Moving from the realm of wishing and talking into actually moving towards something takes your experience of faith to a new level. That is one of the reasons that taking those kind of steps can be intimidating, that is a normal thing. The important thing to remember is that the voice telling you “it won’t work, so why even try?” is not the voice of God.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
-1 John 3:18
from the September Bridge Box Bible Study
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I heard this story on 9/11 on NPR Show All Things Considered. I actually heard it several times during the day. A group of veterans mark 9/11 by gathering together to climb Half Dome in Yellowstone. The unique part about this group is that most of them are not only climbing with PTSD, but also amputations and prosthetics - no small feat.
Audie interviews several of the veterans as they are literally hanging off of the side of the mountain. And I’m struck more by their amazing attitudes and depth of knowledge than by the fact that they were actually being interviewed in the act of climbing.
When asked how they feel this honors fallen veterans and those in 9/11, one veteran says, “We all lost a little something on 9/11, whether it was a loved one or just our innocence in the whole attack. I guess we’re just hoping to help inspire people to see that there’s life after injury.
In a sense, death is around for corner for all of us. You can’t choose how you are going to die, but you can choose how you are going to live. I choose to live like this.”
I doesn’t get more real than that. We don’t have to be defined by the things that happen to us. We can be defined by the choices that we make. Choose how you are going to live!
Maybe it’s because I saw The Butler this weekend, but the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech has really impacted me today. He was an amazing man who sought to change the unfair rules of a country through love and truth, and he died for that cause. Just days after the speech, several little girls died in the Birmingham church bombings. Weeks after the speech, JFK was dead.
This was such a tough time in our history, and I am so thankful for those who stood up for what was right for all people. I’m thankful, as a white American, that we were forced to face our hate and our prejudices and change for the good of everyone.
What Dr. King stood for on that day 50 years ago is based on truths that ring true still today. I pulled just a few of his quotes from over the years to remind me of truths that are good and true and worth fighting for.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
I like Ashton Kutcher. He’s funny and interesting but not someone I’d look to for advice or wisdom. But often, wisdom comes from places where you’d least expect it.
He took his time in the spotlight at the recent Teen Choice awards to be honest, open and way wiser than I ever gave him credit for. He gave advice about opportunities, being sexy and living life. Don’t laugh. Take a minute and watch what he said.
You know what’s truly awesome about this? He could have completely blown this off. It’s the teen choice awards afterall. But he took the opportunity to speak some truth, real truth, that will help these kids and even the adults watching.
It just reminds me that every situation I’m in, I have the same opportunity. I can be real and honest and open and have other’s best interests at heart, or I can be focused on me - protecting myself and staying safe. You don’t have to be a debbie downer to speak some truth, you just have to be willing to open your mouth and be real.
That kind of honestly sticks with people, and it’s something that most people crave. Maybe Kutcher is waxing poetic because of the Jobs movie, but I think we need more people willing to step out, be different and impact the world.
I never planned on living in Northwest Arkansas. In fact, it was kinda something we tried not to do, but of course God had other plans. And while I loved living in Little Rock for many years, I have truly come to call NWA home after a relatively short time here.
Two of the best things about this area are the Fayetteville square and the farmer’s market there. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are several awesome farmer’s markets in our area. Bentonville is great too. But because of the intimacy of the square, the Fayetteville market is still my fav.
The city and the landscaping crew has done such a stellar job with the gardens around the square, that it’s actually a gathering place year-round for the community. But in the summer, with the market in full swing, it really becomes an enchanted space.
I love the Saturday market with the crowds and the mostly uncontrolled chaos of kids, dogs, musicians, veggies and community all in one space. But since I’ve been working at home, I’ve discovered the weekday markets on Tuesday and Thursday. All of the great offerings of the Saturday event, just less crowded so you really can shop.
So, once a week this summer I’ve hit the market, bought all I needed for a dinner (and usually a bit more) - and we’ve had a farmers market dinner that night. It allows me to get out of the home office. It challenges me to cook with what’s fresh at that moment - something I should do more. And, we’ve had some of our best meals. I love the chance to talk to the farmers and you cannot beat the flowers from Dripping Springs.
So many communities don’t have a gathering spot like this, much less access to fresh food. And I think most people tend to take it for granted. But every time Michael and I are walking towards the square - whether it’s for the farmer’s market or the Lights of the Ozarks - I say, “THIS is one of the coolest things about living here. And I’m so glad we do.”
I seem to have lots of friends lately who have been struggling and wrestling with big things in their lives. I hurt for them. I cry with them, and I can’t help but wonder why they have to go through these tough times. Why do any of us have to go through tough times?
And I was reminded about a speaker that Michael and I heard in February during the C3 conference - Greg Rholinger. It was one of those moments for me that touched my heart tremendously. It made such a huge impact on both of us that we still quote the key message to each other - there’s value in the struggle.
I encourage you to take some time just to watch this. Even if you aren’t into church or a christian, I believe you will still be greatly impacted by Greg’s story.
For all my friends who are currently in a struggle or a hard time - take heart, because there is value in the struggle.