Thursday, January 7, 2016

An Ending

It’s been roughly two years and three months since my last blog post. Reading over it gives me such a sense of melancholy. I had so much naive hope for the future. Little did I know…

I think most of you know at this point, 2014 was, very possibly, the worst year of my life. almost as soon as I got home from the Philippines I started making terrible choices that sent my life into a downward spiral that seemed to have no end. I decided that I was going to do whatever made me happy, regardless of how it affected anyone else. It was a bad deal.

And much as I spent 2014 nearly destroying my life, 2015 was spent trying to put it back together. Don’t worry, I’m still here. I survived. I’m doing very well now.

As far as the midwifery journey goes… I took my exams. Again. Missed them by two questions. Again. And with the dawn of 2015, they changed the regulations on me and made it nearly impossible for me to get my license. They upped the amount of clinical experience I needed and stopped accepting out of country births. This meant I couldn’t go back to the Philippines (or anywhere else for that matter) to get the experience. As mentioned previously, none of the midwives in my area were willing to take me as an intern, and the clinic I’d been interning at before was going through a time of turmoil all their own. It’s been a rough couple of years for midwifery in South Carolina. Even if I’d been able to find an internship somewhere else in the states, by the time I’d gotten the experience I needed, the experience I’d gotten at the beginning of my journey would have been invalid. Catch 22.

Now, that’s not to say I was entirely a victim of circumstance. I could have documented more births while I was in the Philippines either of the times I was there. While I did more than the bare minimum, I didn’t document more than the bare minimum and that, obviously, came back to bite me. They say what you don’t know can’t hurt you. That’s a load of crap. Now, getting my license would mean starting from scratch. And I just don’t have it in me to do that.

So that’s the long and short of it. The death of a dream. Nearly five years of turmoil down the drain. I learned a lot. Ended up really hurt over a lot of things, and ultimately let that hurt fester and turn into something extremely destructive. That post I wrote awhile back about fear, anger, and hate? Yeah. The dark side is not a pretty place and despite what they may tell you, they do not have cookies.

Anywho, this is my last post on this blog, since the whole midwifery journey has come to an end. I just figured I’d get you all up to speed on that. That being said, I am going to try to start blogging again! On a new blog where I’ll be dealing with some of what 2014 and 2015 looked like, because a lot of big things happened over those years and I learned a lot and feel like that probably needs to be addressed. I’ll also be writing about what my life looks like now, where I see myself headed, so on and so forth. The way I ended my last post still rings true. To quote David Bowie (who’s new album comes out in less than an hour!!!)  “I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Full Circle


It’s funny how God often brings us full circle. 

I’m sitting in an airport on my way back to Davao. Never thought I’d write that sentence.

I’ll start at the beginning.

Many of you know that I was interning at a clinic in Fort Mill. I really loved my time there. The women I was working with are wonderful, loving women who I am so honored to have been able to learn from and whom I hope to continue to learn from in the future.

Anyways, I’d thought I’d finished all my clinical work. I’d thought I was done and on the homestretch. And then the bomb dropped. My school rejected almost 5 months worth of work from me because the paperwork wasn’t done correctly. I was devastated. It looked like this was going to push out my graduation another year at least and emotionally, I couldn’t handle that. In order to redo that clinical work it would take at least 3 months, if not longer and by the time I would be able to submit it, I wouldn’t be able to take my exams until next November. I frantically emailed every clinic, midwife, and out of country birth site I could find, trying to find somewhere that had an opening as well as a high enough volume of patients to allow me to get everything before November. Almost everywhere turned me down. 

So I decided to give up. I couldn’t go through another year of emotional turmoil trying to drag myself through this. I was just going to work at Smoothie King for a year and do absolutely nothing worthwhile. I made this decision on a Sunday. I discussed it with my parents, I was ready to sent the email to my school. My finger was poised over the self-destruct button on my education and no action hero swooping in would dissuade me from pushing it and putting an end to the source of my misery. Or so I thought. 

Cue Monday. I woke up Monday morning to an email from a clinic in Manila that said, “We can get you everything you need by November. How soon can you get here.” More or less. To me, this was nothing short of a miracle. Two months and I could be done. I bought my ticket later that week. 

In coming to Manila, I had a very, get in, get done, get out, mentality about it. I don’t love the Philippines. It’s not where my heart is. For all the wonderful people that are here, for all the food and culture and love, I can’t see myself ever being here long term. I was not thrilled to be coming back to the Phils and I though, other than clinical numbers, I probably wouldn’t be getting much out of these two months other than a case of homesickness. 

I stepped off the plane and the smell of the Philippines hit me. My first thought was, “What the hell am I doing back here?” I’m sure God laughed. 

These last two months have been incredibly healing for me. I’m actually tearing up just thinking about it.

When I left Davao I was told, “We feel like you’re just not a good fit here.” I know they meant simply at that school in that particular environment, but the tired, despondent, depressed me took that as meaning, “You’re not cut out for the mission field.” I went home broken, with no confidence in myself. I think I’ve blogged a little about that before. I was a hot mess for about 9 months. 

Going to Dust, to the church I’m a part of right now, helped a lot with the healing process, but my faith in myself as a missionary was totally gone. I had no desire to ever leave the western world again. I was convinced that I couldn’t hack it. I didn’t want to be a missionary. I wanted to live in a house with a white picket fence that I could paint bright green to annoy all my neighbors. I wanted to deliver babies and paint and not go anywhere. I was done. 

Two months in Manila and I’m not exhausted. I haven’t dropped into a downward spiral of feeling like I can’t do it. If anything, being here has sparked my desire to do missions again. I want to go back to Moz more than ever. Being here, in an environment that is so loving has given me that confidence back. 

And that’s not to say that I haven’t had bad days. My birthday this year could be comparable to the day I fell in a sewage ditch in Davao. I’ve had terrible days here. And I’ve come out of it feeling stronger and more confidant in myself than ever. 

I’m not writing a lot about birth. I had several good ones. I delivered a baby named Shekinah, Glory of God. I had a few hemorrhages. I processed births and thought through what I would have done differently or what I felt like I would take away from it. But it wasn’t anything too terribly different from what I’m used to. It’s not the births that were life changing. 

It was the midwives who were pulling for me and laughed with me and loved on me for two months. It was Jeri who sat down with me and told me it wasn’t all my fault for not being able to make it in Davao. It was Jeri’s family, Deborah and Darren and their kids, Sarah, and Paul, who fed me (and the other interns) dinner every Tuesday and accepted me into their family even though I was here for such a short time. It was being in a place that is hard to be, but having the support I needed to make it through. These are the things that were life changing. These are the things that gave me hope again. 

And now it’s come full circle. I’m headed back to Davao to visit some friends. Here, at the end of this journey, I’m headed back to where it began. Here, at the end of the healing process, I’m headed back to where the wounds started. 

To all of you in Davao, I’m not blaming you for any of what happened to me. I know myself well enough to know that I did it to myself. I beat myself down. I allowed myself to be hurt and to be wounded when I didn’t have to. I know you all were trying to help me the best you could so don’t feel like I’m blaming you at all. I’m the one who dug the hole. I’m the one who had to climb out of it. 

I’m headed back home in a week and I’m so excited to see what God has in store for me next. Chances are, I won’t know until I’m there. That’s how these things always seem to work for me. To quote David Bowie (who is the only famous person I want to meet) “I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

Till next time,

Sunday, February 17, 2013


One day I'll start blogging consistently again... Just like I'll start journaling consistently again and cleaning my room on a daily basis. Hah. Well... I can dream right?

Anyways... Let me see. So. Life. Yeah.

I've been home for almost a year! Yep! I got home early last March. Crazy. Time flies and all that.

I finished up the last of my academic work last week! I took my last test and am just waiting on a grade on my final paper. Once that's done all's that's left is to finish up my clinical numbers and skills. Hopefully I'll have that finished by May or June! Then it's on to the NARM! I'm so ready to be done. It's nice to be so close and to be able to see the finish line. For a long time after getting home I couldn't see an end and became really discouraged.

So now it's just a matter of keeping busy until I can get a real job. Hehe. I can't really get one until after I finish my clinical numbers since I'll be on call in case of a birth. Most jobs frown on leaving suddenly to deliver babies. But in the mean time I've been doing some house, dog, and baby sitting so that's given me a decent cash flow to work with.

I've also gotten pretty involved with the church I'd mentioned in my last post. They have a young adults church called Dust that meets on Tuesdays and I go to a home group on Thursdays so most weeks I'm at church (Or church related things) 3-4 times a week. I've made some awesome friends and really have been learning the value of community and of having a really amazing support group. It's not really something I've had in the past...

"But Ashton!" You say. "Didn't you live with like... 20 other girls for almost two years? Isn't that community?"

My answer is... no. Not really. There's a big difference between living with people and living in community with people. What I'm learning is that community is about being open and honest with people. It's about helping each other, praying for each other, and coming along side of each other in hard times, not living in the same house or wallowing in mutual misery. It's about dragging each other out of the holes we've dug for ourselves. It's about seeking each other out and taking time for each other. And it's been amazing.

I've only been at Dust since October and most everyone knows my story already. Most of them have already seen me cry my eyes out. And I'm incredibly thankful to have the Dust community in my life. I'd still be a mess if I didn't.

Anyways, there's a lot more I could tell you but I don't want to give you a whole book to read here. I'll try to write a little more often. Here's a picture of my cat.

As always thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, November 18, 2012



I said I was going to start blogging regularly again... haha... yeah... 

Let me see... life since August. Things have actually been going really well. School’s been going well. I’ve been passing all my tests so that’s really reassuring. I’ve also gotten to go to two more births! I know that three births in three months really isn’t very many compared to the Philippines (4-5 a week) but it’s been good. I’ve really enjoyed the environment here and getting to see the differences and similarities of birth here and there. 

It’s looking like I’ll be done with the academic portion of school in January. It’ll be so nice to have that done with! Then I just have clinical numbers to finish up, so if you know anyone in the Fort Mill area who’s pregnant and due before May please send them my way! It would be super helpful!

As far as life and my emotional state... I’ve been doing much better. I cry a lot less. Haha. I’ve also started making friends! Yay for friends. I’ve been going to a new church called Renovatus. It’s been good for me. The first service I went to the worship leader played an accordion and the pastor used the word arduous. Those of you who know me well that these facts pretty much solidified my like of the church. 

I’ve only been four times but I’ve really been getting involved. I’m now on the safety team. I get to stand outside and wave at people as they park (It’s cold send gloves!) And today I met a bunch of people from the young adults group called Dust. They were so warm and friendly! It’s so nice to be accepted into a group so quickly. We all went out to Thai food. (Mhhhhhhh curry) And they were all pretty much down with giving me a ride so that’s good! I’m really excited to get more involved and make some good friends. I feel like a good, solid support group would do me good right now. 

Also, I cut my hair! I’ve been debating over cutting it since I got home and finally I just went ahead and did it. I missed having short hair. I honestly wanted to go even shorter than I did, but I realized that since it’s winter, I’d freeze if I cut it as short as I wanted. So come this spring I think I’ll go even shorter but for now, this works. 

Anyways, I just thought I’d give you all a quick update. Thanks so much for your prayers!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Remember when I used to blog consistently? Yeah, me neither...

So... it's been over 5 months since my last blog post... a lot has happened... I'll explain... hopefully.
The reason I quit blogging was because I had a bit of a breakdown. I wasn't doing well in the clinic or in school. I couldn't, or possibly just wouldn't handle  the pressure of it all. And honestly, looking back on it, making it so far only to come home without finishing hurt. I was really disappointed in myself.

I've been home since mid March. What have I been doing since then? Sitting in the back of MorningStar, not making friends, crying, attempting to finish school, having more breakdowns, crying more, putting school on hold for a few months, trying to find a job, praying a lot, listening to a lot of music, trying to get back in to art and writing, crying into my cat's fur, lots of reading, getting my apprenticeship license and volunteering at the local midwifery clinic, and over all just trying to put my life back in order because it's a mess right now.

I know some people are going to be worried about me since I said I'm not making friends and mentioned crying three separate times. I'm honestly actually ok. Crying is good for me. I wanted to cry a lot more in the Philippines than I actually did so I'm catching up on that. As far as the friends thing goes... I'm working on it. Slowly. It's not like I have no friends at all. :P

In happier news, I applied for and received my SC apprenticeship license. This is very good! I've been volunteering at the local midwifery clinic and that's been going great! I've even been able to attend a birth. It's really good for me to see how birth works here in the states as well. I may even have the opportunity to shadow a labor and delivery nurse at one of the local hospitals! That would be great since I've never been to any hospital births.

Now that I have my apprenticeship license I can actually do stuff around the clinic. And if you're pregnant I can even deliver your baby! (under my supervisor's supervision of course) Actually, if you're pregnant and are looking for a midwife... I still need a few clinical numbers so... help a sister out? Heh.

Anywho, I'm actually going to attempt to start blogging again. I'll try to keep you all updated on how school and clinical stuff is going as well as... you know... life... and all that... We'll see. I probably won't be falling into any sewage ditches here in Fort Mill so this blog probably won't be as interesting to read. Whatever. Writing's good for me so... bleh.

Getting it together,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kony 2012


So there’s been a lot of buzz lately about Kony 2012. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, here is the video. I know it’s a little long, but please take the time to watch it. Many of you know that Africa is very close to my heart. I have friends in Mozambique, Uganda, Congo, and Sierra Leon. 
A lot of blogs have been written on this issue. There’s been a lot of debate. I want to just have my two bits about some of the arguments I’ve seen.
The first opposition that I saw talked about how the video really does nothing. That raising awareness is pretty much pointless. The guy who wrote it used the example of cancer. He said, “We are all aware of cancer and think it needs cured, but our awareness isn’t going to cure it.”
However, I ask this; if no one was aware of cancer, would we be working on finding a cure? If no one knew about it would we be spending billions of dollars on research? No. Because no one would care. That is the point of Kony 2012, making people care. Does awareness in itself solve the problem? No. But awareness brings action. We can’t do anything about a problem if we don’t know about it. 
The second argument I’ve seen is this: Kony isn’t active in Uganda anymore so this really isn’t helping at all. 
No. Kony isn’t really active in Uganda anymore. He’s moved into the Congo and other parts of Africa. Just because he’s not in Uganda doesn’t mean he’s not still out there. This is where my friends in Africa come in. I know people who live in areas where he is very much so still active. Children are still being taken. His pointless war is still being waged. The idea of the video isn’t just to help Uganda. It’s to bring Kony down and help people. To help children. 
The third argument is that just because we bring Kony down doesn’t mean that we bring the LRA down. Bringing down one man doesn’t end a whole war. 
Well no. Bringing down one man doesn’t end a war. But it’s a start. Hitler’s death didn’t end World War II. But no one will deny that it didn’t play a part. Will stopping Kony stop the LRA? Maybe. Maybe not. But it lets them know that we humans, as a whole, refuse to let them continue on this way. It lets them know that we are serious about stopping them. 
The fourth argument I’ve seen is this: The mentality of “stop at nothing to bring him to justice” doesn’t fit in with loving your enemy. 
This is an argument I can get behind. This is one that was posed by one of my friends in Africa. And it’s true. Many people want to see Kony dead. I am not one of those people. Has he done terrible things? Absolutely. Does he need to be stopped? 100% yes. However, the Bible tells us to hate the sin, not the sinner. Kony is just a man. And like every other man in the world, he needs Jesus. Perhaps more than anyone. He doesn’t need death, he needs redemption. 
So, do I support Kony 2012? Yes. Kony needs to be stopped. This war needs to end. However, I do not support killing him. I don’t support hunting him down or torturing him or killing him in many slow and painful ways. I support praying for him. I support seeing him not only stopped, but saved. So if you click share on the video, if you choose to get involved in ending this war I ask one thing of you. As you do, pray for Kony. Pray for justice. Pray for redemption. Pray for Africa. Pray for the world.
Thanks for letting me have my two bits. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fear, Anger, And Judgement.


Ok. Today I’ve got several topics, but bear with me. They’re all related. I promise. 
So. The first topic is fear. I’ve talked a little bit about fear before. And I can honestly say it’s never really been something I’ve struggled with. One of my favorite past times is laughing in the face of things most people would find terrifying. The few things that I have been afraid of I’ve tackled and conquered. Does this mean that I live without fear? Not necessarily. I’m just particularly good at putting on a brave face and pushing past the fears. 
I want to look at fear in several different situations. The first being a situation that I’ve become exceedingly familiar with over the last year and a half. Fear in birth. Let me tell you a story.
At the end of January, right after my last blog post, I got a text from one of my continuity patients. I’ve been her midwife since the beginning of her prenatals. Her English was really good and she and I were really able to talk a lot about birth and what to expect in labor. I built strong relationship with her and she trusted me. So she texted me to tell me that she was in labor and was coming in to the clinic. I put on scrubs  and waited for her in the birth room. She arrived about 45 minutes later and I checked her in. All of her vital signs were normal. I did an IE and she was 7cm dilated. I figured that since it was her first baby, she’d be at least three or four more hours. So she and I sat down and talked about what was happening and what was going to happen. We talked about different positions for laboring and pushing. I told her that it was all up to her. She could labor however she wanted and push in any position other than standing on her head. 
So she labored outside for a little while and then after about 15 minutes came in to use the bathroom. When she was done, I noticed that she stayed in the bathroom, just forward leaning against one of the walls so I just went and stood with her and talked to her. 
Not once did she cry or make any loud noises. Every once in awhile she’d say that the contractions were kind of painful. She kept asking how she would know when to push. I told her that her body would let her know and it would probably be pretty obvious. Usually the women here have a strong urge to push rather early on in their labors. She and I stood there for probably 45 minutes. I rubbed her back and told her birth stories. Then, she looked at me and said “Ash, I think I feel the head!” 
It was only an hour after I’d checked her, so I doubted that it really was the head, but I checked anyways. I knelt down and she lifted up her skirt and sure enough, I could see about 2cm of the baby’s head! I calmly looked up and said “I think we should go back to the bed now.” She walked slowly to the bed. Waited a moment for her mother to get there and then took about a minute and a half to decide what position she wanted to push in. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to me, she decided on squatting. She got into a half squat and I could see about 5cm of the baby’s head. I put my hand on her belly and when she had a contraction I told her to push. She pushed twice and the baby slid out. She sat on the bed, I put her baby into her arms, and she began nursing almost right away. She never had an urge to push. Never said it was unbearably painful. Never once complained. 
She trusted me. She wasn’t afraid to give birth. She knew I was going to take care of her. She didn’t fully understand every last thing that was happening, but she knew that I (technically) did. Her trust in me allowed her to relax, focus on her labor, and give birth without fear. And so she followed my instructions and had the best birth I have seen in a year and a half.
Now, I contrast this to many of the women I see every day. Women who beg to go to the hospital because it’s too painful. Women who scream and cry. Women who are so scared and nervous that they’re throwing up. Women who can’t cope with labor. Why? Because of fear. Because they don’t have a loving, trust filled relationship with their midwife.
This can be likened to our relationship with God. Often times He asks us to trust Him, even though we may not understand everything that is happening. He wants to help us, but in order for that to happen, we have to give Him our full trust. Sometimes it’ll be hard and painful. But if we are in fear and don’t trust Him fully, we amplify our pain. We work ourselves up until we can’t cope. 
Trust in God ties in to my next point. Anger.
Here’s my big thing about anger. It usually does no good. People who know me know that I almost never get angry. Frustrated? Yes. Snarky? Yes. Sarcastic? Yes. Angry? No. Not usually. However, on the occasion that I do get angry, it’s pretty scary. I’m a screamer. Occasionally I throw things. It’s something I’m working on.
But anger has never accomplished anything for me other than make me cry so hard that I threw up. 
We’ve been having lots of trouble with our router lately. I have to reset it several times a day, sometimes several times an hour to keep the internet working. It’s especially frustrating when I’m trying to talk to someone far away. Today, as I was reseting the router for the umpteenth time, one of the girls from the other house (their internet is fine)asked me how I do it. She said “I don’t get how you don’t get so mad about it. I couldn’t reset it all the time and not get angry.” 
I thought about it for a moment and then said, “Well... we’re working on getting a new router. And getting mad at this one isn’t going to accomplish anything. It’s just a piece of machinery. Getting mad isn’t going to make it work faster or better. Getting mad is just going to make me mad and then no one will want to be around me.”
It’s true. Anger won’t make anyone or anything work harder or better or faster. It just makes you no fun to be around. 
However, there is a time and a place for anger. Even Jesus got angry.
Here’s the other thing about anger. It’s a human response. And as humans, we are going to respond in human ways. Getting angry every once in awhile, even if it’s an irrational or unjustified anger doesn’t mean you’re not having faith. Anger is an emotion and with any emotion you have a choice. You say “Ok. This is a natural response to this event. I can let this emotion get out of hand or I can feel this emotion for a moment and then it can go away.” Do I get mad at the router? Oh yes. I wrote an entire song about it. Sometimes, I want to throw the router through our concrete walls. Do I? No. Just because I’m angry doesn’t mean I have to act on it or hold on to it. 
Here’s another example. A friend of mine is traveling in Europe right now. He told his bank that he’d be in Europe and they said it was fine, they wouldn’t freeze his credit card. Well, today, they froze his credit card. And it’s Friday. They won’t be open until Tuesday. And they don’t have a phone number that he can call and reach someone at until Tuesday. He’s stranded in Europe with no money at all. He’s flat broke. Was he angry? Yes. It sucks when you’re broke in a foreign country. He is not, however, scared or worried. He knows that God is in control. That’s faith right there if you ask me. Things didn’t go as planned. But instead of freaking out, he said “Ok God. It’s in your hands.” And then he moved on. Is he still angry? Probably. But he chose to not dwell on his anger and to make the best of a bad situation.
Anger is a natural response in that situation. When you’ve specifically been told that something will not happen and then it does, anger is the human response. Is it a wrong response? Only if your reaction to the anger is to go home and cuss out your bankers. Only if you dwell on your anger and let it dictate your response. Only if you let it control you.
And now, I will talk about hate or judgement. 
What does dwelling on your anger cause? Hate! What does fear cause? Judgement. Awhile back, I was reading through Romans and a verse really popped out at me because it dealt with a situation I was in at the time. Romans 14 says: (I’ve bolded the parts that really stood out)
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Verse 22 really stood out to me. Keep whatever you believe about these things between you and God. If there is something that is not a fundamental salvation issue and you and someone else disagree on it, keep it to yourself. Don’t try and force them to believe what you believe. If they only eat vegetables and you eat meat, don’t force them to eat meat. However, don’t flaunt your bloody steak in their face either. Don’t judge them just because they don’t agree with you. And if they’re a super traditional uptight Christian who tries to force you to hold to their standards because listening to non-Christian music is a sin? Don’t judge them. Keep your opinion on the matter between you and God. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
So let’s recap. If you are fearful, angry, and judgmental you’re gonna be pretty miserable. Basically:
Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger
Anger leads to hate
Hate leads to suffering
Yes. I just wrote a blog post off of a Yoda quote. Guess who went and watched StarWars in 3d last week?

May the force be with you my friends.