Sunday, December 28, 2008

To My Precious Friend

To my precious friend,

Where are you going? You seem to often hide.
Do you not see what is clearly right in front of you?
You are loved.

With fear in your eyes you hold tightly to the pain.
I wish that you would give it away.
You are loved.

I’m sorry for what happened.
Scares engraved by painful memories.
Yet I hope you still know; you are loved.

Don’t be ashamed. We all make mistakes.
He didn’t come for those who are perfect.
You are loved.
Stop blaming yourself. The hate sears your heart.
It doesn’t matter what you did.
You are loved.

It wasn’t meant to be this way.
He died to give you new life.
You are loved.

Embrace the truth.
Let it fill your heart.
You are loved.

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sweet Surrender

A painful choice.
A decision to be made.
To surrender what brought her happiness.

It did hurt.
And certainly she hated,
To give up that which she treasured.

One last plead.
A request softly made.
To keep the one she still longed for.

I'll love you just the same.
She cried on that day,
To Him whom she called her Savior.

The lie was born.
A foolish thought,
To believe she could fully love the two.

Her heart contained,
the shattered remains,
Of the desire she then gave away.

Yet strength was found.
And Grace did abound,
To fill a heart beyond measure.

A gift received.
Undeserved to say the least,
Of love from her dear Savior.

Perspective has changed.
And beauty embraced,
Which came from her sweet surrender.

Will memories fade,
of His faithfulness on that day?
Or will she recall
a sweet surrender.

Hopes and Dreams

There are days I anxiously wonder where my life is going. Is this it? I feel as though something is still missing! Not all the puzzle pieces have been placed! I mean life is okay, even good really, but has my life already reached its full potential? My unrealized dreams taunt me and in the darkest places of my heart I begin to question God’s goodness and plan for my life. Does he even have a plan?!

In Matthew 6:34 it says [D]on’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.

Sometimes I wonder how to do that. Does anyone really trust God so much they don’t concern themselves with tomorrow, next week, or next year? It almost seems foolish in a way, to trust that much. But then I remember God’s love for me. That he gave him son to die for me.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

So here is the disconnect - I know God loves me enough to send his son to die for me yet I still don’t completely trust him in my day to day life. I’m not quite sure he is putting the puzzle together right and feel as though I need to step in and give him some pointers…at least show Him where the key pieces go! I know it is wrong; I can feel I am somehow being defiant. Like a stubborn child who refuses to let go of a favored toy, I grip tightly to my dreams, frightened that the slightest loosening will cause them to fall and shatter. The broken dream’s jagged edges will tear at my skin and pain will surely follow.

But what if God wants to give me something better? Maybe there is a plan that is far greater than any dream I could have conceived for myself. How will I accept it when my hands are so full? Slowly (and I mean slowly!) I am learning to loosen the grip and keep my hands empty. It stings a little, but as my palms are allowed to experience fresh air, they begin to heal. Now that I’m not concentrating so hard on holding on to my desires, I can clearly see the many amazing things God has already done and is currently doing in my life. I see the beauty and joy in the life and people around me. The amazing life God has already given me. My heart smiles, and at the same time I feel rather foolish. How could I have missed it? By focusing so hard on my plan, I had become blinded to the wonder and amazement around me. Now I feel a freedom. A freedom only someone who is fully known and loved can accept and appreciate. A freedom to love in return and live life to the fullest today, to not worry about tomorrow. If only it hadn’t taken me so long to see.

Instead of holding so tightly to my hopes and dreams, I can welcome whatever God has set before me. Instead of mourning a life that has yet to come, I can appreciate the joy of today and delight in the love of my Savior.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

1 Corinthians 2:9
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Philippians 4:5-7
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

By ceasing for a moment to consider my own wants I have begun to learn better what I really wanted. ~C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Love

I have a confession. I’m not sure this is even okay to admit, but I have come to a daunting understanding that I have an inability to love. I should say that it is not by some sort of lack of effort on my part. I try to care about people more than myself, no seriously I do. However I’m being completely honest when I say I cannot do it and not only that I just don’t get it. I mean I get love in the way that it means you care for someone and you are patient and kind to them. That has always seemed pretty basic. What I don’t get is how to truly love someone? At what point does caring then equal love or does it? What does that even mean to say “I love you”? Does it mean I think about them continually? Does it mean I do things for them? Does it mean I call and write them a certain amount that might be more than I would call or write someone I do not in fact necessarily love? Are some of us doomed to over think life so much we put a rule and format on even the most basic of concepts??

So how do I figure out what love is? Well the bible says that God is love. (1 John 4)
Okay…so what does that even mean? What has God done that shows us yes, I get it, you are love.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So if God is love then I guess to love we do what he did. But he gave his son to die for us. Well, I don’t even have kids so that’s out. Obviously though loving will involve some sort of sacrifice and not necessarily something I would really want to do or would come naturally. But who can love sacrificially and still find joy in it? At times my mind has doubted such a genuine love could exists even though I somehow never questioned that Jesus died on the cross – the ultimate sacrifice— I just doubted he found any joy in it. I felt like if somehow I could prove without a doubt that God wanted to send his son to die on the cross then that proves everything I hoped about the world is true. Unconditional love - a love without any reason to it -does truly exist. Maybe that is where faith comes in. Faith that when the Bible says God is love it means just that. Faith that for some crazy reason God really does love us and just because my mind can’t completely figure out God doesn’t make His truths less real or certain.

The point still remains though that I can’t love. Not the way God does at least. So what is the remedy for this malfunctioning heart?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Ezekiel 11:19-20
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

Maybe the answer is I need a new heart, one molded to love like God, since all my efforts to fix this one have been in vain. Die to myself and trust God to heal me. Then maybe I will know how to love.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a truly beautiful person? I’m sure all of us have our own definitions of this, but I would like the simplicity in knowing exactly what I must do to achieve my desire. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me but this longing to be thought of as beautiful has always been a burden on my heart. I have literally worked out for hours on end trying to achieve this goal. I used to spend way too much money on tanning and getting my hair done. I have bought all the clothes and accessories that I knew would complete the package. In my heart I became jealous of those who I thought God blessed more than me and did my best to make up the difference. I deeply desired the love and acceptance that I knew would soon follow so thoughts of me and my physical appearance consumed my mind.

But that led me to wonder what exactly beauty is? Where did it come from and why is it here? If God made us all how can some be considered less appealing than others? Surely he wouldn’t create someone he thought of as ugly…that makes no sense.

I would hope the obvious answer is that beauty cannot be found in physical appearance and that one is not naturally blessed more than another thus creating a dividing tension for what cannot be controlled.

So what does the one who created our appearance say that beauty is??

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance (David's brother Eliab) or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4
Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

It would seem that God cares more about our hearts. This is great except for the fact that in our day to day interactions with the world others do not necessarily follow this creed. Then I have to ask myself: Who am I trying to impress? And more importantly why?? Exactly whose love and acceptance do I crave? Do I really want the attention of someone who loves me because I am tan, skinny, or have nice clothes? What would then happen if my body changes or winter comes and my skin is once again pale. Will this same person stop caring about me?! How superficial and sad. Even sadder is the realization that it never crosses my mind to stop thinking of myself for one second and love someone else. Possibly give some of the money I spend on myself to a greater cause. Call someone who needs a friend. Do something for someone else! Love God and ask what he wants of my life so that when all is said and done it could be said, “Wow, what a giving and beautiful life she lived.” I want to live a life that God considers beautiful since He is the one who loved me first and the only one who can save me from this world and from myself. He loved me even in midst of the ugliness of my heart and now I hope to be able to say that my pursuit of beauty is found in loving God and others.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


In Genesis it says that God created man in his own image. We are all so different though so I wonder if this more a general statement about humanity or can we apply it to specifics even to the point of our personalities? Like maybe everyone we meet has a little piece of God in them and the more people we meet the more possible joy we can experience because we get to experience that piece of God that we would have never known before otherwise.

What about that person who notices all the obscure things about life and makes everyone laugh and have fun. Do you think God does that? That he is making the angels laugh in heaven? I hope so. I like that thought. Or what about that kind person you know that never has anything negative to say. A little easier to believe I guess that God is like that. Or what about the person in your life who is so carefree and enjoys every moment of life. Or the serious intellect who understands more about life than most ever will. Maybe God contains the sum of all the good we see in others and if we really look for the good in others we get to see God.

Of course there are going to be things in others that drive us nuts but today in my interactions with the world I am going to try and look past that. I will try to see the amazing things that God wants me to see in that person and if it means I can draw closer to Him in the process then all the more exciting. Well, just a thought anyways, but it makes me excited about knowing the friends I already have more and excited/curious about the ones I have yet to make!

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female created them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who Am I?

They say that part of growing up is being comfortable with oneself. The trouble being that one must be aware of who exactly that person is. At least that is the hard part for me I should say. I’ve managed to acquire a lot of labels in my life, some positive and some not so much. Whether positive or negative though they were still definitions other people placed on me. Due to insecurity of my part, I’ve held tightly to these labels and what other people thought in hopes of finding acceptance.

In high school everyone knew me as the “good girl” and a “runner.” Not bad labels for sure, but is that really my identity? After repeated injuries and my weariness for the sport, track fell from the focal point of my life and I decided to not run in college (it would have been a small school anyways.) Suddenly I was lost. I had spent anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day working out either at track practice before school or cross training club at night so its absence from my life was deeply felt.

After starting college I needed to fill the whole that track had left behind. Since being “the nice girl” had little to no appeal, I soon acquired the label “party girl” and believe me did I work hard to earn it. I was definitely the girl everyone had to “take care of” at the end of the night as it soon became a pretty much guarantee that I would be in trouble. I should count my blessings that I still have friends from those days. Needless to say I rarely do things halfway regardless of the importance and usefulness of my pursuit. Those who only knew me in high school would probably crack up laughing at the thought of my new label. It was that night and day.

I found many friends through this identity though and received much attention from boys so I had little desire to remove it. At the same time, the guilt of my actions caused me to hate who I had become but out of fear I kept the pretense; the belief that this life brought me happiness.

Now that I’m officially an adult, or so it would seem anyways, I find myself at this odd place of trying to act responsibly and living a life that brings me fulfillment. At times I haven’t felt like these two ideals can peacefully co-exist. How can I enjoy life if I have to force myself to be so serious and mature all the time?

My newest addition to the list of labels has been “a good Christian girl.” I almost feel that this one has caused me the most grief out of them all and my heart has grown weary. Instead of being who I am, I’ve tried to conform to what I envisioned a “good” Christian to be. I stopped going to clubs, dancing, and attending parties that I felt did not fit this ideal. I wanted to make myself a good person. Of course the whole circle in square peg thing never works and my main accomplishment has been to make myself miserable.

On a surface level, I know that my identity is in Christ so why do I care so much what other people think? What will it take for me to really believe and trust this? To have the courage to throw off the labels that have been wearing me out and rest in Jesus knowing that by His grace I am a child of God. To know that it doesn’t matter how other people define me. The truth is I’m not a “party girl” nor am I “a good girl.”

And so the question remains: who am I? Through bible study and the precious friends God has placed in my life, I've now learned that I am a child of God who is forgiven and loved. Nothing more is needed and thankfully, whether good or bad, nothing I do will ever change that. Amazing right?! That somehow the creator of the universe would choose to love us. And so I don't have to prove my worthiness to anyone! The only thing that changes is the choice I make to cling to this truth or not.

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Restless. Anxious. Why do I never seem fully satisfied? As much as I do during the week with work and after school activities (most of which are more fun than not by the way) I still don’t feel like I’m living the life I want. Even though I'm not completely sure what "the life I want" is a part of me feels its absence as though God is holding out on me and so I need to start making my own way. Control my own destiny.

In the midst of my whining it occurs to me that maybe it’s a good thing…to not feel completely satisfied with this life. Maybe I was never meant to.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:18-20:

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, I don’t belong here. I find this to be extremely exciting and comforting news truthfully! I don’t have to place my hope in other people, money, or accomplishments. My joy does not increase and diminish based on the next week’s schedule or happenings. It sounds so easy to believe this yet so hard to live these truths daily.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Also good news--I know that I do not have to rely on my strength. The trouble being that trust and surrender isn’t usually easy or fun or even obvious sometimes. Plus if you take pride in living a very self disciplined life like me then it’s even harder. Knowing that I can live a descent life without God is the hardest truth to bare and ignore. Ambition, self discipline, and work ethic are the corner stones and foundation of which my life has been formed and tearing apart foundation is never easy. I think that is what God is trying to do. Tear down the illusion of my strength and ability to live life without him. How frustrating it must be when I claim surrender yet fight him for control all the time.

Why even rely on God when I can do it myself? Ambition, self discipline, and work ethic aren’t bad things, Christian or not. In fact one could argue that they are quite necessary for anyone who plans to lead a productive and successful life. And so this question bothered me for a long time. But after time I realized that I can’t provide my own hope and joy. Well at least one that does not diminish or fade away. I became bored with that thing that once made me happy, the person I placed my hope in let me down, or that accomplishment or success wasn't enough... I needed more. Anxiously I kept trying to fill a void that I was never meant to fill. That is the main thing that keeps me turning back to Christ I think. Knowing that He is the only one who can give me a lasting hope and joy. Too bad my stubbornness and pride cause me to come crawling back to this realization almost daily.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Balloon Popping

In an effort to build maturity in my *cough* old age I decided to celebrate my 28th birthday in a more subdued manner. Rather than making a big deal of the day (like I normally do) I decided to just plan something low key with a couple of friends. Anywhos as I was sleeping the night before my roommate decorates outside of my room with streamers and at least 30 balloons. So sweet! God only knows how long it took to blow up all those balloons. Of course one cannot throw away 30 blown up balloons. What a waste of trash bags! So we did the only logical and mature thing and have a balloon popping evidenced by the balloon remains pic.

Sadly upon my “mature” suggestion of the game my roommate brought out scissors. Uh hello…CHEATER! I quickly informed her, since evidently she was deprived of field day growing up, that one does not use scissors in a balloon popping contest…your bottom is the only appropriate tool.

So the moral of the story is that thankfully 28 is not too old to be completely mature (read: boring)! Growing up is so overrated anyways…ha.

P.S. I WON!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Now?

The past year I have committed a lot of time and effort towards self discovery and reflection yet now I’m left with one lingering question. What now? I know that I need to trust God and release the death grip I at times place on ‘my will’ but if focusing on self improvement is the means and the end then what is the point? When or how do I stop focusing on myself so much and start loving others? What will that even look like in my life? A friend of mine said that everyone has a different gift that they can use to make a difference. I believe this is true. I think God gives us different strengths and it is our responsibility to use these to serve Him and others. I know mine; it is teaching. I love it though at times I feel it is a rather sacrificial gift to be a teacher. When I have the summer to lay out at the pool and hang out with friends though I stop looking at it that way and recognize the blessing it is. Of course it is a blessing for other reasons such as making a difference in the life of a child and all that other good stuff. But for now, for today and this week, having the freedom to lay out at the pool in the middle of the afternoon is the blessing.

I keep thinking though that it isn’t enough. I still have more to give. I can still do more. Lately I’ve noticed that I don’t think twice about throwing down a couple of hundred dollars on a new outfit, I go out to eat with friends several times a week, and don’t get me started on how much money I’ve spent this summer on drinks! Oh the precious joy of the perfect, frozen margarita on a cool patio in summer. Does life get any better? I’m definitely not saying new clothes, eating out with friends, or having a happy hour drink are bad things; I’m just wondering if I spend too much money and thoughts on myself.

I haven’t decided the answer yet. Maybe the next death grip I need to release is the one on my money though. I’ve been blessed so shouldn’t I be blessing others in return? I want to be able to have extra money if there is a friend in need. If I hear of a cause worth serving I want to be able to give without worrying how it will effect my shopping. Frankly when I find I have more money in my account than I originally thought it typically goes towards clothing. And if I feel I don’t have much money on a given month suddenly every penny goes to me because the last thing I would dare to cut off in my budget are things I desperately need. (read- desperately want) So it would seem that whether I have a little or a lot my money I typically regard it as mine. I mean isn’t it? I’m not suggesting that I sell all my possessions and live off beans and rice in order to love others with my money though I’m sure God would not oppose such a sacrificial life. I just wonder if I could be doing more.

Matthew 6: 19-21 (NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I cheated a lot in high school. In several classes on end of the year exams I brought a cheat sheet and hid it under my test. One time I even completely written the essay we would write and copied it word for word. No one would have ever suspected me as a cheater. I was fairly sweet in class and always knew the right answers when called on. Teachers loved me.

I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to get away with things when no one perceives you as a threat. No one checks up on you because they don’t see the point. It’s taken for granted that you will not stray from the expected. And so the lies continue without conflict.

Much of college, or all rather, I pretty much lived day to day on what I thought gave me the most joy. This usually meant drinking until I could no longer stand and pretty much partying like a rock star….or so I thought anyways. I still don’t see anything wrong with seeking joy in life. After all doesn’t that make life worth living? Though my definitions of what brings joy have changed since then.

What I miss though about my former life is the lack of conflict. There was no war within my soul on what is the right course of action. Who cares what God or other people think? I grew up in a Christian home and came to realize how truly boring that life was. Needless to say I didn’t put up much of a fight for morality and thusly encountered no spiritual growing pains. No war wounds in the battle for righteousness. In this sense, life was pretty easy.

I can’t say that now. I have now found that there really is a joy in knowing God. A joy that is found in living for Him and serving others. Making that choice and taking that step to not live for myself alone brings me peace and joy. I wasn’t bored because of God before. I was bored in following a bunch of legalistic rules. The problem now though is the conflict. It’s much harder when one makes the decision in their mind to do the right thing. Suddenly life has complications and frustrations that were not so present before. Worse yet I find my strength quickly depletes if I don’t turn to God daily. Frankly some days I feel as though I am climbing a mountain; when before I was content to explore the valleys and plains.

So I guess the question is: why keep going? If one joy is without conflict and the other is then wouldn’t it make sense to follow the path of least resistance? Believe me I’ve pondered this more than I care to admit. However to me the difference, the unbelievably worlds apart difference, is hope. The hope that there is more to this life than what we can see. The hope that God has a plan, one far better than mine. The hope that the perseverance required to continually climb a mountain will one day reap a glorious reward. And so I fight. Fight to not take this life for granted. Fight to love others more than myself. Fight for the desire to love and know God more. I must fight for joy.*

*When I Don't Desire God by John Piper

Ephesians 4:22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 6:10-18
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The To-Do List

Ah the never ending to-do list. What sweet simplicity in being able to itemize my every anticipated action. How on earth would I ever remember that from 7:25 to 8:00 I am supposed to call and comfort a friend if not conveniently noted in bullet form? Am I the only one who does this? At what point though is this often times useful organizational strategy simply a means in which to control every minute detail of my life.

Hmm…possibly when the list begins to look like this:

• Leave work 4:30ish
• Dry cleaning/drive home 20 min
• Run 35 min
• Shower 25 min
• Dinner 6:00ish
• Call “friend” 20 min
• Errands 1 hr
• Walk with “friend" 8:00ish
• Read 30min
• Email/ computer 20 min
• Relax 20 min
• Bed around 10:30 ..(I know I’m a loser but I get up at like 5!)

This is one of my typical after school lists from last year. And that’s just during the week on a day when there is not much to do. This could also be a list from this year if I just change the leave work part to closer to 7. (bleh)

I know I am not the only one who finds themselves consumed with busyness and in response tries to manage their time. It seems like there is a sort of crossing into official adult hood when one has to schedule in “relax.” In a effort to combat this realization of a lack of time, rest suddenly becomes a priceless commodity that, try as I might to obtain, always seems just out of my reach. Now I must work ever harder in order to fit in a downtime. Ironically, I have found that the lack of activity does not necessarily equal rest and peace, my ultimate goal. Sometimes in fact if I have nothing to do that makes me even more anxious. Of course this has been a non-issue as of late as I have been consumed with the busyness of school. In the midst of extreme exhaustion and anxiety this past week I stumbled upon the following verse:

Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sounds promising. But what exactly does “come to me” even mean? Well this is my interpretation presented to you in convenient bullet list form. (..drum roll..)

• Stop worrying about the future and trust that God has a plan and that His plan is better than mine
• Enjoy the beauty of today and be thankful
• Read God’s word to stay grounded in truth
• Talk to God. A lot. He listens. Even if you are longwinded like me. He cares too which is even better.

Yes I know another to-do list!! Hopefully though this one enables a peace the other ones always failed to produce.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Community blog

Krystal and me
(i seriously need to add more pics!)

Krystal, a close friend of mine and one of the girls in my community group, has started a community blog. It’s a place for others to share their thoughts and experiences on living in community. She asked me to guest blog so I posted something tonight. Anywhos check it out if you want.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Student's Loss of Hope

On Oprah today she did a show on how the American public education system is failing us. She started by comparing two different schools in her area. The one by her studio, or more urban area, was severely beat down and lacked things most of us probably think of as ordinary such as having instruments in the music classes. The suburban school they featured was of course just the opposite and had features like an Olympic-sized pool, fitness center, and an award winning music program. The point being to make us aware of the fact that though segregation no longer exists there still exists a great discrepancy between the haves and have nots in our public school system. Thus alluding to the fact that our “Dropout Nation” as Time magazine puts it is due to this discrepancy. Though one part I thought was interesting seemed to contradict this thought a little- they showed a well-to-do suburban school in Indiana where the drop out rate is 1 out of every 3 students mainly due to student apathy in regards to a high school diploma. Seems like such a young age to determine one’s fate in the workforce and future socioeconomic status.

As a public school teacher myself this obviously concerns me. But I think what bothers me the most is the loss of hope. Certainly instruments, better textbooks, and extracurricular activities greatly improve ones educational experience. I would never try to deny this fact. What I think the greater issue is however and the one the school in Indiana seemed to point to is that many of today’s youth just don’t care and have the lost the hope that there is a reason to. To me not caring about your education basically equates to not caring about your life…your future. Then that leads to the saddest realization of all: some of these children, possibly even in my class, do not care about their life or have a least lost hope that there is a reason to.

So what is my response as an educator? I teach in a school that supplies for students educational needs fairly adequately, much like the one in Indiana, so I’m not sure that is an issue I face personally. I think the more important issue is the unmet need of hope. But how do you give hope? How do you give hope to the kid whose family can barely afford food and never sees his parents because they work night jobs just to have the money to live? How do you give hope to the girl who has a learning disability and as a 4th grader has trouble reading 1st grade material? How do you give hope to the boy whose had CPS called to his house so many times it’s a running joke…though not the kind one laughs at.

The only answer I can come up with is love. But love is not a mere feeling; love demands an action, a response. In high school, the main people I remember in my life that gave me hope were my coaches. They showed me love by believing in me and encouraging me even when I made mistakes. They never gave up on me or let me settle for less than my best. Their love made my self-confidence sky rocket and a funny thing happened – I began to believe them and began to care more about other areas of my life too even school. Odd how that works isn’t it? How abstract things such as love and believing in someone can change their life. I mean it’s not tangible like a textbook or shiny new instrument and yet they took away a lot of despair I felt due to external factors they had no clue about. Don’t get me wrong tangible things can be greatly important and can definitely change a child’s life too, but sometimes its about something more.

So as I prepare for the upcoming school year my greatest challenge and motivation for everyday is this: How am I going to love my students today? How will I give them hope?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking Risks

In college I took a “ropes course” for one of my kinesiology credits. Pretty cool class actually. We walked high wires, flew through the trees on a zip line, and climbed tall rope ladders while being belayed by other students. I must admit walking the high wires terrified me to no end as I am immensely afraid of heights. After we were already halfway through the semester, I finally mustered up the courage to buckle up the belay and fasten my helmet. I must have sweated a bucket as I climbed the ladder in preparation for my “walk.” However afterwards when my feet were safely touching the ground and I could physically prove that yes I would in fact live, I became filled with such elation and excitement that I wanted to go again!

I guess it goes without saying that I’m not the kind of person who easily welcomes risks no matter how much I may desire the possible rewards. I like to know exactly the end result of an endeavor prior to the slightest pursuit of it. However I’ve found that to experience elation and joy you must risk the fall. Maybe this is a fairly elementary concept however I’ve been rather stubborn to accept this truth. I mean what happens if you do actually fall? What then? Truthfully it wouldn’t have mattered if I had fallen off the high wire because I was being belayed. Three other people were holding the rope that was in a sense protecting my life. I mean I would have slipped a little but they hopefully would have caught the slack. Not that in any way I wanted to experience this but I had to put my faith in them to literally catch my fall.

Unfortunately, my reluctance to take risks has reached much greater depths than a simple fear of heights. One in particular that stands out loud and clear in my life would be the risk of rejection. I read a quote recently that said you must have courage to live in reality. I must say that the reality of rejection is one that I avoid at all costs. Recently life has shown me the price of this fear. The main costs have been relationships with depth and meaning. I refused to accept the joy that resulted from the gifts of love and friendship out of fear.

Slowly I’ve discovered the power in shedding inhibitions and the freedom in making mistakes in my relationships. I’m finding joy in being vulnerable and accepting the imperfect me that is reality. So many years I was terrified to let others know me. The me that is seriously messed up and broken; the one that could easily fall off the wire. I didn’t trust there was anything to catch me and break the fall when I inevitably lost my balance. What if someone doesn’t like me? What if I’m too weird, strange, different or just plain unlikable?

To my amazement, a peace overwhelms me when I make the decision to take a risk in my relationships, and I become willing to reveal myself. A peace that I am being true to myself. I’ve started realizing that the truth is people may reject me but the even greater truth is that it is okay because God never will. His strength and unconditional love hold the ropes that sustain me and when I slip it doesn’t mean life is over; it just means I have to get back up and start again trusting that He still guides me. Therefore it doesn’t matter if I am rejected because even though it still may hurt it does not change who I am or His love for me. The God who created the heavens and earth is the same one who out of His infinite love will never reject me and that is the reality I am putting my hope in as I start taking more risks.

Romans 8:38
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Plea to my Lord and Savior

Please God give me peace and rest in knowing that you are all I need in this world. Show me how to trust in your love and goodness. Help me remember your love for me when the frustrations of life threaten to overwhelm, and I am tempted to figure everything out on my own instead of surrendering to your will. Give me courage to face hardships knowing that whatever the outcome you are there and will be glorified. Don’t let me settle for a life half-lived, a life of materialism and a continual lust for a life that never fully satisfies. Awaken me to the truth that your grace is more than enough. Fill me with knowledge that the life you want for me is more fulfilling than any life I could dream of for myself regardless of its outward appearance. I am in need of nothing; you are my everything. Give me a joy that only comes from trusting you. Teach me how to love. Remind me of your love and grace so that I may reflect it back on others. Place words of kindness on my lips and pure thoughts in my heart. Humble me to a hurting world so that I will be filled with compassion for your children. Above everything else, guide my hands and feet so that every move I make is in your step.

P.S. Please forgive me when I fail to do all of the above and don’t give up on me.
Thankfully and humbly yours,

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."~ C.S.Lewis

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A couple of lessons my dad has taught me about grace and love

In my part selfishness and part stupidity I had a huge bill on a previous furniture purchase left unaccounted for. I would have faced hundreds in penalty charges if I waited the extra month I desired to pay it off. When I told my mom this, she said they (my parents) would pay it off for me if I paid them back. Hearing of this the next day my dad paid the bill in full and refused to accept a reimbursement. Instead he urged me to put the extra money I would soon be getting into a savings account. Why did he do this? I don’t know. I certainly didn’t expect or ask for it.

I am horrible to my car. Absolutely horrible. The poor thing never saw it coming as I test drove him that cool December night a couple of years ago. Never did he expect the cruelty he would soon endure as I carefully followed the speed limits and always came to complete stops. How could he have known that I would be the type of person to wait 2000 miles over the mechanics suggestion to change the oil or rarely take him in for a maintenance check at the scheduled date? Certainly he never foresaw the many scratches and marks he would suffer as a causality of being my property. Despite my negligence my dad is always the one to remind me of oil changes and maintenance check ups and then even go with me because a princess after all can’t be expected to handle such adult issues…I mean I’m only 27! Any time something is wrong with the car he gives up at least part of his Saturday to help me with it. I haven’t even personally ever washed my own car that I’ve now had for 2 years! A time or two a guy friend did it but the others were good ole dad. I’m sure a lot of dad’s do this, and I am just thankful that mine is one of them.

Anywho…thanks dad for giving me tangible examples of what grace and love look like. (pic to come soon)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My mirror: A friend and foe

Oh mirror how I love thee
You graciously let me know when something funky is caught in my teeth
And make me cautiously aware when I’m having a bad hair day.
How would I maintain relationships without your friendly warnings of impending awkwardness?

And yet you have a dark side too dear foe
You cause deep obsession of hopeful six-packs and beautifully tanned skin.
My late arrival to many occasions can be traced back to the time I spend with you.
Why do you strike such fear in my fragile heart dear mirror?

I can’t get rid of you; your necessity is painfully obvious.
Yet living with you means enduring many stabs to my self-esteem.
Is there a way we can reach an agreeable living arrangement?
Can you make me alert of my wayward appearance without igniting an all consuming addiction to self?

Let’s call a truce you and me dear mirror.
I promise to keep loving and utilizing your great power if you promise to stop magnifying and holding me captive to my every weakness.

Monday, July 7, 2008


This wordle or thought cloud if you will came from my previous entries and words I used the most...interesting....:) Click on it to go to the site and create your own!

(I didn't realize I used the word just so much! Ha!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My New Friend

Have you ever met someone who is all around a better person than you? Someone who lives the way you only talk about living thus leaving you to take a serious introspection of your life. Recently I have met such a person.

I grew up in church and with this upbringing has come the knowledge of what makes a “good Christian.” Qualities such as being kind to others, having a patient temperament, being helpful and putting others first. At times though I wonder if this is more of a head knowledge than attributes that are easily seen in my life.

This new friend of mine exudes these characteristics though. He seems to be the first person to lend a hand and find ways to make tasks easier for others. He radiates a sense of peace and calm and though I haven’t known him for long, I’ve never seen him get ugly or talk harshly about another. Most of the time when I see him he has a big smile on his face and truly seems to enjoy life as it is. Maybe there is a dark side I have yet to encounter but somehow I doubt it. What I find the most fascinating and enviable quality about this person though is he doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t go on long diatribes about how a person is supposed to live. He doesn’t talk about the Bible and point out specific verses on fruits of the Spirit or how to be a nice guy. He just is.

It makes me wonder if I think and talk to much. Do I talk too much about how God says to live and do less actual living? Hopefully that’s not true but my new friend makes me wonder none the less.


I’m not a very neat or clean person. My roommate and anyone who has ever had the privilege to share a living space with me can certainly attest to that. However when I bought my bedroom dresser a few years ago my cleaning skills had a sudden transformation. It has more drawers and room than I know what to do with or have the clothes to fill which has proved very beneficial for me as the bottom ones are now filled with all the crap I don’t know what to do with. Company is coming over and I haven’t cleaned in weeks? No problem just dump everything in the drawers. Old bills that I’m too lazy to shred? Into the drawers with you! I must admit this unintended convenience has made my life much simpler. Don’t ask me what happens when there is no more room in the drawers; I’m currently living in denial about the possibility of that problem and would prefer to live in this delusion for as long as possible thanks.

I’ve realized I do this with my life too. Have a problem I don’t know what do with? No problem just dump the situation into my “I’m not dealing with this right now” drawer. Emotions I don’t know how to handle? Into the drawers with you! While my dresser drawers have actual physical dimensions these “drawers” have no defined space. So will there come a point when nothing else will fit and I have no choice but to take out all my junk and sort through it? Life is so much less complicated when I don’t have to process every little detail of it…but is that cheating? Am I not really living or am I just being smart and saving time and unnecessary hassle?

I think there comes a point when you have no choice but to clean. A point when the methods you are using to fix life are not helping anymore or might even be making things worse. Suddenly everything is overflowing and unless you want to live in a mess something actually has to be done. Over the past year I’ve started going through this tedious process of cleaning my life. I didn’t even realize I had so much junk in there until my overflow came through in an eating disorder.

During one of my rougher points so to speak someone pointed out this verse to me.Romans 7:18 -I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Hmm…so there it was in black and white in the bible even that nothing good is there! Oh great so what now? How am I going to change if I can’t? (Sounds like crazy talk.)

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Somehow by the crazy grace of God He has been doing the cleaning of my life for me. Which I think is completely awesome! When I started trusting God and stopped trying to control or fix everything I started changing on the outside too. Don’t ask me how God does that. How trust and surrender equal transformation. Maybe He’s just that big…one of His great mysteries or something. I’m not saying I’m perfect now or that trusting God is easy or I even do that right but I do know is that my life has changed a lot since I made the decision to. And even though this room is nowhere near spotless (and never will be) there isn’t as much crap hiding in drawers either!

Luke 17:33Whoever clings to his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall save it.

My Big Gold Coach Purse

I’ve found a new security blanket. Yes, I’ve discovered a new pathway leading to a feeling of automatic acceptance by Dallas and everything that that means in my mind.

I used to stress about being a size zero. I was a size zero all through college and for several years after. Sometimes I wouldn’t even fit into that, but I wasn’t about to buy children’s clothes. It used to be that I was just small and that’s how it is. Then it became a competitive thing and what I based my identity on. I was the girl who cared enough about her body and being healthy to exhibit self control in eating and workout at least 5 times a week. I knew it was appreciated in the circle I surrounded myself with. I would be a liar if I didn’t say that I myself judged those who couldn’t or should I say wouldn’t control their weight. “How unhealthy! Just eat right and exercise!” I would scream at them in my mind as I was finishing off my 4th or 5th glass of vodka and seven. But alas my body has changed, and my mind recognizes that I am living a lie to call myself healthy and eat less than 1,000 calories a day. I’ve come to accept this, or at least have learned that I should. I am starting to appreciate that joy does not come in being a certain size. I’ve come a long way since then. I hardly even recognize that former self and am embarrassed to recall my previous conceit.

This past Christmas, I became the proud, new owner of a big gold Coach purse. I’ve had coach purses before but none of them screamed as loudly HEY! Look at me! I like it though. It has gold hardware and a big gold strap, and I think it’s fun and sassy. I’ve also noticed that I can look like a total slob and yet when I am carrying this purse suddenly it’s okay. I can go to the mall straight from the gym without hitting the shower; I still have class…see the purse. I can bum around all day in my yoga clothes. I can buy things on sale without feeling cheap. I have money darn it…see the purse.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!”

This verse is helpful when I struggle with body image yet somehow it hasn’t helped my materialism.

I don’t think I have a conclusion to this rambling. Maybe I should get rid of the purse in an effort to prove my identity is in Christ and not in material things. But my new found confidence feels good and I just hate having to put on real clothes instead of bumming around in my workout gear…ha..


All through middle school and high school I ran track. It was something I experienced some success in, and I loved it. There was a girl on my team who loved to run as much as I did but unfortunately she was not blessed with any sort of natural talent or speed. In fact I don’t remember a single race that she didn’t get last place in. The funny thing is her parents didn’t seem to realize this. I guess they were in denial because they went to every single one of our track meets and even though she never won or even passed anyone they cheered and encouraged her as if she had just won an Olympic gold. For some reason this really annoyed and frustrated me. At first I thought it was sweet and good of them to be so encouraging I mean after all she is their child that they love. But after awhile I just didn’t understand why they would let her believe it was okay to keep doing something you aren’t suited for. If they were ever to ask for my opinion I was ever ready for an enlightening explanation about the facts. (fyi—they never did) The thing is we were sprinters. We weren’t running a marathon; anyone who can run can finish a 200m dash. The purpose is to be faster than the other competitors or at least not come in last. My parents knew this. My dad wouldn’t even come to my meets if he thought I wasn’t working hard and would have a bad race. Why waste your time right? This is not something I still dwell on as an adult; I only mention it because it mirrors my thinking for a long time about Christ. I just couldn’t understand why He (the God of the Universe) would choose to send his son to die for us. It was frustrating and it didn’t make sense. Why waste the time? Who cares? I finally reconciled myself to the belief that He felt guilty. I mean we didn’t ask to be created right? And now because of Adam and Eve we were doomed to eternal damnation so knowing that He, Jesus, wouldn’t be dead forever He died for us. Maybe he felt some sort of moral obligation but love no love didn’t make sense. At least not that kind of love. And just why would God love us; we are mere clay to Him….right? In college a friend sent me the following passage of scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I’m sure there are many lessons one might take away from these verses, but the part that stuck out to me is the word joy. Jesus loves us so much that it was joyful for him to die on the cross?! I find it so incredible that He actually wants a relationship with us that badly. Jesus could actually want and find joy in dying for us. I can’t say that I have now been able to wrap my mind around His amazing love or ever will, but I am learning to accept that there is such a thing as unconditional love. It is possible to love without reason. Not that I will ever be able to love the way God does, but just knowing that kind of love exist brings me comfort…and joy! :)

1 John 4:15-16
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.