Rambly Random Deep Deep Thoughts

Some things are not what they appear to be. There are so many things that the world has pulled a veil over our eyes, and we are taken captive by the philosophies of the world.

Allow me to depart from the normal family/crafting blog for the moment, and have another “deep thought by Gretchen” post. It’s my blog, so why not?

There’s one thing philosophy of the world that has infiltrated our church in America, and I think we should talk about it. Well, there’s a few philosophies, and all the them surround the topic of homosexuality.

Yep. I’m going to talk about it.

Even if you don’t know anyone who is gay, or think you have an idea as to what God says on this issue, you may not see how this directly effects you.

I’m not talking about the attack on the traditional family. Not going there. It’s bigger than that.

Let’s start with the sin that the world sees regarding this issue, because believe me, the world sees it and they are not wrong. Overgeneralizing, maybe, but not wrong. We as Christians, too often make broad statements, or have hateful feelings towards the homosexual community. This is wrong. You know all those gay people? They have feelings. They have hearts and souls and they bleed when you cut them.

Understand, when there are people in the church living in sin, that should be addressed, and a sin should be called a sin. We should lovingly get down in the dirt with them and pull them out. That is scriptural. Picketing funerals and saying we hope they go to hell…not so much.

However, when saved, redeemed, justified believers act out with such pride, as if equality with God were something to be grasped, I get mad. We’re going about it all wrong, mostly because we don’t think it through, and we don’t think it through because we don’t like to think about it. Furthermore, we see no reason to think about it.

This day in age, though, those people are the minority. Now, when this ever comes up in discussions (which is rarely in person here. No one talks about such controversial subjects. I’ve just been tempted to comment in some online discussions) people who I know love God spout some line about “they’re born that way, and God wouldn’t make someone one way, and then say it’s wrong. Why would God go out of his way to make someone unhappy like that? Who are we to judge?” I get scared, not mad. I’m terrified.

Why? Why would it scare me that someone who loves God wants to love someone else? Isn’t that what Christianity is all about?

No. Christianity is not about love.

At least, not by the world’s definition of love. The world might define love as: kind or nice.

Jesus said that people would know us by our love, and God is love, but the solar system of Christianity does not revolve around niceness. It revolves around God. The fruit of Christianity is kindness and goodness and self-control etc. The first part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. Love is very very important.

God is love (as I’ve said) but he is not a sweet little passive kitty!

I get terrified when Christians start spouting stuff like that for two reasons: They are not understanding who God is, and therefore, they are not understanding what love is. Love is not defined by God in those statements. It’s defined by the world.

I’ll try to tie up all these loose ends before I’m done…be patient.

Where to even start? Where do you begin to describe God, and who on earth would dare to do so?

Well, let’s start there. Why is it scary to describe God? Because God is so above us. He’s so beyond our thinking. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. We can’t wrap our mind around God, and to try to describe Him would always mean you come up short. God is holy.

I used to think when I was little that “holy” meant “really really good.” It meant some one high above. It, in fact, means “separate.” God is separate from us. He’s different. My favorite example of this is a passage of Scripture that I used to always struggle with, when King David was moving the arc of the covenant back to Jerusalem. God said that the arc had to be moved by poles carried by the priests in the tribe of Levi. King David didn’t think such things mattered, and he had the arc moved back in a cart.

Here’s the part that bothered me: when the arc started to fall out of the cart, a good guy...a good guy… couldn’t bare having it fall, and reached out his hand to catch it, and he died on the spot.

What kind of God would do something like that? God is untouchable. Have we forgotten that? When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, did he just become our chum? Yes, he came down and humbled himself and became man for our sake…but he was still God. He still is God.

I think what is so terrifying is that if we lose that: God’s holiness…the fear of God, then Christ’s crucifixion is no big deal. The only thing amazing about it is some nice guy died for us. Can our brains even comprehend that GOD laid himself down for us?

When you say “God wouldn’t make someone with the tendency to sin” is the most silly comment I’ve heard. At that point, it’s not just about homosexuality. That’s why this is such a big deal: It’s not just about homosexuals. It’s about ALL of us. It’s starting a doctrine that has no Scriptural support that God wants you to do whatever you want to do. God wouldn’t have you be tempted. If you are tempted with something, and I’m not saying something like a piece of chocolate cake, I’m talking about a life changing, rip your heart out temptation. If you are tempted with something, God wants you to give in. God wouldn’t want you to struggle, to wrestle, to be uncomfortable, or (heaven forbid) God wouldn’t want you to be unfulfilled.

The idea that it is more important to be true to yourself than true to God is infiltrating our churches. The song “Come Just As You Are” comes to mind as an example. I love that song, because it means I can come to God with all my sin, and all my failures, and he takes me in spite of all of that. Then He changes me. That’s the part we’re missing. We don’t want to be changed. Being changed means it will hurt, (and I mean REALLY hurt…please don’t breeze past that). It means we won’t be who we were when we first came to God. We will be His, and not our own anymore.

This philosophy is a lie. It’s a big fat stinkin’ lie, and it scares me because Christians…homosexual and heterosexual, are buying it. We should be ashamed of our sin! All of us! Homosexual and heterosexual! We are sick, and God is the cure! He found a way and became the cure! How can we look at someone who is sick and say they are fine! How can we see someone drowning and say, “he was born not knowing how to swim, so let’s leave him alone, and love him for the way he was born.”

Let’s review: Christians who say that they are better than homosexuals and look down upon them have such a problem with pride, that they can’t even see the severity of their own sins. On the other hand, Christians, who say that God wanted homosexuals to be born that way, and God doesn’t mind them that way and in fact, made them that way as a part of his beautiful creation, don’t know God.

If sin were not such a big deal, if it were not so bad than why did Christ die?

Furthermore, God does want us to be happy. He does. That part is a lie. However, God knows that we can only be happy in Him, and so the devil roams around, telling us that everything else will bring us happiness. Money, sleep, vacation, children, marriage, sex, companionship, food, respect, are all things from God, but are twisted and distorted, and used by the devil to replace God.

I’d like to add, the thought that sin isolates. It isolates us from God, and from each other. No matter what the sin is, we think we are the only ones who struggle with it. We think it only effects us. That is also a lie. I have never met a Christian who does not struggle with sin, and most Christians try to hide it (including myself) because we think “what will other people think of me.” We think that we can deal with it ourselves. We think that it only really effects us, and as long as my sin doesn’t hurt someone else, it’s not bad.

It’s bad because God says it’s bad, period. When God says it’s bad, that’s because it does effect other people. I’d like to propose to anyone to name a sin that does not effect other people! Lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, lusting…all of them effect other people in one way or another, but it doesn’t always feel that way. That’s where the lie slips in. We rely on our feelings, and not on God. We become our own Savior.

Since homosexuality is on the table, let’s show how quickly the slope can go? This is from my observations of the handful of gay people I know. First, they go through all the parts in the Bible addressing this sin, and re-explain it with a different type of interpretation. I could actually follow them that far philosophically if I try. Then they get a partner. Well, then you’d have to go through the Bible and re-address every passage talking about fornication. Ironically, that doesn’t happen. They blame the culture for not allowing marriage, so multiple partners gets waved in. Do they go to church anymore? Mostly, no. Maybe they used to, but haven’t felt at home. Really, they don’t see the need for the accountability brought about in a healthy Christian community. It feels judgmental. So then other sins creep in, and maybe not even homosexual ones. Because there is no family to surround. No standard to uphold. Sin is really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Their Christian life soon becomes redefined. It used to be: bring your brokenness to God, so He can make us whole again. It is now: be pretty good and live your life the way that makes sense to you.

With all of that in mind, how should we treat a homosexual in our midst? Are they born that way? You bet they are. Just like you and I were born a sinner, so were they. If you look hard, you’ll find a sin “gene” in all of us. Our sins have become classified as “illnesses” except homosexuality which has been elevated from illness to healthy. How long will it take for our other sins to be labeled “healthy” by the world?

I’ll name mine. I’ll say it. When I gossip, I label it as “healthy” because I’m unburdening my feelings on someone else and not holding it in. Never mind that the Bible has laid out other ways for us to unburden ourselves, and deal with conflict. By the world’s standard, as long as the other person doesn’t find out, thus getting hurt, it was healthy for me to gossip. Of course, you can’t call it gossip then, because that sounds bad.

See how that works?

Back to an earlier point, how do we, then, treat homosexuals?

Like people. Like people God died for, and wants us to pray for, and wants us to minister to, and be there for. Like any other human, ahem, I mean sinner who we come in contact with.

I more than understand that many Christians need to confess and deal with their hatred of homosexuals. As a community, we need to be putting more effort towards AIDS research than keeping gay marriage out of the legislature. For heavens sake. These are people. Banning gay marriage won’t make them straight. Making them straight won’t mean they’ll magically know God. Is it possible to love them, and not condone their sin? Absolutely.

And if they don’t know God, then what hope can we offer? What’s the point, if they don’t know Jesus and the happiness, and joy, and life he brings? Heterosexual marriage will not unburden them. Only Christ can.

It all boils down to God’s holiness. We’ve either thought we were like God, or we thought what God has to say doesn’t matter. As long as the arc get’s to Jerusalem, it doesn’t matter how…right? Even David was guilty of picking and choosing what were the “important” commands to obey. Every instance in which God’s holiness is magnified, is a reminder to us how much we need the cross.

If God is not holy, the cross doesn’t matter. Satan is sneaky. He knows he can’t take away the cross. It’s on our jewelry and in our homes. So he goes after God’s holiness, and asks the same question he always asks: Did God really say that? God is keeping something from you. God is holding back something good from you. Or going back to David: God doesn’t care about how the arc gets there, he just cares that it’s there. He just wants to be with you and love you.

I’m not saying that those questions don’t apply to homosexuals, it applies to every one, and every sin. There’s a reason priests used to wear ropes around their waists when they went into the Holy of Holies. Our God is holy, and as C.S. Lewis would say: “He is not a tame lion.”

To be honest, I don’t know why God says homosexuality is a sin, and I wish it wasn’t, because someone very dear to me struggles with this sin, and I cry almost every day for him. Why would God put him through that? I want it to be okay, and I’ve searched the Scriptures numerous times over it. I just want him to be happy.

Then I realize, I’ve bought into the lie too. I’ve bought into the same lie he has, that he will find joy there, and if God would just let him, he would be happy. I’ve forget that God is the source of happiness, and joy. Not sin.

Let me just end this extremely long and controversial post with a thought from a good friend of mine who I was discussing this post with. She was talking about a struggle in her life that had a firm grip on her. She tried medication, counseling, etc. She couldn’t shake it until one day God spoke to her heart and said “if you don’t call it a sin, you can’t take it to the cross.” She repeated those words over and over to me. If you don’t call it a sin, you can’t take it to the cross. Let’s not overlook that when we are stuck somewhere in our life. When we are lacking faith, not seeing God, and lost, we must look at the part of us that we see as “just the way I am” and call it a sin. If not, we’ll be crippled Christians. Trying to handle this life on our own like we can be our own Savior. We must all call our sin: sin. If not, we our missing out on the amazing healing, life changing, power of the cross.


As always, I’m going to try to work out my thoughts by writing them out, and sharing them with all of you.

I think when it has come to schooling, Knut and I have been on the same page pretty much all the time. We both want our kids to go to public school, as we feel it is so important for there to be a presence of Christian kids and Christian families in our public school system. We had no intention of going the private/Christian school route for a few reasons. One of them is the usual: money. The other is the fact that both of us knew people from both here and where I lived in Arizona, where kids grew up in Christian schools and were never really exposed to non-Christians, or a non-Christian culture, and college can be such a shock to that. Knowledge of God to those friends seemed boring, and commonplace. We never want that knowledge to be that way for our kids.

Don’t get me wrong, Knut and I both graduated from a Christian high school, which I attended for two years and he attended for one. I hope our kids will decide to go there someday too. However, there’s a difference between getting immersed in that culture for awhile, because it is such a fun culture, and living there your whole life.

As far as homeschooling, we’ve played around with the idea, but neither one of us has been fully onboard. We keep coming back to it over and over, and I don’t think it will ever be ruled out, but for now, we’re going the public school route.

I should say, there is such a spectrum to homeschooling, I think. There are those who do it poorly, and those who do it well. There are those who get their kids out and involved in their community, and those who just shelter their kids as long as they possibly can. We don’t want to go this route, unless we can have a plan to do it well.

We are near completing Silje’s first year of school. It was only kindergarten, and it was all day, 3 days a week. Here are some of my observations that I’d like to reflect on about our first year in the public school system.

First, her teacher was awesome. I don’t think we’ll ever get another teacher as awesome as she is. She sent us home with a weekly update. She gave us her work phone, and her home phone, to call her anytime. She let us know what they studied that week, and what they intended on studying the next week, so we could have talks with Silje about any possibly “if-y” topics in school. Two examples of topics we felt we should talk to Silje about before it was address in the classroom was the various holidays studied in the “winter holidays” session, and their unit on families, and how a family is defined.

When Silje is at school, the house is so peaceful, which surprised me. She’s not very loud. However, she and David aren’t fighting and bickering as kids their age often do when she is gone. I get more alone time with David, and he thrives on the days that she is at school, because he doesn’t feel as though he is living under her shadow.

Those are the really good things. Now for the annoying parts. First, Silje’s attitude when she comes home from school is usually terrible. Her attitude in general has become worse, and she has more and more of a feeling of entitlement, that we are fighting and compares herself to other kids much too often. She looks down to David since she has started school, and talks down to him. We are constantly correcting her on this. Constantly.

I don’t like seeing her like this, and the more we correct her, and she will not be corrected, the more I worry how to reach her, and how to help her understand. We’ll sit and talk about it over tea. We pray together. We talk about how God wants us to treat others. Still, whatever our efforts, it does not seem to be changing. Is it just her age, or is it going to school? I don’t know! Our relationship seems to becoming more distant as I feel like I can’t get her to open up about certain things, and with the younger kids, I’m not able to volunteer in her classroom as I had once hoped I could. My mother in law works, and has her parents to look after, etc. I just don’t feel like I have the resources at hand to ask others to watch the boys so I can spend more time with Silje at school. Knut and I have each been able to go on at least one field trip with her, but I don’t feel like that was enough. Not only that, I need to be spending time with the boys while they’re home!

I don’t mean to say she always has this attitude, but there’s been an attitude to deal with on days when she’s at school, and more often on other days as well. Part of me wonders that if we had more opportunities to correct this, it would be beneficial.

There is so much wasted time in her day, and that bothers me. The biggest part of this is her extremely long bus ride. It’s about an hour to school, and an hour home. That’s 2 hours of her day every day. She hates that, by the way, and it’s very obvious to me that those 2 hours are miserable for her. From what I can tell, she’s not bullied or anything, but is bored stiff. We’ve allowed her to bring books, toys, and I’ve started writing her letters on some days for her to read on the bus. It does not work for our family for me to bring her and pick her up every day. The gas money alone would be crazy. Waking the boys up from their nap in the afternoon to pick her up would make our evenings unbearable.

When I heard that so many homeschooling families only spend their morning in school, and their afternoon doing other activities because all the wasted time in a large school setting is cut out, I was surprised. The feeling of doing school all day long is daunting as I have so much else to do! The idea of spending some hours every morning doing school work with my kids doesn’t sound so terribly different than what I’m doing now: reading books, playing, talking, coloring.

I suppose there’s no point to all of this, but I’m just revisiting the thought again. As we make plan for this fall, we’ll need to figure out what to do. Both Knut and I are still leaning towards public school, but the homeschooling has again, not been ruled out. I’m dabbling at looking at homeschool curriculums, and trying to wrap my head around the concept again, to see if we could do it well. One plus would be that we could travel as we pleased in the winter when Knut has more free time, without regard to Silje missing school. We would just work around it.

We could study U.S. History in the capitol itself. We could take the kids on mission trips when they got older. There are so many awesome things about homeschooling, that it seems almost wrong to take it off of the table. However, we refuse to make any decision lightly, because in reality, it’s so scary. Parenthood is scary. You don’t know how many times I ask myself, especially at times like this: “Are we really screwing up our kids?” What if we make the wrong decision? What if we leave Silje in school, and she is over influenced by the world, and struggles with her faith? What if we school her at home and she has a tough time adjusting to the world when we get her there, and has a huge crisis?

When I dwell on all the ways we can royally screw up our kids, I start panicking. How can one not? It always leads me back to the same place, and the same prayer. We must, must release our kids to the Lord, because if we rely on ourselves we will screw up. We must pray, “Dear Lord, take my children and overwhelm them with your presence. Never leave them, and never give up on them. Take whatever we screw up, and turn it into something beautiful in them. Help them understand your plan, and open their eyes when we cannot.”

So what are we going to do? Well, we have to give our kids to God. Whether we are going to put Silje back in public school or decide to go the homeschooling route, I still don’t know.

Gardening Has Begun

I was planning on planting some seeds this morning, but once again, I forgot to pick up the ones I like in town. However, Mr. Postman brought my bare root strawberry plants in the mail today, and since Knut had the garden already tilled, I thought I’d bring the boys out there and plant some strawberries!

I was surprised to see the 3 plants I put in the ground (and the deer ate every single leaf last year) actually came up again this year! Yeah! What a good start. I planted the huge bunch that came from Park Seed Co. in a little patch formation. Since Knut saw the strawberry plants coming up from last year, he didn’t till that part of the garden, so it needed a bit of work.

David was a huge help, and Elias squealed and clapped as we worked on the weeds already coming up. The asparagus that we planted 2 years ago is coming up, and with the 2 year wait, we actually get to harvest some this spring! I only picked 5 long stalks that were still tender for supper tonight, and left the rest to go to more seed. There are so many baby stalks still coming up!

I know it’s still too early to plant the tomatoes, but as soon as I get back to town (probably tomorrow, since I forgot to go to the post office today too. Where is my head?) I’ll soon have the peas, green beans, beets, pumpkins, lettuce, spinach, and whatever else looks good in the ground. I’m wondering if I should venture on broccoli this year. Hmmmm.

I’ve been working a tiny bit in the flower garden, thinning out some things that should have been thinned out last fall. The way-too-expensive hydrangeas that I planted last year are coming up this year, and I’m so relived that they made it through the winter!

The peony bushes are coming up nicely, and so are the lilies on the side of the house. I was so so worried because I’ve been dreading gardening season this year, but I’ll tell ya–now that I’ve got dirt under my fingernails, I’ve been bitten by the gardening bug again! I can’t wait to get out there more! I’m certain that my new plans this year will make a much more successful year than last, but I suppose only time will tell.

The lettuce and other leafy vegies might have to go in a pot on my porch this year, as last year the deer ate it all! I’m trying to figure out how to battle the deer this year, as Knut doesn’t want to put a fence up. Believe me, if you google this gardening question, you’ll find quite an array of answers from which plants will deter them to the outright gross. Knut says I need a gun, but I haven’t shot a gun since I was a little girl on the shooting range with my dad. Who knows…maybe it’s just like riding a bike. I was a pretty good shot when I was 7 with the little 22. However, if I actually shot a deer, and it landed and smushed my strawberries, I know Knut would be excited…but I think I’d be upset it smushed my strawberries. Strawberries are way better than deer meat, in my opinion!

A Fun, Exhausting Day

So today was my day with a booth at the mall. I wasn’t nervous about it at all…until last night. I had decided not to finish the last few bags, thinking they were unnecessary, but before I went to bed, I was assembling everything in boxes to take to the booth, and started freaking about all the things that I was unprepared for. Since I’ve never taken Nerdy Gerdy to an event like this, I was pretty clueless. What if I wasn’t bringing enough. What if people were upset that I didn’t have more available. What if no one came? What if? What if? What if?

I fell asleep after awhile thinking of all of that, and woke up early in the morning with stuff to do immediately on the brain. I got to work, as the kids had their breakfast, and after awhile finally got out of their p.j.s. As things were getting done, I was feeling more and more stressed, and finally it was time to go.

I started loading the kids into the car, and as I was getting shoes on Elias, he twisted around, and took my face in his chubby hands, and gave me a big open mouthed baby kiss, followed by a glowing, sparkly smile…and a little giggle. It completely melted me, and was exactly what I needed. All my stress disappeared as I realized it didn’t matter if the whole day went wrong. I still had the job as mommy at the end of the day.

The kids were happy to go to my friend Cassandra’s house, with her 3 kids and 2 daycare kids. She said 3 more wouldn’t make that much of a difference. I got everything set up, and the table was just the right size for all of my stuff, and everything went well.

A ton of people took my business card, and a few talked with me for quite awhile about diapers, and took a bunch of printouts about it that I had along with me. I sold 2 diapers by the end of the day (which is honestly more than I thought, because people usually buy diapers in numbers, and not singly. If they wanted more than just a few diapers they would have to order them.) One was one of the one-sized diapers I had prepared for the store stocking this next month. The lady who bought it was a grandma, and her daughter was pregnant and she thought she would be very interested, so took one home to try it out.

The second was a PUL diaper cover that someone bought for their miniature poodle who was in heat. Sadly, this is not the first time that someone has brought up that probable market for my diapers, and for some reason, it’s always brought up by poodle owners. Still, I do not intend to market them that way. I know…you’re all sad. I won’t stop them from buying some, though!

No one but my friend, Beth, came to my presentation, and Beth uses all kinds of cloth diapers on her kids, so I wasn’t sure what to teach her. It probably wasn’t the best idea for me to be scheduled during most kids’ nap times, but I’ll take what I can get. Still, it was fun to catch up with her, since the birth of her newest little girl.

When I went to pick up the kids when all was said and done, it was near bedtime, and Cassandra had taken her kids and my kids to the park. Silje was walking with her girls, Elias was in a stroller, and David was, of course, on a bike. He had found a bike at their place and asked if he could ride it. However, Cassandra was worried about him knowing some street rules as he’s used to riding in the country.

But even without training wheels, much to her surprise, David just picked up the bike and rode it everywhere. He stayed on the sidewalk all the way to the park. (More like raced on the bike and stopping inches from the street at every intersection, giving Cassandra near heart attacks.)

Silje’s first words were “We didn’t get to have enough time here yet!” I told her she got there at 9am. I’m picking her up after 7pm. She was there all day. She glared at me and said “We weren’t here all day because we had breakfast at home!”

Silje and David were exhausted from their play. On the way home, Silje kept going in and out of weeping over this or that. David was unconscious next to her by the time we hit the interstate.

So it’s the end of a really fun day. I got to sit and knit in between people walking by, and got to know the nice ladies in the booths next to me. I’m a bit tired from moving boxes of things, and all the the setup that was required, but I got so see some dear friends who came out to see me, and the kids had a fantastic time too. Knut had a rough day on the farm, as I guess one of the tractors broke down, which is always frustrating, especially when the weather is so perfect. Ah, c’est la vie.