Purpose – Redemption

I’m not Catholic or Orthodox, and typically not a part of a church body that participates in Lent. However, as a personal practice, more years than not in the last 10 years, I have participated in Lent (in a personal manner).

Recent life events have left me with some questions and some heartbreaking thoughts that I know God will use this Lent season to teach and grow me.

Tonight, in that vein, I am participating in the 5 minute friday tradition (last week, I actually did my 5 minute Friday post on my Tiny house blog)…I know it’s Sunday, but unfortunately, I find myself late many weeks.

This week’s theme:

PURPOSE…

“You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down”
-Hillsong ‘What a Beautiful Name’

This song has me wrecked recently, especially this line… He didn’t want heaven without us…

This goes with my reading tonight.
Tonight, I spent time in 2nd Peter.

He has a lot to say in the 2&3 chapters about evil days: false prophets & teachers, evil doers, fleshly desires, condemnation, and more… I won’t take the time to break it all down – honestly, it’s a lot.

But, I want to focus on one specific section:

“But, do not forget this one thing dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…”

  • 2 Peter 3:8-10

So, what’s this all about?

It’s about purpose.
And, that purpose? Redemption.

Recently, I’ve had to come face to face with my belief: sin, death, mortality.
Do I really believe some perish?

Unfortunately, I do. And, honestly, the question of someone’s eternity is HEARTBREAKING.
But, Jesus has been working in my heart – if it’s that heartbreaking for me, how much more heartbreaking is it for Him to have Creation reject Him?

So, what’s it all about?
Purpose – redemption. Human souls. Love.

He created a way – desiring that no one would perish, knowing some would anyway. Giving His people the knowledge, tools, and compassion to reach as many as possible, and then commissioning us to do so.

This is a tough, heartbreaking topic to write about. I hate the thought of spending eternity without some of the people I care about – even spending eternity without my “enemies”. But, the reality is, it’s likely to happen.

And, if it hurts so much for me – how much more for Him, after creating and offering restoration?

So, that leaves me – in the gap. Attempting to live out the great commission in my life. In the tension between here & now and eternity.
A part of the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven, trying to be a light of love to as many people as I can.

So, what’s this all about?
Purpose – human souls. Love.
Redemption.

Absorb the Silence

You ever care so much for someone that you would take all their pain?

But, we can’t…it’s not possible.

Each of us has to carry our own pain. Whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. We are all in charge of carrying our own pain.

But, when we see others hurting, especially those we love, we want to take it on…

Ever prayed for it to go to you?

I have. That’s where I am tonight. I have seen so much pain today in others, and I just want to take it all. To be the vessel that holds it.

I pray, “just take it from them, put it all on my shoulders, in my head, in my body…”

The response?

Silence…

Because, it is not my pain to bear.
Working in the mental health field, that’s a hard thing to remember.
Being a big sister, that’s a hard thing to remember.
Being a daughter, that’s a hard thing to remember.

So, I pray…and absorb the silence.

Remembering that the reason it’s not my pain to bear is that He already bore it…even if I don’t get to see the results of that in this life.

So, tonight, I pray…I absorb the silence.
And after I realize I cannot take on their pain,
I pray to find rest in Him.

“When the oceans rise and thunders roll,
I will soar with you above the storm.
Father you are King over the flood.
I will be still & know You are God.

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone.
Know His power
In quietness & trust.”

– Hillsong Still

It’s Time

Belittled. Demeaned.
Hiding in her room.
Creeping down hallways,
Tears staining a frightened face.
Stop the yelling!
It’s too loud…
Why do you tell everyone you’re so proud?
Do you even know what love is,
When smiling photos are just a lie?
This is God’s plan, they say.
So, He wants little girls and boys to 
Suffer this way?
Who couldn’t even make their own choices,
Or know of anything else?
Stay strong, they say.
As if I have another choice.
Just give it to God, they say.
But, wait, didn’t they say it’s been
In His hands all along?
How do I trust the God who led me here…
Again?
Where do I begin…
Again?
Lord, I do believe,
Now, please help me in my unbelief
Because, on my own 
I.Am.Nothing.
On my own, 
This will surely
Crush.My.Soul

10 years. 10 years I fought the biggest battle of my life. Depression came in 2nd only to my choking anxiety. Though, I felt insecure, sad, and confused early on – I was 10 years old when I can remember actual depression starting.

The dark cloud followed me. My world lacked definition and color. I existed in a grey world. Lacking joy. Lacking peace.

I was just a little girl…but one voice in my life told me a big lie, showed me his words were “true” and an enemy unlike any I could have imagined took hold.

But, though God had never abandoned me, He finally took hold. There was finally a release. And, for 8 years, I’ve been free. Beautifully free.

Six months back in the worst place I’ve ever known, around the most toxic person I’ve ever had to have in my life, and it’s almost back in full force.

When I moved back, I thought it could be different; things were getting better. I thought I could stay clean here – but I’ve relapsed.

I thought I had the tools – I do have the tools.
And, though I do this with others daily, still the question arises:

How do we use these tools when the toxic environment doesn’t change?

You see, we lack a voice.

Depression and anxiety have kept me so worried about my family that I have no voice – no way to expose the abuse & injustice done…Unfair for a 5 year old. Unfair for a 13 year old. Unfair for a 28 year old.

And, after all, who can I talk to in the church? The “safe place”.

Because, honestly, the church has, as a whole, been extremely irresponsible when it comes to Mental Health concerns & abuse.

Over the years, I’ve heard:

Well, what did you do?
He’s the head.
Your job is just to be submissive. Your mom, too.
This is God’s plan.
Just try to stay strong.
Shh. You can’t talk about that. Especially not here.
How he treats your mom is none of your business.

The most freeing words I’ve ever heard from a pastor was that the ABUSER breaks the covenant with God by abusing the power & breaking God’s will. Not the spouse. Not the kids.

This is why I have spent my entire adult life giving a voice to others’ struggles…reflecting places where I could not give a voice to my own. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

But I refuse to be afraid anymore.

So, I’ve decided to attempt to extend an olive branch, do some patch work, explain my side, demand a response, and let the chips fall where they may.

But, I will no longer stay silent. I will give a voice – finally, a true & honest voice – to my pain, my struggle. I will no longer live in fear or walk on eggshells.

Not for my family. Not in my church. Not in my life.

Because, I fully believe God did not intend for me to live this way.
He intended for me not to live in the darkness that has been so familiar, but in His light.
He did not intend for me to fear judgement of others, but to trust in His love.
His intent was not that children would be used, rejected, & broken,
But to be loved, trained, and disciplined through both.

You see, what happened in the darkness – secret things like this – are not meant to remain secrets (Mark 4:22, Matthew 10:26, Luke 8:17)… So, after 23 years, it’s time.

It’s no longer a burden I will carry. At least, not alone.


Linked up with Tuesday @ 10 over at FindingtheGraceWithin.

Forget…to remember

This is my first Five Minute Friday post for a hot minute. But, I’m glad to be back at it. It’s a fun community of writers, gathering each week to post on a certain topic, writing for 5minutes, no extensive editing, no over-thinking. Go check out what the other writer have to say on this week’s topic:

Forget

READY? GO:

Sometimes, it benefits us to forget…

To forget the evils of this world – focusing only on the goodness of our Abba.

To forget the hardships that have come against us – thinking only of how blessed we are.

To forget the voice in our head, calling us names, telling us how we can’t do things & matter so little – listening only to the truth of Christ in our lives, that we are well loved, fearfully & wonderfully made for a purpose & called His beloved.

To forget the aches in our heart – allowing ourselves only to feel the joy of the Spirit.

To forget where we hoped we would be – living in the moment God has brought us to.

To forget that we are utterly fallen – relying only on our redemption in Him.

Sometimes, we need to forget – in order to remember, and to have our souls awakened in love again.

So, maybe, just for tonight, we forget…

STOP


Is there something you need to forget in order to remember?
Share below! Thanks for stopping by.

The Beauty of Rejection

I have experienced a lot of rejection in my life…

And, I’m not just talking about from guys, although, that has been a lot of it.

Schools, jobs, friends, even fellow Christians.

And, it sucks.

I often wonder…What if…?

What if this person hadn’t rejected me?
What if I had gotten this job?
What if I had gotten into that school?
What if I had a place in that church?

But, I realized that there is a beauty in rejection.

You see, I’m switching jobs. I got a new, wonderful opportunity to try something new, to add to my resume and further my career.

But, at my former job, there was a guy…not one I worked with, but one who came into the gym as a member.

And, I talked to him a few times. Cute, nice, and someone I felt like I wanted to get to know…So, with my last day there and no way to talk to him again, I left my phone number with a trusted friend to pass along…I figure I’ll give it to the end of the week to decide if I’ve been rejected…

That’s where the realization came in: no matter what, my world is in tact!

Though I do often wonder, what if…? I find that my life now is much more beautiful than anything that may have happened if the “desired outcome” had occurred.

Had either of the two guys I was most interested in High School returned that interest, however briefly, my heartache over not being wanted would have probably been heartbreak over loss of a relationship, as neither would have been a good long-term match. And, I am thankful for the friendships I had/have with them.

Had I gotten into Pepperdine instead of VU, I would have missed out on some of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I would have probably drowned during the worst year of my life without my friends and teachers. I am convinced I  would not have such a clear picture of God’s love and grace without that time in my life at VU.

Had I gotten certain jobs earlier, I would have missed out on other amazing people, missed out on some amazing travels, and probably wouldn’t have been able to decide on what educational course to go on.

And, that’s the beauty of rejection:

Not only is the world still standing around me, it’s more beautiful that what I had planned.

If we don’t get all caught up in the sting of the rejection, we are left open & bare for something else, something potentially greater. We get to see that we are more resilient than we ever knew. We get to see that we still manage to live and grow. And, we learn to build a life we want, no matter what the world throws our way.

I don’t know what will become of this new job, where it will lead. I don’t know if Mr. Wonderful will use my number (if my friend remembers to pass it on). I don’t know what other rejections the future has in store for me.

But what I do know is,

I am so thankful for those rejections, because the beauty is, they open the way for me to think of something else I often wonder…

What’s God going to bring my way next…? 

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:3-4


This is one of my Tuesday @ 10 posts, and this week’s prompt is I often wonder…
As is my usual, I’m also a little late, but this is part of my Lovely Sunday series.