December 29, 2015

Embracing God's Design

Image credit: Johanna Kautt

Recently I watched an ad by Google®.  It was a very well made advertisement (not surprising, they’re Google®, right?).  It presented a “man” who was born and grew up as a female, but had always felt like a male.  So, after several years of struggling with who she was and who she felt she was, she decided to have gender reassignment surgery.  Breast removal and then lots of hormones injected to deepen her voice and cause facial hair to grow, and all that.  

This sickened me and sadden me.  And, yet, I felt like I could relate.  Because I’ve always felt more masculine, and was a definite tomboy as a younger person growing up, and even thought I’d be a boy when I grew up (that was when I was a lot younger).   And I still struggle with how my body looks, and the lack of femininity, at least as to how I view it.

But, then I really think about it, and wonder how God feels.  He made me, and this woman, how we are: as women.  Female.  We may not have the biggest chest, skinniest bodies, or the prettiest faces, but He made us uniquely, distinctly, female.

And so I thought: If I’m not okay with that, then I’m not okay with who God made me.  If I change the way I look with multiple surgeries, trying to change into something I’m not – then I’m essentially slapping God in the face and saying, You didn’t know what You were doing when You designed me as a female.  So, I’m going to fix Your mistake.  What a thing to say to the God who created the universe with the very words of His mouth, and designed the intricate human cells and DNA!  To think that He isn’t smart enough to “get it right,” and that I, a fallible and mistake-prone human, am somehow more brilliant and wise!  

No!  He knit me, and that lady – and every other woman (and man) – together in our mother’s womb just the way He wanted us to be.  (Granted, sin does come in and mess things up a lot, but that’s a different topic altogether.)
Image credit: Johanna Kautt

And I can choose to either embrace that – and thank God for how He made me – or, I can reject it, and slap God right up side the face, and try to change who I truly am.

No removal of body parts or injections of hormones is going to change the design of my DNA and chromosomes.  My DNA tells me I’m a woman.  My fallen, sinful mind, and the deceived world, is the one telling me I’m something other than a woman.  They’re telling me I am who I feel I am at any given moment. 

I’ve chosen not to listen to what the world is saying, but, rather, to embrace my womanhood.  To enhance my femininity.  To allow God to mold me into the woman He designed and destined me to be.

The only kind of changing I’m going to do to myself is to adorn who God has already made me to be. 

“Let your adornment… be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit: which is very precious in the sight of God.”  1 Peter 3:3-4

People look on the outside.  God looks at the heart.

Image credit: Johanna Kautt

December 9, 2015

Singleness, Invisibility, and Perspective

Singleness really does equal invisibility sometimes. When your well-meaning friends say things which only make you feel worse, and ask again "why not me God?" That irrational fear you experience because you don't know how else to be faithful, or to do God's will. And what am I doing wrong to still be here?
So, next time you talk with your single friends, keep in mind that they too have dreams and aspirations and fears and hurts, and make sure your words are wise and considerate.

December 7, 2015

Out + About

A few times this Autumn, my sister Jo and I have taken some time to get photos from our small town, and each time we have returned with a treasure trove of great shots.  Saturday was no exception.  I will share just a few of the several I took, at a local cemetery, and around town.

December 2, 2015

Let Truth Ring Out

I wrote this short article back in June of last year.  But, I thought I'd share it, seeing that it is just as relevant today today as it was then.  

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Image credit

Talking, in today’s culture, is over-rated.  Everyone does it.  There seemingly are talk shows about every subject imaginable.  In the midst of all this clamorous chatter, though, how much truth is being proclaimed?  While politically correct verbiage seems to be like Walgreens®: on every corner – truth and truth-preachers are few and far between.  Sadly, Christians, who have been commanded to speak the truth, all too often have been dolefully silent.  Paul, as the Holy Spirit inspired writer of the Book of Ephesians, wrote in chapter four, that “we should [speak] the truth in love.”  Because of this, and numerous similar Scripture passages, Christians must speak out the truth.  But, in order to do so, we need to know why we must speak, how we should go about speaking, and what may keep us from speaking. 

To understand the importance of declaring truth, we must first understand what truth is.  Jesus, speaking to His Father, said, “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”  But why is it imperative for Christians to speak the truth?  Speaking the truth needs to occur because, while lies are being promoted left and right, truth is not being spoken.  Truth frees, but lies enslave.  Consequently, our society has become one full of slaves, as if ‘comfortable slavery’ is more desirable than God’s freedom.  Speaking the truth is important because it combats lies, and may keep people from being led astray into the lies of Satan.  And just because others are not speaking the truth, doesn’t take away our responsibility.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”  Using God’s truth, the Bible, we must speak truth and light into a society of lies and darkness, even if we must do so in the very face of evil. 

Quote source

But simply blaring out the truth is not good enough.  The motivation driving us to speak the truth must be correct.  To speak motivated by the need to always be right is ungodly.  While you may get your point across, the hearer will likely disregard the truth of your message because of your detrimental motivation.  Coupling correct motivation with a gentle, loving manner of speech is a much more effective and God-honoring method.  Paul the apostle wrote later in Ephesians chapter four, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that is may impart grace to the hearers.”  Speak the truth in love.  Graciously present the truth to someone who is in error will keep them from stumbling over the messenger or the way the messenger presents the message.  Our manner of speech should draw the listener to us, like two magnets are drawn to each other.  But if we just carelessly blurt out truth, we will repel people, precisely like two magnets are repelled when you turn one around. 

Into this picture enters a complicated problem: you and me.  We are the problem when we allow things like fear to drive us, and to hamstring us from boldly declaring the truth.  The voice of the fear of man says to us, “People are going to think you’re crazy,” or “You’re going to offend someone.”  Although that may be true, we must learn to fear God, who sees the heart, more than we fear man. 

Another fear we tend to cave in to is the fear of persecution.  Speaking the truth may not be politically correct, and in turn you may get kicked off your own T.V. show.  Or, your business might go bankrupt because you insist on proclaiming the “offensive” truth.  This is real persecution.  But, like the early Christians facing torture and gruesome death for preaching the truth, we must choose to obey God rather than man, and leave the results up to God. 

Sometimes we think that what we do or say has to be big, and if it isn’t then it’s ineffective.  The truth is, though, that change will occur when each of us “speaks truth with our neighbor,” and when we consistently, with our words and our actions, are salt and light to those around us on an everyday basis.  Oddly enough then, the very same thing that is too often the roadblock to solving the problem can be a part of the solution. 

You and I, when we understand the importance of speaking the truth in love, and decide to not be hindered by our fears, become part of the enlightening and preserving medicine for this illness of wicked, dark and artificial chatter.  Even amongst a culture full of clamorous babbling, truth will ring out loud and clear when it is courageously spoken.