Saturday, June 30, 2012

No Water in My Cheese Dip!

8:46 AM 0
 My husband and I love Mexican food.  In every town we ever lived in it was our goal to find the very best Mexican restaurant.  Once the task was accomplished it would be "our place" for as long as we lived in that town.  The best part about Mexican is that you immediately get chips and salsa and if your a "Dasher" you quickly ask for a bowl of cheese dip.  The moment you see the piping hot bowl of cheese dip headed your way you think what every Mexican lover thinks at some point during the meal "I shouldn't, should I?" but you do.  This was a fun little tradition we had until our favorite spot in the metropolis of Monroe, LA made a "big mistake...huge."  They watered down the cheese dip!  Not just any cheese dip, our favorite cheese dip!!  Who likes watered down cheese dip?

     Cheese dip has nothing to do with Christianity except for the fact that it too has become watered down and to be frank "tasteless" as a whole in the American culture.  I am tempted to apologize in advance if I happen to offend anyone with the words I write in this post, but the reason I decided to forgo this apology is due to the fact that I myself was offended by this very revelation.  I poured the pitcher of water myself, watering everyone around me, all in the name of "faith."  I am the "Christian" that has "played church"  I am the child of God that has completely lived for myself at times and so "watered down" the truth of what it means to be a proclaimer of Christ that is saddens me to think of all the people I may have had the opportunity to share Jesus with that were simply turned off by my complacency.  So for this reason I cannot apologize for the ideas presented in this post, because it is those very ideas that have opened my eyes to see "Christianity" as it really is, instead of what I had created it to be. 

     I remember very clearly the words spoken by someone very dear to me at the ripe age of 18.  They went something like this, "the only reason you claim to be a Christian is because of your parents and the way you were raised."  I remember being so offended at the time and flat out angry, lashing out, and even professing to never want to speak to him again.  I even remember after he left my house being proud of myself, as if I had somehow stood my ground and done the "christian thing."  Now, looking back on that moment in my life, it is so very clear to me.  He was absolutley right.  Please know that I am beyond grateful for the way my parents raised me and in NO way do I take that for granted.  However, my parents, being the amazing people that they are and were, could never give me the gift of Christianity.  "Faith" is not something that you can receive by proxy.  Instead, it is something that I had to search out and find for myself.  I sat out on my own search around the age of 19 as a young student at Harding University.  Since that time I have discovered many amazing things, like the grace of God and what it means to die to myself.  I have also, very often, been convicted in different areas of my life, which brings me to the topic of this post..."Watered Down Christianity"

     Watered down Christianity has become an idea that has overtaken our country and robbed us of our ability to see Christ for who he is.  Instead we see Christ for who we want him to be.  In the book Radical David Platt writes these words after discussing the various ways we as Americans have defined who Jesus is.

But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point?  We are molding Jesus into our image.  He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with.  And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible.  Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.
   Think about your life for a moment.  I presume that the majority of people reading this post claim to be Christians, if not, no worries, play along for a bit.  Think about what makes you valuable, what are your successes, your achievements, what is it about you that makes you a person of worth.  While you are contemplating those things I will tell you what I once, not very long ago, believed was the thing that made me the most valuable.  I believed that my success as a "perfect wife" made me valuable...Surely if I am the "perfect mother" I will be infinitely valuable...maybe if I am beautiful with a "perfect complexion" I will be valuable...Or possibly if I obtain a successful career and manage to balance motherhood with "perfection" my value will be of great worth...Maybe just maybe if I never miss a service and give large amounts of money then, it is then that I will obtain true value.  There is so much emphasis put on the things "we" accomplish, yet very little on what God is accomplishing.  We can go to church every Sunday, dressed to a "tea," sit in our cushioned pews, sing praises to God, follow all the rules of a person attempting to live a "good life," and even say all the right words to encourage, uplift, and help those who are hurting, yet never once, not even for a second,  truly acknowledge the one who from Him gives worth to ALL things, even OURSELVES.  We then proceed to leave the church building, continue on with the daily rush of our lives, maybe a prayer here or there, pat ourselves on the back at our successes, continue to strive to reach some level of manmade perfection and this my friends is what we call Christianity.  ME...ME...ME...ME....ME...ME...ME.  NO, NO, NO, NO, NO  This is not what we we're created for.
The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability.  The American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves, and we are drawn toward such thinking.  But the gospel has different priorities.  The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power.  In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him.  This is what Jesus meant when he said, "I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (David Pratt, Radical

We could never do enough, accomplish enough, be good enough, righteous enough, to give us value!  This is not bad new friends!! This is great news!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us.  With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Eph 1:3-10
     Christ himself has given us our value, he has made us worthy and given us a gift that is unfathomable.  You see I have lived a large part of my life striving to obtain a certain level of "righteousness" through means that are simply playing the part of a Christian and thus watering down the most precious gift that ever was or will ever be given.  I have made statements such as when do you plan on "accepting Jesus" or when I "accepted Jesus"  He doesn't need my acceptance!!! I need HIM!!!  My need for him goes much farther than showing up with a smile on my face on Sunday mornings, spending approximately 1 hour in praise to my God, it is infinitely deeper than telling sister Joe, "I'll be praying for ya," knowing that more than likely you will forget before you ever reach the parking lot, it's a need that reaches to every fiber of my being.  A need that effects every choice, every thought, every action of my life, everyday of my life!  I need Him today, tomorrow, and everyday of my life.  One day in His presence will never do!!  I need Him so desperately that He is more important than my husband, my children, my social status, my home, my "things," my, my, my, my...

     It's like driving thru McDonalds and ordering the biggest value meal on the menu, scarfing it down in the parking lot and throwing the empty bag out the window as you drive off.  Christianity is not a value meal..."repeat these words," "say this prayer," "be baptized," and then drive right out of the parking lot with your ticket to heaven in your back pocket, just hoping it doesn't fall out.  You and I must give our LIFE!!  By "Life" I don't mean our "checklist."  Our LIFE is the realization that apart from you God I am nothing.  It's falling before His thrown everyday of our life with empty hands and asking Him to fill them.  It is realizing that all that we have and everything in us that is good is directly from the Lord God Almighty.  It is refusing to "play church" and to deciding to "be the church" to everyone, everywhere, in all circumstances.  Not just when it is convenient.  APART FROM GOD MY SAVIOR I AM OF NO WORTH!!!  WORTHLESS, PITIED, EMPTY.  I am ok with that, because in Christ I am a new creation.  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 1 Cor 5:17."  I want to live everyday of my life as if I truly am a "new creation."




Friday, June 22, 2012

My Kind of Perfect

6:34 PM 3
11 years ago today I was a little girl, barely 20 years old and about to make the second biggest decision of my life.  I'm not sure, no I am positive,  that I did not fully understand the magnitude of what this decision meant.  What I did know, however, is that I so dearly loved this man; he made me giddy, he made me smile, I wanted to wake up to him every morning, and knew that I would never grow tired of his face.  Surely these kind of feelings would last forever, right?  Since the day I was born I had dreamed of my wedding day believing that my life would be complete when I became a wife and mother.  It should come as no surprise that my two favorite movies are Father of the Bride and Steel Magnolia's.  I wanted it all, the big church, the BIG dress, my knight in shining armor, and of coarse the hideous brides maid dresses (I really didn't think they were hideous at the time, PROMISE friends, but sorry anyway to those of you who had to partake in that lovely array of pastel and satin:-) 

So on June 23, 2001 at 6:00PM I became Jil Galloway Dasher.  I will tell you that our marriage ceremony did not happen quite like I had envisioned in my mind and there were times, like when he forgot my wedding ring, causing the audience to gasp a little and my Dad leaning back in surprise only to knock over the burning candelabra which was thankfully caught by my pregnant cousin, that I wondered if this was not some sort of sign...CAUTION AHEAD....CAUTION AHEAD...DO NOT PROCEED.  Turns out, I'm pretty sure it was a sign.  One telling me that my life from this point on would never be dull and dull it has not been.  

Let me be honest for a bit, hopefully this is not a shock for you, but our first year of marriage, or the first two or three was not exactly what I had in mind either boys and girls.  I was barely 20, "baby of the family," he was 23 "middle child" and needless to say we BOTH had a little growing up to do.  To leave out some of my favorite, how should I say this, intense moments, would be to inaccurately describe the depth of my love for this man I married.  For this reason, I must include a couple.  I could not have been more excited on our first grocery shopping trip as husband and wife.  I was envisioning all the great snacks we would get to eat as we cuddled on the couch and all the wonderful meals that I planned on cooking since now I was sure to be a Bettie Crocker in the kitchen, but all of these visions were crushed when it seemed that everything I was putting into the buggy was being put back.  Apparently he had come to get necessities and "name brand" was not a necessity I soon found out.  I was trying real hard to be patient and understanding, following all the rules of a submissive wife, but when he put my "Charmin Ultra Soft" toilet paper back on the shelf that was it!! No one likes to wipe with tissue paper thin toilet paper, you might as well use a corncob!!!  That being said I had had enough and proceeded to trot myself, pony tail swinging, out of that store.  The only problem was he had the keys, so there I sat outside Walmart in the Memphis heat, enjoying my own little pity party.  Turns out we went home empty handed that afternoon, only to return approximately 3 hours later after I decided I was tired of pouting.  I did, however, get that "Charmin Ultra Soft" toilet paper.  

Another classic, ohhh I laugh every time I think of this one, because I categorize this one as mostly his fault.  It's funny when I think back on some of our "best moments" I can hardly ever remember what caused them to begin with.  That being the case in this scenario.  For some reason I was angry enough that I had decided the best place for me to be was locked in our bedroom, having a moment to myself, after all there was no running to Mom or Dad, because they lived 10 hours away.  Well, Zach did not, however, agree with my decision and was determined for me to open the door.  These were not the type of doors that you could just stick a bobby pin in and unlock, these were tried and true old fashioned, "your locked out sucker" kind of doors.  I know this is really bad, like I should probably never admit this, but I was having an "I'll show him" moment and rather enjoying it.  Well that enjoyment lasted until he proceeded to knock the door down.  I will say that he did warn me, but I mean really what was he going to do, "knock the door down or something," yep.  This, my friends, is not the funny part of the story.  The funniest part of this story happened the next day, or 3 days, when he decided he better fix the door.  Let me start by saying that I married a man with unbelievable talents!  He has a voice that is so amazing, one of the reasons I fell in love with him no doubt.  The countless number of times that he serenaded me with Tim McGraw's "It's Your Love" on the seats of his 1980's something pale yellow hooptie stole my heart.  Not to mention his intellectual capacity that has always intrigued me or the fact that he is a man of integrity with a heart for the Lord, but bless his heart and it kills me to say he is NO handy man.  That being said, Day 1, 1st door purchased had the door knob located on the wrong side.  Day 2, door #2 was too tall.  No big deal, he thought, I'll cut it down.  Yeah, he cut it down, like I mean were talking a foot too short.  Day 3, door #3 fit like a charm.  Lets just say this...I have never locked myself in a room since and he has never knocked down another door.  Glad we got that one worked out so early on in the marriage.  

The first paragraph of this blog I described those intense feelings and emotions that took place every time I was around Zach.  Feelings that I was so sure would last me a lifetime.  What I didn't realize at the ripe young age of 20 was that the feelings and emotions I was experiencing were nothing compared to those that I now have 11 years later.  No, I no longer get giddy when he walks in a room, unless I am about to tell him that we are going to have another baby.  And no I don't rush to sit at his feet every time he breaks into song, like I once did, otherwise I would get nothing done.  The love we share now is a love that is so much deeper than a feeling.  It's the love of having someone stand beside you that has seen you at your worst and loves you anyway.  The love of the hands that have held your hair back through each and every pregnancy as you are so gracefully hunched over the toilet.  The love of those same hands that have held your hand as each one of your four children have entered the world (minus #4 because due to natural labor and NO pain medication I wasn't holding anyones hand, in fact I just remember shouting the words "get fixed" if you know what I mean.)  The love of the man that prays over your children and calls you in the middle of the day to tell you that he has been praying for you.  The love that allows me to lay down in his lap and just ever so slightly nudge my head and he immediately begins to play with my hair.    The love that knows exactly how he likes his coffee and that it means so much for me to have it waiting for him.  The love that has a certain look that can speak volumes when your in a crowded room.  The love that gets so mad, but then breaks into a laugh, because in the end it's always gonna be me and you:-)  The love that I plan on enjoying until the good Lord calls me home and I just know I will be holding his hand.

To Zach, 11 years ago I vowed to love, honor, and cherish you for the rest of my life.  Without doubt the second best decision of my life, next to fully and completely giving my life to God on Nov. 19, 1999.  Our marriage is not perfect, will never be, but it is my kind of perfect; to have and to hold till death do us part.  I just know we will be holding hands.
Happy Anniversary!!!  

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Father's VOW and His COMMITMENT to Keep it

5:00 PM 2
Play as you read:-)

I love you
 Dad and Max

     Today I have the privilege of writing about someone that affected my life in ways I could have never imagined possible.  The role a father plays in the life of a child is so very important, possibly the most influential of all relationships a child will experience from the age of birth to adulthood.  This relationship alone has the power to shape a child in a number of different ways.  Becoming a Father is so much more than holding that bundle of joy wrapped in blankets of blue or pink and thinking to yourself, I will love this child forever.  It is a vow, a commitment, two words I fear that have been watered down to a level of near extinction within our society today.  Fatherhood is a promise to actively and purposefully raise this child to be a honorable man or woman, fully equipped and prepared for life, with the ability to one day pass that same wisdom down to his or her own family.
Some of you may have read the blog post I wrote about my mother.  If you did you will know that I feel so very blessed and undeserving to have been born into the family that I was.  Why I was born into a family with two people that were both committed and loving and some are born into situations where they are not even wanted I will never fully understand or be able to explain.  The ways of this world are not always clear to me and when I witness kids who are suffering and hurting because of severe trauma that was present in their home I am deeply saddened and long for them to be comforted and healed from the depth of the wounds that plague them.  There is hurting that takes place all around us and will effect each and every one of us in some way throughout our life, but I hold on to the truths that have been revealed to me through the word of God, believing that what he has said is true and knowing that nothing…NOTHING… can separate me from the love of God.  If you are one of those precious souls that have been left with a hole in your heart from the lack of a father I want you to know that I love you and am praying for you right now as I type this sentence.  No matter what kind of hurt you have experienced in your life you can find healing, you can be renewed by the love of Christ and experience joy and peace that surpasses anything that this earth can provide.  You, my precious child, are NOT without a FATHER. 

He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

It is with extreme joy and gladness that I share with you a small glimpse into the bond that I share with my father.  David Galloway, is a man of honor, integrity, and most importantly first and foremost a man of God.  He is a man that has honored his VOW before God and was and still is COMMITTED to his family.  I have so many wonderful memories of my Dad that I could fill this blog up for days, but since I do have four kids running around here somewhere I should probably keep it to my most favorite.  Dad, I honor you today, for the father that you were and the father that you still are.  You filled my life with so many smiles and for that I am so very thankful.
Don't be mad Dad, I couldn't resist.  Note: his face would NOT look like this during BAMA football!

One of my earliest memories revolved around football, a staple in the Galloway house.  We have always loved Alabama Football in our family and every Saturday in the fall that is what we were doing, watching football.  I can remember sitting on my Dad’s lap all dressed from head to toe in Alabama apparel.  I sat on one leg and on the other was a bag of Golden Flake potato chips, a habit that I unfortunately have taken on as well.  I can remember with every play his body would stiffen up, kind of like when your roller coaster is just about to peak over the top of that death-defying hill.  Then as long as everything turned out ok he’d ease up again.  Although, I was very young at the time, I knew when things weren’t looking good for the BAMA team.  He would remove me from his lap and start pacing the floor like a man waiting for his child to be born.  Every now and then you would see a smile from the corner of his mouth, but would never claim victory until every second had run from the clock.  I did not however inherit that characteristic; sometimes my mouth gets me in a slew of trouble when it comes to football.  Thank you Dad for the tradition of family footballJ

    My Dad was blessed with three daughters and no sons so when it came to yard work there had to be someone there to lend a hand.  I'm not real sure how it began or why that someone was me, I just remember loving to work in the yard with my Dad.  Looking back I'm pretty sure that it wasn't the actual work that I loved so much, but it was the conversations that we had while doing it.  He always had a way of making me feel so valuable and still does to this day.  The best part about our "working days" was that we always finished it up with a meal of tuna fish and crackers with just a dab of "Texas Pete."  I still love that meal and every time I share it with my kids I think of my Dad.  Who would have thought that shoveling mulch and eating tuna would bring such joy to my heart.  Thank you Dad for putting a shovel in my hand.
PaPa G and my Laela

This may be hard for some of you who know me to believe, but as a child I was not a fan of shopping.  We would go on family shopping trips and my mom and two older sisters would hit it running while my Dad and I would sit on the bench outside and "people watch," or play the "penny game" where he would hide the penny in one of his hands and I had to guess which one it was.  We shared lots of laughs on those trips.  Somewhere along the way I did, however, eventually take on my role as a fashionista and with all four women on the move Dad figured he better step up to the plate.  On occasions Dad would take each daughter shopping by themselves and this was the best.  See, normally Mom was on shopping patrol, and since she had three girls to buy for always was very cautious of sales and bargains, which no doubt she passed on to me, but Dad on the other hand, OBLIVIOUS!  If Dad saw an outfit on a mannequin that he liked he would insist that you try every piece on and if he liked it, you got the whole thing, accessories included.  A little girls dream.  I'll never forget one Mother's Day he took me shopping to pick out something for Mom and he saw this outfit on display.  The mannequin had on two turtle necks with this particular outfit, more than likely just to advertise how it would look with each color, but Dad insisted that we buy both turtle necks and I really think expected her to wear them the same time.  He's still a mannequin shopper today, we love you for that Dad.  There is something about a father taking interest in what his daughter wears that speaks volumes.  It was understood in our family that we were to dress modestly.  At the time I remember thinking they were the weirdest parents in the world.  We would even have to get our Dad's approval of our swimsuit every summer, ridiculous, right??  This drove my sister's and I crazy, but now that I am older, it gives me comfort in knowing that my Dad cared enough about me to "care."  Thank you Dad for caring how short my skirt was! 
Coach Galloway

My Dad was not only my Dad, he was My COACH.  He always coached my softball team growing up and because of this we shared many rides in "the yellow bug."  My dad always had a love for "beetle bugs" as we called them and when I was in about fourth grade he decided to by him an "Ole yellow bug."  I hope you are not picturing the VW style of todays bug, if so you would be incorrect.  This jewel was a pale yellow, rusted around the edges, a stick shift a foot long with black accordion rubber wrapped around the base.  I searched everywhere for a picture of this car and I am so very sad that I have come up empty.  This car was filled with character and if only the walls could talk.  We rode to and from every practice and game in the "bug."  I can still smell the musty scent of a baseball glove and feel the stickiness of the old leather as it felt beneath the sweaty ball pants that I was wearing. The hours spent behind the rusted dashboard of that car will forever be cherished.  Thank you Dad for coaching me, but most of all for all the rides in the "yellow bug."

There are so many stories that I really want to include in this blog like our adventures in fishing, camping trips, Sunday Morning breakfast, and how I use to tell my friends that my Dad was going to be the President of The United States (I still believe that you know!!) but what I want more than anything is for you Dad to know how truly thankful I am that above anything else you were a man who loved the Lord with all of your heart.  I watched you for 20 years honor God in a way that spoke so loudly to me that it forever impressed upon me the importance in searching for a Godly husband.  I watched you honor, respect, and lead my mother in a way that taught me to look for a man that would be the head of my family.  I watched you get up at the break of dawn to provide so that you could be home by dinner in a way that taught me to look for a man that was not lazy.  I watched you bring people in our home time and time again to share the gospel with them teaching me to look for a main who had a heart for ministry.  Your example, more than all the laughs, smiles, good times, great shopping trips, or championship trophy's has affected me and shaped me into the woman that I am.
About to head down the aisle

On June 23, 2001 you married off your first daughter as well as your baby daughter.  That daughter was me.  I will never forget the walk we made down that aisle.  With every step I was remembering all the little things along the way that you did to prepare me for this day.  I still remember how it felt having my arm wrapped around yours and thinking to myself that this is the last time I was going to be just "your little girl."  I remember seeing the tear in the corner of your eye as we first stepped into the sanctuary and wondering if you were going to make it through.  I remember you squeezing my arm gently over and over as we walked down the aisle, your way of telling me over and over that you loved me.  Then I will never forget as we made that last turn down, what seemed to be the longest aisle, looking up and seeing the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  It was at that point that I realized that you had given me the greatest gift a daughter could ever hope for.  You see my whole life I compared everyone that I dated to you and it seemed that not a one could hold a candle to David Galloway, until I met Zach Dasher.  The gift of your example lead me to find a man that could never fill "your" shoes, but that had a pretty good pair of his own.  Thank you Dad for teaching me to look for a man that would honor, respect, and lead me and our family to heaven.  
Seeing Zach for the first time

David Galloway, you are a man of integrity, you are a man of honor, you are a man of dignity and strength and I thank you for being my hero.  I thank you for being my Father, the one who protected me, trained me, and taught me to look for the good in others, you showed me what it meant to serve, you practiced what you preached, and you always followed through with the task at hand.  Thank you for being MY DAD.  Thank you for keeping your VOW and for being fully COMMITTED to your family.  I'm just about certain that you will be The President of The United States of America one of these days, I hear we're in need of a man with true conviction.  Happy Father's Day!  

Love Always and forever


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