Two Pairs of Pants

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In junior high school, I owned two pairs of pants. I owned a brown pair of corduroy and a green pair of denim pants. It was the 80s. Cut me some slack!

We didn’t have much money at the time. My parents recently divorced and my mom was struggling to get back on her feet. And extra money for clothes wasn’t available. But I didn’t really care. I rotated between those two pairs of pants each day and at the end of the week, they went in the wash. It certainly made getting dressed easy.

However, the boys in my science class did have a problem with it. They began teasing me about wearing the same pants over and over again. They would say, “Hey, what do you think she will wear tomorrow? The green pair or the brown pair?”

It went on for months until, one day, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I knew my mother didn’t have the money, but she took me shopping. And I learned a valuable lesson: jeans! I bought two pairs of jeans. No one would know if I wore the same pair the day before. I could even wear the same pair of jeans every day and no one would know.

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That experience changed the way I thought about clothes. It changed the way I thought about me. I realized people paid more attention to my outer appearance than my inner person. But my inner person was what I valued most about myself. So I learned to hide in a world of neutral colors and blend into the background.

As an adult, I hoped things would be different. Wow! What world was I living in?

We were newly married and I had a new job at a boutique in West Bloomfield. It was chic and expensive and exclusive. At the interview, I asked about the dress code. They told me that business dress was best. Casual was fine, but they preferred the women to wear skirts and dresses. I had a little bit of money put aside, so I went and bought some new clothes for my new job.

Two weeks later, my boss called me in her office. She told me how she appreciated my business attire, but that I had “too much color in my wardrobe”. They preferred their employees to wear black, white, navy, and other neutral colors. I couldn’t believe I was being reprimanded for wearing yellow. I would later have another job reprimand me for wearing too much black. I will never understand fashion requirements!

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This week we started our clothing fast journey. You can read about it here. We choose seven articles of clothing to wear for seven days. My morning meditations have stirred up so many feelings about clothes. If I could, I would wear black trash bags for the rest of my life. Okay, probably sweats pants. But you know what I mean!

I’m 48 years old and I still don’t understand fashion. Why does it matter so much to our world what I am wearing or not wearing? Why does it matter more because I am a woman? And why are my clothes still more important than the person I am on the inside?

Do you see me? The real me. Not my hair or my make-up or my clothes or my weight! Just me. Do you see how I love, when I cry, what I worry about? Do you know what gets me out of bed in the morning?

You don’t know me. But God does.

God knows when I sit and when I stand. He knows what breaks my heart and motivates me. He knows how much I love and care and how hard I try. He clothes me with honor and power from on high to be the person He created me to be. God sees the real me!

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This morning I woke early. My pajamas for the week are gray yoga pants and a bright pink shirt. I got up, brushed my teeth, and went for a walk. I waved at people as they walked by even though I still had bed-head and greeted them with a smile. Maybe they wondered who this weird person was with the crazy hair and the bright pink shirt. Maybe they were so lost in their own world they didn’t give it much thought. I don’t know. And I didn’t care. Because I am more than my outer appearance. I am more than the clothes I wear.

Here’s to waking up from my recliner and realizing there is more to life than how I dress!

 

 

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You Got This: An Open Letter to Men

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It’s Sunday and it’s Father’s day!

I was talking with a friend this week and he mentioned how Father’s Day is not much on his radar. The man who raised him had passed away and he never really knew his biological father.

I commented that Father’s Day is the hardest Sunday of the year as a pastor. It’s even more challenging than Mother’s Day.

Really? Really!

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Summer has already started and Sundays are filled with BBQ, swimming, weddings, graduations, and more. And attendance on Sundays is low because of these things. But on Father’s Day? People don’t want to be reminded of their estranged relationships with the father. Women may struggle with infertility, but everyone struggles with broken and absent relationships.

In addition, the Church has done some things to separate men from us over the years. We lavish praise on our mothers, sisters, wives, and women mentors on Mother’s day. But on Father’s day? We often tell them everything they are doing wrong and how to fix it.

We focus on what they are doing wrong

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In recent media, men have earned their fair share of criticism. But what if we took the time to lift us those who are striving for good?

I have read the statistics. Children are more likely to become productive, creative, contributors of society when a father or father-figure is in the picture. Children need both a mother and father figure in their lives. And children will seek one out if it’s not there. Children are also 80% more likely to stay strong in their faith if their father attends church with the family or takes them to church himself.

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For every man who is sitting in the pew on Sunday, you are telling our children a different story. You are sending a positive message they are not getting out in the world. You remind them that men are capable of loving God and submitting to others out of reverence to Christ. You teach them there is a better way to solve our problems. You show them that community is important and we can learn from one another. You show that the little things shape our world and make us better people. And you give them a place to belong!

On Father’s Day, every man that participates in congregational worship fills the gap. You can bring wholeness by simply participating in the life of the Church.

So here is something you may not have heard in a long time…

Men, we need you! And we especially need you as part of the Body of Christ. Be humble. Be faithful. Be available. Be present. But most of all, be Christ-like.

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I Pineapple Philippines

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We had an incredible experience on our mission trip to the Philippines. We arrived to find one wall and a roof of the new building. When we left we had 3/4 of the walls up. Since then Faith Church has been working hard to finish their building project.

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Faith Church has been praying for 20 years for a permanent facility to do ministry! Twenty years! That’s persistent faith. And they do incredible ministry among the people in their community. We were especially impressed with their outreach to families who live along the river. They go each Saturday to teach them about God and bring them bread.

 

Faith Church is reaching people you and I will never reach. But we can reach them by supporting Faith Church.

We have created shirts through our Amazon account. We have committed to giving the profits to help complete their building project. We pray you will consider purchasing a shirt and wear it proud! And you can watch our blog for project updates.

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