Tag Archives: Christianity

Jesus nirvana

i’m sure that with this long hiatus, many of my readers have flown the coop. not that i had that many readers to begin with…

but here i am again, nonetheless. who knows for how long i’ll be here again…or how long my next blog hiatus will be.

i’ve had a rocky few months.

but i have discovered so much more about grace. 

i don’t say that to mean that my rocky few months have been spent cussing like a sailor and drinking like a fish, and therefore i needed the grace of God. i need grace ALL the freakin’ time. because whether i’m doing “big stuff” or “little stuff” (how in the heck did we come up with a sin ranking system?) without Jesus, i’m a miserable little shit before God. period.

i remember my professor in college telling me that the way to be saved is not praying a prayer to ask Jesus in to your heart. it’s the understanding of God’s grace through Jesus in our lives and our total need and dependence on it, and only it. not in what we do, but everything about what He has already done.

the past few months God has revealed himself to me in ways that are mindblowing and inexplicable (or unexplainable?). living in a total God moment and feeling the grace that can only come from him at a time when i needed it the most. and there were no doubts, no questions, no nothing. except for pure, childlike wonder and innocence that God had lifted me up and given me the strength to get through a really tough day.

i used to be the kind of person who thought i needed to read my Bible and pray every day and read Spiritual books and shop in the Christian bookstores so that i could make God happy.

and i’m in no way down-playing those things. they are great. and important (maybe not the Christian bookstores so much…)

but if i try to “get it right” for God, it will never, ever be enough.

i guess i don’t know what else to say. everything is coming out sounding cliched. but how do you explain Jesus nirvana? once you experience it, you know.

and this is not just some mountaintop experience. this is real. this is God. all the time. whether i’m having the worst day or the best day. it doesn’t change. God loves me. just the way i am. where i am. what i am.

so whatever a worthless pile of doo doo you are, it doesn’t matter. Jesus thinks you’re pretty awesome. let him forgive you, and then forgive yourself.

 

and that’s all i have.

 

off to a Lost marathon, matcha green tea, and perhaps some chocolate.

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the little church in the slums

nostalgia knocking on my door tonight. i’ve been thinking about the church i attended during my college years. a teeny little graffiti-bathed building in the heart of the ghetto. 40 people max. i was the only white person.

and i have never been more loved in my life than in that little church.

it was a place where judgment ceased to exist, and where grace threatened to drown.

it was a place where women talked freely of forgiveness from abortions, strength to endure abusive boyfriends, and husbands in prison. where the men shared their desires to step up and be the Christ-like figures in their families.

i was known as “sister” and i never ran short of hugs.

sometimes the sermons ran 2-3 hours. and the singing. oh the singing. powerful is the only word.

i haven’t been back to that little inner city church since college. but i know i’ll be surprised to find another place like it…

i guess this isn’t really a very exciting post. not for you anyway.

it’s just i was thinking that sometimes, if you open up your eyes and your hearts, you may find belonging and acceptance in a place you’d least expect.

like a little white girl from a little white town in a little black church.

praise God!

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riding on the blandwagon

lately i’ve noticed that i’ve lost my edge. my flavor. my saltiness.

it’s like i’m on a spiritually low sodium diet.

there is not much distinction in how i live compared to people who haven’t yet experienced the grace of Jesus.

and i’m wondering…am i being too free in my freedom in Christ?

there is not a day goes by that i am not thankful for grace and forgiveness. but am i just a user? do i need to get straight?

i think i’m desensitized, and that makes me sad.

at this point, the thought of trying to jump off this speeding “blandwagon” scares me. i think i’ve invested too much of my life riding on it. i’m like one of those trees that grows around a close object so much so that the object becomes embedded, just another part of me. and you just know it’s going to hurt like hell to get it out. i was walking through a sheep pasture once when i saw a tree that had grown over a strand of taut fence wire. the wire ran through the tree like the tree was just another fence post. it was pretty neat in that context. but in my life, not so much.

anyway, i’m not really looking for a solution. just talking outloud. internet-speaking, anyway.

i definitely want to change. but maybe not enough to do something about it.

sorry if that shocks you.

does anyone else ever feel like this?

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in war and grace

35 freaking degrees right now! i love it!!! with my fleece gloves and Denali jacket i was toasty warm on the way to work. i only wish i could be hiking this morning as the woods are sure to be lovely. oh well.

today i am struggling to learn the art of contentment. there is always something i want. last week it was new clothes, yesterday it was a new car, and today it is a new camera. i have perfectly good camera already. in fact, it is quite fancy with more features than i know how to use, but still, i find myself wanting a newer and sleeker model. the thing is, i know as soon as i’ve had that camera for a couple months, an even better one will come out for which i will yearn. arrgghhh!

last night, a culmination of mildly annoying things resulted in me letting out a string of profanities. i’m not going to tell you what it was that happened because it definitely did not merit me cussing like a sailor. though i can laugh about it now, it is actually quite sobering (and rather embarrassing). where is my mind, where is my heart, if my first response to a negative situation is to say every four letter word that exists? i spent a long time talking with God and listening to him through his Word. yeesh…i am such a mess.

okay, now that you know what a stinking jerk i am, i must say that i have never felt more loved in all my life. lately i find myself smiling and tearing up at odd moments, thinking about my Hero. i’m like a love-sick teenager all over again. i know this all sounds really cheesy and churchy, but it’s true. i spent most of my life thinking i was okay with God, just sinning little sins, but nothing to worry about. but only recently have i really come to understand what Grace is and what a wreck i actually am. Jesus has stepped off the flannel board and into my life.

so, that’s my life today. what a shitty little worm i am and what a Savior i have.

praise you, Jesus.

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weekend fun & lessons

i had a wonderful time this weekend visiting my sister and her family. no matter what i’ve done in the past, what i look like, how much (or how less) money i make, or how much of an idiot i can be, my family still loves me, even when acquaintances and friends fall away. it’s amazing how family relationships parallel our relationship with God. awesome, i say. here are some highlights of the weekend, if they can be summed up in bullet points (they really can’t):

  • homemade chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
  • talking politics with my bro-in-law
  • lots of laughter
  • singing my sweet little niece to sleep
  • reading bedtime stories
  • learning to use a sewing machine (fun!!!)
  • a superfabulous morning hike in the woods
  • the bread store (oh. my. goodness.)
  • raking leaves
  • truly amazing worship @ church
  • great conversations with my sister
  • talking with God and listening to Elliott Smith on the drives

and another thing: during the hike i happened to see a tree that had snapped off and fallen, but rather than falling to the ground, it had managed to

land right in the middle of another tree’s forked branches. it was just perfect- if it had had been just a few inches to either side, the tree would have fallen over the path. i didn’t give it another thought until today after church. the pastor taught out of colossians (3:13) about bearing with one another and forgiving them- how we should bear people like we bear burdens. most often i try to avoid those people who can be burdens. you know the type. the weirdos, the clingers, the needy people. i tend to be somewhat of an independent introvert and, so, very often, people can drain me. i like people, but i don’t always feel like i “need” people (i know that’s not true, but that’s how i often feel). so when i’m faced with a person who is very needy, i tend to shirk away. but God wants me to do just the opposite. i should be “bearing” those people up, just like that tree in the woods. it can’t be easy to have to catch somebody and then let their weight bear down upon me, but it’s what i need to do.  i am so selfish and i know that i have burned and hurt a lot of people. so i’m having a lot of conversations with God, asking him to help me bear with people.

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my beef with christian bookstores

i do not like christian bookstores. they are overpriced and filled with glitzy trinkets like stained glass suncatchers with Bible verses, gilt-framed paintings of sheep, or letters that spell out “Faith” or “Family” or “Love”. and don’t get me started on those christian romance novels (although, i admit that i do enjoy making fun of the titles- Taming Rafe )

i never go in them on my own accord (last spring a friend dragged me in one, but i swear that’s the last time). i think they are bubbles that separate christians from the rest of the world. and i don’t think Jesus would have ever gone into a christian bookstore. in my opinion all a christian bookstore should sell are sturdy walking shoes, first aid kits, tissues, and Bibles. that’s all. the Gospel of Jesus is beautiful, but it is very raw and real, and often very painful. it cannot be conveyed in windchimes that say “Make a Joyful Noise” or in embroidered Bible covers. following Jesus is tough. but it is every bit worth it.

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Chinese take-out and humilty

i packed a rather meager lunch this morning, so when thoughts emerged of my favorite Chinese take-out, i was a goner. it’s this little hole-in-the-wall joint near my job (how convenient) that only accepts cash, but it is the best americanized Chinese food i have ever had. i knew i had a ten in my wallet, so i was good to go. i called in my cashew chicken and fried rice and then antsily watched the clock until it was time to pick it up.

when i got to the restaurant i claimed my order and proudly handed over my ten….er…five. five? what? oh crap.

Me: “Oops, I thought that was a ten! And I only have my bank card.”

Cashier: Looks at me with a blank, helpless look. Calls over another employee who also stares at me.

Me: “Oh wait! I think I have change!”

i hastily pulled my coin purse from my bag and rooted for $2.95 in change. wonder of wonders there was enough. (rare, quarters usually end up in my laundry fund). but as i was standing at the counter, feeling a tad humiliated, i thought of how it is with God. more often than not, there i am before Him, digging through my little coin purse of goodness, trying to find enough to give Him. the thing is, there is never enough. and while i am rooting, He is there just waiting for me to stop, because the only thing He wants- has ever wanted- is me, and not what i can give Him.

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