Intersecting Life and Faith

Tag: Jesus (Page 2 of 4)

I Choose You

A re-write from previous years. 

Twenty-nine years ago this time of year, my dad was not done getting his corn and soybeans out of the field. When Rob and I,(mostly me) suggested November 9 as our wedding day I was sure dad would be done and he wouldn’t have to take a day off from farming to walk his firstborn down the aisle.  Rob proposed the first week of June and his thought was to be married in the summer.

No…he didn’t know it took a few months to plan a wedding, even one in a small country church with the reception in the basement. It wasn’t a fancy wedding where thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent. We had humble beginnings.

On Sunday, twenty-nine years ago, I became Mrs. Rob Gates. Almost five years previous I laid eyes on him for the first time. My college days on a small town Bible college campus were full of studies of God’s Word, courses in missions and a lot of time spent at the library…not to study but to meet up with the guy who spent most of his time there.  We had fun too…didn’t have a lot of money to spend on dates, but long talks in the cafeteria kitchen while he washed pots and pans are some of my fondest memories. We did go our separate ways after college graduation, but that story is told in As The Parsonage Turns category.

I can’t remember a day I did not want to be married and have kids. There were other choices, but I chose to be a wife, pastor’s wife and mother, although I didn’t give much thought to being a pastor’s wife, that’s another post too.

I’m thinking about choices today, because of Hannah choosing to travel across the ocean, of Justin choosing the military many years ago and now choosing to live in Wyoming with his wife. Kelsey’s choice to nanny in Italy several years ago. The opportunities available to all of us today are vast, unlimited and far-reaching. I think of two single gals from our church who have been missionaries in Africa and Bolivia, they chose to follow God’s leading in their lives.

And what does this have to do with an approaching anniversary?

Twenty-eight nine ago I was losing sleep because I was so excited to spend the rest of my life with the man God had brought into my life. Two more sleeps and a new adventure would begin. Has it been easy? No. But it in a good way, because we have done life together. For richer and poorer, sickness and health we made a promise before God and many witnesses that we would stay together…only because of Christ. He is the glue, sometimes the only glue that has kept us plodding along in this great adventure called marriage. In a conversation this week with one of my kids she was telling me of a good friend whose marriage is failing and how sad she was. She said “it’s so unfortunate to see so many marriages failing these days.” I know I went into marriage with blinders on, thinking marriage would make me happy. Rob and I have been happy together, but if happiness is the goal of staying married then marriages will fail. Staying married is a choice. A choice to persevere and honor God. (To my divorced friends, this is not a post to make you feel you’ve failed or make you feel guilty) Hoards of books have been written on the subject, so I will simply say how thrilled I am to be celebrating our marriage, which I think is the best way to fight same-sex “marriage”. Celebrate our lives together, work on our own marriages and honor God in our own lives before we take up the fight.

Today I would choose you, Rob Gates, all over again. No regrets, no wishing I should have chosen another path. Happy to continue plodding with you.


Thailand, Bali and Kopi Luwak

Reader alert…this post may be all over the place. Just sayin.

Yesterday morning while having coffee with a friend in our local small town diner Hannah was half way around the world being dropped off at an airport by the driver of her new friend…a Christian Indonesian diplomat. Indonesia is 1% Christian, 95 % Muslim and 4% Hindu.(Those are the statistics quoted to me by Hannah) What were the chances she would be entertained with sightseeing, dinner and a place to stay by a well-to-do woman taking Hannah under her wing for a few hours? They were also joined by a singer and his band whom Hannah later found out was a Christian artist who is famous throughout Indonesia and sings in his church.

I don’t believe in chance or coincidence or karma.  I believe our dear Hannah’s trip to Southeast Asia is being totally orchestrated by a Holy God who loves this mother and her daughter more than we could ever imagine.

I often pray

Lord, whatever it takes, align the desires of my heart with Yours and whatever it takes Lord keep me desperate for You because because I tend to wander when I stop feeling my need for You.(these prayers are not original with me).

God then sees fit to answer these prayers typically in the area of those I love most, my husband and children. He has provided many opportunities to run to Him as Justin was deployed to Iraq several years ago, Kelsey went overseas three years ago and Hannah is the global wanderer where she is presently on her way to France to do volunteer work after being in Southeast Asia for a month. Her wanderings(the title of her web site) took her to Thailand where she was travelling with a longtime friend. Sadly, those circumstances changed and Hannah was left alone in northern Thailand. Skyping has kept us close as she has asked for advice about travelling alone. God has protected her in the busy city of Bangkok, the beaches and countryside of Bali and back to Bangkok. He has protected her from injury when she fell in a hole, battered and bruised but no broken bones. He enabled her to worship a few weeks ago with Westerners in an evangelical Church in Bangkok where the pastor was originally from New York.

Is she safe? Why is she travelling alone? And why is she travelling? are some of the questions I have been asked. The answer to those questions will have to be asked of her because I cannot speak for her or even begin to explain her dreams and desires. What I can say with confidence is that my trust is not in government that makes decisions I don’t agree with, my trust is not in any relationships or particular people who may let me down. My trust is not in the good or bad choices my children may make nor is it in the fact of a daughter half way around the world travelling alone.

My trust is in Jesus Christ and the written Word of God which I cling to like butter on bread. The lessons of relying on my heavenly Father have been forged in the pain of loss, leaving and letting go of everything I hold dear. Following Jesus is a path of joy but of being a radical disciple. Because leaving all to forsake all others is a radical way to live. (Luke 9:23; 14:26)

On a less serious note, she has informed me of a souvenir she will be bringing home from Indonesia. We both love to drink coffee so we will be sharing some Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world given to her by her diplomat friend. Any guesses on how it’s made?


Peering Over Menus

Walking into a restaurant during the holidays, I spotted a couple that seemed so happy. It isn’t often you see a couple sitting next to one another on the same side of the booth. We were led to our own table and gazing into one another’s eyes gazed at the menu and placed our order. It was hard to not look at this couple who acted as if they were the only 2 people in the place. I wanted to not look as they leaned into each other, shared holiday photos from their phones and put their arms around one another. I looked away many times. I wanted to stand up and shout ‘stop it’ when they stole a kiss when they thought no one was looking. All the while, we enjoyed our lunch, Rob assuming he had my undivided attention. But my eyes and thoughts were elsewhere as I struggled… because the couple were

…two women

My struggles that day and today are how to engage my culture, my Jerusalem, with the gospel, especially those who struggle with same sex attraction. I certainly had no business prancing over to their booth and telling them how offended I was.

the next struggle..I found myself desensitized…using the excuse that it’s their business and not mine.

I’ve written here about a high school friend who is gay. I had two opportunities to love her and I have failed. If I find the post I will link to it.

I don’t want to be the Christian who sits in the pew every week listening to how God’s Word and the gospel changes lives, primarily mine, and then judge and point fingers Monday-Saturday. We’re all sinners. The same grace and mercy extended to me 39 years ago is no different for those who find themselves in a gay relationship or struggle with same sex attraction or addicted to porn, or gossiping, not loving my husband and children, or anger or _________________________________(1 Corinthians 6:11)

Thirty nine years ago I was a sinner who was separated from God, I needed a Savior, I needed to be rescued from the domain of darkness. 

The same Jesus who died and rose again making a way for me to be made right with God is the same Jesus who died for all sins. 

Let us not peer over menus in a restaurant or point fingers in our hearts but love as Christ loved.

The Gospel for A Gay Friend


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