Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taking Kids Seriously

“Like all adults, children are created in God’s image. They have value as ends in themselves, not as objects of study or means to adult ends. They are, in essence, “gifts,” a phrase too easily reduced and cheapened in a market economy that has lost sight of the genuine nature of a gift.”

When we think of a child’s faith, we think of the embodiment of innocence, the child-like faith spoken of in Scriptures. How many artists’ renderings of children practicing their faith show them bathed in an ethereal glow of innocence and naiveté? For example, a picture of a little child kneeling by the side of the bed, hands clasped, eyes closed, reciting a bedtime prayer. There is nothing wrong with these visions per se, but these pictures "tempt us to see both children and faith as cute and sweet rather than thoughtful and challenging." Sometimes we are surprised by the words of truth from the mouths of babes, but more often our reaction is of how cute and endearing it all is and chalk it up to just another humorous moment to record in the baby book.

“At the age of three, the godchild of author and pastor Marjorie Thompson stopped what she was doing midstream to listen to a recording of Mozart that was playing in the background. Her parents noticed and asked if she knew who had written the music. “In a hushed and solemn tone,” Thompson reports, “the child responded, ‘God.’”

A Methodist pastor once told Thompson that his child came home from Sunday School to tell him, “God is bigger than our whole house and bigger than our whole yard.” The father responded, “Yes, that’s true.” Unable to resist a little adult theological correction, he added, “You know, God also lives in our hearts.” The child thought a moment and then asked, “If that’s true, then why aren’t our hearts bursting?”

Given our history, we are tempted to see these children and their stories as sweet and cute. But this assessment distorts their power. These children see something that adults have ceased to consider. They see through and behind our given reality to the heart of matters that adults have defined, categorized, mastered, and forgotten – the beauty of God’s music, the magnitude of God’s love. For “those who have ears to hear,” children often correct and edify us. They know more than we give them credit for knowing. Sometimes just attending to them can challenge and change us.”

The author challenges us to take kids seriously by taking their faith seriously. When we stop viewing our own adult faith as the better or more mature, we lose out on the learning opportunities Christ pointed out to us.

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in,” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. 2

“What is required now is not just a shift in our understanding of children. Rather, we must consider how our new regard for their complexity is expressed as we practice our faith within the daily rounds of family life. Taking children seriously entails not just what we believe or how we think about children; it also involves new ways of including them in the shared life of faith. Children are active agents and participants in the practices of faith, even if they bring their own perspectives, capacities, and insights. Now we must figure out what this means for our lives together.”

When we deny or suppress the value of our children’s faith and/or the faith of our own inner child, we do a great disservice to the Christian faith not only in our own lives but also as a whole. Sometimes growing up does not always mean growing wiser.

“…children’s wisdom - their proclivity for attention, sensitivity, pondering, and wonder - is not just what they know and say but how they live and embody their knowledge in daily life.”

Childhood has value that adult faith cannot surpass.

The author talks about making space for children and their faith by being active listeners without having our own agenda, as well as encouraging them in their expressions of faith as they grow. Asking questions, remaining open to their thoughts and ideas, offering honest thoughts of our own as well as admitting when you don’t know something are all ways in which we can allow our children to feel comfortable in their faith and grow (as well as our own faith growing from the shared experiences and conversations).

“If adults diminish children as active participants in religious practice, we both reduce the vitality of our own life of faith and overlook the human complexity children already possess. If we want to experience the daily care of children as a spiritual practice, then we must take kids and their faith seriously. Taking children seriously – as created in God’s image, as sinful, as agent, as gift and as task – has the potential to enrich the lives we share, in faith, with children.”


1. All words in green are straight from the fourth chapter of In the Midst of Chaos by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
2. Mark 10:14 paraphrased in The Message by Eugene H. Peterson

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pondering All These Things

“So [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”1

“When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”2

In the Christmas story, we find that Mary pondered all the happenings during Christ’s birth and stored them in her heart. Many years later, once again, we find her pondering during Jesus’ pre-teen years. It seems there are no two better times to reflect on life than at the birth of and at the beginning of those hormonal pre-teen years of your child’s life! Yet at both these times, more than others it seems, chaos is ever-present. So why ponder? defines ponder as, “to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate or to weigh carefully in the mind; consider thoughtfully.”

While pondering can conjure up images of quiet stillness or contemplative space, it is more of a recognizing those “Aha! moments” in the ordinariness of life. To recognize these moments takes a certain amount of focus and attending to. This attention can come naturally at times and also become a discipline to practice.

We will be more disposed toward moments of extraordinary awe if we have been attending all along to wonder and awe in the ordinary. ~Herbert Anderson

“Attending all along.” Here, I think, is an active way of being that supports all the practices of faith and that is integral to good parenting. Yet so often we parents neglect this. On our way to pray, on our way to church, on our way to all the other places where we think God abides, we pass by the ordinary awe much too quickly. But greater openness and attentiveness, often sparked by caring for children, can come through the practice I call “pondering.”

Small children in particular are no strangers to awe, of course, but kids of all ages invite us into this experience. Attending all along to children means we adults are also permitted to see the truly awesome – not only to wonder at them, as fond parents readily do, but also to see and share their own wonder at the world. Children both catch our attention and reorient it. Being present to all the ways in which they are growing – to their focus and pursuits, their curiosity and capacities – also leads us to deeper faith. If attended to, if noticed, if pondered, the routine of caring for kids in ordinary time offers us ample opportunity for wonder, for entering as adults more deeply and alertly into the presence of God.

Of course, pondering doesn’t fit well within chaotic busy schedules, and sometimes we are forced to prioritize and scale down so that the holy has a chance to be. But even working within the chaos, we will miss so much if we are not aware of the moments worthy of treasuring in our hearts. Mary was a mother, and we know that role all too well. “…pondering ultimately involves accepting limits and realities that go beyond our understanding. Pondering includes attention, appreciation, and amazement to be sure; it embraces potential anguish too, an aspect of parenting hidden in Mary’s pondering to which we turn in the last chapter. For now, it is enough to recognize human limits in the care for others and the reality of failure and loss. Through her pondering, Mary becomes one of the first theologians of the Christian tradition, turning over and over in her mind just who this child is and what God has to do with it. She does so in the very midst of her mothering – not when she moves away from it all.”

The author ends with a story about a friend who is a pastor and a father bemoaning the fact that family devotions are not a tradition or habit in his family. He goes on to describe his daily life: “I come home midafternoon to be around when our two kids come home from school. My wife works until later in the day. We barely squeeze in dinner between her return, my evening meetings, and our kids’ activities.” Our conversation got cut off abruptly when one of his children ran up to pull him in another direction. Here’s what I wish I could have said. Although family prayer has its important place (I am not dismissing concern about its decline), prayer and scripture reading do not alone determine faith. Faith is not one more thing to check off the list. Family prayer; check. Bedtime prayer; check. Ritual for dead hamster; check. It is not something set aside outside regular time. It is what we do in time and space, with our bodies and through our movements. The practices of this man’s family – playing with the children after school, interacting around dinner, greeting and parting, attending and pondering – these practices are formative of faith. They train our eyes to see God amid change and time.

Family life is better than most any other thing going on in the universe. ~ Judith Viorst


1. Luke 2:16-19
2. Luke 2:48-51

*All font in green is taken from Chapter 3 of In the Midst of Chaos by Bonnie Miller-McLemore.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sanctifying the Ordinary

In the last century, the Second Vatican Council affirmed household and general labor as a way to serve God.*

Think about that. Sanctifying the ordinary is a profound practice yet does not seem to hold up to the “holiness” of other practices such as Bible Study, taking part in communion or attending a church service. Yet the ordinary is the majority of our lives. To be unaware of the holiness of the mundane can only impede our spirituality. If God was only in the extraordinary moments of life, we would be a far more desperate and spiritually hungry people. And maybe that’s why some of us are famished – we fail to see God in the everyday tasks of our life.

The ordinary…is often the most significant for faith. Most of the time we miss it. It takes discipline to notice the distinctiveness of the ordinary. Moreover, to notice the theological nature of the ordinary, to connect the ordinary to the conviction of religious tradition, is even harder. It requires a particular kind of theological vision and valuing of the ordinary.

A monastic view of spirituality leads us to think that the disciplines practiced by priests, nuns and monks are the “higher order” of worship. Who can argue that self-denial, acts of service to others, renouncing worldly values, etc. are not the idealistic or even "correct" way of practicing our spirituality? To look at Jesus’ life is to see some of the hallmarks of monasticism. “If regarded from the right angle, a parent’s daily life has an oddly haunting resemblance. Unbidden and unexpected, opportunity arises for a similar kind of disciplined religiosity: ‘A full night’s sleep, time to oneself, the freedom to come and go as one pleases – all this must be given up…Huge chunks of life are laid down at the behest of infants. And then, later, parents must let go.’ Here, in a nutshell, is the life span and extremes of child rearing: loving, losing, and letting go.” The author states, “To see this daily regimen of care, restraint, self-extension, and craziness as part of a larger practice of faith, a means of learning patience, charity, endurance in fidelity, receptivity to the other, long suffering, and humility, sanctioned the work that filled my life and placed it in a new light."

The practice of parenting then becomes a practice in spirituality. While we give everything we have and who we are to these children of ours, they in turn help to shape us. Parenting is formative for both sides.
Marriage and children are every bit as much a “school for character” or training ground for virtue as the monastery.

Parenting is about more than raising children in faith. It has the potential to foster religious transformation in the one who attempts such care. Engaging in the practice of parenting gives rise to new knowledge and a new way of being, not in sacred time and space but in the very concrete minutiae of life in all its messiness.

Is tending to your family a religious practice for you? We all practice our faith in various manners and traditions. Let us become more aware of our "faith acts" in our daily life and therefore become more aware of God and His presence.

When...our natural reason...takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, 'Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself [one hears echoes here of the Greek view of the body as a prison of the rational mind and soul]?

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels...I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother....O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery or labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in [God's] sight.

~Martin Luther


*All text in green is quoted from the second chapter of In the Midst of Chaos by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Everyday Spiritual Practices

We give birth and raise the young. We seek God. Why has loyalty to the former, such a potentially rich source of spiritual inspiration, seemed to impede, derail and compete with the latter? How might we sustain and adjudicate both these fundamental human needs?1

History seems to have taught us that a monastic way of spirituality (involving quiet reflection, solitude and retreat) is the ideal way of spirituality. Many early church theologians taught that marriage and “family life is inferior to the celibate life of religious heroes and saints.”1 Do we still not think of our spiritual life (or lack of one) with guilt and regret when we can’t or don’t manage to put aside time to pray, read the Bible and get away from our busy daily lives to retreat into “the private inner room of the soul”2 to seek out God?

“Christian perception of faith as something that happens outside ordinary time and within formal religious institutions, or within the private confines of one’s individual soul, still pervades Western society…
…twentieth-century theologians continue to look past the sheer messiness of daily family life. Similarly, disregard for the material basis of life continues to frustrate contemporary believers’ efforts to embrace their faith daily. Bias against “outward” forms of spirituality, as enacted by the body in the midst of family and community, marginalizes many Christians. Limiting spirituality to the “inner” life and restricting theology to the life of the mind ends up excluding a huge portion of life from both faith and theology.”1

How many suggestions have been offered (and sold) to us in order for our spiritual life to flourish despite our daily schedules of living? How many books, magazines, articles, blog postings, preachers, etc. out there are offering more and different ways, tips and tricks if you will, for us (as mothers especially) to set aside time to spend with God, to get away from the kids and husband to be with God, to step outside of ourselves and into the recesses of our hearts and minds to hear from God. I certainly don’t want to discredit the value and importance of these ideas of trying to relate to God, but is there not a way of relating to Him in the midst of all our busyness too? In the midst of playing with our children? Feeding and nurturing them? Even disciplining them? Can God only be met in the inner sanctum of our souls or is He all around us every day in the small and big moments of daily living? Can these moments be seen and experienced as communion with God?

Various disciplines from theologians have been recommended to us down through the ages in order to experience a closeness with God. “As helpful as all these aids to prayer are, however, they still require an interior focus of mind, will and heart that one can rarely find in family life. They call for a kind of stepping outside of one’s routine, or for bringing something that is outside one’s routine – God, spirituality, tranquility – into it. One participates in these disciplines “despite” or “regardless” of the chaos. They still assume one meets God in a quiet inner space.” Bonnie Miller-McLemore, the author, continues, “What I am trying to describe, instead, is a wisdom that somehow emerges in the chaos itself, stops us dead in our tracks, and heightens our awareness. I am talking about a way of life that embraces the whole of family living in all its beauty and misery rather than about individual acts of devotion, as important as they are to sustaining the whole. In other words, I am not trying to recommend a better way to pray. I am suggesting that faith takes shape in the concrete activities of day-to-day.”

Even Thomas Merton, well-known twentieth-century Catholic monk and mystic, argues, “Certain active types are not disposed to contemplation and never come to it except with great difficulty.”1 The author writes “about practicing the presence of God not through a prayer discipline that sustains a peaceful inner life but rather through practices that invoke, evoke and form faith in our outward lives. We already participate in such practices in the varied contexts where children and adults live together: playing, working, eating, talking, learning, fighting, making up, arriving, departing, and otherwise making a home.” She lists eight “practices” in becoming more aware of God’s presence. They are:

  • Sanctifying the Ordinary,
  • Pondering,
  • Taking Children Seriously,
  • Giving to Others and Oneself,
  • Doing Justice,
  • Playing,
  • Reading and
  • Blessing and Letting Go.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll find out more about these individual practices - how they may already exist in our everyday lives and how we can better commune with God through them.


1. All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been taken from the first chapter of In the Midst of Chaos.

2. Quoted by Thomas Keating, a Catholic monk

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Motherhood vs. Madonna?

I didn’t really notice until I had Jayce, my second-born, how motherhood can really affect one’s spirituality. Going from a quiet, peaceful environment where it seems I had all the time in the world to devote to God in the way of a prayer life or devotions or church groups, meetings, etc. to a much noisier and messy environment where I felt exhausted and homebound with no mental energy to give to anything or anyone other than this little person who seemed permanently attached to my breast for a good part of a year was, to say the least, jarring. No more leisurely Bible reading in the quiet, sunny places of my home, no more prayers besides the occasional fragments I fired like clay pigeons* to the heavens every now and again – even church became more a monthly occurrence than a weekly one.

Did I feel guilty in not spending more time with God? I don’t know – I think I was too tired. But I eventually came to the realization that for me, at least, I needed to allow myself one year to feel like I’m back “in realignment” with God – one year to somewhat “detach” from this little human who has taken everything I’ve offered and then some, one year to let my hormones get off the roller coaster track and stop the world from spinning, one year to start feeling normal again. And I think God completely understands this and allows me that time as well. However, I think I need to question my own beliefs about the grace I feel I’m “allowed” during this one year period (or longer, once more kids arrive on the scene), and whether my spiritual “hiatus” necessarily needs to be viewed as one instead of seeing the opportunities within this time period to still be spiritual, still seek out spiritual opportunities and still feel spiritually connected to God in the everyday without feeling the need to do or be more. In the Midst of Chaos is a book I’m currently reading that addresses just this issue. In it, the author states:

“Within my own religious tradition, Christianity, faith and spirituality have usually been defined by adults who stand at a great distance from children. Spirituality, in this dominant view, is something that requires quiet and solitude and that is best experienced in disciplined settings of prayer, worship , or Bible study. Children and families can participate in these practices to some extent, it is generally acknowledged. However, the overall effect of this view is to portray faith in a way that keeps it separate from the daily experience of children and those caught in the mundane toil of their care.

I want to redeem the chaos of care as a site for God’s good news. What would happen, this book asks, if we were to search for spiritual wisdom by looking closely at messy, familial ways of living? What would happen if we considered how people discover God not just when alone, in worship, or on the mountaintop, but when with others – specifically when with children and all the turbulence and wonder they bring into our world?”

“This book is an invitation to discover God in the midst of chaos, not just through silence, calm, prayer, or meditation but by practicing faith within the tumultuous activity of daily life. It is about the chaos of family life and how people might find God within it through less commonly recognized practices of faith such as playing, reading aloud, deciding where to live, or figuring out how to divide up household chores. Revising our conventional understandings of faith and the spiritual life in these ways requires us to see children anew as more fully embodied and more fully knowing than some conventional views suggest, lots more trouble but also much more alive and wondrous. It also prompts us adults to look deeply at the dynamics of our own lives of faith.” 1

I’m officially intrigued, aren’t you? As I delve more deeply into this book, I hope to be able to share more insights with you about this topic and will probably be quoting from this book quite a bit to share some of its wisdom with you. My hope is that together we will be able to see where our spiritual lives can grow and are growing even in the midst of our everyday lives as mothers, wives and friends. If my eyes can be opened even a little bit to see God in my everyday life when I’m too tired to even look in a mirror some days and see myself, it will be worth it. I’d rather see God than myself any day anyway.



* Anyone with an interest in or with a spouse who's into target shooting knows what a "clay pigeon" is - a small neon-colored target to shoot at as it jettisons across the sky.
1 In the Midst of Chaos: Caring for Children as Spiritual Practice written by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mothers' are the most important resource we have -- they quite literally hold the future in their hands. Yet, while the concept of motherhood is generally held in high esteem, the reality is that motherhood is entered into today with little support, training or preparation. All but gone are the close knit neighborhoods and nearby extended families of generations past. Women entering motherhood today are often beset with intense feelings of isolation and uncertainty. What they need is reassurance, good information and a connection to others with whom they can share their new experiences and gain insight.
– National Association of Mothers Centers

Kajiji Girls was started back in February of ’06 with the clear purpose of fulfilling a relational, spiritual, emotional need for stay-at-home moms. Hearkening back to my original letter in forming the group, I wrote:

I want our lives to reflect society “in centuries past” where we “work together, have babies together, cook and can together,” etc. I want us to be there for each other and love each other and care for each other. I want us all to discuss ideas together, give each other parenting tips and help each other to become better wives, mothers and, most of all, women!

I feel that we’ve done that certainly to some extent over the past 20 months, and the relationships and conversations we’ve developed over that time period has been amazing! This season I want Kajiji Girls to be more, do more and offer more. I want this group to be such a necessary resource for all of us that we can’t imagine not having it. This doesn’t mean that you make sure you show up every Friday morning for our gatherings. It doesn’t mean you are burdening your calendar with more activities and responsibilities.

To me, it means creating an environment where:

  • we see ourselves as a sisterhood,
  • we care for and depend on each other when needs arise and
  • where fun and joy exist in abundant amounts for both us individually and with our children.

I’m very excited about the possibilities for this group and what we can create together. I have some new ideas of what this group could look like and could offer, and I’d like to run them by you. My hope is that you’ll use these ideas as a springboard in helping you to formulate exactly what you would like to see this group be for you, what it can offer you. You’re going to have some time to think about it and then I want to hear from you.

Weekly group to include:

  • Prayer
  • Topics to discuss
  • Opportunities for others to showcase their skills, talents or businesses such as in a Titus 2 fashion
  • Having guest speakers
  • Co-ops such as cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Service Projects (Charities, “home parties”, community, each other)
  • Craft Days or bring your own project to work on
  • Having & maintaining a lending library
    • Parenting magazines
    • Books
    • CD's
    • DVD's
  • Include extracurricular events:
    • Food & a Flick Nights
    • Homeschool/Field Trips
    • Moms-Only Outings

Now if you can imagine a group of women that you’re involved in, what would the ultimate purpose of the group be? If there was one resource group you looked to and relied on, what would it do for you?

Now I’m not saying I think this group can be everything to all women, but if we could create a group that was almost everything to most women, what would that group look like to you?

If you help a mother love her life, you will help a family. And as families go, so goes society. 1

Some things to ponder... Those of you at the initial meeting last Friday came up with some great ideas that I hope we can implement. I look forward to us discussing this more as well as helping to create this group to be all that it can be.



1. What Every Mother Needs to Know by Dr. Brenda Hunter

Monday, September 17, 2007

I only do this until I get dizzy &

then I lay down on my back &

watch the clouds, she said.

It sounds simple but

you won’t believe how many people

forget the second part.1

Dear Kajijis (or Kajiji Girls-to-be),

I hope your summer was lazily refreshing, wildly fun and/or a little bit of both. Now that school has started, and there’s a chill in the air reminding us that Fall is almost here, our calendars have already started filling up very quickly. It’s very easy for us to start “spinning out of control” and forgetting priorities; namely our faith, family and friends. With all the “to-do lists”, extracurricular activities, church events, volunteer opportunities, and work schedules, let’s just take a look-see at your calendar and find the blocked out squares of Time Off, Fun Days, or Play Time for YOU!

Come join a group of mothers just like you who have busy lives, energetic children and the need for some downtime. Play hooky one morning a week, and come fellowship with other moms who share your dreams, frustrations, and day-to-day experiences. Every week we gather together to share laughs, concerns, opinions, food and life in general. Every week brings a discussion about various topics affecting our life – from finances to sex to self-esteem to parenting. And though I would encourage you to put Kajiji Girls on your calendar each week, I want to stress that this group is for you and your children’s enjoyment, not just another burdensome scheduled activity that ends up on your to-do list. We provide a very casual, “drop-in”/come when you want, relaxing environment. Everyone is invited so feel free to bring other moms who are looking for some refreshing, friendly, playful downtime where children are always welcome. So as the world spins around us, let’s take a moment, catch our breath and remember to lay down and watch the clouds!

Join us starting on

Friday, September 28th

from around 10am – Noon

Erin’s Home 2

Refreshments, Coffee & Tea provided.

Check out our online blog at

where you can read about us, peruse past postings and feel welcomed to join us.


1. From StoryPeople by Brian Andreas
2. If you would like to join us and need directions, please feel free to email me, and I'll send them right off to you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just One Stinking Vice

I think we're all pretty good people, don't you? Oh, we have our individual vices to contend with, but for the most part we treat others nicely, have good marriages, kids to brag about and certainly could never see ourselves on the evening news sporting a lovely mug shot. I think that's why it's harder when we're challenged to be "perfect" in Christ.

God spoke to Moses and Aaron, "When you enter the land of Canaan, which I'm giving to you as a possession, and I put a serious fungus in a house in the land of your possession, the householder is to go and tell the priest, 'I have some kind of fungus in my house.' The priest is to order the house vacated until he can come to examine the fungus, so that nothing in the house is declared unclean...If the fungus breaks out again in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house has been scraped and plastered, the priest is to come and conduct an examination; if the fungus has spread, it is a malignant fungus. The house is unclean. The house has to be demolished - its stones, wood, and plaster are to be removed to the garbage dump outside the city."1

Now what can the rites and detailed procedures found in the book of Leviticus teach us? My commentary writes: After replacing the plagued stones with new stones, if the plague reappeared, it was chronic and couldn't be dealt with simply by removing a few stones. A house with leprosy speaks of the heart. In Ephesians 3, Paul prayed that Christ might dwell in our hearts, or literally be at home in our hearts. Is Christ at home in your heart - in every room of the home of your heart? Or are there closets and attics that are leprous? You can't simply lock the door or seal them off. No, the stones are to be ripped out and carried away. Otherwise, the leprosy will spread. We think if we've given the Lord five out of eight rooms, we're doing pretty well, when, in actuality, if there's even one room with leprosy, the entire house will ultimately be affected.2

This seems like a pretty stiff challenge to me. I'm not even allowed one "Monica closet"3 in my apartment/house. I feel like that's a pretty tough assignment - tougher than keeping my actual home spotless throughout (which if you've seen my house, you know is an impossibility for me).
Gary Thomas in Devotions for a Sacred Marriage writes about unwillingly giving up soda, his one vice, for Lent. "Can't I have just one stinking vice?" I protested. "Just one?!..." Admittedly, whether I drink a daily Pepsi is a very trivial matter - but the principle behind it goes much deeper. My statement "Can't I have just one stinking vice?" has infected my own and many other marriages on a much more significant and profound level. Husbands may say, "Look, I don't have affairs. I don't gamble with the mortgage money. I'm home in the evening. Yeah, I occasionally lose my temper and wound you with a few careless words, but am I not allowed one vice?"
Wives may say, "I've been a faithful wife. I don't bust the family budget. I'm there for my family. Maybe at times I talk negatively about my husband behind his back when he really ticks me off, but all in all, I think he has it pretty good."
And so we excuse something we know we should change, but we ignore it, based on the faulty assumption that, since we are generally good husbands and wives, we can maintain our "one little vice."
But the Bible doesn't give us permission to ignore "one little vice." II Corinthians 7:1 urges us to "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" (emphasis added). When we say, "All in all, my spouse has it OK," we're not perfecting holiness; we're excusing wickedness.4

He goes on to say, The truth is, I'm not granted "one little vice." Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). If something injures my relationship with [my wife], out of love I will work with God's Spirit to root that habit out of my life. I won't make excuses by pointing to the lack of other negative things about me, and I won't try to hide behind my strengths. A weakness is a weakness, regardless of many strengths that surround it. Sin is sin, regardless of how many virtues accompany it.4

So how do we become perfect? By giving ourselves to Christ on a daily basis. And there's always something to work on, isn't there? God, in His graciousness, always has me working on one lesson or another in order to change my heart. And even more gracious of Him, He doesn't come to me and say, "Yeah, here are the ten things wrong with you. Get to work!" It seems He always brings just one thing to my attention
so that I may spend some time allowing Him to work on that one issue at that time. "Create in me a clean heart" becomes the prayer on my lips, and I'm thankful that it is Christ who does the cleaning and not me because I'm not a very good housekeeper.


1. Leviticus 14:33-36a, 43-45 as written in The Message
2. Jon Courson's Application Commentary Old Testament, pg. 403
3. Anyone who is a die-hard fan of the show Friends remembers the episode where Monica, a complete neat-freak who keeps her apartment spotless, is horrified when her one horrendously messy closet is discovered.
4. Devotions for A Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, Chapter 14 "One Bad Habit"

Monday, July 9, 2007

How I Spent my Fourth of July

The air was thick and sticky; smells of perfume, cologne, and sweat mixed with the propane from the grills lined up in the parking lot. My father, mother, uncle, and mother-in-law were somewhere nearby, but difficult to spot and impossible to talk to in the crowded terminal. Bohdan perched upon David’s shoulders and Vivi upon mine – the only two in the group to have a semi-clear shot down the long corridor. We waited, shifting back and forth attempting to catch a glimpse of who we had come to see.

The sounds of cheering and applause could be heard in the distance and then grew as the wave of energy swept through the crowd. They had arrived! A sea of people parted ever so slightly to make way for the troops, but then quickly closed in around them, arms patting shoulders, women offering hugs (the older one’s sneaking a smack on the cheeks of the handsome soldiers).

I found myself frantically clapping like mad. If I was going to make it until the last soldier passed by, I needed to pace myself, so I slowed down to a more calm, even cadence. I continued to shift, catching glimpses here and there of a tan hat or a buzz cut, a smile here, a nod there as men and women filed past the throng.

I blinked away the tears. What was I feeling? Pride? Sadness? Patriotism? I looked around. I was not the only one moved by this simple experience. There we were, a few hundred people; men, women, children, Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Atheists, Blue-collar workers, upper management, war supporters and war protesters, all there together, in UNITY. Doing something GOOD. Learning from past mistakes. Setting aside our POLITICAL AGENDA, ignoring our DIFFERENCES and practicing a random act of KINDESS.

This is what it meant to me to welcome home an airplane full of soldiers from Iraq at the Pease Trade Port. Did I get to shake a hand? No. Did I get to have long, meaningful talks with the men and women who have so selflessly served our country and hear first-hand what they think and have experienced? No. Did I get to do anything to any one of these soldiers to personally thank them for their sacrifices? No.

All I did was stand and clap, did my best not to cry and offered up silent prayers for the soldiers and their families, and those who won’t be coming home. And if that is all I get to do when I go back (which I promise you, I will) it will be worth every minute and worthy of many repeat trips.

*Thanks go to Michelle for informing me of this amazing opportunity. You are awesome!

**Anyone is welcome to greet the troops at Pease whenever they have planes coming home from or going out to Iraq. For more information visit

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Move that Boulder!

I’ve been reading some of the news articles online about the President and Congress and how nobody is able to accomplish anything of real value because of the constant bickering and unwillingness or inability to work together. Therefore, the people of our nation are impatient about the status of our economy, about the rising taxes and national debt, about our involvement in Iraq, etc., etc. Our Congress which is now being labeled the “Do Nothing Congress” because of their Tuesday through Thursday workweek (!) and inability to actually accomplish anything when together, is being blamed for all sorts of evil in our nation and the world. Why can’t the Democrats and Republicans do any good together? Why is the battle between “Red vs. Blue” more important than the battle for righteousness, justice and fairness these days? Why can’t those in Washington “do their job” and help others, decrease the unemployment rate, take better care of the environment, put more money in our pockets, get our soldiers out of Iraq and get rid of injustice in the world? Who do we think we are anyway??* I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know there’s an awful lot of finger-pointing going around. And when fingers are pointing, hands are idle. I was forwarded this email and liked this little story contained therein:

The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand -

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition.

I would like to add to the last sentence “it also presents an opportunity to improve other’s conditions.” There seems to be no longer any personal responsibility for anything these days, and this irks me to no end. People no longer know how to take blame but are very good at dishing it out. It’s a very rare thing to hear anyone apologize for anything these days. There is this sense of entitlement adopted by us, and it seems to be getting worse as the generations continue. I am as guilty of this as the next person, however I’m convicted to be less so, not only for my own sake, but also for my children’s sake. Do I really want my children to adopt a victim mentality and think they are powerless to change their life or others’ lives? Do I want them to stand idly by waiting for a politician to feed their next door neighbor when there is plenty of food in their own cabinets? Do I want my children to be the type of bystanders that do nothing while an elderly person is mugged and beaten near them? I hope my children will not heed the advice of others when told they can’t do the improbable or even impossible when it comes to changing the world for the better. I hope my children will be the type to want to run into danger if necessary and fight for justice for Truth’s sake. I hope I am able to teach my children to be leaders, but if not leaders, then followers of good and true leadership. I hope my children will come to understand that sometimes looking to a leader to accomplish something is pointless and should instead look into a mirror. I hope we can all be the type to put our burdens down every once in awhile and with much difficulty, move the boulder and make Life easier and worthier, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.


P.S. Thanks for listening and allowing me to vent my frustration and stand on my soapbox for a second. Comments welcome…

*These questions are not necessarily “my” questions but more a representative sampling of questions heard throughout the nation.
Unfortunately, not being politically or socially as active as I feel I should be, I don’t feel equipped to necessarily ask many questions but rather observe the questions being asked and topics being discussed. How’s that for a disclaimer?

And, by the way, as far as the “who do we think we are” question, I personally feel we are an amazingly blessed and powerful nation that can help right many wrongs in the world while having the ability to take care of “our own”, but unfortunately, don’t always actually do this which is where we, as the church, should come in. Maybe if there was less government, there would be more opportunities for the church to serve, but that’s another whole argument for another soapbox moment. :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just Be Yourself

Recently I attended a women’s retreat that focused on the issue of our identity in Christ. This topic has the potential to be a bit to “Christian cliché” for me, but I discovered some gems of truth I thought worthy of sharing.

We tend to wrap our identity around what we DO instead of who we ARE. This is such an easy mistake to make, especially when what you do seems so very important or all-consuming. On my good days, I see motherhood this way – as the most important thing any woman could do, and, on any day, my life confirms that is truly is all-consuming. On a bad day, I forget to value motherhood and therefore, feel unimportant, insignificant and stagnant.

Therein lies the horrible consequence of finding our identity in our activity. If your activity doesn’t measure up to some standard (be it a reasonable expectation or not) you suddenly loose value as a person and start on a slippery slope that ends somewhere around “why the heck am I here?” and “what’s the point of living?”

No. Our identity has NOTHING to do with how we spend our days on earth. Identity attempts to define something more hidden, a magical part of us that makes us who we are, the essence of our being.

When we acknowledge Christ as Lord and make the choice to follow him, something tremendous happens to our identity. It becomes the very identity of Christ himself.

Don’t skim that. Read it again. Your identity is that of Jesus Christ. There are many verses that support this: God made you alive in Christ; your life is now hidden with Christ in God, you also will appear with him in glory; to live is Christ and to die is gain; if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation.

In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples he advises us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In the past, as I have prayed these words, I have thought “big picture” – let there be peace on earth, good will towards men kind of thoughts. But when you bring this down to a personal level, there is an amazing truth to cherish. In heaven, you are, and I am, already in Glory with Christ. I don’t mean once my physical body dies. I mean right now. When I chose Christ, I chose His Identity as my own, from that point on for all eternity.

Do you know what this means? Right now, as I write, God is seeing me through the filter of Jesus Christ. What does this filter provide? It provides God the ability to see me as all the things I wish I was or know I need to be. Wish I was more patient? In God’s eyes, I already am full to overflowing with patience. Focusing on all may faults as a wife, as a mother as a daughter (in-law especially right now) ? In the eyes of God, I am an amazing mother – the best mother in the world for the children He has granted me. I am the perfect fit for my husband – bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. And in God’s opinion, I am the Ruth (of Ruth and Naomi) to Terry – her family against all odds.

Don’t leave the reading of this without taking a moment to apply this to your own life. What do you wish you were? What failure do you see in your life that nags you time and time again? Take a moment to see what God sees. He sees Christ! He sees the most beautiful, beloved daughter – a princess through and through – who lives in the absolute perfection of her Savoir, Jesus Christ. When you live with this identity of yourself, you are suddenly transformed – you find the strength to be all that you want and wish you could be.

GO BE IT. (You already are!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn."*

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”
I Corinthians 12:4-6

Reading about your various God-given passions and talents has been so inspiring for me as well as others. I can see how God can and will not only use your passions to impact others lives but also to impact your own personal lives as they bring you closer to him. Just as Shawna’s avid interest in plants and Caroline’s talent for singing brings them closer to God as they worship Him within these talents so too, can we be inspired to use our own passions to bring us closer to the One who gifted us with them. Michelle’s passion for politics and the health of her family can help others to become more active about preserving the temple with which Christ entrusted us with as well as helping to promote a better environment (socially, spiritually, physically, etc.) of which we surround ourselves and raise our children. Kim’s gift of evangelism shows us our gifts, when used right at home, are most rewarding when they are for the soul-saving benefits of our own children. Jean beautifully segues her multiple interests and passions from B.P. (before parenthood) to A.P. (after parenthood) while her work ethic professionalizes her stay-at-home-mom role. Stacy advises us on searching for our passions and shows us how our passions can be closer than we think they are. Erin asks some poignant questions about what and who our passions are dependent upon, and are we allowing ourselves to be open and ready for when our passions “visit” us? And the global lens Raluca sees through shows not only black but also various colors of God’s beauty, and her passions for others less fortunate impacts some of her parenting choices. I think most of us can relate to Susan when she writes about being passionate about a variety of different things as opposed to just one major passion to live by, and that it is still good.

All of our passions and gifts are being used by God in some way for His glory. Whether it’s being His hands and serving others or being His choir and singing His praises. When God gifts these passions to us, He understands what will make our hearts sing. And those songs ascend straight to heaven and become good and pleasing to His ears.

My Princess…You are My Gifted One. I have given you the gift of eternal life, but My giving does not stop there. Inside of you is a supernatural surprise – a gift that is waiting to be unwrapped…by you. Yes, it’s there. It’s hidden behind dreams waiting to be pursued. Swallowed up by daily distractions and drowned by disappointment. Let Me help you clear out the clutter and find your gift. You’ll find it in that place in life that brings you the greatest joy, that place where you soul longs to be, that work your hands love to do. But this gift that I’ve given to you is not just for you. I have blessed you to be a blessing to others. When you find your gift, I will take it and multiply it beyond what you could ever imagine. So ask Me, and I will help you open your gift so that you can give it away to the world – not to impress – but to bless.

Your King and the Giver of every good and perfect gift1

“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” I Peter 4:10, CEV
Thank you all for being so open and sharing about your passions. It has helped us all to know each other better and more fondly. I look forward to hearing from more of you in the weeks and months to come on this blog. You all are my community which I am definitely passionate about!


* John Wesley taken from
1 His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tim, a close childhood friend of mine, recently married a Korean American woman named Suwha. She was a lawyer for five years at Hale & Dorr, one of the best law firms in Boston… and she hated it. She quit the firm last year a month before her wedding and now is taking a hiatus to figure out what she wants to do next. At a family gathering at Christmas, Suwha told me that in the Korean culture, having and pursuing an articulated passion is a critically important component of one’s life. Her parents are both professors and have thrown themselves into their academic lives with the vigor and intensity that is customary in that culture. Suwha felt somewhat stressed out that she couldn’t identify her “one main passion” that she wanted to pursue with her all. I don’t blame her… what a lot of pressure! But not having and following a passion in South Korea translates into a character flaw at best and a failure at worst.

I think I would probably feel like a failure if I were a South Korean. I’m not totally sure what my general passions are – let alone being able to identify one main overarching one.

“Passion” according to is “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” My husband is a person of evident passion – though he tends to be serially passionate about different topics across time. For the past three years, his main passion has been farming. He just adores it. He thinks about it all the time; reads about it virtually daily (books and blogs); and uses nearly all his spare time to work or plan work on our farm . Any fool could see that farming is his passion.

I don’t have a passion of this type – something that consumes me or compels me to that degree. I don’t think this is necessarily bad; he and I are just have different personality types. He is wired to be a “throw yourself in with both feet and forget all else” type of person, and I’m not.
But I do have a “strong fondness or enthusiasm” for several different things, and I guess these could be considered my passions… So here they are.

Relationships. I have always been a very relational person. I like people and find it natural and gratifying to develop deep connections with individuals, learning and sharing thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Since I talk quite a lot, this typically happens with relative ease for me. My natural propensity is also to stay in touch with people, so many of my friendships date back for years or decades. So I feel passion for the people I care about in my life, and for maintaining my connection to them. This is true of my family probably more so than anyone else (my nuclear family and family of origin.)

Writing. I can’t imagine not writing. I have always enjoyed writing and find it flows quickly and fairly easily for me… sort of like the talking, I guess! I usually have words at my fingertips, ready to go. I’ve kept a journal of one type or another since I was in grade school; my current version is a Word document that I started in Oct 2001 and is now more than 200 pages. It’s a way that I process life sort through my thoughts and emotions. Much of my consulting work involves writing, which is one reason that job is a good fit for me. And many of my friendships are maintained over years through letters and emails. I have played around with some more formal types of writing too with an eye toward publication… In the back of my mind, I have often thought that I would enjoy writing a book at some stage in my life, when the time is right.

Personal histories. I like to record life as it happens, and I’ve kept a scrapbook since I was 16. My books aren’t really pretty, they usually aren’t decorative, and don’t even contain many photographs. They are mostly filled with ticket stubs, invitations, notes, letters – items from my life that are meaningful to me. Since I got involved with Creative Memories, virtually all the scrapbooks I’ve made have been gifts for other people centered around their personal histories. I am currently doing one for my father-in-law, who will be 85 this summer, and I’ve interviewed him about WWII and all manner of things from life in the early 1900’s. I was a college history major, and capturing personal life stories in this way seems to be how I’ve adopted living history in my own life.

Running. I enjoy running, but I’m not really passionate about running for its own sake. I love running because of how alive it makes me feel. Something about being outside and connecting with the earth and sky awakens something in me. The continuous motion and changing scenery is therapeutic, and usually if I take a long enough run, I can think and pray better than in almost any other setting. My best observations and ideas often come to me when I’m running.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Passions ... So many

Hi, Everyone,

I hope my little post will be a little interesting or at least help me make sense of my thoughts, passions, time and life in general . . .WOW . . . I'm probably already confusing everyone, but that's what you girls get for asking a non-American to post on an English speaking blog . . . :)
So . . . what was I saying? . . . yes . . . passions. I think I have a lot of passions in my life and I'm actually very glad and thankful that God gave me so many (though very surprised that He found room to put them all.)
I'm not going to bore you with all of them, since I am just going to mention three or five. In any case, I don't really have any time to do anything about my other passions for now anyways, other than just suffering in silence.
My first passion is - and I hope it will always be - God and His amazing plan for this world (which by the way, I am very happy that I don't have to actually understand, since that would bring a lot of frustration to my already very limited mind). I won't discuss this passion in detail here, but it plays many roles in my life in very intricate ways.
My major passion was added a few years ago, when my children showed up in my life, which had been pretty boring up to that point. They started showing up at the most unplanned and unwished for moments (from my earthly perspective). In the meanwhile, I humbly learned that their arrival was indeed perfectly timed. I'm still not passionate about cooking dinner for my family, or cleaning or other fun things like that, but I am very passionate about my kids and my husband. (Since I gave up trying to mold my husband I am left with the job of molding my two adorable children.)
I want to be able to show them the world the way it is, without painting it pink or lavender. This is a task where godly wisdom is highly needed, wanted and asked for (as often as I remember to ask for it). I want my children to see as much of the world as possible and understand that, in the times we live, there are really only a few boundaries between countries and continents, and those are mostly only on paper (in this case very important papers). What I mean is that I want my children to understand that most of their actions have a reaction someplace else in the world. That, for every “second” toy or sweater that they want, there will be less or none for others (I'm not saying that we are even entitled to the “first”, only that we are blessed with it). We are commanded to live responsibly and with great, caring hearts for other people. I think it is easier (though not easy) to just live responsibly than it is to live both responsibly and live with a caring heart for others. From my understanding, it takes a lot more sacrifice to do the latter. Anyway, I want my children to willingly chose to live with less and to give as much as they can to others (I need God to help me here since I personally fail at this a lot, but than again that is why we have God).
Living on less also means making very well informed decisions about where that “less” is coming from. I really want my children to be as un-materialistic as humanly possible. And this is where two of my other passions come in and those are poverty and the environment.
I strongly support trying to minimize poverty and taking care of the earth (which, incidentally, is more than capable of sustaining people all over the world if only we could stop abusing it for the sake of convenience). I think it's sad and aggravating to see how we as humans treat each other, and how easy it is to draw lines between us (the affluent) and them (the poor), especially when they are removed form our daily experiences. I am very interested in third world countries and in how our behavior (in both the first and second worlds) feeds the vicious cycle of poverty. (By the way, I do not consider Romania a poor country, merely one with a very unfortunate history that has left a sad mark on its people.)
Fighting poverty is not a passion that I can pursue as much as I want to, given the time restrictions applied by my previously mentioned passions (a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old to be more specific). But I try as much as I can to discourage exploitative behavior and to be thankful for all that God has given me without constantly wanting more just because there is the possibility of having more.
I think the world we live in is very black - a lot of that stemming from our sinful nature - and I want my kids to understand that, but I also want them to be able to see the beauty that still exists in the world thanks to our unfailing God (I bet you thought I can only see black). I want them to enjoy this life, but to enjoy it because they live it through God's eyes, and also because they see the greatness that awaits us beyond death. I think that there is hope and beauty in this world, but it is not in people, it is in God.
The beauty of seeing this world through God's eyes (as well as I can) is what makes me pick up a camera and shoot away (ok, financial needs do have something do with it, but I'm still trying to figure out how to actually make money with it...:) ). It is a blessing to be able to capture moments in time, in a way that will always move my heart (wow that sounded so cheesy). It is indeed a blessing for me to be able to try to make a living doing something that I love and that gives me the flexibility of investing time in my family as well.
I have other passions too, but if you want to know about those, you will have to ask me in person, because this is getting wayyyyyyyyyyy tooooooo loooooooooong.
As a conclusion, I pray that my kids will be better than me at keeping their eyes on God and eternity and that they will see the world for what it is and be willing to fight God's battles - and not their own - on this earth.
I pray the same thing for myself too. . . :)
Do I hear an AMIN . . . . . ? :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pursuing Passions

People have a tendency to label me as a “passionate person.” I have never really agreed with this label, I’ve only recognized the fact that people clearly know how opinionated I can be. I have never equated being passionate with being opinionated. To me, being passionate requires more than spouting off your beliefs to anyone who will listen. To base my passions on my opinions only produces a list so overwhelming I get exhausted at the thought of it. To legitimately call something a passion of mine requires more from me than just lip service. It requires action, dedication, commitment, and follow-through.

That being said, my alarming reality is one of very little passion. It’s true.

I am passionate about mothering. I spend the majority of my waking hours doing this. I have made countless sacrifices, read innumerable books on the subject and spend a significant amount of time discussing parenting with others. Even when I am in the process of active mothering, I am constantly assessing, evaluating and reflecting on this “ginormous” part of my life.

Every other passion I hold (or have held) pales in comparison, quite frankly.

I would like to say I am equally passionate about being a wife (especially striving for that Proverbs 31-impossible-to-meet-standard) but I know I don’t spend nearly as much time / thought / energy on this area of my life. Sadly, it certainly seems to come second.

No doubt I know I need to be passionate about God and that this really should be my first passion. But God is such an abstract concept in light of these two little people ready to demand more of me than I have to give at a moment’s notice. At best, God comes third. At worst, He is a bleep on my radar that I just don’t have time for.

I am passionate about health. I have spent a great deal of time exploring my own health and evaluating the care provided by medical professionals. Through my on-going struggles with infertility and chronic acne I have realized what I ultimately want is healing, which is rarely the goal of any health care professional I’ve met. I have come to a lot of conclusions about our culture’s approach to wellness and I have decided the common road is not for me. Instead, I spend a great deal of time reading and educating myself about alternative solutions and how to achieve true health and wellness.

I am passionate about making a difference in this world and have dreamed up countless ways to do this. However, I have come rather recently to realize the greatest way I can achieve this is through “training up my children in the way they should go.” It hasn’t been easy to admit this, because it requires a much delayed sense of gratification (or worse, never knowing the difference made at all) and it also requires swallowing a rather large pride – one that would rather have me center stage at a Billy Graham crusade or a Soul Fest – inspiring the multitudes with my words. But God is working on me – showing me the immeasurable importance of my task at hand – teaching my children so that they may teach their children and so on and so on, creating a legacy of God’s children that will last an eternity.

Lastly -

I am passionate about community. I don’t mean my town or my neighborhood. The New Testament word would be “fellowship.” I ache to experience the church of Acts in my life – faith-filled families meeting together in each other’s homes to study the Word of God together, to challenge and support each other, break bread together, share resources as each one needs, lovingly hold each other accountable to the commands of Scripture and be the Body of Christ. The tough part about this passion, no matter the reading I do on this vision, the time I dedicate to planning, thinking, dreaming, no matter the seriousness I take in approaching this topic – without other’s who share in this passion as passionately as I do, this passion turns into nothing but a dream.

This week, whether you are meeting with us or not, I would like to challenge you to consider the passions you have that are dependent upon criteria outside of your control. Is there anything you can do? Maybe, like me, you long for a new baby in your family – are you living as healthy a lifestyle possible to make sure your body, mind and emotions are ready to bring forth new life? Are you passionate about your marriage (but maybe your husband isn’t so much)? - are you focusing on trying to change him or are you honestly evaluating yourself, striving to be the best wife – the best “help mate” to him possible? Are you passionate about community or friendship, but find you lack a group who shares your vision or you lack that kindred spirit? Are you doing all you can to be ready, to be available, to be vulnerable and transparent, to reach out, even when other’s don’t seem to be reaching out to you? Are you living with right priorities? Are there more important matters being lost at the expense of pursuing another passion?

These are not easy questions to answer, at least, not for me.

If you are one of the lucky few who’s passions don’t depend on anyone (or anything) else, than I certainly hope you can say you are pursing them! If not, why not? What is stopping you?

I look forward to our discussions.


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