Thursday, November 26, 2015

Life as a Noun

I used to hate diagramming sentences in English class.  I could always get the subject and verb right.  Easy peasy.  But when it came time to drawing lines thisaway and thataway.....ugh.  I was terrible at distinguishing between prepositions and predicates and things that dangle.  Adverbs and adjectives were a little easier to discover.  Is it any wonder I am the run on sentence queen?

But I wonder....

What would the world be like if there were only nouns in our vocabulary.  If the only words we used were object words, like


Would there be a word for Love or Joy or Compassion?  How would our lives be different if we lived like we were all just nouns with no verbs or participle phrases or prepositional phrases or run on sentences?

Some of us do live more on the noun side than a complicated sentence diagram.  Our lives live in the mundane and are very content to be there, thank you very much.  Change - a verb telling a noun I need to move - makes a noun feel very uncomfortable.

Nouns are easy.  They are one word.  They are easy to spot.  The most complicated thing about a noun is if it's dressed up in PROnoun garb or is wearing its PROPERnoun clothes.  That's about the excitement a noun has in its job description.

Nouns are happy right where they're at, but what if we all just lived our lives as a noun?

Boy.  Girl.  Kiss.  Child.  Boys.  Girls.

Wait a minute.  Wait just a cotton picking minute!  Where's the juice?  Where are the details.  How did one plus one make two then three, four and a gaggle of kids?  What would our life be like if we only lived like nouns?

Some of us are living like nouns while others of us are living like a fragmented sentence structure, with no clear subject, predicate, verb or dangling participle to our name.  Our lives are one continuous run on sentence with no beginning middle or end in sight.

Which are you?

Do you have some verbs and adjectives next to you, breathing life into your Noun world?  Or if you were a diagrammed sentence would there be lines jutting out all over the place trying to find a spot for all your extras?

Jesus has made you a noun, but He's called you to live like a verb with some beautiful adverbs and adjectives to describe what he's called you to do and to be.  Like: live courageously, love deeply, forgive abundantly, grieve freely.

You are not meant to live like only a bump on a log.  You are meant to be a verb on the log, providing nourishment to all the other bumps around you.

Live like a verb and throw some adjectives and adverbs into the mix.  Get daring and don't fret if you end on a preposition.   Don't worry about what dangles and runs forever, your work is not being graded,  I promise you that!  Come on, get up you Noun.  Stretch out that scrunched up faith, put on some clothes that end in "ly" and MOVE!

Peace, oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Pressing on

I know.  It wasn't a very long break.  I've always been teased that I'm afraid I'll miss something, and even though I was sure I was DONE with social media, here I am.  Catching up on what I've missed.

Sidebar - my parents took a picture of me when I was about 3 years old.  They had company over playing cards or something and when I was sent upstairs to bed apparently I didn't stay in bed.  When my parents opened the stairway door to check on me after everyone had left, there I lay, sleeping, cuddled up on the floor between the bottom step and the door.  I AM afraid of missing out!  Lord, help me, it's true.

So, anyway.  A new start, a push of the restart button.

Did you know that when the Apostle Paul wrote the words I have as a tag line at the top of my blog he used a word that means to pursue, to persecute, to chase after, to zealously hunt down, earnestly desiring to overtake?

What do you press on and pursue and chase after with earnest?

I think all of us who belong to Christ wish to pursue and chase after Him earnestly, but we get stuck on the little obstacle called remembering.

No one had more he wished he could forget than Paul, formerly called Saul, the ISIS of the first century.  No one had more memories to tackle and push down and try and hide and forget and run from then Paul.  We're not talking little regrets either, we're talking about murder - over and over and over again - of women, children, and men whose only crime was their belief in a man named Jesus.

So when we see those lovely words about pressing on and straining toward, don't miss the introductory words of that sentence:

Forgetting what is behind.

Our job is to not only press on, but press on while forgetting to remember and remembering to forget.

You have no business bringing up the past to yourself or anyone else.  You have no business reminding God of all you've done to convince Him that you are undeserving of His mercy and love.

Your only business is to pursue and hunt and chase down and never give up chasing after Jesus Christ and the prize that awaits.

It's time to forget about it.  It's time to lay the past to rest.  It's time to give the past it's funeral, to cover it and bury it and walk away.  You can't change a second of it.  Not one lousy second.  What's done is done.

Stop torturing yourself.

These verbs are your responsibility now - if you belong to Christ:

Forget the past
Reach towards the future
Press on

In that order.

So when you're straining and pressing and you see a marker for the past, forget the past.  Remember to forget the past.  The scar may be there, but when someone asks how you got it, just say, "I forget."

God has.  Now it's your turn.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from cyber world for awhile.  I don't know how long but...I need to.  For my own well being.  As selfish as that is, it's the truth.

I've been "feeling" the push to do so for awhile, but I waited to see if the "feeling" would pass and I would be able to push through and keep visiting cyber world every day and become more informed and less angry; more enlightened and less need to sucker punch.  But I haven't.  In fact, it's a daily battle to hold off the negative from happening.

Many times I scroll through the feeds of Facebook and Twitter and clicking on links only to find them covered up with advertisements for things I don't need nor do I want to see.  I get bored waiting for things to load and then am disappointed when the links are hateful or so one sided that the weight of them leave a bad taste in my mouth.

It's been a long time since I've gotten up in the morning without first looking at my phone or iPad to see what I missed.  Maybe I'll start reading more, praying more, studying more. Maybe I'll just start breathing more.

Maybe Paris is the big sign God is using to tell me to step back and live the life He's made for me instead of watching and worrying about the lives of those who I have absolutely no control over.

It hurts to see the pain and broken relationships occurring because we have so many more venues to share our thoughts, yet the more we speak the less we hear each other.

I don't need to know what so and so thinks about this or that.  And I most certainly don't want any of you to be wondering what I think about this or that before forming your own opinion or, most importantly, seeing what God thinks about this or that first.

So thank you for coming to visit and thank you for coming back if you did.  I wish you well and most importantly, I wish you God's



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everybody poops

We are planning a wedding this year. Our youngest daughter will be getting married in June and preparations are being made for the big event. My husband and I will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary in just a few days and sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were Sarah and Nat, getting to know each other, just learning to live with each other, living out the two become one flesh life.

I've contemplated often about marriage and the many ways in which God uses marriage as a visual for the church. I've also often thought about how different my husband and I are from each other. The biggest difference being, he's a boy and I'm a girl. We have spent many years recognizing that fact alone in our getting along with each other.

My husband, Tim, sees life through a male view. I see life through a female view. There is nothing in all the world I can do to change those two facts. On top of that major difference, then we have our personalities to further challenge our union. Tim is an introvert, I am an extrovert. Another quirk that neither of us can change about the other.

There are times when our differences come in handy and times that our differences drive the other one crazy. We can look at the same color of a flower, for example, and what I see as yellow, he may see as orange. (This may be a bad example, but I think you get my point). There are so many differences in us that will never, can never be changed. But, through God's miraculous design, our differences can complement each other in some very cool ways.

Even after 27 years of marriage we still find new things that we think differently about, we analyze differently, we are bothered by more than others. It's the way things are. But I don't love Tim any less for not being able to think like me. Nor do I think he's an idiot for not thinking like me.

So when I think about marriage, I think about the Body of Christ that way, and I think about our country that way too.

We are a country made up of differences. We can't change where people were born, what their family life was like, what their struggles were, where their parents took them to church or didn't take them. We can't change some inborn beliefs they have that were passed down via their parents, their culture, their circumstances. We can't change their skin color, their eye color, their shoe size.

But we sure spend a lot of time trying to change the unchangeable don't we? I'm guilty of it.

One of the things that I love about Jesus is the ability he had to cross cultural barriers and care about the ones that were so "different" than he was. He stepped through his parents religion, his culture, his upbringing, his "church", and reached out to the world. And the coolest thing about him being able to do this is that he never once had to compromise who he was. Not once. He could step into a Samaritan's woman's life and never feel the need to apologize to his fellow Jews. He just crossed over to her life and to so many other lives.

The other cool thing is that we know that he was tempted in every way we are...yet did not sin. He was tempted to not talk to the Samaritans, to the Gentiles. He was tempted. I am tempted so many times to not talk to those who don't think like I do, don't look like me, who live lifestyles so very different than mine. It is a temptation everyday. And Jesus was tempted too.

Where would I be today if he hadn't stepped across the Jewish culture into the Gentile world in which I'm a part?

What does this mean today in this chaotic world of in-between? We have a culture war going on in our country that is flamed by media. We have so many groups now, don't we? It used to be just the basics. Black, white, democrat, republican. I remember those being the most used words growing up. Now we have Latino, left wing, right wing, conservative, liberal, bleeding heart liberal, conservative republican, independent, gay, straight, divorced, blended family. So many new titles that we all try to find the banner to stand under.

Sometimes I just want to do a Charlie Brown thing and yell, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

But we all have so many more things in common than we realize. To borrow a phrase from a bestselling book - "Everybody poops."

Everybody breathes.
Everybody needs oxygen.
Everybody needs blood.
Everybody has purpose.
Everybody has hurt.
Everybody has dreams.
Everybody has regrets.
Everybody has a brain that thinks.
Everybody has a mother.
Everybody has a father.
Everybody has a history.
Everybody has....

So many misunderstandings, misjudgments of others. So many assumptions made when all it would take is for us to slow the mudslinging down and say, "why do you believe that?" or "How personally did you come to believe this?"

We have so much media to use. Facebook, Twitter, email, 24 hour news, a constant plethora of people voicing their opinions. But what we don't have is anyone listening. I am guilty of this too. We don't have conversations where one person talks while the other one listens. And really listens. Not just thinking of what they're going to say when the other one stops talking.

Just because you don't see things they way I do and I don't see things the way you do, doesn't mean that we don't have value and our beliefs don't matter.

It just means that we are different.

I want to listen more and talk less. I want to know why your political views matter to you. Why your belief system is your belief system. I want to know what matters to you and why it matters to you. And, I want to know my convictions matter to you. I'm not asking you to agree with my convictions, I just want to know, and I think we all want to know, is that it matters to you where I'm coming from.

See, I don't have to compromise my beliefs by listening. I just have to listen.

I don't have to try to change the way you think, I just want to know why you think the way you think.

What would happen if our little corners of the world started listening. Keeping the emotion, the judgment, the assumption, in the background. What would happen if we started listening to each other instead of what the media tells us we should be listening to or how we should think about something?

I know my bleeding heart liberal friends are not the way they are because they just decided to become one. They have had a journey, a path that has led them to their beliefs as I have had a path that has led me to a more conservative worldview. I don't think we have to assume that we'll talk and then we'll "agree to disagree", but I think that we can try and understand where the other is coming from more than we can just avoid talking to those who think differently.

It would be so boring if Tim were just like me. For one thing, we'd be poor. We'd be jumping from one project to another and never get any done. We'd have a house of animals. We'd always have a head in a book and not outside enjoying the outdoors. Boring!

Tim loves me and puts up with the things about me that drive him crazy. We don't always agree. But we respect each other's opinions, even when we don't agree, we respect each other. Marriage is the opportunity we have to practice getting along with the rest of the world. But it seems like what is going on today is everyone is still in the sandbox and throwing sand at each other.