Workmanship of the Potter’s Hands and Beauty from Brokenness

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Last month, I was captivated by a sermon that my pastor gave titled “What Book Are You Writing?”

There are many things I hope I am writing with my life, but if there’s one message I want my life to convey—a life song if you will—it’s that God can completely heal brokenness.

We all have things in our life that come along and break our hearts, our minds and our spirits. We lose a loved one. We get rejected. We’ve been abused.

But there is real, tangible healing that can make us truly new, completely whole and fully alive.

Let me be clear: Healing is not magic. God will not breathe magic fairy dust over your brokenness and make it whole in one night. It will take weeks. It might take months. It may even take years.

But if we give our whole hearts to God and clear out all the junk competing for our affections, He will work in and through us. If we set our gaze on Him and love him through our night seasons, He will assuredly reveal Himself to us. If we obey His word even when it seems He’s abandoned us, He will honor our obedience and take us to new heights we never even imagined we could reach.

Do you know why I love my God? (I mean, really love Him.)

Because He brings beauty from ashes and wears forgiveness like a crown. Because it’s the nature of Him to restore what was once lost and give us gold when we ask for silver. Because we don’t have to live out of our brokenness because He came to make us whole.

The first time I learned about this nature of God I was four-years-old. I didn’t exactly know what I was learning at the time, and I’m only still beginning to comprehend it—but I can look back and find lovely, golden traces of His healing power working through the broken pieces of my tiny, shattered and confused heart after my father was unexpectedly killed in a car accident.

As you can probably imagine, I wrestled with some pretty tough questions about the nature of God at an early age. I remember being confused a lot. I remember thinking: Why would God let this happen to us if He loves us like people say He does? Why would God take my daddy from me? Why do bad things happen to good people? Is God really real? Does He even care?

Today, I am no expert on these sorts of questions, but I do have some perspective on these kinds of questions—and more importantly, I know that the very thing we are to do with these questions is to take them to God himself. (Scream them at Him if you feel the need to.) He wants our questions. He wants our confusion. He wants our pain.

Throughout my short 23 years of life, God has shown me over and over again that He will turn brokenness into beauty if we are willing to be the clay in his Potter’s hands. He showed me that through my mother’s perseverance, faithfulness and determination to love God in times of pain, confusion and complete heartbreak—in spite of how much she wanted to give up and give in to brokenness.

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

God is the ultimate Restorer. That fact in and of itself romances me. But know this: God will not take away our brokennesses in an instant because He knows we need to fully embrace the brokenness and face it head on in order to fully to pass through it. If we don’t do this, it’s always lingering around us. We carry it when we could have walked through it and left it behind. We relive it when we could have dealt with it and moved on.

Make no mistake, my broken moments with God have been my most beautiful, tender and treasured moments. It’s where I think our true intimacy is birthed. But it is not where God wants me (or you) to stay.

When something is restored, it is not the same as it was before. It looks different. Loved ones cannot be replaced. (It’s similar to living with an amputated limb.) We can’t go out and buy a new heart. (Working on the heart that we already have is our only option.) The scars will be there. There will be cracks you can still see. We will truly never be the same.

But never being the same doesn’t mean we have to stay broken and keep our pain. I think sometimes people are slow to heal and slow to forgive and slow to be whole because they are afraid that if they heal and if they forgive and if they are whole then it’s like saying the brokenness never even happened. But that’s a lie from the enemy, because the enemy doesn’t want you tobe healed. The enemy doesn’t want you to know that your story and your healing can show someone else the glory of God.

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” (St Irenaeus)

I don’t believe the glory of God is a cloud. I don’t believe the glory of God is gold dust on our hands. I believe the glory of God is you and I—healed, restored and fully alive after death, darkness and brokenness have tried to have their way.

I know my earthly father in heaven is full of joy today (aside from the fact that He is in heaven with God himself) because my mother and I are still down here, fully healed (and taken care of by the sweetest, most humble and honorable step father and husband we could have ever asked for.) He doesn’t want me to stay broken and walk around with the heartbreak of his death because, as a child of God himself, He knows that Jesus came to take that away. He knows that my Heavenly Father doesn’t want that for me.

If you have a story of restoration or a testimony of how God has made beauty from your brokenness, share it with someone today. People need to know that this is a real, tangible and attainable thing. Too many people live out of their wounds because they believe there is no other way. Let’s show them something different.

Let’s show them the workmanship of the Potter’s hands, and the beauty that can come from brokenness. ❤

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Let Your Heart Be Light

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“Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Let your heart be light…”

 

That’s the real struggle most days, isn’t it?

Because the Christmas season is arguably the most cheerful time of the year, it’s often the one time of year when we truly let our hearts be light.

Of course, Christmas can be a heavy season for some with painful memories, but for many of us, I think it’s the one time of year when we choose joy. Joy to watching our children, friends and family finally open the gifts we carefully selected weeks ago. Joy to being with all the ones we love under the same roof. Joy to taking a break from our hectic schedules to remember what’s important in life. Joy to taking the time to slow down and see the lights.

But it’s after we’ve rang in the New Year and put away all the decorations, treats and gifts when we start to pull back. We’re pulled back into the grind of life, and with it so are our hearts. We pick up the same old things we carried throughout the previous year—the things we promised ourselves at the stroke of midnight that we’d leave behind, improve or change this year. The resolutions start looking dim and the goals start looking unrealistic.

I always thought the New Year hype didn’t affect me like it does others, but now I’m thinking I may have been wrong about that. I’ve found myself thinking, (on multiple occasions) that “Maybe this is the year that I’m actually going to ____” or, “Maybe this is the year that _____ will happen.”

I struggle with disappointment and the fear of failure probably more than the average person. I think some of that comes from putting unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on myself. It’s a fight to keep my heart light.

Because of this struggle, I’ve learned that there are times when the weight of what we want crushes our hope for what we want. Consequently, there are times when we need to loosen our grip on our desires. Let up on the pressure that tells us it has to happen now. Let go of the idea of the way we think it should happen. Let our hearts be light—no matter what happens or doesn’t happen.

Because life is a process, we should treat it as such. There will be times when our hearts are heavy with sorrow, grief, anger and pain; but there should be just as many times when they’re light with joy, hope, peace and faith. In between, I don’t think our goals, ambitions, plans and desires should weigh on our hearts to the point of despair.

Our goals, ambitions, plans and desires should be met with a light heart that appreciates the process. They deserve that—and so do our hearts.

 

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In Defense of the Disney Princess

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“I am a Princess…

 

I try to be kind.

I try to be generous.

I am kind even when others are not so generous.

 

I believe compassion makes me strong.

Kindness is power.

And friendship is the tightest bond of all.

I have heard I am beautiful.

I know I am strong.

 

I am a princess.

Long may I reign.”

 

Those were the words printed on the canvas that made my heart light up.

While my husband and I were out browsing for Christmas gifts, he brought my attention to various Disney princess canvases—and we left the store with what I think were the only ones left in stock with those words printed on them (because I decided all the little girls in our families that still like Disney princesses were getting one of those canvases for Christmas.)

I will preface this by saying that I used to think it was bad to tell your daughter she’s a princess. I thought it was a selfish lie. I looked down on it and (judgmentally) thought it was bad parenting. I told myself I would never call my daughter a princess if I had one. But now I know it’s only “bad” to tell your daughter she’s a princess without telling and showing her what a princess really is.

My husband and I went on a Disney Cruise for our honeymoon (and it wasn’t as childish as it sounds for a honeymoon. It was actually really beautiful, elegant and inspiring. I recommend it.) During the trip, we gained a newfound love for all things Disney and I remembered how much I used to love Belle. (In fact, it was such a newfound love that my husband convinced me to stand in line to “meet Belle” with all the eager little girls. I am grateful that my husband sometimes challenges me to indulge my inner child in spite of my hesitation and reservations.)

During the last night of the cruise, we attended a showing of the new Cinderella. If you haven’t seen it, please do. The theme of the film is an underrated, beautiful message to “have courage and be kind.”

In the movie there is a particular scene toward the end where Cinderella and the prince are leaving the stepmother’s house, and before walking out the door to her happy ending Cinderella turns to her stepmother and says; “I forgive you.”

(It’s one of those moments where you want to stand up, cheer and fist-pump—but it would be awkward because there’s no background music that floods in to drown out the sound of your cheering.)

Say what you will about the hidden agenda of Disney movies and how the princesses have tainted our view of what love really is, but I actually think they’re kind of awesome.

In an age where we blame the Disney movies for steering us wrong when it comes to love and it’s considered ignorant (and nearly shameful) for a woman not to be a feminist or to desire love and a family over an impressive resume and “successful” career, I think we’ve overlooked the true message Disney princesses were trying to tell us all along.

I don’t think it was about the Prince Charmings and the happy endings and the princess getting swept off of her feet. I think we made it about that. Call me politically incorrect and crazy, but I think it was about doing what’s right no matter what happens to you.

Or, at the very least it could be about that. If we cared to notice it.

Cinderella withheld revenge and forgave her evil stepmother. Beauty gave her life for her father’s and loved the unlovable. Snow White showed unrelenting kindness to all who crossed her path. Do you notice something here? None of these princesses sought revenge, waited for an apology or let their heart turn cold in spite of their hardships—and they found the courage to open their hearts up to love even after all their painful, unfortunate circumstances. 

That’s powerful. That’s the sort of thing that could change the world.

Since seeing that movie, my husband and I have been scouring the Internet for the original copies of these stories (and believe me, it’s harder than you think.) I’m intrigued. I find myself needing to know what it really means to be a princess, and what it really means to be a strong woman—because I think we see them as opposites and have the wrong idea of both.

Beauty isn’t about how you look; strength isn’t about being tough; and having courage doesn’t mean you are fearless. Beauty is about how you see and treat others; strength is about keeping your heart soft; and having courage means you face your fears in spite of your fear.

That’s what these princesses can teach little girls.

(And Cinderella is actually a lovely, strong role model, if you ask me.)

Life is no fairytale—but life can be a beautiful story in which we “have courage and be kind.”

 

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Emotional purity and guarding the heart with vigilance

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For a few years now, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of emotional purity (i.e., being pure of heart) and what it really means to guard the heart, and the most prominent thing I’ve realized is that it’s a really unpopular and misunderstood subject.

The Bible tells us to watch over and guard our hearts, but do we really know what that means?

I would argue that guarding your heart has nearly next to nothing to do with other people. That is, while we need to be wise about who and what we invest our hearts in, we don’t necessarily need to guard our heart from other people as if they are the enemy—we need to guard our heart from the toxic emotions, thoughts and internal strongholds we form that will choke the life out of it.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

 
There is a difference between wisely watching over our hearts and hardening them to other people. They are not the same thing. Bitterness, offense and envy can sneak in like a crippling, life-stealing epidemic—often during times in which we think we are “guarding” our heart.

Bitterness and offense look good on no one; jealousy and envy are a putrid shade of green; and un-forgiveness is pure poison.

But you already knew that.

You also know that culture tells you to “follow your heart.” I can’t remember when it started, (probably because it was long before I was born), but it’s a message that’s been riding the sound waves of music, movies and other media on repeat for quite some time now. It’s an attractive message, because it appears to be giving us all the freedom in the world to be whoever we want and to do whatever we want.

But what that message isn’t telling us is that sometimes our hearts lie to us.

The Bible even tells us that the heart can be deceitful and difficult to understand at times:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

 

Sometimes, our hearts feed off of the voices in our minds that speak lies to us. Sometimes, our hearts are too blinded by hurt to see the whole truth of the matter or what’s really going on. Sometimes, our hearts lead us astray—far, far away from even a glimpse of the actual truth.

(And sometimes our hearts are simply too selfish to see anything but our own pain and frustrations, and so we take offense to things that we really don’t have to.)

We can’t always trust our heart, so we shouldn’t always follow our heart.

I’m a major advocate for leading the heart—because, frankly, our hearts are flawed. They’re broken. They’re scarred. They’re lied to. They’re cheated on. They’re neglected. They’re abused. They’re manipulated. (This is a list that does not end.)

Honestly, they need a little leading now and then. Sometimes that’s the only way to healing.

But of course, we are human. We will have ugly emotions. They are inevitable—but they don’t have to stay long.

The problem lies in the point where we keep these emotions on repeat and start to give them dominion of our hearts—where they start to take root, with our heart a mere host.

The problem lies in the point where we start to take our emotions as truth.

Emotions are not truth. Emotions are reactions. They are capable of being justified. But they aren’t justifications in and of themselves. They are simply reactions to truth—or what we think is truth, but may not actually be the truth.

With a little diligence, I wholeheartedly believe we can choose the course of these reactions. Not overnight. Not in a week. Maybe not even in a year—but with constant and earnest effort over time.

With constant and earnest effort, we can choose to see all perspectives of a situation before we react. With constant and earnest effort, we can choose to not take offense and move forward. With constant and earnest effort, we can choose to forgive and give restoration a chance.

We can lead our hearts out of bitterness and into healing; we can lead our hearts to forgive the unforgivable; and we can lead our hearts to purity.

In this life, total emotional purity is not possible, but emotional purity in and of itself is beautifully attainable, freeing and life-giving—and I will take that over bitterness any day. I pray that you will too.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

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Tending the gardens of gratitude

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I’ll start with this: There’s a lovely little garden outside my new home and I can’t take credit for it.

I can’t take credit for the blue bells, rose bushes and fully bloomed Easter lilies soon to say goodbye. And I can’t take credit for what I think might be chrysanthemum bushes in the front yard.

I can’t take credit for the flowers blooming in my yard because I didn’t put them there.

But, I can take care of them.

And that’s precisely where I think my life is currently poised: Between the undeserved flowers and the responsibility to care for the undeserved flowers.

Going through multiple life transitions at once will teach you to take a step back and look at where you’ve been. You’ll see what you’ve gained. What you’ve lost. What you did. What you didn’t do. And finally, where you need to go, (or keeping going,) from there.

I believe what will keep us grounded and growing and improving in the midst of all this is the constant gratitude we’re meant to cultivate. In addition to holding fast to the Creator of All, I think this what really keeps us growing. Always, always growing.

Not the crazy life experiences. Not the impressive accomplishments. Not even the tragedies and triumphs that never leave us the same.

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since having my own house to take care of is that my parents are essentially, and quite literally, rock stars. (The severely underrated kind, of course.) Seriously.

How my mother knows what brand of paper towels will prove to be absolutely useless for even the simplest of household tasks and is able to keep the house sparkling clean and presentable at all times is the eighth wonder of the world. And how my father can tell me anything I’ve ever needed to know and help me decipher exactly what a piece of mail is saying to my young, inexperienced home-owning brain is unbelievable even to the girl who Googles everything. (Did you know that third parties from California will try to sell you a copy of the deed to your Ohio home? Not me. Not me at all.)

It doesn’t really matter what happens in your life or what you’re given or not given in your lifetime. It really doesn’t. Sure, it undeniably impacts your life. It gives you a different starting point than everyone else—but it’s really all about what we do with the things that we are given and how we move forward from the position we do start at.

I could let my garden die. I could let my fiancé run over the chrysanthemum bush with the mower. (He didn’t. Kind of. I mean, it was a close call.) I could Google my heart out rather than text my dad a picture of a piece of mail I’m unable to fully comprehend. I could keep buying the cheap paper towels that will only make me insanely frustrated each time I try to simply tear one off the roll.

Or, I could utilize what I’m given. I could keep it. I could care for it. I could tend what I’ve been given with care even if I didn’t deserve it in the first place.

If you don’t know me personally, you should know that I’m a negative person. (Otherwise, this all makes me sound like a glowing, positive sort of person.) I don’t really see the glass half full unless I close my eyes, turn the other way and pretend the glass isn’t really there at all.

I don’t really like this about myself, though it does come in handy when I need to buckle down to earth, be productive, problem-solve and get things done the proper way. For the most part though, it keeps from living in the moment and seeing the beauty outside my kitchen window. It keeps me from recognizing the flowers that bloomed from the rain or the seeds that were planted in the dark. It keeps me from tending a garden of gratitude because I’m too busy looking at what’s left to do, what else might go wrong and what’s left to fix.

My favorite piece of scripture that challenges and comforts my heart all in one fell swoop is; “He makes everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity in the heart of man, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11.)

It’s been ringing throughout my life this past year. In speech and conversations. In books and music. In prayer and the quiet moments.

He won’t let me forget it—just like he won’t let me forget all that I have to be grateful for and how far my life has come. (Swiffering the kitchen floor in silence one minute and then ugly crying the next for what appears to be no reason is the method he likes to use on me.)

He won’t let me forget that more times than not, we won’t see what’s growing in the back yard. We might not even know what’s going to bloom even after we see it sprouting up in the back yard—but we are responsible for keeping the beauty of it when it does blossom.

He will do his part. He will bring the beauty. He will bring the restoration. He will make it new. He will mend what was broken. He will make whole what was once in pieces. And he will bring life where there was death.

Because that’s my God.

(That’s what he does. That’s who he is. He knows no other way.)

And we, we are we’re responsible for the watering, and the tilling and the digging along the way—to keep alive the life he promises to give us if we let him.

He plants, and we tend. He plants, and we tend gratitude.

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The Weight of Listening

I’ve been at the beach for a total of five days, and I’ve only just now intentionally listened to the sound of the ocean waves crashing ashore.

I’d like to think of myself as a here-and-now, observant kind of person who knows how to simply exist and live in the moment. However, the truth of the matter is that I’m still learning how to truly cherish this life before it’s gone and I don’t have the opportunity to leave behind the traces or marks I wanted to anymore.

Case in point: I bought a famous author’s most popular book on the day of her death.

To put this example in a clearer perspective for you, you should know the ways in which I let this writer only delicately scratch the surface when it came to impacting my life. I had been deeply moved to the point of the heart-leaping-out-off-your-chest kind of inspiration by her renowned quotes countless times, but failed to ever search out their origins. I had been told by multiple people to read her autobiographies and poems because I would “love them” and “love her.”  And I had even checked out I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings from the library during my junior year of college only to leave it set on my desk until the due date rolled around. So why I am only just now really diving into the depths of Maya Angelou’s wise heart comes down to the mere fact that I didn’t take the time to listen to what I was hearing throughout the last few years when her influence consistently attempted to tiptoe into my life.

I don’t know what it is about the works and personal stories of writers inspiring other writers to write, but I’m just going to give the inspiration the attention that I believe it deserves.

Read about Maya sometime and I think you’ll understand what I mean. Her words in themselves hold deep impact. From what I gather, trials and the human heart were her expertise. Her story, however, holds the well from which her powerful words sprung.

This beautiful soul—an author, poet, journalist, editor, civil rights activist, dancer, singer, actress, composer, director and more than we’ll know—was mute for five whole years after tragic events occurred in her childhood. Five years of complete silence transpired prior to many years of Maya outpouring her wisdom to us.

During those years, and for many years after, I think Maya listened well. I think she listened well to her surroundings, sure, but more importantly, I think she listened well within. She listened to the thoughts of her heart and the war for her heart; the tormenting lies whispered to her, as well as the combating truths her Creator whispered to her. She listened to what was going on inside her. She listened to what was going on inside her because I think she knew that there might be others out there who needed to know that she felt the depths of pain and heartbreak too—others who might one day need her strong words to help pull them out of their own depths.

I fully believe that it’s our life stories, and with that the treatment we give to ourselves and to others, that truly impact the world we live in. Maya knew this well; “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I don’t know about you, but if I could meet and converse with the being that held the heart that cultivated those words and discovered the truth behind them, I’d be forever changed. (I think I already am.)

Simply put: When we’ve listened and we’re able to share our story and what we’ve learned, i think that’s what can impact someone’s llfe– and by extension change the world.

A story is powerful, but it is made up of more than a mere sequence of events. Plots in themselves do not impact readers. There are developing characters we root for, motives to discern, internal conflicts we explore and themes to pick out that give a story its substance—and it’s this substance that we can only obtain when we listen for it.

 

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” –Maya Angelou

 

 

 

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Absolutes in the Grayest of Worlds

This is the time of year when I often take stock of my heart and find myself thinking sincerely about what I believe in the deepest parts of me.

It’s simpler that it sounds, but it usually hurts at least a little. I ask myself questions. I take into account my experiences. And I consider experiences of which I have not had.

Why do I believe what I believe? What does this belief do for my heart? What does this belief mean for the hearts of others around me? And most importantly, what does this belief require of me?

Certainly, it’s heavy, but I think it’s what keeps me firm and grounded and strong in all of the ways I need to be at this season in my life.

It’s also what keeps us sincere, and it’s what keeps us authentic. That being established, I’ve often noticed that many Christians fail to handle a lot of issues, arguments and circumstances in this life in a truly loving manner due to a lack of pure, selfless thoughtfulness.

I’m thinking about multiples incidents right now—on both a local and global scale—so I’m not writing to explore a particular issue.

I’m writing to remind readers of a fundamental, growing reality about our society that I think can help to cultivate sincere thoughtfulness about the disagreements we face every day when it comes to matters of beliefs:  We don’t like absolutes. We live in the grayest of worlds where the black and white principles seem useless, ineffective and flat out false. Consequently, many wonder how such principles could even remotely apply to such a world.

Moral relativism—the idea that there is no absolute truth and that what is right for you isn’t necessarily right for me—runs rampant in modern American society and universities across the nation, and you know what? I get it. I get why people want to believe it. I totally do. I promise I do.

Perhaps the two most profound lessons I’ve learned while going to a seemingly Godless college for four years, is that 1) I am relentlessly loved by God—no matter what (a whole other lengthy concept in itself), and 2) This world hates absolutes with an equal amount of passion that it unknowingly longs for absolutes.

I see this paradox of hating and longing for absolutes in the eyes of the young college girl who is both an outspoken supporter of moral relativism and a committed fighter against human trafficking.

Oh, we want so badly to believe in a right and wrong concept that we feel has so deeply betrayed us.

One of my most defining college experiences happened throughout the course of a class I took called Religious Beliefs.  (I will be forever grateful for this experience.) In this class, we talked about all of the hard questions—all of the questions that lead people to atheism, paganism, and any other ism you can think of. I loved it and I hated it. I loved it for what it showed me, and hated it for what I often felt as a result of what it showed me.

I remember one day in particular the professor showed us a video clip of students who were peacefully protesting tuition increases, sitting outside on their campus grounds. After some time, the police arrived on the scene.  Following some verbal warnings that resulted in silence from the students, the policemen sprayed the students’ eyes with mace.  The students screamed, ambulances were called and chaos ensued.

After showing us this, our professor simply asked; “What’s wrong with this?”

Of course, students in the class pointed out the facts. The protesting students were hurt for simply sitting on the grass of their campus and peacefully exercising their right of free speech. Students were wrongfully attacked, yes, but our professor pushed us to think beyond that. “Yes,” he said, “But in general, what are the police supposed to do? What is their purpose in society?”

And then it hit me in the heart like a ton of bricks as a student quietly responded, “To serve….and protect.”

We live in a world where those who we are supposed to trust with absolute certainty to care for us—fathers, mothers, pastors, policemen—sometimes do the most damage to us.

In such a world as ours, pain, disorder and injustice reign.  In such a world as ours, fathers rape their children, genocides aren’t just things you see in movies and people are unceasingly ridiculed every day in almost every place.

And so we try as hard as we might to “fix” things and people before we really even know what’s there.  We develop the perfect program, campaign or political agenda.  We take these hurtful matters into our own hands once and for all and decide that we know what’s best, all the while claiming that a universal right and wrong must not exist.

We’re frighteningly quick to diagnose based solely on the symptoms, and we very rarely ever really know what has made a heart into what it is or what makes a person do certain things.

There are wounds we don’t have to eyes to see, nor the heart or power to heal. There are situations and histories we can’t even begin to understand. And yet we try, we try as we might.

Consequently, it’s simply easier to not believe in right and wrong. Or, at the very least, it makes more sense to alter right and wrong according to our own perspectives and experiences, because then all of these awful things just make more sense.

If there is a God, why would any of this awfulness exist? The most profound question I think we can ask is that very question. Honestly, this question doesn’t offend me at all, and I admire those who wrestle with it (and I’m baffled by Christians who get offended by such questions—or worse, brush such questions under the rug.) Often, we have to do this, and I think it’s a crucial question to consider when we’re founding our faith.

While the existence of free will accounts for many things, it doesn’t account for every tragedy.  And this, this is where faith comes in.  Believing in something bigger than what we see in spite of not having all (or any) of the answers we so desperately want.  That’s what faith is. That’s a belief.

What I struggle with, with regard to moral relativism, is its problem with faith—a problem of which moral relativists often appear to be genuinely unaware of.

While everyone is free to believe what they want, according to a moral relativist perspective, one cannot believe that something is absolutely true, false, right or wrong.  I ask this: How then, is this a freedom to believe what one believes? Furthermore, what is the point in a belief or faith that is not professed to be absolute truth?  What this kind of logic is really saying is, “You are able to do as you please, but don’t claim that something that is absolutely true, right or wrong in comparison to other opinions. Don’t really believe in anything at all. That is unkind”

Circles and circles and circles, until we realize that belief isn’t belief at all if there is no ascertain of absolute truth.

The purpose of belief is belief.

It is bold to profess a belief. Beliefs transcend personal experiences, stories and specific situations. They’re messy. They automatically cultivate conflict because absolutes are present, and absolutes leave no room for friendly moral relativism.

In a world where power is frequently abused and injustices never cease, asking someone to believe that humans were created to live differently in a certain way for certain purposes is a bold request that I personally believe requires a supernatural shift within the individual.

We are not living as we were made to.  And until a heart realizes this, one won’t see the need for absolutes.

Believing in one ultimate true, all-powerful Being—and believing that this Being is truly good and worthy of our trustis perhaps the bravest, most seemingly illogical and most essential thing I think we could ever do for ourselves.

It’s no mystery to me as to why someone would not want to believe in such a Being, absolute truth or universal concepts of right and wrong—but it is a mystery to me as to how we can get along without it.

So I get along with it, to the best of my ability, all the while knowing we were made for more than what I see. I simply believe that I was made to believe, taking heart in the hopes that one day it will all make sense, even if it doesn’t right here, right now.

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