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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

 

If I had only known then what I know now…

Sometimes I ask myself this question. Sometimes I think if I could just go back in time and tell myself not to make a particular decision in my past, I would save myself years of heartache. The Love & Respect resources have been a huge part of my life in learning to understand relationships. It’s based off of the passage in Ephesians 5:33 that talks about the differences between a man and a woman and our roles when we are in relationship with one another. Joy Eggerichs has taken this ministy of her parents and has used it to help young adults 18-35 years of age to understand our roles before we make all the common pitfalls in dating and marriage. God has called me to be a resource to a young adult group at my church and the ministry of Love & Respect (Now) has been a valuable resource for me as a mentor others. I’m excited for their newest project – The Illumination Project. I think it will be a huge tool for small group discussion for my young adult Bible study.  It’s a 6 week DVD series filmed by Joy and her father Dr. Emerson Eggerichs meant to help young adults navigate through issues of faith, dating, marriage, and male/female relationships.

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Love

I support loving people as they try to figure out God. I support Christians who understand grace and forgiveness. As a fellow brother in Christ, I urge my fellow believers to stop being cruel and judgemental and stop engaging in culture wars. Allow people the freedom to understand and grow. Love people for who they are and where they are at so that they may experience the Love of Christ.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Matthew 22: 37-40

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I read this blog from Karen E Yates and really enjoyed it. Probably because it is so true. I think it can apply to relationships, co-workers, etc as well. I experienced this with my last relationship with an extremely insecure and deeply wounded girl who stonewalled me as well (I am on a very long list of people in her life she has stonewalled). These people are sad, but paint a picture to people that they are healthy. In others words, it’s easy to fall into their trap because we are easily attracted to them. I was vulnerable and fell for my ex because I had just gone through a tough break-up and she threw herself at me when it was over. These people work very hard for love, attention and praise. I’ve been very cautious these days of who I do life with and careful I keep safe people around me. Friendships and relationships should take time to grow, not rushed. We all have faults and sins and you want to make sure that the people you are doing life with are honest with themselves and taking their issues to God, not covering them up.

WHEN YOU PICK THE WRONG PERSON TO BE FRIENDS WITH

KAREN E YATES

I risked friendship for her.  And it didn’t turn out so well.

Even now as I write about it, old feelings of rejection stir.

How could she cut me off?  
What did I do?    
Why wasn’t I enough for her?  

Perhaps you’ve been there before.  Or maybe you’re there right now.  Can I just lean over and hug you and say: I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry you were rejected.  I’m so sorry your offering, what you gave of yourself, was cast aside.  I’m so sorry you were made to feel disposable.

You are most certainly NOT disposable.

In my case, with this particular friend, I look back and realize I should have known better.  There were warning signs.

Warning #1
She came along when I was insecure and lonely. I recently married Bookguy and moved to his turf where I knew virtually no one.  Nobody knew my maiden name–nobody knew my talents–nobody invited me to coffee.  I was desperate for friendship; I would have befriended Stalin at the time.

Warning #2
Our friendship went from zero to 100 in less than two weeks.  Several times a day she would call.  We would chat about a myriad of things: Richard Hatch, boyfriends, Coldplay, and who would win The Mole?  We would pray together, confide, give advice, and laugh.  She seemed so “into” me.  It felt nice, and … unnatural.  Her way of doing friendship was different than mine.  But luckily for her, I had time on my hands!  And limited friends for her to compete with!

Warning #3
I chose to reciprocate friendship her way.  I’ve never been the type of person to have one best friend.  In fact, I pride myself on having many close friends.  Yet here I was with her, hours soaked up by persistent girl-time with someone I barely knew.  It was like making out all night long on your first date.  Too much too soon.  I was overwhelmed trying to keep up, and at the same time, I was smitten with her and the idea of us being ‘best friends.’

One Friday afternoon, about 9 months into our friendship, my phone rang.  Sitting at my desk staring at a jar of pencils, she broke it off.  It was actually the first time a girl friend told me directly they didn’t want to be my friend anymore.  {We women are much more passive aggressive than that!}

Her excuse was something she called ‘the pit.’  Sometimes in relationships things are sailing along hunky dory when she wakes up with a pit in her stomach.  She can’t explain why or where it comes from.  But the pit is there.  Whenever she thinks about the relationship, the pit in her stomach takes over, and she must end it.  

She was ending us.  She ‘got the pit’ with me. 

I hung up the phone and thought of our whirlwind friendship: how fast it came, how fast it went.  I felt rejected.  I felt unwanted.  I thought she was mean.  And selfish.

I picked the wrong person to be friends with.  

Have you ever picked the wrong friend?  Has this happened to you?  What would you do differently if you could?  

For me, I’d …

Fall slower into friendship.  Today I take my time in friendship, and that includes professional friendships.  I watch and listen and observe.  Sometimes I inquire about someone’s reputation.  I am careful to allow time to grow what is a worthy, hopefully life-long relationship.  I tread lightly at the beginning.  Monthly lunches, occasional phone calls, text messages, emails.  I am super friendly.  But I am not overly eager.  This is wisdom.
  
Be myself.  I have learned that I can be me and you can be you, and we can still be friends, even if we have very little in common!  I will never be a crafting, sewing, cooking mama, but this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate friends who are!  Chris Seay says you only need to have one thing in common with someone to be their friend.  {I totally agree}.  If you are a true friend, or if you sincerely want to be my friend, you will accept me as I am.  This doesn’t mean permitting sinful, wrong behavior.  It means my quirks are safe with you, my boundaries are respected, my talents appreciated, my heart and intellect, valued.

Not blame myself.  She dropped me like a bag of potatoes.  For whatever reason I was rejected.  That was her choice.  That is not my problem or my fault.  I committed no wrong.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.  After she dropped me, I spent months wondering why.  I agonized over how easily she disposed of me.  And it got me nowhere.  Only more unanswered questions and more hurt.

Friendship is earned, not entitled.  It is a gift you give by your own volition.  It stinks to have that gift thrown back in your face.  But I am sincerely glad I’m no longer friends with someone who doesn’t appreciate what I have to offer.

A warm {hug} to those of you who know firsthand what it feels like to pick the wrong friend.  Grace on you as you forgive and move on!

Karen

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Sometimes God puts people in your life to encourage and inspire you. This week I got some quality time with two people (of so many) who have impacted me.

I was at PhoenixONE earlier this week running a booth. I ran into a guy who I haven’t seen in some time – my friend Malachi. It was funny because he was on the cover of my brochure at my table and I looked up and there he was. I love God’s sense of humor. At the very first PhoenixONE gathering in 2011, I sat with Malachi in the front row (he was volunteering). His personality made him easy to get to know as he was very friendly. Then I went through a difficult summer later that year and this guy Mike Bhatti recommended I get to know him because of our similar backgrounds. I ran into him at the ONE retreat in Williams and we spent some time together. I found out he had been through divorce and had a little daughter. He totally helped walk me through that tough time. He then moved to Alaska to be closer with his daughter not too long after that. But his impact on me remains and seeing him was a shot in the arm for me this week.

My bros Malachi and Daniel

My bros Malachi and Daniel

I went to Guatemala last year and met Karyn on that trip. It was her first mission’s trip and we sat together on the plane ride there. At first I was just trying to help calm her nerves. But then I really started to see how pure her faith in God was. I kept saying to myself that this is one very good girl and God is doing something cool in her. She is getting her degree in veterinarian medicine and was on this trip to work with the animals in the villages. We had a moment on the trip where it was just her and I treating a cow by ourselves in some remote village. The needle had broken off as she was injecting the medicine into the cow. I remember her tripping out at first because she couldn’t find the needle and didn’t know what to do. I so wanted to rescue her from this situation because I’ve always had this ‘rescue’ mentality most of my life for people in need (something God has worked out of me recently). So I decided to stand back and let God work in her. I just let her know that I was there for her if she needed and prayed. I then saw someone put her faith in God and take charge of the situation. It was amazing! I gained so much respect for her and we have become good friends since then. I remember telling my friend Julie (one of her accountability partners) on the plane ride back to not let any crappy guys come in and ruin this girl because she has such a pure heart for God. Today I razz her repeatedly for her loyalties to the U of A, but love her to death. We had a fun day celebrating her birthday today.

Me and Karyn

Me and Karyn

I love that God uses people to encourage our walk. These are just a couple of people God has put in my path to make me more Christlike. After a period of time of having negative judging people in my life that just drag you down, it is refreshing to have such positive uplifting brothers and sisters to grow with. I am thankful for them and feel very blessed to have them in my life.

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Late last year, God led me to this little coffee shop in Phoenix. It has been amazing to see how he has used this little community in downtown Phoenix to change my life. Anywhere from taking pictures to being an advocate for Food for the Hungry and Land of a Thousand Hills or just drinking great coffee with an amazing community of people deep in the heart of the art district all came from hanging out at 8th Day Coffee & Culture. God is working here! He is bridging a community of faith through the local art scene and the story of community-trade coffee in Rwanda. It’s just amazing to see and be a part of! And how awesome that they are located right dead center in the heart of downtown Phoenix – a place city busting with a growing urban and arts community.

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“Eternal Sunshine of Bird City”

Just recently, Joseph Sentrock Perez painted this on the outside wall of 8th Day. It’s an amazing mural called Eternal Sunshine of Bird City. Sentrock moved here from Chicago and has become quite a well-known artist here in the local Phoenix art scene. Here is Sentrock describing his inspiration behind painting this:

I painted this on 8th day cafe, a coffee spot in downtown Phx. The phrase 8th day represented eternity. That’s why I wrote Eternal Sunshine of Bird City, a play off of the movie. I wanted it to signify an eternal blessing on the city Phoenix. Sharing our art and expression will forever bless the city of Phoenix aka Bird City. 

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Art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day

A lot of the amazing art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day is organized by Steve Malakowsky (Hope thru Art). He is an amazing artist and has a huge connection with the local art scene. One of things I love is his project to display art from the homeless population here in Phoenix. The funds made go back into helping them out. He’s a great guy and I love his heart for art and people. Tonight, the Food for the Hungry artists displayed their art for the First Friday art walk and were able to showcase God’s heart for the less fortunate through their pictures and paintings.

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I had to voice my excitement!

So one of the most amazing God stories to come out of this place is the story of Juliana and Daniel. I met Juliana while teaching refugees last summer. God has used her in so many ways in my life that I can’t even write it all. She’s an amazing talented woman and I am so thankful for her friendship. In fact, I found out about 8th Day through her. Daniel is the manager of 8th Day and has become a dear friend and brother. They met at 8th Day and have recently got engaged here. I love this story and was in tears when I heard about this. I am so happy for them! Pastor Shane of St. George’s Anglican Community was on hand to bless them and I pray for a long and happy marriage for them! God is good and He is working everywhere!

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Juliana and Daniel with Pastor Shane

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I had a chance to use my gifts to be a blessing this morning. There were some families in town going through a week-long teaching called Soma School (mainly for church planters) at both Missio Dei Communities and Redemption church. They had some sign up sheets available for people to make breakfast for them. I love to cook, so I fired up a bunch of omelettes for them. After delivering them, I sat and had a wonderful conversation with one of the leaders on counseling in the church. I’m always thankful to use my gifts to bless others.

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Today was an awesome week for me as four couples I’m friends with got married. I can honesty say that all four of these couples truly love Jesus and I foresee all of them having amazing marriages. It’s been a fun day and I’m so excited for all of them! Also I noticed this week is anniversary week for many of my friend’s marriages too. This was especially encouraging to me as many of them had rough starts to their marriages. I honor all of them for gutting it out through the tough times and they are seeing the rewards for sticking it out. It really shows couples who truly believe in God’s plan for marriage and have the faith in His power to make their marriages work. Very inspiring! Congrats to Johnny and Creselda, Jake and Erin, Ben and Krystal and Daniel and Darcy. God bless all of you and your marriages!

“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”  

~ Max Lucado

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