Monthly Archives: October 2016

A Movie, A Band, And A Necklace

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A Movie, A Band, And A Necklace

October 16, 2016. This movie. This band. That necklace. Life changing. Life giving. Life saving.

Every time I try to convince words to take a journey from my brain to the paper, tears threaten to make seeing the words impossible. In an attempt to share even a fraction of the significance of this event, I will break down the event and all the moving parts into little bite-sized pieces. 

Priceless the Movie. 

I’m not going to tell a tall tale. I hadn’t  heard of this movie prior to this text from a very dear friend: 

you…me…Sunday evening ‘Priceless’ at Ronnie’s 20?

So, this being a friend who I love and trust, I basically blindly said yes. She knows me. She gets me. What’s more, though?  She allows me the honor returning the favor. I’m grateful. Alas, I accepted her invitation, and nearly canceled several times. But I didn’t. As this day approached, the excitement and even anticipation grew. 

It made me happy to learn that the band would be in the theater live, playing  a few songs for us. Their flight was a bit delayed, so the acoustic set was after the movie. 

So, this movie is incredible. This is part in fairly certain I can’t get through without my tears going on mass exodus. Again. So, instead, I’ll ask you to click on the following link, and watch the trailer for Priceless

I will say this though. This movie and it’s storyline broke my heart. Mostly because it’s no joke. People, this stuff happens. It’s real, and it’s in our backyards. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the movie, those that produced it, and all who came together to make it happen. It was tremendously well done. I found a surge of emotions at varied times throughout the entire thing. It was beautifully painful. It hurt, and it healed. Most of all, it was God’s heart in a movie. God’s hand holding my shattered heart. The fact that God can use a movie to touch some very deep and dark places is testament to the fact that the whole experience (more to come on that) acted as a healing salve applied to some wounded places. 

After the movie concluded, the band took the stage for a few minutes. They sang/played a handful of songs. Again, the heart of God, in human form, stood before us on that theater stage. The words of their songs grabbed my heart, and didn’t let go. I can’t begin to count the number of times I wiped tears from my eyes. At one point, Joel, from 4 King And Country, looked directly at me. He smiled as if to say, I see you. You matter. Your pain matters. In truth, he probably thought nothing of the sort, but in that moment – God’s grace, His love, just held me. 

At one point, they polled the audience to see if anyone was confused as to who they were, and why a band was live on stage in a movie theater. One person responded. They welcomed her, and asked us all to say hello. 

What happened next floored me. 

Joel picked up a necklace – the one you can see me wearing in the picture above. He spoke about its meaning and significance. The words “She’s worth fighting for” just melted my heart. As he spoke, he looked at me again and reached down and handed it to me. Yes, of course, tears streamed down my cheeks. 

I’m nothing special, but in that moment, God’s love and grace swallowed me whole. It was as if God Himself was giving me a much needed hug. Joel doesn’t know my story, but something (that small voice, like in the movie perhaps?) urged him to share it with me. To give me a gift. A necklace. 

It was more priceless than any gift could have been in that moment. You see, it showered me with God’s love. I felt important, and as if my life has meaning. God used that moment to hold me. To help me see glimpses beyond the pain. It helped me feel hope in tangible ways. It helped me just breathe, and know I’m loved.

I wanted to share this for a multitude of reasons.Mostly to share my own gratitude. To my friend for inviting me. To Joy FM for whatever part you played behind the scenes to help this event happen. To 4 King and Country for the hearts you had in creating this film, delivering it to the public, and the life-giving mini concerts you  allowed His heart and presence to touch others with. And especially to God, for not giving up on me, and for allowing your love to penetrate some shattered and somewhat dark places. Please don’t ever throw up your hands and realize I’m just too much. 

And to all reading, if you might be in pain, know that you are not alone. I do not have to walk your journey to understand that you hurt. I think we all do in some way, shape, or form. I see you, but more importantly, God also sees you – exactly where you are if I could say one more thing, it would just be to not give up. I want to see that your life has value and worth, and you still have purpose here. 
I needed these same reminders yesterday, and they flooded my heart with love and healing. If you need similar reminders, here they are. Someone, please just point me back to this page, and my own words when you see or feel the need.

Know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to reach out. Just don’t give up. There is still time for good things to happen. There is time for hope to surprise you. You are not out of time, and neither am I. If you’re hurting, just take my hand, and allow me to sit with you – even virtually – in this pain. It may be real, but it will not be forever. You will come to know more than the pain that tortures you. You matter. Your story matters. You’re worth so much more than you can comprehend. 

Please, keep giving hope a chance to surprise you. You are loved. 

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A  Love Letter From God 

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The following is a love letter. It is a combination of the way I feel, and the truths I know about God. From all I know of Him and His character, I feel as if these could be words He’d say directly if He were standing here with us. Take the words, liken the to your item situation, and be loved. You’re pretty incredible! 

Sweet daughter, 

You are my child. My daughter. You were loved, even before I stitched you together in your mother’s womb. I have loved you since the beginning of time. 

Here are some things you need to hear from me, your Daddy. You are precious, and I adore you. It makes me proud to call you my daughter. You bring me honor. I take pride in watching you live life.

Life has not always been easy. Please know that I see and know this. I did not orchestrate your pain. You have walked through trauma, and I hurt seeing you cry. You may not know this, but I collect all your tears. You are that precious to me. 

I want to remind you of something. I know the pain of losing a child too. My baby boy, He died a brutal death, and I saw Him die. I know you held your baby girl, and watched her breathe her last breath on earth. That is a kind of pain I wish you never felt. I’m sorry, sweet child. I know it doesn’t take away the agony of her death, but know the very real pain of losing my son. I know you know this, but I love Janet. I never wanted her to hurt, and I didn’t give her cancer. I held her through every moment she fought cancer, and when her final days came – she smile, told you she was coming here to me, and she was right. She’s with me now. She had the biggest smile, and was ya me to tell her mama hi. She gave me the best hug just now. I’ll take care of her until you can be reunited. Please never fear. Your daughter isn’t alone here, and is surrounded by light and love. 

Just as I held her prior to her passing, and like I hold her now, I also hold you. I know there are days you wish you weren’t alive. There are days you wish you could push the fast forward button on life and come here also. You will, my child. You will. Let me assure you, though, your time on this earth is not complete. I have a plan and a purpose for your life. You are valuable. You are worthy. There is, and will be much purpose, found even in your pain. Please never even consider removing yourself from the beautiful equation that is life. You are more. You are mine. 

I want you to think about one more thing. I keep telling you you are special. But let me show you how. I told you before that I watched my son die. I did. It hurt. But let me show you something else – you are so special that if it was only for you, and you alone – I would do it all again. I would let him go through that brutal death just make sure you were given the ability to live with me in eternity.

I just smiled, thinking of when you talk to me. I miss your voice when we don’t communicate much. I’m always here with you, we’ve if you some talk to me. I won’t ever leave your side. I know you feel bad, or like it angers me when you get mad at me, or even call me an asshole. No, I do not like to hear you say those words, but that is mostly because I do not like you to feel the pain that causes you the need. I understand though. And not only do I not hold it against you, I love you. I love you more than there are words to say. I need you to understand that I just enjoy talking to you. I like to hear your voice. Please keep talking to me. You do not need me to tell you, that there will be times that you feel like I am silent on an issue. I am, and will be sorry when this hurts you. However, in the long run, you will come to understand this. You will not only survive you will thrive. 

My child, I have not given up on you. I know that you do not look in the mirror and like what you see. You don’t know who you are some days. I know you often times do not feel beautiful, and also feel inadequate. You feel like you’re not worth it. Worth anything  I want to be the one to tell you that you are beautiful. You may not know what might image actually is, but you were built and made in my image. You are a precious creation. You are mine. I breathe life in your lungs and I helped your heartbeat. I am proud of you, and that will not ever change. No matter what you do, where you go, or how even you get there, I will always love you. Please don’t ever forget that. I love you sweetheart.

With all my love, 

God

My Prayer For Radical Hope Church 

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Dear God, 

You know my heart. For better, or for worse, I’ve prayed  that you’d give me your heart for people. Well, Lord, my heart is shattered. Feels crushed sometimes. As the God who has arms big and strong enough that hold the entire universe, I believe you understand my heartbreak –  perhaps better than I do myself. Our nation needs more hope. 

I come to you on behalf of my friends John and Joe –  whom I know that you know well, and I ask for your governing protection. This weekend will be the beginning of a new era in Birmingham. This weekend, I pray your hand lead and guide them as Radical Hope launches. 

Radical Hope. God, I know that is inspired directly by your heart. 

I pray that hope, radical hope, spreads like wildfire –  through your church, through their city, and that (through you) they have a footprint on our world, one unable to be ignored. 

May those who are hurting, hungry,and today thirsty come to know you through  this place. May they share messy grace and radical hope with all your children. 

May all human beings walking through their doors be able to connect with your love. May they know they are loved exactly where they are –  no strings attached. Gay or straight, pink or blue, God I know you’ll love them as the beautiful human beings they are. May they feel accepted and especially loved for who they are, where they are, and whomever they’re with. 

My prayer is that the churched and unchurched alike can come together and be. Just be. May the stereotypical view of Christians and the church be shattered as people find hope here. Lord, may your will be done. May humanity be touched by the willingness of this new body to speak and share your heart with a broken world. God, be with them this weekend as this new era of radical hope, messy grace and unconditional love is ushered into this city and beyond. Thank you for this and everything I’ve forgotten. I love you.