Thursday, March 28, 2013

Free Will

Have you ever loved someone so much that didn’t love you back or couldn’t reciprocate your depth of love? You tried all you could, you pulled out all the stops, it’s as if you didn’t care if you got rejected you still kept giving more and more of yourself unrequited. It’s the worse type of love, the type that lingers just a moment longer hoping for a different ending. It’s the kind of love that holds onto the bread crumbs, those little bitty moments when you see a sign that that person might have a change of heart, they may eventually love you the same way you love them.

Sometimes we manipulate situations so that person we love will see us as amazing or that they can’t live without us. We even try to look better, that new hairstyle will turn his head, perhaps if I lost 20 more pounds he would think I’m too hot to pass up. The reality is if that person did turn out to love you because of those things, what kind of love would that be? I have asked myself that a lot but today I had this profound thought that maybe you have already had but I think that is part of the reason we have free will. God is the almighty, powerful, king of kings, Lord of Lord, so if he wanted to make us love him he certainly could, yet he gives us the choice to choose.

The profound part is he desires from us what we yearn for from someone else. He desires to be pursued daily, he desires an authentic relationship. He doesn’t want to have to manipulate us to love him, he doesn’t want to have to lure us in by making life look perfect. He wants us to go to him in all seasons because we deeply need him and desire to be close to him not for any other reason except that we are in love with him. As I think about that I find my heart both filled with joy and sadness. Sadness because of all the times I put things before God who longs for me and wants good for me. Joy because I know what that love looks like, I know how to love someone with all my heart only this time it gets reciprocated by the one who knows every single hair on my head and adores me.  

This encourages me because I’ve fought for love before and came up empty, but its teaching me about what Jesus longs for from me. I’m thankful for free will because without it I wouldn’t know the value or beauty of Jesus and maybe that is the point after all.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Planting Roots

We each have our foundation upon which we grow, where we choose to plant our roots. For a long time I was an overturned tree with roots hanging out, swaying in the breeze, I didn’t know where I wanted to belong. I wanted to be a rebel, I didn’t want anyone to tell me where I should invest my life or time. So I did what I wanted, paved my own way, and found myself at the end of myself and longing for more and more of something. My own ways were fun for a while but led to disappointment, pain and a constant thirst for more.

I became so thirsty I started to root parts of myself here and there hoping to be filled. Sometimes it was in fleeting relationships, vanity, department stores, long nights out on the town, and sometimes it was just in the sad places of my mind where I told myself I can’t be the person I want to be. Thankfully there were other parts of me that knew about Jesus and believed in him. There were people who shared the love of Jesus with me from a young age and never did my heart forget that. Little by little I yanked out the roots I misplaced and planted them to be built up in what I was taught because the yearning was always the same and I knew all I wanted was more of Jesus.

Silly me thought that living  a free life was doing as I pleased not being grounded in anything but that was nothing but a letdown. God created me to have a life that has meaning and to be rooted in good things. He has these amazing plans for us to flourish and branch out so others can know about the love he has for everyone. I’m finding more and more that being a Christ follower is brave and it allows me to hope for things greater than I can see. It also gives me courage to be there for others who were like me doing life on their own aching and thirsting for more.

My roots are being built up in him giving me the strength to keep growing towards a full life.

"Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" Colossians 2:7

"For he satisfies the thirsty, and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9

Pitter Patters

There is something I have fallen in love with. Right now Jalen and I live downstairs in my parents’ house while we wait to move into our very own place. Each morning I take a shower, get my pink robe on and then go make Jalen’s breakfast and pack his lunch for school. Then I get him up and have him go eat while I finish getting ready.

And it never fails, each morning after he eats I hear this racing pitter patter of feet coming to see me. Those pitter patters dart across the floor upstairs and I know in a minute my little blonde hair surfer boy will be by my side in an instant. I don’t know the reason he comes racing down to see me, as he usually comes for a second only to race back upstairs to get his shoes and socks on like a good boy. But for some reason he just wants to be around his mom, if only for a second. Those little pitter patters make me feel so loved and reassure me that I’m needed.

Those pitter patters are treasured in my heart as I know someday he will be off to college somewhere pitter pattering over someone's dorm room, someday those little pitter patters will be tiptoes over to the love of his life, someday those pitter patters will be the clacking steps of a business man or sloshing sandal of an oceanographer. I love those little pitter patters- it’s the small things that remind me I’m just so blessed.

Have a Happy Pitter Patter Hump day;)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Worthy of Worship

Two rows in front of me at church I saw this adorable loving couple. As I watched them I could see that the guy was in his mid-twenties and genuinely loved the girl he was with as he attentively rubbed her back, and placed his arm around her with an occasional kiss. They both worshiped the Lord freely with hands lifted and hearts bent toward the heavens.  Looking at them I yearned not only for that affection and embrace from a man but also to have a relationship that glorified Jesus. As I continued to be memorized by this couple who seemed to be newly in love bitterness crept into my heart.

All the broken relationships I had been in clouded my thoughts and my heart grew heavy. I've tried to become a strong woman after Gods heart refining myself for my prince yet here I am still alone, nothing has worked out. I've had dreams of a Godly relationship but failed to find someone to lead, instead I find myself stranded in the “singles” world trying to be strong, confident and okay with just being me. As the band struck up the music and worship began I could feel unstoppable tears beginning to form in the back of my eyes. “Why does that girl  I don’t even know get her love story and why am I stranded out here Lord?”, “ Why do I try so hard to be who you desire to be left alone Lord?”, “Will anyone be able to love me and Jalen completely Lord?”

The last thing I wanted to do was worship. Turns out the whole sermon was going to be about worship that evening. Non-stop praising the Lord, and then the worship leader began to tell us “God is worthy of our worship”. As the first song played I was like a child, arms stuck in my pockets I didn’t utter a single lyric as I clung to my stranded heart. The next song started to play and I watched the young couple praising aglow with fire and passion, my heart softened as I took in the beauty of their love. As the band kept playing my heart lifted and the pastors words lingered in my mind, “God is worthy of our worship”.

As those words kept replaying in my head that evening my self doubting, coveting, woe is me thoughts changed and God had the victory over my defeat. I was reminded he is sovereign and there is not one thing that I am going through that is greater than him. Laying down my needs and desires to praise the Lord even in my darkest hour and deepest sadness is where God is glorified and I find rest. Its in that place of sweet surrender and trust in God that I'm reassured my love story is in the palm of his hand. In worship my brokenness is no more and all my love, faith, and hope is restored.
Yes pastor, you are correct, He is more than worthy of my worship.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Bible

If I spent as much time in the word as I do over-thinking I think my mind would stop racing

I think my fear would slip away into the thin wispy pages that I turn

I think the truth I find would erode away the bitterness that makes me callous

I think I would be sweeter because his promise would be at my fingertips each day

I think I would be able to tackle the things of life with better discernment and grace

I think I would be less distracted and keep my eyes on the eternal moments that are being fulfilled in what I do today

Last night I opened my leather bible and turned those wispy pages and felt connected to a fuller life. The chaos of my day, worries, expectations melted away as I studied about Jesus.

When I read the last verse and closed my bible for the night I was renewed and found a piece of me that had been missing.

A relationship

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bachelor

There are only two shows I watch per year that suck me into their black hole The Bachelor and American Idol. I have watched The Bachelor since the first time Chris Harrison announced, “Ladies, it’s the final rose, if you don’t get a rose say your goodbyes”. What he doesn’t mention is: pack your burdens, heartbreaks, unanswered questions and take a hike. Then we watch the latest damsel in distress get into the limo with the camera about a quarter inch from her splotchy face taking in every last teary (sometimes dreadful) detail. Another girls hope crushed by an over romaticized relationship on national TV. As I click off The Bachelor I find myself whirling in that idea of a romantic fairytale land where my dream man chooses me, “And the final rose goes to…”

 meanwhile back to reality….

What really matters?
Even though I thoroughly enjoy watching The Bachelor, I have come to the realization that I have romanticized dating since before the dawning of reality shows. I’ve always been drawn to what is handsome, charming, and personable because I was seeking out excitement. However, that way of thinking has gotten old along with the heartbreaks that follow that way of doing things.  Over the last couple years I have began to redefine the maps to my heart and not until recently did they start to lead me somewhere positive. Instead of looking towards the “handsome, alluring package” my focus is on the heart of things- the deeper matters. I crave for a connection that can’t be found frolicking on the shores of Maui or Cabo San Lucas. I want to see the heart of Jesus in the man I’m with. I want to see compassion for the broken, lonely and despaired. I want a man to stand beside me and desire to lead me especially when temptations are too much to bear or I am weak in my own faith. I want to reach out and be found with the ability to be completely vulnerable whether it’s with my heart or how I look.

The more I discover my beauty and wholeness in Jesus the more my heart changes and grows. That fantasy or ideal relationship looks so different than before. It’s starting to look more like worship, prayer, compassion, empathy, and devotion. I’m starting to believe that the attraction that lasts forever is the wholeness of another person- that they know who they are to Jesus and how much they mean to Jesus. The longing for lustful things is losing its grip on my soul, in its place is the value of a man, the value of an authentic relationship, and the hope that I can find someone who will meet me on a path less traveled towards the throne of Jesus.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Feeling Bold and Beautiful Today!

One of the many nicknames my lovely best friend bestowed upon me growing up was “Marge Simpson Eyes” which we mutually found hilarious because I have these huge hazel eyes. There is no hiding anything with eyes like mine they are so big when I roll my eyes I don't even know it, I guess they get lost in that big socket of mine leaving me completely oblivious (seriously I’m not rude;)). To top it off I have a Roman Italian nose which I do talk about quite a bit because it’s been one of the biggest insecurities I've had about myself growing up. Thank goodness for people like Beth Moore who can poke fun at their noses and wear big ole hair and stuff to diminish the protruding mogul that is just about impossible to disguise or make look smaller. It’s all fun and games until you get inside my head and the hours I spend looking in the mirror at different angles trying to find which way would be the best way to stand if the man of my dreams happened to be checking me out. I know it’s completely ridiculous!

But in all seriousness we all have these things about ourselves that we struggle with.  I can look one of my best girlfriends in the eye when she is knee deep in Kleenex leaking endless tears filled with insecurity and doubt. I can tell her she is beautiful only to have her look at me like I’m crazy, how dare I tell her that she is beautiful! Why do we doubt our beauty and what we have to offer? I don't know completely but I do know I don't want to be someone else. I want to be the woman God created ME to be, I don't want to be a clone of Heidi Klum or whoever the hottest woman on the planet is right now according to Maxim.

I look at other bloggers that are stylishly adorable and I leave those pages feeling as if I’m out of their league of beauty or incapable of being hip. I leave those pages feeling down and out about who I am as a person, am I the whole package? The answer is YES! I don’t have to have long flowing beach blond waves to make an impact or a new edgy outfit to stand out from the crowd. I can have huge hazel “Marge Simpson Eyes” and a Roman Italian nose and still be beautiful because I can enjoy the way God designed me with perfect intention. Another thing I have learned is the ugly monster called envy makes me believe what someone else has is better but the truth is that is just a lie that keeps me from enjoying what God has given me. I love those stylishly adorable bloggers to pieces not to mention all the tips I get from them. The point is my mind twists things up, the fleshy spirit of envy and insecurity plants seeds of doubt into the heart of what makes me tick.

What I am learning is the art of enjoying who I am and how I was wonderfully and fearfully made. I’m learning to embrace my exotic eyes and prominent Italian nose which tells people I come from a long line of boisterous, talking with hands, bootylicious (is that even a word?), spaghetti and meatball lovers heritage. See how I can make something meaningful about what I used to call insecurities? There is something meaningful and truly special about each of us, there is no reason to feel defeated if you’re not the spitting image of the next woman plastered half naked on the magazine stand at the grocery store.

Enjoying the person we are right now, in this moment is the best thing we can do for ourselves and what I believe is the key to laughing our insecurities away because they no longer get the best of our thoughts since we love who we are. No one can mess with someone who knows who they are in Christ and is thankful for every single feature that is flawless in Gods eyes.

So I will leave you with this last thought………….YOUR BEAUTIFUL, get over it;)