Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Question on Life

Let's look at it from a legal standpoint.

Is the unborn a person with a right to life?

This question asked on a public forum full of unbelievers and believers alike. Here was my answer to the question.

Life means something to me. The fact is...there is no more amazing thing than the development of a baby in a womans body. I am a Christian and I do believe that life comes from God. He knew this baby would be created. He knows his or her name, his or her purpose and has a plan for that little life. I am amazed that in just a couple of days 8 cells go to 100 - at 6 weeks - about the time a woman is finding out that she is indeed pregnant ths little baby has the beginnings of eyes and ears...it is intentional and fast moving.

That is my emotional basis...and I stand by it wholeheartedly.

Does this child have a right to life? Absolutely - it was created, whether by mistake or intent does not make a difference. I think the question most pertinent here is whether you believe it is a baby when it is conceived or not. And here is where it bogs down every time.

And perception is what makes this so frustrating. A woman in her early 20's aborts a baby because she is not at a good place and hates to have her young figure stretched out of shape and carry a child to term when she has no intention of keeping it. This same girl gets married at the age of 28 and gets pregnant and miscarries a week sooner than she aborted her previous pregnancy. She is devastated because she lost her baby. Did she consider it a baby when she aborted it the first time? Probably not...she didn't want to because it made it easier for her to clean up the consequences to an action she took. So what made it a baby the second time she conceived? The fact that she was prepared and at a place where she could care for it and love it?

That doesn't wash with me. It was a baby the moment it was conceived...it was well on it's way to life with her or someone else who desperately wanted a child and it got snuffed because it was inconvenient. That is selfish and irresponsible. We love to have our fun but don't want to carry the responsibility of the consequences of our actions. It is easier to call the baby a fetus...because it allows us to emotionally seperate ourself from what we do not want to bare.

Okay....I know - the previous is not legal reasoning...The following is my best effort.

The child was conceived and is well on it's way to the promise of life. 100% of the childs genetic makeup was determined at conception...It is a distinct organism...the beginnings of a child from the moment it is conceived. When a woman chooses to have sex she understands that there is a possibility - no matter how small, that she can become pregnant. Her and her partners actions created a child. This child deserves to be given the chance to live.

The same argument used to support abortion - "it is a woman's body and it is her choice to rid herself of that child if she wants " can be used to support making it illegal. " The woman who chooses to have an illegal abortion has made a choice, it is her body and she knew the possible consequences of her actions." An argument is inevitably made that the life of women was not being considered before abortions were legal. Sunday night back alley abortions were turning into masses of Monday morning emergency room visits. This is greatly overstated.

"In 1940, the National Center for Health Statistics confirmed just 1,313 deaths from illegal abortions, most of them from infection. As antibiotics became available and surgical techniques improved generally, abortion-related deaths fell sharply: 159 deaths in 1966, forty-one in 1972, the year before Roe." This was prior to abortion being legalized. All things considered....murdering 1.3 million babies per year (current number) vs. less than 50 women in 1972 dying from having illegal abortions and probably much less than that if abortion were never legalized...well - there is just no comparison. These women who made choices to abort their babies and more than likely knew their chances were at best risky for a problem occuring but decided it was worth the risk not to have to carry that child to term. While all along they know full well that sex sometimes does cause babies and yet they do not have to deal with the consequences? There are very few of us that lucky when we do something we know has a chance of a bad outcome.

I had a Grandaddy - He was at the end of his life and he had alzheimers. He did not know me...he did not really know anyone. My Mom quit her job and took care of him. My only reaction from him was anger and toward the end not even that. Now...he no longer had any understanding of his situation. The entire family - though we loved him was pretty miserable toward the end of his life and we could see he was miserable as well. And yet we would not kill him. His life though hard and full of misery toward the end was still valuable. Ending his life would be wrong. It would be murder.

Women - who are liberated and who can do what they want with their bodies cannot carry a baby to term? They can have sex when they want but do not have to deal with the consequences of their choices? They can murder a child because it is inconvenient? Of course it is their body. But the fact is - they are carrying a baby, and had part in making it. They knew what they were doing and the chances of what could happen. And yet - they can murder that child. It seems twisted to me that a child at the very beginning of its life hasn't got the protection he or she needs to be able to make it out of the mother's womb.

My Grandaddy...not aware...no hope of life before him....do not murder. A baby - not aware - hope of a wonderful life before him...murder it if it is not convenient. The geography of being in the a Mother unwilling to accept the consequences of her actions being the apparent problem here. It is a waste. And it is heartbreaking that others can't see that...

There is help for women who become pregnant and are not in the right circumstances to raise the child on their own. There is a place they can go to get counseling, support and help. And there are plenty of places for those babies they carry to find homes. Abortion is not the answer to their seeming problem. It is the beginning of many more.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

People Watching


I love to watch people. When we go to a restaurant, my husband and boys all try to face whatever TV is in the room so they can watch whatever baseball or football game that happens to be on. Me, as long as I have some folks around I am good. Can watch people and try to figure them out all day. Love it. Well...it bit me in the butt one day...literally.

I USE to run. I would go to the YMCA after work - at 5:00 in the afternoon. There were business types all around me...all the dinks and yups you could stand. Everywhere. I would come in and find my treadmill. It was the one that was facing the mirror. Gave me a good view of all of the people. I would watch the older and the younger come in...who was flirting, who was intent on their workout, those who looked like they would rather be anywhere else. I was pretty good at running and doing that. But...on this fateful day, something would go wrong.

As I jogged that great rhythm and watched the other folks around the gym something went terribly wrong. My foot managed to hit the side of the treadmill. My rhythm was thrown...somehow I stumbled uncontrollably falling to my knees....remember....the treadmill was still going. As my knees hit the treadmill the backward movement threw my body forward and as my body hit I somehow managed to flip to my back and was catapulted off the back of the treadmill to the carpet right onto my tail and then back. "That is what those stupid things you are suppose to put around your wrist are for" kept going through my head....until I saw all the faces over me. As I stared up at the ceiling, suddenly there were at least five people standing over me asking if I was okay. In my usual smooth and silky way I jumped up, feeling the blood rush to my face and murmured an embarrassed "I am okay- thank you" and pretty much walked as fast as I could from the room. I had only minor tread burns on my knees and mostly was pained in my pride.

What came to me later was - how often do I take my eyes off of what my focus should be? I take my eye off the ball and somehow manage to misstep and fall. My focus is pleasing my Lord and Savior. I place my eyes on the people around me instead...I have a horizontal view verses the vertical view and I stumble, falling hard and having to gather my wits and broken pride, humble myself before my Lord and Savior once again. I have to ask forgiveness and start all over again. Trying to remember next time to keep my eyes off of the people and on God. I am a much more successful person when I do this.

Needless to say, I never went back to the YMCA. I moved my membership and when I ran on the treadmill I did my best to focus on what I was doing...didn't want THAT to happen again! Of course something like it would...I am after all me.

Glimpses of Me







Have you ever seen yourself in a picture and not realized it was you? I saw myself in a photo at Christmas one year...somehow my head had been cut off...and I just looked and looked and kept trying to figure out who it was - until I recognized the overalls and the shirt...then it hit me. That is me...how in the world did I get to looking like that? Funny in a way, scary in another...but mostly sad! Time and age has slipped up on me. My issue is that I am an older person who has younger children. I kind of feel twixt and between two worlds. At my age...my mother had teenagers. I on the other hand am chasing three young children. So as a whole I don't feel old. My body is changing...the pillow wrinkles take longer to fall out these days and my metabolism has skidded to a halt just about...but I do not see myself as I really am. I am always shocked when I see myself in pictures.

But what has really started disturbing me lately is the fact that I am seeing glimpses of myself inadvertantly in conversations. I am talking to people and I am hearing and noticing things I have never really noticed before. I have become flaky. Have I always been this way? Am I just noticing it now? Or is this something that middle age has brought to me? It is a bit disturbing. I talk TOO much and about assinine things. I am pretty sure this has always been...I just never noticed it until recently as I watch people's eyes glaze over while I am talking to them. I have adopted a filler word - and it drives me nuts because it comes out against my will....for example: "The boys have orientation Tuesday and then we will probably go to the pool for a while after that......(long pause) anyway..." Anyway...what is that? I use it ALL the time. I hate it.

These things...well...embarrassed about. Really wish I could change the extreme flake I have become and the constant babble that flows from my mouth. Thinking out loud so to speak. Other people do not need to hear my thoughts on bandaids and chin hair. Quite honestly...I am appalled when I somehow manage to step outside of myself and I hear the blah blah blah coming out.

I guess the main question I have is...is this because I am older and paying more attention to what I am saying and how I am being? Am I (once again) too self involved? How much of it do I try to correct? Or do I try to correct it at all? I am how God made me...should I try to learn to be comfortable with that? Or....should I realign my purpose with God's purpose. Should I control that mouth and those thoughts and become intentional about what I say...what I do...and how much time I am taking to do it? I go back and forth honestly. I want to be "that person" but can I honestly be "that person"? God help me know. Help me change what is not glorifying to you and bag the rest...

I really hope that some day as I am talking to someone the glimpse I get is more attractive...or maybe...just maybe I will be so unselfinvolved that I will not even see myself at all...I will be seeking to serve and uplift someone else to the point that I am not the issue at all...hm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reminder of the past....

I was talking to my husband on the phone today. I set up a Blog Spot for him and named it after a Jackson Browne song called "About My Imagination". He was asking me what I had named it after and said "Was it Jackson?" And of course I said yes thinking he recognized the song.

No...he remembered something our son said one time. We were sitting in the den together and Jackson asked if there was a monster in the fireplace. And I told him no - there was no such thing as monsters...it was just his imagination. And then he asked the most wonderful question. "How did my imagination get in the fireplace?"

Oh how simple and sweet the words of child-hood. The beliefs and faith that being a child holds is what I miss and long for - so very, very much. There are times where I wish for a simpler time such as that of childhood. But I have a hope. My hope lies in the future when Christ comes to take us home. Then I will again relive a time that is simple and sweet where the task at hand is to glorify our Heavenly Father! Even so Lord, quickly come!

By the way...Andy's Blogger is here: http://aboutmyimagination.blogspot.com/
Good reading if you ask me - well worth a visit!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Really Nervous Now - post, the second

Yeah...it is like I figured. That was a "late night I am really tired thinking too much" kind of anxiety attack. Can you think too much do you think? I mean, sometimes we just think what we think. Who says it really has to be some deep existential garbage?

It is kind of why I named the Blog the existential missy...it is SO VERY tongue in cheek. I am not that deep to be honest with you. Some things are just not that deep. I am a walk by faith kind of girl. Definitely not a prove it to me kind of girl. Sometimes I just like to ponder and write it out. It clarifies things for me. And I just don't get it sometimes. I hear people debating and talking and I wonder why all the hoopla? But that is just me. Today...right now anyway!

About this blog...there is a side to me that is saying, "You are wasing time, there are so many things you could do with your time that would make a more eternal impact, or even just help your husband to be happy when he got home from work, (dishes, laundry etc...)". But in spite of that voice there is a creative part of me that feels a need to express myself. This is a God-given capacity I have not indulged in quite some time. And I do believe that God is pleased when we express ourselves rightly - the way he created us. I do not believe in vulgarity, nor do I think that all creative expression is good. There is such a thing as self control. Quite honestly it is something we here on the earth practice very little these days. The "if it feels good, do it" movement was and is a disaster if you ask me. And yet...we have all bought into a bit. Just like we have the "must have it now" mentality. I hate that too. I really do believe the best things are worth working and waiting for. Trying desperately to instill it into my children. By example as well as word.

I have a friend that just had to move to England with her husband for a tour of duty with his job there - for two years. Foreign and scary for her. I mention this because I have often been jealous of the fact that she is being forced to simplify and pare down. She has a new slate so to speak. That cannot happen where I am unless I move...and as great as it sounds(to me from the comfort of my own home Michelle!) - I do not want to move anytime soon. But I can take some of these things she has had to do and do them right where I am. I can pare down and create a new way of thinking. Get something, give something away. Give away as much as I can. Question everything I do: How important is this? Do I have to have it? Can I live without it? These questions seem simple enough..but quite honestly..they are not so simple to put into action. I guess that is why I think where my sweet friend is is in a way a blessing...she HAS to. But it is one thing to say it here and another thing to actually have to do it.

But as hard as it may be - I do believe that it is a worthwhile thing to do. So I will try. I want to - I think the faster I do and try it the better!

Upon re-reading this...I understand that this has totally morphed into something else. If you know me - you are not surprised. Stream of conscious, unfocused mumbo jumbo!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Really Nervous Now

For whatever reason I have this horotious (this is my child's word - and I think it a very apt descriptive term)feeling that I do not want what I think out there. First of all - I am no rocket scientist. My thoughts are neither deep nor really interesting for all that matter. I think what I like about this blog is the fact that maybe someone somewhere will read it and say - "I know just how she feels". And BOOM there it is...solidarity. Someone that will reinforce me and who I think I am. It makes me feel good to know someone agrees with me.

I am Jekyll and Hyde lady as well. The person who desires to be so okay with who she is and has turned 41 and is all comfy in her skin...today...not so much. A little on the insecure side. So my Jekyll side is out and feeling a bit reticent in all the blogging and disclosure. What was I thinking?

I have this insane desire to trash this Blog. To put all of my ramblings in a Word document and just flush this blog down the cyber toilet. I have this other feeling (my Hyde side apparently) that thinks I would be a little sorry if I did though. I am digging in - Bold...and courageous right? I'll add to this tomorrow. I am sure I have some more to say...and who knows...I may just wake up feeling differently...ya never know.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blogging is scary

Okay, so last night I am out with my girlfriends. We are having a little porch party - enjoying fajitas and margaritas and talking about where life has us and how we are dealing with it. And we start talking about what we watch on TV. I inadvertantly dropped the embarrassing information that I quite enjoy taking in Jimmy Neutron occasionally. I am thinking that went over like a pregnant pole vaulter. For some strange reason no one found it funny. I will not defend my choice in tv viewing - sometimes there are no good explanations for what entertains us.

But the conversation eventually came around to Seinfeld. I love Seinfeld. The problem is - if I go down in my blog to my personal state of the union address...I nail myself to the wall on what I should and should not be watching. I personally believe that Seinfeld is hysterical. It truly makes me laugh. And without getting too deep here...I just wanted to venture to say...what we write we should try to live by - I am pretty sure anyway. I do not want to be just a wind bag that blows a lot of hot air. I want what I say to be worth something. SO - that being said should my penchant for Grey's Anatomy (highly immoral behavior) and Seinfeld (again immoral, shallow..etc.) be nipped? Do I investigate further what I think God would have me do? Am I convicted by my friends, by my own blogging or is scripture the basis for my conviction about my torn desire to be more like my Father in Heaven and to enjoy these shows that entertain me so much? And I do not want my claim to investigating the issue to be a way to put off doing what I should do - I want to act on my convictions - to be strong and courageous in acting on what I say I believe...but it's so hard (said in my best whiny voice).

So - I am on a journey to determine how I make my decisions on what to watch - for me personally - not for you. Because I do believe that freedom in Christ enables us to live by our convictions...but now that I have said it - I can either delete what I said earlier...I can recant and say I was just on my high horse...or I can actually search where God would have me and live by it.

Maybe I should rethink this whole blogging business.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Playing Checkers




This morning I woke up, had my coffee and was about to sit down to read while my boys were having breakfast. One of the twins came and said, "Remember that Checker game we were suppose to play before Dad took us fishing yesterday?" Of course I remembered... "Let's go", I said. So we went up to the office and began our game of Checkers. Now - I am competitive. My husband [has] give[n] me a hard time about it[in the past- TEASING of course (how's that hon?)] - because I sometimes beat the kids at whatever game - not always...but especially video games - they really are better at those than me - so if I see a chance I take it! But I honestly don't see that letting them win EVERY time is that beneficial to them. There comes a point where you have to teach them to think.

As I played with my little cutie petootie this morning...I realized that teaching also involves encouragement. If I beat the snot out of him each time (and honestly - as much fun as winning is - it rings a little hollow when beating a 7 year old - UNLESS it is in video games...I am quite pleased then - they are REALLY good), it would crush that sweet little spirit. And I do not want that. My goal is to make him think - point him in the right direction and make enough mistakes to teach him where I screwed up and let him win in the process. There are times when he is unfocused and I really can't let him win. Sometimes losing is a good thing.

Of course there is always a line that draws whatever it is we put our hand to back to God. Our Heavenly Father also watches as we try to master this life. As we learn strategies that make us stronger, more disciplined, more like our Father, we sometimes realize that He is in fact giving us little victories that spur us on to more good deeds and to use the gifts He has bestowed upon us. He even allows challenges that we think we cannot overcome. Sometimes the challenges are easier than we thought they would be, sometimes they are much harder and we fail several times before we finally win the battle.

Life is a struggle - but in my mind there is always a means to an end. I cannot think of one thing that I love that does not take some effort to obtain. Many tries, and failures and the learning that comes with it make the accomplishment worthwhile. The harder I have to work, the sweeter the results of obtaining the goal. This life is hard. Sometimes it is harder for some than others...what a waste it would be if we did not have the ultimate goal in mind...being more like our heavenly Father and obtaining the prize that He holds for us there in our ultimate home in Heaven. To me...if I consider this struggle as a constant sanctification(the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after conversion), then it is well worth the effort.

I have not always felt this way. For a long time I felt ignorance was bliss. The less I knew the smoother and easier my life was. But it was a vanilla life. Pretty plain and I would get bored. God has called me to a much more noble and exciting place. Much like a rock climber, or even a chess player - the strategies used to accomplish the task at hand - become as exciting to me as any game I have played. God gave me the gifts to use to make it...I have all I need to succeed. I just have to learn to use them in the ways He is teaching me...much like I do to teach my sweet boys. And I will know success and the praise of my Lord. If not now then one day.

How worthwhile is that? How wonderful is a life that is focused on a goal...on an end result - especially when the end result is being like my Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Am My Own Hangup

No kidding. And I bet you wonder what I mean. Apparently the one thing that is keeping me from being the charming and at ease individual I know myself to be - is myself! I know a seeming mantra I harp on is my own selfishness; My own inability to get beyond myself.

Seriously - not that I AM that charming and at ease individual...but I would have a better chance of being her - if I just enjoyed other people. If they were my focus and I worked to love them as I ought...I think I can pretty much say - I would be a shoe in for "most popular". Who wouldn't want to be around someone whose focus was the person they were talking to? And I am pretty darn sure I would like myself better to boot! Now...tell me - what's your hangup?

Where is my heart?

Here I am again. I just love that I can come here and write what I am thinking. And I guess for some reason knowing someone can read it and get what I am saying is kind of encouraging.

I was just reading and thinking and I found myself worrying about what people thought about me. I did this so I am sure they are going to think this...what can I do to fix it....cause heaven forbid they think I am an idiot, or thoughtless, or any other thing - except perfect. As if that is possible.

I believe that comes from a heart that is selfish. A heart that is thinking of itself only and too concerned with what others think...a form of narcissism. And I am falling into what I am so desiring not to. I am bringing me to the forefront again...forgetting to put Christ first. My hope, my confidence, my all is wrapped up in Him (Proverbs 3:26 ...for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.)...so there is no reason for me to be concerned with what others think. If I am truly seeking to serve them and being who I am in Christ then they must think what they must! Cause sometimes it just is what it is!

So here I am another day...setting off to set it right. Readjusting my stance before the Lord to be what I know He has called me to be. I pray that I will continue this...that He will quicken my mind to know when I am being selfish, and turn my heart back to the task at hand...serving Him in all I say and do.

The Wisdom of Tenderness

I just had to write these lyrics down...they are amazing and so true! I am so moved by them and amazed that I am a well loved daughter of God and that it frees me to be who He made me! Praise God - How blessed are we who call ourselves children of God? If you have a chance look this song up...so wonderful!

Wisdom of Tenderness
Crystal Lewis

I'm free
'Cause Jesus loves me
In spite of my being weak
I know my Abba He delights in me

I see
Everything differently
My brokenness has been kissed
Away by His grace

Chorus
This wisdom of tenderness is
Accepting that I am His
Taking the fierce love He gives
And living it
Living it
Believing that I am beloved
Finding I'm free because of it
Unconditionally giving love
The wisdom of tenderness

Do I spend my days loving?
Do I spend them judging?
Do I point my finger or open my arms

Do my
Words convey my faith
Do all of my ways
Measure up to the things that I say

Chorus

My faith is known
By the love that I'm shown
That is the way
They will know
I'm His own

Christians are worse than they think they are: But then again...God knows that!

What this is: Blog from a friend

christians are worse than they think they are

I read two interesting articles this morning. one on how an italian judge forced a 13 year old girl to have an abortion. the other on how middle-class suburban teenagers are murdering homeless people, by stoning and then beating them to death.

Abortion. what a fascinating subject. people who are against abortion call themselves pro-life, but their inability to convince the world that they actually care about people who happen to be alive has been the biggest detriment to their credibility in their fight against abortion. life is sacred? really? seems to me like you only care about yourself. And people who are for abortion call themselves pro-choice. but why wasn't the 13 year old girl given a choice to keep her baby? How I feel about abortion doesn't particularly matter, but I can't help but feel that the bigger issue is not what I think people should do with their fetuses, but rather: how I daily operate as if human lives are not sacred, whether they are born or unborn. And in church, if you want to talk about the evils of abortion, I think you should be careful, because I have yet to hear a pastor talk about abortion in a way that is not self-righteous, in a way that does not condemn and make unwelcome a woman who has chosen abortion. How is my lack of concern for starving humans any different than abortion? If human life is truly sacred, it seems like christians would be more concerned for the living.

We want to think we are better than people. we all do. me especially, I have a need to feel superior. I hear the things that youth pastors say to kids, and it makes me angry and sad all at once, and I think I am better than the youth pastor. people hear about abortion and they feel superior because perhaps they have not had an abortion. it makes you feel clean to think of others as dirty.Me, I read about teenagers who beat homeless people to death and I think, "wow, this is awful. I would never do such a thing. who are these kids?" And yet at the same time I know that every day I walk by homeless people and hate them. homeless people talk to me every day and I think they are a threat to me. I am afraid of them and I hate them. none of us want to believe that we are abortionists, murderers, liars, cheaters, haters.We want to believe that jesus loves us because we are good, not in spite of the fact that we are filthy. oh we talk about how we are bad and how jesus loves us and makes us pure, but we don't really believe it. we really believe we are pretty good. deep down, we think jesus is lucky to have us on his team.We run away from the words of jesus, and we run towards self-righteousness. It feels so good to be better than others. but really, I'm not much different from the teenager who murders homeless people.


My thoughts on this blog:

This blog certainly makes me think. But people are just people. Whether they are pastors or laymen. We are all just screwed up, sinful, and insignificant. So we do our best to make ourselves significant by using others mistakes as a rule to make us feel better about ourselves. The fact is that we were made by our Heavenly Father and if He is willing to forgive and forget - we should be. If he is willing to see significance in us then we should be willing to see significance in each other. The great thing is - I AM a well loved daughter of Christ and there is nothing I can do that will make Him love me any more or any less. And that is how I should look at others as well. We are all in fact sinners...we are all in fact sinning, somehow, someway - probably even as I speak. But - we are bought by the blood of Christ and that is how God sees us - is through that blood.

How do we see each other though? I think the above Blog questions how loving Christians really are when it comes to our opinions of others around us. The fact is that we certainly can't show people the error in their ways if we are judgemental and cruel in how we deal with fellow sinners. But how do I lead a fellow sinner to see what is right in a way that draws them closer to the Lord and does not push them farther away?

The thing is - and this has been something I have been wrestling with for quite some time - when we know we ourselves are sinning, and we choose to continue to sin....even when we have been shown the error of our ways....when should a fellow believer rebuke us for not correcting ourselves? My eating for instance. I am sinning...when I eat for any other reason that is not for sustenance or in moderation, I am sinning - it is wrong for me when I am stressed out and eat the entire contents of the refrigerator. Do I know I am going to do it again? Yes I do. More than likely - a better question for me is how do I make myself CARE that I am sinning when I know in fact that it is a sin. I do not know how to make myself care in the midst of my pain to be perfectly honest. Yes I will eventually care - if not now - when I am weighing 250lbs. and can't get out of a chair...which is where I am heading, it sure will. Not to mention that I have been given a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline (2 Tim 1:7 ) so when I choose to indulge my frustrations in food and not to practice the self control He has given me, and not to allow God to help bear my burden....I am sinning and I am missing out on a great blessing...and an opportunity to use my spiritual muscles and be stronger. Is it hard? Yes...so hard that I have not yet had a victory...am I going to just quit? I hope not...I would be deluding myself to say that God loves me the way that I am so I am not going to try anymore...He does love me because he sees me through the blood of his Son Jesus Christ...but I am not suppose to give up the good fight. If I do...then it makes me spiritually lazy and IT WILL START SPILLING OVER TO OTHER AREAS OF MY LIFE. I have seen it. We become self indulgent and once we excuse one thing then we will start excusing others. This pattern follows all manner of sin. When we excuse and rationalize our sin...it becomes easier to excuse ourselves in other areas and what you have is a weak and flabby Christian - and a stumbling block in some cases to other believers. But I digress...the real question I have come to is - where does a friend step in and tell me I am wrong? Where do I step in and admonish and correct my sisters in Christ?

My tendency with regard to others' sins is to make them feel better. I am thinking, "we all do it, and what would I do if I were in that situation" - so I excuse it. Is this right? I do not think so. I believe that I am at best delaying God's work in someone's life by doing this in some cases. Can I love them and understand where they are coming from while speaking God's truth? Whether it is divorce, abortion, gluttony, self-pity whatever...I believe that I can. It is frustrating...and I believe that is another reason I am slow to correct and admonish. It is easier to say - "I will not judge, or get involved - I will show them the love of Christ by accepting them as they are and that way - they love me and I feel good too." I believe we do our best to hold each other to God's standard and not to our own...which is what I am apt to do (holding others to my standard)...that is good news for everyone reading this...because you are all super duper in my opinion! The key is we hold each other to God's standard in love. And yes - it may cause others to pull away when they hear what they don't want to. But God willing - His truth will light our hearts and our eyes (no matter if what was said is right or wrong) and pull us back together with the one who is willing to show us the error of our ways in love - the one who out of a heart of love truly wants to reconcile us to Christ.

There is such a balance of understanding and truth required here, especially when it comes to painful subjects like divorce or even abortion. I am not so sure that someone who chooses to abort their baby is not a murderer. Whether they realize they are murdering or not does not make it any less wrong. God formed the child in it's mothers womb (Psalm 139) and this child is a child of God - as much as I am. A part of loving well is holding each other accountable. If aborting babies is murder - it is murder - now I agree there are grey areas. But if a friend told me that she was aborting a baby because she made a mistake, I would have to say she was wrong - and I would try to do so lovingly. If someone told me that my eating was gluttony - and that I was sinning every time I allowed myself to binge - then I may very well get my feelings hurt. For many reasons. They do not know what I deal with - just as no one can no the inner thoughts of man...but God. Because no matter how open we are as a whole - we will always have painful secrets. Does it make bad choices, such as abortion any less of a sin? Does it make the act of someone holding me accountable for my sin any more acceptable or is it easier for me to know that it is scripture and that the person admonishing me in love wants what is best for me? No. I do not believe there is an easy way to tell people that what they are doing is wrong. I believe sometimes it just is yucky and it sucks on both sides...both for the admonisher and the admonishee. Can God heal it? Can God bring understanding and grace to a hard situation? Absolutely - it is what we must count on. Judging others is not for us. But I can know the difference between right and wrong and I can and should share with my sister when she is going somewhere I think she should not. In fact - I think it should be seen as a true sign of love to be willing to put enmity between yourself and someone else because you want them to do right in the eyes of the Lord. There is no easy way and we could in fact always be wrong...we are not all knowing - we are not all seeing. But we administer God's grace by reading the Word of God and by doing it. I do believe that Love covers a multitude of sins...so to speak. I believe that a bad situation can be saved by knowing that someone's heart truly is motivated by love.

Brian said, "We run away from the words of jesus, and we run towards self-righteousness. It feels so good to be better than others. but really, I'm not much different from the teenager who murders homeless people." He is right. But he is making a statement about judging. We should never judge. But there is a difference between judging and feeling superior to others and telling the truth in love. The first should never happen and the latter should always happen. It is our calling. And I agree wholeheartedly with him when it comes to how we think Jesus is blessed to have us on his team. Deep down our sinful nature says we are indeed special and God needs us...when in fact - We desperately need him...to find significance - to be found worthy - to see others as significant.

I guess what stuck out to me most was about judging others...how do we serve each other faithfully. How do we guide each other to good deeds without judging? The safest road to take when it comes to how worthy we are to lead others in the way of righteousness is to look up and not around...we will be thankful - not resentful, humbled - not proud. And we should then have a true view of where we stand in regards to our Lord and Savior.

I am looking for scripture to back up what I said...I feel that it is right but I want to have a basis for everything I think and say out loud especially. What do you think about what I said...does it hold up to scripture? Is it a true representation of what the Bible says?

Who Am I? A Personal State of the Union Address

Who hasn’t asked this question? At sometime in ones life there comes a point where you either don’t know or have become tripped up on someone else’s understanding of who you are. I turned 41 yesterday. I got letters and calls and it was generally a very uplifting, affirming day for me. But with all the strokes came the question, “How true is all of this?” Who am I really? And am I really doing well with who I am?

When we start questioning who we are…there are several contexts in which we view ourselves. First and foremost – we seem to identify with family. I am a wife to my husband, Mom to three boys. I am a daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, friend, teacher, and praise leader. And in defining who I am each one of these is a huge contribution. But of course there is one role that will shape and guide who I am more than any of these….I am first and foremost a child of God. An expression I have heard and cling to more than any other is – a well-loved daughter of Christ. Now what does this mean about me personally? And how do I deal with all of my eccentricities in MY world of people who I think are very unlike me?

Background…I am a Baptist. I go to a Presbyterian Church – but essentially – though I follow the leading of my very able shepherd and am blessed by my pastor, I am undeniably Baptist. It is what I grew up with and I still believe the picture of Baptism after you become a believer is beautiful and such a wonderful example and confirmation of new life in Christ. There again – is another name for how I define myself. I have been in the past ashamed of my very Baptist beliefs. But maybe with age comes the understanding that fellowship with others does not necessarily mean I have to believe the same as they do. I like fringe, and leopard print and tattoos. I like piercings. I look with longing at the little studs in girls noses. I think that is a very desirable thing. Hubby – different story. In this I bend to please. But were I a single woman…I would have a nose ring. Is this okay? Here again…yet another thing that defines and makes me who I am. Where do I get my rules to live by? I also have many guilty pleasures. Bubble Gum pop. I like N’Sync and New Kids on the Block…absolutely horrifying to my husband. But – that I allow myself to listen to…I see no harm in a little indulgence here. Even I won’t hang out there long!

I guess my question is…not just WHO I am – but if I am OKAY. Does who I believe I am, and Who I want to be and Who I actually am line up? And is God okay with it? I guess that is the most important question. Is God pleased with who I am? Okay…now I am stripping it down.

Does God care about my outer appearance? I think it is safe to say that as long as I am modest and am careful to be more concerned with the state of my heart than how I look that God is fine with how I dress. It truly is a by-product of the personality He has given me. I like that.

Does God care what I listen to? Once again…my time is best used in praising Him…in giving Him the glory he created me to give Him. I will be the first to say that as far as television is concerned that I need to be much more careful about what I allow myself to watch and hear. My music - the same thing. As hard as it is for me to give up some of my music – they are in some cases absolutely things that need to be left out. The question becomes “To what degree? I have to leave that to my conscience. When the words are sacrilegious it should sicken me…if it does not then I should question my relationship with my heavenly Father. Even immoral lyrics should give me pause…God give me strength and a desire to leave these worldly things behind. The only way I will grow and become holy and take on the features and attributes of my heavenly Father is to recognize the things that are not to His glory and weed them out.

How avid a follower of Christ am I willing to be? How attached to this world am I truly? How do I reconcile the things I love and love to be with who God loves and what He wants me to be. The answer: Walking day by day knowing that I am His child and I am a reflection to those here on earth of my heavenly Father. Prayer and His Word and living them are how I do it. The reflection may change daily – hopefully will - since I am constantly becoming more like Him through the process of sanctification.

Who am I? And am I pleased with her? I am a child of God. A well loved daughter of Christ. I am who God made me…I love to eat (to a distressing degree), I love music, I love people, I am flawed but loved by my Heavenly Father. I am a Trophy of Grace (to use a term I just heard Sunday from my pastor) and I want to be worthy of that term by being found faithful. I want my desire to serve and please my Father to overflow to those He has given me to care for: My Husband, my children, my family, my friends, my students. And my success will be slow coming and painstaking. But I commit to it. Am I pleased with who I am? Well…depends on when you ask me…and I see that this is not a good question…because ultimately the answer to that question will never be satisfactory until I am made perfect by being with my Lord and Savior, my heavenly Father. The better question will ALWAYS be, “Is God pleased with me?” A question truly to live by.