The “happy Christian” means well but often only shares or responds out of their current perspective of God. The truth is, how someone views the Lord is evident by how they respond to another person in suffering or pain, or really, someone just having a bad day. However, when the “happy Christian” wants to force the good and faithful Lord upon a hurting circumstance, they aren’t doing God justice by providing the comfort that he truly offers those in pain.
At the beginning I found myself with mixed emotions, stumbling to throw up and struggling to communicate my feelings. I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t full of happy anticipation about this new life, but yet had deep gratitude held loosely in light of an uncertain future.
When you consider the breadth of humanity you have experienced, do you believe that humans are inherently good? Or, are we inherently bad? If we are inherently good, then why do we do bad things? If we are inherently bad, then how do we do good things?
When we sin against God and the people around us, turning from that sin toward reconciliation actually begins with confession and then repentance . . . not just expressing emotional remorse. Of course we can still be sorry that we sinned, but to repent we also must ask ourselves, what are we really sorry for?
The overly talkative child, the bossy child, the child with endless energy, the child who collapses in tears at the smallest upset, the child whose imagination means homework never gets turned in - these are a few of the personalities that plant themselves in our orderly homes, posing a threat to our expectations and our patience. Our first temptation may be to bring those behaviors to an immediate end. But I want to suggest a better way.
As she often and shockingly does, Miley Cyrus recently grabbed the headlines with her claim to be “pansexual.” Apparently, this means she doesn’t relate to being male or female or gay or transgendered or gender-fluid. It also means any sexual partner of hers doesn’t need to relate to being male or female or gay or transgendered or gender-fluid. So, Miley Cyrus is pansexual: she’s inclusive of all genders. Can we say that God is like Miley Cyrus, being inclusive of all genders?
We were all single at some point. But sometimes it seems as though we fail to remember that period of our lives when we interact with our single friends. We say stupid things and give advice from our experiences as we try to help our single friends figure out how to live life well and of course, find a spouse.
The roller coaster of hoping and lamenting in times of waiting can really be exhausting. I deeply do not prefer waiting for God to open His hand to give me good things that I desire. In my current season, I am waiting on the Lord for a second child. I want to be hopeful and pray expectantly. But my hopes often seem to get too high, which I only realize when they crash down around me. If I’m being honest I am so tempted toward apathy during seasons of waiting. I want to avoid the whole emotional ordeal altogether.
I often feel like a fish out of water among women. I’m the woman who cringes when she gets an invite to a women’s retreat, especially if it has teacups on the cover. I was never the girl who daily dreamed of marriage or motherhood. And even now as a wife and mother, I’d rather do push-ups than craft at your kitchen table. I used to feel ashamed in the church because I didn’t fit the mold of the Christian woman I often felt was modeled and taught.
But here I am, a women’s ministry leader.
I fully understand that my children only have one mother, and that’s me. It is my job to anticipate their needs and help them grow into mature adults. That is why there is hands down absolutely nothing else in this world I want my girls to know more than the fact that I love Jesus and that their parents desire to give their lives for Him. But the way they know that is by watching us actually DO that.
I was so concerned about the appearance of motherhood, that I was barely surviving actual motherhood. But putting my hope for fulfillment in by identity as a mama will never fully satisfy me . . . just like being a wife, climbing the corporate ladder, buying that great pair of shoes or having the perfect home . . . will never fully satisfy me. Yet I run to these things time and time again.
I am sitting on the floor looking through boxes of old pictures from college and I’m cringing. And not just because college is now fourteen years behind me and the hairstyles were bad (which they were). Picture after picture of revealing dresses and low-cut shirts. I was a Christian, but modesty was not on my radar.
Most Christian parents are afraid to talk to their kids about this subject. We are afraid that we might awaken some desire in them that wasn’t there before. We are afraid that they will be curious if we are too descriptive. We are afraid they will be curious if we are not descriptive enough. We are overwhelmed with the goal of preserving their purity. Our own past experiences cause shame or fear.
In my single years people – mostly married people – told me to wait, be patient, be content, and to not be “too picky.” I felt placed in a side category – the less than category – countless times because of my marital status. I felt like the married people I knew had forgotten what it was like to be single and therefore, how to love a single person well.
I just want to say as a mother who has never aborted my child that if you are a mother who has, I am with you. Your story and mine may be not be the same. Fine. But at our core, we are no different.
That’s when I realized that in the midst of my need, I didn’t actually want God to provide for me; I wanted Him to make me comfortable. I didn’t want enough to cover this specific need. I wanted enough that I would never have to rely on the help of others again. I said I relied on God, but I really just wanted to make ends meet on my own terms. I didn’t want other people to be involved. I wanted Him to provide in a way that I could just meet the demands I faced by myself.
We feel so incredibly anxious because the things we are pursuing – convenience, happiness and comfort – are forever fleeting and therefore naturally create instability, stress and frustration – a chasing after the wind. But godly pursuits lead to the development of a foundation able to withstand suffering, stress and struggle. So we need to test our hearts and minds to assess our pursuits.
Though we may do it in different local or global contexts, all of our service brings glory to His name. As Christians, we want to glorify one or the other and it’s usually the one we are personally more passionate about. But can’t both be done in a way that gives glory to God?
Our most vital task as parents is to know God so well that what pleases and impresses and disappoints Him affects us, and our parenting daily. We want to know Him so well that what He has done and is capable of doing is obvious to little watching eyes; so well that what He says to us in all of our circumstances sounds loudly to tiny listening ears.
As a disciple-maker I am pointing women to something and someone greater than myself. In return, I get the distinct privilege of watching people become greater than me. Not only that, I get to become greater than me. As I experience God's redemption in beautiful and shocking ways, I become more like Christ as I strive with my disciples towards holiness. This is Christian discipleship.