As You Loved Me

Do you ever wonder what Paul was like in person? Until I actually studied the New Testament as a whole I pictured him so pious and judgmental. After reading all of his letters and really considering what his life looked like, it’s impossible to remember how I got to those assumptions about him.

I do remember being vastly comforted  by the book of 2 Corinthians. I felt he must have been writing to people like me. When I discovered that the Corinthians were actually super critical of Paul, the humility with which he wrote becomes a hundred times greater. Standing in the face of those who say you are weak and explaining how much deeper your weakness goes than they could ever know… Well.. it has shown me what a deep trust and love Paul had for Jesus; how much his identity was based not on what men thought of him, but based solely on what the Father had done for him…. Continue reading “As You Loved Me”

The Good Portion

Lately I’ve been thinking about this word, “intimacy.”

The official definitions I find don’t seem to convey much depth,

  1. Close familiarity or friendship; closeness.
  2. A private cozy atmosphere.

How would you define intimacy?

When I think about my closest friendships, I see intimacy with them in the same light that I see vulnerability. I can admit my faults and struggles to just about anyone (even to the world wide web), but how I feel right now is probably the most sensitive. What’s going on inside of me in the moment is the most vulnerable thing for me to share. I think this is because once I have thought through things, I can find a way to accept myself and communicate to others in a way that is more likely to ensure their acceptance of me. When I haven’t thought through something, I may discover that I don’t like myself and then it’s a danger that others might not like me, as well.  I’m not sure it’s the same for everyone, but I do know that when I choose to be vulnerable a kind of intimacy takes place with the person I’m sharing with. Especially if they aren’t horrified by what I’ve shared…. Continue reading “The Good Portion”

That Surpasses Knowledge

I keep being brought back to Ephesians 3:14-19:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Here is where it showed up yesterday; I attended the wedding of my friends Rachel and Taylor. I didn’t just attend, I was also the photographer. This pertains to the story at hand in that I had a very unique view of the ceremony. A normal guest at a wedding sits in a seat and sees the whole thing from one vantage point. As the photographer I got all up in that ceremony. I was behind the bridesmaids, standing in the aisle, crouching, getting on my tippy toe (not easy since I have a healing sprain on one ankle and was wearing a walking cast). I pretended I was invisible (and tried my best to move quietly and smoothly) and even managed to creep behind the officiant and the bridal couple in the middle of the vows (I needed to see the bride’s face!!). This alone makes me want to photograph more weddings. Can you imagine if all the guests got up and just wandered around to see every angle at a wedding?!

But that’s only on the way to what I mean to say…. Continue reading “That Surpasses Knowledge”

This I Know

For the last few weeks I’ve been realizing my need for better time management. I read some list of Signs of Burnout and identified with most of them. Of course I read this only a few days before I planned to come back to Colorado and work. So I asked God what I should do and I felt strongly that a long sabbatical was not the solution- instead I need to learn how to manage my daily time in a way that allows me enough rest to keep going.

Then, less than a week after returning to YWAM I sprained my ankle.

The funny(?) thing is that the morning before I found myself crumpled in the parking lot with fire in my foot I was thinking pretty hard about how I could serve the people on my team. I didn’t consciously think, “I need to prove I’m worth having,” but looking back I realize that I felt this deep down. So I invited one friend over to take a walk with me and I would make her lunch. Honestly I wanted to spend some time catching up with her. Our walk lasted mere minutes and then for the next two days she was helping me all over the place; ice for my ankle, rides to a meeting and to the doctor, crutches to get around on, delivering movies for me to watch while I sat in my bed.

Okay, okay, I get it, I’m resting… Continue reading “This I Know”

The Chaos Theory

Just one more day left in the great state of Washington.

I could let my current state of broken exhaustion speak to whether the time here has been “successful,” but I’m not sure that it should. We’re big fans of simple summaries. “How was your trip?” “It was good, thanks for asking,” or “Oh man, it was bad, glad that’s over.”
It’s unkind to get mad at people for asking this very generic question as they pass you in the hallway but I have never found simple summaries easy. I need to talk to several people who are willing to listen to me ramble for a while as I figure out what just happened before I can feel comfortable with this one or two sentence response.

I had a good day of realization on Sunday. I had just spent several days doing nothing because of some intense neck pain and I had a “support raising lunch” to be a part of after church. During church the pastor talked about our false selves and how the goal is to lay those down, let God work on us and learn from him about our true selves. I hear that message with my life. I have always felt this sureness that no matter what the social standard is, I will likely not measure up, so the best thing I can do is combat my need for approval with total honesty and an appropriate level of vulnerability. It’s a bit like shock therapy for my false self and it keeps me trusting in God’s love and goodnessContinue reading “The Chaos Theory”

The Cycle of Surrender

There are predictable stages to my cycles of growth. Unfortunately several of these stages are so disorienting that each time they occur I feel like Alice sliding down the rabbit hole. And they are only predictable in retrospect. I guess that means they aren’t predictable, but identifiable.

I get lost in my head sometimes. Some places are dark and foreboding. Some thoughts are loud and overbearing and sometimes they lie.

I don’t mean that I “hear voices,” but my own voice, or the echoes in my memory of things other people have said- sometimes these become more vivid than the real world around me…. Continue reading “The Cycle of Surrender”

What to Expect

Without planning it, my room decor and bedding all match. I noticed this as soon as I cleaned up a little.

Maybe there will be surprises like this around other corners.

It’s not that I put a lot of stock in the much anticipated new year. They happen with increasing frequency. What I do put stock in is God’s character, which I have recently discovered to be wild, deep, loving and fearless. I want to be like him, sure, but more than that I want to just keep seeing him more and more. And somehow the year ahead feels like a clean canvas upon which he will paint something beautiful…. Continue reading “What to Expect”

Is it me, Lord?

This is a mini revelation I had the other day about how God loves and forgives me.

My friend Jodi has two small children. Brynn is four, I think and like all kids her age (and my age), she does bad things sometimes.
The other day I was talking with Jodi and we heard some crying from down the hallway. We headed that way and there was a neighbor boy crying and heading toward the room where his dad was sitting. Brynn was behind him with distress on her face. She headed straight for Jodi and simply said, “I pushed him.” It was clear from her face that she felt remorse. Jodi very calmly said, “Ok, go make it right. Go tell him you’re sorry.”

Another little girl was ready to tell the whole story to the adult and this was upsetting to Brynn. She came back and cried out, “I ALREADY TOLD HER WHAT I DID!” Jodi was still calm and dealt with the emotions. She repeated her kind instructions to go make things right with the little boy…. Continue reading “Is it me, Lord?”

A New Redemption Song

This is the place a person expects to feel a lot of emotions. One week before the end of a very intensive 9 month… anything. When the school started I laughed about it being as long as a pregnancy and how I hoped to birth something awesome at the end.  A metaphorical birth, thank you.

Near the beginning of this “pregnancy” (Bible course) I found out what I would be having when it was over- a life as a teacher. But when starting a new life, where does one start? With babies you buy clothes for them to wear, not knowing how much they will swim in the newborn clothes or how quickly they will grow out of them. You set up room in the house for the baby to sleep, not knowing how much or when sleep will occur.  You pick out names, not knowing if what you’ve finally agreed upon with your spouse will actually suite this small human.

I have done those things for a literal baby, only to find everything far different than anyone had prepared for or expected. She only lived 19 hours. I’m not trying to get all depressing on you here, but I just want to give myself some perspective.

We don’t know what will happen next…. Continue reading “A New Redemption Song”

The Unknown God

This post was birthed in the last, but when I finished writing this bit I realized it deserved its own place. Jumping off of thoughts about what might be next, I got caught up in what God is doing in the present to reveal himself.

I’ve discovered, while studying the Bible so in depth, that I have a lot to say. I can suddenly see my own context and the larger context of living… the things that make us human and human for a reason. The why of my existence along with the bigger why of existing for humanity. Not like a tidy religious package, as you might assume, but… well… It’s like Love, for example. Everyone has their perspective on love. When we spend too much time immersed in media and fake intimacy then we stop craving anything deeper,  so to others looking in on ‘media lovers’,  love looks cheap – because it is. It doesn’t cost anything. Others spend time learning that love is a list of rules, lines to not cross, words to not say and so their love might actually look like hate to others because ‘rule lovers’ have taken the idea of preferring the other person and turned it into correcting the other person. There are many other ways to look at love, my point isn’t to point out failures but to give an example of something really big that can be made small…. Continue reading “The Unknown God”

Learning the Steps

I always want to say really epic things when I post. It’s not because epic things aren’t happening that I cannot find the words, it’s because too many things are happening with too little time to process them.

One beautiful thing happened on Friday. Thursday night I saw this video about a dog named Skipboot (and his owner). Skipboot is the most incredibly smart and obedient dog I have ever seen. I was really moved by the dog’s obedience… to be listening so attentively to hear and obey every small step. While watching the video I thought, “I want to be like that with God. I want to hear and obey Him that well.”

The next morning in class we heard teaching on the book of Hosea. In that story are pieces of Hosea’s incredible obedience to God. At the end of class the teacher invited us to spend some time talking to God personally. She turned on music… to be honest I can’t remember what she told us to seek God about! I just remember that when I closed my tired eyes and set my heavy head in my arms I immediately thought of Skipboot and was going to start praying along the lines of God making me more like that dog.

Almost as immediately I got a picture in my mind of dancing with a man, ballroom style…. Continue reading “Learning the Steps”

For You, For Me

Today begins the first day of  “fall break”. It’s just a week before diving into the 3rd quarter of SBS but I think it will be just right… just a bit of time to catch up on sleep, stare off into space and do something fun before diving into the Old Testament prophets.

The last week was pretty interesting. Before this week I had gone through a lot of emotional ups and downs but it wasn’t until this week that I felt “breakdown” looming. Yesterday, at (what felt like) the end of my rope I had a kind of epiphany; breakdown and breakthrough look very much the same. Sometimes they are the same.
So yesterday, after very little sleep because of an unhappy stomach I got up around 6am and just went directly to the classroom. I talked to God a little, made a cup of tea and got started on what was a ridiculous amount of homework. Every minute of that time was a battle to keep working. If you can imagine me bleary eyed, sitting before my charts with a pained look on my face- almost getting up out of my seat every five minutes to walk away, but then pushing forward with decidedly irresolute determination.
A few nice friends came in at different points and gave me encouragement.
Push. Push. Push. I actually asked God several times, “Should I keep going?” and He said, “Keep going.”

Then I got to 2 Samuel 7…. Continue reading “For You, For Me”

The Guts of my Heart

Somehow we always want fairy tale endings even right smack in the middle of our lives. Am I right?

The last year or so I have felt a kind of fairy tale take-off  happening within my heart in a way that is, I think, slightly deceiving. This is what it is like to straddle adulthood. To try the balance beam of “going somewhere”.
But it’s kind of a lie, to be honest. Because here is the thing; after having several years blast the daylights out of me, blast so much soot and the childhood scars away and the unreal expectations and the misplaced fanciful hopes… AFTER such a few years, when I’ve rinsed off what had come undone (which was a lot), stand up straight (which feels like, and possibly is a miracle), and head back into the fray (and by that I mean purposeful living), I realize that the mini-Armageddon of the soul I had just experienced was merely round 1…. Continue reading “The Guts of my Heart”