Tag Archives: Bible

I am a Patient Soul! No seriously!

Speaking of vision boards.

My theme for 2014 has been patience. I pasted, “I am a patient soul” in the center of my board. I was trying to do that thing where you speak life, purpose, vision… Yeah.

If you’re a Christian or have ever been around a Christian, you’ve probably heard us warn the less initiated about prayers for patience. Typically God answers that request with “opportunities for growth.” Apparently one learns patience by facing challenges. By being confronted with real-life scenarios that fly in the face of any naive imaginings about holiness and personal enlightenment. (I’m not bitter!)

I have a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. And, my God, it’s hard. For seven years I rejected the diagnosis. I tried to speak life, purpose, vision into my child and into our home. I prayed and fasted. I cast out demons. Seriously.

Paul wrote a letter to the people in Corinth about a troubling issue, a “thorn in his side.” He wrote about how he earnestly asked God to remove it, until finally God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” In the very next sentence Paul wrote, “most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” But I wonder how much time passed between God’s “no” and Paul’s boasting. Was it a couple seconds, or days… or months? Because when I realized God was pretty much saying the same thing to me, I spent a couple years being angry with Him.

Fast forward to this year, and the whole “patient soul” thing. The anger has passed, but in the meantime, I have never been so… challenged. At least once a week I wish I hadn’t put it on my board–even though I know I had to. I mean, it wasn’t my idea to put it there. It had to be on my board.

This isn’t one of those posts where I’ve got it all figured out. It’s true, I’m no longer angry at God, but I ain’t boasting yet! I know God has invited me to call myself patient because He has something in mind. With each difficult encounter I have to choose to trust that God’s grace is enough, that my weakness is the perfect vessel for his strength. It’s hard! I sometimes struggle to believe any good can come of this.

But I’ve seen God do more with less.

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Manimals?

Just wanted to chat a little about how I’ve been confronting my anger fear distrust toward men. It’s been a struggle, admittedly. I hope my perspective is getting more healthy.

Is it just me, or is it difficult for women to read certain parts of the Bible (a book that undoubtedly informs my life) without feelings ranging from annoyance to outrage? I’ve often asked God why He gave us brains at all! He’s always quite patient with me when He explains that things got royally jacked up in the Garden. But I digress.

A couple years ago I read For Women Only, and it really shook me in a way I doubt the author intended. Yes, it helped me re-examine what I thought I understood about my husband’s wants and needs. But it also more solidly entrenched my fears concerns. I’d stopped saying “men are dogs” when I got saved because I knew it was wrong-thinking. I’d stopped saying it, but I hadn’t really stopped believing it. And this book confirmed my worst fears: Men were like animals–either panting after every pretty girl, or fighting their very nature to keep their eyes and minds off them. The thought of being mentally consumed by a man felt degrading; the thought that our boyfriends or husbands might mentally consume random women felt like the worst kind of betrayal.

Someone pointed out to me that there are men who fight. They wrestle daily because they love a woman. I guess I admire that. I don’t think I’m that persistent. Plus former dogs can become men by the Spirit of God. I’m watching it happen.

I admit I’m not entirely reformed though.

Women, do you struggle with these things? Men, what do you think of all this?

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Sinless Christians

I’ve been wondering whether it’s possible for a Christian to become mostly sinless.

Now, I’m talking about born-again believers here. Jesus-followers.

In his book “The Grace Awakening,” Chuck Swindoll said many of us are taught that “we’re only human,” and “we can’t  help but sin.” And this is what we’re being taught after we’re saved. Swindoll disagrees. He asserts that it is possible to become less and less prone to sin as we become more and more spiritually mature. He says teaching to the contrary dismisses grace altogether, negates the purpose of the Holy Spirit…

I read Ezekiel 36:26-27 last week, and I’ve been thinking about it and going back to it ever since.

What do you think?

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December 9, 2009: A Pivotal Moment

I met with a friend today about a life group we’re leading together. We had some great conversation and a delicious dinner (she’s such an awesome host), and we worked out lots of details. After that, we just started talking about life.

As I shared with her some of my “pivotal moments” since being saved, I realized 2009 has been the Year of Facing My Crap. I’ve been seeing a counselor for about a year now, and it’s unearthed a lot of bones. Among other things, I’ve had to be honest with myself about my beliefs and attitudes toward men in general and my husband in particular, and about my own role in forming those beliefs. I didn’t like what got dredged up. I’ve shared a lot of these things in my blog this year.

I also recognized a small shift in myself. For one thing, I was able to see very easily that my husband is quite wonderful. When I remember who and what he was before Jesus Christ came into his life, I realize I have so very much for which to be grateful! I didn’t have to dig deep to find that gratitude; it was right there, waiting to be discovered like a jackpot under the thin layer of silver on a scratch ticket.

As I was riding home, I listened to the final message in Andy Stanley’s series about the life of Joseph called, “The Legend of Joe Jacobson.” When Joseph was presented with the perfect opportunity for revenge, he instead acknowledged that God had sent him ahead of his brothers–through separation, slavery, accusation and prison–to finally preserve their lives and millions of others’. Joseph was absolutely confident that God was with him and had been all along.

There have been many dark moments in my life, many good reasons to wield pain as a weapon. But as Andy Stanley put it, I can either look back, and relive the  circumstances and emotions that fuel vengeance, or I can look up and follow God’s lead. I can say to those who have hurt me, “Not only do I forgive you, but I’m going to give you what you don’t deserve–because that’s what people do who have received from God the very thing they didn’t deserve: forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life in his care.”

If I’m absolutely confident God is with me, how should I then behave? Because he is with me, and always has been. Even in the darkest moments when I was so overwhelmed by God’s silence that I overlooked his presence, and his promise to never leave. What a lovely and simple faith Joseph had. Could that kind of beautiful, persistent faith conclude my own story?

Come on 2010!

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What About Sex?

This is the third in Erwin McManus’ “Life’s Toughest Questions” series (from Mosaic Church). In it, McManus answers real questions from real people (received via e-mail/blog comments). The questions are about pre-marital sex and homosexuality, among others. McManus answers from a biblical perspective. Here’s “What About Sex.”

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Does God Care?

In late 2008, Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church started a series called “Life’s Toughest Questions.” In it, McManus answers real questions about God posed by atheists, skeptics and believers. I want to share what I’ve heard. Here’s the first message, “Does God Care.” Look for the others soon.

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In Loving Memory: Ode to The Wall

In 2005 I had something like an emotional breakdown. I was separated from my husband, and my life was falling apart. It got really bad. I was afraid of the thoughts in my head.

So while I was lying on the floor crying and deciding whether it was worth it to live, I suddenly got the idea to read the Bible. It was there under my bed (easy to spot since I was sprawled out all over the floor), so I flipped it open and found a scripture. I read it and I wasn’t convinced. But I wrote it on the wall anyway so I could keep reading it without having to hold open a rather heavy book while I was too depressed to even lift my head. I wrote it at the bottom of the wall so it was at eye level. I couldn’t see it when I stood up. It was like my little secret.

That’s how The Wall was born. I wrote lots of scriptures on it. Some I wrote in pen; I scrawled one verse on it with huge letters in green crayon. It helped me remember to live, and stuff like that. When my husband moved back in, I think he saw it as evidence that I was nuts. He never understood The Wall, but he’s been very patient about it. I tried to explain it once, but he doesn’t get it and that’s okay.

Today I painted over it with Kilz. Um, is that symbolic? Nah.

I’m grateful for The Wall and the words on it. There have been times since “the dark year” (thanks for that name, Melody) that I’ve remembered, and leaned my cheek on the words, and thanked God for getting me through it.

Even when the words are hidden under a coat or two of blue paint, they’ll still be there.

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Turbulence

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. Last week I was on vacation in a place without wifi (gasp), and I won’t be able to use my computer for the next week. So I’d better write something before my window of opportunity closes!

Here’s what’s going on in my head:

  • Why do I want to lose weight? I look pretty good; why do I want to look better? For my husband? He seems quite pleased with things as they are. And God doesn’t seem concerned with my weight either. No one else matters, do they? So why am I so vain?
  • Am I dressing too young for my age? No, seriously. Lately many friends have commented that could pass for a teenager. That’s kinda fun–but I don’t think I need to perpetuate that with my wardrobe. It’s nice to look younger than my age, but I don’t have to dress like a teenager. I think it’s better to pass for 20-something than 10-something.
  • Who cares? Who cares about my wardrobe? Who cares about how I look? Who cares about how I sing, or write, or design? Who cares? What I mean to say is …
  • … Am I living the way God meant me to? Are we–Christians–doing what Jesus meant for us to do? Is this what it’s supposed to look like? When am I gonna get over my stinkin’ self?! When I am gonna wake up from my own stupid, selfish, little dreams and get on board with the big stuff God wants to do, the stuff I can’t do all by myself?
  • What am I really meant to do besides what I’m doing? I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do, but I’m still meant to do more. Not just more, but bigger than the small experiences I’ve had and the small thoughts I’ve thought. They’ve seemed so big, but they’re really not. It’s like I’m in first grade, but there’s still high school! There’s still college! I read this interesting blog article today, and it made me question even more.
  • What are we doing? Why does the church look so much like everything else? Isn’t there more to us than this? We’re more than music videos and 5-minute songs on Christian radio, and graphic tees and perfectly coiffed bed-head.
  • Why is everyone writing self-help books? Why is everyone reading self-help books? How have we made a market of telling people how to live, how to get revelation from the Bible?! Go live! Go talk to God for yourself!

Okay, I think I’m done ranting. Until next week!

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