Tag Archives: Relationships

A Car Wreck and Possibly Alienating Coordinating Analogy

22 May

Just as the toddlers got settled in the basket outside our car at Kroger, we heard a car crash nearby.  Looking in the direction of the noise, I witnessed an SUV crash into a white car parked on the far end of the parking lot and then skid around before finally stopping.  I pushed the kids in that direction to get the license plate of the car that was making all the trouble, in case the person decided to hit and run.  The guy whose car got smashed up walked up and was wondering why the heck his new car was crushed in on one side.  I gave him my card as a witness.  Some lady had sped through the parking lot and a truck hit her before the part of the crash that I saw.

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I don’t know what was going on with that lady, but what struck me was that the car that was way off on the end of the lot, supposedly safe from being dinged by other car doors, is the one that got badly damaged.  It got me to thinking about how all of our plans to “play it safe” are subject to fail.  And there’s one area where I’ve noticed all my Christian life that people play it safe, and that’s in choosing not to get overly enthusiastic about Jesus.

If you think about it, usually only preachers and missionaries live sacrificially and are sincerely head-over-heels for Jesus.  Not many everyday Christians can be accused of being more excited about Jesus than anything else.  Truth is, the overall “church in America” has more of the world in it than it does devotion to Jesus Christ.

Never will forget the deacon at a Baptist church who spoke up one Wednesday night at church during a Bible discussion.  He outright and unashamedly admitted that he chooses to please man rather than God.  As a person who has been lopsided about maintaining a God-focus, I can say it really does create friction in relationships.  The easy-going road that invites everyone to roll out their welcome mats is not the one which follows hard after God.

The way I see it is that people like that deacon play it safe like that white car at the end of the parking lot.  But in the end, they’re the ones that weren’t as wise as they thought.  There will be great reward in heaven for people who live for the things above rather than the things below.  And there will be great loss of reward for those who didn’t; talk about an inconvenient truth!  Even more inconvenient that having to deal with all the hassle of a wrecked vehicle.

Here’s my disclaimer: This post may sound a bit like I’m feeling spiritually superior, but I don’t mean to.  I’m so far from a perfect Christian it’s ridiculous, but no one who knows me can deny that I have a heart after God and obviously not after the world. 

God Formed a New Ear on a Grown Woman

3 May

Maddie

Have you ever thought about the way life begins anew, with a fetus growing into a little one with hands, feet, and everything else?  It’s sort of mind-blowing, isn’t it?  Well, I discovered that God forms new creatures even outside of the womb.  The thing is, He answered prayers and sort of changed me into a new person as a result of a desperate plea for help.

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been guilty of behaving badly when moving.  I moved this week, and my youngest daughter helped me.  She had pretty much dreaded being with me in my “moving mode.”  But instead of me getting all edgy and sharp, I was relaxed and generous and sweet and loving.  We actually enjoyed our hard work, and we worked as well together as two people possibly can.

Maddie said, on several occasions, that we were a good team and the move couldn’t have gone any more smoothly than it did.  She appreciated the Starbucks coffees I bought her and the lunch and the general willingness to bend over backwards for her because she was working like a mule for me.

But it was a miracle that I acted appropriately.  How did God do that?  I have a track record of allowing worries to affect me in high stress moves, though normally I’m a person who refuses to worry for more than a few minutes, consciously, anyway.  Faith is all about remembering that God has us in the palms of his hands.  He doesn’t cough and look away, not even for one millisecond.

I know what it is that’s bothering me during these moves.  I’ve had some really bad experiences in which movers went so far as to scare me with threatening behavior.  Don’t want to go into all that, but I ended up fearing what may happen and how I may be overcharged.

Everything in my life fits as part of God’s plan for my life.  There aren’t any particular days or events in which I need to take up the mantle of worry and stress.  Since I believe that all things are working together for my good, I can behave like a sincere follower of Jesus Christ at all times of the day and night.  And when it was that this sank in well enough to turn my behavior completely around is a mystery, like when God fashions an eyeball.

How to Be Beautiful Via Meditation

17 Apr
Mirror

Mirror (Photo credit: Chapendra)

I follow a beauty regimen which involves moisturizer, eye cream, and now a primer to put under my foundation (something I couldn’t recommend highly enough), and more.  Day after day, I don’t miss the routine which keeps me looking young for my age.  But there are other mirrors I need to be looking in besides my makeup mirror:  a full-length mirror to remind me that I’m overweight and, chiefly, scriptures about how to be more like Jesus.  Specifically, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.

No matter how unwrinkled my skin is, what good is it if I’m impatient with grocery store checkers?  How lovely is it when I speak harshly to Logan, even if he has been a holy terror?  My hormone pills don’t control my irritability when life gets especially stressful, and you know that when momma’s not happy ain’t nobody happy.

In short, I’ve been an ugly lady for a while.  Yes, I’ve been in a bit of a pressure-cooker situation; but that’s no excuse.  All this time I could have gone through the exact same things with love and grace.  What’s been missing?  I haven’t been meditating on God’s Truth in an effective way.  I also haven’t been praying enough.

So yesterday I started out meditating on the love scriptures.  I want to tell you, it was like taking a powerful vitamin supplement!  I felt like a different person as my mind was not on myself all day.  My thoughts were on others, and love leaked out of me instead of tetchiness.

I think I’ll add something new to my makeup bag.  I’ll put these powerful scriptures in a frame or something and put them in front of me.  This way, I’ll erase my self-centeredness while I’m erasing signs of age.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Out of a Trance and Facing the Original Big Fear

12 Apr

”]Cover of "Matrix-Trilogy [Blu-ray]"Didn’t the mass population in The Matrix sort of go through the motions of life without truly living?  That’s how I remember it, anyway.  At this point in my life, with no clue where to move as we leave this toxic apartment, I believe God may be giving me a wake-up call, as though I’ve been just going through the motions without committing to living for Him the way I’m supposed to.  Do you know who I think has a much better grasp on living for God than most of the rest of us?  The Amish.

No part of me believes for a second that I could exist as an Amish person because I’ve always been such a staunch individualist and entirely too impractical.  But I aspire to change my daily routine and my consistent actions as a parent raising these two young ones in my care.  I’m responsible for raising two grandchildren, ages 8 and 3; have I mentioned that?

I’m facing such a dark time right now, since where I’m supposed to live is so uncertain.  And it’s ironic because when I first became a Christian part of the reason I chose to marry the man I did (the wrong man) was because of the security of having a home.  He had established a career at a young age, and he was more responsible than any young man I’d ever met.  (Enough about the unfaithful ex.)

One of the first things I came to an agreement with God about was that, since I’ve always loved “home” and could easily panic about problems related to where home is, I would trust Him completely as regards every place I live for the rest of my life.   (This was after realizing that my marriage was a bit of a nightmare.)

And yet here I sit in a toxic apartment in which all kinds of personal turmoil with other family members has got each of our three lives reeling.  It’s like we aren’t on sound footing.  The toddler has taken to nervous eating, though I’m not going to let that continue, for her sake.  We’ll get more active together starting tomorrow.  And my 8-year-old has been consistently on his worst and most defiant and disobedient behavior.

The Bible talks about rejoicing always, and I believe we really are supposed to do that.  And right now, in spite of the yuckiness of the place I’m currently in, I am excited knowing that God is going to use this experience to set me on a better path to serving Him in the home.  An improved “me” will emerge from this creepy juncture of my short stay on the earth.

And while many people may think that living the way the Amish do is a bit creepy, I think it’s a great example.  I believe God intends us to be intentional in our separation from the ways of the world and in our devotion to Him.  And one of the most wonderful aspects of the Amish life is community – home and family and community life is very strong.  None of the faithful would ever have to wonder where they’re going to be laying their head for the next year.

Oh, wow, it just came to me that Jesus once said he had nowhere to lay His head.

You see how all over the place I am?  That’s one of the effects of not knowing where my place in the world is.  Very disconcerting.  Good thing God is so very faithful.  All will be well.

It Stinks Up in Here

10 Mar

What smell is it that transports you most quickly back to another time and place?  Since I’m determined to be honest on this site, I’ll tell you that a certain men’s cologne brings me right back to the side of my “first love.”  I don’t even know what the cologne is, but I know it when I smell it.  The reason smells are on my mind is that my home, which I’ll move out of in two weeks, has lately smelled kind of unpleasant.  Since there are babies with diapers here 24/7, I’ve been looking for some poopie diaper that didn’t make it to the trash can.  But I haven’t identified the source yet.

This apartment smell isn’t nearly as stinky as the attitude I’ve had off and on lately.  In general, I’m calm, cool, and collected.  But I’m going through something with a certain 8-year-old that I need to get a new attitude about.  I’ve decided that while it’s good to expect a lot out of children, I think I’ve been expecting too much out of Logan.  There, I said it.  I’ve been wrong!

I think my stinky attitude has been tied to that old nemesis of mine:  Expectations.  There are certain expectations that are okay, such as when training up children in the way they should go, such as regarding fulfilling one’s own responsibilities like a mature adult.  But some expectations can lead to no good.

Relationships are frequently destroyed by that multi-syllable word:  expectations.  For instance, when you marry someone with the intention of changing them.  Not good.  When you expect people to read your mind, such as a spouse who doesn’t have a clue what you’re dreaming about as a special surprise for your birthday, even though you hinted several times.  Not good.  Come out and say what you mean.  Guys don’t think the same way as gals.

Have you ever been in relationship with someone and you came to a place where you realized that your life would be much easier if you simply never have any expectations whatsoever of that person?  Since they never do what it certainly seems they should, you just quit expecting anything.  It saves you a lot of frustration but may also be an indication that the person, even if a family member, is creating a mysterious stench in your life and needs to be shown the door.

All this thought about smells and expectations got me to wondering what God expects of me today and how my life can be a sweet fragrance in his nostrils instead of a big stink.  Here’s an answer from the Bible:

“The LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”  From Micah 6:8

How awesome that God would lead me to the scripture, which convicts me about expecting too much from Logan.  Because if I’m walking humbly before God, I will quit expecting more from others than what I harshly demand of myself.  (I’m not very harsh with myself and my flaws!)

Hey, just realized that repentance produces a sweet smell, no matter what else hangs in the atmosphere.  Nice!