When God told me my future husband won’t be hot

 

Y’all, can I be real with you?
Do you have those moments when you’re on a walk or cleaning or cooking, or something without really thinking & God shows you a lie you’ve been believing for so long, and you realise how ridiculous it is?

This morning I was out for a run/walk and just letting my thoughts run wherever (ha, pun not intended). And God turns on a light bulb and “wait a second, I’ve had this ideal in my head for years & it’s been seeping in without me knowing it. You sneaky little…”

Girls, if you were like me, back in preteen & teen years with your closest girlfriends you would talk about your list. The list of who you dreamed your future husband would be.
I wrote silly things on this list.
I kept it in a special box. I read it about 7 years later & decided I needed to part ways with it.
It’s good I did.
But I still had lingering ideas that culture, books, movies & such had me thinking were “musts” in a man I would be pursued by.
The major thing on this list I was still believing: he has to be “hot.”

Attraction is important. Super important. Attraction is what draws me to my friends & in and of itself is a good thing. Attraction is not wrong.
But this standard or idea of “hot”, what is that even?
I use hot to describe the temperature of my coffee, and the temperature of water or air.
“The temperature outside in Redding is hot, especially in the summer time.”
“Come eat your food while it’s hot.”

But to describe a person as hot? Uh, I describe myself as hot when I’m sweaty, overheated and want to jump in a cool lake or river.

Character is attractive.
Discovering who a person is on the inside, when they share their life, their heart, that’s attractive.
Jesus present in their life is attractive. Pursuing a life of adventure with God, growing to be more like Jesus, letting God heal your pain & your past, that is attractive.

Join me in removing this idea we’ve got about our future mister or miss being “hot” and let’s pursue a life of adventure with our Creator. We are drawn to Him and naturally we’ll be drawn to others pursuing Him as well.

Maybe this is why Papa says for us not to worry, especially about the future because He’s got good gifts & adventures for us to open.

He’s a good father!

Thanks for this fresh perspective Papa.

 

10 years ago : :

This May has marked 10 years being graduated from high school.

Praise. The. Lord.

Thinking back & remembering who I was 10 years ago, is a lifetime away.
I am so thankful Papa has loved me all the way to where I am now.

Way back in the days of high school, I was just trying to keep up with homework & wanted to make good grades. I had 3 best friends at church, and one I called friend at school.
I was homeschooled up until my 9th year of schooling. At 14, this once shy, insecure, weary, critical Andrea went to public school & didn’t want to make friends.
I was a loner & wished I was at the same school as my two besties from church, who had been my pals since we were 9 or 10 years old.

11-10 years ago I thought I would never leave my hometown. I didn’t know if my future was bright.
I didn’t think my dreams would be reality, ever. My dreams were in the clouds and I knew I wasn’t a bird that could fly.

Thankfully, Papa has been chasing me all along.
His faithfulness is a major piece of my story.
He’s never given up on me.
He’s had more hope for me when I have had none for myself.

10 years ago He opened a door & I walked through.
I moved out of my hometown, where I knew only a few people. At 18, I didn’t know I was taking a brave leap that would create a domino effect.

Today, tears come to my eyes seeing my faithful Father keep on pursuing & wooing me to him.
Today, I laugh looking back 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 years ago.

Thank you Papa for pursuing my heart! Thank you for choosing to love me when I have been unloving. Thank you for being faithful when I have been faithless.
Thank you for never ignoring me.
Thank you for being hopeful when I have felt hopeless.

Thank you for wooing me.
Thank you for drawing me near.
Thank you for the discovery of who you’ve fashioned me to be, from the very beginning.

He is so good!

Take a moment to think back to who you once were & be amazed by the faithfulness of our Papa.

Love y’all!

F i v e MONTHS

Today marks five months since I came back into the US of A.

A couple days ago marked being back in Redding two months.

How is it that coming back into the States feels like it was just yesterday and simultaneously ages ago?

One year ago I was about 7,374 miles away from where I am now.
Over seven thousand miles. Across a vast ocean and on another continent.

Just this week I moved in with different roomies than the ones I had been with the first two months  here.

Transition last year was one aspect of the year I felt was difficult every time we left one place & stopped in another.
Transition into the States has been extremely difficult & complex.
Yet, this time around, I felt I was coming into a place I didn’t have to tiptoe around. I guess I could call this home.

Home is where I feel I can be myself.
At home I feel comfortable.
At home I don’t have to tiptoe around.
At home I don’t feel I’m an intrusion on someone else’s space.
Home I feel I can let my guard down.

Being in so many different homes last year, I think I learned how to make myself comfortable in a home whether it’s mine or feels like a safe haven.

I’ll be straight though- home is a strange concept & more of an idea to me. Home to me is where I can let my guards down & not feel judged. Judgement from myself or others. Home to me is most often with my closest mates. It’s less of a geographic location & more of a sense of belonging.

Home to me has been:
: a rooftop in Casablanca.
: in the company of my bestest mates.
: sitting in a tree.
: at the lake side.
: in my pjs on a slow morning.
: loving conversation in Nepal.
: learning to play cricket in India.
: curled on the floor crying surrounded in prayer in Nazareth.
: ice cream with a pal in Kathmandu.
: baking pie with a chum in Cali.
: knitting & processing on a couch staring at a Christmas tree in Washington.
: venturing with two sisters in Oregon.
: taco dinner with new friends.

// glancing back at the past five months, there has been so much to process & adjust to. I still have so much to process. Yesterday I read a chapter in a book that was exactly what I needed to read. ((Amazing how that comes about, and it’s happened almost every time I’ve sat down to read this book.))
The book is Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. I highly recommend the read. Essentially the book is about rejection, feeling lonely & left out.
The chapter I read yesterday was about the in between stages of feeling the sting of pain, hurt, rejection & moving toward healing.
Pain- in the physical is a sign of something wrong, and it causes us to move toward healing. If we don’t feel the pain, how can we move toward healing? We must acknowledge the pain to move to healing.
I’ll let these excerpts speak for themselves… they spoke to me & I pray they speak hope to you wherever you are today.

// \\

Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination knowing there’s healing on the other side.

Numbing the pain never goes to the source of the real issue to make us healthier. It only silences our screaming need for help.

Pain is the sensation that indicates a transformation is needed.

So don’t berate yourself for being in pain. It just means you are walking toward victory by not numbing yourself right now. You are making progress. You aren’t going to be stuck in this.

// Thank you Jesus for your constant encouragement when I tune my ear to hear you.
Thank you Papa you have never left me & never will.
Thank you for loving me every step of this unique journey I’m on.

You’re not alone friends.

I pray you’re encouraged today. Keep your head up.
I pray you have a space you feel at home & belong. A place you can be yourself free from judgement, whether it’s from yourself or others.

You matter.
You’re incredibly important.
This world you find yourself in needs you, the real you.
:: (( book )) Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited ::

Living in Luxury

 

Hot water
Music playing from my iPhone
Drinking water from the tap
Loofa
Soap
Hair tie
Bobby pins
Clean pjs
Clean towel
Face wash
Electricity
Shower curtain ((double))

How often do I use these items without thinking twice?
Basic needs, right?
Not for everyone.

I caught myself- eh- Papa caught me in mid-thought & gently reminded me “that was not terrible.”
He brought to mind the real life terrible, horrible tragedy I read of someone’s real life less than an hour earlier.
Not a fictional story.
The details were heartbreaking.
Descriptions of the memory forever imprinted.
The tragedy told was of a 16 year old girl & her family who were in the city of Iraq in 1988 that was purposefully gased.
Gas. Gas that attacks the cells in our bodies. Cells that communicate with our internal organs, muscles & finite inner workings of the human body.
Poison attacks these life giving cells, and destruction, havoc wreaks. Vomiting, suffocation, bleeding, blindness, inability to move.

And there I was in a hot shower remedying my sore throat & aching muscles remembering an achy cold I had a few years prior. I said to myself “that was terrible” and Papa promptly reminded me “that was not terrible.”

 

I live in luxury.
The luxury of a hot shower.
Convenience of drinking from the tap without worry or thought.

After I read the pages of this teenage girl, I had to go in the bathroom & cry.
Pain.
Undeserving of such evil & malicious intentions.

Stories- real experiences, of which I can never relate & feel so ashamed to be living in such luxury.

It’s like living on another planet & a lifetime away.
But it’s not a lifetime away.

Gas, poison was intentionally targeted to a neighbourhood in Syria. This isn’t the past! This isn’t history we can try to forget about and sweep under a rug. The intentional harm was done this week.

In 2017.

 

Was a coincidence that I read a real life telling from 1988, the year I was born?
Is it a coincidence I am alive today & drawn to this rich corner of the world?

Papa you’re up to something, let it not only be in me.

Many times I ignore these heart wrenching, terrible stories because I don’t want my heart to feel the pain & suffering. 🙋🏼 Am I the only one?
Papa brings these following questions to mind ::

How else will people like you know the reality of what’s happening?
Are we brave enough to see the raw unfiltered world?
Are we brave enough to let our hearts feel?
We must feel pain, suffering, joy & victory. How will we know to distinguish the two if we don’t experience both?

So what will I do?

.
.


What will you do?

We aren’t solely living on a planet all alone.
:: The book I mentioned above is Preemptive Love, pursuing peace one heart at a time authored by Jeremy Courtney. (( Preemptive Love Coalition ))

Please please please, take some moments to read or watch someone’s real life telling of pain & tragedy, hope & love.

:: One other incredible story I just watched & heard, Victor Marx.
(( Victor Marx story ))

:: What stories/people have grabbed your heart? Share them with each other. I would love to hear.

Transparency //

 

I’ve had some major breakthrough in this area of communicating what’s in my heart over the past 3 weeks. I thought, “Man I could write this in a blog & share the breakthrough I’ve been experiencing… The courage & bravery I had… How I’ve seen the affects of giving my heart a voice.”

 

I could share a snippet of the mixed emotions & thoughts throughout my days as I’ve been transitioning back into the workplace after 15 months of NOT being In the workplace.

 

I could share the life & joy I feel to be reunited with my friends in real life. It’s a place I feel loved & important.

 

I could share all these things & more, but today I’ve been feeling meh.
I’m currently eating cheese & have already had half a glass of wine & kinda feel like shit.

I’ve already eaten my “dinner” (which may or may not be my dinner & just a snack) & it’s nearly 5pm. I skipped my run today bc as I was about to leave, it started to rain & I wasn’t feeling like going.

Am I the only one who feels the pressure to have my shit together all the time? Is that something everyone experiences? Does everyone experience it but feels too ashamed to share it because of their age or status of work or status of marriage & family??

Well, I give you permission to not have your shit together! No matter what your life looks like! You don’t have to have it together!

Isn’t that what transparency is?
Being able to feel allowed to say I don’t have it together without feeling shamed or less than?

You are not less than!

I am not less than bc of what I shared about my afternoon!

I’m not pulling the lazy card here & saying that I didn’t work out just cuz I didn’t feel like it. That’s not what I’m saying. If people think you’re just being lazy, but you feel they are saying “you’re less than”, I hear you.

 

// I’m back working in an elementary school & I had a realisation today. “Bad behaviour” in school, let’s take the example of not participating or scribbling on a paper or getting frustrated bc you didn’t get an answer right the first time…I have a new perspective on this.

We call it bad behaviour or acting out & we tell/ask the kid to knock it off, pull it together, make a different choice, whatever we say. If the kid feels they can’t get frustrated or mad (at school or home) those frustrations are pent up inside & they need to get out!
I get it!

If you’re frustrated & don’t feel allowed to express your frustration, you’re going to stuff it down as if into a bottle. Soon enough the bottle won’t be able to hold anymore & an explosion is impending.

Are we allowing our kids and selves to not have it together 24/7??

Do we expect perfection?

Are we so used to performance that’s all we know & anything that’s outside of putting a mask on is not allowed bc we don’t know how to deal with it.

😬

 

It’s okay to not know how to deal with it!!!!
It’s okay to feel!

It’s okay to be frustrated!

It’s okay to feel hurt!

It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling whether it’s positive or negative!

 

Look I’m no sociologist or psychologist or counsellor.
One of my major breakthroughs though, that I briefly mentioned up front, has to do with allowing myself to feel hurt & feeling allowed to communicate that.

Actually, for the past 28 years, up until this breakthrough, I never felt allowed to voice my hurt to who hurt me.

I was taught & shown to “just get over it” or sweep it under the rug. I didn’t feel allowed to talk about it until very recently!

// Did you hear me? I didn’t feel allowed to express my hurt. For 28 years. Tell me I’m not solo in that boat. //

I didn’t feel allowed to hurt or voice my hurt until a couple weeks ago!

Boy, let me tell ya it took guts on my part to voice it. Boy, I’ll tell ya when I voiced it, it took a while to get it out & give my heart a voice.

It was received well!

I was heard & not shamed & not made to feel something different.

L I S T E N : : Whatever you are feeling, about yourself, a friendship, a conversation, you name it :: it’s okay! You’re allowed to feel that way!
Now here’s my challenge : : voice it. Take some time to write it down & talk to someone you trust & feel safe with.

I don’t have this mastered by any means. What I do have are two recent conversations to look back at and say, “this is what I did & I want to keep doing it, and I’ve learned this from it.”

You’re heart is important & you need to give it a voice.

This is what courageous bravery looks like. This is what transparency is.

I believe in you.

The truth we’re too scared to share

 

I just read a Facebook post of a missionary to Iraq. I stumbled upon his page and the bigger vision he supports back in the beginning of December.
In a matter of 2 or 3 days, I stumbled upon missionaries active in Iraq, Burma & Kurdistan.
That same week I was trying to keep up with the inhumane conditions in Syria and the people there. My heart was breaking & I felt utterly helpless but wanted to help so badly.
I would share posts of what was going on b/c I was sure 99% of my friends on Facebook were utterly unaware.

Now, I hardly ever share news & world events. I honestly don’t keep up with news & happenings unless there’s one story or video that grabs onto a ventricle of my heart & I can’t ignore it.
Imagine that– someone grabbing a ventricle of your heart. That figurative hand is stopping your heart from functioning properly and you FEEL the effects immediately. You are immediately affected. You can’t ignore the hand, b/c if you do, you’ll die!
If there’s an article or video or story that grabs my ventricle, I have to do something about it. I will read more. Educate myself more.
I will probably share the article or video b/c I FELT something.

I think so often we scroll through our Facebook feeds, or selectively read what news we want. (Don’t worry, I too am guilty of this)
There’s so much choice & mediums of information, we can literally go through a day without FEELING anything.
I can go through a day deciding that I want to only find things that make me laugh, so I will only FEEL light.
Maybe I don’t want to FEEL discouraged or helpless, so I purposefully won’t read or watch the news.

What is that?
Are we too scared to SEE reality? Are we too scared that if we are exposed to the reality of something other than the one I am creating for myself right now, that I will actually FEEL something and I will have to DO something about it?

I swear- since I’ve come back from my “world tour” (as some people have called it) people will only ask me the superficial questions. The ones that don’t make them FEEL anything but good. By people I mean people that aren’t willing to ask how I’m really doing. People that are my relatives or acquaintances from church.
These people tip-toe around and frolick in the field that makes them FEEL good.

I have become so angry at the American church. Yes. Angry. At the American church. I admit it! I’m guilty. 🙋🏼 Judge me all you want, criticise me, think what you will. Tell me I’m wrong. But let me tell you more first, okay?
Let me expound on why I FEEL angry.

One of the most difficult things I had to come back to in America-materialism, consumerism. The constant messages of “buy this new product,” “you need this vacuum because it sucks 10x better than our lady model,” “make your life easier with laundry detergent that does all the work for you.”
Seriously? Like, that is what Americans are so consumed & concerned about? Stuff. Clothing. Makeup. “Make your eyelashes longer & sexier.” Cars. Phones. Televisions.

Oh but Andrea you came home just before Christmas when those commercials and adds are at the highest & most advertised.
Okay, make the excuses all you want. Are you denying American culture revolves around STUFF? Are you trying to make this argument so you can avoid the topic of its influence in your life?
It’s okay! This is where you live! This is your culture. Admit it.
I admit, not proudly, this is the culture I live it. It’s where I come from.
THANKFULLY I have new eyesight & can SEE it. I’m not denying its existence and influence in my life. (I just got an upgraded iPhone b/c I could get a discounted new phone. I am not exempt, okay?)
Look, I’m not here to slap you in the face or punish you for living where you do, if in fact you do call yourself an American.
I’m not here to generalise and say that “all Americans are so freaking self centered and you all suck, get your heads into a different worldview.”
I’m not here to tell you that I hate all of you and wish I was never born in America.

I’m here to say- HEY WAKE UP! FEEL something!!! FEEL angry! FEEL helpless!! FEEL something! FEEL something for the nations & world outside your own!

I’m not giving you the right to complain about the government.
I’m not giving you the right to be upset with your family.
I’m not giving you the right to argue simply to argue.

I’m saying- have the GUTS to look somewhere difficult.
Have the GUTS to consider “what would it FEEL like if I was born & living in Iraq? What would my thinking be if I were a Christian in Morocco? How would I SEE people if I were a refugee?”
Have the GUTS to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

But Andrea I am not passionate about the world like you are.
I’m not telling you to be passionate about the world.
I’m begging you to see the world from a different perspective than solely your own.
I’m begging you to BE HUMAN.

Why are so many people afraid to travel? Let me be more transparent and honest in my real question… why are so many AMERICANS afraid to travel? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Not to any western country in Europe or the exotic, sexy tropical places were you can relax and have a restful time.

Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Why are Christians afraid of the Middle East? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Muslims?
Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Arab people?
Why are CHRISTIANS critical, judgemental and weary of people- just like you and me- from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, anywhere?!
Are we afraid that if we meet them, we will be WRONG about our ideas of them?
Are we afraid that we are wrong about the world?
Are we too scared that we’ll be found out as fakes? Hoaxs?
Are we afraid of being found out & exposed to who we really are?

Or are we just too afraid that we have feelings we’re not sure what to do with and we don’t have a solution?

FEAR.
Stop letting fear rule you.
Isn’t there a verse in the Christian Bible about not letting fear rule you…

Are we afraid we will SEE & FEEL the brokenness of the world? Are we afraid b/c we won’t have a solution?
I’m not asking you to FIX the world! I’m not asking you to have all the solutions or even just one solution.
We live in a broken world. Systems will be screwed up.
But be brave enough, have the guts to feel something. Don’t be indifferent to anything that doesn’t affect you personally.
Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
People are relevant.
People are human.
You are human.
You have feelings.

WHEN you travel, IF you travel, people won’t ask you to come fix their broken worlds.
People will invite you into their homes. People will want to share stories with you. People want to eat with you. People want to hear your stories.
People want to be human.
So be human.

//
Back to the original post on my Facebook feed that started this… He was talking about Christians that are persecuted 100% of the time in 21 countries.
He listed those countries.
Guess what? Those countries are not in Western Europe. The list didn’t include Australia or Canada.
The countries are those countries Christians don’t talk about casually. Why not?
Have the guts to educate yourself. Have the guts to read stories from these places. Have the GUTS to feel something other than “it doesn’t pertain to me.”

The 21 countries:: North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, India, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Egypt.

The original post:: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1400543909980428&id=322728757761954&ref=bookmarks

// I know not everyone falls into the generalisation I made of Americans & Christians. //

// Comment. Thoughts? What are you FEELING from this post?