It’s hard to mourn the death of something that’s still living. It’s hard to grieve the absence of someone when life continues at full speed ahead when the rest of your world is spinning all around you. It’s hard to depend on other people to fill voids others have left in you when you feel incapable to fill the void, let alone allow God to mend you whole. It’s hard, my friend. The road is full of curves and bumps, inclines and declines. And right now, I feel like I’m on a decline heading for a plateau of complacency. It’s hard to feel things so deeply. It’s hard to love others so dearly. Good-byes are hard, transitions are painful, and the changing of seasons makes me nostalgic.
For nearly 10 years I have seen everything through the eyes of abandonment: When will the next person leave? When will they decide I’m not good enough? Why am I so easy to walk away from? Am I too much for people? Is that why they leave? Why do I feel so defective compared to all of the people I’m friends with? Why can’t I trust people? These questions have haunted me for far too long. These lies have manifested themselves into the reality of my being, this war raging has become my actuality. How do I escape? Where do I go from here? I’m not sure.
All I know for sure is this abandoned-filled eyed girl wants to take these lenses off and see beauty and possibility, hope and not destruction. I also know the Lord promises peace. Peace that I don’t have to strive after or be good enough to receive. Peace that overcomes my marred vision, peace that abounds and makes a way to restore my vision to original clarity.
Afio Mai, a Samoan phrase means welcome or to come and right now I am welcoming the Prince of Peace to come rest awhile with my heavy-burdened soul. I hope wherever you are right now you can see that same peace meeting you right where you are as well, my friend.
Afio mai Agaga Paia
Holy Spirit come-
Ah- what a beautiful day to wake up & love Jesus & his people! I’m sure you’re thinking, “Isn’t every day a beautiful day to wake up and purposefully serve the Father?” You’re right my friend, but my identity has recently been more securely anchored in the Father’s love. How beautiful is that? To be reminded of to whom you belong and reminded that I can still approach the throne boldly even when my life seems like it’s falling apart.
For so long I believed the lie that a.) my life had to be all-together to pursue Jesus. b.) Jesus wants the polished version of me & c.) I chose repentance. All of the above are lies that Satan for so long, whispered in my ear. But through grace and learning more about my Father I’ve learned these are so far from truth. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn, meaning we no longer had to have the priest enter the holy of holies on our behalf and our offerings no longer had to be a spotless animal. For the lamb of God himself was spotless and paid the debt of sin we owe in full. I pray I never become apathetic over this extravagant love because it has set me free!
When I first learned about Jesus I was under the impression that moralism and legalism were required for a relationship with the Father- how wrong was I!? As Jesus breathed his breath and spoke “tetelestai” he meant it… it is finished. In order to seek the throne I simply just have to say yes & come as I am- not the prim and proper version of myself that the world desires but the messy and broken version of myself that brings vulnerability and an open mind. For so long I thought I had to pick myself up, figure my problems out, “get right with God” to be in a fully intimate relationship with Him. I read my Bible, didn’t cuss, and loved the people around me bUT THAT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TO SAVE ME. Salvation comes from Jesus, not a decision we make but the kindness and the grace the Father lavishes on us leads us to repentance. So it has never been about me, the decision I’ve made or the rules I’ve followed-it’s always been about Jesus it will never be about anything other than Jesus. He just wanted me and He wants you too regardless of where you are in your life or what you’ve done because who you are isn’t what you’ve done. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, WHO YOU ARE ISN’T WHAT YOU’VE DONE. You are loved and called and pursued and cherished. Remember that. Walk in that. Say it until you believe it because that is true.
From the beginning of my church going history a “good” service was classified by what songs were sung and how many people were saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in my immature baby Christian mind, any service where those components didn’t take place was “bad” and I assumed “Jesus must not of shown up this time.” Haha, I’m sure you can imagine how hard this mentality was to overcome. Like seriously, the modern-day church classifies the move of God by what was felt and seen. Isn’t God so much bigger than that? If the vastness of His glory can be captured and seen in an hour and thirty minute service then why continue following Him??
Throughout my journey I’ve learned a lot about Jesus and His goodness and essentially the character of God. God is constant and He purses us in our brokenness despite how messy it looks (go back and re-read that sentence because seriously, how affirming is that?! we are pursued y’all!!) Jesus loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to remain the complacent beings we tend to be at times. So regardless of our sinful nature and what our “thing” is, whether it’s lying, gossiping, self-defeating thoughts, or I don’t know murder, sexual infidelity, He regards them the same- sin -the very thing that separates us from His goodness. My entire life I was coaxed into believing some sins were less fatal than others and I walked around believing my gossiping was less destructive than someone else’s affair. How wrong was I?! My “thing” though socially acceptable in our society had the same finishing line as another’s affair… and that finish line is death. Jesus was serious when He said we need to turn from our fleshly desires and pursue truth and remain on the narrow path that leads to our heavenly reward. Even today I struggle with not condemning others in my minds when I hear about what they did last weekend, it’s hard! People are awful and so completely unaware of the consequences their actions bring about to their spirit. But who am I?? I am fearful, I am judgmental, I am self defeating and gossipy when provoked. Look at me, my actions, the consequences they brought about to my spirit. Why wasn’t this engraved into my mind throughout childhood?? Why did the word sinful stick to other people and not myself? I am sinful and need Jesus. It’s so easy to blame the global church for America’s problems but WE are the church, the two or three million (trillion?) gathered in one mind and one accord, but we are actually the two or three million gathered in many minds and zero accords. When will we wake up and realize we are stressing the things Jesus told us to leave at the cross. We often forget how simple following Jesus truly is because we over complicate everything!
You can love Jesus and still be sinful. But as believers, to fully know and fully love Jesus, when we pursue Him our sinful nature begins to become too heavy for our own grasp. Our fleshly desires start to slip and in this moment we must make a decision: do we let go of the things this world provides so we can tighten our grasp on Jesus or let go of what was holding us together all along but we were too blind to see– Jesus. The decision is ours and cannot be made lightly. As I walk closer to God I want to want His way and not my own because I continually lead myself to destruction regardless of my intentional nature. I’m continually learning and being reminded of His grace and how His ways aren’t to hurt me but only to prosper and something that’s hard to hear. I am so prideful and I want to do life my own way (but we all know how it ends up). Spoiler alert: Jesus wins.
I am continually encouraged by this truth that though my perception of Him changes He always remains the same. He is good. He loves you & I too much to allow us to stay where we are right now. He is not destruction. He is not chaos. He only speaks peace because He is kind.
This love is good