Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Hope

This past week, my Papa & I were asked to sing Christmas carols at a local assisted living home.  We accepted the invitation, and began to choose songs that we wanted to share.  He would play the mandolin, and we would both sing.  We thought how nice it would be to have my younger brother play his guitar with us, and thought he probably wouldn't want to but we asked anyway.  You see, because my mom was such a support to Tyler & his music, he hasn't really wanted to pick up his guitar since she passed away.  It was an absolutely delightful shock to me to hear that he wanted to play with us!  I was so happy!

We stood up in front of the older crowd of residents, barely having practiced singing together except for the five minutes prior, and began to sing.  My dad would tie in meanings of Christmas and thoughts from the carols we'd sing.  During one of the first songs, we sang something about the angels singing with us, or seeing us from afar.  At that moment, I imagined my mom crying in heaven, not with sadness but with delight, to see the three of us together, singing & playing music together.  I thought about how happy she would have been to hear us all together, and how pleased she would be that we didn't pass on singing.

This all led to another of hope.  I wanted to have my mom with me so quick right then, pinching back tears that screamed to be set free from the confines of my eyes.  Yet in that same instant, the hope arose that I will see her again soon, and it is because of the birth that we were singing about that I could have that hope.  It was a future hope of a fulfilled promise.  A promise God revealed many thousands of years ago, that was brought to fulfillment through the birth of Christ.

Through the Spirit, Mary a humble girl said "yes" to doing God's will, for waiting on Him to provide a miracle through her.  An unsettling situation to be sure, she waited with hope that God would be true to His word once again.  When Jesus was born a joy filled her & spilled out to each of us through the Son. We can have joy in the hope that His birth proclaims.  There is now a way for us to be joined to the Father.  What a thing to celebrate, what an act of love, bringing joyful hope to a people stirred with unrest.

His birth brought love to the world, joy to the heart, hope to the mind and peace to our soul.  Though some days we all feel unloved, discouraged, defeated & distressed, we can know that God LOVES us, and because of that love we can find JOY because God gave PEACE to our tormented souls, which reminds us of the HOPE that Christ's birth brings.  So this Christmas, let's celebrate, I mean REALLY celebrate, not only the birth of Christ, but everything that His birth represents!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We have a Winner!!!

Drumroll please.........

Jenny H!!!

Somehow, this seems fitting.  I had another friend draw from the names, and Jenny's name came up!  This is fitting because she & I have spoken many times about writing books & about our life stories...Jenny herself is putting together a book & I cannot wait to read it.  So.  Congratulations Jenny on winning a copy of my soon to be book!

To everyone else, please keep going through this journey with me, as you include me in your journey as well!! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First EVER "Walking Stumbling" CONTEST!!!

There's a contest a'brew'n & you can be a part of it!  Prompted by many of you, I've decided to put together a bunch of my "best" or favorite blog posts, and make a book out of them! And one lucky reader will get their own copy!!  Lucky you! ;)

What I need from YOU are your opinions & votes!!

Here are the rules for this contest---
1. Become (if you're not already) a follower to the blog....if you want to win, I have to know who you are!
2. Comment on this post with the title of the blog or blogs you enjoyed the most (or made you think the most)
3. Watch for an update on December 1st to see if you've won!!!

I'll be taking all of you who comment, (that are followers) and drawing a name for the winner! It'll be a hard cover, image wrap book!!  (And if you want...I might even sign it for you!) Voting is OPEN! So get voting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Deep love, Deep hurt

The past few months, the thought of a deeper love equaling deeper hurt, has been on my mind.  This is not to say that deeper love inevitably hurts, or that you shouldn't be willing to love deep, but that when you are vulnerable to deeply love, that same vulnerability opens yourself to be feel much more pain if & when you are hurt by something or someone.

This happens to us as people, but it also intrigues me in our love relationship with God. "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."(1 John 4:16)

If God loved us THAT much, that He would give us His only son, that He would live in us, that God is synonymous with love in the way that if we love, we are in Him, that's powerful.  That's a deep love, that's an amazing love. "This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (1 John 4:10)

So can you imagine with me then, that through God's love for us, incomprehensibly deep & devoted, that when we hurt or when we turn from Him, either way....just think of how much He must hurt with us & for us. "In all their suffering he also suffered,..." (Isaiah 63:9) It says in the Bible how God suffers with us...and if the greater the love the greater the pain can be, I can only imagine that God suffers greatly over each & every one of us, longing for us to come near to Him, to dwell in Him, to be comforted by Him & to understand His love for us. He mourns with us, but doesn't stay inactive...He comes after us.  Isaiah goes on to say "...and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years."

Through all the years....forever, ....loving us deeply, holding us in our pain, hurting for us when we walk away, His love never fades. "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease." (Lamentations 3:22)  This gives me hope, confidence & full assurance that when I hurt, I am not alone. It also reminds me that as much as I am able to love, He is able to love more fully, more completely, more intimately than I will ever understand, and that through our doubt, questioning, longing for answers, that He loves us still.  Be confident in this: "Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aged Cheese

A week ago, my dad brought home some sharp cheddar cheese, one of his favorites...this particular cheese though was a bit more special than normal because it was 12 year-old aged cheddar....that's pretty old cheese I thought.  And cool too, just because I think stuff like that is cool, for no reason.

Okay, now I'm 26 years old, and that cheese is 12 years old, that means that when I was 14, someone decided to put this cheese away & wait 12 years to serve it.  For 12 years that cheese sat there, wherever that may be, waiting for just the right moment to come out & be served.  Had it only sat for a few years, it probably still would have been good, but have you ever eaten 12 year-old aged cheddar? It's's good, it has a unique taste, etc. etc. Ha. I'm not really THAT crazy about cheese, but you gotta think about this in this other way...think about us as cheese.  Laughing yet? Just hold on....

Psalm 139:13 & 16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb....Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."  This is amazing if you think about it, because God knew us, knew our every step & all about us before we even existed.  Wow. That tells me that over 26 years ago, God knew that I would be typing this blog, where I'd be & that there must be a purpose to my each of our lives!

Like a fine wine or a fine cheese, as we enter into the family of God, even before we entered the family of God, we were set aside for a purpose, we have been given a story, we have reason to live.  Isn't that interesting though? To think of ourselves as in this waiting position, waiting to be taken off the shelf for God to use us?  I don't think He is completely passive though, at some point this analogy breaks down because I think we're used here & there throughout our lives, but as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."  I wonder if that means that we won't die until God has fulfilled in us the purpose He has created us for.  It is not until that point that we will finally see the Glory of God fulfilled & complete.

Just thoughts.  It makes me appreciate the cheese a lot more though...:) Hope you can see it differently too.  You are special, you're made with a purpose, you are loved, you are meant for something and no one can take away that meaning from you. You are God's child, designed intentionally to be who God purposed, to bring Glory to Him & reconcile you to Him in due time. Amen!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little something

I just found the following, hidden away in my documents folder....not sure when I wrote it, but I wanted to share it with you today.

Like little seeds planted in the ground, the seed must die for a new plant to grow! It's like us....when we were ignorant to the grace of God, we lived for ourselves & though we may have done "good" in the eyes of the world, ultimately there was no purpose, no end goal that we could strive for, except for pleasure in ourselves & our works. Now, through the ultimate sacrifice of God's death & divine miracle of His resurrection, we have a hope of something else. We have something to live for, someone who died for us, and now we can live a new life, dedicated to honoring Him for the gift he's given us....freedom, forgiveness, faithfulness, fullness of life, a fearless way to live.

I want my earthly inheritance to be spent before it's stockpiled...I hope to give it away, and to bless those who may never be encouraged to take a step of faith into a life they never dreamed of.  In Psalms 68, it talks about putting the lonely in families. Well, I've been given a family, but others have not. They are the lonely, and they can be part of our family...God's family. The love, care & provision that I have been blessed with all my life, can be someone else's if you or I care enough to share it with them. Sharing not only the practical things like food, shelter, & water, but God's blessings of love, acceptance, forgiveness & encouragement.

Wherever I go, whoever I become, this is the person I want to be: I want to be someone who serves others, who cares about the people who are rejected from society, who is involved with missions, who goes wherever I’m needed so I can meet a need, someone who seeks God first, who is unashamedly Christian, who gives all that I am to love on people, & listening at all times.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A quiet Joy

In the past two years, there have been multiple things that have upset the flow of my life.  Some would say this just IS life....the constant upsetting, twisting, lurching, occasional lull and then surprises once again.  I agree with this, but I think you know what I mean when you feel like your "nice little life" is turned upside down!  Even though crazy things are what make up our life, somewhere we feel's the "normal" days that should comprise the most of it? I don't know if this makes sense....but stick with me.

I've been challenged to look at joy in my life, and here is what I can say....for those of you reading who don't know me well, in 2008 my dear friend gave her life trying to save another camper, and both died tragically over a large waterfall...a few months later, my grandma passed away after a 5 year fight against cancer...a few months after that, my dad had triple by-pass surgery following a motorcycle accident...and a few months after that, my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia...leading to this March, when she met Jesus at home in heaven.  That's part of my backstory...I'm not telling you this so that you pity me, or on the flip say...she has no idea what kind of pain I've been through, I just want you to know that I can to some extent say with assurance that I can empathize with pain...and we can be connected through that. These trials are not the things that make me unique, nor does it for anyone else....but it is the way we respond to these situations that really define who we are, and what we are made of. back to Joy....

"Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever." (Psalm 30:10-12)

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (Psalm 51:12)

Joy to me, is the confidence I have in knowing that God, the eternal and all knowing, all powerful God will sustain me throughout whatever trials must be faced on this earth.  Having this trust in his unfailing mercy, brings me joy....understanding that though times can be tough, He is still faithful, He is still strong, He will sustain me and hold me up when I feel like falling.  This joy is freedom in Christ, knowing that when I cannot make it, He will continue the work that he began in me.  It is not something that I can do, or stir up, or make grow inside of is something that God reminds me of at the right moment of need...He reminds me that I am not alone, and that there is hope for a future in Him and in that hope I can find joy because my present moment is not the's not final and God will be with me in every situation, at every moment....forever.

This to me, is how joy is seen.  It is in the reassurance of God's unfailing love that I am able to relax in His arms and revel in joy despite the raging seas pounding against my soul.  His joy will give me strength.

"Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of his salvation for his Anointed one." (Psalm 28:6-8)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not what it seems....

"How am I going to be able to grow up without a mom to tell secrets to?" ....this is just one of many quotes that have made me tear up today.... I've been put in a lot of tough situations recently, that are forcing me to make decisions that right now I feel I cannot make.  It's like life is asking me to become a new person, one that I don't know about, and one that I don't necessarily want to be.  I guess it's all part of growing up, but wow...growing pains have never burned so much.

To a large degree, our family & friends that we have relationships with make up a large part of our identity.  When we lose them, we lose a part of our identity too....I've recently heard this termed like an amputation of the familiar self.  Who we were with them, is not going to be who we are without them. It's like....a normal life loss of something like...adolescence, or a job, or moving away...the loss is like a broken arm that takes a while to heal and the pain real but it will eventually heal.  However, catastrophic loss....death of a parent, sibling, friend, child, like an amputation...not just a broken arm.  It will never come back or be completely healed, and you'll always have phantom feelings of the limb that once was there but no longer remains.

I guess this is all part of growing up and growing into who I will be...though it feels different than I thought it would.  You never imagine these things to come, and you'd never imagine the consequences that would follow...everyone is different and we're all trying to become a new different together, yet still individually.  Some people make choices for themselves that affect just them, and other make choices that lead to more and more choices for other people.  It's all very difficult, and hard.....

Wishing that I had some verses right now to write about, but I'm too empty to seek them out today.  If you're reading this...what are some verses that have helped you grow into who you are today?  I'm curious.....because I just feel like I have no idea where my life is going, and it's hard to really go day to day when you don't have a direction. :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Walking into the Dark

This weekend, I received a new book in the mail.  If you're like me, you'll know that a delivery like this is like Christmas!  I love getting packages in the mail, even when they're expected.  You might remember me writing about another book called "The Adventure" by Jerry Sittser....well, this book is also by him, but it is titled "A Grace Disguised--How the Soul Grows Through Loss".   Because I've enjoyed reading "The Adventure" three times through, I figured this new book would also be a good read. Well so far....I'm hooked.  Here are some of my thoughts from the weekend....

Something that he says early on, is that the darkness of grief is inescapable & is something we must face alone.  We know as Christians that we do not have to do this completely alone, but the journey inside is personal and one that cannot be walked by any another human.  One struggle for many (as well as myself) is that we tend to walk away from the darkness and chase the fading light of our hope.  The joy we see disappearing beyond the horizon.  To that struggle, this quote struck me--"...the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise."

Wow.  I think most of us "know" that we are supposed to face pain head on, to walk towards it despite the hurt that continues & sometimes grows worse over time....but too often I fill it with other things, or turn away, or put off until I'm "more ready" to face it, all the while staying in the dark, holding onto the last glimmer of light that has so recently seemed to vanish. Staying here though, holds the light at bay, and refuses to see that only through the darkness can you see light again.  

Sittser says, "The decision to face the darkness, even if it led to overwhelming pain, showed me that the experience of loss itself does not have to be the defining moment of our lives. Instead, the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters as much as what happens in us." This really spoke to me....once again I am reminded that we ALL have trials, we ALL have situations that are overwhelming...that doesn't make us unique, it doesn't separate us from everyone else because it's something we all go through.  But the choices we make in response to these difficult situations, are what define us & make us who we are....they define who we will become.  "We do not always have the freedom to choose the roles we must play in life, but we can choose how we are going to play the roles we have been given."

Isaiah 41: 9-10, 18 says, "I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.....I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs." This gives me hope...knowing that when I was in darkness, hidden in the furthest corners of the earth, Christ came to find me. He brought me out of that depth & into the light. If Christ has done this once, we can hold fast that He WILL do it again.  
I'll leave off today with this last quote from Sittser, "In the valley of suffering, despair and bitterness are brewed. But there also character is made. The valley of suffering is the vale of soul-making."

Let's journey together through the darkness, alone & yet together, to run towards the light that we yet are waiting to see.  May we trust that God is with us to protect us & hold us though our hearts ache with pain & our limbs shutter with fear. He will give us wings as eagles and feet like deer, able to stand on rocky ground.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who can I trust?

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You, I will trust in You, I will trust in You. When I am afraid, I will trust in You in God whose word I praise." (Psalm 56:3-4) This song keeps playing over & over in my's a child's memory song that I learned long ago, and thankfully it comes up on days like today, when I just question....who can I trust when I am down & unsure?

The verse goes on to say, "what can mortal man do to me" that, I know there is nothing that they can really do.....but there is still pain from their choices & deeds against us.

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge." (Psalm 62:8)....but I ask that you "Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You." (Psalm 143:7-9)

...I guess I just don't know who to trust right now...things have been falling apart, people not living up to their word, so much junk around, that it's in times like these that I need to remember the one thing I know I can trust in is Christ. "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man...." (Psalm 118:8) This verse is being proven more and more each day.....just trust in Him....and when I am afraid....of the future, of people, of consequences, of everything....I need to be reminded that God will not fail me. "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock eternal." (Isaiah 26:4)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Training Camp of Character

This past week I photographed, watched and learned about the MN Vikings from a whole new perspective.  A friend met me there mid-week, and admitted that this was never something she would have chosen to attend herself.  I was glad to have her around though.  During the practices, she sat on the bleachers & I ran around taking photos.  One day as we walked away from the field, she mentioned something that has stuck with me the last few days.  She told me about sitting in the bleachers, watching the team practice, and listening to the crowds cheer & root for them.  They would praise the players who made a great catch, comment on the muscles someone had, cheer for a nice kick, etc...all encouraging the performance, abilities & physicality of a player.  My friend noted that it's our society that praises these things, and that it's pretty common to do, but wondered what it would be like to live in a society that praised not the accomplishments necessarily but the character of the person before us.

Wow. Praise someone's character? That thought goes beyond winning or losing, but to the internal soul of what makes that person who they are, and the fruit that they are expressing.  "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." (Hebrews 3:13)  ...encourage one another, there's no group here, it seems pretty broad, it's to be for everyone...and what are the things we should encourage each other about?  "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control...." (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the things that we should be praising...."Way to be gentle in that hard place", "You have such joy about this", "Your patience astounds me", etc.  I'm getting excited just in writing this, to encourage someone today.

So what would it look like if we became a society that praised someone based on their character and not on their physical strength, skill or speed?  How would that change people, and how would it effect each of us?  Wouldn't you be strengthened inside to continue doing good & making decisions that would please our Heavenly Father?  Let's be encouraged now, and freely give encouragement to those in whom we see Christ working through their character. Let's build each other up not only on our accomplishments but on who we are becoming through every situation & circumstance despite those accomplishments or failures. Let's let this life we live be a training camp of character, with the goal of heaven to drive us, so when we break camp, we can stand before the Father in bold confidence that he who began a good work in us continued through the end.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Standing on the precipice of something extraordinary....or maybe just new, I cannot help but feel anticipation and eagerness to move forward, to feel whatever this is that the Lord is moving around in my life. Big pieces are moving, and slowly things are taking shape.  I've been praying much the past few months of what does God have for me next.  I am "content" where I am, yet some of the situations that surround me make me uncomfortable, and yes I do realize that uncomfortableness can grow you....however this type of uncomfortable is the kind that can kill you. So. What is it God, what will it be? Where will it be? When will it be?

Looking forward, I cannot help but look back as well...I recently saw this verse at one of the 5 funerals I've attended in the last few weeks..."The memory of the righteous will be a blessing...." (Proverbs 10:7a).  What a blessing that I have been given through all of the people in my life & now who have passed on to the next.  One of my favorite kids books, tells the story of an old woman who refuses to name things that she knows she will outlive.  So the puppy that starts to visit her daily goes without a name until at one point he stops coming & she believes she has lost him forever. Through his visits, she has grown to love him...and when the dog pound guy asks what the lost puppy's name is, she thinks back over all her friends that she had outlived, and realized just how lucky she was, and decided then to name the dog "lucky".  As I look for what this new thing is that God is stirring, I want to bring the memories of the righteous people in my life with me...they will be in me and their memories will live through me, in whatever place I land.

Eleanor Roosevelt, in my mind one of the greatest inspirational women to ever live, said this..."The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."  That's what I'm trying to do.....reaching out to find whatever is out there, whatever God has that holds a rich newness to it. His redeeming & loving character will provide that, in his way.  Hm. How are we, am I, living that is tasting His will to the utmost, am I reaching out eagerly & without fear?  Will I remember the past with a blessed feeling?  I will, and I will try to take steps in faith to be one of those women who live without fear of the future, to be confident in the hope I have in Christ, and the boldness to follow wherever He may lead...seeing how He worked so vibrantly in the lives of my loved ones past, and fully trusting that He will do the same in me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Total Restoration in Progress

This is my new life statement. Total restoration in progress. Think about this with me.  As I walked down the old & classic looking streets of downtown St. Paul, there's a place called the Coney Island Cafe. It says it opened in 1923, and now there is plastic sheets over the windows & dirt in the doorway. But a tiny little sign tells you that there is a "total restoration in progress".  When you peek into the windows, you can see the old bar stools, the juke box in the middle of the dining room, old booths made from dark wood...signs of a past that has been lived and worn down.  Signs that at one time this little shop was was made to be something, but has gotten dirty, old, been shut off from the outside & has lost life inside the walls.

As I walked away from the cloudy window, I pictured my own life like that little cafe.  Parts of my life have been dusty, abandoned, been shut off from the outside & lost life.  I thought about how many of us when going through difficult things will grow tired of visiting those places inside of us, and pretty soon they're closed for business, not something we easily remember, and not something any one would want to go back to.

But Christ, in his ever visioning perspective & will, sees that old place and sees the potential that is still held within.  He comes inside of that place, and puts up a sign "total restoration in progress".  Total....not one spot untouched, taking everything into the process.  Restoration.....taking all those parts, every single spec & restoring it to the original design, the original intent & vibrant life.  In ongoing process, active & not sedentary, forward moving towards a goal, a developing of sorts.

Isn't our life in Christ a "total restoration in progress"?  Will we ever reach a finished state until Christ says come home?  And how would we be totally restored if we do not allow him into every little nook & cranny of our being?

When you see a place that has been totally restored to it's original state, is it not a beautiful sight? Something you want to behold, take in, soak up, relish, applaud, appreciate & marvel at?  Are we not usually wanting to give recognition to the hard work that the restorer has accomplished? Do we not look at all the tiny details that the crafter took time to meticulously finish?  Why then would we not recognize the work that Christ would like to do in us, a more than fully capable master who knows the ins & outs of us better than we know ourselves.  Should we not then give him the keys to every part of us and especially the dark & dusty parts so that we can be fully restored to the life that Christ meant for us to live out?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eggs & Toast

Today is my birthday. I'm 26. I'm now over the hump on my way to 50. haha. This morning I woke up to an overcast sky....something I love in the morning. My dad made me scrambled eggs, toast with apple butter, fresh cherries & strong coffee. It was great.  As I took probably my third bite of eggs though.....he said, "If mom was here, she'd make this really special for you." Obviously I lost it.

It's now 10 o'clock & I've been crying off & on since 7. What is it about those little things, simply having a little breakfast of eggs & toast that gives you thoughts of your mom?  He was right, and suddenly those eggs & toast didn't taste as good...they weren't something I really wanted because all I really wanted was to have my mom here.  This is the first birthday I've ever spent without her.  Even when I celebrated my 20th birthday in NYC, my family flew out to visit me.  When I had a birthday on tour in Missouri, my sweet 16, my parents drove down to celebrate with me.

Birthdays are always big days. I like to make them special for other people, and I always want to do something big for my own simply because it's a great excuse to do something extraordinary.  Here are some extraordinary things I've learned this year......You can always expect the unexpected, People mean much more than possessions, Miracles do still happen, Spur of the moment is usually more fun than something long awaited, When all doors seem closed look up because there might be a skylight, Sunsets over the ocean are meant to be enjoyed on land, Don't think things are always too good to be true, Dare to love and have courage to hurt, Do not settle, and Appreciate any opportunity that comes your way.

This is just my morning birthday thought. I've other more "spiritual" things that I'll write about later.  Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No Parking or Stopping

This afternoon, I found myself hidden, in a small patch of grass, mesmerized by the trees, the breeze, the heat & the deep hurt of a friend....of their deep hurt, and how I hurt because I know they hurt.  As I sat, I looked towards the road, and saw this common sign "No Parking or Stopping."

I see these signs all the time, we all do & are often frustrated with the thoughts of "why not," or "it'll just be a second," or "someone else is parked there....maybe I can get away with it too."  But today, as I looked at the sign, and thought about this woman, friend, co-worker.....I thought of how God often tells us that earth itself is a "No Parking or Stopping" zone.

Stay with says in Philippians 3:20 that "...our citizenship is in heaven." Does this mean we're not made for this earth?  We're made for something else, right?  Heaven? To glorify God ultimately...but that earth, where our God has placed us, is just temporary, right?  We're not supposed to just stay here.  This isn't our end point.  We can't just stop, or park here on earth....we need to keep moving...especially when times get bad.  

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  SO we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16)
I do not appreciate the knowledge that the troubles we endure here, is "achieving an eternal glory"....I want the beauty now...I want to stop, enjoy the roses, whatever. Yet the truth is, that God is and will use these times to make His glory seem even more beautiful to us once we are united with Him.  What we experience here, is's something that will pass away, that we need to not stop at. We cannot allow these things to stop us....though we may want to...we need to remember the "No Parking" sign.  This is not the end.  There is more....Philippians 3:20 goes on to say "And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body."

These bodies, the ones we are wasting away in....the old, the fat, the frail, the weak, the worn down bodies that we are in...are only traveling clothes.  There is more to hope for, though right now it is hard to see.  It is painful to look for. But don't stop....keep going.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Never stop waiting for God

Well how do I begin to tell you just how amazed I am each day that I am alive, at the miraculous & strange ways in which our God works?  Most days it's mundane, some days slightly boring. But occasionally, and more often than I would admit to enjoy, I get an unusual & exciting adventure.  The last few days has been an occasion of that sort.

In the middle of a weekend night, I was startled with a call that my home had been broken into. Despite my prayers, my computer & external hard drives were stolen.  To some, this would merely mean a few lost papers, maybe some pictures or your running music.  To was all the photos from my travels, the family pictures of my now lost mother, the memories of clients' babies & vows. The horror devastated me.  It was ironic in the ways that I had been telling people how my neighborhood was "just fine," and how I had just read about how in David's painful or frightened waiting he found ways to praise God.

I sat stunned, lost, robbed & unsure of the future. The Lord reminded me to trust Him & not in the things I had lost. It was an understood message, one I "knew" but didn't enjoy knowing.  But still, the praise was needed to I thanked Him for keeping Lisa & I away from home that night because we were SAFE, I thanked Him for clean robbers because our home wasn't TRASHED, I thanked Him for grace because my clients were FORGIVING. All these things to be thankful for. Yes, I was angry at what had been done, but thankful for God's protection....I still had a home to sleep in.

My friends at church prayed for me. I'm sure many people did. For protection still, and also that something would turn up. Monday was the worst. It hit me that I would never see those photos again, that someone had been in my house, taken valuables from me, probably sold them, had probably watched me for a while & might be back. The Bible study I'm in helped to take away those thoughts that evening though.....through prayer & some late night fellowship I celebrated the people who surrounded me & the God who provided them.

Monday evening, my brother came back to my house so I did not have to be alone. He let me log-in online with his computer (since mine obviously was "out of service"). Trying to get online I realized that the thieves had also stolen my router. Dumb. I figured it out though, and went to Facebook to update some folks.  Right away, I saw that I had a friend request & an email from the same person who was unknown to me.  Opening the email, my disbelief was stretched.  A man told me that he had purchased a computer that weekend, and after he opened it up & looked around, he noticed that the "brand new" computer he bought was really some one else's....mine. He had found my computer! But the best was yet to come--he wanted to GIVE IT BACK!

Wait....what? Give it back? No questions asked?  He said he understood what it felt like to have things taken, and that he wanted me to have it back.  Tonight....I sit here, writing this story, as I sit in front of my previously stolen computer.

The last few months, the ponderings of what God requires of us....of me....has been on my mind.  And this story cannot hide the fact that this is God's love lived out in action.  This guy, innocently bought a computer, discovered there was something wrong and gave it back, without expecting anything in return, trusting God that this is what He would require of him. I think this is SUCH an awesome example.  Trusting in God, waiting on Him to provide, to protect, to restore & to renew a hope in His awesome love.

My life never ceases to amaze me....and neither does my God.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A little shift.

I think something has changed. Temporarily? It's possible. But changed? Definitely.  A friend asked me very cautiously, if since my mother's death I looked at dying differently. To that I had an emphatic response of "yes...I'm not afraid of it at all." I realize that as a believer, there's no reason to fear death, but sometimes it's not death you fear, but the unknown that surrounds it.  The unanswerable questions that after the fact won't matter anyway.

I remember that when my friend Julie passed away, I was soon after on a trip to Mexico.  There we visited Copper Canyon in Chihuahua.  There was one cliff that we saw, that had a large rock at the very tip.  My friends discovered that the rock--rocked. You could stand on the rock & it would sway on the tip of the cliff.  I wanted a picture out there, but decided I wasn't brave enough to stand on the edge, so I stayed on the "sturdy" rock in front.  Immediately after they took my picture though, I changed my mind & decided I couldn't be that close & not stand at the edge. I quickly turned around, walked right out onto the rock & posed for a picture. Yes, I was probably about 200+ feet above the bottom of the canyon, with not much below me...not ANYTHING below me...but I realized that death didn't frighten me. Why not live life & be a little daring?

This is not nearly as near to the story I just told, but last night as I drove away from my home, I spied a beautiful antique settee on the curb. I wondered, pondered & decided to drive on. Then I had a little twinge...why not turn around & see.  I turned a right and went around the block, pulled up in front of a quaint little house, walked up to the door & knocked. After a few minutes of curious knocking, a girl my age welcomed me with a big smile. I asked about the couch & she vibrantly answered "You like it? It's yours. Think it'll fit in your car?" Huh. See how easy that I was I thought? What did that hurt to ask?

That part of me ...that is sometimes timid & nervous, is changing. I'm growing bolder, braver....little by little. It's a good change, a welcomed change. I'm finding joy in this, and can't wait to see what else awaits!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wait & Trust

Our faith has to be in the Lord, not in a desired outcome.

This can sometimes be a hard one for me to comprehend. Our faith has to be in the LORD, not in a desired OUTCOME.  Our faith cannot be in the thing we desire to gain, do or receive...our faith must be in the Lord himself: the Giver, the Teacher, the Ruler of our life.

I'm reading this book called "Sacred Waiting" it. In the second chapter, it talks about Abraham, and how throughout Abraham's story, he was spoken to by God.  God spoke directly to Abraham, and told him to leave his home, that his barren wife would have a child, that he would be the father of many nations & then one day God told Abraham that he would have to sacrifice the promised son.  These are all difficult things to comprehend. How do you know when it's the right time to leave home?  How long do you wait for a child?  How can you give up the dream you've held onto for years?  None of these things are easy, and none of these things should be done without God directing you. And if your faith is in the object of these in your home, faith in your fertility, faith in a dream....then I believe our faith is misplaced.

When you drive a car, or wear a watch.  You trust that that machine will work.  Ultimately, you trust in the manufacturer of that machine. You trust that all the pieces were put together just right, even though you don't understand how valves, cranks, levers or batteries work together, you understand that the manufacturer & designer knows, and that according to them, if you turn on the watch, or drive the car, it should work.  Your faith is in the creator, not really the car itself.  In the same Abraham, who left his home without knowing where God was calling him, but just left in faith that God would direct, we should allow our faith to only focus on God & to watch for His direction.  To jump into the water & keep our eyes on Him....not sitting around waiting for Him to move, but moving & allowing him to direct our movements.   

We may not know where God is leading us, but we still should follow.  We may believe that He is guiding us one way, but He may direct us somewhere different. Yet if in the change of direction we are following Christ, then how will we go astray?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Another test...

I don't know what to do.

Tonight was another test. Just how much will I be given to hold? The rain keeps pouring over the tear streaked face, too wet to remember what it feels like without tears.  The winds feel cold across my face, but I long for them, to feel something….anything.  How much Lord, must I suffer… how many deaths must I endure?  So many lives, full of hope, of courage, of grace & strength, suddenly taken away.  I realize that they live…in a time that I do not understand, hidden beyond my sight behind your great hands.  I understand this, and I yearn to join them.  I yearn to not be separated anymore from the people who have gone before me.  I hurt so much and ache for them. 

I sit here, and what I want, I cannot have. What I don't want, I have right now.  The things that made me happy have come and gone. And the things that supposedly will make me happy again, I cannot see through the cloudy eyes of tears. There is a restless spirit within my ambiguous desires and sedentary day. What to do with myself, my pain, and everything that is wrapped up within the three, forming a cord that seems to cut off life to my heart.

When oh Lord, will you come?  When will you join with us again, joining us and the ones we love? 

This last death, though a relationship not as prominent as my mother, has hit me low….it is so soon after my mother’s death,  that I feel completely empty, void of anything, yet terribly in pain.  There is too much sadness Lord, too much grief. What is your purpose, and why to us? Where will the pain end, and to what extent must it reach?  I know there are no limits of your love, and you have limited death…for you will not be overcome by it.  Yet how come I cannot always see the limits of death, or feel the limitless reach of your grasp?  You need to touch me, to hold me, to comfort me, for I cannot live without your peace. Your grace is more than sufficient to hold the terrors that haunt me each day, but meet me now Lord, do not delay.  For my heart wanes for you & aches with tremors.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The face behind the falls

Many drum beats ago, when the East was still the West, the sky still one with the sea, love abounded.  A man of sorts & a woman of sorts lived together in love, passion & peace.  They dreamt together, about the worlds they could form, the colors & the textures, the depths & the heights. The two, better described as one, knew no time. They felt no presence except that of infinite love.  

At once, which still was never, since there was no now....they, together as one came to a singular mind to fulfill their dreams of a land, a place where they could be...not the being that they currently or never or always knew, but a place that would contain them. A land that would be an icon of the beauty between them, the colors to describe their love, the texture to describe their emotion.  The man of sorts & woman of sorts dreamed together to make a living substance that would please the other in themselves.

Secretly while unhidden they together formed themselves into something that the other could enjoy.  The man of sorts changed to a winding thing, something that moved freely over the foundation they formed.  He was invisible, but his presence could be felt by the other.  The woman of sorts revealed herself as a form that rocked, swelled & crashed. The two lived abundantly, finding delight in each other, together, as a wind and wave.  

Because they had separated the oneness of the two, time was created. It lay as a reminder of times past...drum beats in the distance. When they felt enough days had gone by and they desired to join together again as one, the time joked with them and promised that tomorrow it would allow the joining to resume.  As time has told, it is a liar and cheat...never telling the truth, stealing some hours away and giving length to unwanted hours.  Tomorrow turned into yesterday, and someday turning its face to one day never coming.  

The wave of sorts pushed on the foundation, trying to raise herself into the sky, but it only made her fall into pools, raising other parts of the foundation into the heights of peaks.  She waved to the tips, but still was unable to reach the air.  The wind of sorts grabbed at the wave, trying to lift her into the heavens, but it was to no avail. He blew himself round, but it only stirred the waters & did nothing to the foundation.  

The water and the wave saw that they had dreamed to love each other differently but never saw that the love they held before had been perfect.  The waters found a secret place on the foundation, one unfound by time. There she pressed her face into the foundation & wept. She wept and wept so much that she filled the foundation with the sea.  The wind met her there, and vowed to forever wipe her tears with his breath. Together they stay, her crying for her love & he caressing her cheek with his unending love.

To this day, you can see her face, behind the waterfall....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Something beautiful

On the last day in Kauai, we took our little car and drove a long, winding and "hole-y" road to the summit.  While the length of the road was only about twenty miles, it took nearly an hour to reach the destination.  As we neared the end, mist filled our windows & clouded the glass.  We took a short detour to a lookout further inland, which was suggested as a better view than the summit.  Pulling into a small lot there were only a few other cars, mostly other hikers because we were the only people at the spot. 

We walked to the edge of the overlook, to the fence that was the only thing that held us from the depths of a mile-high canyon drop.  It didn't take until the fence to see the view before captured us as soon as we stepped foot out of the car.  There was a complete covering of fog.  Past the fence was nothing but white. And as the sky was so bright, the air before us and above us melded into one perfectly spotless canvas.  We sat on a table, submitting ourselves to the fact that we would see nothing of the canyon from there.  This canyon we had seen from the air & from the sea, the canyon green with life, vivid with color, proud with height, this canyon we knew was merely feet from where we stood, was hidden fully from our view.

Sitting still on the table, for a few moments neither of us spoke, nor did any cars approach the lot or hikers exclaim.  The only sounds that could be heard were birds echoing their praises & distant calls of the ocean shore, clapping with delight against the cliff walls.  We sat there silent, feeling as though we were just out of reach of heaven....a perfect place of light, just beyond sight.

As I recalled this moment to a friend, she made a comparison to this "non-sight" to that of the lives Christ has for we can be right on the edge of something beautiful, spectacular & breathtaking....and yet sometimes He hides it from us. It's not the right time for us to see what is there, what is coming next, what colors he's using, what form he's making, or where he'll bring us into. The beauty that he is forming is's within reach, yet until He blows the clouds away, we cannot see. We can have faith in His will for our future, and that our future is with Him...yet faith is what it takes to grasp that there IS something beyond the fog, behind the clouds, lying still & silent in his hands.  It is waiting to be revealed, but until then, we are to sit, silently and in awe of the beauty of where we are...take in the smell of the flowers, the sounds of the birds & waves, the feel of the wind on our faces, the warmth of the sun beating down through the thickness of clouds. Rest & relax in the quiet knowing that while it is unseen, we know that something beautiful is before us.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Just some thoughts as I prepare to head out...."As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." (Psalm 42:1)....through my searching, I ask..."Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." (Jeremiah 1:6), this is how I'm feeling.  Where will the Lord meet me on this trip, where will he be silent & teach me to wait? I feel & know that I have so much to learn, and each day offers plenty of opportunity.....yet I am only a child, I do not always know where to seek, or where to find.

I find promise in Psalms 18:33 where it says "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights." Heights can be conquered by hard work. I've never known anyone (except one of the native Everest peoples) to be able to climb a mountain easily.  It takes steadfastness, determination, skill & vulnerability. But here, David talks about God as the giver of feet like a deer, easily able to climb & reach the heights from the depths.

This next week, hiking up mountains, kayaking through rivers, I will try to remember this....that though the rains pour, the storms come, there are heights to be reached again, and God is the one who gives us the ability to reach them.

Let's journey together, to see what heights are set before us!

Monday, April 26, 2010


In a conversation this week, talking about the horrible happenings weaved throughout this persons life, the question was posed "what did I do to deserve this life?"  The thought was chilling, and unsettling. I don't know that we really deserve any of it....any of the good or any of the bad.  For what really could we do to deserve anything good in this life, and what could we do that would warrant such hard events? I know that if we really get spiritual here, there are probably very legitimate answers for these questions.....sin in the world causes us bad things in our life...or doing good for others often will allow us to reap plentiful benefits.
But in the simplicity of this question, ....I remembered a story in my past.  I once had a wonderful band teacher. He always chose great music & taught us well.  One particular choice of song, had a particularly difficult timpani piece.  This he chose to give to me. The other parts he let the other percussionists choose for themselves, but for the timpani, he chose me to play.  Just looking at the piece someone would understand this was not going to be easy.  It had multiple tone changes, varying degrees of intensity within short measures, odd rhythms, parts where I was the only player amidst the entire band, & so on.  I questioned his choice, pleading that I was not able to do this piece and that he should choose someone more capable.  He insisted, and would hear none of my protest.

So I practiced, and I practiced, and I practiced, I screwed up & I practiced some more. Finally I was OK with the piece....just OK. And when it came to the concert, I stood & played...I was not perfect, but I was alright. I did better than I thought I would, that's for sure.  Later, I asked my instructor once more....why did you choose to give me such a difficult piece? Surely someone else could have done it better. To this he replied, "I knew you would have to work at it, but I wanted to see you try..." (this next part is what really got me) "...I chose it for you not because you were the best, but because I wanted you to see what you were capable of."

In many ways, I see this situation as something similar if I now asked God why I deserved this life & the situations that fall into my way....He allows them to come not because I've done something to deserve them necessarily, but because he wants me to understand what I'm capable of overcoming when I trust Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hands that shaped the world

This weekend, God knew that I needed to hear from Him. Softly though, I needed Him. As I left my house, I was surrounded by piles of raked leaves....evidence that I did yard work last fall...and did not complete it before winter. The thought that I needed someone to tell me DO THIS was in my mind....if only someone could come along & help me to actually DO something, I might actually complete this work at last.  I arrived at church and I sat still & silent, waiting to see how God would speak.  For some reason too, I wanted to see a particular friend. I didn't know why, but the desire was there to see her.

This is how He softly came. As I turned to leave the sanctuary, I stopped to say hello to a friend.  Over her shoulder, I looked & saw tightly wound friend, who I wanted to see so badly, was at my church (not her church) and was walking towards me. How could she know that that particular Sunday she would be such a blessing to sore, aching eyes. As we spoke and laughed, another lady approached me saying "I know how hard it can be to do housework if you don't have someone there to motivate you to just do it." I was totally blown away & amazed. She told me to call her and that she would help. I loved that Sunday.

Last night, as I drove across the city, my radio loud, a song came across that meant so much to me in that place.  There is such simplistic truth here, so as much as I would try to describe it, I will allow the words to speak for themselves. Below are the lyrics, and a YouTube link so you can hear it as well.

I have unanswered prayers, I have trouble I wish wasn't there, And I have asked a thousand ways, That You would take my pain away, That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand, How to walk this weary land, Make straight the paths that crookedly lie, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth, You healed the broken, lost, and hurt, I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right, Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands

Your hands, Your hands that shape the world, Are holding me, they hold me still, Your hands that shape the world, Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave...I never leave Your hands.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

There has never....

Today the air seems heavy, my limbs feel weighted, one of my fingers has an insatiable twitching....I want to cry every time that I turn around the corner. I don't know what it is about today....I have shivers on the inside and yet I want to stand or run out in the cold rain.  There are no real words to describe....I can't tell you what would make me feel better. Doubtful if anything would.

There has never been a time in my life that I have not talked with my mother for more than two weeks. It has now been almost three weeks to the day that I last spoke to her. It wasn't much...we talked about what was happening, we talked about how she felt and how she didn't want to lose me. We talked about my new website I wanted to make, and how I had found a name I really liked...not for my site, but in general. The name was Lucile Ann.  I told her I liked that name because it was her middle name & my grandma's first name. She told me before I left that day, that she really liked that name, but that I should put an "e" on Anne.

I remember playing piano, her playing music me playing notes. Somehow we always made music together and it sounded beautiful, our mixing of melodies. I remember gardening, weeding, and planting. I remember her stories that snap dragons would bite my fingers off if I got too close....I kept away because she was always truthful. I remember putting our fingers in the water, to feel the coolness & stirring of the unseen tremors of the water.

My joints ache with the pain of an unexpressed sorrow. The anticipation of days ahead leave me with urges to close my eyes and to not think, to not breath, to not imagine. And how can you imagine, when the future is so unclear, and unknown, indiscernible? I breathe. Once, twice, again & again. Waiting & hoping for relief.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Questions or Statements

So many people have been speaking to me, and telling me..."I'm so sorry, I don't know what to say, and don't worry....I won't be the millionth person to ask how you are." Well, I want to give you permission to ask.

The simple truth my attempt to be honest with myself & with those around me, I fail in offering up much information about how I feel or what I struggle with.  However, if someone directly asks me not just how I feel, but how do I feel about: ______ or what will I miss about:______ or how will:______ impact the ____ part of your life? Those questions are all good, normal & welcomed.

In this shock and awe of grief, my mind is not actively thinking about how my life is changing, has changed or will change. I'm just trying to simply survive from one second to the next. Laying one foot down in front of the other. Drive one more mile without crying.

I'll tell you this too....don't be afraid to ask me about things, because if I don't want to talk about it, I'll tell you. I'm becoming better at saying "no thanks" when things come to me that I don't want to I'll let you know if I can't talk about what you're wanting to know, and I won't be mad that you asked, okay?

Alright, now that all that is on the table, I hope you feel a little more comfortable talking to me, and I hope you'll take advantage of my openness.

Monday, April 05, 2010


It's unexplainable, and indescribable what my hollow body feels right now.  In the last few days, hours & moments, there is a need I have to repeatedly put my hand over my heart, to remind myself that I am alive. My heart that is feeling so much is yet completely numb and stilled with life.

What more can I say when my mother, my beloved mother who was and is my world, has disappeared before my eyes?  My heart beats to a song that no longer plays.  In almost every memory I recalled this weekend, her influence or presence was in each one....and I did not want to share those memories...I almost wished that I had memories that were apart from her...and yet there are none. We did everything together, and if we were not together we shared everything with each other.  This constant communication will be the hardest to get used to.  Unexplainably, the last few mornings, as I awake from an unrestful rest, my arms are wrapped tight around my soul, and it feels as though someone else is holding my mother, from somewhere, is holding me and comforting me as I awake to the bitterly silent home.

Although I feel I want to write everything I'm thinking out now....I will withhold some, and will be continuing this walk with grief once again.  If you are reading this, and have memories of my mother, I would love to hear them. Please write.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving Mountains

Once in a while, you'll get a glimpse of something spectacular....of something new & unrealized, something fresh & intriguing.  Sometimes those glimpses will come from the most unlikely places.

I watched this little girl with her father in the park.  They were lying there, looking at the city, through the trees...she laid there in the grass quickly switching her hand to cover one eye, then the next, then the first eye again. She laughed with delight at she told her father "I can make the whole city move! It looks like the buildings are dancing!" Back & forth she would look once more as the city was moved from the east to the west and back again.  Her dad looked over to her and simply replied "It all has to do with perspective."

And at that moment I thought about the passage that says "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) I thought about how faith has to do a lot with your perspective.....your perspective of God and of how much you can trust him.  It has to do with what you think God can do. Even how you think God can work through a seemingly difficult situation.  Do we really trust that God will use us no matter where we go? Do we really think He could bring good out of war? Do I really believe God will use Leukemia to touch people? It all has to do with perspective.

It's not physically moving a mountain from here to there, it's seeing the mountain the way God might see it. As an opportunity to overcome, rather than an obstacle that can defeat you. A mountain for us might be a hard work environment, or an impossible dream, or an un-lovable neighbor. We are all capable of moving mountains, simply by having a perspective other than our own....a perspective rather, that comes from Christ. We can see the un-lovable neighbor as a hurting soul that could really use a glimpse of kindness. We can see that our impossible dream is no longer impossible if we start from another angle. We can see that a hard work environment can be an opportunity to show a heavenly amount of patience & grace.

Makes sense to me that we are moving mountains every day....if only we have faith to see through God's perspective...from east to west, here to there, from mind to's possible.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Going back forward

Last night, talking with a friend, made me think about some things....about "being".  There also was a group of people yesterday, who I shared with about my struggle with this whole concept of just "being"....of being still, of listening, of taking time to slow down, etc. A very good friend of mine has asked me to take some time to slow down, with writing letters.....I started, but still haven't gotten a whole one out (It's coming you).

Anyway, what I found funny yesterday is that in thinking about "being" I took time to look through some of my old blog posts. It dumbfounded me because what is happening today, is totally different from two years ago, yet some of my thoughts & reactions are completely identical. I read one post, and thought....this could have been a narrative of me today, crazy!  Totally different situation, and yet same response.  Makes me wonder how much I'm growing....or how much this is just me, and going to stay me. Is there something more I need to learn in this area, or rather will I EVER learn?

I don't know. But I do know this.....whoever is reading this, you know me (or at least most of you do) if you see things that you question, I'm opening myself up to your questioning of me. Seek me out & ask about it if you see something that brings up a flag in your mind....caution me, question me, whatever you feel you need to do. I'm okay with that. It's helping me to grow.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Miracle Worker

The sky today seems teary eyed...welling up with tears that may never come. My tears are the same some days....they are there, but do not break free from the comfort within my eyes.  Tears can be hot with anger, cold with grief, salty with sadness, or refreshing with joy. ....and the ones that come today are the kind that fill emptiness with gratefulness.

Last week, there was fear....this week God came near. My mom was in the hospital, waiting for another result to come back...and was expecting the now normal response of "it didn't work....we'll try again." Needless to say this is a frustrating & often crushing blow that sets my whole family back into questioning what will be next. The doctors were not pleased, and told my mom this. Why, I don't know...but they were predicting, and wanted to prepare her for what was inevitable. Anyway, the doctor came into the room last Monday (the morning after 40 of us had prayed & cried out to God for her healing), and said "This is unexplainable....but your blast numbers are down to 3%....this shouldn't have happened according to your last results.....I don't understand it. We'll be sending it back to Mayo to double check." We all felt that we had witnessed a miracle....3% blasts means she's technically in remission! And after the double-check, the numbers were proved correct. What a praise!  The prayer now, is that the 3% blasts stays there, and her white blood count will climb to normal levels....join us in this prayer, please!

The week before, there was also an unexplainable incident. Because of the seemingly constant hospital stays that my mom has endured, my dad has also had to endure phone calls from hospitals & such, to pay the overwhelming six-digit bills that keep coming. His responsibility had added up to about $47,000.  He also had received another phone message, telling him to call the hospital about that bill, right away. Well, he started to pray & cry out to God. There is no way that our family will be able to pay this amount, and we need help to make this happen. It's enough to worry about your mother/wife in the hospital, without having to wonder where the money will come from to keep her in good health. So after an evening of sleeping & praying through his concern, he somewhat hesitatingly called the hospital. When the man answered the phone & confirmed the amount owed, the man then simply stated "Okay, we just took care of that."

Yep. All $47,000.....done, paid for, wiped off the tab.

All I can say, is that God is definitely a miracle worker. I've seen it this week, and I've seen it all through my life. The miracles don't come every time we want them, or when we would expect them....they come in His good timing, in his pleasure, to give us pleasure, and to show us His power & glory. He is Good. Very good. Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Conflicts and Fear

So last night, while speaking with some close friends, someone asked is it you can go through such crap & hard things, and still be so happy?  My answer? "Because I'm a really great faker." Don't think that's much of an answer? Well.....neither did I once it was out of my mouth.

Since I was in HS, honestly probably before that though, I've been the "tough girl" who doesn't let things get to her. And it's not that I really AM that tough, it's just that I don't want to face those things. Tonight, I was at a youth retreat, and after saying yes to leading part of a game......I said....I can't handle it. I don't want to do that. (I'm learning to say no when I need to and tonight I needed to say no.)  Instead, I somewhat reluctantly grabbed my Bible, hid myself away in someone's room & read. I searched for all the places that God told us about his peace, and how he would hold us together & allow us to have rest in Him. Here's some of what I found: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) "Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest....." (Hebrews 4:8-11) "Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink;...." (Psalm 69:14)

These are all things that were going on in my heart tonight, and as we studied together later, about how God wants to open our doors if we LISTEN to Him and then wants us to OBEY Him, I wondered about what it was that He wanted me to open up with.  My answer?  Fear.  He wanted me to open up about the fear that was residing inside, holding my outside captive, never letting me truly express what was going on.  It was interesting, because it was like God was saying....I can't heal that if you're not admitting it's there.  So I admitted it was there. And then the next thing, do I obey God in this area?  What am I supposed to do about it?

One of the other verses I found spoke to that...Psalm 62:5,6 and 8 says "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.... Trust in Him at all times, O people; POUR OUT YOUR HEARTS TO HIM, for God is our refuge." Then you know, there are those many other verses that say do not fear....well, it felt like God was telling me...."don't fear or worry....but if you do, tell someone. Tell ME."

The other thing, was I avoid conflict (I'm growing in this though) ....and most times I think about that in relation to others. But tonight, I realized that I'm avoiding the conflict within myself, about the fear that I am (was) unwilling to face.  Fear about my mom, my family, my future, relationships, what God's "to-do-list" is for me, etc.  So the conflict wasn't with other people, but it was a conflict that I'm fighting with myself.  (which is interesting b/c a year ago, in a class, the question was posed "what is the biggest hindrance to you growing with God and I answered "myself")  Hm.'s been a good night.  I cried. I think the last time I cried was in December....and before that one day in October. I do not cry.  But I want to, because it's an outward expression of the deep fear that is in me, and I need to express that not just to others, not just to God, but also to myself.  ...."The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, HE WILL QUIET YOU WITH HIS LOVE, He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

And now....I'm going to be quiet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Questions to ponder

I just spoke with a pastor, and thought I would pass on the questions the pastor gave me. (I'm rephrasing some of these just a bit)

1. How much does God care about what you do versus who you are while doing it?
2. Could a team of people be more burdensome than a gift of money or background support?
3. While we continually ask God to fulfill OUR list, do we ever ask what is HIS list for us? What does HE desire for me or from me?

.....wonder about these with me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Forever Faithful

This weekend, a few things struck me's my experience....I'd love your feedback.

This weekend, I was out until about 3am Saturday morning, and while driving home, I saw what I believed to be two prostitutes only a few blocks from my home.  I physically felt my stomach drop.  It was like a pit in my stomach that shocked me so much!  I knew it was around, and that it is real....but somehow, I felt like my neighborhood wasn't affected by that. Hm. Those of you who've asked me about what I feel God is challenging me know that there's something there that keeps coming up in regard to reaching prostitutes....There's a lot I'm not going to get into now, but if you're curious, ask.  Anyway....I went home and prayed....until I fell asleep (which wasn't long) but it lasted with me all the next day.

Two other comments struck me this week....they were said almost in passing.....and I don't think anything was meant by them....but.....they're still there, mulling over in my mind.  That's all I can really say right now.

My question today I guess is this: I know that God is faithful, and that He will direct our paths....but when is it the time to stay still, or to move? When is it the time to jump and when is the time to ponder? If there is a deep seeded yearning.....and you act on it...can it sometimes be for your own motivation? And is that always a wrong motivation? I're still doing something helpful, right?

Hosea was told to marry a prostitute. A Prostitute!  ....yet, through that, God showed his faithfulness to Israel.  By Hosea's faithful example to a woman who continued to go elsewhere with her affection, God showed how even though we go elsewhere with our affiliations He is always faithful. Hosea jumped (married the woman) and then pondered and spoke...(he remained faithful to her, despite her own unfaithfulness). 

I'm kindof all over the board, I realize this.....but....I guess what I'm getting at, is I know God is faithful, and I want to be a faithful follower too....but how can we do that with the conflicts in our own mind, and the things that pop up, getting us to think off course....and yeah. I'm going to quit now before I REALLY start to ramble. I'd appreciate comments or thoughts! (write them on my blog though....I have about one more week before I can read anything on Facebook).

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Story Worth Living

We all have stories....some are comedies, some are tragedies, some are romantic & some are just plain stale. Wherever your story fits on this fits...somewhere, because we all are living a story.  But what is making your story great? Are you inviting people to live out that story with you? Are you drowning in character development with a character that never does anything? Are you frustrated that your climax scenes never get the "aha" resolution like in the movies? Are you intrigued by the chapters, enough that you keep wanting to go further & further into the story?

I've been thinking a lot about story. I'm pretty sure I've already blogged on this somewhat, but it's in my mind again. Listening to music like Grace Potter, and her sweet crooning of "are we falling or flying"....a lot of this has to do with perspective...but your perspective is shaped by your story, right? somewhat?

In Ezra, he is a scribe that writes the Jews' story of coming back to the homeland & rebuilding their temple after so many years in captivity. What a story!  The captors release a certain amount of captives to go home & rebuild a temple, that has so much importance to them. It's pretty amazing to me that the captors did that....and it's also pretty amazing how the people wanted the temple rebuilt so bad, that obviously they weren't just sitting around in captivity going along day to day....they wanted that temple, and they wanted it bad!  I don't think it was really so much about the "temple" as it was about wanting a place to worship the one true God....but giving Him a place to reside was important for the Jews. They took steps to push for this goal, made pleas, petitions, spoke to apparently the right people, and when they got the chance, they took it!  The set to work right away, and praised God while fasting on their trek back to Jerusalem.  Amazing. They made their story a glorious one....not one of defeat.

It's about going after something, and not being afraid to face obstacles along the way. It's about trusting that God has quite the story to tell through you, and not just sitting around waiting for it to happen. How many stories have you read where all the main character does is think & sit on the couch?? (Okay....I've honestly read one like this, and it was the most pointless, aggravating, frustrating book I've read....I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it ended & nothing HAD happened, I wanted to die.) Alright, get what I'm saying?

This is getting long, so I'll wrap up.....and maybe I'll make a Part 2 to this particular topic.....but what kind of story are you living?

My friend was inspirational, she challenged me to do things I'd never done before. I wanted something bigger than what I'd ever thought possible....when she died, that dream of mine got cloudy.  But then...what I wanted was to honor her inspirational life. Many of us did. We set a goal, and figured out all the things we needed to do to get there. We invited people into our story (which makes it hard to give up)...and last summer, hosted a 6k to allow kids the chance to go to a summer whose parents are imprisoned & would never have been able to go otherwise. It's a small story, but it IS a story.  It's continuing, and it's exciting!

What kind of stories are you making?? Share them with me!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Someplace to Run to

You know, some days, I just wish that I had someplace to run to.  A destination of sorts, that would protect me from all the bad in the world. From all the disappointment, pain and heartache. In the past, there were these cities of refuge....they were mainly for murderers seeking ....refuge...duh. However...I wish that there were those today. Where only good things happened, you know?

It would be like....the ideal world in "Where the Wild Things Are"...where only what you want to have happen, happens.  I know it sounds crazy, but it would be nice, wouldn't it? If you could escape for a time to just not worry about anything or anyone?

Hm.  I have to remind myself that God is like our "city of refuge".....with the ability to let us just rest and be comforted. He brings us peace.  Someone guilty, that wanted refuge, had to put forth effort to get to the city of refuge.....and in some ways we have to take that step to seek comfort in Christ but...He also knows when we are hurting and can come to us  in that pain.  "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:1-2)

It is so difficult to keep standing.....when so many things feel like their crashing around you.  Sickness, disappointment, doors closing, etc.  It's difficult to keep running this race....I just need to remind myself that I can. And when I get to a place where I can't, then Christ himself will take over.

I just wish some days that he'd be quicker about that!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Clouded Pillar of Fire

Oh man do I wish that I had a pillar of fire today....or a cloud of smoke....just to guide me where I'm supposed to be going.  Do you have those days?  Where you think you should be going one way, but there's no clear "sign" and you get confused?

Maybe you don't have a specific question you're looking for an answer about.....but rather the general direction of....where is my life going?...where is it going to take me, who am I going to be, what am I supposed to learn, ....what should be my focus? 

Days like this....I want a clear vision....I have dreams, like many of us do I suppose, and a "vision" of where I'd like to end....but I desire a few goals along the way, and they seem to be cloudy today.  I don't know why, but it's, I just feel like I'm living until tomorrow, not really with a purpose, which is pretty sad when I think about it.  I'd love to be one of those Israelites, living day to day following a giant pillar of fire, or a cloud of smoke....they knew that there would be an ultimate end point, but until then, just following the fire & smoke was enough. 

I'm trying to live a better story, something that's worth being a character in it.....but I don't know where I want this story to go....I don't know where God might have written the scene already. 

Do you know what I mean? ....thoughts?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Opening the Way to Walk with God

"The way to God is by the Savior's death. The way to walk with God is to be set apart by the Savior's life." Leviticus is a book about holiness. To some, the book of Leviticus is known as a priest's manual, the intricate how-to's of sacrifices, offerings and prayers. The point of these rituals however, was to allow people to remain close to God. These sacrifices were a way to set themselves apart from others, and to recognize the holiness of the God we serve.

For our cry to reach God, however; there needed to be a sacrifice...a holy sacrifice. Once a year, a high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice on behalf of him and the nation. This was a special honor that was only for one called by God. God himself would choose a high priest, the one to go between Him and the people. In Hebrews, it tells how God did this with Jesus..."The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever.' Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

"Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

"Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever." (Hebrews 7:21b-28)

Our Savior's life was truly perfect and holy in the sight of God..."Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:13-15)

Holiness as a characteristic would be someone who is recognized or declared sacred by religious use or authority...someone devoted to or set apart for the service of God. In Leviticus, the sacrifices of the priests were not to be the redeeming power bringing someone to God, but served as the outward and humbling act of a life committed to being set apart for the worship and service of God.

Now, as we seek to live a life that is set apart for God, one that is distinctly covered by the sacrificial blood of Christ, we can trust that God hears our prayers. There is now an avenue to call on our Father to hear us and guide us. We know that He will be with us forever, and will walk with us forever in an open relationship made possible by the priestly sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Some days however, we still do not know how to call out to the Father for help. It is then, as always, the Holy Spirit is present to intercede on our behalf. As Romans 8:25-27 says, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, He carries our prayers and petitions before our God. He enters the Holy of Holies on our behalf and pleads for us. Through this is the redemption of our sin, and the way to stay in a close relationship to our Heavenly Father.

Being confident in this, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:19-20)

Praise God for sending us a perfect and holy sacrifice, one who can serve as a High Priest that brings us into an open relationship with the God of the universe. He is worthy to be praised.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect

I am a recovering perfectionist. This is not entirely true. This is not nearly true. I am only a perfectionist in some areas & in those areas I am perfectly content to stay a perfectionist....I am not in denial. However, though with certain things I can "claim" to be a perfectionist, I know fully that I am not perfect. This may come as somewhat of a shock to most of you, but it's true that I am not even slightly perfect. Nothing that I have ever done or could hope to do would be considered perfect because who I am, inside & out is full of crud...sin. I was born this were all of us I suppose. It is in our human nature & the only way to emerge from that imperfection is to come under the redeeming blood of Jesus. For it is His perfection that can make our imperfection perfect.

It's true that no matter what we do, say or think, our being, our human flesh is corrupt....yet I trust that by the God who sent his only son, the one who shed his blood to cover that imperfection, that we can be cleaned & redeemed. It is this redemption that spurs me on to live a more holy life, striving for goodness in Christ & to be ever closer to him. I know I'll never be able to attain this on my own & so my hope comes from Him that though I am not perfect, His grace has & will forgive me. I do not take this for granted, and hope that through His grace others may come to know Him through my life & other lives, because if God would save us...then He can surely save you. "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

It is good to know that God is not the same as us, fumbling about in a body that has urges one way or another, good & bad....He is perfectly good. Numbers 23:19 says "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." (1 Peter 1:18-20)

And the imperfection in us & in the world that causes us is only temporary....and what's more, is that in humbling ourselves to the power of His grace, we are covered by the power of The One who has already humbled himself as a lamb being led to slaughter, and through his grace He will reign forever and will take away that pain of imperfection....Revelation 7:17 "For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."