You Should Know That I Am Indeed a Christian Nerd

We either are or we aren’t. It’s not both.

Admittedly, in the recent years of my Christian walk I have been under the impression that it’s not effective to be overtly Christian in the eyes of an unbeliever. I thought that the best way to make an impact was to be relevant with a perfect amount of “worldly” peppered in. Not too Christian. Not too secular. Of course, the problem then becomes defining what that means because it can get pretty convoluted pretty quickly. But I digress.

In my honest and earnest attempt to be as “real” as possible, I even compromised the wording of my message, using the adjective “spiritual” as my hipster definition of faith. Don’t get me wrong, my faith has everything to do with my spiritual life, but I am not spiritual first, faithful second. And this is something I had to realize when I put myself in an unbeliever’s shoes.

See, I used to work in marketing for a Christian company. I came in thinking I knew everything about how to effectively market to the lost. Don’t be too “Christian,” it turns people away. That was my mantra and I stuck to it pretty religiously (if you will pardon the pun) until I was asked to really start analyzing how the world views us. When I started to try to think outside my own box, something hit me.

No one wants to be conned into faith. Geez. Does that mean I’ve been a Christian con-artist all this time?

Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but my point is simply that if I’m so preoccupied with what the message looks like that I compromise the message itself, I’ve gone from being a real, honest person who just wants to share what’s on their heart, to someone who is trying to sell you something. And that’s EXACTLY what I was trying to do, with the best of intentions, let me assure you.

So to all of you out there who have wondered for a while about Lately, let me make it clear. We are not “Christians in a band that sings about spiritual stuff that could possibly be interpreted as having something to do with Jesus.” We are believers in the saving power of the blood of the Lamb of God. This is not something we want to shove down your throat or force upon you in any way. And moreso, it’s not something we hope you stumble upon when you happen to listen to our lyrics more closely. This is what we believe, and we thought you might like to know about it.

If you’re not interested at this time, there will be no hard feelings or judgment on our parts. But feel free to come back anytime with questions, concerns, or if you decide you do indeed want to know more about this Jesus fellow. He is intriguing, rebellious, and completely awesome, I can assure you. But yet again, I digress.

If at any point during the life of this band you have felt duped, misled, or conned, I offer you my sincerest apologies. I, as are we all, am on my own journey in this life, and I fully admit that I made a mistake in my youth, replacing the message of Jesus with relativism – worldy crust on an otherwise Christian pie. It was deceiving and I am sorry if you ever felt used or duped by it. I promise that was not my intention, but I see now that it was most likely the result.

I hereby promise that from this point forward, you will know full well that I am indeed a Jesus Freak, and if I may rip off the apt phrasing from my best friend, I’ve “grown some god-balls.” I’m not afraid to tell you that I love him and I’m doing all of this for him.

And for those of you who already believe in Jesus, I would like to encourage you to shed the garments of this world and don your nerdiest christian garb, so to speak. Wear your faith with
pride. Now, more than ever, you and I have nothing to hide. In fact, if we don’t share it, who will?

That is my spiritual (oh dang, there’s that word again) insight for today. May it serve us all well.

And may the force be with you.
The Captain
(confessed Jesus Freak)

A Day in the Life

“A Day in the Life…” My favorite Beatles song and the subject of today’s entry.

Okay so it’s really not a post about a day in my life… I just thought of it, thought it was clever, and chose to name my entry for today after it. After all, what’s in a name?

I thought it might be interesting to share what has been the most challenging aspect of parenting so far, and what has been the least challenging. My son turned nine months old yesterday and I must say, it has been a surprising journey.

I suppose the most challenging aspect of parenting so far has been the daily decisions on who we are as parents and how we’re shaping Virgil. I’m fully aware that at nine months old, he is hardly conscious of our attempts at infantile disciple. Albeit mellow, they are at least, a start in our eyes. Lance and I both want to make sure our children know that we are in charge while at the same time leaving them plenty of room to safely and healthily explore the world around them. Up to now, and for a bit more time into the future, we are fully aware that Virgil does not understand discipline or have a grasp of what’s right or wrong, safe or dangerous. So really, the discipline is more for us at this point and less for him. We are setting our own precedent here, learning how we will face challenges with our children, and deciding now how we will handle them.

It is very important to both of us that we are fair and balanced; just and gracious; strict and liberating. I want my children to know who is boss and who makes the decisions and yet I never want them to feel restricted or confined from trying things, meeting challenges, and exploring the world. And so each day I think (perhaps too much, as my mother would point out) about what that means for us as parents and what choices we should make to set up a healthy environment for our kids. (I speak in the plural sense here because, Good Lord willing, Virge will be the first of many.)

The challenge has been to learn how to think critically and apply our best judgement on all things, right from the beginning, so that we form the right habits now. That way, when he does begin to understand discipline and accountability, we won’t have to change our habits all over again.

That being said, what has been the easiest thing about parenting so far? I would have to say, hands down, it has been loving our little man despite the frustrations that inevitably come with parenthood. See, I’ve been an aunt for almost twenty years, and while I love my nieces and nephews deeply, I must admit there have been numerous times when I wondered what planet they came from and why we can’t send them back. I was concerned, admittedly, that with my own children, living with them 24/7, I would develop a sense of resentment to their very natures, simply because the daily task of dealing with children can be overwhelming. But I’ve learned what unconditional love really feels and looks like through my sweet boy. And even though he can be a pill, I never, ever feel like I would be better off without him. I never feel like I wish I could “take him back.” This has been a sweet surprise to me because I never understood unconditional love until now.

It brings a whole new respect to my own parents and what I put them through. Wow. They deserve a medal. And moreso, it brings a whole new perspective to God’s love and what it means for me. I never knew He loved me that much. In fact, he loves me more than I love Virgil, as impossible as that seems.

So there it is, what I’ve learned so far and what I know I will continue to learn as Virgil and I grow up. We’re both learning valuable lessons. Amen to that!

Thank God for the Midnight Pharmacy

I know I have a lot of lessons to learn. But last night was definitely a lesson I can check off the list. That lesson? NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT INFANT TYLENOL.

It was a night like any other, I thought. Virge and I were staying at my parents’ house for a little fun weekend with them. He went to sleep with no fight at about 7:30, a little early for him, but he didn’t take a long nap that day so I didn’t think much of it. At about 10, I went to bed because I knew he’d probably wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning. About 10:30 he woke up and fussed a bit. I usually let him fuss for a bit before I get him because many times he will just go back to sleep. But as his crying got worse, I knew he wouldn’t go back to sleep. I picked him up to console him and his crying just got worse and worse until it became a scream.

Now let me make this clear: Virgil may be many things, but a screamer he is not. I knew something was wrong and I figured it was probably his teeth. I went to the diaper bag to look for baby Oragel, Tylenol, SOMETHING to soothe him.

Nothing.

Genius. Mother of the year.

I was so mad at myself I couldn’t stand it. By this time he had my parents’ attention and they came to see what was wrong. Upon seeing my usually happy baby boy, they immediately got their shoes on to make a midnight run to a pharmacy. Life savers, I tell you! By the time they got back, I had finally calmed down Virge by letting him suck on some ice. We gave him Tylenol, and then he was ready to play! Hahahaha!

We let him play for a bit, I tried to nurse him, but he was not interested, so I just put him in his playpen to get rid of some of his newfound energy. Within 15 minutes, without so much as a single fuss, my awesome boy was asleep again.

The lesson? Tylenol: NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT

Lesson 2: Grandparents are awesome.

Milestones

Today Virgil is 8 months, 12 days old. So many milestones, so little time.

I wish I would have started this blog when he was younger because so many amazing things have happened since that day. First roll over (in the hospital, seriously). First flu (not quite 3 months old). First sitting up (5 months old). First crawl (7 months old). First time to pull up on something (two days ago). First tooth (two days ago).

Okay so there has been more firsts than that, but at least you get the idea.

Being a mom has been such an amazing journey. I never knew I could love someone so much. I never knew how fun parenting could be. Lance and I stay in stitches with this boy. He does the funniest things. Like recently – since he’s learned to pull up on things, he’s also decided to use his mouth to assist in the process. It’s pretty funny, my little rough tough cream puff working so hard to pull up on the ottoman, resorting to his face and mouth to aid in the process. He also has started making this sort of growling noise when he crawls – like he’s a barbarian on the hunt. That’s what Lance calls him – his little barbarian. Virgil the Barbarian, to be exact.

He’s getting more and more active as the days go by. I keep thinking that it can’t get much worse. Needless to say, I keep being proven wrong. He’s so busy now that changing his diaper is much like gift-wrapping a cat. And when it’s time to sleep, there is no winding down for this boy. It’s full speed ahead followed by a sudden crash. Fully awake, followed by fully asleep.

I’m having so much fun. As much of a perfectionist as I am, I have to constantly remind myself that there is nothing perfect about parenting, so it’s been a huge leaning curve for me to say the least. But it’s a lesson I most definitely needed to learn and I appreciate it all the more.

As the days and months go by, I plan on updating this blog with the things that mean the most to us. Our memories, our triumphs, our struggles. If you read it, I hope it blesses you with the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not the only one going through the crazies of life. And if you get bored with it, well that’s okay too. It’s really just a journal for me anyway. 🙂

Happy living, my friends.

This is Virge this morning, eating waffles and syrup for the first time. He loved them. He’s quite the independent eater these days. He doesn’t want mommy’s help anymore!

Original Art – Now on Etsy!

Hi friends,

I just wanted to share with you that you can now purchase some of my original artwork on Etsy now! I’ll be adding new stuff all the time so check it out often!

You are all awesome!!

~Captain

http://www.etsy.com/shop/minor5captain?ref=pr_shop_more

, Pickin’ and Grinnin’

I took a break. I took a break from the band. I took a break from leading worship. It was for different reasons than what I now realize I actually needed a break from. My pregnancy gave me an excuse to take a break because I was tired. But I didn’t know what I was tired from. I thought it was just drama and the sometimes thankless job of the indie musician.

But that wasn’t it at all. I needed a break from me.

I stepped down from leading worship four years ago. [blockquote align=”right”]I needed a break from me.[/blockquote] Over that time God has done an incredible work in my soul. I never realized I was doing it so wrong. So unauthentically. But I was. I was leading worship for the accolades, for the recognition. It was, shamefully, a bit of a competition for me. I was used to hearing people say, “You’re such a good singer! That was incredible! I was really moved.” I bought that and took it to heart. I believed my own hype. And it swallowed me up deep into its belly. The belly of pride. And I stewed in it for a long time.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, knew not to take it all away from me. He knew that I would just become a “victim” and blame someone or something for my misfortunes if that happened. Instead he let me get burned out and step away on my own terms. Then and only then did I realize that I was the culprit. I was the problem.

During my sabbatical I joined a church that I fell in love with. I found my favorite worship leader there. This incredibly talented person is someone whom I would never listen to outside of the context of worship. I don’t like their voice. I don’t like their style. I would never do it the way they do it. And irony of ironies, I find that I worship more authentically when they lead than anyone else who could lead me. I am moved to tears with every word out of this person’s mouth. This blows my mind. I thought worship would be better if the leader was the best. I thought worship would be more effective if the leader was exactly my style – edgy, current, whatever. As if worship is just another episode of American Idol where the best will rise above the rest. How wrong I was!

It’s all so trite when I read it back now, but folks I’m sad to say that’s where I was. That’s where my mind went when I led worship. And thank God I got sick of myself.

Tonight I step back on that stage to lead worship again. I don’t feel prepared. I don’t have that signature “I got this” attitude I always had before. I don’t think, “just wait ’til they hear me.” I am hesitant at best. I don’t know what to expect. But I know that all I hear God say to me is, “Just worship up there. Let them in on your personal time with me.” So that’s exactly what I plan to do. Get out of the way. Let God be God. I’m just going to sing to him. No frills. No “can do” attitude. No “come and see how awesome I am” pride. Just me and Jesus. Pickin’ and grinnin’ (as my dad would say).

And perhaps, that’s exactly as it should be.

[blockquote align=”left”]Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor. ~Proverbs 18:12[/blockquote]