Losing my religion

I read a short article today that notes that people are changing their faith almost as quickly as they’re changing their underwear (my words, not the article’s). My guess is like everything else in our lives we’re also expecting quick fixes with our religions.

We expect our food to be fast; dramas in people’s lives crescendo and resolve themselves in 30 minutes or an hour; we expect a war to be fought and resolved within the time constraints of a movie. Our patience levels are at an all time low. It’s no surprise then that people are looking for that quick high with a higher power. And then when they don’t find it within the boundaries of one faith they go looking somewhere else. If I may borrow and reformulate from JFK: it’s not what can my faith do for me? But rather, what do I need to do for my faith.

I have to be careful not to be critical of the searching process. It is wonderful and essential that we search to find something to be meaningful to us. But, it’s a more serious issue than what most people believe it to be or at least what most people end up acting like. There are eternal consequences.

I think today people are looking for peace; a way to feel “connected” to something beyond themselves; maybe a way to feel “connected” within themselves. People are missing the point and it has to do with the immediacy that our culture is teaching us. The first purpose of religion and faith is not about the here and now. It’s to know what is going to happen to you when you die…when you no longer exist as a living human. Once you determine what’s going to happen to you when you die, then you begin to address the applications (and implications) of religion and faith in your present life.

I’m going to posit some questions to you:

  • what do you believe happens to humans when we die?
  • if your answer was anything other than “we cease to exist” then: what criteria must you meet on earth right now in order to get you there?
  • if you believe that this is what happens, then what about all the other beliefs? They can’t all be right. SO: what is the ultimate truth?* Is it really yours?
  • instead of asking what can your faith do for you ask what do I need to be doing because of my faith?

Think on these things.

 *Ultimate truth is a whole other topic itself, so let’s save that one for another post.

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Validation

Well, the other night I had my first official rejection pertaining to the business. I submitted my website to a blog whose main purpose is to say how cool different kiddie things are, which in turn makes the blog readers want to rush out and click and buy those things. The blogger would decide if she wanted a sample of the goods and then would decide if she would even write about it. I received the rejection email, which stated my products weren’t “a good fit” for the site.

Why not? Because they’re super cute baby things? Because they’re handmade by a loving mother who wants to make sure all babies have cute monogrammed acceories? Because I’ve done something wrong? I think the main reason it stung was because it was a woman, supposedly a trendy, crafty mother, rejecting another mother who likes to think she’s trendy and crafty.

And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t need to worry about what this blog owner thought about my goods, or what she happened to think about me (pretty prideful of me to think that person was even thinking about me at all). I know exactly what God thinks of me and I have only to rest in that. Every other opinion shouldn’t matter. I’d like to think God put that in my mind right then.

And I believe He did. The very next morning my devotion was about…you guessed it, seeking affirmation or validation from sources other than God. To quote:

“When we draw close to God and discover the soul-affirming joy of fellowship with Him, then we find what we have truly been longing for. We learn that God can fill our empty spaces deep inside. We stop looking to sin-filled people in a fallen, broken world to validate us. While affirmation and validation will always be nice to have, we find we don’t need them the way we once did…People will always let you down, but God never will.”

It turns out, in another post submitted after my “rejection” this person admits she is one who likes modern, sleek, streamlined things. Well, obviously we’re not a good fit. My goods are more traditional, heirloom, southern with contemporary twist. No Swedish modernism here. (You might be wondering why I didn’t see that to begin with and know things wouldn’t work. Well the stuff on her blog isn’t all Swedish and modern, there’s lots of cute things on there too).

So, no need to worry for me. And I can rest in the fact that I am validated and accepted by God. AND, I went out and found a blog ring that lets me advertise for free.

A Homeschooler’s 23rd Psalm

Following the theme of yesterday’s post I’ve found another reworked Bible passage:

A Homeschooler’s 23rd Psalm

Taken from Alpha Omega’s Homeschool View

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He maketh me to live on less sleep;
He leadeth me through the noise of many voices.
He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me to teach
The right lessons each day, for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of undone
Laundry and kitchen messes, I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me, my teacher’s guides and
Answer keys, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
Of threatening school officials and critical family members.
Thou anointest my head with heavenly wisdom, my cup runneth over.

Surely educated and godly children shall follow after me
All the days of my life and I will dwell again one day
In a clean house with the Lord forevermore.

Fortunately I have not dealt with the worst of the problems above.                                                        

  • I have gotten less sleep, not really because of homeschooling though.                                             
  • Undone laundry and kitchen messes have gotten the best of me on many days.                         
  • Teacher’s guides are my best friends during the school year…I’m no where near creative enough to come up with 180 lesson plans.
  • I haven’t had to deal with threatening school officials, and hopefully never will. If so I’ll have the HSLDA on my side. And all critical family members have been won over from the dark side to the side of enlightenment.
  • My head has been filled with wisdom on occasion. How else would I be able to impart any kind of understandable knowledge on a young child.
  • Ahh, to have a clean house again that stays that way…one day…

A Modern-Day Proverbs 31 Woman

10: A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies–so buy her diamonds.

11: Her husband knows that she has everything under control and he has nothing to complain about.

12: She is the source of the goodness in his life–not the harm.

13: She selects denim and cotton-poly blends from the discount rack and works eagerly with her hands to remove the price stickers so her children will not know that their trendy clothes were bought on clearance.

14: She shops at Target and WalMart and occasionally goes all the way across town to Aldi’s in order to get the best value for her money.

15: She is up before the sun, pouring cereal and packing lunches.

16: She considers an old dresser at a yard sale and buys it, and with the money she saved on her grocery bill, she is able to buy paint and new knobs for the dresser.

17: She sets about her work vigorously; she can carry two loads of laundry and a child without breaking a sweat.

18: She sells the dresser on eBay and stays up late waiting to see how much profit she’s made.

19: She replaces missing buttons and mends holes in everyone’s clothing.

20: She donates to the food bank and gives blood regularly.

21: When it snows, she has no fear for her household–it’s too bad if they don’t like the bright red hats and scarves; at least they’ll be warm.

22: She makes the beds and manages to pull together matching outfits for herself.

23: Her husband goes off to work, where he sits with the other businessmen.

24: She chooses something she’s good at and figures out how to make money by doing it.

25: Outwardly, she is clothed with strength and dignity, even if she’s missing an under-wire and she had to grab a longer skirt to hide the huge hole in her pantyhose. She can laugh at the days to come because all the kids’ science projects are done, and last year’s Halloween costume will be adequate for the school play.

26: She speaks with wisdom, and consistent instruction is on her tongue.

27: She pays the bills and makes sure everyone gets to the right swimming lessons on the right day. She does not eat the bread of idleness, because she is on Atkins.

28: Her children yell, “Thanks, Mom” as they grab their lunch and run out the door. Her husband also says,

29: “Thanks, Babe. You’re the best.”

30: Charm only gets you so far, and beauty is temporary, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31: Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her respect wherever she goes.

Adapted from Faith Wire

Pay it forward

I had a pay it forward experience tonight. I took Reagan and one of her friends to see Enchanted. We’re standing in this insanely long line that extends nearly to the end of the parking lot. The girls are jumping around to stay warm and I’m thinking that might not be a bad idea, except I’m over 30 and it might look like I’m crazy.

 I vaguely remember that this theater does not take credit cards. (As an aside, I never carry cash. Who uses that anymore? And why would a theater–who is clearly out to suck you dry with the prices of their tickets and junk food — not accept credit cards? Pay the 3% fee and take my card!) I ask the family in front of us and they confirm my fear. They offer to give me cash if I can write them a check. I don’t carry checks either (we got our checks in 2003 with our Virginia address and still haven’t come close to using them all).

I’ve decided to stay in line though hoping there’s an ATM inside the building. This would make great sense seeing that people like me would gladly withdraw 20s with abandon and happily pay huge service fees–just let me buy your tickets and huge buckets of buttery popcorn, candy and coke! If there’s not an ATM then we’ll just go to Blockbuster, where they do take credit cards, and rent…it’ll be cheaper anyway.

We make it inside and are thawing out, still waiting in line. The family in front of us asks about the ATM. The theater not only doesn’t take credit cards but are intent to reject outright people like me. How could they not have an ATM? The father in the family turns around and hands me a $20 bill. I’m flabbergasted. He’s clearly taken by how sweet and precious the two girls with me are. They can’t be rejected with no movie at this stage. I tried to hand him the little cash I did have (which came from R’s friend’s mother or else I would have had none) but he wouldn’t take it. A true selfless gift.

I almost started crying. There was no need for this family to continue to converse with us past the initial “does this place take credit cards?” But they offered to pay our way and not even ask for change in return. I said “God bless you” after the dad told me “Merry Christmas.”

It may be silly feeling so grateful to have someone grant us access into a movie theater, especially when I have the money to get in, just not in a format this theater accepts. Maybe humbling is a better word than silly. It did make me want to run out at the earliest convenience and PAY IT FORWARD to someone else.
So, I will be looking for the soonest oportunity to pass on this selfless act of generosity…even if it’s for something as silly as a movie ticket.

Fear vs. Action

God tells the Israelites in 2 Chronicles 20:17,

“…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Idea: Focus on the purpose and you won’t have time to be discouraged.

Why am I just realizing this now? We’ve lived here for almost three years and I’ve been hiding behind the fear of being discouraged. Which, by the way, all the while, made me more discouraged. I am feeling a desire to pray for, no, with people for their situations. I need to have courage to do the Lord’s will…He will be with me! Who can stand against that?

Meanwhile, house hunting before it’s time to house hunt is fun but frustrating! Can someone turn that part of the internet off? We’re moving this summer and it would be nice to get some things done before the chaos starts…that way maybe the chaos wouldn’t be so bad. This will be our first time selling a house and then buying another one so the excitement/stress factor may reach unknown proportions…Hey, wait a minute “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged!” That seems like it should be my motto for right now.

Thanks to you two who’ve tagged my blog. I’m not quite sure what tagging means or does, but you said nice things . How did you find my blog? I get most of my technology knowledge from listening to talk radio and the news…with a soon-to-be-4 year old that’s all I can manage right now! When I transfered my website from a free host to Bravenet I thought I was going to have to personally hire a Bravenet guy to spend some time with me to set it all up. Like I wrote yesterday though, I’m just smart enough to get by in the technology world, and so right now it looks like it’s all working…and I still have most of my hair.

And God, can You please give us more of that unseasonably warm weather?