Thursday, August 30, 2012

I saw the Light.

Helen Keller was once asked, "Is there anything worse than being blind?" She replied, "Yes! Having eyes and not being able to see."

This week I have seen . . .

God draw near.
James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

The joy in the morning.

That the flesh is weak, but with a willing spirit and the strength of the Lord, all things are possible.

God gives words.
Exodus 4:12 "Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say."

The happiness that small things can bring.

The healing that setting differences aside and finding common ground in the unity of Christ can bring.

The power of prayer.

A God who gave strength when my tank was empty.

That God cannot fit into a box.


That my cup runneth over with blessings that too often I take for granted.

How laughter is good for the soul.

How big God is when I choose to live in awareness of my smallness.

This week I saw the Light!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Public Speaking OH MY!

Public speaking.

Need I say more??

For some those two words mean absolutely nothing. But for others, just hearing them alone, gets the heart racing, the palms sweating, and this feeling in your stomach that makes you think your lunch is going to revisit. And actually doing it, oh my, that creates a completely different list of horrifying reactions. I will spear you the details.

To speak honestly, for me, getting up and reading something or sharing someone else's thoughts is a different game. It's not an opportunity I yearn for, but have learned that it is doable.  On the other hand, sharing my thoughts audibly and opening the doors into my world from a podium in a crowded room . . . just go ahead a shoot me.

Lately, I have run into this opportunity A LOT. (Ok, only twice but for me, once is too many times).

My comfort zone does not include me sharing a part of my life to a room full of people, or even to a handful of people. For me, there is safety in someone getting to know me, before they know my struggles, my history, and my thoughts.

If you haven't guessed it by now, the opportunity to speak in front of a room full of people, once again has knocked on my door. And here I am . . . wrestling with this knot that has found permanent residence in my throat, my stomach's new hobby of acrobatics and my mind's nonstop training for long distance running. Physically I question if i am going to survive.

As I have tried to grab hold to this reality, I have been reminded, rather hit with the 2x4, that it's not about staying in my comfort zone or leaning on my own strengths.

Today, I found myself in Exodus, reading the story of Moses, the burning bush, the Holy ground, the questions, the doubt, the promise that God would be with him and the signs to Moses that God will do what He said. As I was sharing some thoughts with a friend, she simply stated, "I use to be so hard on poor Moses, now I feel his pain and doubt."

Well, she's not alone.

I find myself in that camp more often than I'd like. I see the miracles of God, I see the provisions He has poured into my life, I see impossible circumstances that He makes possible, I see that He is with me and yet, I still question:

Who am I? 
You sure you want me?
I think you meant to pick ___________!

and if questioning His call isn't enough, I am always quick to point out why I can't:

I won't be able to breath
I don't have any wisdom to share
I don't have enough time to prepare

Perhaps, one day I will learn to immediately fall into God's calling, verses first kicking, screaming and trying to convince Him there is somebody better for the job.

I really don't know if there is much I can do about the racing heart, the overwhelming feeling of nausea, or the sweaty palms . . . it seem to be a fairly normal response to those of us who are terrified of public speaking. And I know that from now until the time I give the talk there will be countless questions, several roadblocks and doubts that pop their ugly head in. But for now, it's time to swallow hard, embrace His call, to pray without ceasing, to let His words flow through my story and out of my mouth and to hold on tight for this wild ride of seeing Him show up.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Something Old, Something New, Nothing Blue

The Old:

1.In the midst of finding my old stuff a new home, my senior book, filled with photos, tokens of high school and hand written sentiments from friends, classmates, and staff who filled the halls of Manchester High School, stole way too much time as I sat Indian style in the closet. As I flipped through the pages, a photograph fell from the book. I was in stiches, complete hysteria and my sides soon were sore from laughter as I wonder why in the world my best friend, her boyfriend, my boyfriend and myself ever thought is was a good idea to have portraits of us taken at Sears. Oh, if I were a little bolder I would post that picture . . .but I guaranteed you, it didn't look to far off from this.

(Jon, Jess and Tim you are welcome I did not humiliate you all) For those that curiosity is eating away at you, I have several copies of these photos, that could be yours. . .for the right price, of course.

2. Sometimes I wish I could go back to that place where innocence ran deep. Where the jagged edges of this fallen world had yet to cut and leave scars. Where the magic of Christmas or the tooth fairy still mystified the young mind. Where the days of building back yard club houses and posting "no boys allowed" signs were the only signs of exclusion (and that's only because we all know that boys had cuties).

3. I miss some peeps from the past today. I wish distance didn't strain relationships. I sadly admit, out of sight out of mind, is a saying that I wish didn't hold as much truth. Friendships come easy when you work in the next classroom over five days a week. It's effortless when you gather once a week and discuss the questions of life, faith and finding our fit in this world or meet in a movie theatre Sunday mornings knit together under a common purpose. It's more challenging when distance stretches over state lines, when summer vacations lead to a group's hiatus or your local place of worship changes.

4. Sunday, I dropped my old Bible as I left the building. The cover went one direction while notes flew in the other. The pages are bent and folded in erratic positions. It's not that I haven't taken care of this Bible, but more due to the fact that it's just old and has traveled many many miles along this journey with me. I have plenty of newer Bibles, but somehow none seems to have been able to replace this aged Bible. This Bible, with blue painter's tape attempting to hold the cover on (obviously not an adequate solution due to it flying off as I stated above), the margins completely filled with handwritten notes, and the sticky notes that protrude out has had it's time, and will forever hold memories of enlightenment, of growth, or questioning and of moments I encountered my maker.

5. My hair is telling a tale I was hoping to keep quiet for at least a few more years. The secret? (Arg, lean in close . . .I don't want the whole world to hear.) I . . .I am . . .(deep sigh) I am going gray . . .I am getting old!!!

The New:

1. Since the day I owned a digital camera, I have been pretty lame in my attempts to do anything with the photos I have taken (after the confession of the ridiculously dreadful Sears portraits, I am questioning if this is a bad thing). But lately, I have not only taken the time to print pictures, but to adorn them with beautiful frames and display them around the house. It makes a difference. Constantly, I am reminded of the people I love, of the times we have spent creating memories full of laughter and adventure. Pictures that freeze time just for a simple moment in a world that tries to steal those memories away. I like it. I like it a lot . . . so much so it has flooded into my cubicle world  (without the embellishment of attractive frames, or course). This is just one that daily reminds me to stop and smell the roses.

2. In the recent weeks, it's been a harsh reminder of how many of us have been cut and scarred by this world we call home. I have watch the ones I love pour out their hearts as tears stream down their face as they ask, "then where is my fit in all of this?" We have all heard the stories of guns, and movies, and lost lives as we can't help but question "why?" I have been hurt by words from people who I thought understood me and in my own brokenness have caused hurt by some of my actions. The past few weeks I have seen a new face to this brokenness, and today, I have been thankful for that reminder that in the midst of all of our mess, there is One who isn't offended, isn't surprised, isn't judgmental, and isn't scared by any of it. He is just waiting for us all to bring it to Him, to lay it down and stop hauling it around.

3. Old friends can never be replaced and new friends are hard to make . . . but not impossible. As the physical transition of relocating is winding down, I am excited to exert my energy into community verses boxes and boxes.  And as summer's end is in sight, I cannot wait for the same folks who I have spent 2 years with diving into Matthew and into 1 John to gather again and explore the pages of His word once more.

4. I think it's time to pick up one of those new Bibles off my shelf. You know the ones where the pages still are stuck together, where there is no sign of dog-eared pages and the margins are plentiful. It's time to set aside the old, and pick up the new . . .not forgetting, but embracing what His word has to reveal to me here, where my feet are currently planted and to fill those white margins with colors of new wisdom, of new questions, and of new prayers.

5. I have never been one to really particularly care about my age. I was never the girl with the best skin, so these new creases and wrinkles that have taken residency on my face, bother me not. And the difficult of shedding those extra pounds that usually arrive in hand with getting older? Well that has always been a struggle, so no mourning there. And even though my eye sight has been changing ever so slightly, the fact that since middle school (oh those dreaded pictures) I have needed contacts/glass, I rarely think twice that this is because the number of birthdays I have under my belt continue to increase. But the hair--the vanity of a woman---the one thing of physical beauty that has always smiled on me---going gray. Oye Vey!!! So, other than letting God work on my pride, my other remedy is to cling to this . . . .Proverbs 16:31 "Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness." There you have it, watch out world, I'm gonna sport this glorious crown . . . well . . . .maybe . . .:)