Tag Archives: Soul

The Music

It’s interesting. I just posted that I won’t be able to post that often and here I am posting.

Something came up.

A lot of things actually.

A lot of pain in the world and death and destruction.

There is a lot to talk about and a lot of people are talking and writing and spouting off what they think and politicizing tragedy.  I’m not going to do that.

I’m interested in people’s hearts and souls and stories.

My best friend from childhood’s brother passed away yesterday. They lived across the street from us all the years I lived at home (18 years). He was a big presence. He was a state champion wrestler and a football player. Mostly I remember him as a musician. He was in a band in high school and I remember when we were young, he played everything by ear.  I can visualize him sitting down at the piano and just playing something he heard on the radio. I also remember walking into their house and hearing the drums being played in the basement.  It was loud.

We looked up to him.  He was 3 years older than us and so cool.  He didn’t care about being cool which made him that much cooler.  He was a really, really kind soul.

I had a lot of drama in high school.  Much of it created by me.  I remember him telling me one time, “Sue, you have to ignore what other people think and say.  Just be yourself.” That meant a lot to me of course because I needed to hear it. I cared (care?) too much what people think.  I want everyone to like me and it was way worse in high school.  I’m learning. But he was just himself. Always.

Yesterday when I heard he passed I cried. We hadn’t talked in years and like I say, he was my best friend’s brother so he was like a side story to my friendship with her really.  I mean, to him, I was just his little sister’s friend.  I’m sure much of the time, super annoying. What I realize now is that often it’s those people on the periphery that affect us.  God works in the margins, amen?

Also, when he was around, he became the main event.  Honestly, he had charisma and charm and talent and kindness and the coolness just oozed out of him.

I didn’t know a house filled with live music being played except for theirs until now – my husband plays the guitar and my kids have all played at one time or another.  Music is a big part of our household now.  Thinking back on this makes me realize how much we are all part of each other’s stories.  How much we can affect someone with a kind word, some music, a song. I have no doubt he affected many.

It was fitting last night that I was at the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony while they honored great songwriters and musicians.  I thought of him and his love of music. Music brings people together.  It’s a balm for weary souls.

I don’t know much about his life after high school except the updates I received from his sister.  From the outpouring yesterday, I know he had a family and friends who loved him deeply. I do know he still played and sang.  And that brings me comfort.

There are a million memories of neighborhood shenanigans but the memory that will stick with me forever happened just about a year (or two?) ago.  We were at his father’s funeral.  He went up and sang a song for his dad.  He played the guitar and sang, “Why Me Lord?”  Afterwards I went up to him to say how great it was and he was humble as ever, he said, “I hope it was what he wanted.  He asked me to sing that one for him.”

I want to share it with you. I cried like a baby.

To Dan. Thanks.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Can we talk about this?

you are lovedI was sharing my heart with a friend the other day.  I was explaining that I want Great Big Yes to be a place where people can be authentic and feel less alone.  Whether it’s through the blog or Holy Yoga, I want to create space to share the gospel of grace and Jesus’ radical message of love.

It is radical you know.

I don’t want to talk about religion.  I don’t want to try to defend a Church.  I don’t want to get caught up in politics.  I just want to talk about grace.

Unmerited mercy.

Love that knows no bounds.

Freedom.

That’s the radical message.

Forget what you know in your head.  Forget what you think you know.  Forget what you are supposed to know.  Look into your heart.

It’s not about practiced prayers.  It’s not about how many times you showed up in church last year or how much money you gave.  It’s not about who you voted for.

When Jesus was here, the Pharisees asked Him, “What is the greatest commandment?” and Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” –(Matthew 22:37-39)

Gosh, I fail at this!  Sometimes I love God with all my heart and soul and mind and other times I doubt.  Sometimes I fear.  I can worry.  Sometimes I occupy my heart and soul and mind with other things like mind numbing reality TV and junk food.  And my “neighbor”?!? Heck, it’s not even about “loving” sometimes it’s just about tolerating.  Or not judging or condemning. Or not becoming enraged about a facebook post or a comment. Or trying not to hold a grudge.

But He knows this about me.  He knows how hard it is for all of us.  He will never ask us to do something and then leave us alone.  He will stand with us and give us strength.

It’s so much easier in today’s society to hate and judge and vilify anyone who thinks differently than we do.  It’s more radical to love.  It’s more difficult and requires great strength to be open and to listen and to love no matter what.  That’s the call.

But before we can do that, we need to know that we are loved.  Each one of us is loved unconditionally.

I know this is really cheesy but humor me.  Look in the mirror and smile at yourself.  Then say this, “Jesus loves me.  He always has and He always will.  I am loved and blessed.”

If we wake up every day and say out loud, “I am loved and blessed” our lives will be transformed.

We are so tough on ourselves!  When thinking about the “love your neighbor as yourself” part, maybe we do love our neighbors as we do ourselves…poorly and critically and barely.

We cannot give what we do not have.  First, we must accept the love that is offered to us.  It’s free and it’s real and it’s forever.

When we understand in our hearts that we are broken and it is okay, when we know for sure that we cannot do all things and we finally surrender… that is the beginning.

As Brennan Manning (LOVE HIM!) said,  “God loves you as you are, not as you should be”. 

Picture yourself in front of that mirror not able to say that you are loved because you feel broken.  You are standing there trying to utter those kind words to yourself and you can’t.  You feel like a mess, unworthy, not enough, less than, worn out.  You look up and there is Jesus.  Full of love and understanding…and He says it.  I love you.

And you stammer, “But I….” and He says, “I know…” and you start listing all the things that you think separate you from His love.  This goes on for a while until He says, “I know everything about you and I love you.  I’ve seen everything and I love you.  I’ve been waiting for you and I love you.”

That’s what I want to talk about.  How do we open our hearts to His beautiful gift of mercy and freedom and acceptance?

And then…what do we do next?

How do we share that gift?  How do we lead others to that freedom?

Let’s talk about that.

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

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