Legacy

Good day readers! I hope that you all had wonderful Christmas and stand ready to accept God’s full blessings for you throughout this New Year! Yay 2016!

**Contains Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens spoilers**

As I am sure most of you know, a new Star Wars movie came about a few weeks ago, and I hope you got to/will get to see it because it was quite good. Except for that one part that was quite sad, I won’t say what that was because if you did not see the movie yet, I don’t want ruin the surprise (for lack of a better word.) Anyhoo…I enjoyed the movie, and find myself looking forward to Episode VIII, and how this new story develops, and hopefully getting to hear Luke say…something…anything really would be awesome. One thing that still concerns me however, is how Anakin’s legacy will be handled in this new story line, especially after reading that Hayden Christensen will possibly be in Episode VIII. I truly hope that his appearance will be less about Darth Vader and more about Anakin, and what he did to save himself, Luke, and galaxy; from the tight grip of evil.

In the new movie, a new evil has arisen, and is attempting to once again take over. Kylo Ren, who is Han and Leia’s son, is the new bad guy and vowed, while talking to Vader’s half melted mask, to finish what Grandpa Vader started. Two things bug me about this scene: first, listen here sonny Darth Vader is not your grandfather, Anakin Skywalker is. Second, where on God’s green Earth did he get that mask?! And third, what Vader started was brought to an end when Anakin came back, someone needs to finish what Anakin started, and leave Vader’s nonsense where it belongs in the past. Okay so that’s three things, but I can’t help it Anakin is my favorite. I know big surprise, right? : )

My favorite thing about the movie was seeing Anakin’s lightsaber again. And not just seeing it, but watching it being used by a good guy. This amazing weapon, that Anakin built himself, and was also used by Luke, found itself once again in the hands of good. While just a small part, his lightsaber was and is apart of his legacy. Something that was given to his son, something that connected Luke to this father, and instilled the confidence of a Jedi. While yes I know that it was not Anakin’s intention to leave his lightsaber behind. Protecting it from his bad turn, is what allowed it to get into Luke’s hands. What would have happened to it if he had kept it? Would it have been destroyed? Redesigned? Hidden away?

This got me thinking about the things that I may leave behind, things that will inspire, connect, or encourage. My stories, my pictures, the things that I write down, can all be used by those that come after me. Objects and mementos that could possibly help my kids, my grandkids, and beyond find themselves, and all the wonderful things that God has in store for their lives. And these things need to be made available to them, not hidden away, or redesigned, or even destroyed because of lack of perfection. Because an important aspect of legacies, is we don’t get to keep them, others do. The Bible says in Psalm 78:4, “We will not hide them from their children, but to tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and wonders He has done.” In 1 Corinthians 12:1, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.”

So allow your gifts, your talents, your things, to be passed on. Allow them inspire, to encourage, and to connect. And like Anakin, they just might help you to rediscover a piece of yourself.

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Let It Be You

My son was watching Spider-man 2 today, one of his favorite things. He even wants Spider-man as the theme for his birthday party again, even though it was the theme last year. Both of our kids adore Spider-man, and why not? He is a hero after all. Then it came to the part in the movie where Peter Parker is struggling with his Spider-man role, not sure if he even wants to be Spider-man anymore. And he chooses to give up being Spider-man for a time. It was during that scene when Aunt Mae (unknowingly) encourages him to resume being Spider-man, or at least think about it, that was when I heard God speak these words. “Don’t count on someone else to do it.” By “it” He meant, my place in the Kingdom.

Suddenly my mind went back to when I had my doubts about this whole thing, and was uncertain whether or not I would actually write anything beyond simple notes. I questioned why God would put this, as in what would become Hope, Faith and Star Wars, on my heart rather than someone else’s. Perhaps I felt someone else was better equipped because, I have never considered myself a writer, mainly because of my (in my mind at least) poor grammar and spelling skills. But the thing is, I was the right person for this divine appointment, because if I had never written any of the 20 something posts that are on this blog, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. God knew what He was doing when He chose me, I just needed to see it.

Then my thoughts went to Anakin, while he didn’t necessarily depend on someone else to fill his place, what he did was forget it all together. And worse, lessened the chance that someone else would attempt to fill his role. You see, no one could have defeated the Emperor that way that Anakin did, his unique talents and all of his “isms” where what was needed for the task at hand. But Anakin lost sight of that, he didn’t just hope that maybe someone else would do it for him, he hoped to ensure that the role would never be filled.

Anakin Skywalker, Peter Parker, myself and you too, have one thing in common, we have a role to fill. A place in the Kingdom. A divine appointment. And all the “isms” that make us, us are what is needed to fill said role. Why it is true that some else can fill the role, no one can do it like you. Anakin is the Chosen One, Peter is Spiderman, I am a writer, and you can say, I am [insert your role/calling here]. People are chosen for the roles that they have for a reason, and it is my prayer that you and I and everyone else will not loose sight of that.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
-Psalm 143:10

Who Controls Your Box of Crayons?

There is a song called “Write Your Story” by Francesca Battistelli. The song is about allowing God to be the author of your story. At one point in the song Francesca sings, “My life, I know its never really been mine. So do with it whatever You like.” It is powerful lyric, but one that rings true. If one is really going to fulfill their place in the Kingdom, they need to give control to God. Which I know that that can be difficult because we humans like to have control, we like to know what will come next, we like to plan. But if one is going to follow God’s plan, control is one of the first things that needs to be let go of. And I can say that, for me, letting go of control has been nothing but awesome.

By now you may be wondering, just what is up with the title. I got the idea after watching the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, which I had some problems with. I was presented with a completely colored in picture, and I didn’t like some of the colors that they used. God brought to my attention the idea of one’s life being a picture that gets colored in bit by bit, and whoever is control of the box of crayons has control of how the picture looks. Who is it that could be eligible for control, or who at any point holds all or some of the crayons? Possibilities could be, the individual, God, other people, the ways of the world or even the enemy himself. All these possibilities can influence how a season or series of seasons in our lives can turn out, the choices/mistakes that we make, the joys and the heartaches. The Bible says in Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” This verse speaks about trusting God, and allowing Him to color your picture. And I would encourage you to trust Him, because He can produce some pretty awesome artwork.

What can happen when someone other than God colors pieces of your picture? Well lets consider Anakin, someone who quit trusting in the light side of the force and started trusting in something and someone else. This was not something that happened “over night” but rather something that took a period of years. It was 13 years to be exact, before the Palpatine influenced picture was completed when Anakin became Darth Vader. The process was gradual, Palpatine was building a foundation (coloring in Anakin’s picture). Sometimes Palpatine had complete control, other times he would encourage Anakin to put down one crayon and pick up another. Like when he convinced Anakin to kill Count Dooku or told Anakin that his killing of the Sand People in Episode II was justified.

While there were times when Anakin noticed that something was not right, like when he told Padame in Episode III, “Something is happening. I’m not the Jedi I should be. I want more. But I know shouldn’t.” Palpatine was continuing to gain control because of the foundation he had spent years building, Anakin was becoming less like himself more like the future Darth Vader. Try as Obi-Wan and Padame did to show Anakin that this was not okay, he still put down his blue crayon and picked up a red one. Coloring all over his life’s picture with Palpatine ready to supply Anakin with another red crayon, whenever one would run out. And his life became something that, especially after he met Luke, he started to like less and less, probably wishing there was more blue than red.

This thing called life is not our fight to win. We are here to bring God glory, which He richly rewards. But that can’t happen if we allow anyone, other than God, to write our stories. So take that box of crayons out of the hands of human desires and ways of the world, and give it to God. And I promise you something beautiful will be created. It will be legen….wait for it (because God encourages patience)…dary. It will be legendary.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

Plan B

“To quote Anakin Skywalker in Episode III, ‘I will quickly discover the truth of all this.’” I said these words to my husband on the day that I would finally find out how my beloved TV show How I Met Your Mother would end. And I was super excited to see the outcome that I knew was going to be legendary. Problem is that like Anakin, on the other side of those words I found disappointment, heartache and few tears.

The ending left me speechless, and not in a good way. To me it just didn’t make sense. And you may be thinking why would talented writers spend years constructing a great story only to deliver an outcome that didn’t make sense? Well, when watching the special features (I am a HUGE special features nerd) I learned that they decided how the show would end during season 1. Since this was their plan they needed to do one of two things:

A. Write a beginning, middle and end that would support that outcome

or

B. Recognize that their story had changed in ways that they hadn’t expected in the beginning and tweak the ending to reflect those changes.

They did neither.

What they did do was stubbornly cling to an 8 year old idea. While their excuse could be that the character, Ted, was telling the story in the future, it was being written in the present; and things change in the present. Response from fans was less than positive, and as a result they put out a Plan B for the ending (available on the DVD box set), which I think is much better.

This got me thinking about Plan B’s in life, and how they are better. Because Plan B’s become necessary when we step away from God’s will, or act on human desires. While God’s plan should always be Plan A, sometimes when put in chronological order, we find that God’s plan didn’t come first. The Bible says in Psalm 128:1, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.” But how often do we find ourselves unable to let go of something that just doesn’t work anymore, or something that we need to let go of for our own good or the good of those around us. Whether it be a destructive relationship or a plan that is outside of God’s will, it needs to be let it go.

Picture one step or a series of steps in God’s plan as a puzzle getting put together piece by piece, but when you first started you put one piece aside. Over the years your puzzle has changed and maybe even grown in ways you didn’t expect, and new pieces have come in to enrich your walk. Now its time for the final piece before moving on to the next step. Problem is, it doesn’t fit anymore, you can try to force it but it becomes clear that you can’t shove an outdated piece, into a newly crafted hole.

Your puzzle could also end up looking like Anakin’s, one that never should have existed. A puzzle built with fear, anger, doubt and/or desires of the flesh. Anakin’s Plan B, was to finally fulfill his calling and regain his true self. Which I think we can all agree should have been Plan A. He too had feelings that he had a really hard time letting go of, but when he did everything was better.

Whatever it is that you are holding to, I encourage you to let it go, and embrace God’s perfect will. Put down your Plan A and pick up God’s.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone and the new has come!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

Doubt

To be honest I have struggling with some doubt lately, it’s a nasty little thing that likes to creep up on me every now and then. This doubt has effected not only how I see myself but also my testimony.

About two years ago, I wrote list of sixty things that made me, me because God needed me to see that it is important for me to confident in who I am, so that I can write with confidence. This list included things like: I have never broken a bone, I don’t like cherries, the fact that I think pennies are gross, and that my favorite movie is My Fellow Americans. God helped me to see that none of these “me-isms” are anything to be ashamed of and should be embraced. However, self-doubt can again strike at any time, and it did for me a couple of weeks ago. I got to thinking about my…favorite movie, for example, and why its not something like Gone with the Wind or The Sound of Music. Or that why my favorite Star Wars movie is not Episode VI or Episode IV like most people. Why do I think that pennies are gross? Pennies are just money…ugh…disgusting money.

Anyway.

This doubting session necessitated another list of things that make me, me. This one included that fact that I think that Tobey Maguire makes a better Spiderman than Andrew Garfield, that I don’t know how to make brownies (and I never intend to learn), that in the Iliad I like Hector better than Achilles, and I’m scared of Ferris Wheels. All things that make me, me, yet all things that I could easily keep to myself, out of fear that they are not “mainstream” enough.

This self-doubt also wormed its way into doubt in my testimony. Yesterday at Bible study, we discussed testimony and witness, some characteristics of each and what they look like. I left feeling a little deflated because my testimony is nothing like what was described. Its not the average Christian testimony of having a more mature believer come into your life, and speak words that are life changing. I had Christian influence and positive role models in my life. At the time that God got a hold my heart again, we going to a great Church and had wonderful Christian friends. But my faith still sat on the surface and could easily be whisked away at anytime.

What finally reached me and shook me to my core, was watching a talented young Jedi with so much to live for tear his life apart piece, by piece. I saw so much of myself in Anakin, I had pride, I was impatient, I had anger and fear. I was slowly building up walls between me and the people closest to me, just like he was, with out really realizing it. Because of that revelation, I finally recognized that I am second, and everything changed for the better. I love Anakin’s story, because of how it ends and, because of how much God has taught me through it. This testimony is not average, it is not one that is likely to get written on a white board, but it is what God chose for me. And I can’t imagine me without it. This journey has taught me so much about myself, and encouraged me to be more confident in who I am. I have also been shown God’s character, nature, and just how amazing He is, in a way that I had never realized before.

Are you having doubts? If so, let me encourage you to trust in God, His ways and His timing. God doesn’t make mistakes. If you have a testimony be proud of it, because it is what God chose for you. If you don’t have a testimony yet, and your still figuring out this “Jesus thing”. It is my prayer that your heart will be soft and your mind open to the voice of the Spirit, because you never know what He may use to bring you to Him. It says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”