If I could tell her something I would tell her this

there’s only two mistakes that I have made
it’s running from the people who could love me best
and trying to fix a world that I can’t change

I was driving in my car the other night.  The darkness all around me felt all consuming.  I pulled into the driveway and walked briskly to the door, without knocking I walked in.  I was greeted by delicious smells, warm hugs and reassuring smiles.  The rest of the night was spent with new friends, bonded together by our call to ministry. We ate and laughed and celebrated the newest call in our group.
At the end of the night I got back into my cold car and this song picked up where I left it off a few hours earlier.  It’s a song by the new band of my all time favorite songwriter (bonus points if you know who that is without googling it).  In this part of the song the singer is talking about seeing a woman he sees driving next to him with tears in her eyes.  He mentally offers this piece of advice to her.
I don’t entirely know why this lyric tugs at my heart strings but it does.  I think it’s the complexity of running away from people who can love you best and wanting to fix the broken world around us.  As a pastor, sometimes it feels like my job is to fix the broken world all around me.  To fix the pain around me.
But the real key is to remember that I can’t fix it.  I’m not the key.  It’s Christ.  I need to remember that always, the mistake is in trying to fix the world around us.  The correct response is to open our hands up and let Christ in.

the daylight's wasting

(I’m trying to get in the habit of writing more – which I am not doing so well – which I feel like I’ve been trying for a year now!)
My mom and I have been having a lot of heart to hearts lately.  A lot of hard conversations about our family life and what has transpired in it.  We’ve talked about the root cause of a lot of pain in our family and how (or if) it could have been avoided.
You see, growing up in a family like mine, there are certain messages that get ingrained into your brain.  Into the fabric of who you are.  Messages that are like a broken record, skipping, stuck on short sentences that cut deeper and deeper every time they repeat.  One of the biggest problems is that these repeating messages are reinforced by other messages we hear in our everyday lives.  And when that happens the cuts get deeper, reopening wounds.
I used to think that if I just had enough faith.  If I tried taping over those messages with the Truth of how God feels about me that I would never feel insecure again.  That I would get to the place where I would never have to struggle with those hurtful messages anymore.  I just needed to get strong enough.  Block others out more.  Look towards God more.
But I am starting to think that those messages are there forever, regardless of what I’m doing – they will always be playing in the background.  But that each day I can choose to hear the reassuring words of my Savior and Lord over power them.  That my faithful response is to acknowledge them but not let them take over.
Because the person that I am cannot just pretend those things did not happen.  I cannot just choose joy over the pain, that would be fake for me.  It’s not fake for everyone but it would be fake for me.
Instead I choose Truth over lies.  Daily I choose to believe what my Almighty Father has said of me instead of the lies that I have been told about myself.
Because those cuts are real.  And because we are sheep being sheep – others will say similar things about me in the future.  The only way to move forward is to acknowledge the message, stop pretending they aren’t hurtful still and then choose Truth.

band-aids don't fix bullet holes

A few weeks ago I talked about being in the rough.  About feeling like I was lost but at the same time mere feet from where I wanted to be, where I knew I needed to be.
Last weekend I went home, a quick little vacation to reconnect with myself.  This weekend I reconnected with those around me.
Last weekend my Friday night consisted of family dinner and bed time snuggles.  This weekend it was a warm dinner on a cold night alongside some great friends and catching up on our favorite shows.  A low key night for Halloween while texting with my family.
Last weekend my Saturday was a pumpkin patch with my nieces and goddaughter and one on one time with my mom.  This weekend it was a craft/nails/netflix day with a new friend who feels like an old friend.
I’ve always been really tentative with friends.  Letting people in has always been hard for me, but not letting people in is harder on me.  That’s why I’ve become pickier with who I choose to let in, who I allow to be in my inner circle.
I was once told that when Jesus compared us to sheep it wasn’t always a positive thing.  Often times sheep get packed in close together and end up biting one another.  The person sharing this wisdom told me that when sometimes as human we bite each other – we cause pain accidentally, because we are imperfect people.  We’re just sheep being sheep.
In relationships, we bite one another.  Sometimes accidentally, sometimes not so accidentally.  This is why relationships are so hard, sinful people hurt other sinful people.  We rely on the grace of God to fill in the gaps, to help us to forgive and try not to get hurt again.  We need God to help protect our hearts and to give us guidance along the way.
In ministry, it’s important to surround yourself with safe people.  People who you can be real with and who you can let in.  It’s for that reason that I’m so unbelievably thankful for my friends.  For those I spent this weekend with, for my Best Friend, for Roomsmate.  For My People in CO.  Thank you all for standing by me and for walking this path with me.  Thank you for being my circle of trust.