Today I will have reached another decade. When I was younger, I can remember thinking that 70 was ancient! And here I am. I have learned so much through my years and often think it is such a shame that it takes a lifetime to gain wisdom. If only I had known these things when I was younger. So, I want to share 70 lessons I have learned through the years (in no particular order). Not everything was learned from personal experience . . . well, maybe some of them were.
1. Despite my brother thinking my mom had a hard time delivering me because I would not put the book away, I really did not come out reading. Learn to read.
2. People say, “I could just squeeze those cute little cheeks,” DON’T.
3. Spiders are creepy, crawly, things.
4. Volunteer to catch grasshoppers for your uncles to use as bait for fishing. They may pay you a penny each.
5. Every 5-year-old covers their face for pictures. Just roll with it.
6. See Dick and Jane run really was a thing. Just change the names and ask my siblings what happened when someone yelled, “Snake.”
7. Some people move a lot. Just learn to roll with it.
8. No, butter really does not make a sunburn better. Use sunscreen and avoid skin cancer.
I just finished reading Mary Demuth’s book We Too, to help gather some insight for the fiction book I am writing. In my book the main character was sexually abused by her youth minister when she was in high school. While my book is fiction, the fact is there is more sexual abuse being covered up in the church than one can even imagine. If you happen to be familiar with the work of Julie Roys, Boz Tchividjian, Rachel Denhollander, or Mary DeMuth, you will be given some insights into the need for the church to be transparent about sexual abuse and how it is handled.
Little did I realize that Me Too was more than just a book to help me understand the need for the church to respond in an appropriate way, but it was also a book that was painful to read based on my own personal experience and years of working with women in the church.
In my roles in both youth ministry and women’s ministry I have heard heartbreaking stories of women and children abused by the ones who were supposed to be safe and care for them. From the misuse by fathers and stepfathers, to date rape, to clerical sexual abuse, to stalking, and more, it never seems to stop. Not just women, but men (especially young boys) are the target for increasingly common sexual abuse. We are living in a culture where sin abounds and Satan has a special fondness for sexual abuse. All we need to do is look at the pornography statistics and at the number of trafficked individuals that is on the rise.
In the book of Acts we see the infancy of the church. As we read we find that as early as the third chapter of Acts, the body of believers was established after Peter addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 3:42-47 we see the response of the believers, who devoted themselves to the teaching of Christ and to fellowship with one another. Some of the highlights of this passage: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship”, “selling their possession and goods, they gave to anyone who had need,” and “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
One of my favorite aunts passed away yesterday (dare I say my favorite?). I only have two aunts left out of 14 originally. She was kind and compassionate, hospitable, and patient. She was generous with her love. And even though she had bright red hair, she did not have the temper that is such a stereotype for redheads! Although I do have to say I saw her aggravated occasionally, usually with my uncle. But it must not have been too bad because they were married over 65 years.
I have lots of fond memories of spending time at her little yellow house that was truly a home. I loved her green Fiesta Ware dishes that were square instead of round. I enjoyed eating her “cheesecake.” It was not until later that I learned it technically was pineapple fluff, not a true cheesecake. But it did have a graham cracker crust and cream cheese in it.
Recently I had one of those days. You know the kind. The kind where nothing has gone the way you planned–where because of Covid, you had to cancel an activity you were looking forward to, where something broke and you need to decide if you will replace it or fix it, where a friend found out they had cancer. Those are the kind of days a lot of people experience.
My list of disappointments can go on and on. However this is the thing–all of us can find all kinds of things to be disappointed about in life. And dwelling on our disappointments just magnifies feelings of anger, frustration, worthlessness, and bitterness.
The good news is that life’s disappointments do not define us and cannot defeat us if we hold strong to some tools for overcoming disappointments. One of my favorite verses is found in Philippians 4:8-9. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Yesterday I declared it to be “Tell Me Something Good” day on my Facebook feed.
I must confess. It has been a while since I have posted on my blog. Honestly, I, like many others, have been discouraged by everything that is going on in the world around me. Every time I open my computer I am bombarded with media. Real news, fake news, liberal views, right wing views, and hate filled posts from individuals I never anticipated. I have snoozed more Facebook friends (liberal and conservative) than I can count right now because of their prejudiced, ill-thought out, memes and comments. I have been dismayed by the posts of some individuals whom I thought were Bible believing, loving, kind Christians, after reading their hate filled rhetoric. I took a break from writing anything lest I become one of those ranting individuals.
I was sitting in church when I glanced at the row behind me. I noticed a woman wearing a t-shirt that said “God loves the people you hate.” I have to confess, I was pretty distracted during the rest of the service thinking about the saying on that shirt. In reality it is hard to love the people we “hate” or “dislike” or “find irritating.” But if I have learned anything in studying Scripture, it is that Jesus wants us to love the unlovable. Continue reading →
I have started this post at least twenty different times this morning. On my Facebook feed I have read SO many political posts from friends on both the right and left side of politics. But this post is for my friends who are also my Christian family. My heart aches that I am seeing memes and comments that are extremely bitter against people who do not hold the same beliefs and values you do. My heart aches when I see Christians who hold Donald Trump up as America’s Savior. We Christians have one Savior and one Lord–Jesus Christ. I frequently wonder why we are not promoting Jesus Christ and who he is, above politics.
I cannot help but think that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is saddened to see where many of his followers are today. Instead of being loving and kind, we are divisive and judgmental. Instead of praying for ALL of our leaders and elected officials, we are picking and choosing who we are praying for. Hate/love Nancy Pelosi? Pray for her daily. Hate/love Donald Trump? Pray for him daily. Love Jesus? Then act like it and develop fruit of the spirit in your life. Continue reading →
Most Christians, especially women, are aware of the prolific Bible studies and speaking ministry of Beth Moore. I, along with thousands of other women (and men), have heard Beth speak on multiple occasions. She is a gifted speaker and has a passion for Jesus and God’s word that is evident in all of her studies. The first Bible study of hers I ever did was on the Tabernacle and I learned more about the tabernacle and how it pointed to Christ, than during any other tabernacle study I had done before (even in Bible college). I am always challenged by her studies, not to emulate her, but to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Recently John MacArthur, a well-known Evangelical who has written multiple commentaries, literally skewered Beth Moore and went off on a tangent about female pastors, the “#Me Too” movement, liberalism, and the downfall of the church when it listens to culture. After hearing the actual tape and reading many of the comments following his diatribe I have to say, I am really disheartened that he felt not only free to make his comments, but seemed proud of himself for making them.
I did not have a problem with his stance of only male preachers, and although I hold a different opinion, he is entitled to his conviction on what he believes to be an accurate interpretation of Scripture. I am not even in disagreement that Scriptural interpretation should not be dictated by culture (although I think we have different views on what that means). I was, however, stunned by his blatant self-righteousness and petty spirit in making the comment that Beth should “go home,” and the laughter from his cronies following that comment.
So here are some of my thoughts on lessons we can learn from this encounter. Continue reading →
Today I stopped at a buffet restaurant for lunch. For some reason I noticed the gentleman behind me in line. He had a large blue bag with him, and waited patiently as we went through the line. He had snow white hair that flowed to his collar. He walked with a slow shuffle and had stooped and rounded shoulders. However, when he looked up his face was free of lines and wrinkles, and he appeared to be much younger than I initially thought. Like I frequently do with people, I found myself wondering what his story is. Continue reading →