You Too?   Leave a comment

There has been a lot of news about the #metoo movement in the past few years.  Women coming forward, speaking out, revealing sexual assault and harassment they have gone through.  Perhaps it is the way my brain works.  Perhaps it is because I could join the ranks of #metoo.  I am not sure, but when I hear stories about revealed sexual assault, my mind goes to all the victims of – let us go ahead and name it – the crimes.

The mother, the father, the brother or sister who saw, who knew. And never said anything.  The teacher, the coach who saw.  Maybe they were even confessed to.  And they did not say anything.  The co-workers who noticed the bruises and changes in behavior and didn’t ask.  The family members who saw what was happening but didn’t say anything because — that is the way it happened in their family.  It happened to them, and now it was happening to another generation, and no one ever said anything about it.

What about those people?  What are they going through, hearing all this recent talk about standing together, speaking up, not being silent, calling out?  What kind of guilt, anger, loathing they might be feeling?  And what do they do with those feelings?  Who helps them?

What about the men?  The men who were boys once.  Teenagers.  Now they are grown men.  Do they feel guilt?  Do they feel bad about what they did?  Do they even remember?  Do they care about lives forever changed?  Lives forever scared because of what they did?  Who helps them?  Who do they go to for support, for help?

I know someone who I am quite sure had a sexual assault when she was in her 20’s.  I saw the changes in her.  I asked her about it.  She denied it.  She denies anything happened to this day.  Do these news stories dredge it all up for her?  I know someone I worked with who came to work every day in long sleeves and/or turtle necks.  She finally told us a little bit about how her husband treated her.  We listened and were supportive.  We let her know we were there for her.  She finally left him and lived with my friend for a few months.  That was 30 years ago.  What does she think when she hears these stories?  Does she wonder if things would have been different if she had spoken up and reported her husband?

I have my own sexual assault stories.  Over the years, God slowly healed me.  It would take too long to explain how that happened. I am not sure why God chose to heal me so slowly instead of all at once.  But I am healed.  I have forgiven them.  It happened a long time ago.  It is past and gone. Forgiven.  Not forgotten, but it is behind me and I am looking ahead.  So what do I think when I hear these stories?  What do I think when I read the articles about someone finally speaking out about something that had happened 20 years previously?

I grieve with them that it ever happened.  I accept that their healing process, their way of dealing with what happened, is not the same as me.  I accept that though I am healed and I have put what happened behind me — not everyone has had the same experience.  Not everyone can say that.  And for some, it is part of their healing, part of their process to put it behind them, to finally speak up and say something.  Even many years later.

Though, I still can’t help thinking of everyone else who also were/are affected by what happened.  What kind of #metoo movement can there be for them?

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Posted October 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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MODESTY   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question of a Christian Facebook group.  I must not have phrased myself very well, as I got lots of judgmental and curt answers back.  It was pretty hurtful to me, but the question remains in my mind.

In the church I attend, it happens that the Pastor’s oldest daughter leads worship every Sunday.  She also does other things around the church, and from my observation (and listening to worship) she does a fine job.  She is a lovely (inside and out) woman of God who seeks after Him and is using her gifts for Him.  She has graduated college and is an integral part of our church.

The … what do you call it?  Issue?  Problem?  Question?  I don’t know what to call it so I will choose issue since that comes first alphabetically.  The issue is she wears very tight pants on the platform.  Pants that hug her body so closely you can see everything.

Now before you jump in and judge me and call me an old bitty, please understand that I have shopped with and bought clothes for young ladies.  Being a lady myself, I have seen the clothing available in stores and I see the ads on TV and other places.  I know, I fully understand, how hard it is to find modest clothing for young women.  Even ladies as young as grade school.  It is hard for me to find modest clothing, being a plus-sized middle-aged woman.

I am not criticizing her.  I am not shaking my finger at her saying “Shame!”  I am not looking down my nose at her saying, “She wouldn’t be wearing that if she were MY daughter!”  Remember – she leads worship.  So she is up on the platform every Sunday, both services, front and center.  She is elevated (physically, because the platform is higher than the chairs), and naturally we all look at her while she and the other folks sing songs and play instruments.  So it is not as if I can avert my eyes.  I am not staring at her, nor am I oogling her.

For me, it boils down to this:  Being the worship leader means she has to be above reproach.  She has to be an example.  There can’t be a hint of impropriety.  Yes, I used that word.  Almost, she has to be a paragon.  Yes, this puts a lot of pressure on her.  It is unfair, really, that so much pressure should be put on her, but that is the way it is for people in leadership roles.  They lead.  By example, my modeling.  And I don’t think it is just my middle-aged brain that thinks by wearing tight clothing on the platform she is stumbling in her duties of showing modesty and being above reproach as a leader.

She is a young lady just out of college.  No doubt with student debt to clear.  She works at the church so she is not making a lot of money.  She is living in our church subsidized housing.  I doubt she has a lot of money to spend on clothing.  She very likely is wearing the only clothing she has available to wear.

I don’t have money myself to buy her clothes, even if I thought that was appropriate for me to do.  My original question to my Facebook group was “What would you do?”  Among the many “mind your own business!” and “she’s not hurting anyone!” I got not one single concrete answer as to what others would do.

So, here is the other thing that bothers me about all this.  The answers I received from the under 40 Facebook members of that group pretty much followed the theme of “She’s not hurting anyone!  If it doesn’t hurt anyone, there is nothing wrong with it!  She should wear what she wants!”  And, it surprised me.  It surprised me because: who are you to judge whether it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if someone in the congregation is struggling with lust?  With sexual sin?  Who are you to know if there is someone in the congregation that looks at that lovely young lady in her tight pants and stops thinking about worship and starts thinking about unsavory things?  Yes, it is true that it is unfair to judge or lust after a woman simply by what she wears.  However, whether it is fair or not, it is reality.  It happens.  And we are foolish if we do not take heed and remember that.  We are foolish, I believe, if we say, “I can wear what I want!  If it bothers you then that is your problem, not mine!”

In the New Testament, Paul writes a whole chapter about not causing others to stumble.  Read 1 Corinthians 8.  And if you are a leader, standing up where everyone can see you Sunday after Sunday, I believe you should be even more careful about leading anyone possibly astray or possibly causing them to stumble in their walk.  For me, that is the bottom line.

That is what I think, and how I feel.  I have thought about this for a year, and I still have no solution.  I believe God has made it clear that I am not to say anything.  So, I continue to pray about it.  But I fear there is a whole generation of women who firmly believe they can wear anything, do anything, and not think about any consequences or how it might affect others.

Posted October 2, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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GOD   Leave a comment

Our opening question at Bible study last night was “What picture or word(s) come to mind when someone says ‘God’?”   This was my list:

Creator
The Only God
Master
Powerful
Immutable
Adorable
Loving
Gracious
Patient
All Knowing
Everywhere
Judge
Law Giver
All Seeing
Father
Healer
Provider

I’m not good at drawing so I just used words.  What would you word(s) be?  Or picture?

Posted August 30, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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DEEP THINGS   Leave a comment

I haven’t written on here in a long time.  I’ve been going through some deep things over the past months of this year.  I feel God has been working on me, in me, through me.  I ask every day for His will to be done in my life and you can’t pray a prayer like that without things happening.  I’ve been under spiritual attack pretty regularly, and while that gets tiresome it also tells me I’m doing the right thing(s).

I put a profile on a dating web site.  After praying about it for a few months, I took the plunge.  Ug.  Yep, it was pretty much not a good experience.  As a lady in her late 50’s I had no trouble attracting men, but they were not men I was interested in.  For one thing, I am not looking for someone in their 30’s.  And someone who lives across the country from me is really not a practical option.  Even when I put it plainly on my profile, I still got lots of interest from people on the east coast.  Sigh.  I connected with a few men, but none of them stood up to scrutiny, and by that I mean they all turned out to not be Godly men.  And I am looking for a Godly man.

Well, actually, I’m not looking.  I’m praying about it, but I am done with dating web sites for now at least.  Our Pastor’s wife says often: (I’m paraphrasing her)  If you want a different outcome, you need to do something different.  So I am not doing the web site thing and instead I’m searching for wisdom.

My health is much better this year than last year, Praise God for that.  I’ve been able to do craft things I like and enjoy.  My family is doing well, and the job is going great.  For all that and more I give Praise and Glory and Honor to God.

 

Posted August 28, 2018 by Maureen in Being Single, Randomness

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RESURRECTION   Leave a comment

I heard a Christian song recently, and part of the chorus went like this:

“The resurrected King is resurrecting me”

That is what I have been feeling lately.  I feel, almost, ready to perhaps start dating again.  Which is quite a revelation for me and I am still surprised by it.

The reason I’m feeling a bit like a resurrected being is that, for the first time in my life, I am living alone and I will perhaps be starting to date.  I’ll be 59 years old pretty soon, so you would think I would have experienced this already.  But no.  I had my son to raise that was living with me most of the time, up until his death.  Right after that, I spent 7 1/2 years being single and living alone, it was true, but I was not looking to date.  I was working full time, going to school part-time (and sometimes full time) and volunteering at my church.  I didn’t have time to see my girlfriends, let alone date anyone.

Then a few months after I graduated, I moved into my sister’s house.  My sister who really wasn’t happy with me dating.  Sharing a house with 3 others made it awkward to have a date over.  The other reason I feel resurrected is that, also for the first time in my life, if I date again I will be only looking for a true Godly man for a husband.  I’ve been a born-again Christian for over 30 years, but remember for most of that I was either 1) a mom or 2) not looking and not dating.  I realized I had no idea what dating a true Godly man was like.  I can’t say I have ever had a date with a true Godly man – ever – in my life.  I have no prior experience to guide me.

What a strange place to find myself in at my age!  I am moving very slowly and cautiously on this, with a lot of prayer and thought.

Posted March 12, 2018 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian

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MISSED?   Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

Over the New Years weekend I drove 7 hours from my sister’s house back to my apartment in another state.  My brother-in-law was in the car with me for half that trip; I was dropping him off at his mother’s so he could drive her to her winter spot in Arizona.

I had asked my church for prayer about the trip, because my brother-in-law is an atheist and I have heard him say some hostile things about Christians.  We were going to be sitting next to each other for 5 hours or so and I asked for prayer about what to say or not say.

To be honest, I had forgotten about the drive with him or the chance to witness to him or talk to him about his beliefs…. until the morning we had to leave.  I had prayed about it ahead of time, but I was having so much fun relaxing and enjoying myself that I forgot all about it until we were on the road.

Once I remembered, I started thinking about what I could say.  How do I bring up the subject of faith, and his own beliefs? In my head, I starting singing that chorus:

Come Holy Spirit, I need thee
Come sweet spirit I pray
Come in thy strength and thy power
Come in thy own special way

And as it turned out… we talked about various things, but faith wasn’t one of them.   And I’ve been wondering ever since if I failed, if I missed an opportunity. Or, if it all happened the way God wanted?  I still don’t know.

One of the reasons I doubt is because I know in myself that I always try to get along with people.  I always try to find some middle ground, some common ground, with them.  I listen to them and I am respectful.  And I think that characteristic in myself means I miss opportunities.

I am the way God created me.  I have always been this way, so I do believe it is the way God wants me to be.  But, I think it is not ALL He wants me to be. I think I can be more.

Posted January 9, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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Joy?   Leave a comment

Our sermon this morning blessed my heart.  Pastor was giving us a word for the Christmas season, from the book of Nehemiah.  As a side note, I love the book of Nehemiah.  Years ago we had an adult Bible study on it, using a book titled “Hand me Another Brick”.  It is an excellent book – I recommend it.

He was in chapter 8 this morning.  The setting was after the wall was completed.  It was the day of the New Year celebration, and all the people had gathered to hear Ezra reading the book of the Law.  As he read, the words were explained to the people.  The Bible tells us that the people praised the Lord, but also as they heard the words Ezra was reading, they started weeping.  They were convicted in their hearts of their sins, and the sins of their fathers as they heard how they were supposed to live and worship God.

Nehemiah consoled and encouraged them.  “This day is holy to our Lord”, he said.  “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength“.  (my emphasis) You may have heard those words before.  You may have said them, or taught them.  This morning Pastor reminded us that the joy does not come from us.  We don’t have to have joy before we can get joy.  The joy is a free gift, from God.  It is God’s joy.  He doesn’t wait until we are perfect to give it to us.  He doesn’t wait for our lives to be trouble-free to give it to us.  It is a joy we can have today, for today is holy.

This holiday season, you may not be feeling your best. Your life may not be at a high point right now.  God says to receive the joy.  Receive it on faith if you have to, but receive it.  It is a free gift He gives willingly.  Enjoy the joy.

 

Posted December 17, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

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