Monday, September 29, 2008

Double Mamm!

(the dreaded flattener!!)
Ok. Don't get upset with me. Just praise the Lord along with me!
For the past month or so I have been aware of a little lump in the tissue of my left mamm (I have two mamm's- a right and a left mamm). I have been researching about free mammograms, looking into affordable health care, and wondering about what to do... without telling anyone (except my mother).
Tonight I was reading a mentor mom's blog and she shared a testimony of being healed from Endometriosis. As soon as I read how she was healed I was like "DUH, I haven't asked for healing!" So I prayed right then and held onto my mamm. I finished reading my friends blog, it was long... and almost forgot about my mamm. I did a quick feel and didn't feel anything... so I did it again. Still nothing. So I searched and tried to find the exact place where it was. Nothing. No lump. The mamm is in perfect condition!! Miracle Mamms! Hurray! What a great day! Miracles are awesome! I serve a God who still does miracles today! Awesome!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pillow Talk

This is the perfect pillow for my broski. Makes me miss him... but don't tell him I said so! Love you Nicklefritz!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ram Pride!

Tis the season for Rams to kick butt!!
And here is Katie RAM(beck) flexing her RAM muscles and showing her RAM pride that never seems to diminish over the years. GO RAMS!!

Do Not Focus On The Wind

Matthew 14:22-33 (New International Version)
Jesus Walks on the Water

...Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

My friend Sonja told me to read this passage before I went to bed tonight. In the past couple months I have seen myself losing sight of the Saviour and getting distracted and scared by the storm or circumstances that I am in the midst of. Focusing on the wind or trials does nothing except take away my trust in the Lord to keep me afloat. Focusing on the storm brings questions of whens and hows everything will be made right. Focusing on the water that seems to rise up around me makes me think that I am sinking. When I focus on the Lord rather than the wind, I see He is steadfast and I am protected. When I focus on the Lord rather than the storm, I see His perfect timing in answering the questions I have. When I focus on the Lord rather the water, I see He is not letting me sink but enabling me to walk on water with Him.
Focusing is crucial. I am praying for my focus to be fixed on my Savior, not distracted by circumstances, and held steadily by His loving hands.

I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
(Phil 4:13 exclamation added for personal emphasis)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friend Ugly Office

I was trying to arrange these three words in an order that would not hurt the feelings of the person I am referring to and also make it funny or uncouth(UFO-ugly friend office... funny but no... OFU-office friend ugly...nah... FOU-friend office calling me a fou?... no... OUF-office ugly friend...nope...UOF-ugly office friend...not a chance...) friend you are not ugly. I think you are beautiful!! Today after a mind numbing, headache inducing, day ONE of statistics class... I went over to Kate's to enjoy two of our favorite shows. The Office premiered tonight and it was momentous as Stanley made AND achieved a personal goal, Ryan reared his head back in Scranton sporting a goatee, it was discovered that Angela and Dwight are still very interested in spending time together, and Jim finally proposed to Pam!! What a great night for The Office! I am looking forward to what this season has in store!Kate was kind enough to record Ugly Betty for me and waited to watch the show with me until after The Office. True friends share moments like that.Thanks Kate! It was fun watching Betty have some uncomfortable but world shaking moments of her own. She is making leaps and bounds towards growing up. It was thrilling for Kate and I to watch and think toward the future when we can do things like "get an apartment" and "take on more responsibilities at work"... fun times are on the horizon for Betty as well as me and my friend Kate.Thanks for sharing the premier night of both of my favorite shows Katie! You are amazing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not my Bill

today I started back to school. woohoo! this is my last year of pre-reqs before I am able to get into an RN or BSN program. I am excited to get this intensive year underway. Excited to dig my heals in and stretch my brain beyond what I think is possible. A couple years ago when I started back to school with urging from the Lord, He told me to be faithful in my studies and He would be faithful to enable me. It really blows my mind to look back at the last two years and see how God equipped me in my studies.
This quarter I qualified for a grant! woohoo! A grant is free money, meaning I don't have to pay it back like a student loan. They just give it to me! Awesome! I am in the waiting period right now wondering how much this grant is for. The woman I have been working with at college told me the numbers should be in on Friday and that I will be receiving a check. So I am hoping that is enough to cover all of my tuition expenses and my books for the quarter. My books alone this quarter are almost $600!! Crazy! Yikes! It is reassuring to know that this bill is not mine but the Lords. He has called me to it and He will make a way for me to get through it! These past couple weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions and lessons in trusting God for provision. He is so good. He is my provider. He is meeting my daily needs just as the bible tells me He will. Stay tuned for updates...

Monday, September 22, 2008

The song that my heart was singing today

Downhere - Here I Am
From the album Ending Is Beginning

Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes it comes in the Spirit's breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity

But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it's hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began

And these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I'll fail You in the end
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces,
I can't put this together but You can

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Girls Night In

Take a bunch of women, stick them in an apartment, feed them dinner, AND dessert, add some MacGyver, and plenty of talking (ie laughter, silliness)... thats what I call a great evening!!

Last night a few of my friends and some new friends gathered at a mutual friends apartment (that was a lot of friends!). It was a low key night with a delicious chicken dish, fluffy fruit salad, salad salad, and my specialty smoothies for dessert. I am always reminded at the end of a girls night how much we as women need to be around each other occasionally to refresh, refuel, and, in a sense, rebirth. It is amazing to me how God made us to need to spend time with each other.

Thanks ladies for a great night!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

...Not Lacking Anything!!!

JAMES 1:2-4
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
JAMES 1:12
"Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

I was listening to a sermon tonight about a widow in 1st Kings Chapter 17. This widow had next to nothing, only the ingredients for one last meal of bread for herself and her son. It was at that time, in those dire circumstances, that God sent Elijah to her house for a meal. Elijah asked her to feed him first and then feed herself and her son. She agreed and the Lord filled her canisters of flour and oil each day for just enough every day. She was able to feed Elijah, herself, and her son. She was obedient and gave beyond what she thought she had. And yet God supplied enough to meet her needs each and every day.

This was a challenging sermon for me. I am currently without a job, have been for over a month, and yet God has provided means for me to clean, and do odd jobs to make just enough to pay the bills when the bills are due. He has provided me with a place to live where I do not have to pay rent, and where they so kindly allow me to share the food they have. I have had enough money to pay my bills this week and bring some food to my mom who is in need. God has reminded me that He is my supplier. He knows every need I have. He wants to fill my canisters every day for just enough for that day. He could give me a huge amount of money and provide an outrageous miracle... but providing enough for each day keeps me focused on His provisions now. It would be easy to lose sight of his miracle if I was given one lump sum. Instead He keeps blessing me each day as I look to my canisters and see enough for a meal, enough for a bill, enough for gas in my car, enough to share. God meets our needs, He knows our needs. He is our Provider. In the mean time this time of trusting and seeing Him work each day also shows me how to persevere during trials and to look to the Lord for the bread of life that sustains me. I want to be not lacking anything and to gain the crown of life! If trials are the only way, then so be it! I would rather be complete and have gone through trials than incomplete and never weathered a difficult time in my life.

Thank you Lord for showing me your hand during this time of testing. Help me to take hold of your hand and not get distracted by the lies of the enemy or my own fears. I am trusting you to be my Provider, today, tomorrow, and all the days after that! Thank you for showing me more of your goodness through this time in my life. I love you Lord!

Your Daughter,


Monday, September 15, 2008


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait!"

"'Wait?', you say, wait!" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By FAITH I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"And Lord, you promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting. . .for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want--but, you wouldn't know ME.

"You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

"You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of my Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save. . .(for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'
Yes, your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss! if I lost what I'm doing in you!

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
And though oft may my answers seem terribly late,
My wisest of answers is still but to WAIT."

-- Author Unknown

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mafia Night

No I am not a thug or a hit man. Tonight was a night of games that were played during the days of my youth. A fun group of adults gathered in the Miller home who could handle the mystery of murder, investigation, allegations, and trials. I was an angel twice in a row (unheard of!) and was killed early on both times! It was hard to determine who had my back in that game. I found out the hard way that my friends plotted my death. It was difficult to look them in the eyes after that.

A fun twist to tonight was creating the cards that we used for the game. Kate and I wrote up character descriptions for all of the necessary characters. It was fun being creative and silly. A few of the townspeople that I ensured were a part of the town included: Bob Ross (happy trees painter dude), Mr. Belding (famous principal from Saved By The Bell), and Dr. Phil (is he a doctor or a psychiatrist?). It was a fun filled and sweets filled evening. I have been blessed beyond words this summer with amazing memories with friends. Mafia night has been added to the list of awesome times with friends!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do Not Be Dismayed

Isaiah 41:10 (New International Version)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Jeremiah 46:27 (New International Version)

"Do not fear, O Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, O Israel.
I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,
and no one will make him afraid.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


That evening in Tema, Ghana, West Africa, a telecast uniting the four corners of Africa was scheduled for the closing ceremonies of the conference that had been going on for the past week. We had finished the morning meetings and worship and it was past lunch time. Final prep for the dances that would be performed had been made. I was upstairs in the dorms of the Tema YWAM base when I heard someone screaming and crying and running through the courtyard out my window. The cries echoed through the staircase and then came to the doorway of my room. We were told to turn on our radio. We did. The BBC radio program was the closest thing to a news report that we would get for days. As a couple dozen students and staff crowded together in that room that was already filled with three bunk beds we listened as chills went down our arms and tears started to fall.

The radio was saying that a plane had crashed into the world trade center in New York. The radio also proclaimed that there were other planes headed to various places throughout the US. As we listened to reports the second plane crashed into the world trade center. Tears flowed at that point. Not knowing if our families were safe we were left to hope and pray. At this point I was at the end of a six month adventure called a Discipleship Training Program through Youth With A Mission. We were to fly out of the country the next day and all 70+ staff and students were very low on funds if not completely out. I had no money left to call home. Friends that did have the ability to call home were faced with busy phone lines continually. Fears won the battle of our minds for a time as we imagined the worst. The radio said planes were headed to major landmarks and bridges. They mentioned the Space Needle in Seattle and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. My fears raced through my mind. Was my family ok? Were my friends far from harms way? When would I hear from my family again?

The closing ceremony began at the scheduled time but did not have the emphasis that had been planned. A few thousand people from all over the world gathered in the conference facility. The tear stained faces were not just the Americans represented, but faces from countries around the world. Dances and singing went on as planned. The telecast knit the four corners of Africa together in a unity that had not existed in the past. As the closing ceremonies went on a leader asked all of the Americans to go up on the stage. A couple hundred of us gathered together with shock on our faces and some still not able to stop the tears from coming. At that point there was prayer for America and all those impacted by the tragedy. After a time of prayer people started getting up one at a time from countries all over the world and spoke blessings and asked for forgiveness on behalf of their countries. It was a miraculous day to be a part of. Though tragedy had brought so many to the end of their lives, at the same time, God brought healing and restoration towards Americans to the hearts of countless people from nations around the world.
That night it poured buckets. It was as if the Lord was weeping with us over the loss of so many. Soaking us to our cores and washing away the pain as well.

The next day (9/12) we drove out of Tema and crossed the border into Togo where we were scheduled to fly to Paris, France. While we waited for our flight out of Africa fears arose that we would be stuck in Togo. Flights had been grounded around the world and we wanted out of the third world and to be back in the comforts of home with our loved ones. We were able to leave Togo. Thankfully so. When we arrived in Paris (9/13) they kept us in the loading and unloading ramp for over an hour. When we finally were let into the airport, we were greeted by armed forces, asked to sit in a terminal then we waited a few more hours to find out when we would be able to fly out. Air France told us that we would not be able to fly out as scheduled. All flights to the US were grounded at this point. Air France put all 70+ staff and students up in a hotel a short tram ride away from the airport. We were not allowed to leave the hotel because flights for some or all of us were trying to be arranged and we had to be available to leave at a moments notice.

The comforts of toilets that flushed, nice big beds, warm running water, and food that made our mouths water just to look at made not getting home a little easier. Air France gave us calling cards, food vouchers for the hotel during our time there. Once we were at the hotel we were finally able to watch the TV showing what was going on in the US. Two days after the atrocity, the reality of what had happened stunned our team. We were thankful to be safe and not stuck in Togo. We would be grounded in Paris for a total of five days. I was finally able to call my parents and tell them that I was ok. More tears flowed with the emotion of knowing that everyone was safe back in WA. The team bonded even more in Paris as we wept with each other. The day we found out we would fly out the next day Air France delivered bus passes, rail passes, and food passes to our whole team so we could go out and see the city. The most memorable moment was going to Notre Dame at Dusk. A service was going on inside and candles were lit everywhere. It was beautiful and sobering. Everyone in Paris embraced the Americans with a love I can not describe. It was beautiful to be a part of.

Day five (9/17) all 70+ of us flew out of Paris together. Miracle!!!! We flew into Los Angeles and were greeted by American flags the size of buildings. Every car seemed to have a flag hanging from at least one place on the vehicle. America was in a state of grief. Somber faces were everywhere. As I walked through customs and had my passport stamped coming back into the US, the official wrote below the stamp and date, "welcome home!".

We stayed one night in LA before making the journey back to Hawaii to debrief and hold a graduating ceremony for the school and outreach phases that we had completed.
It was good to be back on American soil. Some students kissed the ground. Others wanted to go directly home and forgo the graduation ceremony. Most of the students in our school came back to Hawaii. It was a difficult time to go through as a nation... but I was blessed to be with some of the most loving and supportive people from around the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to School

Two weeks until I start back to school...

I know that I will have butterflies on my first day back and I will get to school early to find out where my classrooms are and find seats close to the doors for easy exit... all you who know me need no further explanation.
It is thrilling to think of all that will be accomplished in the coming year. I will have fulfilled all of my pre-req requirements for the BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) program, and will have applied, and hopefully been accepted into a program as well. This year is going to be intense. But I am super excited. God told me two years ago that if I did my part He would do His part to help me through my schooling. I have seen His hand the past two years, and recognize the doors He has opened at His perfect timing, and the trials that have shown me more of who He is.
So I will prepare my backpack with my favorite mechanical pencils, tons of notebook paper, a scientific texas instrument calculator, and my mini stapler. I will prepare my heart with the knowledge that I am in the will of God and take courage and strength from Him as I step into a challenging academic year. Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Healing Revival

I stole the following post from a DTS friends husband. Thanks Anna and hubby for letting me post your words :)

A recent healing outpouring has reignited the age old battle between the false revival crowd and the don't judge crowd. The for and against arguments recirculate the news, blogs and conversations from previous movements. I believe two points receive less attention than they deserve: importance and purpose.

In seeking to Biblically approach this subject one must ask:

How important is healing in the Bible?

Looking through the scriptures we see:
- God is able to heal
- God is willing to heal
- God calls us to pray for healing
- God can use us to heal

Interestingly though, the Bible hardly touches on:
- How to pray for healing
- How to heal
- How healing works

The Bible seems to be preoccupied with:
- Glory
- Jesus
- Sin
- Grace
- Faith
- Redemption

This begs the next question:

What is the purpose of healing in the Bible?

If healing is one of many topics in the scriptures, then it's purpose must point to something outside itself.
Therefore healing isn't the purpose of healing.

Healing isn't the instrument - the Spirit is
Healing isn't the message - the Son is
Healing isn't the goal - the Father is

Healing can be used by the Spirit
Healing can accompany a message about the Son
Healing can point us to the goal of the Father

The purpose of everything is the glory of God

Healing is but a means to an end

Monday, September 08, 2008

What do I want my legacy to be?

On Sunday when visiting a church in Maple Valley the pastor was speaking about our destiny... he also said something about when everything is stripped away... which led me to thinking about what I hope to be remembered of me when I am old and have had many experiences in my life and I go to meet Jesus.

I want to be remembered as someone who was very real... transparent almost to the point of discomfort.
Our society has issues with staying in our comfort zones and avoiding conversations that are challenging to process. Challenge is essential for growth. Come on people. Why should we stay the same old same old rather than gaining deeper understandings to the pressing issues of our generation and the generations before and after us. Staying in a bubble doesn't benefit us. It seems that the more sheltered a person is the harder it is for that person to function in the real world. Yeah, God has called us to "be in the world but not of the world"... but He did tell us to be in the world. How else is there going to be a chance for people of different backgrounds, religions, and social status to have the opportunity to learn from each other?? And at the same time we Christians can be stretched and maybe even share the love of God with them?! I hope that God will use me in this way. That I will be stretched out of my comfort zone for always so that I can grow and develop more character while gaining a greater understanding from the rest of the world so that I can love them more like Jesus does and meet them in the midst of where they are at and not on my own grounds.
Being real and sharing our struggles and how God has had the victory in our trails is so important. The bible says that "in our weaknesses He is made stronger". Yes! So if we share our weaknesses then God gets more and more glory! The church society that I have grown up in would rather cover up sin than put it out there and let the victory be shown. In that scenario the only person that wins is the devil. The sinner is still left in condemnation, the church has not seen the power of God, and so no one else has heard the testimony which could lead to more healing in other people (believers or non believers). It is our gain and the gain of the church and all who hear the testimony of the work of the Lord. We should not be silenced by the whispers of condemnation from the church or the lies of the enemy echoing our failings. Sharing our trials brings great freedom! "If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!"
This is just one of the parts I hope to leave in my legacy...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Swollen Heart

today I went to church for the first time in a while... I have been looking for a new church for a few months and have been trying some churches on sporadically this summer.
So today me and two friends headed out to Maple Valley to visit Generational Hope Christian Center. There was a guest speaker today so I am going to have to visit again. Overall it was a comfortable place to be. I enjoyed the worship and hearing about the speakers ministry in Uganda. Every time I hear about mission work in Africa my heart swells and I get excited for the future. It seems that the ability to get to that continent is getting closer and closer and yet it is so far away at the same time. I am encouraged that my heart still longs to go there. Absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed. It has been almost seven years since I returned home from my DTS adventure and I recognized that a piece of my heart had been left behind.
A friend of mine told me that I looked like a kid in a candy store as we were watching the slide show the missionary put together.
I am glad that I still have a strong desire on my heart to go back to Africa and be a part of the work the Lord is doing there. It gives me a greater peace about my schooling that still lays ahead and drives me onward toward the goal of medical missions.
I pray that my heart will continue to swell for the people of Africa. Like in the movie "the grinch"... how his heart just gets bigger and bigger! I want a swollen heart :) filled with a love beyond what I can understand for the people I am going to encounter throughout the continent of Africa.
I am so excited for the things the Lord is preparing!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

what is love?

Over the past year I have been asking myself about the definition of love.
More specifically as defined in 1st Corinthians 13...

1 Corinthians 13 (New Living Translation)
Love Is the Greatest
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.

I find myself looking at the church as a whole and asking myself if what I see there is reflecting this love that is so defined in the above passage. "...The greatest of these is love." That's a big statement!

As I reflect on the images of the church that are rolling around in my head I see flaws. We all fall short, yes, however, it seems to me that a greater emphasis should be placed on the basic understanding of loving our neighbors, our friends, strangers, and our enemies. I feel as if the church is trying to make people fit into a cookie cutter mold before its ok to love and embrace those people. Where in the bible does it say that we have to fit a-z before we are suitable to be loved by the church? More or less it seems that was the attitude of the Pharisees and not of Christ. And if I am remembering correctly, the Pharisees were not so on track with the character of Christ.

"Love does not keep records...".
This is something I struggled with in my own walk. A few years ago I was in a relationship that was not in line with Christs commands. I was having sex with my boyfriend and in turmoil about my sins. Even after getting out of this relationship I struggled with forgiving myself. I could not love myself the way the bible told me to. I think this struggle in my life has given me a greater understanding of God's love. I was fearful that when people found out they would judge me for my past records. It wasn't until about a year after getting out of that relationship that I came to a better understanding of love. If people are not able to put my "records" behind me then they are truly not loving me. I ask myself more regularly now if I am keeping "records" of my friends or am I loving them right where they are at. "Love endures through every circumstance." Am I loving my friends through every circumstance? How about my enemies? Or people who are just different than I am?

God is a creative God and didn't make a single one of His children one this planet to be exactly the same. Just because we are different doesn't mean that we need to fix some to be like the others. "You are a masterpiece..." A painting is not just one color... it has many colors and shades of colors to create beauty. To embrace conformity would be to constrict the beauty of our differences. In our differences we can learn so much from each other. God has given us each different experiences and minds that are so unique. Not one the same as the other.

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity."
It will take a lifetime I'm sure to get closer and closer to understanding the greatness of the love of God. A little glimpse at a time is about all my finite mind can comprehend. Our understanding is never going to fully grasp God's awesome love. However, there is still a call to love.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."
If you don't love yourself how can you love your neighbor?

"...if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing."
Loving others is more important than knowledge and faith.

As a member of the body of Christ I want to see Christians loving others with the love that God has called us to. Embracing conformity, keeping records, and dismissing God's creativity in creating us uniquely is wrong. We are called to love everyone. Right where they are at. Whether they are embraced by society or not. That is the example that I have seen in Christ's character throughout the bible. So church, I ask you to stand up in your congregations, small groups, coffee shops, offices, grocery stores, and everywhere. As a church, WE MUST LOVE!

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

I dare you to love. Just think of the restoration and healing that will come. How many people have been damaged by a warped version of the "pharisee love"?

I will accept this dare along with you and ask for accountability in loving. Thank you friends for loving me for who I am right now, not what I will become, not trying to conform me, accepting me in my uniqueness. Knowing I am so loved has given me the freedom to understand more of the greatness of God's love.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Quote of the Week

blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

O trail O terrific O tranquil

Saturday five of us met in Orting to ride out to South Prairie and back. It was a cool day with overcast skies but the rain stayed away the whole time we were out there. What a blast it was riding with a bunch of friends. Usually I ride with one or maybe two other people. Five was so much fun! It was the first time for the four others to ride this part of the trail. I was so happy to be able to show them some of my "special stopping points" along the way.
I was a tour guide as we passed the "wildlife" on the trail... "to your left you will see such exotic animals as emu and lama."
"The trail can be a bear on the way out to South Prairie because it is a gradual incline..." was translated to... "Jami said there are bears on the trail!!"
One of my favourite parts of the trail is getting to the "marshmallow field". The packaged up hay or whatever is in those things looks like giant marshmallows. It makes me giggle to think that marshmallows are grown and harvested and then sent to factories to be chopped up and shipped to our stores in smaller variety sizes and colors.
I convinced my friends to come sit on a log with me by the tranquil running water and we took this fabulous famous "open mouth closed eyes" photo. Another fun moment was "forgetting" to mention the bathroom Kate and I walked to was a Port-A-Potty... and letting my friend who almost brought toilet seat covers find out when she walked the jaunt over to it. There was hand sanitizer in the Port-A-Potty! It was much better than the holes in Africa people!
All in all it was a fabulous day. I am so glad we did it and hope to have an adventure like it again soon. Until then... Happy Trails!!