Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Big Mouth

I have to give you some more back story on me before I can really get into what God is doing right now in my life, just so it all makes sense. I like things in order.....

Anyway, Randy and I met in college at the Baptist Student Union group and fell in love. He was a Christian, and when we met all I could think was that there were Christian guys out there and this one was cute!!!! We dated a long time and married as soon as we graduated. We were pretty blessed then too. Kids started to come along in the prescribed three years or so. We continued to go to church where my dad was pastor by choice. It was a great gift to be involved with many of the same "extended family members" that I had always known, and to raise my kids in the same church their Grandparents attended. We were living what I thought was a Christ centered life. I was doing all the things I knew I was supposed to be doing. Going to church, being a mom, teaching Sunday school, working vacation Bible school etc.I remember being grateful for my "ordinary" life.

I was struck one day by what I think was a Sunday School lesson that talked about the Pharisees of the Old Testament and their inability to see themselves as sinful. I think the lesson talked about the number of Pharisees in the church today. (People that are Holier than Thou in their attitude and actions. People that see themselves as better than the poor sinner without recognizing that they still have sin in their own lives.) Anyway the reason I mention that is because it was a real gotcha moment in my life, or at least the start of one. I remember considering that question as I was driving east on 87th street parkway. I was just crossing Pflumn road (I think its significant that the woman who would forget her head if it wasn't attached remembers all this) and I distinctly remember thinking that I wasn't doing too badly in the sin department. But that if there was sin in my life would God please reveal it to me? Seriously as I read that now I realize what an idiot I was(am) God is good to answer prayer, especially that one and I was laid pretty flat in the next few years recognizing my own sinful nature. I got a well deserved whoopin' from God on that. The log in my eye was very big. I was a Pharisee! It is so easy to judge others, as long as we don't have to look at the same condition in ourselves. I really think that day was the start of my growing and grown up relationship with Jesus.

Isn't it crazy that one conversation with God can impact you forever? It is kind of like praying the sinners prayer (I know I am a sinner and that without Jesus and His sacrificial death for me I have no hope)and really meaning it. When you honestly commit your life to Jesus there is no going back. You are whole-heartedly there with Jesus. When you ask God to reveal your sin to you , there is no going back. It's there laid bare and you are unable to shove it back under the bed from which it was drug kicking and screaming.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

About me

I realize that I haven't really shared my story on this Blog. I've thought about it a few times because I know a few people who read it don't know the Jesus I know. I want to share that now. Not because I want to brag on the fabulous childhood I had or about how lucky I am, but because I want you to know who I really am. From the beginning to me now. Not because it's ever about me, but because it's always been about Jesus.

We are all products of our past. Sometimes those are good things and sometimes they aren't. Why one child experiences the pain of abuse and another has loving parents I can't explain. I know its not a condition of what each child is worth or how much they are loved by God, it's a condition of the sinful society in which we live. I know if we were all judged on what we deserved we could never live up to the perfection that is God. That why He sent Jesus. So we would realize it's not about what we do or who we are, but about what HE did.

My father was a pastor in a small Baptist church . My mom was a nurse who worked nights to help make ends meet. I grew up with little in the area of material things. My parents never had much before they got married, and supporting a family on the salary of a pastor isn't exactly living high on the hog. But I had amazing parents who raised me to really know Jesus. He was evident in every part of their lives.They weren't just good people either, they reflected the love of Jesus like he was a very part of who they were. My childhood in church was good too. I don't have horror stories about my life as a pastor's daughter. That certainly doesn't mean it was all easy. We experienced everything that a normal family experiences, but with less money:) And the fishbowl was never too overwhelming for me. I can't speak for my brothers on the issue, but for me church was just an extension of my life. I never felt like I wasn't living normally.

The church was my second home. I had free reign of the building and considered every member there to be part of my extended family. I heard almost every sermon my Dad preached, and some of that information actually stuck in the space between my ears while I was drawing on my church bulletin! I made a conscious decision to follow Jesus when I was about 6. It had everything to do with the example my parents set for me. They didn't make me think it would give me an automatic easy life pass, but their example showed me what Jesus' love really looked like. When they invited strangers in to eat, or because they didn't have a place to stay, or when they talked about people who had really done wrong to them with love. It really makes me aware of my role as a mom to my kids. Do I reflect love like that? (Probably not!)I think I experienced many blessings because of my parents faithfulness.

As I've grown I've seen good people who helped build the church and bad people who tried to tear it down. I been part of church growth and the pain of anger dividing. I don't fool myself into thinking I've seen it all , I know I haven't. But taking the good with the bad, my life has been blessed from the very beginning. I didn't say lucky you notice. Not everything has always gone my way. I have experienced the very essence of who Jesus is by the outpouring of His Spirit on my heart, and that essence has flavored my life in such a way that every day is sweeter because He is in it.