Yesterday, I was 30

I’m going to be cliche and write 30 things I have learned in the last 30 years, in light of turning 30 yesterday.

  1. Your love language is extremely important to understand.
  2. Nothing in life ever goes the way you planned.
  3. The most important role in your life is simply to be You.
  4. When your world shatters, don’t make dumb decisions.
  5. The people who are supposed to love you the most, have the strongest ability to tear you apart.
  6. Trust is fleeting.
  7. Fulfillment doesn’t exist in mortal things.
  8. If you know with the core of your being you shouldn’t do something, don’t do it.
  9. Pleasing people gets you nowhere.
  10. You’re going to miss the most important things in life if you rush through and don’t stop to listen and consider the “why shouldn’t I do this?”
  11. You cannot rely on someone else to be what you need. They will fail you when you need them most.
  12. If friends are distant, just let them go. No matter how much it hurts.
  13. If you matter to someone, they will keep you in their life.
  14. Children are the most delightful joy you will ever possess in this Life.
  15. If someone is relying on you, always make sure to accomplish what they need in a reliable amount of time.
  16. It’s better to lie to everyone that you’re okay, than tell them when it’s not.
  17. Life is continually disappointing, and there’s no turning back from a mistake.
  18. Everyone has an opinion. Seek the Truth, that is what matters most.
  19. God will never leave you, or forsake you.
  20. Jesus Christ is literally the only entity you can count on.
  21. If you know it is a bad idea DON’T DO IT.
  22. Staying stuck on the things that make you unhappy, makes you unhappier.
  23. There is so much peace in silence.
  24. Making friends past 25 is hard.
  25. Isolating yourself, while it does protect you, only makes you lonely.
  26. Sometimes, you go through things in life, and literally have NOBODY you can actually talk to about it.
  27. The loneliest place you can be, is in a crowded room where no one knows you.
  28. The second loneliest place you can be, is in a crowded room where everyone knows you, but you cannot connect with those people, no matter how hard you’ve tried.
  29. Having friends with things in common is worth Gold.
  30. Don’t be afraid to take chances.

Dismal list, the inside of me isn’t exactly the happy, bubbly Sprite I try to be.
Because of my own loneliness, I try so desperately to light the world around me, so others know someone loves them, someone thinks they’re important, and someone doesn’t want them to know the same emptiness I feel.
You can always rely on me to be there for you. No matter the time of day.

Shine brighter than the stars. Even when it kills you inside.

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One In A Billion

Look at us.

We’re all trying to stand out and be noticed.

You, with your talents.  Me with mine.

Each of us on a journey to be heard.  Listened to.  To burn brightly after igniting a spark of interest.

We’re all striking the same matches:
I HAVE WORDS I NEED TO SHARE!

Waiting to be validated by a consuming public, who cannot quench their thirst against the raging flames of entertainment.

So we pound away at the keys, telling the stories our vivid imaginations create for us, and we write the articles our fierce opinions derive, and we share the inspiration our souls have encountered.

And then we wait to be noticed by the general public.

Days.  Weeks.  Months.  Years.

Others who have gone before us and somehow managed to be a hit, surely we can too?

Slowly, our motivation turns to ash.  The embers of longing to share, die.

We wonder why we put so much heart and soul into our work, for it to fall by the wayside.

So few acknowledge our existence, even after the hours we put into our work.  We wonder how people go viral, and what on earth they’re doing different than us.
Do they have different friends?
Do they have different connections?
Do they have different methods for gaining access to the millions of people we wish were our audience, too?

…..The answer is, we’re not all pursuing the same audience.

While each of us wish to be accepted for who we are, and what we bring to the literary world, we’re still different.

We have different pursuits.

We have different goals.

We have different messages we want to send.

We tell different stories.
Somewhere along the way, writers begin to join in a uniformity, the answer must be in writing the same way?
“You must write this way/you must write that way.”
“I don’t like to do this, you probably shouldn’t either.”
“Nobody writes like that anymore.”
“I wouldn’t read it, but I guess someone else might….”

Validating ourselves against others, instead of remaining true to ourselves.

The odds feel stacked against us when our words only reach a few people sprinkled throughout the world.

Don’t stop trying, despite the odds.

Yes.  You are one in a billion.

You don’t need a million followers, you simply need to be true to yourself.

Tell your story.  And then believe your story is worth being read, and pursue the audience you long for.

Insomnia

Staring lifeless into darkness waiting for the Night to turn back to Day
Hours creeping silently, I’m afraid of the Dark
Not the darkness itself, but what rests beneath the covering

Where’s the Promise that everything gets better?
Why so Silent, you promise to be there when I need you most.

What will it take for you to hear me?
What does it take for you to hear me?

Inside, I cry, the walls are closing in.
Outside, I try not to lose it all again.
Somewhere this side of heaven I need to know for sure
You’re watching and caring for the breaking pieces inside of me.

Slumber evades me, everytime I try to go to sleep something happens
Another hour or two passes by, silent anxiety causing my brain to scream
Were those gun shots?  Was that glass breaking?
Are you there to comfort me when I cryout to you?

I remain cold and in the dark.
I can’t feel your arms around me

Inside, I cry, the walls are closing in.
Outside, I try not to lose it all again.
Somewhere this side of heaven I need to know for sure
You’re watching and caring for the breaking pieces inside of me.

On Faith and Spirituality: What Is The Bible For?

Everything in our world requires a manual to understand it.

The Bible is the written evidence, and instruction book, to understand God.

Surely if there is a God, he’d impress on his creation to write about him, yes?
Some people believe in the Mystical forces of Nature communing with us.  Through ancestors, through nature, through the elements around us– why wouldn’t the Creator of the Universe whisper to the hearts willing to hear him?  Why couldn’t we attribute the callings and impressions to BE from that Creator?

The bible records several key moments when Man communed intimately with God, and God reached out to Man.

In recent centuries, Science and philosophy has done a number on drawing mankind away from the concept of God.  The need for God.

The bible is not a history book.  Or a science book.

It has one purpose.  That purpose is to study and understand the amazing, powerful El who has created all things, lives and breathes in all things, and to equip the followers of Christ with what they need to understand.

It is foolishness, Paul states in Corinthians.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense that we’re stuck here on the planet, with an invisible God somewhere across the Universe, watching over us.  And the only way to get to this God is by believing in Him and His son, Jesus Christ.
In the book of Job, that God, somewhere across the Universe, stands up and says WHO are YOU – little man – that you can know me?  ((Job 39-41))

Job was without the bible.  He had the oral traditions of his fathers, and his Faith.
For 6,000 years, people have been believing in God.  For 6,000 years they’ve been passing down the oral and written accounts of that God.  And in the early turn of a new Era, less than 2,000 years ago, it was decided that God’s word would be in the hands of the people.  He moved on the hearts of man, and together they decided which written scripts, carefully preserved through years and years of re-recording, would end up canonized to become what we call today, The Holy Bible.  The Word Of God.

One, CONSISTENT invisible being, after shedding the blood of his own son, gave mankind a book so they could learn about Him, get to know Him.  Understand Him-even if just a little-and come back to Him and his undying love.

His words are consistent.  Sin separates us from Him.  But following hard and fast after Him is enough to save our broken souls.

In our broken, hurting world, it’s obvious none of the religions we’ve established for ourselves are getting us anywhere.  Perhaps if we turned Religion aside, and just spend time studying the Bible, taking it at Face Value for what it is – the written account of the Creator of the Universe, and treated it as the Manual to understanding God, we could finally grasp a handle on Hope.  On what is Right, and what is Wrong.

Stop picking and choosing what you want to read, and contorting it into reasons why you DON’T want to follow God.  If you truly want to know, then read beyond the book of Dueteronomy.  Read the books of the prophets.  Read the New Testament.  Read the first four books of the New Testament.  Anybody can pick up a manual, read the first five chapters, and claim they understand the whole picture.

That’s not what the Bible was designed for.  The Bible was designed to study.  To cross reference.  To examine.  To underline.  To search.  To know.

And God says you don’t need more scripture beyond that book to know who he is.  Because HE established the writing of it.

 

Either you take it.  Or you leave it.  It’s a personal biography of a great and mighty God, who exists beyond the Universe.  And it’s there.  For you.
Don’t know where to start?  Start with Jesus.  Start with Ephesians.  Start with Romans.  Start with Proverbs. Start with someone you know.  Start alone.  Wherever you start, don’t let what you’ve already decided get in the way.
Read it for yourself.  God is so much more than the box Liberal America has Him in.
Discover it for yourself.  You never know what will come from opening the pages.

It Starts With A Step

Standing in the middle of the room, the walls seem as though they’re closing in.
The door is cracked open, light gently peering in.  Not enough to cause the darkness to flee.  Only just enough to remind there is light on the other side.

It only takes a few short steps to get to the door.  To enter the hallway and be washed in that light.  And yet, we hesitate.

The raging emotions, terrifying us.  Anxiety taking our breath away.

What’s in the hallway?  Will it kill us?
Will it attack?  Will it hate us?

Alone we continue to suffocate in the darkness.

It drives us insane.  Wanting out, wanting to stay.  Wanting to be free, wanting to stay hidden in the darkness.
Will you choose Freedom?

It only takes a step.  One little step at a time to conquer the darkness.
Freedom begins when you let yourself move.  When you take that first step toward change.

Church Hunting

It seems the worst thing a person could put themselves through, is the experience of church hunting.  Finding a place to call “Home”, and a church “Family” to be apart of.

Several things that stand out as you walk into a church, is the interior.
Where are your children going to be during service?   Is it easy to find?  How many hallways do you have to wind through before you find it?
Where are the restrooms?
Is there carpet?  Is there concrete?
Will your expensive cup of hot coffee have to cool in the car while you sit through over an hour of service?

The next thing people note, are the people.
They look friendly, but are they going to talk to you?  Is the church even small enough to know when there are guests?
Will the Greeters be the only people who make your acquaintance?  Will they care if you come back next Sunday?
Are you going to meet somebody genuinely interested in who you and your family are?
Will the person who told you you can’t have your coffee in service be the only person who reaches out to you?

And then you sit down, and service starts.
Why do churches spend so much money on a sound system, when no one knows how to use it?
Either the acoustics are too loud, or the sound is muddy, or you can’t hear the vocals…..
People around you worship God, oblivious to you and who you are.  Wrapped up in their moment– not even realizing you’re there for the first time.
Never taking the moment afterward to reach into your Life.

People don’t go to church to sit through service.  They go to find people who will connect with them and help them find the things they are looking for.
They come in, wanting to be poured into, and leave empty.
When the emptiness continues, time after time, eventually they stop trying to find something new.  They stop going altogether.

The “greeting” comes around.  Your hand might be shaken, you might be nodded at.

And then the pastor gets up.

Now, going into a non-denominational church presents several problems.

1) The pastor is waaaaay too Charismatic, and you sit through what feels like a televangelist service.  It includes prophetic “messages”, or escatology and “the end is upon us!”
((Which I believe is highly possible….. but not quite the same as they do))

2) The pastor starts mistranslating scripture, taking things out of context and pushing modern ideology instead of sound theology held strong through the ages.

3) The pastor goes into political moments and asks for the wrath of God to fall on our Nation’s leaders.  Also not biblical.

4) Prosperity preaching.

Non-denominational churches seem like they all spring out of the Pentecostal movement.  Where are the Spirit-led, Baptist background churches with sound theology, but openness to the Gifts?

5) Universalism

At any rate, it’s so hard to find what you’re looking for, when there are so many options….  and you’re tired of looking.

I’m tired of looking.
I’m tired of going to church, never being talked to.
I’m tired of going to church and only ever being talked to by the guy who tells you you can’t have your coffee in service.

The lack of friends in my Foresaken home in the High Plains becomes even more than obvious as our second child prepares to come into the world and we lack EVERYTHING for a little girl, because the first was a boy.

The lack of a church Family with people we can talk to as our life stands on the balance of Change, is also highly frustrating.
Man was not intended to be alone.  Even Jesus surrounded himself with friends.

Jesus was highly extroverted.  He was a natural people person and confident in who he was.
Unfortunately, mankind is not at all like Jesus.  And you walk into a new church and walk out of a new church still waiting to be reached into.

Ascribe To The Lord What Is The Lords

He has carried our hearts, our pain and anguish.
He has done great things for us and instructed us in the ways we should go.
His staff protects us from the things that would hurt us.
In Him is life, hope, light and love.
Without Him these things cannot exist.
Because of His great love for us, He wrapped himself in flesh and came to the World to know us.
Because of His great love for us, He came to understand our pain, our heartache and our agony.

Because He stepped down from heaven, we have the freedom to come before Him and ask of Him anything we need, and He will provide according to how great our needs are.

Sometimes it’s just a gentle, “I’m here.”
Sometimes it’s the money to get by.
Sometimes it’s the hope that He’s got us covered and nothing is going to hold us back from the great things He has planned for us.

His hand stretches to the end of the universe, He put them there.
He greatness is more than we could imagine, and His plans are better than ours could ever be.

Ascribe to God what He does, don’t mistake His Will for yours, stand firm in righteousness and never, never let go of the Promises He has made to you.