Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I love the rain. It is pouring outside, and I am warm inside. Rain brings the desire to be cozy, one of my favorite things, and cozy means warm blankets, hot coffee or cocoa, warm desserts, cuddling, fireplaces, and bundling up in scarves and jackets. Rain also washes away the old, and waters the ground to bring new life. It feels a bit gloomy in the process, the dark clounds, cold wind, and constant downpour. But around the corner is new life. Spring comes bounding in after the rain and cold with green hills and bright sunshine. New life.
I feel like the weather outside, rainy and stormy. But there is a deep peace knowing that around the corner is new life, when the clouds over me, the sorrow, pass and joy resounds in a new, fresh season. So I'll sit through this storm, but know I will make it to the other side, and rejoice in the days to come.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Jonah ran, and he ended up in the belly of a whale. Only God could help him out of that situation. Adam hid in the bushes. Gideon hid in the threshing room. God found them out too. Is He enough?
The devil will always tell us "no". And the feeling that we are missing out on something greater begins to loom at the back of our thoughts, beckoning us to agree. When/if we do, doubt floods in and we stand on dangerous ground. Doubt is so powerful that it paralyzes us and causes us to fall out from under God's blessing.
So, what is your answer? Is He enough? Is He? Don't shout an enthusiastic yes, simply because you know that is the right answer. Ask yourself, really is He enough? I hope that the truth will settle deep into your spirit and help you to overcome the devil's schemes.
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Philippians 3:7-9
Friday, November 9, 2007
Jason talked about Job and the reason why he was allowed to be attacked by the enemy. At one point Job admits that his greatest fear came true. He allowed himself to fear, instead of believing what God says. Our words are powerful, whether they are in thought form or spoken out loud. They open a door for what was said to happen in our lives. If we say "I am never going to be beautiful enough for someone", we never will be, even if someone thinks we are beautiful. Our minds won't accept the truth until we break ties with the lie we agreed with.
I know I have struggled with a poverty mindset...this basically means that I have agreed with the argument that what I will have in life will be no greater than second best. It was so powerful for me to break that agreement and to come into agreement of God's provision.
Another important thing that was spoken was that if we do not view our personal lives as full of hope and promise, our ministry will suffer. If I do not have hope for the things that God has promised me, how can I hope for others? So good. I got to pray through some more arguments.
Then my pastor, Pastor Denise, looked at me with a smile. She shared that I looked great and then prayed with me a blessing that my husband would see it too. She prayed that joy would radiate from me. I receive every word she spoke. We have to receive the words of blessing too.
So I look forward to the days ahead, laughing with joy. I'm somewhere in the future, and I look much better than I look right now...
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I cannot believe how time has passed.
The boxes I've had since last December
mostly sit in a corner collecting dust.
I've avoided opening most of them, pretending
they are simply not there.
Boxes of emotions, boxes of memories,
boxes of hopes that are now empty.
Boxes of laughter, boxes of pain,
boxes long forgotten.
This time last year, I was buying you
a blue sweater.
Blue was your favorite color and you
were always cold.
I was coming to visit you for your birthday.
You would be turning 51 soon if...
I've fought a lot of regret in the last year.
I've learned it is not a friend you want to keep around.
There is never enough you can do to appease it.
I remember you telling me that you were scared.
I cried silently with you and tried to be strong.
I built walls to keep the pain in,
but it spills out in unexpected moments.
I stuffed it all in a box to avoid facing the reality that...
I remember when you let me drive,
not yet thirteen, on that dirt road by your house.
We laughed as I almost hit the fence.
I remember baking with you,
turtles and cookies,
scents of sweetness filling the air.
Those boxes have been sorted through,
and placed in special places in my heart.
There are others though...
When I lost you in December,
it was not the first time I mourned over you.
And I am still trying to figure out how to feel,
since really you have been gone most of my life.
Some of what hurts the most is the realization
that this year has gone by like most of the others,
and that your absence didn't change much.
But when the moments come,
and I know that I will not see you again,
or hug you, or laugh with you,
the pain is so deep words cannot describe.
More deep than when you were just 430 miles away.
At least then I could cross the distance to get to you.
So, I am still sorting through my boxes,
some that I have put under piles of other things
as the milestones begin to pass for the first time.
I remember telling my brother that we may not
have you for another Christmas.
I didn't think we wouldn't have you for last year's.
I miss you, and I miss what having a mother
means for a young girl's life.
I think sometimes I miss the very idea of you.
Maybe this season I will unpack a few more boxes.
Some will have to wait until I reach new
chapters in my life.
I know I cannot leave them forever.
The walls I made are not made to last.
And the One who made me
has a greater plan than the walls I built.
He restores what has been lost,
and puts hope into empty places.
He will take me through each box as
I keep moving on.
I love you and miss you mom.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Our lives are like that sometimes. We are going along with the sun shining bright, then BAM! The fog creeps in, looking cool from a distance, then engulfs you. Things become gloomy and you don't even realize how it happened. One lie, one doubt, one moment of pain, and a cloud surrounds you.
For me, this cloud sometimes is doubt over my beauty. I have struggled off and on with this for years...simply because I have not let God determine my beauty for me. I was created in His image, and therefore, I am beautiful. All things created by God are beautiful, despite the world's opinion on the matter. The world's opinion doesn't matter. It is an everchanging and never lasting thing. God's opinion is eternal. So, the arguments of not thin enough, smile not straight enough, face not clear enough, not pretty enough all fall away when we realize that God created us as His masterpiece. Just like the rose. Just like the fog hugging the hills. Just like a newborn baby. All masterpieces. All unique. No arguments the world can throw at us can stick. We are beautiful. Glorious. Simply because we came from the Father's hand.
I returned home to SLO, and there was the sun. Again, in an instant, it reappeared. For us and our struggles, we just need to return to truth. The truth brings the light back into our lives. Whether our struggle is over beauty or something else, God's word is the answer. If we look anywhere else, we find ourselves in the fog.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This week, I have had more conversations about finding husbands/wives and dreaming of the occurance than ever before. I am finding out so much about people I love because they are opening up their hearts to possibilities, and are willing to share what they are dreaming of. I am joyous over seeing longtime friends get excited about meeting their true love, despite all of the insecurities. We are beginning to believe that God wants to bless us in a different way than He ever has before. And I can't wait.
Truthfully, I am hoping that I won't be left out and afraid that I will be. But ultimately God knows my story. I don't. If I had the pen, the story I would have written would be one of settling and second best dreams. I only know now, in hindsight, that I wasn't ready in the past when I thought I was. And only God truly knows if I am ready now.
I am praying for myself to stay steady in this buzz...that I won't get carried away, well, until I am meant to. Ha ha! And I am praying for others, that we would all see through God's eyes, and not our own. I am not expecting the perfect package to arrive at my door...because I am definitely not perfect! As we grow together, we will become more of who we are meant to be. I want to see that in the man who is going to pursue me, not just focus on what he has now. I don't want to turn away a man who has the potential simply because he has not come to fullness yet. It takes time, and I will be grateful to the man who sees the same in me. And allows me the time and patience to become what he has dreamed for me.
So, the buzz is in the air, and I hope to see a great wave of men and women coming together side by side to do amazing things for God. This truly is a great time to be in.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I just went to Colorado for my "vacation", and really the reason why I chose Colorado and took a long train ride was because of the woman you see here. Her name is Jami. I have known her since we were 8 and 9. She rode by on her bike in the alley behind our apartments. We said hi, and never really said goodbye, even though we did part ways for a time. I am going to share our story without all the details, because well, you don't need to know everything. But I love our story and how God has weaved our lives together.
I think our friendship started out as a convenience. We were close in age and we lived so close to each other. Our personalities (even to this day) are so different...I was "goofy", she was "trouble". But as we spent more time together, we bonded. She was there when my grandma died and my parents divorced, a time I can hardly recall. She remembers how devastated I was. I dragged her to church with me. After a while, she liked coming. We both received Christ as our Savior, and dominated our youth group with our crazy friendship. We listened and danced to all the latest on Mtv. We had bad hair, crazy outfits, and lots of laughter. We lived at each others' homes, both of which had been torn by divorce. We even remember thinking we could try the parent trap thing and get our parents together so we could be sisters!
Jami and I shared everything, clothes, crushes, beds, food, video games, our hearts. We looked like sisters for a long time. My grandpa even mixed us up once! She moved across town, but that did not stop us from spending countless hours together. My dad had simply adopted another daughter. He was so gracious and loving, even though he already carried the weight of raising two kids by himself. He fed Jami, paid for trips for her, allowed her to stay with us on a semi-permanent basis, and loved her like his own, even if she drove him crazy. God used him and our family to bring her to Jesus. And God gave me a best friend.
wow. and we thought we were soooo cool.
junior high. we wanted to look cute.
now. i realize how ridiculous we look trying to pose like that and laugh.
In April 2001, Jami lost her mom. She called me, and we tried to see each other. I was leaving to go find a place to live in San Luis Obispo. I told her to call me. She never did. It was silence for the next six years. I kept her picture up, and prayed for her. I always hoped to find her again. Little did I know, she was doing the same. In December 2006, I lost my mom. In January 2007, I joined classmates.com. I thought about discontinuing it almost as soon as I joined it. I am glad I didn't. It was through it that Jami found me. I got an email and couldn't believe my eyes! Not only that, but God had redeemed much of what was lost in Jami's life, most importantly, her relationship with God. She filled in all the details of what had happened since we last talked, and I thank God that His hand was upon her life to bring her to where she is today. She has a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and a house of her own. She is walking in success, and is walking with God. I am proud of her. In some ways, she has done more than I have ever thought of and has come so far.
like kids again...
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I felt God's presence and wondered at how much fear I had of the lightning...and how much more powerful God is. My fear was better placed in God's hands, as He was fully in control. Of my life. Of this storm. It raged on throughout the night, filling the sky with power and glorious light. I slept poorly, but stand in awe of God's amazing glory.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I am listening to last Sunday's message (I was hanging out with three year olds last Sunday...), and my pastor is talking about faith and Gideon's life. Lately, I feel much like Gideon...full of arguments and doubt. I have a lot of dreams, and yet, I struggle with doubt. As I listen, my pastor says, "You have to choose to believe." God has spoken many promises to me, and I have a choice. Do I believe or do I stay paralyzed out of fear, mostly of failing?
I just started my cell group. I have one member. Historically, I have come up against a lot of arguments about gathering people. I am now being called to not only have a cell group and grow that, but to also help grow my leader's group. Can someone say "aaaahhh" with me? Ha ha ha. Truthfully, my panicked thoughts are driving me into God's arms. I cannot do this in my own strength. And I don't think God wants me to do that. He wants to show me miracles to build my faith. That is exactly what I am praying for. Nothing is impossible for God. And here I am, hoping for the impossible. I am so grateful that God is in charge. I am excited, don't get me wrong, but I know that I need God to do this. I am not willing to do it without Him.
Now my pastor is saying we need to stand up and break the spirit of fear and poverty over our lives. This word is for me. I have struggled and struggled...I have let my weakness dictate to me what I do. I need to give it all to the Lord and receive the Lord's grace. His grace is sufficient for me. I have to get over my weaknesses. I was talking with my friend Katie the other day about a man who wrote a book about focusing on your strengths instead of trying to improve in your weak areas. We too often get caught up in our weakness and then cannot move on. God made us to overcome and walk in the dreams He has for us. It is simply allowing the cross to do its work in our lives, being transformed by forgiveness and mercy.
I am learning to agree with faith. It is an amazing thing how my heart is different simply by starting a cell group. I am desperate for the Lord. I realize how much I need Him to lead me so I can lead others. I am grateful that He chose me, and I am trusting that He has the best for me.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I wrote this right before my birthday a few weeks back...thought I'd post it here :)
me as a baby sporting a mohawk
Friday, August 10, 2007
So, that is how laying down a life of sin is. Like that analogy? You don't realize how bad it can be without the immunization...you just see the process of going through it. It is hard to stop sinning. No matter what it is. Drugs, sex, negativity, anger...we become one with our sin and when God asks us to walk away, we feel pain at the thought of the unknown. We are so untrusting and uncertain that many times it takes us years to finally let go.
God has given me new lyrics to a song in process. It says "come home, come home, come home, weary traveller". It is about returning to the heart of God. I feel like God is speaking that deep in my soul, and that he wants to speak it into others' lives as well. Come home. Sounds simple, huh. It is just a decision away.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
I got to hang out with my favorite little buddy tonight, an adorable eight month old boy (maybe nine months now). He was so tired that he was giggling from his gut, the best kind of laughter ever, especially coming from him. One of my friends was hiding behind a blanket and playing peek-a-boo, and that was it, pure joy. I am praying for that kind of childlike, pure joy to return to my life. It's coming.
I am mostly moved into my new place. I love it! I feel like I live in a model home. I am so blessed. I have a real bathtub. I have even used it once. Really, I just know that God is going to help me grow as I live in this new environment.
I cried tonight in my kitchen while eating a bite of ice cream. I realized that I felt like I deserved being called out for my "hiding" (as I can best describe it). I was with my Pastor tonight while watching kids, and he just loved me and served me. He gave me half of his cookie and gave me my water when I had a sleeping baby in my arms. He made sure I was comfortable. When I got home and realized that I had expected something different, I cried. God is that way. When you feel like you deserve the worst, He hugs you and loves you. He reminded me of that tonight. God loves me no matter what, for who He created me to be.
I also watched Cinderella tonight. I am hoping that my prince is coming soon too.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
For those of you who actually read this, pray for me and my work situation. I am having to deal with A LOT of open shifts in the next month or so, and I am getting stressed about it. It is starting to look a little better, but what it all means is that I may have to change my schedule around to work some of the shifts and to train the new people we do end up hiring. There is a lot of work ahead no matter what, and I would like to be able to not get behind or worry too much. I love my job but seriously, open shifts are pretty much my least favorite thing to deal with! Especially when there are 60+ in the next month! Eek! I am trying to take it one day at a time at this point.
June, June. That means that July is coming up next...and you know what that means? Fireworks? Yes, but also my birthday! I am going to be 26 years old. Wow. I don't feel 26 years old most of the time. I also used to think that people who were 26 were sooo old! I am not old, and I am not where I thought I would be at 26. But I cannot complain. I have a lot of positive things in my life that I did not expect either, so I am blessed.
Well, I will sign off for now. I should go eat dinner. Yum...
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Funny thing is that my mom was not an active part of my life, but my heart always ached for her. No matter what, I loved her. No matter what she said or did, I wanted her to be a part of my life. I wanted her to be at those events, but she never made it. And she is not going to make it now. This year I am not scrambling to make this Mother's Day special. This year I won't hear her voice on the other line. I sometimes forget that she's gone and think that I need to call her. It comes back, usually with a picture of her in the hospice bed- the reality that she's gone. This is the first milestone since she died, and I have found myself crying the past three days. It is only May 1st! I thank God that He is with me, mourning with me, and loving me through this time. Because I miss her, even the simple conversations we would have.
Happy Mother's Day, mom.
That same weekend, my dear friend Kristin came for a visit. We took some silly pictures and enjoyed each other's company. I miss her. She lives in Washington now. I keep telling her to come home. Maybe one day God will tell her too. Here are some of our silly pics:
What can I say? Aren't we cute?
Next fun event was this past weekend, when our church invited a ton of people for a free banquet. I loved serving food to people and hear all the wonderful words of thanks. We just wanted to bless people and invite those who wanted to become a part of our family. I think we accomplished just that.
In two weeks, we are doing an event called The Invitation. I am so excited. We have invited Leeland to come and play, and we are inviting people to come and hear the gospel. Pretty simple with a big heart behind it. I can't wait. I hope we overflow the PAC, and that many give their lives to Jesus as a result. My biggest prayer besides that, is that those I invite come. The last two events, my friends have missed a mighty blessing, and I don't want them to miss this. May 15th 6pm. If you are in SLO that night, you should come!!!
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Tonight I am graduating from "School of Leaders", which ultimately comes down to the fact that I am committing to do the works of Christ in my life and to a life dedicated to Him. It is going to be a fancy dinner and event, a wonderful time of celebration of what God is doing in our lives. If I take any pictures, I'll post them. I am also trying to launch a women's group. I had invited co-workers to a free lunch, to which no one showed, but I know God is giving me the faith to believe that I am meant to lead women to Christ. This is not because of me, it is not about me. It is because I am God's workmanship, created to do the works of God, which He has prepared in advance for me to do, that I would walk in them (Ephesians 2:9 summed up). These works are to spread His gospel, and bring people to Christ, particularly women. It is such a blessing to share God with willing souls. My struggle has been to overcome the fear and doubt that holds me back. I keep persevering though, and God willing, will see friends and family come to know Christ in a powerful way.
In work news, I am almost caught up on paperwork! You have no idea what a burden this has been over the past six months. I had a lot of circumstances come up that took a lot of my attention, and I am grateful that things are smoothing out. If you want to know more about what I do, here is the link: www.optionsfs.org -I think if you look hard enough you might find a picture of me! I really do enjoy my job and the people I work with.
Well, lunch time is over, and so ends my update. I will hopefully get to eat my lunch around 2:30!
Friday, March 2, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
This is what my roommates and I do on rainy days. We come up with games...this time we got all of our exercise balls and made up gladiator type games. Why? Because we could. We played "smashball" which consisted of us holding our balls and smashing into one another. We threw the balls at each other to see if we could catch them. Then my roomies came up with the ultimate game..."ball surfing". Aw yeah. I don't know if the video link will work BUT if it does, it is of my friend William, trying out our game. It is so cool, you know you will want to do it! The pic below is us pretending to be superheroes or flying or something that just looks really cool. Come on, it was raining ALL day. You know you would do the same, or something just as ridiculously FUN.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I wrote this a while back, but I wanted to share...
Have you ever dreamt a dream so big that you know you could not do it on your own? One that is impossible by the world’s standards? I have lived my life running from those kinds of dreams because I have collected a list of excuses that boil down to fear and shame. I have distracted my mind with mindless daydreams, afraid to risk a dream bigger than myself, surrounding myself with the comfort of not facing reality. I have hidden behind a wall because circumstances have told me that I could never…and I have kept my mouth shut because my worth had been given up on. I told myself I lost faith in love, I lived just out of reach, and I was invisible. I have looked down because I felt the weight of what I deserved and could not look past it. And then Jesus came. He took my hands in his, let me touch his scars, kissed my face, and loved me, just as I am. He showed me that everything that has bound me or held me back has been cast off. He paid the price to set me free. The guilt offering has been made, and I owe nothing. And He’s daring me to dream again. He’s whispering my purpose, one that had been locked up for fear of disappointment. He calls me to come, follow Him. More than that, He is calling me to believe in the same dream as my ancestor Abraham. To be a mother of nations, part of a redemptive plan that God Himself orchestrated through generations and lays in my hands. Do I dare to count the stars and believe? Do I dare to stand in my faith and let Him dream with me? Or do I discard it all because I cannot control the outcome or the means to get there? Tonight I finally felt permission to dream again as I have been shedding layers of excuses and pain. To be a part of something greater than myself leaves me with nothing but an open heart and tears of joy. Tonight I got a hold of a small part of a great vision of God’s heart for people…I have been reading about the laws of Moses’ time, when the people were instructed to take care of each other and not allow others among them to become poor. I saw this city full of people serving Jesus and each other, giving whatever was needed to make provision. Poverty does not exist because each person gives what is needed. Everything is closed on Sundays because no one should work. Salvation has changed this town. I believe it is coming. I truly do. The Holy Spirit is preparing a mighty plan that I am a part of, and my heart is awakening. I am beginning to believe in love again, and that I am meant to be caught up in a great romance. It begins with Jesus, and will include a multitude of souls embraced by the most powerful love ever imagined. My dreams of a husband and children will be a small part of the multitude, but I know that God has created my heart to love so many more people than my little family. I am on the edge of a crazy leap, but I have the best odds for success because I have Jesus leading the way. I dream of salvation, starting with me. Salvation so contagious that I lead a multitude into heaven when my time here is finally ended. I dream of change so big it causes a revolution. And I believe it can be done, not by my works, but by the grace of One far greater than myself.