Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two years of life...

I'm really struggling in school, not in the sense that it's too hard for me but rather it's forcing me to be what I'm not...or is it? I'm struggling over the fact I feel like my writing is forced to be rigid, forced to be not who I am...not real. It's a lot of what I call scholarly writing, quoting from other books and writing in a way that's not revealing who the person but rather what the concept is. I hate it.

I've been starring at the screen for over an hour now, trying to stay focused on what I must get done and all I can think is "why exactly are you having me do this?" I'm truly confused as to why I'm in school. Is that even normal? I guess I'm not totally confused, I know it's where God wants me. I guess I'm just confused as to why me? I don't "fit" well into the group AT ALL. I fear that through this process I'll lose part of who I am, the part that I really style of writing.

So, I'm sitting here trying to get motivated to finish my homework and the thought came to me, maybe it's not about you at all. I really dislike that thought, though it occurs to me often. Maybe I'm there, among these people, for reasons way beyond me and my discomfort. Maybe the challenge that comes with grad school with actually make me better, not take away what I love.

This challenge is something I wanted, after all no one made me go to grad school. This challenge is something I knew would force me to the next level. It's going to be a very intense two years, but two years will go by regardless; so I can either step up to the plate and embrace the challenge or I can fight it the whole way. I'm going to try and embrace it, knowing full well there will be moments of fighting...but two years will pass regardless.


Today I am 34 1/2 years old. I remember when the 1/2 was so important. I was always trying to be older, act older, sound older. I always wanted to be what I wasn't. Why do we do that? All kids try so hard to be what they aren't. All parents have had at least moments of trying to make your kid into something they aren't. Last weekend I sat at a table with my step brother and step sister and wondered "do my parents see us for who we truly are or do they see what we aren't?"

I have a friend who is in the beginning stages of divorce. Another who is fighting for his life. Another who is fighting for the life of her adult child. I don't honestly know any one that can look you in the eye and say yep this is EXACTLY how I saw my life when I was a kid rushing to becoming an adult. I sat on my bed last night crying because of a decision I must make, a decision that will affect my child, a decision I have begged God to fix for me so I don't have to do it. And yet, this morning I woke feeling peace because I know who I serve, who I try to please, who I allow to have power over me.

Sometimes we feel there's a black cloud that follows us...well, if that's the case then what's the central theme? You. The "black cloud" is over you. You have the ability to remove it. By will power? Let me know how that works out for ya. By running away? Yeah, let me know on that too. By ignoring? Ah, that's my favorite thing to do and yet I notice that the cloud just gets blacker. So how? People ask me how can you have gone through all you did just three years ago and be as happy and grounded in life as you are? Faith. Bottom line, no fluff involved. Faith.

There is power in losing control. There is power is surrender. There is power in not living for others. It's scary. It's overwhelming. It's freeing. As a kid I couldn't wait to turn another year older because I thought that would mean people would finally start treating me like I meant something, not just a "kid". Now I can't wait to turn another year older because that means I've got another year of learning from Him under me and another year of lesson ahead of me. But today, today I find myself saying "Please just let me sit here for a little while longer". Today I don't want to be older or younger. I'm finally content right where I am.

Stop hanging on to something that's hurting you. Stop fighting for something that only makes you cry. Stop trying to run from who you are. Stop pretending it's all ok. Stop being loud, demanding, controlling, and please stop fighting the whisper of I love you.

True power lies in not having power.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Church on Sunday. Life on Monday.

I was told recently that a reason to stop going to church is the church is filled with fakes, people that act one way in the church and then act a completely different way during the week. I'm guessing this is a struggle for many people, on a variety of levels.

Psychologists will tell you that when you're busy pointing out someone else's faults it's a sign of your own insecurities; holding up a mirror to yourself. There are times when I'm at church and I feel as if people look at me and wonder "who does she think she is?!" Sometimes I feel completely unlovable, completely unforgivable and completely unable to hold my head high and say God loves me. Sometimes I wonder if I should just skip church and stay home, hiding from the world. I struggled with that more in past, but I'd be lying if I said it never crossed my mind.

I wish I could stand up just once in church and start pointing at people and telling the room their "secret". I wish people would stop just long enough to realize the church is filled people...and people screw up daily. I wish people would realize that you don't have to be perfect before you can go to church and I surely wish people would stop pretending like they have it all together and everyone else sucks.

I don't like it when someone comes to church and puts on a show, acting all "churchy" only to turn around a live a totally different life during the week. Have a conversation with them in church and they talk about God, talk to them outside of church and it's totally void of God. Church on Sunday. Life on Monday. Gag. I get why that bothers people, but I don't think those people should be what keeps you from going to church and growing as a Christian. That's only hurting yourself!

I'm going to make it part of my mission in life to force people to be honest regardless of where you are. Talk about your struggles, talk about God, talk about the life you'd like to live. Be. Honest. Please don't stop going to church because someone is shallow enough to try and make you feel you must live up to their standard of Christian. Please don't stop going to church because you feel unlovable or like a complete failure. Please don't stop going to church because you don't know how to do blend all of life with how you feel Sunday's while worshiping in a place where it's easy to talk about God. Please.

I challenge us all to be more honest, be more open, be more real. I encourage you to hold your head high regardless of what you "think" you deserve, grace my friends is about the exact opposite. Don't live two lives, that's way to much work. Be you, every where you are. And if you can't...then change it, but don't stop going to church and seeking God!

I challenge us Christ Followers to stop making people feel like they have to hide who they are in order to please us, to make us feel better. Because that's what it's all're forcing them to be fake cause you can't handle the truth of who they are in the moment. Well, it's not about a Christ Follower it's about Christ and it's about them. Not you. Get over yourself and love people where they are damn it!

Let's stop doing church on Sunday and life on Monday. Let's stop feeling like we can't go before God just as we are. Let's stop making others feel they suck more than we do. Let's stand in church as one large group who desperately needs God and needs one another....

Friday, October 22, 2010

What IS your ministry?

Five months ago God lead me to the decision to start Vulnerability Ministries and to be in ministry full time. It's been difficult to fully articulate exactly what it is I'm doing, to give people an answer I think will satisfy them; largely because the answers are only slowly coming to me. I have a bird's eye vision of what it is, but getting into the details hasn't been the easiest. This morning however I shall try to narrow the view and hopefully help you understand Vulnerability Ministries.

I believe that no matter what kind of life you have lived you have been wounded along the way. Even if you had a great childhood and wonderful parents and now have a great life, things happen that hurt you and caused you to add a layer of protection to yourself. Some of us have wounds that are easy to identify, some of us must dig a little deeper, but we all have them. My wounds come in several forms, some worse than others. As I've begun to share my story and let people see what those wounds are I discovered there are MANY people today carrying the weight of a wound but never addressing it. When you don't acknowledge something is broken you can't fix it. When you don't fix it, the weight of it grows thus infecting other areas of our life. It saddens me to hear someone whisper in my ear "your the first person I've ever told that...." but I hear it often.

My goal is not to start a new church or become a preacher (although if that's what God tells me to do then I guess I'll have to do it). My heart though is to connect with churches, to come alongside them and help them become a healthy church. Our churches are filled with hurting people who walk through the doors on Sunday morning and put on the "happy Christian face" but are crying on the inside. Churches are slowly becoming more tolerant of someone being honest with who they are and where they've been in life, my desire is to increase that beyond a tolerance and to make people of any walk of life feel completely accepted so they can be honest about what is beneath the fake smile. When you're honest about who you are, when you're honest about the wounds you carry and when you admit you need God in ALL areas....well, that my friend is when healing truly begins to happen.

People will talk about someone relapsing in their addiction, going back to the abusive husband, continuing to have causal sex, etc and I know without a doubt all that happens because that person has yet to fully cry out to God, has yet to be fully honest with who they are what their journey has been like. That person still has something they are denying thus something they are keeping from God, God is not yet their center. My goal...get that particular wall down.

Four years ago I started searching as to why I am created a woman and why God even made woman. Over the last four years I've gone from wondering why I'm a woman, to hating being a woman, to loving God deeper for making woman. Vulnerability Ministries is an expression of that and hopefully a way for all to connect on a large scale and women to connect on an intimate scale.

That is one part. The other is to connect with our youth. I've never felt I am raising children, I've always said I am raising future adults. The kids of today will be the adults of tomorrow and it's our responsibility to come alongside them and help them become the best adults they can be. The adults that are whispering in my ear...they were once children and wounds started then. We need to be teaching healthy boundaries, teaching that it's ok to have morals, it's ok to love God and above all teaching them it's not ok to keep those wounds inside. My goal through the ministry is to provide a safe place where kids can talk openly, get solid direction, and begin to learn the importance of having Christ as your center in life.

That's the bottom line really....we need to have Christ as the center of our life. That's my ultimate goal, help people of all ages begin to do that.

So, hopefully that helps. Please feel free to call me or email me if you want to talk further. If you think you're church is open to this ministry let me know that too. If you'd like to donate to the ministry, or if you'd like to volunteer in some way then lets talk! Thank you all for your support and your encouragement. It's not an "fun" ministry that's for sure, but it truly is an inspiring one and I'm beyond excited God is allowing me to be part of someone's healing journey.

Monday, October 18, 2010

and yet

It seems the harder I try to hear from God, the less I hear. I go to Him with questions, I truly want to know what He wants me to do and yet...I feel nothing inside. No direction. And then suddenly I'm reminded that "you've got it all wrong". I'm going with the need for answers instead of the need for relationship. I can't help but smile at this because I knew that, I did. And yet...

I've had many people tell me "it must be nice to stay home", "it must be nice to not work a real job", "it must be nice to sit around and read all day". My response? It is. I wish that was my response. Because honestly I have been on the defense since the day I began this current "next step". Always feeling I must defend what I do all day and never escaping the feeling that it could be more. I earnestly seek to please God, no one else and yet...

As a Christian you must be aware of the FACT there are two parts to you; a spiritual and a flesh. Christians spend a lot of time focusing on God, saying all the right things, doing all the right things. Christians are really good at putting on our good little christian face. Reality is we have a flesh side too and if we aren't careful we'll be fooled into believing we're doing God's will but in reality we're simply doing the will of our flesh (which can look a lot like pleasing others). I love God more than I've loved anyone, I deeply want to make Him happy and yet I let my flesh get in the way. I love what I do, my daily life, and yet I let my flesh get in the way. In this life there aren't many things we can control but I can most certainly control my response to what my flesh desires. Following God is hard, it requires sacrifice, time, dedication, and a lot of uncertainty (otherwise known as faith). Following my flesh is easier, feels better in the moment and makes others more comfortable. And yet...

Today I will return to what He first asked me to do, just be. Today I will do my "job" knowing I'm right where He asked me to be. Today I will walk with God instead of run ahead and today I will remember that I will stumble, even fall, and yet...He leads me because He is my Shepherd (not my flesh).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

At a loss

The first song I heard on the radio this morning was one of my all time favorite Christian songs..."I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is, it's ok." I talk to God often, daily actually, but in all my talking there are still times when I just can't seem to find the words. Sometimes I'm at a loss for words.

Right now in this world someone is dying and someone is being born. Right now someone is feeling total isolation and someone is feeling total love. Right now someone is feeling anxiety of what's to come and someone is feeling resolution over what happened. Right now we are all feeling something, yet right now there is something going on in our life that leaves us at a loss for words.

We can get so caught up in the daily chores of life that we forget there is life beyond our moment, life beyond our eyesight. We forget that it's ok to go before God at a loss for words. We forget what matters. When I'm at a loss for words I often wonder if God isn't saying "Finally, she's listening"...I challenge us all to find ourselves at a loss for words more often, to be still and know, to be bold enough to say word of God speak.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


According to most people I have way to much on my plate. I've always been someone with a lot going on, if you wait to ask for my help when "things die down a little" you'll always be waiting. The difference between the plates today and the plates just a few years ago is now the plates are all on purpose.

For so many years I just floated through life, allowed life to simply happen. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. I was just existing and trying not to drown. I was also doing what I felt everyone else thought I should be doing which largely revolved around "earn a paycheck".

The old Carla was driven by the approval of others. Today, I am driven by God. Not His "approval" mind you, He gave me that when Christ died for me; I'm driven by a deep desire to follow Him. When I shifted my focus from people to God a lot changed in my life. I hit major valleys but I also found an amazing peace. I've finally accepted the fact that God will call me to do things that seem crazy at first only to make complete sense on the other side. Hence, my life now.

I can honestly tell you my life is much more hectic now than it ever has been and I'm not working a "real" job. We are pretty much broke according to paper (and the bank). My daily list never seems to shorten though it changes every single day. I have more confidence now than I ever have, better friends now than I ever have, more focus, more energy, more dedication, more uncertainty, and more joy. I haven't "earned a pay check" since May though I've received "pay checks". I'm exhausted at the end of the day and thrilled to do it all over again the next.

Not everyone lives the life I do, just like not everyone lives the life of a fighter pilot or teacher or post office worker. We are not all created equal, not in the sense of purpose. When it comes to purpose, to all the stuff on our plates, God has a very unique reason for each of us. It's our duty to seek that reason, to live out our calling, and to accept whatever "plates" He gives us.

Tomorrow another plate will be added, grad school. Seminary to be exact. I'm going to church school. I must be honest and say that makes me smile, laugh and have a heart burn all at the same time. When I asked God to please use me I didn't see this coming. When you seek to find out why you were created be prepared, He WILL show you. The plates I have now are not what I envisioned seven years ago when I started going to church, but the plates I have now I wouldn't trade if my life depended on it...because His life did.

I'm busy because I choose to be. I'm busy because I choose to follow God, no matter what. As the song goes, I'm right where I need to be....fill your plates with God and you will be too.