This past week, 2 of my 4 children, have been at each others throats. To the death. To their own deaths, to my death and to all the deaths. All the veins are popping. All the teeth are gnashing. All the fists are clenching. The feet are stomping and the tempers are full tempering. All the rage is raging, what ever was fair, is now forever unfair. They want returns on all their purchases, they are filing all the lawsuits, they are rocking their own votes and they demand the rewriting of every law, as it is their own civil right, and they demand their justice be served from the highest most supremiest court. They are exhausted from all the debating and proving.
And they yell to me,
as if I care, as if I am in control or withholding all of their freedoms from them. Literally screaming my name, as the sweat drips off their brow, as if I will come to their rescue with the key to the cell and FINALLY put this, this, whoever this supposed person claiming to be their sibling is, in jail. For the eternity. Then, and only then will they finally be freed, from the one who’s fault truly lies at the root every wrong choice they have ever made, and they can freely live the perfect life they were honestly meant to live, in complete harmony and bliss.
I guess one of the perks being a Christ follower who has been blessed with children, is that if we are humble enough, we get to see a direct, perfect, intentional image of our own iniquities, reflected in their behavior. The bummer for us is that we are called to yield to Gods spirit before we speak to them, when their iniquities are raging. I say this is a bummer, because it is hard. No, hard is not the right word. Ambitious. Arduous. Burdensome. Challenging. Crucial. Demanding. Laborious. Onerous. Painful. Problematic. Severe. Strenuous. Yes, these words might better describe this calling.
For me, I now know, that the hard stuff is what God uses to strengthen His people, and to draw people who do not know Him, near to Him. I have spent a lot of time in my life fighting against, raging against, blaming everyone, using excuses, doing whatever it takes to shift or delay myself from actually having to go through the “hard stuff”.
We are all born with this deep desire to serve ourselves. The desire is so deep rooted that we view it as a freedom, if you will. Because we are all born with this freedom, it is the foundation for everything we do. It is what drives our ability to find food and shelter, to protect ourselves from danger, to learn more, to succeed more, to gain knowledge. We grow up learning to do everything we can to control our environment so that our selves are comfortable, successful. The problem is that this self serving lifestyle, is in fact a lie.
You see, fighting for ourselves is not a freedom at all, it is in fact a disease. Websters dictionary defines a disease as “any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society”. This “disease of self” can be very dangerous once it senses an attack. There is a “natural” uprising. We “naturally” revolt. We “naturally” defend. We “naturally” rebel, because we dont want anyone or anything to take this “freedom” of serving our selves away from us. I deserve. I eanred it. It’s mine. We believe freedom is a state of being able to do whatever I want whenever I want. We have literally convinced ourselves that freedom is being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want. We have convinced ourselves that as long as I am not “harming” anyone, then I should be free to do what I want. As if this life, here on Earth, is the only thing at risk.
I lived more than half my life doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And for a while it did feel like freedom, until the lie started to unravel my life. I remember thinking my life was a prison. I was stuck, with me. There was no escaping me. My upbringing was what defined me, my past would always foreshadow me. It is a dark place to live, in that prison. I have met a lot of other fellow “cell mates”.
Enter Christ. Where do I start about Christ? To be honest, I don’t ever know where to start, about Christ. Testimony, sure. The Bridge Illustration, Okay. An invite to church, why not.
Here’s what I know; There were empty rooms in my life, that before I knew that God created me on purpose, would have remained forever empty. Those rooms were filled with pains, scars, irreversible consequences. Filled with bitterness, denial, rage, unforgiveness, hatred, fear, embarrassment. I had convinced myself that, that was it. These rooms will forever be this way. I will take them to my grave.
Now that I know God, those rooms have been filled with grace, forgiveness, humility, joy, love, peace, affirmation, purpose, hope, value, worth, light. But most of all, true freedom.
You see when my kids are at each others throats, I don’t have to argue them into believing that they, on their own, should be good. They are not good. They are sinners. As am I.
But God has given us the gift of freedom, we are no longer slaves to sin, in Him. We are free to yield to His voice, in our heart, to direct our words and our behavior towards them. We are free to teach them that on their own, they can do nothing apart from Christ, John 15:5. We can listen to them argue and know that our God is desperate to hear them reconcile. We can choose to teach them that Christ gives them the power to put themselves aside, and that serving their enemies and humbling themselves is true freedom.
This is why its hard. Nobody likes to learn the hard way.
We need to see in our children, the opportunity for us to teach them the truth about who they are, who they dont have to pretend to be, and who they are in Christ.
So the next time your kids are at each others throats, dont do what’s easy. Dont run and hide in your closet with a bottle of wine. Don’t jump in the ring like some has been WWE wrestler, trying to make a come back. Just take a minute to remember the grace, the undeserved grace that Christ poured out on you out of desperation to be with you for eternity. And show mercy and grace to your kids. They are dirty rotten little sinners, just their mom and dad. It’s not their fault. Direct them well, as your Father directs you, Pointing them to scripture and the grace and mercy of Christ.
Elections are upon us. People are at each others throats. There is fear. There is anxiety. There is doubt. There is anger. There is division. There are sides to pick. There are things to stand for. There are things to stand against. There is ignorance. There is passion. There are stickers and signs. There are billboards and commercials. There are rallies and marches. There are phone calls and flyers. There are texts and T-shirts. There are Instagram posts and Facebook groups.
I literally have no idea what is real anymore. But apparently everyone else is EXTREMELY confident in what they perceive is reality. Everyone appears to be very confident in their knowledge that their vote will make all the difference, and if we can just change these few things, or maintain these other things, and if we can get enough people to agree with us and we all vote the same way, THEN everything will be ……
What? Then everything will be what? That is my question. The answer certainly isn’t, then everything will be better. I think actual answer is everything will be … the exact same. I think we are a highly distracted people right now.
As Christians our hope can not be in the result of a vote. Yes, we vote, but our hope is not in our government. Therefore our despair is also not in our government. Our hope is in the end result of what Christ did on the cross. The result of Christ’s death is eternal victory. Let that sink in for a minute. We walk around talking about how outrageous it is that the President, fill in the blank. We walk around talking about how outrageous the Democratic or Republican party is. You want to know what is outrageous? Millions of Christians have not shared with anyone, their testimony about how Christ radically changed their lives. Keeping the power of Christ a literal secret. You want to know what is outrageous? Millions of Christians in America did not sit down with their kids today to read their Bibles with them, before sending them off into our culture for the day. You want to talk about outrageous? Millions of Christians are not meeting regularly outside of church to check in with each other on real life struggles like pornography and gambling and addiction and unforgiveness and infertility and loneliness and depression and biblical parenting and death and cancer and all the other life things that are actually effecting our daily everything. Millions of Christian American parents did not sit with their kids today and pray that God would guide their choices, before they went to school and work. I specify American because we live in a country where we are free to do these things with our kids, and we take FULL ADVANTAGE of that freedom, by ignoring it and treating it as if its the same choice as making it a combo at Mc Donald’s, ” You wanna Bible with your day today? Nah… I’m good!” And guess what? I am one of them. Are we so numb and so distracted that we don’t even flinch at this? Are we so blinded by what WE are doing, and what is on OUR schedule that we don’t even notice that we have abandoned the relationship part of our faith? Am I so self absorbed that I reserve the “act” of reading my bible for Sunday church? Yes. The answer is yes. Ugh. Why am I so lame? Why are we all so lame? If you are thinking “I’m not lame, she’s lame.” Well you’re wrong, you really are lame. Welcome, glad to have you. Don’t worry, you’ll be ok. So why are we so lame?
Because sin. I will never overcome it. We will never overcome it guys. Our own depravity and refusal to allow Christ to be the entire center of our whole lives, will destroy us if we are not intentional about relationships. It will. Destroy us. We have to get off the roller coaster. Paul writes to the church in Corinth, who is struggling with many of the same issues our culture struggles with today, saying “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Such a simple statement. We have to get back on board with this. Like immediately. Stop talking about politics. Go vote, let’s get our stupid vote sticker and zip it. Like arguing with people about their views literally has absolutely no eternal value at all. We have to be relationally focused guys. (relationally? is that even a word?I don’t think it is, but you know what I’m saying.) We have to start to encourage each other to read our bibles again. We have to call each other and ask each other about what we are reading in our bibles and what we are learning about God. We have to. We have to act as if our lives depend on it, but act like it every day. We have to invite our neighbors over for dinner and ask how their moms are doing. We have to make stupid jokes in elevators with strangers to get that one laugh out before continuing on our path to wherever. We have to return shopping carts on purpose for people for no reason. We have to. We have to ask our waitresses if they need prayer for anything before we pray for our own meals, guys.
We dont want to have a right or left wing agenda. We do have a faith agenda, and that is and should always be, to love the crap out of each other in the name of Christ. Like extreme, out of control loving. Not the way we think somebody needs to be loved, but the way Christ loves. Not all judgey and weird, and only if they agree with you on stuff, just plain old unjustified, undeserved love.
So go on Christian, go love the crap out of everyone today. I dare you.
Ew, the thought of starting over. When you’re 40 whatever years old, most of the time, the thought of starting over is just dumb. Starting over in your career… lame. Starting over in a relationship… lame. Starting over on dinner…. not happening, we’re going out to eat.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I went to log in to my blog and as I finished typing the password and pressed “enter”, a demonic little phrase appeared in blood red font…. “password incorrect”. I laughed out loud and proceeded to slowly re enter my password, pressed enter and again…. “password incorrect.” Now for me, passwords are not precious, secret codes that I choose carefully, to protect someone from accessing my very personal information. No, for me passwords are crazy little, alpha numeric nonsense phrases, used as tools against me, to make me angry and frustrated, constantly reminding me of how scatterbrained and unorganized I really am.
I have one password. One password for every account that I have ever created and will ever create. So if you figure out my password, Kim Klinge is no more, pretty much. Sometimes there are slight changes that need to be made, one uppercase, one lower case, whatever. But I have one password. They always tell me to “write down your password so you don’t lose it”. That’s fine for most people, but when you were born in the 70’s and were ADD, before ADD was a thing, you write crap down and then you lose the paper you wrote it down on, spend hours trying to look for that paper only to realize you have no idea what you’re even looking for. So no, I’m not writing down a password as if I had a tiny spiral bound note book that I keep on me at all times that says “Dream Big” on it, to organize all my very different, perfectly crafted, thoughtfully chosen passwords. One password. Every time.
I re-entered that password, every way imaginable. I gave the password to my sister, who by the way , probably does have a Dream Big spiral password notebook, because she actually is the most organized person on the planet (well her and my oldest). So hopefully she could enter it all the ways she could possibly think of, to try to access my blog. I then tried to reset my password, and realized the email account attached to my blog was deleted a year ago…. when we moved to Texas. Frenzied thoughts of “you’re going to have to START OVER” began to fill my mind and as quickly as those thoughts arrived I combated them with NO!!!!! NEVER!!!!! It got to a point where I was frantically trying to contact the human beings behind WordPress, because clearly this is an emergency, and I needed them to reset my password. Almost immediately, it became clear that there are no human beings behind WordPress, it is all just internet mumbo jumbo, world wide web, automatic replying, robots, void of any capacity to think of complex situations that would require a system override to reset a password.
All the paths of all my efforts were rapidly being squeezed into one……disastrous……direction, as if they were on a 10 lane highway being reduced to one lane. And that lane had a huge, neon flashing sign yelling at me; “START OVER AHEAD!”.
Ughhhhhhhh. Like so much Ughhhhhhhhh.
Why? Why is starting over so grueling? All the time we spent, turns out wasted. All the thoughts we had, turn up forgotten. The goals of longevity, erased. Building a history, documenting life, gone. It’s a draining feeling. I grew tired just thinking about starting over. I sat in it for a good few weeks, walking by my computer every day muttering “I’m not scared of you, I’ll throw you straight into that pool! I don’t need you!” Days and weeks of fear and doubt, preventing me from just committing.
Today I thought about what a huge breath of invigorating, revitalizing, rejuvenating, fresh air, starting over in Texas has been. Fear wrapped in hope, being unknown in our town, but remaining known in my faith, not knowing where we are leading our kids, but remaining confident in our Leader. Im not going to say its been a “blessing”, mainly because everyone uses the word blessing as a synonym for when things make you feel good…. “Oh hey, its such a blessing to be at the John Crist show tonight”.. sorry what? That’s not a blessing, that’s just super fun. “What a blessing , they have coke instead of Pepsi” Ya, no. Not a blessing. So lets see, I guess the words I would use to summarize the result so far, from us starting over in Texas, would have to be, abundantly satisfied.
And with that, today, I will start over, my blog. I will continue to trust that the things that continue to take me by surprise, are not shocking at all to God. The things that take me by surprise, were signed off on by God, and He pays attention to every detail of my life, as it is the sole purpose for the ransom He paid with the life of His son.
So go on! If you have to start over, do it! Do it like you just turned 40 and you’re going to that Pearl Jam concert with a bunch of girlfriends from high school! Do it with passion! Do it with zeal! Do it with verve! The heck is verve? Anyway… do it with Christ in front of you, leading every step, confident in the end goal.
My goal is to never stop sharing the radical impact Christ has had on my life, even if it means starting over.
So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
Paul Tells of His Conversion
“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Testimony of Paul to King Agrippa – Acts 26 – around 35 AD