Monday, May 31, 2010

Tribute to the American Armed Forces

Tribute to the American Armed Forces
By:  Adrielle R. Bollin

 Image found at

You serve and show great faith
In the freedom for one and all
You fight for God and country
Forsaking safety's call

Protecting all the innocent
You fight without remorse
Fending off all enemies
You blaze the soldier's course

You don't require fortune
Nor do you beg for fame
But just a simple "Thank you"
And a stone carved with your name

A hero not forgotten
We honor you today
Showing you our gratitude
We'll raise our country's flag

A small and simple gesture
To show our deep respect
To show you we remember
The fighting and fallen soldier and vet


Image found at 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Lost Song

"The Lost Song"
By Adrielle R. Bollin

Where have you gone
Oh song in my heart?
And where did you go
The voice which sang so sweet?
I miss the bright sunshine
Which your music daily brought
The lyrics and melodies
Like a warm summer breeze
Their soothing effect
Like a soft gray rain
Gently washing away fear
To bring life once again
Their passionate embrace
Like a crashing ocean wave
And the pull of every tide
The way my soul soared
Like eagles majestic and free
Flying so high and seeing everything
How you made me proud
Like a stallion running in the wind
Wide nostrils taking deep breaths
Mane and tail dancing on air
You helped me forget
This world, it's troubles and sins
You soothed my moods
Like a hot therapeutic bath
Melting away tension as butter to heat
You lifted my tear stained face
When I could bear no more
Gave the healing salve
Ministered deep to my core
I miss your presence
Though I know you're still near
You're still in this house
Hiding in a secret room
Awaiting the call
Of The Healer's gentle voice
He'll pick up the pieces
Of my world gone astray
Give me new life
Make me whole again

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Learning Perspective Part 3

Bad temper is its own scourge. Few things are more bitter than to feel bitter. A man's venom poisons himself more than his victim. 
-- Charles Buxton
Whoever has freed himself from envy and bitterness may begin to try to see things as they are.
  -- John Lancaster Spalding 
I have had much to dive into.  I needed to give up the poison of my pride; the part of me that thought I was better than others, for what ever the reason; the part of me that is constantly comparing where I stand in comparison to others around me.  Why? Because doing so (comparing) makes me bitter, because it makes me strive for perfection which only drives me away from God; you see I am already somewhat of a perfectionist, so to strive even more only drives me to quitting.  I have very strong  "all or nothing" tendencies.

I needed to realize that we are all human and we all have good days and bad.  Since I have known God my whole life, I needed to surrender my "experience" and "seniority" as a Christian.  Why?  Because it made me feel like I was better than other people, that I understood more, knew the character of God better and it made me judge everyone unfairly.  It made my counsel hard to take because people could see and smell the stench of my arrogance.  Having pride in a job well done or a poem well written is one thing, but pride that lords over people is extremely unattractive.

I also needed to learn outside of the box.  Since I have been brought up in the church (so to speak), I have become too familiar with the "Christianese" language as well as the mannerisms, formulas and tendencies.  I have become so jaded toward religion and it's church that nothing satisfies anymore inside those four walls.  Church used to feel like home, but now everything feels hypocritical and foolish, harsh and demeaning.  God is still healing and reconstructing in this area.  But God was and is so gracious (and delightfully sneaky) that He uses everyday things and peculiar things and songs and movies and nature and whatever else is available to speak through and get through to me.  Whenever I open the door for Him, or just listen for Him, He speaks and shows Himself to my heart.  Just because I am angry with God and, or my circumstances, doesn't mean I can't be open or chose to be still watch and listen for Him.  God is persistent when you leave the door open. 

Then there's the issue of guilt!  I need to drop (again and again) the guilt that punishes and pushes me around and makes me do things that harm rather than help.  I need to silence the liar that tells me how terrible I am because I do this or I don't do that, to muzzle to voices that tell me I'll never measure up and that I'm running out of time.   I need to silence my brain and all it's knowledge and counter knowledge.  I need to see with a fresh pair of eyes the beauty of wildflowers, of imperfections, rerouted plans, of His timing and of what it really means to work through problems and to experience the reward.  I need to find out who I am and what Christianity means to me.

So in the end, and the ongoing, I am getting a new dictionary, a new perspective on words I misunderstood.  It's all still so very much in progress, but I am believing that with time and healing these new definitions will redefine and hone in the person I am meant to be.

Surrendering All = Letting God take control of and move freely in all aspects of my life.  It means allowing Him time and space to work while doing my best not to interfere; which also means when I find a flaw in myself, I need to bring it to Him and let Him decide if and when and how it needs fixing.  I have already found yet another that I think needs to be fixed right away, but have to lay it down again... He really and truly does want the very best for me after all!

Dying to Self = Consistently remembering to keep my mind open to new possibilities.
Remembering that I do not have all the answers nor do I need to have them.  Remembering that I have not been appointed judge over anyone and therefore I am not above anyone.

Giving up my pride = Letting go of any image of myself that I have made for the sake of others' opinion of me.  It means truly allowing myself to be who I am in every moment, which can be pretty raw sometimes; but no more hiding behind who I think I ought to be.  It means that I must constantly remember that there is ALWAYS two sides to every story.  It means even when I feel completely justified, I still must leave the final judgment up to God.

In the end, I will know what traits I have always despised about myself that are actually useful.  Some day soon I will walk in wholeness like I have never known before, knowing who I am and what I was made for.   Until then, I will keep my eyes, ears and senses up to hear my maker's calling and instructions and whispers of love.

What views do you have that you know are skewed?  Do you have phrases or words that make your skin crawl even though you know there is some truth to them?  What is God dealing with in your life?  Are you resisting it because you see other issues you'd like resolved first?  I'd like to challenge you to take the route He gives you rather than taking on the whole mountain before you even get packed.  ;)

I hope you all have a great week!  :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Learning Perspective Part 2

The way I viewed the act of surrender as well as the definition of dying to self and of pride, needed to change.  Religion has defined for us these things along with a kind of formula designed for getting rid of such pesky attributes.  In reality though, each person must go through his or her own adventure of finding out what it means to them; to surrender, to die to self and to find the poison in their pride along with all the other coined phrases and words used by the church at large.

Let me give you an example.  The church says that wives are to submit to and honor their husbands and then usually that concept is defined/designed for us as a one size fits all formula.  Well I can only imagine how many women cringe and tense up at the dreaded "submit" word!  I cringed too, but I still did my best to comply anyway according to what the church (at the very least) implied.  The thing is though, is that my husband did not feel honored by the conventional or stereotypical ways we as Christians are told to honor and submit to our husbands.  As a matter of fact, he did not want submission from me in any traditional sense.  Well this was a bit confusing at first, but after praying about it for some time I came to figure out that the key word I needed to focus on was not submit (a word that had become too tainted in my mind), but rather to honor.  Then I had to figure out what it meant to honor my husband in my own way.  My husband doesn't want to be "submitted" to or under.  He wants me to honor him with communication, presence, mutual respect and to work together to build a home.   You know how Jesus says to take his yoke because it is easy and light?  Mathew 11:30 This was immensely easier and lighter!  It's kind of like learning the love language in a way, figure out what fills their cup and you'll usually find out what it means for you personally to honor your man (or woman).

Another simpler example would be that of discipline.  Every child is different.  Some need a strong hand of discipline, but others need only a look, or a soft but stern spoken word to be chastened.  Each parent must do the work of finding out what makes the child cease bad behavior without diminishing or destroying the child's spirit .  My brothers needed to be spanked in order to cease bad behavior, whereas I felt my parents' wrath when they simply spoke low and firmly to me.  My daughter only feels sorry for and ceases her bad behavior if she is given a time out.  Everyone is different!

So, unbeknown to me, I would begin my journey of discovery in seas of frustration and oceans of uncertainty.  Of course I had no idea at the time what needed fixing, or even that anything was being fixed.  I only knew that I was miserable and couldn't figure out where God was in my life or what in the world He was doing.  Everything came at me so fast that I had no time to bury it all.

One thing that needed to change was my ideals, and how I viewed Godly perfection and purity.  I continuously need to surrender my ideals; to die to my own perceived self image.  Somehow I got all kinds of preconceived notions about what "good" and "bad" Christians looked like;  "good" Christian doesn't ever swear or drink, smoke or have fits of rage, or show too much joy, or share too much pain.  They're humble which meant they wouldn't acknowledge their God given talents or their hard work, but instead would say things like "I'm glad you were blessed by it", or "It was all God" or whatever other phrase they could come up with so they wouldn't have to take any credit.  Somehow I also got the notion that I needed to stuff all feelings of anger, frustration, and hurt, and that I needed to forget any injustices as if they didn't even happen.

You know how people say that God allows bad things to happen for a reason?  Or that He'll never give you more than you can handle?  Well, I learned that the first is true sometimes and the other is a load of crap.  The actual verse that phrase is supposed to have come from is 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

I think God "gave" me or allowed so much to come at me so that I wouldn't be able to act as I normally would.  I was forced to crash, and to act outside of my usual amiability.  Normally, I would stuff the injustices down along with anger, and hurt.  At some point, I was stuffed to the point of bursting until I couldn't hold it any more.  I think I let some leak out at some point so that I could make room for more.  I am still finding that I am continuing to hide... but I am only recently figuring out that God is training me to rid myself of bitterness.

In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of doing wrong deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
  -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by the decrease in bitterness.
  -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Part 3 to come next week :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Learning Perspective Part 1

"And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all"

They say that love is blind, especially of new love.  In my experience there have been so many times when I felt this to be an attribute of God - that He has a sort of blind love for us.  Not that He is blind, no, far from it.  But He loves us so incredibly and patiently and forcibly as if (it seems) he does not notice our shortcomings.  Today I again had the immense pleasure of realizing this again.  He spoke only a couple words, but in them was such an overwhelming flood of love that told me of and showed me of His love for me as well as what the last year or more has been about.

In the last year or more I have been in a place of wandering and wondering, fighting and arguing, giving up and giving in until eventually I simply took whatever came as it was and stopped thinking much at all about...anything.  I only knew that God was working, and that was it.  The anger and frustration I felt and continue to feel seemed unexplainable and unwarranted, yet it's presence is undeniable.  I had given up asking God why I was feeling so negative because there was never any answer except the subtle yet undeniable hints that He was at work.  I think that because I over think so much, He had to get me to the place of surrender.  When I say surrender, I mean that I gave up trying to figure it out, gave up asking or arguing, and no longer cared at all what any of my fellow Christians thought of me or my actions or behavior (after all I have friends who are not Christians and they love me just how I am).   So I allowed (and continue to allow) myself to really feel everything and to be open to all that I might see and hear and weigh it all without much of any religious influence.

When the bible talks about surrendering all to Him, about dying to self and giving up your pride, we have all been taught what kinds of things that should include.  Either that, or this is how I have perceived it.  Here's what I mean.

My False Perceptions

Surrendering All = giving up... things, time, money, dreams, etc.

          All material things along with things like time with your family to "be with the Lord", surrendering your time, resources, talents and desires.

Dying to Self = giving up "fleshy desires" like (if I am honest) fun

          All the "do not’s" - don't smoke, don't drink, don't dance (in any way that is "unholy"), don't swear, don't lose your temper, don't spend (too much) money on yourself, etc.

Giving up my pride = do not boast or take credit or pride in, about or for anything

          We can do nothing without God and we should say things like "God be praised!" for every feat great or small and give Him ALL the credit verbally and incessantly so that all can hear and know that you are not full of yourself.

Though there is some truth in each of these, the slant I viewed them from was a bit ridiculous.  I really only saw these things through religion's lenses, as law; as in if you don't do the do's and do the don'ts, life and after life is going to be hell.  Don't ask me where I got these religious glasses from, as I have no idea!  Here's the thing; growing up the way I did in a loving Christian home has it's definite benefits, however just like anything there are pros and cons.  One of the cons being that I never really questioned anything, but took a lot for granted.  So when normal but difficult life occurrences began affecting me and those close to me, I couldn't understand why, when we were doing everything "right," crap continued to go wrong.  Life continues to prove to me that even though I am a Christian, hard things were going to come my way - and they did... and do. 

The beauty of God though is that He can take anything.  If you think He is shocked by your show of emotion, your mistakes, or your anger, you are sadly mistaken.  See, you forget (as I often do) that He made you!  Every fiber of your being is known and loved by God!  He took pride in His work.  He knows your temper, your quirks, your desires, your cares, your oddities, tenancies, emotions, will, glories and failures, past, present, and future!  To top that off, He loves you so much that He won't let you stay that way, but will continue to promote good change in you.

I acted at first like a spoiled brat raising my fists in anger at God and begging Him to change and improve my situations.  Then I became the sulking teenager with a "screw you" and "whatever" attitude.  Eventually though, I came to the conclusion (with the help of the wise) that no matter what happens and even though I'm extremely angry and frustrated, He is still here inside of me, working and loving and moving.  Even though I'm mad as hell and don't understand a thing about what is going on, I don't want Him to leave. Whether I like it or not, my heart is inevitably and irrevocably His because I chose Him so long ago and continue to choose Him.   So, I let Him work...

Part 2 will be posted Tuesday of next week!
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