Micah 6:8 (Part 1): What DOES God Require of Me?

Disclaimer: This is not a theology blog. I’m not so much a deep thinker but more of a chatterbox while I do my thinking. :) Feel free to share your opinions or thoughts. In fact, I hope you will. :)

The verse Micah 6:8 has popped into my life on numerous occasions in the past few months. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The whole phrase, “What does the Lord require of you?” really stands out to me in this verse, even though it’s followed by three obvious things.

(Which will make up parts 2, 3, and 4.)

I was raised Baptist. This is not good, it’s not bad, it just is. I believe that my background, in some ways, laid a very good foundation for what God had planned for me.

But even at a young age, I felt that being Baptist meant following a lot of rules.

I should wear a dress or skirt to church, I should be at every service, I should never sing anything that’s not a hymn, I should never go to the movies.

Honestly, I felt like so much of it was based on appearance.

I attended a Baptist college. I found it to be a strange paradox. For one thing, I got an excellent education in terms of Bible knowledge, and the professors there really are good…and they’re nice, too…so this is nothing against them. But on the other hand, it was more of what I had grown up with…so much legalism.

So many rules. I struggled to follow them with the right heart and broke more than I will admit on this blog. And honestly, I still have some bitterness over all of those rules…but I realize that I need to make the choice to move on because that’s a reflection of my heart, not anyone else’s.

Tobin and I got married in 2002 and attended two different very conservative Baptist churches before a series of events brought us to Ambassador. Amazing church…there, we truly felt that we were accepted for who we were, not what we looked like, sang, or did with our free time. And while we’re being honest here, if we were still in the Twin Cities, we would still be at that church. We just loved it and it broke our hearts to leave.

But in moving to Illinois, we knew we would need to find a new church.

And that search has brought the question, “What does God require of us?” into our conversations on more than one occasion.

So here are my (our) observations, in no particular order.

  • God does not require us to be Baptist. He does require us to follow Him and have a real relationship with Him.
  • God does not require that we use the KJV. He does require that we follow His Word with all of our hearts.
  • God does not require us to follow other people’s rules or expectations. He does ask that we obey Him in each and every area of life. Some of those areas can be subjective based on convictions.
  • God does not require us to go to every possible church service that our church has to offer. He does require us to worship Him.
  • God does not require us to sing only hymns. He does require that the music we sing and play bring Him glory.
  • God does not require women to wear skirts. (This one is hard.) But I do believe He asks that we honor Him in what we choose to wear. All that to say, I don’t believe it’s my job to judge someone based on their clothing…skirts OR jeans.
  • God does not forbid going to a movie. I believe He asks us to honor Him when choosing a movie to watch. And I hope that if someone saw me at the theater, they would know me well enough to not even need to question what I might be going to see.


And really, this list could go on and on. I feel like far too many people see it as their job to lay out what God expects for us. As a Christian and follower of Him, I believe that God has done a good job of that Himself…and my job is to do what He’s asked.

I have felt so pressured in the past by the need to live up to the expectations of others. And when I make a choice that doesn’t fit into their (small) box, I am judged. That’s not good for anyone.

Tobin and I have found a church that is a good fit for us for now. It’s not Baptist. It IS based on the Bible. It is a place where we can serve and grow, be impacted and also make an impact. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes from it. For now, we are both enjoying the church and the freedom to be ourselves that we find there.

What DOES God require of me? I don’t always know, but I’m praying that He’ll continue to guide me (and Tobin). But what I do know is that I love Him and want to live for Him.


22 Years Later

On the morning of January 30, 1989, a ten year old girl, M, sat in her fifth grade classroom writing each of her spelling words three times. M was actually a very good speller, but it was review week and so each student had to write them. She was bored with the entire task and looking forward to recess, which would begin very soon.

The door to the classroom creaked open and she turned to look. Mr. L, the principal, entered, his face as pale as a ghost. M looked at him but immediately turned her attention back to her spelling words…she needed to get them done so she could go to recess.

“Class, I need to tell you something,” Mr. L began.

But M continued to write her spelling words. She was over halfway done with her list now, and the next spelling word was “alumnus”.

Mr. L proceeded to tell the class that there had been a car accident that morning involving a fifth grade friend and his family. D, the student, was injured but ok. But his sister, K, who was also a friend of M, was not.

As M listened to all of this, she continued to write the word, a-l-u-m-n-u-s, each letter shakier than the one before.

K had passed away.

M continued to write the word, by now, the letters almost unrecognizable.

Mr. L left the classroom and the students sat in silence.

Twenty-two years later, M sits at her computer, contemplating a turning point in her life and how the events of that day deeply impacted her.

Sure, life has gone on…for her. She has accomplished many of the goals she set for herself…graduation, college, husband, and now a family. But January 30, 1989, has never left her mind.

Or her heart.

Sometimes she wishes she could go back.

Go back to the last time she saw K, about a week before the accident. K had come over to play at her house for a few hours. Toward the end of the afternoon, M had received a phone call inviting her to go skating, but K wasn’t invited. M wanted to go and so K went home.

But before M could leave for the skating rink, she got in trouble (which wasn’t uncommon) and wasn’t allowed to go. M immediately felt guilty for sending her friend home and called her up. But K wasn’t home…she had gone to the park to play with her dogs.

M let it go, assuming she would talk to K the next time she saw her and apologize.

That day would never come…and eleven short days later, M would sit in a pew in a church with tears slipping down her cheeks.

Tears for a friend, tears for regret, tears for what would never be again.

It is strange now for M to be thinking about this again today and how she remembers the details so vividly. It was never supposed to be this way, as anyone who loved K would agree.

But it was.

Impact is a funny thing…true impact leaves a mark. The death of my friend left a scar that is still there. In my mind, I always wonder, “What if…”.

Not just, What if B had scraped his car windows that morning? The accident would have never happened.

But, What if I had been a true friend and made things right immediately? Then I wouldn’t have tortured myself for so many years over something I couldn’t change.

I can’t go back and apologize to K. If I could, I would…over and over and tell her that she was a good friend and that she meant a lot to me, even at the tender age of ten. I would say thank you to her for being friends with someone who didn’t make friends easily. I would treat her like I should have treated a friend and had her stay at my house and turn down the invitation to go skating.

There are so many what if’s and wonderings. Every year since 1989, I have tortured myself with them…and the truth is, they don’t matter anymore. She’s in a better place, as sad as the rest of us were that she left us far too soon.

I don’t even have a picture of her…just memories and the image of her face. Always with a smile.

I still think of you, K. I still miss you.

And you still have a place in my heart 22 years later.


I’ll Admit It…I Conformed

Those who know me will not be surprised that I’m blogging about this.

In fact, you’re probably wondering why it took me a whole week at my new site to rant about it.

I just. don’t. get. this. trend. (But that hasn’t stopped me from conforming. I know, I know.)

I went through a mild bout of reverse culture shock when I went to buy shoes this past October. For those of you new to my world, I’d been living in the tropics since 2005, thus wearing flip flops every single day. (Yes, it was wonderful, since you asked.) But my toes were getting just a bit too cold in flip flops, so I knew I needed to go shopping for real shoes.

Kohl’s was my store of choice. I like it that they carry name brand shoes without charging ridiculously mahal (expensive) prices. (Hang around here long enough, and you’ll get a good lesson in Bahasa Indonesia. :))

When I first went to the shoe section, I really thought part of it was missing. There were boots, flats, more boots, more flats, and even more boots. But where were the actual shoes??? I remember my heart starting to pound a little bit, and I honestly didn’t know what to do.

I felt like a little lost puppy (it’s ok to cry here…I actually let a few tears drip) as I wandered the rows, wondering what the heck had happened to shoes in the past five years.

Thankfully, Sketchers stepped in and saved the day…or at least my heart rate.

Tucked back into the corner of the shoe section, I found a few pairs of shoes labeled Sketchers Classics. Just normal semi-clunky shoes like what I had wanted.

I tried them on, made a super quick decision (brown vs. black…brown won), and got out of there as fast as I could.

But the whole boot thing…I just couldn’t get over it. I didn’t love the whole let’s-wear-boots-over-our-jeans look.

But everyone was wearing them, and as a girl desperate to fit back into America, I wanted to wear them, too. It took me a month or so before I finally decided on these.

And even a few more weeks before I was brave enough to actually wear them in public.

And they are sort of starting to grow on me. Sort of.

So although I have caved and conformed, inside I am still silently protesting this trend that I think we will regret (and laugh at) in the very near future.

And when we do, we will all be stuck with more boots than we know what to do with.


How to Save $20 on Dinner…

I had a moment of genius tonight.

(Pardon me while I dislocate my shoulder patting myself on the back.) :)

I had been craving deep dish Chicago pizza for a few days… it’s amazing stuff.

We’ve eaten it several times since moving here, but it’s a) expensive and b) terrible for you.

Sorry to be blunt.

But despite the expensive-ness and terrible-ness, it is still one of my favorite things to eat.

But this afternoon, I started thinking… hmmm, I bet I could make it.

Pizza crust mix? yep, there was actually some in the cupboard.

Cheese? Check.

Pepperoni? Wow, we really do have everything we need.

Sauce? There’s always some in the cupboard.

So I got to work… and came up with this.

Take note that 1) it actually looked like Chicago deep dish pizza; and, more importantly, 2) it actually tasted like it, too.

Yep, I’m feeling like a genius tonight. And yep, I’ m taking orders.




So a few days ago I ran across a blog post my friend, Janet, wrote. You can read it here.

I thought it was really great and kind of kept it in the back of my mind, hoping for some inspiration.

In it, she talked about how, for the past few years, she has chosen a word to focus on for the year, and when I read it, I really wanted my own word to come to me. It makes a difference in my relationship with God when I have a goal to strive for and a specific area where I can watch and expect Him to do big things.

Then on the way to Bible study this morning, I was listening to KLove, and they were talking about the exact same thing.

The only difference is that, this time, a word immediately came to me. Literally…before the stoplight turned green. :)


I know I lack it in so many areas of my life.

Whether it’s going to bed at a decent hour, spending a good amount of time with God, exercising every day, or controlling my urge to completely binge on chocolate, I definitely need more discipline in my life.

So that’ s my word for 2011.

And while it’s tempting to make a huge list of things I can work on, I need to start small otherwise I’ll become too overwhelmed.

So let’s start with one goal. I also read a blog post here about the 5 O’Clock Club. It was fantastic…and convicting. I do not get up early and always have my time with God in the evenings. But I allowed the thought to cross my mind that maybe, just maybe, my days would be a lot easier and less stressful if I started them off right.

The thing that gets me is the 5:00 a.m. thing…I’m not really sure it would be good for anyone. (I have golden retrievers who get up at the first hint of noise.) Instead, I’m going to start realistically and set my alarm for 6:00. That will give me a good hour to get up, have my coffee, and spend some time with God.

To be honest, I’m not great at following through on long term goals, but the idea of a word for the year seemed to resonate with me and where my heart is right now.

So maybe this is my year to learn some discipline and follow through.

I’ll keep you posted.


bless the person…

who took this

and this

and came up with this.


Why, yes, I do believe I will have my coffee today.

About six times.




I’m going on about five hours of sleep…which is partially my fault, but not really.

Maelie has a cold, and I was up several times during the night to check on her.

I have spit up and snot (MAE’S spit up and snot…just clarifying :)) all over my hoodie.

But what’ s the point of changing clothes? It’s just going to happen again.

I have yet to make it out of my pajamas or see the shower today, but it must happen before 6 pm because I actually have to go somewhere tonight.

My hair is a mess and I realized I haven’t done anything to it since…um…Monday morning.

I had leftover noodles for breakfast because I was too tired to look for anything else. (And I AM a little bit Indonesian, so noodles work.)

My eyes are streaky from the mascara and eyeliner I (ahem) never took off last night, and I probably stink.

I’ve already had more coffee today than a person should consume in a week…and have probably reached my daily calorie allowance through coffee creamer alone.

My girl is finally down for her nap…hoping she feels better when she wakes up.

I love being a mommy…even on the days I never make it to the shower.


Back to it…and Maelie survives Daycare (gasp!)

My sweet, precious daughter is 7 1/2 months old. She is cute, she laughs, she “sings”, she rolls over and is “beginning” to crawl (aka: wiggle herself everywhere), she chows down her baby food…she does all those awesome things that a 7 1/2 month old does. I love each and every day I spend with her.

But I DON’T love…what’s left of the baby belly.

I don’t just sit around. Goodness, I have a baby, which is enough to keep me busy all day long! When I have time I squeeze in some Pilates, and I make a conscious effort to run up and down our very steep staircase at least ten times a day. (That’s gotta be good for the butt, right?)

But I still have the baby belly…and I’m not really sure it’s going to go away.

I mean…I trained for a 5k for 2 1/2 months AND I actually ran the whole thing. But once it was over, I kind of lost my motivation to get up at 6 a.m. to go for a run. (Gee, I wonder why?!) I did squeeze back into my pre-prego jeans, but let’s be honest, they don’t fit like they used to.

So, really, I’ve got to make a decision here.

Either go hard core (no pun intended) and lose this thing or buy some bigger pants.

My sweet friend, Alison, decided to come to my rescue and force strongly encourage me to go for a run with her this morning.

So she picked me up and we headed to the community center to use the track.

(You can see how much I go here as I don’t even remember the actual name of where we went!) The one catch? No kids allowed.

Maelie would have to go to DAYCARE for an hour.

(I swore off daycare ages ago.)

But I decided it would be good for her AND me…and so I delivered her to the room, signed her in, and held back the tears. I can do this, I can do this, I chant to myself.

And I did. Of course I thought about her while we were running, but it was ok. I’m definitely not ready to leave her there for hours at a time, but today was a big step.

I CAN leave her for for a little while.

It was a good day.


Learning to let go a little bit…check.

A teeny-tiny part of my baby belly gone…check.


Why I Write

To stay sane? That might be the most honest answer.

But there is so much more to it than that.

I’m a writer…it’ s what I do.

If not on a blog or paper or in my journal, it’s in my head.

I’m constantly formulating what I’ll write about next.

That’s why I was beyond thrilled when my husband agreed to a separation this past week…in the blogging world, anyway.

For the past six years we have kept a blog together, Schroeder Scribblings. It is almost entirely devoted to the five years we spent in Indonesia and most recently, our transition back to the States.

I love it…it’s great, and if you want to know more about us than you ever dreamed possible, head on over there and check it out.

But it’ s time for me to have my own space.

You see, I’m on this journey. It’s an interesting one. First and most importantly, I’m figuring out what it’s like to be a mommy… at age 32.

I’m still working on being the best wife I can be to my amazing husband.

I still desire to make something of my life…yet be content with whatever that “something” is. I’m still transitioning back from five years spent in a developing country…hence, it is impossible for my life to ever be what it was before. And in the middle of this journey, my husband and I are more actively than ever before evaluating our relationship with God and what it truly is to be a follower of Christ.

We are learning so much… so much that I think I could already write a book about it.


I love the life I’ ve been given.

It doesn’t look at all like what I pictured ten years ago, but that’s ok. It’ s even better.

And I want to write about it.

Thanks for visiting…and I hope you’ll come back, kick off your shoes, and stay awhile.

Going barefoot is the best.