Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santa

Okay,
For some reason, the whole subject of whether or not I would tell my kids about Santa has arisen twice today. Go figure, but I have thought of it (of course because I have kids....oh wait no) and I cannot decide. I do not feel like my parents lied to me as a child for it, I was not psychologically disturbed afterwards, my parents really did not emphasize it much or overly encourage it, I love those memories. But, I also do not know if I want to lie to my kids knowingly, in the sense knowingly sin. Not to say I would not make Christ the center of Christmas, I don't know, society says one thing, friends say another, Christ doesn't have a "How to deal with Santa" chapter in the Bible. Go Figure.

So I am browsing on Pintrest (my new addiction, I must tread lightly) and I saw "Perfect Letter to give to child to explain Santa" and since today has been all about Santa, I looked at the blog. This is the letter


Dear Lucy,
Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.
Mama

This mom and daughter had written letters all year and the daughter asked for the truth, is her mom Santa? You can see by the reply that the mom said no, but said Santa is not real. What caught me was this sentence " He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch." And my immediate thought was "what a beautiful place to insert Christ, Santa helps us believe, and that Christ is someone we can believe with our whole hearts, because He was a Real Person, we may not see or touch Him, but He is here. I do not know if I will have children, or if I would let them believe about Santa, )don't get me started on what I am going to do about gifts), but if I do, I think this is a wonderful way to experience Christ, through this conversation, because I do not know (and this scares me a lot) if my children will ever accept Christ into their hearts. I desire to teach them constantly about Christ, but at a young age, it is so difficult know if the child really knows about Christ. I think this is a great way to open up that conversation. Who knows, if I have children it would probably be a bunch of really wise kids who will just know that Santa doesn't exist. God will hopefully let me know if this is okay in His eyes, and if it is, I know what I am going to do when they ask me if Santa is real.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

Well, I feel officially like a college student, I pulled an all-nighter. I seriously never thought that I would do it. I am a girl who loves her sleep, I do not function well without sleep. I had a poster presentation due (I of course procrastinated) and I came to my apartment at around 1:30 in the morning determined to go to sleep for a few hours. I get into and bed and I am turn and I keep thinking "I am not going to sleep tonight" but I argue with myself with the logic that I need sleep to function. I then thought my heart must be unsettled so I start talking things out with God, but I am getting more nervous and fidgety, like I need to work on this project. In desperation I say, "Okay God, if I am to stay up, let me have faith that I will have peace and rest through all of the things I must do."


You know, God is really good about answering prayer, even when we don't think we are saying one. I got up, worked on that poster until right before class, presented, went back to my apartment to finish a paper, and I did not feel tired until I went to my final class of the day. I only had one cup of espresso at 11 last night, which did not keep me awake for that long, I assure you. I realized after class that God had answered the prayer of a selfish, procrastinating, perfectionist child that does not deserve such a loving father as to give her the strength and alertness she needed to get through the day. God, 1 point, Elise, still the fool.

I have been having stomach problems for a year and half and I have become a regular at my Heath Center, being testing every way possible to figure out what is going on. Sadly I have been really frustrated about it, just really wanting some answers. Today I have realized, this is a thorn in my side that I cannot take out, only God can. He will provide the answers when it fits with His plan. I think back on when I stress fractured my foot last fall semester, and not knowing what was wrong for months, it was almost easier to go to God because that pain was constant, nothing I could do would really help it. With my stomach, I feel like it shouldn't be so hard, let's eliminate a food, let this blood work come back with a positive so we know what is going on. If I really think about it, I have been asking God to say "Yes Elise, you have diabetes, yes Elise, you have a thyroid problem, yes Elise, you have h pylori bacteria in your stomach"

Humility is something I ask God for lots and lots, and when He humbles me, I seem to think I did not deserve to be humble this time! When I ask for God for a sign that He is there, He did through an all-nighter. Now I need to in turn have faith that everything will turn out okay, that I will figure out this stomach problem in time, and if not, this is not as bad a thorn in my side. Faith is a constant struggle for me, so this Christmas season my goal is to find faith and look to God for my needs instead of myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Works Mean Nothing

Tonight I have been completely convicted. After Cru we went to a volunteer's house and talked about evangelizing. If anyone knows me for a while, they would know my history with evangelizing is not a healthy one.

Growing up, I did not hear a thing about evangelism or what it was about or why we should do it. On a mission trip, some of the people who I went with joked around about evangelism and how horrible it was to go up to strangers and preach the gospel. I took this in and thought "I will only tell people who I know well", actually this did not work, because I did not know how to tell people about Jesus or why we needed Jesus frankly because I did not really know why I should choose Jesus. A year later I was at a bible church youth group and the youth pastor told us the steps to become a Christian via a evangi-cube. He then had us pile into SUVs and go door to door evangelizing. I was completely freaked out and shut down immediately. Through the youth group again, we went on ski trips where the main goal was to evangelize on the lifts. Before the ski trips both times I got very sick, high fever, shivers, etc. just because I was so scared to evangelize. I thought "okay, some people have the gift of evangelism and some people don't, so I am off the hook." Wrong.

Evangelism is not wrong, that is not my point in the story above. Throughout my life, no one mentioned why I personally should do it. People said I should save souls for Christ, but it was always implied that this was a job, not a moving of the spirit.

Fast forward to this summer. I went to Point 11 with the youth group I was interning with, and a speaker came and moved me. He talked about evangelizing like it was breathing, if I did not spread the gospel, how was I growing with God? If I loved God so much, it should overflow and telling others about Christ is that overflow. It made sense to me, I evangelize because God so loved us, why would I want to walk around on this Earth knowing others do not know Him? I was inspired but timid because I knew the Laws of Christ, but I did not know how to go about starting conversations, how do I make the truths flow, etc?

Fast forward to tonight. A woman I look up to greatly had us over and we each gave our 3 minute testimony. I had not thought about it much, but I started making connections from others testimonies and pieces it with my testimony. It was wonderful! I saw how I could tell my story, insert the Gospel, and never make it awkward! We then talked about other ways to go about sharing the Gospel, and throughout the night I kept thinking "Wow, I can do this, I need to do this!" Towards the end, we were joking about abnoxious ways to start conversations! I loved it because I knew God was in it all, He was showing me how much sharing the Gospel is not a job, it is not a burden or a rule, but it is an extension of me, of me loving others and wanting others to know Him ultimately. So I come back and I read Facebook, for some reason lots of theology and opinions are posted about things. None of them talked about loving Christ and spreading the message to others. It was more politics than encouragement.

It really unsettled me, because I too get caught up in the politics of life. If I just do X, then I will grow closer to God. Once I have my testimony memorized and lots of bible verses, then I can share the Gospel to someone. NO! I need to share NOW, I have allowed too many people walk through my life without knowing about Christ. That has to stop. Who cares about politics? Why do we get so caught up in it all? Because in reality it is not involving us. God calls each of us individually to share the GOOD news, not the burdensome news. We are to love ultimately, and sadly I have seen it as a plague, that I cannot do or want to do. So, this blog may seem a little "you heathens!" but in reality, I think we all need to be shaken up and realize that if we are not following the Great Command each and every day, how can we possibly follow the Great Commandments ever? Just a few thoughts floating in my head.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Am I Doing?

I feel like we all ask this question from time to time, "What am I doing?" Sometimes words are added to the phrase, sometimes the phrase is meant for a specific action, sometimes is it meant for life in general.

As a college student, I am asked "What are You doing?" With my major, with my life, anything. So I too ask myself "What am I doing?"

As a Christian, I ask this question also, "God, what am I to do?"

Life on this Earth is not meant to be easy at all, especially as God's chosen people, yet why do we for some reason always have it in our heads "Once I get to point X, then it will be easier, then I will be better...." frankly the only point where we will be better and life will be easier is when we join our Father in Heaven, until then, trials shall come our way, things will be messy, life will be hard.

The human mind fascinates me, it helps that I am a psychology major, the problem with me is, I see how things should go, if I pray more I shall grow closer to God, trials will not be as difficult, community shall develop. If I stop eating so much, I will lose weight, I shall be able to have more energy to be a better temple for Christ and serve Him better. My brain knows what's up, yet there is the other part of me that gets in the way, my flesh, my sinful nature. For some reason, my brain and flesh are not on the same page, probably because the two are serving different masters, God is my master in my brain and heart and soul, but the Devil is the persuader of the flesh. I would not say the Devil is necessarily the master of my flesh, but it is my sinful nature that the Devil is able to easily persuade, I must battle it with my mind heart and soul that belongs to God so He gets the Eternal Glory.

Instead of asking "What am I doing?" I should ask, "God, what is Your will in my life? Am I doing it?" Sounds about right, now I need to train my brain for the battle of conflict that will ensue when I think "What am I doing?" to turn it to God and be Him Disciple in this life.