monochrome sun

A Blog for My Bits.

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Perfect Love.

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I am thankful because God knows me.

In my anger – He pursues me.

In my addictions – He allows emptiness.

In my loneliness – He is beside me.

In my bitterness – He prompts me to look at Him.

In my folly – He is gentle.

In my hatred – He ushers my heart to Him.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

What does your rod do?  Your staff?

Rod in Hebrew (sebet) was a stick used to count sheep and protect them from wild animals.  It has a sense of authority, and is used to discipline.  The Hebrew word for staff (mishena) references a support, or something you can trust to lean on.  His rod protects from external forces, and my internal sin, by the use of discipline (e.g. He allows me to run into walls if they should prompt me to return to Him).  His staff comforts me – I can trust Him, as He is my refuge.

There has never been, nor ever will be, a more perfect love than this.

May my heart praise Him forevermore.

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Letter To My Future Self

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Received this morning, straight from Ephrata High School, Ephrata, PA.  This was my second high school.  In ninth grade I attended Council Rock High School North in Newtown, PA, and then we moved in tenth grade, where I was homeschooled, due to my bout with Agoraphobia.  My eleventh and twelfth grade years were spent at Ephrata High, where I met Joe Crnkovich, my now husband.  Joe and I were not high school sweethearts; at the time we were simply best friends (who were in love, yes).

Senior year I took Psychology and Social Issues with Mr. Harding.  He had us pen letters to our future selves, with the intent to mail the letters in 10 years.  As I said, this morning I received my letter.  Maybe at some point I’ll respond with my commentary.  Get ready – bring on the cringe.

01/14/2009

90% cursive, 10% print:

“Dear Sunny,

You’re 17.  Next year you are hoping to go to college in Australia and visit New Zealand.  Normally your handwriting is better than this.  I’m almost certain you’ll be married by now and just remember how excited you have gotten anticipating your incredible husband – I wonder if it’s Josh *redacted.*  My biggest hope is that you’ve only gotten closer with God.  Already at 17 He has astounded you in everything He’s had to carry you through.  You are absolutely over and beyond *redacted* and the pain he’s brought onto you.  You are free.  The greatest influences in your life are your dad, Hadassah *redacted* and Carol Merrick.

I’m sure you are gorgeous and maybe you’ve had a daughter named Madison already.  Also, do you have the Hebrew word for “beloved” on your lower right hip?  Tattooed?  Currently your favorite hymn is Come Thou Fount and you and Joe Crnkovich are in love.  Not dating, though.  He loves and cares for you very deeply – know that there are people who absolutely adore you.  John *redacted* and Greg *redacted* want to name their daughters Sunny.  You’re popular, just so you remember.  It doesn’t matter though.  🙂

Remember who fulfills you.

Love your husband and kiss him after this.

You’re in seventh period Social Issues right now sitting next to Greg.

P.S.  Please sing.  Use your voice.”

 

Leadership.

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I thought I knew most of the pitfalls and plagues that afflict leaders… until I became one. And I guess I should define “knew/know,” because I may have intellectually known, but there was no awareness in my actual being.

MAYBE one of the most important things I have learned is, instead of building dams and bolstering myself against raging waters, I need to be a sea captain.  I have become much better at giving others over to themselves, in full knowledge of the criticism I may receive, but for the purpose of a greater storm that requires me.

I have learned that while decisiveness and boldness are critical, if they are not partnered with empathy and careful word choice they are significantly less effective. In addition, my words carry more weight than ever before… thus, I spare them (or try to) until I know I can speak and lead without my disruptive emotions.

I wrote this fun little encouragement to myself, and then posted it on Instagram:  “Take control of your disruptive emotions, understand your weaknesses, examine yourself, apologize, poke holes in your pride, challenge your anger, do not get stuck on fairness, pursue empathy because you will be WEAK and ineffective without it. Lead yourself, lead others.”  This is my battle cry for 2019 – the battle is within.

God has been teaching me so much.  For example, an additional realization has come to me, regarding the Agoraphobia I experienced between 14-16.  By being siloed from my peers, culture, society, life (sort of), during those formative years, and then surviving, I developed an ability to remain steadfast in the trenches of the mundane, depression and failure.  I would not have the same stamina, for the long game that I’m playing now, had I not experienced the awfulness that I did.  I am thankful.

And now, on with the day.

Sober-minded.

nathan-mcbride-231171-unsplash.jpg12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12

Since moving to Denver I have encountered a sensitivity to the spiritual realm that I have not experienced since I was a child, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In particular, since June or July of 2017 until now, my spirit has sensed what I can only describe as territories of the demonic in different areas of the city. That’s really, really difficult to explain, and even more difficult to articulate what the “feeling” is. Here’s the thing – I don’t know why this is happening. For a while I didn’t examine the reality of this, but now I am beginning to. I don’t expect to understand the full reason for my renewed sensitivity to the spiritual realm, but no matter what I am reminded to become more prayerful. Everywhere. Always.

Between June 2017 – April 2018 Satan had a field day with the way I was living my life. I was broken-hearted, newly married, believing lies that I was alone and my husband didn’t want to be around me, grieving friends and family, feeling inadequate with my “lack of accomplishments,” and much more. My pride was being challenged daily. Even after starting a job that I loved I was depressed and exhausted from over-committing to church service or pouring into others when I was bleeding my spirit dry. I had no prayer life, nor an understanding that I wasn’t pursuing God, I was first pursuing community. I tried and I tried and I tried, until one day I broke.

The middle part of this story, from my breaking point into darkness, to my breaking point back into light, is not something I can write about yet. I want to and I believe I will in the future, but right now I can’t. I can say that between June 2017 – April 2018 Satan had a field day with the way I was living my life.

One thing I will share is that I unknowingly (at first) began playing around with tools the enemy uses to devour non-Christians. Now, he could not devour me entirely, because I am claimed by the blood of Jesus, however, he was given enough access to me to cause confusion and a spirit of heaviness. It was madness.

There is no way to simplify my way back to repentance. It was a long and very painful journey, complete with rejection, marital counseling, a consistent searing of my flesh, a few moments of falling back into the darkness, and a lot of prayer and reading the Bible.

  • “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9
  • “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:11-17
  • “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5
  • “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
  • “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

God is so good, so faithful. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, my counselor, who has brought me back to specific memories from my “moments in the dark” to teach me what I was doing, and what was happening around me in the spiritual realm. I am now eager to be sober-minded, which not only includes alcohol, et al., but also the food I consume. For me, sober-mindedness is not completely possible when my brain is fogged from sugar or flowing along with the American diet. I have a renewed responsibility to be alert and attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit around me. One of my non-Christian co-workers is being plagued by a spirit of fear, and the Holy Spirit brought this to my attention over coffee this week, and then proceeded to provide me with the words to take the conversation deeper. She came to church with me today, and wants to come again. Another non-Christian friend picked up tarot cards on her recent vacation. I have been praying for her, that if/as she begins to encounter the demonic she would have an immediate and palpable sensing of Jesus when she is around me. I want her to become curious and incredibly attracted to Him.

God is at work.

Cities are places with high-densities of broken and abused people, who are made in the image of God. Evil is present in corners and crevices, and evil is blatantly paraded on the streets. There are times the air is thick with heaviness and I become quite aware of my small size and seemingly small affect on this place. But — greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. I will put on the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. I will thank the Lord for what He has done and who He is. He has ALREADY conquered sin and death. While I am confused by what I see around me, I rest in Him.

And they have conquered him [the dragon] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:11

Hope.

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“Radical evil, radical brokenness… you have to have hope to rejoice in, in order to really be in the suffering.  Otherwise, you have to get away from it.  You have to wrap your heart around with little luxuries.” – Tim Keller

God has been prompting me to persevere in suffering, deep suffering, by rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God.  The deeper the suffering, the greater the realization of Him as my hope.  Oh, that I might feel a more profound joy than before.

Romans 5:1-5 …5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.