Friday, August 29, 2014

Keep Going Part 3: Detours

About two miles before you get to Mt Vernon, they're doing some construction on one of the bridges on the trail. So as I approached I saw the sign that said "Trail Closed." My initial thought was "Dang, that sucks. Guess I'll turn around." I was even going to take a picture of the sign and instagram that. I was even a little relieved because I had already run about 7 miles and I had to make the trek back home...

The only reason I got close to the sign was to take a picture for instagram, and it was as I got close that I saw the little detour onto the side of the road that would allow me to keep running, which I took. I had already run that far and I was committed to going all the way to Mt Vernon at that point. Plus the detour wasn't a quarter of a mile long... so no big deal.

Often in life we see the "trail closed" sign some distance away and we quickly turn around or choose a new direction and never keep pushing forward and get close enough to see the detour God has for us to still make it to the goal. We need to keep pushing forward - because maybe God has a different way of getting us to our goals and dreams. Maybe we need to take a detour so we're better prepared when we get to our final destination. And maybe that detour just isn't that long....

Because They're Pretty....

I finished reading Job this morning. The last couple of times I've read Job I've been fascinated by the end of the book. Job is given 7 more sons and 3 daughters. The daughters are listed by name. The sons are not. In an Old Testament book of the Bible, this is weird. There has to be some significance to the reason the daughters are named and not the sons. So naturally I took to Google to do a little study.

The first link I clicked on was upsetting. The writer of the piece made a simple observation. Because the text says that there were no women in all the land as fair as Job's daughter (Job 42:15), then obviously the reason Job's daughters are named is because they were beautiful (my paraphrase). That's it... The sons are not mentioned because there was nothing special about them....

Ugh... That would be the first link I click on.

Thankfully I did a little more research to get some answers that made some more sense (but which I'm still not totally in love with). And to be fair to said writer, he does go on to say that possibly they're mentioned by name (giving the definitions of the names) to show that Job's suffering had come to an end. But that was his second thought....

As the soon-to-be father of a little girl, this line of thought doesn't sit well with me. As a person, it's upsetting enough that's the first explanation I get on Google.

(Come on Google! Don't you know my political and theological thoughts on all of these things? Or did you want me to be angry?)  

There's obviously been some push back lately to just telling girls they're pretty and being more engaged in helping girls see that their self worth is in more than their looks. From Maddie and Tae's song pushing back on the awful hit genre of bro-country to Lego's girl scientist collection, to commercials "shaming" people for telling girls what they can't do. I mean, Mo'ne Davis was the face of the Little League World Series!

So why does it feel like we never talk about the female biblical heroes? Sure, we talk about Ruth who was loyal to her mother-in-law and because of it found a new husband (and made her a part of Jesus' lineage). And we talk about Esther, who used her position to help save the Jewish people from being massacred, but what about the other female heroes of the Bible?

What about Deborah? She was married and was able to keep a job as one of the judges of Israel. Deborah's not even the real hero of the story. But it was a woman who saved Israel. Barak, the head of the army, wasn't interested in going to fight unless Deborah was going with him, so the victory over Sisera, the head of the Canaanite army, would belong to a woman. The honor of victory went to Jael, the wife of Heber, whom Sisera foolishly felt safe to run to because of an alliance. She took a tent peg and hammered that peg into Sisera's skull. WHAT!!!!!??? That's some Game of Thrones violence!!! Of course you probably won't hear that story in church because... violence is not cool. (Unless it's David and Goliath....?) [Judges 4]

And who was the first person, in the history of the world, who got to proclaim that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead??? A woman! Not the disciples, but Mary Magdalene.

And you want to talk about the Proverbs 31 woman? Badass! Just read Proverbs 31 again. The Proverbs 31 woman works her hump off!!! And not just in the kitchen making sandwiches or doing laundry. She runs a vineyard, she's dealing with merchants at the dock, working with the poor, making all the clothes for her house, keeping everyone fed.... What is the husband doing? It sounds like his wife has got it all taken care of. When did the description of this woman start at verse 25? Her list of accomplishments is way more impressive than just watching over the affairs of her household.

I want my daughter to grow up and be a strong woman, confident in who she is and who she is in Christ. I want her to know that she can be whatever she wants to be! I don't want her to have to feel relegated to certain roles because that's what society has dictated for her gender. And I want her to know that the Bible is full of women who were badasses doing great things for the Kingdom, God and God's people and that those woman still exist!

The Bible is full of great stuff and there are a lot of things in God's word I will probably never come to terms with why they're there... But I just CAN'T believe that Job's daughter's are mentioned by name because they were hot.

End Rant.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Walking With God

I'd never really thought about what walking with God might actually look like until recently.

I rarely walk with a destination in mind. My favorite walk lately has been a path that runs along the Potomac River through the woods and out onto a dock. You can see the beltway in the distaste, but there's a mini "marina" and if you look the other way, nothing but peaceful blue (sometimes green) water. It's relaxing. Early on a cool morning, overlooking the water, you just breathe deeply and feel refreshed. Sometimes that's what walking with God is like. It's a walk to our favorite peaceful spot, where we just breathe God's presence in and feel refreshed.

Sometimes walking with God is like moving to a new town. It's exploring your new home base. Taking a drive and parking downtown, checking out the cool restaurants, finding a nice coffee shop... Just getting to know your new surroundings. Exploring something new. I think this is an aspect of walking with God that's missed and overlooked. We should always be learning new things about God, life, and how to love better.

Most of the time walking with God is being like a little kid, just holding on to your dad's hand, with no clue where you're going, but trusting that God knows the way and that he's got you and you're safe. Walking with God is far less an active thing we do and more about trusting God to be our guide. It's about grabbing hold of God's hand and saying, "lead on!"

Friday, August 15, 2014


I love going to museums. Living near DC my whole life, you become accustomed to museums being free, which is not normal (and I am aware that not all DC museums are free). I love going to any one of the Smithsonian museums and popping in for a couple hours, checking out new galleries. The Air and Space museum never gets old!

In 2012, Amanda I went to Boston and hit up the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was $15 a person, but totally worth it!! Easily one of my favorite museums I've ever been to! Great pieces of art that go all the way back to the time of Christ! A really cool house with rooms varying in design creating a totally unique experience! We went through every room, took our time checking out all the art, and spent 6+ hours in the museum.

Two very different experiences, both great. When the museums are free, I never spend more than 2-3 hours in there. I always move quickly, checking out only certain galleries, knowing I can come back at any time to check out other galleries or pick up where I left off and finish. But, when I paid $30 for the two of us to get in, we took our time exploring everything square inch of that museum. I might never go back to the Isabella Stewart museum, but I'll never forget it!

Both museums experiences are great! I loved spending over 6 hours in the Isabella Stewart museum. It was $30 well spent. But I also love popping into one of the Smithsonian museums for a couple hours on a Sunday. Each experience is unique and different, but I enjoy both.

Circumstances don't have to define our experiences. A baseball game with friends is still enjoyable and a great time, even when your team loses. I've been to an amusement park while it's been raining and riding roller coasters in the rain is still fun!! Sometimes the band isn't that good, but the conversations and time spent with friends and family makes it a successful evening. It's about perspective and finding the joy in moments where we could complain.

I'm guilty of letting circumstances cloud my mind and impact my experience. We all do. When things aren't going well or life is difficult, it's hard to see through the fog. Life is full of ups and downs, and it's in the downs, when we need to find the joy more, that we struggle to see the double rainbow.

We never know what's just around the corner. Things could get better, or things could get worse. Which is why it's important to look for what's good in the midst of struggle. Snow is just an inconvenience if you don't go out and play in it or snuggle next to a fire with some hot chocolate. Summer's just too hot if you don't hit up the beach or pool. Rain is wet and depressing, but when you see the rainbow after the storm...

“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Ecclesiastes 9:7

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Keep Going Part 2: Those Small Early Decisions

I did a ten mile run this morning. Some days I predetermine how far I'm going to run and this morning was one of those. The biggest decision I have to make on mornings like today isn't to run ten miles, it's to run five. At the four mile mark I have to make the choice whether to turn back and just do eight miles, or push forward and run that fifth mile. I mean, once I've done five I have no choice but to turn around and come back. So that fifth mile is the real key to running ten miles. That fifth mile also usually ends up being one of my fastest miles. 

Setting your goal and achieving that gaol isn't where you have to get dirty. It's the decisions along the way that guide you and get you to your goal that matter and make the biggest difference, even if it seems like a small or insignificant decision early on.