Friday, June 26

because it's on my mind

my list of needs and cares:
  • for Josh, my niece's father, who is serving our country in Iraq. We found out last night he almost lost his right hand. Thanking Jesus that the Father's hand was definitely upon him, that he still has his life.
  • for friends who are getting married tomorrow, that we will truly see God's hand at work on this day and that we as a body of Christ will serve them any way we can
  • for my resume and job applications to be met with favor so that i can at least score some interviews and...
  • for a replacement to be found for me at work and...
  • for one of the interviews to turn into a new job so...
  • all things will work together in His timing...
  • for my move to new york state and...
  • for a new used car that will get me to said location!
  • for financial situations, with bills and taxes, and for me to be responsible with the provision He has given me

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1Pet5:6-7)

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Phil4:19)

Wednesday, June 24

to love and be loved

When we go to a wedding, maybe we’re so moved because we want this new couple to succeed. We intuitively know that their "success" is somehow tied to ours. Their making of love makes the world a better place to live, a place where there is more love for all of us. Maybe this is why we always notice great marriages. When their love is growing, it inspires us. Their life together gives us life. When "two become one"… it’s a connection and it’s cause for celebration. Of "God. Life. Creativity. Potential. Shared partnership in caring for the world. Strength for weakness, weakness for strength. A new family. The ongoing creation of the world." The passage ends with ‘the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’ No shame or embarrassment. No apologizing for who they are. No covering up or pretending. No masks or secrets. Total acceptance of each other. That’s what we want, isn’t it? We want someone to see us exactly as we are and still love us. It’s terrifying to let people see who we really are. To see the darkness in our hearts, our bad habits, all of the things we’ve done in the past that we regret. Our biases, our shortcomings, the things we aren’t good at. Being naked is terrifying. What would it be like to be with someone who loves you exactly as you are? If you see me for who I really am, the me that no one else has ever seen, the me that I wouldn’t dare to show anybody else on the planet, the parts of me I’m not sure I want anybody ever to see, if I give you that kind of glimpse into the seat of my being, into my soul, will you still love me like you do now? It’s our question for each other, and it’s our question for God. Unconditional, absolute acceptance. From a lover, from God – it’s what we crave.
This is why a marriage is always about something bigger than itself. It’s two people, in their unconditionally loving embrace of each other, showing each other in flesh and blood what God is like. These two are naked, and they feel no shame.
(Rob Bell, Sex God)
This, to me, is truly beautiful. To give yourself fully to another, to reveal all of who you are, to show yourself completely to another, and to be met with love. Vulnerability requires unconditional love. And how beautiful are two people loving each other for who they are, through the good, the bad, the better, the worse, the beautiful, the ugly, the exciting, the mundane? There is an empowerment that comes from knowing we are accepted. When we know we are loved for who we are, we feel free to be who we truly are. Think about how much potential that holds. When we know we are loved no matter what with another being, we have established a relationship where we can be us. And that's just the start. I think this awareness inspires us to be the "best" us; the new creation we are in God. I’m finding it hard to put all of this into words because when I think about it, I have more of a feeling than words. I feel joy and excitement and anticipation and hope at what a life lived in and giving of unconditional love looks like. Unconditional love is infectious love. Being loved makes you want to love others. It's contagious. And the true beauty is that love is a reflection of God. It points directly to the One who is unconditional love. He is the source; the only way that we can live a life of love. Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God [. . .] God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us. (1 John 4:7,16-17)

Thursday, June 18


most days i wake up with a song in my head. i believe the correct term is an earworm. it's not unusual for it to be a song i have not heard or thought about in quite some time. this morning was no exception and my earworm should be familiar to many churchgoers in the early 90's...
"Lord the light of your love is shining,
in the midst of the darkness shining.
Jesus, Light of the world shine upon us.
set us free by the truth you now bring us.
shine on me
*clap clap*
*clap clap*"
after my performance shower, i went downstairs and watched one of the morning news shows. i happened to catch coverage of iran and saw pictures and videos of the protests and riots taking place over there now. images of the massive crowds and the violence that has ensued. vidoes of people being beaten and shot at, and of the wounded, bleeding and disfigured. up until this point, i had only skimmed read headlines and heard discussion about the way social media sites like twitter have been at the forefront of keeping the world informed about what is happening. as i was finally confronted with these scenes, tears started forming in my eyes. i felt a little hopelessness and a little helplessness. yes, people are standing up against injustice and fighting for what is important to them, which i believe to be admirable traits. but the thing that got to me the most was just seeing what we humans will do to each other; the violence that we inflict on one another and the hurt and pain that we cause. and here i sit on the other side of the world at a loss as to what my response to this should be. it was only after i got to work and got some coffee in me that it came together that the song in my head this morning was an answer to the questions i was left with after the news on iran. the events taking place over there are filled with darkness. but He is light. "flow river flow flood the nations with grace and mercy send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be Light" Jesus is the Word. He is the light of the world. He is the answer. and as to what my response should be? to pray for grace and mercy to be poured out upon the nations. to pray for Light.

Monday, June 15

reflections and commitments

today i turned 25. one quarter of a century. it is remarkable to me to look back at where i was a year ago, who i was a year ago and where i thought this year was going to take me a year ago. God had very different plans than the ones i was forming, but as always, He knows my best. not the easiest, certainly not the most fun, but a year of growth, pruning, waiting and learning and experiencing more of His love. looking ahead to this next year, changes are definitely on the horizon. there will be physical, tangible ones, but i also have hope for personal, spiritual, inner change as well. being hopeful for all that lies ahead, i'm commiting to taking the time this year to reflect on the days as they pass and get my thoughts and my life out there on this blog. it is something i have wanted to become more consistent at and what better time to start than a new year?! i am also commiting to starting a second blog, one with a very specific purpose, the idea for which i found here. in all honesty, my hope is that through my writing, i will become more grateful, sensitive and thoughtful in my life and with those around me. there's only one way to find out, right?! (:

Wednesday, June 10

who are you?

it's a familiar scene to many children. a girl the size of a blade of grass comes across a caterpillar of similar size and quite partial to a hookah. as he blows puffs of smoke in her face a question is spelled out, a question that though comprised of some of the smallest words in our language hold some of the greatest significance. whO aRe yoU

the girl attempts to answer this question: "i hardly know... i've changed so many times today". i have to give her credit for her honesty. i mean i don't know what kind of response i'd be able to muster if, in one day, i had grown in height enough to break through a house then shrunk in height to the size of a larval creature. and with that honesty she is never able to answer his question. 

i, too, find myself struggling to answer this tiny question. who am i? where do I find my value? my worth

in high school, music defined who i was. i was a flutist and a member of a youth orchestra. i was a member of the choir and i sang on the worship team at church. people knew me as a musician. i also took honors classes and was known for being a smart kid. and ok, i was and still am a nerd and have the glasses to prove it! 

in college, i became defined by different things. i became involved as a student leader. i was student activities co-director and went on to tackle the role of student body president. i was a leader, in my extracurriculars and in my classes.throughout my life i have placed my value and worth in my education, the activities i was involved in, the titles i held in leadership positions and in jobs, the relationship i was in, who i was friends with… but now i find myself stripped of all that once defined me. 

and i hear the question in my head... who are you

for 24 years my mindset has really been that it is the external things, the things that look good on paper, the things that can be seen easily by others around me, that made me who i am. but i find myself in a place where pretty much all of that has been taken away from me. so how do i answer? 

i don't. i can't. i just don't have an answer. so i turn to the One who knows me better than i know myself. i take all the panic, the loneliness, the uncomfortable feelings and the desperation that i am feeling from not having an answer to the question right to Him. 

and i sit and i wait. and i trust Him to reveal Himself to me. 

because i've concluded that to know who i am i need to get to know the One who created me. my value does not originate from anything external. it comes from He who formed me. and i find who am i becoming whose am i? i am His. and maybe that's all i need to know. maybe the short question has a short answer. i don't know. i'm still in the middle of sitting and waiting. i wish i had some really profound conclusion to end with but i don't. i have only where i've been and where i'm at and hope of where i'll be.
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