Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday before Easter musings

Go back a long time ago when Jesus was still in the tomb.  Imagine you are one of the disciples sitting in the upper room.  You are grieving the loss of Jesus and all you want to do it be around other individuals that are doing the same.  You know you can't work today because that is breaking the sabbath so you are lounging around, crying, talking, laughing.

You tell stories of the first time you meet Jesus.  Some thought he was some "hippie" teacher.  Then they started listening to what he was saying.  Oh the power of this words!  He seemed to know exactly what was going on in your mind.  How did he do that?  You would look into his eyes and this overwhelming sense of love flooded over you.  You think, I will never experience that again.
The tears start to pool in your eyes as another person speaks up and tells how Jesus provided money for the temple tax by making it appear in a fish.  Your tears turn to laughter as you remember this incident.  You remember him playing with the children and marvel at the gentleness of this single man.

Oh, the hope that you had place in him.  Now that object of your hope is dead in a tomb.  The tears flow freely now as you think about how you were too scared to follow when they took him from the tomb.  Maybe you weren't even there but the story has been told over and over again because you can't actually believe that He is dead.  John has told and retold the horror of the cross.  Every time struggling to get through the telling.  The Marys simply sit in the corner crying.  You still can't believe that he is dead.  What about all the things He has promised to do?  Were you wrong in hoping for the coming kingdom that He has promised?  Were you wrong to believe that He could actually bring you peace with God?  These questions and many more seem to float about in your head creating a whirlwind of emotions.  You can't deal with them so you push them aside.  Forget about the future, you tell yourself.  What future is there when Jesus is not a part of it?

Your cry yourself to sleep and wake up realizing it has only been a couple of hours.  Still Saturday.  Will this day ever end?  Will hope and light ever return to the world?

Praise God we know the end of the story!  Sunday morning they find the tomb empty!  Jesus is alive! They still don't understand what the future holds.  They still have a lot of questions but they pale in comparison of the fact that He Is Risen! 

Sit in their shoes for a bit.  Think of the desperation, hopelessness, despair they are struggling with.  How 24 hours makes all the difference in the world!

Psalm 30:11-12
You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 
 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Thank you Jesus for the cross and the empty tomb.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Answered prayers and steps of faith

Sunday was invigorating, exhausting, overwhelming and melancholy.  Today I see a culmination of all of those prayers and struggles with a very specific answer to prayer.  (Sorry for being obtuse in the story telling, I don't want to give away who I am talking about)

To set the stage, I sang Sunday morning and as I am walking out after the music set I see an individual that is involved in a ministry I am also involved in crying.  I stop to see what is wrong, take her from the sanctuary to the conference room and proceed to have a great time of prayer asking God to do some pretty big things.  I had confidence that He could and would answer our prayers.  I leave and get ready to go when the other person we were wrestling in prayer for is seen by me and another mutual ministry partner and I felt that intervention was needed.  (This is not my natural response!)  I go and grab the first lady out of the sanctuary and we have over an hour long "counseling" session between the two of them.  I had NO idea what I was doing and was completely out of my comfort zone.  I leave this session knowing I was way out of my depth and lacking training for dealing with these types of interpersonal counseling skills.  I'll admit it, my faith that God would intervene to do big things was shaken.  I should have known, when I am weak He is strong!

I get a call tonight that one of the very thing we were asking for during our time of prayer was answered!  I hadn't heard anything since Sunday night so was getting a little down.  Yet God (I love those words!)... Yet God, was not being silent but was actively moving!  God answers prayers in powerful ways because He is a powerful God.

Even tonight, God is so gracious even when He is convicting me of my lack of faith!  In the above situation but also I finally started the application process for the class I am taking this fall.  Huge step of faith for me. 

This class put on by the Simeon Trust will teach me how to teach every type of literature in the Bible, even prophecy.  Yes, the thing I said I would never touch with a 10 foot pole.  I am stepping out in faith but wondering where these steps are taking me.  Is this just a nice little scenic detour or a different path for my future?  I honestly have no idea!  That is scary.  l like to have things planned out.  Of course I am sure the Lord laughs at my plans.  I mean when have my plans ever worked out the way I thought they would?  Answer: never. 

So I am now walking down a path I don't know where it leads, reminded that I can pray big prayers because I serve a Big God and convicted that I lack faith.  Well, God, I guess you have me right where you want me :)  I believe, please help my unbelief.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gratefulness List

Thursday I took a day off work to have a retreat day.  Early that morning I received a text from a friend that said something along the lines of those that remember the blessings they have have a better life.  (sorry really bad paraphrase).  But she recommended creating a gratefulness journal.  Since I was on my way to a coffee shop to meet a friend I decided to start naming all the things I am thankful for.  Here are just a few things I wrote down:
  • Family
  • Friends - near and far (I have friends on almost every continent I could go visit)
  • Mug N a Muffin
  • Leadership at Grace (especially after today!)
  • Good conversations with friends
  • A cool day by the lake (which is where I was writing this)
  • The word of God, living and active
  • My Faith Family - brothers and sisters in Christ
  • The "crazy aunts" and "weird uncles" I have at Grace
  • Friends that love me enough to speak truth into my life
  • God uses unlikely leaders to do great things for His name (Judges)
  • His mercies are new every morning
The question is what are you grateful for?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sitting in silence

I find myself sitting here at home in silence. It is not a comfortable place for me to be. I am more comfortable with music playing, the TV going or the sound of people talking in my house. I like to do things, to keep busy. And yet, lately I feel the silence pulling me.

Silence is scary because it means I am alone with my thoughts and lately I have not been very good company for myself.

I am not depressed but there is a melancholy that is hovering around the edges of my days. Most of the problem is my days are just too full of things right now. When they aren't full I numb myself through things like computer games and TV shows. All because I don't want to think and be alone with my thoughts...

You might wonder why. Honestly, I do to. Why do I run from the silence? In those quite moments when I allow the quiet to break through my busy schedule, I am... I think the word is lost.

When I am busy and running around like a chicken with my head cut off at least I feel like I am making a difference. Alone I ponder what difference and I really making in the great scheme of things.

I am so tired right now. Between Farrell's, work and ministry I am burning the candle at all ends. I am tried physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

So the silence is calling me to ask: why am I doing all of this? I am finding that right now only in the silence can I calm everything down enough to hear the voice of my Lord. Only in the quite can I wrestle with the questions that plague me about my purpose and identity.

So, tonight I will embrace the silence and fall in the arms of my Savior. He will hold me and as I gaze upon His face He will define me. He will let me know that no matter the fear that silence may hold I am never alone within it. In fact those times of silence when I am confused and feel alone are when I can hear His voice most clearly.

So speak, Lord Jesus, as all I hear is the ticking of the clock. Your voice I will seek out and hang on Your every word.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fear and change...

It has been a while... Well a lot of things have happened since I last wrote. My roommate Kara just moved to San Diego. My other roommate Jenni just got engaged. Das was just in the hospital for an unexpected hip replacement. You could say that life is moving at a very fast pace lately. However I feel like it is happening all around me and I am standing still. I was telling some of the Mug n a Muffin ladies that I feel like a boulder in a stream. Everything is going on around me and all I am doing is getting hit by their changing life. I wanted an adventure. They were having ones, so why couldn't I? I didn't know what that adventure needed to be. (honestly I still don't) But while I am waiting my little mini adventure is ia am going to get back in shape. Scary! I have signed up for Farrels extreme body shaping and I am scared. First I am scared that I will get hurt. A totally legitimate fear I think. I mean three summers in a row on crutches will make anyone nervous. However the second one I know is complete malarkey. However, it is a fear I have. You see I have an issue with perfectionism (yes, I know that might be hard to believe, lol). But if I can't do something well I am afraid to do it at all. What happens if I fail? I know there isn't anything to fail at, and yet it is a fear I have none the less. I don't want to be enslaved to fear. But if I let it keep me from doing something, that is exactly the hold it has over me. So I claim the promise that the Lord has not given me a spirit of fear 2 Timothy 1:7. I am a slave to nothing but Christ alone. I willingly put myself under His rule and authority. If He wants this to happen I will obey. He has my best interest at heart and he will be with me, no matter the fear.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Today was a beautiful day. I had the windows open and let the breeze blow through the house. There is a change in the air. Spring has finally arrived.

This time of year also brings about other changes. A dear friend will be leaving the area to move to San Diego at the end of the month. Today after Mug N'a Muffin we had a "Celebrate Tomomi" party. It was a wonderful time of encouragement and fellowship. We grilled out and had some amazing food. Then took some time to brag on her in front of everyone. I don't believe that is was something that had ever happened to her before. She thinks too little of herself. So the opportunity to compliment her and let her know now much we have seen her grow in the past couple of years was, hopefully, encouraging. We were also able to add in some challenges when she moves. "Don't become a hermit." "Let people get to know you."

It got me thinking. Why are we so scared of people knowing the real us. I don't mean the happy smiling faces they see on Sunday mornings or Monday morning at work (after they have had their coffee). What are we afraid people will see?

Tomomi didn't want to get hurt so she holds herself away from people. It was about self preservation. Don't get too close because they will let you down or they will leave. I can understand where she is coming from. Especially living in such a transient community. New people coming in every year. They get their degree then go out into the "real world". My real world is here. If I don't grasp at the opportunities to make friends, if even for a short time, I won't have any around. IT makes it hard.

However, during our time of prayer over Tomomi the Lord really drove home with me that one day there won't be any goodbyes. Even if I don't see her again after she leaves later this month I will be able to rejoice with her in heaven. She is going to be dearly missed here in Iowa, but I am very excited to see what she does in San Diego.

Which leads me to the fact that one of my best friends is moving back to the area from Kansas City. YEAH! I helped them move into their temp apartment today. I am so excited for Missy and Joe to be back. I even get to FINALLY meet their boys. (About time!) But there is a change there to. When I first knew Missy she was a single gal that was serving the Lord at Grace and we would spend nights together just hanging out talking life. Now she has Joe and the boys with one more on the way. The way that I used to hang out with her has to change. (I am just totally excited to be able to hang out with her!) It will be awesome to get to know her again but it will be different and I need to keep reminding myself that.

Change is the ever constant. Nothing remains the same. Even though You are the same yesterday, today and forever, my understanding of You changes. The closer I grow to You the more I see how desperate I am for You. I see my sin and the way it pushes me from you. I want to change. I want the image of Your Son. I know it will be difficult and unpleasant at times when I am being refined by Your fire. But I want to change. I don't want to remain the same. I don't want my insecurities to push me from you. I want to truly believe You are able to meet my every need. Not just in knowing the words on an intellectual level, but experientially as well. I can not change on my own. Only You can change me. So Lord, teach me to be moldable clay in Your hands and renew my passoin for You and Your word.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

They say...

They say that people are always promoted to the level of their incompetence. Whoever "they" are. So maybe I should say "it is said". Oh well.

Today was one of the days for me. I don't think I could have come up with the right answer if it came up and introduced itself. It is a very frustrating place to be. I think God is still trying to show me that work is an idol. Even though I have named it and identified it, I still seem to find myself worshiping it. A couple of weeks ago everything was "fine". I felt sure of my job. I "knew what I was doing". I understood the project. Today, if I touched it, something was wrong. Most of the time it wasn't my fault, but it is my place to fix it. And I had to keep reminding myself it is just data. The problem is that on the other end of that data is a person with hopes and dreams. They look to us to give them back their sight. My problem is I have been so caught up in fixing their sight, that I have forgotten that those I work with are blind, spiritually.

I have been placed in the lab for an express purpose. To bring God glory in all that I do. My attitude, my work ethic, everything, needs to show that I am a slave to Christ. Lately I would give my self a sub-par grade. I have been working hard, but my heart has not been in it. I have been perfectly content to sit at my desk and not have any interaction with anyone/anything except my computer. I say I don't like it (I really don't) but I don't go out of my way to get into the lab and talk to people. When I am in the lab I don't talk to anyone. I am trying to be a "good example" with my work ethic, but I am forgetting that I am on mission for a higher authority than my boss. I need to shift my focus. I need to remember that I am being paid by HHMI to be a missionary to the other people in the lab. I need to get into their lives. I need to get to know what they need and how they need to be ministered to. But I can't do it on my own strength. I can only do that by relying on Christ to be the source and living to please Him. I have not been doing a good time being plugged into that source. I have been "self sufficient." (That is just another word for being proud.) Pride is the root is so many of my sins...

Lord, forgive me of my "self sufficiency" and teach me to rely on Christ. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the work you are doing. Open my eyes to see those you have placed around me as You see them. I need Your strength to step out in faith and take big risks for Your name and not my own.