Tag Archives: Family
22. Dec, 2011

Risking love

Risking love

There is a great capacity in life to be loved and also a great capacity to be hurt.  I have been on both sides of that spectrum and have come to believe that in order to truly be loved you have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable enough to risk being hurt.

As I sat back and chatted with God today, I realized, without trying to sound too prideful, that my family loves well. It’s not just because we are “good” at it but rather because of who God is in our lives.  What I mean by that is the fact that my family has somehow managed to learn how to love each other in such a way that at the end of the day, we still know without a doubt that we are loved. Believe me, this did not happen overnight but rather it has taken time to build such a strong foundation of trust and assurance. It is a love centered and based around the love that God has demonstrated for us.

I have seen my family go through the depths of darkness and back. There were times when I honestly thought that there was no way our family could be left standing in the midst of the destruction that surrounded us. Coming from my background I would have understood if we had crumbled, in fact I expected it.  Yet something I have learned about love is that it is stubborn if you allow it to be and against all odds it will continue to get back up, even when you think it can’t.  When your base is built from God’s love, you begin to realize just how strong love can be. I watched as my mom, dad and brother fought for our family with everything they had. Even when I was at my worst I somehow understood that they were not going to let us be destroyed. I watched them as they had tears in their eyes, choosing to fight against the darkness. I saw what it was like for them to be weary from the battle but to still refuse to give up.  They fought for our souls and pleaded to God on our behalf, it was a selfless, endless love. I doubt they will ever realize how thankful I am that they never gave up. They taught me so much about family and what it means to be fought for. It was not an easy road; but rather quite a painful road. What still amazes me is that though I hurt them so badly, they chose to love me despite knowing that I would continue to hurt them until I was set free.

Thankfully, we have come out the other side of the darkness and in doing so we have become much stronger as a family. Our joy is real when we stand and celebrate victories with each other. We have learned the importance of treasuring the good moments with each other. I can honestly say that our family has ridden through the good, the bad and the ugly and we are still standing. I watched yesterday as our various hearts grieved for a current situation and how throughout the day we all hung close to each other. We wanted to love each other the best that we could and support each other as best as we know how.

I would not trade my family for anything. I have learned that to love fully, you will likely get hurt. In saying that I would rather risk being hurt and love with all of my heart than to live a “safe, protected” life. I would rather know the depths of love than to live sheltered behind self-made walls. It may sound strange but I am thankful for the hard times that taught me how to stand unified as a family knit in love. I no longer want to be afraid of the pain, because I have seen the other side; I have seen the strength that evolves from fighting for something worthwhile.

I want more from my life than what I was taught in my early years. I want to learn how to love extravagantly and to bring glory to God with every moment. I want to stand with my head held high, confident in the woman Papa made me. I want to challenge mindless rituals and stop the cycle with me. I want the Truth of God’s Word to penetrate my stubborn soul and change the very depths of me so I can stand victoriously free. I want my legacy to be one of love, strength and passion. I believe that in this world where love has become a fleeting feeling that I need to be willing to stand up and fight for a love that does not give up. I want to learn from my Papa how to love people selflessly, through the good and the bad and not give into the culture around me that tries to convince me that love is weak.

Help me Papa to love as You love. Show me how to fight, even when I feel weak, give me Your strength. Show me how to stand and how to end the day with the assurance that I have loved the best I can. Help me to not waste a day hidden behind walls but show me how to love extravagantly and freely.

05. Apr, 2011

Rough Around the Edges

Rough Around the Edges

I’ve reached the end of the week and I’m tired, not in a bad way, I am just pretty much sapped of energy because of the way things happened. The funny thing is that before my week of hosting began I prayed for a chance to learn how to love people as God does. Papa has a sense of humor and loves to give His children chances to put into practice the very thing we ask for.

The group that I was hosting this week was rough.  They come from a tough area and it showed through their actions and how they spoke to each other.  The first day they were here there were five physical fights by 4 p.m… they had only arrived at 11 am.  As I opened up team rescue I knew that I had a day ahead of tough challenges, these kids that were struggling to get along just walking around the camp, now had to work as a team to get to through a challenging obstacle course.  My concern mounted as the first group of kids came through carrying the planks of wood that are supposed to help them walk around the course. After a while of yelling at each other and getting frustrated when certain planks of wood would not reach where the kids wanted to go, things were starting to go downhill fast. One of the kids must have been tired of getting nowhere because he did the most logical thing he could think of…hit the other boy who was not listening to his ideas in the head with the plank.  As I sat watching this transpire I was praying to Papa, desperately seeking wisdom on how I handle the situation and where to go from here, obviously I couldn’t  keep the activity going if the kids are going to whack each other every time they get frustrated!

When I asked the kids to hop off the logs and got them to sit in the grass I realized the great need that was in front of me. Most of these kids probably come from backgrounds where yelling and screaming is normal and where getting physical is how you establish your position of strength with those around you. These children have probably not had many people in their lives take the time to invest into them or show them how to love others. I can imagine that a lot of these children have not had many people believe in them. Meaning I doubt many people in their lives actually think they will amount to much. My heart broke for these kids. As I entered into conversation with them about how most people don’t respond well to being called names or being yelled at, I had a chance to see their hearts. These children had good hearts; they were just rough around the edges.

It made me reflect on my own life and my past. I could see myself in these kids. It made me realize just how tough it would have been for my family to choose to look past the rough edges and tough walls I put up and allow me into their hearts and lives. I’m not going to sugar coat it; I was a very wounded person when I came into my family. I had moments of great selfishness, moments where I allowed learned responses to lead my actions and I probably made my family very tired by the end of the days that I spent with them.  The funny thing about people like me is that inside of the rough and tough exterior there really is a heart that longs for something more, that longs for someone to take the time to scale the walls and see into the heart.  It takes patience to invest into lives of people like me, of people like these children. I have been truly blessed by a family that believed in Papa and in His love for all of His children that they chose to extend that love to me. They looked past the walls and chose to say we love you anyway and we want you. Man…I don’t think I can ever express what that has meant for me. Love without strings. A Love that is modeled on the greatest love ever, a love that sees past the actions and says, “I choose you. You are mine.”  I know that I have brought many tears and many hours of heartache into my family’s lives and yet they choose to continue to extend grace and love. They chose to keep fighting for me, to keep believing that Papa has a plan for me, no matter what I do to challenge them.

I’m not sure that I am making sense in this blog. What I am trying to say is that it doesn’t matter who is in front of you or how difficult they are, we are told to love them. Each of those children that showed up at camp this week is one of Papa’s children and His heart is for them. I’m not even sure what will happen to those children as they return to their normal lives. I may never see them again but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they crossed my path for three days and in those three days I was challenged and stretched and worn out BUT in those three days I was given the chance to learn how to love and how to extend grace. I’m not going to lie; I have a long way to go in learning how to love. I am not very good at loving people, growing up as I did; I am naturally a very selfish person.  I am thankful that Papa has not given up on me and that He continues to present opportunities for me to learn. That He loves me enough to teach me important lessons. What greater lesson can be learned than how to love as He loves? I pray that as the days continue that He continues to stretch me and continues to give me opportunities to practice. I want to learn how to love I want to be like my family is and extend love to the people most would ignore. I want to learn to love like Jesus loved… Pray for me as I embark on this journey!

24. Dec, 2010

Name Change

I know there have been a few people who have questioned or asked about my recent name change on Facebook. I figured I would just write a blog and hopefully answer everyone’s questions at once by sharing what is going on in my head and heart recently. “Peppa”  was a nickname which came from my friend back in Sydney who I have called Salty for quite sometime.  Salty had a dream in which she called me Peppa.  From then on we were known to our friends and families as “Salty and Peppa”.  I love this nickname, it’s quite honestly the best nickname I have ever had, and I love the connotations that come with it. However, lately I have felt it  less  as a”nickname” but more and more, MY NAME.  Not sure how to explain all this…. A name that was lovingly bestowed on me, but now has become my identity. It is a name, for me, that is full of life, laughter, joy, hopes and dreams.  It is fun, and *I* am fun!!! =D So, it just feels like it fits on me, like an old, comfortable pair of jeans.

Now the change of my last name takes a bit more of an explanation. I’m not sure how familiar you are with God and the Bible but in the Bible there are numerous stories where God literally changes the name of a person He has called out of “the old” into something new. Something new, taking them from the old life into new life.  In my walk with Papa He  is very kind to me in the fact that He knows I learn hands on and so He often  teaches me things  through practical hands on experience. I was born into a family that does not know God which was very apparent in the lifestyle that we led. I was living a life that was really just dead, spinning my wheels walking down a road of destruction, switching from one death trap to another. Then I became a Christian and was given a new life, a life with purpose and meaning. It was like I was woken up from a deep sleep and allowed to finally be awake.

I did the best I could living on my own but then one day Papa introduced me to a family. A family who accepted me as their own and absorbed me into their lives. To them I was considered one of their own, I was a Stark. Mom has stated it this way. “Maybe not a child grown in my womb, but a child grown in my heart.” At one point they brought up the idea of changing my name which I quickly backed away from. I didn’t want to hurt my biological family or rock the boat, so I chose to remain a Bricker, even though I felt in my heart I was a Stark.  It’s funny how Papa works though, He let me hang onto my old name and all that came with it. Addictions that I continued to walk in, and what seems to be this odd connection that gives the family ownership over me. No matter where I was I would be concerned with what they had to say to me and about me, I gave them full reign on matters that happened in my life and chose to have my voice silenced because whatever their opinion was, was really still the most important to me.  I would have moments of living in freedom, walking with Papa and following His voice on matters, choosing to learn how to live life as His child. Yet it would not be long before I would look back and worry that I was hurting my bio family and quickly go running back to them.

For awhile now I have been walking on the fence. I have been allowed to be a part of the Stark family and they have consistently been patient with me as they poured out love, grace, compassion on me, teaching me more and more about Papa and who He is. As I have continued on this journey Papa has continued to challenge me and ask me to step out of my old dead life and into new life. Instead of obeying I have chosen to walk the fence leaving one foot in the past and tentatively placing a toe in my new life. I feel like a turtle… I stick my head out desperate to enjoy the freedom Papa has granted me but find myself sticking my head back into the safety of my shell, afraid to be seen as silly.  I am afraid that by living like this I have allowed myself to be stuck in an old way of life, a way of life that will kill me. I’m not sure I am making sense but in the short of it Papa has asked me again to walk in obedience and faith. He has asked me to lay down my old life once and for all and pick up my new life, to get off the fence and stand. The significance of changing my name means that I am choosing to step out of my old life and to step into the new life.

I know that by choosing to take this step I will be faced with some opposition. I can imagine there will be people who might not agree with this decision, people in my past who will want to offer their opinions.  I want to take the opportunity now, to make it clear that this to me is about a heart thing and completely about walking in obedience to what Papa is asking me.  I want to stand very firmly on the Truth that this is about pleasing God and not man. It is very serious for me and I have already seen the opposition from Satan in how hard he is working to hold me back. I am tired of allowing Satan the voice in my life of allowing him to push me back and forth, tossing me to and fro.  I do NOT want him to be allowed the power in my life any longer, it is time to take it back and allow Papa’s voice the rightful rule in my life. This decision is about obeying His leading and choosing to walk in obedience and confidence that I am making the choice to follow Him. So even if it does not make sense, this is something I have to do and stand with my head held high as I claim the name of Peppa Stark.

06. Mar, 2009

My Dad the Protector!

I try to portray toughness when deep down I know I am not who I was. I am not the same person that could wake up when her mom went to work and watch the house to make sure no one tried to break in. I am no longer the person who can walk down dark alleys at night, just cuz I could. .

I tried to go to bed at 9:00 because of my head but the time is now 11:32. I was doing good and actually almost asleep until Zambi our kitty decided now was a perfect time to start hissing at my window, which of course has now freaked me out to the point of having a light on upstairs, the rumpus room light on and my bedroom light on. I am now hearing the door knock with the wind and I just know I will never be able to sleep tonight…i’m sure that will help the head.

I did what any logically thinking girl would do at this point…called my dad! Yup, I’m not quite sure why I did that other then the fact that I know he is the protector, and I’ve seen him protect me numerous times. SO i called him, who can’t do anything from where he is at, and let him try to convince me to calm down. i wonder if he could hear the shaking in my voice? Anyways he very sweetly explained that our cat is a freak and goes crazy at night and that I have nothing to worry about.

I now know that I, Sabrina am afraid of the dark! Yes laugh if you must but it was a very serious moment for me to call my dad, but I didn’t even have to think about it. I rang his number with my hands shaking and I realized that no I’m not the same person I was. I probably never would have been afraid back then but at the same time I probably never would have allowed myself to be that vulnerable, especially to a guy. It’s moments like these that I step back and realize just how much I love the guys in my life. My dad shows me a part of God that I couldn’t understand without him. he shows me a glimpse of God’s protectiveness. God as my protector. Yup dad showed me another part of God tonight….

At the moment i think i am tired enough to drop off…knowing God is watching me, wrapping me in His protective arms.