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Entries in All Random All the Time (58)


A tale of one redeemed

Who would have imagined it? Who would have predicted that a girl who grew up in a home where the gospel was never preached, and the name of Christ was frequently used as a curse word would grow up to be a theolgoy nerd?

There was no interest in spiritual things in my childhood. For the Roman Catholic church, there was great antipathy, but no church even at Easter or Christmas. Belief seemed pretty unlikely. How could I believe upon someone I had never heard of?

Snippets here and there: attending Sunday school with a friend, hearing the creation story in a Kindergarten class, a teacher in 4th grade who said, "God loves you;" a Gideon who gave out bibles to a group of fifth graders.

And yet it was not enough.

Circumstances revealed need, revealed sin, revealed helplessness. Trials, questions, and doubts that assail most teenagers ;and still it was not enough.

I opened the pages of a burgundy leather bound bible to be confronted with my worst fear: you are not a Christian unless you have confessed Christ. 

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom. 10:13-15)

I needed to hear. I needed the Word of God. There is no salvation outside of faith in Christ, and the only way I could understand that was the revealed Word of God. 

That was many years ago. When I was a child, there was still a greater chance that someone actually believed in God even if he didn't do much about it. It was palatable to hand out Gideon Bibles in schools; people still belived in truth and error. Today, a child can grow up in a home like mine, where God is never mentioned, but he won't ever find the end I found unless someone shares the word with him. 

It is a popular notion to assert that the church, because it holds doctrinal positions it isn't willing to abandon, is chasing away the younger generation with its conduct. If a church won't be silenced about doctrinal truth which is dificult, it is labeled intolerant and ineffective. In this day of growing secularism, it is believed that we need more compassion, more help, more understanding to attract people to the church. And that is likely true.

But we still need the Word of God. We still need people who will proclaim it boldly. We need people who will say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes." We need them desperately.

There are people everywhere with great needs; physical, emotional, and financial. But their greatest need is stil salvation from sin. We can assist an individual with every benefit possible need for food and shelter, but ultimately, if he's still separated from God by his sin, he's still in trouble.

There were any number of people who were kind to me when I was a teenager, isolated, bullied, and sad; the people I babysat for, my parents' friends, teachers, my relatives. And I drank in their encouragement and felt comfort in their love and support.

But it wasn't enough.

My heart was restless until it found its rest in God.

And how did I get that? From someone who knew I needed to hear.

May we who claim compassion for those who are weak and struggling remember that the gospel still needs to be proclaimed.


Aren't all mothers, "mommy bloggers" in some sense?

This is a random, unprocessed thought for a Monday. I have a lot of things to do today, so I'm going to be irresponsible and just spew it out, although I've thought of it often over the almost ten years I've been blogging.

To be a "mommy blogger" is often seen as a disparaging term. There can occasionally be a bit of a look down the nose at a woman who takes pride in her family and writes about it. It can be communicated that only the women who write about current events, politics, doctrine and (cringe) pop culture are "serious." When I was a younger mother, there was a lot of discussion about that. Heaven forbid some poor lady would be accused of mommy blogging.

I have been considered a "mommy blogger." I'm not famous, nor am I married to someone famous. I don't have a "platform" to boast over. Even worse, I'm a mommy blogger who (*whisper*) doesn't have any kids at home. I can't even blog about the things I'm learning through mommy-ing.

I cannot help but wonder if all mothers aren't in some sense mommy bloggers. I can only speak for myself, but being a mother changed me. A lot. In huge portions. Major. You get the idea.

What I thought about life, sacrifice, humility, myself, the world all came to a watershed  the moment I held that first of three babies in my arms. A natural, serious protective instinct grew in me that still lives. You cross one of my babies, and I may get in a snit.

The big ethical issues I thought I had a handle on as a young woman were looked at through a different set of eyes once I became a mother, and once I had children who were as old as I was when I became a mother myself, I thought again.

Even if you lost a child early, you don't stop being a mother. It's like walking through a door where it shuts behind you immediately, and while you can see through a window the life you led before, you can't stop where you're headed, and you don't really want to, if truth be told. Motherhood has been a ground for sanctification that has changed me the most, even more than being married, I think. It has reduced me to my weakest places and lifted me up to the most beautiful heights. 

Would not almost everything I blog about be affected by who I am? A mother? 

I don't know, maybe I'm being too idealistic. Maybe you hear violins playing in the background and these words sound sugary and lame. 

Whether I write about what I'm learning in Scripture, or my mostly faltering observations about culture and life, my identity as a mother has been a filter through which my eyes have viewed things, for better or worse. I am not able to compartmentalize my life into little boxes; they all intersect at some point. Maybe that's a fault.

As a Christian woman, it is my belief that motherhood is a gift from God. It is something to be valued highly. I am not ashamed to say that it has affected who I am. I am not ashamed to say that I'm thankful to be someone's mother. I am first and foremost a Christian, but motherhood is not something to be pushed down as an incidental.

I wonder what will happen if I get to a grandmother.


Transparency or pride?

I like order. I have a hard time thinking when things are cluttered. A place for everything, and everything in its place. My brother gave a dire prediction that I would be a drill sargeant when I became a mother. Perhaps that's true. Compared to the chaotic, frenzied life of some mothers I hear today, I must have been, because I'm sure if there was blogging back when I had young kids, there wouldn't be much fodder, because life ran fairly well. It was typical. It was busy. But it wasn't exceptional. I was given children who were quite content, and we practiced discipline with them; boundaries and consequences and all that. 

I've read articles here and there making the same point I'm about to make, but bear with me. 

It seems to be popular these days to tell tales of how disordered our lives are and how God loves us anyway. I know that's an oversimplification, but you get my drift. I have heard stories of women taking pictures of their messy homes, posting them online, and proudly proclaiming: I'm okay with this mess, God loves me, anyway, and I don't have to be a domestic diva. And that's true; all of it.

But why is that something I want to exalt? I don't have to hide it, but I don't have to turn it into a virtue, either. Where is the line between glorifying God for meeting us in that struggle, and glorifying the struggle? Is it a matter of "my life is messier than yours, so the deliverance God gives me is better?"

It has been my experience that the people with the most serious struggles are the ones who say the least about their struggles.

There is none righteous, no not one. There is none who seeks after God. We were born into sin. And God knew us and loved us, anyway. We know that. We know people have dirty kitchens, unruly children, bad motives, and times when they just blow off their responsibilities to sit in front of a book and eat chocolate. We all know that about each other. I know it about you, and you know it about me. But why is it so much more sanctified to shout it from the rooftops?

I understand the need for women to take the pressure off of themselves and not conform to an unreasonable and unblibcal standard. Truly, I do. But as I get older, I'm beginning to value discretion much more. I have been guilty of being too transparent on too many occasions. I have found myself cringing over some of the things I have said in the past. I often wonder if anyone saw Christ beyond my "transparency." Perhaps on occasion, but perhaps not.

Perhaps I am showing my age. Maybe this is a generational thing. It has certainly come on the heels of the explosion of information online. 

Transparent moment: I think I didn't believe in a "generation gap" until now.


Thankful in the little things

My husband works in the insurance industry. He has for eighteen years. This means dealing with people whose homes burn down at inconvenient times, have sewer back-ups at Christmas, or have trees fall over and land into their roof. It also involves a lot of car accidents. Some of the stories over the years of the long-term effects of people's car accidents are very scary. When we get behind the wheel of a car on a regular basis, we don't give a lot of thought to the sheer killing power of which we're in control. I think about it more now than I did before my husband was in the business.

We also live in southern Ontario where winter means just as much ice as it does snow. Whenever a weekend passes by with more than typical inclement weather, my husband will ponder on a Sunday evening, "How many accidents were there over the weekend?" 

I had to go out this morning. I purposely went early because I wanted to get to the grocery store before it got busy and because it's snowing. I've heard the sound of salt trucks, so I know the roads are good at the moment. After my quick dash into the store for a few items, I went home. When I pulled into the driveway, I thanked God for safety. It's not that I was in any real danger. I've driven in worse conditions. But it really does not take much to damage your vehicle, or hurt yourself or another person. What a Christmas it will unfortunately be for some people this year, as their cars get totalled or they get injured. Some car accident-related injuries share their "blessings" for years to come, aside from being the cause of fatalities.

I'm thankful for safety today, and I pray for safety in the days ahead as we visit family for the holidays. The safe travels we have are gift. Be cautious in bad weather, and remember that it's better to arrive late and alive.

Be thankful in the little things. We are so blessed.


Still telescoping

Here is a slightly modified post I wrote in 2008. This still rings true. I wonder if other women can relate to this.


Is telescoping a word? I doubt it. It's a poor attempt to make a noun into a verb, I'm afraid. I think I live a telescoping life.

I have been thinking about details; specifically, the details of our lives. Whether we make our work inside the home or outside the home, life is full of ordinary details. We have to feed people, wash their clothes, get them to appointments. We have things in the local church that take up time; groups we work with, people we serve and little things that are our responsibility. We can become very focused on the details our lives and forget about the world around us.

I am not a big news hound. I see the headlines, and if something strikes my fancy, I read it. I watch the news regularly.  However, I don't have nearly the time to spend contemplating the big issues of the day when there is a dog scratching to come in, a cat whining to be fed, boys whining to be fed, and bible study lessons to prepare for. Sometimes, I feel very ignorant about the world.

The older I get, the more I see there is to learn. There is no way I can possibly keep up. Every so often, I will go off on a tangent, and I will spend a little more time looking at the larger world. I will be like a dog with a bone, and I will read about a topic quite extensively for a while, learn all I can, and then when I realize there is mold growing in the refrigerator, I get back to reality.

My view of the world has to move back into the ordinary, and that's okay with me. This is where God has put me. He has given me this family and these details. They are mine and because He gave them to me, they are good. By the same token, the desire to learn and know more about the world is also a God-given one, and He gives me plenty of opportunity for that, too.

I look at life as through a telescope; sometimes, the view is far and wide, and I see myself as the small little dot in this vast universe. And then, the telescope has to pull back to where I see myself in the centre of my home, managing the many details. I don't know if other people experience this phenomenon. Perhaps my husband does in his own way. He loves news, and he knows a lot about what's going on in the world, but I am pretty sure that he has to pull in his own telescope to look at actuarial reports, auditor's reports and solve the latest human resources crisis. Then, he has to come home and concern himself about the details of being a husband and father; whether or not the garage door opener is working properly, or if the leak under the sink has come back.

We can't escape details and the ordinary. Even the most "famous" person, with the most extraordinary life inevitibaly faces the ordinary. If there were no one ordinary, would we even know what extraordinary was?

There is still a dog who scratches at the door (albeit, a different one), and cats whining to be fed. While the house is empty of children, there are still details. But I still do the telescope thing. The nice thing is that because there are fewer responsibilites, the time for zooming in can last a little longer.