ten weeks of tuesdays: where I bend the rules and write about Jesus Feminist

I feel like I should apologize for missing the last two “Ten Weeks of Tuesdays.”  So, I’m sorry.  I hope this monstrosity of a post that I’m scared to push “publish” on will make up for it.  It’s based on a book, rather than a song, but I make the rules and I say that’s okay.  I welcome your comments; I just ask that they be made in love, with humility, and prayer.  

Apparently bringing Jesus Feminist with me to Starbucks for an hour or two of coffee and reading was a big mistake. When my dad offered to watch my sweet baby for the afternoon, I jumped at the chance to be alone and to read and to write.  But now the lump at the back of my throat almost can’t be swallowed, and I’m sniffing so much people probably think I’m all kinds of sick.  I’m just inches away from the mother of all ugly cries. This book is wrecking me, people.

Jesus-Feminist-Cover-copy

Her stories of loving Jesus and loving people and what really matters are breaking my heart.

And then Jesus is making it whole again.

Because, you see, I grew up in a world where girls are princesses and life is an exciting adventure story and marriage is what rescues you from having to make hard choices and hang up shelves.  Because you’re the woman and that’s how it is. Women do this and men do that. And it’s practical things and it’s spiritual things and it’s already been decided so just read your script and fall in line.  

And then I got married. To a wonderful, godly man who doesn’t hang up shelves or change the oil and who wanted me to make decisions with him.  And I didn’t know what to do.

And I went to a wonderful church and I wrote “Yay!” on a piece of paper to cast my vote for a woman pastor. And it was exciting.

And I decided that working would be the best use of my time and I tried to kill the dream I had to be a momma and spent my time frantically searching for a job. 

And then I went to a wonderful church where a man was in charge of the women’s ministry. And where you were certain to be greeted by a “member of the leadership team and his wife” after the service.  And I struggled with  my place as a woman with no children and a job, but it was still exciting.

And I saw Jesus at work in both places.

And then… sweet Eliana. And all the sudden, those little obediences started to make sense.  All those no’s when all I had wanted were yeses.  And it was Jesus.  And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman and my place is in the home. It has everything to do with Jesus making me more like him.

And I still hear things like “It’s good you’re staying home; that’s the best thing for Eliana” and “You don’t want to go back to work, do you?” And I don’t, but it’s not because work isn’t  the place for mommas.  It’s because I’m obeying Jesus.

And when I hear Jesus calling me to the hard work of staying home, to the difficult obedience of laying down education and dreams and jobs, and when I hear him calling my friend to the hard work of placing her child in the care of someone else and to the difficult obedience of motherhood and a career, it doesn’t seem as simple as we would like to think it is.

And then I look at my baby and I think about what she will hear. All the lies she’ll be told about what it means to be a woman and what it means to follow Jesus.

And I think about how Jesus has given us the greatest gift of all and we still want a list of rules instead.  We still read the Bible like it’s a catalog of formulaic lives we can choose from instead of a story about the one who made life worth living.

And we make the Gospel about ourselves when it has always been about Jesus.

And I think about how to be faithful to what I’m learning about loving Jesus. And I realize that I’m asking for  more rules and more laws and some step-by-step suggestions and a how-to plan instead of leaning in to the one whose very name is Love.

And that’s why this book is wrecking me.  Because it’s not one of those “I was just like you until I became enlightened,” angry books.  But it’s not shy and it’s unapologetic.  It’s a book that suggests that maybe the point isn’t who changes the tires or who gets to stand in pulpits.  Jesus is the point.  And the love that this author has for Jesus is in every line and on every page.  Even if I don’t agree with everything she says, I see that she’s doing her best to follow Jesus, and I believe that we can agree to disagree on some things, because Jesus is bigger than all of that.

I got this book largely because I read reviews that praise Sarah Bessey for her humility and her attitude.  I haven’t been disappointed.  She doesn’t poke or prod or accuse.  She doesn’t even try to make me believe she has it all figured out.  She just challenges me to follow Jesus.  And to trust that he will be there, leading in the right way.

This book is wrecking me because it doesn’t tell me what to believe.  It doesn’t offer me a check list or a promise of what my life will look like. It invites me to fall in love with Jesus so that I will live, write, and think like him.

Yes, theology is important.  It’s important to know truth and to spend time studying the Bible. I’m not at all suggesting that these things don’t matter.  Nor am I suggesting that I’ve got this figured out, or that I’d be able to articulate my position on a lot of issues.  I just feel like we spend an awful lot of time talking about checklists and facts and not much time talking about Jesus.  But his name is all over this book. And that’s more renewing and refreshing than a peppermint mocha and an ugly cry on a Tuesday afternoon.

If you want to have your own ugly cry coffee fest, you can get Jesus Feminist on Amazon.

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Ten Weeks of Tuesdays: An Anthem, an Introduction, and an Invitation

I guess this really all comes down to a struggle. A struggle for freedom and for joy and for meaning. A struggle against self-pity and aimless monotony and insignificance.  A refusal to just buckle down and get by and merely exist. An invitation to explore and engage and live abundant.

It comes after bitterness and anger, surrender and forgiveness. Acceptance and obedience.

It comes after seven short months filled with long days of motherhood and a mere week after receiving the title “pastor’s wife” (and what does that even mean).  It comes after 3 months of stay-at-home-momdom and 3 years of hit-or-miss blogging.

Most specifically, it comes after a teary-eyed car ride with a Sara Groves soundtrack.  It comes after a decision to be honest and to do the hard work of being present and attentive to my heart. Even when it hurts.

It’s pretty much a guarantee that if I find myself in the car for longer than 5 minutes and my ipod is not tuned to the Glee Soundtrack, (no, stop, don’t leave!) I’ll get a little teary-eyed.  Sometimes I get a lot teary-eyed.

“Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters”

In fact, a few  (I’m not a scientist, but probably 94.5%) of the posts I’ve written on this blog are a result of a teary-eyed car ride and a good use of the repeat button.  Sometimes I love being so sensitive to art and to words– I love the feeling of something beautiful growing and exploding deep inside of you, washing over all your wishes and worries with beauty, calling forgotten thoughts out of dusty corners, inviting you to be really alive.

But sometimes, it’s inconvenient.  Sometimes the words expose a lot of things that I don’t want to think about.  Like it might happen on the way home from Target when you thought everything was fine and you were just going to the store to get baby food, but the tears in your eyes and the ache in your heart tell you that you’re struggling with feeling insignificant.  That the monotony of the day to day is standing there, threatening to devour your heart like a hungry lion.  That loneliness has planted itself in your heart like a thorn.  And that the piano and cello and the beautiful echo of Sara Groves’ voice is about to split you right open.

And that moment, driving down the road towards home, tears threatening to spill, it’s in my memory like a freeze frame.  I can either listen or I can ignore. I can do the hard work of building or I can let the opportunity pass me by.  I can choose whether or not I will enter the struggle.  Will I fight for beauty in my heart or will I choose to let life happen to me, let it shape the person I become.  I reach for the volume knob, still undecided.  I turn the music up.

“Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And its protest of the darkness
And this chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters”

And it happens, the music splits me right open while I’m driving. And I’m not taking the easy way out. I’m saying no to the self-pity that wants me to think that my life is insignificant. I’m saying no to the society that says careers are more valuable than children.  I’m saying no to the idea that picking up cheerios and making dinner and playing with blocks are beneath me.

But I’m also saying yes. I’m saying yes to significance and worship in the every day. I’m saying yes to adding to the beauty and not subtracting from it with self-pity and complaining. I’m saying yes to making an effort.

And that’s what this is. Ten weeks of choosing significance over insignificance. Ten weeks of exploring the thoughts that these teary-eyed encounters call forth. Ten weeks of choosing creativity over monotony.  God has made me this way. And I want to make the most of it.  And so here we are.  And here’s my anthem.

“Show me a love that never fails
Some compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters”

Please join me!  Would you consider joining me in building ramparts for our souls?  For ten weeks, starting on October 15, join me in choosing beauty over monotony.  For me, this means that I will be exploring a different song that has spoken to me each week by writing, thinking, and praying about it, with the goal of helping myself think biblically about my life and my situation. Basically, I’m going to use this avenue to struggle faithfully.  For you, it might mean baking, painting, crafting, writing, photographing, singing?  Anything you would consciously choose to do once a week for the next ten weeks with the goal of adding your voice to a chorus of voices that give glory to God by adding beauty.  If you do choose to do so, please come here on Tuesdays to add your voice so that we can celebrate beauty with you, value the things God values, and be reminded of what matters. That gift the Lord has given to you, friend, oh, how it matters. 

when you kind of wonder what you were thinking.

You know that feeling I’m talking about? When you kind of feel like you did when you were a kid and you jumped into a pool? That feeling of regret for a second when you’re in the air before your feet hit the water and you don’t know exactly how warm or how cold the water might be? When you have that sudden sinking feeling that you might not actually know how to swim? That maybe you forgot it all between the last time you got in the water and now?

 

That.

 

In the morning, I’m going to load my sweet family into the car and we’re going to drive to a conference where I’m going to learn how to teach women about having babies.  We’re going to sleep in a hotel room with a baby who just started sleeping through the night again, we’re going to heat all our dinners up in the microwave and eat tons of pb&j.  We’re going to spend each day from 8:30am-10pm learning, learning, learning.  I’m terrified, but I kind of love it.  Please pray for us. We’re looking at 4 FULL days. After that, it’ll just be about 3 more months of homework and then I’ll have my provisional certification.  I can’t thank you enough for the ways so many of you have invested in this adventure.  We treasure you.

Favorite Things… Friday?

Ok, so I realize it’s Saturday, but I’m the boss around here, right? I meant to have this done on Saturday, then Sunday, then Monday.   But, well, I have a six month old.  Well, now it’s Tuesday, but, like I said, this is my blog and I can do what I want, right?

This week I…

Read this. post. and cried, obviously: “I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.” 

Drooled over these, but ate this instead. Purely because it was easier, and I was crafting, people. It was good, but not as delicious as the cheesecake bars, I’m sure.

Sewed these for Ellie Jo’s crib.

Came across this awesome idea at this wonderful adoption blog.

Have been listening to this.

And watched waaaay too many episodes of Parks and Rec.

Is this getting old yet?

If you’re just joining us. 

If you just missed out on yesterday. 

If you want me to shut up.

And today, I recruited my daughter to shamelessly manipulate your emotions.

See that little “P” (for Pinterest!) button at the bottom of this post? Go ahead and give it a little click.

5 days left, friends!

Gracias.

And muchas gracias to those of you who have already donated/shared/encouraged me! Seriously, I’m so encouraged by the words many of you have shared in the last few days.

seriously. srsly. for reals.

Help a Momma help other Mommas

The Mother of Invention…

Yesterday I had a crazy craving for an egg salad sammie.  So, I put a few eggs in a pot, covered them with cold water, and set to boiling them.  Just as I was prepping the ice bath for the boiled eggs, I looked in the fridge and realized that I had maybe 3 tablespoons of Mayo left.  Deciding to save the eggs for tomorrow, I resigned myself to a boring old salad and started pulling ingredients out of the fridge.  That’s when I saw him.  That delicious, life saving veggie.

Sitting there in my fridge.

Mr. Avocado, meet egg salad.

I’m sure someone else has done this before, but as I started throwing ingredients in that bowl, I felt like I was making something up.  Something WONDERFUL.  Here’s my “recipe.”

Avocado Egg Salad

  • 1 Avocado
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • about 3 T mayo
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Little bit o’ Sea Salt
  • Lime Juice

 

 

 

 

I was going to throw in some Dijon Mustard, but I realized that the bottle in the fridge was a) expired and b) pretty much empty.  It tastes great without, though.  I used a potato masher to mash up the avocado and the eggs and then I added all the other ingredients. Not too tricky at all.  Toast up a couple slices of bread and pair with lettuce on a sammie.

The verdict: It’s delicious. David and I decided that we don’t want to make our Egg Salad any other way ever again.

Favorite Things Friday: Reading… and a Surprise.

One of the things David and I really enjoy is reading.  It is our hope and our prayer that this will be something our future family enjoys as well. 
 
And speaking of family, we just wanted to give you a peek at our family reading list for the summer: 

 Image

 

That’s right: Baby Goetz coming February 2013. 

Favorite Things Friday: My New Vacuum Cleaner

I have a confession to make.  A few weeks ago, my vacuum cleaner broke.  That’s right.  I said weeks. Now, to be fair, it wasn’t the vacuum cleaner’s fault.  He was built for picking up crumbs off the dining room floor, and we were expecting him to clean our whole, entire, humungous apartment. He just couldn’t take the pressure, bless his little heart.  Anyway, “clean floors” is on the list somewhere after things like “roof over our heads,” “don’t starve,” and “make it to work.”  

Though a new vacuum cleaner wasn’t high on my list of things to buy, I did a bit of research and decided that I have several problems buying vacuum cleaners:

1. They are so expensive and they seem to break so easily. 

2. They all look like toys. Come on.  “You want HOW MUCH for that? I’m pretty sure my niece has the same one.”

3. Most boring purchase EVER. 

Did I mention it’s been weeks since I vacuumed?  (disclaimer: my mother didn’t raise me like this.) 

I wish I could describe to you (and at the same time, I don’t) how disgusting the carpets were in this apartment.  We have NEVER had a proper vacuum cleaner.  That poor little wisp of a thing has been doing the heavy lifting the whole time we’ve lived here.  Needless to say, my floors were a hot mess. The other day, I got home, looked at them, and almost started crying.

Anyway, a few days ago, after messing with some numbers, we were able to fit a vacuum into the budget, and not a moment too soon. My Dad said he had read about a really good vacuum, so I looked it up.  I was a little skeptical at first, I mean, come on, It’s a vacuum for goodness sakes. But, I was swept off my feet! Seriously, this is the BEST vacuum that I’ve ever used. When David got home from work, I was surprised he didn’t want to take a turn vacuuming the house, just for fun.  

Reasons I love my new vacuum: 

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1. AFFORDABLE. 

2. It practically pushes itself. 

3. It looks like a toy.  It’s purple, come on! How cute is that?!

4. My floors are cleaner than they were when I moved in. 

5. Did I mention it’s purple? 

6. 5. year. warrantee.

Since your vacuum will probably break in a few years, keep the Shark Navigator Lift Away in mind, and if you ever want to try one, I’m happy to share mine. 

Today I Believe.

One of my favorite college memories (one that I’m sure will stick with me when I’ve been out of college longer than five months) is of the one week of evening prayer services that were held once a year.  Every night at 9:20, I would bundle up and trudge over to the Chapel, and find myself among 7 other people who had braved the cold.  The reason I kept coming was because it was unlike any prayer service I had ever been to before.  The short service would include a few songs, scripture readings, and a lot of the praying would be of prayers that were already written.  Every night, for five straight nights, I prayed a prayer that has yet to leave my mind.  I write it here today for the same reason I cherished the opportunity to pray it 3 years ago.

It’s full of truth.   And sometimes, it’s just good to hear truth.

Lord, you have always given
bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor,
today I believe.
Lord, you have always given
strength for the coming days;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.
Lord, you have always given
peace for the coming day;
and though anxious of heart
today I believe.
Lord, you have always kept me
safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am,
today I believe.
Lord, you have always marked
the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe.
Lord, you have always lightened
this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here,
today I believe.
Lord, you have always spoken
when the time was ripe;
and though you be silent now,
today I believe.
-Northumbria Community Celtic Evening Prayer Liturgy

Another Adventure

Though it seems like we’ve barely had time to settle in, David and I are preparing to head out of the country once again! In just eleven days, we’ll be heading to France!

We are joining a team from our University on a trip to Taize, France. We’re going to be spending time at the monastery there. Taize is a destination of pilgrimages for young people all over the world. We are so excited for the opportunities that we will encounter while we’re in France. We will have the opportunity to get to know several people, both Christians and non-Christians and to share the truth of the Gospel with them. We will also have the opportunity to enter into the life of the community. I am really looking forward to the rest and structured prayer services. This certainly will be a new experience for both David and me, but we are looking forward to this adventure and all of its uncertainty.

If you’d like to learn more about the Taize community, check out their website at http://www.taize.fr/en

Also, if you’d like to support us as we continue to raise the funds necessary, please let me know! And, as always, your prayers are appreciated as we begin this new adventure.

Check back here later in March for a description of our Trip!