Tag Archives: Grace
19. Sep, 2012

Truth or Dare?

Truth or Dare?

I came across a very interesting concept from one of my friends today and it challenged me into action. Today I will embark on a game of truth or dare. You remember the game from your younger years? I was not particularly fond of the game. I was always trying to weigh up in my mind whether or not I could simply slip into the woodwork without doing anything. I shied away from dares because I knew the minds of my friends (no offense guys but we were crazy!), but I also did not want the risk of having to answer a question about myself truthfully. It’s a terrible game of risk and either way it reveals something about you to the others playing the game. I guess for me I hated the feeling of vulnerability the game left you with.

So then, why would I choose now to play the game of truth or dare? I am choosing to embark on this journey because I believe I need to. I believe this game will require me to become vulnerable to God and to those around me and share where my heart is. I think this game will change this heart of mine for the better. It will challenge me to see the good in the ins and outs of everyday moments.

What then is this game of truth or dare?  “The dare is: record 1,000 gifts of grace and beauty. The truth is: grace can be found in every moment – happy, sad, scared, sacred, frustrating and beautiful. The risk is: exposing myself to testing and change.” (Julia McMahan)  In this it becomes more than a game because it will cause a real life change, which is hopefully for the better. This dare is asking me to record my thankfulness and through it I pray that I become a more grateful and thankful person.  You see I struggle to be thankful in difficult circumstances. My instant reaction is not to look around and see the beauty that has been bestowed upon me but rather to dwell in the muck of the circumstance. Somehow I don’t think God would want my heart to be like that.  He has been challenging me lately to move away from my learned response of negativity and to start living in the beauty of the moment.

Do I think this challenge will be easy? No, I am not naive enough to think that changing an old habit will be simple. I know without a doubt that hard times will come. Times where I will think this game of truth or dare is more trouble than it is worth. Yet at the same time I think that if I am able to cling to God and keep walking forward in obedience, that He will meet me there and teach me new things. I believe that when we get to the other side, the risk of this game will have opened my eyes to the grace and beauty around me. And that my friends, will make this game worth it.

Here goes:
1. A beautiful spring day in which I am allowed to work outside
2. The fact that so many people come through these gates that we have a chance to show God’s love to
3. Laughter from a friend
4. A quick note of encouragement
5. Sunglasses that make the colors all around look clearer and brighter
6. Coffee…always a good thing!

01. Nov, 2011

The choices we make….

The choices we make….

I heard the news exactly one week ago today.  As I read the words it felt as though all the air had escaped from my body. Sitting in stunned silence I thought to myself, “this must be a mistake, surely this can’t be true.” One minute rolled into the next, until I soon realized that I had somehow lost an hour as I read every article I could on the murders.  Not because I knew the victims but because I know the accused.

I’m not sure there are any words to describe how you feel when you find out an old friend has committed an act so utterly horrific.  As the days have gone on a numb dread had started to fill my soul. I watch helplessly as the news continues to roll in with words like: four murdered, guilty confession and death sentence. My heart tightens in my chest as I begin to realize that there is a very real possibility that this crime spree of murders will lead to more deaths.  Yet it won’t be because of a gun but rather an injection filled with a lethal cocktail in an attempt at justice. I’ve looked into the eyes on the mug shots of my friend and am stricken with grief because there is nothing there but emptiness.  If eyes are a window to the soul then these ones display a window of detachment and death. These pictures have haunted my mind as I realize that somewhere along the line my friend gave up.  Somehow along the way she forgot that she didn’t have to stay stuck in a life of drugs and alcohol.  She lost herself in the everyday battle that many of us faced as we grew up and she gave into the despair that surrounded her. As I saw her picture flash across the news I was looking into the eyes of someone who had lost hope along the way and with it, her soul.  The sad thing is that the lethal injection won’t be what kills her because my friend is dead already.

I’ve cried over the multiple murder victims and for their families.  My heart has grieved over the despair they must feel.  I can’t possibly begin to understand how much pain these families are in.  I’ve wept over the unfairness of lives cut short, for people who had no idea that when they woke up that day, that it would be their last or that they would die at the hands of my friend. I’ve cried for my friend’s family and the fact that their lives have been turned upside down as they become a family who raised a “killer”. I can just imagine their reactions as they heard the news and the devastation that must fill their hearts. I wish that I could run to them and wrap them in my arms, somehow trying to take this nightmare away from them.  Honestly though, I have mostly wailed over the destruction Satan has accomplished at the hands of my old friend.  I weep for the very soul that has been lied to for so long it can’t tell which way is up.  I’ve raged against my friend and I’ve raged against Satan, infuriated that it could ever come to this.  I’ve cried out to God, begging for Him to somehow intervene.  I’ve laid my heart out to Papa in raw emotion, not quite knowing what to say but knowing that He would understand the cries radiating from my heart.

One of the most gut wrenching things for me is that because of my friend’s choices in the past and leading up to the murders, the reality was it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. I look back through the years and I can see specific times in our journey together that had she made a different choice, her life would not be where it is at now but could have turned out radically different. As I said we were friends at one stage and to be honest there was a point that I was headed down the same path she was. If something had not drastically changed, there is no telling where I would be now. I was reminded this week how precious God’s amazing grace is to me, you see God changed my life profoundly. He called to me and simply asked me to follow Him, I had the choice to say no or the choice to follow and see where His road would lead.   I am so thankful that I chose His path, by doing so I was rescued from a life that would lead me to where my friend stands now. We were both given the choice, but for some reason I accepted and she did not. I’ve struggled this week with asking God why? Why didn’t my friend listen to Him? Why did He choose me? Why didn’t He save her too? Why did He allow her to commit those murders?  Do you know what the answer was that I kept getting?  It’s a choice.  God presents us with the choice to follow Him or to reject Him.  We can listen to the Truth till we are blue in the face but unless we make the choice to take it to heart; it will fall on deaf ears. God is a gentleman and He won’t force us down a road that we don’t want to go down.  To tell you the truth for a moment I was mad at Him (thankfully God is okay with that) because I wanted Him to turn back time and make my friend choose to follow Him.  I wanted Him to force my friend to choose a better path. But as the moment passed He reminded me that you can’t force love no matter how badly you might want to.  He wants to love my friend, but He would never make her accept His love against her will, it’s got to be her choice.  She chose to keep walking the destructive path in front of her, maybe believing there was no other way but to continue walking down the dangerous road. Though it is hard, I have to accept that it was her choice to not look up from her self-destruction.

To be honest this week I have wrestled with a lot of conflicting emotions, riding the roller coaster of grief as it has come in its various stages.  The only thing I know left to pray is that maybe my friend will finally be ready to listen when God calls and that her soul might be saved before it’s too late.  Until then I will continue reading the news with the belief that God has a bigger plan than I can ever know or understand.  I trust that God sees her and knows exactly where she is at and so I place her in His capable hands, praying that she will make a choice to surrender her life to His plans.