Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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In Deep

The room wasn’t small by any means, but it felt too tiny to contain the depths and the grandness of everyone’s stories as they shared. Each story had it’s own unique font and cover, but the current page in every story read the same. They wanted to be known.

From the depths of who we are, we each carry a deep desire to be known and to be understood. And as much as we like to think we are okay on our own, the desire to be known stems from the heart of the Father’s plan for us. It’s in knowing and being known that we can first taste the freedom of being unconditionally loved.

In 2010 I first tasted the freedom of being known and loved while I lived and study with 40+ other students at Focus on the Family. When you live, sleep, study, and worship for months in close quarters with others, it quickly becomes impossible to hide your mess. They see it all – your pain, your sin and ugliness, your beauty and your potential. When my blots and smudges were known and read by others I discovered something radical: I was STILL loved. When they knew it all and then chose to still love me in spite of what they knew; it became a powerful force that launched me towards freedom. That experience wrote some of the most transformative pages in my story.

In DeepThis October for a ’31 days’ series, I invite you to read a few pages of my story as I journey in deep with community again. This year has held a lot of changes for me both personally and professionally, and in September I joined a different team and ministry. I’m now living a dream of mine that was birthed five years ago at Focus – to be an RA at some type of leadership school or ministry. I’m officially called the Cultural Coordinator for a Discipleship House of young adults – but what I really get to do is to love, teach, and walk with nine beautiful students through life. Helping create a safe place to know and be known.

These incredible friends have chosen to say ‘yes’ to each other and to grow in deeper with the Lord for the next nine months. The honor is mine to go in deep with their stories and learn alongside of them.

This series will be varied and flexible – some days it might be funny stories that always spring from living with your best friends, or it could be something the Lord is showing me in my own story. Community living is like your church small group – only you live with them and commit to working out your differences with them. When you live together – it’s much harder to pretend there isn’t a problem. But it’s also a lot more fun because you don’t have to say goodbye each week.

And so I invite you to read along for the next 31 days and take a peek into my story, and perhaps the stories of a few others.

A traditional Jewish saying highlights the connection between God and storytelling by saying, “God created human beings because He loves stories.” Perhaps the opposite could also be said. “God created stories because He loves human beings.” As quoted in “Girl Meets Change”

I leave you with one thought:

How would your life or perspective be different if you believed the Lord loved (even LIKED) your story and the one He is writing with you? Even the ‘in deep’ parts?

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Replaced

“The worst part is that I guess I just feel replaced…”

Replaced. Hmmmm. I zoned in as she continued “but I guess, man if I feel this way, you must feel so much worse, right?”

I had to think about that one for a minute before replying. We were chatting about some people close to us who had recently gotten engaged and then kind of fell off the planet if you know what I mean? They become  M.I.A. (missing in action) or in their own little world – I often quote the old Bambi movie and call this stage “Twitterpated” when I see it. (See the cute video below – email readers, try this link)


Ruth, this blog post is for you, as we arrived at our destination tonight before I could reply (and thanks for giving me a topic for today!). I can definitely relate to feeling replaced in close friendships! I don’t know that I feel worse than you do though. Yes, I’ve been ‘replaced’ many more times, but I also think that I learned a few skills which have helped me process it, so it’s actually gotten easier, and not harder for me. So don’t despair!

When your close friends or siblings start dating or get engaged and you are suddenly pushed out into a less central place in their heart and lives, here are a few tips that have helped me over the years (and that I still have to practice on a regular basis!)

 Emotions:

  • Have a good cry. Yes, this helps! In many ways you have been replaced and it’s ok to grieve your loss, even if you are happy for the other person’s gain.
  • Recognize that you can feel two emotions at once – joy for them, and pain for you. Know that it’s a good thing that your spot in their lives has been ‘replaced’. If they are getting married and you still held the closest spot in their heart next to the Lord, than it would be a very bad thing.
  • While your spot and role in their life was replaced, You as a person have not been replaced. They still need you, and you need them. How you interact in each other’s lives is just going to look different from now on.

 Choices:

  • A really important question to ask yourself is:“Is this relationship important enough to me to wait for them?” You have a choice, to close up and move on, or to stay and wait around till their core relationship is formed with their spouse or future spouse. I never yet had a couple NOT reappear after a few months or a few years (the time span varies on their personalities) needing friendship and support from their friends and family.     two way street                                                            Couples need bonding time. As a friend, one of the greatest gifts you can give them is this time to establish who they are as couple. It will be painful to you, and a big adjustment, but if the friendship and investment is worth the wait to you, the friendship on the other side will be all the sweeter and stronger for it. Love is a two way street, but it’s also the sacrifice of a one lane road while the other lane is under construction.
  • You also have the choice to talk to the friend in the relationship and express your needs in the friendship. This can be very tricky to do without coming across as needy or making the friend in the relationship feel guilty. While it can be helpful sometimes, I would approach it with caution and love.
  • Choose to include the person you are feeling replaced by. This can be a tough one, but looking into the future, if you want to continue a friendship with your friend, get to know the person they are in the relationship with. If you have had a close friendship for many years, the new person entering into the relationship with your friend could easily feel threatened. You have the opportunity to bless this couple by becoming friends with both of them. The dividends of this investment will be more than you can comprehend.

It’s so easy to become offended and upset when we feel we have been replaced! It’s ok to grieve the loss, but it’s not ok to let it destroy your relationship with your friend. (Please note the other person always has a choice too – but we are responsible for 31 DAYS OF Being Single our own choices and how we respond to them).

How do you think 1 Corinthians 13 applies when we have been replaced in a friendship? (Please read it slowly).

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Replaced” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read the pervious post please click here.


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Weddings – 31 Days of Truth {Day 28}

This weekend is a weekend of rejoicing! Two years ago when I came home from my sabbatical the Lord blessed me with a group a very close friends. The 4 of us (Christine, Dan, Tom and myself) did everything together, we hung out built and fixed up each other’s houses and worked through a lot of life. Those friendships became a safe place of healing and growth for each one of us in a different areas.

The Lord greatly blessed our group by answering some of our deepest prayers. This weekend Tom married Dana. And today is Christine’s 3 month wedding anniversary. My heart is bursting with joy for them!

 

I’m so overwhelmed by the Lord’s faithfulness! He answers prayers. The heartache of all the years of waiting and failed dates that we worked through together – today turns into joy! He is faithful! And He is good and knows what and who we need. Thankful doesn’t express what it means to me to have friends on this journey.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: We were created for fellowship. And so I’m off – off to live today’s truth. The smell of waffles and the sound of pleasant chatter pulls me away from the computer. While the honeymooner’s are off – the rest of us are enjoying making new memories and building a new phase of friendship. He is good!


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Call it Out

Several months ago I met a man named Jason*. He made a lasting impact and drew out the best in me without trying. Jason was a gentleman to the core; with full hands he opened doors and I never walked behind him – always in front or beside him. His respect for others and love for Jesus emanated in everything he did. Yes, Jason’s words reflected his love for the Lord, but his actions made the impact because he was living out who the Lord made him to be .

By the end of the evening, I wanted to be more feminine and I desired to have a greater love for the Lord.  Why? Because in walking rightly before the Lord, Jason couldn’t help but call out the best in me. A brother in Christ without trying, called out and challenged this sister in Christ simply by the way he lived.

A question has been haunting me since that night; what if I reversed this situation? Am I living in such away that calls out the best in my brothers and sisters in Christ? I throw the question to you: Are you living in such a way that inspires people around you to want to love and know the Lord more? More specifically – ladies, are you living in a way that encourages the men in your lives to be godly leaders? I’ve been blessed to have other brothers in Christ encourage me too, but do I encourage them? Does our personal model of femininity, call out or squash a man’s masculinity? Continue reading


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Call It What It Is – When Friends Know too Much – Part 2

In my last post I talked about close guy/girl friendships and how I’ve come to believe that close cross-gender friendships ultimately don’t work.  So what should healthy guy/girl friendships look like?

First – Call it what it is.  Be honest with yourself. If you’re in a close friendship with someone of the opposite gender, do you desire for it to be more? Does he or she?  Do you tell everyone you’re like brother and sister?

Brothers and sisters don’t necessarily text, chat, talk or see each other every day. They don’t flirt (By the way – if you’re just “teasing or flirting” as friends – you’re in a very dangerous spot). Brothers and sisters rarely do things alone together (or at least not as a habit). Brothers and sisters are also never exclusive (most of the time there is always one cross-gender friendship that is ‘exclusive’ or deeper than the others). Jealousy with the interactions the other person has is never present in healthy sibling relationships.

If your relationship falls into one of these – call it what it is – you’re dating.  I encourage you to stop and think – even more so if you just tried to justify “oh that’s not me” to yourself after reading that last sentence. Continue reading


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When Friends Know too Much – Part 1

Guy – Girl Attraction: that magnetic pull which elicits the secret ingredient in all cross-gender relationships.  The mystery of these relationships began with the creation of male and female at the beginning of time.  When we consider all the pitfalls in relationships, how past experiences play in, the way people were raised, their “norms” and the intricacies of how guys and girls communicate on two completely different levels – it’s really a miracle any relationships form, flourish in the differences and last. Oil and water, Mars and Venus, waffles and spaghetti – these are never things which sane people put together. How does this magnetic pull fit into our friendships with the opposite gender?

I’m not sure it does very well.  God created us male and female – to be attracted to each other, to be fruitful and multiply. He designed guy/girl relationships to go somewhere. (Read Song of Solomon – the Lord delights in the guy/girl relationship as He created it to be).  I used to believe that it was possible to have a close or best friend of the opposite gender and have it stay completely platonic. I have been proven wrong over and over again. In my life and in the lives of those around me, I have yet to see a deep guy/girl friendship stay platonic on both sides. Inevitably, one will develop romantic feelings for the other or desire more than the friendship they currently have. Continue reading