Laura in the Dark… I mean Memphis

Hello readers. So I realized today it had been some time since I’ve updated. You see, I’ve been in Memphis. Memphis, Tennessee that is, not Egypt — though I suspect Egypt would not be quite so warm and humid. My sister, you see, is moving here, to teach school, which has been an adventure. All week we’ve been carrying furniture up to her loft apartment, getting groceries, driving around town trying to find stuff, and generally just working hard to get Sarah settled in a new state. If you lived in Bloomington, or followed me on my blog (we’re still stealing mediocre internet from the neighbors), you might think I was nowhere to be found. But really, I’ve been hard at work this whole time.

Sometimes God is like that. Sometimes it seems like God has gone “offline,” or He has a weak signal, or He has a strong signal but the wireless router is in an apartment across the street. But really He’s been hard at work this whole time! He’s been moving a ridiculously heavy leather sofa, or trying to find a comfortable position on an air mattress, and the whole time He’s been working hard — You just couldn’t see.

God, thank You that even when it seems that You are far away, You are working all the time. Help me grow close to the Memphis in my heart so I can see the incredible work you are doing.

(No Memory verse today… the internet is way too slow for that).

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I’m Not Lying: Insipid Quotes from Actual Women’s Bible Studies

I’m at my parents’ house and noticed that they have two copies of “Wild At Heart” in their study. Two? Are you serious?

Sometimes God is like that… nah, I’m kidding.

Anyway, here are some quotes from some Bible studies I found lying around to prove that I am not a mean-spirited little heathen. Actually, maybe I still am, but women’s Bible studies still suck.

Here’s some gems from a Bible study that came from, God help us, the Hallmark store.

“Laughter is like the human body wagging its tail.” Both images are like one hand clapping.

“When I am in touch with my processes, I am in touch with the universe.” Hang on, we got a pantheist in here! Police!

“The ocean never tires of the ebb and flow of the tides. Perhaps you can learn from the tides.” Yes, the ocean never does express its despair at the tedium of every life, given that it is an inanimate object. We expect the same silence and deadness of soul from you.

What’s particularly remarkable is that if you google the phrase “Sometimes God is Like That” is that you get ACTUAL BIBLE STUDIES that use that as a sentence. You also get shameless plugs for SGILT (I’m a sucker for acronyms) so, hey, tell your friends.

I’m kind of reeling in dull spiritual wattage and estrogen since flipping through that devotional. I gotta make a devotion out of this…

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The Good News

Butters got here.

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“Patient” Comes From the Latin Word “To Bear Pain,” And In The Greek It’s a Compound Word of “Hypo” and “Moneo” Which Means “To Remain Under” or “Abide”

  • I need a hedge of protection today against impatience.

Genesis 9:18-29

Today I ordered a little doll of the “South Park” character Butters to give to my sister when she returns home from her teaching training in Atlanta. I thought it would be perfect because, after a summer of dealing with Kyles, Cartmans, and Stans, I thought that she might appreciate a reminder that every class comes with a Butters. Because she’s arriving today I had it rush-ordered two days ago so Butters would be waiting for her when she got home. Imagine my surprise when, the last two mornings, I checked the mail, only to find nothing but electric bills and magazines I didn’t subscribe for. I was so shocked. I was guaranteed by Amazon Prime to get a Butters doll! Why was I being cheated?

Sometimes God is like that. Sometimes something in your life seems like a sure thing or a guarantee, and it seems like there’s no way that this can be messed up. But then, when you start checking the mailbox of your life, you realize that your expectations haven’t come true. But God is not abandoning you. Sometimes he just decides to test your patience, or to wait for Him. Maybe today that Butters doll in your life will come, or maybe He will send you something even better, like a letter from Lynda Barry because you wrote her a fan letter two weeks ago and are still entertaining the ludicrous notion that she will write back.

God, thank You for testing me with the Butters doll in my own heart right now. If it your will to turn over to me my own “Butters doll” sometimes soon, then I thank you for your blessing. But if you are holding out to give me the “letter from Lynda Barry” in my own heart, or even choose to give me “magazine subscriptions” when I was expecting a “letter from Lynda Barry,” then, well, I will welcome that too.

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I’ve Been Backsliding

Today I was sitting at my kitchen table getting some work done on my computer when my concentration was broken due to a fruit fly buzzing around my head. As I tried to swat away the fruit fly, I noticed that at least a hundred of them had gathered together on the wall next to me. Ew!

Sometimes God is like that. Sometimes when you let your sins go unchecked for so long that they begin to contaminate your life, God gets your attention and reminds you to pick up the vacuum hose and take out the garbage (of your heart).

Titus 56:22-22

God, I just want to thank you for shining your light over the darkness of my heart, showing me where I fall short but gently reminding me that I am still unconditionally loved. Please reveal the fruit flies of my life and give me courage to face the swarm of sin that lives within my heart. 

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From the Heart of a Woman

When was the last time you read a devotional book? Not one of the medieval classics, mind you, something that came out in the nineties. If it has roses on it, or a slender, tastefully dressed woman celebrating on a beach, so much the better. Seriously, go to a bookstore if they still exist in your area and take a look at one. If you can’t be bothered, allow me to quote.

Here’s a delightful little ditty quoted in Inspiring Devotions for Women. Spot the heresies for extra points!

God is like a blanket always ready to be wrapped around you.

God is like a chair always ready to hold you.

God is like a pair of arms always ready to wrap you in a hug.

God is like anything you can think of, only much better and sweeter.

I mean, seriously, is that even a poem? I’m sitting in a coffee shop and I could literally crap those out every time I lift my head up.

God is like an iPhone, always ready to give you a call.

God is like an espresso machine, always ready to offer a boost.

God is like a barista, to give you excellent customer service.

God is like a coffee shop, only better, because He’s God.

There. Publish that, Zondervan. Send me my royalties and pay for my lunch, dammit. Geez.

Keep on flipping through that book. Go ahead. I dare you. One minute devotions are completely ludicrous. I mean, what do you expect to learn about God in one minute? An easily memorized saying? If you want your reading to take a minute a day then buy a stack of bumper stickers, or better yet, get a Twitter account. One book I’m looking at literally consists of three sentences per devotion. I can save you a lot of time by summing them up for you right now. They’re perfect for the struggling Christian in your life. Here’s how they go. “You often can’t tell if God is blessing you. But He is. Thank God right now for blessing you.”

This how how things seem, but this is how things are. Now pray about it. Man, I feel better already.

You could spend all day at a bookstore and it wouldn’t take you long to see patterns emerging. Most devotions are a lot alike. Most of them are pretty shallow. Most of them have a little “presented to” page in the front, where the gift giver can write the name and date and a heartfelt note. This is primarily designed to make you feel bad so you can’t sell the book to Half-Price Books and buy yourself some actual theology. You don’t seem to have to be particularly literate to do any of this. One devotional I read couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s a cookbook or a devotional. One of the “spiritual action plans” that closed each chapter was an exhortation to “clean out your cupboards” (the long short-changed eleventh commandment) — and it wasn’t a metaphor.

Cupboards? I mean, hell, man. Freaking cupboards?

So my roommate and I got thinking. Can’t ANYONE write a devotional? You get the lingo, you get the formula, you get some generic clip art, and you’re done. And people buy these things! Millions of them! Max Lucado could probably build guest homes out of handfuls of cash from the money he’s made selling devotions.

I am an English major. My roommate is a philosophy major. Today we ate leftovers off of someone else’s table in a restaurant, and we want to be rich.

So here’s your chance, Internet. We’re going to write the biggest, longest, grandest, most inspirational daily devotional ever written, and we need your help. It is super-easy. Just send your devotions to us, and we’ll make a book and sell them.

“But Laura,” you say, “I can’t write a devotional.” And Laura says, yes you can, Internet. Yes you can.

Here’s how it goes.

1) What happened to you today? Think about it. It can be anything. “Today my roommate Lauren and I were in a coffee shop and the couple at the table sitting next to us ordered sandwiches. They each took a bite, ate their potato chips, and left. Lauren and I looked at each other, picked up their sandwiches, cut off the bite marks, and ate them.”

Okay, you’ve got your anecdote. Now, this is the important part.

2) SOMETIMES GOD IS LIKE THAT. Just write that down.

3) Great! You’re almost there! Now how does your anecdote illustrate something about God? You can half-ass this part.

Today my roommate Lauren and I were in a coffee shop, when the couple at the table sitting next to us ordered sandwiches. They each took a bite, ate their potato chips, and left. Lauren and I looked at each other, picked up their sandwiches, cut off the bite marks, and ate them.

Sometimes God is like that. Lots of people can just throw away their blessings and don’t even realize what they have!   Look around your life. What perfectly good sandwiches has God placed in your path? What blessings have you asked God for and then completely ignored? Thank God for putting blessings in your life, and ask His forgiveness for the times you throw them away.

4) Optional: Prayer. You can also half-ass this part.

God, thank you for putting blessings in my life even when I am wasteful with them. Help me to see what you are doing in my life, and help me to use your gifts to the best of my abilities.

5) (Also optional) You can put a scripture reference there, but it can be totally random because no one is actually going to look it up. Mine is Ezekiel 23:4-6.

Okay, here’s the completed project.

Blessings

Memory Verse: Ezekiel 23:4-6

Today my roommate Lauren and I were in a coffee shop, when the couple at the table sitting next to us ordered sandwiches. They each took a bite, ate their potato chips, and left. Lauren and I looked at each other, picked up their sandwiches, cut off the bite marks, and ate them.

Sometimes God is like that. Lots of people can just throw away their blessings and don’t even realize what they have!   Look around your life. What perfectly good sandwiches has God placed in your path? What blessings have you asked God for and then completely ignored? Thank God for putting blessings in your life, and ask His forgiveness for the times you throw them away.

God, thank you for putting blessings in my life even when I am wasteful with them. Help me to see what you are doing in my life, and help me to use your gifts to the best of my abilities.

Rinse and repeat!

Every time someone sends in a devotional we’ll add it. We’re shooting for 365 because then we can do a yearlong devotional, so seasonal entries are welcome. Have a blessed day!

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