Monday, September 27, 2010


There is a jail that I would reason a guess exists in every nation around the world, it is a jail that allows us to roam freely among society, live in the home of our choice, have a car, and earn a paycheck to spend as we wish. It is a jail with no visible bars or barbed wire.  There is no warden or parole board, it is a jail that no one has sentenced us to but ourselves, and every prisoner is free to leave whenever they want all they have to do is walk through the door, it is the jail of our own making in our mind and thoughts.  I know many people, past and present that have sentenced themselves and are currently residing in this jail, some are living in the cell block of condemnation some are in the addiction and self medication ward, while others are across the yard in revenge and unforgiveness.  I try to visit them as often as I can, holding the door open behind me a few extra minutes when I leave just in case one of them wants to walk out the door with me. Some have come close but then dutifully turn around preferring to be in the comfort of the familiar than the bright light of the unknown that promises wonderful things, and that makes me sad.

I lived in this jail most of my life, I could not forgive myself for not being able to be thin enough to deserve being loved, I could not forgive myself for not being able to make myself pretty enough to deserve being loved, I could not forgive myself for being born with a learning disability and not being able to be smart enough to deserve being loved, I condemned myself for not being able to be perfect enough to deserve being loved.  Warped, but oh so true, what I did not know at the time is that God created me to be way I was meant to be. 

I don’t want to make it seem like I have it all together because I don’t, I still put myself back in that jail cell from time to time when I don't live up to the unreasonable expectations I place on myself.  I have a learning disability that has no has not always served me well, I have always had to work twice as hard to keep up yet most of the time I still fell short, I came from a physically and verbally abusive home where I was always trying to be perfect enough for my father to love me but still falling short, I still struggle with how could I possibly think that someone else could find something about me to love if my own father didn’t, and that is when I put myself back in that jail and have to remind myself of who I am in Christ, I am beautifully and wonderfully created by a God who loves me just the way I am.

I am created by a God who brought me into this world knowing the struggles I would have, and He was always there never letting me fall too far, even when I didn’t know it, but never letting me get too comfortable. He knew one day I would get tired of the constant struggling to make life happen on my own and I would come looking for Him for a way out, and that way out is available to anyone who wants it.

I will let you in on a little secret, you are beautifully and wonderfully created by a God who loves you just the way you are, He wants to free you from the bondage you have put yourself in and a bondage He never intended for you to have.  Confess whatever it is that keeping you in jail and let Him sort it out, He will and He will work it out for your good, trust me, you cannot fix anything better than God can.

When you live your life putting God first it having something on the inside of you filled up, a place you may not have even known was empty until it was full.  It is knowing that whatever storm of life you are in or is headed your way you don't have to handle it on your own.  There is a peace in knowing that whatever happens is under God's sovereign control, and He already has a plan.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

For your listening pleasure today I have included some Josh Wilson, Before the Morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

brought to you today by the number 40, a Bible, and some coffee and banana bread

Today is my 40th birthday, it has finally arrived, and I say that because when I was 39 I would never tell people I was 39, I would always say I am going to be 40 this year, and as my birthday got closer I would tell people I am going to be 40 in few months, or soon to be 40. 

Last week I went shopping with my mother to pick out my birthday present, a brand new Bible and she even got me a nifty little case to carry it in, and then surprised me with
Tenth Avenue North
concert tickets, and all I wanted was a new Bible. I had been needing one for a long time now, my old one has a paper cover and the edges are frayed, it has some coffee stains on it, a few bite marks in it when I would leave it to close to the edge of the table and the dog would snatch it, she is tall enough to reach the tops of tables so I can’t leave anything to close to the edge. She ate my dinner one time when I left it unattended on the dining room table while I was in the kitchen getting a glass of milk to wash it down with that was a hard lesson learned.  Anyway, my new Bible has a leather cover and a case to keep it safely tucked away in.

I was thinking about that day and the events of the months before that. I am not just my mother’s daughter but I am also a daughter of the King, who likes to surprise His children just like our earthly parents do.  I went into the bookstore that day with the small dream of a Bible and my mother surprised me with goody bag of treasures, and just a few months before, my Father surprised me with the treasure of a new friend.  I am forty years old today, never married and I have no children, except Whitney the dog, who in my opinion is the work of 10 children.  I am totally at peace with my singleness and it really hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want to do, but on the other side of that coin I wonder what God is waiting for.  I thought today would be a good day to talk a little bit about my singleness.

It wasn’t until the day that I was sitting at my new friend’s dining room table, drinking coffee, eating banana bread, telling her about some things that had happened to me in the past, that the words were said out loud, and hearing the words made it totally real, “could that be the reason why God is keeping you single?”, of course it is, deep in my heart I knew it, but as long I as I never heard it said out loud I didn’t have to face it, I could gloss over it, keep it stuffed inside and never let it rear its ugly head. 

The rest is something I wrote in my diary a long time ago, and even though there is this thing that has to be dealt with, God will deal with me about it when the time is right, and I still feel the way I do about my singleness in what I wrote so long ago.  I hope it helps someone else who is single and not liking it to put things in perspective.

It Is All A Matter of Perspective

“Embracing where you are and what you do with it is a matter of perspective, you are either going to spend it focusing on what you don’t have, which by the way I did a lot, or focusing in what you do have, I had to get it out of my head that I was alone and when I did that it was as if the heavens opened up and the angels started to sing.  

Holidays are especially hard on single people, there is no one to exchange Christmas gifts with, no one to kiss at midnight on New Years eve, no one to cuddle with under a blanket while watching the fireworks, even I don’t always enjoy being the only single person in a circle of couples distracting myself with watching the fly on the wall, pretending it fills empty space next to me that I so wish was occupied by someone that wants to hold my hand or put their arm around me, but holidays only make up a small portion of the 365 days that we get, so rather than wallowing in that yet again I am spending Christmas alone, I make the decision to not take off my pajamas all day, not do hair or makeup, I spread out the leftovers of the Christmas Eve feast with my family from the night before and settle in for day of back to back Christmas movies and a boat load of uninterrupted napping.  

I wasted so much time being miserable and unhappy over what I didn’t have I feel as if I am making up for lost time and embracing what I do have, chasing it like a lion after its prey, I can’t believe that after twenty years of being alone I am just now realizing this.  God has given me the precious gift of time, time to find out who I am, what makes me, me and I have chosen to embrace it for as long I have it and I will let God decide when it is time for me not to be single anymore, and let Him write that chapter, because his timing is always perfect.  I am able to receive God’s will for my life freely and without complication, I found some talents I never knew I had and my life has gone down a path that is so much better that I ever imagined. I now understand the meaning of the phrase “the peace that passes all understanding”.

My life is hardly a walk through a daisy field on a warm summer day by any stretch of the imagination I have struggles just like everyone else.  I found myself in the unemployment line a few times more than I would have liked to be and I had no husband at home with a paycheck to fall back on, no husband to unclog the drain or take my car to the mechanic, when I am sick I can’t just yell out “ hey honey can you go to the store and get me some medicine” at times it becomes all too consuming sitting down exasperated, asking God if it was really necessary for it to snow again that day, I was cold and tired and I all I wanted to do was take a hot shower and tuck myself under a blanket, I didn’t really want to spend 20 minutes getting dressed in preparation of shoveling 3 feet of heavy wet snow.  But everything always seemed to work out, The bills got paid on a mere $200.00 a week in unemployment, I didn’t die because I had to shovel snow, after hours of laboring I finally managed to unclog the drain, and even though I didn’t have any medicine the deadly virus that I was convinced was coursing through my veins turned out to be a nasty head cold that eventually cleared up.

I am still a baby Christian, I don’t feel firmly planted in my walk with God and if He gave me what I wanted I would loose focus on my relationship with Him. A relationship I have come to cherish with every pore of my being.  I have given my life to building my relationship with Him, focusing on His word, getting to know Him, wanting to obey Him and I am square in the position to do  that, free from the distractions of the world that often and almost unnoticeably overtake our lives.  God doesn’t have to share me with anyone or anything He has me all to Himself, to teach me to guide me to shape and mold me into anything He wants me to be, I wholeheartedly embrace it, at this moment there isn’t a single thing I would change about my life, I don’t feel like I am missing anything.  I have heard from so many people how they don’t want to spend Sunday nights alone, I never spend a Sunday night alone or any other night for that matter, I am spending it with my Father, in my tiny enclave of a home office, sipping tea, snug in my jammies and the dog snoring at my feet typing feverishly to get my thoughts on paper before they exit my head as fast as they entered it, not having to share my time with anyone but Him and I can’t think of anything more divine than that.”


2 Peter 1:5-8
Make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Today we have the musical talents of Michael W. Smith, A New Hallelujah.  It has nothing to do with what I wrote, but I love the song, and imagine myself standing in the choir singing it at the top of my lungs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Late Sunday, my blog sounding eerily like my tenth grade science paper, wondering how in heavens I was going to fix this.  Frantically searching my diary looking for anything when I came across an entry I wrote about hands and feet, locking my eyes in on the first sentence, “It is the journey that God has taken my feet on that has enabled my hands to type the words that He has placed in my heart to write”, and there it was, the reminder of the chaos of where my feet have walked, and where I never want them to tread again.  It was peace, the simple pleasure of the peace I feel when I am at the pond sitting at my Father’s feet reading His word while the dog is enjoying her daily swim completely aware that I am sitting among my Father’s creation, it is the simple pleasure of peace I feel when I hear a bird singing outside my window or the leaves rustling on the trees.  It is the peace I feel while singing along during worship in Church, It is the peace I feel sitting on my patio sipping my coffee laced with caramel macchiato half and half with the sun shining on my face.  But more importantly it the peace I feel in knowing that I am not walking through this life alone, it is peace that I no longer have to worry because God is in control and has my best interests at heart, it is peace in knowing that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, it is peace that if my God is for me who can be against me, it is the peace of trust and faith, it is resting in the peace of God.

God doesn’t promise us a big house, monetary wealth or anything else the world tells us we are to place our worth in, He promises peace, because sometimes we can find ourselves in some really stinky places, and His promise of peace is what is going to get us through those times with a joyful and a glad heart.  Perhaps peace isn’t something you think about when you think of simple pleasures, but it is my simple pleasure, because I remember the days, all too well, when I didn’t have any. 

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I like to include a song with my posts, so for your listening pleasure today I have included Matt Redman’s, You Never Let Go.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

Ok so it is more like Bald Eagles, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Beavers. 

“C’mon lets go” my friend yelled standing two feet away in the patio door that leads to my backyard. 

“Shhhhh quiet, you are going to scare them away, come take a look at this” I said in little more than a whisper.

Exasperated and growing impatient she steps out onto the patio to take a look.  “It is a bird” she says.

“It is not just a bird, look at it, it’s a Cardinal, I think there is a family of them living up there” I said pointing up into the 50 year old maple tree that is still standing tall in my backyard.

“Ok, so it is a Cardinal, I think we learned about those in the first grade, c’mon lets go”.

“If there is any doubt in your mind that God exists, that bird right there is proof that He does”.

“It’s a bird”.

So my friend was completely missing my point, and I am not giving up hope that some day she will see the beauty in what I saw in my backyard that afternoon. Living in Wisconsin we don’t see many Cardinals, our state bird is the Robin, and Cardinals don’t come around for a visit very often, but when they do, it is hard to miss them.  I had Cardinals and Blue Jays living in my back yard that summer, looking quite intentional with their color palette of blues and reds so bright that it is unmistakably God who created them, and rather than containing these colors, He created a bird to bestow them upon, to swoop and dart through the air for all the world to see, and they were living in the tree in my backyard, and they stuck around all summer keeping me company. 

I saw many miracles that summer, A long neck crane cooling himself in the pond across the street, Cardinals and Blue Jays gliding through the air over head, a beaver slithering its way into the water and a bald eagle perched on a lamp post that had the entire neighborhood out to watch, and when it spread its wings and took flight I don’t see how anyone can deny how great our God is to create such a beautiful and spectacular creature.

I was asked the question recently, how to find God’s purpose for our life, I had to tap a few resources to find the best answer I could possibly give to that question, and this is what I came up with, we are to live our lives to glorify God.  We have to say yes, we have to say yes Lord I accept you as my Savior, we have to say yes and get out of the boat.  Because as long as we stay in the comfortable confines of the four walls of ourselves, relying on our own understanding to get us through this life we have no need for Him, we do not glorify Him, and we miss His best.  But when we say yes, and get out of the boat we are stepping outside our own understanding and doing what looks to be the impossible in our small human minds, and that is when we become totally dependent on God, who will bring us through to glorify Him. I have attached some links to a blog by Lysa TerKeurst (start at the bottom with Permission to be Haunted and read up) and her story on how she came to adopt two orphan boys, it is a story of saying yes to God and stepping out of the boat into the unknown and how God brought them all through, and where they are today. I am not done talking about this but I think I have said enough for today. So I leave you with a song, In Wonder by the Newsboys, it is one of my favorites, a few scriptures and a story, and give God some glory for the beauty He has created.

Psalms 9:1-2
I will praise you, O'Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise in your name, O Most High.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar in wings likes eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Story Telling

It was about nine months ago, on one cold and snowy sleepless night, I lay in bed feeling like I were on fire, it wasn’t like a hot being on fire it was a fire on the inside, and it was burning me up.  I can’t tell you why I did what I did next, but I got out of bed turned on my computer and started writing, the words spilling onto the pages all by themselves, and as dawn broke and I read the words that I spent all night feverishly typing I knew that life as I knew it was about to change, I didn’t know how and I didn’t when but I knew a change was on the horizon.

I was going through an incredibly difficult time back then which fueled the fire on the inside of me that much more, and I spent many sleepless nights sitting in front of my computer crazily typing to get my thoughts on paper before they exited my head, and before I knew what had happened I had the beginning works of my story, I call it my diary, written by and through the grace of God, and I say that because even in the moments leading up to the first words that I put on paper I had no idea what I was about to do, all I heard was that still small voice telling me to start typing, don’t worry I will give you the words that I want you to write.

After hearing that you may think I need to be on some serious medication, and believe me it was a thought that had crossed my mind on a few occasions, wondering what in the world was I doing.  I’m not a writer, and I kept it a secret for a very long time convincing myself that it was just for me, chronicling my journey since becoming a Christian so I will never forget where it was that I came from and reminding me that I never want to go back there. I let a few trusted Christian friends read it who eventually convinced me that I had to share it, so here I am telling my story. I know I haven’t shared much this time around, but stick with me, I have only just begun.  My story and the words I am using to share it are not by the works of my own hands, the glory goes to God on that one, because I have never written a thing before in my life, nothing, nada, zippo, and it wasn’t a dream that I had or something I ever aspired to do, it came out of no where on that cold and snowy sleepless night.

So my friends, if you think you have led such a wrong life that you think God has written you off or has rendered you useless, you would be wrong, you were created very intentionally born with a purpose that only God can bring to pass and it is so far beyond anything you could possibly imagine for yourself. I hope my story encourages you to seek the purpose that God had planned for you before you were even born because there is one, He is just waiting for you to get out of the boat and say yes.  

Verse for Today:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Song for Today: 

Sidewalk Prophets, The Words I Would Say