I've been trying to prepare pics for this wedding anniversary. My sis says she has lots of our mother, but i have none. Most i have are from our dad's family. Here are two. The first one is my grandmother with her oldest 5 children. She would have been about 25 years old here. My dad is the one turned away from the camera.
The next one is of the four oldest. My dad was third, so he's on the left in the front.
I was surprised to learn there are so many family pics. I'd only seen one or two & just assumed the families were poor & didn't do pictures. I also find it interesting to see how much these gentlemen still look like they did as children. Especially uncles #2 (who is in the #1 spot, back left) & #4 still have similar expressions as they did 60 years ago.
Our church has its big fundraiser this weekend. Once a year on the Fri/Sat of Memorial Day weekend they take in donations & hold a big yard sale. I'm helping prepare some today, & working tomorrow & Sat. But my "work" will be chair massage for donations. I may pick up a couple of clients this way, too, but that is not the purpose. The problem is i can't do too much today or i won't be able to do anything later. Sat we can't work the whole day, we've a wedding down the hill we will be attending.
But i've got wonderful Kimmy coming to clean for me today. I love her, she is just so sweet. I'm going to have her do 4 hours today, mostly cobwebs, vacuuming & bathrooms, & then next week come in for about 6 hours where we both tackle the kitchen together. I just wasn't getting anywhere with spring cleaning & when i tried it just wore me out.
Ok, this is the TMI stuff. I'm late, but just by a couple of days. It isn't unusual for me, but not typical either. Last month i was actually relieved when i was early 'cause i didn't have to go thru this "hope/disappointed" phase. I actually did a preg test yesterday, negative. I know it is not definitive, but i've been thru this so many times before. The chances are truly very slim. So i'm praying - very hard - to be prepared for this disappointment.
I'm finding that this is defining & refining my relationship with God. Sometimes i don't like him very much. There are so many things i don't understand. "Jacob i have loved, Esau i have hated." Our pastor preached about this last Sunday. ??? It is perplexing to me how God seems to arbitrarily uplift one group or person & crush others. Or, as Duane referenced recently, if children are a gift/reward from the Lord, are we being punished?
And, i think this is why so many people reject God. God is incomprehensible & much of what the Bible presents doesn't make it much better. People see themselves as "good" & compare God negatively to themselves. I'm not sure they are aware of it, but that is what they are doing. And the idea of "accept everything" - which some very liberal churches do - is denying that God doesn't accept everything. Which is not accepting God for who he is.
I find it easier for me not to focus on some of these incomprehensible verses. I'm not denying them. I just have to take on faith that God is doing these things & choosing or cursing folks for a reason. I can't understand it now, but someday - if i need to know why - i will. I can simply rest in the fact that God is good, God is great, & he promises that all things will work together for his glory. A client of mine - who is extremely "anti-organized religion" in his words - was arguing with me. "If you accept any of it, you have to accept it all, don't you?" He was talking about many of the verses that are hard to understand. His take on it is that organized religion has misconstrued/mistranslated Bible verses & that the Bible is not to be trusted.
I'm not "not accepting" those verses. I'm saying they trouble me & i don't understand them, but God knows what he's doing, & if i can't understand it now, God's got it in control & i trust him. And so i don't overly freak out about it or spend too much time on them. If i trust God that's enough. I do believe God calls us to struggle with some hard issues. But i don't think that purposely seeking out & creating hard issues is what he calls me to do.
That was a bit of a diversion. But apropos. Yesterday i was doing a web search about taking verses out of context. I'm afraid i think it is something a lot of Christians do. One of the ones i'm finding particularly hard is the Jeremiah 29:11. "For i know the plans i have for you . . . " I know a lot of folks - folks i truly love dearly - use this verse. But it was written to the people of Israel in exile. It was not written to an individual.
Anyway, i was looking up what was said about context. One person claims you HAVE to take verses out of context for them to have any meaning. ??? Several were on those verses which are hard to understand, verses about stoning people, etc. One that i've wondered about, where Jesus talks about cutting off your hand or gouging out your eye. I've never heard of any church, even the most literal ones, encouraging folks to follow this directive.
Again, i keep getting diverted. In this search on what was being said about context, i came across this link: Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Inc. Someone asked the writer to address The Purpose Driven Life.
I've read that book. Did not like it at all, in fact i disliked it intensely. I didn't disagree with much of it. But it was written in a way that uses language that "triggers" many unhappy, unpleasant memories from my childhood attending an unhealthy church with my unhealthy family. Part of the reason i moved to a liturgical church when i was in college was to remove myself from that language. I am not saying the language is wrong. It speaks to many people & meets their needs. But for me it is like chewing on razor blades. I believe in God the Father who sent his son Jesus to be a bridge because we can't make it on our own. But i don't need the words & phrases used by some churches to have a relationship with God.
(When i'm really tired i tend to ramble)
The pastor who wrote the above article wasn't very positive about that book, but he didn't feel the book was "dangerous." He said it will meet the needs of some folks. But he does make some very valid points:
The Purpose Driven Life is mainly about by-products of Christianity rather than Christianity itself . . . The reality is that people don't want to know God, they want to know how they can be happy. They are seeking. But they are not seeking God; they are seeking the idols of self-actualization.
It is an excellent article. I encourage you to follow the link & read the whole thing (hopefully i did the link correctly, the link script is very long).
But this is my point in this long, long post. I want to know God. Yep, i'd like to be happy, too, but i REALLY want to know God. Which means giving up on my own hopes & dreams maybe. God put some people - especially in the OT - in some very uncomfortable positions in order to bring glory to himself. Does that make sense to me? No, it does not. But it does seem to be the way that God works.
So my prayer is that i'm able to accept this childless life i seem to be called to. I'm praying intently that i will be able to accept the disappointment that will be coming in a day or two.
Just as a post script - i love comments! I so enjoy hearing people's thoughts. But this time, please don't wish me hopes for a positive pregnancy. You can pray for that, but i have a hard time with the spoken/written comment. I am 99.99 percent sure that i am not pregnant, & if i happen to fall into the .01 percent & be pregnant, believe me you WILL hear about it! While this blog covers our journey on this, i don't want to change the way i write. I'm not dissing the blogs that give every detail of their goal to have a baby, but i don't want to follow that format & give cycle days etc. I find that sharing the hope every month & then the ultimate disappointment is more of a roller coaster than i can handle.
Just be assured that if there is ever a positive pregnancy test, it will be blogged here - probably in all caps - right after i tell Duane & watch him do the very sweet "baby dance." (Not the sex act which is what some call "baby dancing." When we had a + preg before he did this funky, happy dance all around the house.)