This is How We Learn

This is How We Learn


Forgive her--
Two little words sound so easy,
Burn so bright.
They look like hope and second chances.

We take a deep breath
For giving this gift
Isn't easy as it sounds.
Forgiving is a gift that humbles us.

And no matter what she did
We're supposed to forgive.
We're supposed to let go
To allow her a second chance.

Grace means you lavish
Her with something neither of you can imagine.
You leave the past in the past
You restore what you once had.

And dear, if you really want to move forward,
And if you are truly ready to be like Christ,
Don't avoid the conversation.
Don't wallow in your anger.

Let the love of Christ break down the barriers between you.
Don't hold on
To this frustration
This disdain.

Let love lead you to the cross.
See how much He forgave you?
How can you not grace her
With the same love and acceptance?

I know she hurt you.
I know it's hard, this thing you're going through.
Isn't it time to learn Christ's way?
Isn't it time to let go and give grace?

For this is how we learn
To be brave in the face of our enemies
To build or rebuild a friendship
To live and love the way Christ loves us.

Forgiveness.

~Madeline

P.S. This applies to forgiving guys too. I just used girls as an example.

let go

let go





















We all know what it feels like when you have to pick up something really heavy and move it. Your muscles ache, you're struggling to keep your grip, and it seems like those twenty steps to move that item across the room are the hardest steps you've ever taken.

And then, when you've reached your destination, you get to set it down, and it's the best feeling. It's a relief. You feel freer, you've let go.

It's easy. 


-----

Sometimes, our own minds can be the most tangled up, twisted places in the world. I don't know about you, but my mind really never stops going. It's constantly jumping from one thought process to the next, running from idea to idea, from project to project. And sometimes, my mind isn't the nicest place. It can get filled to the brim with negativity, and it feels as though your head is about to explode. 

Thinking, thinking, thinking too much. About those people who hurt you. About those old friends who bailed. About that person who let you down. You think that you've pushed it out of your mind, and then you see something that reminds you of them, and bam. Those thoughts are back. 

And even more frequently, those thought seem to extend to ourselves. Oh, you didn't finish your novel last week like you said that you would? Failure. You got a C on that test? Oh my gosh, how idiotic of you. You fell asleep instead of finishing that blog post? Well goodness, why do you even have followers? Clearly you don't deserve them.

But those thoughts just aren't right.

All of these thoughts just get more and more pervasive, to the point that they're all that we can think about. We can't get rid of them. They're even heavier than that box, but we can't seem to let go.

And suddenly, it's not so easy. 
-----

To forgive is defined as, "to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake." This can apply equally to others and ourselves. We have to let go of those feelings of bitterness and anger. 

But gosh, why is it so difficult? 

I think that part of it is because we all have a little bit of stubbornness to us. We feel like the person that we're angry with isn't deserving of being forgiven. We feel like we're not deserving of being forgiven. So we hold onto that box a little bit tighter, not wanting to loosen our grip. But in Christ, we've already been forgiven of everything, despite the fact that we sure didn't deserve it. So why can't we extend that same forgiveness to others? Why can't we extend that same forgiveness to ourselves? If the Creator of the entire universe can forgive you, can't you try to do the same thing?

As hard as it is, why can't we just...let go? 

-----

Maybe you're always going to feel that little sting when you see that person. Maybe you're always going to be just the tiniest bit upset that that project didn't work out the way that you thought that it would. That's okay. That's disappointment, and it's natural. We're all going to be disappointed in life, many many times. We'll be disappointed by other people. We'll be disappointed in ourselves. But at the same time, we have to learn to stop holding on so tight to that box. To let it slip through our fingers, and let that weight fall off of our shoulders. 

To let go. 

It's not going to be easy. But man, is it going to be worth it. 

Take a breath. 

And let go.



- Grace Anne

change your thermostat

change your thermostat

 
for·give
fərˈɡiv/
verb
  1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.


________________________________


That's the definition of forgiveness. And it sounds so beautifully simple. Stop feeling angry. But it's almost as hard as trying to write the beginning of this post. Because "offense, flaw, or mistake" can probably describe a moment of every single person's life on planet earth -- perhaps many moments, perhaps every day. 

We are children. Messy, inexperienced, 
writing on the walls with permanent markers. 
And we can't forgive ourselves.


But why? Why? When now, more than ever before, we live in a world where humanity is beginning to awaken to the light of a new dawn; the light of Grace and Peace and Forgiveness. Why?

Because forgiveness implies there is something to forgive. 

Offense, Flaw, Mistake. 

Trembling words with skeletal frames, whispering escape plans in each other's ears. We hate the fact that they infect our bodies, our minds, and the breath in our lungs. But hate is the very thing we need to cast far, far, away in order to forgive. 

In order to love.

 
There's something in psychology called "cybernetics." (And yes, this is going to be one of my Science Geek Analogies™, just warning you.) To put it simply, your mind works like a thermostat. And for those of you who don't know how a thermostat works, here is a quick overview: you tell the thermostat what temperature you want a given room. If the room gets warmer, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. If the room gets colder, the thermostat will work to bring the temperature back to your specific setting. 

The thermostat knows the norm. It is the norm. 
It changes everything in the room according to the norm. 
And it's the same way with your mind. 

If you always predict a certain outcome from yourself, your mind will literally work to regulate that outcome -- finding anything less or anything more simply unacceptable. If you're always like "I suck at parallel parking" it isn't just your lack of confidence that prevents you from being good at parallel parking; it's your mind saying "ok that's where you want to be WE SHALL SUCK FOREVERMORE." The same goes for positive things, too. 

But what happens when you expect too much of yourself? 
What happens when you fall short? 
When you make a mistake? 
When you do something wrong? 

If we hear so much about forgiveness, why is it so hard to simply make amends with our messy, inexperienced humanity? 


Guys, I'm not going to lie to you -- I mess up. A lot. And I expect things of myself that are ridiculously out of my depth. And I complete the vicious cycle by condemning myself, shaming myself, and hating myself.

WHY?

Who's thermostat is wired into my heart now? The thermostat that declares I am beautiful and forgiven and loved? The thermostat that whispers in the unwavering voice of my Savior that I am perfect in His eyes? 

Or is it the thermostat I see everywhere I turn? Those dark little thermostats that cower in the corner and mutter "you're a dirty sinner." Messed up and mistook. Unworthy of love. Shame, shame, shame. 

Someone set a thermostat to sit outside in the pig pen, covered in filth, shaking it's head saying, "No, I don't belong at my Father's table, no, I don't deserve to be anything more than a servant, no, I deserve to be a slave."

But I want to change my thermostat. I want to collapse into 
my Father's arms and take the rings and the robes and the sandals 
and the wild party and the loud music and the unbridled joy. 

I don't want the "dirty sinner" norm turning my thermostat down to a mere crust from the table of God. I want to be turned up all the way like the bass pumping through the front lawn. I want to forgive, forgive, forgive, because I thought it was impossible until proven possible by the hands that crafted my blood and bone. 

I want you to change your thermostat. 

To forgive.

To love.

To believe that you are worth it.

rock on,
abbiee

dear shame

dear shame























 Dear Shame,

I admit you're a subtle lover. I've been living with you for so long, I barely even notice that you're there. Except for the weight of you clinging to my shoulders at 2 AM when it's just you, me, and my regret.

If you were a person, you would be that bad boy on the corner, flashing a smile and a wink. All charm on the outside, rotten personality underneath. I think my mama warned me about ones like you some time ago, but, oh, you draw me in with the way you sweet talk, “Filthy, dirty, worthless, how could you do this, why did you do this, you are disgusting, you knew better and you did it anyway, forget about being forgiven, nobody can stomach loving you, least of all God.”

Yup, it's an REO Speedwagon, Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore, kind of sick the way you want me, the way I keep holding on to you, sort of want to leave, but you manipulate me into staying, in love with the way you chain me to the past, kind of sort of done with you, Shame.

Shame, this is your eviction notice. There's a new set of tenants taking up residence in the chambers of my soul. Don't try to fight it. You don't stand a chance against Grace.

See, Grace is backed up by Mercy, and Mercy comes with Forgiveness for my sins. Whenever you try to speak up, Love shouts that it matters what I choose now, not what I chose then.

Shame, you call me dirty.
He calls me pure.

You call me worthless.
He calls me Beloved.

You say I am unforgiven.
He says He has cast my sins as far as the East is from the West.

You tell me I have to keep paying penance.
He says the debt has already been paid in full.

You say I can never leave the past behind.
He calls me free.

You call me wicked.
He calls me holy.

He calls me holy. That is my name as a blood-bought, forgiven, and loved daughter of the King. 

Blood was spilled for my reconciliation. Love covered the multitude of my sin. He took my filthy rags and clothed me in righteousness instead. The mistakes I make now, yesterday, or even next week, have no hold on me because I belong to Christ.

Shame, I'm no longer accepting rent from you. My identity is not based on you, not on the things I do. It is safe in the One who delights in showing mercy. He loves me and because He loves me, He forgives me, and because He forgives me, I have no use for you.

Goodbye to shame, goodbye to hiding, goodbye to guilt.

Hello, love.

Hello, healing.

Hello, freedom.



Peace out,

Ashlyn.

fireproof

fireproof

I hold her face to my stomach, standing there, 
Feet going numb, 
Re-living that day when I watched it all go up in smoke
A seducing memory of heat and flames. 

I hold her face to my stomach and she 
tells me of how the fire in our lives sparked and flared.

I listen and pray 
and run my fingers through her hair. 
I think of how it took everything to ground level
and I never saw it coming. 



















Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,
We all fall down and then there's dirt and ash 
Dirt and ash and dirt and ash and 
I am made of the stuff,
It is embedded in my fingerprints and my knees, 
streaked across my face.

I am tired of the aged lemon juice sting of smoke in lung
and the gray smell of the gray ash and everyone asking
Is the fire is out yet?

Fires don't just go out. 

You pray for rain, and when it comes the 
Ash turns to mud.

Oh child, 
Wait. 
Be patient. 
Wait twice. Wait for the rain to come again. 
When it does it washes the mud away. 
It clears off the grime and the odor. 
And you stand up.






















Take a handful of ash. 
Find a blank canvas. 
You don't need green for your life to be beautiful. 
You don't need green to move forward. Find 
that white that the rain washed clean 
and make some art. 
Write some words.
Smile. 
Because 
You are brave
And you are beautiful
And you are strong
And you are loved. 
You are loved. 






















So here's what happens. 

Fires come. 
You run. 
Fires burn. 
You lose.
You fight. 
You lose again. 
You pray, 
Rain comes.
The fire goes out. 
Mud happens. 
Rain comes again. 
You pick up some mud and let the rest wash away,
and then
You prove to everyone and 
especially to the fire
that you don't need for everything to be perfect
for you to grow.

Make something beautiful about the ash of your previous life
your previous self and 
keep that on your wall
but don't ever
ever
ever
ever
ever 
think that you will be stuck in a barren land forever. 

Fires burn and hurt
but they are not the devil. 
They are a cleanser.
Nothing will be okay for awhile.
But listen:

fires don't cause anything
you can't recover from. 

You can get through this. 
Let it burn. 
When the fires are gone and the rain has come
Make your ash worthwhile;
make it beautiful and tell the fire
to run away home. Run
away and burn its own home
because yours is 

f i r e p r o o f

You have already made it through the flames. 

- sami 


The One for the Hard Days

The One for the Hard Days


     This one's for the hard days, the Mondays, the can't-face-it days. Life tumbles around and throws the unexpected, and we collapse in our weaknesses.

     For we are weak. All of us. We can't conquer these days on our own, and we'll fail miserably if we try.

     And yet.

     And yet we have a hope. A hope that transcends the darkest of days, the most pressing of cares. There is hope in the name of Jesus that can carry us through.

     Who else gives us strength when we are sapped? Who else carries us gently with a whisper of "rest now, little one"? Who else lifts us up as life tries to drag us down?

     He holds your right hand. Just trust Him through thick and thin, for that trust leads to the greatest peace ever known to mankind. It's a peace that transcends all understanding. Surely we could use that now!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid."
~John 14:27

     The world may give us its cares and worries, its pains and struggles. But Christ does not give to us as the world gives. He gives us freedom and peace.

     Don't let your heart be troubled. Entrust it to the One who knows exactly what you are going through when no one else does.

     Don't be afraid. He is mightier than any sorrow and more caring than any loved one. He will carry you through. He will fight for you.

     And, most importantly, He will never let you go.

     Rest now, little one.

     This one's for the hard days. And the hard days are nearly over.

~Madeline

Fully Alive, Fully You

Fully Alive, Fully You


     "You do you" is my common whisper to myself. Be you bravely. Be the best, truest version of yourself. Be who God is creating in you.

     You may not have "friends" to hang out with. You may not be "cool" like your sibling. You may be a "work-in-progress." But you are you, and none of those quotation marks matter. You are loved deeply by the Creator of the World, and you are in a good place, even if it feels like a lonely place.

     Your soul health is dependent on quiet & crazy, balanced to perfection. You know you need both, but one always seems preferable to the other.

     You are beautiful. You are seen, known, and loved. You are mature & maturing. You are unlocking more and more of the beautiful deep places that have always been there within you.

     The temporal is passing away in all its glitter. The eternal is steady in all its glory. You go deep fast, but you know that not everyone can be trusted.

     Tears are not your way, nor the cold, hard facts. You bring balance and harmony to the world by delivering the truth gently. If one of those is missing - truth or gentleness - you'll notice. Truth can be brutal. Gentleness can be fake. The combination is a delicate, beautiful heart place.

     Stay in your heart place, dear one. Keep your brain in your head and your heart in your chest. Your perspective on the world is perfectly you and perfectly valued.

~Madeline {an excerpt from journal no. 3}

Instagram