Friday, January 28, 2011


I've been thinking about jealousy lately.  And I'm wondering if maybe jealousy has gotten a bad rap.  I can remember in the early years of my relationship with my husband any time I was jealous it was viewed as a bad thing.  And it's that bad rap that causes so many of us to be puzzled by the bible verse that says "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14)  Wait...God's name is jealous and he is jealous.  Then how can jealousy be bad?  I think it all has to do with the heart.  What is at the root of jealousy we feel?  Is it truly the jealousy mentioned in Exodus 34:14 or is it something else entirely?  

When my motives are my own selfishness, like if I'm jealous because my neighbor drives a nicer car than I do, or the friend with the new engagement ring just trumped my great weekend story, or my coworker got the promotion that I wanted then I can be sure that I'm not feeling the same thing that the bible talks about in the verse above.  

But there are also times when jealousy is the warning that things aren't as they should be.  And I think that this is when I'm more in line with what God means when he says that his name is jealous.  We were meant to have a certain order to our relationships.  No one, aside from God, should come before my spouse.  And so if the time and attention that is rightfully my spouse's is going to someone else, he would have the right to get jealous.  It would be a holy jealousy just like what is mentioned in Exodus.  

God can't be selfish, he can't be petty.  He is to be honored and loved and cherished above all else.  He knows when he's occupying a lower place in our lives and hearts and he is jealous.   He knows that the best thing for us is when we put him first, so when we don't he's jealous.  It's the outpouring of pure love, and that's the one time when jealousy can be a good thing.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Learning to let go

The last four months have been so strange.  For the 19 1/2 years preceding these last 4 months, my daughter was a constant in my life.  From the minute she entered this world until 4 months ago, the longest we had been apart was 1 week.  She didn't go to daycare, she didn't go to preschool, she was homeschooled.  She did sleepovers and playdates and even a week here and there at camp, but most of the time we were together.  After she graduated she had college classes and work and her own life, but we were at least connecting each evening as she told me about her day and asked about mine.  So it's been strange to have her gone with only 1 weekend home in the last 4 months.

Naturally it's made me think about what it really means to let go.  I knew it wouldn't be easy but my goal has always been with both of my kids to grow them up and launch them into independence.  But I was unprepared for how un-ready my heart would feel.  I wasn't prepared for the feeling that life went way too fast.  That the season of being a close family unit of 4 is over way before I thought it would be.  When my kids were school age I would tell them that I wanted my babies back.  I didn't want another baby, but I wanted to hold my babies, while they were babies, one more time.  

During these 4 months that my daughter has been away, my son has been growing into manhood.  He's almost 16, almost the same height as me (I'm 6' 1/2") and desperately wants to be treated like an adult.  And so I struggle doubly with the sense that life has gone way too fast.  That the years that seemed to stretch out before me when they were little are almost over.  And it brings so much anxiety.  Did I teach them the right things?  Did they learn how precious they are in my eyes and especially in God's eyes.  What if I made mistakes? (I did)  What if they make mistakes? (they will)  

But when I sift it all out it comes down to one key truth.  I'm trying to control things that are out of my control.   God didn't ask me to grow the fruit, He only asked me to be obedient in planting and watering seeds in my kids' lives.  I can't take credit for the good that God has grown in them and I can't somehow make things grow faster or better than the speed that God is allowing it to grow at.  God asked me to set a foundation in their lives.  He knew I would make mistakes, He knew I wouldn't be perfect, but he blessed me with 2 beautiful people to raise and enjoy anyway.  

My goal is to learn to let go while cherishing the relationships as they exist right now.  I want to live each day thankful for what I have rather than longing for what once was or what could have been.  Only by staying connected to and submitted to God do I have a hope of succeeding at that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I just finished reading the book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I guess that I'm naive because I had no idea that things were that bad in the 60's.  I didn't know that people thought their black maids carried diseases and germs that whites didn't have immunity to.  I've never been able to understand prejudice.  I've never understood how someone can look at a physical characteristic and dislike a person because of it.  I grew up in a predominantly white school.  We had a handful of other races.  But it was just skin in my opinion.  I don't remember looking at a person and making a decision about them just because of how they looked.

My favorite baby doll as I was growing up was black.  It was in the 70's and I thought she was the prettiest doll at the store and it never even occurred to me that anyone might have an issue with her skin color.  Why would they?  She was beautiful.  I can remember taking her everywhere and one day when going to visit relatives I got  my first comment.  My older relative said "why did you bring that nigger baby with you?"  What???  I knew that was a word you didn't say.  And I was angry.  My doll was beautiful; her skin was an amazing chocolate color, her hair was dark dark brown.   I wanted to bring her with me everywhere.  And I can remember thinking (at 7 years old) "I'm going to grow up and marry a black man so that my babies look like this doll and I'll bring them where ever I want and you better not say anything about it."

It still puzzles and angers me when I hear racist statements.  I just don't get it.  Our DNA is the same.  And more than that, God created us with unique physical characteristics.  And He considers us all equally His children.  Our skin color, the shape of our eyes, our hair-- none of that matters.  God looks at our hearts, and so should we.

I love culture, I love the uniqueness and richness of the different cultures--I don't want a big melting pot where we don't have differences anymore.  But I do want a world where everyone is accepted and respected just as they are.