Wednesday, October 25, 2017

God really Did That

This very last chapter in 2 Corinthians is titled "Final Warnings." This is not a coincidence; this is no "timing" thing. This is God.

Final Warnings, He declares to me -- to my soul and my being tonight. This is the answer. This is what you need to listen to -- what you need to hear. My voice is real, He says; it was real then, and it is real now. This is my voice speaking. These are my words. This is all that you need to know tonight. This is my final warning to you about this matter.

"He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you" (2 Corinthians 13:3).

I am not alone tonight. I was not alone last night. God has not left me to deal with this on my own -- He has not neglected me. He has not grown weary of comforting me and carrying my burdens. He is powerful  -- Christ lives by the power of God, and so do I. Tonight I live with Him by the power of God (verse 4).

But per usual, I'd forgotten that truth (are any of us actually surprised?).

And on cue, Jackie Hill-Perry tweeted something on this Wednesday night that I really needed to hear:

"We won't be here forever."

This life is not all that we have. If I feel sad or let down by something in this lifetime, if I miss someone, feel guilty about anything, if I tell myself that my worth does not compare to others', I can still have hope. I have hope, even in despair, because there is an eternity.

What is the point in worrying about things of this world if this life is not all that there is?

My purpose does not lie in people, relationships, my studies, a career, who I know or who I don't know -- my purpose is in Him. And that is where my comfort lies. I am in Him. I am weak, but He gives me strength. He has given me strength where I am weakest; He has given me strength where I feel most lost, alone, unworthy.

I am glad tonight that I am weak, because only then am I truly able to be strengthened by Him -- only then can I see, in all His glory, the strength He has for me. I am thankful for my weaknesses, because I now see clearly His power and His magnitude.

There is where I'll find restoration. 1 Corinthians 13:9 says, "Your restoration is what we pray for." I prayed, pleaded, asked with all sincerity -- God, grant me comfort.

Tonight I have been restored; tonight I have been renewed. I am a new creation. I feel His comfort -- it is real.

And it was in His word. I knew last night that it could be found there. Tonight His word was opened -- tonight I read His words. I read about His redeeming qualities, His restoration in power, His unfailing love for me. I will not worry about the things I cannot change; the things I know He did for a reason.

And that is why I am writing this to you tonight.

G0d is not able to comfort us and restore our knowledge of Him if we continually neglect Him and His word. He is not able to offer us peace through His power if we refuse to even glance His way. It's not a one-way thing. God will always be there to love us, but we'll not always seek His face.

But we need to. We need to be reminded tonight -- and every night -- that His word is alive. He does speak, some days louder than others, but He speaks. And He always has something to say. We need to trust in His ability to speak to us and reveal Himself in all His beauty; we cannot limit Him. Because He will always offer us the best. Always.

Listen to His voice tonight.

Wait on Him.

Find comfort and peace and restoration in Him.

xoxo

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

to be in October

i watch. to be a child again. simplicity. freedom. enlightenment. games. fun. laughter. education. field trips. to be is not to worry, rather to seek after enjoyment apart from responsibility. to be is to misunderstand that the world is not always easy — it is not always by your side. nevertheless, it is beautiful.

every day there is something new to take in. breathe. become fascinated by. to learn that every year the leaves will change color; every year, the leaves will fall off the trees; every year, the world will grow cold. the crisp air will show kindness on exhaustion and overwhelming schedules. the winter always comes, but not before October.

there is always a lesson to be learned as a child. as a youth. there is bewilderment then estrangement — the phases of growing up. maturing. beginning to forget the fun in games and trips to the local park. there is a further understanding of jealousy, bullying, hatred. wrong doings.

but there is also a deeper knowledge of love.

the seasons change, because they can. people change because they need to. life is ever-revolving and never-ending. to be human is to grow. to be human is to learn. to be a child is to become more — to discover why it is not always autumn. why the crisp air turns to frozen streets and snowflakes. the endearment never ends, though. there is always a painful yet innate need to uncover more truth, find the facts, read between the lines, allow the mind to shift and become its own.

to be a child is not simple, because it only means growing up. it only means change.

but now it is October, so all of that must wait.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sept. 1: Move-In-Day Moments!

Hello friends,

this past Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, I moved into my very first Apartment! -- and yes! I have the address memorized already. Please send letters/come visit/look me up on Google Maps.

I am creating this post in order to document all of the photos that I gathered from said move in day.

here is me posing in front of my apartment just before entering for the first time:

Leslie is my roomie! yay!

here are the post-seeing-the-apartment-and-moving-everything-in photos:

(even though this isn't technically a 'selfie,' it looks like one, and mom somehow always ends up sneaking one in! Classic her!)

mother dear


I have lovely friends. thank you for coming along and supporting!! (and we unintentionally / sort of matched.)

Caleb!
this was actually pre-move in, but i wanted to somehow include Princess Leia, so voila!


Princess

Mom & Annie
this was just after we had finished photographing the After Photos and decided we needed to get some lunch. we ended up choosing Potbelly's, but mostly because Starbucks was right next door.


all along S. Wabash are buildings belonging to Columbia. so here are my I'm An Official CCC Student shots in front of one of those buildings, courtesy of Mom annnnd Annie:

very happy/


very, very happy.



later that day, after everyone left me, i walked over to Target to grab a shower curtain and mayo and you know, basic commodities (not from GFS though, smh), and this is what i saw as i walked back out of the store......just every-day life in the city, i suppose:


then of course, back at my Apartment there's my pink fuzzy lamp. lighting up my space frfr. had to take a pic, you know......plus, i mean, look at the view.


then the realest views.


and that is how i ended my day. so much glory. so much God. so much thanks.

then i was glowing after talking about how beautiful and wonderful it is like knowing Christ and how thankful i am for that via late-night conversations with besties. 


until next time.
byyyyyeeeeee!

Monday, August 28, 2017

It is 2017, friends

Hello from a New Life and a New World in 2017.

It is my pleasure (sans Chick-Fil-A) to evidently be writing this to you today, August 28th.

Now I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of writing; I really appreciate and genuinely enjoy reading the things that many writers, poets, hip-hop artists, etc. put out as a piece of themselves. I find it beyond fascinating to read up on their lives and what is most important to them. But sitting here tonight writing this thing has me wondering, how do I fit into all of this?

As of late, Levi McAllister (aka Levi The Poet) has been a single example of the type of individual I strive to become on a day-to-day basis in terms of writing and pursing the art; something about his honesty of mind and truth-bringing, enlightening essays are glimpses into the concept of Living My Best Life, while his work continually brings me excitement and a greater desire to keep pushing forward. The motivation is not always there, but having the opportunity to read Levi's weekly newsletters creates in me a deeper passion to go after the thing I can feel growing inside of me; this thing that wants to become and keep becoming. Every single day, for the rest of my life and being.

But boy, I have not been feeling motivated to write, or create at all, for that matter. It is so much simpler to just run further away from the opportunities to journal or jot down the simple thoughts or ideas floating around in my head. I have so many of those (as do we all), but it has felt almost like a weight -- the idea of coming back to this screen and throwing this mess down on the page. Apologies, for my heart has not been in it, and so the words have failed to come naturally; forcing this type of thing makes me nauseous.

But I am here now. I am attempting to not ~force~ this entry, but that obviously cannot happen considering The Drowsy State I Am In at 2:00am. And yet, life still goes on.

So.........this journal is officially dedicated to Noah and Caleb; I am sorry in advance for its lack of Originality or Excitement or overall Appeal in any way whatsoever to any reader in the entire universe of Blogging or reading in general. I am simply trying my best to dip my feet back in without making a HUGE deal of it. This is the huge deal. Thanks for encouraging me to get back to this, whether you actually meant it or not.

And now onto more real stuff. I'm munching on Haribo Gold-Bears (courtesy of Tyler) -- re: Late Night Munchies -- and post craving french fries, I realized that I needed to do something important and useful with my time and life as A Human Being, so this is where I ended up. Read on, please.

Over the last year, I understand now that I lost sight of everything that is most important to me. You know the feeling? Like when you're more anxious and stressed out than ever, and it sort of just uses up all of your physical and mental and emotional energy, leaving you to mope in your own, feeling lonely and unimportant..........everything is dry. All motivation to do the things you love (i.e. creating, learning, growing, you name it!) sort of just fades. Maybe that makes no sense at all, but that's what happened to me. I guess this is where I link things back to that thought regarding Levi's never-ending supply of Beautiful Words via email.

Coming back to this is like the most liberating thing I've done today. But like, what can I even write that is going to mean a thing to anyone reading this? I want to create something and give something back to the community™ that isn't just a promise to do something, but rather, an action; written words on this page. Glad you're here. Glad you stayed.

I stopped eating the gummies, because I fear that if I eat too many, I will feel sick to my stomach. Also, I should probably go to bed soon.

Anyways.

There is nothing relevant in this journal entry, except for the gummy bears part, so I do hope that you at least tried to enjoy it? and didn't leave feeling somehow more of a failure than when you arrived? Maybe the next post will contain some sort of substance. This was sort of a pre-school-year-reminder to myself to keep going, even though the promise remains that it will not always be easy.

Much love.

Friday, December 23, 2016

a bit of truth this Holiday Season

Hello, dear friends.

I have compiled a few thoughts on the passage of scripture I read this evening; Christmas is in a day or two, and I have been blessed to have the ability to dwell on one of the most glorious, substantial truths of hope and life beyond what we know as human beings. There is something to be said about the *true* meaning of Christmas, indeed.

We see, "rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you," (Matthew 5:12). This is a beautiful verse for many reasons, mainly due to the fact that it reveals to us that we can have joy regardless of our circumstances; there is such a beauty and power in knowing what we as believers are blessed to know. I know I replay this (highly sincere) scriptural evidence time and time again, and I am not sure that I will ever cease to do so. I have the greatest understanding of this perpetuating, life-changing truth (all thanks to my savior) as it has affected my own personal life in multitudes, and I want more than anything for the world around me to know the same.

This story, this perfect message, explains our one hope for salvation and allows enough joy and satisfaction alone, yes, apart from every single thing within this life. We are able to thrive off of this one truth alone; we need nothing but Christ and his redemption story, his true gift to us this holiday season, as well as for the entirety of our lives.

Live and breathe, and feel this within your soul and being.

Truly, I have no hope in any one thing while I am here on this earth, living this unsatisfactory life alongside every hopeless individual who misunderstands what true joy and love is. Yet everything that I have and know is perfect and glorious and well beyond effortlessly beautiful, simply because I know him.

That is the only reason why, and because of that, I am able to better understand what this raw, unspeakably and inherently perfect joy truly is. Not the emotion; not something that can be felt, but something that is always there no matter what. The thing that reflects back to what Christ did -- back to what God did for us when he had his only son die the absolute epitome of worst deaths ever in order to take our place, all that we might know salvation and grace from sin and death.

Our creator and father and king did this for us, and this joy is unfaltering and unfailing and completely necessary for survival. No one and no thing can save me; none of this can take my full focus or bring me satisfaction and contentment. Nothing. He is it.

Another few verses in Matthew passionately describe our purest calling as long as we walk this earth: "you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden...in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven," (Matthew 5, verses 14 & 16). We are given this gift; granted the full ability to be light within the darkness; to sustain the beauty found in who God is and how he planned to save his children.

We have the opportunity as believers to share our faith, this story of Christ giving up his life for each one of us, ultimately to make every single individual alive aware of the free gift of salvation; this gift of life after death, but also life as we live it today, but infinitely greater, because we know his love. There is a freedom in knowing this truth, and there is no end to its power and what it can and will accomplish within the lives of those who choose to believe it and accept it as their own.


This life can be lived to the fullest, and we will experience the greatest of his love and joy when we completely understand that by praying for opportunities to bring this loving, flawless free message to the world, God will give us those moments; those opportunities will arise, as will the ability to reveal Christ to unbelievers through our words and actions. What a beautiful, life-giving thing. We take for granted the fact that this perfect, unending joy comes only when we obey him and when we are sharing what we know. We cannot afford to be stingy with this, and why would we want to?

There is no greater love. No greater joy. No one thing that is more perfect than the way God intended for us to live our lives entirely for his glory and his name.

We must take this and remember who we are in Christ and what we owe to him as the one who gave it all for us.

Much love to all,
Eden

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Something Lovely

It's funny- we hear God warning us about the bad in the world; the world as it is entirely sinful & unforgiving. Its clutches are harsh, unruly, unsatisfying, and painful- SO painful. We ignore the voice of God and look longingly at the things masked as "beautiful," and we reach out to them. We grab them, jumping in with our physical bodies, strength, might, and entire beings- then somehow we try to understand why we've not yet been able to touch the end; why we've not been able to feel the satisfaction in winning, in attaining everything "good," in accomplishing the most we are capable of, regardless of the fact that He once reminded us of their uselessness and disappointment. Still, we look deeply into the only things which will never be able to satisfy. We scratch the surface of every talent, ability, interest, opportunity of surpassing the mediocre lifestyle, and yet in the end we see no real results- we are blinded by the perfectly translucent nothing that we've obtained from accomplishing everything. It's purely useless, we eventually discover; all of it is unable to bring fulfillment, unable to quench the thirst that grabs viciously at our throats, begging that we find a way to satisfy it. We cannot. But we keep reaching, keep pulling, keep striving to become, to create, to grow, to aspire to aspire, to overcome and accomplish and change and FEEL. Nothing is ever enough; nothing is ever satisfactory. We are never enough for each other and never enough for ourselves. We place the world and its things and creatures and diamonds and gold and money and work and success and POWER above what matters ultimately and above what really means something within our lives and the lives of those around us. We cheat ourselves out of happiness- out of pure joy- by pursuing every one of these things. We cheat others by ignoring the fact that we'll never be enough for them, and we cheat the entire world by selfishly keeping the mindset that we can do it all and win it all on our own. We've got it all wrong. We act like it's all OK, and when the song is finished we turn on another and refuse to attempt to figure out why the first even ended- we continually tell ourselves that times just change, people change, things are going to change for as long as we are walking on this planet. That's just the way things are. Life goes on. But the thing that we miss in all of this chaos and distraction and regret and unwanted change is the fact that we have always been doing it all wrong, which is why it turns out exactly the opposite of what we desire. We are too blind and selfish and foolish and ridiculously petty to understand and fully grasp the fact that we are not here on this earth for ourselves. We are not here to purely have a good time or become successful; we are here for something more, something far beyond all of that- beyond all of this. God warns us about the lives we are about to live; He shares with us the secret to becoming the greatest, the most successful, the winner of it all. He clearly points out to us the fact that none of that "success" will come from a world like the one we live in. We are warned again and again to look out for distractions and idols- these items are poisonous, ravenous, destroyers of our souls. He screams out to us in as many ways possible to STAY AWAY, run far from the evil which lurks in the midst of this universe. He tells us it will be difficult- He explains the procedure in which we must follow in order to survive; not only to survive, but to thrive among sin and darkness. We are made conscious of the ever present glow, the light, the saving grace. We are told it is beyond any glorious thing we can imagine, yet it is entirely free if and when we choose to take it. We have His salvation, His forgiveness, His redemption, His power and glory and honor, and we are to praise Him for it all. He holds the truth- He holds the single thing we need in order to survive in this world. He holds it, and it is free. It is perfect, unfailing, completely satisfying, and joy-filled. He wants us to have it; He is pursuing us, begging us to take it before it's too late. And though sometimes I forget, I HAVE taken it- I've been able to understand what it looks like to have Him, to know Him, to live completely for Him. It is satisfying and perfectly joy-filled, regardless of the circumstances. I know that there is nothing good for me in this world, and so turning to Him when I have nothing to offer or gain of earthly value brings me the Ultimate Prize- a possession found only in Him. It is beautiful, perfect, lovely, true, honest, pure, and SO. DARN. REAL. I have Him, and I am blessed. No evil, pain, darkness, or hurt comes close to this sweet, sweet blessing found in His powerful name.

My heart to you,
Ed

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Missions Trip 2016: The reality of the Holy Spirit's power through humility

Hello friends,

So, a whole lot happened on this year’s missions trip. My eyes were opened to new ideas and experiences, and I was so glad to know that I wouldn't be doing any of it alone. The people around me on the trip were incredible; they ARE incredible, though, that is definitely an understatement. Thinking about those people, my family, and what they have done for me leaves me speechless. Having a community in Crossroads to experience Christ, as well as see Him within each individual, has grown me and encouraged me and given me such a sweet perspective on life. I don’t deserve any of it.

So yes, I really don’t deserve any of it.

I am inadequate and unable to do anything for these people, let alone Christ. I am extremely unworthy and far from good enough, spiritual enough, smart enough. Nothing I can ever do or “accomplish” will be good enough, period. God had been revealing this to me especially on the trip this year, and He allowed me to understand how real that is — how unable I am, and how much I need to rely on Him rather than on anything that I can do (which isn’t a lot). I am nothing without Him. Because of this, I struggled a lot in my heart during the first few days of the trip.

Sometimes there is nothing we can do, and that is so humbling, yet possibly one of the most difficult realities to accept. Being the person I am, I really like to solve my own problems, trying my best not to bother others for help, but in this situation on the missions trip, I felt completely hopeless, simply because I could not “fix” the issue at hand on my own. I ran out of things to tell myself in order to make everything right again. My words and ideas and problem solving were all inadequate, so I sat and actually journaled about how I really could do nothing. Talk about being humbled.

The reality is that I need help; I need others, and I need prayer. Ultimately, I need Christ. I am not big enough to solve all of my own problems or strong enough to help those around me. I have no power in this, and understanding that reality in my heart allowed me to fully let go of my pride, look to Jesus, and continually beg Him for help.

Throughout the rest of the trip, I prayed a ton. I was constantly praising God in my heart, as well as asking Him for strength, encouragement, and love. As a result of leaning entirely on Him through prayer in every situation, my heart and whole being were overflowing with this unexplainably massive JOY. I could rejoice with those who rejoiced, praising God for all of the wondrous works He was doing — even those things we often overlook, like someone sharing the Gospel for the first time.

I smiled until my face hurt, almost laughing, because what He was doing within the lives of the people around me was so beautiful, none of it could be expressed with words. I was bursting with joy at being able to listen to and see others share the Gospel and be love to the lost, and could clearly and obviously see the joy they had in their hearts as it radiated from the words they spoke in love. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News! Seeing God work through every one of the individuals on this trip was a massive blessing to say the least.

Seeing the Holy Spirit SO alive within myself and others allowed me to understand how truly powerful He is, and how great the work He will do through us is when we just give it all up to Him through humility and allow Him to use us. He is waiting on us to allow His Holy Spirit to move — He is always there and is always ready to work. Whether or not we allow Him to is up to us. I am so unable, yes, but He is ALWAYS able, even within me. This brought me an unspeakable joy in Him.

God really is good all of the time, and I hope you take the time to further understand that glorious, perfect, unfailing truth.

Much, much love,
Ed