Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sometimes God Forgets

It seems like God abandons projects before they are finished.

I think I speak for all of us that it seems like God can be forgetful. I know we don’t like to admit that, but if we are honest there are sore spots on our hearts it feels like God has neglected. I wrote an entry a few months ago, Why Hope Hurts. I revisited the thought this morning.
When I had my second child I had tons of false labor. I would feel the contractions. “This is it! He is on his way!”. But then they would stop just as suddenly as the started. It was disappointing, but I still knew that he was going to be born. It was obvious that it would be soon. I had a bulging belly to prove it. Not so with the promises of God.
I don’t have physical evidence like I did when I was pregnant. I have the opportunity to think that I am making this all up. I never heard God promise me anything. I look at all the reasons I have NOT to believe Him. Indeed it seems like He forgot. 
I know God has promised things. I believe them, I pray for them. There are moments where it seems like my dreams are gaining traction. My soul lifts. “Finally’!” I think. Then I let my mind go. It starts to think about where this momentum is headed. I plan it out in my brain. I get attached to my plan in my heart…and then God takes it a different direction. Disappointment washes over me. Again. 
Maybe you feel He has forgotten your promises too? The promise of a spouse, a certain job, the chance to use your giftings in a ‘big’ way. Perhaps you have dreamed about going to a certain nation to tell them about Jesus, maybe you have been praying for God to heal your depression, or bring a prodigal child home. The promise of a baby that has resulted in nothing. For years. We all feel we have a barren womb in some area.
So, did He forget? Is He cruel? Does He not listen when we cry in weary places? No. He hasn’t forgotten. He is leading us to His promises even today. I am a follower of Jesus. That means I hold his hand and follow him. Not lead him. I trust Him and I eagerly go where He takes me because I know it is good and it is part of a loving plan for me. When I get frustrated and impatient I let Him comfort me.
You see, I have learned this: The promises of God and His pathways often seem disconnected. But God is a God who holds all things together. If I take His hand He will lead me from glory to glory.
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Things I will Ignore

I will ignore the fact that I awkwardly tilt my head in photos.

I make a lot of list for my life. Things to do, people to call, shopping lists… Well, I am going to make a list of things to ignore. Here is my ‘To Ignore’ list:
  • Ignore the pile of paper. I could sort through it, but then I would have a ‘recycle paper’ pile, a ‘file it’ pile, a ‘respond’ pile…If I ignore the pile then there is only one pile. If I sort it then I end up with three separate piles, which  I will end up ignoring…
  • Ignore the plants. If you know me well, you know that I will forget to water them. Or I will water them to much or too little. So, I will just ignore them and let nature take its course. 
  • Ignore  glass surfaces. This drives my husband nuts. I will drive with a filthy windshield and not notice, have smudges larger than my eyeballs on my glasses & not see them. I just don’t notice, so I will stop trying. 
  • Ignore the other pile of…uh, what is that? I have no idea what that is… Just push it into the corner…
  • Ignore dry cleaning labels. I am sure that I am ruining my clothes, but I can’t afford dry cleaning. So, I take my chances.
  • Ignore the plants some more.
  • Ignore updates for my iPhone. This also drives my husband nuts. I will go months without updating or backing up my phone. Once I had to take my phone in because it wasn’t working well. “Oh hi mac-store-man! What? When was the last time I updated my phone? Ugh…about 9 months ago…” This confession was followed by feelings of embarrassment and guilt, which I immediately ignored.
Alright, that is my ‘To Ignore’ list. Feel free to share with me yours!

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You Are My Sunshine

So, this man isn’t my dad & the girl isn’t me…BUT we did go on walks.

Today is a fantastic day. This is my dad’s 60th birthday. The crowd of family just left my parents house & the dishwasher is cleaning up our feast. I sat at dinner looking at my dad. I really love him. He is a legend in his own right. Giving up a well paying job to live on support and lead medical mission trips into Central America. Leading a team for two years in Siberia to see a church planted. It is thriving still today because he bore fruit that remained. His job description has changed a number of times since then…but, the best job he has done is being a dad. My dad is the worlds greatest dad. Here are a few reasons why:
1. He always has plenty of time. As an adult, I now realize that he was quite busy. I never knew that as a kid. He slowed down and really spent time with us. Not just sitting in the same room, but tickling, playing, watching, cheering, talking…he was really there. Dad always made time. I am almost 30 and I still call him on bad days. “Dad, are you in a meeting? Do you have a few minutes?” The answer is always, “Sure sweetie.” Dad always has time for me.
2. Dad is never boring. One time my parents decided that we should take a TWO week road trip to West Virginia when I was in 4th grade. We packed in the suburban and drove. A lot. We saw civil war battlefields, historic markers, scenic overlooks…but dad always made it fun. One time he created this game that involved us hiding from “Ukrainians”. We laughed so hard our whole family was in tears. It is little things like that which build a family. 
3. You are my sunshine. We sang this to each other every night before bed. It was the last thing he said when he had to leave on a trip. One day he brought me a fake flower in a fake pot that lit up and sang the song when you pushed a button. Cheesy, but I loved it! At my wedding reception he suprised me by having the band play it while we danced. It was the only time at my wedding that I cried.
4. He didn’t lie to me. I love this about my dad. He is the most encouraging guy ever. And he always makes me feel loved, but he doesn’t lie to me. If I was in an argument with a friend & it was my fault…he would let me know. I didn’t have to be right to be loved. Dad didn’t lie if I wasn’t the best. He was loving and supportive and taught me that my value wasn’t in excelling in a certain activity, but rather it was in my identity. I wasn’t the best basketball player, but I was loved anyway. Some of my friends have spent their whole lives trying to be ‘the best’ in a certain field. But someone is always better. Thanks to dad, I am okay with that. My dad taught me to be secure, not a performer.
5. My dad has taught me things get better with time. Every year that goes by is a year my dad loves Jesus more. Loves my mom more. Loves us kids more. My dad is running harder, faster and more focused than ever for the things God has put in his heart. He isn’t wrapping up, he is getting started. New dreams, new ideas, new projects…I love that he will charge the hill no matter what season of life he is in.
Okay, I could go on forever, but I won’t. He is a legend. He is a fighter. He is generous with his heart. He has literally marked nations with the Gospel. I love you daddy. Happy Birthday!

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For The King & His Kingdom

Preparing a way for King & Kingdom

I lay in bed some nights listening to the silence. In the night all sound is magnified and each glimmer of light is captivating as it contrasts its surroundings – casting shadows and distorting shapes. The other night I laid quietly still. Watching headlights pass through the window and run across my bedroom wall. 
Tucked into my covers I heard the old pounding of my heart. Faint yet earnest. For the King & His Kingdom. I thought about the great sum of people surrounding the globe whose hearts knew the same pounding as my own. A grandmother in Russia. An engineer in downtown Tokyo. The young coffee farmer in Kenya. A pottery teacher in Canada. An orphan in Mexico. A slave in India. A broker in England…For the King & His Kingdom… all beating in a simple yet collectively profound pattern. 
I lay there and my heart beat along with all these others. Louder than sound itself and deeper than time. The pounding of creation calling for Fullness. The eternal echo of God’s people. We carry the King. We belong to His Kingdom.
Other’s want to know the song. Their hearts beg for a King & His Kingdom. They lay in the darkness of their beds with no eternal heartbeat. Alone with their unknown longing to join in the ancient chant… For the King & His Kingdom. 

Hollow eyes scan the night looking for signs of light. Hope, purpose, value, identity…anything to give them meaning. What we do is for them. Every decision, every day. Each face we see but so often look past…we must stop and say, “Do you hear it? Do you hear your heart pounding the cry of creation? You were meant to carry the King and you are made to belong in His Kingdom.” Then we go on, together chanting:
For the King & His Kingdom,
For the King & His Kingdom,
For the King & His Kingdom…

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I Have No Rights

Times of transition promote reflection for me. I not only reflect on the things I am leaving behind me, but also the things I see ahead of me…or want to see ahead of me. I love dreaming and imagining the possibilities, but sometimes it churns up things I wish stayed under the surface.

I find myself feeling entitled. As if I have a right to something. I jotted down a list of things I often feel I have a right to:

* owning a home
* having a comfortable amount of savings
* my kids attending the very best schools
* increase in my areas of influence without ever returning to a ‘hidden’ season
* taking fabulous vacations…every year. ( Europe preferably )
* to be asked with genuine sincerity “How are you doing?”, “What do you think?” or “Can I help
    you?”
* I think I have a right to make more money than I did last year
* to be the very best at something
* to be acknowledged and sought after
* to be understood

The list can go on…But, I have no rights. I have only grace. A Grace that holds me in my insecure moments. A Grace that takes me to the heights I could never reach on my own. A Grace that loves me when I am ridiculous and throw an internal fit over the list I mentioned above. A Grace that ignores all my lack of qualifications and risks on me regardless. A Grace that sees potential and not problems.

I do not have rights. I have Grace. And I will take that over rights any day.

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No Place Like Home

Here I am reading my paper while we were stuck on the side of the road.

Well, we made it. Quite the trek I will say. I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind on that drive. Several serious ideas and meaningful revelations that came to me as I drove into rolling prairies and mystic deserts. A few funny observations that I picked up on as well…like the fact that women in rural gas stations wear too much eyeliner.

Reflection was my primary companion as I drove hours alone. Thinking that I never in my life imagined myself moving from southern California to Texas. Mostly because I never pictured myself living in California, nor ever returning to Texas aside from Christmas time visits. Funny how life plays out sometimes.

Few things compare with the experience of home. The truth of belonging to a place. I’m writing this from the room I grew up in. While we are looking for a house, we are staying with my parents. I’m  in my old bedroom. This is where I was brought home from the hospital. I remember being small enough to do cartwheels from corner to corner of this bedroom. I decided to give my heart to Jesus here. Laughed. Played with many  friends. Doesn’t seem that long ago that I packed this room up when we moved to Russia…or when I returned two years later and unpacked a different life from my bags. I cried in the confines of these four walls when I felt rejected from the cool girls in 8th grade…Fast forward long phone calls with friends, writing at my desk journals of thoughts and dreams…Getting ready for college. I slept on this very bed the night before my wedding thinking about where the little girl who used to live here went.

This space, small and humble, is mine. From newborn to mother of two I continue to return. Each time I bring a new set of dreams and increase the breadth of memories. Home. Belonging.

I know that I am unaware of the plans God has for me here. I have inklings. I have hopes. When I sit in this room ten years from now I will have so many more memories to deposit here. What will they be? It is so very unknown, but God is Good. Faithful. Generous. I am home again…and there is no place like it.

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Eastland, Texas

Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. The past week has been a whirlwind of packing & now driving to Texas. Currently I am in a Holiday Inn in Eastland, Texas. That’s right. I am back in Texas again. I have had countless hours in the car all alone driving through many terrains…and plenty of thoughts/writing topics have flowed through my head. Expect new posts in a few days…and welcome to Texas.

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