Recently, as is often the case in summer, a quickly moving thunderstorm passed over us at the beach. My husband and I decided to wait it out and as the sky cleared, a rainbow appeared on the horizon. That’s kinda the way life is for us, isn’t it?
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
– Genesis 9:16
While the news has been filled with reports of occurrences demonstrating unrest around the world, I think there’s a widespread concern that we are on the brink of certain disaster. And here in the U.S., no matter what side you fall on, the political climate and upcoming election has us on edge. Yet most of us also have more personally pressing concerns to deal with in our families and everyday lives. We are waiting out the storms, praying for change, and anxiously waiting for better days to come.
Like most of us, I had just started to wrap my head around what happened as I checked my emails and social media the other day. And then I received an email message from a dear friend, addressed to a pretty large group of her friends and family, that really disturbed me. She had crossed a line and I had to respond before all of the people on her list started to think she might be right. She is a wonderful, loving person who means well, but she
is not a believer does not believe the Bible to be true. I think that will be pretty clear. Below is the string.
“The Islamic extremist in Orlando, Florida who killed so many people on Saturday thought he was following God’s will. It is so sad. Hitler was so devout that he had bible verses inscribed on the belt buckles of every soldier. The point is that it is a person’s belief of ‘doing God’s will’ that gives religious extremists permission. They actually believe they are doing ‘right’. They believe they are following God’s instruction. For example they will take a concept/section from a holy book where it describes how God condemns homosexuality or God promotes slavery or God promotes sexism and they try to promote the concept because this is what God instructed in the book. They believe they are being good because they are the ones following God’s instruction. They believe they are just following orders. And this is why teaching religion using these books is so detrimental. Because these extremists are just reading and following the instructions which other humans have taught them, usually from a young age, are the instructions directly from God. So they believe if they follow the instructions ‘they are good’ and if they do not follow the instructions ‘they are bad’. It is the continual teaching that these books are actually God’s words/God’s will/instructions that causes the problem combined with a person who really wants to do what is ‘right’ by following God’s orders exactly that leads to all this inhumanity. We have to stop teaching people that these books are God’s words. Otherwise there will be people who will want to follow the instructions to the extreme thinking they are doing good.”
Wait…What??? Are you kidding me?? Unfortunately, I can see that a lot of people think this way… that “religion” is the cause of war, “religion” is what is wrong with the world.
Here was my carefully worded response.
I follow your train of thought but I have so many issues with this message. And this is not a conversation to be had in a short email (with no paragraph breaks). With all due love and respect, I have to respond.
I’ve always said that parenting my genius is a roller coaster ride… like when MJ was struggling with grades, was kind of miserable in high school, and then her science fair project on the thrust of rocket engines was chosen to compete regionally and then statewide. Last time I wrote, I was so excited about MJ’s internship. And while it was a fantastic and life changing experience it came to an unexpectedly difficult and sort of abrupt end.
In the beginning, they seemed so enamored with MJ and talked about the possibility of hiring her or at least extending the internship. She was feeling confident and great about her future prospects. But in the 11th week they decided that because there were some previously scheduled interns coming in, they didn’t have room for her. And, I’m not exactly sure what happened but it seems that the lack of structure and some blurred lines of expectations became issues. Yup, up and down and around we go.
Sorry it’s been a while. My work has kept me incredibly busy and I was knocked down hard with the flu the week before spring break. Before spending Easter in NJ, we packed ourselves up and took a long drive south. Given the talk of the bathroom bill issue in North Carolina, MJ was nervous about going to that part of the country. But we were in a more urban area of South Carolina and all was fine. I don’t think any of us felt uncomfortable at any time.
We had all been working so hard that I felt we needed to take a mental break and just enjoy each other as a family. So, we toured the city of Charleston and underwent a culinary adventure. No shortage of great eating there! One day was spent leisurely strolling through Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. I underestimated how intensely therapeutic this day would become. We completely slowed down, focused our attention on the beauty before us and literally took the time to stop and enjoy the glory of God’s creation. MJ treated it as a photo expedition and took thousands of shots, some that are so artful, they look like paintings.
This was MJ’s 2nd week at her internship and I’m thrilled to report that it’s going well! As far as I can tell, she is doing a very good job. They have her doing beta testing and she found a lot of issues and bugs to be fixed. She created a prioritized spreadsheet for the programmer to follow. And, she told me that the programmer is actually the owner and that she sat with him as they worked through the list to fix each item. The liaison from Pathways tells me MJ has been very thorough and that’s exactly what they need from her.
MJ even talked about helping connect the sales people to potential prospects. She seems genuinely happy to go to work and be a team player. One day I called her cell phone when I arrived to pick her up. She was surprised I was there already. She said, “Is it time to leave? But we’re on a roll here!” LOL, that’s a good sign! At first she didn’t understand that this was an 8-12 week internship. She thought it was either a test to see if they would hire her longer term, or that if she did a great job, they’d want to keep her. Now that she gets that it might just be 8-12 weeks, I think she’s working hard to prove herself invaluable. Pretty cool, huh?
Yesterday MJ went to the interview with the Pathways people and it went well. She starts a 12 week internship in just a little over a week! Yay Pathways! Yay God!
This opportunity is so clearly orchestrated by our intimate, loving God. First of all, you know MJ is not very comfortable driving yet, so this company is only 6 minutes away from home. It couldn’t be any closer! The team at this company was so impressed by MJ’s visual resume that they tailored the internship to her strengths. They already have projects in mind that will be perfect for her skills. It is with a company that creates software products so she will be able to use her skills in beta testing as well as give them graphic design support. They keep pretty flexible hours and have a late start time of 10am so she won’t have wake up too early! The offices are in a townhouse, which creates a nice casual office environment. They eat lunch there so she won’t have to drive any place to get food and it sounds like she can spend a little time socializing, which she really needs to do. And because it’s in a townhouse, the bathrooms are not gender-specific!
What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
– James 5:11
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.
– Proverbs 15:30
I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I’ve been very busy at work, but also because there wasn’t much to report. We weren’t making much progress toward the new year’s goals. MJ still hadn’t gotten back to that great sleep/wake schedule she had going before the holidays. And then “snowzilla” happened. I won’t kid you, I had a hard time staying focused on the positive and finding encouragement. But I know that God sent the snow, reminding us that He is in charge. He ordered us to be still for a bit and take a break. (Yeah, that’s my car under that pile of snow.) I recognized that I was deep in waiting mode… waiting for Pathways to find an internship opportunity, waiting for the weather to give us a break and for the roads to be cleared, waiting for God to work things out.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!