Renegades, Prodigals, & Stuff

People who know, really know me, already know this: I love the heck out of Andy Stanley and North Point Church! Why am I talking about Andy today?  It isn’t just because I appreciate his ministry, or I want to celebrate his appearance in the AJC (Yes, I love my hometown, but I know there are greater accomplishments than appearing in the living section of this newspaper). His story reminded me of my own struggles and triumphs, as well as what I have seen in the people around me. This ministry was instrumental in my healing and recovery from a bad ministry experience.

What happened?

I. Had. A. BAD. Ex-per-i-ence.

The Italian Job

“I had a bad experience!”

Trust me, it was awful, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Most residents of Atlanta have at least heard of Andy, or his dad Charles Stanley. The majority of those people are aware of his history with his dad, and the “scandal” of his parents’ divorce.  A brief history, & whatnot… I am pretty sure that Andy was never mentioned in the same context as Mos Def…until now.  Again, if you know me, really know me, then you know that the Italian Job is one of my favorite movies. Mos Def’s line stole the show. All of  Andy’s messages are filled with Scripture, points, lessons, et al, but there is always one line that steals the show for me.  He delivered a sermon 10 years ago that radically changed my life. He drove home a very simple point with a one-liner.

 & what line was it?

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Stuff happens. 

Seriously, it does. Sometimes we are the catalysts. There are times when we are blindsided. Whether we created the situation or not, stuff happens. Some of the stuff we cannot control – – you cannot change your biological parents or the color of your skin (well, many have tried…and that is another discussion…). What can we control? We already know that answer – our reactions to the stuff. blah blah blah  But what molds our reactions? THE STUFF. Whatever the stuff is – – failures in leadership, harsh words, self-doubt, accidents, attacks, disappointments, spooky bosses, nosy neighbors, whatever.  This stuff creates the fibers of our quirks, and eventually, we begin to believe that we are “just this way.”  But are we? Do we remember who we were before we lost the capacity to trust, love, or be free? This is one of the many parts of my story, and how the awesome, accommodating  challenging, inviting, supportive, loving people of North Point helped me chisel away the hardened stuff around my heart, & start to handle stuff differently.


I will spend a few posts this week to talk about some of the stuff, but I want to share this thought today: whenever stuff appears in your life, you have the capacity to move on and grow. Unless your lips and hands are covered in super glue, your feet are tied to concrete blocks, and your body is thrown head first into quicksand, you really can get out of the mess you’re in. Will it be easy? Probably not. Might you lose friends? Only those who weren’t worth keeping. Will people misunderstand and/or ridicule your decisions? Only those who haven’t taken the time to ask, understand, and love you through the process.  Will the end result be worth it? DEFINITELY. You will know your true strengths and weaknesses. You will know your truest self, and all of the stuff inside. You will learn the kind of people to trust, and those to keep at bay. You will see a situation for what it is – – a compilation of stuff that will only make or break you if you allow it to do so.

Let’s tackle some stuff today!

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One thought on “Renegades, Prodigals, & Stuff

  1. Girl, this is awesome, this is my life, too! Looking forward to hearing your story about your “stuff”. I love you, lady!

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