Monday, April 30, 2018

Different

10:01 AM 0

              Guest Blogger: Holly Holiday


Holly Holladay is a wife, mother, and soon-to-be grandmother who loves Jesus. Holly enjoys writing and is an international speaker with a passion for addressing the real and raw. Her love of missions has lead her back to school to pursue a degree in nursing so she can help the least of these.

 

It’s that time of year. Pomp & Circumstance, gowns, mortarboards, tassels. The air is bursting with promise and newness--it has the feel of future. Nostalgia runs rampant with senior Sundays & slide-shows. We watch the screens as chubby-cheeked, toothless grins morph into semi-adults. It’s a time that should be happy and proud.

 

I should be proud and happy. And I am, but I am also so very conflicted.

 

But then we did things differently.  

 

I can’t tell you how or when it began. The important thing is it began.

 

Maybe years of religious cynicism -- coupled with an upfront seat to youth ministry -- planted the seed with Steve and me. It was just a seed; nothing more than a simple idea that it was OK to be different. It was the idea that the expected American path of high school, college, possibly graduate school before starting your life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.


Our beautiful daughter should be graduating right now. 

 

Instead she has been gone from home for 6 months. She didn’t just leave, she left with purpose. When she should have been starting her junior year of high school, we allowed her to graduate. We allowed her to be different and follow the path she felt God had for her. She worked hard, saved money, raised more money and left for a 6 month commitment with YWAM shortly after her 18th birthday.


Did we do the right thing? Well, that depends on who you ask. 

 

As parents, Steve and I have been intentional about modeling faith to our children. We have been open about how we’ve made decisions. We were the weirdo’s who left stable, full-time employment to start the ministry God laid on our hearts and our children had a front-row seat to that. We had no idea how this would practically play out in their lives.  

 

It sounds all brave and gallant to live like this and teach your children to be "different". But it’s a totally different thing when you look around and realize they are different.


If I truly trust God to author the story of my children’s lives, then I have to be OK when the script looks different

 

Our daughter Savannah isn’t even here, and that absence is amplified all the more because I see her peers all shiny and smiling, basking in their hope and promise of their future. Their concerns revolve around Texas A&M, University of Texas and Abilene Christian University. And to be honest, I have been completely overwhelmed with sadness.

 

Why sadness?

 

It’s taken more than a few days to be able to even name the feeling much less trace the roots of it. Even now, I’m not sure that I fully understand it.


But when I trace it back, I think it has something to do with feeling different. 

 

I am sure that, for Savannah, we made the right decision. I cannot put into words how proud I am of her. While her friends have been finishing up high school, she has mothered children in Uganda, had 3 months of intense discipleship training, and then spent time in Spain and North Africa--being Jesus in any way that was relevant to that culture.

 

She has been afforded real-life experiences that high school would have never taught her.  

 

And I have to admit, as her mom, while I feel extremely proud of everything she’s doing, I also know the path she is choosing isn’t the easy path. It’s the more challenging one. It’s the road less traveled. It’s her path. I’m so proud of her for that.

 

Her path is not for everyone, just as high school wasn’t the path for her.  

 

But is has been a struggle!

 

All the questions I get from well-meaning adults, who are steeped in the American norm cause me, at times, to question whether Steve and I have done the right thing.  

 

"When is she going to go to school?"  

 

"What does Savannah want to do long-term?"  

 

"Did she actually graduate?"  

 

I think these questions make me uncomfortable because I don’t have an answer (except, "yes, she did graduate--did you graduate from sensitivity school? Oh, sorry).


If I, an admitted system-bucker, struggle when my daughter lives her life exactly as we have encouraged her to, then how can I expect all the rule-followers not to be confused. And I think that’s the lesson here: we have little positive verbiage when people don’t follow the expected path. As Christians we like to talk about "following God" but we don’t know how to respond when people practically do it.

 

There have been days that I have agonized over whether Steve and I have been brilliant or insane in regards to Savannah’s path. But then, one day, I ran across one of her posts on Instagram. She had posted the following picture with and added some words of her own.  

 

And in reading these, I know we have done the right thing. My sadness over pomp and circumstance (or lack thereof) is just the sadness we all feel when we realize we are different. And it only becomes happiness when we understand we were made to be different.

 

You were made to be different.

 

I was made to be different.

 

Savannah was made to be different.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more...

Monday, April 9, 2018

DEFEATED

8:50 AM 0
Guest Blogger: Laela Dasher 
14yr old daughter of the King who is searching to find her confidence in Him.
  
Hey Brothers and Sisters! I am just bursting to tell you guys something! At first it was a little overwhelming but now I can’t keep it inside any longer it’s just so incredible! It has rerouted my entire view towards myself, others, and our father in heaven. It has brought me so much joy and happiness! It has changed my life? Here it is……... I am defeated. 
  
I can almost hear the gasps behind the screen as you guys read this. Defeated? But aren’t we Christians the “elite”? The “righteous”? And why should we be rejoicing over such a foreign thing? Because this place is where we will find joy. It is where we will find peace. And it is where we will fulfill God’s calling towards us.  
  
I am nearly fifteen years old and here is my confession- I am deathly afraid of having sorrow and that brings me sorrow. It scares me to think about being depressed. And I detest the thought of becoming broken. 
  
Now when I say “broken” what do I mean? In 2 Samuel, David sees a beautiful woman bathing on the roof. He follows the lustful desires of his sinful self and commits adultery with her, murdering her husband in the process. Yes. David, a man after God’s own heart coveted, lusted, murdered and still was after the God of the Universe’s heart. Why? Because he repented. He became broken. He wept. Yes he wept. His attitude wasn’t an “I got this” one. It was an “I can’t do this alone” one. His repentance song says this, “When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long. Psalms 32:4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. Psalms 32:5 Then I confessed my sin; I no longer covered up my wrongdoing. I said, “I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord.”And then you forgave my sins. Psalms 32:6 For this reason every one of your faithful followers should pray to you while there is a window of opportunity.” 
  
David fell on his knees and repented to God. He became broken. He was defeated. Did it hurt? Of course! It is always hard to confess and let go of our pride. But in the midst of our darkest times, are we able to feel God’s presence and hear him calling out to us.  
  
I’m going to let you in on a little personal fact about myself. I have the hardest feet on the face of the planet. Haha. My feet are like rocks. They are hard because ever since I was able to walk I have hated wearing shoes. I detest them. And over the years, walking barefoot over rocks and gravel and pebbles have caused my feet to develop the most unattractive calluses on the bottoms of them. While these calluses have prevented from feeling the sharp jab of a rock or the stinging pierce of a thorn in my foot, they have also kept me from enjoying the softness of my socks or the soothing scrub from my pedicure. I may not be be able to feel the pain, but with my calluses, I can’t feel the pleasure either. 
  
This is such a big issue in humans today. When we shut off our ability to feel pain and become numb to it, we shut off our ability to feel true joy. Not the fake, temporary joy that comes for a little while and then leaves us broken. I’m talking about the everlasting joy that can be found in ANY circumstance- good or bad. I don’t want to be afraid of becoming broken. I want to embrace brokenness- as much as it hurts- so I can experience WHOLENESS in Jesus Christ. We aren’t meant to live a life free of trials. We aren’t meant to live a life free of sin. We aren’t perfect. We mess up. We sin. We are dirty. But we are His. He turns our sorrow into joy. He makes beauty from our ashes. All we have to do is give up. Surrender our lives to God. Become broken. Become defeated and he will make us WHOLE. 
♥ LAELA
Read more...

Follow Us @jilldasher