Tag Archives: Jesus

Pintrest and My Wedding

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Pintrest and My Wedding

I recently had to join Pintrest. I swear, I didn’t really want to add another online/social media time-suck to my life but I need to get familiar with it because my job wants to launch a page for our website and it’ll be my job to manage it. So, I signed up and started creating Boards and Pinning.

And then I ran into the wedding boards.

I found so many things that I loved! Ideas about centerpieces and places; images of gifts and dresses…It made me all excited and hopeful and doing the “someday…” talk. I know, you may not have realized how much of a girly-girly sap I am but the gig is up. I’m a cynical romantic. Go figure.

However, I just couldn’t bring myself to set up a Wedding board. And while I tried to tell myself I was being practical: Good Lord, I’m a 40 year old divorcee. I actually felt foolish: Lord, I’m a 40 year old divorcee…

Later, I felt this nudge of Are we going to talk about this? 

No. I mean, what’s to talk about? I’m 40, divorced and not even in the zip code of dating someone much less getting married! At this rate, I’ll be this lady when (if?) I ever get married again.

Now, I find this image and idea very sweet—for her. However, I cringe at the idea of how old I could be by the time I finally get around to a second marriage.

Stephanie, let’s talk about this…

NO! And a lot of accusations that started with You promised… poured out of the tightly-closed glass jars I keep in my heart. You promised…

… to protect my heart. So WHY has every “Christian” man You’ve allowed in my life thrown me out like trash?

… I was forgiven. Am I being punished for my past?

… I was pretty. Because lately I really feel like a fat lesbian; And You know I’m not into girls.

… I’d be loved (by a man) in this life. Yes, You are enough, but You have confirmed that I am created to be a wife and mother and surrounded by family…

You promised!

And then I was reminded of Margot wanting a car at 4 years old. She had gotten a Barbie Volkswagen Bug for Christmas or her birthday or something and she LOVED it. She knew that she was going to have one just like it: pink with flower decals and a “vase” to hold flowers in sitting on the dash. She had dreams about all the exotic places she was going to go in it, like France and DisneyWorld. It was the symbol of her future life.

So, when she came to me wanting to know when her Bug would arrive, I teasingly said, It’s gonna be awhile… she was not amused. In fact, she was very, very serious and informed me that I was not funny. Sweetie, you’re 4. You have to be 16 to drive a car. It doesn’t make sense to give you something you can’t use yet.

But you promised! was the response and it was followed by stomping off into her room was accompanied by a serious silent treatment. She really does come by it all honestly.

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So, am I going to put up a Wedding board on Pintrest? I don’t know. It’s really not the point of what God wanted to show me. For Jesus, He used the Pintrest tantrum to show me I need to see some things, remember some things and let go of a lot of things. I also know that He isn’t a liar and His promises are true.

So, until then (because my VW Love Bug will come eventually) I will love Him, attend to what He has put in this season of my life to manage and know that while His time is not mine, it is the right time. After all, it doesn’t make any sense to give me something I am not ready to drive yet.

** A little disclaimer. It has taken me over a week to write this blog. The idea of writing it has made me feel very exposed. As you read it, I hope you know my goal is not to receive compliments or affirmation or whatever. I’m trying to, one, be obedient to what He puts on my heart to write. And, two, hope that my experience will encourage someone who is also struggling with this. **

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Shape-Ups, Shari and Other Universal Truths

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It’s a Free For All Friday. That means that I will blog about whatever you want and this, kids, is what you chose:

The Truth about Shape-Ups

Deanna (one of my dear ones) is irritated that people are suing the makers of Shape-Ups—to the tune of $40 million dollars—for “not working” like they promised they would. To quote Deanna, “I think you should blog about how we, the general population, need to stop believing EVERYTHING we see on TV!”

True dat, as the kids say.

We are so drawn to the “easy fix” aren’t we? While I’d love to blame the TV, truth is, we’ve wanted to get things without actually working at it since the garden. And I say this as someone who worked in the Ad world for almost 10 years: we know how to pull the flesh strings. We have 17 year old girls selling you bras and wrinkle cream and clothes. We show you 55 year old men who need Viagra dating a hottie 20 years their junior after they take the little blue pill. We show you size-1 supermodels eating a Hardees’ burger on a muscle car. We show your kids that life is so much more fun with the latest fill-in-the-blank toy or candy or snack.

The truth is our flesh desperately wants Shape-Ups to make us thin and beautiful, for Viagra to give us meaningful, fulfilling relationships and candy to bring us joy. And ironically, our flesh resists the one “quick fix” that can actually work in our lives: Jesus.

Don’t you roll your eyes at me.

You tell me one other offer you have ever gotten that gives you everything it promised and costs you nothing?

Jesus is the Shape-Up of the Soul.

The Truth about Shari

Oh, friends, if you only knew the awesomeness that is Sharideth Smith. She is one of my oldest friends, fiercely loves her Jesus, husband, kids, and a whole lot of crazy musicians who wander in and out of her family’s life. I would have never come into a true relationship with Christ if it weren’t for her.

And you know how this Christian powerhouse did it? Evangelism? Reciting the Roman Road?  Telling me how my long list of sins was going to send me to Hell if I didn’t hop on the Jesus train?

Nope.

She simply loved me after my high school boyfriend broke up with me and my 19 year old world crumbled around me. She let me be her constant companion and took me to church and college group and let me talk over and over and over about He Should Not Be Named. She loved me. ME, the broken, pathetic me and it was there in that love and friendship that I was finally still long enough to hear the wooing words of my Savior.

I am a jewel in Shari’s crown. And I love her more than my luggage.

You can learn more about her awesomeness here: A Woman’s Guide to Women: A Blog For Men.

Other Universal Truths

  • Jesus loves you, so stop playing so hard to get.
  • It’s not the pants that make your butt look big, it’s your butt. (You can thank my son for that one.)
  • Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback. Ever.
  • Ranch dressing makes everything taste better.
  • Oh, and “the kids” are NOT saying, “Tru dat” anymore.

Mother’s Day and Being a Parent

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Mother’s Day and Being a Parent

In case you missed it, Sunday was Mother’s Day. And I got to spend it with my Margot and a cherished friend doing my favorite things: going to church, eating sushi and going to the movies. While there was nothing spectacularly unique about this—Margot and I spend a LOT of time together anyway—there was something about the day that was precious.

As we walked out the door to go to church (M & I don’t go to the same church usually), she presented me with her present: earrings and an owl necklace. I immediately took my jewelry off and replaced it with what she gave me. “You don’t have to do that, Mom.” Uh, yeah, I do. I also needed to put my arm around her at church, tend to her at lunch (her chicken was awful) and make sure she had the snacks she wanted at the movie.  I also showed off my jewelry treasures to anyone caught looking my way.

I love having her with me. I love having her attention. And I love being her mom. Read that again, not just a mom, her mom.

She is spectacular in every way. I have known her since she was inside me and she still captivates me.

She’s also a serious pain in the ass sometimes but she comes by it honestly. Even in her PIA moments, I still rejoice that she is mine. I see her in the sense of a lifetime, not just the immediate moment, if that makes sense. When she catches the eye of a baby at the next table, it makes me smile in the now but also because I know someday she will have her own babies. Or when we’re filling out a job application at a salon she wants to work at, I don’t just love the idea that she wants my help in the process, I love the idea of her life being filled with a career she will love.

As I was contemplating this, I was gently reminded that God is exactly the same way. I may over stress this in my blogs, but I think it’s a deep truth: if we as broken people can love our children like we do, how much more God?! As part of being made in His image, I think our experiences as parents (as well as friends, spouses, children) can give us a deeper understanding of His heart if we actually take the time to see it.

So as I contemplate the fabulousness of my beautiful daughter, I am reminded that there is One who finds me just as fabulous—even in my PIA moments. And I am thankful for Him.

The Power of Gifts: Lessons from Mother’s Day

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The Power of Gifts: Lessons from Mother’s Day

Yesterday, I received my Mother’s Day present from my son who is out of state going to college. I miss him terribly and would pretty much do anything to have him closer but that is not going to happen. He is a sweet boy (of 19, that’s not a “boy” is it?) who has a good heart and who loves his mom—all wonderful traits as far as I’m concerned. He is also a great gift giver.

He is the only man in my life who knows and always buys me my favorite chocolates; he knows the things I like and he listens to what I need (my birthday gift last year was a GPS, a gift that everyone who knows me KNOWS that was divine intervention because I can get lost in my own neighborhood). He has always gotten me flowers, whether dandelions when he was 5 or daisies from FTD. And I don’t know where he learned to do this but I am so thankful he did!

His gifts also make me laugh. Take a look:

“Happy Mother’s day! Here are 4 things I thought you’d enjoy:

  • An owl themed toothbrush case for your extravagant travels
  • A screenplay version of the greatest movie ever, maybe to get you writing once more
  • A magnet to make you laugh, though none of the adjectives apply to you (except maybe OLD 🙂 )
  • And of box of good smelling goop. ‘Cause everybody needs that.

Lots of Love,

Lucas”

Gift giving is a big deal to me (again, probably some sort of Love Language for me). It’s not the stuff I love, it’s being known. It’s the fact someone thought about me and chose to get me something. Thoughtful gift giving takes time and effort—and I appreciate that deeply.

I think (I know) God is the same way. He appreciates the heart behind the gift and sacrifice. He has no need for the things we give to Him but I know it delights His heart.

Tokens of Affection

So what are the things He loves to get from His kids? Like any parent, He wants:

Love

Then one of the teachers of the Law heard them arguing. He thought Jesus had spoken well. He asked Him, “Which Law is the greatest of all?” Jesus said to him, “The greatest Law is this, ‘Listen, Jewish people, The Lord our God is one Lord! You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first Law.

“The second Law is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other Law is greater than these.”

Then the teacher of the Law said, “Teacher, You have told the truth. There is one God. There is no other God but Him. 33 A man should love Him with all his heart and with all his understanding. He should love Him with all his soul and with all his strength and love his neighbor as himself. This is more important than to bring animals to be burned on the altar or to give God other gifts on the altar in worship.”

Mark 12:28-33

Obedience

Samuel said, “Is the Lord pleased as much with burnt gifts as He is when He is obeyed? See, it is better to obey than to give gifts. It is better to listen than to give the fat of rams.

1 Samuel 15:23

And (like any parent) he detests being lied to or placated:

The Lord said, “These people show respect to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Their worship of Me is worth nothing.

Isaiah 29:13

So, what should you do today? Take it from Micah:

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 6-8

What tokens are you offering today?

Amendment One: WWJD?

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I cannot express how much I don’t want to write this blog. I hate politics. I find it as useless to talk about as I do religion. It’s complicated and messy and opinionated… It makes my skin crawl.

Amendment One

I’ve been ignoring the “debate” among my friends on Facebook because (in my opinion) the Facebook isn’t the right forum for intelligent discussion. Pontificating? Absolutely, but not an actual sharing of ideas.  Oh, and it’s a great tool to wound others.

So, in this vein, I was recently reading a friend’s FB status on Amendment One. She gave her opinion and encouraged her friends to do some research regarding it. For those not in the know, Amendment One would change the North Carolina state constitution by defining what a “valid” domestic union in North Carolina would be. It reads:

Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

You can imagine the heated, emotional response this is causing. And this post is NOT about how you should vote, it is however, beloved, about how you should act.

Back to my friends’ Facebook.

It exploded in downright meanness. NOT my friend’s intention by the way. An openly gay friend of hers spoke out of his pain regarding this issue, what it’s like to not be able to be wed his partner; then a Christian friend of hers said, “Who is this person and why are you associating with him?” And that was just the beginning of the opinions and 3-sentence proclamations. I however was more caught by the attitudes behind the words. I was so hurt for the friend of my friend—his pain is real—and I am pissed off at the cruel words of my Christian brothers and sisters. This meanness is not WWJD!

Dear ones, please hear me. The point I want to make about Christians taking a “stand” on issues is that while it maybe important, Jesus clearly said, “They will know you are Mine by your love” NOT your ability to take a stand.

Truth in love, brothers and sisters… Truth in love requires relationship, by the way, it means getting messy and dealing with “stuff” for the long term. And so many of us would rather live by lawn signs and bumper stickers, by 3-sentence proclamations and voter’s ballots.

Please, beloved, be very careful when thrusting your Christian beliefs on the non-Christian. The mandates and instruction in the scriptures are to the CHURCH not society as a whole, remember that… Jesus wants to change individuals (starting with His followers) who will impact their society for good and healing, not change laws to force others to comply.

So, Amendment One, what would Jesus do? He’d tell my friend’s friend that He loves him and his partner and He desires relationship with them both. He’d tell my Christian sister who said, “Who is this person and why are you associating with him?” that “that person” is a loved human being that He died for, just like her, and that “associating with him” is what He has called His followers to do.  And He’d tell my friend that how she loves is more important to Him than how she votes. (But I know she already knows that)

Jesus doesn’t give us a “how to” regarding politics (other than give to Caeser what is his and to pray for those in political leadership). Not all Christians are Republicans or conservative or live in a democracy for that matter. However, He is crystal clear regarding how to treat others: the branches are to reflect the Vine.

So as we go forward, remember this: We love because He first loved us… 1 John 4: 19.

I look forward to your comments.

My iPhone & The Pearl of Great Price

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My iPhone & The Pearl of Great Price

I have an iPhone. Yay. My friends of the Mac way are shocked when they hear this because I never use it. I use if for work calls and that’s it. I’ve gotten 6 texts on it and 2 of those were wrong numbers. A guy named Chaz is still waiting for me to “hit him up 4 Friday”, bless his heart.

Now, I’ll be honest I kinda brag that I don’t use my iPhone. As a PC girl and overall brat, this shouldn’t really surprise anyone. I’m resistant to this phone because it intimidates me and I don’t want to take the time to learn it. Besides, my old phone, the one I’ve had forever—I know its ins and outs. My old phone is more comfortable to deal with.

As I was praying about this (yes, I prayed about my phone, don’t judge me), Jesus quietly reminded me that He often gets treated like my iPhone.

Look, He has to work with what I give Him, and sometimes, it ain’t a lot…

You have what some consider a pearl in that phone and you treat it like an unwanted rock. You keep it around because you have to and you know you’d be in trouble if you didn’t use it but you don’t really want to know all that can it do to make your life better.

A pearl, really?

The parable of the pearl of great price is in Matthew 13:44. Basically a merchant finds this “pearl of great price” and once he does, he sells everything he has to purchase it. The pearl, as I have been taught, is Jesus, walking in relationship with Him, etc. and we are the merchant who gives up everything to have Him. But what if the merchant bought the pearl and then threw it in a drawer?

A lot of people treat Jesus in the same way. He’s “fire insurance” or He’s left over from those Catholic school days. He’s the occasional (or every, for some) Sunday morning. He’s Christmas and Easter. He’s to be used when we need Him—in sickness or worry or fear we give Him a call but other than that, we keep Him in a drawer until we need Him again.

Hear me: He is always there even if we treat Him like my unwanted iPhone. And He always continues to listen, love and answer us who call upon Him because it His nature to do so. He doesn’t say, “I’m being neglected (or used)! I’m outta here!” It’s not His way. He is always for us and is always waiting to go deeper. I would challenge you however if you have found yourself treating Jesus like an accessory, to be used when you see fit, perhaps it’s time to view Him as a necessity.

Too, He understands that using the “old phone” is easy (you know, calling those old patterns of behavior, the easy fixes, etc.) in our flesh but He has deeper healing and richer experiences than those old ways. And He knows that His ways take some learning, that it takes time for us know all the stuff He can bring into our lives. But, beloved, He is so willing to go through the tutorial with you.

Ok, I’ve killed this metaphor. And I apologize if it doesn’t make sense—it was like a light bulb went on for me! But what do you think?

BTW if you want to do some deeper reading on that parable, I found a study by Dave Edmonds that turns the traditional teaching on its head and I kinda dig it. Check it out: The Pearl of Great Price.

When Your Child Calls

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“Mom…”

Whether they are 3 or 7 or 17, when you hear your name being called from another room, you move. And 9 times out of 10 you know based on the child, the tone and time of day if your name is going to be followed by a tantrum or vomit. Thankfully, I just got a request for coffee this morning.

As a parent, I can tell instantly by that “Mom…” what my darlings need: What happened? Who hurt you? Get to the toilet!

I also know what it’s like when they don’t call my name and turn to someone/something else for comfort or help. It pisses me off. Especially if what they turn to is completely inadequate to do the job.

When my son was younger he was bullied by some older boys (who also wanted to play with him… I never did understand that). One day, as I watched him get off the bus and brushed-past by these two nit-wits I saw the anger rise through his little body. He was so angry, so frustrated that he was in tears by the time he hit the door.

I was ready with my words of comfort and loving hugs and kisses but instead he came inside, dropped his back pack at my feet and fell on the dog bed next to our sleeping boxer, Belle.

“Buddy, come here and talk to me.”

“No,” he announced and snuggled up to a stinky, sleeping dog.

Damn dog.

The Apple and The Tree

How often though have I fallen on the dog (or a cupcake or an unhealthy relationship) to meet my needs instead of uttering my Father’s name? He whispers constantly, “Come here and talk to Me.” And sometimes I do but sometimes I don’t. And still, He waits for me to come to Him. He never complains that I smell of dog (or cupcakes); He just listens, guides, and helps me get cleaned up…

If my kids know that when they call, this fallible, broken human being they know as Mom will come, how much more should I know that my loving, holy, trustworthy Father will come when I call?

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:2-3