Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Church & Chatting in South Carolina

Check out this blog - it's by a guy named Andrew who is on a 2-year bike trip and is currently making his way through the Southeast. This post is about his first visit to a Southen Baptist church, and it's not at all what you'd expect. I think Andrew's experience exemplifies all that I love about the South.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Missing Out

Hi Y'all! I've got a new post up at Purple Women & Friends called "Missing Out?" Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Story

Home Group has been pretty amazing lately. We’ve been doing a study called Contagious Christianity that helps you become open about your Faith and teaches you how to easily talk about God. Last week we learned how to tell our personal stories of how we came to Christ, and then we shared them with each other. But I was sick and didn’t get to go, so Ben said that the group was expecting me to share my story this Sunday. I thought I’d do one better and share it with the entire blogosphere:

At age 15, I started my sophomore year of high school fairly confident in my ability to manage my life. I had chosen a good group of friends, family relations were going smoothly, and it was easy for me to get good grades. I had finally even found myself a boyfriend, and with that checked off the list, I didn’t think there was anything else I really needed. I was in control, and things were going exactly according to plan.

However, around Christmas that year, my plan started falling apart. My grandmother got sick, and my mom temporarily moved to Alabama to take care of her. I stepped in to pick up some of the slack at home, especially looking out for my little brother. It was a stressful time for the entire family, and I couldn’t do anything to make it better.

With the added stress at home, my honors classes also became overwhelming. I had been managing to hang on, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get the grades I wanted.

To top it all off, one of my close friends decided I wasn’t a good person anymore. I have no idea what I did, and she wouldn’t tell me. But she started a smear campaign and tried to turn my other friends against me too. Then my boyfriend moved away, and it wasn’t long before he stopped calling. There was nothing I could do to hold on to either of them.

I ended that year feeling completely out of control, wondering how everything had so quickly slipped out of my grasp. I had no idea how to get back on track. Then out of the blue, my best friend Shannon called and asked if I would like to go on a Mission Trip with her church youth group to do Bible camps for kids. It wasn’t something I would typically do, but then again, my typical choices hadn’t been working out so well. So I figured I didn’t have anything to lose and signed on.

At the Bible camp, one of the kids took to me immediately. His parents were going through a nasty divorce, and he was very angry and bitter. He was desperate for comfort, and for some reason, he looked to me to provide it. I was totally overwhelmed - how could I help this kid, when I couldn’t even handle my own life? So I told him that God loved him, and I shared the Gospel with him as I understood it. And suddenly, for the first time, I knew it was all true.

I realized I needed to let God control my life, because He had a good plan for me. I was flooded with an immediate sense of peace like I had never felt before, and the rush of relief was incredible. From that moment, life was never the same again.

Now, even though I still like to be in control, it’s not such a driving need. I don't feel so much pressure about my decisions anymore because I have learned to trust God and allow Him to be my guide. These days, being out of control is a good thing!

So what’s your experience? I would love you to leave a comment and tell your story too. Maybe God has changed your life like He did mine, or maybe you’re one of the many seekers who visit this site and are still trying to figure it all out. Regardless of your situation, we all have something to learn from each other. If you’re not sure how to comment, it’s explained in this post. You can even be anonymous if you want. So take a chance and share!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Burst Bubble

Sometimes I need what I call a “bubble day.” That’s when I convince myself that the world is a kind and friendly place, where everyone gets along and the biggest controversy is over what to have for dinner. I mentally create my own sterile environment, and I hang out in there and allow myself to recuperate from the world at large. I really could have used one of those days today, but life kept coming at my bubble with an ice pick.

It all started off with a new chapter in our disagreement with the guy next door over dog poop. This has been an ongoing saga, of which I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say I’m having a hard time loving my neighbor.

After church, we went to Pet Smart to buy some dog food, and our credit card wouldn’t go through. After an excruciating conversation with the Citibank customer no-service department, we discover that they have decided, without consulting us, to upgrade our account and cancel our old cards. They sent us new ones, which we apparently threw out with the fifty million other credit card offers we get each day. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal, except that of course, this particular card was the one we were using to automatically pay all our other bills.

Believe it or not, at this point, I was still hopeful of having at least a bubble afternoon. However, we had one more errand to run, and as we turned onto the main road I realized that the world was just not going to cut me a break today.

The street, probably the busiest in our city, was lined down both sides for at least a quarter of a mile with people holding up signs that said, “Abortion Kills Children.” Yep, the girl who wanted to spend the day pretending that the world was conflict-free found herself in the middle of a giant abortion protest. Yippee.

So finally I gave up, turned my brain back on, and checked out the scene. Several things stood out.

First of all, there were quite a few young children holding signs, which I found to be extremely disturbing. A 7-year-old boy shouldn’t even understand sex, much less abortion. There’s no way those kids could understand what they were doing. What kind of parent makes their child participate in something like that?

Secondly, I couldn’t tell what organization was sponsoring the protest. I’m sure it was some sort of church, but there was no info about that on any of the signs. It seemed kind of cowardly to me to stage such a bold demonstration but not own up to it.

But mainly, I just hated how it made me feel. It all seemed so self-righteous, and I felt that even though I’m not an advocate of abortion they’d probably condemn me just as harshly, because I would never stand beside them on the side of the road denouncing it either. I felt like I was in the middle of a drive-by judging.

So were any abortions prevented by the corridor of shame? I highly doubt it. But I do think at least one woman recognized the error of her ways today. As we sat at an intersection, I smiled as one of the protestors glanced furtively at her fellow demonstrators, shuffled a few feet away from the rest of them, and slowly covered her face with her sign.