Thursday, October 31, 2013


Hey guys,

For those of you who have wondered "Where the heck is this girl?  She used to blog and stuff."

I've retired this blog.  I've gotten married, attempted to keep growing up, and started a fresh one.  Come visit me here.

Thank you for reading! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Isaiah 40

     I've been reading my "Breaking Free" devotional today, and man!  Beth Moore takes us through some powerful verses on God's sovereignty in Isaiah chapters 40, 45-46.  They inspire such natural worship.  I challenge you to check them out and think about these 4 categories she presented us with : Creation, Idols, Humanity, and God's uniqueness.  They're all delineated and displayed very well in these verses. 
     Now some background: I got started on birth control recently to fix my ongoing iron depletion.  I'm sorry if that's too much information for you; I tried to deliver that as stomach-friendly as possible.  So I can already tell my emotions have been a little wonky leading up to this trip.  I'm sure there's also been some attack from the Enemy.  I've seen evidence of that as early as immediately following the prayer service our church had for us and another missions team Sunday night.  Thankfully, a friend had spent significant time in prayer over me prior to that incident, so unbeknownst to me, God was getting me to ready to weather that one.  He provided me unnatural peace and grace to get me through it relatively unscathed.  He's so good to me, and I'm so thankful that she was so faithful in obedience.
     However, the rest of the week it's been sneakily subtle.  (I don't know if that's a word, but I like it, so I'm going with it.)  I struggle with overthinking things, so he just throws in some wacky thoughts that if given attention, serve to distract me from the main things: loving God and loving others.  But after reading those verses, it's so satisfying and refreshing to read about Who God is and His power and goodness!  He's so solid and unchanging; He's the only thing that is!  And if He's unchanging, then so is His love for me and my worth in Him.  Come what may, those are are unchanging because of Who He is. 
     I'm so blessed by this.  It truly strengthens my heart.  I invite you to check out those verses.  God is so gracious to reveal Himself to us through His Word.  Take and eat, friend.  Let your heart rest in the One Who is like none other. 

P.S.  "This trip" is that I leave for India on Monday with Kyle.  We'll be heading down to Ankoor Children's Home to visit these people.  Kyle lived there for 4.5 months back in 2009.  We're taking a ton of school supplies and plan on getting pics, videos, and crafts that will help raise money at next year's auction.  The son of the couple who run the home will be meeting us at the airport in Delhi and escorting us down there (there's another flight down to Nagpur involved).  Please pray, and I promise to update with pics as soon as I return. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What to Say...

There's been so much that I wanted to speak out about, to vent over, or just expose my critical thinking process regarding in the past, oh, maybe 8 months since I posted last.  I'm a little sorry.  I'm a little not.  I am at a place where my usual fly-off-at-the-mouth (or fingertip) doesn't seem to achieve my goals.  And I want to keep my number one goal: to be like Jesus.  It's amazing how chronological time has almost nothing to do with spiritual maturity or wisdom.  I've been a believer for 20 years now.  Sure I can rattle off some Bible verses, reference some trendy hot button issues in the Church, and even dialogue about some phenomenal authors and pastors that have influenced Christendom greatly.  But how much have I transitioned into looking more like Jesus in this time?  And why does it take so long? 

I'm almost 30.  So much has changed in the last 10 years of my life.  I'm not a college student at a Jesus-centered academic institution where being more spiritual makes you cool.  I'm a healthcare professional in the most unchurched state in the country.  I'm involved in a church "plant" that's been around for 10+ years that's full of REAL people with REAL faith and REAL struggles.  On one hand, I know I'm extremely blessed.  I have family, friends, and a support system like no other.  I have a steady job, a degree, and a house that more than meets my needs.  I get to be a part of a church family that is more genuine than any group of people I've ever encountered.  I'll be honest, though.  Sometimes gratitude is hard.  I thought things would look different when I was 20.  I thought I'd be on the mission field with my husband and perhaps a child or two instead of living in the 7th state to legalize gay marriage.  God's been extremely gracious to show me that we all live on a mission field.  Every day. 

When Jesus left the disciples at the end of the book of Matthew (chapter 28), the last command He gave them is called the Great Commission in verses 19-20. 

Matthew 28:19-20  (ESV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Do you see Him tell them to convert a bunch of folks to your denomination and your political party?  Does He tell them to lead a bunch of folks in a specific prayer?  No.  He says MAKE DISCIPLES.  That's an ongoing process.  That's just sharing life with folks as WE strive to be more like Jesus.  But doing it with intention is what He mandates. 

I'm far from loving others as Jesus does.  But I'm trying, and I'm trusting His power to be "made perfect in my weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).  I have opportunities all the time.  I interact with so many people on a daily basis.  The key is that it's HIS power, not mine.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love for everyone to agree with me, to come to my church, to vote the same ballot I do.  But I know that's not God's plan.  So instead of working for what I know is not my call to make, I'm just trying to love in any way that I can.  And sometimes that means saying nothing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Town that Raised Me...

I knew the question was coming eventually.  And then it did.  Kyle asked Jacob (my sister's soon-to-be groom) why he waved at every person we passed as we drove to retrieve some ferns for the reception.  It was neat to see my hometown of 3500 people in West TN through Kyle's eyes.  Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest along the I-5 corridor and never having traveled to any of the cozy, sleepy towns below the Mason-Dixon, I knew it was bound to be an experience for him.  And it mattered that he see it.  My heart was grown here.  It was nurtured and encouraged and inspired and advised and equipped to fly in this place. 

My little brother is now using his college summer to work at the bank that's now run by a man that my mom watched grow up in our church.  He's given me financial advice, and he married our former babysitter and one of my mentors.  And now he's mentoring my brother, who's been working as a teller.  This is PERFECT for him since he 1. already knows most of the folks in my town and 2. never meets a stranger.  Kellen has personality for days.  He's quick-witted, kind, and even a little mischievous.  He'll go far in whatever profession he chooses because people will LIKE him.

Jada just married Jacob, her high school sweetheart of 9 years this weekend.  They've both been through many years of school and life, and now that she graduated pharmacy school and can move back, they decided it was time.  Jacob's taking over his dad's insurance business, and they already have the 4 bedroom house that will house their future lineage.  It's perfect.  They're set and ready to move right into the community pillar role that both their parents have played.  I've gotten to see them both grow up and grow together.  I'm blessed to call them family. 

This whole wedding was an example of the warmth and hospitality that happens in a small town.  A blessed and extremely generous couple not only agrees to let us have the reception on their grounds, but puts in countless hours and funds to get it newly sodded, landscaped, and the outside building upgraded just in time for the occasion.  To hear them talk about it, you'd think they were as excited to host the party as we were to throw it.  Mom's friends put the reception together in terms of decor and flow and layout.  THEN the rains came... and it kept coming.  Friday morning there was standing water on the dancefloor.  We were rethinking location.  This was AFTER most of the arrangements had been made.  Some interventions were tried, but Saturday morning, the puddles remained and the rain came harder.  We were a somber group getting ready for pictures.  There were even tears involved.

 But 30 or so men from the community gathered together with my stepdad to screw plywood onto 2x4's to make 8,000 square feet of flooring inside the tent.  They finished in about 6 hours.  It was people from the bride's side, the groom's side, church friends, family, and out-of-town guests.  They made it happen.  And we had a beautiful reception.  THAT's the beauty of my hometown.  I love being from there, and I love coming back to visit.

Kyle flew in from Germany to surprise me, and boy, was I surprised.  But I think I was the only one.  I'm pretty sure my whole town already knew and was excited to meet him.  He got to shoot guns, see farms that don't have animals, and understand the camaraderie that goes down to your bones when you've grown up in small-town West Tennessee.  It was perfect.  

I love my story.   I am proud of my life's trajectory.  It's overwhelming to look back and see God's Hand at work at so many turns in the story.  And I know He's not done.  I look forward to see where He's taking me if where I came from is any indication of the blessings.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Be the Spark; It's His Fire

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Desmond Tutu
     My heart beat faster, and I spontaneously rose to my feet with 15,000 others as his name was announced over the Tacoma Dome speakers.  It seemed as if we were all immediately aware that we were in the presence of greatness as the Archbishop slowly made his way to the center podium.  He quickly lifted his arms in an attempt to quiet the crowd and stall the goosebumps that had developed down my spine.  And there he was.  This Nobel Laureate and international social activist, with his soft expression and gentle but expressive voice, seemingly invited us to sit at his feet while he told us his words of wisdom for this life.  Like a grandfather to his grandchildren, he began speaking to us of his great God, Who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and Creator of all things.  He went on to speak of God's design throughout the ages to "partner" with His human creations to do His work.  He spoke of Moses, the Israelites, Mary, the boy with the fish and loaves, and Jesus, recounting with each one how that conversation between them and God might have gone.  It was quite endearing and even comical when he changed his voice to match the characters, just like a good story-telling grandfather would do. 

     He didn't speak of his battles, of his scars, of his sacrifices in the various victories he's won.  He didn't push a social agenda or even a human rights cause.  He told a friend years ago that he sees the depressing headlines of the daily news as God's to-do list.  For us.  As we were bombarded all night with the encouragement to "Be the spark" that starts a fire for the betterment of our world, I couldn't help but wonder if people got it.  I mean, got IT.  The whole picture.  It was easy to agree with all that was being represented: people working together for a common good that is greater than the sum of all parts.  Who isn't motivated by that?  It's also easy to understand that this is GOOD.  It's pure; it's humanitarian; it's people at their best.  It's what is TRUE.  We SHOULD fight against injustice.  We SHOULD support every effort to end child labor and provide clean drinking water.  Those are no-brainers. 

     But do we really get the big picture?  To what end are we doing these things?  Where does this desire for GOOD come from?  The Bible says that "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." (James 1:17) and that "no one is righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10)  Good is from God.  All of this is His.  All that is true, all that is good, is from God.  I believe it's the God of the Bible.  It's the God of Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Noah, the Israelites, and many more.  I agree with the Archbishop that God wants to redeem humanity to Himself.  I agree with him that God sent Jesus as the only means by which to do that.  I also agree with him that God has and will continue to involve people (US) in the process.  There was only one doctrinal flaw of his that gave me theological heartburn: He stated that God needed people to do His work.  Um, God has no needs.  He chooses to use people in His plan to carry out His will.  Why that is the case, I will NEVER understand. 

     The bottom line is that Tacoma heard Truth last night.   From a man who has given his life to being the hands and feet of Jesus the best way he knew how.  I was privileged to encounter him.  He is now in my top 5 folks to spend a day with for sure.  I would like to be a spark that ignites God's fire in the world around me.  It was eternally impacting to hear from someone who has. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"In Process"

Man, I feel like that's the most appropriate description EVER of the past 6 months of my life.  In a process?  Am I ever!  I guess we always are, but it's rarely been so tangible as it is right now.  Adjusting to where I am vs. where I thought I was vs. where I want to be.  Yeah, it's a lot.  BUT the biggest transition has been moving to a place where I let myself BE where I am.  And let that be okay.  Praise the Lord!  I'm going to credit amazing friends, a persistent loving God, and a bombin' Christian counselor for aiding me in this trek towards peace, and not in that order.

It's weird to live in the dichotomy of being a thinker/hyper-analyzer AND a romantic...and be in love.  Because you can fully feel and experience the highs and lows of love and then step outside of it at times and see how crazy it all looks.  And I'm convinced that it's crazy for most people.  And I'm compelled to pity those that it's tamer for.  I think that would be a bigger tragedy.   Regardless, I don't think I'm even built for that (tameness).  I'm a thinker and all, but I'm way expressive, and I don't have a problem addressing conflict.  That lends itself to some ups and downs that may be more frequent but less heightened than those of folks who prioritize avoiding conflict over deeper resolution of ongoing issues.  That eventually blows up, and beware.

If you add in my misconceptions about needing to perform and accomplish for God to prove my worth, it can leave me in a heap of confusion regarding how to proceed most faithfully in a dating relationship.  What are the make-or-break issues?  How much does what I want factor in?  What SHOULD I want?  I know what makes me happy, but what is setting me up the best to be the happiest I can be (from an eternal perspective) 10 years from now?  Oy!  It's such a risk.  Period.  It just is.  I don't care who the person is you're thinking about loving for the long haul.  They are a risk.  They're going to have your heart, and you're going to have absolutely NO control over what they do, think, believe, or how they live.  Oy.  I know you don't actually WANT control over them, because that would totally negate their choice in loving you, but knowing that doesn't really quell the fear of all possibilities. 

Remember that fear I was blogging about previously?  You notice any of that?  ;)  It's actually better.  I am learning to lean into trusting God with my circumstances and not trusting in a certain outcome.  I'm just being really honest with you right now about some of the things spinning in my head and heart.  I don't know many of the answers.  In fact, I've only been successful at distilling down what the bigger questions are.  I WILL tell you this, though.  For me, God has answered prayers.  Seriously, for the first time last weekend, when certain concerns surfaced in my heart, I didn't freak out.  I didn't start the hyper-analytical spiral into a puddle of worry and doubt, totally rendered ineffective and unfocused on anything of Kingdom value.  Instead, I went back to what God has done for me so far.  He's shown me what to do a day at a time.  So I got alone and started asking God questions.  I started with the big ones.  Some He chose not to tell me right now.  But I plan to keep asking until He does.  The ones He DID answer were all I needed for that day.  For one day's worth of peace and mercy, He gave me the answers and directions I needed.  So that's my new plan in this process.  Make those little reconnect and recenter sessions with God more frequent.  The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more in life I realize I don't know or have any control over.  So the only sane choice is get better at trusting God.  So I will.  And THAT's where I am in this process.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Man, what a motivator.  I can honestly say nothing's been more consistently dominant over the past year.  I've thankfully had pockets of peace where I was abiding and trusting.  But the fear lingers, always.  It just waits for one of my steps to hit remotely uneven ground, and it swoops in to carry me off into an abyss of ominous hypotheticals.  The eternal perspective (the upside) is that it's been opportunity after opportunity to trust God more, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, situation-by-situation.  And sometimes I lean into that.  And other times I run in circles in my mind until I'm too tired to keep going.  And then God meets me there.  With the end result always being God showing up to comfort my heart, you'd think this doesn't sound too bad.  But seriously, how unnecessary are the massive peaks and troughs of my emotional cosin wave?  (Sorry to get all trigonometric on you, it's just what is fitting in my mind.)  And what does that speak to those around me about my belief in God's faithfulness?  I know my lack of belief doesn't diminish His power or His ability to glorify Himself however He chooses, but I want to be a part.  I want to help.  I want to be a living example of a life submitted fully. 

So maybe here's where grace comes in, as tears creep into my line of vision.  Maybe I'll eventually let go of thinking and planning and guarding myself against possible mistakes 3 months from now.  What control do I honestly have over 6 months out?  2 months out?  4 years out?  Why does fear of these times affect me NOW?  I have very little choice in life in the grand scheme of things.  But I have a choice RIGHT NOW.  I can choose to focus on who GOD is.  I can choose to cling to His promises.  I can choose to expect Him to use me in my job, in my church, and in my relationships.  I can choose to let others love me as long as they want to keep trying to.  I can choose to tell fear Who my Dad is, and what He has to say about it:
Isaiah 41:10 (New International Version, ©2010)

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.