Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

My son had a little friend over the other day and during their long ambling conversation about dinosaurs, peanut butter and jelly and who’s-dad-is-stronger, their bathroom habits came up.

I was in another room when I heard Judah exclaim, “You mean, you can wipe yourself?!?”

My son was thoroughly impressed. In Judah’s eyes, this ability sets apart the men from the boys.

Honestly, it really doesn’t take much to amaze my kid – his favorite food is corndogs, so he’s not exactly qualified to deem anything noteworthy.

His taste might not be very discerning but he makes no apologies for being tacky. My son’s world is raw and unfiltered and he hides nothing. Every thought, feeling and impulse he has is on display.

And here is the shark “attack”. Pure poetry.

Me.… well not so much. For instance, not a ton of people know this, but I have a very goofy side. I like to send my sisters ludicrous messages and text pictures like bespectacled dinosaurs and shark attacks that I’ve made out of punctuation and symbols. I love being silly when its least expected.

I don’t always show that ridiculous side right away (or at all with some people) because my deadpan expression and my naturally intimidating eyebrows tend to confuse people if they don’t know me very well. They can’t tell if I’m kidding, mocking them or slightly unhinged.

This is the dinosaur I sent to my sister.

It’s important to know your audience and sometimes the group in question just won’t appreciate the sarcasm, i.e. my grandma and small children. I find no joy in leaving the people I love flummoxed and offended, so some things are better off left unsaid.

Then there are the things that go unsaid because you’re afraid. Will you be shunned, judged or will someone’s opinion of you be so altered that you can’t go back to the way things were?

With little kids there are few “no-go” zones. Right now, my son sees no problem with stripping down to his birthday suit in public during the summer if he’s too hot. He has no qualms about jogging to the bathroom and announcing, “I’ll be back in a minute, I have to poop!” as he huffs by. He doesn’t know that singing and dancing down the cereal aisle of Safeway is not a social norm.

But as we all know, things change dramatically as we get older. I have experienced and known others with plenty of “no-go” zones. Try to get to the bottom of an offense and instead of working it out, it’s glossed over and deliberately forgotten because it’s too uncomfortable to share those feelings. Ask about something difficult from the past and you get crossed arms and pursed lips. Attempt a deep conversation and you’re met with sarcasm and joking to deflect any emotions that creep in.

I’m not talking about rudely prying into peoples’ business, I’m talking about really understanding each other, what experiences have shaped us and knowing how to survive difficult seasons together.

When we mark those zones as impassable, I believe we are missing an opportunity to grow and experience lasting authentic relationships.

I think that’s why Jesus told us to come to him like a little child. He wants us to approach him without fear, with a sense of wonder and fully expecting to be adored. We are cheating ourselves of a full relationship with him otherwise.

What about regular people? Yes, people are flawed and won’t receive you with the same perfect love that Jesus does. We are unpredictable and hurt even the ones we love. While I would never advise a person to bare all their secrets to someone untrustworthy, it’s also important to remember that there is a certain amount of pain that goes with human relationships and if you’ve found people that love you enough to work through it, go there with them.

It’s not always easy to find friends that will go the distance with you. But you can get through a painful situation strengthened and secure when you decide that love and trust are the goals and Jesus is your guide and mediator.

Angie Derrick 9/27/2012 ©


Who Are You Fighting For?

I have no idea what it’s like to send a husband, boyfriend, mother, sister, cousin, friend, or anyone off to war.

My family doesn’t have much of a history of military involvement; almost none, actually. My brother was in the coast guard and only one of my five uncles was in the army but neither experienced any portion of any war. Other than that, between my mother and father’s side, that’s it.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to spend those last few minutes with your loved one, trying to make every second count, hoping you did and said everything to preserve the brightest memory of home for your soldier to carry with them into the frenzy of war.

I’m sure there’s no pat answer for why people choose to go to war. Maybe it’s the adventure, a sense of purpose or fulfilling a duty that compels these men and women to act. Whatever the reason, the risks and the cost are high.

My guess is that many who join the armed forces believe that something needs to change, that too many lives are at stake and they can help.

Whether you believe in the reasons for war, or feel there is never a just cause, I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this: there will always be a reason to fight.

So let’s fight hunger. Fight abuse. Fight hate and discrimination. Fight family brokenness, bullying, poverty and disease.

Fight apathy.

When was the last time that injustice caused your blood to boil? How many times have you read a headline about the vicious torture of animals, a cold and calculated murder, the heartless neglect of a child, or even the suicide of a celebrity that we believed had it all, only to discover too late that they had nothing to live for? How many times have we gleaned through the news and just thought, man that sucks, and then went on with our day?

As Christians, we are called to act, serve and sacrifice our lives for others. We aren’t supposed to just handpick the people we help based on their use to us. On the contrary, the bible tells us we are to love our enemies, feed the poor, care for widows and children – in biblical terms that means giving to those that may never have the means to give back.

I respect the conviction, even if I don’t agree with the motivation, of people that are willing to fight for others.

Those of us that follow Jesus have much reason to fight: this world is hungry, hurting and aching for unconditional, perfect Love. With Jesus as our strength and guide, nothing should stop us from aiding and loving the world we live in. Many will never agree with us that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but they will not be able to deny the presence of his love if we have the courage to share it.

Angie D 5/28/12 ©

Kid’s Prayers

I remember hearing a pastor encourage their congregation to come to the Lord like children when they present their prayers and petitions. To come, as the bible teaches, without guile or pretension.

It’s a hilarious thought to take that literally because I don’t think many have had the pleasure of actually listening to a child pray and if they had, it would certainly force them to rethink that admonition. I have heard kids pray, and I often find it ironic that the little ones we grown-ups are supposed to be imitating also seem to struggle with the same desire to impress God somehow with eloquent prayers and biblical language. It makes me wonder if we need to start presenting the message of “Coming like a Child” to children so they know what they’re supposed to sound like.

As a kids’ church volunteer, every week, I have the privilege of hearing kids eagerly take turns praying over the morning offering. Every week, though completely unintentionally, these humble pleas to the Lord become quite comical with their haphazardly slapped together renderings of familiar Christian expressions, King James-style language and clunky grammar. Many of the prayers are so heavily cluttered with “O Lord”, “faithful glory”, “God bless God” and other curious adaptations of Christian idioms that it is a blessed relief that at the very least God knows what they’re talking about because many times I haven’t a clue.

One child in particular always starts his prayers with a heavy sigh, like he is tremendously weary. His tired voice drones with the same dismayed tone one might use with an incorrigible dog that continues to pee on the carpet. The most recent prayer went, “Oh Lord, these past few days of faithful and glory in your hands of the almighty people. Amen.”

Ah, from the mouths of babes! Aside from the numerous grievances committed against the English language in just one sentence, what does this even mean, I wonder? That God should deign to teach us the practice of voicing our appeals so that we know what we’re talking about, I am convinced, is a prime example of God’s infinite wisdom and mercy.

It comforts me a great deal to know that the God we serve is abounding in love and patience and is so kind He welcomes children into His kingdom. I imagine that the global cacophony of funny little prayers floating heavenward, are sweet to the ears of our God. I think just as a parent’s heart swells with pride in the first words of their toddlers, He delights in the sound of His children praying.

Angie Derrick 9/2/2011 ©

  • I believe in Jesus, loving people, living fully and creating good things. Whether it's art, food or finding solutions, I am always in "creative mode". With this blog I hope to encourage and help others to live in whatever "mode" God has called them to.

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