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Posts Tagged ‘redemption’

David is one of those characters that I can relate to well. He reminds me of me. David is a strong willed guy who can be pretty self-sufficient. On numerous occasions, David took control of his summit hike. It did not bode so well for him, but he learned a ton of character a long the way.

David was the youngest in his family. He was not so admired by his siblings. This part of the story sounds similar to Joseph’s story. David spent his days as a shepherd in the field, as well as a song writer. He was often excluded from family discussions, or anything that was going on with family business.

One day Samuel comes to visit David’s father, Jesse. I picture the scene playing out similar to that of Cinderella. Samuel is looking to anoint someone to be the next king. He asks Jesse for all of his sons to join him in the house. Like the wicked step-mom, Jesse presents his finest sons. Samuel asks if he has any others, Jesse says, “oh yea there’s my youngest David.”

In my mind the next scene goes something like this: David walks into the house, probably singing a song out loud that he made up. He dances his way into the kitchen where everyone is standing. I can picture David popping a date in his mouth from off the counter top while playing his air harp. His voice fades as he realizes that he walked in on something. Samuel presents David with the glass slipper that fits perfectly and anoints him to be the next king.

Wait what!? If I were David, I would be like, “what just happened?” It’s not like he was then ushered off to the palace and given a ring and robe. Nope. David returned to the field for shepherding and song writing. So how does the dream of being king even happen?

Cue David’s road of wonder.

After some time, maybe even when the dream of king had almost been lost, the tides change. David is sent with a picnic for his warrior brothers. It is on the battlefield that David is presented with an opportunity that makes him one step closer to his summit. David takes on a huge obstacle named Goliath and brings victory to the nation. With this win, David is then ushered to the palace where he is given fame and the one of the kings daughters to marry.

This is the first glimpse we get to David’s dream of being king. Before David ever stepped foot in the palace, God did some character work on him in the fields. God cultivated the character trait of faith in a bigger God. God taught David how to not rely on his own strength. This is a big character lesson for self-sufficient people. It was in the “simple” sheep fields that he learned to care about responsibility, protect the innocent, rise above his fear, and grow in intimacy with his God.

After Goliath, it might have seemed like David “arrived.” He was in the palace, and now son-in-law to the king. Break out the champagne! Sound the alarm for the party, King David had made it to the palace!

But was he king?

David might have been in the palace, but he was far from being king. After a triumphant entry into his new life, he then spent his days playing his harp for the king. David went through more time of waiting for his dream. He could see his dream, but he was playing the harp. Maybe God let David know that even though he was in the palace, he was not too good to play his harp and serve the king. God cultivated his character.

David went through a seasons of taking the reigns of his path, but God cultivated his character every step of the way. At the time David was given the throne, he was ready. Just because he was given the dream years before the actual throne did not mean he was ready for the dream.

How do you take control of your path?

How is God cultivating your character?

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Easter is an emotional process. It should be.

Every holiday carries the weight of emotion actually. Holiday’s are filled with the tension of joy and sorrow.

Easter for me is an emotional process. Easter is a yearly reality check. The cross always beckons me to listen and examine my heart.

Easter is the process of three days of brokenness, waiting, and redemption – pain, silence, and forgiveness. Jesus experienced life’s greatest version of brokenness and pain on that  Friday. He took on our sins. He felt the darkness of rejection and silence for the first time from his father. He was physically broken – spit on, cursed at, and killed in humiliation.

The disciples lost a leader, a dream, and their best friend. That sat stunned, locked up in a room not knowing what to do next; what life now meant. The sounds of thick silence and waiting were all that could be heard. Internal struggles and questions were written on downcast faces.

The process of life is just this. Transformation takes the process of brokenness, wrestling in darkness, and then the redemption of healing. Life begins at the end of this three day illustration.

Every Easter I am heavy hearted as I remember the brokenness I have experienced in my life, as well as my current struggles of darkness. It is hard. The process of change is just dang hard and humiliating. It is also in those dark places that I really feel the weight of grace and forgiveness.

Jonah spent days in the darkness of a whale. He wrestled in great tension. It was in that dark waiting place where grace and forgiveness came into focus for him.

But on the third daylight floods the world again. A tomb is emptied and death is conquered. Brokenness and pain have not won. Redemption and forgiveness is alive. Hope and dreams are reborn and life begins again.

Easter is where grace and forgiveness come into focus. I am so grateful that the story always ends in joy and hope.

HAPPY EASTER!!

Where are you in your life’s “Easter” process?

Are you experiencing brokenness, struggling in the waiting, or has the light risen in your dark night?

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Some people say we should “get back to the basics.” What about just getting back to the simple?

Tonight, I have been so grateful for simple. There is just something so rich and so sweet about simple.

Tonight, I went to a church I enjoy in my hometown. It meets in this old and very small church building. Stain glass windows lined the walls. Wooden pews creaked with the sounds of old worship.

Sometimes you just need to get back to the simple.

Life gets busy and loud. So many church buildings streamline worship through the wires of amplifiers and new technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good music that blares through electric guitars and drums, but I also love a rich voice.

There are seasons where everything seems loud. Life is  loud through the sounds pain, frustration, grief, busy-ness, demands, self-pursuit, the battle  of lies, and even the echos of silent waiting.

This is where I find myself. I am in a season of hard. Hard has just been loud. I am exhausted. Tonight, I closed my eyes and just listened. The smell of an old musty church was balm for my heart.

Sometimes you just need an acoustic version of life. Sometimes church just needs to be unplugged. 

It was the sound of one voice, and one guitar that softened my heart. It was all of our voices just singing together off key to an old projector that made me smile deep. More than anything, it was speaking the truth together as we broke the bread of communion that was honey to my soul.

Tonight, the simplicity of God was redeemed for me a little. The bruised reed of this heart just needed some simple, and some peace passed my way.

As you start your week. I encourage you to get back to the simple.

What ways can you the simplicity of God this week?

What do you long to be redeemed for/in you?

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I have a passion for traveling. My heart is fully alive when my passport is stamped. There is nothing like it for me. To be honest, traveling is the only time I really embrace “all things new” in my life.

I have traveled overseas 20 different times. I have experienced some crazy cultures from a semester “studying” in Spain, living life with people in the Middle East, practicing my tortilla making skills in Mexico, almost being traded for two rugs in Turkey by my mom (not really), perfected my “oopa!” in the Greek Isles, ate my way through Italy, and rocked the adventures of backpacking and serving around South Africa.

I always try and purse living life the local way when traveling.

You might read that list and think “how fun!” Don’t get me wrong, I have had the time of my life. I honestly can’t imagine the “me” I would be without those experiences.

Traveling has changed the way I see and experience God. My world view and faith have been directly impacted by those experiences.

I am so grateful for the ways all of those places have left their stamps on me.

Through traveling, I have also been exposed to many different levels of darkness and sin. Sin is definitely cross-cultural. My eyes and heart have been exposed to some heavy things. There is nowhere in the world sin has missed.

Every time I leave a country, I am more broken and grateful for the redemption of God.

I have engaged in hundreds of conversations with people who have had overseas experiences. Everyone has different responses to what they saw. One thing I cannot shake is when people see darkness and sin and blame God for not doing something.

We have all heard questions asked like, “why do bad things happen to good people?” or “How could God let this happen?”

One thing that has always puzzled me is how quick we can be to blame God before blaming sin.

Sin is ugly and tragic. We can catch glimpses of its darkness when we are exposed to things like human trafficking, child abuse, rape, murder, slavery, oppression, corruption, hate crimes, holocausts, and genocides.

I do believe that God has those in mind when He sent his son. All people, everywhere, experience sin, as well as the wages of death that come with it. God is standing in the midst of the darkest of sin wanting to extend the invitation of redemption.

It was Jesus who was crucified on the cross, and with arms already extended, invited the worst of the worst sinner next to him to join Him in paradise.

Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t have the answer for all scenarios, but sin is dark, and it is real. Sin affects good people who never ask for it.

Where is God when it comes to darkness and atrocities? He’s in the midst of it, desperate not to lose one, but extending the arms of redemption.

In what ways do you see yourself and others blaming God for what sin is responsible for?

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There are many roads in life.

There is:

The road less traveled

The High and low road

Road to nowhere

Road to success

Road of possibilities

Road of healing

You might be at a crossroads or fork in the road.

Maybe you’re walking the road to redemption or truth.

Maybe you’re on a road trip or singing “Life Is A Highway.” (or not)

You could also just be at the end of your road.

Whatever road you are finding yourself o, it matters. Everyone has a road marked out for them. Every road is personally designed and tailor made.

This weekend, I watched a great movie called The Way. I loved it. It was about a group of four mismatched people walking an amazing journey along the Camino De Santiago.

This journey is made by thousands – all in search of something for their own hearts and lives. The most popular route of the Camino De Santiago starts in southern France and stretches 500 miles into Santiago, Spain.

The common hello and good bye was “buen Camino,” which translates to have a good trip, or good road to be exact.

Each character had a different purpose for walking the Camino. They all walked this stretch of life together. It was shared heart’s, shared stories, shared pain, shared questions, shared scenery, shared sorrow, and shared joy.

The road was challenging. It had set backs as well as abundance. They all had different paces. Each one made it to the end in Santiago.

The apostle James is said to be in Santiago. The original purpose for the pilgrimages across this Camino was to seek forgiveness from St. James. Thousands have walked the redemption road. People from all over the world, come to different life revelations.

It was so beautiful to watch and imagine all the stories along the Camino.

Everyone is on their own road marked out for them. Everyone is on some road of redemption. We meet many along the way – all stories are different and purposes not fully known. All Camino’s have challenges and questions. I want to encourage you to walk well with those journeying with you. Listen and love deeply.

Buen Camino!

What does YOUR Camino look like?

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The sound of shattering glass makes me immediately respond with a cringe.

Anytime I hear the sound of glass shattering – even a vase or cup dropping – my shoulders go up and my face cringes.

You know you have that “oooh” response when you hear a waiter drop a tray of glasses.

Shattered glass has a distinct sound. Shattering makes the sound of spilled pieces.

What about when it happens to your heart?

The sound of a shattered heart looks silent, but it makes the sound of spilled tears and sobs. Yet, I still make the same cringing face when the heart shatters.

I have the honor of being a contributing author for a book being published in September. I never thought I would be published or be an author of really anything. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.

I spent months crafting the pages of my heart’s story in Word form. This has been no small thing for me to tackle. Writing this chapter has forced me to look back over the shattered pieces of my heart. I cringed daily as I tried to put words to my shattered pieces.

The grief of my shattered pieces still ache today. Nothing like writing it all down to reopen some wounds…

My heart has endured some shattering through the messiness of a broken home, broken trust, broken relationships, broken survival skills, broken dreams, and just a broken me.

I sat for a long time starring at the pieces of me. The sound of my shattered heart can still be heard through spilt tears. I have no idea where those pieces go. I have no idea how to heal in some areas. However, I am grateful that He knows how all my pieces fit back together.

There are also new pieces I have discovered and still working on putting words to. My tender heart still cringes at the sound of risks that end in shattered pieces.

No piece is missing. No piece is extra. Every piece matters.

The process has been so bittersweet for me. However, it is always worth picking up the pieces. Piece by piece, I am healing towards a whole heart.

NO piece is missing. Every piece matters. Risk to place your pieces in the hands of the one who mends us back to together.

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We all carry around our heart’s pieces. Some like to think they have it all together, but the reality is that we are all broken in some way.

Our hearts have been touched, wounded, influenced, affected, and tugged on by other people. We are fallen people. Our relational experiences influence, and can even dictate, our interactions and responses to others.

We all see through certain lenses to life. Each person’s lens display shades of past handlers.

We all encounter heart’s that we did not break, but they are broken nonetheless.

I know mine is. I know people come up against my broken places. I know I respond out of those places from past wounds and fears. My lenses dictate my responses.

I ask forgiveness a lot from friends who I hurt on account of responding from places they did not break. Some friends are not responsible for my trust issues, but they feel the effects. Some friends I snap at, and for some my porcupine spikes come out.

Some conflicts warrant those responses, but usually it’s because of my own past broken places.

I hate that.

I hate the hurt I cause due to my own hurt places. I hate the broken places others feel. I hate that people have broken hearts and know the effects of pain. I hate the way I get on people that does not speak of love and gratitude.

I am fallen. You are fallen. We get on each other. We pass down our broken places in relationships.

Today, when you come up against the broken hearts of others you did not break, be gentle. Be understanding. Be grace filled. Listen. Be part of their healing. Respond differently.

Love covers over a multitude of brokenness.

From this broken heart, let me be the first to say thank you for choosing to respond differently.

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