Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coming Alive


I sat across a table this morning with two women who BRING LIFE.  We were discussing what word we would use to describe 2012. Joy.  Courage.  Coming Alive.  It was a jarring revelation to me that mine was, “coming alive” because so much death has to happen in order to LIVE.  Ironically, a small death in me is leading to more life.  I had a lot of conversations this week, but one particular conversation cost me something.  It felt like death. I left knowing I had been obedient to do and say what I needed to say, and while the other person was encouraged, I felt grief.  I had a choice to either sink into my couch and weep and go to a dark place or I could worship and reveal my heart to Father. I have no idea how or why, but God wooed me to engage with him.  Tears were still there.  The feelings of being exposed, vulnerable, and nothing in it for me were still alive and present, yet I felt life. I felt glad.



This morning as I was getting ready to meet my friends I thought about how everything Jesus did cost him something.  Everything. Was he the loneliest person on the planet?  The most misunderstood?  Hated and his life sought after yet also adored and loved, but what did it cost him?  He laid down his life.  He called people to new life, to follow, to change vocations.  He healed and some did not thank him.  What was that about?  How I forget to thank.  Lame and begging for years and then what we think is our deepest longing is met, we immediately forget to thank him.  It cost Him.

Laying down your life to love your brother or sister will cost you.  I was wrong when I stated that there was nothing in it for me. Yet, you and I gain everything.  I gain a deeper understanding of what I want to resist, yet long to embrace. The Gospel – Jesus is our prize.  No guarantee in this life but HIM- the hope of glory.  This isn’t a popular message.  Why does it have to be about me and what’s in it for me? People cringe when I tell them my favorite book is called Shattered Dreams because we do not want to hear that life on this earth might not work out the way we hope and dream. I remember first reading it and throwing it across the room.  Sorry, Larry. 




However, it leads to invitation after invitation to KNOW him.  To know we are loved and to enter in to communion with the Creator. So this bit of grief this week has turned to a deeper gladness….a kindness…an opportunity to press in and come out smiling.

It feels vulnerable.  Some people who read this are not okay with vulnerability on the internet/blog world as it makes them uncomfortable, but in so many ways it is healing for me.  It costs me something to write.  My pride.  Which probably needs to die anyway. 
There’s an unveiling that happens.  The unveiling of the heart, the face…..living exposed. I started wondering what the veil symbolized in a wedding ceremony. Over time, the veil became a symbolic means of assuring the husband and his family of the bride's virtue. The lifting of the veil during the ceremony signified that the groom was "taking possession" of his wife by seeing her face.  In some traditions, it served the dual purpose of symbolically "revealing" the bride to the groom's family.  How true of what God does in us……if we choose to stand before the Groom as the bride/the Church and reveal our face to him so he can take hold of us.  Come for us, Father.  Until then, may we continue to lay our lives down for our brothers and sisters as you reveal yourself to us.  You make us come alive.



Sometimes Cold Play says it best.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Kf_6BWcOOg

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beauty


Beauty.  Is there another word in the English language that is more difficult to define?  I think not.  Some say beauty is about symmetry. You know, "an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection."  Sigh.  If I go by that definition, then I am not a beauty.  Perfection? Uh, no.  I have this scar above my eye from when I fell and hit my head when I was three.  I needed stitches and cried like I was dying. Beauty?  When I smile, one eye squints more than the other.  Beauty?  And when I am in shock, one side of my forehead goes way higher than the other. Symmetry? I think not.


I have a friend who is stunning.  She's the kind of friend who is noticed by a crowd whenever we go out. Seriously.  She's BEAUTIFUL.  So beautiful that if you are in an insecure place, you could tend to feel invisible.  Do any of you have a friend like that?  Do any of you walk insecurely?  Maybe your short and want to be tall.  Perhaps if you just lost that ten pounds you would feel really great about yourself.  What about if you just had some money to dress the way you really wanted to dress (darn you, Anthropologie)?
It is so exhausting to keep up with what my idea of beauty has been. EXHAUSTING.  The emotional struggle and the amount of time it takes up in my heart and head is RIDICULOUS.  I told a friend not long ago that I wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't thinking about finances or things associated with what I think comes with beauty.  What takes up the most space in your head and heart?  Perhaps it is an idol? Perhaps in God's kindness he is inviting me and you to something more?

For awhile now I have been praying for God to give me a new name.  What I mean by that is that there have been wounds that I have lived out of and names I have called myself that my Father would never call me.   Numerous times throughout scripture (specifically Proverbs 3, 6, 7) there is a challenge to bind God's words to us around our neck and write them on our heart.  Today I was given three words to write on a piece of fabric and they are now bound around my right wrist until.... Beauty.  Joy.  Covenant.  Much better than Unchosen.  Sorrow.  Broken promises.

Slowly God has begun to uproot my ideas of what beauty is and transform it to really begin to have his eyes to see..........

Beauty is an early fall morning at Cades Cove where the silence and beauty is deeply restorative.


Beauty is loving the helpless, dying, broken at all costs.

Beauty is seen in my mother's hands who worked three jobs while trying to provide for me and my sisters during a divorce in which no one will ever know the horrors she and my sisters had to endure.

Beauty is seen in my pastors heart as he weeps before his congregation while pouring out his weaknesses and all the while giving praise to God for his journey.

Beauty is seen in that beautiful elderly woman as she lifts her hands in praise even though society doesn't value the "greatest generation."

Beauty is seen in a group of friends sitting in a circle attentive to one who is in a dark season.

Beauty is feeling rejected, yet remaining open to others and to God even in the midst of questions.

Beauty is honest relating.

Beauty is that moment on Christmas Eve as you sing Joy to the World and really mean it.

Beauty is the first step of a toddler and the sheer joy on the parent's face.

Beauty is transition.

Beauty is being present to hear.....

Beauty is FALL!

My friend Beth told me an interesting fact last week.  She said, "Beth, did you know that the color of the tree in fall is the tree's true color? The intensity of the sun and the chlorophyll in the leaves is what makes them green."  I love that!  Beauty is being our true self - it is being who God says we are and living out what he promises.  So today, here's a toast to letting you be your true self and color and beauty. It is fall after all.   

Monday, October 8, 2012

Angry White Woman

An update on 10/10/12
I just read this on Ann Voskamp's blog www.aholyexperience.com
"Cynicism isn’t strength and ranting doesn’t rejuvenate andfrustration can never accomplish what Faith can. 

Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint — or the power of Christ?


The Joy of the Lord is our strength — and anger leaves everyone weak."

Anger and passion are different.  Passion leads you to a place of trust and looking at Christ.  Anger leaves you, well, angry if you do not look to Christ.


Posted on 10/8/12
My friend Buddy challenged me to write something that I would never post and I said, “Okay!” and then he followed it with saying, “And then I want you to post it.”  My response to Buddy and his wife Kathie cannot be put into print.

I am angry.  It’s the kind of angry that is not easily shaken.  The kind that has been brewing and simmering down to the very marrow of my being for a few years, but has escalated over the past year.
o      
     Last year i saw clients 20 hours a week and they were the lost that i needed to         get face to face with in order for me to know Jesus in a deeper way.  How had I gotten so disconnected from the world?  You add my dear clients with a class called social and cultural led by an amazing African American man to a class of all white Anglo protestants and i am rattled. Did you know that white people are ethnic too?  American history became hard to stomach at times when looking at what this country did to the Native Americans.  Then you realize many of the Puritan’s that my culture elevates, also had a hand in some nasty history (I admit that I love the Puritan writings and have some of their books).  Warning – this video will be highly offensive to my white brothers and sisters, but to my black brothers and sisters, I think you will stand and cheer. It’s amazing what acknowledgement can do.
o  
   
o          i am angry.

o          i'm angry at the arrogance of reformed theology and how anyone who might have an emotion  or speak in tongue’s is seen as one who doesn’t have as strong of a theology. 

o          i am angry at the actions of  brothers that will get up and leave a session if a woman is speaking and then use SCRIPTURE as an excuse to “act a donkey” and not a brother to their dear sister.

o           i'm angry that my African American clients have a much bigger hole to try and climb out of then anyone I've ever met in order to JUST GET NOTICED by people who might be able to help.  oh my word. it's like this silent scream that doesn't end.
o     
o           I’m so sad that many friends feel they can’t take their gay friends to some churches because they are still using the phrase from the pulpit that, “God didn't make Adam and Steve, he made Adam and Eve” as if that statement will really draw seeking friends to Christ.  What on earth?  Thankfully the church I attend now is one who loves people where they are and believes in process, but they don’t water down the Gospel. Gospel – Good News.  Thank you, Jesus.
o     
o          In the Casting Crown’s version of Jesus, Friend of Sinners there’s a line that says, “nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.  What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and love like You did?”  Can you imagine what this election would look like?  Can you imagine the conversations that would happen?  Do you see Him there?  He’s the one writing in the sand while others begin to put down their stones and walk away from the one they are judging.  Jesus so graciously, yet truthfully interacts with this woman. Oh my word, I need to put down my signs, even if they have been internal.
o     
o    i'    I'm scared to be offensive. the angry white woman. yet, some things are worth         being                    being angry about.
b
o     
o            How do i have vision for actions or lack of actions that make me angry? To love   well and yet be honest about things that I have remained silent about? I don’t know, but I want to go there with the Father, just like I hope if I or my actions make you angry then you will go there too on my behalf - that we would have God-given vision for one another and what Christ being formed in our lives could look like.

Will you take a minute to listen to the link below?  I’d love to hear where you are in the process of laying down your signs.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bdubs goes Po Po


Today is the day I went gangsta’ in the West Town Mall parking lot.  I want to take you on a journey of my day leading up to said event.  I had very little sleep due to the dog with (if you are from East Tennessee) “sugars” (aka: diabetes), who would not leave me in peace.  I drag myself out of bed at 6:09AM to give Sophie her insulin shot only to be welcomed with a present on my living room floor.  Thank you, Jesus, for Stanley Steemer.  So, I was in a wonderful mood as I laid back down on the couch and eventually turned on the Today Show only to watch the top story IN OUR WORLD be about the NFL referees.  I was so glad to see they highlighted this pivotal event over the trivial issues such as world hunger, people dying unloved every day, and adoption.  Thank you, NBC. 






Rabbit trail?

I get ready and accidentally stab myself in the face with those flossing pics.




I leave my house with a sore and maimed face and go to meet a dear lady who is becoming such a mentor to me. I am sharing in tears with her about something challenging (don’t try to guess, I’ll tell ya if ya wanna know), and she commented about my heart being beautiful to God…no joke.  She even commented on my femininity (I must admit I do have on a cute top).  I was leaving her to run to the mall to get a shirt before heading out of town (not as feminine of  a shirt, just a plain black one – I know some of you women were wondering).  First of all, I missed my turn in to the mall.  I don’t miss my turn.  I can be an “assertive” driver, right?? Rachel, Emily, Kindal – stop laughing!!   Anyway, the point being, I was delayed in getting to the Sears parking lot.  So, in I pull to the mall and am driving kind of fast and I see this old (and I mean OLD) lady and her husband WALKING ON HER WALKER and I slow down and was praying, “I hope I my heart is beautiful before you, Lord. The flesh and the Spirit battle it out, but you know my heart." AND THEN IT HAPPENED!!

ZOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!  This skinny, white guy with really bad hair comes running in front of my car at full speed ahead and he had a huge, nice purse in hand and the old lady (not the one on the walker, but another one) was SCREAMING!! People everywhere had stopped (okay, so there were about six people).  What did I do? I took off after him in my car.  I was flying diagonally through the mall parking lot and drove over a curb.  He, I’ll call him , “Donald”,  because Donald Trump also has really bad hair.  And as a side note, you’d think with all that money he would do something about that. 



I digress. Anyway, Donald keeps looking over his shoulder and starts to panic.  Because I am not leaving him any room to run anywhere but back towards the mall.  So he darts into this grassy area and runs up the hill.  I pull up and corner him on said grassy knoll (JFK) and he is STUCK.  He is in a triangle area of tree’s and up against a fence.  Donald is short and is freaking out.  Another guy comes up in his car and gets behind me.  I roll my window down because I am laughing so hard and Donald can’t easily go anywhere.  So here’s what he does.  He turns sideways and tries to hide behind a tree.  I yell, “I can see you!!! Do you really think I can’t see you?  I have pictures!!!”  I don’t really have pictures, but I want him to think I have pictures.  Dang. I wish I had pictures.  Well, at this point the cops arrive (and by cops I mean, “mall security” which is a woman in her early 100’s).  Donald-son, hops da fence (said in my best Mr. Miyagi voice – I love Karate Kid).  And the mall cop goes to town. 


At this point I can’t quit laughing.  I strutted around that mall like a guy who had just , well, honestly I have no idea what makes a guy strut around, but you get the idea.  I’m guessing if this staff care counseling thing doesn't work out I will always have a career in law enforcement.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why on earth do I raise support?


A question I am often asked by my close friends is this, “What is it like to raise your own support?”  I chuckle and scratch my head.  Let me give you two responses.

Here’s what I have personally experienced:
“I could never do that.”  “When are you going to get a real job?”  “I hate Bill Bright.”  “I can’t believe you would ask me for money.”  “Why don’t you go with the Baptists?”  “I’m not going to support you, but you could sell rocks and call them prayer rocks.”  “I hate that you raise support.”  “Don’t bother asking them.” 

I have two friends who joined this ministry and one parent threatened to take a gun and shoot the campus director that had challenged her to come on staff.   The other friend’s family disowned her for seven years.  Tears are shed, families divided and rocks are being sold.  Why do I do this?

Asking for money is offensive.  Inviting others to invest in a small piece of what God is doing, is not. 

Currently, I am in another season of support raising.  As difficult as this time is, it is causing me once again to become deeply anchored in Christ and in His provision.  I know that I mentioned the hard comments first, but those comments are NOTHING compared to the team that surrounds me; the team who felt God was leading them to join with me.  Not everyone will want to be a part of the little niche’ of Kingdom building that God has called me to AND THAT IS OKAY!!!! Be BLESSED!  Give to the things that God has uniquely placed in your heart and I will cheer you on in those dreams and visions and desires. 

I want to speak about my supporters.  This is how I feel about you. 

“10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”  - Exodus 17:10-13

My God-called supporters hold my hands up when I am tired.  They sacrifice and give for years on end.  Some chose not to give Christmas gifts to their family because they wanted to support me.  One beloved brother gave and gave and gave out of his company fund and cheered me on personally as well.  One family didn’t have groceries and they gave me $100.  My sister sold her class ring and gave me the money so I could pay a bill.  Another supporter has two in college and one in high school, yet they give.  I have a whole Sunday School class who loves me and wants to hear from me often, because their hearts and wallets are invested into Kingdom building and eternity. 

So why do I raise support?  God has called me, yet my supporters are one of the reasons why I continue.  To have accountability, people who love you and want to be a part……it is irreplaceable.  I needed to remind myself of this today when raising support has flattened me on my face this week.  Thank you, Lord for those who give to the Kingdom (not just to me, but to many other needs)…..may you BLESS them with eternal blessings and the opportunity to know you in a deeper way.  I love you all so much.  Thanks for helping me when my arms hurt.

Here are a few more reasons why I raise support.  Every face has a name and a story.

                                         Investing in lives.



                                                                 Staff women who pour out!!



                                             Staff and students trusting God for the homeless!


                                                Seeing our friends on staff celebrate Baptism!

Lindsey going to Sweden long-term!



                                             Praying for Lindsey Lohan to eat!


                                                        Doing life with a team!!!


                                         Being looked at as total looney tunes by praying for people
                                         in Washington Square Park.
 

                                            Weekly meetings where students are hungry for more!


Never once have I ever walked alone


Beth

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To be or not to be.....a mom.



I am not a mom.  For many of you that might have come as a surprise. J  In my home you will not find Elmo, legos, or that faint scent of Johnson and Johnson/baby poop combo.  However, you will find a diabetic dog that will never die and the option of having a white couch.  I do not have babies to rock or children to occupy my time, but I do have a job that I love and the freedom to travel.  I do not have a minivan nor do I care to ever own one, but I do have a great Toyota, compliments of many supporters.  PERSPECTIVE.  GRATITUDE.  TRUST.  OPENNESS.  All of these words are key to embracing the here-and-now in each  unique and individual season of life.  God has me doing the homework. 

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (okay, so it was two years ago in New York City),  I found myself in the most awkward position. I was on a summer mission’s project for six weeks and my assignment was to help mentor staff women with my particular ministry.  You see, I had done quite a bit of homework on how to really care for and shepherd mom’s.  The plan was for me to meet with two of the mom’s on our staff team and pass off all the information and ideas I had gathered so they could implement them.  Well, the mom’s felt that I should be the one to implement the ideas and lead the weekly mom’s time.  I wanted to puke. Too much?  How could a 35 year old single woman encourage a group of mom’s?  I didn’t even know how the  &^%$ to operate a diaper genie, and can you believe I had no strong opinion on breast feeding versus bottle, and what the heck was Growing Kids God’s Way?  Wasn’t every mama just trying to do the best that she could do? So with great vulnerability and nervousness,  I obeyed and God gently met us in our times.  Because after all, what each mama needed was just someone who noticed and cared enough to even try to have a mom’s time.  I share all this not to brag or for someone to think I’m special, but I share that because for a lot of my life I just didn’t notice the needs of mom’s.  For one, I was too busy focused on my own (still am a lot of times), to focus on someone else who I felt had gained the American Dream of family.  This is where perspective comes in. 

Over the past few months I have wrestled with longing for acknowledgement of not having a family. When you are single, most church people just think you might be sad because you want a boyfriend, but there’s not acknowledgement that you are grieving a whole family that you had imagined would have been a reality by now – a strange type of infertility. I couldn’t have named it, but after my sixth friend in a month’s time shared that she was pregnant and another handful got engaged, I think what I longed for was some sort of acknowledgement, “Beth, what is this like for you?”  However, in the midst of someone’s great happiness, why should they?  Perhaps this is why since that summer in 2010, and especially over the past week, my mom friends have been so heavily on my mind and heart.  They live day in and day out with little if any acknowledgement.  No one is around to cheer, “Way to go! Way to clean up your kid’s nasty diaper! Way to expand the Kingdom!” They don’t hear, “I know you feel like you have a second butt with that child following you around everywhere, but this will matter in the long run.”  And my guess is that when they are up at 4AM and want to cry from total exhaustion, no one is around saying, “These moments are an invitation to something greater and it is just for a season.”  Sigh.  Mom’s, we see you.  God sees you. And…..you matter. 

Gratitude enters the picture when you begin to see what you do have versus what you don’t.  Like the first paragraph of this blog – with perspective, gratitude can come.  Not sure which comes first?  I am grateful that while I am not a mom I have friends who let me be Auntie to their children.  I often laugh with my sister/cousin Ami who happens to have six kids, that when I am at her house in Texas, I don’t have time to think about myself or be sad.  What a gift AND what exhaustion.  Happy exhaustion.  A way I can love my friends is to love their kids and to take a meal or give them a break.  Who says I can’t be a little piece of a mom to a lot of kids?  If I continued to sit around in my house with my diabetic dog and be sad, then it is my own fault.  Jesus offers a way to get out of ourselves as single people and be the Body to our friends.  Can we put selfishness aside?  Not longing, but just self-centeredness long enough to love on those who could use a hand? 
Will you trust God with me that He will somehow use our feeble attempts to love one another and allow that to go a long way in the lives of those that feel unnoticed?  Don’t we all just occasionally want to know we are not alone?  Isn’t that why people fight and argue because they don’t feel heard or noticed? The concern is when the desire to be acknowledged becomes a demand.  Disordered desires can shoot us in the foot and keep us from OPENNESS to what God has for us.  Choosing to dream new dreams beyond what I want in the next year is where I am.  Asking God for a dream and vision of what life could be like if I remain open to Him…………perspective, gratitude, trust, openness.  The invitation is for you too!  And for all my mom friends, you are my heroes and I love you. Thank you for teaching me about dying to selfishness.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

eHarmony sChmarmony

Boy oh boy, am I in a mood. A MOOD. For years I have been asked by every married friend and family member imaginable, “Have you tried eHarmony?”  To which I replied with a kind eye-roll and an explanation about how great I think eHarmony is for everyone but me.  I have many friends and supporters who have met their spouse via eHarmony/online dating and they are NORMAL and COOL.  I’m so happy for them. I’ve heard every explanation in the book as to why it works and to why it doesn’t and should be avoided.  I always ask myself, “If ‘it’ is so great then why do all my friends who are on ‘it’ keep ‘it’ a big secret?”  I now know why.

So, it was just another wild Saturday night in my house.  After watching a fabulous tv special on hot dogs and cleaning my bathroom, I talked to my friend (who shall remain anonymous of course) who was going to have a date with an eHarmony match the next day.  Well, I was zoned out as she was talking because I was looking up the web site and filling out the profile. I have no idea what possessed me to do it. Uh, maybe it was because of my crazy Saturday night activities. Do you know they gave me matches before I was even finished? Uh, okay.  The second I typed in Jesus and Celine Dion, I guess Mr. eHarmony scratched his head and thought, “Hmmm, we are gonna have to go out of her age range preference AS WELL AS the within 300 mile proximity preference.”   Go grab a donut for the rest of this blog.  It gets worse.

First on the list was a guy in a superman shirt and hat who was on an evangelistic weight lifting team.  Good for him.  Comfortable in his own skin. However, he misspelled his name. There are no vowels and no “y” in his name.   Second, can I just ask if denim shorts are back in for men? I’m not trying to be mean, I seriously want to know. Anyone? Because the majority of men I was matched with had on denim shorts and fanny packs. I hoped the fanny packs were an indication that they liked to travel.  And no offense if your name is “Roy”, but if you are 48, from Michigan and named “Roy”, I don’t think it is going to work.  However, my favorite was the man who looked like the secretary at my old school. I loved Glenda, the secretary.  I don’t want to get too caught up on him lest I forget the Elvis impersonator who is 49 and from Alabama.  Hakim from Illinois seemed okay, but he’s old. OLD, I tell you. The one normal guy on there I’m pretty sure I went to elementary and high school with and he had an obsessive nose picking issue so I made him hold my shirt sleeve when we square danced.    

Sigh.  Okay, so I am being funny, probably a little mean, a tad picky, but wow. I promise you, it really was as bad as I am making it out to be. Now the next time I am asked if I have tried online dating I can say with all honesty that yes indeed I have tried eHarmony.    

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dear Jordyn Wieber,


I sat on my sofa and watched a seventeen year olds dream disappear in front of a billion pairs of eyes. She had no privacy.  No place to escape from the glaring flashes coming from cameras.  I wondered what she was thinking and yet anyone watching would not have to wonder much, as you could see the agony, disappointment and anguish that Jordyn Wieber exuded from her tiny, yet muscular frame.  Did anyone else want to jump through their “telly” and usher her to a place where she could just break loose into the ugly cry? Did anyone else want to tell her it is okay to yell, “It’s bloody unfair?”  (Do you like my little shout out’s to the British language?) I wanted her to have a moment alone   that would help alleviate the shock of what some news channels called “failure?” 
Jordyn devoted her entire life to the sport of gymnastics.  Not only did Jordyn sacrifice “normal,” but so did her family.  The hundreds of thousands of dollars that had been spent on her training and left many around the world saying, “For what?”  What happens when reality does not meet your expectations?  So Jordyn, this is for you.

Dear Shining Star,

Today I woke up with you on my mind.  My heart hurt for you as I know you are in pain.  You are 17 years old and Abba wrote a song about you.  I’m sure you probably have no idea who Abba is nor do you know what song I am referring too.  When you are finished reading this, go get on your iTunes and download Dancing Queen and eat a cookie.  You deserve a cookie, sweet girl.  AND after so much intense practice, you should get to dance to Abba and be 17 years old.  Reality is that you want to be 17 and an all-around gold medalist.  I have no answers for you as to why it didn’t happen.  In a “fair” world, it would have, but you and me…..well, we do not live in a “fair” world.  Which leaves you trying to scramble, put on a brave face, and still compete in the midst of your grief.

If I were in London today, I would take you for fish and chips and ask you, “What do you think God is up to here?”  You might want to toss your chips in my face, and that would be okay.  I have no idea if you have a relationship with Jesus or if you are angry with Him or if you even believe in God.  However, just for a minute, would you consider what could be going on in your inner world?? Could your disappointment be an invitation to something greater than a gold medal?  Reality did not meet expectation. So where do you go from here?  A lot of people will want you to be okay right away.  They will want you to be okay so they can feel okay.  Girl, just ignore that.  Feel the freedom to grieve over your disappointment.  Also, many will try and give you lots of platitudes and cliches’….they so want to help, but again, you might want to punch them in the schnoz.  Are people already pressuring you for a decision about 2016?  Give yourself some time.  Ask yourself if there are other dreams deep down in that 17 year old heart of yours that are screaming for some space to be explored and developed.  Maybe your dream is Rio, but for now, let your mask drop.  Go there with the Lord.  You will find him in the disappointment.  He certainly knows about disappointment and loss and grief.  He can handle yours.  He can give you direction, perspective all while being able to handle your anger, sadness, and questions.  You might be met with silence to some of your questions, but some things can only be answered in time, and even then, some things can never be answered this side of Heaven, my friend. 


     I pray that as you are walking down the street in London tonight, that Abba begins to play in the background.  Not just the musical group, Abba, but the Father God, Abba.  Cheesy, I know, but it is true.  Press in and cling, Jordyn.  He’s got your back.  So know that as the world is watching you this week that you have at least one fan who is cheering you on to a deeper journey….without a mask.  Go gettem!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dumb and Dumber

I’ve been thinking more and more about writing. So, here I go.  My friend Jen said in order to be a writer that I am supposed to sit down for one hour a day and write.  Is this supposed to make me a Pulitzer prize winner? What is in me that I can write about for one hour a day?  So far the one story I thought to write down I have already forgotten.  Hormones?  Heat?  Unimportant? 

Ah, I have it now.  I was thinking of my friend and how she is lying to herself about the type of guy she is dating.  I remember after my broken engagement that a lady recommended to my mom a book I should read called, Telling Yourself the Truth.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  I did not want to read that book, but I was afraid I was lying to myself about the possibility of reconciliation so I drug myself down to local “Bible Bookstore” managed by the local preacher/always running for an office colorful type guy, and bought it.  I stared at it for a few days and finally skimmed through it, convinced I was “telling myself the truth.”

Does anyone remember that scene in the great epic movie Dumb and Dumber?  The hot chic was telling Jim Carrey that there was about a one in a million chance of them getting together and he said, “So you’re saying there’s a chance?!?!” 

Sadly and with great humiliation, I was that girl.  It took about 9 months for me to figure out that I was not in fact telling myself the truth.  I could’ve had a baby in the time it took me to carry to full term my denial and birth it. Gross? Yes.  Why do we choose not to embrace what is so clear?  The avoiding of reality is a full-time job, is it not? Facing reality can mean grief, death of a dream, and letting go of something you thought was promised. However, in facing reality and all that encompasses it, one can sometimes get stuck in the camping out in grief and refusing to take a step toward a new normal, a new dream, a new relationship, or a different kind of promise.  But when you choose to “go there”, then a fun thing begins to happen.  The shadow can lift, the grief has passed, the anxiety and fear of the unknown future are now no longer so anxiety ridden.  The “new” can feel like hope, expectation, and a hallowed and fertile ground for birthing new dreams.  God-sized dreams.  So here begins a new one for me.  What are yours???

Monday, April 9, 2012

I held the hand of a pedophile.........

I walked out the door for the last time.  1 year, 710 hours and 100's of clients later, the curtain had closed at my internship.
(to hear this video you will have to scroll to bottom of page and pause music on the player)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSv-lKwOQvE


It had happened slowly and subtle...the desensitization to the poor and addicted, living in white privilege ignorance, and the steeling of my heart and mind against mental illness as if bipolar disorder or depression could be caught as easily as a common cold.  The world I operated in wasn't bad, actually it was pretty good.  I had invested my life in college students and staff with CRU, but had created a bubble in which I had become encapsulated.  The poor and oppressed did not exist in my world apart from the occasional gift to Show Hope or praying for Uganda. I didn't really know anyone in my circle dealing with addiction. The bubble needed to be pricked and pricked it was. You wanna find Jesus? Find hurting people.  He is there.

* I walked around in a state of shock for about the first six months.  People really lose their children over drugs?  Women are raped and due to the oppression they do not report it?  Clients and their children have no food, yet I have a casserole in my fridge that would feed 5 and yet due to ethics codes I can not share?  What do you mean you don't have a place to sleep? How come your son and brothers get pulled over every time they pass a cop and I don't?  So you are telling me that you want to get clean but have no support?  I'm so sorry your husband beats your daughter. Do you think you could walk to the end of your driveway today so you can work on leaving your house without a panic attack? Is your voice being heard?  What does God think of you? I see you.  I see you long for connection, yet struggle so deeply with it.

Jesus, come.

The unveiling the face to see who is in front of us is a priceless and sacred gift.  The invitation to "with"ness is irreplaceable.   Recently a dear friend of mine suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage.  A mutual friend referred to sitting shiva during a time of mourning.  Shiva is part of the Jewish custom of mourning. It is a 7 day period after a loss in which the family members are directly present.
Loss of someone that is a direct relative often produces great grief, where even if you tried you could get very little done. To honor this, direct-family mourners do not try to get anything done. They do not bathe, work, engage in pleasurable activities, or try to distract themselves with anything. Focus is on feeling the pain and grief of losing someone." - taken from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-sitting-shiva-mean.htm

If anything, I have learned as my friend Rachel says, "to sit shiva" with hurting people who I once was desensitized to.....Thank you, Jesus.

At the end of every group session we always stand in a circle, hold hands and say the serenity prayer.  "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  (and we add) Just for today."   And perhaps the most pivotal moment for me was the realization that I was holding hands with a pedophile in desperate need of my attention and presence.  Only Jesus.  To HIM be all the glory.  My heart is full.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Well

"Disappointment drags us back to the well." - Paula Rinehart


It is Ash Wednesday (http://www.rzim.org/usa/usfv/tabid/436/articleid/10512/cbmoduleid/1133/default.aspx for an explanation).  Today begins the season of Lent. Grief and sorrow. Repentance. Longing. Resurrection.  Emmanuel, God WITH us.

Here is an excerpt from John 4 when Jesus is resting at the well and a Samaritan woman comes to draw water:


13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

Last night as I read the quote from Paula Rinehart, "Disappointment drags us back to the well", brought me to a time of repentance.  Why must it take disappointment to keep me aware of my craving for living water? The source of life?  Moment by moment we are given a beautiful gift to respond to Jesus with gratitude and trust.  MOMENT BY MOMENT, not  just event to event.  Verse 15 struck me differently today.  I thought about how I want something to satisfy my thirst so I do not have to keep returning to the well, but the fact is that I truly don't ever want to leave the well - this is where we can be with Jesus, resting in His presence, fully disclosing our hearts, laments, and praise.  I love his invitation to this woman who was so thirsty.  He told her everything about herself and she was changed.  To know that we are loved is such a gift for such a sorrowful season.  Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brave

  

Many of you have heard about the horrors of human trafficking, the sexual abuse at Penn State, rape, and sadly, the list could go on.  Currently I am in a class called, "Theodicy and Trauma". Theodicy is about grappling with the hard questions and understanding God's goodness in the midst of such evil that is all around us. In the late 1800's, many women were given a label of "hysteria" (what we would now diagnose as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and in an effort to try and understand what contributed to this "hysteria", Freud and a few others in the field decided they were going to talk to the women (thus emerged the talking cure) to try and find out if there were commonalities that could somehow explain the cause of said illness.  The results were widespread across Europe and there were indeed commonalities.  Freud published his findings stating that the cause of women's hysteria was in fact trauma such as sexual abuse and rape.  Freud was ostracized by colleagues for what he published and he found himself feeling very isolated and thus recanted his research.  It was hard for the researchers to grasp what they had found........for the researchers to stand by what they discovered would have meant they had to acknowledge how widespread (even in the 1880's) that sexual abuse and rape was.  In a patriarchal society, that was very difficult.

Fast forward 140 years or so to this past December. I attend the yearly Christian conference with 1,000 college students and we heard hear wrenching stories of trafficking and abuse.  This particular day had been so very heavy and I had not left the hotel in a few days.  I found myself driving to go pick up dinner and just crying and beating my steering wheel over the hay day that the Enemy was having......and I got angry. Very angry.  My tears dried and I asked God to help break through here and could he just speak to me on this topic.  I was driving by a movie marquee (I know, bare with me) and 2 titles flashed by.  The first was, "War Horse" and the 2nd was, "The Darkest Hour."  I said out loud, "That's it!! That is for me, isn't it Lord?"  I got this picture of riding on this horse INTO the battle, not away from it and riding into what I see as the darkest hour of peoples lives.  I know that may sound weird to you Presbyterians, and I must say I am somewhat Presbyterian in my theology, but I do believe that God encourages and speaks to me in these pictures.  Not the same as Scripture, but just in line with it.  I often do not think in words, but in pictures.  Paul talks about how it was as if he was in the pains of childbirth until Christ was formed in the Galatians....he had vision for them...he wanted them to KNOW Christ more....and he spoke that to them.  How encouraging would that picture be to have from Paul?  Anyway, I say all this because I do not believe in going to battle alone.  Would you get mad at the Enemy as well?  Would you ride your own War Horse with me into the Darkest Hour?

That very same day in December, my sister/cousin Ami who lives in Texas texted me about a picture she had seen of me.  It was of me in this cape going into the woods to fight the enemy and see people freed.  So, you can imagine how I responded today when she emailed me this link with a message saying this was for both of us.  I share it with you now because it is in fact for many of you. What does the name "Merida" mean?  "Ambitious, brave, creative, desirable, fresh, mature, unassuming, spontaneous, thriving, sensitive"  This is the title character in an upcoming Disney Pixar movie entitled BRAVE. So, watch and then go find your horse, take up your bow and let's go riding.

(You'll have to pause the player at the bottom of the page)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYg0VgPy6Uk&feature=youtube_gdata_player