Wednesday, February 19, 2020

what happens when we let go of exasperation


“Fathers. do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

     Pastor Caz is doing a sermon series on family, and he included the above verse in his sermon on Sunday. We have all heard about discipline, but we hear less about not exasperating our children. I wanted to share what I have learned about my own parenting, and about exasperation.
     My youngest had some behavior issues we were trying to address, and so I read that book that talked about focusing on one behavior at a time. This meant choosing the most pressing behavior to focus on, and letting other behaviors go. For us, that meant not correcting her when she demanded instead of asked. It meant ignoring clothes on the floor. For two weeks, we focused on only one behavior.
     This was not easy, but I noticed quickly that she was exasperated less, because there was less conflict between us. And here is the amazing thing about adults: we can choose not to be exasperated. I realized through some hard work how damaging my own thoughts were in my approach. I changed. I chose to not get riled up over certain behaviors.  I chose to dwell on progress for tough behavior and the exuberance and joy our youngest has brought to our lives.
     Relationships matter. How are we exasperating our children? Are we expecting too much of them? Are we demanding that they display more patience than we demonstrate to them? Where can we extend our children the grace we so desperately need ourselves?
Beth Kropf

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Revisiting Mary Magdalene


I found this insightful article that talked about how women have been misrepresented in Scripture: https://www.thelily.com/claims-of-sexual-immorality-have-been-used-to-diminish-or-discredit-female-religious-figures-for-ages-heres-how-and-why/ It’s a bit of a long read, so if you aren’t up for a long read, here’s the takeaway: we don’t always have accurate context for the lives of women in the Bible. We are sometimes still taught through a patriarchal lens.
Women are central to the Easter story: it was women who were at the cross when Jesus died. It was women who anticipated the resurrection and visited the tomb. It was Mary Magdalene who first saw Christ risen. Author Rachel Held Evans shared powerful ideas about how Jesus needed a woman to come into the world (read more here: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-women-incarnation)
Jesus was born to a woman. God could have had him just appear or be born in egg or something. He was fully human and had the vulnerability of an infant.
As we celebrate the Resurrection, let us remember how central women were in the Gospel. Let us remember that both men and women were made in the image of God and are equally valuable. Let us strive to be a church that honors, ministers to, and is ministered by, women.
Beth Kropf

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

tell your story



          On our first week of Advent, Caz talk about how we are part of this large arc of a story- the story of all of humanity. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when our daily lives can be mundane and unfulfilling.  Advent is a good time to remember our stories and share them. Find a way to tell your loved ones your stories- the defining moments in your life and in your family’s life. Make a video, write a journal entry, write a post on social media- whatever would be most effective and natural for you.    
          For Ben and I, a large part of our story began when I felt called to move to Austin because of a dream I had. My brother moved to Austin because of a dream he had much later. Our family includes stories of God speaking clearly in large moments and small. I want my daughters to know these stories. My parents met at 19 and a very few months after they started dating, God told my dad that he was supposed to marry my mom. When my dad dismissed the idea, God said “You don’t need to look any further. You have found the woman that will make you happy.” They have been married for 46 years.
        It is easy to doubt God, but when I think of stories like this, it is not possible. I hope we all have stories like this. Our story is part of a larger story of God reaching down to us, humbly entering the word, yearning to be a part of our lives.
Beth Kropf

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