“Course He Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good.”

I don’t want your god of rainbows and butterflies, your god who dances in fields and makes daisy chains and takes you on picnics, or your god who always forgives, is never angry, is always gentle, and is always super positive. I don’t want your sheep, your bright ball of light, your grandfatherly figure, and your heavenly Santa Claus.

Sorry, lovely, the God of this universe is not a kindly, old, gray-haired, hippy grandfather. Yes, He romances us. Yes, He always, 100%-of-the-time, no-matter-what forgives us. Yes, He is gentle with us, even when He breaks us.

But please, please, don’t lose sight of the sword in the folds of his robe. Don’t lose sight of the fire in His eyes. Don’t forget that, when people see Him without protection, they die. Don’t forget that His angels cause warriors to fall to the ground and fear for their life. Don’t forget that this is the God who ripped His own heart out of His chest and put it on earth for us to trample on and abuse. Don’t forget that He has sacrificed everything and daily fights for us.

There are times in my life when I need the God who romances me, who paints sunsets and plants flowers, and who puts people in my life to say a gentle word, and He is always faithful to provide that. But mostly, if I’m really honest, I need the God who will stand over my curled up, incapacitated soul and fight away the darkness with His sword.

I need the God who pushes my boundaries. I need the God who chisels away painfully at my soul, working on me and convicting me to become more like Him. I need the God who is covered to His elbows in the blood of my enemies, who fights for me while I cower behind Him, who hands me a sword and pushes me into the fray when I don’t think I’m brave enough or strong enough.

I need the God who doesn’t cut me slack, who demands perfection, who is angry with a righteous anger when I walk away or hurt Him, who lets me face the consequences of my choices, and who is always waiting to take me back. I need the God who knows me better than I know myself. I need the God who molded my face with His fingers – the fingers that built up the mountains and leveled the plains and carved out the unfathomable, deep places for the oceans.

I need the God who is strong enough to carry me when I can’t walk on my own. I need the God who never tires, never sleeps, never fails, and never gives up on me. I need the God who is as desperate for me as I am for Him and will go to whatever lengths He must to win my heart and soul.

One of my most favorite quotes of all time is from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Susan is talking with Mr. Beaver about Aslan, and she says, “Is he – quite safe?” And Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

The God I need, the God I serve, is not safe.

To be safe, He would have to be small enough to be understood. He would have to be something I could pull into tiny pieces and figure out. He would have to be small enough for me to wrap my head around. He would have to be predictable and quantifiable.

I could never worship Him, serve Him, give my life to Him, or follow Him if He were small enough to be safe.

So, please, throw away your safe God. Throw away the thing you’ve shrunk God into. Throw away your tiny, one-dimensional view of God. Throw away the PC, kind, loving, old man floating on a cloud in the sky. Remember that the Creator of the Universe and all its intricacies could never be small enough for you, the created, to truly grasp.

But always remember that He is good.

No matter how ferocious He is, no matter how angry He gets, no matter how powerful He is, no matter how strong He is, no matter how much control He has, no matter how much you run away, no matter how jealous He is for you, and no matter how much He longs for you, He will always be good. Always.

I rest in His hand, covered by the strength of His mighty right arm. I know that His unfathomable love for me is why He protects me. I know that He will always be there to bind up my wounds and carry me to safety.

Because I know the strength of my God, I know that there is nothing He cannot face, there is nothing He will shrink from, and there is nothing that can defeat Him. I know that, because He loves me as His own child, I am cherished with both the ferocity of a warrior and the gentleness of a father. I know that I am always cared for, always loved, and always safe when I rest in the palm of His hand.

I can rest knowing that I will always be protected. I have peace knowing that I will always be delivered. I have courage knowing that I will never fight alone. I have hope knowing that He will never stop fighting to make the world right again.

My Protector, my Father, my Savior, my Lord, and my God will never abandon me, never grow tired of me, never hurt me maliciously, and never forsake me. The Destroyer of my enemies is my Great Physician. The Pillar of Fire is my Calm Waters. I am never alone. I am never forsaken. I will never be abandoned. I am safe.

I’ll take that over your puny half-god any day.

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Jello Disaster

I tried to make jello a while ago.

It was while I was still in school, and it was so traumatic, I’m just now able to write about it.

Also, it’s kind of sad to learn that there’s one more thing in this world that I’m just not capable of doing like a normal human being.

I was super sick and the only thing I had kept down for the past three days was water and gatorade.

Looking back, I was severely dehydrated and a little malnourished, and I probably should have gone to the hospital or a  clinic for IV fluids. Unfortunately, I don’t think things through very well when I’m sick.

So, I was shaky and gross, and I don’t know why I thought jello would be a good idea, but it just sounded so delicious to my addled brain.

Twin had left me for the day to go to class (I was most definitely not going to class because I have a strong aversion to throwing up on peoples’ heads), and I guess I was hungry. I don’t usually question my motives when I’m sick.

This is also why, when I’m sick, I tend to say and do really weird things on accident. There’s just no reasoning with myself. It can be a real problem.

But I knew I wanted jello, and I decided not to ask questions.

I pulled myself out from under the couch (I have no clue what I was doing under there), and kind of crawled to the kitchen.

I think Twin had gone shopping for me and gotten me some jello. That’s the only thing I can think of that would explain the sudden appearance of strawberry jello in our kitchen. Usually, we don’t keep those little boxes of the stuff on hand.

I pulled the little box off the counter and sat back down in the floor, trying to read the instructions.

Note to future self – they print the instructions on the back. There is no need to take a knife to the box. Yet.

When I saw, “bring x-amount of water to a boil,” I knew I was going to have problems.

When I was having trouble opening the packet containing the jello powder, I figured this would be the hardest thing was going to do that day.

When I realized I really shouldn’t have opened the packet of powder yet, I almost gave up.

But my hungry stomach urged me on.

I got the water boiling, dumped the powder in a plastic bowl, and sat back down on the floor to wait.

And then I fell asleep.

Don’t fall asleep when you’re boiling water. It’ll just keep boiling for forever until all the water is gone, and then you’ll burn the pot and it’ll be a giant mess to clean. Or the pot will explode and your house will burn down and you won’t have to worry about it.

I woke up to the funny smell of burning metal pot, and frantically jumped up to grab the pot and put more water in it.

Burning pots get really hot.

And, when you burn your fingers, they tend to let go of whatever you’re holding.

And then the burning pot will smash down on your toes.

And your toes will get smashed and burned.

And then you’ll get really dizzy because you just woke up and you’re sick and you probably shouldn’t be boiling water.

But my stomach growled loudly and reminded me that I was hungry.

So, I picked the pot up, filled it with water again, and set it back down to boil.

This time, I stared at it for 37 hours until it actually boiled, and I didn’t fall asleep.

After it boiled, I carefully picked it up and dumped the water into the jello powder.

And burned my hand on the steam.

And dropped the pot.

Again.

This time, I just left it sitting on the ground (because that’s obviously where it wanted to be) and stirred in my jello powder.

When it was all stirred up, I went to take a nap.

And I woke up an hour later and remembered that the jello was supposed to go in the fridge.

I pulled myself out from under the coffee table (I don’t know how I got under there. I promise I started on the couch.) and stumbled over to the kitchen to put it in the fridge.

Then I went to sleep again.

I woke up when Twin came walking in from her classes and shook me awake.

“What are you doing sleeping on the kitchen floor and why are you holding that pot?”

“I made jello,” I mumbled.

“Oh my.”

She knows me well. I showed her my hands and toes, and she got me some ice.

And the jello was edible. I guess. I don’t think it’s supposed to be lumpy.

Hugs Explained

I keep wanting to write a post about all these Deep Thoughts I have rolling around in my head. The problem is, every time I sit down to tackle them, they roll just barely out of reach and sit there taunting me.

So, I’m going to keep getting mocked by my thoughts and mention one of my favorite things in the world – hugs.

Now, I’m not talking about side-hugs. Those are poop. And awkward. And weird. And I never know what to do with my other arm.

Side hugs are the kind of hug I grew up receiving from guys who were determined that they had to have as little contact with my body as possible. In their minds, it was respectful. In my mind, it was endlessly frustrating because I just wanted a real, legit hug, and I felt like I was getting shorted.

I’ve got nothing against the guys who believe in side-hugs. I’ve had it rationalized for me so many times. Sometimes, I understand where they’re coming from. Other times, I’m desperate for a hug, and I get really irrationally angry at them because I don’t feel loved.

And I don’t mean, “Aw, bummer. Another side hug. Oh well.” angry. I mean, “IF I EVER GET ANOTHER SIDE HUG I’M GOING TO EAT YOUR SOUL AND MURDER YOUR GOLDFISH” angry. It’s a problem.

I understand side hugs when you’re doing a quick hug and then running on your way. That is justifiable. That is the only time a side-hug is justifiable.

When I’m about to not see someone for a million years because I’m going on a trip for a week, and I’m going to miss seeing their face, a side-hug just doesn’t cut it. Ever.

When I become the benevolent dictator of the world (that’s a whole different story), I am going to destroy side-hugs. I’m going to explode them, and gather the pieces, and burn them, and feed the ashes to hordes of hungry jungle animals, and gather the feces, and bury it five thousand feet under ground, and dig up that whole chunk of land, and throw it into a volcano, and erupt the volcano, and gather all the lava, and cool it into awesome lava rocks, and give them to people living in tourist places, and have them sell the rocks to tourists, which will give them a viable source of income, which will make the world a better place.

That will be the end of the side-hug. Thank goodness.

I’m also not talking about leans. Those are also pretty dumb. They’re half-hearted and lazy, and I don’t like them.

They’re those hugs where, you feel like something magical is about to happen, but then…eh.

You think you’re about to get a wonderful hug – the hugger has opened their arms, and you just know you’re about to get a legit hug, and that excites you because you’ve been stuck with terrible side-hugs for quite a while, and you’re ready for something real. They walk up to you….

And then their arms and torso go limp, and you are enveloped in person.

And most of their weight is resting on your shoulders, and you think you’re about to fall over, but there’s no where to go because everywhere around you is limp person, and it’s just really awkward because they think they’ve bestowed this great gift upon you, and you’re just left wanting to cry because you just wanted a real hug and now you just feel like a coat rack.

What I really am talking about are those hugs that wrap you up and make you feel absolutely wonderful.

I’m talking about two-arm hugs that swallow your soul, make sure it feels loved, and spit it back up. Those hugs are the ones that make terrible days better, turn frowns into smiles, and make the whole world a sunnier place.

Those are the ones that connect you to another person. They’re the ones that surround you with strength and protection.

They are firm hugs. There’s no limp-ness about them. They grab hold of you, and don’t let go until both parties have said everything the hug needs to say.

There is no awkwardness about these hugs. They don’t last long enough to make anyone feel like a sloth, but they’re also not so short anyone feels ripped-off. These hugs can last for a couple minutes (at this point it’s an excruciatingly fine line between hugging and cuddling), or a couple seconds. The hugger and huggee somehow instinctively know what needs to happen.

These are the hugs I adore. These are my favorites. Sadly, these hugs are an endangered species. They require effort, and very few people are willing to put effort into a hug. Even when that hug is vitally important to some else’s survival.

Thankfully, I know who to go to for these hugs. I live in an area that has a lot of people who understand the importance of hugs and are willing to put effort into them. You have no idea how joyful that is.

This is also another reason why people think I’m crazy and run away from me.