“religion” vs. real freedom

Confession time to my blog reader(s): I have both a lake of rule-hugging legalism and raging river of free-spirited rebellion mixed together in my heart. Part of me wants rules, part of me wants no rules. Over the years, I’ve sort of boxed-off certain areas of my life and labeled them as either “sinful rebellion”, like rolling my eyes and sighing “Mo–om” if I disagree with my dear mother, or as just “my religion.”  It wasn’t until a few months ago when my co-worker and brother in Christ mentioned a quote by Martin Luther, paraphrased: “Man has two defaults. Sin and religion.” (“sin” meaning flat-out opposition to God’s righteousness, “religion” being our rules and self-born attempt at God’s perfection.)

The Holy Spirit has been just laying on His grace to show me that I need so much more of Him and so much less of myself.  All my “rightousnesses” are just rags (HE said that! Is. 64:6)and my grandest sacrifices are pointless without God-born love. (see 1 Corinthians 13)

There are now but two rules that should rule my life.  They are the two greatest commandments, according to Jesus Christ, and His commandment is all that matters. Here they are: 1.) love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 2.) love my neighbor as myself.

O Jesus,  may I be so consumed with my love and devotion to You, that I disappear and YOU are all that is seen! And in my pouring out of my very soul unto You, my Beloved, may I also be a vessel of your mercy and a  channel of your love to all I meet, because self has been buried and I am set free to embrace my neighbor with the radical grace of heaven! You alone are worthy of the best I’ve got, and may nothing encumber my journey. No self-made religion, no sinful rebellion, no more nothing of self, O cleanse me, please, please! Make me like YOU! Deliver me from my bondage, purify me with Your holy blood, empower me to live this incredible life of victory and joy, rescue and rapture!

These lyrics by Derek Webb (formerly of Caedmon’s Call) really highlight this truth of freedom vs. legalism:

Don’t teach me about politics and government–just tell me who to vote for. Don’t teach me about truth and beauty–just label my music.

Don’t teach me how to live like a free man. Just give me a new law.

I don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy, so just bring it down from the mountain to me.

(chorus) I want a new law, I want a new law, gimme that new law.

Don’t teach me about moderation and liberty, I prefer a shot of grape juice.

Don’t teach me about loving my enemies, don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit–just give me a new law.

What’s the use in trading a law you can never keep, for one you can that cannot get you anything?

Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid.”

Yes, Spirit, teach Your truth to me! Wash me in the Word of Truth, emfold me in Your love, send me out with Your promises and presence.

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Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm  Comments (2)  

What I Remember

What I Remember (Indiana Summer)

A white house on a green slope

Blue sky big as my dreams

Wispy clouds and milky horizons

That’s what I remember.

 

Gravel road and a rusty truck

Windows down, hot breeze blowin’

Singing bluegrass with the radio

That’s what I remember.

 

Back in the fields of Indiana

Where life was simple and I was me

Between the hillside and the meadow

That’s where I want to be.

 

Big swimmin’ hole and a tire swing

Couple of fish and a bunch of trees

Catching fireflies and trapping toads

That’s what I remember.

 

Sittin’ on the front porch step

Watching the blue sky turn to pink

Stars come out and crickets murmer

That’s what I remember.

 

Back in the fields of Indiana

Where life was simple and I was me

Between the hillside and the meadow

That’s where I want to be.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm  Comments (3)  

The Glory of God

Go here:

http://braveheartedgospel.com/Thots/Entries/2009/3/26_The_Glory_of_God_-_Reidhead.html

O, complacent Church, will you remain deaf to the pounding cry to glorify Christ, the slain Lamb and Risen King?

Disinterested, dispassionate, disengaged Christian–will you close your senses to the overwhelming flood of the glory of God? 

Will you get on your knees, and beg unmerited forgiveness of your Holy Lord, that you might be restored unto Him?

Will you yet seek your own happiness over the eternal joy of giving up all for the Master?

Will this not stir up a holy fire in your soul?

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pleasures of Spring

One of the grandest

Pleasures of Spring

Is to rise very early, with the sun.

And to meander through the green landscape,

Savoring every sensation that reaches

Up, around, and down

From the place about me.

 

The smell of:

Wet, tender shoots of grass.

Cool morning breezes that embody freshness.

Rich, fresh-tilled soil.

Sweet and dainty blossoms.

 

The feel of:

The drips of dew as I run my hand through the grass,

The cool breeze’s hints of warmth spinning my hair around my ears.

Cool soil and wriggling worms between my fingers.

Silky, fragile petals beneath my fingers.

 

The sight of:

Pink sunrises whose shining rays catch the dew on the grass

And place a golden cloak upon the hills and valleys.

Brisk spring wind toying with the tiny leaves on the trees,

And deep brown soil beneath a clear blue sky.

Tiny hidden flowers that pop up in every corner.

 

The sound of:

The quiet whisper of long green grass as I step my way through.

The leaves chatting and dancing in the playful breeze.

Birds singing cheerfully as they swoop upon the worms in the soil,

My mother’s sigh of delight when I bring in the first flowers of spring.

 

Each season has its charms, but none seem

As new, fresh, or invigorating

As Spring.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 9:28 pm  Comments (3)  

Yes; I am still alive! Just not writing as much…

So I’m late on the Easter post….hang on! It’s coming!

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Matters in a Man?

A few months ago, a friend (Sara) and I were discussing what was important to us in a man. What we listed reflected what we considered important, and also reflected our personalities. This is what I ended up with…not comprehensive, I suppose, but it was fun to put together. Interestingly enough, many of the traits ended up similar to those of my father. Since I love and respect him, it makes sense that I would look for some of his traits in a future husband. Do men do the same things with their mothers? Do they look for what they consider important in their mothers in their future wives?

(side note: this list was not written in an attempt to purposefully match myself to any men I know, real or otherwise; coincidences are accidental.)

Pre-requisites:

·         Male.  J

·         Christian.  Not merely “church-goer”; but a passionate, growing Christian. He doesn’t have to have it all “figured out” by any means, but he needs to be putting Christ at the center of his life.

 

Character—it what’s on the inside that counts:

·         Transparent, honest, open.  

·         Humble.

·         Willing to talk, willing to open his life to me.

·         Uncomplicated…understands what’s really important.

·         Serious when necessary.

·         Healthy sense of humor.

·         “Joie de vivre”. Joyful. Smiling.  Excited about life…not stiff, dry, negative, and grim. 

·         Servant Leader—a man that I can respect and follow.

·         Involved with the kids and my life

 

Other traits that attract me:

·         Material simplicity.

·         Conservative…fiscally, politically, etc.

·         Appreciates music/creativity

·         Thinks for himself; isn’t interested in copying the world or being “like everyone else”

·         Wants to eat my good cookin’ J

·         Gentlemanly actions—treats me like a lady.

·         Encourages me—makes me feel as if my ideas aren’t stupid, even when they need tweaking. I don’t want to feel attacked, doubted and analyzed for everything I do.

(And he’ll probably need a good deal of energy to keep up with me–haha! 🙂

 

In short, a down-to-earth man of God!

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm  Comments (4)  

Mother, may I?

You know you are “motherish” when:

With one “just-what-do-you-think-you’re-doing” look, you can tell a friend and coworker an entire paragraph…today’s  went as such: “Al-ec…you’re drinking that? Do you know how crummy that sweet tea is going to make you feel? How much sugar did you already have today?”

Friend and coworker responds with: “I come to work and all day you’re my mom…can you just stop being my mom for a minute?!”

Another friend tells you repeatedly (3 or more times) in one visit that “you are such a mom!” (thanks, Mical Marie!)

While customers sample cheese, you absentmindedly look at the clock and realize that it’s 4:00, and your instinct is to say, “Now, don’t spoil your supper.” (true story!)

And a host of other things…but, goodness, how often I hear sentences directed at me that end in “mom.”

 “Ok, mom…whatever you say, mom…you’re not my mom!”

Lest any of you get the wrong impression, let me just say that this does not bother me, I actually find it rather amusing, and overall, I count it a good thing. After all, motherhood is one of the highest callings for a woman.

But it is rather funny for this 17-year old lassie to be considered a mother figure. Oh well….eat your lunch, pick up your mess, and make sure you drink plenty of water. And don’t forget to re-tie your left shoelace!

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm  Comments (3)  

Introducing…my mother!

Judicious Judy over at http://midsummermeanderings.blogspot.com/ posted this lovely idea, and so, like I have done to so many other lovely ideas, I’m going to steal it. 🙂

WHAT DOES MOM ALWAYS SAY TO YOU? Have you practiced piano yet?

WHAT MAKES MOM HAPPY? Dad being happy. The laundry being done by someone else. Clean floors, clean kitchen, clean anything. Chocolate. Emails from friends.

WHAT MAKES MOM SAD? Sicknesses. Friends turning away. Abortion. My hurting her with my fiery tongue.

HOW DOES MOM MAKE YOU LAUGH? Funny comments while we are clothes shopping. Things like, “I know folks who used to have curtains just like that dress.”
HOW OLD IS MOM? Well, she looks like she’s 33.

HOW TALL IS MOM? Tiny but metaphorically tall.

WHAT DOES MOM LIKE TO DO? Scrapbook, get outside, read, cook, go for coffee.

WHAT IS MOM’S JOB? She does everything because she’s secretly wearing Wonder Woman’s suit beneath her jeans and sweatshirt.

WHAT IS MOM’S FAVORITE FOOD? Chocolate…Archer Farms cheese crackers.

HOW DO YOU KNOW MOM LOVES YOU? The way she constantly is doing acts of service to me. I’ll be away at work all day, come home, and my bathroom is sparkling clean, my clothes are clean and folded on top of my bed, and there is a note saying, “Don’t forget to write up a deposit slip. Your Secretary. 🙂 

My mother is pretty amazing!

Ooh, how about a picture to prove it?

My mother and me.

My mother and me.

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm  Comments (5)  

When the Obsessive-Compulsive Bake Brownies…

I am, admittedly, borderline ridiculous about having things in nice, clean order. I also baked brownies today, and the following is the result of Organized Fanatic vs. Chocolate Creation.

The recipe said, “cool on wire rack.”

So I complied.

Carefully, I slid the butter knife around the edge of the pan, and I flipped the warm, moist brownies on to aforementioned wire rack.

But the nature of flipping means that the brownies were now upside-down on the rack. This topsy-turvy state unnerved me to no end.

So I flipped them back.

Or, rather, I attempted to flip warm, moist,crumbly, delicate brownies back to their proper orientation…and here was the result:

Mom said one piece...don't you think she meant that monstrous one?

Mom said one piece...don't you think she meant that monstrous one?

I don’t care that the brownies crumbled into pieces…they’re right-side up now.  Yes, my friends, this is what happens when the obsessive-compulsive bake brownies.

PS They really do taste good, presentation aside.

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 7:26 pm  Comments (2)  

A Dress Parade

What was my deepest fear coming in to 2009? That someone would invite me to a wedding or other equally formal function this year. Why? Because I had nothing to wear. “Nothing”, as in the last time I had to go to a wedding I had a mental breakdown and ended up wearing a costume from a 60’s throwback play I was in my sophomore year of high school.  Yeah. You see why I was scared!

But, lo and behold, ’tis the season for big sales at the store. Although my mother and I went shopping with no intention of purchasing formalwear, the girly-girl inside of us was inescapably drawn to the fancy clothes with the even fancier “Clearance” sign above them.

Since I found the items on my list with record speed, I had time to browse and select a few fun dresses to try on.

The “fun” part being not in the dress, mind you, but in the entertainment derived from me in them.

Oh dear…where do I begin?

Well, there was the froofy one that I couldn’t even walk three steps in without pitching headlong into the dressing room wall.

And we mustn’t forget the one that taught me an important lesson: Alex and fuchsia are like bleach and Pigpen. Yikes. I looked like I was going to puke. Seriously!  I learned another lesson from that dress: if it seems really hard to get on and off, it’s quite possible that there is a marvelous invention called the zipper just waiting for you to use it. Ha. Ha.

The most memorable dress was a knee-length blue and green number. It was a simple, sleveless sundress thingy. (can’t you tell I know my fashion terminology?) I slipped it on and walked out to show my mother.

After a moment of dumbfounded silence, my mother commented, “I knew some folks who had curtains just like that!” It was royal blue with a teal line bisecting the front, and teal circles on the bottom. After another moment of silence, my mother added, most helpfully, “You know, that would look nice…….with a swimsuit beneath it. Really, it looks like a swimsuit cover-up.”

I’m afraid she was right. Looking the mirror, too, it made me appear to have Peyton Manning’s shoulders and Walter Payton’s calves.   And most of you know that that’s not really my shape/size.  This was unusual; most of the dresses make me look like an Auschwitz prisoner, the way my bones stick out.

Finally, I found a dress that was actually not laughable, but cute. Wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles. A dress that fits, looks nice, is modest, perfectly suited for weddings…..AND on clearance.

Music to mine ears. 

It’s a short-sleeved dress, with a cream bodice and black skirt that hits just past my knees.  And I don’t look like a football player or deathly ill person. It’s actually quite adorable, if I do say so myself!

Now,  my greatest fear for 2009 is that no one will invite me to a wedding or equally formal event.

Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm  Comments (3)