Tuesday, October 23


When I was 7, I believed in my parents. They knew everything there was to know and I thought they were perfect. I kissed and hugged them every night when they tucked me in with my musical lamb.

When I was 9, I believed in fairies. I looked for them in the woods under moss and aroun
d streams. My brother and I climbed trees and made forts out of planks and torn sheets. We cried when the storms came and blew down our castles.

When I was 12, I believed in my imagination. I read a book in my room from morning til night. My best friends were Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and I wished that I went to Sweet Valley High. I wrote stories about the fairies I once believed in and about girls who were nerds but became super models.

When I was 15, I believed in magic. I put love spells on my crush with feathers and candles and stole grass from his yard to carry around in my pocket each day for a year. I sewed butterflies all over my bell bottoms and dressed up to go to basketball games just for the dance afterward, but the spells only worked on all the wrong people.

When I was 17, I believed in myself. I thought I could do anything and joined the Air Force to "see the world." My brother told me he couldn't wait for me to leave. I told him he would be sorry when I was gone. I read "Gone With the Wind" and wished I lived in another time. I fell in love with a new boy every few weeks as I searched for the prince who lived in my mind.

When I was 18, I believed in beauty. I thought I loved my new life as I spent hours each evening in front of the mirror just to impress the guys I'd meet at Club Gotham or at John's weekly Friday night party. The next morning I'd wake with a headache to wonder, as I hugged the toilet, "Is this all there is to life?" The nights I didn't party, I leaned over the balcony outside my room, searching the stars for an answer, praying to a god I didn't know.

When I was 19, I believed in Jesus. Old things in my life passed away and all became new as I prayed for my brother, wrote about God, and felt peace in my future. I began to live for someone other than myself and found out that Christianity was the farthest thing from boring, after all.

Searching the world for something to believe in finally ended when I found my true Prince. That emptiness was never in my heart again, and the person of the past seems someone from a dream.

Thursday, February 16

Passion, Joy, & Wisdom, & Why it's a Good Thing to Be a Little on the Selfish Side

My favorite people inspire me because they are selfless.  I'm reading "Atlas Shrugged" at the moment and was shocked to discover that Ayn Rand also inspires me in certain ways for different reasons.  Gasp! Inspired by an atheist, Celena!?  Yes, well, even an atheist can have a brilliant mind and can achieve great things in the eyes of the world.  She was an amazing writer who overcame great odds, she weaves a captivating story (too captivating, perhaps) and she paints a picture of humanity and the world that can't simply be brushed over. Atlas Shrugged makes me think more than I have since I graduated from NAU with a minor in Anthropology 3 years ago.  Minoring in Anthropology and being bombarded with relative truth and Darwinian evolution taught by the most amazing professor this side of the Universe will make a Christian think a great deal, I assure you.  But I've missed being so challenged.  I've missed having to actually think about things.

One thing I've begun to ponder is how selfishness invades everything I do and realizing that it's alright to be that way.  Maybe that doesn't sound like anything a Christian should consider, but bear with me!  Ayn Rand advocated nothing short of selfishness.  I began to think things like, "Maybe the only reason I really make my husband coffee in the morning is for what I'll get out of it."  Truly, it is a part of the reason. But that reason and my doing anything good is all wrapped around the reality that I love God and try my best to live for Him.  Think about why you do anything good.  You do it because of the feeling of gratification it gives you, or because of pride and the way people will see you, or because of what you'll get out of it, and, hopefully, because God wants you to.  Most of those things are selfish but the last thing wraps it all together and makes it good.  Ayn Rand leaves out that last part and so her ideal, "perfect" characters fall short of anything close to perfection because of it.

According to her, "rational self-interest (i.e. selfishness) is every individual's highest moral obligation."  My favorite Christian apologist, John Piper, said what sounds on the surface like the same thing: "some dimension of joy is a moral duty in all virtuous acts."  Joy is for ourselves, is it not?   Both John Piper and Ayn Rand believed that pursuing joy is selfish.  Rand wrote about 2 of her characters, "They were both incapable of the conception that joy is sin."  Truly, what rational person would want to be a Christian if joy is sin?!  Perhaps seeking joy is selfish, but joy in itself is not sin.

That idea that all joy is sin is totally anti-god, which any average person will discover if they read His Word.  According to the bible, God gives us "all things richly to enjoy."  When we "delight in Him, He gives us the desires of our hearts."  Mr. Piper said, "Pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God.  All-surpassing, soul-satisfying treasure.  People actually don't seek pleasure with nearly the resolve and passion they should."

The greatest pleasure anyone can have is in living for God every day of their lives.  I'm not saying that I never question or doubt Him.  I'm not saying that I read my bible from dawn to dusk.  I'm not saying that I'm even close to perfect.  I know who I am and so does God, and I am not quite as "good" as I may seem on the outside; no one is.  But God made me a person who would want to seek joy and who wouldn't give up until she found it.  He made me someone who would long for passion and richness in life because He is the author of real passion and real richness.  He made me that way so that I would want to love Him and want to know Him.

Ayn Rand obviously sought passion and joy, too, but I pity her because she didn't realize that God is the author of the greatest pleasures and the greatest passions, and the author of complete wisdom.  I haven't touched on wisdom much but I want to be wise as much as I want the other things.  When King Solomon asked, God blessed him with the greatest wisdom any man ever had before or since.  As amazing as Ayn Rand was, as much wisdom as she had in certain things, as much as I like this book, it falls so short of what it could have been had she acknowledged the One who bestowed so lavishly a gift upon her.  Complete wisdom can only be found in God; no matter how brilliant a mind may be, there are certain things a person will never understand without the wisdom that only comes from asking the One who created our minds in the first place.

Knowledge of God without knowledge of man's wretchedness leads to pride.  Knowledge of man's wretchedness without knowledge of God leads to despair.  Knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle course, because by it we discover both God and our wretched state. ~Blaise Pascal, 17th c. Scientist

As for you, dear reader, may God show you all passion, joy, wisdom, and truth; and may you understand the height, and depth, and width of His love for you! I'm just barely skimming the surface of something that's pretty deep. I hope you'll investigate it for yourself by getting to know Him better.

Sunday, January 15

Thor, Cap, Wolverine, & This Girl's Eternal Perspective

I'm quite smitten with Cap (Captain America, I mean) & Thor, too… oh, and Wolverine!  Maybe you don't stay up late and read comic books in bed, but I challenge any girl to watch Thor, Captain America, or X-men and not fall for the hero during the next 2 hours and 17 minutes.

The end of the Thor movie was especially poignant for me when our dashing, charming, extremely heroic superhero gave his leading lady Jane a quite romantic kiss. There was the perfect bit of romance the movie needed to end with.  Then Thor was lifted up into the sky and a cloud received him out of Jane's sight.  Jane stood there looking at the sky, and I sat there looking at the TV feeling bittersweet and wondering, "How in the world's she ever going to marry anyone now that she's been loved by a super hero?!"

So these Cap-Thor-Wolverine thoughts have been rushing around in my mind for a month or so, along with thoughts of Jesus and God's word and wishing I were a superhero and wanting to put an eternal spin on it all.  A wise man once said, "All heroes are shadows of Christ."*

Here I am, fascinated by the stories of these incredibly awesome super heroes who really are just shadows of Christ.  They're cool, sure, and they have really interesting stories, sure, and they're likeable and attractive… but Jesus is infinitely more amazing than all of them put together.  I'm doing my best to write about super heroes & Jesus all in one breath without sounding cheesy, but honestly, look at all these super powers He has:

Like Storm, He has power over nature. (Matt 8:23)

Like Nightcrawler, He can teleport. (Acts 1:9; Luke 24:31)

Like Wolverine, He's got an immortal, incorruptible body. (Luke 24:39-43)

Like Mystique, He can disguise Himself. (Luke 24:16-31)

Like Thor, He can fly into the Heavens.  (Acts 1:9)

Like Professor X, He can read minds.

Plus, He knows the future, He can heal the sick and raise the dead, He walked on water, turned water to wine, multiplied a little bit of bread into a lot, withered a fig tree with just a glance, and the list goes on.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He was no longer bound by the laws of matter and time.  And it doesn't stop there.  Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

"There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory… In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor 15:40-43; 52-53)

And so, we're going to live in eternity with an immortal, imperishable body just like Jesus.  Hm… does that sound like a super hero to you?  Maybe it's just my own girlish, vain ambition but being a super hero someday gives me just another thing to look forward to.  I think it's pretty awesome that I'm going to spend all eternity not only with the only One truly worthy of my awe but with a bunch of other super heroes who aren't bound by time or matter--who can walk through doors without opening them,  live forever, never get old, swim without holding their breath, fly, teleport, and do all kinds of other things I'm sure neither Marvel nor DC has even begun to dream up yet.  Comic book super heroes are awesome… but I think they only just scratch the surface.  They're just shadows of Christ.

*John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, 35.

Wednesday, January 11

The Way Things Ought to Be

I'm not a poet but every once in awhile when God inspires him, my husband is.  This poem touched my heart!  I hope you enjoy it.

In this world which we live
there's a sense of what ought,
an intangible feeling,
a perception, a thought

of the way things once were
or someday will be.
If only we could
through the darkened glass see;

the pane has been clouded
by the sin in our hearts,
from the lust and vain pride
that has torn us apart

from the Father above
by whom we were created
but we spurned His great love
and became separated.

What then must be done
for the ache deep inside
for the longing of home
where our dreams do abide?

Take heart, precious one,
turn the pages and look
at the Father & Son,
at the Author & Book

All began with a word:
"One day!" He would write,
"I will give to them vision
and restore them to sight."

Then the dark glass will clear
day by day, by and by
revelation and truth
will displace the great why.

The light dwelt among us
and is here to behold
if we will comprehend
and believe what we're told;

all shadows of Christ
were the things of past ages,
the substance is Jesus
thread throughout all the pages.

*Inspired by Pastor Fred Rubi's Christmas sermon a few years ago, and the many truths about time and the faith by which we occupy it, found in God's word.

"Faith is meant to occupy time." -Pastor Fred Rubi
"God is not bound by time." -Dave Fish

Habakkuk 2:3
Col 2:17
2 Cor 5
1 Cor 15
John 1