Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It’s easy to distract the heart and mind from this. It’s much too much easy to lose myself in social interactions, television shows, plain busyness of life… cleaning, planning, paying, driving, fixing… etc. Yet here I find a lacking as well.I have so many unanswered questions… Questions that can be answered certainly but not satisfiably. Or perhaps I am just so easily dissatisfied with any finality.
A bigger question that sits in my mind is one of location. Why be anywhere? I mean I know I have to be somewhere, so why be where I am now? Why not somewhere else? What is it that holds me here? Or takes me there? Bottom line: what’s the motivation in location? Naturally I will follow my husband where he goes. But what leads him where he goes? Sometimes it seems as arbitrary as the wind. Is the idea of a better job a good reason to move? Is the idea of being near family an intelligent reason to move? Geography? Politics? Schools? Taxes? Culture? Friends? …. I do have an easy answer to this question. Go where God leads you to go. But then again, how do you know where that is? And beyond that (as I found it easy to believe He wanted us here in
Above and beyond all of this is this deep desire to do something meaningful. While I well know this exists in most people, I absolutely cannot sink myself into anything that seems trite. I am all too keenly aware of worldly pulls: vanity, greed, self-serving, works righteousness… weighing my success on productivity. I am a barrage of battling wills. I refuse to get caught up in buying nice stuff and decorating (money better spent elsewhere, not to mention the vanity factor), yet vanity gets me anyway… as I am mostly ashamed of what our house looks like and worried what people will think. I refuse to push my meager energies to have a productive show for my day… yet feel really worthless about how my days are spent wishing I could have some proof to validate my existence. And I wonder about my internal motivations… am I lazy? Unambitious? Afraid? I am absolutely afraid. Afraid of not being good enough. Afraid of failing. Afraid of trying something and then not doing it well and taking it too hard. Afraid I’m missing what I’m supposed to be doing…
There are short answers to these questions. God’s word is enough to satisfy the hungriest heart. And I often am brought to tears by His amazing love and the seemingly unending ways He speaks to me in new ways through His word. So why the plaguing questions? Why can’t I just rest easy in today and know He is in control, that He has a plan? I don’t know.
Right now this is what I know. I miss my family so much it hurts. I miss the amazing friendships I made in
Saturday, June 20, 2009
He's been on tv, radio, and written a book or two. He called out the chinese for their illegal drug use in the Olympics (a few times), was called a "midget" who "knows absolutely jack shit about baseball" (by none other than Barry Bonds), and has a considerable (albeit boring) resume.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Seven years ago, I lived in a studio apartment that had one window. I was a newlywed with bruises and an inanimate best friend. I spent my days in a fog of thoughtless stupor consulting my best friend for distraction... Beat the Geeks, Different Strokes, Days of our Lives.... I was the front runner for wasting time and avoiding life. I wanted to die. I thought about it a lot. I cried a lot. I couldn't figure out why I existed, why God had made me... an average girl with crippling fatigue and endless pain. Why even after trying to do all the right things I had ended up in the dark cave of directionless depression. I had expected rewards, accolades, success for making all the right choices. I kept replaying it over in my head... My advisor, a christian man at a christian school telling me I didn't belong there... that I wasn't fit to serve God in a full time ministry. At that point in my life, God was a distant entity. He mainly observed with His arms folded sternly across His chest. He was not a smiling radiant hope. He was not a beacon in the storm... no, there was no greater storm in my life than the God that I saw. Serious. Strict. Glaring. A virtual hurricane of disapproval. So I approached Him cowering, ashamed, hating myself, beating myself, a sick pride of masochism deep in my heart.
I noted all my failures. I saw no success. I was beat. Defeated by my own imperfections, kicked down by the world, missing all the marks. I fell short of everyone's approval and I finally sat down.
These were dark days. I didn't want to numb any of my pain with drugs or alcohol. I wanted to feel the punishment I felt I deserved. I believed I deserved every bit of emotional and physically agony I was given. But this time, I hoped that it led to death. I felt worthless, a mistake at best, an ultimate failure with no potential worth investing in.
It's no mistake however, how much I needed to reach that point. I absolutely needed to throw out what everyone thought of me. I stripped it down to me. I suddenly wasn't trying to please anyone anymore. Not my parents, not teachers, not friends, and not God. I still desperately wanted approval, but I was growing ever more angry that people were so harsh and unforgiving with me. Doing nothing was exactly what I needed to do, to prove a point to others and mainly myself. I was tired. I couldn't play that game anymore. Not physically. Not emotionally.
Deep down, I knew God loved me. I spent most of my life denying the how's of that fact. I never believed He actually loved me in my entirety. I couldn't believe that and simaltaneously maintain a groveling position that I had grown accustomed to. I was taught that gratitude was the motiviation for good behavior. But I was not taught the thing I was to be the most grateful for. I was grateful for the external blessings of my life... food, house, family, safety, education.. etc. I never knew how much He loved ME, personally and completely.
Stripped of the world's expectations, I had to consult the One who made me. Why? I asked over and over... sometimes through tears, sometimes in quiet musings, sometimes in frustration and anger. Why did you make ME? I knew He had a purpose in all things... This was the first time I had to confront the truth that He had a purpose in me... little old me.
So I began a slow quiet journey pondering this thought: what does God think of me? While part of me was comfortable with the angry stern Super God, there was another part of me that just wanted a Daddy. I just wanted Him to hold me and reassure me... that I was ok, that things were ok, that things would get better. And He did. There was no great vision or epiphany... What happened next did change my life forever, however.
My great grandmother died. No shocker, she was old and senile. But it brought family together. A few weeks later, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. A month later, my grandpa (my dad's stepfather) was diagnosed with skin cancer. Two months later, my sister was informed she had breast cancer.
How did this affect my internal process? Depression is a dark and lonely place filled with mirrors. Strangely enough, the barrage of family illness acted as a crane to lift me out of my dark hole of self-reflection. I had no choice but to focus on the present issues of others. I sat with my dad in his hospital room. My whole world tilted... I did lose my dad in a sense because of his cancer and how it changed his life choices. I did lose my grandfather when the cancer took his life a year and a half later. And I gained a sister when her cancer brought her closer to God and changed her heart.
I crawled through 21 years of my life, never knowing that God was beside me not just above me. I stopped and sat down and cried, not knowing that God was holding me. I gradually started looking around me and at myself. Then... I looked up! Praise God.. there He was! And He was smiling and His arms were wide open. He took my hand and for the first time ever, I was walking. My head up I felt the sunshine, I saw the beauty of His world. And He brought me to a mirror... I was hesitant. I did not want to see what a wretch I was. His love was amazing as long as I didn't have to think about how unworthy I was. But He lifted my chin and said, "Look, please... just look." So I did. And I saw a little girl standing with her Daddy. I saw how lovingly He looked at me. I saw that I wasn't dirty or ugly, I was beautiful! ...And behind the mirror was a bloody and beaten Jesus... holding the mirror was a cross. And I saw for the first time what I should be grateful for. Sadness and joy converged into a flood of tears. I fell at His feet. "...thank you... thank you..." it was all I could do or say. Knowing I could not even began to pay Him back for all of this, I said what I believe was what He wanted to hear all along, "I am yours. Let me live for you in your world. Show me the way, Father." We embraced, He stroked my hair, pulled me away to look at me in the eyes, "Daughter, I am always with you. I will be with you every step of the way. Don't ever forget that, ok?"
.... So when the darkness of the world seeps into my heart, I remember what He told me what He still tells me everyday. The sun rises because He is still there. He is still here. And I have His words, His promises to bring me back to a sunny day in front of the mirror of Christ. I have His love to warm me from the coldness of others. I have the hope He gave me to keep me on track. He is with me... every step of the way... my Daddy.
peace and love,
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I love Max Lucado. I love the way he writes, how he surprises me with simplicity. March 14 in his Grace for the Moment Vol II was exactly what I needed to hear today. Though I credit him less than I credit an amazingly loving and intimate Father.
I never know whether it is a good idea to be so blatantly honest about my short-comings and flaws. But it strikes me often as the right thing to do... as the temptation to be proud is so very near and my upbringing also inspires such humility :) So this is the raw shameful truth of how this morning was spent: in tears, in self-pity, and a sense of unfairness. The great worldly truth of my situation hit me hard this week. I was alone thousands of miles away from everyone I loved. Stuck in the house with two energetic young boys. Cloudy cold days blew across the yard. I watched as Reba shivered and Ando barked at squirrels.
I searched for coincidence in my life and readings and found king David. I couldn't piece that together, and I started to believe I was trying too hard. I stumbled through my days. Hiding from my kids, losing myself in Friends, grateful for the laughter it instigated. I decided I should write, so I began a story. I learned a lesson in friendship from a dear friend. The clouds seemed to settle lower and heavier. I wanted to find meaning and purpose but felt powerless and insufficient. I prayed for other people. I cried on the dining room table missing my family and friends.
I figured my husband could be more supportive and turned on him. I pushed him away out of fear of being utterly alone. I translated his actions (and inactions) into words that were intended (unintentionally) to hurt me and leave me completely isolated.
How many more people could I find fault in? Who else could I blame for the funk I had found?
Under it all, I knew it was me and my putrid attitude. It stunk from the core of me polluting the air around me til I was physically sick from it. Even the taste of food, the idea of food lost its appeal. Perhaps the idea of feeding the disgusting rot in my gut has been convincing enough to discourage the normal pang of hunger my body invariably evokes.
And it all boils down to impatience and a lack of seeing things unseen. I need to learn how to live in this world and still be heaven focused. How do I maintain involvement where I am and still see the bigger picture and trust in the invisible nature of what that entails? Can I be that detached from earthly matters and still love and find purpose while my feet are still under me? The conflict rages eternally in my heart and head. Push and pull. Humanity vs soul. I desire to perfect this delicate balance and the irony lies therein. After the daily battles, exhuastion, and open wounds I came home to this idea: I need God for everything. EVERYTHING. I need God to fight my battles. I need God to release my fears, my lonliness, to figure out my life.
I seem to think that after so much leaning and learning that I will eventually be able to do it on my own. I never stop to think how that could happen, or why I would desire such a thing. Because surely if I had I would conclude the insanity of it. The motivational error itself is astounding. The end result is agonizing... a life without God, a life denying His power, His control. This is not what I want by any means.
Back to Max Lucado... He reminded me that God gives us things in such surprising ways. While we see one thing, hope and pray for things, He has the greatest thing in store for us. And while we think up these small obvious solutions for our own lives, God is working out a far better idea and placing it in front of us at the best time. All this and I still sit and feel lost and anxious. I honestly believe most of the time that I could be doing so much more, spending my time more wisely. And maybe that is still true. But I don't need to feel guilty about it! God knows my heart and He knows I search for His guidance and His will. And He also knows how deaf I am to hear Him, how blind I am to see how plainly He cares about my life, my every day run of the mill life!
I get to be reminded endlessly about His love. I am afforded the ability to live another day in His world, in His care. He is ridiculously forgiving and patient with me. He knows I will forget again, that I will try to run my own life, beat myself up for not fulfilling a purpose unknown to me... that I will cease trusting Him and cry in anxiety and self-pity. How many times will He surprise me with His love?
......I love the answer.... Forever. Endlessly. Throughout eternity. Without fail. Constantly. Unconditionally. Immensely. Without limits!
Beyond these clouds, I believe in the Son. Inside my grey heart, is joy unending. All this ... for free? I'm out of words....
peace and love,
Sunday, March 8, 2009
So... yes, I am in fact sitting here spending time blogging even though I don't have any real good reason to do so. But then again did I really have an answer when Pastor Spencer asked Dan and me why we wanted to have kids? Our exact answer was .. pause... look at each other... bigger pause... stare at floor...a shrug and then "I don't know... because God says we should?"
Macaroni, the phantom chaser
Why do we have pets?
Why do we dance in public?
Certainly I could answer that it is for mere enjoyment - yay! But pets and children are a lot of work. And dancing can be just as enjoyable at home.. why go to a club? Why not write in a journal?
Truth is I Iove writing. I feel a little directionless lately though. Where am I writing what? Why am I writing how? Questions for nothing... I need a something. I need inspiration. This blog is but a weak solution to a strong yearning. It's as though the need to write something (anything!) builds up inside up me until I can do nothing but dry heave this dribble. It's a pathetic shame. On the brighter side, I like have a nice collection of music here as I own very few of these songs. Kudos to the internet and the ability to plug in!
Death Cab for Cutie is a must have stand by for anytime listening - pure enjoyment!
Pinback has a repetitive sound that occurs in a great deal of their music - I still love it immensely - kind of a laid back feel good tuneage.
MercyMe is a surprise to me... I never thought I liked them as much as I do as they have a tiny bit of country twang that I tend to avoid. I also noticed their focus is on heaven - I love that!
Yael Naim - funky indie sound that I innately am drawn to.. I wish to have more of this for my listening pleasure. The thing about indie is how hit and miss it is... But, oh! to find a rare and talented gem like Yael is cause for celebration!
Downhere and Shawn McDonald are worth coupling because of how I feel about them both. There is a unique quality to each that will always draw me in and endear me to each new song.
I don't understand people who don't have a profound respect and love for music - good music. It is so much a part of who I am that bits of songs come out in conversations randomly. To remove music from my life would be the greatest torture and would change me irrevocably.
Tangent done, so is blog post :)
peace and love,
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Such a small sentence, yet so loaded with responsibility, accountability, and self-worth. One’s purpose in life is an idea we can’t escape. We innately seek purpose in all things… whether talking about the origins of life and the universe or in the motivation behind our actions. What is the purpose? What was the reason for the cause which produced the effect? What effect do I hope to produce? What is my purpose?
There are countless books, articles, and opinions on how to discover your ultimate purpose in life. Answers are given to the ageless question of “why am I here?” Most of these writings are geared toward careers or self-fulfillment. Is my purpose to be successful in a career? Is my purpose to find self-fulfillment? I don’t think so. Neither does God apparently.
He plainly states that our purpose is to serve Him. Simple enough on the surface, right? But what does that exactly entail? Serving God means to follows His rules and the common denominator behind all His rules is this: LOVE. We’ve all heard the saying “God is love.” Well, He is. And our purpose is to love, to love Him back by obeying the law, but also to love others. So there is an inward application of self-discipline and an outward application of loving others. Once again, how do we do love others exactly? It isn’t always so cut and dry and what may seem like the most obvious way to love isn’t always the way we personally were called to love.
Let me expound on that. It’s no surprise to anyone that we are all individuals with unique qualities and personalities, unique down to our very DNA. Why should it be any different when it comes to how we love? We were all called to love in different ways. There is a great book called “The Five Love Languages” that most people seem to be familiar with. The content makes it quite easy to clearly identify the mode in which you love. It is obviously categorized and therefore generalized. But the gist is good; you will learn basically how you see, feel, and give love. And this coincidentally, is how God purposefully made us. We are each of us purposefully made! I didn’t really grasp that concept until a few years ago. Part of me believed I was cranked out on an assembly line and that somehow I wasn’t constructed quite right. I didn’t seem to fit the mold of what seemed to be the right way to love.
Society likes to say that love is obvious. Actions speak love, they say. Feed a homeless person, give a gift basket to the sick dude, or invite people into your home. But a great deal of us, I believe, love on a much more subtle level. A love that is not lesser by any means, but perhaps a love that is quieter and harder to put a finger on. Some love by listening. That’s it! Just listening to a tortured soul or a lonely invalid. Some love by being behind the scenes of greater things, rarely acknowledged, loving in the shadows. No matter how we are built to love, we can be sure that who we innately are, what we are instinctively drawn to do in love, is exactly how God purposefully created us.
What is your purpose? To love. To love as God uniquely designed you to love. To love no matter where you are, whether working or resting. To learn love as though it were a skill to hone. To love as though God himself were always watching, because He is! Remember His will and remember His love and then live with those thoughts always with you. And loving will be a joy. Loving will be an honor. Loving will be the purpose that fulfills you and gives you the greatest success that you can hope for in this life.
One more thing: love yourself. Accept who you uniquely are and appreciate that God put intimate thought into making you. Love you the way God loves you. Don’t forget your own value. Know that to love properly means to view everything and everyone through God’s eyes. This is the beginning of a life of peace (no fear), joy (through all emotions), and unending wonder (as the beauty of God’s will becomes clearer).
Peace and love,