elder care, family, Gangrene Gables

Snake in the Freezer

As a homeschool mom for many years, I can appreciate the hoarding mentality. I truly can. I have a pretty eclectic collection of items that might one day be useful. As a classroom teacher, I have narrowed down my collection, but I still have a miniature steam engine, a plastic brain, enough feather pens to teach a small class, and petrified log. Finding animals on nature walks fascinates me, and I have been known to gather my class around a long dead possum to get a better look at the teeth and bone structure. I am not particularly squeamish when it comes to such things. Personally, I would rather find a dead possum than a live one.

A 3

Mom shared some of my appreciation for natural discoveries. Mom took it a little far. See, growing up there were pet animals and food animals. Dog-pet. Pig-food. We raised a handful of animals, and Dad believed in keeping them separate. He made an exception and let my sister keep an old rooster for a pet (Rodney), and after much arguing, I was able to convince him to allow me a pet rabbit, which Dad had firmly on the side of food. Despite the disagreement over the rabbit, I felt Dad had a pretty good idea here. I’ve no intention of eating a dog, and I prefer to keep rabbits out of my freezer. Similarly, I believe in keeping my freezer free of any animal that is not going to be dinner. I felt that way about purchasing mice to feed to my son’s pet snake, and I continue to feel this way.

Mom enjoyed sharing her love of nature with her grandkids. On her last fated trip to Vermont, in between hacking up a lung and reading a book sporting a medical mask, Mom discovered a 15-inch garter snake that had recently gone to be with Jesus. Most people would probably shriek and run off, some would stop and look for a moment in fascination, but the truly dedicated nature enthusiast would wrap that sucker up in Saran Wrap ™, place it in a grocery bag, and freeze it next to a few berries and a pint of ice cream. Then, they would transport it 5 hours home in a cooler amongst left over pasta and an open quart of milk to ensure their grandkids the opportunity to observe said snake. Sure, a less dedicated grandparent might take some close up photographs, but really, that’s just lame. Mom was no lame grandmother. That snake, slightly defrosted from its journey along the Appalachian Trail, went right back in the freezer in Mom’s kitchen awaiting the perfect summer day, to be thawed out and delight her favorite people in the world.
Sadly, Sidney Slitherpuss never got his cryogenically frozen day in the sun. Instead, he met with an unsuspecting man going about the mundane job of cleaning out his mother’s freezer. The events went something like this:

Eric(thinking): I wonder what could be in this bag. Let me just peek insid
<Stares into bag only to encounter a snake staring back. Drops bag on floor with less than gracious hospitality and emits high pitched squeal.>

Eric: WHAT THE HECK IS THAT! WHY IS THERE A SNAKE IN THE FREEZER?

<Mom, hearing the commotion from the other room, chuckles to herself. This was not what she intended for her scaly friend, but scaring the beejeebus out of her only son was a pleasant perk. >
Mom: Oh, you found the snake. I brought him home from Vermont to show Barbara’s kids.

Not at all amused by this turn of events, Eric discards the snake in the trashcan outside, without so much as sharing this joy with his niece and nephews. Shockingly, he didn’t even feel guilty about it. Savage.

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family, parenting teens, Proverbs 31

Her Teens Rise Up and Call Her #Blessed

I don’t want to brag, but I have totally nailed this part of Proverbs 31. Seriously, I have 3 teenagers under my roof right now, two of whom are adults. I cannot even tell you what a privilege it is to have the collective wisdom of their 53 years to guide me through the day. My children never fail to remind me how blessed I am. For instance, last night I parked the car badly, and I just handed the keys to my 19 year old so he could park the car better. #blessed

When I am relaxing in the living room while my child washes dishes loudly (read: grumbling), his once a week contribution to family life (read: conscription), I am reminded how blessed I am to have servants who do everything for me. #blessed

When my child asks me to send her to a training school instead of college, and I question the marketability of the career and wether this program is the best path for her intended goal, I am reminded of how much money she is saving us. #blessed

kids wedding

Okay, so maybe my kids aren’t rising up and calling me blessed at this point in life, but you know what?  Some day I think they will. Some day, they will find themselves in need of help, and that dumb old Mom who couldn’t figure out how to use her cell phone will be just one phone call away (assuming I  remember how to answer it.) And some day they will be running households of their own, and they will repeat the same cycle we all did. We all gradually realized that our parents did so much more for us than we ever imagined. And maybe our kids will call us while their two year old is throwing a tantrum and say, “Mom, I’m sorry I was such a pain as a kid. This parenting gig is hard.” And our hearts will melt because we remember the day we said that same thing to our moms.  One one day they will care for us in our old age, and we will know what they think now. We are blessed to have them.

And in the meantime, this having teenagers isn’t so bad. The other day, my newly declared vegetarian told me how amazing I was for making her a bean burger from scratch, even though she didn’t think it was all that great. My college boy and I exchange hilarious memes via text message that help me not miss him while he’s gone. My high schooler isn’t ashamed to hug me in the hallway at school, even in front of his friends. I don’t even care if it’s just to show off the fact that he towers 8 inches above me. Some days parenting can be tense and frustrating, Yet other times you sit together at the dinner table and have great talks about life, or you laugh hysterically at a school play and then go out for celebratory ice cream with your not so tiny actor.

My nest is emptying out, and that is beautiful and terrible all at once. The days are long, but the years are short. So sure, my kids aren’t rising up to call me #blessed, but I know I am. I am blessed because of them.

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family, food, travel

How to Plan a Road Trip

Step 1: Determine the length of your trip.

How many days will you have? Do you have a week? Two weeks? Consider whatever length of time your spouse gives you as starting point for a negotiation. One week. Well that’s really 9 days because you can add a weekend on each end? Can you tie a two week vacation into a holiday and make it 16 or 17 days? Sure you can.*

travel map

Step 2: Determine how far away your husband is willing to travel.

galcier national park

This may vary based on where he most wants to go. If he wants to go to the Rocky Mountains, you can entice him with a week in their majestic splendor.* You are not likely to convince him that he wants to spend his vacation shopping for antiques at flea markets in Vermont. Start with the main prize.
Step 3: Book non-refundable accommodations.

These accommodations should be for the main event at the furthest location from home. Give yourself adequate travel time to and from the location based on your new expanded vacation days. You want enough time to “explore” along the journey. Once you book the main event, you have an insurance plan. You are definitely going on vacation.

Step 4: Research things that are “Close by” or “On the way.”

Close is a relative term. For example, we live in NJ, so Houston is “close” to New Orleans in comparison to New Jersey.* And “On the way,” means more the general direction. Of course one must go a little off the beaten path to find some of our nation’s greatest treasures. One cannot simply drive to one’s destination. This is a road trip. Research oddities like Foamhenge in Virginia*, The Lunar Lander Exhibit in Mississippi**, and the Buffalo Museum in North Dakota,* all things one can swing by as short pit stops to break up the monotony of a long drive. Other locations like say, the time we visited Yellowstone on our way to our “real vacation” might take a little longer to explore.*  Keep these ideas secret until you have gathered many options, mapped out your trip, and determined the realistic cost of such items. Check hours of operation and compare them carefully to your own travel dates and times. No one wants to get all the way to the Forbidden Gardens in Katy, Texas only to find out that you can’t see the recreated Terra Cotta Warriors because they aren’t open on Mondays. You can however sometimes call and arrange for a private tour of some places because how could you miss a room size model of the Forbidden City when you were just studying Ancient China in school?*

foamhengebuffaloforbidden gardens

Step 5: Stick to a budget that you will end up exceeding while on vacation.

With your research in hand and a budget to live by, start picking and choosing from your list. How cheap will your motels will be? What restaurants are in the area? You aren’t going to want to skip BBQ in Memphis* or The Parthenon in Nashville.* Sure, you might end up staying in some sketchy places to make that happen, but you didn’t come to enjoy the splendors of every hotel chain in America. And honestly if you have to ask, “Do you think the building is on fire?” because the room is sweltering, you have just made memories.* Spend your money on food and activities and keep your luggage off the floor so you reduce the risk of bringing home bedbugs.

parthenon.jpghotel

Step 6: Sell your plan.

llamasYou can’t sell it all at once. Know where you want to stop and when. Start with booking those accommodations. (Again, I recommend non-refundable because they are cheaper, and you want to make sure your husband can’t back out once hear hears the rest of your crazy scheme.) Then, with your map and ideas in hand, begin singing the praises of hiking with llamas in the hills of Massachusetts* or scaling Cadillac Mountain in Maine because it’s the highest point in all of North America along the Atlantic seaboard.* How could you possibly not stop by the home of Uncle Remus in Georgia, considering you still have the Disney record from your childhood?* Exclaim, “It’s just a little bit out of the way!” And know your audience. Sure, driving 3 hours out of our way to see the bats fly out from under the Congress Street Bridge in Austin isn’t going to appeal to my husband the way it does to me, but letting him know that nearby is world famous Stubb’s BBQ (with live country music) just might tip the scales.* “World Famous” is a phrase I tack on to many places I am interested in seeing. Having extra ideas that are lame in comparison to the ones you really want to do provides your family with a sense that they are participating in the voting process.

pit stop 2wisconsin

austinalabamaimg_2164.jpgmemphis

Step 7: Create a detailed itinerary

This should include the length of each leg of driving, accommodation information (confirmation number, address and phone- trust me on this!), activity information (hours of operation, admission price- again, learn from my errors!), and the best options for restaurants. Give yourself ample time for late starts, traffic, and children who might vomit in the backseat.* Submit the plan for “approval.” This might be where you book dinner reservations and discover that the weekend you’re at the Culinary Institute of America is actually their spring break and every restaurant is closed.* Are you going to “hop over the border” into Canada while visiting Maine?* Think about passports and making sure you call your bank so they don’t shut off your debit card just as you’re about to fill your tank of gas.*

Step 8: Enjoy your trip, but expect the unexpected

Itinerary in hand, set out on your grand adventure. Sometimes along the way, you will find out that you are only a few minutes away from a good friend who moved to Florida, and you’ll meet up with him at a gas station parking lot for a few minutes.* You might discover that hotel reservations that you absolutely booked and gave a credit card number for never went through and and now you are standing by Old Faithful booking a room in Montana in the opposite direction of Grand Teton National Park where you are headed the next morning.* Be flexible and think on your feet. Sobbing in the middle of a visitor’s center because the hours of operation changed, and they are closing and won’t let you in, might just get you into Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas for free, even if it’s only for a few minutes.* Sometimes severe weather or other disasters impacts your plans (like tornados,* hail*, the road melting due to abnormal geothermal conditions*, or fire alarms in the middle of the night*). You will need to call an audible. Go with the flow.

pit stophotel fire

Step 9: Avoid Chain Restaurants

bear scat

It’s almost impossible to avoid eating at chain restaurants, especially fast food places, as you spend hours on the highway. But whenever, possible go local. Why stop at Starbucks when you can stop at Bearscat Bakery (Bismarck, ND) and eat bear scat donuts?* Why eat at Applebees when you can eat at the Wildhorse Saloon (Nashville) with free country line dancing classes.* You’re only going to be here for a little while. Don’t waste your time on restaurants that you can eat at 5 minutes from home.

Step 9: Let it go!

golden palace

Towards the end of the trip, it is possible that your family’s patience and love of being with one another will dwindle. You might need to let go of your hopes of touring Abilene, Kansas because no one else cares that that’s where the Chisholm Trail ended* or skipping St. Louis, MO because they prefer a day of rest before heading home.* You might need to drive straight through West Virginia without even seeing the Palace of Gold, but know you are going to have another road trip later, and you’ll see it then.*


*True Story

**Sadly, we missed the exit for this as we drove through Mississippi, and now we HAVE to go back to Mississippi because how can you actually call that visiting the state?

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Adulting, elder care, family, parenting teens

You Won’t Want This Hard Thing Back

To those of you going through a really hard time, maybe parenting, or caring for an aging parent, or being single and wishing you weren’t, or whatever.
Some well meaning people are going to tell you to appreciate this time because one day you are going to wish you had it back.

flaming grill It’s not true.

One day you are going to wish for one sliver of this back, but not the entirety of it. You’re going to wish for a momentary taste of it.
When your toddler is going through the terrible twos, you are going to want the joy of a tiny sleeping baby in your arms, but not the hours of crying and the sleepless nights. When your teenager moves out and the nest is empty, you are going to want the teenager who told funny stories about high school teachers, but not the constant power struggle or the anxiety and worry. We want those moments taken completely out of context. That season was 24/7, and it was hard and exhausting. Do I wish I could see my mom one more time, have a cup of tea with her, and hear her tell me how much she loved me? Sure. But that is taken out of the context of a season of constant care, hours of physical labor, and deep emotional fatigue. That season was hard and painful and three years later, I may miss my mom, but I don’t miss those days. I miss a piece of those days.

dishes
We all want to pick and chose the best moments to relive, but they come within a context, and it’s so easy to forget the context.
That hard thing you are going through is hard. You’re not going to want this hard thing back. Seriously, how bad must life be to want to go back to the hard thing? What your going to want is an airbrushed memory of a moment completely void of context.
Don’t feel bad when someone outside of your situation tells you to be grateful for this because you’re going to want it back. Smile and nod and appreciate that they are missing that single piece in the midst of your season. Count the blessings in the hard thing, but don’t worry.

You aren’t going to want this back.

 

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Adulting, family, parenting teens

Letter to My American Honey

Free as a weed
Couldn’t wait to get goin’
But wasn’t quite ready to leave.
“American Honey” by Lady Antebellum

Letter to my American Honey,

Let me tell you what I love the most about you. Since you could walk and talk, you were a force to be reckoned with. Your tenacity and passion has been a sense of pride for me since I caught the first glimmers of it in your early years. I won’t pretend that this quality in you did not cause some conflict over the years, but I love the strength of will that burns in your soul. You didn’t just live outside the box; you looked upon the box with disdain.  If I offered you two options of anything, you always chose a third. Testing boundaries wasn’t just a stage for you; it was a personality trait.

path

As you have grown, this drive to be the author of your own destiny has taken you down paths that I wouldn’t have chosen for you. As a parent, letting go of my dream for you in deference to your dream for yourself has been hard. Perhaps there are times that this struggle of the wills has made you think that I do not love you or value you or respect you or appreciate you or have pride in you as my daughter. I do. I most certainly do. But my deep love for you sparks in me fears and worry. And sometimes that fear manifests itself as anger or frustration. I yearn to protect you, and sometimes what I’ve tried to protect you from was yourself. You would have none of it. And so, as you have matured, I have stepped back and let your learn to drive, both literally and figuratively. And I lie awake at night and wait for you to come home again, worrying all the while that you have had far more freedom than you could handle.

You have been in a hurry to grow up your entire life. Maybe it’s having older brothers or maybe it’s just how God made you. Your fearless push for independence has not been without it’s bumps and bruises, and there were many a night I wasn’t sure we would both arrive at this day. But here we are. You are officially the adult that you have willed yourself to be for years. And now that you are allowed to choose, allowed to decide, I hope you will choose us. Perhaps all this time the yearning “to be free” is because you “had to” stay, but now that you can choose anything, anywhere, I hope you’ll choose here. I hope you choose home.

siblings

When I say that I hope you will choose home, I do not mean that I don’t want you to ever move out and move on. I mean, I hope you will wait to launch out into the world until your feet are a little steadier. More than that, I hope that you will know that this is where your homeport is and you will come to call often. I hope that you will not think that independence means that you can’t come home for dinner or a movie night. I hope you won’t think that once you walk out, you can’t look back. I cannot tell you what your future will hold, but I can tell you that no matter how old you get, no matter where you go, as long as there is breath in me, I am going to be waiting for you to come home.

Happy Birthday!

Love,
Mom

There’s a wild, wild whisper
Blowin in the wind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzzr7RbzUTs

 

kids

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food

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 10 Tips for Repurposing Leftovers

I love to cook, but I’m also busy and tired. This means that I want to make dinner, but I also want it done quickly. I also hate wasting food, but my family is somewhat unpredictable with quantities. Sometimes I am feeding three hungry teenagers, and other times two have gone out unexpectedly and one decides that this is the day spaghetti sauce is gross. One night, I make two pounds of meat, two pounds of pasta, an entire bag of veggies, and a homemade sauce, and they complain that I never make enough food. The next night, I am packing up more than half of dinner, and I’m staring at the prospects of eating that same dish for lunch for the next week. I hate wasting food, so here 10 ways I use them up.

  1. Rinse: My kids don’t love potato salad, and after a picnic we might be left with a ton. Rinse the mayo off in a colander and sauté it into home fries or add it to a stew meat (shortly before it’s finished). This also works with basically any pasta dish. Pastas can get a new sauce or end up in a soup. I have even done this with a kale soup that was despised by draining the broth off, and turning the meat and beans into a chili. The tomato sauce and spices disguised the kale.
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  2. Reinvent: Meatloaf is basically a giant meatball. Cube leftovers and serve with pasta and sauce. Add a few veggies to the sauce to give you more volume. Try peppers, onions, or mushrooms if you like to see your kids gag. Meatloaf can also be made into a meatball sandwich or crumbled into a meat sauce. This principle applies to just about anything Mexican. Last night’s fajitas or tacos can be tonight’s burritos or enchiladas. And Easter Ham is just waiting to be turned into cordon bleu casserole or tossed over pierogies in an alfredo sauce.
  3. Salad: Sometimes I get left with almost a pound of meat. It’s not enough to serve again as a stand alone, but too much to just eat in a few lunches. I shred or chop up the pieces and add them to a large dinner salad. While you might think that won’t be enough for hungry teens, my kids hate salad, so I can be assured enough for dinner. Use the seasoning of your meat to inspire your salad. (Terryaki, Taco, Ham and Cheese, etc.) The more variety in the salad the more likely they are to eat it. I usually serve with bread to allow my kids something to remove the salad taste from their palates.
    salad
  4. Roasted chicken/turkey can become just about any recipe that starts with sautéing chicken. (Fajitas, scampi, moo goo gai pan). Bags of frozen mixed veggies and jars of sauces in the pantry are the key to a completely different meal. This is great for after Thanksgiving, but let’s be honest, turkey isn’t that great. I like it best sliced and make into a giant hot dinner sandwich with bacon and cheese and some salsa. Also, it can make chicken salad, but see tip #1 for why I’m not likely to do that.
  5. Combine: Maybe you don’t have enough of any dinner to make more, so combine. You have sausage and chicken? Sounds like jambalaya to me. If you have beef, chicken, fish, or pork you can differnt taco options. What about a beef and vegetable stir-fry to go with a chicken lo-mein, fried rice, and fortune cookies?
    dinber
  6. Pizza: You don’t need much meat to make pizza. Be creative: Buffalo chicken, BBQ pork, Thai peanut, Mexican taco, etc. You can serve several kinds based on your leftovers.
  7. Veggies: regularly I am left with a little bit of this veggie, and a little bit of that one. Not good for much of anything, but I hate throwing them out. Options for the little bits: soups, fried rice, salad toppings, or hide them in a casserole, or sauce. Throw peas in tikka masla, corn in enchiladas, and broccoli into the trash because broccoli is nasty.
  8. Baked potato bar: Chili, BBQ chicken, ham, etc. can all be toppings in a glorious leftover bar. The other night I used leftover ham and corn with cheddar cheese, green onion, crispy fried onions and …wait for it… dried cranberries on a buttered baked potato. UNBELIEVEABLE! Toppings bars also go great with mashed potatoes, fries, or even tortilla chips.
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  9. Lunch: Maybe leftovers can’t be stretched into dinner. Can they be a Saturday lunch of quesadillas? Can you make soup with a couple cans of broth or a few packs of ramen? A can of enchilada sauce makes for a great soup base. A jar of spaghetti sauce and leftover tortellini/pasta also makes a great soup. Typically, I don’t make my kid’s lunch on Saturday, but I will if I’m pushing leftovers.
  10. Freeze: I keep a pound of browned ground beef in the freezer. I can add half or all of it to leftovers to spread them out. I also have pre-cooked chicken strips in the freezer that can stretch out chicken. Adding a little to stretch what I already have can save a lot of time and food. I also freeze leftover gravy or broths from roasts to add to other dishes later. Then I can use the gravy with meatloaf or the broth for a soup or sauce.

Happy Cooking!

 

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Christian, ministry, women

Getting my MRS. Degree

I went to college to get my BA and my MRS. Degrees. I don’t know if anyone still talks about this, but back in the 90’s, it was a joke that many women, especially Christian women, were attending college to find a husband. My sophomore year in college, the school newspaper had a front-page article on this topic. I am unashamed to admit that I was totally one of them. My parents told me that I couldn’t get a ring on my finger until I had a degree in my hand. I am very efficient and opted to double major. I love school. Seriously, on bad days, I fantasize about a long vacation and getting another college degree. (It’s a sickness, I know.) College seemed like a perfect way to find a smart, motivated husband. My plan was to find a husband, get married right after graduation, work a little while and then once I had kids, stay at home and raise them.

I had equated a good, Godly woman with being a wife and stay-at-home mother. And I didn’t invent this idea all on my own. I took in both implicit and explicit messages from the Christian community around me. Messages that said child bearing was my highest calling. Messages about how being soft spoken was not only feminine but Christ like. Verses that promoted those ideals were highlighted, and the ones that didn’t were glazed over. The worst thing a Christian woman of my generation could have been called was a feminist. Feminists were career driven, man-hating, pro-abortion, anti-Jesus, women whose sinful hearts had turned them away from God’s call in their lives.
jay barb 1992.png
And as someone who truly wanted to be a wife and stay-at-home mother, these messages simply reinforced my “career” path. I wanted what I was told I should want.

I got married during graduate school. We had kids and I homeschooled. GASP. I mean, that was my “calling.” Right? There never was any conflict inside me… until I wanted something different.

Until someone questioned whether I should lead our church’s youth ministry or if it was unbiblical for me as a woman to teach high school boys. Until we decided to send our kids to school and I needed to go to work to pay for tuition. Until I got interested in issues of social justice and came to understand more about both local and global issues of inequality and injustice. It’s hard to not be a feminist when you learn how women in some parts of the world are living. Heck, it’s hard to not become a feminist the very first time someone tells your daughter she can’t do something because she’s a girl. In a very short time, I began wrestling with who I was a woman of God, and if I could reconcile being a working mother, a feminist, and a ministry leader with being Christian.

classroom

Mom pic

It might sound crazy to some of you, because today’s culture is very different than is was a quarter of a century ago. (I died a little writing that line.) Yet every culture has its blind spots. And it goes beyond the American Christian culture we live in, to the subcultures that we find ourselves in. Your culture is sending you messages about what it means to be a Christian, what is right and wrong, moral and immoral. You need to weigh those messages out against the whole counsel of scripture and critically analyze what is truly Godly. You need to think critically about everything from views on marriage and sexuality, political parties and their stance on gun control and immigration, to gender roles in the church, the home, and the workplace. You need to evaluate views of modesty, alcohol, and the legalization of marijuana. You need to be able to critically analyze these messages so you can understand Truth with a capital T.

CS Lewis coined the phrase “Chronological snobbery” and argued that every generation has their own biases. If you only read the Christian literature of your generation you are getting a very slanted viewpoint. He argues that you must read a variety of works from different generations in order to help protect you from your own generation’s bias. If you are only reading tweets and blogs and the newest best sellers in the Christian living section of Barnes and Nobel you are missing so much. To protect yourself from this bias, CS Lewis suggests a cross generational reading diet.

 “It’s a good rule after reading a new book never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to three new ones…. Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and especially liable to make certain mistakes. We all therefore need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period…. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books….The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds and this can only be done by reading old books.”   (As found in “CS Lewis on Chronological Snobbery” by Art Lindsley)

I’d add to that quote, something I am sure Lewis would agree with. We have to know our Bibles well. Our Bibles need to be the root from which all of our beliefs stem. We need to weigh what the world says against what God says, and when the two conflict, we need to side with God. That doesn’t mean that we don’t critically analyze scripture, looking at scripture against scripture, scripture in the context of the culture it was written in, and identifying a broad view of scripture as a single great story told across generations.

kenya

Christians in different times and in different places in the world have defined the ideals of Christian men and women differently. We need to be careful that we don’t confuse our culture’s ideals of Godly with God’s definition of Godly. The Gospel message must be true everywhere and for all people. If we impose on it standards that cannot apply to a specific group of people, it might not really be the Gospel.

Growing up believing that Godly girls didn’t have careers, invalidated entire groups of Godly women who either had to work (like single women and the impoverished around the world) and those women who chose to work (you know, like say Mother Teresa) And the issue of women with careers is only one area in which cultural ideals can lead people into false interpretations of Godliness.

Fortunately for us, the Bible is filled with examples of godly men and women who are as different as can be. There are kings and queens and peasants and priests. There are children, young men, and old women. There are the single, married, widowed and divorced. There are working mom’s and eccentric prophets. It took me years of internal struggle to see that there is a whole lot of room under the label “Godly.” The real challenge is in finding room for our Christian brothers and sisters in our own hearts.

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