Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Table Talk

Oh how I love me some technology! My sister called me via Facetime this weekend….from our parents’ house in Tennessee where she, along with our other sister and their families, had congregated to enjoy a nice pot of home-made stew. It was so nice to not only hear from all of them but SEE them, too! Even though I think they called to rub it in that I was missing the stew! (Just kidding…..that was only PART of the reason they called!) J But, I totally understand….with temperatures in Tennessee in the 50’s for highs and 30’s for lows right now, some nice home-made stew would be just the ticket! My crew and I really miss our Tennessee folks….especially our wild family gatherings (we just missed a fish fry last weekend!!), but we are not missing the 30 degree nights! It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend with temperatures in the 80’s and a steady, light breeze. We enjoyed eating our grilled hotdogs on the patio and fun at the baseball park.  Still, I have to admit, I am now craving stew! I don’t know…..something about stew just isn’t the same without 20 people bumping elbows. It tastes great, but you don’t enjoy it quite as much! Maybe that’s just me. Even so, I think I may be throwing some together in our near future, 80 degrees or not! J Can’t wait to bump elbows with all of the fam in a couple of months over some chicken & dressing and 10 conversations going on at once!!
Anyway….I digress.  It really was a beautiful weekend in the South Bay area. My sweet thang and I got to enjoy a nice chat on the patio Saturday morning while the children were with the babysitters (AKA, the Xbox and Curious George). We were awake at 6:00am….On a Saturday. Which, is becoming more and more of a habit vs. our usual 7:30 on the weekends. As I fixed his coffee, we both noted that we must be getting old….er. This was further noted in our topic of conversation on the patio. Neither of us have ever been extremely political people but with the election so close and so much going on….. a lot of our conversations lately have been over politics. We were just discussing how differently we view things now that we’re older and aren’t concerned about “our rights” so much as “what is right”. Does all of this mean that after 15 years of marriage, we’re starting to grow up??
Well, I wouldn’t go that far! But, I did enjoy the adult conversation with my man about something besides the kids. Actually, I had a lot of thoughts flood my mind, but we didn’t really have time to get into everything as the kids did need to eat and what not. So, those of you who know me and my tendencies…you know what’s coming don’t you??  I will be unloading them on you!! As Sammy Kershaw says in one of his songs, “Let’s talk about anything, anything in this world but politics, religion, and her.” Many folks ascribe to that rule of thumb, as well, (well accept for the “her” part) and I understand.  However, while I agree that there is a time and a place for everything, all things can’t and shouldn’t be completely ignored. So, here we go with a ginormous can of ginormous worms: Politics & Religion!!
For the record, I am not about throwing stones at any particular party here. I think they have equal amounts of evil, untrustworthy people in positions throughout both the Democratic and Republican parties, don’t you?  As for this post, I simply (or not so simply) want to share a few tidbits of the things that I have been chewing on myself over the last few years that have shaped my opinions and……of course, my vote. Some of the things I will discuss from my own personal experience are no doubt going to offend some who read this (precisely why most people steer clear of politics and religion). To those who may take offense, I would just re-direct you to the previous sentence. As the following all pertains to my own personal convictions and the experiences that helped shape them. Sorry if this sounds a little overly dramatic….but, they simply must be said. So if you’re good with that….read on! J
When I was a kid just out of high school, I thought like a kid. I acted like a kid. I voted like a kid. They will actually let you vote as a kid, as long as you’re 18. It doesn’t mean you have to be mature or even remotely wise. I found out, they will also let you get married and have babies, but that’s another post and a whole other can of worms! J The point is, kids….well…they think and reason like kids! There is no certain age where everyone just all of the sudden learns to think beyond themselves and really weigh the implications of their actions….or their vote. Some never do!

So, after being raised in a conservative family, I branched out when I left the house and became “enlightened”, and identified myself in political conversations as a democrat. I viewed them as a rights oriented party and I was in the phase of just wanting everything justified under the idea of “I have the right to make my own decisions and you don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong….ever.” I didn’t agree with their support of abortions, but, I was willing to overlook it because of the appeal of other things they supported. Looking back at my personal and political views, I had the mentality of my almost 3 yr old who, just today at the doctor’s office with her brothers, demanded she get a shot, too. She picked up a stool, carried it to the table, climbed up by herself and awaited her turn. She quickly found out she wish she’d have known the pain she was about to bring upon herself with the flu shot. Oh, she toughed it out…..didn’t even cry. But, I doubt she will be so enthusiastic going back to the doctor for her 3 yr check up in a few weeks. Turns out, she “did NOT like that pen that stuck her!!”
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Much like the rationalizations of a child, we sometimes demand what we think we are entitled to without even considering if it’s really what’s best for us. There was a time I would identify with a party,  not because I truly believed it promoted what was best for us all….but, because it was what suited me and my interests. Like my brother once told me about his vote as a republican, “I don’t vote for what’s good for ME…I vote for what’s good for the nation as a whole.” Sure, I was all about helping the little man…..but what about those precious babies that the democratic party supported being aborted? My vote didn’t ensure that right…right?? Do you know what we get when we become prideful against authority and obsessed with ourselves and our own rights? When the government champions the pursuit of happiness at all moral and biblical cost? Constant and increasing disappointment for those who always feel they are “owed” something and in an every man for himself society. For example, Paul refers to our love of money as “the root of all kinds of evil, and through this craving…we have pierced ourselves with many pangs.’” I think this is what I would call “shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot!”

Here’s the thing, there is no way around it….when we stomp our feet and insist on our way and choose to live outside of the authority of God and His wisdom, we end up hurting ourselves. It’s especially ironic since, usually, the intent is to look out for number one! Every order that He established has its purpose in His kingdom and ultimately for our benefit. Let me just go ahead and give you the example that I am all too familiar with and yes….it’s extremely sensitive (as most political discussions are): Working Women.
We pushed hard to inundate the work force. We didn't need a man or the government telling us what we could or could not do. We persevered in our quest and we were successful. Though I'm sure there are still plenty of gender biases to deal with out there, we have a party that strongly supports us. But something unexpected has happened. Somehow, it's gotten to the point where women think they have no choice but to work and leave their children in another's care. But, wait a minute, aren't "choices" what we were fighting for in the first place??

 Now, let me just pause for a moment and say that I totally agree that our first responsibility is to our husbands. If the family is struggling financially and things are beyond his control, by all means, let's be a help to our man. Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She was a help to her man....not a drain. Then there are those hard-working women without a husband, completely doing it on their own and have no choice. I’m SO not talking about those obvious cases. The point in this example is the unfortunate fact that most women feel caught between a rock and a hard place.....for a number of reasons: First, since our first responsibility is to our husbands, If they don't agree with us staying home....we will be in for a heap of problems in our marriage. We have messed with God’s order so much that many men aren’t cool with assuming the provider or head of the household role anymore and do not understand the wife that doesn't want to work outside the home just because there are now a couple of kids to care for. Secondly, Pressure and guilt abound from so many sources outside the home: From society that thinks you're lazy if you call full time wife/motherhood "work" to the coworkers who talk about you and the boss who makes you feel like a bad employee if you take off to stay home with a sick child. But, for a number of reasons, we have it in our heads that we just couldn't make it any other way; Some deeply rooted, others not so much:
We won't be able to make the house payment (we may have to downsize).
We won't be able to buy a decent car (the $40,000 SUV).
My kids won't have good clothes to wear (my kids may not be popular without the brand names).
 My husband won't value and respect me.
 My husband won't provide for me.
PLEASE don't misunderstand, I realize how truly and uniquely blessed I am to have a husband who wants to be the provider and sees the value of ME being the primary influence in our children's lives. Not every woman has that. Which, only further illustrates the point. There are many men like him out there, but as an unintended result of our insistence on having it all…..they are increasingly becoming the exception rather than the rule. Having it all is often not all it’s cracked up to be. I know how it feels.  I have felt the guilt of leaving a sick baby in the care of another, even if it was a grandparent. I have felt the sting of inadequacy when I wasn't home when the kids got out of school to talk to them about their day, help them with homework, and fix a good meal because my shift didn't end until 7. I have felt the pressure of dentist bills and car maintenance. What am I saying?? I still feel those. The point is...See what we did by stomping our feet and saying "you're not the boss of me!"? or as Jude said, “I want a shot, too!”
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
“To distinguish good from evil”......that’s the bottom line that has been erased in this country. We only skimmed the surface with a couple of examples that are symptoms of a problem with many deep roots. But, one thing that must be addressed somehow, someway… is that we are so out of practice that we can’t even see evil for what it is anymore. This mentality is so childish but so deep rooted and deceptive that it makes us puppets of the master mind… the father of all lies. It will go so far as to have us believe, “It’s a free country! I have the right to do whatever makes me happy….even if that means ending the life of my child”; Even if it means we have to cheat someone else; Even if we block out of our minds the people that are starving in this world while we’re saving for our vacation home; and on and on…..We are determined to be happy…to get what we’re owed or what we’ve earned.  If we aren’t careful…we will get what we’ve asked for and exactly what is due us…..God’s hand removed from us.
We could go on and on about the strengths and weaknesses of democrats and republicans, which areas their ways are more like Christ than the other and round and round we go. I have lots and lots of thoughts on the matter and plenty of things but as I typically have to do, I must stop and say, “Another day, another blog”.
I will leave you with one of Jude’s favorite songs (and mine):
"Let heaven roar. Let fire fall.
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival.
God's not dead, He's surely alive!
He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion!"
You know, even if it’s been a long time for some, I can’t think of a better time in history to open our mouths to pray and open His Word to hear. He is certainly not dead! I say.....let’s get our prayer on and then go get our vote on!!:)

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