Tag Archives: good news

(Another) Shout out to the Pope!

PopeFrancisOnInaugurationDayMarch192013AP_large This will be your millionth article to read about the Pope and his recent remarks.

My husband said to me today, “Even the sports radio guys were talking about the Pope today!” and then he added, “I actually think the guy that was talking about him was a Jewish Atheist!”

Along those same lines, in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, Mary Schmich wrote about the Pope’s remarks and how everyone is weighing in with comments.  People of all religions and backgrounds are watching the Pope.  She explains,  “The Catholic Church is far more than a church.  It’s one of the world’s most potent political, social and moral forces.  We’re all invested in it.”

I am beyond excited about Pope Francis and the way he is “walking the talk”.

He has said and done so many beautiful things but in the most recent interview that is catching all of the attention, I have picked out some of my faves.  The actual article is long and worth a read when you have time because it’s all really great but I just wanted to highlight a few key points that you may not have heard specifically.  Here they are: (the “bolding” is all me)

  1. “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”
  2. “The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”
  3. “Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

I have been a Catholic all my life and many times I have felt a chasm between what I know to be the truth of the Gospel and what was “out there” about the Catholic Church.  People would talk about things the Catholic Church says and does and I would think “that’s not me” but if I said I was Catholic then I was defined by the way the church was perceived.

I can’t tell you how much it means to have the highest representative of the church speak boldly about the Gospel and God’s saving grace and mercy and love.

He’s the real deal.

When he was asked about prayer, he explained all the ways he prays and then he said this, “But above all, I also know that the Lord remembers me. I can forget about him, but I know that he never, ever forgets me.”

That one sentence brought me to tears…grateful tears for his relationship with God, for his understanding of freedom in Christ, for his knowing.  I am grateful for his obedience and for his authentic witness, for his laughter and his comfortable way of being.  I’m grateful for the way he moves in love and speaks boldly with courage.

I am grateful to God for giving us this leader at this time in this place because we need him.

Already he has made the world seem a little warmer and more welcoming…more joyful, more hopeful and kind.

When asked about the future of the church, he said,  “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”

Amen, people…A-men!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.   –Romans 8:1-2

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

 

 

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

20 Seconds of Courage

jumping sunset

Hello there!!!! I have missed you all so much!!!

Okay, first and foremost, I am PSYCHED about something that happened while I’ve been “regrouping”.  One of my blog posts (Come to the Feast) was featured on BlogHer!  You will notice some new Bling on the Blog…over in the right hand corner at the top…see it?   Check out the link!

http://www.blogher.com/snippets/spiritually-hungry-come-feast

I am so excited about this because it means that I’ve written something that has struck a nerve.  This is important not because of me or because of my writing but because of the message in that particular blog post.  The message was acceptance and love.  People responded.

People responded to the message of love and acceptance because we ALL NEED IT SO BADLY.   We CRAVE love and acceptance.

I am re-invigorated!  I want to write more!  I don’t want to write about an empty love and acceptance.  I don’t want to write about love according to me.  I mean, who really cares what I think?  I want to write about and talk about and share the love and acceptance that comes from faith rooted in Jesus Christ.

Have I lost you?

Are some of you done?

I had a friend tell me that if I stopped talking about God so much, more people would read my blog.

This is probably true but what would be the point?  This blog is about God.  It’s about a God that is loving and good and kind and in your corner.  This God is peace and love and understanding.  This is the God you meet and say, “I’ve been looking for you” and He says, “I’ve always been with you”.  This is the “Aha” God and the “Thank God” God.  This is the God that is SO GOOD you cannot wait to tell everyone you know about Him – you can’t wait to share the good news.  Maybe this is a God you know intimately and maybe you’ve never heard of this God.  Either way, I hope you continue to read.

This blog is about faith and joy and hope and love and acceptance and deep down in your soul contentment.  This blog is about truth and emotion and goose-bump moments.  This blog is about letting go of fear and living in divine presence.  It is about being present in the moment.  It is about living a life that matters.  It is about accepting yourself and others and living in harmony and peace.  It is about gratitude.

What is it not about you ask?  It’s not about politics.  It’s not about one point of view being “right”.  It’s not about preaching.  It’s not about judging.  It’s not about exclusion.  It’s not about following rules, being put in a box or labeling each other.  It’s not about hypocrisy.

There is so much negativity surrounding religion today.  Even the word brings up negative emotions.  I had someone tell me they weren’t as “religious” as me and I cringed!  I don’t want to be thought of as “religious”!

What I really want to do is change the conversation.  I want to have the REAL conversation.   I don’t want it to be polite or perfect because our lives are not perfect and we are not always polite. But I don’t want it to be mean spirited and politically charged with name calling and judging.   I want it to be authentic and kind.  We can do that.  We can rise up to a different, more civil, more loving conversation about God and faith and the unknown that we are all struggling to figure out.  I have faith in us.

We all know there is unrest in the world.  There is unrest in the Christian community, there is unrest in America, and most of all, there is unrest in our hearts.

Jesus came and said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

He did not come and say, “Come to me and I will judge you and condemn you.”  He did not say that.  If a priest or someone in your past has told you that, they were wrong.  Unfortunately, that would not be the first or last time a human being messed up Jesus’s message.

I do not want to mess up Jesus’s message.  I pray about this every day.  I say, “Lord, give me the words that will honor you and that will bring other people peace and more laughter and more joy.”  I am not a preacher or a theologian.  I do not have a doctorate in Divinity.  I study God’s word.  Sometimes on my own and other times in groups.  There are times my soul is soothed by His words and there are times when I am challenged.  When I read His words I pray, “Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear.”  This is important because there are times (many times) that I have been blind and deaf.

I saw the movie, “We Bought a Zoo” and I loved the line he says about courage.  He tells his kids, “All you need is 20 seconds of unbelievable courage.”  It’s true.  Think about it.  Courage to say hello, courage to propose, courage to stand up for yourself, courage to sign on the line…all great things begin with 20 seconds of courage.

Sometimes I’m afraid and other times I’m brave.  I feel brave today so I ask you now for 20 seconds… and I ask God for courage and the right words to explain what I’m hoping to create.

I know in my heart and soul there is a God and He loves me.  I know in my heart and soul that God sent His son Jesus to save me.  I know that because I accept Him, I will have everlasting life.  I do not know this because a priest told me.  I do not know this from doctrine or theology or years of catechism.  I know this because Jesus told me.  In my heart, He told me… when I invited Him in.  Unfortunately, until the day I met Him in my heart, I had never met Him in a church.  I had been raised in church, I had heard of Him and learned about Him but I did not know Him.  Since then, I have met Him everywhere.  In fact, He has never left me.   I meet Him on mountaintops and oceans and lakes and sunsets.  I meet Him in yoga.  I know so many of you do too.  I meet Him every day through other people.  He is in all people and all things.   We don’t need choirs and sacraments and years of tradition to know the Truth.  These things can add to the experience of the truth but until you know Jesus personally, all of the beautiful traditions will fall on empty ears and hardened hearts.  This blog is not about a particular church or tradition or religion.  In fact, it’s not about religion at all.

It’s about Love.  It’s about love that brings you to your knees.  It’s about a radical love that transforms you.  It’s about love that never dies.  This love makes your life better NOW.  This love makes you a better person, it helps you forgive and it helps you say you are sorry.  This love brings you to acceptance and peace.  This love gives you the courage to let go of your tight grip and release control.  This love gives you courage to leap.  This love screams in your ear, “YOU CAN DO IT” and whispers in your heart, “You are never alone”.  This love finds you in the darkness and digs deep to comfort a soul in pain.  This love takes away the bottle and turns down the pills.  This love is enough.  This love shows you the light and steals the power from the secrets.  This love protects.  This love helps you see others.  This love helps you see yourself.  This love shows you how beautiful you are.

This love helps you recognize need and gives you the ability to respond.  This love teaches compassion and empathy.  This love is for everyone, everywhere.

This love shares hope and forges friendships and fosters loyalty and makes you want to be a better friend, parent and spouse.  This love creates more love.  It gives you the ability to do superhuman things because this love is so BIG and STRONG.  This love invites you in.

I invite you too.  Come as you are.  I’ll be here as I am…flawed, seeking, wondering, doubting, laughing, crying, hoping, praying…proud, unsure, confident, fearful, jealous, content…I’m bringing all of me.

I’m not perfect but I’m loved.  And so are you.  Let’s share the love.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved