Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

.

I see your pain

The isolation it brings.

Tears in your eyes

That don’t compare to

the tears in your heart

.

Anger, Depression, Anxiety

Don’t seem to go away

.

You may not feel anything

So hurt, you can’t feel the pain.

Longing to feel,

Yet numbness remains.

.

They say the light will come

In the morning,

Yet morning seems

too far off.

.

Can I tell you something?

You’re not alone.

I know you feel isolated.

Friend, you’re not the only one.

.

The darkness threatens

to overtake you.

Yet Friend,

You are not alone.

.

Friend, there is hope.

Sometimes,

it’s impossible to see,

yet there IS Light.

.

Lift your eyes, Friend

Look up and see.

The scars on His hands

and the empty tomb.

.

Lift your eyes, Friend

In these there is healing,

there is light,

There is HOPE.

 

 

 

Silence

Silence.

Even as I type this, I hear a microwave running and sweet potatoes cooking. When those are quiet, I will hear the gentle hum of my laptop.

Silence.

A few minutes ago, I got home from work. My first inclination was to turn on the TV for some background noise.

Silence.

Even if I went outside, I would hear cars driving by, the train, not too far away, or some other random noise from town.

Silence.

The first thing I did when I got in my car this morning was turn on the radio. Again, so I could hear noise.

Silence.

Most of us, myself included, resist silence. Why is that? I heard somewhere, many years ago, that the reason we don’t like silence is that we don’t like to be alone in our own minds. This makes sense. When it is quiet, the worry, the doubts, and the insecurities seem louder. Those thoughts that tempt us seem stronger and the things we don’t like about ourselves are deafening.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV) This whole chapter in Psalm talks about how God is a fortress. In the midst of war and destruction, He tells us to “Be still.”

I remember the first time I realized what this verse meant. I was in high school, and I was praying before going to sleep. As I lay there, I remember praising God, calling him awesome, mighty, and powerful. I was using all the adjectives I could think of that described God. In the middle of this, I heard a voice in my heart. It wasn’t audible, but I heard it nonetheless. It was the first part of this verse: “Be still, and know that I am God.” I stopped for a second then continued praising God. I heard it again, but louder. “Be still, and know that I am God.” I stopped for a few seconds that time, and then continued. Finally, a third time, I heard “BE STILL.”

I had the audacity to argue with God. “But God, I’m praising you.” I heard a whisper as a reply, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I stopped and was still and I immediately felt God’s presence. I just lay there, basking in His glorious presence.  Even now, as I remember this moment, I am still.

Sometimes God just wants us to be still. It is in the silence that He sometimes speaks the loudest. Many times, it is in a whisper.

We have to be silent to hear it.

I am no better

When I heard what had happened, I was at work. It broke my heart. It remained on my mind for several days, and I still think of it often. I mourn for those 20 children and their teachers who were murdered. I mourn for their families. I mourn for the murderer and his family. I pray for hope for their families, and for this nation.

The day after it happened, I realized that I hated this man. How could someone murder innocent people, much less children? It was a horrifying crime. Then, the words of Jesus Christ came to mind, and I realized that I am no better than he is.

I am no better than the man who murdered so many.

No, I have never committed a crime, or murdered anyone, according to the world. According to Jesus, though, because I hated that man who killed so many, I murdered him. A moment of hate was no better than committing murder.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

(Matthew 5:21-22 ESV)

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

(1John3:15 ESV)

No sin is worse than the other. Lying is no better than murder, and murder is no worse than hate. The point is that they are all sins.

This realization humbled me to tears. No, I have never murdered anyone, but I am no better than the man who did. He committed a horrifying crime, yet I have harbored hatred and jealousy and unforgiveness in my heart. His sin horribly affected more lives, but my sins affected my life and those closest to me.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching the kids in my Wednesday night class at church. We were talking about sin, and how we inherited a sinful nature. One simple thought, one momentary desire to sin, condemns us to an eternity of suffering.

However, I told them, this is not the end of the story. This is where Jesus came in.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

Romans 3:21-25 ESV

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1-2 ESV

Because of Christ, I now have grace and hope. Even though my thoughts betray me often and my flesh is evil, Christ, through his blood and suffering, offers redemption. Only through him do I have hope for the redemption of my sinful nature.

Thus, I am humbled and thankful for this undeserved grace. I, a sinner, will live in the presence of God from now throughout eternity.

This man, who died after he murdered many, also had the offer of redemption, of the grace of God. Unfortunately, he did not follow Christ. Every person, however, no matter how sinful, has this same offer.

Because sin is sin, one person is no better than another.

And because grace is grace, each person has the opportunity to receive it.

Praise be to God.

“Whatever is pure…”

Purity.

This is something discussed when talking about preteens or teens, or young, unmarried adults. Normally, we are referring to sexual purity. I think it is something that should be addressed for all ages, married or unmarried, young or old, female or male. This purity I speak of isn’t just about “saving yourself for your spouse” or staying faithful, it is about everything we talk about, think about, hear, watch, or read. It is about everything we allow into our heads.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Philippians 4:8 ESV (emphasis mine)

Paul exhorts us here to think about things that are pure and right. Now, before I continue, we should define the terms. What is pure?

The merriam-webster dictionary defines “pure” as the following:

pure

adjective \ˈpyu̇r\

1a (1) : unmixed with any other matter <pure gold>
(2) : free from dust, dirt, or taint <pure springwater>
3a (1) : free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes
(2) : containing nothing that does not properly belong.
b : free from moral fault or guilt.
 
There is quite a few definitions of this word, but they are all basically the same. Purity, then, is being free from pollutants, from guilt, or from something that does not belong, or stains it.
Paul exhorts us to think on what is pure, on things that are unspoiled. Honestly, this verse hit me pretty hard as I examined my own life. I’m supposed to think on things that are pure and commendable. This includes anything that I put in my head. Anything I see and hear and say.
So I asked myself, is everything I’m watching, reading, or hearing pure?
It hurts my pride to say this, but it must be said: NO.
I have not focused on purity. No, I don’t watch porn, and yes, I’m a very faithful wife, but it’s about the little things. That movie I watched? It had bad language and other things that aren’t glorifying to God. Was that pure? No. That song I listened to just because it played on the radio station that happened to be on, had a couple of things in it that weren’t wholesome to listen to. Was that pure? No.
For a very long time, I’ve thought that just because the pure things I put into my head outweighed the impure, I was fine. But that is an outright lie. I was not fine. I was still allowing myself to be damaged by impurity, like a small hammer against a big, concrete wall. I didn’t even notice it.
And honestly, that thought scares me. There is so much that is put into our heads that isn’t pure. It doesn’t seem all bad, but it is. Because it is not pure.
Therefore, I intend to, from this day forward, focus on things that are pure. And please, friends, keep me accountable.
 
“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the Lord weighs the spirit.”
Proverbs 16:2 ESV
 
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8 ESV
 
 
 
 

Beginning Again

“What do you want to do in life?”

The question was not difficult, nor did I hesitate in answering. My friend and I were meeting for cupcakes and to visit. We talked about everything from our lives and our families to God. We were talking about life and she asked me, “So what do you want to do in life?”

“I want to write.”

I listed a few other things, but that is how I began my answer. Thus, that is what I am doing, the day after this encouraging conversation. My mind wants to wander at this point and tell you how wonderful and uplifting the conversation we had was, but I know I must stay focused in order to make the point I wish to make.

One of my deepest desires and greatest joys is to write. Sadly, I do not write very often, but I enjoy it when I do. One of my lifelong goals has been to write something worthy of publication. I have quite a ways to go before that happens, but here is where I begin.

Please, dear readers, feel free to comment and to critique, so I might write better. And if you feel like it, comment about what you think of the name of the blog.

And my dear Friend, you know who you are, thank you, for giving me the courage to start this blog and to write my thoughts for the whole world to see.