In February I got an email from my kids’ school to be alert for “trends and hypes.” All parents were encouraged to give extra thought to the cartoon figures we let our children wear or bring to school, via bags and lunch boxes. My kids attend a school that identifies as Christian, so we knew, in addition to extra singing/music, bible stories and praying, there would be attention to avoiding really frightening stories, or stories of witchcraft, zombies, etc. But this email called out Elsa, Anna, and even Superman. Uh, What??
I’m a bit bible nerdy and instead of skipping over peculiar texts, I sometimes dwell on them. It’s a quirk I’m trying to appropriate so here’s my take on a text you probably never heard preached in church: The fourteenth day.
It appeared during Moses’ instructions to Israel before the 10th and final, most gut-wrenching plague. Every first born was to be killed and this plague sparked the Exodus from Egypt.
Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but more deeply. In Frozen we glimpse our divine identity and sacrificial love, but Brave touches on the reality of our love-hate relationship with God. (Warning, spoiler alert.)
Fiery and fun-loving Merida wants to live life on her own terms, like the rest of us. But rules and traditions oppress her spirit. Mom does her best to prep Merida for the way of princesses before her, aka arranged marriage and great authority, but the two are losing their minds, and eachother.
I believe God can be found anywhere, from the breeze on your skin, to the wisdom of your kids. Sometimes He* makes surprise appearances in a theater or a Justin Bieber track (post coming!) and my latest encounter was during the Speed Racer film.
The more I watched Racer X, the more I thought of Jesus, and the more I watched Speed, the more I thought of myself. Racing is a great metaphor for life–tension, time, passion, power— and every ‘Speed Racer’ can use a ‘Racer X’ in his corner…
You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.
It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.
Do we love because we want to, or because we ‘must?’ If the latter, is that really love?
This post is part of the #GodsOneLines series–breaking hate and/or shame caused by people wielding bible verses. Instead I want to use single bible verses or events to encourage and reveal God’s Heart if possible.
This story starts with Tears– mine as I write, and Heaven’s one fateful day.
It starts with the return of Jews from Babylonian exile. Their repeated offenses, including refusing to set servants free, caught up with them despite divine warnings. Sure, they listened for a time, but soon after changed their minds, re-taking men, women and children into captivity (sounds like the Moses story with Pharaoh, right?)
Today my son was cranky. Going out for breakfast with four children– three of them 4 years and under– isn’t easy or fast and my eldest was annoyed. “It’s too druk!” he protested (Dutch for busy/hectic), and I tried to soothe and encourage him. I shared about family from the perspective of The Incredibles (many God-lessons come from kids movies, like Frozen), noting that when they fought side-by-side they were the strongest. But my son didn’t want to hear, much less see me.
I suggested he walk ahead so it was like I wasn’t there, but he started to cry: ‘You are always there!”
The world got quiet and slow and in an instant I had a heaven-flash…
Is this what I said to you, God? Is this why we can’t “see” You? Did I not want anything to do with You and, didn’t trust You had my best interest at heart, and, from eternity, was totally fed up with “Your Presence”?? Ouch.
One of the saddest glimpses into God’s Heart comes from this paragraph from Paul of Tsarsus:
It’s possible to get so wrapped up in God, the Bible, your ‘quiet time,’ that you miss His Heart and religion creeps in. God becomes a mere idol and the effects can be devastating, especially if you’re in a family.
I have heard too many stories of people who got, or are currently planning divorce because their partner is getting in the way of their “ministry” (aka service to/for God). #SayWhat?! If you or someone you know ever thought, “I could do so much more for God, go further, faster.. if they didn’t hold me back…” , or if you were willing to serve God at any and all costs, look out, this post is for you.
You can prepare a room, prepare baby clothes, and try to prepare yourself, but nothing can prepare you for the wild “nesting” phenomenon that rises in you. I got hit bad, worse than most women I spoke to. And just to be clear, I was never a housekeeping guru–simple tidy, not spotless, was my m.o.– but almost overnight I had an itch to scrub and organize everything. And not just the “baby room,” the whole house.
Beauty and Perfection became the new standard and I was on a mission, without realizing, to make the best “nest” possible.
If you’ve got kids, you’re raising them to leave you. That cut umbilical cord was the clue they don’t really belong to us–they were born to fly.
Eventually they leave the nest–Mine are too young for me to even fathom this, but I lived it and probably you too. When we return, parents cancel appointments and make favorite meals. Quality time and fun are maximized and we taste a bit of heaven.
Were you one of the kids who packed up dirty laundry to bring home? I was!!