Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fire, Faith and Food....

(The view from my computer...that dot in the window is a porch light)
  They say that God works in mysterious ways…and judging by the last 24 hours, I don’t think I could agree more!  For instance, last night I was sitting at my computer, when out of the corner of my eye I kept catching the glimpse of an orange flashing light outside my window.  Now you might remember me sharing months ago about my childhood friend who had moved back into the neighborhood and now lives diagonally across the street from our back yard.  Well, I can perfectly see her house from my bedroom window, and that flash of orange light was coming from her front porch.  This flash of light kind of looked like fire to me…and well having had lost my house to a fire as a kid I’m super sensitive to that….so I started investigating.  Sure enough…IT WAS FIRE!!!  Now mind you, even though I had the best intentions of going to visit this said friend since she’s moved in, and even though we’ve gotten to talk here and there, we haven’t really caught up in YEARS!  The sight of a fire on her front porch changed all of that though, and before I knew it I was running to her house in my pajamas and slippers, banging on her door like a mad woman, and inviting myself in as we searched like crazy for her fire extinguisher!  Luckily her fiancé was quick on his feet and put the fire out fast, before it had time to do any real damage (besides setting a shoe on fire)….and well the whole incident led to us sitting down and chatting for like four hours!!!  We talked about everything….it felt like old times…and for the first time in over a week, I felt like I was talking to someone who GOT me!  It was such a great reminder that true friendship can last…..even through years of absence (and luckily now we have each other’s contact info so we can stay in touch….without any emergencies)!!!
  The interesting thing about that interaction though was how often in our conversation we just kept coming back to God.  Now I LOVE to talk about God…I love to share what He’s teaching me and how I feel He’s working in my life,…..but honestly it’s not something I try to force into conversations….if it comes up great!  If not…okay!  Well obviously God was up to something in this meeting because we always kept coming back to Him!  And as I sat there and listened to her talk, I couldn’t help but think….she’s a Christian and she doesn’t even know it (I mean come on….she believes in God and his free gift, tries to follow his ways and teaches it to her kids.  Just because she only sporadically attends a catholic mass doesn’t mean that she can’t consider herself a child of God…although that’s what she’s been told)!  None-the-less, sitting on her couch, in my PJ’s, talking about my favorite subject….it all felt so right….like this is what the kingdom of God is like!
  Well flash to this morning…..Sunday… day.  I woke up and of course found myself wrestling with the internal debate on whether or not I should actually go to church….a debate I seem to have every week with myself.  Now don’t get me wrong….I LOVE God…I mean I really L-O-V-E Him, with every ounce of my being….and yet ….church is a struggle for me!  It’s like for 164 hours a week I am firm, grounded, solidly following my savior…..trying to live like Him, allowing Him to work in and through me….I feel close to Him, like He’s my best friend who I want to turn to in most every moment.  And yet for those 2 hours a week when I sit in service…..I feel uncomfortable, like I somehow don’t belong in God’s kingdom and how at any moment somebody is going to figure out that I snuck in and put me back in my place!  It’s so weird…and I don’t get it.  I feel free to share my thoughts on faith and live out that said faith all week long; surrounded by people who either don’t believe or just don’t care…but when I get around Christians…I struggle.  I feel like I don’t think like they do (well that’s not completely true….I do believe all the same basics), and I feel like I don’t fit into the outline of how they do things, or want things, or believe things should be.  I feel uncomfortable….and I wonder why I even bother!
(Today's sermon notes to help me mediate on the message all week)
  Today was no different…as I eventually did drag myself to church (although I must admit I am so glad I did because that was one powerful sermon).  The only difference with this week was my sister showed up….my sister with whom I have the rockiest relationship ever!  It was weird….on one hand I was glad she was there….I know she needs a relationship with God, and well to be honest it was nice to have someone to connect to.   On the other hand it was  totally an awkward God thing because some of the things God was speaking to me about during the sermon have to do with her and our rocky relationship.  It was like God knew I needed to hear that sermon, with her there, and thus He got me to church (somewhat kicking and screaming….cause if I were honest it was touch and go as to whether or not I would actually pull in the parking lot or continue driving until I got to panera).  But, I’m glad I got there…and that even in the struggle of it all….I found that I can quickly fall back into knowing I am safe and secure in the arms of Christ…..even if He sucker punches me with a hard hitting sermon!
(this weeks selection of healthy goodness on a budget)
  And then finally there is the issue of food!  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how what I spend my money on really shows what I care about.   I mean, I’d like to think I’m a person who cares for the poor and also want to glorify God by taking care of this body he’s given me but honestly most weeks I spend money on cheap,  unhealthy food, most likely made in warehouses where people are probably getting paid minimum wage to box it up for me, and half the time I don’t even finish it all….what does that say other than I’m cheap, wasteful, and too lazy to make better choices.  So today I decided to take my small weekly grocery budget and head to Whole foods (the only place I could think of to buy “local”, organic food in the dead of winter).  I ended up getting enough food…healthy food… for my week of breakfast and lunches (I eat dinner with the family so I don’t have to worry about that) …and in trying to keep within my budget I ended up only buying what I knew I would eat (without anything going to spoil).  Somehow this makes me feel accomplished… I am being a good steward of all that God has given me….and reminds me that God’s at work in my heart…even in the most unusual, mysterious  ways!
It’s been one of those days though…24 hours of lessons, learning, and leaning on God’s amazing, mysterious grace!

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