Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Love is not tolerant.

Steel metal colored clouds consume the sky. The sun, hidden behind them, the way I would love to be hiding under my covers.

It is raining.

I stand outside letting the drops hit my face and roll off with the wind.

It smells beautiful. A smell so fragile I need to inhale deeply to grasp onto all its fragrance. Clean and crisp with a hint of something clinging to the edge. Memories, of ebony faces, and the time it poured as we walked to the dukas and sat on the barbers couches until the clouds stopped crying over us. Of the first time I met them and loved them. Of the endless days of walking with squishy wet mud between my toes.

Coolness surrounds me and I close my eyes to relish in the moment, in the memories, in what the smell of the rain brings.

I cannot capture the words.

I cannot capture the memories fast enough.

I cannot capture the beauty and grace of God.

All in the rain.

My African blanket is pulled tight over my shoulders as I write this. I'm cold like always, it's a never ending thing, no amount of hot chocolate or layers of clothing seems to keep my body warm. So I'll just pull on my wool socks and lace my fingers through my steamy mug of chocolate and pour out the warmth that is coming from my soul.

We all have treasured words written upon our hearts. They're the truths we keep locked beneath a cage of bone and a cloak of flesh; and I don't think there is ever a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why things happen or why things ends or why or who we are. You want one and I want one, but there isn't a pretty definition to tie it all up in a bow and deliver. I think it comes in bits and pieces, of growing and loving, of trusting in God. And we stitch all these things together where they fit and when we are done there may still be holes in places, we are imperfect, and yet God is still working and still moving, There is no other way.

I am just blown away by God. Blown away by His faithfulness and His love for me and just the way He sneaks in all quiet like and answers my prayers and blessed my life. And I'm just mad at myself for how selfish and how ungrateful I am. Seriously, I mean "Paul said it perfectly, 'I am the worst of these!' but every now and then I swear I think I got that guy beat."

And we could boil it down to me being hard on myself. But I am not. I think that's what this world needs. Christians, Christ followers, reckless Jesus lovers to be hard on themselves. We are too easy on ourselves. We are tolerant. We don't want to make people upset, So we walk on eggshells and go to church on Sunday and say we will do all these things. But we go home curl up on our couch and watch as the world literally goes to hell.

Do we speak out about the racism about Miss America, Or stretch out our hands to the families and victims of the shooting in Washington D.C.? Are we really praying for Syria? What about that kid in the back of the church, searching for answers, did we just walk past him?

We're not fighting the good fight. We're not running the race. We're not fleeing the evil desires. We are not loving.

Love is not tolerant.

Love speaks out. Love throws punches. Love sprints. Love crushes evil with good.

We have this checklist, these guidelines we think comes with following Christ. Go to church. Read your Bible. Tithe. Say grace before meals. But that's the thing loving God is not a checklist, it's not a thing to do. And I am the worst of these. I get so caught up in the things pastors and teachers and books have said define what it means to be a Christian. But there is only one definition of a Christian and that is Jesus.

And we're missing the point. I'm missing the point. That there are much greater things going on out in this world than what Miley Cyrus's new video means, or what's trending on twitter. There is a full out war, there is a battle raging. For souls and live's.

It's not who belongs to what church or what kids belongs to whom. They are all Jesus's and we are getting lost in competitions rather than loving. Lost in numbers rather than sharing Jesus.

Yes, I'm ranting. I know it. But as I sit here wrapped in a blanket, hands warmed by my mug I can't help but be angry with myself.

I didn't thank Him for the breath in my lungs today, for the roof over my head, for my family, my friends, for my little blanket and my mug. I missed it. And it kills me, because the rain reminded me of these memories. These faces of children and women and families who may not have breath in their lungs today, or a roof, or even a tattered blanket. My heart breaks for the injustice of these faces in my mind and heart. And my heart breaks for the blindness of my generation and so many generations before and after me. Caught up in self, while people are literally DYING out there without hearing about or feeling the love of Jesus.

It wrecks me. And so my cheeks match my windows, water trailing down. As I cry out and pray that God open eyes and hearts. That we become a people, that put down the guidelines and let go of self, and of ideas and competitions, of trying to be the best. And just let God have us, hold us, and lead us to be His hands and feet.

To stop being tolerant.

To stop pining for attention.

But to begin loving until it hurts.

And as Mother Teresa said, "That if we love until it hurts, there can be no more room for hurt, only more love." Until the day Jesus returns.

Having a heart that breaks for what breaks HIS.

Sitting with open hands and a tear-streaked face,

HIS and yours,


Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm feeling messy...

Writing is safer, somehow
because my pen cannot stutter like my lips do,
and words get stuck in throats,
not fingertips,
And I can't stumble
on paper trails of blue lines
because writing is definite and clear
and no one can tell if I am crying
or laughing
through written words alone.

In writing I can explain who I am and what I feel. I'm not looking into faces or staring into eyes and empty places. It's me, my pen, my paper, and my thoughts.

Which can be a scary place. A place where I come alive. Where I am seeing that sometimes people are not who they seem to be and sometimes people are exactly who they need to be. Sometimes people are going to use you and sometimes people are going to love you, regardless of what you do.

A place where I am constantly hunkering down next to Jesus and asking "What next? Where to? How long? Why me?" Where His arms are wrapped around me in a gentle way and He's leading me, He's showing me that sometimes I have to do things that I don't like to learn more about the things I love. That when I sit down with my pen in my hand and look at the big picture, His hand is in it all. He's guiding my pen, my words, whether written or spoken and He's showing me great and mighty things.

It's moments like these where I realize that when I don't over analyze, when I stop thinking so much He brings an answer into the light. And sometimes it's not the answer I necessarily like, but it's just the answer I need.

I was not made to work...

Okay before someone goes and calls me another lazy person of my generation, let me clarify.

I was not made to work this quote-unquote 9 to 5 job. (technically those are no where near my hours but whatever), You see lately I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by this idea that I could get stuck in this job. It's kind of something that haunts me. I don't want to ever feel stuck. ever. anywhere. Stuck means compromise. And that is something I promised myself I would never do.

You see honestly, most days I feel like I'm not doing the work I was made to do. The Kingdom work. Most days I feel like I'm just another face in the crowd. Standing in a retail store, helping guys pick out ties and underwear, carrying furniture for little old ladies, and slowly being snuffed out by the workforce world.

I feel like I am not fighting the good fight, that I'm not shining Christ near enough, and that my friends, haunts me. Haunts me more than the bills I know need to be paid, and the hours I know need to be filled, and the life i feel wasted at a job I know needs to be worked.

And so many people don't understand, they think it's an easy fix. And all I can do is just smile and nod and pretend like I'm getting along just fine, but I can't really talk about it. Because I can't really explain it. I can't explain that most days I feel the joy getting sucked right from me. That most days I walk around with people who proclaim to be these "Christians" but cut people down and pin people against each other any chance they get. That no matter how much I talk it out, I feel that each day gets worse. Because my heart is not in it. It never has been.

And these people see me as unappreciative, because I can't explain that I don't live, eat and breath my job. That I was not made for work. That I was not made for the workforce.

But that I have been made with a holy purpose. for the Kingdom's force. That I was made for love.

And everyday it gets harder to push myself up from the ground I so easily find myself on. That right now i just feel that nothing is in order and everything is so messy.

And God is showing me that sometimes messy is okay. Because in the messes He is strong. Through my tangled words and stuttered prayers He is answering me.

Because that's the thing. Love isn't beauty, love isn't a plan. It doesn't have a certain beginning and it certainly has no end or visible finish line to those deeply in it. Love happens, and it is incredibly messy.

And through these words written on pages and messy prayers lifted up, God is showing me the things I need to do. That I don't need approval to do them. That it's not going to be easy, but incredibly messy. But that He will continue to love me regardless of the world's view of me. Because that does not matter.

I hate who work makes me become. I hate who I am when I am there. I don't feel like myself and I believe when something is toxic to you, it's time to step away. It's not going to be easy, it's going to be messy. But right now I am leaning ever so close to my Jesus and He's showing me that His wreck is beautiful for my life.

That He's placing people and things and opportunities right in front of me. So I need to stop over thinking, stop over analyzing and just jump right in. He's got it all under control. Even through this messy words of a post. He's showed me a clear path through my cluttered mind. And ultimately it is to His Kingdom and His work and His calling and plan for my life.

Sorting through my clutter with Jesus,

HIS and yours,