Friday, December 25, 2015

Of W.E.I.R.D. - Of Friendships - Of Love

           Just before I turned 16, I joined a Christian online writers' forum. There, I ended up meeting some of my closest friends. Some of them I've been able to meet face to face - some of them only through Skype or phone calls - and others only through type-chatting... And they've become to mean the world to me.

(From the wedding I went to this November - 2 online friends getting married to each other -
and a couple days spent with laughter with them... )

            They are truly there for me - some people may say online friendships can't be true ones - but I've lived enough years with them to know that's not true. They've helped me with projects, and writing - and allowed me to do the same in turn for them. They make me laugh - until I can't breathe, and I'm squeaking, and our teasing is rampant.  And they've made me cry - cry for their hurts and sorrows - and they've cried with me; listening when I just need to talk. They are there when I need prayer - big or small, life-shattering, or little worries - they pray for me.They share in my life - some have been there since the beginning - some are newer - and some have faded in time... They've been friendships that have changed my life.

      Ya know what some of them did for me as a Christmas gift? They took my friendship poetry book, and recorded themselves reading different poems. I've been  crying - and laughing - and crying some more. There's more love than I'm able to fully process...

         This poem I wrote to them - about them - back in 2012... and it has become even more true over the years. 

(Read by Camilla Uphaven)

              Almost every week a few of us get together on Skype - sometimes for upwards of four or five hours - and it's something I always look forward to. We are W.E.I.R.D - Weirdos Encouraging and Inspiring Real Dialog.
           Certain online friendships - you get to the point where you can just enjoy each other's company on Skype without needing to always be saying things. When ya can go into listening to music together, and sending links to things back and forth, and just hanging out - drifting between laughing and talking, and then mostly quiet.

       We do that with my WEIRD group sometimes - when people ask, "How do you talk for that many hours?" Sometimes we don't. Sometimes people go about doing their own thing - and we are simply together. We make food, and do chores, and fold laundry, make crafts, and throw links at each other - and yes - we do talk too. We laugh, and are strange, and update each-other on our week, and talk about projects and ideas, and stuff...
      There's a certain comfortableness in friendship where you can simply hang out and do life - even when you're far, far away.

       Last night - this is the one that especially made me cry hard. Like, start shaking a little... It's the overwhelming of memories, and love, and the continued realization of all that went into recording 73 poems...
(Read by Jordan Miller.)

  l'm still listening to poetry today - poems of friendship, in a project put together by my friends... I needed to express the joy I'm feeling, and how loved I feel this morning - again - so I've wandered to my blog. ;)

(Read by Susie Buckley.)

           I have some amazing friends. I really, really do.

                                                      ~Ophelia - Marie

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Do you know what you are getting yourself into?

(A conglomeration of thoughts...)

When I made up my mind
And my heart along with that
To live not for myself
But yet for God, somebody said,
"Do you know what you are getting yourself into?"

               Ha, no... When I accepted Jesus, I was about 6 years old, and I had very little idea of what I was getting myself into. But God had touched me - there was no turning back. I knew enough to know I needed a Savior, and God has been showing me day by day how good it is to be with Him.

               What did I get into? I got into the family of God, to live a life of purpose... A life of service to my King... But it's more than just simple service, or loving adoption... He has called me to die. 

When I finally ironed out
All of my priorities
And asked God to remove the doubt
That makes me so unsure of these
Things I ask myself, I ask myself,
"Do you know what you are getting yourself into?"
Do you know what you are, "Getting into" when you put your faith in Jesus?

                   I've been reading the book, "Not A Fan" by Kyle Idleman. In chapter 11 he makes some very pointed points.

            Luke 9:23
"'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me'

The slogan for followers of Christ could accurately be captured this way:
Come and Die.
Well, at least it gets your attention. Not really the kind of slogan that draws people in. It sounds like a horror flick released around Halloween. It's not a slogan people flock to; it's a slogan people flee from. Nobody wants to talk about death. We don't even like the word death. When somebody dies we say, "They've passed on/ they've gone ahead/ they're no longer with us/ " 

The book goes on to say, "Death is so final' it's so complete. Exactly.  As Bonhoeffer put it, 'When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.' " ~"Not A Fan"
      That's God's opinion of my "priorities". He says, "Come and Die. Leave it all behind and follow me." 

"You can't carry a cross without suffering."
"There is a junk theology floating around that points to difficulties as evidence that you must not be following Jesus. The biblical reality is that when people say yes to following Jesus, they are agreeing to carry a cross, and that will be painful at times.
         There are a number of Scriptures that do more than hint at the fact that if you are following Jesus, it will cost you something.

Luke 6:22
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

2 Timothy 3:12
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Philippians 1:29
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

       And here's the question that is keeping me awake these days: Am I really carrying a cross if there is no suffering and sacrifice? When is the last time following Jesus cost you something?"
~"Not A Fan"

When was the last time following Jesus cost me something?

He hasn't called me to what is easy. He hasn't called me to sit by and love others from a distance. He hasn't called me to live a life of joy - but keeping that good news to myself. He hasn't called me to live a outwardly good life, but do whatever I want on the side.

He has called me to die to myself -
The broken me
The selfish me
The uncaring me -
To die. 

He has called me to LIVE in His glorious abundance.

~ "Fix My Eyes", For King and Country

I am to live my life with my eyes fixed on my Lord and Savior. With Him, I am alive.

"When He looked at me and said,
'I kind of view you as a son'
And for a second our eyes met
And I met that with a question,
'Do You know what You are getting Yourself into?'
I'm getting into You
Because You got to me, in a way words can't describe,
I'm getting into You
Because I've got to be
You're essential to survive
I'm going to love You with my life." ~ Reliant K, Getting Into You

             The beautiful thing is, yes... God knew exactly what He was getting into when He made us... And yet He chose to love us anyway. He got to us in a way words can't describe - changing us, and helping us grow in Him... He wrapped us in overwhelming, loving redemption, and gave us His Spirit to live within us.... He's essential to survive. He's essential to truly live.

"Things I ask myself, I ask myself,
'Do you know what you are getting yourself into?' "
              Ha, I can say when I accepted Christ, I had no idea what I was getting into. He knew exactly all I'd be when He chose me, and yet He still chose me as His... 
He loves me that much.
That is beautiful, safe, and comforting to ponder on.

              That doesn't mean everything is easy... Mmm, no... For there are the results of sin in this world... But I know God has it under control He is good.

        Songs and books like those I've mentioned are a wonderful reminder - God is essential, and He's got me.  
       He knows exactly what I'm getting myself into... May our hearts long to get more of Him - to live and die in the arms of our Savior.

            “Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.
            No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out.
         Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.
— C.S.Lewis

Are you ready to come and die?

~Ophelia - Marie

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Of Thunderstorms and The Ocean

Original from Unsplash

         I'm going to launch into a little ramble here... I don't feel like sitting on it, so it probably should go straight as a G+ post, but my blog /states/ it's for rambling - anyways:

             Okay, so, I've been thinking about the ocean and thunderstorms this morning. I was talking to a friend late last night, and though this wasn't the main point of the conversation, this is what is beating around in my head since I woke up.

       The ocean. Thunderstorms. Wild - big - uncontrollable - awe inspiring. So very potentially dangerous and life threatening.

          I've been totally knocked off my feet in the ocean, and tumbled around. It would've been scary if I'd been out deeper, or if it had been any longer - but I popped up laughing. I've seen God answer prayers for rain... I remember standing out in the dark as it started and I was laughing and laughing... *Shrugs* Yes, I laugh a lot. ;) ... Both of these memories are ones of joy... and smallness.

       Joy and smallness. Joy - awe - at something so fierce, so beautiful, so untameable. Smallness - as I realize how fragile I am, and how big everything around me is.

       I think part of me loves the ocean and loves thunderstorms for how small they make me feel. How BIG they remind me that God is.

       And then there's this:

      Jesus went to sleep in the middle of a storm on the ocean... Jesus walked through a storm on top of the ocean waves...

  There are big things in life. Wild. Uncontrollable. Things we don't know quite what to do with... And they can remind us of how truly vast and powerful our God is.

              Jesus walks through the storms. Jesus finds rest in the middle of storms.

       Isn't that amazing? Imagine with me the fiercest of storms - the wildest of oceans... Realize that He brings peace right there. I've known this seeming forever, but today it feels oddly new - God is  with us in the midst of storms in life - in the metaphorical ones, as well as in the ones of nature. He is very clearly there. 

      *Grins* That's what's on my mind this morning.

~Ophelia - Marie