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Just another stay at home mom trying to do it all, save the world, and not run out of coffee.
My published articles: exm.nr/gkA1yp
Twitter: @CarolBruckmann

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Morning Girls!

Jeannie at http://www.cupofjoewithjeanie.com/ peaked my interest in Good Morning Girls, basically a group of women who use email, facebook, texting or twitter to keep each other accountable for their quiet times. There was no way I could commit to a book group (I never finish them), a regular weekly meeting time, or a drawn out workbook study (I never finish those either). So I felt led to invite a bunch of women on facebook to start a group to read the daily Scripture given by GMG and then share what insights God revealed to them. I was humbled and excited to end up with 45 women, four of whom I don't even know, join the group. Actually I panicked big time because I was to be the facilitator of sorts for the group, many of whom far surpass me in spiritual maturity.

My group has shared such wonderful insights in the two days we have fellowshipped online together. It touches my heart to have women from college age to grandparents, from all different denominations and spiritual growth, and from three different continents in the group. You would be amazed at the spiritual growth and depth of knowledge that can come from a group of women meditating on the same verse or two throughout a day.

The two verse selections from the previous days were obviously inspired. They touched each heart in our diverse group in the way that particular verse needed. This is what struck me:

Monday: Psalm 127:1 - A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
As I read the verse I pictured pilgrims in Solomon's day climbing the hill toward the temple in Jerusalem with their sacrifices. Perhaps there is even construction going on at the temple or on Jerusalem's walls. As the pilgrims climb they sing this psalm as a prayer that God will protect Jerusalem. Even though the temple, palace, and city walls are strong they know that it is the Lord who blesses the building and protects the city.

The verse reminded me that I must have God at the center of my life and everything I do. Otherwise everything I do, no matter how busy I am "for God" or how good the thing seems, is in vain. That's hard to swallow for someone as bossy and Type A as me! As a busy mom I need to take the time to pray and meditate to ensure that all the things I do are really God's will for me. There is no way I can do all I think I should do, and in the end all that really matters is the things of God!

Tuesday: John 15:4-5 – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
If you look back at verse one you see that Jesus says "I am the true vine". The people of Israel saw the grapevine as a symbol of their national prosperity. But the true vine wasn't Judaism or it's rituals and heritage, and today the true vine isn't church or our rituals. The Christian life is "abiding" (being vitally united to) Him. Secondly, it struck me that Jesus (for some crazy reason) wants to also abide in us. I pray that God would shape me into a vessel that would better fit such an honor! This verse honestly got me through a day in which my patience was repeatedly tested. I found myself mentally repeating "abide... abide... abide..." and seeking that ever elusive fruit of the spirit - patience. The only fruitfulness in my life that isn't rotten in the scope of eternity is that which comes from abiding in Him and doing His will in my life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

“In time we hate that which we often fear.”

If I had been an impulsive DC area college student, I'm sure I would have run out in my pajama pants with the rest of my dorm to whoop it up in front of the White House. It's possible that had I lost a loved one in New York I would have assembled at the WTC or posted a Facebook status using words I wouldn't want my mother to read. But when Osama bin Laden was reported killed I was sitting on my couch working on my laptop, safe and secure within my suburban house. I wasn't sure what I felt. It wasn't joy. It wasn't sadness.

Of course part of me was glad he was dead. I'd love to treat Navy Seal Team 6 to a nice steak dinner for their bravery and service to my country. But the bigger part of me was sad that such evil exists in our world to begin with. I was sad that a person could end up as evil as bin Laden and thus never experience redemption. I wasn't surprised by all the people, many of them professing Christianity, tweeting and messaging their joy that Osama is burning in Hell. I agree that he deserves it. But then again, so do I.

And some part of me was bothered by the celebratory nature of the crowd outside the White House. Almost immediately my mind jumped to the crowds in the Middle East celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers a decade ago. One group was a crowd of young adults for whom Osama bin Laden was the villain overshadowing their formative years, the other a mob raised on a putrid diet of comic books and leaders teaching that America is the "Great Satan" responsible for the evil in the world. At the base of it all is hate and a tale as old as time. Throughout history we have vilified those different than us, whether those "other" were actual villains or not. Our nature is to divide, to cabal, to sling mud. It's us vs. them, Jews vs. Gentile, black vs. white, dog people vs. cat people, butter side up vs. butter side down.

I'm not a purveyor of moral equivalence - I do realize there is real evil in the world - but I am left as a Christian parent to raise my children to hate what is evil while clinging to what is good without denigration. I wonder how to balance teaching them that enemies exist while teaching them to not rejoice when their enemy falls, to not let their hearts be glad when he stumbles. Can we truly love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us? Some do. I hope my children can, but in the back of my mind I know that the reason they as Americans can more easily rise to that occasion is that people like Seal Team 6 are busy in the world, protecting their right to do so.

Shalom Seekers