Archive for spiritual journey

God’s Chisel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 29, 2009 by Whit.

TRP- Church

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 1, 2009 by Whit.

My relationship with Christ began when I was 12 years old. I went to church when I was a little kid- but that’s all it was… going to church. The church of my early youth was the pew-typical Southern Baptist church with hymns and the non-existent 3rd verse. I had to wear dresses. We made leather embossed leather key chains and paperweights for our parents at vacation bible school, and there was always an Easter egg hunt.

Sometime after my parents divorced and we moved, we stopped going. I don’t know why specifically… We visited different churches sporadically, but that was really all there was to it. Then, around the 5th grade, I made friends with a really neat girl, Katie (who surprisingly was part of the “bad kids”), who I spent the night with on Saturday nights sometimes. She went to this really big church that didn’t sing hymns and it was okay to wear jeans. One Sunday, after I had visited a few times, my mom brought the whole family out. We walked down the aisle to join the church and I remember my mom telling the lady, “and Whitney wants to get saved.”

I did? I didn’t say anything about getting saved, but if all I had to do was say a prayer and get baptized, then why not? It all made sense to me intellectually and I never doubted that any of it was true. So that day, sometime in August, wearing some ugly denim dress with sunflowers on it with the converse high tops I had worn in my Dad’s wedding, I got saved. I remember feeling self conscious standing up there on the platform. It felt so awkward, but I know that I really was saved that day.

Then there’s that word again… “saved.” I’ve never been particularly comfortable with that word in that context. To me it seems hokey, corny… Yes, saved from “eternal hellfire and damnation.” But isn’t it so much more than that…

From that day and on out, I was a part of that church… and a part of that youth group. I like to think that I was one of the core, but I wasn’t. At the time, that church was only 8 or 9 years old and there were kids that had been there since the beginning… and I hadn’t been. I didn’t have the history there… my “faith” wasn’t “deep” enough. I didn’t know enough Bible verses. I felt like an outsider… but I went to church, and I went to camp, and I went to choir. I was trying to be a part of the “it” youth group at the “it” church in the area, and I didn’t fit in.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that it wasn’t all about going, or participating, or fitting in, or even Bible verses- but that’s for another day.

Fast forward to now… I go to a church that I think is pretty neat. I can’t necessarily say that I’m “fed” there, but I’ve always felt that it was my responsibility to take care of that myself. The worship is pretty awesome and for the first time- I see a heart for more than just writing a check. These folks get their hands dirty, and that’s encouraging to see. But still, I struggle with belonging.  I wish I knew why this was so difficult for me…

I had originally titled this post “Faith,” but then it occurred to me that talking about church and then talking about the real meat of my faith would be way too much to cover in one post. For me, church and faith have always been too very separate things. Yes… they feed off each other. Church is fueled by faith and the flame is fanned by church, but I still keep them separate in my life.

In one sense this is a good thing. Ryan and I have been burned by church, and I was able to keep from taking that out on God. But by keeping my relationship with God focused mainly outside the church walls, am I limiting my church? Weigh in… I want to hear your thoughts on this one…

Unseen, Unsought, and Uncertain- Eldredge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 25, 2009 by Whit.

These past few days have really slipped past me, so I’m going to share a passage from Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. I hope I’m not the only one who identifies with this…

"I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I’ve ever met feels it—something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone.

After all, if we were better women—whatever that means—life wouldn’t be so hard. Right? We wouldn’t have so many struggles; there would be less sorrow in our hearts. Why is it so hard to create meaningful friendships and sustain them? Why do our days seem so unimportant, filled not with romance and adventure but with duties and demands? We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us. We feel unsought—that no one has the passion or the courage to pursue us, to get past our messiness to find the woman deep inside.

And we feel uncertain—uncertain what it even means to be a woman; uncertain what it truly means to be feminine; uncertain if we are or ever will be. Aware of our deep failings, we pour contempt on our own hearts for wanting more. Oh, we long for intimacy and for adventure; we long to be the Beauty of some great story. But the desires set deep in our hearts seem like a luxury, granted only to those women who get their acts together. The message to the rest of us—whether from a driven culture or a driven church—is: Try harder. "

(Captivating , 6-7)

Beth Moore and Big Texas Hair

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 20, 2009 by Whit.

beth-moore-lg-image Have you ever heard the saying “the higher the hair, the closer to God?” Okay, so I’m currently participating in the “Esther” Bible study with some friends from church and today was our second meeting.  This is the first Beth Moore Bible study I have participated in, but not my first interaction with her.  (Last fall, my mom bought tickets to the “Living Proof Live” Simulcast at her church, and was confused  because Beth Moore wasn’t actually in the building…)  I think Beth is a beautiful woman, both internally and externally, but I’ve often wondered how long it takes Beth to fix her hair every morning.  I guess it all depends on whether it’s naturally straight or curly. But surprisingly enough, this post is going somewhere that doesn’t involve a bottle of hairspray. 

Today’s video focused on Esther 2:1-7.  Let me set up the plot:  Esther opens with the introduction of King Xerxes and Queen Vashti, the royalty of the Persian Empire.  Xerxes (who seems to be quite the ego maniac) throws a party for all his cronies during the first 180 days of his reign.  Needless to say, wine was involved.  During this time, Queen Vashti throws her own fiesta for all the ladies.  At the culmination of the 180 day long shin-dig, Xerxes summons Vashti to be presented (or paraded) in front of all the drunken men.  She says no… he says go… and she gets kicked out of the palace on her pretty little head.  Long story, short.  This leaves Xerxes with the predicament of replacing her.  Needless to say, it becomes “The Bachelor, Queen of Persia” edition.  They place all these beautiful young women in a harem and give them “beauty treatments” (verse 3)  If you’re like me, and cheat and read ahead, you learn that  “before a girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments… (verse 12)” Whichever girl pleased King Xerxes would become the new queen. 

Oh, to be a fly on the wall…. 

But seriously, a full year of beauty treatments!  Extreme Makeover doesn’t even take that long!  I would say that today’s “Top Model” society is not too far from that of ancient Persia.  Each week, Beth introduces a scenario that completes the sentence, “It’s tough being a woman…”  This week’s lesson  suggests that

“It’s tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.”

A world where beauty is something you do… not who you are or a quality to possess, and most definitely not a condition of the heart.  Hearing this on the heels of studying John and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating, paints a very interesting picture of where our perceptions stand in relation to true beauty.  To quote their writing,

Beauty speaks. Beauty invites.  Beauty nourishes.  Beauty comforts. Beauty inspires. Beauty is transcendent.  Beauty draws us to God.  Simon Weil wrote ‘The beauty of the world is almost the only way by which we can allow God to penetrate us… Beauty captivates the senses in order to obtain permission to pass straight through to the soul… The soul’s inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.’ God has given this beauty to Eve, to every woman.  Beauty is core to a woman- who she is and what she longs to be- and one of the most glorious ways we bear the image of God in a broken and often ugly world.”  Captivating: A Guided Journal  Pg 149

Even though I’ve worn lip gloss twice in the last six months and my "one month supply” of bare minerals is working towards its second birthday, I have a beauty to share with the world and there’s no need to strive or undergo twelve months of beauty treatments to procure it.  The irony stands that in striving, we diminish our beauty, because beauty flows from a heart that is at rest.

I know that seems like an awful lot to chew on, and if you’ve hung in with me for this long, I’m proud.  I’ll keep you up with the play-by-play on Esther, if you’ll bear with me.  



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 28, 2008 by Whit.

This post is going to sound weird… but I’m not going to apologize for it.  I guess I’ll just jump right in.

It seems like lately my eyes have been opened wide to a number of things that have affected me profoundly.   Every day, I read something new.  I see some video.  I hear a story.  Each one breaks my heart.  I have always held many passions- many, many diverse passions, and I have a desire to keep my heart fully alive and awake to the world around me.  Maybe that’s why I can’t ignore these things.  I can’t turn a blind eye to these things.

Adoption is something very close to my heart.  I don’t know why…. yet.  I would one day like to adopt, but I don’t clearly see that opportunity in the future.  I am moved by adoption stories.  This adoption was just complete and turned a couple into a loving family of 3.  This family is in the long, arduous process of adopting 2 children from Haiti.  Their 2nd child was adopted domestically.  This family is grieving today.  The child they were adopting (a biological sister of their daughter) passed away unexpectedly on Saturday. In The Irresistible Revolution by Shaine Claiborne, he brought an interesting point to the forefront of my mind.  If I am going to stand and say that I feel abortion is morally wrong, I had better be ready to love on some single mothers and adopt some babies.

I guess onto the big “A” word.  Someone posted this video on facebook today and I watched it.  This movie is about a woman who went in to have an abortion at 22 weeks.  She ended up delivering the infant, alive,  in the clinic’s restroom and cradling her son for all 11 minutes of his life.  The video doesn’t take either side of the big debate, but really tells a true story of a woman and the injustice done to her and her baby.  With the election coming up, abortion has been getting a lot of publicity.  I don’t really desire to give it any more, but this movie trailer affected me.

Another movie trailer I have seen recently is for the film Call:Response. It’s a rockumentary about human trafficking.  It is SO wrong and we are SO blind to its prevalence.  I think about the injustice done to children all over the world and I ache.  I think about my sponsored child, Maria, in Peru, and the kids at this rescue center in Haiti.  I think about babies orphaned by AIDS in Africa, and children that have no water to drink.  I think about this initiative to bring water to those kids and wonder why I’ve never heard of it before.  I think and dream and wish I could do more to help.

I’m learning and reading about natural childbirth.  My husband asks, “Why, on earth,  would you want to do that to yourself?”  I want to help educate women about things like cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and natural parenting, but that’s not going with the flow.  I want to start a business to help other women diaper their children with REAL DIAPERS, but I can’t bring it up with my family, because it would be weird.  I feel like everything around me screams “Be normal!” “Be like everybody else!”  “Just stop being so weird!” But I’m not like everybody else.  I’m just a mom.  I stay at home.  We’re broke and I can’t send millions of dollars to these causes.  I’m struggling to come up with $18 for my sponsored child to have a Christmas present!  I feel so helpless, so powerless to make a difference.  There’s so much that I want to accomplish in this life, but I am still so clueless as to how it’s going to happen.

Does anyone else ever feel this way?  Just so overwhelmed.

Pretty Awesome

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 23, 2008 by Whit.

New Creation from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.