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”

Thus Sayeth

God speaks. This particular truth is one I have known for a long time. I experienced God speaking when I first started following Him at the age of 16. He spoke to me on my front porch while I was smoking a cigarrette. Since then, I have believed He would speak in many important (and “unimportant”) situations.

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The reason that I want to study this truth (this last week I did this specifically while studying Genesis) is not because it is new, but because I am learning this in a deeper way the last year. Several years ago I went through what seemed like a very “silent” time on God’s part. This lasted about 4 years. I’m sure He was not entirely silent, but hearing from Him, be it direction, comfort, correction or discernment, was VERY difficult. Looking back I know the reason, but still it was a confusing and painful experience.

For the last year and a half I have heard A LOT from God. He seems to be speaking all of the time. So when I came to reading Genesis and then deciding on a theme, I immediately thought of “God speaks”. Maybe as a way of girding myself up for any time in the future when I may struggle again with this reality. I find His communication so precious that I don’t ever want to lose it again.

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At the same time, as it is seen in Genesis, God speaks when He chooses. He says what He chooses and to whom He chooses. This is also super important to remember and hang on to. He is not a vending machine for direction or comfort. He is a friend, a master and all those other things that involve relationship….

 

Continue reading “Thus Sayeth”

Tuesday’s Child

Sometimes posts are more fun with bullet points.

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* Next week we start on the Old Testament! I’m actually excited. I feel a kinship with those ‘children of Israel’… and most of the adults, too.

* I’ve been having stomach problems for a few months, so I decided to try cutting out various things for various times to see how my body reacts. Right now I’m off gluten. That’s on top of not eating sugar or sugar substitutes. Whoa…. Continue reading “Tuesday’s Child”

After the Storm

I did not end up having very much time alone during the break to read, but yesterday and today the perfect thing happened. I realized how much I needed to purposefully get alone and I found the perfect book to end this Week of Worry. A few weeks ago a guy came to teach in one of the schools here. I hadn’t met him, but there was quite a buzz about his presence here as he is well known and well loved by many. As a result of what I heard and then a story he told one night in a big group meeting, I was quite interested in his books.

What I picked up to read yesterday was his personal account of being imprisoned in Iran in 1997 for 9 weeks. This is not even close to the same as my current situation, but what was similar, which is impacting me right now, is God’s character throughout this man’s story. While he tells the story from his own eyes with humble honesty, what stands out is this mutual and deep love between him and God. What it is like to walk with God is so palpable and transparent and so completely my experience that it was almost as if I came to a friend and told them how I was struggling with worry and they told me their own story to remind me of the truth…. Continue reading “After the Storm”

Relentless Mercies

Today was so incredible and I’m not sure if I can put it into words that will do it justice.

For a start, last night was not good. Bad zombie nightmare and then no sleeping… bad dreams  for my roommate as well and for the kid who lives next door to us (my roommate heard him screaming after she woke up from her nightmare).

But when I woke up very early to work out, I was full of excitement. I refused to let a bad night influence such a day as today.

Just in the introductions this morning I felt an almost overwhelming gratitude rising up in me. I admit I got choked up several times.
Then during worship (which involves the whole base) they all prayed for us students and our staff. I had four different people pray for me things that God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks- using specific words He had used to me. I just stood with my head bowed, nodding and crying because again, God is so good and faithful and generous. He speaks and all of His plans are good…. Continue reading “Relentless Mercies”

Words with a Pulse

I’m undergoing some serious change here. I want to put it into words and share it but I’m not sure where to start.

One thing God is doing is making His word (you know, the Bible) like this living, breathing creature I carry around in my purse. I open it and it SPEAKS. Have you ever read a book that described something so vividly that you could picture it like a scene played out before you in 3D? It’s kind of like that, only it’s like I look at the words on the page (usually I’m reminded of a small piece- a phrase like “for the joy set before him”… and so I go to see what the words around the phrase mean) and it’s like they are being spoken into my ear and piercing deep into my heart.

The other day I was watching part of this video series called The Truth Project  and the guy quoted Philippians 3:7-11. As soon as I heard this (verses I’ve heard many times in the past) I practically jumped up and shouted.
Now you probably think I’m crazy but it struck me as exactly where I am and what I want.

Exactly…. Continue reading “Words with a Pulse”

let us press on

Depression does funny things to the mind. Maybe funny isn’t the right word.
I have certain certainties in my mind and I know I’m not just having a bad day when those certainties pop up like a broken photo link in my heart and mind.

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But maybe there are good things to be found in the land of emptiness and question marks and broken links. It definitely leads me to pay closer attention, ask deeper questions, walk more gently with my feet, pray more thoughtfully.
Am I just repeating the things I always pray? Am I handing people comfort or advice out of some prepackaged place in my head?
Am I listening?

I am listening.
And tired, too. And restless…. Continue reading “let us press on”

I’m only sleeping

I find myself feeling empty a lot. Empty feels like a lot of other emotions but when someone asks me “What’s wrong?” and I can’t place why I feel tired/sad/lonely/frustrated/angry… I realize I am empty of energy.

Why am I so empty? I can think of several reasons. One is a lack of exercise. Since coming back to Colorado I haven’t worked out once. I took a much needed rest from routine but at some point rest begins to weaken me. Reason two is lack of sleep. It’s not that I go to bed so late, but I do go to bed late and then I don’t sleep very well. I wake up with very little time in the morning to breath and realize why I’m grateful to be alive before I head into a new and confusing job…. Continue reading “I’m only sleeping”

Anger and Gratitude

I have not really felt like “myself” in days.  This is both disturbing and a bit freeing.

Thursday I came down with what seemed to be the stomach flu. Since I can’t recall the last time I had the stomach flu, it was not what I guessed was happening to me until my fever rose up high in the evening. At this point I was at Jessica’s house and she and her husband let me sleep and sweat on their couch that night.
I guess I don’t really need to go into great detail about being sick except that it adds a strange quality to packing, saying goodbye and then traveling when you feel that exhausted.

I would like to write a post that sort of wraps up my thoughts and feelings about coming back to Colorado Springs into a tidy package but I’m not there yet. My internal landscape for this step is vastly unrecognizable to me. Part of me wanted to stay in Washington, part of me wanted to come back here but most of me wanted to curl up into a little ball and sleep for the rest of the month.
I do not like January... Continue reading “Anger and Gratitude”

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”

Wherever You Go

Great change is required inside me for there to be great change on the outside.

I don’t think that is an exact quote, but I heard something like this on Sunday and it just came back to me as I was sitting here. I had a photo shoot yesterday with some friends and I was here at the computer to edit them.  I also needed to call someone with YWAM in Colorado to tell them that I will not be coming as soon as I had previously estimated, partially because I am broke.

Confused is a good word to describe how I feel. How much detail should I go into here on the internet?
I think, for one, that it fits with my personality to wrestle with decisions, directions and changes. I just do that. Sometimes I wonder if I overdue this part of the process. On the other hand it’s possible that I need the struggle to somehow prepare me for the eventual change…. Continue reading “Wherever You Go”

birth is messy

I do not create reality, but here
standing around all physical and fluid
like trees and wet gravel roads and a weighty, rain swelled sky
is the world I am climbing through
not virtual but not entirely believable
undeniable and surreal

How can I presume to act upon this world
press in on living objects
blast out at broken systems?
How should I navigate that kind of heroism?
or stupidity
or soulless duty? and really mean it
How can I balance this moment with eternity?
Love both the world and the person in the room
effectively?… Continue reading “birth is messy”

Choosing Awesome

Sometimes I get stuck in a horrible place in my head. It’s the place that believes that my lot is destined to be difficult and my future is clouded and full of lots of stuff I really don’t want to do.

No joke. It’s not pretty to admit it, but  I feel like admitting this might help me get out of the ditch I find myself laying in the last few days.
I wrestle and worry, crunching my eyebrows together and looking for places to hide. But it’s a little like slamming my eyes shut and cursing my self inflicted blindness. Since I cannot predict the future, what stops me from anticipating awesome things?… Continue reading “Choosing Awesome”

Following Yonder Star

Home is a happy vortex. It’s a little disorienting but awesome.

So far I have been to a Christmas party, a photo shoot, a concert in downtown Seattle (with my friend Sara’s band), a tree decorating, a walk on the rocky, cold beach, some Christmas shopping and now some cookie making. Lots of coffee and conversations about God.

The disorienting part concerns making decisions about how to spend my time…. while the hours keep running. The sun goes up (so I assume by the lightness of the grey outside) and the sun goes down and it keeps happening at seemingly lightning speed. What’s up with that?
How can I do everything I want to do? Must I sleep?

It seems like an impossible math equation that the work I want to do is so far away from the people I belong to.

Multiple Choice Personality

I recently took the Meyers Briggs test again. Several years ago when I took it said I was ENFP.  Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.

The info given seemed pretty accurate at the time.

When I took the test the other day I came up INFP. I went from being an extrovert to being an introvert. In one sense this is not such a big deal- my score as an extrovert several years ago was pretty close to the middle and my score now as an introvert is pretty close to the middle.

Somehow it still causes me to see myself differently. I have a  list of some of the main characteristics of all of the personality types and I find it interesting how much more I identify with the INFP than I do with the ENFP. So the shift is possibly not superficial but goes deeper into the ways I have been changed in the last few years. Continue reading “Multiple Choice Personality”