Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What exactly is too Churchy?

It was brought to my attention that some of my blogs are “heavy.”  I can only translate this as too Churchy.  Now I realize that Churchy is not an actual word, but y’all know what I mean. 

I will just say a few things on the subject.  First, I believe in the Apostles Creed.  The Apostles Creed goes like this:

I believe in God the Father, almighty maker of heaven and maker of earth, and in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, He was crucified, buried, and dead.  He ascended into Heaven and on the third day, he rose again! He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God’s mighty right hand. I believe that he is returning to judge the quick, and the dead, and the sons of men. I believe in the Holy Spirit, one Holy Church, the communion of Saints the forgiveness of sins, and I believe in the resurrection. I believe in life that never ends.

The band Third Day does a great song of this creed.  The lyrics that follow the creed say, “I believe what I believe; it’s what makes me who I am.  I did not make it. No! It is making me.  It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man!”

Now if you feel this is too Churchy, well, let me also explain why I need God in my everyday life.  It would be simple to say please, just watch the evening news!  However, there are smaller issues that need addressing regularly with me.  I have discussed on many occasions my lack of obedience, which coincides with a lack of discipline.  These are things I pray about, but even more than that, I need God for the even smaller issues.

I need to remember God when I am driving.  If I did not have God, then most people would get the finger from me, when they cut me off on the highway, or worse when they do not know how to yield!  That is not to say that I have never slipped up on that one.  I also need God when I stub my toes, because it is in that moment that my mouth automatically wants to shout, “OH ---- pick an expletive.”

Although I firmly believe that praying for patience is a prayer foul, I do need it.  My definition of a patience prayer foul is simple, pray for patience get tested until you finally get it.  That is usually not fun.  There have been occasions when I admit to my impatience, and the Lord and his sweet sense of humor put me in check. For example, the night I was trying to get my four year old to wash her hair in a timely manner.  I mentioned that I was not trying to be impatient, but she needed to hurry anyway.  She stood there, put her hands together in a prayer position and said, “Dear Lord, please help mommy not to be so impatient.”  As I contemplated my feelings, laughter and guilt, I decided I should be proud that she had in fact been listening about prayer.  I chalked it up to a win.

My churchy-ness is sometimes not just about sharing my Faith with others; it is also a reminder to me.  God calls us to love one another, and to be Christ like.  It is really hard to remember to love when you are too busy being upset over the little things.  For me, I take solace in the Bible and the promises it offers, and try to remember God has a plan for everything.  He has a plan for me, and He expects me to carry it out with the same mercy, grace, and love that he has given me.

I guess if you think I am being churchy, then be glad God calls me to be nice to you!  

Monday, August 29, 2011

The In-Laws

For those of you who don’t know I live across the street from my in-laws.  Yes, that is right; I live in the real life Everybody Loves Brent!  My in-laws are great people they have taught me a thing or two, and I would like to share this wisdom with you.

Lesson 1: 

I find that love is something you learn more about with each passing day.  My husband and I moved to San Antonio after we had only been married a year.  One day I was watching the news with my in-laws and husband.  As we watched the weather, weatherman Albert Flores was on television.  My husband said, “Hey, did you know that Albert Flores is really the Spurs Coyote?”  I was a new Spurs fan and so I said, “What?  Really?”  I had disbelief thinking that he was too chubby to be in the costume, but then I asked my father-in-law.  A little background here, my father-in-law, may be the nicest man on the planet, and at this point, I thought he would never lie to me!  His answer was straight faced as well as a bold face lie, “Yes, Albert Flores is the Coyote; he has been doing it for years.”  That answer solidified it for me; Albert Flores was the Spurs Coyote.  For the next six months, until they finally came clean, I believed Albert Flores was in fact the Spurs Coyote!  I learned then, that Gravett love was funny, and put me at risk for being a fool.

Lesson 2:

Don’t leave your water hose unrolled in the yard, and fix the flag!  As my neighbors, my in-laws believe in keeping up the neighborhood, and so do I.  However, there is nothing like the phone call in the middle of dinner that says, “Can you believe our neighbor?  That house looks so tacky with the hose in the middle of the yard?”  My response, naturally, “Which neighbor?”  Then with a hearty laugh, the answer comes, “Yours! Go roll up your hose!”  Then there is the flag that constantly needs untangling.   On a side note, CONFESSION, I hate to make my bed.  I make my bed nearly everyday, but it is a fact that when I do not, my mother in law WILL come over!  I know there is a pride issue here, but I often think when I am standing in front of God Almighty, I am pretty sure, he won’t be asking me if I made my literal bed everyday! 

As far as a neighborly role, I often tease them that I am going to plant all fake flowers in my yard.  I also tell them for Christmas I will buy huge inflatable decorations that light up and sing loudly to drive them and their dogs insane.  In response, they say don’t waste your money, we will sneak over in the middle of the night and pop the inflatables and pull out those tacky flowers!  There is a constant banter of neighborly issues. “Did y’all take my water sprinkler?” The responses is always deny first, laugh hard, and confess later, much later!

Lesson 3:

This by far is the most important lesson, love without condition!  I have to say, I am honored and blessed to have such sweet in-laws.  They are shining examples of loving unconditionally.  My husband is there only son.  My mother-in-law told me very early on that she decided she was just going to like me no matter what.  To this day, even when we have a bad day, I know that at the end of the day she still loves me.  My father-in-law is my biggest ally when the evil twins get together.  (That being my hubby and his mom, I call them evil twins because they have the same sense of humor and are usually on the same page.  I will often get the same conversation from them separately in the same day.)  My in-laws are always giving to us, and to our daughter.  Their actions truly show their hearts and their hearts over flow with love for Brent, our daughter, and me.

While living so close to my in-laws we have our funny quirky moments.  We always seem to have a good time, and there is always laughter in our homes.  The laughter isn’t so much with each other as it is AT each other.   

Finally, I just want to dedicate this to my sweet mother-in-law, who called me last week and gave me some insight into our relationship.  It was at that moment, I knew I must do something special for her, and this is my little love letter to her humor, grace, and love. SO THERE!  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Simple Yet Complex

This week’s mindset has been a tough one.  It is on my heart to write about obedience.  However, I am not very familiar with this subject.  I think both my husband and family would agree in saying, I do not listen worth a darn!  

In Sunday school, we have been in the book of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah is a prophet, and he is tasked with telling the people that God is angry with them for their disobedience.  It occurred to me that in reality, what God was asking was simple to an obedient heart, yet complex to the disobedient.  There is always a catch, right?

Here are a couple of examples of the simple yet complex:

Example 1:  I ask my husband does this make me look fat.  

The correct answer is always the truth; however, the truth is relevant to the day.  I do not want to look like a cow when I exit the house, but I also want a halfway sensitive answer if in fact I need to change.  The blanket you look beautiful darling only makes me angrier!  This is a simple question, but the answer can be very complex!

Example 2:  What do you want for dinner?

I hate this question!  It seems like a simple question, but it is always greeted with,”Uh, I dunno, what do you want?”   My point is that if I knew what I wanted I wouldn’t be asking you.  UGH!  This is a huge thing in my household.  The funny thing is we both want the same thing, a decision.  Then inevitably the first suggestion is greeted with a no, I don’t want that.  This leads back to the original question, a few minutes of the silent treatment followed by dirty looks.  Simple yet complex!

There are many examples in the Bible when God does or asks something simple, and we as people are left questioning, over analyzing it, and making it complex.  Jesus says,” I am the way the truth and the life, no one gets to the father but by me.” John 14:6.  Yet, people believe that if they are a good person that is enough.  It simply is not.  The faulty logic here falls in the relying on self.  I think that is what makes Jesus’ simple promise so complex.  It is hard for us to rely solely on someone else's goodness and sacrifice.  It is our nature to say I have to do something, or I have to be good enough to earn it.  God asks us to accept His son and His love, and all we have to do is simply accept it.  We don't earn it, it is a gift.
Now what in the heck does all this have to do with obedience?  My guess is that obedience is simple.  If you have a rule designed to protect you, then you should just follow it.  I think sometimes in life you just have to accept the answer to the question even if you don’t like it.  It is simple, until you have to live it!  After all, how do you loose weight?  Simple, diet and exercise…. well maybe not so simple!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet Sadness

When I was ten years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  It happened like this.  We went on a family trip to the beach, and I came back with diabetes.  Well, that is the short version of the story.  The friends that we were with at the beach had a daughter with diabetes, and when my sugar was checked, it was obvious I was too.  I always felt like that is when my life started.  I can remember telling my mom, that I was glad it was me.  If anyone in our family was going to have this, it had to be me; I was the only one tough enough.  In a ten-year-old mind, I had an allergy to sugar.

As I grew I never considered having children very seriously.  I figured my life would be like that well known movie, Steel Magnolias.  It was much later when I decided that I loved someone enough to work out all the details of being a diabetic and pregnant.  It was at this time, that I also associate with my committing my life to God, and surrendering to His control.  Never in a million years, did I ever count on having the wonderful daughter I have today.

Tonight, I tucked in my sweet four year old, and prayed many thanks for her great health, her caring heart, and her precious smile.  I am overwhelmed by the incredible gift that she is to me.  The Lord has blessed me beyond what I deserve, and all honor and glory goes to God the father.

As the new school year approaches, I am a little melancholy over the fact that my precious baby will be in K4.  The time has flown by so quickly.  Each day I marvel at the new things she learns and even more so at the things she repeats.  I think everyone should have children, because they are the fasted way to see your personal bad habits!  She says things sometimes, and I have to stop and ask myself, “Do I really sound like that?”  Then I never know whether to laugh or cry when she imitates wearing my insulin pump, or tells me, “Mama, I think I need juice because my blood sugar.”  She also often has to check her sugar and constantly asks when she is going to get her insulin pump.  Through the eyes of a four year old, I am sure that the buttons and alarms are fascinating!

Contrary to the sadness, I also feel the sweet relief of back to school.  Back to school, means back to a regular routine!  Growing up, I hated routine. As an adult I relish in it, I count on it, a routine makes my life and my blood sugars work best.  In all honesty, I look forward to a few hours of silence.  My child inherited my talking, and although it seems foreign to me, there are days, when I WISH for silence! 

On Monday, we go to meet the teacher.  I told her tonight I was going to take lots of pictures.  I am notoriously bad at remembering to take pictures.  Time is moving so quickly I want to remember these days, when she wants me to go with her and hold her hand.  I fear the days of let me go are approaching us faster than I can imagine.  For now, I will have to settle to be out on the gymnastics floor, with a scared kid, a chubby adult surrounded by 3 and 4 years olds, trying to do the splits!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The day I almost died from Yoga

As I have said before in my blog, I am not thin.  I am not active but I need to take better care of myself.  Here is the account of my effort to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, and take a step to better health.  I attended a Yoga class, and this is what happened. 

I have a sweet friend who had been asking me to go with her.  She is encouraging, a wonderful cheerleader and friend.  I say this with all the love in my heart and no intention of hurting feelings, but of course, she is thin.  Before I accepted the invitation, I asked if the class was beginner yoga or bend it like Beckam yoga; I was assured that it was yoga for all levels.  I accepted the invitation and this is what happened.

The room was dimly lit and soft music playing in the background.  Already, I was thinking, “Please, please don’t ask me to hug a tree or recycle something.”  A beautifully toned woman introduced herself to my friend and me.  She was the teacher, and asked if there was anything specific, we wanted to work on.  My answer went something like this; “I have never done this before, so I am going to go with the flow and if I can’t do it I won’t” She smiled and said ok.

The class began with some stretching.  At this point, I was acutely aware of my out of shape-ness.  I guess I could give many lines on shape here, because I have shape, but chubby was not doing me any favors in this class.  The first struggle was the chair position, with no chair.  By the way, when there is a chair, I am great in a chair, but with no actual chair, it only took a minute or two before my out of shape legs started to shake from my own weight.  Then the class continued with many positions that involved being on a mat in a push up pose.  It was at this time, that I realized just how much I weigh.  I mean seriously, I picked this class because I thought I could do some stretches, no big deal!  I had no idea yoga actually makes you use your fat against you.  As I am struggling to keep myself lifted, knees down, I am suddenly happy that one of the three men in class was next to me, only because, he was struggling too, and kept looking at his phone for the time wanting to end the madness.  I glance over at my friend and she was like a champ, lifting and moving, and I am pretty sure at that time, I whispered, I don't like you anymore! ( with a smile of course!)

Class proceeded and I made to the cool down stretch out.  I lay there on the mat praying, “Dear Jesus, please do not let me die tomorrow.  I do not want to regret this, please Lord Jesus, please.”  I was begging and pleading, because I was already wondering how I would get downstairs, my legs felt like mush.  Class finished and I told my dear friend I would let her know the next day if we were still friends.

I am happy to say we are still friends, but I learned a valuable lesson.  I hate yoga.  There is no reason to bend like that!  There is a reason your foot is not suppose to be in your face.  Yoga was not my cup of tea.  I did accept the invitation to the ab class.  I am happy to say, the day after, that ab class was way better than Yoga.  Who doesn’t like to feel like they have been throwing up all night?


Lately it seems as if life is stressful, and or my mistakes and shortcomings are on the big screen for me and everyone else to see.  As a woman, I often feel responsible for mending things.  I want to be able to fix the problem or mend the relationships around me.  It is my nature to want to give, even if I have no idea how to give.  I find that my heart aches for so many people and reasons, and I am stuck not being able to do anything or fix any of it.  I hate this feeling.  I hate feeling out of control and without recourse.  The only thing I can give is prayer, and it sometimes it feels as if prayer is not enough.

Then God put this on my heart the other day.   Read in the book of Hosea.  I know you are wondering, Hosea?  Where did that come from?  Well, actually I am behind on my quiet time materials.  (Quiet time materials are something my Pastor offers us, a day-to-day guide to be in the Word of God.)  The book of Hosea is the book for the month of August.  I felt a tugging at my heart, by the Holy Spirit to read the first two chapters.  I read them.  It was about adultery.  Naturally my mind was like,” Ok God, I don’t like this subject, my marriage is happy, what are you really trying to tell me?”  That is when it occurred to me; just what God is telling me.  Chapter 2 of Hosea is a parallel of how Israel is like a cheating wife to God.  It describes how Israel is adulterous and how the consequences from such behavior come and devastate Israel.  It describes the pain suffered and the strife that follows when cheating on God.  Then it goes on to describe how the Lord will reconcile His people and their broken hearts.  He describes a foreshadowing of Jesus and the forgiveness and atonement offered in forgiveness of sins.  It was a great description of life choices, consequences, accountability followed by forgiveness and love.
I thought of the stressful relationships in my life.  I thought how as life and people change, it is not really up to me to reconcile or try to fix everything.  My role should be, to accept responsibility for my actions, apologize when I need to, and love as God calls me to love.  I cannot control the reaction of other people; therefore, the Lord is the one who is the reconciler of all things.  It seems so simple!  I am sure that the Lord being called the Reconciler of all things is probably a song lyric or even a verbatim verse some where in the Bible.  However, this is one of those truths that when you hear it, and you say, “Yeah!  Right on, that is MY GOD, the reconciler!”  It doesn’t quite mean some thing until you need reconciliation for something.  I love that the description of the strife and consequences of life result in a second chance.  The use of adultery here, I consider a metaphor for all things that keep you distant from God.  God wants a personal relationship; He wants real worship, love, and faith.  He is not only the reconciler, but also the author of the second chance!  That is something worth saying AMEN over!

After coming to that conclusion I also came to this one.  God wants a personal relationship, prayer is how you talk to God, and IT IS ENOUGH.  God is enough all the time.  I recently listened to one of my brother’s sermons on Boldness.  He talked about praying boldly, and what it would be like if we prayed as big as God is.  He said we often put God in a box that we can understand, but limits God.  God is the creator of the universe, the maker of all things; the book of Isaiah describes how God can measure the earth’s waters in the hollow of his hand. (Isaiah 40:12) I do not know about you, but I think that is AMAZING.  I think my brother had a great point, prayer is enough, and maybe the prayer given should be bold.  A bold prayer is not just about asking for relief in stress or direction in life, but believing God is going to answer you.

My prayer today is that even though life seems hard right now, and control is hard to let go of, God will answer my prayers.  God can achieve all the things that seem impossible, and for those who are reading this, I pray God will answer your prayers, and that the prayers you offer will be bold!