Waterproof mascara and carrot cake.

photo (65)

My son is almost 4. He survived surgery on his second day of life, pneumonia the week later and he tolerates his parents as they continue to insist daily that he needs to brush his teeth before bed. He’s a trooper. A child who beat the odds and came out smiling. He is a special little guy and technically this fall could be heading into the JK program at our local Christian school but we just didn’t think he was ready. X. is a little shy and delayed in speech so both his Dad and I were concerned about sending him to school. We thought he would need more support and encouragement than could be offered in a large classroom so we did some research, spoke with his doctor and speech therapist and found him a place in a daycare JK classroom in town.

Why am I telling you all this? Well today was his first day. I’m here alone in the house by myself during the day for the first time in four years. It’s so quiet. I’m a little nervous. Excited for him but scared too. I hope he likes it. I hope it’s stimulating enough. I hope he makes friends and wants to go back tomorrow. Change is hard, so very hard but it’s worth it.  At least I hope it is!

I have cake at the ready for our after school celebration. My waterproof mascara is on just in case there are tears. I’m proud of him, so very proud. To see all he has accomplished and all he’s over come in his short lifetime is wonderful. We are blessed, so very blessed.

 

A Pinterest worthy life.

The muffin

Yesterday in a moment of domesticity I decided to make Lemon Poppy Seed muffins. Seems benign, right? It should have been. It was my own fault really. I didn’t take out my glasses to read the recipe and used 5 tbsp of poppy seeds instead of 5 tsp. It doesn’t sound that bad but it turned a Lemon Poppy Seed muffin into a chewy, sticky mess. They looked pretty but it doesn’t really matter how nice it looks on the outside, what’s inside is what counts.

It really is what’s inside that counts. Think of it. Fresh warm bread has a marvellous texture inside. The soft lining of a favourite sweatshirt may not look appealing but feels delightful. The crisp clean linen sensation as you slide between the sheets could never be accomplished unless there was a between, an in the middle of, an inside.

The inside is what counts but in today’s world we often think that it’s the outside that matters. Who can blame us? Facebook has us posting pictures of ourselves when we look our absolute best. Food blogs look delicious but do the recipes really live up? Does anyone care? After all we spend our time looking at Pinterest instead of making something that we could enjoy in person. In our world it’s what’s on the outside that counts.

Jesus saw things a little differently. He saw through the trappings to the heart of the person. He knew that what was on the inside mattered.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25

Life for Jesus was about more than food and clothing. Life was about the experience. Life was what you made of it. If you’re feeling the pressure to live a Pinterest worthy life, don’t. Jesus didn’t and neither should you. It’s not how things look, it’s who you are that counts.

Life isn’t about looking pretty, it’s about living well and a life well lived is messy and filled with mistakes. You’re hair might get messed up, you might throw too many poppy seeds into the mix and in the end wind up with a disaster but you lived and you’ll learn. Life is about more than what you have, it’s what you do and who you are on the inside.

Here’s to a life that’s messy, mixed up and wonderful; a life that’s well lived.

Friday Confessional.

This week was difficult. We got some horrible news and I’m still processing it. It’s not been fun. This is likely the reason I’ve been silent on the blog. I haven’t really been thinking much about anything in particular. It’s kind of hard to write when you’ve got nothing in your brain except one passage from the letter to the Romans.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

I just keep thinking about this verse over and over again as a reminder that nothing, no matter how bad can separate us from the love of God.  This is good news.

Also I keep playing Christmas music.  The song “We need a little Christmas” most particularly.   Don’t judge me.  I need a little Christmas but I’m keeping it to myself and only doing it in secret {like in my office while I write this and in the car while driving alone – no one has to know but you and I}.  I know it’s not normal but I need a little Christmas right now.

If you’re like me and you need a little Christmas I’m particularly enjoying this version:

Dinosaur vs. the potty

I am a mom but I am not a mommy blogger.  I want to be but things in my life that are seemingly funny or entertaining to those around me get pushed to the side when my passion for the Church and Jesus and all that stuff get swept to the forefront.  One of the greatest things of this time off for me has been the ability to let go and let God regarding the church.  In the last few months I have worried a little and ranted some but generally let go of the trials and tribulations our church has felt.  It’s been a much needed break for me and I had to admit when I realized this morning that less than a month from now I’d be writing sermons and thinking about the church at large again I got a little sad.  I love vacation!

I do of course love my work and will definitely enjoy it when I go back but I still have a month to go of course and I will be embracing every moment of freedom from responsibility and thinking.  Enter: Dinosaur vs. the potty.  One of the things that I have truly enjoyed over this break has been reading absolute garbage.  I love light, fluffy novels and magazines.  I look at pictures of food, read happy love stories and have embraced those things with absolute abandon when given the time.  This has meant a lot of time spent at places where books are sold and one of those places introduced me to Dinosaur.  I love Dinosaur, my son does not.  It is a book for 2-6 year olds and I love it.  I love it because my son is Dinosaur.  He is currently waging war against potty and I’m sad to say right now potty is not winning. This book makes me laugh and helps me to see the lighter moments of potty warfare.

What does this have to do with the price of fish?  Nothing really.  The thing is I’ve been doing some experimenting.  I’m trying to figure out what to write about, what to discuss.  I wrote a post yesterday I wasn’t overly thrilled with but my husband made me post {as a loving husband would} as I was trying something different and he said different isn’t necessarily bad.  I have written other things that never even make it through the draft.  What should I write?  What is most interesting to think about?  Would everyone just rather read about food?

Ultimately this blog is about me, my journeys in faith and in food {with some family thrown in}.  I’ll likely toss this experimentation phase and just go back to the way things were with rants, dreams and delicious food.  Whatever happens I hope you enjoy what this fall has to bring.  I know I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey called life takes me next.

I want to.

It was an interesting day.

Earlier today I noticed a man walking down the street stick his hands down his pants.  Scratching at his butt.  Not an itch but a full on hand completely down the pants butt scratch. He seemed oblivious to the fact that a million and one people were in fact watching him as he strolled from their cars, their buildings, from wherever.  He was 100% confident and I was strangely impressed.

Later while walking through the mall I watched a group of teens loudly, rudely enter the space of a man who as much older than they.  They didn’t notice, didn’t see.   A little explicit in actions, slightly inappropriate they were caught up in themselves and completely ignored him while going about their business.  He was able to witness it all and looked a little uncomfortable.

After lunch with my Gran at the food court while throwing out our garbage, I happened to run into a man who is known for being afraid of women.  He won’t talk to them.  He’s kind of afraid of them.  He nodded at me and I smiled, he smiled back.  This was a big step for him.

While my Gran was trying on pants at a store that was closing I noticed the sadness in the sales associates eyes.  As I got my iced chai latte I noticed the anger behind the baristas eyes and heard it in her voice.  I witnessed pain.  I saw loneliness.  I saw life uncovered.

These were just a few pieces of a day in this world that surrounds me. I was surrounded by people. Some happy, others sad. Some anxious, others confident. Some lonely, so very lonely.  Some sad, so very sad. In the midst of all these things where do people turn when they need someone?  Where do they turn when faced with a problem that seems insurmountable?

One used to say the church. A place where anyone can go, but could they? My friend Ray stated today on his blog that people in the church “often find ourselves looking down on those who are not. There really is a standard of dress in most places, often unstated.  We really wonder about folk who look or talk or act differently from what we consider the norm.” We are not really a place for anyone.  We are a place for people like ourselves.

So where do people turn?  Who do they turn to?

If Jesus was here he’d seek them out, help them and be there with them.  If Jesus was here he’d do it, he’d take care of things.  It would be a lot easier if Jesus was here, wouldn’t it?   It would mean we could just let him deal with things, let him take care of these people.  The problem is Jesus told us to “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”  Jesus told us to act.  To go out into the world.  To find people.  When you do this you often run into people who aren’t like you, people who are different. and we’ve already established that the church doesn’t like people who are different so we’re stuck, what do we do?

Where do we turn?  Who do we look to for answers?

I guess we’ve got to go with Jesus.  But Jesus asks for commitment.  Jesus asks for everything.  Are we willing to do that?

I want to.
I want to help create a space where all can come.
I want to feel the Holy Spirit in our midst as we work with God.
I want to minister in real ways, relevant ways to people who need something different, something new.
I want to live and practice what Jesus commanded us to do, knowing that he will be with us.

Will you join me?

 

Moving the blog.

I really love this blog.  I’ve enjoyed it as a place to discuss and dream.  In this place new friends have met old, stories have been shared and people have connected.  I really have enjoyed my time on wordpress.com.

That said I’ve felt a prodding lately.  Opportunities have come my way that I’ve sadly had to pass up. I was feeling a little constrained in terms of design and personalization and wanted more from the blog.  I kept feeling like it was time to move but wasn’t listening to those feelings.  I was ignoring that urge and just kept plugging along.  Until now that is.  I’ve finally decided to listen.

I’ve found a host, I’m taking the leap and I’m going to build the site I feel is right for me.  At first you won’t notice a difference, the domain name will remain the same and the format will be as well but as time passes and I get a little more comfortable I’ll be able to personalize it, I’ll be able to make it more of what I think it should be and I’m excited about that possibility.

That being said I’m absolutely terrified.  I’m terrified of failure, of having made the wrong decision.  I worry about losing all of my followers and you are lovely people, I don’t want to lose you.  I wonder if I’m misinterpreting this prodding and have gone off in a direction I shouldn’t go.

Ultimately I cannot live a life in fear, I must take that leap of faith and I think now is the time.  When we are frozen in fear we are frozen in place and that is never a good thing.  Without movement there is no growth, without growth there is no opportunity.

If you have subscribed through email I should be able to keep that going.   I hope so anyways!  If you have subscribed through wordpress.com we may lose touch for a while.  I hope you come over to my site http://ministrytomotherhood.com and visit.  I’ll have a subscription service set up or you can catch my RSS feed through your reader so we can reconnect.

It’s time to make the move.  It’s time to act in faith knowing that what comes next will be another interesting adventure…

Doubting God.

I was in the middle of writing a post about tomatoes, gardening and pruning {I bet you have an idea of where I was going with this} but then I ran across this article “Young Americans Losing Faith?  New Poll Shows 31 Percent Of Adults Under 30 Doubt God Exists”  This doesn’t surprise me.  Does it surprise you?

To put this another way, 1 in 3 Americans under 30 have doubt about the existence of God.  I would bet the Canadian number is higher if only because we might be slightly less afraid to admit it and we’re a more secular culture in general.

To me this means as a church we are dealing in an increasingly secular world.  A world that isn’t afraid to express doubt and acknowledge the possibility that God may not exist.  It means we are living in a world that is different from one we have in our church memory banks.

We have to change.

We have ignored this doubt.  We push doubt away and pretend it doesn’t exist.  It does.  It has to.  If we’ve never wrestled with our faith or really struggled with God, how can we mature and grow as Christians.  We need to allow doubt to be part of the conversation.

Things are not as they were 50 years ago.  People today see churches as places that are great for weddings and hold a great deal of nostalgia but are not relevant as a faith option.  Instead of coming to church people are turning to the internet, friends and celebrities for ideas on faith and God.  We’ve lost our influence.  We are no longer part of their conversation.

This loss of influence has frightened us.  Fear is not the answer, faith is.  In the Bible God constantly says ‘Be not afraid’ and yet we find ourselves living daily in fear.  We hide from the outside world and wonder what comes next.   The problem with this way of living is that we will never know what happens next if we do not do something to make the next thing happen.   We cannot show others light if we are hiding it from them.

Jesus called us to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world.

This is a heavy calling.  We are to live in the world and shine our light.  We are to add flavor and substance to our communities.  We aren’t doing this.  Our lights grow dim and our salt is losing it’s flavor.  In focusing on ‘not’ dying we’re not living.  In our struggle to stay alive we’ve forgotten our purpose and mission.

Imagine a church that lived according to the Gospel.  That was the light of the earth and recognized the need to live in community and care for others.  Imagine a church that could say the following:

We are Christ followers.  We gather together to worship and praise the Lord. We live in the world God created and care about it.  In our community we love, we laugh, we live. We long to serve and will find ways to help those in need. We know that our building is a resource but is not our God. We pray hard and fierce. We read the Bible and learn from it’s message. We are living a mission given by God to us in this time and place. We are Christ followers. 

I would go to this church.
Others would too…

 

Lost in Translation

X. ran around today shouting ‘die, die, die!’.  He did it at the store.  He did it on the driveway for our entire neighborhood.  He did it for anyone we ran into.  This made me want to ostrich very badly.  I was so embarrassed.  As I shushed him and tried to express how inappropriate this was, my head was filled with thoughts like ‘Where did he learn this word?’ and ‘Why is he running around shouting die, die, die!’.  It was not a good scene.

As the day progressed and he continued to utter death threats I just began to pray that eventually he would grow bored of this fun new word and move on.   When his speech therapist arrived for our last appointment of the year I had almost forgotten the events of the morning until he began doing it again.  And that’s when it hit me, he wasn’t saying ‘die’ he was saying ‘dive’.  When my little boy says the word dive it sounds like die because he has not yet mastered the v sound.

Palm to forehead.   Assume ostrich position. 

The speech therapist and I had a good laugh about this.  And it really made me wonder how much in our lives gets lost in translation.  How often do we just not get it?

As I read through the Prophets I have to assume this happens more often than not.  The people of Israel cry out to God and wonder why God’s upset when it’s been expressed repeatedly by the prophets.  The thing is, the Israelites don’t want to hear or are unable to hear.  The message is confused and puzzling to them.  They need to sift through it and find out what God is trying to say.

I think this happens to us in the church today as well.  When we deal with our desires and plans we often shove God off to the side and plan on using him if he is needed.  There is a sense that if we make enough plans and prepare enough events eventually things will work out for us.  If it doesn’t then we’re lost and confused.  We wonder why things aren’t happening.  We wonder why God isn’t answering our prayers.

Unfortunately for us, God likely is answering our prayers.  The problem is like that we don’t like the answer or we don’t understand it.  We have a hard time with the translation.  We have a hard time hearing what God wants us to do.  This is something we need to work on.  We need to start listening and discern the message God is sending us.  We need to begin the process of translation.

The Dishwasher and the Pea

This morning after my shower I moved into the kitchen to begin making breakfast.  When I entered the kitchen I found my husband lying half inside the dishwasher.  I was a little concerned as this is highly unusual behavior for him. I’m usually up hours before he is.  Asking him why he was hanging out inside our dishwasher he reminded me that I had asked for his help regarding it’s lack of cleaning power.  He had gotten up early to clean it out for me.  He’s a good man.

As I was assembling the necessary ingredients for our morning oatmeal and he was cleaning out dishwasher parts we had lovely conversation and chatted about many things.  Imagine my surprise when in the midst of it all he cried out ‘a pea!’. It would seem that a pea, one lonely green pea had gotten stuck in one of the jets, preventing the water from getting everywhere it needed to be.

This one pea.  This tiny pea prevented a large, capable machine from doing it’s job.  It’s pretty incredible when you think about it.  Something so small, so seemingly innocent can wreak havoc on whatever it’s involved with if it’s in the wrong place, in the wrong position.

The pea got me thinking.  How many of us accidentally become the pea when we think we are part of the dishwasher?  I know I sound crazy but hear me out.  In every organization we all play a role.  Some of us a leaders while others follow. Some organize and others dream.  Each one of us has gifts that are given to us to be used and shared.  We each have a role to play.

Sometimes we find ourselves stepping out of our role and becoming a block to others.  We become the pea.  Many times we think we can do everything and so take on more than we can handle.  Sometimes we believe we have the answer and when others don’t agree we put up road blocks to prevent others from moving forward in the direction they feel is right.  These actions are often unintentional, they’re subconscious. Regardless, they have an impact.  Sometimes they prevent the entire operation from working.  It’s important to see where we are the ‘pea’ in our lives and find ways of helping others achieve and succeed instead of blocking them.

Are you the pea?
Are there peas in your life?

Stuck

I think we’re stuck in the same model.  You know what I mean, the model of ‘doing church’ that we’ve been using for the last 75 years or so.

I use the term ‘doing church’ instead of ‘being church’ because most of us really are just doing it.  We get up Sunday mornings {or we don’t} and we go to church to have worship done for us.  We might throw some money on the plate, attend a few dinners and help out here and there but in actual fact the church is something we expect to be there for us.  It’s a place we go when we want tradition, to be comforted or just as a habit.  It’s something that doesn’t really change.

We are stuck.

Stuck is not a good thing to be.  When I think of stuck I imagine gum on the bottom of a shoe or a door that just won’t open.  Not pleasant experiences and definitely not something that will entice or serve anyone in a positive way.
As a church we are stuck.  We are unable or unwilling to move or release ourselves from the holding pattern we have been in for years because of fear, because of tradition, because of a desire to maintain some control over the process.

The thing is, we are not in control or we shouldn’t be.  God should be the captain of our ship.  God should be the one who is in charge and if you read the Bible you’ll see that often times people who get stuck on control or who like things a certain sort of way get into a lot of trouble {I’m looking at you Ahab & Solomon}.

It’s time for us to vision.  Not those stupid visions that happen when you throw 7 people on a committee and get them to draft a new statement of who we are but actual real life visioning.  We need to throw the people of God into a room and ask them where they want to be in 10 years.  We need to hear what they are passionate about and find ways of making ministry real and vital in our world.  We need to make a choice to work with God.  We need to seek out who God wants us to be.

Who does God want us to be?
Where is God leading us?

I’d love to know what you think.

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