Friday, December 30, 2011
“For every person, in every instance, either brief or interminable, cruel or civil, warm or hostile, there will be enough sin in all our relationships that forgiveness is required if they are to continue toward an end that is good” (Bold Love, Dan Allender)
Do you have an inner Ogre? I do. I try to keep it well hidden, and out of sight. But occasionally, the Ogre appears in the form of grouchiness, or cynicism, and usually towards the people I love the most. I hate that part of myself and I work hard to keep it buried. However, every Christmas season, I love to be reminded that my inner Ogre is really just anger, hurt, and insecurity that manifests itself through negative behavior. I do this by watching "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" sometime during the holidays. Say what you want about Santa, but the bigger message in this classic movie is about the flawed little toys, the *misfits* that rescue the Ogre that has been scaring the daylights out of everyone for years. The misfit's are the little toys that didn't make the cut at Santa's toyshop. They find an elf who really doesn't want to be an elf, he wants to be a Dentist. Lo and behold, the Ogre isn't really all that bad of a guy...he just has a tootheache, he HURTS, and society has labled him as a monster. The wanna-be Dentist/elf extracts the offending tooth and suddenly, The Ogres a lovable, furry, critter who befriends the misfits on their journey to find someone to love them.
The Abominable Snowman to me represents those who are very outward in their anger and defiance. He is frustrated, and hurt, and lashes out, all because he's in pain. I know a lot of people who behave abominabally (is that a word?), and fit the profile. Here is where it gets deep: We, as Christians have to learn to recognize this, and respond in love and do this repeatedly, all seasoned well with the grain of a mustard seed. The scriptures say so, yet good Christians seem to ignore this teaching.
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." - Matthew 18:21-22.
We ALL have to deal with each others inner-Ogre, and helping to heal the hurt by responding in love. Does that mean we are to take what Ogre's dish out? No. You can respond in love and still be honest. Some Christians get this crazy idea that responding in love means to put a smile on your face and endure abuse. No, never... You can respond in love, and still be honest. You just need to be thoughtful in your response and not retaliate. Nothing that someone does to you in anger gives you the justification to reciprocate the same way. We have a responsibility as followers of Christ to hold ourselves to a higher standard. This is our calling. It's what separates us from the world. It's what defines us as *little Christs*.
Recently, I was witness to someones inner-Ogre. It was not the most attractive thing to behold. I had to witness someone I love who refuses to be accountable. This person is a major-league-finger-pointer. So, in love, I told them that I felt their behavior was not only wrong, but damaging to others, and they needed to be accountable. Failure to speak to them about this would only make me an enabler. But I did not say anything about them as a person, simply their behavior. I chose to address the problem with this person, because they claim to be Christian. But their behavior was childish, accusing, and hurt loved ones to the point that a whole family was broken. I had to speak to their Ogre, not them personally. I tried to get to the heart of their hurt. What came out seemed very petty, almost silly to me, but to them, (and their Ogre), it was a big, painful tootheache. God is the dentist and the one who extracts. So I said my peace and now I pray for God to extract their pain, and help them to see how they hurting others because they hurt. I also pray that God shows them that humility in admitting their own weaknesses, will help them to not only heal, but to have the strength to apologize to others, and move forward in relationships. That's accountability, and it is a great virtue!
It's going to be a long haul for the above-mentioned Ogre, but with God nothing is impossible, right? We should all try to find the peace to accept the smaller weaknesses in our brothers and sisters in Christ, but the courage to take on the Ogres, and do it with love. May you find that strength as you journey heavenward.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Christmas Day is always a mixed bag for me, and a challenge to stay composed. I am on one hand; joyous to celebrate and recognize the birth of Jesus. I am aware this isn't his real birthday, just a time to reflect on it. And on the other hand; I am sad because so many people I love are no longer with us. It happens every Christmas- I just have to take a moment to myself and cry. I usually steal way to a bathroom and have a good little sob, while wishing my Mother, Grandparents, Brothers, and friends who have passed on a *Merry Christmas*. I can't help but think back of all the wonderful times we had...and miss them terribly. But then I splash cold water on my face, and return to the merriment. They would want me to, after all, but it's a challenge to mask the sadness for the moment.
After the gifts are opened and exchanged, as carols play and lights twinkle, we start preparing for guests. Ribbon and wrapping paper is thrown away, and the cooking and baking begins. My kitchen goes from cozy-to-science-experiment in just a matter of hours. It is at this point that I have to just *breathe*!! Noone cares how my kitchen looks, they are here to celebrate. Just the idea that all these loved ones, friends, family and neighbors would take time on Christmas Day to come to my home and truly fellowship with us, and each other is so humbling, again, I almost cry. People are packed in, dog is barking, men are laughing, tree is sparkling, women are chattering and it's just such a beautiful mess. It's like no other holiday, and I'm always emotional, but trying to look like I'm not. My Mother In Law is telling a story and shes speaking so fast with her beautiful German accent- it sounds almost like tongues. My husband looks across the room at me and catches my eye to say; *All is well Mrs. Hunt*.
In amongst all this annual chaos, I am torn. I want to spend individual time with every person who has honored me and my husband with their company on such a precious day. But I can't. I only have a couple of minutes to spare here and there and I'm flitting about like a little bird, asking if everyone is alright? Pointing the way to the ice chest, introducing friends to family, picking up on a conversation here and a bit of news there. I have a baby asleep on my shoulder and I take a minute to rock him, feeling like I might be slacking on my hostess duties, but by golly- babies don't keep! This moment is sacred. It's my grandson's first Christmas! Silas won't remember this, but I will, and so will his parents. As I look around, I see everyone is perfectly fine. They have everything they need. This moment is meant to be. Silas is breathing softly on my neck and I think "Really, am I going to cry again???" No, not were anyone can see. But there it goes... that one little tear that I hope noone see's as I kiss his sweet little cheek and whisper "Merry Christmas Silas, Jesus loves you".
Cookies are munched on, pie is enjoyed, coffee is perked and a bit of wine is flowing. This day is such a roller coaster of emotion! Love for my Savior, and appreciation for His birth. It reflects in the faces of everyone present. My annual challenge is to keep my composure, as I often want to throw my head back and laugh out loud, cry like a baby, and kiss every single person who walks through my door. It's what my Mother called: "Grace Under Fire" and it's my number one homemaking skill. I often wonder if everyone doesn't feel the same on Christmas Day?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I'm so excited!! Celebrate with me if you will? I've been told that an article I subitted will be in the debut, December issue. Celebrate for a moment with me and do the happy dance, will you?
And check out www.sherrygorebooks.com for this publication AND for cookbooks and appearances by Sherry Gore.
My intention is to write more as time allows, and continue blogging and documenting my thoughts and perceptions of "The Anabaptist Journey", to encourage others as they seek God through Christ, His Son. I will also be sending in more stories for Cooking & Such, and hope that I can be a blessing to their publication as it thrives.
In Christ, Sis Kelly
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I haven't blogged since April, when I began a full time college load. I do intend to make so adjustments to this site, and began blogging again in the near future. Content will be similar to the past, with focus being adjusted to Anabaptist Culture and how it affects the convert.. or something of the like ;-)
Friday, April 8, 2011
Do you know God? I know this is a very personal, in-your-face kind of question, but do you? Have you given yourself over to HIM, and to His agenda totally, without reserve? I sometimes think we try to be followers, but do it our way, not His. Well, if you haven't, or you aren't sure, please take a moment to reflect and pray that God will give you a good pinch if your holding something back and need to hand it over to Him.
You see, there is a wonderful benefit in casting ALL your cares on God.. because He's mighty and big enough to handle it. Nothing you've actively done, thought about doing, or wished on someone else can shock our Father in heaven. He wants to wipe your slate clean, but it's a little hard when you won't hand over the chalk. Are you keeping a little bit of your own agenda to hide for later? This is self-sabotage, and will keep you in a spiritual hamster wheel. And Old Red-Legs is crossing his twisted fingers hoping you will too.
1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall not suffer the just to waver for ever.
Pay heed to the word *Cast*??? Have you ever casted a line or a net? You throw it far out into the water. It is an action of tossing with momentum away from yourself. Ponder that.
As long as you hold on to your fear, self-doubt, anxiety, (this is a tough one for me), and try to control everything yourself, you haven't given your LIFE up to God. It's like trying to be the pilot, when you don't have a license to fly in the first place. It's Gods JOB to guide you. But He also grants us free will. So when you get tired of the hamster cage...when your exhausted from worry, when your done trying to do things YOUR WAY, and your tired of worrying what everyone will think when you become *one of those Jesus Freaks*... Hand it all over. Don't you know THIS is FAITH? It's not a belief, it's a trust. Let God wipe the slate clean, wash the old you off the clean linen He created and work out the details one at a time.
But WHERE do I start? Simple; Like a child, on your knees. It's not magic. God doesn't make you totally unaccountable to the world, just to Him when we should be. He does give grace, and works on peoples hearts, and has given His children remarkable FAVOR when they deserved none at all. He makes your load bearable.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
God may allow you trials. But He never forsakes those who give their life to Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.
The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him
This isn't spiritual dribble. It's real. Trusting in God takes a heartload of commitment, yet the faith of a child. It's about believing in HIM, and his Son Jesus, and trusting The Holy Spirit to work in you day by day. If your doing it YOUR way, my only question is; "Hows that working for you?" Chances are, it starts off ok, but leaves you empty inside with no sense of peace about your short life here on earth, let alone your unimaginable eternal life in heaven. In other words: Your life is void of true JOY.
Maybe you HAVE given your life to God at one time, but you've slowly taken back the chalk? The chalk is RIGHT THERE. God isn't going to hide it from you, or put it away for safe keeping. It's a choice.
Let God wipe your slate clean. Let Him lead. All you have to do is follow in obedience and let the joy commence.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Growing up, my parents were not Christians. However, I started to attend a Baptist Church with a friend at about age 6. About once or twice a month I went to church with my Grandmother, who was Pentecostal. My experiences showed me something that may not be apparent to the casual observer; Churches/Christians groom their young for spiritual success. We teach our children from the cradle to exhibit modesty, humility, kindness, and reverent speech. This gives the child who is born into a Christian home a distinct advantage within the churches social perimeters and obviously; an edge to understanding The Bible, and the values that God wants for us.
When I was a child, I didn't always relate to Christian families, and felt a little bit like an outsider for these very reasons. Bible lessons were all new to me, whereas my peers had been read these stories since they toddlers. I didn't know who all the Bible characters were, whereas my peers did. They seemed like fairytale characters for all I knew. My parents didn't talk about it, and every Sunday morning was a new set of stories for me to learn. I didn't understand protocol: such as bowing ones head for prayer, or what an alter call was all about? It was a completely different world than the one I knew in my own home. And my parents were good moral people. They just didn't know Christ, and therefore didn't promote ideals based on literal Biblical values with The Bible as a compass for my morality. If I had to describe them, I would call them *agnostic/indifferent* to spiritual matters.
Let me give you a little glimpse into my mind at about age 10 and how I related (or not) to what other children seemed keenly in tune with: At a service at the Pentecostal Church, I sat with my Nanny and sang all the songs & clapped to the music that was part of the praise and worship. Nanny raised her hands to heaven and whispered; "Sweet Jesus...Bless Them Jesus".... There was a circle of women gathered at the front alter who all had their hands raised and they were crying. Now, I'm 48 years old and I still don't know why they cried?? They were in a mess of blessed tears every single service that I attended over the course of a decade. It was just part of the Pentecostal culture, I'm guessing? I have no doubt that someone was in need of a special touch from God, so please don't think I am poking fun at them as a denomination...I'm just saying- It was in STARK contrast to what I knew at my own home... the home that I was born into, and raised by the people whom I trusted the most. People who didn't display a lot of emotion, and if they did, it was likely to be humor or anger. We were just kind of the model nuclear family of the 1960's for lack of a better example.
So, here I sit in the midst of all this hand-raising, moaning, praying, and crying when my Nanny turns to me and says; "Kelly, do you want to go down front and get The Holy Ghost?".......................................................................
I want there to be a pause while you consider this through my 10 year old eyes. I was at best; CONFUSED. At worst; scared to death! I had no idea who this Holy Ghost was, but all I know is: it's making those women cry their eyeballs out!
So, the best response I could come up with at that moment was; "No thank-you Nanny".
I wasn't refusing The Holy Ghost- I was terrified, perplexed, and generally uninformed compared to the average 10 year old in the Pentecostal Church. Noone in my home spoke in tongues, cried out to God openly, or lifted their hands when they prayed. Noone. What was natural to the church families was only familiar to me from repeated exposure, but not as a lifestyle. For example; I knew going in what to expect in praise & worship, testimony time, and preaching. But I understood it from the outside in. Not from my homelife, from my cradle, from a parental example... not from the inside out. What I did learn over time is protocol, but it took much longer for it become concrete and resonate to me, vrs. how much more natural it comes to a child from a Christian family.
Now, you probably think I've forgotten about my title? No, not at all. This description of my 10 year old self is a model. I want you to consider this *mindset* the next time you evangelize. Keep in mind that the people *in the world* have most likely had little or no *Christian grooming and training*. At best they've had poor training, or perhaps they rebelled, and have utterly lost their values. They are not always going to like us. As a matter of fact, they will likely be very much unlike us.
We have the Bible to give us an outline of what Christ-like behavior looks like. (See Philippians 2:12-18 for a start, and study 1 Corinthians 13). We should exhibit behavior with so much kindness that the behavior itself reflects Christ, and is desireable to the new believer, or the potential convert. Until the time when The Holy Spirit convicts them as The Apostle Paul said: "our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake." 1 Thessalonians 1:4NIV ... we have to exhibit the utmost patience and forebearance with people as they learn and true desire to follow Christ genuinely grows. This is the essence of acceptance. Wehave to let our little light shine, and make people WANT to know Jesus the way we know Jesus because they want the joy, and peace that only Jesus brings. It has to be so real that they want to know Him too. Preaching AT people isn't genuine. Living out love through the power of God is.
We really can be body of Christ and reach out to the lost IF we visualize ourselves as his hands... hands that reach out to people in any state, and gently lift them up, hold them up, and pat their back as they learn to walk as followers of Him. We are his arms as we hold them as they repent and move forward. And we are His heart as we love them through triumph and failure as they *learn* to trust and obey.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Looking back at American History it's easy to see that Christians had an agenda when they tried to convert Native Americans and it wasn't just teaching them about Jesus. They wanted to change their culture and *Christianize* them.
Have things really changed since the 1800's? I'm thinking not. While I comprehend that we all go through a spiritual metamorphosis when we accept Christ as our Savior, it is The Holy Spirit that changes us from within. Additionally, reading the Bible will convict a persons heart in it's own time. So why do we constantly try to make these choices for people? Why do we take it upon ourselves to try to make them conform to the standards that we have already either been convicted of, or where groomed from the cradle to exhibit?
I think we need to be realistic about how we plan to change the heart of the world, and also be patient in the process. We have to be willing to reach out and take the hand of someone who's appearence may be off-putting, someone who might not smell great, someone who looks different than the people at church, at work, or our peers. People who don't fit in. People who have taken a hard path, who have been rode hard & put up wet. Jesus died for their sins too. We can't just try to save the pretty people.
Something to ponder.
I'm not really broken....
I'm just a little scarred,
I don't look like you do,
but accepting that seems way too hard.
I'm not really broken
just a little bit cracked,
but if you cared a little more,
you'd take this burden off my back.
Why won't you embrace me,
without making a list
Of all the things you don't like,
and everything you think I've missed?
I can learn a new way over time,
without giving up my peace of mind,
The path I've been on has made me wise
without the pain of compromise.
I'm not really broken,
but I'm a little torn,
my edges might be rougher
from constant comments full of scorn.
Don't try to reshape me,
I'm not your ball of clay.
Its not your job to recreate me,
into what you thinks a better way.
Stop trying to change me,
Just welcome me in,
If you want to hold me,
And let love wash away my sin.
I'm not really broken,
I've just been on the road,
My past is all behind me,
Won't you help me lighten up my load?
I'm just waiting to be welcomed home
And so tired of being all alone
Why is love so carelessly denied
When it was love incarnate crucified?
I'm not really broken...
Written by Kelly Hunt 3-26-11
Sunday, February 27, 2011
For years now, we have all commented on the *People Of Walmart*, the human freak shows parading around the place, and the general attitude of "apathy" that seems to prevail there. However, today I think I found a small victory. Someone went the extra mile for me, for you, for our children and showed the world they CARE.
This is how it unfolds: Earlier in the year, I am walking through the Burleson Public Library only to see Jackie Collins new book; "Poor Little Bi%ch Girl" prominently displayed at eye level of about a 10 year old. I went nuts, took pictures, and called out the Powers That Be at the Burleson PUBLIC Library. It was handled professionally, and courteously, and a staff meeting the following morning was held to address this issue with the staff, who I was told; "Are young and sometimes indifferent". *****SSSSSIIIIIGGGGHHHHHH**********
I cannot tolerate indifference. It is the same as apathy and you know you've hit a hard spot in the road when you simply cease to care one way or the other about things that impact the innocent. But the bottom line is; the issue WAS addressed and corrected for all the right reasons. Perhaps this little lesson will take root with the young and indifferent? One can only hope.
Fast forward to today, when my husband and I have to make a last minute run to Walmart to pick up incidentals for an upcoming trip. We were discussing *dress* and the how much the public has ceased to care how they go out and are seen in stores, as a mother in pajama's walked in front of us, carrying a baby in PJ's and several half-dressed children. We wondered just when did people just stop caring at all? What was the catalyst? My husband said he thinks it isn't one thing, but numerous things that have slowly ebbed away our sense of decency. We discussed language, and how phrases like "That Sucks" and others like it have permeated our society, and literally to some, have become acceptable....even for children to say. They are not aware that this term came from an *oral* reference for sex. Yet, parents just let their children say it, because they don't want to control their own tongue, and yes, THEY want to say it and not be held the least bit accountable. It is the slow, desynthesizing of our character that has changed, and nothing more. Blame television if you like, or rock music if it makes you feel better. But the truth is; Pop Culture effects us all, with or without a television, or modern music.
So on to my little VICTORY: We are cruising through Electronics in Wallyworld, and I walk over to look at the books. What do I immediately see? Jackie Collins nasty little book!!! Where is it? EYE LEVEL with a child! GGGGGrrrr! I hot-foot-it over to an associate and report my findings. One person informed me that it is the vendor who places the books, and I quickly told her I don't care, because I shop at Walmart, not directly from the vendor. A sweet lady, named Marie stepped in. Bless her heart, she said: "Let's go see what we can do". ... and we did. We found the book and she was as disgusted as I was. Luckily there is no PLU tag under each book. So she took everyone of them, and swapped them with another, more suitable book that was on the very top shelf. Once completed, we couldn't even read the title, or the obscenity! WAY TO GO MARIE!
I hugged her neck. Seriously, I feel like sometimes I'm the only person with radar left in the free world. I know this can't be true...but rather, Satan is walking around like a lion, seeking whom he may destroy..
My friends, do not allow apathy to put a cage around your heart and take courage in the small everyday victories found through decent, God-fearing character. Together, we really all can make a difference. We may never be able to teach people how to dress,.... but that's another thought for another day...
Saturday, January 1, 2011
There is folklore that a man named Robert Johnson, a so-so blues guitarist wannabe went to *The Crossroads* (a desolate intersection of two country roads outside of Memphis, Tennessee), and sold his soul to the devil. He returned from *The Crossroads* being the greatest blues guitarist ever. So the story goes....
The story is a metaphor...and a good one. How many times a day, a week, a month or a year do we find ourselves at a crossroad with God? How many times are we faced with choices that require us to resolve our ego, and apply a heavy dose of humility? How often do we make the right choice? How often do we read one thing in the bible, yet apply the scripture as it is most comfortable to our flesh?
Okay, I'm not trying to beat anyone up scripturally, so I'll admit; I do it all the time. Most of the time, I have a conscience about it, and I try harder to crucify my flesh after repentance. Yes, I know that repentance means to *turn away from* but I suspect our flesh has a worldly compass attached to it and if we don't stay on spiritual *guard*, we easily fall back into old patterns.
Sometimes, we drag ourselves to the crossroads by getting entirely too hung up on issues that divide the Body of Christ. You know; peripheral issues better served in small portions by the ultimate chef: The Holy Spirit. Worse, sometimes we play the role ourselves and dole out heaping portions of what we deem appropriate spiritual food for others. We latch on to something that may be incredibly meaningful for us- and force-feed it to everyone withing spoons distance.
Again, I admit- I'm guilty. Been there-done that and got the t-shirt to prove it. :-) But as I learn to submit my will to Gods, I realize this isn't a lesson that is learned once and problem solved. It's a lesson that is learned daily, and as we learn and apply this, we *silently* become a more mature child of Christ. We gradually, as we choose Gods way over our own, become the image of Christ to others. Sometimes, it's falling down in front of others, yet persevering, that is the example that speaks to others. It's our willingness to admit we have an ego, a certain vanity, or a strong need to speak our opinion over others, rather than pray for them that marks our choice of direction: My Way or Gods Way?
As we enter 2011, may we all make choices that reflect our choice of direction. Sitting in traffic, pray for the person your flesh would call *an idiot*, because they need your prayer, not your opinion. As you stand 6 people deep in a grocery line, keep a happy countenance on your face, and use this time to reflect the patience of God... would you want Him to be as impatient with you as you are the checker? And as you encounter people with different spiritual convictions, don't let the differences separate you. Embrace them as friends, and trust The Holy Spirit is alive and well. We do not need to *agree* on every last detail, only the direction and path that keeps us stepping heavenward. Choose your direction and go forward in faith.
Blessings for a happy and healthy 2011.