Tag Archives: compassion

Stay.

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Ok just finished a book all in one day. The beginning few chapters were hilarious! About halfway through I realized I don’t have much in common at all with this writer.  I was intrigued at times and sometimes  bored.  Many of our beliefs differ. I found her shrill at times which is the title of the book so, duh. But she kept me laughing. Interspersed with very serious topics, her humor reared its head and I remembered that we have that in common. Funny breaks down barriers. I stuck with it and learned some things.

Three chapters in I posted a picture of her book on my Instagram page and I tagged her. I was giddy with excitement about a book that had me snorting and cry/laughing/cackling. Then I imagined her seeing the tag and reading my post. She doesn’t believe in God and I have this image of her looking at my page, rolling her eyes and dismissing me. I know I shouldn’t assume but let’s be honest, I almost did the same to her.

I realize that I have in the past turned off shows or stopped reading books or dismissed whole entire people because I can’t relate or I don’t agree. But then nothing changes. I think a lot of us are doing this. Sitting in our corner with our fists raised and our mouthpiece in. It’s people on both sides of every issue. We are getting advice from the people on our “team”,  whispering in our ear and pumping us up for the next round in the boxing ring. Gross. I don’t want to participate in that.

I have a new vision of the ring. Two women in the middle.  They’ve never met before.  Let’s say it’s me and you. Sitting on the ground. Truth telling. Without censor. Laughing and sharing stories. Listening. Witnessing. Seeing each other. Allowing disagreements and different points of view to just sit there and hold space. Safe. Not needing to be fixed or changed. Just hanging out there with us among the laughing and the tears and the awkward silences. All the history and experience and suffering and joy. All of the stories of love and loss. The challenges and choices and education and mistakes and spirituality and baggage and fears and wisdom just swirling there around us grounding us in truth. Because it’s all true.

My story is no less true than yours and your opinion is no less weighty than mine. Neither of us is disqualified.

I will keep listening. Even when I want to run and hide in my corner with my people because it feels safer there. Even if your words shock me or my stories make you cry. Even when you are uncomfortable and want to run or I am judgmental and tempted to give advice. Let’s not.

I picture us making it through all the rounds. No knock out attempt. Just two women holding each other’s arms up in the end. Endurance athletes.

Fighters.

Warriors.

Champions.

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

The Mirror Moment

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I don’t know anymore.

I hear them say the country is going to hell in a hand basket. And I think but God…

I listen to reports of protesting and fear and anger. People imagining a particular outcome is certain doom. And I think but God….

I hear of church corruption and abuse and people hurt by those they trusted for guidance. And I think but God…

I learn about sex trafficking and horrible dark crimes happening on the sunny streets near me. And I think but God…

We can wrap ourselves in anxiety and agree to be victims. We can get worked up and forget that we belong to each other. We can dehumanize others so we can easily hate and call it just. But God…

God says we are victorious. He says we are beloved. He assures us we are enough. He implores us to not be afraid. He tells us to be bold and courageous and kind.

Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor as ourself.

So first, love yourself. Call yourself worthy. Look in the mirror. Take a good long look and get right with that person. Hurt people hurt people. Heal your hurt. Invite the Lord in to minister to your heart. Get free.

Listen to the soft whisper of grace and dance in the cool breeze of freedom. Then don’t forget it. Return to the well for Living Water. Every day. Every minute. You will need it. Drench yourself in the Spirit of God. Stay free.

Remember that every single soul on earth needs that same mirror moment. Trump. Sanders. Clinton. Cruz. Rubio. Kasich. Just like you. And the supporters of all of them. They are not the devil. They are human. They need God. They long for Hope. They hunger for peace. Offer peace. And kindness and grace. Offer to others what you have been so freely given.

We can’t see God’s actual hand of protection and love and provision in these political discussions but we can see and hear YOU. How are you representing that soft whisper of grace and that cool breeze of freedom?

Don’t just talk about what you want. Be what you want. Show others what’s possible. No fear. Just love. We need you. Go ahead…Lead.

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes ™ All Rights Reserved

The Prodigal Son

I want to talk about the Gospel reading about the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) I have to say, this is one of my favorites.  It’s the one about the father that has two sons and he splits up the inheritance and gives it to them.  One son stays with his father, works and “follows the rules”.  The other son leaves and squanders his money on a “life of dissipation”.  (I have never used that word and didn’t know what it really meant but I could think of a few things I thought it meant! I looked it up and it means “mental distraction, amusement, diversion”.)

Anyway, the lost son eventually spends all of his money and comes crawling back to the father.  The father “caught sight of him and was filled with compassion.  He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”  He ended up throwing a huge party in the son’s honor.  The other son, the “good” son, was MAD!!! He couldn’t believe that the father would celebrate this person who lost everything when he had been so good! 

There is so much richness to this story.  There are many layers of human emotion and sin and forgiveness and pride and humility and love and compassion.  But I want to focus on the way the father greeted that lost son. 

As someone pointed out to me once, the father didn’t happen to see the son a long way off by coincidence.  The father had been WAITING since the son left.  He had been waiting every day for the son to return!  He was watching and hoping and praying!

I have been every character in this story.  I have been lost, I have been found, I have waited, I have been mad and confused and indignant like the brother.  I have been welcomed home.  Haven’t we all?  Each time you read or hear the story, you see something different based on where you are in your life. 

Here’s the good news…we can go home anytime.  We can return to God and he will not turn us away.  He is that good.  He is not like the older brother who demands retribution or punishment.  He has been waiting for us!  He is so happy to see us when we come home!  I can imagine the son that had been lost thinking about how his Dad would react to seeing him again…he was probably scared to go home, scared he would be punished or turned away. 

But instead, there was a party thrown in his honor! 

I take this to mean no matter what I’ve done, no matter where I’ve been, no matter how long I’ve been gone, there is a place for me at the table.  I have a heavenly Father who is waiting for me.  He’s waiting for you too. 

If you haven’t been home to God in awhile, don’t be afraid.  He’s waiting with open arms.  He’s ready to say these words…”We must rejoice, your brother who was lost has been found.”  Welcome home!