Too Much

“For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, so that the righteous might not stretch out their hands to do wrong.”–Psalm 125:3

Echoing words calling for God’s protection and peace
Yet it is lost.
We are still seeking this very thing.
So many walk around in this world
Searching to find this peace
Yet they cannot find it.

Too many
Walk around
Looking around every corner
To see if someone is lurking there
Waiting to hurt them.

Too many
Yearn to feel safe and welcomed
And beloved for who God created them to be.

Too many
Are afraid to speak up
For fear they will be harassed
Or even killed for their honesty.

Too much pain…
Too much hatred….
Too much evil….

Too much…..
Too much….

T
O
O

M
U
C
H

And because there is just too much
We need to #ShutUp

A Brightly Shining Light

“Behold, I make all things new.”

There have been so many days this year when I’ve truly wanted to believe in these words. I scroll through social media and my heart aches for what was. I want to trust that all things are indeed working together for God’s good. Yet my heart still aches.

There is a bitter sweetness that plagues me each day. I’m excited for what is, but mourning what was. I’m delighted for a new community, but grieving friendships that were left behind. I continually find myself mourning all that was and hoping with all my might for what is now. In fact, I’m incredibly grateful for the joy and love I feel each and every day.

The church has always been a place of community; a place of healing and hope. But what happens when you are hurt in that place? There were days I struggled to worship; days were I couldn’t walk through her front doors. But the reality is the church is made up of people; people who are sinners in need of God’s grace. Annie F Downs in her book “100 Days to Brave,” writes, “Do you know why church is hard? Because of humans. So.many.humans.”

The reality is that humanity has to make hard choices. Humanity doesn’t always do what we think is the right thing. Sometimes humanity has to chose power and money over mission. And because of this truth, my heart is opening up to heal; to give forgiveness.

The truth I find myself clinging to is the hope born in Emmanuel. Through this holy child, hope springs eternal. A hope that reminds me that Jesus, in all of his humanity, experiences every sorrow, every tear, every moment of anger, every emotion.

This precious holy child who proclaims that he is the one who overcomes the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” And this Advent, hope is brightly burning in my life. The light is shining brighter and brighter as we walk to the manger and Jesus’ birth in this world.

The everlasting light is beginning to find its way through my own darkness again.

The Only Truth that Reigns

In this broken world, what is truth? Everyone thinks that what they believe is true. And when those who are often on the losing side finally win, those on the lost side want recounts. They pout and scream because they believe injustices have happened. Yet what if this is the truth of today, what if justice is finally winning?

And this is why we fight for truth. I want my LGTBQ + friends to be treated completely for who they are created to be.

I want my Muslim friends to be able pray in peace and to walk around without fear.

I want so much for holy truth; the truth born in Christ to be fulfilled and proclaimed.

Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and the life. The truth who is born in a manger in Bethlehem. The truth who came as a promised fulfilled. The truth that ultimately reigns even when the rest of the world clings to everything but this true.

We must shut up and listen to the only voice of truth that ultimately reigns–Jesus Christ our Lord; our Messiah!

Different is Beautiful!

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “different.” We would love to have you join us.

Each of us unique. Created by God. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Beloved children of God. But too often we want everyone to be like us…to act like us, to think like us, to believe like us. But the truth is there is a reason we were all created differently. Our differenceness is what makes us unique.

Im not tall like my sister. I don’t have the artistic ability that my friend KA has. My sister doesn’t write like me. Yet our differences are what make a beautiful tapestry of God’s handiwork. Each thread designed uniquely and for a purpose.

Mary was a virgin. Joseph was a carpenter. Yet they were chosen to be Jesus parents in Earth. Throughout Scripture, there were so many chosen because they were different. (For some reason I can’t get the book title “Same Kind of Different as Me” out of my head)

Different is what makes us beautiful, unique, and loved for who God created us to be!

(And because I can’t get this song out of my head since hearing the word prompt I have to share this too)

 

Weeping

“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”–Psalm 126:6

Weeping….

Dancing…

Weeping…

Dancing…

Weeping….

Weeping…

Every time I turn on the news, my eyes immediately begin to shed tears. There is way too much hatred, violence and evil. There are so many yearning to find safety and freedom. Ugly words are hurled back and forth.

It is in these acts that I believe our God is weeping continually. Like Rachel, God wept with the children of Aleppo. God weeps with our LGTBQ, black, and brown friends. God is weeping now as the city of peace is no longer a city of peace. Her lights darkened because of what those in power have reaped for their own good. God weeps every time the world turns to war and violence.

Can we not treat each other with love and respect? Can we not offer love–unconditional love—to each and every one of us? The most important thing we can do is shut up…and listen to one another

For when we truly shut up and listen, we realize that our reaping does reap good if we work together for good. But if we don’t our actions of hatred and hurt breed more evil and hatred. So we must think first before we speak. Sometimes the best thing we can do is simply shut up!

Weary People

” You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”–Malachi 2:17

Our God is weary, friends. Weary of watching the world around him fall to pieces. Christ promises to come down and rend the heavens. Yet too often the world fails to believe in these words. Too often the world turns God’s words back on themselves thinking it is all about them and not their neighbors. God is weary, friends and I cannot blame God.

Our God is a God of love and justice. A God who continually hears the cries of God’s people; cries of anguish and pain. Cries of people wanting to be seen by the rest of the world as beloved. And these people are weary too.

We are all weary. I am weary. Weary because my black and brown friends fight every day for safety. Weary for Bethlehem; the city of peace whose lights are no longer burning bright. Weary for all of those who are seen on the outside. I see them standing at the gate and I let them in. Yet so often the gate is not opened for them. No wonder we are all weary!

Yet I must trust in a weary God who fights to bring about God’s peace, justice and mercy on earth. God’s kingdom reigns and arcs towards justice for all the world. Justice that opens our eyes, ears, and heart to be aware of the injustices that are happening in our world.

Christ will not rest until this promise is fulfilled! Christ sees the ways we treat one another and he is ashamed. Christ is weary from all of our ridiculousness!

I am linking up with Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories!

 

Silencing the Stigma

I know all too well the realities of the stigma that comes with mental illness. I am the daughter of a woman who daily lives with a mental illness. Ever since I can remember, I witnessed how my mom was treated because of the stigma associated with the illness. In fact, I was so overcome with the way people treated my mom that I kept our story locked deep in the depths of my heart. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I finally unlocked this piece of my heart and our story.

In fact, it wasn’t until my first summer working at a Bible camp that I realized how important it was for me to tell my story. That I would have to put aside my own fear and not let the stigma overtake me. I had to stand up for my mom and all who daily struggle with a mental illness. And to this day, this is a promise I fight to uphold each and every day.

Stigma has a way of making the world think these people are not safe, that they are unclean and that they don’t deserve to live peacefully. In fact, too often mental illness is used as a false prophet in this broken world as more times than I care to admit mental illness is defined as the victimizer and not the victim. Yet the truth is that these individuals are beloved children of God. They deserve to live peacefully and to live in harmony with the world.

In our Acts text today, the words from Acts 11: 9 remind us how God redeems and restores all the world. “But a second time, the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.'”

So my friends, will you stand up with me? Will you use your lips, ears, and eyes to proclaim that God’s love is for all? Will you break down the walls of injustice and hatred? Will you remind the world that all of us are beloved–beloved children of God called to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly” together” as we silence the hatred, war, and injustices of this broken world?

For in silencing the injustices we proclaim in the promises given to us through the life-giving water; that only Christ gives. This water that redeems and restores all in this broken world.

I am linking up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup and Jennifer and Tell His Story.

 

Paralyzed by Fear

I turn on the television
Chaos all around me

Disbelief–that is no longer disbelief–
at what I see unfolding
Before my very eyes.

Immediately paralyzed by fear.

I fear for those I love;
For my LGTBQ friends,
For my black and brown friends,
For all my friends who are seen as outsiders.

Fear encircles.

I am afraid to stand up for what is right.
I am afraid to speak my mind.
I am afraid for what will happen if I speak truth.

Yet God calls me to speak truth;
To be brave.

I will not let fear silence me.

I will listen to the words of our God
As he proclaims over and over again,
“Do not be afraid.”

Words that appear 365 times in Scripture
One for each day of the year.

Yet the truth is that fear is here.
Fear paralyzes hourly, daily, every minute.
Fear encompasses us all.

Fear that is for me taken away through
This one who cries out and pierces the darkness;

The one who continually reminds us that we are never alone.
That God will never leave us or forsake us.

Unsettling Days

These days are unsettling. The lights in a Bethlehem are no longer burning bright. The city of peace has lost her light. To those in power, do you know what you are doing? What you have done?

A football player pledges allegiance to God and not the flag. So many think he is wrong while others understand what he is kneeling for. Unsettling arguments….whose right and whose wrong?

An unsettled world for so many. Unsettling days for women, black individuals, LGBTQ people. Unsettling because the world treats them awfully. The world is unsettled; for they  have forgotten what it means to truly listen to one another.

And it all began with Jesus who was born in an unlikely place to an unlikely woman. This precious Jesus who came to turn the world upside down. This one who unsettled the world for a reason.  But I think we have forgotten why Jesus came to the world in the first place? We have forgotten that this is unsettling is unlike the unsettling days of today. This unsettling born in a manger in Bethlehem calls us to shut up and listen.

Sunday Blessings 192 and 193

(1) An interview with a seminary student. He was interviewing me for a class.

(2) Fun mail!

(3) Getting to see SH

(4) A parishioner buying me supper.

(5) Great fundraiser turnout

(6) Watching some of my youth dance in Alice in Wonderland.

(7) Decorating the church and having pizza with some of the decorators afterwards

(8) A surprise package in the mail

(9) Crockpot chicken noodle soup

(10) Being selected to have one of my blogposts posted over at the Mudroom blog

(11) The movie Elf

(12) Texting with my faves

(13) Snapchatting with HL and ST

(14) Supper with KD and her family

(15) Applebees leftovers for lunch

(16) A parishioner bringing me buns and bars leftover from a funeral.

(17) Caroling with church peeps

(18) Texting with my fave

(19) Seeing Miracle on 34th Street with awesome peeps.

(20) Bake sale goodness

(21) CH and CC sharing my Mudroom blogpost

(22) Guest posting on the Slate Projects blog

(23) Surprise packages left on my office door at church.

(24) A beautiful PLN

(25) Aspirin for those headachy days