Pretty Good Year

It’s the day before Christmas Eve, and I’m sitting in my cluttered living room while rain lashes the bushes outside against the glossy, wet windows. Fireplace aglow, presents in a glittery heap, a half knitted sock (that I’ve been working on for a few years, which loses its needles every time I put it away), the book I just finished lies exhaling next to me on the couch.

I’ve started so many posts in the last few months, some of them getting no farther than an intriguing title. There’s plenty to say (always), but how much of it needs to be said here? As 2015 comes to a close, it feels right to make some account for myself, so here is a list of the main events:

January: came to Lynden to work with Rise Campaign.
This was the best start to a new year, though I didn’t know it at the time. Staying connected to YWAM in this low-pressure way, working with kind and passionate people who champion me despite my sometimes excessive lack of productivity… this is the reason I’ve been able to leave survival mode and start tackling the world again… Continue reading “Pretty Good Year”

The Adventure of Armed Robbery

Letting go of fear can make anything an adventure.

Several years ago I was working at an espresso stand in Western Washington. This is becoming a more popular way to buy coffee beverages throughout the US, but it has been a kind of epidemic in the Pacific Northwest for decades now. I usually worked by myself in this little hut just off of a popular highway. To the East (on the window side), was the highway and to the West (the door side) stood an enormous and visibly abandoned building.

Within the course of several weeks we began to hear reports of other drive-thru espresso stands being robbed in the area.

Setting aside what kind of dope would risk jail time for the pitiful amount of money to be found in an espresso stand, it made all of us worry. I remember coming to work on several afternoons feeling fear that this thief would choose me.

What fear accomplished in me made me worse at my job. Instead of welcoming every customer that came, I felt super cautious and suspicious of certain men and all walk-ups. I smiled less, and engaged in much less conversation… Continue reading “The Adventure of Armed Robbery”

Emotional Constipation

As a verbal processor, it’s painful to not have words. If you had seen my room last week as I packed to leave Colorado, you would see the perfect picture of what my head looks like now.

Everything is thrown into piles around the room. Heaping, disorganized. Then, in the most random order, I begin to dive in and make throw-away, keep, and give away piles.

Until it’s all tidied and figured out, it is, as my mom would say, The Wreck of the Hesperus.

And so today there is this incredible mash of thoughts and emotions building up and spilling over a little in very random comments made to whoever is near. Earlier, while I was trying to brain storm for a teaching I’m working on, I felt as though all of my insides were going to push themselves outward through my freckled skin. In response to this feeling, I got up and went outside to lay on my face in the grass in the sun. Then I sat up and stared off into space for a long while. It was the most productive thing I’ve done all day.

So, why in the world am I writing a post about not having words?!?!  It seems possible that someone out there might relate. It’s also possible that I will see one or several of you in person and in response to a question about how I’m doing I might just make a weird face and give a few grunts and groans to express that for which I still don’t have words.

If life were not such a great, big, incredible adventure, I would have so much less to process.

Confessions of Single Woman

This morning my Facebook update said,
“The morning after your ex husband convinces you to sign up for an online dating service. Like buyers remorse only a lot weirder.”

I realize there are several things about that sentence that are strange.

So yes, I hung out with my ex (or, as I like to call him, my former husband) yesterday for the first time in two years. There is no handbook on the ways to go from married to divorced to friends, but there are probably few who could or should do this. Our situation is special for reasons that I won’t share here, but you’re welcome to ask me about in person.
It was so good to catch up with him, to be like friends again. We live very different lives now, but are still family.

And, like family, we chatted about stuff like jobs, challenges, joys and dating. The last was a short story on my part because I don’t really date. He asked if I’d ever tried online dating and I said it had never occurred to me to even consider. So he gave me the skinny. The down-low. And I thought, “Huh. Why not?”

It was interesting last night to fill out a profile and answer questions.

But then…. Continue reading “Confessions of Single Woman”

Level Up?

Today I advance one year in the age game. I’m not bothered by the number, although since I spend most of my time with people a decade younger, I joke that I’ll be turning 29 again.

The day did not start out so good. I woke up a little after 5 to work out…

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otherwise known as walking to Starbucks. The weather report had predicted snow, but this wasn’t as much snow as tiny shards of sharp ice – all flying at my face, regardless of wind direction. About a block and a half from home I slipped on the ice just in the way you see a person encounter a banana peal in the cartoons. Yes, I did laugh at myself, but I also landed in daintiness square on my right hip. If there were a movie of my life, it should start with that moment. It also may end with a  similar moment in fifty years.

Because I’ve been watching this tv show lately about spies, I actually considered the rest of the walk as a stealth challenge.

For a second.

Then I considered what it could feel like to fall on my throbbing hip again and I decided that studying today is quite enough of a challenge.

No other incidents in the last three hours since The Fall, but I’ll keep you updated. In the mean time I’ll be here with a mocha my roommate bought me and my nose in this commentary on Philippians.

Holler

If I could create a drawing that described this year, it would probably be a comic strip. The whole thing would be a roller coaster ride.

After sitting here thinking for a while, I realize that describing the pictures I would draw is probably less effective than just describing the year itself.

January: This was a month of great elation. I had just completed the School of Biblical Studies, which is a marathon of studying for 9 months. I had puffy, bluish skin under my eyes and a great big smile on my face.

February: I went home for 6 weeks to “raise support.” I put it in quotes because that is not as concrete an activity as some might make it out to be. Basically I hung out with my friends, made new friends, and spoke to a few groups of people about the work I feel called to do as a Missionary…. Continue reading “Holler”

Taking a Dive

An unexpected opportunity has come up since returning to Colorado. Although I had prayed several times for the upcoming Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS), I had only thought a little about staffing the school. I’m not sure why, but in my mind it was far fetched. I did not know well the people who would be leading the school and I have never before staffed any school…. so I mostly just yearned to somehow be a part of what God would do, but didn’t really pursue a connection.

Then last week as I sat resting my ankle, one of the school leaders called me up out of the blue and asked if she could come and chat with me. When she had settled herself on the end of my bed, she asked me if I would want to join their team. In prayer she had been feeling like their team was not complete and when she asked for others to pray, my name came up “at the top of the list” (I put that in quotes because I don’t know if there was a literal list being written with numbered names or if it was just that more than one person who thought of me).

I told her I would pray about it and get back to them in a few days (but not too many days since they had already begun staff development).
Sometimes it is hard to hear God on something when I feel strong ambivalence…. Continue reading “Taking a Dive”

The Un-Adult Truth

The house is napping and I am in the basement with the books. It’s a daylight basement, which is really more of a rainlight basement.

Although I grew up in the great Northwet of

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Washington, I have spent just enough time away to gain a nostalgic perspective.
In small towns like Carnation (where I am today) I look outside and immediately remember movies like The Journey of Natty Gann, which then make me think of logging trucks, and big men wearing plaid and big beards.
Or I remember walking  from school like a pencil line connecting the dots of puddles the whole way home…. Continue reading “The Un-Adult Truth”

Into all the World

Many missionaries have specific countries or people groups “on their heart.”  God uses all kinds of things to inspire dedication and love in the hearts of his people for his people.

I felt called to be a missionary when I was 17. That was almost twenty years ago. When I speak in those terms, it seems amazing that it took me until just recently to realize where in the world my heart longed to serve.

Here’s where… the whole world…. Continue reading “Into all the World”

Convergence

My friend Susie and I drove to Chicago for Thanksgiving. This was not a short drive, let me tell you. To her praise, Susie did the majority of the driving.

We left Wednesday evening and drove through the night… took a slightly “scenic” route and got even more scenic somewhere in Iowa when we missed an exit. We survived and the trip there, though several hours longer than it should have been, was pretty miraculous and full of laughter. We drove through the suburbs and picked up my friend Dave and from there headed into the city… Continue reading “Convergence”

Birds Have Nests

The simple definition of sojourner is “a temporary resident”. To me the word conjures up so much more.

As we were reading Exodus, I was moved by the command in 23:9 which says “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”  God is talking to people of Israel who had spent the last 400 years as slaves in Egypt. They were clearly not treated like honored guests there, but driven hard. They were oppressed, to be sure.

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Anytime, too that either Exodus or Leviticus talks about a Sabbath rest of any kind, it mentions the sojourner or the “alien” among them… Make sure they also get to rest. Any guest should be treated like family. Conversely in Leviticus 25 it talks about what you should do when your own brother is too poor to own his home or even “maintain himself” (vs. 35), you are to treat him like a sojourner- you won’t make him work for you like a slave, but treat him as an honored guest.

There is God, being funny again. Treat strangers like brothers and brothers like strangers. It actually makes so much sense, right?.. Continue reading “Birds Have Nests”

Kingdom of the Heart (part 2)

Each week we have about 100 verses of Psalms as part of our assignment. I started way late yesterday and had just a little over an hour to get the Psalm assignment done. I was  bummed that I’d shoved this into such a tight space, because there is potential for the homework to actually be a really good time with God. So I did the out loud reading and  focused. I moved quickly but purposed to be present and take it all in.

This week we were to read Psalms 10-18. Of those Psalms, 18 is the longest. We’re supposed to read them all aloud, give them new titles, record what kind of Psalm each is and who wrote it and then do a “build” on one of the Psalms. The build is similar to the work we do for the rest of the books of the Bible in that we record observations, details, we interpret an observation and then do some personal application of that interpretation. Psalm 18 is, by far the longest. Clearly, I told myself, I would not be doing a “build” on that one.
But what do you know, that’s the one that impacted me the strongest as I read.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.”…. Continue reading “Kingdom of the Heart (part 2)”

Life: Take Two

Sometimes life moves so fast that I feel like I am walking in slow motion. And so it is right now.

Coming to Colorado in January was, what felt like, a huge risk. I even gave myself an “out”… while I felt like God was saying “just try it!” I was saying “Fine! But don’t expect me to like it there”. Which is ridiculous in the extreme. Now that I’ve been back here for around 7 weeks I see how silly and unimaginative my perspective was. Granted, I was struggling with depression and getting to spend time with some of the dearest, best people on the planet.

It is hard to see daylight when you’re huddled up in the dark with good friends. My friends, how I love you.

And what of Colorado? In some ways it’s not so different here at the YWAM base than it was at the camp in Washington. Reach out in any direction and there sits a friend. Look around even just briefly and see ways to help, love and serve.

Now I am again on the verge of something that feels like a huge risk. After praying with and being challenged by a friend the other day, I started moving ahead with one possibility here. The School of Biblical Studies. I’m not sure if I can follow the path of this idea, or if it would even be interesting to read. Mainly I have wanted to do the school for a long time but always felt like I would not be capable of the work required. It’s pretty intense. 9 months of studying the Bible in depth and in entirety…. Continue reading “Life: Take Two”

Out of a silent planet

I’ve been trying to read books. A little success was made this last week.

I picked up  Perelandra by CS Lewis. It’s the second of  the “space trilogy”. In all fairness, I have read this book several times, so it’s less of an exercise and more of a favorite world to visit. What I love so much about this book, though, is not the interesting world, but the depth of insight Lewis shows concerning the mind of the main female character.

The main male character, Ransom, is sent to the planet of Perelandra with the job of saving its perfect and innocent first inhabitants from the dark serpent sent to corrupt them. Ransom is just a man.

This suddenly reminds me of what I did last Thursday night. I went with a group of friends to down town Colorado Springs to see if God had anything he wanted to say to people there through us.  Back in the days of Bible college this would have been Evangelism time but this was much less about putting notches on the soul conversion chart and more about revealing God’s character and His heart for whoever needed to hear…. Continue reading “Out of a silent planet”

Midwinter Nights Walk

It was probably close to 50F when I left Jessica’s house a few hours ago intending to come home and possibly read or knit. The walk from Jessica’s to the house I’m staying is short enough that I almost do not have to experience the weather before I am back inside. Thankfully a light breeze caressed my cheek just halfway home and I took the gesture as an invitation to take a walk. In addition to the nearly warm night air, my tummy was very full from some delicious, spicy dish I had just eaten at Jessica’s.
Add to that a head full of questions, prayers and thoughts, and you have the perfect ingredients for a very good, long walk…. Continue reading “Midwinter Nights Walk”