If you haven’t heard, the statistics say that once you’ve been abused, you are more vulnerable to abuse by any number of different people.Continue reading Abuse After Abuse: Finding Freedom From Past, Present, and Future Abuse
I found this coin when I was 10 years old. I was camping about an hour east of Seattle, deep in the mountains, and as I walked barefoot through the camp sites I suddenly felt something underneath my feet that seemed out of place. I looked down to see a square coin, and couldn’t believe my luck. A coin, IN THE DIRT, from half-way around the world.
I’ve been collecting coins ever since. When I go to another country or when friends go, I ask for coins, please.
And sometimes I collect things that celebrate the creative expressions of peoples all over the world. Sometimes, I revel in the art of countries I’ve never been to. I collect sacred moments, beauty, friends.
But sometimes, I collect dying things. Rotten, rotting things. Things that kill and steal and destroy.
Sometimes, I collect pain and I store it away and I hold it tightly and I let it simmer on the back burner and it’s ok for a while…until it’s not. Until your kitchen burns down. Until the flames reach up and up and quenching them is impossible. Until you barely escape with your life. Until your skin bears the scars of your choices.
And I think I’m starting to see the quiet power in releasing. The STRENGTH it takes to open your palms and say, “Here, it’ll only bury me in flames if I keep it.”
(This is what we mean when we pray for “the wisdom to know the difference.”)
This is what Jesus means when he says to “cast your cares on him”. There is almost a violence to it. Because casting well means you get to eat. Casting well means your family survives. And it’s almost like Jesus KNOWS what he’s asking. But he’s painting a picture of something hard, something that takes energy, a task, a behavior that grows more skilled over time.
He is asking you to shove your fingers deep into the heavy, crude nets of first-century Israel. He is asking you to grab them tightly, like your life depends on it, because your life depends on it. And he is asking you to take that deep breath, and ready your entire body, plant your feet firmly on the deck, and with every cell in your body, without a sliver of hesitation, heave those nets up and over the side of the boat and let them sink heavy-deep into the water.
Because if you can’t heave them over the side, you’ll never be able to heave in the abundance God will place inside those nets.
BECAUSE IF YOU CAN’T HEAVE THEM OVER THE SIDE, YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HEAVE IN THE ABUNDANCE GOD WILL PLACE IN THOSE NETS.
If you can’t give it, throw it. If you can’t release it gently, release it forcefully. If you can’t open your own hands, let someone open them for you. And if you find that you still can’t, even after all of that, it’s ok. Some of us need to WRESTLE.
God knows. He isn’t afraid of letting you wrestle. He’s not afraid that your struggle will affect his sovereignty, his ability to make all things new, his grace.
There is nothing you can say or do to make God love you any more or any less. Because his love isn’t tainted with sin. It is PERFECTLY. HOLY. WHOLE.
And he sees the weight of brokenness you carry on your shoulders.
And he just wants to take it.
It is a daily releasing sometimes. It is a repeating of obedience and trust that changes everything. It is one step, one movement at a time.
God never asked us to do easy things. He never even asked us to do possible things.
How do you move a mountain?
One shovel of dirt at a time.
How do you move a mountain?
You can’t. It’s impossible.
How do you move a mountain and change your life?
With faith in a God who can make all things possible.
Because he is making all things new and he will not stop when he gets to you.
I’ve heard God doesn’t make mistakes.
I’ve heard it is impossible…
Everything about you. Your nationality, your skin color, gender, hair texture. How expressive or reserved you are. How introverted or extroverted you are. Your ability to sing or create art or to fearlessly barrel race horses. Your laugh.
NONE OF IT IS A MISTAKE.
God knew exactly what he was doing when he reached across time and space and birthed you in the darkness and fashioned you into something spectacular.
You are not a mistake.
It is impossible for you to be a mistake. Because it is impossible for God to make mistakes.
I spent my whole life thinking I was a mistake. That who I was was so shameful. The way I theatrically tell stories, how I want to weep for three days every time I watch The Green Mile. How making a space look beautiful fills me up with so much joy I cannot even express it. How injustice makes my blood boil. How my idea of “good church” involves crying with and laughing with and eating with a handful of people at a time.
Because I always thought I should want other things. I should be less passionate. Less emotional. More practical. More extroverted. Less awkward for heaven’s sake (Lord, above have mercy).
But none of these things about me is a mistake.
It’s weird, but not weird at the same time, to say that THE WORLD NEEDS YOU! And it needs ME. And not in a self-absorbed way, but simply because we are here and because we exist means that God destined for each one of us to be here.
The family he placed us in is not a mistake. Your birth order. Gender.
The country we were born in is not a mistake.
Our skin color is not a mistake. And all those freckles you have or don’t have.
God isn’t surprised you made it earth-side. He isn’t surprised you think post-it-notes can save the world, or that you haven’t been able to find a pair of matching socks in your house since 2007.
God knit you together and created you exactly perfect. Where you are standing right now, that earth beneath your feet that bears the weight of your presence, it is sacred because a sacred being stands upon it: you.
You are priceless. Invaluable. Never compared against another. Never regretted by God.
You are not what has happened to you. What someone took from you or did to you. You are not what someone else says you are, or even who you say you are. You are deeply and irrevocably eternal and brokenness is not eternal.
Stand in this today. Say it out loud. Because a thousand voices are telling you otherwise. Speak this truth over yourself and your children and all the people…that you are not a mistake.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
I’ve heard it is impossible.
It is impossible for you to be anything other than exactly what God created. And this is not something to fear, it is something to rest in.
I listened to a podcast today that talked about how, in the Bible, there is no concept of separate justice issues. There is only JUSTICE and INJUSTICE. Preach!
When you start talking about injustice, child abuse doesn’t really jump to the forefront of your mind. Because it hides in plain sight, and like a deadly bacteria that works its way deep into the crevices of your body, child abuse is an insidious destroyer of a sense of self.
There is a cost for every choice. And what you sacrifice or willingly offer up either wounds your soul or else repairs it. Because you are not just flesh and bone and blood pumping through veins. You are spirit. You are soul. You are deeply and irrevocably eternal.
Let go of the people who say they love you but hold everything against you. Because true love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
Let go of the people who tear down your dreams with wild words of incapable fears. Because real love always hopes. Continue reading Listen to me. We are NEVER going back (R-rated)…
I remember the way my body shook the first time I typed up my story.
The words just poured out of my fingertips, like water tipped over that cannot stop from spilling. It was gonna happen anyway. And maybe the water had actually been waiting all that time. Waiting to be tipped.