Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Confession #8: There's a crack in my shellac.
About six years ago, God reminded me of my passion to write and I've been writing ever since. It's been a rather solitary calling; fitting in writing my novels between kids, job, church and the like. But then I started this blog. I started it because I just wanted something 'out there' that would allow me to practice writing. It's a place I come to, to bring order to my thoughts––I have a lot of those. And, it's a place where I can find something to write even when my WIPs are feeling dead-in-the-water. Then I started this series, 'Confessions of a Pastor's Wife'. I started writing this series because I wanted people to know that just because someone is a pastor's wife, and a committed Christian, doesn't mean they don't struggle. I have questions about God just as much as the next person. I read the Bible, I know what it says but when God says, 'now go live that'...well...my flesh rebels. A lot.
I'm thrown up against my 'humaness' time and time again. It's frustrating, painful and exhausting. In these moments of 'humaness' I make mistakes. Lots of them. I say things without thinking, write things without really seeing how people will read it and have had it all come back to bite me in the...behind. I've learned some tough lessons and had to eat humble pie like a big girl. Not fun.
But God knows me. Boy, does He ever! I think sometimes He lets me make a few mistakes to keep me humble. He knows that if I got it right all the time, my pride would kick in and I'd lose sight of what His plan was. I'd become a cliché––a perfect pastor's wife––shellacked from head to toe, too concerned with being fake shiny rather than letting God shine through me.
So, thanks, God! Thanks for continually cracking off any layers of shellac I try to put on. Thanks for reminding me how to be humble. Thanks for continually working on me to be a better follower of you.
Monday, 9 April 2012
A few years ago my brother told me he was gay...ya, you heard me...and all I could think was:
I'm not surprised.
And I wasn't. Not one bit. For years I had felt that he was probably gay and I said nothing. I've deeply regretted that. I wish I had had the courage to talk to him sooner. Been a shoulder, an ear, or a hug for him during those years. But I was scared to talk about "it".
I was scared to give "it" a name. I was scared to even say the word "gay" out loud just in case my saying it made it true. It sounds silly writing it now but that's how I felt then. Because if it was true...well, I didn't really know what would happen, I just knew it would be hard.
Some of you might not like that I would write that it would be hard. You may probably be thinking, "it should be easy accepting that someone is gay". And it might be that way on tv, or how society is starting to think now, but that wasn't the world I grew up in. It wasn't the world a lot of people grew up in. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just how it is. So, yes, I knew it would be hard.
But it did happen. He did tell the family and this is what ended up happening:
A family meeting was called.
Now, that might sound extreme to some, normal to others or just weird. I don't know. I just know that this is my family's response to things and one of the reasons I love the family I'm in.
You don't need to know everything about the meeting, some things are deeply personal, but the main thing that was said was "we love you". And we made a commitment. A commitment to walk this journey no matter how messy (Christian family with a just-out-of-the-closet member kinda messy) it got because we are family and we are going to fight for family.
So here is my messy...and I hope Christians and LGBTs alike hear my heart because baring my soul is quite hard when I know some people won't like what I have to say.
One part of me doesn't struggle with the fact that my brother is gay. I love him! I want him to have all the things I have and I know he wants––a spouse and kids. He wants to adopt kids. I can't picture a better partner for someone and a loving father to children who need a home. He grew up in the same house I did where saving yourself for marriage, monogamy, and the like, were taught and he values those virtues as much as I do.
Then, on the flip side, my understanding of the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. And I'm lost as to what to say to my kids when they are old enough to understand. I asked my brother to treat his boyfriend like a friend, not a boyfriend, when my kids are around––he was not happy! Boy, was he not happy. Then I said I was just trying to protect them...that didn't help. Because all he heard was that I needed to protect my kids from HIM! And I'm horrified that he would think that I would be thinking that but stepping back I see how he took it that way.
And I still flip from one side to the other. Daily. Hourly. I'm flipping back and forth as I write this. I'm not pro-gay or no-gay, I'm...bi-gay. Ha! Go figure.
My prayer (plea) has become, "God, I have no sweet clue what you want me to do. The only thing I want to do is honour you. Show me how to do that...PLEASE!"
So far I've gotten one thing: God wants me to love Him and love people. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied with a two-fold response: "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength AND love your neighbour as yourself."
Love God. Check.
Love your neighbour as yourself. What does that look like? For me, it looks a little like this: When someone is hurt, comfort them; when they are happy, laugh with them; when they are crying, cry with them; when they need a hug, give them one; when they need a friend, be one; when they are being bullied, stand up for them. It's what I would hope someone would do for me so that's what I can do for others.
In this journey with my brother, I've discovered that I don't have to agree with everything to give him the support he needs. During a bad break-up he came over and sobbed it out. Ice cream was involved. He was hurting so I hurt for him and that's all that mattered.
I've also discovered that we don't have to agree on everything to treat each other with respect. Actually, I found that out when I got married (ha!) but it applies here too. And just like in a marriage, I've discovered that it takes both parties to think the same way. The LGBT community wants to be loved and respected for who they are and the Christian community would like the same courtesy extended to them. It's really thinking about what you say before you say it. How will it make the other person feel? It's respecting the journey each of us are on.
No matter who we are, our treatment of people should never come with stipulations. It should never matter if someone is gay or straight, what race they are, if they have an addiction or are homeless or don't believe the same things you do, for us to show love to them rather than spew hatred.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."
1 John 4: 8
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
So, there you have it. I love
p.s. this post has been gay brother approved.
Friday, 6 April 2012
Confession #6: It's super duper hard celebrating when I'm suppose to.
It's Easter weekend. The pivotal weekend of Christianity. Pretty much the whole point of my faith is celebrated this weekend. And I don't feel like it.
I would like to say, "it's because I celebrate it every day" or something more profound, but I can't. I'm human just like everyone else and life smothers me sometimes and I forget to focus on God instead of the budget or what I'm going to make for dinner or if Castle will finally tell Beckett how he feels.
Easter equals one thing in this house. BLACK OUT. It means my husband has to work. There is no time off and no long meal with the family where we all relax and eat too much. What it does equal is me being home, alone, with the kids. All by myself. Poor me.
Okay, it's not that bad. My parents live down the street, my brother and sister-in-law live not too far away, so I have family around. But it's not the same. Not the same as having my husband home.
Excuse me. This is God interrupting this blog. Jordan, I'd like to have a word with you.
Uh...okay. Speak Lord, I'm listening...??
Do you love your husband?
Are you proud of him?
Would you rather he worked somewhere else instead of doing what I called him to do?
No...although he does sometimes...
That's not where I'm taking this.
Okay, now more importantly, do you love me?
Of course I do!
Do you love your son?
Would you like to give your son up and have him die a gruesome death to save mankind?
Is that a trick question?
No, I wouldn't! I don't think I could.
Now how do you feel? Knowing once again that I did that for you? That my son did that for you?
Humbled, grateful, unworthy...there are no proper words to express the gratitude I feel.
Thanks for the reminder.
Anytime. I love you.
I love you too.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Confession #5: I believe in Creation AND Evolution...say what?!
"The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects." - Albert Einstein
I know my title sounds shocking but, in reality, a lot of Christians have a Theistic Evolution viewpoint.
Here's how my viewpoint can play out:
I have awesome friends on Facebook; friends that post stuff like this: The Most Astounding Fact of the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson:
"The most astounding fact is the knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth, the atoms that make up the human body are traced to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme measurements and pressures. These stars, the high mass ones among them, went unstable in their later years. They collapsed and then exploded, scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy. Guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life."
Now, some people might be happy with that. It sounds amazing and intelligent. But all I can think is: where did the "crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements" come from? What about "the stars, the high mass ones among them, that went unstable and exploded and scattered their guts"? Where did those come from?
Ilya Prigogine, a Chemist-Physicist and two-time Nobel Prize recipient said: "The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero."
Sure, stars could have exploded out their fundamental ingredients of life guts. When I read the Bible and it says "God created", my writer's mind goes crazy with all the different ways it could have happened. Star guts is as good as any. I can work with that.
Neil deGrasse Tyson goes on to say: "when I look up at the night sky and I know, yes, that we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact...when I look up...I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. That's what we want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like you are a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive." [Cue emotionally moving Coldplay soundtrack].
Now, some people might be happy with that. It sounds moving and romantic. But all I can think is: there has to be more! More then I've just got some universe atoms and therefore connected. That doesn't satisfy the deepest inner desires of me. So what...when I die my atoms just go back into the universe but I cease to exist? If that's the case then what's the point of life if I become nothing, remember nothing, am a memory to a few people only for a little while until they die and become nothing too?
Even more depressing is wondering what the point of having children is if ultimately they just become universe atoms again. Sure, they bring joy but they also bring a heavy dose of worry, fear, sleepless nights and yes...sometimes pain. Why go through all of that if we're just a bunch of atoms?
But I would go through all of that if I believed that God had a plan for them, that He wanted an eternity for them and that He loved them.
Billy Graham was quoted saying: "I don't think there's any conflict at all between Science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say. I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course, I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man...whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God." (Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, by David Frost and Fred Bauer)
Ah! Ding! God+Man = Relationship
Let's take that last bit from Mr. Tyson and reword it to how I would say it:
"When I look up at the night sky and I know, yes, that God created this universe, we are part of His universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that He created me. When I reflect on that fact...when I look up...I feel big because I was created for a reason. That's what we want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like you are a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive."
My dad said this to me once:
If I believe in God and I'm wrong, I've lost nothing.
If I don't believe in God and I'm right, I've lost nothing.
If I believe in God and I'm right, I've gained everything.
If I don't believe in God and I'm wrong, I've lost everything.
One thing I do know:
It takes just as much faith to believe that God started it all or something else did. Science can't answer that part. And I like God's ending better.