This. is Me.

Becky ziplining

This. is Me.

I ain’t necessarily skinny, or perfect, or predictable.

I have my flaws, and  Oh! they are many, and I can name them all.

I am a survivor of terrible things, but also a thriver –

I want new, different, and scary, all outside these walls.

I offer myself, unreservedly, to those who will care to listen,

Whether tiny, or medium, or tall tall tall.

My hero is Joan of Arc, because tho’ she did end on a burning stake,

She didn’t go quietly, or actually – at all.

Her energy was transformed to spirit and became legend and large,

And she forged a path and answered His call.

So when I am a ghost and my visage is faded from your view,

I want my legacy to be “CANNON BALLLLLLL!”

 

 

 

Let Your Flag Fly High! (or, Much Ado About Everything)

flags NYC  Recently, a family friend, a Christian, came out. As a fellow Christian, I could have seen this as a complicated sequences of events that were mine to judge or to make commentary on; to closely examine and then to discard.  Much ado is made nowadays about the state of a person’s sexual identity, and as Christians, we are told by Pat Robertson that gay people are “terrorists” (well, if I watched Pat Robertson…).

If I allowed Pat Robertson to speak for me, I would look like the craziest person in the world.

I allow scripture to speak for me instead: 1 Corinthians 12:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

What is MY truth?

What is written on MY flag, what am I putting out into the world as my message?

John 3:16  “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Not: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, but only for straight people.”

Not: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, but only for people who could hide themselves and their sin adequately.”

Not: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son for those who don’t make anyone uncomfortable, for those who are the same as you.”

Romans 3: 23-24 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”

I am a sinner.

YOU are a sinner.

WE are all sinners!  And that is why we need to lift each other up, closer to grace, closer to the light of God, closer to our goal of heaven.

If I compare my sin to yours, and say, “Yes, I may be a liar, but YOU, you are a shoplifter!”, I am missing the point entirely.

If I compare my sin to yours, and say, “I may be a gossip and a divisive person, but YOU, you are a homosexual!”, I am missing the point entirely.

Because NOT A ONE OF US DESERVES THE GIFT OF HEAVEN AT THE END OF THIS LIFE.

There is no way to get to it but through the help of Jesus, and through His love and compassion for us, through the Cross and Resurrection.

There is no way to see heaven but to fall helpless at his feet and admit, “I am a sinner.  I do not deserve Heaven.  I do not deserve your Love.  Help me, Jesus, to love you and everyone here, and to need you more!”

This is how I must operate, out of love, compassion, and an admission that I am a sinner, too! :  John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

If the flag of my heart were to fly high, for all to see, what would be on it?  The cross, a heart, a smile, a hug?  As a Christian, what is my burden, what do I place at the feet of Jesus?

If we wrap our arms around one another, it is ever so much easier to get to heaven.

When we lie to ourselves about our own sin and its consequences, we shorten and corrupt the grace that has already been offered us by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

When we ignore the log in our own eye, and point out the splinter in someone else’s eye, we fly the flag of hypocrisy under the name of Christianity, and we shorten and corrupt the grace that could flow through us, to all who are around us.

Love conquers all:

1 John 4:8:  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.…”

What is on YOUR flag? What are you projecting to the world?

Whom have you “decided” to love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Promise

Image

     Recently I was talking with friends about what I consider to be the “worst day of my life.”  I was 19 years old and had gotten a call that morning about a very young relative who had been diagnosed with advanced leukemia; I was waiting for the results of a medical test, and THAT was haunting my moments; and I was in a car accident which scared me half to death, and my knee was throbbing from being slammed into the back of the seat in front of me.  I was reflecting on the day and was thinking, “O Lord, thank you for bringing me through it”, but I was also thinking, “O Lord, what a horrible day, I feel like I want to throw up!”

     And then I envisioned Joan of Arc.  Not the popular image of her (the one I also love!), armored to the hilt, sword unsheathed, rushing into battle – no, the Joan of Arc burning at the stake, at the age of 19.  Burned for heresy and for not renouncing her belief that she had heard the voice of God and the voices of saints, she was basically burned for the sake of fear.  An influential bishop took it upon himself to take her out in order to silence her.   He could not let her live and risk that she would influence the soldiers – and the common people – any longer. 

     Funny, how “poor me!” moments turn into “oh my” revelations about our (my) inherent self-centeredness.  And recognition of the promises made to us in scripture, that if we are faithful to our call to Live the Word, we will be redeemed by our Heavenly Father. The perfect scripture passage for this is in 1 Peter 5:6-11:

    “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.

     Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you.

     Be sober, be watchful.

     Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

     Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.

     And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself

         restore, establish, and strengthen you.

     To Him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”

     Isn’t that the best promise?  Not that you WON’T suffer, but that when you do, it will only be for a little while, and then you will be restored and strengthened.  Not that you will be spared from pain, but that God will be there to relieve you and take your suffering from you. 

     None of us is spared.  But let’s get some perspective; when you are having a hard time at work, think of Joan of Arc, burning at the stake for her faith in what she had been told by God.  When you are struggling with making ends meet, remember the Christians who are being persecuted and killed in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey – for their faith.  When you miss your bus to work, think of agonizing parents sitting in rooms up in Children’s Hospital, listening to beeping machines that are keeping pace with their child’s vital signs.  When your grown child makes the ten thousandth questionable decision and you are not sure that you can keep vigil – one more day – while they struggle and scrape to find their way in the world – remember that God Himself is with you, and He already knows what is going to happen, and that He has always held them in His hands –

     and that He is capable, beyond all human belief or speculation, of taking care of His own.