Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hosea

Two things have happened recently.
1) I have entered into the world of dating
2) I am memorizing Bible verses for the first time, with the help of a dear friend.

1) Dating is weird. I have never not thought that. 
I have also never really dated. I always just end up in relationships. So trying this out, talking to some guys, going out to dinner, not knowing where things are headed. This is all new and strange and weird and hard.

2) My friend Alison and I had a conversation about how I have never memorized Bible verses. I actually totally suck at knowing scripture. 
When she suggested we work together to memorize scripture (so I can learn it and she can feel it) I took her up on the offer. 
Being a Christian has always been hard. Doing this on my own, for myself, is insanely hard.

These two things collided full force this morning as I opted out of going to a church service to stay home and enjoy breakfast and listen to the rain and try reading some scripture on my own.

I never know where to start when I open the Bible. Today I decided to use the memory verse as a guide. 
Hosea 6:1-2 "Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but will heal us; he has injured us but will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence."

I have read Hosea maybe once or twice, neither time really taking it in.
This morning as I started at chapter one, I didn't get very far in before the tears started. 
Before the idea of starting a relationship knowing it will fail and have issues had tears swelling in my eyes.
Two chapters in and I stopped to weep and pray that I don't forget God as I pursue romantic relationships.
Three chapters in, I had to step away, stuck on the idea of returning to your wife, returning to the woman who is loved by another, who loved another, who forsook you. Return to her and love her. 
Divorce is crazy real. Divorce in the dating world is crazy real. 
The last man I was with was divorced, several of the men I am dating now (that sounds weird, I am not a player) are divorced, for different reasons but mostly cheating.
Plus add in the whole me cheating on God and Him taking me back thing. 

I wanted to walk away, to read something different, but all I kept thinking was "don't quit. Don't give up hope. There has to be a good ending to this."

Hosea 6:3 "...As surely as the sun rises He will appear..."
7:3 "I long to redeem them..."
11:8-9 "My heart is changed within me; all of my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger...For I am God and not a man..."
14:4 "I will heal their waywardness and love them freely" 

Not only is there hope but there is a promise. A promise of being freely loved. A promise that the God who has a right to be angry with us, the God who has a case against us; will heal us, bind us, revive us, restore us, LOVE us.

Dating is still going to be weird and memorizing scripture is hard but hope and love will carry my through. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Taking off the Mask

 I took a leap.
I jumped and took off the mask that I have been hiding behind. 
I admitted to people in my life that I suck. That my relationship with God sucks.

I have mentioned before that I am awful at maintaining relationships. If you are not in my day to day it is hard for me to keep you informed.
A lot of that is because I think you are busy with your own life, doing your own thing and you won't have time for me.

My relationship with God is like that a lot. 
He has A LOT going on for Him.  How am I to expect that He has time for me? 

So I just don't call. I don't text, I don't write letters. I still love Him and know that He loves me but that is about where our relationship ends.

But no one knows that this is how my relationship with God is. I hide behind the mask of being a leader, being a "good Christian" who has it all together.
But I don't know scripture. I can quote maybe a handful of verses. I don't know stories in the Bible outside of the classics. I am good at faking it. I know all the things to say to make it sound like I have it together.

I have been hiding
Hiding from God
Hiding from others
Hiding from myself.

It's not that I don't believe anymore. Because I do. I believe in Jesus Christ. I have seen and experienced God working in my life. It's just that I don't know that I can do it.

You know the phrase faking it til you make it. What if all I have been doing is faking it all along?

I can go through the motions especially when in front of people. I look like a "good Christian" but I don't really pray or read scripture, I just show up. 

I want to start over. I want to be honest. I don't want to pretend. Not hide behind some Christian image but be honest...

Yes I believe. No I don't do anything about it. I just show up.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Your will be done"

I have had two major life verses in my life, that I have repeated to myself over and over again when times were rough.
The first one was Jeremiah 29:11. As I drove by myself from Iowa to LA in the spring of 2009 through hills of Utah in an extreme downpour this verse came to mind.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I breathed easier knowing that God had a plan, that should my car die, should I die, in this barren land with 100 miles to the next gas station, that it would be a part of God's plan. That should I live, it would be a part of God's plan. God had a future for me.

This was my verse until winter 2013, when I met someone who had the same life verse. When I was in a relationship that would change my life. When I experienced my first panic attack, as I heard that verse coming out of his mouth, and knew God was clearly speaking to me.
My prayer had changed that fall. That relationship had caused me to change. The words of my lips and pray of my heart had changed to a simple phrase, "Your will be done."
Yes I had a future and yes, God still had a plan for me, but what I needed to remind myself of was that God's will needed to be done. It wasn't about me, but about God.

Today as I reflected on this, I began to think more and more about the Lord's Prayer. About how Jesus instructed us to pray.
It starts out so simple.
Our Father - Ours not just Jesus', not just mine, not just yours, but OURS. We may not agree on predestination or the end of the world, but none of that matters. We have the same God, we share the same Father. We are a community of believers. Often we forget that.
who art in heaven - God is reigning over us, He is where we want to be.
hallowed be your name - God is are holy, God is worthy to be praised.
your kingdom come - Your kingdom God, not mine, not Joe's, but Yours.
your will be done - God what You want, what You will, what You desire. Not me, not my wants, not my wills, not my desires.
on earth - On earth, in this place. God's will be done here and now, where we walk and live.
as it is in heaven - let this place on earth be a mirror of heaven.
Give us today - Today, not tomorrow, not next week, or next month or when we graduate or get married but today.
our daily bread - God will not let us starve. He will deliver the manna from heaven. He will feed us. Daily.
and forgive us our trespasses - We will screw up. We are human and we fail, but God will forgive us.
as we forgive those who have sinned against us -  we need to forgive. Holding that grudge, holding that hurt, does nothing but hurt us. If God can forgive us, we need to extend that forgiveness onto others.
And lead us not into temptation - I am prone to screw up. It is only with God that I don't fail. If God is leading us, if our eyes are on God, we will be safer from temptation.
but deliver us from evil - God can rescue us. God DOES rescue us. He is the only thing that saves.

Matthew 6:9- 13, how simple, how beautiful. How often we just repeat the words from memory, without pausing to think about what they really mean.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My head is full

Trying to lay down to sleep and my head is full.
Full of thoughts about inmates and how they are loved and that no matter their past crime they still deserve to know they are loved. (By God and by others)
Full of thoughts of how no one deserves love but God loves us all anyway.

Full of thoughts of the power of the written word. The value and meaning behind that someone took the time to write something down. 

Full of over processing and over thinking. 
Full of feeling and emotions and tears.
Full of a heart that doesn't fit in my chest.

Full of a God who holds it all easily in His hands. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blame Game

Exodus
Isrealites blame Moses. Moses blames God.

We blame those who hurt us, the friend, ex boyfriend/girlfriend. The parent who was never around. We blame those people and they blame others. The father who didn't teach them how to be a man, the generational differences, the disease. 

Everyone is blaming someone else. Passing off our behaviors and actions and words as results of something that happened to us. 

But what if we stopped. What if we stopped passing the blame? What if we just admitted that a crappy thing happened to us but that we can rise above. 
Yes my ex relationships have hurt me in a lot of ways but those men aren't to blame for our failed relationshipships. They screwed up and I screwed but in the end We didn't belong together and that's all that matters. 

Yes your father was never around, he never "taught" you how to be a man but aren't you still a man. And maybe he wasn't around because he realized he wasn't a good teacher. 

I am not trying to create excuses for the way or why things happen. All I am trying to say is that passing the blame onto someone else gets us nowhere.
So let's all just own up to the fact that crappy things happen and learn from it and stop pointing fingers.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

I don't get it. 
Stay up past bedtime, mess with sleeping schedule; for what? To see another day come in? That happens every day, every day is new, every morning is fresh. 
No point in losing sleep over one more day.

See you kids in 2015. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Because you will never read this

You will never know that I first realized I loved you on Christmas Eve. 
You will never know how my heart broke in that realization. 
How my heart still breaks in knowing that the man I loved was never meant to be mine.

Love is powerful and strong and leaves a mark.
Love is dangerous and beautiful and hopeful. 

My love for you left a scar. Christ's love for me has made me whole.