Friday, August 29, 2008
One day, BAM! Something starts crumbling. It might start slow with a rumble, and a pebble falls, or it might be sudden, like everything is fine and then a missile has just struck one of the towers.
There are no words that could effectively describe this type of shock to someone who has never experienced it before. You can’t eat; you can barely sleep, and for me, everything in my mouth tastes faintly metallic. Everywhere you go you are reminded of the devastation, of your loss. You feel scared and alone.
You feel like you are starting your life over and don’t know where to begin.
“It’s a bitter end
When the sweet begins
Grace is sufficiency.”
I think that the most work that God has done in my life was when I felt like I had nothing left. Looking back, I realize that this excruciatingly painful process is what God has used to remove the dross from my life. God burns away the dross and instead replaces it with His faithfulness; His grace. Only in times of trial have I truly begun to understand the meaning of these words, faithfulness and grace. The bible says that God’s grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs. This means that no matter the trial or tribulation, God will never give us more than what, with His power, we can bear. This concept is one that has only recently been proven true in my life.
When my heart was broken, I felt like the seemingly senseless act was, emotionally, more than I could bear. I couldn’t imagine being able to tackle this hurdle of pain. Looking back, I realized that it was God’s grace that brought me through that trial and gave me ample time before the next trial that came my way. I didn’t know at the time that in a way I was being prepared for the next trial, which would be largest trial I had ever experienced.
It truly is a beautiful thing when you can look back and see the steps that have brought you to this point and see that it truly has been the Lord’s hand that has been guiding every moment, especially when you understand that in that level of devastation, you were unable to do anything on your own.
It’s only in the truly difficult trials can you be led to complete dependence on our Lord. It’s through these things that He refines our character. It’s amazing that we serve a God who can take this world’s deepest pain and use it to His glory!
When the walls of my fortress crumbled it was like the walls of Jericho falling. Each pillar fell and crumbled except for one, the one that rested on trust and dependence on the Lord. When I think back to that story, it seems inexplicable that any one portion of the walls of Jericho would stand, and it serves as a parallel to our lives. I think that it’s inexplicable that through these trials that I would be able to stand. I can wholeheartedly attribute my survival to the Lord.
“When mountains fall, I'll stand
By the power of Your hand
And in Your heart of heart I'll dwell
And that my soul knows very well”
Thursday, August 28, 2008
However, one type of climate has recently vividly stuck out in my memory. Some cool mornings I would walk to school and would be surrounded by this find mist, almost a fog. It would surround me as I walked, and I couldn’t see more than five feet in front of me. I remember feeling like a walk that more than familiar had suddenly become mysterious. I would think about my steps, trying to make sure that I was walking, generally, in the correct direction. The only steps I could really plan were the ones in front of me.
As officially a “twenty-something”, I feel like this is what it seems like for my life and the lives of my friends. When you’re young, it’s like you’re walking down a long stretch of sidewalk. You encounter bumps and challenges, but you generally have a very good idea of the things that you must tackle next—honors, AP, high school graduation, college courses, professors, college graduation. You know those things are coming and you are trying to prepare yourself to handle them successfully. However, one day you realize that you are out of college and suddenly everything seems foggy. You can’t see what’s in front of you. You can barely make out the steps in front of you, and the panic sets in.
For me, the panic comes and goes in waves. On a random night, I will lay awake wondering if I really will get a job or will I end up a bum, if I am going to die alone, if I am going to have children… it seems like I want to know everything now, but I know that I will not. I try to deal with it by embracing the mystery as excitement. I tell myself that one day when I’m forty and I feel like I have been doing the exact same thing day after day that I will long for the feeling like the future is a mystery. I do believe that is true, but that idea in itself isn’t very comforting.
I think that it all boils down to trust. It’s really easy to say that we trust God when we can see the path in front of us, when we can see our future challenges and say “Yes, I trust that God will help me through this.” It’s a whole other thing when we have no idea exactly what types of things we are approaching and instead are trusting God with every step, steps that lead in unknown directions, with the possibilities of humiliation and failure looming.
I am reminded of a Sunday school song: “Walking with Jesus”. One portion, if I remember correctly, says something along the lines of “walking in the sunshine, walking in the shadow, walking every day, walking all the way”. As children we happily sang this song, marching along, not realizing how truly difficult it could be to walk with the Lord in the shadow. It’s not easy. however, if it were easy, would it really be trust? Would it really be an accomplishment?
Monday, August 25, 2008
I used to love others so that I could get love back. I wanted to be in love with someone so that I could receive love, not necessarily so I could give love.
It created a lot of disjointed relationships where I was constantly frustrated with the amount of love I was not receiving from others. I would cry and whine when I wouldn’t get what I wanted from a specific person.
However, the time came when I realized that I wanted to be someone who wasn’t that petty.
To me, real love is loving someone to the point where you care about their well being even at the expense of your happiness. I want to care about others to the point where I want the best for them, and not just the best thing for them that is also the best for me.
This is the nature of real love: Selflessness. This concept is one that is oftentimes casually dropped out of depictions of love by the mass media. According to the media, the pursuit of love lies in making sure that we are being loved by our partner, instead of loving them in a way that supports their holistic well being!
I want to love someone to the point where I want the best that God has for them.
Lately I’ve been thinking about possibility and impossibility. Many times we label things as impossible according to the things that we think and understand. We create these borders and limits to the possibilities in our lives and then proceed to treat them as concrete, as invincible.
But really, what is not in the realm of possibility with our God? I think that I am constantly having my mind blown as I see that God makes things possible in situations and places where I had decided they were impossible!
When I get frustrated, I like to make assumptions and decisions about my future. I pretty much express that since I have not gotten what I wanted when I wanted it, that it is impossible and thus will not happen at all. This habit has led to a life what seems to be surrounded by closed doors.
However, the deeper I get in my relationship with God, the more I realize that Gods possibilities are limitless. There are no bounds to what God can do. The question is: Will you let Him?
It’s amazing the power that one word has. I think that sometimes we don’t realize how much power is housed in the things that we say. We let our tongues flap around lackadaisically with no concern for the effects of the things that we say.
One of the most fun, and must deadly things to talk about is other people. It is so enjoyable to discuss and joke about people’s lives, their futures, and their motives. We mock the things that they do and make assumptions about their intentions and their character. We are self-appointed experts on the motives on other people, laying down judgments about them insensitively and in public.
I think that it this one of the most useless things we can do unless we are looking out for the other person’s well being. We hesitate to tell people what we think about them because we think its mean to hurt their feelings in that way, and yet we feel compelled to say those things, as well as more cruel things, to others.
I don’t know if anyone else sees the contradiction in these items as much as I do. I don’t see where we get off talking saying mean things about people and their lives when we don’t have the intention of helping them or enriching their lives.
The bible tells us to “love one another”. It does not tell us to love people that we like, or people that are popular, rich or even people who like us. It tells us to love “one another”. I believe that a serious contradiction lies in the life of one who professes to love their fellow man and then proceeds to say slanderous or malicious things in private about others for their own gain. These individuals must take time to deal with the duality of their lives because their actions are not representing the things that they profess are important to them.
So where do you stand? Have been appointing yourself an expert on the lives of others without them knowing? It might be time to start thinking about the different ways that we could be showing love to these individuals instead of slinging mud.
It all began with a breakup.
I was madly in love with this guy. Then this guy, this guy that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, broke up with me. I felt like I was restarting my life, and after a while I realized that even though I still hurt, it was embarrassing to still hurt, so I hid it.
However, all those emotions had to go somewhere, and I began to write. I was close my eyes and type furiously. Everything I felt suddenly became the catalysts to thousands of sentences. Suddenly, every major emotion became something that could spur on my writing.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer and my life changed. I realized that it was time to stop taking things for granted and I decided to reprioritize my life, putting the things that I really deemed worthy in first place. I had said that I loved God, I had said that I was a Christian, but it was at that time I realized that if it was important to me, I needed to start acting like it.
Writing my thoughts, my devotions, seemed to meld these two things together, and I began to sporadically produce these pieces.
So here I am, posting these things with the hopes that these thoughts, feelings, and ideas can impact someone else’s Christian life as it does mine.