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Entries in All Random All the Time (61)

Friday
May092014

Our own private Mother's Day

I love being a mother, but I don't need a greeting card company inspired holiday to make me feel good about that. In fact, while I love the times when I have been encouraged on Mother's Day, and I am more than happy to celebrate my mother, I don't like the public nature of it. The worst year was when I was made to stand, along with other women in my congregation, to be applauded for being a mother. I'm sure my embarrassment was nothing compared to the feelings of the women in the room who were struggling with motherhood. Mention the day if you have to, but public recognition we can all do without.

Mothers are not more virtuous than others simply by being mothers. In fact, there are a lot of really bad mothers, and sometimes, I feel like one of them.

So, as I get ready for the inundation of Mother's Day fodder, in the stores, on television (who on earth buys his wife a diamong ring from Jared for Mother's Day?) and on social media, this is my suggestion.

I think every mom should have her own private Mother's Day, a date that only she and her family know about. Even better? Only the kids know when it is, and they surprise their mother.

My "Mother's Day" has been celebrated by me already:

My daughter and I texted back and forth the other day about and author she really likes, and she is going to loan me his books. Unspontaneous gift that means a lot, and is the kind my daughter and I both love.

My son called me on the phone a while ago, excited about the prospect of a job this summer. Yesterday, he texted me to share his joy in having an interview scheduled. A call from a son who is phone/text phobic. Gift received. I win.

Yesterday, while sitting in physiotherapy, I received a text message from my youngest saying that he was taking photographs as part of his summer job. He knows his mama is a shutterbug and a preferrer of the Canon Rebel, which was the camera he was using. A son sharing his every day moment at an unexpected time. Gift received and appreciated.

This weekend, my older son cannot come for the weekend, but the other two are coming home. Even if no one was coming home, I have been given gifts already, and the ones that come out of the blue are the most precious.

Every mom should get her own private Mother's Day. Not knowing when it is means it might come at a time when we really need it most, and it will be less of a pressure thing done because "everyone" is doing it. A gift given because one must do it is not nearly as nice as one given because the giver wants to do it.

Wednesday
Apr302014

Be thankful; if necessary use words

Gratitude is rather a lost commodity these days. I try to be thankful every day. I realize that everything I have is a gift from God.

I was bullied in junior high. I have mentioned it on this blog before, and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but the older I get and the more I battle with my besetting sins, the more I realize that the effects of those years of my life cling stubbornly to me.

To be bullied is to be rejected in a specific way. Bullies are telling their victims, "We reject you." And not only do they reject their victims, they want to make sure their victims are aware of it.

I have always been very sensitive to feeling rejected, something I know I need to work on. Being bullied as a teenaged girl didn't help.

I am very grateful for my friends. When someone does me a kindness, I am grateful, and I want to make sure that person knows. And I do don't to it so that the person can say, "Oh, she's so thankful, look at her." I do it because I really feel thankful.

I know what it is like to have no friends, and worse, to have friends turn on me. Being wounded by friends didn't end when the bullying ended. Sometimes, our closest friends inflict the deepest wounds, and I'm not talking about the faithful wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6).

Gratitude is often most apparent where there is great need. It's often hard for us here in North America where some of our biggest problems are not being able to re-tweet compliments without being dogpiled by the naysayers. It's hard to feel thankful when we don't have a lot of need. The most thankful people I know personally are those who have endured hardship, whether it is personal loss or other kind of suffering. We need to look around at how blessed we are and learn gratitude and leave aside any sense of entitlement we may have. 

Be thankful every day. Use words. Pray to the Lord in gratitude. Share your gratitude with those who are gracious and generous to you. Don't grumble and complain.

I want to grow in gratitude. I think it's the first step toward humility, and I know for a certainly I want to grow in that area.

Thursday
Apr242014

Do we really believe?

Modesty. Pornography. Fidelity. Womanhood. Motherhood. Gender. Culture. Integrity. Politics. Celebrity. 

These are just some of the topics that come across my social media feed on a daily basis. I would add theology to the end of it, but I would be willing to say that it is the topic which is discussed the least. Perhaps I need to overhaul my feeds and search for those articles. They are there. But they are not always as popular.

We want it practical. And if it's controversial, sexy and practical, even better.

I thought to myself the other day, "What do people in the local church really need to hear?"

This came in the wake of the endless discussions of the various bad movies and books that are part of our every day conversation. I wondered how badly the average person in the pew really needs to listen to a forty minute discussion about whether we can redeem a movie about a kid who claims to have gone to heaven.

Those issues are important, but we can't even begin to address such issues without understanding as Christians our responsibility toward our culture. And even then, it will vary, because not all Christians are united on that question.

A few years ago, my husband and I were working with teens, and when the question came up as to why Christ had to die in order to effect salvation, we were met with blank stares. And these were older teens, raised in the church. I have asked that question while teaching women and had very tentative responses, as if they weren't really sure.

I'm probably just displaying the reality that I'm a horribly unsophisticated, daft housewife, but it seems to me that the bottom line issue is do we know what we believe? Do we understand what the basis for our faith is? Do we really believe the Word of God?

A lot of those issues such as modesty, gender issues, and more culturally driven issues (the ones everyone chews over) demand that we confront whether or not we believe this Word. 

Do we believe in being transformed by the Word? Do we believe in judgment? Do we believe in humility? Do we believe that we must die to ourselves? Do we believe the Word of God is authoritative? We like to pile on those Christians who openly question things such as inerrancy, but do we really believe it? Is it evident in our conduct, in our preoccupations?

Every now and then, I feel a little uneasy about some of the things I hear fellow Christians talk about. It sometimes sounds like we all want to have our cake and eat it too; take the promises without the responsibilities. Live in the world and look like we fit in while maintaining our Christian identity. I don't know how we can do that. But maybe my middle-age is showing. I suspect that I'm growing more and more out of step with each passing moment.

I do care about issues such as modesty and womanhood. But I care more about the fact that the Word of God is under constant attack. I care about whether or not men and women believe that this is the pure, unadulterated Word of God. I care about whether or not believing this book may some day land Christians in jail. There are people currently living this reality. Are we really so short-sighted that we don't think it can happen here?

I'm concerned about what our young people believe about this Word. It is the foundation of our faith. It is the revelation of our God. Seems to me that I need to be concentrating a lot more on that.

Thursday
Apr032014

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.

Monday
Feb032014

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.