Thursday, November 26, 2009

therefore i have hope

i was in the watch of the Lord prayer room this week, with no kids may i add because my wonderful husband kept them home so i could go spend time with the Lord by myself, and i had an urging to read the book of lamentations.  just the title of the book sounds depressing, right?  to lament is to grieve.  maybe that is why i have subconsciously avoided reading this book the past several years. 

the book of lamentations was mostly likely written by the prophet jeremiah during the fall of jerusalem in 586bc.  some of what was happening that was recorded is seemingly unbelievable, yet very true of the current state of the people in jerusalem.  it is amazing that in a book like this that accounts such a sad time in israel's history that i would find such encouragement.  this seems to be the way of the bible, and the way of the Lord.  in the darkest times the light shines the brightest.  in the midst of the opportunity for despair, there is the same opportunity for overwhelming hope. 

i was pleased to find that this following passage from lamentations was the inspiration for thomas chisholm when he wrote the words of the well known hymn great is thy faithfulness.  in the midst of great darkness and trials, the character of God shines forth brightly bringing hope and comfort.

though i usually quote the bible in the nasb version, i felt so connected to this passage when i read it in the niv, so here it will be such:

i remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 
i well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  
yet this i call to mind and therefore i have hope:
because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 
i say to myself, "the Lord is my portion; therefore i will wait for Him." 
the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;  
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
it is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.  
let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. 
let him bury his face in the dust-- there may yet be hope.  
let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 
for men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.
for He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. 
                                                                       lamentations 3:19-33

what a God we serve!  His steadfast character remains regardless of the circumstances around us.  so great is His faithfulness.  it is in Him we have hope.


Friday, November 20, 2009


tomorrow is the first thanksgiving for our family.  well, not exactly true.  we had one thanksgiving meal today in asher's kindergarten class with all the fixings.  we also had thanksgiving in october with my husband's family while his parents were in town visiting before moving back to guatemala after being in the states for the past 12 years.  so, i guess in a way, this is our third of four thanksgivings this year.

a family tradition around our parts, and i am sure around many of yours, is to share something we are thankful for.  there are many things that come to mind, but i would say that the one that jumps out and grabs me right now is how thankful i am for hope.  it doesn't matter how much may be going on in life, good, bad, or just busy, with hope it all is put into perspective.  hope isn't something that has always come easy for me.  sometimes it is quite the battle to hold on and not be afraid of disappointment.  but the apostle paul said in romans 5:3-5:
and not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

i do not always, (okay honestly pretty much never), like going through the tribulations of life, but i long for that hope that does not disappoint.   so though i have been going through it and at times it has been a struggle in both my heart and mind, i am thankful most of all for hope.

i want to leave you with my favorite verse of my favorite hymn of all times, great is Thy faithfulness.  my cousin leah mari valenzuela recently released a cd of all hymns called all i have needed with great is Thy faithfulness being the closer song and the title track.   i was privileged to be one of the many family members singing the background choir for her on my favorite hymn.  so, though i love all three verses, here is the one that always brings me to tears because it is my prayer and promise for which i am most thankful: hope.

pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
blessing all mine with ten thousand beside

great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
morning by morning new mercies i see
all i have needed Thy hand hath provided
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me
what are you thankful for this year?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

lacking inspiration

sometimes i think that i need to be really inspired before i can post on my blog.  but not every moment is one of great inspiration.  we all have great moments of inspiration in life, but a lot of life is the mundane journey from the mountaintop to the next mountaintop.   i am someone who oftentimes overlooks the value of just the journey, especially when i am not particularly "feeling it."  but to even allow myself to dwell in the moments on no revelation, no inspiration, and no motivation, i am allowing myself to experience life.

it is a beautiful fall day.  fall is my favorite season of the year because i love all the colors, smells, and changes that fall encompasses.  fall also feels like the start of new things - the beginning of the year.  i should be outside enjoying the crisp fall weather, but i am not sure if i can muster up the motivation to just get out there to enjoy it.  maybe i will just end my blog today right here and go soak up some of the best season of the year. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

good news

there has been so much going on lately that i haven't been able to post some really good news here on my blog.  but here it is:  we are expecting our 4th baby! 

we are so excited.  i am not very far along yet, but thankfully have had very little nausea so far.  i have had so much other hard stuff going on unrelated to being pregnant that i am very thankful that i haven't had that on top of it all.  here is hoping that this will be my easiest pregnancy.  i have been sick quite a bit in the past pregnancies, so i am really really hoping that this is totally different, since the more kids i have to keep up with the harder it is to just feel terrible. 

since i am crossing the threshold of what i consider to be a large family, there will be many changes.  i welcome them.  i know God will continue to provide and make room for this little blessing.


Monday, November 9, 2009

i believe

it has been a tough season for our family and we are right in the thick of it presently.  i once heard bob jones say, "when you are walking through hell, don't stop.  keep walking."  those words have come back to my mind several times over the past couple weeks.

no matter how big the darkness around us may seem, i believe the God we serve is so much bigger.  in Him we have hope, we have peace, and we have life.  we do not have to walk through the dark times alone because He promised to never leave us or forsake us. 

the Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall i fear?
the Lord is the stronghold of my life;
whom shall i be afraid?...
i would have despaired unless i had believed
that i would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
wait for the Lord;
be strong and let your heart take courage;
yes, wait for the Lord.
psalm 27:1, 13-14

i believe.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

my dad's blog

i am filled with an awareness of the presence of God.  my heart feels warm and overwhelms the thoughts and worries of my head.  i am so thankful that God is good all the time.  Even when i struggle to see clearly i can always look back over my life and see the evidence of His goodness all over my life. 

my dad just started blogging.  it is really good.  he is both an very well educated professor, with a background in counseling, and a man of God who set a great foundation for me by his honesty, tenacity, and example in the faith.  (he is an amazing dad all around!)  he is an amazing writer.  he is the one who would edit all of my papers growing up and help me develop my own writing style.  he is full of wisdom and really a thinker who has a lot to share. 

i have told him for the past couple years i really think he should be writing because others should be able to benefit from what he has to share which i have benefited from all my life.  i want him to eventually write a book, but for now he started blogging and that makes me happy.  i encourage everyone to check his blog out.  i just read his recent entry on the peace that passes understanding.  there is no way i could write better on this subject.  take a couple minutes and go read it and let me know what you think.  i trust you be encouraged as well.  click here on

happy november!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

an apologetic of sorts

i have been thinking for a while about writing here about what i write about here.  (poorly written sentence, but hopefully you track with me).  i know i have friends from all different seasons and parts of my life and not everyone shares the same faith in Jesus that is so central to my life.  i realize that many may not connect with the fact that so much of my writing has to do with things i feel God is teaching me about life and so much has to do with scriptures from the Bible.  so, since i know that everyone who comes to my blog may not share the same starting place in approaching what i write, i thought i would explain a bit.  think of this as my version of an apologetic in very non-academic language.

faith has an element of mystery to it.  as much as i may try to explain where i am coming from and the perspective from which i see life unfold, there is no denying that i have to surrender to an element of mystery to believe in God and in the saving power of Jesus.  so i know that i am not convincing anyone of anything that they do not choose to believe for themselves.  i am not here to argue or debate, just to give a little background for why i choose to believe and why i write so much about my faith in Jesus.

i was raised in a christian home, with my family largely either being from the fields of education or vocational ministry (ie. teachers and preachers).  i guess you could say i got a little bit of both of those fires in my bones.  even though i was very influenced by my parents and those influential in my life teaching me the truths of the Bible and the reality that relationship with the Creator God was possible and accessible for me, i had to still come to the place of decision for myself.  i chose to begin an active relationship with Jesus, who i believe to be the only Way to know and experience God, when i was very very young.  however, this decision was one i had to confirm over and over again when life circumstances would come and cause me to reassess what it was i would really believe and actively pursue for my life. 

this knowledge of God that i started pursuing was not only a knowing about God, but an experiential knowledge as well.  i have had circumstances, both as a child and an adult, of facing extreme battles with fear and having an angel from God show up in my room to melt all fear of calamity away.  i have heard the whispers of God on my heart both fully awake and while i sleep.  i have had a very active dream life where God has spoken to me about things in both symbolic and very literal ways, including showing me my niece havyn in a dream before she was born (and while i was still convinced she was a boy because we hadn't found out her gender yet).  i have seen visions of many things and had the Lord speak to me clearly regarding direction for my own life and specific things going on in the lives of others around me so that i could encourage them and pray for them.  i have both seen angels and smelled the malodorous demons with my natural senses.

all of these "spiritual" experiences have led me to an indescribable hunger and desire to know Jesus, the Creator and God of all things.  I have been awed at His wonders and amazed at His nearness in the very real humanity He has cloaked Himself in forever.  i believe He is the most proper noun that exists - the very God forever come to us in a form we would allow to draw close to us and teach us about the Uncreated Father and All-Consuming Fire.  i have fed myself in all extremes of circumstances, for the past 25 years of being literate, on the Word of God - the bible.  i quote it so much in my writings because it has become an anchor for me and such a source of wisdom and revelation.  my prayer life has become the first place i run when i face both the highs and lows of life.

more than anything else, the experience of real true forgiveness through Jesus for all of my sin, all of my shortcomings and failures and selfishness, from the only One who is perfect and without sin has completely changed my life.  i have so much hope.  i know that my salvation in a world so full of calamity and rumors of calamity isn't up to me.  i believe that God is always good, full of grace and mercy... slow to anger and abounding in love... yet absolutely righteous and just.  it is amazing that this good God who is perfect and holy, unlike anything else, would love me and want to know me personally and want to reveal Himself to me.  i am amazed that He sent His very Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to live inside of me because i chose to give my life to following Him.  i am never never alone.

i cannot help but want to share what i have been given because i really believe, not it an weird salesman way, that if someone experiences His love and kindness even in the worst moments they will feel the same way i do.  this is why i write so much about this relationship with God.  i am so forever changed and continually amazed that His love is not put off by even the worst version of me.   who could have ever imagined that in all of mankind's searching and stories of a hero that there really is One. 

so, i hope that even if you do not know Jesus in the way that i know Him, you will feel welcome to read this blog and take from my life experience.  if anyone ever has any more personal questions about my faith than you would like to post here as a comment, please contact me and i would love to talk.  this is so largely intertwined into who i am that it is what i think about, and what i end up writing about.  most of all, i want to be a vessel of His love that others, whether they have personally experienced Him or not, may know that there really is Hope and there really is a love that never fails.

thank you all so much for the ways you have blessed and enriched my life and journey, whether you realized it or not. 



Thursday, October 22, 2009

a bit of ease

this post is going to be full of random thoughts, but i promise there is something will jump out and grab your heart when you least expect it, so read on:

                                                                         pic courtesy of robin lawson

i made an amazing soup a couple days ago after roasting our pumpkin and getting 11 cups of pumpkin puree from one pumpkin!  here is a link to my favorite recipe site online called simply recipes.  it is a blog and everything i have made from there, well over a dozen different things, are now family favorites and i have made all of them again and again and again.  this spicy pumpkin soup will be one of those family favorites in the fall time.  yummy!

we cut all of our boys hair this weekend.  well, my brother nathan actually cut their hair.  asher, my 5 year old, has had a forever obsession with my brother as his hero.  sunday morning he was looking at old family pictures with me and saw some of when he was a baby loving on his uncle nathan.  he asked me, "mom, why do i love uncle naynee so much?"  i asked him why, knowing his reasoning was bound to be classic.  he responded, "i think it is because we have the same hair."  he is obsessed with having his hair look like my brother's, even down to putting product in it in the morning and styling it the same.  so funny.

since we did haircuts, my sweet uriah with the surfer blond long wavy "crazy" hair decided to go with the more "cool look" and opted for rock star hair.  (basically uncle naynee style).  so... his beautiful locks are gone, making the number of occasions on which i am told i have a beautiful little girl greatly decreased.  (terrible huh?  he would get so mad!)  he was so excited and proud of his new hair style.  however when we got home and it was time for bed he told me tearfully, "i don't want rock star hair anymore!"  i asked him why not and he said, "i want my crazy hair!"  oh my.  the indecisive 3 year old.

so i guess we are potty training david.  this decision is quite unofficial, and mostly because he has been wanting to sit on the toilet once a day and actually goes.  he is very influenced by his girl cousin havyn, who is completely potty trained and in undies but only 6 weeks older than him.  i have no desire to potty train a 20 month old, but the money saved from not having to buy diapers and wipes... well, even i am tempted in ways i don't know how to resist.

finally, a passage i was reading... how could i ever end a blog without bringing up scripture, you may ask?!!!  but really, this is good stuff.  i was reading psalms 73 and it is all about how the guy who wrote the psalm was getting envious of all the stuff everyone else had as far as material wealth and apparent ease of life.  he was especially envious of the wicked, who had no fear of God and took advantage of everyone around them but seemed completely unpunished in their ways.  then he looked at his life:  he tried to obey and follow God and struggled so much with nothing coming easily.  sounds kinda familiar to this gal right here at times.

as i read i was thinking... how many times is that so true and so unfair!  what is up with that?  how is it that those who try to follow the Lord and do what is right seem to have tough times and those who do everything the wrong, dishonest, selfish way seem to coast through life?  (of course this is an exaggeration, but go with me here)  then the end of the psalm hit me as i kept reading:  they don't go unpunished.

life doesn't end here in these 70 or 80 years (psalm 90) we may be around to enjoy.  we will all stand before our Maker one day and have to give an account of our lives and on that day i want to be found faithful to Him.  the trials i may or may not have had here in this life won't matter as much as the fact that i have a relationship with the Almighty God.

all the things of this world... sure they make life easier.  i am not going to have you believe that i wouldn't love a bit of easier.   i would love a bit of ease some days!  of course there are seasons where things seem a lot harder or easier than other times, but the fact remains that all this stuff here ends.  when everything else fades away, all that matters is i have Him.   this alone can get me through the really tough seasons of life.

whom have i in heaven but You?
and besides You, i desire nothing on earth.
my flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
psalm 73:25-26


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LIFE and life more abundantly

i went to a friend's house to collage one night, actually a week and a half ago on a thursday night, (i think that makes it on october 15th), and i was just too tired to stay and to really tear out enough pictures and words to cover a whole journal.  i had come straight from worship practice and after substitute teaching in my son's kindergarten class for 2 days with another sub day early friday morning.  so, i took the few things i tore out and stuck them in the front cover of my bible. 

a couple things happened in the next few days to make me think briefly about looking at them again, but i didn't for whatever reason.  this past sunday i was reading bible and decided to lay out the things i had torn out in front of me.  there was a definite theme to my potential collage pieces.  LIFE!  i believe there is even one more word of life that isn't showing in the pic, but from what is showing the theme is clear.   even the specific word tomorrow that i had torn out spoke encouragement to me about 2 distinct days that i had no idea i would be looking at these words and pictures right before. 

i love it when the Lord speaks encouragement to me before i know i will need it because He just cares that much.  He often gives me the encouraging word before i know i am going to need encouragement at all and it is so amazing to look back at something that could not have been manipulated.  God is just like that.

LIFE and life more abundantly.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


today is a special day for my blog - this is the 50th post!  i guess i actually stuck with it long enough to get this far, which is really cool and in a way totally rewarding.  i am no further on the book i am writing than when i began, other than narrowing down my topic, but i feel so much more ready to write.  hey, i am writing!  this may not be a book, but i am putting so much into words that i did not have words for before.  what an amazing, and at times scary, experience this has been so far.

writing is a strange thing.  it is a great way to process all the thoughts and emotions that swirl around inside behind the frame of me that people can see, but it is at the same time scary for the very same reason.  writing is so vulnerable because it exposes the very raw and intimate parts of oneself and sometimes i am not sure how much i want exposed. writing for me is part of the processing of life.  i have found that sometimes words spill out onto the page that were not well thought out, but were the only way i could momentarily relieve some of the building pressure inside.  i have at times looked back at what i have written and only understood it in the larger context of knowing the surrounding events at that time of my life.  written words have served as markers for points of my life and i am taken right back to the very context in which they are written even reading them again many years down the road.

and yet there are times when i have been going through sometime very hard in life and i have found that i have stopped writing in my journal, for sometimes quite large stretches of time, because i am afraid for even my own eyes to have a glimpse of the true state of my soul.  imagine that dynamic to be ten times worse in blogging when the realization hits that who knows how many people's eyes will have a window to something i can't even bear to look upon myself.  as great as processing may be, how much do i want to expose to anyone who may stumble across my way and how much access am i willing to give to my heart? 

that is not to say that every time i am not writing regularly that i am walking through hard stuff because i have found myself to be just as  negligent in writing during the really good times.   i often rely on my memory to soak up all the joy and bliss in situations and fail to realize that i could immortalize that feeling to revisit forever if i would only take the time to put it into written words.  how quickly my memory fades, even as much as i would like to remember every last detail of those wow experiences. 

and now, as i have managed to remain completely vague while trying to express the feelings i have inside after hitting the big 50 mark on this blog.  hopefully it is not just a bunch of nonsense thrown out there when i hit publish.

here is to 50 posts.  may there be 50 more to come that share a window into me while i walk the journey laid out ahead. 


Friday, October 2, 2009

it's all part of the journey

last night was one of those nights after one of those weeks.  thank God those do not last forever!

i could not sleep.  i lay awake thinking late into the night, which for me usually means worrying more than anything else.  i actually thought about getting up to write on here, but when emotions are that raw, it is best that i talk to the Lord through it and let my tears spill out before Him first.  sometimes things come up seemingly out of nowhere, and instead of try and run away from them (which i have been known to do many many times) i am starting to learn that allowing myself to feel them and turn to the Lord in the middle instead of denying their existence is part of the journey.  so Lord, here i am, this is how i feel right now - right, wrong, or unimportant - and i am going to allow You access to the secret places in my heart that are so hidden that oftentimes i am not even aware that they exist.

i did not get any profound answers or revelations and nothing in particular was fixed in the last 24 hours, but i feel so much better.  i guess that is one thing about emotions - they come and they go as they please.  feels much better to be on this end of it, but i think both sides are just as important.

i am sitting in our prayer room at the watch of the Lord and watching a friend of mine paint on a canvas as my husband sings from the piano with a full band.  the booming bass line shakes my very core with pulses of emotions deep down.  instead of feeling overwhelmed with the problem and the emotions, i now instead feel overwhelmed with Presence.  He is real.  He really does care for me.  and i am willing to take this journey, no matter what lies ahead, because i do not walk it alone.  there is a good good God who loves righteousness and hates wickedness... and He cares for me.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

my boys

boys.  my 3 boys.  my sweet loving boys.

there is something to be said for being the only female in a house full of boys.  besides remaining quite mysterious in the way i function in sharp contrast to the popular rough and tough tumbling and wrestling activities, i have a special place in the home.  i am the sole recipient of the loving adoration of 3 sweet boys (and 1 amazing husband).

my 2nd born, uriah, is especially tender and thoughtful in his words towards me.  often i will hear this little one spontaneously say, "you are just beautiful mama." 

"that is beautiful makeup you are wearing."

"mama, you have the most beautiful eyes."

"that is the most beautiful shirt mama!  it looks so pretty on you."

"mama, you are the most beautifulest girl in the whole world.  i love you so, so, so, so much."

and how can the heart of any woman resist swelling with love when she is privileged to receive the unrestrained love of a child?  these big blue eyes, pouty lips, and head of loose blond curls gets me every time. 

then regardless of the big people world that rushes around me clamoring for my attention and affections, everything stands still in the moment this soft voice offers up his words of love.  all that seemed so big and overwhelming is suddenly small and of little importance.  my heart is filled with joy.


Thursday, September 24, 2009


i am not sure if this is something going on with anyone else, but i am having an issue lately with time management.  i have been through many seasons in the past where i have nothing really going on.  those are tough seasons.  right now i am going through a season where there is so much going on and i don't want to be consumed with busyness. there is so much on my heart right now to do and i feel a bit overwhelmed at how to best use my time and where to focus without becoming too extreme in one area or another.

as i wrote about a week ago in realigning, i feel like i need to take some time to decide, with much imput from the Lord, what it is i am to put my energy into right now.  i tried to sit down and make a schedule for my time, but i didn't take the first step to set a vision for this season.  i ended up overwhelmed and frustrated with my busyness.  i need to know my focus(es) for this season first so that my schedule is serving me instead of me serving my schedule.

i remember my husband bill sharing with me something that my aunt beni had told him in a conversation, "balance is being extreme in all area."  something in that little idea helps me so much.  i love that God has promised to help me in my way.  so many times in the psalms it says that that He guides our steps and helps us in our way.  so so good.  i feel like i am extreme in one area then extreme in a different one, but He realigns me into a place of balance.

give me balance.  give me focus.  help me steward my time in the best way i can in this season so i will have much much fruit in the next.  in my ordinary way of living each day of life with what You put before me, breathe Your breath on it and make it supernatural.   

my uncle bill put into words the desire i have to be used by the Lord in what He has put before me to do and to be:
the significance of having an effect on eternity only takes place when your gift is like the sail of a boat that the breath of God blows into.  it has purpose only with wind. apart from wind the sail has no purpose.  so giftings in our lives only serve a purpose when the supernatural breathes across whom we are and what we have to offer.
teach me to number my days and use my time in this season wisely.  make my ordinary life anything but ordinary.


Monday, September 21, 2009

rifqa bary

a call to prayer:

there is a 17 year old believer named rifqa bary who has converted from islam to christianity and was hiding it from her strongly muslim family.  when they found out, her father threatened to kill her by the instructions in the koran to kill anyone who leaves the islam faith.  she fled to florida from her home in ohio, and needs prayer now as it is up to a court as to whether she has to return.  she needs protection:  this would not be a case of domestic violence, but a hate crime against her simply for becoming a christian called an honor killing. let's also pray that the Lord takes what the enemy intended to evil and turns it for good.

a couple links for more on this:

an article on fox news (many other major publications have run stories as well) from monday, september 21, 2009

a video by redding bethel church bill johnson calling people to pray

a letter from lou engle about the importance of prayer for this 17 year old girl

a blog about rifqa bary




right now i have a headache.  my poor little boy asher has had a pounding headache and earache all day today which has directly contributed to my own headache.

it is interesting how parenting makes me think so much about God.  He did call Himself the Good Father.  i sat there on the couch with my sick little guy and listened to him cry and didn't really have much i could do to help him.  everything within me wanted to make it all better.  but there wasn't much i could do but pray, comfort him, get him some meds, and sit with him.

once again reminds me on Jesus's words in the sermon on the mount on parenting:
if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! matthew 7:11

i longed to help my son because of my love for him.  my Father in heaven sees my need, He sees my hurt, He knows my pain and not only does He long to help me, but He is fully able and willing to help.  He is the Good Father.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

i am a runner

i am a runner.  well, i think of myself as a runner.  i used to be a runner.  i haven't really been a runner for 5 years, but i still identify myself as a runner.  there are many things in life that got in the way of my running - having babies, messed up knees that needed physical therapy, having babies, no sleep, hurting knees, having babies...  you get the idea.  yet i still think of myself as a runner because of the passion i have had for running in the past.

when i went to physical therapy last time (see how i have to make a distinction that this wasn't the only time), they told me to find another sport.  how about swimming they suggested?  i love swimming in the lake, but doing laps?  i last maybe two lengths of the pool and then i am ready to move onto something else.  how about the elliptical machine?  being stuck in a gym with no change of scenery did not entice me much either.  i am an outdoors kind of girl, looking for the wide open spaces and thriving off the feeling on my feet pounding on the hard uneven surfaces of the earth.  you know, they told me, it is the mommy/runners that keep us in business.

so, since my body needed to recondition to my beloved past-time in order to not be injured in the process, they gave me a gradual plan to start running again.  to give you a context of what i thought was gradual, right before going in for all sorts of evaluations on my knees, i had just restarted running after having my second son uriah. my brother-in-law was running at the time, so i told him we would start with an easy two miles.  compared to my 3-4 times a week 6 miles a day in the past, this seemed like cake to me.  it was no angelfood cake to my knees.  i was in pain and limping and bewildered why this short distance could take such a toll on my body.

well, come to find out, my physical therapists recommended i start out running 3 minutes a day, 3 times a week, increasing each week by no more than 10% in distance or time each week.  you read that right.  3 lousy minutes.  runners know that isn't even long enough to get my muscles warmed up and in a rhythm.  they told me, if you are insistent on staying a runner and not finding another sport, you have to be patient with your muscles to restrengthen and retrain to prevent further injury and the dreaded runner knee surgery.

i see so much parallel in this with my prayer life with the Lord.  there are times in the past that i still identify with those mountain top experiences, and i still think of myself as that person in the Lord that i once was.  we all have them: the 40 day fast in college that was the clearest time in life of hearing God.;  the times of laying down all those other things to seek Him more and find His face; the times when the hunger for the Word of God was so great we read through every book of the Bible still wanting more.  but, it can be a little shocking to then get down to the details of what am i doing NOW?  how long has it been since i was that person and who is the person am i today?  am i willing to give up the passion and pursuit i once had, as so many will just attribute to the zeal of youth, or do i have the discipline and patience required to retrain my muscle in God and rebuild the intimacy of past days?

you see, i cannot survive off the manna from ten years ago.  God told the israelites that He would give them enough manna - fresh "what is it" bread from Heaven  - for that day.  if they stored up some in a bottle for tomorrow because they did really great collecting extra today, the maggots would come and it would be destroyed.  there was always more than enough, but the fresh encounter was always what was required.

being a full-time mommy, part-time manager of the world, keeps me rather busy. but i have found that being a radical lover of God will take the same focus and determination it is taking to become a runner again.  even if i had an empty 4 hour undistracted time slot to seek Him today, i may not have the motivation or the lack of boredom to seek Him that long and not feel sore, discouraged, and very aware of the hardness of my heart afterwards.  but i do have the ability to build up my endurance and desire (muscles) day by day, starting even with what seems as worthless as minutes a day.

or i could say, that will never get me anywhere, and i can stay spiritually out of shape, living in the fantasy that i am in the spiritual state i was 10 years ago because i have a distant memory of the mountain top experience.

this morning i ran for 12 minutes with no sore knees.  quite the accomplishment if you factor in the discouragement and temptations to quit on all of those 3 minute, 4 minute, and even 5 minute days that made me acutely aware that i am not where i once was.

i won't quit pursuing the knowledge of the One who set my heart ablaze. i am a runner.  i am a passionate lover of the One who saved my soul.  the awareness of my current brokeness and weakness only causes me to love Him more.

i must have the fresh manna for today.

taste and see that He is good.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

no longer a blank page

so, i think one of my problems with blogging is i only want to write when i think i have something i am thinking about that is worth sharing.  but, in the life of a mommy of three little boys, there are many many times that i do not feel like i have enough time to put cognitive thoughts together that i would be able to articulate at the late hour that it is finally quiet enough in my house to sit down and try to write.  many times i take the easy way out and i choose to not write because it is terrible to stare at a blank screen and have absolutely nothing to say (or write in that instance).  however, as you can tell as i write right now, i do not often have a problem with a lack of words, just many times with a lack of substance for those words.  

tonight we had seven kids instead of just our three because we babysat nieces and nephews for two of our siblings.  we had 7 kids who were five years old and younger.  though my ears still rang for about a half hour after they all left and my kids were tucked into bed, it went rather smoothly.  

at one point in the evening my son asher approached one of his girl cousins and told her, "ok, how about you be the mom and just pretend that the dad is away.  then we (referring to himself and his 3 year old younger brother) will be cougars who come and take your baby."  of course, i quickly shot down that idea, and his response was, "well mom, she just wants to play house.  what kind of boy type of playing is that?"  later in the evening drew, our 4 year old niece, came up and told bill, "they (referring to my boys) are doing a lot of battling right now."  so funny the difference between boys and girls at such an early age.  

what point do i have for my story?  usually i take the teacher/preacher approach and always have some great moral to the story, but i don't really have anything to tie it into that i can think of right now (seven kids really take it out of you!).  one thing i can state is that i love kids.  seven kids is quite a zoo, but i really do enjoy having a loud house with kids around and just all the joy and excitement they bring instead of a quiet house.  not that i do not greatly appreciate the moment when everyone else is asleep in my house besides me, like right now.

  speaking of seven kids, a friend of mine referred me to a blog by a guy out in kansas city who has seven kids (3 who are adopted!).  it is amazing:  click here to read it.  his name is randy bohlender and he has started an adoption agency called the zoe foundation, named after the first baby they adopted into their family.

he just recently blogged on the crazy adventurous adoption they went through a year ago to get their twin girls who turn a year old this week.  if you want to read a great story, go read the 3 blog entries on it.  amazing.  it stirs a long held desire in my heart to adopt someday.  i had always said that i want to adopt but i want it to be a sovereign God thing where i just know it is the timing and the specific child rather that do the traditional adoption.  even to be more specific, i have always had in my heart to adopt a baby in order to stop a possible abortion.  someone told me when i was about 12 that they had a dream that i took a baby for a young gal who was going to get an abortion and i raised the baby.  that has always stuck with me and really has become a desire in me.  there is nothing wrong with the formal way, but i never really hear stories that describe what has been on my heart for about 18 years, and here was the story that awakened the possibility in my heart again.  go read it.

good night.  i got a long entry out of not having much to say.  some people call it long-winded.  i prefer saying i am good with expounding on simple thoughts in many words. 


Monday, September 14, 2009

color crayons and the Father

i don't have a lot of time to sit and write tonight, but i did want to share one of my favorite verses in the psalms. 
king david wrote in psalms 16:
the Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
there is so much that excites me about this passage, and let me just say that you should definitely go and search this one for yourself.  there is so so much more to knowing God than just eternal life and saving from hell.  there is the promise that the Lord Himself will be our reward that we are desiring.  He is our portion and the inheritance that we are after.

i spent time with my five year old today while my younger two were napping, (just for a humorous mental picture, my 19 month old is climbing all over me right now as i type this), which is something that at times is really rare to do just one on one.  i asked him what he would want to do and he suggested coloring.   as i got the coloring books down for him to color and he asked, mommy, are you going to sit down and color with me?

funny because i had planned on 'getting stuff done' while he colored, but because he asked, i sat down and just spent time with my oldest son who wanted to be with me.  as we colored picture of veggie tales characters, he talked and talked and talked to me about all sorts of things.  i enjoyed his stories, laughter, and candid conversation.   it wasn't really the activity of coloring he was after; he was enjoying spending time with his mommy.

i am sure you get the point.  however, sometimes i am a bit slow to get the obvious.  i need these little reminders to slow down and just be.  i need to just be with my kids and enjoy them without an agenda.  i need to just be with my God and enjoy Him likewise.  it isn't about the activity.  it is about  enjoying spending time with my Father.  He is my portion.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

don't give up

i have only 3 words for today: don't give up.

sometimes that is all i need to hear:  i need someone to look me straight in the eyes when i feel the world spinning around me and i start to doubt myself, God, and everyone else, and hear him/her say, don't give up.

remember the story (don't know if it is true or not, but still a great story either way) of king solomon asking a master jeweler to make him a ring and to inscribe it with a proverb.  when the jeweler finally got the ring back to the king after taking great pains to make it just right, he inscribed on it, this too shall pass.  in the amazing seasons of life when we feel like we are on the top of the world, we need the knowledge that this will not last forever to keep us sober minded and trusting God.  in the dark seasons where it feels like we cannot last another day without looking for a way out, we need to know that this also will not last forever so we will not lose hope, quit right before the breakthrough, but keep trusting God. 

the apostle paul knew this tendency in all of us and wrote to two separate churches a similar message:

let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  galatians 6:9

but as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.  2 thesalonians 3:13

 how do we keep going on this journey?  this weekend i heard julie meyer put it in these words as she described the journey of climbing the mountain of holiness that sometimes seems just an impossible feat.  she said, day by day, step by step, choice by choice, yes by yes.   sometimes it is simply the smallest yes in our hearts that counts in this journey we have embarked on to know the Lord and live this life we have before us.  so i urge you, my friend, whatever it is you are facing in your particular journey in climbing this mountain...

don't give up.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

i know no one like Him

to read more on this amazing man's humility or His invitation into fullness of joy, click and read!
"you have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' "but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous."for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? do not even the tax collectors do the same? "if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing {than others?} do not even the Gentiles do the same? "therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. matthew 5:43-38
such a powerful statement.  forgiveness.  love my enemies.  pray for those who treat me horribly.  i am told to lay down my right for revenge, or at the very least my right to resentment, and to not only chose to not hate the ones who treat me badly but to love them.
earlier in the same sermon Jesus said:
"you have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' "but I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  "if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. "whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. "give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."  matthew 5:38-42
do not resist an evil person.  Jesus tells me to not only allow them to abuse me, but to forgive fully to the point of love and praying for them.  i do not have to tell you the anger that arises inside and causes the cheeks to burn and eyes to well up when asked to forgive and pray for those who have set themselves against me when everything within wants to do the opposite.  no one could ask this of me, but the One who did it Himself.

i am once again taken back by the realization that God Himself in the person of Jesus took upon the scorn of all humanity, the very ones He created for His delight, and then while He was hanging on the cross because of the sin and hatred in man, He not only turned the other cheek, but He prayed, Father, forgive them.  they don't know what they do. 

He did not resist me when i fought against Him.  when i struck Him, He turned to me His other cheek and did not strike me back.  when i demanded of Him, He gave me much more than i had even required.  and when i made myself His enemy, He loved me and prayed that my eyes would be opened to the truth of His love.

and i cannot resist this kind of love.  i know no one like Him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

a heart that is alive

there are quite a few topics for blogging on my mind at the moment, so hopefully that means there will be quite a few entries on here in the next few days. today's topic: contemplative prayer.

probably so many different ideas come to mind when you read that phrase, or maybe nothing comes to mind at all. we in the protestant church have largely missed out on this amazing way to encounter God when we rejected all things catholic (or orthodox) and leaned too far in the separation from those before us in the body, largely championed by luther. all contemplative prayer really is, is using the word of God to encounter God and have a revelation of Jesus in our hearts. this was what the desert fathers spent their lives on and what has been termed by some as christian mediation - instead of an emptying of the mind it is a filling of the mind on a single focus, a single passage of the Bible, or a single revelation of Jesus in the word.

we are in the midst of building a house of prayer under the covering of bethel church currently called the watch of the Lord (website to come soon!). this house of prayer looks much like the international house of prayer in kansas city and blends corporate intercession, devotional prayer and worship, and contemplative prayer to bless and build up the body of Christ in our region. i had the opportunity to teach a mini lesson on contemplative prayer this week to the fifth grade class at bethel christian school in order to start training them up to take part actively in our growing house of prayer. i am going to share here what i shared with them.

i am going to lay out here for you the four very basic steps of contemplative prayer. i am sure many of you are much more versed in this than i am and could teach this in much more depth and revelation. i also know there are those reading who may not have the guts to ask, how do i do that? so, hence, the simple four steps here as either an intro or a refresher in contemplative prayer.

1. read the passage.
this i like to do aloud. i will usually take a passage that is intended to bring revelation of Jesus, such as colossians 1 that focuses on His divinity or philippians 2 that exalts His humility. the psalms are also a great place to start as well, as many of them are written by king david as he reflected on God's activity in His life. many psalms also give us so much prophesy about the Messiah who is Jesus of nazareth. i will first read the passage in its entirety to give me context for what i will be praying. even alone in my room i will read it aloud. there is something that engages my heart on a deeper level when my ears can hear my mouth declaring the truths in the Scriptures.

2. ask the Lord, what does this mean?
this i usually do quietly, though there has been times when i will speak the question aloud to the Lord, what is this trying to tell me about You? then be quiet and listen. at this point i may isolate a phrase at a time and i allow for the Holy Spirit to not only give me a revelation of Jesus (ephesians 1:17), but also a very personal revelation of Jesus and His interactions with me. the Bible says that when we gaze on His beauty we are changed into His likeness (2 corinthians 3:18). this is my opportunity to quiet my heart from the busyness of life all around me and gaze upon Him. one thing that i am reminded of often is when Jesus rebuked the pharisees saying they searched the scriptures for eternal life, but they didn't realize that all the Scriptures spoke of Him. (john 5:39) what an amazing statement! i want to have a deeper revelation of Jesus in any passage i read from the old testament or the new because that is what Jesus promised us - they exist to bring revelation of Him!

3. pray or sing the passage.
this next step i do aloud every time. whether it is a whispered prayer or a song sung at the top of our lungs, it is so important to put this on our lips. i will take the literal words in the Bible,then also expand on it in my own words, and sing God's word back to Him. when i taught the 5th grade students, who did amazing by the way, i used psalms 23. i isolated the first 2 verses first and sang (this can be done with or without an instrument), Lord, You are my shepherd. i shall not be in want. You are the One who leads me and guides me. You protect me. You guide me and i do not need to fear that i will not know the way. You are my shepherd and You take care of me. i may spend a long time on the isolated verse and let the Lord work it into my heart until i begin to really believe it. i may spend my whole prayer time in just the first couple verses or i may get through the whole passage praying and singing it. this just varies based on the revelation i am getting in the moment or the time i have to spend in it.

i want to encourage everyone to venture in singing the passage back to the Lord. i know that everyone wasn't blessed with the rockstar voices that others were, but when you are alone in the car or shower i know you sing without restraint. don't deny it. so, slip away into a place where you can be alone for a bit and try it. there is something so powerful about singing and putting words to a melody. when i was young and in grade school i struggled in spelling. my dad and mom would make up a melody to practice my spelling words and it cemented the correct spellings in my mind where mere repetition didn't seem to stick. think of how many lyrics to songs you have memorized, even commercials on tv, and yet how many Scriptures do you have by memory? probably the ones you can recall the fastest are the ones you have heard put to music and made into lyrics of songs. my point exactly. sing the Scripture and it will stick. pray it too, but try the singing. i trust you will like it.

4. ask the Holy Spirit to make this alive to your heart.
when i am wrapping up my time in contemplative prayer i say a short whispered prayer, Holy Spirit make this alive in my heart. i want to know Jesus. it doesn't have to be fancy, just let Him know you want to grow in revelation and want your heart to come alive when you open the Word of God.

it may feel a little clumsy at first when you try it out, but i strongly urge you - try it out! when we have new people join the watch of the Lord usually after singing on their first set they all say, my heart felt alive! it can do the same for you. the Bible should never be boring. if it is, there is something in us that needs to change and this is such a great tool to have our hearts change from the inside out. try it today.


Sunday, September 6, 2009


i haven't blogged in a long time it seems. asher, my oldest, started kindergarten two weeks ago, and the learning of this new routine has totally thrown me off. i haven't quit though - i promise i have been pondering some good stuff to write on. in fact, two weeks ago i finally felt some direction in what i am going to write my future book on! this was very encouraging to me because i have felt like i was supposed to write a book and i have so many topics that interest me but i haven't had any clear direction of what i was to focus on. i have a focus!! yay! i am sure that i will use this blog to start organizing some of my thoughts... so you all get to benefit from me deciding to take on this endeavor of writing. here is food for thought: i know we have all have experienced at some point the place of being busy beyond what we probably should be and in a place where there are opportunities for activities, relationships, and ministry that seem to open up all in the same season. it is a very exciting season to be in, especially coming out of a season which seemed rather lonely and uneventful at times. as exciting as opportunity and activity is, at the same time it can be very overwhelming. in the desert lonely season we need to encourage ourselves in the word the Lord has given us as to the direction we are to go and the focus we are to maintain. in the exciting busy season season we need to do the same thing or we may lose focus of the very thing we have been told to focus on.

for me, i have to step away from the busy-ness and ask the Lord again, "what was it that you originally spoke to my heart at the beginning of this season? has it changed? have i got off track?" in the midst of the latest big transition in our lives as our little family, i had sat down at the piano to sing, pray, and ask the Lord what it was that He would have me do right now. i strongly felt Him whisper to my heart, "write." as i fill my calendar and schedule with so many good good things, i have to ask myself if i am making time to do what He spoke to my heart. and just like everyone else, i have to take time to realign and get back on track on the focus He has for this part of my journey.

all that to say, hopefully you will be reading more from me now that we have a new routine in place this fall. sometimes i sit down and honestly don't know what to write about. but i chose to obey and just write. i will do my part with the quantity and trust Him to refine the quality as He is working on my heart to become more fully His. thanks for taking this journey with me. though i would still write anyways, it is nice to know i do not write to an empty room.


Friday, August 28, 2009

just some things i have been thinking about

i am just sharing some of my thoughts on what i have been reading in the Word. think of it as a peek into my prayer journal, if you will.

he who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
even his prayer is an abomination.
proverbs 28:9

this is an intense reality check when i consider that the focus of my life is encountering the Lord in prayer. on blueletterbible, one of my favorite bible study resources online (which is free to use by the way!), it has the strong's definition of the hebrew word for abomination as tow'ebah:

1) a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable

a) in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages)

b) in ethical sense (of wickedness etc)

i got this following definition of the english word abomination from


1. anything abominable; anything greatly disliked or abhorred.
2. intense aversion or loathing; detestation: He regarded lying with abomination.
3. a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition, habit, etc.: Spitting in public is an abomination.

2. hatred. 3. corruption, depravity.
in either the original language or the one i read the bible in, it is a pretty serious thing when my communication with God could even possibly be disgusting or corrupt. we all seem very aware of avoiding religion, but i find more mention of warning against lawlessness in the Bible than warning of religion. neither may be good, or at least not religion that is void of God, but it makes me think... i sure what to embrace what He calls important. it reminds me how Jesus Himself said He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

another passage that makes me think:

he who gives to the poor will never want,
but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
proverbs 28:27
here i sit in the middle of one of our justice sets at our house of prayer called the watch of the Lord, and it seems really appropriate. i am to love what He loves and hate what He hates. it is hard for me to look upon need and feel helpless to do much to change it, but His eyes never turn away. the poor and the needy move His heart. open my eyes Lord, that i would not turn away from what moves Your heart. You do not turn away.

one more just to chew on tonight:

an arrogant man stirs strife,
but he who trust in the Lord will prosper.
he who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
but he who walks wisely will be delivered.
proverbs 28:25-26

i want to anchor my trust in the One who is faithful and true. when i start to take my eyes off of Him and turn them onto my own ability and often my lack of strength, the end is always strife. but He is faithful to those who hearts belong to Him. wisdom is to fear the Lord. may my heart fear You above men or calamity.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

this i know

You have taken account of my wanderings;
put my tears in Your bottle.
are {they} not in Your book?
then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
this i know, that God is for me.
psalm 56

it is an amazing revelation to know that God cares for my broken heart. He is fully aware of my circumstances and He does not turn His eyes away. He is full of compassion and perfect love that is surpassed by none. even my tears He accounts for - the psalmist said that He put them in a bottle - they are accounted for in His book. i serve a God who is for me.

it is a simple revelation, but it is the foundation of our faith - that God desires relationship with us and cares for our brokenness. His care for us especially in the weak and broken places is what led Jesus to the cross - we are the joy set before Him. and while we were still His enemies, while i was still unaware of my need for Him, He died for me so that i could know this love that is unlike any other.

somehow setting my gaze towards this God who is for me and cares, really cares, makes all the problems, afflictions, or trials in life fade. they do not go away, but i am comforted in going to a God who cares for me rather than push away from Him in my heartache. He longs for relationship with us, and part of relationship is sharing our heartache, questions, disappointments, and failures with Him.

the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and a contrite heart,
O God, You will not despise.
psalm 51:17

so i choose to draw near rather than run away. You are good God, and Your love endures forever.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

a good read

i don't have anything profound to write. we have been gone on a little family get away before school starts up again on monday, and we have been through quite the week and a half - both extremes of heartache and grief and joy and laughter. i haven't had time to process. still working through it all.

i just wanted to encourage everyone to read the life of king david (1 and 2 samuel, 1 chronicles, and most of the psalms). i am sure that many people have read it before, but it is worthy of a re-read if it has been longer than 6 months since you last visited the story. if you have never had the opportunity to study him much, it is the most exciting story filled with passion, adventure, betrayal, and promise. the story is told in 1 and 2 samuel and 1 chronicles while david's thoughts and heart overflow in the middle (like his blog if you will) is in the psalms.

it is amazing to see this man that God called the man after His own heart who made many many mistakes and yet was humble and repentant. every time i go back to study him again, i learn something new and he is such an amazing model of how i can live a life pleasing to the Lord and how to hold my heart in real life. also, mike bickle has a couple great teaching series on the life of david. i have listened to 2 different series: one was a 20 part series and the other was 12 part. so so so rich! you can download it for free at this link: san jose house of prayer enjoy! i would love to hear what you gain from studying this great man of God whose throne will be established forever and whom the Lord called beloved.


Monday, August 10, 2009

how is your beloved better than the others?

i was speaking to an engaged young woman a couple years ago about the role of a woman in marriage and i noticed her hesitations to read the scriptures in the bible about women and marriage. i asked her why, and her response was that she wasn’t into that whole male domination thing and didn’t like the word submit. likewise i have talked to many married women over the years who still struggle with the same thing: he is not going to tell me what to do. i am an independent woman and i am not going to have someone controlling me.

because of abuses of control in the past, many women in my generation are operating out of fear and grasping at what they imagine to be control of their own lives. unfortunately, operating with the starting point of fear always leads to manipulation: if i am afraid that you will control me, i do everything in my power to create circumstances where that will never happen. when i start to suspect a disruption to my false reality i have created around myself to keep me safe, i will go to any measure, often not overtly, to make sure nothing is changed in this self-created comfort zone. if my security is challenged by someone, i can make them feel guilty and sorry that they ever approached the subject.

this subtle and often difficult to detect way of self-preservation is really manipulation and what is called in the bible witchcraft. and, because of the overuse and misuse of these terms, along with others such as “a jezebel spirit,” many women have made themselves untouchable and unteachable in these areas by putting up a wall when someone tries to approach the subject.

i had the example in my home of something that i did not and still do not see often. my mom was an excellent example to me of what it meant to submit to her husband. my dad is the best example that i know of a husband encouraging his wife to rise to her calling and do everything in her heart to do. growing up my mom led worship, had a career, was very active in many leadership levels at our church and yet she did not have to demand her rights or talk my dad into recognizing her value. i wish this was more often the case, and i was very spoiled by my dad telling me my whole life that i could do anything a boy could do and do it better. i quickly found out that not everyone had the value to either put their marriage as a priority nor serve the calling of their husband or wife. my dad would often tell me that the apostle paul's teaching on submission in marriage were directed at both spouses: both were to love the other to the point of laying down even their lives.

why are so many christian women afraid to dive into what the Lord said about marriage and godliness as a woman? i think i can relate with how i viewed marriage when i was in high school and college. in my teenage years and early twenties i was very leery of marriage and the confines i believed came with it. i too said, “no one is telling me what to do,” fearing i would find a husband who would be much like a task master who would not value who i was as an individual but just want me to serve him without value in return. (bit of an exaggeration, but it is amazing how fear can make one believe all sorts of exaggerations and irrational thoughts to be true.) probably mostly influenced by the spirit of the age and the prevalent message that women could live fuller lives without a husband or children. i thought i would be swept off of my feet by some guy, only for him to change once he had “caught” me, and somehow i would end up stuck in this relationship forever and not ever fulfill my own dream or plans. (i do not believe in divorce as an option in my life.)

i was afraid of the unhappiness i saw in so many marriages, including christian marriages, and i wanted nothing to do with it. though i longed to be known by someone and loved unconditionally, as well as to be able to give this knowing and unconditional love to someone else, i had very little confidence in the reality of it happening in a real relationship that wasn’t dreamed up in my head. plus, all the verses of “submit” and “women shall not speak” made me angry inside. i felt like women were viewed as sub-human and a lesser than of man in much of the church and was convinced that i needed to look out for number one. it wasn’t until the Lord did His work in my heart that i could see a hope for something different than i had maybe seen as an outside observer to many relationships. it wasn't until this point that i realized i didn't need to fight for my rights to live the call on my life.

as women, and really just as people in general, we need to first experience love from the Bridegroom God before we can ever receive love from the bridegroom (or wife if you are a male) in our own home. it is life-changing to believe He loves me when i am dark and imperfect. it changes everything when i believe Him when He says i am lovely. it will change the way i operate, give love, and receive love. it will change the lenses of the glasses with which i view life. this transforming power is what draws me time and time again to the book of the song of solomon.
how is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women?
how is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?

song of solomon 5:9
i see this question as the classic question of why should i as a woman give all i am to a man with the possibility that he will abuse it and not treasure it, leaving me hurting and disillusioned? why should we as people, male and female, give all we are to the Man Christ Jesus and surrender the control and autonomy of our lives? the current generation of women seem to believe that we are the first to desire freedom and liberty. we imagine we are the first to be unhappy with the idea of being confined or restricted in some way. but we can see here that it is an age old fear and this is an age old question, regardless of time, generation, or gender. tell me, how do i know that this beloved is better than others that He will not treat me as the others? how could you charge me to lay down my freedom and control of my life for another?

this Bridegroom King, Jesus, has a love so deep and full and amazing that it will not disappoint, like we have been disappointed by others. it is so mysterious that we will never grow bored or tired of discovering it more and more. it is so unconditional that we will become more and more confident and free and liberated within the confines of His love and our relationship. i see my darkness; He calls me lovely. i have been abused by others in the past; He calls me perfect one and treats me with tenderness and kindness. i try to hide behind my veils and walls and safe places of my “boundaries” or “personality,” and He calls me most beautiful of women and asks me to draw near into His chambers and leave all the safety behind. (song of solomon 1).

to obtain this love, so unconditional and so transforming and so freeing, i would willingly lay down my rights to my freedom and control. to experience what every heart yearns for, i would willingly submit, serve, and follow like the beloved. but life isn’t like that right? i mean, a husband is merely a man and men with ultimate unchecked power are prone to evil, right? and if I don’t look out for myself, as i heard a girl friend of mine say in passing the other day in talking about her marriage, who will? he {her husband} will walk all over me.

i am proposing the most ridiculous of answers to this age old struggle of women with leaving our comfort to follow this relationship: i am suggesting that this freedom and love and autonomy we all long for as women, and really as humans male and female alike, is actually found in the act of service, submission, and laying down our lives for someone else.

more to come...

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