Category Archives: Faith & God

Some God in my Gardening

The older I get, the more settled & *cough…ahem…cough* domestic I seem to become. My nightly Google searches have switched from, “what bars are closest to this bar I’m currently at” to, “easy sewing patterns…how to make a pallet dog bed…how to decorate outdoor patio using concrete, rubber bands, & beer tabs.” Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ve taken up gardening…

By “taken up gardening” I really mean, “I’ve developed an obsession for gardening…”

Thanks to Pinterest, a father who has always had a vegetable garden & a plethora of Twitter-communities where gardening is cool again, my obsession has been even more fueled. This is the first year that I’ve had a real decently thriving garden in my yard. I moved to my house about 3yrs ago; a big metropolis village of 300 people. Not that I lived in a real big city before, but a city of 100,000 compared to a village of 300 is a big difference. Trust me, I’m not complaining. AT ALL! I’m a country girl with country roots & cities are not my thing. Now I live smack-dab in the middle of the woods, with a long driveway & land for my dog to run around un-fenced. That also means I have land to plant an outdoor herb & vegetable garden.

While I’ve always had a love for gardening, it was pretty limited when I lived downtown in the city. I had no yard & my “garden” consisted of tomato plants growing in flower pots on my deck. One year my tomato’s seemed to come up missing, while I thought it was a stray raccoon or cat stealing them (cats eat tomato’s???) I later caught my neighbor plucking them off my plants…it did not end well. Another year I bought a “Topsy Turvy” plant from a

my $400 upside down tomato plant

my $400 upside down tomato plant

commercial on TV. This product was made for tight-space living; was hung upside down from a hook & tomato’s grew downward. I thought “perfect” & couldn’t wait to expand my deck garden. Well, the commercial didn’t lie! This plant took off! It grew so well & contained so many tomato’s (definitely factory-produced seeds that grew low-quality, abundant tomato’s) that one day I came home from work to find that my upside down tomato plant had grown into the gutters & the weight had ripped them down & half of my neighbors gutters. A $19.95 product ended up costing over $400 to fix. Nice!

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Green onions & romaine lettuce started from seeds.

So fast-forward a few years & my 3rd season of planting at my house & the soil finally seems dense enough to support a healthy, full garden.
I started my plants from seeds back in March. March, 7th to be exact. As told by the dates I had sharpied on the egg-carton starters. My sunroom had turned into rows of seeds that rooted & bloomed into tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, dill, chives, parsley & lots more! I had containers on my fireplace mantel, Hearst & brickwork, on my fish tank, on the floor, behind the couch…you name it & it had a vegetable or herb. Ohio also had a late spring, so I didn’t get outside to plant until the beginning of June. By that time I had lost some of my vegetables & they had to be replaced with plants purchased from greenhouses. Quite the ordeal of tilling the garden, pulling weeds, planting, mulching, weeding again, watering, weeding again….and again…and again…but they’re a’growin!!!

This may seem like a huge, detailed backstory to someone who has little to no interest in gardening. But those that enjoy it will understand when I say what therapy my little garden has been. The last few years have been very hard & stressful in my personal life. While I have found ways to relieve that stress (I’m a big outdoorsy-girl), there’s a different kind of therapy that comes from working the land & watching something grow. There’s something different about getting your hands dirty, sweating, tending, & then reaping the benefits of something you’ve put your time into.

I listen to music a lot, I rarely watch TV but I always have music on. When I’m out hiking-headphones on, when I’m cleaning the house-music playing in background, when I’m running (okay, let’s be real. When I’m out one-step-up-from-walking)-headphones on. However, when I’m working in the garden…no music. I’m on my hands & knees, digging in the dirt, my dog at my feet, & I’m thinking…figuring stuff out, praying, having conversations in my head. I’m going through an especially hard time right now, making some big decisions & stressing out over what is the right path; in addition to stresses that life already has me boggled down with. Yesterday while in the middle of planting squash, the story of the Israelites popped into my head. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery from the hands of Egypt, however, he didn’t take them to the Promised Land right away. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40yrs; they couldn’t see past their own stubbornness, unforgiveness, frustrations, situations & attitudes. They never even realized how close they were to their promised land until they gave up even more control. This is me, I’m currently in the wilderness. Even though I’m delivered from the bondage I was in, I’m still “wandering” around in the desert until my promised land. Have I done anything wrong?? No. In fact, I’ve done everything right (mostly). I’ve obeyed. I’ve listened. But the reward hasn’t come yet. Is it frustrating? You bet’cha! Especially for someone like me who lives by day planners & loves schedules. Do I feel forgotten? Ignored? Un-worthy? Yes, Yes, Yes. But just like my garden, the harvest will come. The reward will come because I’ve been working the land, planting seeds, watering, & weeding. Is there an area of my life that God is trying to get me to focus on before the harvest can come??? I believe there is. I can only pray that He will reveal that to me so I can move on.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9-

Being in the wilderness stinks, big time. But it will make the harvest that much sweeter. And all these thoughts came because I decided to plant some tomatoes.

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can't wait!

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can’t wait!

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Right Now: my reflections, obsessions & thankful’s in this moment…

Whew!!! What a whirlwind the last few months have been! From family health problems (prayers needed) to a change in work position & my MTI graduation I’ve barely had time to breath let alone blog.

It’s always nice to have a few blog ready-made-ideas when you only have a few moments to spout out a few words, so my fail-safe this week is a “Right Now” installment. My blog
idea topics are pretty tapped out at the moment, so if you’ve got any suggestions I’m open!

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1.)I’m currently reading, watching & listening to… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-this was my selection for May’s Book Club read so I feel obligated to finish it, but truth be told it is PAINFUL to get through!!! Recently went & saw Heaven is for Real in the theatre. Loved it! Followed the book beautifully (some parts were uber-cheesy), but the message was gracefully delivered. And latest music obsessed song, Give me back my Hometown by Eric Church. I’m not even really sure how much I like this song because the lyrics kinda don’t make sense (and the music video was even more confusing) but it’s been in my head for days & the chorus is super catchy–http://youtu.be/l5DnNxDTjbQ

2.) I’m worried about… my Dad’s cancer. It’s spreading & outlook’s not the most positive despite best efforts. But God is good (and forgiving) & I do have faith that His will is always right & this is just a bump towards a greater purpose.

3.) I’m improving myself by… Book Club!!! Me & a few book nerd friends have started a monthly book club. Although we’ve been off to a rough start with some of our selections sucking big time (*cough Tale of Two Cities…*cough Wuthering Heights*) we’ve all hung in there! We’re all so geeked up over reading that others have shown interest to join. Like I said, we’re making reading cool again 😉

4.) I’m excited about… Nerd-alert flash again…but summer gardening. Mother Nature just needs to cooperate & provide some solid warm days with no thunderstorms or cold nights so I can get all my seed starters (which are taking off like crazy!) moved out of my sunroom into the dirt outside!

5.) I’m grateful to God for & asking for forgiveness because… I’ve gained back 15#’s over the winter from my last year. Since my 5k last September I haven’t been out running at all & never kept up with my yoga classes. Recently I’ve got back on track with a running schedule, joined yoga again & have dove in deeper & becoming even more strict with eating habits. So grateful that my daily prayer of strength & endurance is being answered (even though I accidentally fell asleep on the couch after work tonight & missed yoga). I ask forgiveness everyday, today it was because I lost my patience & acted snotty towards someone that probably couldn’t help their behavior. I’m forever a work in progress…

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Yay! I’ve got a Cyber-Blog-Bully-Stalker!!!

Congratulations to me! After almost 3 years of blogging I’ve got my very own Cyber-Blog-Bully-Stalker! I’ve finally achieved “real” blogger status after hearing other bloggers talk about theirs.

After I posted various comments left from my “friend” (as the blog comments are signed) to various personal social media outlets, I’ve received some advice on how to handle the situation. While some advice was a little harsh, in the end I did decide on following the suggestions to write a blog to my cyber-blog-bully-stalker. As of now I have not received any messages from said “friend” in a few days, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down & blog. I’m hoping this puts a finality to the drama that has visited Chapstick Chatter lately.

Dear “friend”…

First off I’d like to thank you for visiting my little page & taking the time to read my thoughts. Since some of your comments left on my blogs referred to how bitter I seem, how I’ll probably die alone with my wine & cats(?…even though I only have one cat) & how God hates me; that at least shows me you read the blogs since your comments flowed nicely with the subject of what I had written. I do appreciate it.

At this point in our anonymous relationship I do almost consider us “friends” even though I know nothing about you other than you like to be a smart-ass from behind a computer screen. And that’s to be expected from someone in junior high (as I can only assume based on this experience). I’m not angry, I was never angry, but in fact I feel bad for you; I’m more curious as to what makes YOU so angry that you feel the need to say,”ugly bitch” & “this is why some people can’t get men” on a blog site???

I’m guessing you’re young & inexperienced with life. I have no doubt your Instagram page is full of Hello Kitty pictures & sparkly fingernails that only young teenagers (kids) post pictures of. Perhaps you’re old enough to have a boyfriend (I’m guessing “yes” since many of your comments were fixated on me not) it’s super cute that you guys have professed your love with a promise ring (because a promise ring always means you’ll stay together forever), but it’s hard for me to take you serious when you tell me that I’ll probably die alone with my wine…especially considering you’re years away from discovering the awesomeness that wine is.

Some of your comments referred to my faith. That God “hates me” & was “disappointed in my rudeness” (huh?). Fortunately, I’m secure enough in my relationship with Him to know that this isn’t true. My guess is that you’re not. And this isn’t your fault. Maybe you’ve never been introduced. So allow me to introduce you to a gentleman who doesn’t hate anything & would never turn his back on His children (even if we were being “rude”). He’s also the one that understands why you seem so angry & is willing to work that anger away.

You’re young. So by default shallow, selfish & silly. Your priorities revolve around “me me me”, but please volunteer your time to causes that change your way of thinking. Someone who puts others first doesn’t leave comments like you did on a strangers blog page. You made reference to my age; calling me a “middle age hag” (another example of your age–I’m in my early 30’s. That’s only middle age if you’re 15) so with your mind set you must not have been taught to respect your elders, I urge you to start. Soon you’ll be on your own & possibly working for a “middle age hag” I promise you an employer doesn’t deal well with punk-kid attitudes.

Be better than this. Be the person the parents of the kid’s you babysit for, believe that you are. We all do stupid things when we’re teenagers (I’m from the generation of prank calls) but it’s not becoming of a girl to be a bully. It’s tasteless & unclassy to use heavy language. You’re obviously very smart & comical, use that in a positive way instead of negative. This has been a good lesson to me on what I post is truly “out there” for all to read & respond.

Just for future reference when you have a blog all comments have to be “approved” first, therefore, I was the only one that saw your comments. They did not post directly to the site. Even though “friend” you did not sign your name to the comments, you did list your email address. As an added courtesy I have added your email to my blog email sign-up. Now Chapstick Chatter will come directly to your email!

I wish you luck & I’m saying in faith that this is the last of our troubles!

-Carey-

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A letter to my Off-the-Market Friends…From your *single* Friend

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Dear Off-the-Market Friends…

This includes: married, engaged, those in long & short term relationships, dating, “talking” to someone, and/or if you’ve made eye contact with the cute guy at the gas station (which in your mind means this is a clue that you need to start shopping for Bridal magazines)…

Let me start off by saying how much I love ya & truly value our friendship. I adore the fact that you’ve found,”the greatest guy on the planet” (as per your gazillion Facebook, Twitter & Instagram posts proclaiming him as such). I think your kids are uber-adorable & I cheese over how sweet your white-picket fence life is. But please allow me one bitter-induced minute to explain why all of it makes me want to vomit.

I really don’t MIND being single, especially when I hear about nasty divorces, cheating spouses, & the fact that I can watch whatever I want on tv BUTwhen I see a 21yr old girl showing off her diamond engagement ring please don’t judge me if I express my desire to punch her in the nose. This is 100% my jealousy, so don’t take offense. I’m equally as jealous of the lady in the grocery store with a ring; the lady that reminds me of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom & I catch myself thinking,”How can she find a man & I still can’t???”

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Regardless of the reality I automatically resort to low self-esteem, Jr. High “Why didn’t anyone ask me to the Winter Dance?” school days. Every girl is someone cuter, thinner, smarter, richer, younger…I’m a chick, that’s how we rationalize things. Please forgive my whiny, self loathing right now (Yes, I’m currently annoyed with myself at the moment).

Friend, don’t get angry if I’m gravitating towards other single friends right now. This has nothing to do with you. When I’m with my single friends we get to bitch & moan about being single while pretending we don’t really care over bottles of cheap wine & chocolate cake. This is also our opportunity to crack on past boyfriends & then look up THEIR wedding pictures on Facebook. Single friends understand that while we would never return to said ex, it drives us crazy that said ex got married before we did (open another bottle, please!). This is a club reserved for those that haven’t found,”the greatest guy on the planet” & it’s a club that, while we like hanging out together, we’re kind of sick of being in. Just like you hang out with other married couples, it would be awkward to bring along a lone single (3rd wheel is never fun).

While I know your intentions are pure, please PLEASE don’t suggest that I join a dating site or suggest that I meet your co-worker Steve,”who is a great guy BUThas a ‘slight’ addiction to crack…”

20140217-174331.jpgI appreciate the fact that you’re trying to set me up with someone but the “BUT” wounds my pride. In essence you’re saying,”the best that I think you can do is a guy who collects belly-button lint & has a passion for toenail art”. Do I expect to end up with a Channing Tatum look-a-like??? No! Because I recognize that I’m no Megan Fox…but is it really too much to ask that he be employed & NOT living with his parents at 35??? And although I have nothing against dating sites, in fact I’ve tried them & have heard that people have had positive results. They’re not for me. I’m choosing to believe that God is writing a different love story for me than a connection on a dating site.

Also, please don’t try to set me up with a guy who dates a different chick every weekend. Early 20’s I would’ve been on-board with that, but early 30’s–not a fan. There’s nothing more revolting than a man who tells a different girl,”I love you” every Saturday night at the bar & then Sunday morning forgets her name. And when I’m crying over that outcome, please don’t follow up with,”God has someone planned for you” or “the right one will come along”. This is why I need my single-friends, they’ll understand how the loss feels more than you do in your wedded bliss.

Know, dear friend, that when you complain to me about how mad you are that your husband didn’t take out the trash or that he forgot Valentine’s Day I’m secretly rolling my eyes at you. When I’m the only one taking out the trash, cleaning the house, paying the bills, fixing the car, figuring out who I’m gonna vacation with, & the only Valentines gift I get is from my dog & that’s cleaning up his bathroom duties out of the yard. Well, my sympathy card is a little thin.

Above all, if one day I find myself in your position nagging & trying to set up another single friend. I ask that you throw this letter in my face & tell me to back off. That seems fair…

Sincerely,
-Your Single Friend-

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Right Now: my reflections, obsessions & thankful’s in this moment.

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1) I’m currently reading, watching & listening to…
-Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I’ve read this novel dozens of times, but I’ve never read it from my 1895 early addition copy. There’s something amazing about holding a copy of a 100+year old book & thinking about all those that have read & held this novel before me.

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-The Butler. It usually takes me days to watch a movie, can’t sit still long enough to watch a full movie. This one I was captivated by & watched all 2+hrs from start to finish. And I watched it the next night as well. Based on a true story of Cecil Gaines, a White House Butler for over 30 years & spans through many Presidencies.

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-I Will Run to You by Hillsong. Sang this song for the first time in church a few weeks ago & I’ve been in love with the lyrics ever since! http://youtu.be/RZGqKqciv8E

2) I’m worried about…money! Isn’t everyone always worried about that???

3) I’m improving myself by…Sewing! My Grandma gave me her sewing machine & I’ve become obsessed. My first attempt was a success (just don’t look to close at the stitching job!). Bandana chair covers for my kitchen table.

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4) I’m excited about…my first solo sermon is this Sunday night. I’ve changed it 4x’s & was supposed to preach last week, but due to the weather class was cancelled. I was very glad because it gave me a chance to completely re-do it again & I loooooove the new approach. And my parents will be there to hear me, woot!

5) I’m grateful to God for…so much this month! Above all for friends & family that helped me through some car problems when I didn’t know what I was going to do!
I’m asking God for forgiveness because…I threw a temper tantrum & doubted He would come through! Which He did!

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And yet another example of why people should never attempt at turning an exotic animal into a “pet”…

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The good thing about having a blog is I can voice my opinion in a controlled environment in an attempt at a well-thought out debatable essay, especially when the topic is controversial & most people like the sound of their own spouting rather than say something worthy & substantial. Which is why I urge everyone to start a blog, it’s much cheaper than therapy & you reduce the number of people you want to shake & say, “really???” Everyone has an opinion, however, not everyone’s opinion is informative. Most are emotional & not factually based.

Recently in my hometown a spider monkey was euthanized after biting a human, without getting into specifics (you can look it up on Fox 8 Cleveland’s website) the outrage is getting a little ridiculous & in my opinion, the anger is severely displaced. I have worked in the animal industry for 12 years professionally & have earned several degrees over the course of that time all animal related (with the exception of a Business degree thrown in). While I by no means claim to be an expert, in fact, I’m humbled & excited by how much I have yet to learn, I do have a little more experience with the industry than most people voicing an emotional opinion. I have worked with horses, livestock, reptiles, domesticated, avian, wildlife, aquatics, pocket pets, & exotics. I have personally worked with spider monkeys both in a zoo facility & an exotic animal rehabilitation center, not to mention the rotation I did during college where I worked in the vet department of an animal testing facility that tested on Spider & Capuchin Monkey’s (don’t get me started on that!) When I say that these animals are NOT meant to be pets, that’s not an exaggeration.

I’m not here to bash the owner or all the supporters of the owner, their actions (or lack thereof) speak for themselves. It was an unfortunate situation with heartbreaking results & I’m sure after the emotion has died down, the owner(s) will realize the role they played in this situation & I’m trusting will not make the same decisions again. Whether it’s a domesticated animal or an exotic animal, when you choose to bring one into your home you have a responsibility to that animal to keep it safe. That includes obeying all laws, following all regulations & being knowledgeable about the animal that trusts you.

As I’m sure most of you amazing readers know, several years ago a guy let loose dozens of exotic animals onto the streets of Zanesville, Ohio. After that incident people were OUTRAGED over the destruction & mass killing of several of these animals…all senselessly. There is always good that can come from every situation and Ohio started adapting stricter exotic animal laws to more safely regulate what people can own & the standards by which they have to house these animals. Ohio went from being the worst (no exaggeration) state to being one of the most regulated. Ohio even created a whole department within the Department of Agriculture to regulate, monitor & fine private & public organizations and owners who have chosen to own exotic animals. While it has been costly for owners & organizations it also has cut down on people owning exotic animals & regulates how many animals a rescue can financially support. I know it may seem like another Government interference but (to me) it’s common sense to monitor this trend that is way out of control & long overdue.

People should not own exotic animals to keep as pets, ever! And you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that works in the animal field to disagree. God created all things for a very specific purpose & when people try to change that purpose, senseless things like the recent Spider Monkey euthanasia happen. Love plays a big part on why people decide to incorporate an exotic animal into their home; they “love” a certain animal species, so naturally they want to own it. This doesn’t make sense to me. You “love” something, so you decide to keep it from living out its God designed purpose? Not to mention it’s a selfish way to think. Because YOU decide that YOU want to own an exotic animal YOU get one. You’re putting your needs before the welfare of the animal. The very essence & definition of love is putting somebody else’s needs above your own. The very animal that you decide to own can teach you that lesson by observing it in a natural environment; a mama bear will always protect her cubs before thinking about her safety.

My best-bud & greatest workout personal trainer I’ve ever had is my dog, Waylon, an Australian Cattle Dog. This dog loooooooves to be outdoors & is the epitome of energy! And I adore him for that. But Australian Cattle Dogs are designed to do exactly what their name implies. They herd cattle. This is their purpose in life, their instinct. What God has created them to do. I’m responsible for stealing his joy, on a daily basis, because I don’t fulfill that need in my dog. Is my dog happy…absolutely. Is he well taken care of…you’ve never met a dog more spoiled. But the level of happiness Waylon would achieve if getting that need met daily is nothing that I can provide him right now. He gets spurts of that activity; many chances to “herd” horses around the farm, squirrels & chipmunks are a daily roundup, he even “herds” me when we’re out on our daily walks/runs. As his owner, someone who he puts his trust in, it is my responsibility to make sure that instinct is met…and I fail at this, I’m 100% to blame & it is a selfish act on my part because I wanted this rescue dog. Just like other fellow dog owners who fail at this if they don’t provide the same opportunity with their dogs & their instinctual purposes. The difference is, these are “domesticated” animals. Through years of evolving, dogs are no longer wild & now know their place within the hierarchy of a human family unit. Exotic animals will never be domesticated, it’s a scientific fact. And even if some mutant gene forms & they do become domesticated, it will never be in our generation or in our great-great-great-gazillion great grandkid’s generation. When humans interfere too much with changing Mother Nature, we do more harm than good. She’s been around a lot longer than we have & is a hell of a lot smarter than we are. Believe it or not but humans are not entitled to own everything on this planet just because we “want” it, there are some things that don’t belong to us. Every time you support a company that does research using animals by purchasing their products, every time you buy an animal from a breeder instead of adopting or not spaying/neutering your pet, every time you pay money to watch animals being put on display (circus’s, rodeo’s) you are selfishly contributing to the destruction of mother nature. I’m guilty of this as well, it will forever be a lifetime of choices that you have to make. Not one person can save the world, but everybody can do their small contribution & that does add up.

I’m very passionate about animal rights, especially on rescue/rehabilitation work (not buying from breeders, spaying/neutering, etc.) & exotic animal rights. When you work in the industry you see the effects that human’s selfishness & stupidity can cause. If I was friends with myself, I would be annoyed with myself when I get on a soapbox about it. I know that I can nag about this topic, but it’s because it’s so important. Think about something you’re passionate about, something you’re willing to fight for…can you really nag it enough? I would rather beat this topic to death than know it’s going on & remain silent. Many times I’ve prayed to not know some of the things that I know & to not have seen some of things I’ve witnessed because the weight of the problem can seem overwhelming, especially when people don’t seem to care or heed your advice. But in those moments I’m reminded of the animals I’ve seen emaciated, beaten, left to freeze to death on frozen ground, of the animals I’ve personally had to put to death because people have chosen to buy from a breeder and/or not spay & neuter. The exotic animals behind cages who were meant to roam freely, the lab animals injected with cancer-causing agents so humans can get the right scent of body wash & the poaching of game who were unfortunate enough to be born with a much desired delicacy. If people are made aware of the problems, they cannot claim ignorance. Whether or not they choose to do something about their contribution to the problem is up to them & therefore the responsibility of that decision, good or bad, also falls on them. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
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God doesn’t need us to defend Him, only to represent Him.

I’m going to try to present my thoughts clear in this blog, not jumbled like they’ve been in my head the last few days.
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Recently I read a post on Facebook (isn’t Facebook always a tool that can get us fired up?) where I had to force myself not to get drawn into a heated discussion on God & how He chooses to distribute His blessings. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions on everything & anything, however, one does need to decide if a battle is worth pursuing. For me, this battle was not. What bothered me, even more than the initial post that was made, was a response that another person, a fellow Christian, had. As a Christian, you have a responsibility to represent God well & that does not include belittling someone for their lack of faith or knowledge of His ways & Word. It’s that belittling of non-Christians that make so many people say Christians are “hypocritical”. And in my personal experience, the majority of people who have issues with faith & God are more knowledgeable about the Bible on a scholarly level than those that grew up in church. Accepting Christ as your Savior doesn’t automatically give you permission to start shouting Fire & Brimstone at every person you meet just for the sake of starting an argument to make others feel inferior. Trust me, that’s not how God wants you to represent Him or His kingdom.

Anyone can quote scripture. Take a look around at all the people who have never even set foot inside a church but suddenly turn to the Bible to find a new tattoo idea. It’s the understanding of a Bible scripture that you should strive towards & that will be a lifelong journey because a Bible verse can change its meaning for you depending on what situation you need it in. Are there contradictions in the Bible, yes…absolutely. But learn the history of that time, learn that most contradictions are Old Testament/New Testament & before you start debating the contradictions or shutting people down learn the “why’s”. If you’re a Christian, study it. If you’re not, study it. What you’ll find is that everything is intertwined & truly does line up. Knowing one scripture doesn’t mean jack, but knowing the “meaning” behind it does. Spend time in church, talk to Pastors, join Bible Studies, and get in the Word. Before you take a stand for or against faith, learn from people who know a lot more about it than you do. If you take that mentality, you will find that you do a lot more listening than spouting off of the mouth.

God doesn’t need us to defend Him, only to represent Him.

God is the ultimate UFC fighter & can defend himself a lot better than we’ll ever be able too! You do not defend Him by making yourself seem superior. There’s a lot of debate on, ”The Bible says this…the Bible says that…” and I’m guilty of this, as well. But you can’t hide behind the Bible when it suits your agenda & then ignore the parts that you yourself don’t want to change. It doesn’t work like that. And I’m forewarning you that this will always be a struggle. To say you’re against homosexuality because, “the Bible says its wrong” but overlook the parts on pre-marital sex, jealousy, or having an adulterous affair because it cuts out on the fun you’re having well frankly that doesn’t make sense to me. To say having an abortion is wrong because, “the Bible says it’s wrong”, but then lie to your boss the next day that you’re “sick” when really you want to stay home & veg out on the couch…that’s equally as wrong. Sorry, but you don’t get to pick & choose. It’s easy to point fingers at someone & condemn their actions when you’re not directly involved. Do you realize that sin is sin in the eyes of God. When you stand on your Judgment Day you will be held to the same standard that Hitler was for that teensy-weensy little lie that you told when you decided to break a date.

How about that perspective? How about feeling superior now?

It’s not meant to scare you. It’s not meant to make you feel bad about decisions you’ve made, but it is to make you realize that you’re no better (or worse) than anybody else. When you represent God that means you LOVE others whether or not you agree with their decisions, actions, or choices. You don’t treat people cruelly because they think differently than you do. You don’t lower yourself to name-calling tactics. We don’t always have to agree on everything, but we do always have to respect each other’s opinions. And we don’t shut people out or close off their comments just because it goes against what we believe to be right (or wrong). Do you think for a second that God agrees with everything that we choose to do? How many messes have you found yourself in because you went against what you knew God wanted you to do? Does God love us or forgive us any less because we expressed our own free-will?

Thank goodness that He doesn’t!

There isn’t one person on this planet who is absolutely without sin or perfect (despite what you may think). In the history of time there was only one person who WAS absolutely perfect & without sin, you know who that is & you also know what He went through because of it. The Bible, the same one that you believe to be the living Word of God, is filled with people that messed up big time. But God still used them for his greater good, so how can you count or dismiss somebody’s thoughts because their different than your own. You may be the only example of God in somebody’s life, so represent Him well.

Whether or not God exists, whether His Word is the living love-letter from Him to us is always going to be a topic of debate. I know what I believe just the same as you know what you believe. Each one of us can get frustrated because the other person doesn’t “see” what we “see”, but I will leave you with this: one day each of us will die. It could be in 60years or it could be before you even finish reading this blog. I would rather live my life every day, believing in God & following his Word as closely as I can only to find out that He never existed. I know I still lived a good, clean life. Not perfect, not without blemish but by having that faith kept me from a damaged conscious because I believed in forgiveness for mistakes & took steps to correct sinful behavior. I’d much rather follow that belief than to live my whole life thinking that God doesn’t exist only to find out that He does & I had been wrong. God fights for you up until your very last breath & just because you’re a “good person” doesn’t mean you get a free pass into heaven, any more than then being a “Christian” does. I don’t like it any more than you do. I know plenty of people I’d consider to be a “good person”, but I don’t get to decide that.

If you’re a Christian, represent Him well. You’re not perfect, so don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to be. We all lose our cool. We all sin. We all say & do things that we regret. It’s the behavior that you choose after the regret that will leave others will the biggest impression of Christ.

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