Megan Lebo

"Just be. Its what the world denies you" – Brandon Heath

I am new life…

I am new life

I am restored, emerging from ashes

You have brought me up and steadied my feet

I stand restored and alive

Renewed

I am new life

No longer asleep, eyes opened to the dawn

With hope of new beginnings

I tread now on ground once weak but now firm

Alive

I am new life

What I was is now gone

Washed by the water

Refined by the fire

Reformed

I am new life

In freedom I stand

In freedom I shout

In freedom I dance

Free

I will paint Your grace

I will sing of Your mercy

I will dance to Your freedom

For I am new life

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Our Great Commission…

It amazes me how quickly I become a victim of my own emotions.  Emotional reactions can often be devastating, leaving you backtracking in regret and feeling foolish.  It is always better to wait until the dust of your emotions settles before speaking on something that incites extreme emotions in not only yourself but in others as well.

The dust has settled.

As I have said before we live in strange times.  Times when everyone does what is right in his own eyes.  There is no longer one moral compass that defines what is right or wrong for the collective body.  According to the world we no longer have a choice about who we are as individuals.  We were born that way.  And because we were born that way that means its good right?

What most people don’t realize is that, yes, we were born that way and the Bible tells us so.  But that does not mean its good.

Genesis 8:21 says “…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”, Jeremiah 17:9 says “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick…”,  Psalm 51:5 says “behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

We were all born that way.  We were all born into sin and corruption.

Because we are born into depravity we have to actively fight against the lusts of the flesh.  And the reality is that we are incapable of fighting the battle of our flesh successfully on our own.  Holiness is not born out of our own efforts but out of the righteousness that was imputed upon us through the blood of Jesus.

As a believer in Christ and the Word of God I do not agree with immoral lifestyle choices whether that be homosexuality, gender reassignment, adultery, abortion, or even cohabitation outside the walls of marriage.  I have becom increasingly concerned with the direction that our nation is going and the depths of depravity which we have now reached.

And yet I am torn.

Can we as Christ followers actually expect morality out of those who choose not to recognize the only true moral compass, that is, God’s Word?  Is it really our place to fight against the immorality of a world without salvation?  Morality cannot be found outside of who God is.

We cannot demand Christian character out of those who do not know Christ!

I am not saying that we should lay down our fight.  No.  I am saying we need to pick up a different weapon.

The only way we can fight immorality is by being the image of Christ to the world.  Hearts need to change before we can expect actions and lifestyles to change.  The change has to be from the inside out not from the outside in.

Romans 1:21-32 says:

“For even though they know God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four footed animals and crawling creatures.  Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.  For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, adn worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.  Amen.  For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural funchtion for that whcich in unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them”

Because we as Christians understand the ways of God and what He desires out of His creation (holiness, and righteousness) we often begin moral crusades that while rooted in good intentions and passionate convictions can be a devastating witness to the Character of God.  The most effective witness to a lost and dying world is to display the life that has been given to us by the one who put it in us!

It is the act of living out the change that has occurred in us through His blood that either draws or turns away those who hear.  And while we grieve along with God over those who turn away it is their choice and we simply have to pray that God will be merciful in the end and bring them to saving faith in Him.

 

Why I had to end your life…

Please don’t look at me that way

I want you to hear what I have to say

I want to try to help you see

What having you around would have meant to me

Please don’t cry but understand

That you were just never part of the plan

I had dreams and hopes for life

So many things to see and feel and do

My house, my man, my other kids

There was just never room for you

Please don’t look at me that way

You’re not hearing what I have to say

I couldn’t imagine giving any more love

The little family I already had was enough

We wanted to travel, fix the house, and change careers

That would have never happened with you around here

We were done, moving on and gaining ground

You only complicated the scene

I thought you would eventually come around

And understand what having you here would really mean

Please don’t look at me that way

Don’t you understand what I’ve had to say

It was my choice not yours to make

You have no right to tell me it was a mistake

Your strange and unwelcomed intrusion

Would have only brought fear and confusion

Why are you being so selfish

Don’t you see what your life would have done

Derailing what was already established

Restarting a race I had already run

You’ve got to stop looking at me that way

I have told you all that I have to say

I can’t take it back or make it right

You never had the chance to win this fight

But you’ve seen how you’ve stirred up so much strife

And that’s simply why I had to end your life

To act is to be…someone else

Have you ever just wanted to be someone else entirely for a day?

Being you can sometimes get old, right?  I mean, you’ve been you all your life.  Your quirks are the same day in and day out, your insecurities lingering beneath your core like residue.  Wouldn’t it be great just to take a break from yourself for a while and be somebody else?

I have recently stumbled upon a way to press pause, so to speak, on my own life and switch screens into another story, another life, that in my current skin I would never get the chance to be.

Its called acting.

I have over the years heard stories of actors who literally become the character that they are portraying but I never really understood what that meant.  I think of actors such as Christian Bale and Heath Ledger among others who are (or were) known for their extreme methods of preparing for their roles and staying in character.  These extremes often resulting in the inability to separate themselves between the part they are playing and the reality they are living.

I have myself recently experienced this phenomenon, if you will, albeit on a much (much) smaller scale than the aforementioned professional actors.  I have in essence been given the opportunity to be someone who is so unlike myself (and yet at the same time I think we can all find elements of a character that mirror our own in some way, shape or form).

I have had very little acting experience, almost none really, and was a bit nervous about being offered to play the part.   This part was such that, if portrayed improperly, it could very well throw off the mood of the whole play.  I quickly learned what it meant when people said that there are no small roles in a production.  Every character paints a portion of a portrait from the lead actors to the one-liners.  That one line you have could easily make or break a scene resulting in a disconnect from the audience involved.

I initially struggled a bit with feeling like I wasn’t quite “getting it”.  All of these thoughts kept running through my head like, “what if, what the directors saw in my audition was a fluke?”, “What if I cannot truly exhibit the emotion of the character”, etc.  Acting can truly be an emotional rollercoaster as the inner battle between your role and your reality rages inside.  I know that to some this all sounds incredibly sensational but to an actor who cares about their craft its all very real.

I remember the night when the whole thing clicked.

When the emotion of a scene takes shape it almost becomes its own entity.  A life form emerging on the stage.  When the actors are all in sync the colors of what is happening become shockingly visible.

It’s a strange and slightly unnerving sensation to be so immersed.

During the height of emotion, as I lay blame at the feet of those around me, the director yelled, “Stop!”.  At that moment I was the equivalent of a balloon that had just been stuck with a straight pin.  It was like being jolted awake from a dream and suddenly realizing “Wait, that was not really happening.”

Out of nine performances I was only able to get back to that point twice.

Its all part of what I’m learning and part of what I’m loving about being an actor.  (I use that term loosely because I really have only just begun to start acting.)  I am learning what it means to be someone else for a spell.  To experience life in another era, another state, or another part of the world.

Its somewhat liberating and slightly indulgent to let go of your inhibitions and be someone else and not have anyone think strangely of you.

I have attained a new respect and a new love for this art-form.  Everything from the set design to the dedication of the actors to the vision of the directors.  It’s a beautiful craft that teaches, informs, and inspires!  And not just for the audience but for the actors as well.

Being in this role, playing this part, has shaped me somehow and I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same.  It’s a form of enlightenment.  A type of freedom.

I pray that God continues to grant me this joy of experience and storytelling, and that I can impact others through this art as it has so powerfully impacted me.

Tiny Hands…

I dreamt last night I held you in my arms

So small and quiet

I kissed your head

And I loved you

I loved you more than myself

Your hair was black and soft

Tiny hands against my own

I closed my eyes and breathed you in

One day I will hold you in my arms

So small and quiet

I will kiss your head

And I will love you

I will love you more than myself

Calling all heroes…

I have lived my entire life believing in fairytales.

No, I don’t believe in fairy godmothers or magical spells that put you to sleep or even true love’s kiss.  I don’t believe in trolls or frogs that become princes.  I don’t even buy into the idea that we will all live happily ever after with not a care in the world to ever again trouble our now perfect lives.

I just came from seeing the movie Mirror Mirror.  A slightly new twist on the classic story of Snow White packed with all of the familiar characters and story lines.  The wicked step-mother, the seven dwarves, Snow White, and of course the dashing young Prince.  While the costuming was spectacular (I absolutely love good costuming) and the characters were fun, this retelling was everything that could be expected from a story that has been told and retold hundreds of times.

With the general story line being the same as what has always been there was a slight difference that I picked up on and have actually begun to pick up on in other retellings of other popular fairytales.  I don’t think that many people pick up on this subtle change that seems to be permeating these beloved stories because it is a change that has been gradually seeping not just into fiction but also into our everyday lives.

It is a change that makes me want to scream, “WAIT!  STOP!  Go back.  That’s not how it happens.”

That change is the role reversal of the valiant warrior prince and the beautiful damsel in distress.

In so many movies and so many retellings they have reconstructed the story to where the young maiden or the princess is actually the one who ends up saving the prince.  Each heroine is portrayed as strong, independent, and perfectly capable of taking care of herself.  As a matter of fact she’s capable of not only taking care of herself she is also able to deal the final blow to the great villain that the young prince just couldn’t get to in time.

Our brave knights have been stripped of their armor and upstaged by the very women they are trying to save.

Ladies, have you ever dreamed of saving a man’s life?  Have you ever wanted to fight to the death to person who would harm the man that you love?  I imagine that if your anything like me your fantasies are played out very differently.  I frequently fantasize about Prince Charming saving my life in some grand and spectacular scenario.  “Ma’am, that car almost hit you!  If I hadn’t swept you off of your feet and pulled you out of the road you would most certainly be dead!”  Yeah, that’s more how I picture things.  Not the other way around.

My absolute favorite display of affection, whether in movies or in reality, is the man kissing the woman on the forehead.  It is a powerful gesture that not only says, “I love you” but it says, “I care about you”, and “I will protect you”.

Women want men to make them feel safe and loved.  And men want to love and protect.  It is who we are and it is how we were created.  It is not an issue of weakness versus strength.  It is not a matter of man versus woman.  We are equal parts with very different roles.

We see very clearly in Genesis 2 that God created male and female in His image as equal partners but He did create the male to be the head and the female to be the helper.

The world has told us women that to let men fight for you, and to protect you is a sign of weakness and inequality.  In this we have looked straight at our valiant Knights and said, “your services are no longer required.”  As a result our men have taken off their armor, dropped their head and their swords, and have turned around in defeat and rejection.  We reject their chivalry and then blame them for being passive.

For me, I do not want to rob any man of their chance to brave and to be chivalrous.  I am not going to steal the fight or the victory from the man who chooses to fight for me.  The man desires to woo and the woman wants to be wooed.  And although a strong woman may very well pick up the sword to slay the dragon in her heart she really wants to see the brave warrior to step in front of her to deal that final blow.

Yes, I believe in fairytales.  And I anticipate the day when my brave warrior, my valiant knight, my charming Prince, finally discovers me in the tower and carries me off into the sunset.

I am a Lady in Waiting.  All heroes are welcomed to apply!

Chag Sameach and Happy Easter!!!

Some people view Easter and Passover as 2 separate celebrations by 2 separate faiths.

Passover is the Jewish rememberance of God’s salvation and deliverance of the people of Israel from the slavery and bondage of Egypt.  It is observed to remember that solemn evening where the blood of an unblemished lamb saved a people from the angel of death that had come to destroy the firstborn of all of Egypt.

Easter is what is observed in the Christian faith.  While clouded by many unfounded traditions, at its heart is the rememberance and celebration of a solemn evening where the blood of an unblemished lamb (Jesus, Yeshua) saved us from that dark angel of death, which is sin, that seeks to destroy every man.

I find no separation between the two events and desire to celebrate this weekend with both my fellow gentile friends and my dear Jewish ones.  This weekend is a celebration of life!  Life that was given to us by God through the sacrifice of a spotless lamb.  There can be no separation of the two events for one is the fulfillment of the other.

So happy Easter to all who celebrate and Chag Sameach to all of my Jewish friends celebrating Pesach (Passover)!

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P.S.  There is a song that is sung during Jewish passover celebrations called Dayenu.  Dayenu essentially means “It would have been enough”.  It is a song that looks back and remembers all of the Great works that God has done for His people.  The text speaks of events such as their deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea stating that if God had delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians but not parted the Red Sea it would have been enough.

I have taken that theme and have written a song to remember, ultimately, that if today were to be my last that everything God has done for me would be enough.

Enjoy!

It was never supposed to take this long…

The Journey

I would have to say that I have recently journeyed down the most desolate road of my Christian walk to date. Our journey with God, much like Frodo’s journey through Middle Earth, (You’ll have to forgive my frequent LOTR references as I have recently returned from the great country of New Zealand.) or like Dorothy traveling through the land of OZ, is an ever-changing road that looks different with every fork and every turn.

In youth everything is illuminated.

The trees on that road are green and thin as the sun beams through the branches lighting your way.  You have travelling with a group of companions, all walking together heading toward that first fork in the road, college.

Things are good.

There is a bitter sweetness that comes over you with a hint of anxiety as the group splits at the fork.  While you still have the fellowship of some of your companions there is a change that comes over you as the crowd thins and the trees get thicker.  More companions begin separating from the group as they choose that path that leads to marriage and family.

As you walk the road you begin to find trinkets that others have left behind along their journey.  As you pick them up and stuff them in your bag you notice how dark it seems to be getting.  As you approach the next fork in the road the last of your companions splits from your company.  You turn your head to gaze down the road that has been laid out for you, and discover that you can only see a few feet ahead.  It has become dark and the load you carry, the one that holds the treasures of this world that others have left behind, has become very heavy.  That bag will be your only comfort for you now walk alone in the darkness.

Darkness, if not overcome, will corrupt the mind.

You know you should have left those things lying in the road.  They were left for a reason right?  There is something inside of you that knows you should have never picked them up and yet you have now become dependant upon their presence because you cannot find anything else to comfort in.  The voice that guided you through childhood and throughout your youth, that instructed you on which turn to take at each fork, has now been almost entirely absorbed by the canopy that hovers above your head.  Almost.  You know that the voice is still speaking instructions but those trinkets you have gained offer a pleasing distraction in the midst of the consuming darkness.  You can no longer hear the voice that offered guidance.  You have abandoned Him in the precise moment you needed Him most for the temporal idols that now offer you a false sense of security.

The Reality

This has indeed been my reality.

The Israelites, when brought out ofEgypt, abandoned God, who was showing them the way to the land He had promised to give them, for idolatry and disobedience.  As a result, what should have been an eleven day journey across the wilderness ended up lasting forty years.

Forty years.

My life has, in every way, reflected that of the Israelites.  These past four years, after graduating from college, have been some of the darkest years of my life.  In this darkness I have picked up so many things that, in my lack of discernment, I have placed upon the altar of my worship and called them god.  As a result I had forgotten what God’s voice really sounded like.  And in my desperation I began grasping at whatever was in my bag of idols to give me purpose and comfort.

This is the life lesson that I am now grappling with.  In my madness I was somehow able to catch a faint whisper of God’s voice that had been carried, for a brief moment, by a breeze that brushed past me.

It was enough to stop me in my tracks.

I had been so distracted by the idols that I was carrying that I completely lost sight of the light, although faint, that was still dimly lighting the path.

And so now begins the shedding of weight that has so slowed my journey.  The light has become slightly brighter and that voice has turned from a whisper into hum.  While the canopy above me is still thick I am now back on the path instead of wandering aimlessly through the forest.  I now possess hope, for I’m beginning to see the faint shimmer of sunlight peering through the brush ahead.

Its not that I chose the wrong turn…It was just never supposed to take this long.

Adjusting my eyes…

Ok, so I know that I said that I would not be blogging or anything for a while but to be honest, I have to write.  It is how I deal with the things around me that I cannot comprehend.  It is how I cope.  Now I still will not be accessing Facebook or Twitter but this blog is linked to both so as I write these entries they will continue to show up. 

 

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My life, it seems, is a never ending quagmire of uncertainties and blind spots.  Just when it looks as though the ground around me is leveling out and the path ahead seems clear I step into another soft spot and lose the traction that had given me stability and hope.  Yet I find that my resolve gets stronger in the face confusion, frustration, and (more often than not) anger.  I sometimes feel like Frodo trudging through each difficult pass knowing I’ve been charged with a great task but yet not fully comprehending its purpose or weight. 

 

And I, like Frodo, find myself in lament wishing this task had never fallen upon me.

 

I have no illusions of grandeur.  Or maybe I do.  Don’t we all wish to be used and purposed for something greater than ourselves? 

 

Everyone’s relationship and walk with God is very different.  It is so easy to look at someone else’s life and then indict God for what we consider withholding or judgment.  Why God, does this person get the job, or the husband, or the social life, etc.  The list could go on and on and quite frankly does in my case.  Every single door it seems gets slammed in face with no real answer as to why, when to me its seemed so perfect and so calculated. 

 

It is like I’m walking around in a room that’s pitch black, full of locked doors except for one.  That one door is the one that I simply cannot seem to find.  I have circled that room a thousand times knowing that I have tried to open what I feel is every door and yet I know there is an exit.  I know its there.  I just have to get there.

 

And maybe this is all just part of the journey.  Maybe this is all part of Him teaching me to listen closely.  To adjust my eyes to the dim lighting so that I can see clearly in the dark.  Its easy not to stumble over something when its clearly illuminated by the light.  And to be frank there are many who will still stumble even when things are illuminated.  But the only way to avoid stumbling in the darkness is to be immersed in it until your eyes adjust.  Until the blackness begins to take shape and become shadows, until the shadows morph into shape, and the shapes become clearly formed objects. 

 

Isn’t this what I asked God for so many years ago?  To be molded and shaped into a tool that he can use for His glory?  Why then do I envy world around me?  I have not been called to chase after my dreams.  And for some reason God has not allowed me the freedom to make my own choices as he has many other people.  Maybe that’s because he knows me better than I know myself. 

 

I have been called to obedience and that obedience will look different every day.  I am learning (and these life lessons have been very hard) to let go.  I’m learning to let go of everything.  I cannot assume that I know what God’s plan for my life is.  I cannot assume that I know what is best for myself.  He is calling me to lay down everything I had planned because my plans had become my idol. 

 

And God will not share worship and glory with anything or anyone.

Addressing my idols…

One of my greatest fears is being forgotten.

I have become the type of person who is so dependent upon the approval of others that there are times where I am almost crippled by the idea that people don’t really care about what is going on with me.  I know that’s a strong statement and I know that its not true but it is in fact a great fear of my life that I deal with every day.  As a result of that fear I have been sucked in to the current of the mighty river that is social media.  I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and now Instagram.  All of these are ways in which this generation has chosen to stay connected with each other.  You can know everything about someone (even down to what they had for dinner last night) without ever having a conversation with them.  You can keep up with the growth of families, engagements, weddings, life stages, everything!

But the grave truth is that we have now bred a culture with absolutely no social skills, and no REAL friendships.  It is a false reality and is breeding a generation of depression and isolation.  This is the reality that I myself am now facing.  I feel increasingly hollow and I fear that I have lost the ability to really build relationships.

A few years ago I was a part of a co-ed small group that met once a week in someone’s home.  I remember looking around the room at the circle that we had formed one evening and almost every single person, about 20 or so people, was looking down at their phones.  Not one person was having a face to face conversation with anyone.

The relationships that are present in my life I have recently discovered have very little weight.

And this makes me very sad.

But this entry is not really even about the problems with social media.  Its more personal than that.  As I stated at the beginning, I have become so dependent upon these outlets that I now panic over them.  I keep up with how many people visit my blog.  I’m constantly checking to see if new people are following me on Twitter and then get upset when I realize that certain people still haven’t started following me.

Its madness!  Its idolatry.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I have been reading through the Bible chronologically this year.  In reading about the children ofIsraeland their relationship with God I have come to realize how much my life reflects that of the Israelites.  God commanded them again and again to purge the idols out of their midst.  Through reading about the idolatry of the Israelites in the Old Testament I have become acutely aware of the idols in my own life.

In response to these truths I feel it necessary to address this idolatry.  I need to spend my time not dwelling on the lives and cares and opinions of others out of fear of being forgotten and looked over.  No, my time needs to be spent discovering what God thinks of me, and what God is up to, and what God cares about.

I am suspending, for a time, all of my social media accounts.  I am fasting from what seems to matter most in my life in order to gain what should matter most in my life.  I will however still be available by phone, email, texting, and of course face to face.

I challenge everyone to try and recapture the act of building TRUE relationships.  Meet up with someone for lunch, coffee, or even dinner.  Make an effort to reconnect with people.  Ask about their lives.  Be involved.  We are not intended to go through live alone.

We were created for fellowship.