Monday, October 27, 2008

Movie Reviews...

If you haven't seen High School Musical 3 or Fireproof and don't want any give-aways, you may want to skip this. And some of you might disagree with me. But I just thought I'd share my views on two movies I saw over the weekend. :-)

HSM3: My least favorite of the series. I SO wanted to love this movie and I went in to it convinced that I would. I even guilted Shane into coming to see it with us. Now I’ll never live it down. ;-) Many of you may love it so I don’t want to step on toes, but here are some random thoughts I had as I watched it…
“Why does Gabriella’s hemline have to be cut so short in a dance number where she gets picked up, spun around, and has her arms raised so much?”
“Why do the cheerleaders’ tops have to be cut so low?”
“What happened to Ryan? I loved how his character grew in HSM2 and at how the Wildcats encouraged his talent and involvement. So why is he so one-dimensional now?”
“Did Zeke have more than two lines?” He was referred to more than he spoke.

And after I watched it…
“Uh…did I see them at prom or didn’t I?” Sure, T & G had “their own” prom but jumbled segments weakened the story-line for me. I think? Honestly, I was confused. And was that graduation or the musical or both at the same time?
“What were the walk away hit numbers? The Boys are Back was by far the coolest, but I can’t even remember the tune right now.” (Of course, I haven’t heard it 35 times yet on TV, either.)

I don’t want to seem too cynical. The kids liked it enough (and Praise Jesus! I heard my girls discussing how they thought some of the outfits were inappropriate!). But after 1 & 2, I wondered if we’d ever get enough of this fab group. I think I have now. So that’s good, right? :-)

Fireproof: Even if you’re not married this gem provides a lesson and reminder we all need—to love and serve others unconditionally. And for nonbelievers it presents them with the gospel message. Is the acting going to win any Oscars? Probably not. But if we use God’s measuring stick, as opposed to Oscar’s OR the world’s, this film is HUGE! The Holy Spirit can and will and is working through this movie to soften and convict hearts, plant seeds, and whatever else He sees fit to do. It’s a tool worth exposing yourself to.

Some thoughts while watching…
“My goodness, Kirk Cameron is all grown up! (Yikes, that means I am too.)”
“Where’s the humor and fun in the couple’s relationship? Did they used to have any before things got so bad?”
“Wow…she’s cold as ice! Give him a chance!”
“The big dude is a hoot!” There were some truly funny parts, especially with the male relationships at the fire house—and not a vulgarity to be found!

At a pivotal part in the story when Caleb, the husband, is at the crossroads of feeding his addiction or destroying it, I became angry at how accessible this particular temptation is. It literally just popped up right in front of him. A weak person stands little chance without the power of the Holy Spirit guiding his choices. Seeing him beat that devil down with a bat was very satisfying.

By the end, you see God’s work in a man who’s changed. And a wife too. AND you feel some hope that maybe the Christian niche will gain a stronger foothold in cinema. AMEN!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I’ve posted recently (either here or on the Olive Branch?) talking about our charge to “tell the wonderful things God has done.” Well, have I got a story for you!

Through the wonder of the internet, God has connected me with a soul-sister in Minnesota, a 3rd grade teacher named Tammy. It has been awe-inspiring to both Tammy and me to watch God create a bond that’s a little more solid and a little more revealing about His plans through each exchanged email. Maybe the best way to share this is to provide chronological snippets of our exchanges. What started it all was an email from Tammy about an article I wrote…

I just recently received my first issue of TCW and loved it. The last article I read was one you wrote about control and what God wants. It was in the July/August issue. It was perfect for me to read.

My husband and I have been trying for our second child for almost two years. I have been through a major roller coaster ride of emotions going through this. I learned about six months ago that I really like to be in control and I never realized how much I try to control EVERYTHING which is not possible. I have to remind myself that I cannot control this….God is in control and I shouldn’t try to grab onto it over and over again. Your article really encouraged me and gave me a boost in giving it all to God.

Understanding fully how to hand it over to God has released some of this pressure though I continue to trip up from time to time. Thank you for sharing on this topic. I know I need to be patient and wait upon the Lord. In His time, our family will grow. Thank you once again. Many blessings to you and your family!

Now it was clear to me immediately that I needed to share my own struggle with infertility with this dear woman. So I replied without even really stopping to think,

I can't tell you what your sweet message meant to me. God used it to encourage me in my writing when I really needed it. So thank you, thank you. Now I want to encourage YOU! My husband and I found out I was pregnant only a few months after we'd gotten married in 1995. He was elated; I wasn't. I wanted to just be married for awhile without kids, ya know? Then when I began to get really excited (finally) we miscarried. From that point on, for two years, it became our mission to get pregnant. He was tested, I was tested, I had my tubes blasted, we prayed when we thought about it (we weren't walking the walk back then), and we finally ended up having success with Chlomid. It "took" the first month and eight months later I had beautiful fraternal twin girls who looked nothing alike. They'll have their 11th birthday in December. Three years after their birth we began trying for number three. No luck on our own, but again, Chlomid worked on the first try and nine months later came our bouncing baby boy.

I share this because I want to let you know that God sometimes works through professionals--maybe so that in some way you can be the salt and the light to them, maybe so that they can touch you in some way. I've heard it said "If God wanted you to be pregnant you would be." But to that I say, "He provides avenues and help and if He doesn't want us pregnant, we still won't be." In other words, don't let people give you a hard time for seeking available help. Of course, seek God FIRST, and it'll all work out.

I don't know you, but I already love you. Keep me posted on your family growth. ;-)

Now, hold up…I know what you’re thinking: Sheesh, Kath! That’s a lot of very personal info you’re giving to someone you don’t even know! Aren’t you afraid she’ll think you’re a nutcase or someone who’s too desperate for a friend? The second AFTER I hit send, yes, I was afraid of both of those things. But I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit prompting me to do it—talk to Him about it. ;-) Here’s a portion of Tammy’s response:

Wow! I don’t know you and love you, too!! I am tearing up over here. Thank you so much for responding and sharing your beautiful story with me! I needed your words! I am in awe of God right now. Here we are - two people who have never met before….I recently was given a subscription to TCW as a gift… your article that touched me in a BIG way…..and saw your email and felt the need to write to you. Then you write back with words that only a person who has dealt with fertility issues could write. He uses everything, doesn’t He?!

Take THAT doubt and pride!! Of course, I had to respond, but I’ll skip ahead a few exchanges because we got very personal about praying over wombs and what not, getting to know each other a little better and just praising God all the way.

Then I received this message from Tammy…

I got my “wonderful” period yesterday….so I guess I am not pregnant. But, I didn’t cry this time. I have cried every time since January of 07! I have had a greater peace within me from our writing back and forth. I just feel like I am in a better place right now. I know I may still have good and bad days with this, but it was an awesome feeling to actually be “OK” with it this time. I was still bummed, but not like I have been in the past. Thanks again for your openness with me.

My response…(and again, please note that this was another one that as soon as I hit send, I began to fear I’d gone too far and lost my new email friend forever.)

Okay, YOU may not have cried when you got your "wonderful" period (I laughed out loud when I read that!) but I had tears in my eyes as I read your whole message. God is SO amazing!!! What a blessing you are to me!

So let's see, if I've got my math right, I need to be on-my-face prayin' REALLY hard on Oct. 13th...and YOU better be getting ready for a romantic evening! (wink, wink) Hey, that's Columbus Day! You and I will both have the day off. I just had a crazy you want to join me in a fast that morning? Just skip breakfast that day and pray for you every time we get a hunger pang? Then break the fast at lunch? Even though we're hundreds of miles apart, we could be unified in the effort through that. What do you think?

But instead of writing me off as a fanatic or worse, my girl responded,

Okay, now I am crying!!!! Trying to keep it together while the kids are packing up over here. On Sunday in church as I was listening to the sermon….for whatever reason I thought about fasting. I do not generally do that. I did once in my life and it was an amazing experience for my faith. So on Sunday it was on my mind and I really felt strongly to fast. To be honest, after Sunday it hadn’t crossed my mind until JUST RIGHT NOW!!!! YES! I would love to fast with you and thank you for being YOU!! Praise God! It is obvious God is telling me to fast!! The thirteenth sounds great………I actually will be teaching because we do not get Columbus Day off. But, that is fine!! Normal people would ovulate around there, but my time is usually around the 16th day of my cycles???? But I feel often that when the kit says I am ovulating that I am not…..maybe I missed it?? This is wonderful! I want to do this and I thank you for listening to your heart and what God is telling you.

You all, we serve an AWESOME GOD, do we not?! So on the 13th when some of us get a day off for Columbus Day, would you all mind lifting up a special prayer for Tammy? You too will be a part, then, of this amazing work God is doing.