Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter has many meanings....

There comes a point in your life, actually probably many points in your life when you have a crisis of faith.  You have to come to terms with what you believe, why you believe it, and how you will continue to live out what you believe.  I actually have to believe that it is a journey.  That there are so many different moments in our life when we have to re-examine what we have come to believe as truth, and mold that into our new truths.  I don't think that it means we are leaving behind anything necessarily, but just that our faith has to evolve over time.  We have deeper knowledge and wisdom as we continue along the messy path called life.  We get knocked down by things that really shouldn't hold power over us and we have to get back up and either let whatever it was that knocked us down hold weight or we let it go and move forward.  

Springtime means new beginnings.  Springtime means Easter.  Springtime means re-examining what has been going on in my life.  Springtime means a fresh start.  Easter means that death no longer wins.  I don't have to try and outsmart it.  I don't have to try and outrun it.  I don't have to be sad, scared or afraid.  Easter means that light and life are victorious.  

As I examine Easter from many different angles I have to realize that not everyone believes that it holds the value I do.  I don't think that means that we can't all agree that Easter is still a time of hope, joy, and love.  A time to believe in something, or at least re-examine the beliefs that are held and have been held up to this point.  Easter means looking at truth and either admitting it or rejecting it.  

The past year I feel like I was on a journey that came awfully close to rejection.  As I was having a conversation the other night with one of my pastors his question to me was basically how do you hold onto what you believe and not walk away?  

In the past couple of days I have had to ask myself that question a few times.  Honestly I don't know that I can do it.  I don't know that I have the strength in me to not walk away.  If I am doing life on my own, and trying to be in control...well then I know that I DON'T have the strength.  I know that I am prone to doubt and fear.  I know that I am the most likely person to throw my hands up and say that I quit.  I know that because I have tried it.  I have tried to say that I don't want to believe this anymore.  I have tried to give up, to walk away and to just be a living, breathing human being with no faith.  

You know what?  It doesn't work that way.  That is not who I was created to be.  I wasn't mean to live life without faith.  I wasn't meant to just be created and that's it.  There is a purpose behind me.  There is more purpose to me, then I will ever be able to understand.  

Easter shows me that I am loved.  Easter shows me that I am valued.  Easter shows me that I can't do anything on my own.  Easter shows me that love is willing to do whatever it takes.  Easter shows me that I am worth dying for.  

Easter has many meanings.  Sometimes those meanings get lost in the mundane activities that arrive to disrupt the focus we should have on this special day.  

For me, Easter means taking moments out of my day to understand that I am loved, valued, cared for, and enough.  I am enough.  I don't have to have perfect faith.  I don't have to be in control.  I don't have to have all the answers.  I don't have to be okay with suffering, pain, and death.  Easter means that I can live my life, that it can be messy, and that's okay.  

Easter means that someone took my place, so that I can live.  Easter means an indescribable love.  

Easter has might have many meanings, but it allows my life to only have ONE.  To love and be loved, to authentically live and allow others to see me, in order to see Him.   

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Community Membership....

Tonight as I stood there, tears welled up in my eyes.  Tears of joy, pain, relief, hope, love, and grace.  My tears didn't flow down my cheeks like the normally might have.  Instead they just welled up in my eyes on the cusp of brimming over, but instead blurring my vision to the point where all I did was stand there and listen to the words being sung.  

I don't count tonight as just a worship service.  It was something more then that.  Tonight was a breakage of a pattern.  A breakage of a bond that has been holding onto me for a very, very long time.  A lie that I have been living with, telling myself, and believing.  The lie that I don't matter, and that I will never belong.  The lie that I am not worth getting to know, that everyone who invites me in will eventually just leave me.  I don't know that even in the moment that I was writing my name down on that piece of paper that I truly realized exactly how many chains were being broken...but now in this moment...I know.  I know that those chains they are no longer holding me captive.  

I sat in a class for 5 out of 6 weeks, and during those six weeks there was a struggle to remain in that seat.  I wanted so bad for God to say that I could just run, or that membership to a community didn't really matter.  I wanted so much to just be able to take the class and move forward.  I wanted so much for my own plans to be the ones that took priority.  I wanted so much to find something wrong with the community that God has put me in.  

The truth is that I almost did.  I almost came up with a list of reasons why I shouldn't sign that piece of paper.  Most people probably would say that it is after all just a piece of paper.  I think for me though it is more then that.  To me it is allowing myself to finally admit my need and desire for a community.  To know that this community that God has chosen for me isn't perfect, but it is perfect for me.  

I'm so authentically grateful for the journey that has gotten me to this point.  The journey through all the mountains and valleys.  All the moments of praying for a community where I could and wanted to plant myself.  All of those that have been able to speak truth in love into my life.   A place to serve beyond myself with all my heart not for anything other than the outpouring of love that is being poured into me.  

Tonight I am overwhelmed with the relief that I feel at breaking down the walls brick by brick.  I am so excited for this next chapter.  A chapter that hopefully is going to last for a long time.  I know that there will be bumps, I know that it won't be perfect.  I also know that I was made for this community, for this time.  I was created to be a part of community.  I can't do life without it.  We can't do life without it.  

Value, love, worth, and authenticness comes from living in community with love, grace, and mercy beyond what we can give on our own.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Blogging from A to Z: Theme Reveal

Yeah!  Blogging from A to Z is here!  I can't believe how quickly this past year flew by!  I am super excited about my theme for this year's challenge.  I started thinking about it a month ago and went through a few different ideas, and finally landed on this one. 

This month I am going to be writing about Authentic Inspirations from A to Z.

 Last year I spent my month looking at all of the ways I could be authentic in my life.  It was my first year doing the challenge, and it literally changed my blogging life.  I started writing regularly again, and have kept up with it all year.  I am super proud of myself.  I can't wait to see how this year's blog will impact me and others. 

This year I want it to be more about what things inspire me to be a better person.  I intend to look at a variety of people, places, and ideas to show where my inspiration comes from.  I can't wait for you to join me on this journey! 

Inspiration means so much to me.  Being inspired and inspiring others to authentically be the best that they can be!  I think the only true way we can impact those around us is by being authentic!  

Cheers to a month of inspiration!  Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Authentically Solid in the Middle of Crisis...

The past 24 hours I have found myself in shock and awe of the state that I feel like my country is in at this moment in time.  I have to take a step back and wonder how in the world we got here.  How did we get to this place?  This place where we are even considering allowing someone to lead our country who consistently puts others down?  How are we allowing this to be what we are about?  

My heart aches for those that are too blind to see the truth of those running for office.  Have we just gotten so complacent or fearful that we are willing to allow anyone to hold office as long as they say that they will protect us, without thinking about the consequences?  Are we so willing to believe the lies that are being spouted out?  Are we so willing to allow others to be put down in order for our own securities to be lifted up?  

It makes me want to vomit.  The thought of how much hate is being sent out into the world.  A world that my current students are going to grow up in.  As I looked them in the eyes today, and heard their voices...I!  You all have more wisdom then most of the adults in this country.  You as 11-12 year olds completely get it.  So, why can't the rest of us?  Why can't we see with the eyes of a child.  Why can't we understand that injustice no matter what kind is not okay?  Why do we sit around and allow someone to have such a hold over us?  Over our hearts, our mind?  Why do we believe the lies?  

I just have to hold true to myself. I have to say, I will love.  I will live.  I will pray, and I will hope that people will see the truth too.  I will hope that this is not one of those lessons that we are supposed to learn like the people of Judah. 

I will remain solid in the middle of this crisis.  This crisis that I don't see stopping anytime soon.  

My heart I I love, and as I look for truth to prevail.  At some point truth WILL prevail.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

True/False 2016

This past weekend I completed my second year of volunteering for True/False.  It was awesome!  Not only did I get to meet some amazing people, but I got to see 14 films!  That might just be a record for me in a weekend! 

As I went through the weekend, I was continuously struck by how amazing it is that we have something like True/False in our city.  1,000 volunteers join together along with the core staff to make this film festival take place!  It makes my heart so happy. 

This weekend I came in contact with people that I wouldn't get to know otherwise.  I got to meet people in many different places in life, with stories that are just as messy as mine.  The thing is though, in a place like True/False there are no barriers.  There are no barriers because the common theme is film, and messy stories.  The common theme is looking outside of yourself and noticing how different the world is.  The common theme is being able to stand next to a man wearing a unicorn costume, knowing that you have a completely different worldview then he does, but understanding his desire to be loved and accepted. 

I love when we can look outside ourselves and see a bigger picture.  I love hearing people's stories, and allowing them to impact me in such a greater way.  I love being a small part of something that impacts the world, and my community in a greater way. 

The film that impacted me the most this weekend was Life, Animated.  I cried, I laughed and I connected in a way that I don't often times connect.  It was real life, authentically raw in some moments...but also breathtakingly amazing in others.  To watch and hear this family's story I just wanted to hug them.  I wanted to sit down with them and get to know them.  It was simply one of the best films I have ever seen! 

So, here's my ranks.....  (Top 5 at least)

Life, Animated   ****Must See! 

Jim:  The James Foley Story    ***Must See!  I loved the way that this film captured who James Foley was and the legacy he left behind. 

Sherpa:  This is one of those films that makes my blood boil, just because of the stupidity that I think we sometimes have as westerners going into foreign countries.  We automatically allow ourselves to see more important than others.  Well done film. 

Sonita:  Beautiful story.

Fear of 13:  Such a great film.  I loved the character, and I loved the way the film was laid out.