Sunday, August 22, 2010

Access Denied

At the risk of seeming self absorbed, I often use my life experiences to illustrate a point that I want to communicate. I share these for at least two reasons 1) because it is my context, my history and 2) in order to share my soul and vulnerability. Writing is easy for me to do, but difficult for me to share because I do feel as though I am parading about naked for an audience. I often worry about what I've people like it? Does it make sense? Can they relate? Perhaps I feel as though my soul on paper 'outs' me in an irretrievable way and that others won't approve of what is in my heart. Writing is also a matter of obedience for me. I write what it is that I believe God is laying on my heart even though I risk disapproval or dislike from others I care about.

At any rate, I'm currently involved in a messy family relationship which is certainly something that most of us can relate to. I am angered by the lack of righteousness in this situation on the part of people who are purported followers of Christ. When sin is perpetuated, glossed over, and deemed holy it dishonors God. I struggle watching the dynamics of a family that seems to have lost sight of who God is. It truly breaks my heart and I can only imagine what 'the world' is seeing and what their conclusions about Christians are.

When Christians get into what I call 'the Holy Huddle' they turn their backs toward others and deny access to those who are in need of Christ's touch. We withhold all that God has given us. And not just what he has given us, but expressly given us for the purpose of sharing His blessings with others in His name. Although this happens in society and families at large, I am particularly concerned about this in the Christian community, because we are supposed to be holders of the truth.

What do we withhold from others? First and foremost we often deny seekers access to friendship and acceptance. Acceptance of a person denies them the comfort, grace, mercy, friendship that Christ himself offers. I can remember being the new kid in eight grade. Finding a table of people to join for lunch in the cafeteria was terrifying! Would I be rejected? In that same way, Christians often label others as either acceptable of receiving or unacceptable. We, like the Pharisees and Sadducees get all tangled up in what we think God's will is and lose sight of God himself. We hurt people and wound already wounded souls whether intentionally or unintentionally. In in actions or lack of action, we fall into the deep crevice that exists between what is 'right' and what is 'righteous.'

Why is it that we withhold ourselves? Sometimes, it is a false sense of superiority. I once attended a church where the Pastor's wife felt that persons not raised in "Christian" homes began the world as "damaged goods"-those are her exact words! I think the point that Christ makes is that we are all de facto damaged goods. It is inherent in human nature, regardless of how one was raised! I'll never forget having to think about whom I should invite to church knowing that they might feel the sting of her rejection. I once brought a friend struggling with alcoholism and was mortified and ashamed by my own church. He couldn't have been any less welcome and all of my apologies could never change or undo how he was treated.

Sometimes, we refuse to extend God's grace to others because we are keeping a record of past hurts and wrongs. I can say that I am very careful about whom I allow into my emotional space. A long history of toxic relationships prevents me from fully exposing my underbelly. In the past I can attest to the fact that I denied them any understanding or any validation because I was keeping score. I am slowly learning to balance validating their hurts. I must acknowledge that I actively sought to deny them the forgiveness I am required to give all because of my own warped sense of what was 'the right thing to do." Who am I to think that I can mete out God's justice?

Finally, I think that some people do not 'need' or perceive a 'need' for other people in their lives. Maybe they grew up with all the friends they needed and don't care to make themselves available to others. As a military wife, I can say that those moments have been painful to me! Women of faith will literally say, "Oh yeah, we don't like to make friends with military wives, because you all move all of the time." Ouch! Life is lonely enough without the body of Christ ignoring you. Other people are more introverted and don't want to engage anyone. But that is not following the example that Christ gave us.

I ask myself, what is it that God has denied us? The answer is simple; He has denied us absolutely nothing. He offers us love, forgiveness, and even LIFE through his own son Jesus. Amazing! It is profound that the only perfect being who was and is made himself human and vulnerable for us. He allowed himself to be shunned so that we might not be.

Gosh, I need to be doing a better job! We, as Christians, need to be doing a better job! I am convicted that we need to share the truth in love with one another when we see members of the body of Christ denying access to the foot of the cross. There is truly nothing more destructive to ourselves and to others than to deny them the community of Christ and the love that he offers. We aren't perfect or more deserving than anyone else. As my friend Bob Riggles says, "I am just one hungry man telling other hungry people where they can find some food.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I want to know who thought up product names for Apple and Dell. They should be fired! On grounds of principle, I do not plan to buy an I-pad or Streak. How about a cooler name, like Fiat or Invest? It irks me to think that someone got paid for doing a job that poorly. EGADS what have we come to?


Just thinking as I look in the mirror and dress for a date with my husband that time is starting to show itself. I fight it as we all do, but I know it will win. As I glance down at the bathroom scale which is so neglected that it is heavy with dust, I realize that I am more than the number would be if I worked up the courage to step upon it. All of the experiences I've had, people I've met, tears I've cried, emotions I've felt amount to more than the size of jeans I can squeeze into. Maybe if I wore my inside on the outside, I could rock a muumuu! Instead, here I am trying to dress this mutton up as though it were lamb. Bring on the Spanx, booty-control jeans, and Oil of Olay. DRAT!! I'd love to be one of those people who 'forgets' to eat and when I meet someone who says, "Gosh, I missed lunch," I must fight the urge to slap them. Seriously??? I wake up wondering what I can have for breakfast and planning lunch over my first cup of coffee. I wear control top hose as a remedial measure for moments of dietary indiscretion. If bad food choices were skeletons, my life would be a graveyard. Where are the professional mourners??? Bring on that parade! Let's get behind a cause we can really celebrate!

You may ask, "Where is she going with this?" The answer is, I don't have the faintest clue. All I know is that every day of my life, I've woken up wanting more. Yearning to be more than a particular size in clothes or number on a scale, I want to matter! Let my life be something that left an indelible mark somewhere that will not be forgotten. I hate the thought of getting lost in the sea of humanity like a single atom amongst all of the atoms that make up the universe. Somehow, I long for the essence of who I am to be different from anyone else and to be valuable not just in spite of it but BECAUSE of it. I'd be the tattoo of a drum that could be distinguished from any other. Like the cry of a newborn child, my mother could single me out in a nursery full of screaming babies. I'd ink myself on the walls of caves so that thousands of years from now, traces of me would remain.

Doesn't that seem absurd? Why should it matter to me that I counted for something? Maybe my yearning is foolishness, but perhaps it is inherently human too. After all, why build the highest skyscraper in the world or the Egyptian pyramids if not to leave a marker of your existence? Why paint the most beautiful landscape or compose the loveliest song if not to aspire to beauty? Most of all, why bother?

It is here that I come full circle! I bother because it me and probably to each and every one of us if we permitted ourselves really feel. I bother because I believe it matters to God. Otherwise, every breath and each step are taken in vain.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Motherhood is....

Motherhood is
standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon
with no fence, no wall to protect you.
You stand there, unable to see without your glasses.
'Cokebottle glasses' without which you can not see
the Giant E on the eye doctor's chart.

The moment your child is born,
it is as though the glasses you've been
lacking are placed upon your face
and suddenly you now see what you could not.

You could have fallen!
The world is fraught with danger to you and your child.
And all the while, you have been blissfully unaware.
With cognizance comes duty and 'response'-ability.
Red flags fly wildly!

"Don't run with scissors;
You could have gotten hurt!

Who knew the myriad of concerns
we would all face at the onset of
life with children?
The answer is, your own mother of course.
After years of swearing you'd never be like
her, you've finally outdone her.

She chuckles at the irony
finally able to relax knowing that
she brought you to adulthood
without losing you along the way.

While you attempt to avert
disaster at every turn,
she sits quietly enjoying, even savoring
the irony.

Comeuppance has come
in the form of a grandchild
and she laughs knowing
you finally had a child like yourself
to keep you grounded, to keep you humble,
and to help you realize that she
was right!