His Terms and the Call to Come and Die.

A call to come and die. I have received it. Not well at first but now I carry this calling with me wherever I go. I can’t recall a time I didn’t believe in the creator of the universe and the holy Trinity or a time that Jesus hadn’t died for my sins. But I can remember when there was no understanding of what being a follower of Christ meant for me. Not the full weight of it. I though it meant Jesus and I were buddies and that He was supposed to make things better if I was good. I don’t know that I knew I believed that, but I did. I thought being a Christian was supposed to make me happy.

I started therapy at five. I can’t remember why. I am sure my mother could tell you. She told me once people wanted to take me away. I remember being isolated from my friends in middle school by being put in a hospital school where I got more care and no one my age to play or learn with. I remember special rooms to take tests and do homework in… alone. I felt like a freak most of the time. Like I wasn’t supposed to be with the normal children, I might make them broken too.  I was ashamed of what was happening to me. I wasn’t keeping up, I wasn’t coping well and I could sense that was not how people wanted me.

Even with tutors I couldn’t get better than D-‘s and people just told me I needed to try harder. What a defeating piece of advice for someone who was exhausted and frustrated and nervous all the time. I pulled my hair out, I didn’t feel anyone cared enough about me to care if I showered, brushed my hair or got proper amounts of sleep… so I didn’t. I didn’t have the energy and I sort of hoped I would die before I had to again. Getting out of bed and going to school was all I had in me and most days I am not sure where the strength came from. I mimicked what other’s were doing and just hoped no one noticed me. Normally they didn’t. When they did I wasn’t sure what to do.

How could they expect me to get a good math grade when I was living on a few hours of sleep and wondering how far I could run before anyone noticed? Maybe I could lie down in a ditch and wait to starve to death after school. It wasn’t realistic but it made it hard to memorize procedures. I dug open cutting wounds under my jeans to keep me awake and stared straight ahead until the bell rang and I could be one class closer to going back to my room at home. When I got home I just curled into a ball and tried to stave of the feeling the Universe was slowly crushing me to death. I don’t think my parents understood how difficult simple requests like cleaning my room or taking out the trash was. I can either try not to hurt myself or do that Mom! Ugh.

As you can probably tell, this wasn’t a very joyous way of thinking. I agree. And the way I understood being a follow of Christ didn’t fit in with this constant desire to perish. I was depressed. Everyone had an idea on how to fix me. No one told me that I was fine just the way I was.

I was content, I was reading my Bible, I was prayingpraying and I was putting others before myself. I wasn’t happy, not even with therapy and meds. I can’t remember the age. But I was in the hospital again for cutting or heavy suicidal thoughts again. My father cried. I was nearing adulthood now. In a few years I would be leaving the family home.  and the doctors thought I was a danger to myself. He told me in a few words he was crying because He couldn’t keep me safe.  Something hit me. I cried too. Not just for my beloved earthly father but because I felt my Heavenly father weep with my daddy. I had to fit depression into my faith. I said I was committed to Jesus, but I was commited to my way of following Him. It was time to try His.

My favorite color is black. Black like the tomb for three days. Black like good Friday. If it wasn’t for Jesus in the blackness His ressurection (which is EVERYTHING) would have been meaningless. He was always reigning forever, but His victorious brush with death has added me to that equation. His body lay in the dark alone, much like I am often in the dark alone…. and He proved to me in those three days that there is no where He won’t go for me. Even the grave. I love Psalm 139. Not only because it shows He made me with love but also for 7-12 which prove He is steadfast even when I am full of death.

Where can I go from your Spirit?Where can I flee from your presence?If I go up to the heavens, you are there;if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,even there your hand will guide me,your right hand will hold me fast.If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide meand the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you;the night will shine like the day,for darkness is as light to you.

He knew I was depressed. He knew the chemicals in my head didn’t always balance enough to let me enjoy life. He knew I was isolated even when I wasn’t. I made my bed in the depths, in Sheol, and He was there. I didn’t need happiness for Him to put me to work. I needed Him. I needed Him. As I focused on Him my depression lessened. I didn’t have a character defect, I didn’t suffer from a spiritual disorder and I wasn’t making a choice to sit in it. I was choosing Him and He was choosing to let me remain depressed for long seasons to use me. He sometimes choose to bless me to go years without it to help me grow. I became concerned with being Holy and not happy and I found Joy. Even when my thoughts turned against me, even when I spent a little too long admiring the sharp end of a steak knife I had Joy. I was new, I had won the war. I was just stuck in a battle still. In the darkness, in the tomb there is hope. I can sit in the tomb for as long as I need to now. I know what happens after awhile. I imagine sitting by His wrapped body with no way to tell how much time was passing when I am depressed. I can choose to be hopeless, or I can choose to cling to the fact that I get to see Him get back up. I can desperately cling to the knowledge that He does get back up. I can look forward to Him sitting up and embracing me for waiting patiently for His timing. I can trust in the tomb.

I am sure Jesus’ followers felt like I used to before Easter Sunday. I can’t imagine Peter who betrayed his BFF and never got a chanch to make things right did very well  over the three days Jesus laid in the Grave. But I don’t think even the worst days (and he had plenty) after He once again met Jesus on the lake could have left him hopeless. I laid my life down. I give it all to Christ. Living like that.. makes it so hard to dwell on the turmoil that stirs within me. If I am ready to die for Christ, I am ready to live for Him. On His terms. Even with depression. On His beautiful, frustrating, miraculous and heavy terms. The terms picking up my cross and to follow Jesus with all my breaths. No matter what.

Embracing nonsense: I am a Non-denominational Evangelical Lutheran

Jay:

It’s a busy time in life so you get a repost of one of my past favs. Love you guys.

Originally posted on On This Side.:

I have lived an interesting life to say the least. So has everyone. I have never met a single person that has met any kind of mold. This is because my God doesn’t make molds. He makes awesome people after his own steller self. I think we lose a lot when we define our faith as something as simple sounding as Lutheran, Methodist, E-Free or any other label. We make our walks too clean when we say I am “Free Grace”  “Cessationist” or “Calvinist” and think that those words alone say how you read and relate to scripture. If people ask me a question to know me that relates to how I know God they will never get a clean package with a bow on it with a few nice labels. I know that a Non-denomination Evangelical Lutheran makes no sense. It is even a contradiction, an oxymoron. To say…

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About my Yogurt.

You would come and get me in a zombie outbreak.
You would save me if I was drownin’ in a lake.
Of course you can have the best cupcake.

You are forgivin’ whenever I’m mean
You always treat me just like a queen.
Don’t even ask, have up to half of my ice cream.

You are willing to take care of my car
You have got a way with an acoustic guitar
You should have full rights to my chocolate bar.

You try real hard when I have panic attacks.
You understand when I get upset at running backs.
You can have have one of my fruit snacks.

You ain’t afraid to kiss me when I’m sick.
If there is a bug you kill it real quick.
I want to go and take you on a picnic.

You come running when lost and alone.
I can count on you to pick up the phone.
It was mine, but now it’s your snow cone.

You have got the warmest brown eyes
In all of this time you’ve never told me no lies.
It’s been a long day I’ll get you a burger and some fries.

You carry me when my feet get tired.
Your want to be with me when were retired.
I would give you my yogurt but it’s expired.

The God of Lost things…. Like Rings… oops.

Gone. Just gone. Replaced by a feeling of emptiness. Sure enough, it was confirmed when my hand hit the steering wheel. It was GONE!My finger sat empty for the first time since August. I felt suddenly naked. I was supposed to keep that symbol of commitment forever and I didn’t even make it to the altar! What a failure, what great grief! How long had it been gone? Had I carelessly removed it or had it fallen off? Maybe it came off my finger before I even got out of bed. Terror gripped my heart. I had lost something precious. It was time to make a plan and find it! What if I didn’t find it? I left the parking lot in a fluster. What if it was in a storm drain or a stranger took it and was wearing Chris’ symbol of commitment.

With a quick prayer of not knowing what to do all fit into a small grunt I moved onto step two. Step two was calling Chris in a panic. My beautiful prince went to work and searched the place with my lovely fellow barista and his girlfriend. I frenzied home to search the living room, bed sheets and bathroom. I even searched my car. Everyone came up empty.

I ended up running to work to search myself so I was satisfied. I too could not find the ring. I was heartbroken. I knew the personal cost it had been to the man I was spending my whole life with. Devastation and tears overwhelmed me and Chris was kind enough to hug me as I gave into trembling and weeping. He was nothing but “It’s fine honey” and “No worries, we’ll find it.” Inside i’m sure he was dying. Not angry, but he had worked hard on obtaining that ring. He was loving. We were also late for a triple date. He drove us back in my car as I continued to search under seats.

We had God ordained timing. Thank God! As we rolled in so did a van and the snow slush made a small wake and I saw my ring move onto a small dry patch. I got out and hugged the woman as she got out still stuck in tears. I thanked her and told her that she just found our ring. She was thrilled to have helped. I uttered praises all the way to our triple date. It was quite the emotional rollarcoaster and God was good through all of it.

Worthy

Jay:

It’s hard to write good poems let alone Holy ones. Love it. <3 Also love this girl. She deserves a repost and so does Grace.

Originally posted on Hold Up My Hands:

Why is it so hard to only trust?
To let go of the list of must
The pride of life and fleshly lust
All these things that rot and rust

I believe it’s true,
No desire obtained can free you
Me. It ensnares me and scares me
Suffocates those ideals I carry.

I implore you. Each desire you succumb to has won you.
I only give in because I don’t trust You
That You’re worthy and You make me worthy
You win me. Jesus, You win me.

Remind me daily,
Of the grace that makes me
Worthy.

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Holiness and Dissapointment

Wow. If you are a Packers fan you woke with a heavy heart from last nights championship game. I know I woke crying out to the Lord. It took a good cup of coffee, some Zelda and a great fiance’ to overcome my morning slump. But now as I sit at my laptop I have one question. What would Jesus have me do with disappointment? Even with something like disappointment about not going to the Super Bowl this year.

Solomon looked at his kingdom and said this in Ecclesiastes 2 “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” The first thing that I told myself is that even if we had won the Superbowl it would be meaningless years from now. I had to put my grief and the game in perspective of eternity. I probably will be fine before I go to bed tonight. If I put my highest hopes in achieving things they will eventually fall when inevitably those goals are not achieved. Only God will never let me down that way.

But knowing that my hope rest in Jesus shouldn’t keep me from not hoping. It isn’t a sin to want your team to win. But when hopes that are not in Christ don’t come around, lean on the hope you still have. It helps it pass. This is easier if you remember your heavenly Father is eager to listen and you can cast your disappointments on Him. He truly loves you and cares for the matters of yours  If you are struggling because your team didn’t make the cut, He will listen. He’s happy to hear from you! He will listen if you feel it’s unfair that an off-side kick worked or that the Sea-pigeons last year! And he will help you become more holy through it. No jokes. God can keep you from bitterness or selfishness after losses in life.

Besides, there is always next season. :)  Don’t be led into discouragement. This advice is good for more than football games.