Candid Chatter

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Crazy Christians December 18, 2008

Just like in the world of non-believers, there are some characters in the world of believers. One of my favorite blogs to read daily is Stuff Christians Like. Totally sarcastic most days and funny (he is a Christian who makes fun of Christians). Other days Jon really gets deep and goes inward in ways that anyone can relate to. It’s like that song you hear on the radio that spoke perfectly to you and your neighbor and the guy in California who is tuning in on his computer. All of you perfect strangers, but all of you able to relate to that song on some level. You’ll be able to relate to most of Jon’s deep posts and you’ll probably laugh out loud to most of his funny/sarcastic ones. He’s a blog dynamo and has recently signed a book deal based on the blog. Cool, huh?

When I first started my journey as a salvaged wreck of a person, I was quite zealous. I don’t mean that in a totally good way either. I flat got carried away. I offended so many people I can’t even begin to list them all. I probably even offended people I don’t know I offended. I used the Bible as a weapon on many occasions and stood on my throne of righteousness a time or two too many. I was so spiritual and perfect back then. Ha! Not!!

As I’ve matured in my faith (and I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go), I have realized a few things.

  • It is far, far better to live your life authentically (yes, that means flaws showing) and honestly. There is no bigger turn off than a person who claims to be so perfect and to have it all together. Christians are redeemed, but they are broken and flawed and sinners and beyond needy just like everyone else. What do Christians have that’s different? Hope of undeserved and perfect eternal life. Grace that only comes from God. Joy that makes no sense.
  • Battling it out with other Christians about stupid goofy things kills a person’s testimony or witness. You want to make a non-Christian roll their eyes and do this whole “just like I told you, Fred, they are nuts at that church” then get into a battle with another Christian in a public forum. Better yet, start throwing Bible verses at each other no matter how far out of context you’ve taken them. I am just as guilty of this as the next guy so don’t get all screwy faced on me. I know.
  • Speaking your Christianese turns Christians off so what the heck do you expect to accomplish by telling every Tom, Dick, and Harry “Jesus loves you man”? Makes you look like some weirdo cult member. Makes people think that if they sign up to follow Christ they have to become all strange and say things like “Praise the Lord” and wear make-up like Jan what’s-her-name on TV. Soooo entirely freakin’ crazy weird and psychotic. Yikes!

I could go on and I’m sure you could add your own stuff here as well.

There is a flip side too. It’s called condemnation. You may try to justify your actions by saying you’re “calling someone out” or “sharpening a fellow Christian”. But, in reality, you are being a jerk plain and simple — and a judgmental one at that. It’s so very immature and unkind. It definitely bears no fruit of the Spirit. None.

“What on earth do you mean by that, Heidi?”

There are a handful of Christians out there who like to pretend to not judge other people. They seem to be so open-minded and carefree on the surface. But all it takes is a little paying attention and the dark and ugly are revealed. I have something to say about that because I am flabbergasted almost every single time I see it. It’s like they expect other Christians to live a life of perfection and they raise this ridiculous bar that cannot possibly be reached by any human being on the face of this planet. However, they get all the leeway they need to be broken and shattered. Huh? What a double standard. Wow.

But here’s the reality. We’re all broken and shattered. We aren’t perfect in our walk of faith. We aren’t perfect parents or spouses or siblings or children or friends, etc. We are not even close. If we were, why the heck would we need Jesus? I mean, seriously? Think about that.

So to all you crazy Christians out there (myself included), lighten up. Save your negative and judgmental rants for after December. Better yet, make it your New Year’s resolution to stop harping on each other. Do you know a Christian who annoys you? So what. The more you allow that person to irritate you the more you are letting that person control you. Let. It. Go. God will deal with him or her. You should know this.

Let’s focus on what matters this season. It’s the birth of Christ. Reconcile your differences. Bury your hatchets. Drop your stones. Just stop the craziness already. So you hate Santa, Christmas trees, lights, and eggnog. Who the heck cares? Really? Who?

Stop. Focus.

Jesus really is the reason for this season. And isn’t it lovely? Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it amazing?
God became flesh. He who rules over angels. He who sits on a throne. He who created the universe.
He came as a helpless baby. Born in a stable filled with stinky animals. Laid in a manger full of hay rather than a soft bed of silk and satin. Raised by a carpenter and a young girl. From Nazareth (which was a nothing town back then). He humbled Himself for us. To save us. Focus on Him.

Merry Christmas everyone.
Peace in your hearts.
Joy on your lips.
Love flowing from your every deed.
Merry Christmas

nativityscene1

 

Change November 24, 2008

Something is brewing. I can feel it. I have felt like this before.
I’m on the edge of something new. Old is fading. New is hatching.

It’s a God thing. Of course it is. It always is when these things stir within.

Here’s the deal. I want several things. I mean I really want them. Like a side-by-side front load washer and dryer combo. And not the cheap versions either. No. I want the ones that cost upwards of 3 grand. However, my current washer and dryer work just fine.

I want a new digital camera. But not just any digital camera. No. I want one that costs almost $1000. Why? Because photography is my hobby. I will never try to be a paid photog. But I love taking pictures and editing them and looking at them over and over being amazed that God gave me such a keen eye for detail. It’s fun. It’s my artistic outlet.

I want jewelry. I’ll tell you what. I need another piece of jewelry like I need punched in the eyeball. But still I look and I deal and I get the price I want and then I buy.

What is wrong with this? I’m not sure there is anything wrong with it.
Everybody wants things. More things. Better things. We all do.

Three more people I care very much about lost their jobs in the past 2 weeks. They are all married and they all have children. One got a severence package. One lost his entire pension along with his job. I’m not sure about the third one, but losing your job is bad enough.

As I stand there like a deer caught in the headlights when I’ve been told these things, deep down inside of me I am thanking God with every fiber in my body that Rich is doing well. And for some weird reason I also feel guilty. Grateful and guilty. Why guilty? Because we are fine and they are afraid.

This is the story of America right now. Someone has something going down. Someone will lose their job today. Someone will lose their house today. Someone will lose their car today. Someone will declare bankruptcy today. Someone will lose. A lot of someones.

Change is happening. Sometimes I look at this and I think it’s not such a bad thing for Americans to relearn budgeting and living within their means. I mean, what the heck is wrong with that? That’s how it should have been all along. But we got greedy. We all did. Me, you, them. Everyone.

Change isn’t just happening in our society. It’s happening within me.

The things I want are starting to pale in comparison with the things that are needed globally. I have a washer and dryer. They both work fine. What right do I have wanting a luxury combo when there are many, many women around our world who have never even seen a washer or a dryer? What a selfish thing to want.

I can no longer see my wants and just go for it. What I now see are the hungry, dirty faces of poverty stricken people. They need shoes. They need food. They need medicine. They need love. They need homes. They need help. They need us.

I can’t help but think — even in our current economic “crisis” — that if Americans would stop spending so much money on themselves and step out to help the hurting people in this world that our world would look a whole lot like it should.

If Christians would walk the talk. I mean really do it. Stop storing up rotting treasures on earth and start storing up glorious treasures in heaven… Imagine the impact that would have globally.

Imagine.

Imagine if I dropped the whole boob job issue, the material wants, the dinners and lunches out, the random toys for my kids, and the whole nonsensical way I sometimes spend our money. What if I donated more instead? What if I bought and cooked an ENTIRE Thanksgiving dinner for the family down the street? What if I ate normal food on Thanksgiving and gave someone in need my feast? What if I bought more shoes? What if I sponsored more missionaries? What if I gave a flip more for humanity than I do for my clean clothes? What if?

What if you did?

What if we all did?

Change is good.

 

Denial April 11, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:37 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday as I sipped coffee in my kitchen, I noticed the clock on my wall made of a China saucer that used to be in my Grandma’s China collection. My Uncle Rik is extremely talented and made some of her pieces of China into clocks. He then gave them to all the girls as gifts one Christmas. Mine has made it through 3 moves even though it is very delicate. It still works, and I totally love it!

Then I looked across the family room at a picture on the wall. It is a puzzle that my Grandma put together and had framed for me. She wrote on the back of it. It was meant as a Christmas present, but she died before Christmas.

On my neck hung a pear shaped diamond solitaire pendant she left for me after she passed away. There is a story behind the necklace that I was involved in and it touches me deeply that she left it for me. I was so stunned when I got it that I called my mom to be sure it wasn’t a mistake.

Finally, I was drawn to the pictures on my fridge. One is of my new little precious niece, Riley Brooke; one is of my friend’s sons; one is of the missionaries we help support in India; and two are of her – my Grandma.

That’s when it hit me.

I could trick myself into believing she is still alive. I know that sounds really weird so just hang with me a minute. My Grandma and I were soulmates. She didn’t live near me for the majority of my life. But it didn’t matter. I felt as close to her as if she lived right next door. She was my favorite relative outside of my immediate family. She was so real and so much fun. She didn’t pretend to be all cookies and cream with a cherry on top. I’ve seen her get really upset with my PopPop. We had some serious heart-to-heart talks during my divorce. She revealed some of her lifelong secrets to me then. She helped get me through the beginning of the end of my first marriage. She gave me the confidence I needed and the encouragement to keep going. She made me feel like it was “ok” to do what I was doing. My ex-husband was mean and controlling and manipulative. She understood me. At that time of my life, she was the only one who understood me.

But since I hardly saw my Grandma, I could trick my heart into forgetting that she died. I could just give myself that comfort if I wanted to that she is just in Arizona living her life and I am here in Florida living mine and I’ll see her someday if I ever get enough money to fly west.

That’s how it was. Even though I had this connection with her my entire life that cannot be described accurately, we didn’t live close by each other. I’d send e-mails and pictures of the kids. I also sent things they colored and put stickers on with little notes from me to her.

Wow. I miss my Grandma. I miss her, yet she’s not really gone.

But she is.

She’s gone.

Heaven will be wonderful. Why not today? Jesus, please come take us away…

Today!

Amen.