Tag Archives: Christian

Merciful Days: What to do about Halloween

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Halloween

Halloween.  Nothing holds greater power to make good friends bitter enemies than Halloween.

It’s a clear-cut issue.  Halloween is the funnest day of the yeartotally evildress-up funof the deviltime to be sillytime to be vigilantcandy heaventooth decayfun for the whole familythe devil’s playgroundclassic American culture… a horrible dark thinga great way to build community with your neighborhoodan opportunity to stand against darknessthe best holiday of the yearthe most evil day of the year… not clear-cut.

I was born and raised in a country where Halloween was not part of the culture.  At some point it became a cultural import but most people, especially Christian people, did not embrace it.  Now I live in West-coast America where Halloween is as culturally prized as apple pie and Fourth of July!  It was a big shock when I first moved here, to see really wonderful godly people decorating their homes and encouraging their kids to dress up.  I didn’t understand why Christians would be involved with such a dark-themed holiday.  And then, as youth pastors, we had to work out what to do for our community of teens and families who demanded a safe and positive October 31st event.  It pushed me to have to pray…

What is a Christian supposed to do?!  What does God say about Halloween??  [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: Still doing the church thing?

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Still doing the church thing

So, after all these years, you’re still doing the church thing?

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I live with a man.  We share a bathroom sink, two kids, and a whole bunch of household chores.  I am here every day.  With him.  And the life we share.

I love to look into his eyes.  I love how his hand wraps around mine.  I love sharing life with him.  Even all the tired, boring, mundane parts.  We lean together to dream.  We lean together to make ends meet.  We lean together and face the odds.  And it is bliss.

He is good.  He is kind and generous.  He gives and loves and invests.  He is handsome and strong.  He is brilliant.  He is a natural engineer in every setting.  He finds answers when no when else has.  He fixes what no one else can.  He brings peace and stability and strength where ever he goes.  He is fun and funny.  He amazes me every day.

Life with him… in our rental apartment… with the heat at a bare minimum… and big dreams in our hearts… is glorious.

[Continue…]

Merciful Days: Inspection Fear

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Inspection Fear

Heat-herding curtains hanging in the stair-well. Electric blanket on the bed. Drawers of summer clothes half-way traded for tubs of winter ones.  Outdoor play pieces and summer toys piled in the garage.  It’s Fall.  Suddenly.  Sadly. Unusually early.  The cold, rainy season is here.  And amidst all these season-change-over activities, I regretfully felt inspired to clean off a bookshelf and contemplate every book we own.  This resulted in piles upon piles of books waiting for new spots on our shelves.  (Or a trip to Half-Price Books if I can get my heart to admit that I’ve been treating books like they are family members.)

It was a mess.  An unending loop of uncompleted tasks. Daunting tasks that are great excuses for not completing other ones.  Like bathroom cleaning. Bed-linen washing. Meal planning. Homework supervising. Blog writing.

I haven’t quite got the hang of having a kid in school.  And our home is showing the fruit of my inadequacies. Our home looks like my heart and mind does.  Disorganized. Unraveling. Cluttered. In-process.

On Wednesday night I found out our landlord was coming to do an annual property inspection on Friday. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: What I Need

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Neh 8v10Dinner time battle with the almost-3-yr-old. Him: “My body doesn’t need food.” Me: “Your body DOES need food to be strong and healthy.” Him: “Nope. My body needs toys.”

Yep.  Almost-three is a glorious age.  He makes me laugh.  And he makes me think. His funny commentary on life makes me think about important things.  Like whether I, too, prefer toys over food.

I mean, let’s be real.  I face this decision between toys and food in a hundred ways every day.

Something that will sustain me vs. Something that will be fun. What’s good for me vs. What’s exciting for me. Making medical bill phone calls vs. Having coffee with a friend. Beans and rice vs. Thai takeout. Nourishment vs. Entertainment. Essentials vs. Luxuries. Needs vs. Wants.

Please.  I want the fun choice every time.  Except I usually don’t choose fun because I’m responsible… or something. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: Beautiful Words

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Ps 119v103“Your test results are really good.” My doctor smiled.

Oh what words!

I am one year and five months into a medical treatment that is projected to last for three to five years.  It feels like each day of the past one year and five months has been giant.  It’s been a fight.  One step forward and two steps back.  Battling an illusive monster.  It’s been quite a year… and five months.

My doctor is the only human who really knows what my past one year and five months has been like.  She has become very precious to me.  I long to see her.  She is my coach.  My trainer in this long race.  My cheerleader.  My advocate.  She knows my enemy.  She knows my story.  She knows how far I’ve come.  She is in the valley with me.  I have come to love her.

Her smiling words were so full.  Full of understanding and celebration. I have been so desperate to hear words like this.

Her words mean so much because she knows so much about me.  Her words carry more weight than any others.  Her words give me strength, joy, energy, focus, hope.

I’m thinking about my true Coach. Trainer. Cheerleader. Advocate. Guide. Mentor. Savior. Father. Shepherd. Hope.

[Continue…]

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Merciful Days: When Hope Vanishes

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mark 9v24b“I don’t want to keep living this way.” I prayed honestly.

“Have I failed you?” The Holy Spirit asked me.

I was praying about an amazing job my husband had applied for.  It seemed like the perfect fit for him.  And, to be honest, we are beyond ready for the lifestyle a traditional job brings.  So I begged God to open the door for him to have this job.  And I talked about the tiredness of my heart that has come in these years of gig-based self-employment.  … Oh, it was such a great job!  Perfect for my husband’s career journey.  AND it would change everything for us.  Regular income.  Medical benefits.  Paid vacation.  Please God.

“In all these years, have I ever failed you?” His Light pointed at the depths of my heart.

He showed me that in the depths of my heart, it was still there. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: Beautiful Expectations

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Rom 8v16“And don’t forgot a note!” She sang at me while I packed her lunchbox this morning. “A note for my lunchbox!”

I had tucked a note into her lunchbox on her first day of school last week.  And I wrote a note for her second day too. And third. And fourth. And fifth. And sixth. And now the seventh.  Every day in her school career has featured a note from her mum.  She knows no school day without a note.  For her, it’s the norm.  She expects notes from me.

Guess what I decided today? I will be writing daily notes for my sweet daughter. Perhaps for the next 13 years.

As I folded today’s note into her pink princess sandwich box and thought about her beautiful expectation, I saw a challenge to my Faith.  An inspiration for my relationship with Yahweh. [Continue…]

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