Welcome to Fashion Friday: Ready for Fall

While this blog will remain primarily about faith,  I am routinely asked where I shop and since the title of the blog “Surrender Is the New Black” is a reference to a fashion term, I thought it would be fun to start doing a “Fashion Fridays” post.

 

The inagural “Fashion Friday” is dedicated to the changing weather in Austin (from really hot to less hot!)

 

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Dress: Ann Taylor (ON SALE!)

Jacket: Ann Taylor

Shoes: Ann Taylor 

Bracelet: Noonday Collection (similar here)

Necklace: Kendra Scott 

Earrings: Kendra Scott (similar here)

And then Her Heart was Heavy (link love)

The events in Ferguson, Mo are truly heartbreaking. Mike Brown is my brother, my friend, my neighbor. I don’t really have words for my feelings on what is happening to Black Americans across this country. Every week, I am confronted with a new name to add to the list Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Travyon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, and Mike Brown.  Honestly, it is hard not to internalize the message that some lives matter more. I don’t know what to say, but I do know that my God is a God of justice and that even if society tells black people our lives are less valuable, I know that is not true in the eyes of my heavenly father. I know because He tells me so in Isaiah 58:6, the fasting that the Lord has chosen is “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

I am reminded that once a upon a time a young Alabama preacher was the clarion call for justice and equality in this country. His dream unfulfilled and likely to remain that way if we are unwilling as a nation and as Christians to actively break the chains of racism and confront our biases. I have posted links to posts that are much more eloquent than I for those who want to understand Ferguson both historically and in the context of our faith.

Here are some links on Ferguson that put the events in the larger context of what it means to be black in America.

Melissa Harris-Perry: No Rights Which A White Man is Bound to Respect

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reparations for Ferguson

Jelani Cobb: The Anger in Ferguson

Kara Brown: This is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown

Greg Howard: America is Not For Black People

Here are some links on Faith and Ferguson ( I am grateful for leaders like Matt Chandler and Russell Moore)

Austin Channing Brown: Black Bodies White Souls

Sarah Bessey: In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson

Eugene Cho: Please don’t ignore it. Five ways that Christians and churches must engage Michael Brown’s death

Russell Moore:  Ferguson and the Quest for Racial Justice

Matt Chandler: More on Ferguson and White Privilege

Thabiti Anyabwile: Coming (Back) to America: My One Fear

Baptist Press: Ferguson and You

I hope that every Christian that has posted about ISIS in Iraq and cares about justice will be on their knees this week praying for the people in Ferguson and for their African American neighbors, co-workers, and friends because weeks like these are a heavy thing to carry alone.

“How long, not long because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

And Then She Learned to Love Good Friday

 

 

true love-textwebsize“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

I have been there. In a season, where every day feels like Good Friday. Filled with despair, suffering, tears.

Why God? Why this way? Why their death? Why this job?

No answers come, only more silence and more suffering. I am left at in a puddle at His feet.

Wondering, Waiting…when Lord?

It seemed like it was over. This is it. The darkness has won and I am defeated.

It is finished.

It is finished!

It is finished?

We grieve, we cry out, we remember that in “ a little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me…Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” (John 16: 16, 20)

It is finished, but this isn’t how the story ends. No, Good Friday is just the beginning for Him and for us.

Suffering is a means of sanctification. We need our Good Fridays for Resurrection Sunday to come.

Despite how it feels today on Good Friday, God is working below the surface to breathe life into what we once thought was dead. Sunday is coming. Weeping will be turned to dancing. Sorrow will be turned into joy. Something beautiful will rise from these ashes. The Savior will come.

Why the cross?

For Your glory and Your great love.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Jesus prayed, “ I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:4-5

Why this cross?

For Your glory and my good…that I may know and believe Him.

“We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1: 9-10

We grieve through the Good Fridays of our lives, but just hold on because Resurrection Sunday is coming. We will be reminded of His strength and what once we thought dead will be raised.

And Then She Learned to Live with Uncertainty

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I am a fairly confident person. I have a very strong personality and I am always sure about everything. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I live my life in a way that plays to my strengths. I hate hate hate uncertainty, I need to know at all times exactly where I am going and what is going to happen when I get there.

I say this just so we are clear that I am happiest when I am in total control, meaning whatever is happening is because I choose to either make it happen or do nothing. But, it’s not possible to be independent and love Jesus with reckless abandon. By its very nature, faith requires you to relinquish control, to surrender to Someone larger than yourself, to believe that just maybe you don’t know everything.

Giving up control is hard…especially for a control freak!  In fact, I am terrible at it and most days I just want to cling to my will and my way. I mean it’s definitely easier to do what I want to live how I want to live, but it’s not really fulfilling. And if I am honest, my way means agonizing over every single decision, rehashing every conversation, and reliving every single mistake. My way is super stressful because it’s predicated on my strengths.

His way seems fraught with uncertainty, but if history is any indication the payoff is amazing. Abraham would never have had Isaac or become the father of a nation without leaving his father’s home in  Ur. Ruth would have never met Boaz if she had chosen to return to her family in  Moab. Paul would have never written half of the New Testament without answering the strange voice he heard on the road to Damascus.

And yet, I have tried to create a third way… a little of my way, and a little of His way.

But, lately the third way feels too clever by a half. It’s impossible to serve two masters. I cannot live to please God and please myself. I have to choose and I have come down firmly on the side of pleasing God.

Of course now, Presto! Change-o!  It’s so much easier to face difficulty and endure trials.

WRONG.

It’s more like “I hate this! I hate being here and I hate you for making me stay!”

“This isn’t where I want to be.  This place is terrible!”

“Now that I am all Ruth, where is my Boaz?”

“Why me?”

“Seriously?”

I feel like Peter, I have stepped out of the boat on faith and I am walking on water, but OMG the waves and wind, Lord! So I am out here on the water trying to walk and because I am in a place that exceeds my skill level, I am sort of stuck out here until God sees fit to rescue me.  I feel uncertain and unsure most of the time, because I am out of the boat, but the wind is still howling and the waves keep on rocking.

And if I am honest I am frustrated with God and most of the time I am feeling some kind of way about this whole living on the waves proposition. I am restless. Longing for solid ground, a weather change, or a word to calm the sea.  God has called me to something, what I am not sure and living in the tension in being to take its toll.  As someone who has always been an overachiever, whenever I face challenges in my life I have been able to conquer them, because of my education, my resources, my parents, and my friends. I have always depended on myself to carry me to the next thing, meet the next challenge, and tackle the next goal. My drive and success has for too long masked the truth of my condition…I am in great need.

I have heard many times that “you don’t know that God is all you need, until He is all you have.” In my case, I haven’t had to lose anything (yet), but suddenly it feels like the things I do have are not enough. Things that just a few months ago looked so shiny have begun to dull, but maybe I am just seeing them for what they always were.

Maybe I have been living in a virtual Christian reality.  Maybe living on the waves is the really how we are meant to live as Christians.  On the waves, we are totally dependent on God. Maybe we aren’t supposed to be comfortable at all. Maybe boat living is a shadow of what we were truly meant for.  Maybe the real glory of Christianity can only be found on the waves.

It’s weird to go from a place of total independence to an almost crippling dependence.  But, I feel that for the first time in a long time, I am exactly where He wants me, for when I am weak, I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

And Then She Realized It’s Okay to Be Different (Link Love)

Gary Owen on the differences between white and black churches

“What’s so sad is that when women fail to take their lives seriously, nobody wins.“–Shauna Niequist shares What My Mother Taught Me

“But far too often, the “stop-being-so-divisive” line is used by those in power to diffuse, or even silence, difficult conversations about why things might need to change.” -Rachel Held Evans speaks On Being Divisive

“The truth is that patriarchal systems hurt men as much as they hurt women. Just as women were not created to be oppressed and so it damages us, I believe that men were not created to be the oppressors and that it will damage them.”–Sarah Bessey shows us there’s a new way forward

MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry talks with author bell hooks about the intersectionality of race, gender, and class

“I’m not going to force some single mom to ring up my worthless purchases instead of enjoying Thanksgiving with her children.”– Matt Walsh on giving thanks and rejecting consumerism