Sunday, December 30, 2012

How Will I ever Learn?!?!...

So one constant theme that seems to be running 
in and out of every moment of my life
is that of learning to LOVE people despite
how I feel
how they've treated me
how circumstances dictate.

It's a hard lesson.
and I feel like I am struggling with it a lot.

Not that I don't want to love people
I do
And I pray continually
for God to help me do so...
I'm only good 
at loving people
when it's easy.

The other day I had a particularly bad day
I was sitting in my car crying and praying
and asking God
"Why is it that the people who need love the most
are also the people who are hardest to love"?!?!

And for a brief moment
It felt like the veil was lifted
and I was able to see
what life is REALLY about
and suddenly everything made sense.

I can turn the other cheek
and forgive 70 times 7 times
Not because it's easy
Not because I'm so great
But because 
That's what's been offered to me
By God Himself.

We don't love people based on 
their words
their actions
or even
their attitudes.
As Christians

We love people
Because Christ Loved us.

We've been forgiven
and are fully and completely
loved and accepted by God
not because
we are perfect
say all the right things
or do all the right things

In fact
when we were at our worst
complete enemies of God
doing our own thing
That's when God's love reached out
and saved us.
Rescuing us from the pit of hell.

And it's out of that...
Looking to what He's done
and how He's set us free
We are able to then
Freely love others
not in our own strength
But by His.

So...Why do I always seem to forget this?
Why is it that day in and day out I need to be reminded
of what God's done for me and how that affects how I love others?
When will I learn to stop being the ungrateful servant
and instead freely give that which I have received?!?!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How I'm Aiming to Live in 2013...

2012 is coming to an end...
and has is normal for this time of year
I've been thinking a lot about new year's resolutions

Normally I make concrete goals.
For instance in the past few years
my "resolutions" have looked like this...
I will to lose 100lbs
I will to read 50 books
I will to write 52 letters

This year...
I've been contemplating something else
Less concrete.

You see..
over the past several months 
I've been living on this roller coaster of emotions
One minute I'm high...loving the world
The next minute I'm low...trying not to hate everyone.

I want to care for people
I want to invest
I want to be open and available
I tend to act more
closed off.

And it bothers me.

In fact...
out of desperation
I've been finding myself
standing before God each morning
pleading along with St. Francis of Assisi
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy."

" Help me Lord, not so much to seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love."

What a powerful prayer!
And completely the cry of my heart!

And yet...
I struggle 
so much
to live it out
on a continual basis 

I'm thinking....
This year
my resolution
by the grace of God
this kind of person.

To give
and forgive.
To care
and love. 
To walk in peace
and work for justice.
To spread  joy
and bring light.
To actually BE
a follower of Christ
Every moment
of every day!   

How's that for a resolution?!?! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How God can Move when We Show up....

Yesterday I met God in the most unlikely place...
or maybe it's not unlikely at all...
maybe He's always there...
I just took the time to finally
show up!

You see...
Yesterday I was invited to tag along...
and hand out Christmas cookies I didn't bake...
to people I didn't know...
at a soup kitchen I had never been to...
God was there!

Normally I'm not the girl to just walk up to strangers and talk.
I don't feel safe around men I don't know.
And a year ago I would of been turned off being asked
again and again...
"Did you come here for a meal?"
or "Are you hungry?"...
When walking into a soup kitchen.

But something happens 
when I say yes
and show up
in uncomfortable places.
Something that I can't explain.

It's as if 
every fear
every doubt
every lack
I have
washed away
God takes over.

All of a sudden
I am free...
able to love...
willing to serve...
longing to just be...
with people
who somehow become
my people.

There's a connection of hearts
that takes place
that's not of me
and I want to know "them".

And so....
I find myself listening to Carmela 
as she talks about her up coming birthday
and I'm already trying to work out in my head
how to surprise her with the home-made cookies she longs for on that day.


I watch the smile and pride on Bill's face
as he takes us outside to show us "his" mural
and I can't help but think
Next time I want to be standing by his side
when he does this.

Then I take a moment
And sit on the bench in silence
and just look around...

I see people smiling and hugging
Everyone knows each other by name
They are a family joking and making fun of one another...
And I know
This is community...
God is here...
and in this moment...
I've been invited in
and We are one.

This is what happens
when we say yes
and show up....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How They Will Know We are Christians....

As much as possible I try to avoid  all the spiritual mudslinging that seems to happen after every national tragedy this country faces.

It pains me to think that at a time when would should be
caring for one another, 
so often The Church 
(or maybe just the high profiled religious right) 
stands there pointing fingers and placing blame 
in order to try and answer the age old question of 

The reality is  
sin is in the world.  
It has been since the fall of man in the garden of Eden.  
And sinful people hurt each other...
sometimes in small ways 
and sometimes in much bigger ways.

And I know that sounds like such an simple answer to a complex problem.
But I'm not claiming to have answers.
I don't.
I am just stating a fact
sin is in the world.

But here's another fact
God is here too!
And while I don't know why he allows things like this to happen 
I trust Him 
and I know He will...
turn wrong into right 
make beauty out of ashes 
and redeem that which seems irredeemable.

I believe in the end He will prevail
and so I pray
Come Quickly Lord Jesus

But until that day
I long to be a part of a Church...
A body...
That reaches out to the hurting world

And I'm thankful to know there are other Christians 
and God lovers out there
who feel the same
and reach out to the world around them
Loving God 
Loving people.

May this be what the world sees....
more than our Christian Judgement
more than our desire to have our way
more than our need to prove we are right
May we be a people
a body
a Church
Followers of God
who are known
by our

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How Simple Concepts have Huge Impacts...

I've been really struggling to read my bible lately.
I was studying Romans
Well more like I've been studying Romans
for like two years...
I decided I needed a break.
So I started reading 1st Samuel...
I love the story of Samuel being called by God
and of David and Johnathan's friendship
So I thought this would be great
But nope...
Within a few weeks I got bored
(can I say that and still be a respectable Christian?)
(They do say Honesty is the best policy)

So this week I picked up the book "Multiply" 
by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving 
And I figured I would start there
as a jumping off point
to my morning time with God.

It's funny
I've been a Christian for a long time now
But going back to the basics in this book
Has really made me examine 
my self
my relationship with God
my relationship with others
what my faith really means
To me
For me
through me

For example
The other day I read a section that asked the question
"Would you say that you view Jesus as your

The obvious answer is...yes.
But the word "Master" is what really stands out to me there.
Master implies one who has
complete authority...
Rule and Reign...
over another persons life
No Questions asked.

I'd like to believe God is my master,
I don't always give Him His rightful authority if he is!

In fact not even 12 hours ago 
I sat in church having a battle of the wills with God

My will says
I will treat people how I feel they treat me
If they don't seem to like me or care for me
I'm not going to like them or care for them.
If they don't reach out to me
I'm not going to reach out to them
If they don't want to love me
why should I ever show love to them

Yet God's will says
Care for them because
I have cared for you
Reach out to them because
I have reached out to you
Love them because 
I have loved you.

As my master
God calls me to love
not in response to others 
but out of response to Him

If I were honest
I disobey or ignore that command
a lot
especially in moments
and giving
do not come easily.  

I like comfort
I like my rights
I cling to my pride
I claim entitlements

But my master asks for more.
And if He truly is who I say He is to me
Not just Lord or Owner
But Master as well
It's time to start allowing
His Will
to reign in me 

God Help me
I pray.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How do you find the words....

I can't watch the news today...
It's too sad.
Heart breaking actually.

When I heard from a friend today
 that there was another school shooting...
This time in my home state of Connecticut...
At an elementary school...
And 20 Kindergartners were killed....
I wanted to...

Instead I prayed...
For the families...
For the Children...
For the school...
For the town..
For the state...
For the Nation.

God we need you.
Forgive us for turning our backs on you...
Forgive us for turning our backs on each other...
Forgive us for what we've become as a nation.

Be with those families...
Overwhelm them with love....
Comfort them...
Bring healing...
Some how..
Some way...
Make good out of this bad.

There are so many questions...
So much hurt...
So much pain...

We need you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How it Feels to be Comfortable Outside of my Box...

Sometimes I look at myself
And I wonder...
Can God really use me?

I don't mean to sound pitiful.
I am quite a blessed person.
I just...
don't seem to be one of THOSE people.
You know...
the Kind that 
Everyone likes
and who can do

non detail oriented.

make mistakes
make a mess of things
embarrass myself
disappoint others
fall down 
more than I care to admit.


I have days like today...
Where I'm surrounded by kids...
completely out of my element...
yet totally comfortable...
Not over thinking anything..
just able to step out of my own box and do.

And I think...
THIS is why I was created.

It's moments like THIS where I see God
I feel Him
I know Him
I'm lost in Him 
I'm used by Him

And I know...
THIS is how it's suppose to be!
THIS is how I honor HIM!
THIS is my worship!

Its a moment where I'm not living for me...
But living for God and God alone.

It's experiencing heaven on earth.

And so I Thank you God for these opportunities...
For moments that stretch me...
For chances to grow more into your likeness...
And for experiences that point me to you.

Thank you for showing me once again that..
it is in you that I am complete!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Do You Love Self-Less-ly?!...

I've done a lot of thinking over the past several months about what it looks like to actually LOVE God and LOVE people.  It's a great theory...a lifestyle I want to live out...but what does it really look like?!?! 

I'm really sick of the part of me that thinks and doesn't act though...and so this month I've joined up with a few of my west coast friends in the #25 days of Giving.  Basically it's a time to step outside of the box and bless others by spreading some holiday cheer!  

There are no rules expect to give something....
a gift... 
some time... 
some money... 
a listening ear... 
a smile... 
a break...
to someone else at least once per day.  

Sounds easy enough, right?!?!  

Well to be times...I've found this to be quite a challenge.

When it comes to doing things for strangers....
people I will most likely never see again or don't really know enough to have it matter...
I am great at giving.  

I can give a lunch to the beggar on the street corner.  
I can give a hand to an older lady at the grocery store.  
I can give a smile to someone at the bank whose obviously having a hard day.  

Even when it comes to giving to those who I will never meet...
I seem to have no trouble.  

I can give money to organizations like pure charity and world vision.  
I can pay for the meal of the car behind me in the drive through.  
I can even put away all the grocery carts around the parking lot of the grocery store when nobody is looking.  

Theses are the things I am good at.

when it comes to giving to the people who are in my life...
my family... 
my friends... 
my co-workers... 
my neighbors....
...I struggle.  

It's not that I can't come up with ideas.  
It's that...
for some reason...
when I try to give to them...
I always  to get "self" involved.  

I want my giving to be self-less.  
I want to love the people in my life... 
because I love them...
because Christ loves them...
and because as people they deserve to be loved. 

Instead I seem to give... 
worrying about what they will think of me.. 
or worrying how they will respond to me.  
I wondering if I am setting myself up to be taken advantage of... 
or if I'm turning people away cause they assume I have wrong motives.  

I don't think this is what giving is suppose to be about!
It's not suppose to be like this!
So why is it so hard to truly LOVE those closest to me?!?!?!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How do you let go and let God?!...

By nature, I expect bad things to happen when I start investing in people.  

Experience has taught me that....

people will hurt you... 
talk about you... 
tell you off... 
shove you under the bus... 
disappoint you... 
fail you...
disrespect you...
and take advantage of you.  

Sometimes it will happen by accident, sometimes it will be intentional...but none the less, it will happen.  

So my gut reaction is to build up walls... 
keep people at bay.. 
and protect myself...

 no matter what it takes.

 there's another part of me...
 the part that wants to live fully and completely for God..
 ..and I know...
 that to truly love God I need to love others
 ....and that means getting involved in the mess.

It means...
breaking down my walls...
Opening up my heart...
giving of myself and my time....
offering forgiveness...
turning the other cheek...
loving even when it hurts...
and stepping out of my comfort zone...

It means...
Not trying to protect myself, but trusting God to protect me...
Not trying to control everything, but trusting the God who is in control of everything...
Not trying to feel loved by others, but loving them with the love God's given me.

It's a life of humbleness....
and self-less-ness...
A life of beauty...
and ashes...
A Life that can only be lived through complete surrender to God.

I want to live like this...
I don't just want to talk about it...
I want to be it.
Lord Help me.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

How 21 Days (or more) Reminded Me to be Thankful...

During the month of November I participated in the "21 days of gratitude" challenge where for 21 days straight you were suppose to share on Facebook specific things you were thankful for each day, trying never to repeat the same thing twice.  Because I'm an "over-achiever".....or really just prone to be pessimistic and ungrateful for what I have....I challenged myself to come up with three things each day and to do it for the entire month.  To be honest, some days I found it hard to come up with three things and I struggled to be specific in my sharing.....but then other days, it was so easy and I felt like whittling it down to just three items was almost too hard!
  In the end I decided to continue on with sharing three things I am thankful for each day, beyond just November.... because what I realised during this "Challenge" is that when I take the time to think about what I have to be thankful for, I actually see the goodness of the world all around me!  I see goodness in people....who pray.... listen...hang out...share ...and go out of their way to be a blessing!  I see goodness in my family... and realized that behind all the things they do that annoy me, are hearts that truly care for me, about me and love me!  I see goodness in nature.....God's creation is beautiful, whether it's sunny, rainy, windy, snowy or if I'm on a mountain, at the beach, in the city or at my house in the suburbs!  And I see goodness in God....who truly does love me exceedingly more than I can even think or imagine and who constantly finds ways to reveal that love to me!
  This past month showed me just how much I have to be grateful and thankful for and I want to continue to live out a lifestyle that sees that and shares it (if that makes sense)!  So here's to 21 more days of gratitude...and hopefully many more than that!

Friday, November 30, 2012

When Stumbling on Scripture means Forward Progress...

    A few years ago, when I recommitted my life to Christ, I made a conscious decision that I was no longer going to just  believe a certain way or do certain things as a Christian just because I was "suppose" to.  I had spent most of my Christian walk up to that point, doing just that...just going through the motions.... and I knew that in order to have a real relationship with God, I had to really know Him...for myself.  So these days I take time to study my bible and pray and worship and invest in community, not because I should, but because I want to know really know Him.... and  to love Him with all that I am and live for Him in all that I do.
  Yet, to be honest, sometimes it seem I become more tripped up now by my desire to really understand God for myself, than  I ever did just going through the motions.  For instance, take my Bible reading.....for the past several days I have been stuck in Matthew 5 and 6.....not the whole chapters though... just 7 verses.  For you see, it seems to me that in Matthew 5:14-16 when Jesus is telling His disciples to let their light shine, that He's encouraging them to go out and let their love for Him be an action that others can see and thus be point to Him.  That makes sense....even  the book of James says that Faith without works is dead and people can see your faith by what you DO, so yes.....we should be light and salt in this world by DOing God's will....Got it.  But then in Matthew 6:1-4...which is on the very same page in my bible... Jesus tells His disciples not to DO their good deeds publicly to be seen by others and that when they give they should not even to let their left hand know what their right hand is DOing!  Wait a minute?!?!?  How are we suppose to be a city on a Hill...letting our light shine...without even allowing our whole selves to see our light?  Now don't get me wrong....I don't think we are suppose to go around tooting our own horns and proclaiming how great we are.  In fact I think the whole point of any good we do, should be to point to the greatness of God....we never even get involved in the equation in terms of who it's about...But how exactly do we let our light shine in private?!  How are we to be a city on a hill....for all the world to see....but not allow even ourselves to know what we are doing?!  How does that work?!
   I don't know the answers right now.....I have to meditate on it much longer I think to have it fully make sense to me.  But I have to admit, I worry that while I'm trying to figure this out, am I dishonoring God by trying to shine a light and being aware that this is my intention?  See how I can take a simple concept and turn it into a mumbled mess in my mind.  It's kind of ridiculous!  And yet, I somehow believe that it honors God when we wrestle with His word...He delights in us meditating on His concepts and coming to understand and believe them for ourselves...He desires us to know Him and seek Him in this personal kind of way.  So maybe the mess I get lost in and all the tripping up I do in scripture, actually means I'm walking on the path....moving forward... drawing closer to Him.....after all, God's kingdom is so upside down compared to this world, that maybe...just maybe....what seems like stumbling is actually progress.