Thursday, May 31, 2007

How dare you expect me to pick up your smelly laundry?

I have gone to great lengths on occasion to refrain from harsh critiques and rantings on this blog. This is not one of those occasions. However, I would not necessarily categorize the following as a rant, but rather, a reflection of one of the many reasons I have become increasingly more turned off to Christian radio stations. The ride to work this morning was quite smooth for a change, and I managed to drive the six miles in under 25 minutes somehow. I stopped surfing the radio stations when I heard one of the local Christian stations giving the traffic report, and then just kept it there since I was nearing the end of my commute. The hokey DJ's - and I use the nicest of terms here given that they are, after all, promoting Christian music - were in the middle of their usual, silly dialogue back and forth.
"Doug" began reading an article he read recently regarding husbands and their dirty laundry - not figurative laundry, but smelly, sweaty laundry. He prefaced that there was no research to support the facts given in the article, but he read that men supposedly refuse to pick up their laundry due to laziness. A husband and father himself, "Doug" admitted that he sometimes forgets to pick up laundry, but that such is rarely an issue due to his wife's consistent commitment to keeping the home orderly and clean. "Kim" then piped in and said something to the effect of, "But, Doug, that's so gross to just leave your icky socks around and expect your wife to clean up after you!" "Doug" then replied, stating that laundry is not some problematic issue in his home, and that it may be a little unfair for people to assume that men are always lazy and, thus, don't pick up after themselves. Here's where I almost pulled over and called the radio station -- "Kim" then responded, rather confidently, "Oh, Douglas, the Bible says that Christ served the Church, and that husbands should serve their wives as Christ served the Church." Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait -- served?? Okay, I can handle the Christian hits you hear played over and over again on local stations (and if you miss it you can just switch over to the other station where it's bound to be playing as well). But I always knew there was a reason I was turned off to most Christian DJ's. And I can handle individuals using various Bible translations when quoting Scripture; that's not a hill I feel is worth dying on most of the time. But, when you are on a public forum, attempting to promote Christian music and principles for living, please quote what the passage actually says! Christ-centered marriage is alien and, more often than not, unattractive and opposed by secular society. A conversation about smelly undies is probably not, in and of itself, worth fighting for, but YES it is when the real issue at hand is that of husbands and wives. "Doug" was simply communicating that his wife gladly performs responsibilities around the home, and some of those are, by nature, performed when he is forgetful and not aware of a mess he may have made. I'm not married yet, but I still cannot count on my hands the amount of times I have witnessed my boyfriend leave a sock on top of the TV at my apartment, or leave one (on one occasion it was three) of the kitchen cabinets at his parents' house wide open and not even realize that he has done so. Is it because he is lazy and just expects the women in his life to come in behind him and clean up his messes? No! He simply forgets. I doubt "Doug" walks around his own home thinking, "You know, if I leave this undershirt on the floor, the one that I wore to mow the lawn, surely my wife will pick it up. I don't care either way. It's her duty to do the laundry." And why is it that? Why did "Doug" instead try explaining the ways in which his wife does such things gladly and with great patience exercised towards him? Because the text actually says that Christ loved the Church, and that husbands should love their wives. Wives/mothers are specifically called as nurturers and caretakers of the home. Does this mean she begrudgingly goes through her daily duties, all the while thinking to herself, "My husband should be serving me! How dare he leave his socks on the floor and expect me to clean up after him"? Some may think I am being over-analytical, but call it what you may when it comes to a Christian radio DJ completely misquoting such a precious and crucial passage of Scripture. The framework of marriage is at stake in our culture, and I am only surprised that I didn't run into the curb when I heard "Kim's" contribution to the conversation this morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

better than you could ever imagine...

May 10, 2007 will definitely be inserted in the timeline of
personal, historical events. Car accidents are nothing out of the norm; how many
people do you know who have never been involved in one? We hear about
these incidences frequently, even if one is heard of while listening to the rush
hour traffice report. But what happens when you find yourself involved in such a
dilemma, thinking to yourself, "That traffic helicopter up there is looking at
this very automobile accident"? While such events are far from uncommon, the
aftermath varies drastically from person to person.

If someone asked me what my very first thought was, this would be it: "Is my nose still attached?" Both airbags ejected from their compartments when I slammed into the woman who decided she was going to forego any rules regarding right of way. I remember putting my foot on the brake, but still had no reaction time in order to slow down. All I could do was stare straight ahead at the car I was about to hit, and brace myself. So I braced myself, and when I opened my eyes, the first thing I felt was the burning sensation on my nose. After reassurance that my nose was still attached, I went into panic mode. When airbags deploy, a white powder comes out, so I found myself choking and grasping for air since some had apparently gone down my throat. The witness who stayed at the scene appeared almost immediately at my drivers side door, and had to pry it open for me to exit since the impact severely damaged the car's frame. Upon exiting the car, I was able to gain control of my breathing and also noticed that I had a couple of burns on my wrists also caused by the airbags. All I could do was cry from the shock of the crash, trying to actually realize that this had just happened. I often replay the accident in my head, remembering how it felt to hit the other car, and the panic that immediately took over in wondering whether or not I was injured.

My car is currently sitting in the driveway waiting for someone to come and take a look. There is very little question as to the possibility of it being restored, so I have been trying to work my way through the various, detailed steps of purchasing a new car and insurance as well. I have no idea what the insurance company will give me in the event that the car is totaled, so there will be a waiting period over the next couple of days until they actually provide a quote of the damage.

I was talking with
one of my dearest friends last night and asked her if she still deals with feelings of being a kid in an adult world. All of this is so surreal, and the events of the past week are a blur. I finished a book on Saturday which has now been added to my personal list of favorites and recommendations: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, eds. John Piper and Justin Taylor. I originally began reading the book as the day of my MRI was quickly approaching (see previous post regarding the MRI). In the midst of everything that happened with my car accident, the results of my MRI were put on hold. However, the reading and reflection on such a book could not have come at a better time. In the midst of a week filled with questions, some of which remain unanswered, the Lord used the words of godly men and women to bring comfort to my soul. My small group from church met on Sunday night, and I shared with them some of what the Lord has done and shown me during these recent events. I recalled events from this time last year, recollecting how dark that time was as I learned the nature of my medical condition, learned of my brother's cancer, and found myself facing certain financial debt. I shared with them that it was the darkest season to date, and a time when I cried out to the Lord knowing he was there, but clamoring for the light in the midst of such a lonely valley. As I was telling my small group, my eyes welled up as I shared my thoughts looking back on that time in my life. Yes, it was the darkest season, and yet I can see how perfectly orchestrated those days and minutes were in my history. I can see where the Lord's grace was sufficient for each given moment, and know that such grace was the exact amount I needed during those passing minutes. And the midst of another uncertain and scary season, I can see this "slight and momentary affliction" much more clearly. I can look back at last year and know that the Lord was preparing me then for now...and that He's preparing me now for seasons which still remain a mystery. So in the midst of not knowing the status of my poor car, not knowing anything about insurance or bank loans for new cars, blowing my nose every five minutes due to my immune system taking quite a blow this week, I can rest. Although I have moments of anxiety or wonder, I rest--knowing that He who spared my life has done so for reasons which have yet to be revealed. Here are some of the quotes I have written in my journal after reading Suffering and the Sovereignty of God:

  • "Many of us have tasted such grief...I have had seasons of perplexity about God's providence that have been so deep that night after night sleep has fled from me. Yet these griefs have been God's gifts. For only by such severe suffering has my loving Father broken me free of some of my deeper idolatries. In the nights' watches, while others sleep, my wakeful heart must find rest in Him or it will find no rest at all." ~Talbot, 75-76
  • "We have an idea that if we do what God wants us to do, then He owes us to take the suffering away. I believed that; I don't believe that anymore." ~Steve Saint, 118
  • "He will make you stop. You will struggle. He will bring you up short. You will hurt. He will take His time. You will grow in faith and in love. He will deeply delight you. You will find the process harder than you ever imagined--and better. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life (Ps. 23:6). No matter how many times you've heard it, no matter how long you've known it, no matter how well you can say it, God's answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine." ~Powlison, 146
  • "There is inevitably an aloneness in suffering because no one can fully enter another's experience...God ensures that human aid will never substitute for the Lord who alone comes fully near. But we can bear each other's burdens with love, and we can counsel each other with truth. The give and take of wise love is one of life's most significant joys." ~Powlison, 166

When I am afraid I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust: I shall not be afraid. ~Psalm 56

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the R&R was just in time

As Monday morning is quickly approaching, I cannot help but reflect on how good of a weekend this was. Not only was it a time for rest before finals week, but I also had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with girls I had not previously gotten to know. Friday night was spent making cookies and chatting for what ended up being four hours with an extremely encouraging and insightful woman I have received glimpses of from her blog since we rarely pass each other on campus. While it is somewhat unfortunate that we have not spent time together until just now, I was strongly encouraged by a woman who challenges me in certain ways and is quite like-minded in others~

On Saturday, my beloved Gretchen had a spa party planned. Due to pending exams, I was not sure if I would be able to attend but decided otherwise at the last minute. Oh, am I glad I was able to be there (even if the time was brief)!! A friend of Gretchen's brought BeautiControl products and treated us to an evening of hand creams, foot cream that smelled like rainwater and pina coladas, and microdermabrasion (still don't know how to spell that one). You can see that Gretchen was thoroughly enjoying the special treatment~

I also had the opportunity to laugh about blue cupcakes with a two girls who also attended the spa party. We had such a good time, and I am always encouraged when meeting other women from school who share in the simple joys of hanging out together~
Since I didn't stay for the entire evening, Gretchen gave me the thoroughly enjoyable task of taking pictures with her camera. Haha... yes, I have been nice to the ladies in posting some of the better pictures on here. All in all, it was a fun time complete with strawbery shortcakes - compliments of Gretchen. Thanks to these silly girls, I will never look at blue cupcakes the same, nor will I be able to listen to a "relaxation" CD again and take it seriously~

My boyfriend also treated me to a Saturday matinee at the IMAX theater to see "Spiderman 3." Not that those are my absolute favorite movies, but the enjoyment of being able to spend a relaxed Saturday afternoon with him was unmatched. In a nutshell, the weekend was spent thanking the Lord for the sweet and simple blessings that could otherwise so easily go unnoticed.