Sunday, January 24, 2010


Here are my TLP's for this weekend.... I promise I won't do this all the time. It might get old. But tonight, I wanted to blog (since I've missed it so much), and really, have nothing more on my heart than to share the wonders of God's love for us. So, without further ado....

How God reminded me of His love this weekend, aka, TLP, part II.

1. & 2. For that matter, are the same. Fellowship.

Saturday it was through the fellowship of two amazing friends, both "Loaded Potatoes" and wonderful, amazingly funny and cool women of God, who I am still astounded that I even get to be friends with. They're that cool. As we sat at Starbucks, latte's in hand, talking about vulnerability and relationships and independance and Him, all I could think about was how God has given us not just friends, but truly a body, made up of many parts, that is His church. For we share in the joys of friendship, but are brought together spiritually through the blood we are mutually washed in. And all of this for His glory and our joy.

Yet today, as I buckled against the fears and issues I have with feeling left out of the loop, or purposefully ignored, I found solace in the comfort of my married friends. During this time of interpersonal struggle, I stopped to pause, and think that no matter what our labels are, single, married, old, young, popular, a loner, whatever, we are all God's children, part of His body, and are made to work together, ascribing no one as a lesser member, but honoring all equally. Tough to do sometimes, when personal feelings come into play. How do we not show favortism to those we love, or get along best with? How do we show honor to those that we'd rather ignore? Fellowship isn't just the fruit of an action, the benefit of what God calls us to. It's a job sometimes too. Something to work at, and be disciplined about. Something He desires for us, has created us for, and we grow greatly, and sometimes difficultly through.

There is joy in fellowship - all kinds of it. The joy you get when young kids want to spend time with you, and think you're special. Crazy kids! The joy you get when you can spend sometime hearing from parents, or grandparents, and gleaning from their wisdom and love and seeing life from their more experienced perspective. There is much to be learned in fellowship, much that can stretch us. Sometimes it's just the act itself, of being in fellowship, that can be stretching, as this sometimes self-appointed loner can attest to. But this weekend, not only am I joyfully glad for the privilege of sharing in it, but I'm praising our wonderful Father, who in His wisdom and forethought, created us with a need and desire for it. Well done, Dad, well done.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Love Project

So, as anyone within a ten foot radius of me in the last month well knows, I’m a huge advocate of asking God how much He loves me. I must sound like a little kid to Him, constantly asking Him “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?”. “Hey, me again. Do you love me? Ok, just checking.” Ummm, insecure much?

Yeah, I totally am painfully insecure, and am not a person who realizes she’s loved easily. Even when people will tell me that, tangibly, to my face, as in the case of my amazing bestie K, I often think it’s more lip service, and something we say like “I’m American, therefore I’m Christian”, than the real thing. For instance, “I love you Trin” translates in my brain as “I put up with you, cuz we’re friends. And you’re just ok”. But what does it really mean to be loved, wildly loved by the Creator of this universe? That’s something I’m still discovering, through the beautiful relationship my Heavenly Father has cultivated with me.

I ask Him all the time to remind me He loves me. And sometimes it’s through pink sunrises and Newsboys songs that He answers me. Sometimes it’s through His word, like being reminded that “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17 or something). Other times it’s an inescapable feeling of peace and being cradled in the palm of His great big hand, like one of those Anne Geddes pictures of tiny babies dressed up like vegetables and what not. Usually that happens as I’m falling asleep, and I have to tell you, there’s nothing better to fall asleep to. At all.

But this past weekend, a speaker at a retreat I was at shared something that at first I thought was totally cheesy, but has been on my mind to do today. I’m gonna call it “The Love Project” and I’m totally ripping it off from her.

Here’s the 411 on The Love Project. Every day I’m going to write a different post-it note to myself, with one way that God shows me how He loves me. This is great, because I just got a brand new pack of super-bright, Caribbean color-schemed, Super-Sticky Post-It notes. Thank you Jesus & 3M. They're the classic 3”x3” size too. I do get a little fanatical about my office supplies, I’m not gonna lie to you.

So, Thursday I did my first one. My first TLP note, and I dated it and in my heart, I said “God, what’s one way I know you love ME?” And I wrote down “Pink sunrises and the perfect Wreck from Potbelly”. Come on let’s face it, I’m not always the deepest.

But I know that for the next few months, or years or however long this goes, I will have plenty of fodder, plenty of stuff to write down. Here’s a few that come to mind, to get me started:

  • Ummm, helloooo.... He died on the cross! Dur.
  • He didn’t just stay there, but He rose again, and is making a place for us to be with Him forever.
  • And I’m pretty sure it’s gonna rock.
  • He Reigns by the Newsboys
  • Pink Sunrises
  • Jeremiah 31:3&4 “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.”
  • The smell of babies’ heads.
  • Chloe, when she smiles at me. That baby has an amazing, light up the room smile.
  • Every time Celia asks me to have another sleepover at my house.
  • Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
  • A hug from M – she really means it & holds on tight.
  • Glee songs
  • Romans 8. All of it.
  • Falling asleep to tears as I know He holds me (see cradled in the palm of His hand reference above)
  • Hearing from K that she’s still my best friend and biggest cheerleader
  • The perfect Campfire Mocha, with lots of marshmallows.
  • Knowing that He does not deal with me according to my transgressions, but has given me a huge heaping measure of grace and mercy, beyond what I could ever deserve, ask for or imagine. I am sooooo not punished like I need to be. Whew.
  • Just stopping to think about it all. His love, that is.
  • Going to the MIA.
  • Art in general
  • Colossians 3:12-15 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
  • Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Buble…. And the knowledge that if God has a husband for me, I just haven’t met him yet. Look, God supplies all my needs according to His riches in Jesus Christ, so if I really needed a husband, well by golly, I’d have one already. Till then, I’m not sweating it …. I just haven’t met him yet, or ever, but either way, good song, great God.
  • Being called “kid” or “kiddo”
  • When people guess my age, and they get it wrong, thinking I’m younger than I am. Ok, I’m vain, I know. But I can thank God for good aging genes, can’t I? There’s joy in being content with what God made you look like. Yeah, I want it to be better (skin care product freak, getting back to the Y!!), but I thank Him when I think of looking 5 or 6 years younger than I really am, and only having one grey hair.
  • Defying Gravity, or for that matter, a good Aria.
  • All Creatures of Our God & King.
  • The way Caravaggio painted Christ.
  • Laughing with T - well, really just when T laughs
  • Shivers when I worship
  • Tigers – and not the kind you find in your bathroom, but just the way they move and their soft orange slinkiness
  • Snowflakes – the big, crystalline kind
  • Loaded Potatoes – the girls, not the food
  • Fireplace fires
  • Finding money in the back pocket of my jeans.

There’s more y’all. Lots more. And maybe some of this is a stretch. I mean, Glee songs? But, the point is, there are just some things that bring me joy, and make me stop and thank God for them.

I know that He could have given us a world of grey nothingness. No beauty. No sunrises. No tigers. No snow days, No Caravaggio. No light, no bright, no music, nothing that was beautiful or awe inspiring, or even that just makes us smile. But our God is, among other things, indescribably beautiful. And He delights in making beauty and watching us enjoy it. He loves music, and joy, and smiles, and all good things. He has created a lot, and said it was all good. He gave us the ability to smell, to feel (touch), to taste, to hear, to see. I acknowledge that He’s got an amazing sense of humor, probably rocks out to the songs of the saints, and adores babies and puppies. How awesome is He?

And that makes me love Him – as Stephanie Smith sang, not for His wonders, but for who He is. I am crazy in love with a God that loves life that much. And you know what? I’m pretty sure He loves me too.

So I Did It!!!

So I did it. I got up there and spoke last weekend. For those of you just tuning in, to my life not as much as my blog, I mean at Village Creek Bible Camp (shout out to EYE-OH-WAAHHH!!), and at the All Girls Retreat.

In retrospect, what was the big deal anyways? Well, really, I think my nervousness was more about what God was doing in my own life, with desiring vulnerability and authenticity from me than a fear to speak publicly. Add to that the fact that I’ve been, for years now but also more recently, hiding my fears and perceived weaknesses about who I am as a woman, behind sarcasm and “being cool” and I think that He is working in me to break these walls down before I even got up to speak. As He began revealing these areas of desired submission and surrender to me in the last few weeks I realized it was more growth with and through Him that I was nervous about, than a bunch of spazzy junior high girls who didn’t get ONE of my jokes or pop culture references. Man I felt old.

But, it went well, I suppose. I had the much valued support of K, R, T & M in the audience, and their great big smiles kept me going, as a visual reminder of how my Father was smiling down too. Most of all I just wanted to share the fact that He has a Love Story with all of us, with me, with you, with these girls.

As a basis for some of what I shared, I used the love story between God and Israel as exemplified by Gomer and Hosea. Oh Gomer, you crazy ho! Yet, how much are any of us more faithful than she was? And because God is good, I knew later on in the weekend that He was desiring this story to be told, when one of the other speakers for Sunday began speaking out of the same book. Granted she prefaced it with tons of comments like “Nobody EVER speaks or preaches out of Hosea”, and “I know you guys NEVER hear from the book of Hosea, so this must be new to you, but … “ It was all I could do to not laugh and think “Oh sweetheart, if you had been there, not even 12 hours ago, you would have heard the exact same verses, and been able to see God’s goodness, as He speaks the same message through two totally different people”.

But my quiet snickers and chuckles must have said plenty, because before I knew it, H was kicking my chair and keeping me in line. All I could think was “Good thing Matt’s not here”. Yeah, I may be asking God to work in my life, but getting off my sarcastic, too cool for school high horse is going to be a project for months to come.

Anyways, I digress. Getting back to Hosea and Gomer. In the few days since I’ve come home from camp, I’ve been asking the Lord to make my personal relationship with Him more real in my life than it’s ever been. My big fear is that I will use this relationship with Him as a source of inspiration to draw from in ministry, or He would be the One I go to when I need something to pull out of my hat or to get the things in life that I want. Instead, I want to fall more and more in love with Him daily, and love Him as I would my dearest and bestest friend, even more than a husband or lover. Today, as I was praying that, and asking Him to remind me to love Him more, this song came on, this song that I love, and that sometimes says it all. Man, God’s timing is perfect!

Of Minor Prophets & Their Prostitute Wives
by Pedro The Lion

All the time you were burning my letters
you were only acting the part
You think without me you'll get on much better
but you don’t even know your own heart

Come home, darling
Come home quickly
Come home, darling
All is forgiven, so come home quickly

I treated you as if you were a princess
you treated me like a cop
I gave you boundaries to save you from certain death
dangling from the end of the rope

Come home, darling
Come home quickly
Come home, darling
All is forgiven, so come home quickly

But your still playing for a love
you'll never find outside of these arms of mine
The whole town is one step behind you
with the hang man on call
They've got the judge and you're convicted without a plea
Darling, they will listen to me
Darling, they will listen to me
Darling, they will listen to me

The fact is, we serve an amazing, awesome God y’all. And His heart is solely focused on our continued, deep relationship with Him, as the foremost most important aspect of our lives. We’ve all walked away from His love, even as Christians, seeking other gods, other loves. But there is nothing He will not do in us to bring us back to Him, in the desert, where He can speak love and tenderness to us.

Looking back at the last few months, and of course hindsight is 20/20, I can clearly see how He’s been moving and pushing me further towards righteousness, growth and personal relationship with Him. Oh, not to mention, once again, that awful, icky V word – vulnerability, but I think that’s another post for another day.

I can see for sure that He really isn’t going to let me get away with not being the woman He’s calling me to be. I’m grateful for His faithfulness. And I trust Him. Implicitly. So, since this is Your desire, God, I guess all I can say is “Bring it on”. You say “Darling they will listen to me”, but I am saying “Father, I will listen to You.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bright Shiny Objects

I think I'm a slave to bright, shiny objects. Not the real, glittery bird distracted by the sunlight off a piece of foil kind kind of things. But that's what I call the all the little things that are grabbing my attention from God at rapid gun-fire like pace these days. Those things that are sooooo effective at taking away my attention from the one true thing I'm trying to drill into my thick skull lately, and that is just how much He really loves me. Really, really loves me a lot. And how I'm called to act in light of that amazing, undeserved love.

There's not many, but man are there enough. Glee on dvd, sleep, a big crush, trying to learn my new job at work, the overwhelming desire to peruse the sales rack at the Gap. Oh, the Gap, with their trixy little "Take up to 70% Off" sign that lingers out front, beckoning with it's subtle font and understated lettering. Curse you Gap - you get too much of me to begin with. But no matter how minute and trite, or how meaningful any of these things are (Who am I kidding? With the exception of work and the crush, they're all a bit shallow.), they all seem to grab my focus and attention with a strength and powerful vice-like grip that only lots of prayer can break.

I'm speaking at an All-Girls retreat this weekend, and probably by the time this posts all my friends are going to be sick and tired of hearing that I'm nervous about it. A good friend reminded me last night that I have nothing to be nervous about, but little does he know. Oh little does he know. I plan on sharing my testimony there - the full waterworks of what God has done in my life and how out of His great, big, tremendous love He has redeemed me out of a past filled with abusive parents (crrraaaazy abusive parents), years spent chasing affection and attention from guys in most unnaceptable ways, and the belief system that true acceptance came from what I did or looked like or acted like when I thought people were watcing. It's a sad, messy story, and I'm about to share it with young women and staff members who I admire and respect, and who frankly, I don't really feel like being vulnerable and honest in front of. And I'm going to do this while trying to convey the beautiful message of how much our Lord really loves them, and calls them Daughter and Bride, even when it's a message it takes every ounce of my own energy to hear and comprehend. The neat thing is - the truth must be said, for if I didn't rocks would cry out His love.

Sadly, as I'm prepping for this weekend though, whether reading or writing, all I can I keep thinking is - if I get up there and tell this story, I better make sure I at least look good, so I better hit up the Gap this week and see if I can find something cute to wear, like those new skinny jeans or new boots, so they don't think I'm a total loser and not hear a word I'm saying because the sweater I'm wearing has pill balls under the arms or my recently outgrown jeans are too baggy and have grandma butt. Oh, and while I'm at it, how about another episode of Glee, to help me relax and laugh as I try and unwind after my hectic, stressful day at work. Yummmm, Caribou. Yeah, that.

URGH!! I'm telling y'all, bright shiny objects. These are not necessarily bad things, but these are the things that are keeping me from spending even more time with the Lord, and getting the full weight and gravity of what He is doing, and wants to speak to me. I love hearing His voice, that still small whisper. That unmistakable whisper that speaks to my heart with wisdom, comfort and power. If I could just throw all the bright shiny objects to the bottom of the sea, I'm sure then I could hear that voice much louder. But who am I kidding?

Because through it all, despite the ways that even today I have messed up, and been distracted, and walked away from the soft whisper of God's loving voice, I know in my heart, and in my head, and with the full confidence to share, that Christ's love for us is so vast, and deep that oceans of oceans of oceans couldn't hold it. The heavens themselves, full of stars and mysteries, cannot contain it. And my measly little distracted, girly mind cannot comprehend it, truly, ever. I can't throw away all my bright shiny objects. They'd just reappear like some scene out of Groundhogs Day. Some of them I would never want to throw away either - I like my job and that guy I have a crush on. But I can just ask God to turn my attention from those things that compete for my eye and focus it instead upon Himself, waiting there, patiently, silently, ready to whisper, ready to speak, ready to love.

If whispers looked like vapors, or fogggy air breathed on a cold winter's night, I'm pretty sure that God's whisper-like voice would sparkle like diamonds and snowflakes on silvery clouds of light. And for now, that is one bright, shiny object I want to sit and stare at all day long. Oooh, look .....

Back In Black... Or Something Like That.

It’s been a long time, and I feel I must apologize. I’ve been “out of the loop” with writing here lately, and it’s nothing that I’ve done, or you’ve done, as much as just some logistical crap, which God is finally bringing me past. But I’m back, and I’m committed to turning over a new leaf with a few things in 2010, and blogging is definitely one of them.

If it helps to know, at all, I have a huge fear of vulnerability. And blogging here lately has been a source of vulnerability in my life. I’m pretty sure the world would be shocked to know that despite how headstrong, independent, and confident I may ever come across, deep down past all the facades, I’m surprisingly vulnerable and timid, almost to the point where it can be paralyzing. I keep telling y’all, I really am shy!

Vulnerability is defined as “capable of susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon, moral attack, criticism or assault”. I’d go so far as replacing “capable of” with “fear of” – or at least that’s how I’d define it in my own life. In the case of blogging, I have been fearful of criticism, or even repercussions, but more pointedly, of just letting myself, my innermost thoughts and my feelings be known to someone who I decisively did not trust and believed was out to hurt me. Someone who I found out was reading my blog. The whole wide world can read this blog, since it’s out there in cyberspace for all to see, but the moment I found out this person was, I withdrew like a turtle on a hot Florida highway, into my shell, hiding from danger and real life.

But even the most timid of turtles must come out sometime, or risk being run over by a big semi-truck, carrying genetically modified citrus fruit to a state where none can grow so that by the time it gets there it’s lost all nutritional value…. Or wait, analogy gone too far!

What I’m trying to say is this – God is doing too much in my life for me to be timid about people who might want to hurt me. He is my great Protector, and though I must always exercise good judgment and caution, and discernment in the decisions I make, I cannot keep silent about who He is or what He’s doing, and more than anything lately, I really want to be blogging about what He’s doing in my life. So there, deal with it. Ugh!

That, and I really just miss writing. It’s cathartic. It’s therapeutic. It’s part of who I am, and how I express myself, and the woman I want to be. A writer. A really, really good writer. We’ll see. At least this is a good start. You're welcome.