Friday, 30 March 2012

Thoughts: As Long as You're Happy.

I hear this phrase a lot and it drives me crazy. It comes with different variations:

I'm just going to do what makes me happy.
Just do what makes you happy.
If you're happy, that's what's important.
It it feels good, just do it.

We all want to be happy. I get it. I want to be happy. I want my life to be one big happy party complete with daily massages and cake for every meal. But I've learned that I can't base my decisions on 'me feeling happy' because sooner rather than later I'll make the wrong decision.

Example: If I get up every morning and decide what to do that day based on what will make me happy, I wouldn't go to work. Not that I don't enjoy my job. I do. But if I wanted to be really happy, I would stay home and write, or stay home and spend the day with my kids. That would make me happy. But I have bills to pay so I go to my job.

Let's apply this saying to the extreme. Would you tell a pedophile "as long as you're happy"? Probably not. Their happiness would mean someone else's nightmare. 

What if your kid wants to join the circus at the age of ten. "Well, junior, if that will make you happy then you should go do it." I think not.

When I die, I don't want people to say "she did what made her happy", I want them to say "she did what was righteous."

Now, I'm not talking 'self-righteous' - I don't want to become that. Ever. The origin of 'righteous' comes from the Old English word rihtwÄ«s, meaning right and wise.

Righteous does not always equal happiness. Sometimes righteous sucks. Sometimes righteous is painful. Sometimes righteous is so hard that even a glimmer of happiness is nowhere near it. 

Example: Being a Christian does not make me happy a lot of the time. Turning the other cheek, loving my enemies, forgiving people who hurt me, listening to hatred being spewed all over God and my faith and then telling them God loves them too. Hard. Super duper hard.

So why do it? Why strive to live a righteous life?

Because I get something better than happiness. I get peace. Peace in spite of my circumstances, peace no matter what happens. Happiness? Sure, sometimes, and that's great. I'm not going to deny the happiness that comes my way. But there is a big difference when at the end of life I can say "It is well with my soul" versus "Sure, I'm happy".

Phillipians 4:8-9

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable––if anything is excellent or praiseworthy––think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me––put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #4

Confession #4: I hate dislike Niagara Falls.

My brother-in-law was home for a visit recently and brought along his lovely girlfriend. His girlfriend is from Germany and has never been to Canada before so we went to the Falls. I was again reminded why I don't enjoy Niagara Falls.

My lack of enjoyment has a little bit to do with the monstrosity that is Clifton Hill and everything to do with my urge to hurl myself over the railing and be swept over to my death.

Okay, so don't misread the above - although I'm sure you are thinking, "What's there to misread? You are crazy!" and while I get why you would think that (another reason I'm probably in a Twelve Step group) what I don't want you to think is that I am suicidal in any way and that you need to plan an intervention on my behalf. I'm not suicidal. Far opposite of it. Too many reasons to live - my kids topping that long and glorious list.

Okay, back to why I want to hurl myself over the rail.

Niagara Falls is AWEsome. The Falls have so much power that you can feel it deep in your bones. The speed of the water as it rushes to the edge and the force that is generated as gravity drags the water to the rocks below is amazing. It's HUGE and thrilling and scary and I'm drawn to it. Some people would look at the wonder of Niagara Falls and see the Glory of God and me...well, I'm reminded of sin.

Ya, let's get all deep and thoughtful and stuff.

Niagara Falls reminds me of my desire for sin. How there are times when I can be so drawn to it. It can be a siren's call that part of me wants to just answer and fling myself in its path and be swept away in the rush of it all. But then the Falls remind me that if I do that then my death is inevitable.

Did you know that on a sunny day you can look over at the American side of the Falls and see the fish jumping right at the top, right where the water falls over the edge? You just know that they were swimming along, enjoying the ride, thinking life was grand then all of a sudden they realized they were falling to their impending doom and they made that last ditch effort to somehow jump back up into the river...a futile attempt if there ever was one.

Poor fish.

Glad I'm not a fish.

Glad I've got a God that reached down and pulled me out of the river when I asked him to. Glad he's a God that will snatch anyone up, even if they rode the river right to the edge and were tumbling over it. When we call out to him He doesn't stick us into a barrel and say: "Good luck, maybe you'll make it", He comes down and rescues us!

Psalm 40:2 "He lifted me out of the slimy pit [raging Niagara River], out of the mud and mire [as I went hurdling over the edge of the Falls]; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."

Now that is AWEsome. Okay, maybe I sort of like Niagara Falls after all.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #3

Confession #3: I'm in a Twelve Steps group.

No, I am not an alcoholic, a drug addict and I didn't have a traumatic childhood. My parents love me, I get along with my brothers and sisters and I think my in-laws are great (I know, right?!). So what the heck do I need to be in a Twelve Steps group for?

Here's how I came to be in a Twelve Steps group in 12 steps (so appropriate!) and then I will give you my answer:

1. Receive email asking me to join a Twelve Steps group.

2. Have mental breakdown wondering why they would ask me to join: What is wrong with me? Do they somehow see faults and flaws I don't? Do they somehow know about the faults and flaws that I thought I was doing such a good job at hiding? Why is this happening to me?

3. Stew about this all day.

4. Husband comes home from work.

5. Husband asks me "Hey, did you get that invite to Twelve Steps? I think it will really help our marriage."

6.  Oh. No. He. Didn't.

7. He tells me he will be in his own Twelve Step group.

8. Calm down. A little. Okay, not really.

9. Rush around getting dinner ready for the family, put kids to bed, ignore the disaster of toys spread around the house, try to write something, fall asleep on the couch, wake up and have a minor meltdown that there is no TIME for anything! Why don't I have energy? I can't do this anymore!!!!

10. Research Twelve Steps and read Step One.

11. Email back to say I will be a part of the group

12. Go to my first class. Step One: We admit that we are powerless and that our lives have become unmanageable.

Answer: I'm human. I'll take all the help I can get.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #2

Confession #2: I enjoyed reading both the Twilight series and the Harry Potter series.

Christians all over just read this title, gasped, then judged me. Since I'm already this deep into my confession let's just take it one step further - I have also seen all the movies (to date) associated with the books. I am one of those people eagerly anticipating 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2'. I will line up with all the crazed fans and roll my eyes as they scream at the screen that they love Edward or Jacob.

Author update: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 has come and gone and guess what...I haven't seen it. I also got rid of my Twilight books. Why? God convicted me. That's right. It happens. Something I felt I had freedom to watch/read I no longer do. Do I impose this on everyone? Nope. But God spoke to me and I listened. doesn't bother me one bit :)

I started reading Harry Potter because, at the time, I worked at Chapters (best job ever!) and tons of parents were coming in and buying these books for their kids. So I was curious and read them.

I started reading Twilight because the girls in the youth group that my husband pastored at the time were all reading it and talking about it. So I was curious and read them.

Common thread: it's what the kids are reading.

Observation: We are spiritual beings drawn to supernatural things.

Confession #2.1: Twilight and Harry Potter are the reason I write Christian YA Fiction.

Part of being a Christian is believing, among so many other things, that we have a soul and that when we die, we pass from this life and will spend eternity with Jesus. It's believing in angels and demons and that there is a war going on for said soul.

Supernatural is cool + Christianity is full of the supernatural = I think Christianity is pretty darn cool!! I think we've lost sight of that. So that's my mission. To write things that bring the supernatural back into Christianity.

Now to just finish my edits, find an agent and/or publisher, do more edits based on their suggestions and publish my book so you can all read it...easy peasy.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #1

I'm starting a new little series on my blog: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife. A huge part of my life is affected by what my husband does. I can't get away from it. I tried to leave it behind on here but it's impossible. So I'm just going to share all the funny and not so funny things as honestly as I can. Enjoy!

Confession #1: I love the reaction I get when people find out that my husband is a pastor.

This little tidbit of information about myself doesn't usually come up in conversation with clients, colleagues, etc. until after they have gotten to know me and they have already deemed me nice, normal, likeable, etc. (well, I assume that's what they think of me). But whenever someone finds out, it goes a little like this:

Person: So, what does your husband do?

Me: He's a pastor.

[Person's eyes widen and I watch as their brain practically explodes as they trace back all of our conversations and count every swear word spoken and off-colour joke told].

Person: Wow, that's cool. [They say this very casual like]. Is that different from a minister?

Me: No, it's the same thing.

[Silent pause]

Person: You know, my sister is Catholic.

Me: Okay...

Person: I mean, s**t, you don't hear about people actually choosing to be a pastor these days. Oh my G*d, I'm so sorry for swearing.

Me: Funny enough I'd rather hear 's**t' than 'Oh my G*d'.

Person: Oh my...god...ness! I meant to say goodness!

Me: Hey, no worries.

Person: You don't look like a pastor's wife.

I'm pretty sure this is what people picture when they think about what a pastor's wife looks like:

This is usually when the conversation either goes back to the topic we started talking about in the first place or when Person would like to have a deep theological discussion. I am happy to do either. Keeps life interesting :)