Archive for September, 2016

Slipping Backwards

Earlier this week, I gathered with my community group, a collection of powerful men and women who have taught me so much about what it means to fight and live for God, and found ourselves discussing the path we take as we grow closer to God.

A lot of times Christians see their relationship as a plateau. So many times I hear people talk as though there is a point where we come to know God as our lord and savior, and then there is nothing more. We level out and become comfortable, telling ourselves that there is nothing we can do to bring ourselves closer to God.

In a sense, this is true. Once we have accepted God as our lord and the redemption that was paid in full through the blood shed on the cross, we know that God has adopted each of us into His family.

But there is so much more to this relationship with our Father. Over the past couple years I have learned over and over again that this relationship is something that continues to be explored. It is something that continues to grow throughout our journey with Him.

Instead of a single step to knowing God, it is a constant journey. An ever-progressing movement upward in a relationship that is alive and growing.

There was a moment in the conversation last night where someone stated that sometimes it feels as though their life does not feel like a constant staircase upwards, but more like a growing mountain range with peaks and valleys, highs and lows. It was the concept of sliding backwards in our relationship with God.

I sat there looking at it, trying to put words to thoughts.

Part of me understands where this comes from; we are human. We constantly fall short of God. This is the concept of sin.

There are going to be days when we fell like we have drifted away from the relationship we have built with God. There are going to be days where it feels like we are in the darkest of valleys or standing in the desert where nothing can grow.

But it’s a lie to say that, in these moments of failing or feeling disconnected from God, we slip farther away from God.  Our relationship with Him remains the same. And a lot of times, those moments of darkness allow us to grow deeper in our relationship to our Father.

When the writer of Psalms cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (see Psalm 22, read the entire thing) do you think his relationship with God had become distant? If we look at human relationships, I would say yes. But God is so much more.

When we commit to a living relationship with our Father, we invite the Spirit of God into our hearts. We chase after Him with all our soul. And even in those moments of doubt, if we are truly embracing a relationship with our Father, we will never loose footing in that relationship. We will forever be drawn closer to one another, even in the silence.

I’ve discovered that it is the beautiful lie of the deceiver that convinces us that we have or are slipping backwards in our relationship with the God who knows us by name.

When Heroes Cry

Last night I drew a picture. It is a drawing that was based off of the raw emotions I felt while watching the complete and utter chaos unfold on the streets of Charlotte, NC. I watched as men and women put on the uniform and took to the streets to stand against protesters and rioters, the very people they have sworn to protect.

I watched as flashbangs and tear-gas grenades went off. I watched as individuals shattered windows and looted local shops. I watched as rocks and bottles were hurled through the air. And my heart broke.

I started sketching because I have worked beside the family that is the Thin Blue Line. Over the past year, we as a nation have seen too much bloodshed. We have seen too much hatred spill out onto the streets. We have seen too much violence.

Every time I see officers in the streets standing face to face with violent reactions from protesters, my heart breaks for them. And I believe their hearts break as well.

This is where this drawing comes from.

Sometimes, even heroes break down and cry.

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Forever Remember

Fifteen years ago our world changed. Fifteen years ago, I was a child caught in a moment where we, as a nation, were forced to wake up to the evils of the world. That moment when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell. That moment the walls of the Pentagon caved. That moment when a plane fell from the sky into a field in Pennsylvania.

I was sitting in Mrs Black’s Georgia History class at Midway Middle School when I first heard the news. One of the other teachers stuck their head in to tell us that Ft Stewart, the military base where most of us students lived, was on lock-down. Nobody was going in, nobody was coming out.

As we sat there, working on our Native American diorama projects, we got small nuggets of information. We didn’t have TVs in our classrooms, so we couldn’t see the images that were being broadcast across the world.

What I remember wasn’t the chaos of that I see when I watch the videos and tributes on YouTube. I don’t remember the explosions or the clouds of dust that blanketed Manhattan. What I remember was sitting on the bus for what seemed like hours waiting to be let back onto the military base. What I remember is walking in to find that my mother had dragged out the small TV that we never watched and had it set up on a stool in the living room. That’s when it hit me.

The following day, I sat out at the bus stop waiting for a bus that was stuck outside the gate, waiting to get in to take us to school. When it finally got there, I didn’t get on.

I don’t think any of us that weren’t there that day could ever comprehend what happened that day. We could watch every piece of footage, every documentary, each analysis, but we would never feel what they felt that day. We can only know that terror that we experienced.

Someone told me that this year was one of the first years that we will be teaching our youth in high school the history of Sept 11th, because they were not alive to be witnesses to these events first-hand. This is an event that is now being taught as part of our past.

These events have shaped us as a nation.

I believe that one day, I will be asked the question: Where were you on September 11th?

It is an event that we must learn from it, every single day.

It is something we can never forget.

We must always remember the lessons we learned, the lives we lost, and the bravery that won the day. The thousands of lives that we changed in an instant. Each of their stories is a sacred piece of our story together.