Friday, December 21, 2012


2012 is almost over. This has been one of the hardest yet most fulfilling years I have experienced in a while. It is one that is full of pain and tears. It is full of joy and sorrow. It is full of stripping away of the old and watching the new grow. It is full of laughter, lessons and change.

It needs to be remembered. God calls us to remember. He knows his kids are forgetful so he calls us to create markers, that when we see it, we will remember where God brought us from. An Ebenezer. A stone of remembrance.

Writing is my Ebenezer. It is something I do quite often. Most of my words are thoughts or a phrase that when I go back and read don’t make much sense to me any more, but at the time meant something. The rest are cries and prayers to God. I don’t write just for the sake of it. I write because I want to remember. I write because those words heave meaning for me. I write because I need to process. I need to do it, for my own sanity. I need to put my thoughts on paper. Then do it again. And maybe one more time until I am being honest with myself about how I am really thinking/feeling. I need to be able to look back at where I have been to see where I am.

The older I get, the more I do it. I have just started my fourth journal this year. Without these, I would miss seeing ways God has worked this last year. This summer I sat at a park one morning before work. While fighting to hear from God and understand what in the world he is doing, I did my Christian duty of reading my Bible. When I don’t know what else to read, I find a Psalm. The one I read that day was one of David’s lament. He was asking how long God would continue to forget him. His words were just what I was feeling but was too afraid to tell God. I finally broke down and in tears asked God when he was going to hear me. How long was he going to forget me? It was one of the most freeing moments I have had.

A few weeks ago, I read over several journals recounting some of the incredible things I was able to do the last twelve months. In doing so, I found that I had written about some of those very things years ago. While there are still wants and desires that God hasn’t given me yet, this whole year He has been giving me other desires of my heart, ones I didn’t even realize were even there.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I come…

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I am 28 years old. Holy Crap. THat number feels so big and yet I dont feel old enough to be 28. I always get senitmental around birthdays and the end of the year. I always go through my jornals and see what the last year held. Interestingly enough, both of my trips to Israel and Haiti were written about long before I knew they were possibilities.

So while 27 went and 28 came and my hopes for those years didn't materialize, God was giving me some of the desires of my heart and I didnt see that until now.

Haiti. I've struggled with sharing about this trip more than any other. In someways, I feel I have nothing to share. I didnt 'do' much. And how do I put into words the desvestation, the need, the hope and the resiliance I saw in the Haitians.

As with most other countries I have been to, Haiti has a piece of my heart. These last few weeks I have felt as if I left more of it there than I thought. I want to go back.

I went with my friend who is a missionary with Reach Global. I love how they have chosen to help. THey are partnering with the Haitians who are already doing the work. They are learning from those who are already in the midst of it, providing support and rescources to expand their ministries.

30% of the country is christian/catholic, the rest practice voodoo. There are 9 million people on this island. This country has a rich and troubled history.

I met up with my friends Steve, Alessandra and Eric in Florida and flew an hour and half to Port au Prince, Haiti. We went through customs in the main airport that has yet to be rebuilt after the earthquake 2 years ago. Most of Haiti is still this way, not yet rebuilt.

Our first day was spent just settling in. We stayed at the "Haitian Queen", the Reach Global base house. Before dinner that evening, we went for a walk up the hill behind the house. We had a view of the city out to the ocean. Incredible beauty! Hot. Muggy. Gross. More sweat than I have ever experienced in my life. Beautiful.

Sunday we went to a local church. After intruducing the foreigners, the pastor told us, You are welcome here anytime. You are in our Fathers house. Its after attending a service like that, where every note the worship leader sang was off key while the keyboard player made up his own song, while we sat for 2 hours on the bench that was made from scraps of wood that was graciously given to the visitors, that I get so frustrated with my and others opinions of what church should look like. It is they who understand what it means to worship.

We were surroundecd by the young girls who kept pinching my white skin, comparing it to theirs while laughing at us because we didnt understand what they were saying.

That afternoon Maxo, one of Reach Globals partners, came over when he heard we were there. He wanted us to teach his english classes that were about to start.
I was not prepared for this and was greatful Steve took the lead.

Monday we went to an orphanage. Ale and Eric took pictures and bios of each child for a sponsorship program that they want to start while I played. Lots of hand games and jump rope. Neither require an understanding of language.
That afternoon we went to another program called My Life Speaks that provides kids with a meal a day among other things.

I could talk about each "partner" they have. Each one has a desire for their community to be changed by the gospel while providing a tangible need.

Tuesday we were back at Maxo's school taking pictures and bios. Again, while I played. My hair was a big facination with the girls. These 60 kids still meet in a building that was badly damaged by the earthquake.
That afternoon we helped paint a house for an American family who was coming that weekend to stay long term.

Wednesday we went to the other side of the Island to Jesus In Haiti Ministries. We met with a group of young pastors. Steve helps with theological training for them. We were told we were going to have to share on the woman's role in marriage and family...
This was by far my favorite day. These young men long to know more and to teach it to their people.

Thursday we went to another orphanage. Many of these children have living parents who can't or don't want to provide for them any more. That evening we watched a soccer tournament for some tent cities in the area while we waiting for the Brazilian team to arrive.

Friday we prayer walked our town, Gressier, with the Brazilians. I love their hearts, their faith and their ability to see and hear the spirit.

Saturday we said goodbye to Haiti and flew home. An hour and half I was back in Florida. There is something so wonderful yet troubling about this country that is so close.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Exercise. Anyone who knows me, knows how much this word and the act of, makes me cringe. There are many reasons I dont like it. Most of which are flat out pathetic excuses to not do something that is good for me. Why go to the gym where I know I will become sweaty, sore and tired; when I can sit on the couch, eat delicous unhealthy food and laugh while watching an episode of friends.
The biggest draw back to getting off my butt is because I am afraid (there is that word again) of the pain. The physical pain of being out of shape and the emotional pain of realizing how much work (ie physical pain) its going to take to get into shape.

I'm taking a class at my church called A Grace Experience. Its a class for women only on just that, Grace. Accepting and recieving. One doesnt need grace unless they have messed up. This class will allow us the opportunity to be open and honest with one another about areas we fall short, allowing our group to speak in us in truth and grace. Also read: EXERCISES that painfully and akwardly force us to share our crap...then something about truth and grace yada yada yada.

Each week, I have gone not wanting to be there. Its those exercises that bring fear (oh, hey there). Its because I know it will be painful. Who wants to talk about ways they have failed. Areas they are weak. Sin. It sucks. It hurts. Ive spent a life time trying to avoid it and in doing so, I have made it that much more painful.

As I was driving home from last weeks meeting thinking about how hard it is to be vulnerable with others a random story popped into my head. Actually, not random at all. Im believing that it was a God moment to help me understand what and why Im doing that.

Date: Some year while I was in elementary school
Location: The blacktop. Lunch time

I was never very good at sports- still am not. I was never fast enough, agile enough, or just plain talented enough. And that was ok. Im the one who likes to watch from the sidelines (and maybe that was why!). Im the one who "votes" for a team and confuses basetball and football teams.

Dodgeball was a staple during recess. I actually liked playing. I will still occasionally tell this story to showcase my cleverness. (HA)

Whenever I was on the team that was inside the circle, I would always stand as close to the edge as I could. The other team assumed 1. I was already out. or 2. I was on their team. Therefore they never threw the ball at me. After they thought they'd hit the final person Id jump out and be declared the victor!

Some thought it was a brilliant strategy. Others were mad because I wanst really playing the game. And they were right. I wasnt playing. I was in just enough not to be out. Being on the edge saved me from being hit. I didnt have to face the disappointment of being the first out...because I always was. This way I didnt have to be knocked down.

Cleverness had nothing to do with it. It was only because know one ever knew what team I was really on. I've spent my life not letting outehr know who I am. I particiapted just enough to give the impression that I am known. I do what I can from being knocked down and showing Im not good enough. I sit on the edge and watch as others live life, stepping in the circle only when necessary and pulling myself out as soon as I can.

Ive been spectating the game of life. Fear (old friend!) keeps me on the side. I need to learn that yes, I will be knocked down, hurt and at times not good enough. But Im not playing the game alone. My teammates are wanting to come alongside me. By not participating I miss out on THEM! I miss letting them help me up. And I forfit their ability to use their God given abilities.

Lord help me to risk and move to the center of the circle.

Do It Afraid

Do It Afraid! This was the title of a blog I read. Fear is always there, until it isn’t. We think we have conquered it, until it rears its head again. It should not be part of my vocabulary. But it is. A regular part. It’s always in my thoughts. Always lingering. Always louder. Always dictating how I act, what I say, what I do. "Once you give fear a second glance, it grows and begins to shade every area of life with grey suspicion. It becomes a kind of twisted permission to not do anything"

 Fear is not who I am. It is not part of me. It is actually the opposite of who God says I am. But it still controls me. It’s the voice I pay the most attention to. And I am learning that at the root of it (as with so many other areas of my life) I listen to it because I don’t trust the still small voice.

 Skydiving is dumb. Let’s be honest, why would anyone willingly jump out of a perfectly good plane?! Never in a million years would I have ever though I would be saying yes to it, let alone following through. And most people who hear about it have the same response. YOU?! But I was tired of letting fear rule my life.

 In a moment (a fleeting moment) of bravery, I said yes. Everything in me screamed NO! Actually the fear screamed No. A small (very small) part of me wanted to be brave, to be bold, to just jump and stop listening to that voice. So I paid my deposit. And the voice got louder. I wanted to back out. I thought of every excuse I could. And oddly enough it was my pride that wouldn't allow it, along with some friendly encouragement.

 The more I thought about it and thought of ways out of it, I began to see this as symbolic for me spiritually. My prayer for a while has been asking God what’s next? And I often wonder how many times he has given me an answer but I just haven’t heard it because I am so attune to hearing and thinking that I can't do whatever it may be. Its safer right where I am. I think to myself, YOU?!

 If I am 100% honest, I don’t completely trust who God is. I don’t trust that He knows what he is doing. If I did, I know my life would look different. I wouldn’t be afraid! I want to trust. I want to go, do, say whatever he asks of me. I want to jump, trusting that he will catch me and enjoy the exhilarating, beautiful fall into my father’s arms.

 Jump day came. I have never been more terrified of a 10-minute period of time in my life! 10 minutes! That is it! 10 minutes of what could be the most exciting time of my life. 10 minutes of proving to myself and others that I can do this. 10 minutes that could possibly end up being the last of my life. And 10 minutes of telling that voice to shut the hell up.

 But the funny thing was that it was still there all the same. Fear. The death grip on my harness and the words coming out of my mouth proved it. But I did it. I did it afraid. I jumped out of that freaking airplane. Fear will always be there in one way or another. I’d guarantee that I’d still be afraid if I were to do it again. But I am called to trust. To trust Him so completely I’d be in trouble if he doesn’t come through.

 Fear doesn’t want me to trust. I need to do it afraid, knowing God has unimaginable things waiting if I would just say yes. He’s not asking me to go solo. I’m going tandem with the Creator. I get to jump with the giver (and taker!) of life. He’s tapping me on the shoulder waiting for me to let go of the harness so I can spread out my arms and soar.

 As we were being instructed on what to do and not do, the guy said actually there really is nothing you can do to screw this up. Our instructors know what they are doing and can fix what you do wrong. Ah, music to my ears! The same is with God. I am not expected to have it all together or to know everything. I am just supposed to follow his lead.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Living in Southern California has its perks. One of the things I love to rub in the faces of those who live in incredibly cold or hot places is how truely fantastic our weather is all year long! (ok, the last 3 weeks I considered moving to Antarctica for a relief from this heat) But 48 weeks out of the year I'm a happy girl living in this land that gives me temperatures of 75 degrees all year long... Give or take 10-15 degrees depending on the season.

Seasons. Now that is something we don't have much of. Ive only heard stories of Winter bringing barren branches, snow angels and scarves. Those lifeless arms soon push out vibrant green leaves and colorful pedals announcing the arrival of spring. Spring gives way to summer and sun and peach cobblers that were given to us by the work of spring.

Celebrating continues as the leaves turn stunning colors of oranges yellows browns and reds. Fall is here and Pumpkin pie and Starbucks Christmas cups begin making apperances all pointing to one thing, Winter is on its way once again. Living in a place where I don't get to experience much of season, I think I have this fairytale like expectation of what they would be like (as is the same with much of my life, thank you disney!)

But there is the reality of living daily in each of these. Along with the anticiaption of playing in that first snow fall is the reality that it will be around for a long time. The snow isnt going any where and it just keeps coming. The cold won't let up. The sun won't shine. All around is death. The trees are naked. The flowers are gone, the grass has been taken over by the snow. Even the bears have gone into hiding! And tomorrow will bring more of the same. Who cares about making snow angels or curling up by the fire when all you want to do is crawl in a hole and wait until Spring comes.

Spring is here. You are no longer shoveling your way through the snow, but you are instead walking in the mud and muck it left. It's not pretty. It's gross actually. The once green, then orange leaves are still black and smelly as they make their way back into the earth. But their is a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel as the lifeless trees begin to turn green once again. Everything is new. I have always loved spring. I loved looking out into our field of peaches and seeing pink blossoms sprinkled among the new leaves. But I dont think I ever realized that along with new growth mean pain and work. They dont call them growing pains for nothing! But all those 'growing pains' result in fruit. Fuzzy peaches waiting to be picked off the tree.

Summer has arrived. BBQs, swim parties, no school. Its a time to celebrate all of the hard work. Time to bask in the sunshine. But that sun can get to hot at times and we are left with burns. Soon we are longing for the heat to leave and and parents are waiting with baited breath for school to start again.

Fall has come. It's back to work. Back to school. Those beautifully colored leaves begin to fall. Raking them doesnt seem like much work when you get to run and jump in them. But they continue to fall and the raking never ends. The trees are soon empty, flowers are gone, life is hectic and that signals only one thing. Winter has come again.

We have been going though Eccesiastes at church. Ecc 3 talks about a time for everything under the sun. There is a season for all things. This has been a topic of discussion quite a bit. "What season are you in?" And its amazing to me how our physical seasons line up with seasons of life so perfectly. We are all in a different sesason. Some of us are in the darkness and death of Winter. Some are in the Joy and celebration of summer. Others are expereincing the falling of leaves in anticiaption of what they know is coming. I find myself in Spring. There is still some mud of Winter, the sun of summer is peaking its way in, but the pain of growth is very much there.

A simple statement was made. We cant skip season. Each one leads to the next. WHAT? you mean I cant stay in Summer forever? Being a farmers daughter, it makes sense to me how we are refered to as trees/plants in scripture. And I can see the changing of the seasons best in trees. - You are like a tree planted by streams of water. -I am vine, you are the branches. - Cutting off of the branches that dont bear fruit. Just as a peach tree NEEDS each and every season in order to produce the fruit it was intended to produce, so do we.

I spend so much time trying to hurry my way out of seeing my dead branches in winter, or trying to speed up the growth in spring, so I can enjoy the fruit in summer. However, that fruit probably isn't very good. It might still be green. Or there might not be enough sugar or flavor because it didnt soak up all that it was supposed to in said season.

I dont like being in this place. I dont like pain. I'm glad winter is gone, but there is lots of work to do. I have seen what needs to be pruned back. But now comes time to prune. Time to cut back so new growth can happen. Time to let those leaves push their way through. But this will make summer that much sweeter. Pressing into where I am at, allowing God to meet me there and letting him do what he does best. Gently caring, cleaning and watering his precious tree back to life so she can produce sweet,nourshing fruit that when consumed points back to the farmer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Just found this saved in my drafts folder from over a year ago... A few weeks ago, the played a video at church with clips of 2-5th graders talking about how they hear from God. There was no question or hesitation in their answers. The answers varied from worship, read the Bible, through others, answered prayer and even just in being, but they all heard God’s voice.
I started crying because it was such a beautiful moment in hearing that these KIDS believe that God is real. It was incredibly humbling to know that many of these kids are so much farther along than I am in understand God’s voice.

I struggle with the question, Do I hear God’s voice? Do I even know God’s voice?

I have learned so much this summer. I think for the first time, I have felt the tension of living in two worlds. I have felt the incredibly strong pull of my earthly desires, but at the same time, the pull for ‘that which Christ has called me heavenward’. My life group has had the opportunity to become friends with some people at a homeless shelter. Do I spend more time with them, or do I go home watch my favorite show and get to bed early. Do I buy that shirt that I really do not need, or do I use that money to bless someone else. So many LGs were spent talking about having boldness and confidence is sharing the gospel.

Since Brazil last summer, I have had this tug on my heart. I continued to pray that God would make that clear to me. Months pass. The tug is still there. I have no idea what the tug is all about. Missions maybe, a few people told me they see me doing that. I started reading more blogs and hearing more stories of adoptions. There is that tug again. God’s heart is for caring for the orphans right? These things move me. I love hearing how people are willing to let go of themselves and jump into what God is calling them towards whether that be proclaiming the gospel here and abroad or adopting a child.

So I decide to apply for a missions trip with RH. There were only two coming up and one of the deadlines already passes…for the trip I was most interested in. The other deadline is a week away. I cant make that decision in one week. I pray about it, I still don’t do anything. The second deadline has now passed.
I come to the conclusion that I need to start walking. I spend so much time waiting around for life to fall into my lap. I just need to go and trust that God will direct my steps. The following Monday, I got an email saying the deadline has been extended.
Ok God is you? That afternoon I get in the car and there is a song on the radio with words saying “When you take that first step into the unknown, He wont let you go, So what are you waiting for. I turned my application in a few days later.

Going on this trip would require money I don’t have and don’t want to give up; vacation time I don’t have (again the money) and I would miss some events I wanted to be apart of. The more I process it, the more I realize I am in that tension of these two worlds again. Wont God provide? Isnt He worth it?
I cant not go after everything I learned this summer. I would be like ignoring all of it. I felt as if God was asking me to go on this trip.

So I wait to hear back if I am on the team. The more time passes, the more I begin to feel unqualified for this trip, the more I remind myself that if God is calling me to this, he will equip me. I then get the phone call saying we want a small team, maybe you can come on the Summer trip.

Honestly, part of me is relieved. The other part is upset and confused. Wasn’t this what God was asking of me? Didn’t I do it? I think what really got me was the fact that maybe I didn’t actually hear God….when this whole time I was convinced I did.

On Sunday, when Steve was talking about the future of RH Fullerton, he said something that stuck a cord with me. His vision for what this campus would look like was dead, but that doesn’t mean the vision itself was. God had other plans with the same components, it just looked differently. The tug is still there. Maybe it will just look differently in the way it plays out.


It feels like it has been one thing after another the last several weeks. I keep wondering when it will end. But at the same time, I am grieving the ending of this season of life (and fighting it a bit, I think). I was looking at the website of one of the speakers that will be at a leadership conference I am attending. On his blog he wrote, "I hate endings, no matter how “good” or celebrated they are. I associate endings with hurt. Hurt is the only word I seem to be able to come up with. Pain that doesn’t yet have an adjective. It just…hurts. I know I should be happy, I know an ending can be positive, my faith is clear it will all work out. But tonight, endings just feel like hurt. Hurt sounds like a little kid word. That feels like truth to me. Endings, while the transactional reality can be planned for, the emotion still strikes like a blow in the dark. I knew this day was coming. I’ve actually known from the beginning...".

That struck a cord with me. Hurt. I am hurting. I am hurting the loss of what has been an incredible chapter in my life. It has been one of stability and blessings. I have actually lived in one apartment for almost 2 years. I am completing five years at my job. My church just celebrated its two year birthday and I have been fortunate to be there from the beginning. RHF has become my home, my family. I have been able to pay off my student loans. I purchased my first car (yay for loans...again!). I had the ability to travel to Brazil, France, Canada and Israel. My life was normal. My life was predictable. I was set in my ways.

Several months ago, I knew I had entered a season of waiting. The only thing I knew I was waiting for was changes. If that was supposed to be a time of preperation as well, I failed! Because I would now say I have come into the a time of refining. And I only wish I was better prepared for this. I knew it was least I thought I did. Maybe I had hoped that things wouldnt change too drastically; that I would still have my safe, predictable life. I still dont know what this phase or the next will look like. Maybe the only thing that will be different is my heart. All I know is it hurts right now. A lot. It feels like God is stripping everything away. Everything that I found security in (apart from him). Everything that was my constant: my roommate, my apartment, my job.

I do have moments (few and far between) where I can finally get over myself and see the bigger picture. I just thought of the pain of childbirth, not that I have ever experience that. But I always hear about the excruciating, 'kill me now'pain that comes with child birth. But at the end (there is always an end to the pain) there is a blessing of a new baby. More often than not, I hear mothers say they would go through it all again for that child. I wonder how many would say that when they are in their twelfth hour of labor. I guess the point it is that the pain is necessary. For one, it is a reminder of how broken and sinful and desperatly I am in need of God to strip my heart of its uncleanness. But if we skip out on the pain, we miss the reward that is at the end of it all.

I dont know what God is doing. I wish he would clue me in on it just a little bit. Beacuse this sucks. And at times, I think He has, but the reality of that might scare me even more. Its so much easier to deal with pain and hurt when you know why. But I want what comes at the end. If I believe that my God is good and his plans are good, then I need this! There is more,whatever that may be, waiting at the end. He wants to give more. Lord, Give me more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday is Coming!

It has been about a year and a half since I even looked at this blog. But recently something inside me desired to start writing in this again. Life is a funny thing. I just read over my last post and much has happened since then.

Much has transpired in the last month even. If you would have asked me five weeks ago what I thought life would look like next month, it would have involved a new job, new city, new life. A month from now, I will be in a 'new' city, with a 'new' life and quite possible a 'new' job. But it is a far cry from what I imagined it would be. And something inside me still thinks much 'newness' is still coming.

I wonder what God must think when He sees me. One day I am confident that God is guiding and directing my steps; I am filled with peace. Then literally the next day all of that is replace with confusion, frustration and 'What the hell are you doing God'. Oh, how quickly things change.

Easter just passed. Honestly, Easter has always been just another holiday. Growing up I am pretty sure I looked forward to the Spring Celebration that was held at the France Ranch more than Easter Sunday! Sure my parents made sure we knew the true meaning of this day, But when faced with sitting still to listen to the story of how Christ died on the cross for our sins, rose three days later, conquering death so we can have eternal life, while there were eggs filled with glorious candy (not to mention the 'golden egg', that we three were never allowed to find because we were the hosts...whatever...) taunting us just out the door, we all know were our minds were. And even though the Spring Celebration parties stopped many years ago, my mind was still there.

This week leading up to Easter was a profound time for me...and how easily I forget it, too. Palm Sunday, I was reminded of the now and not yet. We are living in light of eternity. What we see now is just a shadow of what is to come. The beauty of this world doesnt even compare to what is to come. The love we experience is just a shadow of what is to come. All that is broken, will be made new. All that is cursed, will be blessed. I am just a small part of the bigger story that God has been writing since the beginning of time. I was written with a purpose. The Author wrote my story for a reason. I have a role to play. And even though I have a hard time seeing past the crappiness of life I find myself in, it is pretty insignificant in light of the whole story, the bigger story. But even in that, the Author still cares about me. I am sure one day I will look back and see this time of life as one of those 'exciting twists and turns' that make for a good story. Or maybe this is a crucial turning point that must happen before the next chapter can be written.

Good Friday. The time where we are forced to sit in the reality of death, evil, our sins. My sin. My sin that I so easily justify. My sin that I blame everyone else for, but me. My brokeness that led Christ to the cross. Jesus died.

Saturday. Jesus is in the tomb. I spent this day being hurt, unintentionally by someone close to me; reminding me of the uncertainty, confusion and frustration of where I am at. I saw someone post on facebook, "Holy Saturday is an uncomfortable place of waiting, confusion and wondering how God could ever redeem this. Sunday always comes."

Sunday is here. Sunday is now. Sunday is everyday. Christ has risen. I have nothing to fear. He is making all things new. If I would just look, I could see glimpses of God is redeeming his creation all around me. For the first time, I had a desire and even a longing to celebrate. To celebrate more than just candy. My pastor always says, 'We are Easter people living in a good Friday world'. I have been looking at my life asking What the heck! But Sunday is coming. He will make all things new. Learning to trust in the one who had conqured death for me; the one who will fight for me.