Monday, March 24, 2014

Death by Fineness

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending an amazing women's conference at a large church.
One of our BFFs is the pastor.
His wife has become one of my BFFs over the years, despite not being around each other day to day.
We love to chat, this friend and I.
About food.
About marriage.
About church.
About our kids.
About life.

We began to talk about the plague of "fake authenticity" that seems to be gaining momentum amongst some Christians.
What does that mean, "fake authenticity"?
We have a growing number of struggles and sins that are ok to share out loud within our church walls, small groups, life groups, accountability groups, whatever you may call them.

It's ok to say you want to speak nicer to your kids.
It's ok to say you need to read your Bible more.
It's ok to say you sometimes get angry with your spouse about something.
It's ok to say you struggle with self-image.

But... don't go further.
Don't tread into ground that we may not have an easy answer for.
Don't make us uncomfortable.
Stay away from awkward.
We want comfortable authenticity.

What if...
Your struggle is lust?
You are full of jealousy, horribly eaten up with jealousy of a friend or co-worker.
You have homosexual feelings, despite being married?
You are hurt by something so deeply, you just cannot seem to get past it?
You feel hatred, hard core hatred, toward another person and its making you miserable?
You no longer believe what you are reading in your Bible... at all.
You want to hurt yourself because you hate the way you look?

Are we allowed to talk about these issues?
Because when someone shares one of these,
there is a deeper need to walk with someone through the hard stuff.
The messy stuff is... messy.
The walking through takes longer.
There is no prayer at the end of life group that will end a woman's struggle with admitting she no longer loves or wants to sleep with her spouse.

Instead, we say, "I'm fine!"
How are you? "I'M FINE!"
We say it until we may even believe it ourselves.
Let's have snacks and go home.

My dear friend put it so very eloquently:
"I think we are going to die of fineness..." 

Don't settle for the lie about being fine.
Don't settle for comfortable authenticity.
Find people, like my friend, who want to walk through the hard stuff with you.

And to Veronica...
Thank you for being there for me in such a real way this year.
And for the AMAZING quote above.
Love you, friend.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The 25¢ Hero

crayon box
Alden has been very into coloring neatly as of late.
This is a good thing, since he has gotten a lot of papers sent home with "Neater Please," emblazoned across the top.
What can I say?
He is a third kid.
I was just happy he wasn't eating the crayons, and not worrying about him staying in the lines.
Ok, I would have been ok with minimal crayon consumption, but I digress...

So, he has been diligently coloring in the mornings before school.
He came to me last week and asked for new crayons for school.
"Do you need new crayons?" I ask.
"Are yours broken or missing?" I wondered.
I mean, why am I going to give him new crayons if he doesn't need them, right? 

"Well, no... but I just want them to be nice and sharp," he explained.

I looked down at that little face and thought, "ok, why not."
I remember loving new sharp crayons. New crayons are the best.
So I went out to the mudroom and got he and Emerson both a new pack of crayons.
I have an abundant supply, because when they are 25¢ during back to school season, I buy about ten boxes.
I can't help myself.
I love school supplies.

Those two little boys were flat out elated.
Over a 25¢ box of crayons.
Alden literally jumped into my arms and said, "Oh, thank you Mama!"
Then he gave me a kiss and declared me the best mom ever.

I walked into the kitchen and told Micah,
"I just became a hero. For only 25¢."

Oh mamas, I know.
I know we don't want to raise little selfish, spoiled kiddos.
And normally I am the queen of saying kids today, mine included, have TOO MUCH stuff.
But sometimes...
give them that extra cookie,
the excessive amounts of marshmallows in their hot chocolate,
or that new box of crayons.
Be your kid's 25¢ hero. 

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, 
he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.  
                                                    ~Frank A. Clark