12.30.2009

my thoughts on the world of christian women

It's possible you remember this blog, and it's probable that you don't. But I'm going to continue finishing all of my thoughts!

I can really relate to what Paul has to say to the Corinthian church here:

"I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."
1st Corinthians 1:10-17 (ESV)

Within the last year, I've slowly become introduced to the world of Christian women. It's that season for me: Most of my friends are getting married, some are having their first children and starting their families.

And I'll tell you what, I love it. It is so fun to watch so many people make these huge steps and hurdles in life.

I love the learning process of it all. Each woman I know is having to constantly learn something new about their new little world. I love learning from all of these women what they're learning!

Most of all, I love that everyone is different. That's definitely my favorite part. Everyone I know has a slightly different method of living, and nobody is wrong! Every family is different, in number, in personality, in background. And every woman I know is working hard to learn and do what is best for her family. I love that there are so many "best" ways of doing things!

Although there are many things I love about all of these differences, there is one thing that I don't love. I'm guessing every woman has experienced a taste of it:

Judgment.

I have definitely been on both ends of it, who hasn't? More often than not, I'm the one judging.

Many times I'll simply have a silent judging thought. Often I'll go on a rant about my opinions, unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) destroying someone else's. Sometimes, I argue with someone and in someway, tell them they are wrong and they simply should not be washing their clothes with actual detergent. I judge easily and with confidence. And I so wish I didn't.

I feel that the current world of women we're living in is interestingly similar to the Corinthian church. I think it's both hilarious and ironic that we, as Christian woman, can sound so much like the Corinthians when they say, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Peter."

For instance, have you ever said, I follow "Simple Mom" or I follow "Money Saving Mom?"

Or perhaps, we tend to follow people we actually know. I follow my mother. I follow her mother. I follow my Doctor. I follow my best friend.

Just to make sure everyone is included:

I vaccinate my children.
I don't vaccinate my children.
My husband and I rent.
My husband and I own a house.
My kids are public-schooled.
My kids are home-schooled.
We are striving to be debt-free.
Debt doesn't bother us.

And so on.

Yes, I'm a Christian but I can't help but wanting to tack on an assortment of the above descriptions! More than that, I can't help but wanting there to be one right way, one right combination of the above. I want it to be gospel truth.

But there is not!

There is the simple gospel: by grace we have been saved because of the sacrifice of God's only Son!

That's it. That's all I need to be identified with. That's all any Christian woman should be identified with.

My concluding thoughts are those of my convicted heart:

I'm so thankful for the God that saved me. I'm thankful also that He is the same saving God that created me, different from everyone else in the world to think, to decide and to have my own opinions about all sorts of things separate from the gospel. These opinions I have, about any of the aforementioned topics are totally, completely separate from the gospel. In no way, should my opinions ever interfere with how I love those around me. My opinions should not keep me from sharing the simple gospel with anyone I know, either!

12.25.2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click on THIS:
Happy Christmas!

12.23.2009

seven months in heaven.

Ah, marital bliss!

On this 23rd day of December we celebrate our 7 months of marriage. Is it heaven? No, it's marriage. More specifically, it's marriage in Iowa, which is a powerful combination.

Let's have an update, shall we?

Some little things:

I have been lying this WHOLE time about when I became a christian. If you lie about when you became a christian does that negate the whole "saved by grace thing?" Crap. If it does. I've been telling everyone that I became a christian when I was 9 and that I got baptized on Easter. However, I was talking to my mom and she says (according to the church records) that I was baptized in December of 1996 (How could confuse snow with flowers?). And I was only 8 then. But an old eight, I was basically as good as 9, right?

Bryan is so close to being able to whistle! He's whistled a few times now and he practices for at least an hour everyday. I'm so proud of you, Bryan!

I have been watching waaaahay too much tv lately. I love watching the Office and Heroes with Bryan but on top of those shows I've been hooked on Project Runway, Glee, and Parks & Recreation. Wait there's more! We're currently watching every season of LOST before Season 6 comes out in February. We're almost done with the 4th Season. Also, I'm obsessed with Gilmore girls. If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift, I'll take all seven seasons of it please.

As far as other hobbies go, we both continue to read. Bryan just finished Frankenstein and he's about to start re-reading the Harry Potter Series over break. I'm reading Blue Like Jazz and still need to finish the last four books of the Chronicles of Narnia Series.

I have been playing an online game called Cargo Bridge. And I'm darn good at it too!

Some big things:

We are absolutely, completely, totally DEBT-FREE! Don't believe it? I'll bet my bottom-dollar on it. (What the crap is a bottom-dollar, by the way?) That was one of our big financial goals for 2009. After a lot of hard work towards this goal, our debt was ultimately dominated when we were given a huge gift from Bryan's parents. (We love you!) Yippee! I'm more excited than Hillary Clinton:

We are MOVING! Whoa? (wow.) What? (we're moving.) Really? (yeppers.)
First of all, thanks to those who have been praying for us about this! Here are some Q&A's I came up with:

Q: You're pregnant.
A: No, I'm not. We're moving.

Q: Where are you moving? Across town?
A: Actually, across the state. We're moving to Iowa City.

Q: When are you moving?
A: Next summer, as early as possible!

Q: Are you quitting your job, LisaGrace?
A: Usually moving entails a job change, so yes. I'm quitting my wonderful job. I will miss it!

Q: WHY are you moving to Iowa City?
A: We will be apart of a church plant there. Our home church, Cornerstone is starting a Salt Company and a Cornerstone of Iowa City.

Q: Why are YOU moving to Iowa City?
A: To be honest, this was not part of "the plan." I should be freaking out right now. I should not be okay with throwing away our main source of income and moving to a completely different place and having no idea what kind-of job I'll be able to get. BUT, seeing as I'm not freaked out, not even in the slightest, kind-of makes me think that the Holy Spirit turned off the worry section of my brain and turned on the overwhelming sense of "God will provide." And that makes me think we're suppose to move. So we're moving because I'm not freaking out about moving, make sense?

Q: What will you do in Iowa City?
A: First on our list is to swallow our Cyclone pride and become Hawks. (heavy sarcasm there, we really could care less!) No really, it's pretty simple. We'll move in. Bryan will transfer to Iowa. I will get a job (hopefully). And we'll live life there. We'll get to know our neighbors and love anyone we meet. We'll share the Good News as God leads us. It's like a long-term mission trip, with the perk of only being 2 hours away from Ames. : )

12.16.2009

being vulnerable vs. being a pushover

Ok, I'm just going to lay this out there, I'm still struggling to find the difference between those two words. In my life, I honestly can't seem to separate the two!

But I am learning.

More than a few of my experiences in life have shown me that if you become vulnerable with someone, they begin to take advantage of you. And it hurts. Everytime. Tears are inevitable for me, and bitterness easily takes root in my weak flesh.

And contrarily, some of the best moments in some of the best relationships come when I've totally laid my heart out there and they've received me, despite my sin with love, comfort, and gentle correction and accountibility. Tears are inevitable for both of us, and somehow the tears aren't as painful or embarassing when someone is just as brokenhearted over my sin as me.

I've lived in the aforementioned bitterness because of "more than a few" experiences. I've reveled in it, complained about it to my husband and to others who would listen. I've been corrected about it, several times. I've asked God to rid me of it. But ultimately, over the past couple of years, I've shut myself in a steel box with it. I've held fast to it and didn't allow anything in.

So far, I sound kind-of hopeless don't I? I can't help but laugh at myself. I feel so pathetic reading that last paragraph!

But I am learning.

At least, I'm opening my gigantic steel box. Just a crack.

Learning Point #1: There are people who will take advantage of me when I am vulnerable! It happens. I've experienced it. Christians, non-christians, both.

Learning Point #2: Ultimately, I need to get over it. But more than that, I need to forgive them. Everyday, if necessary. I repeat some version of, "Even though they hurt me, I still need to love them." when I'm in a bitter mood.

Learning Point #3: More often than not, love means honesty, and especially if a believer is the one who hurt me, I need to be honest with them (according to scripture). Often they will admit they were wrong and we'll discuss how to improve our relationship. Sometimes, which has only happened to me once or twice, they will continue in their ways.

Learning Point #4: It's ok to not trust everyone I meet. And it's ok to not trust those who have broken my trust. I'm not talking about acquaintance trust, but deep trust. I still tend to generally trust people not to mug me upon that first handshake, you know.

Learning Point #5: It's even more important to find someone I can trust!!! I can't shut everyone out because one person hurt me. This was/is the hardest part for me. For at least a year, I didn't trust anyone. I kept everything to myself, in that steel box. But the people in my life that I can share everything with, I cherish more than anything.

Finally, I would simply like to share with the world today that I am pathetic. I am often a pushover and allow myself to be taken advantage of. I am more often bitter at everything that has wronged me.

But.

It actually makes sense that I'm that way. I am a child in need of a Savior. He loves me. He wants me to love everyone around me. And He wants me to have fellowship with those who will sharpen me.

So I will not be conquered by my sin! I trust Him, who sees me in my most vulnerable states.