Set Phasers to Stun

So I'm a child of Star Trek. Seen all the old, in-between and new episodes, all the movies, and yes, I know the opening monologue by heart, "Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." Oooo, ooo, o-o-o-o-oooo. Warp speed outta the tv screen.

Convinced, yet? Scary isn't it? Anyways, if you don't already know this a lot of the metaphors of my life I get from either movies or songs. This morning as I was cleaning up and rehashing the week in my head, it hit me. Our life in the Goodman house could be compared with the Enterprise. The Captain, Dad, leads shore excursions to check out the flora and fauna of newly discovered lands while the Second, mom, stays on the ship and attempts to keep things on an even keel until the main man returns.

If you ever watched the show, you know that things never went as planned, sometimes it was something with the remaining crew, sometimes it was the welcome party. You never know around here either. Things went pretty good at home this time, so I'm thinking the Cap'n may not have had such a run of luck. Something else that got me thinking is the difficulties with getting the crew in sync. We're all traveling around in this big ship and we've all got our unique part to play, and both the Captain and the Second (Number 2 means something entirely different when you're raising kids) try their darnedest to keep every body alive and happy and on the ship.

Sometimes someone jettisons an escape pod and we have to stop everything and go on a search of the galaxy for the missing crew member, or someone's brains get invaded by a little earwig alien dude and we must extract, but the most difficult maneuver of all right now is negotiating the family dinner. Now, I'm not talking about dinner at the captain's table, that is happening most nights, its the offshore excursion with a foreign ambassador. If the ship is the locale for the feast, we're pretty good, all officers are in attendance, but not everybody can go offshore at all times. Ya follow? 

The Captain must have a hologram conference with Starfleet at the appointed time of the event, or Spock must take an unscheduled trip to Vulcan, or Scotty has to train new recruits. Uhura has an urgent message from the outer limits, Chekov can't get the thrusters to do their thang, Sulu lost the keys, Bones encounters an outbreak on board the ship, even the Ensign assigned to die this episode can't make it. How does one get every body coordinated? Its impossible to explain, even more impossible to pull off, so why sweat it. The landing party will be those that can leave the ship and that's that. Beam us down to the surface, Scotty.


Go Therefore and Make Disciples

Ok, so apparently my husband and I took this command of Jesus quite literally. It wasn't enough for us to be fruitful and multiply, we recognize that it was not enough to just "make babies." We gotta train them up, ya know. As a woman, when I married my husband, my focus changed from my future to our future. When we became parents, it was no longer just the two of us. Everything we did was tempered by the presence of a third wheel, if you will. What makes me think that church will be any different. So many of us think that church is all about us, when it really isn't. We don't come to church to be filled up, but to spill out on to others. Sunday isn't about being fed, but about joining hands with others and bringing in the nets. The modern church has a program for everybody, and don't get me wrong, it really is about discipleship, but for so long we've been fed this line about entitlement and self-esteem and prosperity. Those things lead us to believe that Jesus work on the cross was all about getting us right with him. But its so much more than that. Its about the change of focus from me to you. I'm no longer inward looking, but upward and then outward.


Demolition Crew

There's been a lot crossing our way lately in the form of judgments and proclamations. What I mean is that we've been dealing with a lot of people's opinions and what they say about others. Now I think I can say this because I happen to be one, but women talk a lot. My husband and I take drives so that we can get out of the house and talk and I have to admit that I do most of the talking. Sometimes, I realize that I've changed subjects about three times in the course of one monologue. That's okay, its a scientifically proven fact that women talk more than men. However, I have to guard what I say and even be careful of the perception I have of other people's lives and actions. Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Wow, that's heavy and pretty simple. Don't we do that all the time with the words we speak?Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it." 

What may seem frivolous to me, is a necessity to another. You cannot walk into my house and look at my things and judge my spending habits based on that. One reason is that you don't know how well I may or may not be budgeting my money. I shop a lot at the Goodwill and consignment shops. You don't have to know that, but don't judge me. (see yesterday's post for more on this topic.) I may look at you and see you slacking in your particular area of ministry. You may be showing up late or not at all or you may have lame excuses for not praying or whatever. What I may not know is that you and your husband are fighting for your marriage in a very real way, or you just found out you owe the IRS $10,000 in back taxes, or your teenager is pregnant, or (insert your particular struggle here).

Paul said that we walk out our salvation daily and he was so right. Everyday I wake up and choose to follow after Christ, its not automatic. Its so easy to judge someone from what you can see and some people are actually audacious enough to spew it out of their mouths. That's proclaiming a curse in case you didn't know. Even thinking poorly about another is bad. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he... Walking out our daily struggle with Jesus is a messy business and its a very personal thing. We need to hold one another accountable, but even that needs to be rooted in love for the other person. Carry your own cross, and don't criticize your brother when his slips a little. Don't tear down the house, only a fool does that.


You Have No Idea

Wow, its been a long time since I last posted...Sorry about that but things kinda started spinning out of control for me. I just now feel like I've found the groove of things. The kids went back to school, at two different schools mind you, and I got a new job, and did I mention we're pastoring a new church plant, and I still occasionally remind myself that I am postpartum (that explains alot sometimes). Oh and for the past three months we've been hosting four more people in my home. The summer is gone and my four girls are sharing one room. Three of the four more people are under five years old. Now this is not a laundry list of complaints or anything, I just wanted to explain my circumstances in case you started judging me and all for not writing. So explanation given let's move on.

I realize that my life is not an ordinary one and I maintain a love/hate relationship with it. There are times I completely embrace all the weirdness we call "us" and then on the opposite pole I stand shaking my fist at the heavens and imploring at the top of my lungs, "Why ME?" Things can be going so well and then the bottom drops out at the least expected times, although I must say I'm beginning to notice the warning signs of the giving way. Then the crowning glory is when someone in their stupidity or ignorance or both tries to tell me how to do this thing better or easier or what have you. I am not beyond receiving good advice, but a qualifying factor for giving good advice is that the advice giver has "been there, done that." I really don't find that many people in my immediate surroundings who have walked my road. Pastor's wife, check, mother of six, negative. Working mom, check, wife of an insane maniac of a man, no way. No man is an island, but some women need one to escape to from the crazy treadmill of life. At times I even resent the routine that I'm forced to follow. Get up at 6 am, unload dishwasher, kiss husband, change dirty diaper, take shower and be certain that everyone else will be walking out the door looking good except for me this morning (because I don't have any time left to brush my hair), drive away from the house at precisely 7:05 am. I swear to you I feel like there is an ethereal glow around my truck every morning that we leave and everybody's wearing shoes and has their hair brushed. Its like a little miracle everyday when a family of 8 gets somewhere on time and looking half way decent. Can you give me a little slack when I don't make it to both services on Sunday, or my kids don't remember to be polite all the time, or my husband's collar isn't perfectly pressed? 

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. (Matthew 7:2, The Message)
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