Monday, September 22, 2008

Faking Grace

My church has started separate Bible studies for the men, women, and teens. The women's group is reading Lies That Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and yesterday's class completely opened my eyes to a serious lie I've bought into, that I had no idea about. I don't consider pride to be one of my greater sins. I know that I'm guilty of it occasionally, but I didn't realize how it was manifesting itself. One of the lies DeMoss addresses is God isn't enough. My immediate reaction is of course, He's enough! That's not a lie effecting me. One of the women in the class talked about how she had acquired credit card debt while trying to live at a certain standard, because she believed that God would want her to live at a "normal" level of material wealth. She didn't trust God to supply her needs and that what she could afford was enough, and now, years later, she's still paying off the lie.

The seed for me making this breakthrough was planted last week. We have a couple of hooks on the kitchen wall for jackets, and Mia has one of her own. I was looking for her white sweater zip-up hoodie, and it was on the bottom, so I had to take everything off to get to it. I discovered that she has nine, NINE, zip-up hooded jackets. That struck me as a little over the top, and in the course of doing laundry, I realized that that story was repeated in her skirts, dresses, tops, etc. I started weeding out things immediately for a friend who has a little girl who's just a year younger, but I was forced to face my philosophy when it comes to buying clothing: if it fits, and it's cute, I buy it. Now this only goes at thrift stores, I couldn't afford to do this at a regular store, not even Wal-Mart, but honestly, I can't really afford to be doing this at thrift stores either.

Listening in class on Sunday, I was able to put the psychology behind my actions. I want my children to be dressed like the best dressed kids in their class, even if their families have way more money than we do. I feel that I owe my children a certain standard of living and by default, God owes me the living to be able to provide that. I love thrift stores, and I love seeing my family dressed well, but I'm buying unnecessarily and wasting money in the belief that Molly deserves to wear Aeropostle and Abercrombie and Mia deserves to wear The Children's Place and Old Navy. (Doogie's not an issue. Put him in jeans with a goofy T-shirt and he's happy) Jesse and I are trying to save up to buy a house (but not until the economy gets out of the crapper), and twice weekly visits to thrift stores are never going to make that possible. While we often struggle with our budget, God truly does provide enough for our needs. It's when we decide that we want more that we run into trouble. Jesse admitted that he's guilty of this too when it comes to electric gadgetry, so we're both going to work together to determine what is really necessary and what is just entitlement attitude. Mia is down to six hooded sweatshirts, and I may cut that down even further!

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh is the third book in her charming and quirky chick lit series. Maizy Grace Stewart is trying to rebuild her life and career in Nashville after it bottomed out in Seattle after she lost a major scoop as an investigative reporter due to her trusting nature. She's working part time in the Lifestyle section on a big newspaper and waiting for her big break, but the bills are piling up. So she applies for a job at Steeple Side Christian Resources, but there's a big catch to getting and keeping a job there: you have to be a Christian. Maizy became a Christian in her teens, but hasn't attended a church or pursued a relationship with God since then, so she buys The Dumb Blonde's Guide to Christianity to help her fake it. Cross necklace and earrings, check. Jesus is My Co-Pilot bumper sticker and fish sticker on the back of her car, check. Faith in God to get her through? Not so much! Leigh has a wonderful ear for writing realistic dialogue and creating lovable characters. Maizy, who uses Grace at Steeple Side, finds herself learning a lot more about the reality of faith that she expected. People who follow Jesus still struggle with addiction and infidelity. They hurt and make mistakes just like everyone else; the difference is that they are supposed to love each other through it. Of course it wouldn't be chick lit without a cute guy, and Jack Prentiss, Daniel Craig look-a-like, fits the bill. One of the greatest things I've noticed about Leigh's writing is that when a character goes off on a long mental soliloquy, other characters actually notice! Maizy is regularly overthinking things, and her friends wave their hands in front of her to bring her back to earth. It's a refreshing characteristic that firmly grounds Leigh's books and her characters in the real world.

Jesse, Doogie, and I are stoked about tonight's season premiere of Heroes. We've been waiting almost 18 months for the show to come back, and honestly Season Two was awful. The writers' strike put it out of its (our) misery. It looks like tonight will be fantastic. I can't wait!

I'm kicking off a new bok contest this week. I'm giving away SOS for PMS: Practial Help and Relief for Moms by Mary M. Byers. It's a Christian guide to help recognize the triggers and symptoms of PMS and how to help keep it under control. If you are interested in winning a copy, send me an email before 10 pm on Thursday, Sept. 25th. I will announce the winner and post my review on my blog on Friday. If you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving this, please forward it to them! Good luck!