Category Archives: Religion

Picture 245

My Child, My Sister

Picture 245Something wonderful happened this past Sunday.

Em joined our church.

Em has been attending worship services and kids’ activities in our church her entire life. She’s been a member of the children’s choir and led worship services. She’s attended summer camps and bible studies. But she technically wasn’t a member.

Membership in the church is a personal choice. Em decided to answer the minister’s question that is asked of all people seeking to join our church: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and do you proclaim Him Lord of your life and Savior of the world?” Em chose to stand up in front of the entire congregation and proclaim, “YES!” Em decided that participation wasn’t enough for her, she wanted to make a statement that she is committed to our church and to following Christ’s example in her life. She wanted to be counted among the members of our congregation.

Em has also chosen to take another big step in her faith journey: baptism.

As an infant, Em was dedicated by a former associate minister, a small ceremony in which the whole congregation promises to help raise the child with love and knowledge of Christ. Baptism in our church is traditionally a choice made by a child, youth or adult when they feel they are ready to make that public proclamation of faith. Em has chosen to have our current interim pastor baptize her this coming Sunday. She and 5 other kids in our congregation (who also joined the church this past Sunday) will all be baptized in our sanctuary during our worship service.

There was never any doubt in my mind that Em would join the church and be baptized in her faith. Her thirst for knowledge and understanding of Christianity has always made me proud. I’m sure I’ll be crying when she comes out of the water and joins me in the church not only as my daughter, but also as my sister in Christ.

Focusing on the RIGHT Things

The last week or so has been full of ups and downs for me, the downs mostly coming from two states away.

I have the ability to get so completely focused on one thing that I don’t see other things around me. This ability allows me to accomplish more at my office than most because I’ll “tune out” and get a 3-day project done in 4 hours. But sometimes I focus on the wrong things.

To help me re-focus…

  • I have a beautiful daughter. From an early age she has been able to identify those who need the most help, need a kind touch or need justice. She is intelligent and eager to learn. She is athletic and hard-working. She is generous with her love and accepting of all people. Her giggle never fails to make me laugh along with her. She is independent and helpful. She is selfless and giving. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter. I am proud of who she is and her future.
  • I have a beautiful immediate family. My parents who live less than 5 miles from me and my sister and brother-in-law who live almost 2000 miles from me. My family is always there for me, no matter what. Whether it’s advice, hugs, laughter, mutual tears, babysitting services, transportation, food…I can always count on them. My mother who is my best friend, a second mom to my daughter and my toughest coach. My father who always has sage advice and new ways of thinking around problems. My sister who loves me no matter how much she might “hate” me at times. I am blessed to come from a wonderful family of lovers and givers.
  • I have a beautiful boyfriend. The never-ending patience he has while I slowly mend the hole in my heart never ceases to amaze me. His calm voice and gentle touch keep me grounded when I over-analyze things to the point of hysteria. His humor and laughter are just as contagious as my daughter’s. He is constantly reminding me that I am beautiful, loved and worth all the trouble I cause. He treats me as his equal in all aspects of his life, even though I feel like he is the better half of our relationship. I am blessed every day to have him in my world and in the future I imagine ahead of me.
  • I have a beautiful church family. Whether it’s people I see every Sunday, people I see once a month, or people I haven’t seen in years – the love and support I get from these people is overwhelming. I know that I can call on any one of these family members to help me see the other side of things, to stand beside me, to comfort me, to get me out of the house, to pray for me… What a remarkable blessing to have so many people ready and willing to help me in any way possible.
  • I have beautiful friends across the world. Some of these I’ve known practically all my life, some I’ve known for a little over a year and some I’ve never met and don’t even know their real names. These people have entered my life through school, family, work, the internet or happenstance. These people send me notes of encouragement and stand up for me. These people  recognize the goodness in others before they recognize the goodness in themselves. People who believe strongly in the power of prayer and people in whom I see a bit of God even if they do not believe in the same God I do. People who know that I cry – a lot – and that it’s OK. All of these people touch my heart on a regular basis and I feel blessed that all of these friends accept me for who I am and continue to choose to be in my life.

I need to focus on that list. When it seems that my life is spiraling out of control, that I’m going to lose everything I have, that my whole world is going to turn upside down, THIS LIST will help me to remember that I am not alone no matter how many walls I put up between myself and others. THIS LIST needs to be my main focus.

Thoughts – May 27, 2012

John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13

Imagining: a friend in my close circle of friends approaches me and pledges to protect me and sacrifice their life for mine. There is nothing I can do or say to my friend to convince them that I don’t want them to give up their life for mine, that my life is not important enough to be worthy of sacrifice. But I can’t convince my friend to see things my way. Nothing I say will change their mind. My friend will lay down their life for me. This friend loves me that much.

What can I do to repay that offer of protection and sacrifice? How can I show my gratitude for this amazing show of love? Is there anything I can do to appropriately acknowledge the gift that I have been given?

Perhaps the only thing I can do to prove myself worthy of this gift, to show that I truly do appreciate this gift is to do my best to show that magnitude of love and devotion to others. To do whatever I can as a person, a human, a mortal to enrich and sustain the lives of others. ALL others. Others of different faiths, different beliefs, different races, different politics.

Because loving only those who are like me, who are the same as me, is not love. True love is not selective. True love is inclusive. True love includes sacrifice. Sacrifice of self and being. You cannot receive love without giving love in return.

If you were told that the only thing you were required to do in your lifetime was to love everyone, would you? Could you? Would you at least try? We may not be capable of perfect love, but we can certainly try.

And perhaps, with enough effort, we can come close to knowing what it is like to offer our lives as a sacrifice for another’s. To want to do anything to protect someone and ensure their safety, here and now. And later.