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A little Melancholy never hurt nobody

So last night….doesnt any good story start with, “so last night…”? Im right it does. I went to a poetry show called Poets in Autumn. I have never been to a poetry show and I most definitely plan to go to this one again. The artists have been touring together for some years now. They are musicians, singers and authors and influential leaders. They all love Christ and expressed the nuances and intricacies of what relationship with Jesus feels like. How it manifests in the personal and the social. Overall I loved the experience.

It reminded me that I do dabble in the expression of words. As a young person I always had a notebook of poems. Most filled with melancholy and sometimes rage. Much of my creative writing focused on whichever boy was the object of my infatuation and pain at the time. I did throw away a lot notebooks and journals in effort to rid myself of soul ties. Read A Lonely Girl’s Cry.

But in recent years I have been writing some short pieces in my notes in my phone. All but one are old. God has a way of bringing you into seasons of beauty if you lay your ashes at His altar. I believe the fragrance of your past burning is a sweet smell of worship to the Father.

Today while creativity and expression are still potent, I decided to share those pieces here. Just like in my post All the Songs I Like are Sad, so it seems true for my poetry! Maybe one day I will sing a New song but for now this is what once was.

______________________

May 16, 2017

Saturday nights

Were always reserved

Just for you

Tonights no different

What do you do

When youre lonely?

I think of you

But i suppose

You think of her.

I just wanna be

Beautiful for you.

Feeling like

a train

That’s not on route.

Summer nights

Were reserved for you

Thunder and lightening

I just want you

Everytime

Night air on my legs

Reaching for my hand

In the crowds

Was my favorite

Part.

I didn’t know you

At 18 but i wish

We woulda met then

It coulda been perfect

In some other life.
_________________________

June 27, 2017

You triggered my insecurity

With your breath

Just by your voice tone

Hitting the airways

The way you

Didn’t look at me

Though i guess you wanted to

The way you

Played it all cool

Til it was just ice

Touching my skin

The way you

Ignored my ridiculous

texts

The ones that said Hey

The ones i sent trying

To get an appointment

In your mind

Even if it couldn’t be in

Your heart

The way you

Smiled

The way you laughed

It all triggered my insecurities

The way you

Wouldn’t answer my insecure- girl questions

The way you left my house

And later my apartment

The way you walked out of my door frame

The way you never called me

The way you’d come back

As if months hadnt passed

I was just an insecure girl

Covered in make up

Perfume

And pomp

I didnt know how to treat a man

How to get along with a man

You triggered my insecurities

You were unimpressed with me

You had your fill of me

And there wasnt much left

I always wanted to

Break free

But i was just a scared insecure girl

With gaudy plans

I was too proud to show up

So i stayed inside to cry

give up

let pain be done to me.

___________________________

July 9, 2017

I just want to look at him

And say Dont You Want to be 17 Again?

Before your heart was shattered

Before sex left you empty

Before you knew not to trust

When love was an exotic location

Somewhere in the universe

Dripping down your fingertips

When smiles were currency

Holding hands was awkwardly exciting

Jagged Edge and Faith Evans on

Midnight Love

Talking on the house phone all night

Writing letters in notebooks

Signing 2 u 4rm me

Airbrush t- shirts with our names on ’em

Not afraid of what anyone would say

___________________________

August 12, 2017

You must have known

You must have known

Couldnt you tell?

Couldnt you see?

Didn’t you feel it in my kiss

Didn’t you feel it in my body

My heart rupturing

Exploding onto your chest

Did my soul ever reach yours?

Did you see even a single tear?

I know at least one spilled out

did you feel it in the atmosphere?

Could you ever hear the lumps of heartbreak

I swallowed

Could you ever hear the silent fears

escaping my brain

Fears streaming like a social media timeline

Did you ever notice

me

My inside me

Did you ever stay up late

wondering about the inside of me

Even just once?

Didn’t you want to feel?

Didn’t you want to want it?

Could you still

With me?

__________________________

February 5, 2018

Its hard

Living life in the shell

Behind the glass

You survive

But no one knows.

__________________________

September 12, 2018

The hardest pill

To swallow

Is that im not yours

Youre not mine

And God never told me

You were mine

You never wanted me

And still dont

Because this has been

All in my head

All these years

You havent reached out

In years

And im always watching

My notifications

Youre with someone

And shes prettier

Thinner

And even thats

Not enough motivation

For me to stop

Disregarding portion sizes

And i feel ridiculous

For even still keeping my head up

In public in case you walk by

We’re in the same city

But universes away

I hope i dont run into you

While you’re with her

I wouldnt recover

I hate that im jealous

That i once had your attention

If only for a night

I hate that i settled for your crumbs

I thought it would pay off

One day and youd choose me

But all these days prove

I was grossly mistaken

Thats not how it works

Is it sad my biggest dream in life

Is a man proposing to me?

I cant imagine it because

90% of me doubts itll be reality

And sometimes im mad at God

I feel forgotten about

Like David with the sheep

All the other girls get lined up

Presented as the best

And no one even invited me

Everyone’s life is picking up speed

But mine is unwitnessed

No one sees me

No one comes for me

No one comes

How can i not want this?

How can be relieved from this?

This plague

__________________________

December 24, 2018

I don’t have much to offer

This is what ill say

If you look twice at me.

Im not who i used to be

Somehow i still think *that

is who’d you’d like,

But not the TodayMe.

The TodayMe is awkward in crowds

Rigidly shy in moments i unexpected.

The TodayMe is invisible

Like how no one could ever imagine

Clark Kent is Superman.

The TodayMe almost walks with my head down

secretly hoping someone sees me but doesn’t.

The TodayMe deeply desires to be noticed

but you’d never notice.

The TodayMe thinks in monologues that’ll never be heard.

The TodayMe cant offer you much.

The TodayMe wouldnt know what to say if you spoke in my direction.

The TodayMe wouldnt know what to do if you wanted to see me outside of our meeting spot.

The TodayMe cant escape the pangs of insecurity by letting you take my clothes off.

The TodayMe fears i’d rather stay alone.

The TodayMe might just stand at the bus stop all my life.

__________________________

September 2, 2019

Im trying

My best

But you dont know.

Lies are coming at me

About you

But

If its true then whos lying?

Im trying not to see you

With the lenses of my past

Guys who dont care

Guys that ignore me

Guys that stay but only for a night.

Im hoping thats not you

But i dont know you.

If youre the real deal

Then i want you

If youre playing games

Then NO.

Im fighting my own thoughts

Waring against you.

Id like to know

Im making the right decisions

maybe im just being stupid.

Because those types of things dont

Happen for me.

Guys leave,

Thats what happens to me.

They throw me back

And fish for someone else

Put me in the discard pile

And draw another card.

_________________________

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Uncategorized

Vulnerability

Recently God allowed me to see that although I have been esteemed for being able to remain objective in many situations in my life it has come as a detriment in matters of the heart. I’ve been called diplomatic by friends and coworkers. I’m most often level headed and keep my cool in intense moments. For the most part, this way of being has proven successful in work and interpersonal relationships. I can be counted on for sound advice and am able to see things from all angles. I’m very good at helping others talk through their own troubles, offering a non-judging and safe atmosphere in my presence. How could this be a detriment to my own life?

I’m unsure if I’m naturally objective or if events in early childhood molded me to remain on the outside, looking in. Growing up, I always felt that way. As if I were looking at everyone through a window. Even the songs, “Looking In” and “Outside” by Mariah Carey were so on point when I heard them as a teenager. As I have grown older, I suppose I honed this feeling into a skill that became very useful to me.

Except for defining moments in my life when remaining objective wasn’t what the moment called for. Showing up as my personal self was what I should have done but didn’t know how. Instead I shut down at a psychological crossroads. Unable to break through the window to the other side. I felt strapped down by own hands unable to show up and let myself be known.

It wasn’t until the past few months that I was able to make this connection. I see now that although remaining objective is a valuable skill, there are times where I will not be able to remain objective. There are moments that involve the personal self, which will have its own bias and narratives. Expressing them will be equal in value.

During the past few years, God and I have talked about vulnerability. I’ve asked “what does it look like to be vulnerable?” I told God that He would have to reveal to me what vulnerability would look like in a particular moment. I often think it must mean crying in front of someone, which I don’t ever want to do. I see though, it may look like disclosing information to someone that I normally wouldn’t share. It could be sharing my opinion when I normally would back down. It could be reaching out and asking a friend to pray for me when I feel overwhelmed. It can look like sharing my dreams and articulating me fears. It can and will look like many different things. I just know that I’m ready now. I know I cannot remain detached and objective at all times. The things I want out of life require me to not be who I am today. I have to step into a new version of me each day. These daily decisions require me to trust a Loving God.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:11 is often quoted by itself but it is not a stand alone verse. This was spoken by Jeremiah and behalf of the Lord regarding those in exile in Babylon. I’m sure it didn’t feel good to be in Babylon and would’ve been hard to see God had plans to prosper them. Being out of your comfort zone doesn’t feel good. It can be hard to see the good plans that God has for you when you feel so uncomfortable. The past few months I have been out of my comfort zone in a number of ways. I’m sure and unsure of what the future holds. Whether I feel comfortable or not, God is sovereign.

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Quick Read

Was Jesus an Introvert?

We are amazed when we hear of Jesus as a servant. When he washed people’s feet or when the woman washed his feet with her tears and hair. WoW. What an act of service. This act is even done in churches and weddings today. But keep in mind, Jesus’ feet were dirty. Yes the were dirty because of the footwear at the time wasn’t really full coverage and people were always walking in the dirt. His feet were dirty because he was always walking somewhere, walking towards people.

Jesus was not in some maxed-out conference arena. He was not standing and smiling at some merch table. Not to say conferences are wrong or bad. I LOVE going to a conference! Most of the time it involves travel near or far, cute freebies, powerful messages, great music. It is always a good time spent with friends and family. But, here it comes… my primary motivation isn’t really to get closer to the Father. My primary motivation is to be entertained. I’ll let that sit a moment.

I have my most treasured intimate moments with God in the privacy of my home, car, etc. The times he’s spoken deepest was when I least expected it or when I was alone in my room communing with him, just us two.

I think that’s how he prefers it. There are many stories in the Bible when Jesus made the effort to speak to people one on one. He went well out of his way to meet the woman at the well in Samaria. While walking in a crowd he made effort to stop and speak to the woman that touched the hem of his robe. While addressing the woman caught in adultery, He gave the iconic, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” line and drove away the crowd. He got rid of the crowd to give us one of the most powerful moments (in my opinion) in the Bible.

Jesus spent a lot time telling people to not tell other people he healed them. He spent a lot time passing through towns not ever staying for too long in one place. He didn’t rally for a crowd to come together, they just showed in droves on their own. He preached against the pretentious and those that did things only to impress others. Jesus was highly selective when he chose his disciples. He often went off on his own to pray alone.

Jesus wasn’t a keynote speaker listed on an agenda of who’s who of the elite. Jesus didn’t sell out venues but fed tens of thousands on at least two documented occasions. He fed his disciples in the upper room. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Mark 14:22

He gave us Himself on the Cross as payment and sustenance to move forward.

We need to be careful where we are placing our affections and treasures.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Is your treasure in sold out conferences, Christian bands, eloquent Bible teachers? Do you worship worship music and worship leaders? Do you go to the Christian bookstore more than you open your Bible? Do you seek answers in a traveling prophet but drag your feet with what the wise counsel in your local church told you to do?

I could ask a lot more questions but I’m sure you get the point.

What if Christianity was outlawed tomorrow? Would there be enough evidence to convict you of crimes against the State? Or would it be an easy transition for you to jump into the secular fandom?

If you could no longer have Christian books, music, paraphernalia. There were no Christian concerts, conferences, festivals. No Christian t-shirts, keychains, church bumper stickers. There were no Christian gatherings and no underground operations that you knew of, what would your relationship with Jesus really look like?

What if you didn’t have a Bible anymore? Would you even know what it had said?

Don’t lose sight of what is important. Jesus stands alone like no other. He never needed the crowd or flare.

Do you?

(Painting: The Rescue -by Nathan Greene)

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The Cross, Transformation

My First Mission Trip

Last week on Wednesday, I boarded a plane at about 6am for Phoenix with people from my church, most of whom I didn’t know well. I didn’t have many expectations only to work hard and sacrifice my introvert time! We arrived in Phoenix safely and were off to the Phoenix Dream Center in no time! Once we arrived, we were greeted and put to work right away.

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Myself and roommates were given the task to deep clean the Hacienda, a room used for children’s church and women’s morning devotions. A bit later we put together discipleship binders that the men use for their program. I can’t tell you how many times we tried to create a smooth process to put the right forms behind the right tabs just like the example binder. There were seven of us (4 missionaries, 3 female program leaders) and just as it was turning into a lunch break we finally found an efficient process! Now I can put together those binders in my sleep! The rest of the day is a blur as we were kept busy until 9pm, cleaning and painting rooms.

Thursday morning we woke up around 4am for a 5am hike at The Phoenix Mountain Reserve. I was not enthusiastic and chose the “easier” path when offered. Soon I renamed the “easier” path as the “actually moderate for me” path. It was a mental challenge because I did not know the path or where it was leading or when it would be over! I kept my negative thoughts to myself and continued on like everyone else. Maybe it was my short attention span taking over, my untrained body shocked or my stubborn will deciding “so what’s the point?” We came to another crossroads our leaders told us: we could hike up a very steep hill to see a beautiful view or walk back towards the parking lot. I said PARKING LOT immediately, but as most of my peers decided to take the challenge, I succumbed to their lead. Guess what? It was a very beautiful view and yes I did feel accomplished having done the harder thing. After that I did look forward to our Saturday morning hike at another location but the night before it got cancelled and we were scheduled to do a different project.

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A task we were given on Friday afternoon was to clean the 3rd floor railings with rags and a bucket of cleaning solution water. I never imagined I would be cleaning the railings of re-purposed hotel but there I was. The rooms of The Phoenix Dream Center all face an open courtyard where birds are free to fly so there’s no lack of bird droppings on the railings. Cleaning the railings gave plenty of time for people to talk and share their stories with one another. This was my view looking up from the 3rd floor.

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Friday evening, we went to an outreach to a neighborhood park to play with the neighborhood kids. Every Friday program students facilitate this outreach, they bring food and clothing, music and usually share the Gospel. A boy named, Nick, who was about 10 years old asked us if a certain woman was with us but we told him she did not come with us, he opened a pocket size bible and showed us that she signed her name in it. He explained that he had been waiting to see her again. He also asked if she had sent the bags of clothes she promised, which she had. I was amazed at the relationships that were being built there in the park on Friday nights.

Friday night, we gathered as a very large group to pray before we headed out onto the bar district of Tempe, AZ. It is an outreach they do every Friday night. We broke into smaller groups to walk around and pass out bible tracts or pray. I held a sign that read, “Jesus Forgives.” It was something I wouldn’t ever do at home. We walked by a lot of people enjoying themselves at the bars or restaurants, most ignored us. However, some did not ignore us. They mocked us or mocked our signs, someone from a balcony shouted “hail satan” repeatedly as we crossed a street. The Discipleship students that were with us did a great job of initiating conversations or just greeting passersby. They asked if they could pray for them and accepted whatever response they got back. Although this was all new to me, the students do this outreach every Friday night. I wondered if what I was feeling was what the Apostle Paul felt when he spent time preaching and writing letters to the believers in cities like Corinth. He knew the believers would need encouragement as they lived in a place known for lasciviousness. Most of us do live in a Christian bubble. Most of us don’t spend our Friday nights getting drunk at clubs anymore and so we are removed from the people that never left. I realized it is going to be an important part of ministry to put myself in places I would usually stick my nose up at. The night ended at their traditional spot, Jack in the Box. The only complaint I had that day was Jack in the Box was all out of chicken salads! Seriously, all I wanted was a salad.

Saturday was the day we went to the Gila River Reservation. We were part of a similar style outreach for the kids there. Hot dogs were grilled, basketball was played [ not by me LOL], there was bible trivia and candy. I had my first experience with “rez” dogs, dogs I’ve only heard about on the internet.

In the afternoon, we gathered again for another outreach in an apartment complex parking lot. Discipleship students and some of our group members walked through the apartment buildings to gather the kids. We served hot dogs and cookies, sorted through donated produces to make take home boxes for the kids. Some little girls got their face painted. I played Connect 4 with a 8 year old boy until it was time for the bible story and quiz. There was a water fight. There was am irate man that threatened to call the police on us if we didn’t leave, although the group had permission from the property owner to have the outreach every Saturday. The man took a few food items but eventually left and the outreach went on smoothly. One little girl around 4 years old didn’t leave the Leader’s side. She went wherever he went and always wanted to sit with him. I could only imagine she was desperate for a father and this may have been the only positive consistent male figure in her young life.

We gathered back at the Dream Center afterwards. Soon after, someone in our group quickly came up with a plan to ambush another mission team from South Carolina with a water fight. This was done to us by our mission coordinator earlier in the week. The South Carolina team had arrived at the Dream Center early Saturday after some had pulled all-nighters for their flight. After the water fight, we circled up and both teams prayed for one another. Later that night, our mission team met together one last time to debrief. We shared our highlights for the week which most of us talked about how we did things we don’t normally do, we stepped out of our comfort zones, we appreciated all the hard work The Phoenix Dream Center does daily, and how much we enjoyed getting to know other people from our own church.

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The next morning we woke up and prayed together one last night before heading to Dream City Church Phoenix. The church campus was beautiful! We got a quick tour before going into service. I posted the following on my social media accounts: “Sunday morning concluded my first mission trip. As I sat 3 rows centered from the stage in a reserved section I waited to hear special guest @drcarolineleaf speak, I began to simply take in the moment. I thought WoW, I get to be here in Arizona – serve at the Phoenix Dream Center- attend service at the main @dreamcitychurch – hear the author of Switch on Your Brain speak! During worship I began to repeat these experiences and as I said in my mind, “Im front & center here…” – God said “yes, you are front & center to me, you’re my Shining Star and I like it when you are outgoing.” I thought in my mind “I always feel on the back burner”….God instantly said “You Are Not on The Back Burner.” I began to cry, almost weep. I cried for a whole song. Even throughout the next 20min if I replayed the conversation in my head I began to tear up. I hadn’t ever articulated that I felt on the back burner before that very moment. It was a real conversation from Heaven down to my ears! God speaks to me when I least expect it and tells me things I didnt know I needed to know! He’s so so kind to me♫”

I know I’m leaving a lot details out because there are so many things I could write about. I appreciated that I had a team that didn’t complain and just went to work when given any task.

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The Phoenix Dream Center: https://www.phxdreamcenter.org/

Dream City Church Phoenix: https://dreamcitychurch.us/

Dream City Church Omaha: https://dreamcitychurch.us/campuses/omaha-nebraska/

Church on the Street: https://www.cotsphoenix.org/

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Uncategorized

I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

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Quick Read, The Cross, video

Sola Gratia: will you testify?

 

 

Tonight I shared this message at my work place during a monthly celebration of the guests in our recovery program. Last month, after the celebration I typed up this message and had the idea to play this music video in the background to illustrate my main points. I know that God has messages in me, I just have to step up and out to share them. The following is my message I shared.

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****I thought I had a unique way of thinking about God and Jesus for some time, then Justus came out with this video and it brought it to a whole other level.

I have a vision of the court room. I’m/we’re the defendant sitting on the right side. The county attorney is on the left. The judge is in front of us on his bench.

Many of you know this scene and what it feels like. Your life is in someone else’s hands. You’re not sure what the outcome will be. Hoping you got a “good” judge. Hoping your attorney has done the best for you. A lot is on the line.

Maybe it was a very public high profile case. Maybe it was your first time facing a judge. Your family might have your back or they deserted you already. No one can bail you out and your friends are nowhere to be found. You’re having to stand on your own and face the consequences.

Many people know of God the Father as a Judge. He will judge us all on Judgement Day. But most leave it as that. God is a judge. God judges me. It doesn’t matter what I do, we’re all doomed. So what’s the point?

In my career, I’ve been an unofficial and official advocate. I’ve gone to court with people to offer support and encouragement. That’s what an advocate does. The Holy Spirit is our advocate. The bible calls him our Advocate in John 14:26. The Holy Spirit is on your right side holding you up when you’re not strong enough.

But on your left, you have the greatest attorney ever, Jesus.

In fact, if you see it the way I’ve come to see it – its that God tipped the scales of justice in favor of us by sending us Jesus. We’ve sinned against God so we can’t go to Heaven but He gave us Jesus so that we can go to Heaven to be with Him.

Can you imagine going to court tomorrow, and your attorney is the judge’s son? Wouldn’t you feel pretty good? I know that God the Father has the same heart for you that Jesus his son does. God the Judge has the same heart for you that Jesus the attorney does.

Jesus approaches the Judge in the court of heaven, as Satan the Accuser (that’s in the bible too) approaches the Judge and accuses you of all the things you’ve done. He tells God you’re a liar, an adultery, fornicator, thief, idolater, murderer etc. He hates you. Jesus stands before the
Father,
I know this man. I know this woman. This is my Friend
my brother
This is my sister
She loves me. He loves me. I can vouch for him. I know her heart. She’s clean. He’s repented. I’ve cleansed them.

Knowing that your attorney is the judge’ son, do you see how the Accuser has nothing on you? At best all he can do is accuse. If you give your life to Christ, and follow Christ and let the Holy Spirit dwell on the inside of you— you will be washed CLEAN. The Accuser will have no case against you. He will not have any evidence. God the Father didn’t have to send someone to take our charge, to take our punishment. But HE LOVED US SO MUCH HE STILL WANTED US EVEN AFTER ALL WE”VE DONE TO GRIEVE HIM. DESPITE THE SORROW HE FEELS TIME AFTER TIME BECAUSE WE BECOME HIS FOES. HE STILL WANTS US. HE DOESN’T WANT TO LISTEN TO THE ACCUSER. SO WHY DO WE LISTEN TO HIM? When Christ let out, “It is finished.” That’s what he meant. The accuser is finished. Shame is finished. Self Harm is finished. Self hate is finished. He took all of that. He took our sins to the Cross but also the pain, the infliction, the wounds of the heart and mind.

All of this stuff already happened. These are facts and truth. All we have to do is RECEIVE this Truth. Do you now why Jesus came? Most will say to save us, that’s part of it. But in his own words to Pilate, the regional leader of the Roman empire, just before Jesus was sentenced to a crucifixion, Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king. Jesus tells him, “ …in FACT, the reason I was born and came into this world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37

Jesus-before-Pilate

He came to testify ( def: give evidence as a witness in a court of law, serve as proof of something existing, something being the case) to the truth.
Will you stand with Jesus and testify to the Truth? Will you stop listening to the lies of the Accuser?

–Prayer:

Jesus, I want to receive you as Truth, please show me how. I want to reject the Accuser’s lies, please show me how. Your will not mine. In Jesus name, Amen.

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hookup culture, Men, Transformation, Women

Single Flamingle

 

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What’s a Christian girl to do these days? I’m sure I’m not the only one that follows different Christian social media accounts that offer relationship advice related to marriage, dating and singleness. I really do appreciate sites likes these but sometimes, I pass by an article that seems to be offering the same information just recycled by another eye catching headline.

Much of the advice for single people (women) is written by a 28 year old woman who’s explaining how she waited so long to finally getting married. Then she goes into to tell us single women on how to spend our single years serving God (because we have so much more free time compared to someone that is married). This involves improving your financial situation, eating well, spending time with your family and friends, serving in ministry and combating lust and exercising purity. Practical advice is staying away from Rom-Coms or movies that get you hot and bothered or hosting dinner parties with your friends!

No need to read further because I just compiled all the Christian single girl advice on the entire internet!

Please feel free to click out of this if you literally haven’t heard that advice and it is news to you. It is good advice. It really is! BUT… it falls flat on an almost 34 year old woman who has literally been working on those talking points. I did the Dave Ramsey class. I’m not a big spender but I do pay bills late. I knows this already. I try to make healthy food choices but I don’t always succeed. I bought a stationary bike that I have yet to use. Last year I bought workout clothes which also haven’t been used. I spend time with friends and family. I serve at my church and work in a ministry in my community. I don’t like Rom-Coms and I try to be careful with what shows or movies I watch. I’ve been celibate for almost 6 years now. Not a kiss, not a cuddle, not a THING! I have to invite Jesus into moments between myself and a nice set of biceps and traps.

traps

Aside from throwing dinner parties for your friends and trying to curb your lust, you’re also supposed to be letting yourself be found.

He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

I’m guilty of using this scripture as my soapbox. The scripture says he who finds a wife, which means I’m already someone’s wife and I need to act as such. This scripture also highlights the manner in which the man meets his wife, he finds her not the other way around. I’m sure through millennia, young women [and old] have been told to not pursue men. Generations have taken this advice and either been successful or not. Generations of women have also been manipulative and conniving in how they got their man. Most of us ladies know both types of women. Perhaps we’ve been both types usually unsuccessfully. If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re a woman that is following Christ and wanting to do things His way. Your way didn’t work. If you’re like me, you were once convicted of behavior that was not honoring to God and so you stopped doing those things.

When I began my obedience journey with Jesus, I bought a book that caught my eye- Girls Gone Wise by Mary Kassian. This book opened my eyes to a lot of unHoly behavior that I was doing. Putting a lot of work and wiliness in getting a guy to look at me. Putting on lip gloss slowly and seductively while I know he’s looking, positioning my body as I stand to draw attention to specific attributes and more. I strongly encourage any woman to read it. So after reading the book, I changed a lot of my ways. I stopped doing a lot things. I did this because I wanted to honor God and do His will, not lead men further from it.

I said goodbye to flirting, sex and situationships.

But what exactly did I say yes to? Courting? Dating? Letting God write my love story?

I guess so. But what is courting and how is it different than dating? How do I let God write my love story when it feels like He doesn’t even if have a pen and notebook to start?

When the response to, “I just feel invisible” is “God sees you.” It’s a fantastic revelation but I want to stare back into human eyes to feel connected.

Jesus “should be enough” but all I want is to hold a human man’s hand.

This is where Christian dating advice makes me roll my eyes. I can cook dinner, pay bills, read my Bible, go on a walk, get a massage, volunteer in the community and still feel the supernatural pull of Something More.

Some advice tells us to be content in the singleness season. Other advice uses Ruth and Boaz as some blueprint for how to get a man. Let him now you’re interested just like Ruth did. This is the least practical advice because I have no idea what the modern day equivalent of the threshing floor is. Most of us agree dating someone at the workplace is not a good idea. Other than that, do I sneak into a man’s bedroom while he sleeps after he’s had a few drinks and a big meal, lay at the bottom of this bed? I better have a good lawyer if I choose option B.

The point of Ruth and Boaz isn’t some cute Hallmark movie. It was to tell us about the good nature of Who was to come, Jesus. Aside from that, marriage throughout history was not of a Romantic value. Marriage was to bring security for families, property, and wealth. People grew to love one another out of service. Of course, people did have moving love stories. If you were lucky, you got to marry someone that you were excited to marry.

Fast forward to 2019: My parents aren’t arranging any suitors for me. I get to be excited about the person I get to marry. But what about this in between time?

Do I wait to be found? Do I put myself out there?

What does putting yourself out there look like? How do I maintain a Holiness about it?

Where can I go to increase my chances of being found? Where do men go?

Dating Sites vs. Meeting organically?

math

I skip over more and more of these Christian and secular dating articles. No one has the perfect answer or the perfect solutions. I can do everything on their checklists and still go another year solo. I can be doing all the right things and still show up to another family holiday function with nothing in my arms aside from a hearty green bean casserole. To be honest, I’m pretty frumpy these days. Spring is coming, maybe the nicer weather will put me in a nicer mood. Probably not. I could wear more makeup more often. I could ease up a bit on the dry shampoo and actually wash and style my hair sometime. I could look people in the eye in the grocery store on occasion. I could smile more. I could do a lot things but if there’s no guy to be on the receiving end then whats the point?

God is going to have to be God.

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