Greater

What does the word “greater” mean to you?  Well, according to dictionary.com there are multiple meanings.

For example: “adjective, greater, greatest.1.unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions: A great fire destroyed nearly half the city.2.large in number; numerous:
Great hordes of tourists descend on Europe each summer.3.unusual or considerable in degree,   power, intensity, etc.: great pain.4.wonderful; first-rate; very good: We had a great time. That’s great!5.being such in an extreme or notable degree: great friends; a great talker.6.notable; remarkable; exceptionally outstanding: a great occasion.7.important; highly significant or consequential: the great issues in American history.

When I look at the descriptive phrases used to define “greater”, I think of opportunities,  relationships, emotions, accomplishments, etc.  I then catch myself remembering that there is one thing that is truly “greater” than everything else on this earth.  To underestimate the greatness of God is to succumb to our own humanity.  God is the truth, the light, the love, the forgiveness, and the judge and jury.  He is the great I Am.  
If you want a reminder of things that are looked upon as “greater”  I urge you to watch the movie with the same name (Greater).  It is the story of a walk on football player who changed hearts, minds, and lives through his grit, drive, determination, and faith.  It is a testament to those who follow God’s lead because when we live by what God wants us to do, it is not always an easy journey, but rather a necessary one to remind us all of what is important.  
Things will happen in this world to make us want to use a lot of profanity, (believe me, I’ve spewed my share), cry out in hurt and anger towards God and others who have made us feel pain, celebrate with joy, and live our lives in love and anger.   We are after all, only human.  The question then becomes, how much of our lives are we willing to turn over to God?  
I know, I know, you are all saying “I turn things over to God all the time.”  If that’s true, I commend you.  You are much more in sync with God than many of us.  If you’re like me, you need the occasional Gibb’s heads slap (NCIS) to remind you that our burdens are too heavy for us to carry alone.  I admit to being a NCIS addict.  I love the show for it’s humor and it’s stories.  I particularly love Gibbs because his team sees him as a great leader.  Why is that?  He’s a man of very few words, his eyes say more than his mouth, you can almost always tell when a head slap is coming, and he has no use for people babbling on.  He likes people to get to the point.  Well, how can we get to the point, if we don’t even know what questions to be asking?
I’m going to use myself as an example because I can’t speak for anyone else.  My biggest problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I want anymore.  I used to believe that I wanted to be a pilot, then my eyes went bad, I wanted to be a musician and I got scared because I went to study music professionally for a couple of summers and there were so many others who made me eat their dust that I didn’t have the drive or the ambition to keep going.  Then I went to private school because a counselor told my mother that I would never amount to anything more than a secretary.  My parents saw my gifts.  So I went to private school, got my high school diploma and went to college.  I was a walk on at a major university Marching Band program.  I aced it my first year.  By the second year, I got sick and tired and my life fell apart.  I fell in with the wrong crowd, did my share of drugs and alcohol, and literally felt like there was nothing great about me.  When I came home, I was a shell of my former self.  I sank into such a depressive state that I enrolled in GTCC to obtain my Associates Degree. (I ultimately achieved my Bachelor’s Degree).  By the time I finished, it was five years later.  I just drifted.  To be frank, that part of my life is almost a blur.  I did so many things that I’m not proud of but I can’t take them back.  They are a part of me.  They are my scars that I carry to this day and I have to live with that. 

I met my husband during that part of my life.  At the time, he was a healthy relationship compared to the other relationships I had been involved in.  I settled into a routine with him and when the time came to marry, I didn’t listen to my heart.  I didn’t listen to God.  I knew better than to go through with the ceremony but I did it anyway because he (my husband) talked me out of calling off the wedding.  
Fast forward a few years.  I was in a miserable marriage.  I wanted a child desperately and knew my time was running out.  I felt like a failure in every way.  I eventually lost my job, my unborn child, and my marriage in a short period of time.  Not long afterwards, my father had a heart attack.  It was during that time, that God gave me the greatest gift of all – understanding.  
God knows that we are all really stubborn.  He knows that we want things the way we want them and aren’t willing to budge unless he gives us a shove.  When I watch the news, and news feeds, I am appalled at the behavior so many folks display.  This nation is so over run with depressing news that it’s a breath of fresh air to hear the good works that are being done on a continuous basis.  God is letting us know that not only is he with us but he’s helping to change our minds about things.  We can’t move on issues unless we are willing to communicate with each other and listen.  
We are so busy throwing stones at folks and wanting to ruin their lives and careers that we have forgotten that we can’t take monetary things with us when we die.  I already know that when I die, St. Peter is going to have a tsk tsk moment with me.  I know that I screw up a lot.  I just pray that God is forgiving enough to say “ok, you messed up but your heart was in the right place.  You are my child and you are forgiven.”  
Linkin Park is one of my favorite bands.  The death of Chester Bennington was a slap in the face of reality.  “Numb” has always been one of my favorite songs because it talks about how we just get numb to things that have continually hurt us.  It broke my heart when Chester died because he was dealing with his own very powerful demons that time didn’t seem to eradicate.  The signs were there that he was in trouble but no one noticed until it was too late.  
If you are suffering with severe depression, I truly hope that you reach out for help.  Don’t be afraid to seek help.  God is with us and he helps to provide people in our lives who are equipped to handle issues too intense for us to deal with on our own.  
I truly believe that God carries us when we can’t walk.  He’s our voice when we don’t know what to say.  He’s our ears that help us to listen and engage with people when life is hard.  God unites us in love.  He unites hearts.  This isn’t about race  This isn’t about culture.  This is about true unconditional love that He has for every person on this planet.  No matter what hardship you are dealing with, God is with you.  He hasn’t forsaken you.  He lifts you up when you are at your weakest and allows you to shine with His glory when you allow Him to work within you and through you.  
The next time you find yourself berating what you have or haven’t done with your life, remember God sent Jesus to die for all our sins.  Nothing we do in this world is unforgivable if we truly repent and ask God into our lives.  
Until next time.  Peace.

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