Tag Archives: church

community.

“We’ve always done it that way” has never been an effective argument for me. Ever since I can remember, I have questioned the status quo (and have usually been overly dramatic about it — *flashback to me making a scene about the interpretation of my semi-progressive bible illustrations in 3rd grade by climbing a kumquat tree and refusing to come down*).

I truly believe that we humans were created by and in the image of a communal God, one whose strongest desire is to connect to each and every one of us and then watch us foster relationships among each other that emulate that kind of connection.

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that it is both harder and easier to make those kinds of relationships work. It is more difficult because we are an overcommitted group of beings, we humans, having jobs and hobbies and obligations and whatnot, that suck up the majority of the 24 hours we are allotted each day. However, it is easier because, thanks to smartphones and tablets and computers and other gadgetry, we are always connected to everyone.

Like, almost literally everyone.

So why not capitalize on that connection we have? Why not embrace it? Why not try and use something modern to build relationships we’ve always been created to engage in?

Yesterday I wrote about how doing life on the internet can be a bad thing. Today, I’m going to do the opposite.

Because we ARE so overcommitted with everything, building relationships tends to be something that people just don’t have the time for. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships and I’m here to say that, hey, don’t knock it till you try it. I mean, seriously. I’ve heard people dog on online dating, but several of my close friends have pretty great marriages thanks only to the internet.

(Okay, guys, I know that SOME people are creepers on the internet, but to push back on that, I’ve gone on enough dates with creepers who asked me out IN PERSON, soooo maybe the internet isn’t the cause of the creeps?)

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working at my church as the online campus coordinator, which basically means I’ve been tasked with creating a church community that isn’t confined to the four walls of a traditional brick-and-mortar church, but can be experienced on the WWW.

Tonight I saw some fruits of this past year’s labor when three people (who had never MET each other) and myself willingly got onto a Google Hangout while also simultaneously watching a church service online and, despite being nowhere near each other geographically and not ever being acquainted in person, we engaged in fun dialogue (both via webcam and chat), sang some songs, ate some snacks, and went to church.

Together.

Because internet.

Like, how cool is that?

Was it different from going to church in a building? Of course. Was that kind of the point? A little bit, yeah. Does that make it any less of a community than an in-person one?

I’d argue no.

So what if we’ve always done church one way? Can it not be done another way? Can it not be done in a way that transcends societal norms and also honors tradition?

Uh, yeah! And it’s awesome!

Feel free to comment below if you’re interested in this kind of gig. Because guess what — this is the internet. And, just like at church, everyone’s invited.

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Filed under faith, God

when learning hurts.

I remember when Dax first learned how to sit up on his own — around 6 months old — I was so elated. “He will crawl soon!” I exclaimed proudly as I watched him poised upright and wobbling on my floor, a teetering heap of baby rolls. I fantasized about how fun it would be to observe him scurrying about the house, exploring new and foreign things — dust bunnies and misplaced laundry! — for the first time.

Dax learned to crawl about two months ago and I wish I could go back in time and slap me for not enjoying every second of stationary baby life. For every dust bunny and misplaced piece of laundry in my house, there are two electrical outlets and sharp edges of furniture. In recent weeks, Dax’s exploring has not so much yielded excitement as it has drama and pain in the way of his first bloody lip and, a couple days ago, his first black eye.

dax_bloody_lipI tell you what — as a parent, nothing makes you feel worse than seeing your kid get hurt. Really and truly. Even things so minor as this really rip at the heartstrings. (Particularly if your kid getting hurt means pouring blood all over you in the middle of a crowded store. Let me just say that’s not the most fun you’ll have in a Naples Wal-Mart.)

After both the lip and the eye, I went through a really restrictive period with Dax in which I wouldn’t put him down unless he was in his crib or Pack n’ Play, our two prisons of safety. This made Dax mad, shrieking mad, because all he wants to do now is crawl from here to eternity. But I couldn’t bear to let him do that because that might mean he’d get hurt again.

Might.

The thing that sucks about this is that in order for him to learn and grow, he’s got to get hurt. I really hate that. I wish he could learn things and navigate life completely pain free. I wish I could protect him from ever hurting but to do that would be to hurt him in a different way.

I was really afraid to move to Naples because I knew it was going to hurt. I knew that leaving my friends and family behind was going to be torturous on my spirit. So, for the weeks leading up to the move I avoided talking about it or thinking about it, lest it bring about the sting of loneliness and reminiscence. I put myself in a mental Pack n’ Play, safely encased in a mesh box of avoidance.

This past Sunday, as I parked and wrangled Dax out of the car and started walking toward our new church, the feelings caught up with me. My heart started beating violently and my Pack n’ Play collapsed on itself, letting a wave of sadness and loneliness swallow me whole. I couldn’t hear the nursery workers greet me over the sound of my own heartbreak beating against my eardrums. They smiled at us ever so sweetly and chatted about how happy they were to see Dax and I grinned right back an empty grin and floated mindlessly into the sanctuary.

Sitting in a long, rigid pew, by myself, in a room built to hold over a thousand people whose names I don’t know, I felt so small. I felt so insignificant. I still could barely hear anything — just the woosh woosh woosh of blood in my ears — and a lump in my throat grew to choking proportions.

Without the safety of the Pack n’ Play, I was suddenly crawling across an expansive, slippery tile floor and had just lost my balance and face-planted. Just like Dax.

At the end of the service, the contemporary worship leader came up to Dan and me and asked if he and his wife could take us out to lunch.

“Oh, thanks, but Dax hasn’t napped all day so Lindsay really needs to get home–“

“YES! PLEASE! Take us!”

I interrupted Dan so quickly and desperately that he shot me a look of surprise.

“Please,” I begged, “I’ve been hit hard by a sack of lonelys today and going out to lunch with new friends is the perfect way to make them go away.”

And so, we went.

With chopsticks in my hand, asian noodles in my mouth, and a kind, loving, generous family surrounding me, I picked myself up off the floor, put some metaphorical ice on my throbbing face, and put my Pack n’ Play away. Today, I continue to roam around and learn and feel and hurt, but also heal.

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Filed under transformation

failure: lies vs. truth.

Most of you know that my son is pastor’s kid (or a PK to those in the circle, WHADDUP CHURCH FOLK? HOLLA AT A GIIIIRL.). Whenever we’re at church, my kid is rarely in my arms. There is usually a line of eager baby-holders behind my kid so long it rivals those at communion tables. And I am usually pretty quick to hand him over because hello he’s adorable and I happen to find peace in the fact that he doesn’t cry when people in my community who didn’t have anything to do with him coming to exist love on him.

But this weekend, someone remarked on this phenomenon in such a way that lit up all the bulbs on my insecurity light board.

“Every time I see Dax, he’s with another woman. He’s going to grow up not knowing who his mother is.”

As offensive as that was, I assumed the person was joking because oh my word who actually says crap like that? Plus, I must say, this person is very dear to me and I know that my son and I are very dear to this person. So I chuckled to myself and made some incomprehensible comeback like, “Haha, yeah, he’s cute, people hold him, chunks, the face, he smells good, hahahahahaha snort.”

But it didn’t end there. The rest of the night, the person took it upon themselves to come to me and report whenever Dax was handed off.

“See? He’s with X person now. And now, he’s with Y person!”

Mmmmmkay. I thought. I get you. He’s a hot little potato right now. Okay. He’s the village bike or whatever.

The straw that broke the insecure mommy’s back, though, came later. My friend was holding Dax while I was standing there talking to her. When this person saw this, they jaunted over and bowed down to look my six-month-old baby in the eye and say, “See, Dax? Your mom is RIGHT THERE and still won’t hold you.”

It was about that time that I pryed Dax out of my sweet friend’s arms and bid the place adieu.

“Okay, y’all. That’s enough. That’s quite enough for me thanks. See you next week if I haven’t been turned in to DCF yet for neglect! lolololol”

Again, I must reiterate, I really adore this person and they adore my family. They are very nice. And probably not menacing in the least. But sometimes, people say things that are unintentionally hurtful.

Since then, I’ve been a walking wreck, questioning every move I make as a mom. And, because it’s just the way I am wired, it’s making me question my abilities everywhere else, too.

Am I sucking as a wife? A writer? A human being in general? Probably. No one has said such things but I bet it’s only a matter of time before someone barges into my house, looks my husband in the eye and says, “See, Dan? Your wife is RIGHT THERE and she’s not, like, cooking you dinner right this second or having some crazy monkey sex with you or WHATEVER I DON’T EVEN KNOW SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES, SO YOU BETTER REGULATE SONNNN.”

Ugh.

The past few nights I’ve been lamenting these fears to my poor husband (husband (n): the dude who is contractually obligated to lie next to me each night and listen to me complain about nonsense) and, while he’s been sweetly encouraging in the touchy-feely sense — “Lindsay, you are such a great wife because EXAMPLE and you’re such a great mom because EXAMPLE and blah blah blah” — he’s also been super helpful in the logistical sense.

“What you need to do,” he suggested last night as I lie awash in a sea of my own tears LOL HYPERBOLE IS THE BEST, “is write down all the things you think you’re failing at right now. Then, take a good, hard look at each of them and figure out why you think you’re failing. What about those thoughts are true? What about them are lies? Once you know what’s true and what’s a lie, you’ll feel better and know how to tackle them.”

Well. I guess that’s why I married him. That and the crazy monkey sex.

I’ve found that 99% of the crap I’m worried about is based on lies. Whether it’s a lie someone told me at church — this person may be right about seeing Dax with lots of women during the day but there’s only one woman he clings to in the middle of the night and early in the morning when he really wants to be comforted and feel safe — or a lie I’ve told myself a thousand times — you suck at everything because you’re not like someone else — it’s just a matter of bringing myself back to center to focus on the truth.

I’m a good mom because:

  • my kid is alive and, like, not sick. Or alone. Or afraid of other people. 
  • I change his diaper when he poops in it. That’s gotta get me some points.
  • basically that’s it.

I’m a good wife because:

  • I try to love my husband the way that makes sense to him.
  • when I don’t quite hit the mark, I try again the next day.
  • basically that’s it.

Everything else? Everything else is a lie. And lies are stupid.

While we’re on the topic of lies being stupid — blondes don’t have more fun, okay? They just have more blonde. I would know.

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Filed under baby love, gushes, life, motherhood, reasons my husband rocks, transformation