Friday, January 16, 2015

broken hallelujah

I think I've shared before that Joe speaks around the country at conferences and for school districts. He's been doing this for quite a few years and has always given out evaluation sheets in order to receive constructive feedback.  I am always amazed at how my husband touches people, and it is reflected in very encouraging ways in the evaluations.  But...there's always one or two.  Those one or two that are not even critical in a constructive way, but in a "this-was-a-stupid-waste-of-my-time-you-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about" way.  And sadly, those are the ones that will stick.  There will be anywhere from 100-1000 evaluations from the day, but those one or two will sting.  Why? Not because my husband has a hurt ego or doesn't welcome constructive feedback, but because his intention is to be an encouragement to others in an area he is passionate about (working with wounded children).  He is one of the most humble human beings I know, which is the whole reason he gives evaluation sheets.  He seeks to keep growing and doing what he does the best he can.

Sadly, this happens in so many areas of life and to be completely, brutally honest...Christians can be the worst offenders.  I just recently began homeschooling our two youngest daughters.  I thought it might be a good idea to join a few FB homeschooling groups.  I thought wrong.  I found myself feeling completely, utterly inadequate based on the strong opinions of what homeschooling a child should look like.  I didn't feel encouraged; I felt less than and, well, stupid.

Shall we touch on the Mommy wars?  Okay, no, moving on...

Lately, I've also seen several debate-type articles about worship music.  The lyrics don't have enough depth, Jesus is inferred instead of directly named, the lyrics are too simplistic...and on it goes.  My heart just breaks at this.  Do the critics stop to think about the intention of the artist? The artist that is a flawed human being just like you & me but also took the time to pen a song of praise? And so what if it is simplistic...sometimes, I NEED that.  But beyond the artist, what about the person that has been touched by this music? Are they to feel less than? Stupid? Not good enough, holy enough, or whatever enough?

These are but a few examples of where I think we are just getting it wrong with our opinions & attitudes. We talk about the church being an open, welcoming place, BUT some are getting caught up in achieving a level of perfection.  And when we do that, we are turning people away because all they see is division and judgment...Even if it's just one or two, those are the one or two that will be remembered. People that are hurting, insecure, confused...they don't want a picture of perfection. Perfection isn't real, and it certainly isn't attainable.  As I seek to grow in my faith, I want to engage with people that know what the ditch looks like from the bottom, not from those standing at the top looking down, maybe even living like they've never set foot in the ditch at all. The ditch tends to be the place where Jesus dwells, being an encouragement to make it out the other side. I don't believe for one second He stands at the top of the ditch being critical and telling you that your feeble prayers, simplistic worship, and faith the size of a mustard seed are not good enough. That your attempts to parent are falling short. That you're good-intentioned efforts to (fill in the blank) are silly and a waste of time.

No.  Jesus loves you where you are.  That is the truth I have to remind myself of every day as I navigate this crazy stuff of life.  There are days I feel like I get some things right, but there are more days I'm thankful, so thankful for grace. And that is the truth I want to encourage you with.  If the intention of your heart is to honor God in your life and know Him, don't let anyone tell you it's not good enough.  Find the people that will remind you that you are enough, imperfections and all, and beautiful friend, BE the person that encourages others in their steps minus any measuring sticks.

I also know that I know that I know that He works for good in all things, even my broken hallelujah.

And a broken hallelujah is better than no hallelujah.


Jenny said...

Ok, I have been homeschooling for about 18 years and I know little more than when I've started; I also now have 3 of my 11 children in public school because I needed help with reading therapy, etc. I think it's crazy for anyone to think they have the corner on widsom; what works varies so much from child to child and family to family. I have been blessed to find a homeschooling group here that really is encouraging, but I've seen what you are talking about many times. We are only accountable to God; keep doing what you are doing.
God bless,

kayder1996 said...


Laurel said...

Hello dear friend. After a 16 month hiatus from the blog world (due to unbelievable cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment), I am timidly and a bit hesitantly dipping my toes in again.

This post was wonderful. Sadly . . . I have found this to be especially true in the homeschooling world and the adoption world. I so needed to hear this . . .

"If the intention of your heart is to honor God in your life and know Him, don't let anyone tell you it's not good enough."

You cannot imagine how many people have said that I have failed at homeschooling . . . at adoption . . . at parenting . . . I have been utterly broken over the condemnation from other Believers.

Glad to be back. Look forward to catching up with your sweet family. Hope you'll pop over to my new blog.