Tag Archives: community

El. Oh. Vee. E.

31 Jan

Love.

El. Oh. Vee. E.

What with Valentine’s Day coming up, everyone seems to be extra cynical about the whole love idea. Well, everyone who is single. Even the local radio is currently promoting the “Bitter Ball” for those not having “real” Valentine’s plans (which I do actually find pretty clever). Of course, you know its going to be mostly single people looking for hookups, but whatever.

And then there’s the common anti-Valentine’s way of talking about Feb 14th known as “Single’s Awareness Day.” I take issue with this because I don’t see Valentine’s Day as something only for couples. It’s a day about LOVE. And love can be shown to anyone, anywhere, anytime, in a billion different ways…. but that’s a soapbox for later on.

The thing is, at this stage in the love game (and by stage I mean age, and by age I mean 20-something singles), most of us have baggage the size of Texas filled with broken hearts and bittersweet memories (more bitter than sweet). Anyone who has ever loved or cared deeply about someone in a relationship that didn’t work out has come to some sad realizations about love not living up to fairytale expectations. And the result? Cynicism, bitterness, and self-pitty single awareness days.

After so many such experiences, its no wonder we begin to believe that love is a lie. But I came across this quote the other day:

“Love is not a lie. Love is the real deal. The problem is that love is human and its flawed, and despite all the songs and the poems, it does NOT heal all wounds.”

I like it, but I’m not sure if I completely agree with it though. I think OUR version of love is flawed, yes. I mean, God is love, right? And God is not flawed, right? And God does bring healing, right?

I guess I’m going to go ahead and assume that the love talked about in this quote is different than the kind God is. So maybe that is the bigger issue.

If I can learn to give the kind of love that God talks about, then maybe it WILL be a beautiful thing instead of an empty lie that leads to cynicism and bitterness. But I am still human, we all are, and we cannot show perfect love to everyone all the time, if ever. Humans are flawed. Humans break things. We break hearts, we break trust, we even break bones.

Forgiveness

Love

Hope

These are things I strive to show and yet, I do not really understand them. Frustrating. But I know I want to be a part of something bigger than myself, that I want my life to count and have purpose. That I don’t want to fade into the background. Real love is bigger than me. It changes things. So to me, its worth it to strive for that.

As TWLOHA promotes, “love is the movement” – and it IS. Because love is not a magical word full of fuzzy feelings that you can just throw around whenever you want. I mean, for some people it is. But REAL love is choice, its an action, its something you show and give and do. If love isn’t helping other people, isn’t benefiting anyone, then what’s the point? And is that even love?

So spending Valentine’s Day, a day that is supposed to be all about love, in a self-pitty “I’m all alone” party just doenst make sense to me.

For me, love has a lot to do with relationships – all kinds, not just romantic ones. The best way to show love is through genuine relationships with people. I think that is why I like the idea of authentic community so much. I am intrigued by the idea of being a part of a group of people that “do life together” as cliché as it sounds. People who look out for eachother and help eachother and share the truth of Christ and His love with one another in a real way – through actions and support and sound advice (the list goes on).

I want to be a part of a movement. A movement of love that continues to reach more and more people. A movement that introduces people into a growing relationship with Christ. A movement that makes a difference in the world and embraces the future He calls us to.

What would that look like? What would it look like if I deeply invested everything I am into this movement of sharing genuine love with others?

hair dye and Ebenezer

18 Apr

So I still have hair dye all over my hands/arms. Last night, I went with some friends from my cosmetology school to a church “ladies night” event to cut and color hair. It was so fun! There were tons of ladies wanting all kinds of fun colors and things, and I didnt get home until after 1am! Was it totally worth it? Yes. And not just because it was fun, which it was, but because of the people – my friends from cosmo as well as the girls at the church.

 

We all set up our lil makeshift salon in the back half of this small room/kitchen, and had the girls sit in those metal folding-chairs randomly placed all over. Everyone was everywhere and there was so much laughter and interaction in this sort of laid-back “fellowship” environment that I couldn’t help but smile and be genuinely glad to be participating in their community, even if just for a few hours. It was like catching a glimpse of family. The ladies were all so nice and fun and they kept making us plates of all kinds of snacks and desserts and drinks they had all brought. They were all ages, from middle school to grandmas, and even a handful in their 20s like me (although most of those were already married with babies). They all commented on how “cute” we all looked, haha, and I noticed that most of them actually learned our names. Maybe its just me, but I think there’s just something about being addressed by your name that makes you feel like that person actually cares about you, especially if you have just met them.

 

At one point I looked around the room at all my cosmo friends as we were workin away and laughing and enjoying it all, and I thought about how blessed I was. I have only known these girls since starting the program in August, but already I care so much for them. They are my friends. They all have stories, they all have issues, and they all have big hearts. We are not so different. That’s the thing about people I guess, when you really get to know care enough to get to know their hearts, then they open up to you, and you see them in a different light, on a deeper level, no longer as just co-workers or acquaintances but friends. It reminds me of that quote that’s cheesy but true:

Nobody cares about what you know until they know how much you care.

When I looked around that room, I wanted to take a mental picture, capture the feeling, put the moment in my pocket so I could pull it out whenever I wanted to be reminded of all the good things the Lord has done. Look what the Lord has done! Hidden in that simple moment was a symbol of His provision and faithfulness to me. He has brought me this far.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” (I Sam 7:12)

I love this story in the Bible, here’s my short version: The Israelites were about to get slaughtered by the Philistines, and Samuel was praying to God on Israel’s behalf, offering burnt sacrifices and whatnot for their sins (this is the old testament and all) – so God delivered Israel by sending massive thunder and such to the point where the Philistines were scared and in mass confusion and started to panic and run away, at which point Israel ran after them and killed a lot of them and won the battle. Then Samuel set this rock he named “Ebenezer” (literally means “stone of help”) at the place where Israel chased the Philistines down to, proclaiming that the Lord had helped them that far.

 

When I was in Colorado, we had a retreat where we made these “Ebenezer journals” that we could use to keep record of the big (and little) times where God helped to bring us through hard and painful times in our lives, like, the milestones – marking the places where we know and saw and experienced God helping us through. Now on the other side, we can say “the Lord has brought me this far.” I don’t use the journal as much as I should, but it’s cool to look back in it and remember specific times where you know it was all God, that He helped you get through that. 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

 

PAUSE: I keep thinking about the church I went to last sunday for Easter, it was my first time there and the worship was more like a bluesy jam session (I loved it), and at one point they started to sing this line “oh oh oh, Look what the Lord has done, oh oh oh, I like it that way” and then, while they were still jammin out, they started passing the mic around to people who wanted to share what the Lord was doing in their lives with everyone – saying look what the Lord has done, look how He has helped me thus far! It was beautiful and I loved it. [unpause]

 

When I look back on all the events and circumstances of my life that led me to this place, I am amazed. Did God really plan this out so perfectly? Did He really put these people in my life at this specific time on purpose… for a greater purpose? How did each of us cosmo girls end up in the same place at the same time in the same program at the same starting semester…. ? It’s crazy to think about God having worked in so many behind-the-scenes ways to get that to happen. You know? I mean, I choose to believe that in my life everything happens for a reason, and God orchestrates things to where I cross paths with certain people at certain times and for certain seasons. That there’s almost always a deeper meaning, that life is not all just a bunch of coincidences and meaningless happenings.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT) 

I know this is just barely scratching the surface. And I know this is not where it ends. I am still on the journey. I hope to always be on the journey. I don’t know why I am at this place on the journey, and I doubt I’m getting everything I am supposed to be getting out this season right now, but God has brought me this far. For a reason.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)  

 

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