9/17/08

Odds and Ends

Isaac is eleven months old today. I've been marking his height each month on the wall to keep track of how he's grown. An inch and a half.

He is now walking without support everywhere he goes. Sometimes I put his little red shoes on and we walk down the sidewalk in front of the house, up and down the street. He has a drawer full of toys but he prefers to open my drawers, and throw my clothes on the floor. I tell him no, which I know he understands because he will shake his head in return before proceeding. He thinks it's funny when I slap his hand. He has a very short attention span: he will tightly hug his purple elephant, as if he adores it, and then toss it over his shoulder in a moment's notice as if it means nothing to him. He has grown very affectionate towards me, however, finding me throughout the day for hugs but not ever for wiping his nose. He hates that.

Other things: prefers to eat paper. Will take off his own pants when least expected. Makes farting noises on his arm. Disapproves of having his diaper changed at 1, 3, and 5 pm. Falls asleep in positions that make him look intoxicated. Bites people. Refuses to wear hats or let anyone else wear hats. Does not play well with little people his age (he has ever tried to poke them in the eye). Often says "Eh?"

Tim and I found a church in Greenville last Sunday. It's the first time I've been in months - actually, we've hardly been at all in the last three years. I've never belonged to a church before and always wondered what it would be like to consistently go to the same place every Sunday morning. For the first time in my life, I really want to try.

Rather than having a single pastor, this church has several elders which alternate Sunday services. The elder who spoke last Sunday reminded me a little of Harrison Ford, but his message stood out more than any I've heard in a long time. He spoke on a particular passage in the book of Luke, where Jesus tells his followers that unless they are willing to forsake everyone and everything else, including their own life, they cannot be His disciples. The elder went on to say how we often interpret this passage as referring only to a specific group of His people: the disciples. But disciples translates into followers, which basically means all Christians. He clarified by saying that sometimes we tend to separate Christians into two categories: the really strong Christians - the ones who are on the mission field - and the milder Christians. Christians like me. In the end, he said, there are really only Christians and non-Christians, those who are going to heaven and those who are not. He continued to tell us how God doesn't want someone who compartmentalizes their faith - basically, someone who looks for their identity not only in Christ but also in other things. Who am I in Christ? Who am I in this community? Who am I in the world? He said that if we are going to forsake all else, we must have our only identity in Christ, withholding nothing. Otherwise, we cannot be His followers.

This really stayed with me because I realize I've been doing just that. Compartmentalizing, that is. I have my Christianity in this one box, and then I have my writing and art and music in another, and, like Jennifer Knapp said, "the place in the dark that I used to cling to," in another. They are all pieces I hold on to for different reasons. I continually strive towards excelling in my artistic abilities. If I'm honest with myself I know it is because I want to prove that I am worthwhile. I want to create an identity for myself in this world. Something to say about myself: Oh, I'm an author. I know it is something I keep separate from my identity in Christ because when I fail, I feel as though my entire world is ending and I am worthless. I've gone through this pointless circle so many times without realizing the truth: that I have to be willing to forsake my own abilities and create my identity in Christ alone.

The elder said that once we give those things over to Christ, then He will give back to us what He wants us to have in our lives, when He wants us to have it, and we will be free to enjoy it as we should. This blew my mind because I know God gave me these abilities to use for Him; I've just taken them out of context, and by doing this, they have become unenjoyable. The same can apply to marriage and to being a mother.

Courtney and I are reading a book together: Having a Mary Heart In A Martha World, by Joanna Weaver. Normally, I can't stand books like this, but this one in particular has really opened my eyes to a few things about myself. In the last chapter we read she writes, "If you're having a little trouble feeling close to God - or even wanting to draw close - you might want to consider what activities you are using to fill empty places of your life. What's taking the edge off your hunger for him?" I've been avoiding those empty places for so long, using project after project so I wouldn't have to feel so alone anymore. When I run out of those things, my depression returns stronger than before.

Weaver writes that sometimes our loneliness is just an invitation to draw closer to God, and that He actually misses us when we avoid the quiet hour with Him.

2 comments:

  1. I echo Courtney, hon. And I'm taking your advice.

    Miss you!

    ReplyDelete

( hippies always welcome )