Friday, June 25, 2010

Darkness and Light

Sometimes while walking through the forest, the darkness encroaches so slowly that you don't notice that it's there. Your eyes adjust to the lack of sunlight, you move forward, unaware. You never stumble or falter or realize that there is anything at all wrong with your travels.

And by and by the sun begins to rise, a sun you never noticed was missing. A flicker of light makes it's way between the trees, shining onto your pale and sullen face.

At first, you close your eyes, the light being too much to handle. You turn around and try to move away from it. It becomes hard to see. Your focus is lost. You are scared but drawn. You can't move or breathe or feel.

And the light gets brighter. . .

Your eyes begin to adjust to the way things should be. You remember what it was once like to see the details in the world around you. A familiar joy rises up within in you, beckoning your forward. You move faster and step closer anxious to continue to allow your world to brighten. You are chasing the sun, terrified of losing it again, of getting lost in the darkness, unaware.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

God and Music

So in my severe lack of sleeping lately I've been doing lots of thinking.

As many of you know, I have many friends who are not Christians. There are several things that the "nonbelievers" pass onto me, that keep me up late at night. I've been struggling to find an appropriate way to share it. Appropriate, in this case, of course, being that I'd have liked to found a way to share my heart without hurting feelings or stepping on toes. I'll apologize in advance.

First of all, I must say I'm incredibly frustrated at times by the "they did _______and they claim to be a Christian" , said by both Christians and non Christians. What kind of thing to say is that? It says "If you are a Christian you would never do _______, so they must not really be one."

Now seriously people. You know, things like that are the very reason that "nonbelievers" think we are full of crap. They see our mistakes. WE MAKE MISTAKES. They are not stupid. To pretend that you are above reproach is ridiculous. If not for the grace of God, you would easily be, and may someday be, where the person you are so quick to judge is standing.

I will put myself in this catagory. I am extremely opinionated and prideful. I am ashamed of myself. I am sure if you've talked to me you have heard me make this most damaging mistake. I tell you this because I don't want you to think I'm up on a mountain yelling at you, I'm right here in the vally. We all are. I fully realize nothing will be different in my life if I don't atleast acknowledge it.

Onto another and much more frustrating subject. . .

First, you must know a couple of simple things about me. I like rap and rock music. I do not care for, in the least, Opera. I go to many concerts, and shows, and have watched even the most talented musician hit a bad note, or choose to watch a television screen in the middle of his set instead of play correctly.

That being said. . . Just because I do not care for Opera does not mean that I never listen to any music for fear I might hear something Operatic come out.

Furthermore, just because a musician hits a bad note, does not mean I discount the importance of their music. It also does not mean that I refuse to listen to it anymore.

Many of my friends have been hurt by Christians. Note, I didn't say "people claiming to be Christians". Because of that, they have chosen to discount, walk away from, hate, the whole concept of God or Christianity.

To those, I must say I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the judgments that have been passed to you. I am sorry for the lies that have been told. I grieve over the manipulation that has left some of you so broken I fear you will never be able to see past it into God's love for you. I feel entirely helpless.

I wish that each of us could be Mozart. I wish that I could say that becoming a Christian meant you would never do anything, or experience anything hurtful, but it doesn't. Going along with my music theme, it's about the music, not the mistakes made while playing. It's also about God, not the mistakes His people make trying to play His song. All the things that go on at the hands of those of us who are terribly inadequate are not the bottom line. He is.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Real

You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.~C.S. Lewis

Faith is not believing you are safe from drowning in a mud puddle. ~Me

It is easy to be confident when surrounded by people who believe in you.

It is easy to be brave when you know you are not alone.

It's easy to be funny when you have every reason to laugh.

It is easy to stand strong when the ground beneath you is solid.

Take all of those things away, and where are you?

Where am I really?

Working my way out mostly.

Finding things to rejoice and be confident in, even if it's the way a kitten transforms in my care, or the laughter of my babies.

But more than anything I am understanding for the first time in my life that God loves me, that He is the only one capable of loving me just as I am. He loves me when I fail. He loves me when I am scared, whiney, angry. He loves me when I'm not funny. He loves me when I'm skinny or fat. He loves me when I'm lost. He loves me when I'm found. He loves every tear, and every belt of laughter.

He loves me. And guess what? He loves you too.

Hang on....

Monday, June 07, 2010

Shame is a 4 letter word (Written August 2010)

I copied my online Mommy Hero Christine's title for this one, simply because there is no other title that would fit. Oddly enough, we were both writing about the same subject, negative thought processes, at the same time.

This is hard for me.

While I am generally free with who I am, and what my failures are, I don't generally disclose specific thoughts, especially the ugliest of them.

So be kind. Or at least quiet.

What I whave learned in the past few weeks is that my thoughts are not isolated to me. I am not the only one feeling this way. Many of you have messaged me, sharing similar stories and hurts. I struggled with whether or not to talk about my most private thoughts during this time of vulnerability, but what I realized is that if I speak out, so might you, and neither of us will be bound by shame anymore.

I recently bought my very first for me bible. In it, I found the most relevant for now, and powerful statement...

"The best way to combat temptation is to name Satan's lies, and then hold onto God's truths".

Wow.

So I sat down, and I thought of every negative thing I could think of that runs through my head in those broken moments, and I wrote them down. Over the next few days, whenever any negative thought entered my mind, I wrote it down too.

I have spent the last several days researching those thoughts vs. God's word. What does God say about what I'm thinking? And I've wrote that down too. I'm working diligently to memorize the rebuttals to my "hate thoughts".

Now when my brain says "You are too awful for anyone to love you", I remember God says "because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions" Ephesians 2:4.

I could write and write about the freedom I found in this, but rather, I am going to make a list of sorts, Coping Cards is what Christine calls them...if one fits, take it with you, but make your own.

I am not good enough for God to love me, I make too many mistakes to be a Christian
Mark 2:17 says "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteoous, but sinners to repentance"

I am alone
Deuteronomy 31:8 says "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do no be afraid; do not be discouraged"

I am crazy
1 Timothy 2:7 says "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of LOVE, POWER, and a SOUND MIND!"

I am bound up by my past
John 8:36 says "If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed"

I am and will always be a failure
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 says "He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ, our Lord, is faithful"

My life is over. I should end it.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" and Jeremiah 29:11-14 "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 upon 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

I can't do this
Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength"

I am fat and ugly
Psalm 139:14 says "I will praise you because I am beautifully and wonderfully made"

God does not care that I am depressed
Psalm 116 says
" 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave [a] came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

4 Then I called on the name of the LORD :
"O LORD, save me!"

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

10 I believed; therefore [b] I said,
"I am greatly afflicted."

11 And in my dismay I said,
"All men are liars."

12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant [c] ;
you have freed me from my chains

Cutting will make me feel better when I am flipping out
Phillipians 4:6-9 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

A small side note here...as many of you know, I have struggled with cutting since I was very young. I have found it a very common act of self harm for those who have suffered sexual abuse. What I did not realize, is that it is even discussed in the bible!!!! And furthermore, that Jesus healed the man who did it, and is therefore able to heal me! And you!!!!

The story of this can be found in In Mark 5, the story of Jesus healing the demon possessed man. I have read it hundreds of times, but it was not until recently, in crying out to God for help, that I noticed Mark 5:5 "Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he could cry out and cut himself with stones"

Wow.

This is not my whole list, geez that would take all day to do, and mommy duty calls, but it is a starting point, and highlights some of the thoughts that some of you, as my friends, have shared with me as well. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.

Don't spend one more moment hanging your head down in guilt and shame. Remember, "you are beautifully and wonderfully made"

Water Damage

I recently had someone post a meme asking why certain things, like pancake mix, movies, books, statues were not considered racist when Obama...