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