Peculiar Times.

Peculiar Times.“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

 

God did amazing things in my life in 2017. By far, it was the best year I recall having out of these almost 35 years on this earth.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you can see where I began. But where I’m at now is someplace completely different. Glory to God. He did some major pruning in my life and the result of it has created a stronger, fruit bearing tree. He gave me boundaries, ownership of my life through submission to Him. He gave me confidence and faith. I hoped in his truth and believed that what I was experiencing was not the life he had for me. He delivered me. Holy, transformed, redeemed.

And in 2017… he opened the door to my purpose, he promoted me, he made me a leader, and he made me a homeowner in a town where the trees whisper my name. My daughter is thriving, I am thriving (still with areas for improvement).

All good.

Yet in January of 2018 I find myself facing a peculiar struggle. My flesh vs. God’s word. Not anywhere I expected to be after the journey I’ve had with Him. But yet, I am here.

And here, is where more major work will be done. Here is where I will remember that he loves me and is with me even as I am failing, and choosing not to follow his will. That truth is hard to bear.

But here is where I feel motivated to return to you, and to my gift. Because God works miracles through our messes. He grows us. And if we are humble enough to learn from our messes and mistakes, they can make us holy. His goal is to make us holy. But everything we are that is not Him, has to die first. And often times, that death comes as a result of mistakes and failures. Us realizing that we cannot do it without Him. That our way, and the way of the world, will always fail.

And it’s peculiar because although we may have the Wisdom to know that this is true, we will still try to make things happen our own way. And then, fall on our knees once our way has broken us. Death to life.

The peculiar, human struggle.

 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Advertisements

Thank you, Chester.

Petrusich-Chester-BenningtonChester Bennington, you are my inspiration for today.

I don’t know why your suicide has made such an impression on me. But I’ve been listening to your music all morning, remembering the days when I was younger and carefree. But today, I hear you.

I hear your pain, your despair, your attempts at redemption and forgiveness which you may have never found. And my heart breaks for you. But as it breaks,  it’s letting love in and it’s letting love out. I pray that you have found peace from your demons, that you are with the one who never fails and will make you whole.

Forgive us for enjoying your pain, but not helping you. And thank you for sharing your pain with us. I’ve never been to a pit that deep, and I hope I never will, but thank you for letting me travel that road with you from a distance. Thank you for letting me peer into a darkness that I only partially understand. And thank you for trying to live through it.

Today, you’ve opened my heart to those that share your struggles. These lost children of the world. I hope that I can make an impression on them, lead them to hope, encouragement, forgiveness, redemption. A piece of me will always belong to them now.

I’ve never met you. I just learned your last name today. I haven’t listened to your music in years. But today, you’ve touched my heart. You’ve opened it wider. And I will honor your life for the rest of mine.

* If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255.

No Pastor, I’m Not Ready To Build A Bridge.


Where do I start!

As a result of the presidential election I’ve experienced a range of emotions that I’ve honestly tried to suppress. And as a future therapist, I know better than that.

First there was the Trump win. Then, the realization that I know many people who voted for him, and the ensuing struggle of trying to figure out how to accept people in my circle who are apparently not concerned that my human rights may be at risk. But then came the final blow.

I thought I had finally found my church home (I’ve had quite a struggle finding a church that I like here in Atlanta). But on Sunday, November 20th, I walked into church inspired, but walked out confused, conflicted, and thoroughly disappointed.

I thought I had found a modern and diverse church who reflected the heart of Christ, understood it’s diverse congregation, and spoke to my core. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

That Sunday, Pastor Louie Giglio stood before the congregation and attempted to heal the divide that was present in Passion City Church and the rest of America by addressing the tension caused by the results of the presidential election. Going into his message I didn’t think I’d be the one left feeling alienated. I thought for sure that the Pastor of this hip, modern, multi-cultural, non-denomational church surely denounced Donald Trump. But I was wrong.

Pastor Giglio didn’t outright take sides, but he did say a few things that led me to believe that he did support Donald Trump. He spoke about being a Republican, not directly but indirectly in an attempt to stay neutral. That’s fine, I’m not against that. But the following threw me.

He brought up a situation where he sought out one of his friends, a local black politician, I believe, who has good strong ties within the black community in Atlanta. He wanted to have a conversation about Black Lives Matter, to gain an understanding about the movement. Now, I actually commend that. I think more people should seek out this information so they can understand what minorities are experiencing. But what rubbed me the wrong way is this: 1) He’s leading a church with black members but doesn’t understand what his black church members are dealing with outside of the church? 2) He’s leading a church with black members and has not taken the initiative to sit down with these members and have a real, honest conversation WITH THEM. Still blows my mind when I think about it.

My other issue. He compared voting for Donald Trump to listening to Kanye West. Sigh, yes, really. His point was, how can anyone call out Trump’s character when Clinton has the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z performing at her events. Or, how can someone who is listening to Kanye themselves call out Donald Trump’s character (Seeing as how Kanye is no role model. The kicker here is that he obviously made this statement before Kanye admitted his bromance for Trump, and in turn Trump then invited him to Trump tower for a meeting). Either way, choosing to compare voting for a presidential candidate to listening to a musician to make a moral point is a weak argument. We listen to musicians for entertainment, not to run our country. There’s not one musician that I love that I would vote for for president, those are two totally different jobs. And the basis of choosing a president has always strongly relied on that person’s character. If you take this away, yeah, you can vote for anyone, which is I guess how Pastor Giglio reconciled his choice. And don’t get me wrong, everyone has a right to vote for who they want, but as Christians who know the Word and live it out and share it with people, there is no excusing the behavior as Donald Trump.

Knowing that 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump because they believe he somehow represents Christian values still boggles my mind. Politics over righteousness and truth apparently. Because anyone can see as clear as day, that Donald Trump in no way shape or form represents Christian values. Hillary Clinton did not either, but I don’t think anyone used that as a veil for voting for her. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party do though, represent an inclusive America with the desire for EVERYONE to live in freedom. I believe this is much closer to the message that Jesus came to share.

I have to give Pastor Giglio credit for seeking to understand Black Lives Matter. We NEED to have these conversations with each other. This divide CANNOT be healed until we are willing to listen first, speak second, and never condemn. So while yes, we need to build this bridge, we need to plan the architecture and gather the bricks first. That means that you need to allow us to sit with this disappointment, and you need to try to understand it. You cannot heal a hurt unless you are willing to listen and create a plan to go forward that works for everyone. Simply asking us to move on is counterproductive and will only add to the resentment that permeates our society.

With so much hope in my faith, I’m learning that even I will be disappointed by the church, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I live in a Red state. Learning and accepting is always good. While I believe Georgia will be my home for many years to come… I’m determined to bring a little Blue love to these people.

Who Am I?

I-amWho am I?

I am a daughter of the King.

A woman he has entrusted His greatest treasures to.

A woman who desires to walk in His wisdom.

A woman who knows well that His ways are greater than the ways of this world.

A woman who knows this because he rescued me.

A woman who was born into slavery of the mind and heart.

A woman who was abused, and who abused herself.

A woman who found herself at her lowest point.

A woman who cried out to Him because she could no longer take the never ending cycle of pain.

A woman who heard Him respond and call her name.

A woman who had to forgive and be forgiven.

I am a woman who’s heart has been healed.

I am a woman who’s mind has been transformed and renewed.

I am a woman who no longer conforms to the pattern of this world.

I am a woman who has been called according to His purpose.

I am a woman who He sent His Son to die for.

I am a woman who doesn’t deserve His love, but he covers me with love anyway.

I am a woman who is wise, courageous and bold because He is always with me.

I am a woman covered by the blood of the Lamb, no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

Because I am a woman who belongs to Him.

The creator of all things thinks enough of me to call me His own.

I am because He is.

So, who are you?

Go

Hey you

Unworthiness

Hopelessness

And yes, especially you Insecurity

I don’t need you guys anymore

You were gifts I never even wanted to receive

But I willingly accepted because I trusted the giver

Since then I’ve carried you with me

All of my life

Oblivious to how much you were affecting me

Weighing me down

Influencing everything I did in ways I was never even aware of

You’ve kept me from everything I ever wanted to achieve

In fact, I never set out to achieve anything because you made me believe that achievements weren’t for me

All of the hopes I had as a child

All of my gifts

My talents

My God

Oh but I’ve learned that I can choose my friends

That I don’t have to accept, or keep, everyone who comes along

Because like you, the worst friends will coax you down the wrong path

If you let them

And I won’t let them anymore

I won’t let you

Anymore

Unworthiness, Hopelessness

And yes, especially you Insecurity

YOUR TIME IS UP!

I no longer need you

I no longer want you

And I’m turning my back on you

Leaving you behind

I don’t care where you go

But you’re no longer welcome here

And if I hear you

See you

Or even think that I can smell you

I will unleash the full fear of God against you

Now GO!