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Redemptive Grace

Loving Jesus, Loving People….(including even me).

Shame Undone 2: The (Suffering) Repentant Heart

Sitting through his sermon I heard something that made me just cringethTRTHYCJW (Let’s be real…this happens all the time). On this day, though, he was talking about sin and repentance, grace and discipline, (Actually he said, “God punishes,” but I’m offering him grace and allowing for him to really have meant discipline); themes that at once seem altogether too prevalent in our ‘Christianese’ language and yet of which are not spoken enough to our hearts.

Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure of his intent. I still struggle with words and phrases that trigger a response in my mind. A response that causes all other surroundings to move to the blurry outer reaches of my awareness. It is a lasting symptom of being human. #Context

Anyway, the piece that I got caught up in is this whole idea around God [punishes] until repentance happens.

Ok. But.

Let me just tell you. I have truly repented  of one sin in particular. I mean, on my knees, tears to exhaustion, pleaded and begged, laid bare before my Creator, R-E-P-E-N-T-E-D. And guess what?! I still struggle with the same sin. I have not been released of its grasp.

I am repentant and the battle for my heart remains in a full deathmatch. Wait…what?

Yep. Both. That day God whispered a truth to my heart that undoes my shame: it is possible that I may truly repent and yet still struggle with temptation. There it is. Temptation does not equate to sin, and there is serious warfare for my heart. It’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. I have responsibility, for sure, as to my action and response to that temptation; and there are critical days that I fail. Days that I turn toward temptation because my brain likes that rush of dopamine that spreads with a heart sin that has been well cultivated. Days when I lose sight of the campaign that threatens my soul, and I believe the lies that say my deepest desires are not that harmful.

There is this space that remains between temptation and repentance, though…it is where gracewindows resides. It bridges the gap. In life, what exactly does that look like? I’m certain it is different for each of us. For me, though, it means that I don’t have to feel that my character is ugly, or that I am among the ‘lower-ranking’ Christians. It means that I am not dirty and lost because I have a heart sin that just won’t leave me alone.

It looks like I am loved, that despair doesn’t need to hold my mind ransom, that I am good (Gasp! Oh yes she did!). It means that I don’t have to succumb to a deterministic view of my life. I can be truly repentant and still grapple with the same sin I repented of, because repentance doesn’t make me godly, sinless, or self-righteous. It simply, reverently, says that I acknowledge my offense and want desperately to turn away from its deceit; that my heart’s truest desire is to live facing full the Jesus of my redemption. Metanoia. untitled

Grace also doesn’t mean that I’m free from discipline, though. So let’s just talk about that bombshell: does God discipline? I think so and here’s why…

Check back in for a follow up in Shame Undone 3: Holy Discipline

                                         Shame Undone

Shame Undone

I am the girl who musters all her strength just to walk into the doors of church on Sunday morning. It takes me tremendous effort to get into the building; I fight the want to turn back every time. The faces that I see in there seem to have it all together; they smile at me and ask me how I am. What do they expect from me? I wonder.

Some truly do just want vague responses and general niceties. It makes it easier on them and doesn’t ask that they face their own story. Others ask and seem shocked or disappointed when I tell them I’m not well (No, God didn’t answer your request for a miracle today, sorry). Few seem to be okay with my not-okay-ness. On “Good” days I have learned to tell [something reflective of] truth with a smile…a self-deprecation meant to assuage the guilt-inducing responses that they feel and that seem to come so easily from my lips.

And yet in this place are people that I love. Deeply.

I have days of strength too. Days when I am able to face my inner insecurities with honesty and gentleness; when I allow the anxiety to come unbidden and look at it with curiosity. These are the days that I am mindful of who I am, and in whose arms I am held. Grief doesn’t threaten to strangle the life of this body, and I am so bold as to believe my theology of a God who redeems. It is my balance of the simultaneous knowledge of death and life.

There is such a strong contrast in what I believe to be true about God and what I experience in the environment that tells me that this is where He is. It creates this disconnect that is hard to reveal. Like understanding the idea of the stars in the dark night sky. You might believe that they are as science describes, gas on fire; beautiful. Riveting. But do you really know? In the daylight they don’t exist. Are they still present when the fire burns so brightly that they are lost? So it is with me. I believe that God delights in me. I know of waves of mercy, I have tasted contentment.  I believe that my God loves me deeply, is my warrior.

Aslan.

I also know anxiety is seriously incapacitating. That the hard things that I have known have changed my ability to utilize my brain to its fullest potential. I know chaos in my mind. I have ways of coping that are temporary at best. Ways that lead me to sin, to get lost in my own daydreams; that cause me to miss today. To lose perspective. To turn away from God because the pain of my reality supersedes my ability to remember that circumstances are temporary (Psst. They are relatively temporary, you know).

Will can’t make me obedient. It doesn’t heal my hurts or save me from temptation. Cobwebs remain, and Will is stuck dangling like a fly…incapable to save himself from impending death.

I am not among the lost souls. I know who God is. It’s just that I also know that there are days that are unbearably hard. This is where my shame comes undone: when these two truths collide, when my theology allows for hard days, weeks, years…even lifetimes, and the promise of redemption remains. To allow space for my story, a story that holds both sides of me to be true. The side that loves Jesus, loves people, believes that I am good; and also the side that is mired in hidden heart sin. When both exist at the same time, I am free.

Shame Undone 2:The (Suffering) Repentant Heart

Shame Undone 3: Holy Discipline

Walking Wounded

We were sitting in my living room when she said it. I had only known her for a few years, and mostly by proxy at that. Marriage does that though, it throws together people that likely would not choose to be in relationships otherwise. Even still, I BANDAID-HEART1wanted to know her. We had been learning about each other with the normative niceties and polite observations that are customary to Christian culture. Perhaps that is why I’ll never forget the way she said it, seemingly out of place and with a hint of disdain… “You are so sensitive.”

My first inclination was to refute such a degrading label; the word held a very negative connotation to me. Sensitive? Excuse me? I’m anything but sensitive. I’m strong, bold, and sometimes even defiant. The word fragile got mingled in with that in my mind too. How dare she! She clearly doesn’t know me at all.

In the midst of engaging in my own trauma therapy during the time of this conversation, I reacted to the language of being sensitive with a guarded perspective. I had yet to learn what it meant, but I knew that I didn’t like the way I felt when she said it to me. I was just getting to know that I was broken, but sensitive? No, that was dramatic, weak, vulnerable; it suggested to me that she believed I held an unrealistic perspective and that purported that the people around me should walk on eggshells so as not to damage me…because…who knows how I would respond (insert eye-roll).

Hypervigilance at its best, but sensitive? Not exactly.

My story knows great harm, I have known trauma. It has changed me. I am not sensitive, I am aware; I have had to be. My senses are finely attuned. I hold no space for intentional damage from one person to another.

I am among the walking wounded.


You know who I am. You have passed by me, and have sat in a room with me. You have watched me and wondered. You are drawn to me…or intimidated by me. You have assumed many things about who I am. Yet, you don’t really know me. Few do.


The walking wounded are those who have been emotionally wounded. They walk with the rest of us, hardly seen and yet never missed. Theirs are the faces that hide that something thatBlessed_are_the_cracked you can’t quite name. The ones who are most unsure of themselves, but who hold the wisdom of experience.

They have known a wounded-ness so pervasive that it permeates their souls. It has changed the very structure of their brains, they are not the same. When they have followed their stories and sought healing, they hold a greater capacity for intuition, compassion, empathy. To know them intimately is to be invited into a sacred space, so listen closely.

They are fragile, not because they will break but because they feel deeply. Their brokenness in spirit is the very quality that is redeemed to tell the story of incredible growth adorned in grace.


You can’t know who the walking wounded are by looking at them, their wounds are not visible on the surface…unless you, too, are among them. They don’t want your pity, and often not even your well-meaning concern. They just want your whole presence. To be in the room with them, to give credit to what they have learned, what they have grown through, and the unique perspective that they hold.

Wives Under Fire

It isn’t very often that I come across an article on biblical marriage from a wife who is not a pastor’s wife, or who isn’t from the genteel south, or who isn’t trying to appear to have this whole thing figured out (granted, there might be a few stereotyped overgeneralizations in that observation). Since submission is the hot topic of Christian marriages, just for fun, try Google-ing, “How to be a submissive wife.” The first (there are over a million) article literally made me nauseous. I won’t go so far as to list the title or author(s), but I hope beyond hope that the article was satirical (although they fail to give any indication that it is). Nonetheless, it was a degrading and gross misrepresentation of a wife’s role and would do serious damage to an already fragile woman desperately trying to figure out how to ‘wife-well’. Maybe it’s just where I’m at, but I kind of want to hear from a person who is struggling intensely.

So, although I am the furthest qualified from giving relational advice, it seems that I will need to speak up. At least, I have two things going for me: I seriously struggle with life and I can speak to what not to say/do. Really, I have no idea how to make a marriage work well, and will not pretend that I do. That said…

There is one thing that I have learned in fifteen years of marriage: being a biblically submissive wife has very little to do with the man you married.thSY2S1254

Within the world of Christ followers, it would do a woman well to come to know that submission is an aspect of spiritual obedience to God. Yes, we practice that in part in our marital relationships, but ultimately it is a reflection of our willingness to be led by our Creator. Trust doesn’t come easily, though, and isn’t always warranted by our spouses. Our experiences make it incredibly hard to say, “I trust you to have my best intentions.” For those of us that have been harmed, the control of self is something that is staunchly guarded; a seemingly necessary by-product of pain. The thing is, it isn’t about humans, but about our relationship with God.

Come to know that to be submissive is not a sign of weakness, but of acute strength.  Our skewed vision of submission says otherwise, but biblical submission never requires that you are a doormat to another person’s dominance. It is borne of mutuality and requires that vital piece of sacrificial love (discussed here). An immense amount of strength is exhibited when a wife is submissive. She is giving up her defiant, stubborn nature in sacrifice and deferment to her partner. She is putting others first.*

Yes, these truths require a massive overhaul of our narratives. I get that. I LIVE that.

The role of, “Wife” is to be gentle and respectful…and loved well, and listened to, and taken into account. An imbalance of reciprocity and sacrifice doesn’t change that. What needs to be adjusted is the self-serving pity, negative thought, and discontentment felt within. Not to say that those feelings, or tendencies to guard yourself, or the pull to be hyper-vigilant isn’t a valid response, just that it doesn’t actually help us out in the end.

The idea of sacrificial love, service, and submission is like a braided strand, woven intricately in mutuality with grace, patience, and mercy.

And when you cannot…remember Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”


 

*This isn’t to be confused with the idea that a man should always have his way, that he should require her to bow down to him, or that he should rule with an iron fist. It is not justification for a husband to be abusive, or to demand anything of his wife. Submission has to be a conscious decision on the part of the giver. Read more on this topic in this post: He-Man Woman Hater.

If you are here and wondering about what a good man is and isn’t, please click on this link for more resources:  www.armsonline.org

 

He-Man Woman Hater

“I… (insert name here)… Member in good standing of the He-Man Woman Haters Club… Do solemnly swear to be a he-man and hate CRAZY women and not play with them or talk to them unless I have to. And especially: never fall in love, and if I do may I die slowly and painfully and suffer for hours – or until I scream bloody murder.”                                                                             ©The Little Rascals, 1994

The price of submission is sacrifice. Your sacrifice.

Those of you in the church and even out of it, how often do you hear: ‘Women are to submit to their husbands.’ Do you even know what comes along with that? HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES. Right? Like, when do we focus on that part of it? There is hardly any thEVCYSIIUreasonable way that we can approach the piece of submission if the piece of sacrificial love is not first addressed.

So stop telling her she must be submissive without teaching her first about how to be loved.

Also. We need to recognize that we are coming from a culture that has made the submissive wife the most pivotal piece in this symbiosis; and one in which we haven’t thoroughly approached the responsibility of the husband. Think about it in terms of history here in America. The right for women to vote is less than a hundred years old. We have seen a massive exodus from marriage, mothering as a full time occupation, and most of all from the traditional view of roles within a familial unit. Does it not seem as though it is fairly reflective of an imbalanced system?

Know this: I am no women’s rights advocate, but I’m also seriously not into being categorized as a stereotypical housewife either.

Let me put it this way. Men. Women want to serve. But heed this: SHE WILL ONLY DO SO IN A LOVING ENVIRONMENT.  

When the focus lies on the submissive wife, (as it has for far too long in the Christian church), we make assumptions about the husband’s gentle, pure love for his wife. Now, if he has lived in a society where the man rules and the message is heavy-handed toward a female’s responsibility to submission do you think he is honestly going to understand what sacrificial love looks like, feels like, and accomplishes? I’m leaning toward no. Not in the truest sense, anyway.

Where does that leave us? Let me shout my response because talking quietly doesn’t seem to be getting the point across: MEN IN THE CHURCH, YOU NEED TO STEP IT THE EFF UP. I cannot be any clearer. Learn to seek the wisdom of Christ as a picture of sacrificial love, and teach it to your sons. Christ does not require his church to be submissive to the law before He loves, but by grace in the midst of turmoil when she was least deserving…He sacrifices. In the same way understand fully that being firm, and being a leader has NOTHING to do with control, shame, or dominance and everything to do with gentle service, strong character, and integrity.

Be gentle, not because she is weak. But because she is strong and in every way will be the one to lift you up.

Cherish her.

Look, we’ve all got to deal with our own gigantic pile of crap. Just be aware: you being broken does not give you permission to be a royal PITA. You are still bound by your covenant to Christ first and foremost.

Man up. Love your wife as Christ exemplifies in His love of the church and I promise you a good woman will learn to submit to your kindness because she too, wants to be pleasing to our God. th2EPQ0J33

Next up: Wives Under Fire

 

 

 

Beauty In Isolation

There are two working engines in this mind of mine. Running on simultaneous tracks, one is full of knowledge, the other rooted firmly in experience. What lies between isimagesICE74AGC a fluctuating tension gap that causes unrelenting waves of anxiety, worry, unjust vulnerability, isolation. In the widest spaces, it can be a dreadful existence to have knowledge be so far from reality. In times where the two tracks cross and intertwine, there is blessed contentment.

In trauma reality is a force that won’t go quietly: it demands a space and confuses a mind. To know so fully the tools of therapy, the grace of a God who redeems, images (4)and the science of a working memory while concurrently living an existence that creates dissonance can be consuming. To ask God, “Where are you? Can you even hear me?” To begin to feel the tremors of aloneness…is a desolation too great to bear, and so we distract, we worry. We turn up the music to drown out the cacophony in the mind, we drink away the distress. We run.

Even the act of worry gets us out of the gap and pulls us away from the tension. We are trained so thoroughly to reject discomfort it becomes our single most focus.

LIRR Fire Disruptions Train DelaysIn times when reality hijacks knowledge, it derails emotional well-being and confounds. It can lead to a darkness so full of worry, it is hard to call back the light. It is a nightmarish claw back to serenity. Unless we can shift the paradigm (the model) of what we can expect to experience in the tension.

What if I told you completeness is found IN the tension gap? That the gap between knowledge and reality is where we find healing; that it holds the promise of hope.

To remain in the moment and to feel exactly everything in that tension gap is a task. We have to practice mindfulness and vulnerability first to ourselves before we can even entertain moving this existence to our relationships. In order to create authentic relationship with ourselves, we must confront and accept our ultimate isolation and learn to sit with what that means. To let go of worry. To allow contemplation. To be comfortable with discomfort. Easy to say, harder to practice.

It is a cry out to a God that we are not even fully sure is accessible; and a wrestling with our theology. It is turning ourselves time and time again to face the God of our faith.  To say, “My soul is weary with sorrow. imagesKE5Z0YA2Strengthen me (Psalm 119:28).” To be angry and reject the fact that something like this is even written, and yet to continue to turn back and plead for a release. Release will come, even if just for a moment “And [you] will answer the one who taunts (119:42)…” you will begin to see the end of darkness.

It is in these moments of ultimate loneliness that the reframing of our isolation can create in us a wholly healing perspective on desolation. Instead of pushing back and rejecting this space, try sitting quietly or hiking through nature. Become aware of what you see, what you hear, what your body is saying to you. There is beauty to be found in the isolation that you feel; in the tension gap between knowledge and reality you can find a place to grow in your ability to be more present to the life you so desperately want to live. Hills

Continue reading “Beauty In Isolation”

ADHD Isn’t Real

Does-My-Child-Has-ADHD

Ok, you win…this ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) thing isn’t actually a thing. Your awfully big opinion must mean that you have studied brain imaging, right? Psychology? Trauma? Genetics? ….Anything? Or maybe you’re basing your knowledge on your vast experience with children? I suppose yours were all really well behaved? Really, I’m guessing that you’ve never actually lived with a child who just c.a.n.n.o.t.

Walk through a day with me. It’s 7:55am  on Saturday and we have a soccer game to go to in three hours. It’s thirty minutes away and we have to be there twenty minutes early. Actually, let me back up: this morning started for us last Tuesday when I made sure that this child knew about the game, day, and time (along with a reminder about travel time, exact time we’ll need to walk out the door, a discussion about EVERY piece of her uniform- including asking what she thinks that means in terms of her needing to do laundry, making sure she can identify where her bag and water bottle are, and encouraging her to think about where her cleats are). No. I’m not micromanaging. Watch.

Yes, mooooom. I know (Mmmmk, sweet girl).

Thursday. Still working toward Saturday’s game. Have we planned adequate rest time Friday? Will she be in bed by 9:00pm? Do we have a protein rich breakfast that she’ll actually eat? What about a hearty snack she can choose to munch on for the drive?

Nope. Still not helicopter parenting, just making sure we will survive.

It’s 6pm Friday now. One of her brothers has decided he’d rather sit this one out tomorrow. Sure bud. Cue sister meltdown in 3..2..1.

Let’s drop back in on Saturday. Breakfast in progress. Hey sister! Good morning (and lots of hugs)! Yep, you can watch a bit of TV. Please be sure it’s off by 9am for your game. 8:45, hey girl. 15 mins. Ok mom. 9:01. Turn it off, please. MooOom, can’t I finish my show? Nope, we’ve got your game! Come on! Whelp. That did it. We’ve entered stage one of meltdown. Life is so unfair. Daughter, your choice, off now or lose it for the remainder of the day. Cue argument. Whoops you chose no more TV. Go cool off upstairs please.screen-capture-19 Now she’s yelling so we’ll have to resort to a cool ninja-mom-Psychologist-approved-finger-in-the-armpit-move and take her to her room. She’s screaming. Shoot. Now your door has to be closed until you’re finished with that. She’s entered the bat-sh*t-crazy phase of I don’t cares, you’re the worsts, and I hate yous. Mmmk child. Tell it to your pillow, *closing door. It’s 9:03am.

Are you exhausted yet? We haven’t even gotten to actually eat breakfast, or faced getting on clothes, or any of the other reasonably outlined aspects of a morning routine.

This is life with a child who struggles with ADHD (the kind that doesn’t exist). Her brain is just on fire all.the.time.

“Normal” parenting seems pretty straightforward. You name a simple expectation, give options and consequences, let the child fail a few times and everyone learns a valuable lesson in communication, relationship, success… In our home, though, we name a simple expectation and receive an initial response, followed by a reactionary response, followed by a ratcheting response, and finally materializing into complete chaos. It’s 0-100 in 37 seconds flat. Instituting natural consequences is like calling WWIII.

Parenting always requires a response. On good days, we have the strength to use a calm soothing strong voice. On normal days we experience a heightened awareness and speak as calmly as possible. On bad days with bad responses we’re yelling and dis-regulated, we just add to the crazy. The reaction from the child is pretty much the same: chaos and tantrums that require child to be physically removed from the situation.

So, yes. Please tell me how my lack of parenting has led to my child struggling with impulsivity, racing thoughts, and anxiety. Truly, I haven’t struggled with feeling inadequate enough already. Maybe offer me some great tools I haven’t tried, or disciplines, or how about a look of pity. That always helps.

Seriously though, did we question the validity of PTSD because we didn’t understand the impact of stressmyths-not-259x300 or have the imagery of the brain that we do now? Nope. Even when we didn’t collectively have a name for it, the effects of war were evident and validated.

So how do we cope? Well, we’ve been offered very high amounts of medication to take multiple times of day. While it is not my first choice, for our family we have chosen to give the very smallest dose just to make our lives manageable. Occasionally we give a small helper in the evening, but it’s a conversation we have with our child on a daily basis. Our personal outlook on medication is that it is there to help us adapt, not change the child. We also utilize therapy, essential oils, sports, family time, occupational therapy, and especially prayer; because seriously, parenting is HARD.

We have good moments too. Our child is compassionate and artistic. She feels DEEPLY. The things she struggles with now are going to be some of her greatest strengths. She’s persistent, she questions reason, she is articulate. She’s going to be ok. We’re going to be ok. Everyone is going to be ok.

Eventually.

 

 Resources and References too:

ADHD In Children  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/basics/definition/CON-20023647

“Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms. But they can learn strategies to be successful. “

Effects of Physical Activity on Children’s Executive Function: Contributions of Experimental Research on Aerobic Exercise http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3147174/

How Do I Know If My Child Has Executive Functioning Issues? http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2014-4-18-how-know-child-has-executive-function-issues

Girl In The Coffee Shop Window

The things they say about Portlanders are true-ish. Yes, we wear flannels and comfy boots to work AND dinner; our scarves are fashion statements akin to the LBD. oYes, we’re very serious about our coffee, but we’ll drink the gourmet stuff from growlers. Yes, we’re outdoorsy and prefer a hike in the woods over noisy malls. Yes, we’ve all got a list of our favorite neighborhood bistros that we’ll insist on taking you to when you visit.

It’s true: we ALL have blogs that we write sitting in café windows (not really).

In true Portland fashion, today I became that girl in the coffee shop window with a fistful of first-world problems, a handcrafted latte (the barista created a classic foam leaf for me-love that!), a notebook filled with passing thoughts, and a copy of developmental psychology lying lonely next to my laptop. I have succeeded in fulfilling a stereotype, and I liked it. coffee

Sitting there felt like siting in a storm of people and I was at the eye. People rushing through their lives, hurrying past to accomplish something, anything…they all seemed to have a familiar feature: each one seemed to have a distant trace of desolation in their eyes. I wanted to whisper, I notice you.

I see you with your friends, your un-voiced words, your overcompensating ego, Teenager, as you laugh an unsure laugh. You look vulnerable. I promise, you will not always feel this chaos.

I see you with your retro red lips, long dark curls, and your Pendleton wool peacoat, Twenty-Something, as you sip your cappuccino and contemplate your wanderlust. You look lonely. I promise, you will find your place.

I see you with your hands full of babies and toddlers and bags, Momma, as you walk past my window. You look resigned. I promise, one day soon you will be sitting in a coffee shop window noticing the young mother with the babies and toddlers and bags as you sip your latte in quiet.

I see you on your blue tooth, and your angry eyes, eating your breakfast of black coffee, Mr. Mercedes, as you speed by. You look distant. I promise, what you do is not who you are.

I see you alone in your booth watching me, your hands trembling slightly, Old Man, as you wonder about me and my piercings and tattoos. I see the life you’ve lived in the creases on your face. Promise me I will live a life worth remembering.

Today, I became that girl in the coffee shop window. Did you see me?

I saw you.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m An Odd Choice, Too.

It’s student orientation AND just a week shy of my 34th birthday.

Sitting in the audience I’m very aware that I’m feeling as though I should at least be an adjunct with the other actual contributors  to society up there on the stage by now (Ohmyword…the voices in my head sometimes).

But I’m not. I’m just entering into the next phase of education. A phase that has been built on story: a paradoxical existence of faith and impatient mistrust, of grief and of grace, and especially built on the intersection of failure and accomplishment.images And I’m ok with that… maybe even content with entering into a new (Or rather, another) phase of education.

Well, today at least. Ask me tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll tell you I have nothing, have done nothing, will do nothing. Ever. But we’ll talk about that later….

Today I’m a fearless timid student, (Yes. Fearless and timid).  I thrive on the ideals of a future built on the very nature of my character juxtaposed with the God-given burden of passion I hold. Equally, I fear that I have nothing of true value to offer; that all that I am pursuing and asking for in my story is just a pipe dream of misinterpreted narrative. I know I am not alone in this conflict of self. As my new professor stood before her incoming class and described how being a professor was never something she wanted, she discussed the seemingly incongruent details of her journey to this point in her life. Towards the end of her story she made a statement that truly resonated with me. She said, “I’m an odd choice…”

This. Just…yes. Me too.

 As I had engaged throughout my orientation, I cycled through varying levels of emotions from contentment and assuredness, to trepidation and failure. I’m an odd choice for seminary. I’m an odd choice for counseling. I’m an odd choice for speaking and teaching. And yet. I am the choice.

Romans 8:30 seems to help a little with this war of emotions. Although, I am no theologian, I have been given a mind to speak and reason. When I read Romans 8:30, I am encouraged: thGranted, the scripture is often taken out of context somewhat, just as I have used it (To help overcome the apprehension of coming to the realization that I am most definitely an odd choice). Ultimately, this verse speaks to the saving grace of our Creator being consistent and present. However, I don’t believe it is wrong to overlay this verse with the tension felt of not knowing fully the path we are chosen to fulfill. It’s important to threcognize that we look at ourselves from a sea level viewpoint. It is really hard to understand anything of the terrain from that low a view,26earthatmospherehigh300 amiright?! Allowing the perspective to move to a fifty-thousand-foot view would cause everything to look a lot differently. The ministry for which we are individually and collectively created probably makes a lot more sense from up there (Imagine. God knows more about our contribution to the body than we do…).

I am stubborn. Forgetful. Blunt. Controversial. Impatient. Self-centered. Introverted. Inarticulate. I am an odd choice for the life of seminary, for counseling, for speaking. If you ask me I’d report myself better suited for movie critiquing, or pillow testing. Maybe even professional pencil sharpener. Yeah. I’d be real good at that.

And yet.

See, that’s the of the crux of this whole thing. Being the choice simply extraordinarily means that it isn’t about what I can and cannot do, it is wholly about being present to the kingdom of God that is here and now. Our Creator takes GREAT delight in each of us. In gifting us uniquely and contrastingly, so that His glory, His grace, might be more evident. Stepping into truest self is less about who you are and absolutely about reflecting the life-light of a Holy God.

thXDA9HO26

 

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