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 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 , 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