2014 with a view

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That cat! If only he could hang curtain rods while he was up there….

2014 came quicker than I thought – time has appeared to speed up in the past several weeks.  Much like smarter-than-the-average-tabby-cat who climbs ladders, I have this sinking feeling that 2014 will be a year of change, challenge, and perhaps (Lord willing) an extraction of the thorn in my side.

Much has changed around the barracks here….I have decided to redo my sitting room by adding large red curtains, plants, and better lighting.  One night when The General and I were sitting on the couch, I told him I felt our living room needed to be changed, so we started moving furniture randomly at 9:30pm…..and we found a much cozier medium and added a few upgrades: a candelabra surrounded by other candles in our fireplace in lieu of the gas logs we have yet to purchase gas for, cutting our entertainment center stand in half to create a lower profile, and adding better bulbs to our seldom-used overhead light (it used to make the room look….jaundiced).  We’re also tackling the non-dinning room aka The General’s art studio; it’s the only room downstairs with original almond paint.  The General has decided to paint a wall mural on one side too.  I am very excited about that!

I’m not sure what’s causing this nesting frenzy, but it has been fun and only slightly expensive.  Our whole downstairs has a warmer feel to it.  I like it a lot.

Upcoming adventures include a hen party in honor of my sister’s upcoming nuptials in Wisconsin (because that’s the place to go in the middle of winter, apparently), a Caribbean vacation for aforementioned wedding, and a trip to some random place with my friend Alice (locale yet to be determined).

We have continued attending the church I had mentioned some time back.  It’s been really good.  You can totally feel the Holy Spirit in the air.  I need to get involved.  They have a ministry that has spiked my interest in a realm I have very little training.  It’s a matter of me picking up the phone and making it happen.  I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet – fear of the unknown, I suppose, and how my last volunteer gig just reiterated my outcastness.

2014 is off to a great start.  Now I am just waiting for the warm seas and weather.  I need a day in the sun on a board in the waves.

The Awakening

A couple months ago I randomly showed up to an expo with various businesses.  I stumbled upon a church’s booth, a denomination that I associated with in high school and college (I currently attended and consider myself “non-denom”).  They were giving away free coffee mugs and cookies, so I grabbed one.   I also saw they had a newsletter so I picked that up too.    I was just curious.  This denomination has a tendency to be….weird.  I wondered what they were about.

As I read through the newsletter, it was full of stuff going on at the church.  They have several very active ministries in the community and there was constantly activity with a vibrant fellowship (I saw that at the booth).  I read the Pastor’s letter and I was drawn in: in a few weeks they were going to have several services dedicated to sanctifying the church, to grow stronger in the Lord and thus be a shining beacon to the surrounding community.  Rock on, I thought.

Through my quiet time, I felt a pull from the Lord to go to these services.  It was pretty strong.  I kept checking their website, trying to see when the services were listed – mainly for the time – and it never was.  I had every intention of calling the church office, but I ended up dreaming it instead.  I dreamt I went to this church and it was really odd, the pastor in my dream was very elusive and strange and I asked him point blank what time the services started and he said 7pm.  It wasn’t that much of a stretch — most evening church services start at 7pm.  I never did call the office.  I was just going to show up at 7pm.  And that was that.

I explained to The General the best I could on why I wanted to attend these 3 nights at a random church where I knew no one and wasn’t sure what their worship style was.  I went alone, as The General is much more sensitive to religious experiences — he grew up Catholic like me — and I wanted to scope it out before I brought him into the fold.  He doesn’t mesh well with church services out of his comfort zone.

I arrived and sat towards the back.  I was greeted by several people and the pastor came up and introduced himself to me.  I miss that.  I go to a rather large church here and one-on-one time with the pastor is nearly impossible.  The church was a carbon copy physically of the church I attended in college as well as high school, down to the color of the pews.  It was comforting.  As the service started, it was pretty much what I expected it to be.  There was a lot of hand raising and expressive worship — and everyone hugs each other.  I’m a midwesterner at heart with my personal bubble, so this was a bit awkward for me.  The sermon was a guest speaker, so I didn’t hear the pastor speak, but he closed the services in prayer and his prayers were so elegant, deep, and powerful; truly a man of God.  I could feel the Holy Spirit in that church — it was really a strong presence.

After the last service, the Pastor asked me my name and my family status.  I told him I would be back.  I got home that night and The General and I talked about it.  I wanted to go the following Sunday to the morning service and think about joining this church.  I again was going to go alone, because The General had to work Sunday morning.  After talking to him about it, I decided not to.  Despite my being drawn to this church, I cannot go and make decisions like this without him present.  While this church may be perfect for me, I am not in this alone, I have The General to consider.  He did agree to attend with me one Sunday after a bit of coaxing.  Sometimes my independent streak gets the best of me.  That’s one thing I love about our marriage: I can still maintain my independence.  But on other hand, as we discussed, I can’t let my independence trump what is best for us.

So I’m not sure where this journey is headed, or what’s next, but I’m really excited on what the Lord is going to do.

HE HAS RISEN!

It’s Easter.  I should be at church.  But I’m not.

I got up early yesterday to freeze my butt off in my 1st 5k of the year. Early is 0630.  It’s especially early when you don’t leave work until 2300. I attempted a nap, but sleep failed to come.  The weekends at work tend to be crazy, and I need sleep.  I would have loved to have gone to a sunrise service at the beach – something I’ve never done – but going on a few hours sleep when my day off isn’t for another 5 days didn’t sound fun.  So while Jesus and the sun rose, I slept.  It doesn’t help that The General is at work.

I’m in between churches at the moment too.  I’m not sure where I belong.  I need more information about the new church before I really become invested.  My old church is awesome, but there will be about 12,000,000 people there for each of their services and I don’t feel like being the salmon trying to go upstream.  And I’m a bit sick of being alone in a crowd.

As I’m waiting for my coffee to be done, I feel like I should have gone somewhere.  Why?  It’s Easter.  I don’t go to church on Christmas because of the crowds (and that work thing).  As I’m sitting here thinking I should have gone to the one in my backyard, and my phone bings.  My Bible app messaged me.

While the Bible I read is in English, I changed the app settings to be in German – I figured I could navigate it and learn some new German words at the same time.  The text was in German.  I was able to translate the 1st part, but needed translation software for the 2nd.  It read:

“Er ist auferstanden!  Lies den Benricht und feiere!” — He has risen!  Read the report and celebrate!

The Lord makes me smile.  Stop sitting there hemming and hawing about where you didn’t go for church!  Pick up your Bible, read the accounts and be joyful that Jesus died for yours (and everyone’s!) sins!  And I’m going to do just that!

It was also nice to wake up and come down to an Easter basket filled with all sorts of chocolate and a card from my General, thanking me to for helping him walk with God.  Melted my heart.  I got him an Easter basket, too.  While I didn’t put any candy in there (his weight is starting to concern him, since he’s not running due to a nerve in foot injury), I did put 2 plastic eggs and 2 of his newly favorite craft beers from a local store he couldn’t stop raving about.  I wrote a note on a piece of scratch paper: He has risen!

The General wrote back: the Easter bunny and Jesus loves us both.

So true.

“If Christ hasn’t come back to life, our message has no meaning and your faith also has no meaning.” (1 corinthians 15:14)

Churched

So…..it went well.

The church meets in a building I’ve gone past 100 times, but never actually went inside.  I was blown away by the sheer architecture of the building.  Did I mention I’m easily amused?

This is also a hipster church – I’m still warming up to how I officially feel about it – but so far so good, minus a video which included some seriously major cheese.  I liked how the guy who warmly greeted us at the door had sleeves (that’s tattoos from shoulder to wrist) and an eyebrow piercing.  So much for avoiding the hipster churches.

There were about 30 people in the congregation this morning. “This is the smallest church I’ve ever been to,” exclaimed The General.  Outside of the coffeehouse service I attended in NOLA circa 2001, this was also the smallest I’ve ever encountered.  It was nice.  People spoke to us.  It was intimate.  People shouted “Amen!” and they really hit it home on their message.  It’s not a Pentecostal type worship, but they encourage you to worship however you feel the Spirit leading you.  Everything they said could be backed by Scripture (yay!) and they’re against the prosperity gospel (wealth = you’re blessed from God; poor = not blessed).  Major kudos.  It’s far from traditional,  the Southern Baptist in me sometimes freaks.  I compare everything to Pastor Richard and the church of my youth after I left the Catholic church — it’s not the same, but they’re teaching out of the same Book.

<insert techie rant>  Oddities included LCD parcans/broads.  If you don’t know what a parcan or broad is, just ignore this.  It’s a great way around having a dimmer rack,  I must say!  They had in-ear monitors, though, and a decent mixing board with people who balanced the sound nicely in the small venue.  <end techie rant>

We’ll go back.  I think I need to warm up the situation, as I am with everything else.  The General is ready to volunteer and get involved.  Whoa!  He’s excited to go back.

I will say this: I totally felt the Holy Spirit at the service today.  I just need time to take it all in and process it.  Us introverts need our space.

I’m excited to see where this will go.  While our old church is still very awesome, it’s been since Illinois since I’ve felt part of a church family….that’s…..2005?  Too long.  Lots of prayer and an open heart and mind.

Churching

Today has the potential to be huge.  It has also has the potential to shrug and walk away.

Today we are going to check out a new church.  It’s a recently formed church and it just so happens to be walking distance from our house.  Our current church is on the other side of the county.  It just sort of happened.  Awhile ago, I was thinking about leaving my current church because I just didn’t fit in.  It’s a hipster church – it’s where all the cool kids go – and if middle school/high school taught me anything, it was that I am not part of the cool crowd.  I recognized this while I was bouncing for the nursery: I was passed over in conversations by both women and men (“Why are you talking to me if you don’t know my wife?” looks).  My want to leave current church has nothing to do with doctrine; it has everything to do with the social aspect.  I love my multigenerational small group (okay, so it’s all baby boomers with 1 Gen X and me, the Gen Y), but that too has its limitations.  Most are divorced.  I wouldn’t call any of them to “hang out” one night; although they have an amazing perspective on life because all have traveled such different roads.

So enter new church.  We actually got a thing in the mail about it and I just breezed right over it.  Last week we were invited to a new church service downtown, but after some internet sleuthing, I found that our beliefs to not line up with this particular denomination.  I’m all about straight non-denom Christian.  I went for a run last Sunday and randomly passed this church.  With gas prices the way they are and my want for another setting, we decided to check out this church and see what it’s all about.

Stay tuned!

Clique Clique Boom!

While I love serving as the bouncer in the nursery at church, I just took a leave of absence.

Why?  Mainly because of work and my schedule that gets thrown about at the last minute (like this weekend….again!).  So to save time and face, I figured it’d be easier if I wasn’t counted on being there.  Hopefully work will stabilize and I’ll get back to a regularly scheduled schedule.  Not to mention the trip I’m going to take back in time at the beginning of August would conflict, too.  More about that later.

That’s the surface reason I described to them.  There are some sub-plots that are playing into this as well.  One, is the reality of something I’ve found at this church: it’s a conglomeration of cliques (other people have noticed this too).  I don’t fit in.  I rarely find my nitch in social situations.  I’m a little out there – “out of phase” is how my husband puts it.  Granted, my co-workers in Christ have been nothing but kind to me.  They have never said or done anything that would raise red flags nor am I singled out because of something (my non-mom status, for instance).  I see how they all huddle together to chit chat about their week, what’s going on in their lives, something their kids did, or just a prolonged “good morning.”  I’m not part of the group.  It’s not their fault, it’s just calling a spade a spade.  I’ll ask people how their week went: “Fine.”  How was your vacation? “Great!”

I refuse to force friendships.  I had to do that in high school and college because of proximity to others: I had to be friends with someone because of school and how we “fit in” to certain social situations.  Now that I’m older, I’m not playing those games to appease people anymore.  I’m going to have friends based on who they are at the core and someone I can walk in step with, not trying to match what they’re doing just because our juxtaposition says we should be friends.

And then it hit me: do I want to be in a church where I’m just on the outside?  My small group is awesome, we have real conversations and we laugh a lot.  I’m one of the youngest ones there, everyone else has kids in college or  high school.  And while they are awesome ladies, it would be weird for me to call them some night and ask if they want to grab a martini.  The General is even more social isolated than I am.  This bothers me, but it doesn’t bother him.

Rewind to last Sunday, we checked out a new church that is basically a scaled down version of the church we currently attend.  It was pretty awesome, although the format and the pastor were a bit out of sequence.  I learned A TON of history that coincides with the Gospels and the sermon cut to the core of human nature: Are you covered in the dust of your rabbi?  i.e. Are you following Jesus so closely on the road of life that you are covered in His dust?  Whoa!

My current church has AMAZING sermons, which is part of why I like it so much.  But it’s huge.  Walking through the main vestibule on Sundays, I get “Anatevka” from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head:

Anatevka, Anatevka
Intimate, obstinate Anatevka
Where I know everyone I met
Soon I’ll be a stranger in a strange new place
Searching for an old familiar face from Anatevka

It makes me smile because it’s a paradox.  I’m alone in a crowd.  All these faces and I have no idea who any of them are.  And they don’t know me.  I’m not the “run of the mill Christian wife.”  And I don’t think I’ll ever be.

I miss the communion of fellowship at the church of my youth – everyone knew everyone.  If we had 60 people on a Sunday and it wasn’t Christmas, that was HUGE!  Any new face that walked through the doors was greeted and people asked questions:  What do you do? Do you have kids?  What church have you been to?  Are you new to the area?  How can we help you fit in?  My church has a program for this….but it’s not the same.  They have 60 people show up for meetings.  It’s mostly a number thing; both are biblically sound churches.

Maybe it’s time for us to switch churches into a smaller setting?  Lots of prayer to follow.

 

Gifts from God

My friend Samantha and I were talking over upscale martinis the other night when I told her about something I have discovered about myself in the past couple of years: I pick up on vibes other people give out.  I still say I am a poor judge of character, but I can sense the atmosphere of people when I’m around them.  I know how people view me and I can usually tell if they’re being sincere.  It’s weird, I am not psychic, I cannot tell the future.  Just the present.  Most of the time I ignore it: sometimes I will meet someone and just not like them; I will have no reasons to back up my dislike.  And sometimes, their true colors are revealed (a cheater, a fake, etc.)

It came to a culmination some years ago when I sensed something was going on between 2 people of my acquaintance.  I saw them standing next to each other for a split second in time — they were standing much too close for 2 people who were married to other people.  They’re having an affair, I thought. I had no tangible proof and I was by no means going to confront them, it was just a weird vibe.  I let it go.  Several months later, I find that my suspicions were confirmed. How…odd.  Things like that happen and I wonder.  Same thing happened with my friend’s girlfriend.  I didn’t like her and I didn’t know why.  She was kind, beautiful, and made my guy friend so happy.  I figured I was just jealous because she seemed to have it all and I was single at the time and not happy about it.  Soon after that, she left my guy friend for a co-worker in the meanest way possible.

Samantha said, “Oh!  You have the spiritual gift of discernment!”  The what?  I looked it up and this is what a website said:

Discernment / Distinguishing of Spirits – The special ability God gives to some to know with assurance whether certain behavior or teaching is from God, Satan, human error, or human power.

The divine enablement to distinguish between truth and error, to discern the spirits, differentiating between good and evil, right and wrong.

People with this gift:
– distinguish truth from error, right from wrong, pure motives from impure
– identify deception in others with accuracy and appropriateness
– determine whether a word attributed to God is authentic
– recognize inconsistencies in a teaching, prophetic message, or interpretation
– are able to sense the presence of evil.

Meh.  Some of it sounds like me, some of it no.  I don’t have much practice with “sensing the presence of evil.”  I’m not sure if my definition is the same as what it says here.  I dated Lys — no discernment there!  Maybe it’s because I was too immature to recognize it?

Curiosity took over and so I took a quiz (You can take it too. Scroll to the bottom to start.)

My top 5 results:

Faith
Poverty
Wisdom
Exhortation
Encourage

I also accidentally took the youth quiz and got these results:

Faith
Giving
Writing
Discernment
Hospitality

I feel I better relate to the youth quiz.  I feel I do not have the gifts of poverty, wisdom, exhortation, or encouragement; I do feel I have more of a giving, writing, discernment, hospitality persona.  I was equally surprised to find that faith topped both lists.  I never saw myself as someone who has rock solid faith, but the more I thought about it, my actions and thought patterns do reflect someone with that gift.  Here is what they say about the spiritual gift of faith:

Faith – The special conviction God gives to some to be firmly persuaded of God’s power and promises to accomplish His will and purpose and to display such a confidence in Him and His Word that circumstances and obstacles do not shake that conviction.

The divine enablement to act on God’s promises with confidence and unwavering belief in God’s ability to fulfill his purposes.

People with this gift:
– believe the promises of God and inspire others to do the same
– act in complete confidence of God’s ability to overcome obstacles
– demonstrate an attitude of trust in God’s will and his promises
– advance the cause of Christ because they go forward when others will not
– ask God for what is needed and trust him for his provision.

I find all of this fascinating.  When I was saved at 16, I found my spiritual gift to be “service.”  Now, 14 years later, I’ve matured in Christ and as a person, I wonder if those gifts change as we change? I  am who I am at the core, but more fine-tuned now.

I plan to pray and research a bit more about this, so that the Lord can reveal more about all this.

Conversely, my  lowest ranking gifts are 100% correct:

Celibacy
Music
Speaking/Understanding Tongues
Craftsmanship
Pastor
Prophecy

What’s your spiritual gift?

Mother trucker

Happy freakin’ mother’s day.  Sorry about that episiotomy, Mom.

I got a little jaded about this whole holiday and it really doesn’t mean that much to me (well, except for my Mom).  I sent her and my MIL a card – and we called them on Sunday.  That was all well and good.

The problem I had was at church.  As I was walking (I arrived way early) to the class room, a child’s father saw me and said, “Happy mother’s day.”  My face went completely blank.  I’m not a mom.  How do I respond? “Thank you” to be polite?  “Nope, sorry, I am reproductively inept, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than having children and oh yeah — I’ve never bought a lottery ticket.  But I practice a lot!” no, that sounds way too….disenchanted.  So instead I said the 1st thing that popped into my head: “I have cats.”

I pride myself on thinking fast on my feet, but it just wasn’t happening that morning.  “Oh,” he replied.

I was willing to let that go.  Really, it rolled off my back and I kinda giggled about it.  I got to my classroom and the lady from the previous service was still there, so I just stood nearby.  She gave me the weirdest look, as I was off in outer space. “Well, are you going to pick up your child?” she finally asks.  I saw there were 3 stragglers left.  “Oh, no, I’m here for the door for the next service!” I said quickly.  “Oh,” she replied.

Really?

So I got through my volunteer gig without any more people thinking I was a mom.  Whew.

And then I left to attend the service and made the mistake of going through the door where the parents leave.  The gentleman at the door tried to give me a reminder note they give to all parents and almost started to say, “Happy mother’s day” when I said, “No thanks, I work here.”  “Oh.”

At this point I was a little bothered.  I’ve kinda sorta not really questioned myself lately on if not having children was a good decision.  Could we have children?  Probably, with the help of modern day science, some prayer, and some luck.  There’s the age thing (The General is…..old….in terms of fatherhood), the money thing, the I have the next 10 years of European travel planned out thing, the simple fact that every man I’ve been close to says I shouldn’t have children because I’m….well…..crazy.  Okay, so I can’t drive a car effectively, make something from a recipe card without it catching on fire or being otherwise inedible, navigate through a grocery store, or change a diaper – I more or less march to the beat of my own drum and find a hard time fitting in.  Not to mention, I have the maternal instinct of a sea turtle (take the kids to the beach!).

The life I am living now is more than I could have ever hoped for in my wildest dreams.  I never expected to live in paradise, marry such a wonderfully awesome man, or be as content as this in the moment.  It’s a catch 22.  Would I regret having kids when my husband seems miles away and I’m running to and fro trying to be frugal, caught up in the stress of family life?  Would I regret not having kids and traveling, and just being a wandering spirit?  I don’t have the answers to these questions and as far as I’m concerned, it’s up to the Lord.  His will for me is all I desire.  And if I meant to have children, HE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

A fellow non-mom at work and I discussed the craziness of mother’s day on women.  She had the same problem at work: they were giving out flowers to moms.  No flower for us.  We likened it to being single on Valentine’s Day – it just sucks – you feel out of place and ostracized.  Although I suggested that I should get a flower because I made someone a Mom (my Mom – I’m the 1st born).  “You donated eggs?” she asked.  I cracked up.  Heavens no.

But today is a new day and it’s absolutely beautiful outside.  It’s too bad I have to spend it at work.

Lesson of the day: Much like V Day, please do not wish a random stranger a happy mother’s day unless they are >6 months pregnant or toting a child.  Thank you.

The blood of Christ is O negative – anyone can get it

As I was working on my front yard (the war on weeds continues on), The General and I were approached by 2 older women.

Oh no, here we go again.  Jehovah’s Witnesses.

They were very kind and instead of trying to convert random people to their religion, it was simply a hand delivered invite to their Easter service.  They mainly talked to The General who nodded and smiled and let her say her piece about how Christ died and was raised again by the Father.  I was too busy wrangling a rather large weed to stop and make eye contact, but they were close enough for me to hear.

He explained we are Christians who walk with Christ, the church we attend, and politely declined their invite.  It was all very nice.

2 things occured to me:

1.  Maybe I should attend a JW service to see what it’s all about, more from a curiosity prospective — I’m non denomination Christian and that ain’t changing!  But it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a situation where I’m uncomfortable with the worship or completely out of my element.

2.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses should start hospitals, much like Catholics and other Protestants.  They don’t believe in blood transfusions and I’m not a blood banker by any means, so I could totally rock their lab as a director.  Granted anyone non-JW with a trauma, childbirth, anemia, gastrointestinal bleed, or severely low blood pressure probably wouldn’t want to go there, but still I think it could be an interesting business venture.

Next time they stop by my house I’m ready.  I’m going to ask them to explain to me, in their own words, what’s so terrible about blood transfusions and how their religious views contrast with basic Christianity.  Oh, I’m sure I could look all this up on the internet, but I think it’d be more interesting to hear it from them and dialogue about it.  I’m really bad at Christian apologetics, so I’d listen more than I’d talk.

My doorbell awaits.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

Take me in

I was at church the other day manning the velvet rope into the 4 year old room when a problem arose: the ratio was off for volunteers to kids.  Without much second thought I raised my hand and said I would skip the service and stay behind to assist – I am not teacher material.  I’m still a bit intimidated by the kids: I’m used to adults, machines that don’t run properly, and angry people on the other end of the phone line: this is so out of my element, but I was up for the challenge!

Our Fearless Leader didn’t give me a chance to back out even when a few unexpected volunteers were wrangled in.  “The sermon this morning is about volunteering, so don’t worry, you won’t miss too much,” she said with a smile.  Awesome.  Not merely just hearing the sermon, but doing it…..nice.  We had almost 30 kids — all about 4 — so all hands on deck were needed.  I got into the room and it was surprisingly calm.  The other volunteers jumped right in; I was more like the shy kid who wasn’t quite sure what to do.  I kept pushing play-dough on everyone who walked through the door and helped distract a kid who was not real excited about leaving Dad.  “It’s only for an hour and I’ll be right back,” a mother said to her kid as she kissed them on the forehead and walked away.  Mom was right: this is only for an hour.  I can do this, I can do this.  With my game face on, I started picking up the bits of play dough that fell on the ground and talking with the kids.

Fearless Leader is awesome with the kids (she’s a mom), she got down on their level was so funny: “Do you want to color?  How about legos?  You look like a lego guy.”  I had to turn away to laugh.  I think I dated a guy once who was a “lego kind of guy.”

Everyone cleaned up and it was Bible Story time about how Jesus loves kids, kids in other parts of the world, and how they celebrate Jesus.  It’s hard to get them all to sit still and not talk.  Or fight.  Or redo their hair.  One kid took his shoe off and he was wearing Illini socks (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois represent!).   He was from Illinois, too.  But in our conversation over tying shoes,  I learned that Illinois was 7 hours away from North Carolina (its actually 18, I drove it) and he was there with his cousins and there was snow.  He wasn’t sure what town they were in.  Classic.

The snacks, the coloring, the music – it was pretty cool.  I warmed up to the kids and they warmed up to me.  One cute little girl came up to me to tell me that this boy burped and didn’t say “Excuse me.”  Heehee.  Ah, boys.  I told her that’s how boys are sometimes…..what do you say?  She was very serious about it.  Our Fearless Leader had to remind me to break up some bickering boys – I don’t know what battles to fight!  I’m so inept at times with kids.  It was an experience, tho, and I did enjoy myself.  I had to run to work right after, but my spirits were lifted and I had a big ‘ol smile on my face.

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 19:14)

Kids everywhere!

It’s been about a month, so I feel I should blog about my new endeavor: working the door at Sunday School in the 4 year old room. Oh, and did I mention a normal service has over 1,000 people? Yeah. It’s crazy, but it makes me smile.

I’ve harped on kids for years. I don’t like them at work, I’ve avoided churches where I would be expected to volunteer in the nursery, and at the age of 23 decided I would be barren. I still have not actually held a baby (I will hold them when they are 13 months and up). So I thought 4 year olds would be a good choice. I’m logical, you can reason with them to a degree; none of this screaming neonate stuff.  And they can go to the bathroom by themselves.  Huge bonus.

I scared a lot of people when I told them what I was doing – like my husband.  My background check cleared – the Lord led me to it and wanted to do something at church – my kooky schedule doesn’t allow normal people hours to do stuff.  And honestly, I was scared.  What the hell am I doing?  I avoid elevators with children.  My fallopian tubes tied themselves in knots on a flight from Dublin to Paris because of children.  I am a loading dock/mixer board/arrange chairs/strike the set kind of girl.  But the thing was, I’ve done all that.  I love it and I miss it, but it’s an experience I’ve already enjoyed.  I don’t ever want to be pigeon-holed.  My motto in life is the same as Monty Python’s:  And now for something completely different.

I think a small part of it is the curiosity.  Most of my friends are on Baby #2 and they blog and status update and talk about their little ones.  I haven’t been around children in 12 years.  I used to be very active in VBS, working with autistic kids, and being a summer camp counselor (summer of hell) – but I got away from all that in college and beyond.  Things change.

And just like I love spinach now, maybe they’re changing again.  While I can’t be a mom, I can rock it out as an auntie and facilitating check-in to a huge Sunday School class.

I’m like a bouncer in a way, but one Sunday I did sit in on a class as “crowd control.”  4 year olds are very weird.  They say things that don’t make sense.  They have the attention span of a HSN news clip.  They will try to kiss you (My response?  “I’m married, please don’t kiss me.”)  I’m so used to self-motivating adults, that this is a huge stretch for me.  I have to tell you to pick up the puzzle you just threw on the floor?  Really?  C’mon!

Really, it’s a very structured environment, helping these little ones learn about the Lord who loves them so much.  I’m glad I get to be part of that.

The cutest thing so far?  After the teacher reads a short Bible story, it’s snack time.  The girls get up first to find a chair, sit, and then the boys follow.  My face registered confusion as to why the genders split up as if on cue.  “Would someone like to explain to The General’s Wife why the girls get to go 1st?” asked the teacher.  One little boy raised his hand and answered, “It’s because we’re learning to be  gentlemen by letting the girls go 1st.”  Melted my heart.  How amazing is that? Awwww.

I have no idea where this is going to go.  Is it my calling?  I don’t know.  I’ll serve in this role until I feel the Lord tug me in another direction.

Something My Parents Still Don’t Know

I was baptized on 13 August 2000 at the church that introduced me to having a relationship with Christ in my heart to this formally disillusioned Catholic.

Baptism at church today remanded me of that.

It always astounds me at how the Lord will give me the energy to do the things He wants me to do. I should be slurring my speech from tiredness, but I have the energy to go run another 5k. Or at least be able to stay up til 0100.

Mini Sermon

Completely switching gears….

I am currently reading through the book of John in my quiet time and I stumbled upon this verse:

“Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6)

Jesus was speaking to a disabled person at Bethesda.  It really struck me because so often we don’t want to be “made well” –  at least it’s true in my world sometimes.

It’s so often we don’t want to change.  Bless this sin, Lord, I am living for you except this one little thing that’s not so bad, really.

It’s also that on our part, we have to accept Jesus.  We have to want Him in our life.  Just like not taking medicine to cure a disease  – we have to take the medicine in order for it to work.  It does no good to get the Rx and then let it sit in the cupboard (as I often do), just as it doesn’t do any good to “accept Jesus” and do nothing with it or let Him change us for His kingdom.

The Lord has already extended Himself to us, it’s up to us to accept and WANT to be made well.

With that said, I think I am (finally) going to volunteer at church doing something I said I would NEVER do: work in the nursery.  I’ve seen pictures of babies and I know people who have had babies and I’ve seen a few in my time from a distance, but never actually interacted with anything under the age of 5.  I’d almost like toddlers better.  I’ve felt a tug towards that, I figure I’ll throw in my hat and see where it lands.  After almost 5 years, despite my ridiculous schedule, I think it’s time I did something at church.

So, yes, I want to be made well and hopefully direct others towards the Father.