Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apathy, Fear, or Trusting Obedience

I have recently become aware of some concerns regarding the new Education Bill which is scheduled to be passed soon in Alberta. 

For those of you who aren't aware of the current concerns you can read about it here - my focus in this post has more to do with our response than the actual content. 

I have been pondering three different responses that we can have to any issue of this nature, responses I've seen both in myself and in others. 

Apathy.  This is the simplest response to anything. It can be easy to brush off threats to our freedom as fear mongering, look at a huge issue like abortion and think 'what good can I do', or even more insidious, 'plan' to do something 'someday' - but never arrive at that day. 

"If you say, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that ponders the heart consider it? and he that keeps thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?" Pr. 24:12

Fear. Probably the most wide-spread and natural response to an article like this, as our minds have this fascinating habit of lumping every possible outcome into one impending outcome. Fear can be a strong motivator to actually do something, but is ultimately more debilitating than helpful. Fear can lead right back to apathy as we think, 'it doesn't matter what I do, it won't change a thing'.

Trusting Obedience. Ultimately, as Christians, this should be our response to every issue that arises, every potential threat to our freedom. 
Obedient, because we have a Biblical mandate to stand for truth, for righteousness, and to defend the weak. 
Trusting, because we know that God has clearly warned us of persecution through all history, and specifically in the final days before His return, yet has promised a reward that far surpasses anything we may experience.

The combination of these two were what triggered the bulk of my thoughts on this subject. 

We have a responsibility to speak out against unrighteousness in our government, in our country, and in our communities. How can we protest against laws that are wrong or unjust if we did nothing to stand against them? How can we come into the presence of our God with a clear conscience when we have closed our ears to injustice around us and done nothing?

However, obedience without trust leads back to a fear based motive. If our goal in speaking out is to protect ourselves, or to prevent persecution, we are deluding ourselves. Yes, by speaking out we may delay the inevitable, and certainly, there is more chance of changing our culture by speaking out than by remaining silent.
The Bible is pretty clear though that persecution WILL come, that we are living in a sin-cursed world, and that salvation will NOT come through our government or society. If our goal in taking a stand for right is any form of a 'utopian society', we are striving for the wrong goal, and setting ourselves up for disillusionment and eventual apathy.

No, once again, the driving force behind any stand we take MUST be obedience coupled with trust, doing our part to stand for justice, trusting God with the outcomes, and ultimately looking ahead with great anticipation to eternity and our promised reward for faithful service.

How are you taking a stand for justice?

Isaiah 59:4  "None call for justice, nor any plead for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Basement Transformation!

One of my goals before the baby came was to completely organize our basement. 

This included going through all our 'storage' boxes from moving - you know, the ones that got stuck in the basement because there was no other place for them? Yup, those ones. Plus, of course, legitimate storage items, and a great number of boxes marked GARAGE SALE. That was finished last week, and makes my feet do happy dances whenever I look into that side of the basement.

The other part of my basement organization was the side that contains the boy's play area, our office, and the laundry area! Since we're working with an unfinished basement, but plan on spending a decent amount of time down here, I scoured KIJIJI for carpet and baskets, and was rather tickled with what I found. 

Today was the day I finally finished what I wanted to do on this side of the basement. I don't have pictures of the office/laundry area, but was so tickled with the boy's area I had to take pictures. :)

My picture taking jumped the gun a bit, still a bag of garbage, a toy that is departing to other lands, and a few books to be removed... The boxes you see along the left side of the picture is my recycling - a neat and tidy system that makes me most happy. I am considering covering the boxes with fabric or paper to make them more attractive - we'll see how bored I get before the baby comes. ;-) 

I am SO thrilled with this carpet! You can't see it very clearly, but it has a very nice pattern, tight weave, and best of all, makes a much warmer play area for my little men! There was about a 3ft strip that Josh cut off which goes very nicely in front of my washer/dryer/laundry table as well. :-D
Now, to the left of the freezers is a very special place. Most people know it as Under The Stairs, but I prefer to refer to it as The Cubby Hole. 
To dabble down a bit of a side trail, I've been taking a personal journey this year to find a place between utilitarianism and interior designism... I love things that are beautiful, but often don't think of all the ways of beautifying, and in the past have seen a lot of decorating as a waste of time. On the other hand, I have a hard time watching people spend exorbitant amounts on interior design, only to change it all over again when the whim seizes them - specifically when this takes resource that may not really be available. As a result, I've erred a bit on the side of utilitarianism, a view God has been challenging this year, with the concept of making everything beautiful - just as He did. 

My sister-in-love, Breanne, has been a great inspiration to me in this area, as she does such a great job of making everything she touches beautiful, within limited resources. 

The crowning touch on this journey so far is a book I have been LOVING - The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by one of my favorite authors - Edith Schaeffer. Basically, she challenges us to make an effort to reflect the nature of God in our homes through many little art forms (music, gardening, decorating, flower arrangements, etc). She gives a lot of ideas of ways to do so without spending extra, or even taking a ton of time, and gives many thought provoking reasons for surrounding our children with beauty, and for using this avenue to reflect the nature of God as Christians. 
Aside from some of my personal reactions, I have always seen it as important to help my children see beauty, and especially (having only sons at this point) to instill in my boys a love and appreciation of beauty. 

All that being said, the following pictures may not be beautiful in every sense of the word, but were inspired by my reading of Edith Schaeffer. I have always loved the Telus animals, and Peter will sit for quite some time looking through their calendars. I'm one of those people who will save calendars, or cut out beautiful pictures, and then not know what to do with them, and after a bit, the practical side of me kicks in and I throw them all out. 
While sorting through the toys (another thing that made me happy - throwing stuff away, putting some into the cupboard for a change of toys, selling some, and neatly arranging the rest) and looking at the nasty walls, I was inspired to see what I could do with the calendars to make it a fun and more attractive little cubby for the boys. 
There is no doubt that doing something breeds more creativity, as just doing this today has spawned a number of ideas that may or may not take flight down the road... :-D

The basket between the Bear and Mr. Frog is one of 6 I found on KIJIJI for a great price. They are beautiful, scoocum, and work even better than I expected for sorting toys/etc. My next project is the boy's bedroom and nursery where I'm using more of the baskets, and rather excited about that as well...

Don't you love these salamanders? I do... :-D
 Peter loves elephants, so this is one of his favorites...
 I wasn't crazy about this wall - feels a bit messy, but Peter really likes it, and I do like the words that go with each picture.

 These adorable little bunnies made me especially happy - you don't see the tape typically, and it keeps them a bit safer from prying fingers.

My satisfaction was complete when Peter came home from an outing with Josh, took a look around the transformed play area, and said, "It's NICE mommy!" :-D