Wednesday, December 05, 2012
And although working hard and accomplishing and doing have great benefits, it is sometimes a curse. Especially when it comes to one's spiritual life.
I have discovered I am most comfortable when checking off a list in my Christian life:
- Have a quiet time.
- Give of my time and resources.
- Be patient.
I can practically hear myself checking off each item as they are accomplished.
But then I recall Jesus' words to Martha when she complains that her sister Mary isn't doing enough, "Martha, Martha, you are worried about any things, but only one things is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."
This story has always irked me a bit. I mean, God is the one who gave
A wise friend recently suggested I treat the season of advent like lent, committing to do or give up things to focus more on Christ and his coming. I loved the idea and started brainstorming things I could do (of course) to make the season more meaningful.
Then God revealed to me my backwards thinking. I didn't need to do more. I needed to be. And while that sounds simple, it is also profound.
I grabbed my "To Do" list, modified it a bit, and asked the kids what they wanted to be these next few weeks. They shared ideas, and we came up with a list of being items and a few ideas of what we might do in order to encourage these qualities and attributes these next few weeks.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
For some reason, out of all the weeks, the week of prayer and Sabbath seemed to be one of the most difficult for me.
Maybe it's because with seven commitments to pray throughout the day, including midnight and 6 am, failure seems probable.
Maybe it's because deciding to pause and breathe intentionally takes effort.
Maybe it's because adjusting one's schedule to pray is often inconvenient ("...so is being poor." Thanks, Ryan.)
Or maybe it's because regularly inviting God into one's day and week has the potential to be so life-changing that the enemy will use anything and everything to prevent it from happening.
At the beginning of the week, I was confident (with pride, not humility, unfortunately) that I would easily do all of the prayer times. I mean, how hard could it be to pause for a few minutes to pray seven times throughout the day, right?
Piece of cake.
So I set my phone with seven alarms:
Midnight: Night Prayer
6 a.m.: Morning Prayer
9 a.m.: Midmorning Prayer
Noon: Midday Prayer
3 p.m.: Midafternoon Prayer
6 p.m.: Evening Prayer
9 p.m.: Bedtime Prayer
And I woke up at midnight.
Half-asleep, I reached for my Bible and read Psalm 42, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?"
I wish I could say that this first prayer time was incredibly meaningful and that I had some sort of spiritual breakthrough.
Unfortunately, I don't remember much about it except struggling to stay awake through the passage and being relieved to turn off the light so I could roll over and go back to sleep. (I know. Shallow and very un-spiritual.)
A mere six hours later, my second alarm rang.
Psalm 19, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
Even now as I type them, my spirit swells considering the glory of God and his creation. I think most of that wonder was lost that morning as I stumbled through the passage.
"What is wrong with me?" I thought. This is suppose to be easy. And meaningful.
At the same time.
A friend graciously offered to let me borrow "The Liturgy of the Hours" for "Ordinary Time" (as opposed to "un-ordinary time" Confession: that thought seriously crossed my mind. Sad, but true.)
This book had prayers and scripture for each hour written and ready to go. Score! So each hour, I opened the book to the appointed prayer and read.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it anyways.
Noon: read and pray (and eat).
3 p.m.: read and pray.
6 p.m.: read and pray.
I developed a sort of a rhythm...a bit awkward and unrefined, but consistent. Until one night when I didn't get up for midnight prayer.
The alarm went off and I...turned it off and fell back asleep. Nice.
Then the 6 a.m. alarm went off. I did the same thing! Huge fail. It's embarrassing to type.
I got back on track with daytime prayer but realized that it was too late. I had ruined my track record. My perfect score.
Then God revealed my self-sufficiency.
And my self-satisfaction.
And self-confidence and self-admiration.
(Are you sensing a pattern?)
Since when did prayer - or any spiritual discipline for that matter - become about me? If it's not about God, then what's the point of doing it?
I decided to let go...
of keeping score.
of tracking and goals of perfection.
And I embraced grace.
Sweet, generous, overwhelming grace.
And I kept praying...not to prove or win or do.
But to be.
And that is enough.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
(I always was an overachiever.)
The title of chapter seven is "stress," which means we will try to reduce our stress by adding resting and prayer to our lives. The author's family started being intentional about taking a Sabbath, beginning with a family meal Saturday evening and continuing through Sunday. She also committed to pausing to pray seven times throughout the day.
While the idea of honoring the Sabbath intrigued me, what inspired me to actually implement the practice was spending an evening with some dear, new friends who live in intentional community in downtown Marion. Residents of the Incarnation House invited me to join them for a Sabbath meal several weeks ago. (Shout out to Amanda, Annie, Emily, Jared and Ryan!)
I was told that they "kind of dress up" (what does that even mean?) and have dinner together, followed by some type of activity (an opportunity to interact and build community).
So, I got "kind of dressed up" and went.
It was a perfect introduction to Sabbath.
Reading the liturgy.
Lighting the candle.
Passing the cup.
Breaking the bread.
Sharing a blessing.
We ended the evening carving pumpkins together, talking and laughing.
It was a beautiful evening.
I invited them all to celebrate Lord's Day Dinner at my house the next weekend. They accepted.
Another beautiful evening.
The next step was to involve the kids with Lord's Day. Providentially, a friend's family was also starting this tradition, so we combined our families for the evening, hoping the togetherness would add an extra measure of fun, convincing our kiddos that this was a positive change.
Let's just say that celebrating Lord's Day with six adults is slightly different than celebrating with six children under the age of ten.
We planned who drank so there would be no arguing about who had to drink after the others.
We tried not to laugh as the kids cringed at drinking after others (even though we wiped the cup.)
We broke bread.
We laughed about the gigantic pieces of bread the kids took.
We shared blessings: dogs, family, friends.
We laughed some more.
It was loud and a little crazy.
It was beautiful.
Last Saturday was our family's first Lord's Day dinner on our own.
The kids asked if we could have someone (anyone!) over for Lord's Day, but it didn't work out.
So we sat.
Four around the table.
We set the table with our Lord's Day dishes (my great-grandmother's vintage Fiestaware).
We read the liturgy (four year-old Josiah echoed the words).
"The Lord himself is with us,"
"The Lord Himself is with us"
"to refresh us"
"to refresh us"
"and to strengthen us."
"and to strengthen us."
We drank juice (the children out of tiny plastic medicine cups which ended the "who goes last" discussion).
We broke bread (a slice of whole wheat sandwich bread because I forgot to get a loaf).
We shared blessings (dogs, family, friends).
We laughed and ate.
And it was beautiful.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
I was wrong.
It turns out that last week was only week five (it just feels like week six), so I have two more weeks to give things up: spending this week, followed by stress the week after.
My plan is to spend money at no more than twelve places for a week. I know that sounds like a lot, but as you will see below, I am including in that list every place our family spends money to live - even if the bill will not actually be paid this week. Here's what I have so far:
- VIA Credit Union (mortgage)
- Vectren (gas)
- AEP (electric)
- AT&T (internet and phone)
- Verizon (cell phone)
- Western Reserve (insurance)
- Wabash Valley (trash)
- BP (fuel)
- Meijer (food/everything else)
- Reserved - to pay a soil specialist that is coming Monday to check our backyard for the $8,000 to $11,000 septic system I have to have put in! I may be sticking to this week's spending plan forever.
- Midwest Coffee Company - this was a "free"spot/TBD until today when I bought coffee for a gift. I decided since I was already spending money there I might as well buy a cookie for myself. At least the food week is over.
- This was a free/TBD spot until now when I realized I have to pay my babysitters for the week - 3 different people. Rats. Okay, I am going to try to live within the spirit of the law here and not the letter of the law. All three sitters will be covered in this last space. That's okay, right?
Sunday, November 04, 2012
- Conserving water and energy
- Driving only one car
- Shopping thrift and second-hand
- Buying only local
- Recycling cardboard
- Recycling paper
- Recycling glass
- Recycling aluminum
- Recycling steel
- Recycling plastics #2
- Recycling plastics not #2
- Conserving water
- Conserving electricity
- Conserving fuel
- Being intentional about extra/leftover food
- Reusing things
Sunday, October 28, 2012
As I anticipated Seven Week 4: Media, I predicted the biggest factor for me would be not checking Facebook each day. Okay, multiple times a day.
It turns out that I am spending significantly more time with my computer than I thought. It's ridiculous.
Wake up and check Facebook.
Get ready then check personal email and possibly school email and Facebook.
Go to work and take lunch break, check email and Facebook.
Finish work day then check email and Facebook for messages before leaving to get kids.
Get home and check Facebook and my blog.
Throughout the night Google topics as needed
Post on Facebook cute things the kids do or say.
Read on Facebook the cute things my friends' kids do or say.
Check out blogs of favorite authors, etc...
Put kids to bed then hang out online looking at friends' pins on Pinterest.
Sometimes watch a show on Hulu.
Read friends' blogs, etc...
Check Facebook one last time before bed.
What is the deal with me and Facebook?
Why am I obsessed with social media?
Why do I continually post things about my children or life?
Why do I care if people "like" my posts and comments?
My commitment for Week 4 was to fast from Facebook for seven days and to limit my use of the internet to email, blogging, and job-related sites.
My media fast started Thursday morning, and I blew it in the first 5 minutes of the day. I received an email from a friend that she had read my blog and had linked my blog to her most recent post. So, of course, I had to click over and read what she wrote, right?
I thought back to my food fast and how a wise friend had referred to the profundity of Ignatius of Loyola who encouraged very specific and clearly defined commitments concerning a fast. I knew I needed to be equally as vigilant regarding my media fast.
So, I started turning my computer monitor off. I checked email fewer times throughout the day and sent emails as needed; but I found I had a lot of extra time on my hands to finish going through closets and cabinets, to clean and organize the house, and to spend with the kids (Read: take a nap with Josiah on the couch).
Now that watching a movie as a family is not an option, I hope to replace that time with activities our family can do together: games, books, projects, cooking. I want my kids to choose playing Racko to watching Ratatouille.
The harder part for us has been the radio. Since it *is* a form of media, it was included in my media fast.
And I miss it.
Perhaps most of all on our hour-long trip to visit friends in Noblesville Friday night.
I planned ahead. I took card games and electronic Twenty Questions.
Elisha started playing the electronic game, but that didn't include everyone so we transitioned to old-fashioned Twenty Questions. Me and three children: 4, 6 and 9.
I guessed Elisha's object in under 3 minutes. It went something like this:
Elisha: It's a thing.
Me: Is it alive?
Me: Is it an animal?
Me: Does it have 4 legs?
Me: Does it have fur?
Me: Is it a type of pet?
Me: Is it a dog?
Elisha: Yes. What kind of a dog?
Me: Is it a Yorkshire Terrier? (the breed of his dog)
And then there was Madelyn's "animal" which we couldn't guess and it turned out to be an alien. (Or was that Josiah's?)
This quickly degenerated into children not taking turns and arguing and loud voices which inspired me to impose a "No Talking Time" while I called my friend who is also participating in Seven and asked her when it becomes more necessary to turn on the radio and keep mom sane than to complete the seven media fast. She kindly suggested we all play the Alphabet Game.
We all started looking for letters which lasted approximately 5 minutes at which point the younger two gave up. Fortunately, they started playing Go Fish while Elisha and I spent the next 30 minutes finding G through Z.
We arrived at our friends' house and enjoyed dinner together. I decided to allow a brief recess from their fast since we were guests, and the kids ended up having a dance party, playing a Cars video game and watching Madagascar 3. I rationalized that, ultimately, this is my journey and they should not have to be subject to the same level of dedication that I am.
So it seems like we have been on Week 4 for around two weeks, but it has only been 4 days. I am looking forward to the end of this fast but am contemplating what balance looks like for me and my family in the area of media.
Any words of wisdom and discernment from the blogosphere would be welcome. What's working for you and your family? Anyone?
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Once I started purging, I just couldn't stop: bookshelves, closets, cabinets...games, sheets, blankets, magazines, books, dishes, college notebooks, bags, hats, puzzles.
I have an entire corner of my living room piled with boxes and bags of donations.
God has connected some of my stuff with people who can use it, but there is so much more that still needs to find a home. I'm excited to keep searching for people who need these items.
But, look what I found during this process...
Shelves that were crammed with books have extra room.
Closets that had boxes stacked under the hanging clothes have nothing on the floor.
I have written before about margin, and that is what is now reflected in our home: blank space around the edges. Room to breathe.
I love the way it looks.
But I love the way it feels even more.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Maybe it's just me, but I often find myself wondering how stores can possibly sell all of the items they stock.
And where do customers put it all?
And where do we put the things we have to make room for more stuff?
I'm starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it.
So this week's focus was on possessions. Stuff.
My commitment was to get rid of 12 things a day for a total of 84 things.
Like I mentioned in the last post, I regularly sort the kids clothes and hand them down to friends. I already sorted my clothes and gave them away. I thought I might have a little trouble coming up with 84 things, but I had a backup plan: books.
This is where I confess that I love to read. And my family loves to read. My brother was an English and Writing major, remember. He actually worked at a bookstore for several years and use to surprise me with packages of books delivered to my door. (Thanks, Joel!)
In fact, it has become a Christmas tradition for him to buy the kids classic books: Flat Stanley, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay up Late.
So, if all else failed, I would sort through our shelves of books and make up the difference.
Then, I started looking through my cabinets: dishes, vases, crystal serving plates, bowls, more dishes, things I rarely or never use.
And I felt God urging me to let go of my stuff. Good stuff. Beautiful stuff. Useful stuff, even.
But stuff that I do not need and that someone else could use.
I have no idea how much I have given away this week. I know it is way beyond 84 items, but I don't plan to count because it's not about a number.
It is about the freedom in my heart and in my soul. A freedom from possessions and a freedom to share and give generously in God's name.
It's not comfortable.
It has been painful.
But God keeps reminding me of a conversation with a wise friend that adjusts my perspective and reminds me of why I am doing this.
Me (realizing that I am wearing my only pair of jeans to build a fire Saturday night and that I planned to wear them to church the next morning): "Oh, I'm going to have to wash these. This is all kind of inconvenient..."
Wise friend: "So is being poor."
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Instead, I was helping determine the winners of the race and ended up grabbing a piece of lukewarm pizza and some carrots while helping clean up the mess.
I hope to continually evaluate my choices with food, if for no other reason than to ensure that I am eating healthy and balanced meals and snacks and honoring God in this area.
Oh! And a final note: I realized today that I have not had a bowl of cereal in over 2 weeks. That may be the longest I have ever gone since I was physically able to chew. I LOVE cereal. It's quick. It's easy. It's inexpensive. It tastes great. And...it have 12 essential vitamins and minerals!
But, it's not "real" food - basic, grown from the earth, less than 5 ingredients, blah, blah, blah. So, I'm trying to live without it. So far, so good.
And now for this week's challenge: Possessions.
I have to admit that I thought this one would be easy.
I go through clothes and cabinets a couple of times a year to organize and sort and give away.
I pass down all of the kids' clothes to friends who can use them.
I raid our pantry for food items to set out for fill-a-bag-for-hunger when the postman picks it up.
In fact, I just went through my closet and gave away a ton of clothes.
I actually wondered if I would be able to find enough things to give away, but I made my commitment:
I will give away 12 things a day for a week.
That's 84 items.
I thought if I got desperate, I could give away some of the kids' books.
Then I started going through cabinets and closets tonight.
I think I need an intervention.
Seriously, where did all of this stuff come from? And why am I keeping it?
I'm creating a pile of items to share and am certain I will have no trouble meeting my goal of 84 items.
Now I need to know the best way to find someone who needs it. Facebook? This blog? A list posted at school?
Again, I'm open to ideas.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Give us options, variety, a vote. Choice is a right.
Knowing this, what is my responsibility? Most of the time we are told that as long as we do "something," we are doing our part.
I'm not sure I believe that anymore. (Maybe I never did.)
Maybe "something" is not enough.
Maybe I am called to do more.
I'm still struggling to discern what that means long term; but for this week, it means I will add clothing to my fast. I have narrowed down my wardrobe to 12 items ("outerwear") that I will wear for the next week: work, church, sleeping, mowing, mom's birthday lunch, volunteering at St. Martin's, Sunday School event. All of my activities in the same 12 articles of clothing:
- one pair jeans
- one pair black dress pants
- one pair tan cords
- one red v-necked sweater
- one black long-sleeved t-shirt
- one rose v-necked long-sleeved t-shirt
- one gray long-sleeved shirt
- one teal Frances Slocum t-shirt
- one old soft burnt orange t-shirt
- one gray hooded sweatshirt with "San Diego" on the front
- one black zip up jacket
- shoes: black dress shoes and tennis shoes
- belts (had to use a safety pin this morning
- scarves, hats, other accessories
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
I haven't messed up. (Unless you count Saturday night: I dreamed I was walking down the hallway at school and someone had left a Starbucks drink on the floor. For some reason, I assumed it was for me and started drinking it only to realize that in doing so I had broken my fast! It was a terrible feeling even as a dream. And it might have been worse if I had acknowledged my sin of theft as well.)
Overall, choosing to only eat from my list of foods has not been as hard as I had anticipated. I struggled with an eating disorder for several years in high school and college, so restricting food is not a new discipline for me.
In fact, it is due to those tendencies that I have never chosen to fast from food for an extended period of time. I kind of gave myself a pass and skipped on to other spiritual disciplines.
I'm discovering, though, that dieting and restricting food is altogether different from fasting. (Or at least it should be.) The distinction is motive.
When I diet, the focus is me: my weight, my body, my self-esteem.
When I fast, the focus is God: His sufficiency, His Word, His power.
In case you are wondering exactly how this has played out, here is what a typical day looks like. (I am assuming if you don't care, you can scroll down or click off my blog. No one is forcing you to be here, right?)
Breakfast is often toast and milk, maybe a banana. I found a whole wheat bread that I really like and plan to continue buying even after this 2 weeks. I have been drinking 2% milk instead of 1% so I don't lose too much weight (a couple of friends were worried about this), and could definitely adjust to that taste.
Almonds or string cheese provide a good grab and go snack. Or sometimes after school, I have an apple.
Lunch usually consists of cheese, a hard boiled egg or chicken, an apple, and sometime a banana, depending if I had one earlier.
Dinner can be eggs or chicken, more fruit and bread or sometimes a smoothie (frozen strawberries, frozen ripe bananas, plain yogurt, frozen orange juice concentrate, and milk.)
Part of me likes the predictability of knowing what I will and won't eat. It saves some energy and brainpower.
I thought the kids might wonder about what I am eating, but we must have been eating a lot of eggs and toast or chicken and sweet potatoes before because they haven't asked about anything. I do fix them other things. So don't worry that they are stuck eating just what I am.
My verdict after week 1: I think this is a good thing. I feel healthy. I am not wasting money on extra snacks or fast food (although I should admit that I was once tempted by Culver's flavor of the day), so that is better stewardship. And I have spent some of my meal times reading the Word and talking to God. Which is the point, right?
Well, that and realizing how much excess I live with and learning to make godly choices regarding that excess. More on that tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, we are meeting tomorrow night to discuss week 2: clothes. Seven clothing items. Or twelve even. I'm not sure how that is going to play out with work...we'll see. Any suggestions?
Thursday, October 04, 2012
- Plain yogurt
- Whole-wheat bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Orange Juice
Monday, October 01, 2012
Not only is it a challenging book with ideas for reducing and giving and re-thinking "stuff." But she quotes (and actually met!) Shane Claiborne.
See how God is weaving together all of these books and themes? Very cool.
A few friends and I created an accountability group surrounding the book and are planning to focus on each of the 7 areas Jen addresses: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. Below is the description from the book cover to give you and idea of what we are getting ourselves into:
"Jen and her family would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe "seven sacred pauses." So, what's the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It's the discovery of a greatly increased God - a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends a social experiment to become a radically better existence."
This week our group's focus is food. I want to approach this as a fast: intentionally sacrificing what I would normally eat in order to gain a deeper understanding of who Christ is and what he desires of me.
My question is what will that look like? I have less than 48 hours to discern this since my group meets Wednesday night. No problem, right?
I have thought about choosing 7 foods; but to be honest, I think I could live quite happily on cereal, milk, eggs, peanut butter, bread, potatoes, and apples. In fact, that is often what I eat when the kids are not home. Let's be honest, it's mostly what I eat when the kids are home.
However, those foods are not amazingly healthy; and I'd like to encourage more "real foods" in our diet. So I have also considered doing a nutritarian diet where "90% of your daily diet should be comprised of nutrient-rich plant foods with health-promoting phyto-chemicals."
Confession: I didn't even know what a nutritarian was until yesterday.
I think I need to pray about it. It feels weird to type that. I'm not sure why.
I'm sure God has an opinion and a preference, but I often don't ask him about things like this. Which I should. And I plan to. Now.
I'll report back after our first meeting. I'm looking forward to it (in a this-will-be meaningful-and-life-changing-but possibly-not-fun sort of way.)
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I have heard that excellent writers pays particular attention to word choice. Is a word the best fit? Does it have the most specific meaning? Are they using it correctly? Would another word work better?
Lately, I have noticed that we often use words but they don't mean what we think they mean when we say them. Was that sentence confusing? It made sense in my head. I clearly need my brother's intervention...Joel?
Perhaps I should try an example:
My sweet 6 year-old daughter
But, I want her to know the difference. I want her to know that there actually are 6 year-olds who are "deprived of food." I want her to develop compassion for them as well as gratefulness for the cheese stick she can get out of the fridge. For this reason, I try to encourage my kids not to use the phrase, "I'm starving." They can say, "I'm hungry" (which interestingly can mean either "starving" or "desirous") or "I want something to eat."
Another common scenario is when my son says that he needs a new Lego set. I try to tell him that he does not need a Lego set; he wants a Lego set. (And that his mother thinks we need to sell or give away some of the Legos we already have....I digress.)
I have always thought of a need as something a person had to have: water, food, shelter. But I looked up the word on thesaurus.com and it gave the definition: "want, requirement." Have we as Americans actually modified the definition of a word by our use of it? That seems crazy.
I just started a book about getting rid of "excess" in our lives. At first, it was hard to imagine our family lived in excess. It sounds so exorbitant. The definition of excess was "overabundance of something" which sounds like you have to have bins or closets overflowing with food and supplies.
But then I checked out the synonym list: spare, duplicate, surplus, waste. Wow. According to this, we live with excess and lots of it. So, we have a challenge. An obligation even. To sort. To give. To share. To be godly stewards (managers) of all He has given us.
Spiderman warns us that, "With great power comes great responsibility." I'd like to suggest that knowledge is power and with it does come great responsibility. So I hope to use it wisely. Anyone else want to join me? I just might need some help along the way.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Friday, March 09, 2012
I hate typing the word.
I hate saying the word.
I hate thinking everyone is looking at me thinking the word.
I hate checking the marital status box on medical forms.
It's a word I never would have expected to be applied to me. I mean, I didn't even get married until I was 28, waiting for God's timing. And then I was so happy. Content with my spouse, my children, my life.
But, things happen. People make choices. To say things. To do things. Two people choose how to treat their covenant.
For better or for worse.
What happened to my attitude in the hard times?
For richer or for poorer.
Why was I so anxious about money?
In sickness and in health.
Where was my patience in times of struggle?
To love, honor and cherish.
Did I do this? Daily? To the best of my ability?
I have regrets. And guilt. And more guilt.
But God juxtaposed a conversation with a friend and a quote from a Mark Lowry concert and started me thinking.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about the divorce and how incredulous it was to me that this all happened. She kindly commented that “my sin” and circumstances just happened to be public and that she would not want some of her choices or her sin to be made available for all to see.
I was a little surprised. While I have made plenty of poor choices and did, in fact, sin during my marriage, I have not considered the divorce itself to be a matter of sin for me. I did not want it. I did not pursue it. And I only “agreed” to it, signing the final paperwork because it was holding up the process of buying a house for Jim.
I did not say anything, but continued to consider her words.
A few days later, I attended a Mark Lowry concert. In the midst of his sharing about how we are all able to be used by God, he specifically referred to people who are divorced. He said, “God was divorced” and told us to read Jeremiah 3:8. He went on to encourage us that if we were divorced, God could still use us and to not think of it as a barrier to what God could do with us.
His words were powerful. I went home and looked up the passage and found this:
“I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.”
According to this, Mark was right. God gave Israel a certificate of divorce. If God did this, how could it be a sin?
I started researching verses on divorce and found that although divorcing someone can cause them to sin (commit adultery), I have yet to find a verse that says the actual act of giving someone a certificate of divorce is a sin.
I’m still looking and thinking and praying. What do you think?