Barbed Wire

Usually people come up with grand goals on New Years, most of which they will discard by the end up the month. I might set New Years goals as well, but right now Christmas is inspiring me to do better.

I need to be kinder. I will always have a backbone of steel. I am still the Lisa that people know and love (or hate). I will, however, try to be kinder to people in a variety of settings. I need to restrain my tongue basically. That doesn’t mean I will accept abuse. It may seem that I reiterate that entirely too much, but past experiences have taught me to stand strong. There are many wolves who seek to devour, to destroy.

I need to draw closer to the good people in my life, many of whom I have been distrustful of, and occasionally hostile too. I need to get into fewer political arguments. I will vote my conscience and you will vote yours. Unless the setting is designed for debate, I will stay out of it. That doesn’t mean I will hide what I think, but there is no need to be aggressive about it.

I need to emanate goodness. Sometimes people show me that goodness. I would rather be like them.

My life is cleaner now. It is time for a change. My circumstances have changed, and I no longer need as much acerbic language and a heart behind a wall.

This may allow me to be more myself than I ever have been in my life. I don’t believe I have to live as an emotional refugee behind barbed wire, shooting off proverbial guns anymore. I want to be the person I should be. I want God to look at my life and be pleased.

I want to make people happy. I need to learn to trust, though it goes against everything in me. Everyone needs someone they can count on to care for them, and I want friends and strangers alike to feel they can come to me.

If you need help, whether it is words of encouragement or company in the hard, glittery nights of winter, call me or come to my house. Text me or send me a message on Facebook. If you need anything else, reach out. There are so many people I wish I had gotten closer to, but shyness and emotion got in the way.

I am going to try hard. If you see something in me that crosses the line between opinionated and harsh, tell me. If you see a lack of charity in me, call me out. Whether you are someone I hang out with now, or an old friend or schoolmate, reach out to me for any reason at all. Don’t be shy.

This may be a long road with difficulties and stumbles, but I am diving in to do my best. Not just for me, but more importantly for God and the people around me. I have tried to be gentler in the past, but this is so much more than that. This is about taking my heart and burning away the dross to get to the gold.

Giving Thanks

Often, when I make gratitude lists on here, it is to cheer myself up. Today I feel very good. I still want to make a list though. Praising God is important.

  1. Thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to stay home. It helps my mental health, and is also allowing me to pursue a creative life.
  2. Thank you, God, for the random word generator someone felt inspired to build on the internet. It is beginning to fuel new projects.
  3. Thank you for giving my daughter a good start in Kindergarten. I pray that you will help her continually. She is dyslexic, and that does not make school easy for her. Thank you for blessing her with wonderful teachers.
  4. Thank you for giving me good neighbors.
  5. I am thankful there are no sunflowers around. They scare me and make my hair stand on end. I look like Don King when I see those huge sunflowers with their cruel, watchful faces.
  6. Thank you for a wonderful day.
  7. I love my psych, and I thank you Lord for leading me to her.

Send Me

Except please don’t.

In my devotional it talks about telling the Lord you are willing to go where He wants to send you.

Wherever He wants to send me it must involve the military since I married to a guy in the Navy. I don’t know where exactly God wants me, whether it’s another city or some place in town that I should be. Either way I don’t feel as willing as I should. Part of that is that I just like where I am. I like my life and routine. I like where I live. Truthfully I have no desire to do or live any differently.

I go through periods of time where I would be thrilled to step up and do something for God. And then I go through times like this, the spring and the summer and their problems, and I don’t want to be sent anywhere. Sometimes I wonder if there are things you’re supposed to do from your home. Or at least people very near to you. I don’t believe that God wants everyone to be a missionary. At all times though you must be willing to say “Here am I. Send me.”

God please keep me here. I am having more good days lately. I am willing to go where you want to send me. Please keep me here. Often times my posts on faith are my way of working through thoughts as much as they are writing down my opinions and scriptural interpretations.

Please, if it is your will, let me stay here. If it is your will that I go someplace new, please don’t crush me with it.

Headcovering-Maybe

Lately I have done very little veiling. At this point I am conflicted. Do I go back to using daily discipline to wear my veils? Or do I take some time off and reevaluate?

It has been hot lately and I haven’t wanted anything else on my head. Lame excuse but it’s true. While it doesn’t get as hot and miserable here as it does back in the Southeast, we are still adjacent to the prairie and it does get pretty hot on bad days. I dread having anything else on my head.

Then there is the issue of being sick. I began to fall off the wagon with my head covering when I started not feeling well. The summer has been a mix of not feeling well mentally and not feeling well physically. Sometimes both of them suck. Other times I might feel fantastic mentally but physically I feel like crap. Or vice versa. And as a result I just want to go out of the house and not worry about it.

I need to dive back into the verses of the word that cover head covering. I started wearing head coverings as a symbol of submission to my husband and God, as well as a reminder to submit to them. I do feel like I’ve made great strides with those things. Especially with submitting to my husband. I still have days where I am kind of willful and difficult to deal with, but by and large I accept my husband’s decisions. I contribute to them obviously, but I accept them. I admire my husband’s leadership and I want him to lead me and our daughter and set the direction for our household. The question is do I need to continue wearing the head covering daily if I am accomplishing these skills? Would it be best to save them and then begin wearing them again if I realize that I have fallen off the wagon and I’m not doing what I should be doing?

Also, my husband likes to see my hair.

Spiritual practices do not become superfluous because someone does not feel like having the disciplined pursue them. If I need to wear a veil please God then I should continue to do so. I am just not sure what the holy spirit is telling me. Whatever the holy spirit says, the holy spirit will not contradict the Bible.

No Rest for the Wicked

Two things stand out to me in this post the most. The first is that God takes Mercy on us because we are the ones he created and he wants to see us do well. God’s goal is not to see us demolished. The second thing that really stood out to me is the very end where it says there are no places of respite for the wicked.

I am the wicked. I do not pray. God knows I need to, that not only do I need to offer prayers for those around me, but that I need prayer myself.

God, deliver me from my thoughts of dying. From being stranded from my own mind. From looming larger than color.

God knows best that I need rest. Sleep. Equilibrium. I am searching for my Lectio Divina book. Until then, God please help me. You know the trouble I have been in.

Apocrypha

Just as a quick note, I am invigorating my spiritual life. I have a new devotional. Moreover, I am going to start reading and studying the apocryphal books of the Bible. Having predominantly been protestant, I was almost an adult before I knew any of these books existed. Now I want to study the books, and also see why they were removed. If they are Holy, I can learn from them. If they aren’t, I pray I can discern the difference.

A Reflection of Christ

I have been conforming to the world rather than the Word.

I obsess over society specific standards of beauty rather than the beauty of my soul. I have cares more about pleasing the world than pleasing my husband. I have focused on my looks (weight, fashion etc) more than on God.

I believe in charity, in Christ’s call to give to the poor. But lately I have not given enough. I am well past due for a donation to one of my favorite organizations – St Jude’s.

I have not been a good steward of the time that God has granted me. I fritter away my time on social media.

This past weekend I fast it again from social media like I used to, and I think it was good for me. Social media is still good for many things, and as a housewife it can be an important way for me to connect to others around me. But too much time spent on social media is a waste. It could be put to better use educating my child, cleaning my house, reading a good book, or creating poetry. There’s so much more I could do than scroll Facebook or Instagram.

I need to be open and comfortable with how I look. I need to fully adjust dressing modestly because it’s what makes God happy and what makes my husband happy. And I think it reminds me to die to the flesh a little bit. I need to give more, whether it is of my time or money. With mental issues being the way they are it can be difficult to donate time just because it’s hard to make a long-term commitment. But I need to find some way to give of myself to my community.

Lutheran Church

Today we tried a Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod. The Methodist church has been splintered by the LGBT issue. Although the church ruled not to allow the ordination of active gays and lesbians, it was the African and Asian churches who carried that vote. Most of the American and other Western churches opposed the decision. Our conference is in open rebellion against the ruling at the General Conference, and in our church newsletter there was a screed about discrimination essentially being further codified and made harsher.

The LGBT issue is a difficult one for me as a bi Christian, but fundamentally I believe that those living in homosexual relationships should not be ordained. They should be a part of the church and allowed to serve in the church. But ordination is a whole other matter. I do not think I should be ordained for a variety of reasons, and I believe that active homosexuals should not be eligible for ordination either. In the same way I would not want a divorced or adulterous person to be ordained, nor do I want the church to ordain those mired in homosexual sin unless they have chosen to be pure. Those who are ordained have to go above and beyond to make sure they are above reproach. They are to be held to a higher standard than others in the church.

Sometimes I feel like the church does not offer enough shelter and grace to LGBT people. I am happily married to a man, yet if the subject of sexuality comes up and I tell other Christians I am bi, I am sometimes the immediate recipient of the cold shoulder – at best. I’ve also been told that there are demons on me etc. I can only imagine what someone just like me who has chosen another woman instead of a man faces. There has been an uneven judgment in which the church weighs homosexuality more heavily than other kinds of sin and judges homosexuals to be the worst of sinners. This has got to stop. Your homosexual neighbor is no worse than your shoplifting teenage daughter, your lying brother, your drunken cousin. Yet to be ordained, although it is impossible to be sinless as a mere mortal, you should not be a shoplifter (or any other kind of thief), a liar, or a drunk. It is because the ordained must be a cut above. No one will listen to what you preach if you do not practice it. An ordained minister should, more than any of us, be the Word of God in action.

There are some who make the argument that the Bible does not teach against Homosexuality, but as of yet I have not seen a convincing argument for that.

We are also interested in the Lutheran church because they do not ordain women. That is one of our beliefs, particularly mine.

We want to attend the super traditional service with the classical liturgy next week. This week we attended a mixed service. It was still lovely. I took communion, which I have not been able to do in awhile. It was real wine. I was not thrilled about that, but of course the Lutherans are not the only ones to use real wine. I will be asking if juice is an option if we end up joining this church.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is difficult. This is especially true if the person you need to forgive isn’t sorry.

Everyone has someone in their lives that they need to forgive, whether it’s for something small or something really big. For me, forgiveness is a struggle for sure.

Some people don’t understand forgiveness, or misuse the very concept for their own benefit. Forgiveness doesn’t mean taking someone back into your life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean trusting them again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean making excuses for them. Forgiveness means that you have chosen to let go of any bitterness or anger, not for their benefit but for yours.

I am on a journey of forgiveness. It’s a process. I’m in therapy to try to work things out and I think that’s helping. If I want to be a disciple of Christ I have to forgive. I don’t have to tolerate abuse. I don’t have to take anyone’s crap. But I do need to find it in my heart to forgive those who have wronged me, who have mistreated me.

Study of Daniel

This evening I began an in-depth study of Daniel that I bought from Christian Book.

I am really excited.

Two companies have entire series with individual studies of each book of the Bible, as well as some topical studies. To start off, I have ordered one study on Daniel, one on Revelation, and one about angels.

Rereading the first half of Daniel this evening has been really illuminating. I have been in the New Testament for quite a while. But every chapter of this book is a constant reminder to prevail, to have strength. Of course there’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Everybody knows the story about the fiery furnace. But there’s so much more than that. Kings were ordering fortune-tellers and sorcerers to death right and left, and Daniel was able to speak up and interpret the King’s dream because God had given him that gift. It had to have been at least mildly nerve-wracking to offer up not only an interpretation of the King’s dream, but to actually recount it to him, especially knowing how many people had put to death for not being able to do that. But Daniel went ahead because he knew that God had granted him that vision.

As a spiritual person I am really compelled by the central role that dreams play in Daniel. The king has important dreams that show him his future, and Daniel has visions about these dreams that he is able to interpret. Essentially, God repeatedly gives people spiritual and literal information through dreams and visions. That is incredibly powerful. People often laugh about the entire subject of interpreting dreams. Freud did the subject no favors in a lot of ways. And of course sometimes dreams have nothing to do with God. However, we should never rule out the possibility that what we have seen in our sleep is a message.

God goes where he pleases and does what he wants. He is limitless. He can speak to us regardless of our state of consciousness. I need to start paying more attention to my dreams. I need to be spiritually receptive when I am awake and when I’m asleep.