Ms. Lambert, Jesus, and Me.


I ain’t the kind you take home to mama
I ain’t the kind to wear no ring
Somehow I always get stronger
When I’m on my second drink

Even though I hate to admit it
Sometimes I smoke cigarettes
Christian folks say I should quit it
I just smile and say “God bless”

‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet He’d understand a heart like mine

Daddy cried when he saw my tattoo
Said he’d love me anyway
My brother got the brains of the family
So I thought I’d learn to sing

‘Cause I heard Jesus, He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet He’d understand a heart like mine

I’ll fly away
From it all one day
I’ll fly away

These are the days that I will remember
When my name’s called on the roll
He’ll meet me with two long-stemmed glasses
Make a toast to me coming home

I heard this song on the radio the other day, one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists, being a recent convert to country music through my second marriage.  I love the words in this song, pure poetry, one of my many passions having had the opportunity to have two of my poems published through the years. This beautiful song by Ms. Lambert sums up Jesus, his life, his ministry, and his calling in my humble opinion.   She paints a Savior who understands us exactly where we are, meets us precisely in that spot, whether it’s a good, bad, ugly, or fantastically sunny spot, and in meeting us where we are he not only understands a “heart like mine (and yours),” but he immediately begins his transforming work in our hearts, even in all of the murkiness, discord, and messiness.    

The Christian community habitually has this unhealthy tendency to get obsessively caught up in the dos and don’ts of religion, an Old Testament type of admonishment, and the church in particular is often notorious for this finger pointing can do or cannot do attitude. As Christians this list of do’s and don’ts is not only a guilt ensuing ride for many, but it often hinders our ability to be transparent Christ followers because we’re so hung up on what the list says.  The list, which can differ slightly through denominational barriers but generally reads along these lines: no drinking, smoking, tattoing, gossiping, cussing, slandering, some of what Ms. Lambert talks about, along with the big ones, murder, adultery, and stealing to name a few and in contrast, DO pretend like you always have it all together with a good boy smile on your lips, declaring that everything is fantastic because you’re a Christian and you are blessed even if everything is so far from fantastic and you’re secretly swigging vodka from the freezer in the middle of the afternoon and watching porn under a hidden veil of darkness after everyone has gone to bed because your wife detests the very sight of you.  
 
The beauty of this song speaks not to the do not’s that Christians are so often racked with guilt about but instead to the truth of what Jesus Christ was actually after when he came to earth to do his redeeming work in mankind.  He understood our shortcomings, he was over the perfect persona of his generation, and he adamantly voiced this disapproval towards the Pharisees and those who sought to point their fingers at those they deemed worthy of the term “sinner.”  My goodness, this man, the Savior of the world, liked to stir things up, he enjoyed going against the grain and healed people on Sundays and associated himself with sluts and tax collectors, and heck, he liked a great party with a good wine (John 2: 1-11).  Think about it, Christ’s first miracle was turning water into wine – real wine.  Would most church goers of today be able to handle that?  The whole wine, fun, party aspect of it all? What if there was dancing at this wedding? What if Jesus was dancing?   What if Jesus had asked us to dance?  Would we have told him just how unholy that was?  Or what if he had handed us a glass of the wine he had just miraculously created?   Or maybe the town prostitute approaches us at this party, would we turn our heads because we don’t associate with “people like her”?  I wonder how differently grace and mercy would look if Jesus had the same attitude as many of us?  Could grace even exist in that sort of environment?   Just what if the world started to see Christ in us when we stepped down from our spiritual pedestals and lived life more fully, more honestly, openly admitting that we are murky, messy people who screw up repeatedly, drink wine, and dance in exuberant thankfulness for the blessing of this thing called life that we’ve been given? What if people saw our lives, full of sparkle, joy, gusto, wine and dancing and they were attracted to what we had, like a moth to a flame, a holy flame of grace, mercy, and life?    What if we became  light in the darkness by not acting perfect?  What if we all embraced the truth that Jesus would and could “understand a heart just like mine?”
Just keep livin!!

Marriage Lessons From the Littles…

1.      Josh and Jada were recently instructed to clean up a big mess before they could take out another toy.  This mess consisted of about 5 billion little cars all over the living room that somehow needed to find their way back into the laundry basket they called home.   These two worked together, one pushing, the other pulling, until they were able to get this basket back to the toy closet where Jada then struggled to put it back on the shelf where it belonged.  She asked Josh if he could help her.  He agreed and as he huffed and puffed and flexed his little four year old muscles she proudly declared, “Josh, you’re SO strong” and Josh beamed.   Ryan and I laughed and Ryan said, “See it’s that simple with a man, tell him he’s so strong and we’ll do whatever you want.”  

2.      The other day Jada was struggling to get her shoes on and Josh offered to help.  “Jada, you sit down, and I’ll help put it on your foot.”  Jada obediently sat and accepted the help. Kindness goes a long ways in all relationships.  

3.      Josh and Jada got in a fight the other morning and Jada screamed very emotionally, “I’m never playing with you again!!” Josh stormed off and about 10 minutes later decided to check in on his female counterpart and then resumed playing as if nothing had happened.  Men, we love it when you overlook our emotional outbursts and come back pretending like nothing happened, which probably is in your best interest unless you want to make it into a marathon feeling sharing event.

4.      I spent the better part of a recent day cleaning my house top to bottom.  Josh walked in and immediately declared, “Mom, you did such a great job cleaning the house!”   Men, please notice these small, mundane things that we do because this is our life, we cook and clean and do laundry and wipe bottoms and an occasional, “Wow, it all looks great!”  is always appreciated. 

5.      The other day we had leftovers for lunch. Admittedly, not the most appealing leftovers in the world but both little ones were promised a piece of candy if they ate them.  Neither one complained and instead Jada said, “Mom, I just love these leftovers.”  Granted it was probably a lie, but if a little white lie is occasionally what’s needed to soothe over a situation  regarding something insignificant like, an outfit that really doesn’t look great on your wife or a new supper dish that’s really not that tasty, just tell the lie and move along in life, both with smiles upon your faces.

6.      Jada has a tendency to act bossy when it comes to Josh.  Josh takes it really well, for the most part.  He can literally last hour upon hour with this bossiness ensuing but eventually he will get to the point where he is totally over it and his frustration will come out in full force (aka an all out wallop session) Lesson learned?  Don’t be a wife who bosses and nags your husband to the point where he finally goes buck wild crazy on your rear end because honestly, they can only take so much before marbles will be lost in one way or another.

7.      Last but not least, a lesson in cooperation.  Both of them have discovered a love for sweeping the floor, constantly, which isn’t such a bad thing.  Problem is, they have also discovered that they don’t possess the skills needed individually to sweep the floor and pick up the crumbs with a dust pan. This is where cooperation has come in handy.  Josh loves to sweep, Jada loves to hold the dust pan and throw out the crumbs.  Perfect scenario, similar to my love of cooking and Ryan’s love of cleaning up the mess, not really but he does help out regardless with a partial smile upon his lips, true love, right?  

jandj

 

Just keep livin!!

Over It

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Today I’m going to piggy back off of a popular blogger, Matt Walsh, who wrote something yesterday (http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/06/kids-react-to-abortion) that eerily echoed a post I wrote months ago but never published out of a fear of something, backlash maybe? Personal pride? A fear of people coming against me with negative comments?   I’m not sure, but I guess I’m over it.  My belief in the sickening injustice of what we do to the unborn of our land strongly overcomes any personal pride or agenda I may seek to maintain at this point.   

In our current economic climate I think we often forget that the most productive thing we can do for our leaders is not to condemn them, or rip them apart, or sneer or jeer or use whatever form of communication we are most adept at getting our point of disgust across with, but instead if we used the simple action of prayer, reaching out to a higher power than that of our leaders and beseeching HIS intervention upon our land we may actually have the wonderment of seeing some mountains begin to move.   This being said, this post is not necessarily political in nature but it is about a social problem that has become highly political for many, including myself.  As most are aware, my heart breaks over the abortion issue.  I do not, in ANY circumstance, condone this practice, not even in the event that a woman is raped.  Rape or molestation is a horrible crime against anyone but you do not lessen the brutality of one crime by glossing it over with another. 

I’ve also been vocal about the fact that this is how I vote.  I know, many will call that ignorance, but this issue is at the heart of my political and personal convictions.  My stance is that it is wrong – period.  I look at my children, all children, my Luke and think I can’t comprehend how people believe it is ok to brutally murder an unborn baby at whatever stage of life it is in.  To take this a step further, I would gamble, if someone were to explain in ghastly detail the process of aborting a baby to a child or perhaps show that same child a video of an abortion being performed – any child, not just the children raised within a Biblical household but to just about any child in the whole universe, I would bet the looks of sadness, horror and fear that would begin to be displayed upon that child’s face would make the most unforgiving proponents of pro-choice shrink slightly back in embarrassment and shame.  I, for one, would not want to paint that horrific image in any child’s mind, but I would dare to guess that 100% of children presented with the cold hard facts, presented with the images, and presented with the evidence of the bloody aftermath would ask the truthful and painful question of, “Why? “Why would people kill babies?”  Why would we mangle their tiny unborn bodies in a truly appalling and gruesome fashion?  And why do we, the adults, allow this in a civilized society where even the children, the ‘ignorant” of us all would recognize that this is beyond comprehension and shame?  When and how do we as adults not only become so desensitized to this gruesome practice but condone it in so many instances?   What happened to the women of the world where we are ok with murdering our own children?  Why do so many of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ even shrink back and almost apologize for our beliefs when we are called out on our convictions on this hateful practice?   Why is it not only an acceptable practice for adults to engage in but also a glorified practice to raise this insidious banner of mockery and scoff at the sanctity of human life?   How did this process involving killing babies gain its place of not only acceptance in our society but also a sort of high perch to look down our loftiness upon those who would seek to protect the unborn innocent? And why would any child respond this way but so many adults do not?

The answer lies in the simple fact of this – our children possess an air of innocence that we as adults often lose through aging.  It lies in the fact that they haven’t been desensitized to the inhumanity and horror that this act upon the unborn portrays.  And it lies in the fact that Jesus Christ himself declared, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3.  That is the truth folks, many unborn children will continue to be denied the very freedom of breath in a culture permeated with “free choice and rights” when in fact the truth lies ironically in what the little children represent, an innocence and a simplicity that Christ says must be attained before one may even enter the kingdom of Heaven.  

Here’s a video clip of my Luke that I’ve posted before but it’s worth another view in light of the subject matter.  This is a child who the professionals repeatedly admonished me to “take care of and try again” in the early stages of my pregnancy.  His life is amazing, His strength is amazing, He is amazing.  


Just keep livin!!