Robin Williams, Heaven & preaching the Gospel

When I think Robin Williams, I think big muscles and spinach. I think sailor suit. I think Popeye. Popeye is how I see Robin Williams. Strong and confident and in love with Olive Oyl. Never ever did we think that Popeye, or Peter Pan or Mrs. Doubtfire would take his own life, which is currently the rumor. Battling addiction and depression, at 63 the comedian and actor decided he just couldn’t take this life anymore.

Yesterday, all forms of social media was on fire with pictures, stories, memories, shock and grief. There were prayers sent up for the family, and genuine tears cried over the idea that such an outwardly happy person would take their own life. No one can truly attest to the condition of his heart. We don’t know about his faith in Christ. So that leaves questions.

As a Christian how do we handle this? How do we handle the reality of darkness of an iconic person who shaped several generations with his personality, wit and talent, not to mention his genuine love for people and support of our troops? How do we balance the idea that good is not good enough? By not knowing for sure if Robin Williams was saved, how do we wrap our minds around the possibility that he may not be in heaven? That even though he may have spent his life contributing good to this world, that he may not spend his eternity in the presence of Christ?

And how do we speak truth to people, the truth that Hell is real? When do we act in love, and when do we use situations like this as a way to show people the preciousness of life?

I’m asking these things because I really want to know your thoughts?

No doubt what has happened to Robin Williams is tragedy. The tragedy is that out of all the joy he brought into the world, he couldn’t find any of his own. The tragedy lies in that for a moment in his living, he felt the only way to end his pain was to end his life. The tragedy IS the lies that he chose to believe: that he was unworthy, unloved, and it was unnecessary for him to continue in this world.

But as a person who believes not only in a loving God but an equally just God, I wonder how we handle the idea that Robin Williams might not have been saved by grace. How do we discuss it with our unbelieving friends? How to we show that equality of God’s attributes in a way where they can see the amazing-ness of His sacrifice for us, and that the sacrifice was not only love but justice?

Some think we just preach truth with the scriptures that talk about the consequences of not following Christ and eternal damnati.on Some want to focus only on the love of Jesus: The grace of Jesus. The mercy of Jesus.

But God is both…

what do we do about it? Because doing nothing is not an option.

Share your thoughts with me…. (With kindness, please, this could be a tough subject to tackle)

MY RESPONSE TO ‘SHOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CHILD SHARE’

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family, an Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Popsugar recently published an article that has gone viral in the parenting world. Why I Don’t Make My Son Share focuses on real life scenarios with pre-schoolers who struggle in a world of determining what is mine, what is yours and what is ours. Granted, preschoolers, and actually most children, are territorial in they find a sense of comfort and security in things. But is it so wrong to teach children to share?

In fact, there are many aspects of your child to take into consideration when teaching the “sharing lesson.” The first and foremost is the age of the child. Not all aged children can be taught the same lesson in the same way. Depending on the developmental age of the child will depend on how they respond. A toddler does not have the reasoning or abstract thinking skills of a 2nd grader, or even a preschool child. Teaching “sharing” is more difficult with a toddler because in their mind, everything in the entire world exists for them.

Regardless of age or anything else for that matter, I believe we should teach our children to share.

Here are a few comments from the article and my thoughts:

“I think it’s a great disservice to to teach him (the child) that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it.”

I agree. We are a generation of parents who teach our kids to remain toddlers their entire lives by feeding the lie that the world exists simply for them. I think the concept of sharing has absolutely nothing to do with the idea found in the above statement. To me the concept of sharing isn’t about entitlement it’s about serving.

Sharing has less to do with the child who wants the toy than with the child who has the power to be kind. The hope of the lesson of sharing is ‘pay it forward’. If I share with you, then you share with her. Along with the problematic sense of entitlement in the Ygeneration is also the sense of selfishness and lack of ability to work as team or within a family. Sharing encourages working together. To me there is nothing wrong with that–actually our kids need to learn all the characteristics of teamwork such as negotiation, communication and fairnes.

In addition, by not teaching your child to share the sense of entitlement simply shifts from the child who wants the toy to the child who has the toy. All I can visualize are all the seagulls in Finding Nemo chirping, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

As a Christian parent one of the most important lesson we can teach our children can be found in these passages:

I Corinthians 10:26 “the earth and everything in it belongs to God.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share-it’s not yours!”

Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; praise the name of the Lord.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share- or I’m taking it away.”

“…think about your own day-to-day adult life. You wouldn’t cut in front of someone in the grocery checkout line just because you didn’t feel like waiting.”

Hopefully as an adult, by now I would have been taught kindness and social graces, so no, in fact, I would not cut in line at the store. Even most small children know that when you go to the store you have to wait in line, because they’ve been taught.

Teaching the concept of sharing is basically the same. It takes time, trials and persistence. The ideology of sharing is transcendent. Teaching sharing is not just about toys or things. Sharing is a deeply rooted part of every aspect of life. We share our time with others. When we grow up, we share our lives and our toothpaste with our spouse. We share our emotions with one another. We share life. People who do not share life with one another are found to be miserable and lonely. Our entire lives center around the concept of sharing. My hope is that because I’ve taught my children to share, someday when they are grown they might just let someone cut in front of them in line at the grocery store, just to be nice!

“Let’s teach our kids how to cope with disappointment because it happens.”

Yes, disappointment is a horrible part of life. But each lesson in life needs to be taught in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I’m not sure disappointment should be the lesson taught along side the fundamental, and universal lesson of sharing. Disappointment is never intentionally taught by a person who loves you. Disappointment is the school of hard knocks. Life brings enough disappointment in itself. Perhaps better opportunities to teach a child to cope in disappointment are if your child doesn’t make the team at school, or your ice cream falls on the ground maybe even if a much anticipated spend-the-night just can’t happen, or sickness on field day. There are times and places….

In fact, Scripture teaches in Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

Translated by THIS mom: “We are playing with friends right now, so now is the time to SHARE.”

 

Teaching our kids to not share perpetuates the lie of the culture that I deserve and I have rights and it’s all about me. More importantly we rob our kids because there is joy in sharing. In fact there is so much joy in sharing because sharing is simply an expression of love–the love we see throughout the Scriptures and the very reason Jesus died for us. He died so that we may share in his inheritance, even though we are undeserving. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad Jesus decided to share.

Jesus AND his bride are BIG fans of sharing. The entire church was built on the premise of sharing:

Acts 2:

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

Translated by THIS mom: “You need to share your bubblegum, you need to share your time with your friends when you are playing, you need to share your space and let your friend sit next to you. You need to share your ideas with the world, and your faith with the unbelieving. You need to share love and kindness and hope to a hopeless world. You need to share your uniqueness and amazing gifts God has given you to make this world a better place. You need to not worry about who wants what, because it’s the person you are sharing with that is more important–even sometimes more important than you. So stop being the selfish person the enemy so wants you to be and be the wonderful creation God intended you to be. And share your toys.”

What do you think…the new trend of teaching our kids that we don’t “have to” share—is this a good thing?

Comment and SHARE!

 

Of Politics and Religion

I never thought I would care much about politics. I grew up during the Reagan administration and the world seemed at peace to me and I thought that everyone loved the President. Now being married to a soldier, the politics of the world and our government are part of our daily conversations.

I follow Mike Huckabee on Facebook. I love to hear his perspective on the White House and politics and the way our government (mal)functions. Normally after I read, and agree, and my blood boils, I find myself just sitting there asking, “What can I really do about it?”

Really, my hands are tied. Politicians are going to do what they want. The Governors and Senators and Congressmen have their own agendas and negotiations and pretty much will do whatever benefits their people pockets.

With the recent BIG NEWS (and i say that sarcastically) of Jason Collins coming out of the closet, I left my rantings at the door, of my blog, and found myself totally upset at the mix of politics and morality. It got me thinking.

I wonder if we all don't question our impact when it comes to politics and religion. We all kinda know about Jesus, and some of us even grew up in church. And now there are so many different religions, a buffet of the beliefs of the world colliding, spread out and displayed for us to walk along to pick and choose what we want. In some light it seems doable, but most of the time it's too overwhelming.

Like politics, we may catch ourselves asking:

What can we really do about it anyway?

How can we possibly sift through it all and come up with the right answer?

In politics and religion it feels like our hands are tied. So we do nothing…

Ultimately, it's about taking responsibility. Our apathy in politics or religion are going to come to great consequence that we aren't going to be happy living with, not in this life or the next.

We are too content with apathy.

Just like with anything in life, we have to try. It is up to us to pick up the phone and call our Congressman to help change laws to stop human trafficking. It is up to us to read Scripture and know what God expects of us. We may not make a difference immediately or feel a difference immediately. But someone has to do something, or no one will do anything.

Are you going to do anything?

I’m Leaving

I’m leaving! I hear this from  people more often than not. People don’t like it, so they leave. That’s part of the American dream, right? We have lots and lots of choices so, really we can leave whenever we feel like.

I am hearing from parents at the highschool that they child is not getting the right “highschool experience” so next year, they are leaving.

I hear from people in houses and apartments that don’t meet their needs, “as soon as my lease is up, I’m leaving.”

A coach I know is faced with the decision of whether or not to return to his coaching position. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the head coaches teaching philosophy. He’s pretty sure he’s leaving.

We don’t like our church…we don’t like our grocery store…we don’t like a Bible Study group…we don’t like a mall…a nail salon…a daycare….a particular denomination or faith…a marriage. So we leave.

Leaving may seem easy, but it isn’t always the right thing to do. I have considered pulling my youngest out of his elementary school for three years. I have attempted to volunteer, I have kindly spoken with the principal and vice principal. I have tried to influence and as cliche as it sounds, I’ve tried to be the change I wish to see. All my efforts and relationship building has seemed futile, so I have decided that next year–new public school.(Christian school and homeschool don’t align with our values as a family) There are those situaions where for safety and healthy boundaries we must leave, but in most cases we leave just because we aren’t happy.

Particularly as Christ-followers we have to take into consideration the example we are setting, the potential of relationships and is that what Jesus would do. I’ve done some pretty horrible stuff…really I have…and thankfully Jesus never ever said the words to me, “I’m leaving!”

Contrary to worldly beliefs, not everything you do should be best for you. I know that’s a hard one to swallow, but it’s true. Everything you do should be best for the Kingdom of God. That might mean staying with the same nail tech so you can build a relationship with her and introduce her to Jesus. That might mean staying at that teaching job one more year because you are the only known Christian teacher on staff. That might mean you stay in your neighborhood and commit to praying for your neighbors and loving them by serving them. That might mean leaving your kids in public school so they can be the light in the darkness.

When we choose to leave not only are we potentially missing out on an opportunity for God to use us, but we are setting a horrible example for our kids. This is one of the reasons we have allowed our kids to stay in their current schools. We didn’t want to teach them to just leave anytime something is hard or uncomfortable. I believe with my entire heart that God provided this home for us in this neighborhood, I couldn’t believe that and consider that God didn’t think through which schools my kids would attend. He knew what he was doing in all of it, not just part of it. And He knows what He’s doing in all of your life, not just part of your life.

Life is not about getting the best for your dollar or finding the perfect person you can be romantically in love with forever and ever (because the romance does fade, and there is no such thing as perfect). Life is not about being entertained while we are at church nor is it about getting the best cup of coffee (If you donated your monthly starbucks budget, you could probably feed a homeless family instead).

Life is not about leaving whatever you don’t like behind so you can move on to the next thing.

Life is not about you.

It’s about Jesus.

Diseased Before It Was Cool

I think it was a Thursday. I was driving home from a gruling day of advertising, transitioning into single-motherhood. The pain overtook me as I reached the gas station less than a mile away from my office. With tears in my eyes, I pulled over to breathe through the pain rushing through my arms into my hands.

I decided it was time to go to the doctor. I was 24, and raising babies, and WebMD had yet to be invented. So I made an appointment. The first doctor said, you need to find a new doctor. The next doctor said I had rheumatoid arthritis. Nine vials of blood later, the tests showed it was not arthritis.

So I went to a new doctor, who asked me if cancer ran in my family and then informed me that it was very likely I had cancer. When that biopsy and those blood tests came back negative, I was told my pain was all in my head.

Months and months of blaming myself turned into more pain, more mornings I couldn’t get out of bed and more tear-filled drives home. After much encouragement from family, I decided to try one more doctor. In less than 2 minutes the rheumatologist looked at me with deep compassion and said, “you are in lots of pain, aren’t you?” To which I emphatically, and tearfully answered, “yes.”

“You have fibromyagia.”

Relief. Somebody understood me. I wasn’t a “faker”. Somebody believed me.

I was diagnosed when Fibromyaliga wasn’t recognized as a “real disease.” Medicine had not been developed, most doctors weren’t convinced. It has just been in the last five years that any other doctor has taken me seriously about having Fibromyalgia. I had the disease before it was a commercial, before disability paid money for it, before it was cool.

For over ten years I have struggled with severe body pain, lack of sleep and energy and head fuzziness. It robs me of whole days out of my week, and sometimes weeks out of my month. It makes me hate my body, and sometimes hate my lot in life.

We all have our “thing” we battle. Some of us have our marriages to wounded warriors, or our addictions to wine or food. Some of us have our own illnesses–physically or emotionally. You might not get out of bed because your depression takes a hold of you. You might not get out of bed because the voices tell you that you are not worth it.

One piece of wisdom I have gained through all of this is to extend myself the grace I need to get through everyday. More often than I care to admit, I beat myself up about not doing enough, not accomplish what I should, not being enough. You probably do, too. Pridefully I feel like I shouldn’t allow this “thorn in my side” stop me.

And Jesus gently reminds me … “my grace is enough. It is my strength you need, not your own. It is not really about you, it is all really about me.”

So today I don’t ask for your pity, or even your comforting words, I simply want to encourage you to lay down all the guilt you hold fast to because you know in your heart you are capable of more. I encourage you to allow the grace of Jesus to wash over you, and His strength to be the strength you depend on in your moments of weakness. Even on the days you feel the most worthless and incapable, He can use you in the greatest ways if you let him.

Jesus’ allowance of your shortcomings and imperfections is all the love you need today, and tomorrow and everyday for the rest of your life.