Made and Chosen

For many months now I have gone back and forth about writing a post on the issue of gender. Since the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, legalizing it nation wide, the issue of transgendered rights has taken center stage. For anyone who has read my posts or know anything about me, probably already knows my thoughts on the matter. I also don’t want to join the rants about it that are coming from both sides of the issue. 

Since I am a school teacher, President Obama’s recent directive given to public schools to allow all transgendered students to use whatever bathroom of their choice, did entice me to want to shout to the world in opposition. But I will refrain. I don’t know as though this argument can be won by either side because both sides are using the same topic…people’s rights. The problem is when rights conflict, who’s rights are more important? 

While I pray dearly that this battle for ‘open choice’ restrooms will come quickly to an end with no matter of success, I would like to speak directly to my brothers and sisters engaged in this fight. So this is my letter in hopes that it will somehow reach those for whom and is meant:

You were all beautifully and wonderfully made. Not at birth, not even at conception. Jeremiah chapter one tells us that before we were in our mother’s womb, God knew us and loved us. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship. Every child, no matter how they appear in the world’s eyes, is a masterpiece of God. God made each of us with care and with purpose. He designed us out of love to be the people who would love and serve Him and others with our whole hearts. Somewhere along the way, some in societies across the world, and spanning many centuries (this is by no means a new topic) have lost sight of this. Some, from even a young age have felt this emptiness deep down and a lack of love for how they were born. My heartfelt message to you, my dear brother or sister, would be that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of almighty God. He loves the way you were born because He made you so. The word for workmanship is that of a beautifully written poem. You are God’s poem, which He wrote word by word, singing over you with great joy and affection. I am not saying to you to stop fighting for your rights, but to come home. Come to a place where you are accepted and loved for that which you were made and don’t long to be something other than how your loving Father in heaven made you.

To me, this is not an issue of rights, this is an issue of identity, and there is no greater authority on someone’s identity than the one who made us all. Be encouraged brothers and sisters and remember to reach for love and grace and to point others to the greatest source of them both…Jesus Christ. 


What did or what could’ve happened…?

Stuff happens…no way of getting around that. There have been bumper stickers and t-shirts made with all sorts of ways of expressing that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or a bad one, young or old, man or woman…stuff happens to us all the same. Some things you can avoid by making wise choices, but some things will happen regardless. As the bible says, ‘the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked.’ When stuff happens though it is interesting to see a person’s reaction. What separates people is outlook, or perspective.

I bring all this up because I recently had ‘stuff’ happen to me. You know, one of those accidents that occur at the most in opportune times, usually on a great day, in the middle of doing something you enjoy. My wife had surprised me at work by picking me up and taking me to get coffee and hang with our two daughters. Our youngest was turning 7 months old that day and we needed to celebrate. Long story short, I hit my head, split it wide open down to the skull, get rushed to the ER, then to surgery to have it sliced and diced and stitched up. No more celebration and I didn’t even get to drink my Americano. 

The rest of the day my wife kept saying all the things that could’ve happened that God prevented from happening. Like not being close to a hospital, my wife not spotting me in time, my oldest daughter being a part of the accident (she was in my arms when it happened), skull damage, a concussion, it actually happened on the best possible place on my head, didn’t get my eye, my mother in law could come get the kids, and the list goes on and on. 

The point I’m trying to make is, we could’ve spent the rest of the day focusing on me being laid up in the emergency room and spoiling our fun time and the inconveniences that it caused, but instead my wife kept the right perspective about things. You see, God doesn’t always keep us from harm or accidents but if we look in the right places, we’ll see His handiwork helping us through our hardships. There is a lot of joy in that and He certainly deserves all the praise no matter what ‘stuff’ happens. 

God bless and be encouraged that God is at work in your hardest moments, big and small, because of His great love for you.

Priceless Gift

Have you ever gotten someone a really special gift? If so, did you think, “I sure hope they appreciate this…” Maybe more than that have you thought, “they better not let this gift go to waste…” Or maybe, “I hope they get a lot of use out of this…” Or even, “I hope they take good care of this gift.” I don’t think that’s abnormal. In a way we are probably associating their response to the gift as a response to us as the one who gave the gift. This is undoubtedly unhealthy if it influences whether or not we continue to give gifts if their response isn’t up to par with our expectations or hopes. But I do think we are reflecting the ultimate gift giver in a way.

In reality, our response to God’s gifts are a resflection of our attitude towards God Himself. Most importantly, our response to His greatest gift, Himself in the form of Christ Jesus, shows our love and devotion and gratitude. What I mean by response is whether or not we cherish the gift and express thankfulness through the way we live. I think that we should express it both to God and to others. I mean, I’ve been given some awesome things in life and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it and I certainly couldn’t contain my thankfulness towards the gift giver. However, over time, years even, the level of joy the gift gave wore off. I grew accustomed to having the gift or perhaps became distracted by other things in life. My point is, I lost focus and perspective.

When it comes to God’s blessings in life, and mostly salvation in Christ, we can’t afford to lose that focus. We can’t grow accustomed to the point where we take it for granted. We can’t stop taking great care of that most precious gift. We need to maintain that thankfulness so we can keep fueling that burning desire inside to shout it to the world. Fortunately, God doesn’t give gifts based on merit and certainly doesn’t stop if we don’t make full use of those He’s already given. If He did, none of us would be blessed and definitely none of us would be saved. 

I think all of this is very important to remember whenever we give gifts to others. If they don’t care for it or appreciate it like they should, it’s their loss but it will not deter me from giving all I can. Because we give because we love and God gives because He loves. And really, unless we’ve made the most of God’s grace in our lives we have no room to talk. So let’s give and love without expectation and pray that the Holy Spirit lights the fire of passion for the Greatest of all Gift Givers and the greatest of all gifts!

“God so loved the world that He gave is one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16