Are you on a pilgrimage?

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7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.

Genesis 47:7-9a

This got me to thinking, what is a pilgrimage like?

Pilgrims are on a journey to a very specific destination. They don’t let any sort of hardship get in their way. They keep plodding forward no matter the sacrifice. They don’t complain about injury or hunger or thirst. They realize that it is all just a part of the journey. Nothing stops their progress but death.

Sometimes they travel with their family and friends, but often they must leave behind all they know, both people and places. They miss their family, wishing that they could be with them, and hoping that one day, they too will reach the holy site. But the excitement of the journey far outweighs any loneliness.

I have never made a pilgrimage, but the little bit of traveling I have done gives me a small sense for some of the feelings a pilgrim might experience. For instance, my daughter and I went to Paris for a week last spring.

First we had to sacrifice a bit on our spending at home so that we could afford expensive plane tickets and lodging at a safe hotel. We spent months studying guide books and researching activities, laws, routes, hospital locations, etc. online. We were able to talk with some friends who had just been to Paris the spring before, and learned tips from other friends who had visited years ago.

We tried not to talk too much about our excitement with those who weren’t going or hadn’t been, as we didn’t want to incite jealousy. Some people didn’t even know we were going until after we got back – so maybe we kept it a little too low key sometimes!

The journey was long and left us feeling physically ill. Operating in a foreign language was tiring. I was always just a little bit on edge for our safety, as terrorist attacks have become somewhat common there, and we are just two small women. We missed family and friends a little. But the joy of being there and experiencing things we had never experienced before far outweighed any discomforts.

We would go back there in a heartbeat! We loved our “pilgrimage”.

May I be a pilgrim here in my everyday, too.

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I’m so confused!

confusion

We have our public high school students read, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Why? To help them see how horrible human nature can be? I find the book to be ridiculously violent, so I won’t allow my autistic son to read it, but I find the message, sadly, sound.

Fascinatingly enough, our public schools also tell our kids that they just need to look inside themselves to find all the strength and knowledge they need to make themselves and this world a better place. We teach them that, as a kindergartener, they know whether or not they are a boy or a girl, regardless of what their biology is saying. Ok, then why have them read, Lord of the Flies? Doesn’t that preach the exact opposite message? That kids don’t know the proper way to live?

On the one hand we say that research shows that children know who they are by age five. But on the other hand we say that no one should be considered responsible enough to make their own decisions about life until about 25, because the rational part of the brain isn’t fully formed until then (see University of Rochester Medical Center).

So which is it? Do you have everything inside of you or not? Do you need to be educated about how life works, or not?

I would propose that we don’t have everything inside of ourselves, unless we have God in us.

Mark 10:18b  No one is good except God alone.

And I would also propose that we need to be taught.

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

A First World Problem

Job 12:5 “Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.”

A convicting verse from my Bible Study this morning. Things that God spoke to me about it:

  • This is a bit of why He may allow suffering in life, even when it doesn’t seem deserved – He needs people to be in tune with those who need to hear of Him in their suffering.
  • I need to make time to be there for those who are suffering and slipping.

When I look back on life, I do find that some of my sweetest memories are when I was obedient and did those sort of things.

How about you?

Just act natural

leather-768230_1920One of the things I find fascinating about this whole thing about allowing boys that identify as girls into girls’ locker rooms, and vice versa is this: The experts tell the students that it is natural to do this. There is no reason to be uncomfortable. It is only your upbringing that has made you uncomfortable.

As a parent of both a boy and a girl, I can tell you that both reached a point, on their own, without coaching from me, that they were no longer comfortable being unclothed in front of anyone, even someone of the same gender. So it is not normal or natural, as the experts say, to be ok with being undressed in front of someone of the opposite physical gender, let alone someone of your own gender.

The Bible shows pretty clearly that when humans were first created it was perfectly normal for people to hang out together unclothed. But as soon as we decided to stop following God’s rules for us, we immediately became embarrassed about being naked. Fascinatingly enough, Adam and Eve were embarrassed even though it was only the two of them, and they were married. In most societies, that is the only situation in which people should feel comfortable being unclothed around each other, and yet, they weren’t.

Because none of us are perfect any longer, it is not natural to be unclothed in front of someone else in a locker room. We learn to tolerate it when all are the same gender, though it is still uncomfortable. It is not in the least natural to be changing in front of the opposite physical gender.

You know its true when even God helps out:

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Genesis 3: 21

Here’s to a safe environment for all!

Teach them Diligently

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

The number one thing I would encourage all of us parents to do is to teach our kids to love, trust and obey God. That is the only thing that will get them through anything in this life, and into the next.

Someday I won’t be around to help them. Someone might do something terrible to them that no one could have stopped. They might fail in some way. But God will never fail.

Teach them all you know, and even those things that you haven’t yet totally come to grips with yourself, but know that the Bible says are true – teach them those things, too. And teach them how to stop and talk to God for themselves. Teach them how to recall Bible verses for the tough situations they encounter – and for the good situations too.

Never stop teaching.