“It’s because you were raised in a Christian home…”

My mom and I were talking last night about our latest music preferences in the car. We share an XM satellite account so we often discuss new stations that we find or which stations have turned into 24/7 Christmas music.

My latest fave has been the Siriously (sic) Sinatra channel. Which, I will ironically note, is the kind of music my sister and I used to negatively dub “Momma Music”. Mom has been listening to the Broadway channel.

In fact, she said, she’s been singing Footloose around the house ever since we went to see ASH’s production of it last time I visited. I remember the soundtrack well. Sherri and I loved our Footloose cassette and sang it over and over. In fact, we loved it so much that we got our younger cousin, Summer, a copy for Christmas one year.

I’ve shared this story often over the years, pointing out my embarrassing naivete, and felt foolish as I repeated it to my mom.

We were all at Mema’s house in Kansas when Summer’s parents tell us how much she loved the Footloose cassette. So we decide to put on a performance medley from the soundtrack. All is going well until Summer starts singing “You and me, we should be dancing in the streets…” No, no, no! We stop her. It’s dancing in the SHEETS, Summer. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Uncle Ron and Aunt Connie stop us…..we are going to let Summer sing STREETS instead. Their reaction puzzled us. Sherri and I had a little sidebar and decided that Summer must not be allowed to dance on her bed.

I told my mom I was FIFTEEN when that soundtrack came out. I thought I was so worldly by then but I was still so innocent. I missed all the double entendres. I would be in my 30’s and 40’s before I realized that Little Red Corvette wasn’t a car. And that the score they wanted in Grease 2 wasn’t about bowling. The list was long- and embarrassed me every time I’d make a new connection. I’m fairly educated but these songs made me feel like a quintessential dumb blonde.

As I’m sharing this with my mom, somewhere between gratitude for the innocence and mortified for the idiocracy, my mom offers a simple explanation.

“It’s because you were raised in a Christian home…”

She was right. My parents didn’t curse, we didn’t watch R-rated movies, and our innocence was protected at all costs. There was no reason not to take everything at face value because deception and wickedness had no place in our home. Our family life revolved around a Christian school, church, and church activities.

Even when I strayed into a world of darkness, that foundation was so strong it was almost as if there was a gravitational force pulling back to that core. Over and over I’d be drawn back to Him until the running stopped.

Can you imagine if I hadn’t had that foundation of a Christian home? I’d be like a yo-yo who just unraveled and rolled away, never returning to the axle.

I worry for today’s generation. Church isn’t as important to people anymore. Sports tournaments and week-end rest are prioritized over worship; Covid restrictions shuttered many worship gatherings; and parents let children decide if they want to go to church.

Guess what? You’re the parent! That’s your JOB! Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for raising me in a Christian home.

For I Know the Plans I Have for You…

Of all the verses Christians like to stand on, this is a big one. And it IS a great verse, filled with hope and encouragement. However, it’s also one that people often take out of context.

Think of the word of God like a big buffet. Ideally, you’d go down the line selecting a little bit of it all. But if you’re like me, you end up with a lot of meat, some bread, and a dinner plate of dessert. Not very healthy, I’ll admit. But why would I fill up on vegetables when there’s much more appealing foods to choose from?

Unfortunately, we tend to do that with the Word of God as well. We quote verses like God’s plans are for me to prosper without taking the verses in full context. Jeremiah 29 says:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

This promise of God, His plans for you are when you diligently seek Him. He rewards His faithful children.

It is true that it is His wish that none of us perish. He wants to see everyone thrive and prosper and have eternal life. But you cannot be an heir of God unless you accept Jesus. Unless you seek Him with all of your heart.

This reminds me a little of my son in elementary school. He loved school, he loved his teachers, and he loved playing with his friends. He just hated doing schoolwork. If they gave grades for PE and Recess only, he’d have been a Straight-A student.

But they don’t. So every 6 weeks, post-assembly, he’d be upset as his sisters carried home ribbons and restaurant coupons for Honor Roll awards as he remained empty-handed.

“You can’t get the prize without doing the work,” we’d tell him. As a mom, my heart would break for him. As a teacher, though, I was a little indignant. I had my own students that wanted the same rewards as those who’d done their homework and class assignments, as well as studied for tests. This wasn’t about not being a good test-taker or having difficulty, this was about effort.

We have a society full of people with that same childlike mentality today. They want the benefits of Christ without any effort. They want God’s rewards for their life as they execute their own plans.

Sometimes I shudder to think what I’ll see when I see His Master Blueprint for my life. I’ve made peace with the years I strayed from Him but even now, as my entire life is devoted to ministry, I wonder how many times I miss the mark. How often do I end up seeking my own plans and not His? I am comforted by the fact that He would rather I do SOMETHING than nothing (Revelation 3:16) but I’d much rather know that I’m following His Blueprint for my life and not my own.

He does have big plans for you, for all of us. The question is, are you putting forth the effort to receive the rewards?