On being transparent…

I might have a problem. At least some people would think it’s a problem…

I’m a little bit ridiculously transparent. You ask, I answer. You don’t ask, I still answer.

I remember when social media turned from ‘… is taking a break at work.” or “… is going to the movies.” into something more like, “I’m taking a break from my awesome job that pays me enough to go buy the latest Range Rover and the new iPhone.” or “You guys, my kids are so beautifuuullll. Look at how awesome they are when we go to the movies together and they are so well behaved and can sit through a whole movie at only 2 years old because they’re just perfect, you guys!!” And thus began a whole new game of the “Comparison Trap” and I was bound and determined NOT to play it.Imperfect

Unfortunately, it meant that my pendulum swung way in the other direction. I told myself I would never be one of those “perfect, plastic people” and everyone would get a front row seat to the madness that was my heart, mind, spirit, life.

Of course, that wasn’t entirely true either. There were and are still some things that I hold very close to my own heart or I’ll share it only with the inner circle or, sometimes, just one person.

I still overshare now and then, but am encouraged when I know that someone, even if just one person, was able to see some strength in that vulnerability that was on full display and it encouraged her own vulnerability.

I know “story” is kinda like a hot button word right now, but I truly do believe in sharing stories; in walking with my sisters, in building up my brothers, in the hope of redemption, and watching faith explode when miracles happen. There is a richness that comes from each of us when we’re willing to walk in our transparency and to tell our stories, even when it’s really hard to tell. We’re not all called to do that on a social media platform, but I pray that we’re at least willing to do it within our families or within the safe space of a small group or circle of friends.

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There is something special when we’re able to see the work being done and the rawness afforded to us by other people in our lives. It gives us the opportunity to step into their heart space and embrace them with an understanding that we might not have had without the transparency from that person. We are able to foster deeper relationships and connections with people when we allow ourselves to be transparent. In Galatians 6, we’re told to bear one another’s burdens. We aren’t able to do that if everyone is putting on airs all the time. Paul tells us in Romans to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. We are told to care for one another, y’all. How can we do that if we’re choosing to hold in the things that make us vulnerable or the things that will draw us closer to the people whom He’s provided to us?

Finally, our prayer needs get met. This is probably the one that most speaks to my own heart. When I know that I have a pack of people, or heck.. even just one other person.. praying with me about something specific, this girls love tank fills to overflowing. Having agreement in prayer is biblical and we’re not able to do that if we’re not able to have some transparency with other people. Anyone who has followed me on Facebook over the last several months has had a front row seat to the journey with my foot and the prayers over this darn left foot of mine have been magnificent! Also, when I get to partner with other people in prayer; whether it’s surface level issues or substantial heart issues, God is giving me a piece of that person’s soul to carry to the Cross and there is nothing but overwhelming honor and love in that specific act.

Wait, finally again… I forgot, where’s my head, y’all?! Glory to God. Amen? When we are able to be broken, process though, and come to the other side – we offer hope to those who’ve been able to journey with us. If my story is good for nothing but showing one other soul that he or she is not alone, then God has done exactly what He intended to do.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we b]”>[b]experience. And our c]”>[c]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about d]”>[d]our trouble in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor], how we were utterly weighed down, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life [itself]. Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death [and were convinced that we would die, but this happened] so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 10 He rescued us from so great a threat of death, and will continue to rescue us. On Him we have set our hope. And He will again rescue us [from danger and draw us near], 11 while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then thanks will be given by many persons on our behalf for the gracious gift [of deliverance] granted to us through the prayers of many [believers].

You are good enough…

For many of us who have been single for a lifetime, or what feels like a lifetime, this can be a question that creeps into our heart time and again. The thoughts of never being the chosen one, being third, fourth or last choice no matter what we do, having to face another day of rejection… those can be so overwhelming. When allowed to gain a foothold, I believe it can actually cause physical side effects (problems with weight, acne, little energy, etc…) along with the spiritual battle for your heart that ensues inside.

Our first reaction is typically to start building that wall or to put the wall back up because we should’ve known better than to let someone in, right? We get mad at ourselves for being foolish, for dreaming, for thinking this time we might actually be enough finally, for believing in the idea of love and how it might be for us after all.

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Stop. It.

Friends, those are all very real feelings. And they are HARD to deal with on what seems like an ongoing basis… ask me how I know.  But allowing those thoughts to rule in our hearts, define our worth, overtake our days; even worse overtake our nights means that we are not walking in and believing in the sovereignty of God Almighty.

Do we think, I mean with the deepest places in our hearts, that God wants to see us in pain? That He wants us to consistently question our own worth? That He wants us to live in a place of unmet desires and expectations day in and day out?

So how do we get out of that funk? That heart place the enemy is desperately trying to overtake with his lies and his deception?

First we lean into our Father God, into His word and promises for us. They are never not the right thing to do; read, pray, worship. Then we lean into our inner circle peeps.. the ones who hold our hearts and who passionately run to God on our behalf. And, finally, pour into other people; serve, pray, love.

I know I don’t know everything, I only come to these things from a place of experience.. I don’t know all the answers. I know what works for me and what God has revealed to me. I know that God is faithful and that He has no desire to see me or you sitting in a place where we’re consistently questioning our own worth, goodness, value, etc…

The Spirit of the Living God lives inside you. Believe me, you are enough. Walk in His strength and power today. Remind yourself that not only do you belong to the King of the world, but that the King of the world is residing inside of you.

Let me know how I can partner with you. If you’re in the pit, I wanna help you out.

God tells us:
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Making way

I’m pretty sure, in my world, every traffic situation can somehow be turned back to a relationship analogy. I don’t know why… maybe I’ve spent too much time in traffic…  maybe because of my hard work over the years to develop good, solid relationship skills; with a goal to reach mastery level by the time I make it to heaven, has been such a priority. Who knows.. I’m just here to share these weird traffic/relationship analogies that hit me in the head when I’m driving down the road.

Anytime I’m in the car with someone who might potentially be someone I want to do life with, I will pay particularly close attention to the way he drives because I feel like it will tell me so much that I need to know about how he will approach most things in life. No pressure, though, potential suitors. 😉

This week as I was driving, wait… first. I love driving. I feel like I’m a really good driver and it’s not something that frustrates me or puts me on edge. I like to be behind the wheel. Traffic doesn’t phase me; it just is. Also it allows more time for the car concert that is most certainly happening.

Okay, this week as I was driving, wait… you guys, TX driving is unlike driving anywhere else I’ve been. The level of pure self-centeredness on the road is on full display every.single.day #evenSunday. Talk about opportunities to pray over people.

Okay, really now… this week as I was driving, I was paying particular attention to when/how/why people allow or do not allow other drivers to merge or come into their lane.

When a person is merging onto the freeway or just simply needs to change lanes, I can’t understand why some people hold the line so tightly that no one is allowed to get in front of them. When we think about it, it’s just pure selfishness. The driver holding the line is valuing his time and need to be somewhere above any other driver on the road. Even if allowing a merging driver in is actually better for the overall traffic flow for all of us, that selfish driver is determined to hold his own space so tightly that no one can get ahead.

How often do we catch ourselves holding our own space/things/time so tightly that no one can get in? So that no one can get ahead of us?

The term that kept coming to my head way “Waymaker” and while I know that is often used in reference to God, I think there is some space for us, too, to be [little w] way makers for people. Am I a way maker? Can we all be way makers just creating space for one another?

Can this be how we approach something as simple as merging traffic? Faithful in little, faithful in much…

Digging a bit further, am I being a generous way maker or am I begrudgingly making way for this person? I’m brought back to 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God’s word is telling me that I will reap bountifully if I sow bountifully and if I do it with a cheerful heart, He loves that!

Even driving down the road we can do some sowing and reaping, friends. Think about that frazzled momma who is just having the worst morning and the simplest gesture of her not having to fight for her spot on the freeway because someone made way for her has the ability to change her whole morning. Or the guy on the way to the hospital to see his dad he’s not seen for 15 years and he just needs a calm spirit when he enters that room. Or even the completely arrogant business man who just didn’t prepare or manage his time will that morning and is running late, even him.

C’mon over, bro.. I’ll let you in here.

I’ll create space for you.

I’ll slow down so that we can both win.

I’ll be a way maker for you. I know you have things to do and places to be, and they might actually be more important than the places I need to be.

It’s safe here. I’m safe.

way maker

 

God didn’t give us a list of people we should or shouldn’t make way for while here in the world. We were created to be His example. THE Waymaker has created opportunities for us to be way makers for His people; and sometimes those opportunities are during rush hour traffic on the way to work. How precious to know that He trusts us to show His love in the smallest ways that, in the big scheme of things, takes so little time and effort on our part, but could potentially have a huge impact on another soul. 

The beauty is that when we learn how to make way in small ways, making way in bigger ways doesn’t seem like a big deal. It just becomes part of who we are and how we operate. My hope and prayer is that we all become way makers for Him and His people. All of them. Even those ones. And that one. And especially that one. Baby steps, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking up with Toast

A few weeks ago, I felt a strong prompting from the Holy Spirit to give up my nightly toast habit. I was like, really, HS? You’re worried about my toast habit?

Months leading up to the breakup with toast, the Holy Spirit was laying other small things on my heart which needed to be broken away, other areas that I needed to pay attention to, and particular focus on some fruits of the spirit I was neglecting.

What I didn’t realize until after the toast breakup and even as recently as today was that God was checking to see if He could trust my obedience. Was I going to follow through on what He was asking me even with something as small as giving up toast, with practicing better self-control, breaking unhealthy ties, being more gentle with myself? Was I ready to be entrusted with more?

8112e8536733cfb540e63ca9a91b8ed8Luke 16 tells us the parable of The Unrighteous Steward or the Dishonest Manager. It’s really easy to think of this in terms of money or mammon only, but really we can say it’s about anything which God entrusts to us. Money, responsibilities in the home, spouses, children, jobs, people, ourselves, etc… We are told to steward well anything that God gives us.

10 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

So how was I stewarding things He’d entrusted to me? Was I taking good care of the hearts He’d given to me? How was my money management? Where was I with my purpose?

Honestly, not always very well. In some areas I was knockin’ it out of the park, but in other areas I was totally missing the mark. We had a trust that needed to be rebuilt; in other words… I had to climb back onto the altar. I needed to be wrapped into His steadfast love for me – just me and Him for a while.

It’s okay to admit that we just need to crawl into that space with Him, all alone, sometimes. I know it isn’t easy when we’re already juggling way more than we have hours in the day to complete, but if we go back to the principle of tithing, and giving Him our very first, that includes our time. No excuses.

When He knows we can be trusted with the little things, with the hearts of others, the time in our day, the money He provides – we give Him the space to do more through us and with us. His true riches will come to us when we are stewarding well what’s already in our care.

With our good stewardship, He will begin to reveal His gifts for us. We will be trusting Him to provide for us the things that will further the Kingdom and He will trust us to follow through with those gifts. It’s a beautiful manifestation of obedience on our end.

Maybe it’s time to think about your “toast” and see what needs to be eliminated or removed in order to make way for the Holy Spirit to speak into your heart so that God can fulfill His kingdom purposes through you. Maybe you’re already there, and you’re living the stewardship out fully; I want to be like you one day. Until then, I will constantly be evaluating my “toast” and seeing what things need to be tossed aside so that I can move forward in a spirit of trust with the Maker of the entire world.

Re (new) ish things…

So we’re here again… writing (and reading) the “I’m back to blogging” blog post that I’ve written maybe more than once. Or twice. Or three times.

Something is different this time, though.

Remember… waaaay back… when I first moved to TX and I was all like… “man, God is about to elevate this call He has on my life… I’m gonna be writing, speaking, loving on all the Jesus-lovin women in TX!” and then it didn’t happen… ? Yeah… well, that sucked.

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The good news, though, is that God’s call on our lives doesn’t just stop! I believe it can shift, maybe because of something He’s decided or because of my disobedience or unopened eyes. But He still has a purpose for me… and for you.

I’m not fully aware what that purpose is just yet, but what I am 100% sure of is that Jesus is working overtime in me and is pouring deep into my heart in such a way that I can’t hold it in.

If you’re following this blog as an ol’ timer or as a brand new reader, I hope that God uses me to speak to your heart, to make you laugh, and maybe even heal some brokenness. We’re in this thing together, you and I. ❤

 

He Is Faithful and Good

For whatever reason, the blog has been getting a lot of views lately – both on the wordpress site and on Facebook. As you may have noticed, nothing has been written in quite some time. Well, nothing blog worthy anyway. With all the looks, though, I’m guessing that it means I might need to write something.

“Something.”   😉

Truth be told, it’s been a very trying and difficult season. None of which I will go into now 3e28307761b240f34c56bdf91cd6ea31– I do love my transparency with things, but most of this isn’t mine to share and some of it I’m just trying to process still. Sometimes, writing can be part of the process, but other times, we just need to be still and find answers and peace in His solitude.

And that’s exactly where I’m at right now. Sitting at His feet, thanking Him for the little things, praying for big things, and doing my best to stay in His presence despite the enemy’s desire to pull me away.

When times like this come, and they will and do come, please please please – find Him and find the people
whom He has put in your path to help hold you up. Life is not about doing it all by ourselves. It’s about leaning into Him and His people.

The good news is that He is faithful and I am seeing the fruits of consistent prayer in this challenging season. Prayer really does change things, friends. Not just the things for which we’re praying, but it changes us.

My head is above the wave, the tides are changing, and He is good. All the time.

Stepping into the War Room

Just. Keep. Going.

By now, many of us have seen the movie War Room. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I would be seeing it. First because it’s Priscilla Shirer, and anyone who knows me, knows that’s enough. Secondly, I wanted to see it because it’s about prayer. I love prayer. I love to pray. I burden for others and that’s a gift that I love having. Usually. =]

My problem, sometimes, with movies like this is the perfectly wrapped ending. By the end of the two hour movie, life is almost perfect and the War Room has done exactly what it’s supposed to do.

What about those times when there isn’t a perfectly wrapped ending? What about those times our prayers aren’t answered in the way we hoped or expected? How do we continue without being angry with God or doubting that He ever hears us?

Just. Keep. Going.

That’s my only answer. I’ve had some prayers that have gone unanswered for years and I have others that get answered in ways I didn’t expect and some that get answered immediately. I can’t understand why.

The idea that we have a perfect God who is always willing to listen to us when we cry out to Him is something that still amazes me. I wanted to share some of my own war room scriptures and quotes with you.

10385309_10204173332271968_7915259727223994481_nEphesians 3:20 – 21. My friend created this for me as a going away gift when I left my last workplace. It’s probably my most cherished gift. It’s my favorite scripture, handmade into this beautiful design and then placed in a frame.  (let me know if you’re interested in seeing more of her work! I’ll direct you to her FB page.)

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

“You own the skies and still want my heart.” – a quote from a Hillsong United song – Up In Arms.

“You make me brave.”

“Oh, men and women, pray through; pray through! Do not just begin to pray and pray a little while and throw up your hands and quit; but pray and pray and pray until God bends the heavens and comes down.” ~ R. A. Torrey

“Try a little harder to be a little better.” ~ Gordon B. Hickley

“You can’t save people, you can only love them.” ~ Anais Nin

Sometimes, I will pick up that thing You’ve asked me to lay down. I’m thankful for Your grace. I ask for your forgiveness.

Surrender.

“You see the depths of my heart and love me the same.” ~ Chris Tomlin – Indescribable

2 Timothy 4:17 (NKJV) 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me

Psalm 116:2 (NLT)Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

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I used to be really scared to pray. I don’t know why – shame? Guilt? I’m sure it was both.

Let me encourage you – we can’t all have a “war room”, but we can all have a time and place in which we can wage our war on our knees (or on our butts, or face, or driving down the road…). Please don’t let *rules* stand in the way of having a conversation with our Creator. He really, really wants us to talk to Him. He is relentless for us. For you. For me.

It’s hard to be honest with Him and ourselves, putting all of our hopes, dreams, despairs, struggles, heart for others, etc… out there. It is. I get it. Trust me when I tell you, it doesn’t always have a happy ending like in the movies. But when we listen, when we’re still, and when we faithfully step into that war room with Him – it will always be right.

 

 

 

One Word 2016

By now you guys know that I don’t do New Years resolutions and instead choose a word to help guide me through the year – or I should say, I pray about a word and, eventually, God will lay a word on my heart with so much gusto that I couldn’t shake it if I tried.

I’ve struggled through 2015, definitely not leaving it behind feeling very “victorious” and that was my word for 2015. I didn’t know if God wanted me to redo the word or start over. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t want to even talk to Him about it. I felt a little bit bruised about the whole thing. We’ve all been there.

Finally, I relented and just spent some time with him on New Years Eve and so many things became clear. I realized that I might have still been riding my high of the new life/move transition when choosing my word last year, without taking into consideration a lot of different factors. So while last year didn’t seem victorious, I felt victorious on NYE for figuring some things out. And if that’s what I have to take away from my 2015 word for the year, then I’m happy.

On to 2016…

OneWordCommit

One of the problems I’ve been having is my inability to commit to anything since I’ve moved. It’s weird for me – I’m the queen of overcommitting myself. I will commit to everything and do my best to do it all. I will say “Yes” and volunteer for everything! However, nowadays, I can’t even commit to a knitting project. I’ve become consumed with circumstances around me and I’ve allowed that to make me hesitant to commit to other things in my life that are important.

So, 2016 – the year to live out my word by choosing to commit to things, outside of my present circumstances, in ways that are fulfilling to the path God has called me to walk.

How about you? What’s your word?

I find that sharing my word is helpful and it keeps me accountable. Let me know your word and I’ll poke and prod you all year, I promise. =]

 

 

 

 

Broken For His People

Choosing to step out and try to write about something controversial is difficult. Through the written word, intent isn’t always known and body language is non-existent.

Yet…

I still feel compelled to share some thoughts about recent events. I will get some kickback, I already know and I’ve seen it happening to other people who feel similarly to how I feel; though not all completely the same.

Recent attacks on Paris are heart-breaking and devastating. We’ve felt that kind of terror on our own soil and we know firsthand how it feels.  Sadly, lots of countries know how it feels…

Being who I am – a pacifist and a peacemaker – I struggle. Can I just be honest about that?

“Kill them all!” ~ a sentiment read over and over on social media.

“Close the borders and don’t let anyone in!” ~ another read sentiment throughout social media.

“Let’s deal with our own homeless before we help everyone else!” ~ another widely read thought.

And so begins my struggle… as a believer and a Christ follower… “kill them all…” huh… What? Here’s the thing, in our minds we can believe any truth that is pounded into us for a long enough period of time. It doesn’t mean that that truth is actual truth, it means that it’s the truth we believe. So, if someone tells a young woman that she isn’t worthy, or beautiful, or smart she will begin to believe that truth after a period of time. In order to reset that truth inside of her mind, she needs people to rally around her, support her, and speak the real truth over her time and time again. After some time, and some prayer, she will begin to see the real truth – love.

Now, imagine living in a culture and society that for years – generations, really — tells us that so and so are evil people. From the time we’re born, that’s our whole understanding of those particular people – think pre-civil rights era. That is the truth those people know, their truth. We know it isn’t true or right, but they believe it to be true. In our own country, when we fought for civil rights, it meant standing up for the real truth and teaching people that what they’ve heard for their whole lives is wrong and untrue. We prayed for our nation, we walked in love with our brothers and sisters, and eventually the real truth emerged – love.

Friends, it’s radical to think we can love a culture of people who have a mission to kill and destroy us, but in my heart, I sincerely feel like that’s what we’re supposed to do. The radical extremists, NOT all Muslims, have been lied to for their whole life. They’ve been given a truth that isn’t real. They’ve been poured into with evil intentions. I sincerely feel that the only way to overcome that darkness is with light. Can we “kill them all!” I mean, I guess so… that isn’t what I want, though. God wants not one to perish without knowing Him. Not one. Not even them. How do we speak truth to those who want to kill us? I have no clue. None. I know there is a priest currently serving in the Middle East who opens his home and dinner table for people he knows are terrorists. He knows the risk, yet he does it anyway.  When he invited ISIS into his home, they refused and said if they came, they would leave with his head. Needless to say, he didn’t invite ISIS again. The fact that he’s doing his very best to speak truth, even if just one person hears it, is amazing.

As Jesus Christ hanged on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive His killers for they know not what they are doing. They were given a false truth and they acted on that deception and killed Jesus. Too many people walk around with a false truth and when we don’t take the time to teach the real truth… it’s sad and hard and scary…

“Close the borders and don’t let anyone in!” – uhm.. okay? So, suddenly we’re a country of heartless people who don’t have an iota of compassion for refugees? Look, friends, that nonsense that’s been making its rounds about all the refugees being 18-24 year old males is false. It isn’t true. Please don’t believe everything you see on Facebook – do your own research so that you can learn the truth (as well as we can being outsiders). People in Syria are fleeing for their lives. Hundreds of thousands have had to leave their homes to go find shelter in a refugee camp with thousands of other people. Have you looked into the conditions of some of these refugee camps? It’s devastating. I’m sad for people to live that way and so grateful for my own home and comfort and the fact that I don’t have to flee for my life because my country is being torn to shreds.

So what do we do? Close the borders and not care about those people? Open our borders and conduct better screening to try and be responsible for who is let in and who we refuse? I get it. We are called to love our neighbors – those running from Syria and those living next door. How can we say we love the ones next door if we’re willfully letting in our enemy? I get it. It’s complex. Way too complex for my wee little brain. My friend, Jeremiah Lorrig, wrote a great piece on this very topic and he says things way better than me because he’s way smarter than me. Please go read it…

The sentiment about dealing with our own homeless is one that really just boils my blood. I have a heart for homeless people, I just do. I work to consistently offer food, supplies, take them out to lunch or dinner – I have NO extra money or income to do this, yet I do it over and over. I’m not responsible about it. I acknowledge that about myself… My light bill will be late if it means that someone got that money for a hotel stay that night. I’m in need of shackles on my spending and I know it. My heart is bent and broken and all sorts of messy for that population of people. Even the scammers, liars, and tricksters… I’m a mess.

I say that not to brag or boast about what I’m doing, though. I say that because I watch countless people walk by as if our homeless don’t even exist. I watch people spit at, talk down to, and ridicule someone sleeping on the street. I say that because how we’ve been treated, stared at, and talked to while sitting in a restaurant. People wonder why so and so is washing herself in the bathroom, when someone was finally kind enough to offer her a meal and thus make her a patron and thus allowing her to use the restroom. Please don’t rely on the government to save our homeless or to take care of them. The government is already taking care of enough people, probably too many and some they shouldn’t be. That’s not my place to argue today, though. The government is jacked up and I can’t fix that. However, I can offer a room, a meal, some soap, some clothes, some toothpaste, some deodorant. That I can do. And so can you. Instead of griping about what the government isn’t doing for those people, I ask you to check what YOU are doing for those people.

This is a long post. A post created from my own broken heart for the lies, evil, and deception throughout the world. I don’t know what we should do because I simply don’t have all the answers. I wish I did. The truth I want to walk in is love. And faith that nothing in this world is beyond the grasp of our knowing, sovereign God. I want to pray for those who don’t know the truth. I want to ask God to forgive them for they know not what they do.

Mandy Smith writes:

Father of All Peoples,
Giver of All Life.

When the world is in turmoil, we confess that we feel afraid.
We want to fix it with words: “Us” and “Them.”
We want to fix it with weapons: anger and hatred, fire and steel.

But we are a people of love.
We want to believe that perfect love casts out fear.
And although it’s hard to believe,
We pray in faith that you can work in the hearts of terrorists.

We do not know where they are.
But you know.
We do not know what they plan.
But you know.

And so we will reach down deep for the truest thing we know.
And pray for love to seep into places filled with fear.

Wherever an extremist has joined ranks to find meaning,
Fill his dreams with your purposes.

Wherever one has joined from disillusionment with his parents,
Fill his dreams with your Fatherly love.

Wherever one has fled to fight because he’s a misfit in his community,
Give him dreams of belonging in Your family.

Wherever one has joined from loneliness,
Find his longing and let him dream of your longings.

Whoever falls asleep plotting, fill their dreams with uncanny peace.
Whoever falls asleep hateful, fill their dreams with inexplicable joy.

And when they awake, may they wonder why this all seemed so important
As they open their eyes, let them see anew
As they look to the day ahead, fill their minds with doubt
As they step from their beds, give their feet uncertainty
As they rise to face the day, go with them into that day
Haunt them all day with those dreams
Give them courage to whisper their dreams to each other
Disrupt their hate with visions of your love
Undermine their fear with visions of your love
Fill their hearts with visions of your love.

Amen.

 

 

No Passing Zone

I’ve been throwing this topic around in my head for weeks. I’m not sure that I even have enough of a cohesive thought about it to actually make something that sounds helpful or encouraging, but I’m ready for it to leave my brain.

Transition from one very safe place into a much unknown place can be mucky and murky and difficult. I’ve encountered more “trust issues” in the last year than I have in the last decade. It’s made me think back to the old me, the one who didn’t trust people, and I had to play this out carefully to not allow myself to slip back into that place of a consistently untrusting spirit.

The definition of trust is simple: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. The act of trusting is not quite so simple, though. It isn’t just the ability to be vulnerable with another human; it’s the conscious decision to believe your safety is of interest to another human; whether it’s emotional, physical, spiritual, etc…

In hindsight, because I allowed myself to try and run ahead of God and the plans He had for me, I felt like I was suddenly not under His armor or behind His shield or allowing Him to journey ahead of me in order to clear the path. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for one hot second that God walked away from me and suddenly left me unprotected, but I did walk ahead of Him – with an unconscious flip of my hand saying, “thanks for getting me to this point, God … I got it from here.”

And now I have s6195593_origome consequences for that. I’ve been a little dinged up, a little bit damaged, and a little less trusting. Not because of anything He did, but because of what I thought I could do without Him leading the way. God does give us wisdom to make decisions and opportunities to spread our wings, but when we’re too busy running ahead, we’re running right by the things He has for us and we don’t even realize it.

The good news is that we have a God of mercy and grace. When we run ahead, we can turn back to Him and He’ll give us a proverbial pat on the head and say something like, “passing Me the baton now, eh?” and He’ll keep it pushin.. (maybe He just says that to me… :p )

So for those of us feeling a little battered, a little bruised, a little unsure of the people in our circle, or just plain unsure of ourselves – let’s take some time to check our placement. Are we under and behind His armor or are we walking ahead trying to “handle it” on our own. If it’s the latter, I’ll be praying with you (and myself) that we might be made aware when we’re trying to run ahead and that we fall back under His loving protection.