Thursday, October 29, 2009

P.s. [to Who & Whose]

After I finished writing my previous post, I went to class and was there until 9:30. I come home from class to find an email from a dear friend/dad-figure that he'd actually sent yesterday. He's been prompted to pray for me a lot lately, and this is what God wanted him to share with me:

My daughter i am training you in steadiness training to not let too many things interrupt your awareness of me--I know the world you live in,  I know your commitments, I know the sights and sounds even the things you do for me! Do not let them throw you off course..calmly and confidently remember I am with you. You more than ever must know that I  designed you to need me moment by moment. As your awareness of your neediness increases so to will your realization of my abundant sufficiency. My peace will dwell in you in greater measure. my peace, however, is in the moment.this causes you to seek my presence at all times you are precious to me need not do another thing to please me. You are loved just as i have made you.
Verbatim in some parts! I shouldn't be surprised because I know this man hears clearly from the Lord, but still... zing!!

Here's what I had written: I can't measure how I am day by day. If I did that, I'm sure I'd feel like a crazy person--ups and downs all over the place. I also can't just wake up and say once at the beginning of my day, "God, I need you." My mind isn't strong enough and my will isn't formed enough for once to be sufficient. I may say it once, but hours later, I'm already in a flurry of worries or concerns. This only brings about a kind of lifestyle that's lived out in a blur. I want clarity; I desire a rhythm of stillness and silence to be integrated in my life.

My walk, this process, all of it--it's moment by moment. It's a dialogue. It's constant interaction--constant conversation--between someone who can't do anything alone (me) and Someone in whose palm I sit. The constant interaction and dialogue really do act as safeguards for my heart.  
It's absolutely no coincidence that Papa Shark (Mark) shared this with me. God's timing is beyond my comprehension (orchestrated genius) and He knows my heart, and He chose to speak through Mark to minister to me. This was incredibly encouraging for me as it's confirmation of the things that I've been learning and sifting through.

Thank you, Lord...for pursuing me the way You do.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who & Whose

I can't measure how I am day by day. If I did that, I'm sure I'd feel like a crazy person--ups and downs all over the place. I also can't just wake up and say once at the beginning of my day, "God, I need you." My mind isn't strong enough and my will isn't formed enough for once to be sufficient. I may say it once, but hours later, I'm already in a flurry of worries or concerns. This only brings about a kind of lifestyle that's lived out in a blur. I want clarity; I desire a rhythm of stillness and silence to be integrated in my life.

My walk, this process, all of it--it's moment by moment. It's a dialogue. It's constant interaction--constant conversation--between someone who can't do anything alone (me) and Someone in whose palm I sit. The constant interaction and dialogue really do act as safeguards for my heart. The moment by moment detracts, on some levels, the unnecessary discouragement that might find it's way in.

Discouragement, I don't want you. More often that not, you're lies that I don't like, that I don't need to hear, and I too quickly believe. You don't define me, and I don't want to be defined by you.

Though it may sound cheesy, this phrase always hits home with me: We knew who we are when we know Whose we are.

I find the most rest in His presence as His daughter, as His beloved, but sometimes I forget that. Or, I'm so in the thick of other stuff that I can't see Him. Even then, there are times when in those dark places I choose not to see Him, but yet--He's holding me. He's singing over me.

I love this song because it's from the perspective of God singing to us:

You're My Beloved
You're My Bride
To sing over you is My delight
Come away with Me My love

You're Beautiful to Me
So beautiful to Me

Under My mercy
Come and wait
Till we are standing face to face
I see no stain on you
My child

You're Beautiful to Me
So Beautiful to Me

I sing over you My song of peace
Cast all your cares down at My feet
Come and find your rest in Me

I'll breathe My life inside of you
I'll bear you up on eagle's wings
And hide you in the shadow of My strength
I'll take you to My quiet waters
I'll restore your soul
Come rest in Me and be made whole

You're My beloved
You're My Bride
To sing over you is my delight
Come away with me my love

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Surprised Surprise?

There's no doubt that our God is a faithful God. I constantly think back as well as presently on all the times He has provided for me and lavished me with His love. He continues to show me how He pours out love into the areas of my life I call insignificant--giving them worth and value.

He values all of us, which is why in His death, we were made new creations. We were wholly made new because he wants wholeness for us.

I need to be careful because I can go easily on a tangent with this post, which wouldn't come as a surprise, but I want to get to the point. The theme of this is more so framed with a question than it is anything else. How is it that I'm constantly surprised that God is the way(s) He is? When I see His goodness, I'm almost taken aback. The truth is, He is that good, that loving, that gentle, that kind, that joyful, that just, etc... On one hand, I feel as though I shouldn't be surprised because I should "know" how ridiculously amazing He is. And on the other, I'm glad I'm surprised because it keeps me in a posture of awe and thankfulness. I know full well that I cannot fathom the greatness of God; I guess that explains my surprise :). Ah, the joys of circular reasoning; it just cracks me up. I get it, but I totally don't--contentment found as this sentiment hangs in the balance.

An aside to those last few thoughts: I'm amazed that I find myself not trusting when I'm constantly blown away by His faithfulness. I think, "Really, Liz? Seriously?!" And to think, He loves me despite me being the occasional idiot, and loves me into a deeper trust :).

I was listening to a song this morning, and this line caused my ears to perk as I was in the midst of being boggled by God's favor and His love: "There's no language for what we've seen." It's true. My words pale in comparison, and I feel like I'm a two-year-old whose senses are so stirred but I'm at a complete loss for expressing myself because I don't have the words; the ones I do have are far from sufficient.

I just got an image as I was writing this that settles the circular reasoning a bit. You know that feeling you get when you're about to successfully surprise someone? It's almost a sense of bottled up joy and sheer delight as you know the person is going to be totally wowed. Part of me thinks that's how our Father feels when we're in sheer delight of who He is and what He does for us. He likes that we respond with such awe and excitement. He likes to surprise us; it makes His heart happy.

I've found myself taking a lot of deep breaths and exhaling with equally deep sighs lately. They allow me to stop long enough to somewhat process what God's up to in my life as well as the life of others. Wow. That's all I've got.

Let me end on a positively amazing note :). So, this is the first time I'm really updating on the progress of my Uganda trip fund raising. I was a bit concerned because I've never had to raise $4,000 for a mission trip. They've always been significantly less for short term trips. Anyway, at a training meeting on Sunday, I was informed that I'm already at 104% of what's needed (it's only been about a month in a half since I sent out my letters) !!! It gets even crazier; I know more is coming in, and this is going to be a huge blessing for the rest of the team as well as for our friends in Gulu. See? I shouldn't be surprised, but that's all my heart knows to feel. I am humbled and in nothing but awe of Jehova Jireh-- our Provider!!!!

If you haven't seen it yet and would like to be in the know about my trip and different ways you can be praying, please go here:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where All the Good Happens.

This past weekend was an obvious reminder of where most good things happen :)

In Community!

Friends gathered to worship and pray on Friday night, and there God met with us and we saw various expressions of freedom, love and healing.

On Saturday, a group of ten friends came along with me to visit my parents in Santa Clarita. There, we enjoyed food, conversations, and the highlight for me was probably all of us around the piano--singing Blessed Assurance in 3 or 4 different languages. There must have been at least 7-8 countries represented!

Finally, Sunday came around--and again, I was reminded of the beauty found in Community. I shared my testimony at my Uganda trip meeting and it was received with nothing but love. I could say so many things, but ultimately, there is just great freedom in Love. There was no judgment--rather, only an environment where there was a deep understanding that we are all His children made right through His death and resurrection.

There is a constant theme that God's been trying to teach me more about-the unity of the Body. It's simple in many ways, yet the implications of being in intentional community run so deep. What a gift it is! We need each other.

I wish I had pictures from all of these community experiences, but I only have some from Saturday:

If you'd like to see more, you can go here:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's a long one, but it's been a long time in coming.

I had been carrying a backpack of bricks around for a year. You'd think I would know by the strains, the tiredness, and this unyielding sense of, "Seriously? C'mon...this has gotta end..." that I would have figured out I was carrying some kind of superfluous weight on my back.

Call it maternal, call it the "developer," the carer, or the controller in me. It's a mixed bag of all of those things. There is much room for those things to be sifted out with hopes of removing more of the control while strengthening the other traits.

I know that I didn't need to wear the backpack this long to learn what I learned, but God gently helped me carry that as he knew the scales would fall off of my eyes. Impeccable. That's what His timing is. Much came to my attention yesterday and the past few weeks that solidified some revelation that had been given, and more revelation was given that finally released me of the weight of the backpack--it just slipped off of my proverbial shoulders.

I wasn't able to go to every session of The Torrey Conference (an event that takes place every year at Biola University), but I was able to go to the closing session. I appreciated the fact that there was a recap of the overarching themes/messages of the week :

* Trust the process of suffering & move into it.
(rehearsing the whole of your faith/Psalm 60/77)
*Trust God for treasures in darkness.
*Trust the power of incarnational love. 
*Trust the bigger pictures.
*Trust His care for us.

All that I've shared is the bare minimum backdrop to a very complex, multi-layered, bittersweet friendship of mine. I don't know how you deal with things, but I have an incredibly hard time watching and being present with friends who I know are walking straight into a hole--a hole of heartache, a hole of destructive behavior, of whatever--you name it! Whatever the case, there's much self-inflicted pain; all of which, in my mind's eye are events that are completely avoidable. I want to love, but I don't want to condone certain things. I want to be there for, but I don't know If I can hold the hand of someone who is hurting themselves. I wanted to love her, but in trying on my own, I more so realized that I wanted to fix her.

There is the problem. "I" want to love, "I" don't want to condone, "I" want to be there, "I" don't know if... "I, I, I!" All of the I's in my thought process slanted my heart towards what I thought as wise (doesn't even matter whether or not I was right). My heart was bent, and trusting God became even more difficult--the focus was off of Jesus and placed onto myself. Wisdom is crap without a deep rooted trust in Love.

Well, there in the raw, has been one of the biggest struggles in my life in this past year. I wanted so badly for a friend to be well that a posture of love quickly turned into a posture of control masked as   love. Trusting God with that friendship was lip service. Well, no--more like a tug-of-war between trust and myself; there was much back and forth with me foolishly thinking that I was actually winning at certain points.

Let me revert you back to these previous statements: I want to love, but I don't want to condone certain things. I want to be there for, but I don't know If I can hold the hand of someone who is hurting themselves. Like a ton of bricks, it came down on me one day; God loves me when I'm a complete idiot, and He also is present with me when I am self-destructive. In God's love, He shows His wisdom. He's doesn't love me if, He loves me even if

In places where I know nothing else but to be with someone, I was reminded that I need to trust in the incarnate love of Jesus. Just be, and He's got the rest. I am helpless, but He isn't.  

While I was hanging out with some friends, a friend shared a vision God gave him for me. He saw me writing with an ink pen in this journal with a huge smile on my face, splattering ink everywhere, but loving every moment. Things shifted, I was still writing, but now I was writing frantically and there were no words showing up. I started writing my own story.

I'm writing your story. Let me show you how amazing your story is going to be because it's a part of My story.

So, I don't know if it's appropriate to call it this, but there was a sequel to that vision. He also saw me trying to hold someone else's pen as I attempted to write her story (mind you, this is what the Spirit's telling him; this friend wasn't completely unaware of the situation with my friend). This is when the backpack just seemed to fall off of my shoulders, and as I just cried, the tears seemed to cleanse my soul. The very thing that "did it" though was the verbal declaration of, "God, I give my sister to you." The verbal act happened in community, and that's what I had needed all this time. I don't know how many times I had said that in my head or in my heart, and it still wasn't enough to bring that darkness into light. There was a release of that to the Lord in the Body. Healing!

God is with us. Emmanuel. El Emet. God of Truth. Thank You for being with us and being Light for us and in us. I don't know and will never know how it is that You love us so much.

Friday, October 23, 2009


In keeping with the theme, I'm going to be a bit more vulnerable with you. A friend directed me to this song (Remember by Tim Hughes) as I've been spending some time praying over some things. I decided to learn it...and record it in the process.

In light of it all, He is all and in all, and utterly worthy of our worship.

In our highs and our lows, He is unchanging. We join Him in His suffering, and He makes us more like Him. God, give us the courage to do that. May we know Your joy.

Today I was reminded of His faithfulness in that He has been calling me into a place of great need for Him. Lovely dependence. It's the kind of dependence that looks like a child flopping into the lap of a father--the Father. He is asking me to be still and to rest in Him.

So, here's Take 1 (aka, me being vulnerable with you) :
P.s. Guitar's a wee bit out of tune--couldn't find the tuner. Just go with it ;)


Ill remember You
Ill remember what You did
Remembering the cross
Remembering the price You paid
Ill remember You

No ones ever loved me quite like You do
No ones ever loved me quite like You
Jesus For Your glory I will tell the story of the cross

I will sing of You
I will sing of what You did
The stone lies rolled away
Nothing but an empty grave

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah for the cross

-Tim Hughes 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Papa's Girl.

The saying goes, "when it rains, it pours." It seems as though when things are good, they're good; and when they're bad, they're bad. The last two weeks have been--well, trying. There have been moments of great joy, but a span of time that weighed heavily on my spirit as a great sense of sadness and resignation seemed to be unshakable. I started to wonder what the cause or causes were, and I settled on a few different variants.

1. As one desires growth or revelation there's an opposing power that desires nothing more than to sow and reap destruction. It's been a season of much refinement--much pruning. I'm constantly asking for clear vision in the midst of the process because, without an understanding that I'm being refined, bitterness and resentment could seep into places in my heart where they're not welcomed. A few months ago, God kind of gave me a heads up that I was going to need to strap in. Noted!

2. There is an issue of lacking discipline in my life that can bring about unwanted results. In some areas, I have much; in others, I'm a bit more inconsistent. Discipline is something I value, but it's also hard to maintain if I'm operating out of my own strength. This is where I need to operate in a place of grace--grace as a means of empowerment.His grace is sufficient. Me typing it out once means nothing. This is a thought that I long to have moment by moment, and sometimes that seems more apparent then others. It is humbling and reminds me that we're constantly in process.

3. Lastly, Uganda is just around the corner, and as the team and I have been preparing for it, we have felt warfare in various forms. Lies are creeping into our minds, and it's what we do with those lies that make the world of difference. I'm giving my testimony this Sunday at our training meeting, and as I've been mulling and praying over what I will share, I was overwhelmed by a sense of sadness and resignation as old tendencies mustered their way back into my heart.

There was a call tonight during prayer worship for anyone who needed prayer---specifically prayers against the lies being spoken over us by the voice that is not our loving Father's. For every lie, there is a truth, and that truth breaks the chains of captivity. Renouncing the lies and proclaiming the loving truths of God is incredibly powerful, and we were able to partake of that in community. As I was being prayed over, I got an image that spoke very deeply to my heart. My friend praying over me asked the Lord to show me an image of His great, unspeakable love for me.

Papa has an intricately fashioned, framed picture of me on His nightstand. With the most loving eyes, He gazes at me--and with great delight, He just smiles the biggest smile. Papa's Girl.

Again, I was reminded that I am my Beloved's and He is mine. Also, I was reminded of how much He loves me by showing me that amazing friends are contending for me as the Spirit leads them.

I pray we know His love more and more; that the truth and presence of His spirit indwelling in us would displace the lies, the doubts, the fears and insecurities. I ask for boldness and courage for His kids to live lives that demand explanation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Knowing Hands

Limpless sheets of gauze
Spread thin--vulnerable,
Laying on a colorless surface--
Debris, other particles
Falling through each hole--
Powerless to do otherwise.
Loss of control.
Realization, rather.
Control was never there.
 On its own--

But in knowing hands,
What once was lifeless
Takes on meaning--
Intentional life.
New life
Clothing cold, bare bodies,
Dressing raw wounds,
Wrapping around and
Around. Placed as it
Was meant to be placed.
Disillusioned no longer
In the discovery of purpose.
Found in the hands of the Knowing.

Monday, October 19, 2009


In my last post, I wrote on how vulnerability, a healthy release of tears and honesty are all things that bring me life. Well, I guess I should have prefaced that with the fact that they don't necessarily feel life-giving as you're actually in the midst of them. I'm in the midst of them, and I won't waste my time lying to you; they don't feel good.

I'm actually reminded of a childhood routine I simply despised. I hated taking my vitamins. They were those colorful, iron-filled, Flintstones vitamins. I took them, alright--I took them and hid every single one of them under my pillow until my parents figured out my wily scheme and had a few words with me about it. In this sit-down, they tried their best to explain to a something little-year old that these were to make me stronger, healthier, and grow up to be a big girl. Despite my aversion to the vitamins, what my parents told me did have an impact on me. I started to take those suckers, not without plugging my nose and grimacing in the process, of course.

Though the list could be much more extensive, the three I've chosen: honesty, vulnerability and tears tend to be rooted in something far deeper. They are life-giving things because they are pruning mechanisms. To release honesty, there must be the cutting-off of dishonesty as well as the disposal of wanting the false sense of security in what's comfortable (I believe that is also true for the other two which follow); for there to be vulnerability, the cutting-off of guardedness and numbness; and for there to be tears, there must be the cutting-off of how others perceive you and the fear of appearing weak.

As Fall makes its presence known and reminds us that the seasons are changing as they often do, other transitions are also at hand. Seasons mark changes for many things apart from the weather and its respective holidays. Seasons mark changes in friendships, in aspirations, in growth, in healing, in grieving, etc...

It's in the midst of these transitions that we discover what things are life-giving. I firmly believe that many things that are life-giving can and will be perceived as strange or against-the-grain because they will, many times, reflect the heart of Jesus. And it couldn't be any more fitting: the Giver of Life as the giver of life-giving things :). They give us life because they are the things that are refining us to be more complete, whole, and loving people. And this will only happen in the hands of the Vinedresser.

Lord, take away the branches in our lives that don't bear fruit, and teach us to trust You as You prune us, that we would be still enough for You to do Your work of love in us. Give us eyes for eternity that we wouldn't define our circumstances and the ways we respond to them by any standards other than yours. Thank You for desiring Your Joy in us, Lord. Continue to make us full in You.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life-giving Things.

Though many things have the ability to be life-giving, I realized that some of those had gone on an unwelcome hiatus in my life. Two specific ones: writing and photography (both of which fall under the overarching umbrella of my creative release). They're coming back, and I'm already experiencing a greater freedom in being me as I welcome their return.

What are the things that give you life?

A glimpse into a few of mine:

1-on-1 conversations.
Stories of restoration.
Getting to know people.
Learning/Discovery (for others/myself).
Cooking/Sharing meals.
A good laugh.
A healthy release of tears.
Deep breaths.
His presence.

This small list just puts my heart in such a thankful place. Because we're so intricately made, the collection of things that gives us life is so diverse. The Father delights in bringing joy and life to His children, and in doing so, He shows His creativity!

To close, I'll leave you with a few images that I captured today as I took a walk around my neighborhood. His creativity is everywhere, and there is intense beauty in the simplicity and complexity in which our lives are framed.

"First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don't see."


Give it some thought. What brings you life? I'd love to know.


More words have been added to Ellie's rapidly-growing lexicon. She learned the word awesome--pronounced "awethome." She's the funniest, sassiest little girl. She initiates wrestling matches with her dog Zipper (wins every time) and has an extremely colorful imagination. As her vocabulary rapidly changes, she is becoming more and more amusing. We're starting to have these funny little dialogues with each other.

I'm constantly amazed by children. They reflect the handiwork of the Creator in ways we can't see
(well, maybe we have to try harder to see) in adults, and they are fellow image bearers.

Tonight, Ellie said to me "Liz, you awethome" and made my night.

Here are a few pictures we took from this evening.


I only posted a few here, but if you want to see all of them, here you go:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Do as the wee ones do.

"We are waiting; we are anticipating Your arrival.

Voice raising-celebrating Your arrival."

This is a posture that I want to be truer of my heart. I don't want to anticipate next week's happenings or the 5 years from now "what's it gonna be like's." I want to be sensitive to His Kingdom now, but to also be anticipating the culmination and fulfillment of the Kingdom to come.

What do I do with that? Well, I'm usually most inclined to thinking it and ruminating on the thought a bit and stopping short of the most important facet of the process. Asking.

Kids just know how to do it, and they do it well!  They ask, and they ask persistently--knowing that either mommy or daddy will probably end up giving them what they want. Well, Papa wants us to ask. He wants me to ask.

He gives His kids the best gifts and holds nothing from us. Could you imagine the eyes He would give us if we kept on asking for better vision or His Kingdom-- His heart?

Lord, teach us to ask and to ask persistently! And teach us to ask with the right heart.

 Luke 11:1-13 [The Message]:

One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, "Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."  So he said, "When you pray, say,

   Reveal who you are.
   Set the world right.
   Keep us alive with three square meals.
   Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
   Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil."

 Then he said, "Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don't have a thing on hand.'

"The friend answers from his bed, 'Don't bother me. The door's locked; my children are all down for the night; I can't get up to give you anything.'
 "But let me tell you, even if he won't get up because he's a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he'll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
 "Here's what I'm saying:

   Ask and you'll get;
   Seek and you'll find;
   Knock and the door will open.

"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing—you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let's try this again.

Fall, you only gave me the allusion that you had come. Please do so for certain and stay longer than just a few days. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lesson From Above the Wick

It was 2 AM, and I had finally finished the last touches on a 17-page paper. While my spirit was relieved, my mind and body felt like jello. I connected my laptop to the printer; 3 pages into the print job, all the lights in the apartment started to flicker rapidly, the printer made uncooperative noises, and then the house went still--pitch black except for the touch of light that was creeping through the blinds. One of my roommates came out of her room, and looked at me with puzzlement. We briefly discussed the idea that our food might go bad, and with that, she went back to bed.

First of all, I couldn't help but find humor in the fact that it was immediately after the finishing of my paper that this happened--talk about timing :).

As I checked the fuse box, I realized that the houses around us had probably experienced the same thing. It was just a matter of time before the electricity came back on. It's not often that I don't have electricity. Since the hardest part was over, I actually found a rush in trying to do really normal things in the dark. That didn't work out too well, so I found a match and lit a teeny votive candle. It was by this light that I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and maneuvered around the kitchen for some water without tripping over or bumping into things.

The votive candle rested on the coffee table next to the couch where I decided to sleep last night (I can hear the sound of the rain better there :)). As I looked at it (though, it almost seemed like it was looking at me), it dawned on me that this tiny little candle was the very thing that was making all the difference in that dark room. That little votive candle in its pre-lit stage looked just like any of the other candles that were with it in the package. As it stood alone, fulfilling its purpose, it couldn't help but draw attention the light that it was giving off.

A candle in its simplest form doesn't attract attention because of its wax body or because of its wick. It is the very light and the essence of warmth it emits that draws in the gaze of those around it. Candles lead a humble existence, but the light they give off is glorious. This is our job, the charge on our lives, the honored invitation that we have been extended. We have the privilege of emitting the Father's light. This little candle just reminded me of  Isaiah's words: "I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the LORD."

Our LORD is "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." He has lit the wicks and asking us to join Him in the process of continuing to do the same.

Burn, baby, burn!
(Why do all commonly known light/fire phrases lean towards the cheesy end of the stick?)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Triangular Existence.

7:30 AM. Both arms into my red coat, both feet into my autumn boots, and I pull one end of my scarf around my head and onto both of my shoulders, draping it just right. It's a stunning, dewy morning--I have a cup of coffee in hand and I'm off for a walk while I pray. I discovered that if I'm walking and praying, I'm not as prone to falling back to sleep. The morning is exceptionally crisp, and my lungs are delighting in the fresh breaths of unadulterated morning air.

There's a specific kind of people who wake up early in the morning. I'm not referring to the early-to- rise workers. I mean the early-to-rise neighborhood people--those who water their lawns, walk their dogs, go on jogs, sit on their front porches, or just walk around with coffee in hand waving to others passing by. Friendly mornings. For some in Long Beach, this is true to a greater degree. Just as the city carries an air of character, history, uniqueness and surprise, so do its people. 

The walk I took this morning was enough to remind me of something that I seemed to have forgotten since school started, as life has gotten busier than usual. There is something (actually, there are many things) about this city that truly has a place in more than a bit of my heart. I cannot get away from it--not that I want to.

Here's my dilemma. I live a triangular existence. My life (in the micro sense), is shaped by three points on the Southern Californian map: Long Beach, La Mirada, and Costa Mesa. The idea/or desire of wanting to consolidate the main cities in my life has been quite regular these days--with alternating sentiments of burden and relief. I'm at school for the majority of my week, I'm out in Costa Mesa at RockHarbor at least 2 out of the 7 days, and I sleep, eat and lounge in Long Beach. For a split second I considered moving to save on gas, but the idea of leaving this city along with all that it means to me now just didn't sit well. I'm still praying for clarity on how best to maneuver in the spaces I'm in right now, and I know change is around the corner. I do know that the change, for now anyway, does not entail me leaving this city that has been and continues to be home to me. His Spirit is stirring here, and I am beyond blessed to be a part of that (in whatever fashion).

To be continued...

I'm humbled that this passage has marked what I see happening in the city I currently call home:
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:23-24

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Colors My [Our] Vision?

Don't you just love those mornings when you wake up knowing that it's just going to be one of those days? Today was one for me. I set my alarm for 6:30 and had plans for my morning. My body and mind felt exhausted as the sound of my alarm finally traveled to my ears, and I simply hoped that I wasn't a potential flu victim. Three hours later, I forced myself out of bed and got a glimpse of the gloomy weather outside. Normally, I would be elated by this kind of weather. Today it just seemed to put me in a funk. Or...maybe I was already in a funk.

I left for school at a pretty standard time and once I got onto campus, the parking lots were FULL! Studying for a quiz at every red light,  I knew I'd get to school just in time for class. Normally, the lots don't fill up around the time my first class starts. Today was the exception. Well, I ended up driving around for about half an hour--nada!! I parked in a visitor spot and headed to class. The quiz was already over--missed it. As I settled my mind and my body into class, I knew I'd end up finding a parking violation on the windshield of my car once class was over.

Maybe today is just one of those overly emotional days--I'm a girl; these days happen ever so often. I cried on my way over to school, forgot things I needed at home, felt incredibly overwhelmed with the stuff on my plate, and the whole parking/quiz situation unraveled-- I was almost waiting for the next thing from the list of "Great, what's next...?" to show itself, but that thought was squelched rapidly as I got out of my car as I parked for the second time--in a legitimate spot.

The gloominess of the weather (or at least my perception of it) dispelled and was replaced by the coolest, most refreshing embrace of brisk, fall air. I especially felt it around my face, but it was a lovely and slow soaking in of this almost breeze. One deep breath after the next.

Eyes closed. Slow exhales.

I made sure to take in a few of these before snapping back into the grid of my schedule.

It's fascinating how those "Hey, slow down" moments have great power in giving me enough space to regather, refocus and remember how good things are despite the little annoyances that do pop up every now and then.

The idea of becoming numb to the blessings and gifts in my life is alarming, and I know that if I'm not intentional about it, it will happen. In these moments, I'm most reminded that it's all in the ignorable things: flowers budding, sunsets, intensely green leaves on towering trees, a sprouting plant, a blanket of stars in the sky, the glorious sound of waves crashing, the fact that I have a car, an education, a community of people in my life, food at every meal, my health, clean air to breathe (usually), the ability to walk, to breathe, etc... The list is honestly endless.

There's a reason why we're told to count our blessings. It gives us perspective, and it reveals the Father's heart for us. Thank you for coloring our world the way You do. I ask for eyes that will allow me to see my surroundings more vibrantly and in their truest shades. Let not my circumstances taint my vision of who You are.

Alright, a few more moments with the almost breeze before the last class of the night...

Monday, October 5, 2009


The breath of Fall is finally upon us, and I'm hopeful in saying that in spite of inconsistent and strange SoCal weather,  it is going to linger around for a while. (An aside: I envy any of you who get the privilege of having a natural backdrop full of blankets of richly colored leaves.)

The season has changed, but I know in my gut that it is so much more than that. We are entering into a season of change (a launching pad for greater and greater things). I don't say this to be overly dramatic or conjure something up that isn't true.

You can taste it.

It's going to be a continued breaking of foundations of complacency and those being replaced by ones driven by fierce intentionality, purpose and power. We are living in a time when this generation (I guess I mean mine) as well as those before us is going to learn to live better by loving better.

Spirit, we ask you to empower us and fill us with a greater measure of your love--that we might behold more of your glory manifested in grace and truth.

Friends, let's pursue lives that are different--ones that are compelling because they are are so compelled by Love.

"The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit."John 6:63

I leave you with these lyrics from Sleeping At Last's "Heaven Breaks:"

It always starts like this,
A harmless an simple thing to fix.
Contagious and spreading quick...
Like cracks in ice,
Wholly claiming our lives
While we sleep.

We'll pray for Heaven's floor to break,
Pour the brightest white on blackest space,
Come bleeding gloriously through
The clouds and the blue.
Forcing on place from two,
Filling formulaic views,
Only love proves to be the truth.

When heaven meets the earth,
We will have no use for numbers
To measure who we are and what we're worth.

When Heaven meets the earth,
We will have no need for mirrors
To tell us who to be
And where we fit into this awkward point of view.

When angels meet the earth, may our bodies be light.
When angels meet the earth, may our heavy hearts untie.
When angels meet the earth, may our bodies be light.
May our bodies be light for You.
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