Wednesday, December 31, 2008

turned upside down

"Clearly, the very foundations of traditional religion have been shaken. Traitors, swindlers, and adulterers enter the Kingdom before the religiously respectable. The depraved prodigal is loved as much as his hardworking brother, who never frolicked in the fleshpots. The heretical Samaritan is presented as a model to the Levitical priesthood. And at the end they all get the same reward. Righteousness seems to be turned upside down." - Brennan, The Wisdom of Tenderness

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

parameters of compassion

"As Christians living in the Spirit, we're called to pass on the tenderness of God. The parameters of our compassion extend beyond those who opt for our lifestyle, favor our existence, or make us feel good. Charges of elitism are dropped for the lack of evidence. Peace and reconciliation for all, without exception--even for moral failures--is the radical lifestyle of Christians living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness." - Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness

another sneeze

"Daddy's got the bless-you's!" - my super-cute niece

2008 lessons learned and books to write

13. I Can't Control My Circumstances, So I Might As Well Quit Trying
12. Betrayal Is Not Limited To Jesus
11. Sometimes God Heals In Seconds. Sometimes God Heals In Years.
10. Like Daddy Says, "You Don't Always Get What You Want"
9. Most Addresses Are Temporary (At Least For Me)
8. Huh. I Really Am Content
7. People Are Of Greater Value Than Perfection
6. Blessings May Masquerade Themselves...For A While
5. Simply Put: "Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy"
4. "I Don't Know" Is A Perfectly Legitimate Reason For Crying
3. Don't Trust The First Person To Show Up On Your Doorstep
2. God Knew Starting Life As A Child Was A Really Good Idea
1. Trust In God And Enjoy The Mystery

Monday, December 29, 2008

a few words to think about

"We are all indispensable, but we are not irreplaceable." (from a funeral message)


This year I was introduced to a new kind of Christmas service called a Christingle Service. Christingle means "Christ Light" and the service is a celebration of Christ coming to be a light to the world. The church I am a part of has done several of these services and has used the article in Reformed Worship as a guideline for the service. For us, the service began in the fellowship hall. It was here that we made our Christingles beginning with an orange and ending with the fruit, nuts and candy on the toothpicks. Each part of the christingle is symbolic. I think what I enjoyed the most about the service is that with the symbol, the ideas stick with you. It's also a great opportunity for children and teens to get involved. We distributed the parts to members of the youth group and had them help everyone make their Christingles as the service began. Though it is probably best saved as a Christmas Eve service, we found it helpful in preparing ourselves for the coming Christ a few weeks before Christmas. Whenever you do it, it is a great opportunity to share the story of Christ - that old familiar favorite - with a bit of a different twist. And, it gives you something to take home to remember the event as well!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

the power of silence

I'm a new fan of Mark Driscoll. Here are a couple of thoughts from his blog. His questions made me think about my own life that is full of noise...

"I remembered the words of missionary martyr Jim Elliot, who said, 'I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds . . . Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.'

"I began to ponder what Jesus’ life might be like if He lived today. Would He be available to all of His followers twenty-four hours a day on His BlackBerry? Would He have left His phone on at the Last Supper and been continually interrupted by needless calls? Would He have failed to stop and speak to needy people because their weeping was not loud enough for Him to hear over His iPod as He hurried past them on His way to a meeting He was already late for?

"In that moment I prayed, asking God for His wisdom and help to save me from myself."

guarding the meaning

The way we speak about things reveals the heart behind the subject matter. There are a few words that make me shutter when people use them in reference to worship. Depending on the person and the situation, I may or may not correct someone. For instance, if someone refers to the musical part of a corporate worship service as the "worship" it may reveal that they don't find the preaching or reading of Scripture as worship. However, when someone turns over their life to Christ, their entire life becomes worship. So, worship is not limited to the singing part of a Sunday morning service, but includes most (I wish I could say all) of life. A definition of worship that I have come to use as my own is from Dr. Parrett at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. One of the ways he defines worship is "Bowing all that we are before all that He is." It's a life thing, not a singing thing. In his article "Defining Missional" in the Fall 2008 issue of Leadership, Alan Hirsch says:

"There are consequences when the meanings of words become confused. This is particularly true within a biblical worldview. The Hebrews were suspicious of images as conveyors of truth, so they guarded words and their meanings carefully. Part of theology, therefore, includes guarding the meaning of words to maintain truth within the community of faith."

I couldn't agree more

just so you know....
You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas, prayers, etc. on the sunday symposium posts...
"symposium - 1. A drinking together; a merry feast. -T. Warton. 2. A collection of short essays by different authors on a common topic; so called from the appellation given to the philosophical dialogue by the Greeks."
symposium. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. (accessed: December 14, 2008)

from proclamation to demonstration

"We have emphasized that you pray a prayer and you're saved, to our detriment. Matthew 7 haunts me. To many the Lord will say, 'I don't know you.' I want people to know the gospel fully, that the reality of what happens at the point of conversion is the beginning of a process in which we experience the fruit of Christ in us." - David Platt, "Missional Shift or Drift?" Leadership, Fall 2008

me too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

favorite thing number fourteen

being with my family. laughing until we cry.

in the words of charlie brown

"Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


i guess i just always thought this would be more mystical...

seven stanzas...oops!

a kind woman said to me, "I didn't even know there were 7 verses to O Come O Come Emmanuel!"

i just realized

i don't get crabby on tuesdays anymore!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

too soon

"we know we are in the autumn of my life" - Sue

Monday, December 22, 2008

seminary living

thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. "Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!" -in the words of Perrin

a little advice

"Or it could be more subtle like 'pass the beer nuts.'" - Matt

Friday, December 19, 2008

phone call

And there are smiles all around!!

what's with this bad news in the middle of an obedient journey...

This year has brought with it several "different dreams," and I have wondered if I didn't hear God correctly the first time. However, as I have learned to rest in the Lord, I have also begun to understand that He only gives me enough information to take the next step. So, I needn't feel frustrated and concerned when things don't go the way I expected them to...our Great and Holy God knew the circumstances would happen as they have. A professor in college used to say, "God is still in His throne" which has brought tremendous comfort time and time again. In this morning's advent devotional from the church I was a part of during college, Grete Carlson sheds an interesting light on our journeys of obedience.

“Up!” That’s how our text begins in The Message. “Get up,” in the NIV. Joseph started off immediately, it seems. He was told by the angel to go to Israel and once he arrived, he headed toward home, toward Judea, a destination we too would assume was God’s plan.

But while he was on his way, he got the local news from the local press about the latest evil ruler. What went wrong? Did he misunderstand? Hadn’t the angel said it was safe to return? So what’s with this bad news in the middle of an obedient journey? What he learned from the local press made one thing clear: Joseph’s logical assumption… that being sent “back to Israel” meant going back to Judea…was wrong. What should he do? He was afraid....

But now what? God sent His angel: “Warned by God in a dream...” (NASB) or “directed in a dream…” (Message) or “In a new dream” in a Norwegian Living Bible I access online. I’m grateful for this reminder of what is, perhaps, obvious. This was, indeed, a new dream. The first dream led him back to Israel, and then God gave him a new dream for this new day, for this new fear, for this new situation. God could redirect them because Joseph and his family were already on the move, a move of obedience based of the revelation of an earlier day. The text explains that God’s purposes were fulfilled in the process. Like Joseph, we do not always see those purposes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

that place

ironic. i feel like that is two parts of me in one place i have never heard of.

laundry mat

"You were in a dream I had
Doing dishes at the laundry mat"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

oh my word

What is wrong with my brain lately?

Monday, December 15, 2008


doesn't look like what i expected.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

pretty words

Sometimes there aren’t any pretty words to use to describe our lives. Our days are filled with heartache and pain. The lives we once dreamed of have never come to be. Every expectation we have had has gone unmet. Troubling times rob us of the joy that is offered. And, death and disease deflate our desire to live.

A little over two years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. That was at the beginning of November. It seemed every time she met with a doctor, the prognosis was a little worse. Just before Thanksgiving she had surgery which revealed that the cancer had metastasized. And, when I was finally able to fly home at Christmas, she had already started chemo. The news of my mother’s cancer came just following a couple of devastating rejections in my life. So, when I stepped off the plane to find a tired and weak mother, she stepped up to find a tired and weak daughter.

I remember a couple significant conversations from those ten days that I spent with my parents. During one of them, my mother was commenting on my downcast spirit and said, “honey, life is too short.” There is something about my mother’s cancer that made her words credible and that kept the phrase ringing in my mind. I remember watching my mother with awe as hope seemed to drip from her. Rather than this dreadful disease stealing her life – as it had mine – it was as if she had been given a new one. During another conversation she told me that when she had been diagnosed with cancer, she and Dad were very depressed. Then one day, my father said to my mother, “you feel good today; let’s not waste it.” And, I began to understand that hope is not rooted in circumstances, but instead is rooted in the Lord. As my mother sought after the Lord, so He sought after her. And, in the midst of this, she realized that it is perhaps in hopeless times that we as followers of Christ have the most hope.

As we look at Isaiah 7, it is notable that a king named Ahaz is cowering because he believes that two kings from other lands will demolish his kingdom. But, instead, the Lord speaks through His servant Isaiah to say “No! A child will be born to a virgin. And, we will call Him Immanuel. And, before He is full grown these two nations that you fear will be destroyed.” In the midst of a hopeless situation, the Lord breathes in tremendous hope. Isaiah reminds King Ahaz that hope is not found in his valiant army or any other circumstance, but instead that hope is rooted in the Lord.

No, sometimes there are no pretty words to describe our lives. Our days are filled with heartache and pain. The lives we once dreamed of have never come to be. Every expectation we have had has gone unmet. But, these troubling times need not rob us of the joy that is offered. Death and disease need not deflate our desire to live. Because our hope is not rooted in our circumstances, but instead, rooted in the Lord. And, this Lord that we call Immanuel has promised that we will be healed, that we need not fear the enemy, and that we will know peace. And so, we hope with expectant hearts upon the Lord who has given us a sign.

just so you know....
You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas,
prayers, etc. on the comment card posts...

Saturday, December 13, 2008


"Sitting on intelligence is a waste." - Marya Hornbacher in Mpls StPaul

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a healing balm

Little white lights adorn the Christmas tree. The fire crackles from the fireplace. From another room, I hear the echoes of a father reading Scripture to his son. And, just behind me is the quiet breathing of an infant.

During seminary, I decided I didn't want to have children. I was selfishly consumed with my call to ministry and, honestly, didn't want to have to care for anyone else. A good friend of mine was a nanny during our time in seminary, and I remember being amazed that day after day she could care for someone else's kids.

The Lord does indeed have a sense of humor. As I was entering into a new phase of life with transitions and change coming at me from every direction, a wonderful couple - Chris and Sarah - and their five children fell into my life. The Lord knew that I needed lots of hugs and tackles. He knew that I needed to be richly and freely loved. He knew that I needed the healing balm which comes from five beautiful boys.

So, following an evening of corndogs, crying and caretaking, after lots of hugs and some storytelling, with toys strewn about the floor, clean dishes in the dishwasher and five little ones in bed, I praise God that in His creative wisdom He has crafted His children to begin as precious little ones. To begin as innocent yet naughty, wise yet foolish, untainted yet fallen children who love with abandon. And, I praise Him that I am privileged enough to receive just a little of that love from these five energetic little boys who I have come to absolutely adore.

on loving the hurting...

In response to the request of Wynia on the previous post, here are a few things I learned from my mother's fight with cancer:

It's no secret that loving someone who is going through a difficult time can be difficult in and of itself. People are all different, so such a book would be really difficult to write. However, a few of the jewels that I have held onto are:

1. People often have a lot to say about whatever it is they are going through. How they feel about it. How it has effected every corner of their life. How difficult it can be to just stay afloat with things like bills, cleaning, and eating. So, number one, listen. Do not fix. Give them space to speak, and give them a safe sounding board.

2. Let the story be about them. So often I wanted to say, "look, I know you are trying to help, but your story is not my story, and you don't really know what I am going through. You aren't me." I also didn't want to hear another story about somebody's friend's mother that also had breast cancer. And this was true especially when the somebody's friend's mother died. These stories were often what brought back the anxiety and hurt that I had finally managed to cast off for the day.

3. Hug much. Especially for those who are far away from the action. When I was aching for my family in the Midwest and living in Massachusetts the thing that ministered to me the most was the plethora of hugs that found me. Sometimes a little safe and healthy touch communicates more than any words could say.

4. Use Scripture sparingly. I knew that God was in control. That doesn't mean that I wasn't angry at God somedays. And, that didn't mean that there weren't days that I didn't trust Him. Let the person work those hurts out with God. Listen. But, let them experience the emotion that goes with what they are going through. After all, emotions aren't bad; it's all in what we do with them. I love the Word of God. But pulling one verse out of the whole to try and make someone feel better - in my experience - doesn't work. I wish it did. I would experience a lot less pain in my life.

5. When you offer to help, offer something tangible. I remember many people saying "Let me know if I can do anything." I say that, too. It's not always easy to know what to offer, but it's a whole lot easier to take someone up on something specific than a broad "anything." My favorite example is when someone delivered a pizza to my parent's house. This was before chemo when my mother was just tired. So, being relieved of making dinner was a great help to my parents. Another great offer is to suggest cleaning for someone. Or, get their groceries, or take them to the doctor. This is especially helpful for people who are enduring radiation every day or who get really sick from chemo and can't drive, but don't limit it to someone who can't drive...sometimes it's just nice to have someone to do yucky things with...they don't seem quite as yucky. Some of these simple everyday things are what you don't have energy for when you are fighting a disease or are hurting for someone else who is fighting the disease.

6. Encouraging notes can be the balm someone needs for that day. I have saved a few of the precious notes I received during my mother's cancer. Some of them were sincere, deeply moving prayers to the Father on our behalf. Some of them were little reminders of what people value in me...just so I wouldn't forget. Some of them were expressions of deep love for me and/or my mother.

7. Do pray. It seems trite. But, that is how we unleash the healing power of the Holy Spirit. And, don't just pray when you leave their side. Pray in their presence. Stop. Take their hands and plead on their behalf. Now, I don't want to get into the theology of prayer right here, but after those hard months a couple years ago, I am so sure it works. There were days that I am pretty sure others' prayers are what kept me from completely falling apart.

If you have experienced deep hurt from disease, please feel free to leave other thoughts on this post. The ones I listed are what I have found to be true... I'd love to read some thoughts from a different perspective.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the star on her lapel

When my mother was going through her struggle with cancer, I remember us talking frequently about the things people would say. We decided we should write a book outlining the appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate with someone who is fighting this disease or with someone who loves someone who is fighting this disease. I was reminded of a few of those things today.

Usually I am a big proponent of storytelling. However, there are times when the only story you care about is the one you find yourself immersed in. And, someone's story of so-and-so's cancer that ended negatively, really doesn't help you feel any better about the story you are in the middle of. When you are the one battling against this disease (and I would venture to say other diseases, but I have no experience with that), I think you should get to wear a little star that gives you permission to be the only storyteller in the group.

My mother went to the doctor today for a checkup. And, praise the Lord, we don't have to put that little star back on her lapel. But, in the midst of our rejoicing with good news, I care deeply about someone who unfortunately is wearing the star right now. And, I ache with her. And, hopefully, the Lord will give me the grace to be silent for her. Because, though I know everyone experiences pain and receives love in different ways, I'm pretty sure quiet mouths, gentle hugs, and lots of prayers are what help when the star is pinned to someone's lapel.

when your heart shakes like the trees of the forest shake before the wind

"Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart grow faint..." - the Prophet Isaiah

Monday, December 8, 2008

seasonal irony

i'm struck by the marketing this season... i've seen many advertisements colored by the unstable economic situation we find ourselves in. these advertisements seem to be saying, "buy more! even though you don't have much money right now, our crap is cheap! so, just buy more stuff you don't need and you will forget you can't afford it and you will feel better!"

the lies we both believe and tell ourselves are sickening.


life is not without its whys.

and now for something completely different...

He bought a violin, and I'm building a treehouse.

changing landscapes

The following is an advent devotional written by a professor friend of mine at Northwestern College, Jackie Smallbones. I am intrigued with her ideas on repentance and changing landscapes:

"It is our job, as followers of Jesus Christ, to prepare the way for Jesus so that the world may know and believe. But, who am I, I often wonder, to prepare the way for Jesus, the King of all creation? There are so many better prepared, better known and better placed people to do the job. Rather like in John the Baptizer’s day. Many others were more qualified than John, as Luke points out in this text. He lists them by name – all the political and religious leaders of Jewish society. These were the important people. Any one of them would seem a likely candidate to introduce the long-awaited Messiah-King to the nation and the world. Instead, Luke ignores them all and introduces John, an unknown nobody, the son of Zechariah, another nobody, a stark contrast to the named hot shots.

"I can’t use the excuse of being unqualified or inexperienced. I look to the competent leaders around me to do the work. God uses unlikely people to prepare the way for the Savior of the world. John, a nobody, stepped up to the plate, preached a demanding message in the region around the Jordan River. And the people flocked to him. They accepted his message of repentance and submitted to his baptism, despite its costly demands. John called for a repentance that would radically change the ‘landscape’ of their lives – paths straightened, valleys filled in, mountains demolished, rough ways made smooth. This is not a message designed to make us feel good about ourselves and our way of life. It demands repentance that will radically change the way we think, the way we live, the way we relate to those around us. We may find ourselves changing our views, perhaps even our politics; accepting people regardless of their status (legal or illegal); engaging in activities we once thought beyond our abilities or interests. Our ‘landscape’ will change, becoming new and unfamiliar to us.

"John, not one of the political or religious hot shots was called to proclaim this demanding preparation for God’s Messiah. You and I, ordinary people, untrained preachers, are called this advent season, to examine our lives and then begin preparation for Messiah by taking this sacrificial road of repentance that changes the place where we live."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

little reminders

I took another sip of coffee relishing the moment. It was about nine in the morning, and I sat there on the living room floor in my purple fleece pajamas. Brianna sat next to me in her blue flannel pajamas with her cup of hot apple cider. In college and seminary, finding us with pjs and a warm beverage was not uncommon. However, since moving back to the Midwest these moments were a rare privilege. We sat there reflecting on the past ten years. Long had it been a dream of Brianna and her husband Nathan to serve overseas. And, after completing their degrees at Northwestern College and then Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, they had moved to a small town in southern Iowa. It was here that they practiced the theories and philosophies they had gained in their classes. We laughed thinking about all that had changed: our clothing styles, our vocabulary, our favorite authors. We praised God as we thought of all that had grown: our character, our understanding of Scripture, my call to the American church, and her dream of serving the Khmer people. She began telling me a story of an older woman. Her name was Helen. Recently, Helen walked up to Brianna and told her that she had had a dream about this young couple and felt confident that the Lord was asking her to support their work in Cambodia. We grew quiet for a moment as we both realized this was a little reminder of God’s having already paved the way for them.

During the past year, Nathan and Brianna had been accepted by OMF International. And, they were now preparing for the next step in their journey. Finally, their desire to serve overseas was almost tangible. And, with expectant hope, they waited on the Lord. They waited for Him to bring in the support they needed. They waited for opportunities to speak in different congregations and for more hits on their website. Some days the monotony of waiting was almost overwhelming. They continued to be certain the Lord was calling them to Cambodia, but some days it has seemed like an impossible task to actually live their way into the dream. And, it’s days like these, when morale is low, hearts are heavy, and a sense of hopelessness is in the air that the Lord gives them a little reminder. A little reminder so that we don’t forget that the Lord is moving. He is the one readying Nathan and Brianna as well as the Khmer people. He is the one raising their support. He is the one who is removing the obstacles from their path. And, He is the one who pours expectant hope into our hearts. And while we wait, we watch as God moves.

About 2500 years ago, the voice of the Lord was silent. He promised that a redeemer was coming, but as the Israelites waited, their morale grew low, their hearts grew heavy, and a sense of hopelessness was in the air. 400 years went by, and they were still waiting in the silence. A man named Simeon would not lose hope, however. Day after day he waited with expectation for the redeemer who was yet to come. And, one day, in the midst of a crowd at the temple, the Lord sent him a little reminder that He was indeed moving. A little reminder in the form of an infant.

As people of God, He has given us little reminders, too. Little reminders that we rehearse again and again in Advent. Little reminders that tell us He is indeed readying all of us for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, some days the monotony of waiting is almost overwhelming. And, some days it seems like an impossible task to actually live our way into the dream. So when morale is low, our hearts are heavy, and a sense of hopelessness is in the air, may we not forget that the Lord is indeed moving. He is bringing good news to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and releasing prisoners from darkness. He is comforting all who mourn, and providing for those who grieve. And these little reminders are what give us a tremendous sense of hope as we, too, wait for the coming of the Lord.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

favorite thing number thirteen

a hot cup of homemade hot chocolate, a cinnamon Christmas cookie, a fire, and a good book

Friday, December 5, 2008

little red dots

We were talking about dogs and cats. Laughing at the different things they do. I commented on having made cats run in circles with a laser pointer, and Becca laughed and began to tell me about the way her parents dogs would follow the little red dot, too. She said sometimes you have to let the dogs think they have caught whatever it is they are chasing, so you let them tackle the dot and then turn off the laser.

And, I wonder if sometimes God does the same thing. If sometimes we are so intent upon the little red dot and so distracted by it that God watches us chase nothing and then lets us think we caught it. But, really we have captured nothing. And, soon enough we get bored with our nothing and start searching for that darn red dot again. And all the while, His heart breaks for those of us who keep chasing after nothing.

this crazy journey

"At each step of the crazy journey God has had us on, we have made mistakes that should have killed us. But God has continually saved us from ourselves and, like the perfect Father that he is, has taught us important lessons." - Mark Driscoll

Thursday, December 4, 2008

good news

"When the healing tenderness [of Jesus] lays hold of our hearts, the false self, ever vigilant in protecting itself against pain and seeking only approval and admiration, dissolves in the tender presence of mystery." - more Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness

bollixed is a good word

"Jesus knows that we will experience fatigue along the Way and get bollixed, beat up, and burned out by church, relationships, parenting, ministry, career, appetites, addictions, and our recurring neuroses." - good ol' Brennan Manning

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

humor helps

"So, how's your kazoo playing?" - Griff

simplicity has its perks

It's much easier to decide what to wear when all but two of your sweaters are in storage.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the retreat house revisited

"i think there's a difference between interest & suffocation; i want to be pursued...just not stalked" - a member of swic

Sunday, November 30, 2008


"strength is quieter than most people think" - Andy

we will yet praise Him

Purple banners adorned the sanctuary. The wreathes on the wall mimicked the greens which had been placed next to the podium. Its purple candles mirrored the new banner at the front of the sanctuary declaring this season's theme: "Hope for the expectant heart." I shared a meditation that had been reworked for this very occasion. After sharing the story of a young couple who desperately wanted children, and reminding the congregation how we wait for the day that Jesus will return with expectant hope much like this couple who was waiting for their promised child, I quietly took my seat among the congregation.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope in preparation for this advent season. I am struck by the way it changes our lives. When all hope dissipates from within us, when the supply is depleted, when all is dissolved and nothing remains, life is empty. Those are the darkest days for me. The days I question my purpose, my reality, and God's existence. The days I would sooner give up than fight. But, when just a little hope creeps its way back into the cracks of my heart, it is then that I am able to take one more step and move a little closer to victory.

Hope is this marvelous thing that is granted to those who believe that God is true to His word. It is a beautiful assurance that God is doing something and has not left us to ourselves. It is a confidence that is willing to trust in the darkest night that there will yet be light. The words of the Psalmist echo in my mind "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." I will yet praise Him! No matter what the circumstances that surround me, I will yet praise Him! Rest, oh weary soul. Worry not about the troubles that you find yourself in. For we will yet praise Him, our Savior and our God!

Holding a small child, they approached the advent wreath. With one arm he held this most amazing gift. With the other, he lit the first advent candle of the season. Then his wife began to read one of the most amazing prayers I have heard in a long time. It was one of strength and honesty. Courage and love. It was a prayer that revealed their struggle to believe in the darkest night, and yet one that brought the Lord tremendous glory as their hope turned to reality. Their little one a precious gift, a kingdom response, to their desire to have a child.

just so you know....
You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas,
prayers, etc. on the comment card posts...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

more waiting

"For the Hebrew, waiting on the Lord was not primarily a matter of spending time but was rather an attitude of trust and expectation. It could bring the reward of exchanging one's own weakness for divine strength. God is represented as one who works for those who wait for Him." - E.F. Harrison (ISBE)

a protest

"Hope is a testimony to man's humility in the face of his finiteness. It amounts to a protest against any assumption that the present contains the ideal situation for mankind." - E.F. Harrison (ISBE)

Friday, November 28, 2008


from cats to cattle

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

but, i want to have superpowers

me: I want to be Spiderman!
Samuel: You can't be Spiderman.
Graham: How about you be the girl we save?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

rather simple

It's rather simple. Nothing profound. A few words taught to young children as they begin to speak. And, it seems rather commonplace and customary to bring it up just now during this season of the year, but the truth is, as I stood holding hands with all of those gathered to lead worship at Faith this morning, thankfulness ran over the edges of my heart. It spilled into my prayer and my smile. It doused my spirit, and I just keep resting in it as it seems to seep into every corner of my life.

Yes, I'm thankful. It's rather simple. Nothing profound.

just so you know....
You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas,
prayers, etc. on the comment card posts...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

shiver me timbers!

"You might have a long commute, but at least you don't have to worry about pirates!" - Chris

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

sweet words

"I'm especially fond of you..."

Monday, November 17, 2008

loving the old hymns

"even our sin becomes an opportunity to worship." - Matthew Smith

manageable Jesus

"If we have a manageable view of sin, then we will have a manageable Jesus." - Matthew Smith

on what we should sing

"If it's a tiny purple thing, we don't need that." - Steve

Saturday, November 15, 2008

the goal

"to be holy not just happy," says Brianna

Thursday, November 13, 2008

very good

There are moments in life when I am sure I have the best job in the world. I'm not saying that it is easy, just that it is very good.

jewels and gems

that we are

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

quote of the night

"I guess we are the Obama-nation." -Sarah

Sunday, November 9, 2008

oreo satisfaction

The other day in my Bible study we were discussing how we remember the things in our lives that the Lord has done. Shortly there after I was reading through my blog and thinking about it, and I realized that a lot of the things that I want to remember I put on my blog. So, I want to invite you to leave your thoughts, ideas, learnings from the past week on my Sunday Symposium posts. I hope it is an encouragement to many!

Here's my thought from this Sabbath day:
So, Matt preached this morning, and for his children's sermon he pulled out a bag of oreos. I wouldn't have thought about oreos without his suggestion of them. But, once I saw them, and he started to share about them (that they have 12 flowers on each cookie, that they come in 12 different types, that they started in something like 1916, that if we wrapped all of the oreos even eaten around the earth it would go around like 6.5 time), then I wanted to eat one! After he got done sharing, he said, "boy, I'm full!" And then, he asked the children if they were full. He revealed to us through his oreos that it is not satisfying to merely talk about oreos, but it is satisfying to eat them. And, the same is true with God. It is not satisfying to merely talk about God, but He says, "taste and see that I am good." Matt promised the children oreos, and I sat there and thought...after church, I'm going to go on over to Cub and get myself some oreos! The power of suggestion is a mighty thing. And, I believe that perhaps one of the best things we can do to encourage each other is to talk about our faith...tell people about the oreos. But, we can't stop there, we need to help them get their hands on some oreos to eat as well.

How many of you are going to head to your nearest grocery store and buy some oreos after reading this post?

just so you know....
You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas,
prayers, etc. on the comment card posts...

Saturday, November 8, 2008


well, i have a new job, a new home, a new family, a new haircut, a new car...a new life.
and now, a new blog! welcome!

little altars

It strikes me that when Noah and his family and all the animals left the ark and walked on the ground, Noah built an altar. After they survived the destruction and devastation of the flood, after the Lord had shown His faithfulness to Noah, after the Lord brought about new life on this earth, Noah build at altar. His first response was to worship, to attribute the success to the Lord, to do something monumental that later could be looked back upon and rememebered.

And so, I am building my own altar to the Lord.

I've created a new site for my blog. Here you will see my own feet as they stumble along the path. Though the path has taken a different direction than I had planned on, I have watched as God has moved in tremendous ways. How He has taken what was dead and breathed life back into it. How He has redeemed the painful parts. How He has used me in spite of my weaknesses and failures for His glory. So, here you will read about those things.

The crazy thing about this journey is that even though it isn't what I had dreamed of or expected, it is very good. In fact, it is far better than I could have imagined. And, when the road takes turns through dark places, I want to be able to look back and say, "truly God was in that place and that place and that place, so certainly He must be here, too."

I invite you to read along as I leave my little altars in this space. And, I also encourage you to leave your markings on this trail...sharing your thoughts and ideas...making your own altars in order that you, too, would worship and remember our very faithful God.

Come along, friend! You are most welcome here!


michelle: gonna go get some golden grams
me: k
michelle: is there an H in grams?
me: grahams
but i knew what you were saying
michelle: Thank you!
me: and that's what communication is about...not perfection

Friday, November 7, 2008

favorite thing number twelve

Jopi's laugh

Sunday, November 2, 2008

who is this person?

me: “I feel like someone has crawled into my body, and she’s content and peaceful and full of joy! Do you know this person?”

bri: “Yeah! I’ve met her before!”

Saturday, November 1, 2008

someone thinks like me...

My soul is weathered but green
When a storm passes over the roots are unseen
until all is laid bare
and the hope that I needed was already there

Iowa, I don’t know how to leave you
don’t know how to tell you goodbye
Iowa, I am a field after harvest
sowing under a new sky, Iowa

- Alli Rogers “Iowa” (my new favorite artist! check out her free download on noisetrade)

woo hoo!

I just bought gas for $1.94/gallon!

conversation at the wendt home

As I was making apple crisp, my mother was gathering the ingredients for me. Making sure I had all them she said:

Mom: Do you have everything you need?

Me: Yes, Mom. And, do you know what else?

Mom: What?

Me: I have everything I want, too.

Mom: Isn’t that a blessing?

Me: It sure is!

Friday, October 31, 2008

no, no, no, no, no!

Her tight curls draped down in her face. She reached for the fragile glass on the table, and before I knew it, a string of no’s fell from my lips in rapid succession: “No, no, no, no, no!” My niece was startled and looked at me. Her hand remained in midair waiting for me to tell her what it was that she wasn’t supposed to do.

Often when I come home to the farm I find myself thinking through the agricultural parables that Jesus used to teach His followers. I’ve been pondering the wheat and the tares lately. I remember as a little girl weeding the garden with my mother. One of the weeds that was easy to spot was velvet leaf. It’s large, soft leaves resembled hearts, and early in the season could be removed from the garden with a little tug. However, there were other weeds that were harder to identify. Not a few times my mother would lean over and instruct me not to pull the plant that my little hand was gripping. “Wait,” she would say, “We need that one!”

Sometimes as I look around me, I’m just sure I am looking at tares. In my opinion, their leaves look like weeds, their fruit doesn’t add to the harvest, and they are taking up space in the garden. But it struck me this week that perhaps sometimes God wants to say, “No, no, no, no, no!” as we bend over to rid the garden of one more weed. And as we look to Him we are startled and our hand remains in midair. And, He whispers, “Just wait! We need that one!”

And when I consider my life, I must say that I don’t always look like a plant that will bring in a great harvest, but God in His mercy at one time or another has said, “Just wait! We need that one!” So, in this season of my life, I’m attempting to look at the plants before me and let God do the sorting. Because I’m pretty sure that I would rip out a few that we need…some that will someday bring in a great harvest.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

t's. parallelograms, and tupperware

Not so long ago, I thought I understood Scripture. I would open up this book, read a few pages, and thank God that He made it so easy to understand. It was sort of like a 1+1=2 faith. Every t was crossed. Every parallelogram had 90 degree angles. Every Tupperware container had a label and a neatly fitted lid.

I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was the questions I learned to ask in seminary. Maybe it was my brush with cancer that seemed oh so evil. Maybe it was being wounded by God’s children. In any case, something in me has changed. The t’s aren’t crossed. The parallelograms are all askew. The Tupperware containers are shoved into corners with lids that don’t fit allowing their contents to spill out in an untidy mess.

I’ve come to understand Yahweh in a new way. In fact, I’ve come to be okay with not being able to pin Him down. So often, the things that I label as evil, He changes to make good. If it were me, I would slap a “good” sticker on things like pink skirts and lollipops and slap an “evil” sticker on things like cancer and economic crisis. But, our Lord doesn’t seem to do that. Instead, I think He slaps on stickers that say “just wait.” And then, He goes about redeeming the very things that I had condemned. He cares deeply for the tax collectors and prostitutes. He loves the politicians and the used car salesmen. He makes strong statements to the Pharisees. And, I believe, He shares tough words with the pastors, Christian educators, and worship directors who are leading His Church today.

So, this day I am choosing to stare at the “just wait” sticker and rest in His unfathomable greatness. I am grateful that I can’t understand the almighty God, because if I could, how almighty would He be? If a mere human could reason their way through eternal and supernatural things, then I would have no need for God. But, oh how I do need Him. And, how I praise Him that He is the one who creates, controls, and condemns. All praise I give to Him, my good and almighty God.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A whole new me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

in the trash

I threw a lot of memories away today…

wouldn't it be nice...

if upon attainment of a graduate degree we got a syllabus for life? it could include things like due dates, grade requirements, balance of work and play, goals for spending and saving money, the desired age for completion of certain tasks, etc.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

favorite thing nember eleven

A chill in the air. My favorite cream blanket. A fireplace. A good book. A cup of tea.

hard news

Are we really old enough for this?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

talking honestly

“Presidents fire cabinet members. Football coaches switch schools to make more money or lead bigger programs. But in a church, we have a hard time talking honestly about why staff people leave. We paper over toxic cultures and power struggles with a sanctified spin” - John Ortberg

the ministry

“To follow the vocation does not mean happiness, but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow.” - CS Lewis

i’m glad to be back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a plays when c plays, but never when b plays and never on the third sunday of the month

A huge part of my job as a worship director is similar to solving a logic puzzle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

keeping it real

“We’re not called to be successful. We’re called to be obedient, even if they don’t come…. If somebody doesn’t find you objectionable, I wonder if you are preaching the full counsel of God.” - James Gilmore


Sometimes blessings come in the form of a light sprinkle of rain, but sometimes there is a deluge of them pouring over you so quickly that you get absolutely soaked. Today I am drenched to the bone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

wisdom from the east coast

“Isn’t this more interesting than doing nothing?” - Heather

two are better than one

me: i’ll wait with you…

her: until?

me: until you are strong enough to wait on your own. i don’t much care how long it takes.

i miss the days of...

sheer elation at being chased down the hall by my daddy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

oh Father

Help me love your Church.

Friday, October 17, 2008

a sign on my door

During one of my drives around the Midwest in recent weeks I saw a sign welcoming people to the town of Rudd, Iowa. Like most small towns in this great state, they embraced this opportunity to promote their community. The sign read:

Rudd: Not bigger, just better

And, I started thinking…this could really be a sign for my past year. It’s been a hard year, but often hard years bring much growth. And, as I start over again in a new church and a new community, I can tell that God has been working in me.

So, as I venture into these next days, I’m imagining a sign on my door that says:

Julia: Not bigger, just better

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Go Red Sox!!!


i miss you…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

oh yeah!

I love this stuff!

Monday, October 13, 2008


tomorrow = no flipflops


a whole new life

Sunday, October 12, 2008

on loving

I’m pretty sure that love has more to do with actions and less to do with feelings.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I’m not sure fleeing is the best answer when life gets hard…but, it sure seems like a good option right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

favorite thing number ten

the sunrise.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

playing with brynn

Hide and seek. Tag. Lots of hugs and giggles. I want to be three.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a little creativity at home

My new favorite blog that I would hate for you to miss is called “Having Fun at Home” and is my dear friend Katey’s who is possibly the most creative person I know.

this blest assurance

This hymn was written after Horatio Spafford experienced tremendous loss like I certainly have not seen. However, after thinking about the comments on a recent blog post of mine, I was thinking about this hymn. During college my friend Lindsey and I would sneak in the chapel, lay under the pews or hide behind the curtains until it was locked, and sing through all the hours of the night until our fingers and voices could do no more. Somehow we always came back to this hymn. And, still today Spafford’s powerful words and testimony minister to my heart. So…here it is. Another favorite of mine.

“It Is Well With My Soul”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Monday, October 6, 2008

favorite thing number nine

planting tulips and it begins to sprinkle. the drops finding a place to rest on my skin and shirt. the smell of the rain on the dry ground. how i love the country.


When I think about everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks, I’m excited to see just what God does.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the plan

never what i expect. always better than i imagined.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

praise be to God!

I have a whole new family. Thirteen new people to love!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

turning the page

The crisp October air blew the pages of her book back just a few. As Allie stared at the words, she could hardly believe how quickly the characters had changed. Just a few chapters ago these names had played a major part in the storyline, but now the protagonist entered a new and different world. Allie had loved and treasured those characters, but with great intrigue found her place again and continued reading.

And, as she turned the page a new chapter began.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

last night

in my safe little cocoon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

a nice change of pace

Onions are what make me cry these days.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

historical moment at the wendts

For the first time in Wendt history, Mom and I won the scrabble game! We’re happy, but our greatest excitement is that the game is over.

And, Grandma, the Scrabble Champion’s response was “Well, since it was the first time, I won’t be upset.”

Saturday, September 27, 2008

some days have passed

Some things never change…but, some things do.

dancing again

My turquoise and cream canvas bag given to me by a dear friend has been sitting by the piano for some time. When I walk by, it will occasionally whisper, “Hey! I am over here!” But, I have chosen to ignore it, so-much-so that I think it quit calling. I’m not sure what is different about this morning. Maybe it is the beautiful breeze blowing in the kitchen window. Maybe it is the quiet of a Saturday morning. Maybe it is the work the Lord is doing in me. But, somehow, I found myself wandering over to the piano, bending down and reaching into my bag, picking up Volume 1 of the binder set I created, and beginning to play. Slowly the delight of playing music returned. And, my fingers danced over the keys once again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i've been waiting for this

Daddy’s home!!!

cottonwood trees

Last time I mowed by the cottonwood trees I frowned and thought of my "top ten for mowing lawns." This time I smiled and thought of my “top ten for loving life.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

reflections from the journey

While journeying around the Midwest these past weeks, I have had a lot of time to think. Below are a few of the thoughts that continue to rest in my mind:

Loving people you care about is easy. Loving people because we’ve been commanded to is hard.

Sometimes the road takes you places you never planned on visiting.

Often the best fix for crying eyes is hugging arms.

New life springs forth in places you wouldn’t expect.

Occasionally, it rains the entire weekend, but that doesn’t need to steal your joy.

Sometimes the Lord’s provision for pain is people. Sometimes the Lord’s provision for pain is Himself.

It really is more delightful to give than to receive. I need to work on that.

You can see a bigger picture in your review mirror than by glancing out your window while you drive by.

There are few things that compare with someone seeing you at the door and then running toward you with open arms while saying your name.

Grief is both predictable and unpredictable.

Excellence is not always the highest goal.

“I don’t know” is a perfectly legitimate reason for crying.

Driving off into the sunset hurts your eyes for a while and then takes your breath away.

Some things are worth waiting for. Some things aren’t.

The view from the 37th floor is pretty amazing! You can see a lot of things you can’t see when you are in the midst of the city.

Living in the presence of another is a good thing.

Communication helps hurt, but it doesn’t cure it.

When we really trust God, we have opportunity to enjoy the mystery.

Sometimes God heals in seconds. Sometimes God heals in years.

Friends are one of the richest blessings the Lord gives us.

i wendt on a journey

in 20 days i…

- went 2702 miles

- visited 6 states

- slept in 9 beds

- paid $3.35 for the cheapest gas and $4.39 for the most expensive

- spent a couple hours in traffic jams

- had three interviews

- was in Sioux City, Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and Chicago

- saw a lot of people that i dearly love

Sunday, September 21, 2008

even still

My confidence hasn’t wavered.

Friday, September 19, 2008

thoughts from the shower

Often the greatest gifts we are given are in packages we don’t expect.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

back so soon?

The strings on the guitar sing as Nathan gently plays. The crickets laugh in the cool September night. The smells of the season’s first apple crisp poor forth from the kitchen. And, from out of no where, Autumn taps me on the shoulder and says, “I’m here.”

how ya doon?

God is good and gracious and for that I am thankful.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

question of the day

What are you sure of?

Friday, September 12, 2008

the second city

chicago has yet to captivate me

Thursday, September 11, 2008


six beds in eight days

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

i think

being known is a little taste of heaven.

favorite thing number eight

a cup of coffee. an autumn breeze. pajamas. brianna.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

just thinking...

Perfection isn’t a holy behavior.

Excellence is.

They aren’t the same thing.

~ by funsize on September 7, 2008.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

small enough

After a round of hugs, Mom would help us button up our coats. We would walk out into the dark night with the stars shining above us. Depending on who was the quickest to call it, one of us would climb in the front seat between Mom and Dad. The other two would buckle up in the back seat. It was a short eight mile drive home from Grandpa and Grandma’s, but long enough to fall asleep. I would try my hardest to get comfortable and be sleeping before the red granada would climb our driveway and deliver us home.

If sleep didn’t overtake me fast enough, I would still be awake when we got there. These were the times that I would press my eyes together, be very quiet and pretend to be sleeping. And, if I played the game well enough, my daddy’s strong arms would scoop me up and carry me to my room.

Sometimes I wish I was still small enough to pretend to be sleeping just so that I could feel the strong warmth in those protective arms.

tired of being grown-up

I want to play. Does anyone want to make mudpies, fly a kite or have a water balloon fight? I’d be content to build a sandcastle or play in the park as well.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

trade the moment

The last comment I made on my “about 50 things left to do” post has me thinking. When I consider the lives of Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Zechariah, Mary or Paul, I wonder if any of them actually lived the lives they were expecting. For instance, when Abraham was asked to leave his home, I wonder if he expected to one day after finally receiving a child, be asked to sacrifice his child to this very God who had called him into the wilderness. It seems to me that most biblical characters are given lives of adventure. The Lord’s servants do things like command animals to speak, fire to drop from heaven, blind men to see, and the dead to walk. Others dine with sinners, eat unclean food, give away their savings, rest during times of calamity, and are reprimanded for defending the Son of God. No, the ways of the Lord often aren’t what we are expecting.

The funny thing about the unexpected is that it is almost always better than what we had planned. I’m pretty sure that Abraham when commanded to take his son, his only son to the top of Mount Moriah and sacrifice him to the Lord, was angry and confused. But, I’d like to think that the worship that took place after the Lord provided the lamb was authentic, and that Abraham wouldn’t trade that moment of worshiping with Isaac for anything.

So, here I am. A little confused. At moments angry. But, I am also confident that the Lord is preparing me for something. And, I am sure that when the time comes for others to find me bowing down in worship, I won’t want to trade that moment for anything, either.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

about fifty things left

Dave Freeman the co-author of 100 Things To Do Before You Die died at age 47. What’s even more depressing is that he only went to about half the places on the list…

favorite thing number six

my family. all nine of them.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


…and then ten years go by.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The perfect time to move to the farm.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

remembering how to steer

The cool breeze gently tosseled my hair. The sounds of a squirrel having breakfast and the waves lapping against the shore were the only noise that cut through the silence. Anticipation grew as we carried the canoe down the stairs and put it in the water. We donned our lifejackets, grabbed our oars and carefully climbed in. It had been a few years since I had steered a canoe, so it took me a bit to remember how to effectively use the J-stroke. Just as it began to come back to me, we came to the canal. For almost a hundred feet, lily pads stretched out in front of us; a small trail of water dividing them, no wider then our shoulders. My friend, still unsure of my ability to guide the boat overcompensated, making it difficult to steer. She tried to guide the boat by paddling harder and telling me what side to place my oar. In her attempt to help, we ended up zigzagging through the canal and veering off into the lily pads. By the time we got through, we were both frustrated and tired.

However, while out on the lake, we discussed the dynamics of steering. We talked about the difficulty created when both individuals are trying to steer. She commented that when she tried to fulfill both roles it was difficult for me to fulfill my role. Every time I attempted to direct the boat in a specific direction, her strength would overpower me. This would lead us off the course that we found laid before us.

On the way home, we changed the way we were thinking. She decided to trust my ability to guide the boat. With her trusting me, we quite efficiently moved through the canal without ending up in the lily pads. Only this time, at the other end of the canal, we were not frustrated or exhausted.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a little ditty

Can’t remember

my brain is in the blender

it’s jello!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

thinking about our calendars

God’s timing is impeccable!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

in more ways than one

this place is not my home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

getting good

Dad: “Sometimes in life we get to do what we don’t want to do.”
Me: “Until we get good at it! (I laugh)”

Thursday, August 14, 2008


a new phone. a new life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

words to his little girl...

“Don’t worry, I got you. Don’t worry, Jewel, I got you.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"i was a millionaire for a moment"

But, he gave it all up. In the American society, that is obedience!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Obedience is an amazing thing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

a catch phrase fav

“What’s a pickup line?” - me


Sometimes tears say more than words.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

to her ten year old

“Zip your lip!” - Mom

Monday, August 4, 2008

the adventure

change can be exciting!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


“You don’t always get everything you want.” - my father

Thursday, July 31, 2008

[weak smile]

in a world of gray, you add a little yellow.


there’s a lot of letting go.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

choose your battles

With tears falling from her big brown eyes, and a red face from the passion built up inside of her, the little girl screamed, “that’s not fair!” In-between sobs, she repeated, “that’s not fair!” Her mother held her close trying to immobilize her angry child. The mother gently ran her hand down her daughter’s hair and hot back and whispered, “Choose your battles, Jewels. Choose your battles.” The gentle, quiet voice of her mother eventually calmed the little girl down and the sobs subsided. Still angry at the injustice that had just taken place, the tears continued to fall until the little girl was rocked to sleep in her mother’s soothing embrace.

This past weekend I heard a talk from a representative for the International Justice Mission. The words shared continue to linger in my mind. It reminded me of those days of sobbing in my mother’s arms. “Choose your battles, Jewels. Choose your battles.” It makes me wonder if the battles I’m fighting right now have eternal significance. And, if these are the battles that wisdom would lead me to choose.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

precious words from mom

“Remember I love you.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008


…in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I wish there was such a thing as an encouragement booth. And, when you are overly aware of your weaknesses you could go there, and they would give you a back rub and remind you of all of your strengths.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

so are my ways higher than your ways...

Sometimes the ways of the Lord are so not what one would expect. Andy Widman was a classmate at GCTS who was preparing to serve the Shan-Dai people overseas after he and his family raised their support. He was shot in Fort Myers, Florida while serving on the police force. He leaves behind a wife and three children. .


all over the world people are praying…

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Wretched [wo]man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25a)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

resting in my thoughts

Recently many phrases that are often rehearsed in my family have been resting in my thoughts. I don’t want to lose them, so I have been recording them here on my blog. I’m not sure why all of these phrases keep coming to mind as of late. Perhaps it’s the same reason that we so desperately need to memorize Scripture and fight sinful thoughts/words/behavior…because in difficult moments what we have committed to heart comes to dwell in our mind.


“It’s a two way street.” - the big daddy

Friday, July 18, 2008

mother's musings

“Following the rules has always been important to you.”

so true

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

pretty quiet lately

“If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

being grown-up

“You know, when you were little, I could just fix it.” - the best Mother in the whole world

Sunday, July 13, 2008

distribution of grace

- Debbie Johnson

- waking up this morning without an alarm

- focus while leading worship

Friday, July 11, 2008


sometimes silence is better

Thursday, July 10, 2008


So thankful for the protective love of my father.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

the elements

Last Sunday the grape juice was gross and the bread was rye. Until then, I’ve never taken communion and thought “yuck!” Good thing God’s grace isn’t dependent upon the quality of the vessel.

~ by funsize on July 9, 2008.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


a word that sounds like, looks like and describes how i feel.

precious words passed on

Grandmother Caryl’s handwriting in my hymnal.

Monday, July 7, 2008


piano, violin, and rain

fearful tingles

With great force, his hand struck my skin. Tears instantly erupted from my eyes as the tingling sensation continued to remind me where his hand had been. I struggled to be free from the hands of my father. But before I could get away, his hand met my tiny bottom again. The spanking accomplished its goal. sort of. I knew I wasn’t supposed to “talk back” although I didn’t know what that meant. Make no mistake, the love of my father for his Jewel is greater than I can express here in this blog. But, the fear of getting in trouble and getting spanked again and not knowing why followed me around for weeks. I noticed that just thinking about that spanking would send fearful tingles throughout my little body.

Sometimes I still have fearful tingles.

in the news

What kind of society do we live in if two celebrities marriages/affairs are breaking news?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

in not so many words

a year ago today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

the love of my parents...

never ceases to amaze me.

~ by funsize on July 3, 2008.

"good point" says michelle

Only God defines me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

this morning

emptied of strength.

i was reminded of this today

“life’s too short…” -my mother

Monday, June 30, 2008

words i'm hanging on to

“You’re special.” -Daddy (said with great frequency)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

the top ten for mowing lawns

10. You get to be out in the fresh air.

9. No educational loans.

8. Work days start after 10:00 a.m.

7. Being task oriented is considered a positive thing.

6. You get lots of alone time.

5. Critiques are related to workmanship, not character.

4. You get winters off.

3. Nobody can hear you singing.

2. After a shower, you feel all better.

1. If you want to see if you are making a difference, all you have to do is turn around.

daddy's favorite words



Saturday, June 28, 2008

june 28, 2008

and then there were ten.

Friday, June 27, 2008

wisdom from the bean field

It’s a lot easier to walk with the row,

but you don’t always get where you want to go.

coming home to mom

“What you need is a couple days in the country!”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

mom and dad's

When everything hurts, there’s no place like home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

click-clack. click-clack. pause.

This was the eleventh pair of shoes he had tried on. They were brown leather and laced up the front. He stood their awkwardly still unhappy with the fit. “The sides are thin, but at least this pair doesn’t pinch my toes. And, they actually have this one in my size.” We looked at the new shoes as he walked around. We were in the Mall of America, so there were many different stores providing a variety of options to choose from. This store, unlike the previous four we had been in, had a shiny marble tile around the edge of it, so as he walked, his steps made a click-clack, click-clack sound. Click-clack. Click-clack. Pause. Click-clack. Click-clack. Pause. “I don’t know. They just aren’t very comfortable,” he said as he looked at his worn-in Chaco sandals.

It occurs to me that sometimes paradigm shifts feel like new shoes. As we put on the new shoes, they dig into the sides of our foot. Every time we step on the marble tiles, it creates a click-clack, click-clack sound making us more aware of the discomfort that we already feel. Until the shoes have been worn in a bit, they feel stiff and awkward. But, the irritating displeasure of wearing new shoes will not be overcome if we refuse to wear them. In time, the leather grows more supple and conforms to our feet. And, in time, these new shoes become our worn-in friends that we hate to step out of.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

favorite thing number five

long walks

Friday, June 20, 2008

a feeling swept over me

I was in a new place in a crowded room talking to a group of people. Behind me I heard Andrea laugh. I hadn’t heard that laugh for two years. And, at that moment, from the very top of my head to the tips of my toes, a feeling swept over me. It was the feeling of familiarity, the feeling that I was in the right place, the feeling of home.

I have to wonder if upon our arrival to Heaven if we will have a similar experience. If someone will laugh or knowingly look at us or gently touch our arm, and a feeling will sweep over us. A feeling that will whisper with such familiarity that we will know we are finally home.



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

favorite thing number four

old friends

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

an awkward truth

A land that is unfamiliar felt more like home than this does.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

and then...

she found Mr. Wright.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Nehemiah’s prayer in the face of opposition was “But now, O God, strengthen my hands” (Neh 6:9b). May this be true of me, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

pet peeve

When people assume that in our fallen state our emotions are more flawed than our thoughts.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

dear seminary friends,

While reading in Nehemiah this morning, 4:19-20 stuck out to me. “And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.’”

Lest you think I am implying that Nehemiah was thinking of graduates from Gordon Conwell when he wrote this, I’m not. :) Instead, I am saying that it provides beautiful imagery for us to consider.

Sometimes I miss all of you so much. I long for the times when we ate together in the cafeteria (some of us for free!), went to classes and chapel together, hung out in my apartment and at the library, and played foosball in a never ending fashion. But, when I read this, it reminds me that the work is great and widely spread, and indeed we are separated; however, we are needed to build different parts of the wall. And, I have been so touched by the support I have received from all of you when you have heard my cry for help and have rallied to me there. It’s as if the trumpet can be heard in the United Kingdom, California, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and further. So, I’m committed to continue on in the work He has for me here in Minnesota.

And, today I rest in the reality that God will and is fighting for us in all parts of this crazy world.

Friday, May 30, 2008

who i was

I’m not who I want to be, but by God’s grace I am not who I was.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008


…and the sun went away.

Friday, May 23, 2008

love until it hurts

A recurring prayer from my days in Austria:

“Lord, help me to love and love and love until it hurts, and then love some more.”

daddy's words

“Because I said so, that’s why!”

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

shadow side

Strengths have a shadow side.

Monday, May 19, 2008

monday morning reflections

We know you are a good God and that makes everything ok.

more from mom

“suck it up!”

Sunday, May 18, 2008

sitting on the church steps

I feel like Christmas is over.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

just because you love something...

It’s funny, just because you love something doesn’t mean you have to own it. And, just because you love something doesn’t mean that another will never come along. Sometimes I think that when I have found something wonderful that I need to wrap my hands around it. That life would be over if it got away. That I would never find something so wonderful ever again.

This past month I made an offer on my town home. After some negotiation, we came to an agreed upon price. I got all of my documents in order, submitted them to the bank, and contacted a lawyer. My loan was approved, and the purchase agreement was written. And, all the while, I felt confident that I was making a good decision. I love my home. I love that it has two decks, a spare bedroom, a beautiful backyard, space to entertain…and the list goes on.

This week was supposed to be the week that I signed the purchase agreement. But, the day that I was scheduled to meet with the owners was a terrible day on a variety of levels. So, I rescheduled with them for later in the week still intending to sign. But, something happened. Tears flowed, prayers were pleaded, and God moved. Thursday night I decided that even though I dearly love this place that I call home, it is not something that I should wrap my hands around. The Lord has other things in store. And, only one thing that I need to wrap my hands around…Him.

Friday, May 16, 2008

favorite thing number three

the smell of rain

Monday, May 12, 2008

changing my attitude

but have not love…

Sunday, May 11, 2008

oh moon...

come closer, please.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

my favorite thing number two

the many melodies of the birds joining to make a beautiful chorus of sound

Thursday, May 8, 2008

favorite thing number one

a black t-shirt in the hot sun after many months of Minnesota winter

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

bible study reflections

I’m confident in my imperfections.

Monday, April 28, 2008

a saying passed on

“Time marches on.” A statement often made by my grandfather and now repeated by my mother.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

every time i walked out the door

my mother always said, “be good.”

Monday, April 21, 2008


Two pieces of twine cut against my flesh.
They are tied with secure knots ensuring that I will remain bound.
Their loops pin my arms to the wooden pole that is firmly affixed to the wall behind me.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

giving up

I recently read Nancy Beach’s blog entry "Every Five Seconds and was pretty convicted. I sent the link to a group of my grad school friends, and we have been discussing what each of us could give up for a month or two. They have some great ideas of things they are going to do. However, I have been at a loss for good ideas.

In trying to come up with a down payment for my house (yes! I am in the process of buying a house!), I have already cut a lot of things out of my life. Plus, I kinda think of myself as living pretty simply…and for that statement, I’m sure I will be reprimanded…but, alas, I eat very little meat, hardly “go out”, get movies from the library instead of the movie store, try not to be excessive in my use of heat…etc. I thought about giving up long showers which would honestly be a big sacrifice for me as that is one of my favorite times of the day, but I don’t pay the water bill…my landlords do, so that wouldn’t save me any money which is the point. As my friends and I give things up, we are giving the money saved to each of our chosen charities. I thought about giving up my “starbucks” coffee, but this proves to be difficult as well, because that is a piece of my ministry. I bond with volunteers while drinking it. Then, I considered having my Sunday lunch bunch over to my home instead of going out, but honestly, we eat for such a minimal amount, that I don’t think we could save money by cooking at my home.

So, today I got in the car and went to Target. After I ran my errands, I chose Cub Foods instead of Econo Foods because Cub has better flowers. I walk in and get my groceries, and then I am standing there looking at the flowers trying to decide between the tulips, the gerbera daisies, and the astro-whatevers, and I then realize that God is asking me to give up my flowers. Quite frustrated, I walked away and then tried to justify it in all sorts of different ways. “I am hosting people for supper…I need to have a centerpiece.” “Minnesota winters are sooooo long….I just really think having flowers inside helps my attitude.” etc, etc. In the end, I left Cub flowerless, and intend to be flowerless for a while. I am struck by the emotion that went with me giving up flowers for a month or two. I guess I don’t live quite as simply as I thought. I guess even frivolous stuff is important to me. And, I am convicted again.

~ by funsize on April 19, 2008.

Friday, April 18, 2008

what we are longing for

I can hear the rain as it stops to rest upon my window. A spring breeze tickles my curtains and the open window lets the songs of a robin waft in. I sit here reflecting on the winter and the blessing of spring. Though my Massachusetts days filled me with a great love for autumn, I believe springtime in the Midwest has again stolen my allegiance.

It’s funny, sometimes we don’t know what our hearts are longing for until we experience it. The trees are still brown and naked, and the grass is only slightly green, but the sweet songs of a bird promise that spring is being ushered in. I want to tell the birds, “I didn’t know I missed you so, but I am quite thankful you are back!”

And, the wind blows the curtains, and the bird keeps right on singing, and I just sit here marveling at the way God again is bringing life out of death.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

providing comfort

I’m so thankful we serve a gracious God who is more concerned about our character than our comfort, but meets us providing comfort while He is working on our character.

Friday, April 11, 2008

my mother's favorite phrase for me

“Just monitor it.” -mother

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

loving the questions

loving the questions

“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter From A Young Poet

Sometime in the midst of the grief of my mother’s cancer, my dear mentor Susan shared this quote with me. It has gone through my mind a plethora of times since then.

There was a moment last spring when my mother and I were talking, and we both agreed that we wouldn’t trade the previous six months for anything. She had just completed her radiation treatments which did have some painful side effects, she had not yet been declared “cancer-free,” and we were still waiting. And, yet, because of the way the Lord had redeemed so many of the difficult situations, because of the way He had moved in our family, because of the way He had grown each of us, we wouldn’t trade it. There was a new richness to life, a depth to the way we love, and a thankfulness for all He continued to do. And, in the midst of that, we knew that we were better-off no matter what the outcome.

At some point I did learn to love the questions… And, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure when that was. But, while learning to love the questions, something has changed in me. I find myself more in love with the Lord than ever before. I enjoy the unknown in a way that I was unable to before. I rest in Him with confidence knowing that He’s taking care of me. Perhaps I have lived my way into the answer, but I think more likely, I have come to find delight in the mystery.

Monday, April 7, 2008

a not-so-little dance of joy

I was walking with a sweet friend of mine last week. We saw a robin dancing on the sidewalk in front of us. I had the urge to hang a big “welcome home” sign with bright colors and do a little dance of joy.

The theme that I am working on at church as of late is faith: an assurance on which expectation is based. And, as I consider the signs of God’s promises coming to fulfillment, in my better moments I respond to them as I did to that precious little robin. I think we should do little dances of joy when we see evidence of the Holy Spirit, the unity of the Church, and the richness of the mercy and grace we know through Jesus Christ the Savior. There are so many opportunities for celebration when we consider that we serve the greatest Promiser who is faithful to bring to fulfillment all of His promises.

He is the one who promised never again to destroy the earth with a flood and gave us the rainbow as a reminder. He is the one who promised to give Abraham and Sarah a childless elderly couple more offspring than there are stars in the sky. And, He has done it. He is the one who promised to deliver the Israelites from the oppressive land of Egypt. And, He has done it. He is the one who promised to give David an everlasting heir on the throne. And, He has done it. He is the one who promised the Israelites that He would bring them a Messiah. And, He has done it. He is the one who promised that all nations would be engrafted into this tree of blessing. And, He has done it. He is the one who has promised to take our sins which were as scarlet and make them white as snow. And, He has done it. …And, He has done it. …And, He has done it. …And, He has done it.

Praise be to the Almighty God! May we do a not-so-little dance of joy as we consider the reality that “He has done” and will continue to do it. That He is faithful and will continue to be. That He is our greatest Promiser and this reality will continue and that will never change.

Hallelujah. Amen.*

*These are two of my favorite words. In Hebrew Hallelujah means "Praise Yahweh" and another translation of Amen is "Let it be so!" Therefore, one might say "Praise Yahweh! Let it be so!"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

another gem from my mother

“Honey, you don’t always have to figure everything out.”

Friday, April 4, 2008

another apology

A dear friend of mine who is one of the sweetest, most compassionate people I know recently said, “I’ve never had to apologize so much until I started working in the church.”

I’m glad I’m not alone. And, I’m glad God uses His Church to make us more holy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

big emotions

“Save your big emotions for big things.” -mother

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

making something matter

“There are so many things in this world that matter, don’t make something that doesn’t matter matter.” -my mom

Monday, March 31, 2008

nothing...absolutely nothing

Beautiful flowers lined the front of the worship center. In the middle of the pinks and yellows and greens was the casket, a reminder throughout the service that this precious woman was now with the Lord.

As my fingers danced across the keys of the piano, the voices of the vocalists rang in that large room.

“Never can the powers of darkness. Neither death nor life. Let nothing ever separate us. From the holy love of God.”

It was like I was hearing the passage from Romans 8 for the first time. “Neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, or height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What a promise. Not even death can separate us from the love of God. Not even that which is a result of our own sinfulness can separate us from God. Nothing…absolutely nothing can separate us.

I guess everything will be ok, then.

you don't have enough fun things to do

“If you are dusting and you can’t tell where you have already dusted, you don’t have enough fun things to do.” -my dear mother

Friday, March 14, 2008

wishing wishes

My freshman year of college I was introduced to a whole host of new things. One of them was the book by Elizabeth Elliot Passion and Purity. I remember pouring over the pages as I lay in my bed. I read it several times and talked about it about as much. A quote of hers continues to linger in my mind.

“How can God work his will in me if I am clogged with wishes of my own? Thy will be done. I was certainly in a state! ‘Clogged with wishes.’ I was wishing that my wishes were what God wished, and if my wishes were not what God wished, I wished that I could wish that my wishes would go away, but the wishes were still there.”

My dear friend Kimberly and I discussed the business of being clogged with wishes frequently during my first two years of college. But its reality has stayed with me ever since. It is quite a task to lay down one’s wishes in order to gain God’s wishes. It is a constant setting aside of one’s self. And, I believe must be the constant prayer of one’s heart. It is deciding to trust the Lord when it doesn’t make sense. It is believing that He is who He says He is. It is walking in simple and obedient faith.

My prayer today is one that was written on my heart long ago. As a young child, we would recite this every week in the little country church my family and I attended. We would corporately share this prayer just before the Word was read. Today this prayer rests on my lips often. It is no longer limited to that time in the service that we read the Word of God. Instead, it graces my day as I attempt to decipher between wishing the wishes that I wish and wishing the wishes that God wishes.

Prepare our hearts, O Lord, to accept Your word. Silence in us any voice but Your own, that hearing, we may obey Your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

imposing on them

I had no idea what a rich Christian family the Lord would provide while I was in seminary. And, to my amazement, this incredible blessing continues as many of these people have become my support network. As I was talking to one of these precious friends today, I was lamenting about the difficulty I have in asking others to pray for me. He shared these wise words with me.

“What good is a Christian family if you can’t impose on them.” -Andy League

Thursday, March 6, 2008

eleven lessons learned at lax

  1. janitors are very important people
  2. nine dollars doesn’t buy much at an airport Burger King
  3. attitude is a choice
  4. sometimes spending money gains sanity
  5. good customer service is important
  6. good customer service doesn’t mean everyone will be pleased
  7. just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there
  8. life is more enjoyable when you are friendly
  9. apologies really do work
  10. perceptions are not always reality
  11. Sun Country is a fantastic airline

Bonus Lesson: sometimes “delayed” is the best answer to prayer that the Lord gives

before and after shots: a makeover

“Whether it’s a change in season or in our homes, most of us are fascinated by makeovers. From magazines to television shows to Web sites, we drink in reinventions of almost every conceivable thing: rooms, wardrobes, cars, bodies, even relationships. Why? Because aside from a little silliness here and there, makeovers are particularly instructive. They offer a window into the process of transformation, the whys, the hows, and the actions that bring it about. For example, I’ve rarely seen an After picture for this magazine that didn’t seem more valuable with a Before photo alongside,” comments Gayle Goodson Butler, Editor and Chief of Better Homes and Gardens regarding the magazine’s commitment to makeovers in the month of March.

I think the same principle is true of our sanctification process. We need some Before and After pictures to remind us who we were and who we are becoming. My retreat in California the past couple of days has felt a bit like a makeover. Spending time with someone who knows me – my history, my failures, my waiting, and my celebrations – has provided a Before shot and some perspective. She can help me see the pictures that are so necessary to see what God has been doing. I feel like I am returning home with a new perspective, with new insights into my walk with the Lord, with new ideas concerning my ministry. The Lord has moved in some big ways revealing more about Himself and more about His love for me. Journaling and talking through these things with my dear friend has been similar to an After shot. Comparing these images reminds me just how much work the Lord has done in me. And, if that is true, I am quite confident that the After shots taken now will in time be the encouraging Before shots of the future.

stoning the pastor

Sometimes there are unexpected pleasures that come with my job. Here’s one from last Sunday…

After playing the part of David in the story of Samuel’s anointing of the young king, my young friend’s mother asked him how he felt about being in front of all of those people. My 8 year old friend’s response was, “It was good, but I thought I was going to get to stone somebody.” Apparently, when I asked him to play the part of David, he thought of the story of David and Goliath and expected to get to stone our pastor who is six feet ten inches tall.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

lemony snicket

Lemony Snicket wrote about a series of unfortunate events. I, however, have much better subject matter.

Today: a series of divinely appointed perfection.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

no good thing

No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

-Psalm 85:11b-12

If I have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and if the claim made in Psalm 85 is true, then no good thing has ever been withheld from me. I think my childish temper tantrums illustrate that I feel differently. I guess that’s why the trust piece must follow. Perhaps what I believe to be “good” isn’t really good and what God believes to be “good” truly is good. And, if I am certain of His character - that He is good, merciful, gracious, loving, faithful, trustworthy, etc. - then I can be certain that when our definitions of good don’t match, that it is my definition that is flawed even though I feel quite the opposite. And, when I come to terms with this, the reality is that whatsoever situation I am in, there I am content, because I can be quite sure that nothing good has been withheld from me and thus, that the circumstances I find myself in are indeed good. And, in fact, better than those that I would arrange for myself.

for this very moment...

I wonder what I was doing a year ago…I wonder if you had told me I would live in the Midwest, my mother would be cancer-free, that I would have my dream job, that I would live in a town home and still drive L.E. if I would have believed you. I also wonder if you had told me I would be in California even two weeks ago if I would have believed you. It seems so clear to me that God only gives us what we can handle. That’s why the journey is so important. There are things to learn. There are obstacles to overcome. There are fears to fight. There are battles to conquer and people to love. Lord, thank you for this very moment. A moment in the journey. A moment where I sit drinking in the ocean breeze and the sounds of the waves as they collapse on the shore. A sight to behold. The blue of the ocean just below the bumpy terrain of the mountains which tower above the palm trees that line the walk way. The white on the waves and the reddish roofs that dot the landscape. And, for a moment I am here. Sand beneath my feet. Pen in hand. Heart open to hear your voice. Father, please speak, for your servant is listening.

Monday, March 3, 2008

reading between the lines of her Bible

“It’s a very intimate thing to go through someone else’s Bible,” said Laura after spending a day at the Gospel Light Archives researching Henrietta Mears. She talked about how some books of Henrietta’s Bible were very worn from frequent use and how her long lists of people that were shoved in the back revealed much about her prayer life. Her added notes and underlined passages told a whole new story within the pages of narrative we know and love.

I wonder what people would think if they read between the lines of my Bible. I’m pretty sure I would be humbled.

~ by funsize on March 3, 2008.

Friday, February 29, 2008

childish tantrums...

Tears streaming down my face, clenched hands, and vocal chords screaming with every bit of force they could muster, I ran to my room. I slammed the door announcing to the whole house that I was indeed angry. After pounding on my pillow with my fists, my screaming turned to sobs, and my pillow held my little head. With the sun shining on my angry little body, I cried until the tears would no longer come. My mother knocked on the door and quietly came in. Her gentle hand softly touched my tear stained cheeks wiping away any of the tears that hadn’t yet dried. And, instead of punishing me as my tantrum so clearly deserved, she cradled my little body in her arms and told me how much she loved me.

And, somehow – though the circumstances didn’t change – it was ok with me.

Today I keep thinking of the wise words of my mentor, “and don’t you just feel like a petulant child?” It was true. The tears and frustration from the circumstances I found myself in did remind me of my tantrums as a child. Just last night I had flung myself on my bed, tears streaming down my cheeks. And then, it was as if the Lord knocked on my door and quietly came in. His gentle hand softly touched my tear stained cheeks wiping away any of the tears that hadn’t yet dried. And, instead of punishing me as my tantrum so clearly deserved, He cradled my little body in His arms and told me how much He loved me.

And, somehow – though the circumstances didn’t change – it was ok with me.