Unfair Advantages

All decent parents spend their resources to improve their children’s chances of thriving.  Whether that’s money, time, skill… that’s just what decent parents do.   There can never be forced equality of parenting, because we humans will always do what we can to give our kids the best.

So, I’m totally pro giving my kids a leg up.   But I never wanted to give my kids a leg up by standing still and having the other kids’ foundations stolen.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/27/about-one-third-of-u-s-children-are-living-with-an-unmarried-parent/

I’m grateful for my husband for so many things, he’s a wonderful man and a great father.   I know everyone doesn’t have as great a dad as he is.  I know everyone doesn’t have as great a dad as I still have.  Or a great dad like DH’s dad was.

But not having a dad at all?   Ouch.

Anyway.  To all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!   You matter.

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Pharisee Choke-Collar

I have within me the tendency to be a Bratty Little Pharisee, and God has been relentless in His pruning away of those opportunities.

I do not enjoy the pruning process.

Phariseeism is the setting up of One True Way to go about doing life that isn’t straight from the Bible.  It’s over-and-above, in order to make life perfect or be perceived as a perfect person.   Phariseeism doesn’t necessarily stem from an evil impulse, and the things that we do to become Pharisees aren’t necessarily bad things – in fact, to be a true blue Pharisee, the over-and-above stuff has to be objectively good!

Example:  I spent my college years yearning for the day when I’d be married and a mom.  The subjects I chose to research, my daydreaming, all of it, oriented to having the Perfect Pregnancy/Birth/Nursing experience.   By the time (years later) when I had the opportunity to “start trying”, I did everything obsessively “right”.   But God didn’t intend for me to be a BLP.

I bled.  I got exhaustion.  I had life craziness.  That was bad enough… but then I couldn’t have the baby naturally.  Oh, I tried.  I tried hard enough that there were nurses gossiping in the corridor about “why was the doctor putting this poor woman through this?”  And then I tried to nurse and didn’t have enough milk.   I was BITTERLY disappointed.   That was my idol – a perfect pregnancy, a natural, no-pain-killer birth, nursing for ages…. and I did all the things that I could have done to make that happen, and it didn’t.

Why?  Well, there’s nothing wrong with anything I wanted, but there’s the rub – 1) it became an idol and 2) I was going to be absolutely unbearable… someone who said, “well THIS is the One Right Way”.   God wouldn’t allow it.

I’ve been wanting to go back to the land and be a prepper and a homesteader for decades now.  Still do.  But God hasn’t allowed it as of yet.  And for a good while, that was because it was (yes) an idol, but also because all the other Cool Christian Ladies were doing it.  I haven’t got a clue how being serious about your faith means you should can your own tomatoes, but … hey.   That was definitely a thing.

None of this stuff is BAD.    Being a crunchy, natural birthing mom with a pantry full of home-canned food is GOOD.  But it’s not God.   It’s too easy to make the stuff of this world into God.   It’s too easy to make the pursuit of earthly perfection into your reason for living.   It doesn’t have to be evil to get in the way of your relationship with the King.

I’ve had so many moments in my life where I’ve felt the bite of the choke collar … moments when I was going after something GOOD … but not something that God had planned for me.    I *never* understand in that moment.   Sometimes God’s had to yank hard and hurt me.   That’s okay, He’s the Master, and it is for my good.   It still hurts.

I’m grateful that God doesn’t allow me to be a Pharisee.  I would be, if it were up to me.

Why am I grateful?  Because when you become a Pharisee you put your idols between the world and God.   You hold up all the extra stuff and say, “this is how I’m good” and you don’t hold up Christ and say, “It’s His righteousness that I’m wearing – my own is rags”.

Stuff happens in life.   You don’t always get to live perfectly and according to your plan.  If you put your plans above your obedience to God, you’re going to screw your own heart up, and much worse, you’re going to make other folks think they have to be just like you to get into the kingdom of Heaven.   We in this time and place are so incredibly fortunate – we think we can make life perfect with just a few tweaks.  But life isn’t perfect.  It’s … life.  Heaven is perfect, and it’s Heaven that is our true home.

And I don’t want to imply through any of this that I don’t have an amazing life.  I’ve been blessed in so many ways.  I couldn’t count them all.  I am provided for and protected and sheltered and allowed to bloom.

…but if I could just tweak…

-laughter-

Beautiful Moment: Age Mix

A small thing that I am enjoying right now….  accessible to all!

I’m enjoying people of different ages.

I go to meetings on the first two Saturdays of the month.  The first Saturday is at church, and is my mentoring meeting.  The second Saturday is my sewing guild meeting.  On both Saturdays, I’m blessed with the company of women far older than I am – both groups include women in their 80s and 90s.   The wisdom and skill they bring to the table is incredible.

The teacher of the mentoring group is 91… she’s nearly blind, going deaf, and uses a walker.  But she uses her experience to teach others to mentor, mentors others, and is a gift to those around her.  Her perspective and sharing are a blessing.

The lady who arranged our use of the space we meet at ASG is 97.  She had a stroke this year and lost enough of her sight that she can’t sew on her machine anymore.  She still made a beautiful hand-embroidered feather… she’s going to make it into a purse.  And she’s a Christian sister with a heart of beauty.

There’s a lady at ASG who has sewn her whole life, created and traveled… she’s amazing.  On my to-do list this summer is to ask permission to visit her home (she’d offered once, and I couldn’t take her up on it at that time).  She wants to show off her art, and I’d like to appreciate it.  I already appreciate her skill – there’s pretty nearly nothing she can’t do with a needle and thread.  Weave, crochet, knit, embroider, mend… what did you say you wanted to know?

So, I enjoy the older ladies.

I go to a Crossfit gym where most of the members are young enough to be my kids.   They’re beautiful in their enthusiasm.   Watching them court one another, raise littles, pursue their young-adult ambitions, it’s a blessing.   It’s watching the world go ’round as it should.

I have teenagers.  It’s hard to be a teenager, as it’s always been – but I enjoy watching them mature.  I enjoy watching them grow and become the people that I am looking forward to having in my life forever.

I enjoy the ladies of my acquaintance who are 10 years older than I am, who have just finished the life stage I’m in.  They have so much to teach me.   I enjoy the company of ladies my own age, as we help one another along in the craziness that is life.

The world is a very beautiful place, it just takes eyes to see.  Pause for a moment, and look around.  You’ll be blessed.

Choice vs. Blessing

It would be useful if we could differentiate between the virtue inherent in our choices vs. our blessings.   I keep having the conversation with friends who don’t want to say that they’re intelligent so as not to be prideful.  That, IMO, is as silly as denying how tall you are.

It is good to be healthy.   How much of that is your genetic lottery, and how much of it is the product of your daily choices?   You can take credit for the latter.

It is good to be beautiful.  Most of physical beauty is genetic lottery, choices made by your forebears (particularly the nutritional choices that your mother made, and her mother before her), age, and circumstance.    Adornment and maintenance are your choices.

It is good to be smart.  Your choice to dull your mind or sharpen it, use your wits to improve the world or damage it – those are to your credit or not.  Your IQ was given to you.

There are many facets of life, and much of it was handed to you.  You’re not living in the slums of India digging through trash to find enough calories to keep you from starvation, and it’s not your virtue that made that difference.   God’s grace, the choices of generations past, etc, got you here.  Contrariwise, if you’re afflicted with a horrible illness or burdened by the results of sin-not-your-own, that’s not your choice either.

But we all have choice.   What will you do with what was given to you?  If you were given much, you are obliged to use it to honor God.  If you are given little, you are obliged to use it to honor God.  God is not honored simply in the end result, He is honored in your choice to bring what you have to Him.

So please stop lying about what you were given.  Instead, look at it as a solemn obligation.

 

Late Marriage vs. Early Marriage

Just saw a phrase that gelled something for me…

The thing with late marriage is that you think you should “know who you are” and “be your own person” and “be ready” to be married.   The model makes you think that you are going to have to fight to stand  your ground.   Like you’re a whole person, and you’re partnering with another whole person.  Coincidentally (not) this model is often referred to as “partnership”.

With early marriage, you accept that you’re not a finished product, and that you’re going to do your growing up with the other human, and yes – that will change you and shape you and make you something other than you’d be on your own.  The model is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.   You should start out with a healthy other (character/physical) but you’re going to become one, and that’s pretty much the point.

Since the respective models have differing assumptions and differing goals, it’s not weird that when we try to communicate with one another, we don’t do very well.   “Oh, look at that young couple!  So beautiful!”  “She’s much too young to get married – she doesn’t know herself!”  Err… we’re not speaking the same language.

Communication is important.

Heaven has a new resident

From the K-house FB site:

Koinonia House Announces Death of Founder
Reporoa, NZ— Koinonia House announces the death of its Founder and retired Board Chairman, Dr. Charles W. “Chuck” Missler. He was 83 years old, and passed away peacefully at his home in Reporoa, New Zealand. He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy and his two sons, Charles “Chip” and Mark. He is survived by two daughters, Lisa Bright and Meshell Missler, grandchildren Emily Wilmore, Madeline Wilmore, Mason Missler, Noah Bright, James Bright, Sommer Bright, Alexandra Bright, and Sophie Missler.

Two Careers in One Lifetime
Dr. Missler was fond of saying that he enjoyed two careers following his graduation from the United States Naval Academy and service in the armed forces: leading edge technology ventures and biblical studies. Truly the passion of his life was encouraging of others to commit to the serious study of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.

Biblical Studies and Koinonia House
Dr. Missler’s effort as a Bible scholar, author and teacher lead to him gaining international recognition. Starting with an informal affiliation with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California Chuck became known for his insight into the integration of Scripture with science, history and prophecy. Ove the past 40+ years literally millions of Dr. Missler’s teachings has been distributed and enjoyed. From cassette tapes to MP3 audio down loads, from VCR tapes to YouTube videos the message of “The Grand Adventure” has been enjoyed by many.

American Technology Ventures
During his 30-year business career, Chuck served on the Board of Directors of over a dozen public companies, and was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of five of them. Dr. Missler received a Congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Upon graduating with honors, he received his commission in the U.S. Air Force, completed his military obligations, he had become Branch Chief of the Department of Guided Missiles at Lowry AFB.

Chuck completed a Masters Degree in engineering at UCLA with additional post-graduate studies in applied mathematics, advanced statistics and information sciences, and completed his PhD at Louisiana Baptist University. His civilian career began as a systems engineer at TRW, followed by a Senior Analyst position in a “think tank” serving both the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.

Recruited by the Ford Motor Company into a Senior Management position, Chuck established the first international industrial computer network in 1966. Leaving Ford to start his own company, he founded a computer networking organization later acquired by Automatic Data Processing (NYSE) to become its Network Services Division. He subsequently served as a consultant to the Board of Directors of Rockwell International for corporate acquisitions (which included Collins Radio, American Data Systems, and others); and has also participated in over 100 business ventures as a principal, strategic advisor, or turnaround specialist.

His final consultancy in the American technology sector was as an advisor to the Super-Wide Area Satellite (SWANsat) System, an international telecommunications venture.

After a lifelong citizen of the United States, Dr. Missler repatriated to New Zealand in 2010 where he resided with his wife Nancy. A memorial service will be held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho the date is TBD and a funeral/burial service will be held on 16 June in Reporoa, New Zealand.

………………….

Chuck Missler was one of the big influencers in my study of the Word of God.   I started listening to his studies on the 66/40 radio program (online) and worked through most of the Bible while washing the dishes… his studies in Genesis and Revelation are particularly jaw-dropping.  (Drink a pot of espresso before attempting to keep up – you can find a great deal of this on youtube or elsewhere online for free).   I went to one of his presentations here in San Diego once, and was privileged to shake his hand.

“The degree of integration of design among the 66 books is astonishing. I don’t simply mean that there is a theme in the Old Testament which is fulfilled in the New Testament. It goes far deeper than that. I believe that every number, every place name, even the hidden structures behind the text itself, bear evidence of precise, skillful engineering.”

There are too few men of Dr. Missler’s caliber.   He paired a rigorously intellectual study of the Bible-as-precision-communication with intense and personal faith.   I listen now to some of the big conservative men (Peterson, Prager, Shapiro), and something that pains me is their lack of faith – even those who choose to believe with their intellect don’t seem to have that personal understanding of the supernatural that the giants of the past had.

I’ve been blessed to learn the Word of God from teachers who didn’t tell me that I had to choose between my spirit and my brain, and Dr. Missler was definitely one of them.

My hat’s off to you, Chuck.  See you again someday.

Patience and Fortitude

Duh moment.  Writing down so I don’t forget it….

Sitting here trying to figure out why I’m having to wait for what I know God is going to bring, and yet again, I forget.  I forget that I *asked* God to develop my patience.   I was asked to ask by a mentor… it’s not one of those things that “they” will recommend you do, because growing patience isn’t particularly pleasant.

Patience is all wrapped up with faith – I’m not being patient for nothing, I have faith in God.

Yes, things are still up in the air.  No, I don’t know what direction we’re going.  No, I don’t like that.  Yes, it was a lot easier to be patient and cheerful when I didn’t think anything was going to change.    But change will come, soon or late.

And there you find fortitude.  Content in discontent.   This is, for whatever reason, God’s will.  His PERFECT will.   I am convinced that His will, will be done.   And that it is, and will be, perfect in my eyes when I get ’round to His perspective.   I’m just waiting to get there.

All the things that I am not good at, like dailyness and being in the moment, I am being forced to practice.   It’s amusing, in its own way.   I do find myself amusing… the flopping about like a fish out of water.  It’s not as if my life is actively unpleasant, it’s a very nice life – I’m just being grown.  Matured.

Why do I talk about it?  In some ways, to talk it out.  In other ways, because I don’t find a lot of folks writing amidst the struggle.   I mean, if you’re struggling you’re not sitting down to write.  So you get a ton of books written after the fact, encouraging you to walk through that moment with joy, because it will pass.  And those things are encouraging.  But … well, maybe I suffer from having grown up in a very outwardly perfect kind of church.   I’ve talked about that.  I don’t want to pretend to be someone that I am not.

And maybe I just want this to be out there, for the next person.  The one that says it’s all too hard, and “you” are just super spiritual and “I” just am not.  I’m not freaking super spiritual!!!!!  If you had the *slightest* idea of the amount of whining-in-prayer I’m doing right now… oy.  It’s good that God is all-loving, because I’m sick of myself.

And then there’s that too.   We don’t talk about that… how we’re supposed to relate to Him like kids to our Father, not like adults to our boss.  I’m learning that… learning, as I am sick of my whining, to not suggest that He take a certain course of action on my behalf, but just running to His arms and crying, “It hurts!”

Speaking of past grace, I’ve often said that if I knew how breaking my foot would fix my marriage, I’d have gotten out a hacksaw and chopped it off.  That’s true.  But IF it had been my conscious choice to cut my foot off to save my marriage (my foot is still attached, thanks) then I would always be able to point to myself and say, “look at me, how awesome *I* am, that I made this huge sacrifice and I *deserve* what I got in return”.  Ugh.  I don’t want to be that person – but I know that’s who I would be.   It wasn’t a sacrifice – God just used the situation in myriad ways to get us through a storm we couldn’t have gotten through on our own.    There were a lot of moments in that mess where God showed up with *perfect* timing… like when my SIL dropped by unexpectedly and talked us off the edge.   She needed to be there, at that very SECOND.  And she was.  She doesn’t drop by that often.   The day I broke my foot, I  was about to give up and get a job, be more independent.   Then I was made radically more dependent.   God’s weird like that – He doesn’t teach the lessons we think we need to learn, or open the opportunities we think we should have, He provides what we really do need, in ways we couldn’t imagine.

So I know – I know I know I know – that God’s timing is perfect and His ways are mysterious.  And I’m down.

As I’ve said before… my faith in God is solid.  My faith in my understanding of His plans is not.  And yet… I can’t shake that inner joy.   What does that mean?  I don’t know.   For now, I guess it means I should go do the next thing that wants doing… even if it’s a fiddly bit of sewing.  🙂

Talk to y’all later.