Weddings are dreams…if you do them right.


I got married this weekend!

Everything everyone says about the day going so fast, but being so beautiful, is right. Everything they say about being madly in love being intoxicating, is right. Everything they say about the great blessing of being surrounded by the people who love you, and who you love most, is right. They’re all right. It’s magical, but it’s only magical if you do it right. It’s only right if you’re marrying who you should marry. And if you’re upholding marriage until it’s time for marriage.

The most magical parts of our day were not the flowers (even though they were beautiful!), or the candles (which I got from the dollar store and that didn’t burn right…not that I noticed – I heard from my people), or the hair, or the makeup, or the suits. It wasn’t the “rager” we had after (the whole thing was over by 10pm), and it certainly wasn’t the tight (although also beautiful) dress I was wearing.

What was magical was Jesus. Jesus, who picked us for each other. Who made a love story out of our resistance (see any other blog post from before this about how we thought our lives should go). Jesus who changed us like water into wine, and Jesus, who was our first love. Jesus, who taught us what love is. Who teaches us what love is. Jesus, was the magic. Jesus, is the magic. Today is magical. Because marriage is Jesus’ and it can only be done as marriage, with Jesus. The rest is a sham.

Ray and I didn’t freak out about details while planning. We laughed a lot. We learned how to tie bows, and he got to watch me wander around Hobby Lobby a lot and grow his patience. We made time for our families and extended leases so that we didn’t have to live together before our marriage. We cried in the last three years as we lived in different houses, and states, and had surgery and almost cancer diagnoses, ER visits, hair loss, reconciliation of pasts, and figuring out how to fit into a new life. And we did it all together. It wasn’t easy, and it was magic too. This time with each other and Jesus, was our magic.

One of my two most favorite moments of our wedding was walking down the aisle with my father to greet my groom. After three years of up and down and changing as a person with him, there is only one person who could ever have compared to the love that my father has for me. I was proud of the man I was marrying. I was so blessed that my dad loved him so much and how much he has laid down his life for me. I am thankful that my father taught me to wait for the man who could make my life magical.

My second favorite moment, was when the man of my dreams cried while dancing our first dance with me. I have a hard time dancing – mostly because I am a white girl, but also because I have a prosthetic leg. While most people are busy working on shows for their first dance, we practiced me following him so that I didn’t step on him or my dress. It’s a vulnerable point for me. And it’s a space of challenge that only he could have worked himself into. He led me like the man of my dreams who knows exactly how to let me be independent while empowering me by holding me up in ways that people do not see. He has done physical therapy I didn’t know I needed, and he has wrapped up the broken pieces of my heart into one whole piece.

But he couldn’t do that without being led by Jesus. Half of the letter he wrote me before the wedding was Scripture. Wait for the man who doesn’t just give you himself. Wait for the man who unashamedly laughs with you while you plan for your wedding, who cries on your shoulder because he thinks you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and wait for the man who gets up the Monday after the wedding to go to work so that you can rest. Wait for the man who gives you Jesus.

Wait for the magic. Wait to see your groom until you walk down the aisle (pictures can wait until after). Wait for him to stand up and be a man. Don’t marry someone for the flowers. They will fade. Don’t marry someone for the candles. They won’t stay lit. Don’t marry someone for the sex. Married sex is the only sex that counts, and it’s not about the sex. Marry the person who you can let into the moments that make your heart break.

Wait for the man who will spin you around in front of a room of people because he can’t decide if he wants to look at you, or hold you close. Wait for the magic. Do the wedding right – it’s easy to do when the marriage is right. Wait for the right dream come true.

This is our first dance song. Here are the lyrics. Please listen and read. It is what we want people to see of our lives, which is why we picked it. The first verse is me (speaking to 25,000 this summer) and the second is him. And we have learned…nothing matters…but looking like love, Jesus, to each other, and to the world.

I hope everyone who was able to come and those who we know see that, and only that, in our wedding – and in our marriage. In our forever.

The marriage was worth the wait. The magic was worth the wait. Ray was worth the wait.

More Like Love – Ben Rector: Click here to listen

I use to think I wanted to be famous
I’d be recognized out in a crowd
But the funny thing is anytime I’ve gotten what I want
It lets me down

But now I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I used to think I needed all the answers
I used to need to know that I was right
I used to be afraid of things I couldn’t cover up
In black and white

But I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I find the farther that I climb
There’s always another line
Of mountain tops
It’s never going to stop
And the more of anything I do
The thing that always ends up true
Is getting what I want
Will never be enough

So I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

Like love

…because love wins.

first-dance

 

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“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.”


“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship
in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with.
The kid of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone
who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want to be there with you through these times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion,
love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute even when the waters get deep, and dark.”

…because love wins.

17 things I learned in the 17 years since I was diagnosed with childhood cancer.


March 11, 1998.

We never forget the days that change our lives. We never forget the moments that change our lives, as a matter of fact. I had one of those on that day. I haven’t forgotten it. I never will.

I had been walking with a limp for about 3 weeks. I was a totally healthy, vivacious, excited little girl. Here’s a picture!

Age 6. :)

Age 6. 🙂

See? Right? Totally healthy. But that knee pain I had wouldn’t go away.

On March 11th, 7:35am, I was walking to the school bus. About halfway there, I fell down. There was a serious sharp pain in my left knee. I remember thinking I didn’t want to look dumb (classic 3rd grade thought process) and it hurt. A lot a lot a lot. The bus was waiting, and it was a shorter distance to get on the bus than to go home, so I got on the bus. I went through my day, limping along, trying not to walk. I have no idea how I was even moving at all.

We had an appointment scheduled with my family doctor that afternoon. When I walked into the office, he told me that he hadn’t seen anyone ever limp like that. The reason? My femur was shattered. The reason?

Bone cancer.

I was 7 years old. I played basketball and giggled and tried to avoid going to sleep at night.

Cancer?

CANCER?

The next day started 49 weeks of chemotherapy, the removal of my leg and a procedure called Rotationplasty (You can learn about that here.) and way too many sharp needles, anesthesia and brokenhearted moments than I can consciously remember or that I should have had to go through as a human being, regardless of age.

So, in honor of the days that I have lived (happily) since then, I want to share with you 17 things that I have learned since March 11, 1998.

1. Life is short. 
Not in the cliche, “Yeah, people say that all the time…” way, but in the “Don’t wait until someone you love is dead in a car accident before you figure this out.” way. Seriously, it can all end right now, and you need to not worry what everyone thinks of you or feel bad when people don’t like you. Choose the way you want to live those short days and then do that. Live, please.

2. Kids die. 
And it sucks. It sucks way worse than someone who has lived to 80 years-old dying. I’m not saying any one life is more important than another, but I am telling you that burying my best friends (4 of them) by the age of 12 is horrendous and wrong. It’s so so so so wrong. Parents should not have to live all the years their kids were supposed to without them. Which leads me to…

3. There is a pathetic amount of money allotted for childhood cancer research. 
I had 49 weeks of poison (chemotherapy) that potentially ruined my heart, potentially took my ability to have children, and certainly made me throw up burning vomit way too many times. The saddest part is that it’s been 17 years and kids today are still taking the exact same awful drugs. With an 80% survival rate. (Which I would say is definitely much lower than 80.) And they haven’t figured out why a lot of my friends never lived and I did. There aren’t many people who took this stuff and grew into adulthood, so there’s not really a way for me to know what my future related to this stuff will bring. Please help. Follow this facebook page and do what it says: TheTruth365.

4. Haters are gonna hate.
There is a saying that goes something like, “In the world people are going to hate you, and people are going to love you, and none of it has anything to do with you.” People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed. (Thanks, Frozen!) So be graceful and don’t worry too much.

5. God is everywhere. 
You just have to let yourself listen. Even when the truth hurts. Especially when the truth hurts.

6. Illness isn’t terrifying.
Sometimes it is, I suppose, but for anyone who is the friend of someone with a chronic or serious illness, don’t leave said person or family alone. And don’t be upset if they want space or you say the wrong thing. But answer the phone at 2am, expect nothing, give real hugs, and be willing to be whatever they need.

7. You should love yourself. 
There is a complex that tends to come after someone has been through a near-death experience which includes putting everyone else first. And then putting everyone else first until that person is basically dead from never paying attention to themselves. So it’s good to take care of yourself. Paint and laugh and don’t let people use you. You deserve the best too.

8. I am handicapped. 
Lots of people are. In fact, we all are – face the fact. We all have something really wrong with our broken souls. And I think that’s a really important thing to remember when someone can’t help themselves and you have the opportunity to love them.

9. It’s not easy to talk about pain. 
I’m a professional speaker, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to talk through the agony that I experienced. There’s this fine line between people wanting to hear the truth and people thinking you’re asking for pity by sharing what you’ve felt. Pay no attention to those people. If you have pain, talk about it. If they choose not to listen, they lose.

10. People won’t always leave, and they won’t always leave you.
There’s my greatest fear. Now you know that. (Yay vulnerable!) I’m sure this grew from holding my friends’ hands while they died and thinking I would never be fully understood again, but in the years since that and some wonderful people in my life, I have learned that people won’t always leave. And I have learned that some people really really want to stay and love me if I let them be inside my heart. Give people a chance.

11. Healthy food isn’t just a fad. Tubing 2
Having a life threatening illness was pretty awful. But it also benefited me in great ways. Because I don’t like toxins because of that experience, I avoid them. And I am pretty particular about taking care of myself with what I put inside my body. And I know I live a more full, happier life because of it. Eat less Doritos and more broccoli. It’s worth it!

12. Downtime is not wasted time.
I laid in my bed for a really long time when I was sick. Like, about a year. And it’s clear that that time has not been wasted, even though I was doing nothing for 49 weeks. You’re human. Slow down. Life will come to you.

13. Sometimes hope just doesn’t feel real. 
There will be times in your life where you can’t hope. Where you realize that the thing that you have been hoping for for so long just isn’t going to happen. And that’s okay. Give up, cry, get mad, do whatever you need to do. Just because we don’t think there is hope doesn’t mean there isn’t. And it doesn’t mean that the days won’t get brighter again. They will.

14. Tie your brain to your heart. 
If you want to do something that really helps people, don’t just dream. Figure out what skills you need to tangibly do the work. For example, if you want to travel the world and feed homeless, start learning languages now. If you want to start a business, learn how to start a business. And then put your heart into your intellect.

15. Don’t take boredom for granted. 
I remember being 15 and telling my parents I was bored. But then I realized that I may be bored because my life is just okay at that time. And it’s not falling apart. And that means there’s goodness – and that’s not boring at all.

16. Bad things can still be bad years later, but they don’t have to rule you. 
I realize that there are some things from cancer which totally left me with PTSD. That’s the reality for my life, and I’ve accepted it. That’s pretty lame, but so are tsunamis, and I haven’t been through one of those. And some other people have to accept them in their lives. So it’s okay to not like things that happened to you. But that doesn’t mean they are in your now, or that they will take you down. Nah, there’s always healing, and always growth. And you’re good now. Just learn and live.

17. Jesus loves you. Jesus
I have tried this one out. I have searched the depth of my heart and society many times. I have watched people die, kids without parents in hospitals, and kids around the world who have no medical care and die just because of that. And there is still love – and love is the currency we should really use. Jesus is the only way to God, and there is one God, and He is Jesus’ father. And you know what? Whether you know it or not, He loves you. And He’s going to come back. Don’t wait to talk to him until your life doesn’t make sense anymore. Someone will always, always love you.

Here’s to 17 more years!

Love to you all.

…because love wins.

What loving someone with ADHD has taught me about being like Jesus.


Hi there. A preface – ADHD is kinda like this:

ADHD

The love of my life has ADHD.

That means that he can’t pay attention to what he wants to when he wants to.
That means that he can’t think through what will happen if he says what he’s thinking sometimes.
That means that he can’t sit still and listen to one voice for hours.
That means that he can’t always calm down his anxiety, because he can’t see clearly enough.
That means that for years he was treated poorly.
That means he thinks much less of himself than he should.
That means that he’s a brilliant man, who hasn’t always been able to live freely in that.
That means that he’s a person. A wonderful, wonderful, incredible person, with an illness.

ADHD is hard. Anyone who says that it isn’t or that it’s just a great benefit to their persona has probably not been treated, or hasn’t been stopped to be shown what their lives could be. I am not inferring that people cannot live life and be happy with ADHD. I am just saying that I stand in the position that a person with ADHD can’t know they need help because they don’t know how much better they could use their gifts if they actively treated their ADHD. Without being shown, that is. Jesus helped the sick. As we all should.

I used to be incredibly annoyed by people with ADHD. Like most people, I had no idea what it really was. I’ve made plenty of jokes about not being able to pay attention, and calling that ADHD. I used to think people with it were tactless, weren’t raised right, or had parents who just didn’t know how to discipline them. Or that they just talked more than I could handle. Of course, that can also be the case, but most of the time, it isn’t. It’s just being human with a brain with ADHD, and me wanting my life to be more comfortable.

Then I met this man.

He totally annoyed me. In fact, I knew that he had untreated ADHD, and I didn’t want to date him because of that. (I know, look at me thinking only inside the box.) I had had a few intimate relationships that didn’t go well and the other in those relationships blamed ADHD. I just didn’t really want to walk down that path again. But then I never went away, and he never went away, and it became something “we” faced rather than something just “he” faced.

I know what ADHD is now. And it’s not his fault. Nor is it his choice. Had I gone away, I wouldn’t have grown in my faith (the whole point of life) the way I have. And I would have missed the most fun, challenging, crazy, awesome, beautiful adventure of the past couple years. So I’m really glad I didn’t. And I’m glad I’ve learned these things:

1) Jesus is patient. I thought I was a lot more patient than I inherently am. 
Myyyy goooooodness, don’t pray for patience unless you want to learn how to be patient. And don’t expect to be able to handle medication trials and irrational anxiety really well if you’re not Jesus. Because I’m not Jesus, and handling those things are (were) really difficult. I definitely thought I was a patient person. And in some ways I was. Namely, when I fully understood situations, I was waiting in line or looking cool on a summer day. But when it comes to MY personal time, I wasn’t the best at that. Jesus is working on it. Thanks, ADHD!

2) I definitely apparently really don’t have a clue what is best for me. Jesus does. 
This fits well with the patience lesson as well. I didn’t exactly plan on having ADHD in my life forever. I was going to have a perfectly calm household where we ate nice popcorn in our perfectly clean living room each night. Where we each have 5 best friends and no tears. Nice ironed clothes and lots of perfect energy. Haha. That’s a little dramatic. But I wasn’t envisioning that we’d get to come up with awesome ways to work around forgetfulness for all of our life. But I also didn’t imagine having someone who wants to dance with me in the kitchen like a fool all the time either. See, Jesus knows better than me. And being organized is really actually super fun. Color coated post-it notes anyone?

3) Jesus makes people awesome. And as Christians in America, we’re bad at seeing that sometimes. 
One of the most challenging pieces for someone with mental illness of any kind is social interaction. I find that Christians (Sorry for saying this outright if it offends you.) are definitely cool with you being around as long as you’re working to “overcome” your issues by “letting Jesus have it.” When every issue is a spiritual one and they can just read the Bible and it should go away. And as long as we can all meet over coffee and they don’t have to deal with you crying, or being anxious, or fidgeting while you’re talking to them. But that’s not what Jesus did with the lady who touched his robe. He knelt down and talked with her. Just something I’ve learned that we can all do better – stop thinking that people are how they act. And sometimes we need medical care. That’s Jesus too. It’s just my job to show up and love. Not say how people need to be outright.

4) Jesus is LOTS of fun. 
Seriously. If you want to know that Jesus is fun, just try to get your brain to do something that it can’t. Usually it won’t work. But there’s always room to laugh. Everything doesn’t have to be straight laced and “perfect” to be absolutely wonderful. And sometimes the sheer unexpectedness of ADHD makes life lots of fun. I definitely see Jesus in new ways I wouldn’t have been able to before.

5) I cannot rely on my significant other to be my strength. But I can rely on Jesus. 
There have been lots of times when Ray wasn’t able to give me the attention that I needed because he just couldn’t. He didn’t try to be that way. He wasn’t a man that was just zoning out. He just couldn’t because his brain didn’t let him. And that was almost more annoying than just being able to blame someone. So I had to just go sit down with Jesus and let Him be who He was. And you know what? I’ve learned a lot about grace and Jesus’ love for me. And I’m so thankful for that.

6) Praying needs to always happen. 
ADHD has taught me to pray. And then pray some more. And some more. And some more. And to keep praying. And I’ll continue. Cuz it changes everything and makes the impossible possible. I prayed for healing for Ray. God sent me and taught me to be supportive and kind. Healing is happening.

I’ve learned tons, as we both have, but there’s a short version of what’s on the plate these days. We’ve been blessed to find some meds that work, and have been able to work through a lot of healing because of that medication slowing things down for us. And life is a lot less crazy. But I promise, there are going to be more crazy days. And those are going to teach me about Jesus, and love too.

I’m excited for that.

…because love wins.

I must dance. You must dance, too.


She stands behind the curtain, looking at the piercing eyes in the crowd. She could back down, she could hide from the stares and the judgement, and the knowledge that she will inevitably mess up this routine. She will probably fall. It won’t be perfect. 

And they expect perfect. 

“Can I do this? Will my leg even hold out? I haven’t ever tried such a thing.” 

“Dance,” God says. 

“But how?” 

“Dance with me,” He says again quietly – strong. In a way that almost demands to be trusted. 

“No one taught me how. I can’t dance like everyone else.” 

“But you follow the beat I put in you. You need to dance. You’re My music.” He whispers. His eyes are strong – confident. 

“I can trust Him. He knows my steps,” she says to herself. 

Out she steps. 

Just alone out here. 

The music starts. 

A slow, gentle, beat, as she has learned like should be – slow and gentle. 

One step, and then another. Some quick steps. A magical spin under the moving orange lights. The air is crisp, and the audience silent. 

She starts to see the life events show up on the dance floor. 

A sick child – she floats to take his hand, and brings the music to him. Soon he is smiling a most magnificent smile. 

An illness in the family – she ducks for the challenge it is to get to that ill person, but finds that music unlocks the doors to stop her from helping. Healing comes in a brilliant soft white light.

Jobs, pain, rainy days – No need to face them. They resolve themselves as she floats around them and her light shine upon them fast. 

And it occurs to her – 

“I dance to my own life. That’s my own beat. I know exactly how to dance. My life is my dance. He made this. I cannot fail if I try.” 

God steps out onto one side of the stage, opposite of where she took her place. She sees those obstacles that are life between her and Him. But she also sees that wherever He steps, those obstacles minimize to a beautiful piece of the stage – highlighting her special steps in brilliant colors. Her favorites – making her dance more freely still. 

He guides her. A hand motion there, a step there. Pointing, carrying, dancing right along. 

She’s forgotten all about the people who were once her fear, and her eyes, heart, and soul, are locked with Him. 

The stage is now covered in the most beautiful flowers. Open paths. Wide spaces, where she is entirely free. The obstacles are gone. And as He spins her like she spun as a 2 year old, He gestures to the audience. 

She stops, and takes a step towards them. The lights come up on those faces. She gasps a soft breath. Every single one is someone who has come alive because of her dance. They were strangers at one time, but she now sees them all clearly. 

Best friends. Acquaintances. Used-to-be enemies. Mom, dad, kids, boyfriend.

Everyone someone she has danced into the life of.

This is her life. This is her stage. It’s important.

And it’s magnificent.

She beams, and takes a seat on the edge of the stage. God stands proudly and in a lovely way behind her. Tears fill her eyes. She didn’t know how to dance, she thought. She didn’t know where she would step, she thought.

“But He made the music in me know where to dance.”

“And it was the performance each of these souls needed to see to bring them to life,” He says.

And she knew from that point forward that our purpose in life is to dance. To dance, just as we know how. And we all learn together with each step. 

Our lives are His symphony.  

…because love wins.  

I’m a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome.


Ask my parents who my closest friends have been my entire life, and they’ll tell you it has always been them, my sister, and boys. Not in a weird always-crushing-and-being-a-hopeless-romantic kind of way, but in a hiking and biking and dancing and building and drama-isn’t-really-my-thing, and never has been kind of way.

Enter the year 2013. My best friend is a guy. Here we are.

Image

And, I’m a Christian.

Scandal.

Haha. I’m just kidding. But, only a little bit. I cannot even begin to express how hounded I have been by others in the church who were quick to ask me if my friend and I were dating, and when I said that we weren’t, be sure to tell me that it looked like we were. Duh. Hanging out with anyone can look like that these days. And they have always been sure to make sure they can make me feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, and that being best friends with the opposite sex is basically the seed of Satan. I wish I was exaggerating. No matter how good the “intention” may be, it’s not always good.

This entire post will make a point, but let’s start here. Gossip is gossip, even if you’re asking someone about their personal life and you’re a Christian. Is it your place to know? Are you even a close enough friend to ask? Should you respond with any sort of opinion without listening? Have you been in this place before, and do you know the deep hearts of the parties involved? Those are pretty important questions to ask. Because I assure you, if you don’t listen to me, nor seek to understand, I won’t be coming to you to speak anymore. And I’m not the only one.

The point is, be careful. And the other point is, don’t assume that others are always living in sin. It is possible that two people enjoy the same hobbies, and seek the same Lord, and have been able to live true siblingship in Christ. And it’s also possible that we could all learn a thing or 12 from that.

Now, moving on. I do know that opposite sex friendships are kind of a scary thing for most Christians, because we’ve all been (at least if we’re past our teens), in a place to be hurt by someone of the opposite sex. But this is where I take a stand. I don’t think that Jesus said that the girls were to stand on one side of the room and the boys were to stand in another room, just to make sure we don’t slip into adultery. No, just like every other sin, Jesus tells us to be alert. But He also tells us He’s overcome. So, if you’re wondering how exactly you can have a best friend who you don’t intend to marry, check out these helpful points.

There are definitely challenges that come with opposite sex friendships.

1) Hormones. Hello, I’m 23. And my best friend is 24. We’re basically hormonal animals. We never know when we’re going to be attracted to someone and we rarely know if we should actually act on what we feel. It’s likely that, if spending enough time with someone in a place, the idea of connecting on a romantic level will cross your mind 1 or 50 times. And, that’s normal. What matters then, is what you do with that. We’ll get to how to manage that further down.

2) Later relationships. Yup, if you’re best friends with someone, it’s not okay to later date them because they are about to like someone else and that might leave you with less time with them. Jesus is in control of that, and you’re not meant to marry everyone. Sit tight and be siblings. It’s actually a lot of fun, and if you continue to listen to Jesus, it’ll probably be more incredible as the years go on.

3) Society. Have you listened to pop music lately? If you have, and it’s the only thing you’d ever heard, you would assume that everyone is drunk, high, and having sex always. If you have only heard Miley Cyrus, you would assume that it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE to stop doing things that are bad for your person. Cuz that’s what the song says, and it must be true, right? Wrong. That’s not real life. We’ll get to that too.

Now, how do we deal with those?

1) Seek the Lord with a pure and open heart on your own. There is nothing quite like needing to have a pure heart that will continually push you to Christ. I love my best friend. He’s a big brother to me, and as 1 Corinthians says, love protects. If I really am seeking Christ in our relationship, I would always aim to protect his heart. I wouldn’t do things that I know will cause him to stumble, and he would protect me, doing the same. That’s love. And that leads to us knowing Christ more fully.

2) Communicate. I know, this seems simple, but that’s most of Satan’s hold in our lives. If he can keep us from speaking with each other and holding our lives out in the light, then we are going to be fumbling around in the dark with each other. And I can promise you, that’ll lead to a mess in more ways than one. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. If you’re nervous about something, talk about it. Read the Bible. Apply truth. Don’t listen to your fear, and trust that in Christ, we actually can speak about all things.

3) Seek Christ together. I know that we can have non-Christian relationships like this, but I also know that without something to seek together, people run out of hobbies and make one another their hobbies really, really fast. Do not do that. If you’re not seeking Christ together, there’s a serious problem (in any relationship really). Do you care about this person? Then point them to Christ. And the reality is that they probably will do the same. My best friend and I worship and pray and encourage our friends together. We speak honestly and openly, and point out each other’s sin. And we feel so alive in that.

Now, why are these relationships worth it?

1) The Bible says so. Galatians 6:10 – “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. “That means boys and girls. And we’re in the same family, under the same Father. Brother and sister. And that means that there must be some value in having fellowship with another in the body of Christ, no matter what gender they are.

2) There is a lot to learn from the opposite sex. A ton, in fact. Have questions about how you should be treated? Need to know if you should or shouldn’t date someone? There’s a good chance that the opposite sex (if they’re using their Biblical wisdom), will be able to guide you in that. And there’s an even better chance that they can help you heal from pain from that past. They shouldn’t fill a void, but they should be able to help you make sense of pain.

3) It’s a lot of fun. To find someone who understands you, and who is understood by you, is a wonderful thing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have other friends (Most healthy relationships do have many other sources of energy…even if you’re married to your best friend.) but that doesn’t mean that you have to only have friends who are of the same sex because you’re afraid of the stumbling that it could lead to. I laugh a lot. And so does he. Because there are things that, as a female, I can think more solidly about than my friend can, and he himself can think more solidly about than I.

Of course, these relationships take some awareness, but so do friends who are of the same gender. Anyone can cause others to stumble. Even in sexual ways. The point is, eyes on Christ. Soak up Christ. Let Christ love you, and protect each other’s hearts. Maybe you’ll get married someday, but you were meant to be brother and sister before anything else. And for now, that’s all you have to be. At worst case, you and your future spouse have another best friend in the body of Christ forever.

Oh, and Jesus uses love. Always, and forever. Don’t stop Him.

And that’s awesome. 🙂

…because love wins.

PS: Join us in our newest ministry together: http://www.Facebook.com/LivingLikeJesus7

“I suffer with depression.”


“It’s the stigma that makes you hold it in and you hide it, because the stigma around depression in our society is very real. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. But when you say you have depression, they run away. We can’t procrastinate on something this important.”

This, my friend says it all really well. Please watch – understand depression.

Depression is real. It’s not weak.

Depression

…because love wins.

Who do you say I AM?


“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

“They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

“Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Pause. What does that mean? Webster, whatcha got?

Image

I wonder if they all already believed that and were like, “Well, yeah, duh, Peter. Obviously. Maybe His question was rhetorical? He obviously just caught about a bazillion fish for you. Or were you asleep for that?” And then Jesus has to be all like, “Calm down boys, no competition needed here. You can repent to Me for that later. I’m still here to save you.”

I mean, it could have happened. They’re humans. And men. I’m half-kidding. We’ve all been at a football game before. Men are good competitors.

Anyway…moving on.

gardenThe other options are something likened to stopping breathing or realizing that this is potentially a mental health problem on a grand scale. They could have all been thinking, “You know, a year ago I was just chillin’ with my money and now I’m hanging out with these other 11 guys that I’m not sure have a clue, walking around with this guy who prays in gardens when he should be sleeping. This seems like a good time to jump ship.” Or, they were just like…”Eh, whatever, I was bored anyway, and this could be fun.”

That last one is probably unlikely, but still possible. Still humans.

The final option is that they could have gotten it. And knew that this was the real thing. This guy showed up. He didn’t come all fancy based on world’s standards (They probably thought he’d show up in a Fisker Karma or something.) but sure did have something special about him. Maybe that was the point.

Jesus goes on,

“[He] strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will

save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Man. We just established that he’s the Messiah. And now he say to these guys, “Well, let’s go. Leave your whole life. You don’t need anything you’ve ever had before; just Me.”

sandals

Are you kidding me? I would have been like…”Um, my house, my donkey, my only book that I’ve got hidden in my backyard, my rice, my beans, my SANDALS! You’re just a guy – and we won’t get many showers travelling like you intend. Smelly and no iPhone. How can we make it?” (Who knows…Apple could have been there too.)

I think we all would have been. I also think it’s easy to think that these men were something special, that they saw something that made everything make sense in a way that it doesn’t now. I think we think it was easy for this men to do this.

But think about it. There’s no way in the world that they would have been able to just do this without a major struggle. It’s quite obvious that there were enough people around who didn’t think Jesus was the right One. And they thought that enough to murder Him.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t easier for them to believe than it is for us to.

But he was also talking about dying. And saving the world. And that catches my attention. And theirs.

It’s then also safe to say that it was right.

Think about your closest friends. Do you care what the world thinks about them? No, you don’t. You care about who they are. And you will follow them, be with them, and live life with them, because you know who they are.

The same applies to Jesus. We are just like Peter. Who do the athiests say Jesus is? The Mormons? The Muslims? Well, they say He’s something that He’s not.

But He says to you, “Child, who do you say I AM?”

Will you come?

…because love wins.

Jesus

Cited: Luke 9:18-27