Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lights, Lag Time, Learning, and Life as a Six-year-old

Have you tried those new energy-saving lights? You know, the ones that come on veeeerry, veeeeeeeeery slowly?

These are the bane of my existence. I have to turn the lights on a full 60 seconds before I actually hope to see anything! I like lights that as soon as the switch is flicked--BAM--come on! I know technically there is time between the switch being hit and the light coming on, but the differential is one this pea-brain can hardly measure. I like those lights. :-)

And you know what? I think this illustrates the struggle I've been wrestling with these many months. The problem is this:

Lag time.

I think lag time is the issue we struggle with.

Okay, maaaybe I'm being too general. I think lag time is the thing *I'm* struggling with.

As part of the thorough preparation I have done for this (and, of course, every post) (*wink*), I thought I would look up the actual definition of lag time. What I found made me laugh out loud:
( ′lag ′tīm ) (electricity) The time between the application of current and rupture of the circuit within the detonator.

WELL. Talk about hitting the nail on the head! Lag time is the time in the middle, between when the button is pushed and something happens as a result of the button being pushed--like an explosion...or a light coming on.

Yep. That's it exactly. It's the time in the middle that's bothering me. The time between when the fuse is lit and the fireworks go off. How long can a fuse be, anyway? The time between when God-the-Driver says, "This is where we're going," and when the car actually starts toward/arrives at its destination. It feels too long.

And I find myself in whiny mode, wanting to ask, "Are we there yet?!"

How is it that I can so quickly become a 6-year-old in this car trip we call life?


In church, we've been studying through the book of Acts. We've arrived at the part when Paul's life has taken a crisp downturn, humanly speaking. He's imprisoned for years, without justification and without 'due process.' But juuuuusst as this whole thing begins, while he is still imprisoned in Jerusalem, Jesus appears to him:

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome." (Acts 23:11)

* The Lord stood near. Paul is comforted with the presence of the Lord.
* The Lord speaks encouragement. Paul is comforted by the living words of the Lord.
* The Lord lays out the plan. Paul is assured that he is not going to be killed yet. And better, his heart's desire (to preach in Rome) is about to be fulfilled.

Now, I don't know what Paul was thinking, but *I* would be thinking: Okay, the show's about to start. Let's GO!

But (and I hope I'm not spoiling the story for you) the show doesn't get started. Paul spends years imprisoned before he ever even embarks on his journey to Rome. And that journey is fraught with danger and suffering.

But you know what? Paul's job was to walk in the promises God had already given him. God didn't show up every night to tell Paul about the journey. Just once.

Only once.

But Paul trusted his Lord's words, and was faithful every day to those once-spoken words.

Um...the self-application is pretty obvious. Okay, well, God's spirit nailed me with it last Sunday, so NOW it's really obvious. I need to trust that God will complete His plan for me...even when it's been a long time since He said, "This is where we are going." A long, long time.

And this week, do you know what I saw? From prison (probably from Rome), Paul writes this:

...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)

Learned. He learned to be content. Content in whatever.

Where did he learn it?

In the lag time.

So lag time is God's personal development program. Sometimes Scripture refers to this as "the fullness of time." As in, Jesus came in the fullness of time. And, Jesus will return in the fullness of time. When the time is perfect, and all the pieces are in place.

His promises will be fulfilled to the 'iota.' But first, first we must go through the lag time. And we must learn. *I* must learn.

Growing up in the lag time,

P.S. In the same epistle, Paul wrote:
*Rejoice in the Lord always.
*I will say it again: Rejoice!
*Let your gentleness be evident to all.
*The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
*Finally, brothers and sisters,
--whatever is true,
--whatever is noble,
--whatever is right,
--whatever is pure,
--whatever is lovely,
--whatever is admirable
--if anything is excellent
--or praiseworthy
think about such things.
*Whatever you
--have learned
--or received
--or heard from me,
--or seen in me
put it into practice.
*And the God of peace will be with you.
--Philippians 4:4-9

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sure of What I Hope For/Certain of What I Do Not See

Let Thy Goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee...

Familiar? This line from one of the latter verses of the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing has been sung as a fervent prayer by me many, many a-time. And, over the past several years, the attribute of God which has been most brought home to me is... His goodness. His absolute, undeniable, unquenchable, all-encompassing, every-life-invading goodness.

And recently, as we sang this song in a worship service, I realized that my prayer had been answered with a resounding, "Yes!" You see, it is the goodness of the Lord that causes me not to despair. Life may be ugly sometimes, awful sometimes, achingly painful sometimes, and most times completely unlike what we thought or wished it to be. But God's goodness is what keeps me hanging on.

So when, as I asserted in my last post, I am in 'backwoods Sinai,' please don't let that mislead you to thinking that I despair. In fact, I am anything but despairing. I wrestle, I struggle, I press in to hear His purposes and to see my Savior's hand. And I seek to understand because I know God HAS a purpose.

And His purpose is GOOD, because HE is GOOD!

So, with that in mind, I thought I'd share with you some of God's good purposes--at least the ones I have eyes now to see--from over these years in backwoods Sinai. This sojourn so far has been almost a dozen years. Life went from full-speed-ahead to go-directly-to-Sinai-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 in about a millisecond. Or so. But the monotony of this place has taught me...

*I've learned what it is to hurt emotionally in ways I cannot pass over nor can I solve. And I've learned what it means to survive on His strength alone.

*I've learned to walk under the heavy burden of long-term physical pain. And, I've seen my Savior miraculously, instantly heal me--Praise His Name!

*I've learned not just to wait, but to wait on the Lord. 'Them's' two different beasts, I can assure you.

*I've had God call my bluff--when I didn't even know I was bluffing--and lived to tell about it. And even enjoy the journey beyond it...without ever understanding the "why" of it.

*I've learned what a spiritual battle looks like...and how to lose. And blessedly, also how to win.

*I've had my perspective on the Church, on Ministry, on Grace & Mercy, and on myself completely and utterly re-written. In very, very necessary and good ways.

*I've learned that when I'm banging on heaven's gates, begging God to, "Do something," He often is, just in ways I cannot see.

*I've seen God take places where I was shackled by sin and doubt and fear and set me free. In entirety. In ways that others had to acknowledge, to His glory!

*I've been disciplined for my lack of faithfulness...and then given another chance to serve Him.

*I've discovered the joy of offering God my pain in worship. There is a beauty in that offering that is unmatched by any other, I think. Worship through tears--to the praise of His glorious grace.

*I've learned to increasingly "entrust myself to Him who judges justly."

*I've discovered what a complete "patootie" (Southernese for one's hindquarters) I have been at points in my life (and possibly today), and thus, I have discovered how MUCH grace has been granted to me by friends and family. (I thank you all!) And more so, by my Savior.

*I've fallen in love with Jesus. I was His a long, long, long time before that was true. But praise His Name, it's true now!

*I've been deeply wounded by the Body of Christ, and in His grace, I've been healed so deeply that I can again love Her without reservation.

*I've begun to truly discover that I am utterly, every-fiber loved by a Holy God. THAT will change you!

So despite the disconcertion of my previous post, my Good God has had Good purposes in this, the 'stalled out' portion of my journey. I just wanted you to know that I knew that.

And you know what? I believe so much in His Goodness and His Good purposes, that I really do believe the best is yet to come. So I choose to wait on Him. For 'the fullness of time' never came when the story's characters thought it should, but it always came when the Master of time had perfectly planned for it to do so.

God teaches us in ways that are perfect for each of us. Some people learn best through the rigors of daily life, some through fiery trials. Some must have a thorn in the flesh, some prosperity. I, apparently, need long periods of monotony. Long, looooooong periods of monotony. ;o) But if that's the only way I can look more like Jesus at the end of this thing, may the monotony never end. (But just for the record, I'm hoping there are other ways, too.)

Hopeful at Sinai,

P.S. How about you? What do you 'have eyes to see' of God's work in your journey?

The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? ...Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. ...I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. --Psalm 27:1, 3-5, 13-14, NIV

1. Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise His Name I'm fixed upon it
Name of God's redeeming love.

2. Hither to thy love has blessed me
Thou has brought me to this place
And I know thy hand will bring me
Safely home by thy good grace
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Bought me with His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
18th century Methodist pastor & hymnist Robert Robinson
--this version: E. Margaret Clarkson, 1973

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Destination: "Backwoods Sinai"

Blogging is an emotional act for me, and though the intervening months have been filled with many good things & experiences, emotionally, I am very raw. So raw, that blogging has felt more like pouring alcohol on a cut than a cathartic experience.

But last night, I think I understood something new, something related to my emotional state. And it is something worth blogging.

I have struggled for at least a year with something I've called 'stirred waters', a longing for what I don't have that feels more awakened from the outside than from the inside. And I often--and increasingly--see my life as just being frittered away, wasted, empty of meaning. I'm not one given to self-reflection or moroseness, which makes these intertwined perceptions all the more troubling.

So I've begun to ponder: why would I feel my life is wasted, wanting? Obviously, I have some kind of unmet expectation. But what?

I grew up believing my life would just be poured out for Jesus, willingly given in the hard places doing the hard things for the glory of my great Savior. I said, "Yes," early and I wanted it badly. Later, I realized that I expected (just by the nature of life's progressions) to marry, to have children. Since I'm not the meta-cognitive type, I never really thought about how these would mix.

But apparently, I reached an unrealized expectation in the midst of these thoughts. Both ministry and marriage were good, but I could see how one might exclude the other. That was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Use me up, Lord, either in the crazy extreme ministry I long for, or in the sacrificial offering to the future that a family is. But use me up.

And last night, as I realized that this was my expectation, it became clear to me why I was so haunted now. Because now--in the life I live today--I have neither. I am neither being used up in ministry, nor am I pouring myself out into the lives of a spouse and children.

I am simply sitting in "backwoods Sinai."

Moses spent so much of his life waiting, yet having already been told He was THE one to deliver Israel (see Acts 7:25). Forty years seems like a long time to be in such a place as backwoods Sinai, especially for someone coming from palatial Egypt.

But there was a reason he was there. We tend to jump to the spiritual reason: he was there to be humbled. While true, and while that was a huge success (see Numbers 12:3), it isn't the reason I was thinking of. He was there because he was a fugitive, a murderer. He had done something to place him there.

So last night, I found myself asking the ungracious and unflattering question: What did I do? Why have I been sentenced to backwoods Sinai?

Knowing this story, and feeling paralleled to it, I should feel hopeful. I mean, in the fullness of time, God showed him His glory (and he lived!). He powerfully and perfectly used this man to do things which had never been done before (or since!). And talk about a man 'poured out'!

But the truth is, right now, I just feel the grime of the dust and the monotony of the thankless shepherding. It doesn't feel preparatory; it feels stagnant.

I know the truths and the platitudes.

*God's plans for us are good, and perfect, and loving.

*And I know that in God's economy, nothing is wasted.

*I know that my feelings aren't always true reflectors of reality.

*I know I don't have to understand, that I don't even have a right to understand.

*I know, I know, I know.

But I'm still sitting in backwoods Sinai. I'm tired and bored and grimy.

And I don't know why I'm here.

In a few minutes or days, I'll relax into the place of trust in my Savior's perfect plan. After all, my life is His, and if He wants to play it out in backwoods Sinai for the rest of my days, it is His right to do so. As a servant, I have no claim on how my days are spent. And His goodness causes me not to despair. His love gives us so much more than we ever, ever, ever deserve.

But today, I find myself with empty hands in a squalid place spinning my wheels. And I don't understand.

Just speaking this moment's truth,


"O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. They keep saying to me, 'Where is the word of the LORD? Let it now be fulfilled!' I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you. Do not be a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster." --Jeremiah 17:13-17

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beauty of Brokenness

I have a friend who is struggling with infertility right now.  I have many friends who have been sexually assaulted.  Friends who have husbands who don't love them...or wives that won't respect them.  I have friends who have gone to the dark places of depression, and those who have been financially devastated to the point of bankruptcy.  I have seen the heartbreak of the parent whose child has gone astray...or has exited this life.  I have shared in those journeys and have walked my own.

And in each case, we ask--at some point--why?  And while God's purposes are myriad and only partly fathomable, I think we can answer for certain this painful question with this one word:


We come to Christ seeking life.  He says, to live you must die.  

We come to Christ seeking wholeness.  He says, to be whole, you must be broken.

And He, our example and High Priest, isn't asking us 'to go where no one has gone before.'  He Himself has has faced every temptation and tasted every sorrow.  He Himself was broken.  We sing, "I have decided to follow Jesus," but will we follow Him here?

We start proud; it is our very nature.  But it is in brokenness that we find healing and hope.  It is in brokenness that we truly worship.  It is in brokenness that we find God.  David understood this:  "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,  O God, you will not despise."

So the sorrows come not for our destruction, but for our healing.  We will not naturally or of our own accord struggle and suffer to the depths necessary to become the people we need to be.  But God, in his great grace, walks us through the struggles to the place of our redemption.  And in that place, we are healed and God is glorified.

It's a beautiful story, but it is one only written in sorrow.  In suffering.  In blood.  This is where we bear our cross.  This is how we die to self.  And in the end, the story is declared in Glory...and is to the praise of His glorious grace.

So ask the question, but know now that at least part of the answer is this:  The pain is producing beauty, and the path to beauty is brokenness.  

Longing for beauty,


"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."  -Jesus, Matthew 5

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.  And who can speak of his descendants?  For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer...
 --Isaiah, prophesying of Jesus

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Day for Emotions

Wow. What a day! My best friend swore into the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves! She will be 'always ready' to "protect the maritime economy and the environment, defend our maritime borders, and save those in peril!" This is the conclusion of a several year process, and it is beautiful. I was so honored to be there.

THEN, my baby sister gave birth to my newest nephew! Such joy! Another conclusion to a long process, and in both cases, God made Himself beautiful.

More later, but a great day. :-)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coffee-Induced Revelations

I slugged down my first cup of coffee this morning. Zip! Gone! And as I looked up from the bottom of that now empty cup, I looked out into the room.

And then...three, two, vision cleared! I hadn't even know that it was blurred. The steam from my coffee had fogged my glassed just a bit, and I didn't notice, until it evaporated.

And I thought:

This is what heaven will be like.

Paul said, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

Things **aren't** clear from this earthly perspective. This is why Jesus asks us to come to Him for perspective-adjustments (aka, prayer).

But someday...*POOF*...clarity will come! And oh the joy of that moment!

And so, I remind myself of this: Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

I must be purifying myself in the now. But someday--when He appears--no more coffee-fog! That's worth looking forward to!

And even, preparing for.

Working on the purifying,

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. --I John 3:2

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chagrined, but then again...

The immodest torrent of emotion I expressed here on Mother's Day has left me feeling chagrined, ashamed.

I truly did, as I said I would, ..."[put] today to bed, and I will not enter this week burdened by these emotions."  It's just that you couldn't know that since I was too embarrassed to show my face 'round these here parts.

But I'm back, and for good reasons. {smile}

A friend of mine who understand this journey has set me onto a writer called Leigh McLeroy.  I finally ordered her book, The Beautiful Ache, have read one chapter, and am already thoroughly engaged.

Here's one reason why.  This is the *fourth* sentence in chapter *one*:

"The best of all journeys may be a hard road to a good place; perhaps fully experiencing the hard, unpredictable road helps us to recognize the good place when we arrive."

See what I mean?  Sentence FOUR is a humdinger, a good thought-provoker.  I like this gal.

In a comparative mood, she spends time paralleling her journey out of Houston as a hurricane (I can only assume Rita) was baring down on the city with the Israelite's journey out of Egypt.  And in the midst of her comparison, I caught this:

Three times in Exodus, God declares that His actions were designed to provoke the Egyptians to know Him as the one true God.  For He says, "...the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it. (Ex. 7:5)"  And again in chapter 14, twice He says, "The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."

God's actions were for the Israelites.  They were for the Canaanites (who, 40 years later, would STILL be trembling over what God did in Egypt).  But they were also for the Egyptians.  And, I believe, both in judgment and in grace.

In my Western Civilization I class in college, I learned that Egypt--at this time in history, she was THE most powerful & advanced nation on earth--had a sudden shift at this point in time.  History records that there was a dramatic change for at least one generation, from pluralism (many gods, including Pharoah himself) to monotheism.  

God's actions brought to Egypt both judgment and grace, and they heard His call!

I serve a pretty amazing God.  Grace to the slaves, the sons of Abraham.  Grace to the enslavers, the Egyptians.  So much grace.

Back to The Beautiful Ache.  McLeroy writes this, too, which expresses my heart so well:

"Today I am painfully aware that I belong to another world--one I haven't seen and can only imagine.  I live en route, in between.  And as much as I dream of heaven, I love this life on earth. ... Because I believe that more exists, this life is my exodus, not my end. ... But thankfully, on the way to The Good, The True, and The Beautiful, we encounter the good, the true, and the beautiful. ...  The challenge is to live in the 'now,' fully engaged by its conflicts--and to long just as expectantly for that non-yet arrived day when we will finally, breathlessly, completely arrive."

Truly, our hearts know what our minds forget: We are not home yet.

En route,


Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. --I Peter 1:17-19, NIV

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weeping for a Night (Psalm 30)

Today has been hard.

I hate that today has been hard.

Today has been REALLY hard.

I really hate that.

I feel weak and wussie (sp?) and lame.

But it doesn't change the fact the today--Mother's Day, the day after my dear friend got married--has been hard.

Sometimes it is for me, and sometimes it isn't. And was filled with ache and tears and regret.

And wishing that none of these things were true of me.

Every conversation, by phone or in person, every Facebook post, every email has required great emotional preparation and stamina.

I hate that, too.

I want to apologize. To you. To God. But I'm not sure I've done wrong, nor that I could do differently.

I'm not ungrateful. I'm VERY grateful. And I'm generally full of hope and joie de vivre.

But somehow, today, I'm just overwhelmed with emotion. Longing. Longing not to long. Wondering what I'm actually longing for. Truly unclear on what I would actually want. Wishing it would all go away.

So many tears. So many stupid tears.

I'm putting today to bed, and I will not enter this week burdened by these emotions. But, O God, could you sort out/clear out my heart? I'm ready to be done. My heart is yours...for whatever is to the praise of your glorious grace.

Tears and all.


I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption. --Psalm 130:5-7, NIV

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. --Psalm 27:13, NIV

Friday, April 30, 2010


I am finding it hard to find words that will express what I'm feeling. I think the one that sums it up best is restless.


Anxious...but not exactly.

Sad, but not fully.









I don't even know how to express this. I am hesitant to even try to express this.

And I am frightened to feel this. I have long practiced being content and managing my emotions, and have pretty well managed to keep these under control for the vast majority of my adult life. But now...

But now, I can no longer calm myself. My Lord can, but the times of calm grow shorter and shorter.

And I'm not sure if I should feel calm or restless...or both.

I do not lack peace. I have peace. I do not lack direction; I am walking in His ways.

But it's as if something, something is to happen / should be happening / is late happening.

Right now, I'm physically itchy/twitchy.

I have felt this way in some measure for months, perhaps six months or more. But over the past week it has grown and grown.

The emotions are so strong in me that I want to weep right now. I do not know 'why' or 'how' or 'what'. I do not know what is wisdom and what is foolishness...and I long for relief.

I have never encountered anything like this inside of me, and I pretty much don't like it. It's like when you were a kid, and tomorrow was the first day of camp...but the night never ends and the feeling never gets to abate. And after awhile, that anticipation is just not fun anymore. You just want to engage what you are looking forward to. You just want to demand that the morning come.


I've always been able to beat down the waves of my emotions and return to smooth sailing in pretty quick measure. But this time, it seems more like a tsunami than a wave, more like one giant wave that keeps coming and coming, ever rising with a quiet and unrelenting force.

And even as all this energy cruises through me, it exhausts me...but not so much that the feeling subsides.

Oh God, what would you have me do? Is this of Your purposes or my distraction? I both want and hate this, embrace and reject this.

Be merciful to me, O God. Remember that I am but dust. O Lord, save me, or I will be washed away with the tide.

Buoyantly His,

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah. --Psalm 46:1-3, NIV

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I realized today that I've created a problem for myself. I edit.

Now, in truth I do a lot of editing as part of my profession, and I actually enjoy that. But that's not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about my time here at (Always) In Development.

I started blogging as a place to just express myself and sort my thoughts. And I've done a lot of that. I blog to remember and I blog so I can get it out of my system and forget.

But today--and not for the first time in recent months--I felt a sort of sadness that I wanted to explore here...and I found myself choosing to not. I edited.

Why? Because I fear that people may take me to be at a different place than I am if I post too many blogs which are sad or 'negative' or on the same topic. It's happened.

But editing puts me in a place I don't want to be. It means that I'm writing my blog as a (slightly misrepresented) message to 'someone' instead of just truthfully--and often quite fully--putting my thoughts out there.

And this means, that I just end up not processing these things...and not posting.

So, I've got a lot of thoughts going on inside of me now--some sad, all normal--and I'm just going to have to stop the editing. 'Cause I need to sort and process here more than I need to worry about what others think of my mental health.

But just in case you are a worrier...I'm fine. I'm pretty much always fine. Seriously. I just need a place to process the things that are hard to verbalize, and knowing I have an audience means I sort my thoughts better.

So thank you. For letting me just be honest at any given moment. For knowing that if I'm sad for 3 entries in a row, that I'm really fine, I'm just dumping my sad (/hard/bad/irritated/etc.) feelings here so I can move on with life. And mostly, thanks for reading and caring. You are kinder to me than I deserve.

I'll be back soon...



Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. --I Corinthians 4:1-2

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Guest Blogger for Ten Things for Tuesday

I've tried to wrap my brain--and yours--around the changes God has brought about in my life over the past 2-1/2 years, and I've often not been successful. But then this weekend, my best friend asked if she could write my "Ten Things for Tuesday" blog entry...on the subject of the 'new me.' Intrigued, I agreed...and have been forbidden from editing or commenting further. SO, please allow my to introduce my best friend T and her...

10 “New” Things for Tuesday

Guest blogger here. Writing 10 NEW things for Tuesday. No - not because it’s a new list or a new blogger. But because it’s a new J and a new range of normal each week it seems. So I’m sharing.

It’s a quick blog and won’t be the best writing you read here (or my best period). But that’s not the point. The point is that when you silently ask “who are you?” of your best friend enough times in a week or two, those things beg to be blogged. And this fact hit me again this weekend.

J may not share these things, think to share these things, or even recognize to share these things. But as I kept running across this stranger in my yard, I had to post. And I get to brag on my friend in the process.


#1. She’s helped with yard work at least 3 times in the past several weeks. And she volunteered.

Important background: her first words when deciding if she would rent from me were, “I don’t do yard work.” And I have repeatedly been reminded that this is why she rents, not owns. Now... it’s still volunteer so renting remains favorable because she can also NOT volunteer :) . But she did AND enjoyed herself. The last part is what scared me. Of course, she’s also now a little possessive of the arbor, but that’s another blog.

#2. She gets edgy when inactive. This is humourous and fun to watch .. and also annoying and disturbing. Sometimes I think I’m sharing a house with myself. Do I have to pay my mortgage twice?

#3. Saturday she woke up late. She went out anyway without showering. Ok, so she’s probably done that before. Not often, mind you. Not often at all. Maybe - maybe - in an emergency. In the dark. And ok, a few other times. But again, those who know, know this is an oddity. But that’s not the official newness. When she finished her 4-mile trail walk, she was still willing to drop by an event where she would be seen by people she knew and worked with ... without primping. THAT’S the newness. Seriously. No hairbrush. No make-up drill in the car. No panic, no delays, no having to be talking into it. She just added a hat ... Oh wait...

#4. She has a hat she can throw on and go, if needed. Or even if not needed.

#5. She has gear. Real gear. Like the hat.

It’s not a ball cap. It’s an athletic-y hat from the women’s section, but it’s a GREAT hat and is perfect for her. She may sweat and be active and be ok with that, but she’s still J. With J style and fashion after all. Can I get a picture here? It’s a great hat even when not active.

#6. On a different topic - she now scares me with her random disclosures of new things she’d like to try. Many of which I had been warned-off and discouraged from doing by same person. Hmmm.


OK - break in the list here. Those are true and great examples, but some things don’t fall into a category. Like this one. She’ll hurt me for it but it came about from an unexpected comment and it’s so perfectly relevant it has to be shared.

#7. I’m not the only one who can smell “earthy” at the end of a Saturday now. Gross, I know - but had to be shared. Those who know her well know what I mean. No midday showers if active work to be done.


I’m almost done but I have to separate the next two because the first is one of the items that prompted this list. These don’t happen all the time, mind you, so don’t get any false impressions of how much we actually get to eyeball each other. This was an unusual and blessed weekend and I’m ecstatic for it. And in the midst of it came some of the inspiration for the guest blog:

#8. I had the joy of watching a movie on a laptop outside in the sun the other day. On a blanket on the grass with my friend. And it wasn’t my idea.

#9. I walked on the trails Saturday morning looking for Easter eggs. And again it wasn’t my idea. Yeah - I had planned to go anyway, but SHE mentioned it to ME. So you get two for one here: she’s outside and liking it, and she initiated. I had to include the two together.

#10. She knows who Clark Kellogg is, how to pronounce Krzyzewski, and puts selection Sunday on her calendar early each year. On her own.

OK, so #10 has nothing to do with the fact that she lost weight, but still how cool is that?

#11. Am I allowed an 11 for a Ten Things list? Of course I am. Ten words: she has a garden and she mixed manure for it.

Now - lest you close friends, and esp family, start feeling an intervention is necessary before you lose her completely ... she still scoffed at the smell, ran from the wasps, and has a few other funny stories to tell. She’s still very much your sister, daughter, and friend you know and love.

And she still won’t bungee. But neither will I. Not cuz of fear, but because I’m close to old and if you separate my spine from my hip bone for a brief second at the bottom of the drop, it may not merge back together like it once would have. It saddens me to admit that in public. Maybe I’m changing too ... I just hope mine is as productive as J’s.


Blessings (and thanks to my friend),

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. --Proverbs 17:17

Note to My Chinese-Character Commenter...

Dear Commenter,
I wish I could read your {presumably kind} words, but I don't know Chinese. Any chance you could post in English?
Thanks for visiting!
And blessings,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From My Inbox

Each day I receive a Daily Manna from the Net email with a portion of Scripture enclosed. This timely and encouraging reminder was today's post:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. --2 Peter 1:5-11

Brotherly Kindness.

In increasing measure.
Will keep you from being ... ineffective ... and unproductive ... in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Don't have these? You are:
... Nearsighted.
... Blind.
... Forgetful of the pit from which Christ dragged you.

Do have these? You will:
... Be ever more certain of God's work in your life.
... Never fall.
... Receive a rich welcome into Christ's eternal kingdom.

Thank you, Peter. I am applying all my might and resting in His transforming grace. I'll see you at the finish line.

See you there, too?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ten Things AGAIN?

I know! Two weeks in a row. Christ's return must be soon! ;-)

Ten Thoughts for 'Holy Week':

1. I do not like to consider the events leading up to the resurrection. I like bows on packages and happy endings. But I cannot seem to escape the thought this week that we who were called to share in the sufferings of Christ must first consider His sufferings. And so I {painfully} ponder...

2. To save us is pleasing to God: "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25, NIV)

3. We can only have a correct perspective on God when we balance intimacy (I have called you friends) with glory (I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself...).

4. The Christian walk is such a beautiful dichotomy: die to live. Give to gain. Have power in weakness. Bear a cross to find rest.

5. To create is God's nature: In the beginning and over and over again in our lives. We, who in Christ became new creations, are being re-newed day by day, re-fined into ever-closer similarities to our Savior. Though I must walk in obedience, I cannot change me...but God in His mercy can and does!

6. It was not possible for there to be a more terrible death for our Savior: the refined physical suffering of a death on a cross; the curse of dying on a tree; the rejection of a holy Father; the wrath of God--an eternity of hell for each person--borne in a few hours. What love is this?

7. God the Father resurrected Jesus from the dead, and in so doing, declared that BOTH sin (on the cross) and its natural-born child death (via an empty grave) were defeated! If Jesus had not died, sin would have won. If Jesus had not lived again, death would have won. But through Jesus' death and resurrection, Jesus--and and us in Him--won...for all eternity. That deserves a HALLELUJAH!

8. The power of the resurrection is the SAME POWER that is at work in us as believers! Do we truly believe that? (Considering the lack of power we walk in, I suspect that we do not.) (Ephesians 1:19-20)

9. I saw a rainbow yesterday. I remembered how God, in His mercy, covenanted with mankind never again to judge with a utterly catastrophic flood...and felt so sad. God is crying out in all creation, and in His Incarnation, and in His Word, and in His people for all mankind to see Him, to repent of their sins, and to come to Him! And how very few--so very, very few--listen.

10. Another thought bouncing around in my mind for awhile: How different would we look if we pressed in to follow God in holiness? (I Peter 1:15-16) Perhaps this needs to be unpacked on another day, as there is an awful lot here.

Welp...that's all I've got for now. This week, may you know the sorrow of the sacrifice and the resplendence of the resurrection in all their fullness!


I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. --Philippians 3:10-11, NIV

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thinking God-Thoughts

God's love changes everything.

Understanding God's unconditional love for you changes you.

It was His love that set me free to begin my weight-loss journey. What I mean is, it was understanding His love that set me free. I was fully loved just the way I was, and that brought the freedom to change.

There is so much more. I cannot even begin to express it all. But today, I heard Derwin Gray say this: "Why does God love you? Because it delights His heart to do so."

That is, it's got NOTHING to do with who you are or what you've done/are doing/will do. Isn't that AMAZING?!

And then, I thought of this verse:
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. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. --Romans 8:1-4

And then, my mind bounced to this hymn:
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine.
Alive in Him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold, I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own.
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me?
Clearly, my head is all over the place.  And so much of this is bound up in the lessons & changes I've experienced over the last several years, ones I hope to continue to get to unpack it for you here.  But for now, I'm off to keep processing it all.  I'm pretty sure this is good stuff.
His, and blessed beyond measure,
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  -Psalm 16:11, NIV

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ten Things for Second Tuesday

You remember second breakfast? From Lord of the Rings? Well, this is Second Tuesday. I know technically it is Wednesday, but since I didn't post yesterday when it was actually Tuesday, AND since what I want to post is a "Ten Things for Tuesday" list, I declare it Second Tuesday.

So there.

Now, just ten just random things (I added that extra "just" on purpose, just to mess with you):

1. I love over-sized mugs. Hot cocoa and hot tea every my over-sized mugs! Happiness!

2. Know the color of the sky as dawn is breaking, when it's just a soft blue and the trees are still black against it? That is the perfect blue.

3. When God freed and changed me 2-1/2 years ago, He REALLY changed me, in so many ways. As in, I-am-actually-a-different-person "changed me." Deep-down "changed me." In ways I continue to learn. In ways I really like. In ways I'm really, really grateful for.

4. I spent months struggling to find ways to exercise around a couple of injuries, and mostly just fell into a pit of discouragement and despair. And over-eating. But over the past 6 weeks or so, I've been able to (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) ease back into some exercise. And I'd forgotten how very much my body LOVES exercise. It's like a happy drug for my muscles. I like this happy drug. :-D

5. I suspect I overuse hand sanitizer. I don't want to hear about this from you, my lovely readers. This is confession, not correction, time. However, it is a hard habit to ease back on when it seems to work! I just made it through cold and flu season without getting ill! Whahoo!

6. I look forward to heaven more and more and more. For good reasons--I long to see my Savior and worship with perfection--and for hard reasons--I hate sin and its aftermath more than ever before. I hate the pain and rebellion that this world revels in. I hate that I so often stray when I should cling. I want to be in a place where I will never again cease to embrace the cross.

7. My dad has shared something with me a few times over the years that I see more and more as true: Life doesn't fall into neat categories the way we'd sometimes like to make it. So many times we say things like, "Your priorities are God first, then your spouse, followed by your children, then your ministry, then your neighbors..." Etcetera. Etcetera. But life is really more like a juggling act than a checklist, and sometimes you just have to do the best you can to keep the balls in the air, usually by addressing the ones in your hands right now.

8. I love rings but I have ugly hands. (I like to think of them as working hands, but still, the truth is that they aren't pretty.) And recently, my favorite ring fell off my finger (due to skinnier-than-they-used-to-be hands) and disappeared. And I am really sad over this.

9. My philosophy on hair and make-up and clothing is this: Dress so I can forget about me. I try to make myself look appropriately at the beginning of the day and touch up as needed through the day, but the reason I do so is so that I am not distracted by thoughts of me otherwise. I promise, if I came to work without mascara, I would spend my day distracted by the thought of me looking like a refugee unnecessarily. So I wear them to forget.

10. I'm very proud that I used the adverbial form (appropriately) in #9. Things like this give me hope for the world. Now you're worried, huh? ;-)

Okay, no grand promises on when I'll return again, but it sure has been nice visiting with you today. And as always, may you have eyes to see His blessings today.


...May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, "The LORD be exalted!" --Psalm 40:16, NIV

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Ten Things for Tuesday' Returns!

Well, it's not quite as good as The Return of the King (Tolkien's book, not the movie), but it'll have to satisfy you folk who actually care to hear something from the deep recesses of my brain. Or, my brain on recess...which is the more likely event.

Anyway, I just thought I'd free associate for a moment, using a satisfying-to-the-structure-needer-in-me format known as a list. Pretty cool stuff you can learn here, huh? {that'll keep 'em coming back!}

Here we go:
1. I swear I'm a lady, but the steak I am currently eating actually caused me to drool just now. Perhaps a lady wouldn't have mentioned that... (The ladies in the audience just said, "Ewww." The men just said, "Steak?")

2. I think some people are praying for me, as I feel like me life is slowing settling back down--emotionally, physically, spiritually. I wouldn't say I'm out of the proverbial woods (and I'm pretty sure that would mean being in heaven anyway), but things are definitely better than they were 4 or 8 weeks ago. If you are one of those peeps, I thank you very, very much.

3. I've been able to FINALLY start doing a little bit of exercise again. I've done 4 sessions of Pilates in the past 8 days, and I'm feeling mighty fine about it. I haven't been able to start running (or even walking for exercise) yet, but I now actually have hope that I might be able to again. The challenge will be to hold myself back until my body is ready.

4. One can lose a lot of muscle tone in, say, 4.5 months of non-exercise. This is not a hypothesis; it is a conclusion.

5. I just learned how little I like starting over. On the other hand, I also learned that I really love it when my muscles hurt from working out. These balance out in the end, I think.

6. In most areas of life, I am an optimist. However, when it comes to the health of my body, I've realized lately that I am a pessimist. There is some legitimacy in my persuasion, but it's still not a great perspective. I've decided to try to work on this. But I hope that doesn't mean I have more health issues in my future... :-)

7. I think I am no longer an extrovert, if an extrovert is defined (as Myers-Briggs does) by someone who draws their energy from others. I still LOVE people, but I find I must have a substantial amount of down/quiet time to balance these interactions. I have been surprised to discover that people drain me. Now the question is...was I always like that and have just now settled into who I am? ...or, Did I become this way due to aging, being single, etc., or some combination thereof? It is moot, I suppose, but a curiosity.

8. I wish it was (were?!) appropriate for me to speak the way they did in Georgian England. I think I could do a splendid job of sounding Jane Austen-ish. And, I miss the vocabulary! {oh, to use big words and not be thought of as a snob/freak/Yankee}

9. I love the Olympics! Love, love, love! However, I always kinda thought Ice Dancing was, well, skanky. I watched some this year, and while some of it WAS skanky, there was actually some talent and taste on the ice. I am very pleased over the gold and silver medalists' performances.

Didn't think I could get this far, did we?

10. I will probably sound nuts trying to put these thoughts into words, but the older I get, the more amazed and humbled and grateful I become: I love God so much. So much more than I used to. I love that I get to know Him and love Him. I love that His Word is deeper than my brain can attain and wider than my thoughts will ever go...yet is is accessible to any thinking child. It is a miracle that I will sing of over and over in eternity. I love that we get all of eternity to know and discover God. Our God is awe-worthy.

Well, I can't really go up from there, so I'll 'go dark.'
Alive in Him,

"Great and marvelous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed." -Revelation 15:3b, 4, NIV

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A week or two ago, someone posted a question on Facebook:

What are you most proud of in life?

A powerful, clarifying question, don't you think?

I pondered it for a few days, and finally reached a conclusion. A surprising conclusion: The list was not important...but what each item on that list had in common was important.

Each item in my life that would make that list--each of them--was something which was simply a "Yes," to God's call. There is not one thing on my very short list (which shall remain private) that wasn't simply me saying, "yes," when God said, "Go," or, "Do this." Usually, in the face of great personal fear.

Every. single. item. of which I could be proud was simply an act of obedience to God's call.

Makes me glad I can hear His voice.

Kinda makes me want to say yes more often. :-)

Blessed to be led by Him who knows no bounds,

"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him... --2 Chronicles 16:9a, NIV

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Am Alive

Yes, really, I am! Alive, I am! :-)

I know it's hard to verify when I am absent from here. I'm sorry about that. I want to be here more, but since I haven't really been able to do so--for so many reasons--I'll just apologize to you and work on not beating myself up over it.

But I wanted you to know, I am alive!

Still questioning? Let me prove it:

See! This photo was taken during one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. My entire immediate family--all 16 and 1/2 of us--were gathered under one (rented) roof for an entire week in early January. It has been 4 years since that happened, and one spouse and three children have been added in the interim. And it will most likely be that many years or more before it ever happens again.

But oh, the gift of those precious hours and days together. Almost all the people I love best together under one roof... So many hours spent playing and singing and gaming and cooking and eating... It was wonderful. Truly, a jewel crafted by the Lord and given as a gift to me/us. I am so grateful!

Wanna see all of us crazy folk? Well, we don't usually clean up this good, but...

Happy days are here again!

I'll try to be back soon. It feels surprisingly good to be typing these things. And, as usual, I've got stuff on my heart to share. Let the therapy and praising begin!

Blessings until then,

P.S. An extra for you: Here's what happens when an aunt tries to get a pic with all the nieces & nephews...even though the pictures caused them to miss nap time...

I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. --Psalm 13:6, NIV