Thursday, December 30, 2010

time for resolutions

i know...

some people don't believe in new year's resolutions. that's ok. i think of them more as new beginnings. even as i write this, i smile about the term "new beginnings" because it seems so appropriate. the year of 2010 started out with us having home church, but during the spring, we decided to give a new church a chance. the name? avalon, which means "new beginning." i guess i'm carrying my time of new beginnings into 2011.

a few days ago, our pastor blogged about the church's annual daniel fast. i've never done that before. to be honest, it seemed more like a spiritual fad to me. i've not always been a fan of fasting, partly due to a "super spiritual" couple i used to know who, every two weeks, would brag about just having come off another three-week fast. as a result, i tend to roll my eyes when people start talking about fasts. however, avalon and pastor ritchie have been winning my trust over the past few months, so i decided to talk to david about it, who seemed pretty positive about us joining the fast.

so i've been thinking about what i feel i need to focus on during this fast. i have once again been turning to food to fill the holes in my soul. this is both a physical and a spiritual issue for me. i realized on my walk today that i have toxins in my body and toxins in my spirit. and they need to go away. and i need to deal with them. i also have some questions about what paths i need to choose in regards to life and ministry. and i'll be joining in with my church in our collective prayers to find and know the will of GOD for the church.

already, i can feel GOD gently speaking to my heart and dealing with me about letting go of the things that cause me harm both physically and spritually. i know GOD wants me to have a new beginning, but i know i can't go into a new beginning until i let go of the past. even now, my heart is torn. even now, my spirit aches. i know this won't be easy, but i know that the journey will be worth it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

what if...

i suppose i've seen "it's a wonderful life" a few too many times because every year around this time i begin to wonder "what if..."

what if my sister was still alive?
what if i had never met my hubby?
what if we had stayed there?
what if that church had hired us instead?
what if we hadn't gone through that?
what if the birth control had actually worked? (so glad it didn't)
what if...what if...what if...

sometimes i think i would like a glimpse of how things might have been. where would i be now? how would life be different?

i know. i probably think too much. but really...wouldn't it be cool to get the chance to see what could have been?

i don't know though. i guess in many situations in life, i can see the hand of GOD guiding. i don't know what could have been, but i can't imagine life without my family. and those experiences? well, they've made me who i am today, and i kinda like who i am. =)

yet still i wonder...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

my decision to get involved at church

lately, i've been toying with the idea of getting more involved at my church. i've dreamed for some time about how church could be, and so many of the ideas i've had, i actually see going on at avalon. even today, i leaned over and told my hubby..."if i had done that, i'd have gotten into trouble. I LOVE THIS PLACE!"

i love going to church in blue jeans and a sweatshirt. i even went last week without any makeup, and it didn't bother me a bit...and no one gave me "the look." i'm a good person, but church people have a tendency to make me feel like i don't measure up, that i'm not acceptable, that i'm a troublemaker, that there's something wrong with me. but i don't feel like that at avalon. one of my kids and i were talking a couple of weeks ago about church in general. he said he liked avalon and that it helps that they're nice there. and nice, they really are. and relaxed. and happy. and non-judgmental. i really fear being judged by church people. i hate feeling inferior and lacking. but in the months we've been at avalon, i can honestly say that i have never felt that way...and no one is more surprised than i.

and now i think i've waited, watched and tested them enough. i told the hubby this morning that i think i want to get involved in their outreach program called HOPE. i'll take it slowly. i don't have a problem with GOD consuming my life, but i never want to get myself into another situation in which i let church consume my life. my family comes before my church. and GOD comes before all else.

just making the decision to show interest in a ministry at any church is a huge step for me. i think it's time though. i finally feel like i'm home. i finally feel like it's safe. i finally feel like i've found a place i can be myself and get into some really fun trouble with some really good people. and somehow, i think GOD would approve.

i think that's GOD's way of telling me, "merry christmas!" and what a wonderful gift it is! GOD, you totally rock, and i sooo adore you!

below is the link to MY church! check it out! =)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

thinking about thinking

my oldest son used to have a basketball coach when we lived in northeast georgia who was loud, demonstrative, and passionate. he was a nice guy though some feared him.

the thing the coach was famous for was his repeated use of a one-word instructional phrase, which could be heard many times...and very loudly, i might add. someone would do something wrong or careless on the court, and you knew it was coming. his hands would ball into a fist, his index fingers would extend and beat at his temples, and he'd start yelling, "THINK! THINK!" image i will not soon forget. our family has mimicked it many times. good times. good times.

i don't know what brought that memory to mind today, but i started thinking about thinking.

i hear so much in the church world- fallacies in our thinking and reasoning, and inconsistencies in our beliefs and behavior- and i get this all-too-familiar picture in my head again of the coach yelling "THINK!" and i wish he were around to say it.

thinking is a powerful thing, and we should do more of it. i try always to encourage my children to think for themselves and to search truth for themselves. though i guide them, i try not to tell them what they should think. i want for them to learn to think critically. i think that will better prepare them for life. i know some parents who fear their children being exposed to schools of thought different from their own particularly when it comes to religious ideologies and traditions, but since i firmly believe that JESUS is the truth,  i don't fear my kids questioning what they've been taught. when they question, we take the time to explore. the words, "because i said so" are rarely used and usually are applied to the completion of undesirable household chores. if you're a parent, you sooo know what i mean. the nike slogan, "just do it" applies to the cleaning of rooms.

we've discussed clothes, tattoos, cussing, fairness, spiritual authority doctrine, and music to name a few topics. we're real, open and honest with our kids. i'm fine that my kids occasionally address the "elephant in the room." truth be told, i'm glad they can spot one. i'm also glad that they don't "drink the kool-aid" just because someone told them that it's the submissive, christian thing to do. don't get me wrong, though. we do teach that when we challenge, we must do so with respect. the Bible says to be aware, to be shrewd, to study, to test, to ask. i believe that GOD encourages us to think and to question. i think he loves it when we do. it shows we are working out our salvation and learning to walk what we're talking. he created us to think, to learn, to mature. and i don't think GOD gets angry when we question him. i think he enjoys opening up the dialogue and revealing himself to us.

so the next time someone tells you what to think, think about it. think critically about it. ask questions. seek truth and understanding. know not just what you believe but why you believe it. simply having an opinion doesn't make you rebellious or disrespectful. it does give you power, though, so handle it with care...and probably a little prayer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

reflecting on my first semester

it feels so good to accomplish something. a few months ago, i took a leap of faith and applied to georgia state university. this past friday, i finished up my first semester of classes. i only have finals, and then i'm done until january. i can hardly believe it.

i used to be afraid to drive in atlanta. now, i do it three days a week or more. i used to be afraid of large schools. now i attend one with over 30,000 students. i used to be insecure and unsure. now i'm inching ever-so-closely to confidence. i experienced so many "firsts" and comfort-stretching situations. and now i'm a better person for having done it. i've learned persistence pays off...if you haven't heard, i FINALLY got awarded the hope scholarship this year!!!

i wanted to get started on my career, but i also wanted to get out of my church bubble and meet new and different people. that's been my favorite part. i'm going to miss the ones i've gotten to know over the past few weeks, but i'm looking forward to making even more friends. i have enjoyed chatting it up with muslims and atheists and people from all over the world. and i thank GOD that he has allowed our paths to cross. i hope i've added as much value to their lives as they've added to mine.

looking forward to new challenges..but first, i have to get through finals week! it's all good, though!