Growing Up Wild

I watched Growing Up Wild in honor of World Wildlife Day a few weeks ago.

The documentary follows the stories of 5 different wild animals. It’s done in a kid friendly way because it was made by Disney. Yet, I still got emotional.

One of the stories follows a baby Toque macaque monkey. We learn immediately that there is a social order in this monkey troop and our baby monkey is at the very bottom. He finds himself unloved. He starves. He’s rejected, ignored, unprotected. Cue tears!

Just when it looked like our baby monkey was so alone, devastated, and essentially dying from starvation, something miraculously occurs. The male leader of the troop, decides to adopt him as his own, meaning: love, protection, acceptance, food, and nurture for the little one.

This really struck me. I can’t help but think of God. Here we all are, some so alone, so scared. Some of us feeling unloved and ignored. Many feeling unsafe. Even some truly starving. We might be at the bottom of society. Yet, here Jesus comes. He adopts us as His own. He offers love, protection, nourishment, and salvation. What a beautiful image!

Then later in the film, another troop threatens our troop. Our male leader fights another and wins, but he seems to disappear. Our baby monkey is alone again, losing his only protector. Suddenly, our male leader returns and instantly comforts his adopted son.

Again, this reminds me of God. He fights our battles. He is king. When we feel he has disappeared, He hasn’t. He’s seconds away from returning you to His arms!

The Hard Days

Dear Younger Me,

Some days are harder than others. The weight of the world will feel like it is crushing you and adding people to your day only makes it worse.

Essentially, you feel overwhelmed.

I promise you those days will come and there’s  only one good thing about them- a revelation you will have. It may come early or maybe after you’ve cried your eyes out and eaten an insane amount of chocolate.

Because you are overwhelmed and there’s no escaping it: you have to go to work, you have to meet with friends, you have to feed yourself, drive somewhere, wake up, etc. There’s no way out. Because of that, you’ll only have one place to turn.

You’ll turn to God, knowing with peace and joy that no matter where He has you, He’s got your back.

You may be overwhelmed, but He isn’t and He won’t ever be.

You look to Him and I promise you, you will get through it!

 

Painting by Connie Townsend

Give me Jesus

Jeremy Camp’s song, Give me Jesus

You can have all this world

Give me Jesus

I wonder, as I listen to that song, what if we lived that way? What if we truly put our value, our interests, our hopes, our everything in Jesus and allowed worldly things to have little weight in our lives?

Recently, I had been sick for a week with a cold. The sickness seemed to not only affect my body, but my mind, attitude, words, and feelings. I failed so many times that week in my spiritual life. Perhaps I failed in what seemed  very small ways to others, but none the less, I felt convicted.

I spent too much time thinking about worldly things, from boys to money, even thinking curse words in my mind when something happened. I texted and spoke to people without thinking first, allowing my flesh to lead over God’s spirit. I spent too much time browsing Facebook and Buzzfeed.

* You get the point.

So, when I listened to that song one morning, I was so refreshed by those words. After a full week of disobeying God, my spirit was craving Jesus.

You can have all this world. If we spent less time watching tv, commenting on social media, worrying about other people’s opinions, the clothes we wear, the next task we have to do, we would be used by God for something greater.

Think about how much more free time you would have if checking facebook or buying that perfect outfit didn’t matter. You would be free to hear the Spirit’s leading. You would be free to meditate on His word, to feel His love and peace, to serve others, to encourage someone, to give, to love.

Just give me Jesus. I pray for you and I that we would start to only want Jesus and none of these worldly treasures. I pray our heart would crave Him so much, that everything else just doesn’t seem to matter as much.

The Heroines of our Life

Dear  Younger me,

Continue to look up to women who are strong, hard working, loyal, brave, and yet still women.

Your Aunt Peggy, full of faith, persevering through great tragedy, and still making life joyful with her laughter.

Your mother, unapologetically friendly, unashamedly sweet, and incredibly fun.

Your sister, so brave, so dedicated, devoted, passionate, and so deeply loving.

Don’t hesitate to love those female characters who embodied all of those.

Anne Elliot, who is kind, quiet, humble, and patient.

Buffy Summers, who is tough, brave, selfless, and emotional.

Leslie Knope, who is spunky, goofy, fun, and hard working.

These are the women to look up to, the ones who fight for what they love, find joy in darkness, and live loving those around them. And most importantly, are confident in who they are.

Find someone who inspires you to live a better life and that is a good female role model.

 

Wait for Mercy

Jude 1:21 “as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

Aren’t we all waiting for something? Some wait for the perfect job. Some wait for health, wealth, friendship. I wait for a partner in life!

It is becoming clearer to me, that though waiting patiently on the Lord is good, we may not be waiting on the right thing.

Waiting means you’re hoping or maybe you’re anxious about something in particular. There’s a lot of emotion involved and you can become quite exhausted. You strain your eyes searching, your mind thinking, and your heart hoping. We should trust in God’s timing and His provision. Don’t stop hoping.

However, this verse reminds me of a bigger picture kind of truth- what we should truly be waiting for.

“Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” We have something sure ahead of us. We do not have to exhaust ourselves with anxiety or seeking because the promise is there and we know the ending to our story.

Instead of focusing so much energy on waiting for earthly treasures, let’s focus on waiting for the ultimate prize. Let your heart hope and long for that. Let eternity with Jesus Christ outshine any other hopes and desires.

Wait for Him. See, your focus changes from being all about You, to being all about Him. I promise, life will be freer and you’ll have more energy if you live life waiting for that eternal life with Jesus Christ.

Wait for a Paul Child

Dear Younger me,

Some of my favorite love stories are about older people falling in love.

Persuasion’s Anne Elliot is 27 years old and she, in my opinion, lives the greatest love story of all time.

But, I realize she is fictional. Julia Child, the great chef, was 31 when she married the love of her life.

I guess what I am saying is, don’t worry about your age when you are hoping for love. You still have time for the greatest love story to form and you could end up with a Captain Wentworth or Paul Child. If you rush it, those two will not be who you end up with.

The Conservation Truth

I came upon a particular scene while reading Les Miserables.

There are two starving orphan boys wondering around a public garden.

A father and son appear, the son eating some cake, looking full. The orphan boys hide as the father and son watch some swans.

Seeing the orphan boys, the father makes a rude comment. His son spits his cake out and says he is full. His father tells him to give his cake to the swans.

“Be humane,” He says, “We must take pity on the animals!”

While having seen two starving children, the father felt more for two probably well fed birds.

Why does this matter?

The Lord gave me a passion for animals and nature. I sit in wonderment over the beauty of all creatures, even the creepy crawlies.

I want to dedicate my life to protecting wildlife and educating others to do so.

I am an animal advocate. I do not think animal abuse in any form is morally right. I do not even like the idea of hunting (though I understand some of its benefits).

But don’t misunderstand me. If I had a choice between saving ANY animal and saving a human, the choice would be easy. I would feed a person before feeding an animal.

I am a human advocate first.

But, I do not see how being one discludes you from being the other. I love conservation because, to me, it is about teaching people to live harmoniously with nature.

Conservation is really much more of a humanitarian career than people think. Conservationists must not only understand culture, but even accept it at times. We must see the poacher’s side of the story, the starving man trying to feed his family.

A conservationist’s job is to help humans see how nature and wildlife can help them live a good life.

I do care much more about people than animals, but I’ve found its pretty easy to love the, both, though it is difficult to teach them to love each other.