Thursday, September 25, 2014

This is not the problem, this is a description of the problem.

So it's been 9,048,204 days since I've blogged. I've been just a little bit busy/overwhelmed the past several months between adjusting to working from home, moving into our new place, and moving full speed into the toddler years with Clementine [or shall I say, dragged kicking and screaming into the toddler years?].

And on that subject, let me just say, it's been r-o-u-g-h. People, especially parents, used to enjoy joking with me about how "independent" and "stubborn" and "strong-willed" I was as a child and I daresay that Clementine has outdone my former self in all of the aforementioned categories. The particular hurdle that I have had to overcome is that she is actually very sweet, polite, and agreeable--with the majority of people but me. I see how she says her "please" and "thank you"s to people, and she loves giving kisses and hugs and I have a hard time confiding in anyone that when it is just she and I, she is the least agreeable tiny being I have ever seen.

And of course, there's all the well-meaning advisors [commentators?]. Just be consistent, just give her grace. Don't spank her, you're not spanking her enough. This is the hardest stage, it only gets harder. Enjoy every stage and be grateful, I'm so glad I'm not in that boat because it's so much easier now. What you're doing will produce results if you just stick with it, you should probably rethink how you're disciplining. Every child is different and has different needs, x, y, and z are how you handle this, do not deviate.

I'm all but burned out on advice, which is never a good place to be (Proverbs 13:13) but I'm starting to think there really isn't a practical answer. Spanking or not spanking or consistency or grace---all of it has yet to yield a result. She doesn't scream less or hit me less or throw things less or tell me "no!" less, all behaviors have yet to be corrected so in the face of that and the utter exhaustion, I give up.

It was in the book of Habakkuk (say wha?) that just this morning I was given a sweet reminder and a lot of hope. The Lord is answering Habakkuk, who was disparaging what was going on in Israel and the surrounding nations and God says,  "Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told."

I needed to hear that this morning. I needed to be reminded that God is working even though I don't see the fruit right in front of me. I may not ever see the fruit. I may not see it for ten months or ten years. But God says He is working and therefore He is working.

Ultimately, nothing I do can bring about obedience in Clementine's heart. I may be able to cultivate outward obedience one day, but only God can change her heart. It's my job to be faithful and continue to sew the seeds. Some days that feels like a heavy burden I can never carry and some days I don't foolishly trust in myself. Sometimes I oscillate between both places in one day hour.

Just in case you're not a parent and this post was confusing: I love this sweet girl. It's hard, but she is our sunshine. When she goes to bed, Thad and I still talk about how much we miss her. You might find me looking at pictures of her on my phone at 11 o'clock at night because it's been HOURS since I've seen her sweet face. Don't get it twisted. She's my fave. I mean, look at this face:

She loves to wear all the head accessories. 

90% of my day.

I told her to "Show Grandpa her t-shirt" and this was how she posed.

Teenager much????

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A post about homeschooling.

   I am concerned.

   I am concerned about cases like this, where a school in Oakland held a mandatory "gay pride" assembly where children as young as 5 are being taught how to celebrate homosexuality. A 5 year old shouldn't be taught jack about celebrating sexuality, much less a perversion of sexuality. The fact that something this serious, this controversial, this age-inapporpriate is happening is stark-raving lunacy and points to the decline of the Western world into complete and utter insanity, godlessness, and a complete embrace of the secular humanistic worldview.

  I am also greatly concerned with the response the Christian homeschooling world has provided.

 "Just homeschool."
 "Not a problem if your kid isn't there."
 "Guess you should be homeschooling."
 "Pretty silly for you to be upset since you send your kid there."

   There is nothing but callousness in some of the responses I've seen over the past several months to the outrageous things that are happening in public schools. If you're a christian, and you have no hope, help, or pointing to the Truth to offer, I can't help but question where your loyalties lie---with Jesus or with homeschooling?

   We have a responsibility to engage with our culture. We have a responsibility to offer hope. We are "people of the Book" which sounds like we should be well-read enough to be able to have a dialogue, whether in the religious or political forum. The kind of shut-it-down, don't-even-entertain-these-fools hermeneutic I keep being hit with whether in blogs or my news feed is discouraging. If you have the better answer and truly believe you can enrich your fellow saints lives by pointing them in the homeschool direction, can't you share the answer in a kind, meaningful fashion? Is the abject "well, you're doing it wrong" mentality the best way to engage?

  Obviously the answer is no. I don't know who the militant homeschoolers think they are helping.

  I have a dear friend back home who strongly believes that Christians are responsible to send their children to Christian schools if they cannot homeschool, a matter he knew I disagreed with since I decided in high school to leave my private schooling for public. At the ripe old age of 15, I could not stand being in tiny classrooms anymore with kids who were all kinds of raising their hands to cheesy worship songs during chapel and offering me drugs on the way back to our lockers. That was my own beef, and I don't regret my decision.

  One afternoon, several years removed from high school, my friend was now a teacher at our former Christian school. While discussing his decision to teach in a private Christian school, he shared with me his beliefs on education, and his deeply held belief in Christian schooling in particular.

   And you know what? He changed my mind that day about education. He planted some seeds of biblical truth (you cannot teach one about biology while also denying it's Creator, etc. etc.). He did it without callousness, or blanket telling me I was wrong for choosing to leave private school. He engaged with me, instead of simply dismissing me.

[As an aside: public school just 7 years ago and public school now are radically different. My experience at public and private school had me up against the same sort of temptations and sins prevalent among teenagers. From talking with kids currently in public high school, they are facing much more difficult and in-your-face issues that I was never exposed to in my public school setting. It's truly startling.]

   Al Mohler wrote an excellent article on the history of the public school and where it has landed today. His final answer as to whether we as Christians can leave our kids in the public school system was: "increasingly, no." I was shocked by some of the "Christian" response to this. The "increasingly, no" answer was faulted as flat-out wrong, and if you send your kids to public school then YOU are wrong!

  Well, I agree with Mohler. Week by week we hear new horror stories about what is going on in the public system and so week by week I am more and more desirous of being able to homeschool my children. But my question to the homeschool proponents is this: what if I can't? Does it make me a fool? Does it make me less Christian? Where in the Bible do we see "thou shalt not send your children to public school"? And yes, that is a ridiculous question, but I can't help but feel that some homeschoolers need to ask themselves this. Can you make a Biblical argument for homeschooling? Yes. Can you make a biblical argument for blanket statements of idiocy if you are a christian that doesn't homeschool? No.

  I would like to homeschool one day. I really, really would. And I hope that if I'm one of those parents that just falls in love with it, and therefore wants to share my love for it with others, I will be able to share my excitement in a gracious way. If I'm speaking to a parent who is about to make the decision between homeschooling and public schooling, I hope I can share my knowledge of it in that building-up kind of way we are responsible for and not the "all other ways are sin" kind of way I am so, so tired of seeing. I hope that the mom I talk to about my homeschooling experience who wants nothing more but to stay home with her children but can't afford to and spends her days stuck at a desk or sweating in a warehouse or whatever else may have you in order to help her husband put food on the table, I hope I encourage her. I hope I can lay down any idols of the heart I have to come alongside her.

  I do not hope to be the Christian that won't engage or dialogue, or extend grace. Not only is it irrational to hope that the shut-it-down hermeneutic changes hearts and minds, that is not what Christ modeled for us in the New Testament. He engaged, he dialogued. Writing in the sand in silence, flipping over tables, walking away, those are all things Christ did when speaking to people who were absolutely in love with and living in sin. Your Christian brothers and sisters are not walking in sin by having children in public school, and it would be dangerous to forget that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#guiltfree?

Just a few, quick, rambling thoughts today:

I fed my daughter pizza for lunch and for a fleeting moment I felt guilt.

Thankfully, the moment was fleeting, and I remembered:

There are millions of women around the globe today who won't be setting food in front of their children. 

There are millions of parents around the globe today who don't get to feed their children with as little financial hurt as I will. 

But alas, I am surrounded by the food bloggers and the picture takers, who will today put the healthiest of the healthy food in front of their children and take a picture of it because their food is their savior, identity, and worth.

[Side note: I am not generalizing all food bloggers as idol worshippers.
Some of them are.
Some of the aren't.
The proof is in the organic, fair-trade pudding.]

Certainly, much can be sound about the need for us to take care of our bodies. It is inherently a christian thing to do--treat our bodies as temples and honor God with them. So, much smarter men and women have written plenty to say on the subject. That is not what I am addressing here (what I am not addressing is whether or not my child should eat pizza every day--that's pretty much a no-brainer). 

So, today, I can't take a picture of my child's food with the hashtag #cleaneating. 

But I can try (and perhaps sometimes fail) to eat what we have, do the best I can, and be--more than anything else--a house of grateful eaters. And today I will try to eat guilt free that I am not keeping up with the most-healthful-Joneses. 

My identity as a mother is not found in the amount of blueberries my child has eaten this week. My identity as a mother is found in Christ and how much of Him I have shown my child this week. 

So perhaps tomorrow, instead of opting for the easy re-heating of pizza, I will reach for my child's usual blueberry/avocado/egg/cheese/spinach options for lunch. Right now I'm just enjoying how much this girl loves pizza.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Zachary Getz--Remembered by God

This is baby Zachary.


I know, I'm sorry, your heart just melted out of your body. He is so precious.

Zachary's parents were told early on in their pregnancy that a lot of people "choose to terminate" when they find out their babies are in the condition that Zachary was in. Zachary has heart issues, and at the time, not all of the physical issues he had and would face were known. 

Zachary's parents, David and Becky, know and love the Lord. "Terminating" their sweet little one was never even close to being an option. Instead, David and Becky turned to the Lord and the church for prayer and support through what would no doubt be the trial of their lives. 

I won't post the entirety of Zachary's story here, but instead I will point you to David and Becky's blog, Remembered By God, and encourage you to read it. I have both rejoiced and cried as I have followed their story. David and Becky's example of turning to the Lord in their day of trouble has both convicted and encouraged me to the utmost. To witness their faithfulness to God, and God's faithfulness to them, has undoubtedly blessed many.

David and Becky are asking for prayer. Zachary has undergone many surgeries and there are still more to come--and soon. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to send my baby off to the OR. Their desire is that the body of Christ would pray hard for Zachary as he continues his battle. 

I would ask you to consider buying a t-shirt for Zachary here. The purpose of the t-shirt is twofold--to remind the body to pray for Zachary and to help with the immense stress that comes along with medical expenses. The shirts are only $20. It could be the best $20 you spend this week, and will undoubtedly be a blessing to a brother and sister that we will get to fellowship with for an eternity in heaven. 



Monday, April 21, 2014

The Hill I Wish I Was Dying On *Update*

    The response to my last blog post has been overwhelming to put it mildly. Here are some of the reviews:

"Great! Thank you so much for writing this!"
"You are an idiot."
"This blessed me tremendously to read."
"You are wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin."
"Evans loves Jesus. You hate grace."
"I wish more women would speak out against Rachel Held Evans like you have done. May this be the beginning."


  Surprising? No, of course not.

   Firstly, to clarify, I did not anywhere in my letter to RHE (seriously, she has great initials guys) assume that homosexuality is "so much worse" than any other sin. To see that in my post is to read that in to the post. The thesis of my post is that RHE does not give a hoot about scriptural authority and I used her support for gay Christianity to substantiate my claim (the Bible is fairly clear on God's view of homosexuality). I could have used her hatred for the roles of men and women in marriage to demonstrate that she does not hold fast to Word of God, but in light of the trending topics lately, I chose the former.

   Secondly, because of my firstly, I did not touch on the fact that there are brothers and sisters in the Lord today who struggle with same-sex attraction. I am not (for now) going to attempt to wax eloquent on that issue--Rosaria Butterfield has already done so, and you can be greatly edified by her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Wanna read about God's grace? Rosaria was a lesbian who came to know the Lord through a pastor who invited her in to his home. He respected her. He was kind to her. He spoke with her. But he did not try to "love" her by lying to her about her sin. And now we all have this awesome testimony of God's grace in Rosaria's life, and a new sister in Christ.

   Thirdly, it is my high view of God's grace (and low view of man) that allows me to speak boldly about the preciousness of God's word. You cannot, absolutely cannot, love a sinner by encouraging them in their sin, which is exactly what Rachel Held Evans does. It is so saddening that because our society demands that we approve of homosexuality, this mindset is creeping into the church. It is creeping in to the church because Christians are willing to compromise. I will not compromise. I will not not call sin "sin" because the world will call me hateful. I've been promised hate (John 15:18). I've seen plenty of it just today!

  I cannot bring the truth to bear on RHE's heart. I cannot bring the truth to bear on anyone's heart. The Spirit of God does that, and He does it through the preaching and hearing of his Word.

  I have shared the Gospel with a few of my friends who are homosexual. I sympathize with RHE on one point: sometimes it can be difficult to get through to them that I don't hate them. But that is not because Christians or churches or the Bible universally spews "hatred" (whatever that word means anymore!) to gays--it is because our culture tells the LGBT community that we hate them.
 
    Once I break down the barrier with my gay friends that I do not hate them, I give them the best news I can possibly give them: I'm a sinner, too, and I get to spend all of eternity with the Creator of the universe. Then I give them the bad news: the Bible says that they won't be. Those that Christ has died for and redeemed to himself don't live in sin anymore. Yes, it's a process. Yes, as long as we are in these earthly bodies, we will sin over and over and over and over. BUT God has given us the Spirit, by which we can fight sin, and by which we can truly repent of our sins! We are not in bondage to our sin! Our lives are marked by the fruit of knowing God!

   I love sharing this news with my gay friends. I love telling them that they are not "special." It seems they have this perception that we Christians are out to get them because our weird ancient scrolls tell us to do so. Sorry, gays, you're not! My holy book says that if it wasn't for Christ, you and I would be in the exact same boat going the exact same place, whether or not it's cause one of us is gay and one of us is a liar!

   Anyway, I really did not mean to make this all about homosexuality. The bone to pick here is scriptural authority and sufficiency. You see, once that has been established, once a love for the truth of God's Word captivates your soul, there is no going back. There is no seeking to fit it into the cultural mindframe. There is no seeking to twist it and make it more palatable to the reader. There is no attempt to assign fluidity to what the Creator has called a rock. That, so to speak, is a hill I'll gladly die on.



The comment section has been closed at this time.
It is very likely that any objections, snark, insults, praise, questions,
and general comments have likely already been made,
so feel free to go through and find yours, and live vicariously through others.
Until next time I start a controversy by defending the authority of Scripture,
Regards,
Summer


Dear Rachel Held Evans, *update*


           A couple months ago, I wrote a blog in response to the whirlwind of media attention Miley Cyrus had been receiving. At the time, all kinds of groups were coming out to condemn or condone her sexually explicit behavior both on and off the stage. For me, it was simple: Miley Cyrus, like much of our Western culture, has bought in to a secular humanistic worldview that reduces her worth to that of an animal and so it should not be surprising that she often acts as such.

     You see, Cyrus “suppresses the truth” (Rom 1:18) that she is created in God’s image, and as a created being she has a Creator whose rules she must live by. Because she has been created in God’s image, this truth is written on her heart and thus she must live every day in denial of her rebellion to God’s law (Rom 1: 21-22). It is not difficult to see the great lengths she (and everyone else who represses God’s law) goes to in order to distract herself from her guilt.

     I do not fear Miley Cyrus. When I pray to God for my daughter’s future salvation, the influence of Miley Cyrus is rarely (albeit not never) what I pray for God to protect her from. I plan on doing my job as a parent and, by God’s grace, instructing my daughter in the way she should go. What this means is that by the time she is twelve years old and wants to buy her first music album, regardless of the eternal state of her soul, she will be able to see the cover artwork on Miley Cyrus’s albums and know that this young woman belongs to, and approves of, the world.

     Who I fear, Rachel, is you.

     You see, you look like a Christian. You talk about Jesus and love and God’s word. You claim faith in Christ. You dress appropriately, you are an engaging speaker, a compelling author, and you seem unashamed to share your faith. On a surface level—the only level that perhaps my young daughter or the thousands of readers who visit your blog every day can discern—you seem legit. In a nutshell, you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

     As you have said in your blog,

“For many years, I felt that part of my call as a writer and blogger of faith was to be a different sort of evangelical, to advocate for things like gender equality, respect for LGBT people, and acceptance of science and biblical scholarship within my community.”

     Rachel, if you feel that this is your calling, then your calling is from the world and not God. It is not Jesus’s example you are following, but that of the culture you live in. I can hear all about gender equality and the issues facing the LGBT community by turning on CNN or reading Rolling Stone or various sundry other godless news outlets and blogs. What the world needs, both the believer and unbeliever, is to hear the call of Christ and His truth. This is not what you deliver when you concern yourself with sounding like the world.

     It makes me sad that you are a leading voice in the evangelical movement because I see no evidence in any of your writing that you honor God above men. Your worldview aligns with our culture, which is in complete opposition to Jesus’s teachings. Your worldview over-values feeling and emotion and has sacrificed truth on the altar of “being nice.”

     Most disconcerting (although your view on womanhood is extremely troublesome as well) is your hearty approval of homosexuality. If you truly respected, loved, and cared for those in the homosexual community, you would follow Jesus’s example of pointing them to their need for a savior. Instead, you follow the example of those described in Romans 1, who approve of the sin of others. Your message is that you can be both gay and Christian, and seek to eisegete your way out of the clear message of the New Testament, which is that to engage in homosexuality is to sin.

     You have also bought into the culture’s ideology that to disagree with those who practice homosexuality is to disrespect them. I disagree with those who steal, and would urge them not to steal, but this does not mean that I hate them. Rachel, it is society that urges you to approve of sin and all else will be considered hate; God’s word has a different message. Truly, to love someone is to correct them. 2 Timothy 3 tells us that God’s word is sufficient for reproof and correction. If “reproof” is the same as “hate” in your worldview, where does that leave the Bible? The world would say that the Bible’s view on sin is harsh. The world would say that a God who would condemn people to eternal punishment for their sin is hateful. Where does that leave you?

     God is an exclusivist. He is not a “however you want it” God. He calls himself THE way and THE truth. To love this God is to love His truth. Truth, by definition, necessitates a singularity. If something is true, all others that diverge from that truth are untrue. God is not half-true. He’s not sometimes right. He is always right, always just, and always Holy. What you claim is a worldview that diverges from the one clearly laid out in God’s Word. This means that your worldview is not only un- Christian, it is false.

     You are not loving your homosexual friends by applauding their life lived in sin. The message of the world—which you have bought in to—is that you must approve of their sin to love and respect them. The message of the Bible is that those who live in sin have nothing to look forward to but an eternity in hell; but a holy, just God poured out his wrath on Jesus Christ in our place and those who repent of their sin and believe in Him will have all of their guilt washed away. That is the most loving message you can give to the homosexual community. That is the message that Jesus brought to the homosexual, the thief, and the liar. If you love Christ, then you must follow Christ’s example instead of the world’s.

     Maybe I have sounded harsh. Maybe you’re thinking, “Seriously, I’m more offensive than Miley Cyrus?” No, thankfully I will never have to screen you for sexually explicit content. Thankfully I’ll probably never have to worry about visiting your blog and being bombarded with inappropriate material that I would not want my child or husband to see, and I thank you for that. So maybe it’s not “nice” to call you a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But Rachel, I do not take the Word of God lightly. It is sufficient, and it is good. In Matthew 7, Jesus speaks of those who outwardly appear to love Him and inwardly do not know him. It is Jesus who speaks clearly and stringently against false prophets, those that would lead the sheep astray, and He calls them wolves. By aligning your values with the values of the world and calling them good, you are leading your followers astray. You look like a Christian, you speak like a Christian, you even sometimes sound like a Christian, but your love for the approval of the world speaks of your inward state more loudly than your widely-read blog ever could.

     If you are my sister in Christ, then I urge you to repent of your disregard for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture to teach us what is right and what is wrong. If you are not my sister in Christ, then my prayer is that you will shed the sheep’s clothing, be granted repentance and receive such a sweet, beautiful faith in Christ that will eventually lead to no confusion about what truth and love are. Until then, you will remain on my list of women’s influence to steer my daughter away from, right next to Miley Cyrus.





The comment section has been closed at this time.
It is very likely that any objections, snark, insults, praise, questions,
and general comments have likely already been made,
so feel free to go through and find yours, and live vicariously through others.

Until next time I start a controversy by defending the authority of Scripture,
Regards,
Summer






Monday, February 3, 2014

A Day in the Life.

I haven't had a lot of time for blogging because it's been awesomely busy around here. And by "awesomely busy" I mean busy in a good way. Busy working, busy resting. We have fallen into a pretty sweet routine, and it usually goes something like this:

Clementine wakes up
Make baby food for the day
Feed Clementine
Nurse Clementine & text Thad at work to say Good Morning
Change a diaper
Make coffee, get yelled at for not playing
Try to read a book to Clementine, get rejected
Play on the floor with baby
Maybe start a load of laundry
Put Clementine down for her morning nap
---UNLESS it's Wednesday morning, in which case I'm in Bible Study with the best ladies ever--
Turn off monitor so I don't have to listen to her protest
Read desiringGod.org, drudgereport, email
Turn monitor on because Clem is passed out
Eat bacon
Text all the friends
Start/Finish/Look for a new freelance writing job
Try to remember if I've taken a shower in the past 24 hours
Do some dishes
Feed Clementine lunch
Play on the floor with C or get yelled at
Frantically remember I forgot the laundry I started
Deal with poop
Forget to eat lunch
Show Clementine herself on my phone
Catch up on Bible Study
Put Clementine down for afternoon nap
Too hungry now to cook lunch, nom on an avocado
Try not to take a nap, which sometimes turns into a nap
Put dinner in the crock pot
Wash a load of cloth diapers
Neglect folding the laundry
Should I shower? Why am I awake?
Feed Clementine second lunch
Nurse baby
Get yelled at if I even THINK about going to the bathroom alone
Wait for Dadda to get home
Play with fairies, wads of paper, try not to have a heart attack because Clementine is climbing on things
Change another diaper while texting all the friends
Deal with poop
Rejoice that Thad is home after a 10 hour work day
Should wash some dishes
Ticklefest instead
Feed Clementine dinner
Nurse baby
Try to remember if I put food in the crockpot, maybe eat dinner, maybe cook something
Baby bath time
Baby play time
Baby bed time
Pathetically ask Thad to do the million dishes that appeared out of nowhere,
(which he does without complaint and will probably fold the laundry while he's at it)
while finishing up a writing project
Collapse on the couch and watch something mindless on netflix with Thad
Thad falls asleep
Wake him up, put him in bed, read Bible, pray together
Read on the couch, work on a writing project til my eyes get blurry
Did I shower today?
If yes, go to bed.
If no, I'm too tired to shower.
Inner struggle
Shower
Fall asleep texting


So clearly, life is pretty sweet. One day a week I leave for work as soon as Thad gets home and don't get home until midnight. This is the kind of picture I get when I'm at work:


Clearly, they have fun together. Anyway, I've always loved working at Starbucks and don't see that changing in the forseeable future, even if what I make from my freelance writing becomes enough to replace my two shifts a week slangin' coffee.

The writing has been a major blessing. It doesn't feel like work because I love doing it! I was pretty nervous when I started out, and not even sure if I should be taking the jobs, but the feedback I have gotten from the people I have worked for so far has been:

"Amazing writer! Her words were so well chosen. I would definitely rehire her again!!! I was tempted not to give such a glowing review because I wanted to keep her for myself but that would be selfish. She is so talented. Definitely, perfect for any creative writing task! Also very punctual. I cannot say enough good things about her.”

"Summer understood my complex brief and produced creative results above and beyond what I required - with an impressive commitment to quality."

It has been really encouraging to get some affirmation and made me even more aggressive in going out and finding more jobs. 

Basically, praise God from whom all blessings flow.

And just for fun, here's how much Clementine loves looking at herself. I'm not kidding when I say it's a major part of our entertainment during the day. I apologize in advance if the cuteness level makes you pass out.