Oct 31, 2013

Don't Be Afraid

Personally, I love Halloween. I have enjoyed the holiday as far back as I can remember. Trick-or-treating while visiting my cousins in St. Louis was amazing! My uncle was very strategic. He would take us to the best neighborhoods where every house was a jackpot. My cousin was strategic as well. She discovered early on that people would hand out more candy if we did something unique. One year we sang “Witchy Woman” at every house. I really don’t recall if the song truly produced more candy or not.
As an adult, I realize that Halloween brings out the crazies—keep your black cats indoors—but I still think celebrating the holiday is harmless. I’m super excited for Kayla. This is the first year she’ll really grasp the idea of people giving her candy! She’s been practicing her “boo!”
My friends and I recently went on our annual adventure to a haunted house. Every year we try to increase the intensity and have lately gone to Kansas City. This year we went to one with a horror film theme. I was so proud of myself—didn’t even scream once. Somehow I maintained my composure even in the face of Freddy Krueger. However, I am not fearless. Lately God and I have been working on a fear that’s been plaguing me and revealing a distrust I have of my savior.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the definitions of “scared” and “afraid.” I get the impression one is deeper than the other. Being scared is a momentary fright done to you. Being afraid is more a state of mind. Maybe that’s why the angels never said, “Don’t be scared.” They always said, “Don’t be afraid.” I think they wanted the people they talked to have hope instead of just not be frightened in the moment.
I actually like being scared. After Kayla goes to bed tonight, I’m going to enjoy a horror movie I’ve been dying (haha) to see. But I hate living in dread.
God’s been soothing my heart through scripture. My favorite is 1 John 4:18, which says God’s love expels all fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 also brings comfort: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” I know a wonderful woman who is clinging to this verse like a clawed cat to a tree branch. It’s her hope and strength. It’s becoming mine as well.
So take my advice and wear a hat of faith this Halloween, not fear.

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)

Oct 22, 2013

Winter Blues

I knew IT was coming. IT comes every year (notice I didn’t say month—that’s a whole other problem). The dreaded winter blues are here. My seasonal depression has officially kicked in to high gear. My hats are all drooping and colorless. I can feel my insides becoming hollow, my happiness and joy draining like a bathtub. I’m left an empty shell numb to emotion. If I were ever capable of murder (heaven forbid!), winter is the most likely time I could stomach the act.
                So why not just pop some pills and call it good? All I have is a shrug to that. I just don’t love the idea of pills. I can’t really explain why. I’ve taken pills once when Kayla was tiny and a lack of sleep was making my seasonal depression unbearable, but once my insurance stopped covering the prescription the next spring (and I was better due to spring arriving anyway), I stopped taking it.
UV lights are helpful. Kayla in my life is helpful. Though she’s sometimes an added frustration, she brings my sprinkles of joy throughout the day. Like today when she said, “Thank you, mama” without being told to, I was so touched, I cried. Ok, the tears might have been a seasonal depression symptom, but they were happy tears. She also made me laugh when I put her winter hat on and she said, “boo,” after I pulled it off her eyes. I’m smiling now just thinking about the moment.
During my winter blues, my entire hat collection loses its color. My writer hat loses inspiration. My housekeeping hat collects dust (and doesn’t care). My wife hat has little patience. My mom hat has no patience.  Don’t get started on my woman hat. Winter pounds are already clinging to my waist, but all I want to do is sit down with a big bag of Doritos. Lean meats and healthy carbs are not appetizing. Fruits and veggies are not appealing. The last thing I want to do is get off my butt and exercise. Natural instinct is preparing me for hibernation. The problem is humans don’t hibernate (I don’t see why not—it’s a great idea…).
The worst part is that my excitement—about anything—vanishes. For example, I should be excited about this Friday. My friends and I are going to a haunted house. I’m getting a night alone with my hubby. My head is excited, but my heart could care less. And what about woman’s Bible study? I’m learning GREAT stuff about God and how he works and what he wants for my life, but the feelings are simply nonexistent.
This is when I’m grateful that love and faith are NOT based on emotion. Loving the people in my life and believing in God Almighty is a daily choice. So I lift my hands in praise even when the emotions aren’t present, and I hug my husband even if I don’t feel like it. I give piggy-back rides to my daughter when I’d rather not, and I smile through the emptiness and look forward to spring.

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)

Oct 13, 2013

I Don't Know...And That's Okay.

Don’t you just love people who think they know everything? What? You don’t? Neither do I, but I seem to see know-it-alls at every turn. CNN is full of them. So is FOX or any other station that have pointless political, social and economical debates. People argue and argue, but nothing is ever done to fix whatever problem they’re arguing about. I don’t care what hat they wear. They can’t possibly know everything there is to know about their hat.

You might roll your eyes at all those worldly people, but know-it-alls are all over the Christian community as well. Spreading from about six different movements, there are over thirty THOUSAND denominations! Why? Because Christians can’t just agree to disagree. They’re all under the dilution that they’re right. They can’t ALL be right! Besides, doesn’t Scripture teach unity, not division?

My Bible study brought up a verse that prompted me to think about Calvinism vs. Arminianism. I decided to put on my Research Hat and dive on in. After reading scripture and each theology, I found them both lacking. Each wanted to emphasis one truth over another or just plain ignore a truth altogether.

I don’t think accepting truth is the problem. The issues come when we try to understand the unfathomable. We stretch our feeble brains and reach for answers that aren’t there. WE CANNOT FULLY COMPREHEND THE WORKINGS OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD. It’s just not possible. Why not say, “I don’t know…and that’s okay.”

The Bible is like a whole bunch of puzzle pieces, and each denomination has its own theory on what the finished puzzle should look like. For example, the Bible says we are justified by faith, not works(Gal. 2:16) AND that faith is dead without deeds (James 2:26). Likewise, God chooses us (Eph. 1:4) BUT wants everyone to receive Christ (1 Tim. 1:3-4). Christians don’t so much argue if the verses are true. They fight over the interpretations of these verses and how they all fit together.

I’ve heard that the younger generation is moving away from denominations. I say that's great! Some say that denominations are necessary for churches to organize and get large projects done whether it’s spreading the gospel or helping people. I say cooperation is needed, not denominations. Imagine a world where Christians put their pride aside, agreed to disagree, and just focused on reaching the world for Christ and feeding the hungry and providing for the needy. Wouldn’t that be wonderful??

Okay, okay. I’ll take off my Venting hat now. Thanks =)

 Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...

hang on to your hat! ;-)