God is Love…

Today we concluded our God Anthology series at my church… Again.. as if on cue, “I LOVE MY CHURCH” seriously. This Wednesday is our live recording of the original music that was written for this series. I am SO excited about it, and cannot wait to go!

Today Heather talked about God is Love. She pointed out that this is the favorite topic of Christians.. and also the most misunderstood. She talked about how complicated love is, and how when we site 1 Corinthians 13:

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

We tend to say these at weddings and in a moment when we need to be “reminded” of what love “is” but that we often don’t think about the context in which this was said. This was said to a culture that in order to worship Aphrodite in the temples, the men would sleep with the priestess’s that were essentially slaves of the temple. It was very selfish, controlling, degrading, and common. So, to actually say or recite ANY part of the “love” chapter in the Bible, it only makes sense to say it within the context of who it was being said to and why.. and to point out just how counter culture and different from the “norm” it was.

I could not help but think about how often Christians are so quick to judge, forgetting that we will be judged according to how we judged. Meaning, the same standards will be held to us as we held to others…

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
   “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
  “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46

It really is all about love.. even in the most obscure little ways.. Love matters. 

Tattoo Memories…

So as odd as it sounds.. One of my favorite things about being in a bathing suit all summer is being able to see my tattoo. I find myself tracing my finger over the design over and over, which is such a familiar pattern on my skin since I've done it so many times.. And it reminds me repeatedly why I got it in the first place..

And Then There Was One…

Sometimes, I catch myself day dreaming about what life is like now compared to what it was like a year ago… compared to what it “will” (as if I know for sure) be like in a year. As if anyone knows.. much less me, but especially when I drive I find myself just pondering.. mulling over random things.. mostly just about tid bits of life.

Today’s random smattering of thoughts were all over the place, but one thing I keep coming back to is how different next summer will be compared to this one. Not because I actually know what is coming or what to expect, but because if certain aspects of life now continue down the path they are on, life will be dramatically different. Not bad or good, but just different.

For one, I am pretty confident I will not be at my current job.. I will be almost done with school.. I may or may not still be living in DC (which depending on the day makes me happy or sad).. And, many of my single friends will not be single anymore or much longer… Which brings me to one passing thought.. “And then there was one..” Sounds depressing, and if I think about it, really only the selfish side of me causes that to be depressing… The reason is most all of my girl friends either have found someone and are married already, are mid relationship closely heading to marriage, or are entering into something new… Now, don’t get me wrong, I have prayed for each one of these girls to find a guy before me.. because I know that twinge of a feeling that “when will it be my turn…” feeling that comes when girlfriends find a guy, get engaged, and get married. No matter how happy you are for them, (even if only for .02 seconds) there is a moment when a girl thinks “God, when can it be my turn to find love?” The answer?.. I dunno.. God hasn’t told me his answer to my question… Which, honestly I don’t want to know… I have a tendency to screw things up when I get clued in… So, blind and in the dark works for me no matter how frustrating and aggravating it is.

Recently a couple of my besties have entered in and begun walking down the “see where this goes” path. I have prayed it for them fervently.. Mostly because they get truly lonely and I can see the honest and literal pain that they believe to be deeply hidden. I have watched them struggle very deeply with the idea that maybe it will never come… and what if God has single hood planned for them.. can they be truly happy when all they want is a husband and a family?.. I have watched them struggle to find genuine happiness for our closest girlfriends and their journey to becoming one with a charming and amazing man that is perfect for them. Because of these reasons, and so.. so many more I have been praying for my girlfriends to find amazing men of God who look at them and see the beauty that is just as obvious inside as it is outside… A man who will fight for her.. even if that fight is with himself. I have prayed for a man who will pursue her and draw her closer to the Lord… All the while knowing that at one time or another I will instead feel those feelings of “when will it be my turn?” while they walk down their paths… And, since a few of them have begun to walk down this path, my passing though recently is “and then there was one…” But, it is quickly followed with “…as it should be.” .. because God cannot answer my prayers for them without this being the situation I find myself in. So, it makes sense.

And, as always, while a small part of me wants to find “the one” and live my “fairytale” (haha).. I am not there, and KNOW I am not there yet or right now.. And, to be completely and totally honest, I am not real sure I will be there anytime soon… Which is good cause I have a lot of work and school to finish and learn about.. Not to mention God and I are going through some pretty major foundation and structure changes in my heart, and a guy would really only mess that up, get in the way, or distract me from paying attention right now.

So, as always, there is a part of me, my human fleshly side that dislikes the situation I find myself in, but then I remember my goals and true desires are to see my friends happy.. Sounds cheesey and cornballish.. but honestly, it makes my life and the challenges and frustrations so much easier to endure when my friends are truly happy. Plus, I decided years ago there were certain people in my life (including the ones that would reach a certain place in my life in the future) that I just could not stand the thought of my life causing them a twinge of pain, jealousy, hurt, frustration, or loneliness due to me finding a guy and getting married.. I realize this is slightly odd.. and taken too far (especially with the number of people I know and meet every year) it could easily lead to me “being single forever”.. However, I figure, regardless of my prayers God is in control, not my prayers.. and if I am single forever… I haven’t regretted any of it so far, so I have no reason to believe I will start regretting at some point in the future.

Besides.. prayer for my friends is all I know how to do to help the pain and burdens I see buried so deep in their hearts. If feeling like “and then there was one” is what I have to “feel” for a moment because they are finding contentment for their burdens.. they I will pray.. continuously.


Today we had an “all hands on deck” cleaning day to get the office ready for a governance retreat… And, sadly lots of things were still in boxes from moving the headquarters a year ago from Chicago to DC… So, we commenced in throwing things out that are not needed, and putting things away in the newly received filing cabinets. From my department, while there are technically eight of us, only four of us are local, and the other four are remote.. So, all of the work fell on three of us… and let me tell you.. lots and lots of files and old pictures. Half of which I am not convinced actually belong to our organization.. cause they made no sense why we would have them.

Anyway, in the midst of cleaning and going through things, I came across a couple cards, of which I opened to see if they were the type that should be kept or thrown out… Only to discover they were love letters to one of my remote co-workers… Why they were sent to headquarters in the boxes for them I have no idea.. and why this individual who is involved as a volunteer is writing love letters to my co-worker.. with incredible effort to “get away” with it and not be discovered by the other staff… Then, for my co-worker to keep them and not throw them away.. incredibly arrogant and totally inappropriate. If my co-worker were not out for the next couple months due to breaking both ankles from getting hit by a car I would feel compelled to bring it up and gently (or not so much) let them know how totally uncalled for and disappointing it is to find this kind of stuff…. Although, to be honest, given their behavior towards me at our national convention I am not totally surprised.. More appalled at the arrogance and immorality combined.

Totally. Inappropriate… and disgusting.


Last night I watched the movie Beastly (cheesy teeny-bopper chick flick), and it was a modern re-telling spin of Beauty and the Beast. It was cute, and had interesting points, some very comical points which were only caught if you paid attention to mannerisms and one liners. I definitely enjoyed it, and was satisfied with how they re-told the story, but added their own spin…

However, the ending (like all chick flicks) had a quick, too rushed resolution which left you feeling slightly off.. Yet even still, a couple things I appreciated about the film..

The entire thing was about how beauty really comes from the inside, and has nothing to do with the outside. It pointed out how we change ourselves to be attractive to someone else, even if that includes being “really mean” to keep someone’s attention… We sometimes try to buy their affection, and other times we try to persuade them that we are actually more intellectual and interesting than we know how to be… But, when push comes to shove, the thing that draws people to us is.. us. Who we are on the inside, those moments we can’t control, and the glimpse we have no idea we have let slip out of our perfectly disguised picture of who we are, the moments when we act out of a selflessness for the other person, the love we show that is unconditional and without strings… those are the things that draw people to us, and what draws us to other people. It is not about the portrayal of perfect or having it all together, it is about love and acceptance regardless. True love is so much more powerful than we give it credit for… No one is actually looking for perfect regardless of what they think they want.

So, while this movie was totally cheesey, and entertaining for a mid-week couch and movie night, I appreciated the odd reminder from an obscure source that we are meant to be more than our outward appearance, we are meant to be more inside… And, because it is what I do, here’s a little reminder…

” If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13

Just Say It…

Why are we afraid to say something is wrong or right?

I do not understand the aversion to stating opinions.. And why is it that most of the people who do state their opinions do so in a horrible, terrible, no good, offensive manner?.. I don’t know.

But, what I do know is people who cannot say something is right or wrong aggravate the snot out of me. I get that sometimes the answer simply is “I don’t know” but really.. most of the time YOU DO KNOW, but are too afraid to actually state what you believe. If you do say what you believe to be right or wrong, then what happens is if you genuinely DON’T know.. there is actual credence to that statement because it is an admittance of a lack of knowledge and actually takes a decent amount of humility to admit.

Going through life in a perpetual state of grays is going through life in a perpetual state of mediocrity.

Now, I am not saying that it is EVER ok to be belligerent with what you say… The greatest commandment after all IS love… SO.. in light of that, there is wisdom in timing, wording, silence, etc.. I get that, and advocate for that.. But, in a situation where it is not the time or place to state what you believe.. Just SAY that “Now is not the time for this talk.. I would feel more comfortable talking about this later..” or simply “I prefer not to talk about it right now..” nothing mean or rude about that.. but there is always a time and place to actually say (in a loving, mature, and respectful way) beliefs. There is nothing wrong with stating what you do and don’t believe, the issues always come in with the manner in which it’s communicated.

So, for goodness sake, learn to or force yourself to step out and cultivate the art of lovingly and respectfully stating your beliefs. It gives you and those around you a chance to sharpen their mental aptitude, learn something, and maybe even gain a new perspective!