I have had a difficult few months. It’s like I’m walking through a house while a tornado is roaring around me. Maybe I’m able to duck and miss a flying pillow but when I stand back up, a chair hits me in the face. The bathtub was ripped from the ground so I can’t hide there. And when I finally get to a closet, the door is pulled off its hinges.
I cower in the corner and watch the storm destroy my house, the world I’ve known. Everyone else feels it, too. The wind stings their faces and fear fills their hearts.
Maybe the tornado will take me to Oz. But the splintered wooden floor beneath my feet isn’t changing. I don’t see a yellow brick road. A blanket over my head, eyes screwed shut, I whisper “there’s no place like home” until the storm calms down. Continue reading →
Recently while reading the Book of Daniel, something hit me that I have never fully felt in my heart.
What kingdoms have I found in this world? What king has made me feel safe? What kingdoms have I longed to be a part of?
In Daniel, the kingdoms of this world exist by God’s decree. Daniel and those who are faithful live in the kingdom of this world and are simultaneously obedient to the Lord of Heaven, living as the saints of the Most High, citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ
Please, for the love of all that is Netflix, don’t comment “Is this a surprise to anyone?” under this blog post.
Because, yes, yes it is a surprise to me. And it’s so frustrating that this took almost TWENTY-FOUR YEARS for someone to tell me.
Over a month ago, I went to a new therapist for the first time and asked her why I can’t remember half my life, why I have so much trouble following people who are talking to me, and why I focus better while playing a dumb, mindless game on my phone.
My most recent tattoo is the biggest I’ve ever gotten. It took two sessions, a total of 8.5 hours sitting in a chair in perhaps the most uncomfortable position. (Truly, the way I had to sit was worse than the actual tattooing). And the final product is STUNNING.
Eddie Molina (website) did an incredible job with this piece and I’m so happy with it. And now that it’s healing and dozens of people have asked the meaning, it’s time I explain.
Of course, via a blog post. Because why would I do anything if I can’t exploit it for blog reads?
So, there are a ton of little meanings here, but I’m going to focus on the big picture. You’ll see some fig leaves, a ship, and a swan at the front of the ship. Continue reading →
Today, I got to go to a TEDx event with my boss, Caren Bright, where she was speaking. Every day working with her I learn something new. I feel myself growing in humility and empathy. I’m at awe of her strength and what the Lord is doing with her and Pamper Lake Highlands.
Caren has experienced some horrific things I could never imagine. She is fourth generation poverty. She grew up on the system and her oldest son took his first steps in a homeless shelter. But her story isn’t one to invoke pity and sympathy or even anger at the way homelessness and poverty are treated in America. Continue reading →
Over and over in my life, I see moments of pain and failure than can be traced back to one grievous mistake:
I tried to take all control. I tried to be my own god.
One of the most recent moments is this summer. I was living at home in Greenville, TX, feeling directionless and lost. I wanted something to happen. I felt discouraged having turned down two jobs without really knowing why. I wasn’t getting anywhere and I didn’t have the finances to move somewhere on my own. So, I made an executive decision to move in with my friend in Little Rock. There was no real reason other than I had friends there, rent was cheap, and it wasn’t Greenville. Continue reading →
When I was a kid, single digits, my biggest sin was lying. I loved it. It was a game for me. I wanted to see how cool of a lie I could come up with. My fake lives were more fun and adventurous than my real one.
And I would play with lying. I knew my parents could see through my deception so I came up with a plan. To this day I think it worked more often than it didn’t but who knows? Memory colors in favor of the reliver.
I started lying poorly about small things I didn’t care about. The hope was my family would think that is how I lied. That way, when there was something bigger I actually wanted to get away with, I could lie well and they wouldn’t catch on.
I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to have a calm, kind friendship with those who seemingly don’t care about issues I do, and who don’t care for justice. It’s not necessarily people who don’t believe in what I do, like atheists of Muslims, but those who say they do but don’t hold the same level of conviction and need for justice that I do.
As a believer, I see other believers as part of my family. And when members of that family seem to betray (what I interpret) as our calling and command to carry out love and justice, I feel personally hurt. And I can find it too difficult to live peacefully and lovingly with them.
Even though we are given dozens of examples of this in scripture. And even more moments where we are commanded to do just this. (See Romans 12:18 and Matthew 5:43-47 as examples). Continue reading →
Remember in season four of Game of Thrones when Tyrion was on trial and he demanded trial by combat but no one would fight for him? Prince Oberyn (remember? The slutty pansexual sand prince?) ended up doing it for his own personal revenge but no one wanted to fight specifically for Tyrion. To save his life and clear his name. No one wanted to lose their life for him. No one thought him worth it. Not even his own brother.
Tyrion was facing death and he was alone because no one would be his champion.
Sometimes I realize I’m Tyrion. Imprisoned, facing death, sneered at and looked down upon, with no one to be my champion.
I think a lot of us can relate to this. Not on a crazy Game of Thrones level, of course, but we can feel alone. Like we have no champion. Continue reading →
Forgiveness is one of those weird acts that we all have to do every day but most of us don’t really know how to. And the lack of forgiveness tears down societies, relationships, and families. Unforgiveness is painful. It’s poison in the body of the hurt and ice in the life of the unforgiven. It spreads pain and fear and distrust.
M.L. Stedman said it like this, “I can forgive and forget… it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”
Just because you’ve been hurt doesn’t mean you have to live hurt. You can make the choice, daily, to forgive and free yourself, and others, from those chains.
Unfortunately, forgiveness can also be painful. Sometimes it hurts.