Saturday, January 29, 2011

In defense of feeling ambiguous about breastfeeding.....sort of

You reopen a blog thinking you were going to write mostly about Jesus and two months later you tell the world about your boobs. What can I say, God works in mysterious ways?

Anyway, I follow the site Babble pretty closely. Yesterday they published an article about breast feeding vs. formula feeding that I thought was pretty reasonable. I also thought it wasn't really anti-breastfeeding. It just wasn't pro breastfeeding. But, as you find out when you get pregnant, somehow having a baby makes your body in a weird way public property. Thats right, even if you haven't posed for Playboy, people, strangers, strange people who don't even HAVE boobs, are allowed to have an opinion about your boobs. And what you should and should not be doing with them, and where, and when, and for how long. It is totally weird. Really, truly, weird. I wish there were a better way to describe it. It's weird.

Most articles and blog posts you read take a really strong stance. And I get it, I do. I do think breast feeding is important and most women not doing it for longer is simply a product of our incredibly crappy maternity leave and care in this country. I think everyone should be super positive and encouraging about breastfeeding because if it weren't for a friend stopping by after her 12 hour shift to get the peanut to latch, another friend paying for a lactation consultant, and some excellent advice from my sister and aunt who used to be a la leche league coach, I would have never been able to make it work. I was supported, that is why it worked for me.

But, there is a difference between being supportive, and making people feel like crap if they opt to formula feed. Especially if they have given it an honest try. Breastfeeding while Juliet was tongue tied was the most painful experience of my life. I had fibromyalgia for years, and pushed out a baby, and breastfeeding made me want to DIE. But that is a sign that something is wrong, so if that is how it is for you RUN to someone who can help you! So I get a little bristly when someone (even on the internet) puts "hard" in quotations marks when they feel like women just use it as an excuse. They, apparently didn't get their nipple chewed off by their oldest (the first time the peanut yells YOU DON'T LOVE ME! She will see the 16 she'll be like mom, put your boob away, fine I won't wear this short skirt) so maybe they should back off.

So I do support breastfeeding, but I do think that sometimes the hard gets glossed over because people want everyone to try it. In my experience not being totally honest about anything only makes that thing more difficult for everyone. With that I will say, there are pros and cons. Oh and I am only one person with only two boobs the experience that I am describing only applies to those two boobs.

Pro: It is free. You burn extra calories. It is ridiculously convenient. Seriously, no going for a bottle in the middle of the night or worrying about if you will have clean warm water available, is the baby here? Are my boobs here? Good to go.It made air travel very easy for us. Crying? Nurse her, she stops. There is something very cool about your body being able to provide for your child. For me, getting Juliet to latch and then going through the whole tongue tied thing made me feel like God uniquely designed me to advocate for her. It gave me confidence that I could be this babe's mom. I love coming home from work and her bouncing around like a maniac because she wants to get to me. Maybe if I wasn't the bearer of the boobs she would still do this because I am her mama. But I do love that moment. It has provided some very sweet moments that I may have missed because I am so go go go. I had to stop, and let her eat, and just hang out and hold her. I needed a reminder to do that sometimes. Especially when she was very little. You don't have your period. How cool is that?

Con: It hurt until we got the tongue untied, then it still hurt for a little bit. But we worked through it. I got approached for nursing in public, and it made me a little skiddish to nurse wherever whenever. Though I did get the opportunity to tell someone if they didn't like it they could arrest me. I also got a profuse apology from the property manager. I felt kinda like a bad-ass. I also got over the skiddishness. I hated pumping. Hated it. Leaking, but they make pads that work great. For me the cloth ones didn't cut it. I needed the disposable ones. But don't forget them when you teach high school boys! I have been more bra sizes in the last nine months then I was during my entire pubescent period. I thought they would just get big, then go back. It did not occur to me how much milk I needed to be making would be evident just by looking.

Looking at this list I think for me the pros absolutely way out the cons, and most of those cons would not have existed if a.) someone would have told me or b.) I would have had a normal experience. But pumping, it still sucks (no pun-intended). I do wish the way we talk about breastfeeding would be more approachable in this country. Instead of "breast is best" I think I will go with "hey, everybody likes boobs, even your baby, why don't you give 'em one!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In which I become an internet sensation because my baby chokes on dog food

We're having a little problem at our house. Our kid is a dog food lover. She has gotten increasingly mobile in the last couple of days. She scoots all around the house and is delighted when she gets under things, the excersaucer, the end table, the dining room table. In her new found mobility she has also found the ultimate goal of cruising around on her belly.

The peanut is totally into the dog food. She makes a bee-line for it and none of her favorite toys can distract her. Not even the stuffed dog that can say and spell her name. Heck, not even the actual dog can distract my child from the dog food. She loves it.

She loves playing in the dog food, playing in the water, and most importantly (and unfortunately) shoving as many pieces into her chubby chubby cheeks as she possibly can. Until, of course, some mean parent comes by, jams their finger in her mouth and makes her get rid of everything in there she was storing for later. It is truly gross. And a little dangerous, as she bites your finger with her four sharp teeth the whole time you are getting the dog food out of her mouth.

When I posted the dilemma on Facebook my two dear sisters pointed out that perhaps the eating of dog food is genetic. They cited the one time I ate dog food, in a car, because my two lovely sisters dared me to do it. Thanks guys. Now the whole world knows that you tortured me that I ate dog food. But the presiding parental sentiment was that I should let her do it because she will anyway. Alas, dog food is a choking hazard and I really don't want to be the parent who let her kid choke.....on dog food. Imagine the headlines.

But maybe my sisters are on to something. She may not get the dog food loving from me, but I can't deny I like things that are bad for me. Exhibit A: Reality television, especially anything featuring the Kardashian sisters. This can't be good for me, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. And Netflix offers episode after episode on demand. It's bad. Exhibit B: Food, in college I ate a grilled cheese sandwich and two pints of Ben and Jerry's for dinner on more than one occasion. Because I could, also because I could and only go a tiny bit over my meal plan. I wish I still had a meal plan.

I can't be the only one. Anyone else attracted to the proverbial dog food in their life?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Who?

Apparently the Oscar nominations have come out today. I only know because I hear people talking about how they have never seen those movies. (Although, Toy Story 3 got nominated, that is on my: When does it get on Netflix? list.) Not only have I never seen the movies that are nominated, I have no interest in seeing most of them.

My taste in movies isn't what we would call refined. I used to like those dark and twisty films, the ones where nothing came out right and everyone ends up more messed up than they started. At least, I think I did. Maybe I spent a short period of time pretending I liked those films.....hmmm....

Ever since I started teaching I have had little use for the Oscar worthy films (except, the exceptions: Babe, Up, Wall E, Beauty and the Beast). When I go to a movie I want to see something that takes my mind off of everything, something that I can escape into for a moment. I read too many essays of kids who have survived far too much. I am not really interested in having that mess portrayed on film. I know it exists, and I know that I don't ever want to know how it really is. My kids are far too good at describing it all first hand.

Call me low brow (after all I do like dips and soups featuring Velveeta) but I like movies that end.....well....more or less happily ever after. I like to feel good after I have left my cushy seat and sticky space on the floor. At least, I like to feel emotionally good, I also enjoy the slightly sick feeling of too much popcorn. But I like those 90-120 minutes to take me to a place where the couple who should end up together does end up together, where parents don't mess up epically, where lost dogs find their way home, and if I am really lucky animals talk.

I have been thinking recently about how Christ followers truly are strangers in a strange land, aliens in an alien world. We are not meant to be forever in this world, and thus are not totally comfortable here. I am not saying I don't enjoy my life, or there aren't moments that don't feel absolutely perfect. But I think those rapturous moments are preludes to the rapture. Glimpses of the amazing life we have waiting for us in heaven. I think it feels wrong sometimes because this isn't the way God designed it. I know that. Deep in my soul I feel it. Lots of people do. I think it is why we don't want to watch movies that remind us of that ugly truth. We all are longing for our happy ending. And God says we're going to get it.

The baby slept through the night?

This morning I woke up at 5. I was in shock because the peanut normally wakes up at like 3 claiming she is starving. STARVING! Help her parents are starving her!!!! We usually don't go in until she has cried for ten minutes, she has never failed to just start screaming louder at the ten minute mark. If she knew how to call child protective services, she would and scream at the top of her lungs THESE PEOPLE WON'T FEED ME! This would be fine, but she is almost nine months old. I was told babies start sleeping through the night at 6. I was lied to.

But last night I didn't wake up, until I sat up at five shocked that I hadn't been woken up earlier. In my haste to get out of the house on time I guess I was pounding around pretty loudly. Christian woke up to make sure I hadn't fallen down the stairs. I promised him I had not and then remarked "Hey, the baby slept through the night!"

Turns out the mommy slept through the night. Thanks honey, for covering the 3 am feeding.

You know, I have heard some version of this story numerous times by numerous parents......only it is always the dad who is the heavy sleeper........

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sometimes, it all comes down to boobs

So, my day job is teaching high school kids. I think the litmus test for teaching high school should be do you think immature high school boys are funny? If the answer is no, you will be unable to keep your sanity. However, if the answer is yes, you can be entertained all day. This particular post has no spiritual application. I just thought the conversation was hilarious.

I have a large Mexican contingent this semester in my last block. These three boys have promised to keep my on toes. No post lunch napping for me! This was the conversation we had the other day.

Me: Okay, now that we know what plot is I want you to get into groups of two or three and think of a movie you all have seen. Then I want you to diagram the plot. I will call on you in 5 minutes.

Boys (to each other): Okay we all have seen "Girls Gone Wild"

Me (interrupting): You can't do "Girls Gone Wild"

Boys: Why not? We've all seen it. You said, pick a movie you've all seen, we've all seen it.

Me: You can't do that movie because it doesn't have a plot.....Not that I have seen them, but from the commercials on TV, there is no plot

One boy: Sure there is the exposition they tell their name, then they are like no no I can't then-

Me: No boobs! The rule is no boobs so you can't do "Girls Gone Wild" choose something else.

Later we were doing this activity where you circulate a story so each group does a different piece. They received a story about a princess trying to find her father.

Boy: Then right as the bounty hunter is about to kill the dad, the princess flashes him-

Me: Don't I have a no boobs policy in here?

Boy: Flashes him with her flash light and he is blinded for a second so he misses with the ax. What were you thinking teacher?

Me: Oh, of course, what was I thinking......

Boy: Oh and we diagrammed our movie

Boy 2: Yeah it is "Dear John"" but no homo

I walked away. After the battle of the boobs I didn't have the energy to fight that one......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seriously Starbucks? Trenta?

Yesterday Starbucks announced that it is going to start serving their coffee in even larger proportions. As if my bladder needed more to handle (teachers can only pee during hall passing period you know.) It is like 30 something ounces. Basically it is like going into Starbucks and coming out with a Big Gulp.

I know the Starbucks Trenta is a bad idea for me. I do. But I also know that there will come a day when I will look at the difference in price and decide what the hey, it isn't that much bigger than a venti. Then I will walk out of the store with a gallon of sugary iced coffee goodness that is a single serving as it only has one straw coming out of it. That is what I will tell myself anyway. Then I will pee myself faster than when I was nine months pregnant and decided I could hold it all the way home from work. Another bad decision in my life.

I can't help it. I like too much of a good thing. I like to overindulge. Food, staying  up too late, reading into the wee hours of the morning because just enough isn't enough for me. I want whatever I want until my stomach hurts, my eyes are bleary, I pee myself. There are people in my life who are so good at discipline and  moderation. I am praying I become more like them. Especially before I have the Starbucks trenta option presented to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Apparently I would rather get in a wreck than be wrong......

Sunday I went to my pastors house after church. Tim and Pam are so amazing about sharing their life, and food, and heart with people. I have learned so much about the value of breaking bread with people and transparency at the Wolfe house.

Anyway, they live on top of a hill, while the ice was mostly gone there were still patches of slushy stuff on the side of the street where I normally park. The sun was out, I didn't need my coat, my tires were firmly on dry pavement. Ice was not on my radar. I know that I had just spent an entire week hanging out at my house because the ice on the roads weren't safe for the school buses. Our local news spent the entire week showing film of cars sliding on the ice and smashing in to things. And yet I was completely oblivious to the ice where I was about to park.

I pulled up and slowly my car lost traction. Before I knew it I was stuck on the only patch of ice left on the road big enough to get stuck on. This cannot be happening, I thought. I am from Toledo, Ohio and every Christmas we would make the trek to north of Albany. I am not new to snow banks and black ice. So why was I spinning my wheels on a patch of icey slush smaller than an area rug?

The truth was, I wasn't paying attention. People who know me well can tell you that this is a theme in my life. I bring the baby but not the freshly packed diaper bag, I miss a turn I have taken every day for 6 months, I forget to sign in (something I do every. single. day. at work). I do all of these things because I am not the best at paying attention. People who know me really well can tell you that this is also the case in my spiritual life.

I will really struggle with something. Selfishness, anger, lack of discipline, the particular sin doesn't really matter. I think about it, pray about it, remember to be vigilante. Pretty soon what was once an icy road of anger is now just a slushy patch. And when I stop paying attention, I run right into it. And before I know it I am stuck. And then things really get interesting.

My tires were spinning, my car was sliding and yet I didn't think I needed to get anyone to help me out of my little situation on the hill. I still thought I had it under control. All I needed to do was to back up enough that my tires were no longer on the ice. Then I could drive around the corner to my second favorite parking spot and pretend as though I had everything together all along. What kind of yankee gets their tires stuck in Atlanta ice? You have got to be joking!

So I tried backing up, which led to sliding around a little bit, and a little bit more, and a tiny bit more. I tried trying to go forwad, then backward. I tried and I tried till I was practically touching a car on the other side of the street and Pam and her neighbor are outside of her house watching me. Lovely. So much for that no one has to know thing.

After getting the neighbor to move their car so no one has to call the insurance adjuster I became completely unstuck. I was fully embarrassed, and well aware that there really was no one to blame but myself, and that my refusal to admit I was stuck in the first place only made my problem worse (or maybe I just blame it on the lack of four wheel drive......) Which is also the case spiritually. And I doubt I am the only one who has this problem.

The scenario is always the same, I sin. I feel convicted.  Instead of acknowledging the sin, asking for forgiveness, and truly repenting, I pretend it isn't there. Full speed ahead! Even as the tires on my spiritual life are spinning and squealing. Pretty soon the rest of my life is slipping out of my control too. But I don't repent. I don't admit that I messed up and need some help. Before I know it I have some sort of wreck in my life that is far beyond the initial slip. Because I wouldn't stop and acknowledge that I have a problem.

I spin my wheels, I back pedal. I do pretty much everything but stop and look at my Lord and tell him, I am stuck. I refuse to repent, to God or anyone else in my life. I decide to turn my life into a car wreck. I'm learning that this isn't the best way to go. I am learning to hit the brakes and call for help.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Your 3rd grade teacher lied to you.

In the third grade you suddenly realize you are not amazing at every single thing you do. K-2 you are completely confident that you are the bomb. It doesn't matter what it is or if you've done it before. Any subject, any time you are the master.

Somewhere in the third grade your confidence shrinks. You suddenly realize that you may not be THE BEST at everything, you may not even be great at everything. So you don't want to try anymore. Why do something if you aren't sure you are going to succeed at it?

That is when your teacher introduces the concept of YOUR best. She tells you that as long as you do your best than that will be good enough. Your best, she says, is all anyone can ask of you. This mantra continues throughout elementary school, and follows you to middle and even high school. Just do your best people tell you, your best is always good enough.

When your ten this is true, when you are 27.....sometimes it isn't. In fact, sometimes, it is a big fat lie. When you are 27 and teaching a core subject at a high risk school, when your kids can't read and are expected to pass a standardized reading test at the end of next school year, when you are supposed to be a good wife, and mom, and teach like your hair's on fire. Sometimes, your best in one of those categories sucks. Big time.

Sometimes your best, is your best and it totally blows. People get disappointed, 18 year olds don't graduate, heck sometimes you totally screw your kid up. (I'm hoping that doesn't happen...) And what do you tell people, "Hey I know that blew and may have permanent consequences, but it was my best and Miss Pansy with the kitty-cat sweater told me that my best was good enough, so there you have it."

I guess that is where grace comes in. I have always understood that God's grace is sufficient to take away my sins. But somehow I have been leaving that sufficient grace on the cross, like some kind of cosmic get out of jail free card. If I use it now, I won't have it for later like....I don't know.....the final judgement. I am beginning to understand that my conception of grace is vastly inadequate. God's grace covers my inadequacies every single day. I don't have to be the perfect teacher or mother or wife, because God's grace covers me.

But having that sort of grace extended to me means I have the responsibility to extend that grace forward. When the guy in front of me brakes for no apparent reason, when my students act like idiots because they are 16, when people disappoint me. I am expected to understand that just like God's grace covers me, it also covers the people I interact with, and that covers me to.

So your third grade teacher lied to you. Sometimes your best is not good enough. But God's grace always is.

P.S. I applied for a dream job, one that showed up on my Facebook feed after I told God I would like to do X, could you invent that job for me? Thanks! Pray with me that God's grace will cover me and grant me favor even though I am minimally qualified.

some thoughts on my spiritual growth part two.

After I was saved and introduced to the Holy Spirit I graduated from college, married my wife, and moved to Ohio where she had a job. We regularly attended a Christian church (Disciples of Christ). I really liked the disciple’s tradition and lack of formality in their worship service. I learned that the disciples, more commonly known as the Christian church, came out of the second great awakening that occurred on the then American frontier of Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois. Most historians date this revival from 1800 to 1830. Great camp meeting were held for days and weeks at a time, at places like Cane Ridge Kentucky, with speakers preaching 24 seven. People were warned not to climb the trees as they might be injured if they fell out in the Spirit and fell out of the tree. The Holy Spirit manifested in many different ways. Many were saved and the Awakening literally turned the heathen frontier into a Christian territory.

The Christian church was originally non-denominational and even anti- denominational. Communion was open and any believer was welcomed to participate. Communion was celebrated as part of the service each Sunday, baptism was by immersion of the believer. Babies were dedicated. Two saying that pretty much summed up the disciples beliefs. “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible” and “in the essentials unity, in the nonessentials liberty in all things charity”. Each believer is able to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. Each church is governed solely from within the congregation. The regional and national offices are set up to help the churches within their geographic areas to things that each church could not do alone, like church camp or mission work.

When we moved to Toledo at the age of 24 my wife and I went looking for a church that was either Methodist or a Christian church Disciples of Christ. After a few weeks we found a Christian church in which we felt at home. We initially started going because Kathleen liked the choir. We soon found that this church was filled with loving people and love was one of its core values. My spiritual life began to grow rapidly.

One of the stumbling blocks that impaired my spiritual growth was my belief that I needed to know all the answers to the questions I had before I could fully believe. " Why did Jesus have to die on the cross so that God could forgive our sins?" When I let go of that question and just accepted that God had that answer even if I couldn't get my mind around it my spiritual growth accelerated. I decided to accept the mystery and trust God. God used that trust to grow me spiritually. He also eventually showed me the answer to that question.

About this time something happened which profoundly effected my life my family our church and the entire community. God sent my church a new pastor. (to be continued)

Friday, January 14, 2011

To Mrs B. Thank you.

I got a Facebook message today letting me know the husband of my first speech coach is seeking stories to tell at her funeral. I am so grateful I was a part of this woman's team. There is so much more that could be said about what she did for me. I hope that I can have half the impact she did as a teacher.

I got a B in Mrs. Brenizer’s freshman English class. While I had always been an A/B student, English was not where I got my B’s. Especially from my speech coach. Wasn’t she supposed to give me the benefit of the doubt? But Mrs. B didn’t give the benefit of the doubt, her legacy in my life as a teacher and a speech coach were her high expectations. Mrs. Brenizer expected that you do your best, always. She had an incredible ability to know exactly when a student was giving her their all, and when a student was giving her what it took to get by. She knew I could write better, and was the first teacher to call me on it.

As my speech coach, she was the most intimidating figure to perform in front of. I know I am not the only one who thought that. We used to talk about it, the four girls who would be her last team, in the hotel room late at night. (We were securely in our room late at night because we didn’t want to know what would happen to us if we broke curfew.) You would walk into her room; she would be behind her desk. You would perform. If you did really well there would be a head nod and a small smile. That was it. I worked hard for those head nods, those smiles. I knew she meant them. If you got a “good job” or “nicely done” at the end you had really nailed it.Those weren’t given out lightly and I still remember the ones I got. I worked hard for Mrs. B, because she expected me to.

My junior year was the last year Mrs. Brenizer would teach. It was a dark time in my life as well. I had an unexplained illness and dropped all my classes but one. I remember my parents asking if I wanted to drop out. The only reason Ididn’t: I still wanted to compete. I know there are a lot of coaches out there who would not have had time for me. I came to school sporadically, I sometimes missed practice, I had to call out sick the second day of a two day tournament. Mrs. B recognized that I needed the team. She also recognized that even though it wasn’t very good, I was doing the best I could. And she always accepted your best.

I owe a lot to Mrs. B. I continued competing in college. I met my husband on the Ball State speech team. (We were duo partners.) I have a baby girl and teach English in inner-city Atlanta. Three years ago the administration of the school I teach at found out about my background and asked me to start a team.

I thought of Mrs. B a lot the two years I coached. When my kids were knuckle heads, when judges wrote rude things on the ballot, when my kids were giving me less than their very best. I couldn’t help but wonder what she would have done. It was also the first time I truly appreciated how much work she had done for us. Last year my students admitted to me that while they had no problem performing in rounds, they were intimidated by practicing for me. When I asked why, one of them explained, “Well, everyone else is just like that was pretty good. But you always expect more from us, you don’t think it is good until it is like…. the best we could do.” In that moment, I knew I was doing right by my kids. I still hope Mrs. B would be proud of me, smile, nod her head, and maybe even give me a rare “nicely done.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Be Still....

My grandmother is 87 and a spitfire. My daughter gets the red head recessive gene that must have been hiding in me from my grandmother.  I can remember staying up late with my cousins and at two in the morning as we were sneaking in to go to bed and not disturb anyone, we would find grandma, cleaning the sink. When you do as much as she did in a day, you need to squeeze somethings into the two a.m. slot.

This Christmas was the first time I saw her slowing down. I suppose it is time, but it is difficult for her. It is a struggle I understand deeply. It was one of the hardest things about having fibromyalgia, operating at a slower pace.

I can't tell you the rhyme and reason of the way the Lord moves. I have always believed that God could heal me, but it took over ten years. Hardness of heart on my part I am sure was no small part of that. But I do know that in much of that I learned some pretty incredible lessons:dependence, discernment of the Holy Spirit, there were even a number of divine appointments in there when I couldn't get out of bed at church camp.

One thing I definitely learned was that the be still part of "Be still and know that I am God" isn't a suggestion. I  have always heard it in a voice like a yoga instructor. Breathe in, breathe out, relax, be still. But as I have been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables books (I don't know that I ever got all the way through them....) I keep reading that phrase. When Anne is working herself into a tizzy, talking to much, freaking out about what may happen, Mirilla yells out "Be still, child!" This is not a friendly suggestion, it is an exhortation, Stop! Stop talking, stop worrying, stop thinking, stop moving! Be still!

Being still isn't something America values. It isn't something you are supposed to do when you have a million things on your list and your life is spinning out of control. You are supposed to grab the horns, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, doing something to help yourself! Not what the Bible says. God says "Be still! and know that I am God.

Friday, January 07, 2011


You've been thinking a lot about why you write in second person. You enjoy writing in second person but think some of your thoughts are better served in first person. You also know that you have been writing in second person as a way to distance yourself from what you write. You know the only person you are fooling You've decided to take the first person plunge. In the name of transparency.

Transparency is something I think is important. Especially as a christian. If I can't or won't tell people in my life about  what I am doing, I probably should not be doing it. That whole business about Christ being the light and the devil being the king of darkness have really rung true in my life. Fancy that, what the Bible says works out to be true, even in my own life.....especially in my  own life.

It is important because if Christ is the center of my life, then I need the space around him to be transparent. Like my living room window. I have this painting that I did hanging above my couch in my living room. It is of Atlanta, and the space around it looks like the city is burning all over again. While it was not intentional while I was painting, I now think of that fiery color as the Holy Spirit descending on my city. Anyway, the painting can be seen really well at night if the curtains are open and the light is on. Because my windows are transparent. If they were made of that foggy glass that throws cool shadows on the floor, the painting would never be seen from the outside, only if you were invited into my home.

I think Christ is like that painting, and our lives are like the walls and windows in my living room. The world is dark, but the light is on in my house because Christ is in the center, and just like my sofa sized painting you really can't miss Him. Not because of anything I have or have not done, simply because of who Christ is. But I have discovered, that if I want to, I can close the curtains to my life. Only let certain people through the door. Then only those I allow can see the way Christ is working in me. It seems safer somehow.

But if I believe that what Christ does in me is a beautiful work, if I really believe that He is the worthwhile part of my life, then I will pull back the curtain and make sure the windows are clean. It will feel a little uncomfortable at first. I will cry in places I am not supposed to, or reveal struggles no one talks about because that is where the Lord is working. But in my discomfort, my awkwardness, there will be Christ, sitting in my Living room.