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.

Reposts/Reblog Shares

A Day of Return and Repentance (Blog Share | Marissa Baker)

Please check out Marissa’s latest blog on Shabbat Shuvah. Very timely article and write-up for me, and for anyone really. I copied/pasted a snippet below that Marissa wrote, since WordPress Share doesn’t appear to be working for me at the moment.

Cheers to you on your journeys with God and happy reading. May we continue to encourage each other in our walks of faith, wherever they may lead.

“On the Hebrew calendar, today is Shabbat Shuvah–the Sabbath of return. That’s the name for the weekly Sabbath that falls during the 10 Days of Awe between Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Traditionally, it’s a time for reflection and prayer, particularly on the concept of repentance.

On the Gregorian calendar, today is September 11 and this year marks 20 years since the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon….” (Click here to read more.)

book reviews, Thoughts & Reviews

New Release Book Review: “Like an Anchor Study Guide: The Beatitudes”

Marissa Baker’s “Like an Anchor Study Guide: The Beatitudes” is a cozy, soul-growing read to add to your travel bag while walking with Christ. Marissa presents her study on the Beatitudes with a friendly and welcoming tone, a writing style that is intimate, humble and well researched and allows readers to easily sink into the study and reflect on Christ’s teachings. The author lays out each chapter’s text neatly (organized by helpful sub headers) and includes relevant scripture verses to round out the various layers of meanings each Beatitudes carries. Marissa ends each chapter with several open-ended questions that lend well to journaling prompts, personal prayer time and small group discussions. Each chapter is an approximate fifteen-to-thirty-minute read, depending on how slowly or quickly you want to digest the material, either on a first read or on subsequent studies. It is a book you can return to repeatedly and reflect on exactly what Jesus is still teaching us all these centuries later.  

If you are looking for a smaller, approachable book to grow in your faith and relationship with God, please consider Marissa’s study guide on the Beatitudes. Her blog “Like An Anchor” is filled with further reflections on Bible verses and teachings, the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and more. It is truly a light on the internet and can be explored at LikeAnAnchor.com. For more information on how to purchase a copy of the book, please check out her Amazon’s book page where the study is available to order as a paperback, or as an eBook currently on Kindle Unlimited.

I look forward to possible, future Bible study guides published by Marissa and adding them to my reading list. I encourage fellow Christians to consider adding this to their bookshelves, passing the book onto a friend to share or suggesting it as a book to read in your church’s small groups. Happy reading.