Apathy.

Loss. Destruction. Hurt. Fear. Agony. Distrust.

These are just a few of the emotions and realities that have come the past few days.

But fortunately for us Americans, we can soon forget all these things. There will be no one to remind us of these horrible events. The media will soon move forward, social media will spin into Christmas mode, and the thought of all of these events will be less than memories in our hyper, fast-paced, American minds.

We won’t have to worry about the Syrian refugees walking onto our soil in masses in search of help and care like European countries.

We won’t need to rebuild our cities and public entertainment centers destroyed by a suicide bomber.

We won’t have to try to rebuild thousands of years of history because of a massive earthquake literally ripping our culture from its foundation.

Our reality, as Americans, is that we will be more worried about cooking our huge meals for our families, finding the perfect gift for our loved ones, and we will continue to fight about who is the loudest candidate running for President. We will fall back into our habit of picking apart each other’s opinions, Facebook status’, and outward appearances. We will return to being jealous when a friend does well on a project, being angry about immigrants coming to our country, and looking down on those living in poverty. We will continue to fight each other to be the best, fastest, or most liked.

How can we claim a life of love, and yet give none of it- How can we claim a life of limitless opportunity, and not allow everyone the chance to experience it-

While we definitely have problems of our own, abandoning the plights of others seems incredibly selfish and small-minded. We see the struggles, fears, and life-threatening circumstances of those in other places everyday on the news, and yet can find a way to justify our forgetfulness and apathy. We want to help, as long as it doesn’t affect us. We think that the refugees need homes, but are unwilling to give them our own. We feel the sadness of the attacks in Paris, but the next day decide to fight about Facebook pictures.

How can we claim a life of love, and yet give none of it? How can we claim a life of limitless opportunity, and not allow people the chance to experience it?

Yes,Be a go getter (1)

I feel turmoil and anguish writing these words. Not out of fear, but of great sadness. The loss is so great; and yet all we can seem to muster is a Tweet that hopes those in need will find somewhere else to go.

But I am asking, if not to us, then where?

Why not us?

Friends who claim lives of love and peace in Jesus Christ: why are we so unwilling to help the helpless? Excluding our “rights” to freedom, liberty, and saving our economic system, is there a justifiable reason? Who are we to turn away the needy? Are we not instructed to give freely, even at the risk of our own safety?

Please know that I write these words with love and not judgement or anger. I write this blog to be a light in an ever-dark cyberspace. Sometimes that light comes out as encouragement. Other times that light must be truth. We must be aware of our fellow man in hurt and agony. We must show compassion and love to those in need.

Now is the time.

Much love. Much grace.

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“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

-Statue of Liberty

Needing Contentment

“I just want to see you content”

Seven words. Words that cut me to the core, and yet are loving at the same time. A phrase that says, “hey, I not only care about you, but I want to see you happy where you are and with what you have.”

But that word… Content… it is just so foreign.

I need more. More time. More money. More friends. More sucess. More adventures.

“Content” and “more” don’t go together. A person can’t live with both.

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I have been struggling with wanting to go to a new place to live for a while now. With marrying Mr. Yell and seeing most of our friends leave, it has been very hard to stay in our small town. I have been angry, jealous, and hurt; with myself for graduating late, and with God for not taking us to another place. He has been silent for almost a year now; and that has been the hardest thing to experience.

Then just this week my husband said something that woke me up. It made me rethink this past year’s emotions, complications, and stress.

“I just want to see you content.”

That’s it. That was the moment I realized that maybe, God wasn’t silent, at least not at first. Instead of listening to what He wanted me to do, I have been trying to push myself to do things that I feel I need to do. Things that will make me likable, smarter, or bring my life more meaning. I have been trying to make my life “better”, when instead I just  needed to learn how to be content.

Contentment is hard, guys. So hard. It is very hard to live in a world that is built on comparing ourselves to others and yet seek contentment. It is hard to see people in your same place in life who seem like they are doing it all, or that they are more likeable or needed or whatever. But can I just say that finding a way to be content is just so much better?

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, I challenge you just to take this week and find ways not to want more.  I want you to think about the things and people you have, and I want you to think everyday that you have enough. That you are fine where you are, and that the desire for more is not needed. For me, this is made infinitely easier when I remember that my relationship with God is all I need. I can lose everything and still know that He is good. He is enough.

This year has been rough, that is for sure. But this week has been the best week I have had in such a long time just on the basis of seeking contentment. I am learning, like I am sure much of you are, that I am pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, loved enough, and happy enough.

I am doing my best to help those in need and make the part of the world I am in a brighter place to be. And that thought can only come from being content.

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Friends, are you content? If it means anything… I not only think you can be, but I want to see that happen for you.

Much love. Much grace.

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“I am Wrong”

Three words that are so simple, and yet so hard to say. The ability to admit that I am wrong about anything is such a struggle. This can happen when discussing academia, movies, and even scripture. It’s like I can’t seem to get it into my prideful self that I could possibly have said something that was incorrect.

This even happens when I know for a fact that I am wrong. Even when I know the other person is right by way of facts or feelings, I still get more and more entrenched in my own opinions and ideals. I can’t seem to let it go, look it up, or agree with the other person; instead I feel that they MUST eventually take my side. Some of us may agrue that this is just “the American-way”, or that culture has made me this way, but I can only think one thing.

“Can I be more prideful?”

People not only have his or her own insights to life, but believe it or not, other people just KNOW more than I do. I have become so pretentious and elitist that I could not admit the faults in myself.

And for that: I AM WRONG.

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Being prideful about my knowledge or attitude is hurtful to so many people. Friends become annoyed and hurt; family can become fed-up, and I am sure that it is extremely unattractive to my husband. However, it is also extremely hurtful to the LORD. He not only calls us to be humble with others, but with Him as well. He desires us to know Him more, and He cares enough to listen to all of our little worries. But if I claim to know all about Him, claiming to interpret Him perfectly or without room for others opinions, I cannot be the second part to a two person friendship.

My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:12-13 (NIV)

Since Jesus gave his life, not only for His friends, but also His enemies; He is also a friend of mine.

And I have been a horrible friend to Him.

Being pretentious kills love, honesty, and openness; especially between friends. So the I must do the opposite. I must be willing to not only notice when I am wrong, but also admit it aloud to encourage the growth of relationships between others and to encourage forgiveness.

How else can people feel loved if we don’t show them we are willing to let them be right?

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Ps. The rest of John 15 is just so wonderful to read and so encouraging! I recommend it. 😉

Coffee and the Word

I am just sitting here, drinking coffee and reading the Word, when I stumble upon another crazy story about the Israelites. Sitting here reading, all I can think is how silly they seem. Here is a group of people who have seen miracles from God personally, and yet they can’t seem to get a grip and follow Him.

All I can think is, “What’s the deal guys? Get it together.”

I feel like we always make fun of the Israelites from the Bible. I am always so amazed at how “God’s Chosen People” consistantly forget and rebel against God. Always forgetting what the Lord did just a few years, or even days ago.

  
But honestly, I am the epitome of those Israelites. As soon as God is silent, for even a second, I lose it. I feel like I am in a desert, wandering…. waiting for SOMETHING to come across the horizon. I start to doubt my faith, I doubt the faith of others, I lose sight of who I am. I lose sight of who I am supposed to be. 

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Major life events that have happened recently have brought so many crazy emotions. Nostalgia, guilt, and fear just to name a few. Nostalgic about how fast time has gone and remembering how things were when they first began… Guilty because I feel that the wedding overshadows the accomplishments of others… Fear of not having what Mr. Yell and I need to begin our lives together. So many negative emotions… and they can easily take over my joy. I find myself getting short or impatient with others. I feel bitter about others who seem to have a perfect life from what I can see. 

It becomes too much.

And it is TOO MUCH. 

As a believer and lover of Christ, I am not even supposed to give fear and guilt a second thought. I should laugh at the future WITHOUT fear. I should be thankful for the present and let God work. Guilt is something that weighs me down. Yes, the wedding is around the same time as these graduation ceremonies, but as long as I am joyful and do my best to encourage and make my grads feel special, there is no need for guilt to enter my mind or heart. 

At times like this, those words are very hard to remember. Desert places are dry, lonely, and hard… And while there is an oasis, it is small, just enought to keep only me going. 

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That may seem like a bad thing, but I need to remember that the oasis is made just for me. It is private and peaceful. A place for me to refresh and wait.  

So my mantra and my thoughts are on 1 Timothy 3:11 today (I literally wrote it on my arm…). It talks about how a wife of a deacon should be, but I feel that this can be for any woman in danger of letting negative feelings over take her.

She should be worthy of respect, not a malice talker; but instead be temperate and trustworthy.

When I allow these negative emotions to consume me, I am not worthy of respect. My bitterness hurts people through gossip, and I lose trust and gentleness because of it. Instead, I need to remember what hope feels like… and what trusting God means in my life. While this is a frustrating thing for me to witness, God is always kind, gentle, and forgiving just waiting for me to remember Him.

What is hurting you? How can you change it? Can you help someone else feel less hurt or bitter?

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