Friday, December 19, 2008

From "Streams in the Desert"

I would LOVE to say that I wrote this, for I have in fact had these very thoughts. However, someone beat me to the keyboard, and penned them first. It is my heart all the same.

“This will result in your being a witness to them.” Luke 21:13

Life is a steep climb, and it is always encouraging to have those ahead of us “call back” and cheerfully summon us to higher ground. We call climb together, so we should help one another. The mountain climbing of life is serious, but glorious business; it takes strength and steadiness to reach the summit. And as our view becomes better as we gain altitude, and as we discover things of importance, we should “call back” our encouragement to others.

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back—
It will cheer your heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perhaps, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the lofty air was still.

O friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet sprint in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you’ll say He hears you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky—
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back—
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

I have gone back and forth on the argument that we were "created for fellowship." I am highly skeptical that the God of the Universe, who is perfect in and of Himself, got lonely one day and said "I'll create humans to keep my company." However, once He saw that Adam was insufficient by himself, it is clear to see that Gos did create another, woman, for fellowship.

I have never been one to enjoy solitude. I don't like being by myself. It's quiet. Still. And often, disconcerting. (It is only disconcerting at night because.... I am still afraid of the dark.) I have found that it can often feel the same in some places and seasons of our spiritual journey.

It has been in the valleys, those desert trudges, that the only solace and comfort I found often lay in the testimony of another who had walked where I then sat. If it were not for fellowship in those times of intense and almost paralyzing loneliness; if it were not for the insight and perspective of someone who had forged the same trail and come out on the other side alive, my doubt, my fear, guilt and shame, I believe, might have overtaken me. In the same way that weary wanderers see mirages and hallucinate in the desert, I took began to see false images and believe the lies of the enemy.

But praise the LORD! I was never alone. In fact, I was surrounded by friends and even family that had seen such darkness; experienced such seasons. But it is only because of this that comfort and encouragement could be had: Confession. It is only when, in desperate humility, one allows their prideful walls to fall and exposes their weakness that strengthening can come.

Ironic, isn't it. It is a beautiful mystery that absolutely captivates me. I wonder what the Church could be, what the Bride of Christ would look like, if we simply let our hair down and openly admitted to our stuggles. I have a feeling that a radiant beauty would emerge that would penetrate every heart and every mind, unbeliever and saved alike. Because at the end of the day, if the unbeliever doesn't confess and the believer doesn't confess... what difference can we possibly make?

Matt Chandler, the head pastor at the Village Church in Dallas, says it this way: "It's ok to not be ok." The first time I heard that, I felt as though he were speaking to me (via podcast). I felt a freedom, liberation, and peace that I had not known before that time.

The second part of that statement says this: "But it's not ok to stay there." We won't stay there, if we know that someone else overcame.

So if you're ok. Great.
If you're not ok. Great.
Whichever you are, keep walking forward, but call back.

Friday, December 12, 2008

TOMS Shoes Video

Hey Y'all!
I don't know how many of you have heard about TOMS Shoes, but it is an awesome organization. Below is a link to their website where you can learn more about what they do and how they do it. Most of all, I want you to watch the video that will appear on your screen when click the link below.

Friday, December 5, 2008

To love...or not to love.

So, all my friends keep getting engaged. And married. No babies on the way that I know of… yet. While I am genuinely happy and excited for them, I can’t help but be slightly overwhelmed by the whole idea. Marriage, last time I checked, was a life-long commitment and thus a fairly LARGE decision that promises to change your life forever, for better or for worse. There are aspects of it that sound appealing, but to be perfectly honest, it scares the living day-lights out of me.

I don’t know if it stems from a fear of commitment or a fear of being hurt. Perhaps a combination of the two. But it’s the latter that really gets my panties in a wad.

You know the saying “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? I don’t know that I agree with that. I am fully aware that this makes me sound a bit bitter and cynical, but I am truly trying to come from strictly “romantical” sense of the phrase. (I am also fully aware that romantical is not a word… I don’t care.)

Is it better to have loved someone so whole-heartedly and lose them, than to remain fully intact? Have you ever seen or spoken to someone after a break-up? They are devastated. They render themselves ruined. They lose appetites. They lose interest. They lose focus. They lose themselves.

They are wounded, defensive, and often times embittered. They become hard. They become calloused. Or, they become desperate. And they run to anything and anyone for attention and the shallow allusion of love.

I understand that, to a certain degree, this is a stereotype. So, let’s say that the previously described, hypothetical person does not exist. Let’s assume there is another person having experienced the same loss.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and misery, they look at each relationship as a “learning experience.” They take from each person lessons that they learned and were able to grow from. Each person with whom they shared themselves and conversely took from, they used as an opportunity for development, knowledge, and understanding.

Does that sound romantic? It is a more tolerable and less emotionally taxing way to deal with the losses, to be sure. But, how long will that last? How long can one say to themselves “Our time spent together was productive in that I now am/can/have ______.”

How long can you share such experiences, such moments in your life with so many people before you realize… you would have preferred the consistency, comradery, fellowship and faithfulness of just one?

Do you not leave a part of yourself behind with each person? Do you not have less uncharted territory of your soul to offer? Is there less of you that has not been seen and shared with someone than not? Is it crazy of me to want to reserve, hide, and protect places of my heart and crevices of my soul for only one person? Because when push comes to shove and someone up and walks away, taking the intangible pieces of your heart with them… what do you do? How to respond?

Do those elements of your being that you so freely gave away grow back? Or is it that they never left but are simply bruised, losing the radiance of their former untapped glory?

On a highly personal note, I don’t think that I, Meredith, have the gumption for such transitions because of my innate and unrelenting attachment that subconsciously and viciously develops over a short period of time. I am someone who, through no understanding of my own, has the ability to grow emotionally and sentimentally attached to strangers, much more my friends or a man that I may be interested in.

And this is something that is very hard to deal with. Something that complicates, for me internally, the whole idea of relationships is my seemingly uncontrollable attachment. It is one thing to be unaware of your weakness until after the fact, but it is entirely different to be SO aware of it, knowing that it is inevitable. This foreknowledge creates fear and trepidation.

I know that, in an earlier post, I committed to ignoring such fears and taking the dive because it would be worth it. Turns out, that’s easier said than done.

I’d love some opinions on the matter. I would love to be proved wrong.

5 Favorite Things

Alright, I have been tagged by my lovely cousin Katrina (lovingly called "Trina") to list my five favotite things. For your reading pleasure:
1. Jesus- not a "thing" but my Savior and my only true satisfaction on this earth.
2. My friends and family- fellowship with them is my favorite way to spend my time
3. Cooking.. and then eating what I cook
4. Music
5. Coffee
6. Pedicures
7. Movies
8. Nature
9. Working out
10. Bubble baths with candles, Michael Buble in the background, and a good book.

I am fully aware that this is more than 5 things. But here's the thing: I have more than just five favorite things and this is MY blog and I can write whatever I want. I can break the rules on MY blog because on MY blog there are no rules. Yeah... so there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

From "Streams in the Desert"

He went up on a mountainside by Himself. ~Matthew 14:23

One of the blessings of the old-time Sabbath day was the calmness, restfulness, and holy peace that came from having a time of quiet solitude away from the world. There is a special strength that is born in solitude. Crows travel in flocks, and wolves travel in packs, but the lion and the eagle are usually found alone.

Strength is found not in busyness and noise but in quietness. For a lake to reflect the heavens on its surface, it must be calm. Our Lord loved the people who flocked to Him, but there are numerous accounts in Scripture of His going away from them for a brief period of time. On occasion He would withdraw from the crowd and quite often would spend His evenings alone in the hills. Most of His ministry was performed in the towns and cities by the seashore, but He loved the hills more and at night-fall would frequently seclude Himself in their peaceful heights.

The one thing we need today more than anything else is to spend time alone with our Lord, sitting at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence. Oh, how we need to reclaim the lost art of meditation. Oh how we need "the secret place as part of our lifestyle!" Oh, how we need that power that comes from waiting upon God!

It is good to live in the valley sweet,
Where the work of the world is done;
Where the reapers sing in the fields of wheat,
And work till the setting sun.
But beyond the meadows, the hills I see
Where the noises of traffic cease,
And I follow a Voice who calls out to me
From the hilltop regions of peace.
Yes, to live is sweet in the valley fair,
And work till the setting sun;
But my spirit yearns for the hilltop air
When the days its' work are done.
For a presence breaths o'er the silent hills
And its sweetness is living yet;
The same deep calm all the hillside fills
As breathed Olivet.

Every life that desires to be strong must have its "Most Holy Place" into which only God enters.
~Ex. 26:33

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Convicting Challenge

Due to my impressive lack of blogging/technological know-how... you will need to copy and paste the link in order to watch the video that I would have liked to have posted directly into the blog. Anyone who knows how to do such things, should leave me a comment with easy to follow instructions.