Monday, October 31, 2011

part of the wreckage


these are words that a few years ago were barely in my vocabulary. but once i heard them... understood their meaning... i couldn't go back. you know those moments where you learn something you had been ignorant of for so long and you realize then that you have a choice? you can bury that new information... stuff it down so low that you don't have to think about it. or you can let it wreck you. and i mean that in the best way possible. you can let it wreck you to the point that your entire life changes and you are never the same again. i think out of those moments are birthed movements of justice... organizations that leave lasting impact... and people who become world changers.

a wise friend once told me that knowledge equals responsibility. i've never heard a more truer statement.

in 2009 i took a class that, i believe, altered the course of my life as i knew it. it was a class on racial reconciliation. we met once a week on wednesday night over the course of a few months. it was in that class that my eyes were opened to see the gospel in an entire new light. my heart broke as i saw my own inhumanity... as i recognized how little i understood about the principles of the kingdom of God... as i saw areas in my own heart that were clouded by racism and prejudice. i was faced with my own ignorance... a hard pill to swallow.

but i am forever grateful. God has woven my life together with some of the most incredibly beautiful, loving, tender-hearted people who are so uniquely different from me but yet add such richness to my life. i honestly don't know how i would have survived this year without them. without their prayers. their hugs. their tears. their love. i'm humbled by my community each and every day.

this weekend our church hosted a racial reconciliation conference. the course that i took over several months crammed into 2 days. it was our first time opening it up to the public and God brought the people together in such a beautiful way. as i sat through those teachings i allowed myself to be wrecked again. to be reminded of why i'm doing what i'm doing. why i live where i live. and boy did he wreck me. it forced me to look at some of my actions in the past, especially in regards to my relationship that ended this year, and i realized some of the damage i caused... some of the mistakes i made as a white woman in a relationship with a black man... how had i analyzed every area of our relationship except the racial dynamic? maybe it wasn't time until now for me to see it. i don't know. i can't change the things that happened but i can learn from them. i intend to do that.

i have so much more i could share on this topic but for now i'll leave it at that. oh being broken isn't fun and it isn't easy but it is so worth it.

grace and peace,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

let go

it's been a tough couple of weeks... thus the lack of posting. i know there have been moments on this blog when i was having a hard day and writing about it helped me process, but it's difficult sometimes to be that vulnerable and honest, especially when you have no idea who or how many people will read it. it's days like that where i'm grateful for the people who are present in my life to let me vent and cry as i try to put words to the emotions i'm feeling. not to negate the incredible encouragement i receive from this blog and those of you who read it- trust me, lord knows i am grateful for that, too. it's just that sometimes you need real arms to fall into and someone to pass you a tissue or two.... or a whole box in my case this week.

i thought that passing october 15th would magically release me into a world of peace and acceptance and yet here i am, still dealing with it. no, it's not consuming me but i'm faced with decisions and choices i never wanted to make. a friend at church asked me the other day what "season" i'm in right now. i was taken aback by the question and for this internal processor i needed time to think on it. so i have been pondering that and asking the Lord where i am and i keep coming back to "letting go." ugh. for a control... ok recovering control freak the words LET GO stir up all kinds of crazy feelings. the last thing a person who wants to feel in control does is let go. really God? is this some kind of sick joke?  if i let go, everything falls apart. or does it?

see that's the lie that wants to keep me attached to people, to expectations, to my work... that false need to control or fix or do everything. God is trying to teach me to let go... to just be... to rest. REST! what? who has time to rest? there's work to be done, isn't there? you should all be grateful that you can't hear my inner dialogue. for real.

last week i was sick. i had a head cold that wiped me out and i had no energy. by friday i was completely zapped. i knew i needed to stop and rest. my body needed that. but yet i struggled all day with my decision to stay home. was i really sick enough to be home? what about all the work i had to do? i could probably go into work. it's just a cold. then i hear it again- LET GO. susan, let go. give yourself a break. you are human. you get sick. the world will function without you for one day.

when oh when will i understand? letting go is supposed to be a freeing experience. when i was a kid i used to love jumping off the swings. we had this awesome wooden swing set that my dad built us. not like those plastic ones kids use today. the swings were wooden boards attached with ropes. we were hardcore like that. one of our favorite things to do was to swing really high and then fly off the swing and land, hopefully safe, on the ground. just thinking about that now makes me almost shudder in fear. but oh there was such joy in letting go. in soaring through the air so freely. what happens to us as we become adults that we lose the joy in letting go? there's a million answers for that i'm sure... i'm still trying to wrap my brain around mine.

even today... i have so much to do. i'm teaching a lesson at a prayer ministry school i co-lead tonight. and friday and saturday our church is hosting a racial reconciliation conference and i have so many loose ends to wrap up before 7am tomorrow. it won't all be perfect. i know that. and there's grace for me in that. even giving myself a few minutes to write this blog is hard knowing how much i have to do... but it's ok. it will be ok. God knows what He's doing. he can manage the universe much better than i can.

to all my other struggling-to-let-go-people... i'm with you. i get it. it's hard. we can do this. no, it won't happen overnight. but embrace the process. start where you can. and for goodness sake- give yourself a break every once in a while and rest, ok? :)

grace and peace to you today,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

fixing my eyes

this week marks 7 months since my fiance and i broke up. 7 months. and today marks 10 days away from what was supposed to have been our wedding day. where has that time gone? sometimes it feels like a blur and others an eternity. i remember when we chose october 15th and i thought that day would never come. and now for the last 7 months it's been a day that i've wanted to ignore. can't we just skip that day altogether somehow? that's what i asked a friend of mine the other day. another friend said how sad they were when the month changed and they flipped their calendar only to see our wedding date written down. a harsh reminder of the reality of what happened. a reality i've had to live with every day for the last 7 months. and while it still hurts, the sting isn't so bad as it once was. that aching in my heart that i thought would never go away? it has, for the most part, subsided. that struggle to get out of bed? that's passed, too. the anger? meh... it's still there a bit. got to work on that i guess. hey- i'm not perfect.

tonight i read through some of my earlier posts when i was right in the thick of my pain. i was worried it might stir up crazy emotions, but i remained calm. looking back i'm amazed i even had the emotional capacity to write some of the things i did. those moments of strength were God-given for sure. grief is an interesting process. and yes, i do believe grief is exactly what i've been walking through these past 7 months. grief isn't caused by physical death alone. any major loss or disappointment in life could be categorized as grief and with it all those emotions and feelings as well. i think the hardest part in this grieving process for me has been letting go. letting go of that white-knuckle grip i want to have on my own future. that small semblance of control i think i have over how things will turn out. how i want things to turn out. that grip does me no good. how can i really see where i'm going when i'm constantly turning around to look back? there were several times during my 5k on friday when i wanted to look back. to take a glimpse and see who was behind me. who was about to pass me. but i resisted. i kept my focus on where i was going- not who i just passed- or who was about to pass me. it reminds me of this verse in hebrews:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  Hebrews 12:1-3
i want- no i need- to fix my eyes ahead- on Jesus. on the future that He has laid for me. on learning to live more intimately with Him. on connecting deeper with those around me. do i think it's wrong to look back? of course not. but i'd say that if i'm looking back long enough to trip or fall or miss a turn then my focus isn't in the right place. so that's my personal challenge i suppose. for myself. but if you're in a similar boat feel free to join me.

and now i leave you with one of my favorite quotes that i've had written in the back of my bible for years:
"O, tis a thought must melt a rock, and make a heart of iron move; that the joy which was set before Jesus, was principally the joy of saving you and me." C.H. Spurgeon
mmm... that's like a warm blanket on a cold day.

grace and peace to you today,

Monday, October 3, 2011

my first 5k

i'm struggling to find the right words to begin this post. part of me wants to start by saying "thank you" for all of your sweet comments and words of encouragement regarding my 5k on friday. the other part of me wants to start by saying how amazing it felt to accomplish something that once seemed so overwhelming. instead i'll show you some pretty sweet photos that my lovely sis captured.  ;)

you can't run your first 5k without having a cheesy photo of you crossing the finish line. but i love it.

overall, it was an awesome experience. i think there were a few hundred people who ended up running. the start happened so fast and before i had time to really think i about it i was off. it was hard to find my pace because there were so many people and it felt like they were going so fast. i had to remind myself to slow down and not focus on the other people. it started raining shortly after the race started and didn't let up the whole time. when i approached the finish line my entire family (and my bestie) was there cheering me on. it was so special to see them there supporting me and so proud of what i did! somehow i managed to keep the tears at bay. my sister is another story. haha! she's so sweet and has been my biggest cheerleader.  :)

after the race my entire family went and had dinner together. my little brother was even in town from california this weekend so having him there was amazing. my family is incredible. they spent their friday night standing in the rain watching me run and for that i am so grateful.

yesterday i saw a flyer at a store for a 5k in november. i might just be hooked.

much love,