Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bloom where you are planted

My boyfriend.
He bought me a rose.
my first rose
It was the most gorgeous and ruby red rose I had ever laid eyes on.
Seriously, its beauty and perfection was a sight to behold.
Now I tried to take into account that perhaps that my boyfriend gave it to me, made it the most beautiful rose I have ever seen but that did not affect my opinion in the end.
me and rose from lovey
Our story does not have a happy, easy and safe beginning. We actually came together under some difficult terms and that caused us lots of strife and stress. Today we had a long talk and I have to say that if I had to do it all over, I would.
I have found someone who really loves me. It perplexes me why sometimes.
Tonight after I asked why he chose to love me so unconditionally, he looked into my eyes and told me that I "was the greatest person ever, besides Jesus of course."

Without the rain, there would be no rainbows.
He teaches me about patience and love almost every single day.
He helps me let the past go and smile at the future.
God is so good to me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Send me, I'll go

But would I really? Would I go to Zambia? with the lions? and the malaria? and the 18 hour flight?

I wonder this and more as I pray and reflect on the mission trip my friends are on as we speak. 5 people that I recently became close friends with are in Zambia doing God's work. These two married couples and one single guy traveled to Northern Africa and are camping in a wild game park (seriously, of all the places I would NOT want to camp that is close to #1). During the day they will teach "pastors" from the area. Now I put quotes around the word pastor because this area is so deprived of bibles, missionaries, and Christians that once someone becomes a believer they are automatically a pastor!! So crazy. So Brian and Heidi, Kareem and Ashley, and Matt are there teaching the pastors and their wives how to create disciples. And how to live a Christian lifestyle. They partnered with a man named Dan from Texas (he was one of the general speakers at the LEGACY conference, if you were blessed enough to be in attendance)and a missionary who stays in Zambia named Koos. These pastors and their wives walked days to receive this teaching. Can you imagine walking days? Can you imagine not having a bible? How much we in America take our bibles for granted! I just wrote a blog last night and mentioned that people dont read the bible at all, but I bet they still have at LEAST one in their house. I have 4 bibles. Seriously. 4. 2 NIV, some study one called a SEEKER bible, and I won an ESV Urban translation one in a raffle at the LEGACY. I look up various commentaries online from time to time and I plan to get a concordance and perhaps a bible dictionary.
Really sarah?
You need all that?
And sometimes a day goes by where I dont read it at all.
So taken for granted,,, my access to God's Word.

The people of Zambia do not have this access so every word that is spoken to them by other Christians is of utmost importance, relevance, weight, etc. That some serious pressure to be accurate.

At the LEGACY conference, Shai Linne mentioned the arduous process of translating the bible and spoke how many people all over the world are not fortunate enough to have a copy of God's Word in their own language. That would be horrible. I mean they dont have God's word and cannot study His divine plan for humanity and His creation. They cannot see how the Old testament confirms His grace and undying, undefiled love for humanity despite their stupid, bad, wrong choices and denial of him over and over. They are not schooled by Paul in the New testament on how to build up a church or how to live for Christ. They are not blessed by reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and Johns gospels and accounts of Christs life on earth and death for us on the cross.

Next time I choose another book over the bible or am not just not interested in studying my bible that day, I want to remember to take full advantage of my access and privilege to be able to read God's word. How much more responsibility do we have to make disciples since we are blessed and chosen to already have the Bible? there is like 900 versions and study aides to help us.

Please Pray for those who dont have God's word, but love him all the same.
But even more, I want to pray for those who DO have God's Word, but choose not to read it for they will be held accountable to God the Father.

When I die and I meet God, I want my actions on earth to show Him I love Him and His Word.

A few years ago before I understood the meaning and importance of the Bible, my friend Martell explained it to me like this: Have you ever received a letter from someone you really liked/loved? You would keep it and read it over and over again right? Well, the bible is God's love letter to us and one of the ways He speaks to us.

Please pray for the people of Zambia to receive Christ into their hearts.
Please also pray for Brian and Heidi, Matt, Kareem and Ashley as they do the Lord's work in Africa for the next week and half.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To My Heart

"I'll never trust you again...

Just thrown for a loop, cause thought I could trust you...

Nothing but inconsistency..

saying sex is the best way to ease pain....

signing my name on sin I knew I shouldnt of committed...."


That song. Its amazing. It home too hard. I mean, I cant trust my heart. Its tells me the stupidest things to do, and until now I followed my heart. Growing up people tell you (Disney tell you) Trust your heart, follow your heart but the Bible says different.

God's word says different: The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. --Genesis 6:5

People get these ideas. Where? I dont know.
So many conversations I have had with people this week and they go something like:

Hey Sarah, you are pretty into Jesus/religion/God, whats with that? Thats crazy, YOU? (thats a quick synopsis of 3 different conversations with 3 different people)
And I am like: Yeah, I love to love to love Jesus.
And they say something like: Oh, um, me too.
And I say: For real? Oh what you reading and learning in the Bible?
They say: I dont read the bible. I just try to do what I think God would want me to do,
They Say: I dont need to read the Bible. I am alright with God. If I die tonight I am fine with the Lord.
They say: No one reads the bible.

And I am sad. How you know what to do if you dont know who Jesus is or what he actually did? He wasnt all rose petals and lollipops-nice to everyone and echoing every Disney movie ever with a whisper of "Follow your heart."

I have this anger that I didnt learn this all earlier. I want everyone else to know, that everything you know right now is wrong. My whole family, they got it all wrong. So backwards. Its not about being a nice person. Its not about being a good person and then God wouldnt really let you go to hell. I wonder where people get these ideas of God and their hearts. Popular culture?

That isnt even what this blog was originally going to be about. I carry this burden of my life before Christ with me. This heavy, awkward, bulging burden of life before Christ. I am saved. Christ did rescue me. I look back at my life previous and it was so bleak, so sad, so ridiculous. I look and hate myself. I look back at my wake. I see a war zone of people I hurt and others that I pulled close and just let tear me apart. I tore me apart using various methods that i cant even speak about most of the time. Repeatedly. Over and over. Its a nightmare. A horror film that I see whenever I turn around. I pray to let it go alot. But I really feel like its part of me. I will never really be free because those experiences make me who I am. They make me so shy now. They make me so untrusting of all these new people I am meeting. They cause division between me and these new friends I am making because I know all of them never did as many bad things. When I hear testimonies of other Christians and they say how their lives were before they never compare to the years of sin and brokeness that I lived. But I cant get over it. It stalks me down.

My past is not my future but I cant help but increduously stare at what I have left behind me. I know as I stare and obcess over it I am missing the fullness of the grace and forgiveness being bestowed upon me but the brokenness is so extreme. Everytime I am a little broken now, the lion of the past comes roaring through threatening to tear it all down and pull back the veil to reveal that perhaps I am not as changed as I hope for. I try to rebuke that fear daily but sometimes it is too much.

When I used to walk and do outreach with the prostitues on Madison Ave, I would tell them God was big enough for them and their problems and situations and I believed that. Mariko was the first person to say that to me at Arturo's Tacos on Armitage and Western in Chicago as I cried to her about what I had done. I do believe that.

Its a weird twisted issue of pride that somehow I think my past, my behavior and way of living was somehow so horrible that Christ's perfect life and subsequent death on the cross cannot possibly cover it? I know God showers me in forgiveness but I just cant forgive myself. And it hurts.