Blank Pages

Sometimes these posts start with divine inspiration. Sometimes they start with things that have been on my mind. Sometimes, like today, it starts with blank pages.

Many days lately my life feels like a blank page.

Blank pages are great because they are a empty page. They are a open canvas to whatever you want it to be. No mistakes, no direction, no anything but a solid color laying before you. Ready for whatever you want to make it.

Blank pages are also terrifying though.

What if you don’t know what to write? What if it comes out wrong? What if others don’t understand it? What if you don’t understand it? What if it ends after one page? What if you fail? What if it never gets done? What if….

The what ifs are never ending. We can always find reason to never start the blank page. To put down that first word, or color, or note. We can make up why it won’t turn out. Why its not worth starting.

What if we did start though? What if we just started putting words on the page? What if we let others see it?

Sure, it may fail. It may be a jumbled work of words or colors. It will be from you though. It will always be a part of your story.

Some pages of our lives turn out dark. Some pages are covered in beautiful colors. Some pages are nonsense. Some pages are the most detailed. Some pages are surface things. Some pages are in-depth and real. Still other pages are, you guessed it… blank.

Right now, my life is blank pages. I am deciding what words and colors and notes will paint the next pages of my life’s book. Its hard to live through blank pages. It feels like they will never end.

Here is to starting to put colors brighter than the sun and words stronger than my fears on my pages. They may not come out pretty. They may not come out permanent. They may only last a couple pages.

But what if they last a entire series? What if that one starting stroke was all I needed for a beautiful story?

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Thankfully, Single for the Holidays

This time of year our social media news feeds are filled with lots of fun things. Family gatherings, engagements, happy couples, growing families, and so many more happy events. So many holidays bringing families and friends together. 

But to the single person… it can get a little depressing. You can feel like you are never going to have some of those things. You can look at your family pictures from your gatherings and think “why am I the only person alone?”. Doesn’t matter that there are tons of people around you who love you… sometimes you can just feel alone. I know. I have been there. So many times in recent years. 

This doesn’t mean you AREN’T loved by people. It doesn’t mean you ARE alone. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever have things others do. It just means it isn’t your time. 

And trust me… I know exactly how hard that is. 

This is also the season of cheesy Hallmark movies. Full admission here: I am slightly addicted to them. I can watch them all day long. It doesn’t matter to me if I know the entire story because its just like the last. Or that the things that happen don’t *actually* happen usually. I just love the idea of people being so happy its corny. I love seeing the love stories blossom.. and struggle… and (assumedly because I don’t see past it) a happy ending. 

All that can make it even harder to focus on thankfulness in my time as a single person though. I can sit and day dream and hope for the day all those things are true for me. I can be upset that I am “alone”. 

Or I can choose to be happy. I can meet new people. I can be involved in a lot of different things. I can enjoy the time I can spend with my family when I have that time to focus on them. I can be thankful, for being single. 

I pray daily that God will give me the man and life of my dreams. But, I also pray that God would do His will in my life in HIS time. Those two plans may not line up for all I know. I hope they do, and I believe if I am trusting in Him as my number one. He will give all those things to me. 

And while I wait… I can be thankful. I can be happy. I can be JOYFUL. Because ultimately, He gave me a beautiful life. I get up each morning and live. What could be better than life itself from a Savior who loves me unconditionally? 

These are the GOLDEN DAYS.

I had a major realization tonight when driving home that left me utterly speechless. A true story of God’s grace and overwhelming love for us in our darkest days. Because every day is the chance for another day of sun.

You are golden
You are golden, Child
You are golden
Don’t let go
Don’t let go tonight

We are going to take this post back to 2017. On May 25th I celebrated my 25th birthday. My golden day. It was nothing like I always thought it would be. I made a decision that day though to live my next year as I was made to. As a golden and loved child of God. No matter what life had in store for me. I was coming off a few harder years and the coming year was stacking up to be the same.

June 2017 I took a trip to Alaska. We were there on a what man would call impossible mission. We had to repair a roof with pennies when we needed thousands. On top of that we spent the week praying for sunshine. We had rain and we needed sun.

With arms open wide
I’ll be your umbrella when you just can’t stand the rain
I’m there by your side,
I wanna be your shelter when you just can’t stand
When you just can’t stand the rain

While in Alaska, back at home my golden sunshine left us on June 19th. We lost my first dog, our 12 year old Golden Retriever, Levi. The rain was still falling in Alaska and my heart was feeling it. My golden sunshine was hard to find. My golden days were failing. I prayed for sun and felt the rain falling.

On June 22nd I saw the true miracles of God fully. I watched a group of guys whom I admire so much trust fully in the power of God and the sun. I watched the sky open up and pour down sun on them, and only them. I saw a impossible job finished in the sun. I watched an impossible task become a possible finished one.

On June 25th, my sunshine entered the world again to stay.

The day you strolled in, my heart was stolen
‘Cause you are golden

I didn’t know it that day. I didn’t know until about 3 weeks later. That day though, my sunshine came to stay. Just days after losing my golden sunshine, heavens gift sent us another day of sun.

My Hope.

When I first met Hope at 3 weeks old, I knew she was mine. I knew she was my sunshine. I had lists of names and ideas. I tried to pick something different. I kept going back to this simple little name though. Hope. Hope for days of greatness. Hope for days of golden sun again.

She has truly been my sunshine. Even on the rainy days. We have kept that super special connection and she is the golden sunshine I was made to have.

In the course of a week, God showed me the true meaning of my golden year. He showed me the golden days. He showed me that even in the rain, the sun will shine. That even the darkest days will send sunshine.

Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again. – Ecclesiastes 1:5

I never really connected all those things together before tonight. I never realized the true impact of the whole thing. How all those golden days were teaching me something. I felt them all individually but I didn’t realize how they all fit together. How in my golden year he taught me the true meaning of the sun and rain.

No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. “Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. – Isaiah 60: 19-20

Waiting.

I have been thinking lately and I have come to realize that I put my life on hold for the past year. Sure, I was living. I was doing things. I was trying to pass off to myself that I was just “finding myself”. Truth is, I was just waiting for someone do that for me.

I haven’t competed in agility in almost a year. I didn’t write on this blog for a year. I hardly saw some friends. I kept myself “busy” to avoid doing things.

Beth: If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don’t mind. I was never like the rest of you… making plans about the great things I’d do. I never saw myself as anything much. Not a great writer like you.

Jo: Beth, I’m not a great writer.

Beth: But you will be. Oh, Jo, I’ve missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don’t like being left behind. Now I am the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you.

I started this blog based off this quote. I relate to Beth March so much. The gentle and quiet spirit of the March family. Beth’s life may not have been grand. She didn’t make great plans, she liked being home. You know what was great about Beth though, everyone had a special place for Beth in their heart. A place just as special as she had for them.

Life is about people. Life is about love. Thats what I want.

Amy: We’ll all grow up one day, Meg. We might as well know what we want.

I won’t say I cut these things out of my life but I for sure put a wall up in the last year. I’m sure many people in my life may disagree. However, I know that I started to wait for others to place themselves in my life. Instead of seeking them out and making sure they knew they had a place in my life.

I think there is many factors as to why this happened. The biggest one is probably my own self doubt. That I am not good enough. No one wants me in their life, if they do they can seek me out. Not in a horrible “no one loves me” sort of way. More in a I don’t know where I belong so I will wait and let someone show me.

I always thought growing up I would be married by now. I would have this life of marriage and kids and all that. I think I got stuck in thinking that was coming. In thinking that would just happen. Waiting to “start” my life expecting that to come and be my life. Thats not my life though. It IS the life of many around me though. I can embrace that and love it.. for them.

So, I am embracing the fact I am 25 years old and single. I have never dated anyone. I am waiting for the right one. I may have that life some day and I may not. I can be happy in my life either way. I can have experiences and loves. I can love people and they can love me.

Amy: You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one… if he’s the right one.

I can do the things I love and not feel sorry about it. I can go to agility trials. I can write blog posts. I can take my nieces out. I can hang out with my friends. I can surprise people with random gifts. I can meet new people and see what relationships can come of it. I can do things with my family. I can make plans of where I want to live and what I want to do. I can take trips on my own and with others. I can be what I want to be right now. Not wait on what my life could/should be. I can live in the life God has planned for me in this season.

Jo March: I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.

In Little Women Jo made great plans and thought she knew what her life was going to be. It wasn’t until Professor Bhaer reminder her though that her life, was her life now. It would take courage to embrace her life and use it.

And then Beth left them. Jo then found the courage to do it. To be the great writer. To write about her life. The life she planned may not have been.. but the life she needed was there all along.

And in the end….

Laurie: Someday you’ll find a man, a good man, and you’ll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him.

She not only found her life but found a love she didn’t even know she needed.

Friedrich: But I have nothing to give you. My hands are empty.

[entwines her hands with his]

Jo: Not empty now.

I have no doubt though that Jo would have had just as great a life on her own after that. Sometimes love though gives us more than just love. It gives us hope, courage, and the ability to be even more than we could imagine for ourselves. Sometimes, those things come even before the love.

So from here on. I choose to love people. To encourage them. To be with them. To be the person they need me to be at the time they need it. To not run from trouble. To share God and his love. To find life in the midst of life.

Friedrich: Your heart understood mine. In the depth of the fragrant night, I listened with ravished soul to your beloved voice. Your heart understood mine.

Love over Everything

I didn’t want to rush into writing about this topic. Even commenting on other peoples thoughts. Its a serious problem that has a lot of heated sides too it. I didn’t want to add too it. I wanted to be a difference maker. So here goes…

As the incidence of mass shootings seems to be on the rise. We all seem to be blaming guns. We all seem to be blaming the tool used to do the killing. Lets take a look at this though…

Guns have been around since about the 15th century. People have been killing each other in mass murders since we were created. Now, does a gun make it easier to do so? Maybe, but a person who is intending to kill a group of people… will do it in whatever way they can. Hitler used gassing, Terrorists use planes and bombs, Pharaoh threw them in the Nile, Saul beat and imprisoned them, and Satan did it with wind (and every day with hurting people). If someones heart is so broken that they have an intent to kill. Satan will make sure they find a way.

The biggest thing I keep coming back to on this topic is this.. I keep imagining if it was MY loved one lost in one of these mass shootings. I can honestly say in all I have thought about this, I would not be mad at the gun that shot my loved one. I wouldn’t be worried about how they got the gun. If it was legal or not (news flash: bad people don’t use legal things anyways). I would be mad at the human who did. Because a gun CANNOT shoot itself. My loved one would not have been killed by a gun. They would have been killed by a gun in the hands of a very broken person.

My next thought would be how could someone have so much hurt they find this to be okay to do? What hurt happened to this person to make it seem like the only answer? However, I see it every day. It starts in little ways. People so upset and hurting that they just want to disappear. They want to live on a mountain alone. They want all human kind to just die. They want anyone who disagrees with them to go away (blocking on facebook – a common coping method – block it out and it doesn’t exist). They live in video games and movies, wishing it was real life or pretending that if they get it all out there it will be fine. One more night of Netflix alone instead of facing the world and seeing people.

We have become a broken nation. Not a strong one.

Its time to fix it. To love people. To heal the broken. No more fighting over what weapon they chose to use. Its time to be getting to the problem. The brokenness of people.

Judgement is not for me to decide. Judgement is for God. Everyone will answer to him in the end. Wether its for your lie you told or the people you murdered. Sin is Sin. Someones lie can turn into guilt/fear which can turn to anger which can turn to hate which leads to suffering (Yoda had it down!).

We are human. We were not promised a perfect life on this earth. We were promised a life that God would help us through if we keep ours eyes on him. When we let them wander, the devil is sure to catch your eye with fake promises and let in the evil.

I watched a movie this evening with a group of friends. There was a scene where the main character is sinking in a boat. Black goo swallowing him. The more he focuses on his past. On all the wrong doing and suffering and bad times. The more it sank. The more the goo took him over. But when he lifted his eyes and focused on Jesus. All the bad fell away. He had peace and safety in the boat. That is life.

The bad will always be there. We will have hard times. We will lose people. As long as we are of this world there will be suffering. Keep your eyes on him though. He will keep you above water. He will give justice to those who need it and love to all even when we don’t deserve it.

So I’m going to choose to love people. ALL people. No matter their beliefs, their pasts, or their circumstances. I would hope that someone would do the same for me. Overwhelming reckless love. Love with no boundaries.

Love does not equal weakness. Love does not equal turning a cheek to wrong doing. Love does not equal standing quiet in the face of danger.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs (!!). It does not delight in evil. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres. Love never fails.

All people need is love. Hurting people are simply desperate for love.

Fatherless. Motherless. Friendless. Loverless. Siblingless. Grandparentless. Godless.

People are hurting all over just from a lack of love. Even worse, from complete and utter loneliness. From feeling like they don’t fit in. From being bullied for their looks or their personality or their hobbies. From feeling empty with nothing to fill them up. Lets change the status quo.

Fight for love. Not for guns. Or against guns. Fight for people. Even the ones who do bad things, because they are probably hurting most of all to be in that place. Everyones circumstances (and how they handle them) put them where they are today in this moment.

And not just any love. Gods perfect all powerful and never ending reckless love for ALL his people.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

  • Reckless Love – Cody Asbury

I know this won’t be the most popular opinion. However, it is the only logical and hopeful one I can find. There is hope even in dark times. That hope is Jesus. God’s loving sacrifice for all our wrong doing. The only thing that can truly fill you up and give you hope. We were made to be loved by God and to love others in the same way he loves us. I want to state right now, I am always available if you have questions about this hope and love through Christ. He is the answer in this dark world. He is the light. I will not stand by and let more people hide in darkness. I will not let more people feel so unloved all they have left is the pitch dark sadness. I will be the match that starts the flame. I will use my own messy but beautiful garden of life to help others.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

– John 3:16-21

 

 

Be Thou My Vision (a lesson in love, life, and loss)

Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves

But we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah

One year ago today my Grandmom was taken from this earth and restored in His heavenly kingdom. A truly beautiful and wonderful thought.

Yet, every day the devil feeds me lies.

She should be here. Why did she have to die? She would be happier to see all we are doing. To be here to love us. To see her grandchildren get married or her great grandkids learn to walk and talk. There is nothing better than that right?

I am here to tell you, that for my Grandmom there is. Not that she didn’t love us. Not that she didn’t wish she could be here with us. She lived her life though, and she lived it for her God. The one she gets to praise every single day without human worry or sickness now. She was called home because her job here on earth was done. And she gets to live there for eternity.

Oh how we can’t wait for the day we can join her. When we can worship our God with her. When we can love without limitations and human sin. When we can be truly complete in Christ.

Oh the beauty of the King
You make righteous those who seek
You have written and redeemed my story

Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are
For You are salt and light

But first, we have a life to live. We do not know the day we will die. We do not know if we will live till tomorrow or 70 more years. That is not for us to know. All we need to know, is that we have a Savior who saves us every day. Who is there to redeem us. Who is there to love us in all our imperfection because in His eyes we are perfect when we trust in Him. When we ask him to make us perfect.

That is all my Grandmom wanted in life. To love and praise her God. To give him all the glory and let others know. To sing praises to him anytime she could. To love every person around her, to show Christ’s love.

We live in a world of fear. What will tomorrow be like? What will I do if I have no money? Why does this person hate me? What will I do if I lose this person?

Those fears are nothing in Christ. When we truly trust and love him, we have perfect peace. He cares for us. He will take care of all our NEEDS. No matter if the times are rough or easy.

He never promised we would have it easy. He did promise to be with us though. To keep us focused. To show us beauty in everything. Even the darkest hours when hope seems gone.

1 year from that date, and my family is dealing with saying goodbye to more family members. Its easy to give up. To say we are just done with this and we don’t want to feel anymore pain. To not want to ever lose someone again. Sadly, that’s impossible. Loved ones will pass away. They will get to be made perfect again when they know God though. We will see them again. Until that day, we carry on. We live, and love, and keep on spreading His love. There is nothing more we can do.

 I miss my Grandmom more everyday. As I grow closer to God though, I feel her closer. I know she is proud. I know she loved me. I know she wants the best life for me. Not one of sadness missing what could have been. My God is enough. People will fail but my God is enough. He is what gave me her (and all my other loved ones) and everyday I will sing His praises for it.

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Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

Definition: after this, therefore because of this

My news feed is constantly filled with questions of why and anger lately. Its filled with woman marching and LGBTQ’s in fear and people being unsatisfied with all they have.

Donald Trump is President of the United States.

Many people are assuming that because Trump is now President. That people are now going to be allowed or are suddenly going crazy and being hateful.

The problem is. The “because of this” is not the act of Trump being President. The “because of this” is that we let a nation get so bad that we had a majority who agreed he was good enough to do the job. We have a nation completely blinded by fame and power and money and selfishness. Even human life has no meaning to us. Both “sides” have fallen victim to this. I see every belief system and cause fighter acting this way in some way.

Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices – Ecclesiastes  7:29

So Trump being in office does not suddenly cause the issue. Its actually the fact that we have let us slip so far that people find actions like beating people up, stealing, cheating, and lying are okay. Even on a small level. Small levels lead to big levels very fast. What was okay in smaller form must be okay in bigger too right? Who will stop me? No one can, because I control myself.

People, any people, don’t crumble in a day. We don’t go from treating people fairly to electing a man like Donald Trump over night. Donald Trump is just another victim of our culture just like the next man.

Lets look at this: Donald Trump has been in REALITY TV for how many years? 20 some? Now think about what WE as a NATION have done to HIM in that time. We waited each week to tune into the kicks we got from him being rude to his employees on TV. We made this okay by saying he was “helping” them to be better. We praised him for being a billionaire and star. We loved how stupid he acted in front of a camera and the lies he told to get ahead. We made him a god. Face it… hardly anyone hated Trump before he got in the political race. He was considered “cool”. He was reality TV. He seemed fake so it was fine. When all that time you were creating a man who thought he was god in terms of what he could get away with. Because it was just TV right?

Guess what. Reality TV is not fake. Its real people we are affecting. You want to know how this happened? It happened when we created TV. It happened when we started working for entertainment and not love. When we took what was meant for entertainment and made it reality.

We as humans can not take in all this on TV, social media, news, music, etc and just go on as normal being unaffected.

Even the news isn’t news anymore. Its another source for entertainment and back stabbing. We made it into who can get it out fastest, real or not, and who can we hurt with this. Not simple facts made to relay information.

We are the worlds most gullible nation. Donald Trump just recognized that and did what WE trained him to do. He set his sights on something and didn’t let anyone tell him no. No matter the cost to others.

I know this next part may not be popular opinion but…

Your marching does nothing. We are past marching. Storming cities and destroying innocent peoples lives and jobs does nothing for your cause. It just makes you look selfish. You are picking the easy way. You are saying “I am strong and perfect and you can’t touch me” but you are doing nothing to prove it.

Want to create real change?

Go mentor a kid who needs help. Work at your local shelters (human and animal!). Lobby for a place in your local government. Help out with after school programs. Feed the hungry. Help the homeless. Love the widowed. Trust God to care for all your needs. Only those things will change what we have done to ourselves.

Any march ever done did not change the problem. Someone doing something that started and/or ended it did. Sure, it shows you support the cause. We are past support though. We are in desperate life or death stage. We are past let me hug you while you get over a cold. We are in full on all hands on deck medical emergency. Our life as a nation depends on it.

So get busy. Make real change. Fight issues not with nasty post’s and debates online. Fight with all your power, strength, and wisdom. Fight for what you believe but don’t belittle others in the process.

They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion. – Thomas Hobbes

I cry almost every day lately over my own family members fighting over STUPID things. There is nothing in this world more important than loving the people around you (as God loves YOU!). Disagreements or not.  So don’t let what we have done to ourselves… kill us for good.

We need people. We need love. We are so far gone I daily see posts of people being beaten, children being abandoned, animals abused, and hate being spread. Everyone shares it on their social media blaming this or that for it… but who is really doing anything? Who is stepping up to say this is wrong? Who is finding that place to make a real difference. Not many that I see. Everyone is hiding behind their computer and phone screens hoping someone else will solve their problem. Writing off anyone who disagrees with them because anyone beyond themselves matters nothing.

Someone I know taught me a perfect lesson a few weeks ago. He threw two gold fish down on a table with a perfectly good bowl of water sitting right by it. Then walked away. Want to guess how long it took someone to save them? Want to guess how many stood up? We all shrieked. We all waited for someone else to save the poor fish who were laying there dying. No one wanting to be the ones to pick them up because then we would have to touch them. We had to go out of our way and sacrifice our self for them. We didn’t have time to keep thinking about what might or might not happen or who would save them. They were dying. Out of about 20 people and 30-60 seconds… two stood up (who I admire greatly and would have expected no less that they be the ones to take action first) and saved those fish. Another 30 seconds and those fish had no memory of what happened and were swimming happily because someone stepped up to save them.

Now imagine that fish is a person. A person without God. A person struggling to survive. A person who is filled with hate and the things of this world. Will you let them die? Will you let our nation die like that? This nation is made up of people. We the people. The people are dying in more ways than one. We are so focused on self, we have forgot the whole.

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.

I’m calling bull on America. We aren’t having issue because of one event. We are having issue because of a whole long list of complacent selfish acts. By everyone.

We have problems. No doubt. Lets fix it. Not by ways of selfish acts but of acts of love bringing all glory to our Creator and spreading His love for us all. Even in times of trouble. He holds our lives in His hand and truly works for the good of those who love Him.

They did what your power and will decided beforehand should happen. – Acts 4:28