Besties for the Resties

I am participating in my first five minute Friday post.  Five Minute Friday is the creation of Lisa Jo Baker, another blogger, and every Friday she posts a prompt and participants write about it for five minutes then stop.  No editing.  Unscripted.  Real.  Her prompt for today is Friends, hence my lame title (but, I’ve always had an urge to use the above title on social media sooooo … time like the present).

Ok….so I’m setting my timer and here goes nothing.

 I’ve been doing a devotional by Beth Moore called “90 Days with the One and Only”  It’s all about the life of Jesus.  One of the first devotionals is about the angel Gabriel coming to Mary to tell her she would give birth to our Savior.  Clearly, a very intense moment for Mary.  In the middle of this profound news, Gabriel seems to slide in this tidbit about Mary’s cousin Elizabeth being pregnant as well.  I’ve never given that portion of the text anymore thought until I read the devotional.  Beth Moore points out that even in the moment of announcing that Mary would deliver Jesus Christ (seriously, what a moment!) God provided for her comfort.

See, God knew that Mary would have a lot of emotions, thoughts, etc. about this news and He provided for her.  He gave her a friend that was going through a similar experience (Until this pregnancy, Elizabeth had been barren and by society standards waaaay toooo old to be preggo).

God provides us with friends.  He goes out of his way to give us comfort through his people.  Never has this been more real for me than over the past week.  I am so blessed to have friends that love Jesus and love me.  God provided me with some wonderful friends that give me truth and love.

Ok…shew my phone alarm is beeping.  Ignore spelling or grammar mistakes.

I’m going to post a few pictures of my friends…I’m sorry if I left someone out in a picture, I’m trying not to post a whole album.

Caitlin on the left and Brit in the middle
Caitlin on the left and Brit in the middle
Megan on the left and Kristian on the right
Megan on the left and Kristian on the right

The Dash

Normally, I plan and pray a few days in advance before I publish a new post, but today is going to be a little different.  Recently, I found out that a young woman I went to high school and college with tragically passed away.  I was floored.  We are so young.  I didn’t know her well, but she always had a smile on her face and always stopped and asked me how I was doing whenever she saw me.  Her tragic passing at such a young age reminded me that none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

There is a fairly famous poem titled “The Dash.” I will post the link, but the poem is too long to repost here. The gist of the poem is that what matters most is not the birth or death date but the dash in between.  Here is a brief excerpt from the poem

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

Since I heard the news, I’ve been thinking really, really hard about what I am doing with my dash.  If you’re a Christian you know that the Bible tells us we will not know when our last minute on earth will be. Even those who are not Christians, recognize that our time here on earth is brief.

“Come now, you who say,’today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:13-15).

Speaking of the brevity of life, I am reminded of the story about Alfred Nobel.  To paraphrase,  Alfred Nobel’s brother passed away and a French newspaper erroneously published an obituary for Alfred instead.  The obituary called him the “merchant of death.” For those of you who do not know, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite which of course was used to bring about the deaths of many people.  Alfred Nobel had the opportunity to do something that is rare…he read his obituary while he was still living.  Sadden by what he had read, he vowed to rewrite the script. Needless to say, that is exactly what he did. He went on to establish the Nobel Prizes and he left roughly 94% of his fortune to endow the awards.

Most of us will never have the opportunity to rewrite our obituaries; however, we do have the opportunity to determine from this day forward what our —- will represent.  I’ve been thinking hard on what I would want my —– to stand for. I could enumerate a long list of things I would like to accomplish and personality traits I would want to be remembered for. But when it comes down to it ,I want my —– to be summed up by what the Bible says about a man by the name of Enoch in Genesis 5:24  “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more”…

Amanda walked faithfully with God; then she was no more.

The Rebel Wears Lilly Pulitzer

Get it, like The Devil Wears Prada? You’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute and fully appreciate my comedic efforts.  So, I’ve been away from the blogging world for a significant period of time…for numerous reasons, but mainly because I was stuck in the rebellious cycle.  I know, that sounds weird…not rebel without a cause rebel (you know, James Dean, cigarette hanging outta my mouth) but a Christian rebel.  See, I know how God feels about me and who I am in Him, but there’s little guy the devil (I have no idea what his size is or if it’s inappropriate to call him little…he definitely causes large problems in our life, but for whatever reason…I’m calling him little) who helped me walk down a path of rebellion.

Rebellion starts out small and innocent.  For me, it started by allowing my heart to seek after its’ own desires (Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things). First, it was one step towards my own wants, desires, needs and one step away from what God wanted.  One step turns into two, then into twenty… pretty easily (typing this, I can’t help but think about what my grandma always says about drinking….it only takes one sip[this is her it only takes one drink to start down the path of alcoholism talk]). Let me say for the record, sin is rebelling against God and we all rebel…every single day of our lives….because we are sinners.  Obviously, I have a sin problem (like we all do) but my problem was allowing the devil to infiltrate my thoughts and heart and feel condemnation for my sin.

See, once I started down my path I believed the lie that I couldn’t turn around.  I allowed the devil to tell me that God wouldn’t welcome me back.  I allowed myself to believe that I couldn’t share with all of you my sin problems…because you would think I was a fraud or hypocrite. I felt embarrassed and unforgiveable.  Here I am, writing a blog where I’m talking about all these Godly things…but I’m not believing a basic truth about God character. So what did I do? I just continued down the rebellious path.

So, where did that rebellious path take me? Well, it led me to pain and heartache…where all rebellion and sin takes us.  But, luckily I have a God that loves me so much and unconditionally, that He powerfully reminded me of Romans 8:1-2 (when I say powerfully, I mean powerfully…my church did a sermon series on Romans 8…talk about God-ordained). Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

I love this story of Jesus’ love that is found in John 15.  The disciples are with Jesus in the upper room, sharing communion and Jesus says this in verse 13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (my emphasis on friends).  Jesus goes on to call them friends two more times.  It is huge that Jesus is calling him his friends. He called them friends three times.  Jesus is driving home a point to the disciples…I love you, I love you, I love you! And then He sacrificed His life for them…and what did the disciples do…they walked away…they turned their back on and they went back to doing what they did before they knew Him. In John 21, Jesus appears to them and He sees them fishing (fyi the fishing is what they used to do) out in the Sea of Galilee and the disciples did not recognize that it was Jesus on the shore and He called out to them “friends” John 21:5. This story blows me away…anyone can call someone friend at the communion table, but He called them the same name while they were in rebellion as He did while they were at the communion table.  He sought them out…not to get them back, but to bring them back into a relationship with Him.

See, I was scared to come back to Him.  I was afraid He wouldn’t want anything to do with me. But, He has shown me that His love for me is not conditioned on my rebellion.  His love for me is always the same.  It doesn’t increase when I’m singing His name in church or decrease when I’m saying a four letter word…its constant. Romans 8:38-39 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Can God stop loving Jesus…nope (I hope you all yelled nope like I did writing this)! Then, as a follower of Jesus…God cannot stop loving me and He sacrificed His life for me…not to get me back…but to bring me back into a relationship with Him.

This time, when my rebellion took me to painful places…I didn’t let the devil tell me that I can’t turn around…I listen to God’s loving voice cry out loudly “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3

To sum it up, I am confessing my sin to all of you readers (if I still have any readers).  I let myself believe the lie. I know this post isn’t as interesting or fun to read as some of my other posts, but it is definitely the most vulnerable and heart-filled.  I pray that you all will show me some mercy and continue reading.

Also, in case you didn’t get the title…I’m the rebel (if you didn’t get that from reading the above…you probably didn’t read it) and I used to thoroughly enjoy myself some sunshine Lilly P prints.  Now, I wear them sparingly.  Mainly, because most of her dresses look terrible on me and look like I’m wearing a tent (all you super thin girls…wear away!)

And just to end on a lighter note…..the funniest Rebel I know