Random Thoughts · spiritual walk

To Pee or Not to Pee

That does appear to be the question … at least it is here in the state of TN.

I am not a “boycotter” by nature. Back in the 90s, when Christians were boycotting Disney our family went to Disney World while in Orlando for the Southern Baptist Convention. I still drink Starbucks coffee and I’ll be honest, I’ll probably continue to shop at Target from time to time. However, my shopping trips there have lessened as I am able to get more of what I need online at a better price and it’s delivered to me … far more convenient. But I sincerely support those who have decided to boycott and those who have not for various reasons.

I fully recognize that I have most likely been using the public restroom with transgendered people for years and had no idea. I’m one of those rare females where going to the restroom isn’t a social thing for me. I go in, do what I need to do, wash my hands and leave. I rarely take into account who is in there or what not. However, that will now change … not because of the transgendered people but because of the sex offenders and pedophiles who are always looking for a loophole to satisfy their evil and perverse desires. It is illogical to think that this won’t happen. And I believe that this is the greatest concern of many Christians who are choosing to boycott. It is their right and their choice to do this for the protection of their family. Are they right to voice their concern? Yes. Is it okay for them to be hateful in the process? No. Is it right for other Christians to be hateful towards them when they disagree? No. This is their choice. It’s between them and the Lord. We need to stop arguing with each other over social media. We look like fools. And we need to stop taking scripture out of context to prove our point as to why we are right Biblically and they are wrong.

For example: the favorite comeback of “Jesus hung out with people like that …”. I have seen everyone use this, including preachers and they just leave it at that but it’s not entirely truthful. Yes, Jesus hung out with sinners but He did not celebrate or tolerate their sin. He did the opposite … He loved them, exposed their sin to them and told them to “sin no more.”  Does this mean we, as Christians, are to walk around exposing the sins of others? No. The balance that seems to be missing is that Jesus had a relationship with “these people” but they knew where He stood. It was His love for them that drew them to Him but  I don’t believe that they ever for one minute doubted that He disagreed with their lifestyle. But because His love for them didn’t waiver that’s what won them over, opened their eyes to their sin and their need for a Savior. That’s how love won and how love will win every time.

So in this matter, I say you do what’s right for you and your family. Sincerely pray about it and see how the Lord would have your family approach this issue. I truly hate that in our overly sexed society, parents are having to discuss this issue with their 3 and 4 year old children. We are stamping out their innocence and imagination more and more every day. Your family is your top priority second to the Lord that trumps society every time but set the example of love for your children. I have worked with children in an afterschool setting for several years and let me tell you it’s humbling to see what they pick up. I know some parents who would be embarrassed by their children’s imitation of them on the playground. While it’s important for your children to know what your family takes a stand against, make sure they also know what you are for and what you hope to accomplish for the Kingdom of God.

As for me … I have found out that I live in one of the most sin depraved parts of the city of Knoxville due to the highest concentration of millennials. I recognize that this is my mission field. My apartment complex blatantly speaks to this fact. So I am trying to balance being missional and wise about my surroundings. While I know Jesus didn’t call us to a safe life, He didn’t call us to be stupid either. I don’t shop at places based off how I can be more like Jesus and I am willing to bet that 95% of most Christians in America don’t either … but they are going to claim it anyway. 🙂 However, I do want to be intentional when those opportunities to talk about the Lord arise.

I have been able to develop a friendly rapport with the drive thru barista at the Starbucks near my grad school. He’ll hang out at the window and ask me if I have anything fun planned for the evening. This was how our conversation went last week …

Me: I have class tonight.

Him: Oh …

Me: Yea, I have a presentation to give too.

Him: Oh really? On what?

Me: Religion and Spirituality in Counseling.

Him: Oh, is this because of that new bill they passed saying that counselors can discriminate against LGBT?!

Me: No, it’s actually not about the bill. It just happens to be the chapter from the book.

Him: Uh, I figured it was because of the bill. Isn’t that crazy? What’s with that?

Me: Well, you know I have found that society goes through these huge pendulum shifts from one extreme to the other. Did you know that at one point religion and spirituality wasn’t even discussed in counseling because counselors didn’t believe it was important to the client’s well being?

Him: That’s crazy! I haven’t been in church in a while. I moved from a place that was more tolerant of things to a small community here and everyone was so hateful so I decided church wasn’t for me. But I have been told the churches in Knoxville are better so I’ve changed my 3rd shift position around so I can start going again.

Me: That’s awesome! Yes, absolutely, get back into church …

We discussed a few more things about church and “love thy neighbor” before I headed off to class. It was a simple conversation and he was delightfully surprised to learn that I am a pastor’s kid. I hope I reflected Jesus that day and not my discomfort over the LGBT issue as I do not want to distract from the love of Christ instead I want to seek to live by these words:

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written,“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21 ESV

I love you all.

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Random Thoughts

Why Do I Blog?

So my last post apparently came off a little more depressing than I intended. 

Blogging makes you vulnerable depending on your subject matter. 

However, it’s a vulnerability I can handle. 

I blog because it’s cathartic to me and I feel led to share. I want to share the hope that I have and that is in me. 

“This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Plus I hope that by sharing what the Lord is doing in my life then maybe someone else can benefit from it as well. 

 
Blogging is a form of ministry for me. The ups, the downs and the in between are hopefully all evidence to the fact that God is, has been and will continue to faithful. 

“Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.”‭‭ Deuteronomy‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭NLT

Thank you for walking with me on this journey. It truly is joyful! 

I love you all!

Single Life

Leave It There

I’ve cried in my sleep the last two nights which is usually an indication that I have been holding my emotions in for too long. I can feel a “melt down” coming. If you’ve known me from one of my previous churches then you know I can cry … like for real cry. And it’s an ugly cry. Blood red eyes, mascara streaks to rival the makeup of KISS and a swollen face. But that kind of cry only happens at church. I rarely ever cry at home. I have a theory as to why but to share it would make me far more vulnerable than I am willing to be. For now, that theory will stay between the Lord and me.

My best friend believes that the Lord made me to be a strong person which may be true … but I’ll be honest … I don’t feel strong. But it is what it is.

I, obviously, don’t know what the future holds – career, marriage, family, home, etc. But it is all weighing on me more than ever. When I was in my 20s, I wanted 4 children – 3 boys and 1 girl. Now, I don’t know that I want any children. I have been told that when I meet “the one” I will want to have his babies. Maybe I will or maybe I won’t. I am honestly ok with either. I don’t feel the need to carry my own child and give birth. Over the last few years, I have been given many opportunities to mother those in my life from toddlers to college age people and I have loved it. I have also loved going home to the quiet of my own home at the end of the day. Maybe that makes me selfish but I’ve realized since getting Knightley that I am selfish … so the Lord will have to work that out of me! I do know that my heart is drawn to fostering and adoption but that’s all in the Lord’s hands.

So why am I sharing all of this with you?

1. Because I have to get this off my chest so maybe my mind will shut off a bit.

2. Because the Lord called me to pray for my “children” earlier this week wherever they are and that totally threw me!

3. Because I have a friend and former pastor who has written an awesome guide on how to pray for your future mate that is awesome and you need to check it out. Future Husband and Future Wife

4. Finally, I am sharing this as a reminder to myself to keep seeking the Lord because I don’t have it figured out and I don’t have to have it figured out. What a relief! I just need to keep leaving it in His hands and rest in the fact that He is in control.

It’s like the hymn says:

“When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail, Don’t forget that God in Heaven answers prayer;He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through—Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Refrain:

Leave it there, leave it there,Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”

I love you all!

Random Thoughts

A Placed Called Home

Over the Easter weekend, I was able to go visit my family in West Tennessee. Ever since my visit I have been thinking about “home” a great deal. The concept of home and the actual location of it. At 32 years of age, the current details that make up my home aren’t at all what I had imagined for my life at this point. And that is ok but I feel this need for something more definitive in my life to be happening.

Dan Cathy, the president of Chik Fil A, spoke at my church yesterday and said that God places 3 calls on your life:

  • Master – enter into a relationship with Him.
  • Mate – singleness or whom/when to marry
  • Mission – vocation

I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior and repented of my sins in August of 1993. I surrendered to full-time Christian service at the age of 16 and have sort of felt like I was in limbo ever since. I thought going to grad school would give me the direction I was seeking but it hasn’t.

What is this pull?

What am I being called to?

Where is my home?

Why do I feel like this at 32?

Shouldn’t I be more settled by now?

Growing up in the ministry, our family moved back and forth between West and East Tennessee 3 times over the course of 11 years. We were blessed to be able to stay in the same state and when we did move we ended up being able to reconnect with many friends. For my dad’s pastorates at Dixie Lee Baptist and Cherokee Baptist our family was given the honor of living in the pastorium or parsonage. It was a unique and truly joyful experience to be able to grow up right across the street/next door to our church. The church became an extension to our home for me. I knew all the secret corners of the sacred buildings and as creepy as this sounds I still love to walk into a pitch black sanctuary. When our family moved to Knoxville in 2002 for my dad’s pastorate at Central Baptist my parents bought their first home ever. I will never forget all the emotions that came with that responsibility. While our church was in Oak Ridge, my parents chose Knoxville for financial and location reasons. We loved our home on Oak Haven Road. It was the first place that was truly ours.

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Dixie Lee (Now)

My favorite home though was the pastorium at Dixie Lee. I was saved in this home and started singing here. I’ve said it many times that my spiritual roots were established here and it’s true. But I also loved this home because I got to play here. We had a basement! It was the perfect classroom for playing school as we had an old school desk and a chalkboard. It also made the perfect “home”. I can still feel the coolness of the floor on a hot summer day. The basement had a garage door that led out to our driveway so the ground sloped upwards on either side of the entrance that allowed me to imagine I was Laura Ingalls growing up in a soddy when I was playing like I was pioneer girl. (In my defense, it sloped quite a bit to an 8-year-old. Also, there used to not be a parking lot there. Oh and remind me to tell you the snake story!) We had a brick BBQ pit in our back yard that hadn’t been used in years that was also another play “home” for me. We also had a double layer deck off the back door so when I wanted to pretend like I was particularly upscale this was my two-story Victorian home. I played for hours in the basement, in our backyard, and on our deck. Sometimes I played on our church’s playground across the street and in the church when I was able to sneak in. This was the place where I fell in love with the church, started singing, writing, dreaming and imagining life.

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The back deck aka my “Victorian Style Home”. The corner windows at the top right were my bedroom windows. If those walls could talk …

Now my parents live in a different neighboring state and live in a two bedroom apartment. There are elements all throughout the apartment that call to me that say “this is home” but it’s not what most would call “the family home.” When I think of all that phrase embodies, I think of 3 places in my life … 3 homes that I can walk into and know that I am home.

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The first is the home that belongs to my Mimi and Granddaddy Mullins. This home is where the Mullins family gathered for many years for holidays, family meals and swim times. There is a certain sweet smell that is a mixture of the assorted gum and mints waiting on the front table, with the 6 high school graduation photos of the Mullins grandkids, combined with the lingering scent of Mimi’s perfume that says you are home.

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The upper pond

The second home belongs to my Mawmaw and Granddaddy Hazlewood. My Granddaddy and Uncle Tim built this home, with the help from some others, a year before I was born. When I have needed to getaway … I go here. I always called it “the farm” even though there aren’t any animals there except for some cats. The house sits on 37.4 acres and there are two ponds that my siblings and I have spent many hours fishing at. My 5-year-old nephew just caught his first fish there this past weekend. It’s such a joy to see 4 generations laughing, eating and loving the time together. This place calls to you to be outside yet to return to the warmth of its walls at the end of the day. I love this home.

The third home belongs to my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray. This is another home where the Mullins family has gathered over the years for holidays and family meals together and at one time for swims. While they have moved 3 times in my life the layout of their houses have all been quite similar so there is a familiar sense of home when you walk in the door. You can always count on a delicious smell coming from the kitchen, a table full of family, conversations and laughter echoing off of every corner in the room.

Therefore when I think of going home … I think of seeing my parents because wherever 016they are that is home – whether it’s a home they own, a two bedroom apartment, a pastorium, a hotel room or a church office. Wherever they are that is home. But I also think of the homes of my Mimi and Granddaddy, my Mawmaw and Granddaddy, as well as my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray’s homes. I think of their homes as my home too. I hope they don’t mind. Ha!

I think this is why I feel such a tug at my heart to put my roots down somewhere. To have my own little place that is mine. But maybe I am not called to that. Maybe that’s why I have found a home in the homes of my family members. Who knows. Well the Lord knows. Right now I am seeking His heart to know. Maybe the point is for me to continue on the journey without worrying about the earthly destination since my eternal destination has already been settled.

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Who knows. Well the Lord knows. I am so glad He knows.