Month: January 2014

Church on the Prairie

20140131-155948.jpg

Advertisements

Is God a Giant?

20140123-171409.jpg

What does God look like?
Is God a giant?
Does heaven have bathrooms?
Will we look the same in heaven?
Can God hear me?
I want to die so I can see Him!

These were some of the questions my oldest daughter began to ask by the time she was 3. A deep thinker, her questions often challenged me and her resolve to be with God right now was uncomfortable at first. There were several times she would say ,”I wish I could die so I could see Jesus.” Her faith so strong I found myself scrambling for the best words. I knew she wasn’t suicidal, that at such a young age she didn’t have a plan to die. Her desire to see The Lord was just so strong.

And as I said the words that I hoped would help her to understand that she wanted to be here on earth, I prayed I wasn’t stifling that childlike faith. And I desired to be like her. I finally understood what Christ meant when he said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NIV)

Now 6, she has moved away from talking about death, but her faith remains so strong. Lately she says with an amazing amount of awe and wonder in her voice, “God is so AMAZING, momma! He can do ANYTHING!”

I know she is right, but often I loose the twinkle in my eye, the excitement over the whole thing. Until I pay attention. Until I realize the places and circumstances God has his hand in. Until I let go of my own perceived capabilities. Until I open my ears and my heart to the words of a child. My child, a true gift from a God who loves to reveal Himself in the little things.

I’d love to hear your stories! Have your children ever challenged you in your faith? How has God revealed Himself to you?

Guest post:: Disney’s quest to evangelize the world?

20140120-220516.jpg

Much like me, my friend Catherine was captured by Disney’s Frozen. A movie that is topping the charts and winning awards for its story and music. With so many thoughts running through her head she asked if she could be a guest blogger. Read below and see how truth has peeked its way into our little girls (and boys and grown ups) hearts through the big screen.

Is Disney intentionally trying to spread the gospel or is the story of sin, redemption, and sacrificial love just such a part of us that it comes out on its own? Disney’s Frozen has become the highest-grossing Disney- produced animated film of all time, surpassing even The Lion King. I saw the movie six weeks ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since – and it’s not just because my 5 yr old wears an Elsa dress, has all the Frozen figurines, and repeats the mantra, “the cold never bothered me anyway” constantly. I’m struck by how much the story has resonated with me as a story of the gospel, a story of sin and separation, unconditional love, and redemption.

Elsa is born with ice power which at first seems fun and innocent. After accidently hurting her sister Anna she realizes the ice power can be dangerous and uncontrollable. Like sin in our life it starts out looking appealing and innocent then soon has things spiraling out of control. In order to try to control the power, Elsa separates herself from everyone, even her sister. Sin has a way of separating us from those we love. Rather than honesty, confession, and authenticity, we attempt to compartmentalize, hide, and ignore the parts of our life that are shameful, embarrassing, or different – the very things we need healing from.

It’s interesting to me that in this story the “evil” force is inside of Elsa. Despite her best effort she can’t can’t stop or control her power. To make it worse she doesn’t have an evil step-mother or uncle or sorcerer to blame it on, it is the evil right inside of her. Yet there is a constant understanding throughout the movie that this power doesn’t make her evil in herself, there is always hope for her redemption and for her powers to be used for good.

The other thing that’s interesting about Elsa’s ice power is that it affects the whole community. She accidently sets off an eternal winter that she isn’t even aware of. She thought by retreating to the mountains she was containing her power and keeping those around her safe but it’s too late, the community she is supposed to be queen of and love the most is suffering because of the misuse of her power. Sin has a way of affecting those around us. Even when we don’t want it to and try our best not to. It starts a domino effect and soon those we love the most have been hurt by our poor choices.

Anna is a picture of unconditional and sacrificial love. Despite the fact that her sister has shut her out and ignored her even during the lowest point of her life (when her parents died) she does not begrudge Elsa but always wants to be best friends again. She watches Elsa self-destruct in front of the entire community and she wants so much to help but Elsa shuts her out all the more and runs away to a high mountain. She believes in Elsa and her ability to change the “deep, deep, deep, deep snow” of Arendale back into summer even when Elsa doesn’t believe in herself. Even after being mortally wounded by Elsa she doesn’t give up on her and finally gives herself sacrificially to save Elsa from the Prince Hans in a final act of true love which helps Elsa finally see that her power could be used for good and doesn’t need to be separated or ashamed. This act of true love saves both Elsa and Anna and the two are finally reconciled.

It especially resonates with me that true love here is portrayed as sacrificial and unconditional and not just romantic love as it so often is. This is the love that Jesus showed to us by suffering and dying on the cross for us while we were still sinners. The power in that sacrifice ought to jolt us awake recognize the destructive power of sin and find true acceptance to be ourselves and a supernatural empowerment to use all of our abilities for good rather than evil in our world. Unfortunately, too many people are more like Elsa, aware of their own failings but completely incapable of controlling them on their own. It is only in the true sacrificial love of Jesus do we find redemption so that sin does not control us any longer.

Not only does Frozen tell an amazing story but it also has amazing songs and unforgettable characters. I encourage everyone to see Frozen and consider what role you would play in narrative (I’ve even encouraged cashiers and waitresses the last few weeks!). There is something for us all to learn there. I tried to read more about the screenplay writer Jennifer Lee to determine if she was a Christian. There is little information I could find except that she is married, has an eleven-year old (that sings “Do you want to build a snowman” in the movie), and also wrote the screen play for Wreck-it Ralph which also is filled with themes of true friendship, acceptance, and the destructive power of evil. These themes are part of our very DNA and it seems they are trying to reach out to us and teach important lessons to the next generation (or to mine since I love the movie just as much as my daughter).

I’ve never preordered a movie before but thanks to Amazon this one will be arriving at my house on March 18th. I know the analogy isn’t perfect and I’m not trying to stretch it too far. I’m just excited to watch it with my children and use examples from it to teach my children important lessons about faith, love, and sacrifice.

20140120-215305.jpg

The Road to Silent Musing

A 9 hour drive in the car has the potential to give this silent muser A LOT to think about! Especially if the rest of my family falls asleep which happens frequently. I’m always the driver so that luxury doesn’t fall upon me.

Like many other long trips I’ve found myself on, I find my mind wandering through all sorts of topics. But this time it was a little different. In the past all the thoughts would go through my mind and I would just enjoy the time, with little to no intention of saying much of it to anyone.

Since I started this blog, I’ve found myself desiring to sit down and write. A new and strange desire to me as I’ve always hated to sit down and write a paper for a class. And while driving through 3 states on vacation I was wishing there was an app that would record my thoughts for further editing! Instead I was jotting down topics and ideas for future blogs at each rest area and gas station.

So as the new year begins and I head down roads previously unknown I hope you’ll join me.

A Resolution Never Made is Never Broken

As the year quickly draws to an end, I can’t help but reflect on the year and decide if this year I will choose a New Years Resolution. I can’t remember the last time I chose one. I suppose after you choose so many and fail you just sorta give up. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make changes or improve.

2013 was definitely a year that opened up my eyes to understanding more about me. I could stew over those things, use them to be down on myself. Instead, I want to use those things to become a better person and grow in all my relationships.

So, maybe I’ll read more, clean more, be more patient, loose some weight, eat better, etc.

But really I just want to be open to growth. Here’s to a stronger, better me in 2014!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!