Sunday, September 25, 2011

To Love and to TRUST...

  This morning I went to visit a church in Marlborough with one of my friends, and the pastor preached on the story in Genesis where Abraham goes up the mountain to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Basically the main point of his message was that God is asking us the same thing He was asking Abraham in that story….”Do you love me” and “Do you trust me”.  As I’ve gone through this afternoon, I’ve been mulling those questions over in my mind and I realize that I find it quite easy to say “God I love you”,  but in all honesty….it’s really hard for me to say “God I trust you”. 
  The thing is I don’t think I’ve ever really trusted God completely.  Yeah I’ve trusted Him in part.  I’ve trusted Him when it was easy, or when I have felt like I had no clue what to do so I might as well trust in him.  I’ve trusted Him when it has felt right to and when I had nowhere else to turn.  But at other times, when everything has felt like it’s falling apart, when God’s way has seemed pretty whacked out, and I’m stressed about the outcome….well, my tendency has been to abandon ship.  In fact, sadly, it’s kind of a theme with me…..when things get hard, I run away…
  The reality is though, it’s not just with God that trust is such an issue.  I tend to not trust people very much either.  Most people live their lives trusting in others until they give them a reason not to.  I usually wait for people to prove they are trust worthy to me before really investing.  Most people think “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me”, where as I think “Fool my once, shame on me.  Fool me twice and well, we might as well not be friends”.  This is such a bad attitude for me to have, especially in the community of God!
  And that brings me back to today’s sermon, because sitting in today’s service, listening to this pastor, I felt like God was asking me a question….”Will you trust me enough to stay where I have you even though it’s uncomfortable?”.  God knows me enough to know that at this point in my life there are some things/people I just want to give up on and run away from.  I’ve pushed people away, I’ve separated myself as best as I can from situations, I’ve packed my bags and I am ready to run from them……and here’s God…..stopping me in my tracks….looking me in the eye and asking me…..”Will you stay…and Trust me?”
   So maybe God’s not asking me to give up my only son for him, like he asked of Abraham, but the need for a sacrifice is still the same.  Will I love him enough to lay down my pride, my hurt, my desires….and just TRUST Him…here….now?!?!  I say yes God….I love you and I will trust you!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why is it Whenever I read the Gospels I come away with new Questions?!?!

  So I started reading through the gospels again last night.  I like to do this every once in a because it reminds me of who God is and was on earth, and two because I find them easy to read, so when I'm struggling to really commit to reading my bible I go back to them and find relief from the drought.  However the last two times now, I've come away with very real theological questions, that although don't change my belief in God, do change how I view the bible, the characters in it, and the lessons I've been taught from it my whole life.
  For example, the last time I read through the gospels, I was struck with the realization that the disciples may have actually known Jesus and spent time with him (or at least some of them did) before being called as his disciples (Check out John 1 compared to Matthew 4, Mark 1, or Luke 5). In all honesty, what really matters is that Jesus called them to "Come Follow" and immediately them did.....but It does change the story a bit to think that it wasn't their first encounter with Jesus, they not only knew of him, but they had met him.  So when he said "Follow Me", yeah it was still a sacrifice, but maybe not as much of a leap of faith as I've been taught (if that makes sense).
  Then last night I was reading through the gospel of Matthew and I came to the part where John is in jail and sends a messenger to ask Jesus if He is the Messiah or if they should be waiting for another (See Matthew 11).  Now logically thinking, when John the baptist was killed, he was taken out off jail in order to be beheaded. Therefore, it must have been before being arrested that John was going around preaching "Prepare the Way of the Lord" and baptizing people. In fact, Jesus was one of the people John Baptized (See Matthew 3:13-17) and in so doing he saw the dove descend upon Jesus and the heavens declare He was the son of God.  And even later when Jesus was out and about preaching, healing and baptizing people, John declares that Jesus is from heaven and sent from God (see John 3:22-36).  So why now is John doubting?!?!
  On the one hand I guess I should take comfort in the fact that even John the baptist, the guy who spent his entire life preaching about the coming Messiah, had doubts.  However, knowing all that John from the moment he was conceived he leaped with joy in his mothers womb when he came in contact with Jesus in Mary's brings me no comfort knowing that in the end he doubted.  I mean, if John of all people could lose faith.....where's the hope for the rest of us?!?!
  I know some day all my questions will be answered....I know some day I was stand before the throne of God and it will just make sense....but it's moments like these where I have to stop and wonder what was really going on here. How did someone so in love with the lord, so committed to God, find himself doubting the very God he proclaimed?  And what can I learn from his doubts that will help me draw closer to my God.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I lost my head!

  The human head weighs 8lbs….or so I’m told by the little boy in the movie “Jerry McGuire”….and 8lbs happens to be the exact amount of weight I have lost since September 1st!  All year I’ve been trying to get back on track with my weight loss, but instead of watching the numbers on the scale go down, I’ve watched them go up, down, up even more, down a little, up a lot more!  Basically it’s the classic two steps forward, five steps back…and it’s been frustrating!

  I finally reached my breaking point with frustration towards the end of August and decided once again that it’s was time to get back on track.  Usually what happens when I make that decision (or at least what’s happened this year) is week one I do really great and lose a lot of weight, week two I gain back half the weight I lost the week before and week three I give up!  This month’s been a bit different, which gives me hope that this time I’m back on track for good!

  When I first stepped on the scale to get my starting weight I was highly NOT impressed, but I knew I could pull off a good week one weight loss if I just put in the effort.  Predictably I weighed in at the end of week one and had lost 5.5lbs!  Normally that would be my excuse to get to cheat on my diet…aka get a bunch of free days where I can eat however much I want of whatever and not work out, but not this time. 

  Although this past week it’s been insanely difficult to find time to work out with my busy schedule, I concentrated a lot on my diet (not that I’ve said any foods are off limits, but rather have been very mindful of how much I’m eating of any given item).  When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was down another 2.5lbs! 

  Heading into week three my goal is actually find time to work out.  I’m not a morning person, but with my nights full so much of the week, I might actually have to find a way to get my butt out of bed early enough to get in a work out before work.  Combine that with my current eating habits and maybe by the end of the month I can lose my head again!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Power of Perspective....

  So I started reading this book about cognitive brain therapy the other day, and although I'm not too sure what I think about "the power of positive thinking" that it preaches, I'm starting to realize the importance of perspective!  For example, this year has been such a roller coaster for me in terms of my faith.  I've been up, I've been down, and I've been every where in between in it....and although I've never once questioned if there is a God, I've questioned his church, his people, his means, his character, his goodness,etc.  And Although I am thankful that I am in a place with God where I have no problem bringing my questions and feelings to him in complete honesty, today I began thinking if really my questions were based more on how I perceive God and not really on who he actually is! 
  Take the question of his goodness for example.  Over the past several weeks I've questioned how can God be "good" if there is so much "bad" in the world?  I mean, I know there's sin, and the effects of sin.....but watching my friends deal with sickness and diseases, reading about orphans and the AIDS epidemic, and even seeing all the devastation that hit the east coast during last weekends hurricane, it's hard to comprehend a good God who just sits back and lets it happen!  Then today I was sitting in my church service, listening to the sermon, and I began to think....maybe the fact that God allows this all to happen without killing us all is a sign of his goodness!  I mean, I'm a bit of a control freak, but if I were God and created this whole world, then had to watch as it turned into shambles, sent my son to save it, and still there is all this pain and suffering and hurt and evil.....I think I might just want to throw in the towel and start over new...again!  But thankfully God is NOT me....and realizing it's his Mercy that saves me every moment of every day.....kind gives me a new perspective on his goodness!  So maybe there is something to the power... of perspective at least!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hair Today....Gone Tomorrow...

  I spend a lot of time in my life, trying to give to organizations that reach out to people and families that are fighting cancer.  Ever since losing my brother-in-law in 2009 it feels like we all have been thrust into this community of people effected by the "C" word.  So, I want to make a difference, ease the pain, make people feel just a little less alone.  And although at times the things I can do don't seem like they will make all that much of a difference, I'd like to believe that those little things add up...and maybe, just maybe, somebody else is being blessed by my efforts.
  One of those small efforts was made today.....well maybe it actually was made a little less than a year ago when I made the decision to grow my hair out and donate it to "Beautiful Lengths", an organization that uses the hair to make wigs for cancer patients.  Today was just the day I went to get it cut!  Eight inches...gone!!!  Take a look at the pictures of my transformation.....and hopefully the beginning stages for the same thing for someone else!