Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Favorites - A little bit different edition

I'm mixing it up a bit today, but the link-up is still active on the bottom of this post for sharing your Friday Favorites!  Be sure to grab the graphic and link back to me, Erika or Narci!


Today I just couldn’t get myself into a frame of mind to do my regular Friday Favorites post  - cute moments with my kids, a new nail polish, and a fun sale find seem  far from my heart and spirit today

This week has been one that’s  heavy and hard. I've spent more time in prayer this week than I have in any other week, probably ever and I don't think I've ever cried out to the Lord in such desperation in my entire life.  I've been trying so hard to make "peace" with things that are happening to some of the people I hold nearest and dearest to my heart as well as the terrible events that seem to be going on everywhere in the world.  The "peace just wasn't coming".  I was wrestling with these sometimes overwhelming feelings  when a co-worker texted me an excerpt from a book she thought I should read.  Y'all.  I wept...

 "I am learning that it is okay to feel sad and to be angry, to long for rescue and redemption, to pray and shout and cry, to weep with those who weep.

Right along with my activism and my faith, right along with my best hopes and my busy hands, my surrender and my prayers, I am learning to simply sit in the sadness and allow it to be there with me.  I am learning not to pretend that sadness doesn't exist or that it has an easy answer or that God is to blame.  I'm learning to not avoid it or ignore it.

I am learning to lament, to mourn, to weep with those who weep, to take the sadness and bewilderment into my own soul too.

It's okay to feel it.

It's okay and it's necessary, it's holy and good work.  We need to listen to the stories that make us uncomfortable and challenge our peace.  As Christians, I think it's our responsibility to carry each other's burdens and be a part of restoring justice for one another.  Sometimes that means being able to carry truly terrible truths without letting them bury us whole.

Sometimes the most holy work we can do is listen to each other's stories and take their suffering into our hearts, carrying each other's burdens and woulds to Christ together, in faith and in lament, together.

I've learned that faith isn't pretending that the mountain isn't there.  It isn't denial of the truth or the facts or the grief or the anger.  It's not the lie of speaking "peace, peace" when there is no peace.  It's faith because it is hope declared, it is living into those things that are not yet as they will be.

I hold space for righteous anger and the grief.  I join in the lamentation of the weary world.

And then I will seek ways to embody those very prayers, to incarnate them, to further heaven's hopes and summon God's glory in ways big and small, seen and unseen, mundane and holy."

Sarah, Bessey - Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith

The affirmation and idea that it's "holy work" to feel sad.  To mourn and have righteous anger.  To not be in denial about what's happening around us , but to take those hurts on and to just weep.  There's nothing wrong with that.

Today is Good Friday, and it's the perfect day to consider what we do with Christ's crucifixion – how we fit into the story of redemption and eternity and what we really believe about that for ourselves.

Being a Christian isn't a life  of pushing the ‘easy’ button.  It's not all hallelujahs.  There's hurt and loss and sadness.  But there's also hope.  Hope for a life after this one.  A life without pain, without loss, without cancer and other life threatening illnesses, without senseless acts of violence, without strife and abandonment and hurt.  

If you don't know this hope for yourself and you want it , it's easy.  You don't have to do or be anything you aren't already.  You just need to pray something as simple as this.

“God, I acknowledge that I'm a sinner and that my sin keeps me separated from you.  I'm sorry and I want to turn away from my past sins and turn my life toward you.  I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer.  I invite Jesus to become Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Amen.”

Whether or not you feel any different – if you mean those words with your heart, you have entered into a new life. There's not necessarily a warm glow, a tingle, or some other mystical experience :) although that would be awesome. 

This Easter would  a perfect weekend to take the next step in your new journey and  find yourself a church – just go and let the  pieces begin to fall into place.   

Please keep Manda and Aaron in your prayers and thoughts in the days to come. Although the news they received earlier this week was not what they hoped to hear, we continue to trust that God will meet their every need and provide them with strength and perseverance moving forward and cover them with His peace as they make decisions about pursuing other options. 

I can't begin to tell you what it means to me that so many of you commented and emailed with prayers and well wishes for Manda and her family.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

   
    http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=616641" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up
   

48 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post today. I can't even imagine what Manda and her family are going through, and to be such a good friend and feel so helpless has got to be so tough. Lots of thoughts and prayers!!

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  2. Thank you for your honesty and realness. Very well written.

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  3. Thank you for your post, it really spoke to me and I needed it as I have been struggling to make sense of things as well. Manda and her family and friends remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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  4. Thank you!
    Many blessings.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  5. Loved this post, Andrea!! Thanks for sharing your heart and I'm so thankful I get to call you friend. :)

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  6. Beautiful post. ❤️ Lots and lots of prayers.

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  7. Thank you for opening your heart to us. Mine shares your agony and grief for those you love and those all over the world.

    Thank you for keeping it real. Being a Christian can challenge all aspects of our being at times and sharing your experiences helps us remember that when we are at our lowest, Jesus comes through the strongest, even though we might feel alone.

    You, your loved ones and all who mourn now will be especially in my prayers today.

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  8. Excellent post, Andrea. I grow very weary of "Sunday School" answers to the very challenging times this life can throw at us. I find my Christian faith to be difficult at times- it's not easy for me to be kind instead of critical, hopeful instead of afraid. I continually have to turn my mind to the reality of the spiritual realm- that this world isn't my real home, that I am undergoing an often slow process of sanctification, that I will not in this lifetime understand all the ways of God. It's tough stuff, and I don't care for pat answers. Wrestling with these things is okay- God is big enough for that. Good things to chew on this weekend as we celebrate the eternal hope we have in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  9. Beautiful, heartfelt post Andrea. I hope the peace of Jesus surrounds you this weekend. It is always so hard to experience these times but having a strong heart full of Jesus is part of what makes you feel so passionately. I'm so sorry to hear about Miranda...oddly enough without knowing about the news I actually slept in "her" t-shirt last night. Praying for her family.

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  10. Sending lots of love and prayers to Manda and her family.

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  11. Sweet Andrea,
    I have felt the same way all week- please don't lose hope! My grandma used to say, "with a twinkle of His eye, God can change anything". Let's all continue to pray --and declare-- a miracle of healing over your friend, Manda. Her story and the way you all love and care for her has me weeping in Los Angeles. Keep strong, hopeful, and positive. The body wants to heal. Jesus heals. Praying for Manda. Have her try wheatgrass juice- it's packed with powerful healing nutrients and there are documented cases of it healing cancer. Google wheatgrass juice healing cancer and have her try it. Also, has she visited a naturopathic doctor? My husband had a condition and we went to a naturopath after our regular doctors (we had 4 at the time) and he had some recommendations for my hubby. Love to you guys- your families and friendships are really beautiful--xo

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  12. This is a beautiful post and thank you for sharing. Sending prayers to you and all of the special people in your life. Happy Easter!

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  13. I appreciated your post today. I am so sorry about your friend. I hoped for good news for her. She will be in my prayers.

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  14. Those are some wise words. Have a most blessed Resurrection Day!

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  15. Andrea you have a beautiful heart. I know how encouraged I was by you while we were dealing with Aleeda. You have a heart that is so deeply touched by the people and events around you, and that is such a gift. You are in my prayers now as you once again feel the weight of difficult times. May the Lord continue to hold you close as you wrestle with all that is going on in your life. You have been and continue to be a blessing.

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  16. Beautiful so powerful, sending prayers to Manda and her family.

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  17. I can't thank you enough for writing this oh so non fluffy post. I have lost babies, held my sons lifeless body in my arms, I have an incurable brain condition and we recently found out our full of life 5 year old daughter has it also. It doesn't make sense from the outside world why we are still filled with HOPE and JOY but it's because we do feel those other emotions. it's such a fallen world. this isn't how God planned it and YES he can stop it in the blink of an eye but He loves people SO much that some suffering here that leads more and more people to Him will be NOTHING compared to eternity with Him. and I can say that from the inside, ya know? and i can also say that any suffering that I experience, is worth it in the end. my FAVORITE verse throughout my journey has been this:

    from 1 Peter 1:

    What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

    6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

    8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

    it gives me chills. :)
    oh and for the record, nail polish and shoes are awesome too. ;)

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  18. Very well said Andrea! I have walked the path you are on, just 3 short years ago and it was by far the most gut wrenching/heart breaking time of my life but at the same time one of the most blessed. Standing on this side I can say God is still God and we don't always get the answers but if we truly seek His will He will provide comfort and peace that truly does pass all understanding. Miracles still happen and as we found out healing isn't always this side of heaven. Praying for Manda and her family and all those who love her, may you all feel His presence so closely in the coming days. xoxo

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  19. Beautiful, heartfelt post. I will be praying for your friend.

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  20. Happy Easter weekend, Andrea and family. Beautiful post and excerpt from that book. Brought tears to my eyes. It as been a rough week for me too. My head and heart have not been right due to external and internal conflicts. But I am thankful for the joys and grace that Jesus shows to me in a flower, in my walks in life, in my home and friends. My cousin told me "one day at a time with God's grace". Blessings to you sweet woman.

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  21. Thank you for posting this. A dear friend lost their 3 year old daughter 3 weeks ago today, and it has been a time of intense grief. Reading this was timely. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Your post really hit home. Thank you for sharing your heart and the excerpt from the book--very powerful. Praying for Manda and her family for sure.

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  23. I'm keeping manda and her family in my thoughts and prayers!!!

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  24. So beautiful, honest and true. I hope many read this today and feel lead to Jesus. Praying for Manda, her family and all her friends who are journeying through this life together. You are a blessing to many, Andrea! This is definitely the best Friday Favorites today :)

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  25. Beautifully written and so real. Love Manda, Love you, and so thankful we have a God that meets us even in the darkest of valleys.

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  26. What a beautiful post. Thank you for spilling your heart & soul today. I love when bloggers are real. I hope your family has a wonderful Easter weekend.

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  27. What a refreshing, honest, and heartfelt post this was! It truly ministered to me and captured a lot of what I've been feeling during this week. Thank you for your honesty and dedication to your faith and your friend, Manda! It's a beautiful and encouragement to me on how to be an awesome friend!

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  28. Beautiful post, beautiful heart and soul you are sharing. Timely and real. God Bless and thoughts & prayers to your friend Manda and her family. Cancer is challenges our faith like a storm to the sea - happy Easter weekend and here's hoping some love and light (and maybe even a little relaxation) your way
    ~ LOTL
    LoveOnTheLakeBlog.blogspot.com

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  29. Life is hard. This world is not our home, praise God, He has a much better plan in store. Thank you for sharing your heart today, Andrea. You are a blessing to many.

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  30. Beautiful post for this day. Prayers for your sweet friend.

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  31. Beautiful words. Thank you for your honesty and being so sensitive to the spiritual needs of others.. I am praying for Manda and her family as I watched her testimony through your blog.

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  32. Thank you so much for writing this. I appreciate your honesty and your sensitivity to the spiritual needs of your friends! I follow Manda's story through her testimony you shared. Praying daily for His will to be glorified in her life.

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  33. Praying for Manda and her family, and for you, her friend. Yes, real life is not always easy, and you are finding that out younger than most. But thankful for our hope in Christ who gives us a peace that He has it all under control, even when we don't understand it.

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.
    It's faith because it is hope declared, it is living into those things that are not yet as they will be.
    I love this.

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  35. Thank you for this. I feel the exact same feelings and it is ok to weep for the world around us. My pastor recently spoke on the beatitudes and the one that hit me was "blessed are those who weep for they will be comforted." He spoke about exactly what you wrote about that it is ok to weep and feel sadness for the injustice and hurt in the world. Such a fitting post for Good Friday.

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  36. My very favorite song about Jesus overcoming the world is "Victor's Crown". I think you will enjoy listening to it.

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  37. Beautiful and timely post Andrea. You are a great example and inspiration. I'm praying together with everyone else.

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  38. http://killingcancer.vice.com/

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  39. Thank you for this post, Andrea! It speaks true to so many hearts.

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  40. What a perfect post today! Thank you for reminding me that God is with us through it all. He is good even in the midst of a crisis. I'm praying for Manda and her family.

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  41. Andrea, You are not alone sweet girl. I want to share with you that this time last year I was walking down the same path you are right now. I was watching a dear friend and her family suffer and cry out to God to heal her. We were all crying out for the same thing. It was incredible to watch her continue to be so positive and faithful and be an encouragement to US. We just knew she would be healed. Miracles do happen. I still believe that, but the Lord did call our sweet friend home. During the 7 months she was fighting for her life I too spent so much time in prayer and tears. It's so very painful and also scary to watch someone you love go through such a period. I wish I had something inspirational to tell you, but I don't. What I do know is all you girls rallying around your sweet Manda is such a source of strength for her. Love each other and lean on each other. You have a beautiful heart! I'll continue to lift Manda and her family up in prayer. XOXO

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  42. I loved your post and it really spoke to my heart. My mother passed away this week after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Then today I found out a little boy that I had in my class last year has leukemia! He's only 6, needless to say I'm a mess. Bless you and your beautiful family.

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  43. What a beautiful heart & soul you have for everyone Andrea!!! I love this post & even thought we have never met...we are sisters in Christ!! Continued prayers for Manda & her family!!! May God bless you & your family with a beautiful Easter!

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  44. Thank you for being real. Thank you for realizing that life is not about "stuff", but about the relationships that we have. I too have prayed and yelled or cried to God for help. Faith is not always easy, but know that he does provide comfort to us. God bless you and dear Amanda.

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  45. This was perfect, Andrea. Thinking of and praying for Manda and her sweet family.

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  46. Wonderful open honest and heartfelt post Andrea. I loved it. I will continue to keep Amanda and Aaron and their family in my prayers. Wishing a very blessed Easter season. Hugs from Australia

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