Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30, Flirty & thriving...

This year I turn the big 30! It was lurking ahead of me all year and finally arrived with less fan fare and no instant wrinkles or sagging. Having experiences beyond belief in my 20s makes me excited for what is ahead in my 30s.

Still feeling like I am in my early 20s... Still having a heart for travel and medical missions... Still ready to see where the Lord takes me... Still trucking along through school when I can afford another class to check off the list... Still reaching for the goals that God has placed on my heart.

My hopes and goals for my 30s include (not in any particular order):
Rachael and I at my 30th Birthday Party 
Get married, have babies and adopt babies, get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, write a novel (or three), travel to a handful of countries I haven't been to before, get a sewing machine and get my crafty schmaftyness on, finish my Africa album from almost ten years ago, get a house and decorate it and maybe even do some DIY home projects (!!!), get back into youth ministry, learn how to down hill ski, go on at least one missions trip, help lead a missions trip, sing more, go puddle jumping with my nieces and my own kids, learn how to knit (and not with the knifty knitter... I was told that is not really knitting), recycle more, be healthy in my nutrition and exercise choices, live on less, reach higher, learn to run and do a 5K, live in a different state and country, and so much more...

So many wonderful things have happened in my life. I feel blessed and protected by God each and every day. He has provided me with an amazing bunch of friends and family in my life that continue to teach me more of His goodness. I have a great job working with a boy with Crouzon's Disorder and I am gaining invaluable experience in the medical field even before getting my certificate. I have a seasonal job at REI working in the call center and I LOVE this company beyond words! So blessed!

Stephen and me in Cannon Beach for the first time together for my 30th birthday!! So special!
This year for my 30th birthday I was able to visit my favorite place in the world with the man I love. Being that both of us grew up going there every summer with our families made it extra special to share the experience with each other for the first time. Going to Cannon Beach, OR had never been so special. Knowing that it was an important place to both of us made walking through town and pointing out our favorite spots and sharing traditions all the more special. I hope we can look back ten years from now and will have made the tradition of going to CB together with our kids too.

So excited for what is in store in this 30th year of my life!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Rock Your Systems

As a Christian, I think it is essential for us to constantly challenge ourselves to consider why we believe what we believe and ask God to open our Spirits to seeing this world we live in through His eyes. Just as I have been discussing and wrestling with these feelings I came across the below post from a fellow YWAMer. My soul breathes a sigh of relief knowing I am not alone in the convictions this writer so eloquently shares. I hope this post will challenge more of the "systems" we have set up in our lives to be rocked!

"Systems" by Danny Lehmann
by YWAM on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:31pm

Have you ever walked a dog and in the course of your journey encountered another dog approaching your partner ? The scenario is predictable: First, there is eye contact, then a stiffening of the tail and the hair on the back standing up. They then begin to ever so cautiously circle one another all the while sniffing to see if their new acquaintance passes their test. A good meeting proceeds with the tails beginning to wag and then some playful sporting. A bad one is when, usually suddenly, both dogs have an internal alarm go off and a fight breaks out.

This image came to my mind recently when I was recommended by a former student of mine to speak at a church. Much like the above dog encounter, before the meeting, in the course of an otherwise friendly conversation I was skillfully and suspiciously peppered with questions by an assistant pastor about my views on many subjects, such as Calvinism/Arminianism, the place of Israel in prophecy and whether or not I was one of those leftist "social justice" missionaries.( In keeping with Woodstock's 40th anniversary I was tempted to say "B...B...Bro, Where's the love?")

I had simply been invited by the senior pastor to teach on evangelism. My spiritual pedigree had been attested to in my books by the likes of Chuck Smith, Loren Cunningham and Greg Laurie. Nevertheless, I had the distinct sense that my "papers" were not enough so this watchdog over God's flock had to do his own personal sniffing.

My inquisitor, however, was not the only one doing the olfactory inquiry. Having canine tendencies myself, I did some sniffing of my own. I instinctively picked up the smell of a critical religious spirit but by God's grace made a choice to relax and keep my spiritual tail wagging!

To switch from my smelly metaphor to theological language, my new friend had spliced parts of the Bible into clear (in his mind) religious "systems" and like the above dog exchange, was sniffing me to see if I was OK. His clear unspoken vibe was "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen!" Although I passed the test and had a relatively fruitful time of ministry, I was on edge the whole night lest I would slip up and profane his systematic pulpit.

Recently my son David, a serious Bible student, showed me a purchase he had made of a 1200 page "Systematic Theology." Thumbing through it I identified the particular systems this fellow was espousing. Digging deeper I noticed this systematic theologian had done what many of us do, due to our systems: over emphasize certain Scriptures and de-emphasize or ignore others that don't fit our systems.

I recently saw former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on a T.V. talk show. The host, upon hearing that Mike was to be in Las Vegas for a political rally asked him if he was going to hit the slot machines. Huckabee laughed and said, "The last time I went to Vegas I took a twenty dollar bill and the Ten Commandments and I broke neither!" He went on to say, "Besides, I'm a Baptist and even if I struck it rich at the casinos I wouldn't be able to tell anybody!" It was a funny exchange but Huckabee was just simply and honestly admitting he was part of a system - a Baptist system that does not look too kindly on gambling.

A big question to ask ourselves is how do our systems affect the above statement that love is the fulfilling of the law? Where does "knowing what we believe and why we believe it" end and the idolatrous worship of our systems, often made in our image, begin? My guess is we are getting close when our systems prevent us from fulfilling the law and begin to control us. Perhaps it's when being "right" replaces being good. When ironically the Bible prevents us from doing what the Bible tells us to do!

A while ago I was asked to mediate in a situation where a pastor was threatening to cut financial support for Nepali missionaries because he had heard that YWAM was "working with Catholics" in Ireland. I tried to reason with the pastor and assure him that our dear Nepali brethren would probably never in their life even meet a Catholic in their Hindu kingdom. As he then turned up the rhetoric and identified the "antichrist" in the Church at Rome, his anti-Catholic system became more apparent. When I asked him if he believed anyone anywhere in the world could be a Catholic and be saved, he said "no" in no uncertain terms. I was stunned as I hung up the phone.

Speaking of Catholics, how could the church practice the execution of "heretics" during the Inquisition? On the other hand how could Lutherans persecute Anabaptists during the Protestant Reformation? How could John Calvin condone the burning of Michael Servetus at the stake in Geneva? How can certain T.V. evangelists identify a hurricane as a judgment from God and blame it on the gay community? It is because they read the Bible with cultural, national, racial, and political lenses, mixed in a few personal biases, added some theological naivety, subtracted love and came up with a system. The result: a deadly recipe that is the opposite of love. Others were then judged by that system, failed the test and were consequently thrown out of the kitchen.

Just for kicks, let's consider a couple of questions: Where does the Bible even declare that we are to jigsaw Scripture pieces into an airtight puzzle when a little ruthless honesty would force us to admit we inevitably have pieces left over? Could it be that He intended us to see the Bible as the unfolding story of His forever dream, celebrating the diversity within the unity rather than dividing over it? Did He really want us to treat His Word as a divine pizza pie that we chop up into topical bits and then respond to the bits of our choosing?

Is it possible that He is much more relaxed than we are about the things we get so uppity about, like sovereignty/free will and other biblical tensions. Can we be content with some mystery and enjoy the eternal love story without dissecting the Bible like a frog in a high school biology classroom? It may not only lower our blood pressure but promote more unity in Christ's Body, which seemed to be quite a big deal to Jesus and the apostles (Jn13:34-35, Eph. 4:3,11-13,Phil. 2:1-2, 1 Jn. 2:7-11, 3:10-17, 4:7-11,20-21). Controlling systems can blind us to the divine priorities of unity and love.

Could we not study the first chapter of Ephesians, for instance, verse by verse at face value in light of it's context and historical background without flying out of the book on verse 11 and declare from one system that everything that happens is God's will (including things He has declared in other parts of the Bible not to be His will!)? Can we not then read the sixth chapter of the same book and see real demons that we need to "wrestle" with in order to cooperate with God to see his will done, while not denying the sovereignty of 1:11? Can we simply deal with it, let the Bible be the Bible, and let others be who they are even if it or they don't fit the box of our systems?

Am I suggesting throwing out all systems? No. The early church took great pains to clearly define what it stood for ("... Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father..."). Such statements as those found in the Apostles Creed, for instance, require systematizing to a certain extent. The question for a mission like YWAM is which of these systematic hills are we willing to die on, especially when we are called to value our interdenominational identity and fulfill Jesus' prayer for unity (Jn 17:21-23).

In the 1920's J. Greshem Machen and his Fundamentalist allies, fighting theological liberalism, came up with 5 essentials to the Christian faith, revolving around the authority of the Bible, the person of Christ (His death and resurrection), the virgin birth and His physical return. Since then we have added to the list, created multitudes of new systems which have divided us from believers we are commanded to love and taken a lot of the fun out of fundamental! Case in point: the pastor in Florida who recently threatened to stage a "Burn a Q'uran Day" and almost went through with it knowing full well it would put missionaries and soldiers all over the world in danger to Muslim reprisals. "B...B...Bro, Where's the love?"

I freely admit that there are teachings in Scripture that I have systematized. I must in humility, however, recognize that my systems have been developed by looking at the Bible through the grid of my American heritage, culture, race, economic/social status and my denominational affiliations. I try to be "totally" objective. I'm not. No one is.

Must we sacrifice truth in order to walk in love? I think not. God is not confused. He told us not only to be right and do right but to be and do both in love. How? By submitting to His Spirit who teaches us to honor God's Character by being like Jesus--- "... that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4). Augustine, in the 4th century gave us some good advice : "In essentials--unity. In non-essentials--liberty. In all things--charity."

" is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10)

Danny Lehmann is the Dean of the College of Christian Ministries for YWAM's University of the Nations.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

skype dates

I love technology!
Seriously people!
This having friends living on different continents only works because of the time period I am privileged to live in.
My dear friend Jo (lives in Scotland) was online the other day during my afternoon, her middle of the night (should be sleeping) time and we had the joy of talking and seeing each others faces for 45 fabulous minutes!
Its amazing to me that my friends, even across the world, can be seen and heard, if only we sit in front of our computers at the same time.
I am so blessed to live in this day and age. So thankful that I don't have to go years without seeing my dear friends who are far away! Love you Josephine! Can't wait until our next reunion!

(this photo was while we were in Switzerland together in the Spring of 2003)

Forgive and forgive again and again...

Yesterday I was looking at a friends facebook status that she posted:

just because you've made the CHOICE to forgive, doesn't mean the pain goes away immediately...BUT you can learn to manage the pain instead of allowing the pain to manage you (Krista Deary)

this got me to thinking about my own testimony of forgiveness in my life which led to a few responses...

My first response to that status:

One of my biggest lessons in life was learning about forgiveness. What really helped me as I grew through the process of forgiveness was:
1) I had to mentally imagine myself letting that person of the hook for how they had hurt me. It wasn't that I was saying what they did was okay... it was that I did not get to punish that person... it was only hurting me and causing anger and bitterness by placing that person on the hook.
2) I chose to then try to see that person with the eyes of Christ from that time forward. Not bringing up thoughts of the past but pushing those aside and focusing on the grace and love that God has for that person. And the forgiveness that God gave that person, just as He has forgiven me.
3) repeat steps 1 & 2 until I see this person for all Christ created only that person to do.

I am still in this process... forgiveness can be challenging. It has been 10 years since I chose to forgive. The hardest part is that I continually have to forgive this person again and again for new pain that is caused... but God grants me that same grace... He forgives me again and again and again and... you get the picture. We have to chose to forgive to find total healing and forgiveness for our own sins. God is just and is the only judge who can make us pay for our wrong doings. He also paid the price so we don't have to suffer eternal damnation. We get the gift of grace each day. We have total forgiveness if only we ask for it. Just remembering how God has changed my life in the area of forgiveness gives me a good heart check today. Thanks for the reminder. Now to repeat these steps again :)

Reading through the words I have written and sifting through my heart has challenged me to see my heart with more areas of forgiving that need to be done. I am in no way finished with the work that the Lord has begun in me... even if it was ten years ago when He began the healing process. As I was talking to my dear friend Jo (who lives in Scotland) yesterday via skype I shared some of my pain and she reminded me that we are all so broken. We are humanity. We are not perfect. We are going to fail each other. We are going to cause pain. We are all a work in progress. So I need to again let go of pain and forgive and forgive again and again.

Then someone else commented after my response, I will not name this person since I don't know this person. But this was the comment:

What about when you forgive, but your family won't. When they won't even consider your feelings, and you feel like you have to choose between the two..

My response to that came after more sifting through my heart and remembering what God has already walked me through and what verses and promises I need to rely on to continue to forgive and forgive again and again.

Here is my second response:

When I chose to forgive, I chose as my personal decision. It was not based on the understanding that someone else was going to receive that forgiveness and our relationship would then be restored. I forgave so my own heart would find the freedom of forgiveness. It was between me and the Lord. I didn't have to tell that person that I forgave them. It was only so I could have healing and move past the anger and pain and bitterness my unforgiving heart and mind were stuck churning through.

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

We have to forgive so that our hearts can be right with God and so we can receive His forgiveness. It is the personal choice of your family members to be right with God or not.

I forgave and made the decision to tell the person that I forgave. It was important for me to tell specifically what I was putting behind me/letting this person "off the hook"/forgiving for. When I had this conversation, no changes happened in the relationship except on my end. I found myself slowly training my mind and heart to see this person differently. I had to take this person off the hook in my mind repeatedly when Satan tried to remind me of the past pain. I reminded Satan that I had forgiven this person.

It wasn't until seven years after I had forgiven this person that I received a glimpse of the process of forgiveness. I got a phone call one afternoon. The person on the other end of the phone, who I had chosen to forgive seven years before, was calling me to ask for forgiveness. This person listed all of the reasons they wanted forgiveness. They were finally in a place where God had worked on their heart and brought Light to the areas that needed to find freedom of forgiveness. This is a very humbling step for anyone to do. To admit you have wronged someone takes great courage and humility. I don't think this would have happened if my heart had remained hardened toward this person or if my attitude when near this person had been bitter and harsh. God did the work on my heart and helped me find the freedom of forgiveness before He worked on this other persons heart.

We have a choice to forgive. It is one of the most challenging acts we can do. It is also a part of how we show love.

1st Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

There it is... "keeps no record of wrongs"... sounds like forgiveness to me. This has been the next greatest challenge of my life. Choosing to love each person with every attribute in this definition of love. As someone who was hurt greatly and chose to forgive... the only way I could continue to have an attitude of forgiveness towards the person who had wronged me was to have a continual hope. "Love always hopes." It was God's perfect timing when He did the work in the heart of the person who I had chosen to forgive... it was seven years later that the hope He had started in my heart, the Love that He had opened my eyes to, finally came to fruition.

These two areas of forgiveness and love are my biggest life lessons... more like my testimony. Remember that our God has no limitations. I certainly did not feel hopeful at the very moment when I chose to forgive. It is a process. We are in process. He is able to do more than we can hope or imagine (Eph 3:20). As you step in obedience and chose to forgive, God will start working on the hearts of those around you. They will notice a change in you as you continually chose to have an attitude of forgiveness and love.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

He is faithful! He will not leave you or let you walk through the process of forgiveness alone. Call on Him for wisdom and strength. He will meet you each day and give you that strength to forgive and forgive again. My life is a testimony to God's ability to bring healing and forgiveness. I hope my story gives you some hope for your story of forgiveness.

I am still walking through forgiveness in my life. Knowing we are all broken and in need of His grace allows my heart to feel hope that some day forgiveness will be second nature to me.

To anyone who may be reading this who I have hurt or offended. Please let me know, so that our hearts can be right toward one another and so we can be aligned with Christ in an attitude of forgiveness and grace. I do not profess to be perfect, I am just as broken as the rest of humanity.

Lord, thank you for beginning this work in my life... I know you will be ever so faithful to complete it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recreational Equipment International

Did you know that is what REI stands for?
Well, I am there newest seasonal employee starting on the 15th of October! I am super excited to be working an extra job this holiday season. And the benefits of working at REI are awesome! I will be working in the call center between 16 and 40 hours a week. Its going to be a busy busy busy season! Yes, I will still be working my night shift for the family of the little boy I take care of at night from 10pm-2am. My schedule is going to be crazy! But, I will be able to buy some Christmas presents this year... and more importantly, will be able to afford another quarter of college! And maybe will have some extra money for renewing my passport for the next international adventure I can only dream of at this point! One can hope! (I am singing the song from Cinderella... "A dream is a wish your heart makes...") sigh. Thankful that God gave me the desire to travel the world... excited to see how and when He will provide for my next adventure!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

NW Trek

It had been a few years since my last visit... probably more than a decade. This weekend I made a trip to NW Trek with Stephen and his niece and nephew. Seeing kids experience the world is so much fun! Stephen is a big kid himself and LOVES animals, so he was just as excited as Luke and Lily. We had a great time on the tram, having lunch in the cafe, and strolling through the park for six hours. The kids made horn crowns... well, I made them after they asked for help and left me at the craft table to finish the task. Lily almost climbed the fence to go into the bear exhibit. Yes, bears are her favorite. She kept asking for the bears all day long. My favorite part was the tram ride. There were so many animals out and they were so close too! Lucas enjoyed the cougar the most. I am not sure what Stephen's favorite part was... pretty sure he loved it all! It was wonderful and exhausting! Man, am I glad I am not a parent yet! But I can't wait til the next time when we can take the kids to another fun place... just to see them experience the world. It is a precious thing being a kid. So much yet to discover. It was a joy to be with those kids this weekend.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stephen's 31st Birthday

Today my man celebrated his 31st year of life. I made him my famous peanut butter cake. Yep, that hooked him for life. I crumbled reese's peanut butter cups over the milk chocolate frosting for extra kick. It was a hit... as usual :) We went out with a bunch of his friends to Round Table Pizza to celebrate. Happy Birthday Stephen! I am so happy I can celebrate this special day with you! Praying for many more birthday celebrations in our future! I love you!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Six Months

My final was scheduled close to our actual anniversary day so we celebrated a day later just about an hour after my final was finished. Major celebration!
So Stephen was waiting for me in the driveway when I got home from school that day. He promptly whisked me away to Olive Garden in Federal Way for some early dinner/late lunch. It is one of both of our favourite places to go. After dinning we went to a park that had a beautiful boardwalk and bunnies everywhere! It was absolutely gorgeous... except for the rain and the fact that I was wearing flip flops and almost fell on my ass ten feet into our walk on the boardwalk :)
After sitting on a bench and watching the bunnies for awhile we went to the cheap theater and watched Alice in Wonderland. It was so cool! I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The story line was different than the movie I remember as a kid and it was so creative and colorful!
After the movie we went next door to Cold Stone where we had our first date ever and had romantic ice cream while listening to the melodic sounds of the Cold Stone employees singing songs of sweetness (ice cream). It was so special. When we walked out of Cold Stone there were two beautiful rainbows side by side in the sky. I stopped and hugged Stephen with my head to his chest and he of course told me he ordered them special for our day. It was then that I realized his heart was pounding like a drum harder than I had ever heard it before. I told him and he said it was because he loves me. He then grabbed my hand and put something in my palm and told me that he wanted to make some promises to me. Promises to spend the rest of his life loving me, promises to be faithful and trust me, and promises to respect me and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. He then opened my hand and there was a ring. He told me it was a Promise ring. He made me all of those beautiful promises. It was so special. I reminded him that rainbows are God's promises to man. It was such a beautiful day! I felt so loved and still feel so loved by Stephen. He is amazing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Picnic in the Rain

Today Stephen and I set out to have a romantic picnic. We packed our adorable basket with bubbly drink and the required items needed to make peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Threw in some fruit and an extra protein drink for the hike. Where was this picnic to be had? At Snoqualmie Falls of course! And what kind of day was it? It was a glorious rainy spring day, of course!
Once we arrived at our destination we found the perfect picnic table. This table was located under the dripping trees and the benches were soaking wet. We sat on the table cloth that we otherwise would have used for the... table. We carefully made our sandwiches while laughing as we were getting more and more drenched by the dripping trees as we ate. Our sandwiches were soggy with rain and tree water, but we were having fun! Oh, we were in the making of a great memory! The rain stopped long enough to give us hope for our hike. Yep, we were about to hike down to the bottom of the Falls. The going down part is a whole lot easier than the going up part. At the bottom we realized we need to get into better shape so we can make it to the top without taking breaks. We huffed and puffed and made it to the top (while being passed by young and old). But we made it! Next time we take this hike, the plan is to be in better shape!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Bella!

My baby brother became a dad today. This seems so crazy and yet it is factual. Her name is Bella Grace. She is beautiful. Seeing him hold his daughter is so precious. I am so happy for him to have a little girl and a family to take care of. Congrats Nick & Shali! You are a beautiful family!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

prodigal sister and the fam

so i just listened to a sermon online and it was talking about the prodigal son and that whole story... i need to share something else before i get back to the rest of what this prodigal son story was speaking to my heart about.

so...about two and a half years ago my sister and i went to europe together. before we left i had a dream that she was the prodigal son and lost everything she had. at the time i had the dream she was married to her husband of almost ten years and had four kids ages 10, 8, 5, and 18 months. the moment we arrived in europe together i found out my sister had been struggling in her marriage for quite some time. she had at least two "boy-friends" she had met online and told me she was going to get a divorce when she got home. she got home from europe and... two weeks later she moved out of state leaving her husband and four daughters. she had made a verbal agreement with her husband that in a year she would get custody of the girls. needless to say, the state had a different view of the situation and granted full custody of the girls to my now ex brother in law and considered that she chose to abandon her family giving her very limited rights to her girls. the eldest of her daughters was born of a different father but raised by the other girls' dad for those almost ten years of marriage. her eldest daughters father (and grandparents) found out she had left the state and marched over and ripped my niece away from the family she had known all of her life. so my sis has gone back and forth from the state away from her girls back to where they live a few times in the past two and a half years.
she has now been living in the same city with the three younger girls for more than six months.

my mom talks to my sister multiple times a day. my sister doesn't even call me on my birthday or if i am in the hospital anymore. she knows how i feel about the choices she has made and knows i will have a hard time believing anything she says to me because the trust is not there.

two weeks ago my sister found out that the father of the three younger girls is moving to another state and taking the girls with him and his new wife. this move is meant to sever the relationships between my sis and her girls. two days ago my sis found out that the father of her eldest daughter is taking her to court again and that the state is considering her an unfit mother and that they are most likely going to grant him full custody. my sis is broken right now. i am having a really hard time with this. i have no idea what that would feel like as a mother to have your children taken away from you... and then again she chose to leave her girls behind just two and a half years ago.

after listening to the story of the prodigal son i am struggling not only with the facts that i thought my sister had lost everything and yet it seems as if she is losing even more right now... i am also struggling with the understanding of who the brother of that prodigal son is. my mom is certainly running toward my sis with outstretched arms and preparing the fatted calf and calling for a party to get started because she believes my sis is changing. i on the other hand still am struggling with trusting what she is saying and even thinking she brought this upon herself. she chose this.

why can't i embrace her like my mom? why is it so hard to trust and even to show sympathy to my own sister? i feel as if i am the brother in this story and not able to join the party. did the father in this story have any proof of the lost sons change? had he seen it in action other than those few words of repentance? he was so excited for his son to be home that he was calling to the servants as his son was apologizing to him. why can't i give that kind of love and grace to my sister? why must i expect proof of a change in her before i can show her sympathy or try and trust again?

my sister will be in town in five days. she will be going to court to testify and try to fight for custody of her eldest daughter. i am not sure what i am supposed to do. well, i know i am called to love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever (1 cor 13:4-8)

God help me. i certainly don't feel like i can embrace my sister right now. please show me how you see her. Lord give me a heart of compassion to be able to at least understand her pain. Lord help me to be able to look at her and speak to her in love without all of the pain of the past. Lord help me to not keep those records. Lord help me to be hopeful. Lord help me not to be irritated or rude. Lord give me your strength to never give up, to never lose faith, and to always hope for YOUR best for my sister no matter what her choices have been. Thank you Lord that your love endures through every circumstance. I know I have needed your Outrageous Love to light the way through some of the hardest times of my life and to bring truth to the areas in my life that needed cleaning up. God I just pray that you will show me how you want me to Outrageously Love my sister.

Please pray for my sister and niece this week. And please pray for me as i try to do what feels so impossible at the moment. ok Lord, I know this is going to be a process. have mercy on me as you continue to burn away the parts of me that need refining.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hi God,

I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am to have a place to live, a job that enables me to pay rent and the rest of my bills, and friends and family that love and support me through anything that life throws my way. I am pretty darn blessed. And no matter how many little things that I can think to complain about at work or just waiting on your timing... I know that you have your hand on where I am right now. Thanks. It is easy to get distracted by what is not happening right now. Thanks Lord for all that I do have right now in my life.

Your Daughter,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello 29!!

Never have I been so shocked at a number and excited for a new year than right now. I am a little in denial that I am actually 29 now. It doesn't seem possible that the years have gone by that quickly... that makes me sound old. gosh. But the years really have gone by fast. Our parents weren't kidding when they said such things.

This past year has been a hard one. I made it through a time of difficult classes. I had to withdrawal from classes during winter and spring quarter to have surgery and then recover from surgery. This summer I watched God provide job after job to meet my every need. This fall I have been training at a new job... it is a job... but one that has been quite challenging in several ways.

I am so excited to have a new beginning. I was getting excited for 2010 because I like fresh starts... and then it hit me that I have a new year of my life! Woohoo! I am so excited to see what the Lord is going to teach me this year!

Goals for year 29 include:
~ visit Sonja and Cam in Australia (and as many DTS mates as I can!)
~ get my bod and GI in shape!
~ go back to school
~ go on dates
~ find a job that I enjoy (and can stand behind the company)
~ laugh as much as possible
~ get rid of more stuff
~ go on a missions trip
~ take more pictures
~ be crafty more often
~ spend less money
~ love my family more
~ share Christ with one person a month
~ take a road trip
~ smile at strangers
~ make more friends
~ go kayaking
~ visit the dentist & orthodontist
~ watch less TV
~ start journaling again
~ get involved in a church
~ do something musical
~ live more transparently
~ learn to cook
~ spend intentional time with God every day
~ go camping
~ go polar-bearing in the ocean
~ visit a spa
~ save money on my car insurance :)

I think that was 29 goals. I am sure I can come up with more than that but I am unsure if I will be able to accomplish all of these in year 29. But it is good to have goals. Something to have to focus on.

I am so thankful for another year to begin. Thank you Lord for getting me through year 28. You are so faithful. Praying that this year is full of fun and less of the hard stuff like last year. I am embracing year 29 as my last year in my 20s and hope to live it to the fullest! Its just a number... maybe it will become one of my favourite years of life thus far :) one can hope!

Hello 29!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I hate my guts!

no seriously. my guts as in my GI tract have been the source of discomfort in my life since I was born. you might be saying... why the heck is Jami blogging about her guts?... well it all has to do with something I heard in church today. but before I get to that I have to tell you something I was talking about with my friend Danielle a few weeks ago.

so I was talking about my messed up belly and how I have been on diets where I cut all things delicious out of my life and basically lived off of fruits and vegetables, fish, and rice for several months. I am someone who loves the richness and sweetness of cheesecake. my diet that helps my tummy feel better eliminates dairy, wheat, barley, rye, soy, corn, sugar (artificial are the worst!), caffeine,things high in fat or insoluble fiber, chocolate, red meat, acidic foods, eggs, alcohol, carbonated beverages and pretty much anything else that is delicious that you can think of. Danielle and I agreed that life is pretty much not worth living when you cut out all the glorious foods that God so obviously created (or maybe man created).

So today at church our speaker was talking about living as dead people and how we need to die to ourselves. He reminded us that within the word diet - is the word die. We must die to our appetite so that we can live. Live healthier. Make choices bases on knowledge of what is good for our bodies rather than what is not.

How am I going to do this? Listening to God about what I eat is too big for Him. But I thought I would give it a try. My trying only lasted as long as it took me to get home. I sure had a lousy start. Had chili and cheese with corn chips. An old family swim meet food. Hmmm... lets see how many things were good for me in that. beans = insoluble fiber, red meat = rotting meat torturing my gut, cheese = dairy is the devil, corn chips = more insoluble fiber. Poor choice Jami. At least I drank a couple glasses of water and then took the dog on a 45 minute walk.

What is my goal and what am I going to do to achieve that goal?
Making choices like having healthy snacks prepared for when I am on the go will stop me from picking up some unhealthy choice at a fast food establishment.
My goal is to be healthy, make healthy choices, feel healthy, and encourage others to live healthy life styles. Through these healthy living choices I hope to gain some more living time in my life and lose some much loathed weight in the process. In just less than 14 months I will be turning 30. My goal is to be 75-100 pounds less by that time.

With God all things are possible. Even a fat girl dying to her appetite. My health is important to God. He spoke that loud and clear this morning. From here on out I will ask Him for help and try to listen and obey as He helps me make healthy choices.

I know that diet needs to be combined with exercise and will be working out at the YMCA (with a workout buddy or two) as well as kicking my butt into gear with some dvds (these have worked me into some amazing shape in the past and I am excited to use them again), and being outdoors (walking, biking, hiking, or anything else I can do to be active in the NW).

Some day I may not have a six pack, but I hope my stomach is flat and not round. I will always have stretch marks and scars from my operation, but under those will be a GI tract that is happy and healthy.

Lord help me turn my life around and make choices that will help this body you gave me live life to the fullest (not the fullest belly but the fullest life!)!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

too much salt

I was listening to Christian radio on my drive to an interview today (ok friends who don't like KCMS please don't stop reading) and one of the announcers was talking about cooking (I think I might have gotten Ang to keep reading because I mentioned cooking)and how when you are adding salt to a recipe there is an amount that should not be exceeded, otherwise, the dish turns out not so delicious.
the announcer dude then paralleled the salt to adding Jesus to different areas of our lives. He said we can add, and add, and keep adding Jesus and there isn't a point ever where there is too much Jesus in an area of our lives. its quite the opposite. the more we add His truths and His ways to all the areas of our lives the better all the areas of our lives get!
so. I guess I just need more Jesus

Friday, September 11, 2009


Its official! My economic crisis has come to an end. God has brought me through the last 13 months and one day and today I was offered a job working in a call center for an affiliated wireless company. If you are a Verizon customer and dial 611 you may get me on the other end of the line! Awesomeness! It will be amazing to have an income again... let alone medical, dental, and vision insurance!! wow!

If you have been following along in my life you know that throughout the past year every bill has been paid by God... I know this to be true because every time something was close to due or I would almost start to worry (ok. some days there was some serious worry going on!) God would take me back to His promises to be my Provider.

55K in medical bills were covered! all of my tuition and books were covered! 13 months of car insurance, cell phone, gas, food, and a credit card (that I will be paying off and cutting up once I get my first whoppin paycheck!)covered! God is AMAZING!

I will be working in Federal Way at ACS. Training will be 7 weeks long! Please keep me in your prayers as I start this new adventure. There will be a LOT to learn! I know that God will get me through this one too. Praying also for some great friends at this job, a good relationship with my boss, and opportunities to testify the awesomeness of Jesus!

My first day in September 23rd... until then I will be dog sitting in Orting and moving my stuff into a house with some friends. God is SO GOOD!

I am truly in awe of the awesomeness of God. He has taught me so much on trust, provision, waiting, trust, provision... yeah. you get the point. He has shown me how capable He is. He is more than able!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Whats the story?

So, early in the summer I had a wee revelation. Somewhere in my little brain a light turned on and I my eyes opened a little wider. I was discovering the importance of diversity in people. I was captivated as I walked down the street and people watched at my favorite local coffee house. My thought with every person I saw being... "what is their story?"

It is so small of me to think that people are not shaped by their life circumstances and social influences. As I asked God to open my eyes and give me a heart for His children like I have not experienced before I found that I had created my own fears. In my mind differences made someone less approachable when in reality someone who is different is more likely to challenge my perceptions and cause me to think more... thus growing more.

A friend of mine recommended a book to me about this time. It was made into a movie, though I have yet to see the film. "The Soloist" was another opportunity to challenge my "what is their story?" thought. In the book a brilliant man with a severe mental illness winds up playing at Julliard and then later on the streets of the ghetto.

My mom has been labeled as bipolar for ten plus years and it has taken me that long to discover that she has a story of her own. This summers circumstances (I will share more on that some day) allowed a greater understanding of how she developed her mental illness over the course of her life. It is so sad to think that people in her life purposefully abused her and made her to feel as less of a person. I hope some day that she will know how worthy of love she truly is.

It is easy then to think of judgment for those who chose to belittle her and take away her self-worth. Unfortunately and fortunately I have no right to that judgment. Unfortunately, because there are moments when I would like to tell someone that they deserve judgment and their actions are going to take them to a fiery place... and fortunately, because my actions occasionally merit the same thoughts and I know that God's grace so undeservedly abounds new every day.

So back to judgment. Why is it that I judge people as I see them each day? As I think about how I was raised (in my family and in the church), I see that it was taught to me to befriend those who are like me in faith and to stay away from those who had differences. It was said to me that if I was friends with kids who were different I would "get sucked in" to their crowd and be ruined forever.

So who did Jesus befriend? Did He find people that were like Him? Sure He spent time with the disciples... but were they really like Him? They were fishermen, a doctor, a tax collector, and several others occupations are unknown. He spent time with murderers and thieves, prostitutes and the sick.

I find it interesting that judgment was taught to my as part of my Christian upbringing and yet it so contradicts the lifestyle of my Jesus.

It is sad to me that I have lost several years of my life to narrow-minded thinking, however, as an eternal optimist I can turn it around and say that I am grateful for the grace that God shows me. That even though I chose to judge, He does not. He has taken away judgment with the gift of the Cross. Amazing! And I have the rest of my life to change that old way of thinking.

I hope that through new eyes, eyes that are similar to the Lords, I will be able to see and hear more of the stories of the people I come in contact with.

Ever person has a unique story. I challenge you (and myself) to find out someone's story before you stereotype them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

God is bigger...

This year has been one for the books. Seriously, I could write a whole book about it if I sat down and mapped one out. So much has happened... and so much has not happened. And yet the year is not over.

So to get to my thought of God being so big.

God is bigger...

*than the boggie man (thanks to Veggietales for that one).
*than the economic crisis making it difficult to find a job.
*than my resume (which shows I was "let go" from a job a year ago).
*than I can even imagine.

One of "my girls" (aka one of my former youth kids that is now a grownup and has graduated college) and I met for coffee the other day. She was sharing about her recent adventures in YWAM. One particular story she shared from one of many speakers she heard said something that has popped back into my mind almost every day since.

The speaker was talking about how big God is. There is a passage somewhere in the bible that talks about God holding some stars in his hand. Stars are not little... though they appear to be from far away. And God would not be holding just little stars. The smallest star is ginormous in reality. And yet my God held more than just one. He is able to hold massive stars in His hands. WOW! My God is HUGE!

Sure He cares about the stars and that they brighten our night skies and delight our hearts to look and wish upon. But He cares so much more for His dear children. He can carry us all in His (perfect love) hands.

So knowing that I am in His hands makes the not knowing about tomorrow ok.

Here I sit replaying Proverbs 3:5&6 over to myself... trying to wrap my mind and heart around the words that are not foreign to me.

God is bigger. This I know.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Proposal

It was a wonderful night. Beautiful sunset complete with a proposal. The movie. I won't spoil it for anyone. It was a chick flick and I am a lover of chick flicks so it made me laugh out loud and of course some tears happened. It was while I was driving home after dropping my mom off that some more tears came. I was thinking about having someone special in my life. As the tears welled up and before even one of them could fall I thought about how many tears I have shed in my life time. Tears of loss. Tears of joy. Tears of anger. Tears of not understanding. Tears for every emotion. Then it hit me that God knows exactly how many tears that I have shed. He knows every thought and emotion that went along with each tear. He knows me better than I know myself. Truly amazing. I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father. The creator of the universe is amazing. And it blows my mind regularly that He loves me more than I can even understand.
Thank you Lord for caring so deeply and loving like no one else can - each and every one of your children!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who is my provider?

I don't have the security of parents to come to my rescue when I need help financially. Though they would like to help me (that hasn't always been the case for my dad but God has done some awesome work in his life) they just don't have the means to do it.

After having surgery nine weeks ago... it has been different than I anticipated. Medications made it impossible for me to make it through the quarter of pre-reqs for nursing. I was so frustrated with myself and felt like I had failed God. Afterall He had done such a miracle in getting me surgery so quickly and with a quicker estimated recovery time. All I had to do was get back in the game and get my school on. After not being able to focus and study and doing horribly in classes I realized that it was not just me but my body was still recovering. So I surrendered to the rest my body so needed.

A few long weeks later I start feeling a bit semi normal and started looking for jobs. I don't know how many I have applied for, submitted resumes for, or interviewed for so far. It has been a LOT!

I was just thinking about how I haven't had a job since August and have been living off of my student loans. Nine weeks after surgery I have had two garage sales, five house/animal sitting jobs, one recurring babysitting job, and one cleaning job. I did not seek out any of these jobs. These people contacted me. Did they know I had a need. Not all of them. Some of these jobs were set in my calender a couple months ago... most were scheduled a day or two in advance.

I am in awe looking at these provisions right now. Though there are unanticipated medical bills in my inbox... I do not doubt my Jehovah Jirah's ability to meet my needs. As I was sitting outside in the sunshine at one of my garage sales yesterday a tiny hummingbird flew within a few feet of me. It stopped to suckle on a nearby plant. At that moment I heard God whisper to me. See Jami... I take care of these precious birds and you are even more precious to me. Peace reigns in my heart because I know that even though the bills are here I know that God is going to provide for my every need.

Another way God has provided... He brought my best friend home for five weeks. She is here without her husband (miss you Camalama! but I am so excited to be spending time with your wifey!) so I get to see her more than usual. God is so good. He pours out blessings on His kids!

I know that God must be providing in awesome ways for others. It is who He is. He is Jahovah Jirah our Provider. That is His name! If you are facing a time of hardship I hope you will remember that God is the One who can meet your every need. Not your every want... but your needs. He knows our every need and remember he takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields as well and we are so much more precious to Him than those.

Matthew 6:25-33
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

I hope you will be encouraged and reminded of the awesomeness of our Heavenly Father. He is SO GOOD! Blessings to you and your loved ones. May the Lord meet your every need in His perfect timing!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

This Mother's Day weekend I got in a car with my mom and drove the five hours from Seattle to Spokane so my mom could see her grandbabies for the weekend. I was apprehensive for several reasons. But God has been showing me more and more that I need to love more selflessly... especially with my family. So I was pleasantly surprised when this weekend was filled with so many wonderful moments.

Here are a few of my favourites...

After dinner on Friday night we walked to the park down the street from my sisters new place. My nieces bring out a silly side of me. I soon found myself running through the field being chased and chasing my little nieces around. The hillside was calling me to come and play so I gave in and found my inner kid again. As I rolled down the hillside it was impossible to stop laughing. Oh the sweet simple joy of rolling down a hill. I can't believe that it has been more than a decade since I had that sweet joy! I even got my mom to roll down the hill! It was so wonderful I had to repeat it again and again until one of the little ones declared she had to go potty and we had to leave the park. Goal. Must roll down hills at least once a year... preferably once a month.

On Saturday night my sis decided it was movie night and picked out Mamma Mia (I didn't think it was appropriate for kids but her mind would not be changed). I loved this movie when I saw it in theaters and was so excited to have a repeat experience. It was better than before. The kids only stayed up for the first 30-45 minutes of it. As the music came on it was impossible to stay in our seats. I found all the girls spoons, whisks, and ladles to be their microphones for the evening. We sang and danced our hearts out. Mamma Mia will forever be a super special memory.

Sunday morning I was awoken to the sweet sounds of a three year old giggling with her grandmother. She woke up bright eyed and full of love and had to go tell her grandma first thing that she loved her. She calls my mom Grandma Sunshine because while my sis had left her family two years ago my mom stayed with the girls for six months to help out. My mom would sing "You are my Sunshine" to Mea every day multiple times a day. Mea now sings the whole song to my mom and has such sweet pure love for her. I was sleeping downstairs and heard Mea say again and again... I love you Gramma. It was in between her giggles that she interjected her love for her grandma. I wish every morning started with such love and laughter. So beautiful.

So I am so glad I went to Spokane with my mom for the weekend. It was so special. We had some great conversations in the car and so many sweet moments with my adorable nieces. What a glorious Mothers Day weekend indeed. I hope everyone else was able to have some sweet moments too.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


If you haven't gathered this already from my past posts... I love music!
It is something amazing to get a revelation about more of who God is through how He has revealed Himself to a person and then developed a song in their heart which then gets shared with the world.
Having gone through much time of waiting and trusting and trying to understand the whys of life... it is often through quiet times of hearing God through music that my spirit finds peace and rest and comfort from the truths that God speaks through musicians. Music speaks loudly to my soul. It is those moments where I get lost in the words and presence of God that I get found. I get the truth. Then I have to listen to it a couple more times til it restores me as I am filled up with words from my Father.
I am so thankful that God gave us music! He has blessed us with some amazing musicians that are anointed and help to usher us into His presence. Wow. What an extraordinary gift!
Some of my newest favorites include:
Kari Jobe, Tenth Avenue North, Starfield, Vicky Beeching, Lindsey Kane, and JJ Heller to name a few. Check em out if you want. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Blessings to you dear friends!

I love this song! Its a love song from our Maker. So precious. Thank you Jesus for your love that is unlike any love we have or ever will experience! Such an amazing and beautiful love.

My Beloved - Kari Jobe

Friday, April 17, 2009

beyond what I imagined

This year has been filled with so many unpredictable moments. So many times I questioned God and what He was trying to teach me. I told Him what I had already learned. I told Him I didn't need another lesson in _______. His plan was different than what I could understand on a day by day basis. It has taken me the better part of four months to understand part of the plan He had in letting certain events in my life unfold the way they did. Through it all... I have seen God's sovereignty, I have felt His peace and protection, I have grown to know more of who He is. I would not ask for anyone to have to go through difficult circumstances in their life. The only good thing about trials is all the growth and miracles that God can show through the unpleasant and unwanted circumstances. Though my story is different than your story... we all have experienced a tough circumstance or will experience one at one point or another in our lives. The following song and story touched my heart and reminded me that though we may not feel like worshiping in the midst of our circumstances... "All of my life. In every season. You are still God. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship."
I pray that your circumstances will not disable your ability to worship. God will meet you. Even if it takes you some time to feel Him near you again, He will be there and not ever leave.
Your circumstance does not change that God is still God and what He has called you to do in your life.
I hope you are blessed by this song and the story shared by one of the musicians.

The Desert Song- Hillsong

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Break Me Down

The following is something I read from the Tenth Avenue North Website. It is from Mike's Journal dated Feb 3rd, 2009.
Challenging and powerful words.

“Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.”
-Hosea 6:1

Excuse me, what?!!
Who has torn us?
Who has injured us?
The Lord?!!!
Wait a second there Hosea, didn’t you mean to say Satan has torn us?
Or maybe bad people?
You sure that’s not a typo or something?

Personally, I think one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to reconcile in my head
and my heart is this idea that a loving, merciful, compassionate God
would hurt me.
And not on accident either, but purposefully and willfully.
God will unapologetically tear me into pieces so that He can heal me.
And you.
Strange huh?

And I suppose it isn’t so terribly surprising coming from a prophet who was made
to marry a harlot. If anyone would know something about being hurt by the
Lord it would be him right?
I don’t know if you know the story, but
I mean, just put yourself in his place for a second.
There you are. The man. The dude. You’re the prophet over all of Israel, and
you’ve been keeping yourself pure, praying every day for the woman that God will
give to you and then He finally speaks, but its not at all what you were hoping for.

God: “Hosea.”
Hosea: “Yeah Lord?”
God: “It’s time.”
Hosea: “Ahhhh Yeaaahhh! That’s what I was hoping you were gonna say.
Time for a wife right Lord?”
God: “Yes Hosea, it’s time for a wife.”
Hosea: “Ooohh, I can’t wait!!! Just tell me though God, is she hot and holy?
Cuz you know, I’ve been keeping myself pure, and I just know you’re gonna
reward me with a wife that’s hot and holy. That’s all I’m asking for because,
hey, that’s what I deserve right?”
God: “Well, not exactly. I don’t think she’s quite what you had in mind.”
Hosea: “Wait, what? …..Oh… I see! She’s even hotter and holier than I thought!
Oh yeah Lord, I know how you work!
God: “Well, no.”
Hosea: “What you mean, no?”
God: “Hosea, I don’t know how to tell you this, well, of course I know how to tell you this,
I’m God, it’s just, well….she’s a prostitute.”
Hosea: “prosti-what?”
God: “Prostitute. Whore. Lady of the Night.”
Hosea: No, no, I know what it is, but a PROSTITUTE!!!
God: Yeah, I know that’s not what you were planning, but its what I was planning, so you’re
gonna marry her.
Hosea: “I’m gonna do what?”
God: “you’re gonna marry her, but then of course, she’ll cheat on you, and sell herself
so you’ll have to go buy her back.”
Hosea: “Go what?”
“Yeah, you’re going to forgive her and buy her back and when she cheats on you again
and has children with other lovers you’re going to love them and take her back again.”
Hosea: “Come again?”
God: “you’re going to love her kids and take her back.”

Long awkward silence

Hosea: “What’s her name?”
God: “Gomer.”
Hosea: “Oh Come on!!!”

Now I apologize if you’re name is Gomer, but you do have to admit,
it’s a rather unfortunate name, and an even more unfortunate situation.
But the Bible records that it did happen.
Maybe not exactly like that, but God did tell Hosea to marry an adulterous wife.
And the reason that the Lord supplies in Hosea 3
Is that their marriage was to show us how he loves his people.
He loves his people like an adulterous wife.

And the story is so insanely beautiful when you see it from that angle,
but when you look at it from Hosea’s angle it’s just plain crazy.
Think about what you’d say if your pastor got up in front of the congregation and
announced that he was about to marry a whore. What would your response be?
Now, I’m not suggesting that every one go out and marry someone from the local
street corner, but I am saying that it is evident that God will do whatever He has to do
to bring you to a place where all you want is Him.

He’ll break you, He’ll hurt you, He’ll ruin your plans, and He’ll tear you into pieces,
and He’ll do it all out of a perfect holy love.
And look, I know that sounds crazy, but think about it for a moment.
A lot of people want to use God to give them something other than Himself.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we all do it on some level.
For instance, we don’t have sex until we’re married, because then God owes us a virgin.
We give 10% of our income to a church, because then God owes us prosperity and wealth.
We pray and pray and pray, and then God owes it to us to answer and give us what we want.
And in all those cases, Jesus is no longer the end, but simply a means to something else.

You’ve got to see that in Hosea’s case, or perhaps in the case
of that one friend of yours who thinks marriage is the goal of their existence.
Don’t laugh. It might be you.
But if you think about it, It would actually be unloving of God to go
and make our marriage perfect and make that person fulfill our every hope and dream.
Because that person will die.
That marriage will end, and if your whole life and existence and joy depends on another
human being, you will inevitably be in for heartache.
Just read the Twilight series (it’s true. I’ve read it, though I’m not proud of it)
and see how the heroine Bella, how her entire life falls apart when her vampire
lover leaves her. Put simply, If our joy rests entirely upon human love or
vampire love, or any other kind of earthly love for that matter,
then one day, our joy will be destroyed.
Is this making sense?

Of course, marriage is just one example.
Money. Security. Fame. Obedience. Sex. Drugs. Worship Music.
If our hope is set in anything but the living person of Christ, then we’re just setting ourselves
up for failure. And so God, in his infinite and everlasting love, will do whatever He has to do
to break, bend and conform his people’s hearts to Him.
He will no longer be the means to some other end, but the end Himself.
Like a surgeon who has to cut you open,
so God must tear us apart to create in us a new heart.
A heart that is obsessed with Him alone.
But unlike a doctor, He doesn’t just use a knife. He uses the most bizarre people,
circumstances, and tragedies to change our hearts until they only treasure Him.

He will break us down.
And it will be painful, scary, and altogether beautiful.
Friends, if the Lord is tearing down your world today,
if all the walls on your so carefully constructed plans are caving in on themselves,
then ask Him in faith, God, are you my treasure?
And if you find the answer is no, then ask Him to bring it on.
Break out the scalpel. Tear down the walls. Let loose the storms.
Ask Him to do whatever He has to do, until you can proclaim with the psalmist,
“Whom have in heaven but you,
and earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
(Psalm 73)

All this world is fading away anyway right?
Then take heart.
This life is not about succeeding.
It’s not about changing the world.
It’s not about living with purpose, or leaving a legacy
or making the maximum impact with your life.
It’s actually not even about living your life for God.
Did you hear me?
Don’t live your life for God.

Live your life because God.

Because He has loved us, redeemed us, and because He is all that our hearts are longing for.
It’s no longer about what you do with your life at all, because He is your life.
May He do whatever it takes to open our eyes to see that.
He is the means and He is the end. And everything in between is from his hand.
It can be terrifying at times, I know, but its worth it.
Believe me, and I guess more importantly believe Him.
It’s worth it.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
-Romans 8:18

“”Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.

2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.

3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
-Hosea 6:1-3

holding hands

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A spoonful of sugar... or not

So. I haven't done this Lent thing in a while and I could really use a goal right now. I hope that God will be ok with that. Lent will give me something to focus on. So my plan for Lent is to only have natural sugars. Like fruits and honey and beet juice is ok. I did this for a couple months with a friend last spring and it was a difficult but so beneficial challenge. I just finished the Reece's Pieces that were mocking me and am sure that 46 days is totally doable though I will appreciate all the support I can get. So please don't offer me anything sweet... unless of course you managed to use fruit juice, honey, or beet juice to make it sweet. Thanks for your support friends. Heres to hoping I will remember to do this for the next 46 days. After all... my body is Christs temple... I should be paying more attention to what I put in His temple.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Beloved

This song is God's words to us. So beautiful the way He pursues us.

You're My Beloved
You're My Bride
To sing over you is My delight
Come away with Me My love

You're Beautiful to Me
So beautiful to Me

Under My mercy
Come and wait
Till we are standing face to face
I see no stain on you
My child

You're Beautiful to Me
So Beautiful to Me

I sing over you My song of peace
Cast all your care down at My feet
Come and find your rest in Me

I'll breathe My life inside of you
I'll bear you up on eagle's wings
And hide you in the shadow of My strength
I'll take you to My quiet waters
I'll restore your soul
Come rest in Me and be made whole

You're My beloved
You're My Bride
To sing over you is my delight
Come away with me my love

Sunday, February 22, 2009


... that is how I would describe my weekend.

It started out with one hour of sleep before chauffeuring the people I live with off to the airport at O-dark-thirty in the morning. After returning from one of my favorite places (the airport) I focused my attentions on sleep. Waking up at noon would give me a total of five hours of sleep that night. woohoo! It turned out to be more like four hours though... my brother called and texted and texted some more and called again while I was trying to sleep. Perhaps I should have given up entirely but I was determined to sleep til noon. I was victorious. It was after noon when I finally got up to face the day. What a glorious day it was too! The sun was out in all its glory and the sky was speckled with clouds.
Plans for the afternoon... spend time with my brother (the one who had been calling and texting while I was TRYING to sleep).
I picked him up at my moms house and we went to my favourite coffee shop on South Hill... cafe Adamo. Over the past couple months while my broski has been home we have spent heaps of time together and gotten close again. One of our favourite things to do at Adamo is to play Mancala (a strategy game with marbles and a wooden board with 14 holes in it). My brother and I have taken two months to get really good at this game and he has beaten me countless times of late. So Saturday it was my turn. He was winning at the beginning. He thought he had the game in the bag. Then... as if some kind of miracle... I turned it around and won! Victory!
We headed home and then my broski found out that his next plan for the day had been postponed. I had an idea to do something fun, something that was on my list of things to do before I die. And my brother is one of those people who will do random things most of the time so I was hoping he would be game. I told him my plan and he was stoked!
We headed to our destination. As we pulled onto the lot I could scarcely believe my eyes. Hundreds of Mini Coppers were all lined up just waiting for me to take them out for a spin. I didn't need hundreds. Just one would do. So we found a shiny silver one and soon I was behind the wheel. It was a beautiful thing. Makes me giddy to talk about it still. Took me all night to calm down about it. Maybe some day I will have a mini of my own.

Sunday morning I took my brother to the bus station. He left to go to trucker school. Ha! It sounds so funny. I hope he enjoys it though. He loves to travel. It is good for him to be doing something again. He has been searching for something for quite some time. After dropping my brother off I headed home. I was intending on going to church this morning. When I got back to the house though... my bed would not have it. I was sucked into a very deep sleep and did not wake up until... noon! woohoo! Oh how I love to sleep in!
It was a lazy afternoon and the sun was beaming again. I soaked in the rays and readied myself for a fun evening of Oscars. Not wanting to watch the Oscars at home with Bubba the cat... I invited myself over to the Dill's to watch with friends. It was a fun evening. I can't say that any of the winners were big surprises. My friend Paul had almost every winner predicted correctly. I really enjoyed the big musical number and the way the prior best actors and actresses announced the nominees. It was a special night. And I almost forgot to mention that Janet, Larry, and Paul created some delicious delights which we nibbled on during the Oscars. My favourite were the crab cakes and sliders. mmmm. mmmm. good.
My weekend was fantastic! Thats all there is to it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Photo Tag

Vicky tagged me. :)

Here are the rules:

1. Go to the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun.

So, I went to my fourth folder and there were two folders within that folder... so you get two pictures! These are both from a couple of my MANY trips to Cannon Beach, Oregon. My favourite place in the US!

Marissa and I were at a restaurant and I had a knife... need I say more.

Another CB trip with Marissa. We were apparently bringing sexy back that day!

Oh and I need to tag some readers!!

1. Sonja and Cam (you are one)
2. Angie
3. Katie Laine
4. Joey and Suzanne (you are one)

I am in dire need of another trip to my favourite place in the US! Haven't been since November. I am long overdue. So if anyone wants to take a day trip or a weekend trip to the serene town that so warms my heart and soul... let me know!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Randomness x 25

So if you want to do this thing where you have to write 25 things about yourself I would love to hear/read about them... so I am not going to tag anyone but just hope that I will get to learn more random things about my friends some time soon. I love randomness! So you sharing with me will only increase the warm and fuzzy feelings I have for you as a dear friend.

Now to my random list:

1. I have a dent in my forehead. I fell off a slide when I was 2 1/2 years old onto a concrete driveway. Miraculously it did not break the skin or my skull... just a perma-dent. No wise cracks about other long term effects.

2. The list of countries in the world I have been to is longer than the list of states in the US I have visited. So far my count is 16 countries. My travel itch needs some scratching real soon. It has been almost a year since I got on a plane! uugh!

3. I have a scar on my left hand that looks like a caterpillar.
Thanks BJ!

4. In one week I watched Pride and Prejudice more than ten times. No explanation needed.

5. I am a lactard. Lactard = one who is lactose intolerant. And I just ate a delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. I know... I know.

6. My parents married and divorced each other twice.

7. I have a thing for men in uniform. Sailors in particular make me blush for no reason.

8. If I had a super power it would be... to be able to be in multiple places at the same time.

9. When I was in high school I missed more than 60 days a year of school junior AND senior year. And I still graduated with a decent GPA! Miracle!

10. My favourite number is 10... I was born on the 10th of November. But oddly enough I despise 10 dollar bills. They rub me the wrong way. So odd. I know. And I like spelling favourite like other parts of the world do. It looks prettier.

11. Some day I hope to live in a different country. I would like to live in Edinburgh, Scotland for a few years.

12. When I get my BSN (bachelors of science in nursing) degree, it is heavy on my heart to go to Africa for a couple months to a couple years at a time with health care skills.

13. I drive a Saturn Ion and I call her Bella Bling. Because she has nice headlights and is a shiny beautiful silver.

14. Breaking into song is a normal and naturally occurring event throughout my day. Anything said by anyone could and will trigger the words of a song to come to my mind thus breaking out in song.

15. I have five nieces, an older sister (Melissa, 30, 4 nieces belong to her), two younger brothers (BJ, 26, one niece belongs to him; Nick, 25), two step-sisters (Tara, not sure how old she is, oh! she has 3 kids! that means I have another niece and two nephews! sweet!; And Tawni, 18), and a step brother (Joel, I don't know how old he is either and I have never met him, I think he has kids too!)

16. If you are one of my "youth girlies" you will be one forever! Even when I am and old wrinkly saggy grandma!

17. My favourite place to day trip to is Cannon Beach, Oregon. It takes about 3 hours of drive time to get there. It has been two months since my last day trip.

18. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pediatric heart surgeon, a marine biologist, a teacher, and a mom.

19. I was not allowed to play with Barbie's as a kid. Instead my sister and I had a ridiculously large collection of My Little Pony's. Seriously. We had at least a hundred. And to go with them: four houses and a pool and... you get the picture.

20. I LOVE ICE CREAM! (see #5... I know. I know.)Sorbet is my backup... though I recently fell in love with coconut gelato. It changed my life.

21. When I was at a NY airport I traveled on a bus about two arm lengths away from Geraldo Rivera. He was wearing a black leather jacket and jeans. He was talking on a cell phone the entire time.

22. I like to read about the Amish. (Beverly Lewis is one of my favourite Christian authors who grew up near Lancaster County and has quite a few mini series about the Amish)

23. As a nine year old I golfed on a team and received a trophy that proclaimed "most improved player of the year". I think I must have been pretty bad to start out!
ps. I only put-put now.

24. My sister and I had a friendship bracelet business when I was 8 & 9 years old. We sold them and took orders at the Twin Lakes Country Club.

25. I always talk about "when I win the lottery" as if it is really going to happen... and yet I rarely ever buy a ticket. silly. I know.

Hope you enjoyed a bit of my randomness! I sure enjoy being random!