Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Secret Garden

We've all felt disappointment. People don't respond how we want them to sometimes.

It uncovers a pain that cuts deep. We feel rejected, unloved and sadness.

Whether it is a broken promise from a friend, a disappointing end to a date or relationship, or not creating the perfect March Madness bracket or whatever the case may be; disappointment ranges from superficial to an earth-shattering level of pain.

What do we do in these situations? Do we pick up and move on hoping that the cuts on our hearts will just heal themselves if we leave them alone? Do we wall ourselves off from ever feeling again?

No! Because no matter how hard we may try, we cannot shut off every single emotion and we end with unmet emotional needs. We are supposed to be in community and build relationships! And I know I am in no way the only one who has ever wondered why that was because people are painful and hurtful!

If we were all honest with ourselves, we have all said at one time or another that: "Life would be great if there weren't all these people around to mess it up!"

It's not easy! Dealing with people is not a walk in the park! Especially if you are as opinionated as I am! It involves a risk when we reach out to another person. We risk disappointment and hurt on a daily basis.

We become slaves to fear if we ignore our bleeding hearts and become emotionally crippled. We wall ourselves off in the name of "protecting ourselves".

This reminds me of Colin in the book "The Secret Garden". Colin was Mary's cousin who was secluded in his room who everyone thought he was a cripple and he lived as such. His father kept him in isolation to protect his weak constitution. At the same time, Mary discovers one of the long walls outside the house isn't just a wall but a garden and she had to spend time searching for the door to the inside. As Mary and Colin begin to work in the garden his deceased mother used to tend to he becomes stronger and healthier and is eventually able to walk again as the story progresses.

This story seems to be an allegory for the condition of the garden and Colin's health, but also what we tend to do with our own emotional trauma and pain. We close the door, forget about the key and let weeds take over where beautiful flowers used to be and the walls become so overgrown with vines that when we decide to possibly crack open the door of our hearts we can't even remember how to get in.

We forget how to hope that things could be different.

It's a lot of work to face our pain and our fears. But the pain of not dealing with it is greater than the pain to confront fear and uproot its' hold in our hearts.

In disappointment, in fear and in love we must never stop hoping. Getting hurt and continuing to hope doesn't mean we skip around saying it's all going to be alright. Hoping and loving in spite of fear is feeling the pain and saying that it will be alright in faith rooted in the assurance that God never abandoned us.

The only for sure "answer" I have on how to handle disappointment is to never lose sight of hope. And hope lies in God.

To hoping in spite of fear,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Who do we say that He is? And what does that make us?

Jesus asked some fascinating questions while on this earth. They're almost unanswerable mysteries that are still debated in the church to this day. I've encountered something lately that seems so paradoxical to what is true about God. It's this idea that we have to earn the affections of God for the means of salvation.

Let me break your bubble here by saying something (not really)revolutionary:


There is nothing that we can do that can make Him love us any less than He does right now! He fully loved us and will continue to fully love us. Now, I'm not addressing "Once saved always saved" theology at all. But somehow, this idea that God our Father is not pleased with us has crept into our normal everyday relationship with God.

I feel like there is a divine conversation between God and us that starts and ends with the questions:
-Who do you say that I am?
-Who do you say that you are in light of what you think about me?

Jesus asked His disciples that question in Luke 9 and when Peter responded with: "You are the Messiah, the son of the living God" it completely flipped the switch for Peter's destiny. Jesus made him the rock on which He built the foundation of the New Testament church. And contextually, this conversation happened right after Jesus fed the 5,000! How could Peter have answered any differently after such a lavish display of divine love?

So, what do we say about Him?

Does a good father turn his children away if they don't behave that day? Does a good daddy give his children bad gifts? NO! Jesus laid this kingdom principle out in Matthew 7:

"Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" 

So there it is! This is how we are to relate to God our Father! AS OUR FATHER! He is our Daddy! We are co-heirs with Christ as sons of God! Women: we are sons of God!

With this revelation, it begs that we also answer the question of identity. What do we say about our identity in God our father when we finally get the picture that He actually is our father? 

Our perception of what we think God is capable of doing and who He is is paramount in discovering our own identity in Him. We are the sons of God and that means we have the rights of sonship. I don't say that in arrogance or entitlement, but when Jesus invited us to enter into eternal life He offered a direct connection to God the father and the status as a son and daughter. 

Rejoice and revel in the fact that you were chosen uniquely for you and that you are loved completely and fully in the joy set before you in Jesus! In His presence there is FULLNESS of joy that we get to enjoy as sons of God!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pray for me!

Living a Life of Adventuring in God

A picture is truly worth a thousand words! This picture describes what I feel my life in God has been like as of late. Full of dreaming and adventuring! 

For y'all who haven't seen my social media excitement I have HUGE NEWS!

In May I will be sojourning to Pemba, Mozambique to spend two months learning and growing in the dirt with orphans and widows. I will be spending the summer at an Iris Global base that houses and feeds hundreds of orphans a year.  This is the dream of my heart! To have the privilege to pour the love of God into the lives of the most deserving sons and daughters of God!  

I have no idea what the Lord has planned for this next season and I don't know that I want to. I'm so excited to be on an adventure with God in the most extreme way possible that I don't even care about having everything planned like I normally thrive upon. 

I'm giving up the comfort and security of my home, bed, friends, predictable schedule and the opportunity to work and save money for my college tuition in favor of sitting at the "kids table" to play with precious children. 

The school is a two month school from June to August that will consist of both learning about how to live a life that is based on radical dependence and faith that there is always enough as a child of God. There will also be ample opportunities to work with both widows and orphans in the Iris orphanage and Pemba area. 

This is such a big adventure and it has completely overwhelmed me in great and wonderful ways! I get to live in a place of dependence on God and see what living a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. Living the simplicity of the gospel: that we have a good daddy God and He loves His children! 

I'm really excited for this journey but I have a long way to go before I get to Pemba! I will be regularly updating this blog before, during and post trip. I have also set up an online giving account for those who would like to donate online towards helping launch me into this wonderful season of helping the poor and broken. 

Here is the link for the online giving here