My Thoughts, relationships

Stalking Jesus

<Image not mine…>

 

Credit for this article is nearly entirely due to Bob Goff, author of “Love Does“. His chapter “Stalking Jesus” inspired me so much, I decided to imitate him. Thanks, Bob Goff. You’ve impacted me more than you could ever imagine….

 

“I used to think I could learn about Jesus by studying Him, but now I know Jesus doesn’t want stalkers.” ~Bob Goff: “Love Does”

 

 

Stalking can be really creepy, you know? Since I was little, I have always been kinda paranoid about being watched or stalked. And the more I think about it, the more it torments me. Not that I’m particularly hard on stalkers–I just don’t want to get hurt or anything….

 

Stalkers watch from a distance and memorize the person they follow. They learn facts about the person, like where they go to work, when their birthday is, or who their friends are. Yet we all know they don’t really know the person they’re stalking. They’re just fans of them. They don’t personally interact with them or form a relationship. They keep their distance, too scared to come too close.

 

I think that we are too often guilty of stalking Jesus. We memorize facts about Him like when He was born, or what He did on earth, or how He describes Himself in His book. We learn Scripture verses about Him and His friends. We talk about Him and who He is to us. We watch what He does and take notes. We might even get up enough courage to talk to Him a bit, but not as someone who really knows Him–not as a close friend. Just a fascinated stranger. Just a stalker.

 

I would wonder if stalking bothers Jesus, but the truth is He talked a lot about His stalkers. And you know what He did? He actually invited them to come talk to Him instead. To get to know Him. To actually start a relationship with Him! I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty crazy to me. He didn’t freak out or turn them away. He did just the opposite. He looked each one in the eye and said, “Hey. I want to know you better. Come with me.”

 

I don’t know for sure, but I think that would kind of be a stalker’s dream, you know? Like, can you imagine being completely obsessed with someone and learning all you could about them and following them around just to be close to them, and all of a sudden they turn around, meet your eyes, smile, and say, “Hey. I know you. Don’t you want to get a little closer than that? That’s no way to get to know me. Come here. Let’s walk together.” ? I mean, that is really crazy. I’m not sure if the stalker would accept the offer, run like mad, or just stand there all zoned-out with disbelief….

 

Truth is, I’m just as unsure about Jesus-stalkers. When we’re confronted by Jesus we tend to turn and run instead of listening and accepting whatever He’s offering. I mean, the very first man and woman did that very thing. They ran. They hid. They feared. I guess we never learn, huh? If we truly understood the person we’re fleeing, we would realize there’s no need to run. He will embrace us. What He offers is grace and true love. That’s a pretty awesome deal….

 

I’ve finally overcome my shock and decided to stop stalking Jesus. If what He says is true, He’ll actually let me know Him better than that. I was stalking the King of kings, and He actually loves me. And that’s pretty cool….

Advertisements
Standard
Encouragement, My Thoughts, Plight of the Poor, relationships

Why Adoption

Let me clarify one thing before I continue. This is not “why you should adopt” or “why we must adopt” or anything like that. This is actually just a record of why I think it’s a good idea to adopt, why I want to adopt, and just a little note of encouragement to those blessed parents out there who have adopted or are seeking to adopt.

 

That being said, this is a topic that’s close to my heart. Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamt of having kids to love and teach and experience life with. As I grew, I realized parenting isn’t as easy as I always made it out to be. Imagine that, right? But the urge to have children to adore never left me.

 

I was a young teenager when I was first truly faced with the prospect of adoption, and it wasn’t until recently that I really saw the realities of it for me personally. Something about it touched my heart deeply. There was something inside me that connected with it. Giving a young, suffering child hope and a home….that was—is—beautiful. Hearing the stories of adopted children and adoptive parents and seeing the need all around the world, in both general and specific senses—those things made me want to do something special. I didn’t just want to hand over the change in my pocket. I wanted to wrest the money of the world and make a difference in a life. A tangible, forever difference. I didn’t just want to do some thing, I wanted to do—I don’t know—a crazy miraculous thing! I didn’t just want to help; I wanted to change.

 

And that dream stood with me. I have dreamt of changing lives for the better since I was very young. I would come up with crazy schemes and plans that were often unrealistic or even silly. But I still kept that dream.

 

So why did it take so long for me to understand?

 

You see, the real reason I want to adopt is because I want to find a poor, outcast, hurting little child and I want to look them in the eyes and say, “Hey. I’m choosing you. You’re mine.” I want to find that broken little girl and wrap her up in my arms and make sure that she never, ever hurts again. I want to wipe away their tears with my own hand and whisper: “I love you.” They didn’t choose me. I chose them. They didn’t find me. I found them. They had no power to get to me, but I had the means to get to them. And I could take them as my own, as if they came out of my very womb, heirs to all I have with my birth children, and make their life something more than just worth living. Because they are loved and accepted and believed in and they have a mother who will walk with them and listen to them and be there for them as much as I possibly can.

 

Don’t you see it?

 

This is the one way, the most obvious way, that I can be Jesus to someone. Not just take a flight, give little picture presentations of Christ, plop five dollars in their hands, and tell them, “Goodbye! Have fun with that!” Not that those things aren’t great things. They are. But I don’t want to stop there. I don’t want to leave them like everyone else in their life has. I want to turn back around and say, “…Or would you rather come with me. Back home. To stay.”

 

Because I was them once. No, I’ve never been poor. I’m an american. A white, middleclass, american girl. I’ve never tasted poverty. I’ve had riches beyond their wildest dreams. I have an air conditioned home and so much food it’s making me fat. Growing our food is something we can choose to do, not something we have to do, and I spend most of my day entertaining myself.  But spiritually, I was dead! I was destitute, but God came to me, found me, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Hey. I choose you. You’re mine.” He wiped my tears away and grabbed me up in His arms and held me really tightly. He whispered, “It’s okay. I love you. We’re going home.” And though pain comes in the sojourn, He is going to take me home where He will make sure I never, ever hurt again. He wants the very best for me. He wants to enjoy life with me. I could never have gotten to Him on my own. I could never have found Him. And how could I choose Him? I didn’t even know Him! But I didn’t have to. He chose me. And the very best way I can come up with to thank Him is to replicate His example. To be Jesus to someone. I mean, how much closer can you get to really being Jesus to someone than adopting them like He did you? You are setting an example that they will never and can never forget. Their very identity is wrapped up in it, just like ours is in our adoption.

 

I was a poor, destitute, broken little girl who was adopted by the richest, most loving, most powerful being ever. And though I’ll never do as well as He did or be the perfect parent like He is or be all that He will always be, I can at least imitate His example and give hope to a dying world—one child at a time. 🙂

 

So, why adoption? I don’t have to tell you. You can see it in their faces. You can see it in His. ^~^

 

~~(Picture not my own)~~

 

 

Standard
Encouragement, JustTalk, My Thoughts, relationships, testimonies

THE Most Powerful Redemption Story Ever

My family has been going through the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series for family night. It’s been really fun, but more than that–it’s been very enlightening. And I’m not talking eastern mysticism. I mean truth. We recently finished the series, and this article is about a specific scene on the very last disc, so–I’ll only say this once–SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

Zuko was an amazing character. He was really childish at first. I didn’t like him–he didn’t even look cool with that ridiculous ponytail making his scar stick out like a sore thumb. But as the series went on, I grew to appreciate his pain and struggle, because it was relatable. He was meant to represent the very essence of the struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil. And, honestly, I think the writer(s) did a pretty good job with that. There’s not always an easy answer or a clear path. And we all have scars from past wounds. Usually from someone with our last name….The madness and mental instability, the pain and struggle–that’s relateable. Now, this story was made for children, so we can scream out the obvious right answer from the sidelines (like he can really hear us) and think of him as an idiot for choosing darkness–AGAIN. But, when we take a look at our own lives, when it is us on stage with everyone else on the sidelines, we realize that it’s not so easy to see the big picture. All we can see is what’s right in front of us. Everything else gets lost in the moment. We choose the dark far more often than Zuko, honestly. We are far more dual than we care to admit….

 

I have acted in plays before. I can tell you that there’s this funny feeling I get when I’m up on stage. It’s like my mind goes completely blank, and it’s only because I’ve carved my lines into my mind that I can remember them at all. Everything feels kinda hazy–like I’m doing everything on-the-fly. No practice, no prep, it’s all me in my bare nakedness, just winging it and hoping I don’t ruin everything. I can sit back and laugh at that now, because I’m not standing on a stage. Or, rather, because I don’t see the stage I’m standing on. Yet aren’t I doing the same exact thing every day of my life? I’m just flailing around, trying to get my lines right, messing things up A LOT, and just hoping that, in the end, it’ll all come together and touch the audience somehow. The world is my stage, and I’m a character in this play whether I want to be or not. If you watched my life, you could sit back and yell at me from the sidelines about what an idiotic decision I’m making and how it’s so obvious I should be doing something else (and, believe me, you’d be doing that a lot), but, like Zuko, I get lost in it all and I’m just trying to make it, struggling between the darkness and the light, never really understanding which one is going to satisfy me, even though the answer is obvious. In the end, though, like Zuko, I choose the light. But not before a lot of scars are made and a lot of people are hurt….

 

Despite Zuko’s folly, I grew to love him as a character. Sure, he WAS pretty childish, but remember he was still basically a child. He was terribly sorry for all he had done, but there was nothing he could do to make it right. His suffering would not make it right. Good works would not make it right. Correct philosophy could not fix the damage. What does one do when they kneel before the one they’ve hurt and there is nothing–NOTHING–they can do to fix it?

 

The answer is only that mercy is necessary. Because vengeance, violence, suffering–these things will not heal. They will only worsen the pain. So, the answer is obvious. You are at the victim’s mercy. Literally. You must be at their mercy. They have to let go of the past and grow something new in its place….

 

xpqnkkyzdu6gwrtmkfda

Screenshot_2017-05-12-23-28-00-1

And that moment, when Zuko knelt before his uncle, tears streaming down his face, begging Iroh to forgive him for all his foolishness–that moment as Iroh clutched Zuko tightly in his arms, tears streaming down his own face–that moment when Zuko was unworthy but found grace–it struck a chord with me. It resonated with my own heart. Because, there I was, kneeling before the One I had betrayed, the One who had loved me, cherished me, grown me, cared for me–I was kneeling before the One whom I had hurt the most, tears streaming down my face, begging for forgiveness–and I found grace. I could have wept. The moment was moving for me. It touched me deeply. This was no children’s tale. It is the story of every prodigal son who ever knelt before their Father figure and found grace. Countless lives, innumerable souls, all finding the same grace He extends freely to everyone who will take it. Because, like Uncle Iroh with Zuko, God loves us deeply and only wants what is best for us. He sits there by our side while we drive around madly on a wild goose chase, going a 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction, and He sighs, trying to steer us the other way. But we don’t listen. He stays with us as, time after time, we fail in our endeavors to bring satisfaction to our souls and honour to our name, and He tries to tell us the answer. But we don’t listen. He leaves us in silence as we fume and rage, trying to find our own way. He weeps with our weeping, rejoices for our small gains, and ever watches, heavily, as we choose darkness over and over again, betraying Him with our every step….And, after we have run our last mile, worn out all our efforts, and come to our wits’ end, He whispers to us softly the hard truth. It is then that the paths diverge….

 

Some of us, as Zuko did, will ultimately choose the light, and will come weeping before Him with all our shattered pieces, expecting all the well-deserved wrath to be poured out on us. But, instead, He wraps us up in His arms, weeping for our ultimate return to Him, cherishing our very being, though we’ve hurt Him more than we’ve hurt anyone else. He gives grace, and, ultimately, He will let us rule with Him in a new kingdom of prosperity and peace and love….

 

Yet others will be Azula, choosing the maddening darkness until their very last breath, and meeting the ultimate ruin of their own selves, because they would not heed the light. For all my lack of care for Azula throughout the series, in that last moment, when she is wailing and squalling like a small child, trapped and helpless, at her literal wits’ end, I had nothing but pity for her. I wanted to help her, but there was nothing left to help….

 

As for the Fire Lord, well….We know his end. His power will ultimately be taken away, to do no more harm to anyone ever again….

 

For now, I’m still on the stage. I’m still flailing and wandering. I’m still being clutched in my adoptive Father’s arms, still weeping because the pain is yet too near, the struggle yet too real. I am still often betraying Him, yet I find a neverending supply of grace. He has every right to be angry–to eliminate me–but He chooses to love and forgive me instead. And that brings healing. That brings redemption. Because of that, I am being made new. And this, my friend, is the greatest redemption story ever. 🙂

 

 

~Peeps~

 


***DISCLAIMER: Images used in this article are not mine! They are strictly the porperty of their original poster….***

 

 

Standard
Literature, My Thoughts, relationships

Not Empty Now

***MAJOR SPOILER ALERT***

-Do not read this unless you have read Little Women


 

Josephine March and Friedrich Bhaer (from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) taught me something very important.

 

I was actually having a bit of quiet time with God and was listening to the song “Empty My Hands” by Tenth Avenue North when it all occurred to me. I was sitting there, begging God to empty my hands of junk: dreams, ambitions, and distractions. I wanted Him to empty my hands and fill me up with Him.

 

In Little Women, when Bhaer comes to Jo to ask her to marry him, the end of their conversation goes like this:

 

~”Ah! Thou gifest me such hope and courage, and I haf nothing to gif back but a full heart and these empty hands,” cried the professor, quite overcome.

 

Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly, “Not empty now,” and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella.~

 

I suppose it was because I was singing about empty hands that I thought about this particular happening (it is one of my favorite romance quotes), but a new view of this suddenly opened up to me. I realized what a beautiful picture this truly is of us and God. We are Friedrich Bhaer. We come to God so full of love and longing, and feeling so unworthy. We wish to give Him something in return for all His love and goodness, but we find only ourselves. We have nothing but full hearts and empty hands. Then God reaches down and places His hands in ours and tenderly whispers, “Not empty now….” He gives us Himself and then we are full. Full and overflowing. We are so overwhelmed by His offer that it only fills our hearts further with love. I am close to bursting….

 

In that moment, I realized that He defines ‘lover’. He is the Creator of romance, and He is far better than anything we could ask for or imagine. And I look up adoringly into His loving face and echo His reply, “No, not empty now, or ever…..”

 

Standard
relationships, testimonies

Testimonies of the “Civilized”: Part 1

As the darkness crowded around me, I hugged my covers closer. But I couldn’t shake the uneasiness. This wasn’t new to me—it’d happened a million times before. So, I decided to listen to my ipod. I plugged the earbuds in my ears and laid back down. But what to listen to? I’d listened to most of these so many times I’d nearly gotten tired of them. I wanted something fresh. Something that would touch my heart. I needed something to take my mind off the spiritual failures and the clenching in my throat. But what? As I flipped through my playlists, I saw two letters:

“KB”

Ah! Now there was a christian rap artist I hadn’t really listened to much. We only had a few songs of his, and I hadn’t really ventured out of Lecrae yet. So, I hit it. A list of songs popped up. Not many. But enough. One album’s worth: “Weight & Glory”. But I had heard some of these before. They were really good songs, but not what I was in the mood for. Something else. The problem was, I just didn’t know most of these!

“Open Letter (Battlefield),” I read. It sounded vaguely familiar but I didn’t remember anything about it.

“Well, there’s nothing else, really, and I don’t want to wait much longer to pick one!” I thought, the feelings only tensing more. So, I hit it.

My eyes opened wide.

There, inside my head, was playing a testimony I had heard only too often. Much of it my own. As the girl’s story played, I kept rewinding the song, not believing what I was hearing. I was trying to soak it all in. Even the second testimony was so familiar to my ears. How many guys had I heard vent over the same problem, crushed by the culture’s over-sexualization? As I listened, I recalled them. Time and time again. So many hurting people….

I thought the song would be over after the second verse. But it wasn’t.

As the music artist started to pray, tears sprang to my eyes. Because he was praying for me. For friends. For family. For so many broken hearts. I was hearing the words of so many unspoken prayers. And I felt strengthened and uplifted by it.

Seeing the need, I wanted to share the song with you. You are not alone. You have to know there is hope! There is love! And there is immeasurable grace waiting to be lavished on you! Just take a moment. Listen to the testimonies of the “civilized”:

——————————————————————–

“Open letter (Battlefield)”

By: KB

[Intro: KB]

I really appreciate ya’ll coming out to pray with me, man!

My heart’s just been real heavy here lately, man.

I got a stack of letters here, and I thought we should read a couple of ’em,

And pray at the end. So I got one right here from Atlanta.

It says:

[Verse 1: KB]

Dear KB,

What’s going on? It’s Ashley from the show

That you was doing with Trip Lee.

The Crew and the Spirit was moving, man! It was really dope!

When y’all left the A, I was so encouraged in the faith!

And I blessed the Lord for HGA—

I wanna start this off by saying thanks!

(There’s a battle going on)

But, lately, I’ve had this struggle with

Secrets of my past in the past five years of singleness.

(I know it) I’m lusting. I’m sinning, but my lust here is different—

Since I’ve been so alone, I kinda long for the touch of a woman!

(There’s a battle going on)

And I know it’s wrong, but dudes never ever show me attention!

I go unnoticed, it was a joke but girls show me interest!

Dudes at my church say that I’m the type of chick that they want,

(they lie)

But when I see the girls they date I know they really don’t!

I get jealous quick. I hate the mirror—I don’t feel pretty!

I’ve even contemplated surgery to feel skinny!

I know it’s real silly. The world tells me, “Just embrace it—you were born this way!”

(that’s a lie—it’s just lust)

I tried talking to the people at church,

But they just look at me funny—only adding to the hurt!*

Now I’m torn, ’cause the other day I stumbled over porn!

I’m supposed to be a leader, man! How can I move on? I know.

(this is a lie)

That’s why I’m coming to you praying.

I’m praying that you can pray for you sister to make it through.

I’m crying as I write, cause I wanna be right!

Many girls have fallen, and I don’t wanna fall too!

[Hook: KB & Jai]

There’s a war inside my heart and mind! Every day, I fight it!

So make me align to the Truth and rely on your Spirit inside me!

(It’s time to make) war war war war war war,

Cause life is a battlefield!

War war war war war war,

Cause life is a battlefield!

[Verse 2: Swoope]

Dear KB,

We’re big fans of yours—me and my lady!

When you came to the show, we was in the front row

Screaming “one-one-six!”, going

Crazy all for the HGA—was a crazy night.

What’s even crazier is the girl I was dating then is fiance now—

I’m engaged to her!

The words that you left, man, rocked us!

So I went and got her left hand rocked up.

But, if I could be honest,

I’m trying hard to abstain and not get her knocked up!

Of course I want kids,

But even more than that I wanna please the Father!

But when I look into her eyes, I can’t concentrate!

Man, I can’t even lie—I wanna consummate!

She’s the one I’m sure, but I wanna stay pure!

Scary the way that I’m yearning for her!

Getting married, but I’m burning for her!

Hard for me to wait till she walk in that aisle

Down in a white gown—I’m thinking night gown!

Man, I wanna do it right now!

Why wait when I feel like she my wife now?

The way that I’m feeling is natural, but, KB, is it godly?

Is it wrong lust, or strong love—this feeling inside for wifey?

Honor the Lord in dating her.

Wanna do the same in waiting, but

This temptation’s a beast!

Please pray for us!

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Trip Lee]

Dear God,

We come in His name,

The slain and risen

Who’s running this thing,

Christ the Lord—

The one who can bring

Healing the hurts of the ones that He claims!

We think we got nothing to gain

By clinging to Christ, the love of the King.

But He was under the same—

Tempted and hurt—He’s accustomed to pain.

Though they feel it feel it—

Pain, but they joy can kill it kill it!

Feeling like life been pillaged.

Can I please intercede for a minute?

This is

Not out of Your grasp!

Your grace can shake! Your power can smash!

I pray this hour and ask—

Allow them to see Your power surpass

That sin! Devour their past!

Drowning with mercy, shower them fast!

Give them the faith to follow the Father!

He’s Abba! Your Honor, please swallow the trash!

Dear Lord, you were never gone!

You promised You’d make ’em forever strong!

Your arm isn’t short—it is very long!

Make ’em like Christ—You get ’em home!

[Hook]

——————————————————————–

*I know the pain…To be discussed later.

★DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Standard