that we are worthwhile.
that we are not in competition with each other.
that God loves us and even likes us.
that other people love us and even like us.
that we have a pulsating purpose and light, as followers of Jesus, coursing through our bodies, and we have something to accomplish while we have breath in our lungs here on this earth... not just the 9 to 5 or homework or hanging out.
that we're not alone. in whatever it is or whatever we're struggling through, and even in our purpose, we're not alone and we are not meant to be alone in any of it.
to look around and really see other people.
to be looking intently, deeply, for opportunities to notice and serve other people.
what Jesus has done and is doing, which speaks loads about who He is. which is why i love this song (below) so much... it reminds me about who i was before, how i act when i forget, and who i would be without, Him.
i think i need this post almost daily. like a daily splash of cold water to the face to snap me out of myself. why is it so so easy to forget what we're doing, to forget who we are, to forget who God is, to forget to be thankful. it's always so easy for me to point my finger at the israelites in the old testament when they were wandering and complaining and forgetting over and over who God is and who they are, but i realize, i do the same thing. sometimes it's like that movie, 50 first dates, where drew barrymore's character, who suffers from short-term memory loss, has to watch a little video of her life every morning when she wakes up to remember that she had an injury that caused her to lose her short-term memory and she has a husband and a baby now and that they live on a boat. it's like i need that movie sometimes when i wake up. "here's your family and your friends and they all love you a lot, and remember when Jesus came and changed everything, alexi? He loves you so much. oh, and this is what life looks like when you live for Him, but remember how much you don't feel like who you were created to be when you wander? oh, and you're made in the image of this God who loves you, so walk confidently knowing that He is with you and He made you to be who you are. okay, have a good day! look for people who need the hope you have today!"
remember with me today, friend. remember remember remember.
yesterday was pastor steve's funeral. this man meant a great deal to me. he started pastoring the church i grew up in in 1990, and retired in 2014. so my formative years and then some, this man's voice is the one i heard every sunday. every sunday his "have a wonderful, wonderful Lord's day" was said at the end of each message. every time we clapped because his message was so kick-butt (which happened a lot) he would, without fail, point and look straight up to heaven so as to not receive any commendation for himself. and our church's easter tradition was his loud, triumphant "HE IS RISEN!" from the pulpit, to which we all responded "HE IS RISEN INDEED!" three times, each time getting louder. who i saw him to be towards others, outside of his messages, preached louder to my life than his messages. he was truly a humble and very thankful man who knew he was human and who loved Jesus very, very much. it's a strange thought to me that pastor steve is no longer on the earth. like the world lost some goodness.
i think among the most beautiful moments in my twenty-three years, a specific part of that funeral is one of them. first of all, the church i grew up in, the church i know every nook and cranny of, the church i used to run around in with my sisters when we were bored because mom and dad were talking to people in the cafeteria til the end of time we thought, was filled to overflowing with people. it was like easter sunday- every chair filled, even in the balcony, and others tuning in through an online broadcast. i've always thought funerals speak very loudly of what a person's life was like or about. pastor steve's family had just entered (his wife, son, daughter, their spouses, and his grandkids) which made everyone quite misty-eyed, and one of the pastors asked us to rise and sing. the first thing i thought was i am not going to sing right now, a little bit confused by why we were even being asked to. then pastor mccourt (the worship pastor i grew up knowing too) asked that we would sing the words steve goold lived his life believing, and in Christ alone began playing. i'll never forget all the tears and all the people raising their mourning, yet victorious hands in the air throughout the sanctuary at
"no guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me;
from life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
no power of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand;
till He returns or calls me home,
here in the power of Christ i'll stand."
that image is forever locked in my mind. sacred and holy. i watched the truest form of family while so many people declared Jesus together in the midst of our sadness. i can't do the scene justice. the earthly loss is so sad, but there was so much deep hope and knowing that pastor steve is beholding his friend Jesus now, and that Jesus is glorious and good. i will truly never forget it. one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
also i was glad it was rainy and cloudy yesterday. like the earth was mourning, too.
i also thought about how i've sang that song at a few of my dear friends' weddings too, and how beautiful it is to sing it at both weddings and funerals. truth for all of life, every season.
"bios (natural life) has, to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to zoe (spiritual life, the full, shalom kind of life): but only the sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place, or a statue and a man. a man who changed from having bios to having zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man. and that is precisely what christianity is about. this world is a great sculptor’s shop. we are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.”
(from mere christianity)
dear zach murray,
thanks for making lauren actually believe my last name is pronounced "spitch." lil noob.
dear mustafa, zainab, aboot, & ahmed,
you four are like my happiest moments these days. i love bein with you.
dear anyone who ever texts me "how are you doing?" so sincerely and kindly,
i'm so sorry! i'm absolutely terrible at that question. ugh.
dear hat from the dollar store,
thanks for bein that color and that price (aka, one dollar). lexi lex is QUITE excited boutchyou.
dear small things with great love by margot starbuck,
i can't shut up about you. i love you so much. i wish i had you memorized. i wish your author and i were besties.
dear zach and ron's kitchen windows,
i wish you would come to minnesota and live with me. i would love you better than they can!
i bet you are so so happy to have your son, pastor steve, with you now. i bet there's a lot of rejoicing over a life so well lived. but there are a lot of sad people still here and we need your comfort. thank you for creating him and for his life.
dear all of my friends, everywhere (aka, chicago, germany, milwaukee, madison, faribault, two rivers, menomonie, eau claire, maple grove & minneapolis & st paul),
you're all absolutely incredible. every stinkin one. it's the biggest honor being loved by you, you all live unique, beautiful lives and you teach me how to love Jesus each in unique and irreplaceable ways. i can't believe that out of all the humans that ever existed, you're the ones i get to know and bump lives with. i'm humbled and honored and so so loved by you all.
dear pastor dave,
i saw you this morning across the sanctuary take your glasses off and wipe your eyes with a kleenex after worship. that heart you have. so easily moved. thanks. i want a heart like yours.
dear little bird hopping outside this big, bright, sunny window at spyhouse,
you're SO cute. oh my gosh.
dear Jesus (again),
thank you for teaching me all the time about holding material things loosely and letting things go. because you are so good am i able to trust you and hold everything else so loosely. you are so trustworthy. thank you for teaching me how to get over myself.
this song makes me love Jesus more.
turn it up and listen through!
below are a few things i have learned from singleness, written here from my corner of the world, not speaking on behalf of all single people everywhere, for (hopefully) the encouragement and potential guidance of the single sister or brother out there:
1) when you're wanting a relationship sooo bad, that is almost always a symptom of something else.
from time to time, i need to step back and check myself in a few areas when i feel an unhealthy desire/ thought-ruling pattern of wanting a man to call my boo-thang ;) ... it looks like this:
reevaluating my actions, like checking my motives behind certain actions or even behind posting on instagram or snapchat (am i doing this for validation/to be seen? where do i need to take that instead?)
reassessing my expectations, like, do i think a relationship equals bliss and perfection? is what i have in my head of a relationship realistic, honoring, or godly? or is it something no flesh-and-bones human could ever live up to?
reminding myself where love comes from. when i am most insecure in my identity in Christ and most insecure in being loved by Jesus and others, for me, this manifests itself in my most ugly moments... clingy-ness, desiring a lot of affirmation from everyone, and especially desiring affirmation from men and a relationship. being satisfied in love, deep down to the core, will only come from Jesus. being seen and known the way we desire will only come from Jesus. that's it. there's just no way around it.
2) trust is huge.
when things just aren't working out and you're fearing that God didn't hear you when you said, "hey, i'd like an adventure buddy in this life" for the ten (thousandth) time, and you've got a white-knuckle hold on making it happen yourself, the best thing to do is breathe deeply a few times and remind yourself that God cares a lot about you. that He thinks about you and He cares who you spend your life with and He also cares about the state of your heart. trusting that and believing that is huge in letting things go and being okay when things just aren't working out with someone or there's no one in sight. just knowing that seems to be enough. this does not mean holding onto a promise that you're gonna get married... you may, you may not. it's holding onto the lover of your soul, believing that He loves and cares for you, and no matter what, He's got you. i've often felt that God was saying to me, "haven't i provided for you, alexi?" or, "don't you believe that i love you and i've got you, girl?"
3) desiring a relationship is not bad.
i might drop-kick the next person that tells me i'm single because i'm not desiring the LORD more than a man... and when i finally do, that is when He will bless me with one. stop it. i hate that. desiring a husband or wife is NOT bad, i actually happen to believe that Jesus puts desires in our hearts (after all, He made our hearts), and when it is hard being single (because that is a reality and shouldn't be pushed in the corner with "just desire God more"), i think that's when the most beautiful, real prayers come... "ouch, God, this hurts, and i'm feeling this and this and this and i need you to meet me here" is beautiful and better than pretending that pain isn't there or the desire isn't there.
4) singleness is actually awesome.
marriage is so wonderful and i love watching my friends commit to each other for life with Jesus at the center, and i love watching my friends fall in love. it's all so good and so beautiful and so pleasing to God. but a lot of times people can forget that singleness is actually awesome. i could make a list of why it's awesome, but that's why it's awesome for me, and it's probably awesome for you for different reasons. this might be a great exercise for you to think through. don't diss the place you're at and what God has given in this unique season by having eyes clouded with marriage. the grass is greener where we water it, friend.
5) being single does not equal not being chosen.
that one's the easiest one to believe. but you're not half a person. you are a whole person, with a heart and lungs and gifts and talents and purpose, and just because a guy or gal have not chosen you, that doesn't translate as you are not worthwhile. Jesus is crazy about who you are and who you are becoming and there is still a broken world in desperate need of everything you have and the light and life you carry. let us not lose sight of what we offer and what is most important just because someone isn't pickin up what you're layin down. (;
6) when singleness is hard...
that is the most beautiful opportunity to tell a friend you're struggling and need prayer and need truth. like with every hard thing, good friends can pray for you when you're having a hard time praying for yourself. they can ask God for you when you're eating a whole roll of jimmy john's bread thinking you're the biggest noob on the planet with nothing to offer (or something ;)). just this past week, my dear friends ariel and emily sent me prayer texts and encouragements because i didn't feel very okay or very awesome and their words and prayers lifted me right out of the mud. let other people into it. and be honest with God when it is hard. He loves that.
(i wrote a thought or two about dating, for the curious HERE. i am NOT an authority on these topics, just a girl livin in the world and noticing things.)
hello, sun in my face.
hello, You who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety -
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light -
good morning, good morning, good morning.
watch, now, how i start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
"aslan, aslan. dear aslan,” sobbed lucy. “at last.”
B L O G A R C H I V E