Friday, October 19, 2012

Am I grasping? Am I rejecting?

What am I grasping for? I see I have a need to feel secure. So in an effort to feel secure I grasp for things.

One of the meanings for the word grasp means to take hold of or seize firmly. This is what I mean when I say that I grasp on to things or ideas to feel secure. When I can not seize firmly for some reason then I feel out of control or insecure.

One obvious way that I have done this in relationships has been to argue a point until a person flat out tells me to stop, or I have worn them down to the point they pretend to share my perspective or till they actually do see what I am trying to say. If I cared a great deal about something, I could be down right unkind in this pursuit. I no longer desire to grasp like that at someone else understanding me. Thank goodness I have very little desire to control a conversation in this way anymore.

Why has this changed in me? I've seen how sinful I've been in the past while grasping as I communicating with others. I've hurt people.  I've also learned to trust the Lord to persuade if that is His will in a situation. I think I took way to much responsibility for that in the past. In many situations, I now see this as God's territory more than mine. It's one of the ways we know if a movement is of the Spirit or not. If it is, He truly is the one doing the persuading. So I've learned to watch for someone wanting to hear my perspective on a matter.

The trick for me is discerning when I'm not speaking up for good reasons like the ones listed above and when I'm not speaking up because I'm just to afraid of the consequences of sharing my perspective on something. I've been so aggressive with people in the past that I can be afraid to let myself loose for that reason. Will I be unkind again? I'm also tempted to people please as well, so if I want the relationship to stay status quo and I'm afraid that speaking up may change that I can be tempted to remain silent. The only solution I know so far to this is that I pray and ask the Lord to show me if He wants me to speak? If I notice I am afraid then I need to remember to take that to the Lord as well. Why am I afraid? What do I need to step out in faith and share my perspective? Do I need words? Do I need compassion? Do I need to be willing to trust navigating what might be hard for the other person to hear? Do I need to be okay with awkward?

Another observation I have is this. When you learn about a topic there is a whole language and context that goes with that topic. A topic can create a micro culture. I find myself in this place. I left one area, learned about a topic in another area. When I returned to the first place, there was a language and context barrier. At first, I felt completely without skill to navigate that. Since I tend to come to understand things through verbal processing the Lord has provided two consistent people plus additional random conversation to process this with. The first step was to try to put into words what I was coming to understand and experience. The next process was to speak about it with trusted friends and notice when I wasn't being clear. Now, it's translating back into words that make sense into my original context. Who knew you didn't have to leave and go to a foreign country with a foreign tongue to experience this? I certainly didn't. I'm not trying to be vague here. I'm talking about my journey with Jesus, the authors that focus on Spiritual Formation and the affect of all this on my life. I think it applies to all kinds of topics and cultures with cultures. This just happens to be the area of life I'm experiencing this.

As I was thinking about grasping today, I had brand new thought. What am I outright rejecting because I want to feel secure? What or who do I reject so that I can feel validated and secure? Oh boy, that could be revealing?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What is it to be spiritually formed?

I've been asked lately to explain what I mean by Spiritual Formation. This has been difficult challenge at times. Sometimes I feel misunderstood. In an attempt to understand why this happens and  in asking for help to communicate more clearly, I have realized a few things. One realization is that I fail to communicate because I try to give sound bite answers from a journey that has not been a sound bite life.

Today, I want to attempt to say what I mean when I use the words "to be spiritually formed".

I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I believe that The Holy Spirit, in what is a great mystery, has come to live inside of me. I have been invited to live life with God. From the first day, as a nine year old girl, there has been a part of me that loves to be with God. But there are other parts of me that don't want to be with God. When I turn my back on God, the part of me that desires God is grieved or is troubled by my turning away, but none the less I often turn away. Thank goodness I'm not the only one in the relationship. In spite of my turning, God who loves me and knows me seems to set about inviting me back to Him. At times, it seems that He watches and waits and at other times actively orchestrates circumstances that help me to know I need Him. Eventually, I realize that I want to be with Him more than whatever my heart was more drawn to in a rebellious or independent moment. When I repent and I turn back, He is there waiting for me. He has not been unfaithful to me even though I have been unfaithful to Him. The recognition of his faithfulness and other realities of his character discovered along the way have helped me to trust Him more and more.  I also learn again that I was not worthy to be trusted. He alone is worthy.  This new increased trust is evidence that I have been spiritually formed into the likeness of Christ. Christ loved, trusted and submitted His life to the Father. When I turn back, I make the same choice as Christ.

One gradual but huge shift has been this. I used to primarily turn back out of fear. But with the mounting evidence of God's personal love and care for me, I have changed to turning back because of love. Before when I turned back because of fear, there was no lasting change in my mind and heart. But now, when I am motivated by love and faith and trust there is lasting change in me. Love has changed me. Love is changing me.

Sound bite version from my experience:

I try to do something on my own because of pride, doubt or fear.
I choose a rebellious or independent of God path.
Jesus offers a different path. He says follow me and persuades me that He knows better and is worthy to be trusted.
I believe Him and trust Him.
I choose to love Him so I submit my life to Him and follow Him.
What He promises is experienced.
Trust grows and my mind and heart are at least partially transformed to His perspective.

The cycle repeats.

A reason I often fail to see this as a simple thing to communicate about is that there have been countless moments of turning away from The Lord. I have been very driven by fear. There are to many moments to name and in to many areas of my life. I am a complex and layered soul with a very independent and rebellious heart.

There have not been simple solutions in the areas of my heart that are most prone to reject God's rightful place.  I have needed the scripture, people who love me and can help me see my blind spots, worship, prayer times (that include both listening and talking with The Lord) alone and with others, practices that teach me through experience the truth and sometimes something as simple as a random comment from a friend that turns into a long discovery process with The Lord.

I have been a strange combination of truly tenderhearted towards The Lord and as stubborn and independent as they come. (If you don't believe me just ask my parents or Dave and watch their facial expression.) Frankly, I am a bit embarrassed by all that the Lord has had to invest in me to persuade me that He is worthy to live my life with Him.

What I know for sure is that my relationship with the Father, Jesus and The Holy Spirit is real. God is spiritually transforming me into the likeness of Christ. I will have areas of my life that need that kind of changing until the day I die. I also know that in the areas and moments where I know change and live united with Christ I experience love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control as well as courage.

This courage from God gives me what I need to share my story. My story testifies to folly of my rebellion and testifies to Scriptures being true. This is glorifying to God. Thank goodness. I want people to know there is an answer to all their rebellion and independence too. It's not just an answer it is the most beautiful and vibrant and alive relationships we can have this side of heaven.

When I talk about how God has worked with me, people have assumed that I believe there is one way for God to go about this in our lives. I don't believe that or see it that way. My story about spiritual transformation or formation is just that. It is simply my story. The fact is this, I believe quite the opposite of what some assume.

Here is how I think of all this in relationship to others. Fundamentally, I believe that being changed by God takes time with God and His people. One of my greatest joys is to spend time with people getting to know their redemption stories. How is God going about changing them? I marvel at God's creativity in inviting us to spend time with Him and with other believers. He knows what each soul needs to be persuaded. He knows how we are specifically prone to resist Him. And beyond that, I love hearing how time with God and others ignites the spread of Christ  love both in and  beyond our community. This glorifies God brilliantly. Lives that are changed to look like Christ are persuasive lives of love.

I had coffee with Pastor Mike yesterday. At the end of that coffee, I realized that I desire to be a better communicator than I am on this topic. Maybe working through this today and prayerfully rereading it a few times (this is already version 4) will help me. May the focus be on God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus the author and prefector of each persons faith.

Friday, October 05, 2012


Freedom is a word that I have spent time considering for a long time. What does it mean to be free?

It means I trust the Lord.

It means I walk by faith in God rather than pretending I know what I am doing.

It means I don't believe I'm responsible for everything.

It means I recognize when I feel a sense of compulsion to do anything and I ask God what that is about.

It means that I lose myself so I can be found in God.

It means that I rest in my need for God and his willingness to help me.

It means I surrender.

It means I don't demand.

It means I follow rather than lead the Lord.

It means when someone wants me to lead them I do it with a sense of humility and partnership.

It means I am a slave to God and his purposes.

It means I let go of earthly ways of seeing and thinking and exchange them for Kingdom values.

It means I discover what I think and feel so that I can trust God with changing those things that do not match up with Him.

It means I admit when something controls me that has nothing to do with God.

It means I admit that self-control apart from God is just another form of bondage. I have to lock myself up. That only lasts so long.

What encourages me most about this list is this. When I first began this journey of paying attention to the word freedom. I had no idea what the word really meant or what it could mean in my life. God has revealed all of these things to me. I am learning. God is teaching me. I am grateful!

Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012

Family update time...

August has been quite a month. On August 10th we took off for Colorado. Dave has more vacation time than me now so when our friend Colleen suggested we come spend a week with her we thought it would be a great place for me to fit in my part time hours and for Dave to take a full week of vacation. We invited Matt to come over from Kansas as he had stated in Manhattan with school friends for the summer. It was his last week of summer so he was ready for a break from work too.  There were anywhere from seven to ten old and new friends together. It was wonderful and unlikely mix of people. We had a great time exploring new places and returning to old favorites.

At one point I was out in front of Colleen's house swinging on her new chair suspended from a mighty pine tree. I was reading a book for work and thinking I can not believe this is my life. Colleen's hospitality combined with reading a book about God's people loving each other well and getting paid for it was hard to be grateful enough for. Humbling and joyful to be sure.

Then we received the news on the last morning that Dave's father had passed away. We got in the car as planned and got home as soon as possible. My dear mother-in-law was doing well and continues to do well. It helps immensely when God's timing on death matches with our expectations. Really I had been greiving the loss of Dad for a couple of years. He has not been able to be in any significant conversations for that long due to his hearing loss. That was the rich part of our relationship. Dad loved the Lord and His church. We loved talking about those topics together. Once we lost the ability to connect through conversation our relationship was very compromised. And yet, I will miss him. He was an optimist and loved celebrating each of our lives and the Lord's activity in them.

I hope the saints that arrive before us have the opportunity to pray for those of us still here! I love the idea of Dad up there speaking with the Father on our behalf.

One of the biggest gifts of those days was Matt coming home from school. We allowed him to make that choice on his own as it was the first week of the semester. It was a great comfort and joy to have him with us. He learned some things about Grandpa's life that he has a great appreciation for.

The other great blessing was the way friends and family surrounded us with loads of love and care. We are blessed!

Last but not least a week after all that we got on a plane and are now in refreshing Minnesota with my brother and his lovely family.  And we are so grateful for the time with them!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Following Dave

I love this picture!

Dave likes to take pictures he doesn't enjoy being the one having his picture taken. That doesn't always stop me. Sometimes it does. But not this day. This picture was taken right before we got in the helicopter behind him. We were given a tour of Kauii by a pilot named Kevin from Fort Collins, CO.

It was an incredible ride. I mean incredible!!!

I also love this picture because between the two of us I'm more the risk taker. Not on this! Dave knew as soon as he heard about helicopters with no doors that was the ride for him. I knew as soon as I heard about it that it was NOT the ride for me. I made it very clear if he made the reservation that I did not want to be one one of those crazy helicopters with no doors!

I was amazed by how calm he was about the idea. Not because it's strange for Dave to be calm about difficult things. But who can be calm about whipping around in the sky with no door between you and the very steep drop down? Dave.

I started to wonder if I was being ridiculous, too cautious and ironically it unnerved me more that I might be missing out on something great then that I'd be flying around in the air with no door between me and a very long and scary plunge down to the ground.

Dave was patient. Zero pressure. I mean zero pressure. I was starting to feel very bad about my declaration that I would not fly in one of "those" helicopters. So we looked around and found a company that would let me sit up front with the pilot and a door and Dave could be in the back without the door.

We got to the airfield. I had like three more fears I had to process with the escort to the airfield and then on last one with the pilot. Everybody was so calm. Fears addressed.

I said to the pilot, (while thinking I can not believe I'm about to say this)"Is it too late to move me to the back with Dave?" He smiled and said, "No". He proceeded to remove the door. We climb in buckle up and away we go!

It was a great ride. I'm glad I let Dave's calmness unnerve me. I'm glad he didn't pressure me just let all the pesky fears come on up to the surface. I'm glad they all got addressed. I'm glad I followed Dave into his dream. It was marvelous!

And, oh by the way, Dave's shot was picked as the best one for the month of January 2012! Click here for the shot!

Dave, I love you! I'm glad we are doing this thing called life together.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


What does the word glory mean?

I've never understood that word. I've been thinking about that word since my twenties. It irks me when I can't understand something. It's one of those words that I looked up. I read the definition many times and I'd seem to comprehend the words in the definition and then walk away still not knowing what it means.

When that happens, I basically ignore the word until the next time it shows up in a teaching or a friend brings it up in a conversation or an author talks about it in book.

But last Sunday, something happened. My pastor was teaching about prayer. And as a part of that he talked about the fact that most people find prayer frustrating and dissatisfying. Then he gave ways that we could enter into a conversations with God with different motivations. As a part of that conversation the word glory came up.

I started to wonder if I went back and reread all the places where the word glory and appears in reference to God could I substitute the words I Am or God's I AMness. Oh man, when that thought hit, it was an epiphany.

We live for the glory of God. We live for His I AMness. We lay down our lives for the glory of God. We lay down our lives for His I AMness. His glory is revealed in creation. His I AMness is evident all over the place.

Here is where I think I got twisted up before this moment. We people are glorified it's often a very ego puffing up and ugly thing. I couldn't connect the dots to God on that. So I didn't know how else to think about it. I've had people come to me basically saying the same thing and saying they weren't all on board with making God look good just for the sake of that. Which is very honest human reaction. I didn't really know how to help them. I think my pretty lame response has been that it says that's how we are supposed to live and think so I'm trying to go with that even though I don't really get it.

But boy, I think I get this now. I can be about living for His I AMness, His essence. He is trustworthy with that. He's not going to respond to that the way a human responds to be praised.

So I raise a glass to yet another mystery that is unfolding! Cheers! May the light bulb moments just keep coming. Thanks be to God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A boy from Liberia

Scarcity - God only provides only what is needed and his definition is always different than mine.
Abundance - God blesses in countless ways and when I begin to see that the amount God is giving it nearly impossible to list.

Scarcity used to be the only way I could see the world. Or at least 90% of the time. I believed that God was not generous. I pretty sure I would have never said that out loud. If I thought it, I would have denied it. But the truth is that my anxiety level and hopelessness over different things clearly shows me that this is what I believed.

I was in a meeting this week where we were faced with this choice. Were we going to believe in scarcity or generosity? If we believed in scarcity we were going to become who we are not. If we believed in God's generosity then we were going to remain faithful to what we believe we've been called to do and we were not going to cave to the world's ways of caving and seeing.

While at Catalyst Dallas the next day, I heard one of the most powerful stories of God's abundance that I have ever heard. It was the story of a young boy in an orphanage in Liberia. He longed to be adopted. All the evidence around him must have said this is not possible. But one day, the care givers at his school said we are going to change things. When you receive your food for today (one bowl of rice), instead of us leading the devotions we are going to call on one of you a day for the next 12 days. When we call on you, you need to stand and say just one thing you are thankful for. This orphan boy was called the first day. He could not think of one thing... not one thing to be thankful for. He was frustrated by this. But remembered a song. A song of thanksgiving. He sang the song and sat back down. The second day another boy was called on to say one thing he was thankful for. He sang a song too and when he started to sing the first boy stood and sang with him. This pattern repeated until the twelfth day. On the twelfth day, an American consulate was walking by the orphanage at the time the children were singing. He did pass by. He walked into the orphanage. He listened to the song of thanksgiving. When they finished, he promised the boys that all twelve of them would travel to America to raise money for the orphanage. Not only was there money raised, but all 12 members of the choir plus 28 more orphans from the orphanage we're adopted into American families. And now those American families are investing in training future leaders inside of Liberia.

This story blows me away. It is truly miraculously abundant. Did God stop the first boy from being able to think of just one thing he was thankful for... one of his friends, a cool stick found on the way to school, a fascinating bug that landed on his shirt the day before... something. Or, did God respond to this boys frustration with really wanting to be thankful for something with the gift of a song. What prompted the first boy to stand with the 2nd to sing in solidarity with the first? Who prompted the American consulate to walk by on the twelfth day? Not the 1st day or the 5th day. But the last day the caregiver declared this would be done. The last day.

Please don't read what else I have to say next until you really take in this story. What is God showing you about your life and what you believe about God?

I am personally involved with four organizations that do not have all the resources that we believe we need to do all that God has given us vision for. There is serious temptation in my life to believe that God is looking down on us and these activities and barely providing for at least three of those situations. But that is not true. There is vision. There is peace. There is faith. There is courage to not give up and move forward. And as long as we exist and we do not have to close our doors there is abundant hope. This road of faith we have been called to walk is what we need. Our souls need to walk by faith. And the Lord in His goodness and wisdom and love will decide when and where and how to answer our prayers for tangible resources.

Dear God,

It is so challenging to see things from your perspective. I'm truly sad about and sorry for the moments when I haven't known how to trust you with provision or to be able to see the abundance that is there. It so important to have our eyes fixed on you above all other manner of things. All the doubt and unbelief that I have walked around in and that didn't matter to you. You have still provided from my soul, my family, my church and my jobs. Help me to more than pray thy will be done and mean it. Help me to enjoy the unfolding of Your will. Help me to yield to You and Your will. Thank you for not holding our sin against.

And thank you for bringing the story of this orphan boy into my life.


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Exhausted with Joy

I used this phrase, exhausted with joy, on a recent Facebook status and a couple of friends encouraged me to write about it.

I've been pondering this phrase off and on since then.

My life is not problem-less right now.  But it is fair to say that I am in a season that is marked by joy. And well... sometimes it's exhausting. Believe me, that is not a problem! I've been exhausted before with pain and frustration and wondering if I would ever know joy. So I'll take the kind of exhaustion that joy brings any day.

Why is joy exhausting? Well, in that particular week, I was hosting four women as they prepared to lead a retreat for 50 facilitators. They were holding meetings in my home for a couple of days and we were gathering with other leaders in the area in the evenings. I was also keeping up with my new job. My mind was churning with ideas and my heart was filled with the joy of being with all these different people which I love dearly and admire so much. All of us were working together to listen and respond to the Lord's leadership regarding next steps in both ministries. In some ways I think it was simply sensory overload. So on top of the fantastic activity throughout the day it was also challenging to settle in each night and get some sleep.

I've spoken with a couple of different people this week about the heartache and confusion of joylessness. Both have shared with me that they wonder if they will ever know joy. I have totally been there. For me, the pathway to joy was narrow. It's another piece of the transformation process. The pathway to joy was a process of pressing out doubts and fear and having all those beliefs exchanged for faith and trust. And now, in the area of finding purpose for my life, I'm on the other side of that pressing out process.

Thank God! I have walked with my doubts and fears through the valley of trust and faith and come out on the other side... and well, it's a new day! I know joy here. It is indeed a new day. I love it when I get exhausted with it!

I'm writing this in part to say that if there is an absence of joy, don't give up hope that God is up to something very very good in your life. Keeping asking the Lord to bring joy into your life. Press on. And please have people, praying with you, about it all. Ask the Lord to help you find a verse that reminds you to walk by faith and submit to being pressed in on. My verses came from Lamentations 3 and Proverbs 3 and Jeremiah 29. (Picture from Sherri Sund)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I went to a new group last night. Believe me, no one is more surprised about that than me. Part of me thinks I have no business adding another group into my life.

In my defense... not that I'm feeling defensive or anything. Ha! I will not be leading this group. And, it only meets once per month.

It is a Writer's Group. I've been aware that these things exist for a number of years now. I've been slightly interested for a number of reasons. Technically, I am not a good writer. Grammar rules and skills do not remain in my brain. It's very annoying. But there has also been a significant amount of reservation too. I was so thrilled when many of my reservations were specifically addressed in the presentation given at the meeting.

Last night, I received insight into why it's easy for me to write something the length of a blog but much more difficult to transition my style or writing into chapter length. I now understand what is happening or not happening as the case may be.

I now understand why free writing for 30 minutes used to be an exercise that I enjoyed and why it stopped being an enjoyable exercise.

And, I don't want to be a part of a critique group. This is an encouragement group. There is a difference and Frank Ball was quite articulate about the difference. Critics do what they do for their own benefit. People who encourage are used to bring out the courage in others. I am so grateful that this group is being led by people who know the difference!

Recently I watched a great video on story telling that also gave me a structure clue that I've been needing in order have a framework to work on telling my stories. Nancy Duarte gives the presentation at TEDxEast.

So the areas I was becoming clear on where supported. The concerns I had were addressed. And places where there was confusion have been cleared up just enough to move forward.

And the double icing on the cake for the whole evening is that two ladies who have gone through Listen To My Life with me are the leaders of this new group. Oh my goodness the joy of watching them step out in faith and start this new venture together was just crazy fun to watch! Crazy fun!

Here's the one significant and remaining problem. When am I going to write?

Dear Lord,

I am super excited about all that has happened in the last six months to a year with this. I'm grateful for the unknowns that have been helped. I'm just wondering when on earth I'm going to be able to set aside the time to do the writing. If you could show me what I have to give up or help me see time that I do not see right now, I'd appreciate that! Thank you for putting people in my life that can truly help me with all this! Blessings on them and their writing adventures I pray!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rule of Life

I'm relearning.

Almost constant state really.

Lately I've been very anxious about all the things I am not getting done and the people I'm not getting a chance to spend time with.

It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I've learned ways to not live like this before and I don't like living like this now.

I know why I've gotten behind. I am willing to work hard at things I care about. Actually, I am willing to work too hard at things I care about. I fell right back into old patterns of managing life. Write the to do list. What's most pressing? Get that done first. Who wants what that I can't get to yet? Worry about that and feel guilty. Check. What do I want done and need to get off my list before I let something drop that will really be limiting to other people involved. Crap there's too many of those things on my list. Someone is going to be let down. Can you feel the worry and anxiety building?

Some where along the way I started to realize that because my to do list had gotten longer than what is normal for me, I had switched into managing it all on my own and leaving the Lord out. At this point I'm always thankful for these realizations. The truth sets you free.

Well guess what project I'm supposed to be working on for my Spiritual Direction training? It's called the Rule of Life. I'm to create a Rule of Life. Now for someone who is committed to avoiding legalism as their guide this idea was hard for me to wrap my mind around. Words are so tricky sometimes. Basically its just language for exploring the question: How is God developing relationship with me? What framework can I put into place to help my mind, emotions and will be most teachable? How is God inviting me to live? What choices will I have to make by faith and with trust to live the way God is inviting me to live? I guarantee you that doing it on my own with a mind and heart full of anxiety was not what God was inviting me too!

So last Sunday it occurred to me that worship music would be helpful. This week I've downloaded some new music. The kind of music that three different people all felt the need to mention to me! God isn't always subtle! Plus one of my very favorite artists just released a new album. Yea!

Then at work, I was introduced to a Spiritual Director that was providing devotions during Lent that come into your inbox over night. She is also including original music. I just knew when I heard about that it would be a good fit. I signed up. Those started coming in on Wednesday and I am enjoying that time with the Lord every morning. One of the themes in those devotions is exactly what I needed to hear right now.

And then... well this is getting a little long but a few other things have come my way that will be helpful at this time too. I'll leave it at that. God is faithful. God is helping me transition into a new phase. I've proven once again that I need all the help God wants to toss my way. Grace.

Do you struggle to manage life without including God?
Is God inviting you to include him more?
Are there habits you could include daily that will help you with that?
Have you ever tried something different in your relationship with God - a leap of faith?

This is the book I'll be using to help me continue this conversation with the Lord:

Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way
By: Stephen A. Macchia & Mark Buchanan

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New things

Lots of things are changing in my life. I figured my blog look might as well join the club!

I updated a few things on the right side of the page.

And I want to share a quote from Phillip Yancey's book on Prayer: Does it make a difference?

Prayer is a subversive act performed in a world that constantly calls faith into question. I may have a sense of estrangement in the very act of prayer, yet by faith I continue to pray and look for other signs of God's presence.

I've gotten a chance to be subversive on a number of occasions this week. Now it's time to watch and wait. :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Transition into a new day...

November 19th - last blog entry. Wow! Shocked!

Longest ever between posts. I've missed writing here. I think about it often but today is the first evening I've had "extra time" in I don't even know how long.I love that I really missed writing. It's happening. I'm becoming a writer. One who likes to write.

My life got busy. Not the kind of busy where I booked up every minute with the things I love to do busy. But the kind of busy where you have to pull more than your own weight for a season. I really can't remember the last time that happened to me. It included things like my dear mother-in-law having double replacement knee surgery. Neither parent could drive, etc, etc.

And, in the middle of December I was offered a ministry position that is such a great match for my passions. That job begins in mid-January. But related to the theme of getting busy... I found myself in a perfect storm scenario at work. Let's just say this is the hardest I have ever had to work leading up to leaving a position in my working life. I'm still afraid of the challenges I'm leaving behind for the next person. And praying often that we get more done than seems possible in the next 10 days.

So in light of all this, I have found myself praying every morning through my day. What is necessary today? Or, Dear Lord, please surprise me with inspiration and timing that gets more things done than I expect is possible. Give me grace with other. Please help me not get short with the people I love when I don't really know how all of this is going to come together. There was increased pressure and at the same time a quiet confidence that characterized most of my days the last month. I did get those perfect timing, 15 minute, I know just what to buy shopping trips in. I truly got to enjoy quiet, peaceful, delightful moments with my family. As well as the pleasure of time with some of our friends.

Looking ahead: I've been praying about this new season that is about to begin. I'm praying about setting up a schedule that makes sense for the rhythms and responsibilities of my day and for my new co-workers. I take hope in knowing that knees will mend and the urgency of leaving a job will end and all the "Merry Christmas" (on top of everything else) is gone away. I will transition into a new set of things to pray about at the beginning of each day. Maybe I will be back in a season that doesn't consistently look impossible.

Reflecting back: My words will fall short here. When I received the new job the only words that seemed appropriate were hallelujah and thank you. I know the decision to let go of my CPA license in 2003 and to trust God to equip me and prepare me for a new kind of work has taken me to unexpected places and given me unexpected relationships and that most of the time during that time it did not make a lot of sense. But today, looking back, I can see the hand of God and the wisdom of God and faith provided by God. It's all grace is more comprehensible to me than ever before. I can see that I am a better at trusting and persevering when I don't know what the heck is going on. I've learned to let go of the illusion of control more quickly. I'm truly excited to see how God will use all that He has invested in me. I'm also very grateful for all the people that have been a part of this journey with me. It's actually taken a rather large tribe.

I am

in awe
as ready as I'll ever be to live a new chapter in my beloved little life.

May God bless and keep you, make his face to shine right down on you and grant you His everlasting peace! With love, Cheri