Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I'm Fine With God...It's Christians I Can't Stand

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I had volunteered to chaperon Mia's class' field trip to a greenhouse, and in the afternoon she had an appointment with her pediatric opthamalogist (she has to have six month check ups because of the JRA). We didn't even make it to the greenhouse when I realized that chaperoning was probably not a good idea. I was so achy and tired, I had a hard time focusing on the guide and keeping my group of girls together. Luckily, I had three sweet girls. I took lots of pictures (that I'll post as soon as I find the adapter to the digital camera so I can download them), and we all went home with geraniums. The pain really started to settle in on the drive home. I dropped off my plant and grabbed what we needed for the appointment and then hopped back in the van.

We didn't even make it a mile down the road before I asked Mia if I could take her to McDonald's another time (her treat for the appointment). She sweetly said that it was ok, and I turned around and headed home. I sulked in bed feeling sorry for myself, but feeling more like a miserable excuse for a mother. Why can't I have the same kind of energy that other moms do? Other moms could pull off my easy agenda for the day without a problem, why not me?
But then I remembered one of the things the guide at the flowershop had said earlier in the day. We walked through a long room filled with fans blowing on the plants, and he explained that they try mimic outdoor conditions as much as possible to grow healthy plants, and that includes exposing them to wind. He picked up a flat of plants and gently shook it. They swayed in the breeze but stood tall. Then he pulled one plant out and showed the large root ball. He said that the wind is necessary to give the plants strong roots. They have to learn to stand up to the wind in order to grow healthy roots. If they've never felt the wind, their roots don't develop well, and they will tip over at the first sign of adversity.

These last few years have been pretty windy for me, but it's helpful for me to know that my roots are developing strong, so if I have to face something truly difficult, I'll be able to do so, because the Lord has been preparing me. I'm also learning to accept my limitations, and that I'm gaining wisdom about when to keep going and when to say that I need to take a break. I'm so grateful that whenever God has a lesson for me, he always makes sure that I get it just when I need it. Learning about how plants need wind to grow tall was just what I needed to hear on a day when the wind was blowing me about.
I'm Fine With God...It's Christians I Can't Stand by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz is a terrific conversation starter just for the title alone! The two authors dig into the reasons why so many people, even other Christians, don't like Christians, and how the term Christian has become almost distasteful because of guilt by association. By tackling topics like the Prosperity Gospel, judgmental attitudes, and Christians who create entire lives for themselves removed from the rest of the world, the authors are sure to make some enemies with this book. But I loved this book. It's hard to be a Christian today, and much of it is because of just these attitudes! Bickel & Jantz address each variety bad example with anecdotal evidence and then provide Scriptural support for how God would view this behavior and what we need to do about it. Their sense of humor is both deprecating and devastatingly on target. This is a the rare Christian book for both believers and non-believers. Believers can search their own hearts for what needs to be changed. Non-believers can read nodding their heads in agreement at the bad behavior while learning about what God's real message is about it. This was one book I couldn't wait to read each night and had a hard time putting down.

Johnny is home and feeling better. He'll start chemotherapy at the end of the month, and it will continue for two months, so he'll be out of work for at least two months, possibly longer. Please keep praying for his health and his family's well-being.