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Showing posts from 2018

5 Years of Dying

"Behold, the former things have come to pass, 
and new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them." 
- Isaiah 42:9- 

Five years ago, I began a journey. I remember very clearly where I was when the Lord gave me the verse above and the excitement it yielded in me. Something new? I was ready for something new. Or so I thought. I was ready for the new that I wanted. The new that I had planned wasn't exactly the new the Lord had planned for me.

As I look at who I was then, at that moment, excitedly asking the Lord what the new thing He was going to do was, and I look at who I am now, I am a completely different person.

Walking through the months of 2013 as I prayed about what the new was and as the Lord gradually revealed that the new meant a packing up of my life and a move across the country, I still had a plan for what the new meant. I had a plan for what the steps that I would be taking, and what my life would look like. I built up this life in my mind tha…

A Song of Freedom

I've spent most of my life living in fear.

Fear had gripped me so tightly that I didn't even recognize it as fear but as a faithful friend.

It wasn't the fear that you think of when you think of a bump in the dark when no one else is home or the heart-stopping fear that envelopes you when you slide on ice and don't know if you can gain control of your car before you slam into the wall in front of you.

It is a constant fear, a subtle one, that whispers in your ear all day long. It's like when you have music playing in the background while you are working, you aren't actively listening, but its actively playing.

And later in the day, when that song is stuck in your head, you start singing it, not knowing where it came from.

For me, the song on repeat was telling me that everyone and everything was dangerous.

Showing people who you really are, how you really feel, will only make them not want to know you. You aren't worth people getting to know. You aren't …

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…