Let It Matter

Hello friends! It’s been a minute since I posted. But today is special. Today is my 32nd birthday and there is a little seed in my heart I felt like should be shared on a day like today.

Normally on my birthday, I reflect on what I have or have not accomplished over the course of my adult life and normally evaluate how successful I feel like I’ve been based on goals I’ve consciously or subconsciously set for myself. This year, however, I’ve been thinking more about how I came into the world and less about what I’ve accomplished.

I’m alive today because a woman chose to give me life when she was unsure about how it would impact her own journey. Honestly, my Mama is the one who did all the work on this day 32 years ago and that’s why I’m going to do something that I don’t do often. I’m going to share a bit of our story.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to tell our story. It’s just a really complicated one to tell. There has been a lot of loss, a lot of hurt, and some pretty bad choices. I mean how do you fit all of that into a 1200 word blog post and paint a clear picture free of judgment. Because it’s a complicated story to tell I’ve waited to share our journey until now.

So why start talking about my Mama now? Honestly, because The Holy Spirit said so. I’m not entirely sure why this is the season to start sharing some of the more personal parts of my life but it is. So let’s dive in.

When I was six years old my mom had a stroke. The story of how all that came about is a long one and meant for coffee and cupcakes. For now, we will just talk about where it left me and her. It meant that my mom as a 43-year-old woman was incapable of caring for herself and it left my dad and six-year-old crazy haired, chubby-faced little Mindy as her primary caregivers. I quickly became responsible for a lot of things in my life and hers and was forced to grow up far before any child should.

I spent 25 years of my life being the protector of my mom. Making sure she had what she needed, that she didn’t do anything to harm herself and often trying to protect her from how unkind the world can be. It always felt a bit like her and me against the world. I loved my mom more than any person on the planet and fought hard to care well for her. Please don’t filter our story through a rose-colored lens. I didn’t always play the role of the selfless daughter delightfully serving her disabled mother. Over the years I had to intentionally choose her needs over my wants, fight bitterness in my heart because of the sacrifices that had to be made, and I wrestled with God often because I didn’t understand why this was our story. Over time, and with lots of counseling I’ve been able to find a lot of hope and healing in our story, but freedom did not come cheap. But does it ever?

Late this spring my Mama passed away. At the end of my Mama’s life, most would describe her as sassy, opinionated, and maybe the most stubborn person they’ve ever met. She also cussed worse than a sailor. She was a mess. Honestly, she was out of control and that’s what made her so endearing. And now it should be very clear why I am the way I am. So much of who I am comes from her. Really most of my very favorite parts of my personality, my endearing quirks, and strengths were so clearly traits she gave me simply as a birthright. I didn’t earn them, they weren’t learned traits. They are part of me simply because I am part of her.

My mom became a believer in my late teenage years. I always struggled with the fact that because of her disabilities she wasn’t able to build the Kingdom or share the Gospel. One afternoon I was talking about this with Jesus because we are cool like that. I remember it so clearly. I was driving on a fall day to meet a friend for the first Salted Caramel Mocha of the season. As I’m ranting to Jesus about how I wish my mom could build the Church (because it’s my absolute favorite thing to do.) I felt the Holy Spirit stop me. He said to me, “Mindy, She is building My church by choosing to give you life when it was costly for her. All the things she was given to build my Kingdom have been given to you through her. You’re the way she is building the kingdom.” Uhmmm… What? First came all the tears, because God is a good father and always know what we need to hear when we need to hear it. But that was only my first reaction.

Then entered my pride. I felt this pressure to do everything right, to build her legacy well. I foolishly believed that I could build her legacy and my own all by myself. I started to believe the lie that if I accomplished enough it would add value to her and therefore to me. Luckily that didn’t last long and because Jesus gracefully worked some things out in me pretty quickly. The words that the Holy Spirit spoke to me that day were just little seeds planted. It wasn’t until my mom’s passing that it became more clear what I was supposed to do with that truth.

Often time the pain that comes in grief brings clarity and that’s exactly what it has done for me. JOHNNYSWIM has a song called “Let It Matter”. It’s a song about grief. It’s all about how we should sit in the hurt after we’ve lost someone. The reason is that the person we’ve lost was so worth loving and therefore they are so worth missing. All that the highs, lows, and everyday moments in between all mattered and therefore should be remembered. In this season I’ve had to intentionally choose to let all of our story matter. I’ve had to choose to celebrate all the good, forgive all the hurt, and grieve all the loss.

In this season, God has revealed so much to me. There is one truth that has become so rooted in me though. It’s the truth He started sowing in me that fall day in the car. It’s basic but has been revolutionary for me. It’s this… The only way to carry on the legacy of my Mama in a way that honors God is to be truly who He intended me to be. Legacy will not come through achievement, striving, or notoriety. It comes by loving God’s people, and building His church. And not by doing so the way that others do, but by being true to how He has gifted me, called me, and made me. If I want the life and loss of my Mama to matter I need to own all the God has placed in my hands, and care well for all that He has called me to.

So I’ve written a lot of words to say this one thing. This year I’m not worried about all I haven’t accomplished in the last 32 years. This year I’m asking God to reveal to me how to become more like Him, and more of who He intended me to be. This year I’m determined to seek His calling for my life and to love the people well He has placed in my path. This year is no longer about the past and so full of anticipation for the future and the legacy my Mama and I will leave behind.

So what about you? How do you react to Birthdays? Any wisdom to pass on? Let me know in the comments!

A Jealous Love

It’s Valentine’s day…the day of love and romance. If you walk into Target or Wal-Mart right now you will get hit in the face by stuffed animals, chocolates, and flowers. You will quickly be reminded of your desire to be pursued, loved, and fought for.

Let’s be honest though. We don’t need Valentine’s Day to remind us of those things. We are reminded of our desire for a deep consuming love by romantic comedies, dating websites, romance novels, or even the cute elderly couple holding hands in the grocery store. Mostly though it is a desire we were built with. That is why we are so drawn to this idea of an all consuming love.We spend our lives looking for a man that will love us passionately. The kind of love that will defend us, fight for us, and even die for us. We want to experience a love that makes us better, that builds our confidence, and that consumes us. Even when we’re married we still pursue this kind of relationship with our spouse. We are always striving for this kind of romance.

What if I told you this love was real? That it is waiting for you in a Christian Living book, on a dating website, or in a person? You would work for that kind of love. You would spend for it. I know I would.

Guess what? You Guys. It is real.

It’s all found in Jesus. It’s found in the Immanuel. The God that dwells with us.

I know. I. Know. What a cliché. Almost as cliché as Jesus is my boyfriend. I get it. No normal down to earth girl wants to be the girl who buys into the cliché but I promise you it’s true. Let me show you.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”

-Song of Songs 8:6-7-

 

Now Song of Songs is a love story found in the Bible written about King Solomon and his bride. It even gets so heated in some places that young Jewish boys were not allowed to read it until they were of age because the Rabbi’s were afraid it would awaken some inappropriate feelings. It gets real you guys. Don’t worry. When you read Song of Solomon, it will mostly sound weird because all of the analogies are related to farming and nature. In college, I once had a fake wedding where the groom was reading from Song of Songs just to point out how weird it sounds in places. That is, however, a different story for a different day.

 The pretty awesome thing about this book is that it is also meant to be a reflection of how Christ feels about us. This love that we read about in Song of Songs is so fierce that it would not even be stopped by death. This love that is so passionate that there is nothing outside of relationship with us that can satisfy it. This love that we long for is real and waiting for us. We long for it so that we will be wooed into deep and intimate relationship with Jesus.

 But there is a catch. There is always a catch. Right?

Here is the deal. We only get this love in exchange for everything we have and everything we are. He wants every sin you carry, every disappointment you ache with, every desire you possess, and every thing that holds your attention. He wants all you got. This love is said to be so jealous that not even death will take your heart from the one that loves you. You can only satisfy this kind of jealous love by giving Jesus everything you’ve got including your attention.  

 There is a lot going in our individual worlds. Some of us have husbands, babies, and people who depend on us. Some of us have ministries, businesses, and careers. Some of us have the most adorable and awesome nieces and nephew known to man who we want to give our whole heart to. That’s me. I fall in that camp. Some of us have dreams, desires, and hopes that distract us from the God who walks so intimately with us. There is so much to take our attention away from God. So much to fill our time with. It’s hard to slow down and spend the time looking into the eyes of our lover. It’s hard to sit and wait on Him to whisper words that will woo us back to Him. It’s hard to rest in the embrace of His sweet presence. It is hard.

 But He is a jealous lover. This means when it’s hard for us He will fight for our attention. He will start stripping away the things we love, value, or hold dear to get our attention. He will remove the temporary things of this life that distract us from hearing the words our souls have been longing to hear. He will bring us to a place of emptiness where all we can do is fall into His presence and wait on His healing.

 Then we get mad. We get mad at Him for removing the things that get our attention. See we are so fickle. We want someone to love us so fiercely that they would do whatever it took to win our hearts but when it unfolds in a way we don’t enjoy then we will settle for a lukewarm love that allows us to be comfortable.

 Girls. We can no longer settle for a lukewarm love. We can no longer settle for cheap romance, easy happy endings, and shallow relationships. We cannot keep living like this while our maker is waiting to love us with a passion that cannot be quenched by many waters. We cannot waste the sweet affection of a close and intimate lover.

 Today I’m making a choice to give God my attention. To lay my focus on the altar for Him to consume with His love that burns like a blazing fire. I’m choosing to lay down the things He is asking for so that I can walk in the fullness of the intimacy He longs to experience with me.

 What about you? Will you join me? What are you going to lay down so that more of your attention will be on the only one who can love your soul in the way it was designed to be loved?

When You’re Tired Of Dying

“For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. “ – 2nd Corinthians 4:11

When we decide to follow Jesus, we submit everything to Him so that we can be molded into something that looks more like Him. This molding happens only when we allow the old things to die. Actual pieces of who we are must be handed over to die so that we can be more like Jesus. THIS IS PAINFUL. It is devastating. It is sometimes debilitating but necessary. This kind of death creates a life that can only be experienced when we pay a high price. That is why we must be handed over to death.

Sometimes this death comes through laying down a desire, choosing someone else above ourselves, or through grief, trial, or loss. As you experience this spiritual death of who you used to be, you probably experience actual pain, and you definitely experience extreme heartbreak. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but I believe if part of you is literally dying then it is normal for you to experience some pretty extreme pain in one way or another.

Can I keep it real with you? I’m tired of dying. I’m tired of hurting and grieving and losing what I love. I’m just tired. I just want the sadness that invades me so often to stop. I want to stop being handed over to death.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about walking through a long season of grief and loss. I’m still in that season, and I’m speaking to you from it because I feel like it is important for each of us to see what it looks like to journey with Jesus in the midst of death. Not just the lessons learned from the other side. I’m writing to you from a place where I currently sit. Not a place I’ve once been and have come out of. I’m writing to you from this place today because if you are sitting here in the pain of death I want you to know you are not dying alone.

Even this week the Lord asked me to walk away from a really valuable friendship. Maybe just for a season. Maybe forever. Not because it was terrible or sinful. But sometimes Jesus just wants to take something back for a bit. To heal it, or strengthen it, or to give you something better in exchange. Regardless of His reasoning, I did not want to walk away. I didn’t want to be handed over to this kind of death. I didn’t want to grieve again. And He has the audacity to ask for this friendship in the middle of so much other grief. For real? Are you kidding me? This is not fair. But I did it anyway. I handed it over, and I’m sitting in my grief once again throwing a fit because I’m tired of dying.

So what do you do when you are tired of dying? Well, I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to look like but I will share with you what I feel like God has placed in my heart. First, I think we have to keep saying “yes” to the death we are being asked to walk through. Whatever it is He is asking you for, whatever way He wants to hand you over to death today, you just say “yes” to it. That is maybe the most difficult step.

Next, as the emotions and pain sink in, I curl up in a fetal position. It’s ok. You’re dying and it’s painful. Sit in the emotion of whatever it is you are feeling. Sanctification comes through fire. But you have to sit in the fire to be sanctified. This means sitting in the fullness of your pain. This pain melts away the things that are of you and not of Christ. If you skip the fire, you will miss the most important part of death. The part that makes you into something valuable. The part that makes you look like Jesus.

So once you’ve recovered a bit from the fire and you’ve washed your face, you ask Jesus to meet you in it. To sit with you. To wrestle with you. You ask Him to make you breakfast just like He did for Peter in John 21. Whatever, however, just engage with Jesus. As we engage with Jesus, it is important to speak what is true. We declare what we know to be true about Jesus. That He is good, faithful, sovereign, just, kind, merciful, and gracious. It’s ok to speak these things without feeling like they are true. The scriptures say they are true so we know they are true regardless of how we feel about them. There is a healing that comes from speaking out what is true over the lies that we believe.

The last step is the most costly step for me. It is to walk out the everyday walk with Jesus faithfully as I am being delivered over to death. To care for others while I’m hurting. To sow into others’ dreams when I feel like mine are dying. To comfort those who morn when I feel like comfort has been withheld from me. To faithfully walk in obedience when my selfishness wants to choose my needs and desires over the things of God.

Guys. It is so hard. This process is so costly, exhausting, and excruciating. So why do we choose to be handed over to death? Because I believe, at least for me, that there is a steadfastness being created in me as I walk in obedience. There is a compassion being created in me as my heart breaks. My rough edges are being softened as I sit in the flame of sanctification. Because, at the end of the day, it really is making me more like Christ.

Like a moth to the flame, I am drawn into this sanctification. I can’t say “no” to Jesus. I can’t walk away from being more like Him. I am literally consumed to a place of dependency on this sanctification. So over and over and over and over again, I choose to be handed over to death and to be made more like Christ.

So maybe you don’t have this weird draw towards sanctification. What do you do? How do you deal? The truth is we all go through seasons where we want to walk away. That is when you keep it real with Jesus. You tell Him how you feel. Ask Him for the desire to keep walking in obedience. You ask Him to bind your wandering heart to Him. Because He is faithful, He will keep you close. He will hold onto your heart until you are ready to be handed over to a death that will bring you life.

So, regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum, my prayer is that today you will find hope, healing, and a kind of life that can only be found through death. Remember that you are not alone and that there is a body of believers being handed over to death with you.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

Dream On Dreamer

I’ve always been a dreamer. Ever since I could remember, I have dreamed of impossible things. As a small child, I believed I was Cinderella and that Prince Charming would rescue me from the drama that consumed my life and family. As I got older, I dreamed of a life different from what I had seen. A life where I would see the world, and be successful.  A life where I didn’t live in a trailer and depend on food stamps and welfare to survive. A life where I could marry someone who wouldn’t abuse me and that I might actually enjoy being married to.

And then life happened. I was abused and neglected as a child. I was exposed to way too many things that a child should never see. Life beat the dreamer out of me. My goal became simply to survive and to not feel the depth of what was happening to me or around me.

And then everything changed. I walked into a church in the middle of nowhere Missouri as a tore up from the floor up sixteen-year-old girl and tried to argue with the youth pastor. Instead of engaging in those arguments, he introduced me to Jesus and a whole myriad of other characters in my story. Those characters and the Holy Spirit taught me how to walk in the rhythms of God’s grace. In those rhythms, Jesus helped me to forgive, brought me healing, and revealed to me that He had a plan and a purpose for my life.

I would love to tell you that this is where the story ends. That I found Jesus and my life was awesome from this point on. But that is not how it works with Jesus. Walking with the Father doesn’t mean all the hard things go away. It just means we have someone to walk through difficult circumstances with us. We now have someone to give us what we need in the middle of trials.

So let’s fast forward fourteen years to where I am now. I am struggling to dream again. Life has been hard for a season. By a season I mean three years. There has been a lot of trial, loss, grief, and heartache. I’ve lost friendships, walked away from my first big girl job and a team I loved, had my heart broken by a boy, gave away an opportunity for platform and influence, and lost the man that raised me. Oh yea. My car was flooded too. It has been rough friends. Devastating and dark in many moments.

I’ve struggled with dreaming about the future because I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t want to endure one more loss. So the easy road to take is to stop dreaming again. Where there are no dreams, there is no disappointment, and where there is no disappointment, there is no heartache.

The scriptures however point us to something different. Check out this verse below and see what I mean.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”

Romans 5:3-5

 

The way that trial translates in my mind is this… Life is hard, it’s hard some more, and it keeps getting hard. I start thinking it is never going to get easier, the disappointment takes over, the despair sets in, and I give up hope because my life absolutely does not look the way I thought it would. And that is where the dreaming stops.

This is how the scriptures translate trial… Life is hard, the trial is making you stronger, and it’s making you look more like Jesus. It’s teaching you about abundant life and the sweetness of salvation, and all of this creates hope.  Why? Because you are only being prepared for the better things to come. If there was nothing coming your way, you wouldn’t need to be strengthened for it, sanctified for it, or given perspective to receive it. So really our trial is a promise of things to come. Whatever it is that God blesses us with will not disappoint because He is good.

I want to be careful with talking about the good things to come because I don’t want to sell you something that isn’t real. The truth is we have very little understanding about what is actually good. Only The Father knows what is good. When I talk about the things to come, it could mean a number of things. It could mean getting your dream job, finally finding that significant other, the fulfillment of a promise given long ago, or simply just growing closer to Jesus. But whatever it is, whatever God is bringing your way, it will not disappoint. That is where the hope is. His good gifts do not disappoint.

So maybe you are like me. Maybe you are still in a very long and hard season full of lots of disappointment. Maybe you’ve stopped dreaming too. While we are still sitting in the let down of much loss and many setbacks, we must cling to the truth that we must not be done with this season because hope can not disappoint, and God cannot withhold a promise from His children. He will not and cannot leave us here.

Lets take deep comfort from the words of Romans 5. Whatever God is bringing to us does not disappoint. Let’s take back our hope, walk in the truth of who God is and what He does, and let’s dream on dreamers.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

Backwards And In High Heels

Hello friends! It has been a long time.

Have you ever gone through a season where you feel like you’ve lost your voice? I’ve been in one of those seasons for sure. I went into hiding, hoping no one would notice. I was very wrong. You noticed and so many of you, with grace and kindness, have encouraged me to come back and jump into conversation with all of you. I love to talk and I have many, many, many words; why not use those words to build community with you. Here we are. Or I should say here I am. Trying to find my voice again. Hoping to find it in conversations with you, because you make me better.

My first post back in the blogging world is really for all of the phenomenal girls in my world. My hope is that as we sift through the words on this page we will find the freedom I know Jesus has for us today! And for any of you guys out there reading this post, I hope it gives you a little insight into the crazy self-induced pressure us girls live under so often. So you are welcome to speak against it or at least offer a little grace to us in the middle of a meltdown.

I want to start out by sharing a pretty famous quote with you. It’s a quote about Ginger Rogers who was a famous actress and dancer. She regularly performed along side Fred Astaire but often reminded people she didn’t sign up to be Fred’s partner. She signed up to be a performer who was an individual. Many people looked at Fred and Ginger as a duo. People often speak of how amazing they were as a pair, or about how smooth Fred was as a performer (because lets face it. Fred was smooth.). Then one day an anonymous person on a plane was talking to Linda Ellerbee about Fred and Ginger and had this to say…

(About Fred Astaire)Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, …backwards and in high heels.

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I think people often overlooked this one fact about Ginger. Not only was she able to do all that Fred could do, but she could do it backwards and in high heels. She was able to do what any man in her field could do, for as long as he could do it and in really beautiful, but uncomfortable attire.

You see ladies, this is the world we live in. It is a world full of expectation. Expectations to look flawless, but not to appear to be wearing to much make-up. Expectations to live healthy, be fit, to be well dressed, to keep a home, and to navigate a kitchen well. Then add in expectations to get married, to keep your husband happy, and then to have children and be a super mom. And let’s be honest. Everyone has a different opinion on what it looks like to be an awesome wife and a super mom. So no matter what you do you are never going to please everyone. Now add into that a career. A career where you are expected to do everything a man does “backwards and in high heels”, while maintaining all the other parts of your world with excellence. And don’t forget about being a super-awesome-godly-proverbs-31-woman. You better get that one right for sure or the other women in your church are going to talk about how you don’t measure up in the form of prayer request. In attempt to not be the subject of the “prayer request” or to be the one offering up the gossip you try to live a perfect life as quietly as possible.

Somewhere along the way we started believing that perfection will protect us, promote us, and propel us into our destiny. The reality is that the striving for perfection has enslaved us and the only thing it has propelled us into is mediocrity. So what now? Who do we blame? How do we deal? I’m not sure so lets keep chatting.

Some of these expectations are inflicted by men, some by other women, some by our enemy, some from ourselves. And some are good, healthy, expectations that we should pursue in our daily journeys to be more like Christ. One truth I’ve discovered in the middle of feeling the anxiety and pressure of all these expectations; I have self-imposed this pressure.

I know. I know. I’ve literally made a list of all the other places these unhealthy expectations can come from and now I’m saying it’s my entire fault. Let me explain. There are many voices speaking expectation to me, but no one else forces me to pick up and carry those expectations and in fact Jesus has offered me the opposite of expectation. He has offered me grace, freedom, and promises that He will be enough.

There is a verse in the scriptures that I believe if we let it, it will bring us great freedom.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.

– Matthew 6:34-

I think we often view this passage through the eyes of expectation. We assume that when Jesus is speaking these words He is mad at us for worrying about tomorrow. We place an expectation on ourselves to not only get today right but tomorrow as well. But that is not what I hear Jesus saying at all. What I hear Him saying is…

“Baby girl. I have lived through all you have lived through. I have lived through the temptation, the hurt, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the need, the sleepless nights, the brokenness of the world, betrayal, and all the weight of the expectation. The one thing I can tell you sweet girl is that I know today is hard. I know tomorrow will also be hard. I also know that my grace will fill your weakness, and that because tomorrow is hard I don’t want you to try to bear the burden of tomorrow in the middle of the weight of today. Walk in the weight of my burden because no one should live in the weight of the world and all the weight it will try to place on you in all the days to come. I love you too much to sit back and just let you be crushed by all the expectation of this world. Just don’t worry about tomorrow.”

Jesus never meant for us to live up to all the expectation on our own. He never meant for us to bear a burden that would steal our life. He died so we could be free from all that mess, so that we could have a life overflowing with hope, joy, and freedom. Because the truth is: I can only get like three things on the expectation list right at a time. Jesus knows that. He knew that from the beginning of creation and that is why He always intended to be the answer to the weight of expectation.

So what do we do now? I’m not entirely sure. The simple answer is that we stop striving to fill expectation and start pursuing Jesus with everything we have. I acknowledge this is so much easier to say then it is done. There is no 12 step plan to letting go of the expectation. There is no easy path to following Jesus. So as much as I would like to wrap up this post and this path with a pretty pink bow and some glitter I can’t. I don’t have a practical and easy answer. So I’m just going to try to give everything I have to knowing Jesus more and I’m going to trust His grace to meet me in my weakness.

So dear sisters of mine. I’m asking you to join me on a journey. A journey to freedom. To a life full of hope, joy, and the reckless pursuit of Jesus.

So how about it? You with me?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

In The Garden: Be Present

YOU GUYS! Easter is Sunday, and I just can’t get enough of the story of Jesus and His journey to the cross. Because of this, I decided to revisit and repost a series I wrote about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thanks for taking a little throwback trip with me this week!

In my last two posts, I have been  talking about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have been mesmerized and challenged by all of the new truth I have been finding in this one story.  This is my last little nugget for now, but it is really convicting. At least for me.

In the last couple of posts, I talked about Jesus asking us to sit in His deep hurt with Him and about inviting others into our deep hurt. There is one component to the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31) given to us that  we are missing though, and that is sitting with others in their deep hurt.

Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” We are called to love others well, and love ourselves well (Matt. 22:36-37 The law of Christ). We are called to be there with them in the middle of trials, struggles, temptations, and just crappy days.

The thing is there are so many people, and so much hurt, and so much distraction that I think we miss out on why we are walking through tough stuff with people in our community.

“So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:40-41

One thing that sticks out to me in this passage (Matthew 26:36-46) is the fact that twice Jesus says “keep watch”. The word “watch” means to be alert or to be awake.  I think that Jesus is saying BE PRESENT.  He didn’t need  anyone to keep watch for other people. He is prophetic, knows when things are going down, and has angel armies protecting Him. Besides, later on we see Peter’s best defense is to cut off someone’s ear. Good job, Peter. You are the guy I want on my side during the zombie apocalypse, or when genetically altered animals fight back and attack humanity. Let’s be honest. Jesus knew Peter wasn’t going to be much help in the protection department. Here is what I think Jesus was trying to point out to his friends He invited into the garden with Him. The act of being present is the thing that keeps us from being led into temptation. It is a way to love others, as we love ourselves.

Often as I am walking through a tough situation with a friend, I am aware enough to watch her actions; however, I am not aware enough to learn from her mistakes or good choices. I just judge her for them. I think “she did what?” or “Why would she say that?”. My all time personal favorite is “WHY, oh WHY is she dating HIM?”. Then there are times where I see a friend’s wise and good decisions, and I am offended by them because I know I wouldn’t have been as wise.  I am quick to judge and much, much slower to learn. The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak and all of that. I have often thought that it is my job to save that person. To rescue them from whatever despair they are in. So I try to save them and end up missing out on the lessons I should be learning.

I think Jesus wants us to help each other through the hard stuff, be present, and fully awake. Not just half invested because there might be more fun people to hang out with, or because our jobs are consuming, or even worse because our ministry is consuming. The way to avoid temptation is to be fully present in relationships and learn from the people you are trying to care for. By loving unconditionally, we are able to see people through the filter that Jesus does and learn from them, and then hopefully when we walk through a similar situation, we are able to do so on steady ground.

I don’t want to be the girl who lives in such a distracted way that I never grow into a person of depth. I want to love unconditionally. I want to serve selflessly. I want to give my life away and learn every single thing I can about Jesus and the life He intended for me to live. So hold me accountable because again, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

What about you? What does it look like for you when you walk through trial with a friend. Is it a hassle for you or a privilege? Is it a learning experience or a fix the other person experience? How can we help each other find a better way of being present?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

 

In The Garden: Sit With Me

Here is a little #throwback for Easter, friends! Here is to revisiting old lessons and letting them take deeper roots. Original post written in the fall of 2011.

In my last post, I shared about Jesus in the garden right before His crucifixion. I talked about how Jesus asked Peter, John, and James to enter into his deepest hurt with Him. I want to take another look at that very same verse again, and dig a little deeper because I know there is a deeper calling for us, and a powerful confession of love to us, in this passage.

“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’”

Matthew 26:37

As I read that scripture, I hear the Lord whisper, “Mindy, come and sit with me in the garden.”

Uhmmmmm wow.

This blows my mind. Here is why.

Jesus is asking US to come and sit in His deepest hurts with Him. God is asking us to experience the hurt that He feels while He is feeling it. He wants to break our hearts for what breaks His. That sounds horribly mean. The reality though is when we are hurt, or angry, or even just inconvenienced, we are motivated. Motivated to act, bring change, sacrifice, or care about something more than ourselves. I don’t know about you but it takes a lot to move me. Something really has to bother me for me to act.

For instance, here is my driver’s side window. It’s been broken for 3 1/2 months. I covered it with packing tape. It’s sufficient for getting me from one place to another.

It bothers other people a lot. Not really me though. I grew up in the middle of a chaotic large family that threw stuff a lot. It takes a lot more to get my attention than a broken window. Because of that, I haven’t done anything to fix it. I probably won’t until warm weather comes, and I want to drive with the windows down.

The same goes with the broken world we live in. It takes a lot for me to be motivated to bring restoration. We are called to bring restoration here and now to this broken world. Only when God moves my heart to a place where I hurt about how torn apart this world is, do I actually even care. Only when I sit with Him in deep hurt about human trafficking, do I actually act. Only when I grieve the brokenness of the Church with Him, do I strive to love her well. Do you see the pattern. Only when God… Do I…

He does this out of love for us. I know that it seems almost manipulative. He is trying to force us to do something. Anything. He only moves my heart to get His way. That’s not the truth though.

Later on in this passage, Jesus says to Peter, James, and John, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

I think He is saying, “Guys! Are you still asleep? You are missing out on something great. Something amazing. A once in a lifetime opportunity to sit with me, know me, and change the world. Not just the world but eternity. It is almost time. WAKE UP. Please don’t miss what I have for you!”

He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to miss out on something that will change someone’s eternity. Something that will change our eternity. It is so hard for me to believe that God, the creator of the universe, the maker of all things, loves me enough to want to be so intimate with me that He brings me into His deepest hurt. But He does. He really does. I know the people that I let into that intimate place with me, are people I love, people I trust, and people who will follow me into the dark. (Yes, I tried to sneak in a death cab reference.)

I believe that this is true about God. If He is calling you to sit with Him in hurt, He is also saying, “I trust you, I want you, follow me. Oh and, by the way, I FREAKING LOVE YOU.” So ask Him to take you to that intimate place. Ask Him to prepare you for the hurt and the obstacles on the road ahead. Ask Him to help you celebrate the good and the bad. Most importantly, just say “I’m in, Jesus. I’m here in the garden with you. I’m awake and sitting close. Have your way.”

Why do we willingly enter into the garden with Jesus? Because when we allow our hearts to be moved by God, we find the things we were truly made to do and the wars we were purposed to fight. We stop living mediocre lives, and we stop fighting those who are meant to be our allies. Sitting in the garden with Jesus is the doorway to the abundant lives we’ve dreamed of and the first step to living out our purpose.

What about you? What has God broken your heart for? Do you believe that He loves you enough to sit with you in hurt? Why or Why not?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

In The Garden: Open The Gate

Oh hey friends! In honor of Easter I thought I would post a little throw back! This series of posts were originally written five years ago but still resonate with me so deeply especially through the week leading up to the resurrection of Christ. They have been updated a bit because I reserve the right to change my mind and grow. I hope they encourage you as much as it challenged me to write them!

About two months ago (fall of 2011), I started going to this Bible study on Monday nights. I like it. Actually I kind of love it. We read through scriptures together every week and discuss them. One of the chapters we have read through is Matthew 26 where Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we read through the passage, I felt like I found a thousand new golden nuggets that I have never found before. One of these has been pretty life changing.

“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’”

Matthew 26:37

The thing I have always loved about the story of Jesus in the garden is how human I realize Jesus really is. I am convinced it is His most human moment in all of the gospels. So what does Jesus do in His most human moment? He asked for COMMUNITY! He asked Peter, John, and James to sit in the middle of His deepest hurt with Him. Yup. He asked for help.

Let’s look at this moment. Jesus says straight up, His soul is grieved to the point of death. Death. DEATH. A place where there is no joy, no peace, no comfort. He is hurting and asking His most intimate friends to sit with Him in that hurt. Jesus was willing to be vulnerable in His greatest moment of need to live in community. Not only to love, but to be loved.

I never want to do this. I never want to let someone into my deep hurt or disappointment. I want to be strong, do it alone, and not risk being vulnerable. I want to carry my own burden. Like I’ve said before I am emotionally awkward. Exposing that is dangerous. I mean what would my friends do if they saw the reality of how dramatic, needy, insecure, and just plain weird I am. The truth is they probably see those things. But seriously. People can’t know I hurt or I am broken or even WANT them with me in the middle of my deep hurt. I mean if they knew, they would have power over me. I can’t have that.

You see. My deepest fear is that I will admit that I want someone to be that intimately connected to me and then they will reject me. I am afraid that when they see how terribly messed up I am, I will be TOO MUCH, and they will turn and walk away.

So as I read through this passage again I felt God say to me, “Mindy, open the freaking gate. Let people into the garden with you. Some will leave, and I will love you. Some will stay, and I will love you. Just let people in. It’s what you were made to do.”

So as a community of people who live on the same planet, I ask that you will hold me accountable. That you will challenge me to open the gate, share my story, love well, and BE LOVED.

What about you? Any troubles with letting people in? Is love easy for you to receive? Let’s talk about it.

You can also check out my last two posts in this series here and here!

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy