Thursday, October 21, 2010

More For My Daddy: Have Some Left-over Cake For Breakfast

If you read my last post, you are likely aware that I find birthdays to be a particularly signifigant holiday celebrating not only the portion of life that has been lived but also whatever time an individual has left on earth, and how God might orchestrate the events of an individual's life to bring more people into a relationship with him. One way to ensure one never forgets that God created him or her for a special purpose is to never stop celebrating one's birthday. Now, that, that may seem a bit self-indulgent, but I guarentee it is effective, and it gives you an excuse to have a huge piece of left-over birthday cake with a glass of milk for breakfast the day after, so Daddy, while you enjoy your breakfast the day after whether it be cake or cereal, here are a few more words for you.
In closing yesterday I made a thank-you list, and I have come up with a few thank-yous that I missed, so thank you for sitting by my hospital bed like a bull-dog after my stroke waiting to rip the head off anyone who threatened my comfort or might unintentionally inflict further pain or loss in your baby girl's life, for faithfully and committedly providing for my family, and in doing so, allowing mom to stay home with us in a time when it was in vogue for women to return to the work place, for setting a stellar example for me of a man of character, so that when pop psychology's theory that a girl will choose a man as her husband who is like her father came to fruition in my own life, despite how many times I had refuted the validity of said theory in my mind, I ended up with a man whose faithfulness and concept of commitment rivals only your own, who provides generously for my family while sharing in an equally generous manner with anyone he encounters in need, who allows me to stay home and raise my sweet, passionate, Lili with no complaint, and who helps me feel as safe and secure in this world as you always did. Thank you for setting that precident for me because, now, it has become Lili's to own as she grows and chooses a mate. It is my fervent prayer on many a night that as pop-psychology proved accurate in my life that it will in Lili's! Other than hoping that Lili will love the Lord and serve him with her life, my greatest hope is that she will find a man like her Daddy, like my Daddy, with whom to share her life. Please, don't refute everything I've said with a barrage of negative, mental, personal put-downs because I have simply written the truth while realizing you're not perfect, so it becomes very evident to me that perfection isn't a necessary characteristic for being an AWESOME dad!:) I love you, and I'm as glad today that you were born and for your life as I was yesterday!:)

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

67 years ago today the man I know as my Daddy entered this world. For his birthday I want him to know that his youngest child is not only proud of him and the many noteworthy projects he has completed since the day of his birth, but also, I am proud to possess many of the personality characteriatics that make him a unique and dynamic individual! According to the Psalmist, when we are conceived God "knits" us together in our mother's womb, and accepting this as God's truth as I acknowledge science's findings about reproduction, I believe that when he created me, God took a few select and intentional strands of my father's DNA and knit them together with an equal number of strands from my mother's DNA to form me into an individual capable of certain specific tasks that he had designed for me to accomplish in my lifetime in order to expand his kingdom here on earth, which means to me that my life along with every other human being that has ever been and will ever be in existence is intended to grow the number of people on this earth who know, love, trust, and follow their creator. As I reflect on the person my father is in comparison to the person I am today, I can identify one or two characteristics in my personality that must have been contained on the yarn-like DNA strands that God handpicked from my father when he made me 31 years ago. The most predominate characteristic in both our personalities is intense passion no matter what emotion or activity we are experiencing whether it be happiness, sadness, anxiety, compassion it is likely to be an intensely passionate experience for us and anyone within our direct vacinity. Less obvious to my father because he considers himself inadequately educated in a traditional sense and a bad speller, is that we both love words and learning, and every area of our existence being fueled by our passionate nature, we have a tendancy toward articulate verbal and written artistic expression. I enjoy possessing both of these characteristics handed down to me by my Daddy, and I am pleased to report that I can already detect signs of their presence in the sweet life of my daughter:) Based on comments my father has made in recent years, I have gathered that one of his major life regrets is the amount of time he was away while I was growing up due to his passionate personality in combination with his career creating a great deal of professional success, which ultimately resulted in frequent business travel. All I can say in response to that I, " pshaw!" He was around enough for me to learn from his example that it is important to stand up for what we know is right and true, and that belief is something to contend with when combined with our passion! My Daddy's example also taught me to value people no matter their position in society, and to dig deep into the word of God. I am happy to be the person I am today, and I am pleased to give my father credit for helping me become that person! Happy 67th Birthday, Daddy!:) Thank you for being the main character in my earliest memory of you singing and rocking me to sleep, for running along beside me hollering encouragements at cross-country meets even though it annoyed me at the time, for taking me on business trips to Washington D.C. with you, for allowing mom to squander all your hard earned money on clothes during my teen years, for running all over the states to find the exact color of the NIKE running watch that I picked out in my running magazine until you found it ( I still have that watch because that meant a lot to me that you went to all that trouble, and I know that is probably just the one time of many of which I am aware!), and for the look of compassion that you were unable to express when I was crying because a boy hurt my teenage pride. I love you, and you were around enough for me to be confident of that, and I think that makes you a GREAT Daddy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I have lived a life that has been very generously blessed by the Lord even in trials, and for the most part, I have unabashedly proclaimed my unending gratitude to him from whom according to scripture every good and perfect gift comes, but I am terribly ashamed to report that my professed gratitude has been an unintentional facade distracting both myself and everyone around me from the ugly, nasty, hateful brat that hid beneath the surface. I continually pray that God will grow me and mature me into the woman he created me to be, and it seems that my most recent utterances of this prayer have been answered in the past 24 hours beginning with the phone call my husband received last night unraveling the few strands of stability to which we hold in light of our recent dilemma. While attempting to trust God with our future, I was able to catch a few glimpses of the direction in which God might be leading us, and instantaneously, I succumbed to the temptation to start piecing together a plan of which I approved as a path of minimal loss for myself and my family. Unfortunately, last night that plan was trampled by reality, and my shameful response was to become so angry with God that I could not bare to crack open my Bible or speak to him in prayer, yes, what I am saying is I dared give the Creator of the Universe the silent treatment!:( The source of my anger were the ridiculous thoughts,"Why are you doing this to me?...Haven't you taken enough already?...What have I done to deserve this?...I've done everything you've asked of me and more! I praised you even after you allowed me to become disabled!...Don't I deserve a break?!" Can't you just invision me stomping my childish little spiritual foot with my spirit's hands fisted as I mentally ranted at God through my tears and disappointment!? I knew my response was wrong, but I could not control it because, for those of you who think I'm good, my bratty nature just took control, and, to my shame, I submitted to it until this morning when I mercifully awoke unsmote by the all-powerful God whom I had beat up on all night with my silent musings. This morning after I dropped Lili off at pre-school, I headed to the church for the women's Wednesday morning Bible study that I teach although I had seriously considered skipping because my class wasn't even meeting today since it was our week to help with childcare, but despite my assumption it would be a waste of time, I drove to the church ready to corral toddlers while their mother's attended classes. What I didn't realize was that God had a special, undeserved treat for me diguised as a preschool choir practice that I got to attend. The choir director played a cd of the musical the children would be perfprming for their parents later in the semester as a means of familiarizing the kids with the monologues spoken by the narrator in relation to the musical pieces they would be singing. At one point, the narrator reminded us that Jesus chose to leave the riches and comfort of Heaven to live on this wretched earth as a homeless, wandering prophet speaking to me that God was asking me to endure graciously no more than he had been willing to endure on my behalf! Boy, did I feel like a BIG dumby in the moment of that realization! While I was still blushing from the shame of that insight, the lyrics of the song that followed nearly brought me to tears, "Jesus is my very best friend...I will love him to the end...all my life I'll follow him...Jesus is my friend!" In my mind I finished each phrase with, " and I've been a really crappy friend in return!:(" The joy of the Lord shone through my self-imposed spiritual exhile at this point because I knew that I was forgiven, and even after being such a turd, he was giving me a fresh start:) This is exactly why Jesus is my very best friend and with all my life I'll follow him!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Facebook Fast-October 2010

Recently, a series of unfortunate events have necessitated that my family pack up all our belongings and move away from the blissfully perfect home that we began inhabiting only two short years ago following my stroke (see past post: The House That God Built). Currently, we are still in the packing up stage of this scenario, and we do not yet know where we are going with all our boxed belongings come the middle of October. You don't have to be a 31-year-old mother of a 4-year-old daughter who just got established in an excellent Montesorri preschool, whose involvement in her church gives her life focus and meaning to comprehend the heart-wrenching pain and disappointment caused by moving unexpectedly from the home and community in which you believed you would grow old happily with your spouse enjoying the bounty of God's blessing while raising your family. Although my husband and I have claimed God's provision and good and perfect plan for our lives from the onset of this storm timed so perfectly two years after the last massively damaging storm front passed through our lives, we find ourselves struggling to submit to these life events with the same peace and assurance as we where able during the last storm. By the way, we are hoping a biannual storm pattern has not established itself in God's plan for our lives!
Just this morning as I took in the beautiful sight created by the early morning sun transforming the unharvested, dried corn stalks in the field bordering our property into shimmering gold dancing, in the cool, autumn breeze, to the sound track of twittering birds, I mourned like I hadn't yet in the three weeks since my life's course had been set in this direction. The tears that streaked down my face spoiling my seldom worn make-up where tailed closely by guilt for failing to be filled with God's peace and joy as I faced uncertain circumstances with God at my side, so later that morning while awaiting my teaching time during the Sunday morning youth program at my church, I was thouroughly blessed to hear this scripture from Nehemiah recording the Godly prophet Nehemiah's response to learning of his home's destruction. Nehemiah 1:3-4 They said to me, " Those who survived the exhile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burnedwith fire." When I heard these things I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. This spoke to me that my mourning was normal and okay but that I was missing two essential components to the equation of victoriously facing such overwhelming disappointment, so this week I am committed to adding a time of fasting and prayer to my regimine of mourning while I pack and gratefully recognize the perfection of the time of excessive blessing that is passing. I will fast not from food but from the use of facebook and will spend time in scripture and prayer each time I long to log on to my favorite social network. I will begin by reading the book of Nehemiah because this book of the Bible seems to have special significance to my current situation, and through careful consideration of this ancient man's interaction with God as he attempts to rebuild from the rubble and ashes the city that once stood for the glory of God and the protection of his people, I will follow his lead as I attempt to put the pieces of my shattered life back together in a manner that honors God and fits into his good and perfect will for mine, Tim, and Lili's life!:)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Post For The Dear Boy From Rutgers: Homosexuality Should NOT Be A Death Sentence

This post has been a long time coming! As a result, It is likely to be very long and slightly disorganized as I attempt to record every stray thought that has occurred in relation to the topic since its conception. Its very unlikely that upon completion of this post that I will have adequately supported all my points and clearly expressed every thought, so please, feel free to question and debate because this will help me perfect my thought. As is always true, I will happily respond to any questions in relation to my writing. This Post was first conceived months ago during a sermon in which the pastor of our church emphasized Jesus' Great Commission in the New Testament, Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. The translation of scripture our pastor was using read ALL PEOPLES, and those words in combination with the spiritual discussions (relating to the spiritual implications of homosexuality) that had recently been taking place between myself and an old college friend caused me to question, "What does ALL mean here, and as a church both locally and internationally, are we really committed to obeying this command that resounded from the vocal chords of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? My challenge here is that ALL most certainly does indicate that no exclusion is to be made from those we reach out to in the name of Jesus in hopes that each individual will come to know Jesus personally and experience drastic , positive life-change as a result. My fear is that while the church as a whole has been faithful to reach out in such a way to many nations around the world, that it has much to the shame of the name and legacy of Christ failed to embrace certain people groups because of fear, ignorance, and misinterpretation of the scriptures. The one particular neglected people group over which my heart is bleeding today is the one comprised of individuals whose sexual orientation is outside God's original intention. In other words, I believe an accurate description of the church's reaction to homosexuals as a group has sadly, been more of a pushing away or casting aside as hopeless rather than the accepting embrace of Christ's love:( This saddens me because Christ teaches me in his scriptures that, no, the practice of homosexual behavior is not God honoring much like it teaches me that I should not steal, murder, lie, lust, or be greedy 1Timothy 1:8-10 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the sound gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. The GOOD NEWS (gospel message) that I and every other card-carrying Christian has been commanded to share with ALL PEOPLE is that we are ALL sinners who have from time to time fallen into one or more of the previously mentioned sins, and that Jesus has already served the punishment for each and every one of those sins past, present, and future, and that ANYONE, straight, gay, black, white, or tan who chooses to receive that free and undeserved gift living from that point forward with Jesus as his/her Lord (Boss) and Savior is a child of God Most High and will live with him for eternity in Heaven! Right now, my Christian friends, who I believe to be good-intention are freaking out because they know the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin...blah, blah, blah, but what I need my dear, Christian friends to stop and consider is that each of us struggle with sin. In fact, some of us are more inclined toward certain sins than others, but none of us lives life free from temptation or sin. The Bible is incredibly clear on this issue Romans 3:23 For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace. Jesus was the only human being able to live a perfect life, thankfully, on our behalf, so that when he served the punishment for our sins, we could then benefit from his perfect life by having the privelage of wearing it as a perfect, holy, spotless cloak in God's presence since Jesus traded it in for our dirty rags on the cross Phillipians 3:9 ...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. My point in reiterating these basic Christian principles is that we (Christian, heterosexuals) are no different than homosexuals. Just as we are often tempted to do things that dishonor God, so are the individuals belonging to this specific group. Its just a different temptation than we experience as heterosexuals. Not worse or better just different. Remembering that even Jesus experienced temptation Luke 4: 1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert where for forty days he was tempted by the devil, I must point out that temptation in and of itself is not sinful or dishonoring to God in any way, so on that foundation I proclaim that desiring to have sexual relations with another individual of the same gender is NOT a sin! Desiring such a thing does not qualify one to be disowned or cast off by the church in any way, shape, or form. Now, having said that, I must also qualify that acting upon temptations to behave differently than God has directed in his word is sinful even though all sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus. the Bible instructs us not to take advantage of God's gift of forgiveness by freely sinning because we know the punishment has already been paid Galations 5:13 ...But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolotry, and witchcraft;hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish-ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkeness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Christians both homo- and hetero- sexual, will be able to enter God's presence on the coattails of Christ's perfection. So, if you're gay and are still reading open-minded, I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart a truth that has been placed there by the hand of God himself...You are not a weirdo or unworthy of life or anything else you might feel about yourself because of the particular temptation with which you struggle! All human beings struggle with temptation to behave outside God's will in one way or another from time to time. In fact, the Bible puts us all in our place by saying in 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God he is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. This scripture tells me that it is sadly inaccurate to believe yourself better or worse according to the type of temptation with which one struggles, but rather if a person is tempted by something, it is common to humanity, so the only way you could turn up as a weirdo or as abnormal is if you're comparing yourself to a pack of dogs, gaggle of geese, or a pod of whales! I'm sure you notice throughout this scripture the tone that more than suggests that one who wants to honor God by following Jesus and receive eternity in heaven with his/her life must flee temptation and do the very best he/she is able to refrain from whatever behavior that dishonors God in his life be it lying, gossiping, or engaging in sexual relations with an individual of the same sex, so my point really is that there is absolutely nothing wrong, in God's eyes, with desiring to have sex with a member of the same sex. A person should not have to be ashamed to admit to such anymore than I am ashamed to admit I have a propensity to be prideful, selfish, and greedy! A person should not be excluded from anything because of his/her temptation, and God wants you to become a follower of Jesus and spend eternity with him no matter what anyone else has told you or made you feel about him in reference to your sexual preference, but following Jesus would mean resisting the temptations with which you struggle, but I must clarify, it does not mean that you must stop being attracted to members of the same sex because that would be the same as someone telling me not to be tempted to share that juicy story I overheard the other day with my friend...its impossible for me to prevent the temptation from occurring because the only thing I truely have control over is how I respond to said temptation! The temptation is not the sin! Just know that thousands of years ago, Jesus made a special provision to include ALL people in his family, so if someone in the church tries to belittle or exclude you, shame on them because he/she is totally misrepresenting Christ's original intention! It makes me SOoo sad to hear in the news today that another young man took his life because he was so ashamed for his sexual-orientation to be revealed to the world. We are guilty for allowing the world that this particular young man once lived in to communicate to him that struggling with the homosexual temptation should be a death sentence! As Christians, we need to be sure we aren't helping to perpetuate the falsehood that the desire to have sexual relations with an individual of the same sex is somehow a sin in itself by which the value of the individual experiencing the temptation is diminished creating an environment that often imposes a death sentence on these individuals whom God created in his image and loves dearly just like the rest of his creation!