Shell vit en rose

The writings of Michelle de Carion

Like Scarlet December 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 8:39 pm

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Ashley, Ashley, Ashley. That’s about all Scarlet thinks and talks about in the movie Gone With The Wind. I remember watching it and thinking it was the most annoying thing in the entire world—to watch a woman obsess over a man who is married and will never love her.

In turn, Rhett Butler is hopelessly in love with Scarlet. He tries over and over again to win her heart, but it seems no use. Scarlett is consumed with thoughts of her beloved Ashley.

In one scene, Rhett squeezes Scarlett’s head and says he is trying to get those thoughts out of her mind. Rhett’s unrequited love has driven him to drunkenness. And Scarlet’s unrequited love has driven her to infidelity and insanity.

It’s so obvious to the audience that Rhett and Scarlet are perfect for each other. Both of them are passionate, driven, business-minded, money hungry, seductive, and brash.

Every time I watch the movie I end up screaming at the screen: “Scarlet you idiot! Rhett loves you. He is dying for you to just return the love and affection. You are never going to get Ashley so give up already!”

It’s a long film, and novel, and it takes the entire 3 hours for Scarlett to finally realize that Rhett is a good man and the only man for her. Ashley has never loved Scarlett and never will. His heart belongs to someone else.

It seems that we all have found ourselves in that position at some point in our lives. We love someone who will never love us back, or we love something that we can never have, or we dream of some kind of life that is unattainable.

And as we give our hearts to another, God all the while is screaming at us, “I love you! Love me back! I’m the one for you.”

I can’t help but imagine that God is a hopeless romantic, trying to win our hearts over at every turn. He knows the money will run out, the man or woman is an imperfect person, the dream house will eventually fall apart, the job will not deliver the status we crave…..and on and on…..he knows he’s the best of all.

How do we turn our hearts over to the one who will cherish it and stop pursuing loveless suitors? I struggle with this every day. If God IS my ultimate lover why can’t he send me a letter today? Or a text message, or buy me flowers?

He can’t woo me the way I wish a man would. But then I remember that God created those flowers, he wrote me a letter before time began, and he’s always available for me to talk to him in text or spoken word. He’s listening, and maybe all I wanted was a listening ear anyway—the knowledge that someone understands the aches of my heart.

It’s a good thing that God isn’t completely like Rhett. He doesn’t say, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn!” and give up on us. He’s patient. He continues to wait for us to shut up about that dreamboat Ashley and come to him with our whole hearts.

Giving God my heart, my hopes and my dreams continues to be a struggle for me. But it’s days like today when He gives me pictures and illustrations of his love, like Rhett for Scarlett, that I can’t deny it was directly from him.

Yes we are all like Scarlet, and he never stops loving us.

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No Resolutions January 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 12:54 am

This morning I went to The Summit Church in Raleigh with a friend. The pastor stated his New Year’s resolution was to eat a piece of fruit every day to stay healthy.

 

“What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” Is the question that everyone asks at this time of year. Often the person either answers with, “I’m not making resolutions because I never keep them” or they ramble off a million goals that no super human could achieve in his or her lifetime.

 

I believe this displays two different attitudes. The first attitude shows somewhat of a lack of faith in the individual’s ability to meet a goal, the other displays an aggressive attempt to achieve in order to make themselves better in their own eyes or in the eyes of the world.

 

So what is the right attitude to have as we go into the New Year of 2012?  I’m learning that there is nothing wrong with having an idea of what you want in life, but how often do we plan out our lives, piece by piece, only to discover that the puzzle isn’t coming together the way we envisioned?

 

This is why I’m not making resolutions this year. It’s not that I don’t have goals I want to achieve or that I don’t have faith that I will achieve them. It’s just that I’ve decided to stop planning out my life the way I think it should be so that God can write my life story.

 

This year, instead of writing out everything I want on a page, I’m going to leave it blank and put the pen in the true Author’s hands.

 

Maybe instead of making a wish list we should be asking:

 

What do you want for my life Jesus? Where do you want me to serve? Who do you want me to be friends with? What would you like me to achieve?

 

I think that a lot of times our resolutions are based upon what we think we need to do in order to gain the world’s approval and it’s not about what we need to do in order to glorify God and to further His kingdom.

 

There are two verses that come to mind:

 

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

 

First, we must seek God, and then must trust that He will direct us and give us what we need. In the end, we can discover that the greatest resolution of all is Christ’s goal to make us into what He wants us to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binding up the wound December 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 3:49 am



When I came home for Christmas this year, I noticed my cat Gigi wasn’t the same. She didn’t have her usual confident stride, she didn’t join us in the living room to hang out on the couch, and she definitely wasn’t running around outside chasing the butterflies.

 

My Dad told me that about a week ago, a tomcat infiltrated our back yard and attacked Gigi. He digged his claws and teeth into her and left an ugly wound. Since my parents didn’t know it happened, they didn’t take her to the vet right away. For days, Gigi stayed in her cage in pain. Finally, my Dad noticed she was suffering and took her to the vet.

 

The wound had swelled into an abscess, which is a collection of pus in the tissues of the body accompanied with swelling and inflammation. The only option was to slice it open and let all of the bacteria drain out. Otherwise, the infection would kill her.

 

My Dad said everything inside the abscess was really disgusting. You would think that the doctor would stitch up the cut afterwards, but in order for the wound to fully heal, you have to leave it open for days so that it completely drains.

 

Over Christmas vacation I watched Gigi just sit still and lick her wound. She looked like she was in pain, traumatized by what happened, sad, and weak. At times, we would just pick her up and pet her for comfort. It was hard to witness her suffering, but we knew that in time she would be her usual self, and we were just glad she was still with us, even though she wasn’t fully there.

 

During the week, I listened to a woman speak at a Christian conference on a CD. She talked about the section of verses in Psalm 147:2-3 “The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

 

It reminded me that Jesus is the only one who can heal our wounds. We often try to quickly stitch up the wound we received with everything else: alcohol, drugs, sex, money, or a girlfriend or boyfriend. Those stitches seem to work for a while, and they feel good. But eventually they fall apart and make the wound even worse. The abscess grows until it has to be sliced open again, and you realize that the wound is much bigger than before.

 

Now it is going to take twice as long to heal.

 

But there is still hope. Jesus is ready to tend to the wound….if you let Him. Will it be a quick fix? Nope. It rarely ever is, especially if the wound is deep.

 

Like the pus inside the tissue, all of the putrid sin that we’ve allowed to fill our lives with needs to be emptied out—completely.

 

I guess He needs to break us before he can put the pieces back together again, this time in the right way.

 

I’ve learned that if you find yourself in a place of brokenness where you feel hurt and wounded, it’s okay to let it sting a while. Allow everything to come out. Let the pus, blood, and water flow until there is nothing left, for as long as it takes.

 

The good news is, when you are empty, Jesus can fill you with all the good stuff he has for you. He can stitch you up with His love, and this time they won’t break. They’re indestructible. Nothing can tear those stiches of love apart.

 

In time you’ll get that confident stride back, you’ll leave the cave you’ve been hiding in, and you’ll go out and chase the butterflies.

 

Will another tomcat come out and try to tear you apart? Be sure of it.  But this time you might have a better chance of seeing it coming. And even if another tomcat does get you, you’ll know which vet to go to. He’s the only one who is able bind up your wounds.

 

“The LORD delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love.” –Psalm 147:11

 

Purple and White December 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 12:54 am

“I swore I would never do that again, ” I thought as I picked up the brush to load more white paint into the bristles. “How did I let this happen?” On a late Tuesday night my most important task was to paint my apartment so that I could move out in a few weeks. In an effort to add some color to my colorless life in a small town, I had chosen burlesque purple and blue ivy to taint my small living space. Now it was time to cover it all with eggshell.

So much had happened in just a year and it was time to move on. However, all I could think about was the shame I felt from all the wrongs in my past. I believed things could be different in Boone, but I guess you can’t escape yourself.

I continued to pour white onto the walls as circles of hate for myself rounded my thoughts over and over again. “I’ve really done it this time God. I know you can’t forgive me now. I’m a screw up and will always be one.”

Finally I made it to the middle of the room. I was standing on the kitchen counter when I looked over the whole apartment. Half white half purple.

“What if I just stopped here?” I wondered. Then I heard him—the voice I needed to listen to.

“When I died for you I didn’t only cover part of your stains, I covered it all,” he said. “I painted your whole life white.”

Overwhelmed, I sat down on the floor and thought it through. He paid for it all, past, present and future. When Jesus takes a white brush to the wrong color you chose, he doesn’t stop halfway. He goes from the front door to the backcloset and doesn’t skip the kitchen sink.

I let the tears come. “But I don’t deserve it God. I’ll let you down again.” I continued to wrestle with him wanting to hold onto the shame I felt. “I deserve punishment, I don’t deserve anything good.”

At that point I had a choice. I could continue to live my life in purple, or I could live in white. Shame, or forgiveness.

I often go back to that Tuesday night and remember that moment because so often I choose to wear the wrong color.

Most days I look over the course of my life and hate the mistakes I’ve made and tend to re-live the consequences and the hurt over and over again.

I share these feelings on my blog, not because I want attention or for people to feel sorry for me or to shock people with the intimate details of my life…but to connect with other people who might be feeling the same way and point them to the one who can take it away.

I don’t have a huge following of people reading my blog, but even if there is one person who might stumble upon this who is struggling with the same issue, I want to be of some encouragement.

On that day you feel the weight and sting of the sin you committed yet again, the tendency is to wallow—to sit in the shame you feel, to give up hope that you could ever make things right, that you could ever change.

Don’t.

You don’t have to feel shame because Jesus took it on the cross. Your situation is not hopeless because Jesus always gives hope and mercy. You don’t have to believe you can never change because when we are weak, he is strong and can lift you up.

I deserve shame for what I have done—for forsaking my God and chasing after other lovers, for not seeking His kingdom first and for seeking myself instead, for denying him three times until the rooster crows.

But the reality is, we are beautiful letdowns (quoting from Switchfoot here…) We are beautiful daughters and sons of God who continuously let ourselves, others, and our creator down. BUT….

Jesus. Jesus took the shame so that we wouldn’t have to wallow in the morning after.

What I want you to do is take that shame you are wearing, take it off, put it on the cross, and leave it there. Walk away and don’t return. On the morning afters, go to the hill, but don’t stay there. He proclaimed, “It is finished. I covered it all. Everything you have done and will do.”

I don’t want to take it off and put it on my Savior, but he wants to. He delights in saving us from ourselves. He wants to deliver us because he is holy and he would have it no other way.

So let him. It’s painful. It isn’t fair, but it’s necessary. And to be honest, white looks better on you anyway.

 

Love Never Ends June 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 4:10 am


It’s 7 p.m. in Beni, Bolivia and I have about three more hours before Captain Manuel shuts off the generator and I have to write by flashlight. I’m not sure if the humming I hear is the engine, the fan whirring in the corner, or the insects buzzing outside my window.

 

Like the rest of the crew and passengers, I am staying in an 8 feet by 12 feet bedroom where there is a bunk bed, a 4-shelf bookcase, and a very tiny chair and desk. White mosquito nets are hanging around our beds so that we don’t end up sleeping with more roommates than we had planned.

 

The shipmate sharing a bunk with me for the week is RN Sandy DeWitt from Fountain Inn, South Carolina. She served with us in Haiti during the height of the cholera epidemic. Right now she is taking a bucket shower downstairs. You have to give up just a few comforts of home when you are in the middle of the Amazon Basin.

 

From the moment I “walked the plank” onto the Ruth Bell River Boat, my experience has been both magical and morose. Magical because of the incredible beauty of the Mamore’ River. Morose because of the suffering we are seeing amongst the people who live there.

 

The communities along the Mamore’ River in Bolivia are completely isolated. Because of the fragile nature of the land, they do not have a permanent dwelling place. Many of them have multiple homes, but unlike us in the United States who do it for a pleasant vacation during the winter months, these families have no choice. Half of the year their homes are completely under water due to the rainy season.

 

In honor of Ruth Graham and her passion for missions, Samaritan’s Purse has built the Ruth Bell to reach the unreachable. Most of the people we are meeting have never seen a doctor or have never held a copy of their own Bible in their hands.

 

Every morning, before the five World Medical Mission doctors and nurses start meeting with patients, we have devotions in the “comadore” on the first floor of the boat. Yesterday morning, Sergio, the Bolivian doctor from La Paz who is stationed on the Ruth Bell, taught from John 5 on the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda.

 

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.  Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

 

 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

 

 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

 

One particular part of the passage stood out to me after we read and discussed it. The lame man had been waiting at the pool for 38 years. No one was willing to reach out to him and put him into the water to be healed. He felt forgotten, neglected, unloved.

 

But Jesus saw him. He picked him out of the crowd and healed him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

God has given us the incredible opportunity, through the Ruth Bell, to show God’s love to people like ones at the pool of Bethesda. They are desperate for healing and thirsty for the living water that only Jesus can give.

 

When I look out onto the river and see glimmers of gold rippling off the waves under the sunset, when I look into the feverish eyes of children, when I shake muddy hands that have been fishing for a catch all day, I know God’s love will never end.

 

It goes deep into the Amazon jungles, it hovers over the waters of the Mamore’, it washes brazenly onto muddy shores where worried mothers, distant fathers, and crying children have never seen or heard of the love of Jesus.

 

Stars Fell On Alabama May 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 5:13 pm

In early May, I drove down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to gather stories about the tornadoes that had hit just a week before. You can read one of the stories I wrote about a woman Samaritan’s Purse helped after the storms here. This is the blog I wrote about what I witnessed it Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

I didn’t know how powerful God is until I was standing on top of a pile of rubble where a house used to stand, talking to the woman who walked out alive.

I didn’t realize how deeply God cares about every aspect of our lives until I heard that a woman’s most treasured possession was the only thing left unharmed in the broken remains of her home.

 

I didn’t understand God’s care for all creation until I listened to the story of how a family’s dog got lost during the storm, ended up in the next town, and was returned the next day.

 

I didn’t see how far God will go to try and save one of his lost sons until I saw an old Bible left on a man’s front porch. Everything else was blown away in the tornado.

 

I didn’t believe in the faithfulness of the local church until I saw hundreds of people show up every day at the white steeple in town to help their neighbors.

 

Walking in the midst of the devastation in Alabama has renewed my faith in miracles. Some of the stories seem too outrageous to accept as truth, but when you see the evidence with your own eyes, it’s hard to be a doubting Thomas.

 

During my trip to Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, I was reminded of the testimonies of the disciples. They proclaimed the miracles of Jesus Christ many times, but even in their day, people still did not believe.

 

In 1 John 1:1-4, John says, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write so that our joy may be made complete.”

 

I could write down many stories for you to testify about how God’s protective hands were all over the people of Alabama during the tornado outbreak. But, even if I did, would you fully believe?

 

I have seen it, heard it, smelled it, and felt it with my own hands. God and His angels were with these people in the storm, and he has sent His good Samaritans from all over the United States to help them recover and regain hope.

 

I do not mean to neglect the great tragedy of this event. So much was lost, and many questions linger. Why did an 80-year-old woman in terrible health survive, while a University of Alabama student was found dead in her backyard? Some questions we will never have answers to. But we do know God is in control and that He has a plan.

————————————

On my second day working in Tuscaloosa, I volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse. I was excited to get my writing hands dirty and understand better of what it is like to serve in a disaster situation. But God did something rather unexpected that day.

 

That morning I asked Program Manager Todd Taylor which team I should join for the day. He pointed a team leader out to me and I started to get myself ready for the work day. I sat at a random table while I waited (without my pad of paper and pen). Today I was not going “work” I was going to work.

 

A few other volunteers joined me at the table. I got to know Bob, one of the team leaders, and some others. By the time orientation was over, Todd started assigning teams. Bob got up and started gathering his volunteers. He asked, “Michelle are you coming?”

 

I was unsure of what to do, join Bob who I just talked to for an hour or go with the man Todd suggested I join. I decided to go with Bob.

 

We worked at two houses that day and we didn’t get to meet either of the homeowners. Of course I was dissapointed, wanting to get a story out of my volunteer day. If I had gone with my original team leader, I would have gotten an awesome story out of it. But, later I realized that maybe God didn’t want me to meet the homeowner….maybe He wanted me to just work and not see the results right away.

 

It was hard already for me to switch from journalist mode to volunteer mode. Not meeting the woman whose house we worked on helped me just work.

 

As I picked up the pieces of dead branches laying all over the yard, I thought about the Bible passage of the vine and the branches.

 

Tuscaloosa is the “city of the Druid Oaks.” It has been known for the massive oak trees that encompass the community. That weekend, I drove by the University of Alabama campus, which was mostly untouched from the tornado. On one particular strip of road, giant oak trees hover over the street, their branches stretching out like angels wings protecting  everything underneath.

 

When the storms hit, these trees which seemed to offer comfort and protection turned into deadly enemies. The powerful winds ripped these oaks which have stood tall for hundreds of years out of the earth and tossed them mercilessly all over town.

 

Their wooden bodies fell on tops of homes, destroying lives and livelihoods. It was obvious that these beautiful oaks that were once treasured became a nuisance in the aftermath. Our chainsaws could barely tear apart these trees. Small pieces weighed hundreds of pounds. Yet, they had to be removed and tossed out. It has been a huge undertaking just to cut up and remove these oaks.

 

So, as I picked up these pieces, I remembered that pruning produces greater fruit. Recently in my life, I had to cut out a huge branch. This one aspect of my life was not honoring to God in any way and needed to be removed completely.

 

At first I was unwilling to cut it off. But God why? This branch gave me comfort and security. It made me feel good about myself!

 

No, He said. It needs to go into the fire. So, God took a chainsaw to this branch. At first the process was painful, more than I thought I could bear. But, it’s been about a month and I already see leaves and fruit blossoming in its place.

 

So, although cutting down the dead branches is a painful process, it will cause the tree to produce greater fruit. Like an abundant forest springs up after a consuming fire, I believe that great faith and hope in Christ will rise in Alabama after this storm.

 

He has already started something new and exciting in me. Are there dead branches in your life that need to be cut off? Rest in the promise that Christ has something greater in store for you. That chainsaw could end up being your new best friend.

 

12.2 February 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — shellvitenrose @ 10:34 pm

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Running means so much more to me than getting in shape, meeting a challenge, or releasing stress—and that’s because of Hebrews 12:2, my favorite passage in Scripture. Running reflects all aspects of my life. There will be obstacles, and there will be both failures and successes. But there is really only one factor that determines the outcome of my race. 

Faith.
I’m weak. Even if I train for months and prepare my body for the physical challenge of running 13.1 miles, I still need to believe in myself and remember that the faith of my Savior and my friends will carry me through the pain and the exhaustion.
Having faith was the most challenging part of preparing for the Miami Half-Marathon. After I decided to run for Team Samaritan’s Purse in August, I sprinted into training. I started out very disciplined and focused. I established a goal of raising $1,000 for animal and agriculture projects. I was confident that running for Team SP was something God wanted me to do.
Then in October, I got to travel to Honduras to see our agriculture programs firsthand. I was amazed at how giving a family something as simple as a chicken, goat, or seeds can change their lives drastically. I returned excited, but I still felt a nagging pang of disbelief in my heart that I might not be able to raise the money.
That’s when everything started to get harder.
A lot of travel + winter in the mountains of North Carolina + a back injury + stress from relationships and personal failures = stop running.
My stride went from a sprint to a pathetic trot. I thought about quitting, but God brought people along the way to encourage me to keep going. Slowly all the donations came in, my back healed, and the weather even cleared up enough for me to get off the treadmill and run outside a couple of times before race day. Ironically enough, I raised a little more than $1300–$100 per mile!
When I woke up last Sunday at 4 a.m., I remembered the families I met in Honduras who wake up every day at the same hour to care for their crops and animals and felt a renewed sense of responsibility to run my race well. Rewards require hard work and sacrifices.
I started out really strong, but at mile 10 I started to cramp up. After mile 11 I slowed down significantly. But I didn’t stop; I kept going to the finish line. The long journey was hard, but completely worth it.
A few thoughts entered my mind as I was running that I want to encourage you with:
You may feel alone, but you’re not.
There were not many spectators on the sidelines, a lot of runners had their ear buds in listening to music, and most of the time I had no one to talk to. But because of this I could feel God’s presence even stronger.
You want to quit, but you have to keep going.
One of my mom’s friends committed suicide just a few days before the race. I thought about her a number of times during the half-marathon. Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is like a lion who prowls around looking for someone to devour. At our weakest point, the adversary will try to destroy us. We have the choice to believe lies, or believe in the truth of Christ.
You want to do it on your own, but you need the help of others.
When I was in Honduras, I saw how pride often prevents the work of God. Samaritan’s Purse can’t help if the people are not willing to reveal their needs. A father told me in tears that he used to try to do everything on his own for the good of his family. When Christ humbled his heart, he felt freedom and peace. Communities were able to grow and flourish because they worked together in love for one another.
You think the finish line will never come, but it’s just around the corner.
Only God knows the future. Most of the time we can only see the problems in front of us, which can cause us to lose hope. But God wants us to have faith, and trust that He is going to bring us to the finish line.
You want to leave everyone in the dust, but you have a responsibility to care about the people around you.
As I was running, I thought about the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. It would be easy to leave the ear buds in and only think about yourself—how you are running, how fast, how many people you are beating in the race—just like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. But we are all called to care. I was blessed by one runner, Mary Patch, who sponsored me in the race. She came alongside me at mile 10 and encouraged me. I didn’t expect it, but it was just what I needed. God will confront you with hurting people in the road of your life. Will you stop and give everything you can to help? Or will you blaze past them and pursue your own medal?
Thank you so much everyone who donated and also to those who prayed for me and encouraged me along the way. My fund-raising page will be open until Valentine’s Day.