Saturday, April 30, 2011


Before I write this I feel like I must add a disclaimer before you read any further. 

Disclaimer:  I love my family I really do, but we don’t get each other.  This is not meant to be anything negative towards them and it is in no way is my intent to speak ill of them.  This is a post that has been lurking under the surface scratching to get out since I started this blog, but I have fought against writing it.  My family does not know about this blog, and even if they did I wouldn't tell them where to find it so they could read it.  Denial is the family crest, I would probably get a serious tongue lashing for embarrassing the family with some of the things I have written about, and then I would probably be disowned.  I have exposed the family secret, brought it to the surface, and my mother would never again be able to show her face in public.  But this is the family God chose for me, He knew what He was doing.

My family and I don’t get each other, we used to get each other but since becoming a Christian four years ago there has been an elephant in the room trying to stampede its way out.

I have often wondered from time to time in these last four years why I couldn’t have been born into a nice Christian home, a home where people “get me” with parents who would look at my current situation and build me up through their prayers and faith rather than tear me down in their doubts and fears, my family is the ultimate in warriors of worry and doubt.  I am not close with any of my extended family, in fact I haven’t spoken to many of them in years, my small circle includes me, my mom, my sister and my nephew. 

I don’t blame my mom for succumbing to her fears and often times becoming paralyzed in them, she has not had any easy life, in fact far from it, but that is a story for another time.  She has lived all sixty some years of her life in a pit of fear and worry, like I said I don't blame her for that, but there are times when it takes every bit of strength the Lord gives me to hold back my anger at her for not wanting to change it, for not wanting to be free of the bondage that so often ensnares her.  She lives by sight and not by faith, she sees the recent tragedies of the collapse of our economy,  9/11, the earthquake in Haiti, the Tsunami in Japan, the tornadoes and flooding in the south as God unleashing his anger on humanity, He is getting revenge on us. My mom has lived in anger, fear, worry and doubt for so long that it is her normal, what is not normal to her is me.

I have often been driven to my knees before God after a conversation with her.  My situation is dire at the moment, God cannot save me now, I need to put that nonsense away, get my head out of the clouds and start doing more than praying to a God who clearly has no interest in helping me.  I feel I must add here, I am doing something, I am sending out resumes and filling out applications, I am not sitting on the couch waiting for a job to come knocking at my door.  well, ok, I have had some serious couch potato days, but those days only make up about 1% maybe 2% of my time.

I can’t make my mom believe, I can only live my life as a testimony before her, which right now is not much of a testimony, at least not in her eyes.  She will believe when her brand of justice is dispensed on the pedophiles and drug dealers of the world, when God does things the way she thinks they should be done, she will believe when God makes sense according to her. She refuses to open her mind to the possibility that God’s ways are higher and better than hers, that He is control, that He knows what He is doing even when what He is doing doesn’t make sense.

Yes she has seen the change in me she has even commented on it but she is still living by the sight of my circumstances.  I feel her nervousness when she is around me the pacing back and forth and the way she wrings her hands in fear of what is going to become of me. My mother’s words often tear me down when there is very little left to tear down.  I know she doesn’t mean it, that is her normal she doesn’t know any different and has no interest in knowing any different, she has no interest in changing.  Her back has become so numb to the sack of stones she has strapped to it that she doesn’t feel it nestled in the grooves anymore, to take it off now would mean she would have to adjust to a new way of walking and the words change and new are not part of her vocabulary.

It is easier to live in her controlled world of mediocrity than put forth the effort to live in the amazing, that would require change.  She lives in the safety of what she can control and giving up control would be like death to her, she white knuckles it, has a firm grip on it and refuses to let go, if she can’t control it she wants nothing to do with it.

I have asked God to show up BIG, really BIG, to do something so beyond comprehension that there is no way that I had anything at all to do with it, so that perhaps maybe a tiny seed of belief will take root in my mother’s heart.  She believes in God, she believes Jesus died on the cross, but I also think she believes that it is something that happened 2000 years ago and has very little to do with her life now.

Perhaps it will be through me that He reaches them, it seems a little haughty and prideful to even say that, but it is not out of an exaggerated sense of self, I don’t think of myself as the “chosen one” I am simply the one who said yes that day on the bridge, when God spoke to me so clearly it were as if He were standing right before me, when He asked me if I would follow Him and when I said yes I put my life in His hands, I gave Him complete and controlling interest.

My mom and I have had many ups and downs over the years, and our relationship is good right now but it has been through a lot trial and error.  I have learned where the line in the sand is drawn with her, I don’t talk about God around her anymore, that is like taking a trip through the desert with the Israelites, going around the same mountain and getting no where, but rather trust that God is speaking unspoken words through me to her, maybe one day she will decide a forge a relationship with Him, but only He knows if that will ever happen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the power

If you ask them, most people would probably tell you the person they would most like to have dinner with is Jesus. Heck, I used to say that but I never really knew why, it just seemed like the appropriate response.  These days Jesus is not the person I would most like have dinner with, Jesus is the person I would most like to spend a warm summer day sitting on a rock with, away from the hustle and bustle of the world where we could sit together listening to the lap of the water, a place so beautiful it is unmistakably God’s creation.  It would be a day where I could get a tiny taste of what the people of his time experienced, his grace, and kindness, the power he held and the humbleness in which he used it.

Jesus lived a simple life, owning nothing and relying on the people of the town he was visiting for food and shelter, his life was pure, unblemished and sinless and he had a following like no other.  He healed the masses through the power given to him by God, a lame man could walk, a blind man could see and those who were once dead were made alive. But it wasn’t just the healing miracles he performed on the lame and the blind and the dead, but it was also his gentle nature that performed miracles of the heart, Jesus healed inside and out.  The broken sinful people of the world loved him, and he loved them.  Jesus had the power to change lives, and so do we. 

We never know when we let the power of Jesus shine through us who we are healing, it may be through giving a sandwich to someone who has never tasted the kindness of a stranger, laying a gentle hand on arm of woman who has only ever felt the sting of what the human hand is capable of, it may be telling someone they are beautiful when all they have ever heard is that they are ugly, it may be looking into the face of the nameless person on the street who long ago people stopped looking at, that’s what Jesus did.

Ephesians 4:23 tells us we were made to be to be like God, righteous and holy.
Philippians 2:5 tells us that our attitudes should be like that of Christ Jesus.

Suppose you have a car but you never drive it rather choosing to walk, you probably wouldn’t get very far, you will never know what your car has power to do unless you get behind the wheel and turn on the ignition.  A car can take us far and it can take us wide, and so can the power of God if we let it, if we stay open to his teaching, he will change us from the inside and it will show on the outside, we are to let our light shine before men.  Do you let the power of God shine through you in your community, your school your workplace?

Jesus concern was not for himself but for other people, and since we were made in his image… well you get my drift, he doesn’t want anyone to perish but to have eternal life, and we have been given the power to plant that seed into the lives of others.  Jesus was infectious, people couldn’t help but be drawn to him, he was kind and gentle even in his anger he never sinned, even when the crowds were in the thousands and he was tired and hungry and just wanted to be alone with his disciples, most of us would be a little on the salty side but Jesus fed them from a little boys sack lunch.

Think of God being the outlet and we are the cord, plug it in and it comes to life, leave it sitting on the garage floor and the only thing it is really good for is to trip over.

Every once in a while I will run into someone I knew in my former life, I get head scratching strange looks, at first they will comment on how I look. Your face, they tell me, it doesn’t look as hard as it used to, and you were mad at the world, you don’t seem so mad anymore.  The power of Jesus, he transforms the inside so the power of his light can shine on the outside.

June 15 will mark one year since I entered this season, and if you have read any part of this blog you know it has been a tough year, I haven’t held much back.  I have had my ups and downs, I have laid on the floor in a pool of my own tears…many times, there have been times when the silence of God has echoed back in my ears feeling as if I were doing nothing more than praying to the ceiling, or worshipping the air space around me, there have been times when satan has invited himself over for dinner and a slumber party, I am aware he is lurking just beneath the surface waiting for a crack in my foundation so he can slither through and he has done it more times than I can count, there have been times of unspeakable joy and unspeakable sorrow, there are times when I have asked “Poppa don’t you love me anymore?” And times when I could feel myself wrapped in the folds of his robe, there have been times when I thought this was a punishment and other times of inexplicable peace, there isn’t a range of emotion I haven’t felt during this season, and just when I think he has forgotten about me, a blog post will be written, a song will play on the radio, a devotion that feels like it was written for my eyes only, a sermon at church, an encouraging word, or seeing a person I haven’t seen in a while telling me something is different.

I don’t know what waiting up ahead for me, I am not privy to that information, I can’t promise that I will never again write another post that will not be cause for alarm (as one of mine recently did), I am sure I will again feel the silence from the heavens and the condemnation of satan, I am sure there will be times when I feel like all I am doing is praying to the ceiling or worshipping the walls, and I can’t promise that you will never feel these things either, I can’t promise that you will always be comfortable and never taste the evils of the world, I can’t promise you will never grow weary and tired, but I can promise that if you cry out to Jesus, it will be through his power and the power he has given you that you can get back up again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In His Great Mercy

Jesus’ death was not the result of a panicking, cosmological engineer. 
The cross wasn’t a tragic surprise.  
Calvary was not a knee-jerk response to a world plummeting towards destruction. 
It wasn’t a patch-job or stop-gap measure. 
The death of the Son of God was anything but an unexpected peril.

No, it was part of plan.  It was a calculated choice. 
“It was the Lord who decided to crush him and make him suffer.”  (Isaiah 53:10)
The cross was drawn into the original blueprint.  It was written into the script. 
The moment the forbidden fruit touched the lips of Eve, the shadow of a cross appeared on the horizon. 
And between that moment and the moment the man with the mallet place the spike against the wrist of God, a master plan was fulfilled.

From the book God Came Near
Max Lucado

He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. 
Three figures hung on the crosses.  Arms spread. 
Heads fallen forward.  They moaned with the wind. 
Men clad in soldiers garb sat on the ground near the trio. 
Men clad in religion stood off to one side… Arrogant, cocky.

Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill…Faces streaked.
All heaven stood to fight.  All nature rose to rescue.  All eternity poised to protect. 
But the creator gave no command.

“It must be done…,” he said and withdrew.
The angel spoke again.  “It would be less painful…”
The creator interrupted softly “But it wouldn’t be love.”

In The Eye of the Storm
Max Lucado

The blood was shed
The nails were real
The cross was heavy
The price was high
So He paid it for us

He didn't have to do it but He did
He knew paying our own ransom would bankrupt us.
He did it because He loved
Praise to be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Timothy 1:3

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the post i didn't want to write

My most recent blog entry, doing life, was one of those that I did not like writing and it almost did not get posted.  My sweet friend over at the The Scenic Route reposted it on her blog.  If you ever struggled in relationships as I have then I encourage you to pop over there, and know you are not alone.


Monday, April 18, 2011

doing life

I have never been very good at relationships; they do not come easily or naturally for me.  Sure I have had relationships in the past but I always had one foot out the door and as soon as someone started digging beneath the surface the other foot would soon follow and I would be gone.  My relationships were built on the surface limping along on my skewed set of terms.  They were a double edge sword in many ways, I was hungry and desperate for those close relationships, the kind of relationships where you can walk into someone’s house help yourself to their refrigerator, kick the door shut with your foot then sprawl out their living room sofa and proceed to channel surf, yet I would never let myself get that close.  People were replaceable and not needed in my world, I much rather preferred to be alone than invest in a relationship and run the risk of getting hurt, it was easier that way, I was guarding my heart and not in a good way.

Perhaps you are like I was, you have been hurt so much in the past you only see the negative in people, you see no point in investing in relationships, you lay in wait for the other person to mess up so you have an excuse not to sow anything meaningful into the relationship, you keep it on the surface with your exit strategy firmly in place, I get that.

Perhaps you are like me, taught from a very early age to be self sufficient and never depend on anyone else, never let your weak places show because it is in your weak places that you will be taken advantage of.  I get that too. 

Neither of those things are at all self preserving or self sufficient but self defeating. I get why some people build a steal trap around their hearts, a divorce that left them emotionally depleted, or friend that had been betrayed them, relationships are risky, they require us to put ourselves out there with no guarantee that we won’t be hurt by them, but we were created for relationships, and that means taking a risk.

 I had a conversation with God not too long ago in Wal-Mart of all places about a certain situation in my life.

Why don’t you trust Me? He asked.

I do trust You, I replied, it is people I don’t trust.

Then it is Me you do not trust either, you don’t trust Me to with the people I put in your life.

When we deny ourselves the relationships we were created for we not only deny ourselves the opportunity to sow our gifts into someone else’s life but we also deny other people to sow their gifts into our lives. We were created for relationships, we thrive and grow when we are in relationships.

It is not easy to overcome our hurts from the past, I am still unraveling the damage, I still proceed with caution, relationships are where I am weak and where the enemy attacks.  I can beat myself up for days after spending time with a friend about all the things I said that I shouldn’t have convinced that they will never want to spend time with me again, I am working on that.

We were created for relationships, relationships that will prop us up when we are defeated, encourage us to keep going when we want to give up, rejoice with us in our victories, and sometimes to just give us swift kick in the pants when we need it.  We were created to do life together not alone.  Relationships are a work in progress for me, it has been a journey of slow baby steps, it has been a journey of healing and restoration and it has been a journey of seeing the faithfulness of the Lord at work in my life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

scraps and pink envelopes

I remember walking into the classroom that morning eyeing the carefully placed pink envelopes on each child’s desk, that was every desk except mine.  My desk was empty no pink envelope adorned it, everyone was invited to the little girl’s birthday party but me.  Holding back the tears I raced down the hall to the bathroom my little girl heart was broken she did not want me at her birthday party, and if the empty desk wasn’t enough she had to announce it front of the whole class, you are not invited to my party because dummies can’t come to my party, I was the special ed kid and she did not want the special ed kid at her party.

Sometimes I still feel like that little girl rejected so long ago.  Like God looks at me like that little girl in my class, like the special ed kid that He is just merely putting up with but does not want at His party.  When He has time He may get around to listening to my prayers and if He feels like it He may answer one or two, but not the big ones, oh no… never the big ones.  Feeling like I should be grateful for the leftovers after everyone else has eaten, feeling like I should be perfectly content standing at the end of the line happy to be allowed to stand in line at all, convinced that He could never use me, in fact sometimes I feel like He is taking great delight in seeing how much suffering He can pile on top of me before my legs give out under the pressure, convinced He dumped me in this season just to watch me try to squirm and dig my own way out of it. Sometimes I feel a little like Moses in the desert, God if this is what my life is going to be then just take it from me now, because I don't want to live this anymore.

I held my tears as I drove to church yesterday morning, not really wanting to walk in with red puffy eyes and a tear stained face, I didn’t want anyone to notice I didn’t want anyone to ask I didn’t want to talk about it, I held my tears through worship until they sang that song, How He Loves by the Dave Crowder Band and the flood gates were opened, the dam had broken and a water well spilled down my face during that last song before the lights were turned up and everyone around me was going to see, my vulnerable raw places exposed, they were going to know something wasn’t right.

I have taken a break from writing lately, only throwing out a blog post here and there, taken a break from reading blogs taken a break from reading books, taken a break from it all, I was getting a little too…something. I don’t know what it is I was just getting a little too something, feeling like everything I wrote had to include a lesson I learned from this journey I am walking.  I don’t know when this season is going to end, I have no clue. This place feels like it is going to last forever I see no end in sight, and honestly I don’t even know what the end is going to look like, I really don’t.  I have no idea if He going to take my writing beyond this blog, I don’t know if He plans to use this story of my life that He has written to minister to other women, I don’t know if He plans to send me to mission field after all this is done or back to a secular job, I just don’t know, I have no plan no direction no vision. I don’t know what His plan is for me, that is the hardest and scariest thing of all, to want so badly to walk in His will and please Him and yet having no idea what that is, having no idea what direction to even step towards, I am tired and weary and I am beginning to think that is where He wants me, weary and worn out too tired to try and make life happen on my own and let Him unfold it for me. 

Because I am discovering that it is not the same for everyone, and He doesn’t work the same way in everyone’s life, some people He tells to wait while others He tells to move, some peoples journey has been a straight line of things falling neatly into place while others are taken on a cross country tour via the back roads. 

I used to think that I had to be miserable to please God, that if I were doing something I enjoyed I was in a warped sense in my own mind feeding my fleshly desires so I served in a lot of places I shouldn’t have convinced that the more miserable I was the more I was denying my flesh and the more like Jesus I became, warped I know. For the last few weeks I have been serving with the student ministry at church and I saw a little girl whose heart was broken, listening to things that her little girl self should not have to deal with at her age, after our break out session was over one of the other leaders came up to me, shocked, telling me she didn’t know what happened but it never gets that intense, but as I sat and listened to this beautiful girl speak I saw myself so many years ago in the face of this child, I know and I understand, knowing my words offer little to comfort her,  telling her that in ten years none of it is going to matter  because her reality is the here and now not ten years from now, and I hurt for people who are going through things I once did, I feel that pain because I felt it once myself.  I heard the enemy hissing in my ear as I walked out of church that night, telling me to not bother coming back, they don’t want you, it took me a few days, but I decided the only way I am not going back is if they ask me not to. 

I have been at odds with God lately, or perhaps it has been with myself, I have been carrying around a sack of guilt, a sack of guilt for what I have and for what others don’t my thoughts taking me back to the day that the pink envelope did not adorn my desk, back to the day that being last in line was ok with me, just being happy to be allowed to stand in line at all. Guilt over living in this time and this place and with all the privileges it affords me, guilt floods my thoughts these days, it envelopes me and has taken over my life, guilt for wanting to be happy and not allowing myself to be because what I think I deserve is the scraps from the table after everyone else has eaten and I should be grateful for those scraps. I feel guilt for thinking I deserve better when there are so many people who have so much less, that is really my biggest internal struggle.  If He wants me to be single that is fine not to say I am always ok with it but I accept it, I was the special ed kid and if that is what He chose for me then that is fine not that I am always ok with it but I accept it, if this is the time and place he chose for me to live then that is fine I accept it, but I also carry around a heap of guilt. Guilt for thinking that if this what He wanted for me then He could at least take better care of me, because the combination of the three always leaves me struggling, teetering on the edge of just barely making it and I am tired and I am weary. Sometimes I think I am reaping what I sowed so many years ago, in my B.C. (before Christ) days when I did so much wrong living, sometimes I think this God’s revenge on me.  Sometimes thinking He has already pointed me in right the direction and I am just not understanding it, like that little girl with the pink invitations, He is saying to me, dummy why can’t you get it.  Feeling guilty for wanting better, when there are so many people who have so much less.

So no lesson to be learned here, just my random and scattered thoughts, my struggles and my guilt.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

never alone

I don’t know how long this road is going to be
Or where it is going to end
You never said it would be easy
But I never thought it’d be this hard

You created me in Your image
That is who You are transforming me to be
I am not the person I once was
You’re not through with me yet

They say You equip us,
Those who say yes
They say You equip us
And teach us Your ways

They say You use the small and the weak
The poor and the lonely
To show the world how big You are

I have walked this fire before
But the flames have never been so hot
You promised I would never have to walk alone

There are times when You are quiet
You feel so far
But if You say I must walk this fire
Then that is what I will do

You promised I would never be alone.

I wrote this on and off all day yesterday, and intended to post it last night but I forgot, or did I?

Anyway, yesterday, my friend Eileen over at The Scenic Route posted THIS.  If that weren't enough, when I opened my e-mail this morning to read the daily devotion I have delivered, THIS and THIS was waiting for me.  Still, if that weren't enough, as I was puttering around a few other blogs I visit regularly, the message was the same, 4 or 5 blogs ALL all with the same message.  I was convinced He forgot about me, He hasn't, that is not truth and certainly not from God.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

a free man

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redemption, I must have seen at least a dozen times already.

There is a point at the end of the movie where one of the main characters named Red is on his way to Mexico to meet his friend Andy, narrating the scene Red says this:

I find myself so excited I can hardly sit still or hold a thought in my head.  I think it is only a feeling a free man can feel.  A free man who is at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.

The final scene shows Red walking a beach with sand so white and an ocean so blue it is something he could only imagine in his dreams.

We are free in Christ, the journey has been long, the future often times uncertain, but God has already written our conclusion and it is even more beautiful than anything we could ever imagine in our dreams.