Posts made in July, 2012

What Did Jesus Do?

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Faith | 2 comments

Jesus never told anyone, “You’re bad publicity for my ministry.”

“And a leper came to Him, begging Him on his knees and saying to Him, If You are willing, You are able to make me clean. And being moved with pity and sympathy, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be made clean! And at once the leprosy completely left him and he was made clean by being healed.” (Mark 1:40-42)

In the religious and social climate of that time, people with leprosy were despised and feared. Their leprosy was commonly believed to be the consequence of secret sins. They were excluded from religious customs in the temples, shunned and forced to live in separate communities. Lepers were seen as the ultimate example of ungodliness, sin, and shameful living.

Can you imagine if Jesus had responded something like this: “Hey! Leper! Could you please keep some distance? Your leprosy isn’t compatible with the feel I’m trying to project in my ministry. Please don’t get too close or the more desirable people I’d like to include in the body of Christ are going to become uncomfortable. It’ll affect giving.”

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11)

This story would most definitely read differently if Jesus had said something along the lines of, “Woman! Are these accusations true? If so, we’ll have to plan a church meeting to figure out how to deal with your sin and reconcile you. First I’ll need you to explain yourself to me and all these other people judging you. It makes no difference that they’re sinners too because your sin is just plain worse. Well, at least it’s more visible.”

I love the actual, real Jesus in the Bible. He is bold, courageous, gracious, kind, compassionate, and a bit scandalous. He is love. Unconditional and unshakeable love. He came to “seek and save the lost.” He did it by actually seeking out, keeping company with, and loving unconditionally, well, the lost, the hurting, the sick, the poor. He actually spent time in the dark places where these people congregated, not within the safe and comfortable confines of the church walls. He was not made uncomfortable or nervous by those who did not share His lifestyle. His love, grace, salvation, and healing were intended for everyone.

Detours

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Faith, Mental Health | 1 comment

Detours

A few weeks ago I took Bug and Bear to meet some friends of ours at a splash park about 20 minutes from our house. As we drove along the country back roads that took us to our meeting place, we came upon an accident. It had just happened and there was a car blocking the road, but the first responders weren’t there yet to clear it and direct traffic. We waited for about ten minutes until it was apparent that no one was getting anywhere anytime soon. I turned around and started looking for a different route that would get us back on track going the right direction.

I really had no idea how to get around this unexpected obstacle, but I took the first road that seemed like it had a good chance of being the right way. As we wound around the unknown road that seemed to be taking us out of our way with no idea if it got back around to where we wanted to be, we started to find we were really enjoying ourselves. We saw sights we ordinarily missed on our regular route – quirky looking farms, pastures full of cows and horses, and the best part of all, two giant giraffe shaped shrubs in someone’s yard.

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You have to understand, we’re giraffe people.

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It was a really big, exciting deal. We would have missed the giraffes entirely if we hadn’t been steered off course.

After a bit of driving with seemingly no direction, feeling a bit aimless and lost, I spotted the road we needed to get back to running parallel to us. We relished the rest of our detour and then caught back up to our original path and finished our journey according to plan.

Detours nearly always seem undesirable at first. They’re not the way we know, they’re not the way we planned, they seem to take us away from where we are needing to go. They come upon us without warning, the result of some unforeseen, unanticipated obstacle that arises in our path that is not good. If we can surrender in the course of the detour, however, and find a way to cooperate with what it has to show us and maybe even enjoy the wild ride, the detour becomes a significant and indispensable part of the overall journey.

Unexpectedly, the detour we found ourselves on that day has now become our regular route. We enjoy it so much, and never lose our enthusiasm for the giraffe hedges. It’s better than the only way we knew to go before. It showed us a new way that held more fun, joy, and adventure than the route we knew to plan on our own.

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Our Heavenly Father

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Bug & Bear, Faith | 0 comments

Guest Post: Our Heavenly Father

Have you had that moment yet where you realize… “I am my mother”? If not, give it more time, it will happen. I am not only old enough at this point to admit that I’ve become my mother, but also to say I’m thrilled about it. She’s neat.

On a recent visit to her house, I learned something about my mom that I’ve never known in 36 years – she writes. Another thing I discovered we have in common. She showed me some of her writing and I loved it. I asked her if she would let me share the story below on my blog and she said yes. Enjoy!

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Bear, 13 months old, stood beside the chair, apparently seeing challenge in the rungs of the legs and felt the call of the flat hard seat. As she began to climb, Celia calmly picked her up to prevent a mishap, surely protecting the petite child. Repositioning herself among the guests at the birthday party, Celia put Bear down. Moments later, Bear, exiting the room of festivities, tiny legs marching in determination, her mother quietly got up to follow. Bear took the long route, and in determination, found her way back to the kitchen zeroing in on the object of her desire. Celia, in her wisdom, stood and watched as the child climbed up and proudly sat in the seat. Once positioned, her mission accomplished, Mom pick up the toddler and returned to the party. Upon putting Bear down, to her surprise, her child was now content, having accomplished her mission.

In much the same way, our Heavenly Father will give us reign to accomplish those things that we see as necessary and important, all the while keeping watchful eye, ready to rescue, to protect; allowing us to exercise our free will and to fall, if necessary. Are we content with mission accomplished? Have we discovered our capabilities once the goal is reached? Are we content to remain with Him, much as Bria was content to stay close to Mom once she was allowed to exercise her own will. Do we know, as the small child shows, without our Protector we are on a mission without the watchful eye; that the only help we have is of ourselves?

 

Momplex

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Bug & Bear, Marriage & Family | 2 comments

Momplex

Dear Crafty Mom,

I know you didn’t mean to because you would never do this on purpose, but you have given me quite the complex about my inability to do crafts with my children. Or scrapbook. Or bake beautiful birthday cakes. Or create elaborate party themes and exquisite decorations. Or sew girly dresses. Or take photos in which everyone is looking at the camera smiling in clean clothes. Or turn those photos into perfect photo collages. Or lead my children in a daily arts and crafts project that’s frame worthy. Or create a gorgeous life size poster of Joseph and his coat of many colors to illustrate the Bible story on a child’s level.

I am writing to say that, while I admire you greatly, I would appreciate you ceasing to showcase your talents in this area. Or at least stop posting it on Facebook. I think it would cure my complex instantly.

Yours Truly,
Not That Mom

As much as I wish I was, the truth is I’m just not that mom, the one who knows how to do all of the traditional mom things with grace and ease. Are you? If so, then know that I really do admire you for your artsy talent. But if you are not that mom either, I’ve discovered something that I think you should know:

Even if you are not good at the “mom stuff”, you are good at something, and that something is uniquely important to your family.

For a while, because it seemed like I was supposed to, I tried to be that mom. I researched art projects and set aside a special time each day to congregate at the table so that we could complete our masterpieces. I had the children make centerpieces for Thanksgiving (I was so hoping I had photographs of these to post so that you could really see this is not my forte, but turns out I don’t think anyone found them photograph worthy). After a number of these crafts sessions ended in tears (Ahem. Most of those tears were mine), I threw my hands up in defeat. I wondered how my children would survive my incompetence at crafts. Then it occurred to me that, although I am not crafty in any way, maybe my talents in other areas could serve as gifts to my children. I don’t love and I’m not good at crafty things, but I do love and have some ability to do other things…

I can not scrapbook, I can barely snap a photo (see image at the top of this post, that’s our typical family picture), but I love to write and I can express myself easily in written words. Instead of keeping a scrapbook for my girls, I decided to keep a journal for each of them in which I write down prayers I’ve said for them, things I’ve learned about them, milestones they’ve reached, and just a bunch of love notes. I like to think that one day they’ll treasure these just as much as they would an artsy scrapbook.

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Journals for Bug and Bear

I am not great at organizing structured learning times, but I do love to learn through hands-on experiences and have been able to share that with my children. We go to museums, parks, zoos, farms, and any other place we can find to learn about things while we explore.

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Family trip to learn about dinosaurs

I am not the mom who is conscientious about doing family Bible studies or daily devotionals, but I am passionate about prayer and hearing God. My girls and I pray as we drive places in the car, look up scriptures in the Bible as we encounter different issues, and talk about God in the course of our daily activities.

I am not very artistic or creative, but I find a creative process in cooking, and this is something my girls and I do together. It’s our art.

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Yummy dough that Bug and I made for homemade pizza

While these things may not be the traditional mom things, they are me things, and I think that must be what my children really want after all. Me. A taste of who I really am. Keepsakes and traditions from me that help them remember the person I am and the relationship we share, special times and activities that are unique to our family.

I mean no disrespect to the crafty mamas – if you are good at those things, then they are gifts of yourself packed with meaning for your children. But if you are not, for the love of all that is holy, take the pressure off yourself and give your children the gift of you in the form of your unique talents, abilities, and ways of relating.

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Mental Health | 3 comments

Perspective

This morning I took Bug and Bear to “The Sandbox Park” as Bug has appropriately named it for its giant sandbox (we’re not the most creative namers over here, which is why I call my husband “Husband”, and all of our stuffed animals have names like “Giraffe”, “Brown Dog”, “White Dog”, “Pink Dog”, “Flat Dog”, you get the idea). I used to detest going to The Sandbox Park because it’s just so sandy, but then the weather started getting warmer and I noticed that when the sun is shining and I kick my flip flops off and bury my toes in the warm sand, if I close my eyes a little, it feels a lot like being at the beach. I love being warm and sandy at the beach. Thus began my love affair with The Sandbox Park, which my children occasionally get sick of, but I never do.

Then this afternoon we went swimming in our “pool.” When Husband first brought this 8 feet in diameter, 2 feet deep inflatable pool home, I turned my nose up at it, and while my mouth formed the words, “Wow, thanks,” my brain thought, “We will never use that.” But then Husband brought it to life with water and I took Bug and Bear out to swim, and when I got in it to play with my girls it was cool and refreshing and perfect because the girls could stand up in it all the way across. When I sat beside it with my feet propped up soaking in the sun, if I squinted just a little, it felt like an actual pool.

There was a time Husband and I entertained the idea of moving to the beach. There was another time we were shopping for nice houses with beautiful swimming pools in the backyard. Instead of either of those scenarios, we ended up selling our house and downsizing a bit into a smaller home, with no pool, situated pretty solidly inland.

When I sit at my pretend beach or sunbathe next to my inflatable pool, I realize I’m not disappointed that those dream scenarios didn’t exactly pan out. I love where we are, it’s just right for right now. And when I look at it just right, it feels like exactly what I wanted. Its just a matter of perspective.

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