Archive for category Love

Dear Me

No, not in like a “dear me you look awful today”. More like Dear Dana…

There are some things in life that you just don’t like. Whether it be a job or school or your car or someone’s attitude. I’ve noticed lately that you have been in a bad mood. You’ve been complainy and emotional and out of whack. You tried to fix it by reading your Bible, but then you got to the middle of Exodus and got bored. You tried to fix your problems earlier by switching jobs, but now you complain about the one you have. You constantly complained about you van, and now that you have  a new car you complain about how you can’t sell your van.

These things in your life that you complain about all boil down to one main thing. Selfishness.

You were talking to your fiance Dave last night and it hit you. You are a selfish brat. You’ve been doing nothing but complain about you, and haven’t given one thought to others lately. So I’m writing to you today so that you will stop this incessant complaining and start giving a crap about other people and their issues.

We are called as children of God to be his light in this dark world. How can you be a light if you’re thoughts and actions are all internal? If you doubt yourself all the time and have no confidence in who God has made you to be. So what if you feel like you’re getting beat up on the front lines of school. Tuff it out and stand for what you believe in. Don’t wain because you want things to be easier on you! That’s no good at all. Example from the Bible: what if Jesus doubted that he was the son of God? Do you think he would have been crucified? Do you think he would have died for the sins of man?

You see! Even writing this now you have hesitation in your heart about making such a bold proclamation to your faith. You hold back because you are scared of what people will think of you. You don’t want others to think you a loony or odd for believing the same things that the crusaders did in the centuries ago. But you don’t believe the same thing! You don’t think Muslims or Jews deserve to die! Quite the opposite!

You had something in the past that you constantly are trying to achieve. that was confidence. To look yourself in the mirror and say I am beautiful because God made me. And to say that I will live for Christ today because he is my strength and refuge and if God is for me who can be against me? But now you feel like the whole world is against you…you lost your confidence in Christ.

Remember: “What you are in the sight of God that you truly are”? Do you really believe that? Do you? It’s time to take a stand against the selfish gene in every person, and it’s time to look at today as a new day that the Lord has made. You will rejoice and be glad in it. Because that’s what God wants you to do. And the opposite of being selfish is being selfless, and that’s exactly what Christ was…So work on being Christ to people today. Being selfless, and if you get noticed for your selflessness, then point not to yourself, but to God. Who gave you the ability to be who you are.

I hesitate to post this, it’s more personal than public. But I don’t think I’m the only one dealing with this. It’s something I’ve dealt with not only in my faith, but also with my love. either of family or my fiance or friends. Being selfless and humble makes you a person that God wants you to be, and it also makes you a more pleasant person to be around. So I guess my point is, if you’re feeling the same way, down, depressed, constantly complaining, then stop. There is a song I love when I’m close with God. It goes “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look forth in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”  Truth man.

So today I will look forth on Jesus’ face and work on (with Christ’s help) being a humble person.

With the spirit of tough love,

Dana

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Dear Grandma and Grandpa J.

I miss you guys.

I have so many things to tell you! But as I think about calling you I remember that I can’t. Well, you normally ask about how school is going, so I’ll start there. Israel was so amazing you guys! I loved every moment of it, and though about you while I was there. I don’t know why…But you hit my heart a lot while I was gone. I missed you a lot. The other thing that’s happening with school is that I’m getting a Minor! I know it’s not much to write about, but it made me really excited, so I thought I’d share. I’m now an Anthropology Major with a Minor in Middle Eastern Studies. I don’t know what I’ll do with my degree yet, but I’m sure God has a plan for me.

Moving on to my boyfriend, because you would always ask about Dave. Well guess what?! He proposed on Friday! Yep! And not only that, but the ring that he gave me was your ring Grandma! Your wedding band you wore for 57 years. The ring you promised ’till death do us part, and kept that promise. Dave got that ring from my Dad, and he got it all shined up and beautiful. Like it must have looked when Grandpa gave it to you.

I was making calls this weekend, telling people about my recent engagement, I called my Grandma and Grandpa W and told them the news…while I was talking to Grandpa I almost started crying. I wanted to call you guys so badly. I wanted to celebrate with you both so much. I wanted to tell Grandma that her ring is amazing, tell her that her Dana Rose get’s to wear her wedding band.

 But I couldn’t.

I know you’re in heaven. I know you’re happy up there. I know you’re looking down on me and celebrating. But I wanted to let you know that I miss you both so much. That I love you both. That I wish that I could share these things with you.

With all my love,

Dana

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Dear Stressors,

For the past few weeks I’ve been stressed. This to me is interesting because the only time I almost ever get stressed is when I’m in an argument with someone (which  rarely happens) or if I have a 8-12 page paper due in two days and I have no idea what to write about. Now, both of these issues are generally self-induced, and I have no one to blame but myself for my lack of self-control.

But the stress that’s come upon me lately is due to two specific things. Number one, the passing of my grandparents. And number two, my impending trip to Israel.

In April, when my Grandma passed, I wasn’t horribly stressed out about the situation. My main concern was for my Father, Aunt and Grandfather, and also for my missing a full week of school. But overall the trip was pleasant, aside from the circumstances, and my life continued, all be it I was a little bit sadder, and I was a little easier to distract.

But with this past trip to the U.P. there was more stress involved. However, this stress could be translated into sadness/mourning/regret. You see, I’ve never really had to deal with death before. Although I’ve been to the funerals of both my Uncle and my Grandmother, this funeral was different. Looking over it, I would say my sadness is more for the lack of communication and contact with my Grandparents while they were alive. Although I often prayed for them, and even enjoyed talking to them on the phone, there wasn’t a relationship there like I would have liked to have. I didn’t really know who my Grandparents were, aside from what people have told me about them.

There’s always a point when you reach a certain age, where the gap between you and your older relatives begins to narrow. Where your Grandparents or Aunts and Uncles become more of older wiser friends than someone who is just your Aunt or Grandparent. And although I’ve had the privilege to get to know my mom’s side of the family relatively well, I missed out on that with my Father’s side of the family. I regret this. So my sorrow doesn’t come necessarily from the passing of my Grandparents. I know that they are in Heaven and are happier now with Jesus than they ever were down here. No, my sorrow comes from not knowing who my Grandparents were, and not taking the time to get to know them as people. As I was up there I realized that there was all kinds of family history surrounding me, and I wanted to know about it. But those that could tell me the stories were gone.

switching subjects, my second cause of stress is, as stated before, my trip to Israel. I take flight two weeks from today. And with this impending trip comes all the lovely worries and stress of foreign travel, but added on to that is the worry and stress of taking a class. What fun!

I’ve never been on a trip that caused me so much stress, not only do I need things for the dig, but also for the weekends, oh and I also have books and articles to read, a presentation to plan AND a paper to write. Now, all of this together, really isn’t that stressful, and I’ve had time to do almost everything I need to do before I leave. I’m sure everything will get done, it’s just a wee bit stressful with the loss of a week while I was in the U. P. Please don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited to go. 

 My overall intent in telling you this was not really to bitch about my problems. It’s just whenever I sit down to write about something here, these are the two things that clog my mind. So I figure if I write about them, maybe it will help me feel less stressed. Perhaps perhaps…I don’t know.

So I guess when I sum it up, I have excitement and stress for my trip, and an odd feeling of loss and regret for my relationship with my Grandparents. I suppose I just don’t quite know how to deal with all these feelings at the same time.

With mixed emotions,

Dana

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Dear Hands and Feet

RE:1 John 3:18

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”

Yesterday, when I was doing my Daily Bread reading I decided to go beyond the suggested reading and continue through more of 1 John. I don’t normally have much extra time in the morning, so I don’t often wander away from the short basic lesson that is set out for the day. But I happened to wake up earlier than normal and I was in need of something to cling to for the day. You see, this past week has been hard with the passing of my Grandfather, and I’ve been feeling distant from God. So I wanted to find something to draw me back. As I read I got to the verse above, 1 John 3:18, and found it interesting, but not really what I was wanting. I spent the rest of the day feeling a bit off with God, and wanting more of him in my life.

Today however, I had some free time in the morning, and figured I would see if I could find that verse again. I looked around for a few minutes and then found it. Now this verse isn’t that profound or earth-shattering really. It’s just a simple instruction that John gave to the receiver of his letter. But as I thought about this verse it reminded me of my heart for missions, and what kind of missions I want to do. So here I will explain:

When people ask me what I want to do when I ‘grow up’ I tell them I’m interested in missions. They then either say “oh that’s cool, have you been anywhere interesting?” or “oh…ok”. I feel that when most people think of missionaries (those that don’t know any personally) they tend to think of people preaching on a street corner or handing out tracks. Or maybe planting churches in crazy jungles in South America or Africa somewhere. Although there are missionaries like that, it’s not really what I mean when I say I want to do missions.

My interest is in helping people get out of the harsh situations they are in. Not to change who they are or their culture per se, but to show them a better way to live. Whether that is manifested through emotional, physical or spiritual support. My aim, whenever I’ve been on the mission field, has always been to help people in the name of Jesus. I’m not and Evangelist. I don’t necessarily feel a deep need to shout Jesus from the rooftops. My way is a little more personal, a little more quite. So when I read this verse ‘let us not love with words…but with action’ I found it a bit refreshing. I always felt like I only showed the love of Christ in this way because I was afraid. And honestly in some cases I am. But generally speaking I am better with actions  than I am with words so it makes more sense that I would use my hands and feet to serve the Lord rather than my words. (not that words aren’t important, that’s not what I’m saying here)

However, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about this was how people tend to read the Bible how they want to read it. They find verses that support what they believe and ignore the verses that tell them they need to change. I don’t want to do that. I want to be willing to change if it will better myself and the Kingdom of God. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about is if  there are any of my beliefs or thoughts about things that need to be changed to line up with the whole word of God, and not just that one obscure verse that I cling to to try to justify myself. I don’t know. It’s something I’ll have to think and pray about.

The second thing that came to mind with this verse is the last two words “in truth”. To love in truth. I asked myself what this meant, what does John mean to love in truth. The best explanation I could gather on my drive into work was that he means to love honestly or sincerely. Not to pretend, but to actually love those you are serving. This one’s a little hard to swallow. It’s one thing to love someone, kind of, because Jesus told you to. But it’s another thing when you have to mean it. To truly love your brothers and sisters in Christ, and not only that but to truly love your enemies and those you dislike. This is what Jesus taught, and it’s something I’m honestly going to have to work on, because sometimes I just don’t want to love someone, sometimes  it’s easier to not serve, to not be like Jesus. But this is where the Holy Spirit comes in, and the Spirit will help when asked. The hard part is chosing to go against your nature and ask for help to serve and love your enemies. 

These are some of the things that I’ve been thinking about for the past 48 hours. I don’t know if they will help any of you readers at all. But I’ve found that when you tell people what God is teaching you, it’s more exciting to see what God is doing.

Have a blessed day,

Dana

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