My Mundane Musings

Growing up I longed for the fast paced life of big city life and corporate America. Now I’m a stay at home mom of 4 in a small rural community! And I wouldn’t have it any other way! (At least for now).

I’ve been thinking… August 13, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,life,Nifty Stuff,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 7:40 pm

I know, I know – maybe that’s why I’ve been having migraines. Really don’t think that’s it, but I’ll try and lay off in the next day or two and see if it helps.

I’ve seen a growing trend lately of people who are coming out of the closet and telling God they are mad. Of people coming out and telling others that they are mad at God. I’ve never really had an issue with doing this. I always figured he already knows it, so why not tell Him and lets work through this thing. Because isn’t that really the first step in healing hurts? Admitting there is a problem?

And since my husband is a pastor, I talk to a lot of pastor’s wives. I’m actually friends with a whole bunch of them. They bless me more than they will ever know. They are the ones who speak into my life. Who aren’t afraid to tell me if I’m being stupid. And oh my – do I ever SHOCK them sometimes with the things that come out of my mouth. I wish y’all could have seen the look on the face of a friend when I told her that I had no issues with people who get tattoos when they are a Christian (within reason of course). I do that a lot. Because I know that it’s ultimately up to God to judge and since I’ve read my Bible, I figure this is one of those gray areas that every person needs to make up their own mind on. They are the ones who will have to talk to God about it someday. Not an issue for me since I have a bitty issue with needles…

Wow! Did I chase down a rabbit trail there! That was sooo not my point and I hope y’all are still with me! Are you still there? I promise – I have a point!

Anyway, so this pastor’s wife friend and I were talking the other day. She and her husband are about to change ministry assignments. I wish that things were better for them. But like many, many churches, theirs has a few people who make their lives more difficult than they need to be.

And we’ve wondered how they got like that. Because people who go to church don’t usually start out falling in love with Jesus and plugging into a church with an agenda and trying to kill pastors. But somewhere along the way, they become so hard hearted. So callous. So bitter.

And last night, like a lightbulb going off in my head, it was like the Holy Spirit revealed to me that it happens when people harbor anger and bitterness builds.

How does it get into the church? How do the church leaders become so bitter that they’d rather see their own agenda pushed through than a move of God? It’s because they are…

are you ready for this?

They are mad at God!!! I would guess that if you look back in their lives, you’ll be able to trace it back to something that God “allowed” or didn’t “prevent” – as if He were some genie in a bottle. A spouse died a long drawn out death. A child’s life ended long before it should have. There life savings was wrapped up in stock that dropped out beneath them when the CEO of the company decided to steal money. 9-11 happened. Doesn’t matter what it was, they blame God. They hold a grudge.

But the problem is, they can’t admit they are mad at God. Because there is a gross misunderstanding of the Scripture when it comes to anger. To many, it’s sin to be angry. And to be angry with God? Certainly that will send you straight to Hell.

So, they misplace the blame. They hurt those close to them because they have to take it out on someone. And sometimes they are even able to make things right with their relationships here on earth. But there is still a bitterness, an anger in their hearts and a long life lived with “what if’s”.

But real healing isn’t going to be able to happen until they are able to admit with themselves and with God that they are angry. That what happened HURT and they don’t understand the things of God. Because once they are able to see past what they think God did, they will be able to see who God is. He is Grace. He is Hope. He is Love. And only when they are able to see those things, can true healing really begin.

I’m not a theologian. I don’t pretend to be. I’m not even a preacher. I leave that up to my husband. But that’s what’s been in my head and on my heart today. I’ve been a bit miffed at God lately. But I know that above all, He has my best interests in His heart. His ways are above my own. And more than anything, I just want more of Him. And I know that His grace helps me work through my issues. I know that His love holds me through it all. And I know that He’ll be right there when I’m done with my little tantrum. And I am eternally grateful!

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Forgiveness… June 18, 2008

Filed under: church,family,friends,life,news,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 9:10 am

We’ve been through some tough times lately. Some people who we felt close to betrayed us. I know that seems like a harsh word, but that’s how I felt. People who we at one time considered some of our biggest fans, our friends, suddenly decided to start bad mouthing us. Well, I never heard about anything that was said about me personally, but I know they talked about my husband.

And the things they said. Oh, they were so unkind. Calling him arrogant. Accusing him of having a God complex. Of being a dictator who wanted things done his own way. Things so far from the truth that they could not have been more wrong.

And it made my blood boil. Really, really boil. At times, I wanted to go ring this person’s doorbell and kick them in the shins. *THAT* would give them something to talk about.

But the thing is – more than anything, I was hurt. Deep in my soul, these people who I trusted. Whom I looked up to even. For them to say these things. Things I looked at long and hard. Things I asked others about because I wanted to make sure there was no modicum of truth in them. I watched as my husband became defeated. Depressed even. It was an ugly, ugly time in our lives.

I never did ring the doorbell and kick them in the shins. I wanted to say something many, many times. But each time, God had me hold my tongue. I knew nothing good could come out of me being ugly back, so I was content to sit back and know that someday GOD would be their judge. Someday they would have to stand in front of God and give an account. I was going to let God vindicate me. And I would sit back and relish in the fact that God’s punishment for them would be far worse than anything I could bestow on them.

In May, we were at our denominational district council. It wasn’t really so much anything that was discussed at Council, but more that I had a LOT of time on my hands to sit and think and let my mind wander. During one business session, I was reading blogs and I don’t even really remember what it was about or who it was by. It was one of those wandering types of randomness that I so often encounter while online. But I remember reading Jesus words as he hung there on the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they know now what they do.” It was more a pondering moment in my heart than anything else. I definitely didn’t connect the two issues in my mind at that time.

On Tuesday night, we had an amazing service. I was thinking again of these people who had wronged us so many times. People I thought I had forgiven in my heart. I just couldn’t seem to move on from it though. I had forgiven, but I certainly wasn’t free from it all.

As I sat in that service that night, the very fact that they would be JUDGED because of something they did to hurt me and my family hit me like a ton of bricks. I literally remember feeling the realization slam into my chest like a ton of bricks. God was going to hold them accountable for their actions. LORD, HAVE MERCY! My spirit cried out within me. And I called out to God.

“Father, forgive them! They didn’t know what they were doing!!!”

And just like that – insert finger snap here – the floodgates of my soul opened and I heard the voice of God speak to me as clearly as I ever have before, “And that, daughter, is what forgiveness is all about!”

I’ve got a new perspective on forgiveness now. A new perspective on God’s love for me. For everyone. God doesn’t want to get even. He’s not out for vengeance. He’s in the business of love and mercy and forgiveness. And it’s only because He’s able to forgive that I’m able to be free!

 

Oh be careful little mouth… May 22, 2008

Filed under: church,family,food,friends,life,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 8:48 pm

Chip and I had a wonderful week in Springfield, IL at the Assemblies of God District Council. We had a much need break away from home by ourselves. We hadn’t been away from home overnight by ourselves since we flew to Texas last December.

Our lives have been rather crazy lately, so instead of finding someone to eat lunch with on Wednesday afternoon, we came home instead and stopped for lunch by ourselves at Steak & Shake. It was a wonderful lunch and we were able to talk about a lot of the things that God spoke into our lives this week. But that will require many, many more posts.

As we sat there eating our lunch, we couldn’t help but overhear two ladies sitting behind Chip. They weren’t exactly being quiet as they talked. And we couldn’t help but listen in when they started talking about someone we know. This person is someone we would count an “almost friend” – someone that we run in the same circles and share enough about our lives that we are more than acquaintances, but not quite friends. But then they started making comments about her dad – who is a friend of ours. It was kind of weird to have them talking about people we knew. Especially since he’s an area pastor.

But then – and oh, you knew there had to be a but – they skipped over to another church in town. A church pastored by friends of ours and began to talk about THAT church and called the pastor’s wife by name. It went from weird to weirder.

We continued our lunch and really weren’t trying to listen. These ladies were just that loud. When all of a sudden, they start talking about a church in Tuscola that is also pastored by a friend of ours. I could *not* believe my ears. We had just seen all three of these pastors *that day*! From the church in Tuscola, they moved to another denomination and began talking about the Church of God. Now, I don’t know the current pastor, but I do know people who have pastored that church before (both a former senior pastor and a former youth pastor). They were talking about how the services were too long and yada, yada, yada. It was just weird.

And THEN – oh yes, there is more – they started talking about how they had made all of these “new changes” (and they didn’t mean it in a good way) at the Assembly of God church in Mattoon. Yep. Friends with those pastors too – both the resigning one and the new senior pastor elect. Both of whom we’d seen at various times that week too.

It was one of those most ridiculous things I’ve ever experienced. I mean, the chances of us hearing someone talk about even one of those people are kind of remote. But to hear all of them talked about within the space of half an hour? It was nuts.

We left before they did. I was too gobsmacked to say anything to them, although in hindsight I kind of wish I would have. There is no telling how many more people’s names I would have recognized before they were done. I snapped a picture of them – if they show up at our church on Sunday, I think I’ll put out a “Gone Fishin'” sign.

But it taught me a valuable lesson. I need to make sure that I’m always conscious of the things that I’m talking about. Because I never know who might be listening. And I should always be mindful of Who is listening.

 

Customer Service… May 15, 2008

Filed under: church,internet,life,Nifty Stuff,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 2:56 pm

Bad customer service bothers me. If I’m going to spend my money on your product or in your store or on your website, I want to be treated with respect. I’m not looking for a reason to be upset, so please don’t go out of your way to treat me like I’m second rate. I am your customer and I am always right! (Just ask my husband – he’ll tell you that at the very least I always *think* I’m right).

We were in a grocery store that we frequent recently. It was 2pm on Monday. Which meant that all of the older people were already home from their morning shopping. And all of the soccer moms had already left for home to put their groceries away so they could go pick their kids up from school. The store was DEAD! There was hardly anyone there at all. As we wandered up and down the aisles, we saw the same two men and that was it. One was an older gentleman who could barely walk and the other was obviously the guy who goes and takes this guy out from time to time. They were the ONLY people that we saw. Other than employees.

(I  do want to say that not ALL of this trip had bad customer service. When I asked someone where something was, not only did he tell me where he thought it was, but he also went to check. When it wasn’t there, he went and asked someone who did. He was eager to help. He raced all over that store and didn’t rest until I had actually located on the shelf exactly what it was I was looking for. That kind of service – the kind that goes above and beyond – is my favorite kind).

Anyway, we had done all of our shopping and Chip had taken one of the kids to the bathroom. Which is why I’ll never shop without him. I had stopped by the checkouts – not actually entering a lane – to look behind me to make sure I had all my kids. When I hear someone say, “Ma’am?”

I’m not old enough to be a ma’am. But I heard it again, “Ma’am? This is an express lane. 10 items or less.”

First, I’m not in your lane. Second, I know how to read and can see the bright pink sign at the beginning of your lane. And third, you are standing there doing NOTHING and there are three other people in the only other open lane.  And she’s standing there looking at me like I had better not even think about getting into the lane. Is she KIDDING me?

So, I go and stand behind the other people in the other lane and wait my turn. Because that’s always a lot of fun with three kids who want to grab every piece of candy on the shelf. Two people in front of me go – in which time I absolutely CERTAIN this cashier who is standing there doing NOTHING could have rung up my groceries and bagged them and loaded them in my car for me. The two other men in the store come up to the checkouts with maybe 15-20 items in their cart. She denies them too. They get in line behind me, the one guy looking like he’s spent after grocery shopping and the other clearly irritated that this woman is standing there doing NOTHING.

I’m half tempted to let them go in front of me, but I’ve already been standing there for 10 minutes waiting my turn. And the natives are getting restless. I’ve already started putting my groceries up – which I organize in my cart as I put them in because I used to bag groceries so I’m a bit picky about it all.

Mercifully, the front desk clerk calls someone else up to help with the checkouts. Even though there are probably three other people shopping in the ENTIRE STORE! And “Bob” (because the younger guy kept saying, “We’ll just have to wait a few more minutes, Bob. Are you ok, Bob? We did a lot of shopping, didn’t we, Bob?) gets to go first in the new line. Thank goodness.

I had a pleasant cashier and bagboy. They chatted with me WHILE THEY WORKED and smiled the whole time. They kept things moving and I felt like they valued my time.

But then, I kid you not, as I was paying for my groceries and they were finishing the bagging, a lady came and got in line behind me with a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Because even though the light was on, the express lane lady was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!!! She worked so hard to make sure that her lane was available to such a specific group and when they were finally there, she was gone. I really, really hate when people use “rules and regulations” as a reason to not do their job.

I see a lot of parallels to the church in all of that. Or just to a Christian life for that fact. How’s your customer service? Are you willing to go out of your way and run all over to help out someone in need? Are you going to give service with a smile, with joy? Or are you going to use the “rules” to be an exclusive club that can only service a certain group? And will you be available to serve those you’re willing to reach?

So many Christians say they can’t do this and they can’t do that. They hide behind the rules. Only instead of 20 items or less, it’s 20 sins or less (because let’s face it, most Christians/churches who refuse to associate with sinners that struggle with things like porn or adultery or homosexuality or gambling or even *gasp* alcohol, are still more than willing to let the gossips, the slanders and the legalistic into their lives/churches). But when push comes to shove and those who are weary and worn and just run haggard show up at the door, they are of absolutely no help at all. Because when push comes to shove, they want little more than to warm a pew and be secure in their salvation but not a whole lot more. And they certainly don’t want to let anyone in who might do something or say something that would cause them to stumble (which is just such a huge cop out).

But then there are churches out there – of all sizes, not just mega-churches – who want nothing more than to serve Jesus. They want to introduce people to a very real Savior because they’ve had an encounter, because of someone with good “customer service”, and they think everyone should experience that kind of love and grace and mercy and freedom. And it is truly an amazing thing when the things of Jesus become viral. All because someone chose to love Jesus and love Him well.

 

A beautiful day just for me… April 9, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,holidays,life,marriage,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 4:10 pm

It’s my birthday. I was talking with Chip this afternoon and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m so very into birthdays because my dad died at such a young age. He was only 36 when God took him from this world. I can remember how old it seemed at the time (although I knew it really wasn’t), but as I turn 33, I see this as another year to live life to the fullest to and celebrate this special world/life/family that God has given me. I try to live a life with no regrets and full of freedom. In the grand scheme of things, life is very, very short (have you ever tried to wrap your head around how long forever really is?) so I don’t want to waste any of it!

So, I’m enjoying my day! It’s a normal work day for the most part. I don’t like when my birthday is on a Wednesday or a Sunday because it means that my husband *has* to work. And really, I don’t like sharing him on *my* special day, but everyone has to make sacrifices sometimes.

And you know what? My life is so full of special people that I couldn’t even sleep in this morning! The text messages started rolling in about 6:30 this morning to wish me a happy birthday. I’m not disappointed because it means that there are people who love me. How can I agrue with that?

I fought off the grogginess this afternoon with a nice long bath with a great book (Melody Carlson’s The Boots Weren’t Made For Walking – great book so far!). Now I’m sitting on the porch, watching the kids play in the yard. Seth is running up and down the ramp on the church next door. Lexie and I are playing sidewalk chalk (more her than me) while we wait for her mom to come pick her up. Noah & Kaitlyn have gone from throwing the ball back and forth to throwing ice cubes back and forth. It’s a glorious day outside and I’m looking forward to spending most of the evening out here. I might even be inspired to work on the next great American novel at some point.

Chip asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year. I had a really, really hard time coming up with something. Because honestly, my life is pretty good. We’ll have Chinese takeout for dinner tonight. There is an all new episode of The Office tomorrow night. My husband is simply the.best.husband.EVER. (I really, really wanted a snickers bar and a Dr. Pepper this afternoon. He simply said, “Ok.” and went to Casey’s and got them for me.) My kids are healthy and well behaved for the most part. I have friends. I have family. I have my Jesus. And after 33 years, I think I’ve finally found contentment. What more could a girl want?

 

An extra day… February 29, 2008

Filed under: coffee,fun,life,profoundness,television — Rebekah Sanders @ 11:58 am

I’m not doing anything spectacular with our extra day this year. Right now I’m sitting and home and wishing that I could just have an extra hour every day instead of an extra day every four years.

And what would I do with an extra hour? I’d write. I can really crank out the words when I have the quiet needed, but distraction is my enemy. I’m easily distracted – television, the kids, my sexy husband, emails that pop-up on the Google bar, the smell of food, the sunshine outside, the potty breaks, the distractions are endless. But when I get into a zone, I can write for a solid hour and crank out the words.

So, that’s what I want. A “pause” button for an hour a day. When all else around me stops for 60 minutes. Where I can just sit down in front of the computer and pour it all out. I don’t miss anything because it all just *stops* for an hour. After my hour, life resumes right where it left off.

I think I need some more coffee. My brain seems to have gone all J.J. Abrams on me this morning. Maybe I shouldn’t watch LOST so close to bedtime.

 

Where would I be without Jesus? February 17, 2008

Filed under: church,internet,life,news,Nifty Stuff,profoundness — Rebekah Sanders @ 4:32 pm

Our pastor asked that question this morning. Just happens that he’s the guy that I’m married to. I’ve often thought that I didn’t have much of a testimony because I can never remember a time that I didn’t know God. I’ve never been away from God. Sure, I had my times of rebellion (which most people would laugh at because I was so not the rebellious type).

But I remember being in college and having a real encounter with Jesus. One that wrecked me and made me see how wretched I would be without Him.

You see, I was raised in a fairly legalistic church. I remember being taught the rules and told to follow them and not ask any questions. If you broke the rules, you didn’t love God. And I loved God, so I tried my hardest to follow the rules. And I thought less of those who didn’t. There was no grace. There was no mercy. In a few words, I was self-righteous and stuck up. The me of yesteryear would not like the present me. And honestly, the present me, doesn’t like the me of yesteryear.

But in college, I was on my own. I didn’t have anyone to tell me the rules anymore. So, I started to question them. I figured that if I was going to believe something and have it stick, I better figure out what I believe and why. I can remember having long, theological debates with a friend name Justin who would interrupt my thoughts as I sat in the chapel in the skyway at North Central. I can remember him challenging my rational on why I believed what I believed.

But it was in those quiet moments in that chapel – sometimes with friends, sometimes without – that I had a real encounter with Jesus. One that led me to realize that I was a slave to legalism when what Jesus came and died for was to give me freedom in Christ.

Now that we’ve got some years under our belt in ministry, we’ve had all kind of encounters with people in the church. We have regular contact with pastors all over the country (it’s amazing how small the world wide web makes the world). And the horror stories we could share based on what we’ve heard or even experienced (though ours really do pale in comparison to most) would make your head spin. There are people in the church who are so filled with hate and judgement and anger and well… SIN, that they can’t even see the Cross. They cause pain. They inflict disease. They are the bane of the pastor’s existence. They are often referred to in the circles that we travel in as pastor killers. Some churches are full of them. Some have few or possibly just one.

This morning, in the quiet of the sermon, my husband asked, “Where would you be without Jesus?”

And I had a moment.

I had an encounter.

Because I knew in my heart, that while I had never been far from church or God even really, had I not had a real, life-changing encounter with Jesus, I would be one of those self-righteous, know-it-all, busybody, thorn-in-the-side, pastor killers. And that stark realization dropped my heart into my stomach and made me so thankful that God redeemed me. That Jesus died for MY freedom. That Jesus set me free from the law and let’s me walk in grace.

What a wonderful and powerful gift.