Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why we pray

One week ago yesterday, I received a phone call from my mom that urged me to get on a plane and come home to be with my dad.  His health has changed drastically and he seems to be digressing.  Her voice was filled with sorrow and just needed someone to be close to her at this point.  Dad was in the hospital and we didn't know what the next few days were going to hold...where is God in our sorrow?  Why does He let bad things happen to good people?  We let our minds pretend that since our family has failing health he must be absent...that could not be father from the truth.

A few months ago I began struggling with the question, "why do we pray?"  God already knows what it going to happen.  He knows how things are going to turn out.  We have free will, but he knows what direction we are going to go.  He knows what's going to happen to my dad...so why do I bother praying to a God who already knows?  I am still spending time wrapping my mind around this very thought...but was brought some answers that have relieved my questioning soul.  We have relationship with Christ.  We are able to meet Him no matter where we are.  We are able to seek Him in the darkness and in the light.  By me going to Him and breaking down and asking Him for help, I am building our relationship.  I am being vulnerable.  It is the same as when we ran to our moms when we were small children.  We expect that she is going to make my cut knee all better.  She isn't.  But being in her presence seems to make it all better.  In the same way, we run to Christ and he offers hope.  He may not make my dad better...but he is still good.  I offer Him my struggles and I ask for His hand of protection in my dad's life.  I pray for a miracle, but when I grasp that it may not happen, I am filled with more hope.

"I spend my life to know, and I'm far from close to all you are...the greatness of our God.

Give me grace to see beyond this moment here.  To believe there is nothing left to fear.  And that you alone are high above it all.  For you my God are greater still." 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We've been lied to

Five years ago I took the plunge and decided to become a High School Camp counselor.  Whoosh, did it ever come with its list of challenges?  I encountered many types of kids, each of them coming with their own baggage.  I would sometimes sit in my cabin at night and think, "what have these kids been taught?  Where are there parents through it all?"  These kids had experienced things I had never even known exist.  Cutting, drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, the list continues.  But there was one thing that continued to stick out.  The struggle of self-image and identifying where that comes from.  These girls had been completely identified by what men in their life were telling them.  They had been damaged by the absence of a father. They had been lost in their spiritual walk because they were comparing their Heavenly Father to their Earthly Father.  The enemy had won the battle.  He had figured out how to conquer another young woman.  

I saw this same fad over and over again.  These girls were being lied to.  They thought if they had bleach blonde hair, or the cutest boyfriend, or the most expensive purse, that they were going to experience true happiness.  Never had they been faced with the idea of letting their Heavenly Father identify them.  Knowing and BELIEVING that they were created just the way they were supposed to be.  I struggled everyday with Christ, wondering why these girls had the doubts about themselves that they did.

There was one particular girl that, to this day, sticks out.  She had come to camp with gobs of baggage.  We sat in a small group and I asked each of them to share with me what they wanted freedom from.  Everyone shared, and finally this one girl spoke up and said, "I want freedom from self mutilation."  "I knew I wasn't going to be able to cut myself while I was at camp, so I have this rubber band on my wrist.  Every time I want to hurt myself, I snap it."  She continued talking about the pain that she had been inflicting on herself for months.  It was her way to experience relief.  I asked her to give me the rubber band and know that Christ will provide her freedom and comfort.  Sure enough, she handed me that rubber band and continued on her way.  The problem, there are so many girls/women struggling with this very thing but are convinced there is no way out.  The devil has come to lie and deceive.  We know this, yet we continue to let him win.  We think that drugs and alcohol are the answer.  I'm sorry folks but we have to turn this vicious cycle.  We know where true pleasure and happiness comes from, and that's drawing close to the heart of Christ.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We were never promised to be loved

One of the things that I have been learning over the past year is the cruel truth that we were never promised to be loved we were only commanded to love as Christ loved us.  To take on this selfless position and completely embrace Christ and know that we may never be loved in return.  This is a hard pill to swallow.  To know that we put so much into loving others and often times don't receive love in return.  This is the very stem of problems in marriages today.  We expect the stars yet we are unwilling to give an inch. 

A lot of times we enter marriages and we quickly find ourselves measuring our spouses up to this never ending measuring stick.  We measure his or her love for us by how far they can reach on that measuring stick.  Unfortunately, this is not what was intended.  My world has been rocked lately reading a powerful book called, "Power of Being a Woman."  Its title implies that it is teaching woman how to be powerful and mighty over their work, spouses, etc.  In all reality it is teaching the power of being a woman in our everyday Christian walk.  How we treat our husbands is how they are going to identify Christ's love.  How we use our skills of manipulation is going to tell those around us what is truly important.  We have the power to impact so many people’s lives, but we are too often using our skills in the wrong way. 

I had a mentor once tell me, "Christie, you are extremely powerful in the workplace.  You are able to lead and have others follow you.  The moment you figure out that you cannot enter your home with the same mentality, you will be much better off."  Whoosh, is this ever true.  I was so guilty of entering my home with this idea of leadership and I always had to be the one in charge.  Again, this was never how Christ intended and I am so glad I learned this young in my marriage. 

Wives, if we would simply learn to love and respect our husbands.  If we would let them lead, even when it doesn't seem possible.  If we would let them struggle.  If we would let them be men...they would begin to see the TRUE love and respect that we have for them.  After all, how often are we taking that very thing from them and spending more time demeaning them rather than building them up?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Never done this before

Well, here it goes.  I don't really know who I am writing this to or who will ever read this...but I am willing to take a chance!

Today, I decided that I wanted to blog, because I think it is so important to share with people what you are learning.  I think that God often times teaches us things so that we can in turn teach others.  Yesterday, while at church.  I was challenged by a number of different things and I think they are appropriate to share.  One of the opening things our pastor challenged us with was not are you a Christ follower or did you read your Bible this week?  He asked, what have you done this week that showed you were a Christ follower to someone?  It doesn't matter how well you know the Word if you aren't willing to turn around and tell others about the Word.  Joe and I have also been experiencing a number of challenges finncially.  Our most current challenge is that my three year old jeep needs a new engine, totaling $4,000.00.  We do not even have the means to pay a portion of this.  During our sermon, we were reminded that God is going to challenge us and being a Christ follower was never promised to be easy.  In fact, we were PROMISED the exact opposite.  That to strengthen our faith, we would experience hardship and turmoil.  The common day church has had no problem taking the text, "I will supply all that you need," and defining that as money, food, materialism, etc.  Th problem, that text was intended to be sulf sufficient.  That Christ is all that we need.  In the midst of turmoil, he will supply and he will be all that we need.  We sit in churches every week that teach, "if you are a good christian you will experience financial adundance or good health."  No offense, but we are seeing faithful people dying everyday.  God did not betray them.  That is exactly what was intended.  We are being fed lies that are ruining and masking Christ's true self. 

May you be challenged this week to really seek out who Christ is and not who we want him to be.  As Matt Chandler says, "if I live or if I die, God is still good."  If we all began living with this perspective, we would live much more peacefully.  God Bless.