Thursday, April 21, 2011


There's a song I love. I listen to it when I run and often start crying, sometimes I run with my hand lifted up in the air like a moron. It just stirs something in my heart so intense, and I recently realized why.

It's' called Amos Story by Aaron Ivey, you an watch it here, and it's a beautiful song, and video. You should stop reading this...and go watch that, then come back here.

Okay, finished? Here's why it's beautiful to me. It's the song of this father, who is nations and oceans away from his son, separated. He is far off, and the father longs to bring him near. It's an adoption story, and it's so glorious because I too, am adopted.
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." Galatians 4:4-5

I am adopted by God. Over and over the Bible says it. So when I hear these lyrics:
"I’ll find a way to get you here
If it takes my fleeting breath"

My heart rejoices, not because he can't or didn't...but because he did. It took every breath, he gave the last breath all to bring the world near.

"Lightyears away I hope you know
There is somebody searching
For the way to get you here"

He waited...years, thousands of years to be more specific to come to earth ,not to live and gain earthly treasures, but to die and gain a heavenly prize. He found the way, to get us there. And he took it. I get this picture in my mind of Jesus, watching next to the Father, waiting eagerly and anxiously, with bated breath to rush forward and grab us again, to bring us near.

He loves us so so so. Not because we are worthy or exceptional, but because he is love.

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." Romans 8:14-16

Are you getting this?

We were adopted. Not bought on Easter Sunday all those years ago to be slaves, living in constant fear of death, bought back to be sons and daughters.
I was bought to live as a daughter. You were bought, to live as a child of God.

And as we wait here, we are not only waiting. We owe a debt to the world to tell them of the same adoption call on their lives. Would it be kind, fair, or just for an orphan to be lovingly snatched from an orphanage to live with a father who loved so intensely and so perfectly, and not feel some sense of loss for those who were left behind. Would it be loving for the same orphan (now an adopted daughter) to hear her now Father look at her and say, "Go! Tell the other orphans, I want them too! Bring them here." and instead sit where she is in comfort, refusing to share--relegating her life to some self-indulgent, entitled existence.

No, we long for heaven, we groan waiting for it. But we press on, thinking of that same eternity to show others the adoption.

"So dream, dream, dream my child
Hear the whisperings of hope"

I will dream. I will dream huge dreams that tell others of this love. I will dream dreams that do not limit the power of a mighty God working through the life of his now daughter. I will dream and hear the whisperings of hope for those who are still orphans. And I will surrender my time, resources, and every breath, to point others back to my Father.

It's Easter. It's adoption. It's ours.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Not Conviction

I almost titled this post Conviction, because I've recently been totally convicted about something that I'm pursuing...then I looked up the's what it said:
Conviction: a fixed or firm belief

I'm not sure I could in good conscience use that I'm not too convinced that I live like this is a firm belief in my life, yet.

So there's this really awful little feature that I just discovered on my blog and that is the "stats" feature. This is where you can track how many people look at your blog, how many have looked at which post, how many from other websites, which's (as I mentioned) terrible.

But I'm obsessed.

I check it...a.....lot.

And I'm vowing to stop. Completely--to not even look (I'm cringing as I type) because it puts all the focus on me, and my endeavors. If I start looking there, I'm not really writing for the right reasons (to bring glory to God, and what he's teaching me)...I'm writing to try and get more peeks at my posts.

I'm reading the book Radical by David Platt, and he spends a lot of time talking about what we do in our own strength, and how (long story short) it's a waste of our life. There's this thought he shares:

"This, after all, is the goal of the American dream: to make much of ourselves. But here the gospel and the American dream are clearly and ultimately antithetical to each other. While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God."

So there's this stuff going into my brain...reminding me that the why is always more important than the what. Then there's this whole other stream of thoughts also going on that I am learning, and that is...I love to write. I love to act. I love to be in large groups of women, and love to make them laugh.

Now originally, I thought these two things were opposing forces. One was selfish, me wanting to pursue my dreams and my goals, and my desires to get attention, and the other was a crucifying of myself and a dying to myself, and living miserably, but in a way that exalts God.

I'm realizing that the to work in perfect tandem with each other. That they are both possibly from God. That it is good for me to love to write, be funny, and act. Those are blessings when they are done to make much of the gospel.

I'm sure the rest of you have realized this, but it's been beautiful for me to wake up to (honestly, I can feel a weight coming off my chest even writing this post).
And I'm ecstatic about living this adventure he has. One that will be marked with suffering and hardship (I am sure) but that holds the potential to make much of a God who is ultimately satisfying to all who find him.

I want to live in that kind of way. Surrendering everything I have, gifts, resources, time, and breath and steps and energy. All for the glory of God. I want every post to make much of him, every choice in how I spend my time to make much of him.

Think of how big I can dream if I'm relying on the power of an infinite God. Think of how much God will be able to do now that I'm trying (moment by moment) to get out of the way.


Think of how small it is to only live to make much of ourselves. To live day in and out pursuing the goal of making wonderful grandiose praises for my own little kingdom that will last sixty some more years at most.

That's the beauty of living for the gospel--one day I will not be remembered, but my God will still be known, better to give my life up pointing others toward him.

Live like we're dying...cause we are.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time I was talking to a woman about being transparent.
Once upon a time I told her about how it needed to happen in our church walls....needed to be breathed out. Needed to break the porcelain molds that hold us in, and needed to shatter the "churchy-ness" that American Christianity perpetuates.

Once upon a time...she asked me why.

This woman I trust....I respect, this wonderfully wise, calm, yoda-esque woman.
And then began my journey....cause I just wasn't sure why all of the sudden.

Thankfully she took the time to help me understand why.

And here was her advice....go right to that place where I feel most anxious. The thing that makes me clamor and stress. I could list a variety of them, her advice was to go to the thing that pops first in my mind, I'd know what it was.

For me it was when I send an email (especially on a vulnerable subject) or put myself out there somehow and then hear nothing. You know when you were younger and you used to get called to talk to the principal....that feeling of impending doom? That feeling that comes up when your mom used to say "We need to talk?" You must've been a better kid than me.

It might sound silly but it sends me into a panic. She then encouraged me to follow that rabbit trail all the way to the end...asking myself all the hard questions that come with that fear.

Here's what it looked like for me:
What if I don't hear anything? What if they think I'm an idiot? What if they're judging me? What if I was too harsh? What if I shouldn't have said anything? What if they don't like me? What if they don't talk to me anymore? What if I've lost my good standing in their eyes?

There were many more "what ifs", and each one fired off a sensor in my mind that made me terrified.
This woman's advice to me was that if you follow it long enough you'll understand what you're believing about yourself that is not true.

For me it was this:
I am believing that if others don't like/accept/appreciate/affirm means I am not worth much.

And that's obviously a lie.

It starts with being transparent with ourselves. With our God.
"God. I am scared. I am scared I might be right about myself. Scared they might be right about me. Scared of what will happen if I'm not accepted."

That beginning thought to transparency, agreement to tell the truth about where we are, honesty with ourselves and God puts us in the best position to hear truth.
Truth about ourselves. Our worth. Mainly our God--because hearing the truth about ourselves and our worth are really just stories about what he's done to declare wonderful things about who we are in him.

I'm trying to learn to start there. So I can finish well with him.

Reckless Abandon: A story about Stephanie

Skipping the small stuff, getting to the point.

Stephanie used to be a self-proclaimed lesbian.

Now, you can read her amazing, Christ-celebratory story here.. But that's not as much what I'm writing about.

I'm writing about the way she lives now.
She lives bravely.

Bravely aware of her identity in Christ. Bravely surrendered to the Savior who laid claim on her life. Bravely humble about what he's done for her.

Stephanie is not afraid of sharing her story, what she's been through and even the really really vulnerable parts of her story, because she recognizes there is nothing she could gain from coming across as having it together. Nothing significant she could hold onto from not telling people. But there is glory in dying to herself. There is a beautiful abandon that comes from not trying to make a name for ourself, not trying to sustain an image that isn't ours to claim in the first place.

Steph has shared her story with multitudes of people. She boasts of her lowly place because she recognizes there is nothing to be lost for her. She cannot lose her standing, she cannot lose her worth or value. It is secure. And she can live recklessly for the gospel (and does) because she's not holding on to those attempts.

When I asked her if I could share her story, she not only responded with an immediate "yes" but also allowed me to share as much of her sin as I wanted....amazing how surrendered this girl is.
She also shared with me two verses that are so liberating:

"And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." Revelation 12:10-11

"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24

Thanks Steffers. For being open. For being a little more out there than some might be comfortable with. For living a brave life for the gospel.

The way you live showed me how to not count my life as precious to myself.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Fake it till...

Consider yourself warned...

You'd think, for an actress, I'd be better at pretending. Pretending to like people, pretending to be in a good mood, pretending to have it together.
But I'm not.
In fact, one of the hardest things for me is being something I'm not.
Mainly because I'm selfish...I recognize that. But I'm thinking some of it is good.

Here's the thing. Our culture is centered around being fake. Fake boobs, fake hair color, fake teeth, botox, spanx, makeup. All to make us look better than we are. You'd think with all the recent hype about using "real sugar" vs. high fructose corn syrup, and blah blah blah, we'd be trending in a different direction. We're not.

And all that stuff is fine, to a degree....

But there's one place I can't stand it. One place I'm learning to be completely authentic, because it's what I want from others.

See, no one benefits from another female relationship where we have it together. The person faking it doesn't benefit, the person observing the fake-ness doesn't. It's destructive.

And I won't stand for it.
At least not in my own life.
I'm learning a lot about authenticity...about transparency. What it looks like--what it doesn't look like. And why it's significant.
Here's what I'm list form.

What it isn't:
1. Saying whatever you think. This is different. This is called pride. While I am also terribly guilty of's a different evil. This one says "My opinion is there, I'll tell it to you, you deal with it, I don't care if it hurts your feelings."
2. Airing of grievances. It's not a license to say everything that bothers you about someone. (See number one). I am also guilty of this.
3. Confession. There's this bad tendency when it comes to being authentic. It can lean a different direction. One that is more religious than resting in the gospel. When my goal is to confess something so I don't feel bad about it anymore, it's wrong. It's penance--dare I say- it's sin. I am also guilty of this.

What it is:
1. Vulnerability.
2. A rejection of self-protection.
3. The ability to rest in an identity that is given us in Christ, that is not founded on a facade we fabricate.
4. The acceptance of being right where we are, exactly who we are, and relinquishing the desire to cover-up, get our act together, or appear to be something we're not.
5. A chance to be real before others, and be accepted for being that way. Not mocked, belittled, condescended or gossiped about.

Why it's crucial (I deleted the word "important"):
1. We are all flawed, each one of us. And as long as we're encouraged to cover that up and pretend we have it together--we're just propagating the pride that keeps us from God. Once we realize we can be loved and accepted with others right where we are, we'll recognize we can be the same way with God. (Obviously God does not love or accept our sin, but he sees our Savior's record when he looks at us)
2. A need to cover-up, pretend, be fake, just facilitates comparing, cattiness, and gossip. As long as "someone else looks worse than me" then I don't have to be afraid of being found out. Is this making sense? When I throw someone else under the bus, then I'm not afraid of the bus hitting me. If I'm not trying to "self-protect" everyone is allowed and encouraged to be jsut as screwed up as they are right now, because I'm just as screwed up as I am.
3. It rests in the gospel. Self-protection...pretending....faking it...does not.
Faking it rests in the image of myself I've crafted. The one where I don't look so bad. Being authentic, vulnerable, transparent, rests in Christ. When I understand that "we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope" (Tim Keller) I am able to rest, and be real.
4. I don't need one more person in my life who has it together.

At this point I was going to wax eloquent a disclaimer about how it is never acceptable to be complacent with sin, and "let it all hang out"....but I'm not even going to do that. If you think that's where I am, and I need to explain myself, you should go back and read any of my previous posts.

In the weeks to come, I'll be sharing stories. Stories of what this has looked like in my life (most if not all of them will make me look terrible, which I'm okay with). I'm learning too much about relationships to not share. I'm learning how to be a Christian. I'm learning how to be a real woman, in a real world, saved by a real Savior. I'm learning that it's good to tell the truth, especially when it makes you look bad. I'm learning what it looks like to rest in the gospel. I'm learning how to fail gracefully, what's important, and what I want my daughter to learn.

Mainly I'm learning how little I've learned.

But I will say this, the more I learn how to be okay with messing up, and okay with others doing the same...
the more free I am.
And that's just the way I want to live.