Sunday, June 26, 2011

falling rocks, are you nuts?

A couple of years ago we were adopted.

We hosted a work team from our home church, Lakeside Church, and one of the guys just kinda stepped up and took us on as his personal cause. He started letting us know what was happening in the church and passing on info about what was going on with us to the folks back home. He became our advocate, our intercessor, our champion.

It was no surprise then that when I asked for a little help for the blog, Kirk Weir stepped up and was the first person to offer his pen.

Enjoy.
ecwrites

One of the topics our Church has been exploring is “what is sin?” A simplistic answer is “sin happens when we try to be our own God”. Where do you cross that line between a temptation (heck, even Christ was tempted) and falling into sin by pretending to be in charge?

Now, before you start to think “Geez – this guy Steve asked to sit in is getting WAYYYYY too heavy” let me turn to a real life example to lighten things up. The other day, I went on a motorcycle ride with a friend of mine who has been a key source of inspiration in my faith life. He’s also a very busy guy so I’m always grateful when he makes time for just the two of us to get out on the road. We get a chance to revel in the beauty of God’s creation and to reconnect on how things are with our families, our church and our personal struggles and triumphs.

Having checked the weather (heck, it was 92 degrees at home), I led him up a highway that would take us up into the mountains. As we got closer to the halfway point, I saw a big orange sign on the side of the road that said:


My response was “Pssshhhhh – dang County road crews haven’t put the cover back on the sign – it’s mid June!” We continued up the highway for about 10 miles until we saw another sign:


“Falling rocks? Are you nuts? There are no cliffs around here!” We continued up the highway for about 5 more miles – and started having to dodge rocks all over the road. Then we came to this:




By that time I started to get a little worried…was my friend (who was lightly dressed) getting cold? Did he think I was a complete tool for leading him into a snow-covered stretch of highway? Fortunately, his response was “this is awesome – let’s get a photo!” When I asked if he wanted to push on farther he said, “sure, let’s go!”

(The black arrow in the photo points to a narrow little strip on the opposite side of the road that was clear)

A couple of miles later we came to a section that was completely covered with snow about a foot deep and we had to turn around. At first I was mad and embarrassed. And then it hit me – someone HAD warned me ahead of time – about snow, and rocks on the road.

I had to try and do it my way.

Then I realized that all the time we spent in the oncoming traffic lane dodging rocks and snow there were no oncoming cars. Maybe I/we were lucky. Maybe God was actively looking out for us. Maybe God doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Was our stuff big stuff?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know God judges our hearts. My friend and I had a great time, like we always do – and when I was worried he would label me a tool for ignoring the signs – he was gracious enough to dive in with me.

Sometimes I fall to the temptation to try and be my own God. In this case I was really trying to share one of my favorite of God’s works with a friend.

I’ll take it. And hopefully, I’ll be a little less tempted to try and always be in charge.

Kirk is just starting out in his blogging career so do me a favor, head on over to his blog, Heart to Serve, and give him a little encouragement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

that's me, a screw up

Its not too often that I get things right.

I am more of your try it, screw it up, leave it for a while, think about it, think about going back to it, touch it again, screw it up again, consult the internet and eventually get it done type of guy.

You know the type. You see him at Home Depot like 5 times on a Saturday picking up various tools and materials, often re-buying the same thing over and over again because he screwed up a measurement and cut the 2x4 3 inches too short. 


He starts out early in the morning all smiles, but when you see him again 5 minutes before closing, he is sweaty, looks tired, and is clearly, well, pissed off.

That's me, a screw up.

So I was hanging out with a friend of mine the other day. Now this guy is a bit younger than I am, like almost young enough to be my kid, but he is a friend. We hang out, we talk, we share life. Anyway, as we are driving he tells me that he thinks of me like a father.

At first I was a little offended. I mean, seriously, he is a friend and I treat him like a friend, not like a kid, but like a friend. I even told him that I don't want to be his substitute dad, just his friend. To be honest, I think I came across as an a-hole. I wasn't thinking about him or anything else I just felt old!

My buddy was calling me old!

So we keep on driving and I start thinking about the situation and what a douche I am. We are friends and I know he would never do anything to hurt me or my feelings. He treats me, and my family, as his own. And to top it off, this is a guy who doesn't have a really good relationship with his dad and, for whatever reason, he has found some of what he is missing in our relationship, and I just basically told him I don't want any part of it.

We are over it now. He has since told me the same thing again and I have just kept my mouth shut, a bit humbled by my idiocy and completely honored by the opportunity to be a “father” to someone else.

ecwrites

So how have you run your mouth and hurt those around you?  Who are you connecting with and how?  What does it mean to be a father to the fatherless?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ask me later

A couple of weeks ago I broke down and asked for some help.  I solicited all of you to help maintain this blog by doing a little guest posting and I must say I had a lot more takers than I would have ever guessed so if you have not yet heard back from me, just wait.

Anyway, it was a bit difficult picking the first guest slot until I rolled over in bed and my lovely bride, some of you know her as JamieTVWM, offered to scratch something out for me.  

To be honest, I was excited to have a blogger of her status posting on my site, grateful for the help, and honored that she would take some time out of her schedule for me.  Truth is, I don't tell her enough, but I am very proud of her.

So, enjoy.
ecwrites

I hesitate to even bring this up.

But we’re all friends here, right? I mean, I can talk to you, can’t I?

Since the internet is obviously a “safe place” where one can truly bare their soul without fear of scrutiny or judgment, I’m just gonna go ahead and throw this out there…

El Chupacabra and I are at an impasse. There’s a glitch in our marital matrix.

We keep having the same conversation over and over, making the same remarks and coming to the same conclusions. It’s getting kinda weird.

It started in December when my husband got all emotional over one of our friends giving away his grown daughter at her wedding. That’s when the “Would you deny me a daughter?” conversation started. 
He waxed sentimental about how he would never have all those father/daughter experiences and I was like, “Too bad, so sad, let’s go get burritos!” And he was like, “Why don’t we have a daughter?” and I was all, “Um. I think because your ‘boys’ only make boys. And, besides, you had a vas-snippity over a decade ago.” So then he goes, “Well why don’t we adopt?” And then I was like, 

“No.”

And so for the past 6 months this subject has found its way into our everyday conversations - And it ends the same way every time. We talk about all the pros and cons, and I tell him how we have, like, NO money, and how we have NO room, and how we’re really crappy parents and don’t deserve more kids, and how I really like that we’re seriously on the verge of becoming those ultra-young, tragically hip grandparents that you see getting their grandbabies Chinese zodiac symbols tattooed the backs of their arms while they smoke a pipe. And then he says “So you would deny me a daughter?” and I say “Yup.”

And I knoooooow this makes me a cold, heartless, mean, selfish, JERK of a woman. But that’s where I’m at.

I love, love, love kids. And I love adoption. I do. But I also remember quite clearly how much work kids are when they’re small. They are needy little creatures. And they smell icky. And they’re hands are always covered in goop. And I just started wearing white jeans again. Minor detail.

Anyway.

To be perfectly blunt, these last few years in Costa Rica have left me worn out, and kind of disabled. This isn’t intended to sound whiny or dramatic, but sometimes I can barely get through a day without wanting to…die. (Ok. Maybe that was a little dramatic.) But the point is, I really, truly think that a small child would push me over the crazy-edge.

That said, I’m changing my answer. I have loved every second of being a mother (Shhhh! That’s a lie that Moms tell when they think their kids might read their blog – but I have loved a bunch of the seconds of Motherhood I’ve experienced.) And I have loved being the mother of sons. And I think that given the right circumstances, it would be a joy to raise another baby should we be fortunate enough to have the opportunity. Even a girl baby.

I just can’t do it now. And I mean that. I can’t.

So next time El Chupacabra asks me if I would deny him a daughter, I’ll tell him the truth – I’ll say, “Ask me later.” And I might be thinking ,“…like when I’m 40.”

But if, in the meantime, you want to pray for us – for the money and the space and the not-so-major change of heart – as we continue this conversation, we’d both be super appreciative… and so would our someday daughter.
.… …. ….
Have you ever considered adopting? Is there something holding you back? 


Now here is the awkward part since most of you were brought here by TVWM, but if by chance you happen to read my blog and have never checked out whats else she has to say you can follow her at:

Friday, June 10, 2011

So, what was your first time like?

I am not one to sit and read blogs everyday, especially "Christian" blogs.

They tend to read a little fake, and usually fall into one of two categories:
   
     Look at me, I'm so great!

and,

     Look at me, I'm still suffering!

But, there are some really great blogs popping up that don't fall into the Pharisee group, and the authors don't always sound like Eeyore.  They are still rare, but they exist, people talking about their quest to live out what it means to be a follower of Christ.  No they aren't perfect, and yes they do have some great, fun, exciting moments, but they are REAL!


A while back I was surfing the Blog-O-Sphere when I was smacked in the face with a little of this reality.  I ran across this blogger that called herself One Righteous Babe.  What struck me was that she was a screw up, like me, made mistakes, like me, and was still a follower of Christ, like me.  So I asked her to share a little of herself with you.

Enjoy!
ecwrites


When El Chupacabra messaged me out of the blue the other day asking if I was interested in guest posting I swear I almost crapped my pants. 

My first reaction was "Um... WHAT? Me?!"

The thing is I've never EVER done a guest post before and doing a guest post for someone who I hold in very high esteem is a bit like me drawing a picture with crayons for Michelangelo. 

So after much stress eating, chewing my nails off, and googling "how to write a flippin' awesome guest post..." 

This would be my crayola coloring attempt of guest post -

The other day I went out with my church plant group to feed the homeless and put on a tiny rock concert for them in honor of Fathers Day. 

And let me just say, I am SO glad I'm not homeless. It was over 100 degrees in the shade. And homeless people? They're a tough crowd. At least these homeless people were.

One guy, (I'm just gonna call him Jimmy) lit up a joint right in front of me and started puff away while gyrating drunkenly to the band. I mean, at least I thought it was a joint, it could've been a squished cigarette or something.


But I doubt it.

After the band finished their songs, our pastor got up and asked the crowd to raise their hands if they needed prayer. One lady raised her hand and I was the first one on the scene to jump up and run over to pray for her. 

Mostly because she was sitting in the shade and I didn't want anyone else getting all up in that prime real estate.

I placed my hands on her shoulders and did my best to look the part of a person who knows exactly what they're doing, and asked her what she needed prayer for. 

Now, my ears were still ringing from our 100 decibel rock praise concert so it sounded like she said "Sialkdjave."

So much for a graceful attempt at public prayer. 

I leaned in closer and asked her to repeat herself. I'm thinking, she's gonna pray for money, or beer, or a house, or a job right? Wrong.

"Salvation."

My first reaction was tocrapmypants "Um... WHAT?"

I mean, I've never EVER led anybody to Christ! This was NOT how I pictured it... When I saw it in my head, mymake up wasn't melted off, my hair wasn't ratty, I wasn't sweating from every available pore on my body, it wouldn't have been to a strung out homeless woman, and it most definitely wouldn't have smelled like pot!

But what was I supposed to do? Say "No, I'm sorry you really don't fit the bill of who had in mind of being myfirst person to lead to Christ? Plus I've never done this before so you might want to wait for a more experienced less self-centered Christ follower to handle this..." 

Because after all, leading somebody else to salvation in Christ is all about me right?

Now, I've never memorized all the Christian mantras or Roman's Road thing that people recite, so I winged it Righteous Babe style stuttering all the way through of what I'm sure sounded like a painfully pitiful salvation prayer even to strung out homeless woman.


I was expecting her to be looking at me like the screwed up,most likely second-hand high, idiot I was when my eyes opened...
But you know what? When I opened my eyes, she was crying. Big, heart felt tears of joy and thanks. She looked like a 57 lb weight had been lifted straight off her shoulders. 

And I can guaran-damn-tee you that it had absolutelyNOTHING to do with me.


So, what was your first time like?

If you like what One Righteous Babe had to say, check out more or her work over at:



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

borrowed words

Every day when I am getting dressed, I see them:  

My son's arms spread wide, waiting for a hug.

And every night when I am getting ready for bed I hear him say,

"You're the best dad ever"

It helps get me through the day knowing that he cares for and appreciates me, and helps me sleep at night knowing I am wanted and he loves me.

More important then what he says is that he says it.  They are his thoughts, his feelings, his emotions.  He is not passing along borrowed words to sound more intelligent, more devoted, or trying to show off to his brothers.  He is not trying to change my mind, make me love him, or get something from me.

He is just telling me what he feels.

Even though there are times when we argue, or need our space I will always know that he loves me because he made me this card using his own words.



Given the choice, I would choose his words over borrowed words every time.

I wonder if God feels the same?
ecwrites

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a helping hand

I have been struggling recently.  

No, I'm not doubting God's existence or sending pictures of my junk across the web (àla Representative Weiner), but I have been asking myself a few questions lately.

I am required to suffer for Jesus, right?  

If my job is ministry, true ministry, I should not be able to say that I love my job, should I? 

Truth is...

I love what I do.


  • Getting up everyday and being apart of a movement of disciples is great.  
  • Maintaining a facility that trains missionaries so they can be sent out into world to work with orphans, or refugees, or the "least of these" feels fantastic.  
  • Playing a role, albeit a small one, in the work of Christ throughout the globe, well, there is really nothing better.


I guess the only thing that is really difficult for me right now is that ever present issue of PRIDE.

I like it when I can do something for others.  I really like it when they tell me how great I am (yes that is a shameless plug for adoration).  There is nothing better than feeling important.

Frankly, when people approach you and say,

"I want to get closer to God and I know you can help me."

Honestly, that feels really good.  I know it is all about Christ and we should strive for humility, but it makes you feel all, well, important.  Better yet, it makes you feel indispensable, and I guess I like to feel indispensable, but the truth I'm not.

Anyone can do what I do.  Fixing toilets and cleaning gutters is not that difficult.  Hanging out with people doesn't require much skill.  I couldn't even manage to carve out an hour in the past 4 months to post anything.

Now in my defense, I did start taking classes to finish up my degree, I have been coaching football, and we did have some major projects going on at the ministry center, but admiting that I can't do everything really pisses me off!  Even worse, is admitting when I need some help, and...well...

I need some help!

I want to keep up with this blog, not because I am all that gifted an author, nor because I have anything worthy of sharing, but because I like it. Truthfully, it helps me process my thoughts and y'all help me hone them.

So here is what I need from you:

Words!

I think I can crank out about 2 posts a month, but I thought it might be nice to have some guest posts interspersed as well, you know, to keep it fresh.

If you think you might be interested in lending a helping hand send me an email.

ecwrites
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