Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts, Reposts/Reblog Shares

Blog Share: The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

I’ve been revisiting my Spiritual Warfare series of posts as I work on my next study guide about the Armor of God. While most of that series’ focus is on us fighting spiritual battles with God’s help, studying that topic also highlights a role God fills which I don’t think we talk about all that […]

The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

Highly recommend subscribing to Marissa’s blogs. They’ve become part of my weekly, Saturday spiritual reads. Cheers.

Brief Humor & Check-Ins, Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts

Being Wearied & Laughing at Yourself (Humor | Reflection | Christ | Endurance)

We found about eight letters yesterday from our Compassion kids, stuffed in our mailbox. It had been a long, tiring week and it was heart healing to see all those letters, written by our kids, hundreds of miles from us in America. We got new pictures of one of our girls from Ghana; she’s growing like a weed and is six years old already. The passing of time always complexes me.

I got out the step stool to change out her framed picture on our wall–an easy enough task, right? I couldn’t get the two nails (one on top, one on the side–a unique, heavier frame) to line up just right with the hooks on the frame. I could feel my anger (and really, just exhaustion) rising up inside me and I pushed back a curse word behind my teeth. Tried the frame again. Failed again. It was personal now. I yanked the troubling nail out of the wall, tried again–nothing. And the curse fell from my mouth.

Now, all of this struck me in two ways: 1.) I was much more tired than I realized, as I normally do not curse or get frustrated so easily and 2.) It was a little funny. Here I was, standing before our wall of our framed children’s photos, with an Isaiah quote displayed prominently above them, and this phrase just pops out of my mouth like wild horses. It was like a priest dropping a bowling ball in the middle of church service and screaming “Foul!” Just a bit comical in juxtaposition. I’m sure my guardian angel raised an eyebrow, shook their head and suggested I go take a nap. Like pronto.

I don’t always realize when I’m worn out. Oh yes, I’ll say I’m tired–I can feel that. But can you always tell when you’re wearied–when you’ve been going too far, for too long, without a decent break? I think that’s harder to pin down sometimes.

And as I write this, I think of our Haitian kid, whose photo I received as well in the mail–him and his mother standing next to some animals they were able to buy with a gift we sent them. They’re still recuperating from the earthquake that happened last Fall. Their faces were pinched; they looked too thin to my American eyes. And sad. Who the heck was I to think I could “fix” their lives by sending a gift of money to help them rebuild?

And then I’ll see the Ukraine footage on the news. The headlines that are rolling out, that remind me of primary documents I read in graduate school for my history degree. All the crimes of war, instantly streamed around the world, as we wait for Russia to tiptoe across the sandbox line of Ukraine’s borders into the NATO sandbox. There is real weariness; there is real sadness.

Christ was often wearied while on earth. I don’t blame him. Can you imagine walking around in a hot and arid climate, surrounded by 12 gaggling young men day in and day out, while trying to talk sense to snooty religious and political leaders of the day? Or have people shun you from your own village–even your own family? Or have people give you “the look” when you dare be kind to prostitutes and tax collectors? I think I’d be tempted to order some greasy fast food, sit in a desert and have a conference call with Gabriel. “Gabriel, hi. It’s me. Yes, the Son of God. Look, can you get dad on the line, please? I’m not so sure this is going well, and my feet are killing me in these sandals. Haven’t they heard of insoles yet? Thanks, I’ll hold. Oh great, they forgot my ketchup packets…”

I was reading one of Marissa’s blogs the other day, and she wrote something that summarized the effects of the fall quite well: when we make a mistake, or struggle, we tend to run from God instead of to God. This sentence reverberated in my mind all week. I think my angel was playing ping pong in my head with the words. “Do you get it now, my little green bean connoisseur? You can’t do it all yourself.”

So today, I’ll write a snarky blog mixed with a good dose of humor and humility (check), eat some good food (in progress), and rest–even if Gabriel needs to threaten me with a Nerf bat. I cannot save the world, but I can certainly help be a light and good steward of what has been given to me. I write letters to our kids and pray. Over Easter weekend, we’ll be starting to till the ground for our big pollinator garden, and hopefully hanging up some bat houses. And I’ll be painting a scene from the Hobbit. Stay tuned.

We live in a chaotic, dark world–one with nails that won’t align with frames–but Jesus is there to help us hammer it out.

After all, his father was a carpenter.

Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts

The Missing Bay & Why do Bad Things Happen

This is a bit of a sadder story, so please take discretion before continuing reading.

My husband (the Saint) and I were driving on our early morning commute last week when we noticed a dog wander out onto a busy, main road. At first, we didn’t realize what was going on–we thought it was a dog inside an invisible fence, wandering around in a front yard. That quickly changed. I got out of our car and ran out, waving my arms to stop traffic, while my husband flashed his headlights at the oncoming cars. I remember thinking everyone would see me and stop, even in the rain. They didn’t.

The dog was hit. I ran across the street and found the dog laying on the side of the road. I knelt down by him as he came to, and looked around at me. There was no sign of injury, at least on the outside of him. I started petting him on the head, very gently, talking to him. Eventually the driver who hit him got out; we found the owner’s phone number and address on the dog’s collar tags. One person called; another drove to the owner’s house nearby. I was in my dress clothes for work, sinking a little bit in the mud, praying that I could have Mr. Coffey’s powers from The Green Mile and take the pain away for this dog and heal him. It started raining harder.

The owner came, and by God’s grace an off-duty EMT showed up as well. Using a tarp we had in the back of our car, we moved the dog into the back of the owner’s vehicle and covered him in one of our blankets. They left, going presumably to the 24/7 Emergency Vet Clinic not too far away. I remain hopeful that, because of our quick action and teamwork, that the dog saw a veterinarian right away and is being cared for.

As the saint and I continued on our drive to work, it dawned on me: the dog was one of our neighbor’s who lived a street or two away from us. He was one of two hounds they owned. They often came by our house during the day for walks. They would bay, loudly and beautifully, full of joy of being alive and being able to smell the smells we can only dream of as humans. When I work from home, this was often a highlight of my day, hearing their howls–kind of the canine version of the Big Ben. Our dog–a Labrador mix–would bark at them from the inside of our house, huffing and puffing in her comedic way while wagging her tail. The music of dogs is a glorious thing.

The question always comes in instances like these: “Why do bad things happen?” I can recite some of the apologetics, give you a spiel on this being a fallen world, that things aren’t the way they were meant to be, so on, so forth. That is fine, all true, and sometimes a comforting thought. A slippery grip that gives us something to grab when we watch the news, or hear about a tragedy far removed from us. But then when we witness something like this up close–are really met with the gritty underbelly of a fallen world–we falter. “No, not like this”, we think. “Not like this.”

God knows and understands how much this has affected the Saint and I. He knows how much I love dogs, have cared for them since I was a child. I don’t doubt that one of my first words was probably the names of the neighbor’s dogs next to us growing up. God is with us when bad things happen–He will take care of everything. On this I trust. In His time and Way. He cries with us.

Until then, I keep looking out the windows of my writing room, hoping to hear a joyful bay once more. And praying for the fallen world we live in, watching the headlines about Ukraine and the other evils that continue rumbling in our world.

I hope to hear the howl.