I'm sure you've noticed that phrase on this blog and definitely if you follow me and my hashtags on Facebook. It's a crucial piece of how I think and what I write about so rather than assuming you understand... here's how "Everything is Theological" changed my life.
I first heard it as a senior at Moody Bible Institute by my brand-new advisor Mark Eckel. He had piece of paper tacked to his office door in Fitzwater Hall that said simply: "everything is theological". No capital letters or anything. Just those words. Our class wasn't big but we were the first group to complete the entire 4 year ACSI certification program from start to finish. We kinda thought we were a big deal.
Then comes this new advisor - a guy (in our mostly female prof selection). He essentially tells us that all we'd learned up to that point about integrating the Bible into our lessons had to be unlearned. We weren't very nice to him. Slowly (very slowly) he changed our minds and our lives as he modeled for us what he meant.
He kept explaining that all truth was God's truth. Pieces of it can be found everywhere - even in false religions. Finding truth there doesn't validate the religion rather it points to the Creator who wants us to know Him. They are signs showing us who He is. As a very black and white sort of thinker, I could hardly process that. How is it that my life of list-following (listen to this music, not that! read these books, NEVER those!) law-abiding (grace mirage) life didn't work?! I could teach a math lesson and slide in a biblical-integration at the end and call it good. A verse a day could keep the devil away, couldn't it?! I could compartmentalize life and love it. You just watch me.
Somehow the second week of school isn't nearly as glamorous as the first. Mainly because no one wants to document it with the many super cute pictures such as this one of my boys!
My 6th grader came upstairs at 6:20 moving slow and summed it all up with, "I am so exhausted." I just gave her a hug, made her some scrambled eggs (hoping the protein would jumpstart her day) and got her out to the bus in time.
Her 4th and 1st grade brothers made their appearance just after she left. (Cue the part of the morning when things can go really well or really not.) This morning, it landed on really not. There was lots of emotion and drama and random issues. I managed to get them both ready and we sat on the couch for our story time - except today was a much-needed reset conversation with a few minutes of prayer time before they headed out to the bus.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tomoson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionâs 16 CFR, Part 255: âGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.â
This is my first foray into the world of book reviews.
I found the title and the idea of reading a book originally written in Hebrew quite intriguing.
âMommy, Smile! by Smadar Shir tells the fictional story of a young Israeli family, Eran and Mia, and their marriage struggles along with balancing their roles as parents of their 3ish kids and what that looks like in light of their own emotional baggage. Memories and the mystery of the mind can be so murky. Events we think are buried and far from us are triggered by small things like scent as easily as a fully body jolt as you see on a cartoon. This quote relates the centrality of this thought to the storyline: "Breathe the memories back in, I instruct myself. Donât try to erase them. You wonât succeed, and failing will only make things worse. Memories are like labor pains. Thereâs no point in resisting them. Better to go with the flowâcooperate." Doing so, in my experience, is never pain-free. â
I'm folding laundry this time. I seem to do the best thinking when my hands are busy doing mundane things.
My arms reaching out to pick up a towel. Familiar motions and soon it is folded. Another towel and anther. My body working in harmony.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a slow movement and without thinking my body snaps into action to prevent precious clean laundry from falling on the floor.
Instinct. Familiarity. Harmony. The Body.
Each member doing its job to the absolute best of its ability; instinctively. Hands, Feet, Head, Arms, Ears, Mouth, Eyes... not one part telling the other how to do its job. The Body functioning as it should.
I don't pretend to be an expert on ecclesiology. The study of the church belongs to wiser minds than mine.
However, experience has taught me a few things.
I've written about Mother's Day before.
I've written about being a mom - even about The Mother Curse.
But as the day gets closer and closer, I find myself in an odd state of mind. I feel like a fraud; like I'm on a treadmill that never quits. I'm trying to balance a scale that will forever be weighted on one side.
My sweet Engineer always teaches the kids by his example to love and respect me. He shows them by cleaning up the kitchen, cooking dinner, and the occasional load of laundry that those things aren't just "mom" things but jobs he gets to do because he loves me.
For me, Mother's Day isn't about the outward things the kids do for me or give to me, or even say to me, but a week long introspection that almost always leaves me wanting to run crying to a corner.
For those of you who read my Facebook posts and comments, please know they are true and in the moment and I do my best to relay funny and hard not just the ones that make my parenting glow pretty... but this past week was ugly.
It is this week plus the countless other times that flood into my mind as Mother's Day approaches.
I'm passionate about words, books and thinking and theology but most importantly, applying it to the reality of life... everything is theological!
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