31 October 2017

The Reformation 500 Years Later & Why We Should Care

Today is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

And that is a big deal to Christians everywhere. 

Leading up to this day, its significance has been on my mind and heart a lot.

You may be wondering, "Okay but what is the big deal? Why should millennials today care about Martin Luther and the Reformation?" 

Because it is part of our story as Christian disciples.

It is part of our history.

And when we better understand our history, we can move forward into the future with more empathy and understanding. 


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16 October 2017

It is about the journey, not just the finish line.

I was into my 15th mile yesterday morning when a woman one the sideline had a cardboard poster board that read, "Today you will finish a marathon!"

She cheered and yelled louder for folks in the green bibs (me!) as it was their first time running Detroit or first marathon ever.

When I ran by here we made eye contact and she hollered at me, "GIRL. You are gonna finish a marathon today!"

That is when it hit me. 
I am going to finish and I started to cry.
It hit me in that moment (no matter the weather!) I was going to finish my first marathon.

I have spent more than half of my life not feeling comfortable in my own skin, wishing I was someone else. Don't even get me started how I felt about my own body.

I spent most of my 20's comparing myself to others and believing lies about me from the time I was a little girl.

I was horribly insecure and hid it well behind a big smile and loud mouth personality.

I have told myself for many years "I can't do that, it's too hard."

And when faced with the hardest situation of my life I knew I was going to not just survive but I was going to thrive.

Running has become a very emotionally and spiritually healing tool in my life. 

Yesterday was about so much more than just crossing the finish line.

It was about the journey that brought me there. 

And I would not trade that journey for anything in my life.

I am certainly not grateful it all happened. But I am 100% grateful for what it has taught me about myself as a woman.

I carried and prayed for so many people and situations yesterday on the road: my godchildren, my immediate family, personal situations, my aunt battling cancer again, all my Blessed Is She sisters (especially the BIS Team!!), friends, and my own future.

When I turned the corner and saw the 25 mile marker I started choking up again. 

I ripped those earbuds out and soaked up every step of that tiring final mile.
I recalled the faces and names I most carried in my heart and thanked God for this opportunity.

After I crossed the finish line, I leaned over and just started weeping. 

Sure I was grateful to be done running, but even more grateful what this journey represents to me in a new phase of life.

We can do hard things in life.

We are not responsible for what happens to us, but we are responsible for how we choose to respond to it.

My first 26.2 is not just about a medal.

It represents a change of heart, a change in how I look at life and myself.

Your finish line may look different than mine. But the journey is still the same.

Because all of us can do hard things in this life.
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02 October 2017

Why Hugh Hefner is an Important Lesson in Praying for the Dead

Since the death of Hugh Hefner went public last week the Internet has been abuzz with obituaries and commentaries.

Some people are hailing Hefner for his outspoken support of civil rights or liberating American culture from a puritanical sexual morality.

Some people (even in the Christian world) are filled with hate and wishing him eternal damnation in Hell.

I look at the death of Hugh Hefner as an opportunity to practice one of the most difficult tenets of Christianity. 

Specifically, praying for people who hurt you.

I obviously did not know Mr. Hefner personally and he had no idea who I was. 

But my life has been deeply affected by the addictive, manipulative empire he stood for and in Playboy.

Sexual addiction and pornography are the reasons I am no longer married. 

I find myself both angry and truly heartbroken for the millions of little boys whose innocence was robbed and taken from them in what Playboy represented. Little boys who were confused by what they saw which hurt their own sexual development and identity.

I am angry how Playboy laid the groundwork to the gateway drug of pornography affecting millions of men, young boys, and women. 

I am angry and disgusted that a woman's body has been treated as an object; a mere image of sexual pleasure and fantasy for a man to "get off" on.
I am sad for so many women who have been used, abused, and treated as a man's plaything.

Sexual freedom never comes from the using of another person. And Playboy has used up women for such a long time.

Playboy and pornography are gateways to other deeply addictive ways of acting sexually: adultery, masturbation, sexual abuse and violence, prostitution, lust, contraception, abortion...the list just goes on.
The sexual sins that Playboy represents spits upon all that is good and true about our bodies and sexuality. 

While I hate what this man did and represented, I do not wish Hugh Hefner to burn in Hell. 

Last week I was finding it very difficult to pray this man.

I read in a magazine article that as young boy Hefner felt very disconnected emotionally from his mother and was not shown much love. When we lack in experiencing real love in our lives, often we are propelled to seek it out and chase after it...even if those ways are damaging to the mind and soul.

But I did pray for him. 

Since then I have prayed those words Saint Faustian left us in the Chaplet oF Divine Mercy, "Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world." 

Jesus, show him mercy. 

I hate with every fiber of my being the evil he supported and represented, but mercy Jesus, only Your mercy.

It is hard to do that. 

Like really hard; especially when its so easy to think of the millions of families, marriages, and lives that have been destroyed by all that Playboy is.

The death of Hugh Hefner presents the Church with an opportunity to speak up and into the destruction the pornography epidemic is having on marriages, families, and relationships.

So Church show up and step up!
I am begging you.

May his death be an opportunity to speak truth and hope to many people who have been deeply impacted by what he and Playboy represent.

But more importantly, let this be an opportunity to pray for the dead. 

Let us call out the mercy of Jesus, not condemnation or due justice.

Jesus have mercy on Hugh Hefner, on all of us, and upon the whole world.

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