Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Peaceful Protests and Love

I should preface this blog post with some background information.  We do not watch the news at my house.


Some call that ducking reality.  I call it filtering the world for my children in age-appropriate doses. We discuss what's going on, but we don't saturate ourselves in media play by plays.

We don't watch the news at home and have not for the last 4 years; however, I feel like there are (age appropriate) things to be learned from what is happening in Baltimore.

The lesson I chose for today was the difference in rioting and peaceful protesting. Granted, there are many more lessons to be learned... but this one was the one for today.

I just kept it VERY simple as this is the first time we've discussed this.  As I described the difference in rioting (law breaking through various measures- sometimes with a cause to rationalize said behavior) and peaceful protesting (writing letters, standing in the gap- sometimes physically, speaking at meetings, doing interviews, etc. for the sake of a cause), he looked at me and said, "Peaceful protesting.  That's what you do."

He was so matter of fact about it.  Peaceful protesting to him is the same as the educational advocacy that he's seen me do for him and other children with unique learning needs.  It's standing up and saying, "Not one more.  There has to be a better way" or "This is no longer acceptable.  Here's an idea."

He sees the peaceful protest as a sign of love. He paid little attention to the rioting, because it's clearly wrong;  however, he was drawn to the love of a peaceful protest that stands for hope and a future.  He was drawn to the love.

I am struck by the fact that there is another 12 year old somewhere in Baltimore looking for the same kind of love.
A child who longs for someone to stand in the gap without paralyzing them in fear.

My prayer is that those who are violently rioting will see those peaceful protesters who are already out there.... and that they'll feel LOVE so great that they drop the weapons handed to them.

My prayer is that leaders rise up from the ranks of peaceful protesters and they speak love so loudly that it overwhelms everything that is wrong, and leaves a desire for what is right.

My prayer is that the hurts of the past and today can bubble up in ways that bring attention to what is wrong without creating more wrongs.

My prayer is that love starts to prevail.  

We've seen it.  From ministers standing in the gap- literally blocking the hate- to a
 child passing out water-  being a living, breathing vessel of love.  The love is out there.  Now let it RISE UP.  Let LOVE be more contagious than the hurt.  Let LOVE be more recognizable than the evil of our times.

It was once sung that "Love is gentle as a rose, and love can conquer any war.... we've got to let love rule."

It was once written that "the greatest of these is love."

Take your stand, but sing a song of love and re-write a history to match.  Peacefully protest.  Actively advocate.  Put down the weapons of yesterday.  Create a new tomorrow.  Let the greatest of these rule.

Pray for those out there in the fight for love.  Pray for those that need to receive it.

And like my own child, pray that another child sees his or her parent stand in the gap for them... peacefully protesting on their behalf by pulling them out of this madness or by taking a stand on their behalf.

Either way, let them feel loved.  Because LOVE never fails.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Cor. 13

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12, 2015
Twitter: @ChristieAitken
Google+: +Christie Aitken

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Wisp

I don't always understand the road in front of us.  

Like, not at all.  Just.  Don't.  Get.  It.

Life can do that sometimes. Just make us really not fine and suck the wind right out of our sails. Right? 

But God uses it. 

I'm struck by the fact that if we get too comfortable on this side of heaven, we have no reason to reach for God. 

No matter how cozy things might look, necessity leads us to Jesus, and Jesus leads us to a joy much deeper than circumstance. 

If we are too comfy on this side of heaven, then suddenly WE think we can handle things on our own.  That's a scary place to be. Maybe we should be grateful for our thorns?

So the praise for today is for discomfort. Crazy sounding, huh? 

The praise today is for the squirmy times that keep us on our knees. 

The praise today is that the struggle isn't always about me, but sometimes God will allow it to touch my life so that another one of His kids can learn from it... because He knows that I'll walk it out. 

The praise today is that one day... well, one day every struggle will be a distant memory.  

One day it will be different. 

One day this life will be a wisp.  

And until then we rest in the assurance that we serve the God that holds hearts and strengthens us in the moments that hurt them. 

Until then we serve the God that says "if not this, then something better" and holds open new doors while sprinkling a little Romans 8:28 on top. ;)

We wait expectantly for what is to come, believing that even disappointments can be intertwined with His grace and love. 

What a sweet, sweet Heavenly Daddy we have.  Whatever your storm might be, I pray you are praising in it. A better day is coming, and it has your name on it.  Jeremiah 29:11.  The plan IS for good and not for harm., 2015
Twitter: @ChristieAitken
Google+: +Christie Aitken

Monday, April 20, 2015

That Proverbs 31 Woman. Sigh.....

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  
Proverbs 31:25

"Lord, I know that's what You say about me. So, why don't I FEEL that way?"

Anyone ever had THAT thought?  Anyone ever get a little tired of that Proverbs 31 woman?

Come on, girls.  Let's get real. If you've ever read that passage and been having a rough day, 
I'm 99.9% confident your mind may have gone there.

Or maybe it's just me?

Well, just in case... I'll give you an Exhibit A.  Here's my Monday....

The school bus is late.  8 minutes late.  

8 minutes can do super fun things to the morning of a single parent.
8 minutes means somebody's going to be late.... 

and it's probably going to be me.

So, I drop them off and am driving to work.  Playing K-Love and chatting with a friend.  
Monday might not be so cruel after all.  Right?

<<Insert the "she laughs without fear of the future" part of the verse here.>>

My crown (think teeth- not tiara) decides that today will be its last day at work, and it promptly quits without a two week notice.

Falls out.  Right. In. My. Mouth.

Sister, it's guaranteed that you have 2 choices in a moment like that.... LAUGH or cry.  

All I could say is, "Um, thank you, Monday... for identifying yourself earlier in the game.  Now I know what I'm dealing with."

So, why do I walk you through my Monday of wackiness?

Because when I'm completely honest with myself  and all insanity is breaking loose in my world, when work is a mess, the oven is busted, the kids are sick, and I haven't had the luxury of a shower in two days from taking care of those cootie-filled-angels that live with me (oh- and WHEN for the love of all things holy did a shower become a luxury?)... that's when my theology and my heart have a messy relationship.

I forget that no matter what the outside looks like, the Creator of the Universe is not wrong about who He says that I am.

My feelings and my facts collide. 

Maybe some of you can relate.

As I sat down tonight for a 2 minute reprieve of checking 
my emails and Facebook page, 
Proverbs 31:25 was the first thing I saw.

And God was right about part of it... I laughed.  Twice.

Because God totally has my number.

He draws me in by saying, 
"She is clothed with strength and dignity"
and I say, "Ooh, that sounds awesome, God.  

Sign me up for THAT outfit."


He says, "and she laughs"


and I say, "Yeah, I laugh, Lord.  It's laugh or cry out here."


And He says, "... without fear of the future"



...and I get really quiet.

He knows to woo me in with the things I can relate to.  The things I can even possibly see myself pulling off.  (I mean, really, I can even fake some of that stuff on the bad days.  Right?)
Then He lovingly stretches me to a place I can't even fathom.  A place where He knows I MUST have Him 
to even think about walking.

Fearless?  Me? Fearless? 

And He says, "Yes, beautiful.  YOU.  
Fearless about the future.  YOU."

He gently grasps my hand in the middle of the muck and takes me back to a choice I made long ago... a firm decision about what my truths would be.  I either was going to believe what 
God said about me or I was not.  Black or white.  

Vote it up or vote it down, sister, but there was not going to be any middle ground any more.  Either God was God or I was going to continue trying to steer this ship alone, but I wasn't going to go down with that whole lukewarm business.

In the middle of the Mondays, THE DECISION STANDS.  
No matter how I feel, THE DECISION STANDS.  

I choose to believe, one day at a time... one moment at a time... one messy minute at a time... that when God looks at this forgiven, free, daughter of the Most High, He sees nothing but Jesus.

I choose to believe that I am "clothed with strength and dignity" (don't let the no makeup, ponytail, jeans, and old college sweatshirt fool ya, kids).

And that whole "laugh without fear of the future" deal?  

Yeah.  That's ALL ME because of Him.

Here's the best part....

It's YOU, too.

It's one choice.  Only YOU can make it.  Is God who He says He is?  Because if He is, that means YOU are 
who He says you are, too.

The Mondays will come.  God's a promise keeper.  
He even told us they would come.

But HE has the final say... and it's a good day to be the King's kid, y'all.  No joke.  When your Daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills, favor is yours time and time again.  

Protection surrounds you constantly.  

Your bloodline is that of ROYALTY of the Most High King.  

You have forever kind of promises that won't ever be broken, and love that will never leave.  

Just think about it....

That woman in Proverbs 31?  If you've chosen my Jesus, then she's you.  Congratulations, my friend.  You are EVERYTHING
that He says about you.

You make the Proverbs 31 woman look good.  Walk it out.  
She's YOU.  Believe it.

Love, Christie, 2015
Twitter: @ChristieAitken
Google+: +Christie Aitken