1 Timothy 4:4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.
I think about what we see as good and bad. What makes something good? How do we define the word good? The word “good” can be an adjective used to describe, it can be a noun, or it can be an adverb. Good as an adjective means either to be desired or approved of, it also means having the qualities for a particular role. Good as a noun simply means that which is morally right, benefit or advantage to someone or something. Good as an adverb, the expression of relation, it means well. If a thing then therefore is desired and approved of , then it must be therefore good. In this sense a flat tire can be good. What if the flat tire we got in the morning caused us to be late, and because we were late we missed being in an accident that could’ve happened had we been on time. If we knew that this would have happened then we could all agree the flat tire was a good thing not bad. It is relevant to the perspective of the event then. Of course we can’t see into our own future and know the outcome of what might of happened if something else hadn’t of happened. Instead we see the flat tire as bad because we are then late for work and because the world says being late is bad it must be so. Can we be grateful for the things in our lives we do not want. If we are grateful for it even though we do not like it, we could still call that which we do not like good. It’s a simple verse, and very straight to the point. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. To create everything good. Yet, it is our exceptance of everything in gratefulness which shows us God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
Last night as I was laying down before bed to meditate I had a single thought, which involved the name of my ex. It had been a while since I thought about him. It has been a while since we ended our two-year relationship. As I laid in bed I started writing a letter to him in my mind. Well, that was it. I had to get the letter out onto paper. I turned the light back on and sat there in the middle of the night pouring out a letter to a person who was no,long part of my life. I didn’t quite understand the impulse. Like I said it had been a while since I had even thought about him. I don’t intend to send him the letter, but I think in some way it was the release of any bit of him which was still left. Did I mention that the guided meditation I was doing was about letting go? I figure this is what brought the whole thing about. I want to share with you what I wrote……
It may seem crazy to be writing this letter, especially after all this time has passed. I haven’t the least bit of expectation what may come of it. I have very little hope that you will even read this letter. Nor do I even anticipate any form of response. Yet, I write it not because of some need to even hear from you. I have discovered instead that words are powerful. Words can defy expectations, they can even bring understanding to your own past. I have been writing a lot lately, you see. I have been recalling memories and sharing them with others. It has brought me some happiness over the past weeks. It has shown me the other angles of the memories which I had not seen before.
I was in bed this evening when in my mind, I said your name. I had a thought of you. Not because I was wondering how you are getting on or what you have been up to. No, it was just a thought, and so I said your name. The simple thought brought forth a memory though. Do you remember a few summers ago, how you called me unexpected. You were in a drunken state, and dialed my number. You wanted to apologize for screwing everything up. You can’t begin to know how I had wanted to hear those words, even then. Alcohol is a funny thing sometimes. It lowers our inhibitions. I don’t think you would have called had it not been for the drunken state you were in. At first the apology did not mean that much to me. I only felt you were too late. A lot had been done and said between us, and in ways the apology seemed tarnished by what you said afterwards. Yet, one thing still sticks out. As you confessed in the uninhibited state you were in, your new relationship was so different from ours. You confessed how much you missed being able to talk to someone like you had with me. The great thing about our conversations were the honesty between us. This honesty was there from the first day we met. I had never let anyone in so close before. We had true intimacy. I had taken down all my walls for you. I will confess to have been afraid of letting people in for some time after you broke my heart. However, the brokenness did not maintain its hold over me. Tonight, I sit in the darkness remembering all of it.
Memories can be a silly thing. They can be like a ribbon dancing along in the wind. You are walking in an open field which is your mind. When a gust comes along whirling the memory in front of you. So, you stop to gaze at its wonder in admiration. Thinking about what was once my life. Yet, it is only a ribbon which can be blown further off into the distance. Landing in a tree somewhere for a short period, until it gets blown in front of you again. As I have been writing and remembering more often, I have begun to see things differently. I know we were happy for a while. Like memories happiness is fleeting. It often gets overshadowed. Happiness is never sustained. Instead we must find joy. Not the kind of joy that is really just happiness masquerading as joy. No, we must find the true joy. Joy filled with warmth, the kind of warmth which fills us completely. It consumes every fiber of our being. With joy, there is no room for anything else. Even in the sadness life brings we can still be grateful, because we know joy. You could also call joy love. Not any love but agape love. The love which only comes from God.
I am not sure what you have been doing over the last few years. I don’t even really need to know in honesty. I know what I have been doing. I have been searching. Searching for joy. I have been trying to discover who I want to be. Not only that, but also who I am, and most importantly who God has made me to be. What I have discovered has filled me with joy. It is overwhelming at times. I feel as if my heart will burst from the likes of it. I don’t feel it always, but like God it is always there. In all ways. I don’t have all the answers. And I know that they will be a lifetime in the discovering. The one thing which has brought me to the understanding I have known has been each step along my journey. I have admiration for the part you played in this journey. Without it I would not have understood what I do now.
I understand God has made me into a woman of hope. Even if others around me see it as foolish optimism, I know it is who God wants me to be. How do I become her is a continuation of what has already been. I have lived a life full of many seasons. Many seasons are still to come. You were only a small part in the middle of one of these great seasons. Just as I was a part of one of your seasons. You once told me you believed we were going in different directions. I did not want to believe this at the time. All I wanted was to be going in the same direction as you, but maybe one was ahead of the other. I know now you were right. I choice just to ignore it. We have different paths, and maybe one day we will cross our paths again. Even if it is just a wave hello. I , my dear, will continue to become who God has made me, all while being who I am. Who I am, who I have always been, is beloved by God.
When I put down the pen, and lay back down to sleep, I had a dream. I was standing in an open field and I saw a red ribbon. As I followed the ribbon float back behind me from the direction I had come. I saw him in the distance. He smiled and turn around, starting towards the forest behind me. He met a woman and they walked into the forest together. The one detail I remember about the forest they walked into was it must have been winter, because not a single leave was on a tree in the forest. It was also rather dark, and lacked anything happy. Then a butterfly flew up into the air catching my attention, then hundreds of butterflies were around me as I turned to the right. I ran up a small hill, chasing one of the butterflies. They all flew away as I looked out over the horizon. I began run down the hill towards sunshine and warmth. I started to notice friends of mine on either side of my path, they were smiling and waving as I passed them. Then as I looked upon eat face I noticed they were all the friends I have made over the past two years. All those who I have loved, who have helped me to rediscover God’s grace. I looked ahead and saw a different forest, this one was filled with light. Every tree had the greenest leaves on them. They were hundreds of oak trees to be exact. Stretching beyond what I could see. At this point I was no longer running on my path but rather floating. As I approached more faces, I noticed I could tell if they were male or female, but the face was blank. It was blank like an abstract painting you might find in a museum. Then there were three male faceless people, the first kissed me on the cheek, the second held my hand, and the third I walked up to a minister and married. All the time I was gazing into his face but could not see it. It was all blurred. The only details I remember was he was taller than I am. However, that is easy to do because I am only 5’2″. I smiled and woke up.
In the beginning of the dream I might just claim my subconscious working thoughts out, but now after reflecting upon it I think differently. I am reminded of the dreams of Daniel and Joseph in the bible. How it was a way for God to communicate with them. To show his plan to them. I feel as if this dream was a promise from God that I have so much good ahead of me. I will love again, and someday find someone to share my life with. He already knows, but if I saw their face it would ruin the mystery. I have so many more people to look forward to being friends with, all of them I know I will learn from. I imagine I even have a boyfriend or two who I will date before I find the one God intends for me to marry. Like the dreams of so many in the bible, it gives me hope for the future.
Over the years I have enjoyed reading. During my early twenties I started reading a lot of different types of non-fiction. I have always loved a good story, but as I was becoming an adult true life stories to over my fascination. I was in a time of my life when I was trying to discover the definition of self. I remember one particular book asked the question if you rated your life from one to a hundred ‘How deserving are you?’. What shocked me was my honest answer was not one hundred percent, no I would have loved to say in all certainty that I believed in myself. Instead I started with an answer of 85%, but then a small voice filled my head and said ‘no its lower’. Was it 75%? The voice didn’t agree, instead I believed that I was only 65% deserving of my life. At first I didn’t understand how I could believe such a thing about myself. I knew that self-confidence was important. It wasn’t like I completely hated myself. Although I don’t think a percent who doubts their own worth has true love for themselves. Instead I questioned my worth not because I didn’t have people who loved me and supported me. I like so many people often do, I could not trust that this frail small person traveling along her way could ever find favor in life. I lived in a word where no matter what I did, I would never be good enough.
I had grown up in the church. I was a christian from the young age of five, which is the first time I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I knew even then that no matter where I went in life I would always have him by my side if I only asked. I did not really understand this fully, but I felt like it was something I must do. Not because it was expected, but because it was what I needed. I took many turns in my life. I went out into the world, and even though my faith never fully left me. After all once you ask Christ in, his promise is to stay with you. I did however stop going to church, stopped reading the bible, stopped praying unless I really needed something. I am sure a lot of people pray like that. The pray only comes when something tragic happens and you have nothing left to do but pray. Or maybe you only pray to ask for things like a good job, or new car. Well, that’s what I did for a while. I became wrapped up in my own struggles and world.
Today I was reading Luke 15, the parable of the lost son. To paraphrase the story the son takes his inheritance and goes out into the world and basically blows all of his money. Then he has nothing. For a while he is too afraid to return home, but eventually he does. He thought surely his father would at least give him a job among the servants. To the son’s surprise the father rejoices in his return.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Letʼs have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
In many ways I can relate to how he must have felt. The son still loved his father as he went into the world. He just wanted to make his own way, have a bit of fun. He did things the father would not approve of. It wasn’t until after graduating undergraduate school that I walked away. As I look back at taking my inheritance, it became about trying to decide what I believed. I was no longer certain that I believed in Jesus because it was something I wanted or something my family and friends wanted. It was a time when I had to discover the truth for myself. I was not a bad person even though I was questioning my faith. I look at this time in my life as great growth. I spent all my inheritance in the world and had ups and downs.
Then as I looked around and had nothing left. Like the prodigal son, I turned to my father. I walked into a church that changed my life. The very first sunday God sent me a messenger, to remind me how much he loved me. At the end of the service as we sang one last song, a stranger came up to me and asked to pray for me. As she started praying, the words she spoke poured into my brokenness with love. She shared an image of a little girl wrapped in her father’s arms. She spoke truth about how Jesus had never left me. I was the prodigal daughter who had come back to my father’s house and he was sending his servant to bring me a robe of love. Over the last two years he has been there every step, as I healed, as I became whole, and as I said yes. I discovered my worth. I can now answer the question ‘How deserving are you?’ and answer 100%. My heart is full with his love. I am sure that there will be times I stubble like a small child he will always be there to scoop me up. To wrap his arms around me, and sing a song of celebration. I know it is because of him. I know with every breath I posses, that I am worthy of his love. Not because I am perfect , but because I am his child. Just as you are his child, have faith that you are 100% deserving. Run to the father’s arms knowing he too will scoop you up and carry you through.
Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.