Our prayers around here have some style, I tell ‘ya.
We come from different faith backgrounds, and we’ve made it our own.
Arianna prefers to sing her prayers at the top of her lungs, picking and choosing which words she’s going to use at which moments. Like last night, when Evan asked if he could pray a Grandma prayer. We pulled out the Prayer Book and chose the Pearl prayer, to which Arianna ran around the house for 20 minutes singing, “Oh God, my God! He is God” over and over and over.
But it makes sense. Our supper prayer, “God is Good” is accompanied by our own in house ‘lil Jon. “God is good (GOOD), God is great (GREAT)…Amen (AMEN)” It sure spices things up to have a hype man in your prayers.
Moving every three to four years, losing contact with friends, and even feeling like an outsider in my own family were the downsides of being a PK. On the upside, I have friends across the globe that have been some part of my life, I understood theological conversations at a young age, and I felt peace when losing the best friend that God brought us back to Brookville for.
When I was at my lowest, God brought me an amazing gift, Arianna, and had me (quite literally) fell into love with Greg. I know these things were because I had faith and decided not to worry, but to let God.
Today, I am thankful for faith and the way it has woven us a life full of many blessings.
There are lots of things to blog about, and I know some of you are waiting to hear how #BlogMob #Hunger went. I am purposely holding that post until tomorrow because I want to share a cool hunger event with you and tie it all together. If you are a blogger and need content for tomorrow, check this out.
Sometimes my blogs are about the past, the kids, the city I love. Today, my blog is about what kept me up last night and what has me clinging tightly to my southern side in that I want to not rush any second. It is a bit religious, but I hope you’ll all stick around and hear me out because I could surely use your thoughts, and even prayers.
I was raised in a Christian home. My dad is a United Methodist minister, and we’ve lived through lots because of this lifestyle. Some good, some bad. In the end, I know I was raised with excellent morals, a faith that’s strong, and a love that I cannot even begin to describe. My parents told me over and over, it didn’t matter who I fell in love with, as long as that love was real, they would love me and love that person, too.
Because of this, my love has never known boundaries. I ate lunch with the kids in the resource and special education programs when others stood back and made fun of them. I had theological conversations with my dad’s seminary friends (I was in 3rd to 5th grade). I volunteered at the food pantry, becoming a hunger advocate at an early age. I didn’t see color, race, religion, sex, gender, any of that as a barrier. I didn’t understand our country’s past (and present) hatred for people of a different color, religion, or love.
In turn, I fell in love with a man who throws all kinds of “do you really love unconditionally” moments at me. No, Greg’s not asking if I really and truly love him. He, and his background, give me all kinds of opportunities to look at myself and ask, are you really loving unconditionally? Greg is mixed race, Mom is white, Dad is African American. Their family practices the Baha’i faith. There are many levels of our family and friends where many people I know would (sadly) have something not-so-great to say about the various lifestyles within the weavings of US. Proudly, I can say that although there are these opportunities, I know I was raised right because I love every single difference in my life and I am so blessed for what Greg (and his family and friends) bring to my table. The kids know nothing different, and it is going to stay that way.
So, last night, Greg and I decided to watch The Help. Most of the time I spent in tears because I was ashamed of the past. I was embarrassed for my race for treating such loving, amazing people as if they were dirt to push around. God made them, too! The race wars are not completely over, but I am thankful that life is a bit better today thanks to people willing to take a stand.
Obviously, that’s one way that my tears were evoked, but one more thing happened as we watched the movie. Greg paused it and asked, “If these people think they are such good Christian women, do they really get to go to Heaven for treating other people like that? That’s not a Heaven I want to be in.” And so, a tearful religious conversation ensued. Baha’is do not believe in Heaven and Hell like Christians do. Becky doesn’t not believe that asking Jesus into your heart is the only way to Heaven…there is forgiveness and repentance needed. We agreed that when Judgement Day came, these people were probably proud of how they acted, and unless they honestly repented, will probably not be someone I’ll see walking the streets of gold.
And that got me thinking…if I am judging others’ rights into Heaven, will I too be banished to Hell? Is there really only the black and white? I let Satan get to me for a moment, wondering what really happens that last second we close our eyes–does it just stop there and we know no more? Surely not…I’ve been lucky to hear true “other side” stories and I long for the day I’ll be reunited with those I’ve lost already.
While I do not agree with the Baha’i principle that there is no literal Heaven or Hell but a forever closeness to (or away from) God depending on deeds, I just can’t imagine that a loving God would put Greg and I together only for a worldly life. I didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want one less second with my husband, the man I vowed to love forever and into eternity. I am blessed with the fact that Greg is not a big fan of organized religion and sees my faith side of things, too, so we were able to talk about how one way or the other we would surely be together in eternity. It was just a hard night for me, imagining my forever without this man I love so much.
I slept little last night, and woke this morning in prayer. While we didn’t make it to a church service, I got down to work on some volunteering duties I needed to work on and put aside things I wanted to do. I had God time, and have a peace today. My hopes are that this blog will serve as a reminder that God is love and not hate. That God created us to love, and in order to be with him in eternity, we must love in return. There is no gray area, and for that, I am so thankful.
This afternoon, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the VA/MD area and here in The ‘Burgh, we felt shakes from it. At first, my boss didn’t believe me when I said the building was shaking, but then we watched in awe as his PC proved me right. Our first reaction was to get to the door and see what others felt. I could see plants shaking above my desk. A co-worker confirmed the quake. Cell service (atleast texts) was down, so my “did you feel that?” to Mr. Burgher went unnoticed. After a few minutes, I called and talked to him, he saw my fb post about feeling it. Sadly, he didn’t feel it at the house, but I see it as a blessing. Our old house on the hill must be built on solid rock, a firm foundation.
It sure is. Last night, I was teaching A one of my old favorites “Down in My Heart” and I asked her where she had the love of Jesus. Her reply? “He’s in my heart, just like you and Daddy are!”
How marvelous, how wonderful! As we embark on trying to instill values of peace, love, and our loving God into our kids, we worry about mixed messages they see from us, our neighborhood, and society. While Mr. Burgher and I are religiously different (and A will be attending Catholic preschool–which neither of us are), it is good to hear that she does know the basics.
Should anything happen, we can rest assured she is built upon a solid rock.
Speaking of faith, thank you for those saying prayers for us. Tonight, we go from a one car family to a 2 car. No more feeling like we are burdening others for rides or turning down opportunties because one of us has the truck. God really is good, all the time. We are both so thankful that we turned to Him in our time of need and had our prayers answered.
We, too, are built upon a solid rock, and feel thankful and blessed for God’s love. With Him, all things are possible.
Something that I don’t think we have talked about much on our blog is faith. Faith/Religion is to me one of those things that you don’t sit around and talk about politely at dinner (like politics, especially when you live in and were raised in a “house divided”). I have my beliefs, G has his, and we tend to leave it that way. I was raised the daughter of a United Methodist pastor, and while I do not hold firmly to the politics of the church organization, I do hold firmly my belief in God and affirm that Christ died to save me (and you, ::ahem::). G’s parents raised him in the Bahai Faith, a faith that encompasses the commonalities of the world’s religions, so we have many similar beliefs.
My lack of loyalty to one church is due to the fact that 1) I like to hear my dad preach and he lives decently far enough away that it’s tough getting two kids up in time on a Sunday, 2) I have seen the politics fail my dad and my family many times, leaving me shaking my head at hypocritical behaviors and 3) I prefer non-denominational fellowship such as the Covenant Church of Pittsburgh where politics don’t seem to matter. I like peace and serenity, which is perhaps why I love to listen when G says his prayers (because they do bring peace to a sometimes frantic me), and like harmony and unity (ah, one of my favorite “old” CCOP songs, is “One Accord” that reads, “Unity, between you and me…”). Anyways, I know that God is watching over me and my little family, and I’ve seen him work miracles even if we don’t understand when sometimes those miracles end up in a loss (love you, Wendy). Basically, I went on this little side-story to tell you why I like to keep my faith a personal thing, so back to the story.
There has been a lot of talk (rumors?) that today is the Day of Judgement, the beginning of the end. Today is supposedly the day that those who will be raptured will leave this earth, leaving those who are left to be burdened with all of the end of days horror until around October when the “real” end is here.
Personally, I have two feelings about this end of times.
One, if it is the end and you are still reading this on May 22, know that we’ve gone on to our eternal home. Yesterday, I checked with my Dad, babies do not have to have accepted Jesus to be raptured, so don’t expect them to be tweeting and posting pics once we’re gone, ok? Plus, they are both baptized, double win. Know that I (hope) that I will get to introduce my babies and G to my grandfathers, uncle, Wendy, and other dear friends. I will be living in a mansion that’s painted purple and white with diamonds in the floors (what up, Chatham?), and will take walks with Sandy, Noel, and Buddy on streets of gold. If you hear lots of thunder, it’s cause we are bowling lots. Oh, and there’s a nice warm sandy beach along an ocean in my Heaven, so I will finally stop looking like I am on the cast of Twilight. Yo.
Two, it is not Judgement Day. I do not believe enough things are in place for it to be so. I remember reading Revelations (oh, how that book of the Bible was such a “secret” growing up–the adults and Sunday School booklets never wanted us to talk about it–but I read it because I was a rebel like that). I don’t remember a date. Earlier in the New Testament it says that we will not know the day or the hour that God will come to take us to eternal life. So, that means no one, not even Harold Camping, knows when it will happen. Period. End of discussion.
It’s hard to take something seriously when there’s so much hype about it and I know my biblical upbringing does not support this “knowing” of the timing. Either way, if it happens, it happens. Just means I won’t have to pay the mortgage next week and looters will have a good time in our stockpile (cause we won’t need it). If it doesn’t happen, I plan on keeping on. It will happen someday, and we’ll see how it all shakes out. Frankly, as a Believer, I do feel like if it happens, it will be a glorious day for me. But anyways.
In watching media prepare for coverage of today’s events, I did come across some articles about the belief that both G and I’s faiths have on this “end of times” if you’d like reference to what we believe will happen. You can find the United Methodist Church’s perspective here and the Bahai perspective here. Perhaps you are interested in either of these. I know there are a lot of skeptics out there, but I do believe our faith has got us through (and will continue to get us through) some tough times. If you feel so inclined to talk to either of us about this, let us know!
PS…it’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Pittsburgh. After 39 of the last 40 days being rainy, it only makes sense that the Judgement Day would be today. *winks*