He’s Not My Equal

I often forget just how different the infinite God is to my finite brain.

For example, I often forget one detail while focusing on another. There are days where I shakily pray about one area of a situation, silently hoping God won’t forget I also need Him to remember something else. In some ways, I have this innate fear that, if I dare distract Him, He’ll let things spiral out of control just as I have.

I love the fact that, when I struggle through life, I have very poignant reminders that Christ shared the same types of pain when He was here on Earth. His willingness to become like His creation (us!) is key in why His gift of salvation differs from anything else we may worship. But at the same time, it’s so easy to slip into the thought process that God is exactly like us because of Jesus.

Lord, have mercy on our hearts if we stay there. It’s possible to create an idol and nickname it Jesus, rather than meet the Savior and call Him Lord. Christ created us. We did not create Him. There is so much freedom in realizing that we are not worshipping our equal… We are worshipping our Maker. 

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Silence is Okay Today


There are so many things we say today. “Gone, but never forgotten.” “Thank you to those who gave all.” “We remember…” 

I’m guilty of it, too. Memorial Day, whether you possess approval of our current government or not, is a day that urges us to say something for our freedom. Wordsmith or not, one-liners abound. 

But then, you look into the eyes of a lone soldier who carries decades of survivor’s guilt. You say hello to a mother who never got to see her son be a father. You shake hands with a father who hugs a flag instead of a daughter. 

It’s then the words stop… No words are needed, but often we forget that. 

For many, Memorial Day is no different than yesterday. They always wake up remembering. They always go to bed contemplating their ability for one more day of freedom because of their loved one’s obedience. 

When you meet those people, accept the need for silence & let your presence & hug be enough. Sometimes, overwhelming gratitude leads to silence which will only be cheapened by words. 

Silence is okay, today. 

What God Calls Beauty


It’s not a story you tell your kids. It’s not a story you want to hear over and over. It’s a nightmare. But it’s in the Bible. 

Recently, I’ve been working through a book that focuses on the story of David’s daughter, Tamar, being raped by her brother, Amnon, in 2 Samuel 13

This is where every woman’s heart hurts and every man’s brain is left troubled. There’s rape. In the Bible. Honestly, I praise God for this passage though it leaves me in tears every time. Within these verses God declares He is not blind to the soul deep torment many women go through. 

I was struck by the fact that after verse 1 in 2 Samuel 13, the Bible never calls Tamar beautiful again. Desolate – yes. Depressed – of course. Troubled – well, duh. But beautiful? Nope. In our broken culture, anyone else who observed that small fact would maybe wonder if that was God’s unjust judgment toward Tamar.

“Sorry, Sweetheart, someone else broke you, so, um, yeah, beauty is gone. You’re just Tamar, now. The desolate, forgotten daughter of David. Oh well. It’s a man’s world. I’m still God, Kiddo, so no fears, ‘kay?” 

I am overwhelmingly blessed that such words were never spoken by Elroi- the God Who Sees. But that still leaves me wondering… Why? Why couldn’t God inspire the writer of 1 & 2 Samuel to call her beautiful just once after the evil deed was done? 

She needed that affirmation. As a wounded woman, she needed her father, King David, to look her in the eyes (not write a letter or make a public announcement) and whisper, “You’re still beautiful, you’re still my daughter. Your value hasn’t changed.”

But that never happened. 

I truly believe, in the beginning of the chapter, the author of the book was simply describing the scene. He called Tamar beautiful. 

Beautiful. 

Christians believe (as do I) that every word written within the pages of the canonical Bible was and is inspired by God. In other words, if the word beautiful wasn’t supposed to be there, it wouldn’t have been. If God didn’t believe Tamar was beautiful, she wouldn’t have been painted as beautiful. 

Numbers 23:19 tells us that God never changes His mind.

So, then, why couldn’t she be called be called beautiful? 

(This is speculation, keep that in mind.) Often times in the Old Testament, the author’s approach to a story changes views. They often start out as a narrative and end in first or second person. It’s funny, it’s quirky, but it makes the story of Tamar that much richer. 

In a culture where women were not given a voice, God gave Tamar one through the verses that mournfully tell of the injustice done to her. Her culture immediately called her unworthy of love, respect or even provision after she was violated. 

So, it’s possible every negative description of her presence was the author’s way of saying, “She can’t speak for herself, but this is how she painted herself.”

She listened to her culture. She was told her hands were tied and she was ready for the gallows. If her father wasn’t the king, she probably would have been killed. She knew men no longer called her valuable. 

She never stopped to ask Yahweh what He still thought. 

The story of Tamar is left as an unbearable unfinished sentence. David never avenged his daughter. Tamar never found worth, though she was provided for by her other brother, Absolom. There is no understanding of peace after the storm. 

It seems like that was God’s way of saying, “I know how deep the hurt goes. I’m not immune to how much this nightmare broke you, Daughter. Not everything will make sense on this side of Heaven… This fallen world means evil is present.”

Tamar apparently allowed herself to stay stuck in knowing she was provided for yet never called valuable by those around her. If she had  questioned her God instead of the men in her family and culture, she would have heard one beautiful truth: 

When God first wrote her story, He called her beautiful. That never changed and she still mattered. 

Before He Walks Away

Last night, I ran into a darling older gentleman. His smile lit up the room, his laugh made his eyes dance. I smiled at him when we made eye contact and my eyes subconsciously drifted to the long, curvy, pink scar on his head. He immediately put his hand on the scar, smiled apologetically, and sauntered away.

I knew something he had no chance of knowing, though. Despite the fact that my long hair covers my scar, I have the same abnormality on my skull. Just looking at his scar made the memories flood back, the well-informed prayers for this nameless stranger came to the forefront of my mind. 

I was not looking at him as if to pity him. I was looking at him because I understood him.

I know what it’s like to be laying in bed and feel my scalp shift a couple inches. I know what it’s like to have a migraine so bad the only thing that brings short term relief is pulling at the scar until I hear something pop. I know what it’s like to live in fear of being jostled in public, hitting my head and being thrown back into the chaotic dance of neurological studies.

I know what it’s like. But he didn’t know that. He didn’t give me a chance to explain, but I’m not sure I would have been prepared to say anything.

It’s easy to cover up the experiences that got us this far in life. It’s easy to meet people who aren’t as far along as we are and act like we’d never understand what they’re going through. It’s easy to act as if we don’t remember.

The fact of the matter is, though, it’s not just saving our reputations or keeping people at an acquaintance level. It’s about sharing with them what we know so they don’t feel alone. God made us relational beings. Real life includes sharing pain.

Unobserved Double Standards

Dear Men,

In all honesty, I’m probably a little too concerned about my perceived modesty. Time and time again when I check my outfit with my significant other I get a befuddled look that seems to mutter one thing. 

Woman. It’s a shirt. Yes, you’re fine. Can we go now?

But then there are those days when I mindlessly put on my last clean shirt and I find out (usually days later) that particular shirt shouldn’t be in my wardrobe anymore. I am not a shapeless woman. The question, “Is this modest?” gets asked every single day. 

The answer changes more frequently than I thought it would. 

I’ve noticed in the past month how much women are required to double-check, yet men aren’t. If my jeans are too tight, my shirt showing too much midriff, or my neckline too revealing… How dare I. 

My spiritual maturity gets questioned; my moral character weighed. Don’t I know what I’m doing to the male population? I’ve been approached by men before (on a day I got dressed in 2 minutes & probably should have taken longer) and asked if my walk was right with the Lord. Granted, one look down my upper body and I knew what they were trying to say… But that shook my world. My standing with God is put on trial due to what I wear?

However, if as a man, your arms are well defined in the cut-off you’re wearing, your pecs easily observed because your t-shirt’s too small (women know your secret, by the way)… Well, you’re just manly. Good for you, Dude. You turned my head as well as countless other women’s heads. What a hunk. Good job. You don’t make us stumble, right? Women put up with it silently, so that means it doesn’t effect them, right?

As far as people assessing you spiritually based on your clothes; why would they? You’ve got a great heart… 

Men seem to think women aren’t adept to physical temptations by what we see. Oh, how very, very wrong that view is. Women are just as turned on, broken down and spiritually tempted by what walks in front of us as the next person. There have been quite a few men I refuse to talk to without people surrounding me so I have a reason to look away. You obviously dressed that way to get a reaction. You got one. But you also made it hard for me as your sister in Christ to see you as anything but eye candy. 

I hate being this blunt, but someone has to say it: Seeing you as my equal Spiritually is incredibly difficult when my first thought upon seeing you is Dang, you’ve got a great body. 

So, next time you speak to women about modesty, please do it with a fair mindset. I’m all about you telling me if what I’m wearing makes you stumble. If at all possible, I’ll change immediately. But it’s not only something we “stupid, manipulative women” do to you “innocent and unassuming men.” 

We do it to each other.
I realize we don’t live in a Eutopia where this is easily changed. Though I’m mindful of my body and the clothes I wear, I will mess up on occasion. Forgive me. But, so will you. I’m begging you, though, as someone who has chosen purity and to give that to one man someday, help me out. Help all women out. 

Realize the double standard and when you tell us to dress appropriately, realize what you’re wearing might be just as hard for us. If we need to adapt our ways to help you out, maybe you could be willing to do the same?

But God Didn’t Do It

She had been widowed for over 20 years. *Connie was lonely. She wanted a relationship. In her old age, she felt as if that ship had sailed… Until she met him. 

*Daniel. She took such pride in talking about Daniel. He was kind, funny, intelligent and seemingly intentional on pursuing Connie. As I sat listening to her talk like a 13-year-old schoolgirl, I could tell she was at least infatuated with Daniel. I knew Daniel, though. He could make the wrong side of a mule feel like the queen of England. 

When I asked her how she knew Daniel loved her and wanted to marry her, she very matter-of-factly said, “I had a dream where I was Esther of the Bible. I looked out the window of my house and there he was. Daniel shouted my name three times: ‘Esther! Esther! Esther!’ Obviously, that was God’s way of promising me Daniel. Have faith, Darlin’! It’ll happen.”

Sadly, Daniel didn’t get the picture. He married someone else two years later and my friend Connie was, needless to say, heartbroken. I was convinced Connie would reconsider the hope she had placed on a very sketchy plan. However, when I asked her about it, she swatted away my concern and said, “You’re 17 and have yet to be in love. I’m just know God’ll make it happen. You’ll understand someday.”

I never got the chance to see it her way. Neither did Daniel. Connie’s relationship with God never went any deeper and the questions she could have asked God laid silently on my prayer journal, not hers. She tried to stay faithful in her walk with the Lord, but she felt betrayed, angry and as if God had lied to her. 

Connie refused to take to heart that the Bible states “…God is not a god of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33) or even that Titus 1:2 shares God “…does not lie.” She had dedicated her life to God giving her Daniel. When He didn’t, she was positive He would eventually…and sooner rather than later. 

Before you shake your head over Connie’s views, and though this example is extreme, don’t we all do this? Whether it’s the desire for a relationship, a child, healing from a disease or that perfect house on 32nd Street… If we’re fixated enough on something it’s dreadfully easy to stop listening for the real Someone of all someones. 

It’s good to have hopes and aspirations. It’s healthy to have dreams of the future. But we need to be careful that we are not weighing God’s character against what He does or doesn’t do in accordance to our plans. 

We were made for His glory; He was not made for ours. Our perception of His will may change. But that’s our perception; not His ability to come through as our faithful God. 

Setting Spiritual Bones

Healing hurts like hell. There, I said it. For those of you that cringed at my words, forgive me. I try harder than you would think to keep my sometimes-sailor mentality off the white pages of my blogs. But today I was reminded not that healing is frustrating or that it’s hard, but that healing is dreadfully hard. I didn’t even remember that Spiritual healing is uncomfortable. 

I was reminded, ironically, that spiritual healing hurts like Hell. Quite possibly, it hurts this badly because the hell has to come out. But dang it, I’ve never been so apprehensive about facing truth or looking myself in the mirror. The funny thing is, it’s not necessarily healing over something I did but rather something done to me that left me in pieces spiritually. 

God has never forsaken me. I look back at the months of nightmarish moments years ago and I can still see the fingerprints of Jesus. Sometimes they’re horrendously and (seemingly) unfairly dim, but they’re there. I’m alive today because Jesus never left and God was never shocked by the wounds my heart holds. I don’t understand them, but somehow He does and He has drawn me to Himself so deeply it’s breathtaking. He’s allowed — and continued to allow — healing but man! Making beauty out of ashes hurts.

Very rarely do you hear honesty coming from those whom God has given the right to heal the parts of their hearts which they’d rather forget. I’ve gotten used to crying and openly telling people that today is a hard day (but never why). Don’t expect me to pass up the phrase “Brokenness is beautiful” for the more gut wrenching reality: “Healing hurts like hell.” 

Sometimes, I wonder if we Christians don’t reach the pennacle of healing Spiritually because we don’t face the fact that not only did the wound hurt, but so did the healing. We know this principle to be true when we set a broken bone… Why can’t we allow it to be true when we’re setting broken spirits? I wonder if we walk away from restoration still aching because we feel as if we can’t admit that, although restoration is beautiful, the pain left scars that restoration had to cut open first.

What glories would we reach spiritually if we let ourselves admit to the painful process of healing and didn’t expect perfect healing the day the wounds of our hearts start to scab over?