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Traditions-in-Progress

Here’s an Advent Update, regarding shaping this season in our household:

  • As Noël Piper recommends in her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, we’ve been lighting the Advent candles every meal shared. I’ve loved Advent candles ever since I was introduced to them by my family as a child, so this feels natural. Problematically, our family eats together frequently. I have no idea whether the Week One candle will make it to Christmas. We have The Little Candle That Could, alive in the Advent wreath!
  • The Jesse Tree is going strong. It’s a newer tradition for us, and one we’ll keep alive for many years. It’s like recounting in summary the old Old Testament “path” to Christ’s coming. We read accounts from The Jesus Storybook Bible or the biblical narrative directly.
  • For the first time, this year the four of us will attend midnight service together. Jared and I have snuck off before if another adult was home with the sleeping boys. Last year, we four attended Christmas morning service, which I found special. But we can’t very well do both midnight and morning service, so we’re simply choosing midnight this time. Back at home after the late-night service, one gift each will be opened, in the form of new pajamas for the family. We’ll also use that moment to give a gift to the Lord. I’ll have given the boys advance opportunity to prepare an offering (a craft, drawing, or for Noah, some giving from his allowance savings), and Jared and I will share the charitable giving we’ve chosen, making it a family experience. Perhaps we’ll lay our gifts next to the nativity set.
  • Come morning, I’ll make apple cider doughnuts, which I experimented with on Braeden’s birthday. Jared and I didn’t purchase gifts for one another… we’ll be giving to the above purpose instead, and will have plenty of fun with the pajamas and the name-draw exchange on his side of the family. (Admittedly, when we decide an expense is worthwhile during the year, we just go ahead, or save until we’re ready, rather than waiting for Christmas.) I decided to give four gifts apiece to the boys: Something You’d Like, Something You Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read. This idea came from Jones Design Company, though I changed the first line from want to would like. After all, I know what Noah wants, and it’s a $400 Star Wars Legos set. Also, would like allows me the opportunity for thoughtful giving, rather than committing to (potentially boundless) expectation… I think that’s a worthwhile lesson for them in both giving and receiving.
  • The paper-whites are fabulous. We have our first blossom, as of yesterday.
  • One last thing: I was inspired by this blog post one year, and fished down an aged copy of The First Noel: The Birth of Christ from the Gospel According to Saint Luke. It’s simply the account from Luke, taken verbatim from the KJV and copied onto beautifully illustrated pages, children’s-book-style. (See the blog link for some serious eye-candy.) Come Christmas morning, I think we’ll pile into bed first thing and have Noah (as our youngest reader) read aloud to the family. New pajamas, a crowded down comforter, Christmas morning light, and the Luke reading to start the day sounds perfect to me.
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Welcome, Advent

Since Noah was a pre-schooler, (pre-scholar?), I’ve been meaning to implement a rich, meaningful Advent-and-Christmas season that will delight his heart with magic and romance, opening our home to peace and worship for a  lasting impression on his yet-still-forming heart. Now his little brother is four, and I feel I haven’t gotten very far.

But we do have a little by way of traditions, and, on this opening day of Advent, I’ll share them. I am hopeful that I’ll have plenty to add as I get more serious throughout this 2012 season.

First, a back-ground. This is what I remember affectionately about Christmastime when I was a little girl:

  • The lights. My dad would pick me up from ballet class, and we’d drive quietly through downtown with its holiday scenes aglow in the early nightfall. I’d be all worn-out and happy. That’s my favorite memory.
  • Christmas Eve services. The entire church would gather, in my mind hushed and excited. I remember finally becoming the age when I could hold my own candle. And I remember the whispers, “Merry Christmas!” when we realized our watches read midnight. I still call them midnight services, though I’m coming to realize no one else does — they don’t start at midnight — but as a child, it’s unparalleled, to be part of midnight on Christmas Eve-to-Day, worshiping and singing all together. That’s my other favorite memory.
  • Christmas shows, climatically The Nutcracker.
  • The tree. We’d go out as a family to load it onto the roof of our sedan. There was an evening dedicated to decorating, and the tree would fragrance the living room for weeks. I’d sit next to it, reading and listening to my silly Wee Sing at Christmas album. And, appropriately symbolic, the glow was always there running out the darkness when I got out of bed.
  • Family devotionals on Sundays. We’d light the candles in the Advent wreath, do a reading, sing, and Mom served eggnog afterwards.
  • Presents. Anticipation met on Christmas morning. Aaron and I would battle out who could be the passer-outer, and it was customary to go slowly enough that each unwrapping held an audience of the entire family.
  • Tamales. That went with present time. Before the big 4:00 dinner, of course.

There are plenty of other things my parents did to make it special, but those are what I remember most. And even though I’m not perpetuating all of the traditions (like a new, fragrant evergreen), they remind me how those pleasures sink deeply into a child’s heart and beg him to ask and remember the cause of such sacred, celebratory treatment. Christmas was magical to me. And it should be.

So though it’s not enough, here’s how we’re starting this year…

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Last year, I came across this Jesse Tree devotional by Ann Voskamp. I printed out the illustrations, Mod Podge-d them onto cardboard, and added some glitter pen. We read a brief scripture passage every day, then place the illustration onto our tree.

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Today was the opening prophecy of the Savior coming from the line of Jesse (Isaiah 11). I don’t always read Voskamp’s added devotion. Instead, today I flipped to Matthew 1 and read the fulfillment genealogy, from Jesse all the way to Jesus. Some of the names made Noah giggle.

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This is our little tree. In the past, we didn’t have space (okay, or motivation) in the apartment for a large tree. My mom gifted us with this little one a few years ago. Jared likes plants. So he planted it. And it’s been around ever since.

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I have four of these paper star ornaments, from Ten Thousand Villages (a fair-trade, internationally-sourced, non-profit shop). I like them a lot, and it’s all we do in addition to the Jesse Tree ornaments.

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I love paper whites. So after Thanksgiving, the boys and I potted these. I hope they’re abloom on Christmas Day!

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I searched for an Advent wreath for years! There aren’t many out there, and the ones I found seemed too commercial for my taste. A lot of people make one, or decorate a simple one with greenery. But I found this on ebay. The original plan was to paint it, maybe black, but now I love the rustic look of it, like old church pews. (I need a center candle for Christmas Day.) The idea is that each Sunday leading up to Christmas, you light one more, in drawing nearer to the Holy Day. As my parents did, I use this time to have a family devotion…

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And work on singing a new hymn.

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Also, one of my best seasonal memories was “moving the little girl.” I received this painted wood nativity set when I was a year old. It includes other figures, such as three Magi (they’re off in the distance [closer to Babylon?]  and thus not pictured), and a little girl. Each morning I would hasten to the piano to move the girl one step closer to the Christ-child. She always got there right on time. The only trouble she caused was when I got married and bundled up the nativity for transport. Apparently, the family was all very fond of her.

Regarding gifting, I’m on the fence. Jared’s side of the family draws names for a secret exchange. We get to buy something special and desired for one person, which is fun. My dad, brother, and I have been gifting each other with edibles, without having ever discussed it. I love that. I am anticipating my dad’s pralines already, and am looking forward to making something of my own to share. With my immediate family, I have two inspirations…

One is this blog post, also by Ann Voskamp. She realized, through her child’s innocent question, that their gift-giving didn’t reflect the object of the holiday, which is celebrating the Lord’s coming as a baby. She expresses some beautiful ideas about choosing charitable offerings as a family. In my vision for us, each member has an amount, “spends” the amount in an approved catalog (such as Compassion or World Vision), and then we “open” our gifts and share them with one another on Christmas Morning. Rather than that, but looking forward to it as a future possibility, I think this year Jared and I will forgo gifts to one another and choose to sponsor something, or someone,  international as a family.

I’ve also been considering this blog post, by Jones Design Company. In an effort to simplify and allow room for the sacred, Emily is scaling down to four gifts per child: Something You Want; Something You Need; Something to Wear; Something to Read. At first, I had the opposite response of her personal objective: four gifts? That’s more than I had intended. However, not really. I already have a book for each in the mail. Oh, okay, I’ll tell you. Just don’t spoil it, okay? Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and Day by Day Kids’ Bible. If you’re not yet familiar with Lloyd-Jones, check out the Jesus Storybook Bible. It is unmatched in excellence of expression in storytelling, artistry, and theology. As to Day by Day: last year, Noah was ready to move beyond stories, and I carefully chose his first full-text bible, the ESV Grow!. However, he’s now stuck in Genesis. I try to tell him he can roam about (Proverbs? Gospel?), but he insists on taking Genesis one tiny bite at a time. Day by Day seems like just the right in-between step. So there’s Something to Read. We’re always in Need of school material, so that’s easy. Something to Wear: our tradition has been new pajamas on Christmas Eve. We could do that, or add in something wearable for the morning. And Something You Want. In the past, we’ve let grandparents realize the biggest wishes. It is special, though, to do something special for your special kid.

Those are my ideas. We’re also limiting sweets during Advent to only social gatherings (Advent is traditionally a fasting season, but when surrounding culture is immersed in feasting, I see our only choices are to adapt or become closed-off). And I think we’re going to revisit some scripture memorization practice during December.

I’m happy to have plans evolve, that there’s great inspiration from my childhood as well as motivated people willing to share, and that I can play it out, one day at a time, with two wonderful boys. Happy December!

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The New Home

In years past, moving took up a weekend. That is inconceivable to me now! This has been a week-long process, just getting items from A to B. It’s enlightening to see all we should have already passed along. How I love children’s resale — the idea of sending a sentimental piece away is much lighter when you can envision a mother choosing and utilizing it herself, for her own little one.

In our new home, we have exclusive use of four rooms: two bedrooms, a bath, and an open area we call The Cove, which will serve as a reading nook and homeschool space. I love The Cove! School previously took place in our apartment’s dining area, which held a world map, a shelf for schoolbooks, a shelf for dishes, and of course the table. Now, I have reinstated use of my first-ever furniture purchase: a daybed I bought around age eighteen. It’s so dear, we’ve lugged the frame around for nine years, tucking it away at random — and I’m finally using it! It is lovely. Equally lovely is having a special place just for reading, reviewing, and conversing. (We’ll still do most of our new learning work at the dining table.)

Our bedrooms are tranquil (though cardboard-boxy at the moment), and our roommate Kristi has made effort to extend extra hospitality. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and she’s given me happy permission to structure it any way I like, as long as her favorite gadgets are still within show. I’ve discovered I don’t mind not controlling the rest of the pantry, as long as my own mason jars o’ grains-and-nuts are there to greet me from their own systematized shelf. So far, the process of room-mating has been simple and fun.

A short and general word about this blog and its purpose: The purpose is for me to write reflectively, allowing a few people of their own choosing to look in. If I were to wait until I had things figured out beyond flaw, I would never write, never share — and sometimes it’s the very act of journaling that helps me to process the things happening in my personal life. I never distribute my posts to individuals unless they have opted into automatic subscription. Although I know and accept that it happens, I don’t merely publish a blog to be read; I publish a blog because it’s a place for me to think, to review back on, and as well for people to see where I am if they’re interested. I probably won’t stop writing. Everything here should be considered editorial or personal reflection, rather than authoritative truth. If you want authority about any matter, definitely further your research, and go to the source when possible.

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A Discipline of Pleasure

It’s Friday night, and I’ve just returned from seeing Dominic Walsh Dance Theater perform an homage piece to French sculptor Camille Claudel. It was at Miller, meaning I got to pop into the outdoor theater with coffee in-hand, choose a free seat in the breezy twilight, and take in a true masterpiece.

DWDT is a contemporary ballet company of technical excellence, creativity, and sophistication. Camille Claudel is unique in that it incorporates a host of mediums: projected photographs, spoken narrative, an on-stage cellist (nothing beats the pairing of an on-stage cellist with a classical dancer!), a superb vocalist, and of course, the thematic representation of Claudel’s art of sculpture. However, the art was delivered such as a feast: in courses, deliberately and perfectly proportioned, to be slowly enjoyed before the next surprise comes.

I don’t know much about Claudel, though I know more tonight than I did yesterday. As I’m running through a classical education with my son, which presents world history in sequence over the course of several years (and is entirely repeated with depth and detail as the child matures), these days I tend to think, “Ask me in two years, and I’ll be  better-informed.” I’m positive we’ll come to Claudel (1863-1943), though presently we’re in Ancient Rome. :)

In this last fall/spring season, idolatry was something I thought often about. It would be easy, perhaps, to see Claudel’s obsession as idolatry. It consumed her, as does the art of many greats. For the young Christian, spiritual discipline is a necessary pairing to artistic discipline, in that one must practice remembering the source and purpose of such outpouring. However: this summer, I hadn’t been thinking as much about idolatry. I’ve been thinking about pleasure.

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let no oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that He has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9)

I loved Ecclesiastes a long time ago, then forgot about it as thought it were a bonus rather than a substance, and now I’m learning to love it again. Mark Driscoll says something like, “We often take ourselves too seriously, and God too lightly; we need to learn to take God seriously, and lighten up and laugh at ourselves.”

I hear Solomon saying that emotional enjoyment is, of all unexpected ideas, wise. Abandoning yourself to the pleasure of a lively moment is good, fitting, and righteous.

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his toil. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil — this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

The French know how to eat. Claudel knew how to sculpt. And, if “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), is it possible that these acts are essentially participations in common grace? It is the business of God to create beauty and pleasure, knowing every piece we can get our grubby hands on will be misrepresented and misused. But He does it anyway, for common grace, for ultimate redemption — and in all of His creation is a glimpse of His delight and glory.

Further, in both sad and blessed reality, Claudel’s work has far outlived her person. I too own furniture, publications, and jewelry that have each outlived their originators or original owners. Might I be so fortunate as to have a legacy, both spiritual and tangible, that lives on beyond my days. Solomon has made me aware that “All are from dust, and to dust all return… He does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has the power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20, 8:7-8)

Therefore. I need more beauty in my life. More bread and wine and sweet conversation. More flowers, more art, more time to play and breathe. More hearty effort towards the pleasure of my family and friends. Without apology, for life is made to be enjoyed and savored. — Not as a replacement for pleasure in my Creator, for Solomon concludes,

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

I’ve written about seeking the Spirit and discerning His will by His fruit, rather than trying to drum up His fruit with my willpower to fit into my ideas for functionality. He will lead; and often the scent of love, joy, and peace is the right indication of where to go. Ecclesiastes propels this same thinking of a harmony of pleasure and purpose — not merely “under the sun,” but under the King.

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Too-Sacrifial Honoring

When I’m thinking clearly, it’s never time to write. And when it’s time to write, my thoughts go fizzling away with the end of the day. I’ll jump in anyway. If I don’t, I’ll never get this penned.

I’ve been thinking about the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12, ESV)

Plenty have noticed this as the first commandment with a promise attached. I’m not so sure. At least not for general context. God doesn’t provide formulas for us to plug in and further our personal agendas. The bible is full of wisdom literature, but not of a formulaic kind — it’s the wisdom of principle.

Commandment #5 is not, “If you (human) do A, then I’ll (God) do B [for you].”

This word was, in context, written to the Hebrews, the generation God led out of Egypt. I’m thinking that, if the second phrase is closer to a qualifier rather than a promise, Hebrew youth who honored the God-fearing testimony and teaching of their parents would indeed be preserved and guided in the land they were inheriting. It’s the same thinking as “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22, ESV): not that a husband stands in the place of Lord, but that a wife honors him because they are each and together under the Lord. What if husband and wife disagree? She seeks what is godly: if the request merely confronts her selfishness, she may submit. If it’s sin, she may well deny her husband and serve the Lord. Same, too, I say, for children of parents.

The collective Word is true for me. All of it is sacred. But to speak plainly, I am not under the law of Moses, but rather the law of grace. I have been given freedom, for freedom’s sake, and I and it were bought with a price. If a parent were ever to challenge a part of my life, I would be responsible for listening to them initially, but also comparing the advice against Commandment #1: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Because what should we do when it seems a parent is enforcing law (in the name of Law), but what they say actually opposes the Law I know?

That’s veiled speech, and I know it.

Details are tricky. Here’s what I know of God and creation, as per this context: God made Adam and Eve. He set them together, he called it very good, and he told Adam to hold on to her, knowing well the relationship would become greatly wounding. Then Jesus came, and the New Testament is brimming with parables and prophecies about wedding festival. Paul was so emboldened by the Spirit as to say that marriage is our human picture of Christ and the church.

I also know that marriage today is not en vogue. It may be respected, but it’s hard to sign up. I have an acquaintance, Kasey, whose story I think illustrates this well: She’s been living with a fellow for quite some time, and they seem a true match. They began planning marriage. She, normally collected, found herself experiencing great stress until she realized the root of her emotions. They nixed the wedding plans. But they’re going to stay together, looking for a piece of committed happily-after-ever. And I have to respect it, and this is why: She associates marriage with divorce. So many of us do. When Kasey’s family history spoke unwelcome to her heart, she couldn’t imagine marriage without an impending threat of divorce.

It is so hard for me to emotionally accept that a person in my life thinks the worst of me, and wishes the worst upon me, than anyone else in my circle, and yet I’m supposed to honor and indulge their plan for my life. I don’t. In fact, every conversation shared with them requires this effort afterwards in which I summon up the courage to believe the awful things aren’t true. I do have value. I do have a voice, one that’s not ridiculous. I do have a future.

I met a seven-year old last week who has a more confident speaking voice than I. (That’s part natural gift, part mother’s investment, but still… she was seven!) It is sometimes so hard to believe that when I speak, I’m not being torn apart in the head of every listener. It’s sometimes so hard to believe that marriage is a worthwhile surrender. I don’t even question my husband. Rather, it’s the torture of what comes from outside: divorce exposure; in-laws who would compete not to the death, but to the divorce (of me); and scripture voiced alongside ideas that self-interest is the only best-interest. I’ve heard of some couples who make a pact not to say the d-word. This post isn’t for them.

I sound angry. I am. I sound impatient. I am. I have come to regard impatience as an asset, when it inspires reflection and good revision. My new principle is: Be patient with people, impatient with sin. Especially sin that seeks to destroy you and the ones you care about. When the sin is carried by someone you care about, it’s the same: love them, reject the sin. To do anything else is to honor the sin, and ultimately dishonor the carrier. In this regard, and in my circumstance, I say that dishonoring the words of the parent is the truer form of honoring their person.

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Dear Noah, Summer 2012

Dear Noah,

You are coming home today! It’s kinda weird, but your first week-long trip away from home, to be with your grandparents in Midland, didn’t rattle me much. I think there are several reasons:

I know you’re safe. Grammie and Grandpapa do things differently than I, but they love you so. They’re eager to spend time with you, and show you the world. They care about your full person — and hey, they raised your father, who is only my favorite man on the planet.

The fun is good for you! Truthfully, I’d like to give you more fun experiences. I love going on theater dates with you. I love that Uncle Aaron gave you a bike, that Grandpa Eric gave you a chess set, and that you’re learning to tear ’em up. You have the most rockin’ Legos set I’ve ever seen. But… Papa and I have to balance our resources, which means exercising care in our spending. Really, we’ve struck gold: I get to spend my days reading books and having conversations with you. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And if Grammie and Grandpapa can liven up your world with zany experiences for a week, I’m all for it. (Besides, Chuck-E-Cheese is not a Mama activity; it’s a Grammie-and-Grandpapa activity. For the record.)

I trust you. I’ve seen who you are as a seven-year-old, and you rock my world. You are the kindest person I know. You know there’s truth, and you also know people try to make sense of the world with competing ideas. You’re not supposed to be at an analytical age yet, but as far as the deep truths go, I think it’d be hard to sell you a casual falsehood. On that note, you’re a great conversationalist. I can only imagine how much Grammie and Grandpapa must be enjoying your company.

It’s not just theological truths — you know how to stand up and tell someone to back off. That is a virtue in our home. You are exceptionally polite; but you know there’s integrity in your core, and that it is not your duty to engage in someone’s harmful idea, regardless of their status. I’m so proud that you know this.

When you were two and three, you and I did things hand-in-hand, constantly. It was valuable and fun! Braeden doesn’t get that side of me so much. He has a big brother in you, which is awesome. But I’m not available to him as directly and immediately as I enjoyed being to you. This week was a perfect time for he and me to enjoy one another. It was a perfect time for me to reflect on how I can foster that direct relationship throughout the year. He’s eager to have you back!

You, sir, make a tricky situation for me: I need to cap off our first grade records, and plan for second grade. When you’re home, however, I want to spend time with you! Reading The Odyssey has been so much fun. If we finish up, we’ll come to Roman history, and will be farther along for approaching second grade. See how this thinking is actually negligent on my part? You’ve been away, so I’ve done my reading/revisiting/planning for what will be our second grade goals and implementations. Oh, and by the way: I agreed to tutor a class in the new homeschool co-operative we’re joining! I’m so excited! I definitely need to have my thoughts organized.

You’re coming home today! I made strawberry-basil ice cream to celebrate, which I believe is your current favorite. There will be plenty to share with Grammie and Grandpapa. I can’t wait to see you!!!

Love,

Mama

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I had a moment last week.

I’m part of a group of girls, and we’re reading a book together. It’s a study of 2 Corinthians, entitled Authentic Christianity, by Ray Stedman.

Let me back up. For the past few years, I’ve been taught some really helpful things about scripture. My favorite has been learning to see it as a cohesive unit, collectively pointing to the gospel theme. Armed with a better understanding, I feel less susceptible to misdirection. There are frequent occasions when biblical passages are used to promote alternative themes; but we have a purpose to worship in spirit and in truth, and scripture is graciously given as our unwavering and life-giving guide.

But… I have veered into cynicism. I like being smarter than I was five years ago. I like being tougher. I have however, compromised the sensitivity that emphasizes in spirit and in truth. My heart wants to seek it out, to practice bending and trusting.

Back to the book. With my named desire, and with the recommendation of our group’s mentor, Bonnie, I read Chapter One. I like it. I engage. It resonates. This will be worthwhile. Then I get to the last sentence. All of a sudden, my heart clamps. I inspect the cover of the book suspiciously. What is this guy trying to sell me?

“If you are interested in that kind of real, radical, authentic Christianity, read on.”

I’ve been writing in the margins, and my pencil here inscribes, what?! aggressive and demeaning hook. I try to consider the sentence as an invitation. But no, it seems too much a threat.

I meet with the group of sweet ladies, and confess my conflict. I cry. I go home, and having been confronted with — ahem, betrayed by — my emotions, I have to find some meaning for them. Here’s what I get:

I read the chapter. It spoke for itself, and I climbed on board. Then I got strong-armed. If you love God, you’ll read my book. Or, If you love God, you’ll do what I say. It wasn’t fair, for I hadn’t been given the chance to follow my interest before manipulation came. I felt a resulting distrust for the author.

I admit now that I was projecting unintended meaning into that sentence. I  reacted because it spoke to a different relationship I’m in, one that’s deep and presently painful. I’m receiving from it the message, “If you care about God’s Word, If you care about me, Then do what I’m telling you to do.” I do care. The instructions confuse me; they target my emotions; but at the end of the day, I know they violate what I believe about God, self, and the fidelity I promised nine (!) years ago to my husband, reserved in covenant for him first, and of which God Himself claims in Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5 for His own glory.

At my sad state, Bonnie affirmed me. She claimed I was authentic, that the book’s coming chapters would reveal something already true in me. I didn’t know why she took the time to say it. It was kind, but I felt a bit emptied.

In reflection, I saw: The if/then statement felt to me an intimidation. The root of that is threat of judgement. Bonnie heard my hurt, and issued the higher judgement. I am blown-away blessed.

I will read this book — with pencil, bible, conversation, and a heart that seeks to be malleable. I will read it, expecting blessing to bubble up. I will read it, holding on to my ever-increasing knowledge that, oh, how I need to let go.

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