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I apologize if it seems all I write about any more is my wedding. It’s consumed my thoughts and thus my writing. That said, I’m going to talk about it some more.

A week from today, I’ll be getting married. A year ago at this time, I was dealing with the emotions of realizing that it was going to be at least a year before I got married. At first, it made me upset. I was finally engaged, and now I had to wait some more?!

It made me angry, and a little bit sorry for myself. I’d long ago learned that complete honesty in prayer with the Lord was better than half-hearted but religious platitudes. At the time, I couldn’t pray that He would make me happy to wait. I just couldn’t.

So instead, I prayed that the longing I felt to be married to Clay would teach my heart what it really means to long for Jesus’ return.

If that seems like a non-sequitar, let me explain;

Throughout the Bible, God’s relationship with his people is depicted as being like that of a husband and a wife.

In the very beginning, in Genesis, it is said that God created humans, both men and women, “in the image of God,” meaning that they, at their very essence, reflect key things about who God is and what He is like. Man is made first, and then women is created for man, to be his mate.
“The man said ‘This [woman] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:32,24:

Later, God continually refers to himself as a “husband” to his chosen people, Israel.

“In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.'” (Hosea 2:16)
“For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name” -(Isaiah 54:5)
“”Return, faithless people,” declares  the LORD, “for I am your husband.” (Jer 3:14 )

In the New Testament, the references continue, now with Jesus being referred to as the “bridegroom” to his faithful people. Paul even goes so far as to say that the major reason that God created marriage like He did was to provide us with a living picture of himself;
” ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am saying it refers to Christ and the church.” – Ephesians 5:31,32

Finally, the references conclude in the final book of the Bible, Revelations. In this book, the future return of Jesus is described as  “wedding” – where the Groom, Jesus, will finally, once and for all, be fully united to the people who have chosen to love Him – His Bride, the Church.  (Revelation 19, 21)

This picture has long been one of my favorites. It brings tears to my eyes to imagine the day when Jesus returns;
A triumphant Groom, the long, weary battle won, comes to claim His radiant bride and take her away to live with Him forever.

But for now, we live in the waiting period. As His church, we are engaged to Him – but the final marriage hasn’t come yet. And it is oh-so-hard.

I know that feeling.

I’ve been engaged for over 14 months now. I understand what it means to wait. Fortunately, God has been kind to me, and I actually really enjoyed the majority of my engagement.  In fact, I often wished it would slow down – I was comfortable being engaged. Liked it, actually. I didn’t see the need to hurry my wedding! Sometimes, in the middle of all the “engagement” and wedding planning activities, I would forget I was even getting married! But still, I often prayed that it would teach me what it meant to really long for Jesus’ return. And for most of my engagement, I felt like that prayer went unanswered. In the past two weeks, though, something changed.

Two weeks ago, I moved home to begin working on support and finish up wedding details, while Clay stayed behind in Athens to work. Of course, I miss him terribly. And somewhere, in the middle of that, my heart started to shift.

This past week, I’ve acutely felt the longing just to be with Clay. I want my wedding to hurry up and get here – not because I want to wear a pretty dress, or put my hair up, or even to celebrate with loved ones – but because my wedding will mean he’ll be here, with me. I’ll be able to not just hear him – but see him. Touch him. Be with him. And I won’t have to say goodbye.

That’s what it means to long for Jesus’ return.

So often, we get trapped up in the insignificant and the momentary, we lose sight of the eternal. We get comfortable on this earth – enjoy it even.  We occupy ourselves with things, good things even – family, church, ministry, jobs – and forget what we’re really waiting for.

How often have you heard someone say, (or perhaps even said it yourself) “I’m not ready for Jesus to come back, I haven’t (insert unfulfilled desire here) yet,” ?

What silliness! What bride should say, “I’m not ready for my wedding, I haven’t cleaned the grout in my bathroom yet,”?!?

None of the things we think we’re waiting for could be better than spending eternity in Heaven with the God who loves us more than any groom has ever loved any bride. 

I don’t long for Jesus’ return the way I should. I don’t ache for Heaven with the intensity and the fervor that I should. And this side of Heaven, I probably never will.

But in this gift of my year-long engagement, I have learned a little bit how I ought to. A little more of my heart everyday is learning to cry, “Maranatha! – Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”

Yes – Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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Almost 4 years ago, I wrote this post about being a Christian with ADHD. It made much more of a splash than I could have imagined, and I still receive comments and emails about it almost weekly. I’m still stunned that something I wrote in an attitude of humorous exasperation over my own personal condition has been so helpful to so many people!

That said, I’ve learned a lot in 4 years. I still stand behind everything that I wrote in that initial post, but I want to make some clarifications that I hope everyone, including those who don’t have ADHD/ADD, will find helpful!

1. My condition is not a mistake, but it’s not “how God intended” me either.
I hear people say this a lot, and I know their intent is good, but it irks me. Yes, this is technically “how God made me.” But I am of the firm belief that this is not how he intended me, at least not in the sense of how he intended humanity to be. It’s like looking at a person paralyzed from birth and saying, “That’s ok, it’s how God made you!” Technically, you’re right, but it’s not very nice to say, and it actually communicates a pretty serious falsehood about who God is and what He wants for us.

You see, without going into a full-blown explanation of Genesis, when God created the world, everything was perfect. When Adam and Eve first sinned, everything was thrown into chaos. From then on, the world we live in has been fundamentally broken. My messed-up brain chemistry is just another example of that. Yes, God is sovereign and knew it was going to happen. But He didn’t intentionally create me this way, and He won’t keep me this way. One day, I’ll have a new body, and I’m pretty sure it won’t include a brain with ADHD. Which will be awesome.

2. My condition makes my spiritual life different, but it’s not an excuse for a lack of spiritual discipline or maturity.
So I have a hard time focusing, my ability to sit still is limited, and I struggle with consistency. These things mean that my spiritual life will always look differently from someone with a normal brain, but I truly believe that they don’t give me license not to try. I won’t go into detail about the things that I’ve found helpful for maintaining spiritual disciplines (stay tuned for “Part 3” for that), but I will say that there are things that I’ve found helpful. I am fully capable of studying the Bible daily, praying consistently, and engage in group settings to grow.

3. My condition is NOT an excuse for sin.
I think this point is pretty self-explanatory, but I will elaborate. As tempted as I am to blame my sin on my ADHD, I know that’s not right. While it’s true that my propensity towards being impatient is caused by my ADHD, it doesn’t give me a free pass to selfishly force others to hurry up, not follow proper procedures, or otherwise make rash decisions. Yes, I hate waiting. I hate it more than I hate almost anything else in life. But the scriptures tell us, again and again, “be patient!” It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. I don’t get to just excuse my lack of it as a “brain chemistry thing” and waltz on by. It just means that I’m going to have to pray more, repent more, try more.
I don’t get a free pass to sin, I get another opportunity to repent and rely on God to help me do what I know I cannot do on my own. 

4. I am fully capable of being a successful, mature, responsible adult who walks by faith and fulfills God’s purpose for my life.
My life will look different. I will probably never stop losing things. I will almost certainly need daily medication life-long. But I can, and I WILL be the person God made me to be. With the proper medication, a good support system, healthy Scriptural teaching, and a daily dependence on God – I can be all of the the above. I can have a life full of the good things that come from trusting God and working hard. I can learn to live life in the ways that God has prescribed. I can learn to let the truth change me for good. I can, as Jesus commanded us, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Not even the most severe ADHD could stop that. And I’m grateful for that.

5. The prescription for how to live the Christian life with ADD/ADHD is GRACE
For YEARS, I wondered how to live the Christian life as a woman with ADHD. And then one day, when I wasn’t even looking for the answer, it hit me – GRACE. Grace, grace, grace, and more grace. The answer of how to live the Christian life as a person with ADHD/ADD is the same answer of how ANYONE is to live the Christian life. We’re not special, and we’re not different. We’re sinners, and we’re desperately in need of grace.

I might sin differently because of my ADHD, but it doesn’t nullify God’s grace. I am to repent and cast myself into His arms, same as anyone else. And I know that He will accept me, because Jesus died for that. He died for my failure to be patient, for my volatile mood swings, for my lack of self control, for my wandering affections. He died for my sin. And He died that one day, I might see Him as He is – beautiful, loving, ever-patient, slow to anger and full of steadfast love and mercy. For now, I see that only in part. But one day, I will see that in full. And in that day, my brain will be healed, along with my body. I will be perfectly patient, perfectly at peace, perfectly controlled, and all my affections will be set in their rightful place – with Him, in a never-ending day of praise to the King of the Universe.

Looking forward to that day, right alongside you. Until then, Brothers and Sisters, take heart in this –
“…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12

In case you haven’t heard, the middle east is in even more a state of crisis than normal. Things are not looking good, and even worse for Christian missionaries. Campus Crusade for Christ has many staff and their families in the affected countries, and things are looking desperate for them.  Here are a few excerpts from blog posts from the CCCI page dedicated to the crisis.

Struggle for Daily Life

Staff in Egypt and throughout the Middle East report that daily life has become a struggle. Nearly everyone is in survival mode. They spend daylight hours securing food for their families.

This task has been made even tougher by price gouging on many food items throughout the country. Some commodities are scarce. Shop owners are taking advantage of the chaos. Staff in Egypt report prices double and triple their normal levels.

“We’ve never seen anything like this…”

A phone conversation with a Campus Crusade staff member in Egypt revealed the anxiety and excitement in the region. The staff member relayed this message through tears:

“We’ve never seen anything like this in our lives in Egypt. People don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to behave.”

As you can tell, things are frightening, but we know that our God is soveiegn, and I believe that the doors for the Gospel are being flung open through all of this. Please join me in praying for CCCI staff, their families, and all other Christian missionaries in Egypt and throughout the middle east.

You can watch a video about the crisis here –

 

First of all, I want to apologize for the way the site looks at the moment. I’m in the process of rearranging and updating it, and I’m photoshopping a custom header for it, but that takes time. So I’m asking you to bear with me as the site remains “under construction”.

Now, onto the main point. I’ll be straightforward here. I’m an internet geek. I love anything to do with technology. I love Facebook. Stumbleupon.com. Twitter. Blogs. I get the biggest thrill when I update my facebook status or tweet from my cell phone. Don’t ask me why, I just do! It’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in online journalism – I love working with the internet. One of my internet favorites is a blog called Stuff Christians Like. Started about a year ago as a Christian adaptation of Stuff White People Like, it has quickly taken off to become an internet phenomena. The blog has emerged to become a tongue-in-cheek look at American Evangelical Christianity, examining such crucial issues as “the side hug“, “awkward opposite sex friendships” and “Chik-fil-A vs In-n-Out Burger“. And I love it. It’s hysterical. And so incredibly true. (If you happen to visit the site today, note that Wednesdays are known as “Serious Wednesdays”, where Jon usually covers a serious topic…) I really encourage everyone to read the blog and subscribe to Jon’s twitter updates, because they’re hysterical. That being said, today’s blog is inspired by Jon’s style of humor.

Haven’t you ever thought to yourself “Man, I really wish there was a “retweet” button for prayers!” No, really, you haven’t? Well, after I explain this you will. (Don’t know what a “retweet” is? Here.) So here’s the scene – you’re in a public setting – a church small group, at dinner with friends, Bible study, whatever. It comes time to pray out loud, and everyone starts voicing their prayers to God. Eyes closed, you start to listen to whomever. “God, please watch over my family, and my dogs, and for my English test next Wednesday…” etc. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, Mr. Super-Theology Man pops out with an incredible prayer “And God, please, I pray for all of the martyrs in Cambodia who are spreading your wonderful Gospel and being persecuted because of it. Help them to have hope and courage for they are truly making disciples out of all nations!” – WHAT?!?! Genius! “Me too! You think! Me too!” There. That is where a “Prayer retweet” button would come in handy. I think this would really come in handy when someone steals one of the prayers you were going to pray. You know what I mean – You’ve been carefully crafting your prayer in your head the whole time as everyone else is praying (What? Really listening and praying while everyone else is praying? Nonsense!), and then, BAM – out of nowhere, Ms. Polly Prays-a-Lot has stolen your prayer. Now what are you doing to do? You don’t want to just drop it, because you really were intending to pray it. But at the same time, you don’t just want to repeat them. Then it seems like you’re an unoriginal copy-cat and you’re running out of meaningful things to pray for so you’re just stalling. Retweet! It says “I’m cool, I was totally going to say that, but since she already said it I’ll just retweet it for those of you who aren’t cool enough to subscribe to her prayers…..” Cause that’s what prayer is all about right? Making yourself look all cool and spiritual and whatnot. Kind of like describing every obsession of yours as a “holy ambition”. “What? Oh, Yeah I tweet about 50 times a day. It’s my holy ambition to start a following from an unreached people group and bring them all to Christ through my brilliant tweets. Yeah, no big.”

I’m serious. This is a great idea. God should look into this.

What about you? Are there any internet things that you wish could be incorporated into your spiritual life? Maybe a holy “back-button”, or the ability to subscribe to Jesus’s twitter account (seriously, how awesome would it be to click that “follow” button on Jesus’ account and have the little box pop up that reads “You are now following @Jesus_Christ.”). What else?

Tweet!

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Past Musings