Sunday, November 9, 2008

umm... wow.

I just came back from an amazing women's retreat this weekend and was humbled at the gracious women that hosted this event. It has been just over one year since my last retreat and I was starting to feel slightly, well more like EXTREMELY, ready to just run away from home. Unfortunately, my church's retreat isn't until next spring and I just knew that for me that was WAY too long for my soul to wait.

I needed this, really needed more than what I was currently experiencing. I was so desperate I was looking for women's events outside of my own church group... like seriously, if anyone was having a retreat in this area I would have totally gone... by myself. Fortunately, one of our sister churches was having a retreat this month... somewhat divinely in my general area. Hmm, uh yeah. I was SO there. I went with one other woman from my church and I only knew a couple of people ahead of time, but I did NOT even care.

I have so much to say, and I don't even know where to start. I had a plan for this entry, but it seems to be heading different direction...

The theme was Destiny Awakened! woo hoo... can I just have the prophecy now please? I don't want to sit and wait and listen, just pray it in and I will do it. As this woman spoke about destiny, I could barely restrain myself from charging to the front... tell me my destiny. What does God want me to do? Just tell me. I am such a good student of impatience. But as she talks and I try to keep my backside parked in my chair, I start to get it. Am I ready to know my destiny for five years from now? And will knowing that future impact my ability to get there?

Even if she had handed me the magic envelope of cliff notes for my future, having those answers could destroy me. Would I become prideful and arrogant with knowledge? Or fearful of failure, more so than now? At least now when I fear the future, I don't have the foresight to see around the corner. I can only do my best with what I have in front of me. The thing around the corner that I am pulling myself towards, that unknown thing, is a distraction from God's plan for me today. I can't even SEE what around the corner, but I just have to get there now.

Would I have opened the envelope of destiny? I don't know, that's an awful lot of information to process. And I do believe that having opened it, I would have lost that destiny forever. Because one irrevocable action, the one thing you can't take back, changes everything. We are our own worst enemy. Our impatience to get 'there', our ambition, our needs keep us so busy that God gets benched on the sidelines. He is jumping up and down saying "c'mon, let Me in, I can do this, I can help you", but over the dull roar of our freeway mentality His voice is lost in the crowd. My lists of things to do, my dreams, my hopes make me deaf to anything other than me.

Then suddenly, in my ten-year walk with Him, He starts teaching me to just stand, just stand in obedience. This is my spot, my line in the sand, my toes belong here, stand here no matter what may come, just STAND. In February, God gave me this picture. And it was very difficult at first to get my feet to that line. I didn't wanna, the enemy didn't want me to either. So, I prayed... 'please God. I want my feet there, on that line, the one you picked just for me, but my feet won't stay, they won't get there. Please God, can you put my toes to the line?' And He helped me, one foot at a time to stand. When the enemy would come and try and throw me around, I just focused on my line. All I had to do was stand on my line and he couldn't touch me.

Since then the picture has grown, from just my feet on the line by myself, no armor... then me by myself, with a host of angels to fight for me if I could just stay on my line... then last week I got a shield so I could defend against the enemy's attack. Then this weekend, while I was trying to quiet my racing mind to sleep. I turned to God, You are my shield, my protector, my sanctuary shield me from the enemy hide me from his eyes. God surrounded me and I knelt in His protection, so safe and secure and He told me to stand. As I rose up my shield arm came up armed, and the picture rotated so that I had the full picture of what God had just done for me. As I stood with my arm holding my shield to defend, God had armed me completely... helmet, chest plate, full armor and a blazing sword, shiny new armor for me to wear on my line.

It has taken me nine months to get this complete picture, weird. I don't know if this is my 'destiny' of that thing around the corner, but it is definitely what lies ahead, for now. I don't know what God's plan A for me is forever, but I know He wants a bountiful future for all of His children. So seek Him with your whole heart. In those areas where you are feeling lost and without direction, look around and see if you have made room for God to play for your team. Make time to hear Him, because He wants to talk with you. He is your friend and father, will you be His friend?

2 Samuel 22:31
As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Moments between Miracles

There was a point in time, in our recent cultural history, where we as women took so much pride in our competency with what we could create with our two humble hands. A hand stitched garment, a meal cooked from scratch without the expedited 'convenience' of modern technology.

Somewhere in our technological advancement, our integrity of a job well done has been compromised by our ability to do it faster. When was the last time you prepared a meal and took the time to enjoy the process? It is a rare occurrence for me as well. With mouths to feed, faster and easier does seem better. But the love and joy that I put into a well planned meal, even gourmet (ish) brings so much more than just nutrition to the table. There is a deep consideration, a deliberate focus as you bring flavors into harmony and present your food with flourish.

It's a different dining experience than if you slap chili mac in a bowl and throw it on the table. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bowl of chili mac... it's not about gourmet vs. a boxed dinner choice. You can put the same passion into boxed macaroni as you would a five course meal; I know chefs may dispute this, but stay with me please!

It's about the fruit of the spirit. What are you feeding your family? Or yourself? Frustration, bitterness, impatience? This is just another chore for me to check off in the laundry list of life... It's on my list of "have-to's", not "want-to's". Joy certainly has difficulty raising it's head when you have a hungry toddler squawking at you.

What if you can find the joy lost in those moments? As you fill your pot of water to boil, know that it is your culinary skills that keeps your family nutritionally sustained. The dishes that you lovingly fill with food brings such a comfort to your children; they know they are loved. It doesn't matter to them that their meals are served on paper plates or fine china... you love them enough to see their needs met, there is a magical quality in that.

This joy is the joy of the Father. It's the moments between the miracles where our hearts and souls are sustained. In keeping with the culinary metaphor, miracles could be like chocolate cake, amazing and perfect, but we need more than cake to survive. We need the meals in between, moments of grace, mercy and forgiveness. These tidbits of fullness are so sustaining and miraculous n their own right. It's the moments between miracles where our souls grow and are healed.

Miracles are the catalysts where our eyes are opened and the moments between are when we process and give over to God control of our self-righteousness so that He fills us with anticipation for the next miracle. God is our food. He feeds us with the Spirit and in Him we are filled.

Psalms 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

John 4: 32-34
32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seriously Irked

I am seriously bent this morning. Please permit me my little soapbox diatribe... I don't normally get all worked up, but I really need to vent. What is it with our societal outlook as women, young or old, that has us valuing ourselves so little? I originally had this theory, with all my philosophizing, that it was a daddy issue. That if you had a skewed relationship with your father, of course you would become needy and codependent, seeking validation from others, but men especially. It may be true, but where does that leave women who don't have daddy issues? The fortunate few who are loved and treasured like they deserve to be? They seem to fall down the same slope as well. Age isn't really a factor, I see this with my friends of all ages.

I think we have this hole in our hearts, where we so need acceptance and validation that we will commit almost any act in order to be loved, truly loved. This need for validation spills over into our relationships with women tainting them with insecurity where in our heart of hearts we know that no one would truly love us if they really knew our true nature. This fearful shame drives a wedge between our hearts and we trust no one. We are alone and unloved and if you asked me to jump off a bridge in such a way that there was even a chance that you could change my heart... umm, no way. Thanks anyway.

We need rescuing desperately as women, and we look for heroes in the least worthy of candidates because we think that is all we deserve. I want to know WHY! Why is an illusion of love, the shadow of true love's full glory all we hope to attain?! Why don't we want more for ourselves? Why do we feel so unworthy?

I want so much more, I want you to want more, I want my friends to want more, I want the world to want more than a tasteless portion of not enough. Seek Him, seek God, seek Jesus... whatever you are struggling with, whatever you feel your inadequacies are... HE IS THE MORE YOU SEEK. There is not a hint of a shadow of true love with God, He is the full measure, the full portion, the big picture. Be validated in Him, seek Him as the balm that soothes your injured heart. Do not accept that you are less than, you are His creation and beloved are you. Choose. There is no struggle that God cannot mend, nothing that He cannot redeem. You are not the exception to His power and glory, He is mightier than your sins and all can be restored.

Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


What is basic freedom in God? How can you remain unchanged in the face of God? Day in, day out, we show up with no intent to modify our own response to life. Yet somehow, we have a growing expectation that the results will be different this time.

Like going through the drive-thru, ordering a super-sized big, jumbo burger meal, yet we are surprised by the carb-overload cheeseburger, drink AND fries inside the bag! Then we bemoan our increasing waistline and our inability to lower our cholesterol. Seriously, if you want a different meal intake experience, stay away from the golden arches. Convenient? Sure. Nutritionally sustaining? Not so much.

We exist… trapped in a society of drive-thru convenience, sorely lacking anything that resembles authentic substance. Stuck, enslaved to a cultural perspective that we are free to proclaim our own manifest destiny, footloose, unencumbered by our own responsibility to true freedom.

We are as of yet unsatisfied by the results of our own choices. Unfulfilled by what we are consuming to survive. Poverty of spirit is where we seek satisfaction; nothing changes.

Freedom of the heart means relinquishing control over our own manifest destiny and embracing our inheritance as God’s children. Break free from the fear that God will not meet our expectations. He can only exceed the boundaries that we set… that whole ‘free will’ thing coming into play. When you allow God to move you from your own prison walls, miracles will happen.

Remove the lid, let God out of the box and prepare to be amazed. Supernatural freedom…. Be free, released, loved children of God.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So, this is not what I meant to origianlly blog... I have pages to add later but I was tripped up by my inbox this morning and wanted to blather about waning joy and broken pieces. I don't intend to promote other websites, I can't stand commericials on TV, so why would I want to add them to my blog? However, this is my sidebar, and I totally blame this woman and her spiritual genius for this sidebar, so she might as well get some credit!
Mary DeMuth, she has a monthly newsletter that you can sign up for on her page, if you are so inclined:

Waning joy and hope, who hasn't felt that desert of isolation creeping into their lives. Like life isn't hard enough and then suddenly you realize that your last trip to an oasis was so long ago all you are tasting is sand. I have been focused so much on the reclamation of joy stolen that I have overlooked some of the importance of its loss.

We leave little pieces of ourselves behind all time, in broken relationships, in disappointments and in death. These are some of the major joy stealers, but sometimes we just hand over our hearts with no regard for the condition in which it will be returned. Or if we can even recognize it when we get it back. If we don't consider the impact of freely given our hearts away to another, how can we expect others to? Then at the end of a relationship how do we reclaim our passion for life and love?

There is a process, like in most things, of reclaiming what is lost. Unfortunately, in matters of the heart it is difficult to get a full accounting and return, we all prescribe a different value to our pain and nothing is equal in suffering. My bad is bad for me, but not necessarily for another. So pieces get lost, and sometimes they don't come back. Which is a very Ecclesiastes perspective... the futility of life and all that, so what's the point?! Considering that I am listening to "Everything Glorious", I will swing this back around, too much darkness for the morning.

There is a value in brokenness, if you can see it. Rather than scrambling around to reclaim your pieces, let them fall. Give them to God, let Him whittle away the unnecessary and refine your heart so that you can see Him more clearly. My childhood was like a shattered mirror, my own self image was lost until I no longer recognized myself and trying to reclaim the piece was likely to result in more woundedness. Moving past the 'survivor' mentality and giving that control over to God was so unbelievably difficult for me... those are my reins, that is my pain, I know what I am doing, only I can push through this pain, there is no one that can manage this for me, only me, only me, only You? You?

Resting in that, not having to take action over my own wounds or healing, was freeing. I didn't have to DO. God did it all for me. There is no strength that I have today that doesn't flow directly from Him. And He values that, I still get to overcome, I still get to battle... when He calls me out to act, not before. Suddenly I am not twisting in the wind, but am safe and secure, knowing that I am called to be a daughter of the King and there is so much fullness in that.

The pieces that were broken away, were meant to be. I am not being trite, truly there is much that I lost that I don't think I really need. Would I be able to give over to God the right to rule without knowing the things of the world that I know? If my life were perfectly comfortable, why would I need to yield anything to an unseen God? For me, with my stubbornness of will, there would have been no point in that. This is not a permission slip to mistreat or be mistreated, I have been both. Only you can reconcile with God, I cannot speak for you pain or loss... only you can do that. But it doesn't matter if your mirror is merely chipped or completely turned to dust, God is the true restorer. Your pain doesn't need to be more than or less than somebody else's... it is yours in all it's questionable glory. God can heal YOU, whatever your pain. Nothing is too great or too little for Him, be released to rest in Him and see what pieces you no longer need.

Psalms 23:3
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Monday, September 8, 2008

witticism, unspoken

I know you get this one... somebody says something kind of snarky to you, and you think of the perfect comeback, like three hours later. My problem isn't usually in this arena. My religious upbringing was very much self-indulgent, anti-organized anything with a heavy influence of sarcasm. I learned how to wield a double entendre with a true master, my mother... but I never realized the impact that a double meant comment could have on others, that wasn't part of my education until later.

I had moments growing up where I fumbled for a quick reply that came out more like a stutter than a smooth retort. I ended up becoming the butt of my own jokes, despite the fact that in my head I always had the quick reply. Then the pendulm of life swung in my favor, I was the queen in training of sarcastic annhilation. None were safe, I had acheived a miniscule triumph over the stuttering and I was so witty.

It wasn't until later, when I heard one of my own offhanded remarks from years previous, did I realize that I was contributing to the woundedness of my own friends. Funny for the moment, the words we speak have a lasting echo in our hearts, for good or evil. I was once again speechless. How can I undo my words to a friend? An apology, much overdue, did not salvage her heart towards me. Time and God will heal; but I still get the pleasure of remembering her face when she handed my words back to me and the voice that I knew was mine still rings in my ears. I am so small.

Now, weird things are happening again. I have discovered the balance of sarcasm and friendship, or love. You can be witty, you can be funny... but never when it is at someone else's expense. I am sure my foot still gets caught in my teeth, but I genuinely try to catch it before it knocks them in. So, now conversations occur, the words pop in my head, but they don't always leave my mouth and despite knowing the devastation words can cause, I still wonder about God's hand in the unspoken.

Here's the example. I meet 'Dude', I know only a couple of things about him, one of which is that he did my friend wrong... but there are a couple of other things that should make me more compassionate towards him. I am so not feeling it towards him. He hurt my friend, she's on my 'list'... the list in my heart of people I will not allow to be mistreated... so no mercy, no compassion, please can I just annihilate him now?! no. I know, no.

ANYWAY. I meet Dude, he is pleasant to me, we shake hands, he invites me to join them for dinner and proceeds to describe what he is making to eat. It sounds very, um, nice. But there is this voice in my head that SO wants to squish him and his little prideful dinner plans. It goes something like this, "Um, no thanks. Your homemade Italian chicken strips and salad sound delicious, but I have leftovers at home. What? No, I said leftovers. It's grilled flank steak with a bacon balsamic reduction with fresh marinated beets with feta and a lemon couscous. Are those tears little man? That right, my cooking is SO superior to yours, pathetic poser!"

Okay, the last bit was a little overdone, I don't remember actually thinking out loud, in my head, that he was a poser of any nature, but you get the idea. I did think the rest though, and almost disdainfully said it... why? And I guess more importantly, why didn't I say it out loud? Obviously my friend wouldn't have liked it, but it was bigger than that and I knew it, but for the first couple miles as I drove away I didn't know exactly why.

As I drove away, I was haunted by this man's eyes. There was a deep and profound sadness echoing in his there and a shadow of spiritual warfare hanging over his head like I couldn't believe. Just to clarify, I didn't see demons floating around him with my eyes, but there was some kind of 'something' that has attached itself to him like a noose. And his pride in describing what he was making for dinner, was so tenuous and genuine, that for me to squish him would have been beyond rude, it would have been heartless and so unnecessary.

Like I am somehow the moral majority that I should should crush him for my own pleasure is just cruel and shameful. I am a better person than that, Christianity aside, I know better. Even now two days later, I can see those wounded eyes and they just call out to my heart.

please. please. hear me. i have nothing to give. i am nothing. here is my small portion. let me share it with you. can you see me? i am lost.

Who am I God that I should ride in and forget my own small portion? Are we not all lost? Do we not all desire to be loved and accepted and do we not all fear the same cruel rejection that I myself so nearly handed out?

Those moments where the words get stuck in your head, Praise God. May He bind my jaw against evil. Let the words flow freely that reflect His mercy, not mine. Because mine is not right or perfect, not even close. I prayed the whole way home for this man, and hopefully I learn from the blessing of this encounter.

2 Samuel 14:17
"And now your servant says, 'May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Combo meal... do you want fries with that?

I think we get stuck sometimes, stuck in sin and it seems like we just can't get out of our own way. We know that God is there, but He seems so far away and really why would He want to bother? We are sinning, by choice or circumstance, and to give up that for redemption becomes too much to bear. When we get mired down in our life, we get to a point where we know our pain so well that we can't imagine living life without it. And that shameful knowledge blinds us to the simple truth that it is possible to survive without that all encompassing isolating pain.

The enemy comes in and feeds on our sin and covers our eyes from this truth. Without us feeding him, he will not survive. He doesn't want you to know how easy it is to turn to God. There is no obstacle, no hurdle, no canyon too wide for God. The enemy tries to trip you up and keep you isolated so that he can continue to feast. Like some sort of convenient drive-through, he orders a combo meal that consists of your joy, passion and vigor for life... maybe with a side of fries. For him, it is so easy.

Consciously, would you really choose to submit these things, knowing that it will impact you everyday... that somehow your life will really be fine without joy? Stop enabling the enemy to run over and through you, he is weak unless we encourage him. He has no real strength or power but that which we give him. And when we turn our eyes back to God, baby-step or seek him slightly... He is there, waiting in the wings for you, just for you to even dare to ask.

Jesus is the bridge between us and God. One gloriously simple bond that connects us forever. No matter how far away we feel like we are removed from God - the truth is that because of the Jesus connection, God is no further away than our fingertips or our next breath. God is not the elusive 'seek Me on the highest mountains' because of Jesus, we can find Him in the everyday moments, the moments between the miracles. All we need do is turn our hearts to Him, and He is there.

We are connected, He sacrificed His only Son, just for you to live life in the fullness of His glory, His freedom. His joy for you is not that you be oppressed and afflicted, do not surrender, embrace His love for you. There are more miracles waiting for you to experience, ushered in by His faithfulness in the face of our infinite weakness and ineptitude. You do not have to be the most spiritual, the most Christian, the most anything to receive this gift. Unlike everything else in this world, your lack of credentials make you that much more desirable to Him. Your shortcoming pull on God's heartstrings more than all the overachieving machinations of mankind combined. You don't need a fancy endorsement or resume, you can show up in your jammies with every hair out of place and He will reveal His majesty. Be underqualified, because He is the only qualification you will ever need.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Longing for more

What is my portion? What do I have a right to expect and what is beyond my graps? Am I too much, too lacking for redemption? How can God call me out with all my fleshly ways standing between us? Rhetorical questions, I know.

Nothing is impossible for God. My hardened heart, the shell of my old self that I carry in a secret compartment of my soul, these are not beyond the merciful healing of my God. He is more than all the shortcomings of my nature. He is beyond all my natural understanding.

My portion is not my past, not my sins of today. There is a promised wholeness hanging before me, a path of more than where I stand now or where I have been. A greater destiny than what I have ever dreamed possible. More healing, more signs, more wonders, more joy, more love, more revelation.... more, more, more!

I say bring it on, Your right to rule in my life and my heart, be unleashed. Whatever tethers I have restrained You with, be undone. Let there be no corner concealed, it is past time for Your glory to be poured out vigorously. More of You God, here and now.

Psalms 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Picked Off

So, it's like this... somebody is getting on your nerves, somebody you love in Christ and in the natural, how much do you let it interfere with your relationship? How much do you jump up onto your moral high horse and let them know all the ways they are living their life wrong?

STOP! Dismount that horse. Are you really in a position to correct anyone? How's your glass house today? You may want to rethink your strategy and put down the stone of loving correction and listen.

The enemy seeks to divide us from one another and each one of from Christ. When we let petty differences abide in our heart and bear grudges in our hearts, we are not allowing Christ to dwell in our hearts. Christ in a box doesn't do anyone much good, you or your 'somebody'. If you are truly letting Christ be the mediator and mighty counselor of your life, don't hold Him back from healing some one else's wounds by putting your foot in your mouth. Before you speak, PRAY.

I am no less guilty of feeling the draw of offering loving correction to all those around me, I think it's my mama nature, I want everyone to be healthy and happy, and I am sure that I know the best way to 'help' them achieve that. But I am afraid that my way isn't God's way and that I will do more harm than good. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I don't want to be helping that road any more than I already have.

So sit back and zip it. If you are not talking, you might be able to hear God's heart for the person that you want to fix. AND maybe, just maybe.... if you aren't trying to fix the world with your own strength, God will be released to heal those wounds.... yours and theirs. Maybe nothing, sit back and watch it happen... believe in the miracle that will happen.

Ecclesiastes 4:12
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mundane Miracles

When was the last time you looked around you to find the miracles around you? It doesn't have to be an earth-shattering, burning bush kind of miracle. What about the things that we take for granted? Relationships, safe harbors, freedom. Well, some of those may be earth-shattering... but I think that I have started to take them for granted.

So, my mundane miracle is this restored friendship. I know, I know, old news... but it is such an amazing gift and one that I didn't know that I had missed. We have all 'had' to do the kiss and make up, but you know it's still there. That looming elephant of resentment watching in the corner, waiting to remind you why it is that you fought with someone, or where the well of hurt sprang up. We have all pretended not to see that elephant, but we know it's there. And occasionally we throw it peanuts so it never really wants to leave. You think you are fine with your friend, if only you could figure out how to get rid of the elephant of resentment and long memory.

I didn't technically 'have' to make up with this chick, we travelled in the same circles, but we were civil, the elephant for the most part was kept at bay. I had nothing to gain, or lose by maintaining distance. Really, when I called to chat with her on that fateful day I really didn't intend to remove any barriers, maybe just make sure that we both had our elephants on a respectable leash and maintain the status quo. So, when I said we should hash out our remaining differences, or let God heal them, I meant it in a nebuolous kind of polite way. Like, I see you still have your elephant, so do I. Maybe we should acknowledge them and what I don't know, maybe get something smaller, like a hippo?

Never, and I mean never, in a million-bazillion years would I have thought that what would really happen was that God would just take our elephants away and leave us with this whole lovey-dovey cr... er, stuff. The overnight manifestation of God's holy love... WHAM, and now it's LOVE.

The weeks have passed, but the feeling hasn't. Now, we are even better friends than we were all those years ago. Isn't God funny? It's funny because I didn't know that I needed this, just one more sign of God's living abundant life around us. It's humbling how much He cares, and doesn't want us to fall out of relationship with one another. Together we are so much more, so much stronger than when we try to make it going our own way. The world is such a dangerous place, you don't know who you can trust, except for God.

It is such a simple solution to a complex problem, learn to love as God loves us. If only we can find a way to get that elephant out of the corner. I am sure that I have others lurking about, but God will work with that. I have such peace about this renewed friendship that I don't even get wiggy about it anymore. For me this is my mundane miracle.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Are you 'in' or 'out'?

I was never in a clique, well not really, I don't think. I was friends with different people in different groups, but I never really fit IN. I don't embrace conformity well, especially when people expect me to act or dress in a certain way... ie. like the 'in' crowd. So, I spent many years of my life bucking the system, going against the grain, holding myself apart. It was frequently very lonely and isolated, like I was my own enemy. Maybe I should conform? Will they like me if I am like them?

The answer today is duh of course not... if they don't like you for who you are, they will like you less if you sell out and become something that doesn't suit you. Falsehood in any form does not flatter. Looking back, I think there is a definitive value in being held apart. Today, I don't have to unlearn patterns of behavior that would give me a false sense of belonging to the in crowd. I have no holy elevated status, I am just as scarred as the next person, I am weak and critical of those who are weak. I despise weakness in myself, and pull away from the needy weakness I see reflected in others. And I am not the in crowd.

Since becoming Christian ten years ago, there have always been the questions that arise, like what about gays, the homeless, addiction afflictions, prostitutes... what do you think about THAT? Like I am some sort of moral authority? So not even close. But I would say that I wouldn't move away if someone from the 'out' crowd were to sit next to me. In a women's group very early in my Christian walk, someone had posed the question... we are all happy to be with each other, but what if a prostitute sat down on the couch next to you, would you move away? My answer then as it is today is is no, emphatically no way. Maybe if she were packing a knife and trying to steal my purse, but generally I am not moving.

Why is this important? Because, for me, I am not so far removed from my former self that I have forgotten who I was and where my life had been leading me. I have been in situations that are not so different from addiction or prostitution, did I sell myself for money or drugs... no. Drugs were never my thing, but I would throw myself into 'relationships' with no value for my own worth desperate for someone, anyone, please love me, validate me, fill this aching void. Never thinking that my own emptiness could not be filled with someone else, especially someone who was emptier than my own self. WE cannot redeem someone else, we don't understand the level of sacrifice that this entails, it surpasses all human understanding and passes into the supernatural. Beyond all doubt, there is only one sacrifice that has redeemed me and the world. I didn't ask to have the shadow of Jesus' sacrifice carried in my heart, but His blood of freedom flows freely through my veins. He is my Father, part of my DNA composition beyond earthly conception, and I am fulfilled in Him.

So, would I move my towel away from the 'out' crowd? no. The shadow of forgiveness and salvation hangs in the wings waiting to be accepted across the whole world. Who am I to say who is doing it right or wrong? Facing the Father, all else falls away. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on His will and your testimony will draw people in. Be inclusive, we are not a country club with some sort of elitist mentality, all be made welcome.

Galatians 5:13
You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What is the word of the day for you?

The word for me that keeps popping in my head is: indomitable. So, just to clarify I kinda knew what it meant, but I still had to look it up... and I so want to claim this word forever!! Check it out: Indomitable means incapable of being overcome, subdued, or vanquished; unconquerable.

From the very tips of my toes I want this to be me, everyday, breathing this victorious word until it becomes my natural response to life. Unstoppable me, unconquerable me... oh, yeah I like that word!! Rather than my current natural response of striving, managing and worrying, I am indomitable!

This seems scary, and uncomfortable.. to just be completely victorious over life and all it's pains and wounds... or NOT. Dude! THIS word is strength and power, worry does not rule over this truth. It is freedom, in God, to go forth and triumph mightly! Like some sort of crazy Xena Warrior Princess, who even in defeat emerges victorious, so that's TV, but this is real.

Can you claim this word for you, do you desire victory over the things in life that drag your soul down? If this isn't your word, find one that inspires you to triumph over adversity to become more than you ever thought you could be. Unleash God's power to free you up of the roots of suffering that you yourself cannot escape. For me, I like indomitable. I think it goes well into my vocabulary. I will not be subdued, I will not be vanquished, I will not be conquered! Victory through submission to God. When you willingly hand the reins over to God, that yielding moment somehow strengthens you beyond all earthly measure. Let God be your pilot, navigator, sovereign and He will lead you into the fields of His glorious mercy.

Exodus 15:11
Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rescheduled lately?

When I have an appointment scheduled, it's kind of inconvenient when they call to change the date and time. I have a toddler, my husband's work schedule, and certain times to take into consideration. I have picked the time that works for ME, whadda mean come in at 8:30?! One o'clock in the afternoon works better for me! It's either 8:30 or sometime two weeks from now? FINE. 8:30 am is just F-i-n-e with me, no thank you very much!

This was an excerpt from a phone rescheduling call that I got from my eye doctor's receptionist. Very aggravating, seriously. Please don't mess with MY plans, cause it is so all about me... right? Whatever.

So, my eyes are fine, thanks for asking, but the rescheduled appointment was amazing for reasons not optical. The chick that orders my contacts for me was back today after being sick for the last three days, she wouldn't have been there the day before during my original appointment. This was like my third time meeting with her, she's nice, I like her, we could so hang out, but this meeting was divine. She shared things about her life, relationships, kids, etc. that would have normally been out of place for where we were at, but somehow, it was just perfect.

She ended her first abusive marriage, saving herself and her children, and has learned not to settle for anything less than the best for herself and her kids. By example, she has shown her daughter not to be a victim and her son that it is not okay be abusive. I shared some of my own experience with escalating abusive relationships and told her she has done right by her kids. We both were kinda like wow, by the end of our conversation. I made her laugh and she needed it (her words).

I left feeling blessed, thinking man, I would have missed out if life had gone according to my plans! God is amazing, you never know what blessings you will experience when your schedule get rearranged! I so can't wait for my next inconvenience!

Psalms 138:3
When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Get inspired!

What or who inspires you? Obviously, it may depend on what you are doing. For example, I totally am inspired to be a better scrapbooker by Ali Edwards and Stacey Julian, but for my day to day stuff, my best friend Kimmy is it for me. Even my kids inspire me, especially to be a better and more worthy momma to their awesomeness!

But really it is God who inspires me to be more than I ever thought I could become. My whole life has been about surviving my baggage; dragging it around with me from relationship to relationship always wondering why dysfunction and drama always found it's way to center stage in my life.

God inspires my to be more than my natural self, my knee jerk reaction to life. Through God I have learned how to reclaim joy, which has caused my baggage to transform from a massive steamer trunk to a carry-on... way more manageable. Honestly, I still think that my past aches and pains could fill a trunk, but God has just whittled it all down into what really matters, what I need to focus on and share versus feeding the dysfunction.

Beyond all else, He inspires my to share His delight and joy with everyone I know and LOVE, even with those I have yet to truly know.. be warned, this means that anyone could be a target of love and joy, you won't even know what hit you and then WHAM! Hey, dude... I love you!

Psalms 36:5-12
5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. 10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don't let the proud trample me; don't let the wicked push me around. 12 Look! They have fallen! They have been thrown down, never to rise again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where are your toes?

First, I didn't sleep well last night either, partly allergies and partly stress, I guess. But when I was having problems falling asleep, I would just pray about misc. things until I fell back asleep. So, during one of these random unrelated prayer sessions, I got the following picture that relates to my toes to the line picture from a couple of months ago.

(Recap: I am standing on a nice sunny beach with my toes planted on a line drawn in the sand; all I have to do is stand in this spot and God has the rest covered. No armor, just standing.)
Last night, the beach is not really all that tropical anymore, more like the Oregon beaches, rugged and beautiful but cold and rough too. I was looking around trying to figure out where I am and what I am supposed to be doing... and then I see my line in the sand. But its cold out, cloudy and windy, and it's harder to put my feet on the line. At this point I literally had to pray "God help me put my toes back on the line" One foot at a time, I get there. Then the beach is calmer, but still Oregon-y. Still no armor, but I am thinking it may be time to think about suiting up.

I think this is a time of testing, what will you do when the landscape shifts? So, your line isn't in Margaritaville but on Beverly Beach... it's still YOUR line, all you have to do is get there by whatever means necessary. The enemy doesn't like that it's that simple. Dude, stand where God wants you to be? I don't think so... how about a little windstorm to slow you down, or fatigue or sickness? Stand firm in faith, it is all covered by God's amazing merciful Grace.

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Be Glorified

1Peter 1:8
and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

What does it mean to you... to be glorified? How do we adequately give glory or praises to something we cannot SEE with these eyes? Today we can worship anything, there is so much for our eyes to feast upon, and yet somehow it does not satisfy. With instant gratification so readily available, why are we not content? We stumble, drunk from thing to thing and nothing quenches that thirst or fills that void.

We live in a time of massive information overload, we can research our own medical issues, look up information about anyone, our identities are being stolen. Seriously. I am not even talking about someone stealing your credit information and racking up debt in your name. Well, not how you are thinking anyway. Someone is stealing your creditability, your soul is being consumed by our consumerism. You are not a disposable commodity, your are a treasure waiting to be reclaimed.

That void that drives you from fix to fix, is your soul crying out to the Father. Nothing will fit that emptiness and take it away. There is no drug, no shopping spree, no alcohol, no relationship that will fill you up and ease that dull but constant pain. I have tried believe me, I have compromised my own integrity in relationships, anything for love, please please someone love me... to no avail. Empty love thrown out returns empty to you, there is no reward in the end.

It wasn't until Jesus found me, that I realized what that emptiness was and that He took it away, forever. I was 25, and I finally got it... my debt was paid, my soul redeemed. Glory to glory, I exalt You, O my Lord, my heart wounds are healed!

Are there moments where life still hurts... yup. But I don't struggle alone, and even though I have days that are sometimes totally crazy, that void is still full and I know I am able to get up the next day better than the one before. It is never too late, anyone and everyone can be/has been redeemed. Choose today, share His glory with someone, let them no they are loved, truly loved and watch what happens!

God, I praise YOU! I worship YOU! I exalt Your Holy Name!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Toes to the line, and then some

Earlier this year, God gave me the picture of me standing on a beach with my toes firmly planted on a line drawn in the sand. I was not armed, just standing... with God's host of angels at my back. I didn't need a plan 'b', this was where I was supposed to be, toes to the line. All I had to do was be in charge of standing on this one little spot and the rest was covered.

I totally get this, stand firm, God's got IT covered. He is calling me out from the shallow end to stand in my destiny of where He is leading me. Like women's ministry, intercession, and somewhat even more specatuclar is this redeemed/revived friendship for a broken friendship. I so get it God! I was standing where you called me to be and so was she; I knew that I was supposed tobe on that spot, who was I to question why SHE was there too. Maybe she was supposed to be ...duh. CLEARLY, DUH! By us floating on the line together, the natural reaction might of been to run away and hide. I am not ready, don't make me be friends, please don't make her talk to me, can't we just pretend, please don't look at me... but we didn't run. AND now? I love her. God is so crafty, I wish I could see more than the end of my nose!

With toes to the line I stand, but now I am picking up my armor. Now is not the time to let the enemy near. I am not afraid and I do stand in faith, but I am not stupid, every gain for God's territory is a red flag for the enemy; he does not want God's inevitable vicotry and will create distractions and obstacles. If you can do nothing more than stand on your little line, fine, God's got it covered. But, seriously dude, at least think about the whole armor thing. It is a one size fits all kind of outfit... and I don't think it makes your backside look big, so pick it up!

I refuse to ask what HE is up too right now, God is so busy pulling me through this world, I think I just need to enjoy the ride. If I ask for bigger battles, I know He will deliver, and as much as I enjoy a good fight, I like the direction things are going. No, it's not a comfort thing, believe me. It's a growing thing. God is molding me into a new creation, and in this new infancy, poking the enemy in the nose seems a little bit rash. Okay, maybe the whole check your baggage posting poked him in the nose, but I am ready to back that one up. Full on combat, maybe not so much!

Waiting Expectantly... it wasn't me... it was HIM.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Watching Eagerly

Micah 7:7
As for me, I look to the LORD for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.

I like this, waiting confidently but the NAS version says 'watch expectantly' and that is even better! Watch closely and you WILL see God's glory moving around and through you. He wants us to be breathless in anticipation waiting to hear HIM and He will meet us. The God of my salvation Jehovah-Shammah is here, now! It is not about me trying to find Him with a microscope, it is knowing that He is with me, around me always. He's like hair, it's there on my head, I don't have constantly check to that it's growing, I don't panic and think where's my hair? I can't lose it... well not all at once, but I do confess that I am a shedder but I'm okay with that now. I know, I know some people don't have hair, but we all know that hair exists and we can see it all around us, we believe in hair, no question right? This line of logic is ridiculous I know, God is like hair??? I am so cracking up right now, but it kinda makes sense, right?! Whatever.

So, believing in God should be that straight forward; He's real and actively moving with us. Embrace Him, and watch/wait confidently and expectantly, there are miracles all around us!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Baggage Check?

I have recently observed that it is time to check out my baggage. In the past, I have been all good with the enemy hanging out in my baggage, making a mess, and stressing me out because dude, I gave him the passport to plague me. My problem with his annoying interference started last year when the enemy started getting out of the baggage area. Sneaky bugger he is, he wandered into territory that he wasn't allowed to go. Like seriously, I make a decision to go to church on a particular Sunday and then my whole morning turns into a series of catastrophes, resulting in a maimed finger, several wardrobe changes and a disgruntled toddler. And once I get there I realize that I almost didn't even make it!

Here's the deal, I have revoked the passport, no more mucking about in my baggage thank you very much. You have pushed too hard and know me too little. When I make I decision, it's a done deal, and if you don't know that by now then you have seriously miscalculated your strategy. You little demon, are evicted, cast out you have overstayed your welcome. Oh and when you think about trying to skulk back in the back door, good luck with that... meet the locked door and my new security system. Oh yeah baby, have you heard of the whole armor of the Lord? That's right, its on right now, so now what?!

While you little enemy are running around looking for someone else's baggage to leech onto, I don't wish you luck. I bind you in the name of the Holy Spirit, the Blood of the Lamb, you are NOT given permission to slither around. Get in your little box and stay there! Bye-bye now, bye-bye!

The Armor of God Rocks YO!


Synergy is a scientific term that means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Honestly, dude, chill... I totally googled the phrase, I am not a scientific mind by any means. So here's what God is shaking up tonight, WE are more than the sum of our parts. Together we can accomplish more, create a more powerful impact than as individuals. Scientific I am not, but I am about to get all biblical on y'all! Thank You!

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Together in this verse refers to the Greek Synergeo meaning to work together, help in work, be partner in labour to put forth power together with and thereby to assist... hello? Synergy anyone?

If the working together of two things produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects, wouldn't it stand to reason that if two hundred stand together the effects of that synergy would be off the charts? Or 2 million? What then? God will multiply faith in abundance, step out from the shadows and agree with me; we are more than our flesh, minds and weaknesses. We are called, chosen and redeemed, through us our faith will pour out to the nations, communities and churches. Through faith God will meet us and release His signs and wonders to all that seek Him. Move forward, anticipate healing and revel in His almighty majesty.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Freaking Out (part two)

So, here's the follow up. I stewed/processed the whole loving this chick for the last couple of days and I have found that it wasn't a fleeting thing. I still have the warm fuzzy glowing God love following me around. In the interest of being authentic, honest and not putting off the uncomfortable. I decided to test it out and rip the whole band-aid off to see if the vulnerability would kill my rep, 'cuz I gotta keep it real, but only if it looks good? Whatever.

I ripped it off, I called her... and after checking to make sure that she remembered that I am unlikely to say something just make someone's ego bloat and am sometimes painfully frank, and then the band-aid was off! I told her, dude I have to tell you I love you, (just for record this a platonic, God sista love... don't get the wrong idea here) and it's definately a God thing and it's freaking me out a LOT, but that's it. After her first ooooookay, she got it. I don't know what that means for our relationship in the future or exactly what the BIG MAN is up to. I do know HE is rearranging my furnature big time, beyond a spring cleaning, and I am excited to see what I look like in the new God place.

Lesson of the week: Keep it real, honest and vulnerable, it really won't kill you. It will liberate you! Blessings... it wasn't me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What in the world?

It's one of those days. WHAT exactly is God doing in my life? Oh, HE thinks he is such a comedian... ha ha. Ironic moments of surrender that's how I could explain this weird love burst that I am having for someone that I have had a fractured relationship with.
Old news, but the most recent movement is that I called this chick, and truly where we were once friends we ARE NOT anymore, or at least we haven't been for a long time. God, only He could get away with this I swear, compelled me to call her yesterday... we were on the phone for 45 minutes, ending the conversation on fabulous terms both agreeing to let God mend our still occasionally still stinging friendship.

So what happened today makes sense, in the whole God of the Universe kind of way. Today, I LOVE her, not in a casual kind of neighborly way, but a deep passionate sisterly, can't wait to see her kind of love. I am sitting here marveling at the way that God must love her and delight in her and that HE is just pouring this out of His heart. That He would tag me with this in the face of our baby-step conversation yesterday, can only mean that I don't know how to anticipate where He will move me next, but that I need to move where He is leading.

This love that He feels is for all of us and it is so humbling. With all of my shortcomings and self-inflicted obstacles, HE LOVES ME just as I am. It is beyond bearing, this love is so much more than I could express and it is positively overflowing. It must be the Holy Spirit because even when we were 'friends' I never felt this flow of love, just like. I am a little bit, well actually a lot, freaking out. He thinks HE is so funny, and He probably is, I am just freaking out right now!!

This is such a confirmation... it wasn't me!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Choose To Love

Some of the most amazing miracles that have occurred in my life when I have actively chosen to ignore my first instinct and love my enemy. The most specific example I have, was a fellow student named Jennifer. She used to just drive me insane!! She was loud and abrasive and unpleasant...and I just didn't like her. I didn't want to be in the same room as her much less sit next to her. I didn't have a concrete reason, but there it was. One day, for no apparent reason, I decided that I would sit next to her everyday until I liked her. I know, right...totally insane and what difference would it make? We come across people all the time that we don't like or that don't like us for one reason or another.

So, why was it so important that I like this girl, who I am pretty sure didn't like me either? I wish I had a profound answer, like a divine voice or something inspirationally motivating to credit this too. It was clearly a God driven encounter/decision, but it was also my stubborn tenacity...I don't like gray areas. Why didn't I like her? She was in all my classes, the stress of our friction was annoying me to no end. The reality is we can't change other people, or their perceptions of us. Or can we? When we begin to change ourselves and our own normal reactions to things, people can change. But the change must start with us.

So, back to the miracle of Jennifer...I sat next to her everyday, in all of our mutual classes everyday, week after week. I talked to her, asked her questions, first about school then about life. Her initial reaction, as mine would have been, was suspicion and wariness, but gradually there was a shifting in our relationship from adversary to acquaintance, then to almost friends. It was truly miraculous, and it would have been enough if that was the only fruit that came of this choice. But there was more.

On impulse, I invited Jennifer to come to a women's retreat with me. She was excited to go...I was shocked, she wasn't a Christian but she was totally jazzed to come with me. And at that very retreat, I saw her heart and brokenness and I saw her give her life to Jesus! Because of my conscious choice to follow Jesus, I got to witness the miracle of salvation for my enemy, my friend, my sister, and for myself. When we bless others, we ourselves enjoy the harvest of joy of the Father.

Where we choose to subscribe to division and mutual disrespect the enemy rejoices because we are inviting him to participate and propagate in brokenness and contribute to diseased relationships. When we CHOOSE to feed our dislike of our enemies, God cannot intervene. We have shoved Him in a box, held back by our free will. We have freely chosen to fracture relationships, to hold on to hurts, to not release God's love, not only to ourselves, but to those around us.

Choose today to lose, to release love, to release God's merciful love in your life. Hate is a malignant cancerous thing that spreads so easily from the first to the last. We so submit to negativity and resentment willingly - why is it so difficult to believe that the real truth is that we are loved. Why do we accept the bad but not His love? Is there not more true freedom in love? Hate isolates us from relationships with Christ and people, but love connects us, frees us, heals us and forgives us. Choose to love, to let go, to forgive. Trust in the forgiving nature that is God. He is the mighty restorer, we have to make the choice, and He will restore all!

Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels

Monday, February 11, 2008

My life undone

What is undone in my life today? If I were gone tomorrow, what would my level of un-doneness be? How many piles of started but not completed projects do I have piled up around me?

I think that my inspiration of the year is to achieve new levels of competition in all areas of my life. I claim victory over procrastination. I claim perseverance over adversity. I claim the Father's Joy in my life.

When my mother passed away in 2002, she had left behind piles of projects that were maybe halfway completed. I don't want that to be my legacy; creative and inspired but unable to see my vision through. For my children, for myself, I want to see the harvest of my labors actualized. Where is the joy in planting the seeds of creativity, when you do not get to enjoy or share the fruits of your harvest?

I want my life to be my message. I want what I do to reflect who I am and what I believe. And I want my actions to match my words. Let there be no difference there. Let me show consistency in my behavior with no reflections of hypocrisy or judgment in my tone. Let His joy shine through to all those that I come in contact with. I pray for freedom from my old ways that I rely on to readily, show me my Father's desire and will; let that be MY guide through life. Blessed are those who bless Him and all the people of the world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


January seemed to drag on forever and now its gone! The kids had two snow days last week and it's pretty much been just gray and rainy since then. God is continuing to amaze me with...well, his amazing-NESS! I am feeling WAY more connected spiritually than I have in years and I know this is going to be a big year in faith. God has been revealing to me that it is time to get off the sidelines and participate in prayer. I need to stand, toes to the line and intercede prayerfully with God at my back. I am so done letting myself struggle with things that I KNOW have been forgiven. Period. Moving forward.

I think this is the year to do a prayer/faith scrapbook. A visual declaration of my beliefs and things that I get in will be interesting to see what happens by the end of the year! I am so grateful for God's merciful kindness and unending forgiveness for all of my shortcomings. Each day is a blessing and I eagerly anticipate God shaking things up all around me!

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 - It's a brand new year

It is the middle of January already! Where does the time go to once it has flown by?! The themes for growth, spiritual and otherwise, this year is relationships and reclaiming lost joy. Where are you at with your lost joy? Maybe it is not joy that you have lost, is it hope? Whatever you have is the year to reclaim it!

Relationship. WHAT exactly does that word mean to you? How do you define your relationships? Do you have safe boundaries? Are they respected? Where ever your relationships are at, I encourage you to delve deeper with those that you love and move further into openness and freedom with Christ. No one is meant to be alone, and yet even in the midst of our business sometimes we feel at our loneliest. Why? Is the flash of the moment worth so much more than the secret quiet moments we all long for. The moments when we can laugh with friends over silliness or pour out our hearts and cry on their shoulders when the sky is falling.

In the fall-out of new years' resolutions, I encourage you to make one that you can actually up your relationships and look into your heart and acknowledge what you feel you have lost, and make this the year that you reclaim it. Who's gonna stop you? We only have today, this moment right now, to begin to make the changes that will make us stronger, happier, and freer. Reach down deep, extend your hand out to the heavans and cast your joy, hopes and fears to the Lord and all of your prayers will be heard. Reclaim your hope, for everything that is promised with be borne out into actuality. This is the year of victory, for me and for you. Believe it, it is for you; grab hold with both hands and seize the moment for you are truly blessed for this glorious new year!

abundant blessings!