Friday, August 20, 2010

You Can't Legislate Christianity

" Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. "  -Romans 12: 2-4
 I love when I have the opportunity to get in the car with enough time to listen to Chris Fabry on WGNR in the afternoons.  He comes on from 3-4 pm, and I'm always intrigued by his relevant topics in the Christian point of view.  You can subscribe to his podcast; you might really like it!
    Anyway, I caught the tail end of the show as I left school to pick up Alex at the bus stop, and Chris Fabry was talking about how you can't legislate Christianity.  I couldn't agree more.
    I am personally not a fan of Christians who get on their soapbox about certain controversial legislative topics.  I don't want to sound like I don't support the Christian point of view on these topics because as a Christian, I support what Jesus says in the Bible about these issues, not a politician.  I get a little frustrated when people make these issues about politics because in my eyes, they aren't.  I know that there are many people who don't agree with the Bible and are very against the Jesus' message on particular areas, and I respect how you feel, I just may not agree with you, and I mean that with love!
    Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love people, all kinds of people.  I grew up in a very diverse setting and my track record shows that I'm usually drawn to people who are the exact opposite of who I appear to be.  With this perspective, I have so many kinds of friends, and they are beautiful, wonderful people and most of them don't share my faith.  I am humble enough to know that I have no idea how it feels to walk in every one's shoes; I only know what it's like to walk in my own and to express what I've learned as a result of that experience.
    What I have learned is this:  I only began to touch the tip of the ice burg of how to love when I gave my heart over to Christ.  I bought the contemporary ideal which is often advertised in the media and our culture that I was supposed to engage in certain behaviors, which in my opinion are glorified.  On top of that, the media rarely shows neither the consequences nor the pain that those behaviors can cause in one's overall life.  So, like me, I "drank the kool aid" and found myself in my late teens through the age of 22 very depressed and saddened by all of this.  Unfortunately, I didn't think there was any other way and felt trapped and disillusioned by what my culture was feeding me; I thought this was it and this was how my life was going to be for the rest of my life.  As a result, I continued with destructive behavior and found myself more depressed by its results.
    I am thankful that God gave me the courage to be on my own and dive into a new adventure when I was offered my teaching job down in Florida when I was 22.  It was then that I could take seriously the call that was speaking to my heart: I needed to etch my own, new identity, and all I knew at the time that the main part of this step was going to church and praying.  It was total blind faith, but I felt so comforted and affirmed as I walked closer and closer to Christ.  It took me a few months to solidify my relationship with Christ where I could verbalize exactly what I was doing; it wasn't an instantaneous thing, but I knew that I needed and wanted Jesus in my heart, and I didn't look back.  He had taken away the guilt and the condemnation and allowed me to be new in Him.  It was the most beautiful dance, a courtship, if you will.
The Ya Yas at Diamond Lake:  August 2010
Steve and I arriving at Bald Head Island, NC
    Here's the deal:  it wasn't legislated to me that I had to live a particular way and make those choices for my life.  It was because of the love of Christ that He brought me to Him and brought angels to me to support me in my walk, especially my husband and my Ya Yas.  It was because I learned what real love is; I learned that it's not exactly getting what I want, especially in the moment.  I learned that sometimes you have to wait for the best things in life.  I believe that that's how God works, and that's how God reaches people.  It's not about someone attempting to overpower someone like a megaphone in one's ear.

It's an endless conversation, but like I said, I don't want anyone to be legislated to behave and feel a certain way; it's a matter of the heart.  As far as I'm concerned, my heart belongs to Him; it's His!  I think it's a valid question that I think everyone should ask themselves:  Who does your heart belong to and is this person worthy of it?  Only you can answer that for yourself.
With Love,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Livin' the Vida Loca

Alex's snaggle tooth

Too many topics to cover...
I started school off this week, and it's been awesome.  My kiddos are sweet and funny.  I have artists and musicians, skateboarders and football players...  So awesome!  As usual, my colleagues and I on the second floor of HSJH had too much fun.  We simply love kids and love to be at work.  It's a great combination!
The Craig family has had a new visitor for the past two weeks.  My sister in law's dog, Marley, is staying with us for a few weeks (Suzy, he's yours again in two weeks!!!)  He's seriously the sweetest dog, but he's large.  I've frustratingly come home to missiles and smeared missiles in the house three times this week, and I'm not down with that.  After cleaning up doo doo and other sundry doggy chemicals for an hour when coming home from work, I left Steve a nasty message with an ultimatum:  me or the dog by the weekend.  Well, like I said, Marley is a sweetheart.  He loves Alex sooo much.  He sleeps with her every night and wants to follow her everywhere she goes.  On the other hand, when we come home in the afternoons, he's too wild for me.  I open the door and he barges out like a steam engine right into the middle of the street.  To walk him when we get home is like being pulled around like a rag doll.  My poor father in law came over in the middle of the day this week to get the dogs outside, and Marley knocked him on the ground.  That's not a good thing.  Those of you who know Charlie, my dog, she is literally the easiest dog ever; I'm spoiled with her.  I kind of like it that way...two more weeks.
My wonderful friends in the hood threw me a super sweet baby shower yesterday.  Kim, my neighbor, should be a party planner.  She had everything so beautiful!  Although I don't have a specific time when TJ will be home, opening presents for him and receiving stuff for his room really made it sink in.  We will have a beautiful baby boy soon.  Whoa.  My friend, Sarah, sent me a link to a blog of a family she knows who adopted from Ethiopia.  They just brought their beautiful little girl home, but I appreciated their blog so much because it was very honest about their trip home.  To say the least, it was challenging to travel with a new baby for 24 hours on a plane.  Because of finances, I plan on traveling alone when TJ comes home; we can't swing it financially for both of us for the second trip.  I begged Steve on Friday, after reading this blog, to please try to come up with a way that he can come with me!  This is my prayer request right now.
Alex starts second grade at Heritage Christian tomorrow.  Second grade!  Where did the time go?  She's ready with her new messenger bag (that's right; a messenger bag, because she doesn't like the backpack), and a lunch box.  For the past two years, I have been the "eat school lunch everyday" mom.  Because we have gotten more into organic food, I have decided to pack her lunch as much as possible.  We'll see how it goes!  I love her so much, and my goal for her this year is to inspire her to LOVE reading.  I'm going to work my magic and see how it goes!  She will also be starting the year off looking like Nanny McPhee.  Her front tooth is literally hanging out of her mouth because she REFUSES to pull it out.  It's the most awkward thing I've ever seen, but those of you who know her, know how stubborn she can be. She has been wrestled, offered money by various people, and pleaded with to get the tooth out.  Oh well.
Steve has been working at the state fair this week.  Habitat is building a home there and then transferring it this coming Friday to the site.  He has come home burnt from the sun and sweaty.  I know it must be rough out there, so here's a shout out to all the folks out there hammering away on that house!  They truly don't call it "sweat equity" for nothing!
On another note, have you seen Ramona and Beezus?  If you haven't, you should!  It made me cry.  As I was sitting there, I realized that Alex is very much like Ramona...good intentions, a little bit of a mess, big heart, and independent as can be.  It was humble, sweet, and NOT dumbed down.
So, we're off!  Off to another week of making it work!  
Alex and Marley eating breakfast