Monthly Archives: May 2013

the tallest midget

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I had never heard this phrase until a few weeks ago —” the tallest midget”. I actually found myself offended by the saying but that isn’t what this post is about. It is about what this phrase made me realize.

A business consultant that I met said it in a conversation and then a few days ago I saw it in a finance article in the Huffington Post. Is it possible that everyone has been using this phrase and I am just now hearing about it? 

You may be the tallest person in the room, but what does that matter if the room is full of short people? You are still short…just not as short. You may be the best leader in the room, the best dad in the room, the best Christian in the room, the best communicator in the room…but who are you sharing the room with?

I’ve been really challenged by this phrase. What room am I putting myself in? If I put myself in a room with people who are outstanding at what they do, how would I feel?

I went to college with some people who were from really small towns. It was a bit of a shock when they came to a 12,000 person university and found out that they weren’t the smartest, fastest or most popular anymore. There were new people in the room. 

Now, I am not talking about success, money, popularity or fame. I mean people who are thriving in whatever it is that God has called them to do. What if I was in a room with them?

Would I feel so good about myself? Or would I realize that I settled for ‘small’ because it was ‘bigger’ than someone else’s.

I discovered that I discriminate when it comes to comparison. I have a prejudice towards comparing myself to people who are better than me. I refuse to compare then. I get all spiritual and remind myself that who I am before God is all that matters.

But, I fully embrace comparison when I am the one who comes out winning.

I look around and feel better about my relationship with God, so I give myself a pass on getting up to get time with Him in the morning.

I look around and feel better about my marriage and therefore put on the emotional cruise control.

I don’t yell at my kids as much as the lady next to me and I crown myself mom of the year.

My blog has more readers than his , so I no longer need to schedule posts or work on improving my content.

And so I begin to believe that I have arrived. 

The battle of comparison works both ways. We can’t compare ourselves to people who are “better” and we can’t compare to people who are “worse”. We can simply steward the gifts God has given us with diligence by constantly growing in the things He has for us & getting into rooms with people who inspire us to get there. 

God says He has more than we can ask or imagine. Let’s take Him up on that. Let’s live up to our full potential.

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Filed under Faith, My Life Thus Far, Whimsy

fight the pirates

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I spent the past week in Washington, DC. Perhaps you noticed  the complete lack of blog posts last week? Apparently I am technologically impaired and didn’t schedule my blog the right way. Got home to find that none of them posted while I was away. Whoops.

One afternoon I was looking for a gift for my son in the Smithsonian gift shop. I came across an entire display of information about pirates. Books about the pirates that once plagued our coast, puzzles, pens & numerous other trinkets.

Gosh, I thought. I’m so glad they got rid of the pirates. I just don’t think I would have done so well in the days of treasure and canons. Although, the costumes in “Pirates of the Caribbean” were neat. Other than that, I can’t see any benefit of living in that time period.

The pirate paraphernalia brought to mind a slew of movies. The good guys always hiding from the pirates, going to the other side of the island to avoid detection, trying to outrun them… But in the end they all had to come face to face with the ragtag lot. They had to fight to pirates.

Somewhere among the replicas of the Constitution and oversized pencils I came to this conclusion: We still have to fight the pirates.

We still have things that are trying to rob us. We avoid them, try to outrun them or hide out waiting for them to leave us alone. The hard conversations, the confessions, the difficult decisions that must be made…we put them off hoping to escape. But they always find us. They are always waiting on the other side of the island.

I stood deep in thought amidst the flood of 8th graders on field trips. My mind rolled through all the little things that were robbing me from peace and truly moving on in certain areas. Most of them single conversations needing to be had and pesky habits. I thought about all the tactics I used to get around having to deal with them. My avoidance was costing me greatly in time and energy.

Right around the Lincoln Memorial snow globes I decided what I needed to do. I needed to fight the pirates.

I am telling you this story because I am guessing some of you are like me. You are trying to avoid the little robbers that take your peace, rest and ability to focus on the next thing. In the mean time you deplete your internal resources just trying to avoid the confrontation.

Lets learn a lesson from the movies people. No matter how hard we try, if we want the freedom to live the lives we want, we have to confront the robbers. No more beating around the bush.

Fight the pirates, people. Fight the pirates.

 

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Filed under Funny, Lifestyle, My Life Thus Far

Runaway Mongolian Cowgirl

A Sunday Kind Of Love
This Sunday, I am loving this story. Enjoy peeps.
Source:Pinterest

I was once a runaway Mongolian cowgirl. Before I start, lets clarify a few things. I am not Mongolian, but I was in Mongolia. Second, I didn’t actually run away, my horse did.

When I was eleven my family moved to Irkutsk, Russia. Yep, I spent my junior high years living in Siberia. For our family vacation one of those years we went to Mongolia. I loved it the moment I saw the mountains out the window of our propeller airplane. It was beautiful and felt strangely like home.

One of our days there we went with some friends out into the most rural of places. Eventually we pull up to a ger ( a ger is a type of portable housing similar to a yurt). The rolling countryside was dotted with white gers and the nomadic families who live in them. Herds of animals were roaming the hills all around.

We visited a family in their ger, ate some very interesting food & absorbed stories of their nomadic lives. Then came the fun part. They were going to let me ride one of their horses. This was fun until I saw the saddle. It was made of wood. An uncomfortable sport just got more uncomfortable.

There were no fences. Just thousands of miles of rolling hills. My incredibly adventurous parents told me to go wherever I wanted , just don’t loose sight of the ger. So I did. I roamed free and it was grand.

The ger where my family was waiting had become just a white speck so I decided to go back. But along the way something happened. I heard a yell from a herd on the next hill over & my horse took off. It soon became evident that the families assist each other in gathering their livestock & this guy needed some help. He recognized the horse I was on and called for us to come help him. Clearly the horse knew the drill and soon I was herding goats with an old Mongolian cowboy. Wish you could have seen his face when a 12 year old American girl showed up instead of the horse’s owner. I would venture to say that this nomadic herdsman had never seen a white girl in person. At least that is what his expression communicated.

I was completely useless. The cowboy kept giving me instructions but I had no clue what he was saying (this was most likely due to a combination of my not speaking Mongolian & his not having many teeth). Thankfully my horse knew what to do. I just sat on him & held on for about 10 minutes while the horse did all the work. Round & round until all the goats were gathered.

How do an old Mongolian cowboy & an adolescent American say goodbye after rounding up goats? Neither of us knew, so there was a very painfully awkward attempt. I bid farewell to my perplexed Mongolian cowboy buddy and rode my horse back to my ger. It was one of the most unusual experiences of my life.

I was thinking about this story the other day & I realized something. I realized that it is how God works. When He asks us to do something, it doesn’t mean go figure out how to do it. I could never have figured out how to herd goats with a stranger in Mongolia. But I was riding on a horse who did.

All we do is hold on to God while He does it. We simply go with Him wherever He takes us. He knows how to do the things He has called us to.

Our job is to go along for the ride.

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Filed under Faith, Global, My Life Thus Far, Sunday Kind Of Love, Uncategorized

Oklahoma

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Dear Oklahoma,

It seemed like not to long ago I felt this same pain for Sandy Hook ,the race in Boston and the explosion in West. So much to feel, but not much to say.

It was not until late afternoon that I saw the news and all that was going on in Moore. I was glued to the images. While I made snacks for my kids, you were hiding for your lives in closets and hallways. How can two things so opposite be happening simultaneously? I don’t think I will ever get used to that idea.

I pulled my 6 year old daughter and my 4 year old son around me. We sat on the floor and I told them that a bad storm had hurt some houses and people in your city. The three of us held hands together and prayed for you.

We prayed for your homes to be safe, we prayed for your neighbors to be uninjured, and we prayed for all of your children to return home. I’m pretty sure that my daughter prayed for your pets too. Everything. We prayed for everything. Simple words spoken with childlike faith.

My son looked at me after we had finished and said, “Mommy, I need to put on my Batman costume and go save those people.”

I cried. Sure, his sweet heart is enough to make a mama tear up, but mostly I cried because I wanted the same thing. I wanted to put on a cape and a mask and go save you.  Move every fallen wall & tossed aside car to pull the injured out. I wanted to save you today. To bring school children trapped under rubble back into your arms.

Right now I am in my dry, warm house. My dogs are at my feet, my pictures are hanging on my wall and my children and husband are asleep down the hallway. And I am crying hot tears because I know so many of you didn’t get the miracle you were hoping for today.

There is nothing I can do to erase the terror, put your walls back together or lessen the pain of lives lost. I can’t imagine the suffocating fear of a parent whose child was in the school. Unfortunately  some of you don’t have to imagine that pain. You are feeling it right now.

There are so many things that I can’t say. I can’t say that it will all be better tomorrow when you wake up. I can’t say that time heals everything. I can’t tell you I know what you are going through.

But I can tell you this: All across this nation there are people wishing they could put on  Batman costumes and save you from this tragedy. All across this nation people are praying & thinking of you. Hearts are aching while quietly watching television screens hoping for good news.

This is no time to discuss the theology of why things happen, but I do believe Jesus is in Moore tonight. Walking your streets & sitting with those who are grieving. He doesn’t wear a mask or cape, but He brings tremendous comfort in the midst of insurmountable pain.

I hope on this very somber night, when all your hope seems lost, that you find Him walking down your street. That you put your head on His shoulder and cry your hot tears.

While I can’t wish you sweet dreams tonight, I wish you peace. May you see miracles before your very eyes. And most of all, know that you are not alone on this stormy night.

From a mom who would give anything for a Batman costume,

Elizabeth Griffin

 

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Filed under Faith, Fire, My Life Thus Far

underground resistance

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Finally it is Sunday! I can’t wait to show you this poem I came across on my friend Sarah’s blog this week. This isn’t a mom blog. Gosh it isn’t even a women’s blog. But I think no matter who you are, a challenge to tweak your perspective is always handy. This poem is a reminder that everything has an eternal perspective to it. And as a mom who has been taking care of sick kids all week…it hit home.

So, here is this week’s Sunday Kind of Love.

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” i am a woman” by Christianna Reed Maas

“My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide.   I sustain humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows. I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God’s army. I made their meals, and tied their shoes. Today, I walked with greatness, and when they were tired I carried them. I have poured myself out for the cause today.

It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor. I am great with destiny.

I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence. I was the gate keeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed. There is not an hour of day or night when I turn from my post. The fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned the world will know the power of grace. Hope has feet, and it will run to the corners of earth, because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the opposition of death. I am a woman.”

Heading into this week, lets take a bit of this perspective with us. Not everything is as ordinary as it seems.

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Filed under Faith, Fire, Kiddos, Sunday Kind Of Love

“Good Luck”

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This is a simple realization that I came to the other day. I have never, ever heard God wish me luck. I have done many things in my 31 years. I don’t think He has so much as even crossed His fingers on my behalf.

Sometimes it seems as if  I am in the middle of complete chaos. Or the waters I am sailing into are utterly uncharted. One would think a little luck would be useful. In fact, I would like to rub some rabbit’s feet right about now.

But, God just isn’t into luck. He doesn’t give me a pat on the back and a “go get ’em tiger” pep talk. There is no map handed over and well wishing. None. Nothing. Nada.

I get mad about that sometimes. It can feel like He just ships me out here and hopes I make it through okay. Aim east and may fate be kind… On days like today I could use a little luck, God.

But God doesn’t do luck. He doesn’t send a map and watch to see if I am savvy enough to figure it out. There is no test to see if I deserve to get where I am headed. No lucky penny, special potion or magical prayer to chant.

Instead He comes with me. He sits next to me telling me “go right” and “go left”. He doesn’t watch and see how I do, He helps me do everything. God has a plan for every adventure I am on.

So if you feel stalled at sea or caught in choppy waves, God is with you. He didn’t send you out there to see how you measure up or if you have what it takes. Of course you have what it takes. You have Him. And that is all it takes.

God doesn’t say “Good luck”. He says ” I am with you”. And that is way better than luck.

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Filed under Faith, My Life Thus Far, Uncategorized

my friend the murderer

I shared this story a few years ago, but it is one of my favorites. It is a story that changed my view of how the Church should work. It involves a baby, a man named Merlin & most importantly…a murderer.

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It was 2005. We had just moved to Seattle to plant a church and our apartment was on top of a Safeway and a Starbucks. I got in the elevator, went down one floor and the smell of brewing coffee met me. Have I mentioned how much I love Seattle?

I spent lots of time in that Starbucks and became friends with a barista named Autumn. She had dyed black hair, plugs in her ears, piercings in her face and tattoos on most of her skin. We hit it off from the beginning. I would invite her to church up in my living room on Sundays and she would return the warm gesture by inviting me to her burlesque parties. Neither of us ever took the other up on the invites.

Slowly my friendship with Autumn began to grow. We couldn’t be more different and yet oddly we found the other refreshing. After about a month she was my closest Seattle friend. I would meet her when she got off work & ride the bus with her. She lived near the campus I went to regularly to meet college students. We would talk about God and she would ask me questions I didn’t have answers to. “I can’t answer that. You just have to meet Him for yourself”, I would say.

Autumn had a one year old little girl named Opal & a boyfriend named Merlin. Like the wizard. He changed his name to Merlin because he hated God and felt that naming himself after a wizard would reinforce that point (this is Seattle remember).  Meeting Merlin was nothing compared to what came next.

The big news came in a parking garage when I was about to give her a ride home. She was talking about slam poetry and mentioned that she started performing in prison. Uh…prison? That’s when it came out. She had killed someone. Mind you we are alone in a dark parking garage when I make this discovery. Freaking out inside, faking a causal smile on the outside. The crime wasn’t intentional, but it happened all the same. Involuntary manslaughter.

Two weeks later I found myself driving to Autumn’s house at 6:30am. Opal needed a babysitter while Autumn went and got her drug treatment at a nearby rehab clinic. I sat with a sleepy Opal for an hour in Autumns room. Very much a reflection of Autumn’s life, her room was a wreck. It was decorated with black ravens and pornographic pictures of herself. It was the darkest place.

I would sit and rock little Opal while singing worship songs to try and keep my sanity. I would bring my Bible and read scripture , pray & declare promises over Opal’s life. Autumn would come back and we would walk Opal to her daycare. Then we would drive back to my apartment. She would start her shift at Starbucks and I would go home and make breakfast.

I did that for about two weeks until Autumn was able to get Opal into daycare earlier. You may read this and think me some sort of Christian hero, but I am not. If I had visited her house before offering to babysit, I would never have volunteered. If I am totally honest, had I known her whole story I wouldn’t have been her friend in the first place. Because deep down I am really judgemental.

 I learned a few things during my time with Autumn & Opal.

First, I learned that in really dark places God’s presence glows the brightest. Autumn’s creepy bedroom changed completely when I worshiped and prayed with little Opal. The ravens were overshadowed by the goodness and lightness of God. All else melted away. It didn’t matter how dark and oppressive the environment was, it mattered that I met God there.

Second, I realized that the Church isn’t going to change the world by promoting a certain agenda. It is going to change the world by sitting in creepy living rooms. Holding babies that aren’t ours. Listening to stories that make us uncomfortable. The Church is going to change the world by loving and serving the broken & knowing that without the grace of God their mistakes could have been our mistakes.

Third I realized that the goal of loving people isn’t for a happy ending. This story didn’t have a happy ending at all. They disappeared without telling me where they moved. No one gave their life to Jesus or came to church. I told Autumn once that even though she doesn’t want Jesus now, some day she might. And if she ever does, she can call upon Him and He will come without delay. I’m hoping she remembers that & in heaven I can find out it was a happy ending after all. 

We don’t love people in order to have great stories of happy endings. We love people because God loves them, and that is reason enough.

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Filed under Faith, Fire, My Life Thus Far