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Women in the UMC

The United Methodist Church recently failed to add language to the UMC Constitution affirming women’s equality and a commitment to inclusivity and diversity.  https://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/news/united-methodist-women-annual-conference-votes-unfinished-gender-justices

It felt like a punch to the gut, to be honest.

I have worshiped in churches that have denied women decision making abilities for the church and leadership of both women and men regarding Scripture in teaching and preaching. I have felt the sting of being trivialized and excluded, based on the fact that I don’t have a penis.

It feels demeaning that my talents, abilities, experiences, education and Calling have been disregarded and instead church leaders positioned me (and many women more gifted than I) in subservient places where our callings could not be fully embraced.

My hope to pursue a seminary degree is ironically on hold as I pay off debt accrued by or family for the years I was a stay-at-home mom, raising babies and supporting my husband in his role as Bread Winner. Our culture expects women to be the Home Keeper, Baby Raiser, Breast Feeder, and also supplement income because living off one income in this day and age is quite the challenge.

I do understand that there are two sides of every story. I was grateful to read an African UMC representative’s statement, further explaining the language they disagreed with.

However.

Our church is at an impasse. I don’t know what’s going to be left of the UMC come next year. I interpret Scripture using contextual information about the culture for which it was written, the Spirit of the writing, and what I know about God from my personal experience. My God embodies both male and female, as Scripture does refer to God using feminine analogies as well as masculine. My God loves all people; and all people struggle to align their faith and their actions with Who they believe God to be.

I realize that there are two divergent perspectives and this comes down to interpretation of Scripture. I pray for the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ . . . because a house divided cannot stand.

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Take a Breath.

I wrote this in 2016. It’s lovely to remember these moments. 🙂

Mornings are difficult in my home. I am not a morning person. Before I had children, I was blessed with jobs that didn’t expect me until mid morning. Nights are much more my style. So how I ended up with a situation where my kids and I have to be out the door by 7:20 is beyond me. I’ve often considered it a curse, but perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise.

We have to be organized for early mornings. Clothes need to be laid out the night before. Homework needs to be packed. Snacks need to be prepared. I need to know where my travel coffee mug is.

(Thankfully, my husband has coffee ready to go for me. He gets up really early to take care of the horses and chickens. The puppy is my responsibility, as are the kids. It’s an equitable distribution of labor, in my opinion.  )

I’ve learned that even if I plan ahead, there will always be a wrench thrown in the works. Someone changes their mind about their shirt. Someone doesn’t want the cereal we have. Someone else isn’t happy with having to wake up. Aye yi yi!

One morning, my youngest didn’t like the pink leggings that were to go with her brown and pink dress. She walked around undressed as I helped everyone else with necessities. She finally came out to the car, wearing BLACK printed leggings. They didn’t match. Whatever. Get in the car and go!!!

I had two choices. I could harangue her for changing her mind, being difficult, making us all wait for her. Or I could build up her self esteem.

For once, I chose wisely.

I said, “Juliette, I am proud of you.  You solved a problem! You didn’t like your leggings and instead of pouting, you found a solution and put on different leggings by yourself. Thank you for taking care of yourself.” She didn’t reply, but I feel like choosing to see the positives and support my 5 year old was one of my better moments.

I am learning to be a peace maker. I am finding peace in my own heart and choosing to promote it, rather than contributing to chaos.

Grief ebbs and flows

It’s been two years since Pamela passed on. There’s no pretty way to say it. Died, passed away, left us.

Lent is a hard season still for my family.

I shared with some friends today about this hard season, tearfully sharing the beauty Pamela brought to our lives.

We have photos of her around our home; we can’t bear to take them down.

My daughters still sleep with their Build A Bears, still remember her every night in their prayers.

A teacher at my oldest daughter’s school today played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel K and she was triggered with intense memories and grief. It was played at Pamela’s funeral. My daughter casually mentioned how she cried in geometry today (I assumed at first it was because, well, geometry). When she explained the circumstances, I shared that I, too, cried today. (I realized later that was exactly the two year anniversary of her death.)

Grief hits at random moments. It ebbs and  Flows, some days bearable and distant, almost comforting in its constant presence, reminding us of this special person. Other days it hits us hard in the face, trying to knock us down and drown us in an unrelenting rip current of sorrow that takes our breath away

We didn’t get the miracle we wanted. The question becomes what now? Do we continue to trust God? Can the Holy Spirit provide the comfort we so desperately need? Are we open to this Comfort? Can we build peace and work towards deeper relationships in the midst of our grief?

We are trying. We are still hurting. It’s balm to my soul to recognize the miracle, the irony of Christ’s resurrection in a deadly world.

A Hindu friend of mine said she was trying to explain to her Hindu parents (who believe in reincarnation, shedding the body as we discard our clothing) what Christians believe and why we celebrate Easter. Her father accepted that Jesus returned—but as what?!?!

As what indeed. As the same man He has always been. As The Son of God, Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace. King of my Heart, Lord of my life, Friend.

To Jesus I cling.

 

I’m back!

After a long hiatus from blogging, I’ve decided to pick back up, a little wiser, with one more child than when I was last here. I’m now a certified doula, childbirth educator and mother to THREE!!!!  Currently I am recovering from an umbilical hernia repair, and am at the stage where I don’t need the painkillers but can’t do more than walk for the next several weeks. No lifting (including my toddler) and I’m trying to stay out of trouble as much as possible. Which leaves me to my armchair and laptop, and in my condition I think blogging will be good to take my mind off things!

 

Pride is a Cheater

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny. . . because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment . . . because you “deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge . . .because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing . . .because you’re too full of me to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness. . . because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.
I cheat you of vision . . . because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of genuine friendship . . . because nobody’s going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love. . . because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven . . . because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
I cheat you of God’s glory . . .because I convince you to seek your own.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you. Untrue.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry . . .
If you stick with me
You’ll never know.
–Beth Moore, from Praying God’s Word

“Pride goes before destruction, a hau Continue reading Pride is a Cheater

There’s a bug

going around. I think I’ve caught it. My throat hurts, ears are stopped up, getting tired.

 Ugh. I’ve been taking Emergen-C for mega vitamin C doses. Drinking echinacea tea. Zinc lozenges. I might have to go to Jamba Juice for their cold-stopping smoothie next!

Family

My uncle was riding his motorcycle when a pick up truck hit him today. He’s in the hospital,  broke his leg in the same place it broke 20 years ago when he was in a motorcycle accident. Meanwhile, his wife–my aunt–is battling breast cancer, with regular chemo and radiation treatments  scheduled through the  summer.

My heart is burdened for them.  All I can do is pray, and praying  I am.