Monday, July 16, 2012


Sometimes I still have a hard time talking about my faith.

Several weeks ago, we were with some dear friends.  The topic of the TV show, The Simpsons, came up.  Whether I like it now or not, I watched my share of The Simpsons years ago.  We were discussing how the writers of the show were able to take common everyday occurrences, institutions or character traits and push them to the extreme, resulting in satire and, well...laughs.

When the conversation turned to how the show portrays church, pastors, and Christians (think The Flanders Family), my hackles were raised- not at anyone in then-present company, mind you, but it was as if all my being was in revolt.  I felt and immediate urge to defend the institution of church and pastors and Christians.  I think something managed to escape my mouth but later, on the way home, my thoughts finally came together and I had a handle on what I wished I could have said.

Why wasn't I prepared to say it in the midst of our conversation?  I think it was more than just not having my thoughts adequately formed.  You see, sitting here typing behind much anonymity (not complete, many readers do know who I am) it is easy to speak from the heart.  When I'm in the midst of friends, even very good ones, sometimes I'm hesitant afraid.

I'm afraid I'm going to put someone off and fulfill the stereotype that many have of Christians- that we're narrow-minded, judgmental and potentially hateful.  And this is the very last thing I wish to do- represent my God and His Son in this way.

You can ask Jamey.  When I feel strongly and get emotional about something, I get choked up and have trouble saying what I want to say.  Because of this, at those times I'm hardly ever (maybe never) an eloquent speaker,  so I'm afraid I'll come across as feeble-minded, gullible and naive.  I know the enemy loves it when I feel this way, which of course makes me even more upset at myself when I allow it to occur.

There is a difference between gently speaking the truth you believe in love and putting others down.  I don't want to put anyone down and I don't want to become the person that no one wants to discuss faith or religion with because she goes off the deep end, becoming emotional and defensive.  Oh, Lord, we need your grace and wisdom!  Too many times, in the heat of the moment, we say things that harm more than help.  In our gallant attempts to defend, we sometimes drive the very people away who we want most to know the love of God.

The Bible says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).  I believe my faith is sealed.  All I can do is plant seeds, live a life that is as Christ-like as I can muster, and pray that with the Spirit's prompting each person who does not yet know God will one day turn to Him.  I cannot argue, debate or provide proof.  You can't argue faith.  You either chose to believe or not.  And I truly believe that the burden of proof of His existence does not fall to us.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them. 
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun."
Psalm 19:1-4

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
Romans 1:20 

But it's not right to keep quiet because I want to share all the important parts of my life with those I come in regular contact with, not just the areas that aren't potentially controversial.  

So, here's what I wish I would have said....

"Because God is Lord of my life and I love Him, watching (or hearing) His Name, His Church, His Son, or His people being slandered is even more offensive than if someone would take my husband's flaws and make a TV show about them, exaggerating the flaws to the point of making blatant fun of him.  And then, that someone broadcasted that show to millions of people, most of which obviously don't know him.  In their minds, from that point on, those watchers would associate my dear husband with all the traits and characteristics that were able to invoke the most laughs.  They would then use his name flippantly and disrespectfully, humiliating him, not considering his innate value and how much he means to those who love him.  Of course, he isn't perfect.  No person is.  And neither is any church, pastor or Christian.  But when you love someone or something so dearly, even humor based on exaggerations isn't funny, especially when it's presented to people who might not have the privilege to truly know him.  This is why the "humor" in this respect doesn't sit well with me and why I can't act like it's no big deal.  To me, it is a very big deal because my loyalty lies with God.  And poking fun at Him, his church and his people offends me."

Then I probably would have thrown up, peed my pants or started crying.  But at least I would have said what was in my heart!

And that leads me to a few apologies.

To Those Whom It May Concern (past, present, and future):

I want to apologize for any times I came on too strong in defense of my faith or my God to the point of showing you anything other than love.

I want to apologize for not sharing this important part of my life with you.  I don't want anyone to think it's a topic I avoid.  Even for those of you who share the same faith, please forgive me for hesitating to talk about this monumental part of my life, instead sticking to the often more acceptable topics of kids, garden, food, and summer plans.

And lastly, Lord, I want to apologize for not always rising to your defense- not because You need it, but because it shows that I am faithful, loyal and in love with You.  Thank you for forgiving me anyway and for loving me no matter how imperfect and befuddled I became, become and will become.  

Your grace is all too sufficient for me.  Praise Your Holy Name! Pin It


  1. "Then I probably would have thrown up, peed my pants or started crying." Great line!

    Being honest and vulnerable is hard. Thank you for putting yourself Out There. xoxo!

  2. How amazing your words are to describe your innermost feelings. I only wish I could converse with you personally but maybe when we get Home, we'll have a chance to talk better. Another thing that amazes me is how anyone could think the Simp.... are funny.

  3. I wish you had been able to say that, because it was worded very well. There is no reverence for sacred things anymore, and no respect for what others hold sacred. I was really impressed with a line from the "Avengers" movie though, when Captain America is going after Loki and is told, 'He's a god!' to which he replies, 'There's only one God ma'am, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't dress like that.'

    I was shocked that a movie coming out of Hollywood would have a great line like that.

  4. Precious post Jane. The LORD is honoured every time we speak of HIS Truth in love. It is being faithful to just say you don't agree and to gently remove yourself from the conversation. Praying for the LORD's help in the midst of these situations and before they happen is powerful...the LORD will give the strength and grace needed. HE is the ONE Who is Faithful to us!! How precious this Truth is!! Proclaiming HIM (as you have done here) brings honour and glory to HIS Holy Name.

    In HIS Love,
    Isaiah 26:3-4

  5. I found your blog about a year ago when I was Googling how to braid garlic. I really enjoy it and after combing the archives I subscribed and look forward to reading when your posts show up.

    I think we are remarkably similar and might be friends if we ever met in real life. Here is where we are similar: I also believe in living simply to give, that those of us doing well have an obligation to help those who are not. I choose to spend my money on local business men and women rather than corporations. I think fruits and vegetables taste best in season and we have done ourselves a great disservice by demanding that everything is cheap and available at all times (taste, quality, the environment, and the farm workers suffer). I strive to tread softly on the earth and to hopefully leave it better off than when I entered. I’m not a parent but believe in investing in friends and communities to build strong children. I have just started to can and preserve this year and am really enjoying it so far. Your freezers/pantry is an inspiration to me and one day I hope to follow in your footsteps.

    Here is where we are different: I am an atheist. I tend to skip your posts on your faith, because they are not as interesting to me as to read about your chickens or your preserving, or your parenting. If I read it correctly, and the apology is partly to people of your faith for not tackling the subject more often, I would like to offer my perspective: I think you post quite a bit about your faith. Not in a judgmental or disarming way (I still read some and come back for the rest). Although honestly, if your blog became more about your faith and less about the “more acceptable topics of kids, garden, food, and summer plans” then I’ll probably stop reading. It is your blog, and you can do whatever you want with it. If you feel more moved to write about your faith and to build that community, more power to you, but I would probably find another blog to read.

    Two other things comments about your post. First, I think most people have a hard time articulating something eloquently on the spot. I know I sure do, especially if it is something I feel strongly about. I don’t think that makes you appear feeble minded or gullible or a less ardent defender of your God: It makes you human.

    Finally, what struck me most about the post was your use of the word “enemy.” Do I fall under that title because I don’t believe what you believe? I am sure there are enemies of Christianity out there, but I think most people believe in the “live and let live as long as you are not doing harm” ethos. I certainly do. Even though our beliefs and motivations are different (you strive to be a good Christian because that is God’s way vs. I strive to be a good human because it is the right thing to do) the end result and our values are pretty similar.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and respectful comment. I'm honored that you come here to read despite our difference and I would be sad if you felt you needed to leave, but I would understand. *Not* writing about my faith would be near impossible for me because it's such a huge part of my life, but I do try to strike a balance.

      By "enemy" I meant the devil. I certainly did not mean you or anyone else who believes differently. I'm glad you asked this question because it would pain me greatly if others wondered the same thing and I didn't have a chance to clarify.

      I am so happy to have you as a reader even if you are a selective one. I appreciate your perspective very much and am so glad you shared it. I hope your garden/canning projects are incredibly successful this summer and I, too, believe there is a very good chance we would be friends if we had the chance:-).

    2. Rowan, I just want to say thank you for your thoughtful and respectful comment. I just love it when people of different viewpoints can share their ideas lovingly. That goes for Christians, Atheist, and everyone else.

  6. Jane, how delightful to hear your heart in your words. We all long to be true to our beliefs in every setting and allowing Him to stir our hearts when we miss an opportunity, I believe, gives us a growth moment. I believe your words have been used to "stir others to good works". Be blessed today!

  7. Hi there, I think I'm commenting for the first time here. :) Nice to 'meet you'! I loved this post. And I agree with Rowan in that this really just confirms that you are human! I believe that many of us get tongue-tied. I know I do. Recently I have been thinking more about how little I actually voice in reference to my faith, God, Jesus, etc. whether 'defending' or just talking. Something I will be praying about more and more and I'll keep you in prayer too as I pray on that topic.

  8. Kinda on the subject - but the Simpsons are MILD anymore compared to the onslaught of things online, on tv, and in the media that make fun of Christians or the family. It's almost a game anymore. :(

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I can relate so very much. This resonated with me in a big way.

  10. I remember, as many will, growing up with the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" saying. I've pretty much lived by that my whole life. Saying the wrong words, because we feel the need to say something in defense of what we believe, can be worse than saying nothing at all. Been there, done that. I have found a lot of people who know full well how you feel about things, will test you and manipulate you into a disagreement, etc., just for their own pleasure. I had a coworker who used to "set me up" all the time, knowing full well I was a Christian and would try to trip me up. Took me a while to catch on....I finally had to take the "God said it, I believe it and that settles it for me" approach. The way you live your life, is what makes the biggest impression on others. God bless you as you bless others thru this blog and in your every day life!

    Thankful to be a Christian,

  11. Hi. I am a fairly new reader, and this is my first comment. I enjoy reading your blogs, and particularly enjoyed this one because you very eloquently put into words what so many women feel. I know I have been in the same position, did not speak up, and only later was able to think of the words I would like to have said, and I know I have friends who have done the same thing. I think you struck a chord here with which most women can identify. Thanks for your awesome site!

  12. You have spoken what is true for so many Christians, including me! It really is a shame that we are unafraid to speak up for so many things, but afraid when it comes to our faith. Thank you for this wonderful post!

  13. Thank you I have been guilty of the same thing. I truly enjoy your blog.

  14. I think that many of us, regardless of our beliefs, feel the same way. I am a Christian as well, and lately have become more aware of the same feelings you are having. Growing up, most of my friends went to a church of some sort (Bible belt). I went to a Christian university. At our last duty station, I taught at a Christian school and was surrounded by it almost every day. Here, I have returned to school and have formed a group of friends who are primarily of other belief systems or none at all. I never want to offend my friends or shed a negative light on our Lord, but at the same time I want to share my beliefs with them in the hopes that they will understand where I am coming from. In a culture where tolerance is so highly valued, it so often feels like it means tolerance of everyone except Christians because we are "close-minded". I struggle with it, but at the end of the day know that I will be held accountable for my actions here on the earth. I may not preach to my friends, because that is definitely not the way to reach them, but I have slowly begun to speak more openly about my faith. I do not condemn them - that is not my place. I just try not to stifle myself when something comes to mind during a conversation. It is an interesting position and, while occasionally lonely and frustrating, I believe that He has purposely allowed me to become uncomfortable so that I would become bolder.

  15. Thank you for sharing! I agree with your thoughts, but like you can't always think of right words in the moment and am sometimes afraid to speak up. I am glad that through your blog post you did speak up and share how much you value our God.

  16. Thank you for sharing your faith, your lif, nothing is more important than our faith. Blessings! Susan

  17. Thank you for sharing your faith, your life!

  18. absolutely an awesome stmt of faith. thank you sooooo said what i have felt so many times...i too feel i come off to strongly at times, and kinder and gentle is so much just all hit home w/me, like coming from my heart...again, thank you.

  19. The way you described how you feel when confronted and cannot speak eloquently at all I so understand. I am there all the time! How you said you would explain why you do not like your Fathers name being used as they do and such is one that should make them understand when they may not love Him like we do. Thank you very much for being honest and making this a post. Seriously, I mean thank you. Beth

  20. I just found your blog via pinterest.

    You and your life is more or less what I aspire too. I'm 23, married for almost 2 years, and we're hoping to settle down soon and homestead ourselves!
    I really love this post, and I love how you approach your faith. I didn't think there were many other people like me out there. Thank you for sharing,
    thank you for living God's Love in a real honest human (totally imperfect) way.

    I'll be coming back for sure to keep up on all your wonderful recipes etc!
    so happy to have found this!!


  21. Thank you for your beautiful words. I think we all at one time or another feel the same way. As you get older it's easier to share your beliefs in a gentle manner. It's important to stand up for what you believe. I appreciate your post. Thank-you.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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