the Philippines. What I saw and felt there. The people I met. The things God told me. Only a little here and there. And I cry every. single. flippin’. time! I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to describe what God did to me there. He made me so much better than I really am. He let me see beyond the surface of things, down to the heart. The heart of worship. What it really is. What it should really look like. How it should really be.

I hear people say all the time how blessed the United States is – oh my gosh – no we are not! We are not blessed. Watch the ones without so many things worship, watch them trust, watch them BE JUST LIKE JESUS. They are the blessed. They are the rich of all things really important. We are sorely handicapped with our perceived blessings. We cannot begin to open ourselves to our God the way they can. We are so over taken with our things we cannot SEE. The enemy has entrenched himself among us and every time he hears someone say what a blessed nation we live in he has himself a little party. We are the blind of the Scriptures, we are the rich, we are the ones who are going to miss it without even knowing it. We are the ones who will be surprised at what we find on the other side because I don’t think it is going to be, ‘Well done good and faithful servant’. No, I think that praise will be reserved for the ones like I saw in the Philippines. Those are the real Christians. Those are the ones who really get it. I think we will hear something completely different come out of the lips of our Savior.

This makes me sad. And really, really mad. Because I kind of love us. I want more for us. I want better.

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A couple of days in the Philippines

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today was amazing. I was so extremely tired from the plane ride and bus ride here to Baguio that it all seemed kind of surreal. Everything had a blurry edge. I actually can’t believe it’s only been one day. What can I say about being with my best friend again after a year apart – we picked up right where we left off. We drank coffee, she said, ‘Tricia, where is your cup?’ and then laughed because it has been so long since she has said that. We got ready, put our makeup on in the car J and talked and talked and talked some more. The kids were so excited to see us and we were excited to see them. Hugs all around and I have a new little shadow named Angel. She tells me how beautiful I am all the time and I tell her how beautiful she is. She is always comparing our skin, ‘See, Aunt Tricia. You white, me brown.’ When Neely was sitting in my lap she said, ‘White, white’ and then put her arm next to mine and said, ‘White, brown.’ It’s a big deal to her that her new family is different than she is. I told her I like brown. I try to get more brown by being out in the sun a lot. I think brown is beautiful. She smiled.

We met Pastor Dan. He took the 6 hour bus ride with John to meet us at the airport in Manila and then turned right around and took the 6 hour bus ride back to Baguio. Then he showed us around the city all day today. He took us to a Dominican Seminary that was gorgeous. It is really old and has been used for many things – including a Japanese military base during WW II – Chris took tons of pictures. His wife, Sister Melody, and sons joined us for a trip to the mall and some lunch … I’m not sure of the official Filipino name of what we ate but it was beef fajitas with rice, y’all. Then Neely picked out some cupcakes and we had a small celebration for her birthday. I’m pretty sure we will have the ‘real’ party when we go to Alaminos, where John & Mandi live most of the time. We visited with Pastor Dan and Sister Melody for awhile and then all took a much needed nap. We spent the evening catching up. Talking about everything John and Mandi are doing here and where it looks like the future is headed. They showed us a million pictures.

Pastor Dan asked me in the van today if I thought I could make this my second home. I said, ‘Yes, I think so.’ But what I really wanted to say is, I have to pray all the time for God to help me slow down. I have wanted to do exactly what John and Mandi are doing for such a long time. I am so happy they are getting this experience but a little envious too. I would move here tomorrow and pitch in with both hands and a full heart and be the happiest person in all the world.  I don’t know how it happens that you love a place so much that you have never been. When we flew over Manila my heart just wanted to explode, ‘I’m here. I’m finally here!’ I couldn’t sleep for the longest time on the bus ride to Baguio. I want to swallow everything whole. I want to absorb every moment with these people and in this place. I want to see everything, smell everything, feel everything. I want to speak to these people in their own tongue. I want to learn the way they do things. I want to know what they know. I pray because I know it has to be in God’s time and in God’s way … and I want it so bad. I can’t begin to explain to you why. I don’t really know. I just know it is getting bigger all the time and after one day I know this is where I am suppose to be. I don’t know how and I don’t know when. I am praying I just enjoy the time I have and as the Filipino people are so good at … leave tomorrow in God’s hands.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last night I fell into bed and passed out. I can’t remember the last time a day was so gloriously long. Of course it is now 3am and I am wide awake because my body tells me it is really lunch time somewhere back in Colorado. So here was my day …

First thing this morning Chris and I took a moment to talk to each other before every one else got up. There isn’t much time for things like talking to your spouse, so you take it when you can get it. The Philippines is everything we thought it would be and so much more. We have met some of the most amazing people on planet Earth in our short two days on this small island in the Asian Pacific – and we are falling in love. I told Chris our friend, Misti, told me before we left, ‘Tricia, I want you to remember that God made you special for this. Don’t think that someone else can take your place and do the job God has for you. Girl, God would have to come down and physically sit in front of me and tell me he wanted me to move to the Philippines before I would even consider it. Not everyone was made to do what you are doing. You are perfect for this and no one will be able to do it like you.’ Oh, how I needed those words. Thank you dear friend. It’s easy to see that truth in others but so hard to see it in ourselves. I often find myself thinking, ‘But what do I possibly have to offer?’

Then, we all got ready and headed over to Pastor Dan’s house.

An Aside: A little more about Pastor Dan – or at least what I have learned so far.

First, Pastor Dan is one of those people you want to be when you grow up – except he is younger than you and that makes it kind of sad and amazing all at the same time. He reminds us all of another pastor we love and adore – Pastor Jason Bay. They have the same way about them. You can tell them one convoluted sentence about what God is doing in your life and they get up in front of a group of people and explain what you were trying so hard to say in a way that sounds like you knew what you are talking about the whole time. You end up looking pretty bright and as if you actually have this whole thing figured out … except you are looking at them with everyone else and thinking, ‘Wow, that is what I am doing? Dang, that’s awesome!’ Pastor Dan started Jesus History Makers Ministry in 2009. He has a huge heart for God and for his people. He is one of those men you don’t meet very often. He has a servants heart which makes him one of the best leaders I have ever seen. He really listens. And he gets excited when he sees the Holy Spirit at work. He is a go-getter too. No sitting around with Pastor Dan. We are going to get this stuff done, y’all!

We got to talking about – gosh, everything. Cailey being sick, all the things God showed us and taught us during that horrible time, the vision God has given us of our calling into missions. I did a lot of the talking. Shocking, I’m sure. At one point I thought Chris said, ‘Is your jaw tired?’ He didn’t, he was asking Angel a question (she is teaching him Tagalog J) but we all thought it was funny because maybe everyone was thinking that very thing. Maybe. At one point I mentioned to Pastor Dan that I might have found a mission opportunity in Baguio through The Assembly of God World Missions website. Ten minutes later we were headed to the mall and free wi-fi to look up the address and go talk to them (after climbing a gazillion steep steps up a mountain side from Pastor Dan’s house to the road – no wonder that man is in such great shape).

We ended up at The Asia Pacific Theological Seminary with me talking to the President about possible opportunities for an American woman with a Master’s Degree in Psychology. How did this even happen? You aren’t asking yourself anything I didn’t ask myself a hundred times and let me just say, there was whole lotta praying going on for God to give me some good words, from this old gal.

I learned there is an endless need for someone like me at the Seminary. Who freaking knew? The students are from all over the world and all the classes are taught in English, so English tutors are in high demand as well as proofreaders that know a little something about the written English language (poor unknowing souls). I would also be perfect as a counselor because it is a conflict of interest for the Dean’s to counsel the students and I am not Asian – many of the students would feel safe talking to me because I am unlikely to tell another Asian. Then the poor man’s brain went into overdrive and he started talking about this counseling room they have but don’t use because they don’t have a counselor on staff and would I please pray about it and he would just love to meet my husband and show us around the compound. I told him I sure would and walked out smiling ear to ear and shaking my head at the endless miracles of God in my life. I didn’t even know the place existed until about 3pm this afternoon and of course Pastor Dan said, ‘Let’s go!’ I put on a skirt and we got there after 5 but Pastor Dan asked for a favor from the guard at the gate and apparently you are kind of a big deal when you are from Texas and in the Philippines and you just up and get to meet the President of the number one Seminary in the country … words fail me y’all.

Chris and I are going back tomorrow. We have been praying for over a year for God to show us ‘How’ – I can’t imagine it gets any clearer than that.

You’d think I would be exhausted after such an unexpected interview (especially since I am considerably out of practice having been a stay-at-home mom for the past five years) and you would be right. But if you think our adventures where over, you would be very wrong. We drove to a village in the mountains to fellowship with a home church that Pastor Dan started.

 Another Aside: I love the coffee here! It comes in these little packets and you just add hot water and it is already sweetened with things like brown sugar and it is deeee-lish! Chris and I also can’t get over these butter cracker things that taste more like cookies but are WAY better. We are so bringing some of those home to the kids – they are going to love them!

Okay, so where was I? Oh, we met the most amazing young people in this little village. I have never seen people worship like this. So pure and true and uninhibited. They closed their eyes and sang out to their God. They praised Him and loved Him and, oh my gosh, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

We drove (well John drove – and I will not go into his INSANE Filipino driving skills at the moment) up winding, narrow streets, walked down a rocky mountain path, up a steep flight of stone steps, past a very loud pig pen to a small room in a small home where over 70 people come to worship their God. We took off our muddy shoes at the door and entered into the most simplistic beauty on the planet.

How do you stop the tears? How do you keep your heart inside your chest surrounded by such pure and honest praise and worship? How do you keep it together when these precious people say how much they admire you for giving up everything and coming there to be with them? How do you tell them they are the ones to be admired? How do you explain they are what Jesus was talking about, they are what He looks like? How do you say you are running to them to save yourself from a home that has lost it’s way and you wish with all your heart you where the selfless person that was giving up everything to be with them but really what you are giving up is the empty, meaningless world and what you are gaining is the Kingdom of God on earth? How do you explain to these bright eyed, pure hearted, most beautiful, poorest of the poor that they are so much more to you than you could ever hope to be to them?

You don’t. You thank God for this moment. You thank God He chose you for something so big and true that you know you will never find the words to share it with your world. But it’s too much not to try. So you wake up at 3am, unable to still your full mind or quench the overflow of your heart, and you will try to search out the words. You will pour them out and hope the unexplainable can some how be found among`your sorely inadequate descriptions.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You know what one of my favorite things about being here is so far? Seeing the effect it has on Chris. Last night at the mountain village, Pastor Dan asked him to pray and I was surprised at how short and flat his prayer was. I mean he even said at one point … ‘Please be with John and Mandi and um, um Pastor um Dan. And Lord Dave, we just want to thank you.’

Yeah, I mean what even was that?

Then he tells me this morning that right when he said that he was praying to himself, ‘Please God, don’t let me start crying.’ He said he could feel it coming and he was trying so hard not to cry in front of all those kids. (This is the point where he can’t hold back the tears just remembering) ….

‘I mean, Tricia, here are these kids praising God in this tiny room and they don’t have anything and they spent the last TWO MONTHS praying for Cailey. I just can’t get over that. I want to give those kids everything I have. I want to tell each of them, ‘You’re going to college, and you’re going to college, and you’re going to college, and in 12 years you’re going to college too just because you’re here.’ I want to tell them you are all getting out of this place and realize those dreams you have because you deserve them more than anybody I’ve ever met. And that Victory kid. Watching him praise God, man, that kid just touches my heart. I just want to hug him and cry and say, ‘You’re going to college!’ I got to get up and make some coffee. I can’t even talk about this anymore.’

I had to record what my big, strong husband should have shared with every one of those kids last night. He has got the biggest, softest heart and it is too beautiful not to shine from the highest mountain top.

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Will I miss it?

Am I going to make the same mistake as the Pharisee’s and miss it because I think God means something he doesn’t? Am I going to be stubborn and prideful and think I know the thoughts and ways of God… and miss it?

I was reading the first chapter in Luke today and I was struck by how God told the Israelites exactly what he was going to do. He told them he was going to set his people free, he told them he was going to deliver them from their enemies and every hateful hand, he told them he was going to do what he promised, “So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live.” And he did. He did everything single thing he promised. But God did not mean what they thought he meant.

And they missed it.

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Cailey had a seizure yesterday. In Florida. 1600 miles away from me. On vacation with her grandparents. And I am torn. I am sad. I am mad. I am disappointed. I am scared. I am guilty. I am everything except joyful that I am about to fulfill a God-given vision of missions in the Philippines.

I wanted to call my friend this morning because I knew she would tell me what I already knew but needed to hear again. I called my mom instead, who is just as scared and worried as me because she is my mom. She said what I knew she would say, ‘Maybe God is telling you, you shouldn’t go to the Philippines.’ Hadn’t I been saying that to myself all night long? Instead of being reminded of what I already knew, I reminded my mom of what she already knew.

‘I don’t think God works like that, Mom. He doesn’t try to scare me or make me feel guilty. He doesn’t make my children sick to get me not to do something. He never does that. He would let me know in his gentle, loving, persistent way if he didn’t want me to go. Instead, I feel him sitting back, watching me closely, wondering if I am going to let this stop me and knowing that I won’t. He is rooting for me. He is smiling at me saying, ‘You know I am in control. You know I have Cailey in my hands. You know I have called you to this. You know I made you special just for this. You know it. Have faith, my beloved. Have faith. I don’t want you to be scared. I want you to be happy.’

And I will be. I will be.

I am not going to miss it because it doesn’t look the way I thought.

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Growing Pains

I was awaken in the middle of the night by a crying child suffering from growing pains. He was crying out for his mother. He is not my child but my heart constricted for the little guy as if he were. I stumbled around, half awake and did my best to comfort and sooth. I hugged and patted, got him a drink of water (I don’t know why this helps but it always does) and took away his pain with a little Tylenol and Icy Hot. He climbed back into bed with a sweet smile for me. He never thought to say thank you and I never thought to get one. I may not be his mother but I am a mother – this is what I do.

Of course now I am wide awake with little hope of finding that evermore illusive deep sleep I was so enjoying an hour ago. I am sitting with my cup of coffee and computer, enjoying the not so silent silence of a house of sleeping children. I started reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s, An Alter in the World and she is reminding me to soak up every ounce of pleasure from moments like these. I love books  like that.

Then I had to go and read this … Views that advocate same-sex marriage are free to exist, but they are wrong.

My peace was shattered.

How can anyone be so arrogant and get away with it? Stupid Desiring God website. I love you and now you have gone and ruined it and I may never be able to visit you again. Stupid Desiring God website!

I can assure you Mr. Parnell, I have never felt so persecuted as I do when I disagree with my fellow Christians. It would seem I should not be allowed to do that. I should not be allowed to be the person God made me. I should not be allowed to make up my mind for myself. I should not be allowed to feel the stirrings of God’s Holy Spirit that tell me, ‘something is not quite right about this’. I should not be allowed to read the Scriptures and interpret them because I am obviously not intelligent enough for all that. I should not be allowed to disagree without being called ‘lukewarm’ (paa -lease! I am anything but lukewarm. I remember lukewarm. This ain’t it.), or accused of worshiping the idol of ‘new tolerance’ (I got nothing on this absurdity), or given sole responsibility of driving souls straight into the pits of Hell (where do you people get this crap anyway?)

I should not be soothed and comforted through my growing pains.

For that is what they are.

I am growing into my religion. I am growing into my faith. I am growing into my calling. I am growing into my understanding. I am growing into my love for others. I am being stretched and molded in a hundred different ways. All this growing and stretching, while essential in my personal sanctification process, is uncomfortable. It hurts.  And I am crying out for someone to take my hand and sooth me and tell me everything will be okay … you are just having some growing pains.

I don’t think anything has been so disappointing as disagreeing.

I run to the place I know I will always find the strongest of arms to hold me, the gentlest of hands to sooth me, the most loving of Fathers to comfort me and make it all better …

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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How exactly do you get “called” to a place?

 

I wrote most of this last night when I was kind of in the middle of a hissy fit. I wasn’t going to post it because I really don’t want to offend anyone and I am usually on my best behavior on here. But it makes me laugh and, well, I would enjoy reading it on someone else’s blog. So please don’t take me too seriously and if swearing offends you leave! now!

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I have been reading the blog of Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary. It’s my new favorite thing. This comment was on her first ever post …

how exactly do you get “called” to a place? at least in your experience. I am always so confused by that Christian jargon of being called to places and would like to know more about it because I don’t know when I am called or when I am going on my own. ~K

Well, you know K, if you asked me this question I would tell you truthfully … neither do I. I pretend I do but most of the time I haven’t the faintest idea. I am just as confused as you are. I think I am supposed to act all confident because I read the Bible and pray a lot and read deep, thought-provoking Christian books and blogs that teach me the ‘lingo’ but really, I am stumbling through life doing the best I can just like everybody else.

To me, being “called” simply means hoping like hell God is in on my little plan and some what approves. I’m sure this is not right K, but there you go. I try hard to look for God signs, I try hard to wait patiently, I try hard to believe and then act, I try hard to follow the rules but really I am walking down a road and I can’t see around the next turn. For all I know it’s a dead-end (which, for the record, would be mighty disheartening). But it is my best effort at loving God well, so I keep walking anyway.

One thing that has helped me to know if God is in on my ‘calling’ might surprise you a bit K. It certainly did me.

Throwing out the rule book and being a little bit brave.

Throwing out the rule book K! You got that part right?

Like maybe when you get fed up with all the stupid shit ‘Christians’ are saying on facebook and write a post about loving your neighbor as yourself and getting over your arrogantness that you know everything there is to know and quit being a dick to the people you are supposed to be loving and serving.

Okay so maybe I didn’t say it quite like that, but guess what happens when you are a little bit brave like that K?

Besides everyone you know thinking you have lost your mind?

God applauds and cracks open that door you have been staring at for 6 months because it’s not about saying or doing the right thing, K (who even knows if I’m right, it’s just what I think) it’s about standing up by yourself and doing the brave thing. I know it’s a crazy concept but to be “called” to pretty much anything you have to actually LOVE people, I mean like really love them K, and sometimes that means standing up for the ones being treated unfairly, even if the ones doing the unfair treating is basically everyone you know (especially then K, especially then). You have to be faithful in the little things. It’s the little things that get you closer to being the person who is finally ready to walk through The Door.

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I wrote that last night K and I didn’t know how to finish it (or if I wanted to. I think the “shit Christians say” and “being a dick” parts might get me called all my names by a certain husband, even though it is totally his fault I think in swear words. He’s the one that moved me to a military town during my impressionable years). Then I read another blog post today by Donald Miller and you know what K? I think maybe we have been looking at this whole “calling” thing all wrong. I think we both need to stop asking ‘how’ and start asking ‘why’. Not how do we know God is “calling” us to this or that, but why would He?

You know the number 1 reason why I think God is “calling” me and my family to be missionaries? Because we want to be missionaries K.

And shouldn’t that be enough?

 

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I hope it’s worth it

I have prayed for God to give me a heart like this, Back to Life Ministries.

You can hear the overflowing love she has for her Haitian family in every single sentence. She is the love of Christ personified. I have prayed long and hard my heart be flooded with that kind of love on Chris’s and my mission trip to the Philippines. I always want my motives and heart in the right place … much more than I want my actions to be right.

It would seem God has granted me my request.

I am loving and hurting for the gay community right now. I can’t even get on social media without encountering the never-ending, heartless comments of my fellow Christians. I am so disappointed and heart sore. I honestly don’t even know what to say. I go from being heartbroken, to thoroughly pissed off and back to heartbroken so many times a day I am left feeling exhausted and just plain sick. I can’t even begin to imagine how the actual people these comments are posed against feel.

I just know what it feels like to see the bride of Christ acting this way.

I wish you could all just stand back for a moment and hear yourselves. Read your words. Hear how they sound. Feel how they cut. See how they bruise.

I hope it is worth it. Being right. I hope every callous word is worth it.

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What is saving my life right now …

A friend. One I don’t know well and don’t spend a lot of time with but every time I see him, he blesses me. Every. single. time. He swept in the other day and dropped a few words that reached right out and soothed my soul. How does he do that? Because I want to be like that.

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This quote I found on Pinterest …

because ain’t that the truth!

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Sitting at the kitchen table, playing a game with my 8-year-old and he lets one rip. Laughing so hard I can’t catch my breath. Not because I think farting is particularly funny but he does and his laughter is contagious.

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This book …

because I forget sometimes that I can’t earn it.

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The texts I get from my husband every morning he is out-of-town …

because I am a girl in love with her boy.

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Walking through my living room with my first cup of coffee and hollering over the cartoons, ‘Untie your sister. It’s too early to be tying people up.’ And then taking a picture …

because I might forget this.

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This song …

because it makes me want to be better.

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This blog post …

http://www.jenhatmaker.com/blog/2012/07/27/in-the-basement

because I am not alone.

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This face …

because I almost lost it.

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Thank you God. For everything.

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I love women pastors covered in tattoos – they are my favorite.

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Jesus replied, “The great commandment is this… to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Cailey is having difficulties with the other little girls her age in the neighborhood. Part of me dismisses it as the age (11-year-old girls never get along, do they?) but I also recognize a certain character trait at play. One that often gets me in trouble. Cailey cannot keep her mouth shut. She cannot keep her mouth shut when she gets mad and calls someone a name. She cannot keep her mouth shut when she sees someone treated unfairly. She cannot keep her mouth shut when she disagrees (and her opinion is always right). She cannot keep her mouth shut just to keep everyone happy and therefore remain a member of the coveted in-crowd. And my baby girl is learning the inevitable consequences of a big mouth.

I know the feeling well.

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About a month ago the topic was brought up in my Sunday School class about that Carrie Underwood saying she supported gay marriage. The question was posed, ‘Why is it the younger generation thinks gay marriage is okay?’ and several heads turned in the new girl’s direction. After getting over the little thrill that I was the younger generation they were referring to, I almost smarted off, ‘Because we get that the whole point is to love other people the way Jesus loves us and telling someone they do not have the right to marry the person they are in a committed, loving relationship with doesn’t make them feel loved at all.’ Instead, I smiled my close-mouthed smile and waited for the older, wiser generation to move on to safer waters. And just in case you can’t tell from my criticism, I truly love the people in that Sunday School class. I don’t care at all that they are wrong about some things. They are right about a lot of others and I cherish each one of their sincere hearts.

But it has bugged me to no end that I kept my mouth shut that day.  I can’t quit forming new responses in my head (okay, and sometimes out loud when I think no one is watching) that better express the conviction the Holy Spirit continues to place on me about really loving my neighbor as I love myself. I went on a 30 minute rant to Chris just to get my righteous opinion out of my system. I have been anxiously awaiting another opportunity to voice my unpopular, yet well rehearsed thoughts.

I am still waiting.

Except today my 13 and 11-year-old wanted to talk about Chick-fil-a. Of course they did. And I was fairly well prepared for the conversation given my obsession over that lost moment in Sunday School.

It all started with someone looking over my shoulder while I was on facebook (haven’t they invented an eye-rolling smiley face yet?) and that someone wondering why people were so upset about Chick-fil-a opposing gay marriage. ‘Why wouldn’t they?’, Cade wanted to know. ‘It’s totally gross to marry a boy!’ ‘Yeah!’, Cailey agreed (I believe she meant it was totally gross to marry a girl but that is beside the point). I told them many people would agree with them.

But what did I think? (I am truly in love with the world of motherhood where my opinion is ranked above all others)

Let’s say we lived in opposite world (they both shook their heads matter-of-factly) and the people in the church said it was wrong for me to love Daddy and want to spend my life with him. They believed God said it was wrong for us to get married and so there was a law saying we couldn’t.

Well that was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard! Of course it is okay with God for me to marry Daddy. And if Cailey lived in opposite world and she was me, she would marry Daddy anyway (with her ‘and everyone can just go to hell as far as she is concerned’ flip of the hair that is my favorite)

I’m sure that’s how people who love someone of the same-sex feel too.

Cade was off to make himself lunch and Cailey was back into her knitting (or her ‘casting on’ as that is all she does so far – cast on, unravel, cast on, unravel – she is a perfectionist too) because it all made perfect sense now. The idea of gay marriage may be a bit distasteful to my budding teenagers but in no world would it ever be okay for someone to say I did not have the right to marry their Daddy.

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I have not been to seminary and I do not claim to know all the arguments for what the bible does and does not say about homosexuality. I have, however, prayerfully read all the verses (and sometimes chapters) I could find on the subject because I realized I could not defend the position I was taught growing up – that homosexuality is a sin, the bible says so. And I have drawn my own conclusions as to what I believe God intends me to do with these verses. He wants me to do the same thing He wants me to do with the poor, the sick, the needy, the hungry, the destitute, the helpless – He wants me to strive to see my gay brothers and sisters through His eyes and to love them like I love myself. The End.

 

** below are the verses I read and an article that pretty much says what I would say if I was that smart … and a gay man with a partner named Gary 🙂

Genesis 18:18-25

Leviticus 18:22 (you have to read the whole book of Leviticus to get the full effect – it is something else)

Romans 1:26-27

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

1 Timothy 1:9-10

What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality by:Mel White

 

***for the record, I do not plan to boycott Chick-fil-a because they disagree with me.

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