Tag Archives: Love

It’s Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled.

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled . . . .Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Yes, it has been a long time since I wrote on my blog. And yes “Rock n Roll” by Led Zeppelin is currently playing over my computer speakers right now. As I went to type in a title for this post the song popped into my head. Thanks dad.

But I figured it was time to pick up the keyboard and monitor again. When 6 people give you compliments on a blog you haven’t written on in months you know it is something you should not give up on. Thanks everyone who reads my blog and who encourages me. But on to the main point of this blog post today . . .

One compliment I received last month also came with an assignment. I was asked what would be the one thing I would like to say to today’s high school students. Particularly the ones from my old high school, or others that attend Christian high schools. So this, almost two months later . . . is what I would say.

Know your worth.

What something is worth, what value it holds, is a thought that I often find myself pondering over. I was recently launched into this thought while watching a movie with my hubby, Jim-Dear. It was one of our favorites. One of the scenes, however, struck me in a new way. I sat in silence for about 10 minutes after the movie was done and re-watched the scene in my mind and replayed how it had made me feel. The simple beauty of this scene was truly a short narrative on how we can place value on beauty, craftsmanship, and things that sparkle, but in the end, these objects are truly worthless unless someone is around to value them. They are only worth what enjoyment they can bring. The characters they . . . well I will let them speak for themselves . . . here is the clip.

(Note: the link I provided starts the clip after the part where they mention the King James Version term for a donkey. If you want to avoid that language then do not watch the clip from the beginning.)

http://youtu.be/eHbUFzTHUhI?t=25s

Ah yes, Zombieland. It is a truly a deep intellectual movie on the frail existence of humans and all we hold dear. As I watched this scene I felt my heart drop. They were destroying beautiful things. That snow globe was probably $45! Don’t they care about . . . about . . . about what? It is the end of the world. They are one of the few people left. What is a price tag to them? What things hold value? Tallahassee spends most of this movie desperately searching for a Twinkie. A common cheap snack becomes the most priceless thing in the world to him.

As humans we assign price tags to almost everything. In my econ 101 class in college things had worth depending on where they would fall on the supply and demand curve. In my marketing classes an object worth depended on how much hype its branding and commercials could bring to it. As Seen On TV product commercials taught me that items should be worth something and 99 cents.

I take a look at my wedding ring and wonder why we car so much about diamonds, silver, and gold. If we enjoy and cherish shiny objects so much, why is tinfoil still so cheap?

It is a complicated process deciding what something is worth. Is it rare? Is it “beautiful”? How much does it cost to make? How badly can I make you want it?

But what it really all comes down to is . . .we, as humans put a number on it. Some human got to decide what the clothes you are wearing are worth. Not only how much the fabric itself should cost, but also how much value the name on the tag holds.

It is really a silly system if you think about it. Someone creates a number. Someone prints some paper. You get to hand over some paper for an object. If you truly stop and think about it, it seems a bit ridiculous. The cash that we use and the credit cards that we swipe transfer these numbers that we call money. But, money is something we decided we wanted to place value in.

But what is OUR value? And who gets to decide? Believe me, many people will try to decide your value for you. You probably already know this. Your value to someone could depend on your clothes, your makeup, your hair, your smell, you intelligence, your athleticism, your humor, or your talents. Your value can change depending on who you hang out with or what you do with your weekends.

But isn’t that silly? As humans we enjoy putting a value on people as well as objects. But isn’t it silly. Why do I care what you think? Why do you get to put a value on me? Why am I never any good at placing a value on myself? Other people are not more “worthy” than you. They are just normal people too. We are all organs, muscle, skin, brains, and heart. At least that is all that we can see when we look at each other. So that is what we try to put a value on. But we are much more, aren’t we?

We are also a soul. That is what God sees. God not only sees our clothes, friends, talents, and hobbies, He sees our tue hearts, our thoughts, and our souls. God has put a value on every single one of our souls. We are priceless. We are worth everything to Him and that is what He gave in order to have us. He gave Himself. He gave Jesus. He suffered and died. An almighty, powerful God who could wipe us all out with a whisper and create a whole new universe in the next breathe thinks that you . . . YOU . . . are an amazing person and He wants to spend an eternity showing you your worth.

It is silly isn’t it. How often do we rip off the price tag God put on us, priceless, and instead believe the lies that the world tells us. We pick up the sticker that says clearance, 50% off. We put ourselves out on the rummage sale for only 50 cents, hoping that at that price someone will love us. We believe people when they walk buy and turn up their noses. They tell us we are the wrong color, the wrong shape, the wrong style. We hang our heads and believe that we are worthless. Silly.

But it happens. It is a lie that we will all battle the rest of our lives. Some days it will be easier than others to remember what our true worth is, but it will be hard.

In the end (the true end, the glorious one, not the one filled with zombies) all of this human silliness will fade away. Not all that glitters is gold. And even if it is gold who cares? It is just an expensive rock. God is our true prize and we are His amazing creation.

Know your worth. Not worthless, but priceless. Not lost, but saved. Not despised, but loved. We are not perfect, but we are accepted by the one who is. Enjoy the little things and remember not to get caught up in the price tag games that the world likes to play.

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I Wouldn’t Change A Thing. Part II.

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing. Part I.

I was a brightly colored girl of 6, whose daddy would buy her colorful presents for her birthday and for “just because.” My white sneakers with the colorful butterflies all over them were my favorites. As I grew older and bigger I sadly outgrew them just as I outgrew my pink bike with the streamers. I remember the time when I came home from a trip with my mom and my siblings to step out of the van and turn to see my first 10 speed bike, it bright purple waiting for me. A surprise. I hugged my dad as I admired the paint job of my new and simply awesome bike. I still have the light switch plate with the purple and yellow butterflies on it that he gave to me once, just because. And hanging with my jewelry is a turquoise necklace he once bought for me while on a mission project. It is not all about the presents he gave me, it was his presence that made life colorful and special as well.

I was the smiling girl of 10. Who looked just like her mother. Her mother who baked cookies and brownies and bars and cakes. Her baking was always the best, being flavored with all of her love (cheesy but true!). She sang “it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling in my soul” when anything was boiling on the stove.  My husband had to call her to get her biscuits and gravy recipe when we got married. She had spoiled me with my favorite birthday breakfast for too many years. I still expect biscuits and gravy in the morning and angel food cake with ice cream and strawberries in the evening, candles are optional.

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Dear Child

Wednesdays are “Love Is” days at my blog Ripples In Culture (Today is, Love Is King.), I thought I would share some of that love here as well with this beauty post I read lately.

Karina's Thought

Dear Child-Karina's Thought

What such a surprise for me! A few days ago my fiancé returned from a business trip from America and he bought me a pearl necklace. When I opened it necklace’s box there is a letter. When I read it, I can’t hold my tears. I am moved and crying. The letter is not a love letter from my fiancé but it was more than the love letter. This evening I would like share it to all of you. Here’s the letter.

Dear child,

I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are because there is a father of lies who will try to deceive you. He will try to tell you that you are not good enough, not attractive enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not righteous enough, and that you are simply unimportant to Me.

He will try to tell you…

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Hide and Seek.

My hubby and I have been doing our fair share of seeking lately, and not just for the matching socks in the laundry. What shall we do? Where shall we go? What gifts do we have? How should they be used?

When we prepare to lead the praise team for church we ask what songs to do.

When we are leaving youth group we seek out how that worship session went, and we ask for direction for next week.

When you seek you will find.

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What Proof Do We Have of God?

I am not a scientist. I am not a studied theologian. I am not even good at debating. So why am I opening this can of worms with the question in the title, well, because people who do not believe it ask us, and it is hard to answer.

The only answer I have to give is that we are the answer.

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Color Me Green

I read this blog post while reading through the World Race website and pondering about what it would be like to go on such a journey. Kacie Lester blogs at Color Me Captivated and she shared this story about learning to live in community. It is a lesson I desperately need to learn. We should all strive to say, “color me captivated”, but most days as envy sneaks in, I just find myself thinking, color me green.

instant coffee & not-so-instant-friendship

– posted on 10/10/2012 by Kacie Lester

I learned a lot about comparison last year while I was on the World Race.

Mainly that I needed to wage war against it. And, that my short-ish, rounder-than-Victoria’s-Secret-model-shaped figure, turn-a-shade-of-fire-engine-red-when-I’m-embarrassed face, and alarmingly loud laugh aren’t just beautiful in theory. They’re actually stunning.

And I had to learn this all while living with a beautiful woman who is in every way my physical opposite.

I was particularly upset one day early in the Race as I watched my beautiful teammate go about her day flawlessly – even her messy crying fits and bouts of insecurity were beautiful – and I often wondered how it could be possible at all that I could also be beautiful with my pale skin and boring hair and short (and admittedly thicker) frame.

I’m so different – I speak and think and act and look so vastly differently than this girl who is, in every sense of the word, beautiful.

I would ask myself constantly, “How can I also be beautiful when I’m nothing like this girl who embodies the word?”

From updates.theworldrace.org

I actually sat Stephanie down the week we met and I told her to her face that I probably wasn’t going to like her. She was too perfect and I was sure she knew it, and I cannot get along with conceited girls (which I figured she was, without a doubt).

Then I learned that she wanted to write, I wanted to write – she wanted to sing, I do sing – she used to dance, I used to dance – I paint, she likes to paint – I play guitar, she wanted to learn. Initially, I just saw my obvious inferiority to her, so I saw everything we had in common as threatened. She obviously looked better doing it, so I had to prove that I actually did it better. Competition stacked on top of comparison, and everything got bitter.

That battle with comparison wasn’t just a battle over me. The spirit that was bringing up fear and judgment towards her wasn’t just attacking me. It was attacking unity – the body, the bride of Christ.

It didn’t want me to feel equal to her, and it certainly didn’t want me to love her.

Envy, absolutely. But not love.

And I did not love her.

In fact, there was a night in Romania that I and my blonde, beautiful teammate walked up to our leaders separately, without having discussed it, and calmly informed them that our team simply would not work because we could not live together, and they need to change it. Please and thank you.

From updates.theworldrace.orgWe left Romania on the very same team we’d been on when we had arrived. Our eloquent leader had a brilliant (miserable sounding) idea: “Seeing as how you certainly aren’t being separated, you need to decide to love each other. Really love each other. Like, put effort into loving each other.” 

I won’t pretend I didn’t begin that endeavor with a “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” justification, but motivation being right or wrong, every other morning for a month I gave her a Nescafe 3-in-1 instant coffee packet.

The mornings I didn’t give her one, she gave one to me. There wasn’t coffee where we were living, so these coveted gifts were delicacies. We could have each just kept our own coffee, but giving and receiving it every morning meant sacrificing our treasures and our pride. And, slowly but surely, we learned to love each other over these tiny gifts.

From updates.theworldrace.org

Gift giving turned into praying for each other. As a wise woman (Stephanie) once said to me: “It’s impossible to not be on the same team as someone else when you’re praying for them.”

Praying for each other turned into delivering one another’s notes after we’d prayed, including a word of encouragement. Then we were loving each other – and loving each other well – as sisters and as friends.

Two months later, we were granted our long-gone wish and were put on separate teams to travel and serve with, and we didn’t have a chance to live together again for the remaining eight of our 11 months abroad. We arrived back in America at the end of the Race, and two months later, we became roommates.

From updates.theworldrace.orgNow that I know her heart, I see how often the enemy tries to tell her she’s ugly and awkward looking. The fact that she can look in the mirror as often as she does and see imperfection and ugliness in herself proves to me more than anything that the enemy exists. I ended up teaching her to play guitar and now we worship together in our adorable little Georgia apartment when the enemy tries to get in our business.

Comparison almost robbed me of one of my very dearest friends, simply because I didn’t know she was my very dear friend, yet. All I saw was all the ways we were starkly different, the ways I wanted to be like her, and wasn’t. And the very few ways she wanted to be like me and didn’t yet know how to be.

But the Lord calls us sisters. He calls us united by one body, one spirit, one hope. (Eph. 4:4)

He sees her as flawless – and he sees me as flawless.

My flawlessness doesn’t give her flaws, nor does her flawlessness negate mine. They don’t look the same – but that isn’t a truth that limits the definition of “flawless.” Rather, it infinitely expands the capacity and depth of the perfection of God.

Redemption is perfect in Christ. I am perfect in Christ. She is perfect in Christ.

Who are you competing with? Who do you feel is beneath you? Who are you trying to out-rank?

He or she could be your best friend, your next roommate, the loudest voice of truth in your life, or your very biggest fan. You just might not know it yet because an enemy who hates you is actively trying to change that reality.

Love intentionally. Pray. Encourage one another. And if you aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to start buying some instant coffee packets!


I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart.

Where?

I looked up from the couch as the lock clicked and I watched my husband come in, just home from work. One hand was still holding our apartment keys and in the other he had carefully balanced two bottles of Mt. Dew and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. My favorites. Now those who really know me would read that paragraph and shudder, because they know me and what this picture means. So let me shift the picture for you.

Down in my heart.

I am sitting on the couch in my  sweat pants and a t-shirt with cut off sleeves. I have an Xbox controller in one hand and the other is eating semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I had been doing this for the past hour and a half and today was supposed to be my uber productive day. The room that I was hoping to clean today, wasn’t. The dishes that were supposed to be washed, still dirty. The blog posts that should have been written, blankness.

Where?

James sat down and I put my head in his lap so I could start crying. In doing this we found that I had dropped some of my chocolaty morsels and I now had two melted chocolate chips on my butt and one melted to my calf. I was a disgraceful picture.

Down in my heart.

Depression had worked its way into what otherwise would have been a perfect day. But that is what it is. When I tell some people that I suffer from depression they just think that when things go wrong I get really, really sad. No, that is sadness. When things go wrong I do get sad, that is normal. Depression is when every thing is going right, and all I want to do is lay down and cry.

I got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

You can take all your top 10 lists that tell me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to have a better self-image, how to have a cleaner house. You can take all of your advice and all of your kind words. You can take all of that and keep it for another day. I will not be able to use it today. I can read the happiest quote while looking at a picture of the cutest puppy and my heart will not stir. If anything I will probably start crying because the world looks so bleak.

Where?

I do not cut anymore, but the idea behind lingers with me. Toward the end of the day I am lying in bed, upset again. I had tried to write a post but it seemed all wrong, totally forced. I failed again today. James comes in as he hears me tossing around on the bed. I am restless. He holds me as I rant. My feelings get all mixed up inside. I do not want to do anything. It is 10:00 pm and I have not even had supper yet, I should be starving. But I do not want to do anything. I do not want to get up and have supper. Yet lying in this bed is actually still doing something, and I do not want to stay here either. But getting up is definitely doing something. I tell James all of this in a mumble of sentences. I tell him, “All I know is that I have a headache and all I want to do is hit my head against the wall repeatedly.” He stares at me strangely, “How is that supposed to help your headache.” And I watch his eyes sadden as I say, “Because at least then I will hurt on the outside, and that is much better than hurting on the inside.”

Down in my heart to stay.

We pray then. I do not want to, which is a good sign that we should. We pray for healing and for joy and for peace. We pray for Depression, Doubt, and Worry to leave me. We pray, and I feel slightly better. James says there is a look of hope in my eyes. I get up, eat some supper, start filling out important dates in my new daily planner, and I look up a couple of the 5k races my friend and I have been talking about. Depression still lingers over me, but I can manage for now at least.

Now for my favorite verse.

I have the Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Blessed-Redeemer-Way-Down-In-The-Depths-Of-My-Heart. (quick breath) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. (breathe!) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. . .

To stay.

"I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.

“I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.