Wednesday, March 31, 2010

awaken our hearts

i have been reading the song of solomon again lately and i have been struck with this thought:  i cannot even desire to love Him without Him giving me the desire.  without His beckoning and imparting the grace for me to desire, i would live my life in cold apathy.  in order for me to even realize that i am not experiencing the fullness of life, He must come and awaken my heart and open up my eyes. 

so many times i find myself like the young bride in the song of solomon.  i do have that initial desire that He has given me, but i get so caught up in life that i find myself grasping for the comfort of my routines and slumber (sometimes figurative and sometimes quite literal).  often i need that gentle kick in the pants to go seek Him out. 

i was asleep but my heart was awake. a voice! my Beloved was knocking: 'open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my perfect one! for my head is drenched with dew, my locks with the damp of the night.'
"i have taken off my dress, how can i put it on again? i have washed my feet, how can i dirty them again?" song of solomon 5:2-3
so many times i have that initial desire - even though i am lulled to sleep by the rush and churning all around me, deep down my heart is awakened to love Him.  yet i cannot muster up the motivation to go to Him even when He comes to me.  the cares of this life, good and bad, lull me to sleep and it is so hard to get myself to come out of it.  how i wish i had the strength of will and courage to follow through on my desires for Jesus every time.  but so many many times i do not follow through.  so many times none of us do.

but here is the amazing part:  He keeps coming back to call us to Himself.  you see, there is a difference between rebellion and immature love.  He is so faithful to seek me even in my rebellion.  what i am suffering from is not rebellion.  i am simply immature in my love for Him.   i have the initial desire to love Him, but i do not have the strength to carry this love out. 
the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. matthew 26:41

if He is faithful to seek me even in my rebellion, how much more faithful is He to come to me again and again in my immaturity.  He awakens this love inside until it is not only a warm feeling when He draws near, but a blazing fire of active mature love.  here is the good news:  He is faithful in my weakness.  He is there to make me strong.  not strong in the independent "i can take care of myself" type of false strength.  strong in the dependent, "who is this coming out of the wilderness leaning on her Beloved" type of strength that draws curiosity from all onlookers.

immediately after my lazy excuse to not pursue Him whom my heart loves, He comes once again:
my Beloved extended His hand through the opening, 
and my feelings were aroused for Him. 
song of solomon 5:4
this time i am stirred to get up but He is gone.  yet again, this is exactly the beauty of His love.  He will do what it takes to bring me to higher and higher levels of real love, even if it means removing His immediate warm fuzzy feeling presence for a short season.  if i can love Him when the warm fuzzies aren't present, i am starting to learn what is real love.  He does not withdraw Himself forever.  He always returns to His bride whose heart yearns for Him.

i will leave you with a mike bickle quote that comes back to mind over and over again when i think about the trials of life that draw me to the Lord, even the withdrawing of His nearness for a time.

God uses the least severe means possible
to bring forth the greatest amount of love 
at the deepest level.

awaken our hearts that we might love You.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

some new additions to my blog

i added some new features to my blog.  most you probably won't notice right away, but i was very proud of my non-technological self last night googling things and figuring out how to do stuff without anyone showing me. 

the first thing i added are tabs at the top of my page.  right now i only have a pink home tab, but hopefully more will follow as i figure this feature out. 

i also linked the feeds for my site to feedburner.  now, i am not entirely sure how this works and why it only shows i have one feedburner reader when i know quite a few people already get the rss feed for this blog.  maybe you need to subscribe again?  i am not sure.  you can add this to your particular reader (i use google reader and have it on my google homepage), add it to your google homepage, or read in other ways.  anyways, i hope i have not messed up you getting your subscription that you may have already had, but i thought this would be an interesting addition to my blog and another way i can extend readership, since blogger only allows 100 people at this point to follow a private blog.  if we get to the point of that being a problem, i will look into possible solutions.  i want you as readers who enjoy what i write to feel free to share with others who might enjoy reading.  you can do this by emailing a post (there is a link for that below the post) or posting a link to a particular post you like on facebook or twitter.  as i said when i first started this blog, my goal is to one day write books.  part of blogging for me is to create a base of readers who enjoy what i write.  the other part is to get me writing consistently so that i can narrow down what i want to write my first book about.

if you are not subscribed yet or a follower and yet read my blog regularly, i encourage you to follow one of those two ways because then you will be alerted to when i have a new post and not have to remember to come check and either come back to find i haven't written for a couple days or get weeks behind because of getting busy.  (you can subscribe by clicking the button that looks like the above in the right sidebar of my blog, or become a reader right above it where it lists my readers) i have found my reader to be like a bookmark of my favorite blogs to visit and i can read their new entries as i have a few spare moments.  i can delete the post update from my reader the ones i have already read and leave the ones i don't get a chance to read for later as my reminder.  i have really enjoyed it and i encourage you do do the same here.

about a month ago i added intense debate and comment luv to the comment section of my blog.  one thing i have liked about this is the ability to reply to particular comments right underneath the comment.  you as a commenter can subscribe to the replies to your comment or to all comments every time you comment, so if you ask me a question the answer i post will be sent to your email and you don't have to remember to come back and check and figure out what post it was on, did i comment yet, etc.  also, any other blog that has intense debate and comment luv, i can put a link to one of my 10 most recent posts under my comment, and other bloggers who comment on my blog with it can do the same.  this allows my readers to see what others are writing, and others readers to see what i am writing.  i have liked it a lot so far. 

i have chosen to stay with blogger as my blog provider at this point.  i had hinted that i was going to switch blog providers a few months ago, but i am going to wait on that for now and see how this goes and let you know if i choose to switch in the future, as at that point any followers and subscribers would have to resubscribe at the other site.  but right now, i am sticking with the ole blogger. 

oh, one more thing i added.  i added a counter for page views starting today.  it would have been fun to have that from day one and to have seen how many people have looked at this blog whether subscriber, follower, referred by a friend, or stumbled upon it by a google search.  i have looked at some of these stats on my own, but it is neat to have it on the page so everyone can see.  i like those weird little number things. 

okay, so not a deep post today, but do read my earlier posts my first veggie garden, today's inspiration, processing, getaway, take the time, unless, and fearless trust if you haven't yet, and comment where you feel like you have something to share.  i love feedback and it helps me grow as a writer as well as shares your insights and perspective with everyone else who reads this blog. 

thanks all!  you are fabulous readers!


Monday, March 29, 2010

time for my first veggie garden

this year, i am going to try something new to me that i have always wanted to do: vegetable gardening.  we have a wonderful house and are blessed with huge wonderful shade trees that keep our low utility bills the envy of friends and family, but there is no place with enough sunlight suitable to growing a vegetable garden.  i have grown flowers in the front, herbs on the porch, but i keep wanting to grow veggies.  my attempt at growing strawberries ended up being more of a pretty addition to our flowers, with small tasteless berries that were eaten by bugs before anyone else could really try them.  but this year i have aspirations of something different.

my sister-in-law, who lives only 12 houses down from me, has the ideal area in her backyard for a vegetable garden and generously offered me part of her garden bed to try out some growing of my own.  finally, a dream of mine is coming true, and i am so excited... and so intimidated!  i have to admit, i am very intimidated about being a rookie at something and the possibility of failure.  i know it is silly to put that much weight into something as simple as a garden, but i just have no idea what i am doing.  my sister-in-law i think is starting her plants from seeds, but i don't know how to do that.  do i put the seeds into the ground?  do i need to start them first inside?  when do i put them into the ground?  what should i even attempt to grow?  so many questions, and unfortunately i haven't taken much time to research the answers because i have been consumed lately with researching minivans for our soon to be upgrade in size of cars for our growing family. 

so... here is another way i am vulnerable with you my readers.  i would love suggestions in the comments below from any of you who have any amount of experience on gardening.  i don't even know where to buy seeds (if i go that route) or small plants (if i go that one).  i do have thyme thriving on my porch that has lasted for the past 4 years, am going to replant basil on my porch this year as well, but as for the veggies... i have no idea.  i need to figure this out soon if i am going to take advantage of my sister-in-law's generous offer. 

so... comment away.  give me any and all the advice you think i need, can handle, or might point me in the right direction.  i am excited to see what happens. 


Sunday, March 28, 2010

today's inspiration

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your justice like the great deep.

O Lord, You preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is Your unfailing love!

Both high and low among me
find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
the feast on the abundance of Your house;
You give them drink from Your rive of delights.
for with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light we see light.
psalm 36: 5-9


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


here is a rather vulnerable post.  i am not even sure if it is okay to write about on a blog, but since i will keep everything anonymous, i will go ahead and process my thoughts for you all to peak in on.

i am sure you all have had those really hard times when you are faced with wondering if you should talk to a friend about something serious going on in his/her life or not.  i was faced with one of these situations this past week.

for me, it is a struggle between how much i am able to have a place to speak into her life, how much she may or may not receive or react at me talking with her, and even just the plain responsibility that comes with getting personally involved in someone's life.  i mean, it is a serious responsibility to call someone on something and then to realize that if she does decide to repent of what she was involved in, she most likely will need someone there in her life to encourage her and be there for her when she is going through the thick of it.  it isn't like i can come along, point out a major life issue, then disappear.

i think of all the things i struggle with in this, it is the fear of being rejected that gets to me the most.  i am not one for confrontation.  i would rather avoid someone forever, or close to it, before having that serious talk that could cause emotions to flare.  even after i felt this past week that the Lord was giving me the green light to talk to this friend, i was so nervous because i anticipated her reaction not being favorable.  in fact, i really anticipated her getting angry with me.  yet, i was losing sleep over thinking about her, praying for her, and asking God what i was supposed to do about it.

i finally got to the place where i knew that i could speak the truth in love to her.  i came to the point that regardless of her reaction or whether she changed her decisions in the area of concern, i knew that for me to remain silent on the issue was not loving her.  i was so consumed in thinking about how it would affect me negatively, that it was hard to see straight about what was the best for her life.  you see, if i really love someone, i am willing to do what is best for her regardless of the consequences to me.  if it was more important for her to hear the truth in this area that she was not seeing clearly in, then i am only being her friend if i tell her the truth.   this is not easy for me.  i definitely struggle with the fear of man.

so, i wrote her.  i have yet to hear back.  i kinda doubt she has even read it yet, but i know it won't be long until she does.  i know that in the grand scheme of things i will stand before the Lord and He will say, did you really love?  did you love even when it could cost you rejection?  did you love when it made you feel squirmy and uncomfortable and awkward?  did you even love when it got messy?  i hope that i can say yes, i loved those you put in my life.

honestly, when it comes down to it, even in the times i have myself reacted poorly to even the most gentle of corrections, i am thankful that i have people in my own life willing to love me enough to say something when they see me doing something that is hurting me.   i have reacted poorly to correction in the past.  but there are these golden moments that stand out to me in my memories above most others of when someone said something to me about my behaviors that made me mad, but affected my decisions for the good years and years later.  i still think back on several of these moments again and again.  i hope i can be that person to this friend.  i hope God continues to send those real friends into my own life.


Thursday, March 18, 2010


i get to see this beautiful view very very soon... tomorrow in fact!  we, as in the married couple we versus the family we, are going to my favorite place this weekend for a getaway.  this getaway is both celebrating our 8th anniversary and the fact that we can go out of town before we have a new little one that will make it impossible to getaway for a while again.  plus, i have discovered that i am indeed very much a quality time person, so the thought of a whole weekend with my husband, with no interruptions, makes my heart leap and spin with joy. 

our getaway is to santa cruz.  santa cruz will always hold a very special place in my heart.  while i was growing up, my grandparents lived in santa cruz, only a couple blocks from the beach and the boardwalk full of rides and lights and caramel apples.  i have some of my very best childhood vacation memories in this little beach town.  when i was a teenager i would go jogging along the cliff overlooking the surfers and past the surfer's museum and light house.  i would take long walks there with my sister and i would tell her that someday me and my special someone would walk on the very same walking path and look out on the beautiful pacific ocean.

on labor day weekend of 2001, my now husband, then boyfriend, completely surprised me and asked me to marry him on a bench in front of the lighthouse and looking out over the very scene that i loved so dearly.  eight years later, we have made santa cruz our family summer camping trip destination and started those family memories with our own kids in the very same little beach town that i have mine in.  every year we go back to visit the bench that he proposed to me at... sentimental, i know.  i am looking forward to sitting on that bench with my beloved husband and friend and watching the surfers and the waves and let all the good memories come flooding back and make some new ones.

oh, happy getaway to me.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

take the time

this is kind of a funny picture to post on a day when it is forecast to be in the 80's, but i just love this picture.  it takes me back to the day that it was taken - my youngest son's birthday where my husband and i just spent the afternoon enjoying our kids and celebrating life.  it is of a beautiful bridge up where we live that just causes wonder in me every time i am there.

it is an image of beauty.  there is beauty like this all around me at many points of everyday, but i am often too busy with the urgent matters to stop and take it in.  i have read so many different people blog and write about the urgent vs. the important, so i know i am not alone in my often busy-ness.  i am blessed to be a stay at home mom with my kids, besides being involved in a young house of prayer and teaching music lessons on the side.  my temptation is very often to get things done.  i relish the moments that i take a time to stop and really look at what is around me.  i find beauty in my kids.  i find beauty in my home.  i find beauty in lovely sights and smells and tastes.  i find beauty in the beautiful small northern california city i live in.  i find beauty in the Word of God. 

as i am forced by the mechanic i am taking my car to for an oil change to set aside a priceless hour and a half of my day, i will determine to use it to reflect on the beauty that God has put around me.  He has given me so much and i take so little time to realize it and allow thankfulness to burst forth in my heart.  maybe this interruption to my day is a beauty in itself if i can just take the time to see it.


Monday, March 15, 2010


this post is a continuation to my previous post fearless trust.  i would recommend reading it first.
i would have despaired unless i had believed
that i would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.   psalm 27:13

how much of my life is anchored in the belief in the goodness of God?  it is not only enough to believe He is good.  it is essential to believe that i will see this goodness in my life towards me. 

many of my latest posts have been about a central theme of hope.  besides going through the trials of pregnancy, i have been challenged in my faith in so many areas of my life in this past season.  i actually found out i was pregnant during one of the hardest weeks of my life.  it was a bright spot of hope in the midst of a swirl of confusion and temptation for fear.  for both of these reasons i haven't blogged as much as i would have liked.  sometimes when i am going through the dark night of the soul (and puking my brains out on top of it), it is very hard to articulate anything other than, "help me Jesus!"

i found this simple cry for help to be the meat of my recent prayers.  i would stand in the shower, feeling so weak both physically and emotionally that i would burst into tears and just say, "help me Jesus!"  sometimes that is the most powerful prayer that we can pray. 

trials in life can either drive us away from Him or drive us to Him.  there is so much in life we cannot control.  there is so much disappointment.  there are so many questions of, "why?"  there are so many things that i would much rather not walk through if it was up to me.  but i cannot control my circumstances.  what i can control is how i posture my heart.

do i harden my heart to protect myself?  or do i allow the pain of disappointment and the sting of fear to drive me to Him?  when all the world around me is shaken, it is only Him who doesn't change.  it is only Him who is left there constant and firm and unchanging. 

at the end of the day, the commitment to follow Christ is as simple as that:  following Him.  i can do so many things that are so good and beneficial, but they mean nothing if when things get tough i turn away from Him.  there are so many people who have every reason to despair - there are so many reasons for any of us to despair.  i love that one word in psalm 27:13:  unless.  unless any of us believe that He is not only good, but that we will see His goodness towards us in this lifetime... there is where our hope must lie.

is your current circumstance driving you away from Him or to Him?

i would love your comments and feedback.

i will leave you with a picture of my 22 week belly (more than halfway to the finish line!)


Friday, March 12, 2010

fearless trust

a while back i did an in depth study of my favorite psalm in the bible.  i was reading back over my notes the other night and it reawakened in me a hunger to practically know these truths to be realities in my own life. 

the psalm i love (you may already know for being a reader for a while) is psalm 27.  in a previous post i shared of how i named my 2nd son uriah from this psalm.  click here to read that story. 

if i could give psalm 27 any title i wanted i would title it a psalm of fearless trust in God.  i think this is such an important passage of scripture for my life because of my lifelong battle with fear and trusting God.  it seems like over and over again God brings me back to this issue to remove one more layer of the onion and get closer to the deep places of my heart that i carefully guard.  i gain one level of victory that gives me grace for the upcoming season, and then i need a deeper level for the next. 

i have faced in the past six months a lot of issues in my life that challenge my tendency towards fear and away from trusting the Lord.  i have shed many tears asking the Lord to not only change these circumstances, but also asking to awaken hope in me in the midst of them.  i am finding that hope isn't only about things someday getting better or circumstances someday changing.  the deep truth of hope is anchored in the belief that God can be trusted and His lovingkindness never fails and never ends.  of course we all would love for certain things in life to just be different.  sometimes there are so many things that need to change that the pressures are overwhelming.  yet the essence of fearless trust in Him is to be able to say that even if nothing ever changes, God isn't going to leave me alone to be completely consumed or drowned in my circumstances.  this is the essence of hope.  click here and here to read more about this kind of hope.

though i have lots of thoughts swirling around my head this morning about this subject, i am going to try to focus on just this one and save the others for a later post.  the last verse of psalm 27 says:
wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
i don't know about those of you reading, but i hate to wait.  i think one of the character traits the Lord has had to work on the most in my life is patience.  and yet, david's sums up his psalm in this final encouragement, "wait on the Lord." 

i looked up the word wait in the hebrew on blue letter bible and it is the word qavah.  qavah is not a passive waiting.  it is very active:
to wait, look for, hope, expect.  
waiting, to look eagerly for, to lie in wait for, to wait for, to linger
to collect, to bind together, to be collected
the lexicon describes this as:
1. to twist, to bind
2. to be strong, robust (binding fast, tying fast is applied to strength)
3. to expect, to await (enduring, remaining, which differs little from the notion of strength)
to expect Jehovah - His aid, to fix one's hope on Him

a couple of these really speak to me.  for one, hope, which is a common theme to this season in my life, shows up in these definitions.  to wait in this context means to hope.  i love how active this waiting and hoping is - it is expectant; it is eager; it is lingering.  when i think of linger, i think of taking that extra moment when all the distractions come crowding out the heart connection with God and just purposing to fix my eyes on Him. 

i love that this type of waiting is equated with strength.  it is like the twists of a rope that make it strong enough to test with lots of pressure.  it is enduring, remaining strong, and fixed.  it is to expect God to help.  this is powerful to me right where i am! 

so, just as He clothes the lilies of the field, that are here one day and gone tomorrow, He will also take care of you and me.  we can expect this of Him.  it is His very nature, and His lovingkindness towards us cannot fail or ever end.  so be strong.  take heart.  wait on the Lord.

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