Things I’m Currently Learning

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  1. My friends are an insanely important part of my life. I can’t express it enough. Whenever I’m with them, I feel so joyful & full. They are so wholesome, full of life, and I love them fiercely. They are a group of very special people, and I’m glad to have them in my life; it’s truly a blessing to be vulnerable with them.
  2. Communication is important, whether it’s in the context of a relationship, friendship, work setting, etc. When we talk to each other, nobody is left out of the know. We should really strive to keep the lines of communication open at all times.
  3. Being brave comes gradually. It’s a process. Even if it happens very gradually, I should still be proud of the progress I have been making; the pace I go at does not mean I am doomed to failure. I’m proud of how far I’ve gotten.
  4. Being persistent in a matter that I feel strongly about is important. How else will change occur if I don’t begin to speak out? When we find someone else who believes in that thing just as strongly as we do, someone who will back us up, we see how great things come from a united community.
  5. So much good comes from being together. For example, my friend’s church, Fancy Schmancy. We’ve created a community of people that are gentle with one another, happy to be in each others’ company, and excited to learn about Jesus- all without judgement. There are a few people who I have just recently gotten the chance to know, and in that short time, we’ve become close like family. I trust them & I love them.
  6.  This season has been teaching me a lot about being a friend. One of my best friends is no longer attending youth group; leading up to his last day, I was afraid because I thought it was going to be one of those things where you stop keeping in contact after a while. But our friendship is rooted in truth. Friendship seeks the other out, never leaves them hanging in the dark. Communication does wonders.
  7. I want to be a welcoming person. The kind of person who is warm upon the first meeting, and happily accepts whomever is nearby. I want to draw others in so I can become their friend, and show them the goodness of God. I know friendships like that are a blessing, and I want to be that for someone.
  8. Little gestures have become some of my favorite things: Paying for their coffee. Simple encouragement. Hugs. Making someone laugh. Vulnerability. Telling someone you trust them. Realizing someone trusts you. Meaningful conversation. Making something for someone. Connection. Closeness. Genuine compliments. Asking someone to stay. Which leads me to my next point:
  9. We should let others know that we love them, that they are appreciated. It’s so important. People need to know that they are loved. I know I don’t tell my friends that I love them enough, but I should, because I do. They mean a lot to me, and I cherish them deeply.
  10. I should write more poetry for those whom I care for & hold closely to my heart. Like I said, people need to know that they are cared for. I’ve written stuff for friends before; it’s extremely vulnerable. But I’ll do anything to let them know how much I love them.
  11. Facades just create barriers. Save yourself the trouble & be legit with everyone.
  12. Create. By yourself, with friends. Make something. Create something in boldness & truth.
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Barefoot.

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I like to not wear shoes. A lot. My close friends know this fact about me very well. There’s something about it that makes me feel very free. I feel like a child again, and brings me back to memories of my younger self running through the grass in the summertime. My mind goes back to the days when I would stick my toes in the sand. I remember tentatively dipping my toes in the water, and then jumping right in after a rush of bravery suddenly comes over me.

Being without my shoes is one of most freeing & joyous feelings I could ever feel. It’s almost impossible to pinpoint why I love it so much.

It’s come like a second nature thing for me to do; coming to Jesus with bare feet. Sometimes I get teased about it (“Robin, put your shoes on, you look silly”, “Robin, why do you always go around with bare feet, that’s gross”, etc). But it reminds me that I’m a child with wide-eyed wonder in front of His throne. I picture His greatness & I get timid for a moment, because I know I’m not worthy to approach Him. My timidity lasts for but a moment, because I know His vastness is something to be experienced. He is an adventure, and I want to experience it all, right now. So I take off my shoes, and I jump.

My favorite thing to do before I enter worship, practice, or simply step in the church, is to remove my shoes. He is holy, and is to be revered by His children. He deserves all that I have to offer, and if I only have to offer something as mere as my bare feet, I know He’ll be pleased with me.

It’s a vulnerable act, not having shoes or socks on. For some reason, it creates a very intimate atmosphere. That kind of atmosphere is what I want when I meet Jesus in worship, because He wants me. Just me. When I’m barefoot, I feel exposed. But I strive to be exposed, because that’s what He wants: For me to become transparent, to share parts of myself, so that He can reveal His unconditional love to me. Like I said, it’s so freeing- I don’t have to worry about being abandoned. He just welcomes me.

Some people in my church look down on me & complain that I take my shoes off. I don’t understand what the fuss is about. This is simply me wanting to be humble before my Lord. It’s something that Moses was commanded to do, because He was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Holy ground is wherever Jesus is invited into. I will allow Him to come meet me where I am (bare feet & all), and cleanse my soul, just like He sought out to cleanse & wash my feet.

An Earnest Appeal for Guidance

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I was invited & encouraged by a friend to spend time in worship tonight (sent to the groupchat nonetheless, but seriously, I might not have done it tonight if I weren’t so encouraged), and I spent some time looking through the psalms to see if there was any thoughts that God might provoke in my mind. Sure enough, I did find something (seek & you shall find, am I right?).

The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.

Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.” – From Psalm 143:3-8

My burdens have only been increasing lately, and I know He knows how heavy my heart is at the moment. Only He knows how badly I want to just sit with Him, and speak to Him. Even to just look into His face for just a moment, because I know He’d be listening intently, fixed on my words, just being there & ready to answer if I have questions. Which I do. Why these things are happening? Why does it feel like He hasn’t equipped me for the things to come, the things that are actually happening right now? If He cares that I’m suffering and overwhelmed with life?

But of course He cares. I’m the apple of His eye, something that gives Him joy. He created me very carefully- of course He cares that I’m suffering. Life is overwhelming, and that’s why I have Him. It’s a cliche, but He’s my anchor. If I hold onto Him for my life that seems to be falling apart, I’ll feel safer because He won’t allow me to be moved. He won’t push me- instead He’ll gently nudge me toward growth.

The fact that He isn’t impatient or pushy gives me a much needed sense of security & gratitude. I can internally freak out about the things to come, and Jesus reminds me that He’ll guide me in the right way; He is the right way. All I have to do is follow Him.

I’m very thankful for the evenings & days where I’m just flat out straight with Him. The moments I ask Him to provide me with peace, His company, wisdom, comfort, anything.

“Jesus, I need You right now.”

“I know. I’m here.”

He’s such a precious friend.

Coming Alive Again

 

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If you have a bible, flip to Ezekiel 37:1-14 (I feel like a pastor). The entire passage is good, but I’ll be focusing on verses 1-6 right now. If you don’t have a bible, you can look it up.

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’” –Ezekiel 37:1-6

Here, Ezekiel is brought to a scene of death- a dry & hot valley. The skeletons have been there for quite some time, and the birds have picked everything off. This was to signify the death of Israel (For some reason, I always seem to think of sheep skulls rather than human skeletons. Maybe because God’s our shepherd & we’re supposed to remain close to Him. Regardless, if I ever get a tattoo, I’m getting a sheep skull). Then God tells Ezekiel to tell the dry bones that He will restore them.

This is an important truth that we need to tell ourselves often, because we fail often. While the realization that we’ve failed God once again sticks with us, we often forget the truth of God. He is constantly restoring & breathing His life in us.

Once Ezekiel tells the dry bones what God wanted him to say, the bones come together, and are once again covered with skin. It isn’t until he tells the breath to come, that the bones come alive again. It’s the same with us. We can’t function without the breath of God; we can’t do anything apart from Him. Just as God restored Israel, He can restore us as well.

The Outcast Finds a Home

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I’m not ordinary. I’m weird. People normally wouldn’t associate with me on the daily. I have weird music tastes. I have a weird way of dressing. There’s a lot of things wrong with me. I’m not something that someone would call “normal”. I have a weird hippie mind. I have weird thoughts. I like weird things, like abandoned buildings, ghost towns, exploring, taking portraits of people in cool & weird places, and not wearing shoes. My mood fluctuates in very odd patterns. I find people fascinating, but at the same time, I’m shy. I never really fit in with any specific “group”.

I’ll always be an outcast.

Yet Jesus still wants to get to know me. Granted, He knows who I am; He created me. But He still wants to sit across from me and hear me speak. He wants me to open up to Him, even though He knows what I’m going to say. He’s interested in my weirdness and oddities. He wants to hear me talk about anything at all. He just wants to hear my voice.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about who I am compared to God. I’m not much at all. I’m completely unworthy to speak His name, or be in His presence. He’s too beautiful and intense, you know? And I don’t mean beautiful in the physical sense- that I don’t yet know of. But His being, who He is, is beautiful. His kindness, grace, and openness to accept all my broken pieces is much more grand than I could ever dream of being. However, despite me being a weakling before Him, and despite His power, He softly strokes my face and says, “Even if the world doesn’t want you, I want you. And I want you to come eat and spend time with me.”

God made me to be flawed, so that must mean that He likes me the way I am. He made me in my own unique, weird way, so that I could be friends with other weirdos and let them know that yes we’re different, but He still loves us just the same. God made me to be flawed so I can revel in His beauty and splendor.

When I was by myself, Jesus opened Himself up to me, and revealed to me all the things that I lacked. All those things which I lack are found in Him. In Him, I found a home which abounds with softness, kindness, and acceptance.

The Long And Short of It: I Bow Down

Every now and then I write for my friend’s blog. He recently wrote a song and asked me to analyse and kind of write my take on it (sort of?)! Enjoy! Also, don’t forget to check out his blog by clicking on “Church of Fancy Schmancy”!

Fancy Schmancy

Article by Robin Bailey-Leonard

Mick wrote this worship song a few days ago. As talented as he is, he wrote it in 20 minutes! The song explains itself, but there’s always some depth that comes with a song. Hopefully, we’ll do it at Fancy Schmancy soon, but til then, here it is!

“Jesus You are here, You alone give me worth.”

Jesus is always near us. I think that’s pretty neat, how He’s always nearby and comes even closer when we ask Him to. Jesus is super gracious that way; we aren’t deserving of His love, or His grace, or His nearness. Yet He still wants to give us those wonderful things. Because of His kindness, we can find our worth in Him. See, we can look everywhere for places where we’ll be deemed “worthy”, but somehow that thing or that person that gives us worth will always find some way…

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“We Have Come.”

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There’s this worship band called United Pursuit that my team & I absolutely adore. There’s something so simplistic and spontaneous about the way that they worship. They have livestreams first Tuesday night of every month (7:30pm est), and I do my best to tune in, because hello, worship is wonderful! It’s a passion that flows in my bloodstream. Worship essential when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. I can easily connect with Him there. I need it.

I was inspired to write this post when I heard one of my favorites come on the livestream. It’s called We Have Come. It’s one of those songs that we could do on loop forever, in fact, we only really need this one song; it says so much.

“We have come to bring You glory, we have come to sing Your praises.”

There’s something about telling God who He is to us, because we indirectly are also speaking truth to ourselves. Like, I can tell God how incredible and able He is, and then I’ll realize that I’m singing to Someone who is faithful in His word, and takes care of me. It makes me worship Him harder & love Him so much more than I do. That gives me joy.

There’s something about singing to God about the good things that He’s done for this world, for us. He deserves all focus and recognition. We spend enough time asking God to do all these things for us, or requesting that everyone pays attention to us on the daily. We as a society are very selfish- very “me” centered. God deserves more than our simple praise & mere voices. Yet He knows that’s all we can give Him; He sees our hearts. Oh, how I love to sing to Him, to offer worship, and to be in His presence.

“You’re welcome in this place.”

We don’t have life if we don’t have God. He is at the core of everything. We need Him more than we realize. You see, when I realize that He is the only One who will accept me wholly , I want Him to draw near to me because I know He genuinely loves me. And He loves you too, literally more than you’ll ever care to know. He is our everlasting Friend, and He is welcome where we decide to lift our voices to Him.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that’s within me shout out!”

The prayer of my heart when I worship. I want nothing more than for my soul to be filled with joy & happiness, so that I have no other words but the name “Jesus” to shout. It’s all about lifting Him up, and having Him know that I am grateful and that I love Him. He makes me so happy, y’all.

How does He make you feel?