Q&A 19

“what causes happiness and is there anything more important” (Table Topics Spirit Edition)

Happiness is an emotional response to stimuli, circumstances. Happiness is fleeting and eventually fades, regardless of how amazing the circumstance was. Happiness can cloud our judgement (just because it makes you temporarily happy doesn’t mean it is a good choice).

I think there are things way more important than happiness.

Being fulfilled and content, for example. That brings a level of peace that is beyond happiness.

And holiness is more important than happiness. To have a complete union in the Lord, where I am walking in alignment with His purposes, His plans, and doing what He has called me to do… that brings something happiness can’t even measure up to.

Q&A18

“what responsibility do you have for other people” (Table Topics, Spirit Edition)

Welcome to my overthinking brain. This question is to vague.

I have a responsibility to my family (being present, educating, feeding, clothing, housing, etc.)

I have responsibility to others to keep my word and commitments.

I have a responsibility to live out the Great Commission.

I have a responsibility to speak out against unfair treatment and injustice.

But, I DO NOT have some responsibilities to others either… such as:

I am NOT responsible for convicting your heart.

I am NOT responsible for your choices and consequences from those choices.

I am NOT responsible for your salvation.

I also believe there are responsibilities that we have as people toward other people, and then individual responsibilities on each of us towards others that God puts in our charge, in our path, or convicts us to tend to.

Q&A 17

“what difference would it make to you if you found out God was female” (Table Topics, Spirit Edition)

None.

The only way to find that out with certainty would be once I was in heaven. If I’m in heaven, that means the gender didn’t matter to my salvation. So I wouldn’t make any difference to me at all. God would still be God, maybe it would make me reconsider some of the Scriptures a bit differently. But overall that would have no effect on my faith. I’d be in heaven.

But, for sake of conversation, let’s assume it was some sort of Old Testament, walking the Garden moment. Where God is there, present, and I can see God with my own eyes… and voila… God is female. Again, it wouldn’t change anything about my convictions or tenets of my faith. I’d probably get over that initial surprise quickly, and move on to something weightier while I had God’s attention.

Because the Scriptures refer to God as masculine, I’ve accepted that as it. That’s not to say there are not moments where some illustrations compare God’s response to that of a mother bear, or a mother eagle. I do kind of like the idea of God defending me like a mama bear defends her cubs. But, overall, I really have never concentrated too much thought on the gender of God anyway. My focus has always been on the character of God. So, I suppose, it really wouldn’t matter to me if I found out God was male, female, or genderless. (Jesus was obviously male, so I’m not questioning that at all).

Q&A 16

” what do your friends, books, car, clothes, and home say about who you are” (Table Topics, Spirit Edition)

That I am a follower of Christ.

My friends are women who believe in God, follow Christ, attend church. Although various denominations and some varying beliefs, we are rooted fundamentally in the same vein. That said, I do have some friends who don’t fit in that box either, because how can you reach the world if you hide from it?

My books certainly would support my being a Christian, I would say that they would suggest I am an apologist and a leader in the faith. The books are usually non-fiction, evidentiary, or about leadership in ministry.

My clothing, car, home, etc. probably speak to my desire to be a good steward with what we have been blessed with financially. Again, this is part of my faith system.

If someone was trying to “convict” me over my faith, all the evidence points to guilty as charged.

Q&A 15

“which old wounds would you like healed” (Table Topics, Spirit Edition)

Truthfully, probably the abandonment by my father. Because, that stemmed into so many other areas of my life creating trust issues. I always held out hope for full healing and restoration, but that never came. My father passed recently, and now that chapter is closed this side of heaven. Perhaps in eternity, it will be restored.

Q&A 11-14 – A Catch Up!

We had quite a busy weekend around here, if you missed the news earlier this summer, my family was moving to a new home & prepping our own home for sale. I have such a testimony to share about that, but I’m saving it for another day. Today, I’d like to catch up on my missed posts. So, 4 Q&A posts will be morphed into 1! All are again prompted by questions from the Table Topics Spirit Edition of conversation starter cards. (This is not a sponsored post, I’ve owned these cards for nearly a decade)

Q11) “what’s the greatest thing you’ve ever done for someone else?”

I have bought meals for people, raised funds for people, shared the Gospel with people, etc. Those typical things we do because our heart compels us to (out of compassion, obedience to the Spirit’s prompting, etc.). But, today I want to really answer this with a different perspective. The greatest thing I have ever done for someone else was to listen to them & believe their experience. I didn’t try to justify what happened to them, or question their interpretation of it. I took what they said at face value. People who have experienced trauma are often also a victim of gaslighting from those who traumatized them or even good natured people who struggle to believe that the accused would “do such a thing”. People who have invisible illnesses often have their symptoms & emotions trivialized because someone can’t see that they are sick/suffering. I can’t tell you the number of people with invisible/chronic illnesses that have uttered the words “I wish I had cancer, because then people would believe me.” I think to simply believe a person, is a great gift to them. I’m certainly not suggesting throwing caution out the window, or building up a lynch mob based on a person’s account without any facts. I’m simply suggesting it is possible to sympathize with a person from their perspective. Being the friend, while the experts can get to the truth of the matter & handle it appropriately.

Q12) “in what way would you have chosen to have God’s existence proven to you”

What a question. I came to a real belief in Christ at an older age. It wasn’t some miraculous event (like being instantly healed) but rather a slow revealing of Himself to me over time & challenging my own thoughts and beliefs. I remember lamenting once that I wished I had a great “testimony to tell”. A friend told me, “I assure you that those who do, wish they had your testimony and didn’t have to lick the floors of hell first.” That was eye opening. I also remember lamenting once that I wish I had been raised in the church, more intentionally, and had a faith that goes back to my childhood. But, I have also learned that many who start out their lives this way, still will struggle with their doubts about their faith. Questioning if they really believe for themselves vs. inheriting their parents beliefs and just going through the motions. So, I suppose really the only other way that would have been way easier… would have been an encounter with the voice of God, the presence of God so palpable at that moment that my knees bowed & my tongue confessed it. But, the Lord gave me my journey for a reason. I’ll honor Him through telling it, as it is…

Q13) “if you died today would you have any regrets”

Here is what I know, no one dies without regret. I don’t think that anyone facing immediate death wouldn’t think about things they wish they had done (or hadn’t). I would have traveled more, I would have spent more time with my family, I would have worried less, I would have eaten that entire cake. I would have apologized more, forgiven more, loved harder. I would have fought more, I would have gotten a better education, I wouldn’t have delayed certain things and I would have pushed others on to the backburner. Because I know in my heart this to be true, I don’t dwell on it. I can’t. I won’t. I can’t focus my attention on dying without regrets. Instead, I will choose to look forward at what can I do so that I don’t LIVE with regret. Part of our moving into our new home, and the decisions we are making with how we will use this home, is so that I don’t live with regret about things I wish I had done, people I had spent time with, etc. I can’t wait to use this home for the glory that God has instore for it. This will be a home of ministry.

Q 14) “is there a cause that you’d be willing to sacrifice your life for”

Since the question was specifically about a “cause”, the answer is no. If were to give up my life for a cause, in the sense of dying for it, there is no cause that warrants loss of life. If we were talking about specific people, or my faith… that’s different & not a “cause”. Now, if we define “sacrifice your life” as in giving up your spare time, leaving a well paid career to become a volunteer, etc. … well, that is a different story. Women’s Ministry is an area where I have done so, because this is a cause I deeply believe in. I believe that women need a place that ministers to them specifically as women. A ministry that speaks their language, understands their experiences, that reaches them from a place of compassion, sympathy, and empathy from living similar experiences. (I also believe this is equally important that men have a solid Men’s Ministry in their life). I have, and will continue, to put my life (defined as time, energy, resources) on the line for that.

Q&A 10

To anyone just chiming in, let me catch you up to speed. Table Topics is a company that makes essentially conversation starter cards. Many years ago, I bought their “Spirit Edition” box and have used SOME of those cards at Women’s Events (brunches, conferences, etc). I say SOME because not every card is “Christian” … it’s a “spiritual” edition of cards not specifically Christian. I decided to wip the cards out as prompts for a Q&A series.

“what’s the hardest thing for you to have faith in” (Table Topics: Spirit Edition)

Over the years the Lord has really show up in some ways that blow me out of the water. I’ve always held a faith that things will work out for the best in the end, even if best is not what I ever would have asked for or expected… even when the best is telling me: “no”.

I hold strongly to the promises of the Bible (what they say, and what they don’t). I have faith in the Word and very little in the world/man.

So, perhaps that is the answer. The thing that it is hardest for me to have faith in would be the world I live in. It’s broken, twisted, and fallen. Fortunately what I do have faith in is the One who will restore what has been tarnished.

Q&A 8

“which of the guilts you’ve carried are most and least justified” (Table Topics Spirit)

How about the better question, “what guilts are your carrying that you keep taking up from the cross?”

And the answer to that changes on the daily. The enemy loves to whisper into our ears all of the faults and sins of our past. The very things that we set at the foot of the cross in confession, the enemy compels us to pick back up. He wants us to bear the weight, to carry the burden, to walk with a mantle of shame across our shoulders, pressing us in to the ground, like an anchor wrapped around our legs keeping us from moving forward to what God has freed us from and called us to.

It may be little guilts over that money you shouldn’t have spent, or the big guilts that come from the sins we were delivered from. We beat ourselves up, replay conversations in our heads, and let the lies hold us captive from the freedom that was shed in the blood of Christ on the Cross.

Set it at the Cross, leave it there… Christ paid for it.

Q&A 7

“is there a specific time each week you devote to your spiritual life” (Table Topics Spirit Edition)

The easy answer would be yes, since I go to Sunday morning services. But, that was pre-covid19. Right now, due to my auto immune illness, I am still utilizing our churches online services. Since I was serving during live services, I was always at the same service. Now with the online options, I jump around regarding which service I watch. Sometimes it is one of the two morning messages, sometimes it is Sunday evening, and there have been a few occasions I watched it midday on Monday.

If I step out of that area, and look at other ways I devote time to my spiritual life… I can’t really put a pin on a particular thing I do, at a particular time. I tried it. I tried the get up before everyone else for devotions suggestion that many moms hear. Recognizing I was a night owl, I also tried revamping that to staying up a bit later than everyone else to get my devotions in at night. I’ve set alarms on my phone, scheduled it in to my calendar, and even signed up for apps that would send me a devotion at the same time each day. Frankly, and I know this is counter to a lot of advice, it just doesn’t work for me.

I believe this is in part to the fact that I can fall to complacently into routines. It becomes something that just gets checked off because I did it… even if I didn’t want to, if my heart wasn’t right, etc. I did it, because I was supposed to. I find for me, for my own relationship with the Lord, I work so much better when I just follow the Spirit’s prompting to be still in Him and His Word.

For example, a few months ago we were on a mini vacation. We visited my husband’s step dad at his cabin for a week. One day the family was gathering up their belongings to head to the spring to tube down the river. I opted to stay back, because I felt the Spirit calling me to go out into the field to pray and meditate on some Scripture. Another example, a few years ago, when my husband and I were arguing about something the Lord prompted me to spend the entire rest of the day in His Word. I knew that my attitude was not right, and I felt the Lord pressing on my heart to put everything else aside and sit in the Scriptures. For the entire day. Which I did, only stopping when the kids or my husband needed something. But my agenda, was cast aside. It was one of the best things I have ever done.

This has also helped me to pray for people in the moment vs. adding them to my list for my “prayer time”. Any time is prayer time. Any time is a time to be with the Lord.

I’ll caveat this with: This is what works for ME. If you are a person who NEEDS to schedule it, and it’s beautiful and wonderful THEN DO IT! I’m not suggesting my way is better, or that anyone reading this should change their methods of being with the Lord.