Who I Am

This summer, I wanted to make a difference. I knew I’d be meeting new people and seeing others more. I was going to represent Christ to them. I wanted to show them love, kindness, compassion, and God. But honestly, I failed.

I know that is a depressing way to start a blog post, but it is the truth. I didn’t live this summer like I wanted to live it. I was irritable, angry, and upset with family members. I barely reached out to others. And once again, there was no great transformation to Christ like I’ve always longed to be apart of.

But it’s really so easy. So why haven’t I done it?

Yes, it’s easy. Easier than I thought. I don’t know what was wrong with me. I suppose I got tired and stressed and imagined my tasks were much too hard. But the first step is in who you are to others. The first step is simply friendliness, pleasantness, love.

I’ve been taking a driving class for the past few weeks. I went into it with a slightly bad attitude. Yes, I wanted to drive. Oh, I wanted to drive! That’s why I was there after all. I participated in the class, listened to the instructor, and took notes right from the start. But I told myself that it would be very difficult to make friends in the class because surely they’d all be much different from me.

Honestly, I am ashamed at this thought. Sure, a lot of them are quite different from me. However, I’m sure I could find some similarities if I looked. But it’s not about similarities. It’s about having differences and bridging those gaps. It’s about showing love to someone you wouldn’t normally love.

So I tried a different attitude last class. I had never been rude, but I decided to be better than polite that night. I walked in with a smile and talked pleasantly with the instructor for a minute. I asked the girl next to me how she was. I noticed we had the same flats — not so different after all. I tried to smile at the others as they came in. I made conversation with a girl after class and asked another if she wanted us to wait while her parents came. Not much, but it was a little. You may not be able to hand out Bibles and convert everyone in a driving class, but it is still a mission field. Everywhere you go is. And like always, it matters who you were.

I’m going to university a week from Saturday. I’ll be there for the next four years of my life, but I don’t want a bad start. No one knows me there. There are no embarrassing stories, odd memories, or insecurities that people might have in their fore front. It’s like a fresh start. I can be anyone I want to be.

I want to go and represent Christ, however hard that may and will be. I know it won’t be any easier there than it has been in the past. But I’m going to try harder and get up faster when I fall. Because it matters who you are, so I want the image of Christ to be who I am.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…

Philippians 2:5

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When You Think Of Me

As the grad bells toll and life as I know it is coming to an end, I’ve been looking at pictures and rehearsing old memories. Yesterday, I finished my last play with the theatre group that has been my second family for ten years. Over McDonalds mcflurries after the show, I began to contemplate identity.

People are narcissistic. I am vain. Life is about me. Identity is often about who I want to be. But what about when that identity is ripped from you? What about when it begins to fade away and you wonder who you are? Then what is the good of that identity?

Last night, I told stories from my first plays. I talked about everything I had known for the last ten years and beyond. I realized that the theatre group and my friends there had become apart of my identity. Now, I am being forced to move on.

Living in my house. Homeschooling. Being friends with my friends. Those are all parts of my identity, too. These can all fade away as well.

Tonight, I started a picture collage to display at my grad ceremony. It was an exhaustive process as there were several pictures I wanted to use. Some were silly, others were flattering, and others were full of good memories and people I love. All of them said something about me and my identity as it has been.

I chose, deleted, and chose again many times. I wanted to paint a picture of a girl. I wanted her to be beautiful, fun, and smart. I chose pictures of her when she was little and cute and then when she was older in pretty dresses; shots with pom-poms on her head, and another with a Charlotte Bronte in hand. I wanted people to think that she was interesting, kind, and sweet. I chose pictures of her in the newspaper for plays, building a house, and playing with Mexican children. So I formed an identity off of baby pictures, newspaper clippings, and silly shots and hoped that people would think I was amazing.

The human mind is very vain at times. Identity, when found in our own shallow selves, is empty. Because life goes on whether you want it to or not. The theatre group you were part of during childhood ends. Because nothing human ever lasts. The picture you try to paint by a display board full of photos could burn in a fire. When our identity is not rooted it wilts.

It’s taken me about eighteen years to realize it, but true identity can only be found in Christ. It is not possible to find real satisfaction or joy anywhere else. Because the person you were at six or sixteen fades into someone new. Because the hobbies and jokes and pretty dresses you wear aren’t really that important in comparison to character, callings, and Christ. So when you think of me, I hope you’ll think of Him instead.

Back To The Manger

The Christmas story has never been new to me. Okay, I guess I must have heard it for the first time at one point or another, but I really don’t remember that day. It’s always been the story in the bible that I’ve known the best and the one I’ve taken the most for granted.

But why? I wondered today. Why do I forget the glory of Christmas and treat it like just another party? The birth of Christ is probably the most magnificent and amazing event in the entire bible. A virgin conception. The birth of a king in a stable. Angels singing to shepherds, and men following a star and finding him. A Lord who came as a child to save the world. It is incredible, really. Why don’t we treat it as such?

Because we wrap Jesus up in our grief and stress, materialism and greed. We forget Him in the flurry of baking, shopping, and decorating. We worry about the to-dos and the performances and how we look, instead of remembering the glory of it all. The bible lies unheeded on our bed-side shelf. Slowly, but surely we lose sight of Jesus. We need to go back to the manger, where it all began.

I’m not telling you these things to be cliché or make you feel bad. Instead, I’m confessing my own sins. I’ve already lost sight of Jesus and it’s only the second week of December. I’ve wrapped Him up in my play, schoolwork, and other distractions. The bows are bright and the wrapping is colourful, but it isn’t real or good. It’s not what Christmas or life is all about. I must go back.

Jesus, I have failed so very much. You know my sins. Please forgive me. Here I am now, at the foot of the manger, to worship you and give you the Honour that you deserve.

He Is Wooing Me

I’ve got a special admirer this Valentines!

I walk down the halls at school and I see boys and girls holding hands and kissing. And for a moment, I wish that I had a someone to share that with, to walk with and hold hands with. But only for a moment, cause He’s wooing me.

I watch a movie, I read a book and I see a happy romance unfold. And for a moment, I wish that I were in their shoes, walking down the aisle of happily ever after with my beloved. But only for a moment, cause He’s wooing me.

I see friends and family members around my age happily dating, both equally enamoured with each other. And for a moment, I wish that I had someone who was in love with me. But only for a moment, cause He’s wooing me.

I think back on yesterday, when there was a boy who liked me and who I liked back. And for a moment, I wish that things were the same again. But only for a moment, cause He’s wooing me.

Yes, holding hands and kissing may be nice, and having someone special all to yourself must be grand but who am I to ask for that when I have so much more? When I have a special someone who loves me with all the love imaginable, who thinks I’m beautiful just for me, and wants to spend all his time with me…yes that’s the someone who is wooing me.

His name is God and He is my best friend. He is Jesus and He died for me. This special someone is Christ and I am His bride. He thinks about me more than any crush ever could, cares for me more than a boyfriend would, and loves me with the love of a thousand lovers and more.

So who am I to need a boyfriend on Valentines or any other day when I can spend it with my Lord? Yes, one day perhaps the special someone will come along and that will be wonderful but for now that is not my place. This February 14th, this day, and this moment, God has chosen especially for me to seek Him in a new way, to know and love Him more and more, and to focus on serving Him with all I have. There is no one else I need when He is wooing me.

I’ll be off now, for I’m late for my date with God!

Whom have I in Heaven but you? And on earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 75: 25

PS I am proud to be writing my fourteenth post on this fourteenth day!

Because You Forgave Them All

A re-working of Matthew chapters 18-35, using an experience from my personal life.

There once was a girl who had two teachers whom she loved very much. One taught her how to live and the other taught her a dearly loved hobby. The One who taught her to live was perfect and blameless while the other was a sinner. The first was God and the latter a mere human. The girl loved both very much.

Now, being human herself, the girl sinned against both of her teachers. However, we shall focus on the sins that she made against the first teacher, the Perfect One, as these were of more consequence and occured in a  larger quantity. She lied to Him, said evil words against Him,  rejected His love, refused to spend time with Him, disobeyed His wishes, among other things, on a daily basis. Every night, she would go to Him and confess these sins and in return He would only say “My child, your sins are forgiven.” The girl would then thank Him humbly, remembering just how her sins had been forgiven…by His sacrifice, His blood and His sweat, by His life…on the cross as people mocked and cursed.

“How could He do this?” She wondered. It was hard for her to understand such a great love.

Then one day, the other teacher, the sinful one, committed a wrong doing against the girl. Now, this wrong hurt the girl greatly, especially when the teacher did not apologize. The girl was so upset and angered that even though she loved her teacher, she refused to forgive her and harboured this sin against the teacher.

At this point, the Perfect Teacher stepped in. He was very displeased. “Why will you not forgive her this one folly when I gave my life for all of your sins? Did you not reap anything from what I gave you?” In turn, the girl ignored Him, or at least His thoughts on forgiveness. Every time she would hear Him say this either in her mind or through her bible, she would refuse to listen, telling herself that her other teacher’s sins were just too much to forgive, just too hard to make light of.

Now, as you can imagine, this angered the Perfect Teacher, so much so that, although He still loved the girl, He threw her into a dark, uncomfortable prison until she agreed to apologize. He did not do this out of spite but rather, out of love for He knew that the only way that He could teach the girl, the only way for her to be truly happy again was through forgiveness.

One day, just over a year later, the girl, almost suffocated by the horrid prison of a hateful heart which had only grown over the past months, decided, through God’s influence, to forgive the teacher who had wronged her. Suddenly, the chains of pain were broken, and the bars of hatred knocked down, the darkness was lifted and light pervaded: she was free!

This new feeling of freedom was more wonderful than anything she had ever experienced! To be free in Christ, to be alive in love was an amazing gift, much better than anything she had ever experienced. She hoped that the debtor that Matthew wrote about had realized this too and forgiven the man who had wronged him as well and she thanked God that He had not left her sins unforgiven like she herself had done.

Though our hearts are filled with sin, you forgave them all.

Psalm 65: 3

Picture Source: http://www.all-about-the-virgin-mary.com/catholic-mass-cross.html

Elizabeth