Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Facebook

So,
it has been a whole year now
since this http://tammydykstra.blogspot.com/2008/12/reality.html
365 days of no facebook.
and if you know me well
you know that i enjoyed this very much.
it was so good for me to be able to let go of something that had become far too important to me
and i am so pleased to see that i was actually able to remain faithful to that commitment.
true, however,
there were times when i would use a friend's login to look at certain pictures or to find information that i otherwise would not be able to attain.
but derek's message a year ago was a blessing
and a wake-up call.
reality has hit in many more ways
and God has been far more faithful than i
i'm grateful for the last year and what i've learned.
and i think it is time to open that door again and see how it goes
[knowing full well that deactivation is an option at any point!]
so, i'm back.
we'll see how long this lasts
:)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jesus

Yesterday didn't seem like Christmas
for some reason

maybe because my attitude was all wrong,
but more so apathetic.
i was not prepared for the day
because i failed to fix my eyes on Him...

I want to be able to say what Paul said
"I resolved to know nothing while i was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

it is only ever the times when i'm fixated on things apart from Christ
that i see my peace or my confidence or my joy slip away
and i hate days like that

it takes a day or two to recover.
when will i ever learn the importance of the morning watch that andrew murray writes so passionately about and that will so adamantly holds to and this pattern that Jesus so faithfully lived by?

Jesus Christ and Him crucified...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Next

We are excited to be winding down a bit for Christmas
(We get 10 days off)
I am going to take a little trip to St. Louis for a few days to see a good friend
(I can’t wait! Katie, I hope this trip is for me what your last trip to GR was for you…perspective, freshness, and answers…)
I am just finishing up finals- my 5th college semester
And I’ve found that it was all a little much this time around
Too busy [not in general, just in relationship with everything else]
A break is going to be very welcome.
And at the Boiler Room
I feel like, for me at least,
God is giving me eyes to see the value of the seeds that have been planted,
Whether they are dormant for now or not, I can appreciate their power
And His power
For our precious Dave and Tony Montana and Michelle Montana [but not really Montana] and Joe and Marvin [I’m excited to see what reawakens in him while he spends the next years back in prison: his self-declared mission field]
His arm is not too short
His people just need to be persistent.
In faith.
Night and day.
Give Him no rest.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow

Charla made me go outside with her last night
at 10pm.
it was cold and wet and cold and windy and cold.
"oh, its just so great, tam!" she said
"its like a little piece of hell," i responded (as echoed by john dewey across the street).
but it really was great
because we were out.
and so were a few neighbors.
and it was such a cool sense of community
in 10 minutes, we got to have conversations with 3 people that we don't usually get to talk to (one lives right across the street, one lives right next door, and one lives a few houses down.)
but there it happened.
actually, we met Mykwenis (sp?) for the first time.
She's lived here for 3 months, with her fiancee (they're getting married next friday!) and 4-year-old son.
it was an unexpected little treat.
because i really didn't want to go outside.
but then, i guess blessings come though obedience, not ease.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lincoln

“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.” -Abraham Lincoln

Welcome to my world.

quotes

favorite quotes from our dave

"not a doubt in my military mind"

"the plot thickens...and the saga continues"

"you think i'm jivin'?"

"can you feel the flavor?"

"i just look like this"

"i could be wrong...but i kinda doubt it."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

dave cont'd

but i should explain in his defense
(although there is no excuse for the way he behaves sometimes)
he's been quite honest with us
in moments of sobriety and humility
he's scared to death.
he owes $39,000 in back child support,
most of which he racked up while he was in prison.
he's divorced
with one daughter, jenny.
he's stuck in this cycle,
fighting with the Friend of the Court.
he owes $39,000
and has no possible way of paying it.
he lives under a bridge and has no job
although he served in the navy for a while
(and is so proud of this)
he collects cans which will never amount to $39,000
and sees no hope of ever finding freedom.
so when he thinks about this
and knows there's that perpetual warrant out for him
and nothing he can do about it,
it is this hopelessness and fear that point him to the only thing that has provided any solace in the past.
these substances that we've become so familiar with.
Natural Ice (the tall cans, of course), heroin, vicodin
dave doesn't know Jesus.
yet.
but when that day comes,
so does hope.
just maybe that day is today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

dave dave dave




this is exactly the kind of story that i hesitate to write for the simple fact that stories like these are the first to travel back to mom.
but i promised a few weeks ago to do a better job of painting pictures of real life on the westside.
so paint i shall.
tonight.
dave.
sometimes God has to paint pictures too,
so creative He is,
so that we can really understand what he means when He says things
like what He said in Ephesians 6

FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, AGAINST THE AUTHORITIES, AGAINST THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD AND AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS.

dave's folded over on the couch in the prayer room.
i walked in a half of an hour late
and he passes out and wakes up periodically
each time forgetting what's going on.
and what's going on is raw worship and prayer and declaration of who God is
and there he sits making random comments
and comparing danmike's guitar playing and charla's piano playing to some obscure artist that no one has ever heard of
and he proceeds to throw crackers at jordan's face and giggle to himself
(making it difficult for me to contain myself, simultaneously)
but he's peaceful
and then passes out and wakes up again
with an entirely new demeanor
and a contrasting vocabulary
and very little peace at all
raging and roaring
and it is so immediate and abrupt and unpredictable
that we just know that it bears the image of the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world
danmike and then jordan overflow with grace
(grace that dave didn't deserve)
speaking truth and the blood of Jesus over dave and every bit of who he is
knowing that the reason that we can love like this is because of the freedom that Jesus bought for us
and the reason that we can love with this level of hope among hopelessness
is because
it
has
never
been
about
us
or what we can do, say, recite, give, pray, hear, be, sing, make
but because the God that we live for
is sovereign
and He says things like these (from Ezekiel 36)

IT IS NOT FOR YOUR SAKE THAT I AM GOING TO DO THESE THINGS BUT FOR THE SAKE OF MY HOLY NAME.
THEN THE NATIONS WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD WHEN I SHOW MYSELF HOLY THROUGH YOU BEFORE THEIR EYES.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT DOING THIS FOR YOUR SAKE, DECLARES THE SOVEREIGN LORD.

and it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
and it is this freedom that allows us to really love dave.
because
we don't have to save him
we are not responsible for him and his salvation
but we are responsible to him

TO not FOR changes everything
because the cross changed everything.

and the guys are still out on the front porch with dave
for now a much calmer and gentler dave
and its 43 degrees

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Six

11.15.09
This day marks
six months in.
Already.
Hard to believe, really.
I had no idea what i was getting into.
I thought I knew.
But then I like to think that I know a lot of things...

I guess I'll sum up this past half-year with what I think are the three greatest things that I am beginning to learn.

1. Love.
This demand for selflessness, for time, and for an attitude that chooses to look at someone and see a person that is just as valuable to the world as I am, or maybe even to see someone as more valuable than I am (depending on the amount of confidence i have at any given time).

2. Community.
Ah, people.
They can bring out the best and the worst
and simultaneously teach me the very specifics that I must know about myself and my future relationships.

3. Discipleship.
How essential it is to have godly men and women in our communities who fear God, know Jesus, and follow His Spirit's leading.
I am finding that I desperately want to be one of these.
And I want to be active in lifting up and endorsing other women as they seek to love God and people with everything they have.

Because more
and more
my eyes are opened to understand
that my life is not about me
and my comfort
and my security
and my reputation
because in Him
I have it all.

[before I started to understand all of this, life was hardly worth living]

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Focus

As the weather gets colder and wetter, we seem to have more visitors to our prayer room in the morning and at night (when we're there praying)
Our Dave has been frequenting and just the other morning our friend Dennis joined us.
And the great thing is that a fresh spirit of unity joins as they enter.
The focus of our prayer becomes clear
and we have had the opportunity to speak value and hope over people who have never known it
and belonging and love to people who have felt alone for decades,
as they walk the streets of Grand Rapids and as they sleep under bridges,
as they collect cans like I saw Dave collecting from the trash cans around Grand Valley on Thursday night.
If people learn nothing else from us but that Jesus looks like acceptance and hope and freedom, then I could spend the next 10 years here.
Or maybe I'll love and continue learning to love people somewhere else.
We'll see.

Friday, October 23, 2009

surprises

24/7 wrapped up tonight
and 45 minutes before closing prayer began,
my front driver's side tire made an impressive attempt to leap from the place where i very much prefer that it stay.
so there my four precious wheels wait until tomorrow when someone will likely move them all to a shop for a little work
and it is the sweet little surprises that remind me just how well He takes care of me
when Johnny is so willing and available to help
and my schedule just so happens to be completely empty this weekend
and then i think about worrying
and then i think again
because it has never helped before
and He has never been unfaithful before
and its a real treat to be able to rest,
even and especially in times like these

harvest


another week of 24/7 prayer wrapped up tonight
and it is always bittersweet to see it end
bitter because it is so exciting the faithful and the new friends come down to our little place, settle for an hour or so into the prayer room
and then later to hear the stories of how God revealed himself
and sweet because we can settle back into our rhythm of morning prayer
and an even earlier morning alarm
(which i have come to love and anticipate)
but now we wait for the harvest that He has promised...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hytta


Or is it spelled Hytte?...

Let me just explain
real quick
it was one of the best 24-hour periods that i have had.
by myself, which i love
a couple good books,
a journal,
lots of questions
and answers (or direction)
and rest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

offering

living in community
did i ever say this is easy?
i had an idea coming in that i was taking a chance of God wrecking my comfortable world
the Westside itself is nothing compared to what i have learned living with a new family
people who are amazing,
but yet not like me
they don’t think like me
or see things the way i see them
or prioritize what i prioritize
and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with this
but it has been a difficult couple of days (if not weeks)
and the problem is probably my heart
i'm learning to understand myself and where i have come from
in order to understand why i can become so frustrated at times
and the more i spend time at home with my family (my biological family)
the more i realize how i love and how i feel loved
my mom and dad have loved me well
and they have loved my brothers and sisters well
and i have learned that love looks like acts of service
and words of affirmation
some time, an occasional gift,
but mostly the awareness to see a need and meet it without it being asked
i have had life so good
parents who work hard
and would do anything for their children
and i see how much they did expecting nothing in return
simply pouring out in selfless service
so that we will learn by example
and this is what Paul models too,
declaring his life to be a drink offering (Philippians 2:17)
given completely in love
and then his disciple, Timothy, says the exact same of his life,
learned from Paul’s example (2 Timothy 4:6)
the Old Testament describes a drink offering as something that is poured out on a sacrifice for God (Exodus 29:40-1, Numbers 28:7)
[so maybe pouring myself out on behalf of someone else is a way of interceding for that person’s life to become a sacrifice to the glory of God]
and this is the sacrifice that Paul demands of us in Romans 12, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
and the OT passages talk about an offering and a sacrifice as something that is “pleasing to God,” but Romans says, “holy and pleasing to God.” What changed? Why holy? Jesus.
because He changed everything.
and it is because of Him that i can love and i can pour out and i can learn to love with the humility of Jesus.
Andrew Murray says, and Jenn often reminds me, that the type of obedience that Jesus had is possible.
he wouldn’t call us to it if it weren’t.
1 Peter says that we were have been chosen by God for obedience to Jesus
and Jesus says that we will do the things He did and greater, but He only did the things that He did through obedience to God’s will
and this by the most sacrificial love

Monday, September 21, 2009

Art


Art Prize at the Boiler Room
(thanks for the pic, Phil)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Story

i've realized recently that i don't update very often on things that explain life at the boiler room.
so i'll try to do a little better at that.
little stories here and there can always add to the ongoing story...

so here's a shorty:

a friend of ours from the neighborhood
(who shall remain nameless)
is a recovering alcoholic.
he was living with some other recovering addict-friends of ours
and a few days ago he fell off of the wagon.
and this morning i was on call
and two of these nameless friends walked through the yard.
so i talked to them for a bit
and we tried unsuccessfully to check their email
and we watched our artist friend as he painted
then i had to go to work.
and one of these two friends asked me,
"Tammy, if i get my life cleaned up, will you marry me?"
"Um, no," i answered him, "but i sure would be proud to be your friend."
"Ouch," he said, with a smile...
i laughed. later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Struggles

I was reading Jeremiah 2 last night.
And God started to speak.
And it was just the perfect moment.
It wasn't late enough where I felt like I could go to sleep,
but yet I was desiring God's Word.
So I took a minute to ask Him what I should read before just pulling the old flip and point system.
Jeremiah 1:5 came to mind, so Jeremiah it was.
And it is not even that there was anything so specific in those chapters that stood out.
It was just simply that I made myself available and, like David, sat before the Lord, waiting
(2 Samuel 7:18)
And He just had all kinds of truth to pour out,
like
its okay to struggle.
and i'm not sure how i ever got it into my head that i need to be at a place of complete contentment before He will give me the desires of my heart.
He was pretty clear. its okay to struggle. in fact, realistically, I'll have struggles until the day I see Jesus face to face.
Like D said, we'll never know fullness until we see Him, and we'll never be completely content until we're with Him.
And so I guess for the first time I can choose to embrace these struggles as things that make me human, things that constantly remind me that my citizenship is in heaven...

Milton

"Preaching the gospel to myself each day mounts a powerful assault against my pride and serves to establish humility in its place. Nothing suffocates my pride more than daily reminders regarding the glory of my God, the gravity of my sins, and the crucifixion of God’s own Son in my place. Also, the gracious love of God, lavished on me because of Christ’s death, is always humbling to remember, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Hell I deserve."









"On the most basic levels, I desire fullness, and fleshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire. They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fulness will be mine if I give in to their demands. When my soul sits empty and is aching for something to fill it, such deceptive promises are extremely difficult to resist.

Consequently, the key to mortifying fleshly lusts is to eliminate the emptiness within me and replace it with fullness; and I accomplish this by feasting on the gospel. Indeed, it is in the gospel that I experience a God who glorifies Himself by filling me with His fullness. . . . This is the God of the gospel, a God who is satisfied with nothing less than my experience of fullness in Him! . . .

Indeed, as I perpetually feast on Christ and all His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free. Eyes do not rove, nor do fleshly lusts rule, when the heart is fat with the love of Jesus!"


“The deeper I go into the gospel, the more I comprehend and confess aloud the depth of my sinfulness. A gruesome death like the one that Christ endured for me would only be required for one who is exceedingly sinful and unable to appease a holy God. Consequently, whenever I consider the necessity and manner of His death, along with the love and selflessness behind it, I am laid bare and utterly exposed for the sinner I am.

Such an awareness of my sinfulness does not drag me down, but actually serves to lift me up by magnifying my appreciation of God’s forgiving grace in my life. And the more I appreciate the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of my sins, the more I love Him and delight to show Him love through heart-felt expressions of worship.”

"God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness. The wise believer learns this truth early and becomes proficient in extracting available benefits from the gospel each day. We extract these benefits by being absorbed in the gospel, speaking it to ourselves when necessary, and by daring to reckon it true in all we do."

[Some solid quotes from Milton Vincent]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have

Have Your Way by Britt Nicole

It feels like I’ve been here forever
Why can’t You just intervene?
Do You see the tears keep falling?
And I’m falling apart at the seams.
But You never said the road would be easy
But You said that You would never leave
And You never promised that this life wasn’t hard
But You promised You’d take care of me

So I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way.
Just have Your way.

When my friends and my family have left me,
And I feel so ashamed and so cold
Remind me You take broken things
And turn them into beautiful

So I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way.
Just have Your way.
Even if my dreams have died,
And even if I don’t survive,
I’ll still worship You with all my life
My life.

And I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way.
Just have Your way.

I know You will.
I won’t forget
You love me.
Have Your way.

Control

I was imagining what it would look like for me if I were to go to church tomorrow and get baptized (which i'm not planning on).
I would get in that water and Rod would ask me why I want to get baptized.
And I would probably start crying.
To make a declaration before my brothers and sisters and my spiritual family
That I have tried to make life happen for myself and
It has only lead to bondage, stress, and worry.
[Not that it is really this bad anymore. He’s working.]
Somebody said once that worry is the result of us trying to control the things that we can’t.
and I guess that this is how God has been revealing Himself to me:
as the One in control.
And it sounds so simple, but it has been such a challenge to believe it.
And the other challenge has been believing that the One in control is worth surrendering my life to because [and this is the challenge for me]
He loves me.
He knows my heart.
He knows the desires of my heart.
He desires to bless me.
He is passionate about giving good gifts to His children.
And I’m seeing that the times when I plead with God for my desires and He doesn’t give me those things- this isn’t because He isn’t good or because He doesn’t love me,
But because He knows so much better.
And He’s asking me to trust His wisdom: His heart, His timing, His will.
And when I worry or try to do it myself,
This is me believing that I am greater than Him, that I know better than He does.
And I do this a lot.
And He’s gradually, consistently, and painfully yet lovingly digging this out of me.
For which I am so thankful.

Disciple

I woke up this morning pleading with God for a boy that I know.
He’s hurting, scared, desperate, lonely.
But you wouldn’t know by looking at him or talking with him.
Because he fights to look strong.
But he’s told me that he would love someone to disciple him.
In fact, he asked me to do it, which I would in a heartbeat if only he weren’t male…
But my prayer, my appeal to the Lord is for a man who has a heart for the Westside, who is confident in and reliant on Him, who has a hunger to see wholeness and healing in one person at a time, and who would take this boy once or twice a week and
just spend time with him.
Love him.
Laugh with him.
Share life with him.
Pray for him.
Be Jesus to him.
And teach him to be Jesus to one more…
I cannot understand why God hasn’t met this need.
Since this family has been crying out for weeks, if not months…

Monday, August 10, 2009

Credentials

I have no clue who you are.
But I know that when I first notice you
It won’t be because of your credentials.
To throw me a list of all of the things that make you great will matter so little
Compared to where your heart is.
Where do you turn when life is hard?
Where do you turn when life isn’t hard?
These are the things that will make me to notice you.
When your strength isn’t enough, whose is?
Mine won’t be.
I promise.
Do you speak life?
Are the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart something to be proud of?
Do you emanate integrity?
Are you respected? (Worthy of a seat at the city gate?)
Are you willing to humble yourself when necessary?
Do you keep your word?
Are you faithful?
There’s not a résumé in the world that could ensure a strong character.
But need.
There’s that.
And surrender.
And obedience.
These are what I’m looking for.
Show me those.
Then I’ll notice.
Because this process shouldn’t be hard.
It’ll make sense.
And I’ll want it because it will be beautiful and restful and
It’ll be worship.
As it should be.
So I’ll trust in Him,
And keep waiting…

ps. i post things like this with the assumption that no one except for a few (i think there's literally 5 of you) friends or family read my blog...so...i hope you'd let me know if i ever post anything that seems inappropriate for the internet! thanks :) tjd612@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fail

Acts 5:38
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

in my experience, i have seen that we fail. a lot. i fail a lot.

and it is interesting to see in this passage that failure is a result of human origins,
a result of us trying to do things in our own strength...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who

getting inside my own head is what J calls it.
i can spend too much time just thinking. and thinking. and thinking.
beyond what is productive.
and there are these days when i just dwell on things. and on the events of the day. the things i did well. more prominently though, the things i didn't do well. people. words spoken.
reading into everything.
it goes past the point of enjoyable thinking and reminiscing.
it becomes burdensome and overwhelming.
and we all do this. girls, especially.
so i've been praying about this and asking what am i supposed to do?
this way of thinking and dwelling and- more so- trying to answer all mysteries for myself-
this has become such a habit.
and i'm realizing
that as God continues to prove himself faithful over and over again,
He alone holds all of the answers that i'll ever look for- not that he will see fit to give me all of the answers

this idea from Deuteronomy 4 and Jeremiah 29 has met me with such freedom this week,
and i know that as Psalm 37 says, if i delight myself in Him, i'll find the answers i keep hoping for.
so, delighting myself in Him-
this is so much harder than simply going the way of the world.
it is so much easier to just make things happen for myself,
to walk into something, although unwisely,
to pursue a relationship without waiting for God's perfect timing,
to go to school to get a degree and provide for myself,
and i have almost come to hate when people tell me that i'm great for living this life, for giving myself to love and ministry (not that i do either well), for making pure and right decisions for my life...
and i don't know how much more i can say
that this is what EACH of us has been created for-
and it is only by God's grace that my heart is His.
and that this is SO not something that has just come naturally.
i have had to make choices.
and sacrifices.
and i've cried- a lot- over the things that i can't pursue for myself, like everyone else, because God has His timing
and i've chosen to let go of plenty
and am no better or worse than anyone else.
i've only received grace. so much of His grace.
and i've chosen to respond to it.

and i would NEVER trade this life that He's given me for any life that I could have built for myself.
but it has absolutely taken a humility and a willingness to let go and to turn my focus.

and this is where i was going when i started writing...
my focus, my thinking and dwelling- gets me into trouble.
it is only in choosing to turn and look at God that anything (and everything) falls into place.
because i've found that when i choose to take my focus off of myself and look to Him, the world makes sense.
i have to ask who am i? a mess, defined by mistakes and failures and weaknesses
but who is He? perfect, strength and love.
and i'm going to trust that He knows all
and hopes the best for me
and has the best for me.
because this is who he says He is.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Benjamin




He's here, he's here!
Benjamin Michael English
6 lbs. 7 oz.
19 inches
2:30 pm, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Updates...

1. An apology

Dave returned about 24 hours after our little confrontation.
"Look Tam, I owe you the deepest apologies. I was totally out of line. I am so sorry. I am totally the problem, not you. I'm the problem; me and my addictions."
And this was an interesting 24 hours indeed.
I spent most of the time battling with myself to forgive him, but really really really not wanting to.
I flashed back to a sermon, not sure if it was Joe Stowell or Rod, but either way, the idea was that when we hold a grudge, we're essentially saying that someone owes us something, but to forgive is to cancel all debts and live in peace and freedom with those around us.
And last week while studying Matthew with Tony, Char, DM, Jordan, and Michael Scott, we read through the The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

__________________________

Matthew 18:21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

_______________________________

2. New neighbors

Terry, April and their 3 little ones, Sierra, Savannah, and Trent, moved in next door a few days ago.
They are very friendly indeed and their children are sweet.
We are looking forward to getting to know them more, and hoping to share our biggest joy with them as well as our neighborhood.

3. A successful few days in the kitchen

Sunday night: My Couscous and feta stuffed peppers
Monday: My and Jordan's garden-fresh zucchini bread
Monday night: Charla's amazing Penne alla vodka (and we usually whisper the vodka part)
Tonight: We await to see what Jordan's cooking up...

4. And some new babies

Charla's sister, Mindy had her little boy, Jonas Christopher
And my Jana is having her little Benjamin...today!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shift

after 2 months the honeymoon stage just may be wearing off.
i guess i didn't really expect it to as things, until now, had seemed to get better and better and better.
God freed me from a lot of fear, especially in the first 2 weeks.
i've seen a lot of addiction.
and pain and anger and frustration.
but it was never directed at me.
we saw dave as a man of peace- and in sobriety, he was a man of peace.
but yesterday was different and i'm still not sure why.
usually dave's a bud light or natural ice kind of guy. the big cans.
maybe that day saw the vodka or heroin?

(and for us
it may come down to simple consistency and boundaries.
jenn has highlighted to me the seriousness of sabbath
and the struggle is to reinforce this idea with people who don't understand)

so he let himself in in the middle of the day, as he has been doing for months,
as if it is his own home
he yelled about his frustrations
he proceeded to ask for food
and i tried, in love, to explain what it means for us to have a sabbath,
but that didn't seem to connect with him.
this is when i asked him to leave
and he yelled and started the name-calling.
following him out, i locked the door behind him.
i was angry, and if i'm honest, i am still trying to decide if i want to forgive him

even chuck ("white chuck" as anthony calls him, so as to not be confused with "black chuck") feels quite entitled as well, but only ever knocks and waits for the door to be answered
but dave is a unique character.
when sober, he really is like family.
conversation is pleasant and often educating.
he cleans and washes dishes and is quick to carry anything that needs transporting...
he goes grocery shopping with us.
he goes to the cottage with us.
but yesterday was odd.
he has felt entitled to this house for so long...
so there has been a shift.
and there needs to be another.
and some boundaries.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

continuing

these days i am
needing humility more,
wishing i could be everyone's best friend,
loving this weather,
feeling burdened for friends who are hurting,
appreciating the comfort of good friends,
rejoicing in a season of strength,
anticipating a season of weakness in the future and
trusting God's hand in it,
delighting in healing and answered prayers,
finding joy in a community of people who share a common hope.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Share

all in a week.
i have experienced such peace in knowing that i am where i am supposed to be.
and wondering
if i'll ever want to leave here.
dinner tonight, for example, eating with friends,
laughing, sharing our lives, being honest about who we are and what we're about-
then all the sudden remembering that i used to categorize these brothers
alcoholic. homeless. addict. dangerous?
and now i look and i just see brothers.
yes, still addicts, alcoholics, homeless.
but so much more friends and neighbors. people. just as valuable. just as purposed.
these people that i am so blessed to be able to share life with.
to hear their stories, to be allowed into their struggles, to have the opportunities to intercede on behalf of them.
and to see "being the church" become so real over the last two weeks.
this becomes an addiction-
by the grace of God-
that i never want to be free of.
as He begins to transform my idea of His heart as Father
and as He begins- yes, only begins- to teach me to love as He teaches me of His love for me.
and as undeserving as i am
in my pride and selfishness and pessimism
He
proves Himself to be the one thing that we know we can run to at our most desperate.
not just a prayer room.
not magic.
a place of love and desire and purpose.
and as much work as the last five weeks have been,
i hope that the rest of my weeks look like this.
seeing people transformed and hungry and hopeful because of Love.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

acknowledge

there isn't really any one specific thing that i can pinpoint as the cause for whatever this is that i'm feeling lately,
but i will just try to explain.
tomorrow marks a full month that i've been here.
and i cannot question that i'm supposed to be here, because i know.
however, my frustration comes from this feeling of impassable selfishness.
and exhaustion.
and when it comes down to it, i'm sure it is pure desperation for God's presence and His filling of joy and the ability to love by His power.
and so- to pinpoint the problem is one part
and the solution is another.
stepping towards the only One who can fix the problem.
but how, especially when lack of will and lack of desire get in the way
and maybe they don't just get in the way, they own the path.
then what?
i guess this is when i have the need to choose it- regardless of how i feel,
regardless of what comes easily.
because the Christian life definitely doesn't come easily.
i have had these times where my heart (or mahart) knows exactly what i should do,
but my mind, will, emotions, or maybe its just my flesh- have no desire whatsoever to do that which i know i should,
to the extent that i have to scream and cry because there is no frustration like the one when your heart and your soul are in conflict.
but i know this experience isn't just limited to me.
David talks about this too,

Psalm 42:5
"Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?"

acknowledging the disagreement between the heart and the soul,

"Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God."

choosing to dwell on the truth of ultimate reality, that God is the one place where hope can be found, that He is worthy of praise- always- because He has redeemed,

"My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar."

committing to focus on the ways that He has proven Himself faithful.
so.
many.
times.
before.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

With

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
just to take him at his word
just to rest upon his promise
just to know 'thus saith the Lord'

Jesus Jesus
how I trust him
how I've proved him o'er and o'er
Jesus Jesus
precious Jesus
oh for grace to trust him more

I'm so glad I learned to trust him
precious Jesus, savior friend
and I know that he is with me
will be with me to the end

Jesus Jesus
how I trust him
how I've proved him o'er and o'er
Jesus Jesus
precious Jesus
oh for grace to trust him more

Jesus Jesus
how I trust him
how I've proved him o'er and o'er
Jesus Jesus
precious Jesus
oh for grace to trust him more
oh for grace to trust him more


[Casting Crowns version]

Joshua 1:5
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Poor

i have this desire
for God to completely change who i am.
the desire of my heart in this moment is to be a person who speaks words of life and truth.
only life and truth.
and to be so poor in spirit that i walk in a constant state of humility.
i appreciate God's faithfulness so much more in these seasons,
even his faithfulness in granting us the things that we ask according to his will.
spiritual inefficiency.
he gives it freely because it is his desire for me.
and it doesn't make me happy to be poor in spirit.
but it feels better than everything else.
this is joy.
and it is in these rare moments that my steps intersect and align with reality.
the purpose of my life, and yours,
is to look like him to a world that doesn't have a clue how much it needs him.
a world that strives and strives for happiness...rather than joy
and for a temporary, easily-accessible satisfaction...
rather than permanence.
i agree that i must become less
and he must become. so. much. more.

he>me

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pranks

(Part III in a series of catching up)

Yes, i know i am at least a day late with this one.
And yes, i know that i am skipping a bit on community.
That may need to come later.

A slightly more interesting deal is this thing that was going on since before i moved in.
i believe it all started because the boys; Michael, Daniel (aka Dan Mike), and Jordan; have a fascination with hiding around corners and scaring people, for the sake of catching a reaction i guess. (i, however, would never do such a thing)
for a few days, Charla was the lone female in the house but this did not stop her from retaliating when Michael and a few extras crumbled up old bread into her bed.
So she proceeded to compile a stew of rotting foods that had been left in the back of the girls' fridge for months.
This treat was placed underneath Michael's bed in his and Jordan's room. As Charla waited for the putrid mass of nastiness to be discovered, i moved in. the waiting went on for a few days until we got the idea to conceal inside the heating vents a few pleasant diapers from our little 2-year-old friend. finally, they found their gifts.
the next tuesday morning, we hit the road for minneapolis.
upon arriving home monday morning at 2am, we discovered that our precious boys had returned the favor.
i'm not sure i have ever smelled something more dreadfully nauseating than the smell that erupted from our living room as we ascended the stairs and opened the door early that morning.
raw chicken stuffed behind the refrigerator,
as well as in the closet, and inside the stovetop,
rotting cheese in the vents,
and souring half & half under the couch.
Mmm. fantastic, yes?

and now the deal is that the girls may strike one last time before we call a truce.

this shall be interesting...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adoption

(Part II in a series of catching up)

So, last week Tuesday we set out for Minneapolis for a gathering of 5 boiler rooms.
Grand Rapids, Tulsa, Kansas City, Madison, and Minneapolis were all accounted for.
It was fantastic to connect with others who are trying to do life the way we are.
Then from the boiler room gathering, we transitioned into the national 24-7 gathering.
(Of course, we had to take an afternoon to check out the Mall of America)
Then the 24-7 conference.
It consisted of meeting yet more really amazing people who love Jesus.
We stayed at North Central University for those few days.
We worshiped with Ben Pasley and Carla Adolphe from Enter the Worship Circle,
and we listened to teaching from Joe Steinke, Ben Pasley, Linnea Spransy, and Adam Cox.
The most significant message that kept emerging throughout the weekend was this idea of adoption and sonship and identity.

Ephesians: 3-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world
to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and will
to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

And it is so much more than what we do- or what we don't do.
It is this hugely simple idea that we are loved because we exist and because He has chosen us to be His children and He has chosen to be our Father.
And this idea of Father needed to be defined as well, as most of us have fathers that are not perfect and this clouds our understanding of who God is as Father:
Pure. Delighting. Patient. Kind. Compassionate. Listening. Selfless. Love.
Ben Pasley beautifully illustrated God's Father heart for His children and His passion for just being with us and spending time with us, as a perfect father would.
His delight is in our joy, our peace, our confidence because He knows we only have these things because of His involvement in our lives.
And then Adam Cox. He talked about the Garden of Eden and what it was like for Adam and Eve to walk with God in complete freedom and joy and confidence. Love.
He laid out the desire of the devil to keep us from seeing and believing God's love.
He explained that we cannot possibly live in the freedom of being fully identified as a child of God if we fail to see and accept God's overwhelming passion and selfless love for each of us.
And so this is a challenge.
trying to accept and understand this more every day.
And finding the fullness of this relationship for which i was created.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Moved

(Part I in a series of catching up)

Ah yes, i have moved.
Friday May 15th, i relocated to the Westside, downtown GR.
i'm living at the Stockbridge Boiler Room as an intern for a year-ish.
Learning to love, and serve, and be selfless and patient and confident and content.
Selfless, patient, confident, and content don't come too easily...
and yet
it feels good to be on my own...ish.
However, living in community brings its own challenges.
It will become like family in many ways
but still
this will never equal 23 years-
in the same house,
spending every day with the same 7 people,
having everything in common-
for the last 23 years.
i have a whole new set of personalities to learn,
i have trust to earn,
memories to make,
relationships to build,
and comfort to achieve.
this means new ways of communication.
it means learning things about myself that 7 people didn't notice for the last 23 years.
it means adjusting,
compromising,
trusting,
learning,
giving,
sacrificing
in a whole new way.
and i have had to answer this question,
"am i willing to go through the work and the struggles and the discomfort in order to grow and know Him more?"
i debated.
but the answer was not unclear.
my selfishness clouded it for about a year-
but in those rare moments of clarity and revelation, this answer is never more obvious.
so i'm here
and i'm supposed to be
and i can never question it.
and it becomes even more clear when i recognize the little blessings.
Charla singing her heart out in worship just a room away,
Jordan offering encouraging words and joy and a trip to the Farmers' Market,
Michael simply available- for good conversations and meals and laughing,
Daniel serving in whatever way possible and proving so faithful to God's Word and heart
and Tony, Jenn, Max, Lily, Bea, and Ezra just a yell away
(as Ez so passionately illustrated yesterday morning out the window as he voiced his desire to be without clothes, "Naka!")
and Dana and Chip and Phil and Allison and Ian and Naomi and James and Wendy and Bryan and Shyla and many more people that are around often...
So it is good.
and not because i'm happy (which i am)
and not because i have everything i need (close)
and not because i know exactly where my life is headed (no idea)
and not because i have everything i want (definitely lacking a few things here),
but because this is where i know i am supposed to be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Much

so much to say
but i have no idea where to begin

i'll try for a series, maybe
moved
adoption
community
pranks
child

and it would probably be good for me to set deadlines for myself or i'll never follow through
so then, every 3 days for the next 2 weeks,
i promise to write and fill you in

Monday, May 4, 2009

Keeping

2 Corinthains 8:5
And they did not do as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and then to us in
keeping with God's will.

John 15:10
If you obey my commands,
you will remain in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and that your joy may be complete.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sobrinos

(My Addi and Colin)

Dress up!

"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

He can laugh later...after he forgives me...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LEVITICUS

If anyone knows where i can get a copy of the Leviticus series that Rob Bell did a few years ago, please let me know...
Thanks!
ps. i already emailed someone at Mars Hill and they said that teaching is no longer available, so if you know of anyone who already has it, that'd be great. thanks.

Entrusted

So then,
men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as
those entrusted with the secret things of God.
I Corinthians 4:1

This has been one of those concepts that i am still working to grasp.
Being entrusted with the secret things of Him.
A friend said once that the things that God speaks to us as individuals are to be kept as precious secrets like those things spoken between a husband and a wife.
And i really struggle when i have something so huge on my heart-
But i'm learning that it needs to stay between He and i.
And i'm sure there will be a day when i can share much of it all, but today is not it.


secret |ˈsēkrit| adjective
:not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others

So- i am keeping some secrets
And thinking about it all and praying about it all
And asking Him to keep me aware of where my heart is.
And i'm thankful that i have friends who keep secrets until they are released from them and thankful that God has a plan and timing that are impeccable.
Yet, i know that the more i delight in Him the more satisfied my heart will be.
And so delight becomes my desire-
Whether it includes the things that i think i want or the things that
He knows i need.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prize

It has been absolutely incredible to see the ways that God has moved in my life.
And all this simply because I asked Him to.
And I only asked Him because I was so thirsty for what is Real and Lasting.
And I was only thirsty because He made me to be.
Because He loves me that much. (and you)
And I often can’t believe this.
And what’s more, when I get the chance to sit down and reminisce on all of the details of how He has brought me to where I am, it just confirms all the more that this path that I am on-
the one on which I am running after the only thing that will ever matter-
is exactly where I want to be.
And this is where I will be until the day I see Him.
The One Whose grace was and is completely sufficient.
The One Whose blood has replaced the garbage that I have clung to- and I’m sure much that I will cling to in the future.
I just look back and think of all that He’s done.
I used to live for that day when I would begin a relationship with a man who would define me.
This is what the world told me to live for-
identity in people-
and I just may have followed suit.
This relationship would have been my trophy, my idol, my prize.
I remember clearly- a year ago- I couldn’t wait to be in a relationship so that I could post it on Facebook and watch the comments, questions, and congratulations roll in.
And I sit here now- completely single, and so incredibly thankful that He, in His wisdom, protected me from that which I wanted so badly, that which I thought I knew so much better than He.
He has removed so many things from my life.
And He has replaced them with the honor of knowing Him- so very little at this point, but nonetheless, the most precious gift I could ever have.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ahead

thinking about a series of interesting things these days
moving- and all the changes that will come along
school- and the future of it all
fear- and how desperately i want to not care about it
love- and how i am hoping it will define who i am and what i do

[will finish this later...good night]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Smile







Photo walk with Jenna on the westside...made my week.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lanes

You need to watch this clip.
It is so good I considered posting it under a 2-word title,
but I just couldn't take that step.
Maybe some day.
This is about the emerging church.
A little somethin by Mark Driscoll.
Watch- and comment please-
I'm interested in what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58fgkfS6E-0

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Belong

There is no height or depth
Neither life nor death
That can take me from all that I find
Here now in Your Glory Lord

No other powers or love
The things of now or to come

There's nothing on earth in this life
That could ever separate us Lord

Your Love is never ending
To your hands we surrender
Where all our sins are washed away
Your Grace beyond reason
Has paid for our freedom
We're made alive in You


We run to Your Throne
Where we belong
Every heart will sing
That Jesus is Lord
Casting all else aside
For the joy of our Christ
Let Your Glory fall
Our hearts are filled with Your Fire

No other powers or love
The things of now or to come
There's nothing on earth in this life
That could ever separate us Lord

"Where We Belong"
Hillsong

Friday, March 27, 2009

Asked

I asked.
For humility.
Still trying to decide if i regret it.
But i don't think i do.
He's faithful, though.
And i knew that when i asked.
However.
Now more than ever-
I am convinced that my only hope is in Him.
And His return.
And His grace.
Again and again and again...

An almond branch.
Watching.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Week

Such a fabulous week...
in such an odd sort of way.
Decisions.
Prayers.
Time with Jesus.
An easy week of school.
People.
Community.
Amazing fellowship.
Questions.
Waiting for answers.
Love.
Intrigue.
Excitement.
Contentment.
The Word.

So. Much. More...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More.


כִּי־טֹ֣וב חַ֭סְדְּךָ מֵֽחַיִּ֗ים שְׂפָתַ֥י יְשַׁבְּחֽוּנְךָ׃
Psalm 63:3

Better.
More.


"I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread."
Job 23:12b

Help

So I love this boy.
This child.
A picture from 1 Peter 2.
I love him inconsistently.
God places him on my heart seemingly sporadically,
and I pray and I pray and I pray.
and i cry and cry and cry.
Oftentimes I try to be in touch, often with no luck.
But I think that I try to carry this burden a lot myself because God has given it to me.
And I don't want to talk about it-
because most people don't understand.
and I don't want to burden anyone else with the severity that I believe has developed.
But he has given the burden to my mom too.
And the rest of my family.
I try and try to be positive about it, praying, and hoping.
But the truth is that positivity is hardly an option anymore.
Everything in me tells me that this is at a point where it is worse than I would imagine.
So, yes, I love him.
Even though it hurts to do it.
But I'm asking for prayer-
that God would take hold and go crazy with him.
I trust it and I believe it and I imagine it.
But I want to see it.

2"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Simplicity

I am so good at complicating things- everything, really.
Then in these fleeting moments when I see things through clear eyes.
He lets me see how simple He intended life to be.
I see prayer.
I see community.
I see rest.
And I'm hungry for it.
But His timing is perfect and His plan is best.
And He has complete control of my heart and I have to choose to keep handing it over.
It is moments like these that these dreams and hopes that I've clung to seem worthless
And just being with Him is the only thing that makes me happy.
Being with Him is the most restful place,
and people make it practical.
Accountability is what C calls it.
7 am.
Beautiful.
Simplicity.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Words

Some great words:

histrionic |ˌhistrēˈänik|adjective
overly theatrical or melodramatic in character or style

asinine |ˈasəˌnīn| adjective
extremely stupid or foolish

fubsy |ˈfəbzē| adjective
fat and squat

osculation |ˌäskyəˈlā sh ən| noun
kissing

uxorious |ˌəkˈsôrēəs; ˌəgˈzôr-| adjective
having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife.

panjandrum |panˈjandrəm| noun
a person who has or claims to have a great deal of authority or influence

pensive |ˈpensiv| adjective
engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought

twee |twē| adjective
excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental, cute

http://wordwarriors.wayne.edu/list.php

_____________

My favorite quotes from my 2-year-old niece, Addi:

"Do you wanna pee on my pee?"
"No! Don't take Dr. Cowin!" (Colin is her 13-month-old brother)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friends

The "just friends" stage is a pretty big deal.

And what I mean by this is that it is frustrating to watch how quickly people are willing to jump into a relationship, simply to have someone.

And I really mean jump. Especially at small Christian schools...especially Bible colleges.

But this hasn't really been on my heart much,
at least not this frustrating side of things.

Instead, I've been witnessing the patience of some of those around me.
I've been watching. Always.
And I see people stepping up in terms of relationships.
I see men who really get what it means to love.
I see men who are not willing to cave into the pressure that comes from all sides.
I see them taking the time and investing, just as friends.
And we (girls) hate this. Or so we say.

But I think we secretly love it.
For a man to put in the time and the energy, not even sure yet.

And.
I think its an incredibly lazy way out when a guy cannot be patient.
Because if you take the time to get to know her, you'll learn a lot more than you will if you just jump into a relationship with her.
And we all dislike the times of uncertainty. But this is when God can become everything, and strengthen the foundation for what may be to come...

She might be impatient, especially if she can't even tell if you like her.
But that's what makes you a man. This sets you apart.
Its your call to make her wait (and I think you should).
Take the time to observe and become objectively aware of who you are walking towards.

Observe for a few months, the way B did, because his patience allowed God to give him everything he wanted. And now he plans for a wedding.

Pursue the way D did without giving her reason to think you're after anything more than her friendship. This allowed for her to keep the walls down, and now he has her heart.

Don't get hearts involved unless you're sure.
And make sure God is just as sure. Okay? Okay.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Caused

Deuteronomy 8:3-
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna,
which neither you nor your fathers had known,
to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

He humbled you.
He caused you to hunger.
Then
He fed you.
To teach you...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר

Personally, I feel really confused about what God is doing in my life right now.
He seems distant and quiet.
And it has been a long time since this was the case...and I hate it.
I feel really lonely, and this is rather new to me.
I have some really great friends, but it is just becoming more clear that great friends will never be enough, just like a great guy will never be enough.
And I just want to cry every time I think about how I feel because I don't understand where God is.
And this makes it extra hard because I KNOW He's right here. He promised to be and He has always been and will forever be perfectly faithful...but it just becomes a whole new way of embracing the Truth when you have to tell yourself to believe it.
I feel like it's my fault because for the past week He was very clear that I needed to be spending serious time with Him- and by serious time I don't mean that I needed to be striving to be with Him, but I needed to be intentional about making time to be in His presence, resting in His presence.
Because- to quote a friend, "this is where real rest is." It is being in His presence, coming with nothing, not bringing this human effort on which I have become so accustomed to depending.
So I guess this is where I am now.
I'm here, with nothing, because I've been trying to come with my strength and my will and my longing but it just falls short. Every time.
So its these tears that have a mind of their own, and this brokenness that suffocates my pride, and this emptiness that I despise because He has ALWAYS filled me before...
I guess it is these building blocks alone that I can bring because everything else is drowned out by Him.
And the amazing thing to me is that I can't blame Him or even consider walking away because these struggles just make
so.
much.
sense.
If I know anything about the lives of the "heroes of the faith," specifically Paul, and David, and Job
I have to trust that [somehow] when I'm at my weakest, I'm the strongest.
(And it always proves so true... later.)

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Psalm 42:11
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Job 13:15a
"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;"

דברים 8:2
וְזָכַרְתָּ֣ אֶת־כָּל־הַדֶּ֗רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֹלִֽיכֲךָ֜ יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ זֶ֛ה אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר לְמַ֨עַן עַנֹּֽתְךָ֜ לְנַסֹּֽתְךָ֗ לָדַ֜עַת אֶת־אֲשֶׁ֧ר בִּֽלְבָבְךָ֛ הֲתִשְׁמֹ֥ר אִם־לֹֽא׃

So I press on...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Training



For the 5K in March.
The "Irish Jig"
Keep me accountable :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Compartmentalize

It just happened so gradually that I didn't even realize
If you would ask me,
I would never tell you that real life can be lived,
dividing what I do from my relationship with God,
But somehow this is how I was living.
And if it weren't for that conversation I had with Jemimah a year ago,
I would never have known what was happening.
God was silent for a while.
And I don't know if you have ever experienced God's silence
But its miserable.
Its not that He's not there,
Because He promises to be Always.
But I've experienced His silence
And its misearble.
And lonely
And it feels hopeless.
But He does it because
He loves us that much.
I am more and more convinced that when life is hard,
God is the most real
And the most near.
He knows that I know that I can't do life without Him.
But somehow I have found myself making big decisions and taking big steps-
Controlling my own life-
Without His blessing.
So I wondered why I wasn't enjoying life
And I wondered why I wasn't happy
And I wondered why He wasn't speaking-
And when we call,
He answers.
Every time.
Every.
And He said it quite clearly.
And I am finding that I need to bring everything before Him.
Every decision.
Every step.
Every dream.
Lay it down at the cross.
And wait.
Wait for Him to approve.
Or disapprove.
And this requires me being willing to let go of-
Anything.
Everything
if He asks me to.
So I'm waiting to see what's next.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Update?

I know I am due for another post-
probably overdue.
So I'll try to summarize what's up.
Colin turned 1.
He had a great little party...
where he apparently contracted conjunctivitis.
Yes, pink eye.
And Addi got it too.
So the rest of us are only hoping not to...
Kristi is home.
This makes the sisters happy.
And brothers.
And mom.
And dad.
Etc.
And Nathan- or Nate- moves up next month.
And he visits tonight through the weekend.
This makes Kristi happy.
And the rest of us, but her the most.
I am thoroughly enjoying my classes this semester.
Abnormal Psych.
Hebrew.
Biblical Foundations.
Writing in Culture.
Family Interactions.
I love school.
I hate- I hate writing papers.
More than I love school, I love Jesus.
I love spending time in the silence.
I love spending time in His Word.
I love getting to know Him- not just about Him.
I love how much He continues to teach me about myself.
I love His discipline.
Humility.
Peace.
Freedom.
Joy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Led

"And when my Spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way
Jesus led me all the way"

-Chris Tomlin

Monday, January 12, 2009

Qa-na'

God has been turning my world upside-down
and at the moment, i think i hate it.
He asks for these things that I don't know how to let go of.
i literally feel helpless, desperate, weak.
but when i'm weak i'm supposed to be strong.
so then i wonder what that feels like...the strength in weakness.

He is strong.
He is faithful.
He is good.

And i know that He is doing what He's doing- tearing open my heart and changing everything- because He's jealous.

This is what qa-na' means.

And i've been studying this word. it appears quite a few times in the old testament as "jealous" but it only appears 6 times in one specific form of the word. each of these 6 times is in the context of God demanding that His people have NO gods before him...

And He is so clear and so serious- as I have come to understand-

so this word (the rarely-used form) is defined as "jealous, pertaining only to God, describing His desire for exclusive relationship." -And this according to Strong's Strongest Exhaustive Concordance.



I'll take a moment and be honest, as I said I would a few weeks ago, because this blog needs to be a testimony of His grace and His love and His constant involvement in my life...

I have idols. people. things. dreams. i cling to them because i feel like i have control there (even though i totally don't). God asks me to be done with these things and make my heart ALL about Him

and (as i listen to "hurricane" by Jimmy Needham ironically) I've been observing Him g r a d u a l l y removing anything and everything that is in the way of His completely having my heart.

And this is all because He is so incredibly jealous for what is His...

and it is absolutely His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
but I believe that it is our brokenness that must accompany...

And maybe this is me learning what actual surrender is all about.
To surrender ALL of my hopes and dreams into His hands, trusting in His perfect plan, but fully pursuing HIM and being pursued by Him.

And I would never do it any other way- because those other ways have proven themselves empty.

and He proves Himself faithful again and again when I ask Him to break me, and to show me, and to change me.

but i will admit, this is not so fun.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Holy


Tony wrote once about an hour in the prayer garage where he quickly tried to get the kids settled and busy so that he could get on to the “holy” stuff (and then he went on to explain that God quickly redefined that mindset).

And I just know that this will be a struggle for me this semester- because it has been the past few years.

I want to spend time with Him- sorting out what I am thinking and feeling about life, reading His Word, praying for people, hearing His encouragement, but I have come to realize that it is in the things that He asks of me on a daily basis that He will further reveal what He says to me in the quiet times…

So to take the time to be fully present and available with the kids that I take care of, to do my best whether its cleaning, writing papers, studying for tests, listening to a friend…

this is Him opening my eyes to His heart a little more…


Integrity

“The issue is rarely about what you do, it’s about where your heart is.”

And the huge question I’ve been asking myself lately is “What is my initial response in a moment of weakness? Where do I turn?”

Jess, Emma, and I have begun this Bible reading plan with our church and the very first reading was Job 1-2 in which God allowed everything to be taken from this man and Job finds himself answering these same questions.

And the astounding thing to me is that, the Bible said he “fell to the ground in worship.” His gut instinct is to go to the Lord. He doesn’t even turn to his own wife. But isn’t this what we naturally do? I mean- don’t we naturally turn to people, specifically those of the opposite sex who affirm us? And I won’t say that this is wrong because the Lord created us for community for a reason, but where do we turn first?

I know this wise and beautiful woman who was telling me recently about her relationship with a really great guy. She could talk for hours about him: how well he treats her, how God-focused his heart is, how he’s growing by being in God’s word for hours on end. But she makes it quite clear that she has found his relationship to be…not enough. A man- even a really great one- just can’t be everything that she needs. That’s not to say that their relationship will end any time soon- if ever- but it screams of our need- my need- for my Savior, the one who knows my heart fully and who alone has amazing plans for my life. And its only ever good to learn things like this but it only breaks my heart all the more to see how easily we women (and I’m sure men too) place our identity in each other when there has always been and will always be One who is so much more fulfilling.

But then it becomes my choice so many times each day to have integrity or not.

I’m faced with that same choice over and over again- to dwell on things of man of things of God- and choosing His ways are so much harder but the difference is that His ways are permanent, fulfilling, and SO MUCH GREATER than mine.

And I haven’t once regretted following Him.

Welder


This is a word that has stared me in the face for a couple of years now. A great friend labeled me with this term and I've just recently come to realize how right she was.

I have found great joy in connecting people with people. I love to introduce people, watch them connect, and then step back and let community happen. But what will He do with this?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Slippers



I feel like Dan Mike.
But I love these slippers.

They remind me of blankets, tea, and pomegranates.
And of God's faithfulness...

Psalm 119:75
"I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,

and in faithfulness you have afflicted me."

Psalm 78:34-35
"Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;

they eagerly turned to him again.
They remembered that God was their Rock,
that God Most High was their Redeemer."