Friday, December 24, 2010

my name.

I have a favorite Christmas song. Well. I have many favorites. But in particular I have one that I could say is a favorite of the favorites. This is remarkable for me because I don't claim to possess the decisive qualities which are essential in picking favorites. But alas, I have come to a decision.

It's called Joseph's Lullaby. And boy, let me tell ya, this song gets me. Every. Single. Time. But recently I've discovered and even greater love for this song. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago Ryan's sister had a little, tiny baby boy. I love babies at Christmas time. I love babies all the time, really, but Christmas time is such a wonderful time for a baby to be born, I think. Shortly after our nephew was born we were spending some time with him. I was holding him watching his every little move. So dependent on his parents. But so full of life and hope of things to come. And in those moments I found myself so swept away that Jesus was a baby. A wiggly little squishy baby. And Mary held him so close. Looked into his sweet face and knew the hope of every nation was wrapped up in her son. Can you imagine?? Gah. Just blows me away.

I guess what gets me about babies and Christmas is that it's such an incredible reminder of how human Jesus was. That He came as a baby, dependent on his parents for life and grew into a man that changed the world. I'm so thankful for that tiny baby - Emmanuel. God, with us

But back to the song. We were driving home from that time spent with Tobin (my nephew) and I was thinking about this song and how much more I was loving it after spending time with him. So we just went ahead and listened to it. And at the end there's a line that says, "Oh, my Jesus, sleep tight". Generally, when Jesus' name is used in songs it's more of a proclamation. A cry out to him, you know? But it just got me in this song that it wasn't a praise to a distant man. It was a father speaking his son's name as he held his brand new baby. Oh, my Jesus, sleep tight. There's just nothing more powerful than your name whispered from the mouth of someone that loves you. And I mean really loves you. You know in that moment that you're worth something. That out of a crowd someone picks you out.

The best part is that hearing Joseph, Jesus' father, speak his son's name is really beautiful. But it's also a really, really beautiful example of how The Father speaks our names. And loves us even deeper than a mother and father.

It's been a year full of unexpected circumstances. And saying I'm thankful doesn't even come close to being adequate, but I'm so thankful the God of hope knows my name.

Merry, merry Christmas to each of you.

Check that song out here.

Monday, November 29, 2010


There are days when life feels long. Seasons, more like. When the road ahead seems very, very uncertain and every obstacle that could be on that road is. If I'm being honest with you, and I'd like to be, that has been our season. It's a rough season to be in.

There have, of course, been similar ones like this in my life. But for some reason this one just really grabbed my soul. It interfered with my marriage. It turned my emotional well-being upside down. And for a while I was angry. Quite angry, I think. The details are fairly unnecessary, but the basics of it are that Ryan and I found ourselves dealing with some circumstances that we didn't see coming 2.5 years ago when we uprooted our lives to move across the country. The worst part of it was not knowing what the next step was/is. So much uncertainty. And I don't know about you, but uncertainty of things to come is one of those things that makes my stomach do a flop. It makes me hold my breath. And one can only survive so long before taking another breath.

Several weeks ago (months maybe) this word began to fall on my heart. This word, wait. Over and over the word of waiting kept creeping it's way into my heart. And then life started to really crash in on us and there was this word. This silly word. I didn't like it much at the get go. Wait? What a terribly non reassuring word. I can't think of much that waiting is associated with positively. And in lieu of our situation it seemed like the last thing I wanted to do. But there it was.

As I began to look into this idea of waiting and really as the idea of it seemed to just come at me without much help at all, the beauty of waiting was made clear. So many people from the Bible waited on the Lord. And so many people were blessed beyond measure. The Lord is so faithful to me. Waiting feels like my testament of faithfulness to Him. So I wait in confidence. Not tapping my toe or straining my neck to see what's ahead of me, but waiting on what the Lord has in store with assurance that He will provide. He always does. I can't say it's easy. Or natural. But I'm doin' it. Because how many times has He waited for me?

In true Jesus style, we have been so immeasurably blessed throughout this crazy time of life. We were surrounded by true, dear friends in prayer. We were hugged and loved. And Ryan and I have taken huge steps as a married couple. Learning to be supporters of each other. Pushed to be vulnerable and open with each other. And mostly just seeking the Lord together.

We don't know what's next for us, but we will wait on the Lord and we will wait in confidence. There is beauty in waiting. Beauty indeed.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5

Monday, October 4, 2010


I wanna tell you about my church.

It's no secret that in a world where information and opinions are readily available and frequently exchanged church has evolved into many things. I know the issue is pretty touchy. And it's not really the point or anything close to what I care to talk about. I just want to say that I was a part of something within a community of believers this month that I believe is one of the purest glimpses into Church that I've seen.

We've been on this path to Covenant. Essentially, in the last month we've focused on what it means to commit to a body. Not an organization. Not a system of beliefs. But to each other and to the Lord. We committed to being disciples and growing disciples of each other. And it ended with a night of community where we all came together and we made the commitment. Together.

I guess that was the thing of it all. As I watched and participated in giving the next year of life wholeheartedly to pursuing the Jesus who never turned away, I watched people do it together. Sure there were some who made the decision by themselves, finding a quiet place to contemplate the decision. But mostly people were finding the friends they do life with and making the covenant in unison. Taking communion, stacking their rocks, and praying with one another in faith that the Lord will never leave us. That as we seek Him He will teach us to love and live like Him.

It just feels good to see people gravitating towards one another rather than away. It feels really.... God-filled. And I'm so excited to see the things in store for us.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm tried of misery. Isn't it just everywhere you look these days? It sure feels that way to me. It's been happening for a while now, but lately it's dawned on me that it's a habit for people. When did this start becoming acceptable behavior? And who decided it felt good to make sure everyone else around you is miserable? What a silly idea. What a silly, terrible idea. Here's what I mean:

"I'm Engaged!"
misery-bringer: "Oh congratulations. Get ready for the worst time of your life."
"I got a job!"
misery-bringer: "Well kiss your free time goodbye."
"I'm pregnant!"
misery-bringer: "Your body will never be the same."
misery-bringer: "You better get ready to never sleep ever again in your whole entire life ever. Never."

Now. The baby scenarios are strictly hypothetical. Don't go getting any ideas. But c'mon!!! Haven't you all heard those responses a million times? And doesn't it just feel like a kick in the knees? Facebook has probably been the biggest offender of these cases because people just say whatever they gosh darn please in that world, but I just don't understand.

What if that just never happened? What if every time someone announced that they were getting married everyone around them responded with, "How wonderful. If you ever feel like you're too stressed out give me a call, I'd love to chat!" Or a pregnancy. "We'll be so excited to watch and help this little guy grow!" Wouldn't that just empower people to be better? To go into these huge milestones knowing that even if it gets really hard it will be okay because the world is on their side? I'd even venture to guess that there would be more successful marriages. More healthy, well-rounded kids. And a whole heck of a lot more community in life.

I know that somewhere along the way someone decided that if everyone else felt their agony then they wouldn't feel so miserable. But if you ask me, we should know better by now. We should snap out of it and learn to be bigger than our small situations.

That was a rant. I know. But I just couldn't hold it in any longer. It's as much for me as anyone. I want to be better at looking someone in the eyes and making sure they know they're loved and supported. Seems like a much more productive habit than misery.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

coming home.

As many of you know and as I mentioned last time, Ryan and I are homeowners now! We bought our first house in March and have been busy, busy, busy making it our own. It feels so good. So adult. And isn't she a beauty?

Needless to say, life has changed quite a bit since we've moved in. Readjusting to new commutes, finding new grocery stores and meeting the neighbors. We're really settling in to our new community pretty well. And I just can't help feeling so blessed.

In the last 2 years "home" has changed a lot for me - as you may well know - and this house represents some pretty remarkable accomplishments in my life this far. 2 years ago I was heart broken. I left the only home I've ever really known where my family and some of the most dearest, sweetest people I grew up with were and moved to a place where no one had any idea who I was. I can recall laying in bed with a very heavy, deep ache in my heart wondering if I'd ever find joy again. For that part of life, home was in our apartment in Overland Park. And eventually that was okay. We made some really wonderful memories there as a newlywed couple.

And here we are now. In a new home. A home that will likely be the place we bring our first child to. Where we'll hang our first Christmas lights up on. And where we hope lots of people come to find love and community.

There is beauty in this transition for me.

I will say this a thousand times. God has provided. God does provide. It's not that He provided this house. It's that He provided a light to my path. That in my loneliest days He reached down and brought me the hope of things to come and the joy of the home I will always, always have in Nampa, Idaho.

My cup is overflowing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a word on fear. again.

A two month blog absence? That hardly seems possible. I really do enjoy writing on my blog, but I will admit that it gets bumped down on my list of priorities fairly quickly. Truth be told, I'm a homeowner now! And I've got homeowner business to attend to! Nevertheless. I will blog-on.

You might be curious about some Lent follow-up. So. I'll tell ya. I've thought about how to put this into words that sound really great, but every time I sit down to do so all I can come up with are pretty ordinary sounding ones. So ordinary it is.

I gave up fear arrogantly. I thought my very act of sacrifice and intentional focus on God's protection and reign over my life would solve all my troubles. What I didn't consider was the underlying issue. I didn't consider that my Lenten plan, maybe wasn't the same one the Lord had in mind. He knows my heart so much better than I do. Haven't I figured that out by now?

In my journey past fear I found disbelief. I found myself doubting that God would protect me at all. My life's experience has shown me that things just happen sometimes. Death, hurt, depression. Happens to everyone. I'm not exempt. I felt conflicted that just because I called out to God he would swoop in and save me from danger. Why would He do that for me? Who am I to be saved?

As with many things in life, I had to make a decision. Just like following Christ and believing that He is Truth is a choice, a decision -- so is believing that He called us to not be afraid and living a life that embraces those words. The beauty of these last couple of weeks has been that I have been so incredibly busy that I haven't even had time to be afraid! That may sound silly, but it's true. I've come to realize that spending too much time dormant and stuck inside my tiny little home allows for a lot of time to become paranoid and think up crazy scenarios that are highly unlikely to play out. God did indeed create us to be active members of society. And it has been such a blessing to be busy and exhausted the last month.

Do I still get afraid when I shower? Yes. Do I jump at noises downstairs in the night? Yes. But I do believe that the Lord is with me. That whatever comes I will endure because He is faithful. He is my provider. If I believe that in all other circumstances, then it is true even in my fear.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Oh draw me Lord
And I'll run after You

I'm inspired by music quite a bit. This occasion is no exception. As I'm sure you're all aware, the Lenten season has begun. To be honest, I forgot about Lent this year. It just sorta snuck up on me, but since I remembered I have been having a tough time knowing what to focus on. Last year's sacrifice was so meaningful to me (see it here) and coming up with something equally as moving has felt a little out of reach.

Today I found it. Through a suggestion by my own mother (and you think I don't hear you sometimes....). After explaining her own focus this year she offered that mine might be giving up fear. A novel concept blogged about by myself just two posts below. Why didn't I think of it? Well. I didn't. But sometimes we just don't come up with the great ideas by ourselves. So this year my Lenten sacrifice is fear. And in its place I'll look to the Lord. Hold tight to His security.

But back to the music. Tonight I was hopping in the shower and I was afraid. Ryan isn't home and taking showers while he is gone is one of my most vulnerable points of fear. I can't see. I can't hear. I don't like it. But I have this system. I know exactly what doors to keep open and what lights to keep on so I have a good visual if I need to. I know that if I look in the reflection of the shower tile I can see the bathroom door. And I usually keep the shower curtain open just as an extra precaution. Isn't all that so silly? You're all laughing at me, aren't you? I know. I know. But tonight I had that all lined up and then I remembered the conversation with my mom and I decided to not be afraid.

Oh draw me Lord
And I'll run after You

That's the song I listened to. Draw me Lord and I'll run after you. Even if where you go is scary. Even if where you are is uncomfortable. Just draw me to You. Pretty powerful words. I'd say. And while singing these words didn't eliminate my fear, they did give me hope that I will live unafraid one day.

As I look to Him for strength and peace I trust that He is drawing me near. And i will always run after Him. Always.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

for haiti.

Haiti has obviously been in the hearts and minds of most these last couple of weeks. The needs are great and our ability to help is fairly limited. Such a devastating time. So, with that in our hearts, we were able to do something really cool on Sunday that I've never done before. We worshipped on Haiti's behalf.

We sang for the people that were too weak to speak.

We praised the Lord for the people who survived.

We shouted for the people whose despair is so deep.

And I gotta tell ya. It was powerful. At first, it seemed a little foreign. Maybe cheesy or something. But as the service went on it felt really right. You know? Like the Lord heard us. As I thought about each of the people affected by the earthquake I thought about how their state of mind probably wasn't in a place to be singing songs in worship to God, but ours is. And how amazing is it that as fellow creations of Him we can lift each other up, be strong when others are weak? The beauty of life on this earth is that we're not alone. So we just sang. All night long. We sang for Haiti.

He loves them
Oh how he loves them
Oh how he loves them
Oh how he loves

Maybe I could encourage you to do the same. See what it stirs in your heart as the words you sing in worship are for the suffering.

Friday, January 15, 2010

fear not.

I aspire to be great in my life. But great how, I wonder? From the moment I could understand the concept of having purpose I knew that my life could be meaningful, influential in some way. I know that I'm strong. That I have a heart for justice. For peace. But what's it for?

Perhaps the real issue is not what it is I'm supposed to be doing, but what is standing in the way of me getting anywhere. In the last few months it has become evident that the biggest thing keeping my head from even thinking about changing the world is fear. I live a fearful life. And it kills me. I'm a little embarrassed to even say it. Some where along the way I've taught myself to be afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of consequences. Afraid of death. Afraid of the dark. Afraid of rejection.

Greatness certainly does not come from fear.

I wish this was one of those things that could be solved with an epiphany. A simple, A-ha! moment. But this is a way of life I've settled myself in and it's going to take some time to dig out. Time well spent, I think. The fearful life has crippled me. It's taught me to think I'm incapable or that my hopes of changing the world are out of reach. False. I will change the world. Fear will not win.

Christmas was such a great reminder of God's call to not be afraid. How many times have we heard the story? The phrase? To Mary before she conceives. To the shepherds in their fields. "Do not be afraid." In a boat amidst a storm. To a mother asking for her daughter's healing. The Bible tells us time and time again how Jesus wanted no part in fear. Then to be home with my family. To see my parents giving so much of their time and resources to bring light and hope wherever they can. To be around my sister who, in my mind, knows no fear. She's the picture of courage to me. I love her. I love all of them. Good, good people. And such remarkable examples of living unafraid. How must fear be keeping me from the deep, deep peace of life lived in the unwavering courage of the Lord? I know it is. I feel it. I fight it.

These days I'm praying for courage. Praying that the Lord throws something our way that is totally unexpected and uncomfortable and that we see it as step past fear. It is not that I live a life cowering in the corner. No, this fear is more of a nagging in the back of my mind. An excuse to not do as much as I could, to not be as vulnerable. And I won't have it. I won't listen to the world telling me to be careful. To watch out for the latest scare. Scare me world! I'm not afraid! ... hmm too much, maybe? Nah.

Dear Fear, I'm planning on changing the world for the Lord so just go ahead and move along. Thanks.