Today at church they did this song that really struck a chord with me. I think that Casting Crowns sings it, but I’m not positive. Anyway, the song is about someone sitting in church wondering if they are the only one that struggles, because everyone around them looks so strong. Below is the chorus, but I recommend checking out the whole song if you get a chance. You can find it on itunes.
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
On Sunday Leah and I headed up to Nashville to help set up for the Passion06 Conference. We stuffed 20,000 packets and then on Monday, we both manned computers with 28 other people and checked in over 18,000 college students and leaders! It was amazing to see all of them come through, so excited for what God was about to do in their midst! If you don’t know anything about this amazing ministry, you can check it out at www.passion06.com The first session went great last night as well as the community groups. These students have overtaken Nashville and will be there until the 5th. I came home today so that I can get back to work, but Leah is enjoying the rest of the conference as a student instead of a volunteer like last year. It was a great adventure for me though! I can’t wait to hear the stories from people that were able to attend the whole conference! Please be praying for them over the next couple of days!
“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” Matthew 5:33-37 (The Message)
This was a real kick in the butt for me last night! God is really using this paraphrase of the Bible to speak to me in new ways! It is really exciting for me, even if some things are hard to hear, like this one. I am so guilty of manipulating my words. I can’t tell you how many times I have told someone I will pray for them in passing, and then never did it. Or even worse, told someone that I would pray for them just to make myself sound good, and then never did it. That is so wrong! It is our actions that make our words true and meaningful, not just saying them. The last sentence in this passage really hit me the hardest: WHEN YOU MANIPULATE WORDS TO GET YOUR OWN WAY, YOU GO WRONG. That is so powerful! I never want to be a manipulative person. I want to be a person whose words are valuable because they can be depended on. I really need to work on not saying things that I don’t really mean and being better about following through with what I say. I don’t want to be the girl who is a lip servant, I want to be a person of action who truly serves.
Today I read in another blog, or maybe it was a group, I can’t remember, that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I have heard that phrase a lot in my lifetime, but today I really stopped to think about it. Is it better to love someone, either a family member, or a friend, or a child, anyone and then lost them? Or, would it have been better to have never known them and not to have had to drink so deeply of the pain of losing them. To journey through the recesses of bitterness and pain, only to surface and realize that they are still not there. On one hand, if you had never known them you would have missed all of the great things that made them so hard to lose. You would have missed their smile, and the good memories, the long talks, the hugs, and even the arguments. But in a way, all of those good memories make the loss so much worse. Then of course if you hadn’t known them, you would have missed all of those good things, but you would have also missed the pain. But maybe those good things have helped shaped you into the person that you are. Maybe without those good things your life would not be as full. I originally was leaning towards the second half of the statement, thinking that it would be better to have never loved at all, but then I read something else. I was reading Matthew 5 in the Message version of the Bible (not a true translation, but a paraphrase of a translation that I started reading just to mix it up a little). The chapter starts out with the Beatitudes and I was very interested in the wording of this passage. I will put it at the end of this post, but I will share my conclusions first. After reading this passage, in this version, I have come to the conclusion that it is better, in fact, to have love and lost than never to have loved at all. What god opened my eyes to in this moment was that only in losing something, can I be opened up more fully to Him. In my weakness, he is stronger. And those good memories I was talking about? I wouldn’t trade those for ANYTHING, especially since they have not ended, they are just temporarily on hold!
Matthew 5:3-9 (from The Message)
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are- no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full,” you’ll find yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world- your mind and heart- put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
I just got back from seeing this movie and it was great! While You Were Sleeping has been my favorite for 12 years, but it just got bumped to second place! Pride and Prejudice has been my favorite book since I read it in high school (it’s so funny, everyone should read it!) and finally there is a great movie to match it that isn’t 6 hours long (although I have watched the 6 hour one and loved it as well)! I really can’t wait to see this movie again, it just cracked me up! Jane Austen is a brilliant writer and the filmmakers really did a great job making the movie very similar to the book. No deep thoughts for the day (sometimes a good thing) but definitely a great movie recommendation!
Yesterday Leah and I both got our wisdom teeth out. Nothing like a minor surgery to start the holidays off right! We are actually both doing well and are not too swollen! Leah had her two top ones taken out and I had two tops and a bottom taken out. I feel like someone punched me in the face on the side where I got the bottom one out, but other than that, I am just enjoying soft gourmet cuisine like Kraft macaroni and spaghettios. All of the required delicacies! Anyway, interesting thing happened yesterday:
They put us to sleep with some lovely form of anesthesia, and they told us that people respond to it in different ways. I tend to always freak out when going under, not voluntarily, it’s just the way my body responds. They said that Leah was talking until she fell asleep and then started talking again as soon as she started to come out of it. Leah is so consistent! I apparently was sobbing uncontrollably as I came out of it. My mom said I had huge tears coming out of my eyes and I was saying, “Ricky is dead! Ricky is dead.” It was apparently quite a sad scene. I don’t remember any of this, but I think it’s interesting that the drug took me back to that. Ricky has been dead for 3 and a half months. I have not known how to grieve for him. God has shown me himself in different ways through out this whole thing, but as usual, I have held a lot in. Whatever cry I had yesterday while coming out from under the drugs, has given me an incredible relief today. I’m not saying that I am over it, I don’t think I ever will be, but for today, a burden has been lifted. I will always miss Ricky. He was such a precious gift to so many people, including me, but I know that he is with Jesus now. I guess God makes us grieve, even when we resist it. I am so glad he always knows what we need!
The first new blog on the new website! Isn’t this exciting?! Well, it’s not really that exciting, but it is nice to have a blog where I can add pictures for free from right off my hard drive! So what does everyone think of the white on black? Too hard to read or is it cool? It can be changed if necessary, but I would like to hear what people think.
These past two nights have been great! Both nights I have had the chance to hang out with my friend Suzanne! She is so much fun and we pretty much laugh really hard the whole time that we are together. Last night we went and painted some pottery….let me tell you….that was an adventure! It’s nice to be able to laugh till we cry and have good conversation all in the same hang out time!
Something that I have been struggling with since Ricky died is wanting to read my Bible. I just don’t want to. I’m not mad at God or anything, I’m just not interested. I’m sure that sounds bad, but it is really not meant in a disrespectful way. So I was talking with Suzanne about this tonight. Let me tell you, it is really cool to be able to talk to Ricky’s fiance about this, when her pain is so much deeper than mine, and have her completely understand and not be judgmental or condemning. She gave me a great reminder that we don’t read the Bible for God’s benefit. He is still God whether or not we read it. But we read it for us. God gave it to us, for us, to benefit us, and it’s in these hard times that our discipline in reading it leads us back to him and guides us each minute of the day. That was a really good reminder for me. So I am going to start reading The Message version of the New Testament tomorrow. I know a paraphrase isn’t something to be used for any deep Bible study, but I am not looking for deep Bible study right now. I am looking for my heart, and who knows, maybe God wants to use a version of the Bible that I haven’t read before to touch me in a new way. Maybe not. We will see!
I am really thankful today. Thankful for the faithful God that I have. That even in my faithlessness, he is still faithful. That He is holy whether we worship him or not; our worship does not add to His holiness. I am thankful that Suzanne lives in Atlanta now and that I have found such a good and safe friend in her. I hope that I can be the same for her.