Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 4 Year Old's Gospel

When Dancer was four she attended a small private Kindergarten in Texas. It barely had a van; so when field trip days rolled around, parents with SUV s were recruited.

Thus it was that I found myself with four little girls packed into my RAV in the fall of 2010, just weeks before Dancer's birthday. We were headed to the zoo, and after the giggles and games and rowdiness got to be too much I put in the Action Bible Songs CD.

One girl, after listening to a few songs, asked who Jesus was.

Dancer was appalled. You know....Jesus, she said. He's the son of God. He died on the cross for our sins. But don't worry, she reassured her...He CAME BACK. 

Ohhhh, said another little girl. I know Him. I saw him at church during VBS

Dancer whipped her head around and stared at the little girl. Her mouth hung open and I thought her eyes were going to POP out of her head.

You've SEEN Jesus? she practically screeched.

You can only imagine how hard I'm trying not to laugh at this point. Because Dancer was absolutely dying that Jesus was apparently going to Church and had never come to hers.

After it was determined that Jesus was a statue, Dancer actually breathed a sigh of relief. She then proceeded to evangelize.

Gotta Love Her.

 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

With the Best Of Intentions

When I was seventeen I sat in a crowded auditorium full of teenagers and listened to a well known preacher (at the time) speak on love, sex, and marriage. Surely he made some good points, but the one that still, to this day, sticks with me is the don't gain weight so you'll still be attractive to your husband rule. No joke - this man bragged that his wife weighed within ten pounds of what she did when they were married 20 years earlier...and that's what he really appreciated. Because, you know, if you're just as pretty as you were when he chose you then he won't have to look elsewhere.

I remember feeling indicted somehow. Scared even. What will happen to me, I wondered, if I can't do that? And deep inside...really deep....I just knew there was something else. This was Christian womanhood? Watching the scale to make sure you didn't gain more than ten pounds during your lifetime?

Now, as an adult woman, I look back at that and cringe. And then I think of all the sermons and classes I've taken - the same lessons that young men have learned - about what a Godly Woman is. Most of them are about service. They are about how to serve our families, our churches, communities, and therefore God. They are about the parameters of service, the whys and wherefores of our service.

And while young men are off learning how to lead a prayer or give a lesson, young women are learning that being pretty matters and you should really learn how to cook.

So we're teaching young Christian men how to lead a church service, but not their homes and families. And we're reinforcing for young women that love is about their weight and their talent with a crock-pot. This isn't a Godly message. It's one that reinforces what the world has to say about womanhood. It's one that leaves the young mother wondering if she's done enough when there's still dirty dishes in the sink, or if she's given enough to her family and the elderly and the homeless and the church and that neighborhood dog...when she's exhausted and teary eyed at the end of the day. It's a message that leaves her feeling unloved and never good enough.

It is not ALL of the church, but it is enough of them to cause great confusion and hurt in our younger generations. In our teens - and in our young families. Because it is incredibly difficult to figure out how to implement the Bible knowledge into actual living when the messages are like the ones above. How do we instruct our young? How do older women mentor? How do men lead? And where is the heart of the matter? Because teaching women to serve is not a BAD message. It is simply insufficient.

Because the truth is this: my worth to God is not in my face or my crock-pot.  I am saved by the Grace of God, and His Spirit dwells within my heart. His Spirit which takes all that I am - all that God made me - and uses it for good...for His Glory. But only if I hear Him. Only if I hear that whisper over the cacophony of noise that is the media, the world, and sometimes the church.

I search my heart for the answers. Because here I am, an adult with children of my own, and I struggle to shut out the bad and only listen to the good. Listen to Him. How do I teach a new generation of women about love, and loss, and struggle, and faith without making the same mistakes?

And who will help me? Because the church sometimes likes to skate on the surface of things. This world is a hard place. It is no easier or smoother because of our Faith. We should not fear talking about the hard things. Some topics are messy. Or scary. Some we like to think someone else will take care of.

But if we do not speak truth to our young people - if they do not see the heart of God in what we tell them - then we have failed them.

"Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be." Captivating, Stasi Eldredge

Monday, December 2, 2013

Investing in the Future

Whew!

This time of year, it feels like we do nothing but GO. Even though I try pretty hard to subscribe to the KISS method of holidays, it still feels crazy. But that, my dears, is not what I'm on a roll about today.

OH NO! I have a very important question.

How on earth does Little Bit manage to STINK so badly after only one day without a bath?

One Day!

I mean, Dancer and Diva could go two or three days without a bath when they were babies and that sweet baby smell just got deeper and stronger. You could bury your nose in their rolls and just smell sweet sweet baby. Occasionally there was a faint hint of Sweet Potato in there. 

But after only one day - Little Bit smells like sweaty garbage. Sweet loving and wonderful sweaty garbage...but sweaty garbage nonetheless.

He's ADORABLE. His dimples and rolls, and he laughs like a loon at Dancer and Diva's  antics.

But he stinks. And he doesn't even DO ANYTHING. I mean, it's not like he's running around yet. I am much aggrieved at this turn of events. 

So this is definitely going to get worse, huh? Egads! I better buy stock in soap now.