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Walls of Jericho

The idea of using walls as a protection isn't a new idea -- if you look back through the years, many of the ancient civilizations we study in school built walls. Ancient cities used to build defensive walls around their cities as a way to fortify and protect their homes from potential threats.

Walls are great at protecting what is inside the walls and keeping out what is not meant to be inside.

What happens when walls are a hindrance? When they keep out what is meant to be inside the walls?

There is a song Mansion by the rapper NF that God has used repetitively in my life. There is a part that says:
So this part of my house, no one's been in it for yearsI built the safe room and I don't let no one in there....But I didn't build this house because I thought it would solve ´em [problems]I built it because I thought that it was safer in there Throughout my life, I've experienced abuse, abandonment, pain and more and, as this song says, I built my own mansion and stayed…

Lessons from Heartbreak

I remember the first time I saw him, in class in 10th grade. I sat behind him because we had to sit alphabetically. He was a popular kid, and I wasn't. He ended up leaving our high school and I didn't see him again, until the summer after our senior year.

We reconnected because of MySpace. The first night we became "friends", we were up all night talking. I saw him for the first time in years the following night. We went to look at Christmas lights.  We drove around, listened to music and talked until late that night. It was magical.

I remember the first time we held hands, the first time we kissed. It, he, is engrained in my memory, along with how he broke my heart.

It's been at least ten years since I've seen or spoken to him, but today the pain hit fresh again. My first love and my first heartbreak.

If I'm honest, this trip down memory lane isn't necessarily about him, but about fear. I look at him as a visual reminder of the pain of heartbreak, of…

Kiddush

There is a Jewish Shabat tradition called Kiddush which I learned a little bit about on my recent trip to Israel. 

If you ask anyone on the trip about this word, they would laugh, and remember Pastor Bobby asking to be "kiddush-ed". It's a moment that will be hard to forget. But more than that, it is a perfect description for me of the work that the Lord has been doing in my life recently. 

The word, kiddush, literally means holiness. At the Shabat dinner on Friday night, the man of the house sets the kiddush cup on a plate and fills it with wine. But he doesn't just fill it, he fills it to overflowing. This symbolizes being full to overflowing with God, overflowing with blessing, and sanctifies the family and the time for Shabat. Although I am no expert on Jewish traditions, it's hard to miss the beauty of this picture.

Hearing Pastor Bobby say, "Kiddush me", now has a fuller picture. He wanted to be full to overflowing with God, holy and set apart for Hi…

Thankful for the Thorns

"Therefore, behold, 
I will hedge up your way with thorns, 
and wall her in, 
so that she cannot find her oaths.
She will chase her lovers,
but not overtake them;
Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.
Then she will say,
'I will go and return to my first husband, 
For then it was better for me than now.'
For she did not know 
that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, 
and multiplied her silver and gold -- 
which they prepared for Baal." 
- Hosea 2:6-8 - 

Have you ever been at a park on a walk and find a trail that looks untravelled? The branches of the trees are unkept and hanging over the path making it difficult to walk it.

If you're anything like me, the prospect of walking that path is both scary and exciting. You don't know what you will find or if it even leads anywhere, but you take that step. The farther you get down the path, the narrower it gets. Branches swat at you, scratching you, making you question if you made the right decision to walk down the path.

T…

Sitting in Expectation

Grief. 

It is an intangible, invisible feeling, one that can't be described. It sits there. In the pit of your stomach, churning. 

I've become well acquainted with grief. Much more than I ever thought I would. But until recently, I was never able to identify it as grief. 
I would have identified it as something else because grief didn't seem right. It seemed selfish. So many people are grieving the loss of family members and facing a scary diagnosis, how could I call what I was feeling grief?  
Yes, I've experienced the death of a loved one, but recently? I was blessed. The Lord opened the door for me to venture out on my own to the opposite side of the country to serve in ministry. He has always provided for my needs. He's brought friends that became family. What did I have to grieve? 
I've recently begun to see grief as something more than just facing the loss of a family member. Grief emerges at the loss of something valuable, the loss of something important, som…

29 Years of Missing You

29.

The number of years I have been alive.

The number of years she hasn't.

Six months after I was born, my mother died and for a long time, I wasn't sure how I felt about her death.

When I was little, I imagined that she was a princess that had to leave me in order to fulfill her duty or save me.

As I got older, I grappled with the truth that my mother was a drug addict.  Sometimes I was mad at her. Sometimes I didn't want to think about her. Sometimes I blamed her for the problems I was facing.

But today, on the 29th anniversary of her passing, the Lord has brought me to a new place. A place of understanding.

2017 was a challenging year for me in so many respects - but one of the places I found myself was facing the thoughts and emotions I have towards my parents, their drug addiction, my mothers' death and the relationship with my father after her death.

I asked myself tough questions. I asked God tough questions. I asked questions I didn't know I needed the answ…

Honest: Dad

If my dad were sitting in front of me right now, I'd have no idea what to say. I wouldn't know how to engage with him because if I'm honest, he is a stranger. Even more than that, he is a stranger who doesn't want to know me.

That is a hard pill to swallow: my father doesn't want to know me.

I don't think he knew what he was doing or how life would end up when he left and stayed away. I don't think he one day decided that he didn't want to know me. I think he ended up there accidentally.

The thing is, my dad made poor life choice after poor life choice. He dropped out of school, he chose drugs and a life of criminal activity, and, when the going got tough when my mom died, he chose not to stay and not to deal with it. He chose not to try and fight for a life with his daughter (and my siblings) because that was too hard. In his mind, he already blew it, so why try to fix something that was too broken?

I don't write this to draw attention to his mista…