No Rest for the Wicked

Two things stand out to me in this post the most. The first is that God takes Mercy on us because we are the ones he created and he wants to see us do well. God’s goal is not to see us demolished. The second thing that really stood out to me is the very end where it says there are no places of respite for the wicked.

I am the wicked. I do not pray. God knows I need to, that not only do I need to offer prayers for those around me, but that I need prayer myself.

God, deliver me from my thoughts of dying. From being stranded from my own mind. From looming larger than color.

God knows best that I need rest. Sleep. Equilibrium. I am searching for my Lectio Divina book. Until then, God please help me. You know the trouble I have been in.

Fresh Gratitude List

To praise God and to lift my mood, I want to ruminate on some things I am grateful for at the moment.

  • A working car. I went through a period in my early twenties when I did not have a vehicle. Now, being able to jump in the car and go where I want feels so good. I don’t need to dread cold or rain because I don’t have to walk in it for miles to get to the doctor.
  • I am tremendously grateful that I can put off ankle surgery for at least awhile. I know that technically that isn’t good. They told me to hold off as long as I can because none of the surgical options have a high likelihood of success. But the fact is that every month, every season I don’t have to be laid up and in pain is something to thank God for. Walking is a gift not everyone has.
  • Amazon. I know it is killing brick and mortar stores, and I hate that. But it gives me access to so many books I could never find locally.
  • Evangelists. I admire what they do. It isn’t that I don’t have the courage to share the Good News of Jesus. I do. I am just so awkwardly introverted that I don’t know how to express something so important in real time conversation. Maybe one day the Holy Spirit will give me the right words for the right person at the right time. Otherwise, I will serve in some other way and be glad for the spiritual gifts I have.
  • Snow. Its loveliness laces through my life. Snow is intricately entwined with me. I understand snow.

Lutheran Church

Today we tried a Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod. The Methodist church has been splintered by the LGBT issue. Although the church ruled not to allow the ordination of active gays and lesbians, it was the African and Asian churches who carried that vote. Most of the American and other Western churches opposed the decision. Our conference is in open rebellion against the ruling at the General Conference, and in our church newsletter there was a screed about discrimination essentially being further codified and made harsher.

The LGBT issue is a difficult one for me as a bi Christian, but fundamentally I believe that those living in homosexual relationships should not be ordained. They should be a part of the church and allowed to serve in the church. But ordination is a whole other matter. I do not think I should be ordained for a variety of reasons, and I believe that active homosexuals should not be eligible for ordination either. In the same way I would not want a divorced or adulterous person to be ordained, nor do I want the church to ordain those mired in homosexual sin unless they have chosen to be pure. Those who are ordained have to go above and beyond to make sure they are above reproach. They are to be held to a higher standard than others in the church.

Sometimes I feel like the church does not offer enough shelter and grace to LGBT people. I am happily married to a man, yet if the subject of sexuality comes up and I tell other Christians I am bi, I am sometimes the immediate recipient of the cold shoulder – at best. I’ve also been told that there are demons on me etc. I can only imagine what someone just like me who has chosen another woman instead of a man faces. There has been an uneven judgment in which the church weighs homosexuality more heavily than other kinds of sin and judges homosexuals to be the worst of sinners. This has got to stop. Your homosexual neighbor is no worse than your shoplifting teenage daughter, your lying brother, your drunken cousin. Yet to be ordained, although it is impossible to be sinless as a mere mortal, you should not be a shoplifter (or any other kind of thief), a liar, or a drunk. It is because the ordained must be a cut above. No one will listen to what you preach if you do not practice it. An ordained minister should, more than any of us, be the Word of God in action.

There are some who make the argument that the Bible does not teach against Homosexuality, but as of yet I have not seen a convincing argument for that.

We are also interested in the Lutheran church because they do not ordain women. That is one of our beliefs, particularly mine.

We want to attend the super traditional service with the classical liturgy next week. This week we attended a mixed service. It was still lovely. I took communion, which I have not been able to do in awhile. It was real wine. I was not thrilled about that, but of course the Lutherans are not the only ones to use real wine. I will be asking if juice is an option if we end up joining this church.

Gentleness of God

God is gentle with me. This devotional has a quote which says, “The closer we draw to God, the more we will treat others as He’s treated us.”

I think this is true. I am a sweeter person with God. But how much better could I be if I drew closer to Him? God wants us to love Him and try to be like Him. The more I feel the soft lavender of God on my face, the gentler I am.

Self Esteem from God

We live in a culture of comparison. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. Women get on Instagram and see how immaculate another woman’s house is and feel bad. But not all of us are equally gifted in all areas, and what matters is that your home is clean and homey – not stock photo material. And besides, you don’t know how many piles of junk have been pushed just out of the frame.

We compare weight, wealth, and style. It starts young. Yesterday our family was in the car and our daughter said that someday she wanted an expensive house so people would know her house is expensive. Where does a 5 year old get that idea? At a young age we feel compelled to outdo one another, and not in kindness. I asked her why she would care if other people think her house is expensive. She said she wants to be pretty.

Of course my husband and I had a corrective talk with her. If she does end up with wealth, and we hope she marries well, she should not flaunt it. Furthermore, having an expensive house won’t make her prettier than anyone else.

From very early on in life we figure out what the world values and we try to be and acquire those things. I honestly think that although much of it stems from pride and competitiveness, which I am guilty of, some of it grows from fear. We believe people will be nicer to us if we have an impressive house, designer clothing, trim waists, and big vacations. Honestly, we are right. The world at large is kinder and kinder, even idolizing, those who are most extreme in these trappings of societal gold. There will always be a certain percentage of people, especially women I think, that will treat you differently if you are slim and rich. Some hope the cache of these things will rub off on them by association. Still others may be riven with jealousy, but interested to watch a life they perceive as better than theirs. We revere what we value.

Some of it is plain insecurity. We want people to at bare minimum not be mean to us. I think my daughter perceives, young as she is, that people will have a better initial impression of her if she has a big house – and that therefore people will be kinder.

I have found this to be true in my own life. In middle school, living in apartments and with few outfits and no handbags, I was an outsider to the girls around me. I was treated differently. Yet I don’t want my daughter to grow up fearing that. I want her to draw her self esteem from God, and rest secure in His love. She has nothing to prove to other people, no one to impress. She needs to please her savior. Friends can help get us through this life, but the right ones will genuinely like you. Your house will not need a marble foyer for them to want to come over.

I hope my daughter has a gorgeous home. I want her to be well traveled. But I do not want these things to be what she derives her self worth from. These things are also not a guarantee in life, and I want her to have a firmer foundation on which to rest her identity.

Our worth is derived from God. Enjoy your blessings, but never be prideful. Even if they are hard earned, they are undeserved gifts. I want my daughter to remember that

Sacred Parenting

God uses our children and our experiences as parents to refine us like gold. Just as we greatly impact our children and can even bring them closer to God, our children do the same to us. Through the sacrifices we make for them to the trials we have with them, if parenting is done with the right spirit it can make us more holy.

Perfume for Jesus’s Feet

Angelica came to me yesterday and told me she made a cross. She had drawn a cross – and put my favorite scrapbooking bows all over it. 

I have been letting Angelica go into the craft room by herself and use materials she likes for several months now. I’ve been sharing craft supplies with her her whole life, but until recently I supervised 100 percent of the time and chose the materials she could use. Angelica is growing up so fast though that lately that I let her come and go in the craft room alone or with Grace, her wonderful babysitter. She can use any paper, stickers, ribbon, washi tape etc that she wants.

Yet I had a moment of dispair when I saw she had used some of my favorite little pieces all at once and on one project. I was happy to see her artwork, and thrilled by her devotion to Jesus, but I did feel a little twinge when I realized I couldn’t use those for still lifes again or for a collage or scrapbook page. 

Then I had a revelation. Angelica loves these bows too. She didn’t give one thought to giving all the best bows, at once, to Jesus. It is a given she will never have those supplies again. She knows that, and she didn’t hesitate. Angelica gave her perfume to Jesus. My job as a mother is to help her grow in her faith and continue to pour her best bottle of perfume on the feet of Jesus. And yesterday, I learned from her.

I Met Another Headcoverer!

I was in Petsmart picking up some litter box bedding for Parsnip, when a girl stopped me and told me my veil was beautiful, and asked if I was Christian. She is too, and she wears veils to church! She’s Catholic, and in her parish headcovering is not uncommon. She said there’s even a couple of churches around here who do a Latin Mass and require women to cover. She said she’s thought about covering full time like I do, but she just isn’t sure yet. She always covers at church though.

It’s so refreshing to meet another woman who wears veils. She gave me a good recommendation for where to buy more infinity veils and mantillas, and I gave her a recommendation as well. I told her I was a Methodist and she was definitely surprised, which makes sense because headcovering is pretty uncommon among Methodists.

This may sound silly, but it warmed my heart to meet another woman who headcovers, even if she does not do it full time. I sometimes get looked at negatively for wearing veils. Some people really love my veils and I get compliments, but still many more are put off. It’s nice to see that other young women are wearing them too, and of course it is always nice to hear that someone likes my veil! My veils are beautiful to me, and it is lovely when someone else appreciates one of them.

She told me headcovering is coming back in the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and I think that is wonderful. I hope that someday more Protestants (besides just the Mennonites) will start to cover. I am in some headcovering groups online, and I know there are a few Lutherans, evangelicals, and nondemoninationals veiling now. Just not many. Headcovering is such a beautiful, reverent thing and can bring so much joy. Once upon a time everyone practiced headcovering, especially in church. Yet in so many churches, especially Protestant churches, headcovering is now eschewed. I pray this beautiful, scriptural practice is revived. But whether it is or it isn’t, I will continue to wear my veils  in obedience to the Scripture that has been laid on my heart by God. My conscience is convicted.

It just filled me with joy to meet another sister in Christ who believes in headcovering!