Picking Up the Pieces

I realized that I haven’t blogged about life for a while. And maybe that’s not what this blog will end up being about, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But here are a few things that I’ve been enjoying lately:

  • Relaxing. After a very busy few weeks at work, I took Monday off, since Michael had President’s day off. Michael went skiing on Sunday, so I had just a bit over 24 hours to myself, and I have never enjoyed it so much. Nor have I ever enjoyed being so very unproductive for so long as much as I did. And then, to top it off, on Monday, Michael and I just walked around the mall and went to a matinee (Frozen is as good as everyone said). I can’t remember the last time we’ve been so relaxed at home. Also, we finished The Office. We’ve been watching it on Netflix for the last three years and just finished the last season. Tears were shed.
  • Cooking. I’ve been making an effort to prepare meals this week, using Pinterest as incentive. I’ve created a new board for food that I actually make, and am having a good time moving pins over to the new board after I make it and evaluating my results. My favorite this week is a thai chicken salad, but I’m going to try to make lasagna in my crock pot tonight so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Planning home improvements. I’ve been on Pinterest like crazy to figure out what color to paint our bedroom and kitchen. It’s fun, but I’m sure I’ll never be able to live up to the standards those Pinterest experts set.
  • Photobooking. I made a photo book with all of our pictures from our trip to London and Dublin. It’s big – like 11×17 big – but we wanted to use it as a coffee table book. It’s so fun to actually have good pictures of our trip, thanks to our new camera.
  • Small Group. We’ve started up with our small group again, which is wonderful. We sure love them. It’s a bit stressful sometimes, when you come home from a long day at work to a houseful of college freshman. But it’s worth every bit (even if it’s several days later and I still haven’t had time to clean up the kitchen).

Hopes, Dreams, and the Paralyzing Fear of Regret

I’m a dreamer. I’m always thinking things that begin with “what if,” “we should,” or “couldn’t we.”

My husband is very practical and present-oriented. So when I say these things out loud, his reaction used to often (especially during the first year of our marriage – not that long ago) be some realistic reason why whatever I finished my sentence with couldn’t happen.

I’m a dreamer, but I rarely have the guts to actually follow through with whatever it is I’m what-iffing about (even if Michael’s on board with it). This is because I’m very conscious of the fact that if you choose one opportunity you miss out on another. And what if you choose something that isn’t the best, or is outside of God’s will? You only have one life, and what if you mess it up? The line between waiting on the Lord and getting out and doing something is very blurry in my mind.

And to top it all of, I really struggle with regret. There are certain things that I regret in life, and I still deal with the fact that I wish that I would have done certain things very differently. So the very last thing I want to do is to make some huge life-trajectory changing decision only to regret it in 15 years. It’s a real struggle for me. And I fear that my fear of regret will mean that I won’t do anything risky and wind up regretting my decision to not take those risks.

There’s no easy way. You either do, or you don’t. You regret, or you just remember. God will guide you loudly or silently into all of those decisions.

I need to get better at this whole trust thing. I need to trust that even in my regret of foolish decisions God’s doing something. So I need to make decisions trusting that God will not let me walk into regretful situations blindly, but rather that he, even in my regret, will have placed me there for my joy and my good (and his ultimate glory). This is a hard thing to do.

To Fight the Good Fight

stockvault-chess-125689

Sometimes, where I live, it’s pretty scary to actually realize what most of my neighbors would think of me if they knew what I really believed. There are a few hot-button issues that I am genuinely nervous to bring up with people, and I recently, in London, actually, realized what it might look like to actually discuss these issues with someone that I watch on TV or listen to on the radio. It was really good for me, I think.

During our time in London, we were able to spend an evening with a family who has Minneapolis roots. They were mostly strangers to us but were very hospitable and kind to us, as they now live in London. We enjoyed our time with them immensely, even though half-way through the night, at a wonderful English pub we started to feel a little uncomfortable because one of our new friends began to repeatedly speak out against the conservatism in America, specifically regarding homosexuality.

Usually I try to understand that in Minneapolis and elsewhere the prevailing worldview is that the fight for gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and let a few comments slide on by to keep the peace. But this time, the comments kept on coming, and with each second came a stronger feeling that to stay silent was to silently assent to her unbiblical opinion regarding the issue, her hurtful view of me (had she yet known where I stood), and her insult to the God who created us. It became clear that in order to be faithful to what I know the Bible says, and what Christ would have me do, I needed to say something. So I did. 

The issue is a very personal issue to her, and I wanted to make sure that she knew it’s a personal issue for me to. My family has not been unaffected by homosexuality, and it seems that with each year I find out about more friends, current or past, who are coming out as gay. This is a very personal issue. And it is a very spiritual issue. But the fact that it was personal to me too didn’t matter.

The conversation, if you can call it that, was a strange creature, indeed. I’ve been surrounded by a Christian sub-culture for many years – my whole life, in fact, and it was refreshing for me to experience the fight that’s going on in the rest of the culture. There was no arguing. Logic and consistency had no place in this discussion, only blind determinism to “protect” a beloved friend from what appeared to this woman as a cruel and destructive opinion.

I felt the weighty truth of being the smell of death to someone I wanted to call a friend. My patience, kindness, and reason were put to the test, and their maintenance made no noticeable difference whatsoever.

I did not come out unscathed, and the conversation brought home to me what I’ve been hearing about the battle over inerrancy that’s been raging (at the snails pace of scholarly battles) among theologians for the last several years. This isn’t a new battle, but in recent years it’s been renewed among scholars, and, for me, this conversation was evidence of the scholarly battle come to fruition in the lives of us “normal” people. We stand or fall on our view of the inerrancy of scripture. Without the authority of the Bible, we are fools, and not just in the eyes of what we call “the world.”

It was reminder of several things:

  1. My biblical knowledge is worth much. To fight this battle without the sword of the spirit is impossible.
  2. My biblical knowledge is not everything. I need to be ready to fight for inerrancy and defend my hermeneutic.
  3. My logic is worth much. Her husband stepped in a few times to point out the rationality of my arguments. He heard them.
  4. My logic is not everything. She heard no logic, and operated by the emotional engine of the love=acceptance mantra.
  5. Kindness and patience do matter. My kindness and patience did not win them to my side, but when I think of what would have happened if they had been absent, I shudder. Fighting fire with fire would have only created an explosion. She can hate my belief, but she cannot truthfully say that I was rude or hateful, and that, to me, means a victory.

Would you pray with me for this woman, her husband, and their family? They were truly wonderful people, and we enjoyed our time with them. But there is blindness in their hearts that arguments cannot remove. Their vision of God is clouded by their view of scripture, and only he can remove the fog. What a relief that their salvation is not in my ability to argue truth, but in the hands of a sovereign, good, God.

Speaking of Silence…

I haven’t posted anything in awhile. Mostly, because I’ve been here:

Big Ben

Big Ben and Westminster, from the London Eye

And here:

DSC00736

On a rocky beach near the ruins of a Norman Castle in Wicklow, Ireland.

And here:

DSC00678

Near the rocky beach and Norman Castle in Wicklow, Ireland.

It’s been a wonderful break, and I might be persuaded to show you a few more pictures. I’ve had plenty of time to read and think, though, which will also lead to more blogging, I hope.

I hope the few of you followers have had a wonderful few holidays since I last posted, and surviving the winter (it’s currently -12 degrees farenheit here in the lovely Minneapolis). I like it here most of the time. Today, well, not so much.