Monday, May 23, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things!

"...when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad... I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel... so bad!"

This is so not my typical post. It's one of those posts that just popped into my head today as I was going through the motions of "life". It's a post with no real reason or challenge or good word. Nope. Simply put - this is me, what makes me tick, what brings joy and blessing to my life. So without further adieu...

1. Coffee Shops complete with good literature, a journal, my Bible, a cup of java (or green tea Frappe's) and a cookie. This is my getaway with God. My date with Jesus, if you will. And I tell you, if I miss date night, my heart feels it.

2. Nap time on the beach. I am most rested by these simple naps. All that's needed is some sunscreen (my NW paleness gets a little rosy too quickly in this Southern California sun), a towel, and some water. By far the most relaxing way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

3. QT with friends and family. I LOVE anything that involves me and those nearest and dearest to me. Whether it's a meal, a game of ultimate frisbee, churching together, or serving alongside each other, when I'm surrounded by friends my heart is blessed abundantly.

4. Having an "ah ha!" moment with Jesus where the Spirit hits me to my core and I can't help but share what new revelation just happened. SO good!

5. Friday nights with the roomie (and her bf if he's around) complete with red wine, dinner, and movies or chat time on all things philosophical.

6. Music. People often think my taste in music is a bit, how do we put this..... odd. I like the sounds of techno, with a bit of salsa mixed in. I enjoy everything from folk to hip hop, country to new age. Alternative to Bach. I've a plethora of music on my iPod ranging and not limited to: Yanni, Hoobastank, Justin Timberlake, Garth Brooks, DJ Doboy, Enya, Michelle Branch, Angels and Airwaves and just about everything in between. And I LOVE it! :-)

7. Listening to podcasts while getting ready for the day. Yes, I am one of those nerds. There's nothing like listening to some of the great preachers of today. Such wisdom, such perseverance, such gusto to share the Truth of Christ to all.

8. Dancing. This too ranges from the cheer dances of back in the day right down to salsa or ballet. I attempt all of them at different points in my life. And may I just say, one of the best places to get your groove on is the shower. I'm just sayin'.

9. Doing anything in nature - outside of the busyness of this thing we call life. Whether it's camping with friends or a Sunday drive up to a random canyon and hiking it alone - there's something restful and rejuvenating about being in creation. It's a powerful experience, to say the least.

10. Watching something prayed for, hoped for become a reality. Whether it's my friend's gym going from a dream to a real life business, broken relationships restored, or my own mom's healing - I see the hand of God in so many things and am truly blessed by the tangible evidence of His hand at work. It makes me want to pray all the more and ask for the Spirit to intercede more. Jesus let me not be quick to forget your goodness and grace.

11. Traveling to new places. There is such a bug in me these days to get out more, to travel to the places I've always wanted to go. Europe beckons me, Israel calls me home. Africa and South America - all of them just fascinate me. What are the cultures like? What are the people like? What's their history?? Oh Lord let me see this world of yours... and let me see it with your eyes.

12. People watching, especially my friends. I absolutely love the honesty of life in community. I love watching my friends fall in love with their significant others. I love watching them learn and grow. I'm blessed to watch people once lost, now found, speaking of their salvation experience and bringing others into it. I am gladdened (is that even a word?) by new friendships and those friends making connections with other friends and building their own community.

These are just a few of my favorite things... there's so much I love and this is only the beginning. Thank you Lord for the gifts you give and the simple joys of life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Heart Break Love

There's something gut wrenching and life changing about heart break. It hits us to the core, rocks the very foundation of our soul, and we're left with a sea of questions and "what if's". For some reason, tonight the phrase "heart break love" has been going through my mind over and over again and I'm not quite sure what goes on with my heart when I hear it. But I had to put words to the deep heart change I felt the first time the phrase went through my mind.

Heart Break love for another. The deep, unrelenting love that seems never to go away no matter how hard you try.

But this heart break love I experience today is so much more than the broken heart found after the death of a relationship. No, this heart break love is the love I so desire to have for this world. The kind of heart break love that calls us to action. The kind of love that Christ has for a hurting world. We often pray "Let my heart break for the things that break yours, Lord." But how often do we take this phrase literally? How often do we see, sense, and feel the heart break love that the Lord has each and every day of our human existence?

Open my eyes to the heart break love of a family torn apart, for all the broken hearts. Let me have the heart break love for the lost that know not what they do. May I have a heart break love for the women of this world battered and beaten just for being alive. May I experience the heart break love for the children who lose their lives before they even know what's happened. Father, give me the heart break love that only you can give. Let my heart see and know the things that hurt you deeply. Give me the courage and the strength to step in and be the love they need in the midst of their deepest pain. Let my soul yearn to touch others - give me the hands and feet of Jesus, I pray. Spirit, prompt my heart to action. And let heart break love become my way of living.

Heart Break love for all that is Yours. May it be!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Let me preface this post with: though my dad and I have had many years of brokenness and disagreements - he is now a man of faith in Christ who has slowly been growing through the pains of the decisions made.

Tonight, I sat with a group of amazing people at a table, at a class all about doing Life with God. Ironically, the class is duly called "Life with God". Tonight's talk was all about God as Father. And the 1st thought that ran through my mind, even before my friend Matt started speaking was, "oy... what a difficult and confusing subject to speak on." The questions started rising, "if God is good - then why do I experience this or that?" "If God really loves me, then why did this happen?" "Is God the Father like my own father? Because if so, I don't know that I'd want much to do with him."

And the list goes on. However, the night progressed, the talk began, and I saw that each and every one of us has some sort of view of God - many of which are tainted with the crap of life. It may be that we need to perform in order to gain His love. It may be that we somehow need to buy His love. It may be that we feel abandoned. Or it may very well be that we lack a humanly father example of what a heavenly Father full of grace and mercy may look like. The latter is where I lie.

For much of my life, my father has been absent, sometimes physically absent, but most often emotionally unreachable. He was the man that went to work each day, came home and ignored his family, only to go out again the next day and continue the cycle. When my dad would speak it was full of harsh words or criticism that left a little girl wondering her worth. "Am I worth protecting daddy? Am I worth loving? Am I beautiful? Am I your little girl? or am I the annoyance that I see in your eyes? Am I your greatest disappointment? Will I ever get it right?"

Then the abuse came, the punching, the strangling, the throwing down the stairs or across the room. The anger in his soul overtook him and soon left him family-less. And for all those years after the divorce, I felt abandoned, unprotected, vulnerable. I felt utterly alone and the lack of care and provision given by my father drove me to a life of independence, that even to this day I struggle with.

Year after year I felt I had to somehow prove myself to this man that wasn't even a part of my life for 12 years. I was the people pleaser - the girl that never asked for help and did it all on her own. I didn't seek counsel - I just did life.

And slowly, my heart turned away from the voice of the Heavenly Father calling me to His purposes. I didn't trust this "father" in the sky. I didn't know him, I didn't tangibly see his "goodness", I didn't know if he would just abandon me like so many others had. So I ran from Him. I tried so hard to hide myself from Him - proving that I could do it on my own, relying on no one, especially Him. And you know where it got me? Into a relationship with the wrong boy at the wrong time. I was seeking my identity that I couldn't answer from my own earthly father in the eyes of some boy who was just as flawed and scared as I was. Needless to say that relationship ended - and the funny thing is after the fact I so desperately desired for my dad to somehow come to bat for me. To somehow go to that young man and tell him "you don't mess with my daughter - you understand?"

The fatherly role has been such a tangled mess in my own life. I've tried everything to fill that hole that only God the Father can fill. And slowly, over the years, I've realized something. I can't equate my earthly Father to my Heavenly Father - for there's no comparison between the 2. I've literally had to painstackingly re-draw my outlook on what a Father is. And to this day I still have moments with the Lord where I'm afraid to talk with him, I'm afraid to be real with him - to fess up to the sins of my life. There's still moments where I'm trembling in the corner, silent, waiting for him to come smack me on the side of the head or throw me across the room to get his point across.

But God is so much more tender and gracious than that. It's not in His character to do bad to his children - He's not in the business of harming us. Though life may throw us some pretty hefty curveballs sometimes, we can know and trust that He's always working all things for His good - even those things the enemy means for evil. God is merciful. God is patient. God is just and kind, compassionate and loving. He is trustworthy beyond compare. And I don't really know how to explain this reality unless Christ is in the middle of it all. For Christ has somehow given me the eyes to see the perfect love and forgiveness that only the Father gives. His spirit intercedes for us, His grace is sufficient. He loves us - adores us - smiles with us, laughs with us, cries with us, and does life WITH us.

Oy - there's a lot in this post.... I leave you with this:

There is FREEDOM in the FATHER as there is with the SON.


Take a listen to my latest fave song: