Let Your Faith Take a Turn

The neat thing about faith is that it is always taking turns.  If you ever feel it stop moving, it is time to stop and let it move.  I’m in a moving season.  My faith has started to take a turn.  It’s like standing in front of an IMax screen and getting ready to step inside.

Part of what leads me to move has to do with friendships, the words I read, quiet moments.  Funny enough, exhaustion that brings me to spend most of day laying on the couch also brings my faith to move.

I’ve been writing a book about time.  As I have been wrapped up in my thoughts about time and eternity, I am being moved by what time really means and how that meaning ought to drive how we live life.

Emily P. Freeman shared an article by Ed Cyzewski about the contrast between a salvation moment and a life long conversation with God.  We are converted throughout our lives as we learn what it is to abide and to receive the life and transformation that God slowly brings. It’s not that we have a ticket that we can either protect or lose. It’s that God’s passionate love is pursuing each of us right now, and we can choose to either abide in it or go about our own business. 

We can abide in Him or we can go about our own business.  It may feel like an easy answer to choose to abide in Him.  It’s an easy Yes.  But in the hundreds of little choices you will make today, will you choose to abide in Him?  The decision is easy, the action point is harder.

I’m reading a book called Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.  She tucks in a few lines that speak to my thoughts on time and how it plays into our long term life.  What if the [bible] passage you are fighting to understand today suddenly makes sense to you when you most need it, ten years from now?  It has been said that we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten.  Are you willing to invest ten years in waiting for understanding?

I think we are meant to live like there is no time.  We are meant to live and move and breathe in a place and a space of depth.  Where we are not lassoed in by time constraints, judgmental time lines or frozen by time.  I think we were meant to live in the light of eternity.  Where there is no time.



My pursuits to be unconsumed by the daily grind require more transition than I expected.  Master of the calendar takes more than a book and a week.  Deciding on calendar design requires fighting a few longstanding opponents.  My opponents are the invisible kind, i.e. pressure, coming up short, being tired, pushing too hard, forgetting what I am made of.  What does your invisible opponent look like?

Even though I scheduled hard with a lot of heart.  Last week was somewhat of a bomb.   I simultaneously got hit with 1) the middle school snake schedule, 2) working till 9pm at least twice, 3) sleep escaping me and 4) missing two important meetings due to the failure of my calendars to sync.  My mom even asked me about the disconnect between my writing about time and my life last week. So, again, I consider time and the arrangement of it.

What I am learning as a person: I am learning that the silly little phrase Forgive Yourself can actually have meaning.

Verse:  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Deep Thought:  My shortage of strength, time, wisdom and peace is filled in by His love, creativity, vision and sacrifice.  I don’t know how He fills in my angst, worry, exhaustion and missed marks.  But He keeps doing the refill straight into my heart.  I am reminded to let God be God and let me be me led by Him.  Maybe it takes a book, a week and Him giving me a few more shots at mastering time.

Quote: …as Christ followers living under the ever-flowing fountain of God’s love, our hearts should be so filled with His daily kindness, and love, that we should have the resilience not to be angered or provoked when the most minor irritations of life come our way . . . Simplify by Bill Hybels (Chapter 5)

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: If you need to understand forgiveness, there is no better practical, but also deep application of it than in Chapter 5 of Bill Hybels book Simplify.

I also am learning a thing or two about brevity that is sweet and lingering in Shauna Niequist’s Savor, Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are.

My Prayer to You: I pray that we would resist being consumed by our daily grind.  Instead that we would seek the presence of God to lead us to the hours of our day.  I pray for us to be prepared to fight battles to remove the invisible opponents hacking our efforts and hindering our journey.  I pray for us to be prepared to forgive ourselves for coming up short.  I pray for us to believe that we can try and try again until we have mastered the skill of designing hours.  Beside God.  Who promises to never leave or forsake us.  Amen.

Written by Sasha Katz

I Call Him Dad

I woke up this morning and my heart cried out Dad.  I don’t always wake up that way.  Sometimes, I yell on the inside, God Where Are You?  I feel like I am looking around the room in the dark until I calm my heart and find Him.  Other times, I march to the bathroom with no lights on saying I can do nothing without You.  That usually takes place when my exhaustion is at a high.  I don’t know where to go except to Him.  I can be frantic, I can be enthusiastically dependent, but I like it the best when I wake up calling him Dad.

No matter the direction our soul takes us, there is no other place to go except to Him.  He puts in us our unique identity, giving us the opportunity to be who He made us to be.  When we are in tune with Him, we do what we do because we believe.  I write because I think it is my “hands and feet” in the body.  I breathe because He has given me that privilege.  I am a mom because He showed me that it is one of the ways I can deny myself, pick up the cross and follow Him.  I am what I am because He asked me to be.  And, what I am not — the things that are the real works in progress — I seek Him for.

So, why do I believe?  Why do you believe?  I think the answer is His heart and His actions.  He reaches into to the depths of your soul and tells you that you are good.  He says you are Mine.  You have no need to be alone.  You are with Me.  There is no fear in Me.  I will walk with you.  I will hear you.  I will know you.  I will come close.  I will reign in you.  And, I will not charge a fee for my great and unending love.  You just believe.  And, little by little, you come to know Him as your dad.

Each of us knows a little about the figure of dad.  Some of you will say that your bloodline makes you a daughter.  Some of you were adopted and that has made you a child.  Some of you would say that pain is synonymous with dad.  Some of you would say that your dad is your hero.  Or your protector.  For some, your dad still causes you grief.  Some of you rejoice over the great gift you have received in knowing and having a father.

I love that some of us get a glimpse of God in the eyes of our fathers.  I love that dads can fix things.  Give advice.  Walk through the fire with you.  Whether it’s job changes or marriage.  I love that my dad saw me while I was pregnant and complemented me on the good work going on in my body.  I love pics of dads with their grandbabies or toddlers on their shoulders.  I like the idea that dads walk down the aisle with us.  I like the way God made dads.  And, I like that the ruler and maker of the universe is my dad.  And yours too.

FF Oct 3

Sex, Lies, and Motherhood

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

The light, fresh smell of baby powder in the pastel-colored nusery…the sound of a sweet melodic lullaby playing while rocking my baby to sleep in a rocking chair while she gurgles and cooes…days spent gazing in wonder at my most perfect gift from God…

 (now imagine the sound of a record being scratched!)

 Yep, I was NOT one of those women! And I mean that with all respect! I was not one of those women who had sweet, ideal, but let’s face it, basically delusions in my head about what having and raising a baby would be like!  People like my friends who every time they saw a baby would respond “Oooh, I want one!” while I would just smile tremblingly and fearfully and shake my head while responding with “Yeah, they’re cute now, but they’re a lot of work!  A lot.” 

 I knew the truth. After all, I had a sister who was 12 years younger than me. A sister who made her sudden appearance just as I was about to enter wonderful puberty and adolescence. A sister who appeared just as I quit caring that I no longer had a built-in playmate at home…after spending years, 11 years in fact, begging for a younger sibling, my parents indulged me (or so they say…).

 No, I definitely knew the truth. The truth that babies don’t just coo and gurgle all day. That they cry. A lot. For no reason. Or for no reason that you can determine after trying everything under the sun from changing diapers to feeding them. I knew that every time you left with a baby, it was like going on an overseas trip. You had to think of every scenario and pack for every thing. Diapers. Wipes. Changing pad. Diaper Rash cream. Bottle. Spare bottle. Spare formula. Water for the formula. Pacifier. Clothes. Spare clothes. And sometimes even another set of spare clothes. Whew!  As they get older, it gets more complicated. In addition to everything I just mentioned, you also had to pack snacks and toys, and if they’re sick….oh, boy…the list can go on and on…

 No, I definitely knew that babies, as cute and as beautiful as they are…they are a lot of work. A lot. And I warned my friends who didn’t have the benefit of my experience. But did they listen to me? Of course not! Most of them still wanted one! And after they got married…a year or two later, they would each call me with the “wonderful news.” Can you believe that? After everything I told them! And then they would call me and tell me how hard it was. I, being the good friend, I am would listen patiently and encourage them that they could do it while in my head I would be thinking, “Tsk, tsk tsk, didn’t I warn you?”

 No, I knew.

 So eventually, I, too, went on to get married. (sigh). Evenings spent making dinner together and cleaning up together…then hours spent cuddled on the couch while watching a chick flick. Having hot romance novel kind of sex. Every day.

Yep, I was one of those women! Unfortunately, while I had no delusions about children, I definitely had many, many delusions about marriage and what that would be like. But that’s another blog.

 So after I got married and survived the first year of marriage, I started getting hounded by my parents, by my relatives about having kids. The first year it started happening, I would get exasperated and exclaim, “We just got married! Why are you always rushing me! I at least want to be married two years before I can think of kids!” 

 Then the second year came and left, and then I would smile and say, “We’re just not ready yet. Two years went by so fast…I just want to enjoy marriage.” 

 Then the third year came, and my twelve years younger sister started asking me about kids, and I would look at her incredulously and ask, “Do you have any idea how much work you were as a baby and a kid? Oh, you don’t, huh? Well I DO!  YOU are the reason I am waiting until my last egg can be fertilized before I can consider having a kid!” 

 Then my fourth year came and went, and while my parents remained silent and just give me their saddest, most forlorn puppy dog eyes, my relatives would not hold back: When are you going to have a kid? What are you waiting for? You’re getting old…who is going to take care of you when you’re old? I would look downcast and shrug my shoulders and say, “It’s not up to me…it’s up to God.” And then they would look uncomfortably at each other and then sympathetically at me and gently pat me on the shoulder, “Don’t worry, Bindu-mol…it will happen. We’ll pray for you.” 

 Hey, don’t judge me. It’s not my fault that they jumped to the conclusion that I was trying but nothing was happening! I did what I had to do to get them off my back! After all, I knew! Besides, for all of their well-meaning intentions, where would they be for those 3 am feedings? Yeah. Exactly. See…I knew.

 But the fifth year came…and finally I had to ask myself…why aren’t I having kids? Sure, it’ll be a lot of work. But heck, my parents did it. My friends are doing it. I can do it. It’ll be a lot of work, but at least I will not be surprised that it’ll be a lot of work. I will be prepared. After all, I know.

 So on October 14, 2009, beautiful Ava Marianna Mathew was born into the world! The first two nights, it was something unlike anything I had imagined! To my surprise, motherhood was just like the storybooks. The fresh, light smell of baby powder…the baby soft skin that I couldn’t stop touching. The unbelievable feeling of wonder every time I looked at this tiny, tiny baby whom I had talked to endlessly while she had been in my stomach for 9 months. It was perfect.

I found myself energetically getting up when she cried in the middle of the night. I found myself not feeling tired although I had just given birth hours before. I was amazed. This wasn’t as bad as I thought!  I had been wrong about motherhood!

My mom arrived my last day at the hospital, just in time to help us transition to home. She watched Ava at nights, so I could catch up on sleep. She bathed Ava. She completely took care of Ava.

So what was I doing, you ask?  Well, thank you for asking. I nursed. Or at least I tried to. I tried to nurse a crying baby who didn’t want my over-sized breasts. My oversized Triple XXX boobs that should have easily been overflowing with milk and honey. Ava would suckle for two seconds and didn’t get what she wanted and then screamed. Loudly. Very loudly. So I gave up trying to directly nurse her and went for the breast pump. I secluded myself in my master bedroom, attached these suction cups to my sore boobs and awkwardly waited for the tiniest drop of milk. And waited. And waited. I would glance around the room, looking for something to focus on while trying to ignore that awkward, uncomfortable tug of the suction cup around my nipple. Until I caught my reflection in my dresser mirror. My hair was a tangled mess, sticking out in every frizzy way possible. I was sitting in my pjs, still looking 5 months pregnant (which is only cute when you really are five months pregnant), with these futuristic gadgets attached to my boobs. I not only felt like a cow. I not only looked like a cow.  I was a cow. Not one of those metaphorical, low-self-esteem feelings of cow-dom. But an official, true-to-life cow. Being milked for every bit of nutrition that my body could officially produce. A cow. A real, real cow.

To be continued…