Thursday, March 22, 2012

To the huggers

Sometimes it's hard for me to write because I want to write with a particular person in mind. My way of being passive-aggressive and venting I suppose. But tonight I'm going to just come right out with it...this is dedicated to every person that has ever felt the need to hug me.

It's been almost five years. Five whole years since my life changed literally in a moment. Five years since I said for the first time in my life, "Please don't hug me today." Five years since I have been inside a man's home that I do not fully know.

I am a person who's love language is touch. I crave it almost as much as I crave hearing I love you from my kids. When someone hugs me I feel as if breath has been given back to me. I feel full again. I remember how empty I became from lack of touch.

I also remember the line of people waiting to hug me after I spoke at my church, sharing my secret. One after another reached their arms out and embraced me, the good hug that lingers. And each time I felt God saying to me "and I hug you again and I hug you again..."

Many times I talk about why I love being a Christian, but tonight I can't help but remember that line and all the hugs that have followed over the years. If you've hugged me know that God was working through you in that moment to heal me just a little more, "and I hug you again"...thanks for hugging me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Surrender All

I love music. All kinds of music. Yesterday I was listening to Christian music while in the car and I started really listening, not singing, but listening to the words in each song. The string of songs I heard were all about our hearts cry, our desperate longing to know God is on our side, and our desire to surrender our life to Him.

I surrender all to you. Words that are in several Christian songs. Words we sing at my church. Words I speak, I want to mean. Words that prick my heart at the deepest part. I surrender ALL to you.

But do I surrender my relationships? What about my eating habits? And then there's the fact that sometimes I'd rather be lazy and do nothing instead of listen to the nudging inside me to call someone I know needs to I surrender those moments? Do I surrender my wants, my dreams, my comfort?

Often when I'm singing in church I'll suddenly pause and think "Do I mean these words?" It's easy to get caught up in the moment, to sing because you "like" the song...but do we mean what we're saying? Do we really surrender all or do we just WANT to surrender all?

My confession to you today, more often than not I just want to. More often than not I mean it in the moment and then, I leave, and the moment passes and I go back to living a life not surrendered to God. My outside doesn't always match my inside. And I know I'm not alone. I know, from listening to the songs, we all struggle with this.

I'm praying for us to move beyond singing, move beyond a heart of longing and start to actually do. I'm praying for us to actually surrender all to God. I'm praying for us to see the true beauty that comes when we are in a place of living not for ourselves, but for the One who can actually give us freedom from ourselves!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

But Why?

But WHY? Anyone who has ever been around children knows this is a phrase that gets old rather quickly. "But WHY is the sky blue?" "But WHY do I have to eat all my food?" "But WHY can't I stay up as late as my sister?" On and on and on. At first, we are under the illusion that these are great moments of teaching, we feel a sense of duty to explain. And then. The irritation sets in as we realize WHY never stops and we, frankly, don't fully know the answer to most of the questions. We begin to change our answer from a long dissertation to a simple "because I said so".

My relationship with God is much like that of a small child at times. Not in the "child like faith" that we want to have, but rather I'm the annoying "but why" kid. "But why do I have to take a step that seems impossible?" "But why don't you show up BEFORE the eleventh hour?" "But why am I still not married?" "But why did you make people so difficult to love?" "But WHY!!!". God IS Patience, if you need proof of that stop and reflect on how many times you bemoan BUT WHY to Him. He never walks away, He never grows weary, He never stops and says "Please go find something do".

A child asks why because they are simply trying to learn. I ask why because I'm a control freak driven by fear. There is a very big difference.

Today this is my hearts desire...that I may learn to silence the WHY inside me and find peace in knowing that the One with all the answers says "Because I love you. Because it's not about you. Because I Am." My friends, God calls us to do the outrageous, to step out of our comfort zone, to give until it hurts. The only answer we need given to us is "because I said so".

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why read it?

This morning I received an email from a good friend, it was the scripture she'd read in her morning time with God. This is the second day in a row I've received an email from her with scripture but this morning I sat crying as I read the words. Words from the Old Testament. Words that I have read at least a hundred times. Words that, in my fragile moments, I have often wondered "but does this apply to me".

It took me a long time to become comfortable with the bible. A LONG time. I didn't know where to begin, but more importantly I was afraid of what would happen. I kept hearing statements like "the bible is filled with answers", "God speaks through His word", "You have to read the bible to grow as a Christian". But what if? What if all that was true for everyone but me? Or what if I read it and didn't understand any of it? Or what if I read something that confirmed my thinking...I'm not good enough to be His daughter?

The first "book" I read in the bible was Job. I have no clue why I picked that one, I would never tell someone today to start there, but I did. And I do know why, because that's the way God works. I read that book, then bought a book someone wrote about that book and read it. And I haven't stopped reading the bible. Job is a GREAT book to study.

I love reading and coming across something new, looking at the words and thinking "I had no idea that was in here!" I love reading and feeling a sense of understanding as I dig deep, mull over the words, let them soak in. I love the clarity I get from simply reading the Bible.


I still have moments of wondering "really? me?" when reading things like Isaiah 41.

8 “But you, O Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 “All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Can I claim this as God inserting my name where it says you? As my friend read this scripture, my name was laid on her heart for her to share this with me. My friends, please see that for what it is. God. In that moment God wanted me to know that YES! I can insert my name, yes I can say when this was written He was thinking of me right now in this very moment. Yes yes yes!

Pick your bible up, dust it off, and start reading. There isn't a bad place to start because it's all important. Ok, maybe you should start with the New Testament, but where you start isn't nearly as important as starting. Just start. The bible is God's love letters to us. The bible is God's direction for us. The bible is filled with wisdom, peace, joy, and clarity. And, the bible is just one more way for God to say "you, yes you, I will help you". If it works for me, trust me it'll work for you!!!!!