Tag Archives: invite

You are invited!

Hi Everyone!

I want to share two important and exciting things:

One:  A friend and I are starting a faith sharing group called Flourish and you are invited!  Yippee!

We are hoping to create a space where everyone can be their true, authentic selves.  Not perfect women but real, living, struggling, laughing, messing up, figuring things out women.  Women who can hold each other up and encourage each other to grow in a spirit of love and understanding.  Women who long to figure out who God intends them to be.  Women who are open to the spirit.  We hope you will join us to help create this beautiful community!

And Two:     I have a new feature on the blog that I’m really excited about –  AUDIO!!!

Click here to hear my first audio blog post which is an invitation to join us!                    flourish invitation

 

Here are some other things you should know about Flourish:  It’s not fancy, you can come in work out clothes, there’s no homework, it’s okay if you can’t come every time, you don’t need to bring anything, and there will be coffee!

If you want to sign up or if you have questions, please  email me at

If you are unable to join us, we ask you to please pray for us as we embark on this new adventure!

©2012 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

Lent

Lent starts today.                          

In my church, this means lots of things.  There are lists of what you should do, how you should eat, and ways you should pray.  There are times you should go to church (many!) and times you should go to reconciliation.  The entire Lenten season should revolve around Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. 

Are you tired yet?

Every year I start Lent the same way I start the New Year.  With plans, with resolutions, with thoughts of how “good” I’m going to be.  Being “good” during Lent sometimes means being somber and quiet (and hungry!).  We “give up” something and we give by performing one of the Corporal Works of Mercy which include but are not limited to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, and visiting the imprisoned.

These rituals and customs are beautiful.  They are steeped in history and scripture and they are a vital part of our own personal transformations.  However, I need to simplify this whole thing for myself this year. 

I read a daily reflection today that I want to share with you.  www.TheSpiritToday.com  This reflection gave me an idea. 

Maybe Jesus is asking us to let him into our desert.  We are asked to join him on his journey and he so desperately wants to be invited to join us on our journeys. 

I remember once when I was young a teacher asked me how I would behave at the dinner table if Jesus came to dinner.  What would I ask Him?  How would I act differently?  

This can be a fun, exciting question or it can instill fear in your heart!  Would He care if I can’t cook?  Would He think my kids are too messy?  Would He see the crumbs on the floor? Would He know our addictions and struggles?  Would He see all the ways we are not measuring up?  Would He see our fears and our doubts and our worries?

I can picture it now.  After the initial stage of awe and silence, He would say something funny to put us at ease.  He would tell stories and be kind to the children.  He would ask me to sit down and relax and be at peace.  We would pray together and share a meal and we would thank Him.  We would ask questions and He would guide us and forgive us. 

Doesn’t that sound nice? 

In order for us to understand Him, we join Him on his journey through the desert during Lent.  In order for Him to understand us, we ask Him to join us on our journeys, in our deserts, all the time.  

So this Lent, I’ll be inviting Him in.  Into my home (mess and noise included) and into my heart (mess and noise included).  I hope you do too…then we all will be truly transformed.