So anyways. I went to this women’s retreat in the mountains of Oklahoma over the weekend. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m with you: Oklahoma has mountains? Well, they’re no Canadian Rockies, eh? But they were tall enough to make me feel like passing out as we drove up and down them.
This retreat was by no means something I decided upon doing last minute, nor was I dragged into it–at least not kicking and screaming–and I ended up having a good time. A wonderful time, actually. I left feeling renewed, refreshed; more in tune with what God thinks I ought to be doing with my time. I also left feeling like a pretty freakin’ big schmuck, because I know that what I am doing with my time and what I ought to be doing with my time are two completely different things.
So far, getting back into the church, for me, has basically been all about me checking off items on a little list I’ve entitled "Christianity: What NOT to Do." And while that’s all fine and good (it is all fine and good, right?), I was hoping there was a whole lot more to my spiritual development than that. With the help of this handy women’s bible study that I’ve been participating in for the past 3 months, and with the extra "oomph" the retreat gave me, I realize now that there’s a much longer list called "Christianity: What TO Do–REALLY, IT’S OKAY!", and it’s way more fun than the first list I mentioned. And since I’ve been so obsessed with NOT drinking/cussing/giving the finger to the mommy who cut me off in the kindergarten drop-off line/exploding in a fit of violent rage when my husband suggests I clean the bathroom more than once every 6 months/losing my patience with my little children when they ask for their one-thousandth peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich of the week/losing my temper with Cheyenne when she forgets to mention the field trip money she needed, like, yesterday…Where was I going with all this? Oh yes. I’ve neglected the whole loving/serving/giving stuff God mentions again and again in the bible.
And oh, yeah, THE BIBLE. Good stuff. Lots of helpful information in there. I don’t know why I was surprised–but I was. And the loving/serving/giving stuff? Worth it!
Anyhoo. Up until now I’ve been extremely hesitant to write much in the way of God and all that here on this blog. I’m not so much worried about freaking out my family or losing readers (Oh no!) as I am about saying incorrect things. I’m no expert. I don’t know the bible. I was serious when I said I couldn’t pray my way out of a paper bag. But I’ve had such a problem over the past few months–at times I have absolutely struggled to come up with something to write. It has to be something clean, but not boring. Something funny, but not too snarky or raunchy. Something with a spiritual undertone, but nothing too…Christian–because I don’t people to think I’m some sort of hypocrite, given what we all know about my background and my past thoughts on the church.
I know. Bad Toni.
Truth is, I’m not excited with anything I’ve written lately. It seems so watered-down and lifeless. I feel like a completely different person than I was even 6 months ago–hell, 6 WEEKS ago. And Caleb told me today that when I’m not writing what’s in my heart, then MY WRITING SUCKS. I’ve got a million and one ideas swimming around in my head for this blog–similar to the way I get when I’m going through a painting phase–and it might take some time to regroup, but I think–I THINK–I’m ready to go God. Sure, there are some of you that may have just vomitted in your mouth a little. Hear me out–or not. Whatever. I’m not taking off full speed yet, but I’m definitely going to start a leisurely stroll in that direction. As a traditional hard-core Christian would say, "I feel like God has just laid this on my heart, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, God, blah blah." Or, as I would say, "If I don’t write about my experiences with God, my head will explode. Literally. Like, Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark style. Brains, blood, guts. The whole sha-bang. EXPLODE."
And so there you have it.
I’ll start later. Right now, I’m in a painting phase.