Saturday, November 9, 2013

Date Night


When I was a child, I played with dolls. I read them bed time stories. I kissed their plastic, synthetic faces and practiced being the best ‘mommy’ that I could be. Which, to a 7 year old means, “You need to take a nap Dollie!”

When I was in grade school, I watched people go off to college and come back with boyfriends/girlfriends/fianc├ęs/etc. I watched my friends be their flower girls, and oh, how I wanted to be one. Because be honest, what 11 year old doesn’t want an excuse to wear high heels and mascara before she hits junior high?

When I was a senior in high school, I realized that I too, was about to go off to college where expectation had already been laid out many times over. Go to college. Work hard. Get good grades. Don’t be too homesick. Oh, and bring home a husband…

Having never even been on a date before…. This. Thought. Terrified. Me.

And when I graduated from college, WITHOUT a boyfriend, much less a husband, I was, strangely relieved….

Now, before you all think that I am a man hating feminist who wants to do everything herself or a self righteous priss who wants it to just be “me and God, only and forever”, let me explain.

I wanted a family; at least I was pretty sure that I did. But, I wanted to understand myself and my relationship with Jesus more.  And I wasn't sure if I could balance another person at the same time.

Up until the point I graduated, I felt constantly pulled in a million directions. Everyone always needed something, or I was always doing something. It had never really bothered me, mostly because I was too busy to think about it. However, as graduation grew near and I was preparing to move back to Seattle, I realized I had an opportunity to be… free….

And I wanted it. I wanted it bad.

I have no judgment on people who don’t want what I want. We are all wired different. There was a time, embarrassingly enough, when I did have some judgment. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and why people wanted to hurry up and get married so fast. You have more bills. More laundry. More cooking. And you can’t be spontaneous. How boring…lol

Then Jesus gently reminded me, that we don’t all want the same thing, nor should we.  We are all called to different paths, and that is ok. So now, when people get married, I party with them. But I don’t usually sit back and wish that I was the one getting married instead. I am just unabashed and openly overjoyed for them. Because, it is what they want.

So what do I want, you ask?

The Lord and I had a prayer session one night, and for the sake of transparency, I will share what I prayed.
I asked the Lord….if I could live on my own for awhile before I started seriously dating anyone… or getting married for that matter.

Maybe it sounds like a weird prayer, but I had never felt like I had a space to call my own. A space where I could think, breathe and have the freedom to do things my way. At my pace. And I really wanted that. I knew instinctively that in order to be the best “me” that I could be for someone else, I needed this time and space.

Even though I knew I need this time and space, it didn’t stop me from the occasional day dream. But why is it, that whenever you have those occasional daydreams, your facebook newsfeed blows up with all these post about marriage or singleness? It’s like facebook reads your mind…. And are there ever a lot of posts out there regarding singleness. Most of them are annoying.

Posts that give you a 1, 2, 3 step process for being content with your single facebook status, are irritating. Here is why they annoy me – they are usually full of really, really good tips on being content.

Great scripture. Great perspective. Great thoughts.

But here is the thing; I am already content with being single. In fact, most of the time, I don’t think about having a boyfriend. Unless it is Friday night and I don’t want to watch a movie by myself (sorry, just being real). Honestly, I am content, not only with being single, but also with my life. So where are the posts that give me feedback on how to continue to fully live my life?

The main reason I am not discontent, is because I have the very best friend in the whole world. He is with me every day. Not just Sunday, and every day is date night.

I have someone to talk to about my problems who give fabulous advice. I have someone to whom I can cry about the fact that I just ran out of chocolate. I have the most wonderful person ever in my life – and his name is Jesus.

Now, do not mistake my contentment for a lack of loneliness. That, my friends, still happens. Still happens all the time. I don’t always want to eat by myself. Or cook for one person. Or fix everything by myself. I don’t want to come home to a silent apartment every night, or have no one to tell “have a nice day and I’ll see you tonight!”

And, if we are all honest with ourselves, it doesn’t matter if we are married, single, or dating; we are all prone to loneliness at one time or another.

So, for those compelled to constantly ask me “why” I don’t have a boyfriend, please stop. Now, I don’t mind if you ask if I have one, that’s ok. Because one day I may, and I will want to tell you about him. But when you ask me “why”, like my life is somehow incomplete without one, it’s annoying. And kind of rude.

Jesus and I are having a blast. Awesome things are happening, and HE is answering some seriously amazing prayers! I am enjoying each day to the fullest, and almost always have stories to tell.

I am taking voice lessons. I write songs. Cooking is one of my passions. I love my job. Riding the bus is my entertainment and I adore my friends and family. Also, Jesus is my special Someone. And, those are the things that I want to talk about with you. Those are the things that are happening in my life today. I want to talk about today. Not something that isn't even on the horizon yet. I want to share today with you.

Maybe one day, I will be able to share about my other special someone who the Lord has sent to me, but, I am still going to want to talk about all those other things with you all. My life isn’t going to begin when I get married, it will just be enriched. Because you see, Jesus and I have been doing life together for a long time, and we aren’t going to stop when I date/get married/have kids. It is going to keep going and it is going to be awesome.

So, every night is date in my house.


And even when my day comes to fall in love and life partner with someone, I don’t want to stop having date night with my BEST FRIEND, Jesus. I want it to continue. I want it to be amazing. And I want to have a family that is totally in love with Jesus. It is the safest and most wonderful place to be. Then, we can ALL have date night with Jesus – how cool is that?!?

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
1 John 3:1

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Men vs Women - Nail Polish Style


For those of you who don't know me, I sort of like to march to the beat of my own drum. I don't mind following rules, but I still embrace my individuality and like to exercise my autonomy when it is appropriate.

Not that it is a big deal, but when it comes to painting my fingernails, I guess this character trait starts to come out. Honestly, I don't put a lot of thought into it. I pick the color/colors I like. Think about what looks good. Paint them. And done.
 
That's it. There is no magic formula. No secret reason. No method to my madness.
 

However, this seems to be a completely foreign concept to almost every guy who has commented on my fingernails. Now, before you tune out and think this is a guy bashing session, think again. No bashing is going on, just humorous reflection. People, regardless of gender, can have whatever opinion they would like about my nails - don't care - just don't expect me to change them, because I like them.

Let me expound and give you an example of the typical responses when people notice and then comment on my nails.....

Women: Oohhhh, cool nails!
Me: Thanks!

Men: So...one is red and the other are brown?
Me: Yes

Women: Those are really pretty!
Me: Ah, thanks! I like yours too!

Men: So.....what's the occasion?
Me: Um, I just wanted to paint my nails....

Women: I totally saw something like that on Pinterest!
Me: Yeah? Neat!

Men: So, no specific reason then.....
Me: Nope, just wanted to do something different (But please, continue to ask me the same thing 12 different ways to see if it makes sense - it won't, but it sure is fun to watch you try)

I walked away from those situations with a new appreciation for both men and women.

Guys, thanks for being the type that wants to understand something's reason for being. It is why I call on you when I need help with my car, or I need to make a very practical decision.

Ladies, thank you for gushing with me over frivolous things like nails and shoes. And for letting me be emotional and getting it.

Both types of friends are needed, and I am very blessed to have both types in my close knit circle of friends.

That being said --- I will continue to get a tremendous amount of laughter and amusement from men who try and understand why I paint my nails different colors.... :)


Saturday, October 26, 2013

#favor


Luke 1:28 
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 

You are loved my dear ones. Loved with an everlasting love. Loved by One who can NEVER stop loving you. You meant enough to HIM, that He sacrificed the one Person who was loved more.

Never think that you are not worth it. Never think that HE doesn't care. Sure, we all have moments when we feel all alone, but He never leaves our side. All we have to do is reach out to HIM and He is there.

So today as you face the world, remember that you are not facing it alone. He has a plan He wants to accomplish with you. It is not a task that must be accomplished on your own, but with HIM by your side.

You are favored. You are loved. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the creation that He cherished most. The one for whom He bled, died and rose again.

Take faith in the knowledge that He is with you. Hold fast to the fact that He adores you. Never stop seeking Him everyday. For as we seek Him, we are bound more closely to Him and we better know the heart of the One we love.

Embrace the LOVE that has been so freely given to you, and go out and share it with the world.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Exactly What I Asked For...

Back in August, I shared a story about a fabulous dress, a dress that prompted me to seriously re-evaluate how I was praying for the things I wanted. It's funny, how the smallest thing can prompt us to completely change how we look at and even approach a situation.

You see, I was in the middle of stressing myself out with regards to looking for an apartment. I was telling myself that I was trusting the Lord to provide, when in actuality I was praying only according to what I could see myself affording. Yeah, my faith was "huge"....

As called around, looking for an affordable apartment, I quickly became discouraged, because 1) the UW students took all of my available studio apartments, and 2) I was quickly realizing the budget I had to work with wasn't exactly conducive with the amenities I was seeking.

Earlier in the afternoon on the day Jesus gave me that amazing dress, I had gone to see an apartment. From the internet ad, it seemed really nice. Not all the amenities I was hoping for, but definitely the ones I needed. However, when I arrived, it seemed the pictures had been slightly.....deceiving. The smell of mildew was heavy in the air, the kitchen tiles were peeling at the corners, and there were rat droppings in the garage. Slightly disheartening, if I do say so myself.

I left the apartment, and took a drive, looking for other options. As I was driving, I had this conversation with the Lord.

Me: "Really? Is this really all my budget can afford? I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I really don't want to live there....."

Jesus: "Then stop praying according to your budget."

Me: "But Lord, I know what I can afford, and I can't afford anything super nice."

Jesus: "No, you can't, but remember, I can. I own the cattle on a thousand hills, and I can get you the best apartment ever. You just have to ask."

Now, whenever I have these types of conversations with the Lord, my default mode is to feel really guilty. To feel as if I am asking to much. To feel as if I don't have the right to ask. 

Because, I still am humbled by the fact that He answers my prayers at all, and also, I never want to become cocky or arrogant over the fact that He answers my prayers in the affirmative. And maybe there is a little bit of guilt over feeling selfish for asking for nice things. I don't really know what that is all about, but when I figure it out, I will probably blog about it, lol.

After that conversation, I then found my rockin' dress, went home and had another talk with the Lord. I guess you could say that it was a "Name It, and Claim It" type of prayer. 

However, let me say this - I don't know that I am a huge fan of naming what you want, claiming it in Jesus' name and then expecting to receive it. He doesn't always say 'yes'. I am a huge fan of being really specific though, and letting Jesus know what you want. At least you will know that you were clear on what you wanted, even if He says 'no'. 

The next morning, I woke up and said, "Lord, I want exactly what I have here with Faith and Steve, but better." And that was it, that was my prayer. Short, sweet and specific. My situation was amazing. It was safe, there were nice perks, and to be perfectly honest? I selfishly didn't want to give that up for a nasty apartment with rat poop everywhere. So I told the Lord what I wanted, and waited to see what He was going to do about it, haha.

 When I was visiting some people at the nursing home later that morning, an old co-worker said, "Oh my gosh, you need to go check the break room right now! Someone is renting a 1 bedroom basement apartment and you need to call them. Jesus wants you to have this apartment!" Wow Lord.... that was fast.... A new record, answered prayer in 2 hours flat!

I walked into the break room to take down the information, and as I read the list of amenities and the cost of the rent, I almost couldn't believe it. It was everything I had prayed for and then some. Plus, it was $20 under budget.

So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter, in my new apartment, writing this post about this stinking AWESOME answer to prayer. Oh, and those "amenities" I couldn't afford? I have all of them, and then some... I am one humbly blessed girl tonight!

the perk I am most excited about!!!!

My faith was weak, although I wouldn't have wanted to admit it. My prayers were in accordance with what I thought was possible, not what God could make happen. 

I feel as if the Lord is constantly teaching me something. It used to be discouraging, because every time I learned something new, I felt as if I was a failure because I hadn't "got it" yet. Then I realized that I will never get to a place where I stop learning. And if I do, then that is when I really need to be concerned.

So what did I learn this time? I learned to stop thinking so much, but instead to start praying more. I learned that HIS possibilities are endless, and that I need to stop complicating that which He has already simplified. I learned to feel confident in the promises HE has made to me in His Word. Mostly, I have learned that wherever HE is, I am home. And that regardless of the perks a dwelling might possess, if HE is not the main amenity, then it isn't perfect.

Pray for me during this next stage in my life. I am super excited to see what Jesus is going to do. I am ready, I am willing and I am feeling adventurous. Please also pray that my home will be a place of prayer and fellowship. I want my home to be a place where people can pray together, be spiritually refreshed and can see the miracles of God in a mighty, might way. 

Life with Jesus is EPIC!!!


For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 18:20

Friday, September 27, 2013

Socks with Sandals

There is a perception in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) that wearing socks with sandals is not only an acceptable fashion statement, but also a requirement. And even though I am a Northwest girl, born and bred, I tend to disagree, ALOT....

To be truthful, it was not something I learned from watching my friends or even from watching "What Not To Wear". No, it is a deeply rooted belief, established firmly by my loving father. You see, dear dad knew what was important in life. Next to loving Jesus, you must love baseball, you must iron your jeans before wearing them, and you must never wear socks with sandals. (And according to my sister, Dad said Birkenstocks were hippie shoes, and were not allowed in our house, lol)
 
Up until yesterday, I would say I was doing pretty good with 2 out of 3.....

Alas, I must now hang my head in shame and dispair..... for I have failed.... on a level of epic proportion.....

However, I tend to give myself a certain amount grace when I am sick.... which is why I feel that this fashion faux pas can be overlooked, at least this one time.

First of all, it must be stated that I am the worst person in the WORLD at dressing according to the weather. Like, I will wear sleeveless in the snow and sweaters in the sunshine. I do not plan well at all. So yesterday, as I ran out the door to catch the bus, it did not register how impractical my sandals were going to be. In fact, it really didn't register how COLD it was until it was too late.
 
There I was, sniffling away on the bus, wearing my cotton dress and sandals..... (insert face palm)
 
I arrived at work, miserable, coughing up a lung, with cold feet and desperately in need of a cup of coffee.

On my break I went over to Safeway to buy medicine and my much needed jolt of java. And then I did something I told myself I would never do.

I searched for and found the desired item, quickly paid for it and came back to my office to proceed with shame....
 
Slowly, and with a huge sigh, I cut the tag off the socks I had just purchased at the grocery store. Oh yeah baby, desperate times call for you to embarrass yourself in lieu of comfort and wellness.

And there I was, in all my fashionable glory, bundled up with my scarf, warm coat, socks and sexy sandals. BAM! Smokin...

Some people had the guts to ask, while others stared on in awe (probably not awe, but because they didn't clarify, I choose awe). For those who had the guts to ask, I told them. I told them that is was a great Thursday - my coffee was cold, I wanted Alka-Seltzer in an IV, I just bought socks at the grocery store and now I am wearing them with my sandals. All in all, I had hit a new low, even for me. (insert another face palm)
 
Finally my feet warmed up and the socks could be retired. The rest of the day was productive and no one creepy sat next to me on the bus ride home. A winner of day if you ask me.
 
So, how was Thursday? Hope it was as exciting and fabulous as mine turned out to be.

Remember, laugh at yourself, have a good time, don't sweat the small stuff and don't wear socks with sandals.
 
If you nail that one, you are set for life!
 
Happy Friday All!
 
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When He Can, He Will

Almost three weeks ago, I shared about my awesome answer to prayer regarding a certain dress... The very next day I had ANOTHER incredible answered prayer (which I will most definitely be sharing within the next couple of days).

But for today's post, I want to focus on my answered prayer from yesterday, because, it was soo precious....

First, we need to go back a few years....

Growing up, I probably heard every verse, phrase, quote about prayer that there was. I heard that we should "pray without ceasing". I heard that we should have "George Mueller faith" when we prayed. I heard people wax eloquently about how their prayers were answered.

I didn't always understand it, but I knew, deep down, that I wanted to understand what prayer was all about. I wanted to know how people reached this level of prayer perfection where everything they seemingly spoke to God the Father was answered with a deep and resounding "YES!!!"

How did they do it? What was the secret formula? What were they doing that I wasn't?

Now, don't get too excited, because there isn't a secret formula to prayer, at least not one that I have found. I still don't understand why some prayers are answered in the affirmative while others are a definite "no". All I know, is that answered prayer is precious, and sometimes, just sometimes, it is more precious to us after we have received a lot of no's.

Fast-forward to yesterday....

Yesterday, I was driving back from Anacortes, listening to the radio and having some sweet, quiet time with the Lord. As I was listening to the radio, an ad came on stating that one of my all time, favorite Christian bands (Tenth Avenue North ) was going to be playing at the Puyallup Fair THAT VERY NIGHT! When I heard that, I thought, "Lord, I love that band. It sure would be great if I could go to that."

The day got away from me, and I forgot about my "on a whim" prayer. But see, HE had not forgotten... Later that afternoon, a co-worker (who knew nothing of my prayer), approached me and asked if I would like a free ticket to the Puyallup Fair to hear..... Tenth Avenue North!!! Needless to say, I freaked out a little ALOT!!! And yes, I snatched them up right away. And yes, I drove all that way. And went by myself. And sat in the rain. AND hugged a toothless guy playing Jesus songs on his saxophone......let's not talk about that one....

Here is what was soo incredibly humbling and amazing to me about those tickets.... IT MATTERED TO JESUS. It mattered to Him that I really wanted to go. That my heart would be full of Him either way, yet still He answered the smallest of prayers.

You see, I have had a lot of no's....

No to my Dad staying alive.
No to my MS being healed immediately.
No to changes of heart in the people that I love...

And amidst all of those no's, Jesus still found time to give me a yes or two along the way. Because, the yes's are so much sweeter after the no's.

Why you ask? Well, for starters, we shouldn't get everything that we ask for. We don't need it. Don't truly want it. And would become spoiled if everything we wanted was at our fingertips. Jesus had to say no to me on a great many things. He said no because it was His will and because it was best for me.

The precious, sweet aspect of the unexpected answered prayers, are that they are HIS way of reminding me that when He can say 'yes', He will.



He loves me, and when He can, He will.
 
"You may pray for an hour and still not pray.
You may meet God for a moment and then
be in touch with Him all day."
- Fredrik Wisloff

Friday, August 30, 2013

When He Whispers

wait till you see it on;)

Me: "Lord, I'm tired and hungry... I'm tired of looking at apartments..."
God: "Go home."
Me: "Okay, maybe I'll go out later..."
God: "Stop at that store first"
Me: "Which store?"
God: "Trading Tigers - that consignment store"
Me: "Why?" (stupid question when you are talking to God by the way)
God: "Just go"
Me: "Okay, fine"

I turned into the parking lot and parked my car. I grabbed my wallet from the front seat, shoved my phone into my pocket and locked the door. I walked up to the front of the store, and then I saw it. The dress I have been coveting for weeks... with a sign on it. Shoot, it's probably taken and someone just has it on hold. But, as I get closer, I see the sign doesn't say "Sold", it says, "All Summer Items 50% Off".

Me: "Seriously??"
God: "Well, isn't that what you prayed for?"
Me: "Um, yeah, but..."
God: "But nothing, go try it on, even though you already know it is going to be perfect"

I walked into the store and asked the sales lady if I could try on the dress. She said, "Of course! I hope it works for you. Several people have tried it on lately, but it didn't work for any of them. But maybe it will work for you!"

I went into the dressing room to try on the dress, already knowing it was going to be perfect. However, once I had it on, I couldn't resist stepping out to get a second opinion.

"Oh my gosh! It's perfect", the sales lady gushed.

"You know", I said, "I believe in prayer, and I asked the Lord for this dress last week, and look what happened?"

As I stepped back into the dressing room to change back, she said, "Well, I was kind of tired of taking that dress on and off the mannequin, so I guess we both had an answered prayer today!"

I paid for my beautiful new dress and left the store. Getting into my car, I heard that soft voice say,

God: "See?"
Me: "See what?"
God: "If I can give you the dress you asked for 2 weeks ago, exactly how you wanted it, why worry that I am going to find you the perfect apartment?"
Me: "I don't know.... Because I'm dumb. Thank you for my dress though.... it is amazing"
God: "You're welcome, now stop fretting already!"
Me: "Ha ha, okay! But Lord, where am I going to where my new dress...?"

Sometimes I fret. I fret because the timeline set forth in my mind rarely matches the timeline God has for me. I fret because it is human nature. Because I want to have answers for everyone else. Because I want to have answers for myself. 

I longingly gazed at a beautiful dress everyday as I walked home from the bus stop. And the second time I did, I whispered to my Father that I wanted to have it.

He didn't answer back right away. But today He whispered back to me that I could have it. I'm sure glad I was listening. So as I go about this next adventure in my life, I am going to tell my Dad what I want, and then try and patiently wait for His answer. 

And I better be paying attention, because it will probably be a whisper....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Big Dude, I Don't Like You

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=wZ34Ouf5n_5AoM&tbnid=UDmDMZuSw2qK8M:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnatashow.deviantart.com%2Fart%2Fpouting-gru-176183090&ei=4u8cUv6lNeahiAKQwYHoDg&bvm=bv.51156542,d.cGE&psig=AFQjCNGYCAlmfvL0XghFXer9VpYTszmrmA&ust=1377714518104959
Once upon a time, or something like that....

Dad has two boys. One day, the younger one decides he wants to party it up like a freshman frat boy. So he asks Dad for the cash that is coming to him. Dad obliges and Young Dude (younger brother) heads out to live it up with all the cool kids. All the while, Big Dude (older brother) is staying home, completing his due diligence. Sound familiar yet? I know you guys know this one... 

Well, Young Dude is cool and has a fan club while he has cash, and then when he is broke, his only friends are pigs and his only meal ticket is the trash can. Realizing that this has been a very bad idea, Young Dude heads home, knowing he has to eat some serious crow.

Young Dude arrives home with a tender, broken heart, and is received with love and compassion by Big Pops. However, Big Dude is less than pleased by this arrangement. Big Dude doesn't like the welcoming party for Young Dude, and sits outside nursing his wounds and hurt feelings. Big Pops notices this and goes out to talk with Big Dude. Apparently, Big Dude doesn't think that Young Dude should get a party. Big Dude thinks that HE should get the party. After all, he never left. He didn't waste his money. He stayed back and helped Big Pops.

Big Pops tries to explain that the party isn't to celebrate the poor decisions, it is to celebrate the return of Young Dude. Further more, if Big Dude had ever wanted a party, Big Pops reminds him that all he had to do was ask. Because all that belongs to Big Pops, also belongs to Big Dude. The story ends with Big Dude still being upset and everyone else celebrating the return of Young Dude.

For those of you who grew up in church, you will know that I am talking about the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. However, Prodigal Son is too long and too many syllables for my liking, so I changed it to Young Dude. Also, Prodigal Son's Older Brother is an even longer title... so yeah, his name is Big Dude. I also feel that it is more forceful when I say "Big Dude" - not sure why, it just is.

I have read this story many times. I have heard it preached many times. Usually the main points sound something like this, "Don't be like the prodigal. Be like his brother. His brother gets the blessing because he stayed faithful. The older brother won't have the same consequences. The prodigal may received grace, but will still have life long consequences."

Now, a lot of what I have heard is true. Young Dude might have some serious stuff to work through because of what he did and where he went. Young Dude might not have the life he always wanted. n But, at the end of every single message that I have ever heard about this parable, I still come to the same conclusion. I still want to say the same thing to the same person. So here it is.... Here is what I want to say to the older brother every single time...

"Big Dude - I Don't Like You"
 
That's right, you heard me. Big Dude, I don't like you. I think you are a jerk. When you don't run in to hug your brother, I just want to punch you. Furthermore, I think you are selfish. (I also think you need to pull up your big girl panties and get over yourself...)
 
Big Dude, your ugly attitude is just as bad as the irresponsible behavior of Young Dude. You know what your attitude tells me Big Dude? It tells me that you weren't waiting for Young Dude to come home. It tells me you were finally happy to be top dog and you thought you were #1. Young Dude came home and you didnt even hug him... Big Dude, he is your BROTHER!! Man, what is wrong with you? Your priorities are out of whack. Your focus and your goal is on the wrong thing. You think it is all about being right? About being on top? About flying solo? Sorry Big Dude, that's not what it is all about in this life. I mean, Jesus tells us "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour." Now that Young Dude is back, think about what you can do together for Big Pops! But no, you wanted to be a martyr in your labor and then one day come out on top. Your selfish ambitions were squashed when Young Dude came back.
 
Big Dude, I feel sorry for you. You missed out on a killer party. You missed out on being there for Young Dude and Big Pops when they needed and WANTED you. You missed out on being happy.
 
Big Dude? You wasted your time. Because while Young Dude was out being stupid, you were feeling justified and righteous because you weren't being stupid. You spent all of your time stroking your own ego and pride when you could have been learning, growing, praying, loving and LIVING.
 
 
We all mess up. Nobody's mess up is better or worse than someone else's. We are supposed to fix our eyes on Jesus and encourage each other with His blessings, commandments and promises. This Christian life is not a competition to see who can be the best and have the fewest regrets. Because everytime we focus on our accomplishments or our failures, we are focusing on ourselves and not on HIM.
 
So Big Dude, as you can tell by now, I am not your biggest fan. I think you need a hard kick in the butt. And then you need to go hang with Young Dude. He needs you. Get over yourself and go serve Jesus already. That's all. Oh, and hug your bro. Thanks


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Children, Dogs and Old Men




I have had many people ask me, especially lately, why I don't have a boyfriend. Just so you all know, that is a very annoying question. One for which I have no answer. Also, it is a question that I don't dwell on a whole lot. Not because I don't want a boyfriend, but because I try to live in the moment as much as I can. And in the moment, I don't have a boyfriend. I live in the moment because I believe that is where Jesus wants me to be. I also find that He surrounds me with people who typify behaviors that He wants me to implement in my own life.

However, this post is not about my lack of boyfriend'ness', because honestly, those posts are really irritating. Reading about people who are "soo content" as they wait on The Lord for God's Will... How about you live God's Will right now? How about we focus on today instead of always dreaming about tomorrow? Now, dreaming is not bad, I do it all the time. But, some times I spend more time dreaming than I actually do living.

Typically after the "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" question is asked, I usually try to gloss over the awkwardness with some humor. I answer like this, "Well, the thing is, I usually attract children, dogs and old men. And unfortunately, none of them are boyfriend material." This results in a laugh, and then the weirdness of it all is over. Unless of course, they want to then set me up with their 42 year old, ping pong playing brother who has never been married but needs help loving Jesus. (Yeah, that happened....) I kid you not, I can go almost anywhere, and if there is a smll child, a dog or an old man around.... They will find me. Sit next to me and immediately be my best friend. Except the old men... they usually propose.

When I sit down and think about the type of people that I do attract, I am initially puzzled. Then I chuckle. And then I start to ponder. I mentioned earlier that Jesus surrounds me with the type of people from whom He wants me to learn.

Think about it - children, dogs and the older generation are loving, trusting and very much in the moment. 

Wow, what if I was more like that with The Lord everyday. What if I tried to overwhelm Him with my love, if I innocently and completely trusted Him and lived right now with Him? These groups are all very intuitive and honest. If they like you, they like you. If they don't? Well, there might be a good reason. Even if there isn't a good reason, they don't care.

Children want to play, dogs want to protect, and old folks want to love. Adults make lists, look out for themselves and push emotion to the side. Now, I am a list maker. I like to (and usually need to) make list of everything I 'have' to do, check it off and then look at it when the day is over to see how much I accomplished. This is not a negative quality and does allow me to get a lot of things done at work and at home. Sometimes though, I asked myself if I am putting the right things on my list...
Jesus spent 3 solid years in ministry as an adult, but I don't ever remember reading that He made a list. Yet, He still accomplished in 3 short years, what some of us fail to accomplish in a lifetime. I am not talking about salvation, because obviously, that is not something that we can give to others. I have talking about loving people. He loved people, not for what they did, but for who they were. He met people where they were in life, regardless of how they got there.. He provided for their needs, without focusing on how they could repay such a debt.

Children, dogs and old people are very similar to Jesus in those ways. 

Children love us, just because. Dogs are loyal, just because. Older folks are dependent on and delighted in us, just because.

What if we loved Jesus, just because? What if we were loyal and faithful to Him, just because? What if we were dependent on Him and delighted in Him, just because?

We know What and Who He is. We are able to tell people all the wonderful things about Jesus and then use those same things to try and convince them that they should love Him as well. 

I don't want to convince people anymore. I just want them to know that I love Jesus, and that He loves me.

"For God so loved the world..."

Why?

Just because...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Emotional Novicane

Last night I drove home from my mom's house, and I bawled like a young child all the way home...

May 18th of this year marked eleven years since my dad passed away. Sometimes I ask myself if it is supposed to hurt this much even though it has been so long. Sometimes I don't think about whether it is right or wrong.  I wish I could say I don't even stop to think about it, that I just hurt - however, that isn't usually the case.

Usually the case is this - I don't let myself hurt because I am:

1) surrounded by people and I am kind of a loud crier and my nose might kind of get really red
2) too overwhelmed with life to fully process what I am feeling
3) focused on someone/something else that I view as more important than my private pain

I think a good term for this experience would be emotional novicane. I define emotional novicane like this - when something or someone distracts you from your hurt/pain/sorrow/depression/fear/etc long enough to bury it away, only to have it come back when you least expect it.

It is like when I would go to the dentist to get a cavity filled, and they would numb my mouth for the procedure. The novicane is seriously the coolest stuff on the planet. It felt like my lips were melting off of my face and it felt like they were twice the size they normally were. But after awhile, it wears off almost instantaneously and ALL the pain and discomfort hit you out of nowhere.

That is what happens when I stuff my hurt and my emotions. It feels like my heart is numb, sliding off into oblivion, when really it isn't. It is still there, beating and feeling with the same intensity, I just can't feel it.

That's how I felt on the 18th of May. And honestly, that is how I have felt alot over the past 11 years. I felt I didn't have time or a place to grieve my dad. To grieve the loss that was and that would be.

I just couldn't hurt that day. I felt too vulnerable. I felt outside of myself. Truthfully, I didn't really want to hurt that day. Or the day after. Or the day after. I began to think I had escaped the rush of emotions that tends to follow around this time of year...

On Sunday afternoon it hit me out of nowhere. I was at a friend's graduation party, and saw her joking with her dad. I smiled to myself as I watched the look of pride pass from father to daughter. Then it hit me... I don't ever get to have that again. Period.

I was immediately numb and still. Still not able to fully process what I had been avoiding for almost a month. Too many people in the room and too many festivities that would be diminished by my grief should I choose to express it. Emotional Novicane Inserted.

As always when I am transparent, I fear that people will think I am asking for pity. I'm not, and please don't pity or feel sorry for me. Just keeping being the awesome friends that you are. It is what it is, I cannot change it. But because I can't change it, I have to grieve it, and I have to hurt. Else I won't ever heal. And that is something that I am constantly learning.

So as I drove home last night, I started sobbing almost uncontrollably. No trigger, just a torrent of crocodile tears pouring down my face. You see, I cried because the pain in my heart was far too big to hold in any longer. As I cried, I shouted out to  my dad as though he were right beside me, "Why did you leave me?" "Why didn't you take your medicine" "Why didn't you fight harder to stay with me?"

Yet, as I asked those questions, I already knew the answers. He didn't want to leave me. The medicine might not have helped. He did fight to stay - He fought until he could fight no more.

Today I am better than I was yesterday. Although, I still feel my tears pretty close to the surface. This pain is one that will come and go for the rest of my life. That is normal and understandable. I lost my best friend 11 years ago, and that takes a long time to heal. But I cannot continue to heal if I don't allow myself to purge and if I keep giving myself shots of emotional novicane.
 
I'll paraphrase a Scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, "to everything there is a season.... a time to mourn"
 
It is good to give yourself that time. Whatever your heartache, pain, worry or sorrow is, HE knows it. HE feels it with you, and HE will carry you through it. It will take time, and the pain may never fully go away. But, you are never alone - even when it feels like it.
 
When it feels like it, call on a friend. They can't fix it, but you won't be physically alone. And, if you can't think of anyone, send me a message - I am and I will be that friend. No hurting alone if you don't want to:)
 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
 
 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#day2 & #day3 recap

When you are truly passionate and believe in something, it doesn't and shouldn't matter what other people think.

You really are only out to seek approval from ONE person - or at least, that is what it should be... Not only that, it's not even approval you should be seeking. Because what you seek has already been freely given. Love & acceptance.... So really, you shouldn't be seeking approval, you should be showing and RETURNING love...

These #40days are all about "seeing" Jesus. And the reason we are able to "see" Him, is because He demonstrated the most amazing act of love known to mankind - personal sacrifice.

Even though it is only day 3, I feel that I have already learned so much. On day 1, I was reminded that not only just Jesus "see" me, but that He also "hears" me. I had prayers answer that day. Day 2 and day 3 - awesome! Completely awesome! And because of something that happened today, I felt my definition of "awesome" shaken a little. But then, I "saw" Him and reminded me that His definition is the one that matters. Not the definition of the world.

So let's recap!

Day 2

(Part 1)

I received a message from a friend late Monday night/Early Tuesday morning. This friend wanted to know what they could do to help someone in their life who is currently suffering with MS. I sat on my bed, totally stunned for a few minutes. I had told the Lord a few days prior that I really want to help and be an encouragement to those with MS. I remember well the lonely days. The days that I felt like an outsider in my own life. The days that all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, cry and go back to sleep. (there were a couple days that I did that....) If my experience can be an encouragement to someone else, then it was all worth it. Because through my MS, I have more clearly "seen" Jesus....

He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me....
Psalm 18:19

(Part 2)

I woke up Tuesday morning to a text message. It was screenshot of my best friend's computer. On that screenshot, it was depicted that she had started a team to walk in the Walk MS in her hometown. I cried. She started it because she cannot fly up to walk in the Seattle one with me.... I am constantly humbled by the love and support of my friends. Another friend sent an email to all her contacts and as a result, our donations have more than DOUBLED in the last week! I love my friends so much... I truly have friend who "show" Jesus!



Day 3

(Part 1)

Woke up Wednesday morning and checked my email, per usual. I had an devotional a friend sent me. The exact verse I needed. Spiritual encouragement is the best!




(Part 2)

I had an interview. I didn't get the job, BUT it was fascinating.... And the Lord taught me some things, and reminded me of some things. The details of this interview will be in a blog post all it's own, haha!



All in all, it was a fabulous day! I am starting to wake up each day, wondering how HE is going to show Himself to me.... It is super exciting!

40 More Days of Jesus

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

#day1 recap

Sometimes, we minimize the things that God does in our lives. We do not give full acknowledgement to the magnitude of the little things. Littles things that we define as such. Nothing is too small for God, but we tend to put Him and His blessings in a box. We gauge what is a BIG blessing and what is a small blessing. We define what is a miracle of God and what is just a common occurrence. Shame on us...

Part of my goal for "40 More Days of Jesus", is to bring back into perspective the very presence of God in my life. He is always there, never leaving or forsaking, however, I do not always give Him the attention or the prominence that He deserves. Day 1 was awesome, and I am looking forward to the next 39. I truly believe that Jesus is going to be seen more clearly than He ever has before. I believe that for those of us partaking in this, we will be overwhelmed by how "present" He is...ALL the time....

Day 1:

I figured while I am documenting on Facebook and Instagram with pictures, I would also document on the blog so that I can give back story - because those are always fun!

Yesterday I had a phone interview, which I feel went so well! Thank you Lord!!!! After the interview, I checked my email, and there was an invite to yet another interview... I had to sit back and take it in, because I had asked the Lord for choices. And while I have not been offered a position yet, this was still an answer to prayer.

On top of that just being a wonderful morning, I was able to write 2 blog posts and... oh yeah, MY BUSINESS CARDS CAME!!! FIVE DAYS EARLY!!!! Pretty awesome day 1!

 One day down, thirty nine to go.... I am super excited about what is going to happen!

He answers prayers!!!
Five days early!!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

40 More Days of Jesus


Last night at church, I heard an interesting thought. One that I never really dwelt on before, but definitely want to now.

“We spend so much time focusing on Jesus leading up to Easter, but then when it’s over, we don’t dwell on Him as much. He spent another 40 days on earth before ascending to Heaven! It didn’t end on Resurrection Sunday.”

How very true… We focus on what we are going to give up for Lent, or we focus on Good Friday and the days leading up to the Resurrection Celebration. But, we don’t stop and think about the fact that Jesus appeared to over 500 people over the course of the forty days following His resurrection. He didn’t just die, rise again and then peace out of here. He stuck around because He still had things to do!

So, I decided that for the next 40 days, I want to “see” Jesus. I want to make a purposeful effort every single day for the next 40 days, to “see” Jesus. I believe that he makes himself known to us every day, but it is not often that we acknowledge that it is Him. We are so caught up in our lives and with our agendas, that if it isn’t Sunday, we are not thinking about Him. It goes deeper than that though… We can acknowledge and think about Jesus without “seeing” Him.

When I was in college, I was CRAVING dried mangoes. Nobody knew that I wanted them, and I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t have the extra money to buy them, so I just said to the Lord in passing, “You know Lord, I would really love some dried mangoes.” Two days later, my mom sent me a package, and what do you know, inside was a bag of dried mangoes. That is what I mean by “seeing” Jesus. Those mangoes were from my mom, BUT, ultimately, they were from the Lord. He sent them to me, and I “saw” Him because of it.

40 days from today is May 10th. I want to invite and encourage you to join me during the next 40 days. Document and acknowledge the ways that Jesus makes Himself known to you. Maybe it is in your devotions. Maybe it is in a text from a friend. Maybe you see something while you are driving to work and it reminds you of a spiritual truth or promise. Acknowledge it. And like those who saw Jesus after His resurrection, tell other people! Do not keep these appearances to yourself. Share it with friends, family, and strangers. Use social media. Use texting. Send a card telling someone about how you “saw” Jesus. I believe that the next 40 days can be very powerful and eye opening for many, many people.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matthew 18:20

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holes n' Souls

My train of thought doesn't make sense. At least not right away. Someone makes a comment that it's cold outside. That comment makes me think of a song. Which makes me think about my piano. Which makes me think about my apartment. Which makes me think about my fridge. Which makes me think about food. So I say to that someone, "I'm hungry". When their original comment had absolutely NOTHING to do with food.... See what I mean.... It's bad.

However, sometimes, my random train of thought has positive and inspirational creative outcomes. A few months back, a friend said to me "I want to be wholly surrendered to God and solely dependent on HIM!" Then this friend said, "You should write a poem about that." Insert Elizabeth's train of thought....

Wholly = Holes --> Solely = Soles --> Shoes = Holes in the Your Soles --> Evangelization

Totally makes sense, right?? I mean, how could I not go there? How could I not go from complete surrender to Jesus to needing to replace your shoes to spreading the Gospel? It is soo obvious....

But, for those of you who are having difficulting connecting the dots, I will digress and explain.

The act of being wholly surrendered to God is one that I strive for on a daily basis. Why I can relate shoes to this idea, is because I want to be wholly surrendered to GO wherever God wants me to go. TALK to whoever He wants. STAY wherever He wants, and BE wherever He wants. All actions that require moving or staying or doing, which in turn requires walking, which requires shoes. See? Completely logical.

So, not only does my heart need to be surrendered, but so do my feet. They are my "transportation" if you will. They get me from point A to point B. And they get me there to complete a purpose. I might not know what that purpose is, but I need to be open and ready when HE shows me. Open and ready to GO.

Now, am I saying that in order to be spirtual and righteous, we need to walk around with our toes poking out of our shoes? No genius, don't be so literal. I am not saying that in order to be surrendered to God, we have to suffer and only use broken and damaged things. Take care of what God has given you. Make sure that your resources are in good repair so that you can use them for Him in their fullest capacity. However, sometimes, we can take the idea of maintenance a little too far.

Perfect shoes without a scratch or tear are not always a sign of good stewardship. Sometimes they signify lack of use. Should you maintain good repair of your "shoes"? Of course. Do not be afraid of a wear and tear to the point that you do not use the resouces He has gifted and entrusted to you. A few holes and scuffs are normal, and they tend to show where your priorities truly are.

"Shoes" is anything God has given you that enables you to share the Gospel (HIM) with other people. "Shoes" could be your car (taking people to church). "Shoes" could be sparkly personality (ability to make friends and influence people). "Shoes" could be a gift for public speaking (preaching, teaching, etc). "Shoes" can be and are different for everyone.

The main thing to remember is this - if you want to be "wholly surrendered and solely dependent", you have to put on your "shoes" and start walking. HE will lead you where HE wants you. And HE will make a way.

Faith in action is passionate about His message, powered by His strength  and produces His life changing results .



Holes and Souls

At the bus stop I did stand, waiting for my ride,
Briefcase in my left hand, young child by my side.

My eyes were quickly glancing at the traffic passing by,
When suddenly I turned and heard my child's heavy sigh.

"What's wrong I asked", with true concern for what might ail his heart.
"It's these old shoes", he moaned and groaned, "They always fall apart."

To the ground, I crouched to look, at his poor tattered “sole.”
The flap was ripped, the edges scuffed and at the toe a “hole.”

I started to assure him, that they could be replaced,
His tattered shoes, no longer, would be to him disgrace.

When from behind we heard it, a voice so soft yet strong,
Stringing words together in a lilting, catchy song.

"The souls of men are sorta like the soles upon our feet,
If we don't tread on them with care, then holes and rips we'll meet"

My son was drawn with fervor, to that quirky little man,
He dropped my hand, with eyes lit up, picked up his feet and ran.

He climbed upon the bench and looked him straight into the eye,
Almost he asked a question, but paused and heaved a sigh.

He sighed again and then a saw a tear crawl down his cheek,
His mouth, it opened once again, this time he did speak.

He asked the man a question, what it was I could not hear,
The old man softly chuckled, then whispered in his ear.

At first, my son looked puzzled, then a little sad,
Because I couldn't hear them, I thought it might be bad.

Then I saw the dear old man, reach down into his sack,
He reached down deeper, deeper still and pulled out something black.

He placed it in my young son's hands, and whispered once again,
The frown it then turned upside down, on his face a grin.

I slowly came beside them, and sat down beside my son,
In his hands, a pair of shoes, I was truly stunned.

Not because he held some shoes, or that they weren't his size,
Because they were all full of holes, much to my surprise.

The old man looked upon my face, then looked down at my boy,
His wrinkled face was smiling, filled with so much joy.

A question burned inside of me, regarding his torn shoes,
How were they supposed to fix my son's case of the blues?

In the distance, we saw the bus, it was nearing fast,
The old man took a long deep breath, his time was almost past.

The shoes upon our feet may wear, the soles all full of holes,
But where they take us, who we meet, those should be our goals.

It's easy to put focus on the soles upon our feet,
And never pay attention to the souls that we might meet.

The holes within our leather soles can easily be sewn,
The holes within their weary souls, only ONE can own.

Our shoes are just an instrument to get us through the day,
But also, they remind us, about our purpose and our way.

Let the tiny rips and tattered heels remind you of the goal,
It's not about the holes or tears, it's all about the souls.

With that he stood, and grabbed his bag, and started on his way,
My son reached out and touched his arm, wanting him to stay.

With tender eyes, he looked into the face of my small boy,
His voice was filled with happiness, his smile filled with joy.

"Keep those shoes, dear little one, hold them safe and fast,
Spread the Word to all lost souls, today might be their last."

With that last word he turned to board and quickly found his seat,
The happy look upon his face was for the people he'd soon meet.

Once again my son did sigh, and turned to look at me,
Instead of sadness in his eyes, it was joy that I did see.

In words that I cannot forget, he said to me that day,
"We really do not need to throw my dear old shoes away"

"They will last a little longer, I can make them last,"
I knew within that moment that his childhood had past.

When we see the souls of men instead of leather soles,
It's then our focus turns and shifts to different kinds of holes.

Not the holes upon our feet, but the hole within our soul,
The one that only HE can fill, sharing that's our goal.

So when we see a worn out shoe, one with a rip or tear,
Remind yourself of another hole and the message we must share.

-Elizabeth Alm
March 20, 2013