If only candy poured out of my mouth, instead of words...
Have you ever raised your hand in church? Not as an expression of worship and praise, mind you, but to add your own two cents to the sermon?
Well, I have. I was in eighth or ninth grade, and my friend’s dad was the guest preacher at my church one Sunday night. He happened to use the same scripture passage that my Sunday School class had examined that morning (Ephesians 3:14-19 – I still remember), so I’d had all day to think about it. When he reached the end of his message, I shot my hand into the air. With some confusion but no lack of respect, he called on me, and from my place in the pews I told the whole congregation what I thought about said scripture passage.
Perhaps I should have been a Quaker rather than a Baptist.
So this is one thing you should know about me: when I have a thought about God, about the Bible, about trying to live in this crazy world as if God and the Bible really mean something – I have to let it out. HAVE. TO.
Sometimes I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I wonder if my pastor gets tired of hearing my “ideas” all the time. I wonder if the other people at the ministry meetings I attend wish I wouldn’t talk so much so that our meetings would be shorter. I wonder, especially after hearing them come out, whether more of my thoughts ought to stay inside my head. I wonder why in the world I do have this strange compulsion to speak, write, or otherwise manage to express so stinkin’ much of what I think.
I believe I have a kindred spirit in the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts describes his many preaching adventures and his prolific writing makes up a big chunk of our New Testament. He wrote with excitement and fervor, as if the ideas in his head were just too good or too important to stay hidden there. In 1 Corinthians 9:16, he described himself as being “compelled” (NIV, Message) to preach – for him, speaking his mind when it came to God was an “obligation” (NRSV), even a “necessity” (NKJV).
I don’t expect to become any sort of 21st-century Paul (Paulette?), but I do understand how he felt about writing and speaking. My writing and perpetual speaking up (and out...) are in some ways beyond my control. They are necessary for me. I literally cannot rest until my thoughts are out.
Something else you should know: I trust God to do something with these words that I emit so frequently. If just one person is blessed by them, then I will have been right in letting them out instead of keeping them to myself.
Both of those things fuel the existence of this blog.
A few other things you might like to know (some I have mentioned before, others I have not):
I give most of my blog posts a positive slant because it’s good practice for me. I frankly hope I don’t come across as “Annoyingly Happy Jesus Girl” because that’s not who I am. I have gone through counseling and taken medication for depression and anxiety, and what I gained from both of those was the ability to counter my negative thoughts – which at times were so overbearing that I had panic attacks – with positive ones. This is not a practice I take lightly or that I ever want to abandon.
I majored in Religion and minored in History at Wake Forest University because those were my favorite subjects. I had no particular career plans. I do not advise current high school and college students to take this approach to their college educations, though I would add that God can make something good come from anything (Romans 8:28).
Immediately after college, I went Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Virginia), mainly because I loved school and wanted to learn more. I chose that particular school because I fell in love with the library. My career plans were still foggy at best. I did have a deep desire to follow God’s will for me, but I had no real idea what that was.
Seminary gave me the opportunities to travel that I have not had before or since. (Well, I could have done study abroad in college, but I didn't.) While in seminary I went to Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Austria. Hearing the Muslim calls to prayer in Bosnia remains one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
I began a Ph.D. program at Union Theological Seminary/Presbyterian School of Christian Education (also in Richmond) with the plan to become a professor of Church History. Boy 1 was ten weeks old on my first day of class. I only went one semester, and I do not regret my decision to quit (though I must say that I made all A’s!).
My college and seminary years were also my darkest. I felt incredibly separate from God. It hurt my heart to go to church, because I knew what was missing – the feeling that God was with me. So I didn’t go to church much. The threads with which I remained tied to God were nature, music, service, and the love of others (which were all, in fact, manifestations of the love of God, though I didn’t recognize it at the time). When Big Boy came into the picture of my life – and didn’t leave the picture – the threads began to grow stronger.
Whenever I hear a British accent, it takes me several hours to stop emulating it. The first time I watched “Pollyanna” as a kid, I spoke like Hayley Mills for a good week. The trouble is, I l-o-v-e British dramas. Big Boy probably wishes I’d stop watching so much “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock.”
I have an older brother who is mentally handicapped. My dearest, oldest friend recently asked me if I’d ever thought about writing a book about growing up with him, but in all honesty, it was just childhood to me. He was a kid, I was a kid; we played together. We just didn’t grow up together.
I have perfect pitch. I can also “hear” harmonies in my head. I don’t know why God gave me these particular gifts, but I love and cherish them.
My heart breaks open every time I look at my boys sleeping. I dread the day when I can’t do that anymore.
I really can’t decide which I prefer: beach or mountains.
I also can’t decide which I prefer: eastern or western (Lexington) North Carolina barbecue.
blame attribute my indecisiveness on both of these hot-button issues to the fact that I grew up in eastern NC, yet both of my parents are from western NC.
I can get none of these things in Memphis.
And last, but not least: I AM SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE! J