Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey..
That’s the song that’s in my head right now as I sit here tonight with some not great feelings going on inside of me. I haven’t researched my bible for this post, or even thought through what I am going to write..this is just me rambling…. This morning at church left me quite unsettled. We talked about church discipline and judgment. It left me with feelings of shame. Not necessarily shame of my sin, even though there is a little of that, but just shame of my immaturity. Seriously, I often act like someone 15 years younger than me and get upset about things someone of my age should not at all. I am embarrassed and ashamed of the ways I often act, the ways I treat people and for my immaturity.
Lately I have been thinking about my age. I am older than some of my best friends. Does age matter that much? Is it ok if I am older? But what does that say about my maturity? I remember when I was 24 and I have definitely changed a lot since then…is my maturity rate a personal rate or does it depend on age? I am very unashamed for my lack of maturity for my age…so how do I grow in maturity and not act like a 16 year old?
I want to grow, I want to mature, I want to be secure in myself…I need to spend time with Jesus..for me and my benefit, not for studying greek, or reading for discipleship, or preparing for bible study or a talk..but for me and my personal walk with Christ. I think I shall do that now…..
Jesus restores what’s broken, but He doesn’t overlook our pain. And I love that about Him.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, the scars from his wounds were still visible on His hands and His side. he didn’t make them disappear. he didn’t make it seem as if the brutality that He had just gone through had never happened. he could have. he could have made His scars disappear quicker than Jacob the Werewolf can heal his mutant body. He can heal anything absolutely and completely. But instead, He chose to let the scars remain.
I have scars that remain. I have one on my chin. I let a boy I had a crush on convince me to ski a black with moguls on my very first day skiing when I was in the 7th grade. It didn’t end well.
I have scars that people can’t see too. I have scars from school, where I never felt accepted by the people in my class. Always there, but never visible.
I have scars from the hurtful words I was told by family members that said they loved me.
I have scars from things I’ve looked at, thought, said, or done.
And while I can ask for forgiveness from God, myself, or others, sometimes those scars remain. they don’t just disappear.
And while so much of Christianity is about God forgiving and choosing not to remember, i still remember. i still know that what happened, happened. That’s why I love that when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He still had scars. he still had nailprints on His wrists. he still had a wounded side. He hadn’t forgotten.
But those were no longer about what happened. Those wounds meant something else. Those wounds meant that Jesus’ death had restored a relationship between us and God. Those wounds meant that Jesus understood brokenness, pain, and heartache.
While His scars were still there, they no longer meant that they were the end of the story. Those wounds were part of the story. Easter isn’t just about the cross; its about the empty tomb. Jesus overcame His scars. And He helps us do the same.
Like Jesus, my wounds no longer have to be my story-they can be part of my story. I can remember them, but they don’t define me. They were real and they happened and I’m not going to dismiss them. but God restores so that they’re not my entire story – they’re just part of my story.
My God is a God who restores and heals, and there’s more to me than my scars.
October 10, 1999 is a day that changed my life forever. Still on this day, 11 years later, its a day for me full of hard memories and thankful memories. I wanted to write this post on October 11 but the day did not allow it. So I wrote it in my mind and am finally getting the chance to write them out. I feel like I write this every year on this date..but maybe this year, with one more year of maturity, even more of the grace of God will be shown to me.
October 11, 1999 – At this point in my high school career, I was broken. For 3 years I had been “the good girl” in my class. The one that had to stand alone most of the time. I had grown up in a southern baptist church that I quickly labeled as “hypocritical” and knew I didn’t belong there but was forced to go. I was the kid expected to look all put together on the outside but was broken and crying out on the inside. My family was a disaster within the confines of my house, but perfect looking on the outside. Inside those walls, I felt dead, alone, hurt beyond measure, broken, unloved and many more feelings. I desperately wanted acceptance and approval so I spent ALL of my time on the 1 thing I felt like I could do well – sports. I didn’t care if I broke my body down, the physical pain felt good. I was a wreck and crying out for someone, anyone to love me. I didn’t feel like I had close friends. I had friends that I played sports with and saw all day at school and practice, but rarely did I get asked to do anything with anyone. Because of this and my family relationships, I felt very alone all the time. Then, October came and I was asked to go to a party with friends. This wasn’t a normal occurrence and I felt like I had one chance to make myself appear “cool” and make others want to be with me. I was hoping that THIS party would make my way into the “cool crowd”. That night, I drank my first sip of alcohol. And I do mean sip, maybe 1 drink..not much at all. Keep in mind though that I was taught that alcohol was a sin and if you drank you went to hell. I wasn’t ever taught a right responsibility in this “sinful” action.
So, I was at this party, “friends” were there – all people I had known for years but still felt like I had to put on a “show” to be accepted by them..I couldn’t be myself around them, if I even really knew what that was at that point in my life. But here I was, at a party, friends, alcohol, a teenager’s idea place, right? I left there that night thinking I had done it..I had put on the image that I was cool and people could want to be with me. Could it be possible? Could someone actually WANT to be with me? Inconceivable to me then..and I still struggle with this now..but especially then. I thought I had done it. I mean, I had drank alcohol! Isn’t that what it takes to “look cool?!”
I went home that night satisfied that I was cool. Slept well that night, and the next night. Monday, the 11th, comes around and I see my friends at school. I am accepted, noticed in the hallway! Success! Monday night, I had basketball practice, went home and was outside practicing free throws or something when my phone rang. They were calling to tell me that school had been canceled the next day because a boy at my school had been killed. Keep in mind that my school only had like 400 people in it (7th – 12th grades) and this boy just happened to be one of the friends I was with that night just a few nights before where I had experienced my first party. My thoughts came crashing down that night while standing on my driveway. What had I done?? While I was not living life with the Lord, I knew there was a serious problem – Morgan didn’t know Jesus. I hadn’t done ANYTHING to show Jesus to him, in fact, I did just the opposite. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t, do something I knew was wrong, just to try to fit in with him and other friends, all while at the expense of his eternal life! I knew the truth, I knew what the Bible said – “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth and the life; No one gets to the Father except through me.” And I had failed…horribly….I had failed at every expectation ever placed on me – there was on way I could ever make up for this one. It was an immediate spiral downward and I ran…
I ran to anything that would deny the pain that was burning inside of me. The pain that was there before that night and the new pain that had just developed. There was no one in my life to help. My parents were oblivious to it all. Did they really think a teenager has a friend die and just gets over it? I don’t know but I definitely didn’t just get over it even though I appeared to on the outside. I was REALLY good at hiding emotions and fooling people…I had to, that’s how I had to live my life. And this was no exception. So on the outside I was perfect and smiley, on the inside I was broken and crying. I dove into sports, into anything that brought physical pain, into drinking and more..anything that would numb the pain and make me forget that I was even alive. I wanted help, but didn’t have anywhere to turn..no one cared or noticed…
Then more friends died on May 11. I knew I wasn’t living right and I had to get my life together or God would keep killing my friends to get my attention. Wrong theology, I know but at the time I felt like God was a God that taught all lessons through pain. After all, that’s what my most things had been based around. And I decided to turn around to get away, to stop trying to kill myself from the inside out. College was my refuge.
Looking back at this time, I have no idea what really happened. Did God grab my heart for the first time and take it as His on May 11? Did He use the time of Oct 10 – May 11 to bring me to my knees and to Him? I am not sure what happened that day but I do know that October 10, 1999 forever changed my life. Because of those horrible months that followed, I have a burden and a desire to not ever allow a teenager I know to experience those feelings I felt. Whatever happened to my heart on May 11, it did become His and over the course of the next 5 years in college, the Lord grew me, tested me more, matured me, changed me, and all in all, made me His. And here I am today, in Young Life, working with teenagers with this date as memory that gives me the passion to do what I do…to show kids TRUTH in the midst of the brokenness of their worlds. May their eyes be opened to Him instead of the chaos that surrounds them.
So…October 10, 1999 – a day that started months of brokenness….but a day that the Lord has used to change my life forever.
In Mark chapter 6, a situation is described in verses 45-56. The scene that starts in verse 45 shows a couple of guys getting into a boat to head to another town across a lake. Nothing about the day seemed out of order, and so they sailed. However, night came and darkness brought a storm. Suddenly, the waves got larger, the wind got stronger, thunder louder, and lightening brighter. The men were clinging on tight and straining against the oars doing everything they could to keep the boat under control. They just knew they were about to lose it all, it all seemed impossible. They were caught in the middle of the storm. But across the lake, a man was watching. At the time He knew was appropriate, He went out to them. He didn’t take a boat, He walked out to them. The waves were still large, the wind still strong, and the thunder still loud. The only thing that changed was the man who was standing on water in front of the boat. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take heart!, It is I. Do not be afraid.” He then climbed into the boat with them, and the storm was calm.
This man who walked on water, in the middle of the chaos of the storm, was Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God..the only One who has any authority to say, “Do not be afraid.” As soon as the men recognized Him, He climbed into the boat with them and everything was calm – the chaos went away. Jesus was there the whole time, watching until the right time, and then, He came to them to save them. This man had plans for them..to use them to spread His Gospel all over the world. Life would not be easy for them; there would be many more times these men would be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and He had a different plan in mind than the storm overtaking them. And so, He waited for them to recognize Him, and then, he got into the boat with them and creation calmed.
I think of this story in my own life in the past month. The last month has been full of increasing chaos. A month ago I went to Mississippi full of expectations and hopes for a great weekend with SEC football and friends. However, in the back of my mind, i rememebered that every time I go home, a layer of my heart that I once thought was sealed and closed gets exposed a little and I walk away with some hurt. This weekend was no different. Coupled with those “normal” feelings, this last time for me was my first home football game back at my beloved stadium. I love this place, many many good memories there but also many memories of my years spent there where I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of things the hard way. I relived a lot of things that day and a lot of buried memories were resurfaced. Needless to say, I came back to Dallas that weekend not only with a loss of a very hopeful football game, but with a lot of hurt, shame, guilt and feelings of unworthiness for everything that occurred in the first 21 years of my life. In that next week, as I tried to jump right into work and prepare a “sermon” for my middle schoolers, I was consumed by these feelings. The waves and wind of the storm were picking up in my life. I was doubting my Savior, completely forgetting grace, struggling with truths that I once accepted, letting lies overtake my thoughts and actions and cling on, tighting to my “oars” that were steering me in my life – my friends. I was doing everything I could to keep my “boat” under control but everything I tried to do was nothing compared to the storm around me and it was doing nothing more but making the storm harder.
Since that weekend, I have given 2 “sermons” on my God, 2 “sermons” that I have had to labor through and struggle because I myself was not completely recognizing my God. When I went into ministry, I promised myself that I would never give a talk about something I do not believe for myself and for the first time, I have had to work to live up to that standard. I was struggling, pulling anything I could to try to balance the waves but they seemed to only get bigger. I would try new things, try normal things more, try anything I could to either forget about the storm, or try to balance it. I tried myself to calm the storm but it only got bigger. Nothing I was doing was working, in fact, I myself was destroying all my oars and all my hopes of staying afloat. I was about to lose it all, give up and be consumed by the storm.
But a friend stepped in. This friend didn’t walk on water, but she pointed me to the one that was. The One that told me to let go of my oars. The only one would could calm my storm. And ever since I recognized Him, the storm has calmed. Not completely, but it is getting there. I can’t believe that I let the storm go on this long and didn’t recognize Him myself but am very thankful for a friend that pointed Him out to me. Thankful that I still have friends that care that much; and thankful that that friend speaks truth to me even when it hurts, despite the hurt I have brought in her life.
The storm has brought much hurt, the waves were not forgiving. This storm has brought hurt in my heart and feelings from lies from my childhood that I thought I worked through years ago. The storm brought hurt from mistakes I made that still effect my life today. The storm brought destruction in relationships that I do not want to lose. But, the storm has brought a recognition of my Savior and a redemption of grace that He gives. So, as the waves calm and the wind dies down. As the thunder quiets and the lightening goes dim, I cling, not to my oars, but to my Savior who is now in the boat with me and riding out the remainder of the storm alongside me. May I always have an increased awareness of Him beside me and His timing in His moving.
As I ride out the rest of the storm, I pray, hard. I pray He will steer my boat from now on, I pray He will control where my life goes. I pray He will combat the lies that are constantly flowing through my head. I pray He will give me wisdom and discernment to discover which thoughts are truth and which are lies. I pray He will preserve the friendships that I potentially destroyed. I pray He will bring my heart to a joyful state. I pray He will remain beside me. And I pray that my Savior has plans for me, to use me to spread His Gospel all over the world. Life will not be easy; there will be many more times I will be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and I pray that next time, I will recognize Him beside me, before the storm overtakes me.
i am a simple girl. At any given moment, no matter what I have on and look like, I would much rather have on nike shorts, maroon tshirt, and my rainbows with holes in the soles. Given the opportunity, a friend or two, sports, a movie or a game and great conversations definitely win my choice of fun activities.
Last night, I had the pleasure of going to Cowboy’s Red River with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but I felt very out of place the whole time. But at the same time, it was fun to dress up a little and get out of my “normal day to day routine.” I am not much of a two stepper, but thanks to David Livengood, I did give it a try. He declared me “not too bad!” Success! The rest of the time, I talked to a couple of people that I didn’t know, people watched and took notes in my brain. I was trying to figure out what about the place disturbed me the most. The cougars? The multitude of girls in very little clothing dancing around? The people who go to church with me that were putting their hands/bodies places on the opposite sex that they didn’t need to be? The combination of all? As I sat around and watched, I saw a group of people that spanned probably 2 generations. There were the 20 somethings and the 60 somethings..all dressed up in order to gain the attention of others. There were the 40’s – 60’s year olds, mostly women, who had on way too much makeup, cocktail dresses (at a two stepping bar!) and were obviously looking for someone to give them attention. But at the same time there were the 20s and 30s who were there for the same reason. Only they were even less dressed and more provocative in their clothes and actions.
And here I am…..I wore my cool cowboy boots that I proudly found in the lost and found at Sharptop Cove, and decent clothes, possibly even cute! I don’t think I am hideously ugly and I feel like I have at least a decent personality. But to this crowd, in this place I was in, I, in no way, fit in. There is no way I even remotely can be a part of that crowd. But, I don’t want to. There is no part of me that wants to take off half my clothes, stand on a table, and dance to get a boy to notice me. So, I left there last night, heartbroken because of my generation that I obviously do not fit in. Where do I belong here?
I am a simple girl. I would rather wear nike shorts, a maroon tshirt and my Rainbows with holes in the soles on any given day. How can I make someone like a simple girl like me? I can’t…I do not want to make someone like me anymore than I want to go dance on a table at Red River. So, I keep coming back to this place that I have been at many times over the past month. This hurt of being lost. I am a simple girl. I would rather wear nike shorts, a maroon tshirt and my Rainbows with holes in the soles on any given day. And I miss having a place where i belong.
dependency…we were created to be dependent on 1 thing…God…I was made with the character of being dependent on something. My problem comes in when I pick the wrong thing to be dependent on.
but I must go to a field hockey game. more on this later…