trying to create something beautiful out of the broken pieces

I haven’t died January 29, 2009

Filed under: faith,Family,Life,parenting,pieces — kunderwood @ 5:23 pm

I had an awareness today.  I was going to say I had a realization, but that’s not true.  I already realize this.  Unfortunately though, most days I’m not aware of it.  I willfully turn a blind eye to it.

Anyway, today I was once again made aware that I haven’t “died to myself.”  This term comes from the Bible, so I realize that it may not be recognizable in that sense, but what it means is universal.    There’s a verse in the Bible that says that if we want to find life, we must first lose ours.  In the spiritual sense, if we want to have a life in Christ, we have to give up the selfishness of ourselves and follow the things that He calls us to.

Well, I wish I could say I was being all spiritual when I was thinking about this today.  I really wasn’t.  Instead I was cleaning my house, baking bread, and thinking about the mounding laundry that needed to be folded and put away.  Now, I have started to enjoy baking bread- something I thought I’d never say.  But cleaning and laundry??  Nope.  Don’t see myself ever enjoying them.

But… I was cleaning while the bread dough was rising, and I started to think about my husband coming home to a clean house.  I am the most blessed woman that I have a husband who really doesn’t care about that.  He appreciates it to be clean, but he doesn’t complain when it’s not.  But I found myself thinking what I normally do: “Man, I hope he notices this and appreciates all I did!” [Translation: he should verbally acknowledge it!]   Did I mention the downfall of having a husband who doesn’t care when it’s dirty?  It’s that he doesn’t really notice when it’s clean either.  Needless to say… that can be disappointing.  As can the fact that my kids don’t notice and come in from school and throw their coats, hats, bookbags, and lunch boxes everywhere… after I’ve cleaned.

So where is this all going?  I was made aware that none of what I did today was done out of love.  It was done out of need and maybe  out of hope for appreciation.  This all led me to the thought that I haven’t really died to myself with my family.  I care about myself way more than I care about them.  I care that my time cleaning was “wasted.”  I care that it went unappreciated [again, it wasn’t verbally acknowledged].   When the kids ask me a question, I get annoyed that I haven’t finished  my post my work/email/facebook/whatever I am distracting myself with at the time and that they are interrupting.  Then I’m annoyed that there’s homework to be done.  Then I’m annoyed that a kid wants to be read to.  Then I’m annoyed that it’s bath night.  Then… (I’d go into all the ways I’m selfish as a wife, but this post has to have an ending sometime today).

If you were to ask me, I would totally say that I care about my family more than myself… but I was made aware today that my heart and my attitude tell the truth on that matter.


Manna January 13, 2009

Filed under: faith,helping,Life — kunderwood @ 6:20 pm

So the story goes like this.  God has his people wandering in the wilderness, basically walking in circles for days, weeks, years.  He provides food for them in the form of “manna.”  I think the loose meaning of the word is, “What the heck is this?”  Before this, manna hadn’t existed.  But as they wandered, God would provide it daily… falling from the sky to the ground.  He gave them one direction with this food.  He told them to take just what they needed for the day.  Each morning, new manna would fall.  Each day they were to take just that day’s provisions.  To ensure they only took their share, the manna would rot if they took more than they needed.

So the purpose of this?  One would suppose to teach them to trust God to provide for them daily.  Another beautiful explanation I’ve heard is that we can relate the manna to God’s mercy.  He gives us new mercy every morning, because let’s face it, we mess up everyday.

A friend and I have been talking about my previous post, “A Dilemma,” and I think it pertains to part of that too.  The idea of manna- taking exactly what we need for the day- has totally escaped us.  We all (rich and poor, alike) accumulate as much as we can.  We don’t trust that the food will be there tomorrow.  We don’t trust that we’ll have enough in the savings account.  We don’t trust that we have enough “stuff” like cars, clothes, furniture, toys, etc.

Trust me, I am the same way.

But if we all took the manna in the way it was intended… what would that mean on a local or global level?  Would we have poverty?  My friend even pointed out- would we have obesity, diabetes, heart disease?

We at least wouldn’t have the extremes in wealth and poverty.  If everyone took only their share- what they really needed- there would be enough for everyone.  Now THAT is an amazing thought!


A Dilemma… January 12, 2009

Filed under: faith,helping,Life — kunderwood @ 10:32 pm

So  I’ve been thinking through some things over the last 24 hours and trying to process.  These are just some initial thoughts and by no means the answers.  Those will take awhile to come.

Our church is seeking to make a difference in the city of Richmond.  Brent and I have a specific focus on helping those who are oppressed in our city, whether because of race, income or both.  With that comes the desire to educate those who are planting this church with us.  We are still trying to figure out how to do this in reality, though.

This scenario happened last night, but is a good example of what we’re dealing with.

Around Thanksgiving a lady from the projects started coming to our gatherings who Brent knows from some non-profit work he has done.  She has several children and then also is usually caring for several other children as well.  She came last night with nine children to our monthly “Common Meal” before our meeting together.  While this is wonderful, there is a divide that I’ve been trying to hash out in my brain, and therefore this blabbering…

Last night as people were going through the food line, the lady and the children came in the door.  They immediately cut the people already in line for the food.  Everyone was very gracious, even when the same children came back several times- cutting in line each time- while others stood still, without food.

Although there really are some great things going on, here are a couple of problems I see.  There are two mentalities going on that have to be addressed.  One, is the “us vs. them” or “haves vs. have nots” that the church people are communicating even though they don’t mean to or realize they’re doing it.  While what they are doing seems kind and generous, they are enabling this concept that they are different.

The flip side is the mentality behind what drives this lady (and in turn, the children).  She has learned how to use the system… the city’s system, the church’s system, the non-profit’s system.  Who can blame her?  This is what she’s been handed.  However, she’s learned it all so well, she’s been taking more than her share.  Not too unlike those in the suburbs, eh?  But by us standing by, and letting her cut in line over and over we are enabling the idea that she can just continue to take.

This is not an attack on this lady, or our church people.  This is a normal occurance all over the place.  Our desire is to break through those barriers though.  At some point, we all (church people and project people) are going to have to engage each other.  We are going to have to have real conversations and real relationships.  We are going to have to see each other as equals and all a part of this new community.

Now… to figure out how to be one people…


Moronic Headline of the Day January 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kunderwood @ 9:04 pm

“Israel Says it Won’t Stop Assault on Gaza Until ‘Peace and Tranquility’ are Achieved”

Why do we continue to think we’re going to establish peace through force?