Monthly Archives: March 2011

Baby’s in Fish Hell

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Meditating on the Imago Dei: Love and Grieving

I am in love with my children. Yeah, moms are supposed to say they love their kids (and most actually do) but I am deeply, crazy IN LOVE with mine. I have known them since they were kicking my bladder and at 16 and 18 they are the coolest people I know. Being their mom is the thing that makes me special.

My mother’s heart swells with love toward them, can flare when they are wounded and often breaks in their hands. And that is exactly how it should be.

As I was reading another blog today, I was reminded of a time when my precious girl and I learned a lesson on love and grieving.

My Margot was 4 when she brought home a goldfish from preschool. A well-meaning mom (who I cursed repeatedly) gave every child in her class a goldfish as a gift for her child’s birthday. *side note* I’m the mom who brought Ho Hos and Twinkies in for Margot’s birthday because that’s what she wanted, not an organic cake with homemade cards and gift baggies for all the kids.**

So, when this fish came into our house, I knew it wouldn’t be long for the world but Margot was so excited that we got the $7 fish food and $5 fish bowl at PetSmart and took our fish-in-a-baggie home. We set him up in style in our kitchen and Margot named him Baby.

Baby lived 3 days.

When Baby died. Margot handled it extremely well. We talked about it and I told her that we needed to “bury” him. Either in the yard or we could flush him. She decided flushing would be best. So, off Baby went without much ceremony. I went to the kitchen to clean out the bowl and curse the well-meaning mother (again) and Margot went to her room to play.

Within a few minutes I heard wailing coming from Margot’s room. I burst in, “Baby, what’s the matter?” Lying face down, spread-eagle on her bed she is wretching “Mom! Baby…is in… FISH HELL!”

I’m sorry, what?

“I didn’t pray for him, Mom! He’s in hell now because I didn’t pray for him!”

Oh, Lord.

Now, I wish I could I tell you we had a deep discussion that brought her to a greater understanding of salvation and God’s love and a “all fish go to Heaven” moment, but we didn’t. I know I reassured her that Jesus loved Baby and that he most certainly was NOT in  fish hell.

“He’s still dead.” She has a point there.

And she would not be consoled. And her sadness was as real as her little 4-year old self had ever experienced.

So, I sat with her and let her cry.

Jesus loved so deeply and grieved so honestly that He often wept. For the lost state of the people when He arrived in Jerusalem; when Lazarus died and Jesus encountered his heartbroken sisters; and in the garden of Gethsemane, where the Father’s will to save humanity in the shadow of the cross became a reality…

As the image of the living God, we are created to love and grieve. It is good to love those in our lives and it is good to lament over those loved ones who do not know Him.

Is it good theology that I let my 4 year-old grieve over the soul of a fish? Probably not. But it is the heart of Jesus. He didn’t chastise Martha and Mary for grieving for Lazarus (and He knew He was going to raise him from the dead). He sat with them and let them cry. When you’re in love with someone, you look at their heart and give them what they need in that moment. God does that with us–He let’s us love and grieve.

And that is how it should be.

Do boys love Jesus?

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This week I’ve been meditating on the imago dei (God’s image). And who we are as His beloved, created in His image. As a woman, I see the world differently than a man (and that’s on purpose). I love how I am made–I love that woman is the crown of His creation. That God showed Adam his need for Eve. That God chooses to love scandalous women (starting with Eve) thoroghout the bible. And I love how Jesus treated the women of His day–with equality, dignity and compassion when it was simply not done. Jesus is a feminist.

Now, I also relate to God easily as Father and to Jesus as Lover of my soul. I have experienced Him rocking me to sleep when in the deepest despair. And I think it’s because as a woman I uniquely relate to Him as male. The strength, comfort and safety a man can provide… And I believe He chose male to represent Himself for a reason (for one, it highlights the uniqueness of woman). Anyway, what I’m curious about as I reflect on how woman uniquely shines the imago dei is how men relate to Jesus as they reflect the imago dei.

Jesus was a  guy’s guy. His inner circle was seriously rough. And again, He did that on purpose. Having a close-knit group of guy friends was important to Him. And God chooses marriage as the living metaphor for His relationship with us. Jesus refers to the church as His bride. Given these two sides, how does an average  man see himself as the imago dei? How  does he relate to Jesus, Lover of souls? 

Tell me, I’m curious. How do boys love Jesus?

Everyone needs a vacation!

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oh, Day 10 how I have waited for you.

It was an average day. My work computer is finally up and running so I can do my job, the food stuff was fine and I spent the evening laughing with some of my favorite people.

Aside from my Day 9 meltdown and a few hiccups along the way I think it was a successful exercise. I was reminded that this relationship with Jesus requires effort, commitment, and doing on my part.

Me and Jesus are not in the honeymoon of our relationship. And while He is ever faithful and present, sometimes, I check out on us. I get to doing my own thing. And every day is not an adventure, some are just average.

And that’s okay because that’s why there’s vacation time.

It may sound odd but this fast was a sort of vacation for me and God. Vacations are intentional times away with the ones we love to new places. Vacations never run smoothly: there’s always complaining, something important gets left unpacked (kind of like not preparing the right food ahead of time) and there is at least one meltdown. Vacations are where memories are made and shared and retold to friends and family who weren’t there.

Everyone needs a vacation from time to time.

I hope the daily postcards were at least entertaining. Remember, if He loves me (and I’m a hot mess) imagine how He feels about you.

Now, as is always the case when you return home, I need a vacation from my vacation.

I’m  going out for sushi.

Fat Vegans

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What do a fat vegan and the Easter Bunny have in common?

THEY AREN’T REAL. Wanna know why? Because their food sucks.

At Day 9 I have reached my breaking point. I was hoping to finish well but Day 9 found me saying this to God: If I have to eat one more bean, legume, nut or fiber-licious fruit, I’m gonna lose I’m crap. Seriously? I need cheese. I need a piece of bread. You know how I’m feeling? I feel like saying, “Suck you, beans!” (Note to reader: I did not say suck….) WHY would anyone choose this life? I don’t understand it. I would rather be hungry than continue to do this thing that doesn’t satisfy me.

What was that? I felt like the Holy Spirit hit me with a brick. Say it again. “I’d…rather be hungry than continue to do this thing that does not satisfy me.”

Huh.

I think we’ve found the point of my fast.

I try to satify myself with a lot of things that aren’t eternal. Some aren’t even good, much less godly. And it is time that I become more mindful, more intentional, more diligent to choose the eternal things that satisfy. To believe God’s promises for me and stop trying to make things happen–I do my own thing too much.

I  finished Day 9 praising God for His willingness to teach this hot-headed, stiff-necked, opinionated pain-in-the-ass. Try as I might, I cannot escape His love. 

I made guacamole and pasta for lunch. I roasted vegetables for dinner and made couscous to go with it. And I reminded myself all day that God provides the things that truly satisfy. And being hungry for more of His stuff is always better.

One more day.

Drag queens and knowing your place

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Day 8

I usually don’t hop on the “Send this email/post this to your status” bandwagon. It’s not that I don’t want to see you all blessed by God, I just don’t think that my forwarding it on to 10 of my friends really accomplishes His purpose. I know, I’m such a kill joy.

However, yesterday I reposted a Facebook status that had you lie about how you met me–it was awesome. Funny and creative. It was a great exercise. But 2 of the posts got me thinking if I’m really an “effective Christian.”

(I know, “HOW does she get to these places?” It’s a gift.)

I have friends who are seriously, outrageously opposed to Jesus (and some who seriously, outrageously love Him, too) and some who have been introduced but are still playing hard to get. And I love all of them. When I see them I see how amazing they are, how blessed I am to have them… And they know I genuinely care about them.

They all know I love Jesus (and a few love me back in spite of it). And I openly walk out life with them–I will pray with and/or for them but I don’t ever ask, “Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” I mean, other than my kids, I’ve never ushered anyone into the Kingdom.

Am I a bad Christian?

I mean, I learned a long time ago that I am not called to reap. I sow. I am called to love others (ok, we all are but stay with me) where they are for the season they are brought into my life. But sometimes I wonder, am I doing any good?

As I was fretting over this, God brought back a flood of memories: the transvestite drag queen who sat with us during a bachlorette party and talked about his new butt implants that were terribly done and how God stopped  loving him a long time ago; the Army boys in college who would drink beer while I sipped a soda and tried to convince me that Jesus doesn’t want slackers like them. The drunk woman whose truck hit a car at the intersection where I was pumping gas. Her 3 year old neice (unbuckled and not wearing pants) was inside. The police let me put the baby in my car, take her to the hospital, be there while the doctors checked her out and watch her while her mother was found. And I got to go back into the trauma room and pray with the woman…Jesus loves you but this has to stop. I  know, she replied.

I never saw any of these people again. And that’s ok.

I think Jesus wants me to be faithful to who He brings in my life–drag queens and worship leaders alike. To not worry about how my life compares to fill-in-the-blank Christian brother or sister. And that’s hard. I see the fruit in others’ lives much easier than I see it in mine. I make this Christian walk harder than He intends it to be, I think.

Love God, love people. I’m gonna do that today.

You’re kinda useless

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Day 7

I killed my work computer late Monday afternoon. So, yesterday I was limited to emailing and being on phone calls. I hated it.

My job is very interconnected to my other coworkers; when a back up happens it slows everyone down and/or it adds more work to those on my team.  However, I was completely unable to participate yesterday.

And I hate feeling useless.

I never realized how much I loathe the idea of  having nothing of value to offer until yesterday. I value having a purpose. It defines me.

But having a purpose is dependent on moving in a direction–my all-stop yesterday felt like a screeching halt. The times in my life when I have struggled with purpose were times where I felt stuck and or like I was going around in circles.

My son is about to graduate high school and I smile when he talks about “Senioritis” and wanting to “get on with it”. He’s wants his life to have a bigger purpose than high school, than being stuck where he’s at. And he gets frustrated when I tell him be patient, it’s coming. I see his bright future, he just sees being stuck

Today, I pray that I am always useful to my Maker. That I trust Him when He says, “I know the plans I have for you…” because He sees my future and my hope.

We are created to be interconnected to each other and to have purpose in each others’ lives. We all need Tech Support from time to time.

(I have mine on speed dial)

Braveheart learns about freedom

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Day 6.

Remember in Braveheart when William Wallace screams to his army, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” That was me against a crescent roll last night.

Temptation was really present yesterday–I’m getting bored with this food and for me boredom is always a stepping stone for rebellious (at least selfish) behavior.

I thought to myself, “It’s one roll. I have the freedom to eat that…”

True. I do. Breaking this fast isn’t going to compromise my salvation.  I mean, Jesus will be let down by it but I know He won’t leave me or “punish me” for it. In fact, His love for me is so brazen that He’ll love me and forgive me without thinking twice about it.

But what does my freedom profit me if it only serves to feed my fleshly desires? Does the expression of my freedom honor the love Jesus lavishes me with? Does it reflect His nature? Or do I just look like every other person out there?

I know I cannot out-sin His love for me. I know that my freedom is freely given and is never taken away. Jesus doesn’t do take-backs.

But in spiritual maturity, don’t I need to move into a freedom that reflects Him and His desires instead of my own. William Wallace could have lived in a limited freedom of being a noble (even offered the crown of Scotland) and had fine life of his own, but he chose to walk out his freedom in a way that made others free.

I want to do that.

Just without the  blue facepaint….