Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gobblety Goop in the Bloggity Blog

If you've been a reader for long (indulge me here, I like to believe I have regular readers) you'll notice there is generally a tie in from my title throughout whatever I write.  At least I'd like to think I have that flow :-)  But if you had a glimpse of just a few minutes inside my head today you'd find that what is swarming around and traveling between my head and my heart is not quite fluid at all.  I wouldn't generally write if I didn't have a solid point, but for whatever reason today I felt the desire to share the "gobblety goop" inside my head.  Count yourselves blessed ;-)

I start with my walk from the parking garage into service at church this morning.  In that 2 minute walk what ran through my head flowed from how my day was mapped out, to needing to still get butter and eggs from the grocery store, to thinking about my sweet 3-year-old nephew, Nathan who has a tendency to passionately express that he hates something (i.e. "I HATE this Mommy, I HATE it's taking too wong to get to Texas").  That's a lot of things in a short 2 minute walk, but that's the truth.  My point is this.  I found myself stuck on Nathan's passionate expressions of disliking certain things, and realized that in my heart right now I find that I'm expressing the very same thing to God.  "Lord, I HATE this season!  I HATE that a certain person doesn't know me, I HATE that I allowed them to 'break' me!  I HATE that I can't be closer to my sister (geographically speaking) right now!  I HATE that someone won't take a chance on me and see that I could be a wonderful asset as a counselor to their organization!"  I would go on, but I think it's pretty clear that you can get the point.  I thought it was interesting that this should suddenly float to the forefront of my thoughts and heart today.  As I sat in service today, God's voice just spilled over me.  One of our pastors at Watermark, JP, has been speaking the last 3 weeks on Psalm 23.  Today he talked about the last 2 verses and broke it down to this... "those who don't have peace in their lives/hearts are those that are not walking closely with God."  OUCH!! I hear ya Lord, I get it.  So I sit and write out what God is teaching me in this moment through the gobblety goop in my head and heart.  I pray that as I step into a new week my priorities will shift, my heart's desire will bleed for the Lord that I would draw nearer to Him and forget everything else.  Trusting that in His time it will all make sense.  

Well there ya go... I guess I did end up flowing and having a point :-)  I can honestly say that which I just wrote came as a surprise to me.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In the Face of Tragedy

My heart has spent this weekend grieving for those affected by the tragedy that struck Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning.  I cannot pinpoint why my emotions are all over the map other than to deduce that it may have something to do with my career field.  This is the first tragedy that has struck our nation since I've become a counselor in the professional world.  And since earning my degree and license I see things differently.  I question things differently, and I try my hardest not to allow my anger towards a situation to get the best of me.  I am no expert on tragedy, I have no idea why that individual made the choices that he made to harm so many innocent people, but for whatever reason my heart has felt this strong desire to write this weekend pertaining to this particular topic.  I put it off, I prayed about it, I questioned what I have to say that would matter to anyone at all.  And yet here I am... writing.  

The closest thing I have to relate to this situation is that I too faced unexpected tragedy in my life.  And from my experience I can say that tragedy alters one's life.  There are two ways it can be altered... two ways you can choose to go.  Either you allow it to change you for the better or you allow it to change you for the worse.  I would have to say for me tragedy changed me for the better and continues to do just that.  I see things differently, and although I relate closely to being sensitive I would say it made me that much more sensitive to tragedy and all those involved.  In the case of the theater shooting in Aurora, CO this past weekend I would have to say that my heart grieves for ALL involved, including the man who allegedly caused this tragedy.  I'm sure that comment right there is enough for people to comment and question why I would say such a thing, but I say that because clearly there was something so off within this individual, so altered in his brain that he made the choice he made.  This is by no means an excuse for what he did, or to take away the unbelievable and incomprehensible pain that the families are feeling over the unexpected loss of their friends and family.  I cannot imagine the excitement these individuals felt over the anticipation of being able to see this movie, staying up late to be one of the firsts to view it.  I too have been excited about this movie coming out, but I have to say it's really hard to even think about seeing it now in light of what has happened.  Not out of fear, but rather out of the fact that I'm not sure I can sit in the theater and watch this movie, knowing that I'll probably be wondering what those individuals in Aurora were feeling and estimating at what point the man who intended to cause so much harm walked in and altered the lives of so many.

BUT... it was not my intention to write this blog just to share how I felt about it, but rather to maybe, hopefully leave a bit of hope for someone who may have been closely affected by this tragedy.  My hope, faith, trust, and love fall in the hands of the one who created this world.  The one who created each of us... God.  I don't know why such a tragedy would be allowed to happen, in the same way I'm not sure why He allowed tragedy to strike my family over 4 years ago.  These are questions I have for that day I meet Him face to face, or at least that's how I feel right now.  What I can say to all this is that we are not alone...

In the Bible, Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." And although we don't always understand why things happen as they do, God's word tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  

I am keenly aware that all of this may mean nothing right now, when tragedy is still so fresh in the hearts and minds of those closely affected.  For me, as strong as I'd say my faith is, as strong as my love and trust is in the Lord I too found myself so angry with Him soon after my nephew died four years ago.  I was hurt and felt so alone, that the Lord did not hear my cries and prayers over Billy.  But then one day while writing out of my broken heart there was this peace that came over me, one that surpassed any understanding I felt I had over the situation and I chose to walk a different way.  I chose to walk in hope, to continue to trust and trust more deeply in the one who loves me more than anyone else in the world.  I chose to continue to live the life He has laid out for me, to continue to dream the dreams that have been placed on my heart.  And I encourage you, dear readers to do the same.  In the midst of this most recent tragedy, the tragedies that may have affected you in the past, or the those that might affect you in the future... always, always chose to walk in the light, in hope, in love for He has amazing plans for you.  

"Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV84)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Happens with a Broken Heart...

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 
~ Matthew 11:28

Several weeks ago I had a conversation with a couple of girlfriends.  One of them is married and made the comment that she wish she had heeded the advice of an older woman in her life about not giving her heart away so much.  That when you give your heart away it's less that you are able to give to your husband one day.  My friends continued on this topic for a little while longer and I just sat there pondering that comment (much like I do when pondering seems necessary).  I never said anything, but I can't say I agree with it.  I'm also not here to advise going out and just freely giving your heart away.  The couple of times I have laid my heart out on the line, only to have it returned in many pieces I find that over time it is healed and became stronger and lovelier than ever before.  Because of the chances I've taken, the vulnerability I've shown I can say I feel more equipped and ready to love my future husband as God calls me to and is currently training me to do.  And there's is absolutely NOTHING I did to heal my broken heart, at least not on my own.  All I did was humbly and faithfully take it to God and ask him, in HIS timing to heal it, to make it whole once again.  It was after the last time it was broken that I realized the common thread.  That all the times it was broken were the times that I allowed an earthly man to seep into the areas of my heart that belonged to Christ.  I found myself seeking approval from man and affirmation rather than trusting in God and who He says that I am.  I promised myself that I would never do it again... I hope I can keep that promise.  

I know God loves me, there's not a question in mind about that.  But I also know how saddened He becomes every time I have to climb into His lap with my heart in hand, all tattered and torn.  Sometimes it has to stay in His healing hands for months at a time.  And it's not just through broken romantic relationships, but He's held it through broken friendships, death of a loved one, death of a dream(s), disappointment, unmet expectations, etc.   I know that God loves when I come to Him, but I also know He loves it more when it happens all the time, not just in the broken times.  I'm in a new season.  One where I'm learning so much more than I think I ever have before about myself.  At any given moment you might find me hysterically happy or hysterically sad.  On some occasions I admit that I get mad (yes, I said it... mad).  But I don't care, because I know I'm being honest and it's through a healed heart, albeit covered with scars, but healed nonetheless,  that I'm walking out who Christ says I am and who He longs to see living a life that honors and glorifies Him.  

I don't know what the next step is or where the next season will take me, or even how many more broken hearts I'll endure here on earth, but I have no doubt of who will be with me every step of the way.  Ready and willing to heal my broken heart, if necessary.