Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Taking a Vacation

I was away from home recently. I was with family and it was a good thing. A restful, albeit, hot and humid thing. One of the practices that I do when I'm away is to bring one of my devotional books and read in the early morning hours before everyone is going every which way. But this year, I forgot to bring a book! It's the first time that I didn't have something to read and think about each day. I could get my e-mail sporadically, so that daily devotional thing which pops up in my inbox, didn't get to me either.

And so I got lazy. I didn't sit and ponder and pray first thing in the morning as I usually do. I have my phone set for a specific time to ring every day to remind me to pray with my prayer partner. But I found myself, hitting the phone reminder off and continuing to do the things I normally do, without stopping to pray or even meditate. And you know what? The world didn't end. People didn't suddenly vanish from the earth because of my lack of discipline. But I did find something out. When my day is not bracketed by prayer, it feels like I left something out. It seems to be unfinished. I almost always fell into bed tired from the days activities, but it was like I forgot to say "good night" to my children when they were small. The days didn't feel completed. It didn't occur to me until the next to last night we were away, that the reason for my dis-ease was because I hadn't listened to the Lord. And I hadn't talked to him either. About anything. No, I take that back. I did a hundred small thank yous within the week for the blue sky, the warm sand, the cooling water, the laughter of family. But I didn't do the protracted prayer I usually do. I didn't intercede for anyone or anything. I was totally selfish.

In earlier days, I would have come home and beat myself up for this lack of discipline. But I'm cutting myself some slack this time. God is aware of my shortcoming and my strengths. God is abundantly aware of my frailties and my humble gifts. He is not going to strike anything or anyone down because I let him down in my practices of prayer. I think he missed me. I know I missed him.

So I'm home now. My alarm on my phone went off to remind me to pray with my partner today and I did indeed say a quick prayer, thanking God for his gracious goodness in my life and blessing me and my family. Then I picked up a book and began to read the next chapter, knowing that I'll return to the discipline of my former vacation days on Monday. Thank God we have a savior who understands and doesn't take a vacation.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ambivelance Amplified

Ambivalence means a conflict of interest or attitudes. I can be ambivalent about any number of things on a given day: what I am wearing, how my hair looks or what to have for dinner. Most of the time I am sure and steady in what I believe, not too much ambivalence for me; in my faith life or my heart of hearts in regards to the Lord. But as of today, well, I'm afraid I'm stuck between two thoughts and not sure which way to turn. I believe that God is with me, wherever I go, wherever I am, God is with me. And I believe he loves the human race for all its faults--unconditionally loves us. But what happens when someone presents an idea so, well, wrong that it makes my head hurt to hear it. It goes against everything I feel in my heart I know of the great Almighty. Does this mean I could be wrong? Does this mean they are--because I feel I am right? Most of the time I'm willing to let people believe as they want to believe. Their path may not be my path, but I'm not God so who am I to judge. But when a bunch of someones spout a bunch of "stuff" which does nothing but pull people farther away from our Creator, and it just makes me mad. And then I hear Jesus' voice in the clamor, telling me that whoever is without sin cast the first stone. But if only the lunkheads are being heard, isn't it our place to tell them to sit down and shut up? But maybe I'm the lunkhead? No wonder I hear people say they don't want to come to church. Who knows what to believe? And how do you know whose voice to listen to? And don't come at me with that "still, small voice" thing either. That does NOT speak to a person with a hearing deficiency. So where are we then? Where do we go for guidance? You could of course, talk to an ordained person or read a really helpful book. You could also go to the Bible (speaking of helpful books), but the problem with the Bible is sometimes you really aren't sure what you're reading is what you think you're reading. There are layers upon layers in the Bible which is where these loud somebody's are supposedly getting their information these days.

So I think there is a solution to this. I think if we all really just stop shouting and posturing and sit quietly and pray, we'd feel more like we had a handle on things. More calm and collected about things. More comfortable with the "God is in his heaven and alls right with the world," kind of thing. So that's what I'm going to do, pray. And let God handle the details. He's doing a pretty good job so far I think. I'll just worry about what to have for dinner.