Saturday, September 22, 2012

9.22.12 [maybe your highs aren't real... finding a balanced faith]

I just have all of these urgently unorganized thoughts that I can't find a proper way to introduce them to this post. I don't even care about grammar and punctuation right now because I am so intent on capturing these thoughts long enough to release them onto this page... 

I finally realized why politics make me so furious.

I hate extremists. I claim to be moderate, to be an independent thinker... But I had friend whom I do respect remark to me tonight... "Emma, I know you are a thinker, and I know you are full of tolerance, but you are actually becoming intolerant of the people you find to be intolerant..." Very confusing sentence but she definitely nailed it. I have been irritated and anxious for weeks because I can't deal with my frustrations over people who seem to be hellbent on not understanding any issues beyond the two to three moral ones they feel are important. I am so irritated with their idiocy that I am now them, but coming from the far left... I'm ashamed. 

This isn't a post about politics. It is a post about extremes. 

I believe we seek after the highs and ride them to the peak, only to feel the crash and burn and then to repeat... I believe we are addicted to the inconsistencies, stuck in the in betweens... I believe that we are discontent and don't ever want to stay the same, to sit still, to let life just be... 

And I hate it, I hate knowing that I too am a thrill-seeking high riding typical American bi-polar individual... I hate that balance is one of the things I find most elusive in my life. That one drink with dinner... That one kiss good night... That one piece of chocolate... I am so all or nothing, so in or out that I can't imagine truly living a life of moderation...

But lately I've been praying for moderation more than I pray for that pair of Jeffery Campbell loafers I'm lusting after currently... 

I believe that God designed things to be in balance... Look at the Universe for example... Our solar system is perfectly balanced, the Earth is exactly where it needs to be, not a mile to far or a mile too close to the heat of the Sun... But to me, the Trinity is the picture of balance that most takes my breath away. 

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Judge, the Savior, the Comforter... All different, but all the same. He is infinite things, but only one. It is a mystery beyond our understanding...

I have been considering my Christianity... What do I want it to look like... What do I want it to be for me, do I want to do it at all!? And while I am not quite finished with these questions I have realized that the reasons I feel disdain for Christianity is because the idea of balance has been exchanged for extremes. 

The Lion and the Lamb... 
The Word is a Sword, but it is the Bread of Life. 
Truth will set you Free, Truth will divide 

It's late and I'm running short of words and energy but this is where I'm taking the long route to get to. 

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He was here on earth and He knew exactly who He was, who we were and what He was going to do for us. He knew His sacrifice was the only way for us to find eternal life, and that except through Him no one could be saved. He understood that His Father could not look on sin, that not even the slightest stain could enter into the Father's presence. Jesus was aware of these things - but while He was here he was both Truth and Love. He didn't have to condemn with His words, to judge or to assert Himself... He was able to exist as the Truth but also love his disciples and instruct them... He didn't stand on the street corners holding signs declaring who He was- He just lived it out through His ministry and through Love. 

Jesus taught of strength through meekness, of victory through patient endurance. He taught the gospel of loving God and loving others as if they were ourselves... He did audacious things, He did the miraculous and the impossible, but He did it as if it were the ordinary... He is all God, and He is all man... He was majesty clothed in humility... How do I describe Him!?!

I am in awe when I think of who He really is... And I am amazed and inspired and humbled. 

Oh that we could find a balance...

To accept forgiveness, but not become prideful... To recognize that while we are redeemed, we are not everything... But at the same time to be strong and not live in our past. To be royalty but to also be as if we were poor. To walk in confidence, but hold onto our meekness. To love ourselves, but to prefer others... It is such a careful balance... We can fall into the trap of always feeling like we don't measure up, like we can't quite get there... We can be over meek, over humble and devalue Christ's work... Or we can be so proud of who we are in Him, how great our life is because we made so many great choices, and how awesome we are because we are following Christ that we forget- it's not even about us. We don't get to boast in a gift that we have received, not based on our own merit.

How we live a life of contrasts in a consistent, moderate way? I believe the key is truly Love. 

The Father chose to send His Son to restore a balance to the world - to be an atonement for an unfathomable debt- He chose to offer a balance to judgment with forgiveness... 

My unanswered questions still remain - but this idea of moderation brings me just another step closer to discovering the faith I want to live out. I don't want to do it anyone else's way... I don't want to walk in and out of emotional encounters with God... I don't want to declare my devotion from the rooftops of my social networks... I don't want to make "new years resolutions" at the altar week after week. I want to know Him in the quiet, when no one is watching... I want to feel Him when life is still... I want to hear that small voice in the moments of moderation- because if I can find His presence in the mundane- then I will know - this is something real. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

8.9.12 [questions]

i've been doing so much writing lately that is far too uncensored to make it onto this blog. writing is such a release for me, i swear sometimes i can close my eyes and just let my fingers go, they make their own type of music on the keys. then... i open my eyes and read what i wrote, sometimes i smile, but sometimes i feel like i glimpsed into a stranger's mind. 

here are some uncut thoughts that i'm considering lately - 

childhood faith is like an arranged marriage 
- you don't choose, instead it's chosen for you. 
-you spend your whole life being taught how you, the bride of this faith, are supposed to act, what you are supposed to do, you know the rules, you know the expectations, and you do your best to live up to them. 

then you wake up one day a decade later and realize that you're married to, entangled with, a Husband that you don't actually know. You're committed to someone that you know of, that you have studied, prepared for, cried over, sacrificed for... but one day in between events and church attendance... you feel completely lost. 

do you want to be in this marriage? are you content with the intents of your parents, can you accept what they've given you and make it your life? do you want to question the authenticity of what you have, or do you want to just keep up appearances? do you want to be married to your faith in an intimate way, or do you want to just live in it? 

completely unorthodox blog for me, but i believe you have to first ask questions in order to find answers. 
if you are content living in a world where you never test the limits- live on. but i can't help wondering, and truly hoping that there is more than this. 

- e 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7.11.12 [constant]

Sometimes God can use the simplest things to melt our hearts, to turn our eyes back to Him. This morning I'm taken back to a place I haven't been in such a long time. One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture is filling my room right now, and my soul is reassured. 

Your Love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me. 

I am so thankful that these words are true. That You are the one constant through the trial and the change. 
My world has been in the middle of quite a lot of both as of late and this morning I am reminded that You are still here. That the silence I've been experiencing  is simply for lack of listening... 

When the disciples were in the boat with Him, experiencing the storm of their lives, they became terrified and full of doubt. They woke Jesus frantically, wondering how He could sleep through the complete turmoil they were fighting against. He was so calm, stood and said, "Peace Be Still" and the winds and waves stopped, they simply quit... 

This morning I put myself in the place of the disciples and I remember that even in this storm, He is still present here. 
I am not alone. There is NO way that this storm will get the best of me. I am so confident in this, because my confidence is in One who never fails. 

(just because i think this art is a tiny bit of brilliance) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

let it go. . .

For every magnificent high there seemed to be just as many crushing lows... That delicate balance of victory and defeat shifted and things just began to stop. You knew it just as well as me, the moment when things began to slip away. To give and give, and never be enough. To take and take, and never be satisfied… So much taking and giving, and so little loving… but wasn’t it all in the name of love? But love can conquer all, isn’t that what we’re told? Love can endure all things, but maybe some things weren’t built to endure love… But you have begun to recognize that this love has robbed you of your life… that you are cold and alone, hungry and afraid, tired and defeated… As you look into their eyes on the other side of the bed you understand that the only thing you hold in common is that… you are both reaching for extra blankets, in the middle of summer. When did it happen? Trace it back across the timelines of your mind- maybe you can discover when the heat began to cool… Sometimes the truest measure of love is not about how much you can give, but about what you are willing to give up. Sometimes leaving, rather than staying is the answer that no one wants to give. Sometimes we get it all wrong in love, and maybe someday we’ll get to do it right. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

let the Light shine in [6.19.12]

on my heart<3 
today i'm praying
that you'd come just as you are
that you'd open your Eyes to Love
understand that it's not about the past
it's about this moment
it's about opening your heart just a little crack
and letting the Light shine in
if you could light up your own life, 
if you could clean up your own heart
why would we be in desperate need?!
don't try to clean house, turn the lights on,
sweep things under the rug
before you cry out
don't try and make things
presentable before you let Jesus
into your life
don't wait till later when you
are more ready
because you'll never be more ready
than right now, right this moment
He doesn't say
"change your behavior, 
i'll check back later"
He just wants you
just open the window
to the Sun light this morning
it's just that first step
and before you know it
you'll wake up in a 
whole new world

Monday, June 11, 2012

6.11.12 [ back to the cross ]

Sometimes you just have to go back to the start, back to the beginning of things. . .

Last week was just a really tough week for me. Without going into detail, I will say this- everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Beyond losing my job and breaking my lease, on a very personal level my failures, my flaws, my secrets, my lies... they all came to light. I was faced with something very ugly, and that ugliness overwhelmed me, embarrassed me and sent me scrambling for answers. 

I had the opportunity to go to an "Encounter" this weekend. I went because one of my girlfriends asked me to. . . And literally within the first 15 minutes I was angry I was there. All of the ladies in my group had been saved less than two months. What was I doing here?! I've known Jesus since I was 4 years old! I immediately tensed up, closed up and just felt anger all over again. 

I don't need this! I already understand salvation, I need actual, real help!

This weekend I went back to the cross of Jesus. Like it was the first time. Like I'd never understood it before. I left all of my knowledge, all of my religion, all of my pride at the feet of Jesus and I experienced the Cross in a brand new way. 
I realized that I rarely think of the cross anymore. 

But the Cross of Christ is the center of everything I am, everything I believe. 
Without the cross, there would have been no forgiveness. Without the cross, 
we wouldn't understand love, because the cross is the ultimate definition of love. 

In my life I have accepted what Jesus did on the cross as the first step to living a Christian life. You go to the cross, you accept Him, you believe, your sins are washed, and you begin your journey following after Him. 

I realize that I leave the cross in the distance. I push forward and it's silhouette get's smaller and smaller on the horizon. 
This is where I've been wrong! This is why nothing has been working!

In order to truly walk with Christ we have to keep the cross of Christ in our sights. 

We don't do this to be reminded of our already forgiven sins, to remember how "sinful our past was", to keep us humble, to feel sorry. . . 

We need the Cross because we need to Blood of Jesus. We need to remember that EVERYTHING we need in our lives He paid for on the cross. Everything we need He took care of as He was beaten, as He was tortured. 
No, we don't need to feel sorry that Jesus went through these things- we need to feel grateful. He did it for us out of LOVE. It was His choice. Don't look at the cross and feel guilty- feel empowered! 

His Love for ME was so great that He endured the cross so that my sins might be forgiven. He endured the cross to silence the accusations of my enemy. We don't just accept what He did and keep moving. We depend on it! We know that it is power for our lives! 

Humanity was on a miserable path until the cross came, and changed the world. God is a God of Holiness, sin can't come anywhere near His presence. For years mankind offered sacrifices and followed rituals in order to be forgiven for their sins... But every sin required another sacrifice, and we kept on sinning! God's nature is so against sin that previous to Jesus there were laws that allowed sinners to be stoned for their transgressions! God reached out His hand from heaven on occasions and took the life of people who were in rebellion. Sin was no small matter. As time went by the gap between creation and Creator grew wider and wider. God loved the world so deeply, but the world was entrapped in sin. 
He had only one choice left, and that was to send Jesus, once and for all. 

God knew that only Jesus could break the curse of sin that was holding the world captive. The curse of sin is death and destruction. It is working and working and never receiving the fruit of your labor. The curse had enslaved the world and left everyone without hope. 

Jesus Christ came and changed things. Because He was blameless, He was able to take on all the sins of the world. When we go to the cross He transfers all of His goodness on us, and we transfer all of our sins to Him. It is this exchange that saves us. 
He conquered death and returned to the right hand of the Father. God still cannot look at sin, but now Jesus intervenes and intercedes for us. We go to Jesus and he pleads our case before the Father. He silences our accuser- He has cancelled our sin! 

The blood of Jesus allows us to stand boldly, confidently and securely in the presence of God!! But there is still more! 

When the Israelites were being held captive in Egypt God appointed Moses to go in and deliver them. There were a series of plagues sent upon the Egyptian and the final one was when God told Moses that He was going to send the angel of death over the land, and every first born son would die... God instructed that each of the Hebrew families were to kill a sheep as a sacrifice, and then take the blood and apply it over the door of their home. When the angel saw the blood over the home, it had to pass on by- there had already been a death here... 

This is a picture, hundreds of years before Jesus came, that shows us how His sacrifice works for us. When the Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy... to take that which is ours, to tell us that we are nothing, that our new life is a lie, that we have no right to claim the inheritance of Christ... We, through the power of Jesus' sacrifice, have the ability to remember what Jesus did and declare that through Jesus sacrifice and His blood that the curse of sin is broken, that we are not held captive, that everything He says about us is true and that we won't believe another minute the lies of the enemy! 

This is why. . . This is why we have to stay close to the cross. Because the cross bridges the gap between us and the Father. Because the cross represents the Love of Christ for us. Because the Cross represents a broken curse and a powerless adversary. The Cross is power to live this life in God's perfect fullness!! 


Saturday, May 12, 2012

everyday is beautiful

just some glimpses into my day
it's amazing how many
beautiful things are around us 
if we only open our eyes