Wednesday, September 26, 2007

John Piper: What I Said at My Granddaughter's Funeral

What I Said at My Granddaughter's Funeral

I found this very moving. I greatly admire John Piper as he is a man who has sacrificed his entire life to God. I appreciated seeing how he deals with grief, both in the death of his father and granddaughter, in a very Godly manner.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things You Don't Want to Hear #2

"I wiped it on your bed."
(This one was especially bad since the preceding sentence had something to do with boogers.)

Remember, you don't have to be a mom or around little kids to add your own "Things you don't want to hear."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Ugliness and the Soccer Mom

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while and when James left his comment on a previous post I thought maybe I should finally try to write my thoughts out.

The movie "The Second Chance" is a Christian movie about two pastors- one from a big, rich, flashy church and the other from a small inner-city church. The movie made several good points, but I'll just mention one. The pastor from the inner-city church had a bad habit of swearing. His language wasn't "R-rated," but it still was not lovely, appropriate or God-honoring. I think there are a few reasons why this character had this flaw, but the reason that stuck out to me was the fact that he had been affected by his surroundings. He was pastor of a church right in the middle of everything that is ugly. The church ministered to drug-dealers and prostitutes and hearing gunshots in their neighborhood was an everyday occurrence. So this pastor was faced with the ugliness every day of his life and as a result the language of the people around him seeped in and he started talking like they did.

Each Christian has been called to serve wherever God has placed them and no matter where you live there is the danger of the ugliness of the world seeping into you and your family and changing you. If you live in an urban area perhaps the temptation will be to dress similarly to your neighbors since you feel weird in your "good Christian clothes." Or maybe the hopelessness of the people around you will affect you or even the violence you are faced with everyday. Maybe you'll be tempted to let down your guard and stop fighting quite so hard and maybe some of the ugliness will be let in.

My family has been called to serve God in middle class suburbia. Our neighborhood is relatively safe and I don't think I've ever heard a gunshot nor seen a drug deal take place. But this neighborhood is still full of an ugliness all its' own and a danger that can be hard to fight against. It's the danger of wealth and worldliness, of relying on my possessions for happiness and trying to impress the Joneses.

I don't know my neighbors. Sure, I could name most of them and if I ran into them on the street we'd say hi and chat about the weather a bit, but we all hide behind our masks. We drive our shiny cars into our spacious driveways and prune our hedges. We smile at each other and if we fight with our spouses we try to keep it quiet so no one else hears. And I find myself quite content with how things are because it's so easy and things feel right.

And yet, my neighborhood is just as dark and ugly as the place where the drug dealers live and gang members kill each other. Sin is just as present here as in the ghetto. And we need to be fighting it here or it will overtake us as well. Only it won't come out as swearing or violence, rather it will look like a well-kept lawn and a nice minivan. A smiling face as I take my kids to soccer practice, ballet, tuba lessons, swim meets, etc. My husband will go to work and I'll run the kids about and make sure our house stays clean. We'll pay the bills on time and even have some money left over for a nice vacation. I'll smile at my neighbors and they'll smile back and life will feel right.

Now, I'm not saying that all these things are wrong by themselves, but what is this average American lifestyle? Is it serving God and denying ourselves or is it just getting comfortable here in this world? Maybe that lifestyle makes sense if that's all you're hoping for, but I'm waiting for something better- heaven. And I want my neighbors to be there, too.
So should we give into the pretty-looking ugliness and live like everyone else around us? Or do we fight it and, by God's almighty grace bring some light and hope into this dark place?

Don't think that just because you live in a nice neighborhood with pretty houses you aren't called to be a missionary there or that it's not dangerous. The danger to become like the world is very present in nice neighborhoods- it's just harder to see. Which makes it harder to fight.

May God give us wisdom and courage to fight and serve where He has placed us.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Beloved

Yesterday the kids and I were sick so Joshua graciously stayed home from work to take care of us. Joshua even washed dishes and did laundry in between wiping kids' noses and caring for a cranky wife. As a result, some dishes were put away in the wrong places and some bits of clothes and towels were folded and put away differently than I like to do it and so things are a little less organized than I generally like. I suppose I could complain about the inconvenience that causes me today, but I'm finding that as I'm going about my duties and I come upon a "mistake" that Joshua made it only serves to remind me of how much my husband loves me. Not only did he stay home from work (and therefore run the risk of being backlogged today) and take care of all of us, but he also made sure the house kept running smoothly so that I didn't have to worry about it.

I've said it before and I know I'll say it again: I'm married to a truly loving, thoughtful and serving man. There's just no way I can figure that I deserve him.

Thank you, my dear husband, for loving me. And thank You, my Father, for this undeserved gift.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Things You Don't Want to Hear

Coming From the Bathroom:
"It won't go down!"

In the middle of the night:
"My bed is messy!"

(Crash!) "Look what Malachi did!"

Feel free to add your own "Things You Don't Want to Hear."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'll Share Jesus with You- Just Don't Touch Me

We recently received a newsletter from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. These people are really trying to save lives by changing the way our country views unborn children and I applaud their efforts. That newsletter got me thinking, though. I’ve been an active “Pro-Lifer” since I was young. Much of that was due to the fact that my mom, in her job, worked with unwed mothers and helped them make the decision to keep their babies and not have abortions. So I would proudly wear the footprint pin and the T-shirts and march downtown with a poster-sized sign. These were very good things to do, but how come I never wore a T-shirt that said drugs were wrong or picketed a strip club? Why was I so outspoken against abortion and not any of these other sins? Could it be that part of the reason there are so many loud “Pro-Lifers” is because unwanted pregnancies and abortions aren’t things that we struggle with? Would we be so outspoken about sins that we are tempted by? And what if that sin was "extra bad" and not talked about?

Harvest USA is a ministry that reaches out to people that struggle with sexual sins. They provide counseling and teaching for the guy who can’t get enough porn, the girl who thinks she might be lesbian, and the husband who cheats on his wife. These are the “yucky” sins that we church folks don’t want to talk about. We’ll go to hear a great speaker talk about the horrors of abortion, but if there’s a lecture about homosexuality then we’re out of there. The brave people who work with Harvest USA aren't afraid to be associated with the unpleasantness of certain sins.

I’m not saying that we should stop be outspoken about protecting a babies life or that it’s wrong to be Pro-Life. On the contrary, I’m eager for the day when I can donate some of my time and energy to help fight abortion here in Erie. What I’m saying is, we can’t ignore the other sins that don’t get talked about.

If someone in your church got pregnant out of marriage then you’d probably know about it, but what if a Christian sister were struggling with alcoholism or a brother were struggling with sexual addiction? Would you even want to know? And if you did, how would you minister to him?

I don’t care how socially unacceptable some sins are. We Christians need to stop being so prissy and get our hands dirty! If we are too good or too “polite” to talk about these sins then who will bring these poor, battered souls to Jesus? Jesus Himself hung out with thieves and prostitutes. Do you think He didn’t know what that prostitute was doing the night before? Do you think He shrank away from her? If the Holy Son of the Almighty Creator could stoop to love and save these filthy sinners, then who are we to think they aren’t our problem?

After all, are we any less sinful?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

I Think I'm in Love

Today Joshua and I took our first motorcycle ride together. As soon as we hit the open road and the wind took my breath away I knew there was nowhere else on earth that I'd rather be than riding with my man.

Riding a motorcycle is a unique experience. Feeling the power of the machine you're sitting on, seeing the landscape flying by with amazing clarity, having the wind make your eyes water, and feeling the tiny pinpricks on your face where the kamikaze insects crash, all combine to make an exciting, fun and extremely relaxing experience.

Now that I've had a taste, I'm hooked. I can't wait to ride again. Now to find a babysitter....