Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forgiveness: The Ongoing Saga (Part II)

I had a really good talk with an awesome friend the other night. She and I are complete opposites in a lot of things when it comes to life, but when it comes to opening up ourselves to what God can do with us and sharing it with one another... well that my dear readers is something we do have in common. I love her heart, she drives me crazy sometimes and I don't always agree with her advice, but at the end of the day I find that she (in one way or another) does have a point.

We got on the topic of "forgiveness" and it was interesting and simple what she told me. She asked me why I couldn't just let it all go... my response to her? "I don't know, every time I think of what happened and try to forgive and let it go, I get so angry all over again." I've been praying for a long time for God to show me a way to forgive a deep seeded wound. It was interesting what I came across tonight that reminded me of all the reasons I've forgiven people and things in the past. I remember the good times, because despite whatever may have happened, despite my perspective on it all... there were good times, sweet times, moments where I felt loved and cared for. What happened was so simple and I believe to be a gentle guide from the one who loves me like none other. I drove past the Galleria Mall (in Dallas) on my way home from babysitting. Ever since I can remember the Galleria has always had such a delightful Christmas display inside and out (lights in the trees outside & a beautiful tree in the center of the inside). Just over 2 years ago in an effort to surprise me, I endured one of the most unexpected and sweet dates of my life. Granted I don't have a long track record in the dating department, but alas this one goes in the record books with an 'A' for effort. In a nutshell, in spite of the struggle to find a way to forgive, I remembered a good moment... that's been happening a lot in many different areas of my life lately.

Over a span of 3 years I've allowed a wound to be reopened time and time again. At the point where I've been stitched up and those stitches are about to be removed I find myself reopening the same wound. But this time... over the last 22 months I've felt the hand of God slowly, but surely stitching me up again. It's been a long process, to this day I still don't feel that the wound has been completely closed up, but with each happy/good memory I recall I feel a new stitch go in... I feel His healing touch as it continually places the pieces of my heart back together in what I hope to be a final intensive surgery session.

Just remember my friends... with the bad comes the good... remember the good times, it will help you through the deepest parts of pain.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time & Hot Cocoa

What a random title I've composed... what can I say, I guess when you hit blog number 100 you start to fade in the creativity department. Oh how I hope not, I anticipate many more blogs to come, way surpassing the 100 mark.

Time has been a big thing on my heart lately though, and oddly enough my most thought provoking moments come late at night over a cup of hot cocoa (or coffee, depending on if school is in session or not). I don't know what it is about time, but with it comes so much revelation, change, and the hope of new promises and possibilities. As I type this out I'm staring at a sign posted on the back of my bedroom door. It includes a thought provoking statement that represents this season of life for me and within the statement is the word "time." The other day I was thinking back to where I was 2 years ago and when I thought about it I realized that I don't even recognize the girl I was 2 years ago... time has brought a lot of change. I used to think that time and change were bad. That time seemed to take forever to pass by and that anything that changed only brought frustration and stress. As I've learned to grasp hold of both concepts I see God changing me. What changed me nearly 2 years ago was the reality of life and death... how quickly they both come. The reality of needing to grow up, to embrace change and trust in the one holding me in His hands all came as a result.

When I stop and think about time and change and how much they intersect one another, it brings tears to my eyes. There is a part of me that wishes so much that I could have what changed 2 years ago here with me now, but then I realize that change and the time that has passed is what got me to where I am now... a blessed land. It's funny, I'm only 28, but still life has not gone at all the way I thought it would. I'm realizing that's okay, I've seen that in the midst of the unplanned it's really not that bad. In fact, I'm finding that with my "plan" I'd probably be a lot more lost, still trying to embrace both time and change.

Time brings change and sometimes change takes time. Be patient dear friends, for it will all make sense in the end.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


for-give-ness ~ noun
the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
~ Matthew 26:28

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." ~ Luke 6:31

We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." ~ Matthew 5:23-24

Ah, forgiveness... quite possibly one of the hardest (and sometimes disliked) words in the English language, and maybe even in other languages as well. Why is that? Why is it so difficult for us to acknowledge that we are wrong, why do we often times seem to let our pride get the best of us? Do we realize that when we don't forgive we are choking the life out of ourselves... we're choosing to live a life grumpy and dissatisfied (even if we won't admit it).

I've been on this journey towards forgiveness for about 8 1/2 months now, and before that it took me a whole year to even acknowledge I needed to begin the journey. It's hard, to admit when you are wrong, to realize that in the midst of losing something (or someone) in your life, you find that you have some faults/character defects that played a role is hard. For a type A, slight OCD personality such as myself, I hate messing up. I hate being wrong, and I most definitely hate making mistakes. But alas, I've discovered that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be... at least not on this side of Heaven. Is God perfecting me? Yes, I do believe that. Am I learning from my mistakes, from my past? I sure hope so.

Here's what I'm trying to get at. Eventually you will grow tired of living a life with an unforgiving heart. And I'm not saying the whole heart is unforgiving, but if you walk with any unforgiveness towards another, there's a place in your heart that is not willing to forgive. I'll be the first to admit that I have it, and I pray each day that there will come a point in time where I can walk out forgiveness towards a certain situation. But for right now, my first step is admitting to God (and you, my readers) that out of a sense of needing to protect myself I find it very difficult to forgive at this point in time. I realize it is choking the life out of me, I feel it everyday and I fear it towards my future... but all I can do right now is trust that there will come a day when my heart changes and forgiveness for this situation doesn't seem so hard.

I will say this, in the last few weeks I've had other situations that I had been holding onto anger and resentment and finally just got tired of it. I got tired of carrying that burden and having such a dark spot in my heart... it wasn't worth the pain that I was holding onto. Another point about all this is that you forgiving another doesn't require a conversation with that person... but what it does require is a conversation with God and absolute sincerity. Trust me when I say he hears ya, he knows your pain and he wants to fix it... you just have to let him. God and I have had several knock down, drag out fights over the last 20 months and I believe and hope that I am coming to a place of peace and forgiveness towards him.

As I close I leave you with one question... Are you willing?

"Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry."
~ Oswald Chambers

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just a Fool?

"You're just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world.*"

Most times when I write I can close my eyes and see what is written on my heart being transferred to paper... tonight is no different, but it comes with a heavy heart. You see there has been this battle of the mindsets lately and after a long week and a long day I looked in the mirror and what I heard was "Look what you built...I'm proud of you." Words from my Heavenly Father and at a time when I was not looking for reassurance or affirmation, just looking to lay my head down for a good night's rest.

I guess what prompted all this is not just the battle between the lies I hear and the truth I know deep down inside, but the physicality of actually piecing something together tonight. I spent my evening putting together what seemed like a billion pieces of wood with a billion nuts and bolts in what has turned out to be a beautiful dining table and chairs.

But it wasn't just about what I could build with my hands, but the things in my life God has taken and together we've built a story of victory and an ability to overcome. Sometimes I forget that, and then I see the reminders all around me and when I'm finally still I allow God to minister to me, to show me the love, encouragement, and affirmation that I so long for and that only He could give. These moments have been few and far between lately and I guess that's what gets me to the title of my blog here. Sometimes I feel like such a fool and daily I feel as though I've done foolish things... but God is teaching me I'm human and I'm bound to make mistakes... it's okay. It's what I learn from those mistakes that matters the most, can I walk it out free of pride and allowing God to change me.... I hope so. God told me He's going to use me to change the world, now it's up to me to utilize the tools He's given me (much like the tools I used to build the dining set) to fulfill the promise He has laid out before me. Do I feel the fool right now? Yes, but I'd play the fool for God any day if it means it will draw me that much closer to Heaven and to Him.

"Don't listen to them when they say
You're just a fool just a fool
to believe you can change the world.
Oh the smallest thing can make all the difference
Love is alive
Don't listen to 'em when they say
You're just a fool just a fool
to believe you can change the world.*"

* Carrie Underwood, Change, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Promise

The Promise to redeem us, one to free us
Break this silence in the violence of our lives
~ Michael W. Smith, The Promise 2007

I love this time of year! All the lights, laughter, joy, music, food, family, friends, etc. But that's not all of it... for this is the time of year where we celebrate the greatest gift given to the world, that of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes there is something sweet and wonderful about the way Christmas music and lights and trees make you feel, but what about the blessing that comes with this celebration? That is what I've been meditating on lately. This blog might be a little premature, but I just couldn't hold it in any longer... I think mostly because I have lost sight of the promise given to me and it hit me full force tonight.

Tonight I spent some time with a dear friend and as we were talking I nonchalantly shared one of my greatest fears with her and it was in that moment that I realized I had given up. Given up on God, given up on me, given up on the truth...

God set before me a vision, a dream, a promise my sophmore year in college and there has been so much hope tied up in that and for whatever reason over the last year I've gotten off track and lost sight of what it is that He is calling me to. Yes I am pursuing my masters and yes I believe God has called me to do that, however that is only part of the dream/promise that He has set before me... the other part is what I've lost touch with. And this finally gets me to why I'm writing... promises. God promised the world to numerous characters in the Bible and as I picked it up to search and study these promises, these are the ones that stood out to me...

To Abram:
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." ~ Gen. 15:1

To Joseph:
"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet." ~ Matt. 1:20-22

To Mary:
"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'" ~ Luke 1:30-33

Notice how He tells Abram, Joseph, and Mary to not be afraid. How is it that one little four letter word (FEAR) can keep us from fulfilling that which God has promised us or set out before us? For me my promise is not all in my hands (it's a 2 part deal), but the part that is means I've gotta have a little five letter word (FAITH). All the time I ask people to trust me, to have a little faith in me, to give me a chance, but yet I'm always the last person to follow that advice. I'm always the last person to trust myself, to have a little faith in me, and most definitely to give myself any sort of chance. Maybe it's about time to change all that.

Of course I realize this is a little bit easier said than done, so I set before you the first challenge for the coming year... I guess you can call it a Faith challenge (and by all means, keep me accountable too). Search your heart dear friend, see what it is that God has promised you, what you hope for, what you've heard God speak over you and mediate on it for a bit. Mediate to see if you've lost touch with that promise or if you've lost hope in the idea or in God. He won't be mad, I promise... He just wants you to be honest. Take a leap in 2010 and reignite that passion towards that promise that God has set before you (whether just recently or some time ago).

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised in what God can do and will do... be sure to keep me posted, I too want to hear how God is making your dreams come true!