(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the website Raising Godly Children, where it was published on March 19,2017. To read the article in its entirety, click the link here.)
My seventh grade son has a unique set of friends. A few “kind of” believe in a generic god out there, a few flat out don’t believe in God at all, a few aren’t sure what they believe, and then there’s my son. He’s grown up in the church, attended parochial schools until 5th grade, goes regularly to Sunday School, midweek (church) school, and confirmation class, and hears Bible stories and devotions at home as well. And thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, he believes those biblical accounts. He has faith in Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, even when all his friends are arguing against him. And argue they do. Religion is a regular topic of discussion at their lunch table. Yet despite the wide variety of views among them, they have a close bond and manage to stay friends even after a lively discussion. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier that he’s fighting in school, because it’s already preparing him for life as an adult. (Continue reading.)
If one is to believe everything one sees about Jesus, one might come away with some very dangerous views about Him. Take, for example, the picture above, citing definitive “proof” from the Bible that Jesus supports the homosexual lifestyle. I’ve heard people make the assertion that Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables in the temple to fight economic injustice. I once read a pamphlet that portrayed Jesus as a dualist when He says, “I and the Father…” In my recent blog about the women’s march, more than one person challenged my “narrow-mindedness” by claiming that Jesus would have marched beside those women in support of women’s rights in America. And when all else fails, there’s always the “Judge not, lest ye be judged” card people can play to tell others, in effect, to mind their own business. The problem with all of these claims, however, is that they are blatantly untrue.
I am a woman. I live in America. I did not attend a women’s march over the weekend, but I know people who did. These marches made front page news all across America and sparked lively debates on social media. It’s obvious that women in this country have vastly different beliefs and convictions. I don’t presume to speak for all women in America. I speak only for myself. But at the same time, I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way. So with that in mind, I have some apologies to make.
The smell hit me in full force as soon as I walked in the door. We were returning from a spur-of-the-moment overnight trip to the beach, and we were all hot, tired, sandy, and greasy from sunscreen. All I really wanted to do was take a long shower, give the kids a bath, and put everyone to bed. But that was not meant to be. It didn’t take me long to realize what the awful smell was. Our dogs had left us a lovely package in their cage, which was smeared all over the place, hardened by now, making for unpleasant cleanup at best. So rather than get that nice long shower I’d been dreaming about, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing out their cage. Welcome home.
I was almost done unloading my shopping cart when another lady pushed her cart in behind me. I glanced at her apologetically, saying, “You’ll be here a while.”
“I’m in no rush,” she assured me.
I smiled and continued unloading. Half of my groceries were already bagged and loaded into another cart, the entire conveyor belt was full of more groceries, and there were still some left in my original cart. The lady behind me observed all this, and tried to make small talk.
“Big trip today, huh?”
“We have five kids,” I explained. “And I try to do a shopping trip for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to come as often that way.”
Her eyes widened. She took in my three-year old and 15-month old sitting side by side in the double cart, uncharacteristically docile as they looked at her. She hadn’t been privy to their meltdown on aisle 8.
“Do you plan out your meals two weeks in advance, too?” she inquired.
I nodded in affirmation, and her eyes got even wider. With awe in her voice, she said, “You’re so organized!”
I sure had her fooled.
I made an idiot out of myself not too long ago. Okay, granted, that’s not as uncommon as I’d like to believe, but this took the cake. Over Spring Break, a friend told me she was taking her daughter to Chicago, and when I talked to her the morning they were leaving, I asked, “Are you coming back yet today?” There was an awkward pause, and she reminded me, “Ruth, it’s 17 hours away.” Oops. That’s right. We live in Texas, don’t we? I made the excuse that I’m still in the mindset of living in Michigan. But that’s not the whole truth. And the real reason is even more embarrassing.
I threw a birthday party yesterday. It was a pitiful affair. I made a box of confetti brownie mix in lieu of a cake, grabbed a Bop It and some Star Wars Pop Rocks as a gift, and had the kids sign a card for the birthday boy. That was it. It was pretty meek. But in my defense, it wasn’t even my kid.
The last number of Saturdays have been painful around our household. My son is on a basketball team that has never won a game. They’ve lost every single game they’ve played. By a lot. The most points they’ve scored in a single game is 8. The other teams they play make it well into the 20’s and 30’s. From the first minute of the game, it’s obvious that our team is going to lose. And you know what? I’m glad.
(Author’s note: This post is written by guest author Anthony Hessler, who has written a handful of other articles for this blog.)
During the 40 days of Lent, it’s popular among Christians to give something up. This can remind us of Jesus fasting in the desert and of His ultimate sacrifice for us, and it can be a form of self-discipline as we turn away from things that may normally distract us from our focus on God. Depending on the person and/or their particular denomination, it’s common to give up things like consuming certain foods (e.g. meat, fish, sweets, alcohol) or limiting our interaction with technology (e.g. no TV or social media). This is all well and good, but this year, I had a “radical” thought…
(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the blog “Raising Godly Children,” and it was published on December 28, 2015. I am including the first few paragraphs here and then a link back to the original article.)
I hate Christmas. I know, I know, that’s a terribly Grinch-like thing to say, but let me explain. I hate the pressure of Christmas and the general entitlement attitude in society regarding the holiday. We’re expected to decorate our houses, buy presents, hang lights, buy presents, send Christmas cards, buy presents, bake Christmas cookies, buy presents, and generally spread holiday merriment and cheer everywhere we go. Oh, did I mention buy presents? It’s enough to make a person’s head spin.