Thirsty Thursday: Socially Acceptable Sin

Sexual sin as a whole used to be social taboo in puritanical North America. Unwed mothers used to give their babies up for adoption, leave them on doorsteps of churches, or have their families raise them as a sibling. Marital infidelity was something shameful and if such a behavior were found out, it would cost the adulterer their job or their position or even an election as a political official. Homosexuality was seen as perversion. No one would admit to being homosexual and if they did, a person could be arrested or worse. All manners of sexual sin are socially acceptable today. The only two I can think of that are not socially acceptable are bestiality and incest.

My sin is socially acceptable. No one can see or hear my thoughts. Because of this, I am perceived as a “perfect person.” As a “model citizen” no one is going to point their fingers at me or wave signs of hatred in my face. My doubts and my fears go under the human radar, but blip loudly on God’s.

All sin is unacceptable to God.

ALL sin.

That is why Jesus had to die for us. God cannot associate with sin. So when you’re sitting over there lusting at the girl behind the counter, God sees it. When you think mean things about a family member, God hears it. When you break the laws of the land by surpassing the number on the speed limit sign, He knows. And it hurts Him. Having sex with your boyfriend is practically encouraged in American society, but you are disobeying God and breaking His heart. Only Jesus can wash your sin away.

Jesus has washed my sin away, and I ask for forgiveness when I stumble. I ask for forgiveness when I am not faithful. He is just to forgive me every single time. Have you asked Him to wash your sins away? He can even take your socially acceptable sin.

Thirsty Thursday: Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

These are the words Jesus spoke to His disciples before His arrest, before His crucifixion. How could Jesus be so calm? How could He tell His closest followers to not be afraid or troubled when He knew the horror of what was coming?

Jesus said to him,“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Because Jesus is God’s Son, He knew the BIG picture. He knew He had to die to save the world. In order to save you and me, He would die.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I cannot have a relationship with God without Jesus. You cannot know God without Jesus. Jesus is the only way. We cannot have eternal life without Him. We only have eternal death.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

There’s one catch. You. You have to pray. You have to trust. You have to admit that you are not perfect and you will never be perfect. You have to admit that you do the wrong thing. You sin. I sin. Everyone sins.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and for my sins will save you. Only then can you truly know peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Saving Cats and Enjoying the Rain

It’s gray outside. It’s damp. There’s a slight mist anchoring the last chill winter has to offer. It’s bleak.

And it’s perfect.

I have this sadness inside of me that requires release. I’ve decided to release it as a screenplay. I’ve also decided death will be involved. And there will be tears. Aquatic mountains of tears. And there will be pain. Insurmountable rushes of pain. But with death and tears and pain comes life and joy and laughter.

Last year, I attempted to write a screenplay about a girl whose best friend’s engagement spurs her to persuade her boyfriend to propose. Only he can’t propose until he gets his family’s approval. Spoiler Alert: they don’t approve. I had the misfortune of telling Hunny this couple was based on us and that they would not end up together. In all honesty, the couple was loosely based on us and I hadn’t decided whether or not they would repair their broken relationship. The boyfriend’s inability to stand up to his parents to defend the woman he loved made this decision difficult. Would the girl go back to him? Could he make it up to her? Needless to say, I gave up on the story. Hunny’s dislike of the narrative and my inability to fully overcome my grief was a bad combination.

This year, I’m writing something else. I’m going to use Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat! as a guide and finish a screenplay. I’m going to share my journey with you, but I won’t share many clear specifics, because I’m still in a fragile state. Hunny said my logline, a one to two sentence description of a screenplay, “sounded good.” His lack of excitement nearly derailed me, so he is officially out of the loop. He’ll be getting the same amount of information as you do. As I read this aloud to him after I post it, I’m sure you’ll be able to hear his protests. Sometimes you have to do something that is uncomfortable for others in order to protect yourself.

I’m excited and nervous! I think it will be great and cathartic. Mainly cathartic.

Here we go!

Thirsty Thursday: God’s View of You

Cupcake was playing in her Grandmother’s living room. I was mindlessly sitting there waiting on Hunny.

A little voice floated up to me, “Would you rather be a grown up or a doll?”

I’d rather be a doll.

“Why?” she asked, concern flashing in her giant blue eyes.

Everyone likes to play with a doll. 

“Well, everyone looks at you and they see just a mommy, but when I look at you, I see a princess. When God looks at you, He sees a princess. He sees someone He can use.”

I was unprepared for the wisdom that spilled out of her. Thankfully, Hunny arrived in time for me to hide my tear brimmed eyes.

I don’t know how the world sees you. Maybe you’re just a mommy, just a student, just a co-worker, just a guy, or just a passenger. But you are more than that. You are never “just a -” to God. You are EVERYTHING to Him. Your worth is so high that He sent His Son to die for you. Your worth is beyond measure because God’s love for you is beyond measure.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37, 38 (emphasis mine)

Rest in His love and remember:

Thirsty Thursday: The Greatest Bond

I saw an article about addiction on The Huffington Post website. In the article, the premise as to why some people become addicted to substances and others do not is because of their need to bond. According to the article, humans are bonding creatures that crave bonding so much that they will bond with substances if needed. It hypothesized that if people with addictions had families and friends that loved them and people who did not judge their actions, they would not use substances.

I was totally 100% in agreement with the findings of this article until God reminded me of someone. Someone who had a successful business. Someone who had a loving wife and loving children. Someone who was respected in social circles. This person had everything the article said a person should need to refrain from addiction and yet this person abused alcohol. This person was my Grandfather.

The one bond this person did not have is the one bond that can save him. It is the only bond that can save. It is the bond between us and God. A bond that can only be achieved through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6

We can’t love anyone enough to help them. We can’t love ourselves enough to change. We need God to do that. We can’t get to Him without Jesus.

A Word on Healing

Why is it always your most well intentioned friend who cuts you down or throws you into a depression spiral?

One of my well intentioned friends messaged me on facebook (you know I love facebook!) that she had a miscarriage and that even though it was sad, her heart was now healed. I messaged that I am glad that she was happy but that I cried over her baby. I get a message back that I need to let God heal my heart and that I can’t go on like this and to promise her I will let God’s love heal me.

Am I not letting God heal my hurt? Is it my fault that I’m still emotional about miscarriages and lost babies? Am I defective?

I messaged her back. I recounted everything I had gone through and what God has already done to heal me. One of the things God did was free me from being afraid of sex. I was terrified that I would become pregnant and not survive a second miscarriage. I didn’t want to go through the literal hell I went through losing Jason. And I haven’t even shared the half of it.

Stories of drug addicts who welcome Jesus into their hearts and never touch drugs or alcohol again are fantastic stories of the awesomeness of God. Then you hear stories of people who are saved and battle addiction their whole lives. It is easy to think, Geez, that guy is doing it wrong. Maybe he’s not saved. Maybe he’s not letting God work in him.

Maybe.

But maybe something greater is happening there. Maybe the constant day by day struggle for survival makes that person dependent on God and dependable for God. Maybe that guy is growing and becoming more like Christ every second they flee from temptation. Maybe that guy’s treasures in heaven will outweigh his chaff. Maybe that guys struggles make him more accessible to a group God wants him to reach. Maybe that is God’s plan for him – to shine His love and His light and His glory into dark souls and the dark corners of the earth. Maybe the places he can reach cannot be reached by the guy who was instantly healed.

Most likely.

Emotional pain is difficult. Unlike physical wounds, you can’t see them. You can’t gauge how much longer it will take to heal. There’s no cast for broken feelings. We are all wounded soldiers: arms in slings, bandaged up, and limping through life. It is why God wants us to bear one another’s burdens and to share our joy and grief with one another. It helps healing.

Loving Losers, Users, and Substance Abusers (Like Jesus)

Disclaimer: This is not about being in a romantic relationship with a loser, user, or substance abuser. My Hunny is a wonderful, God loving person who gives freely and generously and not out of abundance. 

If I recounted the entire spectacle this person, who’ll be referred to as Loser, has been in our life, you’d be reading this blog post for days. Loser is not a family member or someone we have known more than a couple of years. I’ll tidy it up with some brief lowlights: Loser repeatedly borrowed money from Hunny before we were aware of their substance abuse issue, Loser attempted to manipulate me into agreeing with a situation that Hunny had already established would not happen, Loser called collect from rehab to be collected from the facility, acquaintances have called Hunny asking why Loser would not stop calling them after loaning Loser money, and Loser attempted to take money from a nonprofit organization.

At one of these points, I completely broke. The event transpired on the same day as Cupcake’s birthday party. I roamed the grocery store in search of chicken nuggets,  carrying her cookie cake and forcing the sobs to remain inside my throat. As I attempted to hide my red, swollen, tear soaked face in the self-checkout aisle, I felt every eye turn as the cash register rejected my payment. The cold computerized voice shouted, “Get assistance.” Unable to control the tears as well as the sounds fighting to accompany them, I felt what everyone was thinking, How could someone so beautiful be so sad? My thought was, Is there any way I can rid the Loser from my life? Logistically, it can’t be done. My next thought was, How would Jesus treat this situation? (It is embarrassing to admit that my first inclination was not to emulate my Lord and Saviour, but I am growing and I have more growing to do! Obviously.) I returned to the final meal Jesus would share on earth before heading to the cross. The final holiday He would celebrate this side of heaven. Jesus revealed to His disciples that one of them would betray Him and quite literally sell Him out. Everyone asked if they would be the one. No one suspected the culprit was Judas Iscariot. Why? Jesus loved them all. He treated them with kindness. Jesus knew Judas was the one, but He did not treat him differently than the others. He didn’t make snide comments about him, he didn’t ignore him at the dinner table, He didn’t purposefully avoid talking to him, and He didn’t make him take the hard and unwanted jobs. Jesus did not single Judas out. Getting back to Loser. Would Jesus avoid him? No. Would Jesus try to make him feel guilty or bad for what he had done through words and actions? No. Would Jesus lend him money? I seriously doubt it. Jesus would be loving toward Loser. He would meet Loser’s physical needs: bring food, be available to talk, give rides to court dates, help connect them with help/counseling/accountability partner or group/job placement, etc. Jesus would pray for Loser. Jesus would be there without judgement and expecting nothing in return. Real love that is true and pure comes from one source. The only way to truly give real love is to have that love.