Self Righteous Arrogance

It was pride that led an angel to turn against the God that HE KNEW formed the Universe, that HE KNEW was all powerful, and that HE KNEW deserved all praise.  Satan got so full of himself that he turned from God and LOOK WHAT IT LED TO!

Perhaps that is why the greatest trick up Satan’s sleeve is pride.  Just look at this world!  We are/I am a bunch of self righteous pride.  Oh, Don’t you dare say that ABOUT ME!  Oh, Don’t you dare try to correct me!  Oh no you did not just cut ME off in traffic!  You did not just say that to ME, do you know who I am?!  Why do you expect ME to help?  We/I are so full of ourselves!

Father, take me down a notch!  Ouch!  That prayer hurts!  And I don’t like to hurt!  BUT I WOULD RATHER HELP!  I want to stop focusing on ME!  Lord, open my eyes to other’s around me!

“They will know we are Christians by our love.”  DOES ANYONE KNOW I AM A CHRISTIAN?!

Lord, bring others in need to me and give me no other option but to help them!  Let’s start a revolution!  Let the world say, “Who are these people?!”  Make it obvious that we are different!  We think of other people before ourselves, we wait patiently, speak kindly, are not quick to anger, help those in need, WE ARE CHRISTIANS.

Why do I have Cancer?

There was no fault to be found with Jesus.  He spent his days healing the blind and the sick, he forgave the sins of outcasts of society, welcomed little children, and raised the dead.  Jesus had no home to call his own, he was rejected by his own brothers and his hometown.  Jesus was a man of sorrows.

His death was the great accomplishment of Satan himself.  He filled Judas as he betrayed him to the chief priests and the officers of the temple.  Satan and his legions shrieked with delight.  Jesus was dead!  They knew he was dead!  Their plan had been accomplished!  Satan had defeated Jesus.

But even Satan does not know the future.  And Jesus is alive!  He defeated death and arose from the grave.  How this devastated Satan!  Jesus had won the victory and he knew it!  It was not what he expected!  Jesus did not come to earth as a king and defeat the Romans, he came as a weak baby to a weak family.  He defeated Satan through SUFFERING!

The suffering of Jesus changed our futures forever!  Because of the suffering of Jesus, we can put our trust in him.  He is a God that knows the suffering of mankind.  His death gave us eternal life in perfection.

It is so hard to suffer.  It is so hard to see that anything good could come out of our pain!  But, oh, when Jesus hung on the cross and the demons were claiming the victory, I can think of nothing more hopeless!  But through his suffering, he rescued the souls of man!

In this life, I will have suffering.  It is guaranteed.  But I am not afraid.  I do not ask why do I suffer?  I ask Jesus, why did you suffer FOR ME?

Why God?! Tell me why!

Suffering rocks our world!  “Why, oh why God?  How can you be a loving God and let people hurt like this?!”

We live our lives with the belief that God is here to serve us.  We believe we deserve to be healthy and wealthy and happy.  We envy and despise those that appear to have “it all made” and we blame God for not giving us more, for not giving us more money, a bigger house, a skinnier body, a smarter brain, a healthier body, a nicer spouse, a faster car, and more obedient children.  We live for the big ME.

Then, absolutely, of course suffering does not fit into that plan!  Scars are not ideal when seeking out the hottest body.  Medical bills are not the plan when seeking to get rich.  Serving a spouse in the early morning is out of the question when I am looking out for my own comfort.  Without a doubt parents yell at children because this isn’t really the way we thought parenthood would go.  It is no shock that divorce is the norm when forgiveness can only come from God.

While in the midst of blaming God for pain in suffering, while in the throws of hating God for ruining our plans, perhaps the only answer is:  IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!

If I can begin to fathom who God is and who I am, the question changes from “Why do I suffer?” to “God, why do you love me?”

Those that do not believe in God do not have to answer the question of “why?”  It is just the way nature is.  Deal with it.  But they also do not get the comfort of God.  While I may not always understand “why,” I do know that one day I will.

One day, not only will there be no more pain and suffering for those that love Christ, one day all the wrongs of this life will be undone.  One day parents will be reunited with babies they lost, one day God will not only heal cancer, he will will make my body perfect, God’s plan is that all children will be loved, in heaven there will be so much richness that even the streets are made with gold.  What is the best life you can think of?  Heaven is better than that!  One day I will live forever with a perfect body in a huge mansion, and I will live with and praise forever the King of Kings.  Why, oh why God, do you love me so much?!

Flying Nuggets

James is a logical mind and Madison’s Momma is a creative soul.  When God put that miracle baby in my belly, he made her special in more ways than one.  She is one of the very few people in this life that I have met that is both logical and creative.

James and I are the same in personality.  We like to be around people, but we are not extremely outgoing.  We like to go and do, with a premeditated plan.  We like time to do the things we do, laid back and low key.  And in our own way, we are each perfectionists.

Aside from personality, we are complete opposites.  James pays the bills, gets the oil changed, mows the lawn, solves Math problems, opens jars,  keeps everything, runs really fast, understands the engine in a car, can follow directions, manages people well, and reads manuals.

I, on the other hand, cook, vacuum, decorate, write poetry, change diapers, plant flowers, simplify closets, enjoy Yoga, wrap presents, host parties, journal, straighten my hair, write for sheer pleasure, shop for family Christmas presents, and cry during sweet commercials.

Bless the logical man that is madly in love with the artsy woman.  I love to decorate.  I love our home, but I am constantly making small little changes and discovering little (medium, or big) projects that I want to be done.  Example:  This last weekend, I decided that our brown wood table should really be chalky white.  The floors are a dark wood and the white would be a great popping contrast.  James concludes that the table functions just as it should, despite the color.  But, I know he loves me, because we loaded up the car and drove to an artsy little store that I adore.  (Yes, he hates.)  I picked out the color I wanted and James plops it down on the counter.  Being who he is, as he is handing over his payment, he adds to the cashier, I believe owner, “I am about to ruin a perfectly good table.”  I am sure that wasn’t the first time she heard that.

My amazing husband painted the table.  And it looks incredible!  Thank you babe!

So, what happens when us two folks have a baby?  We spend more money than we should on two Leopard Geckos, one fat guinea pig, a wandering kitty cat, and a fat lazy rescued dog.  We explain things to her using Science books.  She loves to go to work with her Daddy.  And she needs to understand things to accept them.  Like her Daddy.  But, when she is supposed to be asleep at 10:30 and her parents go to check on her, she has a flashlight and can’t put down “Little Princess.”  And when she is supposed to be brushing her teeth, I find her laboring away, scratching her pencil against page four of her new story she was suddenly inspired to write.  I can’t stop her because I know the feeling, being inspired with a story is not something you chose.  So, I let her scribble away and then proudly read her new story to me.  And the title, you got it, “Flying Nuggets.”

Conveying and sharing life, for the same reason that I read novels and biographies, we all love a story and we all know that other type:  Logical or Creative.  And as I want to know and love my family, so do you, and we are in this thing called LIFE together, however we approach it.

I am Not Me

Fashion waxes and wanes, the memories of trends captured in pictures.  Pictures taken from a camera, not a phone.  The comfort of childhood clothes, a closet full of my profession, maternity pants, weight gained and weight lost.  My dress is admired or my outfit is sloppy.  The daily additions and cancelations, I take them off and I put them on.  The differences because of a choice of clothes that people see in me.

The mirror tells the truth of lines that once were not there.  My grandmother in heaven is remembered by her voice calling out my young pudgy tummy.  Baby fat now carries a new meaning.  My tattoos are scars, they each have a story.  Some written and shared, others written on my heart.  This body grows and this body changes.  Memories of who I used to be.  Simple things accomplished that now can not be repeated.  I just tell of them, of the body that was attached to me.

To the man that looks approvingly or the lady that judges me.  I speak to people that are my friends and that are my enemies.  What you see is not.  It is not me.  It changes daily.  Slowly growing and fading, the debt of humanity.  Your dirty smile or your nose turned up goes unnoticed to me because in simple changes that mean nothing at all, your expression would change toward me.

I take off the years like a sweater and my hair will fade to gray like the taking off and putting on of earrings.  Shoes changed is my health fading.  A belt applied is the years passing by.  My body changes like my wardrobe.  But, what you see is not.  It is not me.

Judge me by my character.  The ease of the first glance does not do justice to the soul’s stance.  Let’s be friends and chat and smile and cry. Let’s live before we die.  Because living is forever but this body is and never will be me.  My soul will live for eternity.

The Great Damned One

The peak of the mountain, tallest in the world.  At the point, the tip, he holds me over the edge.  Held by his claw, in his grip, I wriggle and squirm.  Terror seizes my mind, my heart beats like a drum.  The beating of the drum, the battle call.  There is a whisper in the wind.  A cold north wind blows my hair and chills my body.

He screams a high pitched scream, grabbing my dangling body that he is holding over the ledge, cupping his two hands over my ears.  But the north wind blows and the whisper can not be shut out.  And I know.

My closed eyes open.  He knows that I know.  I know that my one hands controls him.  I know fear is his manipulating tool.  But now I know, I know fear is a bluff.  If I fall, I fall into the arms of Jesus.

I know.  I know that if I mourn, I will be comforted.  My tears will be wiped away.  My failing body will be healed, my poor spirit will be lifted up and I will be given power.  I will inherit.  I will reign.

Satan holds the greatest bluff of all time.  The ending is known, God almighty holds the victory over the war.  Great powerful one, Christian, claim your power.  Call the bluff.

Take Me to Church

Who is this God I serve?  Oh the debates, the complications, and the theories.  Is he a God that changes?  How can he be the God of the New Testament and the God of the Old?  A God of Works, of Silence, of Wrath, of live and let live?

What is this label?  Christian.  Those that judge, hate, and do what they condemn?  Who are these christians?  Those that have it figured out?  They know the right from wrong, live in nice houses, don’t curse and don’t hang around those that do?

Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak built a wooden “drop box” on the outer wall of his home.  The box was designed to be a surrender location for unwanted babies.  Babies with deformities, babies with special needs, babies that would have otherwise been abandoned to die alone find themselves in the arms of a loving father and mother.  This is my Jesus, come broken hearted, come with your addictions and your demons, come with your deformed soul and find yourself in the arms of a loving Father.

But how can this loving father also be the God of Justice?  Let me put it this way, how can he not?  Would he be a God of love if he did not protect his children?  When my daughter was two years old, she was taking a nap in her crib.  I was rushing about the house getting things accomplished in my precious minutes of alone time.  I was startled by the sound of someone in my daughter’s room.  Undoubtedly, I heard the sound of her closet door close.  With a vengeance and determination, I rushed into her room ready to defeat, protect, and destroy with my own two hands.  When I discovered that my baby had crawled out of her bed for the first time, I melted back into her loving mother.

So, why all the hateful Christians?  Because they are really messed up.  So, why all the judgement?  Because the grace of God is not understood.  Why all the self righteous, white on the outside and dirty as hell on the inside?  Because Pharisees are Satan’s great tool.  Remember, they crucified Jesus.

So, I reword and repeat a question.  What is the difference between a christian and a nonchristian?  What is the difference between a believer and a nonbeliever?  I am a christian.  I am a believer.  It means one thing.  I am so screwed up that I know that I need Jesus.  And that is the answer, a believer recognizes their nasty, dirty shortcomings and falls at the feet of Jesus.  The christian is the tax collector refusing to lift his face to heaven and crying out to God to save him.  The world sees the righteous man standing thanking God that he is not like this other man, but Jesus tells us that it is the sinner crying out to Jesus that will be saved.

Lead me to these people, I want to worship with them.  I want to sing praises with those that know we have been saved from death and suffering.  I want to join with survivors of cancer, survivors of addiction, survivors of sin and praise the God that healed us.  I want to hunger for righteousness with those that long for it as I do.  Lead me to the place where people know they are hopelessly screwed up and in need of a savior.  It does not have to be a building.  In fact, I suggest to you that most of the buildings labeled as churches are filled with those that think they have it all together.  Jesus roamed without a home, he gathered under trees, on boats, and on mountain tops, not in a building.

Believers gather.  Our deliver is coming in the clouds.  Knock down the doors that stop us.  Armies gather and take up your weapon.  This world is not our home, do not find comfort here.  Our sins do not stop us, they are a voice from which we have been saved.  Build your drop boxes, label it for those in need.  Grab a hand and lead someone hurting on the way.  Sing a new song.  Stand firm.

Take me to church.  Take me to the feet of Jesus.  Meet me there.

The Man Murdered is ALIVE!

Years and years ago when Passion of the Christ was released, I did not want to see it.  I am a christian.  I believe in Jesus Christ.  I believe he died upon the cross for my sins.  I believed it, but I did not want to see it.  I hide my eyes during violent scenes in movies.  I think about it for days.  I avoid the whole thing.  So, when I heard that the movie was intensely, above and beyond violent, I checked that off my “to do” list.

And then people kept talking about it, they wouldn’t shut up about it.  And I heard a man being interviewed on the radio.  He said that he did not like torturous, violent scenes.  Thank you.  My thoughts exactly.

He said that he had heard from friends how bloody the movie was and they could not get the scenes out of his head.  Thank you.  I don’t want to see it either.

And then the final blow.  He said that he realized that he needed that stuck in his head.  I tilt my head, confused.  Ummmm…say what?

He said that he needed to think every minute of every day of what Jesus did to save him from his sins.

And so, I saw the movie.

It was everything I expected.  It is not the kind of movie you watch while eating popcorn.  I wanted to hide my eyes for the, well, the whole entire movie, but the man’s words kept resonating in my ears.  I needed to see this.  I needed these pictures stuck in my head.

And so I watched.  With a sick stomach, I watched as Jesus was repeatedly whipped.  I watched with tears rolling down my cheeks as the nail pierced his body.  I watched as he hung in agony.

And I watched as he died.

And then I thought to myself, “OK.  I made it.  I got through the movie.”  And I wanted to get out of there.  But it kept going.

“He’s dead.  That was the most disturbing movie I’ve ever seen.  I get the point, he’s dead.  Let’s get out of here.”

And then the screen showed something that I was not expecting, it showed the empty tomb. The empty tomb!

HE IS ALIVE! I wanted to stand up and shout!  HE IS NOT DEAD!  HE IS ALIVE!  JESUS IS ALIVE!

All the hurt was washed away.  He was not bloody.  My stomach did not hurt anymore.  My sins are forgiven.  Jesus conquered death and he has the victory.  The movie is real.  It is a true story.  The debt is paid.  The slave is set free, the blind can see, the sick are healed, all the pains of childbirth are gone.  JESUS IS ALIVE!

Love Does

“I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.

I used to think I had to act a certain way to follow God, but now I know God doesn’t want us to be typical.

I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.

I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down.

I used to think the best teachers wore tweed jackets and smoked pipes, but now I know they flip over and leak.

I used to think God wouldn’t talk to me, but now I know I’m just selective with what I chose to hear.

I used to think I needed to pick sides, but now I know it’s better to pick a fight.”  

Bob Goff, the author of Love Does.  This guy is insane!  He lives this life of giving and doing and saying things that are completely radical!  AND I WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HIM!

This is the book that I carry with me and read a sentence at red lights.  This book is the reason that I did not vacuum yesterday.  It is the reason that I was up a little too late.  And the reason I will be different from now on.  Above are a few of the chapter titles.  When the first chapter started, I was laughing out loud.  When the first chapter ended, I was crying.

I have a new aspiration in life.  I don’t want to just say I love people, I want to do it.  Love does.

Wake Up Mommy Nature

All is quiet, quieter than reality.  Sleeping, sleeping, nature sleeping.  Sleeping in longer than ought.  The grass, trees, the walkways, stones, and flowers, all are wrapped in a blanket, a blanket of snow.  Sleeping, sleeping, nestled into bed.  Sleeping, sleeping in like a Saturday morning.

Daddy gives a little nudge and a kiss on the cheek, “Wake up Mommy, Mother Nature, time to wake.”

She is no morning person.  She grabs the snowy blanket and rolls over.

After a little more time, Daddy nudges again, “The children are getting antsy.  Wake up dear.”

She turns and yawns, the sun rises in the sky.

The blanket is thrown back, melting, melting snow.

Arms lifted high, stretch, stretched high.  Rising, rising plants that have been hidden.

Fingers spread in a last final stretch.  Pop, buds pop and shake and jingle.

Step, step out of bed.  The temperature rises.

Final stand.  Animals invited, tweet, run, and play.

Mommy Nature is awake.  All the human children dance and sing, it is finally, finally spring!