Here’s what they don’t tell you about eating disorders: They’re usually pretty innocent at first. An endeavour to “be healthier.” When my restrictive illness first developed when I was fifteen, I never would have considered that I might still be terrified of white flour and […]
In storybooks and seasons past, “Church” is seen as a service to attend for one boring hour on Sunday mornings in order to “keep right” with a distant God who might otherwise look sourly at us from His lofty place above. I think, when Christian […]
Looking back, it was one of those mornings in which I debated my outfit.
Dress up or dress down? Was the work I had to do today conducive to feeling put together and stylish, or did comfort trump all?
Yes, for some reason, I think about these things.
I settled on a yellow floral dress– not like I can wear it for much longer– and long cardigan before heading out the door and to the office in downtown Kitchener.
Working at Him & Her the past month or so has been one of the greatest joys in this season. The encouragement of my colleagues and superiors, the diverse array of projects I get to work on and witness, and the opportunity to grow as a writer while providing meaningful service have been unmatched.
For the first few hours of work this morning, it seemed someone was always moving. Standing from their desk for a meeting or a call or to grab a coffee, so that there was no one time in which the three of us who sit in a row were seated together simultaneously.
Until that moment that we were… and we collectively realized this:
Name ideas included Three Turmeric Mice, The Yellow Squad, and Team Yellow. I simply suggested that we had each planned in our hearts to bring sunshine to the gloomy Monday at Him & Her.
And this conclusion, as cheesy as you may call it, served as an incredible reminder for me. A reminder that supplemented my pastor’s message yesterday at church, which was about power and authority being God’s, and therefore being GOOD.
In Christ, I have the power to view any and every situation as one that He can be glorified in.
Even on a rainy Monday, I will not complain.
I’m not usually one to struggle with complaining. In fact, seeing the positives in bleak-looking situations is a gift I believe God has empowered me for. But I have been very convicted just the past couple of days in the attitude I have had since moving back in with my parents.
We’ve heard it before: moving back home after living on your own for a season is tough. You’re used to complete independence and, if you’re like me, grocery shopping and was a favourite part of the week that you no longer have to partake in.
So, as much as it’s a difficult transition, it’s also one to be very ungrateful in.
I think a lot about how crazy it is that we are usually our worst selves with our family. This is a good thing in some ways, I suppose, in that it shows our level of comfort and knowledge that we are unconditionally loved when we’re with our families. My parents have often said that they want me to know I can tell them ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, and the answer will never be judgemental, and will always be loving.
But… I think this can easily turn into a similar dangerous mindset we might have about our Heavenly Father.
He’s already victorious over sin, and He’s all-forgiving. I know that if I sin in this way, and repent later, He’ll forgive me… so, I’ll just (*insert secret-sin here*) one more time.
Today’s bright yellow colours and sunshiney laughter with my co-workers served as a reminder that the grace I am saved by is one that empowers me to see even the toughest situations with nothing but excited expectation, joy, and hope.
It’s not that living at home has been a drag– just an adjustment. Which gives me no right to take advantage, or be grumbling, or have ungratefulness in my heart or actions.
So, an open letter to my wonderful mom and dad: I am sorry if you have felt any of this. You love me so well, and with open arms. I hope you know how sincerely grateful I am that you care to have me near you.
What situation could you use The Yellow Squad to remind you to be a bit more grateful in?
…I have learned that I struggle. I know that God knows that I love a good story. A self-titled (and, now, professionally titled) writer since I was eight years old, I see everything in life in stories. A good storyline complete with metaphors and compelling […]
Yup. I’m a 21 year old Canadian female and only just recently got my ears pierced. And then… un-pierced. And the whole debacle is what led to some leaps in my physical recovery from eating disorders, and a greater understanding of my personal identity. Excessive? […]
I remember that, in high school, a “normal” conversation at the lunch table, at a party, or at a friend’s locker was about someone else.
The “subject line” was rarely to do with the state of one’s soul, the deeper thoughts they’d been having, or the joy they’d been experiencing. No, a typical conversation began something like, Hey, have you heard about so-and-so?
I am in no way demeaning the friendships that I had the blessing of partaking in, many of which I still do. I was blessed by lifelong friendships of soul-care, deep things, and joy talks that began in high school, and existed that way in high school (Shoutout to Daniella, Chloe, and Sammy, among many others).
I am, however, making a comment on what I perceived to be the cultural norm about what a conversation should look like. And I absolutely contributed to these norms more than I wish I did.
I think we can all relate to gossip. “People-talk.” Slander. Rumour-spreading, and rumour-listening-to. It can be harmless, right? If it’s just a conversation with my best friend and it’s between the two of us, or an off-hand, “I heard so-and-so became a drug dealer after high school” to a colleague, it’s not a big deal, right?
Well, this morning, I was finishing up my personal study in the book of Luke, and a few verses in Chapter 23 stung me like never before.
In this chapter, the people of Jerusalem who have witnessed Jesus have accused Him of subverting their rules, and take him to Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea.
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”LUKE 23:3-12 NIV
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
I could not get the phrasing of this final verse, verse 12, out of my head. Luke, in his gospel writing, emphasized that Herod and Pilate became friends the day that Herod chose to doubt and ridicule Jesus. The same day that Pilate was trying to decide whether he himself believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
Herod and Pilate bonded over the ridicule of the Son of God.
Have you ever bonded with someone over the ridicule, put-down of, or collective dislike toward another person?
I was disgusted by Herod and Pilate… and then the Holy Spirit used the verse to convict me of my familiarity with their friendship to show me three things about the communal slander of others.
- Friendship that is held together by gossip and being caught up on the happenings of other people is not friendship. If you can discern friendships like this in your own life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that either of you are, at your core, gossipy people. In fact, I would argue that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are ALL prone to this kind of sin. Try to reach out to these friends and be candid about the intentions of your friendship. Apologize for not asking more about that friend’s own life, and engaging in gossip and jokes about others instead. Vow together to engage in meaningful and compassionate conversations.
- Feelings of “bonding” that arise from talking negativity are lies. This is a false sense of bonding, because, in its very nature, gossip is something that breaks bonds. Imagine becoming friends with someone because of your communal ridicule of the God who created you, who purposed you, and who you will stand face to face with at the end of time, like Herod and Pilate. We are never called to speak deception or ridicule over others, but rather truth and life.
- Mocking is different from speaking genuine concern– and the difference is in your heart. We might share a rumour under the false pretence of just “sharing concern for a friend” with someone else, while knowing in our souls that our intention is not one of compassion. There are, of course, circumstances that demand sharing a concern for a friend with someone else, but both the language and tone of that conversation will look and feel very different from those of gossip.
God, thank-you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross in my place. Help me to bring praise to Your Name and Life by speaking truth and love to and about other people– people You love and breathed life in to. Give me Your eyes, Jesus, to see others the way You do. Amen.
Jesus really doesn’t ask for much. Well, yes, when we follow Him we surrender our lives from purpose for dead and meaningless, withering worldly things to the eternal purpose of Jesus’ glorification, and this may certainly be seen as “much” if we don’t know Jesus […]
This past Wednesday, May 22nd, I embarked upon a journey that changed my life, and that I will never forget. This time last year, my dear friend and pastor, Nat, came home from a mystery excursion to the Muskokas raving about his experience, and telling […]
Does winter get anyone else down in the dumps?
I’m not trying to blame my attitude on the cold, because I know that owning my attitude is always my responsibility. But man… I really, really hate the cold.
It is one sensation I can think of that makes me truly ANGRY.
It makes every activity more difficult. Like today, thinking about leaving the house for the different things on my agenda, from a meeting at my pastors’ house with their kids, which is one my favourite parts of my week, to a coffee and study date with beautiful Mary, to shopping, all things I love and have a generally positive attitude about– the cold weather can literally be enough to almost keep me inside.
Always “almost”… it’s never actually kept me inside, that I can recall.
But the severity of my disliking toward cold weather makes me wonder why we have it in the first place.
And then it makes me reflect why we have much bigger, truly problematic situations present in the world, hardships and fighting and poverty and greed.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Now, I am a baby and out of line to liken dealing with the cold as a very privileged Western person as “suffering.” But my internal and external struggles with it reminded me of the promise of this verse in Romans. Suffering, hardships, difficult times, and struggles… they are part of the Gospel. They themselves produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope in God’s love, NO MATTER WHAT.
So, to my friend struggling… with ANYTHING…
God knows you. Inside and out. And He hears your silent prayer. Bring it to Him, for real, and entrust it to Him. Know that He has deeper plans for every trial, and that an attitude that says, “This hardship will produce endurance, which will produce character, which will produce hope in the ONE THING that will never fail” is one God calls you to.
Don’t judge me, but I’m still gonna go into the cold with an attitude that says that God is gonna use the chill in my bones to produce endurance, character, and hope… and honestly, He does. He uses everything.