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He makes me new, He is making me new

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Surrender

Recently I had to (and still am) deal with some major unpleasant family stuff.
(by family I mean the one I grew up with,my immediate family).

I won't get into details, mostly because, they're unpleasant to say the least, but what I've come away with from it all so far is, surrendering to God, and his love, sometimes is really all you have left. Not that that isn't enough in and of itself, I just mean, sometimes you REALLY have no other options.

Most of us know about God's love for us, and we know He is really all we need, but we still do hang on to our relationships, our posessions, careers, whatever makes us feel good. Well, what I have recently been going through has left me in a place where all I can really do is cling to God, my Father, and his love.
Because the hurt, the pain, the holes left in my heart can only be healed and filled by him. The only one who knows the pain I feel is him.

In the face of such pain and powerlesness there's great comfort in knowing that at least HE KNOWS what I suffered and still suffer;he knows what I lacked as a child and what I need now. So all I need to do, is surrender. Surrender to the notion that what happened can't be changed, and surrender to the notion that what I needed as a child, I didn't get. But most importantly, surrender to the notion that the love I need now comes from my gracious heavenly Father.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

When is baby coming--PART II



This is a picture of baby Jones and his cute little pout :-)

In my last post I forgot to mention that Paul and I have not so far come up with a name we both agree on, so if along with your prediction you'd like to offer up any name suggestions, we'd appreciate that! :-)

When is baby coming?



This is Baby Jones at 34 weeks with his hand in front of his face :-)

Ok...I am currently 34 weeks pregnant and I thought it would be fun to have a poll and see what everyone thinks about when the baby is coming.

So, go ahead and post a comment indicating:

-when you will think baby will come (due date is Jan 23 2006)
-how much baby will weigh
-we were pretty much told at our latest ultrasound that it IS indeed a boy, but feel free to disagree :-)

I'll post the winner shortly after the birth :-)or maybe not so shortly..depends on how much sleep I'm getting!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This Incredible Thing Called Pregnancy

I am currently 29 weeks pregnant, and it's starting to get really, really fun.
I know, some of you ladies with children think maybe I am writing as a result of a fresh batch of pregnancy hormones causing temporary euphoria or something!

It sure makes me tired, and achy, but overall, the feeling of carrying this tiny little miracle inside me just fills me with giggly joy. And the thought that in a few weeks (not NEARLY soon enough!)I will be holding this baby in my arms and looking into his eyes (disclaimer: yes, ultrasound technicians do make mistakes, so it could be a girl, but I refuse to call my baby IT!) fills me with more excitement than I can stand!

I can now distinguish certain body parts, such as his bottom, and even his tiny little foot! I love to poke him and make him move, almost as though we're playing a game :-)

It is miraculously incomprehensible how in love I can be with this little person that God is making inside me, and to think it will actually get better when he's here, is just more than my brain can grasp. But that's ok, it won't be a "brain thing", it will be a "heart" thing. I just Can't wait!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Change of Heart

I shouldn't be surprised. After all, I know my Father well. Perhaps not as well as I could, or as well as I'd want to, but I have come to know his love, his grace, his patience.

So when I asked him to change my heart so that I can let go of my bitterness, and He did, I shouldn't have been surprised!
I guess I'm not really surprised, just...pleasantly aware of his love for me and his will.

His will is that my heart be filled with his spirit and his love. Not my fleshly desires and emotions. His will is that I give of that love to those around me.

So when not only did he softened my heart, but softened the heart of someone I had inadvertently hurt with my bitterness and brought love back into our relationship, it is as though he was saying that he can't get enough of those prayers, because he loves to answer them. He wants nothing more than for me to be his child, and come to him when I'm at the end of myself, and ask for my heart to be more like his.

I love to do it. To recognize that I need him and ask. And then watch him work, feel him work in me, and those around me.

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth, Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthyl, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambitio, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure:then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


James 3:14-17

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Kindness

This past weekend at Crosswinds, the message Jack gave was about relationships.
As he listed some of the qualities that according to Paul (in the book of Colossians)we ought to display in our relationships, one of them stuck out : Kindness.

I don't think I have ever had any particular trouble extending kindness in my life. In fact most of the time I consider myself a pretty kind person and I have been told by others that I am.
But not this past Sunday. As I thought about kindness and compassion, another quality came up that goes hand in hand with these, and that is PATIENCE. I have alluded in the past to the fact that PATIENCE is NOT one of the qualities I naturally posses, and so, I realized that though I can be kind most of the time, when I'm running low on patience, the kindness kind of goes out the window. :-(

That seems to have been happening more than I care to admit recently. I could chalk it up to pregnancy hormones but that seems like a cop-out. Truth is, I have been less patient and that has caused me to harbor unkind thoughts and feelings towards others, to the point of embitterment. What I didnt realize is that although I was trying my darnest to hide it all, it was coming out in my behavior and attitude.

And so I discovered that for a long time now, I have been trying harder to BE kind, APPEAR kind, DISPLAY kindnesss than I have been trying to honestly change my heart, ask God for patience, and wait on Him to do His work. That produced hollow, empty, meaningless kindness, not true kindness at all. I hate that realization because I do not like "fake" people, and yet, to some extent in certain situations, I was being fakely kind for the sake of appearance. YUCK. I hate that!

So this morning as I go about my tasks, and I examine the thoughs in my head and words out of my mouth, I realize that my heart is bitter, and I don't like it. So I ask my Father to cleanse my heart, and fill it with love, patience and kindness to give.
TRUE kindness, the same kindness He gives to me even when I fail and disappoint Him.


"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Col 3:12-14

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Argentina



Cordoba Cañada



Córdoba de Noche

Argentina, mi País

From time to time I feel this void in my heart...It comes from having been a wanderer most of my life, never feeling like I am at home in any one given place.

I was born in Cordoba, Argentina, a relatively big city by South AMerican standards and for 11 years, that was home. Then my father decided he would give Europe a try, since he had relatives in Italy, and after living there for 2 years by himself, he sent money for us to move there as well. Italy then became home for 7 years, but it never felt that way. We all felt as though a chunk of us was still in Cordoba, like a chunk of our hearts had been left behind.

We did go back to Argentina, but for me, having left at 11 and come back at 18, nothing was the same. Nowhere felt like home. Italy wasn't it, Argentina didn't quite cut it, I was homeless.

I'll spare you the details, but after trying different things, I ended up in the States, and decided this was where I felt I could start anew. And shortly there after I truly felt, this is where God had intended for me to be, and make my home. And for the most part it has been home now for about 7 years.

Since living here though, I have been back to Argentina, my first home.
And somehow going back as an adult, made a difference. Going back and bringing my american husband and showing him around, the places where I grew up, helped me to really appreciate MY HOME. To truly see what makes ME a girl from Argentina.

There are things about Argentina that are un-explainable. They are what I feel when I hear someone speak my language (not just spanish, but ARGENTINA spanish), what I feel when I hear a tango, what I feel when I go back to visit, get off the plane and a wave of familiarity and warmth invade my heart. I can't explain to you why Argentina will always be my home, or why it is such a special place with a truly special culture and people, I can't explain why a piece of me will always be there even while I've made my home here in the States.

Córdoba es mi ciudad, Argentina mi País, soy argentina, y siempre lo seré.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Miracle of Life


Recently I have been pondering on the amazing miracle that a new life is. A new embryo conceived inside the mother's womb who slowly grows to become a fully formed baby with all the organs it will need, hands, feet, eyes, nose...who will then be born,and have his own eye and hair color, personality, IQ, relationship with God etc... It's all incomprehensibly wondrous

Even more recently God has given me a snap-shot of that very awesome phenomenon to observe: My dog had puppies. Out of her came 5 fully formed beautiful little baby dogs with eyes, paws,tales, and squeaky little voices. And she knew that she was their mom, knew that she was supposed to feed them, lick them and keep the safe and warm. What an awesome thing. To see God's supreme creation at work. Mother's instincts, babies being born, eating,growing. He gave me a wonderful chance to see His handiwork right in my own home, a chance to feel the love I have for my dog be extended to her babies, to feel the warmth that comes from seeing a family. That is what they are, altogether, in their big wooden box, a big, happy family.
How awesome.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Nobody knows me like my baby


I was watching TV this morning and during a romantic and sad scene a song was playing in the background that went something like this:

"I like cream in my coffee, but nobody knows me like my baby
I like my eggs over easy, and those flour tortillas
but nobody knows me like my baby"

As the soft and melodic sound of the guitar accompanied those words I felt blessed that I could say the same thing. Nobody knows me like my baby.
The one who knows me better than anyone else.
Of course in this case my baby being my husband, not my litteral baby (the one inside me) :-)

I like how the songwriter (have no idea who he is)uses such trivial and mundaine concepts such as what he likes for breakfast to illustrate his point.
We all not only want to be loved but known,and loved in spite of that. In spite of our quirks and annoying habits, in spite of our imperfections and shortcomings. We want to be known inside and out, and loved nonetheless.

Of course the most obvious and powerful way this is demonstrated is in the love of our Father for us. He makes us, with all our qualities, characteristics and idiosyncrasies and then LOVES us, no limits, no conditions. Just love.

And then there's the people He provides in our lives to show us, hopefully, a similar kind of love. In my case, I couldn't help but feel incredibly blessed that He has provided for me someone who knows me so well, and who loves me nonetheless. In spite of my weird habits and annoying quirks, or maybe even because of them. Someone whom I know and love as well, in spite of his quirks and habits.

And as I made that conclusion I realized, that as tough as marriage can be sometimes, His design is perfect, because if we take the time to know and accept our loved ones (in this case, our spouses) we will find a friendship that has no equal, a closeness that mirrors the Father's love for us, a unity that can withstand life on this imperfect, broken planet.

Nobody knows me like my Father. And nobody on earth knows me like my baby, my husband, my friend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's a Boy! (or so we think)



Well...I have been missing from the blogosphere for a while I must admit, but now, I'm ready to post some big news. Of course, most of the people who read my blog already know. :-)

Paul and I are expecting our first baby together! I am currently approximately 18 weeks and a couple days and we've just had our ultrasound during which we discovered, much to Paul's SHOCK and surprise that it has what appears to be "boy equipment" :-) Of course, you can't see that in the picture I posted :-).

The little one seems to love to move and I have been enjoying the experience of feeling him(yes, even though there's a slight chance that the "boy prediction" could be wrong, I'll be referring to the baby as HIM)for a few weeks now. It's such a cool feeling!! This whole pregnancy has been an incredible journey for me personally, being that it is my first one, I have noticed every little change and have been enjoying everything that being pregnant means, with the possible exception of the oh-so-dreaded weight gain ;-)

It is incredible to me that God has blessed me in this way, although it shouldn't be, He has always been good, but it is such an incredible journey. As I watched that little baby moving around during the ultrasound, and as I saw his little hands and feet, toes and fingers, heart beating and all, it hit me: I HAVE A FULLY FORMED BABY INSIDE ME! That's incredible! And awesome...and I thank God for it and pray that this little one will continue to grow and thrive inside me :-)as I also continue to grow!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Go light your world

Once in a while, songs pop into my head for no apparent reason.

I haven't heard them recently, nobody was whistling their tune around me, they just...volunteer themselves to fill my head at the strangest moments, like at 3 in the morning when I am inexplicably awake. Last night it was Chris Rice's song's chorus "Take your candle, go light your world".

I can't think of any of the verses in the song, all that keeps ringing in my ears is "Take your candle, go light your world".
Whenever one of these songs gets in my head and refuses to leave for hours at a time and I cannot locate the root of such intrusion, I think about God.

Are you trying to tell me something Lord? Someone once told me that sometimes when you're up at night and can't seem to go back to sleep, it could be because God is trying to reach you, and the middle of the night, when all is quiet around you and you're not distracted by your world is the ideal time to catch you off guard, and so, in He comes into your night, disturbing your sleep, but definitely catching your attention if you don't get sidetracked by the frustration of just trying to get some sleep.

So last night I started thinking as the song played in my head..."take my candle?"my candle"...what is my candle? I think Chris Rice is singing about our candle as christians but also our individual gifts. We each have the gospel which is our candle, but then, we have different gifts and are equipped in different ways, and each one has their own candle if you will.

I'm a people person. People energize me, refresh me, I thrive when I'm around people, that's one of my candles. In this highly relational faith of mine, that's a pretty good candle to have, I think. I have other "candles", but the point is, I think God was saying "take those gifts you have, and go "light your world".

Take the opportunities that come up to shine that light out there, using the gifts I have given you. There's a specific opportunity that I was seeking his wisdom about recently and I think, He may just have been answering my question with an exhortation to GO...light my world.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Signs of Life

Continuing on with the Steven C. Chapman songs that caught my attention yesterday, another song that I love to sing along to and indeed a song that has a great message is "Signs of Life". Didn't Paul say somewhere in the Bible "If I'm the greatest dude out there but I don't have love, I GOT NOTHIN'!"? Ok...so I'm paraphrasing, but still...that's what "Signs of Life" is about..

"Where are the signs of life? The love that proves there is a living faith inside"

Our love proves that our heart beats for Jesus, that our Faith is alive, that we MEAN what we say when we worship Him. No matter how smart, eloquent, good-looking, scrappy,spunky,funny we might be,it is our LOVE that is the key.

It unlocks many doors, mostly to people's hearts, and once you're in there, He can and will do a great work through you!!!

So where are the signs of life? Where is the love? All around I hope...

Let us pray

Once in a while I pull out a CD from my collection from years back, I clean off the dust and revisit my favorite songs on it.
Last night as I was driving to a friend's house I pulled out good ol' Steven Curtis Chapman's "Signs of Life" CD and throughly enjoyed listening to a few songs I hadn't heard in a while.

Among them, one that caught my attention is "Let us pray". Sometimes it isn't how sophisticatedly (yes! It's a word!!!) the music is written or arranged, rather, how simple and direct the message is.

"Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way, every moment of the day, it is the right time, for the Father above, He is listening with love and He wants to answer us, so let us pray."

That's a pretty straight forward message there. Let's PRAY PEOPLE!!!!!!!
The Father is waiting, and with LOVE. Pray in the morning, pray at lunch, pray in the afternoon, pray at dinner, pray at bedtime. Pray while you're working,eating,driving, perhaps even disciplining the children...PRAY!

"Just becasue we said the word Amen, it doesn't mean this conversation needs to end" (Steven's words again, not mine)

Indeed!! Amen isn't the end of our conversation with our Father, it can go on ALL DAY LONG!!!!! Ok, I don't know about you, but I sure could use this friendly and catchy reminder that my Father in Heaven is waiting with love for me to just...talk to Him.

Indeed...let us pray.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More Family


And this is Paul and I and my step-daughters Kelly and Jessica Posted by Hello

Family


While I'm sharing pictures, I now realize, I have never posted a cool picture of my family....so here goes--that's Paul and I in Argentina Posted by Hello

Stingray


Just thought I would share a cool cruise picture--that's me in Grand Cayman holding a stingray--they're just like puppies,only rubbery and well..under water :-) Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Summer Heat

It is only June 12th but we have already had a couple of weeks of tropical like heat. 90 degrees and higher and high humidity, which is all pretty unusual for this time of year around here...Normally, I would think, AWESOME! Summer started early. But this year, I am finding that it is too hot. I know, I can't believe I just typed that for the world to read, I, LAURA, think it is TOO HOT. I thought that would never happen.

Mostly I do not enjoy having to close all doors and windows so that the Air conditioner can do its job and miss out on the fresh summer air, the chirping birds, etc. But I also do not enjoy going for a walk with my puppy dog and have her panting and having a hard time keeping up!Even she seems to be thinking "It's too hot! let's go home!"

But I am not quite complaining, although if this was the kind of heat we had experienced last summer, when we had a boat to put in the lake and hang out at, it might have been nice :-) NO!!! I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Ok, so maybe I am complaining a little bit, but at the end of the day, a warm and sunny summer day, week, or even month is a gift, that we don't get very often around here, so I will try to enjoy it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Carnival Victory Ship Posted by Hello

Grand Cayman Posted by Hello

Paul and I in Cozumel,Mexico Posted by Hello

Paul and I in Jamaica Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cruisin'

I can't believe I haven't yet blogged about our awesome impending trip! :-)

Basically, Paul and I are SO incredibly blessed to be able to go on our very first cruise (at the end of this month) courtesy of my dear brother in law's generosity! Indeed, this is not something that happens every day, in fact, Paul and I have never truly had a vacation together, at least not a BEACHY HOT SUMMER weather vacation where we get to just be with each other and relax!!! It is an awesome gift and one that is not in the least going unappreciated.

So...today it's May 18th, and Paul and I are leaving in the morning on May 21st !!!!
3 DAYS!!! I have not had something this exciting to look forward to in a while! :-)

I am thankful to God for this awesome opportunity and of course thankful to Bruce, Paul's brother, who so generously offered to make this possible for us.

We will be going to the Western Caribbean and stop at Cozumel Mexico, Ocho Rios Jamaica, and Grand Cayman and have four days at sea. We can't wait!!

For anyone interested in following our itinerary or just the cruise info,check this link out :-)

http://www.carnival.com/Itinerary.aspx?embkCode=MIA&itinCode=WC9&shipCode
=VI&durDays=7&subRegionCode=CW

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Materialistic Christian

I am reading the book "The Naked Church" by Waybe Jacobsen and it has been thus far very interesting and in my opinion, quite accurate. He speaks about the state that the church is in these days, and speaks about a lot of the reasons for that.

The chapter I was reading recently dealt with the materialistic nature of some western christians. He suggests that we have missed the point. That we have tried to "combine" the priorities of this world as they relate to wealth and prosperity and the priorities of the kingdom, and that has created some confusion and what's worse, it has created a gap between God and us. He very simply says...if I am prioritizing a nice house, a couple of cars, a "good" family, the "good life", I am missing what God is saying to me, I am missing his work in my life and thus I will interpret my circumstances as a "result" of what God may or may not be doing.When we prioritize anything over relationship and community with God, we will lose the benefit or truly walking with him and we will be lost and influenced by our circumstances, and these in turn will govern our relationship with God.

That has happened to me. I get so easily caught up in the "I deserve this" and "I should have that" that when I don't get whatever it is, it causes friction between me and God. I question his motives, I wonder about his love for me, I ask myself what I could have possibly done better. None of that is necessary if I am in daily relationship with him. If I know him and my life reflects his love and his grace, whatever circumstance comes my way I will not doubt his love, his motives or my worth. I will walk through it and know that he is with me and whether challenging or sad,annoying or overwhelming, I know he is with me and I need not endure it on my own.
And I can know that his ultimate goal has little to do with THIS life and the circumstances of it, and lots to do with my eternal life and relationship with him forever.

Broken Toe?

Ok, I am NOT sure because I have not seen a doctor at this point, but I am fairly certain that I have broken a toe in my left foot. I have drawn this conclusion after much careful evaluation of the contusion and swelling around the area and...the incredible pain I feel whenever I attempt to step on it.:-(

What happened,you might ask yourself.Well....very simply, a mis-handling of grocery baggage caused the dropping of a rather large and full 2 liter bottle of diet root beer on my foot (OUCH!). I must say...the people present were quite impressed with how I handled the blow, but quite frankly I think it had nothing to do with my threshold for pain, but more with the fact that the blow had quite possibly taken my breath away thus rendering me unable to utter any sound, as in.. a blood curling scream or very loud tears.

So..it has now been about 3 days, and the swelling has gone down and the bruising is more green then purple (Usually this is a good thing) but walking is still rather difficult. This in turn is very difficult for me, as I am quite used to moving quite speedily about while accomplishing several different tasks at once. Once more, God has figured out a way to get my attention and once more, he is teaching me patience.

There are many things that simply cannot get done,when you are moving as slowly as I am these days, in a 24 hour period.I am learning to live with the consequences and be content in the amount of activity that my foot can handle.
Patience Patience Patience! :-)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sailing with...Jesus

I am a highly musical person..WAIT no, that does not mean that I am musically talented, just that I love music and that music has a strong effect on me.
I was listening to a Chris Rice album (I love his stuff, he's one of my favorite song writers)and the song "Sailing with Russel" came on...and this particular verse caught my attention, as if I was hearing it for the first time...

"What if we saw him there(Jesus)
Walking out on the water?"
No time for splashing around in shallow theology
He just invited us out into the deep simplicity

I picture it..some friends hanging out, and suddenly, we see Jesus, and he joins us
I don't picture theology talks, complicated words that I need to look up in the dictionary, I picture him easy going, loving, kind, hanging out with us, one of us and yet GOD. Wow...wouldn't that would be awesome!
I love that Chris Rice uses the phrase "Deep Simplicity", what would that be like?
I love simplicity, I love unstructured spontaneous fellowship with other believers, when people get to be real with one another and the cover-ups,and masks,and pretending to be someone they're not,stops. Where we can be with each other in our weakest moments and still love each other.
That's when I see Jesus. In the SIMPLE times, and yet it is deep. Deep simplicity...deep love, deep fellowship, deep connections with one another and yet simple because all we really have to do is let go of our expectations and plans and schemes and let him do the work in and through us.
I've been a part of that kind of deep simplicity a few times during my Christian walk and I can't help but wonder, why not more often? Is there something to be said for the lifestyle most of us lead that gets in the way of that simplicity?
Certainly my experience has been that living in the U.S. limits in some ways your ability to be spontaneous and carefree with your life. Planning needs to happen, committees are put together, time "slots" are reserverd for different activities, and the opportunity for spontaneous God led fellowship decreases. We DECIDE when we will meet, at what time and for how long and THAT's when God can work.
That seems...limiting. Anytime I feel bound by a schedule I don't feel free to worship God. Rarely does God's timing in my life coincide with the pre-set schedule, but I do have to say, God does work trough everything, he uses us our efforts, even when to us it looks like we are failing because the "intended" result is not achieved. So perhaps all our planning and scheming and structuring doesn't allow much wiggle room or flexibility for us to "take in" or even notice God's work in and around us and perhaps for some us, some things need to change, but in the meantime, He is God. Whatever we do,he will use, for his purpose and for his glory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Show

Paul wrote a song last night(for those of you who may not be sure who Paul is, he's my better half, my husband :-)) And it resonates with me and reflects (I think) a lot of what I myself have been experiencing and hearing from God;the freeing notion of his love for us regardless of our performance and our ability... funny huh, how He works in our lives...
So here it is...Any comments would be welcome!

THE SHOW


There’s a face you show to strangers
There’s a face you show to friends
There’s a face you show while singing until the music ends
There’s a face you show for pain, there’s a face you show for joy
There’s a face
That sets in place
To hide that you’re annoyed

But I never dare
To try and share
The face that You gave me
I guess it’s time
For a face that’s mine
Revealing what You see

If that means that I’m done singing
And it’s time to just let go
That’s alright with me
Because Lord, You see
I’m tired of the show

The program has to be right
It has to run on time
It must be smooth it must be good
Must not step out of line
We must keep people coming, perfection understood
Details become more important than they ever should

But I rarely pause
To consider cause
Or to simply stop and be
I want the chance
To laugh and dance
And feel the joy You bring

If that means that I’m done singing
And it’s time for me to go
It’s alright with me
Cuz Lord, You see
I’m tired of the show

And if it means that I’m done hiding
because you're asking me to grow
It’s ok with me
Cuz you've set me free
to face a life without "The Show"

Monday, April 25, 2005

The "magic" of Advertisement

As I have mentioned before, I am taking classes at FLCC, and I have also mentioned my Sociology class before(see previous post "Deviance").

Friday morning and this morning in Sociology class,our professor showed us videos, of a woman (her name is Jean something)who speaks out against the negative influence that advertisement has on us and especially the way that advertisement portrays women.
Among other things, she contends that advertisements have for years suggested that for women,all that should matter is to look good;they have portrayed an ideal of beauty that is impossible to attain in nature at best and unhealthy at worst;they have among other things reduced women to nothing more than just a body,an object.

As I also mentioned before, I have had also struggled, most of my life with body image issues, and certainly, the mass media has not helped, and so as I watched the video, I realized the deep influence that TV, movies,magazines and advertisements have had on me. But then...I had to reflect on what the core of my issues really is.Sure the message out there is clear..the advertisement says something like:
"You don't look just right, so you NEED to buy this product" and it is a powerful message filled with images of the ideal body, the ideal hair, the ideal face, etc.

However, for me at least, the issue lies at the core of who I perceive myself to be, or not to be. When my focus is off Christ, my identity is blurry and I cry out to be defined. I can define myself through my job, my skills, my appearance, my posessions, the list goes on and on. But when I know his love, his infinite love for me,his constant presence in my life, his grace and mercy, then I no longer need external things to define me. Then, I know that who he made me to be, just the way I am, without status,without things, without a title is enough, and it is me who pleases him when I seek to be with him instead of the things of this world.

So perhaps the mass media influence is negative, I don't think that has never been more clear than in these days of slender bodies, perfect tans, perfect teeth, indeed, women withouth any imperfections at all. But the choice lies much deeper than whether to buy into the standard, the choice lies in our souls, and the choice is between the world and the Savior. The question is, who defines you? The world, or your Father? Men or God? The people around you, or Jesus, who is within you?

Jesus sing over me

"Can I climb up in your lap
I don't want to leave,Jesus sing over me
You're everything I need"

Mercy Me in "Keep Singing"

I love that song; it communicates the brokenness that most draws us to Jesus.
Those verses especially, communicate the image of a broken person, feeling almost like a scared child, looking to be with his dad,to be comforted, to be restored.
I have recently needed comfort and ,at first, I didn't know how to get it.

I had lost something and all I could focus on was what I had lost,and that wasn't giving me any comfort.And then I felt it. It was as though he had wrapped his arms around me, cried with me, and I realized, I had just been on my Father's lap, and I didn't want to leave! And I truly understood the verse "You're everything I need"

At the end of the song,after establishing how much pain he feels, how dark it all looks, he sings "I gotta keep singing, I gotta keep praising your name, you're the one who's keeping my heart beating"

Once you have been with God, and he has cried with you, and you with him; once you have been on his lap, comforted and loved; once you have seen as if with your own eyes that HE IS everything you need...the wanting decreases...the pain and the anguish fade just a little bit...enough for you to feel the amazing love he has for you, and the healing power of his presence.

Everything else pales in comparison, and loses a little bit of meaning, and that's how comfort can happen. He takes your eyes off of the world, the things, the needs, the wants, the pain, and he puts them on him;for a moment it's just you and him, and you know that's enough...he's everything you need.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Just me...for You

"The moment we deny God's fingerprint on our soul,the instant we stop listening to our uniqueness, our God hearing starts to deteriorate."

Those are the words of Michael Yaconelli, in his book "Dangerous Wonder", which I started (and finished)reading today. Many times during reading this book today I paused to take it all in. God speaking. God smiling. God with me. One of the times I felt his tug the most was when I read this particular passage.

My "God hearing" has suffered severely from my misplaced focus. I learned early on in life to deny my uniqueness and strive for sameness so it is something I am quite familiar with and efficient at. But when about 6 and 1/2 years ago I became a Christian and recognized God in my life for the first time,for a short time I knew who I was, in Jesus. I knew how I was loved and cherished, forgiven and accepted. I treasure that time in my life, it is to me the equivalent of the return of the prodigal son. The Father I never knew I had was waiting for me to come home, even when I hadn't know where home was. But I knew when I found it,it was home indeed. I was at home with my Savior, safe and scared all at the same time, in awe of Him and yet strangely peaceful. Oblivious to the world around me. Full of life. Full of Jesus.
But soon I was swept up in the struggle for sameness and acceptance by the world around me; I was striving to please him, no longer just reveling in his love and acceptance; I had learned it wasn't enough for me to just be. I had to do,earn, prove,and commit. My heart was lost somewhere in the process, my uniqueness was trampled on and promptly covered up, and I conformed to what I thought was the standard that I ought to strive for,and to becoming the person I "should" be.
How sad that must have made him! He lost me then, while I was franticly trying to find him again. I didn't realize, all I had to do was stop doing. Stop "denying his fingerprint" and be me. And be with him. That's all he's ever really wanted. To be with me. Not with the counterfeit that I would present to him, not with the politically correct and appropriately polished version of me. Just me.Messy hair, no make up, sloppy, inconsistent, unpredictable, inpatient and annoying, but also wide-eyed,eager,willing, and unique.

I am here now;I am here and you are with me,Abba. I get it, I do.
No noise, no production,no cleaning up, no covering up, just me. How could so little be enough? You make it so. You make me...enough.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Your Love

You love me Lord, and I trust you. I know the depth of your love for me, and I know, that even when what is good for me doesn't feel good, you still love me.

I know that when I cry, you are holding me and crying with me. I know that when I am confused, I still know what is TRUE: That you made me, and that you love me, and that you are forever, and you never change.

When I am anxious and worried, nothing changes. The truth stays the same.
Whatever comes my way, whatever storm I face, you are with me.

Help me to see YOU in the midst of the hard times, the pain and the worry.
Help me to see that I need to control my circumstances, because I can trust YOU, more than I can trust myself.

Thank you Father, for your grace and your mercy.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

God's body, not mine

"Everything is permisible to me"--but not everything is beneficial.
"Everything is permissible to me"--but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Cor 6:12
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?
1 Cor 6:15
Do you not know that you body is a temple of the holy spirit,who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Cor 6:19

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

My body, His Gift

I would guess that most people that know me, know that I care a great deal about my physical appearance. Some would call me obsessed and I would hardly argue with them on that.
Lately God has been working in me in many different ways and revealing to me different things about himself,myself and our relationship. Body image is just one big thing in my life that he would not spare. In and of itself, it isnt huge, but he knows me and he knows what is at the core of it.

At the risk of oversimplifying, I will say there are at least 2 things at the core of it in my case: lack of trust in him (and thus the desire to have control) and lack of knowledge (REAL experience knowledge not just "head" knowledge) of his deep deep love for me.

From the time I was a teenager it was BURNED into my brain that within my body and appearance lied my worth. As long as my appearance was at a certain level, I was worth something;sadly, I also learned that as long as my body was 'available' sexually, I was worth something.
As it turns out,those concepts are harder to dethrone than you would think, and today's society and mass media do NOT make it any easier, in fact, they make it THAT much tougher to realize the deep lie within them.
The lie is that my body is only good for one thing; the lie is that my body represents my worth as a person; the lie is that meeting a certain physical standard is what I should strive for,in order to silence the sounds of self-loathing and pain.

The truth of course, is that God made my body to do many more things than what I concern myself with,and for more than what the lie would have me believe.
God made my body to do wonderful things. It is meant to be his temple, his dwelling place. It is meant to sing his praise, and worship him.
It is made for loving others, holding hands, giving hugs. It is made for laughing, and crying so that I can rejoice with others and weep with others. It is made to give life, both physically and spiritually through the power of his holy spirit.
It is made to enjoy my husband within the context of our committed love to one another, and for my husband to enjoy me.

The truth is that when I consider my body only as a means to obtain "worth" I downgrade it to the status of a tool. I make it into an object. I strip it of the wonderful qualities that are within it, and I invite other to do so as well.
What a tragedy! To take something so valuable and strip it of its value and affix upon it a label that allows others to mistreat it and misuse it. To take the gift that God has given me and abuse it and beat it into submission, in order to slience the pain and the hurt that God himself promises to heal.

A tragedy indeed.

Conformed or Transformed?

This morning during my "reading and relaxing" time, I came upon this statement which stopped me and made me think. I was reading Wayne Jacobsen's book "He loves me" (thanks Greg!)and this is what he has to say at one point while speking about grace:

"We are far more used to being conformed by external pressures than we are to being transformed by his inner presence."


I thought about it for a second and realized...that's why it was so hard for me to "reach" God for so long, that's why I felt distant from him. I was reaaaaaaaaaally focusing on being conformed by the external pressure of 'doing the right things that I should do as a good Christian' instead of truly wanting to know HIM. 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God'....the kingdom cannot be found without HIM can it? We can't find the kingdom if we're looking externally at the shoulds and musts, we find the kingdom when we are looking to see him, to know him to love and be loved by him.
Perhaps a 'DUH!' moment for some, but very much a lightbulb moment for me. He has been continously reinforcing this concept to me, almost daily (see posts "Obedience" and "are you effective?") I love it when he does that!

Along with Mr Jacobsen's statement this morning God gave me this verse that expresses that same concept:

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as tough you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules. "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use because they are based on human commands and teachings.
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship,their false humility and the harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sexual indulgence. Col 2:20-22

Paul is referring to the same thing. Don't focus on the external 'things' that you are told by others you should or shouldn't do!! These things PERISH!!! All human effort in and of itself is fallible, so don't put your trust in it.
The tricky thing is, as Paul recognizes, is that they "indeed have an appearance of wisdom", we are taught to EARN favor, to abide by the rules, and so we apply that 'common sense' to our spiritual relationship with the Father. But He is not looking for robotic obedience, he is looking for our hearts. He's not interested in our performance for him but in his performance in us! We've got it backwards I think, or at least some of us. I certainly did. It is nothing I do, it is HIS LOVE and power in me. It is actually, what I DON'T do that makes the difference.
Now I truly understand what Paul meant when he said if he ever boasted, he would boast only in Christ. To him alone be the glory, for he has loved us and saved us by his amazing grace.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Obedience

We are teaching our yellow lab, Tutuca (see previous posts) to be obedient.
To heel when she walks with us, to fetch the ball and then come back to us and drop it at out feet, to stay and sit, in other words, to be obedient.We use treats and a lot of "Good Girl!"'s but sometimes we also have to say "NO!" and not give her a treat.

Interesting parallel I thought! God is teaching me patience, and within the context of learning to wait on Him and trust Him and His love, there's the concept of obedience.
There's a good verse about obedience I read this morning:

This is love for God: to obey his commands. 1 John 5:3

In reading this it would almost sound like if we love God and are good boys and girls, then we will b obedient. Much like my yellow lab I am eager to please my Master, but many many times, my best intentions are just, well...just that. What then? Does this mean that I don't love God? I don't think so.
The verse comes after a far more detailed verse that says:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God,and God in him.In this way, love is made complete,among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world, we are like him. 1 John 4:16

I think that sums it up pretty nicely. We are already justified by his love. Our obedience isn't earning us salvation.Obedience isn't something we do to earn his favor, or to please him or to look good.If that were the case, he would be displeased with me quite a bit.Obedience is the fruit. His love is in us and the result is obedience. All we do is live in him and allow him to live in us. He does the rest.
He works in us to change us and make us like him, all we need to do is yield, and in the context of that love, obedience to what He wants to do in us is the natural result.

Even when we do get in the way and we do not yield, his love is there, taking us in, giving us grace, and allowing us to grow through our failure. That is his love. His love does it all.

How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called sons of God!
(don't remember where this verse is :-)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Patience

Aaaaa the art of patience learning...I believe the word of the day when it comes to my journey with God these days is PATIENCE.It's interesting; in learning patience, I'm actually...well, already waiting to develop patience, so in a sense, I am waiting for the things I would rather not have to wait for, and hoping that I will develop patience as a result...So all I'm doing is...WAITING!

Again, I turned to my friend Google for a detailed definition of the word patience: "long-suffering, resignation, forbearance. These nouns denote the capacity to endure hardship, difficulty, or inconvenience without complaint. Patience emphasizes calmness, self-control, and the willingness or ability to tolerate delay"

Hmm...The "without complaint" part troubled me.Actually the "calmness" part too.
I struggle with ALL that.I don't particularly think that God enjoys making me wait, but I do think that He wants me to grow in His likeness, He wants me to develop patience and calmness.
I even think that perhaps, this patience wouldn't be so much the result of waiting, but a result of TRUST. But as I have been waiting, and wanting, and asking God to show me His Love for me, I am learning to trust, and it's funny, when you start trusting, you have true peace, and when He does bless you, it is His gift to you.

I dont know about you, but I would rather have something He has given me out of His love for me, than anything I can get for myself, in my selfishness and sinfulness. I will wait for You Lord, because I trust Your wisdom and Your love for me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Deviance

In Sociology class our professor has been talking about deviance. He talked today about the values that society has, and the values that most of us, hold dear as a result.

An example of such "values" or goals, is "SUCCESS". And the way one goes about achieving success is with ambition, education and of course, hard work. My professor then theorized (well,actually it wasn't him, it was Merton's theory)that what happens when one doesn't quite agree with society's values or goals, we have deviance.

So then I realized, then...I am deviant! The definition of success in our society is mostly money and status, which I do not consider "VALUES".

Additionally, other things that this society considers priorities are physical appearance, material posessions, image,diplomas, credentials etc. Every one of them, is in contrast with what Jesus was all about. He was NOT about image, money, diplomas, and STUFF in general. He was about love, heart, people, His Father. That makes us deviant. If we are following our Father in Heaven our priorities WILL not reflect this society's values and goals.

I guess that's what Jesus meant when He said (I think it was Him that said it)that we are to love the world, but not "join in". We are deviant. We don't fit in.

Ok, so maybe this is well covered territory in the Christian faith, we are aware of this, we are familiar with the concept, but to hear the word DEVIANT which has such negative connotations, was eye-opening for me.
Google defines deviance as "a state or condition markedly different from the norm". MARKEDLY DIFFERENT hmmmm....now, THAT made me think. I am not sure I am "markedly different" from the norm. So now I'm asking myself, am I deviant enough?!

I think to a certain extent we all "join in" on some of our environment's values, it's inevitable. But I am finding that as far as I am concerned, there has definitely been a high level of conformity on my part. Conformity to this world, the society, the "values" that everyone else around me holds dear,not the ones Jesus lived by. That bugs me, but it also compels me to find those areas where I have conformed, and ask Him to show me His way.
I want to be deviant Lord! :-)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Why me?

I ask that question too many times..."Why me lord?" or..."Why not me?"
Just like when I was a kid and questioned my parent's wisdom and authority.
Looking back and realizing the truth about my parents,questioning their wisdom and authority doesn't seem like such a bad thing, but what I do now...well, that's not smart at all.

Questioning God on why He does what he does in my life, or why He allows certain things to happen, only breeds discontent, lack of perspecive, self-pity and ingratitude, ALL bad things! Absolutely nothing good comes from it.

I DO know He loves me. That will be enough for me this day. Knowing that He loves me and that He is indeed sovereign. I will need to rest in that, without knowing the why's for everything, and recognize as Steven Curtis Chapman's song says that "God is God and I am not, I can only see a part of the picture He's painting, God is God and I am man(woman in my case)so I'll never understand it all, for only God is God"

And isn't THAT a good thing?!

It is a very good thing. In His wisdom He does not show us everything all at once...sometimes He shows us later on, when we can handle it, sometimes He never shows us, because we could never handle it...in the end, He alone has all the answers, and He alone chooses when we can see the big picture and when it's just better for us not to, and learning to trust that, can make life a little easier,or at least, I think so.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Are you effective?

I was scanning the "Our Daily Bread" as I do occasionally, and when I read the title of today's topic,"Broken Things" I decided to read.

I was following along with the author as I read about how God works in great and awesome ways when we are broken, until I read this sentence:"people who have been broken become better and more effective Christians"

I thought...hmmmm "effective"? effective among other things means "able to accomplish a purpose" What would be our purpose as Christians? what would be the "thing" that we would become more able to accomplish? Perhaps being a good witness? Learning more from the Bible?

As I reflected on what it is to be effective and on my own experiences in my brokenness I concluded that the more times I am broken and come before Him the LEAST effective I feel.
When I am broken and go before Him I am healed, forgiven, comforted, loved. Not made effective. Perhaphs,the more I am broken, the more I can relate to the brokenness of others and maybe that is a kind of effectiveness. But at the end of the day, I don't believe that the Father is going to look at us on judgement day and say "Well done, you were quite effective"
He longs for our time, our affection, our presence, our honesty, NOT our efficiency.
Think about it! He can do ANYTHING PERFECTLY!He doesn't need our human efficiency!

He doesn't need your efficiency, but He does love your brokenness, because when you are broken, there is nothing between you and Him but His love.

But I thought it mattered!

I was having a chat with God, trying to understand where He was leading, where I should go, what career to choose, what to study, what to pursue, what to become.

I wasn't sure, but I think I heard Him say "it doesn't matter"
That can't be right! I must have misunderstood you, Lord, what did you say?
"IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER, because you are not looking for Me to fill you, you're looking for things to fill you, and no matter what path you choose, you will still be empty of the things I want to give to you"

Ok, so, it didn't quite go like that, but that was His message LOUD and CLEAR. It doesn't matter. I have heard it said before "it doesn't matter what title you hold, what position, what diploma, etc" but ironically, the people saying those things DID have a good if not great (by the world standards) position, title, diplomas, etc. so I never quite bought it.
But what Jesus was saying to me was different. Seek ME. If you do nothing else with your life, that will be more than enough.
If you never "achieve" anything else by the world's standards,but become like a child in your Faith and Trust in Me and become a part of the body of believers I have put around you, life will be much richer than you ever thought it could be with all the right credentials and achievements!"

WOW. I'm not saying we shouldn't want to , learn, be educated or even achieve.
I am saying, in my case, I was looking for things to give me what I lacked. I was looking to prove who I was to God and myself through achievement, hard work, sacrifice. And He said...."it doesn't matter, I KNOW YOU and LOVE you as you are, and I want you to know Me and Love ME as I AM"

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God,namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col 2:2

If all the treasures of wisdowm and knowledge are hidden in Christ, than where else should I go to find them but Christ Himself?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

If He doesn't give me something...

I was reading an "article" by Wayne Jacobsen about tithing and giving, and I came across a statement that woke me up(I'm speaking metaphorically,it's not like I was sleeping, because if I had been,I couldn't have been reading, unless I was reading in a dream which would be pretty weird).
Jacobsen writes "If He doesn't give me something, it's because I really don't need it"
WOW! What a concept! Sometimes learning about God feels like someone saying "DUH!!!" It is SO simple. So easy to see that the God who loves me will give me what I need, and...well...NOT give me what I don't need!

It's a simple concept, yet quite hard to grasp in everyday life.If I want something, if I really think I need it, and God doesn't give it to me, I get angry, sad, disappointed...but WAIT! Being disappointed implies an expectation.
If I expect God to give me what I think I need,then...I can be guaranteed disapointment.
If,instead, I learn to live WITH Him,let Him be enough for me, I will know what I truly need, and not create unrealistic expectations for what I "should" get.
Wouldn't THAT be nice! :-)

He loves me

He really does...It's not that I didn't know this before, I just never truly realized (and I don't think I fully do yet)that, above all else, Jesus loves me.

He wants me to grow, to learn, to change, to love others, to give, to follow Him,but above everything else, He loves me, no strings attached.
He wants relationship with me.He wants the opportunity to show me the height,width and depth of His love for me.He wants the opportunity to be a Father to me unlike any other that ever lived on this earth.

I don't know about you, but that's enough to make want to get up in the morning and rush to talk to Him, be with Him, let Him love on me. :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't do that Part II

As I reflected more on what I wrote yesterday, about not making myself the god in my life and yielding to the things I want and not giving Jesus His place, I realized, that for me,and I suspect also for many others, it's sometimes a matter of control.

I haven't quite learned that my Father in Heaven knows not only what I need but I also what I desire. He is wise in giving me those things, and He is generous. It is a wonder that I have not yet learned that because He has shown me time and time again, He has given me more than I had ever needed or asked for.

And yet, over and over, I shove Him out of my life and take over the wheel. I try do things myself, and I must say, it has NEVER ONCE worked. Not only has it not gotten me what I wanted, it has left me hurt,and sometimes someone around me hurt, discouraged and angry.
Afterwards when I have crawled back to Him asking Him to forgive me for being so stubborn He has blessed me, in His own time in bigger ways than I had even hoped for.
Why don't I LEARN?!!!

I don't know....maybe I am more stubborn than I had realized...maybe control is too important to me, maybe...the hunger for control is my god and I need to dethrone it.
Or maybe it goes deeper than that. Maybe I haven't fully grasped how much my Father loves Me and I have not yet learned to trust. Maybe trusting has hurt me so deeply in the past that trusting an unseen Father to care for me seems foolish and dangerous.
But He does love me, and I CAN trust Him; or can I?

Monday, March 28, 2005

I am blessed

I don't think I have ever written anything substantial about my husband, Paul.
We have been married almost 6 years, and I must say, he is the one single person God has used the most in my life to grow me, change me, better me for the most part :-)

I am blessed to have him. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for poor or for poorer :-) He has been a rock in my life, and Jesus has been OUR rock through our hard times, and for the most part I believe, we are better people because of each other, each other's good qualities, each other's flaws, each other's strenghts and weaknesses, each other's love.

I am blessed to have him. Did I already say that? That's because it is so true. God gave me a huge blessing when he put him in my life and viceversa, that hot summer day in 1998, when I barely spoke enough english to understand that he was flirting with me :-) I had no idea what was to come...
And I have a feeling there's so much more to come that we are both clueless about! That's the beauty of living with Jesus. We sell Him short sometimes,I think,of the awesome things He can accomplish in us through the loved ones in our lives, but He is generous with His children. I am His child, and I have Paul to prove that.

Don't do that!

You shall have no other god beside Me.

That is a pretty straight-forward, clear commandment, I think. It leaves little room for confusion, and yet, I think so many of us, misunderstand.

A god is anything that takes over in our lives, a job we spend way too much time on, a "thing" that we just have to have, a person that matters more to us than God himself...at the core of it is, self-worship. If I care more about what I want, need, like, love, than I do about God, that means I am putting myself first.

Don't do that! That's what I told myself this morning. "Don't do that Laura!!!!" I heard Jesus say that to me, with a sorrowful loving voice. Ok, I didn't audibly hear it, but it was a clear message, from Him to me. Don't. Just don't.
There is NO subsitute for Me, my Love, My living water. Don't waste time, effort, tears, don't do that.

He's right, how could He not be? He's God! He knows me, He knows what gets a hold of me tighter than it needs to, and He is asking me not to let that happen. He's number one.

In sickness and in health

"In sickness and in health". Anyone out there who is married is familiar with those words. I said that to my husband on our wedding day, and he to me, and ever since we have tried our best to live up to the promise.

It is very much the same kind of vow I long to live out with God. In sickness and in health, when the sun shines and when the rain comes down, when I have and when I lack...I will worship YOU. When what I want doesn't come fast enough, when I lose what I did have, when I am in the desert, when I can't see the sun, You are still God over all, when the pain is so harsh I can barely breathe, You are still God over my life, You are still my Father, Your love never changes.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
(Jer 31:3)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Like a little child

I like children. I don't always enjoy their company especially if they're being noisy or cranky :-) but I almost always enjoy observing them. I love to watch them take life in, unpretentious, open, free. Many times as a kid I wished I was my cat, or my dog. Same principle, I loved how free they seemed, to just be themselves. A cat doesn't care of the other cat is skinnier, or has prettier hair or a better food dish. A dog will enjoy pretty much anything as long as it's not abusive or painful. Even as a kid I wasn't as open and free as I wished.
And yet I get this feeling sometimes that if I were able to be more like I used to be as a child, I would have so much more joy in my life and I would be much more content.

With the heart and the mind of a child I would be able to truly see God's gift to me in Jesus and fully appreciate it. With the heart and the mind of a child I would be able to live without questioning His power and provision. I wouldn't strive so much to have control, to "make things happen", to be in charge, or to pretend I even know what I'm doing half the time. I would be free to be myself within His love for me, no matter what I look like, drive, eat, do for a living...

Unless I am like a little child, I will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and that's what I long for; to be like a child, free to be loved and received, in His arms.

Friday, March 25, 2005

No more performing?

It's interesting, when you look inside and you realize, that the one thing you did NOT think you had a "problem" with, the one thing you didn't struggle with, turns out....is what's been pretty much motivating everything else you that think you're doing "right".Allow me to elaborate.

In reading some other friend's blogs, such as Greg's and also this Wayne guy (don't remember his last name) I've realized that I have been caught in the "performing" trap. I didn't think I was. I thought my priorities were ok in that department, I truly thought what I was seeking was a personal relationship with my Father, my Savior. So how come I don't quite "feel" it? I was still caught in the "performance wheel" I had gotten off of it, but I was still affected by it, still am actually. I quit a lot of my "church activities" partly because of lack of time but also because I was looking to see where my heart truly was, my service as of late was empty, halfhearted and I didn't like it. And now that I'm not out there, I realize....I have allowed myself to feel guilty, I have allowed this to distance me from God, because, as it turns out, I was caught in the performance trap, hoping to feel close to God by "serving" and giving of my time to others. I didn't think I was, but I was and it wasn't working.

I don't want to perform. I want to be with by my Father. I don't want to plan and organize how I will get close to God's heart, I just want to call Him to join me. I don't want to try to earn respect, love, admiration from anyone, I just want to bask in the love of My Father. No more performing...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Lonely

It's times like these that make me feel lonely. Sad times, times when things don't go the way I had hoped and prayed.

I mostly miss my sister at times like these.She's the one person that has known me since I was born and who has been with me through the difficult years of childhood and puberty. The ONLY one at my wedding that knew me since I was in diapers, the only one who has seen me little and afraid, grown up and strong, and now when I need her, she's not here. It's not her fault mind you, I am the one who left. I left to come here, start a new life, and God has deeply blessed me,there's not doubt about that. Yet I miss her, a LOT. I am not sure what this power is that she has to make me feel better by just being there, being herself, being with me. Maybe it's the power of familiarity, in the very sense of the word. What's more familiar than someone you have known your WHOLE life? Maybe it's just the notion of her love for me, in spite of everything she knows about me.

So then I realized, where my comfort comes from. It comes from the love of someone who knows me like nobody else does and who still loves me in spite of much she knows. There is someone who has known me longer and better than my sister, my Father in heaven.
And he loves me, just as I am, in spite of everything He knows, and He knows EVERYTHING!
He tells me this in His word :" Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" (Jer 1:5).
He does know me, and He does love me, and I don't need to feel lonely,because He is here:"And surely, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20).

I still miss my sister, but I know He makes me stronger everytime He asks me to lean on Him and trust Him. I know my faith is renewed when I experience His presence and provision and love. He's here with me, and that's all I need to know to not feel lonely anymore.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hello!! I'm still here!

WOW! It's been over a month since I last blogged....Baaaad blogger girl!
Life has been wonderfully hectic :-)
I have never...and I mean...NEVER been one of those crazy people who need to be extremely busy to feel good about life and where it's taking them or to feel good about themselves....NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER
I have always made conscious efforts to have enough time to...hang out with my Tutuca (ref to previous post, she's my baby, my yellow lab) take time to cook a meal that takes long, take a bath, read a book, watch two movies I really like back to back....you know, the simple joys of life.
Lately however, I have traded in some of these joys for a completely different kind of joy. The joy of stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone. The joy of putting yourself out there and see what happens, even the joy of slightly spreading yourself a liiiiittle too thin :-)
I signed up for classes at my local community college. That's good right? A couple of classes, it's nice!! Well....in order to get the best financial aid, I needed to be FULL TIME!! That means, a minimum of 4 classes. FOUR! So, I am currently going to class every day, coming home and working, doing homework, reading, studying, and continuing on with as many of my households chores as possible. I'M BUSY! And I love it.
I'm officially "out there". I am officially in a town called "beyond your comfort zone" where great things can happen if you just let go of the notion that life was ever even supposed to be about comfort!!! I'm uncomfortable and I love it!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Coffee

I was talking to a friend the other day, and the fact that I love coffee was brought up.
I realized that...yes, I LOVE coffee, I depend on coffee to start my day right, I look forward to coffee as much as some people look forward to 5 o'clock everyday.

Then I had a conversation with another friend regarding my stomach's sensitivity and she suggested that I drop the caffeine altogether,for my stomach's sake. I thought..."now,that's crazy talk! My stomach's just going to have to deal with the coffee!!"

But after a couple days of bad stomach pains, I thought, hey...perhaps not drinking coffee could be good for me, and my stomach, perhaps I should give a try, and see if it does make things better.

Now, I have heard stories of people suffering from "caffeine withdrawal" symptoms, and I thought..."That's not going to happen to me, I can quit whenever I want" :-) HA HA!!

Well....I'm here to tell you, I stopped drinking coffee on Saturday, today it's Monday, and I cannot remember the last time I felt this sick!!!!!!!!! I have headaches, I am shaky, I have no energy,in short, I feel awful!
The ironic thing is, it took getting off the caffeine, to realize that I probably SHOULD quit caffeine!! HA! Even though I feel terrible, I am realizing that I never want to allow anything to affect my body in this way. I never want to depend on anything to FEEL good, other than the good ole' "eatin healthy and exercise" routine. Even though it does take much more time and effort than brewing a cup of coffee does :-(




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