Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I Need

I am not someone that tends to need a lot of hand-holding and encouragement. In fact, I tend to get annoyed with people when they offer too much of it. I am, quite often to my own detriment, very independent! I do not do well at asking for help or receiving it; even when I am desperate! I do need a little bit of encouragement - a "you can do it" "way to go" or "that's awesome" every now and then! I'm not saying that I don't want to hear that. If you say those kind of things to me, please don't stop!

I do however recognize that I am in a place and time where I need more encouragement than I usually do. Specifically encouragement in strength! I have been feeling very weak and tired lately! My energy supply is low, my resistance to adjusting is high! I was realizing last night that with the lack of energy I have had, I feel like less of a person! I feel like I am not as qualified for very basic things - and when I say qualified I mean it in a heart sense! I am not moping, but I do feel like I have been somehow robbed by this illness and the medications that I have been taking!

Sometimes I feel really angry, but at what? RA? Shots? Doctors? Blood work? Fatigue? Financial struggles? I don't really know what to blame...or who!!! I could blame satan, myself, or even God. I don't really think that any of those would be rightfully placed! I think they would just be places to lay anger! What I want is relief! Relief from pain, fatigue, fear, and everything else negative that has taken root since this diagnosis was made! I really do want God to be glorified in same way, but I also want to just live life! Was this part of the plan? I don't know that I can answer that, and honestly I don't know that I want the answer right now! Either way the question is answered, it has the potential for cataclysmic impact!

So, what I need is encouragement! Encouragement in strength! I was reading some of my favorite scriptures today, and amazingly enough they are all encouragement in strength! Here are a few!

"He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

"So be strong and take courage, all you who hope in the LORD" Psalm 31:24

"But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have call you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.'" Isaiah 43:1-2

"He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength." Psalm 23:2-3a

Please, send me more! I would love to see what some of your favorite strength-encouragements are!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Today I'm having and ugh day. I really just feel like laying it out there and saying the things that I am dissatisfied with. I don't just want to leave it there though. Ok, maybe I do just a little. I think a part of me would be satisfied to just say all of the things that I am unhappy about and then close and go to bed. I know that isn't right though! I need to turn it over to God and ask Him to take control and bring satisfaction, even where I do not see a way. Right?

Here is a theological question for those of you who are exploring an understanding of where God stands on good and bad. Is it ok to simply be unhappy? Do we always have to try to flip it to the "But God is good because..." side of the coin? Sure God is good! I'm not questioning that, but sometimes down right crummy things happen and my opinion is that it is ok with God for us to be discontent in that! Is it sinful to be unhappy? I would probably question someone who said it is. I would certainly listen to their argument. I would most likely have a few rebuttals, though.

We are told to "consider it joy when we face trials of all kinds" and to "persevere in trial" in James 1:2 & 12. We are also told to "mourn with those who mourn" in Romans 12:15. King David and Jesus, alike cried out "My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46). This suggests to me that it is ok to stop and think on the things that hurt, dissatisfy, and grieve me. The question then, is what do I do with the pain after I have acknowledged it and thought on it?

I don't know that I have the perfect response. In fact, I am pretty certain I don't have the perfect anything! What I do know is that God is close to the broken-hearted! I know it and I trust it. It doesn't make me any less dissatisfied with my circumstance, but it does offer peace to know that I can rest in the hands of a maker that loves me and cares about my circumstance even more that I do!

So, after recognizing the things that hinder my happiness, I go to God and cry out! "Father? Where are you? I know you hold me close, but right now I need to know how to bring these things before you and find contentment. I need to learn how to persevere and find joy in my trials. I need you to pour your perfect love over me to wash into the dark places that can't see your love! I need you to give me strength where I am weak and offer me rest! Restore me, God! Restore my body and my spirit! Let me dance before you with the joy of a young child! I will only bless your name, God! Regardless of my unhappiness, I will stand firm that you are righteous and good! In your Holy name! Amen!"
Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD my God is with me. He is mighty to save! He will take great delight in me. He will quiet me with His love! He will rejoice over me with songs of joy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How He Loves Us

In the last two months, I have been without a car of my own. I have been very blessed to have a couple of cars loaned to me during brief periods and friends who have provided rides when I didn't have a car. I have had to sacrifice a lot of independence, drop a lot of things out of my schedule, and do a lot of asking for things...none of which come easy to me. God could teach me a lot in any of those places. For instance, some light was shown on my lack of willingness to just ask for help when I need it. For all that God could possibly teach me in this situation, I celebrate to say that He has simply (or not so simply) been showing me that He loves me! He has been fathering me, and asking me to allow Him to do so!

Over the last two months God has been speaking to me about allowing Him to provide for me, and about asking Him not only for what I need but what I want. He has also been teaching me about why He values me! This isn't the first time that God has urged me in this, but this time it has been as if scales have been breaking away from my heart! God was speaking to me about this prior to my car dying - and it isn't my car dying that caused me to see. I think that it was just being in yet another place in my life where I am not equipped to solve the brokenness -- alone! I needed help and that meant I had to seek it. Right? Well, not exactly. Let me start with what my standard approach would have been a crisis of this sort...

Car dies. That day I cry and look at every financial obligation I have; I furiously look over the budget and lack of money and think "I just don't know where it will come from." I start praying and getting creative. The following day I call at least 10 places to ask about quotes on fixing the car and opinions on "which way to go". I continue praying and planning. I will come up with something! On day three, I have contacted a list of at least 10 people letting them know the situation at hand and letting them know the need and begin selling myself in whatever way they are able to provide financially...I will babysit, clean cars, clean garages, organize houses, do what you need me to do...I will earn my way. (By the way, I am not saying anything against working for the things you's a good plan!) But in this situation, I knew that wasn't what God wanted from me! I am already very busy! I am already very tired! And, the more busy I get, the more tired I get, the sicker I feel, and the less I can do. Even more than that, God wants to teach me that He loves me and loves providing for me because He is my father! Sometimes, He just wants to give me what I want or need, because it brings Him great joy to do so!

So when this happened, what I heard from God was "Wait! Trust in me and let me provide. Ask me for what you desire! Don't I care for the lilies of the valley and the birds of the air? They don't earn what I give them. I just give to them because I know their needs. Let me know what you want so I can give to you what you desire!" So, I waited. Some times less anxious than others. But I haven't let myself believe that I had to make it happen! What God has been doing is teaching me how He values me not for what I do, but for who I am. He hasn't pursued me because of what I can offer Him! He pursues me because HE LOVES ME! He wants me to be secure in knowing that I am worthy, not because I can do any good work, but because He calls me child! I am a daughter of THE Most High King!

Friday night I got a call from one of the elders at my church who told me they have a car that was donated. It needs some repairs and is in the process of getting fixed right now. Nothing is certain as of yet, because the title hasn't been transferred, but I think I have a car! We spoke again this morning and it seems that everything is a go for now. I am very humbled! I am however, not surprised! Isn't God wonderful?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Update

This is not the most pleasant update for me to write. I don't like writing these, but I think it is important for me to do so. This week has been a hard one for me. I don't have a tangible something wrong, I just haven't been feeling well this week. I have been fighting a lot of fatigue and pain this week, and just plain feel drained! I haven't done my shot for this week yet, because I am already so wiped out that I am afraid I won't be able to move after taking it. My days are pretty booked from now through mid-May, but I think the reality is that I am going to have to put some things on hold. That is so hard for me! I hate walking away from commitments without seeing them through! I hate slowing down - even more, I resent having to slow down! Plus, so many of the things that fill my time are also things that bring me a sense of purpose and joy - to put them on hold makes me sad! I feel incomplete because of having to slow down. I am, after all, only 30! Why do I feel like I am double that?

I am not complaining - just asking myself and God some questions! I think it is ok to do so! I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus and know that even though I am weak, He is strong!

God, I ask that you will give me the energy and encouragement that I need right now! Please bring about your perfect will in and through me! Lord, I pray that somehow in my imperfection that I can still bring glory to your perfect name! Bless me, God, with the ability to keep my eyes fixed on you regardless of my circumstance! Continue to teach me how to intercede on behalf of myself and so many others that I have been given the honor to intercede for! Teach me more God, how to seek healing! Lord, deliver me! I love you Lord, and thank you for the perfect love that you show me! In your precious and holy name, Amen!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm A Captive Set Free

I have been giving my blog a "make-over" this past week. I felt part of that was updating my profile. Here is what I started out with before narrowing it down to 1200 characters. Really - it is at exactly the 1200 character limit now! Enjoy!

I write these things because I am a captive set free! A captive to depression, fear, sickness, and sin. The good news is that I have been set free by the love and mercy of my precious savior, Jesus Christ! Through Him, freedom has been ushered into many areas of my life and I know there is more to come!

In college, I suffered from depression. I found my greatest friends during this time to be God and writing. In fact, in large part I discovered the love that God has for me through writing. The massive chasm between the got-it-together life I attempted to portray and the torrents of pain I was really living in was eating away at me. I was very new to following Christ and was recovering from a lot of hurt that I had grown up with. Writing was a way to focus my inner voice and give it a way to speak. It was also a way for me to hear what the Lord had to say to me.

In 2oo3, I went to visit a friend who lived out of town. While attending her church, a word was spoken over me, as an anointing to "write and speak the word of God for a new generation to know His affection." I was re-invigorated to begin writing again; something that I had become fairly complacent in. I had a new desire to be disciplined in this.

In the summer of 2007 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an auto-immune disease. At the time I was diagnosed, there was already joint and organ involvement of the disease. One of the challenges I was given around the time of the diagnosis was to "write often."

I still write frequently in my private journals, but I felt challenged to share some of my writing along the way. This blog is my attempt to be faithful to something I believe the Lord has given me - and asked of me. I have seen over time how writing has been a tool of healing in my life. I trust that it will be a conduit for healing in this time, as well.

It is my hope that as you read my random ramblings, prayers, and struggles they will touch you in some way. It is my desire that I will be able to grow in wisdom, truth, and vulnerability. I also desire for this to be something that brings honor and glory to my Lord of Lords! Please join me! And please feel free to leave your comments along the way.

I have been thinking a lot about destiny and purpose lately. I have even written quite a bit about it, but haven't gotten the posts up. I believe that God created me, and the rest of us, with a purpose in mind; a destiny. I really want to know what mine is and how to live it out! My life counts for nothing if I haven't lived out the will of God in it!

I moved to Austin in 2002 with a sense of calling to be here. I didn't know why I was coming to Austin. I just knew this is where God was calling me to be. Since that time, I have been involved in multiple communities, lived with several families that I trust I have left a mark on, and have grown more in understanding and developing my own knowledge and relationship with God. I have grown up a bit! I feel as though there is more...I know there is more! I know that God has more for me to accomplish, and I want to have the faith to just dive in! Not fool-hearted, but faithfully!

So I guess for today, my prayer is that I would have a greater wisdom and understanding of the plans and purpose God has for me. That I would be submitted before Him, at all cost to myself, to know how to follow after Him and the desires He has for me! I ask God, that you would reveal to me a new vision of how to follow after you. Help me to trust in you more today than I ever have before! Give me child-like faith; a faith that is unabandoned and unashamed! Lord Jesus, be glorified!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Celebration Weekend

I feel as though I should write something, given that it is Easter weekend! I am just now, as an adult, learning to appreciate what Easter really is. As a child, Easter was about wearing a pastel or white colored fluffy organdy dress with itchy tights that had little bunnies or chicks embroidered all over them and a new pair of white patent leather dress shoes that were being worn for the first time of the year. It was about getting a pretty little basket that had some plastic eggs filled with candy and change, and then running through the yard with my sisters finding the real eggs we had dyed the day before. After the exhaustive hunt for the eggs and the chocolate bunny, my mom would make us wash off, pack us in the car to head to church. When we got home we would sit at the table to eat a family lunch of ham, green beans, and deviled eggs that were made with the eggs we hunted that morning. I didn't ever really get that Easter was about anything much more than all of the (out of the ordinary) stuff that we did that day.

Over the years, my view of Easter has changed a bit. It really happened a few years ago, though. I was a live-in nanny for a family where the father was an atheist and the mother had been exposed to Christianity but didn't really think it was for her. I frequently had to work on the weekends. When I first started, I told her that I wouldn't work Sundays unless I could take the children with me to church. She agreed. She was happy to let them go with me and they really enjoyed it. Even on the Sundays that I wasn't working, they would go with me. The children loved going to church and loved learning about Jesus and the Bible. Their mom saw this and got into it. For Easter that year, she said that she wanted me to help her. Instead of just putting money and candy in plastic eggs and hiding them, she wanted me to help her go through the Bible and find verses that she could print out and hide in the eggs to encourage her children in their new-found passion!

At first, it was lost on me. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great idea! I loved the idea of encouraging children with scripture! And I though it was a neat way to get beyond some of the commercialism that has become the focal point of this Holy-day. But I also thought "why wait until Easter to give them scripture...what makes that day any more important than today to live it out?" I didn't get it! Easter is the day that Jesus ROSE!!!! That is something that the world knows we as Christians celebrate! They know that Easter is important for that reason; something I was taking for granted! She wanted it to be that day because to her, that was the day that counted. THAT was the day that mattered!

My theology about Easter changed quite a bit that day...and continued to! To finish the story out, the next year I was working for and living with another family. The week before Easter, I got a call from the family I had previously lived with and they asked if they could come to church with me...the WHOLE family; father, mother, and all three children! It brought so much joy to me that I still tear up when I think about it! I can't tell you how special it was to me to be sitting in church with that family, who I love so much!

So, when I think about Easter, I don't really think about the eggs and baskets and pretty white dresses anymore. I think about the faces of the people I love who have yet to know the truth of what Jesus has done for them and just how much he really loves them! I think about my father. I think about my friend, Michael. I think about the families that I have lived with and loved who are not followers of Christ. I am undone by the vast amount of love that God has; that I know he has been able to forgive and wash away my many sins and love me despite all of my failures! He loves us! He cries out for humanity and I ask that he would give me but a taste of his heart for the lost! I pray that somehow I can bring grace and love to my friends and family and that my heart can become more and more a reflection of my precious Jesus!

Happy Easter to all of you! May you be blessed!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I've Lost It!

I used to carry around this big planner - thank you Franklin Covey! I loved my planner, as any of my good friends can tell you. Her name was Francine. I started using her in high school and just refilled her as the years went on. When asked what I would take to a desert island, Francine would probably be in the top five list. It may not seem very practical at first...we can argue that another day!

About a year-and-a-half ago I was finally convinced to merge my life into a smaller planner. It fit in my large purse - something Francine never could do! I was content with this smaller planner, but was recently inspired by a friend to go even smaller! I found these cute little calendars at Target for $1.00 and got one for both of us. This one even fits in my tiny purse! I call it my baby calendar - a stolen phrase. I have gotten quite attached to my baby calendar, as I find it to be much more convenient than carrying around something the size of Gone With the Wind!

Why am I writing about my calendar? I can't find it! That baby calendar is one of the many tools I use to keep myself sane! I am now left to the back-up of relying on the master brain. The problem is that my brain sometimes forgets events when it is also trying to remember everything else! I have to find that calendar! Otherwise I must start over! This never happened with Francine!

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Update

I don't have a whole lot to say, but wanted to post something. So here is a little update of what's been going on with me.

A few months ago I got a ticket for running a red light. I made my case to the judge and requested community service. He granted my request by giving me 25 hours of service time to be completed in 1 month. By the time I got in touch with the right people, coordinated everything and was able to get started, I had 3 weeks to complete the time. I have officially finished 5.5 hours - 1/5th of the way there! The rest has to be done by the 17th. I figure that if I go after work almost everyday and work all day on Saturday I can get it done. I can request an extension if I need to, but I don't really want to unless I have to!

I have also been working on stuff for our church's version of Vacation Bible School. We call it Neighborhood Bible Clubs. We have families that will host little clubs in their front yard or in parks so that neighbors can attend. I have helped with them for the last few years, but this year I have been more involved. I have been assisting our coordinator with administrative tasks and also working on promotions for the clubs. This has been a very new place for me to step in to! I was quite leery of being in this spot at first - I thought "what do I know about communicating to other people about this stuff?" It's actually proven to be an OK place for me. I definitely feel like I am stumbling my way through - but I also feel like maybe I am learning more about some of the things that God would like for me to be more assertive in and feel more confident at taking authority in. I guess that only time will tell if it is a good place for me to be, or not.

Life with the family I live with has continued to be a challenge. Keep in mind that challenge does not always mean bad. I am definitely starting to look forward to finding another living situation though. I feel like it will take some pressure off of the friendship and that maybe we can experience a greater degree of love for each other!

In the way of relationships, I have been learning some things about myself. They have not been easy - but I think they have been good for me to learn! First, I have learned that I am much more judgemental than I have ever before acknowledged - and I have recognized that the judgement I pass has a great potential to wound the people I love! Second, I have learned that in pressure situations I tend to back down, pull away, and hide out...until...the pressure gets so great that it all comes out...everything that has caused me to back down or pull away or hide out. It may not even be something that would be rational to cause hurt - it just gets added into everything else and it becomes (sorry for the cliche) fuel for the fire! The third thing I have been learning is how precious and important relationships are to me! This one is harder for me to put into words, but there is so much emotional rise (both good and bad) that stirs in me and it is directly tied into other people. I have always known that my friendships are important to me, but I don't think that I have ever really recognized just how powerful relationships are to me!

I think that is about all I have for now. Plus, someone else is waiting for the computer. I will keep my prayer short because of this.

God, I thank you that you have given me the ability and opportunity to serve and bless my community during this time. I thank you that you have also given me the ability to serve my church. Please continue to bless both of these organizations, that they may prosper and that those they serve may see your glory and know your love! I ask that you would bless the family that I am living with and that you would speak into our relationships, that we would be able to love one another well! I also thank you that you have been teaching me more about how important relationships are and the responsibilities that I carry in those. Please bless these interactions and bring your grace in. Thank you Lord.