Tag Archives: church

For the Love – It’s Time!

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Every once in a while a book comes along that INSPIRES.  Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For the Love” does just that.

This book is for all my friends who are leaders.  That is EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. YOU.

Mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends.  You are champions.

Young, old. Single, married, divorced, separated, dating. You are loved.

I’ve seen you do your thing…teaching, writing, preaching, speaking, lawyering, doctoring, hugging, laughing.  You can be a boss in the boardroom and make a mean cupcake for the class party.

You are hand holders and snot wipers.  You offer a shoulder to cry on and a seat at the table.  You laugh freely and love deeply. You offer your heart.

You know things…like how to make a 10 year old boy roll on the floor laughing and how to recognize when your teenage daughter has been slighted by a friend.

You push the swing and swing on the swing and swing the bat. You are comfortable in fancy shoes and cleats and muddy bare feet. Your mission field is the neighborhood, the workplace, the bus, the yoga studio, the coffee shop.

This book is for you.

You know it is more important to be kind than it is to be right. You know when to compromise. You walk through life with open palms, not clenched fists. You understand that vulnerability is a strength. You know the first one to say sorry actually wins.

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We see you in churches and neighborhoods and schools and walking paths and breakfast diners. We see you in the stock market and the business school and the interview. We know you are behind the camera and in front of the camera and you are the camera. You have vision and depth and soul. You create art. You draw people in.

You are on mission. Today. Where you are.

This book is for you.

You have been offered grace. By God, parents, teachers, coaches, friends, many people in your past. Grace is your lifeline and you have been saved. You reach out to offer that grace to others and so others seek you…other grace givers …humble servants and truth tellers.

The older you get you recognize your gifts. You don’t minimize yourself or your talents. You no longer want to sit on the sidelines. You don’t want to read about what others are doing…you want to go to battle. You don’t fear what will happen if you fail, you look forward to what will happen when you succeed. You show up. You are ready to do the deep work. You are free.

 

for the love free

 

This book is for you if sometimes you feel not worthy. You wonder, “Have I done enough?” …”What is my calling?”…”Who am I?”  Jen addresses all of this. She also addresses the church with chapters like, “Dear Church…” and “Dear Christians, Please Stop being so Crappy…” 

This book is for you if sometimes you find yourself wondering if you your family is too crazy (NO), If it really is too difficult for you to crack an egg (NO), if Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez get their beauty supplies at Walgreen’s (NO) and if you should wear yoga pants outside of the house with no shirt covering your bottom. (FOR THE LOVE…NO!) Jen covers all of this beautifully. She’s got your back.

There are recipes and thank you notes and lots of personal anecdotes. She includes Scripture and always leads you back to love and truth and Jesus.

 

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You will love her for her honesty. She becomes your best friend, mentor, teacher, preacher and coach. She tells you it will be okay and you believe her. She holds a mirror up, tells you to take a good long look, assures you that you are beautiful and equipped and then says, “C’mon now, get going!”

This book is a movement.  This book matters. “For the Love” is a battle cry.

We are missionaries. In all the places we live and work and abide. For all the people we see, heal, touch, hear, comfort, teach, love.

Jen reminds us, “You are too vital to lose years to regret or shame or insecurity or fear. We are not slaves to those masters; Jesus saw to that.”

She encourages us, “Take all the hard parts-the failures, the losses, the wounds-and give them to Jesus for glory. He makes magic with those, I tell you.”

Amen.

Let’s go make some magic, shall we?

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

Middle school and life…what is learning anyway?

I had my first school parent coffee in Texas.

Yep, that’s right. I did it. I checked in, showed my license, put on my name tag and entered the scariest place of all…the middle school lunch room.

lunch room

I have to say it has gotten much better.  It’s still not easy but I’m okay. I can enter without the panic of, “Who will I sit with?”

Being new to town and the school and the state and well…just NEW in that way that feels sort of confusing but also funny because there is no way you can hide it.  I mean, I walked in and started wandering around and a teacher asked me, “Are you lost?” and I thought about answering, “Honey, you don’t know the half of it.” Literally, just getting to the school was a major feat.  Needing to know where the lunch room is is way beyond.  I just can’t.

So, it’s obvious.

Thank God I ran into someone I did know right away. By saying I know her, I mean I met her once and I thought it was her so I approached and thank God she recognized me and we started chatting.  I guess maybe the lunch room hasn’t changed that much.  We still look for someone to sit with. I’ve just become much braver.  And wiser. And more comfortable in my skin. Which takes a lot of years of walking into the lunchroom, board room, dorm room, new job, new neighborhood…you get my point.

The Principal started talking and I realized that this school, this experience,  this whole Texas thing…is different.  He said he started in education in 1953. I was doing the math in my head and he clarified…that’s when he started FIRST GRADE.  And he said, He’s “loved education ever since”.  His title is Dr. so I know he’s gone to a lot of schooling but I couldn’t give a hoot. (Don’t I sound southern already?)  I was more interested in what he said about the CULTURE and how important it is to him.  He talked about when he was a principal before and he was widowed and he suffered so much and he just couldn’t do it anymore so he retired.  He said he couldn’t “run the race” anymore.

He said he was blessed to find a wonderful woman who is his wife now and she brought him back, reminded him of how much he loved being in education and he came out of retirement.  He said school is important and he loves it but he loves his wife and family more.  That school and learning and accomplishing and all that we do here in this building is really, really important but not as important as your family.

He assured us that even though the school is new and the technology doesn’t work yet and there is confusion and the busses are late…the teachers love our kids and are trying their best and working really hard.  He asked for our patience and asked if we could please encourage and support the teachers.  He reminded us that we are all in this together.

There was a mom that shared her daughter was not allowed to go to the bathroom because she didn’t have a “pass” so she had an accident.  He was mortified and so sorry.  He launched into this whole thing.

He said there are 2 camps. “Rules and Regs” and ‘Culture”.  He said he’s not much of a rules and reg guy but he knows they are necessary.  He’s more into relationships and getting people what they need and OFFERING GRACE.  

Of course, this made me cry. Me too! I wanted to shout! Me too! Amen! 

There were moms there of course who kept pressing about bathroom passes and the busses and complaining about homework.  I was having an out of body experience.  I was watching and listening and I wanted to shout!! Did you hear him?!?! We are offering GRACE.  It’s about GRACE!!  All are doing their best!!

Now don’t get me wrong, parents have every right to ask all of those questions and all of the administrators there were lovely and accommodating and trying their best to help everyone.

It just reminded me of how we get sometimes about God and Religion.  We put all the rules and regulations in.  We start keeping score.  We demand. We perform. We measure.  We get so tired we can’t “run the race” anymore.  We forget that we are in this together.  We get so worried about people having a “pass” that we don’t see they are about to have an accident right in front of us.  We don’t recognize the suffering.  We make them jump through hoops.  We abandon. We criticize. We humiliate. This is love? This is Christian living?

But then Jesus comes in and goes, “Hey, guess what? I’m not much of a rules and reg guy.  I’m here to offer grace.”  He assures us that he loves us and he’s for us and he cares about our CULTURE.  He sets us FREE. To go to the bathroom or whatever.  He says, “You don’t need a pass…I AM THE PASS!!!”  You are all good.

Okay so at the end of an hour of people questioning, complaining, etc…a woman stood up.  She stood up and said, “I want to thank you.  For coming in here and talking about CULTURE and GRACE and for making it a priority to make this a GOOD, KIND place that offers understanding and support and encouragement.” Actually, I have no idea what else she said. But she was tracking with what I was feeling and a lot of other people in the room.  I couldn’t even hear her.

I was crying Holy Spirit tears and shaking my head and saying “Amen!”

Because honestly, he’s a principal but he’s also a missionary.  Right here. In Texas. In the Middle school lunchroom.

It was a lunch room.

But it felt more like Church.

 

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Generation X,Y,Z…Baby Boomers, Millennials…Where do you fall?

I’ve been wondering…where do I fit in?

Here’s the breakdown:

1927-1945  Silent Generation or Traditionalists

1946-1964 Baby Boomers

1965-1983  Generation X or Busters

1984-2002 – Gen Y or the Millennials

2003-Current Gen Z or the Digital Generation

I am in Generation X.  I also have three kids who are Millennials. We are all wondering where we fit in but I don’t know if this chart helps.

I happen to think we are more alike than different.

Regardless of when we were born, there are some things that never change.

I think you can be smart and successful and happy if you know a lot of stuff about the “now”.  If you are tech savvy and post cool pictures on Instagram and know how to work a crowd you will probably have a lot of friends and be really cool.  I think you can rock the world with your perfect abs and your reality show and your million followers on Twitter.  I think you can create a life for yourself that is “of this generation” and you can be “happy”.

But I don’t want to just be “happy”.  I don’t want my kids to just be “happy”.  “Happy” is temporary and shallow.  I want to swim in the deep end.

I want deep down in my bones joy and peace.  I want to be wise.  And to be wise, you have to know about the things that never change.  You must attempt to understand the great mysteries of life.  These are common to all of us.  We all ask questions like: Who is God? Why am I here? How can I make a difference?

I just read this by Rachel Held Evans and it’s SO GOOD.  It’s about the Millennial generation and church.  I’ll give you a minute to check it out.http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/?hpt=hp_c4

My favorite line in the article by Evans is “We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.” YES!  That’s what I’m talking about!  For sure! Let’s talk about Jesus! Let’s talk about Grace! Let’s love one another! Let’s encourage and support and be real! Let’s be authentic! Let’s wrestle with our doubts in community assured by God’s promises that we are still known and loved.

Even though I’m not a millennial, I agree with almost everything she writes.  One of the things I don’t agree with for me personally is the part about “finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions”.  I’m not drawn to that.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been Catholic my whole life and maybe I take it for granted.  The traditions are beautiful but I find myself wanting to scream out, “Is anyone awake??? Did you just hear what he read from Scripture??? THAT IS GOOD NEWS PEOPLE!! Wake up!  DON’T YOU WANNA DANCE?!?!?”

Maybe if you are used to people dancing and praising in church, you get to mid life and look for churches where people are calm and ritualistic.  Since I’ve lived in that world for my entire life, I’m looking for people who want to dance and sing and praise Jesus.  Obviously.  This is why I’m teaching Holy Yoga.

Speaking of Holy Yoga, I had a woman after class one day tell me that she no longer attends church because she really feels that it doesn’t apply to her life.  She is Catholic and she told me that she “doesn’t get anything out of it” but that she loves yoga and feels in communion with God on her mat.  I felt the same way when I discovered Yoga.  I felt that I had come home.  When I was talking to her that night something became very clear to me.  She, like all people in all generations, just wants to feel connected to her source and to her community. I picked up the Bible that I had been reading from and I looked her in the eye and said, “This is the TRUTH.  And Jesus is the Answer. And it has nothing to do with what church you attend. Even if you are frustrated with the church, don’t get frustrated with Jesus.  He is not that.  He is love.  Read His word and He will lead you.”

As Evans says in her article, “Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.”

I picture God and Jesus up there having coffee talking and watching and saying, “What the heck? Do you see what they are doing?  They are separating themselves.  They are making people feel less than.  They are judging and condemning and they are doing it in our name…what happened?”

What did happen?

We forgot our source.  We lost touch with our creator.  We forgot to read HIS BOOK.  He only wrote one.  It’s a love letter and a “how to” guide.

As for “how to”…I don’t know but I keep reading Scripture trying to figure it out.  Besides reading, there are a few things I intend to keep on doing as I continue to seek that connection to source and community.  I intend to pray and love and move my body.

After all, this is GOOD NEWS PEOPLE!

Who wants to dance?

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© 2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved