A Late Night Christmas Eve Post on Hope pt. 2

This holiday season is seems almost down right impossible to find a reason for cheer. As the news is splashed with mass shootings, terrorism, lives lost, loved ones mourned, and fallen service members. These type of matters are always heart breaking, but during the holiday season it seems to take on a whole new blow. As I watch families, significant others, husbands, wives, children, friends, the list goes on, mourn the loss of someone they loved dearly, I find myself thinking “not only did the person(s) who committed this act of evil take away an irreplaceable piece of this persons lives but they forever ruined the holiday season for these people, a season that is suppose to be all about cheer, joy, love, kindness, giving… has been made to be the drastic opposite and it will forever be tainted”.

After a conversation on the phone with my mom about this yesterday as I told her how I cried throughout my 45 min. commute to work as I watched about 7 different cop car processions silently make their way South on the 1-25 with their lights flashing in honor of their fallen service member towards his funeral.

In light of a current advent study I am doing I was encouraged that this can still be a season of hope and joy even if not in the most traditional Christmas ways, but by going to the heart of what this season is truly suppose to be about- the hope found in what Jesus did, His first coming, what He promised us with His second coming and how what we are currently faced with by this evil world can actually provide further hope and anticipation of what we are to be rescued from.

It is not the feel good, happy-go-lucky, everything is grand kind of hope or joy. It is the hope and joy that can only come from relying on a promise that there will be an end. A promise that cannot be taken away from us, and one that will not fall short.

I want to encourage us, that when we feel as though there is no reason to celebrate or that it is the furthest thing we desire to do or as though the mere thought of joy is an insult… to come back to the true and only worthy reason to celebrate. Celebration does not need to come in the from of warm-fuzzy feelings, or champagne toasts, or holiday parties… but rather a reflective and thankful heart for who God is, what He has promised us, what He already blessed us with and provided by sending us His Son and sacrificing Him for us. That is the true heart of the season and the true reason that we can still find cause to celebrate today.

He have much to be hopeful for and joyful in even when this world is in shambles, when your heart is beyond broken and the last thing you want to do is smile or laugh let alone put up Christmas lights, fill your home with the sound of Christmas carols and put up a tree. Those things are not what this holiday season is about.

We need to get back to the heart of it. That it is about meeting with our God, finding hope in Him, resting in that hope, and awaiting in eager expectation of what promises of His await us that were illuminated by the birth of Christ this month many decades ago. It is about anticipating His coming and thanking Him for coming the first time. It is about finding Him in our midst and reflecting on the good news brought on Christmas eve for all the people (Luke 2:10). Though evil tears us apart we can know and find hope in that fact that we will be rescued from this pain, justice will be brought, and renewal will happen… and that was what was brought to us on Christmas eve, and truly the reason for the season. This is the hope, this is the gift, this is the reason behind finding joy throughout the holidays… what we can find reason in for being thankful, the promise He already fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the promise He has promised He will fulfill in Christ’s second coming.

On Christmas eve many moons ago we were shown why to have hope and joy during this holiday season. I encourage you to reflect on that, be thankful for that and look ahead with expectant hope for when we will walk into that promise with Christ finally immersed in its full joy and hope as we are provided with no more of this suffering and enter fully into His presence.

Maybe this is all coming at the best time (though there is no best time for matters such as the ones we have been bombarded with this season)…because when we feel most shaken by this world is when we most needed to be reminded of this hope, of this promise and that this is only temporary. The hope that all the wrong and pain of this world He will make right, He will restore, He will renew and there will be no more.

This promise was given to us by the birth of Jesus and shown to us throughout the life of Christ, and it will be fulfilled at His promised second coming.

The Israelites were promised a savor, and it was granted. “the savior they had been hoping for and waiting for had come”. We are promised the same and it will come into fruition.

So during this time of frenzy I ask you to come into the presence of God. During a time where celebration is a foreign term that seems unfamiliar, distant and impossible… to celebrate not this world, not the holiday season itself, and to not celebrate by decorating, buying a tree or having a get together… no, by being still, quite, and in the presence of the one to be celebrated who has given us any reason to celebrate. To celebrate His love, His provision, His promise, His protection, not during our time on this earth but His protection rather from this earth in due time. Bend your knee in his presence whether that is in tears, confusion, sorrow, numbness, unspeakable heartbreak, joy, thankfulness or even anger… and realize He is worth celebration, He is the only reason for any cheer to be found in the holidays… but that celebration does not need to look cheery, and full of holiday festivity.

Find hope in that there will be a time of no more, a time of renewal, and a time of justice. And that we who await His coming in joyful expectation will not be let down, will not be put to shame.

The holidays are about hope in what is to come and finding God’s presence in the now. So even if you see no hope in the now and no joy to be found in the present, look to Him, look to what He has promised and find hope in His future coming that will save us from the now and find peace in His presence. You may not have a lot to be joyful for this season but you do have the truest reason. May we focus on that and may it bring us hope.

As this world crumbles at our feet, stand firm in the unshakeable promised coming kingdom of the Lord, THE king. Do not underestimate the magnitude of this event, and its worthiness of deep celebration.

Imagine the Shepherds on this night years ago, looking towards the long awaited promise of a savior, and then that moment coming. The sheperds didnt even know the character of Christ, just what they had been told, and they had so much hope, so much eager anticipation. We do know the character of Christ, and though we have yet to fully know Joy, we have what we know of Christ to cling to and His promise that He will come again. We have the knowledge that our God loved us so that He came down to be the light to fight of the darkness we chose over Him. Loved us so dearly that He took on that darkness of sin to come out victorious…not for the sake of God but for us, out of pure love for us.

We have hope because He already came once, He will come again, and in knowing what He will do when He does.

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on hope in the midst of suffering and a fallen world pt. 1

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“take heart! For Christ will come again and make all things wrong, right.”

Hardship, devastation and heart wrenching situations have always been something that comes with this world. Suffering is not new to us, to this world. Perhaps I am just getting older and therefore more aware of this… or, it truly is what it seems to me… and it is becoming more and more frequent. A day does not seem to pass lately where I am not shaken with grief as I watch stories unfold on the news of violence, unnecessary loss, evil taking the spot light and families going through unimaginable heart break as they very unexpectedly lose loved ones on a day that was suppose to be just like any other.

As I learn about these devastations, even as someone who is not immediately affected, I begin to experience loss of hope, doubt, immense disappointment and a loss of faith in humanity. I feel as though everywhere these days there are loud screaming news stories proclaiming yet again that evil has won. Evil seems to be ever growing and completely unnecessary acts of evil are taken upon helpless innocents leaving un-repairable rubble in its wake. This leave us not knowing where to go from here, what to expect next and as those we are helpless and unable to navigate forward. Most of all there is deep rooted fear. I am slowly losing hope that there will ever be an upslope to this continual steep graded down and that we will ever see less and less evil with more and more goodness in its place.

With this, the question of “why?” always seems to follow, and when you enter Christianity into the conversation the question is “Why would your God, your supposedly good, good, almighty God who you so lovingly call Father and preach is in control of all things… why would He allow such things to happen!? Why would He just sit by and not stop it?”. This is always a hard question that we who believe in God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit are faced with. Especially when we stand before someone who has experienced an insurmountable tragedy. And I am here to say I do not have the answer.

I am not here to say everything happens for a reason, some good will come out of this, or it is all in God’s plan. Because I do not believe those phrases do any good or provide any relief, peace or healing. Rather I think they are our “quick-fixes” / “insert here because I don’t know what else to say and I feel uncomfortable” sayings. Though I do not have the answer I have mulled through this over and over again ever since I was a young girl, new in my faith, asked this very question, and then an older girl somewhat deeper in her faith who held her best friends hand at the age of 17 as she lost her mother unfathomably to soon to cancer, and now a 23 year old believer in God who watches with a lump in her throat as innocent cops go out for the night to fulfill their duty to protect and serve on a new years eve night in San Francisco but instead are bombarded by violent protestors as they yell and spit at them because some far distant cop very wrongly took the life of a black man, and as I drive to work with tears welling in my eyes as I watch cop car procession after cop car procession drive by me as they honor the life of a young, male cop whose life was taken at a CO shooting as he came to rescue but instead laid down his life, and turn on the news only to see a massive attack shake Paris and cling to my phone as I await to hear a response from one of my best friends abroad over in Paris to hear she is safe, or turn on the NPR on my commute only to hear about yet another mass shooting currently affecting San Bernadino, CA.

As I said, I do not have the answer as to why… but I do have some words that I believe God spoke to me, somewhat out of nowhere, that offered me some peace of mind, some grasp on suffering and offered me some hope in the midst of it. I have held onto these words for awhile now but in the shambles of what our world is currently facing I feel a need to release them and put them out on this little blog of mine.

Our God is great. And by great I do not mean the shallow term we use when we want to explain something was really fun, or that plan sounds like a really good one and anything that is better than good but not amazing. No, I mean He is unfathomable, unattainable… His ways and thoughts are far, far above us and way too intricate and grand to be known or grasped. We cannot know the workings of God and we cannot fathom His ways. Our mere human minds just cannot get it and we are not expected to. Yet we want answers, we want answers to everything and without them sometimes we find it hard to trust, believe and hold onto hope. Yet God did give us some answers and where there are not clear answers because we are not able to know them, there are little clues. God expects us to hold to these answers we have, hold to Him and what He has promised us. And this is what I have come to…

There is a purpose behind why we are on this earth.

There is a purpose behind why we have to struggle here why we have to endure stuff. Maybe there is not purpose behind distinct, exact situations that happen on this earth, maybe there is not an exact reason behind slavery, famine, acts of terrorism, good people experiencing bad things, loss, tragedy, and the list goes on, but there is purpose behind why God has not ALREADY redeemed us from this earth. There is purpose behind why He has not saved us YET, and we need to rely on His promises, we need to trust in these promises and look to these promises that He has promised to us.

The promise that He WILL come again, He will save us from this world and all its evil, tragedy and weeping. He WILL save us from this pain and suffering, and He WILL raise us from the grave. HE WILL SAVE US. In due time. And we need to trust in that and look to these promises and find hope and trust in them.

We need to stop trying to seek exact answers for why we experience pain, why we endure hardship. Again, there may not be purpose behind exact painful experiences but there is purpose behind why we are still on this earth, why we still have to endure pain, hardship and heart wrenching situations and why God thinks it is a better system to leave us here for now, and for us to live in a fallen world rather than just instantly save us from it. There is purpose behind that and we need to trust that He has a purpose in it. That He has a vision, that He will work all things out for His good (and therefore out for our good as well since His ways are good and pure), that He does hold it all in His hands but that we do live in a fallen world.

Maybe His hand is apart of every little thing/detail and maybe it is not, but we do know the promises that He has laid out for us to know, that we can lean into and find hope, rest and peace in. He has given us the knowledge of what we do know and need to know, He has entrusted to us the knowledge of what we need to know in this time frame and that is the knowledge that He has equipped us with to take on this world, that with which He has entrusted to us because of our need for it.

The rest we do not need to know because the rest is too lofty for us, the rest we are not able to know. It is ok to struggle with this, it is ok to wrestle with it but I believe what needs to happen is that we need to come back time and time again to what we do know, what has been promised and what He has entrusted for us to know already and to finding hope and trust in that. And to remember that in the midst of it our God is a good God that can provide and comfort in the midst of trial and work through it.

There will be suffering because we are living in a fallen world. In this we need to remember to come back to His promises. Not hold Him to what He never promised us, not hold Him to what He has never laid out before us but rather hold Him to what He has promised us and remember that we can hold Him to those things and His character is genuine and true… it does not change and He does not go back on promises. And unfortunately we were never promised this world would be easy or good but rather that we would, for the time being, reside in a fallen world that would be filled with trials, hardship, heart break, devastation, and everything that is a result of evil. We were told to take heart as a very commonly used bible verse states, so overused that I believe we have unfortunately stopped seeing the significance and promises that lie within it, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are informed and promised that we will have trouble, it does not say we may but that we will, however we are left with the hopeful promise of the fact that it does not end there. Christ has overcome the world, meaning He overcame it to one day rescue us from this trouble. We are shown that though we reside in this trouble God is bigger than it, He is able to and already has overcome it in order to one day provide the way for us to do so as well.

In this promise we are shown that He will bring about healing and justice. That He will fix all and right the wrongs. He will restore and renew and there will be NO MORE. We endure all of this unthinkable evil for this… for this promise of a renewal and then no more. God is with us now, but His promise to unite us with Him fully has not yet come to fruition yet. But we can trust that it will and find hope as we await it with eager expectation. And find peace in the fact that this earth is not our home, it is not what we are meant for and it is not where we are meant to find our happy ending.

In the mean time I encourage you to seek Him in our midst, as our stronghold in these trying times, as our guide and source and provider. Pray for ears to hear and eyes to see Him, His heart and His desires. Anticipate His coming and fulfillment of NO MORE of this, but seek His presence here. Know that though this world is not the end of the story, that God has not given up on it, and we are not suppose to either. Wait for Him, trust in what is coming and know we will not be put to shame. I do believe His heart breaks as He watches children of His choose evil over Him, as His creations choose evil acts against one another over love, as hate, racism, pride, hierarchical thinking, and us vs. them mentality ruins and destroys. And I not only believe but know we are promised to be rescued from this… but not yet. And I trust that there is purpose and reasoning behind that. I know God has not left us here to rot, to weep, to struggle, to mourn and fall prey to evil.

We live in a land in a constant clash between Hell and Heaven, therefore we are bound to experience each during our time within it. And unfortunately, as the bible illuminates, Satan was given the reign and the upper hand over this world as we as a human race choose the evil ways of Satan over the pure ways of The Lord.

You may notice a lot of maybes…

But you may also notice all capitalized ‘alreadys’, and ‘wills’ and ‘yets’… this is where the hope comes in.

Maybe we need to experience a little hell to reveal in the stark contrast of heaven when that sweet time comes. I am not sure. I never use to be someone who longed for heaven and I thought those that did were morbid, depressed, hated their lives or were weird. But now I get it. Longing for heaven, longing to be saved from this world is clinging to hope and the promises of God. It is not giving up on this world or the people in it, but seeking to bring as much of heaven here as possible while knowing so much unimaginable goodness awaits us. It is choosing hope, joy, trust and peace in the midst of the strife, pain, and numbing, immobilizing sadness. It is clinging with both hands to Jesus knowing only He can rise us out of this, and that He will.

This is not what God wanted for this earth, or for us. And we are not to abandon it to evil while we are here still. Rather, we are to cling to hope, rest in peace, spread joy, love deeply and be in continuous preparation the future second coming of Christ. Come into His presence now and be in eager anticipation. I hope you can find some peace and hope in the fact that this is not the end of the story and our God is good, He is an all loving father and He is not just idly sitting by with a blind eye to all that is happening. God is not absent from this world… from us, His power has not diminished, and His promise has not lost its strength. He has a rescue plan and in the mean time He has granted us this promise to cling to and His presence to rest in.

Do not give up hope. And remember … hold God to His promises, not the ones we made up to make our selves feel better but the true, repetitive, final promises that the bible lays out for us to know. Advent is about waiting, but in hope, for Christ’s coming, and I cannot think of a time more so than now that I have needed to rest in hope and have longed for the coming of my Christ more.

And remember…this can never be taken from us.

 

I am that I am

I am the beginning and the end

I am the first and the last

I am light; in me there is no darkness at all

My hand laid the foundation of the earth…

My right hand spread out the heavens…

When I call to them they stand up Isaiah 48:13

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear much fruit and that your fruit should abide,

Whenever you ask in the Father in my name, he may give it to you John 15:16

I am He who blots out your mistakes

I will not remember your sins Isaiah 43:25

All who receive Me, who believe in My name, I give the right to become children of God

John 1:12

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and the God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:16

My Spirit is with you, Ezekiel

I will not leave you, Deuteronomy

I will equip you for every good work I’ve planned Hebrews 13:21

I did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control 2 Timothy 1:7

I will build My church through you, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it Matt. 16:18

I will comfort you as you wait Isaiah 66:13

I will remind you that this is all real John 14:26

I am on my way Rev. 3:11

My steadfast love endures forever and ever Psalm 138:8

In just a little while, I am coming and I will take you to the place I am Hebrews 10:37

You will inherit the earth Psalm 25:13

You will be with me..

I will wipe every tear from your eyes and death will be no more

Behold, I make all things new Rev 21

My Kingdom is coming

My Will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Matt. 6:10

 

 Prayers to pray over this season & verses to look to where the bible confirms these truths: (As we dance through these minefields remember that is what the promise is for that God offered us)

 

Heavenly Father, today we look with anticipation for the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. Wherever life finds us today, from the darkest valley to the highest mountain, we invite Christ, our merciful King, to meet us there. As we wait expectantly, would You set our hearts alight with the lasting joy that only You bring? Today, we join with your people throughout the centuries as we proclaim, Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen

Laboring God, with axe and winnowing fork 
you clear a holy space 
where hurt and destruction have no place, 
and a little child holds sway. 
Clear our lives of hatred and despair, 
sow seeds of joy and peace, 
that shoots of hope may spring forth 
and we may live in harmony with one another. Amen

 

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You Hymn                                                                                       O Lord, how shall I meet you,
how welcome you aright?
Your people long to greet you,
my hope, my heart’s delight!
O kindle, Lord most holy,
a lamp within my breast,
to do in spirit lowly
all that may please you best.

Love caused your incarnation;
love brought you down to me;
your thirst for my salvation
procured my liberty.
O love beyond all telling,
that led you to embrace
in love, all loves excelling,
our lost and fallen race.

You come, O Lord, with gladness,
in mercy and goodwill,
to bring an end to sadness
and bid our fears be still.
In patient expectation
we live for that great day
when your renewed creation
your glory shall display.

 

Prayer from the Book of Common Prayers:                                                             Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Isaiah 11:1-10 (Hope, restoration, peace, healing- there WILL be victory)(v. 6-9) The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
 and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, 
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
 and a little child shall lead them.
 The cow and the bear shall graze;
 their young shall lie down together; 
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
 and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
 They shall not hurt nor destroy all my holy mountain; 
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
 as the waters cover the sea.

(v. 10) And His resting place shall be glorious

note: He will come and destroy evil, and His judgment will be fair, pure and true. Only He can save and bring this kingdom of restoration, healing and perfection.

 

Psalm 25:1-10 (Look to God through it all)                                                            (v. 1-2) To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust.

(v. 2 cont. -3) let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed none who wait for you shall be put to shame, they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.       So as to not fall victim to evil and to do what we can to bring light into this dark world we must be active in pursuing the Lord.

(v. 4-5 /8-10) Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, / Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

 

Rev. 7: 9-17 (A glimpse of what is to come, final and full healing of all and for all who stand firm in their faith through this great tribulation)              (v. 14-16) Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
 and serve him day and night in his temple;
 and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; 
the sun shall not strike them,
 nor any scorching heat.

(v. 17) For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
 and he will guide them to springs of living water,
 and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

 

Luke 2:8-10 (The story of Jesus’ birth and of an answering of a long awaited promise to the Israelites from God)                                                         (v. 14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.

Note: The shepherds continue to work until the promised coming.               It is not just the birth of Christ and what He did for us through His life and through His death… there is more to this, more to our faith. There is more to come! The story does not end with Christ giving us salvation through Him. No, the story continues with what is to come… Him coming again and fulfilling the full promise, that we will be united with our God in perfect holiness. This is real! It is going to happen one day. Jesus is coming!

 

Micah 5:1-6 (He is the peace of His people and He will protect His people now and forevermore from their enemies. He has the victory)                      (v. 4-5) And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
 in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
 And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
 And he shall be their peace.

 (v. 6) He shall deliver us

Note: As Micah 5 begins; Israel is facing the possibility of siege by either of their enemies, Babylon and Assyria. In light of this siege, hope is given. Christ, the Savior is prophesied. He will be born in Bethlehem. He will be the ruler in Israel and is from the ancient days of old, everlasting. He will be born of a woman. He will shepherd His flock by the strength of God. He is the peace of His people. He will protect His people from their enemies now and forevermore. He has the victory.

 

Psalm 85 (Thanking for past provision and prayer to restore us again and for the paths to be made straight that lead to Him)                                            (v. 8-13) Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
 for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
 but let them not turn back to folly.
 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, 
that glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs up from the ground, 
and righteousness looks down from the sky. 
Yes, the Lord will give what is good, 
and our land will yield its increase.
 Righteousness will go before him 
and make his footsteps a way.

Note: The Lords steadfast love remains constant and He will revive us again

 

James 5:7-11 (Be steadfast, trust the Lord…suffering WILL end one day, Have patience)                                                                                                                  (v. 7-10) “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

 (v.11) Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

 Note: We have not been left empty handed in waiting, but have been given guidelines, a promise, hope, and community through the bible. We were shown the ways in which to have God’s presence on Earth. And we are not to just wait idly by. There is purpose in our suffering, within it we can have patience and hope. Establish your hearts, be faithful, but know you are founded in Christ, not just found faithful. We long and wait BUT we have a book of promise to offer peace and hope and knowledge of what is to come. We have been told the promises we can stand on. Be steadfast, trust the Lord…suffering WILL end one day. Be patient, be steadfast, have hope and faith, establish your ready hearts, await…press on until the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Religion is not dead. but the way we see & use it needs to be.

After some feedback I felt the need to include this because my message wasn’t coming across the way I intended.

Disclaimer- this is not me saying to throw scripture out the window, that we are free to do whatever we want without consequence , that we have a free card to live however we please when we are aware of God and what Scripture lays before us and that our God is just this gentle, jolly man in heaven that will never bring down judgment and gives free pass to all into Heaven…no the way we live down here does matter. What I am saying is before we try to align our lives with scripture we first need to seek to know God, have a relationship with Him and navigate life from there. I am saying yes we are to call those in our lives who claim to follow God to align their lives with Scripture, but we are not the ones to place judgment on them. The end goal is not to perfect the law without Jesus in the picture, but to know Jesus and ask Him to help us navigate how to live our lives. To realize that without Jesus no matter how perfect we sought to be we’d be hopeless. I just think we have taken “law” too far and are placing it as our God…if you perfect it you are a golden child. I have seen too many people, myself included, chase this exhausting, impossible goal of endless striving to be perfect and hoping that once that happens we will win the approval of God. But the bible is a message that we are sinful, fallen, despicable creatures who without God, without Jesus without a relationship with our Creator…we are hopeless. So seek God and let the fruits of His spirit flow out of that..not the other way around. Scripture is good, worth knowing and abiding by…but not in place of God, they are a unit. We use Scripture to know God, but we cannot seek to align with it until we form a relationship with Him. Because we need to know that when we fall short His grace is there.

God is a judge, He is jealous for us, He is wrathful, He does want us to abide by Him. But mostly, He wants our hearts. That is what I am trying to communicate.

———————-

I had a conversation with a dear friend recently that really got me thinking about not only how I live out my relationship with God but also how I view it, and others. The convo was on the pretense of this friend supposedly doing something that we Christian’s categorize as sin, therefore wrong, bad and deserving of feelings of guilt, shame and regret. However, she did not feel this way and was sick of Christians wanting or expecting her to feel this way. For judging her…calling her out..and placing guilt on her. She was done with people judging her faith life and her relationship with God based on these pretenses.

Fast forward a few days and I pass a guy in the city wearing a shirt that says religion is dead Jesus is not.

Fast forward to later that evening and I am having a conversation with another dear friend who happens to bring up this exact subject and what it had been stirring in my mind since then. The subject of residing in God but it not being about a list of do’s and don’ts, wrongs and rights.

But how is this possible?…this is what we Christians base our whole faith on…do’s and don’t’s. How can we have a relationship with Christ without religion? I wrestled with this quietly..not even realizing my faith life was subliminally based on these pretenses.

These two matters have always seemed to go hand in hand. You believe in Christ, well then you follow these rules. But what if it isn’t about rules, what if it is about love, about protection, about a Father who so adores and loves us that He has laid out guidelines for us to protect us… to lead us closer to Him.

As believers we need to stop cascading this blame, this judgment and placing on others that they deserve to feel guilt and shame.

Perhaps I meet someone who isn’t living their life in a way I see congruent with the bible, this in no way gives me any clarity on their faith or relationship with The Lord. It also gives me no footing to judge them.

Who am I to get upset with someone, or disappointed in them when I doubt that their creator, our God, feels that way at all. I am in no position to judge someone, not just because of the fact that I am no better but also because I just flat out don’t know and am not able to. I am unable to judge someone and I am unable to know God’s view of the situation. But I do know that He so crazily loves that person. Though I cannot know God’s stance I can confidently say that I highly doubt God looks from heaven with judgment in his eyes, or condemnation…rather I believe his heart breaks out of love and jealousy for His children when He doesn’t see them following His guidelines, the roadmap of His heart, because He formed them to protect us and to help us know Him better. He does not wish for HIS children to feel shame or guilt…but His love.

Someone who is not living their life in congruence with these guidelines makes them no less of a person, no less loved and no more deserving of our judgment. Because that is what they are…guidelines. The act of following them does not make someone more moral, higher-than-thou, holier, or saint-like. I believe God gave us the bible, which formed religion, to guide us not to condemn us. But that is what we are doing, we are using it to condemn, judge and shame our brothers and sisters.

There is a difference in calling someone out in tough love and calling someone out because we think they are a bad person.

I should be sharing the desire’s of God for us out of love with a desire for them to get it, to get the love He has for them, how much He cares and how His Father heart is jealous for them and a fierce protector, but that He will give us over to our ways if we so desire them. I should be yearning for them to know the desires of His heart so that their heart may come to align with those desires…but never, never judge them if they don’t.

We need to stop the shaming and judging. It is simply just not our place. We are to love and show the love of God to others. Why when God’s heart breaks am I getting on my high horse and starring down my nose at someone, or getting angry at them. I highly doubt God is doing that and He is the Holiest of Holies. Rather, his heart breaks because He see’s His children choosing this world over Him time and time again when this only brings us hurt, pain, loss, brokenness and all that He wants to help us avoid.

It is time to stop seeing it as wrongs and rights, good and bad. because it is not black and white like this. and it is not our duty to say someone is wrong, right, good or bad.

Have you ever thought that maybe the Lord doesn’t get angry at our disobedience but rather heart broken- because he knows our needs, what is best for us and desires to provide/fulfill in those areas… but our disobedience pulls us away from Him when He is all that can truly satisfy? Do you ever think that maybe it isn’t out of duty that He wants our undivided hearts, but out of love. He isn’t a tyrant demanding our obedience- but a God that loves us so and wants us to be fully satisfied in the only way we can be…in the only true and good way. Through relational obedience our hearts are molded to the law, and the law is there to protect us and for our benefit- out of Love from the all loving and grace abounding God.

We can’t have religion without God, they go together. We have just utilized religion in the wrong way. When we put religion before and above God, making it more powerful than Him, we have got it wrong. It is suppose to flow out of a relationship with Him. We desire to live a life aligned with these guidelines, with the desires of His heart for us, as we come to see the heart He has for us.

Im starting to not see it as law and disobedience vs. obedience…but my Father’s heart yearning to protect me, ravishing my short comings in Grace and loving me fiercely none-the-less. And sin not as ‘don’t do it or else your practically the worst believer ever’ or as disobedience of the law, but rather as straying from the heart of God.

We will not obey Him if we do not first love Him by knowing His love for us. Once we know Him and of His love for us, it is not that we obey but begin to understand as our hearts desires are aligned with His.

The fact is we are all hopeless sinners. its apart of being human. This isn’t me just saying, heck just do what ever you darn well please, far from it. But saying we need to get off our high horse and realize we are all on the same level and in NO place to judge others. Call your Christian brothers and sisters out to help guide them to the Heart of God, but only out of love and genuine care for them, not to guilt, shame or condemn them. and not out of judgement…never out of judgement.

We need to stop seeing this law as a holiness ranker or a means to judge others by, and even stop holding ourselves to it. We need to stop letting this be the basis of our faith, our relationship with others, how we look at others and a reason to judge each other. but rather as something provided to draw us closer into our fathers protection and love. We should invite others into this but not hold them to it and see them as “good” Christians only if their lives imitate it.

Even in the bible there are examples time and time again of those who uphold the law but their hearts are cold, distant and far from the Lord. And in Matthew 7:22-23 it even highlights “believers” coming into heaven boldly and in pride proclaiming they obeyed the law through and through…however you find that Jesus commands them to get away from Him because He did not know them. We are in no place to see the standing of one’s heart, and that is what matters to Jesus.

We, as believers, are all fully human striving to be spiritual. However, we are incapable of doing so, we cannot without Him. This means we and all others will fall short, stumble and stray as we journey through decisions. We will be mesmerized and allured by this world. So have grace with one another.

We stand up in churches, at camps, in youth group, to dedicate our lives. We find ourselves again at these places rededicating them. And too often I have found myself and others leaving these moments with the wrong mentality. We enter into these moments and leave them because we feeling overrun with guilt and shame; as though I am/you are a horrible, wretched person. We stand to commit or rededicate in hopes of being a better person, of fixing ourselves…dedicating to living a life aligned to the law. A preacher speaks, something hits home, a stirring within us occurs, we come to this realization we are hopeless and horrible, we stand up and vow to be better. However, I do not think this would be God’s heart behind this. Rather I think He desires we do this to realize our utter inability, our desperate need for grace, forgiveness and our severe reliance on the Lord. We do it because we are humbled and astonished by the Father’s love for us. not to better ourselves and boast in living a life of perfect law abiding.

Christianity and Scripture aren’t about feeling guilty, but humbled and discovering the love of our God as well as our endless need for it.

So pull other’s towards Him. Live a life that you seek to be aligned with Him, but don’t do it just to be a shinning example, to boast your “faith” above others or to judge them. Have conversations in love if you feel as though a close friend is wandering from God. Do so to understand them, to walk with them, to love them and love them well but most importantly to hand them over to God. Remember you are not the savior in this situation…you are not the redeemer nor are you the spotless one who can cast judgement. you are just there to walk through this with them in love.

Disentangle yourself from this law mentaility to stop it from being your god and what you judge others with. Find that is is coming into the heart of our God, discovering His heart and then letting how you live your life flow out of that. I find that the more I know my Father’s heart the more I desire to live my life in congruence to what He calls me to because I see how His way’s are so much greater. For too long I lived in obedience to the law to perfect myself, correct others, and be that holy, perfect, spotless and blameless Christian. But that is not what it is about, and trust me it gets you no where. Seek to know your Father, not to be in perfect obedience to law and avoid sin.

So please, let us get past living solely in obedience to the law, with our eyes set on that. Past making that what Christianity and having faith is about. Let us let go of judgement of ourselves and others. Let us walk into knowing the Heart of the Lord and not aggressively pulling other’s with us but gently, lovingly and patiently walking with them there as well.

We have already been saved. Now we just need to know our Father’s heart, Jesus died to open up that gateway of relationship. Let us utilize it.

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a love letter.

“your parents had you and took care of you. they raised you up. they hopefully loved you, and maybe even loved you well…but they did not choose you.

your siblings may be best friends and love you fiercely…but they did not choose you.

your friends and your significant other may choose time and time again to love you. but not in the way I did and do.

only I mindfully and without doubt or hesitation chose you. because I did not just choose you…I carefully, artfully and lovingly created you. I made you. I made you who you are and the way you are. I chose to create you. and oh, how I love you.

no one loves you as I do, because no one made you or chose to make you as I did. no one knows you down to your every fiber in you and the makeup of who you are as I do. How could I not adoringly love and delight in you.

I made you

I made you

I made you.

and I would do it time and time again.

Oh my child, how I adore you. how fierce fierce my love is for you.

for me it isn’t a choice of ‘do I love you’. it is the truth, it is fact..always. it is unavoidable,  unchanging, unwavering…constant.

I created you. I know you. & I love you. always.”

-Your Father, your creator, your ultimate lover

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simple & to the point.

Blogs are funny things…I have no idea really if many people read this thing, but I write as though I am talking to someone when I could very well just be talking to myself. But hey that’s ok. Anywho, if your there and reading this, Hello! It has been quite awhile from the last time I posted and I have jotted down a lot of thoughts from within my brain in this gap time and finally feel as though they need to be shared.

So today is a topic that isn’t fun, but actually pretty down right scary at times to the point that the fear of it has paralyzed me. Actually it paralyzes me on a pretty constant basis….if you know me you know I can be very indecisive. It is frustrating, infuriating  and annoying. This indecisiveness is rooted in what I want to address today…the crippling, horrifying, and nasty word, mistake.

I wouldn’t say I pursue perfection in life, but I want to make the perfect decision…always. I don’t want to mess up, end up on the wrong path, lead myself somewhere to only find regret or even as simple as choosing the wrong thing to order a restaurant only to look at what someone else got and think dang it! I should have gotten that! It is silly and a very unnecessary stress I add to my life. but as silly as it can be, it is real for many of us I believe. There is a pairing between the word regret and the word should, “I should have done this” and “I regret doing this”, “if only I had made that choice..”, “or if only I hadn’t made this choice..”. and it is in these shoulds and regrets that we begin to fear mistakes.

mistakes- such a daunting word that makes us cringe, something we will run in the other direction from at all costs. they paralyze us, hinder us, and hold us back-  but its not because of what they result in, it is  because of our fear of them- our fear to come across as anything less than perfect. Our avoidance of mistakes leads to endless, exhausting, seeking that will never be satisfied

..but what if I were to say they  were something you should seize?

Mistakes are something that humanizes us- reminds us that we are fully human seeking to be spiritual. If you look at that word it has the word Spirit in it- the reason for that is because we are wholly, innately human that need the Spirit to intercede in order for us to gain a foothold in the spiritual realm. Naturally- we are human though. God knew/knows this. Jesus knew/knows this. That is why He provided a way to save us from our humanity. Without our seeking of the Spirit we live fully in our humanity- our mistake laden humanity. God was aware of this, Jesus intercede because of this. I am not perfect, and I cannot be. I was designed by a God that is perfect, I serve a God that is perfect, I can seek daily to be made more perfect- but I myself- in this lifetime will not attain perfection. Therefore, I will face the potential of mistakes and I will make mistakes.

With this I fall pray to the desire for perfection- I desire to create the perfect moment, the perfect appearance, the perfect life…but this prevents me from truly enjoying life, from truly relishing in my God and His abundant goodness & grace. It causes me to place all the weight on my shoulders and bare it day to day, decision to decision. It causes me to think I can do this on my own, it is up to me to make it in this life and by-golly I am gonna do it! It brings me to running tirelessly until I run myself dry- finding myself beaten, weary, in a frenzy and wondering how I got where I am and who I even am anymore. I have gotten to this place before and let me tell you it isn’t pretty. I was so busy trying to get myself where I wanted to be, that once I paused- or was forced to pause out of desperate weariness- I looked around and did not like what I saw. I did not recognize who I even was anymore and how I had even gotten to this point. I was a selfish friend, a detached & victimized roommate, a disconnected daughter and sister- a desensitized human being. I had dug myself into a self-absorbed pit of loneliness and numbness. All because I wanted to not only  appear to have it all together, but actually have it all together, though I knew I didn’t I faked as though I did.

My life became empty because I was not enjoying life as life itself. I was not seeking to see the blessings lavished on me from the Lord in even the act of His grace or seeking to walk hand in hand with Him through the not so pretty. I was too caught up in making it “perfect”, being “perfect” and coming across as “perfect”. I wanted to attain perfection of self- not radiate the perfection of my God through my imperfections.  I was not seeking the Lord at all, but elevation of self.

Mistakes. What if I told you they were just a part of life- unavoidable and common? That your not alone in facing them, making them and pulling yourself out of them? or that it is ok to make them, to be imperfect?

We have the choice of walking in togetherness through mistakes or letting them overcome us. We have the choice of vulnerability and sharing in imperfections or hiding them deep down in hopes no one will ever see them. I want to be loved, but more then that I want to be liked. because liked signifies that I am cool, I am desired, I am calm, cool and collected- I have it all together, I want to be seen as perfect. This is a dangerous place we all live in. A place where we seek to be seen as put together. Where do we reveal God in all of that though? We also cannot be genuinely loved, or genuinely love others in that way.

mistakes are necessary, a part of life, normal, unavoidable. So often in life we forget how much people relate to weakness; always feeling the need to be strong, we hide the fact that we are weak therefore the Lords power isn’t able to shine through clearly in our lives. Seeking the Lord is one thing, but recognizing his faithfulness amidst brokenness is another.I didn’t want to be human, or imperfect. I didn’t want to make mistakes. none of us do. so we try and avoid them at all costs.

My challenge to myself and to you is to reform our understanding of the word mistake.

Let the word role of your tongue and define it as something of beauty, something mystical, something magical, something of necessity…not something that limits you, or lessens your worth, not something of humility or disgrace. In mistakes we find grace. In mistakes we find more of God’s character. In mistakes God takes further hold of our hearts and says, see here my child, you need me. Let His Father heart come and say this is what I have for you… He loves us so and wants to provide for us- if only we would seek to let Him. Seek His Spirit, seek for your life to be aligned with Him, but do not let the potential of mistakes paralyze you from making decisions.

I guess what I am saying is 1. we need to stop measuring our success through the eyes of this world, but rather through the eyes of our Savior! (We call Him Savior because we acknowledge that He saved us, because we had something we needed saving from- like our tendency to make mistakes) 2. remember His grace. 3. quit striving- for perfection, to attain your own righteousness…you can’t. I can’t. we cant. no one can- except our Savior. 4. dont let the fear of mistakes hinder you from taking action. Seek His guidance, seek to have your heart rooted in His word…let this guide you, but take action and realize you may mess up- that is ok- because our God may just have something for you in those mistakes.

excerpt of words I wrote to no one in particular-

“I want to proud of your failures that teach you to rely on your God. i want to be proud of your weakness that shows your strength comes from Him. I want to be proud of the times you see as shameful, because you listened to your Lord and not the world/ self. I want to lift you up in support as you step out of what is easy and into what is hard, the times you may feel as though you have fallen down, let yourself down, been a disappointment, see yourself as a failure, live within the unknown, are broken…because that is when you are strong in Him, that is when you have learned you are weak, that is when you have learned that this life is not yours…that is when He has become greater. I want to help teach you to seek pride in the Lord, to lift your head high when the world tells you “you have failed!” because it is not about gaining reasons for people to be proud of you. But in Him. so that when you go through these times of unknown, so called failure..you can say “I have set my eyes upon the Lord, I may fail, but he will not..He will lift me out of this muck, He will provide, He will make something of beauty out of this, and He will get the glory. because my strength does not come from me, or worldly success…it comes from the Lord and my pride rests in Him. I may be weak, but he is strong. I may fail, but he will not” I want to do this so that you learn a whole new meaning of pride. that you learn to boast in your weaknessess, because how can you have pride in yourself, in your strength..in something not real?”

*(disclaimer- I am not saying choose mistakes that you blatantly see are bad choices/ decisions- but rather to not fear the making of unintentional mistakes while seeking a life that is edified by the Lord)

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To see life

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“We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost.” – Ray Bradbury

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this may not much make sense to someone else. and I am hesitant to post it because I don’t want to implant the wrong idea in someone’s head…but I hope it can inspire the right inspiration for each person individually. It all makes sense to me- but hey it is my ramblings that mostly I just needed to get out, for myself- and writing is the best form for me to do just that. so here it is.

a friend recently said to me something along the lines of I was living- in the sense that I am alive, a living breathing person that has life- and that was something great in itself. and though I know they did not necessarily mean it in the sense I am going to yammer on about- it got me thinking.

I don’t feel like it is enough to just live. just be a living human. I think it is fine to have simple moments, for everything to not be some grand adventure/event, and it is ok to not do anything “grand” with your life in a sense…it doesn’t have to be grand in comparison to what others have done or are doing…but grand in your own life. full of gusto, and the zest of life that really makes you relish being alive…and feel alive. It is a fine line though…of not getting swept up in wanting your life to be one big grand event- all the time, at every moment- being able to top someone else or have a life at least just as good as theirs. but rather being able to find the grand in your own life while not settling in the comfortable, the known, the shallow for any extended amount of time….we get so set in where we are, what we are doing- we are told we have to decide on what we want to DO with our lives. like we have one big decision and then just buckle in for the rest of our lives- in the same seat, with the same view and the same route. I don’t think that is it at all- far from it actually. I think we are suppose to take decision by decision and not be scared to explore, adventure, be beautifully wrong and beautifully off track- because you never quite know where that will lead you…and hey just maybe it will lead you somewhere great.

I want to live. I want to see the world- not just for the sake of seeing it, but explore it and really see it- see the people, the culture, the ugly, the magnificent…I’m not saying this is what living “grandly” looks like. but for me it does. I don’t have a set career path I want to chase. and I don’t want to just settle into the routine life that the society here in America tells us to. for me it isn’t either “be a successful independent women set in my career” or “be a married house wife”- these things are not bad (and I am sick of blog posts, articles, buzzfeed..ect ragging on either of these options) they just aren’t the only options for me currently, but they may be for you- and that is fine! live YOUR life and don’t be afraid to explore if that is the life you want. just don’t get stuck in the routine, in the average. add spice to your life, adventure- find out what that looks like to you. just experience this world, the people in it and how your God wants you to interact with it all and be apart of it.

I am letting go. Letting go of this idea in my head of what my life is supposed to look like. Letting go of the idea that I need to get married young. Letting go of the idea that there is some perfect route to my life that I must find and remain on or be forever doomed. Letting go of being in the comfortable. I am letting go of comparing my life to others, but rather focusing on my own and what I hope for it to look like- currently. I am letting go of seeking the things in this world I feel like I should have but don’t and trying to attain those things- like a major that fits me down to the last detail, a boyfriend, an outgoing bubbly personality, a successful life….that I should have it all together…be a certain way.

yes I want to get married, but I want to experience life on my own- and have marriage come if it may- in its own time, own way.

I have never had a set career path in mind, a dream job, a perfect fit for my major, a passion buried deep within me I just need to unearth and hone into. and I am seeing that more and more as a blessing in my own life. because it will lead me to adventure. new experiences. surprising wondrous moments, and gruelingly hard moments as well. It will age me, mature me, and make me more of who I am. It will create me & mold me. I want to live life full-heartedly and lively- not for the sake of bragging rights, not to leave my print on this world, not to experience just for the sake of experience, not to do work for Christ just for the sake of doing so or get caught up in life itself- but to meet people and learn what it means to love them, to encounter new places and interact with what my God made, to learn what it means to be in solitude with my God, to experience so that I can grow and learn. Not quite sure what that means or looks like yet. I can picture the grand things…but I need to learn what it means for the smaller things as well so that I am not always saying – someday. but can embrace it in the here and now. maybe I am doing something wrong. maybe I should just be following my hearts desire. But right now I just want to figure out what it looks like to embrace life deeply and fully where I am at with the people and places that surround me. I want to separate more from this “world” in order to experience the actual world more…if that makes sense. I want to focus more on the important things and less on the not so important. and I want to be able to live…explore…adventure…and I want to let go of routine. comfortability. and the known and step more into the unknown. I want to live greatly but simply. And mostly I don’t want to lose hold of being within the uncomfortable, having a young spirit and adventurous soul… And the ability to just seek God and follow where he leads me. i don’t want I lose so many of he good things we encounter When we are younger.

I am not here to tell you how to live your life. what is the wrong way or the right way. Because doing so just gets you into the mess of what you think life is suppose to look like. that is between you and God. and I am here to be a friend in the midst of that when you need it.

I have got an adventurous, wandering soul to blame. but something in movies like the secret life of Walter Mitty really stir something within me. and not even necessarily the life of the main character, but rather the character that plays the photographer. a man that just seeks beauty, and lives life in a simple, but deep way. of not just simply living, but letting life not get dull and ‘on-track’. because crap will come- but out of that comes sometimes-marvelous things. there is no on-track. there is no overall route for our lives that we are all seeking to find. but there is life itself- and it’s happening. be spontaneous; be daring, do things new, exciting, scary- which is saying a lot from me who can love comfort of the known and normal. but I am sick of that and sick of trying to find my overall life goal/ plan and get cracking on that- of buckling down and becoming “successful”, of fearing that one wrong move/decision and I am screwed. I don’t want to just enjoy being a kid now- I want to do so for the rest of my life. yes, have responsibility and wise choices be apart of it all- but not to the point that it limits life itself. I want to live passionately and be inspired by people, places, moments.  I want a full life. not settle into what I think I am suppose to do, what is “right”, what others want from me, what someone my age is “suppose” to be doing. or the ideal picture of what my life is suppose to look like at every stage- and follow that protocol with every age box I hit “4 years college” welp already screwed that up- do I regret it- no. “meet my spouse while in college”- not looking to good- am I bummed, when I really think about it no. “get married after college”- sounds nice, and some times I freak out that ill be graduating at 23 and sill have not met the “love of my life” (I actually stress over this sometimes- that is ridiculous) but actually- I want time on my own, to experience life on its own, discover and become. “find my dream job”- I don’t think that there is one overall dream job that fits for me. “settle down- have kids”- someday maybe. what age that is at? who know, who cares- definitely nothing to stress about now ( yes I have stressed over needing to get married young, have time to be just husband and wife while also being able to have kids young- seriously.. this shouldn’t even be on my plate of concerns since there is no even prospect in my life of someone to even marry! silly me, yet I know many of us have/ are there)

I think it is less about “finding” yourself but creating yourself along the way. There is no real right or wrong way of doing that- but just know the way you live your life creates who you are.

I am going to…

care less about what I look like and more about how I am living.

care less about getting it right and more about living well.

care less about how well known and liked I am and more about how well I love those around me and give to them as fully as I am able.

care less about what I am getting and more about what I am giving.

embrace life

Gods word calls us beyond our comfort zones into all the world.

“No chapter in life has all the joys.” -John Piper

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A trip to CO// Christmas Break part three

I got to end my break with a trip to CO with my favorite person- my sister. It was a short trip, but I never turn down anytime out there, or more specifically with her. And to get a little snow action was wonderful, so it actually finally felt like winter- sorry but I am not all about this warm CA weather in winter where it could practically be summer. no thank you, I want snow, cuddling, bundling up, warm drinks, snowboarding, mountains, and well… it to feel like Christmas.

I flew in on tuesday where we then got some dinner in Denver at this awesome vegan restaurant- City O City (it is so good, if your in denver looking for some good food check this place out). We then drove on out to Copper mountain where we spent the next two days snowboarding, hut tubbing, cooking and relaxing in our condo room right on the mountain. From there we headed to her house in the Springs for only two nights and a day- but did a few of our favorite things. It snowed the whole time we were at Copper and was in the 30’s the rest of the time I ws in the Springs- it was my cup of tea. Getting time with her is so special and always wonderful no matter what we are doing- seriously when I look back on trips some of my favorite moments are even just simply grocery shopping. We dont have to be doing anything grand and It’ll be a memory I hold on to forever. I love my time out in CO exploring and being silly with her- my heart is always content during those times. I miss living out there and being able to do it more often, but it makes visiting all the more special. That place will always hold a very special place in my heart. and for my sister- well she is my favorite person ever and it doesn’t matter where she is, Ill want to be there too.

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