Friday, October 11, 2013

Walking through fire and not burned

Does anyone read this blog anymore?  Well, for the one or two of you that is my thought for the day:

I have loved Isaiah 43 for a long time.  Especially the first part.  Most especially verse 2 (bolded).

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

But the Lord showed me something new this week.  It probably helps that I heard a teaching on living out of your spirit, rather than your soul or body.  BUT I'll take the renewing of my mind any time!  Anyway, I would read that I would pass through waters and I would not be overwhelmed.  And that I would walk through fire and not be burned.  Well, this past year+ has shown me what walking through waters and fire looks like.  Or, experiences of it, as everyone's waters and fires look different.  

But, I was overwhelmed and I was burned.  It hurts.  It's hard.  There aren't usually easy ways out.  

BUT GOD showed me something different this week.  My soul (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and my body may be overwhelmed and burned BUT my spirit isn't/doesn't have to be!  My spirit that resides with the Lord and is in communion with Him truly has the ability to go through anything and come out unscathed.  What a joy and gift!  What a blessing!  What a beautiful picture of the gospel to share with others!

Our circumstances can suck.  Financial problems.  Health problems.  Broken hearts.  Loved ones who make pool decisions affecting you.  All of it.  But our spirits can remain steadfast and we can rise above them.  Hard?  Yes.  Impossible?  Not with the Lord!  Worth it?  Absolutely!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Maggie

I went to ATL this past weekend to celebrate the birth of my dear friend, Maggie.  Last year's trip was fairly epic.

While I haven't been putting my thoughts down on paper much lately, my traveling companion has been.  Weston's words are too good not to share:

Snippet Recap
1. Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody
2. Miley Cyrus, We Can't Stop
The cool midnight air meets the unwanted end to the evening, but as you exit the party you meet a promise of more fun- accompanied by a shaky promise of return. As you enter the unknown there's not a care in the world other than the smiles on everyone's faces and excitement for the mysteries ahead. The breeze hits your face as you step in and up three easy, but unfamiliar steps. 

Take a turn and the view you expected is thrown off by a rearranging of seats and added poles. There you are- seated, cocktail in hand, enveloped in darkness. You hear the roar of the engine and feel the cool late night breeze on your neck as the music starts. Everyone begins to get restless while seated and as the song builds you feel your legs start to move without your instruction, you begin to sway without inhibition, and suddenly, almost impulsively, you join everyone on their feet. As you speed through the city laughing and dancing the night away, you steel glances in slow motion of onlookers out the window- stares that follow, smiles that long to join. The beat and the high pulses through you. 

You realize these moments slow down as if to remind you to enjoy, to soak in, and to gainfully contribute- for spying from the outside and not contributing is strictly prohibited in this crowd. And, that is precisely what you love and appreciate about the people that surround you. They rub elbows with you in the dark, in the light, when you're up and when you're down. They share a time of life with you when you all grew into the you you are now. They stake claim in your successes and failures- and everything in between, including your dance moves. 

The night is not over, but this chapter is. You exit the reminder of slow motion and the importance of popping it like its hot with the best of them- you exit this reminder into the front door of not one, not two or three, but a four washboard band...and you contribute. 


The Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Women

In you walk past the liveliest bouncer- high fives included. Clickin and clackin goes the washboard- mesmerizing as you walk to the bar…eyes never leaving the stage. A 7 and 7, two miller lights and a bud-heavy for the little one. Progress towards the stage where you recognize every face in the crowd.  But, it's as if the stage has extended and the front row of seated onlookers peer on in desire to join the dancing and antics. 
And then the washboard makes its way to the front of your birthday friend. She plays with the slightest of ease and the biggest of grins. Tonight you celebrate her friendship, her joy and her loud laugh.

You shift over to the door where you find your friends sitting on an abandoned booth bench with an unobstructed view of the night.  You peer into the crowd thinking that there isn't another way you'd rather end the evening, but then you remember waffle house. Unfortunately, you end with Krystal…and it almost ends you. 
As Fred the cabbie drives you home, you discuss the awkward dude at the party, the macaroni and cheese, and the mistake that is kyrstal burger…and again, the macaroni and cheese. 18 floors up to the penthouse you ride, and out onto the balcony you walk. Breeze on your face and city-scapes in your eyes. 
To the couch you saunter to dream of contributing tomorrow...


Easy like Sunday Morning

As the sun rises, so do you…but you lay on the couch in wait of others to stir as you listen to songs of comfort.
With the awakening of others comes the invitation of a shower to rid you of the cigarette smoke, sweat and beer- of which this reminder of the night before makes you grin with subtle mysteriousness. 
The walk to coffee with a buddy with whom you've cheated death and his girlfriend greets you with yet another cool breeze. 

All three around the table you sit- each with coffee and a different section of the newspaper. 
Charged with enjoying the company and sitting still, you watch the street and the passersby as the newspaper lays stretched across your lap. Quietly you see the irony in your liberal arts education as you embrace your ignorance for current events and wrap yourself in the bustling around you- but only as an onlooker. 
As that time comes to a close, you venture back to gather your belongings…strewn across the city.

It's time again. Time to drive home- Another reunion coming to a close. Your co-pilot: a long time friend of 12 years.  You've seen her laugh, you've seen her cry, and you've caused both.  Depart you must. Saying goodbye, you mustn't. Until next time. Or, next year as you always discuss. The yearly retreat does you well. 
But, one of the best parts await. The debrief and the therapy session on the drive home. 

This year it is improved upon with the shaker and another year's wisdom.You discuss life. You discuss the funny moments. You discuss the hard moments. And, then you shake it off with a good song and two egg shakers…both off beat… both violently rattling to the tunes that remind you of growing up, of dancing in frat houses, and of times you've forgotten until the song takes you back…

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ways of royalty

i don't reread books often.  there are just a handful i ever have.  but i'm re-reading kris valloton's supernatural ways of royalty, and this stopped me in my tracks:

Notice the contrast between "master and slave" and "Father and
friend." Jesus strikes a great balance here when He reminds us that
although slaves obey out of fear, friends obey the Father out of love. A
willing heart is a prerequisite to moving out of slavery into friendship. He
also highlights the fact that slaves do not know what their master is doing
but friends know all about the Father's business. Jesus set the example for
us by doing what He saw the Father doing. If we are to do the same, we
must realize that we have been invited to have the same kind of friendship
with the Father that Jesus Himself had.

as i was verbally wrestling through something with a friend back in June, she told me "Elizabeth Ann...I think you've gone from a servant to a friend of Jesus."  it struck me in a way few things have.

i have found myself saying over and over again this past year, i have no idea what god is up to.  but is that really true?

i know god's character.  i know what He's all about.  and i know the outcome of things even if i don't understand the 1,001 steps it takes to get there.  so, today, i will trust what i know about my god, my friend, my king.  as a friend of the lord jesus, i know in part what he's doing.  i can ask what he's doing.  i can trust that he will reveal things to me.

also reminded of proverbs 25:2,

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
as royalty, we get to search things out...the more i know the lord, the more i know about this privilege and gift.  the more i love it and am thankful for it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


what does it mean to bear?

several times in this season (of heartache and darkness and moving forward, yet not really knowing where to)  i have heard the Lord say to me, "this is preparing you to bear more."

as i say to him, "no, lord.  no more.  i cannot take it."  i am reminded of his words to me.  they wash over me reminding me that all things are purposeful and i don't want to be a lightweight anyway.  (ok, sometimes that seems super appealing.)

but what does bearing mean?

i immediately think of what bonhoeffer; he said, "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Thus the law of Christ is a law of bearing. Bearing means forbearing and sustaining...The Christian must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated...It is, first of all, the freedom of the other person that is a burden to the Christian... The freedom of the other person includes all that we mean by a person’s nature, individuality, endowment. It also includes his weaknesses and oddities, which are such a trial to our patience, everything that produces frictions, conflicts, and collisions among us...Then, there is the abuse of that freedom that becomes a burden for the Christian. In sin, fellowship with God and with his brother are broken... To cherish no contempt for the sinner but rather to prize the privilege of bearing him means not to have to give him up as lost, to be able to accept him, to preserve fellowship with him through forgiveness...The service of forgiveness is rendered by one to the others daily. It occurs, without words, in the intercessions for one another,,. He who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne."

it is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  favorite, but rarely used.  i've held on to it like a treasure and shared it only a few times.  for few people are worthy of receiving it.  

so bearing.  we are to bear one another.  community.  the church.  that's what it is all about.  rather, it should be.  we read it in the book of acts, but many times we don't live it out like we are created and instructed to do.

yesterday i was spending time in the presence of the lord and was yet again reminded of a favorite passage.

matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

and it occurred to me, perhaps it always should have: bearing more isn't about taking more on.  it isn't going through more.  it isn't enduring more hardship.  

bearing more is about handing more over to jesus.  

hard circumstances, hard seasons, hard whatever often times draws us nearer to jesus.  while we lament the hard, we are grateful there is one getting us through it.  bearing more is taking the yoke of jesus more and emptying myself of the notions that i have to do it on my own.  i think the lord is essentially saying to me, "this is preparing you to know me more, entrust me more, and watch me take over the things you used to think you had to handle on your on."

and that is a better thought to bear.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

there's a first time for everything

y'all, i tried to cook tofu.

well, i did cook it.

it's definitely edible (never thought i'd say that).

but i think i need to keep tweaking it.  i'd like it crispier.  preferably, without frying.

any ideas?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


i helped load up a few boxes for some old friends the other day.  she said, "adam and i said we'd love to be missionaries and get rid of everything."

it really got me thinking.

i was going to be that person.  i was ready to do that.

but not doing that made me want to cling to things.

so last night i purged.  i went through my drawers and my closet and got rid of clothes i don't wear.

and packed some bags for Goodwill.

but the lesson is bigger than the bags...the lesson and the challenge is for me to hold things with loose fingers.

Friday, July 5, 2013


i read the following this morning.  hit home.

simon and his family lived in charleston for around 18 months and i had the privilege of knowing them.  his wife lizzie is especially dear to me.

Yesterday was a very exciting day in my calendar, one that had provided focus for the last nine months. Coeur d’Alene Idaho Ironman 2013. It was the culmination of many hours of training, discipline, focus and anticipation. It was the day to determine whether I could stretch myself further physically than I ever have done before. Would I have what it takes, I always wondered - and so I wanted to experience the sheer mental and physical exhaustion that comes from doing an Ironman, which is 2.4miles of swimming, 112miles of cycling, and then 26miles of running.

But it was not to be. 

I took the decision to pull out about two weeks ago. My health still isn’t great, and I was in no shape to give it a go. I desperately wanted to, but that would risk this 3-month period of fatigue lasting even longer. I thought I’d been fully healed when I managed to do the tour du Burundi, but the fatigue came back a few days later. Aaargh!

I’d lost much objectivity in terms of making the right decision, so it the end it came out of listening, begrudgingly, to my wife and other key friends. One of my closest buddies wrote the following, which I thought was worth my (and your) mulling over: 

Fundamentally, I worry that we all have a tendency to want to develop hero status and somehow the church encourages this (in my case by getting over excited about politics, but there is a fallen desire all over the place for heroes).  Yet, the heroes of my Bible are often either called by God to some massive task for the Kingdom (unlikely characters with obvious flaws like Moses, who weren’t driven by crowds cheering) or are very quiet about it, not particularly respected or even noticed by the world and without worldly status.  

Heroes are also vulnerable to temptation (David) and such temptation can destroy their ministry and families (there are countless devastating contemporary examples of this). 

Contemporary heroes, it appears to me, are more vulnerable to hero status (and all the pitfalls and temptations) by social media and associated personal marketing available (not something which worried Mother Theresa so much).

Apologies that I don’t have the whole context here, or if (as is bound to be the case) I am self-projecting, but I wholly applaud you in your decision and with the fitness you have gleaned from your training, I’d use it to run as far from any contemporary hero status or inclination to heroic acts as possible!

This whole thing challenges me greatly. I find myself asking myself questions like: what’s the Biblical ironman? What happens to him? Perhaps he plants churches in the least glamorous places possible? Evangelises on trains, buses, beaches, takes a kicking and comes back for more? Risks all his social status by praying for healing on the streets where he is known and respected as a businessman/good fun/regular guy? Maybe he challenges established church heresy and practices at the risk of his self being ostracised and his family being ridiculed and alienated? Gets beaten, shipwrecked, crucified? 

I don’t know – I’m not one myself, and you’re much more one that I am Simon. So, maybe some fruit from this would be for us to challenge one another to ‘Biblical ironmanship’ and for me to try and shape up a bit with some harder-line spiritual training. 

It’s real food for thought for me. 

I still desperately want to do a physical ironman, but my friend’s challenge regarding Biblical ironmanship above is a much more important one to address. I confess right now I’m not shaping up too well. 

How about you?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

the journey

like me, i'm sure you've heard it said that "it's about the journey, not the destination."

and perhaps like me, sometimes that feels like a cop out.  but, this morning, it doesn't.

i've been on a journey for a long time...i think it started three years ago and picked up the pace in a drastic way a year and a half ago.  i was pursuing international missions...yes, me becoming a missionary.  it still makes me chuckle a smidge, for i was once the gal who rolled her eyes at missionary talk and wanted everyone to understand that you could be just as dynamic for the lord in the good 'ole US of A.  i still believe that is true, but god gave me a heart for missions three summers ago and continued cultivating my heart until i fell in love with a country and counted the cost of moving there.

however, as of a few days ago, my answer is no.  or maybe not yet.

and that isn't easy.  but, i wanted an answer and i got one.  and so while i am not currently pursuing moving to nicaragua, i'll be starting a new pursuit of life in charleston.

i believe there are ways for the things i love in nicaragua to become realities for me here in charleston.  and there are a lot of things that may (or may not) need to change.  much to entrust the lord with.

but what i know for certain is that this time has not been wasted.  i have have learned so much.  i have grieved and wept over missing out on life here.  i have watched the lord work in my parents' hearts so that they were not just ok - but supportive - of me moving there.  huge!  i have surrendered my  heart and my life to the lord in every way i can think of.  and it has been painful.

and there will be grieving of not going.  staying (for now) causes me to grieve a life that could have been in nicaragua.

and the pain hasn't stopped because of this decision.  i went to nicaragua this past week to get an answer from the lord and i received one.  thankful!  but i am not out of this season.  i have never felt as spiritually attacked as i have the past few months and it heightened the past few weeks.  i can literally feel the spiritual warfare around me and within me.

the journey of putting all my cards on the table and saying "yes" resulted in a "no" for me.  oh, the ways of the lord are mysterious, aren't they?

as challenging as it has been, i wouldn't trade each and every one of those cards that was played or laid out on the table.  every question and every tear will be used for something.  something greater that i cannot comprehend at this moment in time.

so, yes, today i say the journey is greater than the destination.  for in charleston or in nicaragua, i am a different person than i was all those months ago.  i know the lord much deeper and more intimately.  i see things now that i didn't see way back when.  i have been shaped and molded and bruised and cared for on this path in ways i couldn't have planned for on my own.  and, today, i will take those things and treasure them in my heart.

Friday, June 21, 2013

a few friday things

first.  i don't read ann's blog on a regular basis, but do from time to time.  i saw a link to it this morning and cried as i read a few of her latest posts.  she and some of her family are in uganda meeting the child they've sponsored through compassion international.  her words beautifully reflect their experience:


i would love to meet my roseline in kenya one day!

second.  i am hoping to score a little beach time in before i leave tomorrow.  either this afternoon after work or tomorrow morning or both.  craving time here

three.  the song blurred lines makes me want to dance.  thanks, krissie.  it's been too long since i've been to a good dance party.

four.  speaking of krissie:  hardees trumps burger king.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


the compassion international blogger trip has been in nicaragua this week.  reading the posts has been surreal.  one, i know it.  i know the country and the people and it is familiar and tangible to me.  the dump and the homes and the faces are so similar to the people and places i am connected to.

i especially loved this post

two, i will be there soon.  i'm heading out saturday with a team from my church for eight days.  frankly, i'm anxious. i've never been anxious like this before a mission trip: i've had a headache every day this week, other physical ailments, my sleep has been sub par, and i'm already tired.  i guess you could say the enemy is on the prowl.

1 peter 5.8
be sober minded; be watchful.  your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

but you know what?  he's not the real lion.  he won't win.  my king will.

revelation 5.5
and one of the elders said to me, "weep not more; behold, the lion of the tribe of judah, the root of david, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."

new favorites


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

streams in the desert

I've never read Streams in the Desert before, but I was thinking about my verse for the year,

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  
Isaiah 43.93

and thought about streams in the desert...I looked up that devotional for the day and it brought me much encouragement:

Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever. The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it. (Isa 28:28)
Many of us cannot be used to become food for the world’s hunger until we are broken in Christ’s hands. “Bread corn is bruised.” Christ’s blessing ofttimes means sorrow, but even sorrow is not too great a price to pay for the privilege of touching other lives with benediction. The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain.
—J. R. Miller
God has made me bread for His elect, and if it be needful that the bread must be ground in the teeth of the lion to feed His children, blessed be the name of the Lord.
“We must burn out before we can give out. We cease to bless when we cease to bleed.”
“Poverty, hardship and misfortune have pressed many a life to moral heroism and spiritual greatness. Difficulty challenges energy and perseverance. It calls into activity the strongest qualities of the soul. It was the weights on father’s old clock that kept it going. Many a head wind has been utilized to make port. God has appointed opposition as an incentive to faith and holy activity.
“The most illustrious characters of the Bible were bruised and threshed and ground into bread for the hungry. Abraham’s diploma styles him as ’the father of the faithful.’ That was because he stood at the head of his class in affliction and obedience.
“Jacob suffered severe threshings and grindings. Joseph was bruised and beaten and had to go through Potiphar’s kitchen and Egypt’s prison to get to his throne.
“David, hunted like a partridge on the mountain, bruised, weary and footsore, was ground into bread for a kingdom. Paul never could have been bread for Caesar’s household if he had not endured the bruising, whippings and stonings. He was ground into fine flour for the royal family.”
“Like combat, like victory. If for you He has appointed special trials, be assured that in His heart He has kept for you a special place. A soul sorely bruised is a soul elect.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

He wins

I woke up Sunday morning at 6:00 am and couldn't go back to sleep: not exactly my idea of a Sunday Funday.  I realize that I could have spent the next few hours in prayer or reading the Word or something, but all I wanted to do was watch Grey's Anatomy and that is exactly what I did.  By the time I got ready for church, I developed a terrible headache and considered not going, but I went anyway.  I swung through the McDonald's drive thru for a sweet tea and of course it took forever.  I made it to church and my head hurt so bad I thought I was going to throw up.  I sat in the last row, against the wall, in case I needed to excuse myself.

I was in pain and distracted during worship and contemplated bolting.  But I didn't.  And I'm so thankful I stayed: our sermon was just what I needed to hear, I was mentioned in the bulletin under a prophetic word, and we had a beautiful time of praying over each other at the end of our church service, with half the church standing to give and receive prayer.

{totally worth watching the service:}

While the enemy fights hard to distract us and pull us away from the Lord, the Lord fights harder to remind us who He is and how much He loves us.  So grateful!  It was just what I needed to prepare my heart for Nicaragua.

{Oh yeah, I'm heading to Nicaragua this Saturday for eight days.}

Thursday, June 13, 2013


i found myself praying this morning...six simple words.  simple, yet powerful.

i love you...i need you.

over and over again.  rhythmically almost.

i love you as i breathed in.  breathing the lord in.

i need you as i breathed out.  he's the only way i can make it in this world.

fill me up to send me out.

walking in the wilderness

The wilderness.  How many of you have felt like you were in the wilderness?  Each wilderness season looks different for everyone.  Are you waiting for a job?  A spouse?  A child?  A loved one to quit drinking?  A friendship to be restored?  A healing?  Salvation for a loved one?  Is there something you are longing for deep in your bones that you haven’t seen come to fruition yet?  

Paul had a thorn in his side and pleaded with the Lord to remove it; but He did not.  Rather, the Lord said to him, “my grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in weakness.”  But, do we believe that?  Is His grace sufficient in all things?

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Can any of you relate to those words?  I know I can.

I’ve recently been in a wilderness season myself.  My family encountered many hardships, including financial difficulties, health challenges, and the loss of both of my remaining grandparents.  I got my heart broken.  Some friendships needed to change drastically.  I wrestled with my future and the plans the Lord has for me.  In this midst of all this, I moved in with my parents; we live together for the first time in over 11 years.  For those of you who live with your adult children and/or parents - you know what I’m talking about!   ;)  If I had a $1 for every tear shed in this season, I’d be pretty rich.

The wilderness.  It is a time of great challenge.  

His grace is sufficient...

Matthew 3:13 - 4:2
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

This is one of my favorite passages.  We see Jesus being baptized.  We see the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus!  (And He has not left!)  We see that God the Father tells Jesus he is pleased with him.  The Father is pleased with who Jesus is!  This is before Jesus ever did ministry publicly and the Father is pleased!  These are the greatest blessings we can receive: the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and praises from our Heavenly Father.

And then...then we see that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.  Jesus followed him there, he was obedient - even as it led to a place with hardship and temptation - just like our wilderness experiences do.  The wilderness can feel like the worst place on earth to be, but if the Lord leads you there, it is not.  

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.  40 years!  Can you imagine?  40 years of waiting.  Mark Batterson said that waiting often leads to spiritual confusion and emotional exhaustion.  I am willing to bet the Israelites felt confused and exhausted.  I know I have!  Have you?!  BUT in the midst of wandering, God was there.  

His grace is sufficient...

Deuteronomy 2:7
For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows you're going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’

It doesn’t always feel like you’re lacking nothing, right?  Sometimes it feels like you are lacking everything...

Deuteronomy 8:2-4
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.

Why does the Lord bring us to the wilderness?  He humbles us.  He tests our hearts.  He sees if we will obey him in all things.  Being humbled and tested isn’t fact, it often hurts a whole lot.  But it is for our good.  God has the power - and I believe he takes delight and great care - to refine us and make us more like Him.  But sometimes that can only be done in the hard places.  

AND he is ALWAYS with us in these places!  He gave the Israelites manna every day so that they had something to eat.  He didn’t give them a great big storehouse of it, but he gave it to them every day so they would have to depend on him for it.  The Lord was gracious to them and did not let their clothes wear out or their shoes.  He provided for them each and every step of the way -- even if it wasn’t the way they wanted him to provide.  Amidst the hardships, there are blessings.  So many blessings and so many things to be thankful for!  I find that gratitude begets gratitude...the more blessings I see, the more I continue to see.

His grace is sufficient...

Hosea 2:14-15
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

These verses make me smile.  I love that it says he will allure her...he will pursue her into the wilderness.  For those of you who can relate to the wilderness, it may seem like such a contradiction!  If you love me, why are you taking me into a place of hardship?!?  But it is in the wilderness, that he can speak tenderly to her!  In the wilderness, you are broken enough to listen.  And it is in the wilderness that hope is restored.  

I have to tell you something.  The biggest piece of fruit this wilderness season has produced for me is presence.  Over the past nine(ish) months, the Lord has taught me so much about being in His presence.  When I stepped into the wilderness there were days I just didn’t know what to do.  My heart ached.  Circumstances seemed to be anything but favorable.  I work for a university and there are many I would go to a random building on my lunch break and find a bathroom stall.  I would turn the lights off and sit on the floor in the dark begging God to speak to me; demanding that the Holy Spirit show up!

And you know what?  He did!  I could tangibly feel his presence in there with me!  And He spoke to me - He gave me hope.  He gave me comfort.  He gave me the encouragement I needed to take one more step, to move ahead, to keep trusting him.  Months later, it is my favorite part of the day.  Sometimes I even crawl under the desk in my office, lay down, and wait expectantly on God to show up, to be near to me, and to restore my hope.  

Isaiah 45:3
I will give you treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by name.

Sometimes the secret places are in the bathroom and under pieces of furniture...  

Where are the secret places for you?  If you don’t have one, I challenge you to find one.  Is there some place that you can go where your defenses are down and you are less distracted so that your ears are opened?  Your heart more receptive to the presence and voice of our Lord Jesus?  Mark Batterson says that a change of pace and a change of place equals a change of perspective.  And sometimes a change of perspective is exactly what we need.  

His grace is sufficient...

David Powelson says, The  real  adventure  takes the  path  of  weakness,  struggle,  endurance,  patience,  small  kindnesses  done  well.  The  road  to  excellence  in  wisdom  is unglamorous.  Other  people  might  take  better  vacations  and  have  a  more  thrilling  marriage  than  yours.  The  path  of  Jesus  calls forth  more  grit  than  thrill.  He  needed  endurance  far  more  than  he  needed  excitement.  His  kingdom  might  not  cater  to  our cravings  for  derring-­do  and  thrill-­seeking,  but  "solid  joys  and  lasting  treasures  none  but  Zion’s  children  know."

God the father sent his only son Jesus to this earth to show us how to live, to save us from our sins.  He is the only way to heaven and salvation.  Salvation of our souls and of our lives; Jesus is the only one that can bring us true healing and restoration.  He is the only one who can make us lie down in green pastures and restore our souls.  Jesus came to bring life and life to the fullest!  But sometimes that life is not fun or easy; sometimes it is a daily battle.  

If you are trying to make it day by day, waiting and hoping for an answer, a solution, a peace.  I pray that our God who created the mountains and the seas, who is beyond all time, and able to do anything, who created you and has known you since before you were born, will be near to you.  James tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.  In my trials, my joy has been renewed.  Any joy that I have comes from a dependence on Jesus and being in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  

I am sure that each of us has a story to tell about wandering in the wilderness.

Sometimes you can’t see outside if your circumstances.  Sometimes you can't see out of your prison walls.  Can you relate?  I can.  It does NOT change who he is or the good things he has done!  

Remember what he has done.  What has he done?   I can personally attest to the following:  watching a friend come to know Jesus.  Watching a friend receive the gift of tongues.  Watching someone be healed.  Praying for someone to get pregnant. Hearing a friend talk about being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Having food provided weekly to a ministry I help with.  And many more things.  And I am sure that each of you can attest to things the Lord has done!  Ways you know he is alive and active!

Our circumstances are not how god feels about you.  How god feels about you is the cross!!  His grace is sufficient...

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

If you know Jesus, you have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing!  The Lord is not holding out on you.  Satan and our circumstances may try to tell us otherwise, but the Lord tells us the truth!  It is my prayer that all of us will believe this and live our lives accordingly.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

getting goats

By far, the greatest blessing for me in my wilderness season has been hearing from the Lord clearly and personally and being in His presence.  As I've begun walking out of this season (or, it seems that I am and I hope that I am!), it's been a little bit harder for me to hear and feel the Lord.  I know that ebbs and flows in life, but I've missed it when it hasn't been as tangible.

The talk I posted yesterday is so good.  He has another one from the same conference, too.

At one point in the first talk, Your Calling is Calling, Steven talks about how our calling is present not future.  He speaks of the story of the prodigal son.  Regarding the older son - he wanted what he already had: access to his father's abundance.  Often times, we do the same thing: we wait on god to give us something he already has. If the older son wanted a goat, all he had to do was GO GET A GOAT!  Oh, how I needed to hear those words and to be emboldened in my relationship with the Lord.

I was reminded of a new favorite verse, Ephesians 3:1, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."  I have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing because of Jesus!  And I should own that!

I spent time with the Lord over my lunch break today, as I do most days.  And there was something I needed an answer to and some things I needed to be reassured about.  You know what?  I wanted some goats and I asked for them and I got them.  I was tempted to believe that I wouldn't hear from the Lord, but I believed that I would.  I asked and I received!  And I had a sweet conversation with the Lord about things that had been running through my head and my heart.

I don't know about you, but I think God is honored by our expectations.  I think satan likes to tempt us with thoughts like, "he won't really answer me," or "I can't expect God to do x,y,z; it isn't polite," or whatever he whispers in our ears to make us think we are not worthy to go before the throne of the King and share our hearts.  Oh, how deceptive is that lie.

Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

If you need a goat, go get a goat!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I've thought a lot about calling over the past few months, year, several years?  Haha.  It always seems to be on my mind or in the back of my head a little bit.  What should I be doing?  What am I called to do?  You know the drill.

Just listened to this talk.  Rocked my world.

Monday, June 10, 2013

tail lights

I haven't felt like writing for a long time.  Clearly.  Months have passed without a single post.  And this blog may not be on anyone's radar or reader anymore.  And, that's alright.

I read an email today that had a link to a blog post I'd written a year ago and it caught me by surprise.  One, I didn't know the author of the email ever read my blog.  Two, I read the post and was taken back to a day that seemed like a lifetime ago...the record is nice to have.

I started to post shortly after I read that email, but had nothing to say.  No story to tell.  But, tonight God answered the prayer I didn't put much thought into praying: a story.

I met some friends after work for prayer and such, then ran an errand, and headed to Trader Joe's.  I dashed home for supper and to whip up lunches for the rest of the week.  I started putting laundry away and then finally made it out the door to exercise.  Since my last post, I'd gotten out of running shape and have been doing the Couch to 5k program to get back into it.  So, I headed out the door and was having a decent go of it.

Also since I my last post, I moved in with my parents (yes, it happened).  My roommate situtation needed to change and I need to figure a few things out that didn't include signing a back in with mom and dad for the first time since high school.  When I go running, my dad always asks if I'm staying in the neighborhood or not.  Same thing tonight.  And, I was.

Now, the other thing you should know is that since the last post, I have really been in a war...I'd been in the wilderness, but the volume kept getting turned up on life.  If satan wasn't going after me physically, he came after me emotionally and spiritually.  And, today I felt the mental attacks.  The run was the climax of the attacks.

As I was on my last leg of the run, and it started raining: not too bad at first, but then the rain came down harder and harder and the wind picked me up.  Things were blowing into my person; it got a little crazy!  I put my phone down my shorts and hoped I could make it home.  At one point I thought, "I bet dad will come get me," but I never saw him.  So I figured he wasn't coming.  I was a big girl, I could make it on my own.  And just as I was almost home, I saw the tail lights of his car ... and then I saw him back out of the driveway coming to retrieve me.  Such sweet comfort and gratitude.

And it struck me: I do the same thing with God the Father.  I hope He'll show up, I don't see him when I think he should, and just when I start to think he won't come, he does.  My God comes to rescue those who need rescuing.  And many times that is me.

Psalm 30:1
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have rescued me, and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Look at the whole board

While I'm on the dream kick, I have to share this clip.  I've been watching The West Wing on Netflix and loooooooooving every minute of it.  I shed a few tears when I watched this the other night.  Background: the older guy is the President; the younger guy is part of the senior staff.  The President was given a few chess sets from a Prime Minister.  He gives Sam a chess set and they've been playing off and on all day.  The President has let Sam on the inside on an issue.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dream BIG

We had a "dreaming session" last week in our small group -- to dream for the new year and beyond.  Was really good and thought I'd share.

Intro/follow up to what we'd discussed previously:
  • Vulnerability (along with community) is a non-negotiable with Jesus.
  • Why do we avoid being vulnerable? 
  • Why is vulnerability worth it?
  • How does this affect your relationship with Jesus?
  • Vulnerability is scary but even when you get hurt, you can take it to the Lord.
  • Will you let disappointments/frustrations/circumstances affect how you see God?
  • Hardship can make God seem really small.  

Read the introduction to Jesus Today.

  • Painful process leads us to healing.
  • Where is your hope?
  • Where is your dream?
  • Are you afraid to verbalize your dream?
  • When you're hurt out of vulnerability and lose hope because of circumstances, you get away from the calling God has on your life.
  • Moses had a calling.  He got side tracked.  But in the end, God worked it out.
  • We have to take steps, but God does the Work.
A lot of this came from the book, The Dream Giver; I just finished reading it last night.  

Rennie asked us these questions:
    Questions to help you figure this out:
    What did you want to be when you grew up?  Who do you admire most?  What do you love to do the most?  Who do you love the most?  What do you feel the most called to do?  When do you feel the most fulfilled?  If money wasn't an issue, what would you do?
    Is it money, fear, getting out of your comfort zone, playing it safe, feel unqualified, feel alone, etc?
    Who will really walk beside you and help make this dream become a reality?
    When you're in the desert, what are you learning?  What have you learned?  
    Sometimes we take what the Lord gives us and morph it into something else, something we want/think we want.
    Red flags to that: seems selfish, builds your reputation and dishonors God, gets corrupted, etc.
    Root of an un-surrendered dream: you don't believe God will give you good things or you don't believe He'll make your dream come true.  Therefore, you hold on tightly to something -- accepting something smaller than what the Lord has in store for you.
For me, it was really good to think through these things and jot them down. Hope it will be for you, too!