Friday, December 26, 2008

Escape from La La Land

One week from tommorow

8 days

And I will load my bags in a car to leave for Miami

And one day later I board a plane for the Dominican Republic

And a new way of living

With a new family whom I barely know

I'm a bit reluctant to consider it and yet I find it bullies its way into my thoughts. I'm desperately trying to hang onto my denial that my life isn't drastically changing. Seems silly I know but I don't deal with change well so I find I bounce along in "it's no big deal" mode to avoid the onslaught of mixed emotions that lies boiling just under the surface.

In many ways it is like standing on the edge of a dream but reality has taught me to be careful of the expectations you place on such dreams. Maybe it's just my own knowledge of the faintness of my heart and the fear that so easily entagles me. The pressing "What good can you really do?", "You've duped yourself into this", "You're going to fall flat on your face and everyone you know will be watching" comments in my mind. I'm such a prideful little thing really.

So again, for the 50th time today, the 1000th time this week I lay aside the fear and pride and weakly squeak out my "Yes Lord" and try to reign my thoughts back into the present instead of the "what ifs" of what lies ahead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I must be an alien

Family gatherings never cease to amaze me. I dread them actually. Every year I sit watching and listening, finding comfort in the fact that I am adopted into dad's family. They don't understand me and I don't understand them. I know it's wrong but mostly I've just given up even trying to relate.

Don't get me wrong, I do love them but I am undeniably a black sheep around here, well mom and I both are but even mom looks at me like I've lost my mind.

For instance. This morning at some point I was pulled out of my half dreamlike state and U2 tunes to discuss the probability of my finding "someone" while traveling the globe (of course since I'm the only grandkid not married). My mom quickly pointed out that I would be more than ok to meet an Australian (what can I say- it's the accent). A discussion then ensued that they wouldn't mind me marrying someone from another country as long as he is white. *sigh* I will never understand why the color of someone's skin matters so much, but knowing it's a losing battle in my family I just slipped back into my iPod world.

But there's more than just this type of archaic point of view that gets me. There's other issues like:

Who does hog hash for Christmas lunch? You might be a redneck if...

I've decided to use it as a training ground for life to come. At least here if I hate it I could complain, although that wouldn't be proper training so I'm going to try my best to eat and smile... report to follow later.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

listening. a lost art

"What time is registration?"
"10 to 3"
"You said 10 to 3?"
"Yes ma'am"
"That's 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.?"
"Yes ma'am"
(hang up phone)
(phone rings)
"Did you say I can come register at 10 a.m. tomorrow?"

I promise you this was one of my conversations today. I've had several of these conversations in the past week or so and they drive me crazy. The poor people in the office have had to listen to me growl and yell at the phone over and over. The associate pastor actually started taking some of the calls (I think he was afraid I was about to tell somebody off).

Why don't people listen? It annoys me to no end.

I'm beginning to believe that listening is a lost art. If people can't listen long enough to answer questions pertaining to their own needs/wants - do they ever actually stop and listen to someone else?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Come out of the Shadows

Come out of the Shadows

I just watched Nim's Island last night. If you haven't seen it, you should (in my humble opinion). The author in the movie writes about this fantastic hero, much like an Indiana Jones. His name is Alex Rover. The real Alex Rover however hasn't left her home in 16 years and is deathly terrified of the outside world. Someone desperately needs her help and she's afraid to walk out the front door. Many days I'm not far from being Alex Rover the writer instead of Alex Rover the adventurer.

A couple of months ago I woke up several times one night and over and over all I heard was "It's time to come out of the shadows". I would go back to sleep and wake up only to have the same thing happen. Being slow it took several times before I got up and prayed about it. After some prayer and reading the Bible I knew God was calling me out of that fear I had walked in for so long. Of course why wouldn't He, but I knew it was more than just for me.

I've been reading Red Letters by Tom Davis, president of Children's HopeChest. He knows first hand what it means to work with those considered the least in the world's eyes and how much they mean to the heart of God. At the same time I've been going through The Art of Listening Prayer by Seth Barnes, because I'm always intrigued by books on prayer and I look up to him for what he's doing to disciple others.

Anyway as I was reading Red Letters I came across one paragraph that made me stop in my tracks. Actually there were several paragraphs that have done that to me so far and made me have to consider a few things, but this one was quite personal. The paragraph? Page 91 as follows:

"So why don't we do more to help others? Sadly, many of us live in a world of shadows. In the realm of shadows, we seek only those things that help us to remain in the fog of comfort and safety. This isn't to say that comfort and safety are bad things, but when we fall into the trance of believing they are the only things, we become isolated from greater truths. Two things keep us in the shadows: discomfort with interruption and fear."

The first thing that I was reminded of was that night I woke up so many times to the words "It's time to come out of the shadows." Because I'm sure God knows my tendancy to think, "I so didn't hear that right" it was like a "just in case you didn't believe me the first time, I'm telling you again" moment.

Who wants to be the person living out life through a fictitional character or even through someone else's experiences and writings? I don't want my fears to stand in the way of lives being saved. I want to come to a place where it's ok if you interrupt my day, where change doesn't throw me into panic and where knowing God has called me there is enough and no fear is powerful enough to hold me back. I'm not there but I'm quite certain I'm about to get a few lessons in all of those.

God calls us out of the shadows into His marvelous light. It may not be comfortable and it's probably safe to say that it won't be. It's like waking up in the morning - it takes a while to adjust to the bright light. It's not comfortable at first. It's almost painful and you may feel like hiding from it but after a few minutes you can see so much clearer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

an update on life in random yet numbered form

For those who haven't heard all the recent updates let me give you a few things to laugh about:

1. About two weeks ago I found evidence of rodents making a playground out of my closet. Upon inspection I discovered a good size hole in the bottom of my closet, which of course in my opinion had to be taken care of right then. Since I was home alone that meant I had to do the handy work. One can of spray foam insulation, minus work goggles, later I was in the bathroom for 2o minutes rinsing out my eye. The spray thing got clogged, it went everywhere and conveniently missed the glasses and went into my eye. I managed to get it out myself but still had to make a trip to the eye doctor the next morning because of the irritation.

2. I'm now taking aikido lessons (a form of Japanese martial arts).
Amazingly this has not been the cause of any of my injuries so far, but has definintely caused more than a couple of laughs at my lack of balance and general clumsiness. Watch out world!

3. My latest injury happened this week and I'm still trying to get over it. I, apparently, pulled my calf muscle (a leg muscle) while playing the djembe (a hand drum) at church. I'm enjoying the irony of this one entirely too much. At least I'm off the crutches now but it's still being a pain.

4. Epsom salt blesses my life!

5. My desk has become World Race central and is covered with support letters, things to read, and a bunch of art supplies which recently feel quite neglected. (Steph I have not forgotten about your logo!)

6. I really, really, really miss the prayer room!

7. I think the Middleman is the best show on tv re-gosh darn it!

8. I'm supposed to be doing a yard sale at 7 a.m. tomorrow.... who wants to bet I'm not on time?!? :)

9. My new favorite workout dvd has become "Yoga for Wimps". How appropriate!

10. I can no longer think in sentence form so I must now retire to my bed.

Teach me to speak

Every once in a while you find yourself quiet before God and what He reveals to you isn't very fun. Instead you find it's very true and painful. And it's not revealed to you to condemn you and make you feel horrid, but to confront you with the truth so you will turn to Him and grow in your relationship.

The other day as I sat to just listen God spoke to my heart:
"You value the opinions of those around you more than the truth I am constantly singing over you. I am the good Father. I do not do things to make you fearful or embarrased. The things I ask of you are for your good."

As I dialogued with God over this issue, I came to realize that often I don't speak what's on my heart or do things I sense God is speaking to me because I don't want to offend others and I don't consider myself "skilled" enough to handle a not so positive reaction.

Exodus 4:12 "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." (NIV)

God has promised to give us the words if we will step out in faith to be obedient to Him. He is in me and that will not always make others comfortable, but it's because the light in us confronts the darkness in them.

Walking it out and overcoming the insecurity is like playing drums. When you want to learn you listen to those who are masters in the art and you take note of the inricacies of what they play - dynamics, timing, etc - and then you practice. Over and over and over and over. And you mess up over and over and over and over. Then one day you find you can play the rhythms and it just naturally flows.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Sometimes in life you get news that flips your world upside down. Maybe it's good. Maybe it's not. Either way the world flips and usually your stomach does a few somersaults of it's own too. You get that shaky feeling that everything you know is about to change.

It is interesting the mix of emotions that can come with a single word. Just one word can bring laughter, sorrow, peace, fear, or any number of other emotions and they all come crashing together in a cacophony that overtakes all your senses briefly.

I had that experience this week. I opened my email and there it was "accepted".

I'm not sure what reaction I expected from myself, but I can tell you that I just looked at the screen, felt for my chair with my hand, and trembling sat down and just stared. Pretty sure I took a few deep breaths, swallowed hard, and opened it. I couldn't even read the email because I couldn't comprehend it.

I felt like Melanie in Sweet Home Alabama when Andrew asks her to marry him and she says, "Are you sure?" Possibly not the best of analogies since they don't make it, but you know what I mean. I think somewhere in me, all this time, I've been expecting an "I'm sorry, but no" or something. Then I could look at God and say, "Hey I was obedient. I did the process, not my fault they didn't accept me."

And so I'm sure He was wearing a huge grin when I saw that e-mail and I whispered, "God I don't know that I can do this." But isn't that true? I can't do it. Physical fitness and bold actions aren't generally my forte. Asking people for support is reallllllllly not my idea of a good time. But showing the world that there is an indescribable God that loves each and every one more than we could ever grasp is on my heart, no matter the amount of excuses I try to front.

So I draw encouragement from Moses. The man who first said he was no good at speaking and needed someone to go with him and speak for him, and who became the man that went up into the dark cloud of thunder and lightenings to meet with God face to face on behalf of a people God had chosen and loved.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

is it over yet?

It's one of those ridiculous days today.

The kind where no matter what you do, or don't do, you just feel like maybe you would be much more useful to the world if you'd never gotten out of bed. The kind of day where you just feel like you're not enough (good enough, doing enough, "Christian" enough, etc). One of those days where you're on the verge of tears and have no idea why.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Arise and Go Over This Jordan

Never have I been so fascinated by the Israelites 40 years of wandering around in the wilderness and then crossing the Jordan as I have been lately. It stated a couple of months ago when I moved by to Jordan St. for the third time and this nagging sense that somehow it all connected to the idea of crossing the Jordan. In the midst of moving, everyday life, etc. I really hadn't pursued such a study.

Then a couple of weeks ago I read an interesting series of blogs based off a teaching by Andrew Shearman about the 42nd Generation. In one of the blogs he speaks of the fact that the Israelites went through 41 cities and 40 years of wandering before coming to the 42nd stop of crossing the Jordan into their destiny. My curiosity was aroused as I sensed again God inviting me on a journey into this subject.

Being the ever so in tune and obedient daughter that I am, I read the blogs - even printing them off and highlighting a few things, promised myself to make some notes in my journal about it but turned in for the night exhausted and the highlighted papers are still at the edge of my bed, notes awaiting their place in my journal.

One day last week however as I sat in my room asking God to speak through His Word, to teach me, to awaken my heart that seems to keep pressing the snooze button just like I do every morning. He whispered to Joshua 1. I can't say the reference rang any bells in my head, that is until I started reading. Yep, it's about preparing to cross the Jordan.

Maybe God's trying to tell me something?

So I sat down to read and began wondering what must Joshua be feeling? The last time they were about to cross into the Promised Land, the people doubted God and they spent 40 years eating manna and hanging out in the wilderness. He was there in the beginning. He and Caleb were the only two that believed God was on their side and would defeat their enemies, the rest of the people chose doubt and fear and wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 14) He'd had this group turn on him before. Was he afraid it would happen again? What was it like after all those years, knowing that right across this body of water is the inheritance promised so long ago? Knowing that they will also have to fight for it? Crossing the Jordan meant going to war to claim that inheritance.

While reading through, I noticed that four times you see "Be strong and of good courage" in this short little chapter.

Be Strong and of Good Courage
1) Joshua be strong and courageous because you have a responsibility to the people as their leader. 2) You have an obligation to follow My word and law - to learn it, speak it and follow it.
3) Be strong and courageous because these things are not yours to handle alone, I am with you wherever you go and 4) the warriors are willing to pay the price - they remember their promise to Moses and are standing behind you in all that you command too.

Right after God points out Joshua's responsibilities to the Israelites and to the Book of the Law, He comes in and says "do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (v.9) God knows our tendencies to be overwhelmed, to get bogged down in the logistics and responsibilities, to take our eyes off Him. He's so lovingly saying over and over "I'm here. I'm with you. I know what you've faced and I know what you're about to come up against. You have no reason to fear. Trust in My love and promises. Arise and go over this Jordan."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Love Beyond Comfort

Reaching out
Pleading with unspoken words
Reflected through a piercing gaze
A dangerous undercurrent surrounds as
An unvocalized plea echoes

Turning to leave
Aware of my own inadequacies
Paralyzed by fear

Another voice resonates deep within
Small and still
Yet unquestionable in authority

Seek justice
Establish justice
Execute justice

I AM bigger than your fear
And this is one I love

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bits and Pieces

One of the joys of this blog is I'm pretty sure no one reads it unless I send them a link so I can feel at liberty to be as honest as I want to be and it doesn't have to be well thought out or versed or cute or whatever...

1. My references are turned in for my World Race app... on to the phone interview Friday at 2 p.m. *yikes!* Am I really doing this??? Have I totally lost my mind? (the answer to this one is a resounding Yes)

2. Speaking of my World Race app... what the heck happened? I turned it in and my life flipped upside down the next day. I feel like I've been in a constant battle ever since for me and my family. It's pretty ridiculous.

3. My eye hurts!! Consequently so does my head.

4. The Lord is gracious, slow to anger, He is rich in love, He is good to all!

5. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

6. I watched a documentary called "The Bridge" about the Golden Gate bridge - the most popular suicide destination in the world. It a sad and frightening reality. All I could think of was how much God loved them and wonder if they knew that. Are there times when a simple friendly conversation could make someone change their mind? How often do we just pass by someone without even realizing the pain they are in? How imperative it is to be sensitive to the Lord.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Broken car. Broken self.

Two days. 48 hours.

That's all.

And yet I'm going crazy. Yesterday I was just in tears. Can't go to work. Can't go anywhere else. Oh and of course the car is working fine for the mechanics. The washing maching is messing up. There's a thousand things I can't figure out and I can't personally fix and I've had nothing but time the past couple of days to be reminded of that.


So in my pondering and - when I finally got a clue - praying, I disovered something (it's amazing how often that happens when you pray...).

See I can handle lots of things, but let something happen to my vehicle and I fall apart like misbuilt swing set - tumbling, crashing and generally getting hurt in the process. Then I realized...

When something happens to my vehicle it's not about the vehicle at all, it's all about the fact that then my independence is being messed with. My ability to go anywhere, do anything and accomplish it all without the help of anyone goes out the door. Suddenly I'm at the mercy of others.

Not to mention that I'm no mechanic so I can't "fix" it either. And then all the other things that I can't "fix" all come flying up in my face at once and I'm left sitting on the sidelines wondering what just kicked me in the stomach. I realized that I've been on the verge of an anxiety attack the past few days, something I haven't had in a loooong time and it's all because I've been trying to be in control, to figure out a way to fix things.

I don't have the answers for why grandma's cancer is spreading and I can't fix it.

I don't have any idea how to raise thousands of dollars. I have less of a clue of how to approach my parents about the whole venture to begin with.

I don't have a clue how to fix the washer (maybe I should just start working on hand washing clothes)

And let's not forget, I can't fix the stupid car!

The good news is God hasn't asked me to try and fix everything. He hasn't said that I must have all the answers. He is the healer. He is the provider. He is the One who has everything under control and even though it looks crazy and out of control to me, He has it all.

Yeh, that's a good thing to remember...

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, May 2, 2008

On the climbing wall, looking down

When I left work yesterday I decided I needed some time alone with God and some open air, so I headed for the park. I've said it before, but there's just something about walking along the rocks and sitting beside a small waterfall, watching the butterflies, listening to the birds, etc.

Of course sitting on rocks isn't always the best for a healing lower back so after a while I took my book to sit on one of the swings. It was so quiet. So peaceful. Then a guy showed up with his three kids to play on the playground. So much for the peace and quiet, but then I was the one sitting in the playground area and not playing so I couldn't exactly be annoyed. I half read and half watched the kids and how he interacted with them.

He helped his little girl, Holly, climb the climbing wall and finally she reached the top and sat up there. She was fine until he walked away to get some water and suddenly she wanted down.

"Daddy help!" So he walked over and said, "Just jump, I'll catch you." She gave him that look that conveys "You want me to do what?"

From my perspective I knew he would no doubt catch her. She only had to jump about a foot before she would be in his arms, but I also knew that from her perspective it was a loooong way down.

"I can't I'm scared," she cried. "It's ok sweetie, I'll catch you. Jump. Fall over. Do whatever you want, but I promise I'll catch you."

Again there was that pause and finally she leaned over with her arms outstretched and of course he caught her, lifted her above his head and tickled her on the way down.

In that moment I had such a clear picture of the Father's heart and could almost hear Him speaking to my own trembling nature, "Just jump. I promise I'm here to catch you. I love you."

"When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me. He loves us so Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. He loves us so."
excerpt from song
How He Loves by John Mark McMillan

Thursday, May 1, 2008

an inconvenient answer to prayer

I prayed one of those great prayers yesterday. It was completely sincere and now looking back I can just see God up in Heaven grinning as He says, "Sure thing kiddo!" Grinning because He knew that while sincere, I had no idea what I was actually asking.

Closing out our weekly staff meeting I prayed something to the effect of "Lord help us not to be so busy that we miss the open doors that you give us today to minister to others." Great prayer. Very Biblically based especially in light of having just discussed Colossians 4 and "redeeming the time".

Now to preface this let me say, when I'm working I don't necessarily do well with distraction. I don't tend to get a lot accomplished when I keep starting and stopping - I think this is true for most people but some of us it tends to frazzle a little more than others. I was also already a little frazzled since the printer/copier managed to break before I had even been at work for 10 minutes that morning.

So returning to my desk I began working on the normal to do list for the week when in came a lady with her granddaughter needing assistance. We talked and she shared what's going on in her life while our interim youth pastor went to retrieve a box of food (so my chiropractor won't give me a look like "I told you not to be lifting heavy things for a couple of weeks"). Very sweet lady in need. We helped her and I returned to my work.

At this point it was about lunch time and everyone left but me, as I was trying to actually accomplish something and was waiting on a friend to meet me, when two more ladies showed up needing assistance with food. It was a couple I knew that had been here before, but with no one to divert the situation to as to just how many times can we help someone, we talked and then ventured over to the food pantry. Well we didn't really talk. It was one of those "Just give us the food and let us go" type deals that always makes for a bit of awkwardness for me. All said though they left with the assistance they needed, food wise anyway.

To say that I was frazzled at this point might just be an understatement. I had left that point about an hour earlier actually and was now almost frustrated to the point of tears at my inability to accomplish my job. What is the deal? Why can't I get anything done?

My friend showed up for lunch to my exclamation of "Thank you Lord, get me out of here!!!"

I went to my computer to write a note for the door in case the copier guy came while I was at lunch and ....

Yes, you guessed it. Someone else arrived in need of help. She was really looking for one of the pastors but to her dismay (and mine), I was the only person herel. She had several questions, most of which I was about as helpful as a wet noodle but I tried.

My internal dialogue was more like this though: "Ok really Lord. I'm hungry. I'm getting nothing done. I'm frustrated. Can't you give me a break here???"

That was the moment. A very bright, high powered light bulb flashed to life in my mind - my prayer. The seemingly eloquent, beautiful prayer I had prayed hours earlier - God was just giving me what I had asked for.

Reflecting on it yesterday evening I realized that one reason I don't minister to as many people as I should, the reason I don't follow the promptings of that still small voice, the reason my Christian life is so dull and boring . . .

Ministry is inconvenient.
Ministry is uncomfortable - there are no formulaic answers to solve everyone's problems.
Ministry requires relying on the Holy Spirit instead of my own strength.

Oh but it's such a beautiful thing. I joked when the pastor's returned that I was never praying again because God was just too happy to answer my prayer. The truth is maybe I should pray that way more often. I might get less done that's on my neat, alphabetically ordered "to do" list but a few more people might have a life changing encounter with the truth - I think that sounds better.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mozzarella sticks to technicolor frogs

So I know it says "From mozzarella sticks to technicolor frogs" on my page, which is pretty much my crazy way of describing this blog site as "Dreams"

See one of the favored kooky dreams I've had in recent years is the mozzarella stick dream. Picture if you will...
Black background, nothing back there. A silver metal ladder that seems to go on forever. Me a giant walking mozzarella stick. Started climbing, got to the top, looked over the edge backed up and took a running leap into a large vat of marinara sauce.

Yes, laugh. I know you want to. Everyone else, including me, does. No I had not had any mozzarella sticks that night or other related food substances. Just one of those crazy dreams.

The technicolor frogs were also a dream. I was being chased by them and they were HUGE. They chased me into a camper with bunk beds. I jumped on a top bunk so they couldn't reach me, but this one tenacious frog kept trying and eventually landed on the bunk across from me. Staring at me with beady eyes it lunged for me as I leaned back, opened the window and it missed me, flew out the window and landed in a SPLAT!

Nice huh. Yeh I like dreams.


Brilliance is among my many spectacular qualities...

In moving all my stuff, which thought not a lot is still an amazing amount further reminding me of how materialistic I can be. Not getting off on that rant...

Anyway I jerked a nice large, heavy suitcase over my shoulder and felt it somewhere in my lower back and knew in that moment I would pay over the next several days. And I was right. So now I'm nicely in pain, which will prevent me from spending money by shopping today but sadly will prevent from getting anything productive accomplished too. Maybe I need to lay still and just listen for a while though.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Through My Windshield

I drove into Athens a few days ago. As I drove I passed a cemetery with a very downcast looking older man sitting on a tombstone and my heart yearned within me to stop. I didn't.

I drove further and passed a broken down car on the side of the road, further down I passed a guy and girl about my age walking. Again I thought, "I should stop." I didn't.

I reasoned to myself that I was alone, it could be dangerous. All the things you're told growing up. Things I wholeheartedly agree with. But at some point you have to step out. You have to trust that you do actually hear God and He's with you. I guess I don't really believe that yet. I fully trust God to speak to people, just not necessarily me.

So as I drove along in my head I was screaming "You're such a hypocrite" and yeh I am. My prayer became "Lord don't give up on me, I want to be available for You." So I'm keeping my eyes and heart open for another chance and praying for the courage to step out.

Monday, April 21, 2008


"The key to understanding commitmentphobia is recognizing that such behavior is rooted in fear -- fear of lost options or fear of making poor decisions. The commitmentphobic mind sees decisions as permanent, opening the possibility of being caged or trapped forever with no means of escape. Commitmentphobia is a real disabling fear, that can be manifest in many areas of life, including career, home ownership, or even shoe shopping. This fear can make simple every day decisions into a tremendous burden."

I am commitmentphobic.

Hey the first step is supposed to be the hardest right? Although I've always thought that to be a lie personally. I'll admit a lot of things - it's changing it that's hard. Whatever. Who am I to try to change old adages.

This term describes me all too well. I mean if you've ever tried to get me to make a decision then you know to the extent it reaches. "What ifs" can quickly become my enemy instead of my option, leaving me hanging out in limbo for what seems an eternity even over the simplest of decisions. Throw in literal life changing decisions and well it's just not pretty.

So here I stand on the edge of a grand canyon of sorts in my mind and it seems that if I commit then I am flinging myself over the edge and believing it is ok no matter the outcome.


"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness" - Edward Mote

Words from a great old hymn which we sang yesterday at church - On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand. As the speaker spoke it was a reminder that our hope is to be placed firmly in Christ.

"Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'" -Lamentations 3: 22-24

Often I take on living like everybody else in the world, placing my hope only in what I can see. Oh yes, I can say that I am trusting and hoping in the Lord but honestly I'm looking around at what I can see, what I can do, what I... see a pattern? I tend to trust in me. A trap I believe many of us fall into. Even when God has called us to a specific thing, sometimes we can begin to trust in the plans and successes of it instead of looking solely to Christ as our hope.

If our hope is in Christ alone, we cannot be shaken. It is then that like Paul we will be able to say, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Lord that I would learn to place my hope in You alone.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Living Like a Hupernikao

Hupernikao (Greek): more than conquerors, to overwhelmingly conquer, to gain a surpassing victory

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" Romans 8:37

In all what things?

So I don't know about you but I don't live like this on a normal day-to-day basis. Some days, like this morning, I could barely make it out of bed. A morning behind the desk followed by an afternoon of cleaning and moving just wasn't working for great inspiration to get up in my opinion.

So how did Paul manage it? How have countless others throughout history managed to live a life of overwhelmingly conquering such great obstacles? I read stories of people who lay it all on the line for Christ and sometimes I think "That's so stinkin' awesome, but please God don't call me to that" with a soundtrack of DC Talk playing in my head, "What if I stumble, what if I fall..."

Then I read it again and find, it's done through Christ who loved us. I can't just pull up my boot straps and do it in my own strength, which is something I love to try and do to prove something to someone.

Living a like a hupernikao is based on having a firm grasp on who Christ is and who I am in Him. If you, if I, gain an understanding for the love of God then there is nothing seen or unseen that will ever be able to separate us. It's almost cliché to us. "Jesus loves you" How many times have we heard it?

There's so much truth in that simple statement that we don't even grasp. A love so strong that God sent His Son, who humbly came to earth to be born as a helpless infant, to grow up and suffer and die and then be raised to life again all just so we, the ones who are but dust with some breath in us and who are constantly turning our back on God, so we could have a relationship with Him. No I don't understand that kind of love. I don't understand the Love that was reaching out for me when I was cursing Him. I don't understand Love that says "Come and suffer with Me to truly be able to fellowship with Me." Oh that I could grasp just a bit of the width, depth, height and length of Christ.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wrestling with God

As I laid my head on the pillow to sleep, aching back, fighting the unfamiliar bed and surroundings it didn't take long for my frustration to kick in on several levels, but the foremost being how can I be contemplating taking off around the world when I'm having trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar bed in a room that is completely safe in this sleepy NE Georgia town??

For as long as I remember I've wanted to do missions work. Over the years I have not managed to get out of this country a single time (except a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico if you count that). Believe me I've gone through my time of being angry with God over it too. Some of my best memories from college however are from ministry teams. Having children wrapped around you, serving someone a hot bowl of food and listening to their stories, mud fights after practice, etc. I also well remember that before every occasion I would have to deal with fear to the point of sickness sometimes.

Screaming from within is all the excuses for not embarking on such a crazy journey. Can an introverted, only child really handle that much "community"? Do I trust God that much? (Am I even saved usually comes somewhere close behind that one lol) Finances?!? Did you forget you're shy and quite fearful? (Much Afraid and I are closely related - Hinds Feet on High Places good book that gives me great hope). You don't know the Bible well enough. Etc etc etc. Let's just say I'm keenly aware of my shortcomings and fears. The accusations and excuses are far too many to number, and yet...

  • I read in my Bible a call to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the widowed, orphaned, poor, etc. and I find an urging to actively follow out those verses.
  • I read stories and blogs of missionaries and think "what if..." I try to be realistic and logical because that's my nature but it's just not working so well for me on this one.
  • I find myself crying out to God for people I've never even met (usually when I should be sleeping).
I'm in a different place than I was a short while ago.
I'm deeply grateful for this country I call home. I don't agree with everything by any means but I'm also not looking to just get out. I appreciate the modern conveniences, but could probably live without most of them. And yes, I want to see all the sights but a building is just a building - a life is precious.

And so as I tried my best to get to sleep on my rock hard mattress instead of the comfy, cozy bed I've been blessed with the past 3 months, all these things bounced through my mind I found how blessed I am to even have a bed as my mind wanders to those trying to make concrete comfortable. I found myself wrestling with a God who allows suffering and yet loves us with an incomprehensible love. I found a part of me that wants to be okay with not being comfortable or having all the answers as long as God is at the center of it all. And somewhere in it all I found sleep, until the birds began their serenade at about 5 a.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why Abigail Joy and Flutterby Greetings?

Just in case you are wondering about the name and address, I'll give the short version just to start out this whole blog thing.

Flutterby Greetings:
because one day I'm going to have a greeting card line and this will be the name of it, a silly dream of mine that I keep perpetuating year after year in the hopes that one day I'll actually figure out what to do with it

Abigail Joy:
Abigail - "the Father's delight" or "Father's joy"
Joy - "Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness"
the two put together are my "prophetic name" given during my internship at the International House of Prayer in Atlanta - Hey God changed people's names in the Bible and I've never been a big fan of Stephanie (sorry mom!). Most everybody in the internship just called me AJ though because I told them Abigail Joy gave me pictures of a little blonde haired girl with pigtails running through a field of sunflowers... not quite the image I think people have of me .