Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas from our Home to Yours!

Christmas 2013

We're grateful for this season of the year! We enjoy the opportunity to celebrate the moments of joy the Lord has brought throughout our year. We rejoice over each of you as we receive the news of God's goodness in your lives too!

April brought a joyous trip to Israel with thirteen other travelers. We can not believe how much of God's ground we covered in just over a week. It was blessing to be with new friends and long time friends! Shmulik our guide was beyond amazing! It was truly a once in a lifetime trip. The blessings continue! Dave captured some great photos! You can see those and pictures from other trips at

Dave taking pictures for Parker's Band Interim near TCU.

Enders Island, CT
Dave continues to work at Sabre Holdings.  In addition he continues to develop his cooking, photography and coffee roasting skills. People like to remind me how spoiled I am. It's true. He also co-leads our Home Group from church. People appreciate Dave's many talents.

I completed a Spiritual Direction Training program in June. It was a two year journey that included lots of new friends and the joy of time in New England. This is a picture of the commissioning service at the end. Cheri continues to be grateful for her role at the Evangelical Center for Spiritual Wisdom.

Jordan has made a joyful entry into our lives! Matt and Jordan have been dating since May and the four of us have enjoyed spending time together. We traveled to Minnesota in the summer, up to Kansas State to celebrate Matt's 21st birthday in the fall and have plans to go skiing together in January.

Matt is a Junior at Kansas State. He's studying Kinesiology. It's a great fit for him. He continues to play Ultimate. This picture was taken a summer league. If you want to see him in action on the field you just need to "friend" Dave on Facebook. Matt and his teammates make a regular appearance there! Matt's college experience has been a good one and we're very grateful for how God has provided for him. He's working towards graduating next December.

The big family event in 2013 was the marriage of our nephew CJ to his bride Ashley. It was a beautiful day. Terry, my brother, is a pastor and officiated the ceremony. It was a weekend full of one blessing after another. Nieces - Emily, Megan, Dad, Mom, Ashley, CJ, Terry, Leah, Me, Matt and Dave.

We love you! We wish you a happy and joyful New Year! May the peace of Christ rule in all of our hearts in 2014! Cheri for Dave and Matt too!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sometimes I can't have what I want.

I can't have a problem solved.
I can't have someone's trust.
I can't defend myself.
I can't be understood.
I can't have clarity.
I can't have perspective.

In those places I have choices to make.

Will I run, hide, become angry and sin, become bitter, demand what I want? Will I allow myself to feel the frustration and pain of unmet desires. Will I notice that all those choices just makes everything worse?

Will I seek Him above all else? Will I wait with hope? Will I receive what He has to offer me when it's not what I'm wanting? It's humbly to let go of what you want and to trust another for your own good or for the greater good.

At times I realize that I am putting up a fight with God. The desires of His heart are different from my own. When my desires seem good that feels particularly hard to sort through. When I'm still resisting and not resting there is process not yet completed. So I pray that the Lord will help me arrive at His desires for me today.

Where it's not an internal struggle but an outside enemy, I pray that God will show me which part of the armor I'm leaving out of the mix: truth, God's righteousness, peace, faith, my salvation, The Spirit, a willingness to pray without ceasing.

As I walk away... I think I'll ponder with God what it means to be content in all circumstances.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Tribute to Matt

We celebrated Matt's 21st Birthday on Saturday!

I asked Matt if it felt significant to him to be turning 21. He replied, "Actually, I think it's more significant to other people than it is to me."

That was honest and I wasn't surprised.

I am one of those other people. I wanted to be there the day he turned 21. I don't even know all the reasons why. One thing I've noticed, is that you spend all those years being responsible for your child. You are there influencing every part of their life. That responsibility is great at times, even overwhelming. There are all those things you say over and over and over again, while really wondering if any of it reaches wherever it needs to go to make a difference. As a parent there were so many years of cluelessness and simply hoping.

Then before you know it, it's time to begin the transition out of that responsibility. Oh my gosh, that takes trust. Without the Lord, I don't think I would have been willing to do it. I'm sure Matt can tell you the places, even now, where I can get tripped up by fear and forget to live in a place of trust.

I'm seeing that in more and more areas he is truly beginning to think like an adult who has switched his dependency of us to his relationship with God and others. He knows were are in his camp. He knows we are available when he decides he needs our perspective. He knows that we long for goodness to be a part of his journey. It was just so good for my soul to be together!

Matt, I want to say out loud for all the people that love both of us that the words that come to mind for you are these: passionate, good to those around you, teachable, one who laughs (about seven different versions of laughter), one who cries when your heart is deeply touched, one who desires to walk honestly before God and others, a person who doesn't mind taking risks in any area of your life.

You have taught me so much about what it means to trust God for being able to love well. I needed to learn from you.  I love you dearly. But what's even better than that, is that I really, really like you. I enjoy you so much. I am so excited to cheer you on and pray you on from here!

Love always,

P.S. - To all those, especially Dave, that have contributed to Matt and my relationship being good I am thankful for you this day as well. We've had a good village!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Summer of Joy

Psalm 126

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,[a]
    it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
    and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
    “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
    What joy!
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
    will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
    but they sing as they return with the harvest.

It finally happened. All that grieving, it finally led to a sustained place of joy.

Don't we wonder if that will be true? I sure did.

I write to this to encourage you to follow God into the places that cause Him to grieve...
  for you
  for your relationship with Him
  for your relationships with others
  for the things that are not right or good in this world

I promise you it will be worth it! I promise that God will give you what you need from Him to walk it out! I read these words of Psalm 126 and I know, that I know, that I know they are true. Have you noticed how loudly I've been singing in church lately. That's my interpretation of shouting!

Dear Lord,

How beautiful and satisfying it is to know that Your words are true. I'm thankful you taught this eternal optimist how to grieve. It was a hard sell.  I'm glad I no longer wonder if I will know real joy in this life. You have blown me away this summer. So much planting has come to harvest in my life and in my relationships with other people. I know full well how much I resisted you in all of this so it's easy to give you the credit.  For my friends who wonder now if they will make it through to a place of joy, I pray that you will sustain them as you did me. I have no idea how long this season of joy will last in my own life, I pray you will help me be deeply thankful for it each and every day. May all these realizations bring about a heart that is more devoted to You than ever before. May you be glorified.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

City of Sorrows

I shared in a previous blog that I had made the decision to have very few expectations related to our journey to Israel.  I consider it a gift from God that He gave me that perspective prior to leaving. It gave me an unexpected freedom. It allowed me to trust Dave’s ability to remember almost everything he hears and my friend Kandy’s passion for writing down everything the guide was sharing with us. My trust was well placed. Shortly after our return our entire crew received a 20 page document of type notes. Trusting their abilities allowed me to enter into things more prayerfully and more visually, which I prefer to listening intently or taking notes. If I missed some details during the day I knew those could be discovered over dinner! And, I was able to share with those that asked what was stirring in me at different locations along the way.

I did hold onto one expectation. I had expectations about our ascent into Jerusalem. I wanted to be paying attention during this time. I wanted to be watching when we turned the corner and entered the city.

Dave was asked to play some music over the buses speaker system as we ascending in Jerusalem. In addition to music, Steve had some of the Psalms of Ascent read as well. And it didn’t turn out like I expected. Ha!

One of the songs Dave played is by a favorite artist by the name of Fernando Ortega. He has a song called City of Sorrows. Well that wasn’t the mood or the thoughts I had in mind for the ascent. My head was more in the area of amazement over all the people that have made the Pilgrimage to this city over the centuries. I wanted some how to participate with the people who over the centuries have entered into the city in community for various celebrations and to participate in acts of worship.

So when the song, City of Sorrows stuck I got surprised and tried to resist. It didn’t work. Our first stop was at the top of the Mount of Olives. This is what I saw.

A graveyard… the Garden of Gethsemane… the temple mount…

At one point we have a few minutes to simply look over the view. An idea was forming. This city while very important is not what it will be one day. This city represents so much death. All the battles that have been waged over the centuries related to the control of it were flashing through my mind. I was looking at several locations at once that represent Christ willingness to die in this place. The brutality of His death flashes before me. I’m standing over a vast graveyard. Most of the hill where I am standing is covered in graves… in death. Sorrow.

Next I thought about how often Christians will say that it’s just so amazing that Christ would be willing to die. I don’t understand why He would do it and why that way? In that moment those ideas didn’t resonate with me at all. Of course He was willing to die. When I think of all that has happened in my one little life and then I multiply that times all the people who have ever trusted Christ and what that has meant to their lives, it makes total sense that He was willing. I was grateful for these thoughts because I didn’t want to remain in a place of focusing in on the sorrow experienced in this city.

The next thing that happened is strangely wonderful. Hearts have become significant to me. They no longer represent fluffy romantic love. They represent so much more to me now.  At one point, I was looking out over the temple mount and imaging the Second Temple and for some reason I decided to look up at the sky.  I saw a dark cloud among white clouds and blue sky. The dark cloud was in the shape of heart. I looked at it and brought my eyes down. I couldn’t resist I looked again to see if I had made it up. I looked down again. I looked one last time. And there was more to see. Clouds exist in layers. A wind was blowing across the top of the black cloud and out of the top right corner of it were wisps of clouds made pink by the sunlight. Yes, a pink wispy cloud was coming out of the dark cloud. I’m sorry to say that I was not able to capture that with my camera. I couldn’t bring myself to speak and ask Dave to capture it with his. I was speechless. I was in awe. 

Jerusalem is the city of so many sorrows. Much blood has been shed in that place and continues to be shed today. But I, like so many others, have met the One who will one day make all things new including Jerusalem. I’m grateful for His willingness to give up His life for all people. It causes me sorrow to know that there are people today that are unable or unwilling to trust Him. He loves the so much. I am awed that God presented Himself to me in these ways in that place that day. I’m glad I stopped resisting Him when it didn’t match up with my expectations for the moment.   

Dear Lord,   
Thank you for meeting me in unexpected ways on the Mount of Olives. Thank you for being willing to die and be resurrected so that I can know life in You. This can be so hard to believe and trust. Thank you for loving us even when we’re not responding to Your love. May blind eyes see, may hard hearts be softened and may ears hear something that causes them to mistrust their own judgment when they have concluded that You are not who You claim to be.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Beloved Daughter's Psalm

As a part of that journey to Israel, our Pastor asked all of us to write a Psalm. As we traveled near the Dead Sea, this is was poured from my heart:

A Beloved Daughter's Psalm

I sing to The Lord for I have a new song!

A song of praise
A song of worship

You have restored me to the joy of my Salvation

You have searched me and found my heart...


And yet you did not turn from me.

Your heart, filled with grace instead, set about to rescue me.

Now I can see...

You brought freedom where there was bondage.
You brought compassion where there was judgement.
You brought hope where there was despair.
You brought clarity where there was confusion.
You replaced anger with peace.
You brought the light of your love into my dark places.

I marvel at your deeds.
And rejoice that I will sing for You, about You and with You forever and ever.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And they went down to the Jordan River...

I became a believer at nine years old.

At the end of catechism classes at age 12, I was baptized.

During both events I was aware and touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In my 20's I learned of the different ways and times of life that Christians practice baptism. I considered, for a number of months, whether or not I should be rebaptized because I had not been submerged at age 12. Our Methodist Pastor Paul, (who I dearly love because he liked all my questions) sprinkled me on the forehead. As a 20 something, I concluded that since the Holy Spirit decided to make Himself known to me the day of my baptism that He must not have been bothered by the practice of sprinkling and I let the idea of being re-baptized go.

One of the surprises came as we prepared for Israel. I developed a strong desire to be baptized in the Jordan River. I almost got scared off by reports that the site can seem a bit circus like. There are lots of people who are baptized or re-baptized in the Jordan River in Israel. But as I prayed about it I realized that this was something I really felt led to do and I desired to do.

The day arrives in Israel. It's wet and cold from the beginning. It was raining off and on. More on than off. Our guide keeps checking in to see if we still wanted to go through with it. Six of our group of fifteen made the decision to be batptized and we all wanted to proceed to the site.


Before sharing what was significant between the Lord and I, I want to share what it was like to be loved well by our community. Humans don't like to be uncomfortable. They do not find that enjoyable. Most find being wet and cold at the top, or close to the top of things they'd prefer not to experience. You would not have been able to observe that in the nine others that accompanied us to the Jordan River. They were excited. Picking out the best place for our little group to gather. Selecting the best spots to capture the moment on camera. Figuring out how to protect the camera equipment from the rain. They could have been storing them away and giving up on pictures. After the events, I found myself reflecting on what it was like to be a part of a group making those choices of love. I also pondered the observations made by our Israeli guide. He spoke to our group, with awe in his voice, about the decision to press on in spite of the rain and noticed our devotion to one another in the process. "They will know we are Christians by our love for one another."; Those words came alive in our group that afternoon. This is very significant to me. To the nine, I did not adequately express to you how loved I felt on that day. I hope you are reading these words now. From a place deep in my heart, I say thank you.

I also want to say that I have had the privledge of walking closely with several others baptized that day. It is a great joy to me that you included me in the process of deciding to be baptized and/or  sharing with me the significance of your decision to be baptized. Your willingness to include me made it all the more meaningful to witness. Thank you.

Between the Lord and me

As the day grew closer, I found myself wanting to understand the reasons for why I wanted to be baptized. I asked the Lord to help me see the significance in my life at this time. An insight that came before the event was the realization that when I was baptized as I child I did not understand the significance of being identified with Christ. Nor did I understand the significance of dying with Christ to be raised again to life in Him. Today, 34 years past my first baptism, my time in relationship with the Lord has given me a better understanding of both realities. I desired to testify to my faith in Christ and I desired to prayerfully experience being submerged into the water and raised back up out of the water. Both experiences were as meaningful as I had hoped they would be.

But there was more...

Initially, as I came up out of the water, I shared the joy and broad smiles with those around me.

A few steps up out of water, I burst into tears. Why? I had obeyed. There was no sense of obligation in the obedience. I was motivated by love. I felt known and seen and loved by my Heavenly Father. My heart felt open and free to receive His love and acceptance. I had listened to and walked into the desire of my heart. It was a rich and unexpected surprise as I tasted sweet fellowship with The Father, My Savior and the Holy Spirit over my willingness to obey and His response to me in that. I hope that moment leaves a lasting impression and even changes me.

Andie, Colleen, Me, Steve (Pastor), Bob, Mike and Kandy

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Departing for Israel

A group of people that I dearly love got excited about going to Israel together. The one that intrigued me the most is my husband. He grew up traveling the world. Then went on  to travel the world for his job. We've had a ridiculous amount of opportunity to travel as young adults when he worked for American Airlines in his 30's and then later on through short term mission opportunities in our 40's. So he's not all that interested in travel per se. It's a "been there and done that" for him. So when I realized he actually wanted to go to Israel and wanted it way more that me. I found myself surprised. I've stayed there. He's still more excited than me.

I don't know all the reasons I've been a bit guarded about this trip. I'm not afraid of physical danger on this trip, or any trip for that matter. That was an issue once. Around twelve years ago, we were making plans to take off for Australia and Matt was a small child and was staying in the States. I was sitting in my house in Flower Mound, TX and I realized that if my days were numbered, as is spoken about in the Bible and I was going to die on a particular day. I might as well be enjoying a trip to Australia rather than sitting at my desk in Flower Mound, TX sad that I wasn't on a trip to Australia. Problem solved. I wish all my fears were as easy to leave behind as that one. So, I know it's not that.

I have no worries about traveling with 15 people. I love living in community. I know half of these people really well and find them easy to love and they love me well too. So, I know it's not that.

The vast majority of people have said things like, "You'll never be the same. You'll never read the Bible the same." Or, some version of a highly loaded set of expectations around the kind of experience it will be.I know that travel an be life changing. It especially changed me to experience Thailand, Kenya and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

But I also know, expectations have been the death of many experiences in my life. Expectations can royally screw up both relationships and experiences. I've learned a lot about letting things be whatever they turn out to be. I think I'm living in that belief  even prior to departure with this trip. I haven't been able to do that prior to other trips. I'm guarding my heart against having expectations. Maybe God is also guarding my heart against expectations. This trip, I'm asking God to help me notice whatever He'd like for me to notice. I'm asking God to help me be completely overwhelmed with emotion if that is what would be good for my soul. I'm asking God to help me receive the gifts He has for me or our little community with an open heart. I'm asking God to help me love well as we journey together and as we meet others along the way. When I return, I pray He will help me express what it was like to be in the land of the Covenants.

This is what I know for sure. I used to believe that God provides just enough and rarely more.  I spent years scared to notice or believe in His abundance and generosity. I've spent a couple of years daring to notice the opposite. This will sound crazy, if you can't relate to it, but it's taken courage to be willing to go through this shift in beliefs. As I've thought about heading out on this trip,  I'm struck by how abundant and generous and ridiculous it is that we are going on this trip. I hope that living in 10 days of this reality will bring me further along the way in letting go of my old beliefs. I hope and pray I receive this experience as training. Maybe I'll learn more about how to live in my relatively new understanding of His wise abundance and generous nature.

Thank you for being excited for us about this trip. Thanks for all your well wishes and offers to pray for us! Thank you David for sticking to your guns on this trip. I gently tried to derail this a few times and now find myself gratefully following your lead.

If the Lord gives me the words, I'll attempt to describe some of what took place when I return.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Is God Sovereign?

Is God Sovereign?

I stopped writing for a while. It wasn't because I lacked time to write. I found myself in a bit of a mess. I couldn't put the pieces together enough to write about them. I couldn't use this format to express what was being churned or discovered. If I had, I think there would have been one sentence entries.

I'm confused.
I don't understand pain and suffering.
It really ticks me off that the world is so broken and there are so many consequences to that.
Someone might take my words and use them against me.
I don't want to be ticked off.
I don't want to spiral into despair.
I believe but...

I have been held during this by my relationships with others who have faith in God.
I've shared the sorrow that has come.
I've shared the ways out of the hardest parts that God has provided.
I listened to people from all over the world sing praises to God.
I listened to the stories of others as their faith has been deepening and found hope.
I reflected on Scripture and noticed my thoughts and feelings and turned them into prayers.

Last week the Lord showed me something about the last four months or so. He's used this time to help me experience something that I have believed. I have believed that pain and suffering makes no sense. None of the experiences of it being necessary in my life for growth and understanding helped me with this belief.

In my Life with God prayer project last week, I was invited to ponder the question. Do you need to grow in your ability to identify with God? What does it mean that I receive my identity through God in Christ?

The experiences of the last four months began to come into focus when this thought came. You have not been able to see yourself in relationship to my identity as Sovereign in a particular way. You have actively resisted accepting pain and suffering as a part of My plan. This resistance is hindering our relationship. This means part of our relationship is not based in what is real. I've allowed you and you with others to face your beliefs about pain and suffering. There is a part of you that has not known how to trust Me or accept this.

My response. Oh my gosh! This is so incredibly true about me. Then one event, one conversation, one phrase after another, that has been significant and related to this, came to mind. Grace. God's amazing grace was so evident as well. He's showing me where our relationship struggles because of my struggle to have faith in His Sovereignty over all of life.

So much relief entered in to my heart. Blessed relief. There has been an undertow of angst in my life over this that has simply disappeared for now. I am walking in a place of peace that I have not known before in this area of my life with God. Do I understand it? No. It is a posture of faith in large measure. I lacked understanding. The posture of my heart was to demand understanding or refuse to accept it. Some kind of passive aggressive rebellion. ( Ha! And if you know me well you know passive aggressive absolutely makes me crazy!)

Walking with God by faith in this new perspective is producing in me fruit of the Spirit. The peace I am walking in is remarkable. To rest in God seems possible in many new ways and in lots of different relationships. I will take that over my old perspective without reservation. I am shocked at how controlled I have been by my unbelief.

Did I like that God was allowing me to wrestle with all this? No, I did not. Once again he is found faithful and loving and I am more free to live by faith in Him than ever before. Am I grateful He did not leave me where I was? Absolutely!!!

To the people who have patiently endured this process with me and have trusted God for and with me, I want to say thank you and please know that you were needed.

Is God in the midst of unraveling a belief about Him that does not match up with the truth? Is there a truth about God that you long to be able to identify yourself in? Like, God is good therefore I can be one who trusts Him. I'm grateful to know that God's faithful love for you will hold on to you as He reveals where you struggle to live identified with God in Christ.