Friday, October 30, 2009


I was just given the most simple yet absolutely perfect revelation. God chose to create me. Because of that, I am the Beloved. He did not have to choose to form me. He did not have to breathe life into my lungs. Every individual, everywhere, historically, presently, and in the future is infinitely valuable because the God of the universe breathes His life into them. He chose us the moment He imagined us.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

Only God could do the type of choosing that sets every person everywhere apart. No one misses this choosing. No one evades belovedness, because no one was formed outside of God’s plan.

God doesn’t create and then forget. He loves me. He loves me because He created me. He created me knowing the pain that I would be, the quirks that I would possess, the mess that I would be, the shattered pieces that would become my life. He made me knowing that He could put those pieces back together. He made me knowing that He would be able to redeem my mistakes and my traumas. He made me knowing all of me, and still He chose to make me. He chose me.

Somehow, in the vastness of all of the humans who ever walked this earth, in the volume of every set of lungs that inhaled air, and every tiny baby whose life was snuffed out before they uttered a cry, God chose us. And He loves each of us. We are each, in our finite terms, His “favorite.” I am His favorite. You are His favorite. How can He do this? I don’t know, but He can because He is God.

I want to see myself through this lens of belovedness. I want to see others through this lens of belovedness.

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 15-16

He dreamt us into being. He, in His infinite perfection, created us to mirror Him. The take-home message is this: How do I know my belovedness? It is so simple yet perfect. I know that I am the Beloved because He chose to create me.

The Samaritan's Legacy of Love

When I say "Samaritan," what do you automatically think of? Before I understood Bible history or different people groups in the New Testament, I thought a Samaritan was a good neighbor. I did not realize that Samaritans were frowned upon by the Jews. I did not recognize the negative connotations that were implicitly held by the word "Samaritan." Samaritans were half-breeds. They had a defective devotion to Judaism, and they were connected ancestrally to pagans. Jews believed that in crossing Samaritan land, they would be contaminated. As a child, I did not know this, although I knew the parable of the good Samaritan. In retrospect, I find that Samaritan held a very positive connotation in my mind. I find it fascinating that Jesus' interactions/parables about Samaritans were both positive and didactic for the rest of the Christ-followers. The Samaritan woman at the well and the Samaritan who cared for the beaten, dying man both served in ways that were to be emulated by all.
What I see first is that Jesus did not restrict His examples to Jews. He actually seemed to enjoy using those who were socially and culturally "less than" as a way to presenting the universality of the gospel. This was also a way of showing that true devotion, compassion, and love can be evidenced by all people of every nationality.
I guess that I was mostly struck today when I hit the word Samaritan and realized that I recognize it as a positive term. One imaginary man in a parable influenced forever my idea of what type of person is a Samaritan. "Who was a neighbor?” Jesus asked. The one who was the least like a neighbor to begin with became the truest neighbor possible. Jesus tells the religious scholar, the devout Jew, to go and do the same as the Samaritan.
Jesus turned labels upside-down and inside out. The label of Samaritan holds more tenderness in my heart than the label of Jewish leader or religious scholar. How interesting.
Love: It is the greatest of all. Eagerly desire the gifts of the spirit, but above all desire love. What did this Samaritan have that the others did not have? Love. I want to let love influence everything. Who can give the gift of belovedness to others? Only the beloved can do that. Stigmas and stereotypes externally do not take away my identity as the beloved. The socially lowest of low were able to give love because they were loved infinitely by the creator of the universe. His love does not discriminate. It does not label. It does not diagnose or stereotype or write someone off as untouchable. As His beloved, now I can love. Just like the Samaritan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Making Me Beautiful

Every cloud has a silver lining. What the heck does that mean? Clouds don’t have linings. They are vapors. And if they had linings, they couldn’t be made of silver. It is not flexible enough. It is metal, not cloth. Silver lining in clouds is impossible. Can there be good embedded in every situation?
Finding out from the doctor that the growth is malignant? The dreaded call that brings your life to a crumbled heap? The rejection that leaves your mind reeling and your faith in humanity shaken? The medical malpractice that brings your world to shambles? The job loss that leads you to destitution? Are there always “silver linings” whatever the heck they are? While silver lining doesn’t compute in my brain, I see in retrospect that every crisis carried with it a special touch, lesson, or revelation from the Lord. Sometimes, it took years to see the great grace that was embedded in the tragedy. Other times, it took days. At this point, I am still waiting to see the redemption of some losses.
Why does God have to allow clouds? Why do we even have to look for silver linings? We live in a fallen world. I get that. We face personal sin, environmental disasters, and physical illness. But why does such excruciating pain exist? Why do I have to face those moments, hours, and days that weigh on my chest and threaten to suffocate my spirit? Why do I have to crumble in a heap on the cold floor in my empty room in order to learn these lessons of the faith and see God’s hand more clearly? In hindsight, I guess I am glad for the pain—I think. But man, it is terrible.
What about when it is my fault? When I make a stupid choice or react unhealthily to an environmental stressor? What about when I dig myself deeper and deeper into a hole of self-pity or shame? Can God redeem those moments of utter disobedience or sheer ignorance?
What about when I have no control over the matter? What about through oversight or malevolence, I am wronged? What if sickness hits? What if accidents bring life to a screeching halt? Is there grace that is great enough to bring good out of these circumstances?
Sometimes the losses are unfathomable and I can never get back what I once had. But I must believe that God can bring some good from the pain. The pain is not in vain. Nothing does not pass through His allowance unnoticed. He knows. He knows the loss. He grieves with my loss. He sits next to me as I writhe in pain on a cold floor. He holds me in His arms as I weep. He lets me snot on His shoulder. He reminds me to take the next breath when I forget to breathe. He picks up my feet to walk when I cannot seem to gather the energy to take the next step. He holds my hands in His tender palms. He is gentle. He is kind. He is the stark contrast against the background of chaos and brutality. He is grounding when I am not sure what is up and what is down. I may question everything else but I know that HE IS.
Sometimes nothing makes sense. Sometimes the hurt is deeper than I am thick. Sometimes I pray for relief and relief doesn’t come. Always He is faithful. This isn’t cliché. It isn’t cliché because I know what it means. It isn’t a trite statement. It is the story of my broken life. It creates a tapestry out of my life of shattered pieces. Only God can make something beautiful out of the mess that is Megan. And He is making me beautiful.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What if it wasn't your fault?

I lived in a world of fault. It was my fault for everything, down to natural disasters. It was my fault for family dysfunction and illness. I was somehow responsible for everything. I was the one who deserved punishment. Now, this is natural in some stages of development, when the world seems to revolve around the child, but somehow I maintained this weight of responsibility. It was like I was frozen around age six when I blamed myself for everything. When it looked like it could have been some one else’s fault, it just meant that I had to look a little deeper to find that I was the culprit. More recent traumas have occurred, and I blamed myself for them. I still do.

My mind floods with “what-ifs”. What if somehow I caused the lightning to strike my house? What if I set myself up for the tremendous bullying? What if I set out, choosing to develop the illnesses of adolescence and early adulthood? What if I had caught the medication blunder? What if I had exercised more will power? What if it really truly was my choice and my fault and I am truly solely responsible? Of course, I am responsible on many levels. I am not denying that. I am just questioning the extreme self blame that I have lived under.
The question was posed to me tonight, “what if all of this wasn’t your fault?” What if? What if it had nothing to do with my choice and my failures? What if it was just the result of the fallen world, and the failures and sins of others? What if I have been placing the blame on the wrong shoulders and crumbling underneath the undeserved weight? What would be the implications of this exoneration?
Now, I am not willing to admit that this is entirely the case. I am willing to accept that in some cases, I was the victim. I was the victim to events that should have never transpired and medical malpractice that should have been prevented or even caught before such traumas occurred. But the message of tonight is simply the question, “what if it wasn’t your fault?”
It seems wrong to ask it. It seems like I would be shirking responsibility, not accepting culpability of actions that I may have chosen. It is the reverse of the question that has been haunting me for years: What if it was your entire fault?
I answered this question with “yes,” because this is what the lies were screaming. I accepted the blame and shame, and now I see the destruction that it produces. I set out to punish myself, to pay a form of penance. I did not need to forgive anyone else. No one else was to blame, and I never could forgive myself for all of those horrible things. The list was just too long and heavy.
I don’t yet know how to answer the question, “what if it wasn’t your fault?” This could mean that I have a lot of people to forgive. It also may make it easier to forgive myself.
I have so long blamed myself that it seems foreign and bizarre to think that it could be anything other than my fault. I know, however, that the shame attached with who I am as a person is inappropriate. I also know that there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. That truth has not quite hit my heart yet, but I trust that it will as I seek to recognize the truth of His word and to know Him more completely.
It seems that my posts have come to develop more into questions than answers. I like answers. I like to understand and be able to make sense out of things. I trust, however, that in time, this will make more sense in a heart knowledge kind of way. In the mean time, I will keep asking and seeking. It could be that it is not so much about the answers but about the One to whom the questions are directed.