I was raised as a traditional, covered dish Southern Baptist. You know, the loving kind who have potlucks every fifth Sunday and visit anyone elderly, ill, or backsliding. I was active with my youth group and sang in the choir. Then I went on walkabout from my faith. This lasted some years, until God got tired of it and pulled me back to where I belong. So while I am a Christian, I am an immature Christian. Here I will chronicle my return to faith, and all my little bumps along the way.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Growing Up

My friend Smart Blonde and I had a really good conversation today. Somehow or other we emerged from our late teens/early twenties as sober, non-slutty women. In other words, we grew up. God put me together with A, and now we are married with two boys. Smart Blonde has had a rough time romantically, but is getting close to finishing her PhD, has a great job, and a wonderful boyfriend. In other words, God has seen us through. We have both returned to our faith and our church lives. It was great to talk to my friend, who is also one of my former drinking buddies, with whom I was such an idiot, so often, and realize that we made it. We came out the other side, and now we have stability, as well as the reassurance that we are loved by our Lord, and He has forgiven us for every indiscretion. How powerful is that? And then He gave us really great lives, instead of herpes. Thank You Lord!

I can say thank you to Him, because I know how easily I could have stayed in that life. And bad things can so easily happen when you are in the bar hopping lifestyle. While I still have friends who are there, I don't really talk to them all that often. I am certain this is because there is a distinct lack of booze to be had around my kids. And let's face it, you can't really talk about bar drama in front of someone's babies either. Or you can, but then they tell you to stop, and it gets awkward, and you have to go home and have a drink.

And here's the challenge with having non-churchy friends who have known you forever. Okay, my challenge. I have to make sure to just love them, pray for them, and never ever get self righteous, while being unapologetic about my faith. Because they knew me back in the day, and were right there beside me while I was sinning up a storm. So how do I handle it? Well, up until I talked to Smart Blonde today, I really was avoiding talking to a couple of our mutual friends. I need to stop that, and call them, and see how they are. I can witness to them without preaching. I can just share how happy I am, and talk about how much I enjoy being back in church. I can do that, and I am going to pray that God guides my words. I can also let them back into my life, and tell them funny M and G stories, because they are my friends, and that's what you do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How do you Walk?

I have learned something since I returned from walkabout. Some of it I kind of figured out on my own, but a large part of it came from my mom and my husband. Here is my "great" or "semi-great" truth: Just because you have become a Christian, or are a returning Christian (what's up my people in the back pew!), or have never strayed, you don't necessarily have a great attitude. We are supposed to walk through our lives with a Christlike attitude. And it is hard. Sometimes more than others, thank you drive-thru guy who gave me the wrong utensils twice. However, we have to adjust and look for the silver linings. Here are a few of mine.

Four year old soccer is absolutely delightful. There is nothing cuter than a bunch of itty bitty people chasing a ball around a field. It is such a blessing that we can afford to pay for the league, the cleats, and the shinguards. It is a blessing we can buy the gas to get to practice and games. I am so happy we are able to do this for our son. It is a blessing that we have family who are more than willing to stand on the side-lines and yell like maniacs for the teeny soccer players. G is just blooming with the whole team sport thing.

M has learned how to get around in his walker. He has also started pulling himself along with only his arms. Really funny stuff. Screamy baby phase II is officially conquered. I thank God that he is healthy. I read Courtney Roth's blog, and then I cry, and then I pray, and then I kiss my babies. Courtney has such amazing grace, that I can't help but be inspired. I just pray God keeps his hands on that whole family. So I am blessed by my children's health.

My husband is a continuous miracle in my life. He is constantly inspiring me to strive for a more Christian walk through life. He also gives me constant encouragement, support, and love. I love him more every day.

I love our life group. I do sometimes worry that I talk to much, or that I am off center when I say things. But I can't stand it when a question is asked an not one person speaks for a minute. I will learn to love the soccer moms I see twice weekly, just like I loved to learn my swim school people. They are just women who are probably really sweet once I get over the whole excessive grooming thing. I must stop judging.

So I am going to try a little harder to walk the walk that Christ laid down for us. I know He will help, and I am willing. I am also secure in the knowledge that he will forgive me for the slip-ups, and that is awesome too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Worship through Pain

Wednesday night's sermon for the kids, and the lesson in life group, focused on worshipping through pain. I thought it was a touching lesson, and very, very important for the kids to hear. I can only wish I had connected those dots when I was younger. The truth of the matter is that everyone will face pain and struggle on some scale in their lifetime. How we react to pain is the key factor. It's all about the attitude I guess. David, in the Psalms, was not always a happy camper. He would ask God why. He would tell God he felt alone. But he never closed the conversation. He kept an open dialogue to God through his prayers and songs.

I think a lot of times people expect prayer to be a magic bullet, slaying all dangers and woes. It doesn't work like that. And because one can't use God as a vending machine of miracles, people get angry and ask, "why should I worship God? He doesn't do anything for me!" This is pretty far from the truth, but we are all kind of like little mean kids sometimes. I think if we teach our children that we will suffer in our lives, but God still loves us. They should also know pain is how we grow, and maybe the dots will line up, and they won't become "vending machine" Christians.

So many of the intellectual atheists I know congratulate themselves on not "falling for" all the talk of God's love, and how He moves through our lives on a daily basis. They view the Bible as a mass delusion. phht! whatever. I think many of the intellectual atheists around my age were taken to church as children. For whatever reason this wasn't always a positive experience, and they never got over it. Or, they were vending machine Christians who didn't understand that our faith can and will be tested. So when their faith was tested, they walked away. It is much, much easier to walk away from your Christianity.

So hopefully we planted some seeds this week which our kids will carry around with them until life throws them a curve ball. Let's face it, middle school is tough. There is status at school, and how you look, and all those hormones. It's a big bowl of crazy soup. Hopefully, when that curveball comes, whether it be a bully, or something at home, the kids will remember they can talk to God No Matter What. It's a good lesson for me as well.