Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 6

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

While this life is temporary, the earth is not.

The purpose of Sukkah is to learn how to dwell in temporary shelters – not a suggestion that where we dwell will change.

The earth was created, then mankind was created and placed to dwell on the earth.  The earth, along with heaven, was called on to be a witness against or for mankind, and it is when the earth cried out against the blood that was being shed on it and demanding to know when it would experience a Sabbath rest, that the Jewish people were removed from the Land.  Even John, in Revelation, sees both heaven and earth.  It’s not going anywhere – and neither are we.

Mankind was given dominion over the earth – which means responsibility to care for it as representatives of God.  It’s not the ranking of power – it’s the ranking of responsibility. How we care for the earth reflects how well we understand the Master we serve.  Our calling is to partner with God to redeem the earth!  

So who are the meek? They inherit the earth after all.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  Psalm 37:7-11

Evildoers will be cut off, but they that wait upon the Lord – the meek – shall inherit the earth!

The meek are the poor, the oppressed in spirit. The meek are the people who powerful evildoers commit their evil against.  The meek are the ones who trust God for judgment and know that when they stand before the Lord – who is Love and the measure of Justice – will be renewed and restored.

Evildoers commit their atrocities against people who do not deserve it.  These people suffer the indignities from the powerful evildoers. The evildoers get cut off and the meek who have suffered for so long delight themselves in the abundance of peace. They inherit the earth.

This is a very clear picture!

If your religion teaches you to be the oppressor then you are not worshipping the God of Scripture.  Rather you are the evildoer who will be cut off.

Where there is a power and control dynamic and those in power are abusing those without power, God hears the cry of, comes to the aid of, and takes the side of, the oppressed.

And those people who want to be on the side of God will speak up for and defend the cause of the meek otherwise we will be on the wrong side of God.

This is why God’s people are not to lord it over others when we have power.

This is why we are to fear God who judges the soul and not men who can oppress the body only for a little while.

This is why the Good News is that Jesus came to set the captives free!


Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 5

Yesterday got away from me.

I’m dealing with the reality that one of the things I deal with is FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out.

Becuse life is temporary I want to do everything – I want to not miss out on anything. I want to be with all the people and do all the things.

Now, I’m not as young as I used to be and I know my limitations – some things I know I just don’t want to do. Either the toll on my body will be too much, or I know from experience I just don’t enjoy some things.  For instance, I want to enjoy camping – and the idea of it seems so fun. But it’s not.  If we had access to an RV, or glamping in some way, or even staying in a yurt that is already established and has a bathroom nearby . . .  that would be different. I just know camping that in any way involves roughing it in a tent I do not want to do it.

I’m also not as young as I used to be, or as fit as I once was, and I think dealing with health issues the past few years has negatively impacted me in this way as much as, if not more than, others.  I missed having the energy to do things. I missed seeing people and enjoying group activities.  My illness’ more psychologically damaging impact was increased isolation.

But in the continued examination of “life is temporary” I am working hard to emerge again and I am finding that I still love socializing and spending time with people.  Even though I’ve learned to enjoy my time alone, and my personality always needs time to process and recover after social events, I am extremely extroverted and I come alive when I have regular interactions with people.

At different times in my life I’ve been cautioned about this. I’ve been told that it’s a character flaw, or not how a person in X stage of life should behave. I feel like so much of my life has been about trying to figure out who I really am because so many people were allowed to critique and define me. I’ve had to spend years sorting through those definitions and figuring out who I really am.

Am I someone who is “unhappy with being alone and can’t be content focused on my duties and responsibilities?” Or am I someone who loves being around people and was created by God to be an extrovert who thrives in social settings?  I lived in fear of being the former but I’m the latter – so much the latter!  The energy that I get from being around people I love and enjoy will energize me for long after the event.

I’ve gone through this redefining in so many areas of my life.  I grew up being given the message that I have to figure out the will of God for my life and make sure I’m being and doing what God wants and if I don’t then I’m falling short. But instead I have come to see that I am who God made me to be. If I do what is most genuinely my response in a situation then two things happen.

1) I do exactly what I should be doing in that situation


2) Any mistakes I make bring beautiful lessons that are personalized to me and what I need to learn.

Now I stop and think about the situation. I consider what I want to do in it, what feels right, what seems to make the most sense. I ask questions like, “What is the most loving response in this situation?”  Or, “What is the safest response in this situation?” Or, “What is the thing that will protect the innocent or victim here?” These are the questions that I find move me to the most genuine response for who I am.  And when I ask those questions, discern those answers, and respond the way that God made me to respond, I have the most impact for the Kingdom.

And in my parenting I have worked very hard to help my children figure out who they are – from early on in their lives.  I point out their character qualities, focus on their strengths and help them find solutions for the things they struggle with.  I am seeing as my children get older that they aren’t struggling with the same fears and questions that I have had to as they embark on life. They don’t second guess themselves as much. They are confident and know who they are. They make wise choices and have less lessons to learn in order to be themselves.

My encouragement to you today is this . . . Be who you are.  Accept yourself and tell the voices that suggest you aren’t enough or you aren’t right that they need to zip it. If you are struggling with health issues (mental health or physical health) then get help. It’s not weakness – it’s okay to acknowledge you need help.  Seeking help is part of being who you are and doing what you need to do.

Loving yourself requires accepting yourself for who you were created to be.

Just be who you are – and find your people. If someone doesn’t like you then you don’t need them in your life. If someone requires you to change to be with them, move on.  Find your people and they will love you for who you are. They will bring value to your life and you will like each other.

Life is temporary. Be unapologetically you and you will impact your world! Be who God created you to be and you will impact the world for the Kingdom! I’m honored to work alongside you in that.

Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 4

There is a lot of talk in those circles about Paul’s statement that it’s better to marry than to burn meaning marry *anyone* so you aren’t just lusting – as though it will fix you. And that’s not what that verse is about AT ALL!

Before I tackle that, though, I want to bring out another verse that is relevant to understanding how the misunderstanding took place.  While the KJV renders 1 Thessalonians 5:12, “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” the better translation is from the NKJV’s

Abstain from every form of evil.

If you confuse these two ideas you will begin to misunderstand other ideas presented in Scripture.

Those who strive to avoid the “appearance” of evil often believe that this verse is cautioning people to hide their sins so that no one sees them. The idea becomes that we need to protect God’s reputation and the Church’s public image because of people outside the church see our weakness they will lose respect for us and we will embarrass God.

Contrast this with the idea that we are to actually avoid “every form of evil.”  Rather than try to hide our sins so no one sees them, this teaches that we are to rid ourselves of sin.

Which sounds more like God? “Hide your sins.” Or, “rid yourselves of all kinds of sin.”

Which leads us to the interpretation of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians

But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

One of the first things you need to know is that in the KJV and NKJV the things that appear in italics have been added to the text.  It’s not necessarily an attempt to mislead but is an attempt by the interpreter to [more] clearly communicate what they believe the original text is trying to communicate. It is, however, the understanding of the interpreter(s) and not part of the original text.  The addition of ‘with passion’ is what has aided the confused teachings of this passage to men.

For one thing, it is almost exclusively applied to men.  Clearly, however, when we look at the preceding verse that explains the audience of this particular instruction we see that Paul is talking not to men, but to “the unmarried and to the widows.”  This group includes men and women.

So let’s break it down . . .

Paul first says it is good that the unmarried and the widows remain even as he is – single and wholly devoted to Kingdom work.

There is scholarly debate about the marital status of Paul.  Some argue that he was unmarried.  Some suggest he was a widower.  Others have argued that perhaps it is another instruction in this chapter of 1 Corinthians that gives us insight to the marital status of Paul.  Because he argues that men and women who have spouses who leave them over the Gospel are to let them go and try to live at peace with them, it has been suggested that Paul’s wife could not handle the change in him at his conversion. Regardless, Paul appears in the letters he has written to be living a single, celibate and devoted life, busy with Kingdom work.  And he speaks in this chapter about the reality that this makes it easier – it removes the distraction of another person’s needs, the needs of children, and the reality that when you attach yourself to someone else they will need you and you will need them.

But while Paul is clear that it is good for the unmarried and the widows to remain single, he acknowledges that this is a hard thing. He acknowledges that not everyone has the level of self-control that he does. Not everyone is called to celibacy. And in the context of the chapter and the other advice he is giving there are some who are single, some who are engaged by believing they are more holy to not marry, and some who are married and believing they are more holy if they remain celibate. Paul calls out all fo these ideas – it is not more holy to not marry, it is not more holy to be married and remain celibate.

It is also, despite his encouragement that he wishes the unmarried and widows would remain as he was, his very Jewish understanding that there is nothing unholy or unrighteous about being married and engaging in sexual relations with one’s spouse.  In fact he goes further – it is unrighteous to be married and deprive your spouse of sex through the mistaken belief that it makes you  more righteous! (The misapplication of his teachings on sex within marriage is the topic for another day.)

Still Paul understands that humans are sexual and without a calling to celibacy and without the self control to remain celibate he says to go ahead and get married!

It is this last passage that brings the confusion . . . “For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Paul is not suggesting the very unrighteous idea that if a man lacks the ability to exercise self control in the area of sex he should find a wife – any wife – and unleash his lack of self control on her.  Paul is not speaking of indiscriminate lusting or sexual passions that are controlling the man. This would run counter to all of God’s instructions in Torah, through Jesus, and through Paul’s other words on this issue that God calls us to sexual responsibility and sexual accountability.  

One of the reasons that this passage has come to suggest that young men should marry if they cannot control their lustful sexual passions is that Complementarian Christian doctrine teaches that boys and men are visual, sexual beings and they cannot control their sexual drives without the help of a woman who needs to be responsible for these things.  While a nod is given that this is believed to be a problem of sin and the Fall, it is also explicitly taught that when men fail to exercise restraint it is because a woman has tempted him in some way – whether through dress, conduct, or, in the misapplication of this statement from Paul, her very presence inciting him to burn with passion.

This has led to many men believing that if they are struggling with lust they will be best served by finding a woman – any woman who sexually arouses them – and marrying her so that he can direct all of his lust at her and he won’t then be tempted to lust after other women.  The problem with this is that it objectifies the women being considered for marriage, it produces marriage based not on a foundation of friendship or mutual respect, but on sexual attraction, and it presents the purpose of marriage as being primarily about providing a legal and acceptable sexual outlet for lustful men.  An additional problem with this is that, as many men with lust and sexual control issues find, being married does not cause them to stop lusting after other women.

I can state with confidence that Paul is not admonishing young men to marry someone who arouses their lust because being married will take the place of developing self control in the area of sexual arousal. Not only does it violate his Jewish understanding, it violates the teaching of Jesus and other statements made by Paul about sexual accountability. Being married is not the cure for rampant sexual arousal in young (or old) men.

So what does Paul mean?

Paul is addressing the unmarried and the widows and telling them that if they find someone for whom they burn with passion – if they are in a relationship with someone that has developed to the point of you being passionately aflame for them, if they are burning with passion for a person in their life who would be a suitable spouse, there is no reason to refrain from marrying them.  While Paul believes that staying single is good for the Kingdom, he doesn’t believe it’s the only way to be righteous.

So this is where I’m going to remind that “with passion” has been added to help communicate the understanding of the interpreters.  If “with passion” is being twisted to suggest “lustful sexual expression” then drop it completely.  It is better to marry than to burn.

It means if you are unmarried or a widow and are burning *for a specific person* there is no reason to imagine that you are holier to not marry you need to know that God wants you to be with that person if you have a heart that burns for them. Having a heart that burns for someone specific and is a desire for that whole person is a very different thing from having undisciplined sexual urges that are set ablaze by any random person. This is the distinction. Burning with emotion may be described as passion, but it does not indicate unrestrained sexual lust.

This verse means something so different than the abusive way it’s used!

Because our lives on this Earth, and our bodies, are temporary it is so important that if we are going to marry we make wise choices about who we marry. If we marry someone because they cause fire in our loins we will be in trouble when time is less than kind to us, or we meet someone else who causes fire in our loins. If we marry someone thinking that they will cause our lust to be directed only at them, we will blame them and feel let down when our lust remains our own to tame.

If you are unmarried or a widow then, like Paul, I want to admonish you that you are free to do more for the Kingdom if you remain single. At the same time, if there is someone for whom you burn with deep emotional attachment, by all means get married! It is not more righteous to remain single and God ordained marriage! Just do them the honor of marrying them because of your burning for them – who they are, their whole person – and not for unrighteous reasons or a lack of sexual self control. It is unkind and harmful to marry someone for the wrong, or selfish reasons.

Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 3

I wrote this Facebook post earlier and I wanted to save it to my blog.  This Sukkot is permeated with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on SCOTUS.  He was nominated by President Trump whose presidency has been permeated with scandals and who has run a cabinet full of people who’s lives are permeated with scandals.  As of today Brett Kavanaugh has had at least (I haven’t checked the news in a few hours) 4 women come forward to accuse him of sexually assaulting them.

The response from the Conservative Christian Fundamentalist Evangelical communities is to say, ‘Boys will be boys,’ and, ‘Every 17yo has done the same.’  This is the same community that has not only stood by President Trump despite his abuses of women but has declared him God’s Chosen – several leaders even coming together and signing a Bible that they gave as a gift to him.

This is my response:

Image from this article that you might find interesting if you’re researching this issue.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here . . . When people say “every boy does it” that is because every boy in their life has done it. It is a dirty secret that in Conservative Christian circles there is rampant sexual abuse. It’s kept secret because a lot of Christians actually believe that avoiding the “appearance” of evil means you aren’t supposed to let people *see* your evil. That isn’t what it means – it means don’t do anything that even looks evil.

This is the philosophy that is trying to take over our country – that is pushing through an agenda that so many of us are saying we do not want. We do not want legislation that fosters sexual abuse. We do not want to live in a country where it’s normal to think “every boy does it” because every boy you know does it. We do not want someone on the highest court in the land who is defended only by those who believe that every young male is a sexual predator as part of the fact that they are male and that’s how God made them.

It’s NOT normal – it’s depraved and twisted. I’ve been calling out this subset of Christianity for decades now! I’ve worked with families who have escaped it. I’ve worked with adults who have grown up its victims. Please believe me that this immorality is RAMPANT in some Christian circles – the Christian circles that have become entangled with politics to the level that they can’t separate their political agenda from what they believe to be God’s Will. We absolutely CANNOT install this on the SCOTUS bench! It is an agenda of domination.

If you want to understand the correlation of both sex scandals and the conservative Christian Right you need to study the history of influence by Gothard ministries and their Family Life Principles – and you can look at the connection between the Duggars, Mike Huckabee, and Gothard. This program dominated deeply Christian conservative homeschooling circles for decades. It both fostered sexual abuse, created victims through it’s approach to sex education and discipline, and taught the need for Christians to dominate the world and bring forth the End of Days via a war against Muslims. Young people raised with this agenda went on to Liberty University and Patrick Henry College and then were funneled into jobs as Congressional interns and jobs at the American Center for Law and Justice run by Jay Sekulow – currently one of the lawyers defending President Trump in the Russia investigation being led by Mueller.

People have been asking the last few days if the Christian Right is really this depraved – really so immoral as to think that “boys will be boys” means “every boy has done this (sexually harassed or violated someone).” My answer continues to be YES!

I’ve walked out of homeschool convention sessions because the advice from the speakers was to never let your teenage boy change a baby’s diaper because you don’t want them to be tempted to lust and violate the baby. The level of sexual perversion is so deep that it’s really hard to wrap your brain around it if you aren’t very familiar with it or haven’t already left the church because of it.

We live in a post Christian Era as evidenced by the Church no longer representing the Gospel of the Bible. The Conservative Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist Church that has gotten itself into bed with Conservative Republicans is a community that is rotten from the head down. There is a reason so many are leaving the Church and why so many of us former church leaders are speaking out loudly and boldly. The abuses need to be called out and the agenda needs to be stopped!

Their goal is a theocracy and Kavanaugh lying to get on the SCOTUS bench is a calculated part of that agenda. They believe in this with all their hearts and souls and to them it is the Gospel (good news).

I will never remain silent in the face of this agenda. I will never remain silent in the face of this warping of the Gospel. I will never stay silent in the face of those who claim to fear God while victimizing the sheep.

Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 2

These temporary dwellings we live in . . . I’m talking about our bodies.

I’ve had a rough couple of years in mine.  I developed Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and gained 80 pounds in 6 months.  I was sick – could hardly breathe. I wasn’t sure I would live as it felt like I was developing allergies to myself. But the hardest thing to deal with was the weight and living in my body at a much larger size than I started.

Well, truth be told I’ve had a hard time dealing with the size of my body at every size.  I’ve been everything from a size 4 to a 4X and the only time I really felt comfortable in my skin was when size 4 clothes were getting loose on me.  Of course I’m 5’7” and I was aware I was starting to look underweight . . . But I’m also a size 4 at 137 pounds.  Which, if you don’t know anything about weight, is kind of strange.

Needless to say I’ve had a challenging history with my body. And my body image. 

I could detail all of the things that happened over my life to cause this – or make it worse – or make me more aware of it.  That doesn’t really matter though.  It hasn’t always been the same thing but it seems once you struggle with loving yourself it becomes easier to blame your body for other things.  And when it doesn’t respond to things the way it’s “supposed to” it’s really easy to hate it even more.

In the last year I’ve been dealing with the reality of chronic long term inflammation.  It’s played a role in me going from a 4X to an XL while only losing 17 pounds.  Even the doctors are finally admitting they don’t know what to do with that – they are stumped!  I’m stumped.

And I finally had to completely let go of the weight issue and focus on doing everything I can to reduce inflammation and, well, learn to love myself.

Everything I need to do falls under the category of self care. I need to take my supplements – some are to replace things that I’m not getting through digestion because elements of the digestion are messed up. Some are to help the digestion. Some are to prevent histamine being released. Some are to usher the histamine out of my body when it is released.  Some are for this and some are for that but they are all necessary and if I run out of any of them I feel it.

It’s also part of what led me to DoTERRA.  I’m not going to make this about DoTERRA but I found it because I also have a cellular level sensitivity to steroids. Guess what they use to treat Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and severe allergies that cause you to swell up . . . Yep. Steroids.  So I have had to go rogue and find things that will help me with trying to reduce inflammation that my doctors couldn’t tell me about.  Thankfully several of the products I’m using are helping immensely. I credit them with a lot of my “deflation.”

But I find the thing I am most getting from their use is . . . . Self care.  The very act of finding things that will help with my symptoms and the causes of them – the research and trials and energy and resources that I’ve put into finding things that will help me . . . This has spoken love to my body and has forged love for my body.

I learned years ago through research the dangers of starving a body – especially because my digestion challenges mean that even when I’m eating my body is starving for something.  I learned that when I didn’t get enough calories I gained weight so I’ve made sure through all of the last few years I keep eating.

I still have a lot to learn and a lot of answers to find but here’s the thing . . . The more I love my body the more my body loves me back.

The 2nd commandment that is like the 1st is this . . . Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you don’t love yourself you can’t fulfill the command!

Think about that . . . If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love your neighbor as you love yourself.

So here’s the challenge I have – the more I love myself, the more I engage in self care that communicates love to myself, the more energy and resources I have to love others.  If you take care of your sukkah it won’t fall down around your head. This temporary dwelling we live in . . . It needs our attention and care.

This was inspired by an article a friend posted the other day that I want to share and I hope it encourages those of you who are struggling with your weight – whether it’s from a health condition or just from living in a body that doesn’t fit the “societally approved packaging.”  And whatever you look like – I love you!  You don’t have to explain yourself and while I am willing to hear about your struggle with weight and am more than willing to offer validation, encouragement or may also share my experience and what I’ve been through and learned, you do not owe me anything.  You’re awesome just as you are!


Thoughts from the Sukkah 2018 Day 1

This year we moved. 

At the beginning of the year – in January – we purchased a house and moved out of our rental.  Our rental, we knew, was a temporary home. We thought we would be there longer but due to a whole bunch of circumstances involving a new owner and unacceptable new lease terms we moved.  I thought about the Israelites in the Wilderness when it happened because the description was so perfect.  The cloud they were in would stop and they would camp. And it would start to move and they would pick up and go. The cloud was at that rental house for 4 years.  As our lease was coming to an end it clearly lifted and began to move.  

Looking for the house was a trip because we knew we needed to put in our offer by mid-December to have it close before our lease was up.  When we move my husband has always entrusted me with finding our home. Every time I have found one for us he has trusted me more. I always bring him into the space to get his agreement before we do anything official.  Except for this time.

This time we found a house I really liked except for a couple of things and so we waited – it was over Thanksgiving weekend – and I took the family on Monday.  There was already an offer on it.

The market had turned dramatically and from that point on everything we looked at had an offer on it before the end of the day.  So when we found the house I felt was right I FaceTimed my husband and he did a video tour.  I told him my hesitations and he wasn’t concerned about them. We made an offer that day.

There was so much wonderful about the process.  One disabled veteran selling the house to another disabled veteran so the VA already knew the house and it was fairly easy. Our agent was great and available at a moment’s notice – and a friend from college.  The things we needed done got done. Things we didn’t need we let go of. And they left us a charcoal and a gas grill which was nice.

The cloud lifted and moved and we jumped and moved with it and when the cloud had clearly settled on our new home we stopped and settled in.

Believe it or not this is a two story house!

This year my family didn’t get a sukkah made in time for this festival.  I felt a little guilty – slightly frustrated.  I know it’s been an intense year – not just moving but I have had 2 surgeries (one minor and one very major).  Our son is in a show at the Theatre where I work and he and I are gone most evenings.  Our oldest son works.  Our daughter is in NYC which makes it a little hard to have all the joy on holidays that she isn’t with us to celebrate.  Excuses excuses excuses.

In reality, though, this year I’m struck by the fact that our home – even though we bought instead of renting this time – is still a sukkah.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring. None of us knows the number of our days. None of us tells the sun to rise and the moon to light the night. We aren’t in control.  Since remembering that is one of the reasons we’re told to dwell in a sukkah – and since our homes and our bodies and everything about us is a constant reminder of this if we let it be – we’re still waving the lulav every day and I’m still sharing my thoughts about this amazing season.

This season where God – who is permanent and eternal, faithful even when we are faithless – asks us to remember that we are temporary.  It is humbling to remember that – and usually the experiences that make it most obvious are the experiences that knock us down and put us back on our place.  It is also amazing that the eternal God of the universe – creator of everything – loves us enough to care about our temporary dwelling and is involved enough that he wants us to practice for eternity.

I think that’s pretty awesome.

Announcing Thomas Talks!

I am so excited to announce that is live! This is the culmination of my life’s journey and working for 3 years with a ministry coach and a team of amazing women who God has brought into my life to help me on several projects — I’m so grateful they have continued alongside on this one!

Please, check it out! If there is anything you would like to see addressed there, or you would like to talk to me about contributing there, please let me know. There will be memes and voices and I hope it will be an encouragement to many of you as you navigate the journey of life and ask questions about how faith impacts who we are and what we do.

On Complementarianism . . . or, “But I know a marriage that . . . “

I’m excited that we have launched Thomas Talks and I’m moving some articles over there!

Thoughts on Shabbat

I’ve heard people argue that women weren’t expected to observe lots of Torah because it was sexist and they had to take care of children. it is true that women were excused from the obligation of certain things in Torah because of caring for the children, but it’s more that God views caring for the needs of children and the elderly as most important. God doesn’t consider these things work!

Everyone in Israel — Jew and the sojourner, the servants and the animals, was expected to rest. It isn’t just for Jewish people. In fact, Sabbath means “rest.” And it’s commanded, but it’s a gift and an invitation extended to us. God finished creation and then rested and invites us to rest with him in his completed work. I’ve most loved the analogy that it is like a date day with God. That God set aside a day to spend with us and invites us to join him in what he’s doing and we either show up or don’t.

Shabbat is a "date day" with God

Shabbat is a “date day” with God

Lots of people ask me “what is work that we have to avoid?” I tell them Scripture speaks of not engaging in buying and selling in the market, not lighting a fire, and not doing your every day work. And then I tell them, “You know when you’re working.” Sometimes I start something and then realize I’m working so I stop 😛 Jesus spoke about the acceptance that if your ox falls in a ditch on Sabbath you pull it out. A friend once shared that her father added, “If your ox falls in a ditch every Sabbath, fix the fence.” 😉

When we were able to faithfully observe Sabbath it was a wonderful time in our lives. Moves, pregnancies, near death experiences, life . . . honoring Sabbath changed a bit in what it looks like, but here’s what I learned . . . being able to really rest took planning. I cleaned the house over the week and kept to my routine and knew what we were eating on Sabbath and kept to fresh or crock pot meals so that I didn’t have to work at food prep. Some weeks now I just intentionally set aside work that didn’t get done in advance – if I couldn’t be bothered to do it over the last 6 days it will keep for one more 😉

I love that it’s forbidden to fast on Sabbath — it is a day of love – loving God, loving your family, loving your neighbor, loving yourself!

I love the quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel from “The Sabbath”:

“One who wants to enter the holiness of the day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screen of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man.”

One of the things that I love is that the New Moon celebration every month is also a Shabbat — for women only! Women aren’t allowed to work that day.

I think our culture has so completely abandoned the appreciation of rest in the shadow of the Protestant work ethic. We need to rest. We were created for it.

My Darned Life

One of the projects I’ve been working on for a little over a year is My Darned Life. I have set as a goal for myself the knitting/crocheting/sewing of a granny square for every person in my life.

Contemplative Knitting

Contemplative Knitting

There is a practice called Contemplative Knitting/fiber arts that involves praying for the person something is being made for. It’s done a lot with projects being made for the very sick, or newborn babies, or friends going through a rough time. There’s even a project right now called Welcome Blanket that involves knitting a welcome blanket for every refugee with a goal of creating blankets bigger than the size of the proposed wall for our Southern Border.

My project is a little different. It does involve praying for the person I’m creating the square for, and it is something I can return to as that person has prayer needs throughout life. A tangible reminder of who they are and how much I love them that I can hold as I pray for their needs.

It is also going to be a tangible picture of the people who are helping create the literal fiber of my life so that when I am old and my project is done I will be able to hold and be grateful for every person who has touched my life. Every person who has enriched me, challenged me, encouraged me, impacted me, shared my life in some way will be represented.

the diversity of life as seen in balls of yarn

the diversity of life as seen in balls of yarn

This project excites me!