Feb 17, 2011

Flowers

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of flowers they get for Valentine's day. There's the white roses that are so pure and simple and original. Red roses come laden with commitment and extravagance; yellow are the kind you get for your friend, mother, or an informal event. Pink carnations are cute and young, like puppy-love flowers from a high school sweetheart.



Even more tell-tale than the kind of flowers that are purchased or picked is the person receiving the arrangement. For example, a different kind of person tends to buy flowers for their grandmother than the one who slips a red rose to their girlfriend to get out of trouble. I spent February 13th selling roses and carnations all day; I know the different motives for flower-buying. It's not exactly rocket-science. There was a 15-or-so year old boy who bought three red rose for his girlfriend, Sam. A man who attends the same church that I do bought a dozen multi- colored roses for his wife who stayed home with sick kids. Men bought yellow flowers for their grandmother. A young lady bought a dozen pink roses and carnation for herself, while her boyfriend sat in her car.

It makes me sad sometimes, to see the power of a dozen roses abused for the purpose of "getting out of the doghouse" or purely perceived obligation that never really existed. It reminds me a lot of how different people use and share God's Word. There's the Sunday-Only's who only do what is socially necessary to be acceptable in their own eyes, the kind you seek God only during rough times, and the people who are committed to God and are just showing him their love.

I don't know how you spent your Valentine's Day, but I dearly, truly hope that in the joy of love, the ultimate giver of love was not forgotten.

Feb 14, 2011

ATF

This year, a part of my youth group and I attended the Acquire the Fire that came near us. It's an intense youth conference where you worship, watch a drama put on by them, and learn more about God through the speaker. It was my first time going, and at first, I was a little leary abou it because of what I had previously heard about it from some other people. Boy, was I wrong in being leary! It was the most amazing youth conference that I've ever been to in my life.

It started out as us getting there a little later than we would have liked to because of navigation issues, but we got there! The worship band-School of Worship was their name-came out and did some pretty amazing songs that got us all pumped up! Our first message was on Restoration, and how people who are really into cars can see a beautiful car from a "rust bucket". In a sense, God is like that, because we are His rusted up cars, but in us, He sees a beautiful car in the making.

During the message, we were given these little slips of paper to write a letter to God about pretty much anything. What we're struggling with, how we need Him right now, or how we want Him to work in our lives. I wrote about somethings that have been really holding me back from Him, because of bitterness, and regret. We were called to come to the front of the auditorium (any of us who wanted to pray over what we had on our slips) and to ask God for His help. When I was praying, a girl came and sat by me, and started praying for me. I thought it was one of my friends, but it was a girl named Cheyenne who was part of the staff. We talked for a while, and she took my slip to pray for me everyday, and over what I had written. It was pretty amazing.

As it would take too long to go over everything, but don't get me wrong, the other stuff was important, and amazing, I'm going to skip to Saturday night's last worship session as that is what had the biggest impact on me. We started our last worship session, and not surprisingly, it was really awesome. Thing is, we never stopped singing. We were all overcome in worship, and by just EVERYTHING. Our speaker had to cancel his last message because we wouldn't stop. He didn't care though. He was simply amazed by us.

They had an alter call during the worship, and they had us all pray over them, and for each other by joining hands, shoulders, etc. I literally gave everything I had to the Maker, and the Healer, because every little thing I was holding onto was keeping me from experiencing God is His truest, highest form. I was just sobbing uncontrollably, because of the realization that I DO NOT DESERVE what God has given me. Who I've been, and who I am supposed to be, just came crashing over me. It was a very. . . Humbling experience, and I will hold onto it for the rest of my life.

If any of you have a chance to go to ATF, I would definitely suggest it. It is most definitely the best decision that you could ever make.

Feb 1, 2011

Running in the Right Direction

And here I am again
Lost from my own sin
I've run away from your embrace
I've turned away from Your face
My blindness sweeps over me like a shade
Reminding me of how I've strayed
Looking over my shoulder, I see You
And I see Your eyes, their wonderful hue
They are marked with a sorrow
So deep that they seem to glow
I see them, but I turn away
I turn into the frenzy, the empty fray
Of my wandering mind, my searching heart
This hole, this loneliness threatens to tear me apart
But I keep going, gaining speed
My wandering mind having to plead
Go, go, go on and run far from Him
His presence seeming so grim
I stop, exhausted from my exertion
I am so weary, so broken
My heart in many pieces, shards
And suddenly the part that gaurds
My restless mind tumbles
The defense, oh, it crumbles
I fall to my knees, the tears
Streaming down my face; my fears
Are suddenly too real
I just need to feel
That love, the endless, merciful love
That is so gentle, peaceful like a dove
I cry out to You
I know Your tears are few
For how I always turn my back
That I took the wide sidetrack
I lift my hands, and I bow my head
And I remember what You said
You said, "Run, my daughter, to me;
Run to where you'll be free
Beside me, you shall never grow weak
For blessed are the meek
The ones who realize
I see behind the disguise
That will satisfy, provide
To the ones who have relied
On my grace, my mercy."
I realize how blindly
How hastily I have run
In the opposite direction, from the Son
Who paid my price on the cross
I see it is my loss
Not His, that is being mourned
But He has still adorned
Me with His crown
He will never look down
Upon me when I leave
Because that is the grace I receive
I find the strength to stand
I turn toward His hand
And I run to the place where I find peace
Where time and tribulation cease
And here come Your grace, Your mercy
Like a wave, a rush, it washes over all of me
And I am overcome with your amazing love
Here You are to take me, to help me rise above
Your kindness awakened me from my ignorabce and pain
Quietly, You knocked at my door, softly calling me from my disdain
So I will bow down before my God, my Everlasting King
You've given me back whom I was used to
Being with You; I will place my transgressions onto
The cross; now all of my heart will give
It all back to You, and for you I will live

I wrote this poem for my creative expression category for speech. It's really just me expressing how I feel when I've strayed from His heart, and how it feels to come back to His welcoming, loving arms. We've all run in the wrong direction, and we all know how that feels to do so. We know when we're straying, but it's a question of what we do about it. When we come to that place where it's like, "I can't do this anymore," which direction will you go? The way you came from, or where you're going, which is leading you nowhere.