Monday, February 11, 2008

Healing Stones

Two years ago my relationship with church was very different than it is today. I was the confirmation teacher at my lifelong church. Jesse was the high school teacher, and together we ran the youth group. I also organized monthly dramas for the church services. Maybe we were doing too much, or maybe we just weren't where God wanted us to be. We both got burned out badly. I've talked a little bit about this before on the blog about how our feelings were hurt by some of the members. It reached the point where we attended just long enough for Molly to be confirmed last May and then stopped going altogether. Jesse and I planned on visiting the area churches in hopes of finding a new church home. We found one in Green Bay that we enjoyed, but it was an hour away from home, plus when Mia was hospitalized, I realized I would never feel comfortable calling their pastor and asking him to come. We've gone back to our old church on occasion, but most Sundays were spent just sleeping in.

When Molly made the cheerleading squad last fall, she started making new friends, including a girl named Beth. Beth attends the Baptist church just down the road from our house. I had heard that they had a new preacher and wanted to visit, but never took the time to do so. Beth started inviting Molly to youth events at the church on the weekend. Then Molly started pushing us to check out the church ourselves. Two weeks ago Molly and Jesse went. Last weekend, Jesse and I went. Everyone was very friendly, and while we didn't necessarily agree with everything the pastor said, we don't agree with a lot of Methodist (our current denomination) either. Tuesday night Molly called me with some news: the church had given Molly a scholarship to attend the upcoming weekend's Snow Camp up in Dunbar. I was blown away by their generosity. Wednesday night Molly attended a Bible study at the church and immediately came home and swiped our King James Bible to start reading. She left Thursday night with the group and came home a different girl on Saturday afternoon. Read her blog to find out what she has to say about it. What I have to say is this: Molly has believed in Jesus her entire life, but this weekend she got it. She's asked me to buy her a KJV Bible of her own so she can write in it!

Jesse, Molly, Doogie, and Mia (I stayed home because of pain) went to church there yesterday, and even Doogie enjoyed the service. Last night Molly and Jesse went back to listen to the evangelist speak, so Mia and I curled up in bed to watch AFV. She was chattering away when I realized she was telling me about the Ten Commandments. She called them the Ten Rules, but she was able to list most of them and give me real life applications for them. She can't wait to go back tonight. I am amazed at this church's ability to reach out to my family and how much they have already taught my five-year-old. This is what a church is supposed to be like!

Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn is the story of Demitria Costanas who gets caught on film committing adultery and has to try to put her family back together. She turns to Sullivan Crisp, a Christian therapist who is struggling with his own demons. Demi's story parallels that from John 8:3-11 of the adulterous woman. After conducting a months long affair with a fellow professor from a Christian college, Demi is caught on camera and forced to resign her position at the school. Her husband also mysteriously receives a set of the photos and kicks her out of the house and the lives of their two children. The authors tackle a difficult conundrum: how to make an adulterous woman sympathetic without soft pedaling her sin. Demi goes through several stages in her grief at the loss of her lover, job, and family. At first, she hates herself so much that she allows everyone, including her teenaged son, to abuse her. But as Demi comes to understand why she cheated on her husband, she realizes that she wants her family back and is willing to fight to do so. There are subplots involving liberalism on the college campus, as well as Sullivan's past. Sullivan is an intriguing character who uses game shows to help his patients make breakthroughs in their therapy. The authors deal with tough issues about sin and forgiveness and what it really means to be a Christian. The story is powerful, and Demi's husband's last words to her brought tears to my eyes.

Does anyone know where lost mittens go? Mia has lost two pair of gloves and two pair of mittens already this winter! They aren't at school, in the van, in her room, in the laundry, on the bus, or in her pockets. So what blackhole has sucked them away and will I find them before July?


Anonymous said...

I have been reading very positive reviews about this book and can't wait to read it!