Showing posts with label compassion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label compassion. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Loving Can Hurt Sometimes

Last week I had a cardiac ablation. Wires were taken through my groin up into my veins and then to my heart to burn out unnecessary tissue that had been causing me to frequently have an irregular heart rhythm. In the days leading up to the procedure, it took everything in me not to hit up google and seek out the risks associated with it. Because with every medical decision made to hopefully improve the quality of your life, there comes a list of risks and almost every one of those lists ends with 'stroke or death.'

But isn't that the way it should be? I mean as far as the human existence goes, we should be compelled to have a better 'quality of life' about us, should we not? Just living it and managing a physical heart rhythm isn't enough. There needs to be more than just breath.

Still the only true and real thing that boosts the quality of our lives is LOVE. Love is our reason for  existing. It's the precise reason for our being alive. Our goal is to love the Lord God, love others, love ourselves. If we don't have love, we are nothing. Remember that?

Be that as it hurts. Although it’s true that a higher quality of life is embodied in love, it can feel risky. Because of the incredible depth of it, there is always that chance that on the other side of love... is pain. And the fear of pain...or ample experience with it...can hold us back from having a genuinely rewarding existence from here on out.
The many facets and types of love can leave us feeling jaded or even battered depending on our exact situation. Parents may have mistreated us. Friends may have back stabbed us. Relatives may have abused us. Our child may have fallen ill. A spouse may have cheated on us. A boyfriend/girlfriend may have left us. A church friend may have talked about us. A leader may have failed us. A loved one may have passed away too soon. A trusted person may have abandoned or betrayed us.

Any of these situations and the plethora of others you may have experienced can leave you feeling afraid to really love again.

Why take the risk? It hurts too bad. We don't like to be hurt. We don't like how people make us feel.  We don't like when people leave us too soon. We don't like to feel disappointed... or worse , completely broken.. So why lay everything on the line to love people if it's only going to leave you wounded? Intentionally or unintentionally.

These past few years have been hard for me. People I loved died. People I loved got sick. People I loved talked. People I loved walked away. Everything in me wanted to shut down. It felt like too much. I didn't want to love anymore. It felt too unreliable. The moment I felt some certainty  was the moment I'd feel myself sink and my heart ache all over again.
I didn't want to allow love while the pain that resulted from it threatened to wear me down. Over and over, I'd say no more. No more to letting my guard down. My heart had become too fragile.

But that would mean I'm just existing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Day after day. Year after year.
I would barely survive. I would become numb to the beauty around me.
There would be no real quality to my life and the quantity of my days would feel like an eternity.
I would never grow or learn anything.  I would never laugh with someone, or cry for that matter...
I would never feel amazing. I would never feel much at all.
Or at least I would tell myself that.

That is not the life we are built for. This time here on this earth is not for us to hold back and guard ourselves. But rather to continue to stretch and to pour into others, even if there are risks involved. True there may be no certainty in love as far as who, what, when and how much of a 'return' you'll receive on your investment into another human being, if anything.

But that doesn't mean we just stop.

Understand this... we are here for a purpose.
Utilizing the LOVE that is instilled in all of us makes all the difference in the overall quality of our lives. We are not here to be alone and die never giving our best to someone else. We need to do more than just breathe. We are here for that child. that friend, that parent, that sibling, that significant other. We're even capable of loving strangers. People do it all the time.

Despite our misgivings, bad experiences and our fears. We are capable of choosing love over it all.

Loving can hurt. Loving can hurt sometimes.
But it's the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul
And it's the only thing that I know, 
I swear it will get easier
Remember that with every piece of you
and it's the only thing we take with us when we die

Ed Sheeran- Lyrics to Photograph

Monday, November 16, 2015

Your Future Is Bright

Over the weekend, I've been trying my best to process what is happening in our world. The evident evil taking over otherwise happy, everyday moments of so many lives in so many places. From threats of terror to movie theater and school shootings, life can really feel unpretty these days. Like the rest of the world, my heart was aching the moment I heard about attacks of concert goers and city dwellers in Paris. My heart was aching and my mind was fearful. Then articles started pouring in about suicide bombings in Beirut. And hashtags start switching from #prayforparis to #prayfortheworld as people around the world began letting their voice be heard of their own tragedy.

Everytime I hear of a mass attack on humanity by any means, two things automatically cross my mind. One, what happened to these people? These were once someone's tiny sweet innocent babies, full of life and purpose. How did they get to this place where this was okay in their mind? And second, why oh why have I brought children into this world? I am just one person and can only protect them so far, so how do I protect them from things like this, because it seems to me, no one is immune.

In the midst of all our facebook filters and hashtags rallying support around others that have had tragedy strike, we either live in fear or we keep convincing ourselves to just keep living fearlessly, because we may as well make the best of our life, do the most that we can, while we still have breath to breathe. We know our true future is in Heaven, but what about now?

My 12 year old son was showing some concern on and off over the weekend for the "what ifs?" What if it happened here?  How do we arm ourselves and our families? How do we not show up at the wrong place at that wrong time? And as I was looking to the Lord, he showed me that our only answer is to know His voice. We need to know the voice of God's spirit. We need to learn how to let it lead us, how to let it stop us and how to let it give us the go ahead. The Holy Spirit was given to us as our comforter and helper, to reveal to us the deep things of God and to show us things to come.
1 Corinthians 2:10, John 16:13.

In times like these people tend to think that God doesn't care, but the fact remains that he gave men dominion of this world for this time period. They do with this world what they wish. For some, it's evil. For other's its selfishness. For others, it may be just living life oblivious to what we are truly here for. But while he gave mankind dominion, He gave believers the Holy Spirit so that they would allow Him to lead them and guide them throughout their life. And we better have our ears tuned in to His voice, because our future and life depends on it.

It frustrates me at times, watching the enemy working on the lives of Christians, getting them to a place where they compromise truth for lies. They compromise living lives in close communion with the Lord to living lives based off quotes and memes on the internet. Honestly, when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter how inspirational a person or his words are, if it's not the whole word of God, it's not truth. And memes and quotes aren't going to save anyone when the enemy is working on someone's mind to blow a up a building that you just walked into. Being led by God's spirit and knowing His voice is our only hope and comfort in this time. We need to know Him and be willing to obey his leading. We need to stop getting in our own way, stop playing the devils games and get serious about this life, friends. Clearly the devil is serious. He means business. He is at constant war with humanity because his sole enemy is the God who created them. So why do we play games in a world he's infiltrating?

I know this is a serious post, but this is a serious time we live in. And sometimes I fear for people that want to say as long as we love Jesus, everything is okay. Love Jesus or not, if we don't know His voice, how will He ever warn us or show us things we need to know? Time away from this 'world' and spent soaking in God's presence is key. I believe God will and does show all kinds of people all kinds of things they need to know for their future, but if you are too busy following all the other voices that are beckoning you in this world, online, in books, on youtube or even in our own mind... you will always second guess or flat out disobey his voice--His voice that was trying to show you things that will protect or bless you and your family.

I get tired of the gross darkness that is attempting to cover our world and even infiltrate the body of Christ. And I just had to say it. It's deceptive. It's sneaky. And It's meant as a distraction to water down the power and presence and anointing of God in our lives. And ultimately, it's meant to deter the body of Christ from hearing His voice and doing what they are called to do. God's love is bigger than acceptance which seems to be the mantra these days . Jesus came to set people free from the things that hold us captive, to give us authority over the enemy, and then He left us with His Spirit to keep us growing, moving, protected & guided. All incredible acts of His incredible love.

And right now I'm thanking God for all the tools He's provided for me. I'm thanking God I don't have to live in fear. And it's my hearts purpose to make better use of what He left for me to use, both for myself and for the world around me... I'm thanking God my future is bright. My kids future is bright. My husbands future is bright...

And yours can be bright too, friend.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Facebook Rant (camouflaged by scripture)...

 Alot of stuff I post on here started out as a topic of discussion on facebook. I have to admit, I've always been sort of the kind of person who likes to give out wisdom or opinion, but I fear hearing the comments in reply to me. Because I'm super sensitive. And any comment that remotely disagrees with me, I get hurt feelings. Dumb, I know. But it is what it is.

Obviously I know that we don't all agree, so it has been something I have had to work out on my own. And I have. I've gained confidence in who I am and what I say so that not every ounce of criticism drives me to offense, but I gather up the pieces that might be true and I use them to work on myself ...and on my facts, so that I am a person of integrity, not just pride.

But even so, it's not often that I will start a discussion on facebook, because I hate confrontation, nor do I think debate or argument is right. Especially when there is no end. Or if there is no specific moral right or wrong. Obviously, I am unashamed of being a follower of Christ and I will defend his truth to the core, but if you want to argue with me, I smile politely and shut up. If you want to talk or discuss something rationally and calmly in respect of one another, I will. 
Just know, I still might cry. Haha.

Usually when I say something, I do say it with confidence in what I believe. And I think hard over things and pray about things and make sure it's something I even need to share.

Maybe there are people that have no business sharing every thought that enters their mind, but I feel confident enough in myself and what God has placed in me to use discernment and write out my thoughts now and then, or to share what God is dealing with me on. And I look up to others who do the same. There are just certain people, who God placed compassion and wisdom in and who voice it well...
and somehow we all come to respect them...
and there is nothing wrong with learning from people who God placed in our lives, even if it is via social networking. We might like it or hate it, but it's a part of our culture now, and as much as we want to cherish the good ole times of talking on phone and writing letters, I doubt it's going away anytime soon. So we make good use of it.

But I have been guilty of the occasional facebook rant or vent. Now that I think about it, most facebook rants, vents or complaints that I see are by women. Ha! Hilarious. Women are so emotional and respond out of emotion. And I've seen in myself in times past, my attempt at "correcting' someone's attitude or actions or theology in the form of an generalized facebook rant, obviously backed up by scripture. (Because if it's backed up by scripture, then it's not a rant, right?)
In hopes that 'so and so" would see my status full of Godly wisdom and fall to their knees in repentance. Or is it my anonymous way to publicly shame them and hope everyone knows who I am talking to and agree with me and "like" my status?
"Yes! Amen! I know exactly who you are talking about! THEY need to hear that!"
  I don't sound mean ( I don't think), afterall it is just the word of God, but the heart behind what I have said here and there has been more out of irritation than Love...

Am I the only one?
I know I'm not, because I've seen other people do it too and it prompted me to ask this question on facebook over the weekend and I was honestly loving the feedback. Even though I KNEW I was guilty of it. 
Now, how's that for growth, huh?

This is what I wrote:
Do you think that its ok to correct or instruct someone subtly & anonymously on facebook? Even if you are using scripture to back your thought up?  I feel as though God corrected me on this awhile ago, because I've been guilty of hinting via facebook that what someone is doing or saying is wrong.
If our heart truly is to help someone specific when we go into Gods word and dig up a scripture and post it on facebook, then why not just speak or contact them directly?
Instead we use the word of God to publicly shame someone who is usually just misguided or having a bad day. And we hope they will see our status and everyone who are our mutual friends will know we are indirectly talking to them. To me, that doesn't seem like the correction is done out of love, but rather out of our own personal annoyance with what they did or said...
and it could wind up hurting someone we care about or making them feel talked about, rather than spoken to. Again, I've been guilty of this...and I felt like God spoke to me on my intention and to really watch myself on what I do or don't say something publicly, no matter what it is.
Do we get glory out of it? Does everyone applaud us for saying what needed to be said?
Or does He get the glory? Is someone really helped in this manner...?
Something to think about, I guess.

And that was what I said.

The feedback was great. No tears here! I even had some people who do not profess Christianity to join in...
and I loved this comment, very true, not taken from scripture, but truth dripped from it...

"It seems to me that making a generalized statement... In hopes of reaching a specific individual. Is cowardly and self serving... Shame, fear, and humiliation are the least effective vessels of leadership. If you have genuine concerns with an individual... Contact them directly... Without making yet another generalized statement seeking justification."

Could that be any more true? How self serving are our remarks we make? Are we only out to prove we know more scripture? That we are right?And gain the hi-fives of those around us? If our hearts are genuine, and meant to "speak the truth in love" to a specific individual, then public shame and humiliation aren't the way to do that, even if you never mention a name or are "anonymous" so to speak...

I also received this comment, which spoke volumes to me.

"I've been seeing certain people do this a lot lately. It makes me sad when I see these passive-aggressive posts that are so obviously directed at somebody...trying to disguise it behind scripture. This is definitely the opposite of being a witness. I was very upset about something I saw just yesterday and this post put a smile on my face. Bravo♥"

Granted I wasn't writing my facebook post to receive her "bravo", but simply because it resonated with me and things I would say so often, and God had dealt with me so often on it. But it was good to know that I wasn't the only one aware of these secret motives of the heart, camoflaged behind scripture make us feel justified in spouting off a rant on facebook or to make it look like we are only trying to help in our all our vast wisdom & knowledge...
and perhaps arrogance? 

Perhaps when God has challenged us or corrected us on something, from that point on we see it more often in others. But whether or not we say something about it has to come from a place of genuine LOVE, never out of irritability or disgust...and never should publicly and indirectly preach a combination letter of humiliation & correction.
This is not speaking the truth in love.

God's word isn't sent to humiliate people into obedience, but to help them...
Nor does he ask us to humble people, but people are to humble themselves.
As a matter of fact, WE are to humble ourselves...

Guidance or instruction (coming from our thoughts) in the form of a blog or facebook post may or may not be directed at a specific person or a specific group of people. Only WE know within ourselves. It all boils down to our attitude or heart while we write it or publish it. We ask ourselves, do I say this hoping someone will see this so they can see how wrong they are?
Or do I say this, out of love, because God has dealt with me on this very topic and it helped me get a grip on life a little more?

It's a matter of our heart...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Break My Heart

I had no plans to write this week, but how could I not say something on a day like today. As I scroll through my Facebook feed, all the reminders of this very day, twelve years ago. People being reminded of where they were when the heard the news about the attacks on our country. Of course, I remember. But what I remember was my mom calling me and saying "Paris bombed the World Trade Center." Obviously that's not what she said, but as I turned on the news, in that moment realized how life suddenly became that much more real to thousands of people. I don't remember if I cried. I don't remember my emotion in that moment. But I remember the emotion in the weeks to follow.

I remember.

I wrote more, but decided to leave it at this. Compassion. For those who are victims and for those who cause the pain. Our world needs it no matter who they are or what they've done. Not just in the major tragedies, but people every day are hurting and confused and they hurt others because of it. My heart aches for those who are so lost in this chaos we have made of our world God gave us. Honestly, humanity has made quite of a mess of this place. But if we see this world through God's eyes and love them with God's heart, suddenly our heart breaks for every person out there.

My prayer is today that you would stay close to God. Yes, He is always with you, but that you would stay in constant awareness of his presence with you. That you would talk to him and listen when he speaks to you. And when you do, suddenly your vision is clear, your ears are open and your heart will notice people every day that need hope. They need healing. The need love.

And you can be that connection to them finding it.
That is the call God wants every one of us to answer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another Piece Of My Story

A lot of times when I write and try to tell my story,
I talk about how I was raised in the church,
so I don't really feel like I have a story. I was a pretty good girl. Never got in alot of trouble.
So instead, I go to a recent experience of God helping me out of a very long season of depression.
That must be my story.
But the truth is we all have a story. I'm a big believer that every part of our story is important.
Every tragedy, every epic moment of joy creates us into who we are today.
And today I am going to tell you that first moment I became this girl I am today.
a part of my story I have never talked about in blog world.
When I was 19, I had been out of school for over a year, but I had no desire to 
go to school beyond that. So I just worked.
About a year into it I went to a youth conference, you may have heard of it...
called Acquire The Fire. Being raised in a preachers home, I had actually been to several
of these youth conferences throughout my teen years and had always enjoyed them but went home
pretty much the same person I went there as.
Every year they would show videos of their Global Expeditions.
A part of their organization that took teenagers across the globe on missions trips to like
eighteen countries every summer to share the love of Jesus with people of other nations.
That year, because all I was doing was working, I felt like I was doing nothing with my life.
So I decided this would be the year I would go. Yes, I was going to travel the world
all by myself with a bunch of teenagers I did not know.
And I did. I went to Albania. The experience of traveling through Italy and to Greece in 
itself was amazing. I met new friends. I encountered a new culture.

I learned of these people who had recently come out of communism at that time.
Who were so grateful, and loved the Lord so much, and didn't take for granted
their new found freedom in serving God. A lot of what we take for granted here.
In fact, lately  it seems like we are using our freedom to kick God out of our country.
They were the exact opposite. They desperately wanted the freedom to serve God.
They were unashamed in sharing the gospel. I mean, even the teenagers were. 
They were our interpreters and had no fears or hesitation in approaching people with the story of Gods love.
I can't say how much that made an impact on me. How much it moved me.
I remember coming home after a month in Albania that year and taking a trip"up north"
to visit my relatives with my mom. You see, My mom grew up on an Indian Reservation.
So, yes, I am Native American.

One thing I got really used to over the years is hearing the continual tragedy that haunted people we knew, or people that she knew. If it wasn't suicide, it was jail time. If it wasn't jail time, it was someone's kids getting taken away. If it wasn't someones kids getting taking away, it was rape. If it wasn't rape, it was death associated with alcoholism.
This is fairly common conversation. So sad and tragic and I always wondered why.
I never understood it, but as I grew up I learned that it wasn't just the reservation she grew up on,
Native Americans as a whole seemed to enslaved by much of these types of things. day we were up north in my moms hometown and we were driving...
and we came across someone that she knew and he was walking on the side of the road.
She picked him up and he wreaked of alcohol and looked sad and sickly and weak as he
stumbled into our car.
I was just a young nineteen year old girl, and although I had heard stories of alcohol related accidents
and disease fairly often, alcohol was really never apart of my life.
It shocked me. It made me sad to see him look this way. So given over to a life that had no hope.
I remember after she dropped him off, there was a song playing on the radio.
It was by an old Christian rock band called Petra. The Lyrics said "We are strangers. We are aliens.
We are not of this world." And I remember busting out in tears.

I remember thinking how different our lives were. Thinking how do people live this way?
This isn't normal. At least to me it wasn't. This isn't happy.
And that week, I was praying  "Lord, give me a heart of compassion. I want to see people the way you see them. I want to hurt for them. I want to love them the way you do."
That moment was the beginning of who I am today, why I blog the way I do.
When I see people that are bound with depression or addictions, when I see their families hurting as a result, when I see people shoving God out of their life, sometimes purposely, sometimes not even realizing it, my heart aches for them. Because I know it will only end up in confusion
or heartache for them.
My heart aches for God as he must want so badly to help them.
I truly believe that moment was a defining moment for my life. Why I think and talk
and act the way I do today. That moment had an eternal impact on my life and will forever
move me to love people, tell them the truth that can only set them free.
Sometimes, people don't want to know the truth. I know there have been times where I didn't,
but truth & hope in God is the very literally the only thing that can help humanity.

That summer forever changed me to want to see people through God's eyes.
After seeing how excited the Albanian people were to have the opportunity to serve God and tell others about Jesus, how could I just sit by having all the freedom in the world to do so, and let my world, the people I came in contact with, how could I let everyone just hurt and be lost in confusion without hope when I know the truth? 
Up until I started my blog,  I never realized the impact even just having compassion on other people's stories and sharing my own story could have on people.
And I am forever grateful that I can share my ups and downs, trials and errors, and still be able to glorify God and direct people to Jesus in all that I do and say!

This is a big part of why I started this Suburbia to the Streets project. It's close to home.
It's both near, yet far...feeling the hopelessness of these women, and young girls.
Bound by addiction. It's not a story far away. It's a story I have heard many times over as
I grew up. People needing love. And if we don't see them with the eyes of compassion,
we can very easily overlook the heartache of other people, because to us, it's just a story.
But to others, it's a reality.
I only have 7 more days left. I've raised enough to help 2 women off the streets, which was my original goal...But with my remaining last few days, I want to help one more.
Will you help me, help one more? Please? If you can give even $5, please click below.
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