Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Word to My Small Group

This is something that I wrote to the wonderful ladies in my small group. I hope you find it illuminating as well.

A word to the loveliest Connect Group around:

We shared a lot of different things this semester. I hope some of them were insightful for you. One thing I remember fondly is our discussion of DTRs (define the relationships). We talked a lot about our own relationships with God, but I enjoyed sharing funny stories of our own attempts at DTRs. I know many of you were only here for a semester and many of you will be gone this summer, but I just wanted to share something that’s been on my heart, and that’s love.

As women, I know we are all familiar with multiple types of love. We love our parents, our best friends, our puppies, and that guy that sits across from us in class! Love can cause a massive dose of butterflies or a waterfall of tears. Whatever form it takes, people will spend their whole lives looking for it and trying to define it.

As most of you already know, I have very little experience in the realm of love. The one thing I do know is that love involves risk. When we love there is a chance it will be returned. There is also a chance that we could face rejection, scorn, or belittlement. In the words of Maroon 5, love is not always rainbows and butterflies. Again, this is not just love for “that guy.” This encompasses love for our friends and fellow man.

When our love is not readily accepted, it hurts. It strikes us at a place that seems deeper than anything else. All we want to do is go hide under the covers and never allow ourselves to extend that kind of love ever again. Our first instinct is to go into hyper-protective mode. How do you come back from something like that? How do you pick your heart up again when it’s been crushed and dare to love again? Your friend is mad at you, that guy shot you down, that family member doesn’t want to see you again. It all seems like an overwhelming mess.

Take a look at 1 John 3:11-24. John starts out by reminding us that from the beginning, our command has been to love one another. The initial love is the easy part right? It’s what comes after it’s been rejected that seems to cause the problems. In fact, verse 13 says, “do not be surprised that the world hates you.”

If we keep reading, we see in these verses that love is a response to being born again. In fact, John tells us that we know what love is because Christ laid down his life for us, the ultimate act of love.

Further, verse 23 reminds us again that the command is to love one another and that “whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

It’s not easy to love each other. It’s not easy to love again after your love has not been well received. As Christians, however, loving one another comes from abiding in God. The closer we become to God, the more we can begin to love people the way he loves.

This is my encouragement to you. Go out and love each other. Do not be afraid to love your friends, family, or the people around you. It’s not always easy. Showing love to people involves risk, but always remember that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about love, it’s that there are times when I can only love someone because it’s the Holy Spirit doing the loving!

You are all beloved daughters of God. This summer, I challenge you to love fiercely. Go out in confidence wherever you are and reflect the love of Christ. There will be times when it’s difficult, but don’t forget that you have the power of the God of the universe in you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I can't come up with a title for this post, because I'm not sure I've ever been here before.

My walk with Christ has taken many turns and has had its ups and downs. I feel like I am coming out of one of the deepest pits I've ever experienced.

This pit is comprised of swirling emotions, insecurities, questions of my calling, tests of friendships, and all together a mix of unpleasantness. I didn't see it coming. It's unbelievable how one day can change everything. I can't understand how people's words can cause me to question the way I speak, look, or even interact with people. This pit seems pretty deep.

Over the past few days, I've known deep down that there would be an ending to this pit, but my prayers consisted of nothing more than pleas to God to take this from me. Not unlike Paul, this thorn in my side was excruciating, but I couldn't seem to shake it. I sought God, pouring myself into the word, running away from "real life" to find solace with him, but still the doubt and insecurity plagued me. Endless tears gave way to a numb emotionless state. My prayers changed from asking God to take this from me to just begging him to not let my heart become hardened.

I just wanted to run. To run away from everything and not stop until I forgot. I need God to remind me of what the truth he'd spoken to me before. I reread some of the same scriptures from when I was in middle school and couldn't figure out how he could possibly want me in full time ministry.

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
-John 16:33

At first these words had a quiet comfort to them. A small swell of peace. However, as I felt like I was battling harder to get out of this pit, these words took on new meaning when our worship leader belted them out in the middle of one of my favorite songs. No longer was God telling me to take heart, he was saying TAKE HEART! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!

These words didn't just have comfort, they had power. While I still feel like I'm just starting to climb out of this pit, whispering these words to myself during the day and thanking God that he sent his son to overcome the world, has been what I've relied on. I want to live from this truth.