Ever since I can remember, there was a newspaper clipping that hung from the side of my family’s fridge. It was most visible if one was standing by the stove or using the cutting board. The title read “Some Parents Adopt The Attitude, My Child Right or Wrong, With Devastating Results.” The article continued to discuss how parents tend to guard their precious angels a little too closely. They cannot seem to see their child as being in the wrong. When a report card shows an “F” they march into the school and demand to know how the teacher is teaching the class and why Mrs. Whatever cannot seem to help their child learn. When their child is sent to detention for going against a school policy, they go in and fight the policy, defending their child’s behavior until the very end.
It can be easy to skip the part of the failing grade that means it is time to teach the child better study habits. It can be easier to demand the school change its policy than to admit that your child should change their behavior. And even if the teacher or the policy is in the wrong, or maybe it is the coach or the director or another parent, even if they are in the wrong maybe it would be a good lesson to teach your child, and yourself, how sometimes we have to compromise and work with a system that is flawed. We may not agree with the policy, but sometimes that is how life works.
The computer screen was lit up before me, illuminating an email filled with words that were tough to swallow, let alone read. I stared, dumbfounded and angry. How dare he. What is his problem? This is his fault, not mine. His! The words, his words, said otherwise. This reply should not have come as a shock, how else was he supposed to respond? My high school girl brain thought he would take my criticisms and take my words and learn from them, accept all the blame, and apologize. How silly of me.
I had broken up with my boyfriend about a week ago and he had asked me what had gone wrong. So I told him. And then he told me. He pointed out all of the times I had used the word “I” in the email. He pointed out how good I was at pointing fingers and shifting the blame. He wrote about how egotistical and selfish I was.
He had no right to hurt me like that. He had no right to be so right.
Being accepted is something that even the most rebellious and independent person still finds important. Even those who choose to be outcasts want to be accepted by their group of outcasts. I didn’t always get along with my peers, but even when I did not necessarily want to be like them, wanting to be different and unique, I always wanted to be liked by them.
We reach out for this feeling of belonging in so many different ways. This feeling that those around us “get us”, like us, and find attractive qualities in us. Maybe you want to be the funny one, the athletic one, the beautiful one, the musical one, or the geeky one. Whatever you want to be you want your friends to know you that way, to accept you that way, and to praise you for being that way. Am I wrong?
Out of the pot and into the fire. That is how I felt as I was scrolling through my Word document that contains all of the warrior verses that I have copied there. The verses get crossed off as I write about them and now more and more of my time is spent scrolling down to find the text for my next thought, and for my next enlightenment. 1 Chronicles was taking forever! That was my feeling. I learned a lot and was forced to think a lot. The posts were fun to write, but they were getting repetitive. With genealogies and the talk of David’s mighty men repeated again and again I was looking forward to what the next book would bring. What new and exciting picture, attributes, and lessons could we learn from our next set of warriors?
I knew I was close, I was pretty sure I was done with Chronicles. As I scrolled I saw the crossed out text end and a new book of the Bible appear. Job. A book that had always confused me more than inspired me. The feeling that God allows, permits, and even has a hand in the terrible things that happen to us, that is just not a feeling that is fun to wrestle with. The idea that bad things happen to us, and then God redeems them is a prettier picture.
Job brings us back to the image of our God as a warrior. An image that I do enjoy much better than the old, bearded guy sitting in the clouds. Where are the paintings of our warrior God brandishing a sword and wearing armor? Where are the pictures of Jesus sitting atop a war horse ready to take on the legions of demons lined up for battle? Job at least reminds us that God is powerful and is to be feared,
My birthday, is tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but I love birthdays. And I hate them. When it comes to my birthday I mourn that another year is gone and I am another step closer to being old and gray. If you were to have found me on my 20th birthday you would have found me relenting that “half of my good years are over!” (I know now that that is not entirely true).
If you were to have found me a week out from any given birthday in the last two years you would find me pestering my husband. “Did you buy my birthday present yet?” “What did you get me!!” “Do you have it hiding in your car!” I hate surprises. It also doesn’t help that the relationship I had before James I was completely spoiled and usually got my birthday presents a week early because of all my persistent asking. Then, feeling guilty, the guy would also buy me another birthday present on my birthday.
Fortunately for me, James is more stubborn than that, and I love him dearly for it. But I still hate surprises, I hate waiting. Good thing I really, really love presents.
Divisions. That is what we have been talking about. God has gifted us all differently and we are to rejoice in our gifts and the gifts of others.
I have always wanted to be an amazing athlete. Growing up in small town Minnesota, sports were everything. It also did not help when your dad is your high school’s coach for boy’s varsity basketball, girls varsity volleyball, and both golf teams. My older brother got an award for playing a sport every season for every year of high school. You can find him on the pictures of the basketball team, soccer team, cross country team, track team, and golf team. And yes, some of these seasons overlapped, and he still did them all. My sister was good as well. Being the shorty of the family we watched her play guard in basketball, setter in volleyball, and run relays in track. She is playing both volleyball and basketball now in college, finishing up her senior year.
The hardest decision I had to make in high school was not to try out for basketball my senior year. I was having issues with my coach (this one wasn’t my dad) and there was no way it was going to be a good season with all of this drama. I felt like I had let everyone down. I had had dreams of storming the court and being the star of the team. I wanted the crowd to cheer my name and for my amazing skills to inspire others.
My hope for you, my fellow spiritual warriors, is that there are divisions among you. Yes, you heard me right. I hope that there are certain things that divide you from each other, that you are separated. Excuse me now, as I elaborate in a semi-geeky fashion.
My hubby and I have been doing our fair share of seeking lately, and not just for the matching socks in the laundry. What shall we do? Where shall we go? What gifts do we have? How should they be used?
When we prepare to lead the praise team for church we ask what songs to do.
When we are leaving youth group we seek out how that worship session went, and we ask for direction for next week.
When you seek you will find.
My morning mug of coffee is telling me “With God all things are possible.” I know this is true because I am writing this first draft at 7:30am with my coffee sitting beside me.
For about a month now I have been telling myself that I must get out of bed earlier and start taking advantage of every minute of the day. It was not happening. It seemed that 8:00am was the earliest time my body could feel awake and even then my body usually fought me until 9:00. I was getting lazy.
So I did the most proactive thing that I could think to do. I bought a new coffee mug. Now, I may have over 10 coffee mugs in this apartment already, and since James and I haven’t even touched our coffee pot in about 8 months you think that would be enough. However, none of my other ones were inspiring. This pretty white and black mug had “Hope” written in bold letters across the front with “Matthew 19:26” written below it. On the inside lip, where one could read while they sip it reminds us that “With God all things are possible.” I was ready. I was going to start setting the program on my coffee pot for 6:00am, so James could grab a cup before he went to work too. I would set an alarm for 6:30am and hopefully roll out of bed by 7:00.
For that first month that cup looked really pretty sitting next to my red coffee maker. I continued to wake up at 8:00am or later. Never setting my coffee pot alarm.