Monthly Archives: November 2011

Everything…

You’re going to start watching the video I’m about to post and worry that it might be a little cheesy.  I encourage you to get over yourself and Jesus’ shiny robes and watch on…

I think the skit featured in this video does a really good job of capturing in a visual way what it is to struggle.

We see a girl who is first focused on her relationship with her Creator, but then lurred away and distracted by, relationships with friends, chasing money, identity, self-worth. All of these things standing between she and the Father.

Let us be sure that we, the church, do not become one of the things standing between God and His beloved.

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Entering the Twilight Saga Zone

This weekend all of my sisters came to Dallas to see the most recent installment of the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 1 with me.  The four of us get together (with as many friends as we can drag along with us, thanks Heather and Sarah) every time a new one comes out. This may be one of the few things all four of us agree on.

You might be wondering right about now why I’m bringing up girly love of sparkly vampires here, but trust me, it’s not without a purpose.

On the heels of my lovely sister weekend, Kristin pointed out an article on Relevant Magazine’s website called You Can’t Marry A Hot Vampire. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my very first reaction to the title alone was extreme defensiveness. After having read it, however, my feelings shifted from defensiveness, to a kind of indignation (ha, bet you were expecting me to say that I found it truthful after all).

As a single woman, the title alone comes off as an extreme accusation. “Dysfunction between the sexes is obviously at the fault of women with unrealistic expectations.” Which is a frustrating message, especially coupled with the “romantic fantasy is female porn” idea, which by the way, isn’t a new idea by any means. I’ve been hearing similar messages since I was old enough to think a guy was cute. The church has been warning woman about their fantasies for a long time. But that’s not what bothered me most about this article, and the thing that did bother me most is the reason I bring it up here.

I want to stop here and ask that you please don’t misunderstand me, my intention is not to make light of or refute the power of fantasy or the damage it can cause in relationships. My point here is to say that this argument, in the context of this article, is “barking up the wrong tree”, as they say.

The Twilight Saga isn’t extremely well written.

It’s poorly edited.

There’s no credible lore involved, in fact, in laughs in the face of mythology surrounding both vampires and shape shifters.

It’s full of teenage angst.

In spite of all of these things, Twilight is a cultural phenomenon. People flock to it, young and old. You have your “twi-hards”, your “twi-moms”, “team Edward” and “team Jacob” of all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders. This movement of people who are moved by this storey, however poorly crafted it may be, is something worth paying attention to. So when I say that I think warning young women of having their hearts lured in and misled by Hollywood is “barking up the wrong tree”, what I mean is that instead of stating the obvious, we should be asking ourselves why people are drawn to this, when they are fed so many false depictions of love. Why does this story captivate them? Why does it captivate even… dare I say it… some of us?

I have a theory.

The thing is, when you strip the story of all its trappings, the bare bones of the story isn’t unfamiliar. It’s about a person who feels out of sync with her surroundings and is then drawn in and saved by the love of something supernatural, unchanging, unwavering, undying, and everlasting. Have you heard a story like that before? I know I have.

Stephanie Meyer may not be the most astounding writer on the planet, but what she’s done is given the world a hero who loves the heroine unconditionally, unselfishly, would sacrifice himself for love of her, who values her, upholds and considers her virtue precious, who is strong when she cannot be… and they are eating it up. The world is desperate for this story of salvation, so much so that even in the midst of bad writing and ooey-gooey-teenage-love-stuff, they’re drawn to it.  And why are they coming to it this way? Because in this story there’s no condemnation, there’s no judgement. This story allows for seeing your unworthiness and understanding the necessity of becoming a new creation without being shamed into it.

Maybe this is a lot to read into Twilight. Maybe people will call this blasphemous.

Either way, what breaks my heart is that what Bella finds in Edward in this story isn’t unrealistic at all. It’s the heart beat of what reality should be, it’s more than possible, it’s what each of us were intended (and then some) to know in our relationship with Christ. I have the Savior that the world is enraptured by in this story and I’m not doing a good enough job of introducing them to Him, the cultural phenomenon that is Twilight is evidence of that.

Instead of writing warnings, we should stand humbled.

 

 

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Let’s talk about sex baby…

Kristin recently directed me to The Totally Not Safe For The Family Christian Radio Podcast (wow, what a mouthful). The specific podcast I linked to features Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay and is a conversation about why Christians need to talk more openly about sex and how the arts are the perfect platform for it.

I think some valid points are made during the podcast and that it’s worth a listen.  Check it out =)

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Trophies of God’s Grace

Trophies of God’s Grace.“ Ring the Bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Grace. Amazing, Scandalous, Purposeful, Free.

Something that so many seem to think they can comprehend but seldom hit the mark, something that we all need but  often fail to dispense to others.

We have been talking a lot about redemption lately, about God using our faults and using our pain. Understanding that is a big deal, it is an important step to agreeing to see ourselves the way God sees us,to become free.  But what about how others see us and our transgressions? What does the world, or rather the church, do with our past and present struggles?

There seems to be an alarming trend going on in our church culture when it comes to dealing with people’s struggles.I think a lot of us can recall a time where we knew that if we would just keep our sin or past sins a secret, we would fare better than if others in the church knew about it; but to me that idea seems to fall very short of God’s best for us, the abundant life He has called us to.

So what is the problem?

Fear.
Fear can so often be the enemy of Grace. But God has not called us to live in fear, but to live courageously and unashamed.

You see it over and over in the Bible, God using people with more than a few skeletons in their closets to do wondrous things for the kingdom .David who committed adultery and murder but it was through his line God chose to have Jesus born. Then in Luke 7 is the story of  woman who everyone knew had lived a life of sin but comes to Jesus anyway, and Jesus said , “ her sins are many but they have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. And then He told her to go, for she had been forgiven.

Jesus used her to demonstrate a pretty big lesson .
Maybe the problem is that we are holding on to some things and have not confessed and accepted  forgiveness .

Then we have the conversion of Saul. Who would ever have thought the Lord could use someone like him? Take a look at his story ,Jesus visits the disciple Ananias in a vision  and tells him to go find Saul who has been converted, Ananias says he is scared because he has heard about the bad things Saul has done but Jesus says to him  Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said to Ananias,“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

I think the message of Jesus and His call to us is pretty clear, He came to save us by faith through grace and He has called us all to go out and share that message with the world, and that includes serving in our local churches. This idea that God uses people’s whole story to show his glory is pretty much the core of our whole belief so why is it so hard for us in the church to do the same?

So am I saying that we should never ask questions, just let anyone serve in any area with no accountability? No . Should churches use discernment and prayerfully consider when a person is interested in leadership roles and positions in the church ? Yes. But should we continue to ignore those who are growing in Grace and Mercy because their pasts and struggles make us uncomfortable? No. I think Paul said it best so I leave with this letter He wrote to the church .

1 Corinthians 15

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

This is what we preach and this is what you have believed, we need to remember that.

-Kristin

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Great Quote Of The Day

From Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust

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Let The Little Children Come To Me

  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

  Matthew 19:14 

I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to have to try to figure out how to explain homosexuality, especially within the family, to a child. Even having been one of those children, the idea of bearing that responsibility in another young life is frightening to me, and I have a lot more experience with the topic than most.

As scary as it might be, I urge you to press on and in and find a way, allow me to explain why.

I’m not a parent, yet, but I am blessed to be the Aunt of 4 nephews and two nieces. I learned a whole new level of love when these children came into the world. There’s nothing quite like being loved by a child. The pure joy they exude at just having you near- It makes you feel a sense of value that not much else can stir. Children don’t love to get anything from you, they love for lovings sake and it’s beautiful to be a part of.

In the face of that kind of love, I can’t help but love back. I would do anything to protect these little ones and I want more than anything for them to know and understand how much they are loved, not just by me and their other aunts and uncles and parents, but also by God. Knowing that they are not only loved by the Creator, but that they were planned by him, that they were intended, is so important in helping them know who they are.

Yes, the idea of having to explain homosexuality, in whatever context you find yourself having to explain it, to your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews is scary. Yes, it’s a great responsibility, for you and for them.  But you have a beautiful opportunity to help them see how they were intended by God, that he went to great lengths to make sure that they were born. For me, this has been one of the single most important things I’ve ever come to understand about myself. God wanted me so much, that he brought together two people who, according to the rest of the world, should never have come together.

Whatever your fears, children’s imaginations can grow bigger ones, and no matter what you think… they know something is different. The monster in their heads can do so much more damage than the truth, so tell them the truth, the truth points them to who God created them to be. We’ve talked a lot here about redemption, and how it includes every part of our lives,  the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our whole story is important, and however homosexuality is impacting your family, it’s a part of your children’s stories, they deserve to know all of their story and be able to see God’s hand in it.

Edit: After sleeping on it I wanted to add this, that I think Jesus said “Let the little children come to me” because I believe he knew that they could handle the truth in a way we often forget as adults. As much as we want to protect our children, don’t hinder them from practicing trust when they are tender. 

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Healing in hurt

My mom was a very wise woman, smart, resourceful intelligent . She could be so fun, she had a laugh that you could hear from miles around.She loved her family and gave us so so much. She also had spent much of hear life in a body wrapped and twisted by  pain. She had a tough family life, loosing her father at a young age and her R.A started in her teens. She also married a man who was struggling with SSA. Her life was not easy and neither was the relationship between she and I.I was 27 when she died.

Due to some troubles in my life ( God’s blessing in disguise ) my husband, three kids and I ended up living with my dad and mom,we lived with them for about  2 years before she got really sick. She was always ill so none of us including i believe her realized how sick she was till we ended up in the hospital. Her kidney’s had failed and her liver was shot. None of the many dr. we saw could pinpoint what was really wrong though or how to fix it. Sadly they sent us home after a few months in the hospital . Her condition got worse and we ended up in the hospital again, in less than a month she was gone.

During the time we had with her at home my dad and I cared for her. We could not afford nurses and were quite lost with no idea how to really handle or understand what she needed. I am not going to go into what that was like here, there are very few people i have ever spoken to about that time, lets just say I saw her go through things that a child should never have to see their parent go through.

Because of the difficult relationship we had and the clashing of personalities i had been dealing with my “mother” issues for a while.I would talk to friends and pastors and wrestle with this problem with no solution in sight. And now here I am stuck, living with my mom who is dying.

I was scared and angry, how could God put me in this position? I talked once again to friends and pastors and they told me to leave. “ you don’t have to handle this, just because she is sick it doesn’t change what you have gone through or what she has done to you in the past” “ no one would blame you if you left”  “you need to take care of you” Oh how appealing that all sounded.

I remember one night was so so bad, the stress was eating my dad and i both and my mom was obviously getting worse. We broke. He in an angry out burst, me in a hysterical crying mess. It was at that point that i decided to lob all my complaints straight at God for the monumental mess he had landed me in. Justifying my reasons and desire to run away . And to my surprise the first thing he did was comfort me.

A quietness and peacefulness came over me unlike any i have ever experienced before or since. I should have known he was bracing me for what might seem like bad news.

Stay.

“But God, it hurts too bad, and I’m so scared. What if she dies? Will I be left with this open wound ?Will i have to live my life resentful and bitter because we never had the chance to repair the damage in our relationship? I am angry and hurt by her and you have me here taking care of her. This is like a nightmare.”

Stay .
It was a challenge. God told me if i would stay he would use that time to heal me and heal the relationship . He said he would change me and not let the hurt and pain all be a waste to a lifetime of regret and anger and unresolved damage.

Today I am here. Still grieving but not angry. Still sad and maybe even a little traumatized but not bitter or regretful. I can’t explain exactly what God did during that time. I was so angry at her, and scared , scared that I was loosing her and scared that my anger would never go away because she had never made it better. It’s not like God swooped in and we became this perfect mother and daughter, she was not even mentally capable of that at the time. But I can tell you without a doubt every lash of pain i took served to remove the hardness and callouses of anger and resentment and left me with a soft heart towards my mother. It was not a magic wand by any means. But i would not trade that time for anything in the world now. I am able to look back and say “ my mom was not always perfect but i love her” and that is big. Not something that would have been easy at all in the past.

Finding out that a parent is Gay or struggles with SSA can be traumatizing ..
Don’t give up on the relationship though, you might be mad. And that’s ok be mad, be hurt and allow yourself to grieve . But know that God can bring you through it, and heal the relationship. There is a way, God will not count your pain as waste when you submit it to him and open yourself up to letting Him change you and heal and supply what you need.

One of the names of God is El Roi which means God Who Sees Me.

Hagar spoke it in Gen 16. because God sent an angel to speak with her amidst her suffering and desperation. God sees us and longs to comfort us, to not waste our pain but use it to restore, if we will only turn to the Father and let Him.

Isaiah 61:3 says
“ I will give them a crown to replace their ashes,
and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow,
and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness.
Then they will be called Trees of Goodness,
trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.”

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Shake It Out

The last part of October was a rough road (sorry about the long pause), but we’re back at it.

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

All of these questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah