As, hopefully, all of you reading this know, I live in Denver now. At a straight distance that is 565 miles away. The driving distance is approximately 617 miles apart. It is both a very long ways away, and a short one too. I am only a phone call away, but also a nine hour drive from the ones I love and call family. Handwritten letters have become precious to me, and stamps are no longer a foreign concept. You may laugh when I say that but Google does not have the answer for "how many stamps does it take to send a letter?".
I am a person who has accepted at least a million second chances from anyone who has ever been close to me. I mess up, I hurt them, and I hurt myself in the process. I could never say 'thank you' enough to people who have been so gracious to me when I did not deserve any sort of kindness. There are people who have walked away from me also, and I understand their self-preservation and have grown to accept it. Matthew 18 tells many parables, with one that is very dear to me. The parable of forgiveness. Forgiving our friends and family alike not just seven times, but seventy-seven times. Whatever we do to another will be done unto us. If we show grace and mercy to those pleading for it, the same shall be done to us. We have all plead for something, or someone at one point or another.
Grace will be given to those who give it. Mercy to those who ask for it. No matter how many times we wander, we are always welcomed back with open arms and rejoicing.
There are no actions or words spoken that God does not know about; That we haven't discussed. He has not shamed me for them, nor has He called them to attention to publicly humiliate me. I have done more to deserve scorning from Him than anyone. I have failed many times, stumbled a hundred more, and made the wrong move countless times. Yet never has He called me out to degrade my worth. That's not really His thing. He loves to love. He has steered me in a better direction. He has given me words to say when I fail. He has comforted me in my darkest moments. He loves to love.
Christianity is all about being more like Jesus. I found myself confused, hurt, and angry Sunday until today. A rumor was spread about me and another person. In case you were unsure, the definition of a rumor according to Merriam-Webster is this: information or a story that is passed from person to person but has not been proven to be true. Now, I typically don't care about rumors. I let people talk, and if they want the truth they can ask. I don't mind, nor am I afraid of the repercussions. Dr. Seuss said "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Friends will stay with you through it all. No one should be shamed for anything, because we have all fallen short of perfection. Truthfully, even if we mess up, if whatever we do has only love behind the motivation, who can scold us?
Love the ones around you. The effect we have on those around us in enormous. Even if someone has lost their way, love them beyond capacity, beyond understanding. You are not hated, discriminated, humiliated, or ostracized by God no matter what you do. So, what good is it to display that kind of behavior to someone who is just as imperfectly perfect as you are?
If you have trouble with someone you love, make it right. If you have not loved as you are loved, make it right. There is no limit to forgiveness. Make them believe you love them.
This song always reminds me of the love I should be giving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfwwuHgl_q8
Friday, February 3, 2012
This is a poem I wrote. I hope you enjoy it. It is okay if you don't.
Every note you've ever played went into my ear,
Every note you've ever played went into my ear,
Down into the depths of my inner soul,
Made me fall in love with you,
And stuck with me like the echoes of our foes,
That crawls into our chests trying to break the guards of our rest,
At peace with ourselves and without the redemption of Grace,
You’ve made me fall on my face even harder than I imagined humanly possible,
But I laugh because I know that anything is possible,
With the I am. We are, He is, ours.
And only mine.
And every time I close my eyes my heart is unrefined,
But on my knees I am as new as a jewel from the dark mines.
Dark minds clutter the world that they claim as theirs
While we proclaim the good news that we belong to a KING
Have the greatest kingdom ever known and unknown.
The great mystery of the universe, life far out beyond the walls of any sphere.
Yet we are brought back by the simplicity of a smile,
Or the complexity of adoption;
The gravity that keeps us humble seems to be unseen
By eyes so desperate to search for their lives
That they miss out on the true meaning of life found in The Death,
I started this out as love but I am ending it with Agape;
The human who makes me feel alive inspired this fire
That grew a desire for fear: the absence of.
Our collision of spirit and
Inevitable choice of accepting what we didn't choose,
But we would decide even if it weren’t an option.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Lately I have been having some open heart conversations with people who I have never shared things with before. With this kind of openness, it was not only the good entering my heart, but also The Enemy. It is interesting to see the kind of attacks I have had. I have always struggled with the idea of being “good enough” and I have friends who continually make fun of, and insult Christians. I am not just talking about one friend; and this isn’t an undercover jab at the people who have and continue doing it. I’m openly saying that my friends have done this, and I understand that their beliefs won’t change. I never want to force them to either.
You see, these friends make false statements about True Christianity. They are insulting something that they have only been burned by. They are trying to burn out the hate they have received with hate that they are sending out into the world. They are trying to put out a fire (that I agree needs to be burned out) with another fire. This will NEVER work. It will only cause a bigger fire, ultimately burning and hurting everyone around.
Saying these things is like telling someone “You’re exiting the building wrong, don’t go down the stairs!” Yet, they don’t have an elevator or another alternate route for us to take. Where are we supposed to go from there? Nowhere. It leaves us trapped in a building we are all striving to leave.
I couldn’t think about hurting someone around me in anyway. I would NEVER want to do that intentionally. I will do EVERYTHING to never hurt someone around me. When I do I humbly seek for their mercy. I pray that they will forgive me. This may sound dramatic, but it is important for people to know that I care a lot when I hurt them.
It is also VERY HYPOCRITICAL. What, a Christian calling the “secular” people HYPOCRITES? Yep. I know a lot of people who don’t believe in God have no problem proclaiming their thoughts and ideas to the world and tearing down our fundamental beliefs, but if I defend myself, I am all of a sudden forcing an idea down everyone’s throat.
You’ve gotta be kidding me.
They can send out their ideas. They can tell you why everything I believe is wrong. They can convince people that we are stupid, judgmental, and full of hate, but we try and clear, NOT our name but HIS name, and all of a sudden we are one of “those” Christians. Totally hypocritical. If someone insults you, spreads a false rumor about you, or hurts you in any way, you get to defend yourself. If someone is telling people that I am a gay-hating, judgmental, Republican, hypocritical, prude I just think I get to clarify that I am not. I know that all of those things are false.
And let me just tell you all THAT IT HURTS. It makes me SAD to think that’s exactly what my friends think when they look at me. People’s views of me are not what is important, but keeping my friendships are SO important to me, especially people who I am close to. Most people know that I don’t get offended by a lot. Almost nothing can make me upset to the point of tears but this does. It also takes a lot for me to admit weaknesses of mine.
This makes me think I am not a good enough example of the LOVE that Christ has for us. It makes me think that I am not being a good enough friend. It makes me think that I am not good enough for people to not look past prior judgments of Christians. I am an ambassador for what is GOOD, and TRUE, and RIGHT. This is my calling as a disciple. All of this just makes me think I am not good enough to even be friends with the people I am because they are great people. I am humbled to be their friend. This is where the enemy is hitting my heart, hard.
I am good enough for God to die for me. I am good enough for Him to love me. Yet these people who I thought cared about me are making me doubt this Truth because I am not good enough for them. All I am asking for is you to think about what you say, and if it is going to hurt someone or offend them, why say it? I don’t want to hurt you. I will never insult you, so why would you want to do that to me?
If you read this, thank you. If it means nothing to you, that’s fine. I hope I can find your respect.
Much love coming your way.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Love is the ultimate sacrifice we can give. To love someone is to want everything good for them and make it happen within your abilities-at all costs.
I have this friend who constantly reminds me of the person I want to be, knowingly, or not. We were talking the other night and she told me “you’ve already opened your heart to me, you can’t take it back”. It made me realize how having an open heart with people deepens your relationship to a “no-turning-back” point. It is easy for us to say ‘man, people suck. I’ll just get them before they can get me”. I know this is the attitude of many people in this world.
I know this life was supposed to be shared. It is why even the biggest atheists long for relationships in order to one day get married. When, if they really knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t have the desire in them to want to share life and to participate in a fundamental religious ceremony. We were created with desires. Our desires are not there so they can’t be met; they are there to show us exactly what we need in order to survive and live.
We are not able to be ourselves without the consistency of people who hold us accountable. Ultimately, we need God in order to supply our needs, and to surpass our deepest wants and desires. But he created a companion for man because our lives were made to be connected. There is no me without the many people who surround and occupy my heart. It is why we are so easily influenced by the ones we care about so much.
My friend who I mentioned earlier is never afraid to tell me when I am not being a good friend. She also has the ability to let me know when I am not being the person I need to be with her reactions (like I said, knowingly or not). She has pointed out flaws in me this week that I have always compromised by claiming it as a different characteristic. The truth is, I just react to the first thing I hear that can be believed. I am not proud of this fact, but I am working on it.
A thought occurred to me the other day that if I don’t treat my friends with the same respect I hold with Christ, I am not a true Christian. I am contradicting everything I have ever believed in, or preached. I need to love those around me with the same abundant love that healed me and brought me to the person I am today. The love I have cannot be faked. Any love I give, I pray, is undeniable because I am hoping it is just a reflection of the powerful love given to me every moment of every day by a God who is bigger than we can imagine or comprehend.
The love that I refuse to keep to myself, will never give up. Love gives us meaning, it gives us hope. I will forever see this world as beautiful through this heart I need to wear more. I pray that each person KNOWS love. I mean: agape. Self-sacrificial feelings that is deeper than a brotherly love and more intimate than any other relationship we may have.
I am thankful for my friend who holds me to these standards. I want to continually make sure others' happiness is above mine, because I am happiest when those around me are full of joy. My goal will be to make sure I am a better friend, and person to every person around me, no matter the cost. The person who I am intended to be is brought out by the people who surround me.
Love is the undeniable ability to conquer our darkest sides, and to restore us to our intended state.
We are able to overcome anything with love.
Monday, November 7, 2011
This has gotten way out of hand. I know I am overdramatic 99% of the time I open my mouth, but this time I am so serious and I hope, readers, that you understand that.
Our generation is on two ends of the spectrum, generally. One side is the “generation of help”. The ones who see the problems in the society and know we are the change, and are going to DO SOMETHING about it.
The other side is this: Apathetic. Plain and simple. They care about no one, and nothing. Most people would say they care only about themselves, but I look closer and realize that they don’t even have a backbone to stand up for something.
This morning I heard that LibertyProblems (Twitter account) used their publicity to break people down. Words hurt. I don’t know where we all got the impression that they don’t, but they do. Our words mean something to someone, and everyone. We are more important and more impactful than we realize. When I heard that this social network coward broke someone down, I got physically sick. It hurt from my heart into my stomach. I literally thought I was going to throw up.
We need to realize that our words are meant and intended to encourage others. We need to know that we are more IMPACTFUL than we realize and to use that power for bad instead of good is just starting a battle that will never win. Good wins in the end. I don’t know if anyone else saw any of the superhero movies when they were younger, but GOOD DEFEATS EVIL. Every time. Be the movement in hearts that builds them back stronger, not breaks our most valuable treasure into tiny pieces struggling to recover. You mean something. Your words affect people. Words go from your mouth into the heart of another human being.
I hope you read this, and take it into your heart. Whether your heart be guarded, locked up so that a monumental force can only affect it. Or if its too broken to think about it’s defenses. Or if your heart is swollen with love, and empathizes with the pain others endure each day. Wherever your heart is, I know these words can affect it. Your words affect my heart, bad and good.
If you don’t believe me, notice how what others say affect you and your state. Even if it doesn’t affect you, others might be. Even if you are affected by something, others might not be. We are different and that is why we are beautiful and built for compassion.
This is my message for you today and every day.
Appreciate where your words can go, don’t underestimate yourself and your worth, and encourage others to do the same.
Thanks for reading.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I am humbled almost daily by the amount of stuff my mom went through. I am beyond grateful for the amount she went through only to keep me. There is a past that I have shared with only one person. Don’t worry, I’m not about to confess it here and now. All you need to know about it is that because of who I was my mom was the one who suffered. But while she suffered, she kept a journal. It was a journal of my road to true mental stability. If you saw me then and saw me now you would think I had a twin. That is the amount of change I have been through. There are a few people who have seen the full transformation that I’ve been through. And even if they have, I don’t think they really understand where my heart is now, or what was happening then. One day I plan to share that story. First, I have to be able to share it with more than one person.
All of this to say, my mom put up with a lot of crap when dealing with me. I mean, every day was a constant battle for us. Even when I was having a good day, my mom knew that it might not last until tomorrow. Throughout these years, (yes, years) it was a true testimony for her unconditional love. I’ve never appreciated it until now. She allowed me freedom when I didn’t deserve it. She still took care of me, no matter that I was spitting hate in her face. She never held anything against me after our fights. And through every doctor visit, hospital stay, and new medicine she was there. She held my hand, patted my back and told me one day everything would be fine. I always hoped that one day she would be there to witness this. To hear the words “your mom would proud of you,” never fails to swell my heart. My mom was honestly the best friend that I hoped to share with the world. Spending time with my aunts and uncles always brings joy to me. I mean pure joy. I see her in every one of them and they tell me that we look and act identical. That sort of compliment is never taken lightly, and for those of you who read this, know that every word you say to me is taken to heart. Every moment we spend together is precious to me, and I wouldn't want to trade it for anything.
For those of you who were there while we were going through our rough times, I know this seems like I am making this up. We did have bad times together, but when someone isn’t here anymore, you don’t remember those anymore. They don’t matter anymore. Her overwhelming love is what my mind remembers.
I also want those of you who are around me now, to know that my mom and I hugged almost every time we saw each other. I was SO affectionate with her that she would get annoyed by it. Seriously, sometimes she would get up from her chair and go to the kitchen and I’d jump over the couch just to hug her and talk to her while not interrupting her shows. And if I woke up later than her, I’d kiss her cheek while walking by her chair. In the car, I would hold her hand. Even in stores I’d walk with my arm around her. The last time I saw her we did those last two. I am not ashamed of admitting any of this. I am SO happy I did it. I feel like there is no other way for her to have known my deep love for her any other way. I lost a lot of my touch-love after her. I feel like I’m starting to get it back, but it might not ever be what it used to be.
We also laughed A LOT together. Over really dumb things. Whenever we went to the store I would put super weird things in the cart and hope she wouldn't notice until the checkout. It was a game we would play. Usually it'd be things like a full turkey, or every type of toothpaste they had. Then I would put a lot of beer at the bottom of the cart, walk away, point and yell "ALCOHOLIC!". I am surprised she never left me at the store. Although she would walk really close to other people and when I followed her and start talking she'd look at me and say "Go find your mother!". It was real love.
I know this is a long post again, but there is so much about my mom I have to say and it’s difficult for me to talk about in person. Except for the fun stories. There will be a second post for tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Love you a lot.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
It is Homecoming weekend, and I feel like I should share with you my thoughts, knowledge, and epiphany about the Kingdom. Before you stop reading this, even if you don’t believe, you might want to continue. But y’all know my feelings about being told what to do, so I’m not about to tell you what to do. It’s just a really, really strong suggestion.
Most of you know that I was on the Homecoming Court this year, a magnificently good thing. I have truly felt like royalty. And all the love from the friends I have and even people I don’t know supporting me through this has made my heart swell with joy. It is beyond my comprehension to realize how much love was shown to me. I’m not bragging here, and I hope that is not how you are taking this. My intentions are to show that I receive the love that is given to me, and I am both grateful and reciprocal of it. People here are more incredible than what I ever thought they were. For that, I apologize for undervaluing you.
I didn’t win, but I sure felt like a queen. This morning I got the urge to submerge myself into scripture and to figure out questions I had on my own. As I did this, I broke out my notes from the His Voice Global Weekend. At first I didn’t run into words about “The Kingdom” but as I wandered through on my own I kept coming across it, then someone texted me about the Homecoming Court. This then sparked a chain of thoughts. Now, my brain sort of works faster than my words can process, and it forgets faster than I would like it to. But as I retrace my steps I find I can go through my thoughts slower and explain them more.
When people think about dying, they often want to go to Heaven. They want to be in a safe place where things are always great. Many Christians are the ones who talk about how great Heaven will be because that’s where God’s Kingdom is. But to be completely accurate, we are called to bring the Kingdom down. This life is hard, there’s no denying that, and you need not convince me of that. So if this rings true for everyone, why would we make life any harder than it has to be? Why would we break down people when all we want for ourselves is to be built up?
In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says “…