Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I spent the day at Biola on Friday for work. I got there a bit early so I walked around campus. The scents and sounds filled my mind with memories of what seems like a life time ago.The roses by Flour fountain, the bell chimes, the eucalyptus trees lining the library walk way.  This place was home for four years. Considering I’ve moved almost every year since I graduated, that is a record!

As I walked through the caf, I thought about how many, many times I had done this before. I thought about how rare it was that I would have to eat alone.  There was always a friend around. After sharing a meal and talking for a while after, we would walk back to Stewart Hall. Most of the time we would end up all gathered together again in the lobby where we would spend the rest of the night. That was best the thing about my time at Biola.  My community.  We ate together. Went to class together. Lived together. Did life together.

My thoughts have been full of the idea of community lately.  We talk about it at church. At life group. It has become one of those buzzwords. But as I was at a birthday party last weekend, we all stood around a table talking about relationships, priorities and the changes we were all experiencing. One of them mentioned how he hoped that we would still be doing this in 20 years. My heart ached at the thought of not having my community, this community, with me in 20 years.

Life happens and things change. People move on. And that sucks!! I feel like we are fed this idea, this lie, that we have to make it on our own. That we have to move out on our own, pave our own way, do our own thing. We want to get our own place. What we want is so individualistic. I should be saying I, instead of we, because I have come to accept this as how it should be.

Before we graduated, my friends and I had this dream that we would all move to uptown Whittier, rent a duplex and have our lives be one long Friends episode. It was going to be amazing. It obviously never happened, but how incredible would that have been?!
While reading my daily list of blogs, I came to one by Shauna Niequist, 

“Sometimes I find myself thinking about the people I love, all spread out all over the country, and I think: why are we so far apart? Would it be insane to move houses or cities or states because of friendship? Doesn’t it sort of make sense?   People move for jobs, for love, to be near their parents or in a city they like. People move to be in good school systems for their kids or according to God’s call to a church or ministry. People move for houses they fall in love with and shorter commutes. Do people move for friendship? Have you? Would you?     This is what I want, in my secret crazy heart: I want to pick a neighborhood and put out the call: let’s do this! Let’s stop texting and seeing each other twice a year, if that. Let’s pick a neighborhood, and let’s move there and raise our kids together and have dinner together twice a week and go running together and put our kids on the same bus in the morning.   You know how I feel about friendship, that I believe, really and truly, that friendship is God’s best evidence of himself here on earth. You know I believe that friendships shape us, heal us, transform us. You know I think they’re hard, and worth putting in the time and awkwardness and vulnerability that real friendships require.   This is my question these days: when you have friendships that are so dear to you, when you feel so seen and loved and connected and thankful for what these amazing people bring you, why wouldn’t we change our lives, or at the very least, our location for them?
As I read this, my heart shouted YES. I think about the book of Acts and how the early church lived. This is how lived. They were all in the same neighborhood. They ate dinner together. I imagine they played games together over a cup of coffee. They worshipped together. They shared. They gave. They loved. They grieved. They rejoiced. TOGETHER.
If living next door to your community isn’t a reality at this moment, what would it look like for us (me!) to still live like this? To be present, truly present with those in our life?


March 4, 2013
Yesterday is one of those days I want to remember. It was just an ordinary Sunday. But that is what made it extraordinary. God was present. God is always present. But maybe there was an expectancy or openness to Him showing up that isn’t usually there. But that is how God works. In the ordinary. In the simple. In the weak.

I have always struggled with hearing God. Most of the time I struggle to answer when the last time I actually hear him was. And when I think I’m certain I hear him, doubt inevitably fills my mind and I question whether or not it was really him. And sadly the doubt usually wins. I continually ask that God would speak and make himself known to me. I get jealous when I hear story after story after story of how God spoke to people, through people, so loud and clear that there is no room for doubt. I will often ask, “What about me? What am I doing wrong that you speak to them and not me? Why can’t I hear you?” After being a Christian for 20+ years, I would think that this wouldn’t be such an issue. I should know his voice by now, right?!

This last week I had the flu. I rarely get the flu, but when I do, always in the back of my mind is the issue of my disease.  It certainly made its way to the fore front of my thoughts this week.

During seek week last October, I felt compelled to pray for healing.  Once again, fear and doubt prevented me from going forward for prayer until the very last night. Even then, I couldn’t bring myself to go forward, but instead asked a friend to pray over me.  In processing thought that, I realized two things: 1. I don’t think I truly believed God would heal me. I knew he could. I just didn’t believe he would. And then I would have to make excuses as to why God didn’t heal me. That sounds so dumb as I write it out. It is dumb. God is God and can heal or not heal as he chooses. 2. In a weird way, I needed my disease to define me. I needed it to stand out, to be noticed.
So in asking for healing, I was letting go of both those things.

Yesterday I was killing time at Starbucks before church. I was still feeling like my Crohns might be flaring up.  I opened my Bible and randomly read Ps 103.
Praise the Lord, O My Soul, All my inmost being, praise his Holy name.
            Praise the Lord, O My Soul, and forget not all his benefits-
            Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth
Is renewed like the eagles.
After reading that, all I wrote in my journal was, “God I wanted healing from Crohn’s. I ask for healing.”

I went to church like usual. Set up communion and put the flyers out as usual. Maria was getting baptized, so there was more than normal excitement. This day marked one year of being sober for her. I have watched God move and speak in her life over the last year. Our group got to be a part of that. It is so cool to know that God used our life group to speak his truth and love to her.

In the middle of the response time, Joel got up and shared two things that the prayer team received as they prayed over the service. I don’t remember what the second one was because the first thing he shared was for me!  I think one of the ways the Holy Spirit prompts me is physically. My heart felt as if it was beating out of my chest. “Someone here is having some sort of stomach pain.” He might have said something else after that, but I don’t remember. But that was me!  I had/have stomach pain.

I went forward to receive prayer. Even before she started praying for healing, she prayed something along the lines of I have a story to share. I have forgotten most of what she actually prayed. But this is what I know: God spoke. To me. He heard me. He knows my desires. He knows my story. And I will be persistent to continue to bring my request for healing before the Lord, knowing and believing he will answer.