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Archive for April, 2008

Effective.

Disclaimer: I’m not promoting this particular view. I just think this video is too funny for you to miss. Enjoy!

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Relentlessly.

I just want to be the kind of person who loves intentionally and relentlessly.

A professor once told me that I would learn more about my dreams and desires from my first year of full-time work than I would ever learn inside a classroom. He said that even if my first job isn’t anything like what I want to do for the rest of my life, I could still expect to learn about my hopes and dreams in ways I never before imagined. He said that there was just something about working that helps us to know more about ourselves, regardless of what our job is or how close it is to our dream. He was right.

I’ve been at Long Hollow for almost a year now. In just a few weeks, we’ll have interns running around all over the place, and my one year mark will come and go in the blur of summer planning. I cannot believe how fast a year has gone by, and I am equally surprised by how correct my professor’s wisdom has turned out to be.  I have learned so much about my own dreams and desires this year…even working a job that (while definitely fun) is not what I want to do forever.

Do I know now what it is that I want to do more permanently? Not a chance. Am I going anywhere? Not yet. But after my first year of full time work, I do know this: I want to be the kind of person who loves well. I want to love intentionally and relentlessly. And I want that to be my job. Somehow and in some way. I want an opportunity to do something that allows me the freedom to love down the walls built up by strongholds. I want to love away tears. I want to love the unlovely, the broken, the imperfect. I want to love them to pieces and love them to wholeness. I want to love them intentionally and relentlessly, over and over again, until breakthrough happens. Just like Jesus loves me.

And that is my dream…still waiting to take shape in ways that I haven’t yet figured out.

 

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PETA at the park.

Unbelievable.  I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands this week, so I decided to do a short run at Moss Wright today. It was the perfect temperature for an evening run, and I couldn’t possibly stay inside.  I took my beloved dog with me in the car because I figured I could walk him around a bit after my short run.  Mo loves riding in the car because he knows it’s the only place where I let him bark as much as he wants to bark. It is the highlight of his week to let him run errands with me and bark his head off at every passing car and person.

When I got to Moss Wright, I parked the car, took off Mo’s leash (so he wouldn’t get tangled in it while he barked), locked him in the car, and set out for my short run. If I’m exaggerating and lying being generous, I might have been gone for about twenty minutes total.  I made exactly one loop around the park. It probably was closer to 16 or 17 minutes. Very quick.

As I rounded the curve for the final hundred yards to my car, I noticed that a cop car had parked behind me and some psycho concerned citizen was pacing around and screaming sharing her concerns with him.  I immediately assumed that she had wrecked my parked car, so I nearly died sprinting picked up the pace to see what all the fuss was about. When I got to the parking lot and claimed ownership of the car (and the barking dog inside), the lady then proceeded to pour out years of pent-up wrath fuss at me. She started screaming about what kind of terrible owner I was and how my dog was probably on the verge of suffocating in the car. She (still pacing) told the cop that I should have my dog taken away from me and that he ought to arrest me for leaving my dog in the car without water or air.

I turned to the cop to explain that I had just been gone a very short time, likely less than twenty minutes, and I know that it would be irresponsible to leave my dog locked in the car without an open window for long periods of time. I apologized for not cracking the window, and I explained that for such a short run on such a beautiful day, I just hadn’t felt it to be a necessary precaution.

The psycho lady interrupted several times to get in her two cents, and then she huffed off to her own vehicle parked about fifty feet away. She glared and hissed stood and waited with a victorious smirk on her face. The cop then turned to me and said sternly, “Look up at me.” I was about to get ticked. I thought I was actually going to get a freaking ticket for leaving my dog in the car for twenty minutes.

But then he said, “Look right at me. I need you to look like I’m really giving it to you. I need you to look as if I’m fussing and you are upset, and I need you to act as if you are really sorry for the terrible, terrible thing you did. I’m not going to give you a ticket over something as stupid as this, but if I don’t do something, this crazy lady is going to have a cow.” He said, “I don’t think your a terrible dog owner, and I think she jumped to all the wrong conclusions. I believe that you aren’t lying and weren’t gone for long, and your dog is obviously just fine. [Note: Mozart was sitting happily by my side wagging his tail at this point.]

The PETA representative lady was still waiting for him to write me some sort of ticket to satisfy her wrath concern, so the cop sat me in the back of his car for about a minute. I tried to keep my head down both for fear that someone from the church would think I was being arrested and to try to stifle my laughter.  He (obviously annoyed by the lady who was still watching the whole thing) handed me a small blank sheet of paper (about the size of a ticket), and sent me on my way. 🙂 He was obviously annoyed that the lady had even bothered to call.

Seriously? Who does that? What kind of moron person walks by a car and waits less than ten minutes before calling a cop to report animal abuse? I love my dog – but he is a dog. It was not an infant left in a hot car for three hours in August. It was my happy dog, loving twenty minutes of unhindered barking. Dear “my-pets-are-my-only-life” concerned citizen – back off. Crazy.

I hope I run into her at church.

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Mercy Ministries

I spent Friday night and all day Saturday at a conference with Mercy Ministries. The conference was celebrating the 25th anniversary of Mercy Ministries, and it was so great to celebrate all the life change that has happened through that organization. It would be a DREAM job for me to one day get to work at a place like that, so it was fun to capture the vision with them this weekend. Christine Cain spoke on Saturday night, and she was incredible. Her whole message was great, but there was this one random side note she said somewhere in the middle of the message that caught my attention, made me laugh, and then set me free for a new way of thinking.

She was talking about the distinction between the spirit, the soul, and the body. We were created in the image of God, and just like God is one in three, we are one in three. We are one person with three parts: the spirit, the soul, and the body. The spirit is our spiritual part -the part of us that connects with the divine, with Him who is greater than us. The soul is made up of our emotions and thoughts, our ideas and dreams, and the body is the physical part of us, the arms and legs that encompass the spirit and soul. The three parts of us are distinct, but unified. They work together in a certain order – just like the Trinity. The spirit is the most important part of us because our connection with God is everything that we need. Then, our soul lines up with the spirit to help us process life internally, and finally, our body is an external presentation (perhaps well costumed) of our internal spirit and soul.

Here is the illustration that followed: Imagine that you are a girl with a bit of cellulite on your thighs and rear end…just a little. Imagine that you (as a non-believer with a little bit of cellulite) decide during an invitation that you are going to give your life to Christ for the first time. So you (body, soul, and spirit) get up and walk to the altar where people are waiting to lead you to the Lord. You receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and you receive a new SPIRIT, a new life. You turn and walk back to your seat with a new spirit, new life, and a new relationship with your Maker. You have been made new.

But when you back home that night, you are changing into your PJs and are absolutely horrified to note that you still have cellulite on your thighs and rear end. The dimples are still there. What!? What’s the deal?  Didn’t God just make you new??? Or did He just make your Spirit new so that the rest of your life (body and soul) would follow?

I’ve struggled with this concept so much.  I’ve been secure in my salvation for years, but I haven’t always walked in freedom. I still had hurts. I still had wounds and brokenness and bondage in my life. And, I was continually confused at how I could be so certain of the abiding Spirit of God in my heart and still struggle and fight and battle with these things.  But here’s the answer: I had allowed God the privilege of doing the most important thing. He had given me a new Spirit. But somewhere along the way, I missed the fact that just like I didn’t get a new body immediately, I didn’t get a new soul either. My soul needed a change process. My soul needed to fall into order with the new spirit in me, and until that happened, there was an internal battle for my freedom. While the new spirit in me was an immediate gift, my wounded soul needed a process of healing, and that process of healing could not have happened without the new spirit in me.

Doesn’t that just free you up in your thinking??? It was so freeing to me to realize that redemption is both a moment (for my spirit) and a process (for my soul). I wasn’t the exception to spiritual rules. It wasn’t that I was so messed up that salvation wasn’t enough to set me free. It was just that while my spirit had experienced the moment of redemption, my soul had forgotten the process of it. Salvation was enough to set my spirit free, but I had to walk through a process to get my soul to that same place.

I’ve walked through that process a lot in the past year or so, and it’s so good to finally understand that I can truly know the fullness of redemption that God offers us. I love it. And every part of me (spirit, soul, and cellulite) loves every part of redemption. That’s some good stuff.

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Mo & Ellie

Seriously, could you imagine two cuter dogs?

Brittany, Ellie Chanel, Mozart, and me 🙂

You should also know that despite the cute photo, Mozart was not very compliant. He is a dog-snob and refuses to even acknowledge Ellie when they are together. Haha.

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Stunning.

It has just been one of those weeks for me. I don’t even really know how to express the things I’ve been processing through, but I do know that the picture of me above this post describes it exactly. 

I can’t remember who took that picture (Tiff- was that you or Angela??), but at the time I was just joking around with that pose. I wasn’t really contemplating life or thinking about spiritual things. We were creating a short series of photos – the “contemplative series” to be exact. Here is the whole picture:

While the actual photo was taken as a joke, I have come to love the significance of that place and that posture. That mountain was one I frequented in my days at the Institute. It was not my favorite place to sit and think, but at some point in the semester, I hiked up there with a beloved mentor, and I was overwhelmed. I went back alone several times after that day. 

You can’t tell from the picture, but in person you can actually see most of Colorado Springs off to the far right of where I’m sitting, and the photo doesn’t do the scenery justice at all. The view is stunning in person.  I would literally hike up that mountain, thinking about life and faith and hurts and confusion and plans. My mind would buzz for the entire hike up. But when I got to that rock and sat down, my mind would slow down for a brief few moments,  and I would just take it all in. I didn’t journal. I didn’t pray. I didn’t read Scripture. I didn’t move. I just sat back and took in the scenery.

It’s been a week like that. For weeks my mind has been buzzing with questions about life and faith and hurts and confusion and plans, and this has been my week to slow down and simply take it all in. I’m just sitting and watching the scenery.  I’m taking it all in. I’m haven’t journaled a lot. I haven’t spent a ton of time in the Word. I haven’t prayed much. I haven’t moved….but not because I’m slacking off. I came to the end of the buzz and stirring and stress in my heart, and at the end of the trail, I just had to stop and take in all the wonder of God’s great plans and works.  And the view is stunning.

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Boot Camp.

Did anyone else see “The Lord’s Boot Camp” on 48 Hours last night?  If you have some time, click here  to watch it. Really interesting.  It was produced by Loki Films, the same company who produced Jesus Camp.  Check them both out – both worth watching.

The show last night was a documentary about a Youth Missions program where students spend several weeks at a boot camp for missionary training and then several weeks on a mission project. The documentary followed three girls through their boot camp experience.  Valerie is a 17 year old girl whose newfound Christian faith had radically changed her worldview, but she struggles with being heartsick for her boyfriend back home throughout the camp.  Tabby is a 13 year old girl who is (to say the least) very bold and assertive about her faith. Tabby seems to enjoy every waking minute of boot camp and every opportunity to cram her faith into innocent strangers while on mission at a state fair.  Nicole is a 16 year old girl who struggles with alcohol and drug issues, and while she hates the authority and boot camp in general, she seems to open up during her time in Africa working with AIDS orphans.

The film is meant to make you fall in love with Nicole.  And I did. Nicole hates everything about the boot camp, and she is clear that it is not her idea of a good time. But when she gets on the mission field in Africa, her demeanor changes. You can watch her attitude change while she washes the feet of AIDS orphans.  She falls in love with them, and you can literally watch her heart melt with compassion for their needs.  I’m not sure about her salvation. I’m not positive that she really understands the message of hope that the Gospel can bring. I’m not sure that she got the right picture of Christianity from the boot camp.  But, I do think her story is significant.

While the film is bent on making Christians look strange, the producers obviously liked Nicole’s story because her heart is changed when she meets a legitimate need without an agenda. The film is meant to make her into a hero of sorts because everyone can connect with a heart of compassion. Everyone can identify with the importance of social action. And everyone can identify with her broken life. She is the hero. Out of a broken life, she chooses to serve another. And even the most secular producers understand that that is what life is all about.

It was hard to watch the documentary because I both agreed and disagreed with so much. Their doctrine was correct, but their method was not. The picture of them was biased, but it wasn’t altogether untrue. But in the midst of a somewhat questionable documentary, I was reminded that compassion and love speak a universal language. When believers serve and begin showing compassion to the world around us, others will see and respect the God we serve.  When we meet needs without agenda, others will be ready to hear our heart about the great Need-meeter. And when we love others relentlessly and unconditionally, they will know Him who has LOVED us…even in our own brokenness.

 

 

 

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