Monday, January 30, 2017

The Heart of God....

Whew!  Does anyone else feel like their brain is going to explode with all the controversial craziness that is happening in the world these days, specifically America?  Yesterday was supposed to be a no social media day for me, then I had some things come up that I felt like it was necessary for me to be on it, and stay informed.  Then today, I had thought that I would disengage because technically I am supposed to be staying off of it once a month, and I have yet to do that for the month of January.  There's only one day left!  So....maybe tomorrow?  Or maybe I just try to check it less, and not engage in the debates, or the craziness that is everyone's opinions. 

I have a lot on my mind today. Most of which causes me to ponder what is truth and what is false.  Do you ever find yourself thinking that nothing you read is truth?  Because you feel like everything has gotten so mixed up, that there couldn't possibly be any way that the truth is actually real?

It makes my head hurt.  Like for real hurt! 

How do we decide what to believe?  How do we decide what is truth?  How do we stand up for what we believe is truth without judging those that don't see things the way we do? 

In this world we face many things.  The truth is that this world is broken.  It is so broken.  I find myself on a daily basis fighting against the brokenness.  I want it to be fixed so badly.  I want the hurt, pain, sadness, sickness, disaster to stop.  I want there to be peace.  I want my facebook feed to be filled once again with food pics, selfies, and people lying on beaches.  I want to be able to open up a page without seeing all the name-calling, degrading comments, and rudeness. 

That's not what the world is though, because it is broken. 

So, do I ignore it?  Do I just live my perfect American dream life, not caring because it doesn't really affect me?  Or do I do something? 

The other day I wanted to scream, and cry.  I wanted to lash out at everyone that couldn't see things the way I did.  I wanted to really just say some things that I knew would go no where, but they sure would make me feel a lot better! 

Here's the deal, 10 years ago I probably would have considered myself Conservative.  In fact I would have considered myself really conservative.  I grew up Southern Baptist, I went to a Southern Baptist college, I worked with people that were like-minded.  Then I moved overseas for the second time in my life, and was met with people that didn't necessarily hold to the same conservative values I had lived by.  I encountered Jesus in a way that I had never really encountered Him before, and I was forced to decide what I believed to be true about people from other places. 

I met refugees that were alone, held captive, and struggling to find meaning to life.  I walked down the streets where brothels lined every inch of the sidewalk.  I met women, and men that literally had lost hope in everything.  And my view changed. 

I became less concerned about checking every box, and more concerned about hearing people's stories.  I became less concerned about condemning people to hell because of their lack of beliefs, and more concerned with them knowing that they were loved and valued.  I became less concerned about everyone living by my standards, and more concerned with understanding the standards that they acknowledged.  I became less concerned with being the "American" in the room, and more concerned with diving in head first to anything cultural I could. 

My life to me isn't about being an American.  It has gotten me into some pretty amazing places, where I have had the chance to meet and experience some pretty cool things.  I am privileged to have been born in America.  I know that.  All it takes is visiting any third world country, and you realize just how blessed you are.  I don't hold to the notion that America needs to be the best, because as far as I can see it was not set apart as God's special people.  As far as I can see, Americans are not and will never be superior to any other nation. 

I think that is where I am going to differ from a lot of people.  Yesterday I was chatting with a friend, and she said, I am a Christian first, and an American second.  So here's the thing...I don't even know if I could say American second.  I would almost consider myself a Refugee second, because this world is not my home.  I am here because God has placed me here.  I am here because I have been given the opportunity to be here.  I don't deserve it more than anyone else.  I didn't do anything to get the privilege of being born in America.  I just got it.  How is it that I should think my life is more valuable than anyone else's? 

Before I go too far...

The real reason behind this post.  I have been really heartbroken lately by the posts I am seeing from people that I have respected and known for a long time.  People that aren't putting others first, people that aren't acknowledging that Syrian Refugees deserve our love and care.  Or that our Muslim neighbors that live down the street from us are scared.  They are scared!  They did nothing but be Muslim.  Is that grounds for them having to fear?  It doesn't even matter if you agree or not...the truth is they are scared, and friends that should be enough to warrant an honest, loving discussion with each of them. 

So today, I prayed.  I prayed for myself and others.  I prayed that I would have the heart of God.  I prayed that I would be able to see with His eyes, hear with His ears, and touch with His hands.  I prayed that I would understand what matters to Him.  I prayed that I would understand and learn how God's heart is responding to what is going on in my country and the world right now.  I prayed that I would see EVERYONE the way He does. 

When I go to God for those answers, and allow Him to really open my heart I believe that I will understand, and love more. 

I am not going to ever claim to be completely Republican or Democrat because I don't think that either of those parties is completely in the will of God!  (shocker, I know!) 

I am though, going to be on His side.  God's side.  I am going to support life, support people.  I am going to support freedom to choose religion, schools, lifestyles. I am going to let the world live by their standards, not my own.  I have to account for my actions only.  One day when I am asked I don't want to have to say no to the question.... "When I was hungry, did you feed me, when I was naked, did you clothe me?"  I don't want to have to say no.  I want to be able to say yes, every time. 

So today, I choose the Heart of God. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fullness without Rejection

How do you deal with rejection?  How do you deal with feeling left out of things?  For me, I stink at it.  I have lived my life feeling rejected every time someone does something without me, thinking that it is somehow connected to my worth.  Sometimes I analyze every single thing that happens in a span of months to determine if the people that I have been spending my time with really actually value me, or not. 

It is kind of a stinky place to live.  But I think that instances in my past have created this need in me.  This need to feel rejected.  This need to put myself down, because of words that others have spewed at me, or instances when I felt overlooked. 

As I was pondering over these things the past few weeks, reading a book and participating in a Bible study,  it seems that my heart has changed without me even realizing it.   Something happened last night that made me realize that I have grown if only just a little bit in this rejection process. 

Some friends that I have are taking a trip, and didn't invite me.  In the moment I wanted to feel rejected, and I even tried to conjure up those feelings, until I realized that I actually didn't feel rejected at all.  In fact it was quite the opposite.  It was this moment of realizing that I know exactly where I stand with this group of people without having to be included in every single moment of their lives.  Honestly I couldn't have gone on this trip anyways because of money and my job.... so it should be a mute point. 

However in the past I would have allowed it to put a wall up, and I would have allowed another brick of rejection to be put on top of that wall.  I would have analyzed it to the point of depression, and deep rejection.  I would have allowed it to change myself and my relationship. 

It wasn't until today when I was reading another Chapter in the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst that I realized why I didn't feel that rejection that I would have once felt. 

It is because I have been really intentional about practicing having God fill me. 

This quote from the book pretty much sums it up:  "The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by other."  -Lysa Terkeurst

How I live my life full of God?  First, I truly have to take time to read, pray, meditate, and just be.  It is so easy for me to get distracted, by social media, tv, films, or just lost in my own daydreams of the life I wish I had.  My fullness in God sometimes gets lost along the way, as I try to fill my heart with everything but Him.

In our lives we can feel rejected by those closest to us, I know I have.  In fact I haven't just felt rejected, I have been rejected.  People have stopped talking to me, walked away from me, substituted others in their lives to spend time with instead of me.  Every time I have gotten a broken heart.

But what if...what if my heart was completely full because of God?  What if my worth and value was full with His love?  What if I was truly inviting Him in to the deepest, scariest parts of my rejection?  Wouldn't I find that His love is enough?  Wouldn't I find that the brokenness of this world doesn't have to break me?

Right now I feel full, I feel good.  Right now I feel like I have people in my life that truly value and care about me.  But it isn't because I am doing everything right, or always feel a part of a community.  It is because I am finding my fullness in Him.  I am allowing Him to completely fill that loneliest part of me.

Why did it take me this long to figure it out? 

So, what do I do, when I feel rejected?  I pray, and acknowledge that I am worthy, valued, and loved.  I acknowledge that this world is broken.  I acknowledge that I am called to know Him more, and people will always fail.  But that failure just allows me more opportunity to grow in fullness.  

Monday, January 23, 2017


I started a Bible Study today...yay!  My life has been bombarded the past few months with things that pretty much wanted to destroy me.  I couldn't see past the fog, I didn't actually even want to see past the fog, mostly because the fog was safe.  It was safe to just walk through it, bumping into things every once in awhile..... and grasping at the air as I walked through very slowly.  I saw my life slipping through my fingers.  I didn't feel loved, worthy, or even worth anything.  I felt like I wanted to just give up.  I think that for some people this is a common feeling.  Just wanting to give up...just wanting to walk away.  We let our life slip so far from the grasp of the One who knows us best that we forget what it is like to be acknowledge Him holding us in the palm of His hands.  We forget what it is like to be in communion with Him once again. 

We think that we have to be perfect before we can spend time with Him, or that the time we have, has to fill these long moments.  When really, all He wants is for us to sit down and spend 10 minutes just being with Him.  10 minutes isn't a lot.  I scroll through FB for 10 minutes without a second thought, so why is it so hard for me to spend 10 minutes reading my Bible, or praying.  How did this happen? 

I've been coming back from this place for about a month now.  It has been this slow walk back up hill.  In some ways I still get a little scared that I am going to slip and fall, but I have to remember that I'm not the shepherd leading the sheep...I am the sheep! 

Yesterday I heard a sermon, and then today I did day 1 of my Bible study that were basically making the same points.  Spending time with God.  Not just saying that I was spending time with Him, not just putting in a moment here or there, while I checked FB on the side.  Not getting in a few verses, in between text messages, but truly setting aside time to just be.  Time to crave Him, to acknowledge Him, and time to let Him love me where I am. 

Why do I think that I have to be perfect?  The perfect teacher, perfect daughter, perfect friend?  Why do I put so much pressure on myself to be the One everyone calls and runs to?  Why? 

I know what the answer is!  I feel that way because I am not craving what I should.  My blood transfusion didn't fully click.  I am still stupid sometimes.  I am still this weird version of myself that gets lost in all of the insecurities, doubts, and unworthiness that try to grab a hold of me on a minute-by-minute basis.  I'm craving what I get from those around me, instead of craving what has already been given to me! 

Here's a few quotes from Lysa TerKeurst that have struck me today:

"Without full trust in Him, it is impossible to be fully satisfied by Him." 

"True desperation for God will lead to revelation." 

"Make no mistake, God is I AM.  He is absolutely all we need, but He delights in us not only needing Him, but also wanting Him." 

When did my life become so consumed in the doubts of who I am, that I forgot to let Him be not only all I NEED, but also all I WANT? 

It's okay to feel lost sometimes, it is okay to crave things, because we were made to have hunger.  We were made to fill ourselves and live a full life.  What isn't okay is allowing the brokenness of the world to fill those cravings, because every single time, they will only make us feel empty an hour later. 

Sometimes we have to think, process, and think some more.  Sometimes we have to let someone else think for us, and sometimes we just have to sit quietly and allow the cravings for the right things to become real once again. 

Tonight I long to crave more of who He is.  I long to allow myself that moment, where nothing else matters, but they fact that I am able to connect in a personal way with a God that is love.  Tonight that's where I am. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Letting go of my "righteousness"

I feel pretty mixed up with the state of our nation right now.  I have found myself sucked into social media more in the past 2 days than I have for awhile.  It takes a hold of me and really just makes my heart hurt!  I have read so much hate and slander towards those on all sides that I just want to go live in a cabin somewhere, and not have contact with anyone in the outside world.  I know this isn't the way to live, mostly because I have bills to pay...and God calls us to be in community. 

I find myself wanting to scream and cry out.  I find myself questioning everything I have ever known to be true about people that I actually thought I knew quite well. People that I know are compassionate people, I am seeing them post things that are making fun of our former President, our current President, or the leaders that are running our country. 

My heart is hurting because there are so many of my fellow friends hurting.  We have chosen to put everyone into a category.... us vs. them.  We have chosen to put blinders on, and stop seeing people as human beings.  This is it.  We have got to start caring about others.  We have got to start putting ourselves into other people's stories.  We have got to start listening to what they are saying. 

There are some people that are scared to death that Trump is President.  There are kids that are being called awful names, and forced to do awful things in the name of the Trump Presidency.  It is not our job to tell them that these things aren't happening, or to pretend that they are just making it up.  It is our job as human beings to listen to them, hear them, and then try to help them.  It is our job to love beyond ourselves, even when we don't want to...even when we feel like they are just crying wolf.  Because you know what?  There is not ONE human being on this planet that doesn't matter.  There isn't!  EVERY SINGLE one of us was born in His image.  Every single one of us deserves to be listened to, to feel safe as we walk down the street, to not be scared if we are going to get pulled over.

I don't know your story, because I have never lived it.  I don't know what you have gone through, what bias you have lived with your whole life.  I only know what I have walked through.  I only know my own story.  Is it fair for me to place my own feelings on yours?  Is it fair for me to judge  you because you want to stand up for something that I don't believe in?'s not.  It isn't fair!  I do not have the right to tell you what to believe. 

I have the right to voice my own opinion.  I have even more of a right to listen.

I am going to try to listen more to the people around me, especially those that I don't quite agree with.  I am going to try to listen to the reasoning behind votes, marches, and protests.  I am going to try to listen without responding in anger.

I hope you will too.  

Monday, January 2, 2017


Community is what you make of it, people are in your life for a reason.  Tomorrow my life could take a drastic turn.  I am not actually sure what might happen.  All I know is that 2017 has given me the opportunity to make that turn, if I need to.  I want community.  I want people in my life that want to be there. 

Tonight I had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, and chat with some new ones.  The conversations I have had these past few weeks, have been conversations that have shown me how my life can and should change. 

Maybe my life doesn't look like yours.  I don't have kids, I'm not married.  I never thought it mattered that those things weren't part of my life.  But, as it turns out I think that there are just certain people that once they get married or start to have kids, they just don't want to be in my life because they feel like we have nothing in common, or whatever the reason. 

I would pretty much give up anything for people that have been there for me, and that are in my life.  In fact I have.  My heart was a little hurt tonight by something I found out, but I will get over it, because I'm not going to make this year about loss.  I am going to make this year about risks and gaining.  I am going to make this year about adventure, love, and surrounding myself with people that bring me strength.

So, here's to the second day of 2017.  Here's to community, and love.  Here's to investing in those that want me, and letting go of those that don't.   Here's to community. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017


My first blog of the new year.  Today I was able to start my New Year off with so many great things!  3 year olds, an amazing church, a hike, and lots of reading, journaling, and creativity.  I'm so thankful for the new beginning that this year is. I am so thankful that no matter where I go, God will always be with me.  I am so thankful that I can begin new things in 2017. 

I was talking to some members of my family tonight, and they were like, why make resolutions?  To me, it isn't really about the fact that my whole life is going to change.  It is the fact that I am trying.  I am trying to do things that are going to enhance my life, and make me a better person.  Resolutions to me are about examining where I was this last year and where I want to go. 

I know that I won't meet every one of my goals.  I know that there will be times when I won't want to read before I go to work, or before I go to bed.  But I think that making goals is a great start. 

This year is about Jesus for me.  This year is about getting to know Him in a greater way.  This year is about opening up my life to risking whatever I need to in order to fulfill what I was meant to do, where I was meant to do it.  I don't think that means playing it safe.  I don't think that means having the "American Dream."  I think that means that it is time for me to move forward.  It is time for me to be authentic in my quest for those things that will truly enable me to love in a greater way.