Thursday, September 8, 2011

Love Me or Leave Me.

One Thursday evening in the Fall of 2009, I was at a worship event called Sanctuary. It was a beautiful night of praise. The lights were down. People were standing, sitting, kneeling, dancing, PRAISING. And then the band started playing it; my favorite song “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillian. Oh, what a beautiful song! We got to the chorus, and I was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit! I was being crushed by the weight of the Lord’s love for me when I know I don’t deserve an ounce of it, and then BAM.

My mind switched. It just switched. I was no longer in that church auditorium. It was two years previous, and I was sitting on the steps of a building at Lipscomb University. My eyes were filling with tears as the following words starting pouring out of my mouth:
“You have to love me or leave me. My heart can’t take it anymore. I can’t be on this roller coaster of emotions anymore. I love you, but you only call me when you’re lonely. You only text me when you’re bored or have no one else to hang out with. You lead me on and then act as if I never existed. It hurts so bad. I can’t take anymore of this part time stuff, so you have to choose to love me fully or leave me alone.”
The tears were now running down my cheeks as I stared into the face of the boy to whom I had just said these things. You see, in my heart, I was BEGGING that he would love me, but I knew that it had to be his choice or it wouldn’t be genuine.


Now I was back in the auditorium at Sanctuary.  The band was finishing the song, and then the Lord spoke into my heart:
“Kristen, I’m asking the same of you. You have to love me or leave me. My heart can’t take it anymore. I am crazy about you. I died for you. But you only talk to me when you have spare time. And most of that time is you asking for things. When you’re in trouble or when you feel guilty. And then I think things have changed and we start talking regularly. But then, you ignore me as if I never existed. It hurts so bad. I’m sick of this part time stuff. I’m sick of your lukewarmness. Either love me fully, enter into a deep relationship with me, unleash your life to me. Or leave me alone.”

Wow. He’s good, isn’t he? He knows it won't be genuine unless it's my choice. Even though this revelation happened two years ago, God is still challenging me with this. 
“Love me or leave me.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Whole Lot of New

May 7th was the day that everything changed.  It was the day I graduated from college. It was the day I moved out of my apartment. It was the day I realized I wouldn't get to see my incredible church family again.  It was the day I said goodbye to my best friends. It was the day I left Nashville. It was the day I said goodbye to my family. It was the day I knew I had to grow up. 

You see, God had planned it out a few months prior to this day, May 7th. Despite the fact that I earned my degree in Elementary Education, the Lord called me to be a youth minister. In Memphis, TN. Yep, Memphis; a city of which I knew hardly anything. A thus begins my "Story of New."

New #1: Moving to a new city. This wasn't THAT big of a deal for me. I had moved (temporarily) to new cities every summer in college when I was interning. However, this is a permanent move...which I still don't think has completely hit me yet... 

New #2: Going to a new church. I've been blessed to worship with my immediate family at Ethos in Nashville over the past two years. I knew it was special when it was happening, but now having been away for four months, I realize just how incredible it was. But Highland is a wonderful church family, and I'm so blessed to love on these people like my own family. 

New #3: Realizing differences in intern and youth minister. Sometimes I feel really inadequate for this job. Then I realize that I AM inadequate and that God wants me that way. Because when I am inadequate then I cannot rely on my own power and knowledge, but only on the Lord's. (He's so smart.)

New #4: Not going to IMPACT. You may be thinking, "So what?" or "Get over yourself." and you're right. The world didn't end because I wasn't at IMPACT, but it was difficult not being apart of something that has been vital for the past 19 years of my life. But God is still good, and He was glorified not only at IMPACT but at Camp Highland as well. 

New #5: Not living with my best friends. Not gonna lie...this one sucks. 

New #6: Not going back to school. On August 18, I went into my office when everything I knew was telling me that I should be hanging out in the square on Lipscomb's campus or freezing my butt of in class (because you know it's always freezing inside when it's hot outside). I'm sure many college graduates are going through this as well... it's called adult life. Guess we better get used to it. 

New #7: Looking for a House. This is not as much fun as I hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong, it is fun getting to dream up what my place will look like once I've settled in and decorated. But the actual searching and dealing with rent and everything my fav. 

New #8: Reading The Hunger Games. I just had to add this because I am obsessed with these books. Suzanne Collins is an excellent author. If you haven't, go read them now.

New #9: Losing a Loved One. Death is an interesting thing. It's weird. I don't think we can fully understand it here on earth. With that being said, one thing I do understand is that the body in the casket was not my Grannie. Yes, it somewhat resembled her, but I realized that the spirit is so much more of the person than the body. Better yet, the spirit IS the person and the body is NOTHING. The Lord provided me and my family with a lot of peace with that thought. And though I am confident that at 10:42am on Monday, August 22, Grannie Rose was completely healed as she entered Heaven's Gates, still a small, selfish part of me hurts that she is gone. But it is through this new pain that I discovered #10....

New #10: Realizing I Have a Prayer in Memphis. I can't tell you the amount of texts, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, calls, cards, and flowers I received from Highland members. A lot of those being the teenagers that I work with. Wow. Talk about feeling the Lord's presence. I know these people have my back. I know they are calling on someone greater than themselves to love me.  I know they love me. And I love them back. 

And I love you. Please know that you've got a prayer in Memphis too.