I don’t know what season it is where you live, but as the cold of winter begins to lose its hold, and green tips of crocus and daffodil begin to poke up between the dry brown winter brush, the coming of spring, like the changing of all seasons, is bittersweet. As a way-marker, another season passes away, and yet a new one begins. How many more will there be?
I fixed my family a hot breakfast this morning. There are many days that doesn’t happen because my boys are teens, they sometimes want to eat before school, and sometimes they don’t. And hubby isn’t picky, cereal, oatmeal, a bagel, it’s all fine with him. Me, I don’t even get hungry til eleven or noon. Standing over a hot stove for 20 minutes or more, then having to deal with a plumbing issue, I got a little too warm, so I went out and sat on our front porch swing for a while to cool off.
We have a nice porch. Not fancy. But inviting. Screened in. A work crew is putting up a new house across the street, so I rocked in the swing, watching them for a bit, before coming back inside. I love the seasons we have in Virginia. I would go so far as to say that I don’t think I could happily live anyplace that didn’t have those distinct seasons.
The years of my husbands and my life together have not been easy. I came into the marriage with a great deal of woundedness. I really and truly had not dared to hope that the love he and I share, would ever be available to me, much less that I’d be blessed with motherhood, with 2 such great sons. This world can be a cruel place, and I think that people are tired. I’d been through so much by the time my husband and I met. I know he got cheated. The first years of our marriage where fraught by devastating interference on the part of my mother-in-law, at the same time that I was still healing from prior abuse. It took the unconditional love of both my Lord, and my precious husband, for me to feel safe enough to work though all that. I do have several medical conditions which, in combination are impairing. But I have no doubt that the years of stress that I endured in my 20′s are the very thing that set the stage for the later physical mal-functions. Being so depleted, I did suffer depression for a long time. And yet I fought it tooth and nail because by God’s grace and wisdom, He gave me a stubborn streak a mile wide. The cyclic nature of my depression and mood issues was really almost like an echo of the instability of my life in general for so long. It was like when my mind got so weary it could no longer manage the burden, it was handed off to my body. So the body compensated for a while, as the mind de-compensated. Mental illness, depression, call it what you will. There is no darkness darker, and I’ll take physical pain any day of the week over the excruciation of deep depression.
I was sick in mind, body and spirit. Exhausted and depleted. I was that way as a newlywed, as a full-time RN with a new baby, and then two. All through my 3os. I was a good nurse. I loved the job. I loved my patients. But when I got to the point that I was internally empty, to where even the “needs” of my patients caused me to feel resentment because I was so needy myself, when I could no longer keep a running “task manager” in my brain, and keep up with the demands of nursing, I knew I had to step back because my integrity would not allow me to give less to my patients. The job of a nurse is much too serious a business to do any part of it “halfway”. I expected it to be temporary. Little did I know that although I would work in the capacity of an RN intermittently again, that this was the beginning of the end of my hard-earned nursing career.
I mourned that for a long time. But I had my babies. And I was grateful that the trade-off was the gift of being mostly a stay-at-home mom. Few moms have that luxury anymore. But it is a sacrifice. We have lived in a house which was built in the 40′s, and maintenance, (much less improvements) has been minimal. Thank goodness houses built in the forties were built to last. Good, good bones! So, it’s been a homey home. Not a showcase, but lived-in and inviting, and not taking itself too seriously. I have never been a frou-frou kind of gal anyway. Neat and tidy is my standard, but I like things with some age and experience and history. I learned from my Mama how to see the good in pre-loved furniture and decor, and how to spiff things like that up, way before “shabby chic” became a household word.
Winter has always been hard. When my kids started school, I stayed involved as a room mom and volunteering frequently, and after some years of working on boundary issues, being on medication and ever striving to maintain an exercise program whether it entailed some gym time, swimming or walking, I saw some improvement in my over-all well-being. Yet could never quite get over the hump in regard to fatigue and body pain. With diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, and at first Sleep apnea and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and then only a few years ago finally discovering that I have Narcolepsy, a certain degree of permanent damage had already taken place in my body, not the least of which in my spine and joints. Depression continued to be a problem and winter months, with short days, and cooped up indoors, I literally had to turn on all the lights in the house some days. I would light candles and play instrumental music, all of which helped me overcome the inertia and get moving. I learned to spend at least 15 minutes outside getting sunlight no matter how cold it was, and even invested in one of those lamps with the whole spectrum of light. Those things all helped, but it was a constant vigilance. I would hold on and wait for those daffodil green tops to poke out. When I saw that, it was my sign that I had survived another dark season, and could soon look forward to working in my flowerbeds and being outdoors more. So, as a survivor, Spring has a special place in my heart. Counting as the seasons pass, moving from youth into middle age, watching my kids grow, losing my Dad, I’m in a different season now, but my awareness of the world and history and scripture, also tells me that the advance of seasons and years is moving forward for the world itself. Times they are a-changin’, and not just in the way they always do from one generation to the next, but in ways the Good Book told us they would when the end was near.
Like most struggling families today, there were dreams of trips and vacations that never quite came to be. Plans for home improvements, the financing and budgeting of which never quite came to fruition, due to some setback or other. There were times we were disillusioned. But we learned to concentrate on the blessings. And we had so many. As a couple my husband and I have always been able to laugh. There were times we could be in the middle of an argument and we’d both be so weary from the struggle that one or the other would just decide to get over it and do something silly to make us both laugh, and that would be that. Arguing is just not worth the energy. But these were things we learned IN the struggles and wouldn’t have learned otherwise. As a family we have always been able to laugh together. The antics of our boys provided plenty of material. And as a family we have always prayed together, discussed things, expressed our love, and been straightforward and honest. My kids have never had to guess whether we loved or approved of them. But they also have never been allowed to take that love and approval for granted. Dad is the softer one. Mama don’t give an inch. They knew if they misbehaved, their teachers had my phone number and permission to call me right then and there. Heck one year I was their school nurse during the elementary years. (My last full-time position). They are in high school now and their friends STILL come up to them and say, “man, why did your mom quit being our nurse?”. I guess because I treated all of them the exact same way I did my own. Tough love.
Yeah, it’s a time for counting blessings, as I am daily aware that both in the natural course of raising a family, the times we share together are finite and we are nearing that time when the little eaglets will leave the nest, but also “time” universal is winding down.
Life is beautiful but if you do it right, it isn’t easy, and even if you can manage to put a little aside along the way, the best it can provide is a false sense of security. Treasures on earth are eaten by moths, corrupted by rust. The honest guy doesn’t always come out on top. People are tired of war, and crime, and struggle, and violence and hatred. We all long for peace, but it seems there’s precious little peace to be found. Everyone is looking for somewhere to place the blame. Government. Those dad-blamed Republicans. Those dang Democrats. Those corrupt Congressfolk. The Muslims, the Jews, The church. Many hate a God they don’t even believe in. The homosexuals hold in contempt those who believe the Bible and it’s indictment of such. Some professing Christians act as if they themselves are less of a vile sinner than the gay person, which is not true. God’s law is one law. Like the chain that holds up my porch swing, if we have broken one “link” the chain no longer upholds the swing, so if we break any commandment, we are in violation of God’s law. I do not doubt that the feelings and attraction two gay men or women have for one another are real and powerful. I just am aware that feelings can be deceptive, and most of all, they can be manipulated. Homosexuality is no more wrong than any other deviation from God’s design for sexuality, though it does reside on a continuum of sorts. We have so gotten the cart before the horse in the area of mates and “mating”. There is no restraint and whatever causes the most sparks to fly, has become the acceptable indicator of what we choose to pursue. Animals are ruled by their drives. Humans are capable of more. Yet risky or risqué, trumps most things anymore. The “pleasure button” has been so over-stimulated that people have ceased to be able to feel.
A people who are only guided by impulse and urges, will invariably seek the “greater thrill” to the basest nature. When “straight sex” and self-gratification without cost, effort, or commitment are so freely attainable that they become boring and no longer titillating, the greater risk will be sought to maintain the “high”. Each advance in degradation serves to only heighten the drive, but never satisfy. As those who participate in these things ignore their conscience, the conscience dies within them, because they despise the truth, (that what they do is wrong) they begin to believe the falsehood that what they are doing is okay. The current generation can hardly help being much more vulnerable to the temptations of “same-sex sexuality” because preceding generations insisted on throwing off the taboo. For those who indulge the flesh, the “need” of their flesh consumes them and becomes their master, and in search of satisfaction, their “passions” seek that which is even lower, the violation of children. This produces children who are damaged and who grow up confused. Girls used by men, become women who can’t trust men, who seek solace in other women. In their hurt they justify the aversion to the opposite sex, and the sin of the “fathers” are visited on the next generation in the form of same-sex attraction. Because the female child looks to the father figure to cherish and affirm her, being sorely disappointed as she seeks a life mate, she has already ruled out the male half of the species, feels safer bestowing her love and affection upon a female, or in determination to never be victimized, may reject her femaleness and aspire to the relative safety of exhibiting masculinity within herself. Because the male child looks to the father figure to set the example of how to be a man, yet the abusing male uses his power to dominate and violate, the male child rejects the notion of masculinity and waxes effeminate, or may go on to be a predator because he thinks doing what the dominant male did to him, constitutes “being a man”. In each instance, it was the abandonment of God’s order that led to the alternate concept of what it means to be a male or female, and the abandonment of the “natural use of the opposite sex” for that of same-sex. Sex and sexuality were meant to be powerful, to bind together two mates for life, and powerful they are. Much “potential energy” is contained within the essence of sex and sexuality. But just like atomic energy, such potency is volatile, and very dangerous, and fraught with potential for damage and harm on a massive scale if mishandled or misappropriated.
But regardless of whether we are dealing with the issue of homosexuality, or human rights or politics, or religion, we are all deceived regarding who is our true enemy. Some folks have no idea at all. While even those who know that satan is the enemy of our souls, still fall prey to his efforts to rob, destroy, and kill. He pursues us relentlessly, and though some seem to walk willingly into his arms, most of us never come to understand that it was satan and sinfulness that manipulated your abuser, it is satan and sinful human nature, that culminate in the loss of “rights and privileges endowed by our creator” at the hands of corrupt leaders. The only safety or hope of redemption is to turn the opposite direction and run back toward God. That, in a nutshell, is what it means to repent of sin. At one time, Humanity knew their God. It is the sin nature that rebels, and evil waxes worse and worse until subsequent generations never even heard of their creator. They think they came from nothing. So they abort their babies and euthanize their elderly and handicapped, and then either shake their fist at God because breaking laws has consequences, or thumb their nose at God because they’ve convinced themselves that they’ve managed to throw Him off.
You know, I don’t know many “radical, militant” gay people. Most gay people I personally know, are regular folk. I have no desire to hurt them or to even dissuade them from their preference. That’s not my job. I am happy to accept the things I cannot change (and the will of another person definitely falls into that category) but I reserve the right to maintain my own convictions on the subject. I don’t think that a man should “marry” a man and call it the same thing as a woman marrying a man. Civil unions instead? I guess, but the purpose of marriage is procreation. Many gay people want to have a family but it’s not physically possible so there must be artificial intervention of some kind. No matter what you call your arrangement,(nor the method you use), the “ingredients” for making a baby, remains God’s original “recipe”.
I went to nursing school with a gal whose grandmother was Mrs. Fearnow. Of “Mrs. Fearnow’s Brunswick Stew” fame. I don’t know if that is merely regionally known, or if it’s a hit across the nation. But my point is, the stew is now made in a factory, by “The Fearnow Brothers” who may or may not be actually named Fearnow or related to Mrs. Fearnow in any way. The recipe may be the same, but I bet you Amy would beg to differ with you if you said “I have eaten your grandma’s stew”. Now, there’s a chance Amy Fearnow has actually eaten her grandma’s stew. And what comes out of that can, though delicious, will never be the stew made for Amy by Grandma Fearnow’s own hand.
We can call a union between two men or women a “marriage” and the state can artificially “bestow” upon that “couple” the same privileges as a man/woman union, but a union between a man and another man will never be a marriage. But most marriages between a man and a woman today don’t meet the Biblical definition of marriage either. Compromise is a slippery slope. Absolutes are considered evil by most of the world today, but if there are no absolutes, there are no reference points, all order breaks down, and what we are left with is the chaos before us today.
Gay people say “I was born this way”. Yeah. You were. You were born a sinner. That’s the point. I was born a sinner too. That doesn’t make my sin acceptable to God. That’s why Jesus had to die. But his dying would mean nothing if He had not also risen up to life again.
No matter what mankind tells himself, the unchanging facts are; in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created you, He designed your body. “Male and female He created them” and charged them to be fruitful and multiply. It’s His call. Don’t think of His laws like civil law. They aren’t like that. They are more like the “law of gravity”, “the law of diminishing returns”, the laws of physics. Who set those? Do you have a choice in obeying the law of gravity? Can any Supreme Court judge or United Nations counsel overturn the law of gravity? Is it “all relative” really? Jump off your roof and see. I’ll sit here and wait.
God will not tolerate sin. Sin is a violation of law. The wages of sin is death. Wages are not a penalty, they are simply the natural outcome. God’s not threatening you when He says that, He’s WARNING you. We all age, we all deteriorate, and we all die. After death comes judgment, and you and I have no advocate, no counsel, no scapegoat, but Jesus. He is the Way. He is Truth. He is Life. And no man comes unto the Father but by Him.
Man thinks he will transcend his own humanity within a few years. The capability is, in fact, within mankind’s power. But God will not allow it.
This old world is winding down. The Bible tells us that a period of tribulation is coming. God will place your life on the scales. It will not have “all the good you did” on one side, and “all the bad” on the other. It will have His righteousness on one side, and on the other side there will be placed one of two things which will attempt to measure up to His righteousness and balance the scale.
It will either be the sum total of your doings in this life, or it will be the righteousness of Christ placed on your side of the scales. Fair? Not to Jesus, yet that’s the offer. He did not forfeit His perfection, but God accredits it to those who are willing to humble themselves to receive it.
God, knowing we are incapable of overcoming our own sinful state, arranged for His own sinless son to endure the “wages of sin” for all sinners. A substitutionary death on the cross, dying so we didn’t have to. The wages of sin is death, the loophole is God willingly accepts the death of One who is infinite and sinless, to atone for the infinite sinfulness of the sinner. Then He credits to the sinners account, the righteousness of Christ. Which will sit in opposition to the righteousness of the Father on judgment day and balance that scale, deeming you acceptable to enter into God’s eternal presence. That is, if you are willing to accept it. There is a catch, though. It is free. You can’t earn it or pay for it. You have to accept God at His word, that He is willing to extend this deal to you. It means you have to nail your sin to that cross with Jesus. You can’t have your sin nullified while still clinging to your “right” to remain oriented to your sin-nature. Be your sin adultery (sex with someone you are not married to, whether male or female), lying, taking the Lord’s name in vain, stealing, coveting, failing to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, murder, or having some other god. Anything that you refuse to relinquish is your god.
Think about these things because you know, and I know, something is up in this world. You may not be ready to accept the things I’m saying, but that doesn’t change facts and laws and principles. You know as well as I do that we as humans are capable of being wrong. The world is not flat. The appendix actually does have a purpose, blacks, Jews, and the disabled are not a subhuman species, yet these are all “beliefs” that were once embraced as fact. Optical illusions fool our brains all the time, we even enjoy it when done by a talented magician. There is good and there is evil. We may not agree on what constitutes each one, but Someone must be the arbiter if truth and the very fact that “good and evil” are universal principles, is an indicator that there are absolutes so moving the visible boundary markers doesn’t actually altar which territory is which. We merely fool ourselves. It takes a heck of a lot more faith than I have, to believe everything came from nothing, than to believe there is a sovereign Creator who designed everything with purpose.
Think about it.