Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kurt Warner, Carrie Underwood, and Christianity

Before I start my workday today, I wanted to post a blog that I was actually going to post a few days ago.

When I was in high school, I remember considering myself the "word police." If someone ever said that they weren't feeling well, I'd come back at them with "Don't say that! By the stripes of Jesus, you are healed." I didn't want them to have the "wrong confession."

I must have been really annoying.

Thankfully, the Lord pulled my pride down a LOT of notches within a few years after that and I started to realize that my convictions aren't necessarily the same as someone else, and I haven't been called to push my convictions on someone else.

Every Christian will have a different conviction than each other. Granted, there are baseline convictions - the ten commandments for example - that can't be broken. If you feel God has convicted you to murder someone, there's a problem with your theology. But on less obvious matters - for me, it's always been which movie(s) should Christians really watch - I will absolutely have different convictions than someone else. And there are reasons for that. I realize that images stay in my head a LONG time. If I watch a bloody, gory movie or some type of sexual scene, those images will replay in my head WAY longer than I'd ever want them to. I remember talking to a friend, and she said, "Oh I never remember things from movies like that." I was like, really???

People have different personalities and different ways they respond to and remember things. People also have different calls on their life and their convictions will be lived out differently.

What does that have to do with Kurt Warner and Carrie Underwood?

I admire these two people a lot. Kurt Warner is an outspoken Christian, and from I can tell, Carrie Underwood is a Christian as well. They are living Christian lives in the public eye (a very difficult place to be), and I guarantee that their lives will be lived differently than mine simply based on the place God has chosen to place them as Christians.

I went to a Carrie Underwood concert for my birthday and loved it. I went because I love her voice and I appreciate the way she sings her songs. She has some solid, good, even godly songs, even amidst the "Before He Cheats" and other not so Christian-themed songs. But when she sings the songs that talk about breaking up with a boyfriend, I can tell she doesn't have a vendetta against those people. She knows she is playing a character because of the platform she has been given. And she simply has fun singing those songs.

In the middle of her concert, she stated, Now I'm going to sing the song that truly represents my life and my career, "Jesus, Take the Wheel." You could tell that she truly gives Jesus the wheel in her life as best as she knows how. Halfway through, she broke into a rendition of "How Great Thou Art." I worshiped and felt God in that place that was probably filled with many people who didn't know Him. I saw Carrie worship God too. How cool that in the middle of all the publicity, she makes a statement for who her life follows.

I admire her.

Kurt Warner is a retired pro football player. He recently joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars and I admire him for doing so. I can see that God had called him to be a light right in the middle of darkness. I know he will stand out as a person who isn't raunchy in the middle of raunchiness. I kinda hope he wins just because God is with him!!! :-)

I really admire him for taking a leap of faith and living out his Christianity in a unique way in front of America. And when I watched the first show (yes, I watched the first show), I could see a peace and graciousness on his face that I know wasn't on others' faces. He has a different aura about him (and his family) and God will be with him during this crazy yet wonderful opportunity in his life.

He twittered this link recently: If you go there, you can download a document that is a letter from him explaining why he placed himself as a Christian in the middle of dancing with another beautiful woman when he has a wife and a family at home. I read through it and thinks he states it very well: We're called to be in the world, but not of it. This is his God-given opportunity to be right in the middle of the world, and take the high road and not be "of the world."

I'm excited to watch how God uses him - although I'm sure a lot of it will be behind the scenes that we can't see as the American public.

I'm bummed he's gotten criticism from Christians, but I know where they are coming from because I've been there. It's easy to think my Christianity and convictions are the right way of living and assume everyone has to agree with you, but that's not true. We all have glimpses of the truth; we're all on the same journey, growing in our relationship with God and trying to figure out God in the middle of life on earth!

I almost forgot... Pastor Mac recently addressed this in a video when someone asked about convictions (I'll post the link later if I remember!). He said, you don't need to judge by convictions. Look at the fruit. What fruit is appearing in their lives?

For Kurt and Carrie, I see fruit that is different from the society around them, even though they are right in the middle of perhaps you could say a "bad orchard." And yes, that is my thoughts - your thoughts might be completely different, and that's okay.

Kurt, Carrie, thanks for living out your Christianity in a godly way. Blessings and grace to you as God continues to help you in your journey.

Friday, September 17, 2010

mommy- and daddy-to-be

Yep, it's true. I'm a mommy-to-be and Erik's a daddy-to-be. And yes, it's also true that I can't quite wrap my head around it! I've started to think of what it will be like to have a little baby around the house when I'm working, and it's pretty exciting to think about, but for the past 16 1/2 years, I've been giving the babies back to the parents and going on with life! Now everyone who holds my baby will be giving him/her back to me at the end of the day (or whenever they cry!).


But Erik and I are super excited. I read somewhere recently on a blog what mothers would tell themselves before motherhood if they could go back to when they were pregnant. One was "trust your instincts." Another one was "You're going to love this." And I'm taking that motto with me. I know Erik and I are going to love being parents. I also know that all those crazy details that are flying through my head (or will soon fly through my head) are all going to be taken care of. I think of Philippians chapter 4 where it says that we don't have to worry about anything, but instead we can pray about it and then let God handle the situation. Or as Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust God from the bottom of your heart."

Yep, as a mother-to-be and as a mother, that's what I'm going to do: look to God for the peace that passes any understanding I can have ever have and know that He'll remind of and show me all I need to know right when I need to know it.

Such a wonderful thing.

P.S. Thanks for all the wonderful wishes to me and Erik on the pregnancy! :)

12 weeks
current due date: 4-2-11

Thursday, September 9, 2010

God first. Life second.

I feel like I'm finally settling down into a new rhythm of life. Part of that comes from the fact that Cristina has settled down with a new husband. Another part comes from the fact that I'm starting to renew my relationship with God.

Don't get me wrong. My relationship with God has always been there, but the time and desire I put into it has slowly been coming back, really as God has been healing my heart. I know I'm not all there yet; a lot has gone on over the past few years. It's okay to take time to heal. But I am getting there, and it's refreshing to know that.

I think in the ever-changing, ever-busy society we live in, we always have to keep rethinking how we come to God--not for His sake, but for our sake. I'm talking from a practical perspective--reading your Bible, praying, listening to podcasts. We have to strive to continually keep our personal relationship with God fresh. What can you do that will help you connect with Him throughout the day?

Here's what I mean... When I was single, talking to God and worshiping in the card was my favorite. When I started to work from home, I didn't have as much alone time in the car, and that was especially true after I got married. That means I needed to find a new time to pray and think. When Erik and I got Tucker, walking the dog suddenly became the perfect opportunity to pray and sort out my thoughts.

I think it's important for us not to miss the ever-changing nature of life.

And, no, I'm not telling you to fit God into your crazy, busy life. It's more like "how you can fit more of God into your life?" As your life changes, your answer to that will change.

Funny. Since I'm a writer, I thought a blog would be a great place to write... when it's turning out more to be a place for me to ramble. :)

And oh yeah... the look of my blog has changed because the focus of my life has changed. The storm of my brother's death has waned and I'm looking ahead to the future.