Sunday, December 17, 2006


By Delton (pic from Tradition. When I hear that word I often think of the play Fiddler on the Roof. I don't remember the whole story, but as I recall it involved a father opposing his daughter's desire to marry a particular boy because it would go against their "tradition." Then he sang a song about it.

Around the holidays we hear alot about and many practice traditions - christmas trees, gift exchanges, family gatherings. These traditions bring a sense of warmth and stability to a high paced, fast changing world. At the same time, traditions can become a burden or stress if they lose meaning and drain finances or relationships. They can also keep us from something fresh and new if we are unwilling to look beyond.

My denominational heritage is Mennonite, but from my grandparents on down, we have been willing to embrace new ways of worship and new ways of functioning as the body of Christ. I have grown up in a church that has changed a lot, laying aside many traditions. I am very blessed both by my Mennonite heritage and my church.

It seems to me that humans require tradition. Some people require it more than others, but we all like the familiar. It is what identifies us with those around us - our families and ethnicity. Traditions act as markers to help us keep our bearings and to remind us of foundational truths and events - advent, lent, the fourth of july, memorial day. They all serve to remind us of the things we value.

So when should traditions be laid aside? Someone once said that before you tear down a fence, you should ask why it was put there. We have cast aside a lot of traditions in the church, trading them for the "new" and the "fresh". If a tradition in the church no longer serves a purpose then it must be laid aside, or we are simply practicing dead religion. God has not called us to a system, He has called us to Himself. At the same time, before we lay aside a tradition, we must ask, "Why was it put there?" If the tradition is put aside, it must be replaced with something to serve the purpose that the tradition was originally intended to serve.

At times we seem to throw the baby out with the bath water. In an effort to get rid of dead religion we get rid of traditions. Maybe the problem is not the traditions. The problem is us. We are sinful humans, prone to forget and rebel against God as much as the Isrealites. When we throw away a tradition we simply replace it with a new one, but have we changed?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Delton has a truck!

Delton bought the truck. It looks so nice! We are so blessed to have this vehicle. It is BIG!!!

A Truck and Teeth

Delton and his dad are at a car lot as I write this, looking at a truck. A red Chevy Silverado, extended cab, 4X4, tow package, '88, new tires, 2500... I have learned a lot about trucks through this search. I look forward to the phone call telling me whether or not Delton has a truck. I'll let you know!
Ezra is now teething. He has two teeth on the bottom, and just this afternoon I felt a third one pushing through up top. He is doing so good. We are using baby orajel, which is such a blessing. Our little guy is really growing up. He will be 4 months old on the 17th- and he is outgrowing his 6 month sleepers. Oh My!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Through God's Eyes

These thoughts have been chasing themselves through my mind for some time now. As I was reading a book today, the questions were again piqued and I had to try to wrestle with them.
I have dealt with- and still deal with- comparison. I judge myself to be better than some in certain areas and less than others in other ways. My skills are not flowery or obvious. I look at those with creative genius, whether from birth or through practice, with envy. I see how we are the product of our upbringing in many ways, that shapes who we are and what we feel we have to offer others.
In God's plan, however, I am beginning to see that he sees differently than I do. He creates us, and places us in a family. Some families nurture, some do not. Some emphasize creative gifts or academics, others do not. Some families pass on inheritances, leaving their children well-to-do, other families struggle day to day. The result of our upbringing molds us, but it does not effect who we are in the sight of God.
I can't lead a congregation in worship, but God is delighted in me. I can't sew, can't draw, can't sing, but I am perfect in my Father's eyes. God's measuring stick differs so greatly from mine. Who I am in this world is not dependent on the abilities I have or don't have. The worth of others is not measured by their abilities, net worth, or personal charisma. We are a people created for God, for His glory. As I move in freedom, content in who God made me, I am fulfilling my purpose. That is all He asks me to do- simply be who I was created to be!

Monday, December 4, 2006


I am reading two books at the moment. They are at two different ends of the spectrum, and I am having a hard time reconciling their differences. The first book is one I first read years ago, Disappointment with God. The author, Philip Yancey, explores why so many Christians are disillusioned with Christianity and God. He attributes this disillusionment to expectations that are not met. We expect God to intervene on our behalf, based on sermons we've heard, books we've read, and scriptures we love to quote. Victorious scriptures. Messages of promise. But, so many of us live everday lives that are far from what we desire. Sometimes, our prayers go unanswered. Sometimes, those we pray for still die. The loneliness that grips our heart remains. Can God be trusted? Why doesn't He intervene more on our behalf? Why is He silent? These are the questions Philip Yancey discusses in his book.
The second book that I picked up yesterday at the church library is a compilation of "His Mysterious Ways" from Guidepost magazine. Each story relates an amazing intervention from God- hearing voices, seeing lights, near death experiences, and other obvious interventions from God.
As I realized how the topics of these books differ, I began thinking about who God is. I still haven't come to a conclusion. If God is silent in some areas, why does He act so amazingly in others? Why does He show Himself when we least expect it, but fail to answer our most heartfelt prayers? I have felt the silence of God in areas of my life. I have struggled with disappointment with God. Yet, I have also seen Him work in miraculous ways in my life.
Who is God? Can He be trusted to act when I need Him? Can I place all my trust in Him and be sure that He will come through? Times of silence leave me questioning. My church upbringing tells me "yes!", God can be trusted all the time. I know this. But when faced with experience, sometimes I struggle to discover truly who God is and to come to grips with how He acts, or fails to act.
Any thoughts?

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Learning the Ropes!

Let's see if this posting will allow people to comment on it...still learning the ropes!

Christmas Tears

We got a Christmas tree yesterday. I cried when I saw it. It is a cute little potted tree, about two feet high. Almost a Charlie Brown- sort of tree. I am used to 6 foot Christmas trees. It wasn't unexpected- I knew Delton was going out and getting a tree of that sort. It was the reality of it that was hard to take. This house is not conducive to a large Christmas tree- there is really nowhere to put it. This tree was cheaper than a large tree, which is another reason it is sitting in our living room. Christmas is about more than Christmas trees, I know, but Christmas is full of memories and traditions. When those traditions change, and some of them must, it is hard! With this being Ezra's first Christmas, I wanted it to be special and memorable (for me, at least!). So, I cried when I saw the tree. I soon got over my tears , and enjoyed putting half a strand of lights on it and two delicate ornaments. Ezra likes to look at the lights, and Delton and I enjoy the reminder that Christmas is coming. 6 foot tree or not, it is going to be a great Christmas.