When I brought my mom here to the Mountain, after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, I tried taking her to church with me, but I’m afraid that it didn’t work out so well. For one thing, she was driving me absolutely crazy and I wanted any excuse to get away from her. Second, my mom was very opinionated and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. And third, Christians just say foolish things sometimes without really realizing it.

I think the third thing happens when we isolate ourselves too much within our Church walls and we stop hearing how our hare-brained notions really sound reflected off the hard walls of reality.  And to get that you have to take a risk and you have to put yourself out in the world, rub elbows with the great unwashed, as it were.  Some are too afraid and feel that the godly thing to do is to surround themselves with the like-minded. But if you want to change the world, then you’ve got to take some risks; you have to be willing to have your beliefs challenged if you want to have any chance of challenging the beliefs of others.

For instance, did you realize that many people consider it rude to have their salvation openly questioned? In particular, people of other faiths–and especially people in other Christian denominations–take the most offense at this. Now, I realize that some among us are really trying to be offensive; that’s their ministry. They fancy themselves as some sort of modern-day Jeremiah when, in fact, I think they are really just an annoying clanging gong.

Did you also know that it can be hurtful to ask a grieving person if their recently deceased loved one was saved or not? If I never again have to explain to someone why I think my mother, the Mormon, is not, at this very moment, burning in an eternal hell, I’ll die a a happy person.

And did you know that Jesus wasn’t a Republican and that he actually said that relying on political solutions to solve our problems was completely to miss the point?  Do you know that there are secret Democrats lurking in our Churches this very day hiding their political beliefs because they know they’ll have their salvation questioned (see above) or, worse, be accused of being a baby killer (Even though it can’t be proven that any Republican vote in the history of EVER has saved even one baby’s life)?

I cringed every time I took her to church in fear over what somebody might say and what my flaming-liberal, MORMON mom might say back to someone who said something foolish. It was terribly stressful. Plus, I was really, really struggling myself.

In the midst of my son’s behavior and my mom’s cancer, my husband and I had switched churches, so nobody really knew me that well. My husband and my daughter both sang on worship teams, but I just sat there anonymously getting more seriously depressed every week. Everybody says that the way to get to know people in a church is to join a small group, so we joined one.

Now, you know those people who are always unhappy with life? Their marriage is always bad? Their finances are always in shambles? Their jobs are always in jeopardy? Their kids are always disappointing them? Their moms always have cancer?

Oh wait.

No.

That can’t be right.

Moms get cancer and either eventually get well or die.  Oh well.

My mom was living with us, had cancer, owed the IRS $100,000, had no health insurance, her business partner wouldn’t return my calls, and she didn’t have even one stinking penny to her name. Every day off was consumed with doctor appointments and various Social Service appointments trying to get her benefits so we could get her treatment. She was batshit crazy and couldn’t really be left alone. And, every once in a while, she called me “Mommy.” I was a little overwhelmed.

We’d been attending this little group for awhile studying Jesus’ wonderful plan for our lives, but I mostly wanted to cry all the time about the unfairness of the situation with my mom and my fears about my son.  I was also beginning to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder for the first time in my life and didn’t know it.

They were nice people. We liked them.  Some of them even knew me before my world crashed in. And I’m sure they meant no harm. But apparently I was harshing their mellows by being such a downer with my constant crying about my mom’s cancer. The leader’s wife pulled me aside one night and asked me if I couldn’t just be cheerier. She suggested that maybe it was my piss-poor attitude that was my REAL problem.

On the outside, I did what good girls do and I smiled and agreed with her that maybe if I was just cheerier, you know, took joy in my sufferings, then things would improve. But inside I was saying:

NO! YOU STUPID BITCH, I  CAN’T FUCKING BE CHEERIER! MY LIFE IS FUCKING FALLING APART!!

That was the end of that small group for me, and pretty much the end of church. I disengaged altogether.  I would go, but feel no feelings. Confide nothing. I slammed my walls up and there they stay.

I get that there are people who are just big energy sucks, but I am not one of them. I am a glass half-full, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, walk out of the desert (again, and again, and again) sort of girl. I have so much lemonade made from all these lemons life has handed me that I could open up a successful chain of lemonade stands across this great nation of ours and single-handedly save our flagging economy.

I was going through a dark, situational crisis and needed love and a listening ear, not condemnation because I couldn’t be fucking cheerful.  I am not a sunbeam; I am a human being and sometimes life just sucks.  I don’t use the ‘f’ word very often on my blog, but let me say that no other word suffices.  When I think about this vapid woman’s condescending advice delivered behind her condescending smile I want to kill something.

Can’t we all face the truth here that sometimes Jesus’ wonderful plan for our lives SUCKS?  And only a brainless moron armed with a big bottle of antidepressants could possibly take “joy” in every minute of it. When it sucks then it sucks, and the rest of us shouldn’t run around shaming the poor sucker for the suckitude that life is sometimes.

I think there is a whole book in the Bible about a guy whose life sucked rocks and his worthless group of friends who gathered around him to point out that it was all his own damned fault, and if only he’d just cheer the fuck up then everything would be rosy. If I remember correctly, God wasn’t too pleased with them.  In the end, I must also admit that God wasn’t all that comforting to the guy whose life sucked, all because of a lost bet, but I’m trying to hold onto my tender and fragile faith today, so let’s not go there.

After awhile my knee-jerk liberal, Mormon–did I mention the part about her being Mormon?–mother quit accepting my offers of Church, which was fine by me, because I frankly didn’t want to take her anyway.  It wasn’t too long before she contacted the local Mormon church.  I was torn. I was upset about it because I didn’t want my mother going to some crazy cult (which is offensive to them when you call them that, by the way), but  I was happy about it at the same time because it was the first thing she did for herself and I was happy for anything my mom could or would do for herself that didn’t include me having to take a day off from work, without pay, to manage for her.

Now, I’m not big fan of The Borg Mormonism, but I’m a huge fan of Mormons. A nicer people don’t exist anywhere in the world. If a religion could be true just on the basis of how nice their misguided followers are then Mormonism would have to be the truest religion in the world. On niceness, Mormons have evangelicals beat at every turn.  Every evangelical would have to quit their job and devote every waking moment to doing nice things for a year before they could even attempt to catch up to a lifetime of niceness from just one Mormon person.  These people put the nice in niceness. Even though Mormons are just as nutty in their politics (let’s not forget that Glenn Beck is actually one of theirs) they somehow were able to open their loving arms to my mother.  And I’m beyond grateful for it.

The second my mom contacted the Mormons they rallied the troops around her. The Mormons picked her up and took her to church, brought her food, took her shopping, became her friends, and just in general did what Jesus told us to do when he told us to care for the sick. And more. They did so much more. On the day we had to go get my mother from her apartment to come to our house to die, there were lovely Mormon people there caring about her. After she died, they cared for us.

When I see Mormons today, they ask how I’m doing and they tell me how much they liked my mom and miss her now. They tell me what a firecracker she was and how they appreciated her honesty. When the topic of my mom comes up with certain Evangelicals in my life they want me to explain why I don’t think she is burning in eternal hell because she was a Mormon.

Which brings us to today’s Word of Wisdom from my mom:

“Poor Children Need Ice Cream too.”

When my mom was a little girl living in the Projects, a group of Baptist Church Ladies came to do some good works. Out of the money that was given to these poor families, my grandmother gave my mother a few cents to get herself some ice cream. Word of this extravagance traveled back to these nice Church ladies who felt the need to come back and give these mothers lessons on finances. They communicated their dismay that these welfare mothers had squandered some of this money on something as frivolous as ice cream for their children.

My mother remembered this story with fury. She told me how it felt to be shamed over ice cream because she was poor.

Recently, I overheard a disturbing conversation between some Christians about some Missionaries who post on Facebook about their weekly date night. I guess one of these Christians has taken it upon herself to calculate how much this couple spends every week on this date night and express how much she struggles with this. Another woman expressed that she did not hire someone because he’s posted on Facebook that he and his wife have taken some trips this summer to the beach. It is her opinion that since he squanders his money on trips to the beach with his wife he doesn’t deserve to be hired.

So, what’s the lesson here? First, you really don’t need to be told this, but I’ll tell you anyway. Be careful what you say on Facebook. I had never realized that there were people sitting at their computers with calculators adding up how much my status updates cost. That makes me very sad. And wary. But mostly sad. Maybe certain preachers in this world need to spend more time preaching about the sin of covetousness and gossip within the Body of Christ and less time protesting against homosexuals, who are not even in the Body, getting married. Frankly, all the homosexuals in the world together do not do so much damage to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as one misguided and foolish Christian who doesn’t know when to be quiet and love.

And second, my heart is heavy for missionaries and their children because they live under this sort of pressure from their brothers and sisters. Must they account for every ice cream cone or justify every date night? Listening in on the above conversation brought my mother’s wisdom to my mind and I think she’d say something like, “Missionaries need date nights, too.”

I once read a letter written by a woman who had grown up as a missionary kid in a third world country. She wrote about receiving care packages that included such “gifts” as used teabags from people back home. She talked of the real humiliation she felt living under the scrutiny of the other missionaries and their family’s donors.

One time, long ago, a Pastor’s wife confided in me that she had someone come and help her clean her house. I know for a fact that this woman spent 40-60 hours a week performing unpaid, and essential, work for her husband’s church. She asked me not to tell anyone else because she feared that if the church knew that she had a cleaning lady once a week they would feel that her husband was getting paid too much.

Yes, I know, nonChristians are petty and judgmental too, that’s just human, but they aren’t my cross to bear.  Christianity is my cross and loving my brothers and sisters in Christ is the hardest thing I do as a Christian. I wish some of you would make it easier for me since I’m really bad at it anyway.

I have a hard time remembering that the Church is filled with broken people just like me who are trying to figure it out. But are our own eyes so free of logs that we can afford sitting around pointing out other people’s motes? Have we forgotten how to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn? Do we understand that poor children need ice cream, too?

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah April 4, 2017 at 10:49 am

I stumbled across your blog recently. I know you wrote this post 6 years ago, but I’m commenting anyway – I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. My husband’s family and I talk about being frustrated by this type of thing fairly often – especially with it being thrust into political debate in the last few years (“how dare someone use food stamps to buy high end meat?! don’t they know that they are supposed to grovel and beg for the scraps their scummy lives deserve?” “how can a parent who accepts WIC, etc., allow their child to have a video game system and actually feel like a normal child? I don’t want the pennies I pay in taxes that fund these programs to allow parents to give their children anything fun!” …and other such BS….) I have been really loving pretty much every post I’ve read on here so far, but this one really fired me up. Well, this one, and the one about you having crummy uncles who didn’t care when your mom was dying (my mom died a few years ago from cancer, and my father-in-law is currently not doing well with leukemia, so I definitely, definitely get it with the crummy family stuff), and the one about Jesus not having a wonderful plan for our lives, AND the one about not being into First Time Obedience. I love your intense honesty, and that you aren’t a creepy Pinteresty/AnnualSeasonalOutdoorFamilyPhotoShoots/FaithCoveredInChalkPaintAndShabbyChicBurlap Christian woman. I’m so thankful that I found your blog! 🙂

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Jennifer May 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Girl you are hilarious and I totally get you. It must be that nurse thing:)

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SebbieDue November 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thank you, Chloe. This brought a tear…again. There’s so much more I want to say, but I keep tripping over words which aren’t doing the feelings justice. So I’ll leave it at this: Don’t stop sharing your heart. It helps to know there’s someone out there who gets it.

Debbie

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Chloe Jeffreys November 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Thank you. I’m glad this spoke to you. I feel this post really honors the memory of my mother whose 70th birthday would have been today.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Happy Birthday, Mom. I Miss You.My Profile

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jenfromfaraway December 5, 2011 at 3:12 am

well said, Chloe. well said.
as an expatriate, we have a special place in our hearts for missionaries who are living out of their culture (a difficulty unto itself) and then to have the additional pressure of the sending churches and the ‘quotas’, finances, etc…sometimes it’s just too much bear.
my cousin died of AIDS in 1991 and you can imagine the helpful Christian ‘wisdom’ that was shared w/me. i left Christ for years and only realized after seeing real transformation how much i needed Him.

bottom line: people of Christ, be like Christ.

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Chloe December 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

I think there are many people who leave Christ because they can’t find any evidence of Him in churches. American Christianity has lost its way. Why is it so hard to be a Christian, but so easy to be a Pharisee? There’s a mystery there, I think.

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Gina September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I really like this one!

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Annika September 2, 2011 at 4:34 am

Dear Chloe,
A few things came to mind as I read this post. I was looking for a little humor in my stressed out 0525, need to get rid of some cortisol, can’t sleep world.

First, I want to apologize for not reaching out after your mom died, more than my pathetic little phone call. Mormons really do put the nice in nice-ness.

2nd, that’s one of the reasons I don’t know anything about Facebook, I would probably just be dismayed at how ridiculous some people are.

3rd and most important, I’ve been wanting to offer for some time that you are welcome to come to Mass with me anytime. I know, you may laugh and other people would think, “that deacons wife started going to the Catholic Church!” GOL (is giggle out loud a real acronym?) hey if you can make up suckitude I can make up an acronym :). In the Catholic Church you can be as anonymous as you like or as involved as you like. We are ALL sinners just trying to run the race. You are one of the most authentic Christians I know. I do wish that you’d go back to church.

Well, the little one just woke up. I must go. See you tonight.
Love,
It’s Not Really My Name Either, Annika

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Chloe September 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

You are a sweetheart. And you did reach out and you were there.

I have thought a lot about Catholicism since we visited the catacombs in Rome. Thanks for the invitation and for being there, my friend.

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Kate August 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Chloe, I wanted you to know I have re-read this post many times. I am one of those broken persons who is just trying to figure it all out.

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Chloe August 24, 2011 at 5:02 am

Oh wow, Kate. Thanks for commenting; that makes me glad I wrote it.

I’m afraid that the Velveteen Rabbit was right and that we have to get a little bit broken on our road to becoming real. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t right, but it sometimes is what it takes.

love, chloe

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Chloe July 6, 2011 at 6:57 am

Hey Trish, I'm so glad you came by and commented. Sadly, I know I'm not alone. I hope that what I've said will encourage some among us to think before we speak. I know that I try a lot harder to be more compassionate with those who are suffering now than I was before. And that's all to the good.

So happy you stopped by,
Chloe

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Trish July 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Chole,
good for you girl! Trust me when I say, you are not alone. I'm so sorry that the very people you depended upon to show the face of Christ to you in your greatest hour of need were not there for you. Many a christian will talk the talk but not walk the walk… the walk IS the hardest of ALL things in Christ. In order to love like Jesus loved we must put ourselves aside and not many people christian or not can do that. It was very brave of you to speak out on this very subject, you certainly have given

all of us a lot to think about. My hat is off to you, my prayers are with you, my heart is broken for you, and my hand is stretched out to you! Trish (friend of Rose)

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Chloe July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Oh my. I'm thinking that you are the second person who has told me about getting used tea bags. I'm very sorry for it. Tea isn't even something expensive.

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Kristi R. (Bibliowyrm) July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Brava indeed!

I had to work on my issues of coveting years ago when I was young & had babies while my wealthy relative kept saying they would treat this or that but never did. It took years to stop coveting the material things this person possesses. When I read about those kind of conversations and see how much coveting leads to jealousy & rancor in a person's heart, I grieve that they covet.

I still wrestle with coveting but it is my burden to bear, not anyone else's burden and really shouldn't affect how they talk to me and others about their activities, especially if they are not boasting. We can all tell when it is boasting and just sharing the joy of a date night with your husband or taking your kids to the beach is not boasting.

I am very glad your mom and you had those kind people in her life at the end.

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BeckyJ July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Wow- so much of this resonated with me, right down to the Mormon mom! I think sometimes that many of the harsh, unloving, judgmental Christians tend to be "good" people who've been Christians as long as they can remember, have never really messed up in a big way, and don't "walk with a limp". If that makes sense…

Such a good post, Chloe, packed with so many things to chew on, I'll have to read it a few more times to digest it. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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chaik July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Thanks, Chloe. There were times when we were living on Ramen and I was wearing hand-me-downs of hand-me-downs…and my mom always made sure I got treats once in a while. I'm furious that people judge others for the way they spend their money. Great blog post.

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Birthblessed July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

You made me cry.

Is it THAT week again already?!

Or maybe you just touched a raw nerve…..

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Chloe July 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Hey Rose,

Thanks for commenting. You are kind about my kindness. I don't feel so kind. I'd really like to slap some people upside their foolish little heads.

love, Chloe

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Chloe July 5, 2011 at 12:23 am

Oh. My. God. Lorri, I'm so sorry. My eyes are filled with tears over that wound. I'm just so sorry.

No words can express how angry and upset I am for this. I really think some people just are morons without a fucking brain in their heads. They do not understand pain. They are so filled with their own righteousness that they do not realize what they are saying.

Over something like that all I can think about is Jesus on the cross asking God to forgive his executioners because they didn't know what they were doing. That's really no excuse or explanation, but that's the only way I know how to cope. Sadly, these stupid people are unlikely to ever understand the damage they do with their unthinking words.

I'm just so very sorry, Lorri.

love, chloe

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Lorri July 5, 2011 at 12:09 am

Someone on the SL Forums once told me that my daughter Rebecca, who died at 8 months old, "deserved to die because she was a sinner" and wasn't necessarily in heaven.

Oh yeah. Let that sink in a bit.

I still remember her forum name. I never interacted with her again. She was a missionary in some 1st world country and I just hoped that no grief stricken mother, coming to her for comfort and answers from a Christian point of view, ever got that special brand of salvation.

Seriously – Love the Lord. Love one another. Do that and it's all good.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Hey Rose,

Thanks for commenting. You are kind about my kindness. I don't feel so kind. I'd really like to slap some people upside their foolish little heads.

love, Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I think that we are afraid of the dark places and we comfort ourselves in thinking that we can't possibly go to a dark place and that anyone who is in a dark place must have caused it themselves. This makes us feel that life is actually under our control.

In this way don't we treat Jesus sort of like a good luck talisman keeping the bad times away?

Thanks for commenting, Anonymous.

Chloe

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Anonymous July 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

A really good friend of mine was going through a messy divorce. People in our church who knew *nothing* about the situation took it upon themselves to counsel her to remain in the marriage. That it was her fault the marriage was falling apart. And other such lovely things.
"Why do Christian's eat their wounded?" another friend said in response to the situation.
Thank you for your eloquence and loving heart.
Choogie
I really hate that about us. 🙁 "Love one another."
Last week a woman said to me, "If you are not confronting people in their sins, you are just lazy!"

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Rose July 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Thank you, Chloe. You know how I feel about this stuff. But you said it with more kindness than I could pull up out the depths of my fury.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm

And Robin, you and your husband are two of the most gracious and loving people I know in this entire world. I know that the lives you both touch are touched for good.

I suspect that more people need hobbies. Maybe they should take up blogging or knitting or anything.

I love you, friend.

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Brita,

Knowing so many in ministry as we have over the years, I would say that ministry is one of the hardest things on a marriage there is. The flock is demanding; the needs are very great, but at the same time the expectations for absolute perfection are so high. Who can live under this constant pressure without some release somewhere?

I can understand in some ways why the Catholic Church decided that celibacy was the way to go for its clergy.

Thanks for coming by and commenting. I really appreciate your comment and I'm happy that something I said may have been a blessing to you today as you labor.

love, chloe

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Robin July 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Chloe – YOU are one of the bravest and most articulate people I know! This post was profoundly true and perfect. Thank you!! (coming from one who is in a position of relying on the $ support of others and the odd predicament that places one in)

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Brita July 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm

All I can say is WOW! So much of your post resonates within me. People expect so much of our pastors and missionaries, and think they should have some say in how they spend their money. If it wasn't for weekly date nights, the missionaries or pastors might not be married, and then no longer missionaries or pastors… And I am so tired of people judging us on how we are raising our children, as if they have been in our exact situations. Thank you for being so honest and open. It is refreshing.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Cricket,

this is exactly right and I am certain it was no accident that Jesus made that the criteria; he knew how desperately difficult it would be to do.

chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Birthblessed, I hope that our collective raw nerves can one day be healed. Wounds from God's people are the most painful of all, and they tend to fester with the infection of bitterness. It is difficult to overcome. I hope someday that I will.

hugs, chloe

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Cricket July 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Chloe- dovetailing on your response to Susan- it really resonates with me. Dh is continually saying the same thing- that the world will know us by our love for one another. Especially how we treat those with whom we disagree. This has been a mantra of sorts in our lives of late with the whole fiasco we are involved in. It is INCREDIBLY hard, but necessary.

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Birthblessed July 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

You made me cry.

Is it THAT week again already?!

Or maybe you just touched a raw nerve…..

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Tabitha,

I don't know why grace and love become so hard. It seems for some that the closer we grow to God the harder those things become. I know it was that way for me.

I think the more righteous we become the bigger the temptation is to become like the Pharisee in Luke 18. I've battled that myself and only being chopped down to the root has helped me overcome it.

I'm too busy trying to stay a believer now to be bothered with looking around and making sure everyone else is doing it right.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment,

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm

JereAnn, thank you for coming and bringing the real.

It may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but many of our best friends over the years have been pastors and missionaries. One cannot imagine the pressure to be perfect that is put on these servants unless you've either been on or seen it close-up.

Let us not forget that a worker is worthy of his wage, and that those who serve God need date nights and ice cream cones. And unused tea bags!

Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me.

love and best wishes in your ministry,
Chloe

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JereAnn July 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Your words should be a reminder to those who follow Jesus that our words and actions can be uncaring and mean to those outside the culture of the church. Thank you. 🙂

My husband and I went to Papua New Guinea as 'missionaries' to missionary kids in the late 80's. We SAW people get the most awful 'care' packages from home. Tea bags, used polyester clothing….it was ridiculous. My non=believer friend sent me the best 'care' package. Magazines (new) nice new clothes and peanut butter.

We also had people criticize our 'vacation' to a nice but very cheap resort on the beach. Never mind that for the rest of our 2 years in PNG we lived on foam mattresses, had to do our laundry under the house in the flooded basement, hang our clothes to dry, got water from the rain tank, and had to battle fleas in our furniture.

Love your blog…thanks to Heidi who sent me this link!

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Tabitha July 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

Things like this make me ashamed to call myself a Christian. And yet I can't condemn others because I know I have been just as judgemental and trusting in my own righteousness.

Why are love and grace so hard to show?

I just want to hug that little girl that was and say she can have as much ice cream as she likes.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 5:09 am

Texanna, The Shack was one of the most difficult books I've ever read. So painful. I felt so sad for those who appeared to me to have missed the author's entire point. But when I finished reading it I felt loved by God in a new way I hadn't felt in a long time. That book will always mean a lot to me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

love, chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 5:08 am

Susan,

Jesus told us that the world would know us by our love. Not by our righteousness. Not by our holiness, but by our love for one another. I truly believe this was no mistake. It is a huge test of faith for me.

love, chloe

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Anonymous July 4, 2011 at 4:45 am

Give me a bunch of "sinners" who are loving one another over self righteous people any day. I'm reading The Shack right now (if memory serves, you read it a few years back? I think?). I'm loving it. I think it should be standard reading for every believer. (((HUG)))

Texanna

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Susan in the Boonies July 4, 2011 at 4:42 am

Loving your neighbor well is hard to do. I guess that's why it ended up needing to be a commandment.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 3:23 am

Cricket, I often think of Jesus and the Woman at the Well. He treated her with such grace and kindness fully knowing all her sin. How can each of us learn to be more loving and accepting?

Life is hard. It doesn't always go well, and sometimes we have no control over what happens. We would all do well to remember that when someone else is harshing our mellow.

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 3:21 am

Chaik, we all need treats sometimes, and most especially children. Their situations are not of their own making. Heck, for many of us adults, our situations are not really completely under our control.

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 3:20 am

Becky,

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

I think you've hit the nail exactly on the head.

Chloe

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Cricket July 4, 2011 at 3:18 am

Great post, Chloe. We'd all do well to remember that there is often more to other's lives than we can see. We need to stop judging and be authentic in our Christ-likeness. I think only through that can real faith be garnered and shared. You do both. 🙂

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chaik July 4, 2011 at 3:05 am

Thanks, Chloe. There were times when we were living on Ramen and I was wearing hand-me-downs of hand-me-downs…and my mom always made sure I got treats once in a while. I'm furious that people judge others for the way they spend their money. Great blog post.

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BeckyJ July 4, 2011 at 2:53 am

Wow- so much of this resonated with me, right down to the Mormon mom! I think sometimes that many of the harsh, unloving, judgmental Christians tend to be "good" people who've been Christians as long as they can remember, have never really messed up in a big way, and don't "walk with a limp". If that makes sense…

Such a good post, Chloe, packed with so many things to chew on, I'll have to read it a few more times to digest it. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 2:53 am

Anne,

you make a very good point. That is some food for thought.

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 2:52 am

Hey Heather!

Thank you.

Chloe

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 2:52 am

Kristy, I believe this is true. Just like the person who has never had a child knows how they would handle a 2yo having a tantrum at the grocery store and the mother of a five year old knows exactly how she would handle a rebellious teenager, people who haven't been through the Shadow don't understand that they'd likely handle it just as you are, with fear and trembling, doubt and anger.

I am constantly reminded that but for the grace of God go I. Hardship is a hard blessing.

Chloe

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Anne July 4, 2011 at 2:45 am

I find the less I talk about being a Christian and the more I just do Good Stuff, the happier I am.

I would like people to be surprised I'm a Christian, if you know what I mean. It's a work in progress.

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Heather (SL's MX Mom) July 4, 2011 at 2:39 am

I love your heart, Chloe.

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Kristy July 4, 2011 at 2:31 am

My Christianity has been rocked to the core, just as yours has. I'm right in the same boat, trying to keep paddling, but for the first time in my life questioning everything. I think that the people who are quick to judge have not lived harship yet. If they had, they would hold their tongues better.

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 2:21 am

Thanks Kristi and Carrie, I'm so glad they came alongside us and helped us carry our burden in our time of need. They also gave my mom a lovely memorial service, complete with all the jello salad we could eat, and I'll always be grateful.

Chloe

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Kristi R. (Bibliowyrm) July 4, 2011 at 2:08 am

Brava indeed!

I had to work on my issues of coveting years ago when I was young & had babies while my wealthy relative kept saying they would treat this or that but never did. It took years to stop coveting the material things this person possesses. When I read about those kind of conversations and see how much coveting leads to jealousy & rancor in a person's heart, I grieve that they covet.

I still wrestle with coveting but it is my burden to bear, not anyone else's burden and really shouldn't affect how they talk to me and others about their activities, especially if they are not boasting. We can all tell when it is boasting and just sharing the joy of a date night with your husband or taking your kids to the beach is not boasting.

I am very glad your mom and you had those kind people in her life at the end.

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Jan July 4, 2011 at 2:06 am

Agreeing Chloe, wonderful post!

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Carrie July 4, 2011 at 2:01 am

sometimes I want to be mormon…very well said

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 1:53 am

Oh my. I'm thinking that you are the second person who has told me about getting used tea bags. I'm very sorry for it. Tea isn't even something expensive.

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Julia (Jmmom) July 4, 2011 at 1:41 am

Bravo!! (or is it "brava"?!) Yes, poor children need ice cream too! And Christians need to start DOING a whole lot more and TALKING a whole lot less.

My father received tea bags when serving as a missionary in the Congo. And the woman who sent them to him was proud that she had only used them once. Really.

I loved your last two paragraphs — I felt like you could see into my mind/heart. 🙁

I'm so glad that your mom was able to find support and friendship and practical help — that is what Christians are called to do…and unfortunately it's not done enough.

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