This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Posts tagged ‘hope’

I fell in love (unexpectedly)…

I saw a meme last week and this was what it said:love

I thought that was really beautiful. I know I feel loved the deepest by the people who know me intimately -the good, the bad and the ugly. There are people that I truly love in this way and have formed an amazingly strong bond.

If you know my story (part of it is here), I have been deeply wounded by both leaders in the church and church attenders. It has resulted in me leaving the church twice.When I came back the second time it was a slow and gradual process because I was afraid of feeling rejected and unloved again by the place and people who are supposed to be the most loving. I wish my experience was isolated and no one else has ever felt that way. Tragically thats not the case, there are many of us.

My slow and gradual process allowed me time to observe. I saw people who really loved Jesus being genuinely loving. I saw people who loved Jesus being complete a-holes. I saw leaders leading with grace and humility. I saw leaders leading by authority and rule. The church is, was and always will be filled with a mix of all these people but they all are the church.

As I navigated the choppy waters that are church life I found myself in a strange place. I was growing more and finding strength. As I grew, I was able to deal with the poor leaders better and not take their issues personally. It still made me angry and frustrated but it didn’t make me want to leave the church- I just saw them as hurting sinful people; just like me.

I realized a short time ago that I have fallen in love with the church. We are seriously messed up, but it’s because God calls the sick to be healed. It doesn’t mean I won’t call people to task when it is important to do so but it means I going to give it my all to change us for the better from the inside out. That starts with me. I have to make sure I am serving the way God is asking me to. It’s not going to do anyone any good to stand outside and throw stones. That will not bring about change.

I want to stand as part of this amazing body of Christ and say lets get better together, It will be messy, it will be difficult and I will make a ton of mistakes but let’s never give up.

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Walking Out My Own Personal Redemption

I grew up in Cranbrook, a small town in the Kootenays. I went back during the holidays to visit some family and friends. Going back to Cranbrook is always hard for me because there is so much pain and bad memories from there. I was asked to speak at a church I have never been to before, but I know the senior pastor. He wanted me to share my story. I wrote 3/4 of my talk before I left for Cranbrook. The day before I was to speak I found out that the church did not meet in the location I thought it did. It in fact met in a building where a lot of painful memories were formed for me in childhood.

God has timing right where He wants it. If I had known farther in advance I probably would have cancelled and if I had known upon arrival that morning I probably could not have gotten through the door. As it was, it gave me enough time to wrap my brain around what this would look like to be back on that property,stand at the front and share my story. At that point my story already contained a lot of the things that happened there, without me knowing where I would be standing when talking about it. It was too late to go back and re-write the entire thing so I finished it and told God to do whatever He wanted with it.

We arrived a bit early so I could do sound check but also because I knew I would need some time. I walked through the building and a flood of memories came back, some good and some bad. I went upstairs and to the room where I learned my alphabet. I went downstairs to where my desk was and the school entryway where I used to hang my coat and backpack. I went into the bathroom and it was much smaller than I had remembered it, but it smelled exactly the same. The main floor has a room that was used as a sanctuary for church but when we had school it was a gym. The platform area was so much smaller than I remembered as well. I know I used to run around on it but I couldn’t get more than a few strides on it now if I tried.

I cried. I sobbed really hard actually.I cried for the precious little girl who walked in those walls so long ago and things that happened to her. I sobbed for the scars that would forever remain. Then I stood in front and shared my story. I talked about those things that left the scars but I also talked about how God has been able to use those things to help others. That is the whole point of my story – that those things did not destroy me, though they could have. I have found healing and hope and I want other people to have that too.

That morning broke some things I didn’t even realize still had a hold (funny how that happens). Some people were there who used to attend with my family back then and their validation that those things did happen and they were wrong, was very affirming. We need to talk about the dark places. They will never find light if we don’t.

Below is a link to the message I gave that morning. It is raw, it is real and it is me.

http://www.ihopecranbrook.ca/podcast-messages/2014/12/28/god-loves-restoration

I was raped

This past week I became aware that a woman in India was gang raped at the orders of an elders council. I found this to be abhorrent and shared this story on my social media to bring awareness to the atrocities that go on in our world. If people don’t know, then they can’t take action. It is my hope that with knowledge people will do what they can to bring about the change that needs to happen in our world to speak to the value of human life.

One of my facebook friends private messaged me that she did not feel that story was appropriate for facebook and that she changes the channel if there is stalking or rape on it. If we ignore the problems they will not go away!

This made me wonder if part of the reason it is easy to turn away is because the victims are nameless and faceless people. Sure rape happens, but if it’s not someone we know then we can pretend it doesn’t. It’s when crime comes close to home we realize how great the problems are.

So that’s why I want to share part of my life story publicly. I want to put a name and face to rape. It’s mine. I was sexually abused as a child from a young age to age 10. My parents knew nothing about it while it was happening. I was raped in high school by an older boy and again at a party in my early 20’s.

I have spoken to too many women who have been through what I have been through. Some had never told anyone what had happened to them. What I went through is still painful even though I have found a lot of healing, but I am grateful that I have been able to use what happened to help other women who know the shame that is left like a residue on your soul.

If you want to pretend this doesn’t happen, then you can no longer look at my face. I am proof that it does and that we have to talk about these issues and take action. Praise be to God that I am also proof that you can go through horrific things and find healing and wholeness. It is difficult to share my story, but I do so because though the scars remain, THEY DO NOT DEFINE ME.

I bring a reality of hope, of life after the darkness.

So how do you help? You help by being a part of the change that has to happen in our culture. This is a fantastic 12 minute video from TedX that will explain the sexual objectification of our culture: http://www.upworthy.com/being-a-sex-object-is-empowering-oh-wait-no-it-s-not-here-s-why-2. Men and Women should watch that video and take the steps she suggests. Things have to change! We should be outraged at what has become normal. If we can not change things here, how can we make changes around the world – changes that will stop women from being raped, stop children from being sold and stop lives from being lost.

If you have been a victim and need help or someone to talk to contact me through social media or my email on the contact page. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I can only imagine how incredible it would be to live in a world where people saw the value in each and every life.

When bad things happen to good people.

There is a common belief that bad things only happen to bad people and good things to good people – or at least it should be that way. Clearly this is not the case in the world in which we live. I have often wondered why people assume, or even expect that, but as I read Deuteronomy 28 today I made a conclusion.

We expect good things to happen to good people and bad to bad people because that’s what God laid out. In that chapter he says if you obey then you will be blessed, and if you disobey you will be cursed. Pretty straight forward and pretty basic. We also see this in many Proverbs.

So why doesn’t this happen? Was God wrong when he had the authors of the Bible write these things? If you look at Deuteronomy you have to keep in mind he wasn’t making a blanket proclamation to the world. He was directing a certain group of people at a specific time. If you look at Proverbs your clue is right in it’s name – it’s a Proverb. A Proverb is a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought. It is not a universal law of how the world operates.

No where in the Bible does God ever say life is fair. No where does he make any promises of a fairy tale life once you become a Christian. I wrestled with this when my best friend and her children were murdered. She loved God with her whole heart and her twin boys were only 14 months old. How could God not protect them?

God made us with free will. It means we can love others or we can hurt them. His only promise for ultimate safety and protection come after we die, with eternal life. That’s not to say that God is out there somewhere with his arms crossed just watching us like a spectator. He does intervene at specific times for specific purposes. What either of those are I make no claims to know. I just let Him be God.

I do know one specific time with one specific purpose. He came down himself. He stepped into this world of both joy and pain and took all our sin so that his promise of eternity with Him could be possible. Without that act there is no way any one of us could have bridged the gap we created between us and Him.

So for now, if you continue with the expectation that good things will happen to good people, and vice verse, you are going to be frustrated and disappointed for the rest of your life. If however, you chose to let God be God, you will be able to come to terms with the fact that we live in a fallen world but we don’t live for this world. We live to follow Him and He will take us to the next where bad things don’t happen at all.

Susan and the boys are waiting for me there.Susan and babies

Save the world

My best friend and I have an infliction, if you will, that we both clearly understand. We call it our “save the world” complex. Our hearts are moving hearts – they are hearts of action. If we see injustice or we see hurting we want to do something about it. This can be very serious when you live in a very fallen world. At times this can be so overwhelming because of the depths of the suffering around us. Sometimes it is our own families or friends and other times it is people we have never met in other countries. There are times I feel so completely inadequate and incapable of making any real difference.

This debilitation comes when I look at the enormity of the evil in the world. This is when my savior, the savior of the world, whispers  “over here”. He sees it all. He knows it all. In order to not be overwhelmed and incapacitated I have to look at Him.I have to remain focused on Him and trust His sovereignty. He is ultimately in control. He does have a plan. He has won the victory and the end is already written.

For now I must remain loyal to the tasks He calls me to.

How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time.