God Don’t Make Mistakes

“God don’t make mistakes.”

If I have to hear that one more time from a backwoods hillbilly who’s suddenly become an authority on what God does and does not do, I’m going to need s lot of forgiveness in a hurry. 

Of course, when I hear these words, it’s from someone blasting Caitlyn Jenner for her not-recent decision. They’re making this pronouncement to indicate that God made the person we knew as Bruce, and Caitlyn had no right to interfere with that decision.

Let’s break it down. 

Once again, for the millionth time about the hundredth issue, your/my beliefs in God don’t dictate others’ choices. Whether it’s abortion of gay marriage or buying beer on Sundays, if we’re forcing others to conform to the standards of our beliefs simply because we hold those standards dear, we are NOT welcoming others to the Lord. We are putting the thou-shalt-nots ahead of God’s love. 

More importantly, we have a fundamental inability to mind our own business and shut our own mouths. If we have a religious problem with Caitlyn Jenner’s choice…who cares? Certainly not Ms. Jenner, who obviously did not ask our opinions or permission. All we’re doing by speaking out is letting others know how intolerant we are. 

Finally, God might not make mistakes but he does change his mind. Aside from the Biblical passages in which he literally changed his mind, we have everyday examples to follow. People who were at death’s door who make miraculous recoveries, people whose marriages are on the brink of collapse when one party makes a dramatic change and saves the relationship. Who’s to say that wasn’t a divine mind change? And who’s to say that God didn’t change his mind and finally put it on Caitlyn’s heart that it was finally time to let Bruce go?

There is so much good we can do as Christians when an event like this makes headlines, but only if our first priority is to demonstrate love and acceptance. If we’re waiting with baited breath to demonstrate hate in God’s name, we’ve failed our brother or sister and we’ve failed God. 

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Why I Won’t Be Watching the Duggar Interview

Yes, America is waiting with baited breath for Fox News’ resident spiteful b**** (sorry, I should have said ONE of Fox News’ resident spiteful b****es) to sit down with the Duggars and ask that they explain themselves. The interview with the parents was slated for Wednesday night but the interview with two of the victims will be aired–making the Duggar family even more money for letting people gawk at their strange ways while judging them on Twitter–Friday night for our prime time enjoyment, a veritable Roman circus of sideshow freakhood.

Here’s where I stand on the Duggar scandal:

If you made a mistake, if you committed some sin, yes… as hard as it is to explain to non-believers, once you truly repent of that sin and confess it to God, it is done. It’s over. It’s forgiven.

And that is the only thing that keeps me going each day, knowing that every single screw up in my life (even the ones I haven’t thought to do yet!) are forgiven and washed clean.

But here’s my other take on it: we can rant all we want to about the hypocrisy of being a confessed child molester then going on to become one of the loudest voices against tolerance of the LGBTQ community. Josh Duggar is an a**hole for knowing he had this sin buried nicely in his past–and it’s allowed to be buried and forgotten if he’s truly confessed and repented–and then daring to blame the ills of society on people he doesn’t like.

Here’s where it’s really hard to be a Christian: Josh Duggar, flaming jerk and piece of human filth that he is, is forgiven. He does not have to hang his head in shame for the rest of his life and never have a home, a family, or a career because of a sin that God has already promised is washed clean. Jesus died so Josh Duggar could molest little girls, then go on to have a lucrative career as a TV personality and professional loudmouth.

It hurts to even write those words, but it’s true. Look it up.

The real reason I dislike the Duggars? They’re horrible ambassadors for Christ. They espouse the extremes of our faith, they paint a freakish picture of true faith and spirituality, and they espouse hatred and discrimination for people that GOD made. The LGBTQ community that they’ve worked so hard to squash is made up of people who were formed in God’s image, whose bones God knew before they knit in their mothers’ wombs. The non-believers who watch the overbreeders and woman-haters on TV are pointing their fingers at all Christians because of the Duggars.

Yes, they should all hang their heads in shame, not because of a sin and crime that they committed and covered up years ago, but because they are turning people away from God with every televised word that comes out of their mouths. Every long-haired, long-skirted, “courtship” episode tells non-Christian viewers that THIS is what it means to follow God, and they’re wrong.

There is nothing that the Duggars can say in this much-anticipated molestation interview that will lead anyone to Christ, and they should be ashamed of themselves for smearing the name of the Lord.

Every once in a while…

  I’m one of those people who feels the presence of God most completely when I’m out in nature. It doesn’t really matter where, as long as there’s a sky overhead and a beautiful view of some kind in front of me. All I need to feel Him near is to be outside. 

And that hasn’t happened as richly as this week, at least not in a long time. My girls and I went to the beach and spent several days just enjoying each other’s company and playing in the ocean version of God’s creation. 

And I took more pictures than I can ever remember taking!

 

 

 

 

 

That one’s a dolphin…I promise! We watched him play around our boat for about ten minutes, just enjoying the happiness he gave off.  

What Are You Trying To Say, God?

Many years ago, my husband and I were at a crazy point in our lives, let alone our marriages. No, things between US were fine. It was the typical young couple stuff, though: I was teaching full-time and had just finished my Master’s, and my husband had finished his bachelor’s after years of selflessly working all day and then taking a full courseload at night, driving an hour each way to school in order to do it. With our degrees behind us and our jobs settling down, we decided the time was right to start a family.

And it didn’t go so well at first. Don’t get me wrong, all the attempting was nice, but there were no results.

Then one morning, I had a revelation. It wasn’t the kind where God speaks to you in a booming voice or where angels come down with a banner. No burning bushes, no tongues of fire… just the knowledge of something, and this feeling that it was 100% correct.

We’d let church attendance slip by. We’d been raised in church, dated in church, and were married in church, but between grad school and night school and coaching the cheerleading team and trying to keep up a house we’d just bought, we’d let that “day of rest” concept go a little farther than we should have. Instead of going to church, it was the time we usually slept in and got ready for all the crazy of the week ahead.

So this knowledge I woke up with that day was that we were never going to have a baby if we didn’t put our relationship with God back on the front burner. I told my husband my theory, and he kind of scoffed: “It doesn’t work that way, God doesn’t hand out presents for good behavior.” But he did get up and get dressed for church, mostly because I explained it this way: WHY should God trust us with a baby if we’re not going to raise it in church?

We were pregnant the next month.

Now, however, we’re in another dry spell. A house we’ve had on the market for four years finally had an offer and we had a signed contract… they backed out yesterday. We had a tenant renting the house for several years, just to offset the cost of us having TWO mortgages, and she skipped out last summer owing months of back rent and an $8,000 repair bill. We filed the paperwork to recover that money in small claims court, and three days later she declared bankruptcy… for the FOURTH TIME. We cannot do anything to her, and we now have a $10,000 loan to pay back for the repair and cleaning of our house, on top of the fact that we aren’t selling it next month like we’d planned.

And where is God in all this? He’s sitting back, watching us struggle, waiting for us to come to him.

I know, I just painted a picture of a really vindictive God, and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. He didn’t DO all of this to us, but I know in my heart that he isn’t lifting a finger to get us out of our troubles so long as we have been neglecting going to church. And yes, for a variety of reasons, it’s been several weeks since we’ve gone. (I know, you’re probably wondering why you’re reading a post by a Christian blogger who hasn’t been to church since early March!)

Yesterday, when our realtor texted me to tell us the deal had fallen through, I didn’t panic. I didn’t get upset or get angry. I’ve already spent the last week and a half creaming internally and plotting revenge about the horrible woman who left us with a nasty debt. I’ve wasted more than a week of my life in totally pointless anger, and I don’t want to do that again. Instead, I felt a really firm sense of peace and conviction and I knew the answer just as surely as if God had actually spoken it: I can’t help you until you come back to me. I can’t do anything about your troubles until you bring them and lay them at my feet.

Make no mistake, we haven’t “left” God, and there’s no way in the world he’s “left” us. But we are learning for ourselves what it feels like to try to do it on your own, and let me be the first to tell you that it’s not possible. You will hit every obstacle head-on, even a few that you made for yourself, if you don’t place your trust where it belongs.

Wrapping up this post now… I have to go wake my family for church.

Faith Like A Goldfish

No, not “faith like the kind a goldfish has,” I mean, “faith in God like I have faith in my goldfish.” Well, now that you think about it, that’s hardly any better. Let me explain.

I am an EARLY riser, and by early, I mean 4am. It’s a long story, but it works for me. I get up without waking the rest of my family, let the dog out of my daughter’s room, head downstairs to take the dog for a quick walk, make the coffee, etc. Somewhere between getting downstairs and taking the dog out, I feed my other daughter’s fish. It’s one of those cute little wispy black fish with the bulging eyes, and in the dark house it’s hard to see him.

But I know he’s there, and I feed him.

I used to cringe while turning on the lights, expecting to see he’d betrayed my by floating belly up during the night. But no, every time, he’d swim to the top and wait for his food. Now, I don’t need to turn on the lights, I just drop in a pinch of fish flakes before heading out with the dog.

And that’s how my faith works, too.

I don’t need the proof of turning on the lights or demanding a sign of some kind. I know God’s there. I can’t see him, but he’s never let me down by floating dead in the tank (that was a metaphor). I don’t have to wait to see if he’s still swimming (and deserving) before feeding him my morning prayers. I know he’s there, swimming around happily looking back at me.

That’s how faith works. Faith is just believing, even when you have absolutely no reason to believe. It’s trusting, when all you have to go on is your gut feeling that you’re being loved and watched over. And really, when it comes down to it, it’s also deciding. You decide to put your life and your trust and your faith in God, even when you can’t turn the lights on.

 

You’re Not Blaming God for This One!

Every once in a while, I have to write an angry post. This is one of them. You might automatically think I’m angry at God, but I’m not. I’m not even angry at the person I’m going to tell you about…well, not very angry. I’m angry at the rest of the people in this saga, the community of believers who just slandered God so horribly that it makes you think back fondly to the days we used to stone people for blasphemy.

A horrible, horrible thing has happened: our tiny, close-knit, “everybody knows everybody” community suffered a great loss. A 16-year-old girl died in a car accident Sunday morning. It has shaken everyone who even knew where her school was, let alone those who actually had the privilege of knowing her.

Sadly, she’d only gotten her license two months ago. She was driving fast enough to flip her SUV when she went off the road…at 3:30 in the morning, after leaving a party.

I sound like I’m judging her, but I’m not. I promise. Yes, statistically there’s an excellent chance that alcohol or texting were involved, but there’s just as likely a chance that inexperience and exhaustion were the culprits. Perhaps she fell asleep for a split second and jerked the wheel when she realized she was going off the road; it doesn’t have to be drunk driving.

But here’s the anger: the response from the community–even those who claim they are Christians–has been to blame God for this. Oh, they don’t realize they’re blaming him, but that’s exactly what they’re doing. Facebook posts and text messages of support and other notes of reassurance have all said the same thing: God called her home.

“God has picked another flower from his garden to brighten up Heaven!”

“We are often laid low by God’s plans, but we know it’s his will!”

“God called another one of his angels home!”

STOP IT. This isn’t God’s fault. I refuse to believe it was his will, either. I know that God had a plan for this beautiful, talented girl, and it involved college, marriage to a man he chose for her years ago, and raising up children in the way that they should go. Dying alone in an upside down car when she should have been home in her bed was not his plan, so stop blaming him for this one!

The sad thing is people think they’re being supportive when they say these things. They think they’re sharing words of encouragement. THEY’RE NOT. They’re telling two parents whose own hearts broke when the police knocked on their door that GOD DID THIS TO THEM. And why? Because he was bored and wanted to hang out with this girl for a while? Because he wanted another angel nearby? NO.

God didn’t do this. God’s perfect design for us included free will, and that free will led to a decision to drive a car at a high rate of speed at the wee hours of the morning. Free will led to the person who purchased alcohol for the kids at this party; we don’t know that the driver had even had anything to drink, but we do know there was alcohol there. If there was texting involved, free will led to the driver picking up her phone. Even if it was just an animal crossing the road in front of her and she swerved to miss it, it wasn’t God’s will to kill a beautiful girl this week.

You might think, “But why didn’t he do something to stop it?” and that would be a really valid question. After all, by some versions of the story, this driver had just dropped a friend off at home before heading to her house. Why did the other girl get spared?

Who knows? But when we put the blame on God, even if we think we’re saying something kind, we destroy his name and his reputation for the believers and non-believers alike.

Now, this girl was an active Christian who openly professed her love for God and his son, Jesus Christ. Is she sitting at the Lord’s feet right now, worshiping and praising his name? YES. But for those of us who are left behind, instead of blaming God for our hurts we should focus on the love she had for God and the hope of salvation that we all can share.

Separation of Church and Hate

Get ready…we have our first official announcement of an intent to run for President in 2016. We’re still in the first quarter of 2015, but so what? Let the games begin.

There is so much wrong with the election process in America, starting with the fact that you have to be rich and have rich friends to even run for office. If you don’t meet those two criteria right there, you might as well not even bother running. You can’t become the proverbial dog catcher in your town without the funds to make all those yard signs, if nothing else.

But once we move into the upper echelon of elites who have the power and wealth to run for higher offices, the real problems begin, mostly in the fact that eager campaigners who haven’t darkened the doorsteps of any church in this country since their own wedding days are now going to claim to speak for Jesus in an effort to win voters. What am I rambling about?

All the “good Christians” who are going to make promises to hopeful voters about returning this country to God.

In God we trust, one nation under God, prayer in schools, Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve… you’re going to hear it all over the next year and a half of your life. Abortion is murder, homosexuality is an abomination, women don’t need equal pay because the Bible says they should be submissive unto their husbands… it’s all about to come pouring out, and God is going to get blamed for all of it.

The sad thing is, the “good Christians” who are both running and voting are going to blame God for what changes they think he wants in this country, and the atheists are going to blame God for every dumb-assed remark these campaigners say. As I sit here writing this, Phil Robertson’s most recent rant about raping and murdering atheists is making headlines all around the internet, as is video of the interview in which Senator Ted Cruz’s father supposedly said we should round up the atheists and put them in camps.

When did being a “good Christian” mean you had to act like a pompous moron and slander the name of God? Do you ever wonder if God is sitting there face-palming himself and thinking, “Senator, you just caused 4,000 people to turn their backs on ever knowing me?” When did knowing God stop being about love and start being about one-upmanship and campaign victories?

Folks, it’s so easy. It’s so incredibly easy to know and love God. Not only that, it’s so easy to PROVE you’re a good Christian. Just love people! That’s all it takes to prove it. Let every decision you make demonstrate and be based on this one fact: every single person you bump into is a child of God, made by God, loved and adored by God. If you act at all times as though you genuinely believe that, you won’t have to prove anything. The world will see it plain as day.