Tag Archives: doubt

Be Encouraged!

Image Last week I wrote about how difficult it can be to write honestly when I worry about people’s reactions.  I know that I shouldn’t care about that but I do. I want to be liked.  It’s important to me (sometimes too important) that people are happy and not offended and everyone plays nice together.  Plus, I really like “likes” on Facebook and hits on the blog and I can get wrapped up in numbers and all those outwardly ways we measure our importance.  And then I know better.  I know it’s not about me and I want to share God’s message of hope and love and I want to and need to let Him lead so then I feel guilty and selfish and I feel like I failed.  So there it is. Just laying it out there again in case you missed it.

God responded with these encouragements:

1: Post from Anne Lamott:  “This brings us back to the best riddle of all time. Q: What’s the difference between you and God? A: God NEVER thinks He’s you. So write what’s on your heart, even if your best friends won’t love it. We are in the striving business but God is in the results business, so the exact right people will read/like my book, and yours; and you know what? This is SOOO awful–the other’s won’t.”    (I bolded that sentence myself because it’s SO GOOD and spoke directly to me.  I have to say I was relieved to read that she struggles with these same issues.) Read the whole post here:   https://www.facebook.com/AnneLamott

2: Post from Alisa Keeton with Revelation Wellness:   “Don’t look around to see who is following or listening. Keep looking ahead at the One who is leading you. For all leaders, He has to be enough.”    Read more from her here:  https://www.facebook.com/revelationwell

Isn’t He good?

When we lay our burdens and our shortcomings out on the table, he can transform those things.  We have to admit where we need grace.  First, we have to admit that we need grace at all.

We started a Bible study group at our church this week and it’s called Stuck.  Some people (okay, sometimes me)  don’t want to admit they are stuck or broken.  They don’t see themselves as sinners.  But we have to start there.  We have to admit we are in need of the good news.  The word “Gospel” means good news.  For something to be good news, it has to invade the broken spaces, the not so good spaces, the spaces where we are stuck.

Where are you stuck? Where are you broken?

Some of you may be cringing right now thinking that you are not broken.  Some of you are offended.  You have worked hard to build up your “goodness”, your “perfectness”, your face that you show the world.  Heck, you may have even convinced yourself.  But if we were not broken, if we are not sinners…why would we need a Savior?

For the good news to be “good”, we must need to hear it, right?

I did not experience the transformative power of God’s grace in my life until I admitted that I need it.

Lay it out there.  Speak it.  Write it.  Pray about it.  Bring Light to the ways you are struggling.

He will hear you.  He will respond.  Probably through others who have walked this path and heard His voice and courageously follow His lead.

Be encouraged friends, you are not alone.  We are all in this together and He is good!

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved

Hope for the Pope

When I was out to lunch on Wednesday and my mom texted me in capitals…THERE IS A NEW POPE!!  I was just like everyone else.  Clueless.  I hadn’t been paying much attention.  But I have to say, I felt very excited and giddy as I was driving home really fast to see who this new Pope would be.  Friends were calling and I had a couple shivery moments.  I had hope.  Here’s why…

I believe in second chances.  And third and fourth.  There is no doubt, my church is damaged.  My church is broken.  My church is hurting.  We are in a time of transition and reconciliation and down on our knees humility.  There has been sin and shame and cover up and we have hung our heads low.  There has been disgust and disgrace and dishonor and moments of “That is so awful, I can’t even believe it’s true.”  Unspeakable sin has occurred and it haunts us.  People have left and people still leave and some people stay.  But even those that stay are not the same.  Things have changed and they must.

I know from my life and from my faith that when I am hurting, when I am deep down confused and unsure and broken…Jesus shows up.  I have to invite Him in.  But when I do, He is there.  The hurt and brokenness aren’t gone, they do not vanish, I am not the same as I once was…but He is.  And He shows me light.  He saves me.  Not once, not twice, but again and again.

He knows that I’m a sinner.  He knows that I am one step away from messing up again. He knows that we all are sinners.  That’s why He came.  And that’s why we still call on Him.

I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the new Pope.  I’m reading along with the rest of you and watching and hoping.  He has a reputation for being humble and word on the street is that he doesn’t walk around acting like a pompous jerk.  So that’s good.  There are many illustrations of his kindness and humility.  I like that he rides the bus.

pope  bus

I know this is kind of hard to see but that’s the Pope in white.  Can you imagine?  All the other guys are thinking, “If I was him, I’d be in the limo!” I love this!  He’s so cute!

I’m picturing them singing…”What if God was one of us?  Just a stranger on the bus…trying to make his way home…” (I KNOW he’s not God but that song came to mind!) or as others have suggested, maybe  99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall…who knows?  It looks fun.  As first impressions go, I like him.  I have hope.  It feels like a good moment for the church and for our future.

I LOVE that he picked Francis as his name.  I see this as a very good sign.  St. Francis of Assisi is one of everyone’s favorite saints.   I wear a bracelet that has the prayer of St. Francis on it every day.

My prayer of St. Francis bracelet!

My prayer of St. Francis bracelet!

For those of you who don’t know the prayer, here it is:

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury,pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen 

AMEN, right??!!  Isn’t that SO AWESOME?!

I hope you will join me in praying for the new Pope…even if you are not Catholic…even if you watch all of this pageantry with more than a little skepticism.  If you are one of the people that has walked away from the faith, if you really don’t care or don’t think it matters, if you are one of the people that has doubted and criticized and judged and condemned, if you think everything I’m saying is a total crock, if you don’t know what you believe, if your faith is shaken to its core, if you are afraid…it’s okay…pray anyway.

Remember what I said earlier about Jesus being with us when we are broken?  He never leaves.  He knows our hearts.  He understands.  Let’s pray that this is His way of giving us a new start…a new hope…a new beginning.

Let’s trust Him.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photo from www.patheos.com