Friday, August 16, 2013

Little Foxes

Anna is not a fox, but more of a spotted menace!

Song of Solomon 2:15
"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, 
our vineyards that are in bloom."

It's in the Song of Solomon about the foxes ruining vineyards, but it wasn't until I read a devotional the other day that I understood what those foxes really are and they are the little frustrations, the nasty little voices, the stuff that throws us off track

When we are working on building respect in our marriage the little foxes can sometimes be the biggest challenges.  The little things.  Free range socks, for example.  I am good in a crisis. Give me a big wreck and I'm a rock.  Little foxes get me.  

Who are your little foxes? What do they do or say?  Knowing them is a good first step in dealing with them.   And often the best way to deal with them is to ignore them.  The less we chase them around, the less damage they do.

How do I know that?   I know foxes!  Foxes are little carnivores. They eat meat.  The meat of our marriage - respect, honour, love.  They don't like vines and blooms.  It is us, chasing them, that causes the damage.

In truth, the free range socks, the sneezers, flyswatters, wet rags in sinks, open bread bags and other foxes, are not BIG DEALS.  They are irritants.  They are distractions designed by the devil.  He wants us to focus on the little foxes and be defeated by our chasing them.  When we are chasing foxes we are not praying, we are not loving and we are not respecting!

When I am thinking about what bugs me about my husband, I am not thinking of him with love. With respect. 

What happens when we take our little foxes with us?  My husband is so bad for leaving ______ and it drives me nuts when he _______.  

ouch? a wee little ouchie?  We all have done it!  We should not take our foxes on the road. Or to coffee. Especially not to church!  

We won't ever get rid of the little foxes. They are here to stay. But I find it interesting that the warning about them is in a set of love poems!  They are in relationships.  They are in our garden where love grows. Where respect is cultivated.  Where things are tender and new, growing.  

We can do something about the little foxes though.  We can protect our marriage from their nibbling ways, their pointy little fox like irritations.  We can choose to ignore them.  I don't mean ignore a mountain of socks. Or wasting food.  I mean ignoring the moment when we can choose to be a wise wife or a fox chaser. 

A wise wife knows her moment to ask, "Please babe, can you pick up your socks so I can tidy up?" or "I know you don't like the bread bag clips, can you do a twist and roll so it doesn't dry out?".  And she knows it isn't when he is tired, busy, going out the door or any other moment when he isn't able or willing to hear her.  

After all, at least for me, one of my nastiest foxes is the one who nips me and whispers, "He never listens to you. You could ask all day and he'd ignore you. What a lout."  I know that little liar, and I give it the swift kick it deserves!

A fox chaser snips, nags, gets irritated and mad.  

A fox chaser makes it a big deal at the wrong time.  

A fox chaser ruins her vineyard by chasing foxes.

Dare Time!  I dare you, in two parts, to 

1) Get to know your foxes.  Draw fox faces and put on them what your foxes are.  Double dare you to let your husband do the same.  

2) Ignore the foxes.  Put them outside of your garden.  Box them up. Ignore them.  Help each other recognize them when they come prowling in your marriage.  Be gone little foxes, be gone!

Always deal with things in the right time and with respect.  Little foxes have no sense of timing (except BAD!) ad no respect.

(Confession time: I'm TERRIBLE at this.  I work very hard, very prayerfully, to deal with my little foxes.  Frustration has me almost burning down my vineyard because they irritate me so.  The Respect Dare helped me, prayer has helped me, having my husband and I talk about our own little foxes has helped.  Little foxes can only do what we let them...)

If you are here from The Respect Dare welcome! Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to hear your thoughts on this.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Squirrels in church

Do you know this song?  Mississippi Squirrel

Okay go watch, laugh, wipe your eyes and come back.

Did you laugh so hard you missed the message?

Sister Bertha Betterthanyou had quite the revelation!  Didn't she?  I think we need more squirrels in church!

And in our faith families!

This fellow goes to church, in my in-laws yard, for one reason only. To be fed.

Why do we go to church?   What are we hungry for?  For the social aspects maybe. For the after service potluck, sure.  For the music. To be seen being in church.   But are you being fed?

Fed the Word of God. The message of sacrifice, of love, of redemption.  To hear again how to be saved. To hear again about how to bring others to know Jesus.

And who is doing your feeding?  Are you still on milk  and being forced to try and chew a theological steak?  Or are you slowly starving on a soup of ketchup and water when you need more?

We are blessed to have an online church (Save The Cowboy) with a Pastor who cares for a very widely scattered flock. He speaks to us God's word in language we understand. In cultural context to who we are.  It isn't for everyone, but it is for us!

When we talk of faith and church in our families are we accepting of where those we love are being fed or do we judge their choices because they are not our own?  Jesus sent His followers out to the world, to meet the world where it was at and bring people to salvation.

So what does this have to do with squirrels in church?  Simple! We need to keep things alive! Stir things up!  Bring in someone new (a squirrel!) and let them loose.  With questions, with ideas, with needs and dreams.  What would happen in your pews and up at the pulpit?

Recently there was a story going around about a new pastor showing up at his new church in disguise as a homeless man to see how they respond to someone new, and very different in the pews.  I would love to see this happen for real.  At your church.  At mine!

What if the squirrel in church was a wounded army widow?  Or an abused spouse?  Perhaps a single pregnant girl or a gay member of your congregation recently 'come out of the closet'?  What if it is is your pastor, struggling with personal issues alone?  Or you...

I know of a church that recently had their pastor removed.  Not the whole congregation, just a few people who didn't agree with their Pastor.  Not on faith issues, or teachings but on personality, and unresolved personal issues.  There was no offer or chance of reconciliation.  Just an anonymous set of complaints.  And the pastor is gone.  Sadly, that church killed their squirrel and will probably do the same with the next one.  Why?  Because they were thinking like a fraternity rather than a faith community.  A club more than a family.

Don't be afraid of squirrels in church! Bring a few with you.  They might just wake things up!