It’s Tuesday morning. I’m still in my pajamas. The lights are on, the dishwasher and washing machine are running. Six children are off to school, one is getting ready for college. My husband is at work.
I’ve been thinking about Target and the reactions of all different sorts of people in regards to the bathrooms. I go from laughing because after having seven children, the bladder I have cares not which bathroom it uses, to sadness when I see people use religion to get all self-righteous about this issue, to tenderness as I read common sense and gracious words from all sorts of people, as well. Grace upon grace flows down, flows down, from the precious blood of Christ.
Reading up on the story made me think about religion in general…….and namely, Pharisees.
Did you know Jesus had the harshest words toward the religious people of his day (the Pharisees) He loved real people, he loved sincere, he loved the common, humble men and women who knew who they were—nothing and nobody–and needy. People who knew they were hungry and thirsty –for HIM. To them, He freely gave.
To the religious hypocrites of his day he had words like these:
“white washed tombs”
“clean on the outside, filthy on the inside”
“woe to you!”
Is there hope for a Pharisee? Oh yes and yes. Amazingly enough, Paul became first and foremost a lover of Christ (not rules and regulations) when the Light of the world blinded him for a time, on the road to Damascus….
However, as a very ordinary and quite common woman of this modern day, I am TERRIFIED of certain religious people who believe they are doing good but are actually spreading fear, misunderstanding, and chaos throughout the world.
And by religious I mean this: a HYPOCRITICAL person who is fixated on rules and regulations regarding the outward man rather than the inward man. Fixated to the point that they take it upon themselves to “teach” others and tell them just how to live and then look down on people if they don’t take their advice. Or, a person who pretends to be godly, pretends to act for God, pretends to be a Christian, when what they are really doing is setting themselves on a pedestal and using it for prideful gain/power.
I love religion in its true form, which the Bible says is this: …If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
UH OH there is that pesky little phrase “keep oneself unstained by the world” what could that POSSIBLY MEAN???? Live in a clean, sterile little bubble of soap? Oh I’ve seen what THAT does! Did you know that living too clean can lead to even more troubles down the road? Bigger sicknesses? Not all the time….but even so, it is an unhealthy way to live both physically AND spiritually. A fixation on “cleanliness” is QUITE a cancer to the soul.
This is how I personally keep myself unstained by the world: I do not view pornography. I do not get crazy drunk. I do not participate in illegal activities or use illegal drugs like heroin, for instance. I don’t dance around at strip clubs or plan my life according to my daily horoscope. Um….what else? I don’t spend time with friends planning a perfect murder or even committing adultery with the mailman. I do not steal things or lie pathologically. I mind my own business.
See? Easy. That’s how you keep yourself unstained by the world. You can still watch movies, you can still visit a theater even! You can take prescription drugs as long as you don’t abuse them, and guess what ladies, you can wear pants! And shorts! And a bathing suit! You can hug a man! You can read Harry Potter! You can enjoy an alcoholic drink! You can shop at Target!!!!! Don’t try to put rules on yourself that God never intended.
(Yes I am very passionate about this topic–you might not be, and that’s okay)
However, if indeed you do want to put extra cautious standards in place in your life go right ahead but don’t talk about them up and down the street (internet?) like they are rules and standards from God Himself. Maybe just don’t even talk about any of the “good things” you do.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:30
Oh Gosh, I hope I am making sense. I mean, some people will read this and be like “??” but if that is the case than praise God you didn’t go through a time of legalism like I did in my mid 20’s. If you are involved in a nurturing church family full of nice messy people than get down on your knees and thank the Lord, my friend!!!! But if you’re in the midst of a church that has perfect leaders watching every move you make and using the pulpit as a “whipping post” in order to keep you “clean” than run far far away……..
I have so much inside of me that I do not discuss because I hate the feeling I get when I’m stirred up and worked up. But I want people to know my beliefs. And know that I am a sinner, saved by grace. I have ordinary pride issues, bitterness issues, selfishness issues, and so on…but I don’t even care at this point…no one is perfect and I don’t obsess, trying to be. I only want to be secure in Jesus and I am already that. I’m on my way HOME, to the only place of perfect belongingness, glory-land itself. And He will welcome me and all of His precious children, with open arms, all the messy unperfect little sinners, saved by grace, that we are. He loves us, loves us, loves us……
I happen to have a blog but that does not make me ANYTHING special whatsoever. I am no authority on any subject. I have no constant advice to give or devotionals to write. I only have my own personal experience and the Bible to share. I like music, poetry, photos, and quotes.
But I am no one special.
I was put on this earth to serve a certain number of people. And if you are in my life, I am here for YOU. To love and encourage. To be real and messy. My children know all too well that their Mom is not perfect and guess what? I still get lots and lots of snuggles and so do they even when they are being annoying.
I really don’t know why I blog. It’s some sort of pull inside of me that makes me do it. I hate being “out there”, it makes me afraid to share the deep things of my heart. And yet, I still do it…..why…..why, God?
Last night I was watching Longmire with Rich and someone asked Walt, “Are you a religious person, Walt?” and he answered, “I’m a private person”.
I liked that. That’s what I am, too. But once in a while I will let it alllll out.
I really really loved the Harry Potter books. Did you know that there are some religious people who will not read them or let their children read them? The church I used to attend was against them. And at the time they were published I didn’t care much regardless because I frankly had no time to read……any time I did have time to read I was careful to read things that would be approved by my church leaders. LOL (barf) I was such a goody goody. NO MORE. I will read what I want to read! And who really cares????
Anyway, here is a quote I wrote down from the last book, yesterday, which just made me stop in awe of the spiritual lesson contained within:
“Harry kept quiet. He did not want to express the doubts and uncertainties about Dumbledore that had riddled him for months now. He had made his choice while he dug Dobby’s grave, he had decided to continue along the winding, dangerous path indicated for him by Albus Dumbledore, to accept that he had not been told everything he wanted to know, but simply to trust. He had no desire to doubt again; he did not want to hear anything that would deflect him from his purpose.”
(She had decided to continue along the winding, dangerous path indicated for her by God, to accept that she had not been told everything she wanted to know, but simply to trust.)
Simply to trust.
WHY did Ethan hurt his knee just when he had to visit a college, invited by a wrestling coach that wants him on the team????
WHY do I suffer depression at times?
WHY does Sarah have to have a naughty kidney?
WHY this, why that?
I don’t know, but I trust….and I trust a God that HAS A PURPOSE that I may never know.
Satan, the dark side, wants to whisper doubts and make us falter…..and has many cunning ways of doing so…..however, in Christ we are more than conquerors. Love wins every time. Faltering isn’t so bad now and then. Doubts are forgivable, too. (He didn’t turn his back on Thomas, he gently took his hand and placed it in his side, dear blessed Thomas, loved so dearly by Him) Weakness is wonderful (he gives strength to the weak) He loves us through it all.
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
ALL you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
“MOM, take a picture of this! It looks like a castle!”
Another thing….this “older woman teaching the younger”….means all kinds of things. For me, it means that I call up my mama and talk to her. For me, it means that I am teaching my daughters by sharing life with them. I’m not out looking for a mentor. Although I do love and appreciate all the women, past and present that I have learned from, there is NO lack in anyone’s life in this regard of older women teaching the younger. There needs to be no formalities here, there just needs to be living, and growing, in natural relationships. Don’t feel as if you need to pass your daughters off to someone else to teach and nurture. YOU are already doing it!!! And God will put people in their lives, naturally, to learn from. (friends, grandmas, aunts, etc)
I’m constantly giving out life advice to my children. It’s great fun. And they are constantly giving it to me as well.
Can you even believe this? ^^
Someone sits here and eats acorns. So sweet!
Spending time with this one is a J O Y. Oh how I love her.
dropped her flip flop and it started going down the stream, sooooo funny……
acorn – art
Does a hollow tree take us to Heaven? Unfortunately not.
adorable boys…catching toads
Susie Q Bunyan
just sharing my heart today……