But I am a rose

You are the flower of the sun, wild and free

Reigning over fields as far as the eye can see

Stretching toward heaven, you grow as mighty as you do tall

And admiring you objectively, it looks like you have it all

Fore I live in a world that’s crowded and thorned

Encompassed by twins, all with similar leaves to adorn

Because I am a rose…

Not as energetic, but my elegance still shows

I’m not a giggly gold, but a romantic red

Not ideal for wall art, but for a bouquet instead

I’m strategically pruned and my ‘fields’ are bushes

I lack the adventure of a wildflower but my gardener calls me his

I’m only impeccable when properly maintained and in season

And I can only be so when in my own region

I am a flower just like you; no less, no more

We are both dominant, but only in what we are created for

You, my statuesque friend, that shines brighter than any

And I, the ideal symbol of love for many

Though I adore the land where your army grows

I can only bloom here in subdued brilliance, for I am a rose

 

Little Pink Journal Part 2

I’ve sifted through a lot of my journaled prayers and there were some things I said that make me smile; that make me say “you’re on the right track, Simone”. There were some things that make me sad and really wish I could go back and comfort my past self. There were something I wrote down hoping to rid myself of he feelings, but now I’m happy I have them to remember.

What’s below are a mixture of it all. Some make me sound awesome, some make me sound horrible, and some make me crazy, but all of them were honest. i can’t promise that they’re biblical, I can see a lot of fallacies in my thinking, but all if it has brought me here. Written anywhere between 6-2 years ago, never with the intention of being public, but maybe they have a place here now.

  • “I’m going to make it. You promised.”
  • “It’s touching to see how it looks when the church runs as a body, not a group.”
  • “You’ve shown me that following you isn’t hard, but sometimes the work is.”
  • “…because I know it’s impossible for me to keep growing in you, never discovering the role you want me to play. Thank you for letting me play a part at all.”
  • “Before I start, I want to lay down my heart. You know I ache to be in a godly relationship and I know you have great reasons why that hasn’t happened yet. It’s hard, but I do trust you. Now, back to what’s important tonight…”
  • “My sin doesn’t take away from your mercy and grace.”
  • “I need you. This is all a part of the process. When I look like you and when I don’t, you will get the glory.”
  • “I’m desperately longing for satisfaction”
  • “I’ve let go of you though you haven’t let go of me”
  • “I want to care too. I don’t really know if I care about myself. I want to care enough about myself to say no to things that will take me away from you. I’m not worthy but you’ve still found a way to love me”
  • “Seeing you was like seeing a ghost or reliving a memory. It’s like you’re not here… or I wasn’t really there. I think that was my closure. I don’t suppose I’ll ever see you again and I’m not sad. You truly were a good part of 2013 but you have no place in 2014. I’m not sure if I’m being cold-hearted. Sometimes I have to fight off the bitterness but I’m not mad. You’ve done nothing wrong. There are some things I wish we both did differently, but you did nothing to intentionally cause me pain. There are still some things I hang onto that I need to rid myself of but that comes from inside and not from you or anyone/anything else. You were an experience I needed to have. I didn’t think I’d survive but I did and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I hope one day only good things will come to mind when I think of you. Until then…” {not about God}
  • “I got very far off the path and it’s been hard to find the will to get back and stay there. It hurts God and it hurts that it doesn’t hurt. I want to be close to you again. I know that’s where I belong, God. So badly I need to be renewed in you. I need a fresh dose of who you are and who I am in you.”
  • “Feelings come and that’s ok as long as they are met with truth.”

I didn’t expect this to be so long so I’ll probably continue with Part 3!

Little Pink Journal (Part 1)

Recently I decided to go thru a 6-year-old journal of mine. I was a newborn Christian, desperately hungry for all things Christ. Little did I know I was sitting on a gold mine of encouragement, wisdom, and faith. Though I’ve learned so many things and can see flaws in past thinking, I can see how ‘smart’ I’ve become. I need to become a little less ‘smart’and a little more ‘child-like’

I’ve decided to go thru it and to get back to the roots of it all. Thought I’d share just a few gold nuggets I found. As I keep digging and fleshing things out, I’ll keep you all updated, but for now:

  1. Barnabas is probably my favorite non Saviour person of the Bible. He’s first mentioned at the end of Acts. I love that though he initially lead Paul, he stepped down and became a powerful follower under Paul’s leadership once he saw the call on his life. That’s true leadership.
  2. Hebrews 10:35-39 Jeepers that’s a good verse! Basically “You’ve come too far and you know what waits for you at the finish line. Keep going!”
  3. Wisdom –  knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action
  4. An appreciative heart attracts gifts/blessings
  5. “Christianity is not a life improvement or behavior modification program”
  6. “The Enemy does a great job of ministering to those in the church who love the fame & power associated with helping others heal”
  7. “Your strength in life is not determined by your ability; it’s determined by God’s authority”
  8. God’s power is only potential until we convert it by faith in action
  9. Intimacy requires risk
  10. The outcomes of my life does not rest squarely on my shoulders (THANK GOD!)

 

That whole quarter life crisis thing

 

A week ago I had a depressing epiphany that lead to a promising one: my life is not going according to plan. I’ve never been the girl that had a detailed answer to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” but I’ve always been one who exuded confidence in wherever my future looked like. Well, I’ve hit that 5 year mark a few times now and this is far from the future I was so confident in.

First, let me say that I truly do have a great life. Not to be braggadocios, but any complaint I have is superficial and small. However, it’s only a temporary balm to the fact that I’m overwhelmingly underwhelmed. Naturally, I found myself turning to God to point fingers. “This?! A 26 year old, single receptionist living back with my mom? I think we need to upgrade a few things.”

I was so disappointed in what was ‘supposed to be’ that it started to evolve into apathy. My prayers were small because my faith was fading and that’s why I think God wanted me to lose it. Not to inconvenience or embarrass me, but to get me to the place where engaged these feelings of disenchantment and disillusion because even though I didn’t see it, they were deeply affecting me and hindering my relationship with him.

Here’s the short version:

  1. My Heart – Had I postponed that fit any longer (because it was going to happen by will or by force), He couldn’t have shown me how calloused I’d become. I didn’t hate the world, but I’d become so jaded. My excitement would come in fits and starts, but I didn’t have true joy and I never stopped to let myself realize it. I was discouraged and I wouldn’t let myself be ok with that. I’d always combat it saying I had no basis to be so, but I never worked through those thoughts with God. Instead I let all the little defeats build up like plaque on my heart. I was only able to live in the moment, but God also wanted to give me hope for the future.
  2. My Expectations – I never learned how to handle my wants and desires well within the scope of my will and God’s will (I still don’t really know ow, but I’m more proactive about learning now). I’ve always tried to talk myself out of the gray desires, the blessings I weren’t automatic (marriage, a comfy life, paid bills, etc). In reality “talk myself out of” is really more like “shame myself out of” and I can tell you firsthand that that doesn’t work. I didn’t know how to walk thru wanting the things I didn’t have while also being fully satisfied in God. I knew there is a way, but what did it look like? I know this is a little graphic, but I tried to brutally murder the good desires God placed in my heart over and over again thinking they couldn’t coexist with a healthy walk. I thought wanting something I didn’t have would inevitably lead me away from God. Turns out that when properly surrendered, they actually bring me closer to him. Still, thinking about how I treated myself so bad thinking I was doing something good breaks my heart.
  3. My Faith in Him – Lo and behold, these desires didn’t die. They came back as zombies, the undead, following me around all day, eating away at my brain (thoughts) which directly ate away at my heart (drive). Since these things would never stay dead, and God wouldn’t give them life, something had to die and it seems my faith in Him was it. You can’t live a life of authentic faith and relationship with God assuming that He can do great things but just won’t do them with you. That is literally non-biblical according to Hebrews 11: 6. God is good. He’s good now as he will be and has been for all eternity. My circumstances may not look to point to that, but somehow they always do. If praying that I make it to work safely is the biggest prayer I have for myself, there’s something wrong.

A week later, I try to stay consistent in an honest prayer to get to know God better, which will lead to greater faith, asking that God renew and realign my heart with his, and to reveal the brokenness and sin that hinders the intimate relationship we both desire. I can sincerely say that I have no recollection of ever being so aware of God’s mercy and grace in my entire life. I consider experiencing them to be vital to a full life in Christ, so I’ll say the progress has already been immense.

Just another day unlike any other day:)

 

 

No More Mrs. Potato Head

I am a woman. In that I have unshakable confidence, but the “of God” part hasn’t come to me as easily. Being a woman today is debatable, being a good woman is subjective, and being a godly woman is obscure. I’ve found myself wandering through this wilderness my whole life. Sometimes I even call this no man’s land my home. Yet, every time I attempt to settle, everything shifts again. There is no solid ground on the society’s path to knowing womanhood. The qualifications, responsibilities, and characteristics are constantly changing… and fast!

Since the beginning, my understanding of myself and of what I’m supposed to be have been at odds. Even with the revolving door of should’s and should not’s, I’ve never belonged. I’m too fervent to be coy, too attentive to be independent, and too assertive to be matronly. I go through seasons of loving the variety then hating the fluctuations. Seems like the world is unceasingly ready and willing to answer my repetitive cry for direction with a different route every time.

Even in the ways I knew were wrong, I’d still run to them because found (false) validation. Though there are maaaany hats I felt unable to wear, I could rock the crown of empowerment like no other. Personally, I think we all have a sin that almost seems custom-made for us. Power, independence, what I say goes, attitude, sass, etc (basically the feminism movement) are mine. When I want to stray from God, this is my home away from home, my comfy prison cell.

It wasn’t until I read  Genesis 3:16 that I saw a light at the end of this “slay trick or you get eliminated” tunnel (that’s Beyonce for those of you I just completely alienated). How ‘lucky’ am I that my preferred strategy for self-destruction is so clearly stated in the Bible. That I can point to one verse and say, “uh, yea Simone, THAT’S why you are the way you are”. Not everyone has that advantage. But when I try to sum up my fleshly desire, And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” is it. My desire is to rule, but it’s not my true place. *Keep in mind that I said it’s not my place. I didn’t say that I can’t get there. That’s the problem; my reign is not right (eternally tortuous, even), but it’s not unattainable, at least not the kind I’d seek.

Being a woman is not easy (being anything really, but I’m gonna stick to what I know). I’m constantly playing devil’s advocate with myself trying to read between the lines of every Bible verse. Attempting to contort my being into the Proverbs 31 woman and seeing I don’t measure up. Maybe it’s because so many of her traits have been distorted in my present day and corrupted mind. It’s a lot of pressure and it’s a bad habit of mine to grill God demanding answers as to when he’s going to change this or that about me. My assumption was that when I got closer to Him, things would traded, instead they’ve been upgraded! I basically thought my personality was Mrs. Potato Head and God would take out the wrong pieces and put in the right ones. But One metaphorical ear is still bigger than the other, my eyes are still mismatched, my shoes are too big for my body. A toy, not a tool.

This is not to give the illusion that once you meet Christ you’re exactly the same. It’s concept I live, but haven’t quite learned to properly explain. A lot about me has changed, but my change has mostly been direction and motivation, not tools and traits. I think the best way for me to say it is that my pieces aren’t gone, but the potato is. I am a new creation and all of my seemingly random pieces now have a purpose because they’re connected to the right Body. So, no more Mrs. Potato Head…

 

My Faith is About Me

Eight months ago, this is was me:

I’ve found myself deeply convicted by how little I create  and how much I consume in my life. Selfish. Despite knowing that a life lived following Christ is, by definition, not about me. I too, like many others, have fallen into the trap of living like my faith is about me. That a better me is the goal, that a well-rounded, strong, confident woman of God is supposed to be the target on this side of Heaven.

A normal day in my heart looks like “How can I improve myself today?” when it’s supposed to be, “What’s on the agenda today, God? How can I better serve you?” I’ve retreated into myself with the narcissistic focus of becoming a better follower of Christ, not a truer one. And I’ve failed many many times, not because of the vision, but because of the direction.

The inward seems to fall into place with the upward focus to the only source of real life, then outward to those who need the same. I’m ambushed with abusive and false representations of what I’m supposed to be, people who are so passionately angry, so committed to condemnation and division. But meditating on the guilt and confusion only paralyzes my drive to love harder. I wake up everyday wrestling with the choice to intentionally become ignorant of reality or stepping up to a situation that bigger than anything I’ve even known.

I get it. So stressed out about getting it right that she’s stressed out about wanting to get it right. Sad. She’s stuck, paralyzed by the heart out. Explaining how she knows that there’s not much worthwhile that comes only from self-improvement by trying to do just that.

I understand her, though I don’t recognize her. She’s changed. Is she still selfish, abso-freaking-lutely, but is she obsessed with renovating her insides? Not as much. She finds that there’s a lot more to gain by inviting people in, despite the mess. She used to get the “Oh, every things so beautiful, you could put your house on a magazine” and that was nice, but everyone was afraid to breath, much less get comfortable. Now she gets the “It’s ok. It’s lived in. I like it. Feels like home.” and that’s much better.

Do I still want to be a better version of me? Yes x 10. But do I think that’s what God’s ultimate sacrifice was about? Is that why he died for Simone? No x 20. Perfection is overrated and a changed life is better demonstrated.

*Yes, I was heavily influenced by Dr. Seuss.

Times Like These

It’s times like these my hands itch to do the work of which I am not equipped

When instinct says to ball my fist, square my shoulders, and keep a stiff upper lip

But it’s times like these that I need to be still and let what should be become what is

When I let myself off the hook, let Dad be Dad and allow myself to be kid

I have no clue what’s going on, but give me time and I’ll come up with a plan

Or I can exhale in faith that there’s a Creator holding all creation in his hand

Yes, I can be a master manipulator, the most cunning thing you can find

But the truth is, compared to Him I’m always leagues and decades behind

To this day, I still buck like a beast when faced with taking off my runt of a crown

It still takes more than what I have to give to repeatedly lay my life down

Yet, to this day, I’m still given all I need to learn that I can be still

I’m still gently and authoritatively welcomed into the peace of His will

It’s days like these that I’m reminded that I am in desperate need

It’s days like these that I’m reminded that I can’t and don’t have to take the lead

That I don’t have to know where I’m going in order to take a step confidently

That I’ve submitted myself to the only One of complete competency

I’m not condemned or chastised for the struggle I struggle against

To my fragile faith and wavering will He doesn’t take offense

In fact, He’s pleased to see me draw near when my expertise is running far away

It makes Him proud to see me attempt to mimic my Father, even to my dismay

And so, it’s days like these that feel like I’m digressing

When the reality is I’m drenched in his blessing