Posts tagged: life
As a writer in the 21st century there is nothing more frustrating then the blinking cursor indicating just how little you have written on the blank screen of your laptop. As it sits there flashing at you, your mind races with the inadequacies of your words and your talent. It makes you doubt the very essence of what you have to say. In a way, the blinking is a representation of the mystery of what is about to come. There will be a next, there will be a time when the fingers click the keyboard and produce a written work – but this in between, the blank screen with a blinking cursor, is maddening.
In these moments the world of the writer does not always make sense. It can feel as if the waves are breaking over your head. Life feels quite beyond your grasp and light-years beyond comprehension.
Somehow, I’ve been sitting on these words for a week. There have been amazing, wonderful, creative and insightful thoughts in my head which have been unable to bust out and free themselves of their mental cage. My mind has been filled with ideas, concepts and thoughts that have the ability to breathe life into a situation and season.
Yet, my head has turned into an abyss of nothingness. The vortex of my brain has done nothing but suck in more and more thoughts. I have not had the ability to calm the mind and still the heart. The words were becoming bingo balls their cage, turning over and over and over again, just waiting to be grabbed and read out loud but the caller had left for several minutes to go to the restroom as the cage just kept turnig.
Could you imagine the frustration of those players?
Well, that is about how frustrated I have been with my brain the past week.
It’s been hard. It’s been long. Yet, it’s been beautiful.
The maddening nature of the past week has made me wrestle with the ability to progress, detox and heal when I do not have words to accurately pull other people into my story and journey.
For a week I have been dealing with spiritual and relational writers block. Finally, thankfully, the blinking cursor is on a forward trajectory. The fingers are moving as they feel the cool, plastic keys beneath their fingertips. As the screen fills with words life seems to make a little bit more sense.
Comprehension is here. Excitement is brewing. He has made me ready for this moment.
God is always speaking. God is always trying to teach us things. In fact, sometimes He’ll even use things you constantly put in your life that don’t seem spiritual in any sense of the term. For me, one of these things is sports. Tonight, I had one of those magical "aw ha" moments while watching the olympics - particularly the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team taking home the Gold Medal.
Honestly, gymnastics is one of the sports I find the least fascinating - in part because of the judges. However, stories fascinate me and I’ll watch the USA beat Russia any day of the week, brings me back to the Miracle on Ice. So, it really boggles me that it was during this I had a moment to ponder.
The video above is the only thing I could really find on the internet to give an example of what hit me, but at the same time, the expressiveness of these parents being all in and feeling every second of their daughters routine is remarkable. Honestly, I don’t know who felt more stress the parents or the daughter? But look at how much they celebrate when their daughter is done, fully living out the gifts and abilities she has been blessed with.
Isn’t this how God feels about us? Does He look at us with anger as we screw up, or does he track with us like the parents of this olympian? He agonizes with us in our lows, our struggles, then celebrates with us in our highs. Our God is not one who watches us with disdain thinking "how could we struggle with that?" Rather, He is one who is constantly encouraging us to get back off the mat and live in the ways He has wired us and called us to be.
If our earthly parents can exude such joy for us when we succeed, how much more does God? Sure, there may be moments where we go on the adventure of a roller coaster, but at the same moment these are the ones which let our abilities rise to to the top as we learn to dig deeper and rely on God more then we ever thought we had to.
Just like these Olympians, God has given me abilities and gifts to nurture, steward and use. I am who I am because He wants me to live in my identity and my wiring. As I live out these talents, my Father rejoices with the same exuberance these parents of the Olympians do.
I’m humbled and grateful. I long to live out my talents, abilities and gifts because when I do, I make my Father extremely joyous.
On a scale of weeks I’d like to forget, to weeks of my life chiseled and etched into my memory - this one runs towards the pendulum of forgettable. It has been a ride of unparalleled proportions - even though both of the life situations are ones I wanted to see happen.
However, stress is stress.
The funny thing is, I have begun to discover trials & pain show me I am completely walking on the right path of the holy risks God is preparing me to take. Am I going the right way? Is this week a setback or is it opportunities to see God move in profound ways?
I would not have chosen the route. Yet, I see opportunity instead of setback. I see open doors instead of cages. I see an open trail instead of a crumbling bridge.
This next step will not easy. I am not going to lie. I do not do unemployment well. I have been here before; I know this road. I pray I am better prepared for it. I ask to let this be a time of growth.
Holy Spirit, my summer is your. Be my light. Be my guide. Let me walk in the next best right step. Let me know I am yours and I am right where I should be. This is not my choice, but now it is my path. You are moving. Father, your child is ready.
I love this family.
Sitting back, watching and observing how he walks through being a husband, father and pastor teaches me so much. It prepares me as I watch. It reminds me how grateful and thankful I am to journey with him and his family.
This post, written by his wife, almost made me cry. It’s beautiful. Honestly, I can’t wait to be a father…
As a seminary student, who is a leader and burgeoning, possible church planter - you could assume I have a lot of things figured out when it comes to this whole Jesus thing. Well, in some aspects you would be right, but at the same time, you would be so horribly wrong it is not even funny; you would be reading into words, callings and passions I have and assuming Jonathon Welch has now arrived in his discipleship with Jesus.
To assume I have arrived and this is what makes me able to be a pastor, leader and church planter would be a lie from the pit of the depths of Hades. It would be a logical fallacy. It would be unconceivable.
In fact, I have not arrived. There are many, many things this man needs to learn and mature in. My character is still growing. Sanctification is ever ongoing. I will never arrive. I will always be on a journey with Jesus; I cannot lie - this excites me.
One way, I can practically, authentically, show you how I need to continue this journey with Jesus is through the idea of sabbath. It is biblical. Jesus’ sabbathed. Yet, I do not like to sabbath. I like to be a mover and shaker, to achieve, to strive, to work, to let my type a personality run amuck and get very little rest.
This does not mean I do not have fun - I have lots of fun. I know how to rest in the day to day, in my days - I just do not need a lot of sleep. What I need to grow in, is the idea of sabbath rest. Taking 24 hours off - one day - to just rest.
To not worry about things that need to get done.
To remember that no matter what I do, Jonathon will never accomplish it.
To remember what makes me worthy and called to do ministry is Jesus’ death on the cross and His ressurection three days later.
God illustrates to us His model of sabbath rest - He created the world in six days, on the seventh He rested. So, for this semester, I have decided to be intentional and sabbath rest.
It goes against my wiring.
It is why I need to do it.
So far I have sabbathed; so far it has been wonderful. God has been faithful - everything has still been accomplished and I am even spiritually refreshed by it. As I journey with Jesus, this example of sabbath and this semester’s intentionality, is a foundation I need to establish in my life as I go deeper with Jesus and ministry.
The ministry God calls me towards and into is not mine. It never will be mine. It is always His. He must do the work - if it relies and centers on Jonathon it will fail. It cannot and will not steal me away from my future family; ministry never stops - but Jonathon will. Jonathon will sabbath.
“As believers of Jesus, we are not called to a life of sunshine and unicorns and rainbows”
For some reason, this section from Fight Club is standing out to me tonight after the wake for my brother and friend, Ramon. I love this movie; I love the message it develops in contradiction to our western, 21st century, post-modern society that lives, breathes and eats consumerism.
My brother Ramon has a name in death, but not because he earned that name. He has an identity in death, but not because he earned it from man. In death, my brother, Ramon, has a name and an identity - from a source greater then we could develop - Jesus.
Ramon is: healed, redeemed, perfect, resurrected, forgiven, accepted, loved, blessed, worthy, holy, made new, sanctified, approved, regenerated, justified - beloved son of the Most High God. This is his identity. This is his name.
Ramon, the beloved son of the Most High God. He is with Jesus - healed. The cancer is gone - forever. Forever. Forever! He is HEALED!!!!!!!
I cannot wait to see him again. Give Ramon a hug. Talk with him once again. Have him introduce me to people. It’s gonna be great.
Do you see how beautiful our hope is? Do you understand how great our God is? Can you fathom how His love stretches? Can you walk in what comes next, in the promises to come?
Placing myself under God’s sovereignty.
Surrounded by brothers.
Wanting my friend to come back.
Missing a brother.
Longing to have him back.
Angry at cancer.
Stoked he knew Jesus.
Praying for healing.
Wanting people to meet Jesus because of Ramon Vidaurri’s life of obedience to his Savior and ultimate Healer.
I am really good at being raw, uncensored, letting it fly off the cuff. What I’m not good at however, is letting my emotions wear on my sleeve. Simply put, I have the tendency to be stoic to a fault. My heart on the inside can be broken, destroyed and mush - full of empathy, pain and sorrow - yet my outside will be thick skinned and stoic.
There is a longing for my emotions to be raw right now.
To learn to grieve well.
There are many stories to be told from my day. Many of them involve the movement and encounter with the Holy Spirit. Today was a profoundly beautiful and painful day. My heart shattered numerous times.
Tears were shed - finally.
The time was right.
And as a brother of mine said tonight: "The greater you grieve; the greater you have loved."
Holy Spirit, help me to grieve well for the loss of a brother, friend, ministry partner and for a woman who lost her husband. Ramon will be missed, yet in the now he is healed. Now, I ask for prayer for his wife as she gets to sit in this. I ask you lift her up, daily, constantly for her to encounter the love and grace of her Father in heaven. Ask for her to feel the love of the Father.
Pray for his family to meet Jesus - especially his dad. Pray for his friends.
Pray for me to grieve well.
Last night, in the midst of a crazy couple of days, days filled with mental and physical tiredness, God opened up a unique avenue for the waging of warfare. Gracefully, the Holy Spirit gave me the patience and wisdom to wage good warfare.
It centered around a meal, well I was eating dinner and my brother was sitting at our kitchen table with me. The conversation was several parts shooting the breeze, several parts talking about what happened to my truck and several parts talking about his life, his job hunt and family. In a way it felt like old times; the nights where him and I would be the only two left up in our house. He would have gotten home after working and I was downstairs watching television or something in high school. Yet, this time, there was something entirely unique.
This time, there was a memory of what once was and what there now is.
At least, this is what I felt. I don’t know if my brother truly understands this. I don’t know if my brother truly understands how much I love him. (Now for this to all make sense one needs to recall all the post about my brother. Also, one now needs to know how my brother and his family have moved into our living room until he finds a job and place to live in Orange County.)
Inside me, deep down in my heart and soul, there is pain and a longing that has been unable to be quenched because of his wounds left there. Those are only possible though because I love him. I want my relationship with my brother to be sanctified, to be healed, to be redeemed - I want it. But, the only way for this to happen is for the Holy Spirit to heal my heart over a matter of time.
Ever since my brother’s family moved into my living room this past week, my heart and soul have been fluctuating from bad to good. The conversation a night ago is a reminder how much effort it takes to reconcile. It is a reminder of walking in and processing reconciliation. It was a realization, a breakthrough, a word from the Holy Spirit that reconciliation is less about the process of reconciling with that person, but more of me reconciling my heart back and in God’s heart, His love, His appreciation for His creation.
Reconciliation is always a spiritual thing. Before I can be reconciled to my brother, my heart and soul need to be fully reconciled to my God. Holy Spirit, please help apply the Gospel to my life. Holy Spirit, please breathe life and bring light.
I am a go getter. I am a type “A” personality. I am an “achiever”. I am a man with a plan. I run hard; I move fast; I move deliberately. There are not a whole lot of things which can keep me from pushing after what God calls me to do.
I feel most alive, when I am busy; I am most productive when I am busy with a full plate.
Yet, even for us sometimes we find our limits.
There are seasons where you can get by with scraping by. I don’t like those seasons. I like thriving. I want the best, not adequate or even good. The best.
This season I am jumping into is one I think I’ll be able to thrive in. I know the way I’m wired. I know how I work. I know how God has uniquely created and wired me. Now, I get to live it out.
As this season develops, I will get to run hard and be productive with my hands holding several different shovels. It is going to be good. Not just good - the best. Yet, in the now, I’m not running fully. I get to wait. I get to sit. I get to pray. I get to anticipate.
I get to learn to wait expectantly. I get to expect my God to speak again. I get to learn to anticipate His moving.
Now, in the moment, I will sit at my Savior’s feet and wait for Him to lead me again.
To call 2011 an easy year would be a misnomer and purposefully trying to deceive
you, the reader, myself. I’m not that type of man. That is why I wrote Memento Mori :: 2011 Filled with Pain (http://tinyurl.com/78yutzr) first - to not pull any punches or sugar coat my year. That way, as I process everything else about 2011 - you will know God has done some incredible things in my life, heart and soul this past year and how I have not been the one to do these things but God has done these things and the Holy Spirit dwelling in me has illuminated things to me and used them to shape me more into a man after God’s own heart.
Many of those 365 days in 2011 were incredibly painful. There is a funny thing about pain. Pain makes way for beauty; beauty makes way for joy.
This past year, I found joy - again. Even though my life around me was out of whack and in disarray - in so many different avenues and facets. I had joy. I knew my God was larger. I knew Jesus still loved me. I knew the Holy Spirit was moving - even when I had no idea how, where or why.
Joy is here.
2006 and 2007 were times I thought couldn’t be rivaled. These were two of the most painful years of my life leading to the most beautiful and profound moments of my life. The span of those 730 days are unforgettable; they shaped me into the man I am today; they set me on the path to fully understand and realize my calling; they are untradable. Even in the midst of the hardships of these years, I had joy. I had hope.
So, when life went down the proverbial water park ride ride this year - I had hope and confidence, because I knew how my God has used these moments in the past. This confidence, helped me have joy - for my God was and is moving.
It wasn’t because my circumstances were easy.
I wasn’t happy. There were many moments I was deeply sad and struggling with life - yet, I had joy.
I wouldn’t trade 2011 for anything in the world now. It will go side by side with 2005 and 2006 in the years that shaped me into the man I am and will be. Again, God has used this year to illuminate and give me further vision into my calling. God used pain to bring beauty.
2011 - Joy was there. Joy is here.