Tuesday's With Jesus

I like to spend my Tuesday's with Jesus, what about you?

Month: August, 2014

you are enough to shake every part of this world; you just have to be bold.

“You know what I really admire about you? You have such a bold spirit. If you decide you’re going to do something, you go and do it.”

I looked over at her as she said it. It was the first time I had seen her in a month, and nothing had changed. We still could sit and talk for hours about our Lord and what we wanted in this life. She smiled her joyful smile as she said the words to me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those words all week.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have described myself as bold. I probably would have described myself more along the lines of a turtle, who liked to shrink back in her shell because she was so frustrated with her physical illness, and with the way the world treated it and the way she treated it. It felt like the shell of the girl I once was, had been stripped away the second I lost the use of my legs. I didn’t know how to be independent anymore, or passionate, or active. Not only did I not know how to be, but I couldn’t be.

So I painted myself a new shell. A shell that covered up the brokenness, and kept everything quiet. Every time I would be asked how I was doing, I would give a generic response.

“I’m doing great! My legs work now, so I can’t complain.”

I hid so much from the world. I hid my frustrations, and my anger, and my pain that I still felt as I tried to figure out who I was all over again.

Let me tell you love, I’m not hiding anymore. I may be broken and a sinner, but I am renewed and stronger because God works in my weaknesses. And when God is working, we are free to be bold.

This is a letter to you. You, who worry about what people will say. You, who worry that you might fail. You, who have the world at your fingertips but don’t know what to do with it. Stop painting layer upon layer over your shell. You aren’t accomplishing anything by painting your shell in the way you think others will like. Your shell is yours, so go decorate it and make it beautiful and unique to you. Or better yet, just strip off all the layers and leave your raw self and show the world that version of you.

That is the version of you that will shake the world. That’s the version of you that will tilt the world off it’s axis because of all the good you can do with who you really are and the love that will overflow from you from it. And the world deserves to see that version of you, babe.

So open up. Let yourself be bold. Show the world who you are, and open your hands so that you can pour out onto other people. Have breakfast with friends often, celebrate birthdays like they’re the only one you’ll ever get, and dance at any and all opportunities. But most of all, love. Love the world around you, love the people in it, and love the Creator who made it with every single ounce of your being. Nothing else will matter in the end, so go be bold with your love. I promise you, it will always be worth it at the end of the day.

I’m done hiding, and I want you to be done hiding too. Last summer changed me, in more ways than I will probably ever understand. But what I know is that I don’t have to wait on the sidelines anymore and cover up who I am. I can freely live my life and give every day one hundred percent. There isn’t a single day that goes by where I’m not grateful for everything in my life, the good and the bad, because all of it is what gives me a spirit that does not fear and lets me live my life boldly for God. You have everything you will ever need because you have Jesus Christ in you, and that is enough to shake every part of this world.

So go do it. Don’t wait around, and don’t worry about what people will think. You have all you need, and the world is your oyster. Nothing can stop you, and I believe in you.

“for God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

_______________________________________________

(For mom)

My mom is my inspiration for this post. She has shown me what it is like to live in a way that is boldly for Christ, and she doesn’t let anything get in the way when she sets her mind to something. And everything that brings her down, she allows to make her stronger and fight back even harder. Last summer, she wrote me a poem while I was in the hospital and I look at it every single day and I want to share it with you all because I think it can apply to anyone.

“June 22, 2013

Before: vibrant, independent, caring, passionate, active, strong

Now: broken, quiet, still, dependent

Future: renewed, determined, focused, stronger”

Thank you mom for your example, your words of encouragement & empowerment, and your unending love.

love,
Rach

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they used to call me the “friend stalker”

I’m going to take us back today and introduce you to someone very dear to my heart.

It was summer in the valley… so naturally it felt like we were baking in an oven and it was only the beginning of June. It was VBS week at church, and I was a young little kiddo (I think 4 or 5). There were hundreds of screaming kids with popsicle stains on their smiling faces. The theme was “Amazon Outfitters” and I still could probably sing almost every word to the theme song to this day.

There was a drama, as there always is with VBS. And I, being the lucky daughter of the VBS director that I was, got the privilege of playing the part of the beautiful, blue morpho Amazon butterfly. I got to wear ballet slippers, and blue glittery wings. And every night, I got to prance around the stage in my outfit and I was so proud of myself.

But the point of this story, is not about how much I loved playing the part of that butterfly. The point of this story, is how I lived with open hands at the ripe age of five.

I remember, after that VBS, during clean up every single night I would talk to everyone. Mindless chatter, but I made them all my friends. I even named someone “friend”, and called him “friend” for about three more years of my life (sorry Nic!). I didn’t care who I talked to, what they looked like or where they came from. I just poured out as much love as my little five year old self could give.

Somewhere along the way, I grew up a little and that sweet five year old girl who was fondly referred to as “friend stalker” by her family was no longer there (though I might say that friend stalker is still a good phrase to describe me with, because I still have the deep desire to make everyone my friend. I just call them friend crushes nowadays).

Somewhere in the middle of growing up and putting makeup on and choosing what me I allowed others to see… my fists closed up. I didn’t want to give as much to those around me, I didn’t want to share what I had in my life with them, and I didn’t want to invite anyone in. I closed my fists so tightly, it would’ve taken an army to drill them open.

But that’s not the way to live life, and it’s not the way to live a life for Christ.

“…go live with your hands open wide, baby girl. So, that you can let God’s love pour into you freely and you can freely return it out to everyone else by the bucketful.”

These are the words I am choosing to live by this school year. And I want to urge everyone to bring back the five year old in them, the one that freely loved everyone with her hands open so big that she could grab the whole world with them and pull them into a great big bear hug. This world is lacking sorely in the department of love, and so we should freely offer it up as it has been freely given to us through Jesus Christ.

I want this so badly. I want to openly take what the world throws at me, and take every opportunity as God gives it to me. I want to latch onto those and say “okay, let’s do it!” and bring friends along with me on the journey. I want to keep myself open to receive the beautiful love of Christ, and I want to do my best to give that same sort of love to everyone I come in contact with. I want to talk deeply and honestly with those I love, and being transparent with those I am just becoming friends with.

It will be a challenge, but I think I am called to live this way for Christ.

So here’s to being five with popsicle stains on big smiling faces. And most importantly, here is to living with open hands and loving with an open heart. Go live, the way God calls you to babe, with more love than you know what to do with.

walking through the fog of Fear

It was one o’clock in the morning, both my parents fast asleep in bed and I was staring at the ceiling with my eyes open wide. There was a certain darkness that night that flooded into my room and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to make it go away. I tried hiding under my blanket, squeezing my eyes shut, and clenching my fists but nothing worked. I was trapped, and drowning in a fog of darkness so thick I wouldn’t be able to swim if I was some sort of superwoman.

It was a Thursday night. I had just gotten home from church where I felt connected and loved by dear friends. But for some reason, I felt like I was a ghost when I stepped into my house that night. I felt like anything and everything would go right through me, break me apart and leave me torn in pieces so small I wouldn’t even be able to tape myself back together. Why? Why did I feel this way when I knew I was so loved? And just like that, I was sinking deeper into the fog.

The more I thought about how I felt, the more frustrated I became. I grabbed what little hair I have in my fist and pulled and pulled. I clenched my fist and squeezed so tightly that my fingernails dug into my palms leaving half-mooned marks all over. If it wasn’t for the dead quiet of the night, I would’ve screamed.

In my head, I was screaming.

Someone help me. Anyone help me. Actually don’t help me. I don’t want anyone to see me like this because this is stupid and I’m stupid. I shouldn’t feel this way. My life is fine. I’m loved. But why don’t I feel like it? Why can’t I calm down? I am actually losing air. I can’t breathe.

My palms started to get sweaty. I was shivering, and I felt as though I might vomit at any given second. I wrapped myself in my striped blanket and walked slowly across the hall and into the bathroom. I curled myself up next to the tub and sobbed so hard I am still shocked my parents didn’t wake up.

I thought about everything. My friendships, and how I was probably failing them. My parents, and how I probably wasn’t the kid they thought I was. School, and how I wasn’t good enough at it. I thought about all of the ways I felt like I was failing. And then, I decided I was failing because I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom in tears. I must not be good enough for anything. I must be too broken to fix.

“God, what’s wrong with me?” I managed to say through choked sobs.

I needed an answer for this. Normal people don’t do this. But when I walked in my house that night, and I felt the darkness creep in around me like a thick fog, I panicked and I couldn’t catch my breath in the middle of it all. I was frozen in time, with a heart that was beating so fast you would’ve thought I had just ran a marathon.

Normal people aren’t like this. I told myself over and over again.

After a few more sobs and my last violent shivers, the feeling was gone. All that was left were tear stains on my cheeks, and a pounding heart. But I felt fragile. I didn’t quite feel like a ghost that anything could walk through, but I felt like a wall that might crumble if someone threw something so small as a pebble at it.

And so I went to my room, pulled out my journal and wrote.

I blamed myself over and over again for being a burden to my friends, for panicking, for feeling like I was suffocating in my fear. I’m sorry. I wrote it over and over again.

I’m sorry that I’m like this. I want it to go away. Just make it stop, please. I will do anything to make it stop. Why. Why. Why. What’s my problem?

It was ten minutes of pure Hell. Part of me thought I might collapse and die right then and there. The other part of me was ready to run away from myself as far as I could possibly go. It felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t get myself to the surface. I say that, and it sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I legitimately felt like I was on the brink of collapse out of terror. And unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time it happened. No, instead this was closer to the hundredth time.

Despite all the measures I took to keep it from happening again, despite everything I had learned, the suffocating fog came back in the middle of the night. It had been five months of mostly peace. And then for two weeks it was like this again.

Here’s my little secret, friends; it doesn’t ever go away. The fog of Fear never leaves me. I feel it everyday, and especially at night as I fall asleep. No matter what I do, it doesn’t ever leave me. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how closely I cling to Jesus or a certain scripture. The fog still comes in thicker than ever and clouds my brain, and I can’t breathe anymore.

It’s a really sad truth, but it’s the truth. I live with the fog everyday. The difference is the way I deal with the fog. I can’t just keep telling myself every time the fog comes in that I will try harder to keep it away, or that I will do better. Because it will never work. I am powerless in that way. And yes, Jesus is strong in my weakness and he provides the power I don’t have. And I fully believe that. For without him, I’m nothing more than that ghost from the beginning of my story.

But Jesus helps me see through the Fear. He helps me see through the Fear when it’s thin, and not a burden on my life. And those are the days, weeks and months that I feel free and joyful. But he also helps me see through the Fear the days when it’s too thick for me to see four feet ahead of me. Even though maybe those days I don’t feel as free, and I struggle to find the joy because I’m so overwhelmed by this constant thorn in my side… Jesus helps me see through it.

The best part, is that Jesus tells me it’s okay. He doesn’t tell me that I need to be better, fix myself,  try harder, change anything, or that something’s wrong with me. He takes me as I am, and holds me in his arms and tells me nothing but truth. The truth of his deep love for me. He holds me while I cry my eyes out because I can’t breathe into the fog, and he holds me while I pick myself up and walk through the fog of Fear every single day. He never lets me go.

I just have the choice every day as I look at the fog. I can choose to try and make it through without Jesus or I can choose to go through it slowly and painfully with Jesus at my side every step of the way. Some days, I will be honest… I tend to pick the former. But I almost always fall flat on my face in sheer terror at the mass of fog in front of me. The beautiful thing, is that when I choose the latter, I always make it out of the fog with a smile on my face. I may lose the smile for a moment, but it comes back because my joy comes from his deep love for me.

This is what it is like for me. It’s a daily surrendering to Jesus Christ, and it’s a daily walk through a dark fog called Fear. But God is always good in the midst of it, and that’s the part that keeps me going.