Not My Job

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”
(Luke 17:10)

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To the right, you will find a section of my kitchen floor that I have come to think of as No-Man’s Land. Although my children have been required to help clean up the kitchen after dinner in some capacity since they were old enough to bring their plates to the sink, their responsibilities have grown with their bodies. Currently, they divvy up the duties among themselves and typically I will wash the dishes while they do the rest.

Or at least in theory.

It has come to my attention that there are two “sides” to my kitchen: the kitchen proper and the eat-in portion with the table. Apparently, if a young person sweeps one side, he or she is exempt from sweeping the other side. However, this section of floor between the island and the kitchen table does not belong to either side.

In fact, as far as I can tell, this particular stretch of floor is kept free of debris primarily by a combination of magic, fairy wings, and wishful thinking or failing that, Mom.

Yesterday, as I stepped barefoot onto some crumbs in No-Man’s Land and resignedly turned to get the broom, it occurred to me that perhaps some portion of the moral decay we see in our society today cannot be fully attributed to seething masses of pagan hordes gleefully spreading debauchery and gloating in evil. Maybe, just maybe, some of it has to do with the attitude that certain behaviors “aren’t my job.”

The things I’m talking about are small things, like cleaning the bathrooms at our churches or being the one who does not complain when our spouse does that crazy irritating thing he/she does.

There are medium jobs, too. Things like visiting a cantankerous widow, treating an outcast in your circle with love and respect even if they are hateful in return, or continuing to uncomplainingly serve someone who seems to take your kindness for granted as if it were their right.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
(Hebrews 12:14)

Then there are the bigger acts – the places where we speak with our dollars and our actions. When the entertainment industry insists on placing inappropriate content in films, when stores embrace policies that are dangerous or exploitative to others, when advertisements marginalize or objectify women, we, the Church, need to be the ones who refuse to finance such choices.

That might mean inconvenience, taking a hard stand, being willing to do without certain things, spending our dollars wisely in order to send a message that we stand for the poor, the women who do not know better than to be objects, the children who are exposed to topics they are not yet ready to deal with. It is our job to be a “pillar and buttress of the truth,” and implicit in that is standing against immoral, corrupt, and deceitful practice even if it costs us.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
(Hebrews 12:3-4)

As the Church, our job is to go and make disciples. The Greek word translated there means, “learner or pupil,” and since most of us learn by example, setting an example is certainly the job of the Church.

And let me be extremely clear about this point: if we claim to be disciples of Jesus, we are the Church. We are the example. Where we spend our money, how we spend our leisure time, what we accept or embrace in our entertainments, how we act towards our families in private – all of it matters.

It might mean doing a job that no one else wants to do. It may mean dealing with humiliation. It may mean inconvenience, being out of the loop in our entertainment choices, or sacrificing a show we really did want to see. It may mean being called prudish or seeming to be an oddball in our culture. In all honesty, it may even mean our death in certain situations such as those our brothers and sisters face worldwide.

But if we are to make disciples, we need to first copy our Master, and while He was kind and loving, He was also uncompromising when it came to holiness and the honor of our God.

And He did many jobs that were not His to do.

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
(John 13:14-17)

 

 

 

Meet and Greet

Welcome!
I thought I would try something new today and host a Meet and Greet to meet other bloggers and to provide an opportunity to promote your blog.

That being said, I would like to do things a little bit differently: I want everyone who comments to promote two blogs, starting with someone else’s blog and then telling a little about your own. If possible, try to mention a blogger that you know of who is either new to blogging or needs a little leg-up for building traffic to their blog.

To demonstrate, I’ll start us off:

I would love for you to check out a newcomer to WordPress: Mr. Leonard Gluck.  You can find his wonderful blog at https://detectivegluck.wordpress.com/ where you will find downloadable Power Point presentations covering a wide variety of topics in creation and some of his own origami creations.

Mr. Gluck has a knack for highlighting fascinating facts about the creatures he runs across and the spiritual lessons that he learns while studying them. His downloadable presentations are an excellent and interesting addition to any home school or for any nature lover whatever the school choice!

An avid origami artist, he has also enjoys weaving either science or Bible lessons into his paper creations. Before he started his blog, I had the privilege of videoing him teaching the steps to one of his own origami creations. I encourage you to check out Detective Gluck!

As for me… well, this is my space and you can poke around. I enjoy writing about my spiritual journey. The many Biblical references about walking with God or comparing the spiritual journey to a race resonate with me as a person who loves to walk, run, hike, or just be out in creation worshiping the Creator,  hence the name of the blog. This is about my race, including trials and triumphs as well as what God teaches me through them.

Please comment below! I look forward to hearing from you, even if it takes me some time to make it over to your blog due to a busy season of life. I will get there sooner or later – that’s a promise!

 

 

 

An Oops -Lovely Blog Award

one-lovely-blog-award-badge1 An embarrassingly long time ago, or at the end of September (whichever you prefer to go with), I was nominated for this award by Lene in Japan on her wonderful blog, Wrestling with Faith- Dancing With Jesus.

Because I am absolutely horrible at completing these sorts of things, I thanked her warmly and then promptly forgot. I also confess that I feel a bit silly whether I participate or not. Like I always told my former judo sensei: I enjoy praise, but I think I handle criticism better. Funny, maybe, but entirely true! However it was, some quirk of memory brought it to mind today and I thought that – just maybe – I should actually do what I’m supposed to do for politeness’ sake. Oops. (Sorry Lene!)

Disclaimer: If I nominate your blog, you are under no obligation to follow the rules. I am only following them on a stretched technicality and very belatedly, so believe me that you will not hurt even one of my feelings.

Another disclaimer: If I do not nominate your blog, I still love it if I am following it. Otherwise, I would not have followed it in the first place. Honestly. Basically, I chose fifteen at total random and not my fifteen favorites. 🙂  Aaaannnd… if you’ve already been nominated, I apologize again, but consider it a thumb’s up from me. Besides, some days I barely have enough time to work on my own blog…

The Rules (Copied and pasted shamelessly from Lene’s blog):

Thank the lovely person who nominated your blog and follow them. YES FOLLOW me… actually even better: Follow Jesus!

Display the award logo and add this set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do (sounds sensible, right?)

Nominate 15 other lovely blogs listing them in your post and notifying them via a link in one of their blog posts (or as I chose – link to their blog while listing them).

List 7 interesting facts about yourself to the post (not really sure what would count as “interesting” but I’ll give it a go)

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Fifteen Good Ones:

The Power of Story   /  INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE  /  Detective Gluck  /  Jonathan Camac  /  Preacher Keith’s Blog  /  The Light Breaks Through  /  Shattered in Him  /  Beauty Beyond Bones  /  Mack Marie  / Life Less Ordinary  / The Bottom of a Bottle /  Julian for Jesus  /  Laura Bennett  /  In the Desert With Jesus  /  A Homeschool Mom Blog

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Seven Potentially Interesting Facts About Me (but no promises made):

  1. I have never been bitten by an octopus.  However, a friend of mine has.
  2. As of this date, I have about three chapters to go in  revising my first novel. I say “about three” because there may be an ax applied to some of the last bits…
  3. I have several children that I consider to be “mine,” although I have only given birth to three of them. If I were rich beyond belief and none of their parents minded, I would gladly adopt them all, but alas, their parents do care and homeschooling doesn’t pay super well.
  4. I have homeschooled all three of my children until this school year when my oldest 2 started going to a private school and my youngest is considering it. Weirdly, it feels a little like being fired…
  5. Because of #4, if I ever say, “This year,” I mean “This school year,” or “The year that started in August and ends in July.”
  6. I have strange hobbies, like trying to learn Hebrew or feeling compelled to research every strange insect or unusual bird that I run across, especially if I can manage to photograph them.
  7. Um…  I can’t really think of anything else, so I hope six will be enough.

 

An Unconventional Love Story

This piece was originally written for a friend who posted it in installments on her facebook page as a part of a month-long challenge to “Step It Up” in relationships. Today, in part because I am swamped by life after a week-long migraine experience (more on that later) and in part because I just wanted to share, here’s the story of how my husband and I met: 

My husband and I did not fall in love and get married; we married and then began to love.

It’s true.  There’s a long, ugly story about why we met, but suffice to say that when we met, I was nothing more than emotional wreckage floating about in trackless seas of sleep deprivation.  I was also not yet a follower of Jesus Christ and was a young woman with no solid ground beneath her feet, friendless and new to the city I was in.

When did I know that he was the one? On the day the pregnancy test showed unmistakably positive and the consequence of my careless and causal attitude about sex came crashing in on me – that’s when I knew.

Among the scariest moments of my life were the five or so minutes between seeing the positive test result and informing C. that he had fathered a child. Having only known him for four short weeks, I did not know how he would respond and I fully expected the words, “I’m pregnant,” to be among the last I spoke to him.

By the grace of a God I did not yet acknowledge, this man also felt an incredible weight of responsibility to the life we had begun, and so our beginning was not remarkable for romance. Even the reasons behind the act that lead to pregnancy were not romantic but merely thoughtless and rash.  Yet there we were, two people inextricably bound by our duty to a human being we had yet to meet.

Neither of us felt able to walk away and charge the bill of our choices to the account of this tiny, yet-to-be-named person. Although we did not legally marry until our son was a toddler, from that time on, we were married in all other senses. We made a commitment and it was sealed in the flesh of an embryo carrying a portion of each of our DNA in his swiftly growing body.

As for love, at first love was very much an action verb – something we did, not something we felt. I’m not only talking about the physical expression of love (which the fact of pregnancy made obvious), but about our daily behaviors. During this time, love was merely a choice; something we acted on not because of but rather despite our feelings.

Through a process of dying to our dreams and taking up the mantle of responsibility and necessity, God got both of our attention. One by one, we both repented of our sin and trusted in Christ for salvation, and salvation gave meaning and reason to our action-verb love.

Through tiring years of learning to be a family and of three almost back-to-back babies, we learned some important lessons about choosing to love. We learned to love intentionally no matter how we felt and to make time for each other no matter what. We learned to listen when the other talked, to bring our worries or our hurt to the table in a way that was respectful and did not set off an argument. We learned how to speak gently and in a way that was not inflammatory or accusing. We built a life on the practical elements of love.

Over fifteen years have passed since the night I held that pregnancy test and watched as the consequences of my irresponsible lifestyle were summed up in two distinct blue lines. We have three wonderful kids ages 12 to 15. Blessedly, both of our emotions have healed and caught up with our actions and I can say that I am now truly in love with my husband.

Would I trade all the practicality and drudgery of the last 15 years for a wild, romantic adventure? Not a chance.

You see, we are in this thing for the long haul, and those early lessons in actively loving despite a lack of the emotional equivalent laid a foundation for true love that is as beautiful as it is practical.

There is no magic formula for genuine love, just as there is no magic pill for physical fitness. Both love and fitness involve hard work and sacrifice. True and lasting love also requires a healthy portion of putting the other person’s needs above your own, just as Philippians 2:3 commands.

Just like perseverance in working out, perseverance in love can be challenging. You will not always feel like hitting the gym, just as you will not always feel “in love” with your spouse. However, the rewards of sticking it out and seeing it through in both cases are well worth every ounce of hardship and sacrifice.  For my part, by the grace of God, I look forward to growing old with the man who is my husband and my very best friend.

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalms 86:5)

What’s New With Me

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

I know I’ve been something of a random poster these days; sometimes once a week, sometimes less. There are various reasons why, but today I thought I’d share the most complicated one of them with you.

You see, quite a bit has changed in my life lately. After 15 years of full-time motherhood and 10 of homeschooling, my oldest two (tenth grade and eighth grade) are attending a private school. While I still homeschool the youngest, this has been a rather dramatic alteration in our lifestyle and schedule.

Now instead of letting the kids sleep until 7:00, the older two get up at 6:00. The youngest gets up at 5:00 — don’t ask me why. She’s just like that. We do our Bible studies in the predawn hour but in separate rooms. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Instead of a quick trot to the school room, I am now hauling two of them on a thirty-minute drive south. That’s thirty minutes one-way, which means an hour is spent in the morning commute.

The youngest either comes along or stays home and works on her own schooling, depending on my husband’s schedule. Also, depending on his schedule, that hour commute is sometimes doubled.  Either way, there I am standing with one foot in two worlds.

And then, of course, there are activities and extracurricular events. There is church and community group. There is striving to find the time to stay in shape — or rather, in some semblance of shape — despite an odd assortment of injuries I have managed to accumulate, apparently just to keep things interesting.

I am also endeavoring to learn Hebrew; a task at which I am progressing at a snail’s pace. A dead snail’s pace. But it’s great fun, probably because I am the quintessential nerd.

Also at this stage of my life, there are the teenage years and puberty happening all around, along with the great emotional needs that accompanies this life stage, much more intense and exhausting than the toddler years as far as I can see. Or maybe I’m just exhausted because of age… or because of chronic migraine and its various treatments… or just because.

And so on, and so forth.

But to me, personally, the biggest, most exciting, and yet most frustrating new thing is that I have finished the first draft of a novel.

No, really. It’s true. It doesn’t seem possible to me, but it is true.

As a matter of fact, I am writing these words now with something of a guilty conscience, mainly because I am taking a break from rewriting a stubborn paragraph that simply will not come together.

All the while I am hiding from my intractable characters that have chosen this night not to behave and docilely speak sensible sentences as they ought, my Hebrew vocabulary cards are staring at me balefully, reminding me that I have not even glanced at them today and here it is eight o’clock at night.

But that’s another matter. The crazy, exhilarating, and intimidating truth is that I have actually typed out an entire novel and am working through the revision.

So what’s next?

Who knows? I consider it highly unlikely the thing will be published, but then that is in God’s hands, as is everything else.

Either way, I look to Him for wisdom in all of it — the rewriting, putting out feelers for publication, raising my teens and tweens, homeschooling, private schooling, being a wife, facilitating a small group, prayer meetings at church– all of it. It is either all for His glory, or it is worthless.

Either way, I am praying almost all the time these days because, frankly, I need God every second of every minute of every day no matter what I am working on.

So that’s basically all that’s new with me! Drop a line sometime and let me know what’s new with you. 🙂