Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ask Now

Not long ago winds of both change and questioning blew into my life so strongly that I began doubting multiple aspects of not only my faith, but also my place in the world.  "Am I where I'm meant to be?" I often found myself asking over the last few weeks.  In just my thinking alone I made so many mistakes and wrong choices, the implications of which left me heartbroken and confused.  I discovered weaknesses within myself that I didn't know existed, a pride that caused me to literally fall, and a girl who doesn't quite have all of the answers she thought she had.  I recently started to wish the last few weeks away, but then I realized I would be no wiser had they not swept into my life.  Like the chill you get on a warm, but breezy day I'm suddenly aware of how much what I've been struggling with stands to enhance my walk with God.  I've not completely messed up; I'm being remade.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Never Alone

I met Amber when I was just 18.  Both of us freshman at Hendrix College, we temporarily abandoned studies for a night of partying the time our paths first crossed.  Martin Hall was holding a huge bash that wasn't to be missed. I walked into the dorm room of my destination and there she sat.  I don't recall whether or not we even spoke, but I do know that as I sized her up I didn't like what I saw. I later learned that she felt the same.  Men are definitely not the only ones who mark their territory.  Females are actually worse, and I felt she had absolutely crossed a line that divided her rightful place from mine.  So, as females do I spent the evening casually shooting her looks of contempt and distrust as if to tell her, "I better not see you over here again."  Whether she missed my message or I simply failed to properly deliver, it wasn't the last time I saw her.  Little did I know that night, she would become one of the best friends I ever had, a true champion of my cause, and thirteen years later, a woman I admire from the depths of my soul.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Love Is Enough

Have you ever read stories about people who are profoundly in love but never allowed to be together? You know the type-- the depressing tales of star crossed lovers?  It's as if time has a place for everyone but them.  I read a portion of a story recently about a man and woman who fell in love under seemingly impossible circumstances, and when hope met despair, the latter reigned victoriously.  They regretfully parted ways and mapped out a new life deliberately absent of the other.  Ten years later, their paths crossed again.  "Does she still love me? Did she ever love me?" he questioned as he reflected over the great passage of time.  He discovered that she did.  Not even a decade had changed that, and she came to realize that his for her had also not diminished.  His love for her was as great then as it had been ten years earlier.  With a love so strong, it seemed as though time was calling them both home to the same place, yet a new set of impossibilities had grown over the years, leaving room for only another goodbye.  It didn't seem to make sense, and certainly felt tragically unfair.  How could God allow two people to love each other so intensely, yet forever banish from them the right to live out that love together?   I find these to be the most grievous love stories, but maybe I have it all wrong, and maybe the story doesn't need to be re-written.  Maybe love is enough?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Butterfly Effect

In the last couple of weeks, I've been undergoing what feels like open heart surgery without the anesthesia.  God has allowed circumstances into my life that have tested every fiber of my being, as well as my devotion to Him.  However strong I believed my faith and dedication to be, He has since shown me just how weak it really was - a revelation that has caused me to question absolutely everything in my life.  Interestingly, during these last two weeks we've had a collection of caterpillars on our front porch.  They've crawled their way to the top and prepared for the next stage in their life.  As I watched them hang head down, I thanked God that I didn't have to do the same as I underwent my own transforming changes. Can you imagine the headache?  I've been checking on the ones I can see each day when I come home or leave to go out and the process has been completed for many.  They have broken free from the casing and departed with a new and beautiful form intact. What's interesting to me is that before they can emerge the beautiful winged creature that they do, their very organs are liquefied while in their protective covering.  Only after they've endured what sounds like an excruciatingly painful process, can they move forward and be what they were created to be.  How beautiful we all could be if we allowed our broken hearts and painful situations to transform us as the butterfly is transformed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Catch Me, I'm Falling

Not long ago, I was out for a hike and chose an unmarked path on which to set out.  My instincts told me not to go, but my emotions and stubborn determination prompted my feet to move forward.  Even as I started to ascend, I heard a soft voice inside of me telling me to turn back.  I didn't listen.  The brush grew thicker and the cacti more unavoidable as I tested the rocky terrain with each increasingly cautious step.  As I continued to climb, I stopped to look behind me.  "I'm already invested in this," I thought to myself, so I hesitantly continued upward.  With only a few more steps, I started to fall.  I caught myself by grasping for rocks, but caught a small handful of cacti needles instead.  With a full body wince of pain, I slowly pulled back my hand and extracted the needles.  The sun beamed on my moistening skin, and again I turned to look back.  Suddenly, I realized that I didn't know how I had gotten to where I was.  The path behind me had all but disappeared and all that remained were the unfriendly cacti, swarming bees, and falling rocks.  A single slip of my foot would cause me to land on already sliding rocks and loose gravel straight down off the mountain I had already climbed halfway up.  I began to panic.  "God, can You please catch me, I'm afraid I'm going to start falling," I quietly whispered as tears welled within my eyes.  He did.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Choice Moment

As I sit and reflect over my young life, I wonder how it is that we so effortlessly get things wrong, and so arduously get them right.  Or, is that just me?  I've made countless mistakes in the mere 31 years I've been alive, and will make plenty more in the years to come, but I wonder what would happen if we stopped and stood still in each of our moments, just long enough to recognize that in everything, we're given a choice.  I was faced earlier with a moment where I did just that.  After asking God for His help during a four day time of need, I finally felt the strong Hand of both love and conviction reach down inside of me and halt me where I stood.  I suddenly remembered that what I was in wasn't just a moment; it was a choice, and what I chose would either draw me closer to Him or pull me further away.  I chose Him.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Love That Lasts

I've been questioning a lot of things lately, and within just the last 72 hours, I even began questioning my faith.  It's not God I questioned, but rather, what God wants of and from me and whether I'm cut out to do the work He's intending for me to do.  The last three days have found my emotions and inner thought life in catastrophic weather conditions; a psychological tornado if you will. I've experienced buried feelings and hidden emotions to the point of doubting whether or not I can fulfill the call He has placed on my life.  I've succumbed to the temptation of allowing my mind to leave Him and enter into places He simply is not. Though His Spirit always remains with me, my departure from Him left me alone.  Earlier this afternoon, I felt as though I was sinking.  I had to get out and find Him, corner Him into a conversation with me, and get some answers.  I finally did.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A New Focus

It seems that lately I've been relatively uninspired, and yesterday, when I attempted for what seemed like the hundredth time to write about anything, my mind's eye was covered by a black lid.  I couldn't form words and topics on which to write grossly evaded me.  The better part of my time has been spent questioning God, Who has been frustratingly quiet in response.  As a result, I've been quick to anger, quicker to tears, and slow to life certainties.  Absolutely nothing has been as it seems, and everything has gone wrong.  On numerous occasions, I've broken down emotionally, and asked God why He chose me.  Chose me for what?  Why He chose me to be His (Ephesians 1:4-5; John 6:44).  I was once ignorant of His presence and "life was easier," I told Him as I sobbed pitifully on the floor.  "At least I knew what I was doing and where I was going," I cried out to Him in anger.  "You wont even tell me with certainty what You want me to do with my life," I selfishly continued.  The simple truths were this though - before I knew Him, I didn't know what I was doing and where I was going was straight to Hell; furthermore, He has told me what He wants me to do.  I've just been too busy focusing on everything that has gone wrong.  Ever done this?