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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Hold out, hold on, don’t give up, and don’t run.

I’m going to wait for the one who is for me.  I’m going to stand firm in the faith that Christ gave me.  I won’t abandon the hope that I have.  I won’t flee or cower when love finally finds me.

I have learned quite a bit about myself this month.  How capable of love that I am…but also, how capable I am of easily going down the wrong path, tripping over God’s examples, and making a mess of good relationships.  I hope that I am capable of learning from my mistakes and really making the best out of some awkward, painful, and ridiculous situations.  This month has been trying, but then again, I have had other months that have been the same way.

Colossians 1:26-29:

This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.

Two more days of February left…..

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I am currently in Muskegon at a women’s retreat hosted by a church from Rockford.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I was a little uncertain about what to expect in terms of temperament, in terms of humor, in terms of level of friendliness.

I HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED BY THESE AMAZING WOMEN.

If I lived in Rockford, I would be attending this church.  If you are friends with me on Instagram or Facebook, I’ll be uploading pics to both sites throughout the weekend.  This retreat is full of amazing women who greeted us with unconditional love and understanding.  We arrived to a pretty huge room beautifully decorated, a great sound guy (HUGE BLESSING), and pretty excellent accommodations.  I don’t think I have ever stayed in a lodge this beautiful before, actually.  My “hotel” room is larger than most, and my hotel room table was wonderfully decorated with chocolates, lotions, cards, and then mints on my pillow.  There is free wifi, food, and accommodations.  My mentor and I unpacked and relaxed for a bit, and then headed downstairs where we found a number of women in a circle praying for us.  They then greeted us with hugs and sat us down and prayed over us.  That was definitely a first for me.  They continued the love fest and hugs into supper.

I am listing all of these things because, I find it incredible, and I would really like to dive into getting know some of these women this weekend.  As I finished my dinner, I got to chat with an 80-some year old grandmother who grew up in Detroit and missed the beauty and accessibility of Belle Isle.  I spoke with women about their decision of which church to attend and how it was influenced by the church’s youth program and support, and I listened as so many women just poured out their hearts and struggles to two complete strangers and didn’t expect anything in return.  They just wanted to share their heart and what the Lord has done.

The last story for the evening that I will share is about a woman whose husband passed away four years ago, and her grandchildren are a large focal point in her life.  As a person works third shift, she doesn’t go and do too many things over the weekends now, however, about three weeks ago, she decided to register to attend this women’s retreat. For some reason, that was the time that one of her children said, “your grandchildren are being baptized on Saturday, February 23rd.”  She was a bit saddened.  Her son said that they would tape-record the baptisms for her, however, this was not what she was hoping for. A short time later, she received a call.  It was a telephone call from both of her grandchildren.  They wanted to ask her a question.  Apparently, a pastor doesn’t have to baptize you; you can choose someone who is already baptized and has had a significant impact on your life.  Her grandchildren chose her.  At that moment, she began to cry.  She was afraid, fearful, not sure of how to respond to them, however, in that same moment the Holy Spirit came on her and spoke to her heart the words of Matthew 19:26 – “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Out of the Spirit the Lord put in her, she gratefully accepted the invitation for her to baptize her grandchildren.  I think our entire table was in tears at such a great honor.  She has decided to leave the retreat just for the afternoon to enjoy baptizing her grandchildren, however, I was just for some reason so moved by the entire story.  What a testimony.  Can you imagine? The most influential person in your life is your grandmother, and you want her to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  I’ll be praying for her all day tomorrow and as she goes and as she steps out in faith that the Lord will carry her through and that she will enjoy these moments with her grandchildren.

This was just one woman sharing out of over 35+ women.  I have more stories, but we’ll save them until Saturday or Sunday.

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Even if I spoke like everyone else on earth or in heaven but didn’t have love in my being, I’m like one of those really annoyingly stupid bike bells/horns, or like the cymbals on a really bad drum set.  Even if I was someone who could tell you of the future; answer some of the world’s biggest questions; or if I had enough faith to move the Rocky Mountains but not have love…I’m a waste of space.  If I gave everything to the guy on the crutches in front the ‘Blind Pig’ even though he was just asking for $0.50, put my body through that wretched diet cleanse that the people at ‘Whole Foods’ swear by so that I could flaunt the shed pounds, but do not have love…I really have nothing.

Love is the quiet spirit that your mom possessed when helping you with your homework as a kid, love is Mother Theresa.  Love doesn’t want what’s on someone else’s seemingly awesome plate of food, but is willing to let its own to be snagged.  Love doesn’t grab the trophy and thrust itself into the air, and love doesn’t just take pleasure in itself.  Love doesn’t put others to shame, love isn’t just thinking about love all the time, love doesn’t throw a hissy.  Love doesn’t like it when the Dark Side of the force shows its power and looks like it’s succeeding, but gets all kinds of excited when the Rebel Alliance balances everything out.  Love is a momma elephant guarding it’s child; love always trusts; love believes eternally; and love will always comes through everything.

Love aces every exam like a boss.  Those with clearly unearthly and divine speech will stop one day, those who have that freaky ability to speak in tongues will also stop, and the know-it-alls and our ability to soak up knowledge will stop.  We think we know everything, but honestly, we can’t handle the full truth, the fullness of who God is; there is a limit.  When I was a baby, I’m pretty sure I only knew that way of life, but when I grew up, I put the ignorance of youth behind me.   Just because I’m an adult and have a lot more knowledge now than I did, doesn’t mean that I see everything clearly.  (Like a friend said to me last night, as a matter of fact) Right now things are blurry down here, however, it won’t be long before we see more of God and more of what He is doing; we’ll be able to see Him as clearly as He sees us!

But for now, until we get there, it’s important to remember that He has provided us with three amazing things: we have faith, we have hope, and we have love.  The most valuable and the greatest of these things is LOVE.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Roses from a Friend.

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Love, Day Two.  Ahhhh, Sadie went back to her private blog.  She may come back later in the month; she is so honest, scandalous, and blunt; love her.  Since we are on the second day, and I’m not exactly sure where this month could take me, I would like to discuss the subject of unrequited love.

Unrequited love is when one party has strong feelings for another party that doesn’t return those feelings.  To me, unrequited love is living in a constant state of false hope and torment.  It is sometimes where some of us like to dwell because we don’t know anything outside of it.  I have lived in its torment for many years, sometimes wondering why and what I could possibly learn from it.  If anything, I have learned that I cannot escape this state without a healthy relationship with others, and being honest and open about feelings.  This isn’t such a simple thing.  I know it’s really hard to share emotions and feelings with others.  You don’t know what they will do with your heart; you don’t know if they are trustworthy; you don’t know what they are thinking about you.

But…to be the victim of unrequited love means that you have to walk this earth with such an extreme unneeded and unhealthy burden upon your heart, that you feel that you can never be truly happy, that no one will really ever be the right one for you because you never had the one that “got away”.  You live your whole life wondering “what if”, when you never had to face such a question.  I never really thought about this until fairly recently in these last few weeks.  I have come to terms with the fact that some men in my past aren’t for me, and I do have to learn to let that go, but I cannot let my future groom (have mercy, Jesus) suffer in our relationship because I held on so tightly to something that wasn’t promised to me.

UPDATE:  An article that I just read today really does my entire blog entry justice, so I’m adding it.  It’s from Relevant Magazine contributor Marielle Wakim:  http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/what-do-when-it’s-complicated

This is what I am learning of love is that you have to be able to make room for it, you have to be able to accommodate it, not it accommodating you.  You cannot live in torment because your plans failed…if we all did that, over 95% of the population of the earth would never get out of bed in the morning.

Love is a stretch, but it’s a good stretch.  Love is different, but it’s a good different. Love is a challenging change.

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First impressions always trip me up.  I think that perhaps I often over-think them.  But this isn’t about me.  This is a story about Sadie, the other me that is more adventurous than I.  Perhaps you will never meet the likes of her, but I think us ladies all have a little bit of Sadie in us.  Suffice it to say, she has a story that she would like to share on my WordPress since hers isn’t quite fully constructed.  It is a story about a first impression, and about where that impression is now…

I had been looking for a new place of community for myself and found one.  Perhaps I was looking for a mate, but I won’t go into that right now.  I had found a community, a place where people were a little stiff, but they told the truth, they actually cared about the good.  I decided to become involved, volunteer within the community serving where I could.  I enjoyed what I was doing.  One day, one of the leaders and his wife asked me out to lunch, along with us was a guy that I had never met.  For safety’s sake, we’re going to call that guy Hunter.  Hunter was a moderately tall, dark haired guy.  He had bags under his eyes and he shuffled his feet.  He didn’t say too much to me or to the leader and his wife.  Our introductions were pretty much non-existent because he really didn’t acknowledge my presence.  During our lunch outing, the leader and wife and I engaged in conversation, sharing stories about the community as well as adventures in our own lives.  Hunter remained at the end of the table, head pointed a little more down than would be acceptable since it was a social lunch, and you could just tell — Hunter had a chip on his shoulder and a burden on his heart.

We continued with our lunch excursion for another hour or so.  Eventually, we made our way back to our cars and said farewell.  The memory of Hunter stayed with me all day.  By the next day, I was curious, however, I didn’t feel that I should pry or ask the leader about his story.  Eventually, the memory of the lunch outing faded away as a distant memory.  That was the first impression.

Fast forward about a year.  I am volunteering my time within this wonderful community that is pretty much powered by volunteers.  A new volunteer enters the picture, it’s Hunter, or it least it looked like him.  Hunter seemed the same, generally speaking, however, his countenance had been transformed into one that was happy, cheerful, goofy.  He loved serving within the community and with what we were doing.  I really couldn’t believe my eyes.  Hunter had dramatically changed.

I decided to stay back from him, didn’t know what to make of things.  Over the next year, I found that since we volunteered within the same group, we were thrown together in certain instances.  We would talk and have conversations about general things, look forward to the upcoming events, and discuss members of our community that we were concerned about or were thinking about and wanted to help.  As time passed, we began to talk about many other things, more personal, closer to our hearts, closer to our spirits.  It was then that I realized that a real transformation had taken place within my heart and within Hunter’s.  I had to tell him about my first impression of him and ask him what had happened that could have made him that way and yet completely different.  Hunter said that that day when he went to lunch with us, he was carrying such a heavy weight of guilt, of regret, of sadness.  He couldn’t get away from thinking about something that was troubling his spirit.  But because of his faith, Hunter realized that something good could be done with the bad.

Today, Hunter seems to be a very far cry from the Hunter I first met.  He engages the community in a wonderful way.  Though he has had some troubling items of his past come to the surface sometimes, he clings to the hope that these things learned then, make him a better person for tomorrow.  I have a great love for this friend; he has helped me to face change and challenges when I wanted to run; to make a way with faith when there seems to be no way.  Hunter was and is a holy helper.  Glad I didn’t lose all hope from that first impression.  I’m glad that we have been brought together in friendship for a purpose that is greater than us.

This brief short story will be one of 28 as I endeavor to write 28 stories of love for the month of February.  I know that there is healing in hope and restoration in faith.  The only obstacle that we have is the obstacle to believe in that hope and trust in the faith that God provides to us.  Can’t tell you how grateful I am that He never let go of me, of us.


FAITH. HOPE. LOVE…but the greatest of these is LOVE.  Happy February.

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