Saltiness: Limits of Love

Often, very often, I feel like I am not making a difference.  Despite doing or being what I believe I ought to be, results aren’t always obvious or existing.  Yet something recently has me wondering about “results”.

My husband and I use to live close my parents, and I’d make frequent visits. Yet after 5 years, it didn’t seem to make much difference one way or another. I didn’t see us as building a relationship. I noticed my dad couldn’t tell an observational difference between me and my siblings. My parents would confuse my husband’s saying or traits with the other men of the family. Despite our best efforts, and many not-so-best efforts, my parents didn’t seem to notice much in particular, and this became a wear on my husband and I. We’ve moved. Not the big move that I wanted, but a small couple hours drive time. It’s been near a half and year, and I’m starting to see the difference now. Although it’s not the difference I want to see.

My parents show signs of not having us an influence in their lives. I see things like fear becoming more normal for them. Slowly, but much too quickly. I see a shift from my influence of more natural approaches (which they barely considered before) to a more store bought, doctor induced philosophy.  It’s not that they didn’t have some signs before, but now it seems to have quickly built steam in my absence of pointing out how absurd it is.

Is that it? Is that all I do with my life? I block out some bad. Perhaps I don’t even particularly bring good into people’s lives, but maybe I just block out some of the bad. It seems so little. It seems so ineffectual.
I turn my thoughts from  my parents to my husband. His parents are negative people. I’ve always been displeased to see that displayed over and over again in our short history together. The effects their negativity has had on his life were infuriating. But as of lately I’ve seen my man becoming something greater. It’s taken a long time, a lot of work, and continuing to challenge him in healthy ways, but it becomes more and more obvious. He’s stronger in many ways. Still becoming strong in a few ways. We’re good together.

Is it because I’ve blocked some the poison in his life and challenged him towards good? Perhaps I’ve become the large influence in his life, the influence where his parents once had their vice grips. Is that all that I do? Block negative with my influence?  I suppose it’s a useful thing to be, however lacking in gloriousness. Then I wonder…
Is this (in part) what it’s like to be salt?

Jesus talks about being “the salt of the earth” and many pastors and theologians have puzzled over this simple parable. What does it mean? Indeed there is some flexibility to what all it could encompass, but perhaps simple is best in this case.
My man and I watch some of the Food Network “game shows”. If the judges detect too much salt it’s considered bad to have a salty flavor, or too little salt is considered unseasoned.  Salt is mostly to showcase whatever else is happening with the combined food. It’s not meant to be prominent but it necessary to the dish.

Salt is also considered to have trace minerals, things that your body needs but it doesn’t need a lot of it. These little “trace minerals” make a big difference when they’re out of sync with what your body needs, too much or too little. Subtleties set the standard.

In relationships (of all kinds) its hard to wait for the subtleties to draw forth into the standard. It’s hard to see it add up into something. When my husband and I were dating, I thought for sure that I was going to get my heart broken. I didn’t see him taking it as seriously as I did. I knew I was risking beyond what seemed reasonable or safe, but I felt compelled to keep going until I actually did break. It wasn’t until he confessed that he wanted to marry me (and therein we got engaged) that I felt sure that he was in this too, and not just for convenience sake.

Subtleties, small things, they add up. Probably never as fast and securely as I want them to, but they do add up.

If my greatest gift is merely blocking out some of the negative of other people’s live, that means its still their choice to choose the positives. I can’t choices or add that for them. I suppose I was hoping that I could also do that, but I do not think my life has given my evidence of that. I suppose there are many things which we are grateful that they mere neutralize a situation, such as our immune system.
However it’s up to each person whether to work that immune system hard or to give it help, and then what kind of help from there. This is complication of working together, yet our lives were made to touch one another and interlock.  I can only do and be that which I am.  I can only make my choices. Other people must make their own choices. I wish I could help, but this is as far as I can go in touching their lives.

I am just a little salt in gourmet dish.

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What Does Relating Have to Do with Relationships?

I listened to an interesting video of an orthodox Jewish woman talking about the concept of “Judaism is not a Religion, It’s a Relationship”. What a familiar phrase. Yet there’s good evidence in the roots of Judaism for such a concept. I watched to see what she’d say.  Not much, I’m afraid.

We don’t understand relationship. We don’t practice relating. We are a must-do-these, must-be-this, must-be-seen-as such&such. We don’t know about relating, and therefore our best concepts of relationship suffer.

We bend our language to make things fit. We don’t consider what is being said and what needs to be said. Sometime we only know that something should look like this, it should cover that, it should fit across here… but don’t consider the limits of a word or the benefits of that limit.

In the previously mentioned video I heard the woman give different examples of relationship and how we can compare our interacting with God to something similar. The problem came in when some examples were of a relationship, yes, but a tip-toe relationship.

Appeasing isn’t relating.
It maybe done in love, but it still isn’t relating. It isn’t dealing with root issues. It isn’t connecting to how someone other than ourselves might feel and why. If we take enough time to fix the problem, but not enough to consider why the problem arose in the first place, we are just managing one another. It’s not relating.

My husband maybe one unlucky man. He married a woman who wasn’t planning on marrying. He married a woman who straight-face told him she not a believer in “woman submit!” theology.  When he married me, his life began to change, and he didn’t know what he was in for.
Everyday I work with my man on life. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. Many christians marry and their wives are these humble-meek creatures the live to serve and honor their man. I teach him. I don’t mean to do it. It’s not my intention, but yet it’s my goal that he realize who God has created him to be.

He came from a reasonable family, but not one that was going help him become into greatness. In fact they expected him to fail because a few doctors and teachers had critical words to say,  and for some reason I cannot conceive his parents believed those “professionals”.  Yet I meet him as a young man, and something in my spirit recognized his spirit, and fate was sealed.

I think probably everyday in our marriage I ask my man questions. Simple questions, hard questions, rhetorical questions, long-term-thought questions, intraspective questions. I cause for him to work, to search, to rise up. …and he has.
I think a reason that I do this, isn’t because I don’t already love who he, but because I don’t think he has seen who he really is.

We all believe lies about ourselves at different points in our life.
Sometimes we allow those lies to define us. Sometimes we get tired of fighting them when they’re repeated over & over again. Sometimes it’s all we’ve known and we are not aware that they are lies.  And yet, they form us into something we are not. They keep us from being who are meant to be. The stifle beauty that means to gently unfold. Yet we don’t always see them within ourselves. Sometimes it takes someone else who can relate and therein reveal a problem that hasn’t yet been dealt with or considered.

I propose that sometimes, as loved ones, we perpetuate the lies that one we love wears. We mean to treat them with honor and therefore we allow them to continue to cover their shame or hurt (ect.).  But a wound that is covered can still get an infection. It must be treated underneath a clean cloth. …But in relationships… that a hard place to be. It’s a fragile company to keep. It’s deep.

Sometimes it’s easier to allow it to be “their problem” and let them deal with it in their own way. Sometimes others’ wounds remind us of our own, and we too would like to keep that hidden.  But that’s not relating, it’s just managing.

I might also point out, that to dig up wounds for the sake of “healing” them and being a hero or rescuer, can be manipulation or using one another, and that’s not healthy either. There’s no healthy substitute for relating.

It takes learning what it’s like to be in our own skin, or to feel our own bones before we can actual relate to another. And yet…we have this thing called “relationships” were sometimes we just get lost and hide in one another. We don’t always consider what’s it like to be who I am, and what does that have to do with being connected to this person here, who I am in a relationship with. Instead we’re hiding in feelings, schedules, raising a family, making then spending money, plans for the future …and we take very, very little time to consider our soul or the one whom we love, their soul. We just keep passing the days, and we do fine.

I don’t want fine. I don’t want a good life. I don’t want average. …and I don’t want that for my man.  He’s more than that, I know. I’m not sure he knows. Despite my struggles of worth & importance, my spirit knows that my life was made for adventures. I know I could be something that helps others cue into their importance, and I know that it could be world changing. But I have to be able to touch something that’s alive. I have to have life within myself that I believe is unique and intentional for my surroundings.

For me I have to believe in God who believes in me. A God who created be to be some specific in this time and in this generation. For me this is my bases for being able to relate to other people despite any internal struggles, or even because I have those specific internal struggles.  I know I’m not the only one who struggles, and reality has allowed me to connect to something gives me strength to bear the load and shuck the shame.

Relationships were meant to have more relating in them, than what we give credit to them in our modern society. To be able to relate is world changing, life-touching, and life giving. Consider… what does relating have to do with (my) relationships?

Faceless in a Selfie World

Sometimes when I scroll through my more recent pictures to see what I’ve essential recorded in history. Sometime while I’m looking I think to myself: where am I?  I’m just like everybody else in this modern age, I’ll take a photo of myself (now called selfies, used be called polaroids -just saying-), because I want be recorded, remember, or sometimes…just seen.

Pictures are amazing; photography (believe or not) is still an art. A beautiful, expressive art. I don’t just want my face or a place where I was recorded. I want some sort of beauty, isolation, joy, jest, contentment, some amount of invisibility recorded. I want someone to know what it’s like to be me. …but not so much for my own sake, anymore. But because I understand my life is so similar to so many.

If I feel this way, then I am not alone.

Sometimes I do feel like a picture is a way to relate. It’s not just about me, where I’ve been, or something incredible. Selfies aren’t always about vanity, peer pressure, or feeding the social media machine, but sometimes they can still capture something more. Sometimes they capture a light, or a missing light, within someone’s eyes. Sometimes the person is saying “I’m strong and confident” but I can see the loneliness of wanting to be seen, or wanting to be treasured, or wanting to share this life with other loved ones, or missing the actual nearness.

Our whole lives we create memories. Only a few are captured by pictures. Social media has allowed us to project an image of ourselves. Photo editors have allowed us to remold that image of ourselves. Likes, hearts, comments, and shares have allowed us to assume some companionship in a single moment that we didn’t actually share with all who participate in the this post-moment posting & commentation.

It’s like we can still attempt communal. Even when communal is just as lonely as it has always been …on our own.

In my own collection of pictures, I see that I get lost. I see once in a while my husband likes to tease me with a photo he snaps where I’m glaring or being goofy. …Then he post it for the rest of the world. I can’t convince him that no one else in the world thinks that I’m cute or beautiful in the way that he sees me. It’s unfathomable to him. Yet the when my face receives significantly less “likes” then a sunset picture or a goofy joke, what is one to think, but that I must be right? That I am more faded in the world of our “friends”.

Yet even with this… my pictures make me wonder how much am I participating in life? Or how much am I just a side observer myself?

In our modern age, we can connect to people miles away, but we can’t always stay connected to those who are geographically close to us. Old friends who aren’t social media savvy can fade, and new friends who socially stalk in-friendly-terms can seem better antiquated than what’s truthfully there. Yet it’s not just social media.

I can spend multiple days a week at my parents house, and barely know more than seeing my brother a few times a month or my other brother a few times a year. I can live an hour away from friends, and not see them for years, but make a special effort to see friends who live multiple hours away from us.

Community doesn’t just happen. We choose it. Capturing moments in life isn’t just the luck of being there, it’s being aware of the moment your in already. Cherishing what’s already in front of us.
Memories are made all the time, but we don’t always put them to mind. I am always here, but I can still feel as if I don’t exist without some acknowledgement of my existence.

Can I deal with less selfies, so that I can take more pictures of sunsets, long drives, quirkiness of nature, and a moment I lived but yet it didn’t involve me?  Can I deal with people saying “wow” “That’s beautiful” “awesome”  to those moments, when those same people don’t say “I miss you” “you’re beautiful” “I love my friend”?

It’s not a modern problem. It’s only a more instant problem in our modern age.

I think I can do this. I think I can acknowledge that I am here, even if I am unseen. I think I stand, even if it’s awkwardly, in a room in a moment in the isolation of the crowd. I think I can make through this day whether or not anyone else cares that I am here. I think that okay for today.
I’m not going to think about if I’ll have strength for silence tomorrow. Just today.  And if I need cheap friendship, I can always repost a meme.

But I want to be strong even if the world is silent towards me. Maybe just today…I can. This will be a memory: I made it.

Letter to Modern He-Man Woman Haters Club

Dear Men,

Thank you. Thank for listening abilities and your instinct to solve a problem. But sometimes just listening and understanding how this feels is good enough. We don’t typical need you to solve a problem for us, we just need to know you don’t think we are the problem.

Sometimes it your skeptical looks and brash words seem more against us than the actual problem itself. Nothing is worse than having to fight on all sides, and having an internal battle as well. If you’ve got our back, then find the sincerest way to say just that. Like all human beings sometimes we self-implode. Don’t freak out. Don’t critique us while we’re down, because we’ll never forgot the words of someone we once trusted. We’ll rebuild. We’re resilient. But if you wrong us, you’ve poisoned your own self.

Sometimes it’s better to be harmless, instead of helpful. Sometimes.

You maybe over thinking this “leadership” thing just an ounce too much. It’s not really about one person being higher than others. It’s not really about men being above woman. It’s not really about being the front-man, and it certainly isn’t about discarding childhood dreams of superheroes, Pirates, Knights, G.I. Joe guys, inventors, or incredible athlete. The world needs people who understand how to use their own skills, training, minds, hopes, ambition, and heart to become something no one else expected of them.

Someone once said courage isn’t the absence of fear, but merely the decision that something is more important than that fear.

And it takes courage to know what it is to be a man without someone else specifically telling you what that means. But take a look around! There’s a lot of bad advice and bad results, but you, you are not a statistic. You are the real deal. You are the one in million chance to change the course of history by doing and being only that good which you were made to do.

We’ve all been through bad things on various levels, and for those of us who have made it today…we still have a chance. A chance to be different than before, different than we’ve seen, different than the fate that’s been handed to us. But it takes practice and persevance. …Maybe that’s why I’m writing? Maybe you didn’t know, but you need to know: you’re not alone.

I took a peek at what it must be like to be you. You can’t imagine the outrage anger I felt. Well…maybe if anyone can imagine it’s you. I don’t know how to say it any other way, expect to say you’ve been lied too. Bombarded with lies, from what I’ve seen. There’s more arranged truth falling under the titles of “modern man” and “biblical manhood” than is fathomable for any truth seeker.

You’re not alone.

Even if you think you’re made to be a leader, out front, you’re not alone.

Not that you understand us or want us, but we’re here. Not that we’re going to make you drink tea and dress up, unless you’re into that kind of thing. Not that we need a hero, but that we’d welcome the one that you are. Not that you’d understand this…but you were never alone. We were always part of you, and when you push us away, you’re ripping off a piece of your chest, a piece of your core, and tossing it aside. God… That has to hurt!

But we were made to work together.

You know that crazy piece of scripture? “Neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female…for all are on in Christ Jesus.”  That’s how it was in the original design, all one, working together, distinctly different but still one. And that what Messiah came to redeem “the restoration of all things”.

So when someone tells you to be a man by standing out in front as the leader, or to be a gentleman by opening the doors. Guess what? We do that too. And we do it because we come from your created life. We don’t come from the dirt that you were formed from, we come from you. We’re meant to be along side you. We were assigned to the same post. We were together once. We were together until the day Adam disowned us.

Once we were “bone of my bone…flesh of my flesh” then another terrible day we became “that woman you gave me”. In between we were always together. Even sin and shame didn’t separate us. It wasn’t until a man disowned a woman that history bore this ever ugly scar. Now… They try to keep us apart. How terrible!

I’m not sure what to say. I think you’re still mad. Christ Jesus came to bring a restoration of all things, but so many “Christian leaders” would rather die saying “that woman” than to ever acknowledge the oneness of “bone of my bone…”

What has happened to us? Sin and shame didn’t separate us. A curse didn’t separate us. What happened to us?  The worst part is to see you …angry, alone, accusative, agitated, vindictive, and emtpy. You can do some much more than that. You were built from order, fruitfulness, life-giving substance, solid materials.  You are made as something which is very good. But you haven’t been told that, have you?

I am telling you.

We were made for more than we’ve been told. The simple wisdom of God offers more than the rearranged truth that has been published in the name of big-name, multi-million selling Christian authors. You don’t need someone to interpret the Bible for you. Persevance and a pure heart will reveal truth.

It’s like I said earlier, it’s not about one person being over another, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I’m just a small voice of many. I’ve seen the shackles, the pain, the contortion on your face… You’re not yet become who you were created to be, and it’s because you’re missing a basic feature. Bone. Flesh. Heart.

You weren’t made for a platform, a pedestal, an isolating position. Your job isn’t to gain money, protect, lead. Your purpose is tend, care for, collaborte …with us…working together. We’re not a stepping block. We’re not weaker (believe me if we were weaker we would have stood up under these millenniums of oppression.). We are not inherently sinful or stupid. We are not “that woman you gave me”. We are partners in truth, in caring for, tending to, collaborating with. We are bone, flesh, heart. We are the second beauty that God created as very good. Second like an update, not like second place. We don’t know second place. We only know how to share first place. …or nothing.

Yeah it hurts to get kicked aside, but we learned it happens. We tell our daughters, nieces, granddaughters that it will happen. We are resilient. But you… Is it the same for you?

Is it enough to fellowship with other earthen-made vessels or would it be cooler to see a side of yourself present in a totally different way. “Bone of my bone…flesh of my flesh”? Would it be cool if two separate components could become one, strong, focus, ecstatic force of good? That’d be some “leader” wouldn’t it? That’d be some life. That’d be so uniquely original.

Division was never really God’s thing. So why support it now? If Christ came to restore all thing, why not work towards that now?

No one wants to take your place. I just thought you might like someone to stand next to you. I don’t want you to miss out just because you thought it’d be more manly. God didn’t think it was manly to be alone, but… If it’s working for you… Go ahead.  Just know we’re still here, whether you wants us or not, because we were made for this. And we were made very good.

Being At Peace in the Deep

Do you ever wonder what your younger-version of yourself would say to you in the situation you’re in now? I do. I probably think of this a little too often.

I was strangely encouraged by Sara Bareilles’ song “Many the Miles” and by reading the book of Job this morning.  I had part of the song stuck in my head, but couldn’t remember all the lyrics to song, so I looked it up. Some of the words reminded me of choice I made when I was younger, and how I set my mind to being a particular type of person. Today I am still striving to be the person.
Sometimes I get frustrated that essentially I am not yet the person I have strove to be. I get really upset with myself, as if I’ve only made stupid choices. I definitely haven’t followed the simple road which has been paved before me. I really think my family would have been happier and more reassured if I had simply stuck with the directions (in life) that they gave to me, but instead I continue to choose to follow my heart and be the kind of person I believe the Bible describes as someone who truly loves God. But ultimately, my husband & I are in a hard place in life.

In this hard place, I try to regularly tell my husband how much I love being married to him. I am very aware that many good responsible people would have never walked down this road of obscurity with me. …but my good man does. We walk together hand & hand. It’s everything I could have ever dreamed of.  We do our best to follow our hearts even though it doesn’t really make sense to many people, and doesn’t always make sense to us. But we are a ridiculously happy couple. Not that everyday overflows with joy, but that there is joy in these times and that we continue to share love is in itself ridiculous (in a good way). It’s everything I wanted to be when I was younger.

When girls are very young, they learn to imagine a sort of “Mr Perfect” and each girl has her own list of qualities, traits, physical features, characteristics that she thinks her “Mr Perfect” should be.  Not long after I learned this game, I quickly came to unlearn it as well. I realized that the greatest thing about being in Love with someone else wouldn’t be many of the petty things listed, but would be someone who goes through everything (ups & downs and all the other obstacles) with me and still loves me.
A few years into married life and we’ve been in over our heads in attempting to actually live the things we say we believe in. We’ve taken something that’s laid out before us, and chosen a different way of doing things. We’ve chosen a difficult road. But you should know… we’re none the worse for it. Needs like money and hunger don’t really compare to the deep peace and apparently joy we’ve found in the midst of all this wilderness.

I can’t imagine there’s anything better than knowing I am still keeping to path I chose in a younger, purer, more innocent version of myself. Maybe life itself hasn’t fully succeed to something I can externally be proud of, but I’ve got a husband that I am proud of, I continue to develop the internal character that I wanted to be from my youthful years, and I am still willing to keep trying this “foolish” road.

Maybe I don’t have a plan for “success” in lot of ways, but somehow I really believed things like, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added until you.”  I believed when I read in Deuteronomy how we should strive not to be in debt or take out loans, and how we should care for one another. I believed when the book of Acts say “and they were like family”  and how it relates directly back to book of Deuteronomy. I believe Jesus when he says that world treasures only have value here & now and how we should work for things that don’t perish.

I don’t have a lot to show for my life. I am not an impressive person. But I am proud that I am continuing to grow up into becoming the type of person that my younger-self would be proud of. It means there’s something simple & innocent that I haven’t lost yet. It also means, that even if my husband & I don’t figure out external things in life, we might still have some success in who we are anyways.

This is the adventure of a lifetime.

as long as my breath is in me
    and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
 my lips will not speak falsehood,
    and my tongue will not utter deceit.
 Far be it from me to say that you are right;
    until I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go;
    my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.

As for the earth, out of it comes bread;
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires,
    and its dust contains gold.

 That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
 The proud wild animals have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it

Where shall wisdom be found?
   And where is the place of understanding?

Where then does wisdom come from?

    And where is the place of understanding?
 It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
    and concealed from the birds of the air.

Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
    and to depart from evil is understanding

Job 27:3-6
Job 28:5-8
Job 28:12
Job 28:20-21
Job 28:28

Men vs Women …or Not

One of the things I think I take for granted in my life is, I have good men in my life. From time to time as I write, I natural mention my husband. I love him. …like that silly head-spinning, butterfly inside still love him. I laugh at myself sometimes. If I were in a movie, surely something tragic would happen next, because most people don’t believe in these content happily-ever-after-s, there has to be a catch.
But this is life, and with life is confession. I confess that I don’t always consider how much I really love my husband and how blessed I am to have obtained him (and boy was it work to get him!). But when I do consider it, I am amazed at our story together.

Yet my husband is only one good man in my life. I have brothers who I adore, cousins who are caring & fun, friends who are a joy and considerate, and I probably shouldn’t list everybody here. The point is it continue to extend and ripple out from my inner most circle on outwards.

Not that every single person  (or man) I know, love, and appreciate … I am certainly not that generous. However, I’d be foolish not to consider and enjoy the fact that in my life there are many good men.

I remember this one time, when I was 19 or 20ish, my mom said to me “Why do you hate men!?”  I was astonished. I had no idea where this came from. I wonder what my mom meant by that. Yet in this astonishing moment, I looked up at my mom and said with perfect confidence, “Just because I don’t flirtatiously pursue them, doesn’t mean I don’t like them.” My mom was silent. I think this hit the mark of wherever it came from.  I then proceed to tell my mom that while I knew a few jerks who were adding grief to my life, there were plenty of guys I truly appreciated, and to which I listed a few to put her at ease.
To this day I can’t figure where that conversation came from.  Was because I was happily single? Was it because the jerks who were causing problems from me, I stood up to? Was it because I’d spent too much time with a man-hating relative, which concerned my mom that I too might become that? I’ll never know.

What I do know is that some women don’t have the security and support I have. Some women might not have good history and memories of close male relatives. Some women may not have many or any male friends who they could truly trust. I think all of ladies know what it is to be hurt and used. If there is a woman who doesn’t know this (at any age she may be), I pray she never will. It’s terrible that it should be all to frequent.

In general, as people, we hurt each other. But there’s something so fierce about it coming from the opposite sex. It cause some previously unknown age-old hatred to rise up with perfect indignation, and demand the severest actions. Maybe something says “I knew I couldn’t trust him” or maybe something says, “I knew he didn’t really care about me” or maybe it’s something innocent enough to say, “Why is this happening? Why me? Its not suppose to be this way.
We all understand pain and being hurt. We understand wanting to shelter ourselves from this happening again. But maybe we all also understand a strange deep desire to connect and to believe that we have a right to be treated equally in love and the search for love.

Sometimes I think in attempts to make it an “equal playing field” our culture lows the standards so pathetically far, that it isn’t even connecting or relating any more.  Tell me, what is a relationship when there is no actual relating happening in the midst of it?  A -ship? A voyage? An adventure? To where and for what? Why not stick with friend-ship if there’s no further relating in the relationship?

What if
What if lowering the standards isn’t a way to connect or relate? What if we could understand the hurting isn’t of just masking it over? What if there is a reason it hurts? …a reason deeper than one person hurting another person. What if there’s something to this “age-old hatred” that needs to be tamed and healed before we just simple move on to the next one? What if it really is not suppose to be this way? What could we have been missing all this time?

In the Bible, in Genesis chapter 3, there’s this story that changes history. Most people see the story as “sin enters the world”, but then, to be honest, most people can’t actually describe what is “sin” without being super legalistic and unrealistic (we can talk about this some other time, if you’re curious about it). Yet some how, the most relate-able emotion, story, feeling, scenario in this chapter is rather overlooked. So let’s talk about it a little bit…

There is this horrific moment that plays in my imagination more than just any other part of chapter 3, as I read this unexpected turn of events from perfect beautiful world & relationship, to some unknown treacherous depths.
Adam and Eve lived together and they worked together in a perfect world. Then sadly by deception and wrong choices, they sinned together and therefore allowed brokeness to enter into this perfect world they’d been enjoying. After the realized their wrong-doings they made coverings for themselves together and hide together. Although sin and shame had entered the world, they still had each other. They were still together even in these times. Yet something happened when it came time to face God together, suddenly for the first time ever Eve hears Adam say disdainfully, “That woman that you gave me, she…
Suddenly unity is broken between man and woman. Suddenly Eve is out on her own, exposed and alone. It’s the first time in history when one human would publicly betray another human being. It’s the beginning of the horrific endless blame-game, and the beginning of endless wounds that would repeat generation after generation. “That woman that you gave me, she…” An echoing age-old disdain entered the world through those spoken words and that severing of unity.

It’s painful to simply consider it.

These kinds of woundings and utter isolating loneliness only could happen in a sin-broken world. This kind of pain was not how God intended for the world or relationships to be. It could even be argued that this heartache between Adam and Eve did not occur until God himself had felt the heartache of Adam & Eve hiding themselves from God. Could it be their human relationships were only able to be broken because their relationship and unity with God was first broken?
I have heard it suggested that we as humans feel heartache and betrayal so universally because God himself has also felt heartache and betrayal, and being created in the imagine & likeness of God makes us susceptible to that which God also experiences. Could it be?
I have long prayed for many of the man I know. Not that in some way men need it more or desire it more, but I once heard an old lady who had many younger woman consult her about when will they find “the right man” or a good husband or whatever the case. This lady put her arms around all these younger women and just started praying, praying for Godly husbands. Praying for men of character. Praying for the younger woman who felt exasperated over the whole subject and all their personal experiences.  Instead of coming together and saying, “I know! All men are…” “The good ones are hard to find” or any other the other ridiculous statements I’ve heard in my short life time.  The older lady, she just prayed.

It struck me as being so logical.

Before I meet my husband, I had prayed for him. Before I knew him, God knew him, and so I prayed. Today, I pray for many great men I know. Not that they should need to become husbands, or those who are be better ones, but I pray because in today’s world we certainly need man of character and caliber.
Again, I feel blessed to know so many great men around me. I am thankful. However I also consider those who don’t. My heart and prayers are with those women and young girls. I wish the world was kinder, but even if it is not on mass, I am glad to know a few good men who are.

Modern femininity: a relook

Idealistically a wonderful little girl is polite, quiet, reserved but cordial, hard-working but overtly modest, of course. An ideal grown lady is hardworking, hospitable, gorgeous without obvious vanity, non-argumentative to the point of resilient submission to pseudo-chivalry (as known as able to bite one’s tongue), and irrevocably patience.

These things seem to me pure fantasy. A pleasurable thing to imagine, perhaps, but not lacking in fiction or tainted idealism, at best. Indeed there is much, much more to being feminine in our modern world, than off-centered ideas of how a woman could “idealistically” be.

I remember reading a famous Christian author who had the haunting title in one of his chapters, “if woman acted more like ladies, men would act more like gentlemen”  I was young when I read this. I had every hope I could trust Christians of renown to be faithful to speak God’s wisdom and not merely printing another opinionated book (thank God we have blogs for that now!).  Essential I had entrusted myself to the elders of church (as the phrase goes) as a proper young Christian lady/woman might.

…But this!?

Instantly something in my spirit fought this old blame-game which is as old as the curse in Genesis chapter 3. It’s the unidealistic way for relationships to perpetuate hurt, wounds, uncleanliness, and broken-rigidness towards one another. I never recovered from that horrifying statement. This same author felt that the man is the leader in the relationship. …Leader!? That’s not how the title chapter read it to me. If women bowed & serve then her man can do anything he sets his mind too! ….that’s not how I read it. If women empower men then men will be the “God-ordained leaders” they were meant to be. Seriously? Where does this guy get these things? I can’t get past the chapter title and he is using that same title to say why man are born-leaders in the relationship.

I never understood such minds.

I am more of a push my buttons and I come out guns-a-blazin no apologizes, no prisoners, double or nothing kind of girl. Not so idealistically feminine. My logic and verbal arsenal is always loaded and ready to go, but I try not to make it my go-to defense. I try not to make my 2nd or 3rd option either. Once in a while I do notice my “trigger finger” slips and gut reaction takes over. I am leathal. I am ready. …but I am learning.

Truth is, most people hang themselves verbally and quickly reveal their true-heart without even noticing that they just did so. I don’t have to be the shoot-em-up girl. Often I can do or say bare minimum to nothing and still walk away, shake my head, and even laugh at their full exposure. …but even this is a bit under par.

Self-control on my part is good, but without love, without covering their self-exposed shame… am I really doing any better than my previous shoot-em-up mentality?

My perception of femininity is a ridiculously strong inner strong revealing itself in honorable character traits. …which I would like to list for you… However, I do realize I’m not among the first or last to overemphasize one trait instead of the others. So maybe we’ll talk about that at a later time. Not that a list is truly as adequate is living it out.

Yet this reality does not escape me, the fact that it takes a Living God to continual re-emphasize putting on Love. Over all other things which are beneficial and good, Love must go over top of all of these things, and Love must lace them together. Otherwise our goodness still comes out threadbare. If the overcoat of Love is what brings out the true strength in feminine nature, then what must it do to masculinity?

Is it possible that one more well-meaning Christian author got it wrong all those years ago when he participated in the old-blame-game? Is it possible that it doesn’t matter who started the problem, because Christ Jesus has finished it (my mom use to say that a lot, “I don’t care who started I’m finishing it!”), and now -in actual present day- we can be restored in relation to one another under the unification of Christ Jesus, both male & female, friend, romantic relationship, or kinsman?

Why do we tell the children that when they get to heaven things will be better, perfect and then and only then will we truly enjoy one another and God? These are not the kind of things that Jesus lived or spoke.

The Messiah has always come to restore all things, that’s always been the promise. Did you think the relationship between men & women would be the exception? It’s not merely future, however in the future I imagine it will be mandate, but shouldn’t we practice our heavenly language and culture now so that we don’t look & feel so out of place then, when if we to participate in the perfection known as heaven?

Indeed, in this world we must still guard our hearts, but we should we really be encouraging relationships and marriages that are based in the blame-game and the curse of Genesis 3? Isn’t there a better stronger solution for being able to fully express our femininity and masculinity without stomping on one another’s weakness, rights, and pride?  Strangely, I totally think there is a workable living solution to this. But are we willing to step up to such heights of humility?