Love Letter to God

Hi Daddy,

I love you. I love you for who you are, not what you do. I love your smile. I love your laugh. I adore your sense of humor. I love how you can whisper something to me in a crowded room and make me smile, and no one else understands, because you only told me. I love how you catch the corner of my eye when I least expect it and surprise me. I love that you’re always around.

I love that you are honest with me. You are genuine. I love the compassion in your eyes. I love that you LOVE everyone, and you are kind to them and love them with more strength than I could ever understand. I love that you always know exactly what to say or do to calm me down. I love that when I start freaking out, you wait patiently for me to come talk to you. I love that you always know exactly what I need.

I love that you let me yell at you, and you don’t get mad or yell back at me. And I love that when I come back on my knees, crying and apologizing for yelling at you, you take me in your arms and whisper to me, “I love you, Hannah. And I forgive you.” I love that you adore me, despite my irrationality and self-centeredness. I love that when I ask for your forgiveness, you give it freely and don’t hold it against me. I love how patient you are with me. I love that you have seen me at my worst, but when you look at me, you see me as my best.

At this moment I want nothing more than to do you proud. I want to be able to step into your thrown room and walk up to you confidently, knowing that my Daddy owns the place. I want you to come running to me, sweep me up off my feet, and say “Hey kiddo, welcome home!”

I wish I were home, with you, in Heaven. I’d love to see your face and crawl up in your lap, so you can wrap your arms around me and tell me that the fight is finished, and then I can rest. Then I could look up into your eyes, and everything would be complete. I can’t be with you now, I know that. But until then, I know you’re here with me on earth. And that’s enough. I’ll fight for you.

Oh, and thank you for the flowers. They are lovely 🙂

 

Love, your baby girl,

 

 

Romans 8:39
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 1:12
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Advertisements

Letters from a Codependent

Codependency:  unhealthy love and a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life.

God has me on a crazy journey, and one of the more recent “pit stops” He has brought me to is learning that I am, by nature, an extremely codependent person. I’d heard the word before, but I thought it had something to do with being overly dependent on something (probably drugs). It’s true, codependency does have to do with a certain kind of dependence. The way I’ve come to describe it is that I’m addicted, or dependent, on people. Let me expand on that.

I feel the need to always be taking care of someone. I get an adrenaline rush and a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped someone. I feed off of other people’s adoration or praise towards me that results from my actions. I also invest a LOT into people, often feeling that their actions and emotions are my responsibility. My world is so focussed on THEM that I have a hard time understanding what I am thinking or feeling, but I’m constantly thinking about how I will be perceived by other people. So what do I do? I act like the perfect friend/daughter/etc. to earn people’s approval. I also find ways to fill people’s needs so that they won’t get rid of me or tire of me. I go above and beyond, always taking that next step, to really surprise people.

It’s an odd train of thought: I fill other people’s needs  so that I can be fulfilled. Isn’t that what Christianity teaches though? Kind of. The brochure from Celebrate Recovery, which deals with people’s addictive behaviors (codependency included) explains why codependents are selfish instead of selfless. It has to do with my underlying motivations:

Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control or the lack of it is central to every aspect of life.

PS: the rest of the article is really worth reading

In its root, codependency is relying on my ability to manipulate/control other people’s emotions, feelings, and actions as a way to make myself feel better, instead of finding my worth and value in Christ. I’m called to do something much bigger in life than to run around please other people all the time. I should be looking to my Creator for guidance on a moment-by-moment basis, living my life for Him. There will be many times where He uses me and where He calls me to be selfless, but I’m learning when He is calling versus when my human nature is getting restless. If I wait, He will tell me where to go and what to do. I just need to rest in Him, be still, and know that He is God!

I’ll be open and honest: I’ve started attending Celebrate Recovery at one of our local churches. I’ve been before, but for the first time I’m going for me, not in support of someone else. God is refining me in the fire, and while the going can be rough, I know He’s purifying me. I’m going there to tackle this issue and many others, and I’m sure that the longer I work on myself, the more issues I will find. But I’m ok with that. I am far from perfect, but I really, really, really, really, really (you get the picture) want to be like Christ. And I’ll do whatever I have to do to get closer to that point.

Thanks for walking with me on my journey 🙂
Galatians 6:4-5:
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Galatians 1:10:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Parts of the Body – Friendships

Nearly every Christian has heard the analogy the body of Christ as it relates to spiritual gifts and their applications to ministry (1 Corinthians 12), but I’ve been seeing a new area in life where this also seems to be true.

Friendships.

Just like no one person can be an evangelist, pastor, prayer warrior, healer, administrator, or wise mentor (etc…) in the body of Christ, no one person can give you everything you need in regards to the “needs” that we have that are satisfied by friendships. For example, I can’t rely on only one friend to give me sound Biblical advice, hold me when I need to cry, always be available to talk, cheer me up when I’m in a crappy mood, pray for me, or encourage me when I’m struggling. Yes, my best friends will do all of those things if/when I need them to, but that’s too tall of an order to put on just one person  for a long period of time.

Instead, and luckily so, God has been working on giving me a network of people to rely on. I have mentors at church ( I can’t forget my mom!) to give me the sound wisdom I desperately need. I have a few solid people who will feverishly pray for me in a moment’s notice. I have a couple girls who will sit in silence next to me on the couch as tears fall down my face when I need to cry. Between a few of my friends, I know that if I need to talk to someone, one of them will make themselves available. I have a friend who I can geek out with about film and computers, one who I will run to for parenting advice (a while down the road… don’t worry!) or to vent about the Route 68 middle school kids, one or two who have terrific senses of style/fashion, and a couple who can turn any boring situation into a fun and silly adventure… and the list goes on an on. I’m blessed, aren’t I? And this “network” or “web” of friends I have keeps growing as I grow in my walk with Christ.

I’ve realized that one of the greatest disservices you can do to one of your friends is to expect them to be someone they’re not and to hold too high of expectations for them. This has been a very tough lesson for me to learn, because it also means I can’t be everything to each of my friends either. And the greatest disservice you can do to yourself is to close yourself off from new people and friendships because you’re satisfied with how many friends you have now, or because you keep hoping that you current friends will change. Not everyone needs to be your BEST friend, and it’s natural for there to be different levels of intimacy and time spent between your friendships, but don’t close yourself off. You may be missing out on someone God has picked out to make a large or small difference in your life.

That said, I love my friends with all of my heart, and I am so thankful that God built each of them the way He did. I love learning about them and who God created them to be (and who he DIDN’T create them to be!). And I LOVE growing in Christ beside them. I’m learning so much through them and because of them. I know that my journey these past few months has only taken place the way it did because they chose to put up with me and show up when God asked them to.

Saved

Christians are saved. “Saved.” It’s a word that the church uses so overabundantly that I’m sure everyone else is sick of the word and its connotations. I grew up hearing Christians being described as “saved” and God being described as the “Savior”. It made sense, because that’s what I was raised with. A “Savior” “saves”. Ok, got it.

But I don’t think I ever understood it. And I’m not sure that people can really understand it to its full extent until they’ve really begun to drown. I’ll explain what I mean by that.

It’s hard to put into words, but there are times where I am so overwhelmed with crap that I can’t breathe. Like I’m drowning. It’s my own crap: my failures and my imperfections. Sometimes I get so sick of myself that I can hardly stand it, because my mind exhausts itself with its manipulative cons and superwoman antics. I try to do and be everything. It’s also the crap of the world. I look at the pain that my friends and family are in, and I go through their struggles with them. The girl (this girl) who used to keep the world at arms length suddenly can’t keep healthy reins on her empathy. It all adds up to an incredible amount of crap that’s hard to carry around to work, school, and church.

But coming back to the crap: it’s too much sometimes. A lot of the time. I feel like I’m literally drowning, suffocating, beneath a tower of burdens that I’m not strong enough to carry, like a pile of bricks pushing me under into the ocean.

And that’s when I know I need a Savior. It’s not enough to say that God has saved me from my sins, like the churches preach. It’s definitely not enough to just say that He saved me from Hell, so I get to spend eternity in Heaven. That’s all churchy BS. It’s true, but there’s so much meaning lacking behind it. Where’s the love? Where’s the grace and mercy? Where is GOD the Father?

My Savior saves me when I honestly can’t breathe and when I don’t have the strength to cry one more tear as my head hits the pillow. He strokes my face and wraps His arms around me as I cry out of desperation or frustration. But most importantly, He picks up the crappy bricks that I’ve been carrying, tosses them aside, and pulls me from the water so I can finally breathe.

The cool thing about God the Savior is that He doesn’t just save us from our “sins” or our screw-ups. He saves us from our pain, our temptations, our regrets, and our inadequacies. That doesn’t mean that those things won’t still be a part of our lives, but we don’t have to be weighed down by them. We don’t have to drown under their pressures.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 14:29-31
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”