Tag Archives: The Bible

Bono and The Message. Worlds collide.

When I first found The Message version of the Bible, the whole thing came alive for me.

There are so many translations but this version, by Eugene Peterson, is my favorite.  My Bible actually has the NIV version next to the Message  so it’s the best of both worlds.  As you know, I love writing and reading and words so now I have the Amplified Bible too – just to see the different words for each passage.  We also have the ESV and the King James and a bunch of study Bibles and well, you get the point.

There is a lot of chatter out there on this topic.  I have no interest in debating with the scholars.  I just know that in reading the Message, it has felt like God was sitting with me in my living room.  It has felt like He is in my marriage and my parenting and my worry and my loneliness and my laughter.  No longer was this a book to sit on a shelf and never be opened.  This was a living, breathing, manual for life.  These words were leaping off the page into my heart and found me shouting yes! yes! like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch.  Minus the crazy.

No these words are not crazy.  They are true.  They are not only for the past, they are for NOW.  These words are alive and transformative and centering.  These words scream “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.  These words comfort and heal and give hope and usher in peace and bring tears and laughter and wonder.

Words are so important.

The other day I learned that the word “repent” can be translated as “return” and that pretty much changed my life. No joke. This feels like it needs a whole other blog post or maybe a book.  But if we just encouraged everyone to see the word “repent” – when Jesus says it, when the church says it – if we could replace that word with “return”, think of the difference.  It’s not repent because you are terrible and awful and horrible.  It’s return to Jesus and His path and the truth.  It’s not you are doomed and miserable- it’s not a scary, depressing word…it’s you’ve just wandered away…it’s time to return.  See? It’s hope and expectation and promise and reconciliation.


One of our required reading books for Holy Yoga is written by Eugene Peterson and it’s a guide to reading scripture.  So he’s one of my favorites.  I picture him sitting down translating the entire Bible so more people can feel the Word come alive.  The work. The time. The commitment.  Thank you Eugene Peterson for your obedience.

One of my personal missions in life is to recognize the Word of God, the truth of God, the LOVE of God in today.  In the here and now.  In our conversations and our jobs and our parenting and our relationships and our art.   Music is big for me and this conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson just blew me away.  It’s like all the worlds I love collided.

When I think of Bono, I can’t help but remember when a friend was at the U2 concert and she called me and just held the phone up and then screamed, “Bono is God!” into the phone.  It makes me laugh. Honestly, he’s pretty cool but not God.  I do love the way he worships on stage and the way he honors God with his music.

Looks like I’m not the only one inspired by The Message.  Enjoy this.

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

Keeping it Real – My Messy Beautiful

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!


 When someone asks you how you are, what do you say?

I think it’s easier to tell people you are a mess.  People like to hear that.  It’s more difficult to say you feel beautiful.  Or  your life is beautiful.  Can you imagine if we walked around saying everything was beautiful?  Everything. All the time. People would be like Whatever. You are annoying. Just to remind us.

The good thing is that you can say you are both, a mess and beautiful.  It’s not a one or the other.  It’s a “Yes, I’m messy AND I’m beautiful”.  If we posted the truth on Facebook, it might look like this:  Hey my kids are dirty and stinky and sassy and right now I’m pretty sure they will never amount to anything good but I still love them.  Or:  My husband and I had a rip roaring argument last night and I think I actually hate him right now but marriage can be a beautiful thing and I know I’m learning and growing and we love each other a whole lot.  Or:  I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life.  I really am lost and afraid and I feel alone and I think I may be going crazy but I’m sure I will look back at this as a really beautiful time of searching for me.  The truth is, you may be having a terrible moment but your whole life is not rotten.

We get so used to complaining and commiserating that we tend to choke on the positive words.  Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and they answer, “I’m fantastic! Never been better!”  I love that.  Are they really fantastic?  Are they just trying to convince themselves?  Who cares!  It always makes me smile and I feel pretty fantastic just being around them.  Perception is everything.

AND Marianne Williamson said (so I believe), “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” By this I think she means we should say we are fantastic when we are feeling it and we can say we are a mess when we are feeling that and there will be no shame in either.  Because we all know we are both.  Messy and Beautiful.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Jesus lately and I’ve noticed something.  When I tell Him I feel messy and confused and lost, He tells me I’m beautiful.  When I go to him all puffed up and full of myself and how I’ve totally got this whole life thing together, He immediately shows me my mess.

It’s like with my kids.  If they come to me needy and feeling insecure and they’ve really messed something up, I encourage them and love on them and tell them they are beautiful and wonderful.  But if they come to me all bossy pants telling me how great they are and demanding a bunch of stuff I tell them they are actually really just okay and and then I tell them to go clean their room.  Just to keep it real.

It’s called balance.

So I’ve gotten comfortable with my messiness since it’s the thing that’s gotten me closer to Jesus.  He wants my mess.  I go to Him like a child and crawl up on His lap for a rest, for Him to tell me I’m beautiful.  It’s so comforting I’ve started doing it every day.  You know, checking in to get some love.  Sometimes many times a day.  Like, Hey…are you still there?  I need some love.  And He’s always there.

All those secrets we keep in the darkness, all the messy stuff we hide…Jesus wants that.  He’s like…seriously, bring it.  You don’t scare me.  So we tell Him our secrets and our fears.  We may think they are dark and ominous and scary but when we tell Him, He shines His beautiful light on them and they are transformed.  Maybe not right away transformed but just by the telling…just by saying the bad stuff out loud…we enter into a new freedom.  We receive His grace and we are not scared anymore.  He makes beauty from ashes.   It says so in the Bible which is my absolute favorite book of all books ever.  It’s THE Love letter for all time and all people.  Beauty from ashes. 

I ask Him to help me be brave when I am messy or having a bad day/week/month/year/decade. I ask Him to help me see the beautiful.  And you know what He does?  He gives me brand new eyes.  I start seeing things I never even noticed before. So now I can see the gorgeous shiny light in other people.  All the people.  It’s fun!  Life becomes a big giant party for all the awesome people which is obviously everyone.  It’s the kind of party where you are having so much fun with the music and the dancing and the laughter and the sharing that you don’t even notice the mess (yours or anyone else’s).  And when you wake up the next day you don’t care about the mess because the love is so much bigger.  You are exhausted and sore in a good way from laughing and dancing and telling your stories and being accepted and loved.  You feel safe.

Safe enough to answer the question, “How are you?” with the truth…whatever that may be.

great big yes photo  

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved

And now we state the obvious…



I love books.

I’m grateful for books.  All of them.  Cook books, comic books, love stories, mysteries, self-help books, spiritual books, yoga books, little books, big books, poetry books, old crickety smelly books, shiny new hard cover hot off the presses books.

I love THE Book of course, the Holy Bible.  I LOVE IT because God speaks through it and lots of other reasons.  I love it because it’s not actually one book, it’s many books so it’s a library which I love because in libraries we can never be bored, or judged, or stuck.  We can soar in libraries and when we read the Bible too.  SOAR.

I love libraries because you walk in and just feel…”Ahhhhhhh….”.  The quietness and the smell and the BOOKS…it’s so good.   You can be TRANSPORTED all over the universe when you are just sitting in your chair.  LIVES CHANGE in libraries.  I’m grateful for libraries.

I imagine Heaven has lots of books…lots of libraries and cozy nooks filled with piles of books and comfy chairs and soft blankets and time.  Lots of time.  There’s no rush.  No hurry.  Just melt into that story and be well.

Let’s give a shout out to all the authors out there who bleed into the pages, who open their hearts and pour the contents out, who bravely enter the arena and fight, who can’t possibly know what their words will mean, what weight they will carry, whose lives they will change.  Yes, authors, we are grateful.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

I could go on and on but I want to have time to read.

God, thank you for books and authors and libraries.

God, Thank you for your WORD which gives life.

I am so grateful.

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