This week was a week of introspection for me. So o…

This week was a week of introspection for me. So often I feel like I am walking on the fringes of life lately. Andy is so fantastic about getting everyone up and moving in the morning while I sleep in. I find that my body is exhausted all the time. This thing of healing takes so much energy and you don’t even realize it until you can’t stand up any more! He is an amazing man and some day I’d like to take him on a cruise; but he gets seasick, so the thought will have to count!

Theology is such a heady issue. I’m reading about and discussing the Non Violent Atonement theories; reconciling my peace issues with my fight-back instinct; Orthodox vs. Pentecostal vs. Mennonite….phew! It could get to be a full time job debating these things. And this week, I’ve discussed all!

I am yearning for a church that doesn’t rely on heritage for it’s theology. At the risk of offending people I love dearly; sometimes being Mennonite does not attract me much. It’s like being born Jewish. It’s what you ARE… and the faith, peace, smiles, dress, theology, acceptable behaviors and all those trappings are assumptions that you make for your life and assumptions that others make for you. Why have any questions? Why digress from “the path” when those before you have it all planned out? The problem I see is this: It is far too easy to fall into the label of Mennonite and have no idea what that means to others! If I tell someone I am a Mennonite, they often automatically and immediately trust me. And then ask me where my covering is! If I simply tell them that I am a Christian, they often automatically and immediately distrust me and wonder if I will judge their words and deeds out loud. There are many people in my community and circle of peers and friends who don’t know that Mennonites are Christians (the way THEY understand Christianity). They see Mennonites in the sterotypical role of simple, peaceful and quiet. Not someone with real thoughts, ideas or any connection to modern culture! Most of the Mennonites I know don’t have a large circle of close friends outside of that church…and I find that sad. I would say that my best friend is not a Mennonite; not an anything…maybe closely Quakerish….but ultimately not entirely happy with that either. And, she enjoys a great Merlot on occasion!

But, I think there are some Mennonites who would say that those that are not “Mennonites” would be so far into “the world” that their salvation would be in question. I remember as a younger person thinking that if someone wasn’t Mennonite that they weren’t
“saved.” I don’t know why; that was something I sucked in from my upbringing in a strict legalistic family and being surrounded by evangelical missionaries full of Child Evangelism fever! If I behaved a certain way; wore a certain type of clothing; listened to (SHOCK!) rock music and maybe on occasion had a glass of wine I was headed straight to hell! The rules and legalities became central to my salvation and Christ crucifed was a great story to make me feel totally depraved and when JUST AS I AM played…..boy I was on my knees!

I am grappling with the idea that Christ is an unresolved issue in my life. The formulas laid for me; the Sinner’s Prayer; the promise of Heaven as a place in the clouds…is so far fetched and unreal. So childish and simple. But…Christ, the Son of God, bore for me the sins of the world that I might be reconciled to God and be One with God; Atonement through the crucifixion and resurrection/defeat of death that Christ endured…that is something to think about! And, it doesn’t matter if I am a Mennonite, Baptist, AOG, CMA or whatever denomination I think I want to be….He ultimately came for Me as a human being. How cool is that!

I just want to love my God and learn of Him more each day. To revel in the awesome power and glory he reigns in! To humbly bow, on my face, beseeching Him with my little needs and know He cares.

My Bible has become a frightening thing for me to pick up some days. It almost breathes. It jumps on the shelf and skitters around asking me to open it! I hold it and love each page. It is the living and breathing Word of God!! I need a new one (mine is disintegrating) and I cannot bring myself to buy one. Not only because I am broke and can’t afford it, but because I’d have to break this new one in and it wouldn’t be “alive” yet! I cherish each word; each day something new from oft read phrases jumps into my heart.

And that happens no matter how Mennonite, Anabaptist or whatever you are! God doesn’t really care; he just asks for faithfulness, passion and mercy for others from us.

He simply asks for Love.

Let that break your heart for a minute.

The Cutest Thing Ever!!!

You have to watch this. I’ve been looking at it for over half an hour on and off and I can’t stop grinning!! Just click this link “laughing baby”.

Laughing Baby

Achievement Awards

I am so proud of my son! Liam earned the “Fritz Achievement Award” on Friday. The school gives this out to kids who exhibit respect, responsiblity and something else I can’t remember.

Anyway, Friday morning, this kid was scrambling to finish his homework; he had forgotten it the night before while being wrapped up in helping his Dad take care of Colin at a meeting, so it’s forgivable. Math was involved and this child is lousy at Math-in-a-hurry. He was getting really frustrated and can quite nicely beat himself up over nothing, but he got it done on the way to school. (Nearly a 90 second drive!). Completeing this assignment was crucial to achieving the award and he made it!!

How cool to get an award and then be able to clip the little thing to your backpack!

I wondered today what my achievement awards look like. I know that a couple of them have really beautiful blue eyes; one has an adorable dimpled little butt; one can’t leave the house in the morning without her “good morning hug” and those are the best ever! I can’t clip them to my backpack but I can carefully take them with me when I walk through my life.

Each season of my life will bring new achievement awards. (Maybe one day a book with my name on the cover!) Hopefully they’ll all be for respect, responsibility and that other thing I can’t remember.

Thomas The Tank and God STOP

I would like to close myself up in a room for about a week. Or sit at the end of a pier on a misty lake in an Adirondack chair with a blanket around me. Not alone though. Surrounded by books, pencils and all the notebooks I can fill. And my laptop. I have a friend who also just had surgery for which recovery is long. She is not allowed to speak for weeks afterwards; she’s off to the mountains to be alone and read. The idea is that this will speed her recovery. I’m only mildly envious of her.

Yesterday I cried harder than I have in a very long time. One step forward; then flat on your butt. The story of my life sometimes. The surgeon said everything looks great but I need to take it easy for at least six more weeks. He wasn’t clued in before the surgery to the degree of damage I had in my spine. Therefore, recovery will take longer than expected. He’s also not clued in to the fact that my brain will implode if I sit here much longer doing little, gaining weight and surfing the web. I also need to provide for my family; we are a two wage-earner team and that’s not negotiable. It also means that I need to wait to start school, which is the one thing I am most disappointed about. I was already pushed off until March; now it’s at least May. So I need to make some decisions and I was feeling mighty overwhelmed.

So, I just bawled for a while. It seems like everything good happens to the other guy. Things always go perfectly for someone else. No one else has any problems and no one else has any pain. Know what I mean?

Then, my young son (yes, him of the sweet sleep) wanted to watch his new Thomas the Tank Engine Movie. The theme song of Thomas is called “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”. Leave it to my Father in Heaven to decide this little child had a lesson for me. I listened to this whacky song for the first time the whole way through. When it was done, I felt better.

I’ll find my silver lining. In each of my day I look for Godstops. (This being a word I learned from Beth Moore.) STOP=Savoring The Observable Presence. A conscious effort to find obvious physical signs of God working in your surroundings. Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends were my Godstop yesterday. I didn’t see that one coming.

I so clearly see the beginning shape of the ministry that God has laid before me. Why do I think that NOW, all of a sudden, He’d change his mind?! This little bump in the road will not stop me from reaching my goal. Oh, ye of little faith! OH ME OF LITTLE FAITH! Good grief! When will I stop wallowing in the mire of self pity and get on board with Thomas and Friends?

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life….(SEE!)….what you will eat or drink; or about what you will wear…”(As of today, one pair of pants fits me again! Really.)… 27 “Who of you by worrying can add a SINGLE hour to his life?”

He promised.

I just can’t forget it.

Mother and Child

I climbed in bed with my son last night. I had to navigate the nylon mesh rail that keeps him from falling out. He’s in a “big boy bed” now. I’m not sure why we took him out of his crib already; he’d certainly still fit. Maybe we were in a hurry for him to grow or maybe we were sick of bending over to pick him up. Whatever the reason, he’s now officially out of babyhood. So, I climbed from the bottom of the bed up to the top. He’s sleeping on his big brother’s Spiderman pillowcase. It was a little damp, but that’s okay. Since surgery a few weeks ago I haven’t been able to pick him up and hold him and I just wanted to put my arms around him for a little bit. I am terrified that by the time I’m allowed to lift him again, he’ll be ready for college and won’t be able to wrap his little skinny legs around my waist anymore.

He is absolutely the most spectacular person I have met in a long time. Perfect little eyelashes and this huge forehead housing magnificently large thoughts for a two-and-a-half-year-old. He’s not even quiet when he sleeps; he whooshes a little. I just laid there and watched him. Touching him might have woken him and God knows we wouldn’t want to do that! But, to watch him sleep made me feel so small. So finite. So human.

I am constantly amazed that my Father God thought me worthy enough to be in charge of these little people living in my house. I look at them and wonder how I ever grew old enough to have children, let alone intelligent ones with attitudes, opinions and language! It’s a little overwhelming, scary and humbling to think that for the rest of my life (and theirs) we’ll be together one way or another. I prayfully ask that I not screw this up.

I watch you from the corner of my eye

I see all that you do

Yet your secrets lie deep inside you

You are your own person

Not mine

Only on loan to me for a

Lifetime.

I’m sorry now for what will come

You asked not

You chose not

You begged to be left alone

To be yourself

Yet I interfered and mothered you.

I will one day need you

To care for me

To still love me

To consider me your elder

Your friend

Your

Life.

Please.

Agape

Can a sweater make you feel smarter? I found this old vintage wool cardigan in a box last week. It’s kind of ugly and scratchy, but so incredibly warm. I decided that I’ll wear it each time I sit down to begin studying. So far today it has worked. Information seems to be soaking into my brain so much better today than yesterday. Either it’s the sweater or the morphine has worn off and my fog has lifted!

I am fascinated today with Agape love. Ravi Zacharias is a world renowned speaker and author. In the mid 1980s, he was the Spiritual Emphasis Week speaker at Dalat High School in Penang, Malaysia where I attended. He spent the week talking to us about love. (I even had breakfast with him one morning). To this day, the only thing I remember from any of the speakers in the four years I attended was something that Ravi said.

“Love is an act of your will. You will wake up one morning, in bed with your spouse, and you will not feel mushy gushy anymore. You may have to will yourself to love them.”

That has stayed with me all these years, and may I say, I have put it into practice on occasion. And I am sure Andy has too.

But, that statement for me embodies Agape love. The unabashed, unconditional love for everyone, regardless of how we feel about them otherwise. An act of the will, which then manifests itself in action and deed without thought to reward.

Would that we all Love one another!