Monday, September 28, 2015

2015, The Year of Firsts


I call 2015 'The Year of Firsts' for me. First time blueberry picking, first time apple picking, first time going to a dairy farm and traveling to some new, but surrounding cities.  And many other firsts.

My life was turned upside down, some from choices I've made as well as from choices other's made that affected me.  Even from all the devastation, the suffering and complete hopelessness I've felt, it's awakened me to search within myself and question all the things I thought I believed, causing me to contemplate my personal truths and the outer actions that are birthed from those beliefs.  The last six months have turned on a desire and determination in me to seek out The Truth, from many sources and to measure them against love, so they'd mirror Love Himself. 

I happened to come across a Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, who was interviewing Rob Bell.  I jotted down some particular words Rob spoke, that resonated within me: "We’re all waking up. Quickened to Otherness. Explanation beyond revelation.  Tasted something beyond words."  For me, these words caused a domino effect in my heart, superseding my mind, and penetrating my soul.    

I am different.  I am not the same person I was 6 months ago.  An injury does that to you.  Annihilation that rocks you to the very core.  I feel that I have died.  The old me.  Loss does that to you.  Which leads me to Born again.  Rebirth.  Died and resurrected.  With death though there's new life.  That's what I'm holding onto.  New hope.

I'm a quote junkie but here are a few of my favorites: 

"But it was the signing that pulled me in and split me wide open." Anne Lamott
"The thing that you are seeking is also seeking you." Elizabeth Gilbert
"How to let go of shit? Remembering all the things I'm forgiven for-extending it to other's." Rayya Elias
"There's the old adage, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' Not always the case. Sometimes it just really Fucks you up." Elizabeth Gilbert
"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we'll ever do." Brene' Brown
"Religion is people who don't want to go to hell. Spirituality is people who've been to hell already." Rob Bell



Finally a quote that sums up my greatest desire, "When I expose myself, I rip myself open and all that's left inside is love because all the crap is gone." Rayya Elias

Much Love,
Julie

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Conversation with My Sis

My sister and I had lunch a couple weeks ago and she was sharing with me how her and her husband were going to Albuquerque, New Mexico to perform a wedding.  Not just any wedding but a wedding of an Atheist groom and a Christian bride.  She pondered why the Atheist would want her husband to perform the wedding since he’s going to be sharing from a Christian perspective.  Well that led me to ask questions and finding out that the bride was Christian, I shared that he was probably honoring his bride-to-be and her family by having a Christian ceremony. 

I made a comment, “Oh you’re not going to be like the “Christian” Bakers who refused to make cupcakes and a wedding cake to the Lesbian couple or Kim Baker, denying the Gay couple a marriage license?”  She said, “No we’re not.” 

I told her my opinion of Jesus and that I thought He would have made the Lesbian couple a cake and would have even said a blessing to them as well as signing the marriage certificate to the Gay couple. My reasoning for my opinion is because what I know about Jesus from the scriptures, is how kind He, how loving, and He offers kindness and mercy over and over again to those in need, whether they knew they were in need or not!  Hence woman at the well (she didn’t know her need) and the woman caught in the act of adultery (oh she definitely knew her need).  Now of course some Christians would ardently argue with me that no He wouldn’t have done such a thing and my sister disagreed as well. 

Her response was, “He may have made the cake but not the wedding."  She said, what to me was typical of mainstream Christians, is that He would have told them to “Go sin no more” as well as other scripture verses that would have helped them to see the light.  I asked her why she thought that He may not have signed the certificate and she said, “Because I believe they would have fallen at His feet, being changed in His presence."

I asked her “if they would have changed in front of Him, shouldn't they change in front of us IF His very presence lives in us?”  “We are temples of the Holy Spirit right?”  “Doesn’t Christian mean ‘Followers of Christ, Do what He does?’  Doesn’t it also mean ‘Little Christ's?’”  She said, “Yes” to all the above.

But I wanna take a rabbit trail for a moment.  I've been pondering the meaning ‘go and sin no more.'  I think most people translate it as ‘you were doing wrong, now stop it and start doing right.’  The Hebrew definition of sin is to miss, miss the mark, miss the way or path, make a mistake, an error, fail to find or have, to be absent.  Yet the root word means forgetfulness.  So what was Jesus exactly telling her to do?  I think He was telling her to remember.  To remember is to be conscious.  To be aware.  He was telling her to remember this moment.  Remember that He didn’t condemn her. Remember that she was no longer bound to what she had done.  Remember that He set her free.  Set her free from what the religious leaders said about her and set free from what the law of Moses said. And set her free from public opinion.  His opinion was the only opinion that mattered.  Remember. 

As Christians we have this entitlement belief that we can tell people “the truth” about their lifestyle choices. But often that truth comes void of love and kindness. But here’s the thing, the information we share about the bible are our truth. Those are things we believe. What if someone doesn’t believe in God or the bible or was raised with some other kind of religious beliefs. Just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean you will automatically become convinced that it’s THE truth. 

I can’t help but think of the women at the well. She had her truth, what she believed, based on her upbringing, her environment, what was told her since childhood and it was engrained in her. But what she didn’t know, as she was walking to the well that fateful day, was that she’d be meeting Truth Himself and it would change everything. 

So many things stick out in this story.  Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Galilee and they just happened to go through Samaria.  But we all know that nothing Jesus ever did was happenstance. Jesus disciples went to buy food (cause it took all twelve of them) and Jesus sat down by Jacob’s well for a drink of water.  He could have easily summoned the water to come forth all by Himself, with no one looking it would have been an easy thing to do.  But Jesus never used His power selfishly, He always saved His miracles for a purpose, to glorify His Father. 

Samaritans and Jews didn’t associate with one another. They hated each other. Jews were God’s chosen people. Samaritans were half-breeds. Here’s the thing I LOVE about this story. Jesus, God incarnate, took a detour, went into a forbidden land, spoke with a woman, of all people, ALONE, and was going to drink from her water jar, which would have made Him unclean! Agh! Jesus was a rule breaker!! Man’s rules that is. 

To me this shows me that God Himself is willing to go to heights, lengths and depths to reach humanity, do the things that man forbids us to do. He met her on her turf, to share the good news, to reach beyond what we know to be true, here and now, and that there is a deeper truth than what you raised to believe. He wants to unlock the chains of religion that has so tightly gripped you, to give you freedom from your past, your present and the expectations of your future.

She was bound by the letter of the law, which kills, but the Spirit gives life! Oh what a beautiful life, as He’s calling her to worship in spirit and in truth. Those are the kind of worshippers God seeks. He searches them out. He seeks and finds. He runs to the one, not just the masses. 

How does it begin? It started with a detour. Then a need. He was tired so He sat down. He camped out and waited. Doesn’t He do that with us? Waits patiently. He wasn’t in a hurry. Just waited. And along came a woman, minding her own business, doing the mundane things in life, her job. It’s what she did everyday. Walked out to that same spot every single day to fill her water jar. Then out of nowhere, there was Jesus and a conversation. Unsuspecting. The King of glory asked her for a drink. And from that simple conversation, back and forth, him to her, revelation comes forth and her eyes are enlightened, that her truth wasn’t the exact truth. He reveals her past, her present and tells her of the future is here and now.  “Yet a time is coming and has now come…”  “I know that Messiah is coming…”  “I who speak to you am He.”  Mind blowing. 

The future is now.  Relationship is now.  He waits patiently.  Here and now.  You may be in doing life and it seemingly is rolling along just fine.  When one day you find Jesus.  He shows up in the day in and day out of all that you do. You find that He's been there all along, sitting, waiting, and your world is about to be interrupted by Truth. He messes with your theology and turns it upside down.  She was waiting for Messiah and He took a detour just to find her. 

So like my sister, not sure why this Atheist fellow wanted a Christian ceremony.  Maybe it wasn’t him that wanted it all along.  Maybe it’s just Jesus wanting to interrupt his life and bring Him everlasting water.  May we find Him, in our everyday lives, sitting and waiting for us.  And may we remember.  Remember that He doesn't condemn but He's the One that sets us free.  


Monday, September 21, 2015

Free Me




I almost died some nights ago. 
In a way I already felt dead.
Was so distraught at the thought of whispering tongues,
one person to another, 
speaking of my failings with loose lips and itching ears.
Hyperventilating.
Gasping for air.
Lungs closing in.
Desperate for a new breath.
a fresh breath.
But death closed in on me.
It felt as if hands were choking the life out of me. 
The grave called out for me.
Darkness was swallowing me up.
No hope.
No forgiveness.
I cried out, “God, Oh God! Why have you forsaken me?!”
“Please make it stop!”
But it won’t. Evil persists.
It pursues. Finding an open door. 
Wrapped in the pretty package of Christianity and justice.
How can I free myself from the accuser’s voice of, 
“You did this. You brought this on yourself.”

Help me. Free me. Put me out of my misery.