Tag Archives: passion

Let Them Know Us By Our Love

Standard

This blog post comes not quite 24 hours after a deadly massacre in Florida. A horrific terrorist act. A news story that rocks our world, and unravels the very fabric of all we believe. Or at least it should. I will share my thoughts, and welcome yours in return.

I would like to mention that this is written from my own vantage point, and I will speak for myself – but with the bulk of this message being directed at those who call themselves, collectively, the church. Christians. Christ followers. People of faith. Those who love the Lord. Those who love the sinner and hate the sin. The body of Christ. This is for them. This is for you. This is for all who love and breathe – but ultimately, for those who embrace faith, and consider themselves followers of Jesus.

First, I’d say that, as Christ followers, this is one area, and with one community (the entire LGBTQ+ community as a whole) we get so many things wrong. Love. Let me explain from the vantage point of a married somewhat heterosexual female. I say it like that because I see beauty in so many places, and in so many people. I love all people. But yes, I’m married to a man. Moving on…

As a Christ follower, I so often want to apologize on behalf of Jesus Himself for all the Christians spewing hate in His name. This, friends, is not love.

As the body of Christ, we are expected to act as He acted. In and with LOVE. To ALL people, regardless of who they love, or are attracted to.

Those who claim or speak in the authority of Christ should NOT show disgust in those who sin differently than they do. Instead, we should sit with them in their pain. Perhaps when we stop judging, and start loving people as we’ve been shown unconditional love – then, and only then, will people truly be free. Free to live community faith in action. Free to hurt, but free to heal.

To drive this point home – I’ll stop those of you (just for a moment) who are itching to throw the ever so popular idea that God hates homosexuality too – and that their sin will surely keep them from Heaven. See, I AM NOT arguing that homosexuality is (or isn’t)  a sin. Nor am I saying that God doesn’t mention it as sin, I will allow you to come to a conclusion on your own. That decision is ultimately between you and God. No one else. Yes, you can look to the Bible for knowledge on this – but also for knowledge on often times, messy grace and the true picture of reckless love. Love in the face of danger. Sharing love, and allowing grace to mold lives and change worlds.

I suppose the final thought I want to ensure you don’t forget is the idea that yes, we are called to share the truth – lest any person perish. However, the truth shared with love is always where it’s at. You don’t have to agree with a person’s lifestyle to show them grace and to love them. As a gentle reminder – none of us are God. Neither you nor I were appointed judge, jury or executioner. For those in this community, or for anyone whose “sin” is different than our own.

With all this said – I’d like to implore you to allow this to be a heart check. Take a moment (and lots of moments moving forward) to love people the dance way you need love. BE the change in our world.

Allow your heart to break with all the hearts of those who lost their lives in Orlando during this act of violence so utterly horrible. Let this stand as an event in our Nation’s history where love truly does win. Do not take your situation (life and security) for granted. Love those who are different. Extend grace to all. Please pray for everyone involved – for those families and friends of all those who are mourning the lives of those they now miss. That the holes in their hearts will have comfort and peace, though broken and hurting. Pray, also for the injured, and for those still fighting for their lives. When you don’t know how to pray – let love speak.

To the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, please allow me to address you directly. I wish I could speak on behalf of everyone who puts on the hat that sports the title of “Christian” – but that I cannot do. As I mentioned previously, I believe this is something that we, the church, get very wrong a great percentage of the time. I want you to hear my words. I’m sorry. I hear you. I want to sit with you in your pain. I don’t have to know precisely how you feel to just love you where you are. That, I can offer you. I offer you the same messy grace, and the same heartfelt love that I’ve also been freely given. So here – please take my hand. Allow me to walk with you, and to do life with you. Together, we can make a difference in our world. Call it a pipe dream, or call it whatever you’d like – but know that my words are true, and my love for you is real. You are beautiful. Period. My love for you is like Christ’s love for me – it is real, and cannot be denied. Please know how truly valued you are, and that love is yours. Allow these words to wrap themselves around you like a friend giving you a hug. (Side note – I’m fairly certain that love makes the world go ’round.)

For anyone who is struggling in the aftermath of this tragedy, know that you are not alone. If you’d like to talk through it – I am here. I am only one person, and I’m no counselor or therapist. But, aside a human being, I am qualified to love you, and to help you see hope in a hopeless situation. Please feel free to reach out. Do not hesitate to connect via the “about me” page – or post directly in the comments. You are worth it, and your story matters. Today is a page (or maybe a defining chapter) In your story. But, this day is not the end of your story. You have a beautiful story – much of which is yet to be written. Please talk to someone if your pain feels unbearable. Do not attempt to walk through this – or any part of life – alone.

Much love, and many hugs to all who happen upon these words. Let’s do life, together, as authentic community. A community founded on love and operating with messy grace.

image

When Pain Hurts Deeply, Tears Speak

Standard

image

Tears.

Some would say they’re cleansing. Others would say they sting, while others feel they’re a form of expression of the things we struggle with and have no real way of expressing. There are also happy tears. This is not about those right now.

If the truth is known, my thoughts and personal experience encompass all these things.

To be honest, I have had a mixture of these tears streaming down my face this morning, and across the lines of history. My tears are born from pain, but also out of empathy. You see, pain seems to be a universal language that all understand.

Case in point. My heart sank, just broke with news of a friend hurting over the loss of someone they hold very dear. Their pain is tangible, and I can relate to it through my own experiences. My heart hurts, and tears express that pain in a way I can’t with words.

I guess the bigger lesson here is that everyone hurts. Everyone has struggles. Every person alive knows what pain is. It may not be your pain, but it is theirs, and ur hurts still the same.

Pain manifests itself through tears sometimes. We need to recognize that, sit back, and listen to the message that our tears are trying to communicate. Don’t be so quick to wipe away your tears. There can be strength in allowing them to flow. Sometimes, you allow nothing, as they also seem to have a mind of their own. Just ride the wave, and pray it doesn’t take you under.

Right now, my tears have stopped. For the moment. I must have heard the message. My particular message in this moment is that it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to feel pain. Just feel. Allow yourself to not be okay when that’s your reality.

Also, hurt when others hurt. Even when you hurt deeply, there is a level of unspoken comfort when you don’t sit alone in your pain. Be a friend in a way that isn’t self centered, and heart what you’re friends tears are saying too.

Don’t be afraid of tears – for they are valuable. They speak the language you’re unable to express without them. They serve a purpose. They know the pain, and they know how to release it. Let the tears flow when they need to. It’s hard, but worth it.

Knowing Your Place – Serving Where Your Passion Is

Standard

Today at church, we had the opportunity to hear a life changing message. All the services are, and all have life changing potential. The way our pastor speaks God’s heart and shares His word makes such an impact.

Today he talked about finding your place – the place where you can best reach out and make a difference. That place where your talents are best served. What do you love, where is your passion? If you are not passionate about where you volunteer or serve, you won’t enjoy it for very long. The way to avoid burn out is to enjoy what you do.

One thing that really stuck out was when he shared Job 10:8 from the Bible – where it talks about how God formed us with His hands, and in Psalm 139:13 where He knit us together and formed us exactly as we are.

Friends, you are a masterpiece. You are where you are to make an eternal difference in the lives of other people. God’s grace has you exactly where He needs you. You may not be perfect – NO ONE IS. Your life may be messy, and you may have painful experiences making up your life. Please trust that God can use those wounds to share strength and to make a difference in another life. Think about it. If you have experienced loss, you would likely identify more with someone who has also experienced a similar loss. It’s just allowing God to use your pain. It certainly won’t be easy, but it WILL be worth it.

For those of you who look in the mirror and just aren’t happy with what you see, let’s think for a moment about professional baseball players. A recent statistic showed the national batting average to be .251. Initially, you think “this is pretty good!” right!? And, it is. Pretty decent statistics. Those people are making millions of dollars, and can claim talent. Think about it this way. These same people, making the millions, experience FAILURE (on average) 75% of the time!!! How’s that for thought provoking!?

The very idea of excellence really is doing the best with what you have — knowing that you’re not “good enough” in your own strength to add up to any of these acclaimed accolades. However, you are exactly where He wants you. Like I said, His grace holds you and has you where you need to be right now.

Spotlight on Chris Lockwood – Coming Alive: I’m Still Standing

Standard

Did you know that Chris Lockwood has a new EP out? Have you purchased / downloaded his Coming Alive EP? You can find out more at his website.

I can’t think of enough words to adequately describe this music. Full of heart and passion. My goodness – some phenomenal talent. The vocals and music are amazing. I will share my thoughts on the other songs on this EP as well, but this song – man, it’s good! The raw emotions – the perseverance – the fight — so real.

Do you ever feel out of place – like the new kid on the block? Like an outsider peeking in?

This song tackles the idea that life isn’t always easy. It isn’t always going to be smooth sailing, and you won’t always want to plaster on a fake smile. There may be times where you look around, eager to grasp onto anything – anything at all – that will give you strength. You may realize that things that were once of paramount importance are nowhere to be found. The question is – will you give up?

There will undoubtedly be times when you look around, and simply do not like what you see. Even when it seems like your world may come crashing down around you at any moment, never give up. Don’t ever allow life’s circumstances to get to you to the point that you lose your footing. Stand firm. Even if you find yourself staring life in the face, and feel like you’re losing that staring contest, always remember hope — and to stand. Keep on standing.

Never give up. Life’s not always going to be easy, but keep on standing.

Chris – I just want to thank you for creating this EP. Talk about moving and powerful. It really speaks volumes, on so many levels. You, my friend, are an inspiration.