Monthly Archives: May 2010

knowing God this summer.

So, I’ve been thinking about this summer. And how it’s a pretty relaxed time of fewer commitments (usually) than exist during the school year.

And, I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite books which my sister just returned to me since she is moving to Texas like a poopyface and leaving me forever, and I’ve been thinking that this book is amazing, and it’s topic is amazing, and maybe it would be a good thing to read with some other people this summer since small groups and whatnot are all on hiatus until the fall.

What book, you ask?

Knowing God, by J.I. Packer.

Do you, as a Christian, ever stop and think about how we claim to know God? And how on some level that sounds completely absurd — how do we know God? What does that even mean? What does that look like? Is it just one of those nice things Christians all say to each other that means very little in the big scheme of things? If it’s true that we can know God and be known by Him — why aren’t our lives any different? Shouldn’t that be a life-altering thing, to know God?

Sometimes I wonder if I know Him at all. Like, when I get to heaven some day, am I going to recognize Jesus? How? I don’t really know what he looks like (except for some vague cultural constructions my mind has made up that represent Him — you know, that whole sign and signifier Derrida thing you learned in your intro to literary theory class your sophomore year of college). So…how will I recognize Him when I get to heaven? I’m assuming it’ll be pretty unmistakable, what with the throne and the right hand of God and everything, but wouldn’t it be pretty embarrassing if we showed up and Jesus was like, the bellhop, and we were like, “Excuse me, can you please direct us to Jesus” and He’s like…”I AM.” And we’re like, oh, hahaha, I, um, didn’t recognize you, uhhhh. Whoops.

I’m not trying to be flippant, because I really do think this is a serious subject. I don’t really think Jesus will be the bellhop. But…Would I recognize Him? How so? Do I know Him? How well do I know Him? And, if I know Him, what does that do to my life — my thoughts, what I value, what I love, what I laugh at, what I spend my time doing, how I treat others, etc.

So, yeah, knowing God. I want to know Jesus really well on this earth so that when I get to heaven I don’t mistake him for the bellhop. I want to know Him intimately on this earth so that heaven isn’t like an awkward first date.

And mostly, I want to know Jesus on this earth because I love him. Poorly, really, really poorly, but I love Him none the less. I am ashamed at how often I love and spend time and energy on things which aren’t headed toward that goal of knowing Him more.

And, how do I teach my little boy to love Jesus if I don’t know Him? How do I make much of Him for my little boy if I don’t really, truly, make much of Him?

So, this summer I am going to be re-reading Knowing God.  It would be really awesome to read it with some people and then get together and talk about it. The book has a study guide and some questions in the back, so it’s not like we even have to think of things to talk about.

So, who’s in?

the prodigal.

five years.

Five years ago, a girl in a pretty white dress…

…and a boy in a gray tux…

…made a solemn vow before God and all their friends and family…

..and got married!

{Look at how very young we were!}

{And how skinny we were!}

In five years we’ve moved 4 times…

{And now you know why I hate moving!}

had several different jobs…

earned college degrees…

had times of plenty and times of less…

had one sweet baby Sam…

…we’ve grown and changed…

{fatter, and diapers}

but no matter how things have changed, we’ve been through it all

together.

{i love him! he’s my squishy!}

and together we have all we need with:

four walls

three words

two hearts

{and}

one Love.

{here’s to the rest of forever, my love! happy 5 years!}

hallelujah! all i have is christ. hallelujah! jesus is my life.

This song is my life story. It’s yours, too.  Does it ever just blow your mind that while we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him, and now all we know is grace?

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

sometimes i envy men…

I love walks. I love walking at night. I love wandering around outside at night. But, because I’m a woman, it’s probably not very safe to go wandering around outside at night.

The other day I was driving to a baby shower at church. There were two cyclists on the side of the road. I couldn’t really see what they were doing, but they weren’t on their bikes. One possibly looked injured? I couldn’t really tell. I thought about rolling down my window and asking if they needed anything, but then some other part of me was like, well, you don’t know these guys, and there’s two of them and only one of you, and blah blah blah. So I just drove by. I felt like the guys who walked on by in the story of the Good Samaritan. Before the baby shower one of the elders was there doing something, so a friend and I told him about the cyclists so he could go see if they needed anything, but it turns out they were just doing a repair and were just fine.

Sometimes I feel like all this caution hinders the way God wants us as Christians to minister to the world, or at the very least keeps me from meeting interesting people or living a part of a cool story.

Speaking of cool stories, have you read this blog? You really should read it. Abraham Piper is a really, really good writer, and I have to admit I am a little jealous of his 4-5 mile meanderings.  I live in a semi-rural subdivision between Anderson and Pendleton — a pretty “safe” place, really — but I still think I should come inside once it gets dark.

I don’t want to be too overly cautious, but at the same time, I don’t want to be stupid either. It’s a fine line.  And, it’s not fair, but I guess that’s just how it is.

so, yesterday, i had an idea. sort of.

photo credit: gleek.net

Yesterday I wrote this post and after Tim read it, he said, “I think you should go one by one through the statements you made and write a post about each one.” It seems a little narcissistic to write about what I like and don’t like, but isn’t that what blogging is? I am probably not going to write about each statement, either, because some of the things I wrote are boring. Well, most of them are. But I’ll start with the first non-boring statement I made, which is:

I don’t like brussel sprouts, or Pop-tarts, or my teeth, or my face.

Is it brussel sprouts? Or Brussels? Like the city? Well, whichever way…bottom line, they are evil. I’m not anti-vegetable. I typically like most vegetables. My mama raised me right. Brussel(s) sprouts, however, are a result of the Fall.  But maybe I just haven’t found a way to prepare them that makes them taste acceptable, and not like feet. Anyone have any recipes for making brussel(s) sprouts taste less like feet and more like food? Please share.

Pop-tarts are also evil, but for a different reason than brussel(s) sprouts are evil. See, brussel(s) sprouts are evil because they taste like the floor of the shower at your local YMCA (which is to say, fungus, and feet), but Pop-tarts are evil because they are little pieces of cardboard with some pink-colored high fructose corn syrup in the middle masquerading as breakfast “food.” I always wanted Pop-tarts (is it Pop-tarts, with a hyphen, or Pop Tarts?) in elementary school but my mom, being intelligent and free-thinking, didn’t cave to the peer pressure I was surrounded with and wouldn’t buy ’em. So I don’t think I actually had a Pop Tart (Pop-tart?) until college. And when I did, let’s just say I was less than impressed. I instantly got a sugar headache and regretted ingesting it. I don’t even think I finished one, much less the little foil package of two. I sort of nibbled around the edges because I really didn’t like the taste of the middle stuff. Even when toasted, Pop-tarts just suck. I am not a fan. I will never buy them, ever. Way to go, Mom, for not buying them for us. Groossssss.

I don’t like my teeth because the front top two teeth are huge and make me feel like I resemble a furry woodland creature when I smile. And I have a HUGE smile which isn’t improved upon by my overbite.

Just give me a tree and I’ll build you a dam, alright?

I don’t like my face because I am a female who is rather insecure and hyper-critical of her outward appearance. This is not unusual or interesting or unique. Actually, when I look in the mirror, I usually think I look decent, even pretty. But I learned from our wedding photographer that the reason photographs of ourselves appear different than we appear in mirrors is because in the mirror we are basically locking eyes with ourselves, which skews our perception a little. So, now I’m like…why do I even look in the mirror at all? IT SITS ON A THRONE OF LIES.  I look like my dad, and I love my dad, but he’s a man, and well, I am not, and so I’d rather look like my mom because my mom is at least female, you know? Plus my mom is an exceptionally pretty female. So yeah. I sort of got the short end of the stick there. I have giant eyeballs that make random doctors question whether my thyroid is functioning properly because having giant googly eyes is apparently a sign of Graves’ Disease or something. I have to tell them, again, sigh, nope, it’s just how Mason eyes look. If you’ve seen my dad, or my brother, or my sister, you’d know what I mean. We’ve all got ’em.

But I read something by John Piper once (have I mentioned that I owe a lot to JP?) that said that everyone’s faces reflect the glory of God in different ways. I try to remind myself of that…and that God doesn’t make mistakes so he wasn’t done knitting me together in my mom’s womb and stepped back and was like Hmm, Alissa has huge beaver teeth and a misshapen face. Oh, crap. That wasn’t what I meant to do! Not that I had teeth in my mom’s womb…but you know what I mean, right? Is anyone still reading this? Hello…hello…*crickets*

And Tim, for reasons still completely beyond my comprehension, thinks I am pretty. So I guess that’s enough, right? I mean, it’s pretty cool that God created a guy who finds giant teeth, man eyebrows and giant goiter eyeballs appealing, and ordained that he would sit behind me in 11th grade English class and somehow fall in love with me.

i don’t have anything to write anymore.

Once upon a time, I used to be able to write.

Now, for whatever reason, I can’t.

In college, words would pour out of me.

Now, I feel like I am trying to pull my own teeth out of my head to get some words written down.

Yesterday was Sunday. We went to church. We came home. We had lunch. We took naps. We woke up. We played. We had dinner. Sam had a bath. Sam went to bed. Tim and I snuggled on the couch and watched Julie & Julia because it was at the redbox and it sounded moderately appealing.

It was okay. I think they tried too hard to work the romantic part into romantic comedy, but at least it wasn’t ridiculous in the standards the movie set up for love. That always bothers me about chick flicks — they are so completely unrealistic. Not in a suspend-your-disbelief kind of way, either. It’s portrayed as reality, but the thing is, it isn’t real at all. Anyone who has been married for any length of time will tell you that your significant other does not and cannot complete you, and it’s not all rainbows and puppies and lollypops. Peter warned against those sorts of expectations when he said, “Put your hope in God.” Because men, even godly, kind men, will fail you if you try to make them your everything.

Anyway. The movie. Like I said, it was okay. It portrayed lots of food which I would like to eat.

The story revolves around the blog of this woman, Julie. And I started to think: maybe my blog isn’t focused enough. Maybe I need a plan, a deadline, to write about. But the problem is…I don’t know what I am good at. I used to think I was sort of a good writer, but now, well, even that isn’t true anymore. What could I blog about? I need a niche. I’m not particularly good at this whole wife/mom/homemaker thing, even though that’s my life and what God has called me to do. So I don’t really think that writing about how I keep my house organized or how I manage my home or how I feed my family home-cooked meals every night will work for me because I am not organized, my house is barely “managed,” and we eat at Chick-Fil-A more than I’d like to admit. (I do cook quite a bit, too, but we eat mostly variations on a theme of beans, rice, a vegetable, and maybe some meat. Reasonably healthy, yes, but exciting, not so much).

A question the movie asked of Julie and Julia Child was what do you like to do? The answer was cooking, and for Julie, writing. I like writing. I like cooking. I like my friends. I like my family. I like thinking about things. I like reading books and blogs. I don’t like brussel sprouts, or Pop-tarts, or my teeth, or my face. I am not crafty, although I admire craftiness. I like my husband. I don’t like housework, except for cleaning bathrooms. I like Chick-Fil-A more than I’d care to admit. I hate filling up my car with gasoline. I like walking. I don’t like being sweaty. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like being hungry. I love sleep. I enjoyed being pregnant and miss that feeling of a baby kicking. I like breastfeeding. I am passionate about gospel community. I like hymns. I wish I could paint, or draw, or something, and I think maybe if I had gone to a school with an actual arts program perhaps I could have nurtured that a bit. I love to sing, but can’t, at least not very well. I wish I could read music. I wish I could play the piano. I wish I ran marathons. I miss spinning classes. I like decorating my home. I like garage sales. I don’t like Wal-Mart. I am shy and awkward. I hate small talk. I don’t understand social rules, and social engagements exhaust me. I probably have Asperger’s. I am not kidding. I like the sound of trains at night. I like my husband’s eyes. I hate my hair. I detest the weird puckery skin on my belly. I love the result of the weird, puckery skin on my belly, which is my son, Sam. I want more kids. I am terrfied of having more kids. I am more worried about having a natural birth the second time around because I remember the first time and well, it was hard work and I’m not really crazy about going through that again. I don’t really care for salad, and that’s why I will never be skinny. I think Arrested Development is the greatest show ever written. I have body dysmorphia, but in the opposite way you’d expect: rather than imagining myself to look way heavier or uglier than I actually am, I think I am skinnier and prettier than I actually am, which makes seeing photographs of myself an unpleasant experience. Is that really what I look like?! In my head I am tall and willowy. In real life, I am rather dumpy and weird-looking. I am not quite okay with that. I’m working on it. I prefer being behind the camera. I don’t take good pictures. I will always probably be lonelier than I’d like to be. I am angry more than I’d like to be. I am not funny. I take life too seriously. I talk with my hands. I don’t like my head touched. I don’t like things on my neck. I don’t like shoes, but I hate having cold feet. I pretty much hate being cold. I want to play the hammered dulcimer, and the piano. I want to take ballet lessons. I used to be an editor. I used to tutor college students in writing. I am lazy. I am selfish. I think I am smarter than I actually am. Everyone eventually gets tired of my antics and leaves. It’s only a matter of time. I became a Christian in May of 2004. I went to a Christian high school. I loved Ball State. I loved being an English major. I love tornadoes less now that I am a mom. Now, they scare me. I am convinced the the guest room at my parents house is either haunted or possessed. I am secretly afraid that lightning will strike my house and catch it on fire.  I get along better with men than with women, which has made married life interesting. Girls hate me. I don’t like little kids. I like my own kid. I used to want to be a missionary. I owe a lot to John Piper. I don’t know how to work the TV remote because I don’t watch very much TV unless Tim is already watching the TV and holding the remote.  Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gone to college. I’m not using my degree, and all I have to show for college is student loans, which I hate. I cant stand the smell of raw chicken.

None of these things would make a good blog, however.

Sigh.