Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water

I am what I consider to be a relatively "cool" middle aged person! :) I love new technology and I love new music. I love seeing where the church has been and where it is going. I love seeing things advance. I am way in to the creative and unique. All things considered, I see myself as a progressive, forward thinker. Few things are not "changeable" to me. If there is a newer, better method that is more productive - by all means teach me. I am not ashamed of where I am from but I don't use that as a clique to make me stuck in the old ways.

With that said however :) - I am also a person of heritage. I got to really thinking about this the other day. A wonderful couple from my church and their daughter who is close to my age invited me and a lady that I work with to their house for dinner. Now this lady is a fabulous cook and an immaculate housekeeper. When I walked into their house, I felt welcomed and at home. She cooked a delicious dinner. While dinner was still being prepared, I got to go out into the back yard with the husband and he showed me their garden. They were so proud of what they had and were so gracious in sharing it with me. After dinner, we sat out on the back patio and they begin to share stories. It really made me homesick and nostalgic because they were telling stories about old youth camps and church trips and pot luck dinners and fellowships. Before we knew it, 2 hours had passed by.

When I left their house that evening, I began to reflect on that night. I am a proud mom to an incredible 14 year old boy! I do what I can to stay relevant to culture for him. We both love music, so I let him show me what he is in too. I look for TV shows that we both like like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior and we will watch them together. I have a Facebook and I try to stay semi knowledgable to social media. He is an "techie" so computers, programming and video games come easy to him. I am confident that CJ will be able to make his way in the future! But I begin to think about his heritage and what he will look back on as "his" past. What kind of stories would take him back and make him nostalgic?

I can remember making mud pies, "playing school", dressing up, playing outside for endless hours, riding my bike with my sister all through the local neighborhood and cemetery and pretending that we were in some far away place in Europe or that my bike was a car :) My imagination was developed because I had to use it. Someone else did not pre-program what I did. And on that same note, I remember going home and me and my sister pretending to be different singers in the choir at church. I remember revivals, miracle services, dinners on the grounds, church fellowships. I remember going to the altar and staying there until I had "prayed through". I remember the older saints in the church who were legends in my mind and how I was in awe of how close they were to God. I never remember looking at them thinking they were old fashioned or out of touch. They were beyond me and people who should be respected.

What will my son look back on? Will he know the words to songs like Amazing Grace and not just the Top 40 on the radio? Will there be preachers and men and women of God that he looks up to and respects and not just members of a musical group in the poster frame hanging on his wall? Will he find God like I did in a youth camp or a special service. Will he have an encounter with the Lord that will shape his foundation? I believe so! Will he have a healthy "fear of the Lord" and exercise reverence? I am going to do everything in my power to help present those opportunities to him. I would not change where I am going but neither would I trade where I have been. Where I have been has SHAPED me into who I am today!

Now to get on my little soapbox for a minute :) I am all for the latest and the greatest! But I don't believe that we have to trample every tradition known to man to prove how great the newest thing is. I will always call my Pastor - Pastor. I will always keep a reverent respect when I walk into the house of God. There has to be a difference between walking into church and into the movie theatre. I will always pray and read the word of God. I will not ever allow myself to feel like I have achieved enough that I do not need the fellowship of other saints - meaning church attendance. I do believe that God is God and He deserves my best. I devote an entire week to my job and my fun. I can give God a few hours on a Wednesday and Sunday!!

In short, I am going to be CJ's biggest fan and rejoice when he achieves even more than I could have imagined doing. If possible, I want to ride in a space car :) I will marvel when everything around becomes operated by voice command and your car drives itself home. But I never want to get to the place where I am so accomplished that I can't sit in the grass, stare at the stars, stand around a piano and sing the old songs and be appreciative of all that I have gotten to experience in my life. The life of Smith Wigglesworth proves that it is "never too late to teach an old dog a new trick" but his life also exemplifies that what God said is what God said. Period. And that's what I want for CJ. The drive and motivation to become the best he can be but the heart and thankfulness to appreciate where he came from.

Sure there will always be a newer, better way to do things. But bottom line, it is usually the methods that change but not the message! And thank God for that. I am glad that He is the same yesterday, today and forever! Because where God is concerned, when you get it right the first time there is no need to fix it :) What has made you who you are? What built the foundation that your life stands on? Take a moment and reflect on that. Whether good or bad, you can use that to determine where you go from this moment on!! In this thing called life with you my friends :) Now...where is the ham, mashed potatoes and casseroles? All of this talk of church dinners is making me hungry!! :)
Love you- April

Monday, July 2, 2012

You Get What You Pay For!

Hello My Friends! I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted a blog. I have started and erased one about 5 times :) I just determined not to write unless I felt I really had something to say. Which is usually all the time for me! hahaha :) So this little "drought" has been weird for me too!

I am in the middle of a 21 day Detox right now. As a matter of a fact, I am on day 15 of this detox. It has not been easy and it has not been fun. I have had to "deprive" myself of some of the things that I love best...sugar and Diet Coke! I have only been allowed to have fruit, vegetables and chicken and fish. There are only so many ways to make this combination of foods exciting! I have had to walk past the work kitchen counter with the fresh donuts on it, had to sit at a wedding reception where the most beautiful and delicious looking cake was served. I have had to drive past Sonic each morning and wistfully look out my window as if I were driving past my long lost friend without speaking! It has been hard. Our flesh does not like to be denied! The headaches the first four days was my brains way of throwing a tantrum about having no caffeine! And isn't it just like life, when I decided to do this detox, there have been more parties, fellowships, cookouts than ever before on my schedule?

But in the middle of this process some funny things have happened too! I have rediscovered my ankle bones :) I haven't had to pray and pry my rings off at night. I have learned that I do have some self discipline down in there somewhere. And I have discovered that I do have the ability and the determination to set my mind on something and stick with it. Now don't get me wrong....I have literally had my mouth water watching someone else eat a chocolate cupcake hahaha and I have dreamed about what I could eat on "Freedom Day" (that's the first day after my detox is over). But all in all I have learned most of all that when you really truly want something bad enough..you will do whatever it takes to get it! Even if it means sacrificing something else to do it. I have to remind myself that I did not acquire these bad habits and extra 50 pounds over night, so no "magical diet" is going to come and wipe it all away in a few days. My impatience has so reminded me of how easy it is to want something for nothing. To want to put in no effort, but get maximum results!

We have all been guilty of exercising a lack of patience when it comes to purchasing things too. We have jumped on that big sale and then been disappointed when our "cheap" product did not last long. I remember being excited to get a pair of mango colored shoes for only $7 but then watching them sit in my closet for 2 years before they went in the Goodwill bag because I had absolutely NOTHING that matched anything mango to wear :) I was so jazzed when Cici's Pizza came out because I could take Masters and they could eat a buffet for only $3.99 a person! After a few bites of my "cardboard" pizza, I was longing for that deep dish from Pizza Hut! Or learning the hard way when I bought the off brand toilet paper and used 22 squares because it was so thin! Only Charmin for me now!! :)

Only I would find the spiritual parallel in cheap toilet paper!! :) But here goes...this detox has made me think about my spirit man as well. Why are we so shocked when we go through things in life and we don't seem to have the faith to face them? I have had to do a hard look at what I was "feeding" my spirit man! Going to church is awesome. Joining in corporate praise and worship is exciting and liberating. But to me these things are the "fast food" things of our spirit man. Don't get me wrong...they are necessary and they are God ordained. But hey let's face it..isn't it always easier to go out to a restaurant and let someone else do the cooking for you? This detox has really stretched me because I have had to prepare the majority of my food. It takes time and it is definitely more expensive, but the value of it has been worth it! The real meat of our spiritual diet comes from spending extra time on your own to seek and to learn. It's comfortable to come to church and fellowship together, it's a whole different thing to make the time to pull out your Bible at home and determine that you are going to find a moment with God for the day. We have all been quilty of saying those desperation prayers to God. But how many of us really take the time to develop a daily prayer life. One where we commune with God through the good and the bad!

I have decided through this detox that my life was out of balance. I was physically heavy and spiritually anemic! :) Sure I have 100 great excuses for why. Woe is me..my heart is broken, I just went through something tramatic, I had to move and start a new job...yada, yada... :) I am a strong, intelligent woman of God. What I put in is what is going to come out. What I fill my spirit with is what is going to show when the going gets tough!! I have decided that I am not going to let this 21 day "torture test" as I have so lovingly nick named it be in vain. I am going to learn something from this. I am going to take better care of my physical man, but in the same breath, I am going to feed my spirit man what it needs..what it deserves. God made me who I am. He made me to excel in life. I am determined to be a well rounded "fit" person who is ready to enjoy every God given moment!! :) On that note...how many calories are in an Oreo? :) hahaha... Living life with you!!
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