The Forgotten Joys of Coloring

During one of our last trips to Family Christian Stores, I spotted a collection of adult coloring books for half off and picked one up.

I just got around to opening it and spent about half an hour on my first picture. It was highly cathartic.

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I thought about how much I used to love coloring as a child and why. I have never been a skilled artist, but one does not have to be in order to color a great picture. I always got such a great feeling of accomplishment after proudly presenting my masterpiece to my parents. And more than simply the satisfaction of a finished piece was the calm and focus that I felt during the process.

It was a highly effective way to tune out the world. Just as when I was a little girl sitting on my knees in one of those brown chairs at the kitchen table at my childhood in Ann Arbor, humming happily as I colored a picture while Mom cooked dinner and Dad napped, I found myself humming as I colored. The humming turned into a conversation with God. I felt like I released a lot of negative energy during the time.

Sometimes adults need to return to that carefree innocence we had as kids, when we were able to achieve joy from simple things. Adulting is hard, and being aware of this wicked world makes it harder. Every now and then we need to shed our adult skin. Go pick those dandelions. Go fly that kite. Go spend several hours at that arcade. God was pleased when He gave us this life; certainly He wants us to enjoy it. Don’t let the business of adulting harden you.

Having church with no church…

Yesterday, instead of being at Sunday worship services, I was confined to my house. After a wonderful Saturday afternoon participating in the commencement ceremony for myself and about fifty other students from the Moody Bible Institute (I received a Christian Worker Certificate; my diligent husband was rewarded with two certificates and prayed a powerful prayer of Thanksgiving at the end of the ceremony), we decided to celebrate at a restaurant where we’d never eaten called the Twisted Rooster. I ordered a Buffalo Chicken sandwich–I love spicy food–and I was pretty disappointed. I expected a sandwich full of spice and flavor but what I got was beyond bland. It came with a nasty cheesy sauce that I assumed was a chipotle sauce, doused it on the sandwich, and was repulsed. Instead of sending it back like I should have, I took it home, rinsed off the cheesy sauce, and repurposed the sandwich using ACTUAL spices. It tasted better, but neither my body nor my taste buds were fans of that disgusting sauce. So there I was, missing out on church while my kids are singing, and I didn’t get to deliver the bomb Sunday school lesson I had planned.

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I decided to have church at home by myself. Interestingly enough, as soon as I made that decision, the Internet began acting up and I was unable to put the worship music I had chosen up on the television. However, my laptop was working just fine, so I pressed on, starting with a mini-devotion: Singing along with Hezekiah Walker’s “Clean Inside” to get my spirit rightfully roused, and a good Scripture to get my mind right. I’m not sure why, but I was led to 1 Samuel.

I read from the first chapter verses 1 through 20. As always, these Scriptures are just bursting with knowledge. We see that there is a man named Elkanah who is husband to two wives. One wife, Peninnah, has borne Elkanah children, but his other wife, Hannah, is barren. We know that being barren was considered a source of great shame in women back in those days. The family name and property continued on through the son, and for a woman not to bear her husband a son was basically a disgrace. Peninnah doesn’t seem to be a godly woman, because in these few verses of Scripture, we see that she often uses her ability to bear children to tease and provoke Hannah. On the other hand, we see that Hannah doesn’t seem to return the provocation. Instead, she takes her pain to the Lord. Eli the priest sees Hannah praying, and since her mouth is moving but no words are coming out, he assumes she is drunk. When she explains to him that she is pouring out her spirit to the Lord, Eli responds: “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him“. After this encounter Hannah conceives and delivers a son- Samuel.

Although Peninnah seems to have the upper hand here, in all actuality, since she obviously didn’t have God–she didn’t. Elkanah preferred Hannah over Peninnah–this is explicitly stated. And if you notice, Peninnah’s children are not named in this Holy Writ. Everyone with even a small bit of Biblical understanding knows who Samuel is. It reminds me of the ways of this world, and how we have to realize that everything isn’t always as it seems. Someone might seem like they have everything, but if God isn’t a part of it, they really don’t.

After that I had prayer. I prayed mightily for America. We’re in a bad spot right now. I take special offense at individuals in leadership positions invoking God when it’s convenient and then turning around and doing ungodly things to His children. A few days ago I saw the education budget proposed by Miseducation Secretary Betsy Devos and I was furious. Absolutely irate. She claims she is a Christian but is content to take away billions of dollars from public schools when they should be getting more. Of course, we are not charged with judging one’s salvation status–only God knows the true conditions of one’s heart, but Christians are expected to keep other Christians in check. When we see one of the brethren doing things that appear to be contrary to what sayeth the Lord, we SHOULD be calling them on it, because their missteps are not only damaging to their relationship with God, but also to other people’s relationship with God. When I read things like that and see that people are content to watch food stamps be cut because the poor are “lazy”, although it has been proven TIME AND TIME again that MOST people on food stamps have at least one job if not more and just don’t make enough to adequately provide nourishing food for their families, and that a lot of the other grown recipients are disabled or veterans, I want to bang my head into the wall.

At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own political opinions. For mine, the Democrats sometimes lean too far left for me, and the Republicans are just a no for me, dawg. IF we had the Republican party of old, and not this latest crop of sexist racist elitist obstructionists, I could say that maybe I could support some of their principles in terms of smaller government. I am praying that we get a strong Republican party like the ones of old because honestly, neither party has the answer to all of America’s problems. I think a lot of our issues can be solved with better compromise and respect. This polarization helps NO ONE. That is why I pray for our leaders on all sides. They were ELECTED to represent their constituents and apparently they have forgotten that.  For those who claim to be Christian and are acting in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ, I pray for their awakening before they receive the guaranteed chastening of the Father.

At the end of the day a nation is only as great as it treats its most vulnerable. Instead of helping the mentally ill, the vets, poor people, children, college students, the elderly, we are taking from them. It’s disgusting. I can’t get behind any platform that doesn’t help. And no, it’s not a flipping “handout”. And also no, social programs shouldn’t be disbanded because of a 2% fraud rate. SMH.

I prayed for about an hour about America alone. If you’re in America and you’re a Christian, I hope you do the same. If you have never been on the receiving end of good old-fashioned American racism or classism, can you tell me how that feels? I’m tired of being stereotyped. It’s pretty infuriating and disheartening to come into contact with people who know nothing about me but assume that they do because of my color. I can’t think of anything that makes me angrier than having someone admit to believing that we are lazy and look for handouts. Especially now that I am not working and know that that is one of my biggest desires because, excuse my English, I DON’T WANT NOBODY TO GIVE ME NOTHIN’. I LIKED working for a living. I don’t feel I should have to combat other people’s stupid prejudices yet I feel obligated to defend the state of Black people everyday. And why should I have to live like that? I’m tired of having to be so aware of myself in public, making sure I don’t look suspicious, making sure my tone of voice is extra light and fluffy because I’ve been told I come off as “aggressive” when I’m NOT, because of ideas OTHER people have come up with about who I am. It’s exhausting and unfair. Tired of hearing about racism? Well, I’m tired of living it. I must admit that in my anger I asked God why these attitudes are allowed to persist. Why should I have to tell my 10-year-old son that he has to be careful if he decides to go into his pockets to get his asthma inhaler because someone might think it’s something else? He’s the sweetest little boy I’ve ever known. Why should I have to explain to him that other people won’t always see him for what he actually is?

But I digress. I’m getting angry again, so I should move on.

After my prayer I felt a lot better; I was able to release some of my frustration and anger. I listened to a couple more songs. And then, lo and behold, I was interrupted, but at least I had been able to digest some of the Word before I was. The 1st Samuel scripture, albeit brief, put me in a good spot.

The church is not a building. Yes, there are buildings in which we conduct church services. But the actual church is you and I, those saints who collectively make up the body of Christ, with Christ Himself as the Head (Eph. 1:22-23). The word “church” is derived from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “an assembly” or “called out ones”. In all essence, us saints bring “the church” to the building in which services are held. It’s not the other way around. The building that we refer to as church is for fellowship, teaching, learning, and practical applications of the Word of God.

With that being said I pray I’ll be back at 100%–well, I don’t know what 100% feels like anymore, so I’ll settle for my typical 70% LOL–so I can attend next Sunday.

Congratulations to my fellow graduates. I know a lot of them felt it couldn’t be done, but God is able.

 

It might be time for a fast.

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In the Old Testament, individuals and communities often participated in fasts in times of deep sorrow or repentance of sin, in times of mourning, and in times of deep spiritual need.

I can safely say that I am in the latter stage.

Last night I had a bit of a breakdown that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Matt had taken the kids to go see his sister and make final preparations for the cruise we are going to be embarking upon at the end of this month (praise God!) and I decided to use my alone time wisely and exercise.

I had a difficult time getting going, but once I found a good walk video that was based in Manhattan, New York, it was easy to get into a good groove. I was fine until the walk finished and I decided to do some ab work. That’s when I got really upset. Why? Because I have been exercising, drowning myself in water, which I absolutely detest, and that belly fat will not budge. I got extremely frustrated.

It’s not just my weight that is bothering me. There is a stew of failures that has been marinating in my mind. I know this is a tactic of Satan but it’s a good one. I am despondent over my undiagnosed condition, which has made it difficult for me to work; I am disappointed that I thought I had secured an online job and through no fault of my own, that didn’t work out, and I had plans for the money I would have received; I am hurt because my mom ended up suffering as the cosigner for my student loans once I defaulted; I am upset because I am a financial burden/charity case for everyone close to me; it bothers me that I didn’t have my own money to use toward my husband’s birthday party; I am tired of being tired and having to push myself to even get out of bed in the morning; I am sick of looking in the mirror everyday and being disappointed at the image looking back at me; I’m having difficulty finding joy and pleasure in a lot of things that I normally would. I will admit that on several occasions I have wondered if my family would be better off without me.

I took an online depression screening test and it said I was severely depressed and should seek medical help.

I won’t be taking it lightly. Remember the post I did about how God can cure depression, directly and indirectly (such as through the help of medical professionals)? I have already scheduled an appointment with my doctor. But I am also consulting my main spiritual physician, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, that is who I queried before anyone else. The Holy Spirit is impressing upon me to fast after I speak with my doctor. In my humble opinion, Jesus has identified that not only am I under attack, but the attack is getting to me. In steps the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, guiding me toward not ignoring my symptoms, and fighting being ashamed for not being able to just snap out it and go get some help.

I know the devil is out to steal, kill and destroy. He is out to steal my joy, kill my spirit and destroy my hopes, dreams and goals and my confidence in the Father. I know how to combat that. But I’m human, and all of these things piling up on me is difficult. Christians should be confident that Jesus is the source of their joy and all things good and know that if their being able to bask in that joy is interrupted, they should get help. And in the midst of ALL struggles, we have to remember that our help comes from God, and seek Him out. Problems are not the time to turn from God; they are instead times when we should seek Him even more fervently. And that is what I intend to do.

Thank you, Family Christian Stores.

A few minutes ago I got a bit of a morning jolt and it wasn’t from my coffee.

I had forgotten that one of our family’s favorite stores, Family Christian Stores, closed.

It was one of my family’s favorite stores, one we could stay in for hours at a time if we had that time available (we usually didn’t). Matt and I were always content to peruse aisle after aisle of Bibles, commentaries, DVDs, clothing, etc. Over the years, particularly since he became a deacon, we’ve probably spent thousands of dollars in the store. I assumed the store was doing relatively well, but then again, I should have recognized that in the world we live in, Christian businesses might not get the support they should.

Although FCS had been in business well over eighty years, the store’s journey had its fair share of bumps and bruises recently. A few years ago, suppliers forgave millions of dollars in debt so that the company could remain open. I thought that was a blessing directly from God and that that meant the store would be alright. Each time I went in the store, there were always plenty of customers, and you couldn’t beat the employees. Happy, helpful and upbeat, they truly seemed to enjoy their job. I was quite surprised when, in February, it was announced that all 240 stores, employing 3,000 people, would close.

Up until our last visit there, which was May 12th, I was hoping the tides would shift and someone would buy them out. Or perhaps they could switch gears and only close some of the lower-performing stores… Negative. The president of the company at one point in time said that sales had declined and that consumer buying habits had shifted. I inferred that people shopping from home on the Internet is to partly to blame. That, I don’t understand… do people not understand the absolute MAGIC that is a bookstore? How could you not love the feeling of going into a bookstore with no idea what you might want, and finding more than you even knew you wanted in one book? Am I the only one who goes into a weird meditative state in a bookstore, with a laser-sharp focus and ability to tune out even one of my noisy children, as my eyes skip from title to title, cover to cover? Don’t you get excited when you finally find The One, the book that you have been looking for all of your life, the one that you open intending only to skim the first few pages and end up reading the first three chapters?????

Apparently I’m in the minority, because if more Christians had supported the store, perhaps it wouldn’t have folded.

To me the closing of FCS is reflective of a different problem. Christians don’t want to read or study. If this problem doesn’t apply to Christians in your area, I’m happy for you. But here, in this city, Christians are too busy to dedicate time to God. And it shows in the state of our homes, our schools, and our communities.

The dogged apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy that we are to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. Mind you, I looked up this verse in several different translations and was dismayed to find that they ALL removed the very important word “study”. I disagree with that word being changed, because it alters the meaning of the verse. In my humble opinion, that is the key word in that verse. Why? Because how can we “rightly divide the word of truth” if we don’t study it????

As the coordinator for Moody Bible Institute, it has frustrated me to no end over the past few years to STRUGGLE to get people to attend the classes. Christians, who supposedly serve the true and living God, will NOT come learn about him. The classes sponsored at my church through Moody are only sixty bucks, and in several cases, my pastor, who is a pastor who fiercely supports his parishioner’s desire for knowledge, will pay for people to attend. Christians can spend sixty bucks on stuff they don’t need and think nothing about it–as a matter of fact, they can spend sixty bones on stuff they don’t need and derive pleasure from it, but won’t spend sixty dollars to learn about what thus says the Lord.

Each six-week session, I make an announcement to my own church and send information to other local churches. Each six-week session, I prepare for an onslaught of students–and we don’t get them. Some people have said they’re too old to learn and that the thought of having to take tests scares them. I believe that the spirit of the Lord doesn’t accommodate that type of attitude. Last time I checked all things were possible through Christ Jesus.

I wondered if maybe the cost was an issue. But then I realized that the two Bible studies offered on Wednesdays never get more than a handful of students either. Sunday School gets the same students each week. People don’t want to get up that early. They have other things to do. Then they want church to hurry up and be over so they can go home and sit on the couch and do nothing. Simply put, we give God a remnant of our time and think He ought to be satisfied and are surprised when we don’t receive the innumerable blessings we for some reason think we deserve simply for living and breathing God’s air.

I understand that a lot of people have that one day a week that they can breathe. Monday through Friday constitutes the typical workweek for most people, and Saturdays are usually busy with activities. I get it. But God is the very reason that Sunday is not considered a typical workday. Did you ever wonder where the concept of a weekend came from? Jewish and Christian workers, who, over one hundred years ago, tussled with their employers about having to work on days that were supposed to be relegated to worship (the Jewish Sabbath day is Saturday, of course our day of worship is Sunday). Up until the onset of the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, American society was largely agrarian. Once the factories began employing people, they found that workers who were used to making their own hours were highly resistant to working on their days of rest and worship. Although the concept of the 40-hour workweek had not yet become popular, it was Henry Ford who realized that his employees did better work and were more loyal to the company if he allowed them those two days off.

But I digress.

When Christians get to feeling that church is a drag, are they really understanding why God has instructed us to forsaken not the assembling of the saints? I’ve seen televised church services before. I think they perform an invaluable service for people who are sick or otherwise shut in. But able-bodied Christians should be happy to come to church and reap the benefits of not only a good Word, but fellowship with the brethren. Whatever you’re going through, there’s a good chance one of your fellow parishioners has been through the same thing and can offer you advice, support and encouragement. It’s almost funny to me because as soon as people get sick, that is when they finally realize that they took getting out and about and being around people for granted. When they can no longer physically attend church, only then do some people realize how truly special belonging to a good church truly is. (Key word there is “good” church).

Christians have allowed money, the pursuit thereof, and leisure get in the way of their relationship with God. Therefore we are missing out on a lot of blessings. Look at what is happening in this nation. How can we be so polarized? Simple. Lack of God=lack of love. I spoke about this briefly during my Sunday school class. Some of the kids seem to have dwindling enthusiasm for the Lord. In most cases, I blame their parents for not being firm enough in their faith to have discussions with their children about God. Some parents are obviously not talking to their kids about the goodness of God outside of church and they think praise and worship is a one-day-a-week deal. I’ve been trying to encourage them to give God some of their time each day. I can understand how kids and their status as spiritual babes can go through periods of waning faith, but adults who have been through something and had God bring them through… I can’t understand them.

I reminded the kids how they go to school without fail, do their assignments and act appropriately while they are there. Adults go to work, clock in on time, and come each day they are scheduled. The rules for school and jobs are often restrictive. Things must be done how and when the teacher or boss says so. God offers no restrictions. While you might have to dress up to do a work presentation or write down notes for a speech in school, with God you can be laying in the bed at night in your raggediest (and usually most comfortable) pajamas and talk to Him about whatever. I looked over the class and saw that each of them looked to be well-fed, nicely dressed, and were definitely not homeless. This God that provides all of their needs is not worthy of five to ten minutes of time each day, or even a brief acknowledgement? What in the world is that all about?

Adults and their lackadaisical attitude about church attendance and Bible study is to blame. I don’t blame the kids. I blame adults. Adult Christians are the ones not coming to church, not teaching their children, not supporting Christian endeavors such as FCS because they don’t care to study their Word. And it’s a shame. It’s a shame that after eighty years in business a great company had to close its doors.  I will admit I was a bit disheartened during our last visit when I picked up one of the few books that was left, by some dirtbag who claims he is a pastor that had written a book in which he used the “N” word. (Yes, it’s true. I won’t put his name because I don’t want you to read it. Point blank).  I do feel a Christian book store has to be smarter than to sell anything by anyone who claims to be a Christian without doing its due diligence to make sure the merchandise truly represents Jesus Christ and His teachings. But either way it goes, this company that supplied vacation Bible school materials; Sunday school commentaries; various Bibles; church supplies such as tithing envelopes, fans, and Communion materials; was very valuable in the Christian realm and I hate to see it go.

Family Christian stores

 

A bit of vanity isn’t bad, is it?

In my case, it’s a huge motivator.

I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I may need to seek the help of medical professionals to help me lose weight. Apparently I’m not doing the right things. Considering my daily diet and the fact that I walk off all of the calories I take in per my Fitbit, I can think of no other reason why I am losing absolutely NO weight. It’s weird because there are some areas of my body that seem to be getting slimmer, namely my hips and thighs, but that pesky, ugly, flabby disgusting abdominal fat from where my three babies made their temporary home refuses to go away. Not only that, but as I lose inches in my hip area, the stupid flab hangs even further. Sorry for that terrible visual. Hopefully your eyes aren’t bleeding.

I am completely disheartened by my appearance. Even on days when I take extra time to fix myself up, there is always something that doesn’t work out. My hair–I mentally plan a hairstyle; my hair refuses to hold it. Clothing–on Mother’s Day I had the opportunity (thanks to my Mom and sister) to buy a few outfits from Dress Barn. I almost cried in the fitting room when I kept having to go up jean sizes to accommodate that loose abdominal MESS. I don’t always like wearing my glasses–sometimes I want to show my face, but with my eye problems the glasses help me see better.

I know my number one concern should be my health. As someone who initially went to school to be a health care professional, I know very well how the heart works and how excess weight effects my health. But right about now, when the summer is almost here and I want to wear cute maxi dresses and feel good about myself, and maybe have a romantic night out with my husband, who will feel proud as he shows off his beautiful wife. I don’t feel that’s remotely possible right now.

It’s a standard I hold myself to. I don’t look to Hollyweird for beauty. But I know that I used to be athletic, and how I used to push myself in terms of my performance. I know to a certain extent I won’t be able to do the things I used to twenty years ago. But I refuse to sit back idly and continue to put on weight. It IS a matter of vanity, to an extent.

Honestly, it is not hard for me to keep my vanity in check. I know I serve a God that is capable of producing unimaginable beauty. I know there are always going to be women out there who are prettier than me.  It doesn’t bother me at all.  I’ve had people ask me how it feels to be married to someone as attractive as my husband, knowing that undoubtedly other women flirt with him. I don’t lose any sleep over that. He stood before God and made the same vows I did. If he goes so far as to cheat, he’ll have broken a vow to God and God can deal with him. I also know that God gave me the features He wanted me to have, and I appreciate having some of my Dad and some of my Mom. Wouldn’t change it for the world.

God is not a God of superficiality. He is more concerned about what is beneath the surface. I’ve known some beautiful people who were snobby, rude, nasty and selfish. As soon as I found out the type of person they were, my opinion changed, and they even looked a bit less attractive. I’ve always been a person who has been more attracted to good character than looks.I think of Lucifer, who was at one point the most beautiful angel of all the heavenly host, and where his pride got him. Satan is the biggest example of what happens when vanity, which leads to pride, goes unchecked. He started smelling himself, as we say.

Recently, I’ve invested more in making sure other people have access to my beautiful interior and neglected the exterior. I do for people all day every day without really taking care of myself. I’m going to try to stop that. The first thing I want to do, depending on finances, is start going back to Planet Fitness. Cardio is not enough–I need to work with some weights. I need help from a trainer. I might need help from a dietician. Either way it goes, I need help. I am not happy looking like I’m still pregnant. My baby is almost a year old, for crying out loud!!!

My other goal is to narrow down my book publisher (switching gears here). I am SUPER excited about my manuscript. I’ve decided to change the title, and there are some details I’ve been changing as I go along in order to add to the story’s continuity. I’ve been having difficulty finding time to write… I try to get a chapter in when I have a rare moment of clarity, only to be interrupted by one of my kids, much to my frustration. The only time I am partially guaranteed to get uninterrupted writing time is when I should be trying to get some of the little bit of sleep I get. But I’ve always had to sacrifice to reach my goals in the past, so I guess not much has changed, eh?

Speaking of which, all three are tucked in bed now. No time better than the present to work on my masterpiece…

God CAN cure depression!

I’m a firm believer that God can, has and will supply the needs of His children when they cry out to him.

I believe it can be done either directly from him, or contrary to what some Christians believe, indirectly through other means or people.

I got into an interesting conversation with other Christians about how we should deal with mental illness within the church, and the ignorance was quite astounding. This discussion took place as we were going back and forth about that disgrace named Steve Stephens, the man who was upset about breaking up with his girlfriend and shot and killed an elderly man on Facebook live. One of the things we were talking about was how Black people, men in particular, are shamed for not being tough, so we tend to bottle up feelings until we explode. We have to do better than that, especially nowadays when things are getting a bit tougher for us.

With Black women, we at least use each other as outlets. One thing Stephens said during his rant was that he had tried to talk to someone, I believe his mother, and she didn’t listen. At no point in time am I condoning what he did. I’m saying it happens more than it should with our men. Black men face a ton of pressure in this society and they should feel comfortable talking about it. It benefits no one to keep negativity inside.

When the conversation started heading toward something all of us have suffered in our lifetime–depression–it got irritating. I firmly believe that just like Jesus rebuked the winds during the event when He walked on water, He can rebuke depression and calm it within a sufferer just like THAT… if He so chooses. But what the others didn’t seem to believe was that God is the author of other cures for depression as well. God put it in the minds of men to come up with scientific innovations such as depression medications, so I don’t see why unhealthy people shouldn’t use them. God also gave some very special people the mindset and techniques to become counselors, so I don’t see why unhealthy people shouldn’t use them as well.

Basically, these people questioned my faith because I didn’t agree that all depressed people need to do is pray. Well, question away, because I still don’t agree. There is this little thing called science and these very important chemicals called neurotransmitters, and sometimes the levels of certain neurotransmitters can get wonky and mess up a person’s brain chemistry. It is a matter of health, not fortitude. It is an illness, and just like any other illness, requires treatment.

Mind you, I deal with situational depression regularly now. I’ll admit it. I am not happy about a lot of things. My student loan debt is now effecting my mom, and that makes me feel pretty flipping useless. My husband is going to have to figure out how to pay, and that makes me feel terrible. I say “situational” because this depression is directly related to my situation. I don’t think anything is wrong with my brain chemistry. I am sad because I am not happy with my lot in life right now. I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be at this age, and it depresses me. Keeping it real.

With that being said, I don’t believe that the things I do for my situational depression–exercising, dancing, of course praying, journaling, volunteering, etc.– work for clinical depression. And I think it is insensitive and destructive to tell people who are depressed to just pray. Yes, we want to tell them to pray, of course… pray before you’re depressed, even… but they need to know there is other help available as well if they need it. They should not be ashamed to seek out counseling or medication if their doctor sees fit. God is the author of all of that innovation. So in a way, it IS God’s help.

Speaking of situational depression, I am even more anxious now than ever with the passage of the American I-don’t-Care Bill. It’s not a health care bill. How could something that gives states the OPTION of covering essential services such as ER visits, ambulance rides, maternity care, lab tests, etc., be considered a health care bill? And how can people who supported this consider themselves to be pro-life? Let’s examine. First, these people want to do away with Planned Parenthood because they don’t want their (taxpayer) money to go toward abortions.

Problem is, it doesn’t. And it hasn’t for about forty years. And the people who pushed this narrative know this, but they used the public’s lack of knowledge to their advantage.

Years ago, pregnant with my son, I went to Planned Parenthood and received affordable, high-quality prenatal care. After his delivery, I continued to go there to receive affordable birth control so I would not get pregnant with another child I couldn’t afford. Planned Parenthood also provides preventative care and screenings that are either low-cost or free to qualified women. Why is that bad?

Second, if the people who supported this were so considered about healthy babies, why wouldn’t they put forth a bill that required prenatal and maternity coverage to be 100%? Isn’t the goal that all babies are born as healthy as possible, and the preservation of the mother’s health and well-being, which is tied to that of the fetus, to be in tip-top shape as well?

If we’re so worried about life, why the heck are we supporting ANY bills that cut ANY services that people need to live? Do I care that $36 a year of tax money goes to food stamps so the elderly, children and vets can eat? Nope. Would I care if taxes went up a bit more so that college education could be more affordable, leaving young adults to actually begin their lives, purchase homes and cars, have children, open businesses, etc., and so that other Americans can have their cancer treatments and only focus on getting healthy and not worried about medical-induced bankruptcy?

America can NOT attempt to classify herself as a Christian nation and treat people so contemptuously. This is disgusting.

At LEAST misquote CORRECTLY…

Perhaps I should change the focus of this blog to debunking stupid memes, SMH…

I’ll post this one and let’s see if you can figure out why it’s erroneous.

money misquote

I’ll give you a few minutes (plays Final Jeopardy music).

Did you get it?

I’m sure you did, because this is basic Bible right here. Or at least, it should be. It should be so basic that there should not be as many different forms of this meme circulating as there are, because the MINUTE it was put up SOMEONE should have been able to correct the person who, despite their attempt to be clever, thought up this meme.

Let’s clean that up, shall we?

for the love of money

Money itself is not bad. The LOVE of money, which has been instrumental in rotting man’s mind for years, is the root of all evil. Need we delve further into that, or can we see instances each and every day where someone is harming another person or group of people just so they can have more money? I’ve heard people claim that America is a Christian nation, and I beg to differ. The god of America in general is MONEY.

As Christians we have to be careful not to get swept up into materialism. I like Paul’s attitude in Philippians 4:11-12: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I don’t imagine Paul was a rich man. As we read the story of his life, we find that his Christian journey was filled with more trials and tribulations than most of us can imagine. He was imprisoned on multiple occasions, bitten by a snake, shipwrecked, beaten… and he never put his trust in anything or anyone other than Jesus. Yet, he was content. That is the attitude of a person who knows that life in Jesus is better than life with millions of dollars and no Jesus.

I don’t think it’s wrong for Christians to have desires. As I’ve mentioned before, I would love to have a bigger house with a huge backyard so I can plant a big old vegetable garden (cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, beans, herbs and spices for cooking) and put up a clothes line (I am old school like that. I love the smell of FRESH laundry). But in the meantime, I am happy in our house right now, and if we don’t move, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. We have everything we need here.. All of the appliances work, each kid has a bedroom, the neighborhood is safe, and most importantly, it’s affordable. If our house cost more it’s possible we wouldn’t be able to go on as many trips as we do. So I think it’s a fair trade-off.

I’ve never been a materialistic person anyway, so I don’t really struggle with that. But for those that do, it is necessary to first realize that everything you have, have had, and will have comes from God. He knows what is best for us, and He will provide our needs and in good measure, our wants–according to His will. We as Christians have to understand that that little green paper is simply a means to an end. Our trust has to always remain in Jesus.

I’ve known wealthy people and in general they’ve seemed to be pretty flipping miserable in one way or another. Some have been beyond snobby, as though that paper makes them more important than the next person. I’ve never been impressed with that, because I know that my GOD is no respecter of persons. I am not on this earth to impress another person. I have favor in God’s eyes, so that person with his money doesn’t bother me. Others have been super anxious. Keeping up with the Joneses is never-ending. They were never satisfied, because even when they got the biggest television set, a new one would come out and then they’d have to find ways to get it. There’s always a newer, better car coming out, a bigger, fancier boat, etc. I just don’t have the time, patience or the cares to be wasting that much time out of MY life trying to impress someone else who, in the grand scheme of things, has NO bearing on how my life here or in heaven will turn out.

I’ve also known people with money who were humble and generous. Again, in my opinion, they were much happier than the snobs or the posers.

I of course am not a wealthy person. Instead of money, I am giving of my time and talents. Wherever I can help out, I do. But if I ever became wealthy, there is no way I could imagine myself hoarding millions of dollars when I know good and well there are people out there who aren’t eating. I can’t understand that attitude, nor do I wish to.

In terms of money, Christians should strive to be debt-free. We shouldn’t make it a habit to owe people money (I understand that in the way our financial system is set up, that is sometimes easier said than done–my student loans were a bad decision, for example). But we should avoid needless debt. Why? Prime example: My exorbitant student loans. No matter how much I paid, it seemed as though the balance would never go down. So what happened? I’ve lost sleep, spent nights worrying about it, and would work extra hours, even on Sundays when I should have been in church, to pay them down. Debt can take away your joy, your inner peace, and remove you from God. Every where you go, someone is offering you a charge card or a line of credit–be careful.

We should happily support your church. If you’re concerned about where your money is going when you provide your tithes and offerings, ask for a financial report. And if you’re not convinced your money is going toward Godly endeavors, perhaps you need a new church home. God gives us the money so that we can take care of ourselves and build his kingdom. He can also take it away if you misuse it, or worse, you can lose rewards in heaven if you are parsimonious and fail to tend to the needs of God’s most vulnerable here on earth.

The fact is, if you are a Christian, nothing God has given you is just for you alone. Nope. We should be utilizing all of our resources–finances included–to build God’s kingdom. The world needs that, not more money floating around to corrupt more minds.