Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Spring "Break"

This "spring break" was a different one. Namely because I didn't really get it like everyone else. I'm done with school, so the week that was mbbc's spring break, wasn't mine. My roommates packed up the car and headed off to Miami, and i welcomed a few friends to stay over. Other than a very frustrating scavenger hunt, it was a fun few days. Then like most other "breaks" in my life, i got sick. My body seems to know exactly when I have a few spare days. I did manage to make it through junior church on sunday, when we had a real life example of Achan stealing, in this case, a giant candy bar and hiding it...under his coat. This most likely occured while the rest of us were in the auditorium for kid's choir...good thing i changed like 3 times that morning. I kinda forgot i'd be standing in front of the entire church. Then there was the 3 year old who got a bloody nose :( It was definitely a fun one. But even being sick, i wouldn't have traded it for the world. i love those kids :) Now, if my roommates could return, and we could get life back to normal, i would appreciate it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pictures of real life

Today I was on facebook...i know, i know shocker...anyway, i was on facebook, and I clicked on a friend's profile and on the side popped up this box, "pictures of you and (insert friend's name here)." There were 12. Twelve simple pictures that would give anyone a glimpse into our friendship. Sadly, as i scrolled through the pictures, I realized that the snapshots painted a picture that wasn't our friendship. It was what i wanted it to be, but not what it is. So here I am being all pensive. I started thinking about how people see a snapshot of God when they see me. They see a snapshot of my "friendship" with God. What does that look like? Is it even accurate? Is it what i wish it was, but a total scam? Or do i try to make it look like we're casual acquaintances to others? anyway random spiritual thought...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's it cost?

I have a confession to make. I typically do not enjoy reading the Old Testament. Its not that I find it dreadfully boring or anything. That's not the case at all. Frankly, I find it rather depressing. Failure and judgment often seem to be overriding themes. My merciful, gracious God of the new testament, shows the justice and holiness of His person in the old testament, and that is one of the reasons I know I must keep reading. Understanding, or attempting to understand, my God's holiness causes me to stagger at the magnitude of His mercy.

There is one other reason that I struggle with the old testament. I have experienced the Christian life of duty rather than devotion, of law rather than love, and honestly some people live like they must make a choice between Jesus and joy. I always kind of pictured them as "old testament-ish" people. Then these last few days, I dove into the O.T. And Joel and Micah showed me the heart of O.T. saints. Joel tells the people to "rend" their hearts and not their garments and to "return to the Lord." Then today, Micah told me to "do justice, and to love kindness (or steadfast love) and to walk humbly with your God." That was what God required of them before their thousands of sacrifices.

It made me start to think that just like today, God's people then had their Pharisees, but there were also just genuine people who loved their God. So what was the difference? They had a better grasp on the cost of sin. I have a friend who has been reading the O.T., and it .hit her that every time someone sinned, they had to sacrifice a piece of their wealth to atone for it. She asked what we would live like if every time we sinned, we had to pay $100. Wow! I have to admit, I'd think a whole lot more before I sinned. What a shame that the blood of Christ is worth less to us than a little cash.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whats going on?

I realized that lately i've been giving you spiritual muses without any of the usual humorous drivel of my life. So here it goes....

After seven years of studying...ok not so much studying...work...ok not soo much work, money...o yes lots and lots of money, i have FINALLY finished my course of study to become a licensed educator. That word, licensed, is possibly the most important work in the previous sentence. Had i omitted it, I could have been done with school three years ago. Last week, I took a trip home to PA. Upon returning to my house in WI, there, on the counter, there was a large envelope. I knew immediately that what i was staring at was my license. I almost did the happy dance right there in my kitchen. I've subbed a few times. Once in a elementary art class which was just humorous in and of itself. Imagine me trying to help 25 second graders make animals out of chunks of clay...in 45 min. That one didn't go over so well...

My junior church has been amazing! God has really been helping me connect to kids, and I love it! I got to teach a few weeks ago, and we learned about how all things work together for good. It was what i was learning at the time, and as such it was super fun to teach. We made a cake and learned how all the bad tasting ingredients work together to make a yummy cake. The kids loved it and are stilllll talking about it weeks later. There is one little girl in the class that I'm really praying for. And i finally made a little chink in her shell yesterday. She's in second grade. Her home life is just vile. She has a dirtier mind than most teens. She likes to roll her eyes at you when you're talking to her about using good language in junior church. Yesterday, she was sitting next to a little girl, and she was being a HUGE help getting the three year old to do what she needed to do. After junior church I pulled her aside and thanked her for all her hard work. Sunday night i got the biggest hug upon coming in, and then she was waiting for me in my pew after we finished shaking hands. She tried so hard to get to the right page in the hymn book, and we even found that morning's memory verse in the Bible. It's amazing what a little encouragement can do :)

O and my little "brother" Mackie got married this year...crazy? yes...here's the "family" with our newest member :)

Just a thought...

My Jesus. I love Him more than words could possibly express. He loves me...more than i can even possibly imagine. But i fail...more times than i can count. Growing up in a cookie cutter community, I thought failure was something to hide. I didn't know that everyone was. I didn't know that other people got angry at God. I didn't know that other people struggled with the little things every day. The Bible tells me that a just man falls seven times and rises yet again. Did you see that? No, no, not the "rises again" part. The "he falls SEVEN times part." The "rises again" part means nothing without the "falls seven times part." (Also notice he falls, he doesn't throw himself down, he doesn't step off a cliff. The ground is not his target...this verse does NOT mean, "its ok if i sin this time because i can just get back up.")

Here's a confession, I yell at God. I stomp my feet. I whine. I just don't understand what happens every day. I fall. And thats ok. As long as i get back up. But here's the thing. Here's the thought of this post. How do we get back up? If you would have asked me, a few years ago, I would had shrugged at you and said, "Get up? Well, um, to do that you kind of have to fall...and well, um, we don't really do that." But now the answer is we have people come up beside us and pick us up. At first, i had a very hard time with this. People came. They tried to help. I pushed them away. How dare they think i was falling...when i was, but over time i grew weak. I couldn't keep pulling myself up by my own boot straps AND keep pushing them away. When the cookies stop looking so perfect, life gets a whole lot easier. I've seen it. I've lived it. I'm watching it happen in others. So my challenge...throw away the cookie cutters. Let them know you fall. Pick them up when they do. But never stop getting up.