Closer to the Light

How many times have we talked about how Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted? 

Probably enough times that you’re sick of hearing about it….

But it’s true. One of Jesus’ primary purposes in coming to earth was to mend broken hearts. 

I bet you and I could each fill a notebook with the names of friends and families who fall into the brokenhearted category.

In my dream the other night a young homeless girl just needed to be comforted. The weight of the world was crushing her and she found herself all alone. 

Do you know where she was?

At the school library! (See, libraries and librarians are awesome!) 

The librarian knew something was off with the girl and reached out to her. When she did, the girl started to sob. The messy, uncontrollable kind of sobbing that comes from knowing you’re finally safe, someone will help you.

And that’s all the librarian said as she wiped away the girl’s tears: “It’s going to be okay. You’re safe now.”

How many times a day do I pass up an opportunity to comfort someone?

If Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, that means it’s my job to help the brokenhearted. 

This is where following Jesus gets real…

It’s also why the Lord gave me this dream. He only shows me stuff that paints a clear picture of where I’m headed in life. 

Friend, my heart is changing.

I think I finally understand why Jesus said lights aren’t meant to be hidden. 

Following Jesus will always take you straight into the darkest places, places where most people are afraid to go.

You will find the brokenhearted, the poor, the sick, and the oppressed in these dark places. 

Picture a light in the distance getting closer and closer to where you are. Bringing hope and light to the darkness is why Jesus came in the first place.

 

 

 

 

Shifting my perspective

I can’t imagine receiving manna from heaven and complaining.

Lord, we’ve been eating manna FOREVER! Can we have some lunch meat, please? And send down a jar of mayo while you’re at it…this bread is so dry! 

Okay, so I’m paraphrasing the children of Israel, but you see the point. 

My thoughts go to impoverished countries where they literally eat the same thing every day and are thankful. Variety is not important to them; having food at all, no matter if it is the same thing, is what’s important.

A little bit of perspective goes a long way in our consumerist society.

Last night I ate a dinner that was entirely provided–minus the butter and onions–by friends who blessed me with fresh eggs, cheese, bread, and herbs.

Wow. Talk about being spoiled…

Each bite was a sweet reminder that God’s given me some great friends and friends who are generous at that.

It also reminded me of our brothers and sisters around the world who don’t have access to food as readily as I do. Some of those brothers and sisters live in my backyard.

They are the chronically homeless.

They are the families who live paycheck to paycheck.

They are recovering drug addicts.

They are down on their luck war veterans.

They are the disabled who just need some help.

I am hanging out with my neighbors each Thursday and my perspective changes as I see what true struggle looks like.

My friend, you and I are blessed.

And it’s not about having all the coolest toys or the latest and greatest clothes. It’s not even about making the most money. 

My perspective on what it means to be blessed is changing.

 

 

Living out the story

Aren’t cliff hangers the worse? 

To be Continued…

No one wants to see this at the end of a TV episode. And don’t even get me started on movies with 50,000 parts. Or book series where the next book isn’t coming out for another 18 months. 

Just tell me what happened!

Thankfully, the Bible tells us the whole story of Jesus. 

This is also why I’m trying to take it easy on the apostles as I read through the gospel. They didn’t have the full story like I do.

Come on, Peter! 

Thomas, what’s your problem?!?

James and John, did you seriously just ask Jesus to give you the best seats in the house? 

Here’s how I look at it: When I start doing everything Jesus asks me to do–without running my mouth first–I can pick on the apostles. 

By tracing the the faithfulness of God throughout His story, I am learning how to trust Him when I don’t have the full story (which is a lot).

Marvin Yoder, my teacher for Bible Interpretation, taught us about the Principle of Application today. I loved Mr. Yoder’s thoughts on seeing ourselves doing the works of Jesus and the early church. 

As Christians, the Bible is the final authority in our lives. However, if I never apply it to my daily life, it’s still just a story.

If Jesus healed, so can I.

If Peter could stand before a crowd and know exactly what to say by the Holy Spirit, so can I.

If Paul and Silas can sing praises in jail after being beaten for their faith, so can I.

 I’ve reached the point in my faith where I’m convinced that not taking the Bible to heart, that not living out the scriptures as practical, do-able truths is the number one reason the world sees the gospel as powerless. 

 

 

 

 

Change of Address

Letting other people make their own choices is tough. 

Are you sure that’s what you want to do?

I have some great ideas for you! My plan is much more solid than yours.

It’s hard for me to sit back and watch someone self-destruct, especially when I know they could do better. 

They know the truth, but are unwilling to endure the pain of change.  

There have been plenty of times that I knew what I was doing was not the best plan. Thankfully, my friends and family didn’t walk away and throw up their hands saying, “I told you this was a bad idea!”

That came later. 

At first, they helped me up and dusted me off. 

The sting of the consequences wasn’t gone, yet I knew that I would be okay. 

Obviously not everyone gets that kind of support. They fall hard and no one is there. 

No matter the support level, no one is meant to change their address to 1234 Rock Bottom Street. 

I am a firm believer in hope. 

If you are still breathing, there is hope for you because Jesus loves you so much that He will help you move out of Rock Bottom. 

The hope of a change of address is available to us all. 

Jesus wants us to move into His house because His Dad is the best and there’s always room. 

What if we walk with our friends and family–all the way to Rock Bottom if necessary–and tell them about a better future, a better direction to head in?

A course change midway is easier than an upward climb. 

But remember that the choice is not up to you, so wear comfortable shoes just in case (you’ll want to be prepared no matter how short or long the walk).

Journaling for Perspective 

Sometimes I can get stuck in my head…

Trying to sort things out sends me in 10 different directions, each with their own feeling. 

Writing stuff down helps me capture what’s going on and shows me what areas need to be covered with prayer.

There are times when what I see is ugly. The truth is right there in its distorted, disfigured form. 

As I read through past entries, I notice the moments where my perspective turned out to be wrong, which means everything else–my attitude, feelings, and opinions–were wrong as well. 

The good news about perspective is that it can change! 

It’s easy for me to spot the shift because my angry scribbles and stratch outs give way to hope-filled words–even if my handwriting is still a jumbled scrawl!

Most of the time I end up finding the right words to express the things I couldn’t bring myself to say before. 

There might still be a hint of pain behind the words, but the joy is bigger than the pain. 

The idea of someone else reading my journal is a bit frightening to me. 

However, I believe that when the time is right it will all make sense to whoever ends up with my mountain of words. 

He or she will say, “Yes, this chick struggled, but the struggle always led her closer to God, to seeing things from His perspective.”

This Ordinary Adventure

Aren’t we all afraid of being normal? 

If someone calls you normal, they might as well say, “You are the most boring person I know.”

At least, that’s how it feels because who doesn’t want to be known as a wandering, wondering, unpredictable world changer?   I just finished This Ordinary Adventure by Christine and Adam Jeske, which answers that question. 

Adam and Christine served as missionaries to Nicarauga, China, and South Africa before moving back to Wisconsin with their 2 children. 

They wondered if moving back to America was “settling” for a mediocre life. 

I enjoyed how the book switched back and forth between their two perspectives. 

If you find yourself struggling in this area, I think this book will be helpful. 

A happy change

Once again, my Saturday was awesome. 

I went to Joplin to watch the Rhema basketball teams play in the last games of a tournament. 

Boys came in 5th place and girls came in 3rd place. 

The scenery is beautiful between Tulsa and Joplin. This is my first time living in the Midwest, so everything about this place is part of the adventure.

My friend Holly and I rode together to the tournament and it was fun to go on a mini road trip. 

We ate lunch at a local barbecue place, which was my first time eating barbecue since moving. How did I go that long without it?!? 

I digress…

This past week’s been a lot of fun because it’s the first time in a while that I’ve had something going on everyday. 

I’m just taking things one day at a time and soaking up all of these experiences. 

If I want to do something, I give it a shot. What can it hurt?

If I want to get to know someone, I stick out my hand and introduce myself. What can it hurt?

Sure, I’m still my awkward, goofy, and cheesy self but I’m starting to embrace it more and more. 

Some days are harder than others. Some days I miss home. 

For the most part, though, I’m simply grateful to be in Tulsa. Being a student at Rhema, seeing faith in action is changing me. 

And I am happy about this change.