Monday, September 26, 2011

Did Anyone Else Forget?

A friend of mine recently made a comment. A comment that shocked me. Not that she said it, but at what it meant.

She simply said this: "Been taken for granted? Imagine how God feels..."

It stopped me.

I've been taken for granted. And I hated it. I did not handle it with grace or compassion. Oh, I did my best, but after the 12th phone call waking me up, or being chewed out for not wiping a counter when I was busy covering this persons responsibilities? Any grace that had been there had left. Sure, they may have been hurting, but I was sleeping! Didn't they know better? Or they were getting yelled at and were incapable of doing their job, but I was at least trying! Why couldn't they see how much I was putting into them without getting anything back?

Obviously, I am very far from even a decent comparison with God. But I want to point out that that is only my remembrance of how I felt after being taken for granted. This probably isn't even close to what I would have written at 3 am after the 4th phone call. And it certainly lacks the pain I had when I was chewed out for the most miniscule details, which were still my fault no matter what the circumstances, if I'm being completely honest. But when I went to imagine how God feels, well, it made me remember that God has feelings!

Am I the only one who kinda forgot that?

I know He's a God who is Love, who stands up for me, claimed me as His own, no matter what I do. But I often only see Him as just that. I've made God all about me, and while He is, He is also so much more!  I forget that He's a God that made us in His own image, that He gets jealous. I remember that He hurts for me when I'm hurt, like a parent hurts for their kid, but I somehow forget that He can be hurt. That He craves my attention and recognition more than I crave Mexican tacos. That He's done this amazing act, you know, SAVING US, and all of it was just so He could have more time with us. He's saying to us all the time, "What I wouldn't do for you! Look at what I've done for you! Love Me! Spend time with Me!"

I don't know about you, but I often tell Him to go and sit in the corner quietly while I finish what I'm doing. Or to come back later. Or that He just doesn't get the situation. I don't mean to do it on purpose, but I do it. And now all I can picture is Him, sitting in a corner, thinking, "Aren't I enough?" It's time to go and curl up on His lap, to spend time with Him, getting to know His true nature, His desires. Because I've finally remembered.

Thanks for reading! It seriously means a lot. Really. I am constantly shocked that you guys continue to read my ramblings. Thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh, I just showered.

Ok. Honesty time.


I think makeup makes me prettier. The confidence I have when I actually put the effort in, shower, do anything with my hair, apply the precise amount of color to make my eyes pop, and eliminate any imperfections I see is always more than what I have on the days I simply roll out of bed. On the days where my mornings begin before the sun is up, I have often described myself as looking "homeless." I joke that I get better tips on those days because people feel sorry for me. When people do compliment me, I often respond with a "Thanks! I showered!" in hopes that I don't ever come across as one of those people who puts that much time into their appearance, though on the inside there is a ton of high 5ing happening. I want to be one of those people who is confident enough to go out in public without anything on their face, a spring in their step, as confident as I was when I was younger.

And some days, I do have that confidence. Some days, I wake up, look in the mirror, and say, "Dang, chica! You are rocking that smile today! Let's reward you with 5 more minutes in bed." (Yes, I do consider sleeping a reward.) But then there are the days where I want to curl my hair, and remember that I chopped it off. And while it is the easiest thing ever to do, it is nearly impossible to change anything about it without major skill, which I do not poses. (Nor do I poses the patience to grow it out. Once it hits the almost a mullet stage, I freak out and chop. It's an ugly cycle.) Or I see some gorgeous photos of my friends, and I think, "Why can't I take a normal picture? Must my face always go crazy?!" And on those days, the makeup goes on extra thick.

Sidenote - I do not have anything against makeup. It is a wonderful thing for the days you need to feel extra girly, throw on some sparkle and color. It can be the funnest thing!

However, the problem arises when we use makeup to not enhance, but hide. Its a problem when we can't look at ourselves without it and find a single good thing to say. Its a problem when your close friends do not recognize you without it.

You are beautiful. No, you probably do not look like the girls in the movies or magazines, but that doesn't mean you are not beautiful. And not in a "She's got a beautiful personality!" No. No, no, no, no, no. I mean there was a plan that was made when it came to making you, and God Himself said you were good. Your smile/eyes/hair/lips/nose/ears/every other weird thing we think is wrong were put there on purpose. Your curls/pin straight hair that you hate are what another girl dreams of.

I so tired of seeing girls go out and not actually being able to see their real skin. I'm tired of seeing orange people. I am saddened when I hear one of my friends talking about a guy, and I hear her say, "Yeah, well, he'll never pick me anyway, so why bother?" I want to scream at you all, "DON'T YOU KNOW YOU'RE FABULOUS?!" But then I realize I'm included in that group.

So girls, can we stop for a minute, wipe off that mask we painted on ourselves, and take an honest look in the mirror? And by honest, I don't mean critical. I mean appreciative. Find that thing that you poses that no one else does. The thing that when others compliment you on, you blush and say, "Oh, that? I just showered today." Because I'm telling you its there.

Thanks for reading! It means so stinkin' much!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time, I doubted. I doubted what I had been taught, what I had read, what I had had instilled in me since I was born.

Once upon a time, I feared. I feared that I was insignificant, that I was a hindrance, that I was incapable of accomplishing my dreams and goals.

Once upon a time, I hurt. I hurt from others opinions, for others own pains, and hurt others out of spite, because I could.

Once upon a time, I wanted more.

I had tried to accomplish my dreams and goals by myself, and failed. I felt empty, from the bitterness I had taken in and given out. I wanted to be a cornerstone for others, but found that doubt had shaken my foundation out from underneath me.

I had held onto my worries so tight that they had trapped me, in a prison that I was unaware I had put myself in. Once aware of my surroundings, I wanted to explain to others that this was not what I had wanted to choose, this was not my choice, but was unable to break off the bindings, the dirt, the weight I had put myself under to speak.

Looking at me, you may have had no idea I was dealing with anything. The air of confidence I had learned to exude was an easy disguise I could pull out for a moment of weakness. I was the picture of strength, capability, and confidence, when all I felt was weak, insignificant, and not deserving of anyone's attention.

I felt broken, but had no apparent reason to be so, when you're only looking at the obvious, the external. But if one had been capable of taking a microscope to my soul, my inner workings, they would have seen someone begging for attention, for friendship, for love. One who had shut themselves off to the world, believing that there was no one out there who could fulfill its deep need for connection. I cried out for more. There had to be more to this life. An then, I felt it.

I felt something that I had observed, but never participated in. Something I thought I had a grasp of, but soon realized I hadn't the foggiest idea what it truly meant. Oh, I had told others in the past that I knew of its wide expanses, its mystical healing powers, but that was, well, it was a man-made description of what I had heard and been taught, a description of something that can only be known by experience.

It was like being in a warm rainstorm. It started slowly, just splashes, slowly washing away my insecurities. Not abrasive, but gentle, reassuring.  And once I had become accustomed to it, accepted its help, it gained momentum, pushing me farther. And then, I was immersed.

In an instance, I was cleansed. The weight was gone. And I felt like I, even with all of the doubts, fears, hurts, was enough. He had seen through everything, and still He picked me. Amongst all the others, He chose me to work on, to work through.

I've clung to that. Do I struggle? Oh my goodness, yes! But I've learned, grown, and changed. I am no longer full of doubt, fear, or striking out to hurt. Because I was chosen. And sometimes, that's all it takes.

Thank you for reading! It means so much to me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Unlikely Transformation.

Not gonna lie, I had quite the low point as a Christian yesterday. Like really low. Like if anyone had witnessed that moment and asked me if I was a Christian, I would have denied, just so that no one would ever associate that moment with my Christ.

I wrote a letter. And man, what a letter!

So, for you to have a grasp at how writing a letter can be unchristian, I'm gonna have to explain some things. Let me say right now, I am not proud of this. At all. In fact, every ounce of my being is screaming for you to stop reading. But don't. I need to be real, and open, and honest, and all those other things I so badly want to be known for.

A person who had been involved with my family went into rehab. He desperately needed it. And as part of rehab, they ask people to write open, honest letters to the rehabees, explaining the pain, grief, whatever that they have caused.

I did not hold anything back.

I told him I wished he had stayed out of rehab and died. I told him that if he became this generations Billy Graham and cured cancer, I still wouldn't want anything to do with him. I may have mentioned a dream I had had where he died, and I woke up refreshed and joyful. When I sat down to write the letter, I went into it with the mindset that I would write a letter that would make him want to kill himself. And hopefully before he found God, because I did not want to run into him up there.

And as I read what I just wrote, I feel so ashamed. I feel so unbelievably far from the girl who is quick to forgive and believe the best of everyone. The girl who will try to make up ridiculously implausible stories that might excuse why a person was rude, just so I can have the capacity to show them Grace.  That girl did not exist anywhere in this letter.

So, I rewrote it. And it flowed out of me, just as easily as the other one had. At no point during the writing of these letters did I have to stop and think how to say a certain phrase. Both times I had written with absolute clarity, and ended them feeling I had said everything I needed to say.  But the second one was a tad different. There had been a change that had taken place since writing the first letter last night, and writing the second one this time. And it was simply this: I asked God to give me His heart for this young man.

I did not want God's heart for him. No. I had written that I would throw a party every year on the day of his death. I did not want to care even a smidgen for him. But as I wrote my second letter, that's all that would come out. I tried to write about the pain he had caused me and my family, but instead I began to plead with him to visit with the Lord. To go to Him in the midst of everything that he's dealing with, while he's doing it. To no matter what, always go to God. I honestly do not know how I wrote this letter. If you saw these two letters side by side, you would swear they were written by two different people to two completely different people.

And I write this now, not as any sort of glowing recommendation of me and my writing abilities. Far from it. As far as I am concerned after reading the first letter, I shouldn't be allowed to write ever. Seriously, it was horrible. But I write this to remind you of the transformative power God has on our lives. Because I am still in shock that I even took the time to write the second letter, let alone have it be an uplifting one. And all it took was a begrudging, half joking request for God to give me His heart.

Thanks for reading! It means the world to me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

There's Hope. Hope for us all.

You know what drives me crazier than vegan hipsters? Fakes. Which include the vegan hipsters, so that makes sense.

Honestly, I just don't understand it. Never have, never will.  But yet there they are, all over the place. The world is full of people so ashamed of themselves, that they put up a false front to trick others into thinking that they are what they are not, what they wished they could be, what they wish that they could hide from themselves. And I want it to stop.

Really. Does it make any sense to put a front up for people who don't like the real you? WHY???  Why would you want someone to like fake you, if they wouldn't like the real you? If they don't want to spend the time to get to know the real you, why do you want to spend the time to change yourself into something you think they might like, just to get to know them? That gets confusing just typing it!  Just stop!!!

I want to get to know you. I want to know the real you. The one that has "lame" hobbies (Hello, I knit), glasses and braces (Am there, done that), insecurities (I am 23, never had a boyfriend or been kissed. Like I've never thought there might be something wrong with me.) and whatever else you feel you have to hide. We are all oddities, but that's what makes us us!

Ok, I do feel like I need to place a disclaimer on this. I am not saying let all your freakiness out all at once. All things in moderation, or you may scare away the people that would normally like you. With somethings, you just have to ease people into them. Slowly. Also, you do need to be careful with who you share yourself with. Not everyone wants you to do well. Many of them will use your differences against you and try to bring you down. Mainly, you need to be ok with who you are! Be confident that you are all things awesome, that your ceramic unicorn collection is super cool, and you may just convince some of them! If you can't do that though, you need to figure out a way to realize your awesomeness, because it's there.

I want you to see yourself the way that God sees you. I'm not gonna say see yourself  how I see you, because I may very well think you are an idiot. But that doesn't matter! I'm an idiot!  So look at yourself through the eyes of God. Do you know what He sees? He sees your potential. He sees His plans for you. He sees your heart. He sees His child. He sees Christ.

Shocking, huh? Especially when we know ourselves oh so well. But that is who we are. Or who we CAN be.

I'm not at all saying that you have to be everything that God knows you can be, to be real. I'm saying that you have to know who you can be, to become that person.  That, at least, is my personal launching point. If I don't know what I can be, I have no hope. Without that knowledge, I will become so bombarded with my failures, that I won't be able to pull my head up to see hope.  So that is where you start. With Hope.

With Hope, we can be vulnerable with others. We can share our heart, dreams, goals, fears, and desires with a select group, who, in return, can encourage and uplift us. Support us when we're down. Help us remember who we are, who God sees when He looks at us, of all our awesomeness. And hopefully, through our realness, we can help them as well.

There is hope for all of us. Maybe even the vegan hipsters.


Thanks for reading guys! It means a lot. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

I get lost in my mind...

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were younger? Anyone? I do. I wanted to be a librarian. More than anything. I mean honestly, what could be better than reading to kids all the time? I was thrilled.  I was one of those lucky few who had figured out what they wanted to be by the age of 4.

Then I realized that you didn't get to read books all the time and actually had to do work. I was devastated. But I then moved on to many, many other things, like being a lawyer, an archaeologist, art historian, psychologist, actress, and journalist. I put aside each of those things for one reason or an other ( Though I do still hold that I would be awesome at all of those, especially archaeology. I mean, me chillin' with Indiana Jones, with the hat and whip? Oh yeah.)  It's a fantastic thing that I didn't go on to pursue any of those careers, at least so far, because if I had, I know I wouldn't be where I am now, nor would I have done some of the amazing things that God has had me do so far in my life.

But where exactly am I now? So often people ask me, "So what are you doing?" and more and more often, I'm beginning to realize that I've grown somewhat stagnant. It's not that I'm not doing anything. I have a full time job, I'm a dedicated volunteer at my church in at least two ministries, and I always have a plan to flee the country in the works. But that's just what I'm "doing." Which, while it is what they're saying, I tend to believe that they're looking for more. For your dreams, goals, inspirations, and aspirations. And those are the things I've lost sight of.

Its not that I don't have them, its just that I've lost the focus I once had. I lack the intensity, conviction, and passion for my dreams that I had once had as a child to be a librarian. The drive to accomplish what seems impossible has left. And I think I've realized why.

Secrecy. Accountability. Encouragement. I never shared my hopes of becoming world famous from acting or writing, and then using that fame as a platform to advocate for all the kids around the world in the sex trade, especially mine in Mexico. Or to just find some way to be a spokesperson for helping young people realize that waiting for the right person and marriage isn't just something that the Bible says to keep us from having fun, but to keep us from unnecessary pain and suffering. That to do so doesn't mean that you're automatically an oddity, with some drastic defect, in either the personality, or, more than likely, the looks department. To be a Missions Pastor, with a specific calling for the youth, to introduce them to cultures, customs, and people so that they can cease to be obnoxious, spoiled and self centered, so wrapped up in their own drama, that they forget that it was all taken care of on the Cross. I don't share these things with people! And its taken me forever to write this, because once I push publish, that all changes.

I can no longer get lost in my mind, with over thinking and cowardice, when it comes to my dreams. They can no longer sit on the back shelf as I wander through the life I've made. I will have to start moving forward with them. Or reconcile them as things that aren't to be. But I will have to make some decision on them. And I'm excited for that. Dreams are the things that fuel us, that keep us in motion. Without them, we are complacent, simply moving without thinking.

And I'm sick of it. So here goes nothing/everything.

Thanks for reading guys! It means a lot.