Bullying. This word alone makes my stomach turn. I feel that right now more than ever we have people of all ages struggling with being bullied or being the bully. I was always aware of it because of my sweet and dear brother Tim. Tim lights up my world with his goofy laugh and lopsided smile. Tim was born with a lack of oxygen going to the left side of his brain due to his umbilical chord wrapped around his neck. He has a mixture of cerebral palsy and autism, has no speech and has a pretty big limp to his walk. However, his heart is the size of a basketball. He adores and loves people unconditionally. He is unable to hold a grudge against anyone. His heart is pure and yet the things he has gone through would have destroyed any other person. Tim has had caregivers in the past that have abused and taken advantage of him. Since he has no speech, the only time we can be aware of this is by his physical appearance or his attitude changing when we tell him who he is going to see. Tim is always excited to see people but when we say someone’s name and he shakes his head and becomes quiet we know something is wrong. My heart aches as I type these words. The thought of anybody touching or hurting my big brother raises up an unspeakable emotion in me. What sick, twisted person would bully a mentally disabled, innocent human being?
As I sat in front of my group of eleven beautiful junior high girls, I couldn’t help but smile with joy and pain at the eleven sets of eyes looking at me. There were some tears, some smiles, and some with no emotion to be seen. I began by saying, “so what’s on everyone’s mind?” Hesitation flooded the room. So Kaylee and I opened the floor.
Miley seems to be the talk of the week with her performance on the VMA’s. In fact, I was appalled at Facebook and how many people shared their “reviews” on Miley for all to see. I was more embarrassed at everyone’s reaction to her than her actual performance. I remember the Hannah Montana days when she was this sweet, child star rising to fame. It’s only a matter of time until they all grow up; Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Dakota Fanning, Miley Cyrus; the list goes on. The one thing that stays true between all these child stars is that they go through all the same struggles and trials as any normal young adult! I work with young women on a regular basis and I was their age a number of years ago and I get it, I understand, but the problem is we should all understand it. A celebrity like Miley Cyrus is no different than another 20 year old girl trying to discover who she is in this world and where she belongs. Heck, when I was 20 years old, I’d say I was in the same spot as Miley right now. I didn’t know who I was and I went through a lot of messed up things in my life to finally find who I was. Miley is known all around the world and one thing I know we will never understand is the amount of pressure these young girls hold on their shoulders to please the world and the viewers, us.
I am going to pick on my dearest and oh so sweet husband of mine. The best part about being married is that you are allowed to pick on each other as long as you have a good heart about it. I love my husband dearly, he’s the best thing that has happened to me since I discovered coffee. We have several things in common, but to be honest we share one quality the most; we are very different. When people say opposites attract and you don’t believe them, think of me and Ryan because we are basically a living example of that. I am an extrovert and Ryan tends to be an introvert (until you get to know him). I love everything to do with traveling; Ryan likes traveling but gets impatient with the journey to a destination. There are many other things but you get the idea. We balance each other well.
I am sure I got your undivided attention with the title of this post. Your mind is most likely trying to figure out what I could possibly be writing on strip clubs and my words to you are that you probably won’t guess unless you already know what it is I have to do with strip clubs. It all started three years ago when I sat in at a student leadership meeting. I had quite the talkative stranger sit next to me at a table as we were about to dig in to the meeting. She began to tell me all about this strip club ministry and insisted I be a part of it. It turns out God not only called me into student ministries that night, but He was calling me into another ministry as well; a ministry that would challenge me, change me, and open my eyes to a whole new view.
I believe there are certain places around us where we can escape and leave our routine behind. There is almost a definite need for us to be able to escape from our daily lives and routine and refresh ourselves. It could be a short travel to a nearby city, for some it may be further or it could be a local cafe. For me, it is coffee shops and bookstores. There is something about the atmosphere that overwhelms my heart. I enjoy just sitting back and watching people take time out of their busy lives to stand in a line that is not always that quick and indulge in a delicious, hand crafted beverage. Then walk away and begin their day that could be the best day of their life, the worst or perhaps just another day. People intrigue me because everyone has a story waiting to be told and I always have an urge to walk up to people and ask them what is your story and how have you gotten to where you are right now I love people, but I mostly love watching and observing them in a non creepy way.
I am in this constant wrestle with myself on figuring out who exactly Jesus was as a person, the Son of God, and as a teacher. Some carry on this argument that Jesus was simply just a good teacher whose teachings were interesting and decent. Some just say he was an ordinary man who did good deeds and some say He never existed. All these are fair arguments; I get every perspective and point of view because there have been many times people want to prove me wrong about who He actually was. However, to me, Jesus indeed is the Son of God and his time on earth should not be taken lightly, but if you truly read what the Word says about Jesus you will indeed find that He was actually a pretty humorous guy. Yes, Jesus did and still has quite the sense of humor.
I read something awhile ago by John Eldredge that was so profoundly spot on that it got me thinking on how we are in need of people who have come alive. There are too many “dead” and unhappy human beings in the world that need an escape and find whatever it is that makes them come alive. Are we living a life that makes us come alive?
I have three, rather charming and goofy, older brothers and one incredible and beautiful older sister. They all have fully grasped the idea of coming alive over the years, but one brother in particular is one of the most alive and inspiring human beings I have had the honor of knowing and growing up with. Noah, whose name I must say is fashionably appropriate, is a free spirit. He is 29 years old and married to my lovely sister-in-law who is indeed his better half, but if Noah was a girl, it would be her. School has never been Noah’s expertise nor did he enjoy it that much, but he gave it a try for a semester and soon realized that school was not his cup of tea. I noticed a change in Noah after his school encounter. Noah’s journey began, from moving to Europe and living off close to nothing, to hitchhiking to living in a teepee in Telluride to marrying the girl of his dreams to sailing and living on a sailboat and basically engaging in some of the most bizarre things that would blow your mind. Let’s just say he is one intense guy and if you want a good story, I highly recommend contacting him just not on email or phone because technology definitely doesn’t come first in his life, like it does to some of us, however old-fashion mail will do the trick if you can get him and his wife to stay in a place for more than a month.
There is something we miss in the moments of our deepest struggles. I fear that we do not trust God in these moments and we are not trusting that he is making all things work for our good, but in fact He is. About a month ago, my husband Ryan and I got in a pretty bad car accident. As most may know, accidents are not fun. I was physically and mentally shaken from it. Once you realize everyone is okay and no one is hurt; the reality of dealing with the mess after starts to sink in. Ryan and I were in the process of making an offer on a house too and we were struggling to see the clarity through it all. It has always been a struggle of mine to know whether or not to accept something as a sign. I think this is where specific prayer comes in.